Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Any News Cousin?

Kelmar rode into Naper’s Dawn astride his Palomino Barb handing the mare off to the GrumbleBelly’s stableman. A quick cantrip after dismounting and Kelmar’s clothing was as clean as when he first departed on his journey.  Kelmar entered a side service entrance, surprising workers who grimaced at the intrusion. 
Kelmar made his way to a back kitchen stairwell, hopping up the steps two at a time to the closed wooden door at the top.  Kelmar used another cantrip to open the thick Mahogany door cheerily calling ahead as he entered the den chamber, “Are you home cousin?”

Ollesa Merryweather jumped from her office chair, happily surprised, and embraced her cousin Kelmar Somenhiem.  The exchange of pleasantries was short before Ollesa confided “The guests have arrived and not a moment too soon!  Larosse Se-MarQuay is harassing all of our holdings and the SkyLords have come for their orders. 

“Perhaps it would be best if I returned to Somenhiem and informed mother of our troubles?” Kelmar inquired, eyebrow raised in mock challenge.

“My Aunt Priscilla is a stratagem better employed elsewhere or at least in last resort.  No I need your help here.  Tell me what you learned of Atlab & Bae, if the Skylords are approaching the Duke, their understanding of our culture is much further along than ever before. They are trying to cut out the Ferryman's League!”
Ollesa Merryweather 

Kelmar grimaced at the mention of the infamous giant Drow, holding his hands out as if to wave off the criticism that was surely forthcoming, “They are treasure hunters from a place they call Cloudhome, though they way they pronounce it sounds like Clowed-HUME.  They are completely devoid of any social decency!  They frequently HANDLE each other in a manner that especially egregious due to their giant statures.”

Ollesa’s features, initially darkening at her cousins failure to learn anything of importance was quickly overcome by laughter upon observing her cousins disgust and hearing his descriptions.  Ollesa’s laughter was infectious causing Kelmar to erupt in laughter with his cousin for several minutes.   After their laughter subsided Ollesa asked if Kelmar had at least discovered what treasures the two giant Drow sought.

“Oh yes, something about items created by a Sanger, someone named Keltischer Sanger?  
GrumbleBelly Rear Sky View

Thursday, July 21, 2016

07/20/16 Virtues Session 52: Short Lives Matter

Road Marshal Elmang
Our character’s awaken on day 159, roused from sleep by the gathering of Road Marshals outside the Grumblebelly. Rydin, on the last watch, led the characters outside where our characters find Road Marshal Elmang who is concerned about the events of yesterday. Rydin puts up a comment about how the common folk seemed not out of sorts, but Elmang wishes to play it cautious.

Elmang introduces the characters to the gathered Road Marshals saving the best for last, indicating Syrendross as an 'okay' individual. Elmang further states his intentions for the Road Marshals to be a visible presence over the next few days leading up to the League Summit. Syrendross expresses his willingness to help but was kindly deflected as Elmang has everything under control.

As soon as Elmang exited, a pair rider Halflings; Garbel and Bycol, obviously injured; halted at the door of the Grumblebelly looking for Baron Zarl. Visibly distraught, and largely ignored by the Road Marshals, it was Syrendross who broke the tension with the Halflings and commented ‘a hard ride?’ This led to our characters to a story of the troubles at Hickory Point. Kyras offer and then dispensed with the Green healing and offered them a place in his room until Baron Zarl can see them.

Inside our characters arrange a morning meal and listen to Garbel and Bycol explain as best as they can the horrors that have descended upon the Zarl company town of Hickory Point. A short time later Baron Zarl joins them to a story of rain, lightening and a berserk tree that largely destroyed the mill and adjacent building.

Garbel and Bycol are given a reprieve as Baron Zarl confers with the Heroes of Virtue. In this our characters learn there are mostly Halflings in Hickory Point and that the Baron owns the mill. After some hard questions Baron Zarl admits there are regional problems around Hickory Point and that he is concerned for his employees. Baron Zarl fears these are more guerrilla tactics from the Duchy of Jeshal Macrear. After the sundering the King of the Isles drew the Duchy lines and Tier Ne Somenhiem benefited, but the Baron has no clue as to the ‘lightening tree’ the Halflings spoke about.

Our characters immediately hesitate in regarding moving against any duchy, especially when our characters will have to earn their endorsement for Bouvaldia. However Baron Zarl eases our character's concern that with Jeshal Macrear, it depends on what Warlord is currently position of power.

Baron Zarl laments it is hard to offer compensation to our characters for this mysterious foray to Hickory Point but does offer a parcel of land and a building to act as a Bouvaldian Embassy in exchange for our best efforts. After offering Garbel and Bycol, who are anxious to return to loved ones, as guides our characters agree to Baron Zarl’s request to investigate. 

Hickory Point is five miles north in the uplands where the terrain gets rough and rocky and is populated by one to three hundred individuals; a land rich in the Green Faith thrives with the people living off the land. It was a good place for Kyras to use Tongue of the Land to commune with nature learning that an old local druid had died here three days ago.
Blister skin and bones
Travel to Hickory Point is up and down hills filled with difficult terrain, taking our characters three hours of overland travel before Garbel gives our characters a choice of paths, the Bark River where the majority of the destruction wrought by the lightening tree remains, or the lake close to the mill. Our characters elect to follow the deep Bark River along a ridge spotting the barges and wood workings along the way. About a quarter mile away, altitude sets in and our characters begin to see the path of destruction.

When our characters arrive many of the people of Hickory Point are still in a haze and exhausted from the previous nights attack. As Dolgrin and Kyras work miracles of healing the masses, Lapis and Barit begin readying a burial ground; Dramen looks to the mill for clues noticing a direct route the tree took through the mill and machinery, doing damage to itself in the carnage; Rydin and Kotri begin patrolling the area; and Syrendross uses his dimensional ability to transport himself five hundred feet above Hickory Point to locate the origin of the berserk tree.

Kyras presides over the victims last rights before they are buried then asked about the dead druid. A Halfling by the name of Swiaket tells Kyras about the old druid Rakil, a half-elf with a grove south of here. She also asks if Kyras is from above. It becomes known that our characters are here on the Baron’s behalf and again using the tongue of the land, Kyras discovers the attacking tree’s vanishing point.

Green Faith
5pm. Our characters decide to investigate the source of the tree where Syrendross identified earlier. A half hour of travel brings the heroes to lightening blasted area where ash and scorched trees surrounded a hole in the ground (to find out later this is where the druid Rakil lived). Dolgrin heals some trees with a burst of positive energy. Kyras also learns the other trees surrounding the blast sight describe this tree as polluted by a creature of bluster, skin and bones.

7pm Our characters return to Hickory Point for food and rest and to formulate a plan for tonight. Rydin and Kotri volunteer to patrol the bridge and boathouses; Kyras initiates his own solitary patrol of Hickory Point; while Dramen, Syrendross, Dolgrin and the other followers rest in the remains of the mill.

During a restless sleep Dolgrin is alerted to the presence of evil nearby that breaks out into combat with the blistered skin and bones hag and the reanimated spirit of the druid in a perverse abomination called a dread wraith.

After the battle a storm rolls in, some of the heroes drained of precious constitution attempt to rest again but are harried throughout the night with repeated nightmares and howls from the unseen fabled windego. Dolgrin dreams of a carnivorous stag creature with a taste for humanoid blood.

The next day, when our characters awake they find most of Hickory Point deserted after the panic wrought by the howls of the windego. The heroes decide to seek out the druid’s grove on the way back to Naper’s Dawn and find a well maintained area of the Green Faith expressed with flowers, plentiful crops, and animals who seem comfortable with the presence of people.

Kyras decides to cast a hollow spell on the druids home (*not the grove) for the next twenty-four hours while the rest of our characters return to Naper’s Dawn where we pickup with our characters on the day of the League Summit at the Summit Breakfast (Day 165). We are awarded 8,000 xp. Leaving us with less than 10k needed for 11th level.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Syrendross In Reflection

Syrendross admired his tall slim form in the reflection of the full length mirror in the Ambassador suite at the Grumblebelly. Sounds of laughter and daily Naper's Dawn life filtered in from the open window also allowing in fresh wafts of succulent pork and smoked meats that whetted the drow’s appetite. He reflected on how far he and his friends have come and the enemies they have wrought. 

The archmage added two more ribbons to his hair to signify the colors of Tier Ne Somenhiem, a similar gesture the drow had made when earning the recognition of King Miraq Moshea; however that honor came with the drow addition of small colorful geometric stones to his personal outfit and not just fine colorful ribbons. The colors and stones contrasted his charcoal skin but complemented Syrendross’ and his Host’s penchant for expressionism.

Dawning his mythic cloak he noted the garnet's transformation over the course of his adventure, Syrendross thought of his friends and how he would not forsake his drow heritage and proudly stay true to his race despite how others view him. This did not exclude taking precautions however, and as some of Syrendross’ companions took to wearing different outfits, and even in rare cases carry different weapons, the drow doubted these precautions alone would divert any discriminating or perceptive eye nor ease all their troubles.

However, Syrendross reflected that by adding subtle accessories and details to his outfit along with extended daily magical precautions will hopefully turn away sinister minded individuals even as mundane information gathering on the Heroes of Virtue spreads. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

06/29/16 Virtues Session 51: Dramen’s Arcane Academic Scholarship Fund

Relics of Virtue
We begin with review of how our character’s items are evolving into relic status, taking on characteristics of their own and becoming recognizable. That covered, we discuss where to make our very public landing.

Our character’s arrival to Naper’s Dawn, in the midst of the three 30’-diameter wells, was welcomed by a clumsy show of respect from the low folk gathering street parade style; bards, still tuning up; and flag bearers waving attempts at the Bouvaldian colors come racing down the street from the Grumblebelly “…it’s the Bouvaldians!”

The wells, the streets, even the air had a pristine, impeccable quality. A guard, in a stuntedly rehearsed speech, greeted us and tried to buy time for the arrival of Baron Sambrial Zarl IV, who was also accompanied by Pragidore Ellington of Ellington Trade Corp.

The bards begin a well rehearsed rendition of the Bouvaldian Anthem “St. Callis Bay” as formal introductions are made- titles and achievements included. For Dolgrin he introduces himself as Paladin of Virtue while both Dramen and Syrendross each add Archmage to their list of formal declarations.

Baron Sambrial is cordial and invites our characters back to the Grumblebelly where they are treated to a tour as the Ambassador suite is prepared. Baron Sambrial informs our characters that Ferryman’s League members will be arriving all week in advance of the League Summit in seven days (on day 165, today is day 158).

The Grumblebelly is a large three story building encompassing three Naper’s Dawn city blocks. Our characters are led around and are introduced to many but not all the amenities Grumblebelly has from shops, steam baths, storm shelters, barber, tailor, ‘entertainment’, and several game parlors. It is revealed that the Grumblebelly is owned by the Merryweather family a founding Ferryman’s League member.

Our characters are shown to the Commons were a midmorning meal is arranged before finally arriving at the Ambassador suite, a two story affair full of amenities including a maid ‘Cuntsuela ‘.

With what looks like a week ahead of our characters, Syrendorss immediately expresses an interest for visiting the Academy, Labiatar’s Hope. Dolgrin suggests getting there before noon.

Labiatar’s Hope features its own fresh water well as well as a campus stylized courtyard of evenly honed cobblestones with a massive sundial prominent in the center easily the diameter of one of the main three wells of Naper’s Dawn. The Sun Dial bore symbols of Vishanti Agamotto as well as symbols of each elemental force. Investigation as well contact with our Host characters reveal that the Sun Dial was a creation of Keltischer Sanger the ‘Artificer’; both Dramen and Syrendross intuit part of the Sun Dial’s original function was to draw elements together in an attempt to bring artificial light to Earth before the Dawning making this Sun Dial very old indeed.

We are soon approached by school administrators, who seem quite disarmed at our characters arrival but seem polite enough. Sambel, school administrator, greets our characters along with History Professor Oughth, a multilingual scholar; and General Education Professor Eldnn who is also Dean of Academy Operations.

Elemental Sun Dial
They too extend a tour of the facilities to our characters despite their loss for words and our characters unexpected visit. They teach sorcerers to tap into their own abilities or ‘wild talents’ as well as many others at least one or two duchy languages. They average approximately two hundred students and is the go to place for misfits.

Syrendross asks about an astrology department and is referred then led to Nalirad, an unkempt basement dweller with a penchant for things astrological. Syrendross and Eldnn remains in the department of astrology while Dramen and the remaining characters continue Labiatar’s Hope tour.

Nalirad lamented how is colleagues assert that the movement in the skies is not solely the movement of the Evening Isles across Earth’s oceans but also it is the work of the gods and portents ill for the world. Over the course of three hours, Syrendross donated 500 gold in gems to Nalirad’s office and helped advance Nalirad’s work by three months time.

Meanwhile Dramen inquires about magical training and how much such rudimentary teaching would cost. In the end Dramen donated 5,000 gp for someone worthy of magical training but lack the funds to do so- Dramen’s Arcane Scholarship Fund. Sambel assures the boy-wizard there is a waiting list of prospects, this generous gesture will be recognized at the League Summit.

Back at the Grumblebelly Rydin and Kotri play games of strategy in order to invite curious individuals and or would be allies or adversaries. Some of the common folk come to play and to see the newcomers, even Kotri wins a Wendigo as a ‘bishop’ chess piece- a creature that looks like a humanoid feral wolf that remains as a local-regional threat.
Naper's Dawn

Soon a tall individual: Tristor Von Kreighton joins the games, gladly accepting a cigar while Tristor gauges Rydin and our deeper intentions. It surfaces that Tristor has visited Bouvaldia and likely passed through Emmerdin when the pass in the Macron Mountains was still open. Tristor asserts that a civilized Bouvalida would benefit the Isles as the Duchy serves as a first port of call for most who end up on the Evening Isles whether by purpose or accident. He warns Rydin that Bouvaldian connotations come with, however unfounded, a mindset of stereotypes. There are those in Naper's Dawn who do not agree with Baron Sambrial’s vision.

In the end, Rydin wins the spirited chess game and confirms eye membership with Tristor that stems into dinner plans at Tristor’s house on the morrow (day 159).

Over Naper’s Dawn Syrendross takes another look at the city from above accounting for the wells, the Sun Dial, and the street layout curious to find a hidden glyph or image in what is essentially ‘new’ Naper’s Dawn remade by the Ferryman’s League. Two things occur and are reinforced at this time: one, for Sanger many great feats were merely stepping stones to greater breakthroughs and two, these breakthroughs came in the form of great items of power to manipulate the ways.

Down in the streets Dolgrin and Kyras walkabout and happen across a Halfling real-estate broker who tries in vain to sell the them a horse farm, but after the selling price is revealed the broker suggests to the characters that entering into a merchant agreement would be the best course of action would serve the two heroes best. Mayhap the Merryweather’s or Ellington Trade Corp. Before Dolgrin and Kyras leave the shop, the Halfling asks the Dwarf Paladin not to embarrass any ‘brawlers’ while in town.

Later in their self guided tour Dolgrin and Kyras encounter a trade market and a gnome master-appraiser Dyn’or. Dolgrin trades an elemental gem and a favor for Eyes of the eagle; the favor being the delivery of a message to Deyrril Lawson in Somenhiem.

Baron Sambrial Zarl IV
Later, the two characters find a Church of the One Faith, a utilitarian building that has fallen into disrepair. They eventually find themselves in a location where Kyras begins preaching the Green Faith and performing with his wind instrument attracting about twenty individuals with positive reactions. Kyras is asked in regards to the natural state of ‘giants’ by a couple of kids opening up an intriguing plot of tribute paid to local ‘giants’ as well as knowledge of a pair of drow ‘giants’ that reside in Trusk.

5pm. Grumblebelly. Baron Sambrial stops in for a casual meeting checking on our welfare. In this Rydin is informed of an elven community north by 10 miles that Rydin my wish to visit by was not forth coming with any other information. As the Baron stepped out Grumblebelly's, four flaming wagons loaded down with Zarl and Lawson trade goods, barreled down the streets toward us. The attack was averted and no one was injured but it leaves us with questions on whom and why would someone want to do this. Was it a test of our prowess or a statement to not trust the newcomers or the commoners displeasure at the inaction of the Ferryman's League...

Soon Road Marshal Elmang arrives to a nonplussed crowd to question everyone and to assess the damage. In the chaos Kotri breaks off to hear the current clack of the populace: merchants, who cannot wait until the ‘giants get theirs’; and the common folk who are angry at the Ferryman’s League who refuse to pay tribute.

Meanwhile Marshal Elmang confirms reports that the wagons were moving magically and asks us, as outsiders like himself, to let him know if we discover any new information.

We begin next session the next day.