Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Order of the Lynx

The office of knight, Order of the Lynx is to promote the faith & protection of earth, and to protect those who seek to worship the green faith anywhere upon The Evening Isles.

Be loyal of hands and mouth while serving every man as best you may. Seek the fellowship of good men; hearken to their words of wisdom and remember them. Be humble and courteous wherever you go, boasting not nor talking overmuch, neither be silent altogether. Look to it that no lady, damsel, cripple or child be in reproach through your default, nor any woman of whatsoever quality. And if you fall into company where men speak with disrespect of any woman, cripple, or child, show by gracious words that it pleases you not, and depart. Defend the weak so that all may receive the full bounty of the earth.  

The Lynx Sword Prayer  "Hearken we beseech Thee Mother Earth, to our prayers, and deign to bless the knightly hand bearing this sword with which your servant desires to be girded, that it may be in defense of gardens, forests, oceans, lakes, and streams; widows, orphans and all thy servants against the scourge of the faithless, that it may be the terror and dread of all evil-doers, and that it may be just in both attack and defense."

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Castle Keirkin & The Hamlet of Hillshade

The place between the hills
Keirkin Castle sat squarely in the center depression between four large hills some twenty miles southwest of Bouvet Keep.  Guard towers were erected on each hill, with walls built between each tower, providing the land and castle within spectacular protection.  Construction was a constant noise in the area, usually from those citizens who sought the protection of the Count.  Outside the Keirkin walls the small hamlet of Hillshade had developed to a size of some thirty homes and six businesses. The protection provided by the Count and his two hundred troops to the people of Hillshade engendered a fierce loyalty to Count Keirkin. Crime is nearly unheard of with disputes being handled by Sherriff Radolia, Arbiter Eldisia Keirkin (niece of the Count), or in rare cases Count Khris Keirkin.  Hillshade is currently preparing for the wedding of the beloved Count to Ardinia Delaway, an exotic woman who hails from one of the islands the Evening Isles has traveled past. 
Count Khris Keirkin
Ardinia Delaway

Sherriff Radolia

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The River Baron

Count Keirkin 
“There are several areas that my agents have identified along the Macron River.  You will travel to these areas and determine if there is enough of the elemental touched stone to begin crafting Scraphite.” Count Keirkin explained.  "These areas are economically impoverished; the acquiring of lands may be as simple as offering sponsorship in the Duke’s armies for the land owners children. Therefore to empower you to purchase these lands in my name I have decided to name you my River Baron, kneel and receive your commission. “
Zhor Iendo

The gnome’s small stature was especially noticeable kneeling before the tall human count.  Zhor Iendo kept his head bowed while listening to the Count say the words that filled the gnome with pride, River Baron.  The Count, lowered his ceremonial blade, lightly tapping each of Zhor’s shoulders before instructing the gnome to rise anew in service to royal family Keirkin.  Eyes wet with tears of joy the gnome rose and followed his Count into the Map room where he would receive further instructions.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A History of Pact Magic; Researched, Compiled and Written by Jerit McCaugh, published by the Brothers Ferdinand, Watchtower. Volume the First

 Pact magic is the oldest form of arcane magics practiced by humanity in the Isles, and thus in the world. Before The Coming of The Sun, this orb we dwell on existed as a small plane, comprised of The Evening Isles, the Continent and a few scattered islands. The first creatures who were somewhat civilized, and thus able to build a civilization were inherently magical; elves, dragons, dwarves and a small smattering of other races. Humans were in a  primitive state, little better than animals and off enslaved by the higher order.

 It is impossible to say what came first to man, divine or pacts. There is no doubt that the other ruling races worshipped deities, and received magic from this. Also it is documented that they freely practiced arcane magics, as well. Records of their dealing with humans, however are inexact, confusing and often misleading. Three theories of the beginning of Pact magic spring to mind.

  Theory the First:  Man begins worshipping gods. Other men observe this and the rewards bestowed upon the worshippers. They ask themselves 'why must I bow and scrape to receive what someone decides to give me?' Through mankind's work with the higher races, they make contact with  the various elements and outsiders to begin working the complex contracts which would lead to today's pact magic.

  Theory the Second:  Man is lured with thoughts of power and freedom by evil outsiders; demons and devils, for instance. Thus began the practice of witchery and warlockism. A few men see that they've simply traded one master for another and began seeking an alternative. Whomever made the first step; good, neutral or uninterested evil outsider to man or vice versa, it makes no difference. Contact was made, and then history.

  Theory the Third: Divine and pact were discovered simultaneously, without either discoverer aware of the other's work.

  Through centuries of working pacts, man eventually gained the ability to touch magic and thus began mankind's exploration of arcana. In the following pages, we will investigate the deep, hidden history of pact magic, its influence on the world and it's relevance today.

07/22/15 Virtues Session 10: The Necromancer of Surfton

The sun over the western horizon reflected off thin cirrus clouds casting a crimson glow on the weather-beaten structures of Surfton; the river, the color of blood. Three houseboats huddled together in the hellish dusk, overwrought with animated cadavers; the heroes of virtue nevertheless have the Necromancer Vaigh and her half-orc lover Corker in a sudden retreat.

Levitating over Moed, Kinasia and Vaigh Chek’s houseboat, six cadavers climbed over themselves to get at the drow as Syrendross sent a bolt of disrupting positive energy at one of the animated cadavers surrounding Dramen giving him enough space to escape by diving into the dark waters.

To his left one of the other houseboats, the Ainau, was beginning to move from its berth; below the drow could see Corker likewise dive into the river, keen on boarding the Ainau. Back on the Moed the remaining cadavers moved to surround Kyras and Dolgrin who destroyed each undead that meandered near his deadly weapon- then from one deck to another Rydin leaped onto the escaping Ainau.

Watching Rydin’s attacks Syrendross called upon his magical abilities and lit up Vaigh in fairy fire removing her advantage of invisibility, then slide between dimensions to the front of the escaping houseboat just as Dramen likewise reached the relative safety of the Ainau. Both heroes watched as Rydin succumb to an intelligence damaging spell effect. Back on the Moed the Paladin continued to demolish the undead; the druid however was in dire peril, surrounded by several diseased undead.

Dramen!” Syrendross yelled to his friend, “Kyras is in trouble, transpose us before…”

But before Syrendross finished his statement Dramen castled the arcanist and druid granting Kyras a reprieve while putting the drow in the middle of the remaining cadavers; but before any of the cadavers could take advantage Syrendross immediately transported himself in the perfect position for a deathstrike on the Necromancer with a heavily modified magical orb.

Our session began at Noel and Denosia’s residence fully rested, hungry, and eager. We relay our last night’s adventure in the goblin caves to Denosia’s mother- some of us careful of the tale, others speak of nothing else but Denosia’s deadly capabilities. Four of the rescued widows returned to their island community, but two others who were grievously wounded were graciously taken into Noel’s care. Noel, having some minor questions herself- our destinations- was cautiously optimistic. Syrendross admitted the task was unfinished.

Noel spoke of the possibility of uniting the two communities and perhaps forgive past crimes- the widows and Surfton, but admitted the task at hand was unfinished while the Perlias were in control and an unknown necromancer has yet to be confronted. We said we would relay the offer when we venture there today.

It was then Denosia came in and described Kinasia’s wife to us walking away from his mother’s garden eavesdropping. It was suspicious so we asked Denosia to follow her and meet us at Widow Island later that afternoon.

After that Noel confronted Rydin about taking Denosia on our adventure and just what was our mission statement. “We are here to combat a growing evil in the Evening Isles.” She had many questions from how was it that the widow’s saved ‘US’, to where are we going. Eventually we learn that Noel and Denosia are decedents of the founder of Lynx, a knighthood in the Cat Mountains on the Emmerdin Pac Napiay side. And while it is not widely known, Denosia’s relation could be a help to our cause. She wishes us to return before we leave, she has contacts for us.

At noon we arrive at Widow Island and meet with the four survivors with great enthusiasm- they were beyond thankful. They told us about their captivity and that not everyone was in the cave that night, some had left early; and there was a woman who gave orders to the orcs. To the widows this woman was a betrayer.

Eventually we meet up with Queylia as we wait for Denosia to relay to the widows Noel’s offer of uniting the two communities and for us to win the help of the widows to get to the barge- thinking the barge was our next course of action. The barge was described as a faction ruled black-market on the waters five miles out, Queylia said they have a good chance on getting us close to the barge, but in the long run she does not know what to expect.

At 5pm, as Queylia is rallying her widows Denosia comes running in a magically induced panic- eyes wild, sweat on his brow he eventually calms down to relay the results of his tracking.

Denosia followed Kinasia’s wife to the Moed, their houseboat and waited. He did not see Kinasia but after a time he saw her leave the Moed and head east up the docks. Waiting until she was out of sight he crept on board, looked around and was convinced these people were hiding something as the place did not have a very lived-in appearance. Pressing on Denosia soon became panicked and fled here to Widow Island.

We traverse to the docks where we do not see Corker but notice many towns folk display recent injures. With magical assistance we discover Kinasia’s houseboat and the two adjacent vessels radiating strong necromancy, and evil. Boarding the ship(s) we were successful in defeating the Necromancer Vaigh Chek (her husband dead), taking her lover Corker prisoner- surrendering to the Paladin, but dispatching their undead.

After the battle we discover all three ships belong to the necromancer and her diseased husband, unfortunately for Kinasia he paid the ultimate price for revealing his suspicions to us. We recover and distribute items of worth among our group and return to Noel’s humble home.

We begin next session with the intention of bringing Corker Peralia to Bouvet Keep and ultimately justice, but first some of us have the filth fever. We gain 3,700 xp and our second mythic tier. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Spell book of the Necromancer Vaigh Chek

Necromancer of Surfton
First: Chill touch, grease, mage armor, ray of enfeeblement, shield, shocking grasp. (reduce person- player choice)

Second: Blindness/deafness, false life, ghoul touch, scorching ray, spectral hand, touch of idiocy. (invisibility- player choice)

Third: Hold person, lightning bolt, ray of exhaustion, vampiric touch. (haste- player choice)

Fourth: Animate dead, dimension door, enervation. (dimensional anchor- player choice)

Fifth: Feeblemind, hungry pit, suffocation. (teleport-  player choice)

6 black onyx gems, masterwork dagger and morticians tool. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Three Legged Stool in Tingis

When the tall elven wizard opened the door to the tavern all the dwarves grew quiet inside, staring at the strange elf. “I always knew you could find me, I just always figured when you finally showed up again it would be to ask me to go fight another war, another dragon, demon or devil!”  Thralgrim Grimbeard stood behind his bar laughing which lead to the young dwarven patrons drunkenly singing several dwarven dirges.  It was a rare sight to see, the smiling old dwarf completely satisfied with himself, a well rehearsed line delivered perfectly for just this occasion.
Myrrdin Og

Myrddin Og entered The Three Legged Stool to the unique sounds of Thralgrim’s laughter against the backdrop of dwarven singing, surprised to find himself laughing too.  In moments Thralgrim had an oversized wine glass filled with his own brand of dwarven ale placed in front of his ancient elven friend.  The use of a wine glass for ale was the old dwarf’s “subtle“means of teasing Myrddin for his elven heritage.

Thralgrim’s tavern The Three Legged Stool stood two stories tall, entirely crafted of stone in the small dwarven district of Tingis. The bar was always full and had gained a reputation locally as an excellent place to acquire information.  The bar didn’t sell information; rather the old dwarven barkeep had the amazing ability to get information out of anyone who was brought to him for that purpose. In fact the tavern was named after the dwarf’s preferred information gathering technique.

It soon became apparent to all in attendance that the two old humanoids were not only old friends, but companions whose trust was forged on shared battlefields.  Their conversation of old war stories passed through the night and into the morn. Finally with only a few passed out drunken dwarves remaining Thralgrim asked Myrddin the purpose of his visit.

“Advice is the help I seek old friend. I recently had a dinner that has troubled me since I left it, further it is such a conundrum for me that I would value you your perspective. “  With that, Myrddin went on to tell his old cohort the amazing tale of the Mages Four (and One More proclaimed Thralgrim after hearing the story).  Myrddin waited in the telling of the tale as long as he possibly could before revealing the Dragons of Virtue and Sin. “Since that meal I have been left with a feeling of disquiet and unease beyond my normal paranoia and distrust, I was hoping you might place your finger upon it.”

Thralgrim stared at the wizard for a few moments, his one good eye filled with disappointment and annoyance, “Elves can be so stupid.” Before continuing, “Not that I haven’t enjoyed your visit but we could have gotten a lot more sleep had you spoken up sooner! Virtue? Sin? Bah! You’re nothing more than meat to a dragon!”

Friday, July 17, 2015

07/15/15 Virtues Session 9: Release the Vipers

Has he returned?” Dolgrin asked pacing near the cave opening being careful not to step on the remains of the destroyed skeleton.

If Syrendross had returned he would have said something, he’s invisible not mute.” Dramen said to the anxious dwarven war-priest.

The night was advancing quickly now and evil was growing stronger. As Denosia was gathering arrows Kyras was putting Noel's (Nalolia) curative wand to its uses by mending wounds on Rydin as well as Doldrin; while Syrendross, hidden from undead and from sight, scouted the silent cave.

It’s been almost a minute.” Dolgrin said grabbing his rune encrusted axe, “I am heading down there.

But just as his companions moved to stop him, Denosia gathered his deadly bow, until an even-toned elven voice spoke in the language of the Realms.

Syrendross’ speech was quickened as if he returned in haste. “Dolgrin my friend no need to worry.”

Bah! I did not want you soiling your hands with the blood of our enemies, or stealing notches in me axe!” Dolgrin said blindly to the cave opening.

From behind Dolgrin Syrendross, using an arrow plucked from Denosia’s quiver, began to draw in the ground. Slowly a layout including a passage to an alcove that opened to a forty-foot cavern began to render itself on the ground.

Standing next to the dwarf Dramen noticed Dolgrin was still holding his axe and addressing the empty cave opening. The conjurer turned the dwarf around to listen to what the drow was saying. Dolgrin was astonished to see a floating arrow drawing a map in the thin top soil.

I saw a couple of orcs here and here, these seemed to be accompanied by wargs.” Syrendross said as he represented the orcs with various stones.

Snakes!” Rydin exclaimed, interrupting the war-meeting. 

But before anyone could react Kyras’ eyes began to glow like fire as he began to pray to the Old Gods. The fire from his eyes extinguished when Kyras closed his eyes in spell-casting sending the fiery light coursing down his arms and out of his out stretched hands. Kyras opened his eyes and sent a flaming sphere down the cave incinerating the deadly vipers.

You were saying?” Kyras asked without a hint of sarcasm.

Gratitude Kyras,” Syrendross said before continuing. “I also saw four hobgoblins, a couple of cloaked humanoids and a hell of a lot of vipers just like those.” Syrendross paused before continuing, “Companions, I believe we have found the women," indicating squares on his map with the arrow, "but I fear we may be too late.”

Those cloaked individuals are who I warned you about gentlemen.” Denosia said picking up the stones, tiny stand-ins of his enemy. The ranger was now anxious to be off. “Do you wish me to say and guard your back or go with you?"

We leave it to you good ranger,” Kyras said respectfully but enthusiastically.

Denosia saw that everyone was in agreement except…

Indeed good ranger what say you?” the unseen Syrendross asked.

Lead us on good drow.” Denosia said taking up his bow. "Let us stop these vial creatures." 

Our session began at the entrance to a cave opening battling flying corbies as well as a couple of fast pirate zombies and one sword and shield skeleton. Defeating them alerted someone to our presence.

Taking advantage of an on-going hide from undead and invisibility Syrendross advanced down the cave entrance Denosia lead us to. The cave traversed down while another mild path lead to a ridge and beyond our sight; we eventually learn the escape hatch used by fleeing opponents led here.

The battle took less than a minute, seeing the escape of both cloaked humanoid spell-casters, and orc and warg and a hobgoblin or two.

We were successfully able to save six women however one’s mind is broken/insane and another is unconscious with several snake bites. We destroyed the body parts that where being specially prepared (using vile torturous techniques) as meta-magic components for sale on the barge, furthermore we destroyed spells written by the evil spell-caster.

We gain enough XP to achieve our fourth character level and have completed the first of two mythic trials.

We begin next week having gathered valuables, and have rested in Surfton at Nalolia’s residence and her corn rows. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I didn't know they could fly

Chasing after the escaped hobgoblins leads you towards the cave entrance, everyone will roll a luck score, perception check, and initiative.  Swooping down from above the cave you see..

Winged Dire Corby
Winged Corbies

Wingless corbies are the norm, but reports occasionally surface of dire corbies with wings. Whether these specimens are naturally born throwbacks to that remote time when all corbies possessed the power of flight, the offspring of unholy unions with other winged creatures of the dark depths—such as cloakers, bats, or demons—or the product of magical experimentation (such as drow fleshwarping) is unknown. Winged corbies usually inhabit vast subterranean caverns that give them room to fly, but have been reported above ground as well, stealthily winging through nighttime skies. A winged corby has its climb speed replaced with a fly speed of 40 feet (average maneuverability), and it has the Fly skill (+5) instead of Acrobatics.

Old Giant Proverb Between a Rock and a Rock

Mountain Symbol
Kimit stared at the symbol carved into the mountain wall.  He understood what it was supposed to mean but didn’t understand how it could be true.  Macron was centuries gone, his magical Maul being the only evidence left of the great giant’s existence.  The Ash Giant then remembered the stories the Spriggans had told him about the Fire Giant who was challenging the Elves Great Keep. 

For the few moments Kimit stared at the symbol he listened carefully; earlier he had suspected something was following him.  As he stood in the mountain pass listening the Ash Giant grew certain of it.  A scraping noise of stone against stone some distance ahead of him and footsteps, small footsteps, behind. Kimit knew the stone scraping sound he heard was the ratfolks emerging from their stone lair but the movement behind him didn’t sound like ratfolk, it sounded humanoid. 

The Ash Giant moved much quicker than his size made him look capable of moving.  Leaping backwards and up some 10 feet, the giant grasped the side of the mountain wall and pulled himself up to a ledge.  From his sudden movement and new perspective Kimit could easily make out a small cloaked humanoid with oversized boots staring up at him from the rock he was hiding behind.  Kimit mentally cursed as he realized he was being trailed by a halfling but hefted a large stone in his left hand threateningly, “Speak little one before I bury you in stone.”

“Forgive me tall one, I was only waiting for the arrival of the ratman wizard so he could introduce me, I’m the druid Amory, and I’m here to help you.” 

Melandrach Olithir Master of Cannons

Admiral Melandrach Olithir

The Admiral studied his figures again worried that he was correct.  Either there was an unaccounted for error in his accounting or one of his officers was embezzling, a thought that troubled the naval commander greatly. The Admiral realized he must tread carefully in revealing or accusing treason. Crimes punishable by death are worthy of murder and the Admiral was not anxious to become one of Inasia's many victims. The Admiral needed some help from outside his hierarchy but one that would not raise any suspicions. The Master of Cannons decided upon a shrewd and careful course of action, unaware that his fears were well founded and a contract on his life had indeed been claimed by Inasia.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Old Eyes from a Storm

Arkiel Darkhart 
Arkiel Darkhart read the message carefully for a third time.  Messages from Nissian could be multi-layered, even coded and this one had been magically delivered by an imp so it paid to be careful.  This was the first the Drow had heard from the Wishmaster since Nissian’s ascension as Tiamat and the lack of communication was becoming a worry for him.  Arkiel cursed the heat of his bedchamber and went to the balcony to re-read the missive:

My greatest conspirator,
Your wish has been granted and your bloodline in Toril is restored! All that we have prepared for these many years is coming to pass.  Fulfill your final services to me and the opportunity for vengeance you for have so long sought will be in your grasp.  I assure you the Virtues no longer have the luxury of marshaling their strength under the EveningIsles unique protections, with the dragon queens’ arrival they must act. According to my sources The Traveler is somehow aligned with at least one of the Virtues and where the traveler goes The Monitor is sure to follow. I have also learned that all of The Virtues recently gathered for a ceremony but alas even my magic has proven unable to pierce all of The Isles protections. It is a frustration that I have been unable to discover the location of their Heartstones.    
Therefore I need you to learn what the Virtues are doing and go where I cannot.  Arkiel I need you to travel to the EveningIsles and set up our operations there.  Be warned, the virtues are not the only dangers there.  The Eveningisles already has several active devotees of Dagon and Orcus spreading chaos among their people.  The Dagon worshippers tend to operate along the coasts while the Orcus followers believe they are in hiding, preparing for their master’s return.  Your task will be an incredibly difficult one but the path of vengeance is never a simple journey.   Your house’s great betrayer can finally be avenged.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Z'hind-del Syrendross: Third Entry Day Forty-Two

After conversing with the guarded half elf woman Nalolia I realize that my sincere curiosity in the dynamics and features of the Evening Isles, and quite possibly my companions as well, could be misunderstood or even seen by some individuals as a threat to their homeland. I realize that a drow elf asking about Miar Moshea the elven duchy, gives rise to skepticism, but unlike my Archmage counterpart I do not possess his memories or knowledge about the Evening Isles.

While it was our belief that we, as representatives of different races, could have been be ambassadors in a quest, but we have since learned differently. Nalolia has made me realize that representing ourselves as 'ambassadors', for some individuals we come into contact with, is not enough and will not hold for long if questioned. 

I have an idea that I and my companions represent ourselves more than just ambassadors of the high races but a group with a purpose that will benefit the Isles on the whole. I could travel the Isles as a cartographer, gathering information on territory boundaries and the locations of various communities; Dramen could perhaps become an census taker, and Kyras could easily explain that he is traveling the isles evaluating the quality of the water and crops from each duchy; while Rydin and Dolgrin find areas of their own expertise. I will have to consult with them.