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D&D5e [PBF] FIRELIGHT - Vol. 1


#1

WELCOME to FIRELIGHT.
Adventures in the hazardous land of Hyrrljoss, a land rife with:
Political Turmoil
Villainous Plots
Mysterious Ruins
Deadly Ancient Magic
And
Skyrim Jokes Sometimes
A Play by Forum campaign by @Sagantine,
Story Consulting and Troll Guidance by My Brother In Law

Featuring the Roleplaying talents of
@clg6000 as Hallamel Aphadrhen as THE RANGER

@RossM as Warden Mirk of the Eastvale Flats as THE DRUID

@Scribbs as Rooper as THE ROGUE

@twispby as Ryuko as THE SORCERER

@jgf1123 as Xeet, Bearer of Pain as THE FIGHTER

Also guest starring The Ghost of Sir Alec Guinness in a SURPRISE ROLE


This is the actual RP forum for the 5e setup that we did here:
https://discussions.shutupandsitdown.com/t/d-d-5e-play-by-forum/?source_topic_id=5191
Feel free to direct any comments or questions about the game there! Also: open call, if you have an idea for a character or item or plot point, go ahead and PM me (@Sagantine), though I can’t guarantee that it will be included.

For world information, much of what you need to know is in the thread there, and I’ve put most of the world history and the current map on the top of the page.

I will be posting drawings of the scenes and characters, but I won’t have time to do very complete ones, so apologies in advance! If I mention a character or object and you would like it drawn, just tell me and I might draw it as well.


#2

The sun sets over Hailagrheim. A warm breeze stretches thin clouds across the burning eye as it wanes in sleep. The city streets, bustling with buyers, sellers, seekers and takers, is suddenly silent. The red, gold, and purple glow sends one and all to seek their home and rest.

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(The Tally Ho overlooking the Harbour)

Hailagrheim is a religious city, the holy centre of the Kingdom of Carrandale, and a haven for the faithful of all stripes. However - though outwardly illustrious, this holy vestment has hidden stains and spoiled stitches.

One such thread is walking up the steep hill that overlooks the harbour. The land is harsh here, and though the city has been carefully terraced and paved in dark cobblestone, the trek up to the Tally Ho is a decent hike. Cresting the hill, Rooper, or Roop, might very well wonder why his friend, Nyaih Blackthorn, insisted on meeting him at this particular Inn. She wasn’t as spry these days as when she had plied rafts and barges down the river with Roop and the rest of the Wharf Rats. Three vicious blows into the flesh and bones of her leg with an iron mace had reduced her to a half-speed limp on a good day.

The Inn looks well loved. A box garden filled with the ragged remnants of summer’s bounty sits on the left of the door, and two highly polished (though rippling and foggy from the low quality glass) windows look out on the right. As Roop approaches the door, warmly stained and sturdy, he can hear the sign swing lazy in the breeze.
‘Tally Ho
By Den Ginwell’

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(Den Ginwell in front of the Tally Ho)

Inside, the Innkeeper is immediately apparent. Den is a large man, and loud. A storyteller and a story listener, he rumbles around the common room at his own pace, while a few barmaids bring drinks and steaming plates of dinner to the patrons.

Nyaih isn’t hard to spot either. She’s at the bar, and in the throng of brown and olive, she’s dressed in a well-tailored blue cloak, with an orange jacket. Roop has been noticing that she looks slightly more well-to-do every time he sees her. Her ears, a point betraying her half-elf blood, have more piercings than before, and what sits in them glitters with gold.

EF0A3F1C-EBC8-4379-BD42-3631211ED6D3
(Nyaih Blackthorn at the Tally Ho)

“Roop! Join me!” She gestures to the stool next to her with a grin. “You look beat, how many times did you rest on the hill?” She grins more evilly as she takes a draught of ale. Other than her inability to stop pursuing illegal moneymaking schemes, her tongue is her most troublesome feature. She has a jibe and jab for everyone and everything, though she reserves true venom for Bards that don’t meet her absurdly high standards.

As Roop joins her and exchanges the usual banter, it should not be overlooked that Roop and Nyaih are not the only interesting people in the Tally Ho tonight…

[Please describe how you arrive, or where you were when Roop arrived, and @scribbs feel free to elaborate on Roop’s reactions! In story flow, whomever posts first is assumed to be chronologically first, until otherwise noted, btw, so please be specific on when things happen.

Sorry this is shorter than I would like, but I am staying up too late, and my significant other is rightly complaining!]


#3

“May have stopped a couple of times to take in the view, but you must have left at the crack of dawn to hobble your bony arse up here. How abouts you stand me a drink for dragging me up here and help ease my poor parched mouth?”

Typical banter ensues between the pair. They typically avoid speaking too much about their days in the Wharf Rats, but their time in the gang formed a strong bond of friendship and respect. From the highs of successfully pulling off jobs to the extreme low of seeing their friends all killed, Nyiah and Roop have been through a lot together.

After a bit of chat, Roop will get to point. “Message said you might have a line of work for me. Tally Ho’s a fine inn, but we usually chat business down at the Mermaid to save us both the hill, plus the folk there know to keep their eyes closed and mouth shut. So what’s up?”


#4

Ryuko stared disheartendly into his drink. It had been a fruitless week in Hailagrheim. Day after day he had plied for information in the marketplaces and every night he tried a new tavern. Unfortunately his search had turned up next to nothing.

Any news of his Dragonborn clan, Kimbatuul, were tales of lore at this point. Sadly retold with sympathy for his search, but so filled with rumour and guesswork that they were of no use.

Ryuko pulled his cloak around him feeling small and alone. He wondered if this search was a fools errand. His funds were running low and it might be time to search for work instead. He could always return to The Hewn Blades, but his pride would take a hit. He left his surrogate family of mercenaries full of confidence and bravado, vowing to find answers to what happened to his clan. Barely into his adulthood, admitting failure seemed worse than going hungry and he shook away the thoughts of returning.

Renewed in his resolve, Ryuko looked up from his drink and noticed a Dwarf in conversation with a Half-Elf on the far side of the bar.

“I think I know that Dwarf,” Ryuko muttered to himself, “Something to do with a caravan that one time…”

Hoping to hear tell of some paying work Ryuko attempts to eavesdrop on their conversation.


#5

Also… Wow, illustrations! You are rocking it @Sagantine!

If you ever want to sketch a Copper Dragonborn Sorcerer I will have a new forum avatar!


#6

A bulky, bald, and heavily-scarred human sits to the side playing dragonchess. Xeet is not very good at the game because the idea of trading pieces for marginal gains greatly irritates him, preferring instead aggressive, direct attacks on the enemy king.

He has spent the whole day in the tavern, keeping an ear open for people in need of a mercenary. He notices Rooper as he enters, but Roop seems preoccupied, so Xeet turns back to his game.

OOC: I did not expect illustrations. Awesome! You spoil us.


#7

Mirk wanders down from his room, it’s been a quiet day. He ladles some soup into an empty bowl. As he sits there eating his eyes wander, he sees the half-elf with a twisted leg, a few new faces with interesting scars, but his eyes are drawn to a familiar injury, a failed decapitation. Now what are they doing here?


#8

Hal strides to the Tally Ho, back from a wander and ready for dinner. He slaps the backs of a few regulars he knows, trading smiles, and makes his way over to Den to talk work and dinner.

On his way over, Hal watches a few moves of a dragonchess game being played by one of the locals versus a big brawny bald battlescarred fighter. Hal’s no pro, but he recognizes that the biggun’s using a strange variant of the “Drake’s Fury” opening–the entire right side of the board has been decimated–but his opponent’s quite safe, and holed up in a “Sleeping Wyvern” position, which Hal has fallen prey to time and again. He has sympathy for the cleary bothered fighter–but makes a mental note to see if he can get him to play a game for money later.

As he pulls up a stool, and beckons to Den to order something for dinner (and hopefully to negotiate an odd job or two to pay for it), Hal notices that Druid fellow he’s been meaning to talk to, quietly slurping some soup. Well, first things first–Hal decides talking business on an empty stomach might be less than wise.

“Den? Can I get a Tally Hoagie with a side of old war story?”


#9

Nyaih looks around, and seems to note the various people in the bar.
She turns back to Rooper with a smirk, but suddenly shifts tone to serious.
“We’re here for a few reasons, ‘sides the job. Firstly, the Mermaid is great for letting everything out and having a laugh with people who won’t ask where you got your coin. I’d even say we’ve made a good impression with the goons that run the place. But they aren’t the kind of people that you can… rely on.”
She shifts in her chair and rubs her leg a bit.
“You know - this,” she gestures to her fine clothes, “this is all I want from… life. I want to make enough money so that I can buy a little manor, keep a few servants to mildly abuse, and maybe… someday… Get married?” She says this last word with a visible shudder, and she looks like she just swallowed a slug.
She looks directly at Roop, and smiles a sort of sad smile.
“I don’t think that’s what you want. To just amble around here shafting that bloody merchant’s guild and being comfortable. So I’m doing something for both of us. A new start for you, and a bit of ongoing income for me. A step closer to…” She looks down at her leg, with a pained expression Roop hasn’t seen very often, before continuing, “A step closer to our destiny.”
She shifts tone and any negative appearance is overcome by her usual impishness.
“My destiny being to find the limits of my mother’s blood and finally gain the weight my appetite deserves.”
She pulls something out of her jacket, a large scroll of parchment with a seal of a trident and an ornate helmet, the seal of House Dellarney, the ruling house of Hailagrheim. “I’ve purchased a Vaidalayfa - an Adventurer’s Permit. It will allow you, and the other signees of this document to take official government, noble, and church work, and to operate with a measure of freedom from the normal laws.”
She preens a little, “This cost me a fair bit of coin, and a lot of schmoozing. They aren’t handing these out much in ‘these troubled times’. But I didn’t have to wait long to see some return on investment - we’ve already got a patron interested in hiring us!
So, secondly, the reason we’re here is because I might have been keeping tabs on who was looking for work in the area, and I have a list of some interesting people, that I was pretty sure were going to be in this bar tonight.”
She looks gestures coyly at Xeet, Mirk, Ryuko, and Hal and pulls out a scrap of paper with their names written in her prickly hand. “As it turns out I am a flipping genius and they’re all here!”


Ryuko attempts to listen in - he can’t quite hear the personal remarks that Nyaih makes to Roop, but he certainly hears the part about the Vaidalayfa, and notices Nyaih point out each person in turn (she’s not being particularity subtle). He’s not familiar with the term, Mercenary groups operate under a different system, essentially self-regulated by a counsel of senior mercenary captains from the largest and most powerful groups. He does know that the religious and noble societies in Hailagrheim seem very powerful and rich, the richest he’s seen so far in Carrandale (though he hasn’t actually been to Konungr-saet).

As the evening cold attempts to sneak into the common room through the seams of the wooden walls, a barmaid throws a couple more logs into the expansive fireplace, and gives the coals a good poking. The smell of birchfire is warmth itself.

Ryuko notices another smell mixed in with the log’s scent - at first simply a tang in the air. Suddenly the balance of the aroma shifts, like a faun being suddenly overtaken by a wolf - unmistakable, acrid brimstone.

Before Ryuko can even attempt to determine the source, a voice violent and crackling as the tongues of flame says:
”Accept. It is a stepping stone.”
Ryuko’s ears ring for a moment, and then the smell, and voice, are gone.


Xeet is currently losing. The man sat opposite him is leering back in silent mockery of Xeet’s over-bold tactics, which he interpreted as some form of hubris. The man himself is a striking blend of traits. Pasty-white, with prominent cheekbones and sunken cheeks, but with the jowls and belly to imply a very well-fed existence. From far away, he might appear bald, as his hair is so light and thin it’s practically invisible. At one point, he might have been considered good-looking, in a way, but his features seem to be twisted by perpetual grimaces of various kinds. On top of all this, he is wearing some kind of extremely faded bardic costume.

His glory may be short lived, as this is not the first time that Xeet has been on the ropes. He is generally less successful at dragonchess than at warfare, but the situation was beginning to remind him of a physical confrontation with a tribe of goblin raiders.

The goblins showed tactic and cunning well beyond their usual ken, using shields and spears to create barriers and manage the combat to their advantage. While the mercenaries he was travelling with were superior on an individual level, they were unable to use their skill or strength against the well organized shielded mob. Xeet and his companions had won the battle and drove them off, after a brute force charge toppled a number of the integral shield wall goblins. Xeet remembered that he had thought of an easier way to break the wall and their formations on the road later. Perhaps with careful play, he could use a similar tactic here, and beat this glowering buffoon.

Roll a d20 + Wisdom + your Proficiency Bonus (because you have dragonchess proficiency) to see whether you break his formation and gain the upper hand.


Mirk sees Xeet looking like he is concentrating intensely against the weird bloated man opposite him. Mirk would have to get closer to really see what was going on in the game. The crowd is certainly strange tonight, though the man across from the scarred-up fighter certainly takes that cake and eats it. He looks familiar, though not like he remembers him precisely, but like he’s seen someone who looks a lot like him.

A barmaid brings Mirk a small handful of mail, which includes a couple thank-you notes from former customers, a request for in-house healing from a guild-less businessman that he would like treated with some discretion, and a letter from the Hailagrheim religious commission asking a number of probing questions (though spelling his name and place of origin wrong, it’s probably okay to ignore this).

There’s also a little bauble, a few feathers wrapped in twine, stabbed into a bit of painted clay. You know this immediately as a message from the Druid Hart, a unique device of hers. With the proper words said, once burned it leaves a message in the coals of the fire until the intended recipient looks away from it, or closes their eyes for a few seconds. It’s one of her private means of communication, and each of her former students has their own unique word to activate the ritual.

Mirk also notices Nyaih’s looks and gestures that she sends his way while conversing with the dwarf. Doubtless, she could use some relief from her leg pain, even if it can never be fixed.


“Ahhh, so you’d like a tale to go with our famous sandwich. You know, I used to be an adven-“ Den is immediately cut short by howls of rage from a number of regular patrons. He has belaboured this thigh-wound so thoroughly that many guests have sworn that if they had some way of modifying the very fabric of the universe, the first change they would make would be to prevent Den from ever spouting this line again.

Den is not fazed by this in the least, and will certainly try to tell that particular tale again several times tonight, but after a hearty laugh, and a moment’s reflection, he settles on a different story, half-sitting on the stool beside Hal.

“When I was a young lad, younger than I should have been, for sure, I ran away from home. It just suited me to be outdoors and not listening to anybody telling me what to do. I wasn’t too smart, though, I got lost in the fields between Alain and here - the fieldgrass grows not less than 10 feet high in the mid-summer. Just walking ‘round - in circles, no doubt, when suddenly I found a little square door just sitting there in the ground. Guilded with silver and iron, and embossed with the Jotun-letters, but too small for one of them to climb through, by all accounts. Center of it had the head of a bull laid down in silver, with eyes of black stone. I spent three days trying to dig up and smash and pry at that door - barely makin’ a dent, and using up almost all of my provisions in the attempt. The ground was hard as granite, though the grass still grew around it, and the door barely had a splinter loose after three days.

I gave up, of ‘course. No reason to starve on top of that door, but I still wonder what was down there, behind the magic and tricks. I’ve looked for it many times since then, but I’ve never found it again.”


#10

Glad y’all like the drawings :slight_smile: I’ll be inserting them when I have time - especially when I’m enthused about a place or a character.

@twispby I’ll be drawing fan-art of all your characters soon enough :smiley: - once I know them well!


#11

Roop glares at Nyiah. “After all that went down with the Rats, you think that I want to run with a group of ‘adventurers’? They attract trouble like trash to goblins. Not like either of us couldn’t have found another crew and got back to work, but we didn’t. We got lucky in Bali, and we both know it. I know you want a big enough stash so you can kick back and live your days out in comfort, but you gotta be alive to enjoy that.”

“Xeet I know, he’s solid. The Dragonborn’s familiar, think he’s a merc, spell-slinger rather than sell-sword. Good muscle if you are expecting trouble, which isn’t exactly giving me confidence about the risks involved in this enterprise. The other two I don’t know.”

Roop sighs. “You’re gonna have to tell me more about this job you’ve got lined up. Convince me that this scheme ain’t gonna get me killed. And another drink wouldn’t go amiss while you’re at it.”


#12

Xeet subconsciously rubs the scar at the base of neck as he stares at the dragonchess board. Thinking back to the unusually disciplined goblins who had formed a shield wall, in the heat of battle, the mercenaries only thought about concentration of shields and blades with no obvious vulnerabilities that faced any assault. They forgot that any formation or maneuver has weaknesses as well as strengths, and to adopt such a defensive formation, the goblins had given up the initiative, a lot of their mobility, and ceded control of much of the battlefield. Mounted archers could have tried to get into their rear and pepper them where they weren’t shielded. Long pikes maybe could have picked them apart without getting too close. Or a fireball in the middle of that knot…

Back on the dragonchess board, his opponent is using the sides of the board to protect his flanks, but his strong defensive position relies on a network of pieces largely locked in place, defending one another. Xeet has the initiative, and rather than giving his opponent what he wants – an impatient direct assault against his prepared defenses – Xeet considers how to maneuver pieces to disrupt the static formation.


#14

OOC: Having trouble with the roll command

+1 WIS, +2 proficiency

d20: 19


#15

(It can’t cope with modifers; use the roll d20, then manually add the 3)


#16

OOC: Thanks. I also think the command must go correctly in the original un-edited post. It doesn’t parse posts that edited to fix the roll command.


#17

Ryuko doesn’t catch the finer points of what the Half-Elf is telling the Dwarf, but it’s clear that it’s work and well paying work at that. When the Half-Elf begins to point out people around the tavern including himself, Ryuko follows her gestures. He doesn’t recognize two of the men, but the third, hulking over a gameboard, he knows well.

Xeet had worked as a hired sword with the Hewn Blades on a particular tricky job and when some misinformation caused everything to go sideways, Xeet had proved a ferocious ally.

Ryuko had been in the Hafl-Elf’s place before. How many times had he been tasked with negotiating a contracted job on behalf of the Hewn Blades? Rounding up talent in taverns was always a mixed bag. Sometimes you could snag a hardened adventurer and other times it was all drunks with half-rusted swords. She seemed to be better informed on her marks. Ryuko’s suspicions began to grow about the Half=Elf when The Voice crashed through his skull.

“Accept. It is a stepping stone.”

Ryuko looked around, as he always did when this happened, trying to locate where the words were coming from, but no one else seemed to have heard. No matter how often he experienced the voices, dreams, or visions, he never became accustomed to their intrusiveness.

Running out of coin with no leads, encountering allies from his past, and now The Voice was interjecting… something big was happening. The fates were stirring up something and Jaryiel had taught Ryuko from a young age that only fools swim against the tides of fate. Those fools often drown. Easier to let the waves guide you to the next destination.

Ryuko picks up his drink and walks over to the Dwarf and Half-Elf. On his way he raises a hand to Xeet, glowering over his game. It’s unclear if it’s noticed. Approaching the pair at the bar Ryuko clears his throat.

“I’d usually ask your pardon for the interruption, but you seem to be discussing something that involves me.” Ryuko says to the Half-Elf, “You seem to have me at a disadvantage. You clearly know of me, but I haven’t had the pleasure of making your acquaintance.”

Without waiting for reply, Ryuko turns to the Dwarf, “But we have had dealings in the past if I’m not mistaken. Was it Root? Romp? No… that’s not quite right. Roop! That was it! I never forget a face, but the names sometimes take a while to find. I haven’t seen you since that caravan guard detail. If you’re in the market to transport more goods, I’d be willing to offer my services on guard detail once more.”


#18

Roop raises an eyebrow towards Nyiah. "Something more grand than guarding a caravan I expect” he mutters.

“It’s Ryuko right? My friend here has seemingly taken leave of her senses and got herself a writ to form a new and glorious adventuring company. She’s just lacking some folks to sign on to do the actual legwork. Grab a seat – Nyiah was about to explain the details of a possible job, and try to convince me that it’s a wonderful idea not filled with life threatening danger.”


#19

She smiles, she wasn’t expecting anything less than Roop’s usual skeptical nature.
"This is different to the 'Rats, and you know it. At the end of the day we were still just thieves in the gutter - and friends with a number of goblins if we’re going to talk about trash."
She hands Roop the parchment. “I don’t know any of these people personally. I know their type, though, and it’s a cut above the scum-bags we used to rub shoulders with. There were some good people too, but they’re gone now. I promised myself that from that day…” she pauses to indicate your shared disaster, “I would be the one with the knife, just me, no-one else behind me that I couldn’t trust. I know it was one of those Nightjar bastards that tipped those Red-hat pricks. Snipey or Vaeger, or one of those blasted twins. If they hadn’t got their hides good and stabbed for their trouble, I would have kicked their heads in with my bloody smashed leg.”

At this point Ryuko approaches and Nyaih gives him her full smiling face, complete with very white, very straight teeth.
"Name’s Nyaih Blackthorn. I am indeed trying to get an Adventuring Company started, and I do need some signatures on this paper. I know a little bit about you from… Some people you’ve talked to. You’re not too hard to track down. ‘Have you seen a dragonborn that isn’t Maless or Kell’ does the trick.

"The job is a simple investigation. People been going missing 'round the slums. Gone, no trace. Took forever for someone important to notice. But get this: 500 gold pieces for figuring out what’s up, and an additional 25 gold for any person you can recover. It’s fantastically easy money, and a great starting point for us. The temple that’s put out this job is literally the tiniest one in Hailagrheim! This is the best scam I’ve ever come across!"
She looks at Ryuko, and thinks that he might not appreciate the idea of running a scam. She adds quickly, “And anyways, imagine doing a job where being what we are - crafty bastards - gets us renown and honor? Wouldn’t that be a nice tack?”


#20

“Huh,” said Hal, as he took a thoughtful bite of his sandwich after hearing Den’s tale. “Sure it wasn’t some farmers secret stash of shandy?”

[Can I make a check for History here, as Hal thinks back to his old lessons about the Jotun-related silver bull head with black stone eyes?]

If he didn’t trust Den, the story sounded like a perfect set up for an ambush–send the wide-eyed adventure seeker out away from the relative safety of town, distracted by a search for lost treasure, and loose some criminals on him.

But Hal had thought Den to be honorable in what he’d seen at the Tally Ho–plus Den knew he was mostly broke, and not a good Target for thieves. He made a note of the story and filled it away for later.

“Well, delicious sandwich as always Den–and if you need any fresh herbs or mushrooms from the forest, you know who you can ask!” Hal clapped Den on the back, and got up. “But now I’ve gotta go see if I can drum up a little more steady business from that Druid fellow over there–maybe then I’ll even be able to pay for my tab, huh?” Hal chuckled, hoping Den would too.


#21

The wobbling of Xeet’s opponent’s belly has taken a tumultuous turn, and his glower has turned nasty.
“Interesting strategy, my friend. Pray tell, where did you learn it?” His formation was entirely dependant on the cohesive defense, and now he’s in a severely disadvantaged position. “Care to make a little wager on the outcome? I put down 5 gold that says I am going to win, despite this turn.”

**With no further experiencial insight, Xeet will have to rely on his brains to slay the king. Roll d20 plus INT plus Proficiency)