The Post-War Mydlands

The Dream
As the semester draws to a close their subconscious is opened

This post was posted to each of the characters who all share in the same dream. it is written as the DM describing the dream to them directly:

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It’s night in the Mydlands. Late spring rains drum outside on the roof, muffled by the windows and shutters of your room. The drumming becomes regular…

…someone is playing a drum! But the sound does NOT wake you up. Instead it’s rhythm melds itself to a second drum, becoming a steady heartbeat
.
The cool damp abruptly vanishes, swept away by a dusty dryness you are not accustomed to. A bright orange spark, presumably ignited at the back of your head, flashes in front of your eyes and an incredibly wizened old man with leathery skin, in faded cotton clothes, squints at you through the crackling flames of a popping, fragrant fire. The wind changes on the breath of a bear that moans, disturbed from it’s reverie, filling your vision with smoke as images and impressions flash before you, fading into the darkness of your room and the staccato rain outside.

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Caravan with a Side of Eggs
You can lead a Wyvren to water, but can't make him not kill you

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The effects of the dream reverberated throughout the offices of the college. The party members were not the only ones to have their subconscious selves called out to. As the semester wound down around them, they found themselves summoned to Cymantha Fehrety’s office once again. Someone new to the group was also present at this meeting. Oddly, while Damon had not adventured with the group before, being brand new to the fighter’s academy, he was present in the dream as well, swinging a bloody sword.

Before Cymantha began, someone very short moved out from behind her desk wearing very fine clothes, a jeweled vest under an elaborate, opulent long coat. Dean Fehrety introduced the Hin and Caramel Bunyan, a weathy merchant whose interests coincided with the college’s, the Grand Duchy and necessarily the Empire at large. This she sternly impressed on the group.

Contact had been lost with a trading post/way station at the western borders of the Grand Duchy — which also represents the western extent of the Mureaux Empire on Kathgryus — run by members of the 6th Shire. Because of the myriad of possibilities that exist, and due to increased activity of the Tiger Clan tribes, the Empire has made it clear it does not want to risk open war with the Children of the Tiger so it will take no overt action currently. The Arch Duke at Tansun has also been ordered no not involve itself directly. Enter the students.

Caramel has outfitted a caravan of touring merchants to make the journey to the outpost 5 days away. It’s something he would normally do this time of year anyway, and it provides cover for their greater mission: to find out why they lost contact and report back to the school. Caramel provides enough inventory for the group to pass as general mercantile merchants and gifts each member of the party with an item befitting their assumed roles.

The next day they set out. The wagon appointed to them is rather huge, drawn by a team of 4 horses; Strawberry is given a cart laden with barrels and an ox. At the head of their convoy are a trio of Dwarven metal smiths from the settlement outside Nevamyr. Behind them travel A father/daughter team of elves along with their trusted business partner. Their beautiful coach loaded with furs and wood carvings. Riding animals the party had never seen before, pulling carts of an unknown make with large spoked wheels were the group from the far Southern continent of SeyLaft. Elygyn took special care to introduce himself to these folks and see their jewelry and bead work. Bringing up the rear were Caramel Bunyan’s troops of agents: Fabrizio Valet, Viniciano Lipton and Athena Vargas.

The first couple nights were uneventful with the party rotating watches over the camp. They wisely spent the time getting to know their fellow caravan travelers. It didn’t take long for their to be a consensus among them that Tessar Garandyn, a boisterous, affable man of very dark skin and very bright temperment loved speaking to them about his bead work and art, Mynudwe Ugar, the beatiful master of the Seylaft merchants present was very aloof Fabrizio Valet didn’t seem to really like anyone around him and appeared to have a crush on Athena and that Sissy Ironbreast the dwarf and Shawynn Silvermink were very good friends, giggling together and swapping their wares.

The third night, things changed. Elygyn chose to sleep away from the encampment where it sat within a grove off the road and away from the the lake. His dog Oaklyn was with him ofcourse. Gaelwyn had first watch, sitting atop the grand wagon of Caramel Bunyan and halfway between midnight and dawn, Rabbye took over for her. As they made their shift change, there came a great “Hoo-hoo-hoot!” from in the woods. Rabbye motioned for Gaelwyn to return and she relieved him of his post, resuming her place atop the wagon as he rushed to see what was approaching Elygyn’s position in the woods. In the meantime, Allyn was wakened by a hand going through his robes. He looked around, seeing Damon still sleeping near him by the fire, and a man standing over him. His hair was greased and bpulled back tightly in a severe bun. His entire body was a maze of piercing and gold jewelry and accessories. His eyes were smeared over with a black something that made his whites bulge out fiercely. Reacting, Allyn reached out to grab hold of the mad, successfully wrestling him to the ground.

In the woods, the hooting was laced with the roars of a large animal. Bursting from the brush between the trees, a huge bear, 8 foot tall with fur that gave way to feathers under the arms charged toward Elygyn even as Oaklyn started barking fiercely, backing away from the monstrous owl’s head that topped the powerful body. Rabbye hollared a challenge to the thing and, seeing it’s huge shape with her infravision, Gaelwaynn line up a shot with her bow, having trouble due to the trees’ density. Being closer, Rabbye was able to make his shot count, Elygyn, woken from sleep was not as lucky.

Losing his fight with Allyn, seeing Damon was waking up and Strawberry was approaching from across the camp, the invader grabbed a hold of Alyn and hooted right in his face. The monster responded in kind, turning from Rabbye and Elygyn, heading into the camp. Shocked, Strawberry turned his attention to the big owlbear and charged towards it. With his shield before him ,her rammed it up into the Owlbear, his weight and height and the blow itself serving to trip the beast…right on top of Strawberry who disappeared under it’s bulk.

Damon came to his senses, wasting no time in pulling the assailant off of Allyn and cleaving him nearly in two with his sword. Gaelwyn and Elygyn did the owlbear in, one with a well shot arrow, the other by running at full charge, plunging his sword up into the nether regions of the owlbear via it’s posterior…

The camp was alive then and searchers were organized to see if there were any more surprises waiting for them in the woods. Damon came across an unusual, smooth wooden crate that was more of a cube. Inside they discovered several balls of very hard, heavy rubber, and a single egg that shocked Caramel. “That’s a wyvren egg!” he declared. He said that the rubber balls probably masked its scent, but leaving it exposed would definitely bring trouble. Boxing it back up, they left it in the woods where they found it. In searching the dead man and the beast, they discovered that a symbol carved onto the owlbear’s beak matched a necklace charm on the savage’s neck.

That evening, Elygyn opted to sleep inside the grand wagon of Caramel Bunyan. In the very blackest hours of the night, the wagon shifted under someone’s weight as they entered. Only half awake, Elygyn listened, but didn’t react at all, even as someone brushed past him carrying something.

After another uneventful day of traveling, the caravan finally was in the middle of the wildlands between borders, the edifice of the trade post in sight some distance up a hill. Looking through a spyglass, Caramel didn’t like the looks of things and held everyone back. It was decided to scout the place out first. Allyn and Strawberry moved ahead in Strawberry’s beer cart while Elygyn finally relayed what happened the other night in the wagon. Concerned, Caramel gave Elygyn a manifest of everything in the cart and told him to check it out. Rabbye and Hawkyns jumped to help. It didn’t take them long, combing through the inventory to discover the strange wooden box with the wyvren egg inside was in the cart itself!

As this was happening, Strawberry and Allyn reached the front door of the main house of the trading post. Though the tower was largely intact, it didn’t take but a moment for them to suspect strongly they were looking at a gutted husk of a building.

Rabbye and Hawkyns cracked open the box to confirm their fears…

Strawberry forced the door, pushing it over dust and grit from the debris. In front of him and Allyn was a long, scorpion-like tail and a huge, brown scaled hip. Two giant serpentine heads raised up with a fluid grace from the wreckage, looking up over the walls back towards the caravan, letting out a challenging roar.

Allyn started screaming. Strawberry moved to shut the door.

Elygyn, Rabby and Hawkyns slammed the box shut and started running away from the wagons and carts. But the damage was done. Both wyvrens beat their wings to gain air, nearly blowing Allyn and Strawberry over. Damn and Gaelwyn had been riding up towards the post, but now reversed direction to intercept the monsters before they ran their friends down. Most of the merchants at the caravan ran for cover, except for Warblynn Broadleaf, one of the Elf merchants. He stepped out from behind his wagon, a spell on his lips as he gestured.

The first Wyren caught up to the fleeing trio with the egg box rapidly. Damon leapt to his feet on the back of his horse and promptly slipped, landing hard on his nether regions, his action halted. Gaelwyn sent an arrow flying but missed the target. The Wyvren, undeterred, struck out, catching Hawkyns in the shoulder, injuring him through his armor and sending him tumbling.

With a small tap to the face, Strawberry got Allyn to snap out of it and run back towards their party.

The elf merchant Warblynn cut loose with his spell finally and all were briefly blinded by a irregular stick of lightning, pulsing and flashing a foot from his hands, striking the larger wyren dead center and exploding its ribcage. It crashed to the ground, roaring in pain. Damon tried again to attack the other wyvren, this time maintaining his balance and striking up at the airborne creature. He tumbled from his horse but was unharmed. So was the wyvren. Hawkyns took down the other Wyvren with a continual light spell cast at its eyes. It hit the ground like a wounded bat, squeeling and thrashing about until the groups closed in and put both monsters out of their misery. At this point Strawberry and Allyn reached the group, Strawberry calling for silence…

Someone not too far away back the way they came was screaming and cussing wildly. Collecting themselves, some ran, some mlunted up, but everyone went towards the yelling. Caramel looked around, taking inventory of everyone, making mental note of who was missing and who was present.

They came across Stafford Hungryforge laying in the grass, axe in hand. A little ways on from him was Buprofyrn Brasshammer, holding a bloody Sissy Ironbreast and hollering after someone they couldn’t see. Hawkyns immediately set to work on the two wounded dwarves while Buprofyrn was questioned. He said Fabrizio grabbed Shawynn and fled, injuring Sissy and Stafford in the process. Cormorant Silvermink blanched taking Rabbye as a rider as he, Damon and Gaelwynn spurned their horses onward to pursue.

They rode past an ambush point, 6 men in very similar attire to the man that attacked camp nights before leap from camouflaged holes in the ground, blowguns at the ready. Elygyn was struck, but he resisted the poison on the tip of the dart. Gaelwynn, in a string of horrible luck not only broke her bowstring, but fell into one of the open holes on top of a body Elygyn had felled a second before. Fabrizio rode out from the high grasses with Shawynn held before him at knife point on his horse. He seemed alarmed to see his ambush and escape were falling apart. Strawberry putting one of his compatriot in a choke hold and tearing him from his hole helped reinforce that.

There was a back and forth with the group and Fabrizio revealed he was indeed a Tiger Clan spy, living among the weak filth, looking for a way to avenge the troubles unleashed on his people. No one knew what trouble was unleashed, but he intimated that there were new tribes of goblins never seen before, roaming and pillaging his people’s lands. He revealed himself further to be a member of the Chameleon tribe, just like the savage that attacked their camp. They started to negotiate for the life of his man in exchange for Shawynn. Fabrizio implied she was dead, dropping her from his horse and charging them agrressively. He didn’t make it…

In the aftermath, Sympkins and Gaelwyn were able to bring everyone back up to a healthy state and the party searched the remains of the trading post, now a bone and crap filled wyvren nest with a very distraught halfing, Caramel Bunyan. He encouraged them to keep the magic daggers they found as they used to belong to his friends. he vowed to get his best people on rebuilding the post and beseeched the group to follow him further and see what else they could learn in the area.

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DM’s Bibliography: This adventure was entirely made up by the DM.

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Sisters, sisters...
...there were never such devoted sisters.

Caramel Bunyan made good on his promise to rebuild the trading outpost, discovered wiped out in the last adventure. Calling in favors and shelling out loads of gold (His and some subsidies from the nearby nations of the Broddanican Republic and the Duchy of Tansun, on behalf of the Empire) he made the post a reality and named it Caramel’s Oath as a reminder to himself and everyone he was a Halfling of integrity. The PC’s helped as needed over the two month period it took to establish the post, doing guard duty, actively hunting for provisions and game, etc.

They were just returning from such a hunting endeavor and stopped in the Post’s tavern, the Appleberry, run by Buck Toemound. Inside, partied a lively crowd of merchants staying the night, construction workers eager to return to their homes, a few local farmers looking to reestablish customer contacts, among others. The group noticed the majority of the patrons were focused on a dart board with only three rings. As they approached the bar, Buck grinned wryly at them and asked if they’d like to play Moot Darts. Hearing this, some of the crowd started cheering on the PC’s.

Not seeing the harm in a game, they agreed. A huge human approached them, cracking his knuckles and and neck, looking eager, until he stepped aside to present them their halfling challenger, who drunkenly rubbed his hands and slurred: “This is gonna be good”

At about this time, Hawkyns’ danger sense kicked in and he was aware that not everyone in the bar was in a celebratory mood. In a dark corner, in a booth with a clear view to them, a slim hooded figure watched from the shadows, smoking a reed thin pipe.

For the game, they had to fire the darts in the same manner as the halfing challenger, as people shouted out dares on how they would be handicapped for their turn. First, Gaelwynn was slung in the air, Allyn was blindfolded and spun around three times, but in the end, Damon amazed as he struck home on all three circles with his head in a bucket of water. The patrons went made and money was exchanged back and forth, the party cashing in to the tune of 10 gold a piece as the rich merchants around them bet furiously.

Heading for the bar one more time, they discovered a diminutive form in their midst. Hawkyns indicated this person had been watching them play. The person pulled back her hood revealing herself to be a shadow elf. She introduced herself as Decein Lyra and said that after observing the group, she wanted to ask them for their help. She claimed her sister had come to find work at the new post months ago when she heard it was going to be constructed. After her sister made the journey, she suddenly stopped any and all correspondence. Pressed further, Decein revealed her “sister” was in fact a human named Voya Lyra. According to Decein, Voya’s family had taken her in when Decein escaped the goblin encroachment on her family’s underground lands.

The group took pity on her, Damon and Rabbye going so far as to offer her money to put her up at the Inn for the night. They caught sight of Vex Freedon shaking his head at them and questioned him. He said that Decein had approached him and asked for certain things which he was able to provide, but also told the party she was bad news and left it at that.

They wound up questioning Gypsum after the elf performed a song for the receptive Tavern-goers. Gypsum revealed a girl had in fact disappeared after a month of employment, leaving behind a messy room, but no real clues. Word of their goings-on in the bar reached Letsego Surespear, the outpost commander and he sent for them. He confirmed the tale of Voya’s disappearance and that she was seen leaving with a man, but it was unclear who was dragging whom away. He also speculated, talking about a new cave entrance that had been discovered along one of the trade routes west during the same time frame as Voya’s disappearance, and of a small team of adventurers that went to check it out but never returned. They also spoke with Rusty, the K’naii that took care of the outpost’s stables. He confirmed what Letsego told them, he also controlled his base instincts being so close to a lyncanthrope (Rabbye).

There is some discussion in the group, but they decide that they will leave first thing in the morning and try and track down what became of the Voya and these adventurers. The talk to Decein and give her explicit instructions to stay at the Inn attached to the Appleberry and wait for them.

After a day of uneventful travel, they catch site of a small cave like opening in the base of a fairly large mesa. Investigating, they enter the cave, finding themselves in what looks like an ancient living chamber within an adobe house. The center of the room has been dug out recently, the hole large enough for Rabbye or Damon to lay down in. Exploring further, they happened up two similar rooms, Gaelwynn using her tracking abilities to determine that something was dragged from these holes in the floor. Hawkyns and Allynn put their heads together and came up with the theory that these were ancient houses and that the people living there very likely buried dead family members in the house.

Exploring further, and now following the drag marks, Hawkyns suddenly got an ill feeling. Rabbye used his invisibility cloak, stepping out from the room they were in into what was once an old courtyard, but was now merely a cavern, buried below a mesa. He discovered two naked human bodies, male and female, hung by their arms and a group of kobolds rifling through their things. He stood up fully and revealed himself, as the party stepped out to back him up. The kobolds were stunned and the party fell on them without hesitation, Damon cutting one inb half so viciously, he slit it in two and caught the halves, smearing the blood on himself in a battle frenzy. Those that understood the pathetic barking of the little dogmen, realized they were screaming: “we didn’t do this!” In reply, they bellowed “Go Home!” and the Kobolds lined up, shuffled resentfully passed, and accepted the remains of their friend Damon somewhat guiltily handed over to them.

When the battle was over, the party examined the bodies, speedily realizing they were more than just bodies, they’d been animated into zombies! Offended to his core, Hawkyns whipped out his holy symbol and turned the undead away. As they were bound by their wrists to the low ceiling, they moaned and swayed to get away from the cleric, so Rabbye and Damon chopped their heads off.

They continued to follow the drag marks in the dust, exploring, coming to realize this was a fully realized village they were in, long buried by dust and sand.

Entering another courtyard, they saw a single skull had been jammed into the ground in it’s center. Wracking their brains, Allyn and Hawkyns couldn’t come up with a legitimate explanation for it’s presence, but their curiosity was up. While everyone pulled back, Allyn debated whether to knock it aside with his staff. Damon made the debate moot by firing a surprise arrow at the skull, hitting it dead on and ripping it from it’s place in the ground. Instantly, beetles, beetles and more beetles poured from the hole with a horrific sound of wind through dry grass. The biting and slapping started in earnest and Allyn hollered for everyone to get back. Using his staff, he unleashed a fireball that fried their antagonists into a popping, soupy pile of burnt mess.

Pressing on, the party came to an area that was lit. Their apprehension up, they sent Rabbye ahead to scout, while Hawkyns struggled with the feeling there was something just as horrible back the way they came as there was ahead. Moving as silently as he knew how, Rabbye crept into a ruined building with Gaelwynn in tow, lit by torches from within. There was a room to their right with Kilns and very large pottery jars. Gaelwynn stood on Rabbye’s shoulders and poked her head up a broken ladder and saw something that almost made her give away their position. They hurried back to the group in time for them to decide that Hawkyn’s feeling was more than just nerves. Back tracking through the ruins to make sure they weren’t about to be ambushed, they heard a shrill cry of shock!

Rushing back to the room where Allyn had friend the bugs, they saw what looked like three sets of glowing red eyes moving through the burnt remains. But what truly bothered them was seeing Decein there, hands on her cheeks ready to scream again, until she saw them. Not one of them was happy to see her, their reactions ranging from Damon’s confusion to Gaelwynn’s outright hostility. Still, the new menace had to be dealt with. Their attacks only revealed that there were three dog sized fire beetles there that had come for a free meal of beetle carcasses.

A second female voice sounded from the chamber behind them and Decein ran past them to lock hands with a human female dressed in outlandish, ceremonial looking garb under a dark cloak. "I’m so happy we found you!’ Decien exclaimed, producing something from the folds of her robe that made Hawkyns feel ill, and Rabbye saw as a vial of some sort.

“You did a wonderful job!” The woman they all guessed was Voya.

“No, it’s better than that! I brought you an elf!” Decein said, ecstatic. They tuned together and smiled menacingly at Gaelwynn who immediately flew into a rage!

Voya fled back towards the ladder with vial in hand, casting a spell of some sort. Gaelwynn launched herself at Decein and began slapping her repeatedly. It became apparent that the spell Voya had cast set hidden undead minions in motion, massive clay jars in the next room byt the kilns began breaking open and the ancient dessicated remains of the ancient peoples who populated this buried town shambled out as skeletons towards the group.

Thinking quickly, Hawkyns cast Bless on the party before they broke up into seperate combats. This was enough to wake Strawberry from his slumber — inside of Gaelwynn’s bag-of-holding. He rolled out, ready to do battle as he and Hawkyns waded into the undead, driving them back with axe and holy symbol.

Decien broke free of Damon and Gaelwynn, launching herself with a fly spell towards the ladder, not seeing Rabbye who was invisible at the time. Aware of him, she started to cast a spell as he launched himself upward. Voya was there before an emaciated monster that looked like a Shadow Elf male with a spider body. It was dead…for now. Guessing what was happening revolved around bringing the monster back, Rabbye struck out at Voya just as Decein cast her holding spell. The party was mostly unaffected, except for Rabbye, who’s killing blow remained frozen in a woman who couldn’t even cry out as she too was held by the spell..

Hawkyns and Strawberry cornered the undead and Alynn finished them with a well placed fireball. They beat Decein unconscious as she tried to ayttack them and hogtied her to take with them. Hawkyns ordered the Dryder corpse to be burnt as he an Allynn puzzled out what was in the vial — the “sisters” were trying to create a Dryder lich!

Taking their prisoner, they set out for Caramel’s Oath.

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DM’s Bibliography.

This adventure was primarily homemade. Materials were taken from :

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Ed, Campaign Sourcebook and Catacomb Guide; The Beehive Fort pp 122-123; 1990 TSR inc.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Karak Azgal: Adventures of the Dragon Crag; The Appleberry Tavern/Moot Darts pp 23; 2005 Black Industries/BL Publishing

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