“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
A couple of months ago, two parties gathered to embark on a new adventure: children and their parents who had either attended the D&D Storytelling Workshops or the Family D&D Games I ran earlier this year. Not satisfied with simply going in their separate directions, they asked if we could continue to play a larger campaign! Shortly after, one crisp autumn day, the fledgling adventurers found themselves gathered in a warm cafe…armed with dice and fresh character sheets.
This is the first entry in the Chronicles of the Heroes of Iyastera! Two parties formed out of the Workshop/Family One-Shot groups, and we’ve met a few times since that initial Session Zero. I would like to share their stories with you as we go, but first, introductions are in order!
Some of the adventurers had come from the secluded village of Runda, far to the north, where they helped restore the balance to the Luminous Lake by defeating an evil wizard and returning the Lake Guardian’s eggs back to her care. As they prepared to take their leave, the Guardian told them the secret of the lake, that it sits atop a Spring, a rare, natural concentration of magic that anchors this world to other planes of existence. This Spring is what helps keep Runda protected, and allows for the magical creatures to reside there. The Guardian senses other Springs beginning to awaken and asked the adventurers to find them…but be careful, she warned, for dark entities will be drawn to the power too.
And so the heroes begin their travels across the kingdom of Moineir, following rumors of strange occurrences and creatures that seem to have appeared from legends long-forgotten. They will hear of a small farming settlement called Garran, farther to the west, where a strange illness has befallen the villagers, seemingly without a cure.
This is where the story begins…
Amberleaf, the Gnome Bard: This flute-playing charmer hails from the kingdom of Tashkil, drawn by a desire for adventure. She is charismatic and brave, and always aims to put a smile on the faces of her companions.
Sneaky, the Fairy Rogue: Sneaky joined the party while they were in Runda, helped them rescue the Lake Guardian’s eggs, and decided to venture out to find the other springs! She enjoys playing tricks on others, but from the shadows, as she quickly realized that fairies don’t seem to exist outside of Runda. Her innate connection to the earth helps her sense the ebbs and flows of the natural magic around them. She isn’t a fan of cats.
Vistran, the Goliath Barbarian: Expelled from his tribe at a young age, Vistran wandered the wilds of Tashkil and Moineir until finally stumbling into Runda, inexplicably drawn to the natural energy of the lake. He doesn’t like to discuss his past, and sometimes struggles to keep his deep-rooted anger under control. Most of the time, however, he is kind-hearted and calm.
Rhogar, the Dragonborn Sorcerer: Rhogar was young during the War of the Magi, and didn’t fight in it directly, but experienced the hardships of it all the same as a student at the Alabaster Atheneum in Jokull, before the kingdom was wiped away. His tribe is naturally skilled in arcane manipulation, and his skills quickly set him apart. When the fires of war reached his home and one of his friends and fellow sorcerers was brutally murdered, Rhogar managed to escape to Moineir.
Nosewart, the Dwarf Ranger: Nosewart is the son of a Tashkili mining foreman, who was chosen to head a new expansion of their Miners’ Guild northward, into Jokull. They discovered a rare mineral, Erjun ore, which proved to be quite valuable for its magical properties. A dispute between Nosewart’s father (Grymm) and the Chief Inspector of the mines led to the expulsion of their family. Nosewart devoted his years to learning the ways of the land and developing essential survival skills. During one of his expeditions as a guide for trading caravans, he started hearing rumors of strange things happening elsewhere and answered the call of adventure.
Henna, the Wood-Elf Druid: Henna grew up in the secretive Elven city of Glenfaera, where she was able to cultivate her ability to pull from the natural magic of the earth and began her studies as a Druid. The elders began to sense the awakening of Springs, which had been lost during the War of the Magi. She accepted their charge to venture out of their idyllic forest home, to see what she could find.
Kratarus, the High-Elf Rogue: Kratarus has been on the run since childhood, when his mother was murdered by a mysterious figure and he was sent fleeing his home with nothing but a strange dagger that his mother had hidden for years. He learned how to conceal himself and strike from the shadows, even gaining notoriety within an assassin’s guild, before leaving again when he was given a mission that broke his trust in the organization. He has wandered ever since, still trying to discover the secret of the family dagger and hoping to find his mother’s killer. He came upon Garran by chance, where he met the adventurers listed above.
Gojira, the Dragonborn Wizard: Gojira was another outcast from his tribe, deemed unfit for the harsh realities of the mountains due to his diminutive size and lack of physical strength. Once he discovered a knack for the arcane, however, everything changed. He became consumed with a desire to learn as much as he could, and study ancient artifacts of the years before the war, including anything that had to do with the now-lost kingdom of Jokull. He met Yin during his travels and, though usually mistrustful of others, has traveled with her for a few weeks before meeting the others in Garran.
Yin, the Human Paladin: As a Paladin of Druanta, the Green Goddess of Nature, Yin was never fond of her role within the army, particularly as the last major war ended over a century ago. Now, militaries served only to enforce the structure of the newly-founded councils…and when a dear friend was lost in a pointless battle, she decided enough was enough. Yin now travels the realm as a harbinger of peace and balance, wishing to help the still-recovering peoples of Iyastera in her own way. She met Gojira along the way and, together, they decided to investigate the sickness in Garran.
Next time, we meet the heroes of Group Two!