Chapter 05:

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Session Number: 149
Date: Sunday 14 October 2012
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog2/Clr10 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Calico Drd12 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Lionel Rgr6/Wiz1/ArcA5 (Ash) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal12 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz12 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBA

The party conclude their examination of the staff with tor. Their thoughts linger on the mysterious ruins in the island's centre.

"We could try and follow Alonso's last steps, east along the coast," ro offers. She turns to tor. "Is it a well-travelled path following the coast to the east?

"We usually keep an eye out that way, but no. There is nothing there."

"Have you attempted to trace where Alonso went?" arr asks.

"No, we had no idea that he got off the island."

tor and the guards escort the party off the island. "Farewell," ro says. The next time we meet, I hope I can give you good news."

"Please do not make your way back here because if my mistress… it would be very dangerous for you. Seek out one of my scouts and get them to relay a message. Good luck."

The party depart, following the coast towards dense forest to the east. lio sees a single set of tracks heading away from the settlement, some seven to ten days ago. He is certain it is the same as one of the three sets he saw in the cavern beneath the hill to the south. As they enter the treeline, cal notices his Detect Magic ability again fails him.

At the northernmost point the party see a tree-covered hill ahead, inland. The map indicates that there is a scout camp near its peak. The tracks continue following the coastline; the party follow. lio briefly loses the tracks, then reacquires them heading into the forest towards the hill. The tracks lead straight to the hill, then up its northern slopes.

At the top, lio pulls everyone up short. He motions that he has seen three figures ahead.

"Let's do this on the up," ro says. "Ho, there!" she says in a loud voice. The three figures immediately whirl in her direction. Once ro is certain she is seen, she performs the identification gesture tor taught her. The figures notice and resheathe their partially drawn swords.

"May we approach?" ro asks.

"You may," one of the figures replies.

"Weapons stowed, kids," ro murmurs to her group, then walks towards the summit. "Greetings. I am Lady ro Kharag of the Silver Hand, paladin of Moradin."

"My name is Ramos."

"Well met, Ramos. We have been speaking with tor. What news of this area?"

"Other than you, no news."

"How long have you been stationed here?"

"The past two days."

"Do you mind if we look around?"

"May I ask why you are here?"

"Of course. We are here to help yourselves and tor and everyone to leave."

"We are just investigating," tr adds.

"You may look around," ram says, "but you do not have permission to look into any of our personal effects."

"I wouldn't ask," ro says.

"Have you taken anything off the hill?" arr asks.


"Has there been anything on the hill?" cal asks.


The hill summit is sparsely covered in trees. The party see see tor's town to the west, the ruins to the south and the rivermouth to the east. lio deciphers the tracks' story. They meander around the hill's summit amongst many other tracks, old and new, before heading down the hill's east side about a day after they arrived. There are no tracks of note, no tell-tale signs of interestingly-shaped staff ends being rhythmically thrust into the dirt. cal confirms that the antimagic field is still in effect.

ro good scouting. ram good luck. ro thank you.

follow the tracks. get to river. ro looks at map, confirms that they are now in the other tribe's territory. tracks turn and follow the river to the south. it is about 1pm.

keep following tracks to the south, along the western edge of the river. come to a makeshift bridge, the tracks seem to cross at the bridge. lots of tracks on bridge. 3-4 sets are very recent: within half an hour. arr takes a while looking for sentries. he sees one, well hidden, on other side of bridge. they notice arr's attention and hide in the forest. discuss strategy regarding meeting the other side. decide to be up front as before, but be slightly more cautious. follow tracks over bridge, commonly trod track head east and south whereas the tracks lio is following turn north. tr and arr spot another person behind, watching. human. arr shall I greet them? ro that's a good idea I think. arr why don't you greet them? ro i wonder if it is better that we know where he is rather than scare him off. arr good to make contact. everybody stop. to the individual behind us that seems to have an interest in us. we would very much like to meet you. we mean no harm. we are just explorers. but we understand if you do not wish to show your face. man steps out of trees. he is scrawny. arr notices a circular wooden pendant on a chain around his neck, like the one cal described. man you are not supposed to be here. why are you in this territory? ro as I understand it, none of us are supposed to be here. I am looking for a way home. man the way home is not on our side. we have searched it many times. it is obviously on the other side. arr what we know at this point is that somebody came to this side of the island that successfully managed to leave the island. man how? arr we don't know yet but they came this way and we are following their tracks. we do not consider ourselves allied with either of the factions here and we are looking for a way to get everyone off. arr gives his name. man elmore. arr well met elmore. ro we come originally from (continent), in the southwest reaches of the human kingdom whose capital is Ashhope. elm i should warn you that if you head east, you will be attacked. tr why? elm it is where our town is based. arr is there any way we can negotiate safe passage just for our investigation? we don't mean to pose any threat to your town or your people, but it is in everyone's interests if we could follow this lead. I presume your people are keen to leave the island? elm we are… ro if you care to escort us with any number of guards you want, I would accept those terms if we could be allowed to continue our investigations. cal we could also just wait at the bridge for an authority figure to meet with us. elm if you are willing to wait I can go back and talk to someone. ro we will wait here.

elm i'll be back shortly. arr talks about being careful, maybe hiding. ro they already know our numbers. they expect us to be here. what are we going to do - send someone off? if things go badly, we are going to need them here. if things go well, it will look odd if they are not.

party wait. 20 mins later party see three humans cross the bridge heading west. they don't notice the party. bigger than elmore, short swords and leather armour. scout party. an hour later see same three return with a fourth person. cal recognises the fourth guy as possibly the same guy that he spotted in the forest to the south. 15 minutes later elmore comes back with three scouts and a guy that looks like the guy from the south. introductions. his name is pope. ro has elmore discussed our situation and our intentions? pope you want to get off the island and you think it is in our territory? arr it is a possibility. someone we know got off the island came this way. one of the best leads we have is to retrace his steps. ro his name was alo, I don't know if that name means anything to you? pope's expression suggests it does. ro you know the name? pope I do, he stayed with us for a couple of days. arr we don't mean any threat to your people but obviously we don't want to be attacked; we would like to come to an arrangement if that's possible. ro and rest assured that we are all in agreement that this place, this honeypot, is an abomination, and should we find the way out, and it is our dearest intent to do that, we will share it with you. with you all. pope these tracks, they head towards our town? lio they follow the river north. arr it's likely they lead to your encampment. it seems unlikely that there would be something in your encampment that you don't already know about, we would just look for his tracks leaving and continue on. ro it is our intent at this point to continue following the tracks. so if they don't lead towards your camp, we have no business there. pope I will allow you to walk through this territory, following these tracks. However, while you are this side of the river, I will accompany you. ro you are most welcome to. pope talks to others. guards and elm walk northeast out of sight through forest. arr asks where pope is from. ashhope. he got here through same portal that party went through. tell pope that alonso was killed after he returned. pope asks how. arr and ro tell the story, including the fire. ro to understand alo's death, that is what drew us here. pope any chance he had any magical items on him? ro he didn't when he was found dead. he had a nonmagical staff, slightly bowed, with a near-square profiled end.

the staff we found in the cave was magical. pope confirms that his trip here was triggered in exactly the same way. pope was a mercenary back in and around ashhope. he asks if the party had met anton. yes. pope a lot of people here are mercenaries and got jobs from people like anton. arr what did he hire you to do? pop search for things in this cave, look for interesting things. arr possibly anton is part of the trap? ro you were sent to the cave? pope yeah pretty much. people were hired to find things. arr what do you think of anton? do you think he was part of the trap? ro do you believe this is indeed a trap? pope I don't think he knew about this. he seemed a little worried. he did say that he had sent a couple of people ahead and they hadn't returned. ro talks about anton being very reluctant to give us information, saying enough people had died already. he seemed guilty.

keep walking. tracks follow river to sea, turn east. a little while later party see a fenced encampment ahead. pope confirms this is his settlement. pope he was surprised to see us, I don't think he knew we were here. ro who did he talk to? pope most of the villagers about the stories of how they came here. all are similar. took a look at our building where the staff is. after that, a couple of days, he left to the south. arr what has let to the enmity between yourselves and the people from the other side of the island? what's gone on there? why are the two groups so against each other? ro if you are at liberty to say. pope difference of opinion on how we should do things on the island. many of the mercs on the island were criminals back home and most of the others on the other side didn't want them around. all the criminals got together and organised their own place. due to their "lawfulness" they started attacking us. not all of us are criminals. i'm not. neither is elmore. people who have done criminal acts in their time. ro and have paid their penance? pope most, but not all.

head around, there is no gate here. at southern entrance the tracks enter the settlement. lots of guards, they stare but don't act aggressively. cal what are you to these people, pope? pope we don't have roles here, I'm just a guy. lio reacquires tracks leaving. guard opens gate. pope goes in. pope you are free to enter, i will need you to be escorted by one guard. enter settlement. magic works inside. elmore comes. he is the party's guard. arr who would know who he talked to? elm not sure. he would have talked to the guards guarding the staff last. ro where did he stay? elm makeshift tent next to building with staff. ro lead us there? elm of course. cal shall we try to find the guy that said "you can't hide behind your magic forever"? cal also keeps an eye out for the guy he was chasing in the little town.

let to tent. alonso's tracks lead in and out. arr may we see staff? elm i will have to ask. 10 mins later pope and elm return. pope if you want to look at the staff, I have to be present. arr can we also talk to the guards that were on duty when alonso was here? pope they are on duty now. cal you seem to be in a position of authority here… no roles? pope people seem to trust me for some reason. I tell them what I think they should do and for some reason they do it. cal sees magic items on him: leather armour, sword has fire magic. slightly ruined building next to tent. similar architecture to team b's building. this one slightly smaller.

enter building. staff is standing up in its stone slab. ro have people been transporting here recently? pope only a couple, we don't recognise the country's name where they are from.

cave = from outside ashhope
team_b = from xxxx

(static 1:1 mapping)

arr any other settlements like this? pope no but one small group who choose to stay apart from both sides. cal where? pope in ruins in the middle of the island. arr do you know why they choose to stay apart? pope no. that's the other team's territory.

it seems that the two main tribes both think that the area surrounding the central ruin belongs to the other tribe.

arr do you converse with this third group? trade? ro allowed to approach? pope no. they sometimes send out scouts and that is our only opportunity to talk to them. arr what happens when people approach the ruins? pope a couple of warning shots, told to leave. cal have people left your town to join theirs? pope no. people have come here and chosen to ally with them over us, but if people choose us, they stay.

look at staff. ask if ok to remove from base. it is. bottom and hole are oval-shaped. the staff radiates teleportation magic, the slab appears nonmagical. arr elm has anyone cast id magic on this staff? pope no. cal any mages here? pope a couple but they cannot do that. ro if we could avail upon you to stay the night, then we can perform such magic and we would share that information with you.

arr to guards when alonso visited and examined the staff did he seem particularly interested in any aspect of the room or staff? gua normally we keep the staff off to the side but he seemed to like the idea of keeping it in the slab. ro when people transport here, is the staff in place in the slab, or to the side? gua it doesn't matter. both. cal what is the symbol around your neck? pope the symbol of our town. cal you identify each other with it? pope the symbol means don't attack on sight, we have signals for who we are and what we do. name of continent that ends up here is turun. lio thinks he has heard the name but knows no more than that. no one else has even heard of it. everyone from there has stayed in this settlement. nothing from alo's examination of the staff/slab/building made him shout "eureka", but he did seem particularly interested people's stories concerning how they got here.

spend remainder of day gathering information: the questions he was asking people, themes/trends amongst the people he talked to. total 32. he was very interested in where people came from, seemed to be trying to determine whether there was a 1:1 source/destination mapping. also interested in the shapes of the items. talk to pope about the geography of the rest of the island. pope fills in the map. their boundary line is different to the other tribe's. share all map info with them. one of the x's appears to be offshore (pope knows nothing about it), and the "river" crossed by the bridge seems to actually be another small channel: this place where the settlement is is in fact a narrow island. one person talked to remembers something interesting that alo said: "I was pretty sure there was seven shapes…" this appears to include the x off the coast. people here only know about 6 locations: crescent, triangle, square, star, oval. star necklace can be inserted five ways, the crescent can be inserted two ways. the others can only be inserted one way.

next day. tr memorises Identify 6 times. casts one on the staff. it enacts a Teleport spell. it contains one remaining charge, it used to have more and can be recharged. It is used in combination with a brass ring with an inset emerald that has to be within 100 feet, and a command phrase must be uttered. The person holding the staff is teleported to a unique place: when created, the place looked like a jail cell. no slab or staff in sight. The staff and ring stay behind.

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