Birthright Bloodbath

Squatters Rights
Our heroes take up swords for the first time for the good of their realm

Much effort goes into establishing the new court of Romiene. The new lords hear talk of many troubles within the province: disturbances in the mines that have halted production, a mysterious tower that seems to be home to dangerous elements, and raids from Oorog and hobgoblin bandits that are crippling trade and development. Weighing their options and short on resources, the lords strike out first to quell the bandit tribe.

En route they are met by a storied knight of the realm, Ser Lionel. He entices the lords to seek his council,, asking only that they prove their worth by returning to him with proof they have slain a Fomorian he scouted out by their own hands. Taking time to consider this, Ser Lionel and his followers were invited to be guests at the keep in Barstowe while his request was considered.

Outside the goblin’s redoubt- a ruined fort- the lords encamped, leaving their men and Brother Eamon to watch the outer walls as they infiltrated on foot. Maxwel Gramaracy used his deft tongue and beguiling magics to get the party in without detection, and soon the lords of Romiene were carving their way through Oorog and hobgoblin alike, seeking the bandit leader in the hopes of breaking the groups will.

After a brutal fighting they managed to slay an alchemist who had been supplying the raiders with his expertise. A captive in tow, and the kitchen at their disposal, the lords planned a daring attack. Basting a boar in poisons they feed the feasting Oorogs a toxic meal, and then attacked amid their eating. Clever tactics and deadly magic pitched a hopeless battle in the favor of the lords, though even then they barely stumbled out with the Oorog leader’s head in hand, his remaining forces at the whim of a lazy fomorian underling.

p. During the assault, a scout among the fighting-men sent with the lords, a man named Jevel, distinguished himself as a stalwart warrior. Kael made promise to knight him for his valor when the party returned to Barstowe. p. But there was still the matter of the Fomorian…
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Ascendence
The heroes mourn their baron, and are granted land and title for their services

Earning some measure of respect from the Oorog shaman, the Scions and their sell-sword Garen The Knife leave the broken tower with their treasures in tow. Rushing ahead of their retinue with all haste the scions tend to wounds and tomes on the long road back to Sonnelind.

En route, Edmund and Kael share a vision of the future in which the baron dies, and Kael announces their late father’s wishes and stakes his claim to the thrown. In the vision, this ends with disaster. Fearing this portent means the worst the Scions make plans to influence the thrown with subtlety and subterfuge over brash rebellion

While in Sonnelind, it is clear that tensions are rising and that many oppose the heir-apparent, Clumnis Dhoesone. The Scions can see the factions among Dhoesone’s nobility as the edges fray. The Rjurik blooded lords tend to side with one another, while among the Anuirean camp two factions emerge; one loyal to crown and law (predominantly Vertico Dhariel and his cousin Rogr Dhariel and another self interested group of social climbers and opportunists

The body of the Valiant Ser Reynald is sent back to it’s birthplace.

Though the scales of Sarimie are held onto by Maxwell Gramarcy, the tome that the church asked for is bartered away for a substantial reward – seeing as how the Scions discovered its likely understated value. The mysterious “Heart of Oak” sought by the druids of the oaken grove are returned with great reward offered.

Both Edmund and the irascible Maxwel Gramaracy are present while the Baron is treated; and though he makes a small recovery, he inevitably passes on. Now invested with his father’s blood, Clumnis Dhoesone takes his throne as Baron of Dhoesone. In an attempt to preserve their safety the Scions attempt to leave Sonnelind, citing a desire to investigate mercantile difficulties in the ports of Nolien. Stopped by Clumnis they find the news is not as bad as anticipated, if not good.

Kael is given the title of Count of Romiene – at the cost of legally swearing allegiance to Clumnis. Begrudgingly, the Scions are now dedicated to removing the suspicious sorcerer from his lawful but unrightful place by politically maneuvering from the inside, rather than outright rebellion.

Clumnis maneuvers to keep his most likely enemies under thumb was also executed to keep their potential power under raps. His own province, Roniele is staggering back to its feet after a disastrous invasion by an army from the Giant Downs. Though most of the creatures have since sailed off into the west, a garrison force lead by a Fomorian and his retinue still occupies the provincial capital of Harper’s Point, and the second largest city, Barstowe, has become barnacled by a shantytown of refugees.

Winter is coming. And the scions have much to do before the snows fall and the adventuring season begins.

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Experience & Rewards for delving into the Broken Tower

Handyman: 50 xp
Garrin the Knife joins the party and performs in a vital thievery role.

Antiquing! (Phase 1): 100 xp
Acquire the ancient Seramite scales from the depths of the tower.

By Any Means Necessary: 100 xp
Gain access to the portal and enter the lower levels of the tower.

My Scars Prove My Worth!: 100 xp
Defeat the Oorog shaman’s bodyguard in single combat.

Consult the Reference Librarian: 150 xp
Defeat the Shadebound Ritualist and his minions.

Hook, Knight & Cleaver: 200 xp
Defeat the deranged torturer and end Ser Reynald’s torment.

Finished Business: 400 xp
Defeat Magister Vorian Harkend, concluding Ser Reynald de Tier’s three century old mission.

Antiquing! (Pase 2): 100 xp
Acquire the Historia Ecclesiastica Septentrionalis Seramea – the book of Seramite holdings and writs – from the depths of the broken tower.

Media Mail (Phase 1): 100 xp
Retrieve the Corpus Illuminatus sum Herbaeum from the clutches of Vorian Harkend.

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Session 4: A Wall Beyond Time
The Scions Confront Twisted Dwellers of Shadow in the Name of the Baron
Leaving Garen The Knife behind, the blooded Scions passed through the eldritch barrier in pursuit of the Corpus Illuminatus sum Herbaeum Sanguine. The lower levels of the complex were filled with twisted men pursuing grim tasks in this time beyond time. From what the heroes gleaned, they had been here for the better part of 200 years.

One chamber contained a bound Arclight spirit and the acolytes drawing power out of the spirit. When its jailers were vanquished the spirit did its best to tempt Edmund and Maxwel Gramaracy as they scoured the laboratory for valuable arcane tomes. For the time, both arcanists set aside the fiends request.

A torture chamber was next pacified by the heroes. There they found a surviving knight who had failed to slay the vile magister who once dwelt in the tower. Promising to succeed where the Imperial soldiers failed so many years ago, Kael vowed to put down the wizard as his half brother put the man out of his misery; with unsettling haste.

Finally, they marched into the library and confronted the magister and his burning spirit underlings. Ser Frederick Held the burning spirits at bay while his allies struggled against powerful magics.

Caught off guard, Magister Vorian Harkend pushes his hands forward to ward off Maxwel Gramaracy‘s spell. The swirling energies prove too much, and Harkend’s feet scramble to find purchase on the stone floor. Eyes wide in terror, the Magister begins to bark an incantation of warding, the syllables choking off in his throat as he slides backwards towards the clerestory’s balustrade. His shrill cry fills the hall amidst the stirring dust and the flamekin’s roar.

‘It was never supposed to be like thiii…’

Cut short suddenly, his last word is replaced by a meaty, crunching thud as the mage crashes head first into the stone floor nearly three fathoms below. Taciturn, Eamon is spattered with gore, and turns his attention from the effervescing flamekin to the mound of blood and bones that marks the end of the Magister. A bonfire roar fills the room as the flamekin are pulled through the vale, back to their homes. A burst of fire licks out and kisses the library shelves, setting off a conflagration.

The din of battle gives way to quiet, punctuated only by the low rumble of the fire and the intrepid heroe’s panting and grunts of pain as they gather on a landing.

Kael’s firm voice cuts through the confusion, ordering the group to retrieve the Librum Philosophia Hermetica Arcanum Natura. Tall as a man’s forearm, nearly as thick in the spine, lead bound and secured with a heavy, wrought iron chain, the librum weighs as much as a stone of equivalent size. Resting atop the Magister’s desk is found a copy of Die Corpus Seramie Patentum – the very text requested returned to the church of Sera in Sonnelinde.

Within only a few moments, the lower library is awash in flame, the fires singeing clothes and hair at a distance of ten feet.

Retreating back upstairs, the heroes flee the flames. Already, the floor of the upper chambers is buckling, the living rock cracked by the intense heat from the fires below.

Seizing upon their pile of pillaged books and arcane instruments, the heroes gather up as much of their looted goods as they can manage before plunging through the portal back up the stairs.

The building heat of the lower levels gives way to a sensation of wind blowing across the skin. An utter loss of balance brings on a sense of sickness reminiscent of recently wretching. In the blink of an eye, the heroes find themselves on their hands and knees, the stairway back to the upper levels of the tower’s bowels unfolding before them. The intense heat of the inferno has left them, and only the cold stones under their hands remain.

From behind them, a cold wind suddenly blows, blustering their clothes about. Carried on the light wings of the wind are the scents of ash and dust, of ancient tombs and mold. Looking down at the goods plundered from the library, hardly one in ten texts has survived the return to the present time and place. The rest have given themselves over to the inexorable call of time, fallen to dust in what seemed an instant.

‘You have returned.’ The Oorog shaman’s gravelly monotone cuts through the confusion.

’I’d put odds against you, actually. You all owe me fifty solid sovereigns for coming back in one piece!’ Garen’s toothy grin greets them atop the stairs.

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Session 3: Salvation and Scales
With the Baron's health flagging, our heroes seek a tome that is their liege's only hope

Eager to pursue their foes the scion’s are halted by Ector Dhoesone. Their forces have the cleanup well in hand.

But the Baron himself is not well, hacking and coughing up blood, his face becoming more wan with the hour. The Dhariel’s dismiss rather any suggestion that the Baron’s condition is anything but natural ailment; indicating that such accusations are dangerous to make at the least, even when substantiated. Ser Frederick is heaped with praise for his valiant deeds, Brother Eamon sets his men to the task of saving the injured and easing the suffering of the soon to be lost. Meanwhile the irascible Maxwel Gramaracy clears the battlefield of loot with great efficiency and Kael attends to returning the dead’s personal belongings to their families. Edmund is somewhat quiet, musing over his father’s ill health and his own visions from beyond the pale. At feast Baron Ector rewards his men, his knights, his bannermen and the heroic scions, with gifts of banner and horse, gold and boons. By morning the army is off for the south.

On the road the army is met by the train and escort of the baroness Alyenor Mhoried-Dhoesone. The parties combine and camp together, feasting the recent victory over the Bloodskull Barony. It is there that the scions learn the baroness was off visiting the truant Daeric Holst … a suspicious proposition given that the lord was supposed to be with the Baron’s army.

While at the feast, Baron Ector fell mortally ill. Daeric Holst and Eamon did their best to recover the Baron but at best staved off his impending death. His mind grasping for any means to salvage his liege, Holst asked for volunteers to go on an expedition to a long abandoned tower of Magery. It is rumored that a treatise was still left in it’s halls; a tome that addressed physicians in regards for the care of blooded persons. Without a moment of hesitation the scions stood to the task, and with little preparation were riding hard to the south.

While stopping in the capital, the party was beseeched by representatives of the faith’s of Sarimie and Erik to recover missing relics from the tower. In the case of Sarimie, a tome of figures and a golden set of scales. Erik’s acolyte describes the tower as built upon an ancient sacred grove of his god, and that the grove’s Heart of Oak may still be lost deep beneath the tower. Returning the Heart would be a great service for the followers of Erik.

Before going the scions were “encouraged” to hire none other than Garen the Knife: a notable treasure hunter and sometime graverobber. Amused, or not, with his off kilter attitude he was hired with promise of salvage rights and accompanied the scions and their small escort to the tower ruins.

Through feat of arms and no small luck the scions carved their way through a troop of Oorogs who had taken up residence in the tower. Thanks to Garron’s keen eyes the golden scales were recovered, though whether or not it would be returned to the children of Sarimie was up for debate. In a foreboding room with a strange portal at one end the scions came across an Oorog shaman. He intoned that he had lived his whole long life in the place, chosen to guard the portal and keep whatever lurk within where it was. Beyond was a place outside of time and space, and powerful horrors dwelt there. Yet there was no choice in the matter – what the scions sought was no doubt beyond the ethereal vale and failure was unacceptable.

Maxwell and Kael tried to cajole and reason with the Oorog but he stood adamant, stating that the only way through was bloodshed or trial by combat. Without a breath brave Ser Frederick took up the challenge. Amid the shouted encouragement of his friends and the bellows of the Oorogs he faced down the half-bred champion in what was a close and vicious duel. Frederick laid the beast low, and to the disquiet of his friends, Edmund drained the last of the Oorog’s life force in a grim demonstration of his powers. The duel was won, and somberly the Oorog shaman bid the scions to go.

They tread through the gate, tightening the grips on their weapons and sharpening their senses to the twisted world beyond.

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Experience Rewards for Sessions 1 & 2

Roadside Assistance
Survive the ambush on the North Road to Stjordvik.
reward: 750xp

I Am The Pater Familias
Bring Kael back to Baron Ector in one piece.
reward: 300 xp

The Blood & the Mud & Dying Men
Survive the battle with the Bloodskull Barony.
reward: 1000 xp

We Hold the Field
Triumph over the Bloodskull army. 75% of your army must survive. The enemy army must be routed.
reward: 400 xp

There Can Be Only Five!
Slay all Blooded Champions in the enemy army.
reward: 100 xp

total: 2550 xp

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session 2: Blooded
Our heroes march to the cries of the hounds of war
Once it is settled which forces will march where, our heroes join the Baron and his troops on their advance north. Ser Frederick beseeches his lord for a banner worthy to take into battle and is granted such for dispersion of his patrimony whilst away at tourney. Maxwell continues to weave his web of informers among the southern marching army, while the kings bastard sons, Kael and Edmund, release the mounting tension by taking to the hunt alongside Rogr Dhariel.

In the foothills of the Silverhead mountains, the chivalry of Dhoesone rode out to meet the Blood Skull Barony invaders. It was a cold, clear morning, crisp with the late autumn cool that makes horses and men steam and puts a chill in the bones.

On a nameless plain, the two armies lined out, their banners flapping in the wind. No terms were offered by either side.

Amidst the thunder of war drums and the clarion call of war horns, the two armies charged forward and met in a terrible crash.

Ser Frederick, a dispossed scion of a minor noble house, distinguished himself early with an incredible feat of arms. Seeing his men threatened on its flank, he wheeled his mount, dug in his spurs and met the oncoming foe alone. Riding out to meet him was an Orog champion, bedecked in bone armor and tribal warpaint, a terrible vision out of a prehistoric dream. The two titans closed in on each other, the knight leveling his lance, the orog unlimbering a huge stone greataxe. In a torrent they clashed, the knight giving the better of it. Shivering his lance in his foe’s belly, Ser Frederick drew first blood. The orog spat a mouthful of blood, and as their mounts’ momentum carried them onwards, swung wildly with his primitive axe but found only air. Reigning his horse, forcing the beast to rear and nearly dumping its rider, Sir Frederick drew his family’s sword, Harvester, and turned about to face his wounded foe. The Orog’s lizard, staggered under the impact of the charge, struggled to keep its footing. Seizing the moment, Sir Frederick struck out at his unbalanced foe and his sword found flesh, nearly unlimbering the half-breeds head. Instead, the lizard staggered onwards before regaining a bouncing gallop, the orog’s lifeless body bouncing along, head half attached, lolling about.

It was all over in seconds, and then the press was upon him. Anuirean cavalry received the charging orogs, their horses eyes rolling about in terror at such alien beasts.

On the right flank, Eamon’s knights, the Fists of Haelyn, lined themselves out against oncoming fhmorien giants. They would remain locked in a terrible struggle against the abominations for the entire battle, receiving several charges, giving up only their lives but not an inch of the field.

On the left, Vertico Dhareils knights held their own against the Blood Skull cavalry. One knight in two was killed or fell from his horse, but the unit fought on. For every half-breed that met them, one in three left the field with their life.

At the field’s center, the Skullcrush banner – an ashen pole fixed with skulls of every humanoid imaginable – stood and around it the fiercest of the fighting was to be found. Young half-brothers, Khael and Edmund found themselves in the press alongside Rogr Dhariel, facing down foes tall as two men. The leader of the ogres strode out proudly ahead of his troops and challenged any of the humans that thought themselves a match to try their mettle. Khael, Edmund and Rogr all responded in kind, and met the ogre in a small clearing amongst the carnage. The ogre charged forward, its thick, powerful legs eating up the distance between the champions. In its hands, a tree-trunk sized club swung in wide arcs. Now, a terrible blow to Khael, driving him to the earth, the darkness falling about his eyes. Striking like lions, Edmund and Rogr cut into the ogre. Enraged rather than finished, the beast takes the measure of Rogr and the young warlock, leaving them in a heap in the blood and the mud and the dying men.

Sir Frederick’s light horse were at the heart of the battle and, having seen Khael, Edmund and Rogr Dhariel all fall beneat the ogre’s heavy blows, the knight knew what he had to do.

LAAAAANCE!’, Ser Frederick bellowed, extending an open hand. A man in the unit furnished a lance and admonished the good knight to ‘go with god’. And so Ser Frederick rode once more into the jaws of death.

The tree trunk whooshed through the air and nearly crushed Sir Frederick, who reigned his horse out of the way at the last moment, sacrificing his shield, his arm nearly breaking under the blow. Seeing his moment of opportunity, he leveled his lance and sent it piercing through the beast’s neck. The iron tip entered below the jaw and piled through out the back of its head, the darkness falling fast around its eyes.

In the ensuing press, Sir Frederick is felled by his wounds, but recovered by his men.

The press swirled everywhere, and everywhere the cry of the dying, the clash of sword and shield. As when thunderheads come roaring down from mountains over the plains and the very earth shudders under the thunder, so the earth did shake with the armored tread of armies and the air did ring with the iron song of battle. Everywhere one would look, there was nothing but death.

Baron Ector and his bodyguard, seeing Eamon’s men hard pressed, charged to their rescue and delivered smarting blows to their foe, driving them back and giving succor to the knights of Haelyn. The King’s Crossbows, atop a hill, fired their machines into any enemy that revealed themselves, and it is said that the Bloodskull word for the crossbow is the same as their word for death.

The day drew long, the field mired now in a soupy mixture of blood and mud, the snow melted and trampled away in the carnage. Here and there, the leaderless Bloodskullers, bested in tests of arms by the Dhoesone knights, soon followed their fallen champions to the gates of death. At the Baron’s behest, reserves were called forward to relieve exhausted men, and, seeing fresh warriors coming to the field, the Bloodskull forces were broken at last.

Until darkness fell or their horses gave out, the men of Dhoesone pursued the half-breeds, leaving none alive.

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Session 1: Ill Tidings
Our heroes meet and are accosted on the road home

The heroes are sent by Ector Dhoesone to retrieve a man who is of some significance to the regent. While doing so, the crafty Maxwell Gramarcy manages to establish contacts among a Rjurik mercenary company called The Greymantles. Meanwhile, Father Eamon and Ser Frederick earn the wary stares of northmen for their proselytizing and antagonizing respectively.

On the road home, the heroes and their escort spy a broken wagon, and when they halt to offer help are attacked by the wagons owner: brigands in disguise. Abandoned by their turncloak escort our heroes put down the bandits. Upon questioning a survivor, they find that the highwaymen worked at the behest of a Rjurik noble who has oft turned his reavers against Dhoesone. Returning to Sonnelind, the heroes attend a feast held by the Baron. He and his bannermen are to march north and face an encroachment by the Orogs and beasts of the Bloodskull Barony. But no sooner are plans made then word comes of a Rjurik raids along the riverlands in the south.

It is revealed in this session that both Content Not Found: Edmund and Kael are bastard sons of the Baron. The regent’s displeasure with his last trueborn son, the wizard Clumnis Dhoesone has led him to search out scions of his loins to groom as possible successors.

Father Eamon converts Kael to the church of Haelyn and calls upon his superiors to provide soldiers for the coming battle.

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