Colonial Caerdia: Lark's Landing is a story being told through a 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign I'm running at a local hobby shop called the Devil's Bench. I started recounting the story with videos on YouTube but the videos were taking 10 hours per week to make and there wasn't enough interest to make it worthwhile. If interest somehow spikes, I may give it another shot, but until then I'll be continuing the story here. And this the summary of what's happened so far (for a more detailed account, pop over to Once Upon a Tabletop on YouTube):
Lark's Landing: Summary of episodes 0 through 15
The continent where the characters started was being overrun by the evil Somvidian Empire, leaving people with two choices: stay to become a slave or die, or flee. The trouble was that, after reaching the western coast, the only place left to flee was across the Endless Ocean. There were rumours of a land called Caerdia across the ocean, but no one had ever been there or proven it existed. It may have been nothing more than a fairy tale. Yet, the possibility offered a hope for life and freedom, so people took it - taking any boat they could find out to sea.
One such boat was the Noble's Lark, departing from the southern port city of Krorheart. The Noble's Lark was one of the largest ships ever built, painted in garish colours with images of animals - because it used to be a zoo. However, the people being loaded onto the ship found that all that remained of the animals (apart from a few farm animals) were a few bloodstains in the pens where the people would spend their journey.
One mismatched group of people travelling alone were put given a small room that had once been used to store food for the animals. These were Shend (a dwarven ranger), Stor (a goblin monk), Kordak (a half-orc fighter), Balasar (a dragonborn cleric), Gilligan (a human mystic), and Kalon (an elven druid). In the room with them was a dwarf named Deltria, who was excited to get to the new world where she hoped to start a mine.
The journey wasn't easy. First it was discovered that the ship was being controlled by pirates who, instead of taking them across the ocean, were taking the shipload of people so sell to the Somvidian Empire as slaves. With the help of some sailors and some of the other passengers, the adventurers had a successful mutiny, took over the ship, and set her back on the proper course. The troubles didn't end there, though. The pirates had planned on a much shorter journey, so they hadn't packed enough food - a situation the adventurers helped remedy with weaving fishing nets and hanging half-barrels over the side of the ship to grow potatoes.
After more than 3 months at sea, everyone's spirits were flagging - food was still in short supply and people were beginning to doubt they'd ever see land again. Overnight, a huge storm blew in, taking the ship by surprise first thing in the morning. They had no chance to escape it. The adventurers stayed on deck, helping wherever they could to keep the ship afloat. When the storm cleared, the Noble's Lark was heavily damaged and taking on water, but it hadn't sunk yet. It limped along for the rest of the day and, in the night, the ship shuddered as its bottom was torn out by a coral reef. Luckily the lookout called out that there was land ahead - they were just a short trip from solid ground!
They landed and the adventurers put together an impromptu militia in case there were dangers in the area. A bit of exploration revealed that they were on a sandy beach along the edge of a dense jungle. They also found a limestone outcropping with a deep pool of fresh water.
The Noble's Lark had left port on the 34th of Waxing Fall with 2130 people on board. On the night of the 3rd of Waxing Spring (135 days, or 3 months and 15 days later) there were 1570 people left to go ashore. In the morning, those people set about building their new life.
The adventurers, now missing Kalon from their number, started exploring the local region - searching for resources and dangers. They found some of each, the most notable being old footprints from some massive beast and a large stone in a clearing from which music was emitting. They nicknames the rock the Singing Stone but, though they experimented with it, they couldn't figure out exactly what it was or why it existed. They did, however, determine that this might be a good location to start a mine.
Over the next few tendays, the settlement grew. An impromptu council, made of the most influential members of the society, formed to guide the work as best they could.
Shend had his 71st birthday and received a magical coin that appeared to have come his god, Rotar - something even the most religious of them had never heard of. The same day, the adventurers took Deltria out to the Singing Stone to decide if it was where she would start her mine. On their way they ran into some trouble with some giant boars, but came out victorious with plenty of food to bring home, as well as a small herd of piglets - but they'd also seen a giant reptile - the same one whose tracks they'd seen before - carry off one of the adult boars. Deltria agreed that the stone would be a suitable location for a mine, but not until the settlement was more established.
The adventurers continued their scouting (determining that there didn't seem to be any other civilisation around) until an overnight rainstorm that made them decide to build a house. They did so on the top of a hill that the militia had been clearing and building a palisade around.
Not long after building their house, they received a message from a mysterious stranger that drew them out into the jungle, where the found a cliff with a ton of rubble at the bottom - it looked like something had, long ago, destroyed the entire side of the hill. In amongst the rubble they found two gravestones, guarded by a pair of ghostly humanoids. They brought these back home as proof that there had once been other civilisation here, but they only shared the news with Deltria for fear that the news might cause problems if it was widely known.
However, this sparked a new interest in the group. They recruited Akta, a tiefling warlock, and set out on a longer expedition to the north-east to see if they could find more civilisation. They didn't, but they did break free of the jungle to find savanna grasslands and, later (after almost being killed by cockatrices) a desert. They followed the edge of this for a while, turning off to head for the coast when they came to some hilly lands.
They followed the coast back home, arriving just in time for the Spring Festival, where they won every game (even acquiring some magical prizes). Akta was permanently accepted into their group and invited to live with them.
Kordak and Stor, having made a deal with Wyatt (a young half-elf on the council who was building a tavern), began brewing a batch of mead. Akta and Balasar planted some rats in the shop of Naldor, a racist man whose success was bothering them. The group decided to settle in for a while, but that plan got disrupted when Stor was accused of murder.
In the night, a goblin had murdered a militia member, and Stor was the only goblin around. Using the tombstones as proof that there might be other civilisations around, the adventurers got permission from the council to head out and find evidence of Stor's innocence. They headed out (except for Gilligan, who was out hunting when this occurred), found goblin tracks, and tracked the three creatures. However, by the time they find them, they were already dead - one killed by some strange living plants, one killed by one of the other goblins, and the third killed and dragged off to a large pride of lions living in a field of long blue grass. Kordak claimed the heads of the first two as their proof of Stor's innocence.
However, before heading back home, they explored something remarkable that they noticed on the far side of the blue grass - a white stone building. After killing the ogre that lived there (and her two pet bears) they discovered that it seemed to be an old, desecrated monument to the founder of something called the Empire of Drovinaar. No one had heard of this empire before, but they did recall that there was a city-state on the continent they came from called New Drovinaar. They wanted to stay and explore some more, but they knew they had to get home to clear Stor's name.
On their way out, they caught two goblins spying on them - Ilk and Darg. They were from a nearby tribe of goblins, so the adventurers arranged a meeting with their leader to take place on the full moon, in about a tenday. At last, they went home.
Upon arriving, they discovered a food shortage being caused by rats that seemingly came out of nowhere. They cleared officially cleared Stor's name - though he continued to receive some mistrust from some people - and helped where they could before they had to leave for their meeting.
While waiting for the goblins, they cleaned up the monument building. Rather than the goblin leader coming, Ilk was sent to bring the adventurers to the goblin camp, where they were ushered into an enormous tent filled with goblins surrounding Grubfrub, the bugbear that was leading them. The goblin Darg was suspended above the fire as an example to Grubfrub's other scouts about what happened to scouts who were seen.
Kordak negotiated a vague alliance with Grubfrub, to which the bugbear agreed on the condition that the adventurers help him claim a hobgoblin city to the south. He then sent the adventurers on a scouting mission, dropping Darg into the fire as a not-so-subtle threat to remind them that they shouldn't be seen.
The adventurers grudgingly went, following the edge of a low mountain range into some jungle until they heard some marching feet. They spotted a hobgoblin patrol, and ambushed them, killing them and stealing their gear, but keeping the leader alive. Just as they were ready to start questioning the leader, they noticed heard another patrol that had noticed something out of place. The adventurers fled into the jungle with their prisoner, passing a strange upright stone loop on their way.
The next day Kordak and Akta tortured their prisoner while the rest - unable to stomach it - head back to investigate the stone loop. The hobgoblin didn't give up any information and was dead by the time the rest of the party got back. That night, they discussed plans and insecurities. They decided that they were in over their heads and that they needed to go home to warn the council about the goblins, hobgoblins, and something Grubfrub mentioned called the Soggy Alliance that apparently claimed all the lands within two or three days of the coast.
That's what they did - returning home to find the rats taken care of thanks to someone summoning imps, which had gone wild and been taken care of by the militia. They delivered their report to the council, then began settling in to spend some time around the settlement - they even went to the first ever service at the recently completed Temple to the Four, where Gilligan was recognised for his help in constructing it.
Of course, with the farms not yet ready for harvest and the food shortage caused by the rats, they decided they needed to go out hunting. That's where this summary end - on the 32nd of Waning Spring, after the adventurers just killed another giant boar and a strange, black cat with long spikey tentacles extending from its shoulders.
Where will the story go next? Find out in Episode: 16