AMBUSH ON HIGH ROAD

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dndDark-Woods

SESSION ROSTER:

  • Fo, Human Monk, Level One
  • Deiter, Human Fighter, Level One
  • Brûne, Human Paladin, Level One

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Sword Coast

The world of Faerûn is a grim one. The year is 1489. It has been several years since the Spellplauge ravaged the world. The shadowy wizards of Netheril gather their power in the frozen North. Countless undead muster to the East in the nightmare lands of Thay under the command of Szass Tam. Ancient evil stirs to the South in Amn, where monsters rule. Across the Sea of Swords, to the West, a continent that was once part of another world beckons with Elemental glory. The gods are restless in the realigned cosmic order. Old dynasties endure, and new ones gaze about with covetous eyes.

Mystra is dead, and Lolth has replaced her as the Mother of All Magic. The sun is hidden in a veil of eternal twilight, allowing Drow to wander freely on the surface without fear of sunlight. And rumor has it that the Old Sage, Elminster, has been murdered at the hands of the Zentarium, also known as the Black Network.

And yet, the folk of the Sword Coast adapt and overcome. They are rebuilding lines of trade and commerce even as they rebuild and fortify their cities. For years, the lands between Waterdeep and Baldur’s Gate have been a vast, stretch of wilderness folk venture into only to get from one place to another. Legends abound of grisly fates that befell unfortunate travellers at the hands of the goblins, trolls, hobgoblins said to infest the area in veritable armies.

Down through the ages, many folk have dreamed of founding a kingdom in this verdant valley hidden in the moors. The area is littered with the ruins of failed dreams – abandoned villages, empty towers and dungeons – as well as the occasional town, city or keep. But overall the wilderness is untamed and dangerous.

And this was exactly where our heroes found themselves. In the employment of Dagult Neverember, the Open Lord of Waterdeep and the Lord Protector of Neverwinter, they travelled to Phandalin by way of the High Road. They were hired to escort a wagon carrying a holy relic. The days of travel South went by easily. The High Road was a fairly easy route, and they met several other travelers headed North to Neverwinter as they made their way South.

However, once turning on to the Triboar Trail Southeast, traffic became less and less. The trail was smaller, and not a main trade route, Still, it was the best route to their destination. At midday, they met a small horse drawn wagon loaded down with mining supplies. The old man driving it warned them of a bandit named “The Black Spider” who was raiding along the Triboar Trail. But thankfully, that was the only soul  encountered until reaching Phandalin.

The Company remained in Phandalin for a day to refresh and resupply. However, they could not stay long. Their mission as not at an end. The next day they were back on the road again, reaching the High Road by early afternoon. The group was much smaller now, composed of the wagon and its two drivers. They were headed to the village of Greenest to collect payment for delivering the relic and to meet up with the rest of the Company from Neverwinter. Also, each of them had personal business in Greenest as well.

Dieter and Brûne rode on horses while Fo lingered in the wagon. As the day wore on, the group decided to make camp after several hours on the road. They guessed that Greenest lay about a half day’s journey from here. The drivers secured the wagon and its horses. Afterwards, they happily tended to the other horses as well. Fo prepared a small firepit and started to cook a meal for the Company. Meanwhile, Dieter and Brûne gathered tinder, set up the tents, and secured the area.

As they sat around the fire, chatting and eating dinner, they started to hear shouts and the sounds of conflict coming from further down the road to the South. It wasn’t long before they were grabbing their gear to see what was happening. The drivers said they were going to stay at the camp. Both grabbed their crossbows and prepared for the worst. Fo ran off into the woods, dashing nearly soundlessly. Dieter and Brûne rode their horses down the road, singing and clanging their shields.

Within moments they saw a small child running down the road towards them. She looks to be no more than three years old. She was frantic, and crying. Dieter rode past the girl, urging his steed onward towards the sounds of battle over the small rise in the road. Brûne pulled his horse to a stop, and slipped down to help the girl. She was afraid at first, but he was able to calm he somewhat and pull her up with him on the horse. Cradling her in his arm behind his shield, he spoke words of encouragement and comfort to the toddler. She continued to whimper, but clung tightly to the large paladin.

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Mounted Combat

Dieter charged forward on his warhorse, assessing the scene quickly. He observed four Kobolds armed with spears herding a haggard man down the road. There was an overturned wagon on the side of the road, and at least one other person laying near it on the ground. Dieter wasted no time in joining the battle. He urged his warhorse to trample two of the small creatures, hurling his javelin with practiced aim.

Fo joined the mêlée, suddenly appearing from the dense woods. He launched himself into the air in an impressive display of acrobatics. Even as his feet touched the ground, the monk was lashing out with his staff, punches, and kicks. Moving with practice skill and graces, the surprised Kobolds were not match for the martial artist.

Joining the battle late, Brûne charged through with his horse, following Dieter’s example to trample the Kobolds. The paladin sang as he entered battle, drawing his longsword. The paladin still held the young child against his body, protected behind his large shield.

With all four Kobolds dead, the exhausted man appeared stunned. He dropped his shield, and stammered a thank you to his three rescuers. He was clearly not a fighter. He has been holding the shield improperly, and striking with the sword ineffectively. Yet, the Kobolds seemed to be toying with him rather than killing him outright. The man sputtered between heavy breaths.

“They just came out of no where!” He looked around frantically. “My wife! My baby girl! You have to help them!”

The little girl with Brûne shouted out happily. “Daddy!”

Kobold

Kobold

Dieter was already over by the wagon to check on the woman laying there. She was young, and beautiful. Her body had been pierced by three black fletched arrows. Also, her throat had been cut. Dieter looked to Brûne and shook his head. She was dead, and beyond their help. No amount of healing power the Paladin possessed could return her to health. She was with the Raven Queen now in the Land of the Dead.

All three men took notice of the wagon as well. It was overturned and the horses were pin-cushioned with arrows. All of them had the same black fletching as the ones used to kill the woman. Before Anyone could attempt to respond to the man, they heard the twang of bows. Three arrows landed solidly in the man’s chest. However, these arrows had bright green fletching. The man fell backwards, but Brûne reached out and caught him with one hand. Brûne tapped into his inner pool of spiritual healing power, and channeled it towards the injured man. The healing magic kept him alive, drawing him back from Death’s Door.

Wild Elves

Wild Elves

“Move,” shouted Fo. “Behind the wagon!” The monk dashed Northeast towards the edge of the woods while Dieter rode the opposite direction towards the source of the arrows. He took his best guess and charged into the brush, trying to flush out the snipers. Brûne dragged the man back behind the wagon. He saw the body of his dead wife and started to whimper. “Alicia! Alicia! They’ve killed you my sweet wife!” Brûne tried to make the man as comfortable as possible. He knew nothing could heal his broken heart. Brûne left the child with her Father, and moved to the edge of the wagon to lay out one of his traps. He hoped that if the enemy made a surge towards them it would prove helpful.

Fo dashed into the woods, seeking cover. He accidentally ran straight into three Goblins who were hiding at the edge of the forest. All three had their short bows drawn to loose arrows at Dieter. The Goblins barely had a second to react before the Monk engaged them, dropping two of them with skull-crushing blows. The third Goblin took aim and fired at Fo, but missed.

The two began to trade blows, but Fo was superior with his extensive martial arts training. The Goblin did manage to keep moving and got off a few lucky shots. Fo knew that he couldn’t take much more punishment. He grappled the Goblin and flipped him end over end into a nearby tree. The Goblin retaliated by pulling a knife and swiping at Fo recklessly. Fo saw an opportunity and lunged at the creature, pinning it to the mossy ground. Punch after punch landed solidly until finally Fo ended the mêlée by furiously tearing the Goblin’s head from it’s shoulders. He raised the trophy high, it’s blood spattering the monk.

At the same time, three Wild Elves sprung from the forest near Dieter. All three loosed arrows at Brûne, but hit the wagon instead. Although they were fast and elusive, Dieter and Brûne worked together to defeat the Elves. Dieter charged again and again on horseback, tossing the last of his javelins. The Elves proved to be quite a challenge, but they fell nonetheless to the teamwork and strategy of the Paladin and Fighter. In the end, Brûne was unharmed and Dieter had suffered a from two solid hits from the Elven arrows. Dieter couldn’t help but notice that the arrows had bright green fletching.

Goblins

Goblins

Fo used his medical skill to remove the Goblin arrow from his shoulder. Checking the wound, he determined that there was no sign of poison. He stumbled towards his friends, and Brûne rushed to the Monk’s side. Brûne layed hands on Fo, and channeled the remains healing energy to heal Fo’s injuries. Afterwards, Fo repeated the procedure to safely remove the arrows from Dieter and the wounded stranger. They talked as the Monk did his work, deciding that they would escort the man back to their campsite with his daughter. In the morning, they would decide what to do with the man’s wagon. There would be plenty to chat about over breakfast.

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CHAPTER ONE: ICEWIND DALE

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Through their contacts in Icewind Dale and Luskan, the Harpers and Zhentarim have both learned of the Cult of the Dragon’s secret excavation. The Cult of the Dragon is searching for five ancient Dragon Masks needed in a ritual to raise Tiamat’s temple from the Nine Hells. The cult leaders believe that the Red Dragon Mask is buried in Icewind Dale…


 

 

TIEFLINGS IN FAERUN

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TIEFLING

TIEFLING

Plagued by a dark and sinister heritage linking them to the fallen angel Asmodeus, tieflings walk through the shadows of their race’s past, savoring the darkness or trying to escape it. Tieflings are scattered throughout Faerûn, littered geographically in a reminder of distant times when devils and demons exerted an active influence over the lands. As a race, tieflings have prospered despite prejudice and preconceived notions of their evil nature. They have arisen from obscurity and darkness to become active participants in the affairs of Faerûn.

A tiefling can escape the taint of his background, but he cannot escape the skin and physical features that indicate his heritage. Tieflings’ tails and horns, not to mention their reddish skin and sharp teeth, suggest evil progenitors. As such, many members of other races balk at the sight of a tiefling. At the same time, tieflings have a wide range of views regarding their appearance—some are ashamed of how they look, and others are steadfastly proud.

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Tieflings either embrace their dark heritage or try to escape it, and consequently two distinct tiefling archetypes exist. Regardless of how tieflings feel about their ancestry, they are proud but secretive, bound by the inherent mystique that surrounds their creation.

A tiefling who embraces his or her past is preoccupied with the dark and sinister events of the world, whether in an effort to learn more about such occurrences or out of a desire to thwart them. Tieflings are found throughout Faerûn in part because they are undaunted by the dangers of the world.

On the other hand, some tieflings deny their ancestry, making their only ambition to escape the darkness of their distant past. This feeling leads members of the race to try to accomplish good in the world, as if to compensate for some vague terrible deed of the past. Other tieflings, ashamed of their heritage, want no more than to pass through the world unnoticed.

TIEFLING

TIEFLING

 

DROW IN FAERUN

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DROW ELF

Drow are a decadent race of dark elves whose beauty and sophistication fail to mask hearts all too often stained in evil. The vast majority of dark elves base their behavior and attitudes on the worship of the chaotic evil goddess Lolth, also known as the Spider Queen. Drow society is organized into houses. The heads of the most powerful houses occupy leadership positions in the various cities of the Underdark, the subterranean realm beneath Faerûn that the dark elves call home.

From infancy, a drow child must be cunning. Children can expect no kindness, no warmth, and no compassion. Such expressions engender fatal weakness. Drow are cold parents, instilling selfreliance and independence, so that their offspring will become strong enough to survive a bloody adolescence. Ill treatment reinforces their natural inclinations toward evil. In rare cases, the harshness of childhood can have the opposite effect, seeding the youth with a hatred of and disdain for drow society and expectations. Such attitudes often lead young drow to a premature end.

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Most drow are singularly wicked. They are cruel in their dealings with others and treacherous among themselves. In the pursuit of power, status, and Lolth’s favor, drow houses compete with each other to amass wealth and enslave weaker races. The fickle whims of Lolth’s priestesses demand absolute obedience, driving the race to further evil.

Though most drow are villains firmly in the thrall of the Spider Queen, not all suffer this fate. Some drow escape the Underdark to find new lives on the surface, while a few reject the dominance of Lolth’s priestesses and form mercenary companies or trade consortiums of their own. These, however, are the exceptions. The Spider Queen’s church makes bloody examples of any it names enemies of its goddess. Few drow indeed dare to rebel against Lolth’s priestesses. Drow are born into darkness. Their society is violent and capricious, a world where life is worthless and only power has any meaning. Even drow who escape the clutches of this sinister culture find themselves scarred by the lessons they learned in their youth.

From birth, drow are taught that they are superior to all other races—those who lack the strength to defend themselves deserve to be used as the drow see fit. Drow therefore can be arrogant and condescending until shown reason to respect their associates. Some free drow find these ingrained bigotries hard to overcome. Each drow who escapes the Underdark must come to terms with what he or she has been taught and what he or she sees in the world around. Those who succeed can lead more or less normal lives, while those who fail must endure a miserable existence, trapped between two worlds and finding no haven in either.

Drow

Drow

 

DISTURBANCE AT DOCK 56

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The crew returns to LIBERATION, docked at pad 49, having run their errands within the three hour window they were given by Benjamin. The Captain, Quinn, and The Edwards Gang have not yet returned. Eager to see what happened with Badger, most of the crew gathers at the Airlock.

Suddenly, they hear an explosion and the sounds of automatic gunfire coming from further down the docks. Peeking outside, they see that the Firefly ship SERENDIPITY is literally under siege: several men dressed in black are firing on the ship, and they have at least one crew member outside the airlock at gunpoint. It looks like maybe some of the crew are puttin’ up a fight, but the man at gunpoint calls to them to lay down arms.

The crowd in the streets is going crazy. The Magpie Festival was in full swing and now there’s a firefight on one of the landing pads. This is why we can’t have nice things. The place will be swarming with Alliance in a matter of moments. Probably Tong, too. It’s going to turn up the heat and fast.

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At least one of the crew knows who the man is at gunpoint. It’s their Captain, Cy Law. He is tallish, of average build. He’s not scrawny or weak, but he’s not much stronger than the average guy. What he does have is lightning reflexes, and plenty of them. His hair is brown, eyes blue. White skin. Wears a black longcoat over generic clothes. And he doesn’t seem to like the fact that those guys are holding guns to his head. Wait a minute, those guys are all wearing gas masks. And are those … blue gloves? Must be a trick of the light. Pretty good distance from here to SERENDIPITY’s pad.

The Cortex doesn’t hold much more about Cy than his name, picture and date of birth. He claims to have fought in the war on the side of the Alliance, and he has that look about him, but he really doesn’t make much a deal of it.

A few years ago, he broke a deal with Badger, and has been dodging the guy and his Minions ever since. He’s pretty quiet about his history, and he doesn’t care if anyone else is as well. Everyone knows he’s a bounty hunter, and a damn good one, too. Word is that he takes most of his contracts from the Alliance.

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Then it happens. A single blast from a standard issue Alliance Glock-17L. Cy’s head jerks back and to the side as a haze of blood and brain tissue sprays through the air. He stumbled back, and slumps to the ground.

For a second, everything in the Eavesdown Docks seems very quiet and serene. Then, all Hell broke loose on docking pad 56.

NEXT: WEDDING PLANNERS #1

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THE SPELLPLAUGE

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It all began in 1385 with the death of the Goddess of Magic. The Weave became unstable and wild magic ravaged the Forgotten Realms.

The Spellplauge was an apocalyptic event in the history of Faerûn involving destruction and damage on an awesome and catatrophic scale. Huge swaths of the landscape were rent asunder. Entire nations were drowned, and large regions collapsed into the Underdark or were thrust up as spires of stone. Islands of rock called earthmotes drift through the sky. Weird towers and spires of stone jut from the landscape. Spectacular chasms and waterfalls abound.

Faerûn was forever changed.

Portions of Abeir have fused with Toril. The Spellplague raged even beyond planar boundaries, and Toril’s long-lost twin world, cut off for tens of millennia, was also caught up in the maelstrom. Large parts of Faerûn exchanged places with equivalent land masses on Abeir, bringing their populations with them. Across the Trackless Sea, an entire continent of the lost realm reappeared, now called Returned Abeir.

Although the Spellplague has largely run its course, its legacy lingers. Most mutants warped by the Spellplague have since died, but a few, known as the Plaguechanged, survive. Enduring pockets of unrestrained wild magic, known as plaguelands, lie scattered across Faerûn. Those who visit such areas and survive exhibit physical marks known as spellscars and often manifest bizarre abilities.

Faerûn is slowly recovering. Only the gods know what the future may hold.

 

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TIAMAT

TIAMAT, THE DARK QUEEN

TIAMAT, THE DARK QUEEN


 

The Queen of Evil Dragons is a five-headed dragon of enormous size. Each of her five heads matches that of a chromatic dragon, and each head has its own brain and its own intelligence. The five heads do not argue, and they all share the same goals. The only goal of immediate interest to Tiamat is finding a way to escape imprisonment in the Nine Hells.

Tiamat is the patron goddess of chromatic dragons and the embodiment of greed and envy. She takes the form of a five-headed dragon, and each head is a different color. She gave birth to the five primary species of chromatic dragon, each taking the form of one of her heads. Tiamat combines the powers of all of the chromatic dragons. Confined to the Nine Hells by the power of the greater gods, Tiamat longs to escape and wreak havoc upon the world.

In the wake of the Sundering, the gods have stepped back and left their mortal worshipers to govern their own destinies. This has opened the door to Tiamat’s return. Brought together by the cult, the evil dragons forge a powerful alliance. The leaders of the Cult view Tiamat as the unstoppable weapon they need to achieve total dragon supremacy and forge a powerful draconic empire, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in millennia.


FORGOTTEN REALMS: TYRANNY OF DRAGONS

FIREFLY RPG: LIBERATION TALES

 

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LIBERATION TALES is the story of the Firefly Class Freighter LIBERATION owned by Captain Benjamin Clemson. He is a decorated war hero who served on the side of the Independent Army during the Unification War.

Benjamin purchased LIBERATION from a Blackout Zone scrap yard in the outskirts of Persephone City in 2513 and begins to hire a small crew to take various jobs to support himself, while attempting to stay out of the radar of The Alliance.

It’s been six years since the War ended, but the Echoes remain.

This is their story.

EPISODE GUIDE

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