Buried in Backwater

Stranded in swamp town

Your ship arrives with a groan as it is tied to the docks. The ropes that would have been comforting tethers have become bonds of imprisonment. The ship settles in the morning ebb, and the planks are lowered to the pier.

The port of Backwater is as mud-caked as its namesake. The water that licks the pillars beneath the docks is deep and can welcome several medium sized seafaring ships at a time. This has been the only saving grace of an economy that would otherwise sink beneath the muck. The rare products of the perilous region are traded in earnest by the civilized seafarers that make a stop here.

For the tired middle ship known as the Dawnchaser, this would be no ordinary layover. The ship’s captain was battle worthy and seasoned, but had a rebellious edge that landed him in a modest position in passenger and cargo shipment. “Captain Prinnce,” his porter called, “they’re here to meet the ship.” Early in the morning the docks crowded with officials from Backwater and the captain was informed that his ship would have to be searched thoroughly, and all of its passengers detained in town until further investigation had been completed. The standoff was grim in its quiet simplicity but no heated words were exchanged.

The ship’s military contingent was organizing their thoughts and their goods for inspection. The rest of the ship’s crew and passengers lined up for the inspection required to leave the boat. Near the front of the line were the crew that would tend to the ship in port, the ship’s crafty task mage, and a sharp-eyed hunter come to seek dangerous game in this unexplored land. Further back in line walked a quiet confident monk and a still-dizzy human fighter that had stayed up far too late the night before.

Waiting on the dock was the port authority, Aldwulff, calling himself the castellan of Backwater. His tunic depicted the colors of the port town, a dark grey dead tree on a poorly dyed dark blue background. His sparsely pieced together plate armor and wooden shield told a story he was too proud to speak. His manner was level-headed and civilized as he questioned the passengers to allow their passage. “What is your name, profession, your business in Backwater, any items to claim on entry, any strange elements on your person, and any magic items to claim?” He checked the papers from their prior port, a festive city known as Starren. “Come and see us at the barracks if you need us,” the castellan echoed to each passenger that cleared his post.

Just beyond the castellan sat the high priest, Georj. He was a stately older gentleman with an air of quiet authority and organization. He too asked questions of the passengers before they could pass. “What is your family’s background, any heir’s status, economic class, faction affiliations, allegiance to any nation, and valuables on your person?” Most churches are tied to the wealth of the land they support, but seemingly this sect even more than most. He took notes about some with a hawk’s quill, inkwell and fine paper. Some he simply dismissed haughtily as he motioned the next passenger to come forward. His robe was lightly stained red from his waist to his head, and blue from his belt to his shoes. He wore a necklace of polished white beads, all but completely tucked into the neck of his robes.

Sarggin the clerk had come down to the docks to see what commerce the sea had brought but now scurried back to his office to validate travel papers. Each civilized person in the realms carried stamped papers with them for travel, and each set of papers were stamped with wax or resin, flecked or marbled with rare local elements for additional security. The stamps were intricate and unique to their township and carried a unified threat of all of the civilized lands should they be defrauded. Backwater has its own stamp held by the clerk, a short thin man that was as secretive as he was suspicious. The clerk felt that his official stamps on traveler’s papers were Backwater’s first steps toward becoming a port city in its own right. most of the Dawnchaser’s passengers would not be leaving town unless the ship was released, for they feared the wilds beyond Backwater’s rickety wooden walls.

The line dispersed a bit as some took in the dingy damp landscape or bargained for food and trinkets in the square. As the sun rose to scorch the sky, many took refuge in the local inn, “The Bull and Bear.” The inn is a single story timber framed building with a sign that depicts a bull and bear dancing around a harp. The interior is relatively clean, with more than enough space for local clients and some to spare. A fake dragon’s skull hangs over the hearth. Accommodations consist of several wooden cots in the cellar for those that value their sleep, and straw mats near the hearth for the night owls. The innkeeper is a heavyset male human named Elmaert. They serve a good selection of preserved food, including smoked catfish. The waitress is a simple minded, plain-looking young woman named Alis. She brought the new arrivals food and drink, but she couldn’t bring them much comfort. The stranded shipmates would likely be staying in Backwater longer than they would like.

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The bleached wagon

A bleached wagon lies broken in the sun. Still, there is something more than meets the eye, dry rot and broken wheels. Standing before the stillness it can’t be helped – the mind conjures images of the tragedy that happened here. Perhaps a simple merchant lost the wares that would feed his family, or a tired farmer was caught unaware on the road back to his fields. What heinous mind brewed this mixture of mayhem, and where is the cargo? Every day, the sun and wind strain to erase the answers.

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Eander's ambush

At a difficult to discern fork in the road west of Backwater, standing stones, brush, and a curve in the road make for a perfect ambush point. Eander the highwayman notoriously used this spot to waylay carriages that traveled the roads too late at night, or even slightly off-schedule. These attacks have become a thing of legend however due to the recent apprehension of the deft bandit. Still, moss-covered remnants of lost caravans remain here, warning all of the perils of travel in the realm.

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Eander's Camp

Nested just 2 hours from Eander’s Ambush, Eander’s camp is a simple worn dirt clearing atop a rough rock outcropping. A sliding stone door with an artifact key inlay of a dragon sternly forbids entry to an iron-laddered shaft at least 60’ in depth. The key is made of obsidian, tested by spellcraft to be far beyond that of any magic encountered in this region. A buried and trapped colander that formerly held the key has been reburied haphazardly near the stone door. The camp has never seen a fire, and shows little use as a camp at all. Some broken light arrows are strewn about the camp and there are signs of a struggle in days past.

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Primal Temple

A stone building with heraldry of the Priests of the White. The inside of the temple is maze-like, with multiple locked doors and circular hallways. The basement is used for storage of “seasonal” items for festivals and celebrations, and foodstuffs. The basement has a patched tunnel that may have been created by local swamp rats. The priests were attacked by a local thug in the temple recently, but the thug remains unidentified and somehow escaped capture.

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Tailor's Home

The tailor’s home is a two-story log cabin with exceptional style and security. A locked reinforced front and back door allow entry to the living room and kitchen areas respectively. A recent expedition to the home found some newly constructed tunnels beneath, and a pack of wererats working some diabolical magic beneath the home. The tailor’s guildmaster and his three apprentices were killed in the wererat attack. The wererats ambushed a group of local professionals and were routed. The secrets of the tunnels below persist although no way of further delving was discovered. The professionals turned the home over by writ to Lindili, a local Paladin of the Silver Chalice. The writ was signed from the local land Baron to whatever official of a faction or state would discover this remote property in disarray. The holdings of the home were turned over by the paladin to the local tailors to continue their commerce. The caravan to gain these supplies was successful and returned with the goods unharmed.

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Abbey of Angels

The Abbey of Angels stands proud above the town of Backwater, beyond a rough climb through the jagged waste. It is said stone angels guard the entrance to the Abbey and that the interior has been overrun with the darkest powers of death. At one time the Abbey was the temple of Zivael, the protector of the living.
Circling the Abbey is a stone angel construct with a mysterious agenda. A stone angel statue is missing from a broken pedestal in front of the Abbey and this may be a clue to the reason this anima is restless.
The interior of the abbey has been ransacked, ruined and desecrated. The congregation room is a dangerous area, strewn with large pieces of broken benches once used for contemplation and worship. The common rooms are also in disarray. The floor of the southeast common room has collapsed into a dangerous sinkhole at least 40’ in depth. There are feint sounds of running water below.

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Wererats

Wererat

A disease and a curse, potentially stopped by cure disease potion.

Triggered by contact with blood, bites, claws, and saliva.

Forms:
Human, Rat, and Hybrid (varying based on transformation process, from weak to monsterous forms)

Encounters:
Primal Temple –
Tailors House – Tailors family killed by wererats and found tunnels under estate.

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Kobolds

KoboldLizard-humanoid averaged around 2’ tall, with a disposition of trickery and thievery.

Encountered:
Gurgling Silver Mine – seem to have some interests in the mine and have tunneled around in it a bit.

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Day 13

Day 13 saw Dimmed, Isla, Cell, Dirt, Fenssill, and Geldon wandering around Backwater during the celebration of Rogone and Zelegar. We discovered these two are local heroes of old though no one could tell us how old. We were told that their ancient stronghold exists to this day, their treasures guarded by minions long after their death. Fenssill caught sight of Oromian the necromancer slipping out of the Bull and Bear so the companions decided to trail him and see where he keeps disappearing to.
We tracked him to a clearing with an alter. He informed us he had intention to assault the Land Baron as he opposes his rule. He summoned a bunch of skeletons in response to our questions of how he would carry this out. Oromian demanded we help him with the assault in 7 days time. When we did not accept his proposal soon enough he turned the skeletons on us us saying saying we must be in league with the Baron. We killed his skeletons and nearly killed him before he surrendered to us. We recommended that he wait a while longer to launch his assault. He begged us to help him so we promised to look into the Baron.
Getting back to town we had a letter waiting for us with Elmert. Talking with Elmert I got a distinct felling that he is or was an experienced dungeoneer himself in his younger days. Perhaps before he took an arrow to the knee.
The note recommended that we explore the double doors with the hand prints in them we found out in the rocks if we are interested in exploring the Rogone and Zelegar stronghold rumors. As it was getting late we decided to call it an evening and celebrate our win in combat and discuss the Land Baron.

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