Monday, September 29, 2014

Hogni Bluesafe Makes a Stand

The sounds of battle erupted from within the Cinder Block, Hogni Bluesafe could hear them echoing through the walls from within the gladiatorial Neutral Grounds.  It was not swords alone that rang, out, magical spells were erupting as well.  Someone was finally daring to challenge the HalfReds attacking inside the Cinder Block while using the battle as an opportunity to break into the Vial and Flask.  It would be the biggest gamble of Hogni’s life, gambling on his discovery to protect the store. If he failed, somehow he didn't think his benefactor would be so forgiving.  Hogni’s hands trembled while pouring the contents over his creation.  The opportunity he had waited so long for and worked these several months for was here.  Neither spell nor sword will stop the Clockwork Golem.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

1,000 Years of Shar Auvryndar (A Millennium in Prologue)

In the years following the Time of Troubles, the Inquisitor Meaghan continued to guide Shar along the path Mystra had placed before him; first by tasking him with documenting her ascension as goddess of magic, then leading to Shar to recover a lost relic of the North.

When researching for Godsfall: The Time of Troubles Shar and Meagan returned to Waterdeep and eventually to the Wands noble family where he spent years making all the associations, meeting all the witnesses, and visiting all the sacred locations to tell the right story. During this time Shar came to know the Wands family, Maskar, and the early years of Smendric.

Later but while still in Waterdeep, Shar uncovered dragon disciples in the undermountain, a remnant of Karlot’s Cult of the dragon. Led by Narthund, one of the Sages, and with sanction from Neirgral, a deep dragon, these cultists were experiencing a resurgence in strength in Skullport doubling in size in a month. Joining with other adventurers, among them Balder Ironshield, Shar and his companions defeated the cultists, killed the underdark dragon Neirgral, and recovered a lost Samular relic from the Cultists and earned the enmity of an evil ancient intelligent sword.

Therein followed decades of adventure with Smendric Wands, Balder Ironshield, Jerit McCaugh, Myrdden Og, Crentosh, Gulden the Voyager as well as others through the years to find the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords; defeat the vampire Vlad Teppes; bring the sun to a dark continent; reincarnate the woman-centaur who would eventually become Shar’s cohort and finally, earn the title as Mystra’s Chosen and Monitor of Magic.
                                                         
After the Dawning, Shar and Alecia spent the next several years teaching weights, measurements, and mathematics to many cultures on the Continent, including Alecia’s Centaur city home, acclimating the intelligent races to a night/day cycle of Time where none existed before. But no amount of teaching and service to virtue could take Shar’s mind off of the events over his lifespan.

After the kiss from Mystra that cured the Docma, Shar went into isolation to ponder the questions of the universe, love, and the fragility of life in the context of a universe of planes. The kiss from his goddess left Shar with questions about his purpose and what he felt in his heart as his emotions overfilled with more questions. What was his purpose in life? He had saved a world from eternal darkness and damnation and yet was spared death by his goddess. Why? Was Shar’s purpose somehow unfulfilled? Whatever the future holds; to this day Shar has yet to kiss another.
 
The Comet K'Thoutek
K’Thoutek was the name of a colossal Inevitable; beheaded thousands of years ago, its metallic head became a comet assuming a three hundred sixty year orbit around Toril’s star. For over five centuries Shar traveled in the comet absorbed in personal reflection, meditation, observation, and craft; monitoring the many worlds and cultures across the planes through the eyes of the Inevitable. Sometimes his surveillance would lead him to worlds to liberate dangerous artifacts or evil intelligent weapons from careless or unknowing possessors. While at other times, leading exceptional individuals down virtuous paths toward their own personal growth and arcane discoveries. On rare occasions Shar would bequeath magic to a worthy spell-caster.

When news of Alecia’s death found Shar he immediately returned to lay her remains to rest and for Mystra to claim her immortal soul. When Shar reached equilibrium within himself he knew it was time to come home to the Realms, recruit a new arcane familiar and cohort, the domed complex and start anew where it was 1,000 years after the Dawning on Terra but only 25 years after the godsfall on Toril.

***************************************************

Shar Auvryndar, Drow Arcanist, Inquisitor, and Monitor of Magic possess a silent stoic pride and otherworldly wisdom as if the truth of the cosmos reflected in his eyes. He is average height for is race and gender but possesses god-like charisma and etiquette; adhering to cultural traditions and ceremony as most situations dictates. Shar has dusky gray-black skin, piercing purple eyes and long silver hair that does little to hide is elven ears.

Traveling from world to world, Shar has adopted a fashion style that comes across as futuristic but is nevertheless tastefully formal. He wears exquisite elven chain mail made by his friend Balder Ironshield and has a magical dancing shield given to him by the King of Cormyr. Shar’s weapons include a magical adamantine rapier at his left hip, a matching dagger on his right hip, and in his hand an ancient darkwood staff capable of disjoining Shar’s opponents or traveling the him through planes.

At the center of Shar’s mantra is the concept of duality, the universal law that opposing forces are actually complementary that interact to create a cosmic system of balance and symmetry. Over his time on K’Thoutek Shar monitored the stars and constellations and how they obeyed the laws of duality illustrated by pins of light in an ocean of darkness. Life obeys in death; and there would be no sin without virtue.

Shar understands that for good to exist so too must evil because even in the most pious of organizations corruption usually finds a way to take root; greed and envy. The only thing evil needs in order to succeed is for agents for good to do nothing; complacency breeds sloth. Often times Shar is that agent of good, recruited to restore balance.

Shar identifies strongly to the duality of yin-yang in that Shar is himself a being of duality. An individual from darkness and also a bringer of light to a world of darkness; he has championed the living by aiding in the destruction of Vlad Teppes; Shar wat the fire against water, and the virtue against sin. 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Journal Entry : Indira. The Return of Sarosh

Friday morning came much more relaxed than the other mornings of the past week. Indira was, of course, delighted with the return of Master Jaren on Monday, but she felt somewhat rebuffed. Master Jaren had so many irons in so many fires that it left precious little time for them to meet or discuss the treasures she had waited four months to give him. Naturally she had briefed him on affairs of business, both on the docks and at the Cinder Block, but it seemed that Sarosh had detailed much of what they had done together when he was able to re-connect with them some ten days ago. Also, she was sure that she could not hide her worry and disappointment when it was revealed to her that Sarosh had not returned with Them, but instead was heading yet another strange mission in a place she had hardly even heard of - The Evening Isles. Still she decided to be patient and bide her time, knowing her service was valued, and her loving caresses missed.

The two books she had kept had proven to be absolute gems. Both were masterwork quality tomes, but constructed very differently. Both books were written in Elvish dialects, which at first proved a problem for the upcoming mage. Over the past four months, she had availed herself to the libraries that the Cinder Block had been building, and under the tutelage of a couple Block bards she had become a fluent reader of elvish script.

The first book was entitled Cerdic's Pages. It was covered front and back by two well oiled pine planks, each protected with copper strips and corner caps. Iron hoops bind the covers and the 200 gray parchment pages within. The book holds 20 different dialects or slight variations of elvish, authored by at least 12 different people. The pages hold a sort of collection of articles detailing different elven wizards and arcanists of the past 200 years or so. Each article details a spell, an event, or a craft of note and the identity of the pertaining wizard. There is a foreword by Cerdic, who explains that he was a gatherer and editor of these articles that he had commissioned to different elves that he knew. Indira was certain  that the elves that had collaborated for this book lived on the southern half of the continent, the very place she knew her master to be developing. The book also was so steeped in arcane lore, even she could recognize the hidden power of Truename magic within its pages.

The second book she prized even more, and could hardly wait any longer to present it to Jaren. The iron covers of the book were bound to the interior pages with a dozen iron rings, one of which seemed to be slowly breaking, though it was free of rust. The 90 pages are made of fine brushed vellum, and all are filled with elvish script written by the same hand. The cover is decorated with an exquisite dragon engraved into the iron, with 2 finely set rubies in the place of it's eyes. This book never reveals who the author is, but it is filled with descriptions of geographic locations very familiar to him. The descriptions are given as if he viewed them from above, soaring above the jungle canopies.The dialect is a perfect match to one used in the first book, which has convinced her that this author and the places he describes also hail from the southern half of the continent. The book, however, holds another secret she has only just begun to clue in to. It seems to give veiled guidance toward pacting with a special variety of dragon. ( It is actually advice on pacting with dragons of Virtue, but this knowledge is still a little over her head.) It also has a wondrous ability to summon a very powerful illusion of a great dragon.

The opening of the door of the apartment she shared with Sarosh broke her reverie. Her startled condition transformed to shocked joy as she bounded into the arms of her missing lover once more. She gave him the warmest reception she could imagine, and it was several hours before either of them turned their attention back to the business of the day.

Review 09/17/2014

We began the session Thursday morning in the Cinder Block at breakfast discussing our future plans when Versel had an idea. “I was up last night thinking of the LC brewery.” 

Calling over Pilini, Auge inquires at to his level of interest in the idea. It was decided that we would all stop at the Black Crown to meet with Adalwin Joscelin after first breakfast.

When we arrived we were advised that Joscelin would be delayed in meeting with us. In the meantime Durg was escorted away to be fitted for a uniform for his new office and meet his team. Versel calculates how many strong lifters he can equal in a hoist, while Auge and Jaren are introduced to the Black Crown’s Head of Studies, Gray Oslinar. Gray is a half-drow whom we discover is from the Continent and whose father was a ferration.

Jaren explains his plan for a mage school and his hopes of adding a program that would be mutually beneficial to the Crown and the new school. He even brings up the magically inclined albino minotaurs, but that abruptly ends their conversation.

The rest of the time for Auge and Jaren was spent in arcane preparations as Versel figures he can lift just under 9,000 pounds as a medium load…

13 becomes 12. Adalwin introduces the Witch Hunter to his ‘broken coven’- Durg’s office of internal affairs. Six administrative individuals and six others that are responsible for districts of the city and the spellguards posted there. Each of these men and women had faithfully served Adalwin in the past, two were in fact part of the FanFleet assault.

Late morning we meet with Adalwin at the top of the Crown’s battlements. He explained that he has sent messages to five noble houses, one being the target house. The message gives first option on constructs Adalwin is building as a cover for Durg’s Op against Cogarto Malle, a commander of the spellguard.

Before we leave Auge inquires as to the status of the LC building and brewery to which Adalwin reveals that he has plans for the structure as a reward for services rendered.

The rest of the evening expires with Jaren finishing his book (picking up on Truename syntax), Auge putting in more crafting time, and Versel making his way to the lifter’s guild for some face time and to test his strength calculations before dropping in on Sunbow Mansion. At Sunbow Versel discovers many Saltsure office staff is in place and have made some great managerial progress. Making some suggestions, one being the installation of the lantern of revealing, Versel notices a stealthy individual making his way out a back hall.

Versel eventually tracks sneaky mcgee to an unmarked Sunbow building. “… returned everything to your room, all I’m taking is these wands.” Then he notices Versel. The building had a squatter’s look to it and it was obvious he was talking with someone upstairs but when Versel turned on his charm, the man named Danzil reached into his satchel and magically transported himself away leaving Versel, his charm and a couple of frightened whores who explain to Versel that Danzil moves around a lot but is rumored to own the Neptune’s Serpent.

Returning to Sunbow, Versel lays down some new rules and informs the management of the unmarked property and to see to its use. Searching lockers of employees (what Danzil ‘returned’) Versel finds 800 gold, potion of cure disease, a spellbook, four pieces of jewelry ‘of protection’, master work clothing and S&M gear, and a meta magic rod.

At the Cinder Block Auge meet with the White Spider who looks to be doing well for herself. After reconnecting over that last four months Spider gives Auge his cut as guild master: 5,000 gold (of which a 500 gp gem was paid back to Spider for Auge’s next job), Diamond dust, and alchemical silver as well as a nautical map of where a rumored silver trade ship(s) sank a year ago. 

9 pm. Ague explains to Spider Versel’s idea for the Liquor Commission and Joscelin’s unfortunate plans for it. It is her task to find out who has been rewarded or will be rewarded the LC brewery. Shortly after that Deidre arrives for Ague. 

Friday morning brings six elves who exercise formal rites of invitation to which Jaren upholds the Neutral Grounds motto and welcomes them in. They head straight for the first-breakfast buffet table exposing their unfortunate state of circumstances now that Joscelin is in charge.

Nolo Optiabilis, a stormhaven elf agrees to Jaren’s compromise of allowing elves to come here and eat as we cannot legally distribute food. Therefore the Willowtree clan would be distributed 50 Cinder Block wooden nickels to identify the individual who would be eating all the food a 5,000 gem would buy.

The rest of the day passes quickly with the Friday Night Freedom Fights later that night. The hype was at an all-time high with our return after four-plus months away.

6 pm. Maycorth arrives and we adjourn to our private office. In his dreams, Maycorth explains, he is saving his family while we bring fiery death on our adversaries. The breakdown of the meeting uncovered some of the politics and the resources of his family. In Hoppen Coast there is a robber baron who controls most of the land in the duchy except for his family’s land, which so happens to contain rich coldstone mines. The robber baron sealed an agreement with the Verbond group to deal with Maycorth’s family giving the robber baron uncontested access to the mines.

An introductory reconnaissance trip would be made in a few weeks after we make some preparations and attempt to scry on someone in his family. As far as compensation he offered one of his family’s coldstone mines: ‘Cold-Fire Cave' could produce (after the stone-crafter’s are paid) 1,500 lbs or 1,500 cold stones a year; in a 20-year cycle wherein the mine is required to be rotated out of use to allow it to rejuvenate its store for up to 1-5 years.

8 pm. People begin to fill the Neutral Gounds when Jaren notices something out of place that causes him to cast true seeing. This reveals that roughly half of the individuals here are magically disguised. The first fight gives us a collectable gnome who viciously spills blood in Versel’s name winning his contest. As this occurs Jaren identifies two individuals as Danzil and Qhorgill then the assassins strike out against the Spellguard.


Be begin next session with combat. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Adalwin was right

Things had been going so well for Qhorgill that the bounty hunter almost felt guilty for complaining but since the breaking of the guilds the ease of getting paid safely had completely disappeared.  Thinking back to his days following the capture of Torngulf he chuckled at his early attempts at journeying upside. Five years had been a long time to hunt one dwarf and Qhorgill the Hideous had feared his devotion to completing his work had left him without work or position in a strange obelisk sea city years from home. It was ironic that he came here at his own great expense to capture the dwarf Torngulf only to make his fortune fulfilling bounties for another dwarf, Torgar the guildmaster for the Liquor Commission. That first bounty had secured Torgar’s position of leadership and kept work coming Qhorgill’s way.  Since Adalwin Joscelin and his Black Crown Spellguard had claimed Stormhaven, Qhorgill’s primary employer was on the run. The only contracts currently being delivered from the Liquor Commission came from Torgar’s agent Danzil. 



Qhorgill read the message, evaluating his risk and reward.  Danzil’s note indicated that Torgar would meet him aboard Neptune's Serpent at the setting of the fifth day’s sun to discuss his latest bounty. If what Qhorgill suspected was true he would be taking a significant risk going aboard any vessel in the Stormhaven waters. The Bounty hunter had delivered at least twenty individuals to Danzil or Torgar over the past several months and none had been heard from since. Qhorgill’s contracts with Torgar only paid him well when the targets were delivered alive and truth be told the hideous one detested killing. Yet every bounty Qhorgill had delivered had never been seen or heard from again.  Whether they were dead in the deep or down in the deep, Qhorgill knew that risking a meet on the sea exposed him to the same fate. Still a major contract was Torgar’s terminology for a financial and magical reward of the powerful and expensive variety. He would agree to meet however he would use the time left him to prepare. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Ascension of Mystra

Excerpts from the pages of Godsfall: The Time of Troubles

In the North, it began with an arcane call for a bonded companion. A new age was on the cusp and as the Storm Dragon before, Frostburn wanted to shape this age to come into an Age of Dragons. He called out across the planes to Raine Wands as his arcane familiar, and commanded Raine to prepare for his terrible and eminent return.


In Waterdeep Raine Wands sat on the High Lords committee, currently weighing in on whether to allow Thay embassy status in the city when the magic of the arcane bond seized him. At that moment Raine’s life changed forever. Considering all the probabilities and fallout of what his connection to such a destructive force would bring, Raine immediately began to exercise all his resources.

Consulting the nine sages one by one led Raine to Karlott and the Cult of the Dragon. Karlott was a member of the Arcane Brotherhood who was funding Luskan’s pirate war against the north island kingdoms. Each faction was hostile to Waterdeep, and as a wizard in the Order of Magists and Protectors this never sat well with Raine.
                                                             
Meanwhile high in the Nether Mountains, the witch-dragon Dajaronzie, also heard Frostburn’s commands: “Assemble prospective females that I may evaluate them to be worthy to receive my seed, and propagate my bloodline.”

In Luskan, Karlott put out a general call for gather teams to seek out and find Samular relics hoping to uncover the Weapons of Legacy that were used to kill the first Storm Dragon. Taking these relics out of reach would earn them prestige and favor in the eyes of their dragon sponsors making the Cult of the Dragon stronger.

This information about relics and legacies put Raine back on the subject of the Samular heirs when the seed of inspiration took root. He would conspire to bring together the seventh generation of Samular heirs in hopes they join arms and discover their enemy- Cult of the Dragon. Raine also set plans in motion that a forgotten portal in the invisible tower in Castle Waterdeep was opened by these young men and women, releasing mischievous fey from the Mists into the North. These creatures would hopefully be reaped for their chakra essentia, using what would be known as the William device, thereby allowing for more personal spells. It was a viable plan and a long shot but one that would help defend the city against the dragons when the time came and a plan that did not directly violate Raine’s bond against his master.

When the godsfall began, Frostburn at last arrived, and tears of Selune rained magical gemstones across the seven realms. The terrible Frostburn now in the presence of his prospective harem revealed a plan, in light of the godsfall to usurp certain divine powers: War, Good, Evil, Death, Time, Fate and Nature; to create a draconic pantheon thereby making Frostburn a real storm god- an undeniable force of Nature.

In Waterdeep other factions unified forming their own Pantheons based on shared beliefs and ideals, among them was the breath taking and stern Syndra Wands. Already a veteran spell-caster in the Order of Magists and Protectors, Syndra excelled in the theater of politics, leadership, and high arcana earning her recognition amongst her peers. Syndra believed that if the seven gods of magic were dead and their connection to the weave severed, then it was her purpose to become the next Mystra goddess of magic, restore the weave, and stabilize wild magic.


Joining with Brother Carmichael and the Peoples Pantheon, Syndra traveled the savage frontier including Neverwinter, Luskan, and Silverymoon to gather seven divine aspects of arcana. One aspect was given freely to Syndra her by Eva goddess of fate, but one final lost aspect of magic eluded her- in fact it eluded most everyone.

During that Year of the Shadows 1358, Pantheons clashed and Frostburn’s dragon-harem attacked with efficient regularity during their year-long siege as the Cult of the Dragon infiltrated churches crippled by the godsfall to reprogram communities into Luskan empathizers.

In Waterdeep, on the Feast of the Moon Syndra came home to an inter house mage-battle between her house Tirisfall Ascendency and Blackspire Gap. The conflict that night resulted in the unexpected death of Marcus Wands, Jarred Mallred, and the plane-slip of many Thayans as well as Syllia and the newborn baby Smendric.

Mid-Summer arrived, the time of ascension and the dragon’s final attack. At Tirisfall Ascendency everything was in place, faithful supporters, Raine’s colossus, and enhanced Wands house wizards with chakra essence ready to battle threats at sea, the land, or in the sky.

What came next was a battle of the gods, the ultimate king of the hill, and a nightmare come to life for the people of Waterdeep.

In the final moments, with all of the People’s Pantheon ascended or killed and Cyric’s malign group scattered, it soon came down to Frost Burn, Dajaronzie, and Syndra. As the sun set over Deep Water Harbor they fought, from the City of the Dead to Mount Waterdeep until suddenly Frostburn was snatched violently from the sky by Raine’s colossus leaving Syndra and Dagaronzie close to death on at the foot of the Celestial Stairway. Spell and claw clashed and blood splashed the mountain side. Below in the streets Raine’s east wall colossus grappled the albino red dragon, his wings and tail erasing entire neighborhoods from Waterdeep streets.

The break from Frostburn’s serpentine neck cut through the din haze like a crack in the ice. The sound  sent Dajaronzie into a rage so great that she turned on her own fallen pantheon stealing more divinity with each betrayal. Dajaronzie lusted for godhood and suddenly fashioned herself to be the next Storm Dragon unlike any ever known.

During the blood bath Syndra slowly crawled up the side of Mount Waterdeep, hand over hand reaching for the luminescent Celestial Stairs. Behind her came the wet horrific sound of bloody death approaching. Unfettered and fearless Syndra climbed; in all the seven realms Syndra Wands was the last to ascend to godhood.

In the company of stars, at the top of the stairs Syndra turned and looked down upon Toril as the new goddess of magic. She watched as Dajaronzie climbed the stairway in a stellar alarm. The two locked eyes; Dajaronzie’s eyes the color of panic and Mystra’s eyes the deep color of the universe. With a thought Mystra stripped Dajaronzie of her powers, dissolved the celestial stairway beneath her, and left the dragon trapped in the Mists between the planes.

By my hand
Shar Auvryndar