Sunday, October 31, 2010

Auge's Chronicle: Day Six

Seven cardinal sins and seven cardinal virtues; we, my brothers are the embodiment of Greed. We have already encountered Sloth and I can’t help but ponder; when would our brood encounter Lust, Wrath or Charity, the virtue diametrically opposed to us?

I have no doubt that agents of virtue will soon be coming for us. The more allies we make and the more business we generate will assuredly fill our hoard, but I’d like to see more of our influence within these agents and our domain. We need to spread the influence of our sin more directly and instill greed deeply within the contacts and allies we have made. The more sin being committed will create great exponential waves of evil and sin our enemies will have to sift and fight through before they reach us. And when they do we will be ready.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

10/27/10 Review

 6pm Our session begins with our return to Stormhaven from the Flying Citadel. Durg the Just wakes from his extended slumber to report of more callings similar to what befell him before. The summoner seems to be the same creature, possibly another (female) draconic race as Malar. Durg was caught and tortured; dominated and subjugated. It is not believed that truenames were being applied.

During our brotherly round of hoard building, we discovered the taint laced within all magical items that were gathered from the green cloak/ snake and skull cultists (SS cultists). Vercer is the only one actively wearing his tainted item.

8 pm With a plan of killing Claret, then speaking with Larratia, Raice and Waymar to discern their alliance. We arrived to the bar to find Larratia setting up for a busy night, Raice was off that night and Waymar has not been seen lately- her brother was here we came to discover. Discussion ranged from adding a lunch menu to hypothetical talk on what would happen if one or the other team won, what would become of the losers. ? Finally she worked out that we had in fact won the Twilight House contest and that we were giving her a rare opportunity. She would need to speak to her brother.

With the uneasiness lifted, the Pauchard siblings admitted to be unwitting pieces in a dark prophesy and that these SS cultists were after them. They had attacked twice before; both times they attempted to capture them with Black Bags of Unconsciousness and Lassos of Capturing! They (Pauchards and Co.) thought these SS cultists were sent by us. Not so, we wish for profits and do not squander opportunities.

Larratia and Claret both relinquish their house items (+2 Bracers of Armor & an Ivory Wand) and watermarks. They further confer that they do not believe Raice and Waymar will appreciate our offer and may opt to leave Stormhaven if given the chance. We believe that one or both may be dead.

10 pm REOPEN FOR BUSINESS! Liquor commission delivery: Jaren speaks with a dwarf named Dagmar (driver for the liquor commission) and offers a 50 gp gem (?) for the recovery of the individuals and their items matching Raice and Waymar. They would have been looking into commission employees and may have had an unfortunate accident. Dagmar was also given a potion of expeditious retreat to expedite his task and instructions to bring any findings back to us at this location.

With Claret working the crowd and Larratia setting up the drinks, Vercer notices a few oddities and suspicious characters about the bar. Suddenly Raice drops his illusions and warns Larratia of the impending attack of the snake and skull cultists. After a chaotic battle with the SS we managed to kill two (one undead thrall escaped, one destroyed) and captured one cultist. His (suspected tainted) items include: 5th level wand of magic missiles, 4 potions of cure light wounds, +1 longsword- capable of holding crystals, +2 buckler, +1 composite longbow (+4 Str) & 20, +2 arrows, and a +2 cloak of charisma as well as a as yet undetermined cloak, scythe and 50g off another guy.

We conclude the session with Raice, Larratia, Claret and our clutch discussing what we want to learn from our SS captive.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tales of a Tidal Wave

Wallick waited, fidgeting and shifting his weight, one foot to the other. His friend Rothwell, sat quietly and patiently behind the Knight of Waves, commandant of Rothwell’s order as well as his mentor. The Poseidon Tribunal discussed Wallick’s report amongst themselves, their stern faces and taciturn demeanor revealing nothing of their true feelings. One of the tribunal members, a woman who Wallick had been introduced to once before, turned her gaze on the young ranger and inquired, “How is it that you discovered this danger and their location?” Wallick was skilled at many things, public speaking, however, was not one of those skills. Fumbling for words to explain he finally blurted out, “I will never know if during my years as an orphan on the Upside I was taught to hate them or if I was born with it, but I do not have a memory of a time when I did not hate and fear dragons. That hate fuels me and for whatever reason, I seem to be at my best when using my skills and talents against them.”

Wallick was unable to tell if his words had had an impact for she quickly turned back to the Tribunal and resumed discussion. Finally, after another ten minutes of discussion, the head of the Tribunal, Lindholm, turned his gaze back towards and beyond Wallick to the Knight of Waves. “Do you feel, Knight Paladin, this challenge is a worthy cause for your young charge Rothwell ? Do you trust his alliance with Wallick?” The Knight stood and Wallick felt himself staring but could not help it. This man exuded confidence and an aura of invincibility Wallick had never before encountered. His uniform, armor, and weapons glowed with power, yet somehow, Wallick was certain that if he were to stand here naked he would look just as powerful.
A rich baritone filled the chamber as Lindholm responded, “I have long spoken of a more active policy in our lifetime battle against all that is evil. Not only do I think this challenge is worthy enough to transition Rothwell from a squire in our order to a full member, I think his choices in allies to undertake this mission are exemplary and will serve not only Rothwell but our order well. Let this mission serve as a bellwether for future endeavors! No longer shall we wait for evil to rear its head and diabolical plans, we shall take the battle to them and seek to destroy them before the fullness of their vision can be achieved.” The Knight of Waves waited to retake his seat until the tribunal turned away from his stare. It didn’t take long but Wallick recognized the effect Lindholm had on everyone. The ranger wondered if someday his friend Rothwell would have the same presence.

The members of the Poseidon Tribunal mumbled to each other, shuffling scrolls and papyrus, providing themselves enough time to regain composure. Finally all members faced forward and the Tidejudge Amacom called for Wallick to step forward. “You have been judged by this tribunal to be of pure intention, noble spirit, and genuine causes, as well as having been spoken for by our Knight, are you ready to dedicate your life, as well as the lives of your allies towards this purpose, eradicating this sin from our city?” Wallick, inspired by Lindholm, responded forcefully, “My life was dedicated before I arrived, this tribunal will provide me with the wisdom and allies to succeed! Let our efforts and lives serve as an example to others who will raise their swords against all of the darkness arrayed against us! Praise be to Poseidon!”

Several servants stepped forward from behind the dais, bearing clothes, armor, and weapons. “This tribunal recognizes and blesses you Wallick, supporting you in your cause against the agents of sin. Will you receive Poseidon’s blessings?” Amacom asked. “With my body, mind, and soul, bathe me in the waves of Poseidon’s blessings and let the earth tremble as we begin our fight” responded the ranger, just as his friend Rothwell had taught him. Tomorrow they would begin their hunt.

Monday, October 25, 2010

"One of these days Alice, straight to the Moon!"

These were the frustrating times for the elf.  Imagine building a home and damn near one-thousand years later finding out that the laws of physics had changed.  In a way, thought the wizard, he had confirmed a long held theory that this planetary body operated under the same rules, if different effects, as the host planet that he once called home.  Sure that he was thinking important thoughts, the elf found his favorite chair and loaded a pipe.  As he thought over the changes he had noticed in his creations he began to suspect that there was a similar theme, mayhap a singular solution. It was at that moment that several of the elf wizard's wards went off while several constructs called out warnings and flashed important looking lights.  A visitor for these old bones, this bodes trouble thought the elf, just as several spells and a contingency went off.  Not needing to move to discern who or what was arriving, Myrddin took a long drag off his pipe and cast another spell.  Appearing out on the surface in full regalia, Myrddin wondered if his former ally still considered the elf a friend after all these years.  Blowing out a ring of smoke he stared as the green man approached. The old voice of the green man rumbled, "Come, it is time."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tales from the Black Kracken

Invidia stood on the deck of the ship, her magic altering everyone's perceptions of her and her followers.  Even though the winter solstice was close the weather had not begun to break.  They had been sailing for twelve days, five days out from the sea moot.  Despite her magic's, Invidia was certain that the crew's natural superstition was leading to some tensions aboard the ship.  Captain Tullivar had informed her earlier that if the weather held, they would arrive in Stormhaven a week from today. 
Ennis and Joness called her over to the stairs, another problem.  She sighed at their lack of imagination but wouldn't have trusted their decisions anyway.  "The first mate is complaining about the cold again.", Ennis growled.  "Give him another gem as well as extra blanket, has he been snooping in the hold again?" she inquired.  Joness hissed that the mate's last scare seemed to cure his curiousity.  "Have we lost any cargo?" she asked, her tone indicating the danger of the answer.  Ennis and Joness hurried away to return to guarding the hold, answering over the shoulder that no further damage had occurred.  Invidia glared at the two until they were well out of site.  Her plans require a full brood capable of building her strength and securing their position.  She would harvest what was already in play, owning other's success. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

10/20/10 Review

Shortly after 3pm, Jaren, Auge and Vescer regrouped and followed 3 of the ambush party through a relatively unexplored area of our city-block sized building. After a brief chase, our quarry split up upon reaching the ground through a window. We picked one to follow, chased him and beat him down. Gathering his equipment, the three of us hurried him back to the vault to question our attacker.

Deciding to take a “we’re all friends here” approach, our prisoner was at first confused but came around to telling us that they were sent to discover what happened to their contact in necromantic components. He also alluded to a master, but didn’t- even under extreme duress- admit to his master’s house or his name. We elected to kill him, after which he transformed into an undead thrall causing battle to ensue. When the killing strike was at last landed, the thrall pulsed with dark energy leaving bones that contain meta-magic properties.

Then we rested.

9 am. Unable to arouse Durg from his deep slumber we went on about our day and returned to the scene of yesterday’s ambush. On the roof top, we discovered an unfinished circle of chalk, magic components and foci. Featured prominently was ‘the Chaos Star’, also a divine symbol of Jubb.

Later we went to Twilight House so that Jaren could obtain a couple of armor crystals. There, we met a human by the name of Kelvan (Item Trade Accountant) who was very enthusiastic about doing business with us.

Noon. We decided it would be a good idea to test the drafts near and around the fingers. Upon arrival we find Malar training dire bats to fly under harsh conditions. Palaver with Mahlar revealed his hopes in impressing Memnon with a formation of a Jr membership level in the flyers club. This body would be populated and primed to enter Stormhaven’s guild structure, with his blessing of course.

1 pm. Following Mahlar, we ascend until Stormhaven could no longer be seen and we found ourselves within the clouds. Mahlar stopped short when we were confronted by a giant blue-skinned genie named Savoy, who eventually let us into a portal in the sky.

Once through, we followed a passage to an immense castle courtyard what was filled ground to sky will all manner of flying creatures. We were on a grand flying citadel. Using our draconic heritage to our advantage we were given Jr. membership status (as Mahlar as our sponsor) as well as a tour of the citadel.

During our stay we met and exchanged ‘niceties’ with the genie Memnon as well as Buran Risenfier (attendant and military figure- also a genie), a female black dragon (sloth) named Somille; a manticore named Sharptale; Kirtidore, a pasha of an air realm; Mako’s brother Hammer; a dwarf named Hop Gorenstone (has an Imp companion he calls "poof"); Mogary a vampire, and a Somille’s elvan servant Carosto.

We were given dinner unlike any we have experienced before. In the process we learned that the fruit from the trees of this place had beneficial effects for flyers; one improves your fly speed by 10’, another improves your maneuverability, one that add +5 to your fly skill and yet another grants a +2 to your saving throws when flying- lasting an hour each. It is believed that a wish is responsible for these properties.

When we spoke with Hammer, he was unawares of Mako’s death. We shared with him our findings and that the Sevens and Buki was responsible! He has pledged his help when we go to the driftdowns Friday to intercept Mako’s anticipated shipment of Black root.

Jaren met with politicos of the flyers club; Carpaletti (who expressed interest in drugs and poisons) and Brunderson (a necromancer and natural flyer) in the hopes of creating interest in a meta-magic trade with Twilight House. Negotiations took place and we were eventually informed about an individual by the moniker Nightstalker. He is a ritual murderer, has devils in his employ, traffics in truenames and has a modest cult following. His sigil matches a symbol found just inside the lab.

6 pm. Returned to Stormhaven. End of session.

BTW- Rob, add 506 gp in miscellaneous divine scrolls to your hoard.

Friday, October 15, 2010

These Docks Are Mine

Godin walked with a purpose up the pier to where the men were unloading the ship. Stripped to the waist, showing off the tattoos that covered his ropey musculature, he strode up to the turbanned man with the hook nose and oiled beard. The ship's captain didn't see Godin until the shorter, wiry man was upon him. Stopping in mid-shout, the captain turned an inquisitive eye to Godin and the six thugs following him.

"And what do you want? I have already paid that thief you call a harbormaster. Away with you, I have cargo to unload and need no extra hands" the captain said, his words thickly accented by a far-away tongue.

Godin eyed the men unloading, the crates that were being placed on the dock, the style, shape and age of the ship, and then, cocking his head to the side, stated tonelessly "You can't dock here. I've got a ship by the name The Foamchaser scheduled for this dock."

Irritated, the captain shrugged his shoulders, saying "What do you want me to do? I was told to dock here, here I am. Talk to your harbormaster."

Godin looked over his shoulder at his men, then turned back. "I don't think you understand, my friend. I own these 3 docks and if I say you can't dock here, you will have to move."

The foreigner shook his head and started to turn away. "Go bully someone else, I have not -"

In a flash, Godin had his dagger out, and with a hollow thwok, sent the larger man reeling with a blow to the temple with the dagger's hilt. The captain fell hard to the docks, blood streaming down his face. Godin then began savagely kicking the man, in the chest and face, stomping hard and hearing the prostrate man's nose crunch. Meanwhile, the six heavies that had accompanied Godin swarmed over the ship, disposing of the crew with lethal efficiency.

The captain had raised his hands, feebly, to try to ward off the visicous attacks from Godin . Godin stooped, tangled his fingers in the captain's beard and lifted the man's chin, drawing his dagger across the barely conscious man's throat.

Breathing hard, Godin rose and called out "Olev, Tchurak, get a couple of wagons. Load the crates on one, the bodies on the other. Take the bodies to Llewillyn and see if she needs them. If not, dump 'em. The crates go back to the house. Yuri, take the rest of the men and get this ship over to Hammish's. He'll know what to do with it."

With that, Godin wiped the dagger off on the captain's tunic, sheathed it and walked back up the docks. No one uses these 3 docks without his permission.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

10/13/10 Review.

10 Am. Our day began with a visit to Alvord to return of the painting he commissioned us to retrieve. He looked prepared for a trip and he explained that he was on his way to the Driftdowns. (Also mentioned some flier accident in the driftdowns- but we didn’t dig for details) After an exchange of a gem as down payment toward the gold promised, he admitted to knowing Damdode (pg 25) and described him as a weasel, a real prick as well as an administrator to an underwriting house (a banker). We expressed interest in going after the last art piece (for compensation) before we departed, with another meeting scheduled with Alvord for later in the week.

11 am. Later, we went to Tamros’ townhome at the Bally-Who. No symbols of 7s were present, but there was a trap door leading to secret vents that were too small for our stature. We did find a lost and forgotten reoccurring statement of sale to Red Quill Tattoo and Mothlo Tu Ervan for a sizeable amount of tattoo ink. The invoice was 6 months old.

At the shop, Tamros was present along with two dwarfs and two elves. After a series of questions geared at observing his reactions as to discover his alliances: was he a Seven, against the 7s or an independent agent? Once the air was clear and everyone knew that the 7s were a common enemy, the dwarf’s demeanor changed and we were brought into the fold and into the tangles in the creeping rose (pg 29).

After introductions to Lindyl Thinskin (pg 21), his other dwarf cohort (sea scavengers) and the two elves Vesper and her husband (exotic fruits and veggies imports) we began open discussion and the sharing of information.

Within the dirt cellar of the Creeping Rose, Tamros maintained he is not against Twilight house and that he is a member of the Liquor Commission. He has been selling the Red Quill poisoned ink in hopes of ending the 7s and their lot to eventually fill the void they will leave when dead, thereby resuming their rightful position lost during the thieves’ war.

Tamros expressed interest in keeping us as allies; he even spoke as eventual business partners and that he was looking for an apprentice or two.

We disclosed information on the other team from Twilight house and that they investigated thieves guild activity within the liquor commission. Tamros warned of the danger that this could invite on that team.

We learned that the half elf Lyri Farsil, (suspected to supply the 7s with watermarks) is also connected to the Seafoam Company. Seafoam is where Buki originated.

Noon- At the Vault we found that the dragon scrolls remained within the dragon heart as we prepared our final report to Twilight House taking Tamros’ caution against Derro and Mindflayers into consideration.

2pm- Twilight House, at the top of a tower we were held palaver with Arkeil, Uvrok a Derro and two invisible mind flayers. Jaren began the report, keeping the details of the liquor commission vague. The poison is being employed against the 7s by an arm of a thieves guild who were remnants from thieves conflicts past and that the second group from Twilight House is in way over their heads. We also produced a component to an antidote for the KISS poison.

Twilight House was concerned as to what we intend to do with our findings. We expressed that inserting us into the equation was desirable over stopping or interrupting the illicit activities. Simply put, we wanted in on the profits, status and the social gain. We were awarded gather team status and would be assigned a task in a few weeks. In the mean time it was ours to do with as we will the second team, but to return to Twilight House items of importance.

3 Pm. It was an idea posed by Jaren to create a Blade-dandy fight-club in our building and that the best way to utilize the second team was to have them run it (Auge and Vercer). We set off to the Liquor Commission, it is upon the rooftop where we were met with 3 spellcasters and 3 rogues who were waiting for us.

Twilight House Gather Team

After years of trade and buildup in Stormhaven a consistent problem for the house became apparent, namely that the majority of our merchants come from underdark societies, and that their knowledge of surface life, let alone life in Stormhaven, is limited at best. Our solution has been to recruit and train a small elite team of members that would better serve our surface needs. Responsibilities range from diplomacy and enforcement to acquisitions. A good eye for trade opportunity and a working knowledge of our contacts and shipments will help your group succeed. Many times we need to provide our merchants with a better understanding of the societies we do business with so that they can better understand what those societies do and do not value. The Gather Team also acts as our internal investigators. Despite Twilight House’s best efforts, many of our trade sources have goals beyond profit, and we must guard against those goals interfering with our business interests. The Gather Team will easily become the most well known members of Twilight House, short of the councilor, acting as both our diplomatic and enforcing arm with the general public. Political maneuverings will be handled by the councilor.

Current Instructions:

Deal with your former competition as you will. The items that the house wants you to recover:

All four have Water Marks provided by Twilight House, recover these and place them against your own, one a piece. Your Water Marks will absorb theirs and become fully functional. Watermarks do not take up a slot. (Russ note that the other Water Mark you are waiting on can be applied to this one.

Once you acquire the Water Marks the benefits to each of you will be:

Permanent (while worn):

+1 Resistance to all Saving Throws. +1 house bonus To Luck Score,

Feat: +3 Skill Focus on single skill of your choice, chosen when first put on and cannot be changed.

At Will:

Message with each other and Arkielle, range is Stormhaven, both the Updside and Driftdown, not much range outside the shadow of the disk.

Detect the direction you are facing (Water Mark always lets you know which direction is North)

1/Day: Immediate action add a +4 to any saving throw. When this is used the Watermark becomes inert for 24 hours, eliminating all special functions of the badge save stair passage and rites of magic.

Besides the Water Marks, the following items are to be recovered:

Claret Pauchard has a set of +2 Bracers of Armor with Twilight Insignia

Larratia Pauchard has a wand made of ivory, carved from the tusk of a creature referred to as an Ellie Font.

Waymar has goggles that provide Dark vision

Raice has two magical bags, both are bags of holding but one of them is made from a grey hide said to be from the same Ellie Font. Twilight house wants the grey bag returned with whatever is inside it. You are not to search the bag or attempt to find out what is inside. The rest of their belongings you can do with what you will.

After you have dealt with the unworthy failures you defeated so handily, we need you to look into a bar near The Lifts in the Warehouse district, called the Broken Barrel. This bar is a favorite of the Lifter guildsmen and is famous for very strong ale and vicious brawls. Several members of the Lifter Guild pad their weekly pay by being friendly with a variety of Upside guilds, allowing overweight shipments, not inspecting certain items, as well as delaying or even stealing other shipments of guilds and houses that they aren’t friendly with. We suspect that some of the guildsmen sabotage shipments from rival guilds. The Twilight House would like to know which guildsmen work for which guilds and if there are any free agents that can be convinced to join our cause. See what you can learn and who you can convert to our side.

There are two individuals that are always at the bar that we would like you to deal with. The bar’s champion and lead lifter is a demon blooded Hill Giant that goes by the moniker of Giblet. Giblet is wearing a ring that was taken from a former Twilight House member, now dead. We’d like the ring back and Giblet made an example of. Unfortunately, Giblet is supported by a sorcerous woman known as The Muse. Every lifter in the place will defend her so be warned. Several bards frequent the bar, despite the danger. Most lifters live in the Driftdowns.

Your success has brought me honor and greater position within Twilight House. You are the best students I have ever had. Thanks to your success I have been promoted along with you and will be your handler. I hope you will grow to consider me an ally, should you need a favor or assistance, ask, for our fates are entwined.


Monday, October 11, 2010

The gypsy and the devil.

Angelica drove her dilapidated but still functioning carriage along the unkempt forgotten road.
Unforgotten by her family; however, because the knowledge of this road had been passed down from generation to generation; this road was a nexus path and an access to the outer planes. From this road a traveler could, with the right details on where to set off the road; step onto another plane. This was a two way road because entities from the most hellish reaches could, if they knew where to step off, enter our world. It was Angelica’s and the generations of gypsies before her who would travel this road each year and prevent such a disaster from occurring…

“We are almost there Drake.” Angelica said off-handedly to her dog. “The time is near, the equinox approaches.” She went on. Drake’s only response was a bark to Misty, Angelica’s invisible horse, to get her moving along.

For the past six years she has traveled along this forgotten road and for untold years before that Angelica’s family has been vigilant in guarding our world from a devilish being so evil his very physical form is the embodiment of sin. Angelica showed no fear in the face of such evil and ventured forth with the confidence of another success to come.

Angelica offered a prayer to Old Heakun, looked off toward the cloudy horizon, and saw movement in the clouds; the time of the spring equinox had come. The devil had arrived.

Angelica began her practiced spell-casting to protect her from influence and deception during the confrontation. With terrible purpose and malicious intent the devil descended upon the gypsy daughter. With billowing shadows and flame the devil could hardly contain his infernal glee at the torment to come.

Sitting in front of the black and white game table, Angelica remarked on the devil’s disposition. “Feeling confident? You know that you lack the patience, diligence and temperance to win this game.” Stating opposing virtues while gesturing to the game table where sat figurines of pawns, and knights, castles and kings.

The looming entity sat, a devilish grin set from pointed ear to pointed ear, “the stakes are… different this time, look closely.” The devil gestured to her game pieces.

Her shock and horror was sweet as nectar to her evil opponent. Her white game pieces had changed into members of her family; reduced in size and seemingly trapped within their squares. Angelica’s anguish was delicious. The black figures had themselves transformed into beings of the utmost horror and depravity. The devil gestured and implied that when pieces are captured, so will be their diabolical fate.

“Declare defeat gypsy and the souls of your family will not suffer eternal damnation.” The devil replied to the weeping woman.

“I cannot. I will not devil. You will not enter this world!” Angelica made the first move.

Over the next series of moves and counter moves, Angelica watched as one by one her kin suffered unspeakable violations and obscenities. With each, came the erosion of her will and determination. The devil added to the horror with descriptions and commentary of what each will experience in hell for all of eternity. She would not yield however, and when victory was within just three moves, the devil actually made a respectable move. The devil was goading her into its game, it didn’t care how many pieces it lost; the devil was leading her into her own defeat. It was only a matter of time; it had won before the game started.

The devil’s victory meant that Angelica would have to speak her Truename to it and relinquish her Truename power over the devil. As the devil stepped onto our world its first act was to banish Angelica (with her animal companions) to a remote location, far away from her family where it could use her at will.

These days Angelica wanders the Upside where she offers her services as a diviner and a translator as she can speak and comprehend any known language. She can produce for the Nobles of Stormhaven an array of “love potions”, “poisoned apples”, and “elixirs of youth” as well as being able to identify wondrous and exotic items.

On second thought

OK Jaren, I keep thinking about your other group theory and I had another idea. I think I like this one more than my first.

We know 10 years ago the 7's feuded with another thieves guild. Maybe the Dwarf is left over from the guild wars? A lone suborn survivor not willing to admit his guild was defeated. He continues the hostilities buy poisoning members of the 7's with their own guild tattoo's. He could be an enemy of the 7's they don't know they have.

The 2 year gestation period is no time for a dwarf who has waited 10 years already. And after two years the tattoo would never be investigated as the source of the poison.... It's a brilliant plan, I wonder if a dwarf could have come up with it?

I would really like to take a good look at that dwarf's tattoo's and try to get an idea of what side he is on. I think if he is with the 7's we would find their tattoo on him.

We still have to show him how much I hate being lied to but he may not have to die.....right now.


(I could have posted this as a comment but I wanted to use another tattoo pic :-)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tales from The Black Crown

Standing outside the door of Nerith Alia study, Youvalan struggled to control his emotions.  The Arcanus Marcureum of each branch of The Black Crown rarely interacted with general membership.  Today's meeting would either secure Youvalan's place with the Crown or end it.  Youvalan knew better than to attempt to divine the purpose of this meeting, his arcane specialty was no match for the woman who lead his order.
Stomach trembling, the diviner stepped forward into the study as the door silently opened.  This domed library was much warmer and inviting than Youvalan expected, the wonderful scents of expensive incenses wafting over him, he took his first good look at his beautiful leader. She sat at a large desk, staring intently into a crystal ball.  A jovial voice invited the Youvalan to take his first look into a fabled crystal.  Youvalan's awe soon turned to shock, as the image he stared at in the crystal was his own, in the courtyard yesterday with a half dozen others of his order.  What shocked the diviner more than Nerith Alia interest in his activities was what he didn't see in the magical scrying ball. 
The half dragon creatures that he had foresaw in his own divination's were not visible in the ball.  It was obvious that Youvalan was speaking with something but what or whom could not be seen, it was as if they were ghosts.  The young wizard's breath caught in his throat when she began to speak.

"Imagine my surprise when I realized my student could discern with his magic, what I myself could not!" Nerith Alia exclaimed. "I have spoken with a former instructor of yours, and he concurs that your abilities are greater than many others."  The Arcanus Marcureum stood up from behind her desk and waved her hand around the dome, "I have decided a need a new secretary, someone to take advantage of all the knowledge I have here and provide this office an advantage over the other branches." 
Youvalan did not attempt to hide his excitement, "Of course I am HONORED to accept this new commission your excellency, when can I look forward to our new beginning?"  His new master smiled replying with a mischievous grin, "as soon as you finish your report and investigation of these creatures, of course."  Youvalan's nervousness immediately returned as he realized what his challenge would be if he wanted this new promotion. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tales of the Assassin

The assassin appeared in the familiar confines of his room.  The entire job had been botched; from the damnable ogres sudden interest in poison to not one but four dragon men!  Worse, the dragon kin worked efficiently and professionally together.  Buki had hoped that his strike upon the councillor would go unseen and he could shift suspicion to others.  Unfortunately one of winged wyrms quickly scooped up the fallen leader and flew away, surely with enough time to save him from the deadly poisonous effects of his attacks. The ogre would not be so lucky!

Buki figured he had at least an hour before any pursuit or investigation would reach his room here in his victim's home, but still hurried while gathering his belongings. 

While his hands busied themselves packing the killer considered and dismissed the idea that he had been set up.  His draconic opponents didn't seem aware of Buki's existence or true motives until he had acted.  The problem with this conclusion was that meant this was Buki's failure. 
Buki didn't believe for a minute he could run before the 7's would find him.  He decided it was best to return and face the man who had hired him.  With one last look at his room of the last six months, Buki activated the last charge of his cape and arrived at the front steps of the townhouse.  The address of this Nest home gave him a chuckle as he gently rapped the door knocker.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It just came to me in a moment of clarity

I find after a night of rigorous coitus I tend to think better. Perhaps the relaxation that follows places one in an open frame of mind. Your thoughts are more focused and precise. I would recommend this practice to anyone faced with a difficult decision or problem they need to resolve. It’s a type of therapy for your soul,…. I digress.

It was after my second mate of the evening it just came to me. The Tattoo artist!! The assassins we are looking for are all tattooed 777. He poisons his men to keep them loyal. Anyone not loyal or that decides to abandon the organization does not get the cure (of course they don’t know this until it’s too late).

Remember our first assassin encounter? Larrimor and some other stair guard saw that the first assassin was taken into custody. But I am sure assassination is a law punishable by death. And since I have been pursuing a position as a guard “enforcer” I have no problem quoting the written law.

“When a death sentence is required, the guardsmen who responded to the crime carry it out on the spot. If guardsmen do not have the means to administer the punishment, for example when encountering resistance from experienced adventurers, the city’s government has standing agreements with numerous skilled and ruthless bounty hunters, some of non-humanoid origin with better chances to bring justice to the perpetrators”.

They should have administered “justice” on the spot that night. But Larrimor stalled until we left and turned that assassin loose. I think it might be time to make a few social calls. A certain Dwarf & Stair guard lied to us about a few things. And I hate being lied to.

Versal out

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Government District Guild Houses

The House of Four Winds is a two storey brick townhouse, decorated with bright yellow wood trim and carnations blooming in small window gardens. Owned by the Four Winds Guild, which makes its fortune in the salt trade, the House is the base of guild operations and the home of Grand Parliament councilor Obidiah Dragonbane. Obidiah is a retired lawyer and acknowledged expert of Stormhaven history. A passionate collector of legal texts, Obidiah has an extensive library of scrolls, tablets, and tomes in his guild office. Ironically, the guards drawn from the Four Winds Guild are among the city’s most corrupt, a situation that Obidiah is said to be working to remedy.

The Underwriters’ House is the largest guild house in Stormhaven, an expansive two storey stone mansion decorated with gargoyles, delicate pillars, and windows of shimmering, stained glass. A high, rough stone wall topped with iron spikes as long as daggers surrounds the mansion. The only access is through a wrought iron gate manned at all times by two pike men. Underwriters’ House is the headquarters of the Underwriters’ Guild, the wealthiest and most prominent in Stormhaven.

The Underwriters’ Guild is an association of fifty ruthless, business-savvy bankers who use their immense personal fortunes to finance and insure merchant expeditions in return for a considerable percentage of future profits. This guild’s influence extends into every business in Stormhaven, even with the guilds that regulate them, a situation that many resent but can do nothing about. The Guilds current councilor is Diedre Saltsure, now serving her final year in office. Diedre is a middle-aged woman, short and lean, with a perpetual scowl and steady, unblinking eyes. She is said to worship a god of trade and in her fanatical zeal, believes that for her guild, indeed all of Stormhaven to prosper she must remain in office. She has been campaigning for a change in parliamentary law for the last two years in an effort to keep power.

Diedre lives on the top floor of the mansion, in a lavish room that overlooks the mansion’s front gate. Her personal assistant and bodyguard Samsa is always at her side. Rumors are that he is her lover. Besides Diedre and Samsa a dozen minor functionaries and a similar number of private guards live and conduct business in the mansion. One of the more prominent members, Dambode, is responsible for the transfer of official contracts between the guild and those guild finances as well as the hiring and firing of guards and mercenary adventurers.

Moneychangers’ Hall: The Moneychangers are a recent addition to the roster of Stormhaven guilds; split from the Underwriter’s Guild in a 10 to 1 parliament vote and placed under the control of the noble families. As this guild is the only one to which nobility are officially allowed membership, the noble families tightly control its administration.

In theory, Moneychangers’ guildsmen are the only citizens allowed to exchange foreign currency, including goods such as furs, for Stormhaven coin, for which they receive a 15 to 20% profit with each documented transaction, half of which must be given over to the guild treasury. In practice, at least half of the money changing that occurs in Stormhaven is done without the guild’s knowledge or approval, either through fast transactions in Driftdowns shops or by guilders seeking to keep their profits to themselves. To combat the problem, high-ranking guildsmen accompanied by Driftwatch patrols perform routine seeps of the score of licensed Moneychangers’ offices and multitude of shops in the Driftdowns.

The parliament councilor for the guild is the human Rolan VanFleet who is also patriarch of the VanFleet family. Even by parliament standards, Rolan’s relationship with the other councilors is antagonistic. His relationship with Diedre Saltsure borders on the homicidal and he seems fixated on opposing Uvrok at every turn. Monchanger’s Hall is the most lavish of the guild halls, a three storey mansion with walls of rare, rainbow stone mined by kuo-toas and firerose teak shingles grown by druids, all surrounded by a wrought iron fence and a maze of hedges.

Loyal Order of Shipwrights: The guild of shipwrights is second only to the Underwriters’ Guild in prominence, responsible for the construction and repair of Stormhaven’s vast array of merchant ships. The guild’s coffers are always full, thanks to the steady stream of business flowing in and out of Stormhaven’s dry docks, so even the lowest level guildsman earns double the average wage.

The councilor for the guild is the human Captain Alistair Embry, a recently retired captain of the Stormhaven navy with an encyclopedic knowledge of warship design. Alistair is the very image of the ideal officer, impeccably dressed and polite, with a keen mind and unwavering courage. Of all the Parliament councilors, Alistair is the one most concerned with the welfare of Stormhaven as a whole, pushing for harsher laws to deal with rampant crime in the Driftdowns and advocating the breaking off treaties with repressive nations. His uncompromising views isolate him from most of his peers and have made him an enemy of several , including Twilight House. Alistair and Obidiah Dragonbane have become strong allies and close friends who meet regularly for chess games in Rockhammer Square. The Shipwright’s headquarters is a three storey mansion decorated with rooftop spires and choked with crawling ivy.

The Seafoam Company is a small merchant guild that controls much of the weapons trade across three coasts, specializing in the sale of siege weapons, dwarven armor and alchemists’ fire. The Seafoam Company is also responsible for supplying the weapons and armor used by the city guard and the shipboard armaments of Stormhaven’s navy, giving the guild an influence in the Grand Parliament disproportionate to its size. The majority of high-ranking members are dwarves and gnomes, with humans forming the bulkd of the guild’s dockworkers and sailors. Seafoam guildsmen are a grizzled bunch, hardened by their battles with pirates. Many members have several fighter levels.

Seafoam’s current councilor is Savidia a gnome alchemist with a genius for creating lethal, chemical weapons. In her youth, Savidia accidentally vaporized her village in a chemical explosion which she miraculously survived, although all her body hair was permanently lost. She is known to flaunt her appearance, draping her neck and ears with gaudy jewelry that draws attention to her head and occasionally topping her bald pate with a ruby tiara.

The Seafoam Company is a steady employer of mercenary adventurers, particularly those with the temperament for long-term guard work. The guild also has plenty of work to offer those of a more criminal bent, with the necessary skills for sabotage and covert knife work. The headquarters occupy a modest two-storey building surrounded by a low hedge. Savidia is usually sequestered in a basement laboratory with reinforced walls, mixing and testing chemical compounds. It is not uncommon for loud explosions, curses, and shouts to be heard echoing forth from the building.

Twilight House also has a guild house here in the district, which was covered in an early September post.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Session 4 9-29-10

Starting this session about 4:30 , we headed directly to Tamros Longbrow's tattoo shop, The Creeping Rose. Splint into two groups, Auge and Durg covered the back door as they landed, and Versel and Jeren handled the front door. The inkmaking craftsmen gave the flyers no trouble, but a pair of hobgoblins were taught a lesson in manners on the front stoop. After a quick, fierce struggle, the poison-smith dwarf was subdued and he answered some questions. He admitted to a scheme of concocting a long term poison delivered through a tattoo. He said he begun doing it about 2 years ago, and we figured he was using about 40% of the materials we were tracking down. He admitted to trying a big dose in Maco, and he admitted Maco was on the trail of figuring it out, but he mislead him with some confusing information. He admitted to having the painting we sought, and told us where he got it from( a man named Dambode from pg25 of the Stormhaven book). He said he learned about the truffles from a friend who was a master cook. We agreed to let him live so that he could retrieve the painting. Auge and Durg followed him to an inn called the Ballyhoo, and surprised him inside. They delivered him to his window, where he quickly retrieved the art and handed it over. Not only did Durg the Fair let him live, he also paid for the tool he broke while threatening the dwarf earlier in the day. He left that payment at the shop.

Having secured the artwork, we followed Maco's list to the Dragon's Breath, a fine tobacco club. We were hosted by Atavah Sunthrower, the owner, and she seemed fairly talkative, after we assured her we may know why the ogre was not feeling well and we wanted to help him. Auge buying into the club with a membership also helped relations. She told us he had been in the day before, but he was due back in a few hours to meet with Obadiah. Well, he was the next and last name on our list, so we decided to wait for them both. Obadiah, retired Councilor and Counselor, and representative of the House of the Four Winds, was an older human who came off quite polished. We were able to speak to him at great length. We told him we had uncovered a plot to hoard a secret poison, and in investigating this, we discovered Maco was a victim of poisoning, and close to death. We told what we knew of the dwarf poisoner's plot and timeline. He seemed surprised, and was adamant in denying anything to do with making the Kiss poison. When bluntly told we were told he would be able to make it, he stiffened and swore he did not, and although some in his house probably could, he was moving away from that and trying to buck some of the negative business practices traditionally pursued by his house. When asked about the truffles, he did remember Maco asking to secure their purchase through one of his regular shipping routes from the Isles 2 years ago. It was about then Maco burst into the club, clutched at himself as he croaked "Don't..... trust......" and fell to the floor.

Neighborhoods: Government District Part 4 Guild Houses

Stormhaven is a republic governed by a council, with representatives elected by the merchant guilds. Councilors serve a five-year term, meeting once every two weeks in a gathering called the Grand Parliament, ostensibly to create and debate law, but more often simply to hammer out trade agreements and line guild coffers. The founding laws dictated that each of the city’s thirty-seven recognized guilds has the right to elect a councilor. 137 years ago Ulik Thom of the Underwriter’s Guild drafted and pushed an amendment that now bears his name, by which each guild must contribute a flat fee to buy Parliament representation. Engrossed by this money, the city treasury can pay for dock and shipyard maintenance, as well as afford wages for the navy and city guard. As a result, only eleven councilors rule the city, drawn from Stormhaven’s wealthiest guilds. Members of the founding clans have strong government influence, though they are only involved officially with the Moneychanger’s Guild, and in fact are legally forbidden from other guild memberships in an attempt to curb corruption. Theirs are the hands controlling guild policy, using bribes and “polite” suggestions to achieve their goals, backed by blackmail and the occasional assassination. The guild councilors resent the interference, but see no easy way to counter it.

There are 37 guild houses arrayed in a wide circle around Rockhammer Square, each a villa lavish enough for royal sensibilities. All but eleven stand empty. With the passing of Thom’s Law the poorer guilds were banished to the Driftdowns. During the height of the trade and diplomatic season, the unused guild houses are sometimes rented to wealthy merchants and foreign governments without permanent Stormhaven residence. Since the lesser guilds banishment to the Driftdowns there are many rumors of lost guild treasures lying hidden in several of the old guild homes. None of the rumors have been substantiated but there is one tale of a merchant some fifty years ago, who after staying in the old diver guild house, left Stormhaven before his long negotiated appearance at a Grand Parliament. Many Stormhaven treasure hunters believe that the merchant found something so valuable in the home it made his negotiations with the Parliament moot.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sea Rovers

Or as they're more commonly referred to, sea gypsies, is a term used when speaking of the families that sail the open seas. Banned from many nations' ports due to unsubstantiated reports of theivery (some of which are actually true). This loose organization is known for their peaceful ways (they will never make the first strike); their boundless knowledge of the seas of the world (maps of Sea Rovers are highly prized due to their incredible detail) and for accepting any race as long as that person agrees to follow all the decrees of the Seafather or -mother, the accepted head of the Rovers. Many adventurers have been known to hire Rovers as guides as adventure is a given and Rovers know the secret and lost places of the world. They are also highly prized by merchants who do not have ship or other means to move their goods. The usual grouping of Sea Rovers consists of at least one ship, where the captain is also the father of the family unit. The wife is usually navigator and the children serve as crew, alongside crew that they've hired. Many of the captains and navigators are known to be sea mages, as well. Children will break off from their parents' ships when they either marry or reach 20 years, so a single Rover family could have several ships, anything from shallow bellied longships (ideal for sailing coastlines and rivers but capable of transocean travel) to huge, three masted galleons. The leader of the Sea Rovers is known by the title Seafather or -mother. The current Seafather is a half-elf, Tressalien.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Neighborhoods: Government District Part 3 Firefly Cathedral

Neighborhoods: Government District Part 3 Firefly Cathedral

A shimmering temple of marble and glass, with delicate spires that stretch nearly three hundred feet in the air, Firefly Cathedral looms over Upside’s skyline, visible from every part of the great disk. With the rising and setting sun, the cathedral’s glass walls and spires blaze, spilling crimson light across the whole of the city.

Firefly Cathedral is built on a relic of the old city, a foundation of flawless marble blacks that serve as base to tall columns similar to those in the Hall of Voices. The dwarven architects cleverly integrated the ancient columns into the building’s design, supporting a web of stained-glass arches that incorporate the holy symbols of a hundred different gods. A large, circular dais with an altar and twin golden candelabras sits in the exact center of the cathedral, with ten concentric rings of pews surrounding the dais, split by four, wide aisles with red carpets that end at dark, hardwood double doors.

There is no official clergy tending to the cathedral, as it is not dedicated to any specific god. The temple’s doors are never locked and the guardsmen permanently stationed here have specific instructions not to interfere with any form of worship save those forms involving ritual sacrifice or the direct summoning of otherworldly beings. Large congregations are allowed only with a permit obtained from the Grand Parliament, which traditionally approves as a matter of course but the religious fervor of the Underwriter’s Councilor, a human woman named Diedre Saltsure, as well as the growing influence of the Order of the Storm has mired recent requests in petty bureaucracy.