Dragon Age one

The Grand Tourney
why are we here again?

Zathalos and Djuric arrived in Nevarra along with Alistair in search of aid for the Grey Wardens of Ferelden facing a new Blight. Also happening in the capital city of Cumberland is the Grand Tourney which is offering the blacksmithing tool of an ancient dwarven paragon! Not long after disembarking, the heroes were nearly run down in the street by an Orlesian Chevalier, Lord Malecot. The brawl that ensued nearly turned bloody but was interrupted by Warden Kilina, who used her clout to send off Lord Malecot. The heroes have done well- Djuric has made it to the round of 32 in the main event, and Zathalos has delighted the crowd with his trick-shot magic spells. Trouble is brewing on many fronts however- the lost dwarven city of Kal-Sharok has sent delegates to compete, and tensions with the Orzammar dwarves has been only barely kept at bay. An explosion in a bar downtown remains unexplained, and the heroes were summoned late at night to the mansion of the nobleman who is fronting the Tourney to help investigate some insane cultists who have ritually murdered a number of people, and have tried to assassinate Kilina! On their way home to the inn, the heroes were waylaid by these cultists who worship the old gods of Tivinter, namely the dragon Lucasan. Will our heroes be able to unravel these mysteries before more lives are lost?

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The Chantry of the Stilled Tongue
no good deed...

Injured and mana-poor from the fight on Tern street, Zathalos, Djuric, and one of Bann Nicola’s household guards rushed to the headquarters of the Stilled Tongue cultists. Inside they found two heavily armed and armored cultists (ready for a fight, having just been attacked by Captain Braedon and his contingent of Baranti guardsmen). This battle pushed the heroes to the edge and it was a close call, but still no rest for the weary as our heroes wondered where their backup was. A search of the first floor found three dead cultists and a lot of blood in the common room of this filthy house.

The heroes rushed up the stairs fearing the worst and found a beautiful young woman admiring herself in the large room’s many many mirrors. Mother Brianna, an abomination, stilled their swords with her words. The influence of the desire demon even turned the guardsman to her side for a moment, before she struck him down with her claws. She asked for freedom in exchange for the lives of the guardsmen, and managed to seduce Djuric to her cause. Zathalos, overwhelmed and alone and out of mana, agreed to her bargain. Mother Brianna escaped while Zathalos restored the guardsmen to consciousness.

Disappointed in Mother Brianna’s escape but grateful for their lives and being able to prevent two chidren from ending up as mute orphans that night, Braedon invited the heroes to Bann Nicola’s manor for dinner. He also tells them that if they mention that they are friends of the Bann, they should have no problem aquiring rooms at the Gnawed Noble Tavern in the market district of Denerim.

The next morning, they received a visit from Sheila, one of the Bann’s servants, with a formal invitation and the name of a tailor (Ragnar Traken) who was tasked with outfitting the heroes with a dinner suit appropriate for the royal quarter. Djuric balked at such finery, but managed to find a suit that wasn’t too “puffy” for his liking. Dinner was exquisite, guests included Bann Nicola, Captain Braedon, her secretary Bando (a dwarf), and her grandson Adric (who brought a young lady that the Bann clearly frowned upon). Over the course of the meal, which included spiced nug from Orzammar, the heroes learned of the Bann’s good deeds in Denerim. She has been fighting the Cult of the Stilled Tongue for some time, and always takes in the orphans they create to a special school that trains the mute children to be monks for the Chantry. She has championed for the poor and the elves in the alienage of Denerim, and is generally well respected amongst Denerim’s people. She offered the heroes patronage, but they turned it down as they intend to join the ranks of the Grey Wardens. Bann Nicola wished them well and admired their courage for wishing to join the Wardens.

The heroes headed to the temporary headquarters of the Grey Wardens in Denerim the next morning where they met a wisecracking young Warden names Alistair. A few days later, Duncan returned to Denerim and tasked the heroes with accompanying Alistair to Nevarra to attend the Grand Tourney and summon the Nevarran Grey Wardens to Ferelden. The ship leaves in the morning…

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Where Eagles Lair and intro to Denerim
star cross'd lovers?

The heroes travelled north with Azur ar Brosna as caravan guards. They got to know the Avvar and appreciate his humor and skill in battle. In the crossroads town of Elmridge, in the West Hills, they parted ways and spent the night at the Smoking Crow tavern. The next morning Zathalos and Djuric were summoned to the battlefront tent of one Arl Gallagher of House Wulff. He tasked the heroes with finding his daughter, dead or alive, who had vanished from their winter home just days before. The trail lead the heroes (accompanied by the Arl’s son Berchand) into the Frostback mountains, where they bested a red lion and found their trail diverged. The original party with the girl in tow was apparently ambushed and then split into two. The heroes decided to follow the path to the Arl’s suggested lead- Redhold, an Avvar fort not far into the Frostback mountains. On the way they ran across a village decimated by darkspawn, and indeed Redhold was about to find itself beseiged. The heroes were compelled to help protect Redhold through the night by Thane Owyne, a deed for which they will be remembered with honor in Redhold. A large darkspawn army and a blighted bareskarn later, the heroes lasted through the night and were able to continue their pursuit of the Arl’s daughter the next morning with help from Avvar hunters. During the stay in Redhold, they met up with Azur ar Brosna again, who sheepishly admitted to have run off with the Arl’s daughter (consentually of course!) with whom he has been having an affair.

The heroes made it to the bandit’s lair only to be blocked by an ice bridge. A dramatic fight to the death between Djuric and the bandit leader, Balan Ar Malad, ended with Djuric spectacularly tossing Balan over the edge of the bridge. Unfortunately the bridge cracked from the stress of battle and was not passable. The only other way to the hideout was through a cursed vale, where their enchanted sword, Amor Fin, was able to keep the shadows at bay. The Arl’s daughter was rescued and the Arl was able to be convinced that a match with the Thane of Redhold’s nephew is not such a bad match.

Djuric and Zathalos then made their way to Denerim, where they stumbled upon a grisly set of cultists who kidnap children after making them orphans, and cut their tongues out to offer to the Maker. Guardsmen of House Baranti also arrived on scene and split into two groups to try and stop the cultists from slaying two more families on their “list”. The heroes rushed to the next location on the map and with the help of a Baranti guardsman, stopped the cultists and found this note:

Stilled tongues speak no heresy! Bring to Mother Brianna. End of Cooper Lane.

The pursuit continues…

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A Bone to Pick
damned dog!

Zathalos and Djuric waved goodbye to the Dalish and Eshara and set forth into the Kocari Wilds to finally confront the strange mabari who’s been haunting them since Logerswold. In Dosov, they gained the help of Gyera, the Chasind hunter who first alerted them to the whereabouts of the strange collared dog. The first night of their three day journey through the wilds involved an attack by feral marsh wolves- the difficulty of terrain and surprise of the attack nearly felled two of their company, but they prevailed. The next day brought them deeper into blighted lands and they had to make their way around various darkspawn encampments. A sound of battle brought them to a clearing where a young Avvarrian warrior was surrounded by darkspawn. The team rushed to his aid and they met Azur Ar Brosna, an Avvar scout looking to make peace terms with the Chasind refugees who have been raiding the Frostbacks in search of shelter from the blight. Finally they came to the village that Gyera told them about. Unfortunatly the village was surrounded by a pallisade, so the team decided to keep watch on the movements within for the day and wait for an opportunity to confront the Chieftain and his mabari. Late in the day, the Chieftain and dog, as well as two guards left the village and headed to a strange cave. Finally able to be on the other side of an ambush, the guards were quickly overwhelmed without alerting those inside the cave. Zathalos spared the life of one of the guards, and he was subdued for the time being.

Inside the cave, Zathalos was not so stealthy and the Chieftain came to investigate their position. Curiously, they heard a second voice commanding the Chief to scout their position. Midway through the ensuing combat, the area was hit with magical lightning. Djuric and Azur rushed forward to confront the source of the magic and found a tall human apostate dressed in black robes with long black hair and creepy long fingernails. No sign of the mabari was to be found except that the mage, Blacktail, was wearing a very similar necklace to the collar once seen on the war dog. When cornered by the two warriors, Blacktail cackled and summoned two shades to his side. Azur cried in dismay, for he knew that only magic damage would hurt a shade. This was the toughest battle for our heroes to date, with everyone running into the danger zone on health (Azur fell twice), as you fought against the power of drain life and weakness hexes. Penetating damage meant the best armor was no protection against the potent magic of Blacktail and his shades. Zathalos was praised mightily for his healing abilities- without which all would surely have been lost. The team prevailed in the end and finally brought justice to the evil that had spread from Logerswold to Sothmere.

Further investigation of the cave led them deeper and deeper, all the way to an entrance above the deep roads, teeming with the darkspawn hordes. There, they encountered the Gray Warden Duncan once again, who had also tracked the mabari here and was laying in wait at the entrance to the deep roads to determine what contact the apostate had with the darkspawn. Was he a pawn of the Archdaemon? Duncan invited Djuric and Zathalos to the headquarters of the wardens in Denerim, then made his way with all haste to inform the wardens and the king of his findings. Our heroes made it back to Dosov, and parted company with Gyera. Baba Zorya vowed to speak for the treaty with the Avvars and the team set out north with Azur, at least for now…

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Amber Rage
the cost was too high

Continuing their travels with the Dalish for a time brought Djuric and Zathalos to the town of Sothmere for a festival. The mirth of the event was broken by an attack on the village by feral Chasind warriors, infected by a deadly rabies-like plague. Zathalos was bitten and infected in the fight, along with many townsfolk and a few Dalish. Sheriff Milo’s daughter, Wanda, was also bitten. Ser Villem, the commander of the garrison being built is all for ending the plague by executing the infected. Old Stoyanka, the town’s wise woman interjected and gave the townsfolk hope of a cure. Djuric, Zathalos, and Eshara set out to find the shadowmoss to make the cure. Along the way into the Kocari Wilds, they discovered another town decimated by the “amber rage” – Wichford- where they make the hard choice to put a local cordwain out of his misery and save him from turning into one of the enraged. The disease is ancient- not seen since the first blight. The victims have only days before they become enraged, and live only a few days after that.

In the wilds, the heroes encountered Branik, the trapper, who relayed that the Chasind seemed nervous and moving north in droves, but pointed them to a nearby village to stable their horses. They headed to Dosov and met Baba Zorya, the town’s elder. They left the horses in good care and continued to follow the enchanted raven into the wilds. When the raven stopped, dead, the heroes set to work luring the firesprites to their location with a foul brew. After a brief combat encounter with a large swamp crab, the firesprites arrived and led our heroes to their cave. As things turned out, the heroes slayed the guardian snake, which happened to be the source of shadowmoss (and food) for the last tribe of firesprites. The heroes chose to only fill half of Stoyanka’s bag, rather than exterminate an entire species. They rushed back through the swamp to hopefully make a cure in time. On the way they met Gyera, a Chasind hunter who was tracking down the infected ragers when his party was ambushed by their prey. Zathalos and Djuric managed to slay the remaining ragers and heal Gyera enough to bring him back to Dosov. Gyera relays information that peaks the interest of our heroes- a strange black dog has been accompanying the cheiftain of the tribe where the rage first manifested- could this be the same mabari that has hounded their steps since Logerswold? They promised to be back with more information about the cure and the amber rage disease and hurried back to Sothmere. Another knight from a town infected by the amber rage stops them and pleads for the shadowmoss to save their town as well.

The heroes arrived in town just in time to stop Ser Villem’s men from executing the infected. Unfortunately, Old Stoyanka was only able to make enough to cure 10 people. The heroes decide that those who risked themselves to find the cure were to benefit first (saving Zathalos and the two Dalish) and that the remainder go to the youngest of the two infected towns.

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Trouble in Vintiver pt 3
resolution

Our heroes made it to Vintiver after battling their way through the Brecilian forest. When they arrived, they found a town in chaos battling Elgar’nanlen’s blighted army of bloodcrows and revengers. Zathalos and Djuric arrived just as the blacksmith and Delia fell to Elgar’nanlen, who made a beeline for Zathalos and the silver Link of Rage he was carrying. The abomination was finally slain after a brutal fight and the elves under his spell were cured instantly. Unfortunately the heroes were not able to save everyone, including young Delia and the blacksmith Coalan.

Zathalos and Djuric decided to investigate the ruins before the Dalish and Vintiver townsfolk drop off the hidden valley’s only entrance into the canyon. While there, they encountered a Gray Warden who introduced himself as Duncan. He explained that he was investigating the darkspawn rumors and that the blight infected elves were (including the hunter who became the abomination Elgar’nanlen) were under the influence of a rage demon which had been chained in this prison since the time of the first blight. He seemed worried that such old threats were regaining strength and excused himself to continue his travels deeper into blighted areas. On the way out, Djuric noticed a set of large pawprints which could only have been made by a Mabari…

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Trouble in Vintiver pt 2
the thought plickens

Our heroes rush the Dalish woman, unconscious but stable, into town where they are greeted with jeers instead of cheers. Zathalos gets an unfriendly reminder that elves are the underclass, the outsiders, and not welcome here. Taking refuge in the local inn just makes the elf an easy target for the angry mob, led by the blacksmith Coalan. Djuric and Delia manage to talk them down (Delia inadvertently volunteers our heroes for a daunting task), while discovering that there was a recent scuffle between the blacksmith and some Dalish elves.

When Eshara comes to, she relates a chilling tale – the elves have been killed or captured by a possessed elf calling himself Elgar’nanlen. Hoping to win some good will amongst the villagers who have felt the rage of Elgar’nanlen, or at the least, put some miles between themselves and the mob, the party heads to the Brecilian forest to seek him out. An enraged Coalan and his cronies make an impotent attempt to force our heroes off the trail, and they press on with only minor wounds. At the site of the Dalish camp, they are beset by horrific creatures- darkspawn ravagers, elves twisted by the hate and taint of Elgar’nanlen. A brush with near death sends young Delia running back to the safety of the village. Djuric, Zathalos, and Eshara press on, deal with sentries in the form of darkspawn ravens, and animated skeletons, and find the missing Dalish. Sadly, they are too late and Elgar’nanlen has led his army of ravagers to deal with the town of Vintiver once and for all.

It will be a race against time and the dangers of the forest to make it back to Vintiver before the abomination lays waste to the town and its people…

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Trouble in Vintiver

On your way out of the Ruswold valley, you encountered a farm that was disturbingly lacking in people for a harvest. Upon investigation you were attacked by a pack of blight wolves on the prowl for carrion. A gruesome sight in the main farmhouse revealed that the entire household had been murdered by a creature or creatures with claws. A single sigil on the wall was scrawled in blood, but none of the party could read the script. A Dalish woman, near death was found in a nearby barn. Zathalos was able to heal her wounds with his magic, but only time can wake her from her stress-induced coma. You head into the village, to look for help and shelter.

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The Story so Far...
woot! lvl2!

Our intrepid heroes first met on the border of the Korcari Wilds, answering the call of Arl Neruda (a very grumpy bastard, albeit distracted by darkspawn incursions). Despite the mage initially being swayed by the prospect of more coin, the honorable dwarf refused to kidnap the Arl’s children and led to a deadly confrontation with the Arl’s steward. PCs were nearly overwhelmed by their first encounter with darkspawn (due to bad luck and a misunderstanding of how stunts work). The heroes returned the children and gained the favor of the Arlessa at least.

Another call for adventurers lead our heroes to the town of Logerswold, which was under siege from a rather vicious band of outlaws led by the Gorehand. A perplexing political situation with the local Bann only compounded the issue, and our heroes were left feeling unsettled despite saving the town from Gorehand and a corrupt Bann. They picked up a plucky rogue lass as a companion (Delia, daughter of the local innkeep) for the road to Lothering. Much treasure was looted but the question of a certain missing mabari are keeping Djuric awake at night.

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