This week we couldn’t play at Gamemasters and, using the NPC Codex to quick effect, generated a duo of 7th level PCs for two of my most regular players. In between playtesting new adventures (while testing new classes and races!) I’ve taken to making “Exploratory Parties”.

I’ve got most of the main continent of Veranthea—Grethadnis, the Fair Lands—mapped out, but only the larger picture. It’s not easy for me to get down into the smaller scale while working out a multitude of global elements (there are two other continents and one of the key themes to the whole setting is maintaining divine balance with a large, active pantheon), so I literally just make things up on the fly. Knowing the history of the continent, I draw out bits and pieces to fill in the area besides. Last night around 4AM, I sketched out a map of the area I felt like expanding and jotted down maybe five notes in total for all the locales (not 5 each, five in all) where I expected things to be happening.

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Naturally, they didn’t go where I expected them to (they never do) and took a westward route out of Cedrazi, the City of Piracy. After felling some dwarven rogues foolish enough to follow them (albeit, disguised as an old wizard and prostitute, it didn’t seem like the paladin and sorcerer were too dangerous) they continued near the southern edges of Rhelspahn Lake. Rolling on the random encounters for plains, I got a result for centaur so that’s what went down; I rolled 2d6, got 11 and just short of a dozen horse-men appeared on the rise as the PCs set down for camp. This actually makes a lot of sense and now the area between Cedrazi and the Red Fist Orcs has some meat in it—specifically, horse-man meat.

Realizing that numbers would probably mean bad things for them, the adventurers successfully negotiated a diplomatic truce, even trading some healing for a quick fording across the riverway. After a peaceful parting, the paladin and sorcerer were ambushed by charda hiding in the lake but quickly did away with the two monstrous four-armed beastmen, dispatching them in short order after enduring dangerous blasts of their freezing bile. The next morning, the pair passed by two settlements decimated by the expansion of the Red Fist Tribe and wisely passed them by, taking cover for the night in a copse of trees not far from the Canyon of the Fallen. For once, nothing tried to kill them while they slept.

Taking potions of spider climb pilfered from the corpses of the dwarven rogues from their first night back on dry land, Alexei and Hitzagei descended the sheer walls of the Canyon of the Fallen, coming to the horizontal again beside one of the dozens of ancient statues that sit in the valley of the entombed dead. After the sorcerer deftly crafted a map of fine make, they entered into the nearest tunnel to explore the area and determine how good of a landing point it might be for the armies of Elleara, should it come to that.

The inside of the canyon’s walls are truly places of antiquity, and some of the markings there are older than even the dead tongues—simply looking upon them with his detect magic and recognizing the markings for what they were (runes of the Nightmare Gods) caused Alexei pain that washed across his body, stabbed his mind and wrenched his heart. Were it not for Hitzagei’s detect evil, they may have met their ends as hounds of Tindalous ambushed them, teleporting to flank and wreck havoc on the adventurers. Were it not for his prodigious divine abilities to swiftly heal himself, the paladin would surely have fallen. Almost felled in a wave of vicious bites and claws, the celestial sorcerer conjured forth a magic circle against evil and the two gravely wounded warriors slowly retreated from the dungeon, ascending the walls outside again and finally leaving the purvey of the dangerous extraplanar canines that almost killed them.

Which is where the session came to a close. Looking forward to seeing what happens with these two and how I fill up Deevyce Town (aside from the Goblin Artificer Technical Institute, of course)!

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