Tilting at Illithids

Our adventure begins with the introduction of our heroes.

Hanos is a Gnome mage and an only child. Upon finding a hidden cache of mystical items, his parents bade him to burn the books (a pattern book and a spell tome). He threw a bundle of something into the fire to appease his parents, but the books he kept and studied, eventually learning the beginnings of magic. The cache also held a signet ring, staff, and robe, each with the emblem of a falcon. Hanos has been sneaking out to nearby villages from his home in Greenhills, particularly in Galena beyond the swamp. Calling himself the “Mystic of Rivershire” (from clues in a ruin text) and announcing that he has come from “beyond the great veil,” the elders there suggested he to go to Citadel to announce himself to the priests.

Angus is a Half Giant raised in Kendric by human parents. Nearly ten feet tall, he can make a living easily merely chopping wood, but he decides to go to Citadel to see what destiny might await him.

Malcolm is a Dwarven explorer (his words) but a highly capable fighter. Raised in Chalice, he grew up to be very friendly and inquisitive. No stranger to seeking knoweldge, he has been going to Citadel for a while with his “questions.”

Xaxthorian (Xax to his friends) is an Illithid priest of Sanguine and one of three priests at Citadel. Concealed head to toe in his priestly garb, Xax, the youngest of the priest, has been assigned to Malcolm to keep him out of trouble with his questions, namely wandering beyond the Forlorn Valley (and actually falling off the world). As a follower of Sanguine, Xax and his brothers have taken an oath never to feast upon flesh not fluid of the sentient but can take nourishment from those close by (as they believe their off-world enlightened brethren do).

On one particular day, Angus arrives at Citadel to ask Xax about destinies. To better guage the warrior’s strength and skill, the two spar in the ruins of Outlook. Hanos and Malcolm both arrive from opposite ends of the valley and are drawn by the sounds of battle.

Since Malcolm was already known by the priest, turns his attention to the newcomer Hanos and his outrageous claims. To show everyone where he was from, Hanos creates an illusion of a fictional city, which everyone is awed by (and that Xax is unable to disprove). Xax’s fellow priests probe for answers, but Hanos is resilient in his “cover.” The priests command Xax to keep the newcomers for the night, the “last born” of the Forlorn Valley.

The elder priests charge Xax to quest for the “Broken Pick of Larnagish,” newly discovered in a mountain crypt, but they must return by nightfall. Finding the door hidden by an illusion, the first corridor was obscured by a levered pit trap. Invoking the name “Sanguine” allowed passage to the second corridor, one filled with pools of light. This trap was less simple, but a light spell on the floor disarmed it effectively.

The tomb itself opened to the name of “Larnagish.” The interior contained a capped well, the pick artifact, and a stone sarcophagus. Malcolm took the pick, but Angus removed the capstone (to Xax’s horror). Seeing only empty space like the night sky below, Hanos lowered himself down the well to discover the underside of the valley… and a yellow-eyed black dragon holding onto it. Whether it was real or not, the screams of Hanos were enough for his friends to pull him up and vacate the tomb.

Back at Citadel, the priesthood reveals to all that the Last Born are being sent off-world to carry “the Will of Sanguine” to places beyond. The Black Drake, a sky ship seen as merely a transport on the river, will wait at Hayden the following sunset for the adventurers. Only Xax seems to suspect that while the quest may ensure they can never return home, there may not be a home to return to much longer.

Both resolved and excited about the prospect of seeing other worlds, each go their own ways for the evening. Hanos goes early to wait in Hayden while the other say goodbyes to loved ones. On his way out, Malcolm discovers a large impression near Citadel, a talon-print that could have only been made by what he imagines a dragon must look like.

CONTINUE READING WITH “At World’s End…”

Session XP: 1250 per player (before 10% bonuses)

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About Kevin A. Ranson

Content Creator, Horror Writer, Film Critic. Heeding a macabre calling listening to "Mother Ghost Nursery Rhymes" in kindergarten, Kevin started writing in grade school and filled countless notebooks with story ideas while touring the Mediterranean in the US Navy. He is the author of The Spooky Chronicles and the vampire thriller series The Matriarch, creator/critic for MovieCrypt.com and "ghost writer" for horror host Grim D. Reaper. WEBFACEBOOKTWITTER
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6 Responses to Tilting at Illithids

  1. KevinR says:

    The title “Titling at Illithids” is of course a reference to the delusional title character of Don Quixote.

    As it became very clear that the persona Hanos had invented for himself (in character) somehow stood up to an Illithid’s interrogation (and some bad die rolls), the title made sense (and for a hilarious exchange of dialogue).

    Hanos may have been so convincing because he truly believes his fictional back story, but can a starting character willingly begin a campaign already insane?

  2. Hanos says:

    Insane is a little harsh, it would imply that I am crazy I do not know what I am doing. When in fact I am well aware of everything I do. Most people just can’t see how truly heroic I am. It was my keen mental abilities that saw through the illusion to find the hidden passage. It was my attunement to the arcane forces that warned us of the spinning floor trap. It was courage that revealed the truth about the world. I ask you would someone who is insane be able to accomplish such great feats? Only a powerful mystic could accomplish such feats. I am a powerful mystic, the powerful in the entire valley. Just ask me.

  3. Angus says:

    Though Angus does not know it he is actually a true giant, a Firbolg to be exact. Though I guess others would mistake him for being a half giant.

  4. Hanos says:

    I am sure there will be many questions in the days to come. Please feel free to learn of the Mystics by going to http://mysticsofrivershire.wordpress.com/

  5. Chris Walden says:

    Didn’t realize you had started.

  6. felix says:

    “can a starting character willingly begin a campaign already insane?”

    you obviously haven’t met some of my regular players…

    Also – it is a gnome, enough said…

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