The Setup Crew: Rise of the Runelords

On the way to Thistletop

Following a few days rest back in Sandpoint, Sherriff Hemlock approached our erstwhile adventurers with exciting news: They had managed to determine through magical interrogation that the current base for the goblin raiders being led by Nualia was at the abandoned Cliffside fortress known as Thistletop. Knowing that his own deputies did not possess the necessary skill or luck to act as a strike team, Belor approached Szarali and her compatriots to take the fight to Nualia and end her siege of the town. Always eager for adventure and violence, the rest of the team quickly followed suit and made for the road!

But simply getting to Thistletop would be a challenge in and of itself! The forest area preceding the fortress lived up to its namesake by being covered in thick clusters of sharp brambles that could easily savage one’s flesh. Fortunately, when a ranger is on hand, the woods are not such a perilous place! Zirul was able to locate a path that the goblins had fashioned to go underneath the rampant thorny growth and with a bit of squeezing, the adventurers had cleared their first hurdle. Navigating through the woods was a surprisingly dry affair for the most part. The group faced some mild confusion over an echoing sound that appeared to be coming from a nearby cavern, but with no simple way to enter, they decided to investigate again later. Szarali amused herself in the meanwhile when the adventurers happened across a camp swarming with goblins!! She directed the ranger to lay out some false floors over the roof to the underground cavern and led the goblins screaming and howling pell mel straight to their hilarious doom!! Much laughter ensued.

Moving through the rest of the forest after investigating the camp, the group happened across a strange looking cat, that appeared to be a leopard with orange flame like designs in its fur. Zirul tried to coax the beast to them, but it simply retreated to find its master, the goblin druid Gogmurt!! A short skirmish followed, which soon left the goblin at the mercy of his captors. He promptly spilled his guts, saying that this group of goblins was a splinter of the original tribe, who’s chief, Ripnugget, had sided with Nualia in her quest for vengeance against Sandpoint. The druid believed it was an infatuation on the chief’s end that was driving his dealings with the humans and not the good of his tribe. He offered to forge a truce with Sandpoint if the heroes could promise no further harm to his folk and find a way to end Ripnugget’s hold over the rest of them. To aid them, the druid provided his medallion to Szarali, bidding her to show it to the goblins in the fortress to show their peaceful intent and to convince them to come back. The druid couldn’t possibly be expected to keep up his end, but the team took pity on the sad little creature and promised to do their best.

Heading out from Gogmurt’s hovel, the adventurers at last reached the rope bridge that would take them to the fortress! In their excitement and haste, they were almost dumped unceremoniously into a watery grave by a collapsing trap the goblins had constructed, but quick reflexes saved the day! Szarali was the lady of the hour here, using her natural acrobatic prowess to cross over the now sideways bridge and using strong rope to secure it on the other side. At last able to cross over to the island, the Sandpoint Four now looked on to their next objective as the Thistletop fortress loomed in front of them!

The Catacombs of Wrath pt II
Battling the hordes of Lamashtu!!

Having felled the devious Quasit Elyrium and made their way into the prison chambers of the catacombs beneath the glassworks, the 4 heroes found themselves ready to continue exploration after dealing with yet another pair of bloodthirsty Sin Spawn. Journeying down the eastern halls brought them to what had once been a torture chamber/interrogation area, though the tools and devices there had long since corroded into decay from time and non-use. Adjacent to this area was the remains of a study/lab area with three holding cells, solid save for some view slits near the top. Glancing inside one showed Szarali a mutated humanoid with a third arm protruding from its chest cavity. Zirul nearly threw his back out trying to give the hefty Grunyar a boost to check the next cell, which contained a skeleton with a massively warped head. Gene checked the final cell and found a body that had been rendered completely devoid of a normal lower torso. It looked almost if it was meant to now move by slithering….

Leaving this chilling area behind, the team headed further east and came to another large chamber. Here the floor was lined with wooden doors, from which came many low pitiful moans. Another creature made its lair here as well. It might once have been an ordinary goblin, but some twisted power had warped him, made him larger and granted him the use of an additional arm. Wielding a dagger, a handaxe and a glowing red sword, the freak pushed a nearby switch and released the occupants of the cages: 11 shambling zombies!! Already weary from their previous exploits, the team still managed to hold their own. Grunyar and Szarali’s blades proved the heroes’ best asset, with the dwarf hewing down zombies like saplings, while Szarali worked away steadily with her Kukri. Gene and Zirul tried their best at range, but the zombies merely absorbed the impact of bullet and arrow. The mutate proved exceptionally quick for one so deformed and quickly made its way to the heroes, belching acidic vomit and hacking away with his sword. Keen tactician that he was, Zirul realized that if they didn’t break ground soon, the group would be overwhelmed on all sides and so, he cleverly had his comrades retreat into the west hall, bottlenecking their enemies and ginsuing them as they proceeded one by one d own the narrow halls. As their enemies fell, the group’s fighting spirit returned and soon a counting contest was under way for the highest tally, but even as the last zombie was cut down, their mutant shepherd barreled into the corridor in a berserk fury, cutting down both Grunyar and Gene and hacking into Szarali before the gunslinger was able to bring him down.

Following this epic battle, the team divvied up the mutant’s cache of weapons, with Zirul claiming his glowing sword and Szarali his dagger, while Grunyar took the handaxe for himself. Further exploration revealed a strange meditation chamber affected by anti gravity magic. Using her grappling hook as a claw, Szarali netted some fine treasures, including a ancient tome written in the demonic tongue, a wand of Shocking Grasp, scroll of Burning Hands and a bottle of wine for Gene and a dead bird for Grunyar! The team also came to a bathing chamber where Szarali was able to indulge in a quick bath, after Grunyar (Inspired by the tiefling’s unbound bosoms) and Zirul had removed its floating demonic guardian.

Returning to town brought rewards and thanks from Sheriff Hemlock and Father Zantus, along with a 200 gold reward. The priest was also disturbed to hear that the group had come across a minor runewell, a potent evil artifact from the age of a man named Karzoug… But at mention of that name, Zantus grew tight lipped and would say nothing more, save that his acolytes would seal the area from further intrusion. The group now had a chance to catch their breath and relax after a job well done and a day well saved. But what of this man Karzoug and the device called a runewell? These things would bear some future investigation…

The Catacombs of Wrath, Part I
Don't drink the water!

Journal of Szarali Mardos, Tiefling Stalker of Desna
Day 4

Today we went into the tunnels underneath the Glass place. I was totally brave, but I think the others were scared. Except the dwarf. It’s SO hard to tell his facial expressions through his beard!

The first thing we met was this weird looking thing, all pale and evil-smelling. We cut it to pieces easily, which didn’t make it smell any better, but at least it was dead. After that we found a room with a dried up old fountain with some icky looking black sludge. There was nothing else there, though, so we went into the next room. There were TWO MORE fountains in here! SOMEbody likes water!

The door closed behind us. I blame the human, since he’s always drunk anyway. Then we got attacked by this thing that at first I thought was a tiny succubus but turned out to be a quasit (demons all look alike to me). She didn’t even ASK if we wanted to be friends but just attacked! SO mean! Anyway, even though she made Gene look silly with her magic, we sliced her up good and I killed her pet spider! The dwarf was SOOO jealous! I just stuck my tongue out at him. He took the neat-looking dagger and all I got was a dress that was WAY too small for me!

After that we went back out the hallway and into a room with some stairs and a wooden platform. The ranger says it was a prison, but I didn’t see any prisoners. All I saw were two more pale-things. They were a little tougher than the first one. I totally broke a sweat! I am DEFINITELY going to need a bath when we get back! And I think the dwarf broke a few bones, but he never admits it. He needs a bath, too.

So, a few of us have some injuries between the pale-things and the succu-qwhatsit, so we’re taking a break. Write more later!

Adventure in the Glassworks
Or: I'll kick your glass if you don't give me loot!

The Innkeeper was missing. Oh no, the heavy drinkers of the Revengers adventuring group would not let that stand. Szarali, Grunyar, Gene, and Zirul let out an uproarious cry: REVENGERS ASSEMBLE!!

The group made haste to the Sandpoint Glassworks, where Ameiko Kaijitsu was known to be heading. Apparently her brother Tsuto had requested a meeting with her the previous evening. From the outside, the glassworks did not look as if it were doing business this day. Szarali used an expertly thrown grappling hook to look into the building through the skylight. She saw a body lying on the floor: Lonjiku, Ameiko’s father! The group, led by Grunyar, hurriedly entered the building only to be met by a wandering group of goblins!

The dwarf decided to ‘axe’ the goblins what they were up to; unfortunately the axe forgot the goblins had to be alive to answer. When the rest of the group entered, they found only smears of goblin blood everywhere. Lonjiku’s body had apparently been used as a sketch pad by the insane goblins, but nothing on it left a clue. The group pressed on into the glassworks.

Thoroughly searching the right-hand half of the establishment led to little in the way of answers or treasure, but Szarali did manage to find the elusive Jar, which she handed off to Gene, and one silver spoon that she hoped to turn into a musical pair. After meticulously checking behind every single door and finding no more than some gloves and tongs, the Revengers left to try the other side of the building.

They entered into the glassblowing room, where several goblins were gleefully throwing random items into the hot ovens. Despite being able to enter the room undetected, the Revengers were unable to turn that into much of a combat advantage. Szarali attempted to charge a goblin standing on a worktable, but was distracted by Grunyar’s beard and missed her attack! Said dwarf managed to flatten a poor goblin beneath his sturdy, well-armored body, while Zirul and Gene picked off two more with their ranged weapons. Recovering from beard-shock, Szarali slew a fourth before the remainder fled into the bowels of the factory.

The Revengers followed into the basement, where they discovered Ameiko tied up in a closet. After being revived by Zirul’s wand, she explained Tsuto’s betrayal. Informing them that he must still be nearby, the innkeeper insisted on making her own way back to the Rusty Dragon. She rewarded them for her rescue, though, promising free drinks at the tavern! Overjoyed, the Revengers went to finish the job and deal with Tsuto. They found him in a very small room surrounded by the cowardly goblins. The adventurers managed to lure the silly goblins out into the hall and slaughter them, but Tsuto proved more clever. He nimbly evaded the pincer formation of Grunyar and Szarali, ending up near Zirul who felt the bite of Tsuto’s sword.

The ranger wisely decided to back up and let Szarali step in, who slashed expertly at Tsuto. Seeing the Tiefling, blood dripping from her kukri, grinning mischievously at him was too much for Tsuto. He surrendered and informed the group that his crush, one Nualia, had set the fire that had burned the previous temple thingy. She was also behind the recent goblin attack on Sandpoint, but didn’t reveal her motives. The Revengers decided to take him back to Sheriff Hemlock and interrogate him.

Szarali was overjoyed to steal a pair of silver earrings from Tsuto, which she promptly had melted down and turned into a spoon. With the spoons and Gene’s jar, the band was swiftly coming together…

Heroes About Town
The stories of a crypt, a love affair, and a deliciously pulverized boar

As Szarali the bouncy and her companions took a few days to rest and acquaint themselves with the village of Sandpoint, things seemed to be taking a turn for the better for everyone. The town’s new cathedral received a solemn consecration and was opened to the townsfolk, who now laughed merrily in the memory of the savage goblin attack from earlier, mostly only remembering the stupidity of the brutes that ended up getting themselves killed and not more townsfolk.

Father Zantus had plans for the town’s new heroes, who dropped in on the bishop in the midst of being stuffed with free loaves of bread to find out what might require their expertise. The bishop and begun a secret investigation into the origin of the goblin’s attack on the town and had discovered during the ensuing panic, that someone had broken into the crypt of the previous bishop, Father Ezakien. He hoped that perhaps as a Ranger, Zirul might be able to provide some insight and possibly the beginnings of a trail to track the goblins and their leader to their hideaway. Needing no further invitation to adventure, the team accompanied Sheriff Belor Hemlock to the boneyard in hopes of unearthing some clues! Szarali was also eager to locate the mysterious and probably magical ‘A Jar’, which Father Zantus mentioned as being on the premises.

Unfortunately, evidence proved scant, with no jars to be found. But danger was in full supply! A skeleton duo had been left behind by the perpetrators and their job was to silence any who came snooping. The skeletons presented some challenge to the team, since Gene the gunslinger’s aim was off due to recent repairs, but Zirul and Grunyar the Barbarian were able to pull through with sheer muscle and determination! The aftermath revealed little else. The skeletons had been conjured via a Robe of Bones, the useless remains of which were pocketed by Gene to be made into a jacket. A Gene jacket if you will. Eh heh, eh heh, eh hehhh…. My humor is lost on you people. Zirul was able to trace the area around Father Ezakien’s tomb and found a few pairs of goblin footprints, accompanied by those of a human! Belor thanked the team for their work and asked them to stay quiet on the matter until more could be done. Father Zantus was appreciative as well and rewarded the team with a fully charged wand of cure light wounds for their service to the faith!

The following day provided adventure of a lighter fare. The town’s female population was of course abuzz regarding the appearance of such strong and handsome new males appearing in their town and Zirul the Ranger had climbed to number one on the hottie lists! This came with trouble, when the team was approached by the town hussy, Shayliss Vinder, implored the heroes to rid the cellars of her father’s general store of the unusually large and terrifying rats that had taken up residence there! The team agreed and Shayliss was overjoyed, clinging to Zirul like a cat to cheese! The group searched high and low, but found no signs of any rodent infestation. Shayliss meanwhile had managed to coerce Zirul into the cellars, whereupon, she put her full feminine charms on display for his approval. The Ranger attempted to refuse, but in the end his will was overridden and the pair retired to their passion on the basement’s floor. Upstairs the rest of the team helped themselves to some of th store’s finer items, when who should return but Shayliss’ father Ven! He was incredulous at the explanation of rats being the reason for the heroes appearance, as the store hadn’t dealt with such vermin in the years since Ven had owned the place! He went to the cellar to check again and was aghast to find his eldest daughter in the arms of a stranger from out of town! Turning red as a beet, the storekeep demanded an explanation. Shayliss now cornered, turned on her paramour and Ven expelled the adventurers wholesale from his shop in fury. Zirul’s reputation took a dip for the worse after the events, being dubbed a rake and womanizer.

Putting her quest for the holy jar on hold for a while, Szarali decided the team should consider taking up the offer of Aldern Foxglove for a reward for their rescue of him during the goblin attack. Said reward was to join the nobleman on a boar hunt in the nearby woodlands and the pleasure of a camping excursion. The affair was pleasant, with fine weather and riding with mounts provided by the gregarious noble. All the while he chatted away, taking turns pestering each member of the group with questions between making romantic overtures to his tiefling companion! Szarali seemed to not notice and the team told Aldern something of themselves, save for Grunyar who remained a grumpy gus. Their stories were jotted down by Aldern, who seemed to be trying to figure out what eactly went into the makings of a great hero and seemed to think that these notes might be of use to him. It fell to the Ranger to do the actual hunting and quick as a blink, Zirul scored some fresh tracks!

The party managed to find a fine fat boar rustling away for truffles and decided to take the beast by surprise! Zirul scored a fine arching shot that set the pig to panic, while Grunyar and Szarali readied themselves to blade the beast in the event of a charge. That proved unnecessary with a brilliant shot from Gene, which struck the boar in such a fashion that the choice cuts were perfectly separated as it came apart from sheer force! The group toasted their success over ribs and had some fine provisions for later travel, with Aldern taking a ham as a souvenir! The story of the hunt and the heroes courtesy to lord Foxglove also had the pleasant side effect of scrubbing away the nasty business with Vinder’s daughter!

But there was little time for rest! The second in command of the Rusty Dragon, Bethana Corwin, reported to the heroes that tavern owner Ameiko Kaijtsu had recently gone missing and feared the worst! Investigating Ameiko’s room that morning, Bethana found a note from her brother Tsuto, asking his sister to meet him at the glassworks at the outside of town the previous night, from which Ameiko had still not returned. Bethana implored to the heroes to investigate and they agreed to set off. It seems that the town of Sandpoint has much in store for its new celebrities….

A festival in Sandpoint
Four unlikely souls meet!

It is the Autumnal Equinox, and in Sandpoint that means the Swallowtail Festival! People from all over Varisia (and sometimes beyond) have crowded into the city to celebrate Desna. Four of these people are destined to bring great change to the region, or die trying.

The first of these is Zirul, a human Ranger with a taste for archery. Naturally he gravitated first to the target shooting booth, where he had the opportunity to dunk poor volunteer Shalelu into a tank of water if his aim were true. But being the polite soul that he was, he allowed the first shot to a fellow challenger named…

Gene, wandering Gunslinger. Graciously accepting the ranger’s offer, he took up the not-quite-as-dangerous practice musket the booth provided and took aim. He skillfully hit the target on the first shot and the poor elven scout was dropped into the water! Just barely had she climbed back onto her seat than Zirul hit the target with his first arrow, sending her back into the drink! The two laughed and were instantly on the road to friendship.

On the other side of the parade grounds, a young Tiefling lass by the name of Szarali Mardos was perusing a shop selling animated figurines. The merchant tried to interest the fiendish-looking customer by highlighting their many points of articulation and full posability, but the price was too high for her frugal heart. She wandered off in the direction of a fireworks cart, where, loudly arguing with the fireworks vendor was…

Grunyar, grumbling dwarf Barbarian. He angrily turned away from the fireworks cart once the owner steadfastly refused to let him set off any and nearly ran into the approaching Tiefling. They shared their mutual dislike of merchants, and this one common attribute created an instant bond. Szarali performed a quick backflip in her newfound joy, delighting nearby festival goers. She took a bow, and then the pair moved off to find some sustenance.

All four shortly arrived at the food stand of local tavern owner Ameiko Kaijitsu, where they discovered they all had a great love of alcoholic beverages. Immediately following their meal, Father Xantus gained the attention of the crowd with a thunderstone. Before he even got to speak, however, goblins burst onto the scene! Horrifying the local villagers and out of town guests alike with their toothy grins and creepy rhymes, the goblins caused instant havoc.

Not about to let a few goblins ruin their fun, the novice adventurers pulled out their weapons and set to. They easily dispatched the first group of 3, but then reinforcements appeared, backed up by a menacing Goblin Warchanter. The dwarf Grunyar fell to the ground laughing, apparently filled with mirth at the mere sight of a female goblin singing war songs. Poor Szarali rushed into the fray recklessly, missing her intended target and leaving herself open to a wicked blow in return. But they persevered, felling the warchanter’s bodyguards and causing her to flee in terror.

Just then they heard the awful sound of a dog crying in pain. The four rushed off in the direction of the sound and found a hunting dog being terrorized by a mounted goblin and his cronies. Arriving too late to save the dog, cut down by a cruel dogslicer right before their eyes, the adventurers readied themselves to avenge the fallen hound. Luckily, the goblins had not noticed the arrival of the companions, and were nearly wiped out before they could react. Even what few actions they were able to take were not enough to save them from the vengeance meted out by the group.

With the goblins routed, the dog’s owner, one Aldern Foxglove, emerged from his hiding place behind a large barrel. He thanked the group for his life, and praised their heroics, especially the grace and beauty of the Tiefling Szarali. He intimated that he might have a reward for her if they met later on. He bade them farewell, leaving them to ponder recent events.

Why had goblins so brazenly attacked the town? What was going on in Sandpoint?

Stay tuned!

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5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

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