Sunday, July 19, 2015


This is a new series on the Bedrock Blog where I will be posting campaign notes from my binder. These are all posted as they appear, raw. So they will get messy at times. The purpose is just to show I run some of our games. Keep in mind that while this appears here as one continues entry, these are taken from different sections of my binder that are relevant to the adventure or events in question. I did occasionally include parenthetical notes explaining terms that make no sense without context for the blog. 

First up is my initial adventure for our Swords of the Four Taverns Campaign that we ran last year. This followed Bill's death, so I think a lot of the content was actually pretty dark. He had been running the campaign before that and I started running it to keep the group going. Because Bill's favorite module the Harn adventure 100 Bushels of Rye by Garry Hamlin, my plan was to run that for everyone. Most of Gamandria is not European fantasy and even the Vaaran Kingdoms are a far cry from that in many respects. But Palus was close enough in tone to Harnworld to work, so I chose that as the location. 

I re-read 100 Bushels of Rye a bunch of times, and was initially going to run it straight as it appeared in the text. It is a really good module and makes great use of a location that is fairly simple and plausible but still quite interesting with lots of bits to interact with. However I realized I had to make some adjustments to fit it to Sertorius. Eventually I just decided to go ahead and make a new adventure that was very loosely inspired by and based on 100 Bushels of Rye. This is what I ended up with. 

My maps are famously pretty shoddy so I hope you will forgive the quality of the ones that appear here. They are necessary for understanding the adventure notes, so I had to include them. 

Enemy Present: Goresios Maorides.

Hamil Kar-Harba and the Immortal Architect

Hamil Kar-Harba (brother of the King) wants the Pillar of Druba* which supposedly contain the final words of Dosikan. The Order of Justinian (also known as the Children of Nong Sai) are willing to pay 125,000 gold for it because they believe it contains the totality of Sertori thought. However in order to acquire it safely he needs to find the Architect of Nong Sai, an immortal elf who lived during Dosikan’s reign and has somehow ended up a prisoner in the castle of Tyrna Hauch.

Ultimately Hamil Kar-Harba is seeking the money to fund a campaign against the Gru and Warngel invaders. His brother intends to place him in charge of coordinating and organizing defense the Eastern River with the regional Maorides (i.e. Lords) and he wants to use dwarven mercenaries to deal with the threat. His plan is to invade the Warngel and create a buffer zone.
My regional map of Palus

Adventure Background
Darios Tyrna Maorides was once a good man but became consumed with the riddle of Nong Sai, the mystery of Dosikan’s final words to his people. He eventually learned through ancient texts recovered by his men that Dosikan’s final words were written on a pillar of stone somewhere in Tongasha. 

He then heard rumors of an elf living in Caelum who some called the Architect of Tongasha. They said he had been present in Dosikan’s final days and knew the location of the pillar. Darios Tyrna spent half his wealth bribing Caelan Senators desperate for war funds to send the Architect to him in chains. A deal was struck and Mangrai of Nong Sai became his prisoner (background: in our campaign with Bill, Caelum was divided by civil war). 

Darios went to the ruins to find the Pillar himself but it was too great a challenge. He was unable to find the location and was attacked by the Dunger-Gel. During the battle he cast too many spells and transformed into a Grim Beast when he lost control of his magic, becoming a Minotaur (ee Darios Tyrna Maorides entry below). When he returned to Tyrna Hauch he was changed but still obsessed with the Riddle of Nong Sai and is working on extracting more information from Mangrai. 

One of Hamil’s men heard about the architect from a contact at Tyrna Hauch. Hamil knows the value of the Pillar, and decided to steal the Architect and send men to obtain the Pillar Drabu.

The PCs receive a note asking them to come to Shahr-Tel for a lucrative partnership at The Four Taverns (Drak Varna in Vaaran).

When and if they arrive, there is already a room ready for them (expensive and large). Hamil Kar-Harba arrives with an Ogre guard. He asks them to:

-Rescue Mangrai from Tyrna Hauch and get him to help them…
-Find the Pillar of Drabu in Tongasha

Why he needs Mangrai:

-The ruins are hard to locate
-The ruins are trapped
-Ruins very cold, former Nong Sai capital, and dangerous

What he can offer:

-A key ally with the king’s ear to protect them from Sertori hunters
-Generous stipends (up to 400 Silver a month) if they agree and remain in his service
-A chance to help Sertori in Palus.

(Important background: one of the PCs was the nephew of Hamil Kar-Harba, so this note was sent to him and somewhat difficult for him to refuse). 

*Druba is a Gruskel name for Dosikan

Owner: Bat-Eshqart and his three brothers (Bat-Eshgild, Bat-Eshka, Bat-Eshbal).
Location: Shahr-Tel

The four taverns is so named because it includes a tavern and three shops: a blacksmith, a butchery, and bakery. The tavern is run by Bat-Eshqart, the blacksmith is Bat-Eshgild, the Butchery is operated by Bat-Eshka and the Bakery by Bat-Eshbal).

Bat-Eshqart receives a secret stipend monthly of 200 Silver from Hamil Kar-Harba.

Boar Stew (14 Silver)          
Herb-filled pork bread (8 Silver)
Roasted Vaarworm (a kind of rodent) 6 Silver

Vaaran Wine (8 Silver a cup)
Ronian Wine (30 Silver a cup)

25 Silver a night
60 Silver a night (delux)

Tyrna Hauch is the castle of Darios Tyrna  Maorides. It rests on a large hill overlooking the small village of Glaver, a farming and fishing community. (a note about castles in Palus: HERE).
My crude map of Tyrna Hauch and Glaver

Darios Tyrna Maorides is lord of Glaver but he delegates his Authority to the Eparkos, Gregorian. There are about 120 people living in Glaver, mostly farmers and a few craftsmen. They harvest barley and oats. They also fish for trout and pike in the river. In additional to weekly duties working Tyrna’s own fields, the inhabitants of Glaver must abide by his rules and work three times a year in the Tin Mines located near Glaver Hauch (a small fort north of Tyrna Hauch controlled by one of Tyrna’s Archons named Medarius). There are also 20 slaves living in Glaver.

Darios Tyrna Maorides has four rules all must obey:
  • No villein may leave Glaver without his express permission
  • All Villein’s must before their twentieth birthday
  • All male Villein’s and slaves must work the mines three times a year for two weeks at a time
  • No Villein may enter Tyrna Hauch at any time unless invited by Darios Tyrna directly.

Glaver Hauch
This is a small fort that protect the Tyrna Tin Mines and is where the miners stay during their two week obligation three times a year. It is controlled by Archon Medrius a punctual and dry man who has served Tyrna for 12 years.

Tyrna Hauch
This is Darios Tyrna's Castle. There are twenty soldiers behind the wooden walls (12 humans, 4 Gru and 6 Dwarves). Luthos Varda (an archon) is Tyrna’s right hand and heads the guards. Two other residents of note on the castle grounds are Tendal Smith, the chief blacksmith of the fort and The Tribos, Branas, who is the master builder and mainly in charge of keeping up the building. Branas has born the brunt of Tyrna’s transformation, even being having his face singed by the beast (minotaurs in Gamandria breathe fire). He claims to have fallen in a fire while drunk but many suspect this is a lie.
Tyrna Hauch 

Maoris (Lord) House: A simple rectangular building with a circular stone hearth dividing the eating chamber from the receiving area. A set of stairs winds around the wall leading to a mezzanine which serves as Tyrna’s bedroom.

Chapel: A chapel dedicated to Ramos and Druza.

House of the Luthos: This is where Varda lives. He sleeps with his sword under bed and fancies himself a man of learning, having many scrolls on the old Ronian Empire.

House of the Tribos: This is where Branas lives. He is dishelved and hasn’t slept much. Increasingly he worries about a beast he believes roams the castle grounds but is afraid to speak about it. He had a run in with the beast and his face was burned by the encounter.

Tendal Smith: The black smith. He knows Tyrna hasn’t been right for a while now, since they brought back the architect and placed him in the tower. But he attributes it to an unhealthy obsession with the Nong Sai Ruins.

Soldiers (20)
Defenses: Hardiness 7*, Stealth 3, Evade 4, Parry 5, Wits 6, Resolve 7
Skills: Heavy Melee 2d10, Medium Melee 2d10 or 1d10 (Axe), Wrestling 1d10, Muscle 1d10, Speed 1d10,  Detect 1d10
Damage: 3d10 (Axe), 2d10 (club/mace)
Wounds: 2
*Leather Armor

The Tower
There are two guards at the doors. The floors all have windows but they are narrow, only big enough for a Halfling to fit through or similar sized creature. Scaling the walls without equipment is a TN 7 Athletics check every floor.

Door: The door is locked taking a TN 7 Skill roll to open.

Once inside there is a 1 in 10 chance in each room of encountering 1 of the 5 guards in the tower.

One (Entry Way): Upon walking in here there is an arched doorway into the other room and a set of wooden steps leading up. There is a statue of Helvos Tyrna here in the corner he holds one hand forward pointing toward the stairs. The hand can be moved up or down to disarm the blade trap.

Type: Attack
Detect TN: 8
Attack: 2d10 against Evade
Effect: 6d10 Damage
Disarm TN: 8
A massive blade slices down through the archway at anyone passing by who does not move the hand of the Tyrna Statue.

Two (Ante-Chamber): This room contains a fresco on the floor depicting some Nong Sai ruins. It also has a set of stairs leading up to the second floor of the tower. The floor has soot and there is a burned article of clothing on the ground.

Three (Library, Lower Level): This contains scrolls on the final period of Nong Sai’d history, with several works specifically covering the Pillar of Drabu.

Sample Titles
The Lore of the Pillar of Drabu (Latar)
The Lost Account of Dosikan’s Riegn (Singh)
The Great Exodus (Ronian)

There is also a locked chest here with some relics. It is obvious from scratches on the chest that someone recently tried to open it with brute force using a bladed weapon or implement.

Trapped Chest
Detect TN: 9
Attack: 3d10 against Evade
Effect Poison: Naga Venom (Lethality 1d10 days, Speed 1d10 Minutes), temp, Med TN 9, Potency 3d10, P and C.
Disarm TN: 7

The chest contains The Toga of Fire and 2 Blue Gemstones worth 4,000 GP each. These were found inside Nong Sai.  There is also a rusty sword here. It functions normally except that it does damage 1 automatic wound to all magical creatures (including Sertori).

Four (Dungeon): This is the cell they keep Mangrai in. There is always a guard in the next room. Inside is Mangrai and a bowl of oats.

Five (Dungeon Entrance): This room is guarded by a soldier and has an iron bar door that opens to the dungeon cell (Integrity 4, TN 9). The guard always has the key to the cell.

Six (Ante-Chamber): Stairs lead below to the first floor and a corridor leads across the way to the library. There is a statue of Frimbria here wearing a Ronian style veil and her hands held up in reverence with her head bowed. Raising her head disarms the trap in the corridor.

Spear Trap
Type: Attack
Detect TN: 8
Attack: 2d10 against Evade x 2
Effect: 3d10 Damage
Disarm: 8

Seven (Stairway)

Eight (Library, mid-level): There are two tables in this chamber, with a scroll open on one of them. In it Tyrna has been penning his great work on the Pillar of Drabu called On the Pillar of Drabu (Me Tinevrisu Pylona Tu Drabu). There is also a scroll on the table written by Sanan of Rai titled the Final Pillar. This explains that the Pillar of Drabu contains Dosikan’s final words before death.

Other Texts
The Rise of Caelum by Gaius Plaucones
The Life of Gesara
The War of Vohar
The Light of Ramos

On the Pillar of Drabu (Me Tinevrisu Pylona Tu Drabu)
There are forty pages written so far, explaining that Darios Tyrna is the writer and that he developed an interest in the Pillar of Drabu after his mother’s stories about Nong Sai. He mentions that a text recently acquired by one of his men reveals that the Pillars of Drabu contain the final words of Dosikan. However the last five pages are strange and contain the following entry:

I made my fourth venture into Tongasha. This time I brought with me knowledge supplied by Mangrai. Apparently I did not find the pillars, but I do not remember leaving them either. Most unusual. Perhaps some old magic from the Ogre Kingdoms muddled my mind. I shall return after my inspection of the mines.

Nine (stairwell)

Ten (Library, Upper Level): This contains all of Tyrna’s official business material. It covers things like the records of people living and dead in Glaver. It also is where he keeps personal letters. There are several retained from his mother where they speak fondly to one another about Nong Sai. In his accounting ledger there is a reference to a voyage to Helvarum in Caelum and it seems an exchange of 15,000 silver was made. There is an entire scroll case that has been burned here.

Eleven (Stairs)

Twelve (Watch Tower): This is the watch tower. There are always two soliders here.

Sertori minotaur

Hardiness        6/10
Stealth             5/3
Evade              4/4
Parry               5/8
Wits                8/6
Resolve           7/10

Key Skills 
Gore:                        3d10 (Damage 6d10)*
Bite:                         2d10 (Damage 3d10 Open)*
Breath:                      2d10 (Damage 5d10)*
Medium Melee:        2d10
Speed:                       1d10 (40 feet)
Athletics:                   2d10
Muscle:                     1d10/5d10
Trade (Architecture): 2d10
Survival (Wilderness): 2d10
Detect:                         2d10
Deception:                   1d10
Empathy:                    0d10
History (Nong Sai):    3d10
Institutions (Military): 3d10
Institutions (Political): 2d10
Language (Ronian):     3d10
Language (Latar):       2d10
Language (Singh):      2d10


Wounds: 8


Spells (Misos 3, Penthos 1): Bend Gravity (Athletics), Earth Mastery (Muscle), Immolation (Survival), Bridge (Trade: Architecture), Mourning Glory (Empathy), Shattering

Deathless: Like all Grims, Minotaurs must be laid to rest to truly be destroyed. Darios can only be laid to rest by being buried in Tongasha.

Immunities: Only affected by Magical Attacks.

Burning Breath: A Minotaur can breathe an arch of fire at anyone Target in a 10 foot range. This does 5d10 Fire Damage.

Gore: The horns of a Minotaur do 6d10 Damage.

Devour: The bite of a Minotaur does 3d10 Open Damage as it literally eats the flesh off its victims. Every Wound it inflicts restores its health by 1 Wound.

Shape Change: Anytime a Minotaur has reason to be angry, roll between 1-6d10 against its Resolve. If the amount equals or exceeds its Resolve Rating, the Minotaur changes into its bull form.

Beast Strength (x2): Minotaurs are very strong. Their Base Lift is doubled and they can exceed capping limits on Damage Rolls for Physical Attacks. 

Darios Tyrna is the son of Helvos Tyrna a man loyal to the Hanno-Kar line. Interested in the Riddle of Nong Sai since he was a child, Darios became a Minotaur when he tried to unearth the Pillar of Drabu himself from Tongasha. He has only vague memories of these events and believes he cured himself of a terrible affliction in the process, being unaware of his transformation.

Darios’ men fear him, when he grows angry he feasts on them and burns their skin. Terrified of reprisal from their recently changed Lord they try to keep him happy and avoid causing him to change. When someone dies they blame the Dunger-Gel.

Born into a wealthy and prestigious family, Darios’ mother Fimbria was an adherent of the Church of Light and helped hide her son’s condition from the growing sentiment against Sertori in his youth. She instructed him to conceal his nature. She also filled him with a love for Nong Sai. She was a scholar in her own right on the matter and entertained young Darios with stories of the ancient kingdoms.

Darios’ mother and father both died in a terrible fire when he was a young man. He soon inherited their holdings and responsibilities and set to work serving King Hanno-Kar, investigating Nong Sai in his spare time.


Darios’ future is dark. Since becoming a Grim Beast, he can’t control himself and it is likely he will attract the Sertori Hunters’ attention.

Mangrai The Architect of Tongasha
Elven Scholar

Hardiness        3
Stealth             3
Evade              3
Parry               3
Wits                9
Resolve           9

Key Skills
Wrestling:                                1d10
Light Melee:                            1d10
Athletics:                                0d10
Speed:                                     1d10
Muscle:                                   0d10
Detect:                                    2d10
Deception:                              3d10
Persuade:                                 1d10
Empathy:                                0d10
Reasoning:                               3d10
Survival (All):                         2d10
Trade (Stone):                         3d10
Trade (Architecture):           3d10
Language (Singh):                    3d10
Language (Agarian):                2d10
Language (Pasaali):                  2d10
Language (Gruskel):                2d10
Language (Latar):                    3d10
Language (Khubsi):                 3d10
History (Varian Sea):              3d10
History (Sea of Aetorus):       3d10
History (Gulf of Anja):          2d10
History (Midbar Region):       1d10
Places (Varian Sea):                 3d10
Places (Klammerskel):            2d10
Places (The Sea of Aetorus):  3d10
Religion (Senga):                     3d10
Religion (Sarilla):                     3d10
Script (Sai):                             3d10
Script (Latari):                        3d10
Script (Pasar):                                     1d10
Creatures (Sertori):                 3d10

Wounds: 2

Mangrai is an ancient elf, perhaps the oldest in Gamandria. He witnessed the destruction of Nong Said first hand and knows the location of the Pillar of Drabu (an ancient artifact believed to contain Dosikan’s final words). However Mangrai has a thorny personality, having experienced the worst of the world in his 1,852 years. He doesn’t like to talk about the fall, regarding it as a sacred period that purged great evil from the world. He also feels those curious about it are just inviting the same kind of evil. He is happy to talk about the failings of Dosikan or the personal flaws of anyone he is having a conversation with.

Over the years Mangrai has sustained a number of permanent injuries. He is missing his left hand (lost at the fall of Nong Sai), his eyes were gauged out in Rashua leaving him bling, and he is missing his right arm (taken in Caelum). Presently he wears an iron hand on his right arm that is capable of scooping up objects.

Born in 400 AA, Mangrai was the chief architect of Tongasha and well liked by Dosikan. The feeling was not mutual as Dosikan was known for his temperament and executed Mangrai’s father, Pho Khun, for using the wrong color stone in a project. But Mangrai was adept at survival and concealed his rage.

Mangrai’s family had remained in Nong Sai after the Elven exodus. After so long in slavery they had no use for Ranua or her tricks and didn’t trust the elves to lead them to prosperity.

Mangrai helped bring Tongasha to a new age, vastly improving its infrastructure. He also oversaw many burial projects including the Temple of the Emerald Snake where he created a special chamber for The Pillar of Drabu.

By luck Mangrai escaped death when Nong Sai fell. One of the lucky few, he knew where to hide in the city. However he did lose his left hand in the destruction to infection.

In the wake of the disaster he travelled south and lived among the Halflings for a many years. There he eventually found his way into the court of King Ashqart (helping design fortifications during the war for control of Rashua). He served three generations of kings, until the reign of King Ashqart III. In 574 King Yaum-Kar came to power and put many of the Ashqart loyalists to death. Mangrai was merely blinded and sent back to Shahr where he stayed for some time before going to Agra where he remained for about three decades. By 780 he heard of an Orc empire to the west and was curious. He travelled there and became a Client of the Senator Pollio Agrippa. He served long in the family, becoming good friends with Agrippa’s great-great-great grandson Pollio Gaius (later known as Pollio Basto). While serving one of Basto’s descendants, a political crisis led to a series of trials in which Mangrai was wrongly implicated. His arm was taken as punishment for “treason” and he was made a slave. Still his skills were well known and he came to the attention of Juventar Tadarus a young but ambitious Senator who knew well the reputation of Nong Sai. Tadarus had recently been made an Aedile and purchased Mangrai to help him revolutionize Caelan architecture. Caelum was already quite advanced but with the help of Mangrai Tadarus created a more workable sewer system and perfected the public baths. Mangrai remained in the Juventar family until the civil war, when he was sold by Juventar Carus to Darios Tyrna Maorides of Palus. 

Mangrai’s future is cloudier than most. He has lived so long and has such little ambition of his own that deciphering his future is quite difficult.

Halfling Jack of all Trades

Hardiness        3
Stealth             3
Evade              3
Parry               3
Wits                9
Resolve           7

Key Skills
Wrestling:                                1d10
Light Melee:                            1d10
Small Ranged:                         2d10
Large Ranged:                         2d10
Athletics:                                1d10
Speed:                                     2d10
Muscle:                                   0d10
Ride (Horse):                          2d10
Endurance:                              1d10
Detect:                                    1d10
Deception:                              1d10
Persuade:                                 2d10
Empathy:                                1d10
Reasoning:                               2d10
Survival (Wilderness):            1d10
Trade (Mechanical):                2d10
Trade (Alchemy):                   2d10
Language (Khubsi):                 3d10
Language (Ronian):                 1d10
Language (Gruskel):                3d10
Creatures (Sertori):                 1d10
Read Script (Khubsi/Gruskel): 3d10
Read Script (Singh):                2d10
History (Varian Sea):              2d10
Religion (Church of Ramos): 2d10
Places (Varian Sea):                 2d10
Places (Gulf of Anja):             2d10
Places (The Midbar Region): 2d10
Places (Klammerskel):            2d10
Institutions (Political):            2d10
Institutions (Academic):         2d10
Institutions (Sertori):              1d10

Wounds 2

Hamil is the brother of Hanno-Kar the king of Palus. He is in his 50s and spent most of his life travelling and studying before serving his brother as a vital right hand. Hamil is fascinated by Sertori and intrigued by rumors that they are “numinous entities”. He rejects the teachings of Gesara, is highly skeptical of the Church of Ramos, but is fearful of losing his position or placing his brother in danger.

Hamil is married to Jessa Voia, and her son he has adopted as his own.

As a child Hamil travelled with his uncle Hurin to the southern part of the world. He spent many years in places like Shahr, Dakia and Ronia. When his brother came to power, Hamil’s contacts and knowledge proved so useful that he was given post after post as needed by the family.

Married Jessa because her husband had plotted against the king. This protected her from execution. He then adopted her son Theodore, which placated his brother because it expanded the Bora influence in Pallus.

Hamil’s future is safe if he doesn’t make an overt move against Gesara. Doing so could put his life in jeopardy.

Pillar of Druba
A stone pillar with Singh text wrapped along its surface. These were the final words of Dosikan before he died.:

These are the words of he who holds the 12 silver cities in his right hand and carries the sun upon his left like a lamp. All shall know that I am the greatest king who walked the earth because I butchered armies and cut the throat of a god.

My powers are unrivaled but now the storm of vengeance is upon you all. What I have done is right. It is truth. It is good. It leads to paradise. It is an act of mercy and kindness that required blood. That requires more.

I will seek no forgiveness from you. I will not take a single absolution.  Instead I have one gift to pass. Hear my words and watch as time shapes them into reality.

Today my body dies and the glory of my kingdom fades. Fire, smoke and demons will come and feast upon your bones. No one deemed guilty can escape. All here are doomed.

One day I shall walk again among you, but no more a king.

Alone there is but one path and upon it many things.

A legion of forgetful beggars who yearn for my crown yet cannot speak a single name.

A spear held by mortal hands lancing the heavens and one wound that will not heal.

A bursting crown of flame and gold awakening the sky as the reclamation begins.

A silent orb of neither light nor dark sings a song for all to hear:

The Serpent comes to feed once more when our time is at hand
Ten times one thousand years to pass before her feast begins
A trail of fields to harvest long the work of gods and men

No one knows but one is true and yet no one understands

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