Crandac's Journal


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My best friend is finally running another D&D campaign. It's taken a lot of time to get people involved and the launch of 5th Edition couldn't have had better timing. We all decided to use the new random background generation for our characters. We're still choosing our own race, class, alignment, rolling stats, etc as usual.

A little background.

This is going to be a human-centric, good aligned campaign setting. It's not really in any particular D&D realm, consider it a classic fantasy environment.

Because of the random backgrounds we thought it would work better to play our first level as individuals. Those first level stories will bring us together into a party to start the adventure proper.

I can give more information if you like. For now, treat this as a first person account of events in a journal format. It could be written better but I don't want to edit much, if any.

Well, what is there to say? Today I am 17 years of age. I'm supposed to be a man now. It would be an exciting time anywhere else but here, here it just is. As a "gift" my father Osric is sending me to live at the Temple of Bright Steel.

The only things I know of the place come from my father's stories. He was impressed by the Temple and its masters when he once visited during the Orc Wars. Visiting paints it nicely, he was dragged there as part of the injured and dying. The Temple was a place of renown. All who required strength, who required healing, who required refuge from Orcs and bandits relied on the Temple. Back then, as I'm told, the Temple was full to bursting with warriors, clerics, smiths, and merchants. Many families willingly paid to have their children accepted as acolytes.

Today is not so different. Off I go, with my best friend Stern, to my new life at the Temple. We are to become acolytes and learn from great masters. I have no reason to resist this path. If anything I go willingly, there must be a reason this opportunity has been laid before me, and there's honestly nothing better to do.

The Temple is only a day's journey by foot, near the town of Stonehaven. Stern and I leave shortly.


This is a temple?! It looks like a military outpost!.

Something isn't right... Stern and I arrived late this afternoon. Knocking on the door resulted in a large, hairy man glaring and shouting at us. We presented our enrollment papers as instructed by our fathers but apparently we were not expected to arrive, nor did he recognize the names. After another round of glaring he finally let us enter and he immediately began screaming at others as he stormed off. At least we got in.

Not a moment later a acolyte of similar age greeted us, briefly, and insisted we follow him upstairs to our quarters. His name is Stewell. The halls were surprisingly quiet on our way to the rooms. It may have been late evening but it might as well have been midnight for the lack of activity in the Temple. Stern and I have our own rooms, an unexpected nicety. In my mind I'd imagined being packed into a bunkhouse with many others.

Maybe this isn't so nice. My room has but a single lamp and from what I can see in this darkness everything is covered in the thickest blanket of dust. Stewell informed me that our duties as new acolytes begin at 4:00, before sun up. We will be expected to prepare and serve the morning meal, and then move on to other chores. I didn't press the issue, we are the new guys after all, but what can they possibly expect. We do get to eat breakfast right?

It took almost an hour but there is finally an area clean enough to write in my journal and go to sleep.


Day 1

Too tired, it can wait.

Day 4

Finally a moment to write. The last few days have been difficult. We've been busy from sun-up to sun-down and more. For tonight, a short summary of our daily life.

We rise around 4:00 every day to prepare the morning meals. The masters appear for breakfast and leave once again. After cleaning up their places we acolytes are allowed to eat, in turns as groups from senior to junior.

The next 4 hours are spent praying and studying at our chosen shrine. I have chosen the shrine to war for various reasons.

The acolytes prepare and serve lunch, just as with breakfast.

During midday the acolytes participate in physical activities, training, and chores.

Dinner time. Once again, the acolytes prepare and server, then partake in order.

Evening time is spent visiting the other shrines of the temple, reflecting on various aspects of their nature.

At night, groups of acolytes serve on guard duty. I have seen a few others practice at the smithy, or disappear entirely.

The Shrines of the Temple:
Life - Luck - Nature - War


(the days pass as uneventful as ever)


Day 92

Things have finally become routine. My days still pass quickly but with far less effort.

Master Bruce is as loud and gruff as a raging bear but he trains us well, if harshly. Many nights I have returned to my quarters covered with bruises and cuts, barely able to stay upright. My skill with the staff has improved somewhat.

He has begun to take us on hunting trips. I'm not sure if it is meant to teach us outdoorsmanship or if he'd rather someone else do the work. Either way we're getting better.

In what free time is available I've found myself lost in the library. This Temple was a place of shelter during the Greenskin Wars and there are many texts on the subject. There are also a number of journals left behind by soldiers and adventurers.

I've been trying to watch Master Mikhael as he works. For whatever reason he doesn't do much teaching. Perhaps he stays too busy in his office and in the infirmary to be much use as an instructor.


Day 247

The Temple is lonely these days. I haven't seen Stern or Stewell in weeks and we don't talk much anymore. The other acolytes keep their eyes down and labor on.

Training is rare and I find that there are very few things I can't do myself. Maybe this down time is being spent on other acolytes? Master Bruce certainly hasn't been around very often.

I'm not sure when it happened. There was always so much to do that I never much paid attention. There's... a sensation, like I am being guided in my actions. Maybe I've been watching Master Mikhael too much? He has healed many people in the infirmary, both from within the temple and from without. Sometimes he used physical skills and plant knowledge to ease the illness of others. But on other times he has healed injuries with barely a spoken word. This was fascinating to me. With some practice, and much to my surprise, I've been able to replicate the... spells? with some minor success.

It is a strange feeling. A simple prayer, a light touch, and my bruises fade, the pain subsides. But, it's as if someone else is there, a presence in the back of the mind like being watched over my shoulder.


Day 318

This is getting easier. Master Mikhael has finally decided to teach me formally. At first he showed me simple but useful spells: how to improve another's competence with select tasks, even a method to halt the onset of death. It is all very interesting and surprising... I still can't believe I can do these things.

Master Mikhael tells me that I have a connection with the gods. My study, prayer, and need for something higher has led me down a path I didn't know I was on. I don't really know what he means by this, and I'm not sure what I believe yet, but there must be some truth in his words.

More and more I hear a beckoning in my mind. This has to mean something. For now I will be patient and continue to practice & study. May Tempus guide me.


Day 370

What is happening?! I could never have foreseen this...

Yesterday, my world crumbled around me.

I was tending to my duties like any other morning, still dark outside. No one else was around... not entirely unusual but there were things to be done, strange. Maybe I awoke before the rest?

A jingle rang from the front door. Very unusual to have a visitor this early and no acolytes should be outdoors at this hour. Wary of this I cracked open the foyer door and peaked through. Much to my surprise there stood the largest man I had ever seen. Master Bruce was not a small person and yet this stranger was obviously the bigger of the two. Maybe it was an illusion caused by him being clad almost completely in plate armor. Who is this?!

He stood patiently, looking about, with his arm in a sling. Finally I decided to greet him since I was apparently the only one awake at the time. He stared at me with his darkly tanned face. He'd come to the Temple to get his arm inspected, his trophy from a recent run in with bandits. Bandits? This guy fought a group of bandits by himself and came out of it with a minor wound?!

I can hear him asking me questions but nothing sounds like words. Like an idiot I'm just standing there looking at him in awe. Never before have I seen such an imposing and impressive figure.

What? My name? Oh! Finally my mind focuses. After an embarrassingly timid introduction he moves on. The warrior goes by the name Krieger and he came looking for the Temple of Bright Steel. I was not aware enough then to realize that was his goal before the encounter that left his arm in a sling. It was quite common for people to visit for healing. Indeed it was a source of income for the temple, in fact Krieger had offered payment before anything else.

After being reminded of his injury I lead Krieger to the waiting room and hurried off to find a senior acolyte.

The halls are eerily quiet this morning. I can't find anyone! There was an acolyte working the garden but as soon as I said a word he dashed and clambered over the wall. What is going on?! I hated to bother him but Master Mikhael should probably see to this. As required I knocked on his office door three times and waited. Nothing.

*knock, knock, knock*

Once again I got no response. The third time I knocked so hard the giant doors rattled on their hinges! Why am I so nervous?

This isn't right... he must be in there somewhere. Cracking the door open I could only see the first dawn's light barebly bleeding into the room. Master Mikhael was nowhere to be found and didn't respond to my calls. No one here after all. Maybe Master Bruce can do something.

Standing in front of Master Bruce's door was nerve wracking. No small effort was expended to knock on his door. No response.

Well what do I do now?! In a panic I rushed back down the stairs to check on the warrior. Krieger sat there patiently, as if his arm was of no concern. After a shakey apology I offered to look at his wound in lieu of my master. He pulled off the sling. Just under the vambrace, on the outside edge of his forearm, was oddly shaped bump. Yuck! That was muscle and blood being pushed out from under the skin by his fractured bone!

Again I apologized for the lack of a proper medical attention. Unsure of myself and incredibly anxious, I told Krieger I would do my best. As I reached for his arm a muffled prayer slipped out of my mouth. At first it was a conscious effort but before my hand made contact it felt as if someone else had taken over my body. I'd felt something similar when practicing healing spells on my own body but this was different, much more potent. A small glow emanated from his wound, and when it dissipated his arm looked as good as new. I did it!

Krieger smiled and offered thanks. He leaned back against the wall casually and looked at me. He began to ask me why I'm here at the temple, what I do, what I've learned... what I believe. My answers came slowly, if at all, as I was still shaking off the anxiety of his presence and playing healer. He was intrigued by my interest in the Greenskin Wars, and mentioned something about searching for a magical bowl...

What DO I believe?
I couldn't give an answer because I honestly don't know.
And this is when it all went wrong...

With a thunderous impact the front and foyer doors blasted open. In stormed Master Bruce shouting behind him and turning my direction. Unphased by Krieger's appearance Master Bruce immediately began to scream in our direction about payment for healing, something about the temple's income, me acting without permission, insisting Krieger pay right this minute, how dare I not get payment for services...


Before I could even form a word one of the other acolytes enters from the front, dragging a person on the floor behind them. I'd never seen either of these people before. The acolyte told Master Bruce that this villager won't pay.

*Pay what?*

In response the acolyte was ordered to beat the man until he cooperates. The poor guy was already battered and dirty. This is wrong! Why is he doing this? Without thought I lept toward and tackled the acolyte to the ground. As we stood up, Master Bruce approached. Louder than ever he screamed in my face about duties and what I've done, furious over my interference. He barked out to the other acolyte "kill him!" before he stomped off and up the stairs.

As the man was dragged out of the temple I stood frozen in place. My senses had returned under Bruce's verbal onslaught and panic took over. Krieger snapped me out of it with a question. What am I going to do? Obviously Master Bruce is out for me but right now I have to stop that acolyte! And with that Krieger walked out the front door.

After a moment I bolted out of the entrance but instead of the acolyte there stood Krieger, beside his horse and holding a shirt of mail. Knowing my intention he offered the armor and a spare warhammer. Salvage from the bandits perhaps? Still, it wasn't mine to take and I refused, ready to give chase on my own. Fortunately he was once again able to break my moment of idiocy and convinced me to take the arms.

So, now equipped, I walk down the road in the direction of town. Krieger followed without request and I wondered why he wanted to help with someone else's problem. As we go he admits he knows the battered man. It was Tanis, the bowyer who leaves on the edge of town. I should have known him, having gone to town a few times before, but I never had orders for his store.

Approaching Tanis' store & home we find the acolyte and two other men on their way out. Before I could ask them a question their blades were drawn and in mid-swing. Not good! There was a lot of practice at the temple but I've never been in a real fight, never with swords! Thank the gods for that chainmail because I was hit before I could react at all! Wanting to question them, and not wanting to seriously injure a fellow acolyte, I opted to attack with my pommel and fists.

This is nothing like practice! I was on the ground almost immediately. A swift kick brought the acolyte to my level but he was too fast. He was on his feet before me but he swung wild and failed to connect. A flurry blows were coming way from three men. Krieger intercepts one of them at the last moment, knocking him out cold. At the same moment my vision blurred. In my mind I could see us all in slow motion, almost stationary. Without will or effort my limbs lashed out like lightning and a second later I stood over a pile of unconscious foes, my head still hazy.

What was that?!

Thankful to be alive, and somewhat regretting my choice to forego the business end of the warhammer, I set to clean up. We moved the men off the pathway and leaned them against the shop.

Krieger and I entered the bowyer's shop and found Tanis manning the counter as if nothing had happened. His face said otherwise. When Tanis saw my acolyte's robe he started pleading for mercy and slowly backing away, practically in tears. It took some doing, I have no silver tongue, but he finally calmed down and let us ask questions.

Tanis revealed to me that he'd been forced to pay the temple for prtection. From what? He couldnt really say, but it was obvious that Master Bruce was extorting the locals. Tanis insisted that he'd already paid this month and has nothing left to offer. He urged us to leave quickly... too late.

As Krieger and I turned to leave, the front door opened. In came two men, significantly larger than the acolyte and his cohorts, clad in leathers and wielding blades. This was no time to play it safe.

My hammer moved first. With better aim the first thug would have been out of the fight. Instead I barely glanced him and the attack was brushed off as if irrelevant. In came a sword. Once again the chainmail kept me on my feet. Remembering my studies, a prayer issued forth and my fatigue seemed to disappear, once again my vision blurred. As the other man was busy with Krieger my hammer swung in a flurry and my foe dropped to a knee, ready to collapse. It wasn't enough! Before I could regain my footing he launched up and hit me cleanly with the butt of his grip. Everything went black.


Day 370, Today's Entry

*yawn* I slept pretty well. Today I woke up in... Master Mikhael's office? Right, I lost that fight yesterday. I assumed that Krieger finished them off and dragged me back here... and then he tells me as much. Krieger let out a laugh as he explained that the very same blow that left me unconscious led the thug's face directly into the counter, and he dropped to the floor like a sack of flour. I sat up and offered him my thanks. Master Mikhael tended to me like he had so many times before. There were no real injuries and it wasn't long before my head was back to current events.

Asking Master Mikhael about Master Bruce's extortion ring was met with some small degree of curiosity, concern, and absolutely no answers. Annoyed by the lack of information I was at least relieved that Master Mikhael was not involved. His willingness to ignore the situation was quite frustrating. Satisfied that he can offer nothing more to the conversation, Master Mikhael goes to his desk and begins to write furiously. Never mind that I was still asking questions. All I could get out of him now was quiet mumbling and more scribbling.

Krieger stood and left the office. Just outside the door the stairs begin downward and Krieger followed them. Still wearing the chainmail, I grabbed the hammer leaning against the wall and took off after him. By the time we reached the 2nd floor I'd made a decision. This temple had become corrupt and I could not remain. Announcing to Krieger that I am leaving the temple I split away toward my quarters to get my belongings.

As I reached the end of the hall where my room lie the door to Stern's room flew open. It had been a long time since I'd seen him and it was regrettable that this would be our last chance to talk. Stern completely caught me off guard. Right away he started yelling at me, asking me why I had to do what I did yesterday. He asked me if I knew how we lived here at the temple. Completely baffled, I could only stare at his bruised and swollen face. Stern tells me the fees paid by our fathers was only enough for a few weeks at best. We'd been allowed to stay at the temple because Stern was working for Master Bruce. This is why he was never around. He demanded to know why I could leave after knowing all he went through to keep us here. After all that had happened I could NOT stay. I told Stern that his life should be easier now that I'll be gone... I wish I hadn't said it. The words hurt, hurt both of us, and it was too much.

Stern's fist hit me directly in the nose. If not for the brutal training under Bruce I would have been flattened by the blow. As Stern leaned in for another strike I just barely managed to redirect his arm into a quick lock. I wanted to apologize. Stern broke the hold immediately and swung again, once more I managed to subdue him but the words wouldn't leave my mouth. I wanted to ask Stern to leave with me... he broke loose again, still furious and red-faced. What I can I do? This time I took him to the floor and pinned him down. I tried to ask him why he was doing this, what's going on with the temple, and more. In response he only offered growls and anger. Hoping to jar his mind out of that state I gave him a punch. Nothing. I don't want to hurt him... one more strike left him still, but breathing.

Out of safety and respect I took him back into his room. A quick look around his quarters for any clues about the recent events lead only to finding an amulet with the iconography of Bane. How could Stern worship such a wicked entity? No time to think about it.

Once in my room I found the bag I brought with me on my first day at the temple. Inside were my civilian clothes and the gold hidden in the bottom. There wasn't anything to pack. Heading down the stairs I thought to stop at the kitchen for food supplies, crossed the foyer. I walked out of the temple for the last time.

It wasn't entirely surprising to see Krieger standing there again. He knew where I was going but he asked me anyway. Before I left for town I tried to give him the chainmail and warhammer. They were not mine and it would have been wrong to keep them. Krieger cracked a smile and told me that they were mine to keep. So down the road we went to see how Tanis was holding up.


Tanis is dead, there was nothing left but blood and his ruined shop. When I got back outside Krieger was nowhere to be seen and the few townsfolk nearby walked with their heads down. Someone had to have answers! Briskly walking into Stonehaven I caught the locals glancing at me and looking away. No one would talk. Maybe one of the merchants would know something.

The first general store I come across was empty but for the owner. After a brief discussion he informed me of problems with the temple and rumors that Tanis was murdered. I tried to press the issue to get as much information as I could. I still can't figure it out... 5 minutes later not only did I get no more information, I also managed to buy some "excellent" jerky that I didn't need. Oh well, it was time to look elsewhere.

Another block down the road and who did I see approaching? Bruce with two armed men. He saw me! There had to be somewhere to hide. I went into the nearest door and found a small pub. With no time to think my feet carried me to the stairs nearby, and before I was even half way up the door broke open.

The pub-keep scurried out as soon as he saw Bruce. And not a moment after he left entered the town Magistrate. I thought it might be worth trying to discuss the situation with Bruce, but there was no way that would work with the magistrate in tow. I put on a false face of confidence and commanded the magistrate to go home. That didn't work. Uh oh, bad time to try new tricks. All four men glared at me and began to move again. Out of options. Up the stairs I flew and into the nearest room, threw open the window, and jumped.

I should have thought that through! Chainmail isn't the lightest of garments. Maybe it was adrenaline or just plain luck... I nailed the landing unhurt. Looking up I saw Bruce at the window shouting. As I ran down the road I could hear him still. I'd been banished forever from the Temple of Bright Steel.

Well, I planned to leave anyway so nothing had really changed. The one concern now is for my father. I need to send him a letter, a warning. Right about then, still running mind you, a massive shape appeared in front me... With one hand Krieger stopped me before I crashed into him.

He said, "so about that bowl..."


And thus begins the adventures of Crandac, Cleric of Tempus.

If anyone made it through all that, I wouldn't mind a little feedback. This could probably be more heavily paraphrased.
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