The Search for Song
The Company owns Chernot. If there were no Company there would be no scrip, no economy, no work, no food. If there were no Company, then there would be no mine, and no town to support the mine. If there were no Company, then Chernot would not exist; its people would be hardscrabble farmers and tribesmen trying to coax a living from unliving stone. That is the way of things in the Royaume of the Lady, far from the great city of Taylor and the Queen Percepine, far from civilization and the Mists, on the border of the Chasm, where there are only the mountains and the spaces between them. There is nothing here but the Company. And either you work for the Company, or you are an outsider.
We don't care much for outsiders. They might be spies or saboteurs. They might be sorcerors. They might be fairies. So take your pack and show your face to the light of the guardsmen, spend the night if you must, spend your coppers and wonder at the scrip you're given in change, but move on along. Keep on your way. To the east is Phern, to the west is Lokar. To the north, if you take the pass, is Solem. And to the south? To the south is the Chasm, traveler. Don't you know there's nothing south? Just the gaping maw where nothing can cross. That's where we dump the slag. Beyond that lies Aluren, and that's magic country. If you like magic, you're welcome to join them. If you can cross the Chasm.

Welcome to Chernot. We like it this way.


Chernot is one of the myriad of mining town-provinces nestled in the far southeast of the Royaume of the Lady. It is small, about a thousand or so inhabitants, and it is essentially owned by the Markham Company, which mines and exports emeralds from the surrounding mountains. Within the town, every person of working age is in some way employed either by Markham itself or in support services for the mine. Everyone else is related to the employees.
Given its extreme isolation and the suspicious nature of the Markham Company itself, it is little surprise that Chernot is a quite insular town, despite having three other similar town-provinces within two days' travel through the rugged terrain. It is the general opinion of the townsfolk that the Company provides everything they might need, and for all intents and purposes this is true. Markham imports foodstuffs, textiles, and building materials in exchange for exporting emeralds, and through an elaborate scrip system distributes these to its employees and their families. While the people of Chernot do not commonly use coin, they are familiar with it and its value with relation to company scrip.

The Markham Company is quite profitable, and its owners intend for it to stay that way. They rule the town of Chernot with an iron fist, cracking down on any nonproductive activities and enforcing strict curfews and morality laws. Because of - or perhaps despite - this, there are two taverns and one brothel, operating under the guises of decent establishments during the day. There is little to no crime, but domestic violence is common and largely overlooked. Women are respected due to the gender of the region's patron goddess, but given no special protections and they work as hard in the mines as the men. Most houses have a small shrine to the Lady, and almost every gate or trellis is adorned with climbing roses. There is one church in the town, as well as a shrine to the Elytherius Darkstar.
Emeralds are common in the town, and can be purchased for relatively small amounts of scrip; they are used as everyday decoration and children use the polished stones to play games with. Other gems are a distinct rarity, but owing to a trade agreement with Solem through the northern passes, platinum is a fairly common metal.

Character Creation
~~~~~~~~~~


New information: You are now located in Charn; the field is open for any world-congruent characters.

Below information is for archival purposes only.

Character Generation: Use the old-fashioned "roll 4D6, drop one" method for generating stats, please don't bother with points. You are allowed as many rerolls as you feel are necessary to create your character, but at least one stat had better not be 18.

~~~~~~~~~~


Chernot is your starting town. It is the year 13,023 in the ethereal reckoning; the seventh year of Percepine's reign, Company year 207. It is the season of Rebirth (spring). I recommend that you have lived here for at least five years, or that you are prepared to be regarded with extreme mistrust by most inhabitants. If you plan to be from outside Chernot, please clear it with me first. This is a very remote area, and not likely to be stumbled on by chance.

Races: Within the town, humans, dwarves, and gnomes are the predominant races. Elves, half-elves, and eladrin are not common but would be acceptable; appropriately-themed genasi and wilden are not unfamiliar to the townsfolk and would be two races that might be more acceptable as visiting outsiders. At this point, dragonborn, drow, and Cat People are banned. Devas and tieflings should be cleared with me first.
Classes: If you would like to be a sorceror, swordmage, or bard you will need to discuss this with me, as the arts of Song have not spread to Chernot yet and are viewed with hostility. Wizards, warlocks, and artificers will need to be prepared to be very circumspect, but magic is not as nonexistent in Chernot as it would seem. Clerics, avengers, invokers,and paladins should follow the Lady or an appropriate Elytherius unless cleared with me. Most other classes should be fine.
Background: You work for the Markham Company in some regard (this does not have to be as a miner) and are paid in scrip; you may purchase all of the beginning equipment you need, but then empty your cash reserves and make a note that you have twenty Markhams to spend as you need to. You may purchase weapons and armor: this region of the Royaume has been beleaguered by a kobold problem for the last decade, and most citizens go armed if they must go beyond the town proper.
Religion: Unless your story suggests otherwise, you worship the Lady and are familiar with each of the Nine, as well as any of the Many that are appropriate. Elytherei are still worshiped in some remote regions, well.

Active Quests

  • The Haunted Mine (Active) Plus Spacer
  • The Phoenix Dawn (Active) Plus Spacer
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Finale of the mine
Picking up from last we left off, we still had several tunnels to explore. We found the remaining miner behind a barricaded door that we set on fire. He was the last one on the rope and whatever got out had torn his arm off. We offered him to come along with us to the surface after we checked the remaining tunnels. We slept for the night in the room we'd found the miner in and woke a little more refreshed.

The first tunnel we checked had a large room with a well in the center and runes around the well. The miner explained that this was where they got the water to use in their machines and wash their tools with. Olembe and I very gracefully fell down slippery slope and crashed into the well to examine the runes. We determined they were warding runes used to keep something from getting out the well. Being reckless and foolhardy adventuring types, we decided to disturb the well by dropping a rock in and seeing what happened. This disturbed a water demon who burst out and promptly doused me. Olembe flung acid at it to no avail, Hunter gracefully fell down the slope to join us, Olivan threw a rope down to help us up, and I proceeded to send rays of fire at the demon with a little more success than Olembe's acid. The demon did not take kindly to having beams of fire aimed in its direction and snatched me off the ground. I proceeded to bring down holy wrath to smite the demon which caused it to retreat under water... dragging me with it.

More the fool it. I might have been in his territory but my will persevered ((after a significantly less epic battle than I'd hoped.)) Summoning other creatures of the sea to engage it in battle it was quickly torn apart by several sharks and octopi. I sprung out of the water to return to my companions a little wet but no worse for wear.

We proceeded on and found a very dark room covered in a wet haze. We carefully walked the outside edge of the room and when no immediate danger presented itself proceeded into the center. I found myself secluded, separated from the others, and enclosed in a 10 foot marble room. A voice in my head introduced itself as the Lady and required a sacrifice to be let out. After questioning the voice she revealed herself as Belladonna, the goddess of deceit and betrayal. I demanded proof that she would let herself and she said one of our number had already made his choice and been let out. I carefully thought over my offer and was allowed to leave her prison. Outside I found she had marked me with a chain of metal around my left wrist. Sadly I found the miner was dead with Olembe being the only one outside the room beside a still crazed Lilly.

My heart grows heavy with these traveling companions who so readily throw away the lives of others to further themselves. I kept a close eye on Lilly and gave her my protection. Hunter and Olivan soon were returned, each with a mark of Belladonna chained to their wrist as well. I've seen the girl safely to a temple of the Elytherei where she might be healed and allowed to recover. I am getting ready to retire for the night but I can't help but be suspicious at what the other two promised and when it will come due. I'm sure their chains won't come off without blood.

Of course, neither will mine.
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Epic!
Session Wrap-Up
XP this session: 2000.
Completed Quests: None.
New Quests: The Haunted Mine
Loots: Two black unicorn hides; two ruby unicorn horns worth 2500-3000gp on the black market; two complete unicorn manes and tails; two nightmare hides and eight nightmare hooves. One Lantern of Revealing. Assorted dried, smoked, salted, and otherwise preserved fish. 5,000 GP worth of raw mithril.

---

Several conversations took place on and after the boat ride over from Predex to Shar, giving some members of this party a great deal to consider about the way they have viewed things. I hope you will continue to consider it carefully.

After several days of rest and recuperation in Shar, the party sold their boat for a load of discount mithril and began to head eastward once more. Daithuen, according to Olivan, has gone for a few days to "some kind of retreat in the woods". It is to be presumed that he'll catch up later.
They had planned to catch a mule cart to Corm, where a large number of the people of Shar work as miners, but the evening mule cart in was significantly delayed. How it is supposed to work is that at 7 AM a cart departs Shar and a return cart departs Corm, arriving around 4 PM. By 9 PM there was still no sign of the cart, and it was decided that it must have broken down.

There was some discussion among the party, who determined that they would go and find out what happened in exchange for provisions. What they discovered along the way was that the men had barely escaped the mine with their lives after all the lights went out and things started moving in the darkness. Six miners are missing still, presumed dead, and the mithril mine has been shut down.

Three members of the Phoenix Dawn in Corm: Dale, Lily, and Sharon, had volunteered themselves to go see about the missing miners. A fourth, Brent, stayed behind and has otherwise Not Appeared In This Film. They were glad for some experienced help from the party and agreed to wait a few hours to give them a chance to rest.
Thus rested and equipped, the party descended 300 feet in a wooden cage with a steel bottom to the depths of the mine. Following directions from the Phoenix Dawn, the party bypassed an old side room heading for the main dig site.

They found in the first of a series of empty dig chambers a most unusual encounter: two nightmares working in tandem with a pair of black-and-ruby unicorns. They were dispatched, but not without some losses on the part of the Phoenix Dawn: Dale and Sharon were killed beyond hope of healing, and were buried within the stone of the caverns.
After stripping the equines of their useful parts: nightmare hooves and hides; unicorn horns, hides, manes, and tails; the group reconvened and set out again to uncover more secrets of the mines.

It was noted by a few of the more perceptive members of the party that Lily removed something from around the necks of the other two before they were buried; she appeared to be trying to be stealthy about it.
Session: The Haunted Mine - Saturday, Sep 10 2011 from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM
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July 30 Session Wrap-Up
A great big shout-out to Laura and Maria for watching kids and dinner - thanks again!

XP this session: 2500. I have assigned it on the XP Page.
Completed Quests: Bloody Zenith
---

Upon arriving at the smithy, the party found themselves facing Smith Arvin and his unrepentant apprentice Shown. During the subsequent battle it became evident that the smithy's forge was actually powered by a fire elemental, a curious fact that caused some consternation among a few now-flaming party members.
After defeating the forge and subduing the smith and his apprentice, a brief period of interrogation took place. Hunter Morta's silent and extremely effective questioning of Arvin just before his death revealed a wealth of information regarding the town and the Zenith's activities. Shown also divulged that the priest had kept some paperwork involving the Phoenix Dawn.

The basement of the forge was a treasure trove of items: religious implements of the Lightbringer and of Sekkyro'; masterwork and magical weapons and armor; potions and gems and jewelry. All of it has been swept into a Bag of Holding and tucked away for future study.

The party returned to the Temple of the Light to acquire the aforementioned paperwork: once again led by Hunter's uncanny knowledge of the town and its inner workings, they located a box containing stacks of papers and the catalog of items kept in the treasury.

One more stop was in order: according to Hunter, the halfling woodworker Willem had worked in concert with Redak and Arvin to plan and carry out the raids. Daithuen took the acolyte to visit an old healer woman on the edge of town while the rest of the party went north to seek vengeance. After flushing Willem out of his home and executing him, the party took Willem's wife and child with them to the docks, where they met up with Daithuen and Loywen. Together they boarded the boat Light's Glory, and set sail across the lake.

They arrived in Shar and were greeted by open hostility, which turned quickly to welcome at the news that the Zenith's head had been cut off in Predex. The company was welcomed and fed and watered at the Dog and Pony, which is a quite respectable inn.


You have three days on the boat before you reach the other side of the lake. You are welcome to spend these days in contemplation or conversation. There are many questions that have been raised regarding party members old and new of late, and long days on the water lend themselves well to discussion.
When you arrive in Shar, you will have 48 hours to rest and recover before we pick up. This is a reasonably sized town; it boasts several shops and temples. There is a collective shrine of the Elytherei in the main square. There are also temples of the Lady and the Lightbringer which are well-tended and reasonably free of zealots. You may sell items at 50% of purchase price (go by the book) and buy anything reasonable here. Note that magic items will need to be cleared with me to see whether they are in stock.

I will open a forum thread if you would like to have conversations take place on the forums. Remember that you can roll dice in posts.
Session: Fire and Ice - Saturday, Jul 30 2011 from 3:30 PM to 8:30 PM
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July 17 Session Wrap-Up
Thanks to everyone for making it - and for putting the extra work in to Make Your Own Character Hook for Olembe.

Best quip noted tonight: "Are you carrying any exotic fruits or deities?"

XP this session: 1500. I have assigned it on the XP Page.
NPC's added to NPC Page: Loywen, Zechar
Quests added to Quests Page: Bloody Zenith
---
A newcomer was in the inn's common room, and human at that. He's been tagging along with the party and becoming more interwoven with their dealings at each new turn of events. It appears you've picked up "another stray" from the looks of it. At least this one doesn't have a giant wolf.

Responding to a summons by the High Priest Redak of the Temple of the Lightbringer, the party discovered several things: Firstly, that this was not always a bastion of the Lightbringer, the temple itself having been repurposed from an older Elytherian temple; secondly that Redak is a Grade A slimebag who clearly knows more about the raid on the inn than he is letting on. Given that he's letting on that it must have been miraculously inflicted divine justice, that's not saying so much.
He is absolutely convinced, as are the majority of the townsfolk the party have encountered, that the Phoenix Dawn are a hotbed of serpent-worshiping forces of darkness. Given the source, this conviction may be somewhat suspect.

Following a trail of suspiciously busy acolytes, the party was able to spend a lovely afternoon interrogating on the high seas and confirm that Redak was in fact part of the raiding party, which on closer examination was neither divine nor miraculous. They gathered their things from the inn and then returned to the temple after dusk to participate in Vespers before having a private chat with the High Priest.

At the conclusion of negotiations, Redak unabashedly confessed that the town is in the grip of the Zenith and that he is working on the orders of the Zenith rather than the Lightbearers themselves. He also had some very unkind things to say about the Lady, which wouldn't do to repeat in polite company. He refused to disclose who was in the raiding party but did report that they retrieved artifacts relating to the worship of Sekkyro' from the wrecked inn and that the blacksmith and his apprentice are busy "taking care" of these.

For his honesty, he got a relatively quick death, along with a dagger in his heart for good measure. This revealed a number of things to the party, although whether Hunter is going to explain how he knows them is up to him. (See Quests section, header "Bloody Zenith" for more details on what precisely was revealed.)
Olivan appears to have more grudge than usual against the Zenith, from his handiwork on the priest, but his only explanation is a muttered "They killed her."

After locating the other acolyte, a young (14-15 human equivalent) elven girl by the name of Loywen, it was quickly determined that while she may have participated in the raid, she was not exactly volunteering to do so. She appears to have been coerced into her actions and unhappy about her role in the temple. She has been taken into protective custody and promised a place in a real Temple of the Lightbringer soon.

Without wasting time on ransacking the temple or the body of the now-dead High Priest, the party is moving on to the smithy to see what sort of artifacts were recovered. They're hoping to get there before they're all rendered back down to slag.
Session: A Date with the Temple - Sunday, Jul 17 2011 from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
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July 17 Session Wrap-Up
Thanks to everyone for making it - and for putting the extra work in to Make Your Own Character Hook for Olembe.

Best quip noted tonight: "Are you carrying any exotic fruits or deities?"

XP this session: 1500. I have assigned it on the XP Page.
NPC's added to NPC Page: Loywen, Zechar
Quests added to Quests Page: Bloody Zenith
---
A newcomer was in the inn's common room, and human at that. He's been tagging along with the party and becoming more interwoven with their dealings at each new turn of events. It appears you've picked up "another stray" from the looks of it. At least this one doesn't have a giant wolf.

Responding to a summons by the High Priest Redak of the Temple of the Lightbringer, the party discovered several things: Firstly, that this was not always a bastion of the Lightbringer, the temple itself having been repurposed from an older Elytherian temple; secondly that Redak is a Grade A slimebag who clearly knows more about the raid on the inn than he is letting on. Given that he's letting on that it must have been miraculously inflicted divine justice, that's not saying so much.
He is absolutely convinced, as are the majority of the townsfolk the party have encountered, that the Phoenix Dawn are a hotbed of serpent-worshiping forces of darkness. Given the source, this conviction may be somewhat suspect.

Following a trail of suspiciously busy acolytes, the party was able to spend a lovely afternoon interrogating on the high seas and confirm that Redak was in fact part of the raiding party, which on closer examination was neither divine nor miraculous. They gathered their things from the inn and then returned to the temple after dusk to participate in Vespers before having a private chat with the High Priest.

At the conclusion of negotiations, Redak unabashedly confessed that the town is in the grip of the Zenith and that he is working on the orders of the Zenith rather than the Lightbearers themselves. He also had some very unkind things to say about the Lady, which wouldn't do to repeat in polite company. He refused to disclose who was in the raiding party but did report that they retrieved artifacts relating to the worship of Sekkyro' from the wrecked inn and that the blacksmith and his apprentice are busy "taking care" of these.

For his honesty, he got a relatively quick death, along with a dagger in his heart for good measure. This revealed a number of things to the party, although whether Hunter is going to explain how he knows them is up to him. (See Quests section, header "Bloody Zenith" for more details on what precisely was revealed.)
Olivan appears to have more grudge than usual against the Zenith, from his handiwork on the priest, but his only explanation is a muttered "They killed her."

After locating the other acolyte, a young (14-15 human equivalent) elven girl by the name of Loywen, it was quickly determined that while she may have participated in the raid, she was not exactly volunteering to do so. She appears to have been coerced into her actions and unhappy about her role in the temple. She has been taken into protective custody and promised a place in a real Temple of the Lightbringer soon.

Without wasting time on ransacking the temple or the body of the now-dead High Priest, the party is moving on to the smithy to see what sort of artifacts were recovered. They're hoping to get there before they're all rendered back down to slag.
Session: A Date with the Temple - Sunday, Jul 17 2011 from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
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