Hello everyone, welcome. I recently started running my first ever DnD campaign based on a homebrew setting, the Iron Empire Campaign Setting, and I thought I would share the details of the first few sessions here to see if folks were interested in the exploits of my friends playing DnD in my living room. This game uses Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition rules. You can read the first part of this chapter HERE.
Stuart – Veteran DnD Player, playing Kah’Rinas Alshiara, Triton Cleric of Sashselas (God of War and the Sea)
Ryan – First time DnD Player, playing Dova, Blue Dragonborn Warlock of the Archfey
Joe – First time DnD Player, experienced Vampire: The Masquerade Player, playing Mungo Rockhouse, Halfling Monk
Robert – First time DnD Player, playing Sealgair a human Ranger
Jonathon – Second time DnD player, playing Damakos, a Tiefling Rogue.
Sealgair part 2
We changed the order of play so that after our mid session break Robert’s character, Sealgair, got to go first as he was falling asleep on my couch. This was less to do with the game and more to do with the fact that he has small children and he had been awake for about 16 hours. Sealgair did an inspection of the burned down hut and discovered the charred remains of a halfling shepherd and his dog, and he found bootprints into the forest nearby. These he followed, and they led him to a Hermit’s shack. It was clearly inhabited by a halfling, though no one was home right now. He discovered evidence of digging around the outside of the shack and a thorough search of the interior revealed a portrait of a group of what appeared to be adventurers.
In the centre of the picture was a winged Gold Dragonborn in robes. Beside him was an armoured Blue Dragonborn, one arm around the shoulders of the Gold, his other hand balancing on the pommel of his sword (a massive two handed sword whose blade was balancing on the ground helped by his hand). To the right of the Dragonborn there were a male and female halfling. They wore loose robes, their hair in topknots and wielded swords. The male halfling held a prayer book and wore a leather gauntlet on his right hand only. The female halflin wielded a Katana sized for a halfling. In the foreground, in front of the Dragonborn were a human male in dark leather armour, kneeling. Sat beside him, wearing a sombre expression, was a half elven woman wearing plain travelling clothes. And finally, to the left of the Dragonborn were two humans, a male and female. They were wearing brown and grey medium armour and were armed with swords and bows. Poking its head from behind their legs was the head of a wolf.
Sealair recognised the final two humans as his parents. Carefully rolling the picture up and securing it, he continued his investigation and found further tracks leading deeper into the forest. He followed them and discovered a hidden camp with an individual in brown leather armour prowling around it. After a brief moment of Indecision, he opened fire on the suspicious individual doing severe damage on his surprise round. This brought his target to its knees and Sealgair hit him with another arrow to finish him off.
He then moved forward cautiously and was alarmed to find he had shot an elf. However, he busied himself with work and searched the hidden camp. He found a campfire where mutton had been cooked fairly recently and he found maps of the surrounding area, with the Hermit’s shack and the town of Grassmere marked on it. He hurried towards Grassmere and what he saw was… (To Be Continued at end)
Kah’Rinas part 2
Kah’Rinas approached the ship from beneath and was able to see it was a Trireme, and that the shapes attacking it were Merrow (Large Abyssal Mer Men Monster things). He deftly avoided the arrowfire from the ship and noted the Merrow were trying to haul themselves aboard ship and given that Merrow were an ancestral enemy, and not commonly found in this part of the world, he decided to attack one engaged with the crew of said ship. He swam at full speed and jabbed his Trident into the side of it doing a fairly large wound. Which got the Merrow’s attention who then turned, hanging from the side of the Trireme and threw a harpoon at him. The Harpoon hit and and Kah’Rinas began to lose consciousness (Yup, one hit took him to Zero but he is solitary level 1, and a Merrow is a level 2 encounter). The last thing he saw was a boat hook plunging into the water straight towards him.
He woke up, his wounds gone as if by magic. He was in a wooden cabin, presumably aboard the Trireme. He was lying on a bed that was about 8 foot long, which was more or less twice his height. In the cabin he could see coastal maps of Helloran, the main landmass of the Iron Empire, and in the corner he could see a shrine to his own god, Sashelas. He ventured from the cabin through a corridor towards the main deck. He could hear shouting, the ringing of metal and snarling and hissing of murderous creatures. When he got to the deck what he saw surprised the player. The entire crew of the Trireme were Orcs, and they were in the middle of repelling boarders – the Merrow. Each Orc was wearing similar leather armour (one might say uniform), with a unit patch on their right shoulder. The patch had a Green closed fist with a Trident behind it, and two ribbons beneath, one silver and one gold. There was writing on each ribbon, a different language on each. Of course, Kah’rinas didn’t speak either language so he couldn’t read it. I should also point out that in my campaign setting, Orcs are seven foot tall, like in the Warcraft Movie. One of them was standing in the middle of the chaos, a heavily scarred orc blind in one eye and with a broken lower tusk jutting from his lip. He noticed Kah’Rinas standing there and yelled at him to stay clear for his own protection, we’ve got this!
A second, older Orc, wearing armour that was clearly leather but made to look like woven coral, similar to Kah’Rinas, and wielding a Trident strode away from the battle and asked what Kah’Rinas was doing swimming into a bloody mess of Merrow.
Kah’Rinas (and player) were a bit taken aback by this and he answered truthfully that he was following an omen. He then asked who the Orcs were. The Orc with the Trident identified himself as Urog Dourtide, Cleric of Sashelas. The one in charge was Milkeye Brokentooth, Captain of the Ship. And the Ship and crew were Royal Marines in service to the Dwarven High King.
The Crew finished off the Merrow and after receiving a dressing down from the captain for swimming into a situation he couldn’t handle, Kah’Rinas was taken back to Urog’s cabin, the place he woke earlier. He was then told that the ship had been part of a Naval Consort for a Kyltearan noble family travelling to the Halfling Greensea. Normally the Royal Marines leave that crap to the navy, but Urog was also following omens of Three Eyes in the Night. When they encountered the nest of Merrow, they marines peeled off from Consort Duty to destroy them as Urog could feel this was relevant. The conversation carried on for a while and Kah’Rinas learned that the Orcs of the Cragtide Clan, these Orcs, had historically been allies with Tritons through their shared worship. Unfortunately, Urog was unable to elaborate as the ship’s alarm bell began ringing. The two ran to the deck and what they saw was… (To be continued below).
Damakos part 2
Damakos woke up in a wooded clearing, tied to a tree. He could see that there were a number of guards patrolling the periphery, though at this precise moment no one was nearby watching him. Taking the opportunity, he slipped out of his bonds but then restored them to look like he was still tied up, figuring he might get information from his captors if he played the prisoner. He didn’t have to wait for long. A human guard saw he was awake and came to speak to him. The human didn’t exactly mistreat him, just checked to see he wasn’t permanently damaged. Damakos used the conversation to start pumping the guard for information and learned that they were hired by an elf to capture him. Deciding that being the captive of an elf was undesirable, Damakos recalled that he has a racial feature which is the Thaumaturgy Catrip, which allows Tieflings to create B Horror Movie Special effects at will (that is not how the cantrip reads, but it is how it should read). Using his racial Thaumaturgy ability Damakos made the sound of a bootstep crunching down on a branch in the woods behind his captor, which got his attention. The captor told him to “not go anywhere” and then went to investigate. Using the distraction, Damakos darted for the treeline in the opposite direction. And as he was running, he heard a sort buzzing noise and then a thump and an exclamation. There was a bluey white flash to accompany the noises. And then it happened three more times, the flash, the buzzing and then the thump.
Damakos was then confronted by a smartly dressed Tiefling, wearing a maroon jacket, brown waistcoat, blue trousers, cravat and a hat.
The Tiefling identified himself as Nyltsear (yes it is the character I made a while ago, turned into an NPC. You can read about making him HERE. He greeted Damakos by name, and in a socially awkward sort of way invited him to his carriage. Damakos was suspicious but accepted. The two got into a driverless carriage waiting on a nearby road, and Nyltsear tapped his staff on the roof to make it go. He told Damakos that he had saved him from those thugs and now he was owed, fortunately he had a means for him to clear the debt. Nyltsear intimated that he worked for a powerful lady who had been tracking ubiquitous occurrences of the symbol “3 eyes in the night” and she wanted to know more about it. Find out what is going on and the debt is cleared Damakos was told and like a good little honourable rogue, he pointed out he already had a job to deliver something. Nyltsear consulted his ever present tome and said he would be happy to deliver the ledger to Underhand to get Damakos on his way. Bizarrely, Damakos accepted after only a little bit of consideration. Nyltsear informed him that he could get out now, and that he would be checking in at some point though if needs be he could be found in his shop in Ashgrave. When Damakos got out of the carriage he noticed he was somewhere completely different, and he also saw… (To be continued below)
Dova – Part 2
Dova walked down the road for about 20 minutes when a swarm of lightning bugs appeared in front of him. (Think firebug but blue thorax with frequent sparks between bugs). They coalesced into a female form and told Dova to stop. Ryan made a slightly jokey out of character greeting that would have been interpreted as a disrespectful way to address your patron upon her arrival. So I took it as an in character statement and so she hit him with a bolt of lightning for his rudeness. Only a baby bolt and as a blue dragonborn he had lightning resistance but I feel his lesson was learned. He will never be disrespectful to his patron in or out of character ever again.
Sarastra, Queen of Night and Magic and the source of his power, was a bit cross with him. She’d gone to the trouble of hijacking his banishment to get him where she needed him to be and he walked away from it. She was then quite clear with him. He must return to the older Tiefling and go meet his masters as they had a proposition for him that she was interested in. With minimal grumbling Dova returned to the still waiting Tieflng who promptly put him in the carriage and left him alone as he drove the thing.
The carriage brought Dova to a halfling fishing port where there was a stripped down Royal Warship in harbour, with three fully armed naval vessels just off the coast. The Tiefling brought Dova aboard the stripped down warship, and brought him to a state room. There was a feast put on for him. The Tiefling also offered to tend Dova’s burns. He declined and refused to eat. The Tiefling left.
Dova was promptly joined by a man and a woman (both human), walking into the stateroom arm in arm. They were clearly nobility from the gaudiness of their clothing. The gentleman identified himself as Julius Silverbrook, whilst the lady did not speak but was identified as his wife Lyra.
Julius asked after Dova’s health and travels and then started talking about things that he shouldn’t know anything about. He knew about Dova’s banishment and the invasion of Stormvault and this prompted Dova to ask how he knew these things. Julius replied that he was gifted with arts that allowed him to sometimes see things before they happened, sometimes in different places. He saw Dova’s banishment and he also saw that this was relevant to the appearance of portents appearing and relating to the Halfling Greensea.
Dova then asked what his proposition was (Dova is quite to the point). Julius spoke about a time decades ago when the Empire was threatened by some external force called “The Phoenix Dominion”. They had attempted to infiltrate and destabilise the empire, and the Dwarven High King had gotten worried enough that the Imperial apparatus had been compromised he commissioned several private enterprise groups to deal with the threat. The first among them was the League of the Chosen. The League were created to be a response team to deal with threats to the empire proactively, investigating and then acting. Thirty years ago, the League of the Chosen, led by the Golden Dragonborn Davien had ferreted out the traitors and tracked the Phoenix Dominion to some of their intermediaries in the piratical Sunset Islands. They never found the main base of the Dominion but they were able to stop the immediate threat. The Chosen returned home and went their separate ways.
Dova asked what relevance that was to him, and Julius said that Davien’s second in command was a Blue Dragonborn Warrior named Galtar. Julius felt it was time for a new group to be formed as there was evidence the Phoenix Dominion were active again and it was somehow related to the three eyes. Dova asked if any of the chosen were alive and he was informed some were dead, some were missing though at least one was alive currently but would likely be of no help. Julius wanted Dova to form a new group as the symbolism of having a Blue Dragonborn was somehow important to him.
Further discussion was cut off by the sound of the ship’s alarm bell, shortly joined by a second bell. Dova, Lyra and Julius hurried to the deck and could see… (To be continued below)
Mungo part 2
Mungo and his three acolytes had made good time and were closing in on Grassmere. Having walked for days they were resting at an inn, when the peace was disturbed by a halfling man bursting into the inn and crying for help. He was a carter travelling to Windy Nook, and had been ambushed by men on the road to the North just outside Grassmere. His brother was injured and might even be dead!
Mungo did a cursory check on the carter’s wounds, sending one of his followers on ahead to scout. One failed medicine check later, Mungo and his remaining companions left to determine what exactly was going on. As they approached Grassmere (it wasn’t too far away), they could see the form of an upended wagon on the road. Mungo advised his acolytes to approach stealthily and with caution. They all slipped into the trees and approached. Mungo encountered the acolyte he had sent on ahead lying on the ground with a knife in his throat. He cautioned his followers to spread out and be careful.
One acolyte ventured to the other side of the road whilst one remained with Mungo who became aware they were being followed. He sprang into action and launched a stone from his sling as he spun round and cracked the follower on the skull. He hurried forward attempting to beat the man (a human) with fists, whilst his acolyte ran away to check that their comrade was ok. Mungo pulled out his quarterstaff and in a flurry of ducking, weaving and striking brought the human down in short order with a solid thump on the head. He then went to find his two acolyte friends who were in the middle of tying up two other bandits. The group ventured back to the cart and confirmed that the carter was dead. Realising they were close to Grassmere, they looked in its general direction (To be continued below)
What they all saw
Mungo saw a distinct orange glow along the horizon where the town of Grassmere was. In among the orange glow there was a flash of red.
Sealgair got to the edge of the forest and onto an overhang, overlooking the village of Grassmere. it wass on fire. Halflings scurryied about trying to dowse the flames but Sealgair could also see Halflings clambering up the signal tower to light the signal beacon. The halfling lit the signal fire and threw powder into the flame causing it to burn and glow red.
Damakos climbed out of Nyltsear’s carriage and was able to see a red flash on the horizon, and a few seconds later a second flash further away, glowing orange. Nyltsear climbed back into his carriage and told him, “Looks like you have a path and a bargain. Get going.” And then he left.
Dova rushed onto the deck hearing the clanging on the ship’s bell. It was matched by the ringing of a second ship’s bell, a Royal Marine Trireme making straight for the beach. On deck a platoon of orcs were gearing up for an operation, and they were accompanied by a Triton whose gaze fell upon Dova, their eyes meeting.
Kah’Rinas saw a stripped down Naval vessel in a halfling port with 2 humans and a blue dragonborn on the deck. The eyes of the dragonborn locked with Kah’Rinas and then both looked to the horizon. A red signal fire was burning in the distance, whilst a second orange signal fire burned a little bit away from it. And then a third, orange, signal fire lit the night sky. Just a bit further away.
The Halfling town of Grassmere lit the red beacon to call for help, and it’s two nearest neighbours answered with orange beacons to guide aid towards it. And the three fires looked suspiciously like the 3 eyes in the night that Kah’Rinas and others had been seeing.
To be continued in Chapter 2