Down and Out in Taren Kost – Campaign Report

17 February, 2019

Well, as this has now become an actual campaign rather than just a few one off adventures, let me start to record the adventure of our brave (?) heroes (??) in the city of Taren Kost.  This game is played with D&D 5E rules modified for the Sea of Stars setting.

Our cast:

  • Hartesa Wormwort UlshyveYosef the Well-Balanced, human know-it-all wizard.  (First appearance Episode 1, on hiatus after Episode 2, played by R)
  • Hartesa Wormwort Ulshyve, dark elf mushroom farmer and inferniculturalist, and self-described hick, with imp familiar “Portobello”.  (Warlock, first appearance Episode 1, retired as of Episode 10, played by B2)
  • Mercutio “the Green”, dissipated human conman and wild magic sorcerer, color changes as a side effect from his wild magic.  (First appearance Episode 2, played by J)
  • Skatska, self-exiled acid-breathing Dragonborn who seeks the old gods.  (Paladin, first appearance Episode 3, played by D)
  • Fiorentino, Prezzo dei Raditor,one of the rare fae gnomes who works as a ratcatcher, secretly building a rat army, wears a cat-fur cloak.  (Ranger, first appearance Episode 4, played by B)
  • Reed Greenbottle, Visse agent of Taren Kost’s Trade Directorate, License Enforcement, and stickler for the proper rules.  (Rogue, first appearance Episode 4, also played by R)
  • Agrippa, tortoise beastkine martial artist seeking his three lost brothers.  (Shadow Monk 3, first appearance Episode 11, played by B, naturally, as his other character is very city focused)
  • Natya Gefeltewulf. a brave if none too bright scion of a noble family, trained in the arts of the eldritch knight and assigned to a desolate border region to keep her out of trouble. (Fighter – Eldritch Knight, first appearance Episode 15, played by B2)
  • Episode 1: The Beginning

Yosef has been set adrift from the starship The Querulous Gull, leaving it slightly singed after one of his spells went wrong, and it soon drift into the lower caves of the Underweal where he finds an odd corpse of some monstrous thing that has been slain and mushroom as springing up in its flesh almost as he watches.  Here he meets Hartesa who is hunting for what is killing the summoned workers of the mushroom farms.  After some patronizing from Yosef and some hickness from Hartesa, they agree to work together

Hunting through the caves, they find a few more slain service demons and eventually find a recently excavated tunnel which had exposed a crystalline-lined chamber slightly larger than a person.  And they are confronted by a glowing winged being, an angel.  They manage to talk the angel down and explain the current situation, with the dragonrule and everything to it.  The angel thanks them, gives them each a gift of a feather and leaves to fight the good fight.

After reporting back to her Matriarch, Hartessa is sent with a shipment of mushrooms and other trade goods (and Yosef) to the big city.  Soon they are packed aboard the elven starship the Goldenrod Queen, Captained by Yarrow Starlilly, and sent far away.  On route, they are attacked by a pair of longboats rowed by animated skeletons, between the crew, Hartessa’s eldritch blasts and Yosef leaping about one and unleashing magical might, they are driven away before they can board.  But Yosef is struck with a arrow, the bone tip of which burrows into his chest . . . and waits.

Arriving at Port Celestra, they spend the night at the Three Dogs Inn.  The next day, venturing into Taren Kost, they hire Tarrian as a local guide.  Visiting Lodrill Voss, alchemist and purveyor of fine chemicals. Hartessa sells the various mushroom and concoctions she was asked to, keeping a small commission for herself.

On the streets they are met by Laresh Ghostchaser who can smell the necrourgic magic on Yosef and escorts him to Ghostchaser House.  There Varet Ghostchaser, curse breaker, operates on Yosef and removes the bone shard and they are invited to join the Ghostchasers for dinner.

Episode 2: Into the Sewer, into the Dark

At dinner they meet Mercutio, who has fallen into the Ghostchaser’s hands, again, after coming out of the sewers singed and having seen something . . . terrible.  After dinner they are hired to venture into the sewer and seek out whatever it was.  The next morning, equipped with magical lanterns and origami message birds, they descended into the sewers.  Now, Mercutio was so out of it, he has no idea where the terrible thing was, but he plays it as though he does.

There they encounter all sorts of strange things, rats, floating detritus, an alchemical reagent (who they try, and fail, to recruit), a robed woman (?) who had some sort of secret meeting area off the sewers and finally the warped space around a crack in reality through which odd energy are pouring, mutating rats (which attack) and a manifestation of the void.  They kill the rats and kill / dismiss the manifestation and send for help.

The Ghostchasers arrive in forces and over the course of the next several hours weave a complex spell, assisted by various magical items, to the seal the crack, leaving them quite exhausted.  They pay off the party but ask them to remain on call for further jobs.

Episode 3: Osquip Hunt

This episode open in the attic apartment of Mercutio above the Gilded Lilly, a tavern and brothel in the Night Ward run by Yvonne, who puts up with Mercutio’s shenanigans because he is occasional useful and he always pays his rent in the end.  Today, he is useful as an odd customer, a dragonkine, Skatska, has shown up and Yvonne is not sure what to do with him (?) and sends Mercutio, accompanied by Hartessa, to sound out this strange arrival.  They are plying the odd dragonkine with drinks when two osquips burst through the floor and attack Skatsha!  A short, brutal fight follows with much blood spilled in the close quarters and two osquip lie dead and the dragonkine is quite bloodied.

Yvonne is not pleased.  Investigation show the osquips burrowed up from a den that connected to the sewer and was under the tavern floor.  Apparently the smell of dragonkine drove them into a frenzy.  Salimis the Golden Throated, storyteller of the Gilded Lilly, tells the story of the osquip’s origins, and Yvonne agree to a month of rent for Mercutio if he brings back the heads of three osquips, suitable for display, and a guarantee that the Lilly will not be troubled by them again.

So, back into the sewers.  Starting from the osquip nest, they range out finding more rats, an abandoned catacomb with ghouls, a giant spider (which almost manages to eat Portobello) and a final ambush by osquips heading swarms of rats in front of them.

They return battered and bloodied but triumphant.  Yvonne sees that they are immediately bathed.

Episode 4: Beyond the Veil

(Mercutio’s player had to miss this session and was played as an NPC)  Mercutio is talking with Autto Bimini, a very well and fancily dressed man, as the others gather in the common room of the Lilly.  Bimini has an offer, his place of business, the House of Jaded Desires, has become haunted and he needs it sorted out, quickly, and as the characters have worked with the Ghostchaser and should have the needed skills.  Fiorentino is nearby and deals himself in as he has previously dealt with Bimini.  They agree and make their way to the House, which is a former temple (as many of the buildings in the Night Ward are) in the shadow of the Theater of the World.  The exterior is so badly worn that who, or what, it was a temple to is impossible to determine.  After a brief bit of negotiation, the characters agree to venture down into the basement which is very shadowy and full of distant echo and the corridor extends far, far further than it should.  They cautiously explore and are attacked by shadowy things, which take down Mercutio and chill the very soul of Skatska.  They retreat back out, leave Mercutio on a fainting couch and venture back in after a quick meal and some warm drinks.  Meanwhile, Reed Greenbottle, who was checking the basement stock of the Lusty Oyster suddenly finds himself in a long, but well paneled, corridor.

Reed meets up with the others and tries to work out where he is just in time for a pack of three shadow hounds attack the party with their oddly bright teeth.  It is a vicious fight but they prevail and promptly skin the hounds . . .  Continuing down the corridor it gradually changes to having moss instead of carpet and stone walls and ending in an ominous stairway leading up.

At the centerAt the top is a wide courtyard cobbled in white stones with a fountain in the center, across the way is a massive cathedral-like building that can only be seen in silhouette against the dusky lavender sky.  Crossing into the courtyard, they realize that the cobblestones are in fact, skulls and the fountain is spraying fine dust rather than water.  Making their way to the building, its doors open silently at a knock revealing a massive hall, tilled in black and white.  In the center is a tall man on an iron chair, chained, an tron crown on his head.  He gestures them forward.

The man on the chair explains that he is the Lord of Death, the third surviving god, because without death . . . He warn Skatska that names, especially the names of gods, have power and using them will attract much worse attention than his.  He answers a question from each, warns them that the Void is approaching, and sends them back with a guide, a simply dressed young man.  The guide sees them safely back to the basement, then produces two wooden bowls from which pour black and white stones, rebuilding the wall and everything returns to normal in the basement.

Fiorentino browbeats Autto into contracting for further ratting and supernatural defenses, everyone gets paid, and we end for the night.

Onward to Interlude 1!

Notes: Since I rarely had much time to prepare for these games, I fell back on places and things I had previously designed.  The advantage of a persistent world.  Autto Bimini is a shout out to the State sketch comedy show, sadly unrecoginized by my players.  The young man who escorted the characters back from the meeting with death was one of the new Heralds of Death from the end of my second long running Sea of Stars campaign.

Hartessa image by her payer. Lower image editted from the engraved title page and frontispiece of Scott’s Ivanhoe, Creator Jewitt, Thomas Orlando Sheldon, Licence  From the Walter Scott image collection, University of Edinburgh.


  1. Marvelous fun! I specially like all the names of things and people. Did you name them all?

    • Except for the player character names, yes.

Please share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: