Shadows of Numilvara

So I finally managed to start and ACKS game. I'm running this one for my wife and daughter. Session 1 was pretty fun, and I look forward to many more.


My wife ran an awesome Eberron game in 3.5. We ran from 1 to 20 with the same characters. TLDR: We saved Eberron, and broke the world*. In the aftermath of that cataclysm, the dwarf wizard Taaranoth decided that high-level magic was stupid and dedicated his life to researching an epic-level spell that would prevent this sort of thing from happening again. He (sort of) succeeded, which is why we're playing ACKS this go round.


We're playing in New Cyre, because due to the divine intervention of Numilvara* that land was relatively unscathed by the Separation. She and her son, Talavosh, are the only two deities openly worshipped within New Cyre. Leadership of the realm is drawn heavily from the descendants of old Cyre, whom she favors. This is a point of contention among human inhabitants of "lesser" birthright.

Drow are the "good" elves of this setting, and civilized folk hold an ancient grudge against the pale-skinned elves. Orcs have mingled their bloodlines freely with humans for over a century, and orcblooded characters are more-or-less fully integrated with human society (their natural aptitudes tend to be most rewarded on the borderlands, fighting off incursions from those treacherous pale elves and other threats).

A warforged who called himself Father was able to devise a method for his people to procreate independently of creation forges; these offspring are known as the "reforged". Rumor has it that divine intervention was involved. The secret of this procreation is guarded carefully, as the warforged creation had been outlawed by humans at the time of separation. Other than this particular secret, trust remains high between reforged populations and the humans of New Cyre.

Changelings have also survived from the pre-Separation world, though not in great numbers. Likewise the Shulassakar (a feathered subrace of yuan-ti that worship the coatls of old). Dwarves are relatively common in New Cyre as well, and a small subset of them retain the knowledge of the arcane arts.

Since this is Eberron, halflings exist and ride dinosaurs. Since the apocalypse literally hollowed out the world, dinosaurs live deep underground. Ergo, halflings live deep underground, and haven't been seen by surface folk in a long time.


Zirenah, Drow Spellsword**. She has a bat familiar (Kyree) and knows the sleep spell. She started the game with only fur armor, but an 18 strength. She fights with two slightly curved short swords.

Kir, Changeling Recaster**. She has a rat familiar (Kifr), and knows Charm Person, Summon Berserkers, and Detect Magic.

Both familiars have taken the healing proficiency multiple times.


*More info upon request. I could gush about that game for ages.

**Classes will be posted in the HR forum eventually. I have a bunch I made for the game starting almost a year ago.


Kir begins the game with information about an underground installation from old (pre-apocalypse) Cyre that hasn't been looted yet. Officially, all that stuff belongs to the (human) government of New Cyre, but she figures she can get there first and grab something of value. She travels to the drow city of Mensan (which is within a day's hike of the dungeon) and asks around at the tavern if anyone's looking for adventure. Kyree volunteers.

On their way to the site, they are startled in the woods by a larger party of adventurers headed the opposite direction. The NPCs brusquely push our heroes out of the path and march on past, ignoring Kir's questions about what they've seen. Of note: the NPCs appear to include a pair of Shieldmaidens of Numilvara, so Kir has assumed that the human government will be sending a recovery expedition in the foreseeable future.

When they arrive at the site, they find what looks like an abandoned mine shaft, complete with rusted out tracks and barely serviceable mine carts. The party notes that these might be helpful for hauling bulky treasures out of the installation in the future.

Inside the installation, they note a collapsed passage that could potentially be cleared by a team of workers, as well as a closed door that they choose to ignore. They follow the main passage until it opens into a very large chamber. As they slowly map the edges of the chamber, they find three large pits, about 5 feet deep, with stairs leading down into them. Alchemical smells emanate from the pits and they can see some vials and reagents of uncertain provenance. They also note several doorways leading off of the main chamber. At one of the doors they hear sounds of eating and speaking (in an unknown language) beyond; they choose to avoid all doors until they fully map the room.

As the party begins to loop back around towards the entrance, they hear muffled cries ahead. Cautiously, they continue forward, and see what appears to be a rotting counter/bar on the wall ahead of them. They walk around to look behind and discover a gang of half-sized humanoids brandishing knives, who appear to be guarding an open pit trap and hiss at the approaching characters. After discovering that they do not share a language, Kir holds up an open palm for "peace" and one of the halflings relents and leads her by the hand to the pit trap. Inside, there is a female halfling clutching her ankle. Zirenah holds a rope so that Kir and Kifr can descend into the pit and attempt to help. With Kifr guiding her hands, Kir is able to tend to the ankle and Zirenah pulls them all up.

The halflings chatter among themselves and two of them offer their knives to the party. The party accepts, and it's not until these two exchange misty-eyed hugs and farewells with the other halflings that they realize they have just recruited their first henchmen. The other halflings retreat back to the door on the other side of the pit trap and wave farewell.

As their torch runs low, the party retreats to one of the nearby doors, Zirenah pushes it open, and they settle in to take a short breather and sip from their waterskins. The room appears to be the supply room for the experiments that had been going on in the larger chamber, and they find their first treasure. Refreshed and encouraged, the party lights another torch and enlists the help of their new friends to carry their loot out of the dungeon, and head back to town to see what their loot will purchase.

Another short session this weekend:

Upon returning to town, the party decides not to sell the crate of alchemical equipment they recovered. They rent a room where they can stash it and go about purchasing some additional equipment. As they move through the market, the sight of halflings causes quite a stir. One drow of high class offers to buy them for 50 gold each.

"That sounds BAD!" says Zirenah.

"They're not for sale," says Kir.

The party continues on, buying some plate armor for Zirenah, a cart and horse, and some gear for the halflings. They continue to rely on primitive sign language to communicate with their henchmen, but they have learned that the halflings call each other "Mardak" and "Margin".

Now moving slower, the party returns to the dungeon and re-enters. This time, they take a side passage. At the first door, they see signs of rats and decide to backtrack to their previous path. When they reach the main chamber, they are startled to see a light source on the other end of the chamber. There is a crunch of glass and a thud and the light (and whoever was carrying it) seems to disappear into one of the pits. Kir surmises that this might be a more official expedition and the party turns back to the other passage, avoiding the rat-eaten door.

A short while later, they encounter another door with a large simple lock. Listening at the door, they hear some kind of clicking sound, as if coming from a very large insect. Again, they choose to avoid trouble.

Based on some markings the halflings drew on their map, they believe themselves to be near the room they rested in on their previous foray, which they can reach from a side door. They choose to take another short stop there. From here, they can again peek into the large chamber, which now seems quiet. They creep across that room as quietly as possible (given Zirenah's new armor), and choose another door to open. Following the passage left, they open another room and find the bodies of 3 troglodytes. Aside from the great barbed spear sticking from one troglodyte's chest, they appear unarmed. Having their familiars inspect the bodies, the party concludes that the bodies have been killed within the past two hours, and all died from injuries including axe wounds and blunt-force trauma.

Hoping to avoid whatever caused this mayhem, they retreat to the passage, which turns and offers them another door. They hear nothing when they listen, but when they open the door they are attacked by a large group of troglodytes, including a chieftain and two champions! Despite her protection, a few of their great barbed javelins are able to pierce her flesh, and one of the troglodytes charges towards the door. Between a sleep spell and a quartet of summoned berserkers, the party kills one of the troglodytes and covers their escape from the dungeon.

The familiars make their daily attempt to treat Zirenah. Comfrey root provides some relief, but they recommend retreating to town where the cuts can be properly tended.

In all the commotion, the henchmen have reached level 1 and become Halfling Anklebiters. (Technically, they are no longer eligible to be henchmen, but as level is an out-of-game concept they will continue in service until they have some reason not to. Hopefully the party will level up before it becomes an issue.)

It's not so much that the Halflings are ineligible to be Henchmen, just that you cannot recruit Henchmen who believe they are higher level, and once they're employed, they'll need to make a Loyalty roll if they figure out that they're higher level.

Thanks, I figured it was something like that but didn't look it up.

Quick recap of our most recent session:

Upon returning to town, they learn that another party of adventurers escaped from the troglodytes and reached town ahead of them. There is now a bounty on troglodyte crests. After a couple of days healing, they return for an attempt at some of this sweet bounty.

Unfortunately, while they are able to put three troglodytes and a champion to sleep, they are interrupted by the chieftain after "scalping" only two of the troglodytes. They are able to escape with minor injuries.

We're going to try to find some more players before our next session. If we can't, I'll probably have an NPC sponsor the characters and possibly level them up once or twice before continuing.