This series is a session-by-session recap of the Rise of the Runelords campaign over the course of the school year. The current party:
- Deanda, Elf Druid/Nature's Warrior
- Kiikii, Human Conjurer/Malconvoker
- Nakor, Human Transmuter/Knight Phantom
- Jaime, Human Cleric of Iomedae
- Kraca, Dwarf Monk/Ninja
- Slavla, Half Elf Barbarian/Fighter/Frenzied Berserker
DM Note: Our heroes had two weeks to do as they wished. I asked for player updates as to what they were doing during those two weeks. In response, for some of them I typed up information. I have reprinted that information here. PLAYERS - If you read this information, it is considered out-of-game. Do not metagame knowing information, unless they inform you of it in game.
Deanda visited the Mierani Forests to return the earrings. This is her story...
The cleaning of Fort Rannick went well, more or less. The stink of death still permeated the inner walls of Rannick, though the blood upon the outer fields had begun to wash away as the strange rains continued steadily. The outer walls of Rannick would need professional repairs to return to their former glory, and several of the inner rooms were now simply bare – as everything within them previously had been destroyed.
Taking to the skies, Deanda headed the Mierani forests. They were far, but as a hawk, the straight path was much quicker. Deanda felt a calming joy about her, as the wind whistled over her feathers high above the Varisian countryside. Down below the serene forests, winding rivers, and gently bustling towns of Varisia smiled back at her.
Finally, the forests of the Mierani Elves came into her vision. Deanda remembered the stories of them well, lush and green, pure and untouched by the civilizations of Man.
Surely, these were not the forests of her childhood.
The Mierani forests which once held her parent's home, now stood as blackened scars of former trees. Black tangled masses growing from a fertilizer of ashes now stood. A mark of death on the otherwise serene lushness of the Varisian countryside.
Searching through the shattered forest, Deanda was set upon by a small band of elves – nine in total. These elves may have once been the noble blooded of Mierani, but their hair was wild, and their eyes burned with anger. They easily saw Deanda’s true form through the guise she wore as a bird, and threatened to shoot if she did not present herself.
When Deanda did so, and presented the earrings, the elves fell to their knees. They apologized for their behavior and told Deanda the harrowing tale.
“They came at dawn. Thirty of them… Stone Giants all. They wished to pass to the shore, through our forests, but our Lord – your cousin – informed them that this was sacred land and they could not cross through it. Stone Giants are not evil creatures, and so our Lord approached the discussion as a kind one. But these Stone Giants were not good creatures. They… they slew him and swarmed our city. They were… too powerful. They uprooted entire trees. And they had… they had a dragon. The fires burned quickly. Your mother… your father and brother. They were visiting... They are all dead. I am sorry.”
“We were cowards, we fled at sight of the dragon’s flames. We nine are the last of the Mierani Elves. At least, so we thought. You are nobler in blood then all of us Lady Deanda. If you will have us, we wish to come with you. Our home is no more, and we have nowhere to go...” One of the older elves stepped forward. He bore a symbol on his tabard that none of the others did. “Lady Deanda, I am a member of the organization which you late family was. The Defenders of the Branch. If you can take us with you, I will gladly offer you membership. Though I am of low rank, I know of the initiation rituals, and am sure that your family’s spirits would be happy to see you join.” The elves looked to their new leader, waiting desperately for a reply…
Jaime officially pledged himself to the church of Iomedae, becoming a "blessed". He also joined the ranks of the Lightbringers. Jaime researched Iomedae. This is what he found...
Iomedae sees the world as a deadly place, filled with perpetual challenges and trials for those who battle for justice and defend the weak and innocent. Her followers should always act with honor and chivalry, and to uphold justice. Danger is to be faced head-on, with calm and resolve. Those who defeat evil are rewarded with Glory, while those who uphold the tenets of The Inheritor are rewarded with Virtue. The Inheritor's teachings are codified in a chivalric code known as the Iomedaean Code.
The Iomedaean Code
Duty to the People: This duty stresses courage, justice, mercy, valor, protection of the weak, and faithfulness to church superiors of officer of righteous law.
Duty to The Inheritor: This duty stresses obedience to Iomedae herself, devotion to the church, generosity, championing good against evil, putting the needs of the church and the faith above those of mortals.
Duty to a Lady: This duty pertains to the concept of courtly love, devotion to one's beloved, and respect toward all women in general.
A number of holy texts are venerated by the faith of Iomedae. The best-known work is likely The Book of the Code, a four-chapter work outlining the Iomedaean Code and providing examples of how one is expected to follow it. Another well-known work is the Book of Vows which details many of the vows taken by worshipers of Iomedae.
The faith of Iomedae is a very militaristic one, launching crusades against evil and championing causes. As one would expect, many soldiers, city watchmen, mercenaries, and others who make their living by the sword find themselves honoring The Inheritor.
Priests of Iomedae often travel the world on orders from their superiors to seek out and destroy evil. Older priests often work as strategists, military instructors, or judges. Their favored weapons are the longsword. Novices of Iomedae are known as the Blessed. Full priests are called the Glorious or, collectively, the Valorous Host. Other titles used by Iomedaean priests are Hero of the Third Rank, Hero of the Second Rank, Hero of the First Rank, Champion of Glory, Knight Gallant, Knight Courageous, Knight Valiant, and Knight Champion. Senior priests are called Paragons, while those who command armies are known as Paragon-Generals. These titles are separate from duty-titles such as postulant, novitiate, professed priest, cloistered cleric, affirmed priest, and templar. They are also separate from ranks within the temple hierarchy such as hierodeacon and abbot. In everyday use, senior priests are called Father or Mother, while lesser priests are known as Brother or Sister. There is also an elite order of priests known as the gloryswords. Priestly vestments include plate armor and red cloaks with silver trim.
A large numbers of paladins in Varisia follow Iomedae, as she herself is one. Because of this, and her utter dedication to Law and Good, paladins of Iomedae can be among the most devout, albeit overbearing, people on the Material Plane.
The church of Iomedae is supported by numerous religious-military orders. One such order is the Lightbringers, a group devoted to the death of undead and evil outsiders. From the Lightbringers, many organizations spring, such as the Knights of the Chalice, and Sacred Exorcists. To join any of these organizations, a cleric or paladin must become an official member of the Church of Iomedae, not simply a follower. This involves monthly tithes, and the occasional call to duty. A follower of the Inheritor may sign up for membership at any temple to Iomedae.
Places of Worship
Temples, chapels, and shrines to Iomedae can be found throughout Varisia. Iomedae' temples are decorated with red, gold and silver trappings.
The Tests of Valor
Before advancing in rank, priests of Iomedae must clearly demonstrate their bravery, honor, and sense of justice. The exact nature of these tests varies, but they are revealed through prayer and divinely-inspired visions. They can range from tests of fortitude that can be completed within the temple to crusades against the forces of evil.
- - -
Jaime also research the way of death in this world. This is what he found...
When someone dies, they ascend to the Boneyard – Pharasma’s realm. The Boneyard is situated atop a gigantic spire which pierces the Astral plane. The sides of this spire are pierced with an endless number of hooks.
When a soul comes before Pharasma, if that soul worshipped a God in life, the soul sees their deity before them, instead of Pharasma. If their deity of choice allows them, they are sent to that deitiy’s realm to live out their afterlife there.
If the soul worshiped Pharasma and pleased her, she will allow them to serve in her palace of death. If they angered her, they are buried in the boneyard. Finally, if they did not serve any God or angered theirs, a soul is affixed to the Wall of Souls (the sides of the spire) for eternity.
Many say though that since Pharasma is not an evil Goddess she actually allows these souls to live out their afterlife in some neutral fantasy – trapped in a moment from their mortal life to live out their afterlife in peace.
- - -
Finally, Jaime received a vision...
As Jaime slumbers, he dreams... A book is open on the table before him. An image is painted across both pages, a small man surrounded by twenty raised pedestals. The book closes. “The Call of the Gods” is written in beautiful text along it’s long faded cover.
Nakor sent letters to his mother, and brother requesting their help at the Keep. Nakor planned to raise a small army and wished their help with training. His brother, Caleb, arrived. His mother however, was busy with Korvosan business and sent a letter in response. Nakor also sent a letter to Lord Mayor Grobaras of Magnimar making their ownership of the keep official. The return letters from Grobaras and Nakor's mother are below.
I would send an official of the Magnimarian Guard to meet with you, though with Fort Rannick’s great distance from Magnimar, this is simply an impossibility. Word of your doings have reached my ear through letters sent by Mayor Shreed of Turtleback Ferry, and I commend you and your companions on a job well done. Though it is of course quite sad that the Black Arrows, a noble group of warriors, have fallen, I am glad to hear that a group of fine adventurers have taken up the Fort as their own.
From what I heard of Mayor Shreed, the recapturing of Fort Rannick was an equal effort by all involved. For this purpose, I am approving his decision to grant the Fort to the five of you, in addition to naming you all official Lords and Ladies of Magnimar. The only stipulation to gaining this land and this title is that any who wish must pledge themselves to the defense of Magnimar. I don’t think I have to tell you that, since Fort Rannick has always been on the outskirts of Magnimarian territory, it is rare that we would actually call upon your services, but those who wish to take on this reward nonetheless must lay claim to it’s responsibilities.
Any who do not wish to swear themselves to Magnimar’s defense will thusly forfeit their sixth of the keep’s ownership and their title of Lord or Lady.
As we do need a military leader there (given that I assume you are planning to pledge your loyalty to Magnimar and it’s defense as well), I am placing you – under Military Ordinance 22-38, as acting military leader of Fort Rannick. This means that you are being allowed to raise an army, on Magnimar’s behalf. You will be an acting Lieutenant of Magnimar, and will be allocated a small amount of supplies because of this. Keep in mind that this is an army of Magnimar, though you are being given duty to recruit, train, organize, and oversee it.
Also, though I am naming you as military leader of the Keep, this does not necessarily give you any more control of the keep then your fellow adventurers, who still earn an equal portion of it for their duties. You will however be in charge of all military happenings at the keep. I encourage you to have your fellow adventurers help out in the development of this army.
Your primary objective, if stationed at Fort Rannick, is to protect the countryside from the ogres of Hook Mountain. Be forewarned that these beasts are dangerous. Also, it is to ensure that the ogres of Skull’s Crossing are kept in line.
Finally, as the Keep has changed ownership, the six of you may choose to rename it if you wish. Please send me a letter shortly with the new name, along with which of your fellow adventurers also have sworn themselves to Magnimar’s defense.
Be well Lieutenant Islani. Please share the information in this letter with your friends.
Lord Mayor Grobaras
- - -
My son, thank you for your letter.
I hope this reaches you well, for outgoing and incoming post are now being monitored very heavily.
I hate to be telling you this through a letter, but the King is dead. He was killed.
The city has gone mad. Riots plague the streets.
Korvosa has locked it’s doors to any coming or going. And the Acadamae has locked it’s as well. None are allowed to leave, so I am afraid I must stay and do what I can to stop the madness.
It is a joy to hear of your newfound prestige.
Do not visit, you will not be allowed in the city.
From the Desk of Professor Miranda Cartel
Instructor of Transmutation
4 hours ago