Averlae College of Adventure

Chapter 1
The Final Exam Part 1

Storyteller Intro

The heroes, along with the rest of the 3rd year students were summoned to Colini Hall via a posting in the College barracks. Once assembled, Dean Amardadous addressed the students and laid out the groundwork for their ‘final exam.’

It was to be a two part affair. Success in the first part – an excursion to Red Lake to recover some unknown property – would result in a time bonus for the 2nd part, a testing ground in the arena.

The only rules – no magic to travel, no recovering someone else’s item, and no climbing the walls in the arena. With a “the test starts on the ’marrow.” there wasn’t much to go on. Other teachers moved among the students and provided the pre-formed groups with a sigil that would identify the item they were to recover.

The party made some plans to leave right at midnight by paying a riverboat owner, one Johra, a princely sum to sail up the river in the dark. Rowers were brought aboard to push the boat quickly against the current and Johra stayed at the till throughout the long night and following days. Jessyca also paid the man additional funds on top of that, looking for the best journey possible. They arrived at the easternmost junction of the Vinewater, where they were to depart the boat.

They traveled with borrowed horses and used those to disembark and travel quickly along an ill-defined animal trail spotted by the druid.

An assassin vine was spotted during the journey but wisely avoided for fear of 1) it’s unknown abilities and 2) the potential cost in time.

Making it to Red Lake, the party scouted out various sigils until they found their own, while avoiding signs of other people. There they faced the guardians – 2 Fell Drakes, nasty little carrion eating reptiles with limited intelligence. Successful, despite Jessyca taking a nasty bite, the party recovered the bag they were to fetch. To try to gain even more time, they set forth even through the darkness, reaching the river the next morning. Some rest and a bit of luck saw Johra on his return trip who was kind enough to offer them an additional ride on his return home.

Returning to Averlae saw them return the horses and make there way to the Adventurers Guild as quickly as possible to find that they were the first group to return (by a decent margin), thus giving them first access to the Arena portion of the final exam.

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Chapter II
The Final Exam Part II

Storyteller Intro

The heroes, having successfully arrived back in Averlae before any of the other groups, received the benefit of entering the arena for the final test before any other group. A 10 minute advantage over the next group to start – the so-call Donner party, who had taken the party name: The Black Lions (an odd play on Averlae’s Lion heraldry).

The party did some preliminary work to get an idea of what types of things might be in the arena – learning that vast amounts of dirt had been dug up and that some sort of special creature had been secured. Also, some of their practice dummies had been animated by the Wizards Guild to provide opponents.

Dean Amardadous reminded the contestants of some rules and added another: no climbing over the walls that actually separated areas, no directly attacking another student. Getting through the exit first would result in passing. First to do so would get the prize: 1 year paid membership into the Adventurer’s Guild and a 1 year contract with the city.

‘Derrick’ Donner and his cronies cast evil eyes upon the heroes as they entered first.

The first room consisted of a wall, painted to look like primal Chaos that slowly closed in on the players with a Torch lighting one end and darkness at the other. They found a plethora of statues – gods, heroes, monsters, and eventually realized – despite not paying attention in Religion classes – that the solution was in placing the statues of the first 18 children of Smolnar and Bloatha in slots build into the floor in front of the wall. With this puzzle ‘solved’, they moved on to the next room, but before they did the bell rang, letting them know that the Black Lions had entered the arena.

One room after another was solved or conquered – making friendly with the Lynx and avoiding their sleeping kittens, lighting a candelabra as seen in a mirror, finding keys and disarming traps, opening locks, fighting animated training dummies, finding safe trails. They had a slight hiccup when it came to crossing a 10 foot chasm – Jessyca nearly falling to her likely death before quick responses and a lucky toss of a rope to the druid using her hawkwing power allowed the freefall to be slowed. Meanwhile, skeletons on the far end attacked a divided party – with poor results. The Fox (does it have a name!?) killed the last skeleton, setting a theme.

The second to last test involved a creature unfamiliar to the party – and they were quite shocked when Hex’s magics failed. The creature had absorbed his power, eating away at the magical energies. But a quick flurry of blows wounded the creature dearly, allowing the Fox to lunge in and slay it.

Finally, the party ascended a hill and found that they were on the far end of the arena from the exit. A mining cart big enough for six sat upon rails. It was obvious what had to happen. They piled in (without unfortunately checking all the wheels for safety), and pushed off.

The cart slowly gained speed and as it came to the first bend they saw animated training dummies. The dummies attacked the wheels and almost forced the cart off – they couldn’t let them get free attacks in again. More, behind them the Black Lions were getting to the other visible cart on the left side of the arena.

A mixture of frantic combats, ‘riding’ and balancing feats let the companions stay on track and ahead of the Donner party/Black Lions who had taken to firing arrows at the cart in an attempt to dislodge the wheels (or so they would claim later). They came to some swinging blade traps and quick work by the party broke two of them before they passed and a shove of the staff put the other off just enough to squeak through. From there, over a bump, and through the exit, even as the wheels came off the cart and it sparked it’s way towards what was almost a fiery crash.

Finished in first; a year contract with the city was accepted. The way was paved to future glory!.

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Chapter III
The House of Astabari

Storyteller Intro

After winning the contest, the party agreed to sign paperwork so that they would be employed by the city of Averlae for a period of one year. Room, board, membership in the Adventurer’s Guild, and freedom from taxes were included in the deal.

The heroes took the time to wander into the Adventurer’s Guild and, after adding Petruchi Rudess to their ranks to replace Walster, perused the job board there. They were looking for something that would fit their skill level and abilities.

They choose to look for a missing cat. The cat, a black beast by the name of “Smokey” had belonged to the being of one Cecilia Betanali – a human approximately 6 years of age. She, upon meeting the party and hearing of their intentions to capture Smokey and return her to her home, was quiet ready in her praise for their daring. Too, she lured them with gold rewards and a picnic basket filled with tidbits.

However, a quick search of the nearby area revealed little in the way of wayward cats and naught for clues. This task was, perhaps, beyond them.

Too, they encountered and broke up a crime which occurred in broad daylight just outside of the Nobles Market. A dash across the market was followed by flashing swords and flying daggers. And one vicious fox. The main thief, a masked man, took off, seizing something from his victim. He was chased by Brumal, but, after the exchange of a few words, he escaped. They would later realize they’d had an encounter with the Rhymster. The victim, one Melisia Bolocia, indicated that the Rhymster had stolen her family bracelet – a very valuable piece of jewelry made of gold and sapphires.

Upon making the appropriate reports with the constables, they returned to the Guild. Here they awaited the owner of a secondary mission they had seen: one Rivana. However, instead of appearing at the Adventurers Guild as she had indicated on her posting, she sent a runner instead, changing the meeting location to Green Ale on the Sea. They traveled to Lowtown and met with her there. Her request was simple – help her investigate a house in Uptown owed by the wizard Astabari. Her sources had indicated to her that something horrible was happening there, although she was not sure what that was exactly. In return, whatever they came across would serve as their payment. It was an agreeable proposition, and easier then finding a missing cat so they were off.

They found a house with the grounds most overgrown and the neighbors wary. They wondered not how the people of Averlae hadn’t noticed the house and its decaying state, for Jessyca herself was unable to perceive the house.

Inside they found much magical rampant. Solving the puzzle of the house and what had occurred therein occupied as much attention as the battles themselves. In brief, they found several headless skeletons – later realized to be associates of Astabari, perhaps aiding him with an experiment that had gone horribly awry. Foes, as mentioned, began to be a focus – an assortment of homeless animals and demon kind – lemures and even an imp, that seemed to have taken up residence. How such creatures had gotten into the house was revealed when Petruchi made the mistake of stepping through an open portal to the Void. He was rescued by Brumal, but when they returned they brought with them the undead form of Astabari, transformed into a Deathlock and imbued with unholy power from sitting in the Void.

They defeated Astabari and ended his experiment, thus closing the Gate to the Void and returning some semblance of normalcy to the house.

During the investigation of the house it was revealed that Rivana, she who had started this quest, was actually a spirit of some sort, for her body was found leaving her much confused. With Astabari’s (re)death, she faded, hopefully at peace.

Too, they found a deed to the house and, upon conversation, it was decided to utilize that to gain ownership of the property. Using some of the funds from selling off the arcane library they found they paid off the back taxes and took ownership of a leaky, overgrown structure in Uptown. Neighbors promptly hassled them about maintaining their property up to the standard.

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