Tuesday, December 26, 2017

North and South Bay Bugibba

These pictures are to give you a better view of Bugibba and the two bays.  Its also so you can see the rise of the city from the bay.


Bird's Eye View of  South (lower left) & North (right side) Bay

Modern Bugibba

Floating Death 1

Floating Death 2

The Gypsy's Heart in Bugibba

Gypsy's Heart
The Gypsy's Heart is always moving and thus the namesake for this building famous for its rotating "floating" upper floors. The building attracts visitors simply for its unique architecture.  The floors at the top rotate and move, the levels staying flat but sometimes moving outside the lower walls and even rising higher than its normal height. The architect of the building is unknown but the current owner Bohinest frequently swears that a gnome had to have been involved.  This swearing usually arises during the regular and expensive repairs the upper floors require.  The Gypsy's Heart's most expensive rooms are the famous upper floors though the entire building is a marvel.  The interior of the building is well lit and its decor is famous throughout the isle of Malta.  Besides a casino and several interior taverns the Gypsy's Heart also houses a museum of oddities that have been collected over several years.  For the last several years the manager of the Gypsy's Heart is the quite beautiful Adengale (E4) a beauty from Gibraltar. 


The Giraffe's Respite

Museum Entrance

Friday, December 22, 2017

Malta Session 19: 12/20/2017 Marcolocks and the three Behirs, Portal-Cave, and Arrival in Bugibba

We begin this week’s session in the morning after the last day of training. Outside we hear a commotion and see a group carrying a litter with a crushed body of an unconscious half-elf. “I don’t know if it was a ‘dragon, but a huge reptilian beast slithered across the ground before it unleashed a streak of lightning”. They people were fearful for their comrade. Jabari successfully uses a healing wand on the man, saving his life, allowing the folk to continue carrying him safely to Gamnon the green. We offer to take this news IL-Kataniz, our characters intent on looking into this news of a huge reptilian creature.

We arrive to IL-Kataniz and see a new group also negotiating for training as we make our way to the Manor House where we encounter Kataniz and explain the reptilian in the hills. He expresses interest in any components gained from encountering and defeating what Jabari surmises is a deadly constricting behir.

We begin by following the group’s backtrail while also taking heed of the directions they gave. Along the way we do find evidence of the 40 foot long beast and come up on a bluff of stone with a wide path that reaches the top. Along the way Lex finds another set of mysterious tracks along with the behir marks; we continue on.
Momma Behir

We spread and stagger out as not to bunch up for easy targets before a young behir crackles out before a larger joins the scene. We converge on the creatures; during the fray Carlo has a vision into the astral plane and a larger alpha-behir with physic abilities similar to Carlo. We defeat the ‘mother’ and chased the younger behir to a cave opening and a possible portal to the astral. However, after looking about Marco finds ancient elven runes indicating an entrance to the Ways. We spend some time covering up the entrance with large brush before we head back to IL-Kataniz and explain where the creature’s carcass is located but omit information on the portal-cave.

From there we head to Gamon’s grove- son of Nogamon, some of us for the first time. We tell him about the behir and the cave. He says they know of it, his father much more than himself, there has been trouble around that location before. Tales such as fetchlings harassing the area as well as white-skinned ogres and a story of a large minotaur who was killed by a wizard who makes his home nearby. Carlo tells him of the vision he had in battle; Gamon confirms it was the father of the youngling.

From here our characters attempt to make contact with Sciortino by way of Chomson who is beside himself because he has been unable to find the elusive tiefling. We inform the merchant of our intent to travel to Bugibba (five to six miles away) post haste. He asks our group to tarry for five days to give Sciorinto time to make contact before we set sail.

We set out north towards Mosta “the Brick City” and a short spat of rain. When we get near Mosta we pass near the stone quarry intent on enjoying an unexplored city. The majority of individuals we find are former African or Egyptian slaves, in either case the city is an unfriendly one. We are not the only outsiders however, evidenced when we find a leisurely pond and several small groups keeping mostly to themselves. A group of elves are seen speaking to a group of Egyptians when we pass by. Keeping wary for individuals following us we see firbolgs emerging from the quarry as we continue and taking our time to Bugibba. On the other side of Mosta we find ourselves in an increasingly rocky area and we are able to see Naxxar.

On this side there is more jungle like fauna than the other side. Eventually we see six creatures flying in the air over one of these such areas. Three of the nine foot tall flying apes carrying wickedly curved sword- the Derhii. We decide to avoid the area but after we pas the last group a small party of monkey like flyers move to follow, but after a distance they eventually fall back ‘just guarding their territory. Beyond this more caves, remnants of the original stone mine and a mental tugging upon Carlo and a formian warrior. After a brief encounter with the ant-like hive minded creatures we decide to take the long way around, avoiding the difficult terrain and more formians; but before we do Lex harvest a poison sack from one of the formian warriors. Injury DC 14 Fort one save /6 rounds (d2 Dex); 9 doses. Evagara’s confusion eventually wears off and we continue on.
Irritated Formians

We eventually come upon a series of guard huts and a man who identifies himself as Deled, a member of the Battalion who kindly asks our business; he identifies himself as a healer and warns us of the dangers including the corrosive properties of the nearby salts. Deled explains that lately the formians have acted erratically and offers some visitor’s advice on Buggiba. First he says, we want to visit Quod Villam the nicer part of town. He suggests the message boards at Ripae for exchanges and official notices. He recommends opening an account there as well to legitimize our presence. Bohinest runs The Gypsy’s Heart he says. The preferred currency is Egyptian or Greek. Lete tips the man for his hospitality, in repayment he gives Lete a Battalion coin and invites him to show it as a ‘friend of the Battalion’.

We travel on to Bugibba and enter directly into the paved avenues of Quod Villam. Several masterwork buildings house several apartments with the upper class residing in large stone manners in neighboring districts. Here all manner of convinces that were frequent and free in Paola are not so in Bugibba; while richer in quality, Bugibba is a pale reflection of Paola.

Several avenues into the city are guarded by religious guards; inquisitors of Dīs Pater who begin scrutinizing our characters before immediately admitting us, they introduce themselves and seem friendly enough as they offer to take our characters to Ripae. Along the way the men point out various features of the city including smoke shops, and the popular message boards at Ripae.

At Ripae we find that besides a banking institution, it also houses embassies from locations across the Mediterranean. We are taken to the end of the front of the line where we feel the perusal of wards as Skelismor, one of guards, retrieves a visitors map of Bugibba which also lists information and regulations including what the Shrines are used for; he offers stays with us while we wait however Jabari sets Skelismor off with 50 silver for wine while we wait.

We eventually meet with a dwarven banker cleric of Dīs Pater who asks some brief questions taking notes in the process, but when the Battalion coin is shown much of the details of our business are expedited but we do inform him of the impending arrival of the Bonded Mind. He provides us with tassels for access to our accounts and suggests any job from the Message Board that it be registered with Ripae and recommends The Gypsy’s Heart. He eventually gets to expanding laws.

After all formalities Jabari opens an account with a 750 gp masterwork ring, Lete 500 gp, Marco 250, Carlo 500, Lex does not open an account. Talk among the party included a method to trade the contents of Chest 4 on the Bonded Mind as soon as the vessel arrives- barring any disasters. 

Eventually a young dwarf is called to escort us to the Gypsy’s Heart and that is where we begin next week's MALTA! game.

Mercury (center), Flora (right), and Dīs Pater (left)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

City of Bugibba

City of Bugibba (pronounced bu-jibb-buh) LE/CN  Large City  Corruption +1; Crime +1; Economy +1; Law +4; Lore +2;  Society +2 Danger +6   Primary Religion:  Dīs Pater/Pluto

Marketplace Base Value 10,000 gp; Purchase Limit 40,000 gp

Government:   Theocracy  High Priestess of Dīs Pater: Kakakombi

Population 21,046 (10,000 humans; 3000 half-elves; 2,000 elves; 1000 halflings; 1000 dwarves; 1000 gnomes; 1000 Fetchlings, 800 Flind, 1246 other) 

Bugibba is really two cities, the western half along with the northern portion of the bay, primarily human and wealthy, with paved roads and well maintained docks that take advantage of the sea currents that make for easy sailing.  The eastern half as well as the southern loop of the bay are an underdeveloped slum where the majority of other races live.  The currents work against those trying to sail into those docks, which are lovingly referred to as The Floating Death, due to their state of disrepair and difficulty in docking.  

Officially, Bugibba Bay is the name for North Bay, while Floating Death's actual name is simply South Bay.  Western Bugibba is called Quod Villam, the central portion of which is paved around a grand central church known as Ripae.  Ripae is the seat of government power and a bank.  It is believed to sit above a large gold and diamond mine. Ripae is one of the rare areas of Quod Villam not dominated by humans as the vast majority of the building and area are populated with the cities dwarves.  

Eastern Bugibba is called Inferis and is derided by those in Quod Villam as the city of lost souls.  Where Quod Villam is a city of laws and structure, Inferis is a constantly changing mix of races, culture, and according to the church, crime.  Almost all crime, save for murder, is punished with varying periods of indentured servitude.  Inferis is riddled with hills, many hollowed out caves, and strange stone mazes which seem to be naturally occurring, though some have been worked after the fact.  Most buildings in this region are made from the ruins of ships that were unsuccessful in docking in South Bay.

People of Note:

High Priestess Kakakombi is the half elf leader of Bugibba and the Church of Dīs Pater
High Priestess Kakakombi

Ta' Tabibu is a Fetchling crime lord feared throughout Inferis and wanted by for high crimes by Ripae leadership.  He is known to never reside in the same location for more than a few nights in a row and frequently takes to sea to avoid Kakakombi’s Inquisitors.
Ta' Tabibu

Lyeadaldbelo (A2) Officially known as the Fire Captain, he and his squad of Firefighters, named The Battalion, protect Bugibba from city fires and other catastrophes.   Viewed by the general public as a spy for Kakakombi. His squad of men have flame symbols sewn into their suitcoats.  These symbols grant the wearer access to any building or location in Bugibba save for Ripae.  Despite most viewing The Battalion as spies, they are also recognized as honest disaster recovery experts and have saved many in Bugibba and the surrounding region from a variety of dangers.

Zimol (B2): Flind Mercenary Weapons Master famous for entering battles without weapons and finishing the battles with several weapons from his fallen opponents.  His mercenary company, The Dogs of War has roughly 300 Flind Members and resides in the broken remains of an ancient ship’s Hull near South Bay.
Zimol and Crew

Bohinest (C2): Rarely called by his name, this Dwarf is called The Banker in Quod Villam and The Miner by those from Inferis.  Bohinest is extremely wealthy and is known to own homes throughout The Southern Continent and even some of the many Rocks around Malta. 
Img (D2) Female Halfling leader of the The Flowers of Rebellion, a group of heretics against all the religions represented throughout Malta. The Flowers of Rebellion promotes the ideas of individual freedom and thought.  Despite the heretical behavior High Priestess Kakakombi has allowed the group to maintain a presence inside Inferis because they do not break any laws and peacefully protest. 
Hatkim (E2) This elven wizard is believed to reside in a magically hidden mansion.  Some claim his mansion floats miles above the city, while others claim magical doorways are hidden throughout Quod Villam.  Hatkim is famous for twice in the last hundred years defending the city from pirate attacks and for his unique ability to imbue others with the temporary ability to cast spells. 

Rayit (F2) Elven femaile apprentice and rumored lover of Hatkim. Said to be a student of ancient elven ways.

Metas (E2) Gnome responsible for maintaining clocktower near Ripae.  Several constructs of his design operate around the clocktower. Metas is believed to be from halfway across the world, somewhere called Stormhaven.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Malta Session 18: 12/13/2017 Conspiracy, Twatwaffles, and Training in Zebbug.

We begin this week’s session taking a circuitous route to the Seven Churches, as our characters proceed each of us recognize dock workers along the way fleeing towards the churchs, some of them giving our characters sideways glances. Closer to the temple district, we find Garamaldi’s Half-tower highly damaged from cannon fire. Undaunted we make our way to the Greek/Roman church where we received some minor healing. Here, we learn no pirates have made it to the churches ‘other than you’. We ask for Aulus and it is mentioned he was last heard to be at Garamaldi’s assessing the damage.

We retrace our steps to Garamaldi’s and encounter Cian in the midst of several individuals trying to clear debris; it appears the structure took two cannon shots, one was a direct hit. We find Aulus as well as Kassok and Nogamon taking on various leadership roles in the rescue and recovery efforts. As we arrive Jabari scans the area for magic sources he finds that Kassok and Nogamon radiate the strongest magical auras; Aulus’ aura is not as strong. Some of our characters pitch in to help with the efforts; however Marco looks for possible attackers; while Lex blends into the crowd listening for news.

Lex overhears questions regarding what pirate owns the war galleon, with a number of people blaming the pirate king. Some people expressing that Malta needs to finally develop a method of defense (Navy). Plenty of blame is spread around as a lot of people assume this attack was carefully planned. The docks took damage and many people were taken away by pirate slavers. More than one person mentions some kind of betrayal at the docks.

Eventually the group moves on from Garamaldi’s after having worked themselves to a standstill and move on to help elsewhere. Our characters return to the Seven Church to meet up with Aulus and a familiar looking woman speaking. These two eventually call over Kassok and Nogamon into their palaver. It was becoming increasingly apparent that our characters are being made scapegoats.

It is explained to our characters that we are accused to aiding in the pirate attack; Cian immediately moves in our defense. Jabari eventually speaks up and expresses our willingness to cooperate. Zallas, our primary accuser, informs us that there are some individuals who have identified us. We explain our warrior’s warehouse alibi, but that is met with news of pirate attacks at locations our characters have been. Kasok says to Nogamon there’s an easy way to settle this…

We refuse a voluntary walking of the plank and debate briskly of our innocence and the absurdity of the whole situation. Cian takes us aside and our characters express our suspicion of the intensions and even true identity of Aulus and that if he were to be the Judge in our trial then our characters refuse to take it to trial.

We are not being detained so we leave and as we do Cian explains that each person will get a chance to speak against us just as we are allowed to speak in our defense. The judge determines any broken rules of faith. At the end each church save for our own gets to vote at our trial, the judge may levy a heavier penalty depending on his findings.

First stop Borg house. Along the way our characters see that the fighting has stopped but sounds of the pained can be commonly heard at the late hour. At the Borg house we are quickly ushered in and it is explained by Elsar that there is an intruder on our ship and describes the beardless dwarf as well as some other troubling intellects detected about an hour ago. Carlo explains our intentions to leave Paola and expresses our thanks on behalf of our characters. All Borg are here save for Maas who has not been seen since the beginning of the attack. Carlo arranges the Twatwaffle.

Second stop, our characters head to the Golden Horn and find Wally and Paulie hunkering down ready for the fast escape Lex warned them about. They are glad to see Lex and offer shelter to our characters allowing us some much needed rest. Around half past five in the morning Paulie and three others head out to scout the Bonded Mind, they expect to be back in an hour.

Rain begins to fall.

We awake to smells of food and discover Paulie has returned. He explains that our ship is undamaged, he reports; furthermore he spoke with some of our crew who indicated some of their number are missing, he did not see Ahumm among the elite sailors. Our biggest problem, Paulie explains, is the people on the dock who are outraged that our ship is undamaged and said it would be impossible to set sail because of the debris from damaged ships in the harbor.

Lex disguises our characters before we separate into two groups and make our way to the docks where we see firsthand the people and the damage in the harbor. The few characters who boarded discover the missing sailors were men who went to the warrior warehouse and none have seen Ahumm. Carlo, Jabari and Lex board the Bonded Mind careful for invisible foes. Jabari and Lex find hidden Egyptian markings of Anubis carved into the ship. Gone are the Egyptian funerary items. Before Jabari leaves he names a new first mate.

On the way our characters pass near the bards college where we encounter Melissa and finally Ahumm. We talk and walk when Marco brings up the sword left in Melissa’s mother’s possession. Melissa retrieves the sword and will send word as the sword’s history to Fezziwig. Jabari sends Ahumm to the Bonded Mind and to sail for Bugibba as soon as possible but in the meantime perform daily searches for Egyptian carvings in the ship.

Leaving Paola our characters pass through a smaller archway, exiting Paola a different way bound for Zebbug. Along the outskirts we find small campsites and individuals who fled Paola and are waiting to reenter once the confusion wears down. About a half hour later we see Nogamon on the trail ahead of us with a small group. We linger behind and don’t hurry to catch up with the centaur. Eventually they change direction and turn north west (inland) away from Zebbug and we lose sight of them.

We pass through the Halfling village, again here several Paola individuals waiting out the chaos of the attack, but we continue to Zebbug and directly to IL-Kataniz for our third day of weapon focus training. While our characters train, Jabari will debrief IL-Kataniz of the events from the night before.

IL-Kataniz offers his hospitality and discretion. Jabari, however can attain other accommodations he eventually inquiries about any library. IL-Kataniz offers is small collection but mentions Rabat and a library there.

At the end of the day our characters are tired. Marco looks for Chomson to complete their deal. ‘Marco approaches Chomson regarding the sale or trade of a ring of spell knowledge and eventually makes a trade for an enhanced chain shirt and a ring on the morrow.’ The chain shirt comes with two markings on it a 'first owner' and a 'makers mark', the magical ring is for Evagara. The trade is made and the night goes by uneventful.

On the second day, fourth day of training, Evagara takes Jabari shopping for a masterwork horn to make a horn of fog on this day. That evening – good news- Evagara tells us the caskets beneath her house are gone. Lex takes another look of the map found on one of the fallen grey warriors, a 'need to know' map featuring the warrior warehouse and other locations our characters have been recently. We decide to rest easy at Evegara’s family farmstead.

A knock from Wally in the morning wakes our characters. It was after speaking with Chomson, Wally acted on some hunches and found us here and after some talk takes Lex aside for a long palaver. Carlo sends a message to the Borg house via Wally keeping them updated.

Next session Lete, Evagara and Jabari go shopping for masterwork boots and our characters hope to complete our last day of training.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Malta Session 17: 12/07/2017 The Pool Room, Grey Warriors Suck, and Fire Resistant Pirate Slavers

We begin this week’s session entering a ten foot wide hall way that slants downward slightly with an opening at the far end into another room. At the top of the archway of the opening is a script ‘above or below’, in the room is a motionless pool with wafts of steam rising from it, above the pool the lava child flew about guarding the opening to a fourth area. Most of us who attempted to cross the obvious ledge to the opposite side fall into the piranha infested waters as the lava child takes attacks upon our characters at random.

Beyond the pool room was a fourth area that opens to a fifteen foot wide hall that slants slightly upward to an obstacle course to the upper level when our characters hear a loud boom from out beyond the city. Overcoming the obstacle room one by one, eventually our characters find ourselves in a waiting room calculating our time as 36 rounds (3.5 minutes). While we wait for the next groups to tackle the trap rooms as a caster grants our characters the benefits of the keep watch spell as we hear announcers introduce the next group; a unit of grey warriors (who were not as successful in their time trials as our characters). When suddenly a cannonball comes crashing through a wall dropping us into the first floor. Screams and chaos run rampant as a dozen grey warriors take the opportunity to set weapons against us.

When the smoke clears we search the grey warriors as booms and crashes as well as the sounds of chaos filter in from outside the warrior’s warehouse. In minutes our characters recover 12 Masterwork longswords, 12 Masterwork composite longbow (+3  STR), masterwork heavy steel shield, 12 potions of CLW CL5, 6 potions of CMW CL5, 6 tanglefoot bags, 6 antitoxin, 240 arrows, a hand drawn simple map of Paola.

We exit the warrior’s warehouse and encounter another group of warehouse warriors fighting a group of pirates; in fact the city looks like it’s under a pirate attack. We move to help the fellow gladiators against the attackers and in the next half hour route out about thirty pirates while saving many bards who had been Shanghaied. We escort the defended to the bards college campus where scores of more pirates could be seen pillaging and raiding. 

More sounds of cannon fire towards the Seven Churches.

Marco and Lete formulate a plan to take the fight to the pirate slavers. However the battle proves more difficult than our characters thought causing us to withdraw scattering into the cover of the city with the hopes to rendezvous at the Seven Churches.

We are awarded our 5th character level and a free improved initiative, great fortitude, lighting reflexes or iron will feat. We begin next session reunited at the Seven Churches.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The three figures stood in a rough triangle in the early morning light of the dock.
"You're sre of this, Marco?" the tall one asked
"Yes! I must go while I can!" the shorter one said gesturing vehemently "Marriage toa plump girl, three or four kids and a boring burecratic job is not my idea of success Lamberto."
The third one passed a bottle saying "Your father won't be happy."
"I'm afraid he will be disappointed whatever I do. My brother Chrisofero will inherit the title and main house, Roberto is a captain of artillery in the Militia and gets the townhouse. That leaves nothing for me. So I'm off to find my fame and fortune elsewhere."
"And where are you starting this search?" asked Giuseppe taking a pullfrom the returned bottle.
Marco turns to the adjacent ship and called out "Whence are we bound this fine day, Shipmaster?"
"Malta, sir!" came the answer "If the young sir would care to board, we'll be off with the tide."
Marco gripped his two friend in an abrazzo and turned up the gang plank.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Malta Session 16: 11/29/2017 Invitation To An ‘Ambush’ After Party, Full Meows At Ringside, and In Case of Emergency, Break Glass

We catch up with our characters around 6:30 as we enter through the archways and into the city of rumors of a circus mentalist. The Egyptians that were spotted expressed interest in physic individuals such as Carlo and the Borg individuals. They tell us this because of our hatred for slavery and the Egyptians, furthermore Lacartha believes these may be employed against us at the fights.
Paola when Carlo receives a sudden but welcome invite to the Borg house and a pre-party. Tal, Elsar, Maas and Cral and Lacartha are in attendance and after some small talk the clan shares their information gathering and informs Carlo and company that not far from the fights is a structure where there are more than a few Grey Warriors- approx. twenty. It is unknown their motives or who controls the warehouse, but believe they have been purchased from an Egyptian slaver. Two of whom have been seen at this warehouse, their interest and how they ended up there is unknown as Lacartha and the Borg house were investigating the

While there Carlo inquires of the Borg of any uninhabited islands in the nearby sea; he learns of a small abandoned island that has some history; it is home to a large empty building of unknown purpose with some rundown huts nearby. Carlo explains he is considering setting up network of transporting physic individuals to a safe place.

Not long after our visit, we investigate the warehouse in question nestled in an area of Paola that is rife with similar buildings that house equipment and supplies for ships. Walking casually near and around the grey warehouse we find an unknown house symbol and a name ‘Kicyda’ and the word ‘sold’ across it, we also note there is unseen activity inside- sounds of shuffling metal on metal was audible. Jabari looks for magical auras and notices an aura in movement- an invisible individual. Our characters split up as the roguish characters investigate more closely. Here Lex finds Kasok overseeing the Grey Warriors and talking to an Egyptian, he seems to be expecting someone before the fights.

Outside Carlo sees a group of individuals approaching, one with an Egyptian bronze headdress, High Priest Rudjek accompanied by acolytes. Slowly we vacate the area save for Lex who watches the group approach the warehouse when a man comes to greet the high priest when Rudjek is overheard saying “Your stupid greed is going to spoil the operation”

We regroup and proceed to the fights and a celebratory atmosphere of gambling and debauchery. Olrem, Lete’s trainger and Evagara quickly find us. Olrem informs our characters of some changes to tonight’s format. Quasamang, Danrodir, and Swet, new merchants to Paola, have arrived with challengers; there is also a gauntlet of challenges that teams must progress through and of course priests will be posted in various areas.
Not long Roindtor, the firblog, introduces himself to Lete creating some buzz, the giant was friendly and mentioned possible future training with Lete. Lete wishes him luck in the bout against the ‘lava child’.

Eventually At'enthu, the lava child, arrives causing an audible reaction from the crowd as the creature goes about actively intimidating all in attendance. Lex finds Rudjek in the crowd standing next to Ffahra Ffahra ; Marco will see Kasok speaking to someone who looks a lot like Aulus Daquaretti just before Kasok approaches Lete with interest in our group. With some quick rudimentary questions to each character he lingers on Carlo and indicates Kasok is aware of what Rob’s character is although he acknowledges Marco but does not show much interest. Kasok gets under Carlo’s skin a bit but Kasok is nonplused at his remarks. Kasok eventually gets around to inviting us to an (ambush) after party later that evening after the fights. He leaves our company and heads back to the three merchants and one other individual: a cloaked Aulus of Mercury.

Meanwhile Lex makes contact with Paulie informing him of some possible trouble after the fights to be prepared as Jabari arranges for Founder’s Shots for associates as the main event begins. Around this time Lete sees Melissa arguing with Kasok before she leaves in a huff just as the Firblog fights At'enthu the Lava child. The battle goes into the third period while also during this time Lete and Marco foil pickpocket attempts from some halflings, one Marco admonishes indicates the one appearing as Aulus having paid him. The fight ends with At'enthu as the victor to much surprise.

Lord Commander jumps up and invites everyone to stay for the team challenges before he unleashes At'enthu onto the second floor before introducing the teams: Quasamang, Danrodir, and Swet each have six warrior men in plate each lacking in individuality which is not well received by the crowd; not the three merchants who have spent a large sum of gold in Paola College. There is also the mention of an individual named Dylan who also has a team participating.

Melissa eventually finds Lete just before the team contest and informs him of her shocking past relations with Kasok and how it was suggested by Aulus, after the revelation Lete directs talk to Aulus and Melissa’s take on the priest. While she has known him for years, she had only followed his direction in the past six months- he rewards loyalty.

Eventually we are selected and proceed first into the gauntlet: eight rounds in the checker-board room while saving Evagara from piranha before then next challenge being a large hall at the end of which is a giant warrior crystal statue that comes with a passage “in case of emergency, break glass”. There appeared to be an exit just beyond the jagged crystalline statue. Destruction of the statue allowed us to exit the large hallway; that took twelve rounds.

We pick up next week pick up with the last two challenges.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Armada's Delivery

Each ship of Tiamat’s Armada lowered a lifeboat into the calm ocean waters on their second night southeast of Malta, their contact waiting for them in a Seacave the Maltese called Għar Dalam.  Their contact Radroth had assured Tiamat’s faithful that the sea cave, a cul-de-sac on the outskirts of Birzebbuga, would hide the Persians entry into Malta.   Each of the dozen lifeboats would ferry three individuals comprised of two Magus, a Master and apprentice along with a priest of Tiamat into Malta.  

Monday, November 27, 2017

Fuchsia and the Red Queen

Fuchsia Fessaj
Fuchsia Fessaj walked through the decorative wall and in to her Mistress’ parlor, quite beside herself with excitement. The medium sized room was lavish with rich red tapestries on the walls with equally luxuriant carpets on the floor thick enough that Fuchsia could dig her sharp claws into. She purred thinking of it and her success for the Red Queen. 

Fuchsia noted a large desk at the far end of the room where papers, pens and inks sat with the look of recent use. To Fuchsia’s left was a thick ornate closed door to the bedchambers and to the cat-woman’s right was a archway and a balcony that allowed in a faint Mediterranean breeze; the sounds of faint lapping water reached Fuchsia’s sensitive ears. Fuchsia was anxious to report the information she was tasked to bring to the Red Queen, but curiosity compelled the cat-woman and she padded quietly across the thick carpet to the stout desk.

Fuchsia Fessaj looked carefully at the messages, none of them contained any new information about the Warehouse fighter Lete Cordasco but judging from what was contained in these messages, her Mistress was not the only individual in Malta curious about the gladiator or his companions it would seem. The sound of her mistress’ voice broke Fuchsia from her thoughts...

Nysurnu Mithna inherited her deadly cunning from family traditions and well paid tuitors, deadly with small hidden weapons Nysurnu is most formidable when he employs her seductions, preferring to strike at her opponents when their guard is down. Known as the Red Queen in the Maltese fighting circuit; she has the ability to see potential in others and therefore employs a cadre of dangerous fighters and savvy workers which has allowed her a very comfortable living.

Up until now there has always been equilibrium in the fighting circuit, a status quo the Red Queen had relied on. Now she sees that balance in jeopardy and with it her rich Mediterranean lifestyle. 

Dom Mintoff, Nysurnu’s rival in the Maltese circuit, had recently landed an Italian gladiator- a newcomer to Malta who did not travel alone. She quickly found out she was not the only one curious about the newcomers. She called in some favors, discovering these individuals were fast heroes but it was information from Fuchsia Fessaj she anticipated the most about Dom's fighter...

The Red Queen
Nysurnu bathed under the open night sky on a private balcony that overlooked Paola, she loved this place and all the opulence that came with it. Intricate candles burned at regular intervals while exotic oils enriched her spring bath water; she let the water cool before she emerged from the marble tub. The cool Mediterranean air was exhilarating on her cool wet skin, the feeling made her close her eyes and exhale audibly drinking in the richness of the moment.

When the Red Queen opened her eyes she reached for her clothes and saw Fuchsia Fessaj holding out familiar Egyptian silk robes as to aid her mistress in dressing.

“Gratitude.” She simply said to Fuchsia putting her lithe arms through each sleeve before tying the wide sash at her narrow waist and covering her head.

“Fuchsia Fessaj has come to her Red Queen with information.”

The cat-women spoke, it was not anything Nysurnu did not already know; the man's irregular comings and goings, his prowess at the Warehouse fight club- that is until the end. “The brawler is also coincidentally romantically involved with your sister’s daughter Melissa.” 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Malta Session 15: 11/22/2017 Sticky Tongues, The Biggest Axe I’ve Ever Seen, and Tiamat's Armada

We begin this week’s session as our characters reenter Paola after a day of training in Zebbug just as the sun has set for the day; eventually our characters find themselves at the Lord Commander Mintoff’s estate. Before long Dom Mintoff emerges from his residence and formal introductions are made for the first time with Jabari and Lex.

Mintoff informs us that the qualifying tournament tonight and explains at length the restriction of magic use and the rules associated with the contests. Furthermore it is discovered that there is a group event after the tournament of the Long Arm; Mintoff was eager to offer such a contest to our characters. One by one he inquires as to our specialties and skills of those party members he is unfamiliar with. We are allowed plenty food and drink while Mintoff describes At'enthu and its fire affinities; other than that there are five combatants in tonight’s qualifier including At'enthu.

We eventually make our way to the large Warehouse fight club where our character’s find a variety of individuals and high profile characters. Lete is escorted to a ready room and introduced to Orelm, Mintoffs manservant and Lete’s trainer who gets the brawler ready and informs Lete of his opponents; furthermore Orelm is instrumental in setting the order of the fights that is advantageous for Lete.

Vodyanoi (BC) an incredibly quick humanoid that looks like a walking crab who fights with spears and natural bites and claws; known to have spellcasting abilities.
Snangvor (TM) a human sized hyena-like race who wields a long flindbar, his is known to have power attack and does extra damage against humans.
The Boggard (RM) a savage toad-man who can enter fits of rage, also inhumanly fast and fights with a great club and javelins.
The Firbolg (RAM) a virtual giant who wields a huge sized axe and IS trained with his fists so beware futile disarm attempts and do not bother with ranged attacks.

Up first in round one is Lete vs. the Boggard and Vodyanoi vs. Snangvor; Vodyanoi wins as does Lete exciting the crowd.
In the second round Lete fights Snangvor, each winners in round one; Mintoff providing a little aid in the form of cat’s grace for Lete while Vodyanoi faces the giant Firbolg who got a first round exemption. In the end the Firbolg wins and Lete prevails as well.
In the end it was the firbolg who won the tournament. Lete wining a total of 3 fights earning 1,500 gold in Greek stamped coinage (500 gp to Orelm). Furthermore the group will be squared up against the same group and a chance for another entry of another group.

As the tournament proceeds Marco hears out about a midnight duel at the Garden Spire till 3 am, the prize is said to be an enchanted rapier and a mithril chain shirt. Asking around he finds out four people have already expressed interest, Marco would be the fifth. Also current word on Circus Sciortino is that there are Greek ships that have arrived in advance of the circus, there is believed to be a connection despite the Sciortino Italian name; some attest that the circus is a front for something else.

After the tournament our characters return to the Bonded Mind just before midnight where we find much of the docks on edge and tense. Most men seem hold up on their ships that seem to be ready to disembark on short notice. Asking our elite crewmembers and Evagara they say it is a combination of the new ship arrivals and the distant sound of cannon fire. During this time a message ship arrives to deliver its parcels and mail swiftly before leaving again; this ship sailed under the flag of Tiamat.

As some of us rest Jabari takes an all night vigil using the keep watch spell and will plan on skipping the Zebbug trip the next day. The night passes uneventfully as Jabari could tell but just as the morning arrives a Jabari hears a warning is called that an armada of ships are headed to Paola.

The next morning our characters hire horses for 5 gold each to travel faster through the Black Druid’s territory border on the way to Zebbug. The weather turns out to be beautiful as we ride. Fifteen minutes into this area, skirting the Black Druid’s territory as best as our character could; we find the body of a batwinged monkey dead along the path. We leave it alone, ride on and eventually arrive to Zebbug and IL-Kataniz for our second day of weapon focus training. Here Lex he learns that is piranha strike teacher is available however is taught by a ratfolk individual named Radib who, after speaking with Lex, requires a magical dagger from him when Lex returns for training.

We train hard until noon when we are invited into the manor house for midday meal with IL-Kataniz, Gamon the Green, and Chomson the proprietor of the Chomsons. Our character’s talk of the armada as well as the Black Druid and the Crypt Things in Evagara family farm; Marco approaches Chomson regarding the sale or trade of a ring of spell knowledge and eventually makes a trade for an enhanced chain shirt on the morrow. Also while here we agree that after our retraining is completed (ten days) we will make IL-Kataniz’s delivery to Selmunett isle. At this Comson asks if we could take a passenger named Sciortino to Selmunett, the infamous tiefling rejected by the portal several times. Bringing up the Black Druid to Gamon the Green, the centaur believes this is a reincarnation of the Black Druid and is relearning who it once was. A concerning development.

Back in Paola, our characters learn of a dozen ships are identified as part of this armada flags fly different color of Tiamat; however word is they are not hostile and only passing through this region of the Mediterranean on their way to an area on the continent- Tubruq part of Egypt. Other news speaks of thesinking Phoenician ship by unknown forces.

Otherwise our characters prepare for the group tournament and is where we begin next game session. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Longarm Tournament

Guildmaster Guiseppi Renatta
To: Lord Commander Dom Mintoff

From: Guildmaster Guiseppi Renatta

In appreciation of your sponsoring last year's Tournament of Ash, along with your donation of fine cigars, Guildmaster Guiseppi Renatta would like to sponsor a qualifying tournament for this year's Great Warehouse Rumble. The Honorable Guildmaster has donated the tournaments prize, a magical set of bracers to be given to winner of the tournament.  It is the Guildmasters request that you receive his gift and host the tournament.  Guildmaster Renatta's representative Ruhexy will deliver the prize, please receive her warmly.  As is custom, Ruhexy travels with At'enthu, a gladiator of considerable talent that will compete for the Bracers. The Guildmaster hopes that the winner of the Longarm Bracers will be allowed to utilize the magical equipment in the Warehouse Rumble as a sanctioned item.



Friday, November 17, 2017

Malta Session 14: 11/15/2017 Meet the Teacher, the Barkleys, and Blood-Shot and Fucked-Up Eyes

We begin this session on the road to Zebbug, Lete a little late to the group after Melissa holds him back a few hours. While in town Lete learns that the fight-club qualifiers begin in the early evening this day; Lete will have to return to Paola after his first training session in Zebbug. Meanwhilej, the rest of the characters encountered a few dire wolves along the way to Zebbug.

Finally catching up at the Halfling village our characters enter Zebbug, everyone save for Jabari and Ahuum (formerly Ferd) arrives promptly to  IL-Kataniz's. There we immediately see IL-Kataniz as well as a multitude of individuals working and training in warfare, subterfuge tactics, etc. 

From the conglomeration a woman named Chakel (daggers) introduces herself to our small group. Before long, one by one, our characters meet our respective teachers: Chakel who intends to train Lex and Marco with the daggers; Saman, a dwarf monk, takes on Lete with a beer and a smile; and Gehar, an individual specializing in ‘ray’ magics. During these sessions Lex and Marco learn Chakel in turn benefits from the training against two opponents. Also while here Lex looks for a possible Parana Strike instructor.

Meanwhile off IL-Kataniz grounds, Jabari catches up with some of the men we saved on the open seas; having emerged from IL-Kataniz with business done, arranges a meal for them en mass, and eventually hires all twenty: 10 elite sailors and 10 teamsters for our cause and will earn 5 gold a week per person. Jabari appoints Ahuum as first mate and expresses that all ordinary affairs should be directed through the first mate. Formal rules are set forth including a zero tolerance of theft from a fellow shipmate including the captains which each of the characters are. In addition the rules of adding new sailors to the “Barkley Sailors” are those who are likewise saved in similar manner but are also voted by the Barkleys who will enjoy part of the Barkley share. Otherwise talk will wane to Egypt (and a possible future post).

Backtracking… the night before in Paola, Carlo meet with Borg house individuals regarding the next evening (when the characters return to Paola and Lete begins qualifying) to case building controlled by a known a slaver named Ildgar. This individual is rumored to target ‘talents’ like them (individuals possessing physic magic). 

Our characters finish training around 3 pm when we pack up for our return to Paola. Our travel is under overcast skies as our characters follow a few hours behind the twenty sailors who are also returning to Paola. Three hours into our travel is when we encounter an ogre cannibal and four bugbears. (shine a bugbear and that cannibal are dead to me now). Our characters are able to kill the ogre and a bugbear and drive off three bugbears. Recovered from the ogre: Large magical great axe, javelin, 4 potions CLW, potion of CMW, giant cloak of resistance, giant ring of protection, and 77 gold pieces. Shine: heavy flail, masterwork composite long bow +4 STR, potion CMW, 4 +1 elf bane arrows, and 5 platinum. And gain enough XP for 9,000 and our fourth character level.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Malta Session 13: 11/08/2017 The Pale Spire House, Fake News, and Future Plans

Spire House
We begin this week’s session taking a roundabout stroll in order to reconnaissance a house Loshe identifies and what our characters are here to look for: an Infinity Spiral and how that relates to this structure and similar structures and the optical illusion of an infinite staircase the design creates if looked at in a specific way, as well as The Archetic’s penchant for chess and plotting both in grid form as well as being a careful planner.

Her research on this house revealed the Pjazza family’s oldest son now owns 'Spire House'; an individual who has only recently acquired a ship of his own and is currently out at sea. Other family members of the Pjazza family are known to use the house but the house currently looks and feels empty. Outside it is closely neighbored by other structures between which are dark narrow alleys; a single elven home with the rest being human domiciles of varying two story heights. Spire House has a door to the spire and a cellar door to the main building, the windows are shuttered on both the first level and the upper floors and are magically protected. It is agreed we will return at dark.

A short time later our characters find ourselves once again confronted by the pale Spire House with daylight now a historical footnote. Lex, in the shadows of the house immediately finds a trap door in front of the rear door. Checking the door Lex finds that the door is locked and barred on the inside. Turing our attention to the trap door, our characters eventually discover the method of opening the trap door revealing a small cramped space five foot down at leads into a pantry. Soon our characters find themselves in the cellar where we locate stairs as well as a trapdoor into the spire above. Our characters do a quick search; Jabari finds six magic mushrooms while the rest of our characters find a bishop in profile cleverly placed on a corner wall under the trap door to the spire. We decide to follow the Bishop clue and turn our attention to the trap door above.
The Architect 

After checking the trap door into the spire Lex opens it revealing an open chamber above the cellar, stairs going up and a curved hallway. Our characters follow the path of the Bishop in a diagonal direction. It was Carlo who first notices a rook design along a wall just as noise filters down to us, the sound of wings. Searching about Lex finds about a half dozen secret cubby holes along the crenelations of the rook where Lex finds an old masterwork scroll tube.

We make our way back to the cellar to investigate the masterwork scroll tube. Opening the sealed tube reveals an ancient map of the Mediterranean, Africa, Madagascar and The Evening Isles. A number of personal markings decorate the map in various places as well as grid locations on Malta one indicating Hagar Qim, two in the seven churches- one we know as ‘the plank’ while the other is at the temple of Tiamat; on the back side is a coded key that deciphers the markings on the face of the map.

Yeah this works

We decide to be content with our retrieval of the map and move out of the spire house the way we came in. As we walk away we hear whispered conversation about whether or not someone saw something; these individuals signal and wait for us on the side of the road. We find out IL-Kataniz sent them to tell us the Tengu has been asking about our characters. Jabari pays them well for their information. 

With that completed we retreat back to the adobe apartments and a place to get a meal where Lete attempts to spread some false rumors of our next course of action (head to Hagar Qim to find a ship). Once we return to our temporary apartment, Jabari starts searching for signs of obvious tampering specifically feather remains of possible Tengu spies. We agree to take a few watch shifts before we leave for Paola in the morning.

The next day (Sunday, Day 13) Lex heads out early to find Wally but comes up short. The rest of our characters load up to begin our four hour trip back to Paola. Loshe is not traveling with us, nor was she to be seen that morning. We have no issues during our journey to Paola and soon find ourselves in front of Garamaldi’s with hopes to petition cargo or passengers for our planned trip to Selmunett Island.

**Selmunett Island:  Northeast of Malta lies Selmunett Island, this island caters to the darker desires and demands of the Maltese.  It is a local custom that those that stay on Selmunett after dark can report no crime and have no crime reported against them.  The priests of Malta turn a blind eye to the gambling halls and houses of ill repute that populate this island. Of late however word has begun to circulate of Egyptian loyalists using Selmunett as a trade pipeline between Egypt and Greek reformists in Korinthos Greece.  Selmunett is also known for its black tar, a bubbling fountain, located on the southern coast.  The tar bubbles up between a boulder called the bleeding stone. Selmunett Tar is coveted for its waterproofing and ability to patch ships damaged at sea.

At first Garamaldi expresses his concern over our choice of Selmunett, he indicates the Indian twins Omas and his sister have some information on the place but they are not here at the moment. While there Garamaldi shows Lex his updated portrait, this prompts Lex to ask Garamaldi about the Hunter, the beardless dwarf. The Hunter is an advanced slaver for a high Egyptian individual or something worse; the Hunter is incredibly dangerous. Garamaldi shows grave concern that we are entangled with the Hunter. Garamaldi says the Hunter offers bounties and operates out of Selmunett Island but doesn’t know what gambling house the hunter is affiliated with but he is a strong personality of the island. Finally Garamaldi says he will be more informed regarding the Tengu.

Garamaldi goes off to see if he could find any business for our trip. We update him of our new ship location before we depart and make our way to the Paola docks. Here our characters find our ship as well as Evagara are fair and waiting for our return. Evagara tells us that in our absence several large ships were disrupting shipping lanes for a brief time upsetting the status quo of the docks, the other thing is that a pearl garden has been located north of Gozo inciting a lot of dock activity. Finally we agree to take on Ferd and ten more as crew from the survivors.

We agree amongst ourselves to five days of training downtime in Zebbug then come back for three days of circus activities before our eventual departure for Selmunett island.

Eventually we return to Garamaldi’s where he admits to not fully trusting Aulus just now; when he spoke to the man it didn’t feel right but Garamaldi believes he has found us some business. Cian minister of Frey has a large delivery of tools and a number of craftsmen as well who as it turns out are staying at the barracks that need to go to Selmunett.

After the characters head into town, Carlo intends to grab some food and head to Borg House. Marco wants to trade his magical ring for two rings and a chain shirt, and Lete plans on heading to the Bard’s College while Lex looks for Paulie to find a Piranha Strike teacher.
Melissa Mithna

As we enter town, passing through the archway, we find early indications that the circus is due to arrive. Here Marco finds a vendor but passes on any offers. Lete revisits Melissa Mithna at the Bard’s College.

At the Borg House Carlo walks in on three new individuals who accept Carlo kindly, one of them introduces himself as Lacartha. Communication in Carlo's head Lacartha warns Carlo of a telepath that is expected to be traveling with the circus; soon introductions are made by all. Over the course of the rest of the day Carlo realizes Lacartha’s super power was detecting the sincerity of someone thereby detecting any impostors. Overtime Carlo secures a guestroom at the Borg House.

Back at the Bard’s College Lete learns the most recent owner of the armor by Yakar son of Zabbar the pirate king of Sala Rock. Eventually the two make their way to Melissa’s apartment and along the way Lete learns of the Imps and familiars about the campus, seemingly as to explain Lete’s paranoia of being watched while at the College.

**Sala Rock (Zabbar):  Locals call it Sala Rock but not in the presence of the Tiefling pirate king Zabbar. Sala Rock has a watchtower, dock, house and barn since it was claimed by the Pirate King.  He has re-christened the island with his own moniker, Zabbar Island.  The Pirate King has anywhere from ten to two dozen ships at his disposal and is famous among pirates due to the two Thri-Kreen guardians that serve him.  Zabbar himself refers to the two Thri-Kreen as "The Roman and The Greek" and frequently chuckles after saying it.

Meanwhile Jabari tries to be noticed and along the way he notices a few Tengu before they literally blend into the crowd before his eyes. Jabari follows him to the arches but no further instead Jabari changes course and looks for Marco and Evagara instead.
The Golden Horn

Lex heads to the Golden Horn to find Paulie who is casually seated at the bar. Before long Lex explains his wishes for a specialty teacher; Paulie suggests the duels are one possibility but once the circus arrives there will certainly be a few who would be interested in making money training someone. While here Lex reschedules the trade deal for the Egyptian idol and learns Wally will be the best choice to broker that trade. Wally just happens to be in Paola at this time. Lex tarries a bit longer and gives Paulie 250 gold to buy into the safe house that will be shared by the Associates.

Lex asks about information on the rocks we will be traveling to. On Selmunett island stay away from an individual called the hunter who works for the Boffa family. The Boffas will sanction gambling anything from fingers to relatives, because of that there are dark practitioners vivisectionists and necromancers that frequent these establishments. Soon Wally arrives as does the rest of the characters and eventually a deal is struck for the idol of Tefnut for a +2 ability item to each of us.

We begin next session three days from the Circus the next morning (Monday Day 14)