Ferric Heroes

Sesssion 1: Free Beer
Glaceus the 1st, 608 AR

Introduction

Your characters are crammed together with fifty or so passengers on a barge heading to the port city of Five Fingers in the Kingdom of Ord. The barge, the “Sullen Wench”, is commanded by an Ogrun captain with a reputation for brutality toward crew and passengers alike. It was the cheapest transportation available to Five Fingers, and because your character is currently a bit down on his luck and low on gold coins, you couldn’t afford to splurge on something better. All passengers are shoved into a chain-linked cargo hold below decks. The deck hands padlock the passenger compartment (more like a big cage with no seats, so you are forced to sit on cold metal flooring.) One of them yells out to the passengers, “All you filthy rabble shut up and be still until our little voyage is over and no one gets hurt, eh?!” It stinks pretty badly in the cargo hold and the odor worsens during the voyage after a few of the passengers toss their cookies. No food or drink was offered on the five hour journey, and with no access to a restroom, you are all doing your best to delay your badly needed bathroom breaks until you can get off this miserable barge. It is by far the worst voyage you have ever endured, causing each of you to quietly ponder the new low you’ve reached in life.

The three of you are huddled in a back corner of the passenger cage. Endeavoring to whittle the hours away, you engage in conversation. Each one of you has had a chance to reveal something about yourself to the other two characters.

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Campaign Journal #1

The Journal of Kieron Zoa
Glaceus the 1st, 608 A.R.
The Sullen Wench was far from the worst and further from the best vessel I’ve traveled on, but many of my fellow passengers were unsuited for water-based travel. I stayed away from them and met only two others that seemed to be of the adventuring type. One, an elf named Agador, and another human named Dmitri Rostof. Being crammed below decks was unfair, but we were not the type to complain. They didn’t share where they came from before making their way west on the Dragon’s Tongue River on such a shoddy vessel, and I didn’t share my reason’s with them either. If I did divulge everything, then they’d unlikely wish to share my company further.

Not many gold crowns on my person, I took the cheap route and it was likely another mistake in the long line of mistakes I have made over the years. Orphaned again, and no knowledge of where the Zoa was or even if it still was afloat, becoming a mercenary was the only option I could see for myself. Why I’ve decided to keep a record of these events is beyond me, and the thought of leaving these for any future children is humorous at best. My recent fellow travelers, although little conversation has transpired between us, might be the only ones alive to avenge me if I have another day like today. Back to the day’s events, I suppose…

We came to a stop and the huddled rats were the first to scurry when released from their cage. Topside, we were asked if we wished to whip a prisoner chained at the aft. Intrigued, but not cruel, I paid the five crowns and took the whip from the sweaty deckhand. Pretending to whip the middle-aged prisoner, I eventually heard him say before his death rattles that, “You must find the scarab…bring it to the Thom & Tarry…you will be rewarded.” The reward was of little importance compared to the names I heard. Hearing them again after so many years was unsettling, but I kept my composure. Before coming aboard the Zoa for the first time, my only belonging was a torn piece of parchment with the names Thom and Tarry on it. I must have stolen it from the orphanage before leaving it forever. The parchment was lost while aboard the Zoa and I almost forgot the names altogether. I decided then to see this dying man’s last words come to fruition.

Time with the prisoner up, the deckhand that offered us the original whipping time tried to get the whip back and charge us a fee for leaving the ship. Dmitri, not taking the unfair nature of an already horrible traveling experience refused. Seeing the threat of three armed men—well two men and one elf—the deckhands opened fire and Agador was hit by a few rounds from their pistols. The closest excuse for a man was the deckhand who was sweaty from whipping the prisoner and I engaged him in melee combat. My skills with the cutlass were out of practice and I paid for it. With more luck than skill, my opponent landed some decent attacks with his sword. To my surprise, the wounded Agador leaped atop the pilot house and put an arrow through my opponent.

The deckhands defeated, one fled, we looted their corpses and Dmitri found the lapis lazuli scarab in the bloody pocket of the other torturer. The scarab looked as if it had been carved out of their prisoner. Why such an item was in the forehead of the man was puzzling, but we didn’t have time to talk about it. We fled the Sullen Wench when we saw ropes moving on their own volition and heard an inhuman rumble from below deck. I believed it to be the ship’s captain and I didn’t consider myself or the formidable elf to be in fighting shape anyway.

While walking along the wharf, we came upon a group of four young trollkin throwing stones at a screaming gobber girl who was buried neck-deep in sand. Dmitri and I scarred the lot off though. Bloodied and still willing to help a stranger, I wanted to save her and it was then Dmitri and I were set upon by three jet-crabs that burst forth near the girl. In their effort to torture the girl, the trollkin must have stirred the crabs and our footsteps finally brought them to the surface. Once again, resorting to my cutlass I failed to strike a crab after being disorientated by two separate spray attacks. Having an elf with us was fortunate again as he killed two crabs with as many arrows. The third survived long enough to spray my face with its corrosive and vile liquid. Agador felled the third crab, but I didn’t see that as I reached to cover my agonized flesh when I regained consciousness. I heard the gobber girl’s parents arrive and they must have finished the work of rescuing their daughter. Agador’s skill in medicine saved me from having my face permanently ravaged, but, for now, I have a red burn on my brow that will only encourage me to keep my hat low if it scars.

On Captain’s Island, we headed to the Rusty Rudder tavern via Market Street. Dmitri was handed a voucher from the gobber father for a free beer at the establishment. On the way there we saw a gobber, with a sandwich board matching the voucher, fleeing from a small mob who wanted free beer without reading the small print on the advertisements. The burn I received and scant spoils received thus far sullied my mood for assisting strangers. I was the first to walk past the mob and reach the Rusty Rudder where more annoyed and ornery patrons—more like freeloaders—complained about the watered-down swill they were drinking. A waitress approached us and asked if we could help bring up barrels of ale from the basement for the reward of ale, which was not a rousing factor for the three of us. We asked her about the Thom and Tarry and she said it was a new tavern near the Heatherlong Opera House on Bellicose Island.

As the tavern’s basement became engulfed in flames, we left to find rest in a common inn with less troublesome guests. Before long though, the city watch stopped us on the way to a different inn. They started to interrogate us about the Rusty Rudder’s fire, but we remained tight-lipped. They asked us to report any suspicious activity and told us we were being followed. These couple of watchmen managed to do their job and bought a hooded figure to us. When the hood was removed, we saw that it was the waitress, Saffera. It seemed that our disinterest in helping her at the tavern caused her to take after us. She agreed to help us find another inn and guide us to the Thom & Tarry as long as we helped her gain new employment. We reluctantly agreed.

We walked down one street in the early evening and were called by the deckhand that fled the Sullen Wench. He shouting at us from a second-story window and this lousy excuse for a pirate was not alone. This second figure looked like a scarecrow with a fiery light on his face. They offered us one-hundred and fifty gold crowns for the scarab and we refused. If the item was so precious, then maybe they shouldn’t have left it with an incompetent combatant. Our refusal brought the two above us into action. Dmitri, after being hit from the scarecrow’s fire, lobbed a grenade and concussed the deckhand. I missed my first shot at the scarecrow, but my second hit the vile creature. My runeshot was not enough, so Agador came through yet again with his bow. The battle won, Agador and I went to finish off our enemies and see what loot there was to find. Agador pried the oval gem that seemed to power the creature and its magic dissipated.

Once we reached the inn for the night, Agador shared some of his story and I shared that Thom and Tarry were the name of my parents. The others didn’t comment on this too much, but didn’t dissuade us from traveling to the tavern as soon as we were able. We all needed the rest though, and I hoped that the next day brought more luck than today. -Kieron Zoa

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Agador's Private Diary

Day One

My new mission commenced uneventfully and from there things went downhill. In order to maintain my cover I booked passage on the most lowly of sea craft imaginable. The stench was almost beyond comprehension. I tried to maintain as much dignity as I could under the circumstances. Wishing to be alone and meditate and close my mind off from the horrible reality that surrounded me, I found a dark corner of the hold and sat down to prepare myself to endure the next 5 hours. Normally I can find my inner place and successfully shut down, however today was not to be the case. These two humans came right up into my space and rudely proceeded to interrupt my calm. They just would not be quiet!! Oh, for the love of Scyrah they just kept complaining and whining and yacking and yacking! Then they noticed me and would not leave me alone, pestering me with endless stupid questions! Oh how I longed to put an arrow through their throats.

Well, I finally realized that peace would not be had this day so I listened to their inane stories and offered up bits of my cover story. One of the two purports to be a gun mage and have spent some time with pirates. He is young and green and inexperienced but eager and bright enough for a human. The second fellow was older and more thoughtful. He is a mechanic of sorts and claims to be a rifleman also. He keeps talking about his steamjack but I think he is making up stories.

We finally reached our destination and the rest of the passengers stampeded off the vessel like rats fleeing a fire. My two companions and I held back and were the last to go above deck. While we were preparing to leave we were approached by several of the unsavory deck hands who were in the process of torturing a prisoner. When we refused to join them in their nefarious affair, they shot me! My two companions tried to fight back but it was left up to me, wounds and all, to jump up onto the roof of the pilot house and save the young lad.

We quickly left the stinking boat and I thought that leaving a trail of dead bodies was no way to maintain cover. But we had to push on. Finding a rare jewel and given mysterious instructions added an intriguing element to the event. On our way down the wharf we came upon a young Gobber girl, stuck in the sand and being harassed by two hooligans. My two companions, having not learned to mind their own business, proceeded to scare them off and went to help the young thing out of the sand. So wouldn’t you know it, they were attacked by 3 jet crabs! Oh Goddess, here we go again!! After being sprayed in the face by the creatures, the young gun mage tried to cut them down with his cutlass. He’ll have to do better than that poor attempt! Once again it was left up to me to save them and put all 3 of the creatures down with my arrows. I don’t know what the field mechanic was doing – maybe he was thinking about his lovely steamjack. I saw that the youngster needed some of my immediate medical aid and I lessened the impact of the strong acid on his face although he will have some scarring and redness.

You know, I am having second thoughts about continuing my association with these two. On the other hand, it just might help with my cover to be part of a small group. Anyway, being hungry and thirsty we decided to head toward a local tavern for some free beer. Before we even got there we witnessed a mob attacking a Gobber who had been attempting to drum up business for the establishment. This time we let things take their own course and avoided the mob. Arriving in the tavern we learned the reason for the mob’s anger and indeed were angered ourselves by the lack of good customer service. So we left there in search of a place to rest and finally obtain some refreshment. As we were doing so, the questionable joint went up in flames. I thought, are we going to be blamed for setting fire to the place?

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The Rostov Report

A month on the road crossing Ord from Llael, avoiding pressgangs and other vermin and I was finally forced to pay my away aboard a garbage scow, shoved into a stinking cage not fit for dogs. I needed to band together a group quickly and let me tell you, the pickings were slim indeed. There were only two prospects in the entire motley crew. There was an arrogant Iosian with his nose stuck up in the air so high that he probably thinks his own shit smells like roses. I can categorically refute that notion. He looks like the type who considers himself a hero and blows kisses into the mirror. The other guy, a human I think, had a bulge in his coat that looks like it could belong to a gun mage. He could come in real handy. When we finally docked, the rest of the scum bolted like the boat was on fire, leaving us three left behind. The scurrilous deck hands then proceeded to relieve us of as much coin as they could. It was obvious that they weren’t going to just let us off the boat, even though the Iosian wanted to buy his way off. I raised my rifle and shot one of the dogs twice, while the Iosian surprised me with his bow work. The pirate looking fellow got mired in close combat with a cutlass to little effect, and the Iosian had to rescue his helpless ass. While the pirate was busy getting his revenge and the Iosian was busy congratulating himself, I searched the dead and dying deck hands and found a curious scarab beetle wrapped in a bloody rag. It was apparently pried out of a previous passengers’ skull (probably by the deck hands we just killed)and it looks like high quality Lapis Lazuli. I will have to find a way to turn this thing into big bucks so that I can get the hell out of here and get to real civilization back in Khador. I’m going to need some new traveling papers, too. Maybe I can talk my two companions into hiring out for a job or two. We got off the boat quickly before the fight had a chance to escalate and I decided to rescue a little girl victimized by some thugs. Menoth knows, my two companions obviously don’t have enough honor or dignity between them to initiate a rescue. But I made a mistake and got into a nasty battle with three jet crabs, the pirate getting the worst of it. Hero boy came to our rescue again, damn, he’s good with that bow. and we went into town looking for a pub that was giving out free beer. That turned out to be a dud, what with the tavern burning down, but we got a lead from a barmaid about where we might be able to unload the scarab. Now, we just have to find a place to spend the night, lick our wounds, and start fresh in the morning.

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Campaign Journal #2

The Journal of Kieron Zoa
Glaceus the 2nd, 608 A.R.
The next day the three of us, and Saffera, traveled to the Thom & Tarry. The building looked new, but I wasn’t happy with the quality of the staff. A gobber fellow, named Hemlock, gave us the run around about the different levels of management and told us that the owners were out. Eventually, we were able to see Teegle, a dwarf in middle management apparently, continued to disappoint me particularly. It was over two decades since I have seen my parents—both of whom I was unsure if I wanted to see again after they abandoned me to live with Aunt Mattie—and the original hope to see them was diminished. Instead, Teegle made evident his ogrun guards, Broc and Roc, and we decided to leave with only the possibility that Thom and Tarry would return in a few days. At least we managed to be successful in getting Saffera a job there.

We needed a placed to stay and eat so we found the Bull & Frog. We made arrangements to stay there for one night and ordered an early dinner. A butler named Greeves was announced with a gong and then presented Dallia Darrington, heir to Darrington Manor and Darrington Abbey, widow to the inventor Nikoli Darrington; plus a former opera star. Her fineries were well out of fashion and general repair as if her and her butler refused, or couldn’t afford, to change with the times as the world aged around them. She asked if there were any brave men or women and the crowd in the tavern remained quiet. She was about to leave, when I raised my hand. I expected that Dmitri or the accurate Agador would do so first though.

Dallia offered us a job and told us to report to Darrington Manor in the morning. –Kieron Zoa

The Journal of Kieron Zoa
Glaceus the 3rd, 608 A.R.
Darrington Manor was the building equivalent to Dallia herself. It was rundown and in terrible disrepair. It must have looked extravagant in decades past, but that was likely before I was born. I regretted my decision to help her because I imagined what little compensation the widow could offer. Still, it was better than idly waiting around the Thom & Tarry for the said people to reveal themselves. Greeves escorted us to the study were Lady Dallia and Father Rosebud, a clergyman of Morrow, said that they wished us to cleanse the manor’s abbey so that worshipers can attend services there once again.

The process, which Father Rosebud explained, involved a cleansing ritual while the three of us waited around with Morrow-blessed weapons for shades to appear. He strained the point that the shades couldn’t hurt us, but they had a terrifying effect on the weak-willed. I took the blessed mace and it burned my hand thanks to my own beliefs. Shades appeared in the abbey’s graveyard before long, their ectoplasm clouds surrounding us. The first few shades went down easily, but then a group of nine showed up. Two pairs of them went to two different of the abbey’s buildings. Between the burning and the pirate in me being very superstitious, I was terrified of these ghosts. Father Rosebud’s resolve faltered when he realized that the shades were trying to release two specters upon us. We fled on Rosebud’s advice fearing that we wouldn’t get another chance to.

Rosebud stopped us before we could flee too far. He admitted then that we had been duped because shades have no real effect on the mortal world and only made us think they could open doors. He wished for our help to finish cleansing the graveyard for Morrow. I scoffed under my breath, but because I volunteered us for this, I agreed to continue. We some renewed vigor, the shades were finished handily. Greeves came and said that Lady Dallia was pleased with our efforts and that we could settle at the carriage house and await lunch.

We entered the run-down carriage house and saw a covered wagon, piles of coal and a workspace that must have belonged to Nikoli Darrington. Further inside, there were conveniently three separate rooms that Agador was pleased to have. However, the elf was not pleased at their current state. I was further investigating the workspace when Dmitri fell through the floorboards around the hayloft. He didn’t fall all the way through because he accidentally discovered a steamjack, of laborjack size. A bell on a wire tolled signaling for lunch.

Dmitri, caught up in his discovery, wanted to remain at the carriage house, so Agador and I went to the main house for a plowman’s lunch. During the meal, Dallia said we could have the laborjack if we could get the thing working again. She explained how it belonged to her husband and it was unique in its capabilities and functions. We returned to the carriage house with a plate for Dmitri and informed him on what Dallia had said. The steamjack was in a rough state of disrepair, so we scoured the area for tools and parts. We found some once we pulled pack the coverings on the wagon, along with barrels of blasting powder. Also, I informed Dmitri about the workspace that should contain notes from the jack’s previous owner.

Agador and I left Dmitri to tinker so we could deliver a message to Saffera where we were and that we still expected to see the owners of the Thom & Tarry whenever said individuals returned. As night drew in, I found it difficult to sleep, but wished for it to come. –Kieron Zoa

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Campaign Journal #3

The Journal of Kieron Zoa
Glaceus the 4th, 608 A.R.

There was still no further word from the Thom & Tarry, but we found out that the restaurant is only named after my parents…and not the name of the owners. Why I bother to chronicle this day’s events is beyond me…

I started to wonder if the name of the tavern was just a coincidence and not some connection to my past. The whole reason I was left with my aunt was because my parents were killed. I’m starting to miss my pirate crew and I’m sure they’d welcome me back with open arms, especially with my gun mage talents, but I’d be fighting just to survive. On shore I’d at least have the opportunity to gain some real profit that I could put towards something. What that something could be I am unsure of. Perhaps I still have a chance to join an official mercenary charter with those with less ulterior motives or less inclined to rant about how they wished to return to their homeland. I merely keep my religion to myself, but it’s not like I’m a necromancer. I just wish to maintain the path that ensures my own successes. –Kieron Zoa

The Journal of Kieron Zoa
Glaceus the 5th, 608 A.R.

Dmitri felt confident enough to power up the automaton so we decided to return to the infamous tavern, infamous in my mind by this point, with the jack in tow. Upper management was finally in, but Hemlock told us the jack wasn’t to be allowed in. Once again, Agador and I went inside alone while Dmitri waited. He told us that if he didn’t hear back from us in ten minutes, then he would go in with the jack anyway. We went down what appeared to be a set of concealed spiraled stone staircase to the basement. There a trollkin sat behind the desk and was referred to as Seneschal, which meant to me that there was someone higher up then him. He wore an embroidered headband and asked why we wished to see him. I gave him the bloodstained headband I found on the dying man aboard the Sullen Wench and the trollkin said it belonged to Orlando. He then removed the headband and revealed the blue scarab imbedded in his right temple. He wanted to know if we had Orlando’s scarab, but Dmitri, who still had the gem on him, refused. Then the trollkin revealed that he belonged to Company of the Blue Scarab and that Thom and Tarry were his companions. Also that he knew me as a young child and played with me whenever he visited my parents.

My initial thought was to wonder why I wasn’t left with a former adventurer instead of my Aunt Mattie. The trollkin, who I vaguely remembered as Uncle Croggus, retrieved a case from behind his desk. He opened it to reveal additional blue scarabs and there were spots for many more of the gems. Croggus pointed out the pair of scarabs that belonged to my parents, but didn’t reveal how they met their demise. Nor how he managed to find their bodies and pry the gems from their heads. He offered to give us three-hundred gold crowns for Orlando’s scarab or to take assignments and learn more about the Company and the mystery behind the scarabs. Begrudgingly, Dmitri handed over the scarab to Croggus with the promise that we could join the Company if we proved ourselves.

Our first assignment was to go aid Father Templeton at a Morrow Cathedral. It was a job we had passed up before and almost humorous that Croggus wished for us to pursue it now. We agreed to take up the job and went to the cathedral. We found out from Templeton that the job paid twenty-five gold crowns a night for each of us to guard their graveyard from robbers. We took to the graveyard and established elevated positions on some mausoleums to conceal ourselves if and when any grave-robbers appeared. Dmitri brought his jack with us again and having four guards was far better for our chances than three. I passed the time by crafting some more of my unique brand of ammunition.

Around midnight, five thug-looking men showed up with a female trollkin that was their apparent leader. She began shouting orders to dig and Dmitri ordered his jack to move towards the thugs. The trollkin ordered her men to incapacitate the jack so they could take that too. It was then Agador launched two arrows at her before she knew what was happening. A resolute troll, she recovered and shot up at the elf with her scattergun. The thugs got off a few shots, but my idea of taking the high-ground served to protect us. I then loaded up a deadly trio of spells and shot the trollkin too. She was knocked down and several feet backward. I thought her incapacitated, but she still seemed conscious. Dmitri’s rifle cracked to my left and he felled one of the thugs. He cocked his hammer again and did the same to a second. His jack fired a harpoon at a different thug and the thug was reeled in close enough for the jack to pummel the man into unconsciousness. Agador finally put the trollkin down for good. The remaining two thugs ran away, thus we earned our pay for that night. –Kieron Zoa

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