The Order of the Abbey

Introduction
The First Session

Game play began with the DM’s new character generation method. The entire party started out as 0 level characters (no class assignments, feats, and no skills, starting money, or possessions to speak of). All characters are 16 years of age and have been raised since toddlers in a monastery. Little is known of their heritages, and the Brothers of the monastery are not in the mood to share. The PC’s are as follows:

Virgil: Human. Virgil’s monastic apprenticeship is to Brother Elliott, the librarian.

Floyd Fiftynames: Gnome (brother to Guy). Floyd is apprenticed to Brother Art, the quartermaster.

Guy Fiftynames: Gnome (brother to Floyd). Guy is apprenticed to Brother Samarid, the farmer.

Brixmore: Dwarf. Brix is assigned to Doctor Ethan. Doctor Ethan is not a brother in the monastery (not all who reside within its walls are).


Abbott Teris is the chief executive officer of the monastery. The monastery’s primary source of income is as a producer and distributor of wine & select spirits.

As game play began, the characters had been assigned to locate a lesser Brother named Felix. After searching in a few places, they come across Brother Art and Brother Terry (the distiller), who suggest that they look for Brother Felix in the wine cellar. The characters go down to the wine cellar, where they find the body of Brother Felix, apparently somewhat chewed to death. They also find a secret door in one of the shelves that leads to a somewhat sizable hole.

The characters report the death to Brother Art & Brother Terry, who in turn summon Brother Samarind and Abbott Teris to the scene. After investigating the hole and discovering evidence of rats, the Brothers send the characters into the hole (being ideally suited for its size) to investigate / clear out the infestation. They equip the characters with clubs and leather armor.

The party quickly encounters a few rats which are easily dispensed with, plus two rats that are somewhat harder (Virgil and Floyd are both bitten by the larger rats during this encounter). A thorough investigation of the compartment reveals it to be a catacomb of some sort (several long dead skeletons line the walls) and a room is discovered with a somewhat fresher-seeming corpse. This corpse, however, attacks the characters, and they fight and dispatch the creature. The characters return to the Brothers and report their findings.

Brother Ethan cures Virgil and Floyd of the Filth Fever they contracted from the larger rats during the encounter. Shortly thereafter, a ranger-in-residence named Abel arrives, and it is decided that the four boys will accompany him into town to assist / observe an investigation in which he is taking part. The night before they are to leave, Doctor Ethan gives the party a package and asks it to be delivered to a man in town, whom the doctor describes, though he remains sketchy on details such as name and location. He requests that the party not open the package. Guy takes the package with his personal assurances that the materials will be delivered and Doctor Ethan’s instructions will be followed. After Doctor Ethan leaves, and Guy has determined that most of the dorm’s inhabitants are asleep, he opens the packaged. Inside, he finds three vials of a dark red liquid, which, after waking up the other party members, they determine to be blood. Rather unusually, the blood is ice cold. Guy tastes a bit on his finger, and Virgil goes so far as to drink a small portion of it, much to the consternation of Brix, whose loyalties to his mentor cause him distress over not following instructions.

Guy & Virgil determine that Abbott Teris should be informed of Doctor Ethan’s request, but Brix strongly disagrees. A scuffle ensues between Virgil and Brix that rouses the other boys in the dorm, one of whom calls it to the attention of Brother Elliott, who proceeds to confiscate the vial Virgil kept and behave in a generally creepy fashion while they wait for Guy to return from his visit to Teris.

Guy finds Teris in his quarters in the midst of a heated conversation with Doctor Ethan (luckily, he had stashed the vials he took with him before entering the Abbott’s room). Guy asks to speak with the Abbott alone, and Teris dismisses Doctor Ethan, who does not seem fooled by the situation in the least. After explaining the situation, the Abbott’s recommendation to Guy is that the party do as Doctor Ethan requests.

The next morning, the party rides blearily into town, where they take a moment to familiarize themselves with the inn (The Gilded Lily) before heading to the house that the ranger suspects is the home of Doctor Ethan’s contact, Viggio. Viggio, portly and slovenly, reveals himself to be the correct contact. He is also exceptionally objectionable and makes several off color and offensive remarks to the boys. The man confirms the party’s suspicion that the vials contain vampire blood, and that the man is a specialist in curing magical diseases. After finding out that Virgil drank some of the blood, he takes him (along with Guy & Brix) into a back room for treatment. Floyd stays behind to copy a globe onto a piece of paper.

Virgil’s treatment turns out to be a rather unpleasant needle full of a bile-like substance inserted directly into his abdomen. He is also given some medication to take with him. The man rather rudely ushers the boys out of his house (though the party had taken no great lengths to win the man’s favor, anyway), and Floyd promptly defecates on the man’s doorstep. The party then wanders back into town.

Upon arrival in town, the party comes across the scene of a murder of a woman by apparent strangulation / asphyxiation. She appears to have been garroted. The Sheriff, a man named Drooley, is investigating the scene of the crime, but he appears to be out of his element. Guy takes measures to assist / take over the investigation, while Floyd heads back to The Gilded Lily to find Abel and inform him of what’s occurred.

End of Session I

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The Second Session

Game play began where it left of in Session I, with Floyd heading over to the Gilded Lily to tell Abel about the murder in town. Floyd arrived at the Gilded Lily to find that Abel had left town that morning to investigate a disturbance involving owlbears, and that the boys should stay put and out of trouble. With this too-little, too-late information, Floyd went back to find the others.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Drooley, largely uninterested in the idea of solving a murder, unofficially deputized the boys to follow up on the case. Key evidence discovered by Brix includes the blood on the dead woman’s ear ring, which is shaped like a star. This was strange because the woman had been strangled, and there were no signs of a cut or puncture on the woman’s body. Guy was able to discern the woman’s employer and place of residents by questioning some of the nearby townspeople. The first order of business as far as the party was concerned was to question the woman’s boss, a merchant named Tolgas.

The boys arrived at Tolgas’ home (after Virgil takes the body to the local church for proper disposal), which was decorated with big-game trophies, only to find Tolgas to be hostile and threatening in the face of their line of questioning. While not entirely satisfied with his answers, Tolgas had a somewhat corroborate-able alibi, so the party left and went to the boarding house / inn where the woman lived. There, they met Maggie, the owner of the house, who was seemingly less helpful in cooperating with the investigation, despite the party’s claims of official business in lieu of the sheriff. Floyd went to the sheriff’s office to talk to Drooley. Virgil, frustrated, goes to the general store to buy some pipe tobacco and a pipe that could be used in a pinch as a club.

Brix and Guy, meanwhile, remained at the boarding house to try and persuade Maggie or proceed with the investigation without her. Guy attempts to head upstairs, but Maggie calls out her “reinforcements,” a mildly retarded kitchen cook the size of an upright piano, who dissuades Guy from going upstairs without permission. Brix attempts to buy Maggie’s cooperation, and succeeds. Brix and Guy are granted access to the woman’s room, which doesn’t yield much, but during the search, their conversation with Maggie leads to the revelation that she had recently been spending a lot of time with an out-of-towner who is hanging out downstairs in the bar, spending a lot of money drinking.

Taking up the kids-in-awe angle, Guy and Brix strike up a conversation with the man, whose name is discovered to be Gruth. Gruth buys rounds for himself and the boys while Guy asks him about his exploits. It becomes clear through the course of the conversation that it was Gruth who killed the woman, and that he was paid to do so.

Floyd, meanwhile, has engaged Drooley in conversation back at the sheriff’s office. Drooley has spent the afternoon drinking, and is pretty far gone. Floyd is disturbed by the town’s lack of concern over crime in their town, and decides to do something about it when Virgil arrives, having completed his purchase and grown bored while smoking at the hotel. After Drooley passes out, Virgil and Floyd beat him savagely in an attempt to send a wakeup call to the town about the crime spree. They then head back to the boarding house to find Brix & Guy.

When they arrive, and see the other two talking to Gruth, they immediately behave as though they’re not with Guy & Brix, and sit at a table nearby, waiting for Gruth to sufficiently incriminate himself. Once he does that, Virgil gives Gruth a wallop hard enough to knock the latter unconscious. This act attracts the ire of Maggie, who asks the boys to conduct their business elsewhere.

The boys bind Gruth and take him to the sheriff’s office, where they strip him of his possessions and put him in a cell. Suddenly concerned with creating confusion over what crime was committed by whom, the boys bring Drooley downstairs to try and make the beating seem more like a fall down the stairs. After questioning Gruth, the boys are able to get the impression that Tolgas is likely responsible for hiring Gruth to kill the woman (for reasons probably related to the feathers found on the woman’s person; these suspicions would prove to be well-founded). While the others continue to question Gruth, Guy heads off to Tolgas’ house. He sneaks into the house, and is almost discovered, but not before he comes up with evidence that Tolgas is indeed the responsible party. He narrowly escapes the house, but Tolgas realizes that he is found out, and the boys learn that Tolgas plans to move out of Verl’s Crook, forcing their hand. Meanwhile, Gruth still refuses to incriminate Tolgas directly.

The party makes speedily for Tolgas’ house with what weaponry is available (mainly spears, clubs, and a confiscated short sword). After stumbling on a pit trap, they find Tolgas in his basement, where they handily dispatch him. The basement, as it turns out, is a barbaric owlbear training facility. Correspondence in the possession of Tolgas reveals that he was training owlbears for a man named Doogal. The boys also take possession of some coins, a short bow, and Tolgas’ snake shaped dagger. Some of the money recovered can be used as to implicate Gruth to the murder.

The boys return to the sheriff’s office to find Drooley coming out of his stupor. He and Maggie have a quick pow-wow with the boys waiting upstairs. Maggie comes up to inform the boys that Drooley will be given credit for the investigation. They are a bit put out by this, Guy and Brix more than the other two; they vandalize Tolgas’ house that night to lower its resale value.

Abel arrives the next morning, bearing battle wounds from two owlbears they killed. He learns of the boy’s exploits from Maggie, though Floyd takes great pains to explain the party’s side of the story, displaying a disturbing trend towards full disclosure. Abel and the boys head back for the Morningstar Abbey (with a stop at Viggio’s along the way where Abel picks up something for him). On the way, Abel reveals what he knows of Doogal – that he’s an ex-mercenary who once attempted to siege the southern town of Compassgate. Doogal’s last known whereabouts involve him hiding out in the caves of the mountain range (information derived from the tight-lipped, doomed Gruth).

The boys arrive back at the abbey in time for bed. The next morning, they return to working with their mentors. Both Brix and Virgil are given invitations from Ethan and Elliott, respectively, to meet up with them (along with their friends) later in the day. Guy works with Brother Samarid, and discovers Samarid has training outside of the monastary’s defensive fighting techniques. Samarid agrees to train Guy to fight, and Guy discovers that the choker collar that his mentor wears has some magical restraining function. Samarid also implies that the boys are not free to leave the monastery anytime they want, though that had never been expressed to them before. Floyd tells the story of the boys’ exploits to Brother Art, who attempts to instruct Floyd in the art of using a story to sell something.

At lunch, Guy expresses a concern that the monastery is more of a prison than a sanctuary, given the unusual backgrounds of many of the residents on the grounds, including the boys. They make a sort of “all-for-one, and one-for-all” pact. Though this pact does not include Zarin and Eric, the other 16 year old kids at the monastery, they agree to watch out for their safety as well. Coincidentally, Zarin approaches the boys during lunch to tell them about a cave he wants them to see north of the monastery. Recollecting the information regarding Doogal, the boys agree to see it at a later time, though they must turn down the offer to see it that evening due to prior engagements.

At the end of the day, the boys go to see Brother Elliott, the first of their appointments. Brother Elliott is interested in learning something about the boys vis avis a magical glass ball that each boy is asked to hold. The ball yields the following properties:

Virgil – the ball glows red. Virgil’s magical energy (whatever it may be) is aligned toward Abjuration, and it is opposed to Conjuration.

Brix – the ball glows white. Brix’s energy is aligned with Divination, and it is opposed to (not noted).

Both Guy and Floyd cause the ball to glow green. They are aligned to Enchantment, they are opposed to Necromancy.

After explaining this to the boys, Elliott reveals that he has laid out a summoning circle on the floor, but the magic is interrupted by the arrival of Abbott Teris, who tersely informs the boys that it is time for supper, and requests the opportunity to speak to Brother Elliott alone. The boys head to the supper hall, where they eat ham. As is the way of things, a wayward dwarf happens to be eating and staying at the abbey that night, and he is full of news. One key piece of news is that Gruth has escaped prison in Verl’s Crook. The second piece of information is that the reigning Cardinal of the land is dead, and a new Cardinal has succeeded him. This news seems to affect Abbott Teris greatly, and he withdraws from the hall. The boys promptly follow him, questioning him about why he left. Floyd discloses a little more than the rest of the party feels he should regarding their relation to the Gruth, and Teris explains that he was dear friends with the now-deceased Cardinal.

At this time, the party takes the opportunity to find out why they are bound to the Abbey. Teris reveals that the six sixteen year olds living at the abbey are, to Teris’ knowledge, are among the twelve children born that year. He has taken measures to magically advance the ages of the non-humans so that they all grow at the same rate. The boys are disappointed that they did not learn this sooner, but are assuaged of the suspicion that they are being held prisoner. Clearly, Teris knows something that he is not sharing at the present, but there are various prophecies regarding these boys in various cultures around the world. In addition, Teris informs the boys that there is a wooden box under his bed that he wants the boys to have should anything happen to him.

At the conclusion of this conversation, it is near midnight, and the time has come to meet with Brother Ethan. Brother Ethan meets them outside the grounds that night, with shovels for everyone. He makes everyone share a blood oath that they will not share what goes on that night with anyone else. Everyone cuts the palm of their hands and allows blood to hit the ground, except Floyd, who cuts his forearm so as not be in pain while he digs with a shovel.

End of Session II

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The Third Session

Gameplay began where it had left off in Session II, with the party joining Dr. Ethan for a late-night dig party. The group travels north of the Morningstar Abbey for about an hour, where, in the mist of the night, Ethan identifies a grave that the boys must dig up. They dig and hit upon a wooden box, which they take out for Ethan, who opens it, revealing a fresh corpse (despite the fact that the grave was not “freshly dug”) with blood trickling out of its mouth. Ethan tells the boys to guard the perimeter, and not to let any creatures that should come by during his ceremony disturb him.

Sure enough, after a bit of time, the corpse starts screaming, and four wolves (possessed by some spirit or will) begin to circle the party. Guy is the first to attack, an d the wolves quickly begin fighting to get through the boys. Brix and Guy fall during the attack, but are not killed. Virgil and Floyd, meanwhile, do not do so well in the fight either. However, Ethan completes the ritual, and the wolves back off. The party burns the corpse and coffin, and they head back to the monastery. After some prodding, Ethan reveals that the man they performed the ritual on had been a vampire, but had been seriously weakened – what the party just witnessed was a completing ritual. Ethan also mentions that Viggio was hurt during the process of fighting this vampire, and it will probably take him a long time to recover. Brix asks Ethan to teach him how to do the things Ethan knows how to do, but he declines. As payment for their services, Ethan gives the boys a ring from the dead man’s finger, which Virgil keeps for the time being.

The next morning, the boys go about their business at the monastery. Guy goes to see Brother Samarid, who tells Guy that he has learned that their previous training session had been “a mistake,” and that there will be no more training from him. Guy, frustrated, finds a hiding spot where Samarid’s greataxe and wyvern-skull helmet are located. Samarid discovers this, and kicks Guy out of the spot, sealing it off by putting an anvil over the door.

Virgil has gone to the woods to read, and while he is out there, he encounters Zarin, who is carrying two very old and nice looking longswords strapped to his back. Zarin tells Virgil that he has decided to run away from the monastery. Virgil, knowing what Abbott Teris has told him, tries to stop him, but Zarin (whether from training or the power of the swords – most likely the latter) proves to be the superior fighter, and leaves Virgil bloodied and bruised and unconscious in the forest. Virgil wakes up later to find himself bandaged by some mysterious entity, but Zarin is long gone.

Virgil returns to the monastery, looking rather haggard, and Brix discovers him. After gathering Guy and Floyd (who had opted to sleep in), they track down Abbott Teris in the chapel. The party tells Teris what has transpired, but Teris does not seem exceptionally concerned about it. They boys decide to be proactive when it comes to Eric, so they find him aiding the distiller. Eric, always being a little more straight-laced, is non-chalantly weirded out by the party’s behavior, but he agrees to a tentative pact with them to share information and watch out for each other. Eric is also aware that he is not to reveal his real age to anyone else. During the course of their conversation, Eric repeats an incantation he heard Ethan say in his arguments with Abbott Teris – but speaking this incantation causes a lightning bolt to shoot out of Eric’s hand. At this point, the boys take Eric to the library, and ask Brother Elliott to let Eric try out the magic glass ball. Strangely enough, Brother Elliott seems to have no memory of using the glass ball on the boys in the first place, and when the subject is brought up of the ball’s purpose, Elliott seems to suffer a seizure and passes out.

Eric is given the ball, and taught by Virgil how to concentrate. When he does, the ball turns black and Eric’s eyes begin to glow. Eric snaps out of it, and the group heads back to their dormitory. On their way, Eric confesses to having had dreams about sitting on a throne atop many skulls. He mentions that the party is in this dream, but they look different.

Meanwhile, trouble begins to brew when a large group of soldiers led by a man called Faustarrive at the monastery. These men are from Compassgate, and they represent the new Cardinal, who’s name is Nikolai. The party immediately begins to sense trouble, and Teris tells Guy that when it gets too crowded, Brother Samarid’s choker becomes tight. Faust arrives in time to see Guy seeking out Brother Samarid, and Faust questions Guy about his age. Guy responds somewhat honestly, and then reveals to Samarid in private that he is here to remove Samarid’s choker, a proposition to which he reacts in fear and tells Guy that he cannot do that unless there is no other option.

While this is going on, Floyd and Brix have gone to Teris’ room to collect their box of stuff in the event that they have to leave the monastery that night. Floyd gets the box, and Brix also takes strange necklace (later discovered to be a phylactery) from the room as well. Virgil and Eric pack the party’s bags and go to the library to collect books. The boys reunite, and are informed that dinner will be soon, and that everyone is expected to attend. The boys head to the barn to talk to Samarind, and Dr. Ethan shows up as well, explaining that he has been instructed to get out quickly. The boys tell Ethan of one of the hiding options they’ve bandied about – the hidden chamber that they cleared out at the beginning of the first session. Ethan tells the boys he will hide there.

Floyd decides to open the box and the party views it’s contents. At this point, Brix shows the party the necklace, and they discover that it can twist. Brix twists the necklace, and a loud explosion comes from the library. Virgil realizes Brother Elliott’s secret – he is an imprisoned evil caster, explaining his confusion. The boys have accidentally set him free. The party makes for the library, where they discover a now-lucid Elliott, who remembers everything. He quickly disappears. Also attracted by the explosion, Faust and a few soldiers show up. Virgil speaks for the party, and he lies poorly about his name (“Um, what’s that? Mike?”). It is now time for dinner.

The party heads off to dinner, and they sit very near to Brother Art, Faust, and Faust’s primary assistant, Barris. At dinner, Abbott Teris welcomes Faust and the soldiers, but makes the mistake of not remembering to address Nikolai as “Cardinal,” a point Faust is quick to correct. Guy has trouble controlling his temper and his mouth, and Brother Art, embarrassed, and frightened, kicks the boys out of the mess hall and tells them to go to their dormitory. Floyd takes this opportunity to lie to Faust about his name and age.

The party (Guy, Brix, Virgil, Floyd, and Eric) wait in their room, when Art comes in and tells them they have to see Abbott Teris quickly. They are whisked away to his room, where they discover him very ill and ready for death. He asks that the boys perform a killing ritual on him which binds the spirit of Teris to the boys. Floyd is insistent that Teris name his successor, despite the fact that the monastery appears to be breaking up. Teris names Brother Art. Outside, Floyd attempts to tell Brother Art about what happened inside, but they are interrupted by Faust, who, seeing them, puts on a gauntlet and begins to apply rings. Though there is some disagreement about whether to stay and fight, Floyd refuses to leave, and the rest of the party stays together. Knowing that their best chance is to attack quickly, they do so in an attempt to daze Faust or knock him off his feet. Eric is the most successful, briefly halting Faust with another lighting bolt, but the magic is too powerful for Eric, and the backlash takes him out of the fight.

Guy goes to get Brother Samarid’s help, as Art and Faust grapple with each other. Virgil and Floyd push the two down the stairs, as Floyd informs Art of his promotion to monastic leader. Guy, meanwhile, finds Samarid, and quickly removes his choker, which unleashes a hellacious rage from Samarid. Samarid promptly throws Guy away (perhaps in an attempt to protect him?), but Guy and Brix lure Samarid into the hallway (after getting him his weaponry and helmet) to where Faust and Art are fighting. Immediately, Faust braces himself for the fight with Samarind. Art tells the boys that Abel the ranger is waiting for them outside of the monastery, and that they have to go. Floyd pleads with Art to keep the order together in some semblance.

The boys escape out the library window and make their way to Abel, who is waiting with a wagon. He tells the boys to go South, then East, to the Twilight Lands, where they’ll come across a tavern / inn called the Warriors’ (need name here), and to ask for Murdoch when they arrive. Soon the boys are off, but they find they are being followed by soldiers in chariots and on horseback. A thrilling chase / fight ensues, in which Guy learns that he really should let Floyd drive. The boys dispatch the chariots, and the horsemen are dispatched by the kobold spear throwers in the pass, (the wagon provides cover that protects the boys). Virgil uses his last arrow to kill the kobold with a spear who blocks their path.

The party arrives at the inn, which turns out to be a converted old burial ground. They find Murdoch, who informs the party that they will be broken up for two years to make it harder for them to find, and so that they can obtain some much needed career training. Murdoch apprentices the boys as follows:

Virgil – Virgil decides to seek the career path of the ranger, and is apprenticed to Murdoch himself.

Brix – Brix chooses the path of cleric, and is put under the guidance of Arturo, a traveling paladin.

Guy – Guy chooses to study the art of being a barbarian, and he is joined with Marcus, a fellow who knows the art. Occasionally, he and Virgil see each other, as Marcus and Murdoch are friends.

Floyd – Floyd chooses to study the bardic arts, and he is assigned to Titus, who plays the Twilight Lands and Verl’s Crook on occasion.

Eric’s choice is a mystery to the others, but Murdoch assures us that his path will be similar to ours.

When game play resumes, a period of two years will have gone by, and the PC’s will be 18 years old.

End of Session III

Experience: The party gains 700 XP for the session, bringing their total to 1000, which is turned in for 2 ability scores, rolled randomly. The party advances to 1st level, and XP is reset at 0.

Contents of Teris’ Box (receivers in parentheses):

10 Potions of Cure Light Wounds (spread out among the party, 2 per) A Cloak that grants the wearer +10 to Hide (Virgil) Gloves that grant the wearer +3 to Open Lock (Floyd) A ring that increases a spontaneous spellcaster’s 1st Level Spells by 3 (Floyd) A ring of Spell Storing – Level 1 for Memorized Spellcasters (Virgil) A Necklace that grants a bonus to Undead Turning (Brix)

Floyd kept the box itself, and uses it to store his thieves’ picks.

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