Eberron - A New Era

The cast of characters.
When adventure finds you, will you be prepared?

BrelzaDark-Elf Sorcerer.

Never feeling at home in the small diaspora community of her hometown, she fell for a pretty face (Salazar) at a touring circus, and ran away, never looking back.

VellemanHuman Fighter.

Haunted by the memory of lost comrades, met Godric in a bar at a low point.

SalazarHuman Rogue.

Helped spirit Brelza away from her subterranean home. Met Godric and Velleman in a bar.

FenHalf-elf Artificer.

Clever with chemicals, she trained for war, but was last employed by a travelling circus, where she met Salazar and Brelza.

GodricDwarf Cleric

Met with veteran Velleman in a bar. Recognized a fellow warrior and extended the hand of friendship.

ArdenHalfling Monk

A quiet one, last employed as an acrobat with the circus.

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A Walk in the Rain

The rain slants down insistently, making mirrors of flagstones and soft halos around the glow lights. It is the kind of dark that only seems to occur during heavy rainfall – an edgy black and white dark that makes you jumpy and plays tricks on your eyes.

You are leaving for “home” after a long day looking for a mission at Morgraive University. Knocking on professor’s doors just gave more entries to add to the list of rejection excuses that had been building over the last few days: “we have already used up our expedition funds for the term”, “sorry – the professor is on sabbatical”, “sorry, we only hire adventurers with a track record”. One rejection was particularly harsh. An elegantly attired young man had looked you all up and down after hearing your request and responded with “I am sure she won’t be interested. She only hires professionals”.

Not wanting to write off the whole day, you take advantage of your location to get a decent and affordable meal at the commons, atop the Dallanan tower that houses the university. After sampling the varied faires in the depressing afternoon drizzle you decide to call it a day and head towards the Sky Taxi landing. As you walk, the wind and rain increases, causing more than one of you to shiver in your damp clothes.

Up ahead, not joining in on the desultory conversation, Ander lifts his hand to point at something on a bridge ahead. Looking up, you see the dim outline of a body sprawled in the shadows between two glow-lights. Brelza springs into action. Sensing danger she dives into a bush beside the parapet. The others move forward, drawing their weapons cautiously. Godric rushes first to the body, hoping to render assistance. It is too late. A shockingly large pool of blood is being washed away by the rain, and the staring eyes have glazed over. A middle aged man lies face down. He wears the top-robe of a University Scholar. Brelza recovers from her reaction, and moves in, quickly divesting the body of its coin purse, some ID papers and a fine wallet that was clutched in his outstretched hand.

As Brelza stoops, Salazar hears a suspicious sound. “Watch out – something’s funny under the bridge” he warns, but before anyone else can react, a lithe black-cloaked figure spings over the parapet and leaps towards Brelza’s unprotected back. Almost in slow motion, he closes the gap and a short blade flickers out. There is a sickening wet-meat sound and Brelza arches her back in agony as a crimson slash rips through her robes. The assassin raises its sword to finish her, but Velleman fires, putting off the attack and landing his quarrel in hits side. You see the strange eyes of the assassin flare up in intensity. Godric mutters an exhortation to the Sovereign Host and Brelza’s wounds close and her pain diminishes as he steps forward and ducks under the raised arm of the attacker, swinging his Warhammer upward in a smooth blow catching the side of its head. There is an audible crack, and the assassin crumples like a sack. Not satisfied, Godric smashes the head with a sickening crunch, revealing a disturbing array of grey material with fine silver lines running through it – seemingly pulsing faintly. She – for subtle design curves and features reveal a female design – was a warforged. As you stare, there is a high pitched whirring noise and a small object springs up from her chest and veers suddenly off and away from the bridge, disappearing into the rain.

A scream echoes around you as someone from a balcony belatedly screams bloody murder. “Murder! They’re killing someone! Call the Watch” another chimes in. You look around nervously, and look to make yourselves scarce. Hardly pausing to loot the fallen warforged, you scurry on over the bridge.

“Hold it right there!” a stentorian voice, used to being obeyed booms. Ahead of you, a stout but short figure holds a crossbow that is pointed unwaveringly at the lead party member. Two other figures loom, holding halberds at the ready. They each bear the insignia of the the Sharn Watch.

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A Brush with Authority
Sgt. Dolom shakes you down

The group hesitates. “Over by the wall” the Dwarf Officer barks, “Come on, move it”. One by one you head to where he indicates. Velleman puffs out his chest and registers his objection, which does nothing to phase the dwarf.

“Let’s hear your story” he asks, once they are all aligned. Brelza is the first to respond “It wasn’t us, well – only one of them … He was dead when we got there …”. Others chime in and in a moment, Sgt Dolom has to cut through the babble. “One at a time. You!” he says, pointing at Godric.

Godric relays what happened, omitting any mention of looting the bodies. At this moment, Brelza realizes she is still clutching the satchel, and furtively tries to slide it behind her back. Dolom catches the gesture and says “Always where a man’s wallet, Miss?”. He grabs it and examines it contents. “Anything else?” he asks, now that he can prove their story was incomplete.

By then, one of his constables has examined the bodies, and reports back to Dolom whispering in his ear. Dolom sends him off to talk to witnesses. He then turns back to you and demands the ID papers which he assumes would have been on the bodies. Brelza hands over the Professor’s papers. Briefly examining them, Dolom appears to come to a decision. “The professor appears to have been cut down with the other corpses’ blade. You seem to have killed the killer. There is something behind this, and I don’t have the resources to investigate. I am going to give you back the evidence, and let you go, on the condition that you have one week to report back to me with the story behind this killing.” he says, and removes the bolt from his crossbow before shouldering it.

Making a collective sigh of relief, you turn in the direction of your sky taxi and make your exit.

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A Mysterious Stranger
Rendezvous at the Broken Anvil

As you gratefully depart the bridge and head towards your taxi, a cloaked stranger appears out of the rain and mutters to Velleman “If you want to know what’s behind Bonal Geldem’s death, come to The Broken Anvil at dawn tomorrow”. No sooner does Velleman look up to respond then the stranger’s back is turned and he swiftly strides away down a narrow staircase and into the rain and darkness.

Between the murderous assassin, the irrascible Sgt Dolom and the mysterious stranger, you have had enough encounters for this evening, and are only too grateful to grab a seat on the sky taxi and head to your quarters in Callestan. Later that night, you examine the Journal. It is of unusual quality. The pages are like no paper you have seen before, but the pages seem completely blank.

The next morning, you wake before the dawn and dash for an early taxi. Your destination is the next district over, so you hustle along skybridges and around towers for a half-hour before beginning the long descent to the lower levels and the Broken Anvil. The first lift is an elegant affair, where Brelza is so impressed she overtips the operator, who stammers his profuse thanks before letting out out. The descent from middle to lower levels is more functional – a creaky freight elevator lowers you another 200 ft to ground levels.

Around the corner, and the Broken Anvil’s door is before you. An un-prepossessing site, you step in with some misgivings. Immediately inside the door you are taken in tow by the halfling proprietress. “well good morning ducks” she says. “You’ll be following me” and she bustles through a door without waiting for a response. Across the common room she leads the way to another door and motions you inside. With some caution, you open the door and peer in. Inside is just a woman behind a table with some jugs on it. Filing in, she motions you to sit down and offers water, wine or beer.

You settle down, and she leans towards you.

“Thank you for coming. I am Elaydren d’Vown of House Cannith. I was working with Provost Geldem to recover a lost family heirloom. We were to meet last night.” She pauses to let the significance sink in. A contact in the watch told me about what transpired, so I had one of our men contact you."

She continues “The heirloom, according to family legends, was locked away in a foundry that dates back to pre-Galifar Sharn. Poor Bonal believed that he had discovered the location of the foundry in an ancient Cannith journal. I was going to fund an expedition to go to the site, but without Bonal…” her voice trails off, then she leans close “Perhaps you would be willing to retrieve the hierloom for me.” a couple of exhaled “yeses” escape involuntarily before she adds “for a generous reward, of course”. “If I could see the Journal please” she extends her hand, and Brelza hands over the seemingly blank Journal. As it approaches her hand, they notice that her ring – a House Cannith seal – glows and and the binding of the journal glows in sympathy. As the pages open, text and diagrams appear magically. Elaydren turns to a specific page, studies it and then pulls a folded map from her cloak. The location of the lost forge is deep below the Dorasharn Tower. 57 levels below the present sewer system. I offer you 1000 gp to recover the lost artefact. Will you do this for me?"

You practically fall over one another to accept. In response to questions she cover a few facts, such as an advance of 100 gp for equipment, a suggestion for enough portable lighting, and ropes. The item is a made of adamantium, in the shape of a seven pointed star, about the size of a human hand. She also mentions that she believes the “Lord of Blades” was behind the death of Bonal Geldem. “The warforged prophet has his own designs on the schema” she says darkly. Salazar mentions the whirring device that fled the chest of the assassin, and Elaydren frowns. “Then the Lord of Blades will certainly know of your party” she says and adds “we must move swiftly”.

“Somewhere beyond the E213 Valve, you will find a sealed door with the same mark as on this Journal. Open the seal and the tunnel revealed will take you down to the long forgotten level far below where the foundry resides. I am completely confident that you wil be able to handle anything you encounter” she finishes.

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The Rat's Market
Wheeling and Dealing with a Professional

Before reaching the top of the Dorasharn tower, you stock up on rope, light sources and rations. Who knows how long this mission will take?

Heading there is another exercise in street-smarts, as the sullen working poor of Callestan give way to the vividly multi-ethnic impoverished multitudes of Malleon’s gate. Who knew so many cultures could be found right under the nose of the city’s middle classes?

Somewhere around ground level, you enter one of the cart-wide entries to the Dorasharn Tower. The entire area is occupied by dark and grungy tenements. There is the stench of piss and vomit in the air. Goblins, and their larger more aggressive cousins occupy the streets and alleyways – lounging on corners, playing dice on steps, hawking a variety of wares along thoroughfares.

You are standing close to the spot your map directs you to. A goblin nearby is hawking his wares from an upturned crate. "Come to Skakan for Good Stuff " he exhorts. “I got lotsa good stuff ‘ere. Gentleman’s kerchiefs. A warm blanket only 39 coppers. Lady’s comb. Fresh fried skewer of rat?” he squarks, and looks up at your group expectantly.

“I don’t want to touch his s**t” says one of you. Another says “maybe we should buy something”. Salazar asks Skakan “do you knows anything about valve 213?”. Skakan responds “valve? I have some stuff to sell. D’yu wanna buy something?”. Godric’s distaste for goblinoids overcomes his deference and he hefts his axe and says “how about you just tell us where the freakin’ valve is before I smash your stall to pieces?”.

“Oh no” squeaks Skakan. “How will I feed my children? Oh please, save me from this threat, people. I am so small. Please, don’t hurt me!” – his voice raising in pitch and volume with each entreaty. Brelza steps in and says “It’s ok, Skakan, how much for this rope?” – “Oh Beautiful Lady! I can sell you that fine rope for… 2 sp. It’s a nice rope. Only dirty, no much wear”. Velleman chimes in with “How about this bell?” – “Oh, another 2 sp sir. You can replace the clapper.” replies Skakan. “How about a deal on the bell and the rope?” asks Velleman – “I’ll pay 20 cp for them both”. “Oh sir – my children will starve. My wife she will not let me back in our cave if I cannot bring food. What am I to do!” Skakan implores, raises his eyes to the ceiling and holds his little arms wide in a dramatic flourish. Velleman realizes he is pushing too hard, and says “All right, how about 5 sp”. “Oh thank you sir, you are most generous” smarms Skakanm his expression changing in an instant. “And about that valve?” mutters Godric. “Oh kind and generous people. Perhaps I can lead you right to the passage for… 20 sp?” Skakan offers, experimentally. “Why don’t you just tell us how to get there?” asks Godric suspiciously. “Oh sir, I am only trying to be as helpful as possible. Down here it is very confusing with passages and tunnels.” responds Skakan.

You hand him the money. He immediately gets off his stool and moves his crate aside. Scattering a mildewey blanket and some small bones, he reveals a mechanism set in the floor. “Just go through this opening. You will find your 213” he adds triumphantly.

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Down in the Sewer
There's lots of rats down here!

(Bonus experience to anyone who gets the title and subtitle reference).

In the Rat’s Market, the exposed gateway is opened easily with a wheel. The party slips through the dark hole one by one, leaving the “civilised” world above behind. As Godric brings up the rear, Skakan replaces the door, and behind their lights, utter darkness follows them.

As you descend, a stench rises up, and the sound of rushing water gets louder. The passage turns sharply right, and beyond a brief descent you can see water – or some liquid, rushing from right to left across an opening. You descend and stand facing a main sewer tunnel about 10 ft in diameter. To the immediate right, the tunnel is blocked by string iron bars running from floor to ceiling. To your left, the tunnel runs between a platform on either side. You can see a number of valves leading into the tunnel above the platform area, and periodically these open and discharge fluid out into the sewer channel.

Arden asks how deep the sewage is – sensibly concerned as the shortest member of the party. “Not more than 6 inches” reassures Velleman, as he trudges into the tunnel and turns left. Everyone follows, and they see the platforms are both left and right, with valves at head height, mostly closed. At that moment, Arden is hit by a blow from behind. Another warforged was hiding in ambush. As the party reacts, two other figures spring from the shadows and join the attack. This time the party reacts with sudden deadly force. Brelza blinds one of the Shifters – as their feral expressions reveal them to be, and he is made short work of by the double-team of Salazar and Arden. Godric finishes the remaining sifter, and the Warforged is also quickly brought down. However, no-one was prepared for the whirring messenger, which again speed up and away from the corpse of the warforged. “Damn” says Velleman. “Next time we must all be prepared to grab that thing”.

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A Gateway to the Past
Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away..

After killing the attackers and looting their corpses, there isn’t much else to do in the muck of the sewer, so you press on. Ahead is a T junction, but to the left is another iron grate, so you head to the right. A little way down, set into the tunnel wall is a circular metal hatch. In the middle is a glowing circle of mithril showing the same icon as you saw on Bonal Geldem’s journal – the ancient symbol of House Cannith that predates the founding of the Kingdom of Galifar itself – a stylized hammer and anvil.

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Stop, stop, start again!

Fen, the last remaining member of the ill-fated adventurers in pursuit of the once agent, now vampire Lucan, high-tails it back to Sharn to report to her patron and get reinforcements.

Lucan meanwhile has commandeered a lightning-rail train and is heading East and North an will be out of Breland within a week.

The call has gone out, and a new motley crew of rag-tag adventurers answers the call. No expense is spared as their paymaster has arranged the services of a fast airship to get them hot on the tail of Lucan. You travel fast, changing drivers at pre-arranged point along the way, and within 3 days are approaching Stariluskar. Too late! The train has left the station and is already en-route to the North via Thrane. You pursuade the sky-captain to take you further, and as you approach the sharp-eyed elves spot the distant form of another skyship hanging over what is probably the train. Small figures are seen leeping from the train and racing sky sleds back to their airship which peels off to the West.

Making a quick decision, you descend to the stationary train. The passengers are seemingly oblivious and a butler tries to block your way. The quick thinking Cleric attempts to charm the butler, who as a result, suddenly snaps out of a charm spell previously cast on him. He remembers coming under a dark influence, and he leads you all to a baggage compartment, where you find the now empty coffin of Lucan.

You track him off the train and away to a ziggurat situated in a pocket of swamp. Making your way through the swamp to the stairs, you force open the stuck doors with a simple ‘knock’ spell and enter the cool dark chambers. Within moments, the is a sicking wet crunch as a huge manta-ray like form grabs the ranger in its maw and lifts him bodily from the ground. Each blow at the Cloaker also further damages the ranger as you battle desperately. A spell revives the Ranger and he struggles free, but the battle hangs in the balance as the beast slashes its tail and bites – even grabbing the Ranger yet again. Spells and swords fly as the chamber rings with sword clashes and the sky hums with bolts and arrows. As suddenly as it started, it is quiet again. The butchered form of the cloaker is on the ground, and everyone has survived.

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Ashes to ashes
Lord Lucan is dead

After defeating the Cloaker, the party heals up what little they can, and presses on – aware that their quarry works best at night – when they will be most vulnerable. Heading up through the bowels of the ziggurat, they encounter mysterious room after room, are beset by deadly traps, and set upon by monsters.

Ultimately, they find Lucan in the highest room. A brief fight ensues, wherein a lucky blow paralyses the vampire, allowing the party to transfix him with a stake through the heart. Carrying his prostrate form into a beam of sunlight finishes the job forever, and all that remains is the systematic looting of the temple.

Of course there are more traps, and ancient evils lurking, but hey are dispatched in albeit or clumsy fashion, and the party prevails.

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Octopussy
I'd like to be, under the sea,

After some much deserved R&R, the party are summoned in urgent fashion to Lady Elaydren’s domicile. They arrive in time to rescue her from a horde of Karnathi Zombies who succeeded in making off with the schemas the party had fought so hard to obtain for her.

Once the Lady has been resuscitated, she appraises the party of this sad fact. She then relates that the last remaining schema in the wild must not fall into their hands. It is rumoured to be on Zen’drik. To this end, she hires the party to go there and beat all others to the last piece of the puzzle.

They travel by submersible, have a run-in with some lizard types, and make it to Stormreach – the main port city on Zen’drik. They fall in with a local guide, and soon they have a pair of elephants are embarking on a river cruise to outflank the Karnarth party.

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