The Sitarian Cypher

Session 7

Session 7 (4/17/13)

Still Day 16

-The nymph’s pool whips into a furious maelstrom. From its depths a portal from another world ejects a stranger through the vortex into our midst! Warrior of the North Halvadr Jotunson introduces himself and asks what’s happened to him. But even Doc Stone (whose introduction is awkward as usual due to his troglodyte form) cannot explain how or why Halvadr was brought to Sitar. We invite Halvadr to join our quest to deliver the amulet to Capt. Richard of Rashawn by order of the king-or to finish our quest if we die or vanish as our companions have. Delphi is absent.

—As we ride to Crossroads (and reunite with and introduce Punch) we find the body of a hawk burnt by some long range fire sorcery. A charred note reads ‘Difficulties have arisen. Dragon.’

—Hours later we barter in Crossroads. Doc sells some werewolf hair/blood, unholy nymph pool water, and gnoll blood to Chauncey the alchemist and Barlow sells the wand of Cure Light. We pay Magda to cast Locate Creature (elf) to find Valen. We follow her spell to his vale.

Encounter 18: Firefight at Valen’s Tree Hut/We Be Burnin’ Not Concernin’ What No Druid Gonna Say, Recognize It!

—Valen’s tree home is surrounded by mutated brambles and transmutation/abjuration magic and its bark is burnt black with a faint red glow. He appears trapped within. We break through and take a home security fireball trap to our collective face.

—We begin magic healing, but danger looms in the form of a teleported band of six spellslingers and fighters: one wizard, one bard, two gnolls, and four gremlins. Combat! DEAD: Barlow/Bartimaeus, one wizard with the insignia of the Eye of Being’s evil institute, one bard in jester outfit, two gnolls, and four gremlins.

—We determine Barlow/Bartimaeus are beyond help and a note on their palm explains Bart cannot willingly return via Reincarnation. We investigate Valen’s house and find him unconscious in owl form, chained with shackles cursed by a modified Sequester spell. We take Valen to Crossroads.

Encounter 19: Rebirth II/Hounded by Fate, or It’s a Dog-Man’s Life for Doc

-We visit Magda for healing potions and possible curse removal. In her wagaon we meet Noraya, a half-genie cleric of Irori eager to use her gifts to help the party—introductions all around. Noraya Removes Curse on Valen and the Doc fills him in on recent disturbances.

—Mal convinces Noraya that Doc is a human but cursed to take various bodies. With help from Halvadr’s blade and Valen’s magic, Doc sheds troglodyte form for a new incarnation: gnoll.

—Noraya talks Doc into proclaiming his good nature to strangers by donning a shining silver holy symbol of sun goddess Sarenrae. The silver itches terribly and Doc is chilled by the realization that the lycanthrope woman cursed him in their fight one week ago. He’ll be hungry like the wolf on the next full moon!

Loot Session 7 on 4/17/13:
→ From Eye of Being’s student wizard/jester bard: magic bracers ______, magic ring of _______, 2 scrolls of Lightning Bolt (Level 5), 2 scrolls of Acid Arrow (Level 5), Wizard’s Book of spells containing ______________________, and a wand of Magic Missile (Level 4).

→From gnolls/gremilins: TBA

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Session 6

Session 6 (3/25/13)

Day 10

—We bury the lycanthrope woman and ride for Rashawn.

Day 13

—After uneventful days of travel we reach an open plain at the forest’s edge. Delphi wakes our sleeping camp to confront a mysterious hooded rider that smells of brimstone & detects of Evil and strong Magic. The rider is too fast to follow and is lost through the trees back the way we came.

Day 14

—At dawn Maleficent notices several trees stripped of leaves, bark, and life along the evil rider’s path. Doc Stone theorizes the rider is the kind of fiendish, corrupted creature that can drain trees’ life force for evil magic. We decide to pursue the rider, a.k.a. “Death on Horseback” to curry further favor with the fey/dryads.

—A hawk arrives with an attached message for Delphi: “The Hawk has seen you & has heard of your plight.”

Day 16

—After days of tracking “Death on Horseback” we return to Crossroads. Two more messenger hawks: “The Hawk has found your man.” “Will expect payment soon.” We follow trail of ruined trees toward the former gnoll toll.

Encounter 17: Nefarious Nymph on a Nightmare/A Heinous Crime, A Show of Force, Bad Horse Baaad Horse!

—Punch guards wagon while we track the rider to a glade far off the road. There’s a pool (80 ft across) w/ standing stones around it and an Unhallow spell on the area. Deeper Darkness spell shrouds the pool. We toss in bloody meat. A pair of glowing red eyes appears and a female voice cries, “Who dares defile my pool?” Combat! Vs fiendish druidic nymph & her nightmare mount. Our wounded foes Plane Shift away, magic gear & all.

—We plan to seek Valen (who vanished at the woodcutters’ camp) and ask him to counterspell with Hallow.

Loot Session 6 on 3/25/13:
→ None.

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Session 5

Session 5 (3/11/13)

Still Day 8

—Marcellus chases critter with Sir Dameon. Dr. Stone picks up the amulet left behind. We ride for Rashawn.

—Party passes by a large camp about a day’s ride away but decides not to visit.

—Valen visits party’s camp at night to imply we’d be welcome backup for his chat with that large camp of woodcutters a day’s ride away. (It’s a good chance to get a dryad to owe us a favor and get us into the Swap Meet.) Delphi offers to do this favor for Valen in exchange for him contacting his ranger friend “The Hawk” to help her track down Bismarck’s murderer. Next morning, we ride!

Day 9

Encounter 14: Warning the Woodsmen/I Speak for the Trees—and My Sword Speaks for Me!

—Reach woodcutters’ camp. With Mal and Delphi beside him (Barlow, Doc, & Punch wait behind tree cover), Valen warns them, “Your overcutting is endangering the local fey. I’m not here to threaten you, but the forest is like a living body, defended from within. If you persist, you may need to be removed.” Party chimes in the local gnoll tribe shouldn’t deter them, because their king was driven off and they scattered. Delphi adds she doesn’t want this to come to violence, but it may. Scary Dr. Stone pops up. Woodsmen reluctantly back down and start packing.

Encounter 15: Who Killed Joe?/“Whooooo’s the Smartest Around Here?”

—Woodcutters find one of their own dead of claw wounds in his tent. They accuse our troglodyte. Delphi points out the claw marks are all wrong for our genius doctor but right for a wolf…or lycanthope! Mal remembers a camper said Joe had been bragging about killing a wolf. Dr. Stone deduces a werewolf killed Joe for revenge.

—Under cover of a camp-wide “syphilis test” the party tries to identify the werewolf (DR/silver), but finds none.

Encounter 16: Werewolves of Sitar/The Doctor’s Luck is Cursed… ::rimshot::

—At night the party sets watch for the lycanthrope under full moon. Maleficent gets chomped! Combat! Werewolf slain, turns out to be a visiting lumberjack woman. Dr. Stone gets bit in the fray, things could get hairy…

Loot Session 5 on 3/11/13:
→ From lycanthrope: mstrwk leather, mstrwk greataxe, & Cure Mod potion

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Session 4

Session 4 (2/25/13)

Still Day 3

Encounter 10: New Ally in Crossroads/ Yo-Ho-Ho and a Bottle of REDRUM, REDRUM!

—Return to Crossroads. Balin & Red still missing. Collect fee from Omar. Meet Delphi Caspian (new party member), branded pirate lass. She tracked the killer who left her old friend Bismarck’s clawed open body on a dock all the way to Crossroads but lost his trail. (Pony-tailed common house overseer can offer no leads on the killer, and the locket she found doesn’t hold a useful scent.) Party offers to aid her if she helps deliver the amulet first. All sleep, and in the night someone steals phlegiston (a highly volatile flame weapon ingredient) from Doc Stone.

Day 4 We ride! Toward Rashawn.

Day 5

Encounter 11: Wagon of Weird Part I/The Freaky Wheel Gets…Ignored

—Uneventful travel. Sir Dameon keeps watch at night and spies mysterious wagon with an oddly inhuman driver pulled by an unidentifiable beast. The wagon slows down but moves on.

Day 6

—Party shares personal histories to ease tensions: Sir Dameon abandoning the service of a noble house that stooped to slavery; Dr. Stone retiring from battlefield magic for a career in healing; sage Bartimaeus possessing the half-orc (Barlow) sent to execute him; Delphi’s happy coming of age on the seas after losing both parents; coy Maleficent doing “a little of this, a little of that.”

Encounter 12: Wagon of Weird Part II/Ohmygods, They Killed Gregory—You Bastards!

—Combat! Night ambush by goblin on mounted gun & wagon-pulling orc somehow wielding GIANT oversized halberd. DEAD: Dr. Stone, the orc, & the goblin.

—Search of wagon turns up nothing but a caged, clueless couple the orc kidnapped two days ago from their farm. Party agrees to escort them to safety. Ride back toward Crossroads.

Day 8

—Reach Crossroads & leave the couple there to find help getting home. Ride on to the druid.

Encounter 13: Rebirth/“Uh, Didn’t He Say ‘If I Come Back as a Troglodyte, Just Kill Me’?”

—Valen reincarnates Doc Stone…as a mighty, musky troglodyte.

Loot Session 4 on 2/25/13:
→ From wagon: giant magic halberd, big gun, wagon (repaint w/ Deluca family crest), mstrwk breastplate, & 4 potions Cure Mod.

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Session 3

Session 3 (2/11/13)

Still Day 3

Encounter 9: The Gnoll Toll/Ermagerd, a Pachyderm! Rern Away!

—Balin & Red wander off. Sir Dameon & tiger return in time to hear merchant Omar’s complaint about a gnoll toll to the West and his offer to reward anyone who routs the robbers.

—We refuse to pay toll & five gnolls draw bows. Combat! Gnoll king rides in on elephant w/ 2 gremlins strapped to him. Party kills 4 OTHER gremlins, 4 gnolls (5th gnoll flees). Gnoll king taken prisoner by Marcellus, who runs off with him & unconscious Dameon.

—Dr. Stone “defeats” fire-trapped chest by opening it and surviving the blast.

—Barlow finds and heals Sir Dameon & Marcellus & they return w/ gnoll king to toll site. Mal interrogates Charmed king, learns gnolls were responsible for killing surveyors. Gnolls aimed to prevent repairs on the bridge, lest the king’s men ride across to kill them for raiding. Gnoll king suggests dead magician is just a rumor to explain the unlucky gremlin influence.

—Gnoll king mentions “Swap Meet” in the forest every new moon where fey, gnolls, lizardfolk, and others (generally not humans) are welcome to trade. If party wants to attend the next Swap Meet in two weeks, he suggests doing a favor for a dryad that’s bound to its tree.

—Shoot gnoll king but he survives. He rides away on Titus the elephant, warning he’ll be back.

Loot Session 3 on 2/11/13:
→ From gnoll king: magic belt of giant strength +2, gnoll crown [Dameon] & 2,000 gp worth of loot from chest (1400 gp & 600 in raided gems, art, etc.)

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Sessions One to Two + PC/NPC Lists

The Sitarian Cypher: Session 1 (1/21/13)

The Cast (PCs) updated 2/27/13:
1) Sir Dameon Deluca & Marcellus (Human cavalier—-Order of the Dragon—-Beast Rider, & war- trained tiger mount/animal companion): Dameon’s proud banner bears his Order’s fierce, loyal dragon on one side, and on the other his family’s crest of a rampant tiger, cunning and deadly. Though the nobleman’s speech is gentle and eloquent, he is armed to the teeth for when diplomacy fails—-as is his uncannily intelligent tiger mount, Marcellus. For years he served a noble house faithfully as a knight. But his bitter disagreement with that house’s lawful yet morally repulsive investment in the slave trade led him to sever ties and pursue worthier allies.

2) Inquisitor Red True [betimes alias Red Ink] (Human inquisitor of Cayden Cailean {God of freedom/ale/bravery presiding over Chaos/Charm/Good/Strength/Travel}—-Travel Domain): Red’s gleaming mithral armor and personal arsenal mark him a formidable foe to unholy perversions like undead and lycanthropes. Still he exudes the easy charm, impulsiveness, and love of revelry so common in Cayden’s followers but so rare in the inquisitor’s righteous and bloody calling. MISSING IN ACTION AS OF DAY 3, LAST SEEN IN CROSSROADS.

3) Balin Solaire (Human fighter—-wind dancing/dervish style scimitar specialist, worshiper of Sarenrae {Goddess of sun/redemption/honesty/healing presiding over Fire/Glory/Good/Healing/Sun}): Balin’s measured grace with his scimitar—-favored by the sun goddess and forged in cold iron—-hints at an early life of devout worship, austere discipline, and confrontations with dangerous fey. But his honorable nature may yet be tempered by the blood of his wily, audacious grandfather, Aleph the mage. MISSING IN ACTION AS OF DAY 3, LAST SEEN IN CROSSROADS.

4) Barlow Ax-Flinger (Vudrani half-orc desert bandit, the ‘host’) & Bartimaeus Calderi (human oracle of lore {Irori, god of self-perfection presiding over Healing/Knowledge/Law/Strength/Runes}, the ‘possessor’—-haunted curse—-possessed archetype) & Greta & Ivan Scorpion-Heel (spirits): Brutish Barlow rues the day he tried to execute Bartimaeus, a frail sage unjustly blamed for the loss of a bandit chief’s obnoxious twins. Instead divine intervention saddled him with Bartimaeus’ consciousness—-and two huffy ghost children, who believe revenge should be served piping hot, from a kitchen that never closes, and when possible on a sharp stick.

5) Maleficent (tiny fey sorcerer—-draconic/linnorm{brass dragon/fire}bloodline): Maleficent prefers to tell her own story, thanks, as other versions might confuse her heroic and spontaneous undertakings—-to protect many venues and lesser beings with her powers—-with some whimsical, serial abandonment of prior commitments. Why, such chumps might even fail to recognize a majestic, legendary dragon who, if she were not as patient and magnanimous as her elders, could snuff out their lives with a thought.

6) Dr. Gregory Stone (human alchemist): Silver-haired Dr. Stone, with his trailing beard and elderly frame stooped in his white coat, appears meek and harmless. But to spend time with him is to witness a resourceful genius who hurls devastating bombs, who produces potables for every problem, and who may at any moment nod wisely at the laws of the reality before grabbing and twisting them like putty. In his early years he devastated the enemy ranks on the battlefield in the great war. Over time he eschewed his violent past and became a kind and dedicated healer, until the Lord Mayor summoned him to defend a precious delivery by any means necessary.

7) Lady Delphi Caspian (half-elf inquisitor of Besmara {Goddess of piracy/sea monsters presiding over Chaos/Trickery/War/Water/Weather}—-Trickery Domain): After being orphaned at seven by events too horrible to remember, Delphi had a harsh but jolly upbringing with seafaring pirates. She developed a talent for divine magic but was too strongwilled to worship any goddess but Besmara. Her only clue to her past is the strange brand on her side, but her chance to learn its meaning died with a kindly beggar named Bismarck who hailed her as “Lady Caspian.” Now she hunts the one who left Bismarck’s savaged body on the docks—-a dangerous foe who may be hunting her in turn.

Supporting Cast (NPCs in order of mention):

1) Ptolemy Hiton: Lord Mayor of Friendly Bay. Sought six ‘heroes of renown’ for a mission.

2) Sir Kalec Myss: Nobleman employed by the crown. Gives heroes pendant to deliver.

3) Captain Richard: Captain of the Guard in Rashawn, to whom heroes must deliver the pendant.

4) ‘Slappy’/‘Punch’: Cringing kobold hostage from attack on heroes’ camp, pressed into temporary service. Killed in firefight with evil bard. Reincarnated as an orc, renamed Punch.

5) Crossroads townsfolk: Chauncy the old apothecary, Magda the old fortuneteller, Omar the merchant

6) “Bard Simpson” (Real Name Unknown): Evil bard henchman of the Eye of Being who surprise attacks heroes during show at Crossroads & dies at their hands. Likes: fire, gremlins, and perilous puppetry.

7) The Eye of Being: An evil wizard who runs a dark arts academy. His followers are highly dangerous fanatics and possibly up to something big.

8) Valen: Powerful elven druid living in forest near Crossroads. Likes: barn owls & gold.

9) Gnoll King: Likes: extortion tolls, banditry, & homicidally loyal elephants named Titus. Hates: Bridges, magic missiles, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men.

Campaign Notes:

Day 1

Encounter 1: Lord Mayor’s Estate/Tiger Eyes on the Prize

Individually summoned via letter by Mayor Ptolemy Hiton, each hero gathers in his estate’s opulent topiary courtyard buzzing with city guards. They are redirected to the stables to meet crown agent Sir Kalec Myss. He asks them to deliver a carved box containing a pendant to Captain of the Guard Richard in Rashawn. The heroes store the box on Marcellus the tiger and head south.

Encounter 2: Attack on the Camp/Your Mother Was a Handbag!

—Combat! Vs 3 lizardfolk & 2 kobolds. Kill 3 lizardfolk & 1 kobold. Kobold ‘Slappy’ claims the territorial lizardfolk ordered the raid to rob them in general, and others may try later.

—Slappy permitted to be a servant/guide of sorts, over Inquisitor Red’s objection “He tried to kill us!”

Day 2

Encounter 3: The Bridge is Out/You Never Seen a Horse Fly?

Dr. Stone’s potions, Mal’s spell, & Sir Dameon’s & Balin’s superior riding skills maneuver flying steeds (and some bobbing, mesmerized horses) across a 1,000 ft gorge whose stone bridge had collapsed.

Encounter 4: Murdered Surveyors/Dead Men Draw No Scales

Find and bury three surveyors who were apparently stabbed to death about a week ago, RIP.

Encounter 5: A Village at the Crossroads/“See Who ‘Gyps’ Who, Gypsy,” Part I

A crowd gathers to see the heroes as gypsy music plays…

Loot Session 1 on 1/21/13:
→ From Sir Karec Myss: 100 gp/each for taking on the mission, map of Sitari
→ From lizardfolk/kobolds: 1 chain shirt, 1 mstrwk chain shirt [Punch], 1 falchion [Punch], 5 small spears [Mal], 4 small javelins [Mal], 1 small chain shirt
→ From surveyor’s corpse: sextant, map, spyglass

Session 2 (2/4/13)

Still Day 2

Encounter 5: A Village at the Crossroads/“See Who ‘Gyps’ Who, Gypsy,” Part II

—Balin, Maleficent, & Dr. Stone visit the local apothecary’s wagon for information and body-dissolving agents for the surveyors. Elderly apothecary Chauncy says no townsfolk of Crossroads are missing, warns of scavenging gnolls in the area, and sells them acid.

—Sir Dameon, Marcellus, & Red take the acids and ride away to dissolve the corpses.

—Slappy warns the village is ‘cursed’ but can’t explain. Barlow visits wagon w/ crystal ball sign and asks old fortuneteller Magda. Magda says local mages put up protective wards against kobolds/gnolls/lizardfolk but she insists the curse is bogus. Allegedly the area is haunted by some magican who died before the town existed. Barlow gets gypped.

Encounter 6: Thief in the Night/No More Forking Around

Heroes bed down in the common house w/ merchants, gypsies, & villagers. Merchant Omar (whom Dr. Stone helps clear out his bed bugs) explains that a year ago the bridge went out, prompting stranded merchants and travelers to establish a temporary settlement. A child tries to filch from sleeping Balin’s pack, but Slappy scares him off with a fork.

Day 3

Encounter 7: Puppet Show of Doom/All Fired Up for Slappy

—Combat! Evil bard & three dog-faced gremlins turn an impish comedy of puppets into a demonic attack of blasting fire and sand, the infamous Dumb Show of Gorroc. Red returns and joins fray. DEAD: 2 unlucky gremlins (third flees), Rollo the crippled boy, and poor brave Slappy.

—Interrogate fanatic “Bard Simpson” who rants “You will all die to the Eye of Being!” Slay him.

—Dr. Stone recalls a vile wizard known as the Eye of Being. He runs a dark magic academy the good doctor once declined to join. Search bard’s cart for clues but find only loot.

Encounter 8: A Kobold Reborn/Everybody Needs Some Body Sometime

Follow Chauncy’s directions to the vale of Valen, an elven druid who likes barn owl wildshaping. For a fee Valen reincarnates Slappy as an orc, new name “Punch!” We award orc clothes, armor, & falchion. Buy potions.

Loot Session 2 on 2/4/13:
→ From evil bard/cart: magic belt of gnollkind, magic cloak of +2 Cha [Mal], & 200 gp

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