A Twisted Tale

Cordon's Reports
"This Was Supposed To Be My Vacation!"

“This Was Supposed To Be My Vacation!”

First Report Sypheros 3rd

After traveling with the so-called Line of the Mark for so long, they are still a mystery to me. They are known associates of Grinth, but they don’t have the same seedy tone as other petty thieves. They clearly aren’t just hired thugs either. They have actually taken down a local gang of bandits and their lord. At first, I figured it was just for the money, but Alek claims to have more altruistic motives. I’m not sure if I believe him, but if they were only out for the gold, there would certainly be easier ways to get it.

Second Report Sypheros 4th

Strange dreams last night. And whats really weird is that I’m not the only one. Everyone seems to be on edge. Alek can’t wait to get to town and seems nervous every time he gets near Callista. Quinn seems to have some problem with his right eye, and he keeps staring at our contact, Matthias. Callista is hiding her emotions well, but even she is not her usual chipper self. Wyvern, the warforged, seems least affected, but thats not surprising since he doesn’t sleep. Judging from how the others are behaving, my dream seems to be the only one that wasn’t completely disheartening. Even the hired help are affected. An unusual coincidence, but surely its nothing to be concerned about.

I feel as though they’ve accepted me as part of their group. I’m still not sure how I feel about that, given how little I know of them. We should reach Ashenport in a few days.

Third Report Sypheros 5th

Arrived at town. Everyone seems relieved. They may think the worst is over, but for me, this job has just begun in earnest. I’ll take a look at the other merchant’s wagons if I can create a sufficient distraction.

Fourth Report Sypheros 6th

WHAT THE FUCK I don’t know what kind of charm spell that was, but it was beyond anything I’ve dealt with before. The entire tavern seemed mesmerized, and those who couldn’t shake off the spell just walked off into the ocean. I was lucky my training allowed me to escape the spell, and I was able to help shake the Line of the Mark out of it too. Can’t write more now. Have to talk with the artificer and see what he can make of this, and calm down the non-magic users.

Ashenport Prologue

The Last Breathes of Ashenport, Prologue.

Grinth’s new company, Quality Acquisitions Limited, has hired the Line of the Mark to do a caravan guard job, sounds like a walk in the park for the experienced party. However, he paid the group 1000gp (250gp/character) for the job right on the spot, and promised to double it when they returned with the trade goods. The Mission is to escort the caravan to the remote town of Ashenport on the Western Coast of Breland. Grinth had sent trade emissaries to Ashenport in previous years, never to hear from them again. He and his merchant contact in Ashenport, Alderman Arick Ritter, believe the it to be the work of bandits in the westlands, because Ritter reports they never even arrived in the town.

Leaving Sharn a couple days later, the party arrives in Moonwatch, and meets with Matthias Creel, Q.A.L.’s trade agent for this mission to Ashenport’s Annual Trade Fair. After a night of debauchery in town, the party heads out across the westlands toward the coast, well aware of the recent bandit activity in the area. Kano Rivers, the Bastard of Ringbriar, and his band, the Westlands Seven have a thick bounty on their heads for ravaging the area.

After several days of travel, the party begins to encounter severe autumn thunderstorms, and seeks shelter at an abandoned farmhouse just off the main road. As the rain begins to pick up, Matthias and the hired hands secure the horses and wagon in the nearby barn, but soon find evidence that the farmstead isn’t as abandoned as it looks… apparently, the Westland Seven has been using this as a hideout.

As dusk fades to dark, the thunder and rain begin to pick up and soak Alek’s hat an cloak, he joins the rest of his party in the old farmhouse, finding a stash of River’s loot. Just then, he hears Matthias calling from the barn door for the Line’s help. Alek steps to the door, and peers out into the rain. He sees Matthias yelling and pointing to something, and following his gestures, he lifts his head to the road. He sees a handful of torches flickering down the road in their direction. “Look sharp, Capt’n,” he says to Calista, “We’ve got company.”

Ashenport Prologue Loot: 250gp/character, from Grinth’s contract (loot from Bandit encounter will be worked out after its concluded) XP: 170xp

Callista's Letters Home

Excerpt from Callista’s letters home. This one is to her younger brother.

17 Rhaan, 998 Dear Callan, This place is getting to me. We’ve seen a lot of crazy things, the Line of the Mark and I, but things are definitely harder to handle than ever. I needed to write to you to try to remember home and green and the smell of good earth and the sound of the twins’ laughter. Grey… grey… grey. And things move that shouldn’t. I’m sorry. I haven’t told you where I am yet. The Mournland. We came here to try to find out what happened to Alek’s father, and now we have the whole gory story. We picked up another ally, at least for now: a warforged ranger named Wyvern who’s been wandering around the Mournland for the past three years trying to figure it out. We were wandering lost in the mists and he was able to put us back on the right track. Since then, we’ve battled a few times against dead bodies who look just like they’re sleeping until they move, twisted beasts, ghosts, people encased in rock, and worse. There is a spectral lightning rail. Apparently one of the rails was traveling through Cyre on the Day of Mourning, and it might be doomed to repeat that day for eternity. We found one of the actual cars wrecked—inside a mine. Deep inside, fused into rock. How it got there, I have no idea. I’m glad we were far away on that day, and that I managed to get you home safely. You remember how I found you after you ran off to join the Aundarian army. My gentle cajoling was the only thing that could bring you out of your shock; your commander saw my skill with soldiers, and here I am… My healing is less effective here than it was on the battlefield. Feels like I just can’t do enough, or like it doesn’t stick. And I was bit by one of the strange beasts. We haven’t had time yet for me to rest and get past the filth fever. I just feel so run down and unwell, but not just from the fever. This is definitely not some place you would ever want to come, or ever should. Stay where the sun shines, where things grow like they should… Please, tell me how the harvest is going. Was it a good year? I heard from Pa that times were hard this year, but I wasn’t sure if it was crop-related. Is Miranda still going round with Alan Turbidge? Last I remember he was so gawky and always stared at everyone with those dopey eyes. Do the twins still plan on being midwives? I miss Ma and Da, please give them my love. I’m alright, but a trip home soon would be heavenly. And dear brother, how are you? Please write to me soon. Hopefully by then I will be back in Sharn, letting my head rest on the familiar things again. As always, I will send some money with this letter. We find so much adventuring, I hardly know what to do with it all, and I want to help the farm out any way I can, even if I can’t be there. You’re in my thoughts. Pleasant days (hopefully more pleasant than the one I’m having now!), ~Callista

(edited to add bit about lightning rail and Last War)

A Father's Fate

Entry two – Alex Devarows Mournland journal

A Star of Fate as a twisted eye and voices in my head that are not my own. My father and Malik. Why has it come to this. Why did you die and yet stay alive only to be with me. They say the dead never really leave us as long as we remember them but carrying them around inside my skull isn’t what I think they meant. How did it come to this. It was the mine Wyvern showed us too and the strange ghost train that ran through the Mournland. At least Theon didn’t get hurt by it or go crazy.

I will devourer you

Shut up Malik or whoever the hell you are.

Don’t worry son, I won’t let him hurt you

I don’t know if your much better dad. Jeezes. Now I’m writing to the voices in my head and their writing back to me. Anyways we found the mine and the dwarves who were dead but not. Then we found a strange lightning rail merged with the rocks of a deeper mine. We also found three denith soldiers bodies and their ghosts. The ghosts were with my father and thought I was him.

You do look like me

I know but please stop putting thoughts into my head while I’m writing.

Kill kill kill, I will kill you

I thought I told you to shut up. Alright. Back to what happened. The soldiers told me the dad was dead and then we checked the train where I decapitated the suspicious looking wizard in the teleportation circle. That seemed to trigger the rest of the bodies in the train who rose and began to attacks us along with some ghosts and other people who came out of the walls looking like the most realistic statues I’ve ever seen. We annialated them and then found out from the wizard in the circle he had the star of fate in a satchel in the rock. We cut him out of the way then cut the rock out of the way, found the satchel. The Star of Fate was a giant siberius shard with the shape of a twisted eye inside of it when you looked at it just right.

Then we went and found the pieces of my fathers body. After trying against hope to bring my dad back to life I noticed my fathers sword seemed to glow as the Star and the pommel were near each other. Finally I touched the hilt of my fathers sword to the Star of Fate. Their was a flash and the sword stopped glowing while the pattern of a twisted eye could be seen all the time within the Star instead of at just the right angle. Not only that but I began to hear voices. I know I’m not insane. I know one of the voices is my fathers and I’m not sure about the other but I believe it to be Malik. All the Malik voice wants to do is destroy my soul while my fathers seems to want to protect me. Only time will tell what will happen.

End entry 2

Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here

From Alex Devarow’s Journal

The Mournland Day 1

I feel a sickness coming on with every step I take. It seems those creatures covered in green slime were diseased in some way and passed it on to us. Three beasts, a giant wolf, a man lion, and a plant monster, came out of the mists as the bodies of several fallen soldiers turned into whispering masses of body parts trying to pummel us to death.

By the host I’m becoming accustomed to this place to quickly to write about such things so casually. Either that or the numbed shock of seeing Metrol in it’s devastated state has left me with little emotion to show. I remember the white spires and beatific skyline of the jewel of Galifar like it was yesterday. Running through the streets as a youngster before some of the more crushing battles came to the city. . . .it’s not the time to remember. Remembering can only bring pain and madness in this place.

Even Theon seems downcast and he’s never been anything but exuberant since I’ve met him. The captain seems put off as her words of encouragement are only half hearted and Quinns insatiable curiosity is lessened.

Was it the mist we walked through for hours, the bodies which have been dead for years yet look recently slain or the fact they stood up as if never killed and killed one another again. I think maybe it’s all of these things and only hope our bodies and minds can handle what is to come. Now on top of all this a warforged has come out of the mists to assist us. Who is he, why did he help us and most importantly, can we trust him? I guess I better find out.

End entry 1

220 XP each from the halfling battle. 200 xp from mists pseudo-skill challenge 300 XP from battle

720 XP total.

350 GP, and two 250 art objects. 850 total split 4 ways is 212

Songs to Fly By

Songs to Fly By

After the battle with the dragon had ended, the Line of the Mark debated whether they should return to Sharn and wait for word from Sentinal Tower, the House Deneith stronghold, or if they should proceed to Karrlakton directly, since they were so close.

It was quickly decided to take an airship north and try to get the information Alek was after directly. Theon took a turn at piloting an airship and found that he could manage it in a pinch, but it was definitely straining. In the air, the ship was attacked by harpies and winged drakes. The siren call of the Harpy nearly lured several people to their death, as the drakes tried to eliminate the captain. Fortunately, a risky acrobatics move by Alek managed to silence her song and the airship made it to port safely.

After finally arriving, Alek wasted no time in calling on Mithas d’Deneith, a commander of the Blademarks. Mithas explained to Alek what he knew of his father. Alek’s father had served as a blademark with distinction during the Last War, as a Queen’s Guard in Cyre. He was one of the lucky few who got out of Eston with his life, and even luckier to have his family with him.

With Cyre destroyed, Alek’s father was re-assigned to guard the borders of the Mournland, and defend Karnnath from the strange creatures that sometimes roamed out of the mists. Because of his experience dealing with the Mournland inhabitants, and with the geography of Cyre, he was called upon for a special mission. He was ordered to track down a mercenary Ogre Mage named Marik who was attempting to recover a powerful artifact that was lost on the Day of Mourning. The artifact was called a Star of Fate. Alek’s Father was one of the Blademarks sent to deal with Malik and, if possible, to recover the Star of Fate. Unfortunately, he never returned. A few recon teams were sent to find out what happened, but those that returned never brought any news of his father, Malik, or the outcome of the mission. Alek’s father was presumed dead.

Mithas was surprised to learn that Alek had met the oni, Marik, before. Mithas took it as a sign that part of the mission was a success, since there was no sign that Malik was in possession of the Star.

Everyone earns 425 XP, for the Harpy battle.

Fort Zombie

Fort Zombie

The Line of the Mark arrived at Fort Zombie and got acquainted with the area. They met with the Master of Flesh, a surly dwarf who didn’t seem to care much whether they lived or died in their mission.

Afterward, Callista used her contacts with House Orien to procure a lightning trolley so the group could head south with speed. The Orien representative was helpful, and knew her former mentor. Shortly thereafter, they left, and with everyone working to man the trolley, they made good time towards Gatherhold, and south into the plains.

They were not disappointed, and one of the tribes of Talenta Halflings attacked. The halflings rode on dinosaurs… Glidewings and Clawfeet. The glidewing riders threw boomerangs that knocked their target’s prone, and the clawfeet riders let the vicious ripping talons of their mounts eviscerate the fallen. It was a good tactic, but the mobility of Alek, the Tactics of Callista, the Offense of Theon, the Faith of Darah, and the Infusions of Quin were enough to finally overcome the hunting party of halflings.

Each char gets 450 XP. In addition, everyone gets 200 XP from last week’s battle against the artificers/iron defenders that never got posted. My bad.
And That's When I Shot Him in the Face!

And That’s when I Shot Him in the Face!

The group questioned the warforged for a bit longer before Grey was asked to stay and work with the strange psionic warforged to determine what had happened to the rest of the good Quori. Alek was heartbroken by Grey’s ‘betrayal’ of the Line of the Mark. He reminded Grey of the promise to help Alek find out what happened to his father, and Grey said that he would rejoin him for that quest if and when it was possible.

With Grey’s mind made up, the rest of the party went back to Sharn. They updated their contacts at Morgrave about their adventures and then checked in with their various employers, or other contacts within Sharn. Alek found that the information he requested about his father was tied up due to some political struggles. Darah met with a bit of a cold reception at the Denieth enclave, related to the aforementioned struggles, since the Valenar were involved. Afterwards, Darah went to shop, Callista went to Orien, and Alek went off on a drinking binge to drown his sorrows over Grey. Callista found that her Orien contact was off with another shipment, but expected to return soon.

Alek’s drinking got him into trouble, and while he was still inebriated, the group tried to take him back to his house, but they refused to accept him in this condition. At that point, the Line of the Mark realized that they had no real base of operations and decided to set one up within the City of Towers. They purchased an apartment and set up shop as real adventurers. No longer would they be reliant upon chance for their work, but instead, they would be recognized as quality professionals, who’s services were sought out by people in need.

No expense was spared in the furnishing of their new home. They outfitted it with furniture, bookshelves, cooking materials, foodstuffs, artisan tools and raw materials, magical supplies, and a small library of Adventuring How-To guides. The place was really starting to look grand when they received their first knock at the door…

Standing there was a Shadar-kai named Theon. He claimed to know Hyax, and said that he had come looking to join up with the Line of the Mark. He was a sorcerer, gifted in the arcane, but lacking in complete control of his powers. He hoped to learn to harness his raw talent while adventuring with the group that Hyax had spoken of so often and so kindly. Alek was unconvinced that this was a good idea, but with Callista’s prodding, he agreed to let Theon hang around on a trial basis. The rest of the group welcomed him to the fold.

At this point, Quinn decided to check up on his own house and went off on his own. He hadn’t returned for several hours, and the rest of the group got worried. Darah proposed that they go check on him, but when they arrived at the Cannith enclave, they were told that no one by the name Quinn d’Cannith existed. Perplexed, they went to see Zorill, Quinn’s contact. Zorill explained that Quinn had been excorciated from the house… The most severe punishment that any house member could receive.

Returning home, the group found Quinn, beaten to a pulp, and with his dragonmark flayed right off his body. Darah and Callista immediately set to work tending his wounds. Quinn would not speak of what had happened to him.

What further horrors had Cannith inflicted upon the artificer? What sort of trouble is keeping Alek’s requested information from reaching him? And how will they get those blood stains out of the new carpet?

Find out next time on As the D20 Turns.

Everyone earned enough XP to get them exactly to level 7, as I recall.

Not much was found as far as loot goes, but the group does now own their own home. It grants bonuses to certain skills performed within it. +2 Diplomacy, Intimidate, Stealth, Perception The house can also be customized to a reasonable extent.

Forged with a Purpose

Forged with a Purpose

The Line of the Mark ventured further into the ruins of the Giants, seeking out the secrets behind warforged components that had originated from this strange land. In the first room, they found a monolitch with arcane runes that activated eldritch machines. However, they were unsure exactly how to activate them at first. The room also had a dry well and a raised dias with a visual mirage that showed an elaborate picture when viewed from the correct location. Deeper in the room, they found odd globes that illuminated and flickered when touched. These same globes were displayed in the strange image viewed on the dias. However, some of the globes were missing. Alek was quick to suspect that they were somehow important, even though he was not sure how. He gathered them up and stowed them away, noting that two were still missing.

Following a stairwell up, they found the remains of other adventurers who had gone before. A large balcony was the site of a previous set of adventurers who apparently never made it out of the ruins alive. This was apparently a good place to rest though, as it had been used before apparently without incident.

However, our heroes took no time to rest. Instead, they headed down a second set of stairs from the room with the globes. They found themselves face to face with a strange guardian… a golem who paid them no attention until they began to cross his platform. Once Alek took the first steps onto the platform, the Golem activated and began to defend its territory with mindless ferocity. Blue quickly found out that this particular creature seemed particularly resistant to effects against the mind, but its slow reflexes made it an easy target for such attacks. Unfortunately, before this knowledge was able to be put to good use, Blue was hurled off the edge by the Golem and fell to his death. Grey was able to reach the far ledge and get out of the grasp of the stone guardian. He started to haul his companions up as well, but when Quinn attempted the leap, his frail body failed and he was unable to make it across. He fell, and was thought to be dead.

Thats when Callista made a tarzan-swing around the platform, and avoided the threat of the golem. As she hung there, she saw that Quinn still lived! It was truly a miracle. Quinn used his magic to provide himself a barrier against impact that softened the blow. He was still incredibly injured and in pain, but he was alive. And while he was in the pit, he saw the remains of Blue-4 being carried away by small robotic creatures. He recognized them as Homunculus, but they were not like those he had seen back on Khorvaire. Quinn scrambled up a rope his companions had lowered before he could learn more.

Having passed the guardian, the party moves on to the real work area. Here, they find several clues about the Giants and their civilization. The Giants had a powerful, advanced civilization 40,000 years ago on this land. The drow were their slaves. And it was the Giants who originally created the warforged. Evidence existed within their workshops to support the rumors. However, there was still little clue as to why the warforged were created. Quinn found the first clue in the room with multiple planar runes.

Among the rooms of the work area, they also found another body. Apparently one of the adventurers from before. He had an orb on him… only one was missing now. They found the body of the 3rd adventurer, though his remains were so ruined, that nothing recognizable was left of him. Among the ruins, they also found a weapon hilt, which could be used to infuse a weapon with magic.

It was here that Quinn figured out how to activate the runes, and turn on the Eldritch Machines. He found a cleaning device, and a forge. He never did activate the planar runes, which is probably a good thing. The party, having exhausted themselves, returned to the campsite to rest. To their chagrin, they found that the last missing orb had been there the whole time, wrapped up in the bedrolls of the deceased adventurers.

With all of the orbs restored to their proper place, Quinn activated the runes on the monolith from the first room and found a portal leading to a pocket dimension. In this dimension, they found a room filled with inactive warforged bodies, and homunculus who worked tirelessly to maintain these bodies. There was also a single active warforged, unlike any that the group had seen before, and on the floor, were the pieces of Blue-4. Communicating with this new warforged proved a difficult task, but eventually, the gap was bridged and the connection was made. From this warforged, the party learned much.

The Giants were faced with a threat of invasion 40,000 years ago from the plane of Dal Quor, Realm of Dreams. To eliminate this threat, the Giants planned to cut off the plane completely from the Material Plane. However, before they completed this task, they found that not all of the creatures here were evil. Some of them held different beliefs and wanted to help the Giants, in exchange for the freedom of the oppression they faced in their home lands. The Giants agreed. To rescue the good Quori, the Giants built the original Warforged to be vessels for their souls, who could not exist in the Material Plane without a body to act as an anchor. The warforged before you was the only one who made it out. It had been built as a prototype. However, the evil Quori nightmares struck, and before the Giants could complete the process, they were forced to seal off the realm of dreams, leaving all of the good quori stranded there.

The warforged had been here for 40,000 years, guarding the bodies of its lost companions, and hoping that there was some way to free them from their prison, assuming they were not already dead.

As the warforged completed its story, the homunculus completed their work on Blue-4 and revived him. Blue began destroying everything he saw without any rhyme or reason. The party was forced to destroy him… again.

Each member gets 660 XP for the encounter with the guardian golem, the battle with Blue-4, and for the major story award.

Treasure Found: +2 weapon hilt (apply to any melee weapon for a +2 bonus, requires 1 day of work from quinn) Art Item: Necklace with mild glamour magic on it.

Open Sesame!

Open Sesame!

Having eliminated the drow hunters, the Line of the Mark returned to town for a much needed rest. They found their contact, Shadow, and asked her about the details of the ruins she had led them to. She explains that the temple is riddled with traps and a very dangerous place that no one goes, unless they have a specific reason. She has never been inside herself, and has no desire to venture through the treacherous halls, though she is obviously willing to show people to the place for a fee.

Having learned what little they could, the group headed off towards the ruins of the old giant civilization. As they approached, they were greeted by an Eladrin girl, named Rya. She offered to show them a secret entrance, and led the party to a great stone door with a face carved in it. And that’s where she sprang a trap! She called the vines of the very jungle to life and had the plant creatures attack the party with corrosive smoke and choking vined tentacles. She herself danced across the field, teleporting from tree to tree and clawing at whoever was vulnerable. She turned out to be a crafty Dryad in disguise. The group, unaccustomed to fighting against an angry forest, took some heavy damage before finally taking down the Dryad and her minions.

The party entered the stone door, after disarming a simple rock-slide trap, and ventured into the first room of the ruins. There, they found a bevvy of traps waiting to attack them, along with a pair of poisonous vipers. Fortunately, they were prepared for this threat, given the advance warning from Shadow, and they did not suffer nearly as much for their troubles. They were able to disarm the Magical Turrets, Destroy the Poison Dart Statue, Disarm the Flame Jets, and dodge the Pendulum Scythes… And that was all just in the first room!

There is no telling what lurks beyond the set of massive double doors before the party, but one thing is certain… It won’t include a warm welcome.

The Dead Body had a 250 GP Art Object (Scorpion Statue), 50 GP, and a Healing Potion. (1 treasure parcel) He also had a Xen’drik Runebook.

Everyone earns 580 XP.


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