The Hero's Journey

Welcome to your campaign!
A blog for your campaign

Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

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

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

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.

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Building a campaign world Pt.1
The conversation about 5th ed. begins

Ivan, Dave and I discussed where we go from here. The feeling is that we start with D&D 5th edition from level 1. I personally would like to keep it a very open and generic fantasy world where any of us can try our hand at DMing an adventure, I am happy to offer my services as default DM in between such forays. I would say that the list of Greyhawk Gods in the D&D 5th ed. appendix is sufficient enough for our needs, not 100’s of liitle godlings ala the current builder.

Ivan said:
After playing a supers/manga game for so long, it would be good to get back into some medieval fantasy. Personally I think it would be good for an ongoing campaign to have one main GM with an occasional guest spot, rather than an alternating roster. That way some overarching storyline stuff can gradually evolve in the background during the campaign.

Also it would be good to agree on a few basics so that we all create characters for the same world:

1. Demihumans. With us all being first level (in a game where first level is not amazingly powerful), it makes sense for us to all come from a fairly local region. Because of that, we need to work out some of the stuff with demihumans (ie. it’s hard to imagine a completely inexperienced dwarf who has already travelled from the Dwarven Mountains halfway across the world to be in this starting town). So the options there are that the local scene is incredibly multi-racial, the demihuman lands are all fairly close by, or that the PC’s parents travelled away from their homeland to live in this human town.

2. Government. Is the starting town governed by a local independent lordling, part of a baron’s sizable fiefdom, or just a tiny piece of a huge sprawling empire? Is the town at the edge of civilisation or near the heart of it? Is it ruled by a noble, a priest, a guildmaster, or an elected mayor?

3. Culture. Generally we have assumed a European feudal medieval norm, but it would be good to confirm that. Even then, there may be some things that need to be sorted out; eg. is slavery legal? There is also the question of how the demihuman cultures vary. For example, do elves marry? Considering elves are so flighty but live for so long, it’s possible that their concepts around mating and family could be completely different to humans. That’s just one example.

4. Magic. How common is magic, and how much influence does it have on local culture? If wizards are so powerful at higher levels, what stops them from ruling the world? Or do they already? Is there an oath that is part of the wizard’s training not to take positions of government? Are wizards naturally treated with suspicion and distrust because of a history of tyrannical wizards? Is wizardry an open activity with a wizard’s shoppe in most towns; or is wizardry outlawed and practised in secret? How does all this affect other spell casters?

5. Language. One of the things that has often bugged me is the way roleplaying and mechanics get mixed up sometimes, especially when it comes to character classes. Do the words “paladin”, “cleric”, and “ranger” exist in the local language? If so, what do they mean? In the local culture, is there any difference in meaning between a “wizard”, a “sorcerer”, and a “warlock”? Does a “monk” generally serve a particular deity; or is a “monastery” something quite different to what medieval Europe would understand? What does the word “adventurer” mean? What are the local connotations behind it?

There’s a lot of details here and probably some other stuff I haven’t thought of, but I think these are worth at least considering. I’m not saying we have to build the entire world from the very beginning, but it might be nice to at least have some things sorted beforehand. I suspect that there’ll be some things that Penguin will already have in mind, but other things we can work out among us all.

Werz said:
I agree that world building details don’t need to be exhaustive up front, but some of this stuff nutted out and understood by the group is great for tone and feel and a real sense of place.

I really enjoyed the 5th Ed one off Darren ran because of the strong world elements defined: The setting was under the somewhat tyrannical rule of an Emperor – and the little people lived under a kind of police state, oppressed by a ruling class of Imperial elites who were served by wizards. Folks resisting the empire were hunted enemies of the state. The empire was human centric.

Dan said:
I like the role playing to be escapism, so I have no problems with Penguin’s points 2 and 3. Point 1, however, hits a little too close to home. Having recently paid my binding oath to the TRB (formerly WACOT), a tithe that will continue until the death of my career, the thought of labouring under the yoke of an oppressive bureaucracy sounds an awful lot like a day in the office/classroom. As long as the game is not constrained by the backdrop it should be alright, but that depends a little bit on who’s taking the reins. I think that we need to feel, even at a low level, like we are able to make a positive impact on the world, and not impotent and beholden to our “betters”. An educators out there feeling me?

Dave said:
I think all of the suggested broad settings could work, although I’d certainly agree with Dan that whatever background we end up with I’d like us to be able to make a difference in it. There is a certain appeal to throwing down the cruel Abbott Tony after all.

Also, I’d like to vote in favour of rotating DMs (not least because I’d like a chance to be one) presumably with some degree of co-ordination re tone and overall direction.

Werz said:
These are all excellent thoughts.

Totally with Dan on escaping bureaucracy. I’d rather play an outlaw freedom fighter than a tiny sprocket in a rusty machine.
A sense of hope in the game would be great.

Agree with Dave that the option to rotate DMs would be nice. This will feel smoother if the world has good definition.

Attracted to Darren’s suggestion of a “generic” fantasy setting – but think this will need more definition than choosing a list of gods – though that’s a good start. Questions of culture between and across races is particularly pertinent.

Darren said:
I actually thought it would be quite cathartic to be the fly in the ointment of the bureaucratic empire. To do more than just protest with a placard and actually show the small folk that they can aspire to more than meting out a living was appealing. :)

Dave had a setting years ago [and Dave will be better at explaining it, so get on that Dave – gauntlet hits floor] where a high-elven civilisation landed on a neighbouring continent and “civilised” the area around them. The society now has an aristocracy [mainly of high elves] that is ruled by their emperor. The common folk, made up of the conquered races, have long sice been integrated into the empire and can earn their way to any position that they aspire to. The expanding borders of the empire move through the ruins of ancient, fallen civilisations where the races have descended into barbarism [eg. the fallen orc empire] There are ancient ruins, sites of power, terrible villains and more outside the empire while within are tales of intrigue, mundane evils and secret societies etc. to tangle with.

Werz, I only suggested the pantheon of gods as I feel it should be a joint player task to define the races/cultures. The person playing that race should be allowed to set down some ideas about the race [it did attract their interest after all].

I suggest that we are new members of an adventurers guild. This way players can “swap” out characters for different adventurers depending on their mood plus explains the use of different characters when another DM is at the reins. Just a thought.

Personally I am likely to make Gehrigan – son of an aristocratic human house from the heart of civilisation, sent to an elven finishing school that specialised in the arcane arts who found that he had a love of the old stories of heroes fighting ancient evils, of rescuing maidens in distress, of stopping bandit raids on defenceless villages. He wants to be a defender of the weak, a bright light against the darkness.

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Life on the frontier

In the three and a half centuries since the Qeryon Intervention, the borders of Imperial territory on Feloria Major have remained almost static. Even as late as a century after the Intervention, the frontier was repeatedly tested by the remnants of the Kadeshi Autarchate and the elves, their own lines from Qeryos overextended and the infrastructure of the Dresdan Empire in ruins, were often hard-pressed to repel these assaults. Consequently, they focused their efforts upon establishing a strong defensive cordon while pouring resources into rebuilding the West, a strategy which performed double service as it did much to erode support for anti-Qeryon elements within the former Dresdan territories over time.

By the time of the final collapse of Autarchate power in central Feloria, the Empire’s attention had largely turned south to the rich resources of Feloria Minor and west across the ocean to new colonies on Orias, and successive Imperial Governors chose to continue to build on what previous policies had established. Over the next hundred and fifty years a number of attempts were made to establish new settlements to the east of the Imperial perimeter, made without formal Imperial support and meeting with little success.

In IR951 Imperial policy shifted once more, the Ordinatus announcing substantial financial and capital incentives to any citizen or group willing to participate in a renewed eastward colonization effort. The response was tremendous, tens of thousands of eager hopefuls making their way to the frontier in anticipation of the announced date.

While at first appearing successful, the event ultimately proved a bloody disaster. More than half of the participants fell victim to bandits, hostile natives and monsters within the year, and most of the survivors were forced to retire to the protection of the Imperial border fortresses. Only the town of Marr’s Hill survives from that expansion, a lonely beacon of civilization almost two hundred miles beyond the border cordon.

In the wake of the debacle the Empire once again suspended eastward expansion for almost a decade while the Ordinatus examined the cause for its failure and established a chain of military outposts protecting the lines of communication and supply to Marr’s Hill. Noting that new settlements invariably sprung up around these outposts, it was determined that it would be the Imperial military rather than its citizenry that would take the lead in the next attempt at expansion. Seven years ago over a dozen expeditionary forces were dispatched to establish footholds in the wilds.

Four of these expeditions set out from Marr’s Hill. One had the misfortune to encounter a sizeable raiding party bound for the town, and although successful in repulsing the attack was forced to abort its mission. The remaining three were able to establish and hold their fortifications as planned.

The boldest of these expeditions established Fort Merrick some seventy miles east of Marr’s Hill. Nine years later the town of Fairloch which has sprung up under the fort’s aegis has a population of almost a thousand and is growing steadily as the productivity of the nearby mines continues to rise. Fairloch is the most isolated outpost of civilization on Feloria, and although its situation is now at least somewhat stable there is no question that it remains vulnerable.

The town of Fairloch is situated in the foothills of the mountain range called the Halls of the Mountain King, on the southern shore of a long, winding lake named the Serpent. It lies on the approach to the only major pass through the mountain range, the location of one of the most brutal military assaults of the Kadeshi Wars. The ruins of Uldheim, one of the greatest cities of the old Empire, lie only a few miles north-east across the lake. The original plan for the settlement was that it be established within those ruins, but when scouting parties found the old city infested with monsters the expedition’s commander opted for one of the secondary sites instead.

The site ultimately chosen for Fort Merrick was atop a steep, rocky hill at the southern tip of the Serpent, an easily defensible location affording excellent views of the surrounding lands. Construction of the central keep was completed ahead of schedule, but with the garrison spread increasingly thin as the town below has burgeoned progress slowed and the main curtain wall was only completed a little over a year ago.

The current garrison strength is a single Banner (company) made up of three Marks (platoons), a total of a hundred and twenty troops. One Mark is assigned to garrison the fort, the others sharing patrol and civil works duties. In the event of a major attack, it is expected of every able-bodied civilian that they serve as auxiliaries under the garrison commander’s authority.

Command of the garrison would normally be handled by a Banner Captain, but Fort Merrick’s Captain Eric Scharnvonn was severely wounded in a skirmish two months ago and his duties are currently being shared by his adjutant, Subaltern Vari Havelock, and the bailiff-commander of the town militia, Sir Eamon Malory. Popular opinion suggests that the relationship is not harmonious, but functional. The two are subordinate to the town’s Magistrate, Leopold Marr, the second son of Baron Viktor of Marr’s Hill.

Construction of the town of Fairloch began only weeks after work began on the fort with construction of a shrine to Calenard, the Qeryon god of Public Works, Civil Engineering and Siege Warfare, laid down at the foot of Garrison Hill. This was swiftly followed by the clearing of the nearby woods and construction of a wooden palisade, sewer network and plank roads thus establishing the layout of the town in accordance with pre-laid plans.

Over the past decade the town has grown beyond its original perimeter and plans have been laid for a second palisade roughly a half-mile beyond the original. Beyond even this expanded perimeter lie the farmlands which have expanded north- and westwards, and the satellite town of Three Oaks some ten miles south which serves primarily as the bunk town for miners working in the four operating iron mines which are currently the cornerstone of Fairloch’s economy.

The town’s most distinctive landmark is Hilda, the centuries-old hulk of a Kadeshi war-golem that lends its (nick)name to the main square in which it stands. The Hall of Law and the Bell and Bird Tavern – widely acknowledged as Fairloch’s most important civil facilities – front onto Hilda’s Court. The Bell was the first private building completed in Fairloch and has served as the town’s primary social hub ever since.

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Past is Prologue
Sir Gehrigan writes to an old friend

Dear Helian,

As I have no recollection of the conclusion of our last adventure, beyond our arrival at the Volcano Island, I can only conclude by my survival that we stymied, if not defeated, our enemies.

I know not how I ended up on that lonely beach in Faloria Major or why my memories are so fractured but I do know that I am not the man I once was.

Heironeous’s call, once so clear to me, is now silent and I have had to retrain my martial skills to attain any level of competency. My sword and shield work is not up to the standard it once was so I have chosen to train differently, stretch some new mental muscles, and practice at wielding two swords at once.

Steering in a different path from my Paladin training has been fruitful. Training in the new skills has gone a lot faster than retraining those that were taken from me. I must conclude that Heironeous has laid out a different path before me than being one of his holy knights.

I have struck out to the frontier again in the hope that being near the sites of our early adventures might refresh my memories.

I live with the hope that you and my other companions are still alive somewhere and that we may see each other again.

You are and always will be my friend.

Gehrigan

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Cat puts quill to parchment
Letter to the Monastery

Dear Mother Protector,
I am making practice of marking words on paper as you asked.
I tried to read books as you also asked, but I find them very tiring and uninteresting.
I also find marking these words uninteresting, but not as tiring.
I have walked very far.
There was some trouble on the road.
I met a skinny dragon man and his sister. I liked them.
I found a place where travellers meet called the Bell and Bird.
There are no birds, but there is a bell.
There is a very good fire.
The dragon man was there. I still liked him. He is kind and brave.
I also met an elf. He is very likeable, for an elf. He is clean. He is clever and makes magic and tricks.
I also met a fancy man. He is very sad for a fancy man. He is also very kind for a fancy man, except when there is a fight, then he draws two fancy blades and cuts people apart like a fancy butcher. He doesn’t get angry or frightened or happy. You say, there is no fear on the way, so I don’t let him know how much he scares me.
Dragon man, Magic elf, fancy man and me travelled with a big hairy nose man and a hunter dwarf to free some people and kill some slavers.
We freed some people and killed some slavers. The magic elf made people fall out of trees. That was a lot of fun. I liked it. The dragon man tried to face down all the slavers without hurting them. I thought he might be on the highest way, but then he burned them with his mouth. The fancy man sliced up slavers like cheese to go on bread.
I found some fresh venison. I ate it.
The three I like are going to kill more slavers with me soon.
We are back at the Bell and Bird now.
There are still no birds.
I ate some stew.
There was rabbit and potatoes and turnips and carrot in it.
I swapped some of my coins for it.
This is a better fire than the fire at the Sanctuary.
I like this fire.
I borrowed this ink and paper from the fancy man. I hope he doesn’t find out.
I am going to stop marking words now.
I am your student,
Cat x

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Chapter One
Dawn of the Slaughterer

It was on a cool autumn evening that they first met. The bustling common room of the Bell and Bird tavern found itself host to exceptional company that night – Cat, elven orphan from the streets of glittering Weyrcliff; Fyn, Dragonborn veteran fresh from military service; Gehrigan, spell-scarred knight whose past is a mystery even to himself; and Val, Iosan mage (or is he a sorcerer?), sent to the ends of the Empire to banish his dangerous heresies.

A more unlikely group of companions one would be hard-pressed to find, and yet their potential was clear at least to some; shortly after their meeting, they were approached by Bailiff-Commander Sir Eamon Malory and guild agent Alec Shaw with a request for assistance.

Repairing to the guildhouse of the Society of the Sword and Compass, they learned that a messenger bird had been received from the northern settlement of Newbridge. The message the bird carried was brief, and to the point – the town was under attack. With the Imperial garrison spread thin, Sir Eamon had need of outside assistance. His proposal was that they journey north by boat on the next morning – but the adventurers would have none of it, instead deciding to set out on foot immediately. Sir Eamon and the dwarven hunter Rurik, whom they met at the guildhouse, would accompany them.

Less than two hours after their departure, the party noticed thick smoke rising from the small hub settlement of Foggy Hill and diverted to investigate. There they found the village in flames, the survivors prisoners of a small band of brigand slavers.

Corsus MacRee, the leader of the brigands, was in the process of savouring his victory when he was surprised to see half his command fall asleep on the job amid a wave of strange sensations that a more worldly man might have recognized as magic. He had little opportunity to reprimand them, however, as a caterwauling whirlwind of destruction descended upon the other half of his men. Scattering and slaying them in moments it then fell upon him, hissing and spitting. A solid rising blow from his mace allowed him to take the offensive – but the infuriating creature would not stand still for a finishing strike, ducking and weaving about him even as it snarled and spat at the frustrated bandit.

Then it was gone, skittering away into the darkness, and before he could think of giving chase he saw Him – the shadow of death, the red-eyed avatar of destruction; many-armed, many-bladed, a razor-edged hurricane both pitiless and unrelenting.*

Thus it was that Corsus MacRee first laid eyes upon Gehrigan the Slaughterer, and knew that his time had come.

We shall not provide details of that gruesome encounter, mindful always of our younger readership. Suffice it to say that it was swift and dismember-ful.

While Cat and Rurik chased down one bandit who had fled, the others freed the shocked villagers from their shackles and questioned the surviving bandits. They learned that this group had broken off from the main force besieging Newbridge, which still numbered around twenty. Though eager to press on, they were mindful of their injuries and delayed their pursuit to tend them. It was decided that Sir Eamon would remain to protect the freed villagers and hopefully catch up to the party once they were safely back to Fairloch.

Upon arriving at Newbridge they found that the bandits had already departed, having been unable to take the settlement but with some thirty prisoners taken from outlying steadings. Rousing the spirits and hearts of the townsfolk, they pressed on with a dozen militia in tow eager for vengeance and the chance to free their friends.

Cunningly outmanoeuvring and eliminating the pickets the bandits had left to watch for pursuit, they came upon the main force bivouacked for a meal, not expecting such an expeditious response. After some consideration Fyn volunteered to approach the bandits alone, offering their freedom in exchange for that of the prisoners, while the others made ready to attack should the negotiations fail.

The negotiations failed – Aric Raader, the bandit leader, believed the ultimatum to be a mere bluff and when he began to order that one of the prisoners be executed the attack was sprung. A wave of magic once again felled several of the bandits as the militia exchanged crossbow volleys with the pickets. Like Corsus before him Aric was taken aback by the ferocity of the attack – while Fyn, surrounded and heavily outnumbered, was eventually brought down, Aric found himself beset by a yowling elf-child and wounded by arrows. Also, his hair was on fire, which only added insult to injury. Nevertheless, he was well-armoured and determined to sell his life dearly.

Then he saw Him – the shadow of death, the red-eyed avatar of destruction; many-armed, many-bladed, a razor-edged hurricane both pitiless and unrelenting.*

Thus it was that Aric Raader first laid eyes upon Gehrigan the Slaughterer, and knew that his time had come.

Once again glossing over the wet bit, let us just say that Justice was swift, messy and extremely well deserved that day.

With Aric’s death it was all over bar the celebrations. Liberating the prisoners and shackling the few surviving bandits, the party set out for a triumphant return to Newbridge and Fairloch, where they would receive the well-deserved adulation and admiration of the townsfolk little suspecting of the magnitude of the legend they had begun to forge.

  • - some artistic license may have been employed in this description.
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Chapter Two, Part One
The Eyes of Their Wights

The arrival in town of the two-monthly caravan from Marr’s Hill caused quite a stir in Fairloch, not least because it was running several days late and carrying the payrolls for both the Imperial garrison and the miners of the Serpent Lake Consortium. When the adventurers investigated, they found the Bailiff-Commander in a somewhat heated discussion with the acting garrison commander and the two knights commanding the caravan’s escort.

The commotion had also attracted the attention of the newest arrival in town, the Halfling named Elrich, who struck up a conversation with several of the adventurers while others unravelled the cause of the dispute. In the past, it appeared, the pay-chests were escorted from Fairloch to the three primary mining hubs of Three Oaks, Long Vale, and Big Tree by soldiers from the local garrison, an arrangement of convenience struck between the Consortium and Banner-Captain Scharnvonn several years prior. With Captain Scharnvonn injured in a skirmish and relocated to a military hospital deeper in the Empire, his Adjutant had assumed command of the Fort Merrick garrison and was refusing to maintain the agreement, citing numerous Imperial regulations to back her contention that it was an improper use of Imperial resources. The wagoners were unwilling to proceed without an escort, the usual risks of bandits and monsters exacerbated by recent skirmishes with scouts from by the tribal confederation known as the Triple Scars.

With his caravan already behind schedule Sir Maguar was reluctant to lose further time, but was eventually persuaded to compromise. He and Dame Serahzha would divide their troops and respectively escort wagons to Three Oaks and Long Vale, while the wagon bound for Big Tree would be escorted by locally recruited private military contractors. Fortunately for all concerned, Fairloch’s newest celebrity PMCs were present, willing and able to oblige. Their number now included Elrich, who had found much common ground with the adventurers and was certainly not averse to being paid for a public service.

The expedition set out the next morning, having taken time to assure themselves that the contents of the wagon were what the hobgoblin had claimed. Veteran wagoner Tully Wainwright and his eldest child, 13 year old Maevis, staffed the vehicle.

The first leg of the journey was a pleasant morning stroll along the shore of the Serpent, eventually veering south into wooded hills. Scouting ahead, the party found evidence of at least one small band of humanoids crossing the path from east to west a day earlier, possibly one of the Triple Scar scouting parties they had been warned about. Proceeding more cautiously, they also found the carcass of a large bear which appeared to have fallen victim to some kind of big cat – a predator not known to be native to the area.

In spite of these warning signs, the journey was uneventful until, in the late afternoon, they emerged from the woods into the fields around Big Tree, coming into sight first of the township’s namesake and then its walls. Buoyed by the sight of their destination, they picked up the pace.

Only a last-second warning by Val denied the manticore complete surprise as it swooped from the darkening sky to land in their midst.

The battle was short and brutal; in spite of the monster’s intimidating arsenal of claws, fangs and spikes, it soon found that it had more than met its match and was brought down before it was able to flee. While the party tended to their wounds, watchful now of the skies, they also salvaged a number of potentially valuable tail-spikes from the carcass.

It was dusk before they eventually drew near to Big Tree, and they noted with some trepidation that the town before them was showing no light and there were no guards at the open gate. Instructing Tully to hold back with the wagon, the party advanced warily to investigate.

They had gone less than a hundred feet when a dozen gaunt, grey-skinned monstrosities appeared almost silently from the wheat fields on both sides of the road – ghouls, hungry for living flesh. Heavily outnumbered, the adventurers were hard-pressed for a time; the civilians with the wagon were very nearly overrun before Fyn made a desperate dash back to aid them against four of the horrors. He very nearly paid for his courage with his life, but managed to stave off the attack until others could come to their aid.

Taking stock after the dust had settled, it was decided that a single stealthy infiltrator might be better suited to scouting the town than a full party, and so it was that Cat scuttled over the wooden walls and onto the rooftops beyond.

Within he found little sign of life; while a few corpses were visible in the streets, it was the living dead that were predominant; zombies, shuffling aimlessly and silently. A number of the creatures appeared to be clustered around one structure in particular, and as Cat drew nearer he noticed the flicker of light from behind one of the shuttered windows.

Descending to the ground to investigate more closely, he was taken unawares when a dead hand clamped down on his shoulder, icy numbness radiating from its touch as it seemed to drain at his very life-force. Wrenching free he caught only a glimpse of his tall, strangely armoured assailant, two cold points of light glittering through the visor of its elaborate helm, before sprinting for the safety of the gate.

The wight’s arrow narrowly missed Cat as he escaped through the gate, but the creature did not pursue him. Deciding that any confrontation with such a foe would be better made in the light of day, the battered adventurers withdrew to one of Big Tree’s outlying farms where the residents were very relieved to see other living souls and gladly offered them shelter for the night.

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Chapter Two, Part Two
The View from Above
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Chapter Two, Part Three
The Shadow of Big Tree

As the dust settled from their skirmish with the undead in the shade of the Big Tree, Dordok made a beeline for the Gemcutter mansion while Gehrigan approached the townsfolk who had taken shelter by the tree’s trunk. The tale they told was a curious one: apparently the undead had been unable or unwilling to venture within a hundred feet of the ancient tree. Val’s investigation suggested that the Big Tree was itself a powerful source of primal life magic which had kept the undead at bay, possibly even unable to sense the presence of the people within its aura.

At the Gemcutter residence the adventurers found most of the household staff dead, but in the attic they discovered the household’s majordomo, Thurla Oldstone, protecting the family’s two young sons, Harald and Conrad. Oldstone was able to tell them that the undead had apparently appeared from the south in the evening of four days earlier – the direction of the Redmond minehead, where Drayson Gemcutter had escorted a pair of prospective investors earlier in the same day. They determined to set out to investigate the mining camp immediately after sending the survivors to join the others they had rescued at the Vines farmstead (an establishment which, one must assume, was nearing its capacity for visitors.)

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Chapter Two, Part Four
Enemy Mine
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