The Nine and Six and One

On the Road to Darguun
We'd pay real money to shut this guy up. Yes-yes-yes-yes we would.

Session Date: 3/6/2012

There we are, next to the train tracks. The Desperadoes have left empty handed.

We have their rod.

We decide to leave the area quickly. Let’s walk north. Away from the tracks.

Our faces were disguised, but…some of us have distinguishing features aside from our face.

We decide to walk to the next station North of us, out of sight of the tracks.

We hear a train pass. We think it is going south. Neils wants to see the cube that Hogar is carrying. Hogar obliges.

Neils senses that it is incredibly powerful. But can’t tell what it is for. Just seems like a nondescript black cube. Asks Aldric.

Aldric has not seen it before.

We arrive at the next station up the line. Neils hides the cube.

There are some people milling around. We wait. A train passes going north. It was not on the schedule. It rushes by. A two car train. Looks familiar.

An hour after another train pulls up. We get on.

We head up into Fairhaven. Security seems to have tightened up at the Fairhaven station. Guards are searching people as they leave the station. Neils gives the cube to Aldric to hide.

We had robbed the train just before noon, and coming back around 4pm. It is early summer, so it is bright.

We decide to leave separately and meet again near the docks.

Aldric tries to slip out of the station. He manages to sneak out unseen.

The rest of us leave separately through the main gates.

Hogar and Neils are let through with just a cursory glance.

Zel and Bulwark get stopped and questioned.

Zel tries to lie about being in another city “in the south”, but cannot come up with a name. The guards become suspicious and ask him more questions.

Bulwark tries to bluff as out in the country side searching for herbs, and successfully intimidates the guards into letting him go.

Zel “admits” he wants to keep his hammer a secret, hence his equivocation. The guards are not impressed with that reason. Ultimately, Zel talks his way out of it by threatening an incident with the church. The guards relent under this political threat, but he is under suspicion…

We are all back in the city.

We meet up at the dock side location. Aldric watches us arrive, to see if we are tailed. Doesn’t see anything wrong. He joins us.

We’ll meet in Cutthroat Charles office again.

We know House Dennith have operations in Darguun and have an enclave here.

Zel goes to House Dennith to negotiate passage to Darguun.

Bulwark spends his time creating a potion of healing (Alchemist Starting Feature).

Neils, Hogarr and Aldric go to meet with Mr. Charles.

Zel speaks with Conrad Dennith.

Oddly, he is happy for us to have avenged their fallen soldier. He knows a goblin vendor looking for some protection back to Darguun, by the name of Balgrim the Fat. Probably finishing up at Jan’s Sundries.

Conrad gives a letter of introduction, even though Balgrim can’t read (and advises us not to mention knowing that fact to Balgrim).

Can probably find help at their enclave down there, but try to stay out of trouble.

At Cutthroat Charles they give up the rod and deliver the cube and receive payment for our services.

+170gp each.

At Jan’s Sundries. Jan the Gnome is arguing with a fat goblin. Very fat.

Arguing over price of goods.

Balgrim seems quite shrewd.

Zel helps negotiate a fair trade between Jan and Balgrim. Balgrim gets a small crate’s worth of goods from Jan.

Balgrim treats us like pack mules and underlings. Bulwark carries his crate of goods, while Neils conjurs a floating disc for Balgrim to ride on.

We head towards the lightening rail.

They are still checking people as they come out. They let people in without hassle though.

Balgrim negotiates with ticket master. Eventually admits he has return ticket. Tell us to buy our own tickets. No problem. Show our passes. Balgrim is impressed.

We are in steerage. Just one car.

We spend the next 48 hours with Balgrim. He talks incessently. Ugh.

He is intolerable. Bulwark shrugs it off. Zel eggs him on. Hogar loses a surge. Neils lose two surges.

We travel travel travel on the train. Get off at Sterngate, a few hours from the border into Darguun.

At the city gates, Balgrim does the talking with the border guards.

We are not going into city. It is not friendly to Balgrim.

Neils conjurs a magical disc for crate and Balgrim. Balgrim takes out flag of safe passage (for this month). He claims.

We head up to the Marguld Pass. It is dark when we arrive at border of Breland and Darguun. A keep is there. Facing an encampment of tents.

They wave us through.

As we cross the border as troop of hobgoblis, goblins and bugbears rush out of camp and surround us. Balgrim…speaks to them. The Hobgoblin pulls out a book and look at flag. Looks disappointed.

Neils knows that the safety flag is a legitimate thing. It is respected by soldiers at least; not so much in the mountains and forests.

We are questioned and let through.

We head into the mountains, on the well worn path.

We escort Balgrim for another 4 days. He sets a slow pace. He floats, likes to eat often.

We pass quite a few patrols up an down the path. We pass the mountains and arrive at the plains. See a river in the distance.

Small villages on the path but Balgrim doesn’t want to stop there.

We figure the people who can help us with the language is in the deep mountains.

We eventually come to Rukan Drawl. It is a large metropolis by Darguun standards, but since this is goblin, is ramshackle and built on earlier ruins.

The only building of real note is the palace which is a 10 story edifice made of blood red stones. Balgrim claims to have rooms there.

Balgrim takes us to his store.

As we continue into city, we see human elven, goblin slaves working in the city. Bug bears are most of the slave drivers. Many slaves that are human were from Cyre , goblin slaves are from rival clans,captured.

Caste structure: Goblins < Bug bears < Hobgoblins.

Zel knows that merchants that sell good quality merchandise without misleading, usually do no have to worry about being beat up. Law is on the side of the person beating up a dishonest merchant.

We head into a even dirtier and more ramshackle part of town. We come to a building that is even more ramshackle than others.

As we pull up. Balgrim says “Smell that? Security system working.” We smell dead goblins. As he opens the door we see 5 dead goblins riddled with crossbow bolts.

Bulwark drags the bodies out into the streets.

We enter Balgrim’s Fine Shop of Warez.

He has surprisingly nice things in his shop! Like Dakanni artifacts. Fine silver workings. Dwarven items. Music boxes. Eclectic mix of antique junk.

Doesn’t look like too important stuff for us. None have the same markings that we see in the book.

He says goodbye. We try to get contacts from him.

Suggests seeing Lasharack King. Uh…maybe not. He made that up, about knowing the King.

Maybe speak to Wordbearer’s representative. Will he introduce us? He say she can’t go. It’s at the palace.

Zel threatens to start a competitive shop! Balgrim relents and will take us to palace.

We learn there are two factions currently in nasty rivalry — Word Bearers and Blade Bearers. Word Bearers probably have what we need, but are under siege by the Blade Bearers. The Blade Bearers, though, are a more aggressive and expansionist faction. Who should we help?

+170gp net gain.

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The Great Train Heist
...and making enemies with friends in high places

Session Date: 2/28/2012

Back in Fairhaven.

We head to the Wayfinder Foundation. There are a few tourists wandering around.

We see Sherari walking her giant ant. We call her over.

She thanks us again for Peter…the ant.

We ask if she could help us with information as well as buying some of our stuff.

We go up to her office.

It is crowded. Covered in books, tags cataloging all kinds of things. Aldric is kind of overwhelmed with the gem encrusted artifacts.

Ancient Dakhanni. She knows they have interviewed some Duurge singers, but the language may be lost to them. Don’t know any other translations. Probably would have to convince one of them to tell you.

Does she have any friends or contacts to suggest for this?

She has heard it is possible to go to Darguun, but may be dangerous.

Zel’s hammer? It is millenia old. It’s a hammer. As Zel hands it over to her…it feels as if a part of it still is in his hand. Goblin make. Want to sell? 4732gp. Zel is upset at the thought of even selling it, but also finds it upsetting because it upsets her sense of commerce.

What does it do? This item is unknown to Sherari.

Two other items we are willing to sell.

Sacrificial Dagger covered in runes. Traditional sacrificial dagger. Used in many of their rituals. The goblins are not really much for the gods any more. Not since what happened to their empire. When it was overrun by the abberents. Mostly trust the primal spirits now.

We show her gem encrusted chalice. Sherari is impressed with the matching set. Sees…they have been used recently? Hmm.

600gp for the set.

Zel tries to bargain. Sherari offer in lieu of gold for unlimited passes on lightening rail. Which cannot be purchased…given to her by House Orion.

We’ll accept. We get the passes. They are the size of our palm. Sherari draws a knife from her sheath. She uses it to prick our skin and drops some blood onto the pass, where it turns into our signature.

If someone takes it from us, the signature disappears. It won’t come back. But it can’t be retuned by someone else. We can retune it to ourselves.

We leave and head towards the temple district. Unlike small towns…there is more than one temple to the Nine. Each God has its own temple. Colkorane is the most embellished. Gaudy, even. We see only people who appear prosperous enter that temple.

Zel walks up to the door anyway and throws open the door.

The temple does have some guards…don’t look combat functional, though. Kind of fat.

They open the door for her, actually. We get through too.

Zel sees what looks like workers and priests. A lot of robed people. A very very rich temple. Different from Zel’s temple in Sharn. This was more flashy — more about the trappings of wealth. Not about the use of it.

There is a man behind an offering bowl. Zel walks up to him.

Accosts the priest!

Accuses the priest of being a farce.

Tries diplomacy to win him over to his side. Is told it conflicts with the high priest Gregory.

Intimidates priest to point out where the high priest is. The other guards look busy elsewhere.

Gregory is a large imposing man, in his 50s, in an ostentatious room. He is dressed very ornately.

Zel tells him about the outrage.

They yell at each other.

The priest offers….some food for the poor?

Zel stands firm…give poor access to the temple.

Quotes the teachings to him.

Zel is winning over the crowd of priests, if not the high priest.

More arguing and shouting.

The crowd is won over. They strip the high priest of his position and throws him out. He threatens us, says he has friends in high places. He probably does.

The priests will appoint another high priest more in line with the teachings.

Looks like Zel has turned the temple more towards what his vision is.

We leave them to it.

We check HKC’s drop. Told to go down to the docks.

When we arrive, from the outside it looks abandoned.

Aldric checks it out. He spots several guards posted around it. Doesn’t look like an ambush. He leads us in.

We slide open the door and walk in. A voice from the darkness. Drop your weapons. Voice of HKC. We do.

We are patted down and a torch is lit. We are surrounded by leather armored men. Daggers at their belts.

A large half hobgoblin in heavy hobnail boots appears. Takes us to Cutthroat Charles.

In an inner office of the warehouse. It is brightly lit. Furnishings of the room is very high quality. Nice fireplace. Magical in nature (no smoke). A nicely attired man is standing in front of the fireplace.

We are offered wine. It is very high vintage. Aldric abstains for now.

Aldric and Charles talks for a while.

Apparently Aldric’s master was the one who gave him the cut throat. Charles has a long scar across his throat.

Plot twist! Aldric’s master shot the rope that was around Charles’s throat. He owes him. Friends after that.

About the heist. Cannot reveal our customer. Does have a detailed list of what is to be done with the creation forge. Will see to it that the rail carrying the forge will be ambushed by the Desperadoes. We will need to find the living hand of someone’s hand of making. There will be one of the forgers will be there as well be many house guards. Suggest we board, defeat the guards knock out the smith and use his hand.

Marks a spot of map of likely ambush spot. Not sure how they’ll stop the train. They will not be aware that we will there nor what is on the train.

300gp bonus if we find out how they stop the train.

They are Eladrins. Which are aliens to this world. Came over after Mournland was created. Before there traveled here from the fey wild.

Expect the train to pass through the spot by tomorrow afternoon.

He hands a list over to Aldric of what needs to be done. Seems pretty simple. But important to do this right the first time, since it won’t have energy to use again. Bulwark is interested, looks at the directions. He can’t really make out anything of what it does. At least nothing that alarms him about the use of the forge.

We leave and go to the light rail station. Get on the train to head down there. There is a stop about a half hour from the ambush stop.

We are in steerage. We see someone reading an issue of the Cornberg Chronicle. He looks up and recognizes Neils.

Neils steps up. Gives a show for the steerage passengers. The rest of us shy away.

We reach our stop. We walk an hour and reach the planned ambush site.

We get there ahead of the Desperadoes.

The rail itself rides on stones inset with glowing sigils. Allows it to hover. Track is sandy to discourage plant growth on the path.

We hide, in a gully. Belly up to the edge to see.

Half an hour later, see a group of Eladrin ride up on horses,into some woods across from us. One comes out and crouches over one of the stones. He uses a small rod to temporarily cancel the magic effect in that sigil.

Would take it about 5 minutes to move past that sigil before suddenly speeding back up again.

To fulfill the bonus, we probably need to get that rod.

An hour after that, the lightening rail approaches. Powered by a lightening elemental, ring around the front. Very fast until it hits the stone and slows suddenly. Very small train — just a boxcar and engine. Usually has 10 cars or more. The train is nearly stopped now.

Guards shouting.

We wait. We see the Desperadoes run up, staying low. Phase step into the engine car. We run for the boxcar, deciding to go nonlethal for this encounter.

We cover our faces. Hogar’s bandanna falls off in his rush towards the train. Tries to tear off a piece of his clothes to re-cover his face. Seen by at least one guard.

Hogar reaches the train first, but is taken down by solid hits from several guards.

Doors slid open. We see a war forged! And a man in robes behind the crates. Man shouts to the guards that he wants us alive.

We hear a commotion coming from the engine cabin.

As we fight one of the Desperadoes steps out to check on the commotion that WE are causing.

Bulwark confronts the warforged and scores a ghetto crit. The Warforged accuses Bulwark of fighting against his brethren. Bulwark responds that his brethren are those fighting at his side.

The Warforged is put down.

Zel crits and learns one of its powers: Once encounter before an attack, can choose to add a D12 of damage. If he hits, he gets that amount of temp hit points. If he misses, then he loses half that from his own hp.

Struggles within engine cabin has ceased.

The Magewright surrenders after getting bloodied in one hit.

Zel tries to knock mage out but the mage ducks and runs.

The Eladrin decides to flee.

Combat ends. We catch the mage.

Hogar gets lucky, finds a rod shaped object in between the two cars.

We tie up and stuff the guards and warforged in the cab. See two more guys tied up in there. House Orion workers.

Neils is tending to the forge.

It is a large thing. About 5ft x 5 ft. Pulsing with arcane power and science.

Neils gets through the instructions. Can tell the forge is draining a lot of energy into the creation. The forge will likely be spent and nonfunctional after this one effort.

Aldric picks up the mage’s rod.

When Neils finishes…what pops out is a non describe black cube. It is pulsing with arcanic energies.

Neils contemplates studying it, but Hogar snatches it from Neils.

Aldric says it is time to go. We high tail it out of the train. Moments later, the train lunges back to speed. On its way.

Neils plays around with the rod, darkens one of the stones.

He’s not sure of the principles. Whoever made it probably was knowledgeable about the stone’s creation and thus knows how to disable it. Umm…that sigil will likely slow the next train that comes along.

We head back towards the station to take us back to Fairhaven.

We get a card (worth 2 encounters)

We level up to 6. We take an extended rest!

Next week: Darguun.

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Cleaning out the Star Peaked Temple

Session Date: 2/21/2012

We continue to head down the passage.

5 sets of boots. One seems to try to run back and then is dragged back. Blood appears in the marks further on.

We continue down the passage.

Neils thinks the secret area of the temple…has two parts…the tomb and this area. Currently in a hallway. Deeper…the walls shift from stone to bone. Made from different species…sentient and non alike.

Soon after that, it enters into a large room. It is covered in bone. Very large room. The walls are covered in bone the ceiling covered in bone. There’s dim lights coming from the bones themselves.

Looks like the bones of the dragon have been inlaid into the ceiling. The glow is magical in nature (not divine).

We enter from a corner. We also see high mound of bone. 10 ft tall. Also an altar, raiding an dark energy. The plinth is 10 feet high and the altar is on top of that.

The dark energy is like shades swirling around it.

We also see the drained bodies of 5 men….garbed as the Emerald Claw. They have been dragged up onto the stone plinth. They are husks.

some of the piles of bones seem to have been disturbed lately. Something came out of them.

Four disturbed mounds.

Neils knows the temple is older than the house of vole. Maybe millenia older.

We also know that dragons travel in disguise…shape shifter, visiting all continents to study the prophecy.

As we approach the altar…..and enter combat.

The darkness explodes from the altar, coalescing into upright bone stands. Forms phantom soldiers. Seem to be hobgoblins. The darkness then goes back into the altar.

Neils recognizes the altar has been cursed. So unless it is cleansed it is going to continue summoning the spirits to defend itself.

To cleanse, can call on…a skill check. Can use magic to disrupt it or something dealing with life.

We defeat the minions, but then mummies erupt from the bone piles and charge us.

Neils hears a scuttling sound from the ceiling. Jumped by a carrion crawler.

Mummies growls out curses….Hogar and Zel take 5 necrotic damage when they attack.

Aldric thinks he recognizes some of the markings. Everyone gets a +2checks to disarm the cursed altar.

Neils knows these are brute mummies.

Aldric wipes several of the runes. The spirits shriek and weaken. He does it again. The shadows around the altar are almost gone.

Hogar sanctifies the altar. The curse s broken. The spirits with a final howl,shriek into nothing. Phantoms disappear suddenly. With the sounds of a sigh of relief.

Mummies remain. One burns into dust.

We now see there is an alcove behind the altar.

Success.

We gain an action point. We regain surges = CON + 1

Searching the Claw soldiers…it looks like the 5 bodies here are common soldiers. None of them look like a leader.

We know there was a lieutenant leading this group.

The goblinoid writing is different dialect but Neils can figure out some words…praise and supplication to their god. This was an altar dedicated to the god of death. From what we can tell, some of the inscription had been altered and it looks like they were reconfigured to warding sigils. S at some point this altar had been changed from its original purpose to one of protection.

In the altar itself is a holy book Bound in leather. Goblin skin. It is the same language. Even the words he can make out doesn’t make sense to him. He detects some magic from the book.

Probably a pretty big find for Neils.

We also find a sacrificial dagger made of silver covered in runes. and a gem encrusted chalice. Both are stained with blood. It is fresh blood.We notice the wounds on the soldiers…throats cut.

Do not appear to be changed.

Aldric jots down the writings around the altar to have a record of it.

No more exits leading off from this room.

We search the room. We find lots of different kinds of bones…animals that may not even be around. See a crevice that the crawler came out of it.

Neils uses mage hand to put Aldric grappling rope up on crevice.

He climbs up and finds a body…a bit mangled,but wearing ornate armor. We found the lieutenant.

Going through his possessions, find 100 gp

+20gp each.

Find a journal. We find a lot is a record of their business as usual….Tucked into it is a letter. Looks like orders. To Lt. Redpath for him and his men to go to this temple to excavate and bring back any items of free. Signed by Crimson Council in the Name of the Lady.

The last page details finding the entrance to this temple and taking all of his strength to go in an investigate.

We have explored the ruined temple.

Aldric pocket the journal and orders.

Neils identifies the language in the book as ancient Dhakaani.

The only place for people who speak that language is goblins of Darguun where they established for themselves (far to the south of Korvaare) during the 100 year war. We know that thousands were recruited from there to fight for the 5 empires, until a leader brought them together and grabbed some land for themselves.

It is a pretty lawless land. Some houses have business arrangements with them.

House Thrash (merc training) and House Dennith. Dennith was in charge of the goblin merc when they rebelled but have reestablished communications with Darguun.. They have some influence but even someone carrying their banner may not be safe.

We decide to head back to Fairhaven to complete HKC’s case.

It is dark outside. We head back to the lightning rail station. We hear menacing growls and hoots of owl bears.

We arrive back at the station without incident. The train has gone for the day. We may catch one in a couple of days.

There is a local town near the station.

-10gp for the ticket.

+10 net gold still this session.

The local town is named Branburg.

There’s a tavern for locals. It’s fairly late but well lit and a fairly upbeat crowd.
it is called the Brass Whistle.

We go inside. There are girls there.

The keeper, Martin van Buren, Welcomes here.

-1gp each.

Neils takes his own room (-1gp). The rest of us share a room (15sp).

A bar fight breaks out, over a woman.

Zel gets involved. Neils retires. The rest of watch. He is knocking out those peasants left and right.

He makes some friends with some good fighting. Will probably be out drinking all night.

Zel, drunk is convinced to try the farm life, so he is out working. Holds his own out there in the field. Makes more friends. Does a fine job. The farmer invites him over to have dinner.

The rest of us … there’ snot much to see.
Aldric goes hunting with the town hunter in trade for some arrows.
Neils holes up and studies the book. Gets a headache.

He does find some herbs but only after he walks over them.

Hogar also walks…feels rejuvenated.

We spend the night again and another good meal

-1gp. -2sp

+8gp net for this session.

Next morning, we go catch the train.

We are the only ones getting on the train that morning. Its pretty empty. Probably one of the first stops on the way back.

The trip is fairly uneventful. See a halfling with a dinosaur. The dinosaur is larger now.

Chompers and his quest was successful. The shaman’s quest. Going home to the Telenta planes. Talking to Zel.

Zel asks where he can buy a dinosaur. Halfling spits at her feet. Wouldn’t trust selling a dinosaur. Probably an elf.

We swap tales.

Basher the Broken Tooth Trap.

We arrive back in Fairhaven. We get past customs since we didn’t leave the nation. Late afternoon.

Aldric will leave word we are back.

We find a cheap place to live. Aundair Inn.

Zel heads over to the cathedral district and found that the fried rat business has expanded. Many of those he had helped took him up on hi recommendation. Desiel has improved his wares. His rats are now seasoned. He has a employee — it’s Castle!

Now called Desiel’s and Van Wick’s and etc. is doing well.

Says there were some people looking for him. Should speak to them…Priests of Colkrane. Were flogged.

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Nobody but us Undead
...oh, and those guys and a hammer...

Session Date: 1/31/2012

From last time:

Bulwark spent the remaining time in the city studying in the library. He was researching Lord of Blades and Mournland. Not much in books. Mostly rumors and gossip. Things crossing Mournland border…living spells, Warforged raids (seem to know a way through) The Lord of Blades himself has not been seen outside the mist nor any reports of him before the war. Heard of a raiding operation on border of Carnath…more of a salvage operation. They know a way in to the Mournland to raid the cities for magic items. Rumors from them is that people they have seen seem to be mage-bred people — inhumanly beautiful, strong, and fast.

Alric gets a job from Hobb Knobb Cobb, which is to find a creation forge that should have been destroyed but wasn’t and use it for our benefactors yet to be determined. We were told that it would teach a lesson to those who had preserved it. Kobb Knobb Cobb’s job advance pays us +40gp each. We need to be back in town to finish job in two days.

The party then made its way to the Temple of the God of Death via lightning rail and a few hour’s walk. It is set in a cliff amidst the Star Peaked Range. It is in ruins. We found a camp of zombies guarding a bunch of emaciated prisoners, and determined that no one but Aldric could possibly sneak and climb up there. We think the Claw put the zombies there while they raided the temple.

This session:

So…we are at the encampment. No Emerald Claw around but there are undead creatures keeping watch and unconscious people chained together in a rundown tent camp near the entrance.

We think it is possible for the zombies to raise the alarm to the Caw members who are probably inside the temple.

NOTE: Milestone reached two weeks ago means all powers back and surges and health.

We recognize 4 different types of undead: Hulking brute zombies, skeletal soldiers, flesh crazed zombies and a skeletal caster.

They are vulnerable to radiant.

The link that binds the zombies together….makes their attacks stronger but their defenses weaker as they lose their numbers.

-12gp for lightening rail ticket and tent.

It is around 6pm. We stealth up and do a surprise attack.

Neils tries something new (“Ok, guys, let me try something. I’ve never done this before, but I’m sure it’ll work!”). Plays card (Improvisation)

Radiant ball!

We wipe out the undead.

We check the wagons…find just food stuff and supplies. We get maybe a day’s worth of rations out of what’s left. In the tent bedrolls and equipment for 6-7 soldiers. No armor or weapons.

The prisoners have aberrant marks…but minor.

They are bruised, as if they tried to run a way and were beaten back.

Aldric sketches the marks down. Sees one that is the Mark of Hospitality on a non-halfing! This is considered aaaberrent because the bearer is not of the race. Interesting.

This means the Lord’s daughter’s mark is technically aberrant as well.

Bulwark and Neils wake up unconscious prisoners.

They set to the food with a vengeance.

They’ve been here for 5 days….the Emerald Claw soldiers brought them. They were expecting to meet some people, but it was just the undead and no one else. The soldiers went into the temple. They haven’t come back.

Don’t know why they are wanted by the Claw. They were from Fairhaven. Some have had marks for years, though one had it show up just a month or so ago.

They set off towards the lightening station.

Also in the tents was a collapsing desk where the commander probably worked. Nothing really in it. Supply tallies for 6 men….for a few months.

We enter the temple.

There were torches but they have gone out. No light. Bulwark lights his gem for the party members that need it.

We see a circle of statues of goblinoids. Probably representations of their gods. We recognize the similarities with our 9 gods. We see a wizened old Goblin in a robe clutching a staff with a tomb…their version of Orron? The goblins did worship the Nine.

Also see the representations of the Dark 6. Probably worshiped as part of a pantheon. We do NOT see a representation of the God of Death. This is just the antechamber.

There are other corridors leading out of the room.

Signs of recent movement. Possibly searching for things.

Neils does not detect any magic in the vicinity.

There is some goblin writing on the walls. It covers the walls. A column of writing is aligned with each god.

Neils does an understanding of goblin so that he can read the writing.

The writing looks like the commandments of each god. Songs to their glory. What does it say about the 6? They value the animal strength of nature. Ferocity. The savage side.

The closest we see to the God of Death, is the God of War and Murder. The Mockery.

The goblin version of him is a bugbear with a garrotte and heads piled at his feet.

The Shadow (God of Ambition, Dark Magic and Corruption). His credo: Power is an absolute, and anything done to seek it is not wrong. Let nothing bind your ambitions.

The silver flame did not exist in this era, so no representation here.

3 corridors leading out from our chamber. One to the west, north, and east.

Westbound corridor is collapsed and choked with rubble. Undisturbed. An excavation was begun but abandoned. Possibly by the Wayfinder Foundation.

The north bound tunnel goes deeper into the mountain. Branching off of it are smaller rooms…probably quarters for temple workers and priests. Anything of value would probably have been taken already by the Foundation or the Claw.

East bound corridor leads to a storeroom and kitchen. Doesn’t look like there is anything of value that way. Mostly undisturbed.

Heading to the north we find nothing of value along the way until we reach an altar room. We are at the end of the path.

This is a circular room with an altar in the center. It is still stained with blood. It was probably a sacrificial altar. The stains are not fresh, but oddly enough still looks wet.

Sacrificing sentient beings is not unheard of for the worship of the 6. Not so much for the 9.

Aldric takes 20 (minutes) to search the room. Finds heavy traffic towards the north wall. The tracks are cut in half at the wall. Hmm.

On a closer look……

Hogar taps on the wall…as he does so hears a voice: “Help help! It swung close behind us.”

As we look around we find there is a hidden switch in some carving along the base of the floor.

The wall swings open. A guy tumbles into the light, dressed in Emerald Claw armor. He looks half mad. He surrenders as Zel draws his sword. His name is Castle. Bulwark takes a hold of him.

He babbles near-incoherently to our queries (with fine voice-acting from the GM):

His companions are dead…from traps. Didn’t get far. Went in for the others. This door was open, and when they went through it closed….He and Rodrick were just coming with supplies. Usually just meet them outside.

Just told to bring the aberrant. Don’t know what use really.

Lieutenant Redpath. Probably got his orders from the Crimson Council. That’s who he was looking them. Spear trap killed Rodrick. He had to eat Roderick.

They were following footsteps of emerald claw boots, and then there was an area with traps.

We find some heavy stones to prop the door open.

There is much debate about what to do with man.

Zel grabs man out of Bulwark’s grab and tells him to run, but he refuses to leave the circle of light. Neils lights a rock for him and he runs off as Zel tells the guy to never show his face again or tell the Claw about us.

We make our way over to the corpse of Roderick.

He was killed by a spear trap apparently. Triggered by pressure plates.

At end of the hallway is a control panel. There is about 30 ft of trapped hallway between us.

Hogar picks up Neils and puts him down safely closer to the panel, but Neils decides he can’t do it with magic from this distance.

Hogar fumbles lifting Neils back. Neils takes 14 pts from a spear.

Aldric and Hogar then try to acrobatics their way down the hall. They make it to the end with Hogar taking one hit.

Aldric starts disarming the trap, but then spectral hands thrust through the wall and attack them. This temple is haunted!

Neils tries to magic missile them, as Zel tries to shoot his crossbow in support (Uh…).

Hogar defends Aldric as Aldric tries to continue disarming the trap. Finally, the spear panels suddenly close shut.

Neils fires a scorching burst down the hall as Aldric and Hogar throw themselves to one side. The apparitions are destroyed and we take a short rest (very short, since common sense tells us that the traps will reset at some point).

There is a door at end of this corridor. We push it open.

Passing through…we see footprints (6 pairs of boots). One set goes right and does not come back. 5 go left. There are no return tracks from that direction either.

Neils senses a powerful source of magic from the right. Seems to be a weapon of some kind. Dark, deathly. And satiated.

We head down that way. We enter a chamber lavishly decorated with frescoes of war on its walls. At the forefront of all these is a goblin welding a hammer (the group decides). Crushing the skulls of aberrant horrors.

The fresco hero appears to be wielding a krag hammer! It is portrayed as being enraptured in dark energies.

Zel knows that most of the Draconis empire fell due to invasion from Zoriat of a horde.

Words on the fresco hail the champion figure.

In the room is a casket with a skeletal man in Emerald Claw grasping the casket. The casket is closed.

Neils senses magic from the casket.

Zel senses amoral energy. Definitely powerful.

Neils uses mage hand to open the casket.

He slides the casket lid over and looking inside sees a skeletal hobgoblin dressed in what was once very fine armor plate mail. In his fist, crossed over his chest, is a shield and on top of that is his other hand grasping a krag hammer. Black energy swirls around it. It looks like it is in perfect condition. The armor and shield both look like they will crumble if touched.

It refuses to move for Neils.

Bulwark tries to pick it up physically…he senses that he is not what that hammer is looking for…he draws back.

As Zel reaches for it…the hobgoblin’s hand releases it, and a faint sigh escapes from the hobgoblin skeleton. Zel has the hammer. He feels he has the power to smite his foes. It feels eager in his hands.

Aldric searches the Claw soldier’s armor and takes some dice and a deck of marked cards.

Neils senses that the hammer feels pleased.

We go to the other room with Zel leading eagerly in front.

We follow it to a patch on the ground…and then it is replaced with what looks like drag marks going further into the corridor. Maybe he was running away from something.

View
If you have no plan, does it survive contact with the enemy?
What is the sound of one Hogar being baited?

Session Date: 1/17/2012

Continuing from last week, we are now facing a fight with the Silver Flame fanatics as they try to force convert some peasants. We notice that one of the fanatics is the priest we confronted on the train coming into town.

We are also trying out two hit minions. Rolling well on a to-hit will knock them down. A crit kills them outright.

Hogar’s one-two combo works well as an anti-minion action. The rest of us make do.

Eventually, we chase off the minions (including the Train Priest). Garrick surrenders, cursing those who have fled.

We find 50gp on the minions, and a silver holy flame symbol (25gp) on Garrick

Neils takes the symbol.

We ask about the Emerald Claw…

Garrick says they help fund the soldiers of the Light.

Neils uses magic missile as an interrogation technique. It works.

Garrick says they were paid to keep people out of their hideouts, which is a few streets over in an abandoned building.

Meanwhile, the peasants return, joyous. We give back their valuables. (-50gp)

For this good deed, we now have a +2 Streetwise check bonus in this city.

Zel talks to them about HER religion, and puts in a good word for the rat vendor.

Aldric cold knocks Garrick out, and strips him of his armor. The peasants swarm him afterwards. That’s life in the city.

We examine the Silver Flame statute. It is warm to that touch, and has a magical aura on it.

This fight probably drew some attention, so Aldric suggests it is time to leave. We leave the scene.

We take a short rest then immediately go to the location of the Claw hideout. We decide to surprise them, hopefully before they have a chance to react to our arrival in their part of the town.

Their hideout is a manor house, boarded up.

Aldric knows we are probably facing at least 5 well armored/armed soldiers of Carnath.

We know they pay gold to find marks (mostly aberrant), and are interested in the same mark as we are. And they are necromancers.

The time is around 11 at night.

We stand at the front door, looking at the house. Aldric sneaks around and tries to look inside, stealthily. He finds a crack in the wall in a window. It looks like it was left there deliberately…looking in he sees someone looking back!

“Beat it beggar!”, yells the man inside. Aldric scurries off.

Aldric takes even more care and circles back to report to the rest of the team.

He also heard the sound of movement inside and hushed whispers…“have to move soon, move the prisoners.”

After much deliberation, we decide to try the Trojan Horse tactic. Neils, using prestidigitation, puts a fake mark on Hogar. Aldric ties Hogar but fakes it to be easy to break. He hopes. Hogar tests the bonds dubiously.

We bang on the door. No one answers.

Aldric speaks,“We’re selling…marks.”

Door opens. Aldric held at sword point. We present Hogar.

They grab Hogar through the door and drag him inside. We hesitate and lose our hold on him.

“What about the fee??” we shout indignantly.

The guard replies,“Standard finders fee. We’ll talk to the boss.”

Zel considers stopping the door as it closes, but hesitates and the opportunity passes. The door slams shut.

Inside….a guy examines Hogar…“This looks legit. Talk to the boss….”

He tosses us a bag of 50gp and slams the door shut…again, we do nothing, apparently not having thought this far ahead in our awesome clever plan. (+50gp)

They start to question Hogar. Hogar has had enough at this point: “Open the gate of battle!” But he strains at the bonds; the rope is securely bound.

[Aaron plays a card] Hogar finds a nail on the back of the wall, which Hogar uses to free himself.

[Patrick plays a card] Aldric busts open the door.

Aaron uses the pearl after missing with the gate of battle.

[Aaron plays the Charge card] We start pushing into the house.

It is a tough fight. Bulwark is knocked down and remains on the edge of consciousness for much of the battle. He tries to get his party heals in before he goes down again.

[Andrew plays the parry card]

The party is looking pretty battered even as the enemy numbers start to fall. Bulwark invokes “Stand the Fallen” (daily).

Seeing his enemies suddenly become healthier, the Claw Leader flees, along with one of the Assassins.

“Kill the prisoners!” shouts the leader as he flees.

Aldric runs downstairs where we hear growls and screams. He sees zombies trying to claw 3 people in cages. He takes care of the zombies.

Upstairs, we finish subduing the remaining enemies.

We get CON+1 surges back.

We have 4 prisoners of the Emerald Claw…

We have hit a milestone.

Find another 150gp.

Total +40 gp each for this session.

Also find a journal the Marshal was keeping.

The 3 prisoners, a woman, man, and child have aberrant marks.

In the journal, the Claw leader talks about the mission in the city. He has been searching for aberrent marks but also sends supplies up to the rest of his people in the Star Peaked Mountains. He has also smuggled marked people out of the city. Also notes that the men he sent with the last prisoners should have been back by now (entry for this was 2 days ago).

We plan an extended rest tonight. Question the freed prisoners. (They probably don’t know much). Just know other people here were questioned then sent out of city. They are really grateful for the rescue…

Aldric will contact Hobb Knobb Cobb and ask if he has any burglaries he needs done for a cut (precased jobs). Needs money.

Aside from individual stuff…plan is to head to Star Peaked Mountains.

Before that, though, we need to decide what to do with the aberrant marks and the Claw prisoners.

View
Don't Split The Party-- Too Late
We just don't like each other well enough to do EVERYTHING together

Session Date: 1/10/2012

Absent: Bulwark is following along as an automaton.

Where we last left off: Zel, Neils, Bulwark escorting Professor Dronnell back to Wynarn U; Hogar & Aldric left with Melissa Tarkanan to finish the “interrogation”

Professor Julian Dronnell brushes off the party, desperate to get back to further his research. He will get to our research in a month or so. Neils is unable to think of any idea that would convince Professor Julian Dronnell to prioritize our research just a tad higher. Zel diplomatically convinces Professor Julian Dronnell that after such prompt work on our part, it isn’t fair to put such a minor bit of payment off so far in the future. Professor Julian Dronnell reluctantly agrees that Zel is right. Neils asks for access to the secured Vault records, and the professor agrees, if this makes the debt even. However only one person will be able to enter with him.

Zel and Neils fight a bit. Professor Julian Dronnell watches on bemused.

Professor Julian Dronnell is escorted to the library without incident, where he insists that he be left alone as he is “safe” there.

Aldric sneaks back to the Ghallandra enclave. Hogar loses sight of him and goes to the Smiling Mutton. Aldric is refused entry when appearing at the gate of the enclave. He tries to argue his way past and is told he is no longer welcome. He manages to negotiate a reduction in the size of the favor to 60GP. He goes back to the Smiling Mutton.

Our heroes wake up to the wonderful smells of thick cuts of bacon, and Talenta oatmeal for breakfast. Everyone is quickly overcome by irresistible hunger, and promptly spend 5GP each on breakfast. Zel attempts to buy shares in the Inn so that Orwin Lurd can expand. He is not interested in expanding beyond a family inn but kindly takes her advice. Everyone gets 5 temp HP. We read the Karranberg chronicles—and find an article about us. We also realize that the Ashbound Druids, Wayfinder Foundation and Blademark Guild all read this paper too, and most likely are not happy with the publicity.

Neils looks for a magic shop and finds Jan’s Sundries —run by Jan Eversmile herself in the market district. The Market District is along a wide street, tree lined, with everything from food vendors to shops, selling just about everything (except advanced magical items). Jan has potions of healing, magic components, adventurers gear, bags of silver sand, potions of cure light wounds, and elixirs of dragon’s breath.

We each plan to try to find out about the Emerald Claw in our own ways. Aldric tries to contact The Underbelly. Zel plans to shmooze citizens near the Cathedral. Neils will check with the Librarian to see if people are asking about marks. Hogar will try to regain access to Ghallandra enclave to talk to people there and find out.

Zel
The Cathedral is boarded up and in bad repair. Beggars abound; Toughs are in the alleys. Zel is repulsed, and looks for a tavern that isn’t “too skeezy” to ask questions in. He ends up talking to a charred rat vendor. The Cathedral was closed because cause Thrane is a hated bordering nation. Zel attempts to give business tips to the beggar. He recommends expanding the product line to also sell charred lizard, charred cats, and perhaps even some bloated fish! The important part is to… diversify!

Zel asks about the Emerald Claw: he finds out that they have heavy arms and armor. They were meeting with a hated feller: [[:Garrick the Lightbringer]]… boss of the silver flame gang. The Emerald Claw was looking for people with marks. Some regular people have gone missing since the questions started. [[:Garrick the Lightbringer]]tries to get converts to the faith of The Silver Flame. Garrick uses a Halberd and seems to have some great power, because he cursed a man, and that man was beaten to the ground as the man stood immobile, taking the punishment. Garrick can be found near the cathedral every night. The vendor doesn’t know where the Emerald Claw hangs out. Zel chooses to invest 10 GP in Diesel Winkleberry and his Rat Enterprise. Diesel promptly renames his business the “Vanderbeck Rat on a Stick plus Et Cetera Corporation”. Zel’s father turns in his grave.

Neils
Neils asks the librarian Brenda for books on Karnath. Brenda is excited to see him. She knows of no one else asking after dragonmarks. Neils looks for Emerald Claw books, but only finds accounts of battles that the claw participated in as elite soldiers. After more research, he finds out that after being banned from the military, the Emerald Claw are now affiliated with the Blood of Vol—people who worship power in each self… and more specifically, the power of blood. Around mid-afternoon Neils goes to talk to Professor Julian Dronnell. The Prof is looking through a catalog of aberrent marks, but can’t find our mark. Professor Julian Dronnell does not know much about the Claw… but a man came in to talk to him a week ago… looking to get access to the vault. The man had the bearing of a soldier, and was hooded/cloaked. The Prof was wary and told the soldier that Professor Julian Dronnellwas a historian. Dronnell snatches his book back from Neils as Neils leaves.

Hogar
Hogar enters the Ghallandra enclave, and is told to report to Overton Ghallandra immediately. Overton Ghallandra wants immediate payment on the favor, after Aldric made future payment seem unlikely. Overton Ghallandra had been having trouble with evicting a tenant and doesn’t want his troops hurt. The favor is to “convince” a Large Orc with a Large Axe that he shouldn’t come back. Overton Ghallandra doesn’t want violence on the Ghallandra property, however the house spies tell him that the orc hangs out near the docks at the tavern Mudskip’s Delight.

Hogar walks into the tavern door… and finds a diverse crowd including thugs, sailors, doxie whores, and much more. The barkeep has captain’s hat with feather & gold teeth, named “”/campaigns/the961/characters/captain-teeth" class=“wiki-content-link”>Captain Teeth." An orc is in the corner with a very large 2 headed axe. He is just starting on his 3rd drink as Hogar arrives. Hogar asks the barkeep about the orc. Captain Teeth mentions that the orc causes trouble, but pays well. Hogar starts buying the orc drinks, and later lets him know that a full table of sailors is dissing the orc’s mother. The orc lurches to his feet and starts throwing sailors out the windows. Teeth fly, whores fly, fists fly: No sailor can take him down. Hogar sneaks up behind the orc, and requires 3 full blows to knock the orc out. Luckily the orc misses with a counterpunch. Hogar convinces the sailors for 2GP apiece to take the orc and hide him on someone else’s boat as a stowaway. The pummeled sailors agree to hide the orc on a tramp freighter up going up north… and manage to do so before the orc wakes up.

Overton Ghallandra laughs uproariously at the news. He is very happy. Hogar negotiates that Zel and Hogar can return to the enclave, however Aldric is not welcome. Hogar sees a very thin and pale man playing solitaire and getting angry at himself. Hogar tries gambling with the man for answers about Emerald Claw. Hogar loses 10GP before earning the news that the Claw is looking for aberrant marks. The Emerald Claw offered a pouch (most likely of coin) to an aberrant mark who disappeared after, never to be seen of again.

Aldric
Aldric uses Melissa Tarkanan’s dead drop to arrange a meet with The Underbelly. He hears hobknob boots trying to sneak up on him and turns finding a hobgoblin come to meet him: Hobknob Cob. Aldric offers the jewelry of the lousy thieves. Cobb pockets it. Aldric offers Hobknob Cob 75 GP for discreet info on Emerald Claw “and I was never here.” Hobknob Cob is more than pleased with such an arrangement and hopes to do business again in the future. Aldric’s immediate return is the knowledge that there are 5 heavily armored and armed humans in the local Claw asking The Underbelly to break into the Wynarn U vault. That job was rejected. The Underbelly was also hired to pass on information on any with aberrant marks. Aldric arranges a drop to pass along more info as it is discovered. After the meet, Aldric manages to explore the docks. He sees an orc getting carried to a ship by sailors. Aldric notices several Underbelly safe houses, lots of shipping, lots of places to hide, and a very strong Thieves’ guild presence. The Underbelly would clearly know if someone was hiding near the docks. Later that afternoon a boy runs by passing Aldric a note. The claw must be near the cathedral… it is the only place the Guild doesn’t go.

Re-Group
Everyone meets at the Smiling Mutton. People share the information gathered. Dinner is a spicy casserole of Dire Boar Ribs. Aldric mentions that everyone owes him 20GP for the information The Underbelly is gathering for the group. Hogar claims bankruptcy, Neils pays, Bulwark is silent as usual, and Zel stiffs the group. As everyone else is broke, we find that Zel is only willing to buy one extra meal for the rest of team to share. Neils and Zel comes close to blows. Aldric and Hogar watch in astonishment as a waiter puts Neils flaming fingertips out with a wet towel before anyone can determine which is better: Brain or Brawn.

We head to the Wynarn U Library. Professor Julian Dronnell meets us at the library entrance, and wants only one person in the library. We convince him to let us stand guard as Aldric is worried about competition break-ins. We watch the vault door being opened. The vault is shelf after shelf of labeled crates—a huge warehouse. Professor Julian Dronnell and Neils go in and the Dwarves close ranks on door. Aldric keeps lookout for trouble.

We find out that the mark is most like the Mark of Death, which was the house mark of the lost Dragonmarked House of Vol, which was wiped out millennia ago by the elves, on Aerenal. The book found was one of Elven ancient history, bound in old leather. Vol was one of first houses, and had power over the undead, possibly over life and death itself. The house was destroyed because they consorted with dragons and elves hate dragons. The house had created a half-breed dragon-elf that had the most powerful version of mark. Our mark is simplified version of this. Our mark is not aberrant! Just lost!

At Zel’s insistence we head towards the cathedral, finding that the transients are gone, however the toughs in alley have multiplied. Garrick the Lightbringer is preaching to poor people clothed in rags in front of the cathedral. The “flock” is clearly being held hostage… troops are forcing them to listen to the Silver Flame rhetoric at sword-point. When Garrick notices us:
“Who are you to say that the Silver Flame should not be the center of your life!” “Why Neils the magnificent!”

View
Things Get Real

Session Date: 1/3/2012

Having successfully completed their quest, the company gets the chance to have their audience with Lord Boroman in his luxurious office. Aldric gets on his good side by asking about Boroman’s expeditions and quests. The old man goes on and on, until Zel gets him on the subject of aberrant marks and shows him the sketch of Luella Vanwick’s mark.

Boromon studies the sketch and confirms that it is an aberrant mark, and calls Sheriari over to take a look at it. She recalls that similar images were found on artifacts from a small Dhakaani temple in the southern part of the Starpeak Mountain Range during an expedition 2 years ago. She fetches the expedition log and shows the party a sketch of a symbol that had been on an amulet and resembles a more complex version of Luella’s mark. She explains that the symbol on the amulet represents the Dhakaani god of death. The expedition party had returned under duress due to something to do with the war. The amulet was anonymously sold to a private collector on auction.

Additionally Neils shares that the Dhakaani was an empire of ancient goblins who were the lords of Korvaire 6,000 years ago spanning the continent until the empire was destroyed. Zel adds that his religion worships the same gods as the goblins, except that they would have worshiped all 15.

Upon leaving the Wayfinder Foundation a small gnomic woman with a fedora hat introduces herself as Paige Neverdown, reporter for the Korranberg Chronicle. Neils happily offers her the details of the party’s vanquish over the ashbound druid.

The party decides to split up. Neils and Bulwark head back to the university library to research the Dhakaani and their religion. Aldric, Zel and Hogar head to House Galandra to get Professor Dronnell his interview with one of the aberrant marked people.

In his research Neils finds that many of the texts had been censored by Priests of the Nine and mainly talk about how similar the goblin priests are to The Nine, with very limited references to The Dark Six. He tries to research the god of death but the closest he finds is The Mockery, the god of violence, betrayal, misery and war. The best documented Dhakaani ruins are in Darguun, the ancient capital. Neils does not find any mention of Dhakaani civilizations in the Starpeak Range and surmises that back in that time the mountains may have been a good place to hide illicit activities. He asks the librarian about other books on religion but she indicates that they are in the vault and that he would need the permission of a higher staff person to access it.

Bulwark starts reading up on Cyre and the Mournland, but most accounts boil down to hearsay. He does find that there is a grey mist that towers where the borders used to be and that adventurers who venture in are often not heard from again. There is some speculation that it was caused by a magical weapon of mass destruction. There are also rumors about a large group of warforged in the Mournland who follow the Lord of Blades. The Lord of Blades is proclaimed as a prophet of warforged kind and wants to raise a Warforged civliization and find a way to create new Warforged. However these accounts are not necessarily reliable.

Meanwhile, Aldric, Zel and Hogar approach the huge manor house repurposed to serve as a hostel and sanctuary. The gate into the compound is guarded by House Deneith Blademark mercenaries and backed by House Galandra (halfling) troops. Hogar asks for sanctuary and Zel fails to negotiate for a price lower than 20gp each, so Hogar offers services in return for their stay.

Somehow managing not to stick out like sore thumbs, the adventurers wander into the common room and spot one of the aberrant people sitting at the bar. Zel slides in next to him and is able to put him at ease and get him to talk about his affliction. He demonstrates his power by reaching out to touch Zel’s hand sending a shock that knocks Zel off his stool and causes a commotion. The worried man runs off. A short while later, Aldric is able to point out the man’s room to Zel and he makes a second attempt to gain his trust. The aberrant explains that he is afraid of the House Tarkanan, which is a house of aberrant marked people known for being murderers. Zel is able to convince him to meet the professor at the docks that night in order to help him.

Later that night, after an expensive dinner (5gp) the party informs the professor of the meeting and provides an escort for him to the docks. Aldric attempts to shadow the marked contact but gets distracted and loses him.
After the group gathers at the meeting place Zel is the first to hear an uneven round object rolling toward them and is horrified to discover the disembodied head of his aberrant marked friend.

At the end of the street a woman accuses the professor of outing members of House Tarkanan and orders his kidnapping. The heroes are victorious in combat and the woman surrenders as her companions flee. As it turns out the woman is Melissa Tarkanan, and the man they killed was a target of her house’s recruitment campaign, and since he had left the hostel she was worried he would spill their secrets to the professor. Now that she has been defeated she agrees to answer the professor’s questions in exchange for her freedom.

(will wrap this up tomorrow)

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Korranberg Chronicle: Aundair Section: page 37 (of 38)

Rogue Ashbound Druid Terrorizes Wayfinder Foundation
an exclusive from Paige Neverdown

It was through my inborn investigative instincts that I, rookie reporter extraordinaire Paige Neverdown, was in the perfect position to capture this exclusive for the Chronicle. Over the past several days an unknown person had been vandalizing the displays of the Wayfinder Foundation causing a great deal of distress to its’ board of directors. This reporter was able to piece together from interviews with witnesses that damage inside had been fairly extensive, with several priceless artifacts being damaged. House Deneith had been contacted to provide security to prevent any more damage but unfortunately one member of their Blademark guild was found murdered inside the Foundation! No members of House Denieth or the Wayfinder Foundation would consent to be interviewed over this matter.

Fortunately, I was in a perfect position to see that coming out of the Wayfinder Foundation soon after it’s opening the day following the murder was a group of adventurers! Never being one to back down when a story presented itself I approached them with no hesitation. When I questioned them about what had occurred inside their leader, Niles Barack, self described as “the magnificent,” told me that they had fought and slew an Ashbound druid inside! Apparently the druid had been posing as one of the preserved monsters in the museum and vandalizing the building after everyone had left. Niles told me that the druid had left behind a manifesto declaring that the Ashbound druids may take their fight to the people in the cities. Scary stuff in this reporter’s opinion as we have read reports in this very Chronicle of the damage and death the Ashbound druids can cause. It was a lucky stroke that adventurers as mighty and accomplished as Niles and his men (and warforged!) were in the city and able to defeat the druid before anyone else was hurt.

Does this mark the beginning of a new threat from the Ashbound Druids? I caution everyone to remember that this is but an isolated incident and not to become too alarmed at the thought of shape shifting druids running amok in their city and slaughtering their families. I will attempt to find out anything more I can about this incident and you can expect a follow-up report!

[below is a reasonably accurate sketch of the group minus Aldric, with Neils in the forefront]

View
The Plot Thickens

Session Date: 12/13/2011

Heading towards Wayfinder’s Institute.

During the night, Aldric went out to look for the Thieves’ Guild. He can explore 1/8 of the city starting from the rail station. Aldric finds that Fairhaven is a pretty clean city mostly free of crime. He slips into the sewers. The sewers are fairly wide, but pitch black. He lights a torch from his adventurer’s kit. He sees no more thieves’ marks down in the sewers. He explores a bit more noting entrances and exits. After a few more hours, he finds that each slice of the city has a couple of accessible man holes, which he can’t fit through. As he gets closer to the docks, someone calls out to him, seeing his torch.

He responds with his Flamekeep guild sign. Hobb Knobb Cobb, the guy who called out, realizes Aldric is not from around here. He demands that Aldric leave the sewers, the he not steal from the Dragonmark houses, and that he doesn’t interfere with other thieves. “Cutthroat Charles wouldn’t be happy.”

If Aldric minds himself, then he may get an invitation. Aldric didn’t see Hobb Knobb Cobb, but got a good hear of his voice. Aldric heads back to the inn and sleeps. The group is sharing one room, and Hogar was keeping watch for Aldric, yet Aldric slips into bed unnoticed.
We wake up in the morning, smelling a delicious breakfast downstairs. Today the inn is serving imported Thunder Lizard eggs from the Talenta Plains.

The party, wary of the high cost of eating at the Smiling Mutton, attempts to avoid eating their despite the scrumptious smells. Neils wants to eat fine food, as a wizard of his stature deserves the best. Aldric is so hungry, that he can’t resist. The rest of the party heads out onto the street (dragging Neils & Aldric) grabbing a 2sp meal at some random street stall.

We head over to the Wayfinder Foundation. Aldric hears along the way that the general disposition of the populace is cheerful but there are some rumblings that some people are unhappy with “the Eyes”. These are the local intelligence — Aundarian Royal Eyes. They are in Fairhold, center of city. Zel gossips with the local ladies, and finds out that there was a murder at the Wayfinder foundation last night! In fact, they had some sort of trouble before that, brought in a House Deneith guard, who was subsequently murdered. The foundation is closed due to vandalism.

Neils regales us with what he knows about the Foundation: Lord Boroman Erdain has revitalized the explorer trade by making many journeys to Xen’drik and has returning with many treasures.
Upon arriving at the Wayfinder Foundation, the party notices that it is a large building, not unlike a museum of natural history, with large Corinthian pillars. Outside the large, front double doors we see a small cluster of people arguing. On one side are several armed and armored people facing down door guards of a male dwarf, a male Halfling and a human female armed only in their fine clothing.

We hear them …

Miscellaneous Bully Boy: “It was our man who was killed in there. We’ll tear this place apart.”
Halfling: “You… can’t. Can’t destroy our life’s work! We’ll find out what happened to your man. Just gives us some time.”
It becomes obvious that the Bully Boys must be from House Deneith and the Halfling and company must be Lord Boroman Erdain and his associates. Neils smoothly inserts himself into the conversation.
Halfling: “Yes, perhaps these adventurers can be handy…”
Neils establishes a rapport with the Lord retelling some of the stories he has heard.
Lord Boroman: “I will contract these adventurers to find out what happened to your man.”
Zel mentions, “We’d be glad to help them,” While strongly hinting at payment.
The blademarked Deneith guards say “alright….we’re trusting you Boroman. Don’t let us down. If we don’t have result tomorrow we’re coming in.”
They leave.
We know that membership in The Wayfinder Foundation (and thus unlimited access to their extensive libraries) is by invitation only. To become a member, one must either have

  • adventured in 1 land beyond Khorvaire, finding at least 2 artifacts worth 10k gold pieces each,
  • have been escorted by a giant of Xen’drik as guest
  • Accompanied a Wayfarer Foundation expedition and served admirably
  • or be recommended by one of the rulers of the local nations.

Members have unlimited access to Wayfarer Foundation library, artifacts, resources, or request rescue by the rescue team. Anyone of course, can buy shares into expeditions.

Zel begins the negotiation for our help, starting with a request for membership.
Lord: “Hmmm…membership. I…..I’m afraid not. What lands have you explored? What beasts have you slain? What fantastic tales have you experienced?” Neils: “How about juts access to the library?” “Nope.” Zel: “What are you offering, then?” The Woman: “There is….perhaps the Pearl? As a suitable exchange…” Lord: “Ah…uh….it’s a….minor magical artifact.. (Lets us reuse an encounter power if it missed).”

Zel uses his expert negotiation skills to request additional gold on top of the pearl. The dwarf flexes his fists… and Aldric takes careful note of his four gold rings— he is a member of the gold conglomerate — Aurum Organization. The dwarf offers us 100 gold. Lord: “Please, this is worth at least 300 gold.” Zel closes the deal for 300 gold+ pearl + a chance to talk with these people again and pick their brains for information. They take us inside to show us… The Wayfinder Foundation!

Inside we find… Life sized dioramas… a grand main hall, displaying stone tablets in ancient languages from Xen’drik… A beholder suspended from the ceiling… Cases of artifacts and weapons recovered from everywhere… scales of dragons…

Lord Boroman shows us into a side room where we see a collection of creatures — real creatures that have been taxidermied. The pride of the collection is the hydra…but it has been vandalized. Its heads lie almost severed, as if from a blade. Others creatures have been damaged by deep claw marks as if from a medium sized creature.

Lord: “This was damaged two days ago. We contracted the blademark guild for a guard to stop the perpetrator. This has happened more than once. Other displays had sustained minor damage. We had to close it after these incidents! Last night the guard was killed!”

As we continue our journey through the Foundation, we step through an archway….into a jungle. We hear the hoots and screeches of strange creatures. The temperature is controlled by magic… It is close to what you’d find on Xen’drik.

The stuffed creatures are delicate but some survive the trip and find a new home in this display. Boroman leads us to a small clearing. We see on the ground a sign of a struggle. The guard must have been dragged to the ground and thrashed. The guard’s sword was still in its sheath. Aldric thinks it looks like signs of a messy garroting. The guard was confirmed to have been strangled. Strangely, nothing was taken. The group asks if anything was destroyed last night? Other incidents of vandalism occurred during recent nights. This has been going on for a week. No new exhibits were installed recently. All examples of previous damage have already been removed and replaced. The damage appears random.

Aldric doesn’t see any way someone can access this room. The walls are of solid stone, with a high ceiling. The glass panes are all fixed, and the water river was done by a mage smith. Water is teleported from one end to the other to flow again through a hole to small for any know sentient to pass. The next chamber over is a cave environment with glowing fungi, mosses and similar stuff. Lord: “Here is my thought on the matter…come back tonight. We’ll let you in, and you catch whoever is doing this in the act.”

We leave and head towards the University. We plan to be back after dinner. Imre Levalle will let us in. As we leave, Zel explains that the Lord is dying of some odd disease. He had contracted it from raiding a Xen’drik ruin. The disease is draining the life out of him slowly… he will die within the next year if no cure is found.

We head over to Wynarn University. The U consists of several large buildings on an open campus with many stands of trees, lecture halls, as well as the required admin building. There are students out walking and relaxing. Neils goes to the library and finds that Julian Dronnell is recommended as the professor of aberrant dragon marks. Aldric starts casing the joint. Bulwark goes to the section on medicine finding information on folk medicine, modern medicine, and that House Jorasco is around for magical healing.

Niels starts speaking with Professor Dronnell. He finds out that the War of the Mark was fought by the Dragonmark houses to eradicate the aberrant marks. The war culminated in the destruction of Dorasharn. The city of Sharn is built on the ruins today. The marks are not hereditary… they can appear anywhere on anyone, unlike other, standard marks. No one has any idea where they come from. Perhaps exposure to dragon shards (chunks of concentrated magic - 3 types for the three different levels) is part of the cause? After the war, the potency of the aberrant marks was greatly reduced; however the marks have begun to increase in numbers again in recent years. The Professor has met bearers of aberrant marks… further he believes there are some aberrant bearers hiding in the Ghallanda Enclave. Prof. Dronnell has never heard of accelerated aging on a human bearer of an aberrant mark. He also mentions that he has a possible rival at Morgrave University (in Sharn).

Currently the professor is investigating the upswing in the appearance of aberrant marks. He tried to get an interview at the Ghallanda enclave, but was declined admittance. Neils shows the professor the drawing of the mark. Dronnell’s never seen it before, but he offers to help (and keep silence) in return for us scoring an interview with one of the Enclave aberrants. Neils allows the professor to sketch a copy of the mark.

Aldric is looking for banned books …..figures they’d be kept in a vault underground. After exploring, he finds a vault door guarded by two dwarves. They drive him off. He notes that these are House Kundarak guards (guards for banking system, vaults and items). Bulwark is reading….finding many folk remedies claiming to slow aging…but none seem to be credible based on his alchemy work. Modern medicine books are mostly just anatomy stuff. We spend many hours at the University.

It is dinner time. We find a small off campus café with ok food. It has a rowdy student crowd, yet our rough demeanor allows us a bubble of quiet around our table. Zel attempts to make friends with the students by regaling them with his (Non-existent) adventures. They aren’t very impressed by his muscle-bound mentality. Dinner’s cost is 1 gold total. 2sp a person. We head back to the foundation.

It is dark in the foundation. It’s a fairly cloudy night. As we enter the room…one of the displays, a large lynx is gone! Bulwark leaves to check other displays. Aldric follows at a discreet (rearguard) distance. Bulwark notices some odd sand markings in the desert diorama as if something is buried in there as the rest of the team begins to search the jungle environment. Meanwhile, in the jungle a voice calls out. “Are you with them? Are you enemies of nature as well?” The male voice sounds slightly unhinged. We find an Ashbound Druid. Neils challenges “What, are you going to throw paint on us?”… and combat begins. Sand in front of Bulwark in other chamber starts to stir.

Jungle team is ambushed. Desert team is ok temporarily. Jungle team… a plant like creature tries to whip out and strangle Hogar and Zel. Cavefisher Line Spikers come out of the river. Two large ants come out of the sand and attack Bulwark with armor cutting attacks.
After much carnage… we win, killing the Druid. The surviving animals lose their will and stand placidly. (a vine and an ant). The Druid is wearing hide armor and on his side is a satchel containing 3 scrolls and a letter. The letter is half in one handwriting and half in another.

The first half says:
Brother I know what you’re doing is noble and juts but realize our fight doesn’t belong in Aundair but in the Eldeen Reaches against those at the source. Against House Vadalis, against the Druids who sympathize and those who transgress against nature. And I’m afraid you have lost your way. I hope you come to your senses. I hope you rejoin our fight here.

Second half (Angry slashing letters == in reply….)
How can you be so wrong…don’t you realize that if I stop them here I can stop them everywhere if I can make them terrified of nature…they’ll be scared to leave their cities……

We know that the Ashbound druids have split from the other druids in the Eldren Reaches. They are called the Ashbound because when they left their druidic order they set fire to its grove. They commit atrocities in the Reaches. Farms are attacked, ranches are attacked. House Vadalis is under threat from them. Ashburns fight against the other druids. They are not usually active outside of the reaches. They want to prove the supremacy of nature over industry—to stop people from tampering nature for their own gains.

We try to fix things up a little bit. We spend the rest of the night there. In the morning the doors are unlocked. Lord Boroman and Imre and Sheriari Randeje enter… We find that Imre Levalle was in charge of the displays…. he has an awkward conversation with the Lord when we show the Druid and missing Lynx. “How could you let a Druid in here, Imre?” Sheriari is excited about our captives and tames the ant immediately. Lord Boroman is quite pleased with our results, however Imre is angry with the cracked concrete (damaged by the druid). Boroman offers us the opportunity to come to his office to discuss our business. We get +300gp (60gp each) and a Pearl of Power that is warm to the touch and shimmers with a luminescent glow.
Aldric takes the healing scroll of cure light.
Hogar, son of Grumbar gets the Pearl.
Neils gets the scroll of wind wall.
Zel gets the scroll of Elk’s Fortitude.

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The Adventure Actually Begins Finally

Session Date: 12/6/2011

Our Characters:

Bulwark – A warforged warlord in search for purpose in his post-war life. Hails from the Mournland.

Niels the Magnificent- A self trained wizard and an arrogant prick. Hails from a small town in Aundair.

Zel- A youthful paladin trying to make his mark by spreading prosperity across Khorvaire in the name of Kol Korran. Hails from Sharn.

Aldric- A young elf rogue with a dark and troubled past. Hails from Flamekeep

Hogar son of Grumbar- A half-orc monk and an ex-solider looking for peace after the war. Hails from a small town in Karrnath.

Our heroes spend the winter training with Breaker, a rugged and huge 7.5’ warforged. During their stay at Trevick Manor they stay in the bunks with three male servants and four guardsmen. From them they learn that Trevick Manor is named after the former lord who had been killed during the war. Lord Vanwick appeared with a small entourage including Breaker and his infant daughter about three years ago and claimed the manor as his own without any conflict.

While at the manor the party takes note of a young woman who looks to be about 15 years of age but is unnaturally strong and covered with thin scars all over her limbs. They come to learn that she is Luella, Lord Vandwick’s “infant daughter” of 4 years.

The heroes spend the winter training until they get to the point where they can hold their own against Breaker and he approves of their abilities. He takes them to Lord Vanwick to report that they are ready and can be trusted. Vanwick confides in them that Luella was born in Cyre on the day of the Mournland’s creation and that his wife died in childbirth. He hands them a drawing of a symbol that is an aberrant dragonmark that Lowella is marked by. When asked about the girls’ scars Vanwick says that they “just appear.” Some people in the party sense that Vanwick may be holding back some information.

He informs them that Grol the Prescient, a prophet from the Whispering Wood in Aundair (where there is a large stone outcropping containing a piece of the Draconic prophecy), said that the girl was part of a prophecy that concerned the creation of the Mournland and “another cataclysm to come.” However this information may not be reliable because the seer was half-crazed. Lord Vanwick requests that our heroes find out any information about aberrant dragonmarks, accelerated growth and any connections her mark may have to the Draconic prophecy in order to help Luella and avert potential catastrophe. He asks that his secrets be held in strict confidence and requests that he only be contacted in person or by way of a sending stone in the event of an emergency. Based on the research of his changeling spy he suggests that they start at the University of Wynarn or the Wayfinder Foundation in Fairhaven.

The new comrades agree to his terms and travel to Fairhaven on the lightning rail. On the train they have a confrontation with a priest of the Silverflame who starts harassing a family of Shifters. Zel is able to intimidate him and diffuse the situation and the priest runs off to a different car. A couple hours later they arrive in Fairhaven and a city guard informs them about the Smiling Mutton Inn owned by Orwin Lurd. The inn carries the guildmark of House Galandry and is in a nicer part of town. They decide to eat dinner there and spend the night there for 6g/each.

In the evening Bulwork and Aldric separately venture out to learn the layout of the the city’s terrain. Aldric takes note of several subtle signs leading to the city’s thieves’ guild. Meanwhile Zel hits up the bar and makes some friends and gathers rumors that the Wayfinder Foundation is mysteriously closed, that the Underbelly (allegedly what the thieves’ guild calls itself) is making a play for power, and that the long abandoned Cathedral of the Silverflame has had people hanging around. Niels reads some books from the inn’s small library including a traveler’s guide to Fairhaven. Hogar stays in the room.

In the morning the team shares some of their learned information and decides to start their adventure at the Wayfinder Foundation, despite Niel’s dissention.

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