I'm putting a record here of what's going on in the campaign I'm running up here in N Jersey.
The party right now consists of a female half-nymph fighter/cleric, a male tiefling sorcerer, and a female elven fighter. Through their own personal histories, the PC's wound up in the M'Chekian village of Blandenberg.
Andrinor is the tiefling. He woke up at an inn in the small village a few days prior, and he has no memory of where he came from.
The noble Lady Aratelda Ringthon decided to strike out on her own to see the world, and to get away from her grandfather who wished her to learn the ways of magic..... something she was unwilling to do. So, she asked leave from her father. He allowed it and entrusted her with the family sword, which has been used by the Ringthon family for generations. Ever curious about the war between Ti'Nanshi and M'Chek, she soon found herself in Blandenberg.
The lovely Vanoviel Niltaurwen was raised by a loving elven father. However, when her father found out his daughter was not of his own blood, but rather the product of his wife's indiscretion with a male nymph, he casted her out of his noble family. After finding her real father and realizing she could not live his type of lifestyle, Vanoviel sought out her elven step-father again who was gracious enough to entrust her to his friend Andreon, a cleric of O'ma. Andreion enrolled Vanoviel in basic training to be a templar of O'ma to guard missionaries in their quests. As soon as her training was complete, they both set out for Blandenberg.
After a few days of business in Blandenberg, the town was soon overrun by a small army of orcs at high noon. The three heros were knocked unconcious. When they came to, they found themselves on the deck of a ship, in a cage, stripped of their belongings. It was there that the fateful band introduced themselves to each other and set about the business of getting free, but to no avail. After a few days at sea, the more well-behaved slaves on the ship were rotated into ship duties with their orcish crew. It was on one of these rotations that Aratelda, or Arie, spotted a ship on the horizon. Not long after that, the orcs spotted the ship too, and sprang into action. They immediately placed all the prisoners back into their cells.
Not knowing what was happening, Van, Andrinor, and Ari strained to hear what was going on. With her fairly good command of the orcish tongue, Van was able to piece togethor that the orcs feared whatever ship was out there, and that they were thinking of lightening the load of the ship to gain speed. This frightened the heros, and once a crew member came down into the slave hold to check on them, he was quickly neutralized by a sleep spell from Andrinor. That gave them just the time they needed to secure the key to their cell and to hide the body. At this point, the heros did not know what to do, but this decision was made for them when they saw a pair of booted feet coming down the stairs into the hold. With lightning speed, Vanoviel felled the orc in one swoop, and Andrinor used another sleep spell to neutralize the other three. After dispatching the force, the party found a key on one of the bodies and opened up one of the slave cages, freeing the slaves. Soon another party arrived, and it was killed much more easily using the weapons found on the last party. The third party, suspecting something amiss was a little more careful, and the first orc to come down the stairs managed to somehow avoid Van's deadly blow.
A problem arose at that point. The ship that was on the horizon was now right upon them, and the adventurers could hear sounds of battle up on the deck. The orcish crew did not have the manpower to spare to quell the slave uprising in the hold. Only the four orcs guarding the entrance to the slave hold managed to stay behind and parley with the heros. Soon, that four was two because two of them were needed above. Eventually, Andrinor found a dagger on one of the corpses of the previously killed orcs and hurled it at one of his captors, hitting him square in the chest. This triggered a battle that eventually ended with the last two remaining orcs being dead. Finally, after a small amount of snooping around, the heros met their saviors.... a large wemic named General Borrr'Gorak.
The general declared that all the slaves were free and that he would be putting them into port at the City of Andarr, one of the small city-states that makes up the confederation known as The Seven Cities. The general divided his crew between the two ships and stayed with the slaves on the newly captured galleon. The port was five days away at this point, and within that time the adventurers got to know the general. Seeing that the party was fit and intelligent, Borrr'Gorak decided to ask them if they wished to take some revenge on the slavers by helping him find their operation, located most likely within Andarr.
Andrinor, having nothing better to do quickly agreed, as did Ari, because she was determined to recover her heirloom. Van consulted with her mentor, who was also captured on the ship with them. He bade her to go, for it was the will of O'ma and only he knew what was really planned. So she agreed to go as well.
Borrr'Gorak told the adventurers that he had a contact in Andarr named Derot Slimshadow. They were to go to him and get information on what he knew about any possible slaver operations in the city. When they found Derot at the Mainmast Inn in the Docks District, he informed him that his guild, the Grey Dirk, had given him the task of uncovering the slavers too. The Grey Dirk felt that they were not getting a large enough share in the profits, which was their right. Derot told him that he was having a hard time finding the slavers unfortunately. For three months he had been searching to no avail. But he had two leads left. The first lead was a suspicious blacksmith shop, Blythorne's Smithy, run by Blythorne himself. The problem with the shop was not really a problem at all: he paid his "protection money" on time, every time, NEVER missing a beat. Being desparate, Derot felt that this may warrant an investigation of the shop because the smith may be paying on time just the keep the thieve's guild at bay so they don't see him hiding anything. The other lead was a noble in the city by the name of Lord Hargon. Spies in the guild have reported that Hargon had very quick servant turnover. He would purchase servants, and shortly after, they would disappear.
The heros decided that they would check out the shop, and so they did. Derot investigated Hargon. When a brief face to face discussion with Blythorne didn't pan out, they decided to stake out the place. It was then that they discovered some oddities. There were an inordinate number of orcs around the shop... not too uncommon in Andarr, but it might be something. But the second thing they discovered gave them cause for much suspicion. Two individuals entered the shop, and three individuals left. This happened a couple of times while they were watching. Hargon himself was even seen entering alone, and leaving with two straggly looking human female teenagers. This prompted a late night inspection of the shop from the sewers below that night. (Of course, this was after a small argument between Van and Andrinor on how to conduct the operation.) The inspection revealed a tubular shaped tunnel emanating from the smithy into the sewers and below, but the tunnel could only be entered from inside the shop. So, the heros, quietly as they could, entered the shop through the chimney (after checking for fires!) and in that room they found a tapestry. Behind the tapestry was a door in to the tunnel. The tunnel sloped down below the level of the sewers and opened into a very long, wide, tall tunnel.... guarded by some orcs and some goblins.
After dispatching the ragged bunch with a few blows from Van's new flail, the party continued down the tunnel. They found various things.... some stored household items recovered from raids, as well as stolen weapons, and a few sleeping orcs.... That battle didn't go so well. Van was badly injured and needed to fall back. Andrinor and Ari jumped to her rescue and held the orcs at bay until Van was recuperated through her own healing skills. By this point, Andrinor was unconcious. After remedying that, Ari was getting hurt, and that too was soon taken care of. By that time, the orcs had perished, and the party continued down the tunnel.
At the end of the tunnel was a door that opened up into a wide open plains area near the ocean. Off in the distance, about 30 yards, they saw a building guarded by two orcs. While deciding their next plan of action, the heros found themselves being approached by four soldiers wearing tabards with a burning sword on a blue background. The heros hid in the tunnel and ambushed the soldiers. By questioning one of them, they found out that the soldiers were part of Crullath's army. Crullath is the arch enemy of Borrr'Gorak's master, Lord Joral Arvanos V. The soldier confessed under torture that Crullath himself was in that building, and that that building was indeed a slave compound. Having heard enough, Andrinor "took good care" of the soldiers and merrily saw them on their way.... to the abyss. The other heros started wandering back towards the city to report to Derot and then the general.
Derot found them in the tunnel, and they relayed everything to him. Derot in turn informed them that Lord Hargon was indeed buying slaves, but only to later free them after they posed as his servants for a short while. He felt he had no muscle to combat the problem, so he would combat it with money.
THE END-Chapter 1
[Edited on 2/13/02 by Orleron]