Into the West…

The first expedition into the Urtgen forest has returned! Hear the tales of the heroes who returned.

Report from Matrick: 

We headed 4 days perfectly northwest from Elmhearth. We encounted some crazy freezing acid and electric storm shower nearby on the first day followed by freezing rain on the second. On the fourth day we looked south and saw a clearing with a hill. Upon the hill was a decrepit stone tower with a brass door with a lock. Most of the top of the tower was missing. Perhaps it’s stones still lie nearby. It has four windows. The floors had rotted away and we stealthily dispatched 5 drogga inside. Some of them used sorcery. There is a hole in the floor immediately upon entering so beware that as it will dump you into an underground river.

There is a basement with a hole in the floor leading to said river. There was a box with a drogga recipe on it. I discovered an ornate spear secreted away and preserved within a channel of the wall. It’s in amazing condition and was presumably of great importance to whoever hid it. I am working on deciphering it’s make,origin, and age as well as covering it in a preservative oil so that it may last for another millennia for our people to admire. I humbly donate it to The Wanderers and just ask that my name be recorded as it’s discoverer. Our return trip went without incident.

 

An Adventure To The Northwest of Elmhearth

(We were definitely NW, because there’s no way we got lost.)

We three brave adventurers sallied forth into the wild green forest to find out what lay NW of Elmhearth. Turns out that was a terrible idea as we all almost died our very first night out in the middle of an Acid-Lightning-Snow-Blizzard. It was horrible. Luckily, our Wylder was able to heal us enough that we made it through the storm. After traveling Northwest for approximately 5 days, we came across a derelict tower. The roof and upper stories had caved in years prior, and a 2-story shell was all that remained. Our Ranger scaled the walls and reported the presence of 5 malicious looking creatures inside. He was struck mute at the sight of them and was only able to mime how scary they looked with his hands and facial expression. We decided to ambush them from above. I, the brave and powerful Rogue, leapt down 15 ft from the broken outer wall onto one of the creatures. I was able to silence and kill him swiftly, while my teammates teamed up and ended the second. We then moved into the next room to continue our assault, but this is where things got hairy. Our Ranger dispatched one of the beasts with arrows from above, however he was then badly injured by an enemy spellcaster and retreated down outside the tower. I then removed another from the combat with a swift swing of my father’s trusty pickaxe. Our Wylder moved in to engage the final and most dangerous foe, in a battle of magical will and skill. Sadly, he lost and was flung to his doom down a deep dark hole. (Or so I thought!) I ran forward and struck one final blow that incapacitated the evil mage and picked him up to throw him down the same abyss.

Our Ranger rejoined me moments later inside the tower, to my great relief as I thought I was the only survivor. We then gathered our gear and went deeper into the tower to look for our friend. We discovered that he had barely escaped drowning in an underground river, and then got stuck in a locked room. After our group was once again whole, we searched the remainder of the tower, gathered what loot was to be found and made our way back to Elmhearth. (We most definitely did not get stabbed multiple times by the same spear trap in an effort to steal the spear because it was shiny!) We made it back to Elmhearth and gave them our report, which included exact directions back to the tower. Anyone who complains that the map is wrong obviously can’t read a map properly, as we are very good at giving directions and not getting lost!

Sincerely,

Marik Stonesplitter 

The End

Postscript: At no time did anyone talk about or actually eat any of the creatures, as they were obviously sentient and that would be terrible.

 

Inside the Elmhearth Keep

Helfen stood from his desk and walked across Elmhearth’s common room. He pulled a large red leather-bound book form the mantle above the fireplace.

He opened it and flipped through many pages until he came to the first blank one. We walked back to his desk and pulled out a quill and ink bottle.

Ces 25th, 5704

The lads returned. The were a bit banged up, but they were smiling and trading stories over the campfire tonight. Their reports all turned in and mostly matching. They found a tower, a new place to build. This is good. More people arrived today, bringing our head count to 21. A lot of mouths to feed for a group of outcasts stuck in the woods, living around a ruined keep. But if we have good people like the lads, we will make due.

After inspecting some of the goods brought back, Ferric believes the tower was built by the eldar and then later manned by Uthgard. An ornate spear brought back definitely has Eldar runes inscribed on it, though it seems ordinary enough. I have the spear here, maybe I’ll have a display case made for it, though first I must clean it off, as the lads got it pretty bloody.

I also ordered the supply tent to craft some leather cloaks to protect from any other acid storms, we have enough to worry about without worrying about our skin burning off in the snow. Strange times, strange days. But we must endure.

Helfen, guard of Elmhearth

Helfen stood again, placed the book on the mantle and turned and headed upstairs. The fire slowly died out in the large fireplace on a cold cold night.

How does experience work in the Living Campaign?


We will be using an encounter system as experience for the Shadows of the Swordspyne campaign just as SagaBorn 1.5 uses. 

In SagaBorn, leveling occurs at the discretion of the GM. While Challenge Ratings (CR) are used to aid the GM in gauging the difficulty of encounters, experience points are not used. Instead levels are rewards that occur after a certain number of encounters, which can be combat, environmental, and social-oriented. The number of encounters is up to the GM, using the table below as a general guideline; the rate at which characters level can be tweaked by adding to or reducing the number. 

 

Character Level Number of encounters per level for advancement
1 8
2 10
3 14
4 20
5 24
6 24
7 24
8 24

The adventuring group leader ( those who help organize, plan, and submit an adventure on the Adventure Contract) also gain an extra encounter experience point. This counts as an encounter since they are spending the time trying to get a group together and on the road.

It’s dangerous out there.

The world outside of Elmhearth is very dangerous.

As you plan to venture out, Helfen will remind you that the Swordspynes are a feared and gloomy wilderness. There will be creatures out there you should avoid and even run from (Survival checks will be your friend in telling you if you think your party can overcome any foes).

Magic has returned to the lands, and with it demons and monsters. This wild land is there for your to explore and conquer, but there may be casualties and grievous wounds. Make sure you have food, water, and a sturdy weapon.

What are the goals of the living campaign?

For players 

The goal of the living campaign for players is to give back to those of you who have supported SagaBorn over the years. I am so humbled and appreciative that you all have followed me on this journey and continued to help this world and these books become a reality. The least I could do is run some games for you. 

Also, as I will be at less conventions over the next few years, this is a way to play with those of you who I have played with for years.

For characters ( in world goals) 

There are two main goals for the living campaign.

The first is exploration. The Wanderers have wanted this area of Atheles explored, mapped, and documented for years. Helfen is happy to have the influx of adventurers to make this happen. 

The second is support of the camp. Helfen is disgusted by what is happening in Kowal, and he welcome all with open arms to the camp. But that means he needs resources. When adventurers return to camp they can sell treasure and equipment to Ferric Watoss or they can donate it to the encampment by giving it to Helfen. Donations will be tracked and recorded.

 

These are just the start. We will build story goals, character goals and more as we delve deeper into the campaign. 

The Importance of the Overland Map in the Shadows Living Campaign

The map is what will allow the players to define where they want to adventure. This campaign is driven by the players not the GM. Gm’s will state when they have open times for play, but it will be the players who form a group, decide where to go, and then ask the GM for a play slot.

All adventures will start in Region H6 – Elmhearth. The further away you get, the more dangerous it will become. Each hex is 6 leagues (18 miles) and that will be one day of travel with no distractions. 

The Players control the Map.

Important Map Points

  1. The players are the ones who will update the map with the locations of encounters, dungeons, etc.
    1. This can be done in a image editor, in google slides, or an online source like https://www.resourcemapmaker.com/M/?m=208. These player maps can also be uploaded and included in the Fantasy Grounds SoS campaign for in game reference.
  2. The map is unreliable.
    1. The adventurers may think a dungeon is in a certain hex, in a certain region, but they are adventuring in a wilderness, with out the benefit of overhead views for cartography. Map making is a little less exacting.
    2. The GM will not abuse this. This is just to give some leeway to adventures and design. We won’t move a dungeon halfway across the map. 
  3. Food and water matters.
    1. A ration feeds a person for one day (Elves can eat half a ration). Waterskins hydrate for one day. You can use survival or other skills to find food, but this will slow travel.
  4. Treasure Weight is important.
    1. A statue of Tanthias may fetch a hefty price from the markets of Uthgard, but how will the players get it back to Elmhearth over rugged terrain?
    2. Satellite bases can be built, as well as roads, but this will take time, protection, and money. This will make it easier to transport findings, but will also add to other adventures.

 

SoS01 – The encampment has started to grow

 

Helfen is a large man, and when he stands in the doorway of the keep, he seems even larger. His wild gray hair stands out in all directions from chin to temple.

“Well, the first few families have started to show up. And that means we need to be ready for more. We don’t have much food in store, and no where near enough to get through winter. So we need to do some hunting, or find some stuff to sell to make some gold.”

He points to the wooden board beside the door. This is the Task Board. I’ll post jobs there for any to see. 

“I am working on a very limited budget here, so I can only offer a little gold. But don’t worry, anything you donate to the cause will be accounted for and once this mess in Kowal is handled I will make sure you will all be rewarded based on how much you helped.”

“We have two new families, the Jurgensons, who left Kowal because they feared the Red Guard would see their son’s ailment as a sign of witch craft. And the Boughs, a faun couple who left do the xenophobia that the damned Church is instilling in people. Make them welcome and and help you give them will also be accounted for.”

“Now who wants to go on the fist venture?”

OOC

First game session

Max 6 players.

Available dates: January 2nd-16th

Request must be turned in by December 31st (with chosen player characters). Request can be sent via contact form. Discord or Facebook should be utilized to build the group.

Scrivner – A Runic Magic

Brelmani pricked his finger, a swell of blood gathering then dropping into a small bowl filled with a copper toned ink. Three drops fell to the surface of the liquid, then he pulled his long fingered hand away. A small swath of suede was already unrolled on the table. He grabbed a quill and began to mark the leather with the copper toned ink. He murmured strange sounds as he covered the leather with unknown symbols and marks. After an hour he was done. The symbols seemed to glow for a moment, then fade back to a dark metallic brown.

Brelmani reached into his pocket and pulled out a small round crystal which was a milky white color with red veining. He placed it in the middle of the suede and gently rolled it up. This should keep it secret from detection for at least a month, maybe more. Or so he hoped.


Agrid whistled as she carved. The stone was hard, but her tritium tools easily made their marks. She would break into song everyone once in a while, singing into the runes she carved. Dwarves believed in song. Song was a power of the world. As were words. Both spoken and written. These words were ancient, taught to her by her master, before she left the city. City life wasn’t for her, too much turmoil. Too many people. Too many humans. And too many human laws. But out here, here she could make a life that was her own. Out here there were other dangers. Monsters and demons. She paused as she finished one rune and started on the next. These runes would keep them at bay. On those dark nights, the things that go bump, would bump somewhere else. 

These runes of power would need upkeep, but having to repair runes was much better then staying in a city where dwarves were looked as below others. Here she carved the runes for herself, and here she carved out her own life.


Tanin placed the third rock on the soft earth of the forest. He checked it in accordance with the others to make sure they created a perfect triangle. A single rune adorned each stone, though they were worn away and barely seen. Tanin could not afford to have them reworked yet, but maybe, just maybe after this delivery he would have enough. 

The wilds were dangerous, especially for a messenger. Traveling in groups was necessary to keep night watches and to look over each others shoulder for danger. Tanin traveled alone, because these simple enchanted stones allowed him to sleep with some level of security. He hardly believed the old woman when she had said that they would scream as loud as a hawk if their perimeter was crossed by something. Then she showed him and he gladly paid the asking price of 100 gold. It was all of his savings, but that would keep him safe at night, allowing him to make longer treks alone and to make more per delivery. As they were used the runes slowly wore away, as if a gentle stream was washing away the rough edges. Tanin hoped they would last just a few more weeks as he laid down to sleep in the quickly darkening forest, . Just a few more he thought, as he slowly drifted to sleep.


These are examples of runic magic, a type of magic that is imbued on an item that gives some utilitarian property. They are created with the Artificing Craft, which is part of our upcoming release of crafting and item rules.

You can see the current state of the project here.

Save the Witches – Notes

Goal: save the mages. get shem and kids out of Kowal. Meet biena at home.

What happened:

  • Novro 26th – burning of the witches
  • Met with Raff of Sons
  • Found that Kowal army has started recruiting for the first time a hundred years
  • Lesser Geas Red Guard Knight and 4 uthgard soldiers.
  • Daz found Amulet of Charmed protection. +5 vs charm and sleep magic
  • Xynx roll of 20 on all roof checks.
  • Mort and the Irregulars will take place in a full frontal assault.

 

Notable NPC’s (met, interactions, etc):

Raff of the Sons – met and “befriended”

 

Future

  1. Escape though underden?

 

Scouting the area

Knowledge gained

    • Sewer entrance nearby
    • Uthgard and Kowal troops stationed nearby.
    • A new stage built for this
    • DC 15 awareness runes atop the pillar. DC 25 to see what it looks like.
    • Lots of citizens interested.

 

  • Sewers marked and familiar.

 

The Sons

  • Dc20 to convince them to help.
  • Shovel is there.
  • Raff, son of Drex is there. He is ranking officer.
  • What is the plan? Burn and run
  • What is the pay off?  1000gp
  • Buying black rock – 10 ounces 500gp

 

Black Rock – 50 gp per ounce – 1d8 damage per ounce. Highly volatile. Unstable. To use roll 1d12. Each ounce used gives the damage an additional 5’ of range.

  • 1 – Explodes while handling. Full damage to handler. DC 15 Reflex to take half damage
  • 2 – Implodes and causes itself to become inert.
  • 3 – 10 – Explodes as intended.
  • 11- Explodes as intended, add 10’ to the AoE
  • 12 – Double damage to intended target.

Brelmani

  • Can help scry.
  • Can’t leave house.
  • Magic wrap of non detection for Roe.
  • Summoned on dretch. Gave amulet and wrap.

Wanderers.

  • Can’t directly interfere.
  • Most have left the city.
  • Mort and the irregulars are at the tavern.
  • Can provide escape route, but could be dangerous.

Mort @ half pint

  • Will help.
  • Whats the plan? Frontal assault
  • Whats the pay off? Friends and drinks.

Fleg Jennen

  • Sending out word to find out if and guards will look the other way.
  • (Guards will look the other way)

Sewers

  • Fuel in sewers for burning our escapees

SagaBorn Review and Game Session with the Called Shot Podcast

The awesome folks at The Called Shot Podcast did a little side adventure in Atheles, showing off the SagaBorn RPG. It is a great run, and their show is a lot of fun! Be sure to check it out. They also have a great review at the end of the podcast for the SagaBorn system.

You can read the review and listen to the adventure here:

http://www.calledshotpodcast.com/blog/2018/03/23/shore-leave-the-sagaborn-review/

Thanks for the support and spread the word, we need more monster hunters!

-Mike