Ryan is a self-proclaimed bandit lord. (Bard 2) Weakness: Sister who has a big mouth, and he has to take care of her. (orphaned) Motive: To seek out an honest life for him and his sister.
Greg is an astrologically guided Goliath Sorcerer. Weakness & Motive: Fascinated by astrology, he does “whatever the stars tell him.” He is currently motivated to find arcane training to hone his sorcerer skills.
Greg has left his mountain tribe to find the legendary “red tower” and receive arcane training, or otherwise find arcane training. He becomes a drunk for a few years, and then some even causes him to renew his motivation, and he enlists as a traveling guard and accompanies caravans West.
He eventually makes his way to the town of Farthest Valley, receives half pay for his services, and then tries to find a guard North to the Red Valley (and Red Tower). There he meets Ryan, fresh off a record heist, who has bought a farm to the North (its owners were killed by bandits several years ago, and the Records Official has had trouble selling it to locals) He enlists Ryan’s help as a guide (Ryan is a local bandit who has been run out of his last town after his sister blabbed), for pay. Ryan needs some money to get his farm started, and agrees, telling a local boy to watch the farm (“watch his sister”) while he is gone.
Greg visits Scribe Victor, the local librarian, to find information on a “certain arcane school”’s location. After being ambiguous for some time, Greg finally tells him what he’s really there for (information on the Red Tower), and Victor gains renewed enthusiasm. Victor says that nobody really knows the location, and the only documents he has pertain to a group of Order Investigators who were looking for the tower to complete their records of the Tower Wars.
“For you see, the Red Tower’s location was never confirmed. The Five Silver Knights, heroes of the age by all accounts, and all the Order soldiers (50 hardcore knights) accompanying them were killed in a catastrophic battle where the whole peasant army (50k) was destroyed to around one thousand, and the Red Tower and its fortress were razed. There were no very sane accounts given by the surviving peasants, and the Empire did not investigate, for the Red Tower’s armies had dispersed overnight (they were supplied magically by the Red Tower)”
Victor says the Investigators left some journals where most of the interesting data is in Order Code, which he cannot read. However, Greg encourages him to do more digging, and Victor goes crazy in the records room. They eventually find some data pertaining to a certain “Heaven’s Gate,” a fortress built by an old culture, with a large city around it. The fortress was destroyed over a hundred years ago by the expanding Empire, but it is very possible the Red Tower was built over the ruins, so he gives Greg a copy of an ancient map (pretty useless for navigating anywhere but the fortress) for a small donation of 10gp. He mentions he is interested in books and records from the Red Tower, and Greg drops that he will be sure to come back with anything he finds so that Victor can copy them. Victor craps his pants with glee, because he was totally about to suggest that.
—Return to Farmhouse
Returning to his farmhouse with the Goliath, Ryan sees lights on the horizon, very bright lights. He is not alarmed, and thinks his daughter is throwing a gothy party. He gets to within half a mile before he realizes his barn is on fire, and runs the rest of the way with the goliath. He finds three bandit thugs trying to set fire to his house. One runs away, and Ryan starts shooting with his bow at the runner because he is furious. The other two run up to Ryan in melee, but Greg looks at them intently and the two guys are getting all confused until firey rain drops all over them and burns them too horribly for even their closest siblings to recognize. Ryan apparently made good item choices, because he took the boots that give you +2 to running speed, and is easily able to catch the fleeing bandit and shoot him to pieces with arrows.
Ryan then realizes his house is about to catch fire and runs back to put out the fire. Ryan finds some hay, wet with dew, and covers the porch in it (the fire is under the porch, where one of the bandits threw his torch) (Nature). The Goliath uses his cold magic to stem the expansion of the fire (Arcana+attack), but it still isn’t going out, so the Goliath runs under the porch with a wet shirt and smothers it (Athletics+Goliath DR ability). Then Ryan is informed that there is a spilled pail in the back, and his sister is most definitely gone. They then try to save what timbers they can from the burning barn, which the Goliath does admirably by knocking down the door, accidentally taking the entire wall out, and then dragging it away so they can reuse the timbers.
-Catching the Bandits
The next morning, they set off through the forest (leaving a sign for little Billy, who will still probably be confused) after the bandits. The bandits have been marching all night, and Ryan and Greg opt to go for shortcuts. Ryan chooses a mountain trail, but reaches a fork. One side of the fork is marked with a trailblazing sign that means death which means a group of trackers lost a member on the trail, but he opts to choose that direction anyway, because it appears shorter. Reaching the top of a cliffside trail, they see a short drop in the trail which leads to wolf dens further along the trail. They think there are dire wolves, and are alarmed. They decide to descend down the cliff with their packs, and go through the forest instead. When they reach the bottom, Ryan looks up to see a wolf staring him down; it then howls, and the pack runs away down the path, presumably to pursue them through the forest. Ryan and Greg run through the forest at top speed, making Endurance checks. They begin running through underbrush to slow the wolves down, and try to find things to climb to disrupt their paths. The Goliath swings through the trees for about a hundred feet, which confuses them more, and the party is quite fast on the ground, so they get away.
They catch their breath for a moment at the top of a hill, and find the bandit trail; they think they are right behind htem. Looking over a meadow, they realize that they see the bandits in the distance. There are two groups. One on horses has almost crossed the meadow, and the closer group is leading a cart and farm animals across the field (presumably Ryan’s). Ryan and Greg can’t catch the group on horseback, so sneak through the grass to the first group and ambush them, killing all 10 of the bandits. They then take a note and their badges off the corpses, along with about 30gp in belongings. They then lead the livestock down the path towards Elche Var, where Ryan thinks the bandits are going.
—abandoned House When they reach the edge of the woods to the Red Valley, Ryan sees Elche Var to the West, and an abandoned farm quite a ways to the East. The party, even after being informed that the farm is not kept up and probably uninhabited, or uninhabited by any type of people that like to farm, they still opt to check out the farm. They get very close, and peek in the window, but don’t see anything. Greg opts to politely inform that he is being grabbed by a giant plant vine just before the vine impaled ryan from behind. They get in a nasty combat with some sort of plant monstrosity that dwells in the house, and ryan is repeatedly grabbed, but manages to escape every time just before it crushes him to death. The plant retreats back into the house, but the party re-enters the house and kills it when it attacks them again, emerging from cracks in the floor.
They find that there were once many warning signs in the field leading to the house, but that the vine has stolen all of them. They also find five or six complete skeletons in the house, and think that the vine has been living there for approximately a year or two. Greg digs up the floorboards and finds 90gp of gems and baubles, and a row of bone statues that the vine has lined up in its house-pit; presumably they were kept by the previous owners.
—Finished for the night & an argument about the problems with 4e follow the session