Mists of Cariele

Game 2: Road to Cairlinien

The party departed the ruined outlook tower and headed along the edge of the mists, keeping to the space between the woods and the mountains.  After a few days of travel, foraging for food and shelter, the party noticed they had a visitor.

A dwarven druid approached the camp late in the evening as the party was roasting some boar and deer.  After a tense exchange, the dwarf introduced himself as Orvo, a druid whose grove was near the outlook tower.

In exchange for the fire and some food, Olvin convinced Orvo to tell them a bit about himself: originally from Baruk-Ahzik, he bucked his people's traditions and abandond Baruk-Ahzik to wander Anuire for a while, eventually joining a nearby grove.  He informed them that the druids were killed by undead, and he ventured forth to find out what killed them and stop it.

The next morning, Pavon woke up the group to prepare for travel.  As they departed, they noticed smoke coming from over the hills.  Scarlet remarked that the towns throughout the hills were generally small hamlets, some law abiding and some rogue secret holdouts, and that they tended to be either farms or supply depots. After a quick discussion, the group made their way to the theorized hamlet to either meet up with survivors or get supplies.

Along the way, they passed multiple graveyards and abandoned hamlets.  Some hamlets bore the signs of struggle and death – with no corpses remaining – and some were merely deserted.  Orvo mentioned the signs of struggle as the undead swarming the land and bolstering their ranks, while Adom mentioned that the conscription efforts from a few years back may have also caused wholesale abandonment of some small hamlets.  Scarlet focused on determining if magic was to blame, and let the party know that strong abjuration magic was present in the mists, and the ground fairly radiated necromantic energy…which could have caused some spoilage of foods so they should be careful.

They approached the hamlet billowing smoke around 7 pm.  When they arrived, they found a small hamlet overrun by skeletons – they destroyed some of the barricades and were sieging the remaining building that still had some living denizens.  They noticed a destroyed forge, abandoned shop, and a burning building before engaging the skeletons.

Orvo flanked to the side to douse the burning building, dealing with 2 skeletons on his own and indirectly causing a burning skeleton to leave the building and head to the party members.  The rest of the party assaulted the front gates.

With their bladed weapons less effective against skeletons than zombies, the party had some troubles eliminating the skeletons, with Adom and Olvin taking serious wounds and Strogar pinned down by undead.  Eventually securing the tavern/inn – and expending some resources in the process – the party searched the town and talked to the survivors.

Meeting with the survivors, they found a rural town barmaid, a historian from Cairlinien, a herbalist and woodsman/craftsman from another land, and a blacksmith holed up in the inn.  Looting the ruined town, they found 50 gold pieces, 5 heavy crossbows, 10 suits of chainmail, 10 light steel shields, and 10 morningstars.  The herbalist also gifted them with her remaining stock of potions – 10 cure light wound potions – and they appraised them of what they knew of the situation.  

A lord from Cairlininen was amassing troops in a somewhat functional keep a few days north, near the edge of the province.  They were approached by a representative, but they were unwilling to pay the rather hefty protection toll and were left on their own.  The blacksmith reacted by withholding the supplies he was making for the outpost network, and the town was soon sieged by undead.

The party then rested and regrouped, deciding what to do next.

Game 1: Outpost Outlook

Cariele was a country in peril.  After a disasterous war between Dhoesone, Mhoried, and Tuarhievel resulted in Cariele being treated as a thoroughfare, Count Entier Gladanil was convinced by the leader of the Guilds, Guilder Mheallie Bireon, to garrison the borders.

Enacting harsh conscription laws, the nobles of Cariele raided orphanages, prisoners of war, the slave markets, and any other source of able-bodied poor individuals to draft them into the army.  Bolstering it's size with 6 full companies of recruits – at the expense of it's populace – a series of forts and outposts were garrisoned along the edges of the kingdom.  At first promising a series of castles and true fortifications, the expense of the endeavor led to the outposts being hastily constructed wooden outposts or repurposed old battlements.   Armed with mass-produced and poor quality arms and equipment, the nobles paraded their troops through the capital…and promptly forgot about them.

Outpost Outlook was one of the forgotten posts.  Using the ruins of an old battlement from the time of the great Emperor Michael of Anuire, a local noble of minor repute and terrible temperment led a motley crew of conscripts:  an uneducated brawler, a bard that slept with the wrong noblewoman, a mysterious stranger of little words and an excessive protection of his sword, and an old castellan charged with protecting the ill-mannered noble.  They were joined by a male dwarf pressed into service after fleeing his homeland, an orphaned male human with no prospects in life, and a failed female half-elven wizard.

2 years went by, as the outpost program slipped into obscurity.  The promised improvements to the battlements never materialized, the gear remained sub-par, and the pay was miserable.  Fending for themselves, as rations became more and more scarce, the group kept their vigil…until the mists arrived.

In the late hours of the night, deep in the heart of winter, human orphan named Rand was keeping watch along the ruined top level of the tower, with the female wizard Scarlet on the mid-level and the bitter dwarf Strogar patrolled outside.  They all noticed a sudden stillness in the night: the snow stopped falling, the winds were still, and no animals were making any noises.

Rand was the first to notice the mists forming across the trees, and called to Scarlet to wake the others.  Scarlet, noticing the mists was some high level magic she couldn't comprehend, proceeded to try to wake the mysterious stranger, who brushed off her concerns as ravings of a silly girl, and then the other warrior.  Strogar, noticing the migration of animals, was spooked at the mists – he knew they were unnatural given the weather – and headed back to the tower.

With everyone now awoken, the air was full of tension.  Strogar immediately began gathering provisions, and was soon joined by Scarlet.  Rand tried to awaken the seneschal, and was nearly stabbed for his efforts.  As the others donned their armor and gear, the mysterious stranger was acting excessively nervous and appeared to have been  ready to depart at a moments notice.

Strogar was the first to make a move, loading up his pack and immediately heading out to flee the area – he suspected foul magics, and was extremely fearful of what they foretold.  Scarlet and the mysterious stranger followed behind him, with Rand trying to get the bard and the warrior to hastily follow.  They all departed the tower in a panic, leaving the castellan and the commander in the tower, still donning their heavy armor.

As Strogar blazed a trail up the pass, Scarlet noticed movement in the graveyard and reacted by blasting it with a magic missile.  As the party stopped, sans Strogar who kept going forward, the graveyard erupted with zombies!

With 6 zombies heading towards the main pack of adventurers and 2 quicker zombies chasing down Strogar, the battle was joined.  Scarlet was heavily wounded in the battle, but was kept alive by the bard.  Rand engaged 3 zombies, defeating one of them, while the fighter and mysterious stranger dispatched the rest.  Strogar was immediately wounded by the zombies, but managed to stabilize during the fight.

After the battle, the ragtag group looted the bodies of valuables, searched their graves, and tended to their wounds.  As the bard healed the wounded and donned his armor, the fighter finished getting into his armor in case of more battles.  Rand and the mysterious stranger searched the graves, Scarlet went to check in on the commander, and Strogar stormed off.

Scarlet came back a few moments later with horrid news: she witnessed the seneschal and their commander in the barricaded tower talking to someone with magical means, and mentioned an invasion of undead before teleporting away, leaving them stranded.  With the rest of the loot from the zombified old knights of the Anuirean Empire divided up – Strogar getting a nice Waraxe and breastplace, the fighter a silvered long sword, Rand a chain shirt, and Scarlet a wand of unknown spells – the party convened and decided to abandon the tower and their posts, fleeing deeper into Cariele as they hoped to avoid the mists and the undead.

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