Dragon Age: Requiem

Chronicle Index
Organized Post Management

This will act as your gateway into the contents of the Dragon Age: Requiem Campaign Chronicle. The individual Session Recaps will be compiled into Story Sections and the Character Journals will be compiled into groupings as well. This will help to facilitate those wanting to review the Campaign or Journals as the number of entries in the listing grows.

Resource Links

Chronicle Codes

Campaign Quick Jump

GM Commentary Series
Story One: A New Origins
Story Two: Title Redacted Until Complete

Character Logs Quick Jump

Cassius Ohno (Randy) Ceanna (Britt)
Elora Yonwyn (Sam) Roland (Tom)
Arol (Brian)

Table of Contents – GM Commentary Series
Entry Title Link
1 Character Origins Commentary View Now
2 Taking a Break Commentary View Now
3 Obsidian Portal Review View Now


Table of Contents – Story One: A New Origins
Session Title Link
0 The Story So Far… (Prelude) View Now
1 The First Steps View Now
2 Falling Into Place View Now
3.1 A Jagged Pill View Now
3.2 Acquiring the Tome View Now
3.3 This Strange Place View Now
4 It Gets Worse View Now
5 End of the Beginning (Part 1) View Now
5.1 Landfall View Now
6 End of the Beginning (Part 2) View Now


Table of Contents – Story Two: Title Redacted Until Complete
Session Title Link
7 Trouble on Fuldor Farm View Now
8 An Uncomfortable Meeting View Now



Table of Contents – Cassius’s Logs
Entry Title Link
# Record first entry. @


Table of Contents – Ceanna’s Logs
Entry Title Link
# Record first entry. @


Table of Contents – Elora’s Logs
Entry Title Link
# Record first entry. @


Table of Contents – Roland’s Logs


Table of Contents – Arol’s Logs
Entry Title Link
# Record first entry. @


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Obsidian Portal Review
GM Commentary Segment 3

In this particular installment I thought that it might be interesting to post something of a review on Obsidian Portal, the platform on which this site is built. I have been using the site for a bit now, and think I have at least a few preliminary comments that I can make on it. This might be of particular interest to anyone following along out there that isn’t already a member of Obsidian Portal and wants to get an idea of if they should start using it or not. With that in mind, we’ll get right into the meat of this next installment of the Commentary Series.

WARNING: This is a longer post than normal, and it is all text. Be advised before investing in to read it.

So, let me start off by pointing out that I am somewhat of a newcomer to the Obsidian Portal camp. This page actually serves as my very first campaign on the site (though I have others in the works), and was created essentially as soon as I signed up to the Portal. In this respect I have been using the Portal for under a year still, and I bring this up simply so you can establish your own sentiment of worth to my words. In that time I have since gone for an Ascendant Membership (which is pretty clear by the site), and have made use of every single feature I can think of that is available on the portal.

The most obvious advantage Obsidian can provide to any campaign is information retention. There are many bits of information that come up over the course of any campaign, and those details can very easily get lost in the shuffle of things as time rolls on. Obsidian allows you to store those details, bits, and bobs—you don’t have to be as concerned about forgetting NPC names, where the troupe found that sword, or what exactly that note said now that the hard copy has been lost. Of course, this all assumes that the GM and players are willing to put in the effort of keeping the site up to date. Without that commitment the tools is useless, just like any other form of campaign management.

Of course, there are the more obvious advantages that a Portal page can provide you as well. Though the menu links have been renamed on this page through the magic of CSS, the functions are still the same as any other page here at Obsidian. Even a free account comes jam packed with a series of general features that can help add a new dimension to you game. For me, it has become an almost invaluable resource for my sessions in this short time. We will address each of these basic areas in a little more detail.

The Chronicle section (actually known as the Adventure Log normally) provides a basic blog function that you can use to easily record the details of your campaign as it rolls along. There are so many ways you can approach this beyond what you see presented on this particular site. You could do just a simple line item listing of events that happened, while much more dry for outsiders it still serves the purpose of recording the details of sessions. Players can make personalized character logs that either act as the recap or a supplement to it. You can do non-session things such as this GM Commentary Series that you are reading now. Then there is always the option of recapping the sessions like a story as I have done on this site.

Moving on to the Codex (normally called the Wiki), you get—as you guessed—a basic Wiki setup that you can manage any way you like. This is probably what is considered the core feature of an Obsidian Portal account, but it can also be one of the trickiest to manage. My major suggestion here is remembering to make it functional. You could always just slap things in there and link to them in other areas as you see fit or rely on searches, but if you take some time to consider a manageable structure to the Wiki you can go a long way to making it more accessible. My own Wiki is one example of establishing some form of manageable framework, and other portal pages tackle this in numerous ways. As for the information it contains, the sky is the limit. My own site features a beastiary, lore, mechanics, and more.

The Characters section (that is the name of that section, one of the only ones I didn’t mess with) is again what you make of it technically. Depending on the game system you are using, you may have access to Dynamic Character Sheets that are developed by other fans which can make for one heck of a way to record your information (though since it is all done by the community don’t get your hopes set on this). In other instances, at the very least you can record some basic details or structure up something that lets you record all the information you like. Here on our site, the Characters section are digital repositories of every last detail we need—stats, gear, level up trackers, and more. We have made use of this when players have lost or forgotten their sheets. Not all of this is publicly visible, and I will go into that more later.

The Contrivances (normally called Items) is technically a unsupported section of the Portal and is to be used with caution. No support or development of the section is going to be happening. Still, it provides a good enough framework that you can easily record as many kinds of items as you like. My own repository is now growing to include all basic equipment, mundane items, and magical things. As with most other areas you are really only limited by your imagination (and to some degree your coding skills, more on that later). Like the Characters section (though I didn’t mention it before), you can easily upload a picture of the item (or Character) to add a little more to your sessions. In this case, I suppose Google’s the limit.

Finally, we have the Cartography (actually called Maps) section of the site. This is a pretty cool feature, depending on the campaign you are running. It allows you to upload your own maps and then they are viewed via the Google Maps APIs. You even get the ability to put in Map Markers that you can make your own data tags for. This makes the maps very interactive, though the Markers can only be seen by members of the campaign. You do have a limit on the amount of maps you can have on a basic account, if I recall correctly this is something like three.

The search feature of the site is also great. You want to find things on here really quickly at the table, a fast search will get you where you need in a moments notice. This is much easier than parsing through books, and comparable to running a search on a PDF book (though still faster in many instances, depending on the term and game system). I think most people probably overlook just how nice of a feature this is to have, and it comes right out of the box with the free account.

Another less obvious feature that helps make a Portal page work wonders for a campaign is the ability to tag your content. The tagging feature integrates with the search features of the site as well making it all the more valuable. You get the ability to tie together information, characters, items, whatever you desire really. This again assumes the fact that you are sure to tag your content with as many relevant tags as you can think of. It also helps to review this information over time as a fresh perspective can shed new insights on how your players or fans might be searching for content on your page.

When creating content on the Portal, you also have the ability to easily link off to other content. Every content page you make has buttons to quickly drop a link to a character, wiki page, or include an image. This is all done via a basic coding language called Textile that is actually fairly easy to learn an work with (meaning you may very quickly start hand typing those kind of links and overlook the buttons, but they are still handy). They even give you a link on the Wiki that tells you how to use Textile when you create a new campaign page, so all the better to get it down. As an added bonus you can also use inline HTML and CSS on any pages you like, though I will touch a bit more on CSS later as well.

A hidden feature that I sort of touched on earlier is that you can also make it so not all content is public. This is achieved through a GM Only option that lets a GM tag any page created with information that only they will be able to see when logged in. This feature is simply amazing for tracking all sorts of information from plot points, to character knowledge, to secrets, to special notes about things you need to consider at the table. The options are open to whatever you want to include in the section of the page.

Now, with all of that available to a free account, you might ask yourself what could they possibly be offering with an Ascendant membership. Well, the answer is quite a bit and I have found uses for each and every one of them. You get a couple of new sections that I will details below further—a Forum and Calendar—as well as being able to upload more maps, store more images, do custom backgrounds, include player secrets on pages, and play around with a custom CSS file. So lets touch base on just why you will probably want to upgrade to an Ascendant account. Oh, one last thing before we do, only a single member of a campaign needs to be Ascendant for everyone else to have access to the features!

Now, the first thing I will touch on is the new sections you get with the first being the Forum. Forums have been around since just about the beginning of the internet, and with the paid account you can have a private forum right on your campaign page on the Portal. It is pretty basic, but it features the quick linking and such I mentioned in the free stuff. This means you could do an online forum based campaign, or if you play in person you can use it to discuss all sorts of details about the game in between sessions (like my troupe and I do).

The second new section you get is the Calendar. Now, this might sound a little pointless at first, but it is a great way to schedule your sessions since your players can subscribe to it via Google Calendar or iCal (or other calendar service they might use) really easily. I also find that it seems to encourage my players to use the site (mixed with my Prestige Points system) since they will pop in to mark if they can make a session or not. Once they are on they typically peek around a bit and get some use in outside of sessions.

You also get to upload more maps and store more images (larger storage on account), but this is one of the varied bonuses. Depending on your campaign you may not need a lot of maps, or you may even find the free storage for your images sufficient. Either way though, it is still something more you can take advantage of if the need ever presents itself. So, with this feature I suppose your mileage will vary, but it is still something else you should consider when debating going Ascendant.

The custom background and the CSS features sort of go hand in hand, so I will touch on them next. If you want to be able to spice up you site a bit more than the free account will allow, Ascendant gives you the tools you’re looking for. Obsidian does have a wide range of free backgrounds you can use, so finding something for your page might not be so bad, but the option for a custom background will ensure your page has that proper feeling you want to convey for your campaign. With the custom CSS you can apply some coding skills to truly transforming the site into almost anything you can imagine (really, there are limits, but take a look at some of the pages out there). There are a few in the community (myself included) that are happy to help with the code side of things, so why not go for it?

The last, but most certainly not least, of the features you get with the Ascendant account is Player Secrets. These, simply put, are one of the best features of the upgrade. Just like the GM Only areas of a page, you can now add any number of extra hidden sections and tag what individual players you want to be able to see those details. Use it for extra GM only areas, a place to show one or two players a bit of secret information, give appropriate lore in areas of your wiki to PCs it applies to based on background, or any other number of things you could think of. I use this feature everywhere, and as I said I see it as one of the main draws to the upgrade (even with all the CSS tweaking I have done).

Now, there are a few other things I want to touch on that I don’t see a lot of other reviews of the Portal touch on. The first one is the Community, the second is Support, and the last is Staff Interaction. I find it odd that these things seem overlooked in other reviews, but they are things any customer should consider when approaching buying into a service (or product for that matter). With that in mind, and if you are still up for it, lets keep on rolling with the review.

First up is the Community, and this is a great selling point for the Portal. You get access with a free account, and while the community is not the most active in the world it is a place of friendly and helpful gamers of all sorts. You can find out about cool crowd funding projects for RPGs, get help with some CSS, or generally chat with your fellow gamers on the Portal about anything you like. It is a great place that I have been having a blast being a part of since I signed up, so why not come and join us and keep it growing and thriving?

Well, we have had a whole lot of really good things to say so far—it is about time we move to the mediocre, Staff Interaction. Now, don’t get me wrong, Obsidian is not the worst I have ever seen in this department. In fact, I am typically one of the first ones in the community to defend them when folks have anything negative to say. With that said, I am also a realist and bound by logic. From that bent I can safely say that the interaction we do get could be a lot better and more consistent (and I can think of companies out there that do go to this level, albeit a rare thing). Still, while I think there is room for improvement here, we do at least get some degree of interaction from those behind the scenes which is far better than absolutely nothing. Take that for what you will, I don’t see it as a positive or negative myself.

Now, lets move on to the bad—Support. This is a common trend with a lot of companies, and sadly the the Portal rolls along with the trend in this department. While I have not needed to reach out to support myself since I signed up, my background is able to carry me through most of what I run into online, I have seen others attempt to reach out for assistance with lackluster results in essentially every case I can think of. Still, unless it really is something that only the staff could address, the community is an amazing fallback in this regard as well.

For my concluding thoughts on all of the information presented here I will say this. Is Obsidian Portal a perfect service, absolutely not and they have areas in which they could certainly and clearly improve. That does not change the fact that Obsidian Portal is an amazing service that can drastically change the landscape of your gaming sessions for the better. More simply put, a free account with Obsidian Portal is a no brainer and an Ascendant upgrade is well worth the money by a long shot. I am personally happy with my decision to adopt the Portal into my pack of GM tools, and will be renewing my upgrade without a second though when the time comes.

So, this has been a long one, but I hope it has been insightful for those of you following along that are still not members, or to anyone on the fence about getting an Ascendant upgrade. Until the next time!

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An Uncomfortable Meeting
Session 8 Recap

Another late start this evening, but this time around it was completely anticipated. In our last session a fair number of the characters ascended to Level 2 and had to complete the level up process. Some table time was also invested into looking up additional details on the site tonight as we started touching on a lot more content over the course of the session. This was a very RP and investigation heavy session, so we will be seeing more dialogue in this recap than we have in previous instances. It is important to note that the dialogue has been rephrased by the GM for this purpose as exact quotes can at times be hard to remember. This has been the same in all previous logs.

<< Previous Section

Session Cast
Character Player
Elora Yonwyn Sam
Ceanna Britt
Cassius Ohno Randy
Roland Tom
Arol Brian

Fuldor House

With the blight wolves dispatched and scattered, the newly assembled troupe takes a few minutes to gather themselves and refocus. Everyone was feeling a bit on edge and suspicious of one another, but they at least knew they had all just been on the same page even if it was only a temporary alliance. Of all parties present, Elora drew the most ire and suspicion. Arol quickly seized the moment to further his investigation.

A man that I have known all of my life lies dead in the fields, and no one in my village has heard from the family here in days. Tell me then, what brings you all here? What do you know of all this?

Roland stands and steps towards Arol slowly. As he approaches he keeps his eyes primarily focused on Elora, watching her movements carefully. He is suspicious of the strange Dalish, and keeps himself positioned between her and his companions.

As I told you earlier, my associates and I are here on behalf of the Wardens. We have been sent to look into the strange sightings and disappearances that have been reported in the area. Upon arriving we saw you and immediately approached you directly.

As he finished speaking, all eyes shifted to Elora. Though she was unable to read each of them directly, she had a sense that her worst fears were beginning to manifest. A gathering of humans all to eager to place the blame on the Dalish, despite her efforts to save them from the wolves. She shifted some on her quarterstaff letting it carry her weight, and addressed Arol specifically.

I was simply passing through the area on my way to go see a friend when I saw the wolves set upon you, and came to your aid.

Some senseless bickering erupted at this point, mostly coming from Ceanna. She was attempting to be skeptical of the knife-ear, but Elora could tell that it was all coming from a place of hatred. Arol was also no stranger to baseless hatred towards the Dalish, but it was a sentiment he never bought into. He quickly worked to diffuse the situation and try to get people back on track.

At this point, Cassius pulled himself up from the ground and started to walk away from the rest, heading for the fields out front to check on the body that Arol had mentioned. Arol noticed the young man begin slipping away and quickly shifted to address him directly. He kept a calm yet authoritative tone to his voice, and attempt to keep control of the situation.

Excuse me, sir – please wait here, I still need to investigate the body and check for any sentimental belongings that the family might want. If you would give me a moment.

Cassius was genuinely surprised to find himself compelled to comply with the request. A couple of weeks ago he wouldn’t have missed a beat, but he stopped and waited as requested. Ceanna on the other hand had not taken her eyes off of the knife-ear. The only thing worse than a knife-ear, in her opinion, was a wild knife-ear and she wasn’t buying the story she was giving.

Roland asked Arol what he knew about the odd events happening in the area, and Arol recounted the details for him to the best of his knowledge. He explained that in the weeks since the harvest festival people from the village had been reporting sightings of strange things in the woods of the Brecilian, and that villagers who had gone into the woods as of late had not been seen again. For the time being, however, he did not mention the suspicions of the villagers that a band of Dalish elves had placed a curse on them – an idea that he found laughable.

Cassius signaled to Arol with an exaggerated nod of his head, growing impatient and wanting to check out this body for himself. Arol excused himself from the rest of the group and began to walk off with the young Rivaini, Elora quickly followed behind them feeling more comfortable with these humans than the others. As the trio rounded the house and fell out of sight, Ceanna looked over to Roland as she pulled herself back to her feet.

Maybe we should go ahead and check out the house, see if everyone else is ok.

Roland nodded in agreement and they made their way up to the back door of the home. Roland walked up to the door and rapped hard on it three times. He waited for a few moments, then he pressed his ear to the door to see what he could hear. The inside of the house was dead quiet. He tried the latch and the door swung open without effort.

As Arol, Cassius, and Elora made their way out into the fields to the south of the house they kept their eyes about them looking for anything. As Arol glanced back at the farmhouse he noticed that the front door had been removed from the hinges. He quickly pointed this out, but they decided that it would be best to first check on the body as whatever has happened is said and done already. They came back upon the body of Keltin and each set into looking over the body.

The ground was sticky with blood, and Keltin had signs of bite and claw wounds adorning his body. Careful inspection showed that the wounds were inconsistent with that of blight wolves, and so the beasts could not have done this. Elora noted that the wolves were likely coming because of the smell. Meanwhile, Cassius had started to look around the area and came upon yet another body. Arol identified this to be Drul, another of the farmhands that worked for the Fuldor’s. His wounds were consistent to those on Keltin. Elora decided to come clean regarding her own investigations at this point.

This is not the work of simple beasts. I have seen the creatures that did this, they have been attacking my kinsman as well. Horrible creatures, humanoid yet bestial monsters with claws and sharp teeth. They seem to attack in packs, and they are clad in tattered remains of armor and clothing. I was coming to Vintiver in order to see if I could find out more from a friend of mine when I came upon all of you here.

This revelation brought forth a series of questions from both Arol and Cassius, but it was clear that Elora didn’t know much more than she had given them. Arol was now convinced he had been correct, whatever was plaguing the village had nothing to do with the Dalish—they were little more than victims themselves. The three started back to the house to meet back up with the others and continue looking for the rest of the family.

Inside the house it took little time for Roland and Ceanna to discover the massacre that awaited. In the main room they found a bloodbath, three women and three children – one no more than an infant – lie dead on the floor in a pool of their own blood. On the wall there was something written in the blood of the victims, a single word that read: Elgar’nan. They had to will themselves to keep their stomachs at the sight of it all.

Ceanna recognized the word as being the name of one of the elven gods, she knew that damned knife-ear was a liar. How could they be so savage as to slaughter innocent children and defenseless women. She felt the anger swirling inside of her, and motioned for Roland to follow her out. The pair made their leave of the horror show.

As Ceanna and Roland came on to the front porch, the trio from the fields were walking back up to the house. As soon as Ceanna set eyes on Elora she placed her hand on her weapon, and locked her gaze hard on the elf. She quickly and aggressively began to question her story.

So, are you sure you have never been here before knife-ear? You don’t know anything about all of this?

Everyone was taken back by the sudden assertiveness of the young woman, most of all Elora who found herself once again before the jury. A quizzical look came over the elf’s face, but she was sure to keep her posture neutral. The last thing she needed right now was a swarm of humans coming after her.

No, I’ve never been here before. Like I said before, I was passing through to go see a friend when I came upon all of you.

Ceanna burned the elf with her gaze, still not really buying it all. She pointed back to the house over her should and continued with her questions. She never pulled her had away from her hilt.

So you have no idea what is going on inside of here?

Elora again denied having any knowledge of what was going on. By this point, Arol was growing a little frustrated at all of the riddles and circle talk. There were lives at stake, and he wanted to get to the bottom of it. He pushed for Ceanna to explain what was inside, to which Ceanna told them to see for themselves. The trio made their way inside to check out the situation.

Arol sighed, that was eight of the ten people accounted for now and it did not bode well for the rest. They established that the word on the wall was the name of an elven god, casting more doubt on the young Dalish woman. Arol was still not buying it though, and simply wanted to try and find the remaining Fuldor members. He set back out to patrol the grounds and outbuildings for any signs, and Elora followed along feeling most comfortable with him out of the lot.

As soon as they set out of the house, Roland and Cassius began looting the place. Roland gathered up some of the food, finding roughly two days worth of travel rations to take with him. Cassius on the other hand gathered up the wedding bands off the dead brides, and found a small locket with a few coins throughout the rest of the place. Ceanna also rooted through the place, but was not as fruitful as her companions. Roland then stepped outside to look for Arol.

As Arol and Elora walked south to the barn, Elora inquired as to what the situation was like here in Vintiver. Arol explained that the locals suspected a band of Dalish that had passed through during their harvest festival had levied some kind of curse on them. There had been an altercation between the local smith and some of the elves, but it was settled by the town warden. He mentioned that she might not receive the best reception if she were to actually come into the village proper.

Fuldor Barn

The pair came upon the barn at the south of the lands, and Arol gave the place a quick check. Nothing seemed out of place, and so he and Elora began to make their way back out. As they were leaving the barn, Elora notice a small patch of mostly dried blood on the ground in the hay and dirt. At the same time Roland called out for Arol who exited the barn to see what was the matter, muttering under his breath as he went.

Wonderful, the idiot wants me.

Arol rounded the corner of the barn outside and immediately caught sight of Roland a ways down the path walking toward him. Arol didn’t really fancy the prospect of speaking with Roland, having something of a bad taste in his mouth relating to the gentleman. They converged a little ways north of the barn, and Roland immediately started in.

So, what do you make of that elf? What is she up to? Where did she get off to?

Arol considered this for a brief moment, the litany of questions that it was. He still couldn’t exactly grasp what to make of these Warden associates. Regardless, he was going to have to at least humor the man with an answer of some sort.

Pft, it’s not my job to be keeping an eye on her.

Arol continued on his way, heading back towards the house with every intention of scouting out the northern fields. Roland shakes his head, frustrated by the lack of cooperation or consideration from the burly local. He turns on his heels and continues on down to the barn since the last he had seen of the elf she had been with the man, and he last came from the barn. As Arol drew up to the house, Cassius was stepping outside from his looting excursion and opted to following along with the local boy.

All the while Elora remained in the barn, the blood on the floor had caught her attention and she decided to give the place a more through look. There was a small loft up above that appeared to be a storage place for excess hay, thinking it worth a look she climbed up the ladder into the loft. As she reached the top a person suddenly bolted up from the hay on the loft floor and started trying to desperately crawl away, as though they were frantic with fear. In only a few short strides the person collapsed back to the floor.

Elora quickly ran over to the body with every intent of trying to aid them. The body was a young elven woman, clearly of Dalish decent based on the tattoos on her face and the markings on her clothing. The young woman was in a bad way to be sure, four large gashes in her side similar to those on the corpses they had discovered here on the farm. Her clothing badly torn and soiled with dirt and stray hay.

Elora knelt down alongside the young elf, laying her hands on wounds in her body. A well of emotion came over her, and suddenly her hands began to glow with a soft light. A sensation washed over Elora, like a pulsing wave rushing from deep within her into the young elven woman. As this happened the young elf noticeably relaxed some, though she remained unconscious on the floor as the soft light receded back into Elora’s hands. She could suddenly hear a sound coming from behind her, near the entrance of the barn.

Roland walked slowly into the barn, seeing Elora perched up in the hay loft kneeling and looking at something intently. As he crossed the threshold of the entrance Elora quickly snapped around. Upon seeing Roland she quickly called out to him.

You there, help me! There is someone up here, they’re alive but badly injured!

Arol and Cassius made their way past the farmhouse and to the northern fields. Arol was clearly keeping to himself, either he didn’t trust these people or he felt they were nothing more than scavengers looking waiting for him to leave to make their move. Either way, Cassius figured it would be better to try and iron out the wrinkles in their relationship.

Sorry about big, dumb, and bossy back there. He can be a real jackass sometimes. Anyways, I think we might end up proving useful to one another in short order.

Somewhat shocked by the gesture, Arol simply agreed with Cassius plainly. As he did the pair came upon the remaining two bodies that Arol was looking for. The whole lot of them had been slaughtered, ripped to ribbons like they were nothing. Strangest of all, all the animals and livestock were fine. Not a single scratch on a one of them that Arol had seen. He decided it was time for him to make back to the village and report his findings.

So, do you have a place in town or something? Where would I be able to find you?

Arol responded to the question from Cassius in kind, advising the young man he could find him at the Arbor Inn having a drink or at the local smithy paying off his debt. Without another word Arol strode off, heading back out to the main path leading to the village proper. Cassius decided to head back and track down the rest of the troupe, and as he passed by the farmhouse he was joined by Ceanna. They made their way back down to the barn.

Roland quickly bolted up the ladder and made his way into the loft above. As he approached it was immediately apparent that this was yet another young Dalish woman. A small suspicion crept up inside of him, but he agreed to help Elora get her down out of the loft. Between the two of them they safely moved the young woman down to the lower floor. Roland suggested it might be best to take her to the village to see a healer.

Elora was apprehensive to the idea, Arol had advised her the village was on edge regarding her people. She expressed as much to Roland in protest, but with no better ideas he convinced her that it would be for the best. At this point Cassius and Ceanna walked into the barn, and after taking things in Cassius piped up.

So that big local boy took off back to the village, and who the hell is that?

Elora explained that she had found the young woman up in the hayloft still alive, and that she had managed to stabilize her for now. She advised that the wounds she had suffered were consistent to those found on the bodies around the farm. Roland stated he felt it best to use one of the horses here on the farm to get her to the village for treatment as she was the only direct witness they had to whatever did this. Everyone finally agreed to this course, and Roland set out with Ceanna to gather a horse from the stables.

Cassius, now a little more suspicious about the presence of two Dalish here on the farm, decided it would be best to tie up the young injured elf. He pulled a rope from his pack and made towards the young woman, but Elora quickly stepped in front of him with her quarterstaff in hand questioning just what he was doing. Cassius explained that he intended to restrain her for both her and their protection, but Elora felt this was akin to her brethren being placed into bondage.

An argument ensued between the pair, both seemingly understanding of the others position while being unwilling to budge from their own position. Despite her best arguments, Elora could not seem to convince the young man to back down. Realizing that numbers were not on her side in all of this she submitted, and Cassius bound the young woman’s hands and feet. He then checked her over and took a dagger and small pouch from her person, he placed the dagger in sheath on his belt and opened the pouch to inspect it.

Inside of the pouch was a strange necklace of sorts. A large silver link, twisted and damaged at the bottom, hanging from an iron chain. As he did this Elora quickly called the actions into question, implying that he was now looting the young woman. Cassius argued he was taking them for now, but would give them back once it was safe. Elora pointed out the necklace posed no threat and he had no business taking it from her.

That is yet to be seen, once we know what it is I will give the trinket back to her.

Frustration and anger welled up inside of Elora. Were the circumstances different she would strike this shem down where he stood. But if she were to act, the others would see her and the other Dalish slain as certain as the sun rises and sets. She clenched her staff and spoke under her breath.

Emma ir’harel.

Ceanna and Roland arrived back at the barn with one of the draft horses from the stables. Roland, being the only experienced rider in the group, was mounted upon the animal and the others lifted the young elven woman up onto the creatures back. Though she was worried about what might come, Elora elected to travel with the troupe to ensure that they held true to their word.

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Trouble on Fuldor Farm
Session 7 Recap

In our return from hiatus we find our troupe fully coming together for the very first time outside of the village of Vintiver. During this session we had the introduction of a new player character, though due to arriving late to the Campaign they will not be provided with a character Origin in order to draw the troupe together as planned. Additionally we had a player absence this evening, and so one of the characters was played in absentia by the GM leaving them less active over the course of the session. Finally, we got off to a late start tonight which resulted in the bulk of the session being a combat encounter.

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Session Cast
Character Player
Elora Yonwyn Sam
Ceanna Britt
Cassius Ohno Alex (Absentia)
Roland Tom
Arol Brian

Arol had spent his entire life living in the village of Vintiver, a small settlement in the south of Ferelden known for wine and little else. The annual Harvest Festival had just come to a close a few weeks ago, and events that transpired during it had set the village on edge. Over the next few weeks things became more desperate as strange events befell the various locals. No one in the village had heard from the Fuldor’s in a couple of days and carrion birds were reportedly seen circling out at their farm, the members of the village had elected Arol to investigate the matter. He kitted himself up with his best sword and a suit of studded druffalo leather armor and made his way east towards the Fuldor’s farm.

Circling CrowsAs he was making his way down the main path he spotted the birds circling out over one of the main fields just off the main row leading up to the house. Little did he know at the time that as he was spotting the crows, other eyes were spotting him trekking across the path. Elora Yonwyn had arrived on the farm from a westward bearing and had spotted the young man walking down the path. Her mixed past with the citizens of Vintiver made her cautious and she decided it best to keep a low profile and see what the young man was up to. She would have made this decision sooner had she realized that someone else had spotted her as well.

Arriving from the north on a small trail and talking amongst themselves, Ceanna and Roland spotted both Arol and Elora respectively and quickly reported their findings to their new partner Cassius Ohno. The lithe abilities of the Dalish caused the group to lose track of her nearly the same moment they spotted her, and considering the situation Roland made a decision.

I’m going to go and talk to this guy and see what I can find out, you two stay here for now.

Without another word Roland quickly set off for Arol who had started to make his way out into the field to see what exactly the crows were getting excited about. As he came to the center of the circling flock Arol was confronted with the body of Keltin, one of the farmhands, a bloody mess and strewn open with gaping wounds. He had known Keltin, a good and honest man by all accounts, and if the discovery of the body was not startling enough the jarring call from behind him set the adrenaline coursing through Arol’s veins.

Fuldor Farm

Arol quickly grabbed and drew his steel sword, spinning on his heels to face whatever may be coming up from his flank. His eyes land directly on Roland who quickly draws his own blade in a defensive manner and raises a hand out towards him. Before Roland has a chance to speak, Arol quickly blurts out a pointed question as he tipped the point of his blade towards him.

You there, friend or foe?

After a brief exchange Roland is able to convince Arol that he is not there to threaten or harm him. The pair both sheath their weapons once again, though Arol keeps his hand on the hilt and at the ready. Roland then explains to Arol why they are there while directing him to follow as he heads off towards the last area he had seen Elora, one of the outlying buildings that adorned the property.

Hmm, looks like that fellow had a bad day. You can consider us to be friends. We’re here on behalf of the Grey Wardens, looking into the strange happenings that have befallen the region as of late. If we are able, we are to take care of the situation as well since they do not have the manpower to send someone of their order directly. I’ll take you over to te rest of my crew and we can talk about this in more detail.

Elora remained fixated on the two men as they engaged in their small back and forth. As they began to close on her position she stealthily shifted her position in order to keep them at bay, but her options were becoming increasingly limited. As fate would have it the men were cut short as they came upon the buildings south wall, a scream coming from around the farmhouse pierced across the farm and both Roland and Arol made a break for the house.

As Ceanna waited with Cassius, engaging in a little bit of back and forth casual banter, Ceanna suddenly heard a low pitched growling coming from somewhere behind her. A look of shock washed over the face of Cassius as Ceanna shifted to see what the source of the noise was, and behind her she found a pack of six blight wolves closing in on the both of them. As she quickly drew her dagger she cried out for their other companion.

ROLAND!

Blight WolvesAs the blight wolves and people converged on one another a vicious battle ensued. The blight wolves quickly moved in and began to use their weight of numbers against individuals. Cassius was the first to get swarmed and was dragged to the ground and thrashed around, Elora quickly popped out and began providing covering fire for Cassius to get away. Ceanna was also quickly surrounded by gnashing teeth from all sides, seeking cover behind Roland as he drew into the fray. Arol and Roland, with quick footed support from Ceanna, quickly took to the beasts and were able to down two of them while sustaining moderate injuries in the process.

Elora was forced to switch to her quarterstaff to fend off one of the beasts she drew from Cassius, and as she did the others moved into the main fray to focus on Arol and Roland. Meanwhile, Cassius flanked around the farm and managed to place a solid blade into the back of one of the more injured beasts focused on the two warriors. This of course drew the attention of the blight wolf who lashed into the young rogue. As the beast struggled to maul him Cassius firmly planted his blade into the gut of the beast causing it to fall still.

As quickly as they had arrived the remaining three blight wolves bolted to the north, leaving the newly assembled troupe to lick their wounds and figure out what they could of the situation and each other.

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Taking a Break Commentary
GM Commentary Segment 2

In the interest of getting some new content posted here (as opposed to little revision here and there only), it seemed to be in the best interest of the Campaign to post another part to the Commentary series. Considering this Campaign is currently on a Hiatus, I though it might be worth taking a look at putting a Campaign on a break and some of the things you might want to consider when opting to do so. With that said, let me get into the bulk of this posting.

When you decide that you want to run a Campaign you should expect the issue to arise where the cards of life will leave you unable to keep the game running, or you may well find yourself sometimes overwhelmed or out and out bored with the Campaign at different points. If the Campaign has any real hope of surviving it is going to need to get put on hiatus for some period of time. So what, you might be asking yourself, is so scary or difficult about just taking a break for a bit? Simply put the issue is loss of interest or motivation in regards to the Campaign from either the players or yourself as the GM. There is also more to it, but I feel like that is the primary concern that comes up – that and forgetting the details of the Campaign by the time you return to it.

Over the years I have participated in very few Campaigns that actually progressed for too terribly long (typically falling off before even coming to a satisfying resolution), and I have successfully run just about as many. I figure it is only fair to be honest of my credentials on the topic before we dig in, but I do have some experience and years invested into the topic. Either way, just like anything else on this site, take it for what you will if you’re taking the time to read through these Commentary posts.

The first thing I want to tackle out of the potential issues is the problem of forgetting the details of the Campaign by the time you get back to it. From my own experience with trying to run numerous Campaigns over the years this was my primary killer. Even with all that this page has developed into, I have a nasty tendency to get myself quickly unorganized and misplace random odds and ends of notes and the sort. The worst is when a Campaign dies while still being actively run due to this issue – talk about embarrassing. Of course, good management skills can help to alleviate these problems (and I know many GMs where this is simply not an issue for them). If you are at all like me, or if you have players like me, I can easily say that Obsidian Portal has been an outstanding tool for mitigating these problems. Of course this isn’t the only option on the market that can offer the essential features of OP, but the specialized focus on gaming makes it pretty incredible. With a bit of CSS and HTML skills you can make the pages very impressive to look at while keeping all your information in line.

Now, as I said previously there are other options beyond OP for trying to mitigate the forgetting of information. Some people just have a sharp enough memory that this issue never really comes up for them, be they a GM or a Player. If you are one of these people it can be rough still, as it is now essentially up to you and you alone to get the rest of the troupe back on track and ready to get rolling with the game again – and if you are a Player and not the GM of the Campaign it can be an even more difficult task than it sounds on paper (or screen as it were). Additionally, you might be one of those extremely well organized people who takes frequent notes during sessions and keep all your game details in a nice little folder for ease of access. This is great if you are of this type, but it holds the same essential issues as the previous method – it leaves it all up to you and you alone to get everyone else back up to speed (and most of your notes will likely be from a character perspective if you’re a Player and not the GM so you can’t help people remember their own motivations at the time). Regardless of those pitfalls, if you can manage them then having either of these types of people in your troupe can help you get past the issues of forgotten information at least to a point where you are able to keep the game running.

In my own experiences, I have struggled with keeping Campaigns alive for most of my GM career because I primarily relied on the later methods described, but I am not the type of person that can reliably do that. My troupe is mixed in how they approach things, but overall we did frequently run into the issue of losing track of details and thus dropping the Campaign in favor of starting up something fresh. Over the years of doing this, however, I came to find myself and my players getting more and more frustrated with the fact that our grand Campaigns never seemed to be going anywhere. This also started to cause waning interest in the troupe on getting games up and running (more so compounded with some of my more arduous expectations in character generation for games). As a result I have settled myself in here on OP as a way to help mitigate this issue for our trope, and I can say the effort required to get things up to par for the task has been well worth it. My fears of being able to pick the Campaign back up and get running are basically not there at this point, where I would normally be petrified by this facet right now on this particular hiatus.

Now, I also want to touch on the other issue I mentioned at the start – the issue of a loss of interest in the Campaign due to the break in play. This is a very real fear any time a Campaign is placed on hiatus, and one that there are no real good answers for mitigation. If you find that as the GM or your Players have lost interest in the Campaign it is probably just best to go ahead and retire it at that point. This issue is usually systemic of more factors than the hiatus itself, indicating that individuals involved in the game were not getting what they had originally hoped to out of it. Depending on the situation you can try to take steps to address this if you as the GM have not lost interest, and you still have at least some interested Players. Perhaps a retiring of the Character and starting up something new might help to alleviate the problems of the individual who had lost interest. You could also possibly accept that some people walk away from the Campaign while others do not and just roll forward with those who are still interested in the Campaign. While this does not change the fact that some might lost interest, it at least gives you some wiggle room to try and salvage the Campaign, and at some point those Players may get interest to play again or you may pick up some new Players later on (gaming is very adaptable like that).

As I close things up here I though that I might address a little bit about the hiatus that our own Campaign is presently on. Real life is something that always supersedes a game, plain and simple, and there will be times you will be faced with having to place a game on hold for these challenges (be it your Players or you as the GM). In our case it happens to be that I as the GM have found myself in the midst of some personal matters that have made working on and scheduling sessions for the Campaign next to impossible. I don’t want to go into these matters too much, as the details themselves are really not that important to the general topic, but suffice it to say that these issues have persisted longer than had been originally anticipated when we placed the game on a hold. Things are starting to come to a close on these issues (finally), but we are still in a holding pattern for the time being. At present I now have the ability to work on some things with the Campaign (and thus the existence of this posting in the first place), but scheduling is still a bit of a problem. I presently expect this to be resolved within the next couple of weeks, and then we can work on getting ourselves regularly playing once again. So for any of you out there who have been following along and hoping to see more content, I can promise that it is on its way.

Thanks for taking the time to read over my ramblings, and I hope that some of you out there can find this at least marginally useful. Until next time!

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Character Origins Commentary
GM Commentary Segment 1

This is the first in what will become a series of posts where I as the GM will provide a bit of outside commentary on the Campaign. My hope is that this series of posts can shed some additional insight into how I am managing this Campaign as a GM, and possibly provide some inspiration to other GMs or players who happen across this page. For those who do not roleplay but are still following along (if there are any out there who fit that criteria) it will hopefully provide you an interesting glimpse into the world of roleplaying games. With that said, lets get to our first post in the series.

The opening Adventure featured in the Dragon Age: Requiem Campaign has been entitled A New Origins as a tip of the hat to the first game in the CRPG series of games as well as a reflection of the direction I decided to take things at the start of this Campaign. As a GM I have always been a fan of immersion, integration, and fluidity when it comes to how I approach my sessions. As a result the use of the old trope of “you are all sitting in a bar and suddenly [insert random adventure hook here]” has never been an approach that I tend to use. For this Campaign I had elected to go a step further, again in the spirit of the first game in the CRPG series, and I wanted to do specialized custom origin stories for each of the player characters so that by the time the troupe got together in game they would all be relatively adjusted to their characters and play style for them.

So how does a GM go about crafting a believable origin story that will direct the Players together while still providing the chance for meaningful choices? Normally all you would have to work off of at this point is your story arc for the adventure (which is likely just an outline to leave room for wiggling about in response to players actions) and a couple of sheets with a few details and some numbers on them. Not a whole lot to go off of one might think, and that thought is actually an accurate one. This is why I infuse a little more into the Character Creation process than just the basics. It still isn’t a whole lot to go from (though some players will usually go that extra mile and serve up a lot more insight into their characters than asked for), but it still has a few bits and bobs that a GM can then turn around and use to whip up a series of events that can draw the players to a mutual position. Using the basic ideas provided by the players will cause them to get more quickly immersed into the world you are crafting by proxy (even if they didn’t give much detail to begin with, it is still the wonder of seeing your ideas come to life that catches them), and gives you a potential means to start laying the foundations of your story arc in a more natural way than the old tradition of the group in a tavern.

The hardest part about this formula is two fold though—pacing and choices—and each of these will actually play off of the other to make the situation all the more complicated to approach. I personally think it is this factor that discourages most GMs from trying to use this approach, and thus the birth of the age old tradition we see in most RPG sessions, but if you actually take the time you need before you have started playing to get this process done (making it clear to the players ahead of time that this will be how things will play out) it can make for a much more meaningful experience around the table. The way I try to tackle these issues is to write out the story that I feel will be the longest to play out by its very nature. Build the story as a branching flow so that you can try to ensure you match out the total number of scenes required to get from point A (starting out) to point B (meeting the other characters), and run this up to the first point that they will come into contact with other player characters (if you can manage it, the meetings should play out as cascading events to feel even more natural). You then build out the character they just met up to the meeting point as well so you can again manage the pacing of the scenes, and then push the united characters forward together to the next joining as needed. It is quite a bit of extra work, but as I believe our Origin section shows it makes for a very memorable and intimate way of getting the ball rolling.

Here is my little secret with how I approach this method – I don’t actually get as detailed as I explain it out to be. If I did that much work there would be troves of content I would have created that would never be experienced by my players (all the branches of plot they did not experience). So how do I address that, I try to develop my stories based on my knowledge of my players and the insights they have given me in the character creation process on what their character will be like in the session. Based on these details I flesh out the branch of the story that I feel is the most likely one to play out, but I still make note of potential divergence points as I go that players could elect to do but that are not actually fleshed out and developed. This can result in some lost content still and also make the GM have to go into improvisation mode for a bit if players bite on the other options unexpectedly, but that can always be fun to do as well (and after that session you can always plot out that branch of the story in better detail so you are more prepared the next time). You can get other curve balls with this method as well, and I did on this Campaign actually.

My first curve ball in this Campaign actually came in our very first session, The First Steps, where Britt, the player of Ceanna, jumped at a story branch that I had not plotted out or expected her to go for. In the scene where Ceanna and the NPC of Derek Delon were being offered up two potential jobs by the entrepreneurial dwarf Kerdik I had expected Britt to have Ceanna take the job picking up contraband in Amaranthine City rather than going for the job that would take her to Jader. I did know how each of the jobs was going to play out as I had decided in my development process that regardless of the option selected the fate of the other events would still unfold (just lacking any kind of player intervention), but I didn’t have all the details in place for going down that particular road. I lucked out that I didn’t have to carry too far into the session beyond that, which was all done by the seat of my pants, but I did go ahead and plot out some details for that story before we got into the next session. Of course individual scenes throughout the Campaign all around would play out slightly different at the table than what I may have detailed on paper (something any GM should be ready to accept), but these types of left field moves are a whole degree beyond all of that. I have come to learn to love these things I guess, nice to be surprised as a GM just like it is as a player.

The other switch up that happened during this particular adventure was the addition of an entirely new player character after the session was already rolling. Tom who is playing the character Roland was originally invited to take part in the Campaign but had some life stuff going on that prevented him from initially committing. In the end he decided to get on board with the Campaign and so ended up creating a character after the story had already been initiated. As a result a lot of his origin story was deflected to getting him in line with another character as quickly and logically as possible so that I didn’t have a lot of extra work to get him into the game. Personally this is actually my biggest regret about the Campaign so far – deciding not to work out more of a personal origin for Tom to have played through – as I feel that this has left him at a deficit compared to the rest of the troupe on just how integrated he is with the world he is playing in. In the end though Tom has still expressed that he has been enjoying the game and that is the most important thing in my book.

Being as big on immersion and integration as I am, I have some other tools up my sleeve that I make use of over the course of the Campaign to try and facilitate this more for my players. The biggest of these is at the start of each session I have started asking my players a question about their characters that is intended to help them think about things they may not have previously to flesh out their characters and allow them to be a little more real as they are portrayed at the table. These can be approached from a number of different angles and perspectives. In the interest of sharing I will provide the list of questions that Players have answered so far over the course of the Campaign to date:

  • What Class, Background, and Race did you take for your character, and why?
  • What does your character believe happens to a person when they die?
  • Where does your character normally go when they are angry?
  • What is your character’s deepest fear?
  • What is your character’s idea of perfect happiness?
  • Has your character been in love? If so, have they had a broken heart?

Of course some of the questions that have been asked were things that some players had already considered for their characters, and in these instances they didn’t miss a beat at the table kicking back an answer. Other time it was fascinating to watch as players sat and considered these things having not done so before, and there were also those who just kicked back an answer that seemed appropriate but didn’t go the extra mile per se (and it is important to note that there is nothing wrong with this approach, sometimes a more basic answer is what actually fits a character best on some of these kinds of questions). Any way it goes, however, you still have players getting more attuned to the characters they are portraying each time they come back to the table which helps make for a more consistent and interesting story in the long term.

And we will go ahead and wrap up this installment of the Commentary Series here. If you have taken the time to read through this post I hope that you found it insightful and interesting. I welcome comments, so if there is something you would like to see me address in one of my commentary posts do not hesitate to let me know.

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End of the Beginning (Part 2)
Session 6 Recap

This section of the Campaign marks the conclusion of the Character Origins portion of the game. We found ourselves short a player for the evening, and so they were mostly written off over the course of the session (though abstracted to some degree in order to maintain a sense of continuity). This also marks the first major break in the Campaign, and we are placing things on hiatus while some life events get sorted out and fall into place. When the Campaign resumes we will be at the onset of the first section of the major story arc that will be explored over the course of the Campaign.

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Session Cast
Character Player
Elora Yonwyn Sam
Ceanna Britt
Cassius Ohno Randy

farmhouse.jpg It took little time for Cassius to see that the single story farmhouse was abandoned. He had quietly moved up to the side of the house and peered into the window, sweeping around back to take a look from the window there to cover all the angles. There were various items and belongings about in the place, so it likely was still in use rather than abandoned, but the owners were not actually present—he figured they must be out in their fields tending to the daily routine. He was a little surprised to find the door of the dwelling unsecured as he tested the door, bur he wasn’t going to complain about not having to invest any extra efforts.

Taking a bit of time to look about the place the best find he came across was a suit of leather armor which he promptly put on, and a short bow along with a few arrows. Beyond that he managed to get himself some basic supplies for the road, a backpack to hold said supplies, and what looked to be the merchants personal savings consisting of a handful of silvers and a few bits. By the time he had finished up and looked outside he was pleased to see the sun still beaming brightly high in the sky, if he pushed for it he could probably still make it to Amaranthine City before nightfall. Besides, it was unlikely that whomever it was that owned the little farm would not be too found of a guest who had helped themselves to their belongings.

Cassius gathered up a few scarps to make up some makeshift trail rations and set back out once again. Things have been rough going for the past few weeks, but overall it seems like everything may have worked out for the best. All things considered he was not as bad off as he could have been—hell, at least he was alive still. The coin he managed to haul from the farmhouse should be able to cover him on some accommodations for a couple days, and that dwarf back in Wycome had mentioned that he might be able to find work in the city. About time to turn this whole situation around.

*******

After managing to deal with the spider and recoup, Ceanna and Carr decided that it may be best to take a look through the rest of the cave and see if there were any more of these things about—if there were they would need to find somewhere else to setup for the rest of the night. Roland and Koriah would remain behind, still experiencing the effects of the poison coursing through their veins. After a sweep of the remaining interior they determined that it had been that single massive beast making residence here and so they finished resting for the remainder of the evening. At dawn the troupe gathered up their few remaining supplies they had with them and set back out on the journey back to Amaranthine City.

frostback_valley.jpgAs they went it became quickly apparent that they were going to have to try and find something to eat, they would not make it all the way back to the city without. The duty of finding food was left to Ceanna and Carr as they were both in the best shape out of the four and would be able to move more easily with less noise through the landscape. Throughout all this extra time together, however, Ceanna made no attempts to warm up to Carr and most of their time together was spent in utter silence. Regardless of this they still managed to quarry enough between them to keep everyone fed on the return trip.

The whole walk back was something of a sobering experience, everyone locked in a silence and reflecting inwardly over everything that had transpired. The trip back seemed to go a bit faster though, but Ceanna knew that was due to not having to manage the caravan as they went along. All of this and they never even knew what it was that they were transporting to begin with, but whatever it was it was in the hands of barbarians now. Ceanna was more concerned with having to tell Kerdik what had happened, but she would cross that bridge when she came to it.

*******

Elora, Adanna, and Sorran arrived back at the Keeper’s aravel where Keeper Nenril ushered the three of them inside to join herself, the First Orrana, hearthmistress Viveana, and hahren Arlas. Nenril motions for the three young hunters to have a seat, all of them complying without hesitation. Her face appears stoic and flat as she addresses the young elves.

In light of recent events and information we received the day your hunting troupe departed, we have come to a decision that will impact each of you directly. On the day you set out on your hunt our camp was visited by a lone clansman of the Litran Clan, one of the recent arrivals in the wake of King Alistair Theirin’s decree granting the People the lands of the Brecilian Forest. They told of a terrible curse that had befallen their people in the wake of an incident at the shemlen village of Vintiver.

She would go on to describe a series of attacks against the clan by strange creatures that would drag their brethren off into the darkness of night. The visitor soon perished of wounds they had sustained in a confrontation with these creatures—the same creatures it would seem that the band of young hunters had encountered. While they must look for their missing clansman they must also investigate this situation further as it would seem they will not be able to avoid contact at this point. It is decided that Adanna and Sorran will join a small party to go in search of Athel, and Elora will make her way to the human village of Vintiver as they are aware of her dealings with a young man from there—her presence alone will be the least likely to cause any issue considering the incident that may have led to all of this.

Elora was somewhat frustrated by this decision feeling somewhat responsible for Athel, but she was not going to go against her Keeper’s wishes. After taking a brief moment to say her goodbyes to her family, and to tell Adanna that she had better bring Athel back home, Elora made to set back out once again into the forest.

*******

Dusk had settled firmly in over Amaranthine City by the time Ceanna and Carr were able to drop Roland and Kori off at the local hospital for treatment, and they both set out for The Crown and Lion to report in to Kerdik. Cassius arrived just a moment before Ceanna and Carr, catching glimpse of the pair as they all made their way inside. Even unkempt as she was from her time in the wilds, Ceanna’s striking figure caught Cassius’s eye and he passed her a casual smirk. As they all made their way up to the bar they each took stock of Kerdik, glass and rag in hand standing behind the bar while the elven serving girls made rounds about the main room.

Well, you two sure look like you could use a drink.

Ceanna could immediately see the look of concern in Kerdik’s eyes, he likely already had a good idea about the context of their report—either way he was right, she needed a drink badly. After shooting down a glass of Antivan brandy Kerdik escorted the pair to his back offices, signaling to one of the bar wenches to take station at the bar and handle the clients. Cassius took the opportunity to get himself a tankard of mead being in quite the mood for a drink himself. That brunette seemed like she was going to be keeping his contact tied up, might as well make the best of it for now.

In the back offices Kerdik motioned for Ceanna and Carrian to take a seat opposite him at his desk, strewn with assorted papers and a few odd trinkets that seemed to change out often by Ceanna’s recollection. Ceanna took the lead in the briefing, providing Kerdik with a complete rundown of the events that had transpired in the Frostbacks. With a slight sigh and stroke of his beard Kerdik nods, his client in Orlais is not going to be pleased about this but he is confident he can smooth the situation over. He dismisses Carrian advising him to get himself rested up over the next few days, but he requests that Ceanna remain behind for a moment. As the door shuts behind Carrian, Kerdik walks around the desk and rests his hands of Ceanna’s shoulders.

I’ve been rather impressed with you as of late, my dear. Despite the outcome of this most recent endeavor, you always seem to come out on top. It is with that in mind that brings me to the crux of why I asked you to stay tonight.

Kerdik walks back around the desk and takes a seat, opening a drawer on his right and producing a series of documents. He begins to leaf through the papers clearly considering the information they contain for a brief moment before looking back up. He tells Ceanna that he wants both her and Roland to return the following evening for a special assignment, and in the meantime she should get herself some rest. He walks out with Ceanna, returning to his post at the bar as the young woman heads back to her surrogate father’s home for the evening.

Upon seeing the dwarf return to his post, Cassius slams down the rest of his drink and flags down Kerdik as though he were wanting another drink. The dwarf saunters over with a broad smile painted onto his face and asks what he can do for the young man, his voice strong and booming to be heard clearly over the commotion of the respective patrons. Cassius looked the dwarf up and down one more time to ensure that he had the right man before speaking up.

Bairtag told me to reach out to you for some work if I…

Kerdik raised his hand up cutting Cassius off before he could even finish his sentence, once again waving over one of the elven wenches to take up spot at the bar. He directs Cassius into the back of the establishment, once again taking up a position at the desk in his offices. He first explains to Cassius that if he ever shows back up wanting to talk about business he needs to use the pass phrase, and then begins a brief interview process with the young man. In the course of their discussions they get onto the topic of Isabela and the Siren’s Call, and based on the details that Cassius provides he makes a decision to bring the young man on for an important job—he explains that anyone that can survive that and comes with the recommendation of Bair is someone he was confident he could trust. He advised him to come back the following evening for details, just as he did with Ceanna.

The following evening would find Cassius, Ceanna, and Roland sitting in Kerdik’s offices once more. Cassius had arranged accommodations with the dwarf the night before at a discounted rate, and he just spent most of the day mulling about the tavern. The three potential companions took stock of one another as Kerdik again reviewed the same files Ceanna saw him review the previous evening. He would go on to explain a job that none of them could have expected.

I doubt any of you are aware of the fact that I actually have connections with the Grey Wardens of Ferelden, but suffice to say I do. The Warden-Commander and I came to an understanding back during the Amaranthine Conflict, you see the Wardens can make use of the particular assets I happen to deal in—the like of you fine folks. Recently the Wardens have come to me with a sensitive matter that they are unable to commit resources to directly, some issues in the southlands. All I can say up front is that this will be a dangerous mission, the area down there is mostly a Blightland still among other things. As my more senior associates can attest, I always pay well for hazardous work so that is no issue—take the job and you each get 1 sovereign down and one on completion of the job. Should you succeed and survive you will no doubt have earned the favor of the Ferelden Wardens, something to consider. If you’re in we can discuss this further, so what do you all say?

The three young humans sat there a moment in utter shock, but each in turn confirmed their place on the team. With that decided Kerdik provided them with the little information available about the incident they were to investigate. Attacks and disappearances of the local populace, and with tensions as high as they are in the south already this is only bound to get worse if it is not directly addressed. They were to head south to Vintiver to investigate, and if able to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and report back. They set out directly the following morning.

*******

Elora made her way through the Brecilian Forest alone, her path directing her ever toward the shemlen settlement of Vintiver. In the wake of the events that had recently transpired the seclusion of the forest was a welcoming reprieve. This had been the first opportunity she had to actually gather her thoughts together, a chance to try and make sense of all the madness. She couldn’t help but feel like she had abandoned Athel, she could have done more—could have fought harder. Those thoughts weren’t going to do her any good, she needed something to keep her focus.

Her thoughts began to drift to her family, more specifically to memories of her mother and the many things she had taught her through the years regarding the arts of herbalism. Magic was a powerful tool, to be sure, but the lands were able to provide greatly for the People. Perhaps she could spend some time trying to track down some of these plants and minerals. As she pushed ever forward her eyes began to dart through her surroundings. The focus of the task slowly began to wash away all other thought from her mind.

Her mother had shown her a great deal, there were so many interesting plants one could find all across the vast lands of Thedas. The common but nearly essential part of daily life in elfroot, or the potent deep mushrooms that grow in the depths of the Deep Roads. With strange beasts about there was no doubt in her mind that these things would become more essential in the days to come. Either way, the task of gathering these supplies while she went along served the purpose she had hoped – it kept her mind off of the darker things.

Over her time traveling to the village of Vintiver, Elora managed to gather up a small bit of elfroot that she stowed away in her pack. One of the most widely used herbs throughout the lands, the forest had provided well for her this day.

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Landfall
Session 5, Mini 1 Recap

In this section of the Campaign we have slipped back to a brief Mini Session setup, though this time it will only be for a single session. The reason for the inclusion of this session is that at the primary Session 5 the troupe ran out of time before one of the players was able to conclude their closing scene. We will be resuming group sessions for the next segment of the story.

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Session Cast
Character Player
Cassius Ohno Randy

adrift.jpgThe first thing that Cassius noticed was the feeling of weightlessness and cold enveloping him. He then quickly noted that the sounds he was hearing seemed strange, almost with a distorted echo to them that was coming and going. As he weakly opened his eyes, everything suddenly washed from dark to a bright and blinding white. As his sight began to come into focus he was able to take in the reality of his situation, he found himself freely floating in the vast open waters with the realization that he could not see land in any direction. Thankfully a short ways away he managed to find a large bit of what appeared to have formerly been the hull of the ship bobbing away on the water surface. He kicked his legs in desperation, pushing himself over to the moderate slab and grabbing hold with all his strength.

The signs of the terrible storm seemed to have subsided and the waters of the sea were relatively calm once again. As he scanned the horizon he saw no signs of the qunari dreadnaught that had been pursuing the Siren’s Call, either they had avoided the storm or possibly went down as well — regardless, at the moment at least it would appear he was alone and without a hint of worthwhile supplies to be found. He took quick stock of the belongings he happened to have on him, his clothing and a single knife tucked into his boot. He began to drift along absently, his course being primarily controlled by the tides of the waters.

While he has no idea just how long he was out for, he drifted for two days in the open waters. Dehydration and hunger both began to tear away at him, and he mustered up the will to keep himself from imbibing the salty sea water in desperation from the intense thirst. Surrounded by water with no hope of getting a drink — if it were not driving him mad Cassius might have seen the irony in the situation. At dawn break of the second day drifting at sea Cassius was just able to make out what appeared to be land on the horizon, a long stretch of coastline likely of one of the bordering nations of the Waking Sea. He was unsure what direction he had been drifting, but that didn’t matter right now. He began kicking his legs with all the strength he could gather in an effort to direct himself to landfall.

The feeling of land beneath his feet and hands as he started to drag himself on to the shore was like nothing he had ever felt before in his life. Things had been hard on him in the past, but nothing he had endured up to this point could have braced him for what he had just managed to live through. A sense of elation washed over him, he could barely believe that he was actually going to survive all of this. The feelings quickly subsided, however, as the realization that he would need to find fresh water and food soon. Pushing himself back to his feet he took a quick look around the landscape, in the distance he could see what appeared to be a small mountain range. Based on the relatively small size he was able to deduce that he had drifted south to Ferelden, had he drifted to the Free Marches he should be looking on the vast stretches of the Vimmark Mountains. Unfamiliar with the layout of the nation he took his best guess and set out, following along the coastline with the assumption that it should lead him to a settlement sooner or later.

As he walked along his attention was constantly pulled to the search for water and food, the pains from both making it difficult to try and focus on anything else. After an hour or so walking along he came across a bush that was adorned with numerous large berries, and he recognized them as something safe to ingest recalling a meal he had a few years back with a business associate where the berries had been served as a foreign treat. He quickly began to gather them up, but had the foresight enough to realize eating them as quickly would likely just make him sick. He slowly began eating through his find as he continue to walk along – the sweet juices providing a brief reprise from the desire for water (short lived as it might have been thanks to the natural sugars in the juices). Suddenly, just in the distance, Cassius saw a small cart moving along what appeared to be a dirt road. He quickly began shouting out for help and running towards the cart.

As luck would have it, Cassius had stumbled onto the path of a traveling merchant on his way to Redcliffe from Amaranthine City. He had some spare rations and water that he gave to Cassius who put his immediate attentions to the waterskin. Again he took care to drink in the liquid slowly in an effort to keep himself from spewing it all back out across the ground. The merchant was able to advise Cassius that the closest settlement to them was in fact Amaranthine City, about one days travel in the opposite direction that he had been going originally. On the downside there was no spare room in the merchant’s cart and so he would be unable to afford Cassius a ride anywhere. Grateful for the help, Cassius thanked the merchant and then set back out on his way to Amaranthine City.

As he walked down the old dirt road a ways he eventually came upon what looked like a small farm house, possibly on the outskirts of the Amaranthine Arling. Now that he had his focus back, his attention had shifted from a need of food and water to the need to get himself kitted out again. Since the wreck he had lost all the money and belongings he had, and being in a foreign land so unprepared was not a prospect that he was very fond of. He set his mind to inspecting this isolated location to see if he might be able to remedy those issues, and slowly began to make his way up to the house to investigate.

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End of the Beginning (Part 1)
Session 5 Recap

The session got to a late start again this evening, and as a result the troupe did not get as far as originally anticipated. We also had to end a scene short of completing the sections that were covered which will result in a new mini session being run before the next group gathering to get everything up to speed. We also forgot to handle our Warm Up Questions this session, and as such those will be covered at our next group gathering.

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Session Cast
Character Player
Elora Yonwyn Sam
Ceanna Britt
Cassius Ohno Randy
Roland Tom

Brecilian NightsThe inky blackness of the deep night envelopes Elora and Adanna as they run with everything they have inside them through the Brecilian. The thought of Athel being dragged off into the night by those terrible creatures still flash through Elora’s mind as Adanna finally begins to drop her pace. She eventually comes to a full stop and begins looking around intently.

What in the fuck was that?

Concern is clearly present in Adanna’s voice, masking out the sheer exhaustion that aches through to her bones. Elora shakes her head and expresses her own disbelief to the whole situation. They decide it is best to do a quick scan of the area to make sure none of those things had followed them—the last thing they wanted to do was draw them back to the clan’s camp. After a couple of moments they begin to breathe a little easier feeling confident that they were not tracked. They take a moment to gather their thoughts before Adanna suggests that they check around to see if Sorran had come this way.

A quick inspection of the area shows no signs of their companion, either he was moving with too sure a foot for them to notice or he had not passed through here. They needed to figure out their position in order so Elora takes a look at the sky above, picking out the constellation Bellitanus she uses it to gather her bearings and determine the route back to the clan’s camp. She looks back over to Adanna as she waves for her to follow.

We need to get back to the camp and gather up some help, we’re going to get him back Adanna.

The pair set out for the camp, deciding to move as quietly as possible so as to not draw any more attention to themselves. Despite the effort to move in silence they are able to keep a relatively fast pace. Elora in particular moves like a formless spirit, a phantom gliding through the forest with an unequivocal grace. It was enough to catch Adanna’s notice, her eyes betraying how impressed she was. Elora just smiled to herself briefly as they continued off into the night.

*******

The mouth of the cave cut into the face of the mighty Frostback Mountains, and served as the best accommodations that Ceanna, Roland, Kori, and Carr were likely to find before sundown. With no actual torch Carr digs into his pack and tears a bit of fabric from some of his spare clothing, and Kori pull a flask out from inside her breastplate. Roland takes the cloth and wads it up and ties it off on the end of his sword and soaks it in the alcohol provided by Kori, after a few quick flicks of the flint and steel they had themselves a makeshift light and proceeded into the cave.

frostbacks_cave.jpegThe cave opened up into a wider cavern some twenty yards wide, but only about two yards from floor to ceiling. Roland sighs to himself some and slouches down as they venture in. Carr and Kori stop to start getting a fire together for some warmth, but Ceanna and Roland decide to take a look around the cave some. As they make their way further in the walls start to narrow at a slow but gradual taper, and Ceanna notices a strange pattern beginning to emerge on the walls of the cave—glistening bands that seem to be illuminated by the light of the makeshift torch spanning all over the right side wall over the cave. It seems to be intensifying as they continue forward, but suddenly Roland waivers slightly in his stride and collapses some into the left side wall of the cave before dropping to his knee.

To hell with this, lets get back to the others.

Roland’s voice is a little weak, it seems the battle with the Avvar had impacted him more than he had initially realized—now that his adrenaline was running down the pain began to well over him. He pushes himself back to his feet and the two of them make their way back to the two knife-ears, by the time they get back they have managed to get a small fire going well enough in to the cave to ensure no one should notice the light from outside. Carr is setting up his bedroll while Kori sits on the cold floor with a miserable look adorning her face, she had not managed to recover her own pack from the caravan before they had to flee. Roland sets out his own bedroll and drops down on to it as Carr digs a mostly used healer’s kit out of his bag. He walks over to the broken warrior and gestures for him to remove the top of his armor, and then he gets to work on patching up the wounds with what supplies he has.

So, should we take watches over the night then?

Ceanna inquires as she works on laying out her own bedroll to settle in for the evening, the gnawing sensation of hunger starting to well up in her gut. After a small amount of deliberation they decide it would be best to do two shifts of two, none of them were really in a state to handle anything by themselves save for Ceanna. Carr and Ceanna were elected to take the first watch, and Roland and Kori quickly drifted off to sleep.

*******

It was the sounds of the raging waters, the chaos of the crew, and the rain pelting down on his exposed face that brought Cassius back to his sense. The Siren’s Call was in bad shape, the main mast having broken already and unknown amounts of damage going on below deck. The crew was struggling against the storm to keep the secondary mast in tact as Cassius was pulling himself back up to his feet and his vision started to clear, and Cassius was able to make out Zatran among them. As he went to move and try and help a massive wave rushed across the deck and swept Zatran off the rope he was manning and over the edge of the boat into the raging waters of the Waking Sea.

the_shipwreck.jpgCassius quickly looks around the deck for some rope and manages to spot a coil not presently in use across the deck. As he rushes across the sea thrashes the boat back and forth and Cassius losing his footing crashing into the deck. Undeterred, he bounds back to his feet and gathers up the coil of rope before bounding back across the ship to the side that Zatran was pulled off.

Zatran! Zatran!

Cassius called out with everything he had, but over the storm it was likely an effort in vain. As he looked out over the churning waters he was unable to see any sign of the elf that had become something of a friend to him. Taking a quick look around the deck Cassius pushed himself off the rail of the deck and makes his way back to Isabela’s quarters. As he entered he quickly realized that Isabela was no longer there, and once again he started to rummage through the room in hopes of finding anything of worth. As he was doing so there was a sudden ear piercing sound of timber rending and breaking as the ship suddenly shifted dramatically as Cassius quickly scrambled to keep himself from being throw through the room, it was quickly apparent that the ship had been rended apart and was beginning to sink into the sea.

As he began to feel items shifting behind him preparing to give way, he quickly tried to maneuver across the room but lost his balance and feel down hard onto the frame of Isabela’s bed. Acting quickly he tied the rope off solidly on the frame of the bed and started to lower himself down to the door below—the raging waters seen clearly a ways beyond that. After reaching the door he decided that his best bet was to see if one of the skimmers was still on the boat, and there should be one on this end of the ship—not that the prospect of being in such a small and vulnerable vessel in these waters was one Cassius looked forward to, but it sounded better than death. Thankfully the rope he had gathered was long enough to reach outside of the door, and he carefully lowered himself out to the deck.

As he dangled from the rope like a work on a hook above the water it became apparent that the rope wasn’t going to be long enough to secure him over to the rail where the skimmer should be. Cassius began building up some momentum by bracing his feet to the deck at an angle and running back and forth like a pendulum before releasing the rope at the precipices of one swing and began bounding for the rail. Before reaching the rail he felt his footing start to go and in an act of desperation he bounded off the deck in an attempt to clear the remaining distance, but even with this added effort he falls short—crashing into the deck and beginning to slide toward the sea below. As a final desperate move he attempts to direct his slide and manages to drift into the rail just a yard above the water.

He quickly begins to ascend the deck rail to the rope for the skimmer which still appears to be attached to the ship, though as he looks out he sees no sign of the skimmer itself. As he reached the roped he gives it a solid pull and is met with resistance he is unable to overcome. The skimmer is still attached, but it has been pulled under and is water logged. Cassius gets a solid grip on the rope and bound off the rail to throw all his weight in to it as he draws closer and closer to the raging waters, but still the skimmer does not pull free. Taking a quick look around he spots a larger bit of debris in the water below and makes a leap for it, hitting his mark spot on. The feeling of victory is short lived, however, as the waters quickly rip him away from his salvation and he is swept below the waves.

Having been unprepared Cassius was unable to get a breath of air before being pulled under. He quickly feels a sharp pain in his lungs as though they are about to burst, and everything fades to a sheer black and silence.

*******

dalish_camp.pngIt was already midday by the time Elora and Adanna made their way back to the clan’s camp. As they enter the camp they are approached by Sorran who looks happy to see them back, but that quickly turns to a look of concern. He inquires as to Athel’s whereabouts, and Elora explains that they were attacked and she needed to speak with Keeper Nenril immediately. As the trio make their way to the Keeper’s aravel Sorran tells them that he already told her of the ruins they discovered this morning.

On entering the Keeper’s aravel they find that Elora’s aunt is also with her student and Elora’s sister, Orrana Adanna and Elora recount the events that transpired in the forest to them all, and Nenril gets a stoic look upon her face. She tells Elora to go an get her mother and hahren Arlas as there was much that they would need to discuss considering what all had transpired. Elora complied without hesitation, and after getting her mother took a moment to get some food and begin gathering up her things at the family yurt. She was certain that they would send a party back out for Athel, and she was decided on the fact that she would join them.

After stocking her pack back up, she heads back out and meets up with Adanna and Sorran outside of the Keeper’s aravel. All three of them are eager to know what will come next, and they all begin to quietly pace back and forth in anticipation and impatience. After some time the gathered heads of the clan emerge and instruct the young hunters to gather up the clan in the cloven glade. The three set off through the camp assembling everyone as instructed, and then quickly make their way to back to the Keeper’s aravel.

*******

Silence had filled the cave as Ceanna and Carr sat quietly by the fire while Roland and Kori slept, neither of them seemed to have much interest with talking. Ceanna gazed into the flames of the small fire for awhile in an attempt to focus on something other than the hunger pangs throbbing in her stomach, but when she looked back up across the fire Carr was nowhere to be found. Panic sets in momentarily as Ceanna quickly scans the cave, squinting to try and peer into the darkness as best as she could. Seeing and hearing nothing she crawls over to Roland’s bedroll and begins to gently shake him in a vain attempt to wake him. Getting no response she goes to Kori and again attempts to rouse her companion with no success. She never even heard it coming.

giant_spider_stalking.jpgA monstrous spider, the rarer and larger variety of the more common giant spider, had crawled into the chamber from above. Suddenly there was a flash in front of her as Carr seemed to appear out of nowhere, slamming into the massive beast as it fell from the ceiling toward Ceanna. Taken completely off guard Ceanna cries out in absolute terror, normal spiders frighten her so this is all like a waking nightmare for her as her body locks up in shock. Her shrieks were enough to abruptly rouse both Roland and Kori, each suddenly bolting upright from where they lay and taking in the horrific situation.

Roland and Kori quickly fumble for their weapons as they bound to their feet, all the while Carr desperately bounds about with quick darting motions to avoid the beast and take another carefully placed shot into the creatures abdomen. Ceanna stood frozen watching the events transpire before her, body trembling as she fights to gain control. Suddenly the large beast lashes out and catches Carr in its jaws, the massive fangs piercing through the leather of his armor and into his sides. Roland lunges forward without his breastplate and connects with a solid blow to the creatures side causing it to release the elf, but the spider snaps around and plunges its mandibles into his flesh with a rush of poison mixing into his blood stream. Kori and Ceanna both leap into action, Ceanna finally working up the courage to react.

In a flash the massive creature rears up and slams down on Kori, forcing the smaller elven woman to the cold stone ground as it lashes out with its massive mandibles that tear into her sides with incredible force. As the creature begins to try dragging her off into the cave Ceanna distinctly hears the sounds of ribs cracking and breaking under the pressure of the jaws. She quickly lunges and plants her sword hard into the beasts back, jerking it with a hard twist as the monstrous spider drops its quarry in its death throws before crumpling to the ground.

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It Gets Worse
Session 4 Recap

Due to the weather we ended up getting off to a late start this evening and found ourselves down one of our players. Due to these issues we did not get as far as had been expected in this section of the story which will leave us with another session to complete the Origins section of the Campaign. Each of our subgroups was able to complete a single scene before we had to call it for the evening. As usually we rolled initiative at the start of the session to determine scene order.

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Session Cast
Character Player
Elora Yonwyn Sam
Ceanna Sam
(Absentia)
Cassius Ohno Randy
Roland Tom

frostback_pass.jpgThe sounds of battle and chaos slowly fade into the sounds of the whistling winds of the Frostbacks as Ceanna, Roland, Carrian, and Koriah make their way back across the mountain pass. Finally clear of danger they all slow to a stop to take a breather and regain their composure. As they wait the cutting wind begins to chill them all as Roland begins to survey the area. The pass rests above the tree line, that much is immediately clear, which makes the prospect of trying to get a fire going something of a long shot. He turns back to the collected survivors and speaks plainly in a matter of fact way, trying to get a hold on the situation.

We are going to need to find some shelter, and soon.

Carrian immediately agrees pointing out that they are all likely to freeze to death if they do not. As Ceanna takes a look around she catches notice of what looks to be another overhang some twenty yards above them. Koriah confirms this, from her vantage she is able to see the entrance to a cave at the top but they would need to climb their way up the cliff. The group takes a moment to take stock of their belongings, and with their lack of supplies to aid in climbing the cliff they decided they might try pushing on a bit further to scout for a more opportune spot.

The walk down the trail is a somber one, silence was the name of the moment. Each of the small band of smugglers keeping their eyes fixed on the environment for an potential sign of hope. After a short while Roland happens to look over the ledge of the trail and notices small landing below them that appears to break back in towards the trail—a possible cave or at least an outcrop that should provide some protection against the sharp winds. Even better than that, the drop was only about five or so yards which made the prospect of reaching it that much better.

Hey, give me a hand over here, I think I might have found something.

The rest of the band makes their way over to the ledge to take a look, and Ceanna decides that they need to give it a shot. She advises Carrian to help her lower Roland down to the ledge below. They come over and grab hold of Roland’s arms and begin to lower him down over the edge. As they lower him down slowly Carrian suddenly loses his grip on Roland, Ceanna tenses up pulling with all of her strength as he swings his loose arm over to grab her by the forearm. Carrian quickly scrambles back and grabs hold of Ceanna’s waist to prevent her from being pulled over the edge under Roland’s weight. Once they are braced again Roland manages to plant his foot onto the mountain face and flip himself back landing on his feet below.

Smoother than a knife-ear.

The condescension is clear in his voice as Koriah bounds off the top of the ledge above, landing with perfect form next to him with a wry smirk on her face. Carrian then lowers Ceanna down and Roland catches her down on the ledge below before Carrian climbs down on his own accord. Their suspicions had been correct as they all faced looking into a small cave carved into the side of the mountain—it clearly went back a ways as darkness prevented them from seeing a back wall.

*******

Cassius turns from the looming storm clouds that the Siren’s Call is sailing directly into, and in the distance behind them and closing he sees the massive qunari dreadnaught. Before long both ships find themselves enveloped in the raging storm, hail and rain pelt down as they are violently rocked from side to side by the choppy and unforgiving sea. Cassius spots Isabela on the deck shouting out orders to the crew in an attempt to keep the ship from being ripped apart. He makes his way over and before he even has a chance to really think or speak she turns to him.

Get your ass moving, recruit!

ships_in_storm.jpg

As the ship keeps thrashing back and forth, Cassius decides it will be better to get below deck and see what he can do. As he makes his way across he is thrown hard to the deck as he looses his footing, pulling himself back up and shambling down the stairs to the decks below. As he surveys he seems members of the crew breaking down unessential items to use for patching, and others take these materials in an attempt to seal breaks forming in the hull and the intake of water. Seeing the situation unfolding Cassius decides that he needs a new plan. He turns and makes his way back onto the deck of the ship, heading over to the edge rail and grabbing on tight as he slowly makes his way back across towards Isabela’s private quarters. The black water below rages filling Cassius with a looming sense of dread.

As he reaches Isabela’s cabin and steps inside he immediately begins to search for the large tome that they had stolen. If something happens he figures there is no sense in him not having the item to try and get himself paid or out of this mess alive. At first glace he doesn’t see his prize so he sets into the room and begins to rummage through the captain’s belongings. Certainly an adornment of interesting and potentially valuable trinkets and bobbles, but the tome manages to allude him. As he continues to rummage the door to the cabin swings open and Isabela steps in and immediately questions Cassius’s presence.

I was—are you sure we are going to survive this?

A quick shift of direction seemed like the best order, and in the confusion it seems to have paid off for him at the moment. Isabela simply shakes her head and tells Cassius to stop worrying about it. She has been in a number of tight spots in the past, some worse than this, and she is more than confident that they will be fine. As she says this they both hear the sound of wood rending over the overwhelming sounds of the storm. Isabela instructs Cassius to go and see what that was about, and he makes his way to the doorway of the cabin. Looking out across the deck he sees the main mast of the ship split and strewn out across the deck. What appears to be two of the crew members appear to be pinned under the massive object as others struggle to raise it up off of them. At that moment the boat suddenly shifts and Cassius is jarred head first into the frame of the door and falling out onto the surface of the deck momentarily knocked out from the blow to the head.

*******

Elora is abruptly awakened from her sleep as loud noise fills her ears and she feels herself being jostled. As she opens her eyes she sees Adanna standing above and rousing her, and upon seeing Elora finally come to she helps pull her to her feet. As she looks around trying to gather her senses she sees Athel at the edge of the camp fighting off a pack of strange beasts the likes of which Elora had never seen before.

The creatures are a sickly grey color, their flesh tough and leathery, drawn tight on their bones. Their lips are drawn back in a rictus parody of a grin, and their teeth and nails grow sharp and predatory. Their eyes appear like dark pools of nothingness swirling with reddish shadows, they emit a glow and are able to pierce the darkest gloom. They are usually clad in the ragged remains of what appears to be leather armor, shredded and torn beyond function.

revenger.pngElora quickly readies her Sylvanwood Longbow as Adanna readjusts the Lazurite Dagger in her hand. At a quick count Elora can make out six of the creatures, one is making a move toward her and Adanna as the other five begin to swarm around Athel. He wields his Longsword in two hands in an attempt to maximize his damage and bring the beasts down.

Elora takes a quick shot off at one of the creatures swarmed around Athel but her shot misses the mark and sails off into the dark night as the beast closing on them lunges at Adanna and catches her with a solid blow with it’s claws. Elora quickly snaps around and fires off another solid shot catching the creature through the leg and pinning it to the ground solidly as it lets out a savage howl as Adanna lashes out at it with a savage ferocity. Athel continues to draw the bulk of the pack as he struggles to keep his companions protected.

You need to run!

Elora fires off another shot into the fray of beasts attacking Athel, but her efforts to ensure she doesn’t hit him cause her to miss her mark yet again as Athel is knocked to the ground by the swarming creatures. Adanna continues back and forth with the pinned creature taking another two solid blows while landing another hard blow of her own. Elora feels a sensation well up inside of her seeing the situation breaking down around them, and suddenly a blast of telekinetic energy explodes out from the cluster around Athel blasting the beasts down to the ground. But the beasts show themselves to be persistent as they pull themselves back out, a group of three grabbing hold of Athel and beginning to drag him away into the night. Adanna reaffirms that they must flee and begins to run with Elora following suit.

As she chases after Adanna, Elora takes another shot at the pinned down beast finally dropping it. A lump wells up inside of her at the thought of Athel being left behind as she turns and follows Adanna into the depths of the Brecilian.

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