Marks of Power

Marks of Power
What is, and what is to come

The world of Doman has been fully updated to 4th Edition and the Character creation guidlines have been posted.

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SESSION 1:
The Summer Festival

Every tale has a beginning…

You Dream:

A dark shadow begins to creep along the land. Slowly at first, it begins to the north in the white mountains at the top of the world.

Down it comes. Through Sharidar, home of the proud Northmen, always vigilant against the foul creatures they share their land with.

You see the shadow overtake Gontal, and the Free Isles. Still further it creeps. Crossing Aridan, land of the High King.

To the east it engulfs Glenfaddich, land of the Elves.

Down., farther through proud Calaran

Still further it stretches ou. t through decadent Themul, covering her great legions.

Into the Great Waste it goes, swiftly engulfing the vast desert where no man has gone and returned alive.

Without warning, your perspective changes. You are above the whole world. You can see this dark shadow spreading across the lands. For the first time you can make out the shadow. It is a hand, grasping the all o fDoman . With deliberate ease, the hand begins to clench… destroying all before you.

From somewhere you hear a deep, mocking laughter.

You wake.

You open your eyes and find yourself lying on a cold, stone floor. As your eyes adjust to the dim light you realize that you are in a circular stone room. You hear stirring nearby and realize that you are not the only one lying on the floor here. Your head aches and your nerves are raw, the hair on your arms and the back of your neck seem to be standing on end. You can’t help but ask yourself,

“How did I get here?”

The party awakes with no memory of how they got in this room. In the center of the room is a pedestal and in each of their hands is a small crystal. Argent also has a gaudy, diamond-shaped earing in his other hand. The symbol on it is oddly familar.

Once outside they realize that they are in the Hermit’s Hatch, a ruin that no one has ever been able to enter. The earing Argent has appears to be a key to the Hatch. He has no idea how he got it. By checking the tracks leading up to the hatch they realize that the four of them were the only people to enter. Not knowing what else to do, they head back to the village and the Summer Festival.

They encounter Logan and the Dexors twins, Youk and Pap by the east bridge. The twins block their passage over the bridge and upset Winter enough that she punches Youk. Before the fight can escalate, Logan inexplicably ends the fight and lets the party cross the bridge.

They encounter Lavant, Argent’s father in the village… he has a very high voice. Lavant tells them that the Halflings just left the village. Kirin comes up and makes an ass of himself. Winter notices Logan watching the exchange. The party goes to their homes and prepares for the Summer Festival.

At the Festival, Levant allows Winter, Argent and Arturus to have a beer, the boys partake. Zeph watches from the outskirts in animal form. Argent gets a little drunk and dances on the statue of Penrod Telden. He does an impressive flip off the statue and sticks it perfectly earning him much praise from the revelers. Finally they are made adults and given their new professions: Logan = Drover. Arturus = Trapper. Argent = Lumber Miller. Winter = Weaver. Friar Edgar reads a letter that Zeph has written and scolds the village for treating Zeph so poorly. The Council make Zeph and adult and Edgar asks him to become his acolyte. Kirin makes an ass of himself again and Zeph changes into a bear and literally scares the piss out of the obnoxious river drover. As the Festival resumes, Logan asks Winter to gather the party and meet him by the East Bridge.

At the bridge, Logan apologizes for being too much like his father and he promises to try and be a better person. He tells Winter that he plans to marry her some day. He is suddenly, and perhaps heavy handedly, killed by a band of Red Goblins who storm out of the forest and attack the party. Before they can close, the party feel severe pain in their chests and they experience a… vision… memory… hallucination? When they come too, they realize that they now have special abilities. They use these abilities to easily defeat the Red Goblins. They gather up the body of Logan and one of the Goblins and hurry back to the Festival.

Once there, they explain what happened to the people of Pinewood. Apparently one of the Goblins wasn’t quite dead yet because it appears and tries to attack the Festival. It is engulfed in a fireball sent by, what a surprise, a Magi. She tells everyone to go to their homes and then orders both the Council and the party to come to the Slug and Lettuce.

At the Slug, Melaine Ameron tells the party that they must come with her to the Academy of Arlen, which is all the way in Themul. She’s not very nice, but she does allow them five minutes to say goodbye to their family… at least the ones who are on the council.

As they prepare to leave, Kirin Stone comes up and threatens the party. For some odd reason he blames them for the death of his son. Melaine threatens to turn him into a toad. He leaves but, quite stereotypically, vows to get revenge on the party. After a brief conversation with the party Melaine discovers that the Goblins probably came from the Hermit’s Hatch. She apparently decides that this is a bad thing and insists the party take her to the Hatch.

Once there, she has the party search the circular room. Argent touches a particular symbol on the wall and it gives way to what Melaine mysteriously calls the Builder’s Workshop. It is a veritable armory with every type of weapon and armor imaginable. Also in the workshop are copies of the Grimoire and Codex. Melaine is dissapointed to discover that they are normal copies of the books and explains to the party how certain Rituals have stopped working. She tells the party to “gear up” and scouts on ahead. After the party has chosen their weapons, Argent notices a slot in the strange, bowless crossbow he has picked up. He inserts the crystal he found into the slot and the weapon bonds itself to him. The rest of the party does the same with their chosen weapons just in time for Melaine gets thrown into the room by a group of Bugbears who do not look happy…

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SESSION 2:
What happens next.

Because sometimes a lot of exposition is necessary…

The party fights off the Bugbears, barely escaping with their lives, but their newfound abilites help them prevail. During the battle Argent is knocked into a stange looking suit of armor that suddenly comes to life. Arget orders it to fight the Bugbears and it follows his orders. After their enemies are defeated, they wake up the surprisingly easy to knock out Melaine and she tells the party she believes there may be a Ta’Garan somewhere in the Hermit’s Hatch. (She later explains that that is a type of portal, inexplicably, Zeph understands immediately what she’s talking about.)

They continue their search and find a bedroom with a very short bed. On the floor is a pile of ash that was apparently made from the book that once were on the bookshelves. They also find a chest full of magical components and two explosive devices. Melaine puts all of these items in her bag.

They also discover cells that contain the remains of both animals and humanoids. It looks like they had been experimented on; all of the creatures had mechanical limbs grafted on to them. What exactly had the Hermit been working on?

They finally find the room that contains the Ta’Garan, it is a stone archway in the middle of a long room. The archway flickers with arcane magic, but it appears to be malfunctioning. On the floor near the control panel is a pile of broken tiles with symbols on them. In a more complicated than it needed to be exercise, they piece together the tiles and activate the Ta’Garan. On the other side they see the Warlock King getting an army of Goblinoids ready to storm through. He sees the party and shouts, “YOOOOOOUUUUU!!!!!!” Before anything else can happen, Argent has the great idea of using one of the explosives on the Ta’Garan. Melaine apparently likes to blow things up for she complies and destroys the archway.

After the smoke clears, Melaine tells the party that they need to get to Hectal as quickly as possible. They tell her that the fastest way is by river. They head back to Pinewood and get a raft put together. While there, Winter is able to finally say goodbye to her father. He reveals that they Magi has been watching the party their whole lives and that they are candidates to bear the Marks of Power. This upsets Zeph greatly and he confronts Melaine about it. With typical Magi haughtiness she dismisses the Kobold, something he is pretty used to at this point. It takes Friar Edgar to convince Zeph that he needs to go with the group and face his destiny. There are tears and a not so happy parting of ways as Johnathan Bishop guides their raft down the river. On the boat, Melaine answers some questions, but not nearly enough. Finally the party takes a well deserved sleep.

They encounter the Halfling caravan and help them put out a fire. The Halfling’s daughter reveals to Argent that she is the one who sold him the earring that got them into the Hermit’s Hatch. Unfortunately it does not jog any further memories and she admits that she has no idea where she got the item from.

As it gets dark, Melaine and Johnathan are conveniently pulled off the raft and in an incredible cliffhanger, they are attacked by Kirin Stone and a group of river drovers.

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SESSION 3:
Rollin' down the River.

Because what’s a little betrayal between friends?

The party is ambushed by Kirin and four other river drovers from the village. Leading them is a strange man who stayed at the Slug and spoke with Arturus durig the Summer Festival. The stranger exihibits strange powers and tells Kirin that he will be rewarded if the party is killed.

The candidates are forced to fight men they have known their entire life in a harrowing river battle. Unfortunately all of the drovers are killed, including Kirin. The stranger, however, gets away.

Melaine and Johnathan are unhurt, the Magi after hearing a description of the fight, concludes that the man was a Warlock and a Kingfriend. At least, she supposes, Pinewood will be safe because the Warlock King now knows they have left the village. The rest of their journey is uneventful and they make it to Hectal.

Following Melaine’s advice, they leave the Warforged outside of the city to avoid drawing attention to themselves. Johnathan parts ways with Arturus and heads back to Pinewood. Melaine gets the party a room in an inn and tells them to stay put while she hires a ship and warns the Duke about possible attacks. Despite the candidates increasing distrust of both the Magi and her abilities, they decide to stay in the Inn until she comes back.

They are visited by Penrod Telden to tells them that he was sent to bring the party to meet Duke Thomas Peirce. They ask about Melaine and he tells them that the situation is complicated. They are shown in to the Duke and Peirce tells them that Melaine is an imposter and liar. With the Duke is a Shifter that Arturus had seem before but did not seem fit to tell the others about. Apparently he is called the Daughter’s Hunter and he works for the Magi. He is the one who alerted the Duke to Melaine’s deception. Peirce tells the party they must stay in the keep until the REAL Magi come and take them to Dragonholt.

Penrod takes the candidates to see Melanie who is really a young woman not that much older than the party. In her cell she explains to them that a fire many years ago destroyed much of the Oracle. Because the existing information is vague at best, a rift has formed in the Magi over how to deal with candidates. Melanie claims that she works for Langduring Wyvernspear, a Magi of the 3rd Order who beleives that the bearers of the Marks of Power must find their own way. The Magi of Dragonholt, however, wish to strictly control the heroes reborn, so much so that the candidates wearn’t just put in the village of Pinewood… they were bred.

The party is unsure of what to do next, but they decide that they need to set off on their own. Penrod, who is a childhood friend of Langdurin’s helps them all escape with Melanie. They soon discover that Hectal is under attack by an army of Goblinoids. The make their way through the streets of the city, fighting small skirmishes that are quickly decided by Melanie’s magic. On their way to the docks they meet up with the Warforged who shows a surpising grasp of free will.

They make their way to The Endurance the ship that Melanie had hired for them. Before the ship can sail however, an large group of Goblinoids charge the dock. Melanie gives the candidates her magic bag and begs the party to seek out Langduring in the city of Arlen. She grabs the last remaining explosive and charges the Goblinoids, inexplicably the Warforged joins her. The young wizard sacrifices herself and detonates the explosive, destroying the dock and freeing the ship. As the party sails out of the harbor, they look back at the burning city and see the Daughter’s Hunter watching them leave…

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SESSION 3.5:
The Earthmother's Orb

A brief interlude…

Three strangers are brought together by Langduring Wyvernspear at the Academy of Arlan. He asks them to go to an ancient temple of the Earthmother and retrieve the Earthmother’s Orb for him. They agree.

After a few days on the river and a trudge through the swamp they arrive at the temple. They soon discover that Kobolds have taken residence inside. They fight their way throug a series of increasingly unlikely encounters. Finally they Kobolds surrender and take them to their leader.

As it turns out, a Dragon lived in a cave below the temple… which is odd considering Dragons are creatures of myth. Even more implausible is the fact that the Dragon, quite unclimactically gives the group the Orb without a fight. Immortal flying reptiles sure do the strangest things…

The group returns to Arlan and gives the Orb to Langduring. Is this the end of their story?

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SESSION 4:
Sailing the Cauldron

And they say that sailing is the safest way to travel…

The Candidates are introduced to Garvyn, Captain of the Endurance. He instructs his first mate to show them around and they get situated in their cabins. As is usually the case, things are not what they seem: a strange man knocks on Argent and Arturus’ cabin door, he seems confused and soon leaves. The next day none of the crew have ever heard of him.

The Endurance is hit by a storm and both the party and the ship makes it through without serious injury. That night a girl named Charlotte knocks on Winter and Zephs door. She’s looking for her doll so the two agree to help. Arturus comes along, Argent sleeps off his hangover… the lush.

They go down to the cargo deck where Charlotte’s cabin is. She finds her doll and goes to sleep. When she does the door to her cabin, and indeed the cabin itself dissapears. The Candidates inform the Captain who is strangly cranky about the whole thing. They decide they need to get off the ship as soon as possible.

Unfortunately that proves impossible as an inevitable fog rolls in and halts the ship. Despite Zeph’s offer to magically power the ship, Garvyn decides not to risk hitting anything in the dense fog. The Ghost Ship they encounter, however, has no such qualms at it rams the Endurance. The Candidates fight off skeletal warriors that board their ship without too much trouble. The question remains:

Why is all this happening?

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SESSION 5:
Shadow Sailing

When big secrets lead to bad things…

After defeating the skeleton warriors, the Candidates encounter more ghostly figures and soon discover that Capt Garvyn is cursed. Many years ago he took on some bodies as cargo to be buried at a distant port. He instead sold the bodies to a Tiefling that he encountered on a remote island somewher in the Cauldron. Since then he has not been able to leave the ship and the ghosts of the three bodies have haunted him ever since. Up until now only he could see them though… what has changed?

The answer is discovered quickly as the mist dissipates and they discover that the Endurance has somehow found itself in the Shadowfell… Arturus felt great. A cadaverous crow leads the ship to the same island where the Captain made his dark bargain. The friends agree to try and get the bodies back in hopes that it might break the curse and allow them to return to Doman.

The Candidates go ashore and meet their host, Rafe Morgot. The Tiefling surprises them by revealing that he too is a Candidate. He told a tale of woe about how he was misunderstood for being different and banished to the Shadowfell for questionable experiments. Despite his obviously dark nature, he seemed completely truthful with the group and told them more about the Marks of Power and the forces in control of their lives than anyone else ever had.

Ultimately they were faced with a choice: help Rafe return to Doman, or remain in the Shadowfell forever. After a tense standoff that could have gone either way, the Candidates ultimately chose the path home and used a Ta’Garant to travel back to their home plane.

They found themselves on a hill overlooking the majestic Aridan City. As they prepared themselves to go into the thriving metropolis they couldn’t help but wonder if they had unleashed a great evil upon the world…

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SESSION 6:
Tales of the (Aridan) City.

What’s so bad about getting involved?

As the Candidates survey the sprawling city below them, they notice a strange vibration coming from Melanie’s bag. They discover that it is her journal that is making such a fuss. They open it and it reads: “Melanie, where are you?

After all of the deception and manipulations that they have endured over the last month or so, they party did the obvious thing and declined to answer. Instead they hid the book in the ruins and started making plans to get as far away from civilization as possible.

Unfortunately, fate had other plans for them. Before they could depart, a young Kobold female ran up the road being chased by two Humans. The Candidates scared off the attackers and met Zishi who told them that Kobolds had been disappearing from the city for over a month. Despite the concerns of some of the more prudent members of the group, it was decided that they go into Aridan City and try to help the beleaguered Kobolds.

They encountered little difficulty in entering the city unnoticed, but Winter drew the attention of an old beggar who recognized her Gont accent. He asked her if she was a refugee and from him she learned that the Goblinoid army that attacked Hectal had burned the city to the ground. Why they had given up such a strong tactical position and instead decided to head back north into the mountains was a great mystery to all.

Zishi led the companions down into the sewers where they were introduced to her father. Zarsin turned out to be the leader of the Kobolds and he filled the group in on the plight of his people. After much exposition, the Candidates learned that someone had been kidnapping Kobolds. Unfortunately, no one in Aridan City cared enough for the diminutive race for it to be of any concern… except for one person.

Zarsin told the party about how Senator Adara had protected them when her Sewer Reclamation Project threatened to displace their entire community. He urged the group to seek the politician out and tell her about the missing Kobolds. As it turned out, Adara was conveniently going to be at a street festival where the Candidates could possibly gain access to her.

Instead of taking the prime opportunity to practice their social skills, the party instead attempted to lure out the kidnappers by using Zeph as bait. It wasn’t terribly successful at first, but eventually they were able to track down a suspicious pair of humans and subdue them. In a surprising move, Zeph created the alter ego of Zygor, the Kobold God of Vengeance and scared their prisoners enough that they revealed the location of where they were taking the Kobolds that they kidnapped. Feeling newly empowered, and perhaps a bit schizophrenic, Zeph led his friends to free his brethren.

What they discovered was an excavation that was using Kobold slave labor to unearth a buried Ta’Garan. It quickly became apparent that they had encountered a group of Kingsmen who were intent on giving the Warlock King access to Aridan City.

A brutal battle was fought and the Candidates narrowly won the day. Before they could do much, a group of soldiers burst in the room. Their leader, a man named Kestral, revealed himself to be the old man that Winter had encountered numerous times over the last day or so. He claimed to be a part of the King’s intelligence service. Apparently he was smarter than the average person for he put two and two together about the party’s identity and asked them, “_Where is Melanie._”

Who this man is, and what his relationship is to the woman who misled the Candidates so terribly remains to be seen…

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SESSION 7:
Decisions.

Is neutrality noble? Or just wishy washy?

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