The World Of Khoras - DM Tools - Campaigns - The Warriors of the Mark
You may need to railroad the characters a bit for this section and other sections to keep the campaign going in the right direction. The players have been captured by an unknown force, but have escaped. During their short captivity, they overheard a few snippets of conversation. The villagers at the village of Corfe Mullen may have also been able to provide them with some information. So, the players have a few clues and names, but don't know how to piece it all together. They should be "encouraged" to go to the city of Ithell. It's the closest major city AND the Lore Masters are there. They Lore Masters have the most fabulous library in all the lands and they are all learned scholars. It's the most logical place to go if you need to find out information about something.
The journey from Corfe Mullen to Ithell is a few days by foot. Feel free to throw whatever encounters you want at them. This is assuming that they fear their captors are coming after them and proceed to Ithell with all haste. If they delay, you could throw the ambush (see below) at them early.
If the players are escorting Glith and her brother to Ithell, then you've got an opportunity to give the players some help. The party brings the two young ones to their uncle. The uncle is, of course, very glad to see them, thinking they were dead. He will reward the players financially. He doesn't have much, but he can certainly help arm and equip them. He can provide them with horses. Beyond what the uncle gives them, the party will be able to purchase anything they need - weapons, armor, adventuring equipment, etc.
Ithell is a huge independent city and there's plenty of opportunity for adventure and side adventures.
Glith's uncle can also be a useful way to guide the players on the right track. For instance, he knows one of the Lore Masters and will encourage them to go to the Lore Masters to seek answers to their questions. He'll even take them to the Lore Masters and make introductions. The Lore Masters will be more favorable toward the party because of the connection with the uncle.
Eventually, the players get to the Lore Masters. For full details, see the Lore Masters. While there, they can research anything they like and get answers to their questions.
The players have the following clues to research:
The Yntharian Crystal
The Essence Crystal
The marks on their bodies
They can either search the archive themselves or they can have the lore masters help them. Either way, researching these clues will lead them to the following fragments of information gathered from multiple texts. Or some of them could be direct pages taken from journals or books.
The Crystal of Ynthar
Prophecy of the Marked Ones
The Temples of Ynthar
Warriors of the Mark
If you really want to give the party some help, you could have the Lore Masters give them a Lore Ring. Why? Maybe one of the old men takes a fancy to a young, pretty female character in the party. Or perhaps one of the Lore Masters is a friend of the family or something like that. Also, if the Glith subplot is in play, the lore masters will be very favorable toward the party because of Glith's uncle.
The next chapter needs the characters to head north to find and explore the former stronghold of Vellok. You can do several things to give them a nudge in the right direction. You could have a lore master offer to conduct a seance/ceremony for them to help them answer their questions and his rather cryptic responses could point the way north. A lore ring given to them might lead them in the right direction with its answers. Glith's uncle might suggest they go north to explore the ruins of Valdorumal and see if they find any clues to the mystery or useful treasure.
So, assuming you've given them enough to push them in the right direction, the characters will seek Valdorumal, Vellok's old stronghold to the north. It's a long journey. Even on horseback, it'll be 7 to 10 days.
A couple of days into the journey, the party stops by a small village. While at this village, the player characters are ambushed and attacked Vellok's "field team" - the same group that initially captured them individually. A major battle follows and it should push the players right to their limit. The village is small enough that there are no city guards to run to. However, there could be few people here who might jump into the fight and aid the player characters - a stout blacksmith, a large muscular farmer and the local constable (the only single "authority" figure in the tiny village). In any case, they player characters could have some help.
This is important because the players need to win this fight. The field team has two objects that the players are going to get. The first is that they have "sky ship". It's a small magical ship which flies through the air. This is their mode of transportation and how they caught up the players. The second item is the Essence Crystal itself. This is the third part of the Crystal of Ynthar. They were given this crystal to help them track down the player characters.
During the fight, arrange things so that the players manage to wrestle control of the skyship and obtain the Essence Crystal. It could be that they drive off the bad guys. Or, it could be that the player characters manage to get the crystal and then take over the skyship. A fight on the deck of a floating ship which is careening out of control and smashing into the sides of buildings or trees is pretty cool. They could even figure out how to fly the thing as they are flying and then start flinging the bad guys off. There are many ways this could play out.
The important thing is that the party gets the ship, the crystal and gets away. Some of the bad guys could be killed in this fight, but at least some of them should survive for another encounter later on.
The players now have everything they need. They have a skyship to travel. They have a destination. And they have the Essence Crystal which will keep them occupied, answer some questions and create other questions. This crystal is a key part of the puzzle.
The skyship isn't absolutely necessary, but it is mentioned in the prophecy and it's pretty cool if they get the skyship, because then the prophecy is just that much more accurate.
Note: The first time I ran this, the players read the prophecy but glossed over the "sail the skies" line not really thinking about it. When the field team attacked and the players got away on the flying ship, they didn't realize the connection right away. Later on, they pulled out a copy of the prophecy and read it again and suddenly realized that they had just made the "sail the skies" line come true. Self fulfilling prophecy. One of my female players actually squealed with delight at the sudden realization.
This page last updated Wednesday, December 24, 2008. Copyright 1990-2009 David M. Roomes.