This was the first session of a new campaign set in the Vaaran Kingdoms.
Gaius: A Ronian-blooded aristocrat
Uloff: A Gru Trader
Dreckergael: A human hunter who casts spells randomly when seriously wounded
Garoff: A Gru Bounty Hunter
Told to contact his uncle, Hamil Kar-Harba the brother of the King, at the Four Taverns in the town of Shahr-Tel, Gaius went there with three companions: Dreckergael, Garoff and Uloff. Upon arriving in Shar-Tel, Dreckergael noticed a hooded dwarf following them. He dipped around a corner and waited taking the man by surprise. Dreckergael tried to grab the dwarf but missed, so his opponent stabbed him. Because this caused two wounds, Dreckergael (who has a Flaw called Subconscious Caster) transformed into a bird and flew away. Seeing Dreckergael’s belongings had fallen to the ground the dwarf picked those up. He also raved in the streets about demonic sorcery and the rest of the party went to the Four Taverns Inn. They took a table and found the food quite expensive. They also spotted the dwarf enter and order some drinks.
An Ogre eventually came to the table and told them to come with him to Hamil Kar-Harba’s quarters. They followed and there Hamil asked them to perform a service for them. He promised 400 Silver each and more if they completed their task. He explained his need:
Hamil desired the Pillar of Druba, an ancient relic from nearby Nong Sai ruins said to contain the last words of the Ogre King Dosikan. However the ruins are vast, part of a great ancient city called Tongasha. Finding the pillar without knowing its location is nearly impossible. As luck would have it, Hamil heard through one of his men that Darios Tyrna Maorides (A Castle Lord) had recently abducted and imprisoned an elf named Mangrai, who lived in the final days of Nong Sai and was also the royal architect.
Hamil asked the party to rescue Mangrai and convince him to show them the the way to the pillar. If they returned with the Pillar of Druba he promised 4,000 silver.
Before leaving Garoff asked Hamil to detain the dwarf for them so they could retrieve Dreckergael’s belongings. The ogre went downstairs and brought the dwarf back unconscious. When Dreckergael returned they interrogated the dwarf and learned he was an agent of Drecker’s enemy Goresios Maorides (another Castle Lord). They threatened him and seemed to secure a promise for more information about Goresios down the road.
After leaving the Inn the party went to Tyrna Hauch and its village, Glaver. There they met the Eparkos and Gaius said he was there to inspect defenses on behalf of the king. Because he is the nephew of the King’s brother, it was convincing enough to get him an audience with Darios Tyrna. But first they stayed the night in the home of the Eparkos. Because he is more at home in the open air, Uloff stayed outside and heard a horrible sound coming from the castle during the night. Like a great bull howling.
In the morning they convinced Darios Tyrna they were simply inspecting on behalf of the king. Because Darios considers himself incredibly loyal to house Hanno, he accommodated them and freely told them that he had Mangrai imprisoned in a nearby tower. He even gave them access to the tower and allowed them to speak with Mangrai.
In the course of their investigation the party learned that Darios Tyrna was obsessed with Nong Sai and trying to find the Pillar of Drabu himself. However he wanted it for sentimental reasons, remembering his mother tell stories about it as a child. He purchased Mangrai from a Caelan senatorial family who fled their homeland because of the civil war. Darios Tyrna found Mangrai difficult and couldn’t get much information from him. He took what little details he was able to extract and ventured to the Tongasha ruins. While there something happened and Darios (who they discovered was also a Sertori) overused his magic and turned into a Minotaur. The sounds at night were from him changing form. Investigating further they learned that many villagers had gone missing recently and that Darios’ master builder had been scorched by the minotaur’s breath.
Researching Minotaurs, the party decided that Darios needed to be killed. They went through many possible methods but settled on talking Mangrai into showing them the way to the pillar and convincing Darios to go with them. To do this they promised Mangrai to return him to Caelum and he agreed. Darios was so enthused that they found the pillar’s location he happily went with them.
The trip was largely uneventful thanks to the party having three hunters in the group. They made their way to Tongasha but happened upon some tar pits before reaching their destination. There they formed a trap upon the pits, concealing them with branches and foliage. Then Giaus cast the Pestilent Smile of Tiresias on Darios. This served two purposes. First it would cause unnatural euphoria making any minotaur transformations unlikely (as those were apparently triggered by anger). It also allowed them to lead Darios into the trap fairly easily. Because he was under the influence of the spell, when he fell into the tar pit Darius was oddly at ease and calmly suggested his friends give him a hand. They let him sink and left the area immediately.