Friday, March 6, 2015

The Pathfinder Chronicles: Master of the Fallen Fortress, Part One

Art by Tyler Walpole
Our Band of Adventurers
  • Strider, a Kellid Ranger hailing from the rural nation of Nirmathas. He is a quiet individual, dealing death with his twin blades. 
  • Morrigan, a Half-Orc Witch born in the Hold of Belkzen. She has made a pact with a mysterious entity and wishes to learn more about it. 
  • Nonali, a Gnome Bard from the strange land of Numeria. She has a hunger for knowledge, wanting to know everything about everything. 
  • Pix, a Tiefling Alchemist of Varisian descent. He wishes to travel the lands of the Inner Sea, making a name for himself as a potion merchant. He also happens to be something of a pyromaniac.
  • Sarkeesh, a Vudrani Cavalier from the island kingdom of Jalmeray. He used to be a criminal and hopes to redeem himself. 
  • Firarli, a Half-Elf Rogue born from the union of a Mordant Spire elf and Ulfen sailor. She was banished from her secretive home and hopes to learn more about the world. 

Our adventure begins on the 21st of Calistril, 4715 AR. The previous evening, each adventurer received a strange message from a nameless courtier, which said the following: "Meet me where it all began." The only clue to the message's origins was the the Glyph of the Open Road printed upon the parchment, the well-known symbol of the Pathfinder Society.

Following the clues and using the knowledge they've gained over three years studying under senior Pathfinders, our group of students found their way to the Merchant's Quarter of Absalom, standing before the dilapidated entrance of the Pig's Paunch, the tavern where the first Pathfinders met over 400 years ago and founded the faction. The group entered the establishment to find one of their teachers, a bombastic and broad-shouldered Chelaxian named Marcos Farabellus.

As soon as they had taken their seats at Farabellus' table and one of the servers had brought the group a round of drinks paid for by the Society's Master of Blades, the students learned why they were summoned here. Three years ago, each of them arrived in the City at the Center of the World for one reason or another and joined the Pathfinder Society. They have spent those past few years training and the Three Masters felt they were ready for their final test. This exam, known as the "Confirmation", is usually a solo endeavor uniquely crafted for each candidate to test their skills as adventurers and explores, making sure they are ready for the duties that come with being a full-fledged Pathfinders.

However, a situation has arisen that gives the Masters an opportunity to test these six greenhorns all at once. Recently, a small earthquake has opened a siege tower that was once sealed. Wishing to explore this new set of ruins, the Society sent a recently graduated agent named Balenor Forsend to investigate it. A few days have passed since he ventured out into the Cairnlands located outside the city walls and he hasn't reported back. Rather worried about Balenor's fate since he rarely reports back late, the Masters figured they could have the students explore the tower being referred to as the "Fallen Fortress" and find out what happened to Balenor. Success at this task means they will be brought into the fold as official Pathfinders and receive their wayfinders.

After accepting the test, the group headed out later that day since the trip would only take a few hours on foot (and even less on horseback). As they traveled furthered from the large metropolis, the surrounding hinterlands became choked with numerous ruins of towers and siege engines, relics of failed invasions of Absalom. While passing by these ruins, they were ambushed by a group of bandits. Although some of the Pathfinder recruits wished to fight these brigands demanding them to hand over their gold and rations, Pix the Alchemist managed to negotiate with them and avoid an unnecessary fight.

Eventually, the group arrived at the Fallen Fortress, seeing the collapsed wall and deciding to head into the darkness inside. Nonali, the group's bard decided to test something out, pulling out her harp and used the instrument to send a wave of sound into the shadowy chamber to see what lurked within, discovering numerous tiny, thin objects inside. Knowing this, Firarli the Rogue decided to be the first one to enter the chamber, but failed to notice the spider lurking above her and fell into its trap. Wishing to help their friend, the group rushed in killed the two large vermin who lived there.

Once they had finished killing the spiders, the group moved onto the next room, which appeared to be empty at first. However, they quickly noticed something was off about the center of the room. Upon investigation, they discovered a hastily covered entrance to a collapsed tunnel with reptilian footprints. They followed said footprints into the next chamber and up a spiraled flight of stairs. Waiting for them atop these stairs in the very next chamber was a group of young troglodytes, shocked by the appearance of the "fleshies", and grabbed their weapons to assault these intruders.

Will the party survive this encounter? Will they discover the fate of Balenor Forsend? Will they make it out of the Fallen Fortress alive? Tune in next time to find out!

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