Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Tears of Vummor Campaign Background

Clockwise from top left: Shepard, Nimy, Dorcas, Ingrid (Illustration by Jenn!)

The Sparagmos-Fweedom Collective* (i.e. The Players):

Dorcas Snell (Jamie)/level 5 thief - Dorcas hails from Wayheath, where she thrived under the tutelage of Mistress Kella at the Thieves' Guild. The troubles in Wayheath after Lord Eberhardt came to power, coupled with rumors of treasure ripe for the taking at the Caves of Chaos, led Dorcas to the Keep, where she joined forces with a group who had already made a few expeditions into the monster-infested terrain to the north. Dorcas is cautious, thoughtful, and often worried; her sneakiness and her wariness are invaluable to the group.

Ingrid (Jenny)/level 5 cleric - At a young age Ingrid's family was destroyed by a wandering band of undead; destitute and alone, she found both solace and the promise of vengeance in the teachings of Astarael, god of the boundary between life and death. Astarael's clerics, all female, travel New Solinheim alone seeking and destroying any undead they can find. Word of Kyuss worship led Ingrid to the Caves of Chaos, where she met the rest of the group and joined their cause. Ingrid is brave and loyal, but sometimes finds her pledge to Astarael stifling.

Nimy Stonyhill (Jane)/level 4 halfling - A halfling raised on the slopes of the Southwatch Mountains, Nimy fled the village of Oardale after inadvertently burning it to the ground in the process of exposing the replacement of the village elder with a nefarious fey from the Unseelie Court. Despite her neighbors' antipathy toward her, she remains confident she did the right thing. Mostly. Nimy traveled far across New Solinheim and met the party deep in the Tanglewood. She has recently been contacted by a group called The Irons, an organization who fight the Unseelie from the shadows and was gifted with a riding mastiff named Oardale by the group. The newest member of the party, Nimy's quick-thinking and unorthodox style of problem-solving has already earned her a permanent position on the team. 

Shepard (Jenn)/level 4 fighter - After accidentally killing her boyfriend in battle, Shepard left the northern coastal city of Fafhrd and found herself in the Borderlands. The promise of blood and gold led her to the Caves of Chaos, where she was imprisoned by bugbears and subsequently freed by the party. She is currently the victim of a ghoul curse for drinking from a chalice sacred to the gnoll god Yeenoghu. Brave, strong, and foolhardy, Shepard deals with trouble just as well as she creates it. 

Ymanie Dellacorte (NPC)/level 3 magic user - When Ymanie's curiosity and penchant for finding trouble wore thin with her wealthy Gold Coast trading family, she was offered two options: marry that powdered wig-wearing Von Der Linth boy (and thus merge two of the largest trading companies in the world) or go to the Mages' School and learn some discipline. Not the type to submit to an arranged marriage, the Mages' School it was. She was expelled within two years after an unauthorized trip to the Somberlain left a classmate aged by forty years. Dornius Gorthrew, one of her instructors, still saw promise in the young mage and agreed to take her under his wing in secret. At his request (and fleeing the marriage her parents arranged upon news of her expulsion), Ymanie traveled to the Borderlands to seek a very dangerous artifact known as the Tears of Vummor. Not very good at keeping secrets, she revealed the nature of her quest to the first group of adventurers she fell in with, and thus the Sparagmos-Fweedom Collective was born.

Grolt; paper mini from Darkfast Dungeons

Grolt (NPC)/ 4+1 HD bugbear - Raised in the northernmost outskirts of Morktweald Forest, Grolt found himself in the the Caves of Chaos when his clan relocated in support of the cleric of Kyuss, Malwold, and his haphazard campaign against the Keep. Grolt raised concerns about this move to his chief and was mocked. When he cited a vision sent by Meriadar, god of peace, craft and meditation, that came to him in a bowl of human-meat stew warning of his clan's destruction, Grolt was locked away. Imprisioned, Grolt swore off the flesh of sentient beings and learned to mediate, seeking answers from his new god. Deliverance came when the party freed him; with his clan gone he agreed to help the adventurers stop Malwold. Grolt's devotion to Meriadar helps him overcome the warlike nature of his people, but it is a struggle that often leaves him troubled. A chance encounter with a group of Mongrelfolk in the Tanglewood left him even more troubled when they named him the prophesied Hand of Peace, the warlike aspect Meriadar sometimes uses to create peace. Grolt has found a home amongst the adventurers and continues to fight alongside them while trying to follow Meriadar's path, acting as both their conscience and the one with a very big mace. He has a very close relationship with Dorcas, but insists that his devotion to Meriadar must remain his sole focus.

Zarn (NPC)/warrior cat of New Ulthar - Zarn was captured by the witch Dunna while on patrol in the Black Goat Woods and subsequently freed by the party when they raided the witch's burrows. A proud and honorable soldier of the Warrior Cats of New Ulthar, Zarn feels he owes a debt to the party for rescuing him from the witch and has agreed to assist them on their quest for a time before returning to his duty in the east.
Zarn and Razzi, by Jane, from Nimy's character sheet.

Razzi (NPC)/ level 3 thief ragdoll - The carefree freelance thief Razzi traveled to the Tanglewood with plans to pilfer gold from the coffers of the wealthy elves of Thargione but instead found only the shadow-stealing shears of Dunna. With her soul transferred to one of the witch's ragdolls and her body left to die of exposure in the forest, Razzi was trapped in a containment pit until the party freed her. Ever the optimist, Razzi has embraced her strange new body and the new ways she can use it for thievery. In appreciation, she continues to travel with the party to help out when she can, usually bolstering morale with her sunny disposition (which is weird for somebody trapped in a doll body.)

Sheila (NPC)/ level 3 fighter/cursed donkeyperson - Another of Dunna's victims, Sheila ran afoul of the witch while passing through the Tanglewood looking for mercenary work. Dunna's experiments left the fighter transformed into a donkey, who the witch traded to villagers from Lyle in exchange for some supplies. Frustrated at her inability to communicate with the villagers, she violently lashed out at them. Deciding she couldn't be put to work, the people of Lyle decided to slaughter her for meat over the winter. When the party came to Lyle seeking Dunna, something about Sheila's demeanor led Shepard to believe there was more to the donkey than met the eye, so she purchased her. In Dunna's tent they found a magical donkey fetish; Ymanie was able to use it to partially transform Sheila into a donkey/human hybrid. Grateful to the party for their intervention, she lends them both her sword arm and her hooves. She is still really, really bummed to be a donkey lady, though.

What's happening?

I'll try to make this brief. The necromancer Elizabeth, from her stronghold in the Chaos Lands, has a grand scheme to pay tribute to Kyuss, god of undeath, by unleashing an undead apocalypse across the multiverse. To do this she needs the Tears of Vummor (write up coming sometime soon) and access to a long-dead machine called the Sonnenspire. 

The Tears are housed in a secret dungeon far below the Keep on the Borderlands (which was built by a secret sect of the church of Heironeous), so Elizabeth sent her follower Malwold and a number of cultists to the Borderlands, where they used magic and gold to rally various humanoids under her banner. They concurrently infiltrated the Keep to look for the Tears of Vummor and also test its defenses should they need to be taken by force.

Elizabeth needs the corpse of the original Pelor (not the current sun god Pelor, but the old one who used super science to bring a new sun to his dead world and went mad with power, repopulating New Solinheim as he saw fit for thousands of years until a coalition of lesser gods he stole from other worlds banded together to kill him), which hangs from the ghostly Gallows Tree. To overcome the curse placed on his corpse and revive Pelor so he can activate the Sonnenspire, Elizabeth needs the Noose of Ghoul, an artifact created long ago by Wrest, the corrupted son of the Ghoul King.

However, Dornius Gorthrew, a powerful wizard from the Mages' School in Fadun, caught wind of Elizabeth's plan and formed a coalition with Luthais Overmoon, the ancient elven sage of Vallonde, to thwart her by locating and protecting/getting to the Tears of Vummor, the Noose of Ghoul and Pelor's corpse. They have many agents across New Solinheim working on these tasks; one of which is Ymanie Dellacorte, who persuaded the party to help in the fight against Elizabeth.

So far the party rooted out Malwold from the Caves of Chaos (who escaped into the Underdark, presumably bound for the Chaos Lands) and broke the already uneasy coalition of humanoids gathered there. They also located the Tears of Vummor below the Keep, discovered the location of the Noose of Ghoul (which resides in the crypts of the long-dead Duvan'Ku cult atop Mt. Dolman) and obtained the last known enchanted map to the Gallows Tree. At present the party is set up at the Keep, ready to defend the Tears from a chaos army known as the Bloodface. 

*"Sparagmos" taken from this, and "Fweedom Collective" is the actual name of an actual weed store in Seattle. The Sparagmos-Fweedom Collective had the adventuring party officially incorporated by a fucking notary public they found when they had to sign a contract with Duncan Von Der Linthe, Ymanie's unwanted-but-still-legally-binding-husband-to-be, in order to get him to chill the fuck out and actually help them while they save the multiverse. It was a weird session.