The Diaries of a Madman: Campaign Notes 1

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I’ve been running a game in my world for some time now, and I’ve wanted to start writing about it, but there are some of my players who read this, so its a little hard to put anything out there without them seeing something about it. Hopefully, I don’t give anything away as I make my way through their escapades. Here’s the start of the journey!

The Party

The party I’m DMing isn’t something wacky and strange – like the one I play playing in on Mondays. This one is much more of a standard group, which is perfectly fine.

Laake: Halfing Totem Barbarian/Paladin
Strom: Half-Elf Storm Sorcerer
Lea: Elven Moon Druid/Monk
Clint: Human Bard of the College of Lore
Aeric: Human Samurai

Dulara

Lea and Strom, cousins, as well as Aeric are traveling from Brokensail to the town of Dulara on the southern Tyndarian coast on a trading vessel, set to bring some clothes and trade goods to the smaller town before heading up the coast to larger ports.

As the ship is traversing the coast, it is trailed, and then assaulted, by three long ships, each with massive sails depicting goat symbols. Their ship, though well equipped and well defended, was no match, laden as it was, for the three quicker attacking ships. The crew of the attacking ships was quite the surprise, as they were goatfolk, people with the bodies of men, and the legs and heads of goats. Rumored to exist, but little evidence to their existence.

ArtStation - Beastman, Eric Quigley

Their ship sunk under the waves, but as everything cracked apart, each of the trio – the adventurers, were able to find a way to cling to life and washed ashore. They ended up locating each other and, through various means, making their way to the town of Dulara, which was just around the coast.

While at Dulara, they met two companions they had met prior, Clint – a bard and storyteller, and Laake, a remorseful paladin and gleeful barbarian. Clint had come hearing tales of the beauty of the Barons Daughter, and Laake to gain guidance from the shrine of the Twin Sisters in town.

Amused at finding each other at the same town on the opposite side of the continent, they decide to take a drink and reconnect in the local inn, a Laughing Skull establishment. While there, they learn that the local Lord, a Lady Brightaxe, has taken her knights and her retinue to deal with a goblin incursion to the northeast, and she was going to be gone for as long as was needed to deal with them. This was not uncommon, but it was unfortunate, as they came to find out.

The Missing Kid

Later in the evening, hearing that there were travelers that had recently arrived, the town blacksmith showed up in the Laughing Skull and asked for their assistance. His son, they see, had disappeared. He had gone on his hunting expedition into the woods to the west – a nameless place, primeval and old. Normally he would be gone only for a day or so, but it had been three at this point, and it was starting to be worrisome.

The Blacksmith had gone to the warden and the mayor, and there was no one to spare to look for Oleth, the son. It was a tragedy, but we live in a world of them.

Thankfully, the blacksmith found the adventurers, and though he couldn’t provide much – a couple of gold, maybe some armor repairs and, perhaps, if given some time, he could craft some armor for Aeric when they returned, he wasn’t an armorer, it wasn’t his specialty.

The group agreed. They would travel into the woods, find his son, and return him to his grateful father. At dawn the next day, they set off into the woods and looked for the trail that the young halfling would have taken. After some time they located it and were off into the woods. The woods, old as they are, are home to some dangerous creatures, mostly dire animals, as well as a number of ruins, both long-buried and moldering on the surface. The group encountered a few of the denizens of the woods as they tracked down the wayward halfling, but the trail was very strange. After a time they came to a clearing where there had been a struggle, possibly an ambush. He had entered the field from one end, and his adversary from the other. There was no blood, however, and the trail continued further into the woods, where evidence of was another struggle – this time with a huge pool of blood, larger than a humanoid could contain – was located, and they were attacked by a giant boar.

Recuperating, they made their way, once again, following the tracks, all the way to a house on the edge of the other side of the forest, near another town, where they found a lovely half-elf ranger lady, Desia, and Oleth abiding together. Oleth resisted returning home at first but eventually agreed. On the following day, they would return to Dulara

Morning Raid

That morning, prior to them leaving, alarm horns called out, the town was under attack! Goatfolk had landed and assaulted the two farthest houses along the edge of the coast. The Hero’s rushed to the aid of the families in peril. The Goatfolk (I am going to move to call then caparans from here forward) were dragging three elves to their landing craft and were clearly prepared to capture those who were still within the burning house when they decided to flee.

The heroes, charging into combat barely awake and unprepared, were peppered with arrows on the approach, and when they finally hit the line of Caparans, there was no give. They were tough and extracting the prisoners seemed to be their main priority, and they performed a fighting withdraw, pulling back with their prizes to their boats to return to the sea.

The Heroes even felt that there was a possibility of getting the upper hand, when another group of Caparans, led by one, which resembled more of a moose hybrid than a goat, emerged from the second house that was being raided, on their flank. Now, intensely outnumbered and unable to push the advantage, the caparans withdrew with their captives.

The Heroes were unable to slay the caparans, but they were driven off without more prisoners, so it was a net win. There was little to do as the town guard arrived and started to take state of what happened, and the Heroes still has a job to do. They started heading back to Dulara along the coast road – a much shorter trip than going through the rugged woods. Along the way, they saw a pair of boats on the shore that resembled the caparan craft, and it was decided that they should destroy them, resulting in them both being lit aflame and pushed back into the ocean. The trip was otherwise uneventful and arriving in Dulara that evening, they returned Oleth to his father and themselves to the Laughing Skull.

Rumors Swell

Returning to Dulara, the Heroes relaxed for a time having completed the task they were given. They enjoyed the respite from being out in the miserable woods. They joined fishing expeditions, worked as a carpenter, prayed at the temple, gambled, performed and went pit fighting.

Then, on the 10th day of relaxation, a body drifted ashore. An elf. Who had been brutally tortured – fingers were broken, fingernails removed, eyes seared out. It was hard to recognize, but the Heroes did. It was one of the elves from the raid. Combined with the rumors they had heard, of a raid on a farm upriver, a destroyed caravan, a missing first mate, and a ship outrunning a caparan assault, they knew the caparans were up to something.

They attempted to warn the mayor, as they had when they returned to town, that there was impending danger, but he was unphased. There was nothing he, nor the warden of the castle, could do. If there was an attack, they would withdraw behind the walls of Highcliff, and wait out the danger as they always had.

The heroes, they wanted to do more and remembered the landing craft they had destroyed weeks back. They resolved to gather some allies and go goat hunting.

They located one of the pit fighters they had fought, a dwarf and crewmate of the missing first mate. Desia was asked to come back from Keltus and guide them into the woods, and Clint, ever the eloquent talker, convinced two elven brothers to be his bodyguards for the week. Together, the group set off down the coast road, looking for the wreckage of the caravan to guide them.

The Caparan Expedition

They arrived at the caravan wreckage with relative ease at about midday and followed the tracks into the woods. It was a fairly well-worn trail, but as darkness approached, they found no clear sign of a caparan encampment. They settled into a nice clearing to pass the evening, and continue in the morning.

Following the trail again in the morning, it turned west and widened, as if many more caparans had taken this trail before. Eagerly, sensing their foe was near, they followed the trail until, suddenly, it came to a halt. Simply… stopping in the middle of the woods. Looking about, they noticed that there was one, small trail circling back. Quickly, they came to the realization that they were duped, turned around, and only a short time later, as expected, were attacked by a group of caparans occupying their return trail. The fight was fierce, but the caparans, prepared as they were, did not expect such fierce resistance. The ensuing battle saw one caparan captured and the rest slain, per the plan the heroes had.

Quickly binding the caparan, they retreated to their camp and began questioning the prisoner, who did not speak the common tongue, but Clint’s magic allowed them to communicate (He cast tongues)

The inquisition, which lasted around 10 minutes, did not fare particularly well, as the caparan knew little about what was being asked, or was stubborn and good at lying. Regardless of the reason, the heroes eventually offered a final agreement. Tell us what you know about another camp, and we will let you fight for your freedom.

The caparan agreed but proceeded to continue to lie about the numbers, capability, and distance of the real camp. Having caught it attempting to deceive, he was given his trial by combat, but without healing and without resting. Though he charged in and fought wildly, a single strike from Aeric’s weapon dropped him.

Following the known information of the caparan informant, they cautiously searched for the camp and the rest of the group. They wanted to make sure that any captives that were being held were freed, just in case. The heroes planned to send the less combat-oriented characters – the dwarf anglers, the elven twins, Desia, around back to cut into the tents and free any prisoners potentially held captive.

Attacking in a frontal assault, the heroes successfully distracted the caparans, and allowed the second group to succeed, cutting into each tent to attempt and find any captives, while at the same time overwhelming the caparan forces. The ambush and the smaller numbers than expected at the camp quickly spelled their enemies doom, and soon enough all of the caparans were slain, though one proved to be alive, paralyzed by the venom that the giant spider form that the druid had used.

A lucky break! The Heroes questioned this caparan too, who proved both more recalcitrant. The elves were the key, he explained, and they were looking for Lothrim Yorr – a phrase that was not translated by tongues and is assumed someone’s name. This was the last of them on the land, but their forces number in the hundreds and will drown the shores in blood. The captive’s consistent defiance, though, pushed Clint to his breaking point, and he died during questioning.

Having freed the captive from the caravan, a merchant who had now lost everything in the raid, they returned to Dulara with the information they had obtained and set about trying to piece it all together.

And that, over the course of a number of different sessions, and leaving out plenty of the nitty-gritty, is where we sit currently. Until next time, when I update on what is happening in the game!