Calithor

The Beginning

Note: All Adventure logs are posted as transcripts (after editing out the OOC banter and fixing the “flow” to make more sense (read: overlapping player responses).
Edit: UGH! I forgot that OP won’t keep my text color, bolding, etc. from the MSword document to help make things a bit more readable.

The group left the magnificent city of Corwell in flames and fled by ship from the Usurper King’s armies with the deposed sons of King Rhodri II Gwertherion. For the last month and your new reality has been the ocean breeze, the night stars, and the blue waves that splash foam against The Orion’s sturdy sides. The unpleasant side to this reality is that a ship meant to hold five and cargo holds nine and cargo. While the Princes share a small cabin; you, Lord Craddock, his son Blair, and the ship’s crew and captain share the ship’s hold.
Two days south, the village elder of a nameless village told your group of an old castle, long forgotten, that rests along the shoreline at the edge of the Northern Reach – just south of the end of “civilized” lands.

GM: It’s afternoon, just after noon. Where on the ship are you?

Tobias Hastings sits on the prow of the ship, book in hand as always, his thick leather boots bracing against the walls of the boat. He is completely focused on his reading, blocking out even the seaspray as it rips through his wild blonde mane.

The day is July 18th, the height of summer. A sharp wind crosses the deck of the ship, cooling the afternoon’s heat. Off the starboard side of the Orion the sea crashes against the Rocky shores and cliffs of the Northern Reach.

The old, bent Captain of the Orion – a man named Hem – stands atop the stern cabin at the ship’s wheel while another crew member scrubs the deck with a blonde-haired youth, the Lord Protector’s son – Blair Craddock. The Lord Protector himself has been locked away with Prince Theodric and Prince Ethan all day.
The Captain shouts, “Make ‘er gleam lads! Man always takes care of ’is ship or she’ll drown him sure as the sun rises!” He then sets his eyes on Tobias, resting at the prow of the boat. “More’n enough work for all lad – if yer not worried about breaking a nail.”
Tobias Hastings lazily flicks wrist and water from a nearby bucket leaps out and begins swirling across the deck. He raises an eyebrow at the captain and turns back to his book.
Blair wipes the sweat off his youthful face and snickers; he is shirtless and wears worn linen pants that go down to his ankles.
The Captain shakes his head and walks away, muttering something inaudible.

Lord Craddock, the Lord Protector of Calithor, emerges from the Prince’s cabin looking dour as always. He is a massive bear of a man with thick knots of muscle. Despite being middle age, he is easily the strongest man on the ship and you know from your experiences escaping Corwell that he is a damned good fighter with or without a weapon.
Prince Theodric emerges after him, “So we are agreed then Lord Robert?”
Tobias Hastings pricks up an ear, but no other sign he is paying attention
The giant man nods, scratching his trimmed black beard thoughtfully. “Aye, my liege.” He bows, looking stern. “That plan could work.” He looks around for a moment before whispering in a softer voice.

Tobias Hastings: Skill [Perception] [1d20+1 = 10]
The sea breeze whips the man’s words from his mouth and you can’t hear any more of the conversation.

After speaking, Lord Craddock turns with a bow and descends into the Orion’s hold. Prince Theodric glances over to see you and smiles brightly. Tall and regal, his face is youthful and aristocratic with high cheek-bones and blue eyes. He wears fine clothes that have been soiled by the sweat and toil of life aboard the Orion.
Prince Theodric: Tobias!
Prince Theodric walks over.
Prince Theodric: How are you doing this afternoon my friend?
Tobias Hastings shoots a cocky smile at the man.
Tobias Hastings: Hello Prince.
Tobias Hastings: Having fun planning our next adventure?
Prince Theodric: Hah. Adventure.
Prince Theodric blue eyes grow darker as he recalls the past month and a half. “I’d call this more of a nightmare than anything else.”
Tobias Hastings: oh come now. Are you not enjoying time away from the stuffy cahstle?
Prince Theodric: No. How could I with the knowledge that my realm lays in the hands of that murderer even as my father still lies fresh in his grave.
Tobias Hastings: You shall have your revenge soon enough.
Tobias Hastings: Ahnd it shall be sweet I ahm sure
Prince Theodric nods and then changes the subject.
Prince Theodric: The Captain has told me we’ve reached the stretch of coast this abandoned castle is rumored to be. If it’s here, we should find it soon.
As he finishes speaking, the door to the princes’ cabin opens again and a slip of a child steps out: young Prince Ethan.
He is a frail, pale boy with dark hair and eyes. He squints at the sunlight and inspects his surroundings – staring long at you and his brother before turning his inquisitive gaze elsewhere.
Tobias Hastings’s countenance instantly transforms as he jumps down off the prow and bows deeply.
Tobias Hastings: Ah my liege! How does the noon take thee today?
Prince Theodric guffaws.
Tobias Hastings cracks a deep smile.
Prince Ethan turns back to you, “I am well.” He says in a whispery voice. “I trust you are as well?”
He seems a bit suspicious of your effusive welcome.
Tobias Hastings: Just anahther day in paradise for your most loyal servant.
Prince Theodric watches the exchange, holding his tongue but looking amused.
Prince Ethan nods slowly. “That is good. I am pleased. Good day, Tobias.” He turns and begins to make his way towards the lower deck.
Tobias Hastings turns back to Theodric.
Tobias Hastings: Your brother is SO much like you Prince, it is scary.
Prince Theodric laughs.
Prince Theodric: He’s always been like that, I don’t know why you keep trying.
Tobias Hastings: Because it is amusing. What other reason should there be?
Tobias Hastings begins to take his position back on the prow.
Tobias Hastings: So what IS the plan anyway? Fahnd this elusive cahstle? Then what? I assume it is occupied.
Prince Theodric: Supposedly not.
Prince Theodric: The old woman said it was abandoned and known only to the people of her village from their fishing trips.
Tobias Hastings: So how exactly are we supposed to find it? We are not exactly explorers you realize
Prince Theodric nods.
Prince Theodric: She said that it is sitting right upon the sea. This region is so remote that almost no one from the south has sailed this far north in quite a long time.
Tobias Hastings: Great…. Jagged rocks here we come!
Tobias Hastings: Please tell me you can swim. Because if it comes down to me saving your or your brother. I’m picking your brother
Tobias Hastings: He’s lighter.
Tobias Hastings grins
Prince Theodric smirks at Tobias’ joke.
Prince Theodric: I can swim better than you I’m sure.
Prince Theodric: And I’d pick the same if it was between you and he!
Tobias Hastings: Now that, my friend, sounds like a challenge.
Prince Theodric: Perhaps once we’ve got a return point that isn’t moving we’ll make it a wager. Anyway, once we find this castle the plan first and foremost is to find a safe place to rest and recover. Losing the Valorous with my soldiers really cost us.

Editor’s note: The Valorous was another ship that sailed from Corwell with the Orion. During an attempt to land at the town of Ashenport the Usurper’s assassins and mercenaries ambushed you. The ambush claimed the Valorous which was set afire while docked.

Tobias Hastings: On a serious note, how do we know we are not headed into another ambush?
Prince Theodric: We don’t. But I’m hoping we sailed faster than the Duke’s men can ride. They’ll surely be continuing north as well. But we don’t have any other options, Tobias.
Prince Theodric: If we find this castle we can rest and recuperate.
Prince Theodric: Hunt some game and eat something besides hardtack and dried fish.
Tobias Hastings: You know, we could always have fresh fish.
Tobias Hastings grimaces as he looks through the waves.
The sea is dark and cold, the Orion cuts a white swath through the water.
Prince Theodric: With what net?
Tobias Hastings: hmm….
Tobias Hastings: good point
Prince Theodric: Quite.
Prince Theodric smirks slightly.
Tobias Hastings: you win one.
Tobias Hastings: ONE. mind you
Prince Theodric ignores you with a smile.
Prince Theodric: Once that’s done, I’d like to send some runners to the nearest settlements and see if we can’t recruit some men-at-arms and the support of the local Counties.
Prince Theodric: The Counts of the North owe much to the crown.
Tobias Hastings: Question is, while they fahllow through?
Prince Theodric: There are many questions but I believe this is the most promising path. At least when compared to sailing back into Corwell and throwing myself on one of the Duke’s pikes.
Tobias Hastings ‘s eyes sparkle with humor ever so slightly .
Tobias Hastings: Now now. Don’t be so hasty. You cannot always give them what they want
Tobias Hastings: Make them work for it.
Prince Theodric: Listen, when we find this castle.
Prince Theodric: I need you to take the mercenary and make sure it is clear of any dangers. Lord Robert and Blair will protect Ethan and I.
Prince Theodric shakes his head at your jokes.
Tobias Hastings: You sure this is the most efficient use of your gold?
Tobias Hastings: Mercenaries are only loyal to coin. Not people.
Prince Theodric: Once we’ve got the castle secured, or at least know it’s not a trap or a hoax, we’ll search for anything of use or value.
Prince Theodric: He’s served his worth, thus far.
Prince Theodric: Strangely, he seems almost ambivalent about coin as well.
Brian (Tobias Hastings): by the way you’ve never actually mentioned this merc. where is he?
Darkstrom: It’s Jeffles character
Darkstrom: he keeps to himself
Darkstrom: doesn’t really talk.
Brian (Tobias Hastings): i get that. but prince just said go with the merc, i’m assuming i met him and he’s on the ship?
Darkstrom: Yea
Darkstrom: He’s probably never said more than a couple words to anyone on the ship.
Darkstrom: He’s unsettling, there’s something off about him but the Prince needs all he can get.
Tobias Hastings: Hmm. Well I am happy to be your bait any day Prince.
Tobias Hastings smirks.
Prince Theodric: Then maybe we’ll catch some fish after all! Let me grab a rope!
Tobias Hastings: Haha. There he is
Tobias Hastings: Welcome back Prince!
Tobias Hastings slaps Theodric jovially on the back.
Prince Theodric: Aye, I doubt I’ll stay for long. Duty and all that, you know.
Prince Theodric grins.
Tobias Hastings: You and your “Duty”
Prince Theodric: Speaking of… I should go canvas our supplies again with Lord Robert. I’m sure they are just as pitiful as the last time we checked.
Tobias Hastings: Fine. Be off with you. You bore me.
Prince Theodric shoves you lightly as he stands. “You’d miss me if I was gone.” He says certainly, with a laugh.
Tobias Hastings waves him off with a smile and turns back to his book, instanly absorbed.
Prince Theodric makes his way down into the hold.

An hour passes as you read your book when suddenly a peal of thunder booms across the sea and a stout gust of wind batters into the ship. The sea picks up chop, sending the ship swaying roughly and spouting torrents of spray upon you.

GM: What do you do?

Tobias Hastings mutters to himself.
Tobias Hastings: There better not be any jagged rocks.
Tobias Hastings makes his way to the cabin, shutting himself inside the princes’ quarters.
Off the Orion’s port side the idyllic summer afternoon is quickly becoming a mariner’s hell.

The ship sways as you enter and you can hear the Captain shouting for Theodric. Through the window you can see lightning cackle and skitter as it burrows through the black clouds that wash down upon you.
The wind continues growing in ferocity, whipping the sea into curling white caps that smash against the side of the Orion and spew foamy seawater across the deck – it cascades in a waterfall down outside the window.
GM: What do you do?
Tobias Hastings: Son of a… screw this. I am not awaiting my death in here.
GM: Reflex save
Tobias Hastings: Reflex save [1d20 = 16]
Tobias Hastings secures his belongings in his coat, pulls up his hood on his linen cloak and heads back out into the storm.
The ship heaves mightly as a wave knocks it across the side. The wind is too wild now to hear anyone outside as you struggle to stay on your feet as the eerily fast storm keeps growing worse.

The sea washes over the deck and the captain is steeling the ship’s wheel against the storm as he pilots into the waves to try and keep them from broadsiding the Orion again. The crewmen work to keep the rigging and sails from ripping loose. The rain that sweeps down blurs out the world around you, the rocky shore off the starboard is completely hidden by gray sheets of rain.
Tobias Hastings: Skill [Perception] [1d20+1 = 12]
Brian (Tobias Hastings): to find the prince
Tobias can see the Prince as he rushes up from the hold, Lord Craddock leading the way. Prince Theodric clutches his little brother by the arm and he shouts something at you which gets whipped away by the wind and the rain then he motions for Craddock to hold Ethan’s hand and he makes his way up to the sterncastle where Captain Hem fights the ship’s wheel with all his wiry strength.

Lord Craddock pushes Ethan back down into the hold.
Tobias Hastings races after him, as best he can against the rocking of the ship.
Darkstrom: acrobatics please
Tobias Hastings: Skill [Acrobatics] [1d20-1 = 15]
You manage to make it up the stairs despite the slippery deck and the ship’s stomach-lurching rocking. You hear the Prince roaring at Captain Hem, “YOU SAID THE WEATHER WOULD HOLD FAIR THE REST OF THE DAY!”
Brian (Tobias Hastings): Detect magic go
Tobias Hastings: Skill [Spellcraft] [1d20+9 = 11]
Shimmering magical auras stitch the storm together and pervade the air around the ship.
Captain Hem’s large moustache whips in the wind as he yells back, “Never seen nothing like it! Slim was keeping watch and ‘e claims this just spiraled out of nothing! There’s nothing at all natural about this storm, ’ighness!”
Tobias Hastings: The captain is right. This storm definitely is not natural.
Tobias Hastings: It seems we are still being followed.
Tobias Hastings: Though by what I cannot even begin to imagine
Editor’s note: Magic this powerful is unheard of in Calithor. No court mage has ever been known to have this sort of power.

Another wave smashes against the Orion.
Theodric looks at you and nods. The Captain turns white as a sheet, “Seabitch’s tits! Dear sweet Geshtai, I know I never been much for church but don’t… don’t kill me like this!”
Tobias Hastings: I thaught it was every captain’s dream to die with his ship?
Captain Hem: Not in a demon storm! I’ll die in any reg’lar storm just not one conjured up like the hordes of hell."
Tobias Hastings: oh calm down and steer man. I am going to help your men.
Tobias Hastings makes his way down to the crew and assists with the rigging.
Prince Theodric: Captain, just do everything you can to keep us alive!
Darkstrom: perception check please
Tobias Hastings: Skill [Perception] [1d20+1 = 16]
.
The storm smashes into the ship again, pushing the Orion closer to shore. As you struggle to stay on your feet you see it: looming over the sea. A fortress commands the highest spot on the cliffs to the north. It is surrounded on three sides by the crashing sea. A stone walkway stretches out from it and over the churning water to a tower built on a barren rock surrounded by the foaming surf.
Tobias Hastings: CAPTAIN! I SEE THE FORTRESS! GET US TO SHORE! WE’LL GO ON FOOT IF WE HAVE TO JUST KEEP US ALIVE!
GM: The captain blanches. “We’ll smash on the rocks! There’ll be no anchoring until this storm passes!”
The prince looks stern but doesn’t contradict him.
Tobias Hastings: I am certain you shall tire out long before the storm does.

Behind you, one of the crew suddenly lets out a scream and flies backward as blood pours from a gash across his face. A line has snapped loose and the sail billows out of control as the Orion founders in the waves. “GRAB THAT LINE OR WE’RE ALL DEAD!” The captain orders and the other crewmember leaps for it and misses. Theodric makes his way as fast as he can but he’s still too far away.

Brian (Tobias Hastings): am i down there? i said i was heading there.
Darkstrom: You are
Darkstrom: you need to make a touch attack
Darkstrom: if you want to grab it
Tobias Hastings: Instinctively, Tobias grabs for the rope and braces himself against the side of the boat, holding on for dear life.
Tobias Hastings: [ATTACK] Melee attack [1d20+4 = 9]
Brian (Tobias Hastings): sigh
The rope whips out of your hands and the sail billows looser as the ship bogs down into the water.
The prince keeps running for you and the line.
Darkstrom: trying again?
Tobias Hastings: [ATTACK] Melee attack [AUTOMATIC MISS] [1d20+4 = 5]
The line snaps you across the chest painfully as it waves in the wind. The Prince is there and he dives for it as well.
GM: [1d20+4 = 11]
The line snaps out of his hands and falls onto the slippery deck with a thud.
Tobias Hastings: Confound this stupid rope!

Darkstrom: go again.
Tobias Hastings: [ATTACK] Melee attack [1d20+4 = 18]
GM: You grab the rope – make a CMB check
Tobias Hastings: CMB [1d20+4 = 22]
.
You wrap the rope around you arm and hold on for dear life as you try and pull it tight again so that the sail will fill once more with wind and you can avoid washing into the rocks.
The prince rises and moves to help you.
Darkstrom: strength check to keep hold of the rope
Tobias Hastings: Strength bonus [1d20+3 = 16]
Theodric: [1d20+2 = 20]
Tobias Hastings: Strength bonus [1d20+3 = 12]
With astounding grit you manage to hold firm to the rope even as it leaves painful rope burns on your arms. Theodric helps you pull it down and the uninjured crewman ties it to a new cleat in a hurry.
GM: [1d4 = 1]
Darkstrom: you take 1 non lethal
Prince Theodric: Thank the gods you grabbed the rope when you did!
Prince Theodric grasps you by the shoulders and smiles widely. “You have my thanks, Tobias!”

Tobias Hastings: Anything to keep you alive, Prince. Now convince the damn captain to shore this boat. We can’t survive like this. This storm is unnatural. I cannot say how long it will last.
Prince Theodric nods and scans the horizon.
Prince Theodric: Tobias, look out there! There’s nothing but cliffs and rocks. But.. Maybe…
He stops midsentence and begins slipping his way back to the captain.
The injured crewman crawls back towards the crew cabin, his face hanging off where the line bit him and he bleeds profusely.
The man moans loudly, weeping as he inches across the deck and the sea water washes into his wound.
Tobias Hastings curses to himself.
Tobias Hastings: Oh for crying…
Tobias Hastings makes his way over to the injured man and drags him toward the crew quarters.
“Thank you. Thank you…” He moans as he slumps on the dry(er) floor in the crew’s cabin.
Tobias Hastings grabs a bed sheet and presses it hard against his face.
The vertical gash in his face goes down his temple and cheek and across his chin. The bed sheet soaks with the man’s blood.
Tobias Hastings: Hold this here. Unfortunately I am no medic, but let me find something.
Tobias Hastings: Skill [Heal] [1d20-1 = 12]
You check the wound and see that though it is bleeding severely that it is not terribly deep. Untreated it could become a problem but with pressure the bleeding seems to slow. The man is becoming delirious from the pain. “You’s sent by Geshtai, I see it…. Names Slim, Geshtai…” The eye you can see is unfocused.
Darkstrom: make a reflex save
Tobias Hastings: Reflex save [1d20 = 11]
A wave pounds across the ship and knocks you and the injured sailor across the room. From above you, you can hear the Captain howl at the storm.
GM: [1d4 = 1]
Darkstrom: one nonlethal
The sailor tries to sit up, and presses the bandage to his wound again. “Gods, why do you send such trouble down on us?” He whispers fearfully.
Tobias Hastings: This storm is stahting to irritate me
GM: Perception please
Tobias Hastings: Skill [Perception] [1d20+1 = 11]
From outside the cabin you can hear Theodric shouting for you, even over the wind.
Tobias Hastings: I must go. Prince needs me. Stay here and keep try not to bleed to death.
The man groans in response.
Tobias Hastings: with that, Tobias makes his way back out into the hail
Theodric stands with the captain by the wheel, helping the wiry old man to hold it steady. “Tobias! Up here!” He shouts.
Tobias Hastings: Coming Dear!

Tobias Hastings wobbles toward the helm.
Prince Theodric: Tobias, help me with the wheel! The Captain’s not as strong as you!
Prince Theodric braces the wheel, his arms bulging with strain.
Tobias Hastings can’t help but beam as he grabs the wheel and steadies it from the opposite side.
Tobias Hastings: Strength bonus [1d20+3 = 15]
.
The captain gives way as you take over the wheel with Theodric. “Look there! You were right!” Theodric shouts. “I (he grunts with effort) had the Captain sail towards the castle and there looks like a sheltered cove beside it!”

Together, you and the Prince manage to hold the ship in position as it sails directly towards the cove.
The Captain yells, "I’ll get the boys ready to cut the sail and throw the anchor! Maybe Lord Craddock’s boy can help.”

He leaves you and Theodric trying to hold the wheel as all the forces of hell try to wash you against the rocks.
Tobias Hastings: Theo. Can you keep it steady if I let go for 5 seconds?
The wind howls across the ship and the waves wash up against the side. “I can try. What do you plan?” He says, wincing.
GM: [1d20+2 = 12]
Tobias Hastings: Just do it.
He braces himself.
Tobias Hastings lets go with one hand and makes a swift pattern in the air.
Tobias Hastings: Concentration [1d20+6 = 26]
Darkstrom: that can only exert 5 pounds of force – what are you planning
Brian (Tobias Hastings): Just help brace the wheel.
Brian (Tobias Hastings): every bit helps right?
Darkstrom: you are so lucky
Darkstrom: its 20+SL
Brian (Tobias Hastings): really intense conditions
Darkstrom: Yea but you could have easily gotten under. I’ll let it grant you a 1 circumstance bonus
Hurricane force winds batter the ship, a hole rips into the sail. The cove looms ahead, only a little farther.
Darkstrom: another strength check please
GM: [1d20
2 = 13]
Tobias Hastings pulls some of the wind and directs it at the wheel, aiding his pressure on the helm.
Tobias Hastings: Strength bonus [1d20+3 = 11]
Brian (Tobias Hastings): +1
Between your and Theo’s strength and the wind magic you direct to help, you just manage to keep the wheel steady as you sail into the tiny cove and the Captain orders the sail cut and both anchors dropped.
Prince Theodric slumps on the wheel, your body aches from your exertions.
.
For a moment it seems like the anchors won’t be enough. The Orion avoids most of the waves but it drifts towards the rocky shore before the anchor finally catches and the drifting stops.
Tobias Hastings: So now we wait?
The Captain, young Sir, and the uninjured sailor cheer! When above you sunlight suddenly burst through the clouds and they dissipate as quickly as they came.
Tobias Hastings: Give me a break.
GM: The cheers quickly die.
Darkstrom: creepy storm is creepy.
Tobias Hastings: Oh captain. One of your sailors is injured. You might want someone with some medical ability to tend to him. He is in the cahbin
Tobias Hastings: And great job Prince. Glad you could keep up.
Tobias Hastings beams.
The sea dies down almost immediately. The captain seems speechless and unnerved. He does little more than nod and sends his other sailor to check on Slim. Theodric watches the lightening skies. “I never thought I’d see anything quite like that, Tobias.” He looks stern. “This gives me a dangerous sense of foreboding.”
.
Tobias Hastings: It seems we are dealing with someone a bit more powerful than Duke Krowyl.
Lord Craddock emerges with young Prince Ethan in tow. He stares at you and the Prince and nods his silent approval before making his way towards the helm, the steps creaking under his feet.
Prince Theodric: Perhaps. This far from the Seals of the Conclave only the gods know what forces hunt the unwary."
And as if on cue, you hear the distant barks and bellows of tusked seals.
Tobias Hastings: …. speaking of seals.
Tobias Hastings: Hungry?
Tobias Hastings cocks an eyebrow at Theodric.
Prince Theodric: The gods have a funny sense of irony. Indeed. But first we should unload the boat and inspect this castle.
Prince Theodric: Captain! Get us in as close as you can to the shore and we’ll begin unloading while Tobias and Rayden scout ahead.
The Captain snaps to attention and gets to work.
Tobias Hastings: What? no lunch break?
Tobias Hastings smirks at the prince as he heads below deck to find Rayden.
The ursine Lord Craddock says, speaking slowly in a gravelly voice. “I have not seen any trace of the mercenary, my liege.”
Prince Theodric: It’s not a large ship, he can’t be far. Unless he somehow managed to wash overboard during that storm…
Prince Theodric: Tobias, see if he can find him. Lord Robert, shall we start unloading?
Tobias Hastings smirks at the prince as he heads below deck to find Rayden.
Lord Craddock whistles loudly. “Blair!” and his son pops up from below deck. “Yes father?”

“Go with Sir Hastings. If you can’t find the mercenary, arm yourself and go with him into the castle.

Tobias Hastings: Oh goody! I get to babysit!
Young Blair bows, a youthful grin spreading across his face. “As you wish father.” He wears only his linen breeches, soaking wet. His bare youthful chest glistens with sea water – his boyish body right at the cusp of being a man’s.

Lord Craddock shakes his head. “The boy is young. But he is my son and he can handle a blade like no other youth his age.” His voice is matter of fact. He turns to follow Theodric down into the hold.
.
Tobias Hastings: So serious, your father is. Come, we must dress you properly. I have a feeling the mercenary will stay hidden if that is what he wishes
Blair Craddock: Aye, let me get my leathers and my blade.
Blair Craddock goes into the crew cabin where he begins to change.

Blair emerges from the cabin dressed in leather armor; he wears a short sword at his waist and a spear and bow on his back. He wears a blue cloak with the symbol of the Lord Protector – a Shielded Crown.
Blair Craddock: Ready to go?
Tobias Hastings: Always
Tobias Hastings: You know, you ahmost look grown up in that gahrb
Blair Craddock swells with pride. “One day I will be the best knight of the kingdom.”
Tobias Hastings grins wickedly as he makes his way to the gangplank.
Tobias Hastings: When we get our kingdom back.
The Captain managed to get the ship remarkably close to shore. You need only wade through the shallows a minute before you emerge on the gravelly beach.
Jagged rocks jut forth from the sand like daggers and the cliff face is steep, though it appears climbable.
Blair Craddock: If this place is as deserted as his Highness was told then it seems nearly impossible to take from a sea attack.
Tobias Hastings: So that would leave one side to defend. And with our numbers I think we will need that advantage
Tobias Hastings: Though we might also need an easier way up.
Blair Craddock grins and begins to climb.
Darkstrom: climb checks! You know how I love them
Tobias Hastings follows suit, picking his way up beside the boy.
Blair Craddock: [1d20+5 = 12]
Tobias Hastings: Skill [Climb] [1d20+7 = 10]
Brian (Tobias Hastings): really?
Brian (Tobias Hastings): yay armor check! =P
The first step is a doozy – or in this case the first few feet. You get stuck barely off the ground.

Blair Craddock (says as a warning): This rock is sharp!
Blair Craddock wipes blood on his leather.
Blair Craddock: Climb [1d20+5 = 17]
Tobias Hastings: Skill [Climb] [1d20+7 = 14]
The boy begins to climb but you still find yourself a bit outmatched.
Darkstrom: the cliff is only 20 feet by the way.
Tobias Hastings: Taking an early lead. Hmm.
Tobias Hastings: Skill [Climb] [1d20+7 = 15]
You find the path and climb up. You are right near the top.
Blair Craddock: [1d20+5 = 20]
Tobias Hastings: Skill [Climb] [1d20+7 = 26]
You both manage to make it up, though Blair Craddock does beat you.
Tobias Hastings: Good show. Just don’t let it go to your head.
Tobias Hastings grins at the boy.
Sitting a hundred yards away the castle sits solid and unyielding. It is a three story square stone building whose rear is backed right up against the tallest sea cliff in the area. Its front is protected by a 15ft high stone wall.
Blair Craddock: Thank you, sir.
Tobias Hastings: Guess we climb again and find a way to open the gate.
Blair Craddock smiles and looks pleased.
Blair Craddock pulls his bow off his back.
A few hundred yards inland from the castle, a patchwork of forest and grass-covered hills covers the land.
Blair Craddock: Look, Sir Hastings, an old road leads right up to the castle.
Blair Craddock points at an overgrown strip of grassy dirt.
Tobias Hastings: This is too easy.
Tobias Hastings grimaces as he readies his oddly curved sword.
You both approach the castle which rises above you. When you get close enough to begin to see the front walls more clearly you can see that the rusted portcullis is askew, leaving a large gap in the defenses. The wooden inner door is missing. But you hear the growling and barking of dogs from within the walls.
Blair glances at you for guidance.
Tobias Hastings: I knew this castle couldn’t be deserted.
Tobias Hastings puts a finger to his lips and slowly creeps toward the outer wall.
Tobias Hastings: Skill [Stealth] [1d20-1 = 14]
You and Blair creep up slowly on the castle, the barking and growling gets louder. It sounds like a pack of dogs fighting over scraps. There is a gap beneath the portcullis just large enough for a man to crawl under.
Blair Craddock (whispering): I could go first if you wish, sir.
Tobias Hastings makes a “go ahead” motion with his empty hand.
Blair Craddock crawls under the gate and crouches, pressing himself against the wall.
Tobias Hastings follows the boy, as gracefully as possible.
Just out of sight, somewhere in the corner of the courtyard you can hear the snarling, barking dogs. Or what sounds like dogs.

The castle looks deserted; it has been weathered by years and suffers from lack of repair. Moss and slime grow in the cracks between the stones of its walls and most of its upstairs windows are open to the elements – either their shutters broken or missing.
Tobias Hastings (muttering): Great i get to murder some dumb animals this morning.
Blair Craddock: What would dogs be doing this far from civilization?
Tobias Hastings (whispering): You sure they’re dogs?
Blair Craddock: (whispering) No, they just sound like dogs. What should we do sir?
Tobias Hastings: Prepare yourself.
Tobias Hastings: Spell [Shield] → Invisible disc gives 4 to AC, blocks magic missiles.
Tobias Hastings winces as he casts a spell, knowing full well it might get them noticed.
Growling beasts: Perception [1d20
8 = 21]
The barking suddenly grows louder and definitely directed at you.
Blair Craddock: Initiative [1d20 = 9]
Tobias Hastings: Initiative [1d20 = 3]
A huge wolfhound stalks around the corner, snarling as it comes. White foam drips from its fangs as it advances on you.
[GM] [TURN] Wild Dog 2
[GM] [TURN] Wild Dog 3
Another dog, just as large approaches behind the first. It growls and snarls. Both of these dogs are emaciated and covered with scars. They growl threateningly at you.
[GM] [TURN] Blair Craddock
Blair takes a step up against the gate, clutching his bow. “Your orders sir?”
Tobias Hastings: Survive.
[GM] [TURN] Wild Dog 1
A third dog appears from around the corner, a piece of ragged meat in its slavering jaws.
Blair waits, unsure whether he should fire.
[TURN] Tobias Hastings
.
Tobias Hastings steps up between Blair and the dogs, and readies himself for their advance.

[GM] [TURN] Wild Dog 2
The lead dog snarls and attacks! The dog leaps at you, its slavering jaws seeking your flesh.
Dog 2: Bite [1d20+3 = 8]
You leap forward as it does so and kick it back with your boot while following up with your readied strike.
Tobias Hastings: [ATTACK] MW Falcata [CRIT 19] [1d20+5 = 14]
GM: Hit
Tobias Hastings: [DAMAGE] MW Falcata [1d8+3 = 5]
Blair Craddock: Bow [1d20+3 = 9]
Tobias Hastings swings his sword in a wide arc, taken off a chunk of the dog’s ear.
As you slash at it, Blair fires an arrow at the rabid beast but his arrow goes wide.

The dog yelps and its packmate lunges at you as well.
GM: Bite [1d20+3 = 21]
This one pounces on you, catching your sword arm in its jaws.
GM: [1d6+3 = 5]
You feel its teeth tear into your arm, catching the unarmored portions of your body and the dog tries to yank you off your feet, snarling.
GM: make a fort save for me :D
Tobias Hastings: Fortitude save [1d20+5 = 10]
Brian (Tobias Hastings): sigh
GM: Trip attempt: [1d20+3 = 11]
You manage to stay on your feet and kick away as the dog retreats. (5 damage)
[GM] [TURN] Blair Craddock
Blair drops his bow and whips out his sword and with a shout, charges at the dog.
GM: Sword [1d20+3 = 21]
The sword bites into the dog’s snout.
GM: [1d6+1 = 7]
Brian (Tobias Hastings): the one i hit or the one that hit me?
He pierces the end of the sword straight into the beast’s snout, snicker-snak! The dog yelps and howls as blood pours from the wound. (The one that hit you).
[GM] [TURN] Wild Dog 1
Barking the third dog leaps at Blair.
Blair tries to slash at it.
GM: [1d20+3 = 13]
GM: [1d6+1 = 2]
He cuts the dog on its flank, drawing blood through its thick black fur.
[GM] [TURN] Wild Dog 2
The dog darts around behind Tobias to try and help its wounded pack mate bring him down.
GM: The dog provokes an Attack of Opportunity from Tobias
Tobias Hastings: [ATTACK] MW Falcata [CRIT 19] [1d20+5 = 13]
Darkstrom: roll damage
Tobias Hastings: [DAMAGE] MW Falcata [1d8+3 = 5]
The dog yelps as you strike it but its too hungry or ill to retreat. It lunges at your neck, its yellowed teeth snapping like a bear trap.
GM: Bite [1d20+3 = 4]
The dog’s teeth snap at air as you recoil from it’s lunge.
[TURN] Tobias Hastings
Blair Craddock: You alright sir?
Tobias Hastings: Don’t let them surround you!
Blair Craddock: Aye, Sir Hastings!
Blair Craddock begins looking for a way to avoid being encircled.
Tobias Hastings takes a step back and points at the wounded animal. Wind rips around his body and coalesces at his finger tip before rocketing towards the beast attacking him.

Tobias Hastings: Spell [Magic Missile] → 1d4+1 damage; 1 missile per two levels above 1st (max 5).
Tobias Hastings: [1d4
1 = 2]
Blair Craddock stares in awe and shock at Tobias.
The dog yelps as the magic energy batters it.
[GM] [TURN] Wild Dog 3
Tobias Hastings: Back up against the gate!
The third dog takes advantage of its packmate’s presence to attack Blair.
GM: Bite [1d20+5 = 23] GM: Damage [1d6+3 = 8] Trip Attempt: [1d20+3 = 18]
Blair Craddock: Aaargh!!!
The dog’s teeth catch Blair around the wrist and hand. There is a terrible crunch and the boy is ripped from his feet and onto the ground.
[GM] [TURN] Blair Craddock
Rolling on the ground, clutching his hand. Blair shouts, “Geshtai, protect me!”, as he leaps to his feet.
Dog AoO: [1d20+3 = 6]
Dog AoO: [1d20+5 = 12]
Fate preserves him as he manages to fight both dogs off and dart backwards to press up against the gate. Blood drips from his sword hand yet despite whatever bones broke he refuses to release his sword, his own blood drips down the blade.
[GM] [TURN] Wild Dog 1
The dogs, smelling blood, howl and one leaps at him.
Blair Craddock: [1d20+3 = 9]
Blair skillfully fends it off, he looks at you and you can see the fear in his youthful eyes but his face seems stoic.
[GM] [TURN] Wild Dog 2
Maddened by pain, the dog you blasted leaps at you snarling.
GM: Bite [1d20+3 = 15]
Tobias’ summoned wind shield batters the beast as it leaps, throwing it aside.
[TURN] Tobias Hastings
Tobias Hastings: That’s it you mutt. Come get me. I’m tasty. You smell this?
Tobias Hastings waves his bloody arm at the beast as he steps toward his mate.
Tobias Hastings concentrates hard, chanting forcefully.
Tobias Hastings: concentration [1d20+6 = 10]
Brian (Tobias Hastings): fuck me
Darkstrom: What are you trying to do
Tobias Hastings: Spell [Shocking Grasp] → Touch delivers 1d6/level electricity damage (max 5d6).
Brian (Tobias Hastings): lightning flickers across his blade and dissipates as he strikes the hound
For a moment lightning flickers across Tobias’ blade but the dog leaps at him, interrupting his spell casting and the magic dissipates.
Tobias Hastings: [ATTACK] MW Falcata [CRIT 19] [1d20+5 = 16]
Tobias Hastings: [DAMAGE] MW Falcata [1d8+3 = 7]
Darkstrom: describe your kill
Tobias Hastings: the momentum of the swing crushes the dog’s skull as remnants of the failed spell course through it.
Blair Craddock: Thanks!
Tobias Hastings: Of course. just keep that one off you
[GM] [TURN] Blair Craddock
Blair Craddock turns to the dog boxing him in and swings his sword.
Blair Craddock: [1d20+3 = 14] GM: [1d6+1 = 4]
He stabs at it and catches its leg.
[GM] [TURN] Wild Dog 1
The dog yelps and snaps at his sword arm.
GM: [1d20+3 = 12]
Blair leaps out of the dog’s snapping jaws with a flourish.
[GM] [TURN] Wild Dog 2
Tobias Hastings: Keep it up! This fight is ours!
GM Dog Bite: [1d20+3 = 8]
Tobias, your old friend leaps at you as man’s best friend is wont to do. This time, however, it bares fangs and a heavy body. But you manage to evade the poor maddened beast easily.
[TURN] Tobias Hastings
Tobias Hastings: Come on you stupid mutt. That the best you’ve gaht?
Tobias Hastings spins as he shifts. bringing his falcata around in a sweep.
Tobias Hastings: [ATTACK] MW Falcata [CRIT 19] [1d20+5 = 8]
The dog leaps out of the way.
Brian (Tobias Hastings): this is one epic rabid hound
[GM] [TURN] Blair Craddock
GM Sword stab: [1d20+3 = 4]
Blair stabs at the hound boxing him in but his sword handle is too slick with blood and he almost loses his sword in the process.
Blair Craddock: Coming, Sir Hastings!
[GM] [TURN] Wild Dog 1
Blair Craddock: [1d20+3 = 12]
He fends off the dog again, as he steps back to stand back to back with you.
[GM] [TURN] Wild Dog 2
The dog that won’t die leaps at you.
GM: Bite [1d20+3 = 14]
The wind buffets it and throws it back again. Its bloodshot eyes are filled with hate, and the foam dribbling from its mouth has taken a pinkish hue.
[TURN] Tobias Hastings
Tobias Hastings: This ends now!
Tobias Hastings steps around again, grabbing his sword with his second hand as well and brings it down between the beast’s eyes
Tobias Hastings: [ATTACK] MW Falcata [CRIT 19] [1d20+5 = 21]
GM: hit
Tobias Hastings: [DAMAGE] MW Falcata [1d8+3 = 6]
You split the beast’s skull and its body collapses.
[GM] [TURN] Blair Craddock
GM: Sword Stab [1d20+3 = 6]
Blair stabs at the third dog again which leaps out of the way.
[GM] [TURN] Wild Dog 1
The dog turns tail and runs, fleeing out from under the gate at full speed, provoking attacks of opportunity from Tobias.
Tobias Hastings: [ATTACK] MW Falcata [CRIT 19] [1d20+5 = 16]
Tobias Hastings quickly brings his sword up from underneath the mutt, catching its underside.
Tobias Hastings: [DAMAGE] MW Falcata (1) [1d84 = 6]
Grievously wounded, the dog limps out under the gate and out down the slope.
Blair eyes you with respect. “Father said you were a mage, but I’ve never seen a court mage with your moves! That was amazing!”
Tobias Hastings: Court mage?! Hah
Tobias Hastings: I am not quite so stuffy.
Tobias Hastings: Good fighting though I must say. How is your hand?
Blair Craddock rips a long piece of cloth from his cloak and wraps his wounded hand. “I think that beast broke something. It doesn’t move well.”
Blair Craddock: But I’m well enough to carry on the mission, sir.
Tobias Hastings: Well take one of these just in case. I don’t have many so use it only if necessary.
Tobias Hastings pulls out a small vial from one of his many pockets and hands it to the boy.
Blair Craddock: What’s that?
Tobias Hastings: Come. We must continue.
Tobias Hastings: It is a curative
Tobias Hastings: might help that finger of yours.
Blair Craddock: Wow. An honest-to-goodness cure of the Conclave?
Brian (Tobias Hastings): that what they call a cure potion?
Darkstrom: not necessarily
Tobias Hastings: Skill [Knowledge (Nobility)] [1d20+9 = 24]
Darkstrom: got religion?
Brian (Tobias Hastings): nope.
Tobias Hastings: Skill [Knowledge] [1d20+4 = 19]
GM: The Conclave is the state church of Calithor, the only organization where it is routinely possible to buy curatives from.
GM: Those few clergy with the divine blessing of Geshtai and Pholtus are well-known for their curatives.
Darkstrom: in other words, it can be called a cure potion. He’s just assuming you got it from one of the churches.
Tobias Hastings: Um… yeah… sure. Just keep it safe. They are not easy to come by.
Tobias Hastings moves into the courtyard proper, looking around.
Blair Craddock: I won’t use it unless I need to.

END Game 1

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