The Sigils of Meshtun

The Marked Ones (Kaj's view)

Mumbles to himself on the hard dungeon floor. Finally a breather. She kept asking us about a party name. I looked around these assorted characters and noticed the strange marks, kin to the blue marks on my sword hand, and then someone mumbled “the marked ones.”

So there we have it. The marked ones.

I purchased some shurikens at the town. The daggers had a way of flying to the ceiling last time I went into battle. These aerodynamic blades were promised to fly true by the shopkeeper.

Went to the shrine of Bahamut and asked as much as I could about the lost member of the flock. Was able to jowel the head priest out of some potion and promises of further rewards if we got the job done.

The trip out of town and into the ruins was highlighted by an attack of the lizard men. The shurikens did fly true. Afterwards, someone mentioned that the elf girl was watching again in the woods. Someone has to nick that skirt before we all end up in the Hoary Man’s pot.

The entrance to the dungeon was guarded by a couple of the goblins and pair of hobbies. The fire belcher was no problem, but the two hobbies put up one hell of a fight. Would hate to meet a full gang of them. One of the gobs tried to make a run of it, but my shuriken again found its mark.

I finally got bloodied in this mess. Wondering how long my luck will hold out. I wish that gnome, dwarf and ugly priest would pull their weight. We sure will need them going down the corridor…The gobbies know we’re a visiting and we won’t have the jump on em this time.

I guess it won’t hurt to say a prayer to Bahamut before we take the long path down.

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The Amateen Keep (Episode Two)
Shurikens are better than knifes.

“The Marked Ones,” it seemed would be the choice. Perhaps it was the alcohol.

Mair’it, the next morning, called upon The Marked Ones to see the damage still smoldering, and to speak of a mission. Townspeople are kidnapped, it seems, and the town guard is currently in defensive repair mode. The group of flung-together heroes are the only ones available to take care of this problem, and they seem eager in fact, to accomplish the task. Towards this end, Mair’it reveals that they have a goblin captive, an ornery sort not yet broken, if the group wants a crack at interrogation. It seems they did. Together the group made their way down to the barrack’s prison, a mess of a goblin still hanging on to life down below. Guarded well, more to see to it that he does not die than prevent his far more unlikely escape.

Kaj, though scary in his own right, has no real effect on the goblin murderer with words and gestures designed to bring about fear and cowardice. Banyan, perhaps in this regard far more compassionate than the Invoker of Bahamut would have been, heals the prisoner of his wounds. Though this lightens the move, it is not until Navarro’s golden tongue is turned to the task that the Marked group begins to see an opportunity. A quick meal for the goblin later, Flint and Navarro tag-teaming him emotionally with words of truth and of lies, and finally the monstrous humanoid began to speak. Here were his words:

“Our goblin leader, Shinruth of the Red Hand, is holed up in a ruined keep 35 miles or so to the east. It is called Amateen Keep. He is forming a new goblin army to reclaim the glory of the ancient Red Hand (a fearsome goblin army of 100 years ago that terrorized the surrounding area). We have come to an agreement with the undead that inhabit the keep, they leave us alone and we provide them with ‘food’ (prisoners from town).”

Along with a crudely drawn map, they knew they had got all they could from the prisoner. Yor’ik, took this time to pick his own thoughts on the nature of the Red Hand, and some memories of his studies took hold. In historic times, he recalled, the Red Hand were indeed a fearsome battle horde of the goblin kind. But something seemed inconsistent with the new group who had taken the same name. Either by mistake, or some dark purpose, they had painted the hand of their symbols, upside down.

Now more comfortable in the town with this gruesome business behind them, it was time for The Marked Ones to take the opportunity to see to personal matters. Speaking to those on the street, they find the subjects of their queries.

Dweniden and Kaj went to speak to Narda, Justicar of Bahamut’s church in town. Apparently, one of the kidnapped was a junior cleric of her rank, by the name of Jalissa.

The Invoker swore that Bahamut’s charge would be returned by any means in His name, if only to himself and his god. In exchange for their kind words and vows, Narda gave them a curative potion, said to reverse the ravages of war on one’s flesh… if only slightly. But of course, it is never that simple… perhaps her mother taught her the proper application of guilt in attempt to get what you want. After all, after being given a gift by a holy woman, who can say no to a simple request. Even if that request is to rid a holy place of prayer and healing of the Kobold foe that infests the land with their apocryphal filth. In return, she offered a letter of introduction to the Temples of Bahamut in Enyen and Pard’lu. Dweniden knew the worth in this, and thought it to himself at least how such letters could help to advance his position in the church. Finally, before the two left her, the Justicar noticed Kaj’s marking and had this to say: “Those sigils remind me of ancient legends from thousands of years ago – but you should talk to the Teachers of History at the seminaries of Enyen or Pard’lu.”

Father Pelor, aptly named and placed as Pelor would be among the poor was visited by the Natural Brute and the Nervous One… that would be Banyan and Indore, of course. On the way, stopping to confer with the Circus folks briefly to exchange word of their bosses death. This proved unnecessary, as the word had already spread, and some had already fled.

The Giant and his friend moved on to the temple and found Father Pelor there. He quickly took note of Banyan’s marking upon his forehead and claimed some knowledge of ancient stories of those who were ‘chosen’, remarking that Justicar Narda would be the one to speak to about this in more detail. Of course, after their chat on the nature of the marking’s, a Priest is not just going to let a group of able bodied adventures move on without seeking their assistance. This came in the form of helping a poor farmer, a member of the Temple, whose water supply has somehow become tainted. In exchange for their assistance, a scroll that contained the power to banish disease was offered.

Of note, was Flint’s finding that the only real Magician in town was working on some kind of Dragon Burial site just outside of town. His curiousity piqued, Flint could not help but make that visit to his man, called Xelkor.

Flint arrived at the peculiar building, a single story thing with a tall tower in the middle… typical actually, once you consider the inhabitant. No one seems interested in talking until Flint came around the back, and the cook apparently has no problem with disturbing the old magician, as she lets him right in. Xelkor, who seems to have left all his better days far behind him, seemed willing to talk for a time. After admitting his interest in the burial site, he remarks that he had hired an archaeologist for the task of excavating it. This man however, has been missing for more than a week now… the valet sent after him also now missing a couple of days. This can’t be good. Well, but of course the old man offered something in return to discover his employee’s fates. That thing being a letter of introduction to the Imperial School of Magic in Pard’lu. No small thing to someone so inclined to the Arcane Arts. Upon a hunch, Flint reveals his sigil to Xelkor. This invokes excitement from the Magician, who rambles a bit about legends and Gods. Of note however, was his story of Neseananna, a nymph who live here long ago and whom the town of Nesena was named for. She too, bore such a marking.

Next, the names Ninaran and Thorn came to light. The latter being a Halfling (whom the group realized was watching them the previous day) who leads a dangerous gang, considered to be a psychopath, he is not to be toyed with. Ninaran, the Elven woman watching them as well, is a huntress living near, but separate from town. Preferring a seeming neutrality, she spends most of her time alone and further information on her was difficult to come by.

Navarro believed he could perhaps find common ground with the man called Thorn. It took some doing to track down his hangout near the slums around Pelor’s temple, but the reception was unpleasant. Recognizing the bard from the battle on the previous day, Thorn seemed uninterested in speaking, setting his band upon the half-elf. Navarro is a slippery bard (some might call him spoony), and was able to evade their attack.

Finally, it was time to depart.

Towards the eastern Wild Lands The Marked Ones traveled, following the main road that was like a journey through the skeleton of an old creature made from bones of hollow abandoned farms. Things go from barren to desolate soon enough, but it was in a valley that things got interesting…

Ambush! Kobolds, not unlike the group mentioned tainting the sacred Waterfall, attack them in the valley. Three soldiers armored and coming to attack directly, one squirrelly bastard with javelins and even a magic user of some sort hurtling small orbs of flame at the group from afar.

The soldiers are no match for the Warforged’s resolve, and though they cause him damage, they can not pierce his defenses while the rest of the Marked Ones in turn rain down pain from behind the wall they call Banyan.

Yor’ik notes that the Magic User, seeing less effect from his side’s fight, calls out to Ninaran, seeking help. The Elf Woman of that name is noticed them, watching the battle from safe distance and cover, again seemingly neutral in this contest. When the group is starting to really turn the tides of this battle, the woman seemingly fades back into the wood and is gone. Though the Warriors sent by Nesena are victorious, the Magic User did evade them as well. Some coins of value scavenged, icons of the dark god Bane uncovered… the group leaves the escaped Kobold and Elf for another day.

On down the road they travel further, until night winds convince them that setting camp is the wise course of action. Guards are posted, but their watches are thankfully uneventful. The next morning concludes the journey to Amateen Keep, a tumbled, ivy-covered ruin. If not for the fresh tracks, one would easily conclude it was abandoned. Following these trails leads to a hole, through which one would find themselves underground in an old part of the Keep. After a thorough sweep by Flint, the Marked Ones’ made their way down.

Below, the ground finds themselves at a room serving as a junction, shaped in the classic ‘T’. The welcoming committee is a readied group of guards. Among them, a pair of hobgoblins, and two less physically threatening goblins with cowards crossbows as their tools of battle. The room, illuminated by two torches on their stands, serves as the grounds for this fight. As the Marked One’s make their way inside this room, one of the cowardly goblins opens a door beside him and activates some kind of trap attached to those torches.

The two hobgoblins together are troublesome to the Heroes, landing much of their blows and dodging the incoming attacks gracefully. Meanwhile, those goblins plink away at the group with bolts. Banyan squares off with the Hobgoblins, this considerable visage difficult to ignore. The Bard and the Rogue, a team seemingly made to work together, take on the crossbow wielding bastards while Flint supports the group as best he can with distracting attacks and cures that serve to frustrate the efforts of their foes.

Only now doe the purpose of torches’ movement become apparent, as seemingly randomly they flare and a powerful arc of flame tunnels through the air between them. As they move on tracks, however, predicting their pattern proves basic to the party and they are able to keep ahead of this particular danger… though the distraction from the battle at hand is rather unwelcome.

The monsters they face, well aware of their “home’s” defenses, keep clear of the flames as well. The goblins, one of which making his cowardly ways apparent with an attempt to escape, are soon dispatched. The fleeing one taken before he could make good this escape with a shuriken to the back. Those things were well worth the purchase, apparently.

Now, unified with no other distractions, the group focuses on the hobgoblins. Difficult is the task of dividing and concurring them, and so they stop trying. Realizing that their armor really is the thing that keeps them so well protected, the Marked Ones rely now on their abilities that don’t care if one is wearing armor or not. This tactic, effective, quickly ends this conflict. Nothing of value is found except perhaps the glory of victory.

Searching this first room of the underground keep, the group discovers it seems to be in fact, the way down into a old crypt, with the two passages leading either to the family Orodoom or the family Dethnell… sound like nice people. In fact, some in the group recall these names as nobles of old, allies to Amateen, who themselves completely disappeared from the local histories. There are three doors from this place, and each is checked.

One heads down a long tunnel, void of light until the stairs heading down at it’s very end. It seems as is someone or something moves down below.

The next doorway reveals a short passage, bending towards the north. It too is dark and reveals the sounds of movement.

The third door however, another passage that turns north, seems to give away the group with its opening. Inside goblin voices call in their foul tongue… the enemy knows that the group has arrived, and are preparing themselves for battle. While the goblins gather themselves, The Marked Ones too gather their wits and heal their scratches.

The battle will be again joined. The goblins are just ahead, awaiting the blades and magics of the Marked Ones. Who knows just what foe lies in the depths of this place, however. The group is about to find out…

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The Sigils Come Together (Episode 1)
"We must save the alcohol!" - Navarro

It began like many tales in those lands that are besieged by monsters both great and fearsome, or lowly and skulking in the shadows… in a tavern. Today, that tavern was a part of the Inn of the The Golden Snake, a sizable establishment for the small town of Nesena.

Disparate folks who had just cast off the bonds of a comfortable life in exchange for what could be had from a life of adventure, what would soon become a band of brothers was as of yet, strangers. Yet each was called to Nesena, and not just the town, but the Golden Snake, and all at the same time. Some would call it coincidence, others fate, still more perhaps, the will of the gods themselves. Time would tell, but that is getting ahead of ourselves in this tale…

Today was the first day of summer, and a great celebration was taking place. Nesena’s Tears were flowing like water in the goblets of townspeople, glad for a moment to be happy and content, at least for a little while. The first to arrive of our band of warriors were three, as different as water is to fire and earth to air.

Navarro, a half-elf bard who seemed to take little seriously except fine drink and finer music. Yor’ik, the scarred human warrior of wisdom, whose blades call forth powers most men would not consider possible. Dweniden, an Elven Invoker of Bahamut, loud in his praise of his God and steadfast in his determination to serve.

They chose their seats, ordered their drinks, and caught the eyes of singers and mysterious elves alike. More soon arrived…

Kaj, the Human Rogue with a taste for the spoils of adventure, eager to reap rewards and the attention he so directly demands. Flint “Doc” Goldsplitter, the Dwarven Warlord… once a guide to tourists, he realized his comfortable life had no future and now bends his considerable knowledge to the arts of war, ever smiling in the face of adversity. Indore the skittish, Gnome Wild Sorcerer extraordinare, a compellingly frightful creature with the powers of chaotic magic running literally through his veins. Last but entirely not least, this Gnome’s companion…

In through the door, ducking his considerable frame to make the passage inside, comes the being that is called Banyan. This is appropriate, for like the tree, he is gigantic, strong, and just to see him demands attention. He is like no other creature in the known world. He is a living golem, seemingly born of nature itself. He is a Warforged, called to the duty of the Warden. Those who stand in… his?... way, soon discover he is as impassable as the trunk of the tree he is named for.

All these are within the Golden Snake, and though some notice each other for some strange commonality, it is not yet that they were to discover that they had a common bond. Not until…

“FIRE!” Was the call, as the creatures raided the inn and threw their torches to set the bar ablaze. The first monsters in, murdered unsuspecting patrons as if they were nothing worth considering in the first place. The warriors within, could not abide this, and though still separate, they sprang into action. With each other as the only ones who chose to fight back, they had to rely on each other to win the day… it almost seemed like instinct to them.

Those first inside, even after the Invoker who called upon Bahamut made a few ineffective but dazzling displays of lightning, were easily dispatched. However, more were to come. They were seen to be Goblins, and they had Hobgoblin friends. As the battle was joined, each of the warriors who fought together felt different somehow… that which brought them together was calling upon them now.

The fireworks of the celebration outside grew louder and closer… one among them called out, “Those aren’t fireworks!” Then the unspeakable happened, one of the torches smashed a potent mix of liquors on the shelves behind the bar and set that volatile concoction ablaze! Navarro the Bard would not have any of this and cried in desperation, “We must save the alcohol!”

After those warriors were finished with these vicious murders, and Dweniden had bribed the frightened commonfolk that had not yet fled to help put out the fires, the battle continued outside. Those were indeed, not fireworks. Outside was a cart being dragged by a horrible beast. First to engage it was the Elven follower of Bahamut, and calling on the rage of his deity, brought lightening to bare upon the infidels, bursting one of their barrels of explosive compound and causing them to abandon their charge, leaving the massive beast of a creature tethered to that flaming cart of death, calling out to be cut free, so he could bite and fight and club the enemy. One among the group knew him to be an Ogre… but with Goblin-kind? This made no sense… they all shared something that too was noticed however, the symbol of a Red Hand, an ancient symbol belonging to a band of monsters once set on domination long ago.

The bound Ogre threw a weapon at one of our story’s heroes… and missed with a self-depreciating shout along the lines of: “Me suck!” But soon untied himself from his burden and joined the fray fully. On the other side of the building where much of the combat was taking place, alone our friend the Dwarf was fighting a band of two alone and without aid. Though brave, he did fall to his wounds… only to be revived by the brave aid of Navarro’s Majestic Word! Then together, along with the momentarily brave Indore (though he might consider it a moment of uncharacteristic insanity, as he took an arrow for his trouble), these three fought the foe who would use uneven numbers to their advantage, and instead conquered them with superior power. One particularly tenacious minion among them… but even he could not stand up to the group’s might.

Meanwhile, during all this, inside the swift Kaj ducked from window to window attempting to get an advantageous firing solution upon the most perceptive and watchful Ogre probably known to the world at large. Though the Rogue still did plenty of damage to the large beast as he admired the artwork he had so… carefully crafted in the tavern ceiling. He was sure that one day a constellation in the sky would be born in its design.

The unshakable Banyen stood toe to toe with the Ogre, unphased by facing such an obviously deadly foe. Aided by Dweniden’s prayers, the bolts of Kaj, and Yor’ik’s blade magics, the Ogre was finally felled… the rest of the Goblinoids with him. Though the town was still aflame, the foe that had breached the Northern Gate was dead or repelled.

Approached by the Captain of the Guard, Mairit Ken’til, an Elven woman of great beauty, the group that had just fought together found themselves addressed as one. As they acknowledged that battle, heroic deed, and perhaps fate, had brought them together, they admitted this to the ethereal Elf, and as one felt a growing burden be eased… replaced with a new sense of purpose. She questioned them on their strengths, of body and of will, and satisfied with their answers, welcomed the warriors who aided in the struggle on this holiday, to feast and rest with the soldiers of Nesena on this evening. The following day, there was to be an interrogation of a captured murder of the attacking horde.

The feast was joined heartily, and as they set into their meals and wines, they began the fervent discussion on what to call themselves…

...but what of these sigils that they seem to bare… what of this attack by the so-called Red Hand… what of the mysterious Halfling and Elf woman that were watching their battle with great interest… what of this fate that has brought them together in the Golden Snake in small Nesena Town… what of the circus workers currently without a boss now all stranded here… what of all of this?

Perhaps they will live to find out.

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Getting started
All adventures must begin somewhere

DM

The starting point

The adventure starts in the Sea Realm of Enyen, in Nesena Town, not far from the Wild Lands to the east.

The Year is 1, and it’s the First Day of Summer – the longest day of the year and a holiday – traditionally an auspicious and happy occasion! A circus pulled into town this morning and has been entertaining the crowds all day.

The sun is low in the sky, and many travelers find themselves at the Inn of the Golden Snake, Map, tired and thirsty:

a dwarven male named Flint “Doc” Gemsplitter (Andrew-Kriticos)

a human male named Kaj of the Sea Realms of Enyen (James-jakim)

a warforged construct named Banyan (Ray-tholias)

a gnome male named Indore (Tom-tomtomettom)

a half-elven male named Navarro (Jesse-jesse)

an elven male named Dweniden (Eric-elraver)

a human male named Yor’ik Ki’roy (Howard-frothbeard)

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Game Session 1
Year 1, Summer 1-?

DM

The Bearer of the Sigil of Heroics will keep this blog up to date. Other Bearers may send material as well, especially references to their particular histories. Please forward all your entries for this blog to the DM.

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