Empire's Foundation

Pause

Due to scheduling issues, I am suspending the campaign for 6 months until children become a bit more predictable. Thank you for your patience.

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The Breaking Dawn
Friday, June 20 1550

While stopping for the night between Bozen and Trient, the lads Antonio and Giuseppe are bragging about their abilities, and Marx and Walther omit certain relevant details when regaling the crowd with tales of their recent encounter with the bugbears.

This attracts the attention of Marcus, who offers them a piece of the action in a bit of “hard work” clearing off some land for his employer, who Marcus insisted remained nameless. They accept, and head out just as the sun begins to light the valley. As they march, they break off from the main road during the day and take a side road behind some hills, climbing into the mountains later in the afternoon. They make camp behind a ridge and begin drawing up plans for an early morning attack.

They move out before the next sunrise, surrounding the camp outside of a recently opened silver mine. As the first light breaks through the trees, Marcus calls for an orderly surrender from the sleeping camp. The officer in charge defies him in the name of the Duke who had given them permission to mine this land. With that, Marcus and his men charge the camp; Marx, Walther, Antonio and Giuseppe following their lead. The battle is brutal, with most of the miners armed with clubs and without armor, but finally four armored guards with real weapons emerge from the largest tent. Seeing the destruction, the captain of the camp offers surrender. Marcus growls, “You had your chance.” He and his men press on and slay the remaining miners and guards.

At the end of the day, the party walks away from the battleground with several bags of coin and gems, and a bit of trepidation about the possible consequences of their actions…

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Road to Rome
Wednesday, June 18, 1550

Marx and Tomas return to Dachau as soon as possible. They meet up again with Walther, regaling him of the harrowing tale of Tomas’s rush to and from Dachau to get the money to pay the clerics to cure the disease that Marx got, and the agonizing wait for a sufficiently powerful cleric to come to Munich.

At the end of May (and the end of the free room and board at the Pig), the party decides to make it’s way south to Rome, to see what trouble they might stir up there.

The trip is largely uneventful (though beautiful) through the alps. Until, that is, they are making their way through a pass down to Bozen, a small group of hairy, burly, humanoids rushes down from the rocky peaks and attacks the small group of wagons that the party happened to be passing at that moment.

The Bugbears (as the party will later learn upon making inquiry in Bozen) open with a volley of javelins, and then half their number close with Marx and Walther, as well as the two guards the wagons had with them. It quickly becomes apparent that these raiders are too much for the caravan guards and the party, and they break ranks, leaving the wagons (and horses harnessed to the wagons) to the depredations of the bugbears.

Once in Bozen the party takes a rest from it’s harrowing travels to heal, resupply, and hire some extra muscle. A few days of advertising they decide to hire Antonio and Giuseppe, a pair of local bruisers looking to get out of town and willing to take 15 gp a month to carry a sword.

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Convalescing in Landshut
Tuesday, May 27, 1550

The lads set off early Tuesday morning from the Whistling Plowboy, heading towards Landshut. An hour on the highway and they spot a ruined church tower from the road. They head towards it, and after breaking through the treeline see an overgrown churchyard and a burned out stone church.

They approach carefully, and two nasty ghouls claw their way up out of the ground, snarling and hungry. Marx approaches and smashes on in the skull, toppling it over, destroyed. Then Tomas closes with the other, smashing its ribs with his spiked club. Another ghoul claws its way up out of the ground while Tomas dodges the gnashing teeth and grasping claws of the undead terror in front of him. The two ghouls are rather easily dispatched, however, and they are dragged away from the cracked headstones, and Marx sets to work extracting the hearts of the gray-skinned monsters.

As Marx is elbow deep in the second ghoul, Tomas sidles back toward the cemetery, awakening two more gnashing gray ghouls, who have only a bit more luck than their erstwhile compatriots, one of them landing a bite on Tomas’s shoulder before being dispatched. Tomas drags his prizes over to Marx for processing, and then sits down against the wall of the church to rest himself.

They bundle up the extracted hearts in a piece of linen cut from Tomas’s tent and make their way to Landshut. It is a small town, without a market license and barely a wall, but it is hospitable and well kept, the castle looking down majestically from atop the hill. However, Marx is feeling rather ill by the time they have arranged for accommodations in the inn. Headache, a bit shaky, breath hot in his throat. So the pair head for the cathedral.

Inside they are interviewed by an older priest, white of hair, who seems quite concerned about their encounter with a ghoul as they were setting up camp in a meadow. He asks them to stay in the church’s medical hall for a day so that if they have indeed caught ghoul fever they might not spread it to the citizens of the town.

By the next morning, it is clear that Marx has fallen grievously ill. He cannot even sit up in bed, and can hardly speak. Tomas takes his leave as soon as he is able, so that he can get the hearts back to Dachau, collect their bounty, and return with the tithe so a cleric from Munich may be fetched. It is an agonizing week for Marx, attended by one or two brothers during his illness. They do all they can for him, but sadly, it is not much comfort to him. At last Tomas returns, and the cleric is sent for. Four days later he arrives, and invoking the healing power of Saint Raphael the Archangel and the mercy of the Eternal Virgin, Marx is cured of his disease. However, it is more than a week before he feels himself back to his previous strength. On the morning of Tuesday, May 27, he feels himself quite well enough to travel once again.

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Underway to Landshut
The Whistling Plowboy, Tuesday, May 6, 1550

Such is the life of an adventurer: bothering a priest as he is about to begin a Saturday morning Mass, going to bed without supper in an old woman’s hovel with a promise to fix her roof in the morning, nearly drowning in a river while trying to cross, and then being attacked by bandits in the middle of the night.

How did they get here? Well…

Saturday morning Marx and Tomas decide they need some more information to track down these ghouls to collect the bounty on their hearts. So they wander across the plaza to the cathedral. The door is unlocked, and there are only a few folks scattered around the pews, while a priestly figure does something with the candles up front. Marx marches up to the man and asks what information he might have about abandoned graveyards. The priest turns around and glares, while Marx melts backwards and finds a seat next to the half-orc in the back row. Tomas promptly scoots a few seats away.

After the service, the priest points them in the direction of Landshut, where 50 years ago many villages were destroyed in a war, and warns them to stay on the road, lest they stumble onto a nest of the foul mockeries.

The pair set out for Munich, after briefly considering purchasing horses. (They decide against this due to a lack of funds) Taking lunch at a roadside inn, they arrive outside the walls of Munich just as dark is beginning to come on. A long line of carts and wagons waits to pay the fee to enter the city in preparation for market day tomorrow. The pair decides to skip the fee and skirt the wall, asking one of the carters in the line if there was a river crossing nearby so they wouldn’t have to pay to enter the city. He said there might be one a little ways downstream, though he himself had never taken it.

They head that direction, walking down the bank of the river for nearly an hour before they come upon a close collection of small cottages near a tended grove of trees, just beginning to send out new leaves. They knock at one of the cottages, and the grubby tenant pokes his face out, wondering at the sight of the strange pair of travelers. Asking about lodgings, he asks if they have any food. Not having any, he points them towards Old Hilda’s cottage, the could stay there if they promised to fix her roof in the morning.

Hilda, being not entirely present, asks them repeatedly if they are there to see her granddaughter, Agatha. She’s gone off just now, but she’ll be back soon. Gone into town to get some things, she has, but she’ll be back presently. The two attempt to keep watch through the night, but soon fall asleep. In the morning, they are given a small breakfast by Hilda, who points out the weak places in her roof. The rest of the morning and first part of the afternoon is spent gathering thatch (which is not in great abundance at the moment) and repairing the roof. With the task completed Hilda gives them a light lunch, and they are on their way again, another half an hour downstream to the ford.

They find not much at the widening of the river, 10 feet from either bank is a stout post driven into the ground, a thick coil of rope tied to the post on the far bank. The water is quite swift, swollen with spring snowmelt from the Alps. Tomas ties one end of his own rope to the post on the near bank and begins to wade across. It drops to about waist depth, when he steps in a hole and loses his footing, splashing into the water and being swept downstream. Fortunately, Marx is able to pull him back to the shallows before he loses any of his gear. He tries again, and again is swept off his feet by the current. Marx decides he ought to try, and makes it across without any problem. He ties the two ropes together, and Tomas begins once again to make his way across, using the tightened ropes as a handhold. He slips again, but manages to hold onto the packs and the rope, and finally reaches the far bank.

At this point all of their gear is soaked, so they decide to set up camp and start a fire to dry out their clothes. They still do not have any food, and attempt to pass a restless night in the (still somewhat damp) tent.

While Tomas is on watch, however, he hears some low whispers and the jingle of buckles from the far side of the tent. Giving a shout, he leaps to his feet as a pair of figures run away, carrying a pack that they most certainly did not bring with them. Tomas gives chase while Marx rouses himself, bashing the one carrying the pack a tremendous blow with his spiked club. While one thief is sent reeling, the other dives into the underbrush to hide. Tomas swings his club through the shrubberies, and the hidden bandit again takes to his feet, running as fast as he can. Marx knocks out the first robber while Tomas chases the other, smashing him into the ground as well. The two are tied up and stripped of boots and weapons and left until the morning. Marx falls asleep again after only an hour of watching.

They awake feeling a bit faint at morning’s light, untie the still unconscious bandits, leaving them by the river’s side, and heading up to the road they continue on their way.

Finally they come to a proper roadside inn and have a sizable lunch to sate their rather tremendous appetites. With Landshut about ten hours away and it being about midday, they decide to walk up the road and hopefully find another inn before night falls.

They manage to make it to the Whistling Plowboy in time for dinner, which will bring us up to the morning of Tuesday, May 6.

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The Search for Something Interesting
Dachau, Friday May 2, 1550

Marx, Walther and Tomas began the day discontented with the slow roll of the days, and endeavored to expand their horizons in a hopefully lucrative and exciting way. The three of them went separate directions in search of fulfillment. Walther went searching for urchins, hoping for some inside information on any petty crime rings that might be operating in the city. After a few coppers and a silver convinced a lad to talk, he came away with the name “Arne the Claw”, who has apparently been causing the lad’s father some measure of grief.

Marx went looking for someone to perhaps instruct him in the proper handling of horses. He was unable to find someone with enough time or space to do so within the city’s walls, however. Perhaps there might be opportunity outside the walls of the city where people are less busy, and more free to roam.

Tomas stumbled upon a foreign soldier’s bar. It looked a rougher place than his current lodging, the Pig, but it did have some interesting looking countrymen of his, taking advantage of the hearth hospitality of the place. He purchased them some beereakfast, and invited them to the Pig for entertainment later that evening. As he was speaking to the gentleorcs, a cloaked man walked in with a pair of earthenware jugs, delivered them to the bartender, and was paid a sizable amount of gold. Tomas, not being one to let an opportunity slip by, followed the man out of the pub, and before long was cornered with a knife pointed at his throat. He revealed that the job that he had just quit involved ghouls somehow, and that a friend of his had lost an arm in the business. e

All three meeting back at the Pig for lunch, discussed their options. A possible connection was made between “Arne the Claw” and Dortmund who had lost an arm, and the party resolved to ask Willem (the barkeep at the Gaspode) about the contents of the jar. Willem revealed that he had been contacted by a wizard named Nikolaus Bausch to act as a collection point for ghoul’s hearts. He pays 75 gp per heart delivered, and is paid a bit more by Nikolaus to collect them.

The group then went to the Mage’s Guildhall to see Herr Bausch, to hopefully obtain some information as to where ghouls might be found. They were able to make an appointment for the Saturday after next, the 10th of May at 2:00. Marx prevented Walther from causing himself injury, and they returned to the Pig once again to talk and take supper. Walther spoke with an acolyte from the cathedral who had stopped in for dinner, and learned that ghouls do not appear but in desecrated burial sites, such as forgotten battlefields or abandoned graveyards. But, he also warned, their very touch can freeze a man in his tracks.

A bit later, a swarthy, filthy pair of half-orcs wander into the Pig. They head for the bar, but Tomas heads them off and seats them at a table in one corner. He brings them ales, and then they begin a rousing conversation, touching on various subjects such as the relative beauty of various ladies in the inn, the prices of drinks, Tomas’s striking good looks, and the pointiness of Marx’s ears. They are eventually convinced to leave, and sing the health of the Pig and it’s denizens as they sway down the street.

Breakfast is lighter for Tomas the next morning than for Walther and Marx.

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A New Adventure Begins
Dachau Campaign, Friday, May 2, 1550

With things looking dire for those aboard Ran’s Wave, the Canterbury campaign was tabled for a bit. However, a new adventuring party was founded in the city of Dachau, in the Palatinate of Upper Bavaria. Assembled thus far are Marx Hosenburg, a half-elf assassin, and Walther Einzbern, a halfling gypsy sorcerer. They have been granted room and board at The Pig through the end of the month in return for spreading news of the inn’s fine quality to the burghers of the city. They await a few more members of the company there.

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Adventures on the Medium-Height Seas!
July 3 - July 9, 1550

After defeating the ghouls, the party sails through Nearside and Uddevalla, making their way down the coast to Gothenburg. They spend a day there to resupply, then set the sails to go further south towards Copenhagen. A favorable wind brings them within hours of the straight of Copenhagen when they spy a strange spire rising up out of the sea.

The top of the stone spire breaks off as they watch, falling into the sea. Moments later, a slime-covered stone creature launches itself up out of the water into Leon, knocking him back onto the rail. Freyja and Melker close in on it, but it unleashes its fury upon Freyja, staggering her back as well. Then Griswold summons an elemental from the depths, while Risa and Melker’s men pelt it with attacks magical and mundane. Finally, Griswold smashes the creature to the deck, finishing it off.

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Character Growth
Fear and Loathing in Lake Vanem

So the party escorts the captured bandits to the trade city of Karlstad, ostensibly to stand trial. They bring the wayward Catholics to the Merchant’s Guildhall, and are introduced to their reward: Melker Holstrom, a guild agent/translator who will secure tarriff-free access to all cities in Sweden. He comes with a small personal bodyguard of 4 men-at-arms. The party spends the day shopping, and put the bandits up in a private room at the inn.

In a surprising twist, Freyja takes it upon herself to borrow a Latin Bible, and swears the bandits off of thievery, and allows them to escape during the night. After Hilde regales the patron of the inn with tales of derring-do, a slight female elf approaches Freyja and all but swears fealty to her, offering the use of her sloop for as long as she should desire it. Siezing the opportunity, the group finds their guild agent and sets sail that evening as the tide goes out, neatly avoiding any pointed questions that might have arisen the next day at the trial of the bandits.

They sail down Lake Vanem towards Uddevalla.

The second day (the wind being against them), as the sun is setting scratching noises are heard under the hull. Preparing for trouble, the party is relatively unsurprised when a gang of pallid, rubbery skinned humanoids swarm the deck. The ghouls meet with some initial success, paralyzing three of the now enlarged party and attempting to drag them down to the depths, the party succeeds in driving them back into the dark waters of the lake.

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Catching Up
A summary of the past few months

Hokay, it’s been a while since we’ve had an update to ye olde Adventure Logge, so here’s the last four months in a nutshell:

After discovering their uncle Eirik is being held for unpaid debts in the city of Oslo, the party receives a distress Sending from Stanislas Galopin about a dragon’s lair at Hogevarde Mountain. They gear up, head out, find a henge on top of the mountain, defeat a necromantic sorceress, discover a Huge White Dragon, and seven captured German stonemasons.

They then return to Oslo (sending the Germans back home safely), pick up a ballista, and then go troll hunting in the mountains. They are successful in their hunt, find some gems, and return once again to Oslo.

Whereupon they have a meeting with the Lord of Oslo to discuss the release of their uncle. His grace is unwilling to take any less than the full amount owed, due to his lascivious nature and the grudge he holds against the ladies’ grandfather for stealing away the beautiful elf he coveted for his own.

Then the ladies are advised by Eirik to leave town, and soon, for the lord’s wrath may soon fall upon them and compel them to stay in the castle as permanent residents. Looking for an opportunity away from Oslo, the party hears of increased bandit activity along the land route to Stockholm, the reward for dealing with such is junior membership in the trading guilds, which means lowered tolls and fees for entering cities where the guilds have a presence.

So they set off, and manage to get themselves attacked by the bandits. But Freyja puts them to sleep with some sleeping powder she purchased, and they think they have the situation well in hand. But then, in the third watch of the night, Klaus is on guard and is attacked by a mountain of a man and a mysterious source of high-velocity stones. Giving a shout, the human mountain is soon felled by Klaus, Freyja, and Griswold, and the leader of the gang threatened into calling off the other.

He then curses the “damned Lutheran heretics,” which sends Freyja into a cold rage. She challenges him to single combat, which he gladly accepts.

Freyja soon realizes that bringing a dagger to a battle-axe fight is a bad idea, and retreats for her bow. The tide of battle soon turns, and Freyja stands victorious.

When next we meet our intrepid band, it will be the morning of Sunday, July 25, 1550.

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