To Rise from the Ashes

Meta Post: Taking a Break

Due to life circumstances this campaign is going on hiatus for a period of time, as of yet undetermined. Our intention is to bring it back when the group can come back together and continue the story they’ve started.

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Rise up, Cyrans!
The Sons Rise!

Word spread quickly – the Sons of Oblivion had posted another missive, another message – but this time not so cryptic as the ones in the past: it announced a public rally!
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At mid-day bell on the morrow (that’s the day after the day on which breakfast is taking place in the previous post), the Sons of Oblivion will “…meet on the Common to rally the people of Cyre to destroy the hordes that threaten our land!”

The broadsides – found nailed to news posts around town – promise that the leaders of the Sons will, at last, reveal themselves and will “…pick up the Crown’s banner to carry for all true Cyran patriots!”

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A Victory, a Setback
we'll have to redeploy

The hobgoblin scout considered the idea of geography as he stood at the edge of the collapsed bridge. The crossing to the north was already in their hands, and the ford to the south, near the Cyran town, was not adequate – not for their plans. They would have to move their forces around and cross upriver.

He cursed and spat, frustrated that the team had been unable to hold the bridge – who’d taken it? Where was the wyvern? How had those hand-picked men and that great beast been defeated? He couldn’t see any useful evidence on the other side, and the idea of investigating the old building was moot at this point – 150 feet away might as well be 150 miles, given the gorge.

He turned to his men and thought about his next move. He only had one scroll, and it was for only the most important news, by his determination. This was important – critical. He’d send the message to the top of the chain of command immediately.

Moments later he and his squad were on the move again, swiftly galloping down the forest trail on their magebred mounts.


Meta
You found a whopping 42GP in total among the dead, and then the poison gland from the wyvern. The gland has 8 doses of the poison in it, and there is an apothecary in New Cyre that can extract and preserve the fluid, for a fee of 30GP. And remember, you’re all 8th level now.

You guys get fully rested at the inn and wake ready to go the next morning.

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Meta Post
Loose ends to consider; things to not forget

You needn’t respond to this post at all unless you’re moved to do so, as it’s just a list of some things that have come up over the last several sessions that are important to the story in the big and small pictures.

  • You experienced a mini-Mourning event in a cave. That’s not to be ignored.
  • Thaldayn is still in Drellin’s Crossing, unaware of the things you’ve learned of late
  • The Lord of Blades is very active in the western Mournland (and yes, I know I told you to stay away from there, but it’s still going on)
  • Assumed Project MAJESTIC sites exist in the Mournland and in Darguun
  • New Cyre is still trying to improve and deepen relations with Breland and other nations (big picture, I know, but worth considering, too)

The here & now is important, but since we’re trying to make this a campaign with a storyline that develops over time, we can’t forget the juicy details that appear over time.

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Cullin's Gorge
the old stone bridge

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The bridge, supposedly built by dwarf contractors many centuries ago, is no longer maintained by Breland, and in fact is generally avoided due to its state of decay and the fact that few people go through the Crownwood. It’s about 10 feet wide, and there’s a one-story building on the north side, west of the trail, where the toll keeper/engineer used to live. Story has it that Breland stopped maintaining it over a century ago, but no one’s certain.


FYI: Cullin’s Gorge is named after Brango Cullin, supposedly an early settler and noble in these parts who was known for his defeat of hobgoblins and other beasties that menaced settlements in the region about 1000 years ago. The Cullin family seems to have either long ago moved away or died out.

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As the heroes take Vraath Keep
welcomed news arrives

The currier backed out of the tent deferentially after delivering the message. He’d ridden hard for two days, beating his last time, and the OO’ seemed pleased.

The grey-haired hobgoblin read the report and turned to his camp table where similar missives had been collected. His map lay under them and he cleared them aside, handing them to his adjutant.

“Give the orders – our armies must be ready to move once the first blow is landed,” he muttered, seemingly lost in thought.

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Break camp! We march!
...2 days prior...

Kurn’RA barked commands to his subordinate leaders, who immediately thereafter moved smartly to their troops to get them moving.

“On the bounce, you apes!” shouted one hobgoblin officer, “we’ve got baldies to slaughter!,” receiving a hearty war-whoop in response.
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Troops in the immediate area struck and stowed their gear while runners had already taken off to alert other units in the area – the land prevented large forces from gathering, which actually worked to their advantage, enabling them to easily spread across the region while maintaining contact through scouts and arcane means in some instances.

Kurn’RA was pleased with what he saw, and within 30 minutes his forces were ready to march through the darkness toward their objective – the first major one in their operation. He knew that the other units under his command would be in place, ready to strike to take ground, confuse the enemy, and achieve their ends.

The OO’ would be pleased.

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Retaking the Keep
and discovering evidence of plans

Luc, Deaton, and Amarack decided that deception would be their most powerful weapon in attempting to retake the keep, given the 10-12 foes inside. Weaving a powerful illusion, Luc made Amarack and himself appear as the dead OO’ and his vizier, and approached the keep shouting insults and challenges to the hobgoblins in residence there, while Deaton hid at the edge of the woods, ready to snipe as needed. A hobgoblin and three goblins came out to keep the two disguised Cyrans while the courtyard of the keep filled up with the rest of the garrison, confused and surprised by the sudden appearance of seeming ghosts.

Surprisingly, it was the clever goblins that discovered the ruse, recognizing the Amarack’s footprints did not match those of his form, but Deaton dropped one with a shot to the back before it could attack. Seizing the moment of confusion, Luc and Amarack attacked, killing the two goblins with a sudden thunderwave, while the hobgoblin broke and ran for the keep’s interior. Rushing into the bailey, Luc and Amarack were attacked by two archers on the wall and a combination of hobgoblins and a minotaur bruiser.

With spell and sword the two Cyrans began working through their enemies, as Deaton closed the distance to the keep and picked off enemies with his bow. Two hobs were put to sleep by Luc’s spell while Amarack squared off against another, driven on by the fury of his sword. Dropping that enemy he pivoted to the minotaur.

Just as the hobs and the minotaur seemed to be in hand as threats, the manticore they knew was there burst forth from its room, firing tail spines at Luc and Amarack and them attacking Deaton with tooth and claw. The hobgoblin leader bolted and ran back to the tower; Amarack was knocked out; and Luc began dragging him to safety as Deaton and the manticore fought – it seemed that the fortunes of battle had shifted against them when Luc glued the minotaur to a wall with his Wand of Web and gave Amarack a healing potion. The three men, beaten and bruised, had enough fight left to kill the minotaur and manticore.

Their blood still up, they followed the leader’s path into the tower, but found only a rope hanging out a 2nd-story window as evidence of his flight, a minute or more before them. In his room, however were found some parchment pages with messages on them, and a map of the region, showing what looked to be troop movements and time tables for attacks.

Drellin’s Crossing was due to come under attack within days, it seemed, followed by forces seizing the old stone bridge at Cullin’s Gorge, and then the cutting of several roads at strategic points, preventing flow of men or information in or out of the immediate region. New Cyre, it seemed, was their ultimate target, within weeks.

What to do, and when? Drellin’s Crossing was about to face an onslaught that it could not hope to defeat. The old stone bridge seemed like an important part of the monsters’ transport plan; and it seemed that other trails out of the Seawalls would be used to move unseen through the Crownwood and into the foothills south of New Cyre.

How could this invasion of the region be met, or perhaps stopped?


Meta
Aside from the messages, which are communiques between this advance base, some scouts, and some higher command to the south, and the regional map, there is no treasure to be found – no coin or magic or items of note in the room. Incidental coin is found on the dead troops to the tune of 52GP in total (they’re traveling light – and after all: they’re part of an invasion, not on a shopping trip). It’s clear, too, from the messages that scouts have been in the region for well over a month, and they’ve got solid, timely intel on forces, roads, and other important information from New Cyre to Drellin’s Crossing and farther north.

You can access a map of the region here. Each hex is about 2 miles across, putting New Cyre and Drellin’s Crossing roughly 60 miles apart. Note, too, that Drellin’s Crossing is not due east of New Cyre – it’s NE of it, and the Shrike River runs from NE to SW.

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The Crownwood
and the bridge over Cullin's Gorge

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The Crownwood is dense, and emerges around travelers quickly as they move westward along the Dawn Way or parallel to it along the northern slopes of the Seawalls. The terrain is hilly, with enough relief in the land to provide for multiple blind spots and hiding places, which are then compounded by the woods themselves. A trail leads to the southwest off the Dawn Way into the forest. Although overgrown and not as wide or clear as it once was, it’s visible enough to follow into the wood. This trail was suggested by Captain Leandra as the best way to get into the forest to see what, if anything, is there that’s related to the recent troubles.

Vraath Keep is deeper inside the forest, and the area around is it supposedly recognizable by a few farmsteds and other structures in the vicinity of an extension of the trail. Leandra has not been in the forest in a few years, however, and admits that it’s not an area with which she’s very familiar, anyway. In fact, she’s only seen the keep from a hilltop in a clearly a few miles from it, pointed out to her by her commander years ago when she was a newly-commissioned officer. She and others provide what information they can, but they don’t represent it as anything more than secondhand and out of date.


Meta
I’ll add more to the body of this post as you move around and ask questions.

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Drellin's Crossing
Decisions to be made, on a short schedule

Captain Leandra listens to Luc and Amarack’s recounting of their journey out of the Seawalls and into Breland and confirms that others in the immediate region have encountered hobgoblin groups over the last few days. Her patrol was on a regular swing through the area when this happened, and she’s already sent word to her higher HQ about the situation. Time, however, does not seem to be on your side.

“My concern is the Dawn Way – if they cut it, my message might not get out, and this town will be isolated,” she states flatly, referring to the trade route that connects the town and New Cyre and other settlements in the region.

“Based on what we’ve been able to gather over the last day or so, it looks like they’re operating out of the Crownwood, to the southeast,” she says, pointing to the area on the map. The Crownwood runs parallel to the foothills of the Seawalls, and stands generally between Drellin’s Crossing and New Cyre.

“There are some old structures in there – a keep, some farmsteds – and maybe they’re using them as anchors for their ops,” she continues. Terro, the Master, inhales and looks at Leandra, giving the sense that he intends to speak.

“Captain Leandra has agreed to help us secure the perimeter of the town,” he states in a hurried manner, then inhales slowly so as to calm himself, as if realizing that he was starting to get a little worked up.

“That’s all we can do, really – I’ve only got 9 troops with me after sending my rider out with the status report. I’m afraid we’re a bit isolated at this point,” she states in a grim tone, “should they try to attempt anything more than threatening travelers.”

Terro steps forward. “What are your intentions? I know that’s very direct, but if you intend to make for your home, you’ll likely head by where they’re hiding, if you can make it. Pardon my blunt tone, but what do you intend to do?” he asks.


The hobgoblin prisoner lolls his tongue around and curses in a slurred voice, labeling all humans in the root to be “turd-burgling milk-drinking baldmen” and other insults that would resonate with his kind.

What do you ask of him?

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