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[5e] The Valley of Baron Utherden

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:51 pm
by shesheyan
A low fantasy and political intrigue campaign. It will takes place on the continent of Arkinor in the Kingdom of Oxitane, ruled by King Charles II. All the characters are children of Rodrigue Utherden the youngest son of the current Baron, Cedric Utherden.

_____________________ Approved by the players :

Special Rules Used :
- Slow Natural Healing (dmg 267) + Healer Kit Dependency dmg 266)
- Initiative score (dmg 270)
- Actions : Disarm, Mark, Overrun, Shove Aside, Tumble (dmg 271-272)
- Cleaving Through Creatures (dmg 272)
- Massive Damage (dmg p273).

Characters :
- All characters must be human
- Only the PHB and Sword Coast Adventurers Guide can be used to create characters
- 27 points buy system for the six abilities
- Classes are limited to : Bard, Cleric, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, Wizard
- No Multi-classing or Feats
- Characters receive their Constitution score as first level HPs + Constitution bonus.
- They gain half their HP dice +1 + Const Bonus afterwards
- Milestones will be used instead of XPs.

______________________

Re: [5e] The valley of Baron Utherden

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:37 pm
by shesheyan
The Kingdom of Oxitane

First draft of the Kingdom map. 1/4" = 24 miles.

The King has the fealty of 10 Lords. The Duc Imbrek has the fealty of 6 Lords. Baron Firgberg (north-east) has the fealty 4 Lords. Baron Perpignan (south-east) has the fealty 2 lords. Baron Utherden has the fealty 3 Lords and controls the valley. In principle all have sworn fealty to the King but it's not that simple.

The territory in yellow are Utherden contested lands. Baron Perpignan and Duc Imbrek invaded the land as reparation for Utherden's failure to keep the very important trade route that passes through the Valley open. It was invaded by humanoids. It is no longer safe to travel. Trade goods must now be shipped to other Kingdoms by ship. It is more costly and takes much longer than cutting across the Atalas Mountain range.

The King, a natural ally of Utherden, has secretly sent mercenaries to bolster the Baron's forces. The characters, children of Utherden's youngest son, have participated in the war against the Perpignan and Imberk. This happened before the campaign starts. That is why the characters start at Level 3 and not Level 1.

The role of the characters will be to reopen the trade route by exploring the region and getting rid of the humanoids menace. If they succeed to will each become lord of one the territories controlled by the baron. If they fail the Utherden Barony will be absorbed by Baron Perpignan and Duc Imbrek. If the Duc takes control of the Valley trade route the Kingdom could fall into war and chaos. The characters will have a timeline of one year to reopen the trade route.

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Re: [5e] The valley of Baron Utherden

Posted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:36 pm
by shesheyan
RACES
In this world there are no elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings or other playable character races. It's a human world. Humanoid races such as goblins, orcs, gnolls, lizarfolk and dangerous creatures of all type exist, mostly in the Atalas mountain range.


MIRROR WORLDS
Feywild The Feywild is a mirror world of the material world. Eladrins, gnomes, faeries and similar creatures live there. Feywild creatures love humans. They are always trying to lure them into the Feywild to play with them. This can have dramatic consequences for humans since time passes much slower in the Feywild. One hour in Feywild is equal to one day in the material world.

Shadowfell Is the other mirror world of the material world. Shadar-kai, druegars and similar creatures live there. Shadowfell creatures hate humans. They are always trying to lure them into the Shadowfell to turn them into slaves. This can have dramatic consequences for humans since time passes much slower in the Shadowfell. One hour in Shadowfell is equal to one day in the material world.

Re: [5e] The valley of Baron Utherden

Posted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:37 pm
by shesheyan
DIVINITIES
The pantheon of the kindgom is very simple. It opposes two heterosexual couples.

The Holy Couple (Good): Andalin is the good of Law, Civilisation and Order. Vereline is the goddess of Creativity, Nature and Procreation. The vast majority of people worship the Holy Couple. Both deities are worshipped at the same temple. They don't have individual temples. The Holy couple reside in the Holy Haven.

The Infernal Couple (Evil): Kardanon is the god of Chaos, War and Death. Yerrine is the goddess of Diseases, Decadence and Bad luck. Worshippers of the Infernal couple are few and must hide because they are considered heretics. The temples are hidden, often built underground. These deities are worshipped in individual temples or in a single temple, as a couple. They reside in the Infernal Abyss.

Re: [5e] The valley of Baron Utherden

Posted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:09 pm
by shesheyan
LANGUAGES
Farenc is spoken by the majority. In the South, half the population of the Perpignan barony also speak Berniac. In the North, half the population of the Firgberg barony also speaks Keltane. Berniac and Keltane are pre-unification languages of kingdoms conquered by Charles the first. Since the Utherden barony is located near the humanoid infested Atlas Mountains, characters can also choose to speak: goblin, kobold, hobgoblin or gnoll. The cleric was allowed to learn celestial since he chose Cloistered Scholar as background.


CHARACTERS
The players have chosen the following classes:

- Cleric (Knowledge Domain)
- Rogue (Arcane Trickster)
- Fighter (Arcane Archer)
- Fighter (tba)
- Wizard (tba)

Re: [5e] The Valley of Baron Utherden

Posted: Sat May 18, 2019 12:42 pm
by shesheyan
[edit] We decided mot the use fixed initiative scores. The players want to roll the d20. It's less predictable. [/edit]

SESSION ONE : Investigating the shortage of caravan coming from the North

A few pictures of our first game. I had written a detailed account but it was lost because the forum logged me out before I could press send. Rookie mistake. Next time I'll write it in Word first...

In short, they faced a folkloric creature called an Ijirak. Marched three days in the forest trying to discover why caravans had stopped coming from the North. They fought Dark Ones, a race of degenerate humans who worship the evil god Karadon. Later, they were attacked by a Dark One necromancer who controlled fifteen skeletons, three of which could throw balls of fire. Aquila the female fighter cavalier almost died (unconscious and dying) but was cured during combat by her younger brother Suliman.

A hand written message was found on the body of the necromancer. No one can read it because it is written in abyssal. An injured guard was sent back to the Utherden castle to report on the events while the group decides to march forward towards the first guard tower two days from the current position. Dark Ones are extremely rare in the kingdom. The Utherdens are worried a much larger game is afoot... The group now has 4 guards with them instead of the original 6.

The creatures in this adventure are from the Creature Codex by Kobold Press. I used my BattleTech maps for the combats. I really like the fact that the elevation have drop shadows. It helps understand the 2d layout. It was fun to play D&D on hexagones once again!

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Re: [5e] The Valley of Baron Utherden

Posted: Sun May 19, 2019 12:02 pm
by shesheyan
Because the characters are all members of the same family we rolled their age using 1d8+20.

• Aquila the female fighter is the oldest and heiress of the barony.
• Rory (arcane archer) and Enrick (arcane trickster) are twins.
• Suliman (cleric) is the youngest.

We did not roll for Kahelia the wizard since the player was not with us. Now it seems he will not be with us for the next game. Now I'm thinking she will not be a member of the family but a wizard on loan from the Pradiss Tower of Mages.

Re: [5e] The Valley of Baron Utherden

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 12:04 pm
by shesheyan
The map of the mountain pass. The characters started in their home town at the bottom right, travelling west on the King's Road. In the mountain pass the road follows a gorge created by the DeVilleneuve rapid river. The river is very dangerous and cannot be travelled by boat. The trade road was constructed over 25 years. Bridges had to be built and rock formations had to be removed or tunneled through to create a path for caravans. The elevation of the road rises as it goes deeper in the Atalas Mountains.

The characters are now were the halfling model is located on the map. In two days they will reach the Blue Lake Fort. Their great uncle Ophidias Utherden is the resident ruler of the fortification.

I'm using a 1.5" hexagones = 24 miles. It lets me put more details. And I draw by hand by choice to get away from the computer.

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Re: [5e] The Valley of Baron Utherden

Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:45 pm
by shesheyan
Session #3 May 31th 2019 • Blue Lake Keep

On the road towards the Blue Lake keep the rains becomes more intense as the hours pass. In the middle of the afternoon to heroes decide to find shelter under the rocky ledge of a very large bolder. They are soon attacked by an Orthrus (two-headed dog with a snake tail that has a poisonous bite - creature codex kobold press) After the battle Suliman the cleric is worried. This kind of creature only follows powerful evil masters...

The rain stops an hour later. The heroes resume their march. On the road they meet a trapper and his two sons. The fellows are jovial and offer lodging for the night in their modest dwelling 5 minutes walk into the forest. The evening is joyful and filled with wild hunting tales and music. The adventurers learn that Hurtubise, the trapper, once met the character's grand-father during one of his famous hunting trips. The man claims Cedric Utherden, baron of the region once set foot in his abode! (all the players fails their insight roll so they don't know if it's true. It will be only if it serve my purpose down the road as a DM.)

The next morning the march continues, the clouds are almost gone. The party's spirit rises. In the middle of the afternoon, when there are only about 2 hours left before they arrive at Blue Lake Keep, the road and forest are covered in mist that floats 2 feet of the ground. It is inoffensive but as they continue walking the level of the mist becomes higher until it is above their heads. The heroes can only see 30 feet ahead.

Around 6pm they approach the keep. The mist is less dense in some places. What they can observe is very strange. There is circular line of skeletons standing outside the keep. They are spaced at intervals of 25 feet. Between each pair of skeletons there is a pole with a burning flask of oil at its top. From the roof of the fort the mist cames down the walls and hits the ground like a water fall in slow motion. The gate of the keep is close. No one is standing at the top of the fortification.

The Utherden's determine that it would be impossible for them to survive an attempt to force the skeleton line and rush the door. Denrick (the rogue) reveals that when he was 12 years old he once found the secret passage to the war room of the baron. Inside he viewed maps of all the castles and fortifications of the Utherden family. Denrick spent many night studying these plans. He distinctly remembers that there is a secret passage that lead to the keep’s basement. The entrance to this escape tunnel is located nearby. It is hidden by a secret door carved in the stone of a bolder with three ancient cedar trees growing next to it. [ before each game I give notes to some players - not all. They are free to use them or keep them quiet. ]

Not long after Denrick locates the bolder and finds the secret passage. The air is foul at first since the passage hasn’t been ventilated in decades probably. A few rats flee from the heroes light source. At the end of the tunnel it is a dead end. But an iron ladder leads to the ceiling. Dendrik finds a secret hatch and succeeds in opening it partially. Aquila, the female fighter, takes his place, pushes and the hatch opens completely...

TBC

Re: [5e] The Valley of Baron Utherden

Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:17 pm
by shesheyan
Session #3 May 31th 2019 • Blue Lake Keep (continued)

The trap door leads inside a 20x30 torture chamber. A man is chained to the wall. He is dead. Recently tortured. Once everyone is inside the chamber Dendrick opens the door of the room slowly. It doesn’t make any noise. He peeks at a very large room (40’x60’). The large room has five other doors. There are many blood stains on the flour. Four skeletons are standing guard in the middle of the room. The heroes surprise the skeletons and destroy them in two rounds. They wait to hear if the noise of combat attracts other enemies. None arrive. 



The adventurers (with their four guards) decide to open the North East door. They find the fort’s prison. The cells are filled with ten Utherden guards! This makes no sense. They free the guards. While talking with the sergeant of the guards they learn that Ophidias Utherden (the heroes great-uncle) is a traitor. When the army of undead arrived at the fort two weeks ago he opened the front door and let them in. He claimed that by right of succession he should be the baron. But was denied by the king. Ophidias a made a pact with a necromancer to help him raise an army to take the barony by force. The reason why the trade route was blocked again is finally revealed! 

Ophidias offered to his guards to join him in his battle to take the barony. They refused to follow an old fool who made an alliance with evil necromancer. A battle erupted. Half the guards were killed. The other half were imprisoned. 

Many guards are injured. They are clearly happy to see the sons and daughter of the Utherden family.

The sergeant wants to help restore order in the keep and on the trade route. Suliman uses his divine magic to heal the injured guards. The four heroes now have a small army of fifteen men ready to storm the keep from the inside.

The other doors on his level lead to the chapel, the roman bath, an armory. The guards reequip themselves with the weapons of the armory. They encounter no other enemies. The last room is the storage room. The sergent leads the heroes to a spiral staircase in the South West corner of the storage room. It leads to the main level of the keep. He tells them the floor plan is identical to this level. 



The heroes proceed with cautious up the staircase and land in the kitchen. It is abandoned. fresh produce are rotting on the preparation table. Once again Dendrick opens the door leading out if this room. He sees 10 skeletons standing guards in the middle of the large 20’x40’ room with five other doors.

This time instead of charging in they decide to funnel the skeletons to attack them by passing through the kitchen door. This way they can kill tow skeletons every round. But like all good plans it fails when Rory (the arcane archer) makes a side step and opens the way for a third skeleton to enter the kitchen. The sergeant and tow of his men decide to help and attack. The tide seems to turn. Only five skeletons remain standing.



But Aquila (perception) sees someone opening the door across the large room. The man is dressed in dark robes and starts chanting arcane incantations. A cloud of black smoke with bleu lightning appears on the floor of the kitchen. It grows slowly. A change emerges from the floor. It is a shadow demon! The guards panic. Most of them return to the basement but the sergeant and one guard (pass their moral check) and stay with the heroes.

TBC

Re: [5e] The Valley of Baron Utherden

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:10 pm
by shesheyan
Session #3 May 31th 2019 • Blue Lake Keep (continued)

The shadow demon wreaks havoc in the guards. Aquila and Suliman manage to get his attention. The demon quickly looses hit points. Scared half the guards decide to take the stairs and return to the basement level from which they just came up from. The demon sinks into the floor and proceeds to attack the guards who fled at the lower level. Aquila runs to the rescue of the guards. Rory does the same. Suliman and Kendrick, with the sergent's help, dispatch the remaining skeletons. The demon soon dies.

The heroes regroup. The necromancer who summoned the shadow demon runs away. An epic chase scene ensues up to the roof top. The necromancer uses a web spell in the straits to slow down the adventurers. Aquila is stuck in the web for two rounds. Once they reach the roof top the heroes see the necromancer flying away on a nightmare. Rory shoots a few arrows but misses.

On the roof top the adventurers find a contraption the produces artificial mist in huge quantities. The origin of all the mist in the area. Kendrick finds a way to shut it down. Suddenly Ophidias Utherden erupts from one of the roof towers. « You fools! You destroyed my only chance to became the Baron!» with that he charges the PCs with a two-handed sword in his hands. The PCs try to reason with him but clearly the old man (79) is delusional. He can still fight despite his age. Tragically he is killed by members of his own family. The uncle will be buried in the keep's crypt.

Suliman looks over the battlement and notices that the skeletons who surrounded the keep have disappeared! The source of the trade route blockade has been eliminated. Mission accomplished.

The Utherdens decide to name the sergent temporary regent of the Blue Lake Keep. For his courageous help they give him the title of captain. The man is over joyed. Suliman goes over the keep's books. Despite his flaws Ophidias maintained a tight budget except for superior wine and a few other frivolities. The Utherdens confiscates the man's personnel treasure. Mainly jewelry, gems and coins for a total of 1000 gold pieces. They find no letters or journal that could explain their uncle's behavior...

The next day the Utherdens are ready to leave early in the morning. Instead of returning home they decide to keep traveling towards the valley.

[ I decide the PCs have reach a Milestone. They level up to level 4 ]

TBC

Re: [5e] The Valley of Baron Utherden

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:37 pm
by shesheyan
Session 4 : June 14th 2019

In the middle of the afternoon, while traveling on the trade route, the Utherdens hear sound of clashing weapon coming from the left in the forest. They advance in the woods carefully. A group of Trollkins (human sized troll humanoids) is surrounding a smaller group of Bearfolks (human size brea humanoids). The three bearfolk will not survive much longer. Suliman [Knowledge. Roll 12] says that he remembers vaguely reading a story about the bearfolk. They helped their grand-father when he was young. Needing nothing more Aquila makes her mind and charges too the rescue. The others follow.

The trollkin are defeated. One of them manages to flee. The bearfolk thank the Utherdens. Their leader reveals he his the son of the current clan ruler. The bearfolks need help. The trollkins have erected a siege on front of the clan's mountain cave fortress. The bearfolk managed to get pass the siege early in the morning. But trollkin scouts found them despite their aversion of daylight.

The heroes decide to help them. They return to the clans mountain cave fortress via a secret tunnel. The old bearfolk chieftain is very happy to see the descendants of Utherden. The chieftain explains how in his youth he found the Baron in dire need of help. He and his men had been ambushed by bandits on the road. The baron was injured and hunted like game in the woods. The bearfolk intervened and saved the man. Once healed the Baron gave the chieftain his sword and promised to come to the bearkin's help if they ever needed it. Now is the time for the Utherdens to honor their grand father's promise. Moved by the chieftains story telling skills (Roll = 18) the heroes quickly devise a plan to break the siege. It involves forcing the leader of the trollkins to come to the front and kill him. This should normally break the moral of this troops.

After three attempts on three consecutive nights the heroes manage to create so much chaos that the trollkin shaman leader over extends himself and gets caught in the PCs trap. Once the bearfolks see that they trollkin leader is dead they make «a sortie» and charge towards the blockaders. The morale of the trollkins vanishes and they flee into the woods. Many are killed.

A great feast is organized that night. During a ceremony the bearfolk chieftain takes the long sword the baron gave him a long time ago and gives it back to the Utherdens. Aquila, the fighter, takes the sword. It feels very good in her hands. Great workmanship. During the night Aquila dreams of countless epic battles that took place a long time ago...

The next morning, after heart felt farewells, the Uthedens returns to the trade road and resume their travels towards the valley.

TBC

Re: [5e] The Valley of Baron Utherden

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:59 pm
by shesheyan
Designing Notes:
The characters will soon reach the valley. I've often mentioned to the players that the trade route they are reopening connects two kingdoms. One of which is their kingdom of origin Oxitane. But I never gave them any details about the other Kingdom. I've been looking at several non-human options. Classic LOTR non-human races are out of the question since I told them they don't exist at the start of the campaign and I'm burned out with classic fantasy settings. If I wanted to do that I would run the 5e LOTR by Cubicle 7.

The Dragonborn are a good option. They are structured and often live in remote corners of the world. Smack in the middle of the Atlas Mountain range is a good location for them. I'll go with that. I can't wait to see their faces when the meet the other kingdom's ambassador once they reach the family's castle in the valley. :cool:

Re: [5e] The Valley of Baron Utherden

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:30 pm
by shesheyan
shesheyan wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:59 pm
Designing Notes:
The characters will soon reach the valley. I've often mentioned to the players that the trade route they are reopening connects two kingdoms. One of which is their kingdom of origin Oxitane. But I never gave them any details about the other Kingdom. I've been looking at several non-human options. Classic LOTR non-human races are out of the question since I told them they don't exist at the start of the campaign and I'm burned out with classic fantasy settings. If I wanted to do that I would run the 5e LOTR by Cubicle 7.

The Dragonborn are a good option. They are structured and often live in remote corners of the world. Smack in the middle of the Atlas Mountain range is a good location for them. I'll go with that. I can't wait to see their faces when the meet the other kingdom's ambassador once they reach the family's castle in the valley. :cool:
After some thought I won't be using the Dragonborns as written in the PHB. I want to avoid the confusion of making them a PC race. Instead I'll do a write-up similar to those in the Creature Codex by Kobold Press. I'll call them Dragonkins and will change their appearance to look more human. The breath weapon will be replaced by a sorcerer-like innate elemental casting ability.