Monday, July 7, 2014

Martyr King 1: Escape from Kathmar

This is the adventure log for the first session in the campaign "Legacy of the Martyr King"

Five heroes sit in a high security cell in the Charcoal Minaret, awaiting execution at the hands of the Dorian Empire for crimes they did not commit. Each has been kidnapped from foreign lands and, for reasons beyond their comprehension, is accused of pretending to be the Dorian God, the Martyr King.

Castor, a balanced human alchemist, and Nut, an insane human ninja, reminisce about their shared time in the drug trade. Maven, a half-orc paladin, kneels serenely in the center of the room and prays to his enigmatic god, "The Old Man." Saffron, a supremely awkward half-elf Zen Archer, broods in the corner. Aymeric, a human Inquisitor who until recently worked for the Dorians, sits inside the bars rather than out for the first time in his life.

Their anxious waiting is interrupted by hideous laugher - one of the two prison guards has just keeled over in uncontrolled hysterics. Three individuals rush into the room. One, dressed like a guard himself, immediately engages the Dorian guard in combat. A small man in a dark cloak drags another critically injured man into the room. The cloaked man grabs the prison keys and rushes to unlock the cell. His first words: "Who are you?"

Maven quickly explains, while Nut and Saffron join the battle against the remaining guard. "We are citizens of far flung lands, wrongly imprisoned and accused of crimes we did not commit." The man is not impressed, but he implores the heroes to quickly follow him out. Aymeric, and Castor follow the cloaked man up the winding staircase. When Saffron is dealt a critical blow from the Dorian guard, who appear to have the upper hand against the friendly guard, Maven scoops her up and heads for the exit, and Nut follows.

They reach the top of the Charcoal Minaret, and the black city of Kathmar unfolds before them with desert beyond. It is the dead of night. Fermy pulls out a scroll and begins to read, and suddenly the entire group, including the injured man, are down at street level.

The group is hurried into a small house by a lone figure, who introduces himself as Kailen Dale. Kailen Dale explains that he is the leader of the Black Hand, a rebel organization within the Dorian Empire who believes that the government is not following the true way of the Martyr King. He explains that the trial was so big and so public that he figured the suspects must be very dangerous.  If reduced, they would therefore be able (and obligated) to help the Black hand in it's cause.

But when the heroes explain, Kailen is not impressed. In fact, he is furious that one of his own died, and another has been critically injured to save five nobodies.

In an attempt to make amends, Castor and Maven heal the wounded. Kailen explains that despite the hero's unimpressive background, they owe the Black Hand. Kailen wants the heroes to quickly flee the city, and he wants them to investigate mysterious caravans that have been traveling from all over Krass to Puldash in Kamai.

Our heroes quickly gather their possessions, which had been retrieved by the liberation squad. Aymeric the Inquisitor takes a long look at his badge of office before tearing it off his cloak and stuffing it in his bag. Castor the Alchemist immediately begins brewing his daily potions. Saffron the Zen Archer tends to a small plant with red leaves, before strapping it to her back. Maven the Paladin begins the long and arduous process of equipping his armor. Nut the Ninja dons his cloak and hides his shruken in easy reach.

Then they head down into the Underpath, a long, underground tunnel that leads from Kathmar to Kamai through the Crown of Heaven. During the week long journey, Nut chases a thief through a long and complex tunnel, while the others protect a merchant from the thief's companions. They are rewarded with their choice of jewelry, but a lack of experience in market prevents them from choosing anything but the cheapest ring.

They come out of the Underpath in the Kamai city of Tevrit. Here they stop at a Tea House, chat a bit, then continue on their way. Kamai is loud, energetic, and dirty, a jungle teeming with children, dogs, and merchants hocking their wares. It is overwhelming for Saffron and other heroes who are not used to the bustling swarms of humanity.

After three weeks of traveling north to Puldash, during which they attempt and fail to trail a Dorian Caravan, our heroes come across a screaming woman knelt over a child. The more cautious heroes stealth into the jungle, wary of a trap, but Castor and Maven approach directly. The child has experienced cardiac arrest as a result of Kishii overdose, but he is quickly and expertly resuscitated by Maven. In thanks, and to keep the drug away from her son, the woman gives the heroes 5 doses of Kishii. She then asks them to kill the drugs runners, and directs our heroes to the drug runners' lair.

When they arrive, they find a large complex of ruin filled with a grove of Balba plants. The area is apparently devoid of life for now. While they discus what to do, Maven expresses his thoughts. Since growing and selling drugs isn't illegal here in Kamai, what right do the heroes have to intervene? Castor, digging deep into his past, explains that they should at least prevent the drug runners from exploiting children, and so Maven is temporarily placated. The group heads into the ruins.

They find a room with some alchemic equipment, two trapped chests (one filled to the brim with gold, the other with kishii), boxes of basic supplies, and many bunk beds. They also find a journal, written in Halfling, which Castor reads. Besides being a standard ledger for the drug runners, it also states two important facts. 1: There is some kind of horrible monster farther down in the ruins. 2: Life has been tough for the drug runners every since the Dorian official Flint Dour fell into the pocket of a rival gang.

Maven objects to taking the spoils, and they head downstairs to investigate the monster. What they find disturbs and frightens them. A man sits in a chair in a dark room, his chest glowing slightly. His flesh has melted such that is covers the floor for hundreds of square feet, and there is a thin mold growing on it. Nut bravely makes his way over to the man, who seems completely unresponsive, even when treading on his flesh breaks the skin and releases a putrid red and black gunk. He is, however, breathing. Nut retrieves a journal, written in Arcane, which explains that the man was an adventurer who looted this ruin and found a soulstone. The soulstone provided him with all the energy he needed, and he no longer needed to eat, sleep, or do anything else. The journal is over one thousand years old.

After much debate, our heroes decide to retrieve the soulstone. They are probably doing the adventurer a favor. Nut cuts off his head, but even this does not kill him. Only when Nut digs into the man's chest to retrieve the small, yellow, glowing stone, does the body suddenly putrefy. Nut is dragged stumbling out of the room, horribly sickened by the stench. Moments later, our heroes hear a voice from upstairs.

"Come out, come out, wherever you are..."

The drug runners have returned.

Our heroes were set to be executed on January 1st, 2000 A.F. Four weeks have past, and it is now January 28th, 2000 A.F. Our heroes played this session as level 1, but leveled up to level 2 at the end. Maven received a point of Heroic Favor for sticking to his morals and not wanting to just kill the drug runners outright.


  1. Very interesting read. When playing do you use any house rules? And if so, why?

    1. I'm glad you liked it. We used Fatal Flaws ( and Heroic Favor ( Both improved the game immensely.
      I also wound up nerfing the Alchemist a bit, but not until session 20 or so. Some bombs, such as confusion bombs, destroyed the average encounter too often to be fun.