Monday, March 30, 2015

03/25/15 Tragidore: Session 5 The Sustenance of the Susurrant Sisters

After our meeting with the alluring Aurora we rest up for a morning departure when we plan to recover the Tenloss Consortium’s lost wares. The night’s rest does not come easy for those who undertook the recovery of the Nether Scrolls during the Time of Troubles.  All five suffer nightmare remembrances of the year lost. The Tragidore Five (The Nether Scroll Battalion? The Scroll Battalion? The Army of Five? Bloodrager and Four little spellcasters?) stop at Trinity Church before leaving the city.  Rantal Gundwynd approaches the group drawing them near Azuth’s altar while Gideon silently pulls Zadrian aside, handing him a scroll, an alternate spell Magic Mace (110 spell variants).  Gideon has yet to speak, seemingly mute, but a communication is made between Zadrain to Gideon whose facial expressions were appreciative.  

Rantal was able to get all five’s attention, pointing out the need to protect all the items that had been recovered and sitting in Trinity Church. Underscoring that need was the arrival of The Knights of Myth Drannor who convince Rantal of their need to protect the Key of Irithlium, taking it with them on their return to the fallen elven city.  Cadthronn and Alan ask about the possibility of getting the Knights help should we find ourselves in the fabled ruin. The response received was less than enthusiastic, only a warning to stay away from the dangers there. 
Rantal Gundwynd

After the Knights leave, Rantal reveals to The Five that he possesses a tiny vial of the fallen Eldath's blood that he scraped together from the site of Talona and Eldath’s battle. Not believing he could protect it, Rantal handed the vial over to Zadrian who places it in his Haversack. After dealing with those issues, Zadrian next spoke with Anna Pimm regarding the child Midnight’s condition.  Anna provided 2250 in gold she had saved to Zadrian asking him to acquire items that could protect the young woman/ Zadrian agreed but implored Anna to work at acquiring some small games and entertainment for the Spellfire gifted child. While this conversation was taking place Peitra Damiken arrived with warnings that Daggerdale had fallen under the complete control of the Zhentarium.  Knowing looks pass between the Tragidore Five, an unspoken suspicion that Peitra was most probably a Harper, words remain guarded until she leaves. Minutes feeling like hours, Arne complains that we need to hit the road, he is anxious for gold not talk and the Five depart.  Leaving town through the north gate, Bosbelly Meet one of Carin Taber's Governor's, advises that the way through north forest is clear.

A hunk of Flaming Elkvis
We travel the road spotting smoke rising from the abandoned village where we encounter a flaming elk-like creature that attacks us on sight. Arne with great-sword and Alan with spell fell the beast allowing us to recover its heart and stomach (6HD).
After the short battle we continue on arriving at a crossroad, which we take west to the River.  Zadrain scouted ahead when they neared the river and lead the group in such a manner as to avoid detection from the strange monstrous humanoids across the river.  Traveling two hours north along the river the lands raise some thirty to thirty five feat above our side of the river creating a Cliffside.  A copse of trees hides the target of our search the five Harpy Sisters who have stolen and harassed those merchants attempting to take the wares to Tragidore. The Harpys songs prove quite dangerous by charming Arne, Cadthronn, and Zadrian, somehow convincing them to begin walking the hundred and fifty feet to the cliff’s edge and certain harm.  The two clear headed spellcasters acted quickly, Wendell administering a magical potion of feather fall to Arne while Alan cast a unique web wall to prevent his ensorcelled companions from walking off the cliff.  A dangerous battle ensued before the Tragidore five could proclaim victory and to the victors go the spoils.  The Five returned to Tragidore having used magic to reduce the weight of the recovered objects, immediately delivering to Aurora the lost delivery of the Tenloss Consortium, The Five were barely slowed in their return trip home, only encountering and defeating the monstrous humanoids that were spotted on the journey north. The creatures were revealed to be Caliban, the monsters lay a simple ambush but were quickly defeated. Zadrian promised Aurora the details of their adventures over dinner and was overjoyed with her acceptance of his offer.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Harpy Treasure (Aurora's Missing Custom)

Susurrant Sisters
(3) +1 Morning Star 2,308 gp
+2 Light steel shield 4,159 gp
Wand of Ghost Sound (10 charges) 75 gp
Manual of Monsters (Ettercap and Giant Spiders) 2,450 gp.

(Greater) Demolition Weapon Crystal 6,000 gp (Zadrian) 
(Lesser) Fiendslayer Weapon Crystal 3,000 gp (Arne)
(Lesser) Weapon Crystal of Arcane Steel 2,000 gp (Cadthronn)
(2) +2 Leather armor 4,160 gp (Zadrian/Cadthronn)
Aquamarine of Spell Extending 2,700 gp (Wendell)
Marble Sphere (Ioun Stone) 6,500 gp (Zadrian)
Wand of Communal Ant Haul (15 charges) 1,350 gp (Wendell)
(2) Amber Amulet of Vermin (Giant praying mantis) (Alan/Rocky)
Wand of Ray of Sickening (12 charges) 210 gp (Zadrian) 

3,250 gp 250 pp.

Tenloss Consortium: Five crates each marked with Aurora's mark; first crate, one-hundred fifty small master work blades.  The second crate contains over one hundred pounds of hideous gray hued leather. The third crate holds ten, twenty pound red-hued bars marked with the symbol of Waukeen. The fourth container holds twenty-five fragile assorted glass jars, like exotic potion vials and the last crate contains fifty masterwork bracers made from basilisk hide. 

Each Caliban has:
Hand Axe (6 gp), 2 Alchemist Fire (20 gp), Tanglefoot bag (50 gp), Coins totaling 5 gp. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

03/18/15 Tragidore: Session 4 The Townhouse, The Families, and a Job Offer We Couldn’t Refuse

JuJu Zombie
Changing our minds we decide to check Taergan Flinn's Townhouse before checking in with our families.  The Townhouse was easy to find, its grounds unkempt, a former manor fallen into disrepair. We scouted the area around Taergan’s home, finding two outhouses and a servants home on the back of the lot.  Wendell Rasierik’s priestly powers quickly identified that two simple undead occupied the servants quarters and another was active inside the townhome.  We entered the servants quarter, Zadrian’s familiar Rocky warning the wizard that the smell of death was on these grounds, Rocky took to the trees to warn us of anyone or anything that should come in behind us.
We discover two zombies on the first floor, the Magus Cadthronn Rasierik and Arne Kordova quickly dispatch them, identifying them as JuJuZombies.  

While the rest of the servant’s home was searched, Alan Kordova noticed the exceptional condition of the undead corpses commenting that they had been alchemically treated.  Finding nothing more of interest in the servant’s home, we made our way across the overgrown yard and into the main home through the sun room.  Passing through a curtain we find a room with a painting of Zadrian’s mother and adventuring companions, including Taergan.  Wendell’s magic tells us the undead in this house is somewhere upstairs.  We find the staircase behind another curtained alcove and discover another well preserved juju zombie.  Cadthronn dispatched the zombie in a maids outfit we are saddened to discover wearing the name tag of Milsa Meet.  

Wendell assures us that there are no more undead on these grounds but we all hear a steady thumping and scratching.  Searching the second floor we discover a room with a tipped over cabinet, the thumping and scratching clearly coming from within.  Arne opened the cabinet door releasing two strange and tiny flying creatures, their round mouths ringed with spiraling fangs.  After a short battle the creatures are defeated and identified as Cacodaemons
The party spreads out and searches the house, finding Taergan’s magical alchemy lab, a trophy chest, and magical chalice.  After searching the alchemist lab the substance that had been applied to the juju zombies is found, an unguent of timelessness, leaving the Tragidore Five with a feeling of discomfort regarding Taergan Flinn.

Zadrian begins searching the notes and ingredients in the laboratory and theorizes that Taergan may not be missing after all, he and his two apprentices have probably gone to acquire Tumeric Root, a substance we were recently taught about by Brother Zaganos. After some discussion it is agreed that all items of value would be recovered from the townhouse and presented to Zadrian’s mother’s friends. If they objected to the items being taken they could hold onto them until Taergan requested their return.
Xevius Vistani

Leaving the strange townhome, the Tragidore Five split up to visit each of their respective families.  During the family visits several bits of news were discovered.

Wisebrand Kordova has taken over as captain of the mayoral guard, the guard itself newly repurposed.  Vacek Kordova informs that another murder has occurred and advises Alan Kordova to check in with Wisebrand.  When Alan does so he discovers that Lucine Bauman of The Curious and the Cowled hasbeen slain, clearly by the escaped Zhent.  Slightly more problematic is the message scrawled in her blood on the wall which warns that Alan Kordova is next. Lucien had just been seen at the Quest of the Everflame. While Alan was learning of murder Arne had discussions with Xemne Pardette, sharing a lack of family.

Zadrian checked in with his family where his Aunt Hegelina expressed her concerns regarding the Van Richtens and also informed him of a problem in family leadership.  She seemed especially anxious to get Zadrian’s support for a change in leadership from Marta Vistani.  Zadrian advised that they should support their leader and look into whether or not Marta was suffering from haunts as so many others were.  There were smiles at this response but clearly it wasn’t the response those in attendance had hoped for.  While there Xevius Vistani checked in to remind Zadrian of the black sheep nature of Zadrian’s side of the family and to remind him that he could request Xevius’ help.  Despite Xevius’ lack of social grace he was a brilliant inventor.

Adolmus Gladstone 
In Rasierik tower the two brothercousins find Handragath talking to the family patriarch in the library.  Carson warns them not to mention Gideon to Holgast, explaining that he discovered that Holgast conducts hideous experiments upon the Incarnate.  Carson described a painting in the study that hides a stairway to Holgast’s library.  Carson could not tell if the unfortunate incarnate in the lab were alive or dead before fleeing for fear of being discovered.

Soon after the Tragidore Five reconvene at the grand opening of Aurora’s Consortium.  Many people are there but the Iounmancer Adolmus Gladstone stands out for the many ioun stones that rotated about his head, his magic concealing the exact number.  It was still easily the most anyone in Tragidore had seen one person have.  Some sand is noticed near Adolmus that is similar to that found in the cell of Dulvan Kinroth after the Zhents escape. Soon the auction and sales begin, a particular set of items, Elven Chain, a cloak, and longsword were thought to have come from Myth Drannor.  Adolmus commented that a pair of gnomes came in with this deal. After some shopping Aurora signaled Zadrian that she had some further business to discuss and Zadrian was anxious to have that discussion if for no other reason than to bask in the noblewoman’s beauty again.  She explains that her shipments have been delayed….

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Aurora’s Open House

As the bards brought their number to a close, an up-tempo dance, the lights changed from pulsing colors to a consistent continual light. Aurora’s Consortium was open.

Dozens of guards, bards, and negotiators were brought in for this grand occasion.

“My friends, I would like to thank every one of you for making the Consortium a success,” Aurora said, captivating the people with her angelic voice, “including The Blackrock Company for the seized drow weapons from the dark siege as well as Lukka and Lukka for the exquisite elven-item set.”

Two men on Aurora’s left, one a large-muscled man and the other a rather ordinary man stood for the Blackrock Company; and on her right two gnomes shook their floppy hats.
“After the initial round of buying and trading,” Aurora continued, “we will begin an auction for the remaining items.”

At this, approving applause cut off what Aurora said next. 

“Bidding will start at half the listed price and will be auctioned by Father Forbeck Dournas. Again thank you for coming and good luck.”  
Aurora Tenloss
Sembian Mercantile Heiress

Drow Items
(2) +1 Silkweve Armor 1,160 gp
(2) +2 Adamantine Lt. Mace 11,005 gp                            
(3) +2 Cloak of Resistance 4,000 gp
(4) +1 Mithril Rapier 3,020 gp
(4) +1 Mithril Elven Chain 6,100 gp
+1 Buckler of the Spider 1,155 gp 
(armor check 0, 2 lbs.)

+2 Full plate 5,650 gp
Burglar’s buckler 4,655 gp
+3 Amulet of natural armor 18,000 gp

+2 Shortspear 8,301 gp
+2 Longbow 8,375 gp

+2 Belt of incredible dexterity 4,000 gp
Eyes of the owl 4,000 gp

+1 Manual of gainful exercise 27,500 gp

Ring of counterspell 4,000 gp
+2 Ring of protection 8,000 gp

Wand of Contagion (CL 5th) 11,250 gp
Wand of Summon monster II (CL 3rd) 4,500 gp

The Item Set:
Sylvan Cloak 11,500 gp
Elven chain 5,150 gp

Player Purchases:
1st level Pearl of Power 1,000 gp (Wendell)
Potion of Barkskin 300 gp (Arne)
Scroll of Stoneskin 625 gp (Wendell)
+1 Mithril Elven Chain 6,100 gp (Cadthronn)

Before the auction:

“Zadrian, there is a way we can help each other. I have it on good authority that a flight of harpies has been striking and raiding river merchants coming to or from the River Ashaba for some time. The flying wretches have thus far evaded eradication, despite inflicting thousands of gold pieces in losses on the merchants of Tradigore - me being the most recent unfortunately.” Aurora says irritated.

She regards the group, “I will front you and the Tragidore Five with five-thousand gold if you find their lair, slay the harpies and recover my stolen freight. I will even provide a magical bag to hold my recovered wares and you may keep what is not otherwise claimed.” She says with a wink.

“Do we have a deal?”

Tragidore: Taergan Flinn's Townhouse

Among old journals and obscure artifacts worth 200 gp, the glass case holds:
Black Scepter (a101mt)
Black Shield (a101mt)
Crown of Destruction (a101mt)
Chest of Ancient Coins (101mt) ???
            Tainted Arrows (a101mt)
            Troll Skin Rug (a101mt)
Case of Tea Leaves (a101mt)
Masterwork Engraver’s Tools (a101mt)
            Jar of Spices (a101mt)
            High Alchemy of Taergan Flinn (below)
Magical Beast eyes (magical beast); 6 HD; divination; Spellcraft DC 10 + SL: Spell Focus (Divination)
Magical Beast glands (magical beast); 6 HD; conjuration; Spellcraft DC 10 + SL: Spell Focus (Conjuration)
Two potions of lesser age resistance
The lab counts as a full alchemist's lab and provides the equivalent of four alchemy crafting kits
3 doses of itching powder, two liquid blades, and two draughts of elixir of last will

Body of a Caliban (monstrous humanoid) dissected and studied. 

Catalogue of Infamous Books (a101mt)
            Trials of Decay (a101mt)
            Laws of the Tribunal (a101mt)
            Log of the Court (a101mt)

The High Alchemy of Taergan Flinn
This green book is average in appearance, made with a leather cover and 100 parchment pages. 22 of the pages are blank.
Formulae: 1st Crafter’s Fortune, Cure Light Wounds, Expeditious Retreat, True Strike. 2nd Barkskin, Cat’s Grace, Cure Moderate Wounds, Resist Energy. 3rd Gaseous Form, Haste, Heroism.

Special Features: The notes within this book may be of assistance to alchemists. Any character with the Alchemy skill that studies the book for a single week and makes a successful Intelligence check (DC 25) gains a +2 insight bonus to all future Alchemy skill checks. One of the sections of the book reveals secrets to the swift alchemy discovery.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tragidore Review 03/11/15 Session 3: A Swift Ending for the Gentleman's Haunt

Lawson Harting
Riger Mann
Our party travels to Swift Prison where we are greeted by the deputy warden and resident crypt keeper Lawson Harting.  His appearance was unkempt and dirty, with jaundiced eyes and skin, overworked and stressed he was more than a little upset at our unannounced arrival and assumed we had come to see the captured Zhentarim prisoner.  Surprised to learn that we were unaware of the evil little Zhent and after tipping him a gold for his time we were allowed access to a wing of prisoners that started with Riger Mann and ended with my uncle, Nhar-Del Vistani.

When we stopped at the iron door in front of Riger Mann’s cell we immediately recognized the ravings of yet another lover fallen under the spell of woman whose name we finally learn much to our chagrin, Annabeth.  At the mere mention of her name magical energies erupt, the effect unknown but the unspoken fear is to fall under dear Annabeth's Love charm.  Riger in his madness tells us of his insatiable need to acquire his inheritance so that he would have a proper dowry to give her.  Peering through the cell door it is clear to all of us that Riger is malnourished and sickly his madness the only energy keeping him standing.  We pass through food and drink which he hungrily consumes, during this process Zadrian slips Riger a potion of Protection from Evil which frees him temporarily from the charm he is under and allows us a minute to question him.  The woman Annabeth would come to him, arriving magically from the sounds of it. Even free of madness Riger had trouble remembering specifics.  In desperation for hope and ideas on how to track this threat Zadrian finds out the name of Riger’s ex-lover Milsa Meet in hopes that she might have jealously discovered something about Riger’s new girlfriend.
Dulvan Kinroth

After our minute of questions the madness returns and we leave the tragic Riger to pass by the next two cells, each holding a drow elf, one male one female, hidden in the dark recess of the cell only their hair revealing their presence.  Clearly they were communicating with each other. At this point, Arne and Alan Kordova along with Zadrian continued onto the the next cell while Wendell and Cadthronn Rasierik went to find the warden of Swift Prison, the dwarf Warak Freestone.

The Kordova brothers and Zadrian saw that the cell with the largest number of visitors held the Zhent Dulvan Kinroth, a small vermin looking man with a hawkish nose, jutting teeth, and jittery countenance.  Peitra Damaken is just finishing speaking with the Zhent through the prison door when we approach.  Alan Kordova engages Dulvan, drawing his ire and threats.  The vicious little Zhent predicts his escape and Alan’s eventual destruction before letting us know that Peitra was investigating the Mayor. 

Leaving the little creep the three traveled to the end of the wing where a very large metal door impressively sat, clearly indicating a prisoner of importance, Zadrian’s Uncle, Nhar-Del Vistani. Peitra too had been to visit the white necromancer and had been interested in the contract that Nhar-Del had with the mayor/city. My uncle recounts his efforts on behalf of Tragidore along with the attack and eventual defeat delivered to him by the Blackrock company.  Clearly he was holding some information back but the situation was a strange one. Nhar-Del was very calm and forthcoming but his entire demeanor changed when he found out who his replacement was at Trinity Church, Anna Braxton.  He grew very angry and warned us that she was a dangerous evil woman.  Utilizing the message spell, Zadrian learned that for his uncle to engineer his own escape he would require the stomach of a magical beast of at least 7HD, a frost flower and Silvertree Bark. 

Warak Freestone
Upon first introduction to the Rasierik brothercousins, the dwarf came off as a strictly political animal.  Ignoring first impressions Cadthronn inquires upon a jeweled dagger that was used in Tolger Mann’s murder explaining the issue with the haunt in front of the Gentleman’s Mage.  The Warden confirms that the item is in the safe where all criminal contraband and evidence apparently is kept. The dwarf is quite certain in the safe’s security, showing the two Rasieriks the multi locked, magical door of the safe while also confirming that the body of Tolger Mann was in the crypts below. The Warden is quite impressed with the brothercousins  and comments on their rare expertise in the supernatural.  The two brothercousins impress upon the Warden the extreme need to confirm the possession of the dagger in the safe which he does.  Even the warden is impressed with the highly valuable murder weapon, which allows Cadthronn to suggest that if they were to return the valuable dagger to rest in the crypt in Tolger’s eternal possession might end the Gentleman’s Mage Haunt.  The Warden was quick to recognize these obvious experts advice and lead them into the crypt where they placed the dagger in Tolger’s cold dead hands.  Immediately the brothercousins knew the haunt was ended. 

Town Map
The Tragidore Five left Swift prison to find most of the city gathered in the large courtyard of the Sword Point Inn.  A Stage was being assembled in one corner of the Courtyard from which the Everflame Quest would begin while in the opposite corner lay a slab model of the entire city, expertly mapped out.  This model also served as a message board where a couple jobs had been posted by the Blackrock Company.  The Five spread out in the Courtyard trying to take in the entire festive atmosphere. 

Flag bearers begin to gather near the stage revealing political maneuvering among the nobles of Tragidore.  Celadae Vistani had been replaced in the Quest for the Everflame by Mura Gundwynd.  Carson Rasierik also had been replaced by Helmo Gundwynd.  While Zadrian discussed the issue with Celadae she informs him that she has a secret for him the next time they are alone.  While the two dejected teens explained the politics of the situation to Zadrian the rest of The T’Five began people watching in earnest noticing a traveler, Madame Xemne Pardette, Peitra Damican, and the Three Knights of Myth Drannor. Also in attendance is Holgast Rasierik standing next to Aurora Tenloss and someone else none of us recognize. Davina Silvers interrupts Zadrian’s conversation, collecting Celadae and wandering off in the crowd together.  Zadrian then sees two members of Mom's old adventuring group, the Golden Watch, Branda Tulles who was essentially Zadrian’s second mother and her husband Igneous Tulles. As Zadrians questioned his mother’s friends about the city and current goings on several groups take the stage. 

On stage are the clerics of the Gauntleted Fist, opposite these priests are the three clerics from Trinity Church; Center stage is the Mayor, Carin Taber, a couple executive officers Bozbeyli Meet, the Governor of the Guard; and Gilda Marsh, cleric of Torm as well as Minister of Justice, along with the Captain of the Rider of Mistledale, Vacek Kordova.  The Mayor begins a speech introducing the honored teen nobles chosen for the Quest,
Carson Rasierik

Garret Kordova
Gracia Kordova
Helmo Gundwynd
Jinter Elmaran
Kaarle Van Richten
Mura Gundwynd
Rainey Solerer

The speech is ill received by those in the courtyard with Arne Kordova beginning catcalls that eventually culminated in a shoe being thrown at the mayor before the crowd began to rush the stage. The Everflame Quest almost began with a rebellious attack against the mayor who was quickly pulled away to safety while the teenagers began their quest by fleeing the courtyard. Calm was almost restored when Cris Rolst is spotted in the crowd clearly planning to attack his sister.  Zadrian moved to Regine to warn her cover her from the immediate attack. The siblings were quickly knocked unconscious and given over to guard who drag them to the drunk tank of Swift Prison.

A little girl’s scream echoed from Trinity Church down the street which was immediately followed by a bolt of lightning that erupted from the church doors out into the street.  Racing to the church we find Arial standing over the body of Anna Braxton who looks like she was fried to a crisp.  Zadrian’s detect magic spell revealing beams of magic exuding from Arial’s every pore.  The young girl would only say that Anna Braxton had attempted to subdue her inciting one of Ariel's panic attacks.  A somber discussion is held as we begin to understand that Arial carries Spellfire and learn that the Bloodrenched Knight that had tortured her calling her Midnight.  The purpose of her torture was to generate the blasts of spellfire energy for his own evil uses. 

The alarms of Swift Prison had begun as we raced to the church, the Zhent's prediction of escape had come true.  Word was the only thing the guards found when they opened Dulvan's cell was a swarm of rats.

Later, Igneous and Branda, two OLD out-of-towners and Zadrian’s mother’s old adventuring group came to pay respects to her memorial at church. In the meantime Igneous explained to Zadrian why he and Jonark Uptal are not fans of each other and admitted to be rival adventurers in times past. 

After the offerings of prayers to the deceased, Igneous and Branda asked for help form the Tragidore group. Dern Fosimuth and Taergan Flinn have failed to show up for their group’s annual Moonfeast reunion, they ask for you to check on both of them. Taergan, a half-elf, is local and has a townhome in Tragidore while Dern, a human and the oldest of them all, is not healthy and is believed to be at Mother’s Care Home for the Invalids and the Insane.

You begin next session still in the company of Igneous and Branda in Trinity Church. Before checking in on Taergan and eventually to Dern you each decide to drop in on your respective families. 

Tragidore: the Rider of the Winds and the Mother of Magic

The Man who was now Shaundakul dismounted his celestial steed, the noble Brave-Heart and took a hesitant step forward. The Man was a seasoned crusader and myrmidon who once followed Torm; but after the godsfall the Man would now he led his own multitudes of crusaders and travelers through churches and clergy. 

Wind seemed to perpetually play at his locks and traveling cape as he brought his great-sword, the Shadow-Cleaver across his knee in a gesture of neutrality bowing as he did so, exposing his neck. The Rider of the Winds could scarcely perceive the goddess he was petitioning; on her own plane the goddess was a purely magical being but what Shaundakul could see was light.

Stepping out of the light from the Color Spray Nebula the goddess of magic addressed her caller. “Rise and look upon me traveler. If you come in peace, then you have no cause to fear harm from me.” Her voice was melodious; its resonance shook the stars causing them to blink and flicker.

Shaundakul did as he was bayed sheathing Shadow-cleaver while producing gemstone that glowed like a flame was trapped within its faceted walls; a soul-gem.

“Mother of Magic I ask for a boon, to restore life to my first personal cleric who served me faithfully in life- through the use of your wellspring.” Shaundakul looked serenely up at the Lady of Mysteries hoping she could not see the secret he kept in his heart.

Mystra smiled but in her mind she wondered how this lesser deity knew what she was doing: reincarnating the former Mystra's murdered clergy. The thought also brought with it an alarming possibility- what if another deity discovered the depths of her measures and what the new Mother of Magic was capable of…

“I am touched and will provide for you this service and in return I would have something from you.” Mystra said eyeing the Rider and his cunning.

Shaundakul stood waiting for what it would cost him to restore life to his former lover.

Two Months ago (High Harvest Tide)

Hegelina Vistani awoke with a scream, all around her lights, sounds, and smells threatened to overwhelm her and tear her open. Fear gripped her and she shot to her feet not noticing how her flesh and perceptions have altered. She looked around confused and realized she was still screaming. Composing herself she found her self in her old bed-chambers where she immediately fell to her knees to pray to Shaundakul who consoled her, warned her of the dangers, and prepared her to lead her family from Tragidore and from the Realms.

Now (Moonfeast)

Hegelina Vistani
Hegelina, Cleric of Shaundakul watched as the two woman discussed the current state of Tragidore. Since her reincarnation Hegelina viewed inter-city politics with detached fascination choosing to concern herself with the broader world's concerns. 

Hegelina could not enter into such games of politics even if she had wished. No, she could only remain hidden or be hunted and burned as dragonblooded. Just as in the way Raimund Van Richten hunted down and killed Colbin Vetnar. Colbin was a follower of Mystra before the godsfall but when the cleric came back changed, it was all too much for the Van Richten family giving rise to their blind hunt for reincarnates. 

“Why the last minute change Celadae? Do you know?” Marta Vistani asked her young daughter. Both women had worked many hours to properly represent the Vistani family in the Quest for the Everflame, this omission Marta believed was clearly an affront to their house.

“No mother I do not, nor do I believe Mura Gundwynd knows why either.” Celadae said honestly, hoping to be finished with the subject so she could return to her studies and attempt to gather her pride.
Marta Vistani
Reading her daughter she dismissed Celadae and looked to Hegelina who was silent in her thoughts.

“You think this is an insult Marta? I think it is a sign.” Hegelina said to her sister, although now it would be impossible to recognize that fact.

Marta turned a questioning eye to Hegelina, “Yes I do.” Marta said exasperated. “Mystra's Stars! You of all people should be wary of the tactics of the Van Richtens and the high-society Gundwynds!”

When these words became too difficult to bear, Marta continued, “I’m sorry sis, I am not sleeping well. Nightmares steal any chance at rest as of late making me paranoid of those around me; please tell me what you mean by a sign.”

“Winds are changing direction sister and I am afraid it heralds ill for travelers.” The cleric told her troubled sister. Hegelina approached Marta and embraced looking into her eyes. “Tonight, sister let us rest knowing that our time for great travel is not yet upon us.” 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Tragidore: Zero days without incident

Over the centuries men and women of many races have served time for various crimes in Swift Prison, the old dungeons of Tragen’s HoldThe prison is a single level of halls that spread out like spokes on a wheel from a central armory. Escapes are rare, usually due to human error and at no loss of life; today however marks a day that breaks both of these accomplishments.

Carin Taber
Carin Taber stood in the rat’s nest that was Dulvan’s prison cell up until an hour ago. The small stone room carried the smell of brimstone on filth and an unsettling odor of death. At her side in the small cell was Vacek Kordova, Captain of the Riders of Mistledale and her former lover. The split was amicable but recent, so she still had trouble reconciling her feelings toward Vacek; a year in drow captivity stole something form the man- stole something from both of them.

“The cell was locked?” Vacek asked Lawson Harting Swift Prison’s deputy-warden. It was if Carin was not there, she thought forlornly.

“Yes it was,” replied the unkempt man curtly. “A lever in the armory opens each cell individually or all of them at once Captain.”

Carin looked from Vacek and back to the cell where she happened across a small patch of sand. She looked around being careful not to disturb the sand then asked the guard to show them four other prison cells.

“What is it do you think?” Vacek asked Carin inquisitively as he led her first out of Dulvan’s former cell.

“I’m not sure. Lawson show Captain Vacek two occupied cells and look for sand, one cell in different wings. I will stay in here and search the unoccupied units.

Carin watched them retreat down the hall and returned to her investigation shining her magical light into the empty adjacent cell. She peered around looking for the telltale sign of gold grains of sand but did not find anything. She searched another as well as two others with no luck but finally was stopped  cold when one of the drow inmates caught her attention.

Vacek Kordova
Lawson and Vacek could not be any more different in appearance as they rounded a corner to inspect their last occupied cell. Lawson was alert but unshaven and filthy while Vacek seemed distant but well-groomed and clean.

“You were the one who captured Dulvan.” Lawson said knowingly. “What do you think is his next move?”

Vacek did not immediately respond; when it came to individuals or forces most every Kordovan oppose above all else, that when discovered that thing is rooted out with singular purpose. To Vacek, no other individual personified as many of these vile characteristics as much as Dulvan Kinroth.

The man was a despot in the streets of Zhentil Keep until the godsfall when he was afflicted with lycanthropy allowing him to rise in the ranks of the Black Network as a hired assassin. But as popularity grew in what was becoming known as the Iron Clergy Dulvan found himself in less and less friendly company.

“It is likely Dulvan will return to Zhentil Keep where he is at home and knows the streets,” Vacek lied. He waited until Lawson had two prison guards restrain the cell’s current prisoner, a wizard gone mad by the name of Bishimzon.

Vacek examined the room’s stone floor and found no sand just as in the others, but when he rose from his haunches he noticed the walls of the cell and the artwork etched in fantastic detail. It was the work of nightmares.  

“You love him.” The drow woman prisoner observed stopping the constable in her tracks. This raised a sudden ire in Carin causing her to lunge for the cell door. She grasp the bars with deadly anger. 

“What do you know bitch?” Carin said threateningly, eyeing the drow woman who oddly enough- did not shy away from Carin’s magical light or did she speak in drow- Carin understood her words.

“I can see that you love him,” the drow woman said with sincerity. “and I know what the drow did to him.”

Endrenn Allrendris
“You speak as if you are not drow, these prison walls have you confused” Carin said composing herself and stepping away from the curious drow.

“I am only half-drow, an abomination, the union between surface elf and drow. The lowest born in the eyes of the matrons.” The woman said from the other side of the prison door. 

Suddenly Carin took pitty on the woman. She remembered how during the woman’s arraignment how she testified she was just as much a slave as everyone else. Gilda Marsh had also took pity on the woman and sentenced her to twenty ‘swift’ years.

“What is your name and why would you help me?” Carin asked taking a tentative step in the direction of the woman’s voice. Carin tried to hear deception in the voice, or magical coercion and was ready for the betrayal but none came.

“My name is Endrenn Allerendris,” the half-drow answered and as she did she too took a few tentative steps toward Carin. “and because the man you call Dulvan is vile beyond reckoning and worse- he is insatiable in his evil. He will kill innocents without a thought.”

“What do you know?” Carin asked now intent again on capturing Dulvan.

“I will tell you and will share what I know behind your man’s troubles- maybe bring him back to you if that is your wish, but I have some requests.” Endrenn said to Carin who leaned in to hear her whispered words.

Vacek stood stunned at the nightmarish masterpiece etched on the stone walls of the cell. Using stone chips and bones Bishimzon created a mural of dragons that stretched all four walls from the floor to the ceiling. Scores of dragons decimating the countryside with fire and titanic strength, the scene gripped Vaced like a jolt.

Outside the cell Vacek could see Bishimzon’s unsteady regard reading him carefully.

“Put his man in solitary confinement until the next moon, he is not to return to his cell.” Vacek told Lawson who gave the nod to the pair of guards restraining the wizard.

Once the wizard and the guards were out of sight Lawson asked, “What do you want me to do with all this?” referring to the horrific artwork.

No one is to come in here or change anything by my command,” Vacek said surprising Lawson. “I want this cell to remain as is for now.”

When Carin and Vacek returned to Dulvan’s stone cell Vacek asked, “Would there be any reason sand would be in Dulvan’s cell and not the others?” The question hung between Vacek and Carin like the swift stench of the prison.

“He was biding his time until he had a reason to leave,” Carin said knowingly. “I believe Dulvan could have escaped at any time but had no reason to or maybe had nowhere to go.”

“Or perhaps he was hiding from someone.” Vacek said now understanding her line of wisdom.

Dulvan Kinroth
Turning to him, “I admit I do not yet know how sand fits into this, but I trust since you tracked Dulvan before you can capture him again.” Carin gave her former lover a longing look full of emotion and restraint.

“I will begin at once.” Vacek Kordova Rider of Mistledale, said dutifully.

After a brief and awkward farewell in the halls of the prison, Vacek tracked the crime scene to one of the many intersections in the prison where Dulvan apparently met with some minor resistance. 

Vacek came to where two prison guards lay dead, blood coated the floor from wall to wall. Without the proper weapons, Vacek thought, to fight or subdue such a creature as Dulvan, it was easy for the convict to slash deep cuts in the throats of the guards leaving them to die as Dulvan made his escape.

Vacek followed the passage being careful not to disturb the bodies or track blood through the prison then it occurred to him, Dulvan may not have been that careful. Vacek started looking for droplets of blood at first on the walls then on the ancient stone floor. There may not have been a pool of blood when Dulvan came through, but he might still have blood on his hands from his kills.

When Vacek saw the blood on the floor just inside Swift Prison's entrance he immediately could see in his minds-eye what happened: once Dulvan could see his escape he changed back into his animal form and was now leaving a small trail of blood from his victims. Vacek whistled a shriek for his animal companion, together they would track this Black Network murderer.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Weeping War

The Weeping War was a battle that culminated in 714 DR, in which the Akh'Velahr (the army of Cormanthor) were defeated by the invading daemonic forces named the Army of Darkness, leading to the fall of the elven city of Myth Drannor, the greatest and most powerful bastion of civilization by far at the time.

The exact power responsible for the original demonic summoning was a charismatic a half-daemon orc shaman named Gerdreg, a son of Agglemax the Corrupt. Gerdreg summoned vast armies of daemons to raid the lands of the Dragonreach, but AulmpiterGaulguth and Malimshaer broke free of their master's control and rounded up huge numbers of goblinkin in the surrounding area.

  • The Battle of Helmgrove: When late word of this large army reached Captain Fflar of Myth Drannor, he immediately set a watch post north of the city at Helmgrove, appointing the company of the Shield of Myth Drannor to the detail…

Iramine Amatar was an eldritch knight from Myth Drannor. At a young age, she entered one of the elves’ many spell casting academies- the Irithlium where she studied both martial and arcane disciplines. When her studies were completed, she joined up with an adventuring troupe called the Shields of Myth Drannor along with a wizard named Eldarniel. Iramine was the lover of the wizard Eldarniel, court magician to the powerful elven king Eltargrim.

Together they explored ancient ruins and plumbed arcane secrets, but their chief passion was finding and cataloging the mystical properties of moonlight, starlight and constellation magic. Some lore masters credit them with discovering silver’s effects on lycanthropes and crafting the first ring of shooting stars.

When Captain Fflar ordered the Sheilds of Myth Drannor to Helmgrove the entire company was destroyed by the demonic forces.

  • Burnt Ridge: A second pre-battle stand was made at Burnt Ridge, where hundreds of the defending wizards were killed…

Yorik of Burnt Ridge was not witty, nor insightful, nor sociable, but the half ogre was fanatically loyal to his employer, the wizard Drendar Wands. For a seemingly young member of the aristocracy, Drendar had many enemies. Yorik protected him with life and limb, though he came close to death on more than one occasion. Unfortunately, it became apparent to Drendar that Yorik was not equipped for the magical conflicts he habitually sought out. Drendar’s ambitions waited for nobody. Drendar returned Yorik’s loyalty in full and forged a weapon of great power for him—an axe known as Lorestealer.  

Because Yorik had no spell casting skill, Azar constructed Lorestealer to compensate for this shortcoming and to shore up his own offensive power. With the throwing axe, Yorik could use a scroll by cleaving its parchment, thereby releasing the stored magic.  

The weapon was put to great use during the Battle of Burnt Ridge and although the battle was lost, Yorik saved himself and his master by cleaving a greater teleport scroll just as defeat was eminent transporting them safely to Waterdeep.

  • Evacuation: Fflar set about evacuating Myth Drannor of all non-combatants, but this began too late and the evacuation continued even as the battle began…

House Nasadra
In the time before the Weeping War during the First Age of Magic, several mighty elf clans battled each other for supremacy over territories in Cormanthor. One of these great elven houses was a drow clan named Nasadra. As the dominion of Nasadra grew strong and influential, clans of the Tangled Trees as well as the Elven Court began to worry the drow house was gaining strength too quickly.

  • Siege of Shadow: The siege of Myth Drannor by the Army of Darkness was named the Siege of Shadow and began on 21 Kythorn, 714 DR. The forward army and the best wizards have been defeated by this point, and only three thousand defenders remain.

Tait Wyvernspur and Gelgar Morn were from Dagger Dale and parleyed with the Brightmantle dwarves to aid them in the war against the Army of darkness. Weapons were forged for these two to ride into battle. The first was the Sword of the Dales a finely crafted bade and Fiend Bane, carried by the cavalier Tait Wyvernspur.

  • Thousands of the Army of Darkness were slain in the battle itself, but they were far too numerous to be stopped by the defenders. They overran the Myth Drannor, burning and pillaging it entirely. Much destruction was caused when wizard towers, still occupied by wizards who had refused to leave, were blown apart, spreading much devastation and unpredictable magic across the city.

When a great Army of Darkness threatened to overrun the world and extinguish all human life. Goblins, giants, and drow formed unholy pacts, creating armies of ghouls, skeletons, wights, and zombies that wiped out entire regions, adding the slain to their undead numbers. Church leaders in the Dalelands could not afford to let bickering and religious differences come between them any longer. One man united them— Tragen Gundwynd. Tragen did not believe in any deity, for what god would allow so many people to suffer at the hands of Gerdreg and the daemons? Tragen did believe in something greater than himself, however—the resilience of humanity. To him, nothing was more divine than this one truth.  
Original Knights of Myth Drannor

As territories fell to the Army of Darkness, fleeing populations were pushed farther and farther inland, into Cormanthor and the Dalelands. They were being herded against the Thunder Peaks, over which they could not climb fast enough to escape their pursuers. Tragen knew this. He rode out to each pocket of dalesmen and urged them to combine forces rather than face extinction—they could not refuse aid, and they were too few in number to make a stand alone.

Tragen gathered all the holy persons around him for a final stand including Argus Kordova and Rudolph Van Richten. That day, the tide of battle shifted without any divine intervention. The dalesmen survived by saving themselves but Myth Drannor was lost.

  • Banes' Duel: At the climax of the battle, Aulmpiter called Fflar forward and the two engaged in one-on-one combat that became known as the Banes' Duel. Both Fflar and Aulmpiter were slain when a magical blast engulfed them.

Only two hundred elves and allies out of the 3000 who remained behind to defend the city escaped. After this, the directionless remnants of the Army of Darkness spread out as far as Sembia. The elves living in the woods around Myth Drannor spent two years ridding their land of the bugbears, flinds, gnolls and orcs who had been part of the army, taking heavy casualties. The elves who took over the ruins of the city ensured that the surrounding area was closed off from outsiders and those of other races, so that another army could not invade; these became known as the Knights of Myth Drannor.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Durg the Philosopher or Death comes A'knockin'

Shrieking winds, crashing waves and roaring thunder combated with each other for dominance in the ears of the climber. Having tethered his boat to the massive craggy pinnacle, he began the arduous climb to the top.

The winds whipped his tattered cloak. The climb took hours, not just because of the climber's deformities but time and space seemed to warp strangely on this discarded, forgotten pseudo-plane. After years of research and tracking, he had finally found the object he had been searching for.

Reaching the top, he heaved himself over the ledge. Clambering to his feet, he stretched to his full height. Although stooped and with a hunch, he rose to over six and a half feet. With his good right hand he attempted to both keep his hood up and keep it closed. His left arm was withered and held tightly to his side. The creature's left leg was twisted and could not extend fully. From his back sprouted two wings, although the left one was stunted, the membrane torn.

Making his way across the pocked, cracked and creviced summit, he limped towards the only remarkable object that occupied the surface. A four foot high slab of black granite, the top edge bisected by an axe of strange make. The haft, made of a demon's thighbone, was split at the knee joint by a wedge of steel, the split was closed by golden wire. The creature collapsed to his knees in front of the tablet. He wiped his clawed hand across the flat surface, revealing writing carved there in Draconic.

         "A good death is it's own reward"

A chuckling wheeze escaped the hood. "Ah, Durg, sire, ever the poet...".  Using the Draconic pronunciation of his father's name, with a soft "g", he pushed himself to his feet. Grasping the axe in his good hand, and with a tremendous wrench, the half dragon/half demon stepped back. A piercing ring, barely audible yet somehow able to drown out all other sounds, Kurst raised the axe high. He then turned and with a swipe in the middle of the air,  slicing open a rift and stepped through, leaving the grave and failing plane forever.