Thursday, October 31, 2013

Guess What I Heard

"The dragon queen and her select court are here in Stormhaven now, sir." Obryn as always answered and waited patiently for the old dwarfs next question.

"It seems as if her stated intentions upon arrival are indeed her primary interests, sir." Obryn went on to explain " They have advertised having large quantities of potions, thousands in fact, enough to outfit troops for important conflicts. They also have a wide variety of other magics for barter, and they are trying to engage in trade for magic weapons."

"Well, sir, it's hard to tell. They seem to only discuss prices in carefully planned meetings with potential trade partners. It is generally believed however, that the best deals are to be had by trading weapons with them."

The old dwarf finally thanked Obryn for his time and knowledge, dismissing. The old dwarf was growing more foul tempered with every additional dragon that had shown up. As he watched Obryn exit the marble and oak office he said aloud, to no one in particular, "We are being overrun by these damn dragons!"

Review (10/30/2013)

This week’s foray in to fantasy catches up with the Sons of Nissian Saturday morning with an early summons for Jaren from the Black Crown. Once there we are ushered into a banquet hall where Three sits gathering his magical energies via a cornucopia of gluttonous delectables. Three was gluttony perfected, a great component for the right dragon of sin but also in danger from the virtues for what he represents.
Several Black Crown wizards were listening raptly as Three describes Kaer Maga. Nefertiti Xanthippe complements Jaren for the ‘gift’ of Three.

Conversations shifted to Adalwin Joscelin (who takes another illithid body off our hands & gives Versel a Book on Chess) in his magnificent mansion. Peering out of the mansions windows we see a thousand skies and hundreds of landscapes ticking by at an impossible rate. Joscelin believes this plane is in a free-fall and he fears where the aperture opens into.

The Crown has agreed to intervene in regards to the portal to Kaer Maga. Altering the turnabout of planes and restore rightful position. The question was posed to us if this would be to our benefit or detriment. We agree to disclose when Tiamat knew of Stormhaven: ‘one of us pierced the gateway’ during Obadiah’s funeral. With this information the wizards can attempt to return to a time before the portal (this plane) became in flux. The power is here already and that power is Three, it just has to be done.

We have no problem with their plans as of now, though Durg has his doubts; the Black Crown business switches to preparing spells, formuli, gaining tattoos, and a meeting with Robalar Smithe.

Robalar is a master chemist at the Crown who agrees to barter alchemy formuli with Auge in exchange for languages and metals. After explaining the amenities found at the Cinder Block he makes an apt for Monday (after ‘swords and stuff’) adamantine short sword and scimitar
That night brings Cadmar Embry.

1 am. We discuss the five ships and what he knows:
1.       Dragon's Hangman (Uncle’s ship)
2.       Neptune's Serpent (Cousin’s)
3.       The Bloody Serpent (Cousin’s)
4.       The Greed of the Corsair (Loyal Mercs Captains)
5.       The Fear of the Devil (Loyal Mercs Captains)
(Please add more if you remember more.)

Invisible, we fly out over the ocean and split up. Durg and Jaren attempt to track the scent of the Scraphite on the two ships Greed and Fear while Versel and Auge scout out the Hangman.

After some expert investigation we discover a distraction afoot on the Hangman and the scent of the list on the Scraphite on the Fear of the Devil- then all hell breaks loose.

Versel captures Balasar Frodo (the spellcaster/talker from the Dragon’s Hangman) and we are able to subdue Tappa, Argo, and a monk. Right now we have Domharo backed up into a corner and some other individual in the water who has an air elemental hot on his trail. 
Vercel's ship to ship fighting style. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Rumor Has It

There are a lot of ships anxious to get rid of merchandise.  If the rumors are true, these items are on the market… (Ultimate Equipment Guide Items)

AURA strong enchantment CL 12th WEIGHT 35 lbs.
Ten 100-gp gems adorn this +3 banded mail. Once per week, the armor allows its wearer to require that an attack roll made against him be rerolled. He must take whatever consequences come from the second roll. The wearer’s player must decide whether to have the attack roll rerolled before damage is rolled.   CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS COST 9,650 GP Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Bless

AURA moderate transmutation CL 9th WEIGHT 30 lbs.

This +1 breastplate is made of shiningamber metal and decorated with faint motifs of the waves and water.  It allows the wearer to continually utilize the effects of the spell water walk. If a creature puts on the armor while underwater, the wearer is borne toward the surface at a rate of 60 feet per round. CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS COST 12,100 GP Craft Magic Arms and Armor, water walk

AURA faint transmutation CL 5th WEIGHT 10 lbs.
This heavy wooden shield has a +3 enhancement bonus. Arching bird wings are carved into the face of the shield. Once per day, it can becommanded to fly (as the spell), carrying the wielder. The shield can carry up to 133 pounds and move at60 feet per round, or up to 266 poundsand move at 40 feet per round. CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS COST 8,707 GP Craft Magic Arms and Armor, fly

AURA strong evocation CL 13th WEIGHT 2 lbs.

As black as coal, this short sword grows more potent the fartherit is kept from light. It acts as a +1 short sword when in dim light. In darkness, it acts as +2 short sword. When surrounded by supernatural darkness, such as in an area of deeper darkness, it acts a +2 short sword and bestows the benefit of the Blind-Fight feat on its wielder. In daylight or bright illumination, the sword temporarily loses all its magical enhancement bonuses and acts as a masterwork weapon, though it resumes its magical functions once it is no longer in the bright light. CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS COST 4,560 GP Craft Magic Arms and Armor, deeper darkness

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Embry's Plan

Cadmar Embry”, the Red Keep butler intoned, “apologizing for the lateness of the hour.”  The servant sniffed his disapproval, his bearing and attention turned away from the late arriving guest.   Stepping into the receiving hall, the skull-born Cadmar greets each of you and explains that the list, as his father had planned, has been stolen, not two hours before.   As your questions are shot forward Cadmar raises his hand and hands you this scroll, “father said this would explain.” 

Friends it would have been easy enough to try to catch the thief who was after the list but with this little charade, I’m hoping to find out just who is behind the theft and moving against me.  The list that was stolen was created on very unique paper called Scraphite, a paper I’m told that besides being traceable to spell is also traceable to smell, so I thought it might help your group if this note was on the same style of scroll paper.  The list, that my enemies think they have stolen, is the five ships that are my personal investment, separate from Guild endeavors.  Further by utilizing Scraphite, I’m hoping to fool my enemies into believing that the value on board those vessels is worth more than simple personal wealth.  I’m sure with your arcane interests and draconic heritage, that at least some of you realize that there is an additional value to Scraphite, for its rarity is such that it is used in True Namings Rituals.

Now that the list is out there, the plan is for my loyal men to track and learn as many members of the thieves chain on Upside, while you deal with whatever agents come to those ships.  I hope to expose enough of this secret cabal as to weaken their network and reveal their existence to the light of day. Because of the danger involved on your end, I will not seek to advise you on how to handle whatever comes; I just ask that you try to learn as much as you can about these enemies.  Obadiah deserves justice and both your houseshave been attacked by these same forces.
P.S. A delivery of 20 Scraphite Sheets has been delivered to Red Keep this night along with this missive.

Note: a common habit of sea druids, priests, and wizard is to hide their true-name within pieces of ship, those pieces moving on to other sister ships when a new ship is christened and “birthed”.  For instance a mounted desk from the captain of one ship to another, or a piece of a mast, etc.

Note 2: Our contacts at sea are very suspicious of a Sloop that is out there, The Wandering Killer.  Right in our face, I know.

The List: 

1.       Dragon's Hangman

2.       Neptune's Serpent

3.       The Bloody Serpent

4.       The Greed of the Corsair

5.       The Fear of the Devil

Orders:  Exchange all lots to final two vessels, prepare the rest for departure, dangerous conditions, abort full delivery, secure final items.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Sea Sultan

“I don’t know anymore! Please I beg!I told you what I knew-  the North Cutter was headed to Stormhaven!”

“If are holding out on me whelp your pain will burn hotter than…”
Ahmad al-Mudill

Ahmad watched the gruesome interrogation unfold but it would end the same; it always ended the same. Ahmad al-Mudill is a kind of talent-scout; trained to look for certain talents that the Brotherhood of the True Flame would value- new recruits and of course potential enemies. Ahmad climbed to this coveted position in the Brotherhood through subterfuge and craft; to be one of the selected was an honor. Not to bear witness to this....

Hovering over the prisoner was a Thuba Mleen; intense and cruel he seemed to be reading the screams as they exited the pirate prisoner; invisible cuneiform of the man’s violent life pressed into the air or was it malevolent prophesy surfaced on the tide of a dire scream?

Known as The King in Yellow Thuba Mleen is an infamous a pirate hunter and scholar of dark powers. His ship- the Sea Sultan is a simple Persian caravel retrofitted with chambers and cells for his sadistic practices. Preferring fine furs and teeth as accents to his outfit, his is known as the Lion only to his closest trustees.

Thuba Meleen
The cargo hold of the Sea Sultan was filled with the rank of a steadily decreasing number of prisoners. Images of domination and power decorated the walls to further denigrate the prisoners. Sounds of screams continued until the pirate’s voice ruptured thereby muting him forever. 

Ahmad stood watching Thuba administer his sadistic urges on the pirate, Thuba’s hand never leaving the familiar bottle tied to his wide belt. Ahmad noted again how Thuba’s hand seemed was always clasped around that bottle, though the King in Yellow was never seen drinking from it.

“Ahmad prop him up so he can read this.” Thuba said as he produced an old book from his voluminous sandy robes. The book had a burned look to it, old as the desert- but the magic it contained had denied the fire and thus has survived the ages. The book listed every sin committed by man. 

Propping the book in the empty air; magical forces hummed and held the book in place, it seemed to turn pages on its own.

“I want you to read these pages...” The King in Yellow commanded the helpless and defeated prisoner.

“Do you think he will survive reading form the tome?” Ahmad asked Thuba when they were back on the deck of the Sea Sultan. The night sky was nearing a crescendo of brilliance. Both men could see the glow of Stormhaven along the horizon like a small candle flame. 

"Your move." Ahmad said returning his attention to the unfinished game. 

“It matters little to me, but if he does he will join the rest of the crew.” Said Thuba. "Check mate." 

All around the the two men several 'crew members', all former pirates captives, mindlessly worked the ship from aft to stern absent of free will, for their King in Yellow. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review (10/23/2013)

Kaer Maga
After healing our wounds Versel, Jaren, and Auge hasten to reprise the search for Durg 'the missing' when he suddenly appeared on the map. He was in the Kraken’s Nest but it was Durg alright so we take to the air and ventured below the world disk.

On our flight many of us notice the general warfare that pervades Stormhaven except where Secordia dens. The dragon of sloth will suffer no extraneous or excessive activity- not on her watch.

It was about the time when we were assessing the docks and the stair way that emerged when the world disk was elevated when Durg plunged into the air and back into the fold of his brethren.

He recounts and describes Kaer Maga as an immense disk made of the skeletons of titans or gods with a wall surrounding a fortress that could be hundreds of feet thick with a height greater than the tallest spire on Stonehaven. It was a sinister and dark plane where Durg was able to feel the presence of Tiamat who then banished him forthwith and who seemed to close the portal behind him in the process.

Durg has a debt to repay Uvrok, the Illithids and the aboleth slaver for the devious trap.

Returning to the Cinder Block we spent the next two days cleaning up from the mind flayer ceremony that stole the lives of seventy-five percent of the folk gathered that day. Individuals who trusted in the protection of the Cinder Block.

During this time we were summoned to the Heartstone to commune with mother who was not so much angry at us as she was extremely pissed off. She warned us that Tiama now knows about our existence and that she would be coming for us. The black sphere, now clouding the portal to Kaer Maga, contracts and dilates according to Tiamat’s will; furthermore she can likely control who can use the portal… gate keeper?

Mother advised building a temple for Tiamat for when she arrives or mayhap feel her unpleasantness.

Picking up Friday morning we assess who remains of our primary work-force when Jaren is approached by Sai Needlelong and a desperate request. In exchange for passage for his wife and two children Sai Needlelong would dedicate his artistry service to Jaren. Seeing this as a way to benefit Jaren granted the request while everyone else emptied their haversacks and bags of holding for probable cargo and definite profits.

It was not long when the four of us with the Needlelongs, terrified for their lives, were flying over the sea away from Stormhaven. Approaching the Floating Argyle we see they had raised four white flags in our honor. After some brief introductions and explanations as to our visit we then offer our unique services as specialized delivery agents.

Luck was on our side because he indeed had three chests of product to be delivered to Deidre  Salture as well as ten thousand gold in raw ore (5k) and an array of masterwork exotic weaponry of various metals intended for the Sea Foam Co.; all capable of being enchanted.

Finally there is Three, a bloat-mage who needed passage to Stormhaven to restock on magic components before his return to his homeland… Kaer Maga. Over the ocean he discovers his magic is lacking; Three uses a style of blood magic, but all is not lost… if one has a watermark.

Three tells us what he remembers of his homeland then we cut him loose at the Cinder Block, he will be back after all- but after he first visits the Black Crown.

3 pm. Back at the world disk we keep the weapons bound for the Sea Foam Co. but decide to visit the Underwriter’s and deliver the cheststo Deidre Salture. Although she was not available, a slick stain of a man was- Dambode. We conveyed our desire to meet with Dedre’ to Dambode.

6 pm. We head to the Architects of the Sea for food and information on two prospective maybe three possible takeovers… Flashing Blade and Crossed Swords who collectively are under the Rain of Blades Academy while the School of the Winter Blade is more an exotic fighting school; the Rain and the Winter’s Blade are rivals.

Meanwhile at the Architits of the Sea there was discourse among the Loyal Order of Shipwirghts as to what should happen to the driftdowns docks: the Re-builders were workers who wanted to rebuild them then there is the up-graders who desired a new design to the downside.

We ate then ran into Alistair Embry who, after removing us from the prying ears of his peers explained there are still questions about Obadiah’s death and that Alistair believed he was next. We tell him of the 777s connection to the money changers and then explained our intensions as cargo haulers for the night when he said this would be a great way to expose a mole in his organization.

We pick up next game session with Alistair giving us target ship at sea. We rescheduled the mind flayer warehouse central job for Sunday and we have yet to reschedule Neutral Ground’s fight finals.

Exotic Masterwork Weapons: (4) Darkwood Double Crossbows (780 gp ea./3120 gp), (4) Cold Iron Temple Swords (360 gp ea./1440 gp), and 440 gp in crossbow ammunition.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Inheritance II

Your type changes to outsider, you are also elf & dragon.

Immunity to fire and poison*

Resistance to acid 10 and cold 10**

Darkvision, if you already have it increases by 30ft.

See in Darkness (Su) See perfectly in magical darkness of any kind, even that created by a deeper darkness spell with a successful luck check DC20.  On a successful check treat similarly to a successful spell resistance.

Your natural weapons, as well as any weapons you wield, are treated as lawful and evil for the purpose of resolving damage reduction.

*Immunities to fire & poison do not apply to unique magical fires & poisons such as epic or those that are designed to specifically effect those who are immune or to racial type.

**If you already have either resistance, your resistance increases by 5

Monday, October 21, 2013

Wild Talent

When Janus Winthwil’s powers manifested, a time when boys become young men, he became persecuted by the two major forces in a young man’s life: his peers, students from other families and individuals in his own family. 

Janus’ latent destructive powers provoked ridicule among his fellow adolescents- scorn wrought from their obvious fear of him, while at home Janus’ family sought to exploit his abilities for political gain in the Hall of Voices. In his mind Janus was always at conflict- one good side, one evil; it was how he coped with the angst and struggles of a teenager.

Now after the winter solstice and decades separated from his turbulent youth Janus ‘Bad Penny’ Winthwil for the first time feared for his life. There was an intellect at large, something alien and terrible beyond reality. He knew this because it seemed that reality was being remade; not wholesale alternity but subtle changes that served as a dire warning.
Janus Winthwil stood in the marketplace near the Cinder Block and considered at length the choice before him; he was in dire need of physical protection and therefore was in the market for a strong warrior, one who would not be easily swayed by telepathic suggestion.

A recently arrived trade ship from one of the continents came burdened with a cargo of spice, raw ivory and a single surviving slave for the Habibs. Fortunately for Janus the Habib brothers were dead so their wares became goods for public auction…
The Powell was the best hunter in his tribe, a fine catch for any of the revered women of the costal aborigines. Powell was handsome by tribal standards- good stock, a cunning hunter, and the most talented druid along the sea coast until a curse transformed Powell into a strange beast-man. 

Exiled from his tribe he was eventually captured by slavers and taken to Stormhaven where he stands watching Janus Winthwil watching him…
“I have arranged for your freedom in exchange for a service.” Janus explained to the Powell.

“You mean slave.” The Powell said flatly.

“No I mean service. When the threat to my life is gone I will no longer require your… company.” Janus said. Then added, “You do not want to be around my ‘other side’, trust me.”

But before Powell could inquire as to what Janus spoke a powerful mental shock-wave flowed over them like an invisible weighted net.

“They are here!” Janus exclaimed, his voice the color of panic.

From the direction of the Cinder Block terrible sounds came rolling out like an avalanche of dying screams. Brain creatures leaped and bounded like vicious marsupials trying to nest in the brain matter of Janus.

The Powell beat and pummeled protecting Janus until finally he became exhausted and collapsed to the ground. Powell looked up and saw what looked like an old bearded wizard falling form the sky, the man crash landed next to him, and moved to help Powell onto his feet just in time to beat back another brain. 

"I am Aldarr." The old wizard said. "Go! I will ensure your escape, escort your master and be gone." 

Sudden strength surged though Powell giving him renewed health and vigor; turning he grabbed Janus, and fled into the city leaving the alien horrors behind. He had failed to notice that the strange wizard had slipped a ring onto one of his bestial fingers. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review (10/16/2013) Book Two: Rise of the Reds

There we were: Jaren cursed with a disease, Auge and Versel- stand amidst a counterattack by their enemies and faced with a choice: Go after Durg? Or root out invaders in our home? After a brief discussion on the matter we agree to evict the illithid invaders; may they reach a fiery end.

Making his way first from the Vault to the public rooms of the Cinder Block; Auge pauses to take in the air. Illithids had a flat greasy quality to their scent; it was one that was hard to forget. Although Auge detected no presence of the tentacled ones, their effects were clearly written in the actions of the many patrons and bar flies unfortunate enough to be in attendance. He hid until more information was known about the numbers of their enemies. This did not; however spare the alchemist from the powerful suggestions of our unseen adversaries.  

The moments stretched as several Cinder Block patrons, Auge, as well as staff were lured into Neutral Grounds for an alien brain feasting ceremony. It was one elite flayer of minds which stood apart from his -common partners not just in his attack style but also in his pulsating, vile-tentacular appearance. Disembodied brains floated about the illithid like lumpy grey clouds and littered all around were discarded bloody headless corpses.

Versel entered the fray, his confidence in his abilities clearly burning in his eyes, quickly dispatched one of the lesser mind flayers as Jaren casts a spell to counter the effect that enthralled the peoples. After a few dire seconds Jaren and Auge eventually fell to stunning mind blasts and Versel is deafened by a critical slam from the illithid, it was looking dire for the brothers fire.

When suddenly all the floating brains slammed together in a magical explosion calling into being an elder brain. The Brain was unnaturally big, pulsed and contracted in high definition. Versel tried in vain to stun the Brain just as the remaining mind flayer moved to the Brain and plane shifted safely away, its foul ceremony complete. 

Monday, October 14, 2013


In this new level of consciousness,  The Horse Lord new suddenly that he was a God. He gathered himself into his self image, making himself as he was. As his beloved Briar formed in front of his waiting eyes, she was the new Mielikki, and she smiled warmly and beckoned to him " Let us go home."

As soon as he took her hand they looked out upon a vast expanse of forests and lakes on Arborea, Briar's home as the Queen of The Forest. Almost instantly, he came aware of the lost flock of Gwearon Winstrom and absorbed them into his followers of cavaliers, fighters and bards. The rangers completed his arsenal of defenders and warriors needed to defend the wild lands, the roads, and the civilizations they connected. His would be all that prayed for battle luck, all who revered glory and recording the pageantry of life, all who sought to assuage their carnal thirst, every lover who ever swore to protect another, travelers upon any road, as well as handlers and breeders of all animals especially dogs and horses.  His most devout followers would be mighty cavaliers, dedicated to causes of protection and gallantry and service. His Harpers were a bolder organization now, defending travelers, clerics of Tymora as well as Briar, and especially freedom in Waterdeep, all while rooting out hidden sects of the Cult of the Dragon. 

Thinking of Waterdeep, The Charging Knight thought he could hear a murmur of voices, and he was suddenly aware that his followers were celebrating him, and in their realm, it was the first Green grass since ascension, and it was the holiday chosen by his Church to celebrate his divinity  In appreciation for their efforts, he made his will reality in those realms. 

He thought, and so it was. He appeared to Teldicia (high priestess), Fallon (first knight), Captain Arina (captain of the guard), and Galoban (loremaster) at once in a divine intervention. Their mortal minds could not call it anything but a vision. He asked Fallon if he understood the legacy of Arcanum. Fallon was of course mortal witness to the bonding between that sword and his God, and he knew it's legacy of defending the realms from the tyranny of dragons and magic alike. He was pleased, and said he would add his gift toward the base abilities of it's legacy weapon properties if he could hold it once again. Taking the pommel into one hand and the middle of the mighty arcanum in the other, his first miracle transformed it to a Luckblade, keeping it's form as a bastard sword, and its ability to overcome defenses as if it were a good weapon. He commanded the first knight to use the wishes only to defend the Church of The Gypsy Lord, and that this Legacy was to be the mark of office and always wielded by the First Knight of Samular Tauren. He returned the blade to Fallon and took the Sword of the Planes in exchange, the weapon he had chosen to take with him.

He then turned and retrieved Rusher, his gallant steed. He said to them all that the horse would now be considered as the nobility of animal kingdom, and by his will they would be advanced. His Wish made it so that any horse bred from Rushers line would have the chance to have an intelligence as high as 3 or even 4, making them by rule magical beasts. As he mounted, he became clad with the few magic items he chose to take ( dragonhide armor, starstones, a few other odds and ends).

He turned to them, astride Rusher as he should always be seen, and said 
"Let my word be these. Let no tyranny rule your lives, or the lives of your fellows. Stand guard forever against dragons and all their agents. Help your neighbors and your families, and heal those who seek your help. Let no man starve if you can prevent it, and be shepherds of the wild so it is wisely harvested to feed yourselves. Also be expert in your care for domestic creatures, especially the noble horse and trustworthy hound. Hallowed be cavaliers that lead the charge in glorious combat. "

He them told them he approved their name for him and he should be known as Samular Tauren.And lastly, let my worshippers be not hindered in magical travel any longer. He made his last wish on this plane and left to join his wife in the heavens, astride his eternal steed, armed for the next thundering charge across a much larger sky.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A New Beginning

west tower, the spire gave the high wizard the best vantage point of Mount Waterdeep. The impact tremors caused by the colossus and their pummeling attacks prompted Maskar to cast protective spells; he had responsibilities after all.

A cooing sound kindly embraced his heart, the sound warmed him; he looked down at the source of the sounds lying comfortably in his arms. His baby nephew had a shock of red hair and a mischievous smile; they boy had a strong aura of wild arcane magic. Maskar returned the smile that quickly soured; raising him would pose unknowable challenges.
Outside on the mountain Raine betrayed Frostburn breaking the Staff of Fire across the back of the beast’s neck. A loud crack echoed across the city followed by a conflagration form every lamp in the city that seared every dragon tricked into attacking Waterdeep; this freed the way for the scores of avatars to ascend the celestial stairway reestablishing the divine order. Maskar could not see the stairway but could see Syndra Wands, and the Samular Tet disappear after taking a step up into… nothing.

Dragons cried out in pain under the mighty slams from the three defending colossus-es; this caused the smile to return to Maskar’s face while in his arms the baby kicked in excitement.

“What is it little one?” Maskar said putting on his best fatherly smile. The baby laughed enthusiastically and when he did a small mobile of dancing lights revolved slowly just over them both. Maskar was astonished at the magical potential of the baby boy.

Yes raising him would pose unknowable challenges, but Maskar would raise little Smendric like his own son. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Calling all despots

Bells rang across the rooftops and down through the cobbled streets heralding the passing of another hour. In the past the bells counted off the hours of the day but since martial law was declared the only thing the bells atop Castle Waterdeep portended was the changing of the guard. It was a comforting sound and reminded Geoffman Gundwynd of times past, before the Time of Troubles and before the Firelance Knights.

Turning his attention away from the sound of the bells Geoffman regarded his partner Tyrinon Cassalanter and the blood and the carnage at the Efreeti Bottle.

From Storm Keep in the North Ward, the Chess Emporium in the Sea Ward, and the Efreeti Bottle in the Castle Ward the two paladins discovered the accounts of events were strangely the same if not the aftermath.

At Storm Keep Boris Nahal, a visiting guest, became very unstable and eventually hostile killing one person before escaping into the city streets. No further information was forthcoming from the former Agundar Estate, other than they were conducting their own investigation.

At the Chess Emporium a woman was attacked and killed by her familiar. The woman, Mirandos by name, was a regular gamer at the Emporium for a time but was always detached from her surroundings and not very social said a witness. One minute she was alive the next her familiar Tebow goes mad strangling its mistress then it was gone.
The Efretti Bottle was somewhat different, yes there was the carnage but here there they reported an undead creature that had a black skull, and before it disappeared into the night it feasted on the genies employed by Hasar Al-Yasan.

After a long and sleepless night Geoffman and Tyrinon tracked the three fugitives beyond the barriers crossing the wider streets and beyond to Mount Waterdeep. It seemed they all, after escaping their sanity, fled to the pitted and exhausted Mountain.

“Three vastly different suspects,” Geoffman Gundwynd was saying; “each going to the same place. What ties them together you think?”

Tyrinon considered. Then with a flash of insight, “It is possible that they were possessed with a sleeper divine power and it has driven them insane. Midsummer being just three days away there could be some mounting pressure in being a divine vessel that has broken their minds.”
“You could be right about that.” Geoffman said. “LOOK OUT!”

Tyrinon turned weapon drawn. The sword sung as it cleared its scabbard. From out of the grey sky a dark shape descended on the two knocking the men off their feet and down the slope of the mountain. Its slam was like being hit with a boulder; it was a gargoyle.

Standing instantly after their fall, both men produced javelins of lightening and hurled them at the fleeing gargoyle. Each javelin taking the creature on the shoulder blades causing the gargoyle to crash down beyond a short peak and out of sight.

The wind was picking up and again the bells of Castle Waterdeep began marking off another hour.

Not wasting a moment the men both drank potions of healing as well as elixirs to hasten their climb and began their ascent. They may not have seen where the creature fell but both men were sure the direction it was going.

“I’m not as young as I used to be,” Said Tyrinon struggling to maintain his breath and his tongue.

“Shut up and climb!” replied Geoffman his tolerance for useless banter was short during times of heightened alert. 
Higher and higher they climbed. 

As the bells ceased so too did the men happen across their quarry: a man, an imp, a dark stranger, and an insane gargoyle each one acting violently and irrationally. Geoffman and Tyrinon quickly found the cover of an old aerie stable and took witness of the spectacle.  

“It would seem you were correct, they all possess divine magic. It HAS driven them mad… wait who is this now?” Geoffman said his voice no louder than a whisper.

From a trail descending from the top of the mountain came a presence the two paladins could not easily accept but nevertheless recognized. The being was tall and impossibly thin, it trailed an ashy tress and the smell was beyond description.

Since Greengrass the collective paladins of Amaunator were visited in visions by who now stood before them. Sometimes at rest and others during battles but each time the visions were of corruption, rot, and disease. It was Moander, the darkbringer- their god’s eternal enemy.

Looking at his new thralls Moander commanded them. His voice dragged its low timbre lazily across the once silent air, but neither paladin could understand his foul tongue.

Without delay Geoffman and Tyrinon brandished their bastard swords, blessed themselves, and charged fearless into the thralls and into Moander. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

False Evidence Appearing Real

Fear as far as Master Ormbras Delzord was concerned stood for Fuck Everything And Run, because when the entirety of the North’s dragons descended on Waterdeep- your only hope for survival was to run… and run… and run. 

The inevitability of their coming was frightening enough but to see such terrible power in the flesh, the impossible size of them and their aura of blackest purest evil. It was all too much for Ormbras’ younger brother who could not abide the fear and killed himself with a quaff of a street poison that was trending now for... opting out.

His thoughts drifted to Raine Wands, he of the colossus akimbo and their recent tete a tete. Ormbras remembered how surprised he was upon seeing the wizard. How long had it been since he last saw Raine? Months? A year? But there he was bald as an eagle now, carrying a staff, and wearing that familiar pale coat of high office of the Order. He spoke with an odd dialect now but that was not why Ormbras thought there was something else odd about the wizard. Something out of place, maybe it was the new hairstyle of having no hair at all.   

Raine assured Master Delzord that all would be well. He reminded Ormbras that the cooperative endeavor between the Watchful Order of Magists and Protectors combined with the Guild of Chandlers and Lamplighters under Ormbras’ watch will give many Waterhavians a chance for survival.  Midsummer was just four days away.

“… the magical fire that keeps the street lamps will repel Frostburn and give the people a shield of fire to take refuge under.” Raine said patiently tapping the staff on the guild hall floor. “Maskar says those who retained the ability have been tirelessly scribing incendiary scrolls… under his watchful eye.” This last he added to emphasize the weight of just how many people are involved.

Outside as the north winds blew Ormbras found himself staring absently at his clock feeling a lot less anxious. Standing at a window Ormbras paused, he could see the barricades being built along the streets; blockades to Mount Waterdeep, and put the stopper back on the vial in his hand.

If what he said was true and if Waterdeep survives Midsummer, Raine Wands could very well be the greatest of all Waterdeep’s long history of heroes.

The Guilds of Waterdeep

The Guilds of Waterdeep have been a mainstay in the city for centuries and they have always had a major influence on the city at large. Their management and their skilled control of commerce brought Waterdeep to its great prominence as a center of trade for the Sword Coast. Their avarice, ruthlessness, and greed nearly destroyed Waterdeep in the past.

The Guilds are not one whole power group, but are distinct and different groups of people, each dedicated to upholding the craft and service (and related political agendas) of their own choosing. Some guilds work more closely with the Lords, their activities integral to the city’s welfare, while others are specialty guilds that only wield influence in the Market. Each guild’s trade naturally determines its importance and influence upon the city, some often deceiving in their perceived power: while a lowly dungsweeper appears to wield no power, a strike by the Dungsweepers’ Guild is one of serious impact on the city!

Each of the guilds of the city has a guild hall. The guild hall acts as a showcase of the guild’s trade or products, a meeting place for guild members, the central clearinghouse for guild business, and the offices of the officers of the guild. On top of all that, guild halls are often places of business run by the guild, with that business’ profits benefiting the guild master. However, even though it is relatively simple to find the guild halls themselves, getting in contact with a guild master is rare, and customers are often shuttled through the channels to do business. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Keep It In The Family

  Deep below Storm Keep, there were a series of chambers. Damp, chilly, strewn with debris, these were the dungeons and torture chambers of the Agundar family. Dimly lit by torches and lanterns, there was a room that housed a rack of fiendish design. Dreamt up by the god's wife, Cherilynn Anteos, this rack was covered in spikes that raked the flesh as the limbs were pulled. It could even be tilted forward so that the tortured could be held over a brazier full of hot coals. This was the Embrace of Pain, and it was Bordane Agundar's favorite place to meditate...
  Cherilynn cranked the rack another few turns, then stirred the coals in the brazier. Held lovingly in the Embrace, tilted at a steep angle over the hot cinders, the Iron Hand grimaced as his limbs were pulled farther apart. Sweat ran down, and dripped into the brazier, causing a near constant hiss like that of a thousand snakes. The iron bound door open, and in stepped Dannrlee Bladesemmer. He looked at his lord, bound and suspended, then glanced at Cherilynn. She smirked and leaned over to whisper in her husband's ear.
  "Sai Dannrlee is here, as you requested, my love," she said.
  Bordane raised his head and opened his eyes, gazing upon his chosen cohort. Dannrlee stepped forward and took a knee, one fist upon the flagstone floor. "My lord, I have come as you requested. I have seen to Anja's chastisement. 40 lashes."
 Bordane nodded, "You will have to teach her that she's expected to seek her own punishment, not look for it in others. Strength and discipline is our core. Now, I called you here to advise you of a possible opportunity for growth..."
  Dannrlee raised his head, meeting his god's gaze and raising an inquiring eyebrow, "Yes, my lord?"
  "You should back up Umbrusk's loss of their jewels... " Bordane spoke.
  "Yeeeeesss?" a slightly puzzled look spread across Dannrlee's face, then cleared, "Ah, the Umbrusk house will be indebted to the Bladesemmers... However, I may not have the funds to cover their loss..."
  A slow grin grew upon the young Agundar's face, "Oh, I'm sure if you come up short, you'll figure out a way to get the necessary funds." A quick glance at Cherilynn drawing a dry chuckle, "Mayhaps a loan from the church?"
  Dannrlee looked down at the floor, swallowing nervously, "I'm sure I can find the money, my lord. If nothing else?"
  Cherilynn undid the leather straps binding Bordane's hands, and he quickly dropped his hands to grip the hot iron brazier, to prevent him from dropping face first into the hot coals. His flesh sizzled, causing Dannrlee to swallow again.
  "Yes, of course. Go with my blessing.. and grow your strength."