The Lanvernite Succession

The Lanvernite Succession

The campaign is set in the Realm of Twelve Nations and concerns events in the Monarchy of Lanverness.

Fifteen years ago, Alfred, the King of Lanverness, died suddenly. His grand vizier Bartleby Sax was declared regent, as Alfred’s infant son Roland was too young to assume the throne. But two weeks after Alfred’s death, Roland was kidnapped, never to be seen again. Sax found eighteen of Alfred’s former counselors guilty of the crime, and had them hanged.

After five centuries of peaceful transfer of power, Lanverness found herself with no clear successor to the throne. Sax seized executive power and declared martial law, using the Iron Guard, a newly-created mercenary unit, to enforce his dictates.

In the ensuing years, Sax initiated armed conflicts with a string of adversaries, large and small. To pay his conscripts, he instituted heavy new taxes, which reduced commercial activity, employment, and living standards. He trampled public liberties, rounding up dissenters and trying them in kangaroo courts. Sax forbade the bearing of arms in public without a license, and gave the Iron Guard control of all combat and magic academies. Sax himself lived in luxury but also in paranoia, employing numerous decoys while moving constantly among the string of new palaces he constructed across Lanverness.

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Your story begins....

At the time of Alfred’s death, you lived in Lanverness, as your family had for generations, prospering with the nation in what has since become known as the Great Age of Lanverness. That Age came to a sudden end with the death of Alfred and disappearance of Roland. Convinced of both foul play and Sax’s involvement in it, and fearful of the Iron Guard, you fled with your family to foreign lands.

Although content enough in your new home, you longed for Lanverness and ached for her release from oppression. Over the years you organized meetings of Lanvernite refugees; you wrote letters beseeching foreign support. Your anger at Sax and his minions grew, made only hotter by your own powerlessness.

Time went by, and you focused on your profession, finally achieving first level just weeks ago. Then everything changed. You discovered a strange item in your personal effects: a magical device that displays messages from an unknown sender. When you picked it up, the device read:

Greetings [name] of Lanverness, loyal subject of Exalted King Roland the First! May his name be ever blessed and may his dominion have no end!

It has been many long years since Sax’s treachery. And for many years, we have been in exile, forced from our homeland by the usurper’s foul reign. But the whisperers were right: Roland lives! The child king has been kept safe these long dark years, and now he is a man grown. A man soon to retake his kingdom!

Although he has but modest coin, Roland is rich with the power and love of his people. We, the Olive Council, serve him and aid his return to the throne. Roland needs you now! You must reenter Lanverness and prepare the way for him.

Postscripted are directions to a spot in Smallway, where you will find 1000 gold crowns. That payment, and this device, should convince you that Roland’s call is no hoax. This sending tablet is bound to you—only your hands may operate it. Roland ordered it created for you at great expense. We will use it to contact you from time to time, but know that doing so costs us dearly for every word. Take heed what you read! For safety’s sake, the missives vanish as you peruse them.

Away thee to Smallway, and be ye there by Woden’s Day, but beware! Sax’s agents abound! Keep safe our secrets.

For Roland!

Could it be true? The news was overwhelming. After all this time, Roland lives!

It took all of your willpower not to tell anyone. Quietly settling your affairs, you made your way toward Smallway. Following the directions in the message, you avoided the border checkpoints, hiking through the mountains, trying to stay out of sight. You did some fighting along the way, defeating thieves, thugs and more than a few beasts. There was also time for reflection. Was Roland really alive? Could this all be an elaborate ruse? Could Sax’s operatives be behind it? But you shrugged off your doubts, for now, and pushed on to Smallway.

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Woden's Eve

As directed, you arrived at the outskirts of Smallway on Woden’s Eve. You grew strong during your solitary travels, more experienced, more deadly. You located the hidden spot mentioned in the sending tablet’s message. After careful surveillance, you waited until the moon was high, and dug. As promised, you found 1000 gold crowns. And shortly after midnight, you noticed a soft glow emanating from your knapsack. The sending tablet had been reactivated, and it said:

Queen’s Head Smallway, Woden’s Day Eventide: Suelfred Wymar, Jeremy Stone, Arkon Salt, Elros, Max Ironchest

Tomorrow would be a momentous day.

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Prelude

After a fitful night of sleep outside the town of Smallway, you each woke up with new sense of excitement. You spent Woden’s Day scouting around town, wearing street clothes. You located the Queen’s Head, and as the sun set over the Snowy Mountains you entered.

It was easy enough to recognize each other; everyone else in the place looked like regulars, laughing and slapping backs. You all settled in at a five-seat table and waited for Jeremy Stone, but after an hour he still hadn’t shown up.

Suddenly, the sending tablets activated. Each of you felt the hum, and perceived the glow, even though you’d carefully hidden the tablets inside knapsacks and deep pockets. Elros got up and headed to the outhouse; when he returned, he nodded to Arkon, who did the same. Both tablets had the same message:

James Rathbone, Oak Hollow Lane, Crystal Falls, “Athena arrives”

Although none of you had ever been there, you knew Crystal Falls to be a mining village some 70 miles to the east of Smallway, at the edge of the Keystone Range. Arkon suggested that you split up and meet at a large tree southeast of town, one hour after sunrise. You agreed, left the Queen’s Head one by one, and disappeared into the night.

Early next morning you met at the agreed-upon spot, and suited up in your adventuring gear. When everyone was ready, you struck out along the road.

“There they are!” cried a voice. You looked back toward Smallway. Coming around a bend you saw a squad of soldiers wearing red tunics. They drew weapons and broke into a jog. Behind them a man on a horse yelled at you, “Stop right there! Halt! Halt or you’re all dead!”

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Iron Guard Ambush

Max knew the man on the horse—John Coppersmith, a notorious captain of the Iron Guard. Ignoring Coppersmith’s threats, you moved to engage. You battled the squad of men, wounding and frightening off two of them and killing a third. Seeing his men’s morale crumbling, and under attack by Arkon’s dinosaur Razor, Coppersmith fled the battlefield, cursing your group and his own cowardly troops. Victorious, you questioned the survivors and headed down the road toward Fensedge and Crystal Falls.

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Into the Troggs Mouth

After two days on the road, you approached Fensedge. Not wanting to give John Coppersmith extra witnesses to your presence here, you decided to skirt the town to the north and reconnect with the road on the east. The road you rejoined was not like the one you left: it was untended and overgrown, clearly disused for some time. You followed the track up into the foothills of the Keystone Range.

Toward the end of the day, you spotted an incredible sight: the Troggs Mouth, an enormous tunnel bored straight into side of a mountain. The road continued straight inside, and it was clear that something was living in the tunnel. You decided to retreat some distance and camp for the night.

The next morning, you entered Troggs Mouth. The mouth of the tunnel was inhabited by gnolls and a troll, which you defeated in a furious battle among their tents and belongings. After catching your breath, you readied your light sources and headed into the heart of the mountain.

The tunnel was arrow-straight, twenty feet high and thirty wide. After a third of a mile, you noticed a complex of rooms off to one side. A minotaur burst through a door and charged. You were surprised, but you fought back and dispatched the beast.

Discovering a parallel service tunnel, you continued moving east. After the service tunnel rejoined the main tunnel, you came across the rubble of a major collapse. Fortunately, the footing was secure and the headroom was such that you could continue. You were surprised to discover that the cave-in extended hundreds of feet upward to the sky. You were even more surprised to see the gold-studded nest of what you assumed to be dragon. Not wanting to pick a fight with the owner, you hurried past the nest and out of the Troggs Mouth. The tunnel was only one mile long, but it was not a journey you would relish taking again.

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Crystal Falls

A few miles past Troggs Mouth was the picturesque mining hamlet of Crystal Falls. After stopping at an inn to ask directions, you located James Rathbone’s house at the end of a road above the town.

You knocked on the door. It opened a crack, and a wizened face appeared. Rathbone was suspicious of you until you mentioned the pass phrase “Athena arrives”. He swung the door wide and welcomed you in.

Rathbone told you the story of Roland’s kidnapping, and his minor role in it. He’d been waiting fifteen years for someone to contact him with news of Roland. During his long wait, he’d been making plans.

Rathbone wanted you to assassinate Sax via an elaborate plot, using teleportation and explosive runes. Although you were unlikely to survive the attempt, there was a chance that Sax would die. If it was not successful, at least Rathbone would be able to recruit more assassins to try again later.

Sensing that you didn’t like his plan, Rathbone mentioned an alternative: the Amulet of Kings, an artifact lost many years ago. He didn’t know much else about it, except that it supposedly would give immense power to a true king. He had three ideas about how to get more information about it: the Oracle of Gneiss, the Oaken Library, and an informational spell of his own devising. His spell required five hundred pounds of emerald agate; he already had four hundred pounds, and knew that more could be found at an old dwarven mine, only thirty miles to the west, in the Keystone Range.

Since the Oracle and Library were far away, you decided to seek out the old mine. Rathbone gave you detailed directions to the mine, but he warned you that many dangerous creatures lived in the mountains. He also gave you a tiny vial of oil, to be used in case death should befall any of you on your adventure.

The next morning you bade Rathbone goodbye, and headed into the mountains.

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The Old Dwarven Mine

You followed the stream from Crystal Falls east toward its source in the Keystone Range. From there you used James Rathbone’s directions and your survival sense to keep moving in the right direction. You fought a flight of three griffons, killing two of them. After two days, you finally reached the old dwarven mine.

You approached across an open field and dismounted. Readying weapons, you entered the mine with Max in the lead. The tunnel lead straight into the mountain, but there was an intersection only a few yards inside. Max entered the intersection and was immediately attacked from both sides by ogres wielding greatclubs.

Max was knocked unconscious, but the rest of you revived Max and forced the ogres to retreat. More ogres appeared, but once you formed your battle line, it was clear that they were overmatched. You defeated them, and recovered much coin as well as a chest from their lair.

You explored the mine, locating a deep elevator shaft as well as a mined out emerald agate seam. Confident of at least temporary safety, you brought the horses inside and prepared to descend into the mine’s lower reaches.

With Razor guarding the horses above, you discovered a large square room with four tunnels exiting at its corners. One of the tunnels was a short dead end. Choosing another tunnel, you discovered another mined-out emerald agate vein. Returning to explore a third tunnel, you found a live emerald agate face. Even better, a pile of emerald agate lay on the floor. Scooping up one hundred pounds of the stone, you headed back to the bottom of the elevator shaft.

Just as you were preparing to ascend, you noticed two humanoids emerging from the last of the four tunnels. They attacked, swatting at you with their open palms. One of the creatures fixed its eyes upon Max, enthralling him with his gaze. But quick action from the rest of the group destroyed the creatures, turning them into clouds of vapor.

You decided to explore the fourth tunnel, and you found what you’d hoped to find: two coffins. But there was also a larger and more elaborate third coffin. You decided to destroy all three, hoping you wouldn’t have to meet the two creatures’ vampiric overlord. Leaving the coffins in flames, you exited the mine and headed back to Crystal Falls.

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Return to Crystal Falls

After two more days of travel, you arrived at the outskirts of Crystal Falls behind James Rathbone’s house. But where his house should have been, you saw only smoking ruins. There was no sign of Rathbone or anyone else at the site.

Investigating in Crystal Falls, you discovered that the Iron Guard was responsible for burning the house. However, the townsfolk blamed you for attracting the Iron Guard’s attention. You decided to leave town, heading down the switchback road into Newkirk Forest in hopes of catching the Iron Guard unit that burned Rathbone’s house.

After a day of travel, you reached a junction. To the left, the road headed toward Daughterlode and Banfield. To the right, the road led to Fensedge. You decided to camp for the night. As you were tying up your horses, you heard a screech coming from overhead. Through gaps in the canopy, you glimpsed a creature flying overhead. You moved toward the trees and started untying the horses.

Suddenly, you saw it. A green dragon came screaming toward you, belching corrosive green vapor. As it wheeled around for another pass, you drew weapons and readied spells.

The dragon flashed between the trees and pounced on Suelfred. You sprang into action, surrounding the dragon and hacking it down. Crisis averted, you moved off the road and camped among the trees until morning.

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The Oaken Library

The next day you left the road junction and headed for Fensedge. Upon arrival, you asked the townsfolk about the most recent Iron Guard patrol. Their answer suggested that you’d lost them. You decided to abandon the chase and instead pursue one of James Rathbone’s leads, the Oaken Library, in Silverwyn.

You struck out through the farmland until you reached the edges of the settled lands near the Keystone Range. You skirted the mountains for a few days, before finding a road to Hartborough. From there you traveled southeast into Moon Forest, and found the Oaken Library at the southern end of the Wolfswold Mountains.

As you entered the library, a wood elf named Marlon Sunbranch introduced himself and talked a little about the library. You explained that you were looking for information about the Amulet of Kings. He said that the library could help you for 15,000 gold pieces. Looking you over, he offered two other alternatives, missions that you could perform for the library in lieu of their normal research fee. The first mission was to slay the Wolfswold Chimera, which had been terrorizing the elves of Moon Forest. The second option was to carry a bundle of papers to Jonas Fletcher at his cabin in the eastern Keystone Range, and bring back a return package.

You mulled over your options, and then headed back to Hartborough to rest, train and re-equip.

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