Sunday, December 10, 2017

The three figures stood in a rough triangle in the early morning light of the dock.
"You're sre of this, Marco?" the tall one asked
"Yes! I must go while I can!" the shorter one said gesturing vehemently "Marriage toa plump girl, three or four kids and a boring burecratic job is not my idea of success Lamberto."
The third one passed a bottle saying "Your father won't be happy."
"I'm afraid he will be disappointed whatever I do. My brother Chrisofero will inherit the title and main house, Roberto is a captain of artillery in the Militia and gets the townhouse. That leaves nothing for me. So I'm off to find my fame and fortune elsewhere."
"And where are you starting this search?" asked Giuseppe taking a pullfrom the returned bottle.
Marco turns to the adjacent ship and called out "Whence are we bound this fine day, Shipmaster?"
"Malta, sir!" came the answer "If the young sir would care to board, we'll be off with the tide."
Marco gripped his two friend in an abrazzo and turned up the gang plank.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Malta Session 16: 11/29/2017 Invitation To An ‘Ambush’ After Party, Full Meows At Ringside, and In Case of Emergency, Break Glass

We catch up with our characters around 6:30 as we enter through the archways and into the city of rumors of a circus mentalist. The Egyptians that were spotted expressed interest in physic individuals such as Carlo and the Borg individuals. They tell us this because of our hatred for slavery and the Egyptians, furthermore Lacartha believes these may be employed against us at the fights.
Paola when Carlo receives a sudden but welcome invite to the Borg house and a pre-party. Tal, Elsar, Maas and Cral and Lacartha are in attendance and after some small talk the clan shares their information gathering and informs Carlo and company that not far from the fights is a structure where there are more than a few Grey Warriors- approx. twenty. It is unknown their motives or who controls the warehouse, but believe they have been purchased from an Egyptian slaver. Two of whom have been seen at this warehouse, their interest and how they ended up there is unknown as Lacartha and the Borg house were investigating the

While there Carlo inquires of the Borg of any uninhabited islands in the nearby sea; he learns of a small abandoned island that has some history; it is home to a large empty building of unknown purpose with some rundown huts nearby. Carlo explains he is considering setting up network of transporting physic individuals to a safe place.

Not long after our visit, we investigate the warehouse in question nestled in an area of Paola that is rife with similar buildings that house equipment and supplies for ships. Walking casually near and around the grey warehouse we find an unknown house symbol and a name ‘Kicyda’ and the word ‘sold’ across it, we also note there is unseen activity inside- sounds of shuffling metal on metal was audible. Jabari looks for magical auras and notices an aura in movement- an invisible individual. Our characters split up as the roguish characters investigate more closely. Here Lex finds Kasok overseeing the Grey Warriors and talking to an Egyptian, he seems to be expecting someone before the fights.

Outside Carlo sees a group of individuals approaching, one with an Egyptian bronze headdress, High Priest Rudjek accompanied by acolytes. Slowly we vacate the area save for Lex who watches the group approach the warehouse when a man comes to greet the high priest when Rudjek is overheard saying “Your stupid greed is going to spoil the operation”

We regroup and proceed to the fights and a celebratory atmosphere of gambling and debauchery. Olrem, Lete’s trainger and Evagara quickly find us. Olrem informs our characters of some changes to tonight’s format. Quasamang, Danrodir, and Swet, new merchants to Paola, have arrived with challengers; there is also a gauntlet of challenges that teams must progress through and of course priests will be posted in various areas.
Not long Roindtor, the firblog, introduces himself to Lete creating some buzz, the giant was friendly and mentioned possible future training with Lete. Lete wishes him luck in the bout against the ‘lava child’.

Eventually At'enthu, the lava child, arrives causing an audible reaction from the crowd as the creature goes about actively intimidating all in attendance. Lex finds Rudjek in the crowd standing next to Ffahra Ffahra ; Marco will see Kasok speaking to someone who looks a lot like Aulus Daquaretti just before Kasok approaches Lete with interest in our group. With some quick rudimentary questions to each character he lingers on Carlo and indicates Kasok is aware of what Rob’s character is although he acknowledges Marco but does not show much interest. Kasok gets under Carlo’s skin a bit but Kasok is nonplused at his remarks. Kasok eventually gets around to inviting us to an (ambush) after party later that evening after the fights. He leaves our company and heads back to the three merchants and one other individual: a cloaked Aulus of Mercury.

Meanwhile Lex makes contact with Paulie informing him of some possible trouble after the fights to be prepared as Jabari arranges for Founder’s Shots for associates as the main event begins. Around this time Lete sees Melissa arguing with Kasok before she leaves in a huff just as the Firblog fights At'enthu the Lava child. The battle goes into the third period while also during this time Lete and Marco foil pickpocket attempts from some halflings, one Marco admonishes indicates the one appearing as Aulus having paid him. The fight ends with At'enthu as the victor to much surprise.

Lord Commander jumps up and invites everyone to stay for the team challenges before he unleashes At'enthu onto the second floor before introducing the teams: Quasamang, Danrodir, and Swet each have six warrior men in plate each lacking in individuality which is not well received by the crowd; not the three merchants who have spent a large sum of gold in Paola College. There is also the mention of an individual named Dylan who also has a team participating.

Melissa eventually finds Lete just before the team contest and informs him of her shocking past relations with Kasok and how it was suggested by Aulus, after the revelation Lete directs talk to Aulus and Melissa’s take on the priest. While she has known him for years, she had only followed his direction in the past six months- he rewards loyalty.

Eventually we are selected and proceed first into the gauntlet: eight rounds in the checker-board room while saving Evagara from piranha before then next challenge being a large hall at the end of which is a giant warrior crystal statue that comes with a passage “in case of emergency, break glass”. There appeared to be an exit just beyond the jagged crystalline statue. Destruction of the statue allowed us to exit the large hallway; that took twelve rounds.

We pick up next week pick up with the last two challenges.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Armada's Delivery

Each ship of Tiamat’s Armada lowered a lifeboat into the calm ocean waters on their second night southeast of Malta, their contact waiting for them in a Seacave the Maltese called G─žar Dalam.  Their contact Radroth had assured Tiamat’s faithful that the sea cave, a cul-de-sac on the outskirts of Birzebbuga, would hide the Persians entry into Malta.   Each of the dozen lifeboats would ferry three individuals comprised of two Magus, a Master and apprentice along with a priest of Tiamat into Malta.  

Monday, November 27, 2017

Fuchsia and the Red Queen

Fuchsia Fessaj
Fuchsia Fessaj walked through the decorative wall and in to her Mistress’ parlor, quite beside herself with excitement. The medium sized room was lavish with rich red tapestries on the walls with equally luxuriant carpets on the floor thick enough that Fuchsia could dig her sharp claws into. She purred thinking of it and her success for the Red Queen. 

Fuchsia noted a large desk at the far end of the room where papers, pens and inks sat with the look of recent use. To Fuchsia’s left was a thick ornate closed door to the bedchambers and to the cat-woman’s right was a archway and a balcony that allowed in a faint Mediterranean breeze; the sounds of faint lapping water reached Fuchsia’s sensitive ears. Fuchsia was anxious to report the information she was tasked to bring to the Red Queen, but curiosity compelled the cat-woman and she padded quietly across the thick carpet to the stout desk.

Fuchsia Fessaj looked carefully at the messages, none of them contained any new information about the Warehouse fighter Lete Cordasco but judging from what was contained in these messages, her Mistress was not the only individual in Malta curious about the gladiator or his companions it would seem. The sound of her mistress’ voice broke Fuchsia from her thoughts...

Nysurnu Mithna inherited her deadly cunning from family traditions and well paid tuitors, deadly with small hidden weapons Nysurnu is most formidable when he employs her seductions, preferring to strike at her opponents when their guard is down. Known as the Red Queen in the Maltese fighting circuit; she has the ability to see potential in others and therefore employs a cadre of dangerous fighters and savvy workers which has allowed her a very comfortable living.

Up until now there has always been equilibrium in the fighting circuit, a status quo the Red Queen had relied on. Now she sees that balance in jeopardy and with it her rich Mediterranean lifestyle. 

Dom Mintoff, Nysurnu’s rival in the Maltese circuit, had recently landed an Italian gladiator- a newcomer to Malta who did not travel alone. She quickly found out she was not the only one curious about the newcomers. She called in some favors, discovering these individuals were fast heroes but it was information from Fuchsia Fessaj she anticipated the most about Dom's fighter...

The Red Queen
Nysurnu bathed under the open night sky on a private balcony that overlooked Paola, she loved this place and all the opulence that came with it. Intricate candles burned at regular intervals while exotic oils enriched her spring bath water; she let the water cool before she emerged from the marble tub. The cool Mediterranean air was exhilarating on her cool wet skin, the feeling made her close her eyes and exhale audibly drinking in the richness of the moment.

When the Red Queen opened her eyes she reached for her clothes and saw Fuchsia Fessaj holding out familiar Egyptian silk robes as to aid her mistress in dressing.

“Gratitude.” She simply said to Fuchsia putting her lithe arms through each sleeve before tying the wide sash at her narrow waist and covering her head.

“Fuchsia Fessaj has come to her Red Queen with information.”

The cat-women spoke, it was not anything Nysurnu did not already know; the man's irregular comings and goings, his prowess at the Warehouse fight club- that is until the end. “The brawler is also coincidentally romantically involved with your sister’s daughter Melissa.” 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Malta Session 15: 11/22/2017 Sticky Tongues, The Biggest Axe I’ve Ever Seen, and Tiamat's Armada

We begin this week’s session as our characters reenter Paola after a day of training in Zebbug just as the sun has set for the day; eventually our characters find themselves at the Lord Commander Mintoff’s estate. Before long Dom Mintoff emerges from his residence and formal introductions are made for the first time with Jabari and Lex.

Mintoff informs us that the qualifying tournament tonight and explains at length the restriction of magic use and the rules associated with the contests. Furthermore it is discovered that there is a group event after the tournament of the Long Arm; Mintoff was eager to offer such a contest to our characters. One by one he inquires as to our specialties and skills of those party members he is unfamiliar with. We are allowed plenty food and drink while Mintoff describes At'enthu and its fire affinities; other than that there are five combatants in tonight’s qualifier including At'enthu.

We eventually make our way to the large Warehouse fight club where our character’s find a variety of individuals and high profile characters. Lete is escorted to a ready room and introduced to Orelm, Mintoffs manservant and Lete’s trainer who gets the brawler ready and informs Lete of his opponents; furthermore Orelm is instrumental in setting the order of the fights that is advantageous for Lete.

Vodyanoi (BC) an incredibly quick humanoid that looks like a walking crab who fights with spears and natural bites and claws; known to have spellcasting abilities.
Snangvor (TM) a human sized hyena-like race who wields a long flindbar, his is known to have power attack and does extra damage against humans.
The Boggard (RM) a savage toad-man who can enter fits of rage, also inhumanly fast and fights with a great club and javelins.
The Firbolg (RAM) a virtual giant who wields a huge sized axe and IS trained with his fists so beware futile disarm attempts and do not bother with ranged attacks.

Up first in round one is Lete vs. the Boggard and Vodyanoi vs. Snangvor; Vodyanoi wins as does Lete exciting the crowd.
In the second round Lete fights Snangvor, each winners in round one; Mintoff providing a little aid in the form of cat’s grace for Lete while Vodyanoi faces the giant Firbolg who got a first round exemption. In the end the Firbolg wins and Lete prevails as well.
In the end it was the firbolg who won the tournament. Lete wining a total of 3 fights earning 1,500 gold in Greek stamped coinage (500 gp to Orelm). Furthermore the group will be squared up against the same group and a chance for another entry of another group.

As the tournament proceeds Marco hears out about a midnight duel at the Garden Spire till 3 am, the prize is said to be an enchanted rapier and a mithril chain shirt. Asking around he finds out four people have already expressed interest, Marco would be the fifth. Also current word on Circus Sciortino is that there are Greek ships that have arrived in advance of the circus, there is believed to be a connection despite the Sciortino Italian name; some attest that the circus is a front for something else.

After the tournament our characters return to the Bonded Mind just before midnight where we find much of the docks on edge and tense. Most men seem hold up on their ships that seem to be ready to disembark on short notice. Asking our elite crewmembers and Evagara they say it is a combination of the new ship arrivals and the distant sound of cannon fire. During this time a message ship arrives to deliver its parcels and mail swiftly before leaving again; this ship sailed under the flag of Tiamat.

As some of us rest Jabari takes an all night vigil using the keep watch spell and will plan on skipping the Zebbug trip the next day. The night passes uneventfully as Jabari could tell but just as the morning arrives a Jabari hears a warning is called that an armada of ships are headed to Paola.

The next morning our characters hire horses for 5 gold each to travel faster through the Black Druid’s territory border on the way to Zebbug. The weather turns out to be beautiful as we ride. Fifteen minutes into this area, skirting the Black Druid’s territory as best as our character could; we find the body of a batwinged monkey dead along the path. We leave it alone, ride on and eventually arrive to Zebbug and IL-Kataniz for our second day of weapon focus training. Here Lex he learns that is piranha strike teacher is available however is taught by a ratfolk individual named Radib who, after speaking with Lex, requires a magical dagger from him when Lex returns for training.

We train hard until noon when we are invited into the manor house for midday meal with IL-Kataniz, Gamon the Green, and Chomson the proprietor of the Chomsons. Our character’s talk of the armada as well as the Black Druid and the Crypt Things in Evagara family farm; Marco approaches Chomson regarding the sale or trade of a ring of spell knowledge and eventually makes a trade for an enhanced chain shirt on the morrow. Also while here we agree that after our retraining is completed (ten days) we will make IL-Kataniz’s delivery to Selmunett isle. At this Comson asks if we could take a passenger named Sciortino to Selmunett, the infamous tiefling rejected by the portal several times. Bringing up the Black Druid to Gamon the Green, the centaur believes this is a reincarnation of the Black Druid and is relearning who it once was. A concerning development.

Back in Paola, our characters learn of a dozen ships are identified as part of this armada flags fly different color of Tiamat; however word is they are not hostile and only passing through this region of the Mediterranean on their way to an area on the continent- Tubruq part of Egypt. Other news speaks of thesinking Phoenician ship by unknown forces.

Otherwise our characters prepare for the group tournament and is where we begin next game session. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Longarm Tournament

Guildmaster Guiseppi Renatta
To: Lord Commander Dom Mintoff

From: Guildmaster Guiseppi Renatta

In appreciation of your sponsoring last year's Tournament of Ash, along with your donation of fine cigars, Guildmaster Guiseppi Renatta would like to sponsor a qualifying tournament for this year's Great Warehouse Rumble. The Honorable Guildmaster has donated the tournaments prize, a magical set of bracers to be given to winner of the tournament.  It is the Guildmasters request that you receive his gift and host the tournament.  Guildmaster Renatta's representative Ruhexy will deliver the prize, please receive her warmly.  As is custom, Ruhexy travels with At'enthu, a gladiator of considerable talent that will compete for the Bracers. The Guildmaster hopes that the winner of the Longarm Bracers will be allowed to utilize the magical equipment in the Warehouse Rumble as a sanctioned item.



Friday, November 17, 2017

Malta Session 14: 11/15/2017 Meet the Teacher, the Barkleys, and Blood-Shot and Fucked-Up Eyes

We begin this session on the road to Zebbug, Lete a little late to the group after Melissa holds him back a few hours. While in town Lete learns that the fight-club qualifiers begin in the early evening this day; Lete will have to return to Paola after his first training session in Zebbug. Meanwhilej, the rest of the characters encountered a few dire wolves along the way to Zebbug.

Finally catching up at the Halfling village our characters enter Zebbug, everyone save for Jabari and Ahuum (formerly Ferd) arrives promptly to  IL-Kataniz's. There we immediately see IL-Kataniz as well as a multitude of individuals working and training in warfare, subterfuge tactics, etc. 

From the conglomeration a woman named Chakel (daggers) introduces herself to our small group. Before long, one by one, our characters meet our respective teachers: Chakel who intends to train Lex and Marco with the daggers; Saman, a dwarf monk, takes on Lete with a beer and a smile; and Gehar, an individual specializing in ‘ray’ magics. During these sessions Lex and Marco learn Chakel in turn benefits from the training against two opponents. Also while here Lex looks for a possible Parana Strike instructor.

Meanwhile off IL-Kataniz grounds, Jabari catches up with some of the men we saved on the open seas; having emerged from IL-Kataniz with business done, arranges a meal for them en mass, and eventually hires all twenty: 10 elite sailors and 10 teamsters for our cause and will earn 5 gold a week per person. Jabari appoints Ahuum as first mate and expresses that all ordinary affairs should be directed through the first mate. Formal rules are set forth including a zero tolerance of theft from a fellow shipmate including the captains which each of the characters are. In addition the rules of adding new sailors to the “Barkley Sailors” are those who are likewise saved in similar manner but are also voted by the Barkleys who will enjoy part of the Barkley share. Otherwise talk will wane to Egypt (and a possible future post).

Backtracking… the night before in Paola, Carlo meet with Borg house individuals regarding the next evening (when the characters return to Paola and Lete begins qualifying) to case building controlled by a known a slaver named Ildgar. This individual is rumored to target ‘talents’ like them (individuals possessing physic magic). 

Our characters finish training around 3 pm when we pack up for our return to Paola. Our travel is under overcast skies as our characters follow a few hours behind the twenty sailors who are also returning to Paola. Three hours into our travel is when we encounter an ogre cannibal and four bugbears. (shine a bugbear and that cannibal are dead to me now). Our characters are able to kill the ogre and a bugbear and drive off three bugbears. Recovered from the ogre: Large magical great axe, javelin, 4 potions CLW, potion of CMW, giant cloak of resistance, giant ring of protection, and 77 gold pieces. Shine: heavy flail, masterwork composite long bow +4 STR, potion CMW, 4 +1 elf bane arrows, and 5 platinum. And gain enough XP for 9,000 and our fourth character level.