View Full Version : The Campaign Journal of Amaril Gandethus

2013-02-13, 10:43 PM
Hey everybody :smallbiggrin:

So, for the past couple months, I've been playing in a campaign I really like, and one of the things I'm having fun with is keeping an in-character journal of all our party's adventures--and now I'm going to share it with you! I hope you find it entertaining, and if you have any advice on improving my writing, or just general comments about anything that happens, I'm all ears.

Two things to bear in mind. First, as mentioned above, this journal is all in-character. That means that if there's information that's vital to the story that some party members know, but my character doesn't, you won't find out about it until he does (and has time to write it down). While this may interfere with the plot making sense, I think it's better to keep things realistic and immersive.

Second, this is an ongoing project, and I'll be posting entries as I write them. Although our group's schedule is pretty regular at every other Friday evening, we sometimes have to make changes to that routine, and I also don't usually get around to writing my newest entry for a couple more days. Just a heads-up that sometimes, it might be a while before I can add to this.

So, here we go.

The World
The setting for this game is the Forsaken Realms, a homebrew world designed by our DM. It's a combination of Forgotten Realms, Golarion and original material. As with 4e Forgotten Realms, the time period is 500 years after the Spellplague, but the difference here is in the effects the Spellplague had on the multiverse--specifically, it was a lot more destructive. All but two of the gods (Ao, the overdeity, and Kelemvor, the god of death) are dead or missing, the entire magic system is different (though mostly just in fluff), the landscape was dramatically changed, and pretty much all the big civilizations from the Realms were completely wiped out. The result is a world that shares some history with FR, but is mostly a blank slate.

Our adventures thus far have mostly been focused around the port town of Sandpoint, on the western coast. Three of our party members, myself included, are natives of Sandpoint, and the other two are recent arrivals. Sandpoint is a sizeable town controlled by a council of four merchant families, and most of the locals are humans.

Gameplay and Houserules
The game is Pathfinder, but we've done some fairly extensive houseruling, mostly to preserve elements we prefer from 3.5. Some of these include;

Alterations to the skill list, including the return of Concentration and the elimination of Fly
Changes to the magic system, eliminating prohibited schools for Wizards
The addition of a Weapon Focus feature possessed by all characters, separate from the feat, which they gain and improve by spending skill points

Dramatis Personae

Alden, our half-elven fighter. Originally from Sandpoint, he was kidnapped from the orphanage by slavers at an early age and forced to work as a child soldier. Several children have gone missing from the town in a similar manner, but he became the first to return about a year ago, after being gone for almost fifty. He has since revealed little about his absence, but has apparently gained some impressive combat skills while he was away.
Guttersnipe, a goblin rogue. Gutter, as we usually call him, hails from an island south of Sandpoint inhabited by a mixed tribe of goblinoids. Following some trouble with his neighbors, he stowed away on a human merchant ship and found himself in Sandpoint, where he has been for a few years now. He has mostly kept to the sewers, avoiding confrontation with the local humanoids by pretending to be a sickly halfling whenever he is discovered. The town orphanage is one of the few places he can find safety, and is also where he became literate.
Kor-en Mar, a drow monk. While all drow possess darkvision, Kor-en suffers from a unique condition that prevents him from seeing in normal light, causing him great inconvenience and pain when he tries to move around outdoors. After learning martial arts at a nearby monastery, he has travelled to Sandpoint as part of his mission to find some cure for his condition, drawn by the famous skill of the local glassmakers who may be able to craft something to help his vision.
Kiara "Thistle" Briardale, a gnome druid. Originally from a gnome community in the nearby region, Thistle is currently on a walkabout in search of excitement and adventure, on which Sandpoint is her most recent stop. She is rarely seen without the company of Bear, her wolverine animal companion. None of us know her real name.
Myself--Amaril Gandethus, an elven wizard. I've lived in Sandpoint my whole life with my father, Ilsoari, a powerful mage and retired adventurer who runs the town's orphanage. When not caring for the orphans, he has been teaching me what he knows of wizardry. I spend the rest of my time helping teach the children, and I've had a hand in raising almost every adult in Sandpoint. I also have a raven familiar named Rohan, who has been with me for over 30 years.

Some Background Explanation for the First Session

Ryn is one of my character's best friends, a half-elf who runs a clothing store. Four sessions in, she has yet to make an actual appearance.
My character and Alden knew each other well before Alden disappeared. His mysterious return puzzles Amaril to no end, but Amaril's mostly just glad he's back.
Ameiko is the owner and bartender at the Rusty Dragon Inn. Amaril has had a massive crush on her for several months.
Ethram Valdemar is the patriarch of one of the four merchant families who founded, and essentially rule, Sandpoint.
Borsh is an alcoholic trapper.
Chopper was an unidentified serial killer who perpetrated several brutal murders around the town about five years ago. He was never caught, and hasn't been active since then. He is believed to have lived on the island directly off the town.
Amaril and Guttersnipe also know each other, given the amount of time Gutter spends at the orphanage (or "academy"). Amaril is one of the few in Sandpoint who know that he's actually a goblin.

Session 1, Entry 1
Kythorn 16, 1895 DR

Hello again. It’s been a while since I’ve written anything in here (the last time was when Alden showed up again, so about a year now), but what happened this evening definitely merits recording. I’ll need to get to sleep soon, since it looks like an early start tomorrow, but I’m taking a few minutes to scribble down the events of the past few hours in case I don’t get another chance.
Alden, father and I were having dinner and a few drinks at the Dragon when this gnome lady went up to the bar and started chatting with Ameiko. I hadn’t seen her walk in the door (I had…other things on my mind) but I knew right away she wasn’t from Sandpoint. For one thing, the way she was dressed, she might have never even seen a town before in her life, and for another, she had this pet badger bigger than she was. Don’t ask me why it was allowed inside. Anyway, since she was clearly a foreigner, I can only assume Ameiko told her about the usual tradition of free drinks for entertainment, the result being that she went up to the stage and started leading the badger through some tricks. I didn’t really watch, but father seemed interested.

A few minutes later, old man Borsh stood up and started going through the story of Chopper and the island. This time, just about everybody listened, and I noticed the gnome had left the stage and was sitting at the bar next to Borsh. Of course, everyone already knows the story as far as it goes, so interest started waning after a brief interval—until Borsh claimed to have recently visited the island himself!

As he told it, he was plying his trade around Chopper’s old house when he heard moaning coming from somewhere inside. He started going on about how the house was haunted, saying he’d seen lights moving around in the windows and heard voices coming from the place (just like Rohan’s been going on about for weeks!). Well, that certainly got people’s attention, including that of Ethram Valdemar. For whatever reason, he was furious when he heard Borsh had been on the island, even more so than one would expect given that visiting the place is technically illegal. It almost seemed like a personal matter to Valdemar though…he got very rude with Borsh until the mayor intervened. She said whatever Borsh saw (or heard) out there might be important.
In fact, she said, given how long the place has been abandoned, it might be a good idea to send a few people over there to investigate.

Well, of course, most people suddenly became very interested in their drinks at this point. The mayor looked around for volunteers, and I noticed the gnome with the badger had stood up on her stool. Mayor Deverin saw her too, and asked whether anyone else there might be willing to join her. Then, for reasons that I cannot for the life of me understand, Alden stood up next to me and volunteered!

Now, what I did next was brought on by a combination of two factors. The first was that ever since Rohan started seeing those lights in the house’s windows, he’s been pestering me to no end to go out there and check the place out. I can’t deny I was interested, but there was no way in hell I was going out to explore a possibly haunted house with only my familiar for protection (hey, you never know, it might be the real thing!). The second factor was that Ameiko was watching the proceedings from behind the bar, and once Alden volunteered to go, there arose the matter of preserving my reputation, you understand. So I did something that I’m still not sure wasn’t completely idiotic—I stood up and said “I’ll go too.”

Well, after that, things happened pretty fast. The mayor and Valdemar got into a noticeable argument about whether we should, in fact, be sending people to the island, but in the end Ethram was defeated and stormed out in rage. That settled, Mayor Deverin came back over to us and had the team get introduced. The gnome gave her name as Thistle, and introduced her badger as Bear (I didn’t ask). I didn’t mention Rohan yet, given the nature of our relationship, but Alden and I gave her our names, and father as well. We set about hashing out the details of reaching the island (Borsh didn’t technically say no to lending us his boat…) and decided we’d set out at high tide tomorrow evening, when we’d had time to prepare. I asked father whether he remembered anything about the island’s history that might be important. He said nothing came to mind, but then he made a remark that seemed a little strange—“everyone has their own destiny, and must follow their own path. Maybe this is the beginning of yours.” I hope that was just him being mystical, because it sounded not altogether pleasant.

Anyway, I’ll need to start early tomorrow if I’m going to be packed and ready to go for high tide. What should I even bring with me? How much food will I need? Will rope be useful, or just extra weight? What spells should I prepare? I have no idea…terrors, what have I gotten myself into?

You know, it just occurred to me that Ryn might be interested in coming with us, given what happened to her mother (may she rest easy). She wasn’t at the Dragon tonight, so maybe I’ll go ask her tomorrow if I get a chance. At least I can check in with her before we leave.

Well, Rohan’s nagging me to get to bed, so I guess I’ll stop here. I’ll try to write more while we’re on the island, or at least after we get back. Ameiko had better be impressed as hell when this is over.

Session 1, Entry 2
Kythorn 17, 1895 DR
Terrors, why did I have to open my damn mouth last night? Amaril, you ******* idiot, you never think things through! ****!

Sorry, getting a grip now. Let me start at the beginning.

Woke up early this morning to start packing and getting spells memorized. Normally I see Guttersnipe hanging around the academy in the mornings, but for some reason he wasn’t there today (I know why now, but I’ll get to that in a bit). I swung by Ryn’s store at lunchtime—she said she might have been interested in coming along if she could, but she had stuff to do and wouldn’t be able to find someone to watch the store before we had to leave. Maybe I shouldn’t have asked anyway…I thought she might want to visit the island for closure or something, but I don’t know…

Well, got everything together and headed down to the beach at dusk to meet up with Alden and Thistle. Borsh’s boat is apparently pretty small, so it was a bit cramped, but it took everybody’s weight alright (even though Alden was in scale mail—where the hell did he get that?). Lucky the island is just a couple minutes away with two people rowing, since I swear that badger was looking like it wanted to take a bite out of my leg (note to self—tell Rohan to keep his distance). Oh, and speaking of animals, Thistle knows about Rohan now, and apparently she’s a druid, so Bear isn’t exactly your usual badger either. I should read up on animal companions if I get a chance…although I’m not so sure I should be making plans like that now…

Sorry, sidetracked. Where was I? Right, the island.

It was getting pretty dark by the time we got up to Chopper’s old place. That house is really creepy in the dark, and the others said we shouldn’t light anything in case we weren’t alone, so I was really hoping we’d find the place empty and be able to leave. No such luck—we checked out the entrance hall, and there were footprints leading down one of the hallways, obviously fresh. Didn’t do much for my confidence, but the others still wouldn’t let me light the place.

That’s when things started to get really weird—well, seem that way, but I’ll get to that. The house has two floors, and we started hearing noises coming from the one above us on the other side of the entrance hall from where the footprints were. Alden figured it would be safer to check out the noises instead of the footprints, since the noises meant there was something in there with us right then, and no matter how many times I said that was exactly why we should be moving away from the noises (I lost count) the others ended up dragging me along upstairs.

So there we all are, at the top of the stairs, hiding behind a corner from where the noises were coming from, and I’m completely freaking out. Everything I’ve told myself about why Rohan’s suggestion to come check this place out was a really bad idea is running laps around my head, and I keep imagining all kinds of horrible stuff that might be haunting this house and waiting for idiots like us to come along, and finally, I figure “**** it—if I’m gonna die, I want to see it coming first” and cast a light. When the light comes on, we hear footsteps running back down the hall and what sounds like somebody closing a door. So we go down the hall and investigate (with much annoyance at me from Alden and Thistle, which I guess I kind of deserved), and lo and behold, we run into none other than Guttersnipe! He wasn’t alone—there was another guy with him who introduced himself as Kor-en Mar. I can’t figure out where he’s from, since he looks like an elf (albeit with really dark skin and weird eyes), but that definitely doesn’t sound like a name from any elf culture I recognize. I should ask him about that—maybe he was adopted or something…

Now, it was reassuring to find out that it was just Guttersnipe and Kor-en making the noises, but Gutter’s story about how he ended up on the island still has me pretty worried. As he tells it, he was outside the Dragon last night when somebody snuck up on him and shoved a sack over his head, and he woke up here in the house. I thought it might be Daviren Hosk or one of his kids, but Kor-en said he’d seen the attackers, and his description of them didn’t sound like anyone from Sandpoint (apparently there were three of them, whoever they were). He said he’d heard one of them say something about children, and another one reply “bring him to Morgan anyway, he’ll deal with it”. He tried to intervene, but they knocked him out and grabbed him as well, and the two of them woke up in Chopper’s house tied together with all their stuff gone. That was just a couple minutes before we’d gotten there.

Now, I don’t know what the deal was with those kidnappers, and I’m not entirely sure I even want to. Anybody who goes around grabbing kids off the street (I can only assume the comment that one made about kids was something to do with mistaking Gutter for a child) seems pretty obviously dangerous, and getting mixed up with people like that seems like a really bad idea. But when Alden heard the story, he was pretty adamant about figuring out what was going on, and he said the best way to do that was to stick around here and wait for somebody to come and collect Kor-en and Gutter. I said we should just go back home and tell the mayor about all this, but he wouldn’t listen. He insisted we should ambush whoever shows up and do…something, I don’t ******* know what he wants. Is he really planning on attacking whoever comes? Does he think whatever’s going on is tied to what happened to him all those years ago? I mean, for that to be true, this would all have to be connected to some organization that’s been working in Sandpoint for all that time and probably longer…terrors, I don’t want to think about that. I can’t.

Well, the others agreed that we should try to find out more, so we’re staying here for the night to wait. We searched the rest of the house to make sure there wasn’t anybody else waiting for us, but it was empty except for a couple of spiders and some stirges in the attic. Guttersnipe got a nasty bite off one of those, but he doesn’t seem any worse for wear—he’s actually talking about making the proboscis into a new blowgun. Just like Guttersnipe. Kor-en apparently has unarmed combat training, and Alden seemed pretty deadly with that flail he brought. I don’t know where he learned that kind of skill. All I know is, it seems I’m in way over my head with all this.

Right now, the plan is that when the kidnappers show up, we’re going to hide in the room Gutter and Kor-en woke up in and wait for them to come check there, and then I’ll cast a sleep spell on them so we can tie them up and question them…or something. I don’t actually have sleep prepared right now, though, so Rohan and the others are keeping watch so I can rest up and have it ready for tomorrow. Terrors, I don’t know if I’m even going to be able to sleep—and that’s not even considering that they might come back before morning gets here, something we’re all hoping doesn’t happen. Rohan keeps telling me everything’s going to be fine, but he’s still pulling an all-nighter keeping watch outside the house. I really hope it turns out to be unnecessary.

Okay, have to try and rest. With luck, I’ll be able to write again tomorrow. I hope.

As I post this, I realize it may not make much sense for people who haven't been playing this game and don't have access to the campaign website we use to keep track of everything. I didn't really think of that when I decided to put this up here, but it's what I've got. Please let me know if it really doesn't make any sense at all, and I'll stop posting and refrain from taking up space on the message board.

Amidus Drexel
2013-02-13, 11:05 PM
Subscribed! I love campaign journals. :smallcool:

(I wish I could write that well...)

*waits patiently for update*

2013-02-13, 11:36 PM
Aww, thanks :smallredface: More forthcoming soon--we're a few sessions ahead of what I've posted, but I don't want to release everything at once and leave everybody hanging until we play again.

Unless the majority response is that it doesn't make sense if you're not playing the game, in which case I won't be posting anymore. I don't want to waste space on here.

2013-02-14, 01:36 PM
Second session :smallbiggrin:

Session 2
Kythorn 18, 1895 DR

Well, today has been…interesting, to say the least. A lot’s happened since last night. I’ll try and remember all of it.

We made it until sunrise, and nobody showed up, so I was pretty relieved about that. Since no--\

Sorry, Rohan just bit my hand. He’s making me write a reminder not to make him stay up all night again (never mind that he was the one who suggested it in the first place).

Anyway, since nobody had shown up, we decided we might as well finish searching the first floor of the house. Not much worth finding, but there was something a bit unusual—a Valdemar signet ring and some paperwork showing the Valdemars used to own the place, just sitting in a chest like somebody had forgotten about it. And back in town, Ethram was pretty determined to keep us from coming here…it definitely seems fishy, but I’m finding it hard to believe the Valdemars had any connection to Chopper’s murders (unless he was a Valdemar and nobody knew, but that doesn't mean his relatives knew about what he was doing or approved of it). Alden’s telling me not to dismiss the possibility, but I just can’t think of any reason why the Valdemars would want to get rid of some of Chopper’s victims—I mean, what did Ryn’s mother ever do to them? The other possibility, of course, is that the Valdemars have some connection to what’s going on here now, which is why we’re doing what we’re doing as I’m writing this—but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Back to the morning. We were searching the room at the southwest corner of the house, and were just about to leave, when Gutter called out that he’d found a hidden trapdoor in the floor. Now, in retrospect, what I did next actually seems really, really stupid, but I have to admit, in the light of day with all the angst of last night seemingly in the past, my curiosity about what was going on here was getting the better of me. So while the others were standing around arguing about what to do about the trapdoor, I just went and opened it. I wish I could say “I regret nothing”, but unfortunately, it’s starting to look like a pretty major screw-up. Admitting that in writing should hopefully serve as a reminder to be more careful.

The door made a hell of a racket when I opened it, but we all still heard that someone down the passage was beating a hasty retreat. Figuring, I assume, that they were with the people who had kidnapped Gutter and Kor-En, we ran down there to try and follow them, but there were three doors leading out of the room we found (which had a bunch of child-sized beds set up against the walls…no, don’t think about it) and we had the misfortune to pick the wrong two. Myself in particular—not only did the door I went through turn out to be what seemed like a dead end, but when I lit the place up to be able to see, there was a pile of bones lying on the floor that animated into a bunch of walking skeletons! Needless to say, we decided not to go that way.

Unfortunately, the only exit that didn't turn out to be a dead end just led back upstairs, and it didn't look like our runner had gone that way. There was something there, though—a dead body.

I've never seen a dead body before today. I mean, animals, sure—I've dissected tons of animal carcasses, but a humanoid corpse…it’s different. Different than walking skeletons, too—all I remember thinking when those bones came to life is “oh, ****, run like hell”, but this poor sod wasn't doing any shambling. Just…lying there.

Thistle checked him over and said he’d been murdered. I can only assume he was killed by the kidnappers. I don’t know what to think about that…I mean, of course I want to stop these people, and I want to make sure they never go near any child in Sandpoint (or anywhere) again, and I guess I knew by that point that what we’re doing here is seriously dangerous, but seeing somebody they’d killed made it so much more real…

Terrors, I can’t afford to go down that path now. Getting back to the story—right. That should distract me plenty.

We decided our quarry probably hadn't come this way, but that only left the room where we’d contained the skeletons. That didn't seem like much of an option to me, but the others all seemed to think we should check there. Next thing I knew, we were all standing around the door, getting ready to draw them out and ambush them! I admit, I was terrified, as well one should be when you’re heading into a fight with a bunch of walking corpses—but surprisingly, the battle couldn't have gone better. The plan we had to lure them into the doorway one by one and let them have it was brutally effective, and all it took was one solid smack from Alden’s mace to knock the last one’s skull clean off its spine and down its ribcage. I almost wanted to laugh. In fact, looking back, it was actually almost fun. It felt like victory. It was then that I started to understand how Alden and the others manage to do things like this without going crazy.

At first glance, the room we’d cleared out appeared to be a dead end, as I’d thought. When we searched it, however, we found another secret door, this one leading to what looked like an alchemist’s lab. There was a skeleton sitting at the bench with a book in front of it, wearing magician’s robes—I’m fairly convinced those old bones are all that remains of Chopper, since it didn’t look like the kidnappers had found their way into this room, and the bones looked about the right age. If he really did die in there, then a lot of people back in town will be breathing easier soon.

But more intriguing than the remains was the content of the book. After taking a look at the data it details, and conferencing with Thistle (who is apparently quite the alchemist), I believe that Chopper, or whoever wrote this book, has succeeded in perfecting the formula for the Gudmund Stone! I’m hesitant to hope for that to be true—I mean, the Stone is the stuff of legends—but if it is, the consequences for arcane study of all fields are almost too huge to consider! The elixir of life, unending riches…as soon as I get the chance, I’m going to have father take a look at this book. He’ll know what to do about it, I’m sure—he’s never been wrong when it counted.
That is, of course, if I get the chance. We found even more in Chopper’s house than old bones and priceless books.

Having seemingly exhausted all our options, I began to give up hope of tracking down whoever it was we’d heard running away. It seemed impossible that they would still be on the island by then. However, at the insistence of Alden, we continued our search. We checked every corner and cranny of the house, and were just beginning to think of calling it in and returning home, when we found a third secret door—this one leading off the same room from which our quarry had run. We managed to get it open, and found it led into a series of natural tunnels that looked like they were hewn straight from the rock of the island. They were lit by torches, so we knew someone had passed this way recently. We investigated the passages and found them deserted—they led to a cave that led out into the ocean, which was filled with water at high tide. We deduced that this must be the kidnappers’ means of getting into and out of the house, using boats to get through the cave at low tide when there was still space. This must also be how our runner got away from us without leaving the house by another exit.

The rest of the tunnels were cluttered with an assortment of miscellaneous goods—fabric, tools, stuff you’d find at a general store. Some of it looked like it might be worth some money, particularly several large rolls of silk. More disturbing was the wooden cage lined with blankets and littered with carved wooden toys…children’s toys. I wasn't surprised at this point—my worst fears about whatever these people were doing were pretty thoroughly confirmed by what we’d already seen. Alden didn't react particularly well to the sight, though. He still seems haunted even as I’m writing. I suppose I can’t blame him…if these are the same people responsible for what happened to him, it’s completely understandable that he’d be upset by seeing all this.

Well, with our only prospective captive apparently long gone, and reinforcements no doubt on their way, I thought it was high time to head back to town and report what we’d found. However, the others still insisted that we should stay and wait for the reinforcements so we could try to capture and interrogate one of them about all this. I pointed out that they’d likely come in dangerous numbers, and that it seemed unlikely they’d aim to capture rather than kill us, but Alden reminded me of the evidence we’d found that the Valdemars had a connection to what was going on here. He said if they were involved in this, then chasing this particular group off the island wouldn't do much good—Ethram would simply pin the crimes on them and continue to operate from somewhere else. As much as I hate to think this group has those kinds of connections, I have to agree with him on this point, and questioning one of the kidnappers seems like our best chance of figuring out who they work for. So now we’re camping out in the tunnels, waiting for the reinforcements to arrive so we can ambush them.

I won’t deny I’m scared—the fact remains they’re likely to bring quite a few men with them when they come back. But honestly? After today, I’m not as worried as I was last night. Those skeletons…they were like something out of a nightmare, and we took them down like it was a walk in the park. I know this is going to be dangerous, but I've seen what the five of us can do when we work together. I know Alden and Gutter will do their part, and Kor-En and Thistle definitely seem to know what they’re doing. I think with a little luck, we won’t have any problem getting our hands on a prisoner who can lead us to whoever is behind all this. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow, if that’s when they get here.

And if all else fails, at least I have Rohan looking out for me. Take help where you can find it, right?

Please comment if you want to see more, and if you have anything else you want to say about the game or my writing. Thanks for reading :smallsmile: