All posts by Elly

Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 7: Down to business

In Captain Kalaes’ office, Jak pulled him aside privately to confirm how much the others could know about the true nature of his and Kalaes’ work for the Citadel. Kalaes informed him in no uncertain terms that they were not to know of the Dark Lanterns’ involvement, then left to get their briefing materials.  When he returned, he filled them in on their mission: a journey to the mountains northwest of Graywall, to retrieve another piece of the Ashen Crown under the ancient Dhakaani monument known as the Six Kings.  They were to join up with a Kech Volaar dirgesinger named Yeraa, the leader of an expeditionary force whose first wave had tried and failed to retrieve the crown fragment now in the party’s possession.  Amongst her number was a changeling named Tik, a Dark Lantern infiltrating Yeraa’s unit undercover as a hobgoblin warrior.  The party was given two warnings: first, that members of a rival kech were pursuing Yeraa’s party, and were to be considered enemies who cannot gain a piece of the crown at any cost…and second, that Yeraa intended to “deal with” the party after their work together was done.  Kalaes told the party to sort out what cover story they want in order to approach Yeraa, and Jak was able to convince the party of the merit of Lestok’s idea to present themselves as a Morgrave research expedition.  With that, Kalaes informed them they’d be leaving Sharn in three days, giving them time to prepare, make goodbyes, and tie up loose ends.  Quentin was glad that this would still give them time to meet with Gydd Nephret, the researcher who they had first brought Ashtura’s blade to, and who had told them to return in a couple of days for more information.

Before that meeting, however, the party found themselves with a free afternoon, and they parted ways.  Kayde was determined to source a bag of holding, and spent his entire afternoon trying to get a lead.  Arguet went to check in with his captain at House Deneith.  Before leaving the Citadel, Jak stopped in to see his old friend Alan, the Dark Lantern quartermaster who handles the “special orders.”  To Jak’s surprise, Alan seemed pleased to see him, and got him measured up for a new suit of shiftweave.  And then, there was Quentin and Lestok…

Lestok, pleased that his idea to impersonate a Morgrave team had gained traction, was quite concerned about getting proper identification papers.  He had the foolproof idea that something to forge papers with could be “borrowed” from the office of his arch-nemesis, Lenard in the alchemy department…and somehow, he was able to convince Quentin of the wisdom of this plan.  Jak seemed bemused, but did not try to discourage them.  The two set out for Morgrave, and hatched a scheme to convince the school that there had been an infestation of Divalian fleas, allowing them to slip into Lenard’s office without suspicion in order to “fumigate.”  The members of the alchemy department bought Lestok’s ruse, helped by Quentin stirring up some dirt particles to look like fleas milling about, and they quickly shut themselves in Lenard’s office with Quentin keeping watch.  Though he was planning on “borrowing” letterhead, Lestok found an even better prize: a Morgrave seal, which he pocketed.  They then considered how to leave without raising suspicion, but not before Lestok pulled a few thumbtacks off the bulletin board and left them on Lenard’s chair.  With a sign in the door and a puff of fumigating gas helped along by Quentin’s magic, the pair boldly left the same way they’d entered the school: through the front door.  When they met up with the party the next day to meet with Professor Nephret, Lestok was eager to share the tale of his success…at which point Jak broke the news that he’d requisitioned a proper forgery at the Citadel, like a responsible agent.  Quentin was a little taken aback that he’d gone to all that trouble for nothing, but Lestok was easily convinced that his little prank was indeed a story for the ages.

When the party met with Gydd Nephret at the appointed place, Jak was alarmed to find her in the company of two Aereni elves, a woman and a man.  The woman introduced herself as Lady Dannae Ulyan, and Jak quickly took the party aside to impress on them the importance of saying nothing, and letting Lady Ulyan do all the talking – after all, Prof. Nephret was supposed to have kept their find a secret.  Everyone agreed, and Lady Ulyan and Prof. Nephret explained that what was now the Ashen Crown was originally an Aereni artifact that she had great interest in collecting.  Lestok was unable to keep all his excitement about some of the tomb’s contents to himself, and while the professor seemed interested in the shrunken head he produced, Lady Ulyan remained unreadable.  Eventually, she offered the party 3000 galifars for Ashtura’s blade, which were refused.  She did not attempt to argue or bargain further.  With that, Jak hastened the meeting’s end, and the party left Prof. Nephret to her studies.  On edge and with his danger senses tingling, Jak informed the party that he was bringing the news of Lady Ulyan straight to Captain Kalaes, and the group parted ways again.

Behind the Scenes

  • Jak levied his Connections edge (King’s Dark Lanterns) into that free suit of shiftweave. Not too shabby, Jak.
  • Lestok and Quentin’s downtime prank was played out as a mini dramatic task! For those unfamiliar, a dramatic task is a type of encounter in which the GM adjudicates that the party has to accrue x successes before y failures. Raises (rolling 4 more above the target number, which is also typically 4) count as multiple successes, and players can use their turns to support another player for a bonus to their own roll. The best part about dramatic tasks though, for me, is the players narration of what and how they do with their skills!

Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 6: The Citadel calls

After a few days of downtime, the party reconnected at Morgrave on Quentin’s urging to try to learn more about the Dhakaani relics they’d found.  Quentin had been put in touch with one Professor Gydd Nephret, and she was very excited by their artifacts.  She welcomed the opportunity to glean more information about them, but said it would take a couple of days, so the party parted ways again.

That night, Jak was at Jonah’s like usual when there was a knock on the door – an Orien courier, looking for him.  His delivery was a letter bearing the seal of the King’s Citadel.  As Jonah gave the courier a copper for his troubles, Jak eagerly opened it to find a summons from one Captain Saj Kalaes.  Though Jak had never known Kalaes personally, he believed that this summons meant he’d been recalled – that the Lanterns had forgiven him.  The summons ordered him to show up at noon tomorrow, and Jak had a good yet slightly restless sleep.

The next day, he went to the Citadel early, hoping to take advantage of a fresh invitation to the facility to check in with his former commander, Kendra Torval.  Unable to get past her secretary – or even to convince him to agree to tell Kendra that Jak had stopped by – it was clear that there was still plenty of bad blood there.  Frustrated but not defeated, Jak made his way to the waiting room outside Captain Kalaes’ office…and started panicking out as the members of his bug-hunting, relic-finding party started trickling in.  Convinced that he’d been outed, or that someone was messing with him, Jak’s paranoia was no match for Kalaes’ stoic secretary, and he urged the party to keep quiet and let him do the talking.  After a few tense minutes, they were finally sent into a small, windowless room, where Captain Kalaes was waiting.

The party received a warm welcome from Kalaes, though Jak’s was on the cooler side, and Kalaes made it very clear that Jak hadn’t been reinstated per se – rather, he’d gotten very lucky, and was getting a probationary second chance thanks to the party’s exploits catching the Citadel’s attention.  Kalaes revealed that one of the artifacts they’d recovered from the tomb under the Cogs was a piece of an ancient Dhakaani relic known as the Ashen Crown.  Tradition dictated that whoever held the Ashen Crown ruled the Dhakaani empire, and the return to the surface world of the inhabitants of the Kech Volaar had caught the Citadel’s attention in a big way.  Breland had determined its best hope for peace would be to support the moderate Kech Volaar in its quest to rule the goblinoid people, and the Citadel had been tasked with returning the Ashen Crown to them to further this end.

The most resistance to Kalaes’ request for the party to find the remaining pieces of the crown came from the refugee scholar Quentin, and, surprisingly, the hobgoblin warrior Aruget.  Both attempted to leverage Kalaes into agreeing to do something for the plight of the poor of the Cogs and High Walls in exchange for their help.  Kalaes made it very clear that this was not within the Citadel’s purview, but eventually offered to speak to the Brelish parliament on their behalf.  Aruget agreed without too many more attempts to bargain, but Quentin remained obstinate and suspicious, and Jak quickly grew frustrated with him.  As Kalaes left the room in order to give the party a chance to discuss the offer, Jak got down to business.  Telling Quentin it was a good offer and that he should take it, Jak eventually resorted to pleading, saying that he would owe Quentin a debt if they could all do this, and Quentin grudgingly agreed.  They called Kalaes back into the room, swore their fealty to Breland, and Kalaes left again to get the materials for their full briefing, leaving the party to wonder what they’d gotten themselves into,…and leaving Quentin with more questions about what Jak’s been hiding from them.

Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 5: The hunt concludes

After Lestok’s new toy (that whistle he was so impressed by) successfully lured the juvenile kruthik to their doom, the remaining beasts didn’t take the bait, and so the only way for the party to complete their contract of exterminating the queen and destroying the nest was to venture forward. They soon found themselves in a massive, gooey, egg-infested cavern full of sticky horrors that would make even the least fastidious adventurer flinch. As the group cautiously trickled into the nest, Jak declared that “last one in gets excoriated!” and dashed ahead of Kayde…and with that, Aruget, Lestok, Quentin, and Jak promptly ran face first into a face full of the kruthik queen’s acid. Aruget deftly soaked up the damage with his shield, Jak nimbly dodged out of the way, but Quentin was burnt, and Lestok took the full force of the attack, suffering burns to his arms, body, and most importantly, his eyebrows, and almost dying in the process. But there was no time to worry about him or his eyebrows, with the queen still on the rampage. 

Thanks to the power of friendship, smart tactics, and not small bit of luck, the party prevailed, culminating with Kayde shadow-shaping into the queen’s body and coming out with her heart in hand – a dramatic yet gross triumph he promptly regretted when he realized how dirty he’d just become. Jak and Quentin tended to Lestok’s wounds, and are pleased to say the gnome will live to fumigate another day. With that, the party set the eggs ablaze, and having collected all the necessary specimens for Morgrave, finally made their way back to the surface.

Back in the Cogs, they reported the destruction of the kruthik nest, and were met with disdain. Did they really do it? Did they actually get all of them? In a worrisome twist, they were informed that if the job was found to not be completed, the ir’Tains would hunt them down. Jak transformed into the uppity dwarf’s face and wished him luck with that, prompting Quentin to de-escalate the situation and get them paid and out of there. 

After a quick visit to Morgrave to drop off kruthik specimens, the party prepared to go their separate ways after a job well done.  They are now moving into several days of downtime, with much to pursue.  Will Jak and Quentin bond over their mutual connections to High Walls?  Will Lestok boast about his exploits to his arch-nemesis, Lenard from the alchemy department?  Will Kayde ever get to that party he’s been boasting about getting invited to?  Will Aruget…well, no one really knows what Aruget does.  Stoic one, that.

Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 4: Looting the tomb, tracking the kruthik

Our intrepid heroes, still in Ashtura’s tomb in assorted states of disrepair, got to the business of patching themselves up thanks to Lestok the eccentric old gnome having been the only one with the presence of mind to have procured healing kits before entering the kruthik lair). Jak threw caution to the wind and let Lestok tend to his wounds, a gamble which paid off when Lestok proved surprisingly adept at it (well, not surprising to him), and though Kayde rudely declined Jak’s “dying” wish to let him inherit his bar tab if he didn’t make it out of the tomb alive, Jak paid it forward and stitched up Kayde and Lestok. 

Their attention then turned to Ashtura himself. The hobgoblin blademark Aruget was determined that they not do anything to desecrate the body of his ancient kin, with Jak catching a rebuke after kicking at the corpse to ensure that the undead was really dead. A cursory examination of the body by the Dhakaani scholar Quentin turned up nothing out of the ordinary. Meanwhile, Kayde strayed to the far end of the tomb and discovered two chests brimming with treasure – carvings, gemstones, a veritable mountain of strange coins, and, much to Lestok’s delight, a small whistle shaped like a bird. The party was faced with a decision: to take the treasure and run, or to finish the job they came for – exterminating a kruthik hive and collecting specimens – and hope the treasure would still be there when they got back. Jak pointed out that he had a reputation for getting the job done, and that that meant something, and the others agreed. Jak removed a handful of gemstones from one chest to guarantee the party wouldn’t leave the tomb empty-handed, and Quentin salvaged a bottle of fire oil before using shape earth to cover the chests with rock, a very clever disguise and deterrent against any opportunistic treasure-hunters who would seek to claim the party’s haul.  

Backtracking out of the tomb through the mysterious room with the pressure plates in it, their only options for going forward were a door with no lock…and down into the kruthik tunnels. Calling on the power of his dragonmark to take on an intangible, shadowy form, Kayde scouted through the door. He found no way to open it, and continued forward to discover another room full of pressure plates, and below the pressure plates, a series of pits full of grinding gears. Curious but focused on the job at hand, he was able to backtrack through the kruthik tunnels to guarantee that the one the party were at would connect further along the path. With nowhere to go but down, the party went down! Jak happily retrieved the net he’d lost to some pesky kruthik earlier in the day, and made chalk marking along the walls to mark the party’s path. Eventually, they came to a larger natural cavern full of kruthik goo…as well as an unnatural cavern that appeared to be the foundations of one of Old Sharn’s towers.

Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 3: Battle in the Tomb

After dispatching four zombies, the party buckled down for epic combat with the undead Dakhaani warrior Ashtura and his guardian wights. After narrowly dodging a killing blow, Jak found himself flying across the stone floor when the hobgoblin blademark Aruget shoved him out of the wight’s reach and took his place in the face of danger. 

Their friendly resident exterminator Lestok tried his best to dispatch the wight with his alchemical concoctions, but the wight was unaffected, and the party’s attempts to reason with, intimidate, and finally belittle Ashtura were met with casual disdain until the Dakhaani scholar Quentin made a particularly obscene gesture that rattled Ashtura to the core. Meanwhile, Lestok and Jak continued to pepper the wights with crossbow bolts, which didn’t pierce their armour but did distract them enough for House Phiarlan’s Kayde and Aruget with his shield dance to land a succession of killing blows – but not before one of the wights’ blades caught Jak across the chest, slashing him open and dealing a near-mortal blow. Kayde caught the business end of Ashtura’s sword shortly after, suffering a minor wound in the process. With the help of his friends, Jak managed to retreat to safety while the others introduced the haughty Ashtura to his doom. 

He kept telling them they wouldn’t have the ashen crown, he kept telling them we wouldn’t have his sword…and maybe he was right. As he died, his sword fell from his hands and shrunk to no bigger than the size of an ornamental dagger. Quentin (and his friends at Morgrave) will be over the moon trying to solve the mysteries of this relic.

In the meantime, Jak badly needs a healing hand, and while Kayde is also injured, the greater indignity was yet another hole in his good shiftweave. As the dust settled and the adrenaline wore off, the party sat in the tomb recovering from their wounds…and they still haven’t done the job they were sent down to the Cogs for in the first place!

Behind the Scenes

  • Getting saddled with two wounds right off the bat was quite alarming as a new player. I honestly thought I was done for!
  • We tried everything to talk to Ashtura, with increasing penalties on each attempt. What finally worked was…definitely amusing, flavour-wise.
  • Aruget using his turn to push Jak to safety was when I knew that this group was something special. If memory serves, this was also his very first session with us, and he chose to be selfless and live up to his backstory as a defender. He’s a good guy.

Introducing the Seekers of the Ashen Crown

In which I introduce the party, and fast-forward to my first actual recap of the campaign.

Bugs. Why did it have to be bugs?

It all started simply enough. Professor Reddick at Morgrave University wanted some samples of kruthik eggs, and hopefully a rare, live, flying kruthik as an even better prize. He sent us down to the Cogs, where the foreman of the ir’Tain foundry revealed that the nest was threatening his workers and thus, his bottom line, while a vassal of Sovereign Host down there was concerned for those same workers as well.

Kruthik. Ugly bastards. Imagine a cockroach the size of a dog, with oversized claws and jaws, and now you’re getting closer to the heart of the matter. But work is work, and our intrepid adventurers-for-hire were better off for it.

The misfits in question

  • Quentin Yandarrl, a Khorovar (half-elf) scholar from the dead nation of Cyre, currently employed by Morgrave University as a researcher specializing in ancient Dhakaani culture. Interested by the prospect of exploring the ruins under the Cogs.
  • Aruget, a House Deneith blademark hired to protect this expedition. Originally a gladiator from Graywall , Aruget has been in Sharn these past six years doing bodyguard and mercenary work.
  • Lestok Morgas, an eccentric gnome artificer who ostensibly works as an exterminator for Morgrave. He just showed up one day, and no one ever bothered to tell him to leave. Lestok is never seen without his trusty gadgets such as the Fumigator 9000.
  • Kayde d’Phiarlan, a scion of House Phiarlan whose talents extend beyond just putting on a good show. Unknown to most, Kayde is a skilled spy, and his house likes him keeping an eye on interesting goings-on in Sharn. Likes: showing off. Dislikes: getting dirty.
  • And last but not least, Jak aka Jack Fenton (that’s me!), a changeling agent of the King’s Dark Lanterns…or at least he was, until he got suspended for dreamlily abuse a few months back. Good friends with Kayde, Jak hopes this job will help him get back on his feet.

The story so far

After accepting the job, the party made their way down to the Cogs. A poor, dark, dirty place, the Cogs are uninviting and dangerous, but its lava flows help power the foundries Sharn depends on. After meeting with a rather surly dwarf at the Tain foundry, and Professor Reddick’s friend concerned for his people, our heroes made their way down into the ruins of Old Sharn.

They quickly found themselves enmeshed in something they didn’t expect: signs of treasure hunters (now deceased), and signs of ancient Dhakaani civilization. From murals to statues, it was plain as day. After dispatching a few kruthik (sadly, no flying ones), they made their way into a strange room with a door with no obvious mechanism at one end, and a series of pressure plates marked with strange symbols in the middle. Taking their cues from some symbols found branded on a scrap of leather, the door soon creaked open, and they made their way into a large tomb of some sort.

While Lestok investigated the strange, multi-armed statue in the middle of the tomb, the others took a casual look around when suddenly, the door slammed shut…and two statues (and several zombies) came to life as a sarcophagus clanged open and an undead Dhakaani warrior climbed out. The fight was on.

Why Savage Worlds? A brief history of SWADE and me

In which I wax poetic about why Savage Eberron is my favourite Eberron. And what the heck is an Eberron, anyways?

If you’ve found your way here, that probably means that you know about Savage Worlds, you know about Eberron, or you have had the pleasure of combining the two already. But in case a piece of the puzzle is missing, consider this the Coles Notes version!

Eberron began life as the winner of a Dungeons & Dragons setting search contest hosted by Wizards of the Coast in the early 00s. Created by game designer Keith Baker, Eberron is a world where magic is wide, motivations are rarely cut and dried, and everyone from the kings and queens of the Five Nations to the lowliest beggar is feeling the effects of a recently ended, hundred-year war that tore the continent of Khorvaire apart. It prides itself on being a great setting for both pulp adventure and noir intrigue, two areas in which Savage Worlds (we’re playing the Adventure Edition, or SWADE for short) excels.

And what is Savage Worlds? It’s a setting-agnostic tabletop roleplaying system, and you can preview the rules for free here. Official Savage Worlds settings include supernatural-infused versions of the Old West and ancient Rome, sci-fi adventures, and strange goings-on in a college town. What does any of this have to do with Eberron, you ask? Well, it just kind of…does. Mechanics like the wild die, bennies, and exploding dice help heroes succeed at seemingly impossible tasks, narrowly cheat death, and even know things they’re not supposed to know. The GM makes you roll that common knowledge check at a -4, but you get a dice explosion? Turns out that rumour you once heard in a tavern while three sheets to the wind was true after all! Top that off with a system of graduated success – and failure – and you get some dice that have the potential to tell stories of heroes who beat the odds by the skin of their teeth…or get into more than they bargained for.

Anyways, like I said in my last post, I stumbled across Savage Worlds courtesy of an LFG on the official Eberron Discord. And while I was anxious about learning a new system at first, having been used to 5e – the freeform character creation was surprisingly hard to wrap my head around – I quickly fell in love with it, and wouldn’t have my Eberron any other way.

Early on in our first campaign together, I started writing detailed, cinematic recaps of our sessions. At first it was just for fun, then I started sharing them at the behest of one of my fellow players. But they garnered a little attention, enough for some people to start asking me when I’d share our adventures for more people to read. So here I am.

Our current campaign is a home conversion of the D&D 4e adventure Seekers of the Ashen Crown, converted to Savage Worlds and tailored to our party by our trusty GM. It starts in media res as I didn’t start my recaps until week three, but don’t worry, I’ll bring you up to speed. 🙂 In my next post, I’ll introduce the party, and from there, the adventure begins!

Nice to meet you!

Hey there! I’m Elly. Or, as some of you may know me in other spaces, TheLostSkeleton.

My love for all things tabletop began in July of 2018, when I found myself playing an impromptu game of Grant Howitt’s Jason Statham’s Big Vacation…and next thing I knew, I had a D&D character sheet in front of me, and my adventure began.

Fast forward to August 2020. I was browsing Discord when I saw an LFG post for something called “Savage Worlds”, and in my favourite setting: Eberron. Something in me clicked; that little voice in my head wouldn’t shut up until I messaged the DM, and Savage Worlds quickly became my favourite system for Eberron adventures. I fell into the role of my party’s unofficial official chronicler, and after posting tales of our adventures on Discord for several months, I was encouraged to branch out and spread the word. So sit back, relax, and I hope you enjoy hearing about our adventures as much as I enjoy being a part of them.