Morning: Far From Home
Overview: The journey continues the next morning, as the wagons make their way towards Baldur’s Gate. Wellum conducts a ritual of his people and asks others about their homelands.
Setup: In the distance looms Fort Morninglord, an Order of the Companion camp beside it next to the river Chionthar. During a moment of rest, Wellum stops to bury a coin by the side of the road and say a prayer to Chauntea.
This scene is much more freeform than most of the others and will largely depend on the PCs and their backstories. If you want to ‘bounce off’ some NPCs I’ve listed any who aren’t from Elturel… but again try not to make this just NPCs talking to NPCs – involve the players!
- Wellum: is from Alaghôn the ‘throne of Turmish’ far to the east, based largely on real world Turkey.
- Vollis: is from Baldur’s Gate, by her elf father was from Turmish, known for its large elven population. Vollis knows little about her heritage.
- Hasterine: is a wood elf who spent most of her life living in the Feywild. As such she has developed a pattern of speech of cryptic rhyming. She knows a great deal about strange creatures and monstrous races.
Purpose: This scene is somewhat of a continuation of the previous one, in providing an opportunity for characters to talk about themselves and their backgrounds.
It also foreshadows Fort Morninglord which will be the afternoons event. If you are planning on skipping that event, consider mentioning the cursed Fort as it passes by and the squalid and desperate conditions of the camp next to it.
Afternoon: Fort Morninglord
Overview: Fort Morninglord is a sealed and cursed place, once a bastion of the Order of the Companion. In 1476DR (18 years ago) the entire garrison disappeared overnight and obeslisks appeared at its perimeter which magically keep people out (or something in…). Now there is an influx of refugees overwhelming the small camp.
Setup: Trying to stay at the camp is basically impossible. There’s nowhere near enough food for everyone here and the situation is already at a breaking point.
Camp Garrison: The Order of the Companion maintain the garrison, lead by Star Jan Edelgard. As far as they are aware Star Edelgard is the highest ranking member of Elturel’s military left. His latest intelligence is that The Companion exploded and nothing remains of the city except a smoking crater – he will be keen to know more about the PCs knowledge.
Hellriders: A group of five Hellriders on horses are resting at the camp and are planning to head to Elturel and figure out what has happened. They are led by Katja Sturms, a paladin of Tyr known for being cold but fair.
Fort Morninglord Refugees: are mostly hoping that a boat will come and take them away from here, while some might hope to join the PCs and journey to Baldur’s Gate. Buying supplies here is possible but very expensive – consider prices x2 more expensive than the PHB and food is x5 more expensive and limited supply.
Purpose: This is a good place to add extra NPCs to the group, or even new PCs if you have someone who couldn’t join the first session. Maybe they are a Knight of Elturel, or a refugee… or perhaps just someone caught up while passing through.
If you wanted to expand this into a whole sessions worth of content, consider utilising the content of SPEC2-01-H3 The Morninglord’s Laughter which allows the PCs to figure out what happened here nearly two decades ago.
Evening: Death on the Road
Overview: While on guard duty a rider on a horse rapidly approaches the camp from the direction Baldur’s Gate. This might seem like a threat, but it turns out to be a woman in dire need.
Setup: Have the person(s) on guard duty make a DC15 Wisdom (Perception) check. If so they notice the rider at 1,2000 feet (2 minutes away), otherwise they notice them at 120 feet (2 rounds away).
The horse charges into the camp and clinging on is Alyssa Obaartaen. She is alone, terrified and heavily pregnant. Alyssa explains that she and her husband Fessel were attacked earlier on the evening by a group of robed figures who ambushed them.
Fessel forced Alyssa’s horse to flee and the last she saw he was being dragged from his own horse by the figures. She doesn’t know that he was murdered, or that they were Zariel cultists killing him because he was the son of a Hellrider.
Should they question Alyssa she can tell them the following once calmed down;
- Alyssa is 7 months pregnant, conceiving very soon after their wedding.
- Fessel was from Baldur’s Gate and she had been there with him after they got married less than a year ago.
- They were heading to Elturel to give birth surrounded by Alyssa’s family.
- Fessel was the son of a Hellrider, Marcus Obaartaen.
If the PCs decide to try and find the scene of the attack now, it requires a DC10 Wisdom (Survival) check, otherwise they unknowingly pass the body. If successful they find him, see 1.3c Day 3 Afternoon: Fessel’s Body.
Purpose: This scene introduces Alyssa who could possibly serve as the vector for both a devout follower of Unity, as well as introduce the concept of Knights of Elturel being murdered (although at this point the clue shouldn’t be made obvious – more something to realise later in hindsight).
In the next article we will discuss exactly what happened to Fessel, how he was murdered and what happened to his body.