With outside temperatures struggling to get out of single digits this morning, it was of course a perfect time to go skiing. Once we had thawed out and dad had stolen a quick nap, it was time to brew up a pot of tea, bake some cookies, and start our new campaign -- just me, mum, and the kid.
If play reports don't bore you to tears, read on...
As mentioned in my last post, the kid wanted to play a "moon elf bard", so it was fun to figure out who the moon elves are and make up a character role to suit. The backstory is that the moon elves actually dwelled on the moon in the distant past as servants of their queen and goddess, Kaguya, but many fled to earth after the moon was invaded by illithids (who are also responsible for scarring the moon's formerly pristine surface). There is a small moon elf kingdom hidden on the far side of the continent, but mostly they live in gypsy bands in human lands, passing their traditions from master to apprentice.
And Palemoon the bard is one such apprentice. Having completed her training, she is given an ancient lute by her master and told to climb to a ruin on a hilltop outside the city to receive her life destiny. And wouldn't you know it, a young moon elf shadow knight named Moonblade (mum's character) is sent there by her master at the same time.
Arriving at the hilltop ruin, they find a flat open plaza surrounded by crumbling arches. A pool of silvery koi of great size and age occupy the plaza's center. The moon comes out from behind the clouds and the reflected moonlight casts a ghostly image on the surrounding plaza and ruins. It seems to be a vision of the ruin as it once was -- a magnificent little temple of the moon. Standing not far away are two spectral figures who seem to be a part of this image: a hippogriff with blue feathers, and a charismatic elven priestess. They seem aware of Palemoon and Moonblade's presence, and address them directly, introducing themselves as Keenhoof Silvershod and Celestra, high priestess of Kaguya. They are not ghosts, but are merely projecting their images via divine magic from their own temple in the distant moon elf homeland. They assign a mission to the two young moon elves as follows...
"Cross the sea to the city of Stormgate, and free the moon elf Obdura from her long imprisonment there. Though Obdura is a traitor, she holds a secret to defeating the Witches of the North with whom she was once allied, before an alliance of elves, humans, and dwarves captured her and imprisoned her at Stormgate. Although forbidden to leave her prison by powerful magic, Obdura quickly drove out her guardians and (it is said) has since turned the prison into a labyrinth of evil. Seek also for Glamora, a sometime ally of the moon elves who is the headmaster of the School of Magic in Stormgate."
Our heroes accept their mission and travel to the nearby human city of Gravesend, where they take passage aboard the Blackrose, named after the island of black roses its captain once found out at sea and has searched for ever since. Palemoon pays for her passage by entertaining the crew, while Moonblade is hired as a swordmaster to teach fencing to the lubbers aboard.
The Blackrose is greeted at the docks of Stormgate by a mob of desperate people trying to jump aboard and escape the crumbling city. For Stormgate is apparently the last foothold of the human empire on this northern continent, once having been the capital of a vast colonial kingdom, since worn away by incessant attacks from monsters and witches. Yet it still has its places of relative comfort, including The Tides Inn, which sits upon a crag above the steep-walled harbor. It's there that our heroes repair, to gather news about where Glamora might be found, if she is still alive, and where the prison of the sinister Obdura lies.