2.0 Branching Paths (NFP)
The player characters will be given an array of plot hooks centered around Mourmans Pothole This will be a good opportunity to introduce some of the factions at play in Telandor, and widen the scope of the campaign. The goal is too make the players choose between furthering one goal versus another, all the while reinforcing the fact that time moves and things happen in the background no matter what they choose.
Introduction: Mourmans Pothole
Destruction in the outskirts of the potholeUpon arriving at mourmans pothole, the party is apprehended by a group of rangers led by Seven, who are investigating the destruction of the outlying buildings caused by Duvlin. Seven will try to convince the party to find Duvlin and return him to her, arguing that the destruction of the town is the party's fault for hindering her capture of Duvlin in the caves. She is talking to the towns mayor, Helmut Skavilder who has gathered some information regarding the attack:
- Duvlin came at dawn, two days ago
- He came from the southeastern hill, and after rampaging trough the outskirts of the pothole, left across the hills to the northeast.
- Vontraire the watcher of the eastern tower followed him for a while and might know more.
- Duvlin was searching frantically for etherium, and one of the buildings he destroyed was the home of Rai'led the bookmaker, who lost most of her savings and her prized books during the rampage.
Thelma's InnThe in is a busy place on the evening of the party's arrival. Since the destruction of some of the outer houses, many of the potholes residents are now homeless and living at the inn.
Willow's FangsA party of four women are sitting at a table nonchalantly drinking ale and laughing with each other. They seem careless of the obvious downtrodden mood at the inn, and are discussing their plans. Their leader's name is Willow, and the others are Red, Tasha and Hibellin. They left Liyanor after the miners in the Etherium mines they were guarding all turned crazy and killed each other, and are heading towards Oscilvar because they have heard that the king has died and a succession war is coming.
Tommek the JesterIf asked about the brown masks, attendants of the inn will point to a jester that performed a couple of nights earlier. His name is Tommek and he wears a brown mask for some of his performance. If asked he will say that he got it as a mark of honor for winning the championships of the grand arena in Aurithor, but will admit to lying if pressured. He found the mask on a sick man in the ports of Irithis three months prior, and besides that he doesn't know anything. Though he recalls a beating he earned himself once in a tavern in Marquadesh called The Crimson Falcon. Some shady looking individuals where saying that their boss would get mad if he saw anyone wearing that mask.
In search of Duvlin
A well marked pathThe wreckage that Duvlin has caused is easy to follow, and the guardsman of the eastern tower Vontraire will help the party. The path leads northeast out into the dunes towards the Stone Forest, and is marked by upended rock and sand, as well as the occasional dead animal.
The Stone Forest
The Bloodinfused Stone will start to pulsate once carried into the forest.The stone forest is an old formation of rocks that stand in the middle of the desert. They are thought to have been left there when the desert was still full of life and above them is a low-hanging cloud of dust. The pathways between the rocks are hard to navigate, and often lead to dead ends where rocks have fallen over. The main pathway through the forest eventually comes to an intersection, with two paths that circle around and one path leading towards the Nodeheart.
Timmen's Campsite: Left PathA young boy named Timmen has ventured to the stone forest in search of a special cactus called the Yiouvari Cactus that is said to grow there. He needs the cactus to cure his mother who suffers from a terminal illness, but has been terrorized by the Darklings and their beast. He says a strange herbwoman told him to find the cactus here, one who had plenty of bottles on her possession. She had long ears and came to him one night when his mother was very ill.
Darkling Hideout: Left Path, past campThe darklings have made a small campsite hidden behind some of the rocks, where they have dug a pit to sleep in during the day, covering it with brush and twigs. They are the guards of Ismek the cultist but where not allowed by him to come further into the forest.
The Sleeping Cactus: Right PathThe right path leads upwards, eventually reaching an outcropping where the standing stones create a circle. In the circle's center sits a large cactus with arms that reach up above the circle. Here, Ic'Tann Sulevos, the druid of the wastes slumbers, watching over the Nodeheart. He has taken extra interest in it since Duvlin's arrival, but has declined to act yet, as he believes the etherlight will eventually engulf Duvlin, disabling him from causing any harm. He has on occasion hindered the boy from entering the Nodeheart by twisting his path, blocking his passage with vines and brush.
The druid will notice and abolish the blood-infused etherium stone, wishing it to be destroyed, but not in close vicinity to the nodegrounds
The NodegroundsThe Nodegrounds are covered by a thick cloud of dust that hangs over the area, and is invisible from the outside. Though the cloud hangs over the entire stone forest, it is much thicker where the Nodegrounds begin.'
Ismek's CorpseOn the pathway leading straight towards the Nodeheart, the corpse of the cultist Ismek lies stretched across the ground. His blood has begun to seep through the sand, and his outstreched hand holds some papers. He carries a ruby-hilted dagger, and a medallion with the fractal pattern of Ye'Grethis and a ruby inside it as well. The notes contain astrological notes that Seth will recognize.
- Some places in the desert are marked with circles and have been crossed out.
- Lines go towards them from the bastion of hope.
- An uncrossed cirle sits on the eyre peaks, and another one on the Stone Forest, though the cultist is holding a quill and seemed to want to cross it out.
The NodeheartThe Nodeheart is a large cactus interspersed with cryztaline shards of a dark green and amber color. Its roots can be seen going above the ground in places, stretching out over the area. There is a pools of sandy water around the Cactus, and smaller cacti have emerged around some of the pools.
Duvlin has melded with the cactus, his body only half protruding from it and his skin having become impaled with cactus needles.
Duvlin is a lot more lucid when he is this close to the Nodeheart and the etherlight it holds. He has some information for the party now, if they get on his good side, but is very adamant that he does not want to return to Seven's care.The branches conect to smaller Etherium Crystals around the Nodeheart, which if damaged will weaken Duvlins powers. The Youvari Cactus grows here too, in small clusters on the outskirts of the Nodeheart.
- He was being experimented on by the Pareah Drakhir, a circle of mages that were once part of the Coetus Doctrina.
- He remembers spending time in the Silver Sanctum, and that there was arguments between an arch-needle and a Sevens superior, Dirim Kesell, before the Drakhir mages moved him covertly in the night to their tower on the Drakhir Riverbeds.
After the Nodeheart
A lone traineeA lonely trainee from the order of the Dawnspears is fighting a pack of hyenas close to the Nodeheart. His name is Ralph and he is very scared that he will fail his test if anyone helps him.
Messenger from DrouvaldDrouvalds messenger will arrive at the pothole four days after the current time. He has the parties 100 gold and gives thanks from drouvald.
- A band of orcs was spotted south of the pothole, travelling northwest to southeast
Trouble in the Etherium MinesA merchant is arguing with a messenger, the topic seems to be a mine in northern liyanor that has gone dark. Their mercenaries broke the contract saying they were not paid enough to deal with Ghosts and Possession
- The King of Oscilvar has fallen ill, and a succession war is brewing
- A young explorer boy vanished in the southern parts of the Wastes
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