Ancient History Pt. 1 Aug-Dec 2003
In which the origins of the campaign are revealed

In the city of Arness, in the county of Nent, Count Alron Tarris stood before the motley crew who had responded to his call. He needed people to go and wipe out a horde of kobolds that had infested the nearby iron mine, killing the workers, and that meant using adventurers. They stood in a line before him in the courtyard outside the city hall: Crag Hack, a giant of a half-orc, bristling with muscles and weaponry with a particularly large and mean looking glaive standing beside him. Despite his intimidating appearance, he was polite and proper to anyone he talked to, sometimes even chatty. Jervais, a particularly short and stout man wearing fully plated armor bearing the holy symbols of Heironeous. He seemed reluctant to show his face, keeping his visor down as much as possible. Famish, a lanky man wearing colorful robes, with a faraway dreamy look in his eyes. He seemed very amused by anything and everything he saw. The last in the row was Smoth Harkshire, who was known to Tarris, though he seemed to be trying to hide his identity. A very young boy of about 16, he was wearing very plain working clothes, very different from the nicer clothes of nobility he was used to seeing him in. He had a very determined look on his face, as though he was preparing himself for Tarris to tell him to leave.

The group, after introductions and getting their marching orders, headed north for about 3 days. They located the mine and the small encampment around it – completely empty. The investigated inside, killing kobolds as they went. As they went along, they discovered something disturbing – The kobolds seemed to be acting under specific orders from some higher organization. They were under orders to find some specific artifact called the ‘desecrorb’. Further progress in the mine revealed a shaft that had broken into some kind of underground temple. Investigating further, they were attacked by several kobold zombies, which guarded what could only be described as the desecrorb. It emanated an evil aura, which made everyone uneasy about touching it. Jervais decided that it needed to be studied and dealt with, so he packed it away inside layers of cloth and stuffed it down deep in his pack.

The party encountered no real resistance on trying to leave, until they reached the mouth of the cave, whereupon they were attacked by a small green dragon, who seemed to be waiting for them. They barely managed to overcome it. (did it zombify?)

While travelling back to Arness, they discovered at least one property of the desecrorb – any creatures they killed while the desecrorb was near would be immediately raised as a mindless zombie. The zombies would take no action to harm or hinder them, and they could figure out no real way to command them to do anything.

Once they returned to Arness, they reported the elimination of the kobolds to the Governor. They split for a while to take care of personal business, and when they returned, they all had some news for each other. Jervais felt it his solemn duty to eliminate the danger of the desecrorb, and he thought that the Temple of Heironeous in Nent to the south would be a good starting place for information. Crag Hack seemed to be searching for his brother who had travelled to this area secretly, and figured Nent would be a good place to search. Smoth revealed that his father, a local minor noble, had mysteriously left while they were gone, riding south in the middle of the night, sword bared. Famish, a happy go lucky soul, decided to follow along for no particular reason.

The group trekked southward, along the way dealing with orc raids from the nearby territory of Argan, which was encroaching upon Nent. In a small hamlet on the way, they helped rescue some children who had been taken hostage by the orcs, and were rewarded with some masterwork weapons from a grateful father. A dagger with a cursive engraving of ‘Lily’, and a sword with another flower engraving. They also tracked down and killed an orc leader, Gradak Skullface a large beastly warrior who would surely have done major damage to a lot of the party, except for Famish’s very disturbing Hideous Laughter, which rendered him helpless while the group stabbed him.

Once the group reached Nent, they meandered around for a bit, taking in the sights. Smoth had taken an interest in the arcane arts after observing Famish, so he sought out a local wizarding master known as Ashaurok, who he just barely managed to keep from offending enough to take him on as a student. Jervais spent time in the temple of Heironeus trying to read up on the desecrorb. The group noticed a group of mercenaries who were given a wide berth walking around, and set about to inquire how to gain that same status. Famish was turned away at the door of their base, and managed to offend them mightily, earning a nice beating for himself. However, the group later returned to kill all the people there.

Crag was searching for his brother, who he heard had gotten involved in some kind of criminal organization, so he followed some leads among the city’s unsavory element. The group was following up on one lead, and were ambushed by a group of halfling snipers. They barely managed to survive, and found an odd occurence on one of the bodies. Magical detection found something inside of the man’s hand, but they could not figure out exactly what it was. So, Smoth proceeded to chop off the hand, store it in a solution in a jar, and decided to figure out exactly what was going on with this strange hand.

However, it was not long before disaster arose, and in the middle of the night, undead suddenly began invading the city. Everyone awoke from their sleep and began fighting the skeletons and zombies in the streets. The party fought their way down to the docks, which the undead seemed to be coming from, and arrived there just in time to see a series of black ships sailing out of hte harbor. Smoth looked at the back of the ships, and standing on the deck facing back, he saw his father looking out on the carnage, wearing a suit of black armor with some distinctive skull symbols.