Thursday, June 25, 2015

06/24/15 Virtues Session 8: Team Building

There you go big guy,” Syrendross said encouragingly to his dwarf friend as they traversed the unsteady and sodden tree trunk. “easy does it.” 

Sometime ago a tree had fallen into the river and in that time a canoe had capsized and became lodged creating a partial bridge to the other side of the foothills. A place, Denosia warned was full of poisonous snakes and other dangers.

Behind the dwarf and drow the others proved to be not much of assistance, laughing in good fun as each told a story of how Dolgrin would wind up in the drink. For Dramen, Dolgrin’s fall would be a humorous hard saddling of the log inducing serious genital pain, on and on it went

“Blah, blah, blah,” Dolgrin sarcastically retorted as his feet slowly began to spin the tree trunk, his hand clutched Syrendross for purchase. "soon ye'll get your turn don't ye doubt!"

Eyes on me Dolgrin, don’t listen to them.” Syrendross said smiling despite himself, his purple eyes never leaving Dogrin’s.

Easy for you to say drow.” Said Dolgrin looking down as Syrendross’ feet hovered over the flowing river. But then something else caught the dwarf’s eye, a shape, moving on the side of the canoe; but before he could warn everyone a stinky half orc threw off his concealment and blew what looked like a whistle alerting his companions as well as others in the foothills of interlopers.

Noel (Nalolia)
 Our session begins after our palaver with Kinasia and his wife; we decide to travel back to Surfton to investigate clues from earlier that morning. Upon reaching the town we observe Surfton in full activity with people working for daily survival even tending their own gardens in some cases.

As we investigate we learn that the large central well is fed potable water from the two centrifuge wells that seem to be fed from the ocean. Desalinized the water is fed from the central well to be used for the livelihood of the town.

While in town we inquire about many things; weapons, we are referred to a dwarf named Radrock Cornerstone; but after inquiring about magician’s supplies we were directed to a half-elf woman named Noel. We met up with Noel tending her rows of corn, she was regal in her bearing but cautious, even casing a few detection spells to assure her of our true intentions. As Dolgrin kept watch we inquire about purchasing components, scrolls, and the like; at first she was unsure of our gold resources but soon discovered otherwise.

She expressed her concern for some unregulated trade in town which segwayed into discussion on the residents of Widow Island. With our concerns somewhat aligned she warned that many of these are widows were once wives of pirates and criminals. Nevertheless it is her belief that the orcs would be unprepared for an assault during the barge activity later that night. While to some of us she seemed to be holding something back she was clearly something *more as Dramen believes Noel an arcane elementalist.

We eventually met her son Denosia who after hearing our interest in the orc caves, unsuccessfully evasively implied his guide services in front of his mother. He maintains there are dozens of caves out there and not just orcs; he warns us a hobgoblin that wears warpaint and his human (former pirates) associates, and admits only a half dozen orcs go visit these barges at night. Noel agrees to 80 %(town-non-Perlias-cut)/ 20 % split of the treasure she claims the orcish brutes have hoarded. Well trained as a ranger Denosia agrees to lead us to these caves with his mother’s hesitant blessing.

We stayed with Noel and Denosia into the night learning that the hooved prints seen earlier was likely the warpainted hobhoblin’s Tiefling friend. We were afforded dispel magic, see invisibility, rope trick and uncanny reach from her spell books and in return Noel was given the Tireless spell from Dramen’s spell book. Noel offers up a wand of cure light wounds to be settled upon later as well as other disposable one use items.

Kyras learns that Noel's family is from the Old Faith and looks on pact magic with disdain because of its lack of transparency- ‘you don’t know who you are truly dealing with’. Ryden speaks to her in elven to learn his dialect of elven is very much akin to the walking elves of Earth. We learn Noel is from Miar Moshea the elven duchy. 

Syrendross asked about Miar Moshea and learned it bordered Lockshire. Miar Moshea boasted a large city (DM add name) that was built on the border of Lockshire to facilitate diplomatic relations with the Triskellion King. The capitol of Lockshire is Triskell and Bier De Wetz is its largest city. The Royal family now? While there is a dispute the Boshear Family from Kriet Oppenshire are the current ruling family; who are strongest in city of Watchtower.

9 pm. With nice clear sixty-nine degree weather Denosia takes us outside and into the foothills where the landscape takes an uber-dangerous turn out and away from civilization. We are led to a fallen tree where we encounter a solitary half orc who was killed, but not before blowing a whistle possibly alerting others. We cross the waters to eventually come into contact with two hobgoblins, one covered in dirt and the other concealed in sand- they were both killed in the surprise round.

Soon after Denosia led us to an area of tall grass that sparsely concealed the small glow of a fire where an ogre, and hobgoblins were gathered- some naked, some armored. We successfully killed the ogre; recovered a total of 542 gold, a 100 gold necklace, a suit of full plate armor, 2 potions of CLW, 1 potion of CMW, a grey bag of tricks, a masterwork great sword and great club; and found two paths, one leads to a cliff and relatively open land and the other path led to the first cave entrance. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

House Rules & Advice 2015

House Rules
1. Drinking a Potion is a move equivalent action instead of a standard action

2. 5 Foot Step is changed to whatever your Natural reach is.  This change is primarily for the benefit of larger creatures who have a natural reach of 10 feet or greater, this allows them to take a “step” equal to their size.  Magical changes in size do NOT affect your five foot step.  In hopes of removing all doubt, if the creature or player doesn’t live their regular lives at a larger size it isn’t considered their “natural size” and they cannot take advantage of the greater step.

3. Rolling a natural 1 in combat, including combat maneuvers end your actions that round.

4. Critical Hit cards are optional.  You may draw the card and decide whether to use or not.

5. Critical Miss Cards are optional but you may NOT draw the card and decide.  If you don’t want to draw the card, besides your actions ending for that round you either drop your weapon, fall prone, or suffer some other undesirable fate that is up to the GM’s discretion and matches the attack you were attempting. Once the critical fail card is drawn you are stuck with it unless the GM decides the card doesn’t match the events.  Then the GM applies the fumble however they see fit.

6. Meta Magic Feats that increase a spell by 2 Levels or less get one free use/day. This free use may not be used for scribing scrolls or other magic item creations. 

7. Luck Score is 10 + 2nd lowest stat modifier + Mythic Level

8. Leadership: If anyone takes Leadership, I’ll explain in further detail but I run it differently, essentially using the chart to give a total number of HD of followers rather than a bunch of 1st and 2nd level NPCs.

9. Max Hit Points your 1st three levels and every level that you gain a character point (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th). 

10. Combine Swim & Climb into one skill Athletics. When you put first skill point in rank you must decide if your athletics is strength or dexterity based.  This cannot be changed without following retraining rules. 

House Advice
9. Pay attention! Even when it isn’t your turn/scene and try to limit speaking over others. Check out Facebook alerts and unimportant texts/messages/email before & after the game.

10. Help each other out; combat can pull attention in multiple directions, while the GM is talking about the height of the ceiling, the parties’ spell-caster might be looking up area of effect rules.  If you hear a pertinent fact use the dry erase mat to write it down.

11. Use the dry erase mat to write down bonuses and penalties if you don’t keep track electronically. 

12. Keep good notes, if you recovered a +2 weapon from a combat or bought an alchemical item somewhere it wouldn’t hurt to know it.  Saying I’m going to throw a tangelfoot bag is one thing, saying you’re throwing the last tanglefoot bag from crazy eddies in Gibraltar is more fun and provides the GM an opportunity to get creative. Keeping good notes includes keeping track of the source material your abilities/feats come from.

13. The GM has a lot to try to remember and manage.  Please make the effort to know your own characters abilities.  If you’ve leveled up and it’s the first time doing something, say so, and then we can take our time working through it.

14. This is a game and it’s supposed to be fun.  The higher level the party, the greater the complexity and thus the longer it takes to run combat.  Because of this sometimes a penalty such as being paralyzed feels worse than it was intended because despite the roll only saying three rounds it’s been an hour since you’ve been able to have your character act.  Speak up & say something to the GM.  Not saying that every time something gets said I’ll say yeah that’s long enough but I may come up with a lesser penalty that still allows you to do something.  Along the same lines, if you are sticking with advice numbers 9 & 10 you can still keep yourself entertained and be helpful to the others.  If you are down, help the GM run NPCs, offer to take over initiative until you are back or remind the other players of conditions and effects or how they can help you etc.  If you’ve been “killed” and are waiting for a return to action and don’t want to pay attention to the combat, review notes and previous posts about the game.

15. Remember your party members are counting on you to fulfill your portion of the social contract.  Communication helps.  It sucks to have your character die, it’s even worse when you discover that your fellow player forgot they had that wand of healing or the scroll of restoration.  It’s hard for people to plan if you never communicate your abilities and possessions, or worse don’t know them.  

16. All of us have parts of the game we excel at and portions we don’t enjoy as much.  If you mentally check out during the portions you don’t enjoy as much, those portions are never going to improve.  Try to identify what you don’t like about it and make suggestions for improvement at the appropriate time.  

17. If your character isn’t in the scene find out from the GM if he can make out of character suggestions to the players in scene.  For example, your character is at the temple being healed and the rest of the part heads to a meeting with the Sergeant at Arms.  You ask the GM if you can comment and permission is given.  So during the meeting, you can bring up notes from the blog or points of interest you don’t want forgotten. PAY ATTENTION to the scenes you aren’t in. If the primary review note taker is in a scene and you are not, let that person know you’ll take notes for them while they are involved and you are not.  If there is something you want to be sure is remembered let people know. 

18. Use the blog.  This doesn’t mean you have to post new entries although you are welcome to.  It does mean to read the posts.  Comment on them. Ask Questions.  Make suggestions.  I find the review posts incredibly helpful, please use the comments for corrections as well as reminders, inspiration, and ideas.  Also this is an excellent location to give the GM a heads up you want to do whatever on game day. 

19. LISTEN to each other. Don’t forget to say what you enjoy. Make suggestions for game improvement.    Some of the worst arguments I’ve been in come from when I mentally check out and quit listening to the other person, I think I know their point or perspective and don’t listen only to later discover I didn’t understand what they were trying to tell me.  Most of the time these aren’t major arguments but they are major time wasters. 

20. If you make it fun for others you’ll find yourself having fun too. Make an effort, the more you put in the more you’ll get out.  

Monday, June 22, 2015

You must understand that the touch of your hand makes my pulse react

“Thereg, I appreciate how much you enjoy administering the torture, but you must understand that the precise method is very important for my procedures.” Danormi Asturi reminded his hobgoblin servant.  The cavern chamber reeked of excrement, urine, blood, and fear.  “For the ceremony to work properly, their death and dismemberment must be precise.”
Thereg & Danormi Asturi
The hobgoblin bared his teeth for what would pass as its version of a smile while wrapping himself in his serpent, “Please show me the way again.” Danormi really didn’t have time to waste on instructions again but could not resist the temptation, his eyes sweeping over the remaining eight women, before deciding on the largest of the eight, the widow Markeave. 

Thereg seemed especially excited by his masters choice, “She’s got big bones!” which Danormi understood to mean she could take a lot of punishment.  Smiling grimly the abyssal priest Danormi knew he would have to supervise the remaining sessions if he wanted to get the maximum return on the remaining widows’ organs. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

06/17/15 Virtues Session 7: Avatars

Widow Queylia
Waterlogged and tired the five heroes looked upon a dour island stretch just a few hundred feet from the Evening Isles coast line. Four hours of clinging onto ship wreckage was exhausting, Dolgrin doubted in his centuries of experience as the Champion did he feel as miserable as he did at this moment. But it was not long before Dolgrin was stretching out on solid ground and Kyras orating blessings upon the thin sandy shore.

Our gratitude once again Lady Queylia for rescuing us from the waters, unfortunately you will have to tell us where you have taken us.” Kyras said once he, Dramen and Syrendross had secured the sail boat for their female rescuers- Angels of the Sea he hailed them as.

We are travelers from Gibraltar,” Dramen added sticking the prearranged plan.

And who were the other groups out there,” Syrendross said motioning back to the dark ocean waters, “They did not seem as sincere in their rescue efforts, they looked like they were more interested in recovery than rescuing.”

Giving the drow a concerned look she said, “Our position on this side of the water-wall has empowered selfish individuals who take advantage for personal gain, I speak of the Peralia.”

As she spoke she lead the five companions up the shore line and to a concealed trail that looked well used. “Including victimizing widows of those who died at sea because they were curious about the approaching wall of water. My new friends, I need your help.”

Dolgrin Ironshield
Our session begins with Dolgrin and Rydin awaking in a stone room on the secret island of Grebaria where the two find themselves alive and in the same physical condition as when we were rescued from this island several weeks ago. In a rush, past memories flood back into Dolgrin and Rydin who realize they are in fact Avatars of the legendary heroes Balder Ironshield and Myrddin Og while still identifying as Dolgrin and Rydin.

Along the stone room were what looked like wardrobes but full of avatar forms for each of the group including Captain Zilinias, who Teneel (Sufferance) later explains she keeps as a necessary requirement of her duties as a Virtue.  The room was part of an ancient structure; open to the sky and well hidden from those who did not know of its existence. Here the dwarf and elf meet Industria who for the next three weeks supervises Dolgrin and Rydin’s apotheosis.

Back on the Overwrought Companion Dramen, Kyras, and Syrendross were eased of their sadness and was told by Teneel that Dolgrin and Rydin was alive and to be patient, soon everything would be explained. During the flight back to Grebaria the 'Companion was attacked by a dragon, but to our surprise and the surprise of the dragon, Teneel transformed into a celestial dragon and routed the aggressor quickly. She was an ancient and primal form that invoked a religious experience in all of us.

Reunited and it feels so good, we learn many things regarding Evening Isles history, Grebaria, and  that started this literal campaign of virtue:
what occurred forty-days ago

·         Everything that was done was done at ‘our’ request. Meaning our core characters: ‘The McCaugh’ Jerit McCaugh, ‘The Traveler’ Smendric Wands, ‘War-Wizard’ Myrddin Og, ‘The Champion’ Balder Ironshield, and ‘Monitor of Magic’ Shar Auvryndar -  mainly the Traveler who was lovers with Industira- agreed to aid the celestial dragons (avatars of virtue) against Tiamat (who threaten the parents of these dragons) and they, in their mysterious power, provide ‘us’ a means to do so with Avatars because avatars cannot be killed.
·         History 101: Plight of Earth.
o   Vlad Tepes, a vampire of legend, wanted a world of darkness as he ruled from his flying citadel over the Fields of the Dead. Vlad’s trusted confidant was an individual named Nissian, the wish master and he knew of a world that would be a suitable alternate to Toril. That plane was Earth.  
o   A struggle on Earth was already taking place by the Keeper of the Night Adalwin Joscelin and Myrddin Og who fought the Keeper at every turn. Adalwin was an agent of Hell and this made Hell in turn aware of Earth.
o   Meanwhile Vlad wanted to incorporate Earth into the abyss but was foiled by ‘us’ centuries ago by imprisoning the vampire lord into the sun that now burns over the once perpetually dark world.
·         Grebaria was not connected to the Evening Isles, and when the Isles broke free from its tectonic plate and began its drift it destroyed the two southern islands of Grebaria leaving the farthest northern island behind to evolve in the past eight hundred years into a varied landscape that also serves as home for a small group of humans. It is also part of the Evening Isles and this is protected from evil dragons. It is where the celestial dragons are most powerful.
·         The Dragon of virtue need agents to stop Tiamat/Nissian the last remaining threat to this plane before they can return to their homes.
·         The Dragons of sin fall under Tiamat’s bailiwick and there are three sins currently at work in Africa.

We are magically introduced to each of the celestial dragons of virtue, some of us for the first time as
Kyras, Dramen, and Syredross have not experienced the apotheosis. We discuss plans and agree that the best way to insert ourselves into the Evening Isles is the way most foreigners do: as survivors of Bouvaldia's position as spearhead of the Evening Isles. Noted for the many hostile first contacts,
Rydin Meirdarel
Bouvaldia- once known for its hostility of humanoid races has become melting pot of peoples after being hit hard after many wars with their neighboring duchy Emmerdin Pac Napiay. Claiming we are from Gibraltar we can easily blend in like many others before us.

As we were given 3,000 gp in gems, four pearls of power, a cloak of resistance, and a single bag of holding (T1) we learn the Isles are largely monotheistic, with some cultures still revering the Old Gods of nature and branches therein. Pact magic was once prevalent but now sees service through dark elementalists, contracts with devils, or as demonologists. Bouvaldia possesses the greatest navy in the Evening Isles and their one major city is called Bouvet Keep.

Carved out of Macron Mountain the keep has never fallen. It contains fifty thousand individuals of varying races, a large volcano dwarven population, and is supported by several smaller communities around its base. The Lord of Bouvet Keep is Duke Calias; the keep is racially diverse containing some drow- refugees from before the Drift.

On the forty-first day we were teleported by Teneel to a sea cave near where a conflict had just taken place off the coast of Bouvaldia. Fire burned a ship hull as people swam for floating debris. After floating for four hours three small boats arrived, one for rescuing the other two boats were salvagers and later believed to be human traffickers.

After being rescued by Queylia, an honorable woman, we sailed to a small island within two hundred feet off the coast. Widow Island, as it came to be known, was home to a tribe of fifty women originally widows of sailors who died off shore investigating the Evening Isles. The angels of the deep fed us while describing the ‘others’ at sea as agents of the Peralia family. They are identified by a black crow across a half-moon sigil and represent the widows of the island's greatest threat.

We agree to dispense some justice by rescuing a group of twelve widows believed to be in the possession of the Peralias. We are informed of one of two places- a location in the near-by town of Surfton (pop. 2,000), or a mile and a half away were docks lie near a mountain river outlet.

The Widows provide us with a hut to rest until the next day.

Arriving into Surfton many of us realize that the Peralia family owns much of the town, and that there seems to be an unspoken understanding to the arrangement of salvaging and selling. The town has three major wells, one central large well and two smaller flanking wells on opposite sides; ballista were placed to discourage siege attacks. Many of the buildings lacked doors as each building has a weather beaten quality to them. There were no street signs but it became obvious where to go once Rydin noticed a hidden sigil within the town. Secreted in the Peralia family symbol, on a cornerstone, and again on an inner door frame was an intriguing symbol.

As this was happening Kyras spots hooved tracks in the ground and Syrendross notices two individuals from last night’s rescue seated and distant, but not long after we entered a Peralia shop of sails. Once an opulent home, now re-purposed into the family business; were met Hallsly who sold Rydin some items before we decide to travel onward to the docks.
Corker Peralia

A few minutes out of town we encounter deltas were several docks are arranged bearing the crow-moon of the Peralias, many of the boats varied and unmatched. We are then soon accosted by what seemed like a half-orc, Corker who discouraged further travel along the path.

After some brief interaction and a distraction we learn there is a barge event later tonight at 11:30 but nonetheless evade his attempts to halt our passage. We eventually come across Macron River which is fed by the mountains that Bouvet Keep inhabits fifty miles away. We continue searching for more signs of the mysterious symbol, believing that to be the key to finding the twelve widows.

From the river docks several hails solicited services but it was not long before we are approached by Kinasia and his wife who saw us, naive as we are, and decided to intervene on our behalf. While some of our palaver occurred on the docks we soon retreated to his private ship late that morning to speak openly.

Kinasia explains he has been here for two years; the Peralias are half-orc blooded; and that orcs, a half mile up the mountain, are up to no good with their evil cultish ways. The wife describes a cabal of orc demon followers as well as part of their symbol. We explain our search for the twelve women and learn of a particular gang leader that has been problematic.

We learn that a naval battle a year ago against a doomed island chain was the beginning of it all; for four months battle waged creating an opportunity for the Peralias, but now there are not as many battles to capitalize on so the economy here has dried up. In regards to our problem Kinasia informs us that sometimes the orcs visit the barges at night and, should we request, he and his wife would guide the party to the orc caves. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Dragons of Virtue

Virtue      Latin      Gloss                                                       (Sin)       (Latin) 
Chastity   Castitas  Purity, knowledge, honesty, wisdom      Lust        Luxuria
Abstaining from sexual conduct according to one's state in life; the practice of courtly love and romantic friendship. Cleanliness through cultivated good health and hygiene, and maintained by refraining from intoxicants. To be honest with oneself, one's family, one's friends, and to all of humanity. Embracing of moral wholesomeness and achieving purity of thought-through education and betterment. The ability to refrain from being distracted and influenced by hostility, temptation or corruption.

Virtue                Latin                 Gloss                                                        (Sin)             (Latin)   
Temperance      Temperantia      Self control, justice, honour, abstention  Gluttony       Gula
Restraint, temperance, justice. Constant mindfulness of others and one's surroundings; practicing self-control, abstention, moderation and deferred gratification. Prudence to judge between actions with regard to appropriate actions at a given time. Proper moderation between self-interest, versus public-interest, and against the rights and needs of others.

Virtue            Latin                 Gloss                                                           (Sin)             (Latin) 
Charity          Caritas              Will, benevolence, generosity, sacrifice      Greed           Avaritia 
Generosity, charity, self-sacrifice; the term should not be confused with the more restricted modern use of the word charity to mean benevolent giving. In theology, charity—or love (agäpé) -- is the greatest of the three theological virtues. Love, in the sense of an unlimited loving kindness towards all others, is held to be the ultimate perfection of the human spirit, because it is said to both glorify and reflect the nature of God. Such love is self-sacrificial. Confusion can arise from the multiple meanings of the word "love". The love that is "caritas" is distinguished by its origin – being divinely infused into the soul – and by its residing in the will rather than emotions, regardless of what emotions it stirs up. This love is necessary for salvation, and with it no one can be lost.

Virtue                Latin                 Gloss                                                       (Sin)             (Latin) 
Diligence          Industria            Persistence, effort, ethics, rectitude         Sloth           Socordia
A zealous and careful nature in one's actions and work; decisive work ethic, steadfastness in belief, fortitude, and the capability of not giving up. Budgeting one's time; monitoring one's own activities to guard against laziness. Upholding one's convictions at all times, especially when no one else is watching (integrity). (The vice "acedia" is more commonly known as "sloth".)

Virtue                Latin                 Gloss                                                       (Sin)       (Latin) 
Patience            Patientia            Peace, mercy, ahimsa, sufferance           Wrath        Ira   
Patientia (Peace, Mercy, and Sufferance)
Forbearance and endurance through moderation. Resolving conflicts and injustice peacefully, as opposed to resorting to violence. Accepting the grace to forgive; to show mercy to sinners. Creating a sense of peaceful stability and community rather than suffering, hostility, and antagonism.
Sufferance (Teneel)

Virtue                Latin                 Gloss                                                             (Sin)      (Latin)
Kindness           Benevolentia    Satisfaction, loyalty, compassion, integrity   Envy     Invidia 
Charity, compassion and friendship for its own sake. Empathy and trust without prejudice or resentment. Unselfish love and voluntary kindness without bias or spite. Having positive outlooks and cheerful demeanor; to inspire kindness in others.

Virtue                Latin             Gloss                                                         (Sin)           (Latin) 
Humility           Humilitas       Bravery, modesty, reverence, altruism          Pride            Superbia   
Modest behavior, selflessness, and the giving of respect. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less. It is a spirit of self-examination; a hermeneutic of suspicion toward yourself and charity toward people you disagree with. The courage of the heart necessary to undertake tasks which are difficult, tedious or unglamorous, and to graciously accept the sacrifices involved. Reverence for those who have wisdom and those who selflessly teach in love. Giving credit where credit is due; not unfairly glorifying one's own self. Being faithful to promises, no matter how big or small they may be. Refraining from despair and the ability to confront fear and uncertainty, or intimidation.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Osiris Narrative

Stepping out form the shadow of the Grand Eye Affairs’ opulent archway, the individual simply known as Lisp covered his eyes from the bright sunlight before finally giving up the struggle and drew up his cowl round his bald pate. He was not particularly sensitive to the light but after hours of translating client petitioners in the halls of the ‘Affairs’ office, the daylight was an unwelcome companion.

Although Lisp had corrected his speech long ago, he kept the jibe nickname because he enjoyed the irony the moniker gave him as he rose as a scribe, a translator, and Truenamer. Over the years he has sat in on hundreds of applicants and servitors to the Grand Eye Affairs translating meetings and so forth; most of them seeking simple membership while others came with more unique requests. It was in this duty Lisp had discovered a secret underlying narrative at play that portended a clandestine web of religious maneuvering and intrigue. He called it the Osiris Narrative; Osiris a god of death, life, and creation and as tales would indicate one of the first Truenamer gods.

Walking along the busy street Lisp purchased some fruit from one of the vendors along the congested market; in the distance bells chimed somewhere in the city suggesting that a birth or death had just occurred. It was not long before he decided to take a seat at a particular street side café, he ordered Zenith from a comely servant girl and quietly considered what he learned today.

It had started by accident, his discovery, but when he did the Osiris Narrative mystery awakened a deep curiosity in the Truenamer because hidden from the day to day lives of these people, under the oblivious gazes of the unenlightened was a campaign to restore an ancient high priest of Osiris from the dead.

“Will there be anything else my lord?” the waitress said affably as she placed Lisp’s drink on the wooden table, she possessed an untapped bloodline Lisp could detect; an ability that will likely remain undiscovered.

Before answering her Lisp gingerly took the cup and smelled the sweet wine; it possessed a complex quality that Lisp remembered well. As he took a tentative sip his eyes fell upon a familiar individual, an unwashed remnant of an earlier time as well as the sum of Lisp’s recent machinations.

“Perfect,” Lisp said jovially placing the mug back on the table. “Bring me the bottle lass.”

Once the waitress was out of sight the unkempt beggar crossed the market heedless of any hazards but incredibly not harried in the least.

“Have a seat.” Lisp said as the unwashed man wordlessly presented himself; up close Lisp could see the man for the warrior he once was, old and scarred; but up close Lisp was reminded of a beggar, certainly not a person of divine blood. 

“Do you have what I asked for?” Lisp asked the beggar and when the old man nodded a silent affirmative Lisp invited him to sit down.

No sooner was the old man seated when Lisp’s waitress returned with the requested bottle of Zenith. Lisp spoke but produced no words to anyone else save for the young woman. This strange utterance had an immediate effect on the waitress who seemed to no longer register Lisp’s guest, it was as if the man was not there.

“Well let’s have it then.” Lisp said abruptly as he reached to fill his wine cup.

It was almost a year ago when Lisp made his discovery of the Osiris Narrative and in that time he had learned through his tenure with the Grand Eye Affairs that zealots from around Africa and beyond for years have been trying to unite the remains of a pre-dawn Egyptian high priest of Osiris. It was all writing on the wall for Lisp who possessed intricate knowledge of inquiries from around various Eye branches allowing him a unique perspective to envision a mosaic of connections, chronicles, and lineages.
Lisp turned his attention to the man across from him who was born without a tongue. Lisp promised the man a voice if he should complete a task for him. Unbeknownst to the venerable man he was a distant blood relative to the this high priest and as such possessed exponential value to Lisp, the irony that he was born mute was not lost on the Truenamer. The man was also of value to any zealots who knew about him or anyone else with blood ties to the ancient high priest.

The man reached into a burlap sack and produced a silver amulet bearing a green-skinned face with a silvered tongue and a black pharaoh’s beard; it was an heirloom that only this mute beggar could have retrieved. As Lisp reached for the Amulet of the Silver Tongue the old man balked, noisily indicating his lack of voice and their agreement. Lisp was briefly taken aback, but smiled calmly and gently reached for the old man’s throat. Cautiously the man acquits and allows Lisp to carefully grip his jaw.

Speaking in low tones, time began to slow down for Lisp and the noble-beggar as Lisp violently grabbed the unkempt man by the mouth and tore out the beggar’s jaw-bone with a ripping sound. Passersby slow to a halt around the bloody table oblivious to the sudden gruesome act.

Being careful to retrieve the bottle of Zenith and the silver amulet Lisp kicked over the table as he casually strode away from the café. The people in the market, once held in mid-step, were beginning to move again; slowly at first then quickly back to the busy hustle of the market day.

From behind Lisp several screams washed over him as he considered the implications of what the jaw-bone brings to his plans, as well as the silver amulet he intends to use to bring these zealots under his authority.  

Saturday, June 13, 2015

06/10/15 Virtues Session 6: The Eagle Has Landed

Near the couple, the Halfling was urging the two horse team along and into open waters when Achdril asked Iadryn, “It should have happened by now, we should not have reached this far out.”

Damn Sneegs,” Iadryn said under his breath as the couple moved to one of the wagons. 

The tar smell of the Sneegs was potent even with scented stuffing, it was the one thing they hoped would not give the Sneegs away not until they had the jump on their marks. Trying not to attract attention the couple began a casual inspection of the wagons and quickly realized the problem.

“The ropes are too tight.”

“What? All of them?”

It was just then one of the marks; a dwarf approached the edge of the ferry and began to relieve himself, the two conspirators fell silent while behind them the one known as Papa Sneeg began to move in short fits trying to escape his wagon.

Alarmed at how far from Gibraltar they are Iadryn said, “Cut this one loose and meet me at the front of the ferry with the token, I will free the rest of the Sneegs. This is going to be bad for Radrust. ”

Our session begins early Wednesday, disembarking from Gibraltar on Radrust’s Ferry for passage to Tingis a haven for scum and villainy. Marveling at Radrust’s automation of his ferry we notice four heavily laden wagons with horses, and a couple (later learned to be Achdril and Iadryn Mortant) conversing to themselves.

Our outlet into the ocean felt a bit uncontrolled; but Radrust expertly guided the ferry into the currents as the horses worked and pulled. The Halfling moved about between his wheel and the horses, feeding and talking to the animals.

As we enter open waters Kyras realizes the odor he detected earlier was tar, just as Papa Sneeg and three other Sneegs finally worked their way from their Trojan-wagons. As the battle was joined Achdril and Iadryn Mortant pulled blades against Radrust warning him to stand down, this action by known associates would later unsettle Halfling ferry-master. 

When the battle was ended Papa Sneeg was confirmed dead while the three other Sneegs either jumped overboard as was the case for one or were deposited into the salty seas unconscious. We search and find some potions on Papa Sneeg (distributed*) as well as stuffing that was employed to complete the ruse.

Radrust explains his agreement between the Mortant’s and after further inquiries we discover Radrust knows our (Captain’s Zilinias’) contact in Tingis, a character by the name of Belac. He was described as fat and well-dressed, always in a hurry, and is our way of selling the Sneeg wagons.

Me Rudder!
Unfortunately during the battle Radrust was incapacitated, this allowed the ferry to voyage off course and ram into a wrecked ship damaging his ferry’s rudder. He wanted to take the ferry to shore to inspect and repair the damage on the African side of the straight. 

Coming up on shore we fought off electric eels, goblins, and beach dogs and soon afterward were off to the sea again, but Radrust was keen on keeping the shore close. This eventuality will set us back a day and comes with the danger from the coastal ruins of previous Tingis structures.

A storm begins to gather about an hour later as Radrust navigates through the tall offshore stone islands; some of us see further ahead several ships also taking precautions against the storm. Lightning flashes and Radrust suddenly goes pale- “Make for Land- if it smells the horses we are finished!”

Emerging from the storm clouds came the unsated dragon; acid clouds rained down as the dragon destroyed two ships, sinking five in all. What followed was a tense hour as Radrust took us into the storm regardless of damage to his ferry. Finally reaching a lagoon near a couple of fairly sturdy ruins we flee to a two story structure and Radrust stays in the hold with his horses.
Balloon Lander One

Rydin finds a ledger of simple numbers and realizes the building is in use by two groups of perhaps twenty. We secure the building and await the storm, but before too long we notice a group of orcs, duergar driving a half dozen slaves to the shore.

The battle taxed us to the very limit taking place around the structure and then at the shore as we tried to escape, but in the end Dolgrin and Rydin died their forms falling like skin-bags. When all seemed lost Techarius, Commander of Balloon Lander One descended from the turbulent sky to scatter the slavers and rescue us from certain doom.

We were awarded with enough XP to attain third level and our first mythic tier. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Radrust Ferry

“Message for you sir,” called out the delivery boy, “return message is already paid for.”  Music to to the Halfling’s ears, Radrust read the message and told his young messenger, “Tell them their weights and measures can be accommodated.”  After a moment of uncomfortable silence Radrust reluctantly reached into his coin purse and handed the lad three copper coins, exclaiming to him  “Waaaa thank you!, off you go!” The young messenger shook his head at the tip before leaving but the halfling was already lost in his own reverie. Radrust was pleasantly surprised by the uptick in business and said a silent prayer to Brandobaris, “Could you keep this good fortune up and while you’re at it, keep the dragon sleeping and sated. “  


Monday, June 8, 2015

All It Takes For Evil To Flourish

Athecia couldn’t stop her tears when she and the dozens of other slaves were lead into the stone room.  The Tuskers had all of them surrounded, herding the slaves into the long room, before departing through the rear door to the upper chambers.  Athecia realized what the other slaves had not, their only connection to each other was that they didn’t sell at the slaver’s market; Athecia feared whatever fate this Duergar clan had in store for them.  


In a matter of minutes the chamber grew completely dark the only sounds the noises the slaves were making, petty arguments for personal space breaking out.  Then the wave of screams began, Athecia looking blindly to the front of the chamber where the screams originated when the fear hits her, mind numbing irrational fear.  Athecia the slave could hear her own voice yelling out for salvation, her last thoughts panicked sobbing and retching along with the dozens of others overwhelmed by the draconic presence fast approaching.  Stone gears groan lowering the stone wall ahead of them briefly revealing the night’s sky before the huge maw of the dragon enters the stone room and begins to feed. 

Dramen journal entry Tingis

Dramen sat quietly as the ferry glided through the strait on its way to Tingis. He thought it best to stay out of site should any pirates decide to make a run at the small craft. He had managed to squeeze into a cubby created by a barrel of fresh water & several bags the Halfling had loaded just prior to casting off.

Though his eyes never strayed from the pages of his spellbooks, he had trouble focusing on the spells they contained. His conscience had been troubling him since they had agreed to take the ferry to Tingis. Even though his arcane training had taught him to be diligent in all his endeavors, he could not get the thought of the rotund Rynocia out of his mind. If Torphine was correct and she was in fact being forced to serve the duergar, something had to be done.

We would have certainly taken her help against the Sneegs. However since things fell together without her, he feared his comrades have pushed her gelatinous form from their minds. Should we allow someone to suffer due to their physical differences? I am sure Syrendross would be the first to stand against that form of prejudice. It seems even more unjust to condemn her because of Kyras’ dislike of Torphine.

He knew Dolgrin would leap at the opportunity to move against the dark dwarves. But was unclear what the rest of his companions would think. He wanted to discuss the situation with his friends, but that task was not before them currently. He wanted to take full advantage of this opportunity to please his new captain & the lady Teneel. Retrieve the letter of marque & the stolen necklace from Tingis. All other distractions needed to be forced from his mind. He turned his focus on the task at hand; perhaps Rynocia could be discussed on the return trip.              

Z’hind-del Syrendross: Second Entry, Day Seventeen

Not chest nor box is now discussed.
Money can be held in it, but just as we test its metal, within there is rust.

The answer is trust, but as the riddle states when trust is tested, one may find it not as strong as it was believed.

I recall short glimpses of my homeland where trust ends when words began, but among my friends who trust me and I in turn them, how can I trust anyone else. I had originally thought to temper my drow heritage with unawareness but I find that my race almost always comes with certain implications and pretenses that bring about an immediate distrust in me before I am judged by my character. It is why I sought to reach out to Archmage Endroth after our brief meeting yesterday; I wanted to convey that I was an individual of character who exists outside racial orders. 

But if my suspicions because of my race is true, who then can I say I trust? If my drow heritage immediately invokes feelings of mistrust or at the very least unease in someone, then could I sincerely trust that individual? I trust my friends with whom I have had the honor to fight alongside many times, but who else can be considered within our circle of trust, surely Captain Zilinias and Teneel Marks.

Then I ask myself what or who do I immediately distrust, what race or thing brings about in me the same suspicion I sometimes cause in others? My answer to that would be anything that services sin: gluttony, avarice, and pride among others including evil cults, greedy money organizations, and vile religions who worship excess and false idols and who distain the purity of the mortal soul. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Balder Ironshield

Balder Ironshield stepped carefully through the battlefield. The bodies of the slaughtered knights and their mounts littered the hillside. Clutching holy symbol, he uttered  prayers for the fallen. " They're Tormish, to be true, and human, but i don't think Clangeddin will mind. Honored dead are honored dead."
"Well mostly human", he said as he stood looking at the fallen troop commander.
"Lieutenant Lady Arken here was an Aasimar." Balder gazed down for several long moments. Picking up her fallen longsword, he frowned. "Doesn't make sense." he said examining the sword. "I recognise this Hall-mark" turns the blade, " and the Master mark! This is one of the finest swords west of Cormyr!" Planting the sword point first next to it's owner, he bent to examine the body closer.
"Obvious wound to the neck" he said referring to the almost decapitation, "but here are two strange punctures to the lower back. Hmmm. Something strange is going on here."
Letting the body fall back, he stepped to the dead mount. Drawing a fighting knife, he worked at an object imb'edded in the warsaddle. After a minute he managed to pry free a small bolt head the strange metal flaking in his haminvds. Cursing he stowed the bolthead in his spiked gauntlet and stood quickly. Witgh a speed and grace that belied his earlier ponderous gait, Balder quickly moved around the battlefield,the Axe gripped tigghtly in his left hand. He scanned the battlefield knowing what he'd find but praying he was wrong.
He wasn't
He turned to the group of knights waiting on the road above and made a signal.

 Captain Lady Kimber Swordsheen, fed apple slices to her war horse as she watched Balder walk the battlefield. She was sweating in her goldwashed plate and her white surcoat. "He must be baking in that black enameled Adamantine plate." she mused.
"Thirty seven dead" she thought bitterly. "All mine. Torm help me,  but someone's going to pay. "
"What's he doing NOW?!?" The voice broke her out of her reverie, grating on her nerves.
"He's doing what I asked. Now be quiet,  Bjorn, or I'll have you escorted back to Nesmé!"
Turning her attention back to Balder, she noticed he was moving quickly across the battlefield. "When he wants to, Balder can move as nimbly as any Waterhavian duelist" she noted with amusement. He stopped, and looking right at her, signalled something. Raising her hand to shade her eyes she stepped forward waiting for Balder  to send it again. When he did, her blood ran cold as she read the sign.
Clapping her helm on her head she swings into her saddle, voice ringing out "Sir Rollo! Raise the Eagle! Sir Gwydion!  Sound Recall and Rally To The Colors! "
"Wh wh what? " Bjorn sputtered
"What did he say? " Bjorn demanded
As the white silken flag with a golden eagle unfurled and clear bugle notes sounded, Kimber reined her mount around and looking grimly at the Northman, said "Drow. That was the Dwarven Tunnelspeak sign for Drow ".
Balder looks up as Kimber approaches leading his horse.
"You're sure? " she asked
"Aye,  lass. I'm sure" he sighed.
By now the scattered knights were converging on the upraised banner.
Half hour later, they were formed up and moving swiftly south towards Nesmé.

06/03/15 Virtues Session 5: The First to go Last

Dolgrin Ironshield
Stretching their legs after the successful execution of returning Rhios Ranoughy’s Landskipper, Dolgrin and Dramen stepped lightly in the late morning hour.

Wait,” Dramen said to his dwarven friend. “I think I hear Teneel speaking…

Slowly they crept until voices began to clarify. On the other side of the Captain and Teneel’s Silo suite, both of the young adventurers could indeed hear a strange exchange between the two Overwrought officers.

Say again my dear.” Zilinias Marks was saying questioningly to his wife.

It was back on the Evening Isles, you have just forgotten,” Teneel replied casually.

But my dreams…” Zilinias said somewhat irritated at himself.

Let them go,” Answered his wife followed by a soft smack of a kiss. 

In the hallway Dramen and Dolgrin exchanged questioning looks, “The Captain has faults in his memory too?”

Our session begins just before 5 pm as we prepare for our task of retrieving Rhios Ranoughy’s Landskipper from the Sneegs. Accompanying us would be Teneel along with a few Redshirts and the human sorcerer Beasly who would join the fight along with us. During the night we captured the feel of the life and flow of the city including a house bard on Tuesday night. Just before midnight Teneel and the redshirts would depart to retrieve the small boat she would use to board the Landskipper when we capture it and Beasly would aid with counter spells and aids.

Midnight saw the five of us defeat Ghaurni Sneeg, and the capture of Beunt and Rileg Sneeg. An elf-born called Nyshskel on the battle field jumped overboard and was allowed to escape to honor our prior agreement that we would not murder, but deaths on the battlefield are sometimes unavoidable. We successfully captured the Landskipper in forty-eight seconds.

As Teneel and the redshirts were navigating the Landskipper to the proper side of Gibraltar’s bay, Rydin discovers and opens the concealed hold. Inside was plunder as well as a master work trident with demonic religious symbols of Dagon. We confiscated the treasure but left behind Rhios’ cannon powder as well as the evil-looking spear.

Before Teneel left we gifted her with a anchor feather token as well as an aquatic cummerbund. As she was rowing away Syrendross, Rydin, and Kyras traveled to the Ranoughy Estate while Dramen and Dolgrin remained on the Landskipper with the prisoners.

Aran Ranoughy
1:30 am. The guards at the Ranoughy estate were not very receptive but after a time we were met with Aran Ranoughy who informs us “Father is ill, but he was prepared to reward us.”

After that ominous statement we take him to where his father’s Landskipper is berthed and we were once again reunited. Aran Ranoughy was good to his father’s word and would increase Rydin and Dramen’s tier status at the Grand Eye Affairs as well as the bonus that we all distributed evenly among ourselves.

4 am we arrive back at the Silo to rest and recover.

Later that morning Dolgrin and Dramen head out to the Longhouse to barter off our recovered plunder (80% of its value), and to purchase potions, tattoo ink, and fine rum for the crew of the Overwrought Companion. They also hear murmurings of individuals asking about passage to the Evening Isles or where the islands could be. But before Dolgrin and Dramen left the Silo they overheard a strange conversation between Teneel and the Captain, and then later at the Longhouse they see Teneel talking with Peryf and Zodra Baxter.

Back at the Silo Dolgrin and Dramen rejoin their friends as well as the irritating and tenacious Torphine Athraky who quickly wears out his welcome.

My friends, I have a great opportunity for us. See, we get paid to sail a ship to Tingis and when we arrive, we get to find some way back to Gibraltar.”

I’m tired of his voice and EVERYTHING about him!” (Kyras shows us his druidic rage power.) 

It was quickly tabled and then agreed upon that we would spend 6 silver pieces each for a round-trip ferry to Tingis. The look on Torphine’s face… priceless. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Samvori Motivates Rynocia

Onnnnkkkkkkkkkk” Samvori bleated his words in a high pitched gibberish completely unintelligible to most non- Duergar as he and the ogre’s woman entered the lobby of Baxter’s Recoveries.

“I have hurried you little tyrant! I can’t hurry the Baxters!” Rynocia whisper shouted at the small creature trailing behind her, clearly understanding his mewling. 

onk onk ONKKKKKKKKKKK” the grimy creature threatened, “ONNKKKKKKKKK. Blick ONNNK”

“I need to be able to concentrate long enough to fill out the bill of lading and speak with their agent, a few moments of silence pleaseeeee arghhhh!” Rynocia’s instructions were interrupted by the electoral jolt her slave collar delivered knocking her to the floor.  Samvori her Duergar master brandishing a golden disk and smiling malevolently over her, Rynocia grew silent and stood, quickly filling out the bill of lading. 

Entering the lobby from the back stairs Zodra Baxter was almost caught staring at bizarre appearance of Rynocia, whose normally sloppy and ugly appearance was overcome by her hair, drawn and strung straight out as if greased into spikes.  Catching herself staring, Zodra forced a smile and took the crudely written bill from Rynocia who remained quiet.  Zodra gave the bill a perfunctory glance, smiling at the ugly woman while explaining, “My brother has inspected the delivery and agrees you have successfully delivered the bounty,” before sliding over a small leather pouch full of coins.

Grime covered thick fingers slid over the counter snatching the leather pouch of coins while dragging Rynocia away from the counter and out the door. Zodra watched the strange dirt covered dwarf and ugly giant woman leave thinking how strange they both had acted which reminded Zodra of other strange bounty hunters they had worked with through the years.  

Zodra tossed the bill of lading in the daily receipts box.  The note Rynocia had hastily scribbled would go unread until Zodra’s brother asked her about it when finalizing receipts at close of business that evening. “Zodra? Zodra? Did you see this?  Peryf Baxter was running up the stairs into his sister’s apartment, the bill gripped in his hand.  Zodra stepped into the hall as her brother hurried to her and looked down at the paper, the symbol for danger and the word HELP staring back at her.

Peryf & Zodra Baxter