We recently started a campaign with a bit of Inca flavor, specifically with terrain approximating Peru and Bolivia surrounding the Atacama desert. Likewise, the important consideration thus far is that the Inca empire collected taxes in the form of civil service labor for things like military campaigns, road building etc. Our player characters are currently serving their civil service duties and have been given the task of being sent out into the jungle to survey an appropriate route for new roads to connect recently conquered cities with the rest of the empire.
All members of our party started at level 1 and are human. Our membership includes a thief (Thori Son of Snori) (That’s me), a cleric of the sun god, a cleric of a more local warrior god (Roscoe Shinkicker), an explorer, and a fighter. (Sorry I don’t have all the PC’s names handy). Teucer is our GM.
The party started at a small village at the end of the road (literally) and was tasked with surveying the route for a new road meant to connect at least 2 of 3 cities recently conquered by the empire. These thee cities were all located generally to the south. The party was initially presented with two choices regarding the route. The more direct path proceeded to the south, following the path of a river. However, this path passed through a relatively large swamp. The other path extended towards the west, skirting the edge of the swamp through the jungle.
The party elected to travel to the east, seeking the (relative) safety of the jungle. The first day’s travels were uneventful, though a trip up a mountainside resulted in the group needing to camp on the high ground overlooking the swamp to the west. The next day, the party continued through the jungle, connecting with another branch of the river and proceeded west to find the first of the three settlements. They were unmolested in their travels and soon came upon a small fishing village. The villagers’ opinion of their annexation by the empire seemed to be somewhere between ambivalent and positive, as they clearly had no ability to resist. The party ingratiated themselves with a local crabber and arranged transportation down-river to the next town. The party asked the crabber to show them how he caught crabs and so he did. He was reasonably successful, catching a small giant crab that came onto the deck and was beaten into submission by the party. It was a tasty lunch.
After pulling the fighter aboard, the party continued down-river without further incident before arriving at the minor city of Inuru. The denizens of Inuru seemed far less excited about their annexation by the empire, and the mayor suggested that the party members camp outside the town rather than seeking lodging at an in. In an effort to smooth over hard feelings, the party offered to join the residents of Inuru in a raid against the Tazloi, a humanoid race that resembles lemurs. The raid would occur in two days, so the party decided to explore the local area in the mean-time.
The party set off for a nearby village named Mon, a short over-land hike over a large hill. On the way up the hill, the party encountered a herd of woolly rhinos, but managed to stay out of their way. Upon reaching the village, it was nearly night-fall. The party crossed another river to get to the village and sent in the thief to sneak around. The fighter decided to follow behind in case he was needed. As it turned out, the village was seemingly abandoned, however Thori found a large hole (burrow) in one of the huts. After retrieving some tools and a jar of beef jerky from the building, the fighter decided that the hole made him uncomfortable, so he set the hut on fire. The pair returned to the party and the group made camp on the other side of the river.
The next day, the party returned to Inuru and spent the day in town. Thori headed to the tavern in order to get some information, the fighter went crabbing again (no, apparently he hadn’t learned his lesson), and the others went shopping (though I have no idea what they thought they’d buy with their combined 5 gp). While the fighter was able to catch a crab (which he ate without sharing), the thief was able to find out that the city contained a sizable population of werejaguars. The party retired to a camp outside the city and camped for the night.
(End Session One)
The next morning, the party joined the residents of Inuru in their raid against the tazloi village. The group set off on several rafts down-river. The fighter decided it was a good time to try his hand at fishing again and ended up getting pulled into the river by his catch (a giant piranha). Fortunately he only ended up getting a bit wet, as one of the clerics pulled him out of the water before he was eaten.
When the group arrived at the tazloi village, the party found out that the tazloi live in tree houses. The Thori and the fighter climbed the trees and dropped a rope to the remaining party members. They cleared two treehouses of their valuables before descending again. The party went first, followed by the fighter and the thief so that they could recover their respective ropes. On the way down, however, the thief slipped and fell to the ground. Landing was a bit much for the thief and he immediately lost consciousness. Roscoe Shinkicker was quick to lend assistance, which probably saved Thori’s life. The fall permaently damaged his back and hips, and he’ll never be able to force march again, but at least he survived his brush with gravity. At the conclusion of the raid, the party was given a generous amount of loot. Their share was approximately 800gp/person.
Upon returning from the raid, with Thori in bad shape, the party decided to spend some time recruiting mercenaries with their money. They ultimately recruited 4 light infantry, 1 heavy infantry, 1 werejaguar (who had 3HD), and a healer. The two clerics and the fighter also upgraded their armor, with Roscoe buying the single set of plate armour that was available, the fighter getting the banded mail that was available, and the other cleric getting the chain maile. After a week, the party decided to head south towards the third town, Sacantipa. The journey was overland, but mostly followed a river. The party was briefly forced away from the river by the terrain and got lost for a while on the way, but managed to arrive in Sacantipa before night-fall.
(End Session 2)
After arriving the city, the party was quick to ask the townspeople about rumors, local details, etc. The learned that a town named Siba on the other side of the river, a few miles to the north (the way they had come) was particularly known for its silver mines. They also learned that Sacantipa was known for its silver jewelry that combined silver from its trade with Siba and gems from the city of Pacanum. The party also learned that recently, sightings of the undead were increasingly common, especially to the north-west towards the mountain pass to Pacanum. Another merchant suggested that trade with Pacanum had been essentially cut off. The party was able to find out from this merchant that this trade disruption had lead to a glut of jewelry and a dearth of gems and were able to purchase quite a bit of jewelry at a discount.
After purchasing this jewelry, the party’s plan was to head towards Pacanum and to see if they could find the source of the undead menace along the way. They hired a guide to take them through the mountain pass, but still managed to get lost. They made camp that night near the exit of the pass. Shortly after the party went to sleep, they were beset by a pair of undead monsters which were quickly dispatched. Quite a bit of electrum was found on the bodies, which was added to the party loot. The next morning, the party continued on to Pacanum and arrived at around 10 am. They found a camp of merchants outside the city and managed to rouse their leader (who was apparently sleeping during the day to avoid the undead). The group of merchants was from further to the west (outside of the empire) and had come to town to trade gems, but had found it mostly abandoned. After a brief conversation, the party allowed them to go back to sleep and decided to begin scouting out the city. Thori and the two clerics made their way through the city block-by-block, checking out each of the buildings. Mostly they found abandoned buildings but in some, they found undead monsters, while in others they found living survivors. They marked the buildings with the undead and instructed the survivors to meet at the merchant’s camp in the late afternoon. Interestingly, it seemed that the abandoned buildings had already been ransacked, leaving nothing for the adventurers to take. However, there were some valuables in the temples. Obviously the clerics weren’t really up for the Thori taking anything from the temples, but he was able to take two ornate swords from the Earth mother’s temple (though Roscoe made him leave 3 maces).
After completing their survey of the city, the party convened at the camp along with the denizens of the city and the merchants. It was decided that they would burn the buildings that contained undead to the ground before night-fall, which they did without incident. The citizens offered a feast the next evening in the party’s honor, and so they chose to stay, rest, and learn more about what was going on.
The recovered loot from the previous night’s encounter was sufficient for Thori to reach level 2.
(End session 3)
(Session 4: fighter and cleric of the sun god were absent)
The next day was spent asking about the undead problem in town and selling the jewelry (at a significant profit). The sale lead to sufficient profit to allow the clerics and the explorer to reach level 2 (the fighter missed session 3). Thori chose to go back to the temple in order to take the 3 maces that Roscoe had made him leave behind. In the evening, the party attended the feast in their honor. The residents of the city were mixed in their enthusiasm, but the feast was tasty. Thori was able to hire a 1st level fighter named Sunnari as a henchman (despite his abysmal charisma) at the feast. The party members settled for the night in the home of one of the families in the city.
And that was where the trouble started…
The first encounter of the night consisted of 26 skeletons that managed to batter down the door. Fortunately the doorway provided a limited front and the party was able to destroy them about as fast as they were able to enter the building. The only casualties were Thori and his henchman Sunnari. Sunnari took 6 damage out of his 8 HP, while Thori took 3 damage out of his 7 HP.
The second encounter was more troubling, as the doorway had already been significantly damaged. A little before dawn, 7 wights decided that they’d interrupt our sleep (and thus only the thief had leveled at this point). They made quick work of the remaining barricade, but were held at bay by the mercenaries while the party did their best to kill them (the DM waived the silver/magical weapons only thing). Roscoe stood in the second rank, striking at the creatures with his pole-arm, while the explorer and the thief shot them with bows. Sunnari, the severely injured henchman stayed behind the group.
The battle didn’t start off well and the party was having difficultly landing their shots. Fortunately so did the wights, however soon afterwards they started making their way through the mercenaries one level drain at a time…
After a few rounds, the battle started to look much worse for our adventurers. While 2 of the wights had been destroyed, so had 4 of the mercenaries including the werejaguar. At this point, the henchman and all of the non-combattants decided to try to break through the back wall of the building in order to escape. On the next round, Sunnari, Thori, and the explorer snuck around the side of the building in order to flank the wights. Unfortunately all but one of the mercenaries were killed that round, leaving just the heavy infantryman and Roscoe inside the building.
Fortunately the dice stared working in the party’s favor, and a series of good hits by the party’s archers (Thori and the explorer) and a good hit by Rosco quickly reduced the wight’s number to 2. A quick charge by Sunnari killed another one, and when the last mercenary was killed, Roscoe escaped out the back of the building and formed up with the rest of the party. The final wight charged against the group where Sunnari and Roscoe were braced to receive him, and he was quickly dispatched. The party immediately found new shelter to remain until dawn and then went back to loot the corpses.
They rested for a bit during the day, and managed to level up, with Roscoe and the explorer reaching level 2, and Thori actually reaching level 3. After resting, the party decided to talk to the city’s residents (who apparently thought such attacks were normal)and bought gems with their money. Then they decided that they should GTFO, and left along with the band of merchants that had been camped outside of town, uneventfully returning to the town of Sacantipa. They tried to sell their gems there, but were unable to get a good rate and so they spent the night in the inn before travelling north along the river.
The party decided to check out the town of Siba (which was known for its silver mines) along the way. Reaching the city required that the party descend a series of switch-backs down the side of a ravine. Despite not being members of the empire, the residents seemed quite friendly, all of them offering their homes for the party to spend the night. The party once again attempted to sell their gems, but were again unable to find a good price. With all of their cash tied up in gems, they weren’t able to exploit the city’s silver supply. After accepting one of the citizen’s offer of a place to stay, they learned that each night, a bluish fog descended upon the town and that anybody outside would be killed. The townspeople seemed to think that the fog came from the somewhat-nearby village of frog people (called Bollywogs), but they really weren’t sure. Upon questioning, it was revealed that the fog had been happening for about 30 years.
The next morning, the party continued to question people about the fog. They managed to find a bollywog and asked him about his thoughts about the fog and tried to sell the gems to him (again, not a good price). He suggested that his people survived the fog because they slept underwater and that they thought it came from the mines. He accused the humans of being too greedy and digging too deep. The party also managed to find an older man who used to work the mines (apparently they stopped going in the mines because then they wouldn’t know when it was daylight). He recounted the story of a wizard named Mariakapak who had come to town in order to maximize their extraction of silver. The fog started to occur while he was there and the party found out that he had been murdered. The party bribed the man to take them to his cabin (7 miles up the ravine that the town was located in), which only took about an hour. Upon investigation of the cabin, Thori found an encoded book and a few gold pieces. The party took a quick tour of some nearby silver mines, finding nothing but a dead human body and a living pit viper. The pit viper was dispatched with a single arrow, but otherwise nothing of interest happened. The party decided to post lookouts to see if the fog was coming from the mines.
Unsurprisingly, the fog seemed to be coming from the mines. The fog seemed to descend down-hill through the ravine, with some fog coming from up-river (where there were more mines) and also coming out of the mines that the party was watching. Roscoe tested to see whether his protection from evil spell would keep the fog away as well (which it didn’t). The party members retreated to the cabin and spent the night protected from the fog (apparently it didn’t go into buildings).
The next morning, the party returned to Siba with the encoded book. They found a low-level wizard who suggested that the book was a spell book belonging to a powerful (at least level 6) wizard and that it contained spells about creating magical hybrids. The party asked him if he knew of anybody who would have a better idea and he directed them to his mentor, an enchanter who also lived in town. The party met with him and after assuring him that their purposes were to investigate the fog rather than to use the spells, he explained to them that the spells seemed to largely be ritual magic and that one of the spells seemed to have the purpose of extracting silver from the ground (Which is what Mariakapak was claiming to be doing). The wizard also recounted that not only did the fog start about 30 years ago while Mariakapak was around, but also that the townspeople started to be able to pan silver from the river (in sizable quantities) at that time too, suggesting that Mariakapak was successful in drawing the silver from the ground (from the ore into purified silver nuggets at the surface). The wizard offered to buy the spell book for 1000GP, though he noted that it was worth at least 5000GP. The party declined (for now) and decided to keep the book in case they could find another buyer.