Oct 23, 2016

Meet the Player Characters: Jarrus

Jarrus Sunleaf - Half-Elf Fighter

Like just about every other character in the party, Jarrus is a complicated man. The son of Correal Sunleaf, an elven cavalier in the order of the Knights of Luna, and a human noblewoman, the identity of whom he has not yet revealed. Both of his parents were once part of an adventuring crew that went by the name "The Company of the Heartstone," which signified the artifact they quested for. Many of the members of that party were children of nobles who used nicknames to hide their true identities. When Jarrus' mother became pregnant, she and his father left the adventuring party, a few years before they achieved their quest - which was probably a good thing, and the Heartstone proved to have some disastrous effects on several of the party members.

Two major events would shape Jarrus' life in the coming years. The first was that when Jarrus was very young, his mother's older brother died suddenly, leaving his mother as the heir to the family holdings in Furyondy. Due to political turmoil at the time, she deemed it necessary to go take her place, and she knew that having a child out of wedlock, especially a half-elven child, would be an impediment to effective rule. While she did not want to leave those she loved behind, her sense of duty required it. The second event came after the Battle of Emridy Meadow, in which Jarrus' father fought with the Knights of Luna. Queen Yolande forbid the knights from joining in the fight against the temple forces, but Prince Brightflame, who leads the independent order of knighthood, ignored her orders and took the knights into battle anyway, where their presence helped turn the tide. As punishment, the angry Queen Yolande banished the knights from Celene permanently. While some of the knights stayed together and moved into the Urnst states, others dispersed throughout the world. Correal Sunleaf, having spent his whole life training to be, or acting as a knight, knew of no other way to live. And so, with young Jarrus as his squire, Correal wandered the countryside of Verbobonc, between Celene and Furyondy, helping those in need. Though no longer a member of any order, Correal adhered to the strict tenets of knighthood, insisting he would teach his son the importance of virtue.

And so Jarrus followed his father, Correal Sunleaf, former Knight of Luna, across the countryside, from village to village, taking care of the people. Correal kept only enough money to feed himself and Jarrus, always giving excess to charity, and partaking of the charity of others only when absolutely needed. For the most part, Correal dealt with humanoids harassing farmers, as the humanoid population was larger than normal in this area due to the previous activities of the Temple of Elemental Evil. Such humanoids were never a challenge for a veteran knight like Correal, who hoped to teach his son to be a knight like him one day, spending every morning practicing with the sword until Jarrus was a very capable fighter.

But while Jarrus learned many martial skills from his father, he never quite accepted the tenets of knighthood. He rejected the noble duties that were so important as to take his mother away from him. He saw the lack of appreciation his father received at the hands of the queen he served. In the end, Jarrus grew-up to be a conflicted and bitter young man. But his respect for his father never faded, and he stayed with him, assisting in his quest to help the peasants of Verbobonc. And in this capacity, the pair gained some amount of notoriety from the still active temple. They may not have realized it, but they were slowing down the temple's ability to grow by preventing the humanoid agents from raiding for equipment, supplies and slaves. Realizing it needed to stop, the leaders of the temple sent out one of its trusted mages with a group of bugbears to ambush and capture Correal and Jarrus. 

The plan worked, and the two have been imprisoned for the last couple of months, until the party found Jarrus and freed him. Jarrus agreed to join the party in order to look for his father, who was imprisoned in another part of the temple.

26th Day of Planting, CY 579

Continuing to explore the third level of the temple, the party came across what looked like an arena with two Umber Hulks within. One of the Umber Hulks completely eviscerated Gareth, ripping him in half. And so, the party suffered its first death (though he was a non-player character, so sad, but not devastating to any of the players). The rest of the party finished off the umber hulks and found some good treasure amongst the junk piles.

The temple levels are pretty large, and nearly every room on the third level had something interesting to deal with, so I won't elaborate on every detail, but the party was quickly gaining experience and treasure as they carefully cleared the place out. There didn't appear to be any organized clerics or temple troops on this level, so the party didn't have to worry too much about alarms being rung and so forth. The most significant things that happened were the following:

The party rescued a half-elf named Jarrus, who claimed to be captured along with his father while in the surrounding countryside. Jarrus was concerned about his father's well-being and asked the party to help find him and they agreed, so Jarrus joined the party for the time-being.

They also came across the body of an assassinated drow woman. Though the blood was not fresh, the body had not yet decayed, so it didn't happen that long ago. She still had the assassin's dagger in her back. She must has been paranoid about being assassinated, as she was carrying a Periapt of Proof Against Poison. The party had to deal with a banshee in the room (most likely the spirit of the dead dark elf) before searching, but when they did, they found the following letter:

Mistress Eclavdra,

I have determined it necessary to contact you using more conventional means, as I am certain this former temple is being watched by both arcane and divine powers. I can confirm that the temple was indeed sealed, and the demoness must be trapped somewhere – her power bound, but not destroyed. The priests who inhabit this place now are either unaware of her presence, or don’t seem to care, as no overt attempts to free her have been made. Perhaps that is for the best.

Hedrack has accepted me as his guest, at least for the time being. He is a worshiper of Iuz, and he makes no secret of this, even to the other elemental priests. The others fear him, and he seems to channel real power, so it seems we may soon have another upstart demon to deal with. He is obsessed with finding a human named Gareth from Verbobonc and a gnome named Lysander.from the Kron Hills. He is expending most of his resources searching the countryside for them, so the temple has been relatively quiet lately. I believe the gnome may have discovered the location of another nexus near some place called the “Perrenland.”  If Hedrack wants this information, then he knows more about this place than we first thought.

The wizard named Falrinth has become quite suspicious of my motivations. I am always on the lookout for the assassin that hangs out with him, and I am now cautious about poisons. If you do not receive another report from me, you should know that I died keeping our secret safe.

---  Aunrae of House Eilserve

But the most significant thing the party did came next, when, due to a very fortunate roll of the die, combined with the decision to search the most unlikely of places, the party found a difficult to find secret door leading to a small chapel inside the temple. Inside the chapel, again due to some spectacularly unlikely rolls of the dice, the party discovered another secret door, leading to a room with a coffin and sleeping vampire inside. Pontus decided it would be prudent to detect magic around the vampire before doing anything, and he was successful in his check, sensing magic emanating from the coffin. But while he could sense the magic, he couldn't find anything obvious. After a time, he decided to use another of his unique barbarian skills - detect illusion. Though the chances of success were slim, he managed to make his roll, and saw through the illusion that was in place. This was no vampire. This was a human knight, wearing the coat of arms of Furyondy.

The party picked up the knight and carried him out of the room, whereupon the illusion and the stasis spells were broken, and the man woke up, groggy and incoherent. He did not know who he was or how he got there. The rest of the party continued to search the room for clues, eventually discovering that the cross on the top of the coffin was actually a sword - a very nice one by the looks of it. Luapan handed the sword back to the knight and as soon as he touched it, all of his memories came flooding back. He proclaimed that he was Thrommel II, Crown Prince of Furyondy, and that he was on his way to Veluna to marry his beloved Jolene when his party was attacked. His signet ring, coat of arms and the fact that this was no illusion seemed to confirm that he really was who he said he was. Though he could barely walk, he insisted he needed to leave this place immediately so he can get to his wedding. It was Sarril who broke the devastating news to him that it was the year 579, and six years have passed since his disappearance. The prince fell to the floor upon hearing this, at which point the party recognized they needed to give him some time.

Prince Thrommel II
After some rest, the prince was ready to resume, thanking the party for his rescue and insisting it was time for him to head home. Athan insisted that a Paladin Lord with such a nice sword would really help them to kill Hedrack, which should be the goal at this point. Prince Thrommel stated that he would gladly return with a host of knights to clear this temple once and for all, but right now, the most important thing to do is to get back to his kingdom and set things in order. While the rest of the party agreed, Athan felt the prince was being selfish and should see his own way out. The rest of the party would have none of that, and they escorted Prince Thrommel out through the tunnel. Since they knew the tower was unsafe, they decided to try the other branch of the tunnel that sloped up, to see where that went, and it led to a burnt out farmhouse in a field some way away from the temple. Athan did not follow. Luapan went back to look for him in the tower, and found that the fires had collapsed the remainder of the roof, making the tower impassable, but there was no sign of Athan. Sarril provided Prince Thrommel with an Ebony Fly that he had found in Falrinth's chamber, saying "its no horse, but its the best I can do right now." The prince wished the party the best of luck with the temple, gave Sarril and Jarrus a ring and a medallion, and told them he would return as soon as possible.

Athan, in the meantime, following his orders not to take the skull out of the temple, stayed behind when the party entered the tunnel. Not sure how long it would take the group to return, he decided to go exploring. He found a Lurker that immediately engulfed his face, attempting to suffocate him in five rounds. Athan barely managed to survive, and realized after that close call that he should wait for the party, so he went back to the small chapel where they found Prince Thrommel, closed the door and waited, using his listening skill to determine when the party was back.

When the party finally reunited, they checked out a nearby magical laboratory, where Athan and Sarril were able to stock-up on spell components and other items. Pontus started searching for a stronger container to put his black pudding into, and encountered a Roper which, because the DM didn't read the Monster Manual description correctly, ended up being much easier than it should have been (it won't be next time, I promise). In an alcove, Athan started searching through scrolls, setting off a trap that summoned a babau demon. And thus ended the session for the day (on a nice cliffhanger).