Episode One - Conference of Scholars
Episode 1: Conference of Scholars (Level 1)
It is Autumn in the year 1455 AN, the first watch of the reaping. Strange events in the world and the heavens above it have inspired an historic event; an unprecedented conference of scholars have met in Chayrshellech, in the Captiol city, Athelshoth. Diplomats have come also, along with all manner of merchants, traveling traders, and adventurous foreigners who seek answers to pressing questions at the conference. The conference will formally last one month, and plans to address many subjects.
Athelshoth has three major universities: Abríanach (most prestigious), Menachem (nearly as prestigious), and Shemarya (reputable, but least prestigious.) Shemarya is often ignored or looked down on by the other two. All three compete with each other for prestige, funding, students, and faculty. Each university is hosting various sessions of the conference panel discussions and related events.
Vashvari Gahnalende, a drow warrior from just outside Gilvingroth, Iljudheim, has arrived with his mentor Brethul Wothmarch, an elderly heathfolk merchant who makes annual trading trips from Athelshoth to Iljudheim overland via Motta. He is sometimes quiet and brooding, other times outgoing and witty, but almost universally scorned, feared, and misunderstood by those he meets. His mother, has taken ill with The Némelethe, a strange illness affecting communities in Ijudheim and Arwest. Vash hopes to find a cure among the assembled scholars of the conference. Ichtaca Ollín, a human barbarian from a tribe that wanders the borders of the Norlythe and Saethym, is a descendant of the legendary empress Xoco, and the bastard son of current emperor Icarasl. Illiterate but curious about the world, he seeks legitimacy and a warrior’s name by questing in the south-lands. He came to the conference of scholars seeking adventure, and hoping to learn more of The Worldfire. Among the scions of the university Abríanach, is Tobias Orindel. The favored student of Professor Athelsheth Jennish, he is a brilliant young human, with a seemingly frail body. He moves with strange agility and strength for his appearance, and is secretly a psion.
Vash and Ichtaca are staying at The Greystone, an inn near Shemarya, in the seedy neighborhood by the western docks. Tobias lives in the student / faculty lodgings at Abríanach.
The first formal day of the conferences, panel meetings of experts discuss varied topics in each of the universities. Ichtaca manages to slip into a meeting on the worldfire at the prestigious Abríanach. He watches with interest as the assembly questions a panel of experts, including Professor Jennish, with Tobias at his side. The experts debate varied theories about astronomy, the nature and purpose of varied celestial bodies, and the worldfire. As Ichtaca shoulders his way to the front of the observation balcony, Professor Jennish notices him with interest. He drags Tobias along with him to introduce himself to the hulking barbarian. To his student’s dismay, he invites the wild northman to a beachfront party near the western docks.
Meanwhile, Vash visits a sparsely attended meeting in a lesser hall of Shemarya, the only group discussing the Némelethe. Progress is slow, as Dr. Marik Northwell, a renowned disease expert from Trentsmund, has declined to attend the conference. Other key experts seem to be missing as well, and the organizers are flustered and ill-prepared. Several fey have attended this meeting, and cast cold glances at the intrusion of a drow. Among them is Lord Ambassador Losoran Anelathem, an eladrin diplomat and high ranking noble from Imsund, Telgard. Frustrated with the churlish response to his questions, Vash storms out of the conference and attempts to enter the one in Abríanach. He is turned away rudely by the guards.
That evening, Vash is drawn out by the sounds of a boisterous party on the beach near his inn. He finds himself among a pressing throng of heathfolk revelers, mostly composed of students and staff from Shemarya, kept in an increasingly drunken state by industrious drink vendors, and entertained by several scantily clad fire dancers. Professor Jennish arrives, with Ichtaca and a reluctant Tobias in tow. Tobias has been charged by university administration with keeping a close rein on Jennish, to maintain the dignity and reputation of Abríanach. He is hard-pressed in reigning in the behavior of the mischevious, brillant, frequently drunk, and lecherous older man. Jennish uses his newfound friend Ichtacha shamelessly in a failed attempt to impress an attractive anthropology student, Kinshaylo. Tobias avoids Churdalsh, a student from Menachem, and a personal rival. Vash, meanwhile, notices something stirring out in the waves.
Suddenly, the revelers are attacked! Unnatural-looking bullywugs and crawling black tendrils reeking vile toxins crawl out of the water and snatch several partygoers. Vash, Tobias, and Ichtaca are hard-pressed to survive, and Vash’s eye is gouged out by a spear. The heroes bravely stand their ground, however, managing to save Professor Jennish, Kinshaylo, and several other innocent bystanders. Churdalsh is among those slain or dragged out into the lake. Professor Jennish is impressed with their exploits, and grateful for his escape from a very close call with death. He invites the trio to meet him in his office early next morning for breakfast on a matter of business.
Conference Skill Challenge: 500 xp
Beach Party Attack Encounter: 900 xp
Role-Play with Professor Athelsheth Jenneth: 50 xp
Role-Play with Ambassador Losoran Anelathem : 50 xp
Role-Play in conference and at beach party with various NPC’s: 100 xp
Staying in-character: 100 xp
6 out of 10 civilians saved in beach party attack encounter: 150 xp
Vash avoiding combat despite provocation: 100 xp
Total: 1950 xp, divided among 3 players, is 650 each.
Backstory Reward for Tobias: Orb of Stored Energy +1
Backstory Reward for Vash: Shadow-Shroud Armor +1
Backstory Reward for Ichtaca: Battle Harness +1