Aceria

Episode 1: Strange evil afoot...
Beginning of a new campaign...

Hello ! After having successfully got one campaign, I thought I’d try to run another one, and this is it-Aceria, where the players will travel around the land exploring the Kingdom of Mardolf, and have a lot of fun and adventures doing so.

Playing in this episode were:
-Mike (me), the evil dungeon master of the world Aceria
-Ryan, playing Dryden Songhoof the Satyr Bard
-Kelly, playing Elaeinor Birrowdrift a half-elf ranger
-Marcus, playing Sprywood Ilian a human scout

Chapter 1: Captured !
The campaign started with the players finding themselves with bags on their heads, and it turned out they had been marched for several days by a group of bandits to a clearing, led by a tiefling bandit named Nemgar. Upon reaching the place, it turned out they were all to be killed. Two other people were with the party, a black-skinned plate-armoured paladin and an elven merchant. She was killed in front of the heroes’ eyes, but as they moved unto the execution of the paladin, he suddenly burst free of his bonds and wrenched the crossbow from the bandit, freeing the party with a single bolt from it. The party then got up and grabbed their equipment the bandit’s had placed in a pile to be burnt, and the fight quickly escalated. Despite being thrust into the dangerous situation, the party quickly won, managing to kill most of the bandits and even knocking a couple unconscious, but Nemgar had managed to escape. The paladin tole the players he would go after him, and that they should head to a a place called Sunfather Chapel not far from here. The party tied up the unconscious bandits and left them, and headed there as instructed.

Chapter 2: Introductions and questing
Upon reaching the place, they were greeted by a kind priest called Jon Braddoc, devoted to Pelor, and asked them about themselves. The party then formally introduced their characters and their backstory, all bar Sprywood, who was more conservative with the information as he was wanted by the law. Braddoc also told the party the paladin was a man named Barfus Shinehammer, and a devoted champion to all that is good and just. The pair live in the chapel, and fight evil wherever it rears it’s ugly head as well as providing blessings to the town of Hayford nearby with no formal religious body. With that, the party retired to bed, and in the morning met Barfus again who had returned. He explained he was unable to catch Nemgar, but found out from some of the bandits he interrogated that they were members of a group called the Blunt Fists, and that Nemgar had likely gone back to their base in a place called the Sanctum of Kypres. Successful checks revealed that the Blunt fists were a group of bandits who had been falling on hard times until the recent aid of a stranger called Malik, and this had led them to carry out more frequent raids on Hayford, including the recent looting of a magic shop. Barfus added he had in fact heard of Malik before, having found evidence of his evil in other places. As for the Sanctum of Kypres, it was once the treasure store of an corrupt high priest called Kypres during the years of the religious conversion who worshiped many evil gods, most noticeably Bane. This dungeon was now the HQ of Malik, and not far from Hayford, although few dare to go there because of it’s evil origins. With this in mind, Barfus expressed a deep apology as he was unable to help the party due to an undead problem that needed to be dealt with in the Mithweald forest, but at the same time offered the aim in the form of a few items, and wished them luck on their task. With a quest already in their lap, the party set off to the town of Hayford (Elainor’s hometown) to find out more about the magic shop looting…

Chapter 3: “Sprywood has a way with words !”
Upon arriving there, the party were told by Elainor knowledge of here hometown. It was a small rural town ruled over by the Most Noble William Orphlos, an ex-knight of the Red Drake Order, and his rule is enforced by a small group of militia soldiers. The town often suffers from deadly goblin raids from a tribe called The Red Eyes as well as smaller raids from bandit groups that plague the lands. The town only had one inn, known as The Broken Arrow, and the party decided to head there first to find out more clues of the place. Dryden managed to embarrass the local bard Tom Trickyriddle while Sprywood and Elainor get to know Jeremiah Mint, the halfing owner of the inn, and spoke to Ulad Palshatri, the owner of the magic shop in Hayford. She explained that it had been looted by the Blunt Fists, and that they took not only her money but also more importantly two key magic items; A Diocles Scanner (a stone which can detect magic) and a Bag of Holding. She promised the party that if they were able to get both back for her, she would pay them a decent sum of money as reward. The heroes agreed, and then decided to spend the night with Elainor’s mother, Lorana Birrowdrift (the first person to actually like the unsociable Sprywood) before heading out to the Sanctum of Kypres to take revenge on the bandits and retrieve the magic items.

Chapter 4: Hello Love !
The party crawled their way up to he grass verge just before the door to the Sanctum of Kypres, where a small bandit camp and a group of bandits where stationed. The party did a half-ambush (they sort of got into position before being found), but amazing rolls from the entire group meant that the encounter went down smoothly, most notably from Dryden, who took one bandit from full health to zero after getting a crit and few lucky rolls. After slaying the bandits and their pet dog, the group entered the sanctum. The next encounter they were confronted with was a group of bandits playing a card game, and Dryden initially tried to bribe them to leave their posts-which miserably failed. He became a pincushion from their crossbows, and when Sprywood charged forward to try take out some of the foes, he fell right into a pit trap. The fight carried much around this pit trap, Dryden also being thrown in by a were-rat, which then singled out Elainor alone. However, she held her own impressively and long enough for the other two members of the party to climb out the pit, kill the bandits and help her slay the were-rat.

Chapter 5: The deck is mine !
The party then went down a corridor which split off two ways, one which looked well maintained and the other which looked as if it had fallen into ruin over many years. The party chose to go down the well-maintained way, and found a small storage room, which contained a variety of items, but most notably a small locked iron-banded crate. They managed to open it, and received a magical deck of cards and a pair of dagger boots, although not before taking some damage from the crate dagger-trap itself. Sprywood and Dryden argued over who should have the deck, and ultimately a game of best 2/3 rock, paper scissors settled it, Sprywood being the victor. The advanced unto the next room, which was contained a large altar to Bane and two vicious Tar Devils. Despite the devil threat, this was arguably the easiest encounter of the session so far, but the party were more intrigued as to why devil creatures, which only really existed in The Nameless City and The Nine Hells, were only half a week from Hayford ? With this question in mind, they pressed on.

Chapter 6: DARE TO MESS WITH I, MALIK REDMAIL ?!?
The next room contained a large mosaic to Bane, which an amour-clad cleric of the Devil god Asmodeus was scanning with the Diocles scanner, the item the heroes were looking for ! Next to it was a Tar devil, and down below looking nervous was a bandit and Nemgar, the bandit which the party wanted much revenge on for earlier. As such, the group simply burst in, which the cleric threatened them that he was Malik Redmail, and they would die for their intrusion ! This fight was extremely intense, at one point the satyr only 1 strike away from death after having been knocked down by trying to duel Malik one-on-one, but he was saved and highly grateful to Sprywood, who risked his own life to save him. Ultimately, the party had managed to beat the group, but Elainor had slain both Nemgar and Malik with arrows, which meant that the party could not ask them any questions or interrogate them. They managed to piece together that Malik was obviously looking for some magic items with hell energy, and had come here to find it, hiring the bandits to both loot the items necessary and guard the place. When the heroes, Barfus and the merchant had seen the bandits at different points, Malik had obviously given them the order to kill them so that no-one could know what they were planning. However, what Malik was looking for the party were unsure, but they believed that the answer possibly lied in a book written in strange writing they found on Malik’s person, as well as a pendent to Asmodeus they took from his neck. The group decided that they would go to Hayford and collect their reward, and then go back to Sunfather chapel and report their findings. They decided to go down the other route this time, and after a higly successful encounter with the stirges (in which they became level 2), they left the Sanctum of Kypres for Hayford. 4 days later, as they reached the outskirts, their ears were filled by screams, and in the distance they could see smoke and burning farms. Led by Elainor, the party drew their weapons and sprinted their, hoping to save the day once more…

And that ends the starter session of Aceria ! As I’m sure you can see, this looks like it’s gonna be a fantastic campaign, and soon enough we’ll see how the party do at being true heroes, being paragons of good against the forces of evil !
Until then, Happy Gaming !
-Mike, DM

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