The Approaching Storm

It Begins

Part 1

The Stolen Lands have long resisted attempts at colonization. Wedged between the River Kingdoms and Brevoy, the approximately 35,000-square-mile swath of wilderness has a long history of being regarded as “stolen”—from and by whom depending on the point of view. In Brevoy, the lands are considered stolen from that nation’s southern expanse by bandits and barbarians variously from Numeria, Iobaria, or the River Kingdoms themselves. Intro slide  time to explore

In the River Kingdoms, the general impression is that Brevoy allowed the lands to fall into the hands of monsters and worse in order to rob the lords of the River Kingdoms of more lands to rule. Even within the wildlands themselves, lands are stolen and conquered in constant struggles between bickering tribes of centaurs, kobolds, fey, trolls, bandits, lizardfolk, boggards, barbarians, and more, all constantly skirmishing to expand their holdings while not ceding their own lands to the enemy.

In truth, the Stolen Lands belong to no one, and are stolen from no one. Many have tried to claim them, but the abandoned ruins that dot the swath of wilderness stand as testaments to the difficulty of ruling these savage lands. They have remained wild with a fierce tenacity, a haven for monsters and criminals and dangerous secrets, and as such have posed a menace to their neighboring nations as long as anyone can remember.

Yet these times of relative calm in the Stolen Lands are coming to an end. Spurred to action in part by an increase in aggression among the bandits and barbarians of the Stolen Lands and by building political tensions to the north, the swordlords of Restov have sent agents and colonists into the disputed region to explore and settle and, if need be, conquer. The establishment of four new puppet kingdoms, all beholden to Restov’s swordlords and the rest of Rostland, would not only bring freedom from banditry and raids along Rostland’s southern border, but also the resources and clout needed to make a play for a higher station in Brevoy’s complicated political scene.

If all goes well, the just return of the Stolen Lands to Brevic control could well give Rostland the footing it needs to challenge the Surtova hold on the crown. Working quickly and quietly through pawns and minions, numerous agents have set into motion four separate campaigns against the Stolen Lands, each on the surface appearing to address minor elements of banditry or securing of trade routes, while in fact they are preparing the way for annexation and conquest of the entire region.

It is purpose and challenge that has lead you all to Restov; to meet with The Lord Bresinian Of Restov and potentially receive the royal charter allowing exploring and conquest in the name of the crown. The night before your meeting with Lord Bresinian, you all find yourself at the Briar Patch, a fairly modest inn in the center of Restov.

PubThe Briar Patch is full of all manner of ruffians, wenches, gamblers and thugs; your typical nightly crowd. Bustling and jostling your way through the flaying arms and mugs, you manage to take an empty seat at a table near the fireplace and the Inn’s bard, a middle-aged dark haired human, who plays the lute and mixes in obnoxious jokes between his politically laced drinking songs. As you settle down to the table, raise a hand to attempt gain the attention of a serving wench, you glance around the table and see…..[you each are at this table].

Comments

Kyras relaxes easily at the table, strangely optimistic for once in quite some time. His order’s sigil is emblazoned in bright colors on his chest, and he laces his hands behind his head and smiles as he takes in the others. “I hope you don’t mind – there’s really nowhere else to sit tonight. It’s been a long day.”

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“I never mind a Ranger’s company. Vee are aware ov yor skills and value them highly in ze North.” says Torg, glancing suspiciously at the others, particularly the Tiefling.

“But this is a strange company vee keep, no?”

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Kyras shrugs expansively. “I’ve kept stranger.”

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Fria walks through the crowd touching as few of the fellow patron as possible as she moves to take a seat, sitting at the table furthest into what little shadow the brightly illuminated and load tavern can provide. Looking up at the others also seated she says “Pardons and greetings to you, but I will be taking this seat.”

With that said Fria places her traveling pack and gear beside her as she takes off her wide brim hat, that had been hiding her face, as the other around her get a good look at her odd skin tone and strange two colored eyes.

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Torg takes one look at Fria and turns to Kyras, saying, “You may haf kept stranger, Elf javel, but I do not think you haf kept company more vacker.”

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Not entirely sure what the man said, Kyras simply gives another expansive shrug. “There’s always room for one more.” He turns to the new arrival, and says, “Welcome, my lady.” He does not offer his hand, as he feels it would be refused.

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Fria raised a eyebrow a the warriors comment but made no response in return. To the ranger’s greetings Fria nodded and said “Likewise sir, but I’m no noble just a humble servant of my order and goddess Iomedae.”

After making the comment Fria tries to flags down a passing tavern wench in hopes of placing a order for a light ale.

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After a few attempts to grab the attention of a serving wench, a haggard old woman, obviously exhausted, makes her way to your table yelling, “I be there in a minute” to the numerous other calls for refills and food. Wiping her hands on a dirty rag tucked into the belt of her shift, she half-heartily smiles and says, “All bet you here to see the Lord Bresinian Of Restov, like the rest of this lot,” she waves her hand towards the rest of the loud members of the Briar Patches main room, “and let me guess,” she says, “your hear for fame and fortune rumored to found within the Stolen Lands.” Without waiting for a response, she rattles off her prepared remarks, "We have a special for Stolen Land adventurers, turtle soup, fresh pumpernickel bread, and 6 mugs of our local Restov Ale or Silver River wine all for 10sp each. If you need a bed, another 1 silver will get a bunk in our bunk room [a common sleeping room for 20-30] or 1gp for a private room. If you have a fancy for something else to eat or drink, we be able to accommodate you for a price. [prices on page 159 of the Core Rules +20%]

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Kyras smiles. “I’ll have the special, thank you very much.” He places ten pieces of silver in the woman’s hand.

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“I’ll take two of zem.” Adds Torg, shelling out the silver.

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The wench gathers up the coins and scurries off to the kitchen again yelling, “I’ll be right there” to the other hunger and thirsty, and often rude patrons. A few minutes later she comes back with a tray of your meals and first round of drinks.

You devour the soup, which is surprisingly good. It fills your belly with warm and girth and brings some calm to you body which makes the ale and wine flow all to easy into your bellies. After a few drinks you are caught in the atmosphere of others enjoying themselves; listening the bard’s songs and jokes. Throughout the meal you chat and joke with each other; getting to know each other. You also hear a number of rumors about Lord Bresinian such as the fact that he has sent a number of adventures to the stolen lands to tame them but none have returned. You hear all manner of stories of wild beasts, monsters and dragons. You also hear of stories of slave trade within the River Kingdoms (which also border the stolen lands.

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Fria eats her special for Stolen Land adventurers soup and bread while enjoying the Silver River wine as she looks forward to the private room she paid for. As the meal and night progress the natural tension she seems to always be in relaxes a little, but snaps back into place at the mention of slave trade within the River Kingdoms.

Speaking mostly to herself she says “When lawlessness is taken as rule this is what kind of evil is allowed to rise.”

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Kyras nods in agreement through a mouthful of soup. “Abfolutefly.”

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Torg pauses a moment, then says, “Begging ze ladys pardon, but I vould not know. Ver I come from, vee haf few laws as you vould see them. It is custom and civility vitch guide us. Evil is seen as zee natural state for some, not as zee rezult uff a scarcity of codiciles.”

Chewing his food noisily he touches the hilt of his Longsword and adds, “Not zat zee solution is not zee same in eizer case.” He laughs.

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Fria nodes at the Ranger’s comment and gives the warrior some thought before answering, “It is your community sir that stands for order and it truth sometimes a close healthy community can have a better chance standing against evil and chaos than the largest cities with their laws written in stone. I also agree that many times fate leads to a fine steel edge being what stands between good and evil.”

Fria takes a drink of her wine and seats back relaxing and looks around the table at all who are there before speaking again, “By the way I am, Fria Morreth a Inquisitor of Iomedae, and I have yet to receive your names sirs.”

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Kyras swallows his food before answering this time. “I’m Kyras, woodsman and paladin of Erastil.” He smiles. “It’s nice to meet you.”

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“Torg. Torg Wolf Killer.” Says the northerner as he waves the waitress over for a third helping.

Looking up at the others, “Eat ven you can, is my motto.”

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A very drunk old man, perhaps in his 70s, notices Fria’s interest as the rumors about slave trading pass through the various conversations. He is dressed in fade artisan robes. His skin is wrinkled and he looks fairly feeble. His head is only slightly covered with deeply receding white hair and his face shows the results of many years exposed to the elements; certainly a man that spent more time outdoors than in.

He ambles over, swaying to and fro, and places both hands on the edge of your table to steady himself, accidently banging his empty mug against the head of Kyras. “So sorry, m’Lord… my deepest apologizes,” he says as he tries to bow. His bowing attempt turns more into a deep “leaning” with his already crocked back leaning even further so he arrives at eye level of you all. His head slowly turns, eyes wide, and jagged smile spreads across his capped lips as he says, “I see that perhaps you’s might be a wee bit interested, in hearin’ more about the slavin’ in these parts!” He spits out the “s” in slavin’. “Ah, for a meal and mead, I would be willin’ to fill your ears with all manner of tales and secrets. Oh, I know that you adventurer types…. and I can tell!” He eyes you all more closely and suddenly laughs out loud before continuing. “I know that Lord Bresinian Of Restov will provide the official story of why he is seeking adventures to, how shall I say, assist the crown? But beware, no crown will ever truly reveal all truth when seeking to employ those to do his bidding!” He looks into his empty mug and continues, “Like I was proposing, some meal and mead will land you the truth I say the truth!”

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Fria smiled at the old man who seems to have already had a little to much to ale but flags down the tavern wench, “A meal and drink is small price to pay for the truth fine sir.”

The meal and drink for the man was more out of charity than seeking truth but then again sometimes vital information about a mission came from the oddest of places.

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Torg moves over to make a spot for the old man, “Come, seet vith me, old father.”

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Kyras just smiles at the man after the mug hits him – it wasn’t hard enough to hurt. He nods in agreement with Fria’s sentiment.

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“Ah, many thanks,” says the old man as he pulls up a seat and waves his empty mug towards the serving wench, who, once she sees him, gives him a wave, almost dismissively, and heads off to bring him a refill.

Turning his attention back to you all, he looks slowly around the table at each of you. “Friends,” he says, “To be sure, I’m sure that you have seen the wanted posters through the town offering rewards for killing or capturing six bandits. The bandits have taken to stealing from a trailers and wagon trains for weeks but are elusive. There are rumors of these bandits actually taking certain types of people, mostly strong men and boys as slaves. Oh women? The young, pretty ones are taken for sure, but old people and children are of no interest to them. People say that they are working for a bandit lord in the stolen lands others say they are simply vile men too lazy to work. Why are they talking prisoners? No one knows for sure but I have encountered them… being old, only my coin interested them, and they are no normal bandits …. They are kobolds!”

The serving wench returns and sloppily pours mead into the man’s mug, spilling a fair amount on the table. Watching closely to be sure that his mug is filled, he looks up at the serving girl, smiles wickedly and says “Ah, much better, many thanks young miss.”
Picking up his mug, his gaze returns to you and he continues, “Ah, and then there is Tuskgutter, the killer boar that is terrorizing the farm area out of side of town… he is rumored to be the size of a bull and has killed 3 men who tried to capture him. Ah those, to be sure……”, he stops mid-sentence, unable to wait any longer, and drains his mug in one long draw. “ahhhh” he says, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand and waving it after the serving wench, who simply shakes her head and heads toward the kitchen. Again returning to you he continues, “Where was I? Ah yes, to be sure, those dangers lie outside the walls, but there is a much bigger problem… a problem that plagues even those most protected.” He pauses to be sure that he has your attention.

“Greed,” He slowly says.

At this point, the wench returns with more bread and turtle soup, which the old man immediately starts devouring. Between bites he continues, “Greed is the real problem here in Restov and you won’t hear Lord Bresinian of Restov listing that among the problems on his hands,” his voice sarcastic when he says ‘lord’.

“But friends, let me tell you about greed…..there was once a peasant who, desperate to change his stage in life complained to a successful landholder of the unfairness of it all. Knowing the nature of men, the landholder promised to give the peasant all the land he could walk around in a whole day. The peasant, greedily trying to take in all the area possible, overexerted himself and dropped with a heart attack and died. He ended up with nothing.” He looks at Fria, “why don’t you ask Lord Bresinian about that?!”

“Friends, there is a quarry located only 3 miles from town that produced only a moderate amount of granite and limestone, you know the main ingredients of building castles and keeps that is owned by a well-loved landowner, Runney Joovan, who shared all of his wealth and profits generously with his workers. But alas, Runney died… some say murdered… and the quarry was taken over by a tremendously greedy dwarf named Bazili Erak. Bazili’s greed has created a much bigger problem for Restov. He pays workers nothing, works them too hard and it is rumored that he uses evil magic to extend the depths of the quarry and in doing so he under-covered a …..” He stops, and looks around solemnly and worried, as he is being watched “….. I shouldn’t say it aloud, but he has angered the gods with his greed!”
Finishing his meal, he concludes, “You won’t hear Lord Bresinian talk of this greed.. of this issue of the quarry… I wonder why and you should as well! Don’t be fooled by him—now you know the truth.”

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Fria listened to the old man’s tale about the slavers who turned out to be Kobolds, anger was evident on her face over the talk of the attacks and the taking of prisoners. When the old man told of the large boar who killed she nodded but showed no real interest only giving small words of sympathy to the men killed in the hunt.

When the man gave his cautionary tale of greed she nodded in agreement and was clearly not happy to learn of miss treatment of works at the mines, and even more so when she learned that the dwarf Bazili Erak’s greed had somehow angered the gods themselves.

“Say good sir, just how have the gods show their displeasure towards this dwarf Bazili Erak? An pray tell do you have any ideas on what the Lord planes to do about the Kobold bandits?”

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Kyras listens, interested.

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As does Torg.

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The old man looks about worried and says, in a low whisper, “he …. Bazili woke IT.”

Looking again worriedly he quickly says, as he stands to leave, “friends, I can say no more. Thank you for the meal and mead, I trust that my truth equaled the value of the meal and mead.” With a quick bow he staggers out of the inn, bumping into a few patrons in a his way out.

The night wears on and you discuss the stories from the old man. [You can also make diplomacy rolls to see if you learn anything more during the evening.]

If you have no other actions, we can advance to the next morning and your appearance before Lord Bresinian.

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(Diplomacy? Wazzat? No, Torg’s good. He’s got a belly full of food, an almost empty purse, and a big job interview with his Lordship in the morning.)

“I veel go now, my good fellows. I’ll see you in zee morning at the audience.” Torg says as he retires to the room he’s treated himself to with almost the last of his cash.

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(Okay lets see if I do this right Diplomacy roll 1d20+6 )

Fria nodded good night to the warrior Torg as he leaves then looks around the tavern to listen in and talk with anyone who seems to have some more information about what is happening in the area.

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(Well that didn’t work so going to use Invisible Castle dice roller Diplomacy Check +6 )

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Diplomacy roll natural 1.

Kyras quickly ducks out of the common room before someone takes a swing at him, apologizing profusely for accidentally insulting their mother. He quietly gives the tavernmaster a gold piece for a private room and heads up to sleep.

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You retire for the evening to the accommodations you paid for [don’t forget to adjust your characters coin after eating, drinking and sleeping].

The adventure continues in the next Adventure Log called The Commission

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hey guys i’m new, sorry if this is the wrong place but, can I play?

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Montana Montana

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