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BJearles

The Eternal Flame - an AIMhack campaign

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Between school and a whole lot of other crap going on in my life right now, I haven't really gotten to this. I'd like to get the rest of the logs up before posting epilogs, and that might take a bit.

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So, it's looking like I'll finally have some time to finish the last logs. I'm hoping to have them up and the epilogs posted before the end of the week. We'll see how that goes. In the meantime, I have finished the log of session 12 and will be sending it to Nioca shortly.

 

Thank you, everyone, for your patience.

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The log of 13 is away.

 

There were a lot of questions about what all went down in Revossa in sessions 12 and 13, and now I can answer some of those questions.

 

So here's how the situation unfolded from Vyncin's point of view. He was asked, by Riglou, to go to Revossa and deliver a package to Lady Sonja and the rebels. That was why he needed to leave Sactorria so suddenly, and thus was unable to meet with Sarelim. The package consisted of a number of alchemical explosives. The rebels used those explosives to demolish the barracks, killing most of the Actani officers in the city in the process (the party believed that the Eternal Flame did this, but at that point it didn't have that kind of power). Vyncin managed to get into the city through an old smuggler tunnel that the Actani officers had missed. That had put him in the eastern part of the city, inside the rebel base. He spent all of his time in the city there, never venturing into the streets (thus, even if Sarelim had rolled well, he wouldn't have picked up Vyncin's scent). He stayed in the hideout until the next day, at which point the party was already in Actan. The whole situation with the north gate was part of a Sactorrian plot to retake the city. All the rebels had to do was let in a small force of Sactorrians hiding nearby, and then hold the gate until a larger force in route from Sactorria arrived.

 

Admittedly, I made figuring that out pretty hard. Capturing one of the rebels was probably the best bet. However, that didn't go so well the first time, and the party didn't take the second opportunity I gave them.

 

 

Any more questions?

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Hahaha! Wow. Interesting to see all the behind the scenes machinations. I assume the first "opportunity" was when we arrived and the Sactorrians / rebels wiped the floor with us? What was the second opportunity? I figured, based on how badly that first fight went, that we weren't supposed to be fighting, but to find some other thing to do. But I never could figure out what. Still feel sorry for the poor Actanis we failed to help.

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Yeah, the first opportunity was when you arrived in Revossa. The second was at the start of session 13, when you were talking to the captain. You had the opportunity to have the Actani soldiers distract the main force of Sactorrians while you slipped around and attacked the mages. I was hoping that, with the levels that had been missing the first time and some better luck and tactics, you'd be able to thwart them that time. And while the party had been beaten up the session before, Sarelim had also come into possession of about a dozen healing potions. I figured with all of that it would have been possible to take the north gate and save the city.

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Aww. Oh well. It would have nice to participate in one successful fight with Leonere.

 

It's fascinating to the see the variations between what seemed sensible / logical / obvious / possible to the GM versus to the players.

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Yeah, the first opportunity was when you arrived in Revossa. The second was at the start of session 13, when you were talking to the captain. You had the opportunity to have the Actani soldiers distract the main force of Sactorrians while you slipped around and attacked the mages. I was hoping that, with the levels that had been missing the first time and some better luck and tactics, you'd be able to thwart them that time. And while the party had been beaten up the session before, Sarelim had also come into possession of about a dozen healing potions. I figured with all of that it would have been possible to take the north gate and save the city.

Aww. Oh well. It would have nice to participate in one successful fight with Leonere.

 

It's fascinating to the see the variations between what seemed sensible / logical / obvious / possible to the GM versus to the players.

Yeah, it's kinda astounding the difference between GM and player perspective. Although I think what the players did was fairly logical in this case; the Sactorrians routed us AND the Actani army pretty much effortlessly during that first battle. The players had no reason to believe that a second attempt would have gone any better, especially since it seemed we'd have to make do with far fewer soliders.

 

(Plus, we already had one major situation on our hands that was fairly time-sensitive and extremely dangerous; we couldn't afford to burn time and resources on another.)

 

Oh, also, Session 13 log.

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That last session...amazing in so many ways. Hahahahaha! More twists than a pretzel - and almost all of them stemmed from the PCs!

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At long, long, long last, I have epilogs! Sorry it took so long, guys. It turns out that writing good epilogs isn't exactly my strong suit. :(

So, without further to do, here are the private character discussions that took place right after the final session, followed by the actual epilogs. Enjoy.

 

Sarelim and Leonere

 

BJ Earles: To Sarelim: In the small storehouse, you follow Vyncin's scent to the far wall. There, you stumble upon a small button in the floor. Pressing it, a section of wall slides out. You can exit the city from here.

 

Nioca: Sarelim sighs and steps out the secret door, jogging along till he's out of close eyesight of any guards posted on the wall. He then slows to a walk, glancing over his shoulder for Leonere or any other sign of pursuit.

 

BJ Earles: To Leonere: You're sitting in Hemwes's manor. Mentioning something about having many things to arrange, Lord Hemwes leaves you to your thoughts. It's nearly an hour past midnight, and Sarelim is likely still waiting.

 

Triumph: After a few more moments, Leonere composes himself, or at least achieves something resembling composure closely enough that he can talk. Recovering from despair at failing to fulfill a mission given to one by a goddess is not easy. Going to Hemwes, he apologizes again, and explains that Sarelim is probably correct that he and Leonere are or soon will be wanted criminals. He tells Hemwes how to contact his family in Exis, should he need to do so, asks if Hemwes has any last advice before he flees. Then he'll leave town with all possible haste, heading in the direction Sarelim described. He draws on every bit wind he can to speed he passage through the dark city.

 

BJ Earles: Hemwes thanks Leonere for everything, and says that he will do everything in his power to retrieve the sword. Failing that, he may set out to ensure the other seals to the sword are intact and fortify their defenses if necessary. If it comes to that, he says that he would be pleased to have Leonere's assistance once more. With that, he bids Leonere farewell, and advises that if Leonere wishes to leave the island altogether that he should avoid Talsicose and Revossa for the time being. Leonere leaves Hemwes's mansion and speeds though the streets of Actan. He quickly reaches the east gate and finds that it's closed for the night. Fortunately for Leonere, walls rarely prove to be an obstacle for him. He lands on the other side, and starts heading east. It doesn't take long for Sarelim to spot Leonere speeding toward him.

 

Triumph: In the early, pre-dawn hours of morning, trudging along the east road with his lantern, Leonere spots a silhouette that looks familiar up ahead, and quickens his pace.

 

Nioca: Sarelim turns around, waiting for Leonere to catch up. "Glad you made it." He says once Leonere arrives. "I was starting to wonder if you had decided to stay with Hemwes. Or had been caught by the guard. Let's walk and talk, though." Sarelim starts jogging east along the road.

"I was... I was expecting Viatrix to turn on us, but Bandek and Chantico was a surprise. Although one I ought to have seen coming; Chantico's always been a psychopath, and Bandek.... well, he seems friendly, but I guess he really is just a thug for hire. I'd say he gave me something to remember him by," Sarelim points to his face, which has several small cuts, "but these will be gone by sunrise."

Sarelim keeps jogging. "It's a bad situation all around. Even if we had gotten the sword to Hemwes, Gorbus and our former companions know you were working with him, and I with you. They'll probably have Hemwes and everyone who associates him under constant surveillance after what we pulled tonight. Honestly, I still believe the best thing for the sword, and for the island, would be to get the sword far away from here."

 

Triumph: Leonere jogs along with Sarelim and stares ahead into the gloom a while. "I'll admit I'm greatly disappointed by all this. I really thought we'd convinced Bandek and Chantico, at least, to try to negotiate with Vyncin. When they showed their true colors, well, we did our best to keep them from abusing the sword. Thank you for trying. It's all a moot point, now." Leonere sighs bitterly. "The sword is no doubt in Gorbus's hands by now, and there's nothing we can do about it. I've never been a wanted man before...and now I likely can't show my face in Actan without courting death." He chokes back a mixture of anger and sadness, and tries to release it with a long, deep breath.

 

Nioca: "...yeah." Sarelim says in general agreement. "I had made a promise to Vyncin's friend Silis to try to bring this to an end without killing him. Didn't quite work out, did it?"

Sarelim jogs along for a moment in silence. "It may not be entirely moot, though. If we could retrieve the sword... ah, but I'm guessing you'd still want to bring it back to Hemwes, though."

 

Triumph: Leonere cocks his head to the side. "Well, I trust Hemwes. It's okay if you don't; I've certainly met plenty of untrustworthy people since my ship pulled in to Revossa a couple weeks ago, and I wouldn't expect you to have reason to trust him. But a vision from Liea got me involved in this whole sad mess, and Liea directed me to Hemwes."

He muses a few moments. "I suppose, if I were to try to imagine a best-case scenario at this point, we would somehow magically snatch the sword away from Gorbus in the heist of the century and run away with it. Even then...I'm a windmage; I provide the wind that sped ships, not protection for artifacts of doom. I'd communicate with Hemwes, ask for advice how to dispose of the Eternal Flame, but I think you make a good point about the danger of visiting him at this point. The others know too much, which means Gorbus knows it all; neither we nor the sword would want to come anywhere close to Actan."

Leonere looks at Sarelim. "You sounded dead-set on fleeing the island earlier...do you have plan now for stealing the sword back?"

 

Nioca: "Something like that." Sarelim remarks. "What worries me is that, even if Hemwes is trustworthy, the people around him are not. And word of the sword is spreading; everyone on this island is going to want to get their hands on it."

Sarelim smirks. "It's funny. I've known you for less time then almost any of my other acquaintances on this island, and yet you're the only one I trust."

Sarelim then abruptly comes to a stop. "Can I ask a favor?" Sarelim puts his hand to his neck, gently pulling off an amulet that wasn't visible earlier (his Eyeward Amulet). He then sets it and his pack on the ground, reaching into the pack. "I want you to try and divine my location. With a spell, I mean." At the same time, he grips the hilt of the Eternal Flame.

 

Triumph: "Well, as you know, I can...communicate discretely." Leonere manages a tight, tired, half-smile.

"Try to locate you?" Leonere's brow scrunches as he ponders the odd request. "Okay..." He blinks and rubs his eyes, then faces away from Sarelim and attempts the spell. "Now, can I detect you..."

 

BJ Earles: Leonere is able to get Sarelim's exact location. It's much easier than any other time he tried to locate Sarelim.

 

Triumph: "Whoa! You're showing up now." Leonere turns back to face Sarelim. "So...is this about some new trick you've got involving your anti-scrying wards?"

 

Nioca: "No. I was just kinda hoping that the real Eternal Flame was what was warding Vyncin. We'll have to get you a warding charm. Otherwise they'll be able to track us." Sarelim picks up and wears the Eyeward charm again, and resumes jogging. "C'mon. With any luck, we might get off the island before those idiots realize that their "Eternal Flame" is a completely ordinary sword."

 

Triumph: Leonere chokes. "WHAT??? Wait...you HAVE THE SWORD???"

 

Nioca: "Not so loud, Leonere!" Sarelim hisses. "Yes, I do have it. I'm sorry for the deception earlier, but I had to make sure everything was on the level. I didn't know if you had been captured or what had happened when we got separated. And..." Sarelim pauses. "And if I had told you earlier, you would have wanted to inform Hemwes. The fewer people that know I managed to swap the real one for a fake, the better."

 

Triumph: Leonere jogs after Sarelim. In a quieter tone, he asks "You mean it? You really have the Eternal Flame? So...when they were chasing you, you somehow switched the swords, gave the others a look-alike or something?" He whistles softly. "You had to have planned this before we ever confronted Vyncin. ...you're a good deal sharper than I realized."

He thinks. "If you've got real blade...Gorbus will soon realize he holds only ordinary steel, perhaps to his embarrassment." He chuckles. "And Hemwes will find out too. And they'll all guess what happened. I will be open with you: I will communicate about this with Hemwes, and ask his advice. We can't possibly take the sword to him, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't have any advice we could use."

With his initial amazement starting to fade, Leonere continues more thoughtfully. "Now...now I understand your vehemence about getting away from Actan. Yes, for now let's focus on getting away from this island, out of reach, hopefully, of anyone looking for the Eternal Flame. I've only a single gold piece, but I happen to be of a trade where people pay me to ride on their ships." He smiles. "Talsicose and Revossa are out of the question. We could make for Lophniell, or strike out for Evesta. The former is closer, but I understand you all caused trouble there, so I don't know if you're welcome."

 

Nioca: "Heh. I was worried you'd be angry." Sarelim manages a small smile. "Lophniell shouldn't be a problem. You aren't well known there, and I... well, I can disguise myself pretty easily." Sarelim chuckles. Then his expression darkens. "However, I'd hold off on contacting Hemwes just yet. I'd like to at least get some time and distance between us and anything to do with Actan."

 

Triumph: "I think I'm too glad that the sword is safe to be anything but relieved at the moment. That's my mission, the mission I thought was a failure...and now it isn't."

 

Nioca: "Well, the sword isn't safe yet. Let's hustle." Sarelim jogs with Leonere east.

 

 

Bandek, Chantico, and Viatrix

 

BJ Earles: You each get a good night sleep in the guest rooms of Gorbus's mansion. When you awake the next morning, a servant comes to each of your rooms and tells you that Gorbus wants to see you. You all file into the sitting room where Gorbus is waiting. He's holding the Eternal Flame. Tannil the goblin mage, Hariad the dragonborn priestess, and Jarvil the dragonborn bodyguard are also there. None of them look happy.

Gorbus is the first to speak as he holds up the sword. "Someone want to explain to me what this is?"

 

Lilith: I look confused. "It's that flame sword you wanted, right? Somethin' wrong with it?"

 

BJ Earles: Gorbus puts the sword down. "No, it is not. Tannil has informed me that this sword contains no magical properties whatsoever. It's a mundane piece of steel, probably forged right here in Actan."

 

Lilith: I laugh nervously. "Oh man. Oh man, I know what happened. It's a funny story. You're gonna laugh, I promise. See, Sarelim and Leonere ran off with the sword, right? An' it was kinda outta sight for a minute while we were goin' after them. They probably switched it for a fake. Musta had it planned out all along."

"Well, you hired us in the first place to go after that Vyncin guy an' find out what he was after an' who he was workin' for. We did that. So we still get paid for that part, right?"

 

Sarachim: "Wait, wait, wait. Wait. Sarelim swapped the swords? Why are we still talking? We've gotta find him before he gets away!" I start muttering, "Unless he stashed it. . . but no, he'd have recovered it by now, and either way his next move would be to make like Imaunte and disappear forever. . ." my voice rises again, "So we have to find him! And kill him! And do some other creative things to him, which I'll think of on the way!"

 

BJ Earles: Lord Gorbus does not laugh. "I see. Then the other two have the sword. Honestly, I'm not too surprised. We knew something like this might happen when we learned about the sword." He glances briefly at Chantico, then turns and nods to Tannil. Tannil quickly hurries out of the room. "Now, you are right about completing the original mission. You'll be compensated for that. As for the sword, we should be able to track Sarelim and Leonere. As long as they are on Theris, they will not be able to escape my agents."

 

Sarachim: "Huh. Well, that's cool of you. Any chance I could still be one of your agents for the next bit? I've really got my heart set on setting Sarelim on fire, so if I'm gonna be hunting him anyway you might as well pay me for it, y'know?"

 

Lilith: I look at Chantico. "After everythin' that's happened, you're still up for more? Hey, 's your funeral. I'm gettin' on the first boat off this crazy island as soon as I get paid."

 

BJ Earles: "I'm sure that once we have located Sarelim we will be able to capture him without..." At that moment, Tannil walks back into the room. He whispers something in Lord Gorbus's ear. Lord Gorbus says, "Well, that is somewhat troubling. It seems that Sarelim and Leonere are already nearing the border between Actan and Sactorria. They have quite the head start. Given that someone burned the only agent I had remaining in Sactorria, that makes capturing them much more difficult."

 

Sarachim: A long pause follows. "Oh, was that me? I've kinda burned a lot of people in the past week." Gorbus frowns and starts to speak, but I cut him off. "No matter. If you're down an agent, that means you need the Black Widow to pick up the slack!"

"The Black W-"

"That's me. Because I'm a beautiful and deadly insect, and also I killed my first and third husbands."

"Spiders aren't ins-"

"No time! Sarelim's almost escaped!" I I grab a sack of gold from the surprised Tannil as he re-enters the room, then sprint out the door. "Black Widow awaaaaay!"

 

BJ Earles: Gorbus looks surprised as Chantico runs off. Then he turns to Tannil and says, "Remind me to have someone follow her. Discretely."

 

Lilith: I fidget uneasily. "I, uh, I'll just take what I'm owed an' show m'self out. Good doin' business with you. Hope you get things sorted with the sword an' all."

 

 

Epilogs

 

Leonere and Sarelim:

 

Sarelim and Leonere were able to cross the Halinor River and enter Sactorrian territory shortly before open hostilities broke out between the two cities. With so much chaos surrounding Revossa and the northern fortresses of Tels and Uvlion, very few people gave the pair much more than a passing glance. Though the fighting forced their route to be somewhat roundabout, the two made good time arriving in the city of Lophniell. There, they were able to book passage on a boat and left Theris behind to search for a way to once and for all prevent the Eternal Flame from falling into the wrong hands…

 

 

Bandek:

 

Bandek left the island after being paid for his services, in search of a place where his reputation hadn't yet caught up to him. Even though the reward was more money than he'd had in his life, it didn't take him long to find ways to spend it, and soon he was broke again. Within months, he had returned to being a small-time smuggler in another port city. The following year, he was pressed into service by the local army to fight against a rival city-state, and distinguished himself with his reckless courage in battle. His career as a soldier was short-lived, however: he punched out his commanding officer in a drunken argument over a game of chance, and after a flogging and a dishonourable discharge Bandek found himself looking for yet another place to call home...

 

 

Chantico:

 

Chantico chased Sarelim and Leonere all the way to Lophniell. She missed them by a mere matter of hours, and without a way to give chase immediately, she quickly lost their trail.

 

 

Viatrix:

 

Naturally, Viatrix stayed in Actan after completing his mission, and life generally went back to the way it was. His colleagues in the army knew that he had been called to do something for one of the nobles, but none of them knew what. Even when asked, Viatrix never told them. For a time it was like nothing had happened. Then, one day Viatrix received notice that he was to be promoted to the rank of Captain. According to the messenger, a few of the nobles had pulled strings to get him that promotion, and they were very keen to see what he would do for them in the future.

 

 

Hemwes:

 

In a secret meeting of the Actani Council of Lords, the story of the past few days unfolded piece by piece as one witness after another was called to give testimony. Lord Gorbus, Hariad, Viatrix, and Oliera each had their turn before the council, until finally it was time for the most important witness of all. Lord Hemwes took his seat before the assembly of his peers. In the days before, he had been taken into custody. He still had his title and status, but the other lords now had reason to question his loyalty. The fact that he had known of the Eternal Flame, a weapon that could give Actan the upper hand in the struggle against Sactorria, and said nothing was reason enough for many of them to call him a traitor. Still, they had to hear him out. He was their equal under the law.

Lord Hemwes argued his case, explaining the task of protecting the sword that his family had passed down through the generations. He told the story of the ancient kingdom that once covered the island, and why the maker of the sword eventually sealed it away. He told them of the village where the sword was kept, its destruction, and his failed attempts to discover who was behind it. He told them of the man named Vyncin who sought revenge against him for that crime, and the heroic acts of a pair of brave, if unlikely, adventurers and their efforts to get the sword away from Theris.

And when he was done, the fury of the other lords was evident. He was asked many questions, and he answered all of them save two: where were Sarelim and Leonere taking the sword, and where were the other seals?

With the testimony and questioning done, Lord Hemwes was escorted out of the chamber, and the council began its debate over his fate.

Lord Hemwes knew there could only ever be one outcome: execution for the crime of treason. He was proven correct a few hours later.

 

Hemwes chuckled to himself has he walked right out of the gates of Actan. The other lords must have thought him a fool to think that he hadn't made plans for escape. He never really expected them to agree with what he did. That was fine. His duty as a lord of Actan had long been in conflict with his duty to protect the Eternal Flame. Now that he had been sentenced to death and the sword was in the capable hands of another, he was free of both responsibilities.

That didn't mean he could rest though. There were still too many questions going unanswered. If the sword was ever to be truly safe, he would have to find those answers, and he couldn't do that hiding in a back alley in Actan. It was time to find the one responsible for everything that had happened.

 

 

-----

 

Woohoo! It's finally done. :) And now it's time to entertain questions, comments, etc. If anyone has any feedback on the campaign as a whole, I'd love to hear it.

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Excellent, BJ, good job. Thanks for running this campaign, it was a lot of fun. :)

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