Fortress of the Emerald Queen

Adventure 1 - Wrap Up
16 radiant damage

The party made their way down the hill underneath the Fortresses great shadow. As the dark closed in the beacon-like form of Cassi exploded into brilliance, expelling night’s shadow, and Mord, from her immediate vicinity. They wasted no time making their way underneath the vine-covered battlements. No fear clutched their hearts, only the excitement, the rush of imminent battle. In the courtyard there was no movement, no sign of life, only the crash and rumble of the storm overhead. A thick mist blanketed the ground, clinging to their boots, but their minds were concerned with many things in this alien place, the vines on the walls, the curiously smashed buildings, and of course, the looming presence of the fortress itself…

Then the storm came down upon them and the very flora in the courtyard came to life against our heroes. Lightning and fire split the sky and they were momentarily taken aback by the sheer size of their foes, great trees swinging their mighty limbs about them as lightning and fire crackled where once twig and leaf had been! The mist took upon itself some sinister power from the use of magicks and it became an enemy of our heroes as well, sending out blasts of fiery energy which dazed their senses, particularly the courageous Dragonborn Cleric Psu-doo Barhd.

Armour nor shield nor stealth could protect our heroes completely from the maelstrom of energy that assailed them as these elemental trees rained blows upon them. Perhaps once upon a time, our heroes were made only of hardwood, and would have burned to ash under such an onslaught. By this day however, our heroes had grown to steel, and we all know what happens to steel when placed in the fire don’t we? It turns red in furious rage. Whilst the shadowy shape of Mord did his best to wrestle the power of the mysterious mist, our heroes brought down first the fiery trees, until only the great lightning tree was standing…before long it too toppled to the ground as our heroes overcame this first threat. A sense of apprehension lay in the air…they knew tougher times lay ahead.

Briefly the group split, in reality they were never a group, simply a band of happenstance. Mord and Scratchfury fearlessly made their way to the keep’s gate and entered silently inside. Whilst the three of Amauntor caught on the wind the sounds of distress. Suspicious of foul play they did not respond and instead sent the cleric to climb the walls and serve as a spotter. He looked down upon a macabre torture concocted by a brutal mind. Three humanoids stood secured by spiked chains in the courtyard…but the three remain unconvinced and wary…they were not about to expect finding friends amongst the walls of Emerald Queen’s fortress, and Mord and Scratchfury had been away for some time. Whoever the prisoners were, they had survived this long…they could wait.

The main hall had long been overgrown by vines, the signs of battle many decades earlier partially obscured by the reclamation of nature. But these vines moved and twisted with disconcerting consciousness. Most disconcerting of all however, was the wall of vines that supported the limp corpse of some arcane mage. What was this place? The heroes thought. Nature’s wrath was truly vengeful but this place came with the stench of decay and madness. The walls trembled, the vines moved, the body twitched and a voice laced with madness spoke to them forbidding them entrance to the higher reaches. Yet it spoke with hatred of the Emerald Queen and certainly seemed curious as to the intent of our heroes. Its curiousness was twisted upon itself, with Cassi’s words of reason and eloquence she calmed the creature’s (it was known as a Life Vine) suspicions. Then that impish gnome Scratchfury outwitted the creature superbly, drawing forth his crowbar mightily he proclaimed it as the CROWBAR OF DESTINY, a gift from the WORLD OF TOMORROW… the Life Vine’s greed overtook its reason as it stared first suspiciously then lovingly at this most mundane stevedoring item.

The group could barely contain their derision for this sad creature but Umbri’s mind ticked to a different beat. He had studied the great white rune drawn across the ground of the main hall, and with a cunning smile he raised it with the Life Vine. Whatever the connection, the Life Vine displayed true fear towards the symbol, requesting its destruction in bargain for passage. This he did not receive as diplomatic word were replaced with harsh ones, and the currish creature succumbed, allowing them passage. Bitterly, it advised them they explore these levels, lest he decide to send them upstairs to follow you…and so – Wait, but where was Mord whilst all this was taking place?

Well friends, he was strangling Ettins. I mean it’s what he does best! Although how this reluctant hero managed with both heads we shall never know! I have had the pleasure of meeting him and asked him on many occasions how it happened. All he ever does friends is smile into his beer mug and say it’s ‘the same way you garrotte a hydra, only easier’…

He had spied the slumbering forms of two great ettins with their massive heads, off in the western rooms of the castle. His suspicions had been first raised by the gaping holes through the walls, that looked like someone had simply ran through it… Surprise was total as he wrapped his wire of death around the one he saw as his most major threat: the one with the shamanistic trinkets, but once battle was started, it appeared as though the very rocks fought alongside the ettins, albeit reluctantly. Perhaps it was the cramped confines of the barracks rooms, or perhaps our heroes had thrown off the nervous energy of the first battle for they truly did show these creatures their mettle. Mord inflicted grievous wounds on the SpiritTalker before the great beast forced itself from his vice-like grasp and retreated from this shadowy form. But Mord continued to slink around the outskirts of battle attacking the Galeb Duhr when they least expected and appearing to flank the Ettins towards the end. Scratchfury confounded the Ettins as his phantasmal shapes had them crashing their clubs down into nothing but flagstones. Umbri blasted his foes with holy words, his pure devotion seemingly acting as protection enough. Cassi’s faith lent her inhuman strength as she stood toe-to-toe with both Ettins, flicking their strikes away as if they were scratches of attention from a malnourished Chihuahua. Psu-doo Barhd smiled for few needed healing such was their prowess.

They continued their search of the ruins, finding more dust and empty shelves than treasure but still treasure enough. Secret rooms were discovered, riddles both obscure and well-known were answered and ambrosia lead them to a potent ring and gloves. Then they came across the kitchen, and in it, Grimlocks. Our heroes attempted restraint and reason, but there is little reasoning with something as savage and mistrustful as a grimlock – eaters of flesh, gnawers of bone, especially ones of their species as hungry as these! Yet they dispatched them again, even their pet, monstrous hellhounds with the tails of scorpions! Dispatching all before them they did until they came full circle, bursting through the doors out the inner courtyard where the ‘prisoners’ revealed their true devilish nature. Even aided by the invisible blades of shadowy creatures known as Dark Stalkers, the Chain Devils could not stand in the face of the radiant three. Their very presence seemed to make the creatures more vulnerable to Amauntor’s judgement and it was as if the wind itself whispered in the ears of the PC’s the magic number ‘sixteen….sixteen….sixteen…’ That was of course until Umbri landed many a lethal blow and his ring flared with divine energies as it let loose the full power of retribution on his foes.

Now our heroes stood within the inner courtyard of the Fortress, knowing the lower rooms were free of danger. They bore few scars, the paladin appeared pristine as if the mess of combat and violence was incapable of touching her. Mord’s armour was splashed with the misty pattern of blood flying from arteries, a gleam was in his eye. Psuedo-barhd and Scratchfury looked confident – the cleric’s greatest prayers were yet to be called upon and the mage’s most intricate illusions remained at the forefront of his mind – their might was truly great to behold. Umbri had felt the sting of the fortresses denizens the most but he was unperturbed. Uncannily, he felt that it was almost right that he was the target, but looking down at the Ring of War on his finger he knew he had dished out as much as he’d taken. They turned their eyes skywards to the spiralling minaret of vines at the top of which, they presumed, reclined the Emerald Queen.

The Galeb Duhr had informed them of the three advisors…undead. Chuckles broke out amongst the group, which slowly turned to friendly laughter. Under the crackling sky however, it looked positively manic. ‘Bwahahaa-Bwahahaha! MWAHAHAHAhahaha! Undead. Amauntor. How hard can it be?’ they thought.

Hinano stopped. Cries of protest rang out throughout the inn. Hinano smiled to himself, adjusted his cloak and rose from his chair.

‘That is all for tonight. There is plenty to tell you all tomorrow.’

‘But not all of us will be ‘ere on the morrow.’ A voice called from the back.

‘Then you’ll have to find me again sometime.’

‘That’s balls.’ Muttered a child sitting by the fire.

‘That’s suspense.’ Retorted Hinano.

‘That stories not even very heroic.’ Said a women from the back. ‘so far this has been a cakewalk for them. Where’s the heroics and struggle?’

‘That may be true…but if you stay till tomorrow you may find that Fate saw fit to make some changes.’ Hinano turned to the barkeep an old grizzled Half-Orc… ‘Isn’t that right ol’ Sarky?’

The Half-orc glowered back darkly…

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The Emerald Queen - Prelude

Creepy castle

Conversation died a few hours ago. It’s hard to ignore the building foreboding when every hamlet and village you pass is deserted. At least here, you tell yourselves, people were smart enough to leave. Yesterday, the hamlets you had passed were littered with those folk who thought that two days ride from the Fortress was a safe distance. Two days ride is a long way for a peasant but clearly not for whatever hellish beasts eviscerated them in the streets.

You can’t help but smile despite the trepidation. You got here first. No other adventurers are going to pip you for the Emerald Queen’s head. It’s about time though, you and your companions were due for a serve of ‘in the right place at the right time.’

Travelling north along the Regent’s Way, you were finally traveling towards Leblon, The City of Empires, ruled over by nothing less than the dragon, Irius. Just before you had reached the town of Highriver, you encountered a messenger heading south. He told you of the landing of the Fortress of the Emerald Queen in the farmlands northwest of here.

The news boggled the mind.

The tale of the Emerald Queen

The tale of the Emerald Queen is a fictional children’s story – the casting out of the seventh daughter of a lord enraged at having no sons to continue his line. His castle had stood in the recesses of the Nachtwald, the great forest that buffered these lands from further distant mountains to the south. He threw his seventh baby from the tower, only in passing did it seem odd to him that the baby’s broken remains were not found at it’s base. It is said that the spirits of the Nachtwald were sickened at the heartlessness of the act and the limbs of the forest caught her as she plunged and whisked her away and sustained her as she grew. But wild nature pays no heed to the human-constructed ideals of civility, manners and decorum. The Wilds are just that: wild and unrestrained – and raised by whatever spirits inhabit the Nachtwald’s recesses, the seventh daughter nurtured her sense of revenge in a way only untamed nature could. Eventually, sixteen years after she was thrown from the tower she returned to her father’s castle to gain revenge. At one point she had been his daughter, now she was only a Lady of the Forest.

The weak wills of the guards fell to her enchanting words, and as she proceeded through the grounds, nature followed in a titanic wave engulfing, strangulating and breaking the castle asunder with the sheer power of earth and sinewy tree-root. Eventually she found her family: but she did not save any of them and they died each in their own macabre ways. Finally she reached her father cowering on his throne as the very room around him began to be ripped out of the ground by the Nachtwald. He did not recognise the enchanting girl who stood before him commanding such power – not until she sent him flying through the very window she had been thrown through those many years ago.

At that point, with the ending of that lordly family, the castle finally relinquished its place in the Nachtwald, raising its entire strangulated ruin up out of the soil it became airborne, the Nachtwald itself repelling the castle from the earth refusing to let it call the forest home. The daughter became its Queen, The Emerald Queen, becoming the font of the forest’s retribution on those who would harm it’s balance. Her floating castle is said to patrol the depths of the Nachtwald and sightings of it were often put down to the hearsay of woodsmen bored with their lot in the life.

Yet the story has a home in almost everyone’s hearts. Successful families rarely treat their daughters with any favouritism for fear of later finding themselves at the hands of Nature’s Wrath.

On your way

But to hear that it had been sighted, let alone LANDED, was truly bizarre. At first you laughed at the messenger but quickly stopped as he showed you the decree from the Lord of Highriver, a call for adventurers to vanquish the Emerald Queen in the defense of all the citizen of the South – Reward: 15,000gp and a magical heirloom from the House of Highriver. No small sum…and the glint of the challenge was already there in your eyes…the Emerald Queen, she was supposed to be immortal, certainly at least ageless and the castle would be littered with the old treasures and relics of her previous family…certainly normal looters wouldn’t have gotten in there! Word will have been sent to Leblon as well, and soon many adventurers would be on horseback…or something WAY cooler, you think ruefully. However, your location gave you a lead if you rode hard, and ride hard you did.

As you had gotten closer the threat of this ‘Emerald Queen’ became apparent. The story made her out to be wild but at least directed by some sort of judgement. But the bloody raids on hamlets by bestial, almost demonic creatures did not sit at all right with the image of the natural violence she meted out. One night you faced some of these creatures, hounds comprised only of black oblivion whose bite chilled your soul. They felt like something more from the Abyss rather than from the depths of the Nachtwald. Maybe the ‘Emerald Queen’ wasn’t quite so green after all…certainly her judgement, if she had any, seemed to be clouded red by a bloodthirsty desire for wanton destruction…

Breaking yourself from your revery you look up at the weather closing in and take your bearings. The sun dips to the horizon, peering out from underneath the threatening stormclouds. For these few moments, the world is once again lit up, the colours of this lush farmland revitalised once more, and there silhouetted in its radiance is the sentinel figure of a titanic castle of fantastical proportions. Its outer walls and towers are overgrown with vines, like tendrils of a great beast engulfing its prey. The form of the castle is still clear and apparent…sorta. Looking up above the castle’s (hopefully) abandoned defenses you look at the truly mind-boggling sight of the castle’s keep. It’s masonry is shattered, broken and ripped asunder, but a ‘new’ keep of gargantuan limbs of twisted root spiral upwards like an intertwining staircase, bits of the original keep clearly seen, trapped within it. Its height appears to terminate in a bizarre flowering of strange decaying flora, but it’s hard to tell from the almost impenetrable haze of INSECTS buzzing around its upper heights ceaselessly. The Fortress exudes malignant power and her domain seems far from green…instead it looks like decaying and rotting deadwood, although it is blatantly clear from the destruction she has wrought that her powers are certainly not the things decaying…

It is set in your minds now…even the staunchest storybook protagonist defense advocates amongst you can see this puppy needs to be put down. Although… this puppy might need more than a poisoned apple to put her to sleep… and she probably won’t have an oven you can push her into…and none of you are particularly charming or Princes…but these thoughts do not bother you. Your thoughts are for greatness, and also the tiny pinprick of hope that by the end of this you may, just MAY, have commandeered a FLYING FUCKING CASTLE! You all seem to have that thought at the same time and murmur ‘fuck yeh.’ in unison…

…the sun clings to the horizon like a man to the edge of a precipice, but its time is numbered and its light is weak – a single guttering torch in a long cold corridor. As you see that the front gates to the castle stand boldly ajar, the sun loses its last fingerhold and day is lost to the world for now, leaving you to face the Emerald Queen of children’s stories in the moonlit hours and, as the distant rumble of thunder roils across the countryside, it appears you will also be doing it wet.

This ain’t gonna be no foam party.

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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