After their battle with the Gnolls the PCs head back to the with Marsus and Brill. It takes nearly a day and half to make it back and the PCs are exhausted. Marsus let’s them know that he will have horses and traveling gear for them at the High Tower Tavern in Gravel Creek in the morning, but he will leave them to their own for the evening.
With what little treasure they have the PCs return to the Pub, where Harlac is not overly pleased to see them. He seems to especially dislike Copper.
Turok notices a few elves in the corner of the pub. He wanders over to meet them and have a very uncomfortable interaction. They seem even more off putting than typical elves and they challenge him for traveling with “one of them” referring to Red Feather. They also ask him if he has “felt it yet” and when he says no, they explain that he will.
The PCs sleep at the Horse. In the morning they wake to an empty tavern and travel across Gravel Creek. They eat breakfast at a cart that makes delicious sausage sandwich and then meet Marsus and Brill at the High Tower Tavern.
Marsus has completely outfitted their expedition and they leave immediately.
Traveling east, they leave Gravel Creek behind and make quick pace on the wide and well maintained Caravan road. They landscape is grassy scrub land, with the great peaks of the First Range towering behind them in the west. It is early spring, so peppered across the landscape are wild flowers of every color.
Marsus pushes the pace, and after a few days of travel the finally catch up to the tail end of the last Caravan that passed through Gravel Creek.
The Caravan is massive. It stretches down the road for over three miles, and is nearly a 100 yards across. The Caravan (like all the Caravans that cross the the Continent) is made up of great carts and wagons, some as large as buildings, pulled by all manner of creatures, from horse, to oxen to Elasomers, a huge hairy beast from the plains, that pulls the greatest of the carts. Some of the cart wheels are thicker than a man and taller than the PCs on their horses.
The heroes follow Marsus to the front of the Caravan where a two story ornate wagon leads the caravan. Sentries stand on small balconies all around the great wagon. Marsus hails one and asks to speak with the Caravan master. The sentry blows him off but explains that as long as they stay out of trouble they can travel with the caravan. Marsus and brill head out to take care of some business and leave the PCs to explore the caravans for themselves.
He asks them to meet back for dinner at the Blue Lantern Tavern.
They are in awe of the massive size of the wagons. Some have wheels twice as tall as their horses. Throughout the caravan are smaller wagons as well and all manner of people and culture. They notice a wagon guarded by Xia Gian Warriors from the eastern empires. They are dressed in dark maroon robes and carry spears tipped with steel blades surrounded by a nest of absorbent strings.
While wandering through camp an Elasomer breaks stumbles right in front of them and breaks free from its harness. In its panic it turns and starts racing backwards through the line of wagons. The Heroes immediately race to help. Calling on his Druid affinity for nature Zook is able to get the beast to calm down while Red Feather was able to steer it away from the wagons and out to the open plains where it was recaptured by some guards on horseback.
As night falls the Caravan comes to a stop. The Caravan converts to a village as the wagons roll to a stop. Some of the nicer wagons are lowered off their axles through complex wenches and levers and lower to the ground. Walls slide open, awnings fold out and lanterns are light. The two story wagons become taverns and lodges. Small wagons become street vendors cooking meat skewers and bowls of steaming broth and vegetables.
Zook and Red Feather are drawn into a large drinking hall where the crowd all wants to hear the story of the halfling and the giant native human. Sharesen and Turok are approached by a man wearing a strange loose hood with a symbol on it like flowing water.
They go to with the stranger to an area out in the plains. They quickly find one of the many gullies and follow it out into the dark. In an area of the gully that widens into an area big enough to hold them a crowd of 15 people have gathered. They surround a make shift alter and and a priestess that has already begun a ceremony. She calls on Aurel and holds a small stone above her head with the same symbol on it that the follower was wearing on his hood.
From the stone a slow single drop of water falls into the bowl on the alter. The priestess continues her incantation and a few more drops fall into the bowl. The followers gather in a circle, each wearing their hood to hide their faces. Each takes a sip from the bowl. As it is passed around Turok gets a bad feeling and when the water touches his lips rejects an almost magical impulse to drink. Sharesen sips when it reaches his lips. He is suddenly overwhelmed with a feeling of security and strength like he has never experienced. After the bowl circulates the followers quickly disperse into the night.
Turok and Sharesen return to the caravan and despite hunting around for the rest of the evening are not able to find any clues about the followers of Aurel, nor can they find the priestess. They do find the Blue Lantern tavern and share a meal with Marsus and Brill. His great sizes still fits within the large wagon, turned tavern. Red Feather and Zook make their coming late after having dined with their new friends.
In the morning the heroes head out from the caravan. With a short detour at a exotic pet shop, where Zook tried to purchase or barter for a strange looking cat like animal with spikes all over its back.
They travel quickly, leaving the caravan behind. It takes another three days but they finally make there way to the top of the great escarpment that looks out over the plains. The escarpment is nearly three miles tall, so high that the characters can’t see directly down into the plains below. It is so tall that looking left and right give the impression of the entire world simply ending.
Marsus leads them at sun down to an outlook and points out Elves Reach and the Great Pass. Elves Reach is a large feature of the escarpment that juts out into the plains and was the location where the Elves made their stand to stop the Horde invading the mountains. From the high point they showered the Horde arm with spells, arrows and catapults until they broke and the refugees were able to flee to safety.
As the sun sets they look out over the great plains, a sea of grass and shadows stretching leagues across the world.
This adventure was planned to help teach the players how to open role play. I wanted to show them the Caravans, as these are the primary reason why the world exists and the cities are in the mountains, it was important to show them early. I wanted to give them the opportunity to explore, trade, etc. but had a few adventures planned to help move things along as well.
The scene with Aurel will be a running plot going forward, as Sharesen’s failure to resist to the water will lead to problems for him in the future.
The geography is so important to the overall world that I wanted to highlight it to the players as well. The early adventures won’t happen in the mountains, which is the really the exciting area of the world, so I wanted to show them how large the world is and leave them with a feeling of wanting to come back. Ending the adventure on the edge of the world, looking down into the plains turned out to be a great way to do that.
Go to the next adventure! Endelwyne Campaign – Third Adventure