The Heroes' Crusade is a Dungeons & Dragons campaign for characters of 1st through 10th level. It is the first of three campaigns that take place in the world of Magos, the second and third being The Paragon War and The Bellicose Epic respectively. For information on creating a character for this campaign, go here.
The game takes place around the Hestavar/Arvandor border following over a hundred years of political strife and isolated conflicts between the two countries. Arvandor is said to be the site where the Gods claimed victory over the Primordials, desolating the land and leaving it barren. As a site of religious significance, the Erathian Kingdom of Hestavar has long sought to capture the "Sacred Land" from the Avandran Sultanate of Arvandor. Hestavar having now called for a crusade on Arvandor has left many border towns destitute as the result of drafts, heightened taxes, rationing and seizure of goods and property.
Main article: List of Heroes Crusade Characters
Below is a list of player characters in no particular order. A complete list is found in the link above:
Hector Tostenson: A twenty-year-old Dragoon from the hamlet of Ordallia. He is quite brash, fighting with complete disregard for his own safety. A man of unmeasurable bravery, others often misinterpret his lighthearted devil-may-care attitude as foolishness. As the son of the town guard captain, Hector knows how to conduct himself in a battlefield.
Kaiam Roslyn: A seventeen-year-old Pathfinder from the hamlet of Ordallia. Kaiam is even-tempered and faithful young man. He could be described as a fatalist as he very rarely lets anything get to him; chalking up both the good and the bad to "destiny". Kaiam is the son of traders and though he has knowledge of the trade, he lacks the charisma necessary to succeed in it.
Killiam McGruder: A twenty-two-year-old Paladin from the village of Draenor. Killiam was raised by Ogrillions and the experience is present in his massive physique and shamanistic personality. Having been raised among races much stronger than him has made him fiercely competitive. Killiam often feels the need to prove himself among other humans as well as the tribes of Draenor.
Renard Tostenson: A nineteen-year-old Hexblade from the hamlet of Ordallia. He is intellectual and introspective, often over-analyzing even the simplest tasks. Renard is proud and at times stubborn, unable to reconcile his physical and mental limits with the ever-expanding world around him. Being the son of the town mayor has given Renard the tools to succeed in his studies as well as a familiarity of diplomacy.
Robért de Lounge: A eighteen-year-old Priest of the Raven Queen from the hamlet of Ordallia. As an orphan with little to look forward to, he dedicated every ounce of his being to his faith. This resulted in Robért being bigoted and self-assured to the point of often astonishing even his closest friends.
Sekut Minonde: A twenty-one-year-old Assassin from the hamlet of Ordallia. He has always been enigmatic and quiet; a trait learned from his father whom even he knows little about.
Hundreds of years ago, the Gods from the Astral Sea and the Primordials from the Elemental Chaos met on the mortal plane, and eventually began war for dominance that became known as the Dawn War. The battle raged on for generations and as Gods and Primordials died in the struggle, the fight passed to their children and heirs. When Chauntea, mother to all humans was killed by the Primordial Eruk-Hus her essence split into two "daughters": Erathis, who embodied human versatility and decisiveness, and Avandra, who embodied human flexibility and resourcefulness. It was one of these Goddesses who dealt the final blow that defeated the Primordials in what is now known as Arvandor.
In the present, the Kingdom of Hestavar and the Sultanate of Arvandor both worship a pantheon of fourteen deities present during the Dawn War with a single "All-Mother" at its head. Whereas Hestavarians give the honor of being the Goddess who defeated the Primordials to Erathis, Arvandorians contribute as much to her sister Avandra. Hestavar, having conquered far enough East to share a boarder with Arvandor, eventually set their sights on the "Sacred Land" of Arvandor.
In the year 687, Hestavar called for a crusade on Arvandor and enlisted the aid of the Kingdom of Celestia and the Holy Ydoran Empire. The three nations led a massive army across Lake Benedict, where they would succeed in driving the Arvandorians from the city of Aposkos. Arguing over the spoils of war, the Celestian and Ydoran armies quickly became frustrated with the Hestavarian King's methods of conducting the war and left the Sacred Land in 691.
Following the loss of support from Celestia and Ydor, Hestavar greatly stepped up the draft in the areas closest to the conflict. This combined with steep wartime taxes brought many hamlets to the brink of ruin. One such hamlet, Ordallia, lost almost all their traders to the war effort and lacking sustainability, desperately sought to renew their trade routes.
Mayor Loius Tostenson of Ordallia, having few options to restore livelihood to his tiny hamlet, tasked his son Renard with solving the problem. Renard, along with his cousin Hector and their friends: Kaiam, Robért and Sekut decided to head to the mountain city of Tugg on a diplomatic mission to restore trade with Ordallia. It was the furthest any of them have ever been from home and they greeted the experience with both a feeling of trepidation and excitement. They bid their loved ones goodbye and hit the open road on horseback.
As they closed in on Tugg they were greeted by a phenomenon unknown to them: snow. The whimsy of the strange weather lost its appeal as the climb up the steep Snowpeak Mountains became treacherous. Arriving in Tugg, the city was quiet and foggy with a mere handful of townsfolk in the streets. After talking to a female citizen they were pointed in the direction of the chamber of commerce.
Upon entering the town hall they were greeted by a lame Goliath named Kalashnikov who leaves to summon the patriarch, Büran. In the interim they heard a scream and exited the building to find a gray human with protruding bone and rotten flesh shambling after a young girl. Kaiam and Robért made quick work of the creature and Renard headed off to find the girl it had attacked, using the time to compose himself. After the entire party had reconvened inside the town hall, they meet the massive Goliath Büran, leader of the town and its people. The party explained their situation and Büran sympathized saying all but four other men have been drafted for the war as well. Both parties then quickly agreed to terms of trade.
After unsuccessfully attempting to question the two Goliaths about the creature from before, the party left to return to Ordallia and reestablish trade elsewhere. Outside a bored Robért noticed a vast increase in snowfall that may make the return trip difficult. On the path Renard's horse was injured and Robért narrowly escaped the same fate as his own horse as it lost its footing and fell to its death. They had no choice but to turn around.
Back in town they rented a room at local inn and Hector inquired about a wrestling arena at the edge of town. Deciding a competition of strength to be the perfect boost to moral, Büran declared a tournament shall be held with the visitors as contestants. Renard, Kaiam and Sekut all entered alongside Hector but Robért chose to support them from the stands. Renard and Kaiam were quickly eliminated, followed by Sekut but Hector advanced to the final round where the reigning champ Zhüstky would fall in a fantastic display of athleticism.
Büran personally awarded Hector with the Goliath Champion's Gear and declared him to be a Goliath, if not in flesh, than in soul. Over an exotic feast that night the Hector learned that undead had been wandering into town from the abandoned temple to the northwest for some months now. Hector volunteered himself and his allies to investigate, knowing that the Goliaths have neither the time nor the resources to do so.
The next morning the adventurers would come upon an old decayed temple of the Raven Queen, the Unseelie goddess of winter. As the adventurers entered the building they were immediately overrun as undead flooded out of the many rooms of the temple. Hector tried to hold the party together as Kaiam and Robért abjured and rebuked the undead with their faith. A panicked Renard and Sekut lash out at corpses, mistaking them for undead in the confusion. Eventually however, the party pulls together and vanquishes the last of the undead.
After the battle the party searched the temple and there didn't seem to be anything of significance except a small white crystal which Robért took for himself. Upon further exploration they find a strange concentration of prismatic energy in an octagonal room and Robért's crystal turned from pearlescent to translucent. The energy faded away the party found the entire temple had become bright and whimsical. The dilapidated rooms were fully furbished and now included a magnificent library and bedroom. Having pilfered items from the various rooms the boys found the main entrance to be bound shut by some magical force.
The adventurers began to search the temple for a way out when Kaiam discovered a hidden room with a recently deceased corpse. The body was human-like but significantly more slender with pointed ears and other sharp, striking features. In his hand was a crystal not unlike Robért's but obsidian in color rather than pearl. On a mantle in front of the body was a book written in Elven that seemed to be set to a certain page. Renard read the words aloud and despite the nature of their location, the party felt the temple get noticeably colder.
Still unable to exit the temple they returned to the octagonal room to find the prismatic energy has returned. Like before, when the black crystal was exposed to the energy it was seemingly absorbed and the stone became clear. The building had become dark and bleak and new door presented itself at the opposite side of the room. With no other choice the party marched forward into the unknown.
As the door closed around them, the party was consumed by shadow as a fearsome beast let out a deafening howl. A huge creature of shadow with a dark wooden mask concealing a prismatic gem attacked. Sinking in and out of the floor and walls it proved to be invulnerable to harm. Eventually the party struck at the crystal itself, which seemed to cause the creature pain and after a devastating strike, the gem was removed from the shadow being altogether. When it reemerged it suffered numerous mortal blows before Sekut finally removed its head. With the shadow being gone and its blue/indigo crystal in their possession, the temple returned to normal. The group, relieved that the events that transpired were over, exited the temple to find clear skies.
Making their way to the town hall they spoke with Büran who was relieved to hear the ordeal was over. He asked if there is anything he can provide for them and Hector asked only for steeds to replace those they lost and the necessary provisions to return home. Büran complied and the party saddled up set out for home, bidding Tugg adieus. The ride back was joyous and filled with laughter. The elation of the adventures yet to come didn't subside until they came within sight of Ordallia where plumes of black smoke poured over the tree line.
Taking a Step BackEdit
With great haste they arrived to find a town ravaged by war, with no building left untouched. Fires burned, bodies littered the streets and death filled the air. The party returned to their respective homes where they would find only heirlooms. Robért however arrived at his church to find it being ransacked by some kind of devil people. He was attacked, and though he put up a good fight, was ultimately captured. After rendezvousing with the each other at the center of town the others searched for Robért but found only his haversack.
The adventurers decided to head toward the river in search of survivors. Arriving at the sound of conflict, the party was caught in a three way battle between themselves and two opposing armies. The dragon army quickly retreated leaving the adventurers to fight the devils. The devil people succeeded in isolating the adventurers for a time, but eventually, the enemy was scattered the last of the troops were chased down and killed. No survivors were found but they did find corpses of townsfolk that had been drafted almost a year ago. They also found the remnants of broken cages and wagon tracks heading from the center of town.
After a short rest they made haste to the west side of town where they were greeted by a pile of bodies. On a nearby rooftop two figures appeared to be locked in an epic battle. Renard tried approach the source of the clashing steel but was hit with a devastating attack, throwing him from the roof’s edge and knocking him unconscious. The rest of the party was overrun by devil people who exited the various buildings they appeared to have been ransacking.
When Renard woke up he founds himself at the center of the pile of bodies. While desperately trying to escape he couldn't help but recognize many of the faces of the corpses - all former neighbors, Kaiam’s parents included. Trying to maintain his composure, Renard rejoined the fight attempting to help turn the tide of battle, but they were outnumbered ten-to-one. The party was felled one after another by the devil's poisons until finally Kaiam fell to his knees. As he faded in and out of consciousness he looked toward the trees where all manner of beasts appeared to be running towards him from.
Kaiam woke up in a bed of simple make in a bare rustic room. Out of the windows he could see what appeared to be treetops and upon further inspection found himself in a tree-house far up an old timber. A large, tusked human pointed him in the direction of his friends where he found small skittish men scurrying back and forth tending to an injured Renard, Hector and Sekut. Kaiam attempted to help but was rushed out by the healers. After the whole party is awake they were told they could all retrieve their weapons from the elder.
Arriving at the elders hut they found a massive man covered in spectacular pelts sitting on an earthen chair beckoning them inside. The man introduced himself as Akken, leader of what he calls Shifters of a village called "Limamn". At his right was Rei, a smaller female with catlike features, who served as his most valued warrior and leader of the Razorclaw tribe. Akken told the adventurers that they were caught in the latest battle between the empires of Hestavar and Arvandor and that dragon people the adventurers saw were apparently a race called Dragonborn who hail from Hestavar whereas the devils are a people called Tieflings from Arvandor.
The party thanked Akken for his time and headed back to Ordallia. There most of the fires had subsided and the bodies appeared to have been collected and destroyed. Renard pulled Kaiam aside and told him of his parents fate. Kaiam, though grief stricken, was ultimately relieved that he knew the truth. Continuing to search for life well into the next settlement of River Town, it appeared that they had suffered the same fate. With all routes blocked by troops the adventurers had no choice but to return to Limamn. Akken offered them each amnesty and a place in the tribes. Hector joined the Beasthide, Kaiam the Longtooth, Renard the Wildhunt and Sekut the Cliffwalk. They were all given sacred tattoos that confered the benefits of their respective tribes.
The adventurers lost all sense of time among the shifters, though they learned much. They also participated in the Reach Race, a perennial festival to determine the Alpha Shifters. The entire party did well for humans, but Renard of all people is given the honor of being a Loreguard Alpha. In the distance Renard noticed a glow and left the festivities to investigate. Deep within the forest the party would come upon a star-shaped doorway, similar to the symbol of Corellon, that caused crystal from Robérts bag to glow. Through the empty doorway the interior of a mansion formed when exposed to the crystal.
Inside, the palace was magnificently furbished with the most luxurious of furniture and decor. Warm food and full burning candles could be found throughout the area but no people seemed to be present. The heroes would find that the palace itself was as much of a threat as any enemy. Narrowly escaping a series of intricate traps by solving a several complicated puzzles, the party was ambushed by a plethora of black-skinned, pointy-eared humans; two of which are large and spider-like.
The adventurers were constantly hampered by webbing and poisons but by displaying some fancy footwork, they quickly dispatched the smaller foes. Turning their attention to the larger, more spider-like creatures, Sekut and Kaiam isolated them while Renard and Hector helped hold them in place. Eventually an opportunity presented itself and both enemies were eviscerated. From their bodies the party recovered a green crystal similar to the one they received in Tugg, as well as a mislabeled map of the area. Unable to make heads or tails of the parchment the party returned to Limamn to ask Akken about the map.
Searching for Loved OnesEdit
Akken, unable to decipher the source of the maps discrepancies, noted that there are areas circled that seem to correspond with Limamn, Tugg and places called Hunter’s Marsh and Osh-Shaitan. He remarked that the former owner of this map was must have been looking for something. Kaiam then informed Akken that the party had found these mysterious looking crystals in the circled locations near Tugg and Limamn, theorizing that they might be able to find answers in the other areas. Renard reluctantly agreed to go on the quest until further information about their families’ whereabouts presented itself.
Almost on cue, Rei rushed inside the building and told Akken that her scouts had tracked down prisoners of war being taken down a trail east of River Town and that it was possible that survivors from Ordallia are among them. The adventures felt reinvigorated by this new information and asked Akken if he could provide them with mounts. The party had a horse and a goat returned to them that were rescued from Ordallia, as well as a bear and tiger mount as a gift from the tribe.
Armed with new information the party set out for Arvandor in search of Robért and their families. As chance would have it they came across an incapacitated Robért after traveling for several days. Robért recounted being captured and detained for some time by Tieflings in a village fortress nearby. He contributed his escape to the appearance of a shadowy rescuer. The party then attempted to retrace Robért's steps in hopes that their family members were held in the same place.
Arriving at a small village that fit Robért's description, the party saw people from Ordallia working the fields in addition to a heavy guard presence. The heroes charged the gates launching an all out assault on the village. Their former neighbors were rushed into buildings as the Tieflings mounted their counter attack. It would seem the party caught the enemy unprepared as the militia presence quickly fell. An over-confident Sekut was caught off guard by the slash of a longsword. At the other end was an angry Louis Tostenson, mayor of Ordallia and father to Renard.
Louis explained that the people of the nearby village that controlled this camp had rescued them from their captors. While doing their best to atone for their transgression, the adventurers enjoyed a short reunion with some of their neighbors. Kaiam was reunited with his childhood friend Woody Stumpwimple, a halfling from River Town. While Renard tried to coprehend the exact nature of the situation his conversation with his father was cut short by a powerful wind and the echoes of chanting.
A strange mage assaulted the village, taring it apart piece by piece while several Tiefling worg riders attacked its inhabitants. The party narrowly escaped the village's destruction and engaged the enemy in mounted combat. The sandstorm chased them as they pursued the mage, slaying countless Tieflings along the way. Rapidly approaching a large canyon, the party dropped the mage in the nick of time, quelling the storm that chased them. Having no idea where they had ended up, or where there neighbors had escaped to, they found, albeit accidentally, the place where Robért was held.
While canvasing the fortress that was now in front of them, Horus, Sekut's father, appeared to be entering the building from the side. Sekut and Kaiam being the stealthier members of the group were nominated to infiltrate the fortress in search of Horus and any other friends or family members that may be held against their will while the others kept lookout. Inside they encountered what could only be the remnants of some sort assassin. After descending a strange hidden staircase and finding a door adorned with the symbol of Pelor, were knocked unconscious by an unseen assailant.
Outside, soldiers returning from patrol began to flank the other three adventurers. Reluctantly abandoning their steeds, including Hector's beloved tiger, Robért and the cousins descended into the chasm. Before long the soldiers investigated the area and upon finding the adventurer's tethered bodies, severed the ropes supporting them. After recovering from Hector landing on them, Robért and Renard made haste for an adjacent cavern to escape the approach of Arvandorian soldiers. Hector followed after a quick, tearful last glance at his tiger.
Waking in complete darkness, in what felt like a tomb, Kaiam and Sekut were solicited by a mysterious voice. The voice said it was part of an order that sought to restore law and peace through calculated political assassinations. The voice didn't acknowledge the notions of good or evil, only one of balance and that in order to stop Hestavarian aggression several key figures must die. The voice told Kaiam that to this end he must seek out a man named Sallah and kill him. If he did, he would be on the way to incalculable power. If he did not, he would be killed. Sekut was instructed similarly though each one's orders were given unbeknownst to the other as they "awoke" shortly thereafter, side by side.
Not far away the others had discovered a massive treasure room in the cave they'd taken refuge in. Lining their pockets with all manner of gold and jewels, heavy breathing crawled down their back. Behind them a red dragon demanded to know what they were doing with his treasure. He then offered to spare their lives if they helped him transport it to a more secure location. Having no other choice but to agree, the party and the dragon began to leave the cave only to be stopped by an even older looking brown dragon. It would seem they were duped by a red dragon seeking to steal the brown dragon's treasure with their help.
Now caught in a three way fight with a red and brown dragon, Robért, Hector and Renard attempted to escape the cavernous maze and elude pursuers for the second time that night. After being separated while looking for an exit, Sekut and Kaiam had entered the fray through a small opening the tomb they were in. The brown dragon claimed victory over the red and eventually the entire party, sans Robért, met up at the cave's center.
On their last legs, the party encountered some unexpected help from Tiefling freedom fighters. With the Tieflings covering their escape, the party fell back into the canyon with the brown dragon hot on their heals. No one was in any condition to fight it and the dragon quickly tore through a dozen men before something attacked it from above. Tumbling down from the sky, the dragon and its assailant crashed to the ground. The creature was Hector's tiger and both it and the dragon were dead.
While in the camp of their rescuers, Renard was once again reunited with his father though the conversation this time seemed to drive a rift between them. The leader of the village, a young Tiefling and childhood pen-pal of Renard's, offered the adventurers food, water and lodging and sent a search party after Robért. Though Renard and Louis referred to him as Abdur-Shaitan, it was what his troops called him that came of interest to Kaiam and Sekut. It would appear the name of the benefactor of their escape - was Sallah.
As the party debated their plan of action and wandered the area, the crystals they had received in Tugg and Limamn began to glow. Unearthing a temple of ancient origin the heroes would find another crystal and a powerful enemy: a djinn. The ensuing battle decimated much of the encampment and seemed to have served as a diversion for another attacker nearby. The energies from the djinn's attacks affected the area in strange ways as well, like reviving Hector's tiger as a spectral version of itself. When all was said and done they possessed the djinn's orange/yellow crystal, few answers and even more questions.
Knights and AssassinsEdit
Unable to discern a clear path of action, Kaiam would eventually share his charge with his companions. Sekut, not wanting to be put in a situation where he would have to harm his friend, quickly agreed to assist Kaiam with the assassination. Hector, unable to wrap his head around Robért's disappearance and all else that had transpired also gave his silent approval. Finally, Renard, whom the others thought would oppose the idea most fervently, offered little resistance to the suggestion. It would seem his anger the revelation of his father's true melancholy nature, forced even him to despair.
Kaiam and Sekut, with swords drawn, spirited into Sallah's tent late that night. There they were greeted by a pool of blood and the aftermath of untold carnage. From the shadows emerged Sekut's father, Horus, claiming to have killed Sallah himself. Horus would tell the two youths of his longstanding involvement with the Assassins of Zehir and congratulate them on their mettle. Gaining any other information from the exchange proved difficult, if not impossible. Horus then disappeared back into shadow, explaining that the Assassin's would be in touch soon.
Reuniting with their companions on the way out of town, the tension between the group quickly turned to open hostility. Hector and Renard not wanting to take part in whatever plot the Assassins of Zehir have, decided to head back to Hestavar and seek refuge with the Dwarves. Kaiam and Sekut chose to continue towards the last location marked on their map and whatever awaited them there. A cloud hanged over the young adventurers as they part ways.
Choosing first to head back to the dragons cave in search of their missing ally and the treasure they left behind, Kaiam and Sekut were cut off by Arvandorian cavalry. Any attempt to elude their pursuers was met with failure. Eventually they were caught and forced to relinquish their arms. They were then taken into custody under suspicion of regicide.
Far to the south, Hector and Renard had reached the low mountains that separate Hestavar and Arvandor. They too encountered Arvandorian military but a mounted knight came to their rescue. The knight revealed himself to be Arlin Tostenson, Hector's father. After a heartfelt reunion Arlin told the boys that he had come out that direction because his brother Louis, Renard's father, had sent for him and that Louis was dead. A detached Renard took the news well, as both he and Hector hid the fact that they must have left the camp in question moments before Arlin arrived.
After learning of Kaiam and Sekut's involvement with the Assassins of Zehir, Arlin told of his own order, the Knights of Torm and its longstanding conflict with the Assassins. He then offered induction into the Knights and the power that came with it, as a means to protect his son and nephew in his stead. Hector having accepted, was charged with finding an old family friend named Airadin and delivering him news of his son's death as Arlin was needed back in Hestavar. The cousins continued to feign ignorance of the events of the encampment, though they knew that the son of this Airadin was the very man whose murder their friends carried out. Arlin bestowed the boys with a brooch that would assist in Hector's task before leaving to tend to his own duties.
Several days later up north, Kaiam and Sekut were brought before an enormous encampment a few short miles away from the contested city of Aposkos. There they would be brought before Sultan Ehir ah-Din Yusif bin Ayyubi himself, ruler of Arvandor. It came as a surprise to the two adventurers to learn that Sallah was the son of the Sultan. As they continued to deny any involvement in his death, the Sultan gradually became more enraged at the boys' guile. As guards escorted the two away the Sultan informed them they were to be executed at dawn.
Shortly thereafter, Hector and Renard arrived at the very same encampment and after turning over their weapons and implements, were brought before the Sultan. As surprised as their compatriots were to find that Sallah was the son of the King, Renard informed him of both Sallah and Louis' deaths as well as some of their exploits. The Sultan, impressed by the young boys story offered them his thanks as well as temporary asylum. Hector then inquired as to the meaning of the brooch.
Airadin, regaled the boys with a tale of adventure that crossed worlds. A group called the "Hexad Heroes," that consisted of Arlin, himself and three others ventured into the feywild and fought the monster Dragmire freeing it from his tyranny. Though one of their number, Aluora Solidor, was lost, they were forged by an unbreakable bond. When Renard asked about his father's involvement Airadin simply stated that Louis was not lacking in courage, just skill.
When asked about Sallah, Airadin told the cousins that he was a peaceable patriot but his idealist nature drove a rift between them. Continuing on to explain the Arvandoran hierarchy, Airadin told the boys that each of the thirteen tribes of Arvandor provides a new Sultan with a bride who bears him children. It is for that reason that Sallah was but one of twenty-three children and the youngest boy.
Kaiam was eventually brought in the room at his own request. Attempting to gain the Sultan's favor, he instead earned only Airadin's ire. Renard and Hector did their best to conceal their relationship with Kaiam as he bargained for Sekut's freedom as a last ditch effort - knowing his own unhappy fate to be sealed. The Sultan agreed to Kaiam's terms and has his son Achbal, along with Renard and Hector, escorted Kaiam to the gallows.
After Renard helped to orchestrate an elaborate escape for Kaiam, the encampment came under siege from a handful of djinn. A feminine voice helped Kaiam escape while the rest of the camp took up arms against their attackers. The battle seemed to gradually favor the Arvandorans and the party, now rejoined by a released Sekut, until a robed figure entered the fray. Laying waste to everything in its path, Airadin chose to engage the beast in single combat while the party found and escorted his family to safety. Renard found a tent full of women who he directed to safety before attempting to rejoin with Airadin.
Kaiam, seeing the carnage and worrying for his friends, returned to the battlefield to help. Almost immediately however, Airadin commanded the party to retreat. As Kaiam headed back out of the city, the woman's voice from before directed him to Mira, the Princess of Arvandor, who was still hiding in a tent nearby. Infatuated by her rescuer, Mira bestowed Kaiam with a Tiefling charm as a symbol of her affection and implored him to leave before the dust settled, as his heroism will not stay his execution. Sekut followed him shortly thereafter and the two headed back to Ordallia.
An explosion rocked the entire camp. As Renard and Hector returned to the scene of the battle to investigate, they were greeted by an enormous crater. Inside they found Airadin who was seriously injured. Staying to help the recovery over the next few days, the cousins found that the Sultan had slipped into a coma and they relayed his last words of, "too far," to Achbal who was serving as the acting leader at the camp. Once the relief effort no longer required their services the two return to Ordallia to meet with the others.
The Fourth CrystalEdit
In Ordallia, the four young men reunited in the place where it had all started. With Robért still missing, the boys found at least some relief in the peace that was allotted them by returning home. Despite all that had happened they began to forget that which drove a wedge between them. For the first time in a long time they talked and laughed together as friends.
While trying to decide what to do and where to go next, they agreed it prudent to visit the last location marked on their map and the crystal that awaited them there. It was at that time that they realized that they had left the other crystals at Airadin's camp.
While making preparations for the trip, Hector, Kaiam and Sekut received instructions from their respective guilds. Hector was charged with seeking out the Knight Templar who trained his father, a man named Doga in Hunter's Marsh. Kaiam and Sekut however were only given a name, "Pete Jones", though they were certain they would find him at their destination.
On the way to Airadin's camp, the adventurers found that the conflict with Aposkos had escalated since they had left. Pushing forward to the camp, Renard entered alone to avoid conflict. Retrieving the crystals from customs with little difficulty, it was apparent that Achbal had been using his father's illness and his new-found power to escalate the border conflict into all out war. Unable to gain any insight on the situation, Renard returned to his friends and the group continued onto Hunter's Marsh.
Following closely alongside the Fawkes River, the party looked for a crossing point into the marsh. Eventually they came upon a small shack that was home to a Halfling named Kyle who agreed to trade them his simple raft for Sekut's horse (which he had stolen from Airadin's camp). He also gave the group detailed directions to navigate the rapids into the marsh. The party boarded the small raft and set out for Hunter's Marsh.
Kyle's directions, which he had drawn on a piece of parchment, were quickly destroyed by the water. While trying to navigate the river's winding path by memory the party was attacked by several aquatic creatures. Eventually they were accosted by a gigantic river snake as their raft drifted into a marsh basin. Sundering their raft and sending them flying, the powerful river snake was brought down by a series of powerful attacks led by Sekut.
As soon as they crawled on land and dried off, a dozen tiny green creatures jumped down from the trees. The creatures, which they would later learn were goblins, darted in and out of the trees and began poking them with sticks. Realizing that they were in little to no danger, the adventurers tried to subdue their tiny assailants. The goblins eventually became disoriented during the fight and began arguing amongst themselves.
A strange whooping noise then cut through the air and caused the now terrified goblins to absconded deep into the marsh. As the party felt a powerful presence wash over them, a goblin appeared nearby, as if from thin air, finishing Kaiam's thought for him. Seeming fearful of the party's weapons and astounded by their "technology," he began rummaging through their haversacks, claiming a lantern for his own. When Renard tried to take back the item he told them he wouldn't help them unless he was able to keep it.
After some debate it was revealed that the goblin knew of Doga, the Knight Templar whom Hector was told to seek out. Offering to lead the party to Doga, the goblin took the party into the goblin village of Nilbog. There Hector joined him for a meal while the others took a look around town.
Once alone, the goblin reintroduced himself to Hector as Doga, the Knight Templar whom he was told to seek out. Warning Hector of his assassin allies, he helped him to hone his knightly skills and perfect his sanction over his enemies. After some amount of discussion he gave Hector a charge: take with him a strange key, find a way to destroy the key and never use it.
Outside, the rest of the party explored the village and learned of a mysterious leader known only as "Father". There they also ran into the goblins who had assaulted them earlier. Among them were: Bing-Bong, the goblin archer, Marrrrr, village practitioner of "knife style" fighting and Zip-A-Dee-Doo who seemed very pleasant but seemed to think she was a dwarf. The goblins all pointed them in the direction of "Father"'s hut.
Rejoining with Hector, they entered "Father"'s hut and met a slender young man with tapered ears who claimed to be the man who they were looking for. When the party inquired about any temples in the area, "Father" replied that he only knew of an old abandoned temple of Bane. When asked about the village the group learned that the goblins and bugbears of Nilbog were once ruled by violent creatures called Hobgoblins and that "Father" helped them overthrow their evil masters. Since then, the remaining Hobgoblins took up residence in a nearby tower of mysterious origin.
Too be continued...