Path of the Polestars

Chapter 7
We've Got a Team Name! Now What?

Eleasis 29, 1490 DR

After completing a morning of errand-running around Sanctum Cross, our heroes enjoy a productive celebratory lunch at the Valedictory Inn, where they finally decide on a permanent team name. From now on, Provisional Recon Group A shall be known as the The Knights of Jivew, paying homage to the mysterious trickster/benefactor of their first mission.

With that all-important question answered, the Knights return to the tower of Willam Wise to provide an official account of their first adventure. There, they discover that Willam uses a special magical orb to ensure an accurate account of their tales. After all, he comes from a long line of archivists, and his records of the guild’s adventures are sent back to his family’s archive in Lyrabar, the capital city of Impiltur!

As he listens to their story, Willam fills the Knights in on some interesting history and arcane lore related to their adventures, including information on the Feywild, the home plane of many of the creatures the Knights had encountered, as well as what he knows of mythals, great wells of arcane power said to be developed by ancient elves. He also agrees to help identify the items the Knights obtained from their exploration of the shrine to Sergin Melandrus in the elven ruins, calling for them to return in a few days for the results. Additionally, he provides Zook with a new page for his burgeoning spellbook — a magical transparent sheet containing the Misty Step spell. Finally, as a reward for sharing their incredible story with him, Willam gives the Knights a few magical items from his personal collection, including:

  • a portable hole,
  • a gem of seeing,
  • a hat of disguise, and
  • an elemental gem.

With their story told, the Knights decide to return to the guild hall for dinner. There, they finally confront Ewen on his private meeting with Randal Hawkshadow. Throughout the day, Ewen has been extremely aloof and distant following the meeting, and the other members have grown concerned. After some hesitation, Ewen reveals that he has been asked to participate in a long-term deep undercover mission for the guild—a mission that only he can undertake. While he cannot reveal all the details, he does tell the group that this mission will hopefully uncover a secret elven supremacist organization thought to be operating deep within the Gray Forest. While saddened by this news, the rest of the Knights understand and respect Ewen’s decision to undertake this assignment. That evening, all five of the Knights celebrate their short-but-exciting start together at the Valedictory Inn, where they partake in song, dance, and even a bit of fraternizing with the visiting entertainment troupe (a trio of young, beautiful halfling sisters).

Eleasis 30, 1490 DR

After the remaining Knights see Ewen off in the morning, they return to the guild mission board to choose their next adventure: a monster hunt! After talking with John Mercy, they learn that the monsters they will be hunting are hobgoblins near the Impilturan outpost of Echocrest at the base of the Earthfast Mountains. These hobgoblins are currently attacking merchants carrying cargo along the Viand Road between Sanctum Cross and the towns on the other side of the mountains. With the main supply route effectively cut off, efforts to help the towns in the Vast rebuild are sure to stall out and fail. As part of their travel to Echocrest, the Knights are to escort Orel Willow (a cargo carrier associated with the guild) and his transport cart up the mountainous path to the outpost. With the journey a good two days travel, the Knights waste no time in locating Orel and setting off on their next big mission!

Why are the hobgoblins attacking the Echocrest outpost? Will we ever see Ewen again? Is Jivew really spelt with a silent “D”? Come back for the next story in our continuing adventures along the Path of the Polestars!

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Chapter 6
Bandits? Who Said Anything About Bandits?!?

Eleasis 28, 1490 DR

After resting for an evening at Momo’s Respite, our band of adventurers set out to finally return to Sanctum Cross. Unfortunately, as is the case with most adventuring groups, the day’s journey home is not an uneventful one: bandits, disguised as beggars, ambush the party, and a battle ensues. The bandits put up a good fight but are eventually scattered by our adventurers, who inadvertently kill a few of them and severely wound a few others. The bandit captain escapes into the forest, vowing to find the party again and avenge his fallen comrades. With the combat over, the party takes the remaining criminals (both alive and slain) with them, finally returning to Sanctum Cross that evening. There, the group brings the bandits to the guild hall and turns them over to the Guardwatch. Their efforts against the bandits are celebrated with food, drink, and storytelling amongst the other guild members present in the hall that night, who begin to take notice of our heroes and their accomplishments.

Eleasis 29, 1490 DR

Unfortunately, the group soon learns that not everyone is thrilled by their resolution of the bandit encounter. The next morning, after a brief meeting with Willam Wise to drop off the potion and collect proof of mission completion (promising to swing by that afternoon to provide a recounting of their adventure), the party returns to the guild to answer the summons of Randal Hawkshadow, commander of the Guardwatch. While not entirely a reprimand, Randal sternly admonishes the group that taking the lives of any person, no matter their association, carries serious consequences throughout Impiltur and the surrounding lands. While he recognizes the successful first outing of the party, Randal reminds them that they represent the guild to the rest of the outside world. The public reputation of and respect for the guild is built upon years of good deeds but could be easily toppled by the rash actions of only a few of its members.

After finishing with Randal, the group turns in their mission completion statement to Lander Vimes, who rewards them with gold and inquires as to whether or not the party has decided on a permanent guild team name, noting that their current (and temporary) designation is Provisional Recon Group A. After throwing around a few options, the group tables the decision and decides to partake in a morning of shopping and errand-running in town. Visits include:

What mission will our adventurers go on next? What other interesting oddities await them at the Old Wiseman’s Tower? Is it really that hard to come up with a team name better than Provisional Recon Group A? Find out next time on the continuing adventures along the Path of the Polestars!

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Chapter 5
Guess Who? It's Jivew!

Eleasis 27, 1490 DR

“Hahahahaha! You all are such… interesting creatures! What fun you’ve been!”

The group turns around to see before them a violet faerie dragon hovering above the forest floor. He introduces himself as Jivew, a faerie dragon from a “far away place” known as the Feywild. After a few tense moments, including a brief demonstration of Jivew’s power on Finnegan, the group decides not to attack the faerie dragon, choosing to listen to what he has to say instead. Jivew promises to lead the group back to the main road; however, he has a special offer for them: before the group returns home, he can lead them to a special place, not far from their current location, with an “interesting and special treasure.” After some debate, the group agrees to the offer, and they set off into the forest.

After about an hour, Jivew informs the group that they are approaching the location of the treasure. He pauses for a moment, then quickly flies ahead, seemingly disappearing in mid-air before our heroes. Upon further inspection, the group discovers a magical barrier in front of them. As they pass through the barrier, they quickly realize that what looked like a continuation of the forest from the other side of the barrier is, in reality, a collection of ancient elven ruins! The barrier, they surmise, must be some sort of protective cloak, keeping the ruins hidden from any passersby. Jivew, seemingly unphased by this revelation, quickly leads the group into the ruins to structure whose entrance is covered by a large statue of an elven figure, identified by an engraving below the statue as Sergin Melandrus. After discovering the entrance, the group proceeds into the depths below.

What lies before them underground is a large set of chambers lit up with a pulsing and glowing blue arcane energy. The entire chamber seems to be charged with this magical energy. The group soon realizes that they must complete a series of challenges within the chamber to reach a large treasure chest locked in the back behind a series of gates. The challenges include a series of practical jokes and slapstick moments, including pies to the face, electric shocks, tilting bridges, and several laughs along the way.

Upon reaching the end of the challenge and unlocking the chest, Jivew reappears next to the group and quickly grabs an amulet from the treasure. He explains that there has been some sort of a “disturbance” in the Weave throughout the Gray Forest, one that has weakened the boundary between the Feywild and this world, allowing him (and several other creatures) to travel here. While he has enjoyed his time observing and entertaining himself with the creatures of Faerûn, especially our heroes, Jivew wishes to return to his own world. He reveals that the amulet he has taken will allow him to do just that; he just needed a group of adventurers who could unlock the treasure chest for him. As a reward for the inconvenience he has caused the group, Jivew welcomes them to take the remaining items from the chest, which include a set of magically enchanted elven arrows, a gem of seeing, a mask of disguise, and a portable hole. With the items collected, Jivew provides directions back to the main road and then wishes the group farewell, promising to meet them again some day, as he vanishes into a magical portal.

With a new “friend” made, and a hidden location discovered (ripe for further exploration), the group makes their way back to the Viand Road and onto Momo’s Respite for a much-needed bath and a much-deserved peaceful night’s rest.

Did the group expect that this would be their first encounter with a dragon in their adventure? Where did these ancient elven ruins come from? Are we still not back in Sanctum Cross yet? Come back for the next story in our continuing adventures along the Path of the Polestars!

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Chapter 4
What's That Smell?!?

Eleasis 26, 1490 DR

Having received directions from a group of satyrs, our group of adventurers sets forth once again in the Gray Forest, making their way back toward Sanctum Cross. After traveling for a few more hours, nightfall approaches, as does a rainstorm. The group makes camp, trying to find a dry place to sleep for the evening.

Success is fleeting, as the storm increases in intensity, nearly flooding the campsite while the group sleeps. Between the newly-forming streams of water pouring through the area and herds of stink bugs roaming through the campsite (devouring much of the group’s rations), no rest is had by anyone in the party, save Ewen and Varis.

Eleasis 27, 1490 DR

Morning comes all too quickly, rousing the now-exhausted group members awake. Mara seems especially slow and groggy, as she struggles to overcome one hell of a hangover from the previous day’s festivities. The campsite (at least, what is left of it) is packed up, and the group sets out for Momo’s Respite, longing for a nice night’s rest in a comfortable bed.

A few hours walking brings the group unwittingly to their next challenge: a massive obstacle known as the Bog of Stench. This bog stretches for miles throughout the forest, and going around it would take an inordinate amount of time. As they peer out over the swamp, pondering their next move, the group hears a familiar laugh behind them. “Who’s there? Show yourself!” demands Finnegan… but no one responds. With the day growing long, the group decides to attempt to cross the bog. Luckily, after nearly an hour of searching, they find a narrow section of the bog which contains several stones protruding from the slimy water. A path across!

One by one, the group members try to hop from stone to stone over the bog. Unfortunately, the lack of sleep over the last few days has taken their toll on most of the party, and several members slip and fall into the slimy water, soaking various parts of their bodies and packs in foul-smelling swamp sludge. Unusually, attempts to remove the sludge via magical means fail, which means that the smell isn’t going away any time soon! After a time, the group finally makes it to the other side, worn out and smelling like death.

Soon after setting off through the forest, the group hears the familiar laughter which has been taunting them throughout their adventure; however, this time, something is different. A voice follows the laughter:

“Hahahahaha! You all are such… interesting creatures! What fun you’ve been!”

Who the hell does that voice belong to!?!? Has it been following our group the whole time? The whole time? THE WHOLE TIME!?! Find out next time on the continuing adventures along the Path of the Polestars!

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Chapter 3
Stumbling into a Satyr Party

Eleasis 26, 1490 DR

Our group of adventurers awaken after a not-so-peaceful slumber to a new day in the Gray Forest. The Keensmells are already awake and busy with the day’s activities: Nifis is finishing up his special potion, while Teeri and Trina prepare breakfast. The group grabs a quick morning bite to eat and a gives the Keensmells a cheerful thanks before they collect the remaining potion and set off on their journey back to Sanctum Cross.

The morning walk back along the forest trail towards the Viand Road seems to be uneventful, that is, until the group hears a muffled bit of laughter from behind them. Turning around, they see nothing.

Hmmm… strange…

Turning back around to continue, the group finds themselves in the oddest of predicaments: the trail which they were following is gone! Disappeared! Right from under their feet!

Something isn’t right, but the group doesn’t know exactly what is going on, so they try to press forward, hoping to find familiar-looking markings or terrain or any sign of the trail. Minutes turn into hours of wandering in what seems like circles. The Gray Forest is huge and disorienting, even for the orienteering skills of Ewen, who grew up in the forest.

Eventually, the sounds of music can be heard, as the group comes to a clearing around a small lake within the forest. Gathered around the water are a group of satyrs engaged in music, dance, and games. The group hesitantly joins them in order to ask for directions back to the main trail. They partake in the festivities and eventually impress the satyrs with their feats of athletics, dancing, and storytelling. The satyrs share with the group several servings of Dryad’s Kiss, a sweet yet very powerful alcoholic beverage. Mara enjoys the liquor a little too much, becoming very inebriated in the process (to the delight of the carousing satyrs). After a few hours of partying, the satyrs finally point the group in the direction of Momo’s Respite, a small inn which sits along the Viand Road between Sanctum Cross and Midway, and send them on their way.

Why did the trail disappear from right beneath our adventurers’ feet? What are satyrs doing in the middle of the Gray Forest? Will the group make it back to civilization? Find out next time on the continuing adventures along the Path of the Polestars!

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Chapter 2
Meeting the Keensmells

Eleasis 25, 1490 DR

After spending the night camped under the stars and the Gray Forest canopy, our adventurers set out to complete their delivery mission. That day, they reach the house and laboratory of Nifis Keensmell, a somewhat eccentric gnomish alchemist who has made a home out of a curious tree with glowing mushrooms growing out of it. The group discovers that their “delivery” was actually payment to Nifis for a special type of incense that had been ordered by the Temple of Ilmater in Sanctum Cross. Nifis gives the incense to the group to take back to the temple (and as proof of completion of their first guild mission). He also asks that they take a special potion back to Willam Wise, the town’s resident arcanist and archivist, but informs them that it will not be ready until the next day. He, therefore, invites the group to stay and enjoy a nice dinner with him and his family—an offer the group happily accepts.

That evening over dinner, the group gets to know a little more about Nifis and his family, including his wife, Teeri, and his daughter, Trina. After eating, the group makes camp outside the alchemy lab, settling in for another evening under the forest canopy. However, as they are sleeping, the group is awakened by the buzzing sound of insects — massive ones! They are attacked by a swarm of bloodsuckers, massive mosquito-like insects which attempt to suck the blood of any attacker. While the group eventually dispatches the swarm, their rest is interrupted, making the remainder of the night an uneasy sleep.

Where are these strange creatures in the forest coming from? WIll the journey back to Sanctum Cross be any easier for our heroes? Find out next time on the continuing adventures along the Path of the Polestars!

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Chapter 1
First Mission: Special Delivery

Eleasis 24, 1490 DR

We first meet our group of adventurers in Sanctum Cross, a growing town in a region known as the Vast. The group has demonstrated their skills and recently passed a difficult initiation challenge, becoming newly minted members of the Guild of the Polestars. Now, as fledgling guild members, they seek out ways to assist the town and further the work of the guild. After speaking with local store owner John Mercy, they come across their first mission: Deliver a package to an alchemist who lives in the Gray Forest.

Soon after departing the town and heading into the Gray Forest, the group encounters a runaway carriage, which they manage to not so much slow down as to topple over to stop. Inside is Darvin Amblecrown, a courier between Sanctum Cross and Lyrabar, the capital city of Impiltur. The carriage driver, Sven, who had somehow fallen out of his seat, soon catches up to the group and helps them right the carriage. In return for their help, Darvin presents the group with a ruby ring, and they depart once again for the alchemist’s lab.

As they get closer to their destination, the group heads down a smaller path which diverges from the Viand Road, the main road through the forest. Along this smaller path, they encounter a large spider sitting atop a massive web amongst the trees just over the path. When the group sends an illusion to pass underneath the spider, it disappears in a bright flash, reappearing right next to the illusion. Combat ensues with not just one, but two of these phase spiders, which the group manages to defeat. A rather curious encounter, Ewen and Zook recognize that phase spiders are not native to Faerûn, but rather the Feywild, also known as the plane of Faerie. Pondering what this encounter means, the group makes camp for the evening, looking forward to making it to the alchemist’s lab the next day.

What other mysterious encounters await our group on this seemingly simple first mission? Find out next time on the continuing adventures along the Path of the Polestars!

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