Dragon Age: The Gathering Dark

Hands of a Healer II
The heroes have a dangerous stand-off with a group of brigands that threaten to burn down Vintiver Unless Russel surrenders to them.

Brass Balls

The group is split on opposite sides of Vintiver with Russel and Andana in Tarl Dale’s home and Garrick, Isaak and his two Templar Captors in the Inn. The group of brigands is large and seems well trained and is led by several powerful warriors including an unfamiliar sight in Ferelden, a Qunari. The leader of the brigands, a rather modest looking man dressed in mail and leather announces that Ser Russel has until Moonrise to surrender else they will burn down Vintiver one house at a time. When Wells, the elder templar walks out to reason with the man he is shot several times enough to take him out of any decent fight. The bandits announce teh same fate for anybody out in the open except Ser Russel. Andana goes scouting and is almost discovered by a mabari and the qunari sellsword. Meanwhile Isaak starts to make firebombs and annoys the templars some more, prompting them to call him out for his ‘brass balls’. THe Innkeeper and his family moved to the basement, hoping to escape any bloodshed. With things looking grave both groups of heroes start hatching plans.

Andana and Russel along With Tarl Dale plan to draw off enough of the score of ruffians to allow the others to break out. Meanwhile, Isaak and Templar Mara plan to take out some of the ruffians out back enough for the front door to be under less guard. The group in the Inn acts first but is quickly caught in a prolonged battle in the back while the bandits set fire to the front of the Inn. The battle rages on despite Andana’s attempt to distract them and just when things looked grim, the injured Wells and his greatsword join in the melee, wearing down the bandits one by one. The bandits, however had the advantage of numbers so at long last Isaak has to unleash his carefully kept secret array of spells in front of the templars to keep them in the battle.

Meanwhile Russel and Tarl Dale were making their way towards the woods chased by a group of bandits on horseback. Splitting up the two try to separate the bandit group but the pursuers, led by the Qunari and his warhound all go for Tarl Dale. Russel manages to catch up to the bandits before the Qunari had a chance to kill Dale and challenges him to battle. The ensuing battle is gruesome with Russel dealing powerful and well calculated blows but receiving terrible ones in return. In the end a poor swing from the Qunari opens him up to a powerful finishing strike from Russel. The battle rages on with Russel and Tarl Dale Increasingly injured until Russel scares off the two remaining archers. Tarl Dale is relieved and congratulates Ser Russel, just as the two retreating archers sink a powerful arrow straight through his chest.

Rushing to join the fight Andana is waylaid by another Dalish, a mercenary working for the bandits. Tensions were high and it looked like battle was imminent but Andana lowered her weapons and persuaded the Dalish to walk away, telling him she worked for a good shem deserving of her loyalty, unlike him. The elf walked away but not before giving andana his fine crafted Dar’Misu as a reward.

The battle in the village raged on and it looked like the battle was almost lost with the inn burning down and the Bandit leader ordering his remaining troops to firebomb the inn further. Fortunately Isaak stepped out of the flames like a revenant and hurled his own makeshift oil-bomb at the bandits. The bottle seemed to miss the target but Isaak detonated it with his elemental mastery in mid air, further igniting the grenade in the Bandit Lieutenant’s hand and causing a chain explosion. The townsfolk, led by Coalan, were already breaking down the inn door to try to save the people inside. Isaak used his magic to tear down one of the stone walls and everybody escaped out alive, Isaak even coming out with a large jug of wine and a big grin on his face. He started healing the injured magically but still had enough for a massive, miraculous healing spell when Russel appeared with the stabilised but still gravely injured Dale. By morning the injured and the party had been taken to the small chantry building to rest and the fire had been extinguished.

The next day Russel gave some money to the Innkeeper and promised to send him more come spring and the heroes rested for a full day. Resupplied and ready they prepared for the gruelling trip southwards through mostly uninhabited lands.

The trip was quite taxing with the blizzard tormenting them constantly and prompting foul dreams in both Isaak and Garrick,for the latter compounded by Ser Russel’s mischievous propensity towards ghost stories. After about a week of hard travel through rough countryside the heroes reached the isolated farmstead where they had once bartered for supplies. It was now abandoned mysteriously. the group carried on southwards for another week wit hthe party mood increasingly foul. When they reached the Arling of Voychek Neruda though the horses found a path that led the heroes straight to the site of Russel and Isaak’s battle with the darkspawn to save Neruda’s children. Russel retold the story with great panache, raising morale a bit then the group took the road that would soon bring them to the seat of the South Hills Arling, Stenhold. On the road they came across a traveling merchant and stopped to peruse his wares…

1400 xp

Andana, Garrick, Isaak – 65 SP each
Andana – Masterwork Dar’misu, 4 Fire Bombs (3d6)
Russel – Qunari Greatsword, Warhorse

Side Quests I: Tome of Blood
Eshara, Ser Bridget and Ser Blaker arrive in the Ruswold and embark on a quest into the Brecilian.

Side Quests I: Tome of Blood

Having been sent by Arl Voychek Neruda to bring some money and supplies to his beleaguered brother-in-law two South Hills knights, Ser Bridget and Ser Corbin Blaker along with their guide Eshara arrive in the Ruswold. They head for Logerswold where they plan to spend the night at the Sign of The Spreading Tree Tavern. There they meet Dealia and her father and Eshara gets reacquainted with one of her people. They have a peasant night of merriment and Ser Blaker gets quite personal with Dealia.

The next day the three see the Bann. After delivering the supplies the two knights are asked by the bann to look for a lost, dangerous tome in the brecilian in the ruins of a tower. They agree, despite being quite tired. They re-enlist the help of Eshara. THe elf goes to see her people and hears about their plight and is asked by the keeper to look into a lost tower in the Brecilian forest where Andana had mentioned that the elves might relocate. Meanwhile Ser Bridget visits the chantry where Sister Pliacinth prays with her and gives her a templar-sealed letter to deliver to the chantry in South Reach or another big city. Ser Blaker spars with Krole’s old weapon-master and holds his own. Later he loses a lot of money playing dice then threatens the winner into teaching him to cheat at dice as proficiently.

The group leaves for the Brecilian the next day and they make their way through the cold and dim light to the sight of a battle, where the corpses of wolves lied in the snow. Some foul magic raises the spirits of the beasts and the group has to fight them to survive. They push on until nightfall and then until moonrise up towards the tower, refusing to stop for more than a short rest. At the tower a mad, singing apostate talks nonsense to them then summons a rage demon challenging them to fight it for the book. they do but the apostate slays Sir Corbin who had been trying to steal the book with no fight. Ser Bridget and Eshara defeat the Rage Demon and the knight carries her fallen companion all the way down the hill and through the woods.

Back in Logerswold the two surviving heroes take the body to the chantry. Dealia, the tavernkeeper’s daughter mourns the fallen knight and asks Ser bridget to take her along to South reach or the like as it is what Blaker would have wanted. Bridget agrees then she and the elf take the book to Krole who asks them to take it further, to a large Chantryhantry or the Circle Tower and rewards Ser Bridget with an old, Orlesian blade to replace the broadsword that she had ruined in the battle. Exhausted and broken Ser Bridget sleeps the rest of the day and Eshara returns to tell Orellis about the tower and re-join her people.

The next day at noon, Ser Bridget gives a passionate speech to the villagers about Blaker’s sacrifice then leaves along with Dealia, leaving her father befuddled.

Along the way they meet up with Eshara and ride into the sunset together.

900 Xp +150 RPXP

Silverite Bastard Sword +1 Att, +2 Damage +1 Step Sw&SH

Hands of a Healer I
Isaak and Garrick are arrested but the heroes manage to convince the two templars to take a detour in order to apprehend another, more dangerous apostate.

Part Three: Hands of a Healer

Silver Tongue

As the group returned to the Ruswold they were met by the two templars who had been masquerading as merchants. Despite the party’s success against the apostate it becomes obvious that the two were there to also arrest Isaak and detain Garrick as well, who they believed to be poisoned with lyrium. Despite some shenanigans on the part of Isaak and Russel the templars took the two prisoner but allowed Russel to join them on the way to the circle the following day. As the two templars took the prisoners to a locked room in the Chantry, Russel and Andana planned their release. Rusell went over to Bann Krole to seek advice. Andana stayed behind to watch the two templars and sabotaged their cart. Inside Isaak and Garrick were well treated. The older templar went over and bought two horses under Andana’s careful scrutiny who then sabotaged the horses’ shoes as well. Isaak meanwhile was coaxed into giving some blood for a phylactery but otherwise unharmed. Sister Pliacinth told Isaak that the body of the apostate was to be burned and Ansel’s body was being prepared for sermon.

Russel, exhausted after a night of sorrow, cold and battles met up with Krole and told him all about the apostate, the templars and Isaak’s capture. Krole suggested he find a mage to speak on his behalf, prompting Russel to reveal that Alenka, Arl Neruda’s Seneschal is an apostate. The two hatched a plan to reveal her apostasy the next day and Russel rode back to Logerswold the next morning with some of Krole’s men to bring the Templars to the Bann.

The Templars hadn’t let Andana’s mischief or Isaak’s barbed tongue slow them don and were getting ready to leave when Russel came and told them that the bann had need to see them. Riding to the Bann they traded barbs over the Templar’s status in society but none seemed to get the upper hand. Mara proved to be quite jovial for a templar but Wells was quite the opposite. Arriving at the Krole Manor the templars were taken before Krole who revealed that Alenka was an apostate and convinced the Templars to go to seek her out sooner rather than later and take Isaak and Russel with them. THe Templars agreed begrudgingly and the group left soon after.

The first night on the trail was spent near the place where Russel had fought Trumhall’s Man-at-Arms. The templars answered some questions and were told some of the happenings round the Brecilian, including of the Tevene device. The younger templar concluded that Garrick might not die after all, despite his massive dose of Lyrium.

The next day was uneventful, with Isaak harassing the templars but otherwise everything being calm. They stopped for the evening in the abandoned tower ruin where Russel and Andana has stopped a week or so before. THe evening was peaceful but Both Isaak and Garrick had strange dreams of their childhood. Garrick re-lived a rival Chasind tribe raid from his childhood with a dead man’s head substituted with the Apostates’ and Isaak dreamed of his near-lynching at the hands of his neighbours when his magic first materialised but this time fought back.

The cold was getting to both the men and the horses but they pushed on southwards. They stumbled past a campsite left by a large group of riders but pushed on and spent the night at an old camp prepared by Andana several months back. That night Andana also had a violent dream and, when waking decided it was time to turn the Apostate’s collar to the templars. The templars took it and the group pushed on, with the enormity of the First Day’s events making Russel angry and sad all at once. Garrick did his best to confort the knight but to no avail.

Another uneventful but blisteringly cold night and another day-long march followed. It started to become evident that the group was making good progress despite the weather thanks largely to a recent path through the snow cut by a large group of riders. The evening was once moe uneventful.

The next morning Russel and the Templars decided to make a forced push for Vintiver hoping to arrive by nightfall. Cold and weary from the road they couldn’t make it before midnight but arrived in the village, stabled their horses and checked at the Inn. The Innkeeper was happy to welcome them and opened a cask of ale for the new arrivals but also informed Ser Russel that a group of riders had been looking for him. The innkeeper directed the knight to Tarl Dale. Russel and Andana headed to the ex man-at-arms’ house while the rest of the group and the templars stayed at the inn.

At Tarl Dale’s house the two heroes found out that the riders were indeed looking for Ser Russel and that they had been the men of a northern lord called Trumhall. Just as Russel let the news sink in and realised their importance Andana spotted a large group of riders arriving in the center of town…

Garrick – 300 + 200 rpxp
Isaak – 300 + 260 rpxp
Russel – 300 + 240 rpxp
Andana – 300 + 210 rpxp

Ser Russel – Breastplate over Light Chain
Andana – New Studded Leather Armour

Compound Funds – 15 sp

One of The People IV
The Heroes reunite in the Ruswold and take the Apostate head on in his new lair in the Brecilian.

The Heart of Winter

With the trial-at-arms over Ser Russel and Andana rest up and prepare for the journey back to the Ruswold. Meanwhile Isaak and Garrick take the elves to Bann Krole who berates them for the move and shows Isaak a letter from the Chantry, that says Templars will be coming at first Thaw.
Russel and Andana et off on a difficult journey meanwhile with the big man hungry, cold and exhausted through most of it and Andana doing her best to ease his pain and help out. The journey that usually took at most two days took them an entire week through the snow and cold and all that only thanks to their training and discipline. Meanwhile Garrick and Isaak had work to do, organising the elves in hunting and fishing parties, preparing healing brews for a mysterious disease and keeping the peace between disgruntled Ruswolders and jaded elves. Isaak had further business taking care of a sick merchant who came with his daughter to bring food to trade in the Ruswold. Things nearly fell apart when several villagers, angered by the death of one of their kin from ‘the elven plague’ wanted to lynch an elf but Isaak’s swift intervention and Russel’s shivering return pacified the situation. A great party, prompted by Russel’s return, the next day’s celebration of the first day of 9:30 Dragon Age and the hunting of a great boar heated up the atmosphere that night but despite it and the wine Andana chose to stay at the inn while the rest of the group partied in the compound, some more passionate than others. Despite the alcohol and merriment Russel realised that his man, Ansel was nowhere to be found and Isaak spent the night talking to the recovered merchant, who seemed quite well-spoken.

The next day, Ser Russel rode with Bann Krole to Logerswold for the First Day feast, while Isaak rode a cart with the strange merchant girl and Russel’s belle. Garrick followed with the lorekeeper Orellis in tow. Russel asked around about Ansel and the people around town told him that he had gone to get some of his distant kin from a farm a half an hour down the road. The Bann dispatched Russel to find those people and bring them to the ceremony and the group of heroes joined him, along with Jet the dog. Upon arrival at the farm, the group found it deserted and all the footprints in the fresh snow leading to the brecilian. They followed them through the cold and they made good progress,and found the trail once more on the other side of the river, into the depths of the brecilian. Unfortunately a pack of hungry wolves had also found the trail and the heroes fought the beasts. Jet the dog was injured but gave chase to a small cub and savaged it, then disappeared into the dark to eat it.

The distant sounds of a clash between beasts signalled, however that the dog had been ambushed by the Apostate and the heroes found the site of a battle and tufts of the dog’s fur. They followed a trail of blood and then the footprints of the missing people up towards a precipice with an old abandoned tower, visible in the distance. They stumbled upon a campsite where they were ambushed by a sinister ash wraith that was nearly the end of them then fought the wraith’s remains coalesced into three shades. After further forced marching on slippery surfaces uphill they made it to the waterfall-side tower, an ancient tevene construction.

Inside, a gruesome sight. Ansel had mesmerized the villagers, two adults and four kids, and was using them in some strange ritual, the dog possessed at his feet. A fierce battle ensues with the villagers turned into rage demons. The heroes manage to slay Ansel but hte battle rages on, they destroy braziers that looked part of the ritual but it was no use. Andana was gored twice by the dog, possessed by some foul spirit then Garrick almost murdered her by flinging her off the tower after being possessed himself somehow by some entity. Russel held his own valiantly against the demons and killed one or two but in the end it was revealed that the mastermind, the demonic Apostate was actually Jet the Dog who had mind controlled Trumhall, had tried to do the same to Russel and settled for Garrick. With the rage demons slain the apostate jumped off the roof, with Garrick’s throat’s in his hands but Garrick survived and flung the apostate to his death. Isaak wanted to make sure the mage was dead and dove into the water, dragging the corpse out. The child-murderer was nonetheless alive and Isaak and Andana finished him, bringing peace to the Ruswold and vengeance to the elves.

The group returned through the night, traumatised by everything that had happened. They were weary after this inauspicious start to the year but when they arrived in Logerswold they were not going to get any respite. The two traders, revealed to be Templars in disguise were waiting for them…

1400 Xp + cca 170 RPXP each + 50 Xp for Preda

Compound Funds 15 sp

One of the People III
Russel and Andana stand trial on behalf of the Dalish while Garrick and Isaak guide the elves through the wilderness towards the Ruswold.

Trials and Tribulations

After the encounter with the knights a plan is set in motion. Ser Russel ‘swears in’ the Dalish as his own men and decides to go stand trial along with Andana on the Dalish’ behalf while Garrick will lead the group of elves through the Brecilian back to Ruswold. Isaak would help keep the elves alive through the coming storm.

The elves set out on the gruelling journey while Russel and Andana wait for the forces of the Bann to come. They surrender to Tarl Dale upon his arrival and set back towards Vintiver. After Spending a night there they ride to Astram keep to present themselves to Bann Villem, one of Loghain’s advisors and hero of the resistance. They meet the Bann and decide to be tried by the man. Russel is released on his word but Andana posts a 5 sovereign bond to go free.

The elves have a day of uneventful travel, covering up their tracks as much as possible and camp in a small clearing in their first night. The second day is harder, with the storm slowly rolling in and an old elf breaking his leg and needing a stretcher. A pack of wolves shadows them. In the evening, in a camp made between a few hillocks they prepare stretchers, anticipating the worst. Two elves go missing when heading out.

Russel and Andana travel back to Vintiver and start their investigation in the evening. Andana shadows Ruys Villem and his men as they investigate while Russel warms up at the Inn. Over the course of the evening and the next two days the two find out that the children killed are missing the same finger as the apostate, that they have bite marks around the ankles and that they had been dragged. The sigils drawn in the snow in blood were not elven but some sort of Tevinter runes and a misspelled elven glyph. They also find out tales about a stranger passing through a few years back, and looking quite mad. They talk and convince most of the notables in Vintiver to testify on their behalf and Russel sends a rider to Bann Krole informing him of everything. They also find a little girl witness who describes the killer as ‘big and black and fast and scary. Andana reveals a wolf print in the frozen mud. They are mocked incessantly, Russel in particular, by Ruys’ men but they don’t act on it. Russel also buys a breastplate from Coalan the smith.

Meanwhile the elves led by Isaak and Garrick are having a hard time through the Blizzard, through waist high snow. They cross a ravine and lose a horse in the process, and continue on, resting that night with their back to a cliff. They push on the next day but a child goes missing in the snow and they discover that he has been abducted. While seraching for him along with two elves they are attacked by wolves but slay them and gut them. Alas, they lose the abductor’s trail. Heading onwards they lose another horse to the cold. That night they sleep in warmth, in an abandoned cabin discovered by the elven hunters.

Russel and Andana head back to the keep and are there acquainted with a trader that the Bann is doing business with on behalf of the King and Teyrn Loghain. Ser Russel tries to convince Ser Ruys of the folly of his ways but instead is mocked and slandered some more. They sleep and prepare for the next day’s trial. In the meanwhile the elves have the worst day so far. An avalanche is triggered on top of them by someone and they only escape thanks to Isaak’s magic and Garrick’s reflexes. they lose a halla and a horse but thankfully, no elves. Weak as kittens and close to death and starvation they find succour in a cave, thanks to Garrick who fights a bear single handedly in order to raise their spirits. That night the elves sleep in the relative warmth of a cave and feast on roast bear meat. The next morning the blizzard starts to slow down.

The trial is a passionate affair with the bann struggling to hold the heroes and his son in check. The ‘dog print’ incenses Ruys who brings his dog forth in an effort to disprove the heroes. Starting to get annoyed, the Bann ends the trial finding the elves not-guilty but barring them from his lands and giving his son the chance to seek reparations in money, blood or honour and seek a new trial with a blackhaller if he sees fit. Ruys demands a duel to the death as satisfaction for his honour and as he’s asking for an elf to duel, Andana obliges him, setting the duel, next day at dawn. The dwarven merchant approves of the ‘entertaining’ trial and congratulates Ser Russel and Andana revealing himself as Varric Tethras and inviting the two to visit him if they pass through Kirkwall.

Garrick and Isaak leave the cave and lead the elves towards the Ruswold pushing through some craggy terrain. On the way they discover a majestic halla stag that the elves take as a good omen. They feed it and it joins them. They make it back into deep woods and stumble upon the Bandit camp that they had cleared not two months before. Isaak and Garrick have a strange encounter with a sinister mage who hits Isaak with his staff and drains the life out of Garrick who tries to defend his friend. Isaak calms the situation down and the mages part ways, leaving Isaak to tend to Garrick who is driven to hate mages by the incident. Garrick finds comfort in his hound with whom he is reunited. Isaak on the other hand intuits that the powerful apostate knew of the child killer, who he referred to as ‘the thief’ and that he would be willing to teach him advanced magic techniques, but at a later date.

Andana meets the heavily armoured Ser Ruys at dawn and runs circles around the man, peppering him with arrows. The knight manages a few hits but the elf is just too fast. Calling her dishonourable he attempts to call off the duel but Andana leaps atop the knight and brings him down. She ponders about killing him but in the end she decides that he wasn’t even worth spilling his blood and spares him.

After a terrible final day, with the stronger elves having to carry the rest the convoy, Isaak and Garrick lead the battered convoy through the last stretch and into the Ruswold where they were swiftly intercepted by a group of Krole’s men. Initially reluctant to allow them in, the soldiers agreed to take the elves to Krole.

Garrick and Isaak – 850 Xp + 75 Rpxp
Russel – 700 Xp + 150 Rpxp
Andana – 800 Xp + 125 Rpxp

Russel – Steel Breastplate over rusty chain.
Stat Adjustment for Garrick
Isaak – Lost Possessing spirit.

Compound Funds – 60 Sp

One of the People II
The party discovers underground Elvhen ruins and uncovers an ancient secret best left forgotten. They have a frightening encounter with the mad apostate on the way back to the Dalish camp and, upon arrival run into even more trouble...

The Dark figure of the evil Wizard slinks back into the dark after hurling an insult at the group – Lirresh‘s head. Russel returns down below where a hyper, borderline psychotic Issak was trying to dig a trench to free Garrick. Russel and Andana finally free Garrick after a while but the man is already weak as a kitten and coughing blood. The force-field apparatus collapses upon itself and explodes. The party shambles into the woods where they find and burn Lirresh’s body and spend a day or so for Garrick to recover. The hunter’s eyes are now a dark blue and he seems more gaunt than ever.

After resting for a whole day in the dark forest, with the winter wind howling around them, Garrick was sufficiently recovered to be able to move and Andana had brewed up a batch of poison. THe group set to travelling southwards towards the last ruin indicated to them. Upon arrival they were beset by a pack of tained Blight Wolves but were able to quickly dispatch them. The elven ruins were ancient, built underground and infested with giant spiders, creatures that nearly slew Andana and skeletons, which the heroes dispatched without a problem. The problems started when the group unbarred a door and a monstrous tainted bear called a Bereskarn leaped at them. The battle was hard but the heroes vanquished the monster, Russel slicing it open with his last ounce of strength.

What came next was harder: the heroes discovered an ancient artifact called an Eluvian , an ancient Elvhen mirror used for communication and, some say, travel. The chantry stories spoke of one being used by the magisters of Tevinter to open the Golden City Russel and Isaak had to fight Andana down to stop her from touching the artifact and Isaak brought a small piece of the ceiling down upon the mirror, cracking the surface and sending a pulse that caused great pain to Isaak and, for some strange reason, Garrick.

The group sealed the Eluvian in its chamber and barred an entryway and an entrance to the deep roads hoping to slow the spread of the taint so they had time to notify the Grey Wardens. THey resolved to not tell the elves anything about the mirror.

The group left in foul spirits back for the Dalish camp, with Russel driving them onwards and an exhausted Garrick bringing the rear. Though they marched on through the morning and the day they had to stop by nightfall as Garrick couldn’t go any further and the rest were tired as well. They only got one hour of sleep, though. During his watch Russel noticed something strange in the bushes and then discovered that Isaak’s pack, where the book of blood magic was, had disappeared. The group gave chase with Andana being in the lead. She ran like mad for almost an hour and caught up to the thief, the mad apostate. What followed was a frantic battle where Andana got the upper hand as she stalked the darkness and attacked the mad monster of a man. The apostate used dark magics to drain the life out of Andana and heal himself every time but in the end the elf got the better of him and he ran away. Andana gave chase but started to get winded after another half an hour and she was ambushed once more by the apostate. She gave everything, throwing caution to the wind and striking from the shadows with dagger and bow but while she managed to turn the apostate into a bloody mess, when she saw the beast-man starting to change into a black bristly shape she ran away, with the monster hot on her heels. The frantic chase led her back to the rest of the party where she could finally rest. The elf had managed to come back with a trophy: she had taken the apostate’s right thumb.

The heroes gave chase to the apostate but there was no way that they could catch up to him, going at the pace of the slowest of the group so they were almost a day behind when they got near the Dalish Camp again. The trail of the apostate seemed to lead back out of the woods so they chose to instead tell the Dalish about everything that had happened. They did not mention the Eluvian and the Keeper, Orellis decided that it was best if the tribe left the woods. Russel offered to take them in, which caused Garrick to complain but in the end bowed to the knight’s decision. The elves spent the better part of the next day picking up their camp and preparing to move the aravels. After a day or so the caravan set out with a storm encroaching in. And yet the aravels had barely moved for half a day when four riders approached, let by the local Bann’s son, demanding that the elves come and stand trial for child murder.

Russel tried to reason with the man but was mocked and threatened. And when the knights turned to violence the elves, already in a dour mood fought back and peppered the man with arrows. Isaak saved the Bann’s son’s life and Andana and Russel gathered up the other knights but Tarl Dale was on his way with two dozen men and the group had hours, if that, to decide what to do next. The elves, even if not guilty of the child slaying had now assaulted the Bann’s son and were outlaws who had to stand trial. There was no way to escape with the aravels and fighting their way out did not seem like a solution. And to make things worse there was a storm closing in…

Ornate elven Breastplate

700 Xp + cca 100 RpXp each +100 for Adi
Hunter’s Bane

Stat Adjustments For Garrick
Lost Blood Magic Manual

Compound Funds: 55 Sp

One of the People I
A plea from the Ilashan Dalish Keeper sends the heroes on a quest into the depths of the Brecilian Forest.

Part Two: One Of the People

Dark of the Woods

On the fourth day of the month of Haring, Ser Russel, out on patrol with Bann Krole‘s men happened upon a lone rider. The rider was Andana, coming from the Ilashan Dalish with a message from Keeper Orellis. The keeper had asked the heroes of Vintiver to come back to their camp because something dark was still stirring in the woods. Andana told Russel and the group this over dinner and the fledgling knight, apostate chirurgeon and their Chasind companion agreed to ride out the next day. They went to meet the bann after dinner and he humorously told Russel that his moniker of ’Horrorbane’ is becoming famous in the surrounding villages.

The next morning the group set out towards Vintiver. The journey takes two freezing days but when they arrive in the village they are greeted as the heroes they are and offered food and drink. They spend the night in Vintiver and leave next morning for the Ilashan encampment. The forest is creepier than before and the heroes tread carefully. They arrive in the encampment around dusk and they are met by a dismal sight Avashin the young hunter boy, was found slain. At first the elves think it was suicide but the heroes uncover tracks pointing that the boy was killed by some sort of shape-shifter. They track the murderer through the night but they lose the trail. Lirresh who has been blaming Andana for the boy’s suicide and his weird behaviour (ever since he was nearly killed by a spider after being drafted into battle by her) is ambushed by the elven girl during the night and she threatens/pleas with him. He leaves in the morning to track the murderer on his own. The heroes leave as well after being told by another hunter where the bulk of the bloodcrows who had tormented them the last time nest.

The group makes its way to the ravine with the bloodcrows and the heroes drop stones and fire on the nest, smashing it. The resulting murder of tainted crows attacks the group of heroes chasing them through the brush. The heroes separate and escape while the murder disperses. However, Russel has a strange encounter with an eerie woodcutter of legend and gains an axe that magically returns to him after each throw.

The heroes go back towards the old Glory Age ruins and delve into another part of the ruins, an old basement chapel. Here they fight skeletons once more and are almost defeated then, after a bit of rest, face off against a shade. They defeat the shade and, in the sanctum of an ancient underground chapel they discover the body of a long dead Gray Warden and recover a magic ring and pendant bearing the symbols of the Grey Wardens. Andana confronts Russel about his changing character after the battle.

The group spends the night in the ancient chantry but Garrick (who slept outside) is awoken by a werewolf who tells him that ‘he smells like the child-killer’ who ‘stalks the night on four legs’. The beast then says he can ‘smell him on the wind’ then runs after something or somebody creeping atop a cliff.

Garrick and the party give chase but they find a dismal battle site in a small clearing. The werewolf had faced against something evil in the clearing and was destroyed by dark magic which causes Isaak to start worrying about their encouter with such a powerful mage. Ser Russel finds tufts of short bristly fur in the dead werewolf’s mouth. There are also wolf tracks leading away from the clearing. The party follows them until dawn and it takes them to a small cave. After fighting a swarm of cave beetles set as trap by the cave dweller the group uncovers the home of the so-called ‘child-killer’ which has strange drawings , symbols and phrases written in charcoal on the walls. Garrick, who was badly injured by the beetles resents Andana and starts a heated argument while Russel struggles to get his man under control. Meanwhile Isaak climbs the hill behind the cave entrance and at the top finds a split tree and a vortex of primal power. he taps that vortex and infuses himself with that magic, carving a peace symbol into the tree. To his horror he finds a strange fang or tooth symbol drawn in blood over and over on the tree bark. Everybody seems to remember the symbol from somewhere but neither can pinpoint where from. Russel remembers another tale of a last stand atop a hill with a split tree and after telling it to Garrick to raise his moreale the group set off for the elven ruin nearby.

They reach it in the afternoon and they have to fight a wild sylvan guarding the entrance to it. The group prevails and enters the ruins which are not the source of the corruption though thhey do uncover something quite strange. A strange Tevinter-made device powered by lyrium projects a force field in a large room. at the center stands a dead body with a small chest. Hours pass until the heroes manage to discover how to trick the strange device and pass through the force field. They recover from the chest a strange book of magic and a diary, both in Tevene as well as an enchanted short sword and a wealth of silver. However as Garrick and Isaak are finished studying the device around nightfall, Isaak exits abruptly and Garrick gets trapped in the field alone with the harmful Lyrium radiation while above, Andana and Russel get a glimpse of a strange frightening man dressed in a black fur cloak who just smiles when he sees the knight and drifts back into the shadows…

1400 xp + cca 175 Rpxp each

160 Sp
75 Sp Carving of Andraste
50 Sp Warden Pendant
Ring of Shielding
Returning Throwing Axe
Enchanted Gladius
Blood Magic Manual (in Tevene)
Diary (in Tevene)

The Loyal Guard Finale
The month of Firstfall passes as our heroes get some well-deserved rest.

A few days after Trumhall’s duel and execution the month of Harvestmere ended and on the occasion of the Satinalia Annum Russel was officially knighted by the newly reinstated Bann Krole. He received a shining new suit of reinforced chainmail and a chestnut riding horse. By then the vast majority of Trumhall’s men had returned up north mumbling words of disbelief at their otherwise honourable lord’s treachery. One notable exception was Garrick who the other men disliked and wasn’t from the north in the first place.

Krole took all his old men-at-arms back (including Pepyn) and took on Ridyk’s young boy as a page and Ridyk’s wife as a maid, allowing them to earn a living. While times are hard in the Ruswold, the Bann managed to finally pay his men after recovering the crops from Trumhall’s encampment.

Trumhall’s camp was abandoned after his men left, taking much of the valuables with them. Bann Krole and the Ruswolders gave the meagre encampment to Ser Russel, as much as payment for his services as for fear of it being taken over by bandits if it were left unoccupied.

Andana gathered all the equipment that belonged to the bandits and the reclaimed horses and took them to the South Reach where she sold them for cheap to a ‘friend of a friend’ who was willing to take blood stained armours, longbows and swords, no questions asked. She also sold her three draft horses, or rather traded them for a fairly good riding horse.

Andana did not return to the Ruswold, or rather she did only long enough to give the rest of the heroes their share of the money. Instead she took her horse and went back to Vintiver and into the Brecilian Forest where she joined the Ilashan Dalish. She spent her days hunting and learning the ways of the wild and her evenings learning about the history and language of her people. She slowly started to realise that the current state of events is not sustainable for the Dalish and that they need to find a new homeland or take back their old one.

Isaak set up shop in Trumhall’s old camp and started collecting plants for his herbs and poultices. He brewed elfroot tea to help Logerswold children who had the Coughs and a deathroot-melonberry tea to help indiscrete young ladies evade pregnancy. Quite a few people bought his medicines when he peddled them in Logerswold at the end of each week and he even set the bone in an injured logger’s broken leg. After Russel set up the hunter’s lodge in the same building Isaak found it harder and harder to work amongst the noise and the smell of animal blood.

Garrick spent a few days in the Logerswold Chantry, weathering out a severe infection that should have cost him his life. After some ardent prayers from Sister Pliacinth and a short visit from Isaak he made a miraculous recovery. By the time he was on his feet though, Trumhall’s men had left without him and the people of Logerswold regarded him with a mixture of suspicion and fear. He considered leaving southwards to rejoin his people but in the end decided to stay in the Ruswold. The Bann had no need of any more men but perhaps the newly knighted Ser Russel might have need of travelling companions. He too moved into Trumhall’s old compound and spent his days hunting in the woods while tending the camp in the evenings. On many of his forays the black Mabari mastiff that had been Trumhall’s constant companion joined him, helping him bring down his prey with utmost silence and secrecy.

Ser Russel found life as a knight a lot less than all it was hyped up to be. He still had to patrol the roads for the Bann just like when he was a man at arms, only now he had to do it as a leader, and had to question strangers and take the complaints of freeholders. He sold his family’s homestead for cheap to a freeholder whose own lands were in disrepair and invested all of that money, as well as the rest of the money he made into his new encampment. The local villagers were eager to help him build up his new compound. An old carpenter that recognised his fine hammer amongst the possessions recovered by the adventurers offered to plan and supervise the build so they would get it done by snowfall in exchange for it and the Logerswold craftsmen worked through Firstfall and raised a two storey building for the new knight by Haring. Ser Russel worked side by side with them, raising a small but sturdy compound wall on the ridge.

In his spare time, Ser Russel spent his time courting Liwis the tavernkeeper’s daughter, Dealia who seemed fascinated by his stories of Denerim and made Russel promise to take her there come spring.

Russel also negotiated Ansel‘s release from his contract with Trewin the Logger following a promise that the former factor will not be re-starting his logging business. Instead, he and Russel started a hunting lodge, where hunters from around the Ruswold could bring their extra meat for curing and smoking or sale. The duo would take 15% of the profits and split it 75-25. The lodge was set up in the smaller building in Russel’s compound.

Finally, as the month started to draw to an end and the cold of winter started to creep in, Russel sent letters to his family in Amaranthine and Redcliffe bidding them to come work for him if interested as he needed people that he could trust to run this new compound. He moved into the second floor of the larger building in the compound and slept exhausted in front of the fireplace each evening with the large black Mabari at his feet.

Month of Firstfall:

50 Sp Each, Heavy Mail – Russel, 40 Sp – Isaak, 20 Sp – Garrick, Riding Horse – Andana


Soldier’s Lodge → 50 Sp → Hunter’s Lodge (10 Sp/week income to Russel, 5 Sp/week income to Seneschal, 5 Sp/Week income to Garrick)

Herbalist’s Shop (10 Sp/Week Income to Isaak while Isaak works there)

250 Sp → Ser Russel’s Hall (2 story Building, 5 Sp/week Upkeep)

50 Sp → Furnishings for the Hall – Large table + 5 chairs, 2 beds

100 Sp → Small Palisade

Compound Funds Remaining: 40 Sp +5 Sp = 45 Sp
The Loyal Guard IV
The heroes fight through the bandit-filled woods, defeat the Gore-Hand and uncover the truth behind the bandit raids. They proceed to oust a bann and proclaim a new one.

The heroes finish defeating the bandits then take the captives to the new Bann. They execute one and persuade Trumhall to spare the other provided he guide them to the bandit encampment. They then spend the night at the Krole Manor.

In the morning the heroes leave for the Brecilian Forest, passing through Logerswold on the way. Russel greets all the notables including Liwis the Tavernkeeper and his girl, Trewin the Logger, Ansel, his factor and Sister Pliacinth, the local Chantry priestess. They recruit one of Krole’s old men, Ridyk to come with them and slay the bandits.

The road through the forest is, at first unremarkable but the heroes step into a bandit ambush that nearly kills them. Ridyk is slain. Russel and Andana are almost killed as well but in the end Isaak’s healing magic saves the day.After the battle the grievously injured Garrick is sent back to Logerswold with Ridyk’s body and the rest of the more experienced heroes go on. They gather and hang the bodies of the ten outlaws ambushing them and cut down the bodies of the dead loggers in the logger camp.

Andana stumbled upon an animal path where it seemed the loggers’ horses had passed and manages to guide the group towards the bandit hideout. Andana takes out the two sentries and manages to take out one more sleeping bandit before Isaak and Russel charge with lit petrol bombs and assault the bandits. the following battle is short and swift: two bandits die, two escape and three more are captured alive along with their leader. When the heroes come back to the bandit camp from picking out stragglers they find that the Gore-Hand’s throat has been torn apart.

The heroes recover a wealth of bandit silver along with several items belonging to the villagers and the Gore-Hand’s diary. The bandit reveals in his diary that he is a patsy of sorts, employed by Trumhall to wreak havoc upon the vale and get him elected.

The heroes return to the vale with their spoils and alert the villagers about Trumhall’s evil alliance. The villagers of import gather and all declare against the Bann and in favour of Krole. Trumhall, infuriated by the accusation challenges Russel to trial by battle, a duel to the death.

Although the battle is close and Trumhall uses dirty tricks like poison and healing potions Russle wins and knocks the ex-Bann unconscious. Sister Pliacinth decides the duel in Russel’s favour and Bann Krole asks ‘Ser’ Russel to do the Bann’s justice. Russel has second thoughts when he sees Trumhall confused for a second but he delivers the executioner’s blow with a lumber axe and puts an end to Trumhall’s reign of terror.

1200 XP (600 Preda) + individual RPXP

The Loyal Guard III
The trio of heroes fight and defeat the abomination called Mythallen and move on to Ruswold valley where different trouble is brewing...

At the crack of dawn the trio sets off to find the keep where the Abomination had taken its captives. They cross a treacherous log hanging over a ravine while beset by bloodcrows then make their way into a forgotten rift where they find the ruins of a keep. In the basement of the keep they fight the risen dead and free a group of elven captives, the tattered remnants of the caravan. Mythallen,they find out, is actually Harralan the hunter who was possessed by a rage demon after inadvertently freeing it from its prison. They also learn that the abomination is on its way towards Vintiver with its band of Revengers, intent on murdering everybody there. The heroes and some ragged elven hunters give chase but are ambushed by a demon-warped spider. During this battle Russel realises that the silver link that had once held the demon at bay makes him stronger against Rage abominations.

When the group of heroes and their elven allies make it back to Vintiver they find the village in the middle of a terrible battle. Mythallen and its minions are quickly overrunning the villagefolk. Coalan the blacksmith had just been struck down by the hulking abomination and Tarl was busy keeping several revengers at bay. Andana and Russel take decisive action, one going to aid Tarl, the other to engage the Rage Abomination. The battle is fierce and the heroes are bloody and injured before too long. Russel is almost struck down by Mythallen with Isaak’s healing magic saving him from the jaws of death. In the end a swift but deadly arrow from Andana and a massive blow of Russel’s shining sword bring the beast down, vanquishing the rage demon back to the fade and releasing Harralan’s body from its torment. The day is saved and a night of revelry follows.

The next morning Andana, mourning a dead father that she never knew, meets the Dalish lorekeeper and asks him what she should do next. He suggests that she should go on a ‘journey of discovery’ but reminds her that she will always have a place with the Dalish, as will the other two heroes who are named vhenallin or ‘friends of the People’. Meanwhile Russel gets an apology from the blacksmith and Isaak wakes up with a monster headache. The heroes linger for three more days then leave for Ruswold with Russel being hailed as ‘the Horrorbane’.

A Bann Too Many

After three days of travelling the three heroes make it to the Ruswold. They arrive at night and are waylaid by three man recently laid off by Valdur Krole and quite inebriated. Russel finds out that in the nearly two months that he has been gone the bann had been ousted by his freeholders and a new bann, Trumhall has been set in his place. This was on account of Krole’s rising inability to control the growing bandit troubles that have beset the valley once more. Krole is penniless after sending Russel with a hefty sum to his brother-in-law so he had to lay off most of his guards, even the loyal ones. Orgen, one of the spearmen blames Russel for his misfortunes and challenges him to a duel that Russel wins, humiliating the man. The trio sets off further after leaving the men-at-arms to their business and soon they are met by several of the new bann’s men who insist they follow them to their master. Trumhall’s compound is still makeshift but the man treats the heroes fairly and asks them to hunt down the bandits for him. He also seems to possess a large dark as night mabari hound. Russel also finds out that the local logger baron, innkeeper and Chantry priestess were instrumental in ousting Krole and replacing him with Trumhall.

When the trio leaves the Trumhall Compound in the morning they are approached by one of Trumhall’s men, a Chasind who offers to help them hunt down bandits in the Brecillian forest. They first make their way to Krole’s mansion though. The place is dismal and understaffed and when Russel sees the former bann he notices that he isn’t in much better shape either. The bann is upset about his misfortune but does not plan on doing anything to help the people of the valley. With Isaak staying behind to tend Krole’s leg the rest of the heroes return to the yard. Ahead a commotion has riled up the few guards and servants. Bandits are attacking the supply carts coming to the manor. The heroes ride out to rescue the cart-drivers but Russel’s keen eyes manage to spot the ambush set for them. Eight outlaws await in the bushes but the heroes manage to put them on the run, capturing two and wounding many of the other. They then drag the two bandits back to the Krole manor for interrogation as a large mabari hound watches them from a cliff nearby…

1400 XP (200 Preda, 1200 Ciprian) + RPXP by player