Kelvernia: A Dungeon Crawl Classics Campaign

Session 4 notes
+3 XP

After gathering stone animals and finding the cockatrice’s empty nest, Ox, Brandt, Juke, and Shekki headed toward the mythical coast. Ran from a rainstorm to the Town of Hilot.

Saw armed men taking a young woman to be bound to standing stones. They directed us to the town.

The Wolfspear: Stronghouse inn run by Brogan. Annoying bard-boy Llore explained that the town’s Jarl, advised by the “seer” Sylle Ru, was sacrificing a random villager every 3 days to “the Hound.” There’s a box in the middle of town where the Jarl draws the next name, and that person gets taken out and tied to the menhir. Before that ritual, the Hound came into town every night, crashing down doors and killing, for a couple of months.

Morgan, Broegan’s daughter, was the night’s intended sacrifice. Juke and Ox weren’t going to let that happen, Juke out of goodness, Ox out of perversity. The others played along so as not to miss anything.

Sneaking over the town palisade in the continuing rain, we went to the stones and Juke loosed the maid. Howling out of the dark, the Hound attacked: A scary mastiff the size of a horse. Juke held forth the magic light ball while Ox sheltered Morgan. Shekki shot the thing twice rapidfire, slowing its charge enough for him and Brandt to dance out of the way. Brant whacked it hard on the neck with an axe. Fire came out of the wounds, then it vanished in smoke.

Nothan, the Captain of the Watch, consulted back in town, had had a similar experience. It will come back. Some guards reported that it flew, or possibly leapt, over the palisade. Cap implied that the Jarl is not that bright and called Sylle Ru a “weasel.” There’s also a local priest, deranged doomsayer Father Beacom of the Justice god. Much questioning about recent events finally revealed an intriguing coincidence: Lowlifes Kej, Stein, and Illham were the last disappearances outside the town — just before the Hound showed up.

Found Jenks, owner of the Three Rats bar and former employer of Kej. Well-paid for the information, Jenks related that the when last seen, back in summer, the three human rats were heading off to dig up the ancient Serpent Mound burial site. The mound lies north of town, through the woods, across the stream, in a clearing. The Hound appeared soon after.

Meanwhile, Sheckey told the Jarl how we messed up the sacrifice, and Sylle Ru told the Jarl to be annoyed about it. Fortunately Shekki did not have to lie when he said that he didn’t know where the rest of us could be found.

NEXT: Reunite with Shekki and perhaps any other party members who catch up to us on the road. Go explore the Snake Mound and try to put the Hound to rest.

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Session 3
outline/draft
  • Spoke to Evadare the seneschal
  • Met the Duke & delivered the message
  • Got PAID
  • Upgraded kit
  • Inn burned down
  • Spoke again with seneschal
  • Back on the road to woods with stone squirrels
  • Fought tuskers
  • Killed a cockatrice
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Session 2

As the party trudged along in the darkness, they suddenly heard the sounds of something(s) breaking through the underbrush. They had just enough time to ready themselves and for Brandt to hurl a torch into the trees to see several humanoid shapes charging them: more “Tuskers”! One of the creatures seemed to be the leader. It was somewhat bulkier and wielded an actual sword, as opposed to the crude clubs and knives of his allies.

The creatures chanted, stamped and grunted in a complex rhythm as they fought. The beat was oddly compelling and Mengali found herself fighting in time to the beat even though doing so was making her moves predictable to her foe.

The fight was hectic as the PCs and the tuskers seemed to struggle to deal effective blows to one another. More than once, a combatant fumbled with his weapon or lost his footing. Ox managed to land an attack that knocked the leader down and caused him to drop his sword. That wasn’t all that it caused, though.

The leader let out a bellow of rage and his skin seemed to ripple. His skin split apart and exploded in a shower of bloody gobbets, revealing a towering “man-boar” form underneath.

As the fight progressed, several of the “normal” tuskers were felled. However, it became apparent that the shapeshifting berserker was shrugging off blows that otherwise solidly connected. Mengali cast a paralysis spell and a magical grey mist swirled up around her sword blade. When she struck the boar creature, it was frozen like a statue! Ox smashed it in the head with the flat of his blade, stunning it and apparently snapping it out of its rage. The creature began to morph back into a normal looking example of its breed. Brandt ran it through and this time his blade struck home.

The party found little besides the sword on the creatures, but a search of the trees revealed barleyshield.jpeg a pile of gear that looked to have been dropped before the fight. In addition to a shield emblazoned with a barley sheaf, the PCs found gnawed pieces of a human in some sacks. Collecting the grisly remains, Mengali insisted they take them to the shrine at Tambrake and inter them with a proper burial, as they were almost certainly Sir Dugar’s remains.

The party pressed on and managed to return to Tambrake some hours before dawn. They rested in the town square until the village began to wake up. The party went to the little shrine and wrapped what remains they had in a blanket, then visited the friar. He showed them a space in the little cemetery to use. The PCs dug the grave and paid the man a few coins to say the words and bless the ground with a few drops of holy water. They also asked for a small stone to be carved with his name. Thus Sir Dugar of the Barley Knights was laid to rest.

After resting for a short break, and making sure they had rations, the party pressed on the the east, toward Lem. It took two and a half days of walking, but they reached the walls of Lem and entered the city shortly after midday.

Brandt bought some meat pies for the group to lunch upon and asked for directions to the Duke’s keep. It was easy enough to find, right in the center of the city on a low hill.

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Session 1
Dugar's Charge

The party left Tambrake with the vague notion that heading west to the coast might find a larger town to sell or trade their loot from their previous adventures. Their tiny village having very little market for things like armor or weapons.

After several hours of traipsing along the trade road (little more than a dirt track), they had left the farming fields behind and entered rolling wooded hills. It was late afternoon when they heard the sounds of rapidly approaching hoofbeats.

From around the bend ahead ran a fully laden and armored warhorse in a seeming panic. Blood was visible on its flanks as it turned from the PCs and bolted into the woods, scrambling through the brush. From ahead was the faint smell of smoke. A few of the PCs took off after the horse, the rest hurried up the road to see what caused the beast to panic.

Ox and Bennie hurried along through the trees, keeping the horse in sight, followed by Borey and Iago. They tracked it to a low marshy area, where a strange pool of mist rose up from the ground and enveloped Bennie. His blood was sucked from the very pores of his skin and he collapsed dead in the muck. The mist –now pinkish– moved toward the others. The other characters managed to flee the area without being attacked, reaching drier ground.

Back on the road, Mengali the cleric, Shekki the Mirthful, Brandt the warrior, Juke, and the others reached a stretch of the road where it met a side track. It looked as if a fight had taken place: Crude javelins were stuck in the ground and a smoldering patch where it looked like oil had spilled seemed to be the source of the smoke. As they investigated, the smoke eddied and formed into the ghostlike shape of an armored man. It spoke in a hoarse whisper, telling them that he was one Sir Dugar in life, a member of the Barley Knights. He had been charged to deliver an important message to the Duke in Lem, but savage humanoids had ambushed him. The message was in his saddlebags. He charged the PCs with delivering the message for him, bequeathing his horse and equipment to them if they would do so. If they would not, he promised a death curse upon them. His spirit, trapped at the crossroads, could not follow his body or his killers. The group quickly set off following the signs of the attackers up the side trail.

Meanwhile in the woods, following the sounds of hooves on stone, Ox and the others reached a rocky defile. As the moved through, they suddenly noticed one of the rocks was shaped in the likeness of a squirrel. Another resembled part of a raccoon! realizing that some sort of petrifying monster must be about, they hurried away from the rocks up the steep slopes. Ox then heard the sound of a frightened whinny ahead. Iago snuck forward and spotted three ugly humanoids with ochre skin and tusklike teeth struggling to lead the horse away.

The PCs who had seen the spirit had made good progress along the trail, gaining elevation in the hills. They were moving past an open downslope when they spotted some figures with a horse far below in the trees. As they began to descend, sling stones flew from a thicket and four more tusked man-things rushed forward.

The battle was short and the PCs pressed forward to help, as Iago had ambushed the three creatures with the horse. Ox and Borey ran forward to help as well. After a few rounds, the tuskers were dead and the PCs had grabbed the horse’s reins. It had a few cuts in its flank, but seemed otherwise healthy.

Shekki and Brandt checked the saddlebags and found –in addition to some rations and gear– some coin as well as a scroll case (the message presumably). After debating about whether to look for Dugar’s remains, the group decided fulfilling his mission (and leaving the woods before dark) was their priority. Leading the horse, they returned to the road and began marching back eastwards. Night had fallen as they continued to walk.

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Session 0.5

The party pressed on down the spiral stairs, reaching a long hall-like room. Inside were several shelves of clay figurines as well as tables with miniature terrain to simulate battles. A war room of some kind it seemed. Near the other end of the room was a door.

When {PC NAME} found one of the figures was silver, Iago the halfling begin smashing the clay ones looking for more. Wilfred pressed on and opened the far door.

Inside was a large tiered chamber lit be a pulsating orb at the far end that rested above a rocky throne on a dais. Seated on the chair was a life-sized clay figure in the form of a savage warlord. Standing in front of him were seven more figures, clad as generals. The center of the room was lower than the rest, with several ranks of clay soldiers standing at attention. The warlord’s arm moved and the front rank of the soldiers lurched into a semblance of life, moving toward the door.

Wilfred slammed the door to, and {PC NAME} upended the tables as a barricade. As the party decided began to retreat upstairs, {PC NAME} heard a groaning crash and the rush of water. When they reached the pool chamber, they could see that the water was rushing through a hole that had broken through the pool’s bottom from which they had prised the crystals. Hearing heavy steps below, {PC NAME} spiked the door to the stairs shut.

Once the pool had more or less emptied, {PC NAME} secured a rope to a pillar and carefully lowered themselves into the pool to look through the hole. Below he could see the room with the clay soldiers. Many had been damaged by the cave-in, and the rest of the ones in the lowest tier with dissolving in the water. A few were still able-bodied enough to hurl spears, though. {PC NAME} took one in the head and was killed instantly. The party recovered the body (and the weapon!) from the hole. {PC NAME} also tricked the crystal statues into the pool with a torch and they resulting cave-in of some more floor dropped them on the soldiers in the water below. The crystal statues seemed less affected by the water than the clay ones as they ended up fighting one another. A few decoy swings with the corpse through the hole yielded another spear for the party’s arsenal. But then no more spears flew.

{PC NAME} tried lowering himself partway, but found that –while the soldiers had fallen– the generals stood high and dry. He shimmied up the rope with his companions pulling mightily, but a spear still found its mark and he was killed. Now, though, it appeared the clay men were unarmed. A few moments later, there was pounding on the stairwell door. Apparently, not all the clay soldiers had melted. For the moment though, the spike held. {PC NAME} also tricked the crystal statues into the pool with a torch and they resulting cave-in of some more floor dropped them on the soldiers in the water below. The crystal statues seemed less unaffected by the water and fought the generals when they were attacked.

The party retreated to the room with the fire-blasting statue and rigged a trip-line in front of the door. It wasn’t long before they heard the wood splinter inside the room. The door opened and one clay man fell over the rope breaking off his left arm at the elbow, with two more behind him in the doorway. A furious melee ensued and the clay soldiers were shattered.

Returning to the room with the crystal pool, the party could see that the hole had been enlarged by the crystal men falling through. The warlord was still visible on his throne. While cooler heads planned a missile volley, Wilfred bulled down the stairs and charged the unarmed leader statue, but his neck was snapped but a porcelain punch. A volley from above finished off the warlord statue shortly after that and the party went back downstairs to investigate the scene.

The pulsing orb turned out to be a crystalline globe on a pillar behind the throne. The elf {PC NAME} found a secret door on the dais. Behind it, a short hallway led to a burial chamber with mystic symbols on the floor. Inside, the party found numerous strange artifacts, and a long entombed corpse. After retrieving anything that looked valuable, {PC NAME} and {PC NAME} set fire to the body with oil and rags, shutting the secret door behind them as they left the blaze.

The surviving members of the band left their dead and wound their way out of the chambers where they had seen so much death and danger until the returned to the portal. Beyond, the sky was beginning to gray with false dawn. As they stepped through onto the grass of their own world again, the corridor visible through the archway wavered and vanished, leaving only the grass beyond to be seen. Shouldering their burdens of plunder, they began the walk back to Tambrake.

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Session 0
Start of Funnel

The would-be heroes (all 16 of them) learned of the portal that appears in the standing stones outside Tambrake when the stars are right. Seizing the day (evening?), they picked up what supplies they could and (literally) headed for the hills.

They made it to the stones and found the portal without trouble. {PC Name} eventually figured out that the crystals need to match the sky outside the portal, but not before {PC Name} got blasted after trying to smash a crystal off the door.

The room beyond held a door and four spear-wielding iron statues in armor. {PC Name} the wainwright took a running start and shoved his haycart (tied by a rope for easy retrieval) into the room. Two spears flew and one impaled him. Tierza the Grave Digger tried to use the cart as a “turtle” to scoot into the room underneath it. The next two spears flew and pierced the wagon. Tierza was killed, but now the statues had all shot. The characters collected the statues’ armor, helms and spears. They also had redistributed the fallens’ loot amongst each other.

The next room was much larger and held a 30’ statue pointing its finger at them. It rotated to follow people as they moved about the room. When someone tried to exit the room, a blast of fire came from the statue’s hand. Two characters got singed, but stayed on their feet. Wilfred (Miller-Baker extraordinaire) stole a funeral “monkey mask” from the alcove room with the bones and fled when they started to rattle. He promptly put it on and tried to command the statue. Nothing happened.

{PC Name} climbed the statue and lashed a rope to its arm hoping to immobilize it. It slowed the turn enough for a someone to exit the room without getting hit, but then the rope snapped (had been lashed to the iron statues in previous room. Eventually, the statue appeared to have run out of ammo. By then the characters were scattered through different doors.

One group met a horned snake in some sort of throne room. {PC Name} hurled a sling stone at it but missed. Ssisssuraaaaggg punctured his throat and he died. Landra picked up the dead squire’s sword in panic and went in swinging, carving a chunk out of the reptile’s hide. A few strikes later and the snake was dead, its body collapsed into dust, except for its horn, which glowed faintly for a few pulses then was still. It appeared covered in weird runes, so they kept it. They spent a few minutes looking at the clay tablets on the walls and searching the throne, but moved on fairly soon.

Another group went back to the burial chamber and got the less-rusted axes and chainmail, and crushed one chattering skull in the process.

One group encountered the crystal statues, but since they seemed more mesmerized by the light than interested in combat, no fight broke out. The group left the crystal men in a corner, staring at a lit torch. {PC Name} and {PC Name} began to pry crystals out of the bottom of the pool. Soon after, they could see it was leaking. The other groups of characters joined them soon after. They discovered a spiral staircase in the far right corner, but have not yet descended.

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