Shadows of Skullport

Cormyr or the Dalelands

(Pre-session)

The City of Arabel, gateway to the Kingdom of Cormyr. The Purple Knight Inn has taken in a host of rare travelers, all with unique stories about meeting an old man and his beautiful wife in a cottage along the way. Only to find themselves transported, some overnight, some in the course of conversation, to this area. It would appear that some greater power is manipulating the weave of fate’s loom. And now, another group, this one of five; a mute halfling, a cautious human with draconic blood, a sturdy but bald dwarf, a half-drow windcaller, and a powerful elven summoner.

The lady turned over her palm as this group entered, and saw the coin faces to be blank. Setting them upon the table, all five lift from side to stand on edge. “More of them” she noted, and then the coins vanished. The barmaid brought another ale over to the lady by the hearth.

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The Saga Continues!

Recap: Waterdeep was “under seige” from the lesser humaniods; goblins, orcs, and kobolds were all throwing themselves upon the blades of the city guard trying to “invade”. After a month investigation and three trips to nearby encampments of these creatures it is revealed that they were running from a darker power, mistrusted and unable to convey their desires for refuge, were slaughtered mercilessly. Since then, Drow began providing “refuge” for these undesireables, and while not all of the tribes and clans agreed with this, they were forced to do the work for the dark elves in exchange for “protection”. The kobolds are foced to mine a rare metal, Dark Iron. This ore was then shipped to the orcs and forged into weapons capable of enduring high heat as well as store fire-base magics with greater ease. The weapons were being shipped north to a small encampment of Gnolls that had taken over an old abandoned set of ruins, which recently breached into the Upperdark from local seismic activity.

And then the rumors of the plague. Not just any plague, but one that swept like wildfire through Skullport. Within three days, an entire block of the city was infected and had to be destroyed. Even the Harpers of the Dalelands had taken notice and sent members to investigate, despite it’s long distance from their homelands. The origins of the plague were believed to be from rebel drow, and into the Upperdark they went. Finding, of all things, a Drow and Thayan enclave working beneath the surface developing this plague. The first host of the plague was found, brought back to Skullport (under intense magical shielding) and from her death, were able to develop a small batch of antidotes. Only a total of 7 remain. While more can be made, it is during the death throes of one already infected that the antidote can be created, only 8 total doses. For 8 to survive, one must die.

And now the deeper origins of this plague, and the Yuan-ti, masters of poisons and keepers of Blighter retainers, they hunted the snakes for information, and only found more questions. Shade, the forgotten city of the desert, they too played a hand in the creation of this plague. The Yuan-ti, the Drow, a Thayan Enclave, and now the remaining decendants of Karsus. To the desert they travelled, and that’s when things got strange.


The road through the desert, so difficult to follow, but thanks to the guide markers placed every few hundred feet, thanks to the magic that illuminated those markers through the night so strong that they could be seen even through sand-cover. They managed, for many days, they travelled the desert towards the last known city populated by those of Shade. That was supposed to be a tenday journey. They never saw it past the 6th day.

The storm, and not a sandstorm as you might expect. No, this was a thunderstorm, in the desert, a light hurricane, summoned from another place and brought to provide it’s rain for the area. A small 50’-radius of trees. Not palms, not cacti, but oak and ash and birch trees. A cottage at the center, and a little old man named Dweven. After seeking shelter, they awoke the next day, to continue their journey to the Shadian city. After travelling an hour in the forest, it finally dawned upon the party them that they should be in the desert. Returning to where the cottage once was, they found only a small garden of wild blueberries, and raspberries (quickly taken by kiashien, and made into Goodberries).

The sky turned to night, and Cade Lowhill used the stars to judge their location, only to find them about three days travelled south of Myth Drannor in the Elven Forest. That night they were assaulted by lesser demons, fleshwalkers, and they made their way south to the border of Cormyr, seeking rest in the first city they found. Now, staying at the Purple Knight Inn of Arabel, they rest, but for how long?

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A Plague upon both Houses

Captain’s Journal,

It’s the 23rd of Leafall, and those heroes I have hired to investigate the humanoid camps will probably be returning to Waterdeep soon. I wish I could warn them. Someone took me out of power, stripped me of my command and exiled me from the city for the crimes of killing the innocent. Obviously, the allegations are false, while the few bands of humanoids that did initially come to Waterdeep were non-hostile, the remaining camps were working for, from what my bands of allies describe, Drow.

And now this, just before I “leave” I hear of a plague spreading in Skullport. I hope that the friends I’ve contacted in the Harpers can travel the distance and make it to aid these young heroes before they are overwhelmed.

Ex-Captain Reginald set down his journal. The campfire flickered across the camp. His two leiutenants that came with him, his wife, and their cart. He did not like to travel on the open road like this, but the past is the shortest route to the High Forest, and the only Harper encampment in the area. He needed to find a safe place quickly.


Captain’s Journal,

We reached the High Forest, and besides a short dealing with the elves, we have made it safely to our new Haven, Marincel. My contacts and colleagues in the mage college of Waterdeep have been keeping me apprised of the situation back home. I am glad to hear that the larger group of young heroes is still alive, and doing well. They found out that a Drow House and a Thayan Enclave were working on development of a Necromantic Transformation Plague. I don’t fully understand, but that sounds really bad. Last thing I heard was they were heading into the Underdark to try and find a cure for it.

Meanwhile, my wife and I have found a small cottage here where we are staying. My leiutenants appear to be plagued with a bit of wanderlust and have parted ways with us, heading deeper into the forest. I must admit, I’m falling love with the quiet and peace out here, I may stay here after everything happening in Waterdeep is through.

He sent down the book, and blew out the lamp light on the desk. It was good to finally rest after such a long week on the road.

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The Hunt Begins

“Captain, are you sure that this is right? This is an awfully large amount of money to be giving for such a menial task?” The young lieutenant was walking beside Captain Reginald, of Waterdeep, eying a parchment with the seal of the council.

“It is what it is. They have their reasons, and so do I,” The chain shirt shifted once as the momentum ceased and then settled as the bearer came to a halt, “this is the place.”

Inside the tavern was one of the more colorful crowds of people they’d seen in a long time. Elves in their woodland cloaks, pirates and sailors in their billowing tunics, even those that wished not to be seen, with cloaks pulled high to shadow their features. So in other words, nothing new for a bar in the city of splendors, but the guards are not often in these places. The two men entered, drawing some attention, and a third man, another lieutenant, joined them at the doorway. A few whispers passed between the three guardsmen, and the tavern alike.


A sigil burned out on the rune before the young man. One of them was there, one of the few who may be able to help stop the unveiling. He could only hope that they were willing to hear his call when the time was right.


“I’ll join up.” “I can help.” “Sounds like a fair price.”

The few that stepped forward were a unique brand. A pair of women, both appeared to be elvish, and one of whom appeared to going to great lengths to hide her Drow skin. A Dwarven and Gnomish Warrior, a Ghostwise, four Woodland Elves, a Human Pirate, three Human Mercenaries, and a half-elvan Songstress.

The first pair immediately chose a target, and left the others to debate the remaining three, the majority of them banding together took another and marched off, leaving the remainder to do what they could with last two options.

The hunt begins…

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A Storm is Brewing
The invasons have begun!

The skies went black, and the clouds covered the sun, a harsh wind tore through the lands. Thunder rumbled in the distance, a war had begun.

In the lands to the far west, the Thayan Wizards had begun their assault upon the old world of the Mulhorandi. The Red Wizards seemed to have found a new artifact that has lent them great power and finally after two decades of war, they been able to invade the central cities. It looks like the end for the Mulhorandi, and the rise of a new devastating world power, the Thayan Enclaves.

The countries of the east began to make preparations, for they knew as soon as Thay was done with Mulhorand, they would be next. The Purple Knights of Cormyr and the people of Sembia joined forces to make the first line of defense.

The tribes of scattered humanoids, sensing the threat to their homes marched east, to seek refuge where-ever they could, scattering and finding the dark places in which no one could find them, hoping to let the powerful races stop the coming destruction.

A dark and cold wind ripped though the spires of Waterdeep that day; and a young man in at the head of a long table, a mask concealing his features, faced a group of likewise masked men. “Gentlemen,” the child spoke, though his voice filled with leadership, “a great storm is brewing, and we must act before it is too late.”

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Preparations begin...

“Sir! The City of Skullport is reporting three war bands of Drow within their limits, it’s possible they may try to attack Waterdeep.” The young new recruit was winded as he ran up to the Captain. His uniform was one of the Red Ward, the adventuring quarter of the city. The man to whom he spoke wore a formal dress uniform, green with silver trimmings on a raised black border. At the Captain’s hip hung a beautiful longword, clearly the craft of a master weapon smith.

“The City of Splendors under siege? Preposterous! We’ll add another guard on patrol routes, but there is no real need for alarm, the Lords will see to our safety.” He had barely paid any attention to the young guardsman, and returned to speaking with his lieutenants. With such powerful guardians, who needed the lowly guards?

Characters

Players will be using 3.5 D&D, and will be Gestalt characters. Starting at level 2, with a total of 2,500gp to spend on gear, magic items, etc. I have given the option to the players to allow me to pick their 2nd character class based on their individual backgrounds. (Coming from a long line of Wizards, might actually mean something!) Players will be starting the game in Waterdeep. Stats are to be from 4d6, drop the lowest AND re-roll 1s, two sets. (Generous, I know.)

Gameplay

Emphasis will be moved off combat to a certain degree. Combat will be streamlined and simplified for cinematic reasons, but dice will still hit the table. Skills will be treated with the “amateur” “novice” “journeyman” “artisan” “master” rules, wherein certain tasks become such second nature that you are no longer required to roll the dice. Example: The warrior who has always repaired his own armor since he first started his career, and now has a +15 Craft (Armorer) skill, no longer need roll for basic repairs and simple crafts related to armor.

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