Tuesday, April 25, 2017

People of Note - Daggerdale

Aldrich Gundwynd: A wise old wizard and advisor to Randall, a man of Oghma and ‘Friend of Shadowdale’. He was involved in the godswar around Hillsfar where he says he actually spoke in person with the Binder and rescued Randall's sister Silver Morn. He is often seen with his falcon named David

Chaz Sawer
Chaz Sawer: A strange fey creature; self-proclaimed ranger and protector of Daggerdale and is also known to be adept at many languages. Travels with a hybsil named Zean and a green warder called Logus
Cris and Regine Rolst: Brother and Sister warrior team new to Green Orb, they have been helpful in repairing farmsteads and rebuilding lives. 
Danus Treagh
Danus Treagh: Danus was the secret head of Zhentarim operations in Tilverton, until the Black Network learned that a Harper agent from Twilight Hall in Berdusk was given the mission to eliminate Danus. He was then moved by the Black Network to Green Orb to run the local mill.
Delbert Hiel: says he's retired militia from Deepingdale, new in Black Switch. Has been asking questions about the local closed down inn: the Mage's Ruse. 
Dulwar Deepdelve: Dwarven black smith and animal trainer, he has a large shop with attached kennels and said to be expensive but is said to be the best at both. He is one of few shop owners in Dagger Falls to outright refuse the protection of the Cavaliers.
Eragyn The Dark
Eragyn the Dark: priestess of evil and Ilthond’s on again/ off again lover, she is the daughter of ‘Ruinlord’ Radargh the cleric who reopened the temple in Green Orb before the godsfall.
Fulgath: a widely hated man with a reputation of overcharging everything. Fulgath’s Caravan Supplies in Dagger Falls has basic provisions and anything useful to merchants on the road can be purchased here.

The Gilded Gentleman
The Gilded Gentleman: Tren’s lieutenant of the militia and all around man-at-arms. It is unknown what the Gentleman actually is; however he is totally loyal to Tren and gets his name from the very unusual and exotic armor wears.
Harndarr Oryn: Mornmaster and ranking cleric at Lathander’s Light in Dagger Falls.

Heldarn Dernesch
Heldarn Dernesch: The main Zhent agent in Green Orb serving as town councilor and sheriff; he also owns the tavern called Schnapps Queen.

Hieb Jenton
Hieb Jenton: A master distiller who owns a controlling interest in the distillery cooperative along with the farmers of Green Orb who also own the vast fruit orchards. Hieb was a successful businessman in Tilverton, heading the distillery there, until his cover as a master agent of the Zhentarim threatened to be undone. The Black Network spirited him out and to Green Orb last just before the godsfall.
Iceheart: Half white dragon 'queen' who controls much of Dagger Hills, her subjects pay her homage with vile rituals at each equinox and each solstice. 
Kessla Lass
Kessla Lass: A retired minstrel and owner of Red Rock Inn a tavern in Dagger Falls frequented by folk of the surrounding dale. Openly known to oppose the resistance.
Lint Delmiskyr: Co-Captain of the Cavaliers of the Order of the Lammasu and rumored childhood friend of Randall Morn. Lint is very unpopular with the Zhents because of his Cormyrean family roots and his open taunting combat tactics during his patrols in the valley.

Luth Melennon
Luth Mlennon: Teshford Arms’ most popular barkeeper and long-time resident of Dagger Falls. Always ready with a joke and a mug of Schnapps; somewhat a fool.
Mestin "Trollbane" Durmark
Mestin "Trollbane" Durmark: She is the founder and Co-Captain of the Cavaliers of the Order of the Lammasu and can be found leading resistance fighters all across the dale.
Nella Weibhardt: Waitress at the Schnapps Queen in Green Orb and Heldarn's lover. If one is bound and determined to spend the night indoors in Green Orb, a deal with Nella usually is the only road to success.
Olavia Tsardruyn: A harsh woman owner of the cold and uninviting Teshford Arms, an Inn Dagger Falls that has fallen on hard times since the Time of Troubles.
Peitra Damaken: Investigator and suspected Harper who hails from Berdusk; the Zhentarim have a bounty on her after the Time of Troubles. 
Randall Morn
Randall Morn: Patron of the Morn family and Daggerdale’s rightful leader. Dark hair and deep blue eyes and in his mid-forty’s this dalesman warrior stands tall, brave and valiant. He is also the leader of the resistance who stands firm against Zhentish control of Daggerdale.
Reiner Trall: Mestin’s partner as well as strategist of the Cavaliers of the Order of the Lammasu who currently hold the hills of western Daggerdale.
Silver Morn

Silver Morn: In her mid-thirty’s, she has only recently returned to the Dale after the events of the Time of Troubles allowed her to escape the imprisoning enchantment of an evil wizard in Hillsfar. It is rumored she is with child. 
Tharwin “one-eye” Dynter: half ogre proprietor of the Broken Dagger in Dagger Falls, a rough-and-tumble bar usually favored by many Zhent and orc mercenaries.

Tren Noemfor
Tren Noemfor: Constable of Dagger Falls, he insures that trade flows smooth and undisturbed through the Dale. Not much is known of this man due to his ability to rule from behind the golden curtain of The Gilded Gentleman and the protective eye of the Cavaliers of the Order of the Lammasu.
Tristarm: Road marshal along the Tethyamar trail from Anathar's Dell to Dagger Falls. Flying colors of neutrality, Tristarm and his band of hunters keep the trail safe from marauding monsters.

Vacek Kordova
Vacek Kordova: Friend of Randall, Vacek as well as many other Riders of Mistledale joined Randall's resistance against the Zhentarim and helped win over much of Dagger Hills.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Zhents Session 10: Plans Set In Motion and the Drow Outpost

This week's session begins with the characters split up: Tiberius and Dylan crafting, El Guapo following up on leads, and Lucas seeking a quiet chapel while Havaok looked for Audry.

Lucas finds his familiar chapel under duress as Monsignor Seymour (a secret cleric of Bane!), Arton Delmis, and a Zhent named Grodvoth trying to grapple and pin a screaming and thrashing Commander Orgauth Veruni who was just attacked by a ‘seed of insanity’- a detached eye from a youngling beholder. Lucas jumped in to aid, moments later as did Havaok and soon they had the foreign eyeball plucked from Orgauth’s now unconscious body.

After some discussion it was learned that a five-eyed creature resembling Elazarin attacked Orgauth by having one of its tentacle eyes detach from its orb body and fly into Orgauth’s empty eye socket. The event was maddening to Grodvoth.

Soon Audry arrived to join Arton in his activity only to learn of the attack and a chance encounter with Havaok. Audry learned of the attack and of Havaoks pending departure. She has not been affirmed by the Ministry nor does she believe she will be; she expressed interest in leaving the Citadel of the Raven post haste but is stuck like most everyone else. She attempts to press Havaok on the details of his travels, but he is not forthcoming. She will hopefully be returning to Mulmaster soon with Yorel (High Commander of Castle Burmstone) to fight the infestation taking place there.

Lucas suggests spreading word of this attack on the Zhentarim to the leadership and they (the characters) should take this dead beholder eye to the Magisters. Seymour agrees to heal and care for Orgauth until Grodvoth brings help. Arton and Audry continue work on a magical item and Audry says goodbye to Havaok.

Lucas and Havaok eventually find Dylan and Tiberius and locate El Guapo who is sill at the Tesseract talking with Rylestrum and Velmarius who provide much information on the beholders and their four stages of development and growth cycle into a true eye tyrant.

Next the characters travel to Greystone where Magister of the Cloak Tedric Vexx awaits with his apprentice. Without any pretext Tedric leads the characters through the winding halls of Greystone until you reach a deep chamber where the drow Aunrae and Zaida await with an underdark trail map. The map featured an abandoned drow outpost and a deep body of water labeled the Shadlowlake and The Keeper.

The characters give Tedric the seed of insanity eyeball and begin exchanging information on beholders and the deep route out of the Dragonspine Mountains. The route to the Shadowlake would take all night (approx 6 hours) taking them past the drow outpost, but the characters learn the Keeper exacts a payment to cross the Shadowlake. At this realization, a visit to the black market is suggested to attempt to purchase a suitable ring or wand for the Keeper. As far as the beholders are concerned, when El Guapo asked why after over 50 years of no aberrations are the beholders attacking now? Tedric suggested it is because Elminster was believed dead.

It was evening when the characters arrive at Bridgeton and search for ‘Broadnax’ and the black market. Lucas made contact with a striking woman who, after an exchange of key phrases, led the characters under Bridgeton and a secret corridor in the hollow inside the bridge archways. Here the characters find carpeted areas where items of artistic expression are displayed- items the Ministry would consider contraband. Dylan fences an amulet, Havaok purchases a ring for the Keeper, and the other characters purchase an array of alchemical items and potions.

Later, the characters visit Castle Hawkehelm presumably for the last time to retrieve personal items and to report to their Commander Guthbert who has some follow up information on Daggerdale. The Zhentarim, in a region such as Daggerdale, will typically relocate low folk who do not cooperate with Zhent directives; those who do remain become part of the Zhentarim peripherally if not directly. Guthbert gives the characters a thirty day timetable to bring the dale back under Zhentarim control. In addition the characters are issued Vrag’ral a cunning and obedient Orog and information on Daggerdale agents to look for. 

After visiting the property department, where the characters learn Castle Brumstone was under attack by trolls or ogres or even cyclops; the characters return to Castle Greystone where your characters set out into the underdark.

The travel underground was swift thanks to two drow and an orog who could see in the dark. It was not long before the characters eventually found the abandoned drow outpost. The outpost, covered in webbing, was now home to a hand full of chitine and a choldrith priestess. The combat lasted less than a minute and yielded some treasure that was divided out.

We begin next session here at the drow outpost. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Zhents Session 9: A Way Out of The Dragonspine

This week’s session begins with the characters entering Dameron’s territory after defeating his fungal guardian the shambling mound. The characters were able to bypass the next obstacle, a corridor of insects with torches, making their way with ease. Beyond that were the glowing fungus fields, carefully tended to by strange bugs and guarded by brutish and stout myconids ready to defend the fields to the death. Above was a nine foot long deep bat that looked like a black manta ray (a Sinister). Each opponent had an odd amount of eyes.

After some confusing rounds of combat including Havaok being attacked by a darting eye from a myconid (that tried to enter his body) and unexpected aid from two drow, the characters proved victorious. However Dameron’s body was found headless (like Elazarin’s fate), the fungus fields seemed intact.

The drow were named Aunrae (male) and Zaida (Female), and they were sent by Tedric Vexx as insurance that all was well in the deep druid department. They seem comfortable interacting with humanity and spoke in the shadowtongue. The two drow claimed to be from a nearby community outside the Dragonspine Mountains that regularly traded with some of the Magisters and were hunting the deep bat. It was agreed that the characters would not share knowledge of their interactions, but left the drow to their own to decide to share this interaction with Tedric.

After, the characters spend the next few hours blocking alternate routes to the fungus fields as well as harvesting raw fungus components to take to the magisters before leaving for the surface.

Once outside the characters find it is dusk and encounter a group of undying zombies, discovering for themselves what they would later learn; the zombies the Zhentarim was trying to hide from the Ministry have gotten loose after the cometfall impact. They also meet Anders and Clemons along the way.

Back at Hawkehelm, the characters enjoy a fitful night as Niss visits each character differently imparting to each supernatural powers that focus on shadow granting your characters their next class level. This brings change in El Guapo’s sword as it goes black and a consciousness emerges: Ravenshadow, Havok’s oracle brother.
After practice at swordplay, spell preparation, and prayers the characters leave for Greyskull and Ampherd who wanted the characters to report on the condition of Dameron and the fungus fields after the odd events that resulted in Elazarins death. There, in the company of the five other Magisters the characters report their findings to Ampherd leaving out the encounter with the drow.

At the meeting Zelda expressed her disgust with the deep druid’s methods and fears what sickness or curse will come of it. Brisbane agreed as did Istaleus however each expressed concern for their obligations to Tenloss. Tedric suggested an alternate source for materials with a sly smile. The characters were paid 1,000 gp each for their excellent work. Dylan gives back some fungus/potions after some reconsideration. 

Later (or maybe it was before the meeting with the Magisters) the characters report to Commander Guthbert for a costume change and reassignment. Orders included leading orog teams to clear the snow from the trails between castles and routes out of the Dragonspine; investigating the meteor impact site; and or gathering the nearly ten scores of undying zombies that now roam the Dragonspine Mountains.

However El Guapo had other ideas, he suggested (with Havok’s blessing) to commander Guthbert that if there’s a way to get a small group out of the mountains ahead of the main campaign, that group could be the difference in the spring. He seemed to agree because the commander immediately laid out a timetable for ‘this small group’ to adhere to. The characters are given the name of Ilthond (commander of Zhentish assets in Daggerdale) as well as Rylestrum, a venerable librarian and occult medium, he is also blind but ornery as ever.

Midday the characters split up: Lucas spends the rest of the day at the chapel then the Copper Calf to reunite with the rest of the characters in the early evening; Tiberius crafts a set of mule back cords; Havaok searches for Audry (all next game session); while Dylan and El Guapo travel to the tesseract to seek Rylestrum.

At the Tesseract the characters find Rylestrum working with Velmarius working on maps that indicate other meteor impact sites across the realms. Before the characters speak of Ilthond, Rylestrum inform them that Ilthond will be dead by time the characters find him, but to use what resources and items Ilthond has to fight the evil fight. Hail Bane.
Dagger Falls 

Thursday, April 13, 2017


For more than fifty years, Daggerdale has been battling to survive against hostile raiders, bandits, and monsters. Zhentarim spies and agents have infiltrated the dale in years past, and the men of Daggerdale have been decimated by the attacks.They want nothing more than to be left alone.

Located in the upper reaches of the Tesh valley, Daggerdale lies between the Desertsmouth mountains and the Dagger Hills, remote and hard to reach. Paths lead south to Shadowdale and east to Teshwave, but little traffic passes through the dale. Merchants of other lands have found the trip to Dagdangerous and unprofitable. The Zhentarim are the most frequent visitors.

The people of Daggerdale are hunters and farmers, but many homesteads are abandoned. Large areas of the dale are heavily wooded; the open farmlands and manors of the other dales are not found in Daggerdale. Instead, people huddle together in small stockaded settlements for protection. Small villages lie in isolated areas. The villagers farm the land nearby and send hunting parties into the dark forests and hills. The Dalesmen barely produce enough to keep themselves alive and have little to offer foreign traders.

During the godsfall Daggerdale's rightful ruler, a resistance fighter named Randal Morn, led a band of adventurers from Tragidore against the invaders of the Dale; and Daggerdale was once again free from Zhentarim control- for now.

Session 8: Tengu in the Night, what the Hess

Ampherd the new Magister of Potions
On the rooftop of Hawkehelm Castle Ampherd and the rest ofthe magisters lead the characters into an empty chapel to regroup.  A couple other attendees were lead into the chapel along with the other rooftop survivors.  Battle could be heard echoing throughout the castle.  Seeing that the castle was littered with broken furniture and litter, the group decides to barricade themselves in the chapel and discuss events.   One of the new roommates, El Guapo asks Ampherd if he had suspected his fathers possession or transformation.  Ampherd indicated he had no advance warning but admitted he had noticed a change in his father since the godsfall.  Upon further questioning Ampherd stated that Elazarin had a falling out with Velmaris and the brother of Rylestrum, Ilthond, though he didn’t know the nature of their disagreement.  As the discussion dies down the Magisters called an emergency meeting to appoint a new Magister of Potions.  Ampherd was put forth as the nominee and a vote was held by placing stones in a bag, white for yes, black for no.  The motion was carried four to one and Ampherd was elevated to his father’s former position. 

Once the vote is complete, Ampherd expresses his concern about the vaults in Castle Greystone as well as the deep druid Demeron who supplies many of the raw materials Ampherd would require.  His concerns would be expressed through action, and he calls upon the Roommates to visit the druid and report back.  It takes a couple hours for order to be restored in Hawkehelm but soon after the Magisters supply the Roommates with potions and alchemical items before returning to Greyskull.   Once the Magisters depart a Silvertail Tengu named Hess makes his presence known and begins speaking in Shadowtongue with Dylan and eventually El Guapo.   Hess provides Dylan with a bag of equipment tricks and shares the knowledge that the Tengu share a connection in shadow, a shadow that has ancient vampiric roots.  He then provides El Guapo with the scabbard that goes along with his sword.  Hess warns us that the ancient shadow is opposed by a group known as the Necrophagists.  The Tengu Hess explains that should we discover a need for training we should just whisper to the shadows and he will find us.   All of the shadow tongue discussion calls forth eight vile dark folk from the Shadowroad and a short battle ensues during which Hess aids the Roommates with magical spells that enhance each member.

After the battle, Hess departs via the Shadowroad and the Roommates return to their quarters where Lucas is surprised by a half dozen Myrmidons there to congratulate him on his completion of the Proving Grounds obstacle course.  An enjoyable celebration is had before the characters enjoy a well deserved rest. 

The next morning when the characters leave for the deep druid’s territory, the characters see three teams of three man explorer teams. With avalanches blocking many minor paths, these teams are going to appraise the condition of the main trails out of the Dragonspine.   Other than some difficult terrain, travel to the underground is uneventful until the characters reach the druid’s territory and the moldy shambling mound.  The session ended with the Shambling Mound’s defeat.   
Shambling Mound

Terror on Thorncliffe Trail

Anders agreed by repeating Clemons’ assessment, “It could take a team of orogs a week to clear all this out.”

Piled before the trio of Zhentish surveyors was a huge slope of clumped snow and broken timber that thoroughly blocked the trail out of the Dragonspine Mountains. The smell of splintered spruces and firs peppered the air with its distinctive aroma as overhead birds flew in all directions, still disorientated from the shock of the meteor impact.

“Is there no other way around?” Came the next question but before someone could answer, “Look there.” Burns, the brutish master of the obvious said as he pointed and clumsily drew his weapon.

“What in hell?” Clemons asked.

Along the hillside were four individuals run-climbing up the wild scruff towards them. Clemons reached for his crossbow, notching a bolt in one impressive move and sighted on the nearest unidentified individual.

Anders marveled at their endurance because it did not look like they were tiring as the four seem to move with supernatural tenacity.  They were closer now; Anders could see they were each uniformly dressed in tightly wrapped clothing. Men in all black with helms who made them easy to see against the pale white snow.

Almost upon them now Clemons voiced a warning, “Halt! Identify yourself in the name of the Ministry.”

“yea!” Burns agreed.

Anders cringed at the mention of the Ministry, but on they came climbing through the deep snow. Clemons loosed his bolt catching the trailing individual in the shoulder; it did not slow him down.

Sudden realization struck Anders as he remembered working a late night duty for Heathyard herding undying zombies away from the eyes of the Ministry. The zombies have somehow gotten loose after the comet impact Anders surmised as he stabbed Burns in the back with his dagger and looked to Clemons.

“Let us make haste back to Hawkehelm,” Anders said to Clemons as they left Burns to die by the vicious flesh eating undying zombies. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Currency of The Gods

Audry Lanchester
Audry Lanchester, Ironsister and matriarch of the Black Lord’s Altar, found herself among the thralls of Zhentarim soldiers and spectators who had gathered around a side arena away from the main obstacles of the Proving Grounds. No one seemed to pay her any heed during her prerituals as Braidwood and Havaok stood nose to nose their mouths moving as they exchanged insults heightening the tension between the two antipaladins.

One, a storm cloud of primordial evil from Mulmaster and the other, a contemporary tyrant of the old ways from Zhentil Keep. It was no wonder she favored the tyrant, an adherent of the Lord Bane. 

Audry brought forth a yellow jewel wrapped in copper thread and held it in accordance with the ritual and waited repeating the words of power. The chant of the crowd drowned out her words as well as the combatants verbal exchange, but all that soon turned to blood and gore. 

At first it looked like Braidwood would win drawing first blood following up with a strike that had Havaok reeling, but Havaok came with a vengeance striking back several times and finally taking advantage of Braidwoods critical mistake that cost the antipaladin his weapon, Havaok beheaded the storm cloud Braidwood in grotesque fashion.

The feeling was exquisite, better than the greatest of physical pleasures, as the spell was completed. Audry slowly opened her eyes, oblivious to the excitement around her, and looked to the yellow jewel and the tiny light now encased within- Braidwood’s poor unfortunate soul.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Zhents 6 & 7: New Face of Insantiy

After the battle in Lake Village Havaok, Dylan, and Lucas take the beast of Malar heartsblood, the body of Ravenshadow, and Trebek’s head and return to Hawkehelm; but not before the Hunter Kascar hails the party and after some brief bartering 1,500 gold for Trebek’s head. The character’s later learn, through insight from Tiberius, that the ones looking for Trebek are necrophagists and are antithetical to the shadow entity Niss, who seems to be the origin of your character’s supernatural powers.

Later at Hawkehelm Havaok, Dylan, and Lucas encounter and debrief Rutledge and Sememmon along with two other property control individuals. Havaok handles his brother’s remains (cremation) and consoles Dorsha who at this time is slipping into madness. Meanwhile Lucas meets a monsignor and learns more about the Ministry’s pantheon worship and the high value they place on human life and the correlation on the value of the human soul. There are seven deities in the Ministry’s pantheon. The characters later visit Bridgeton several times to deliver the Heartsblood to Cambolton or to visit Glinda at the Copper Calf.

The characters also met with Ampherd who was plotting something sinister against his father and wanted to insure the character’s did not interfere but actually delay those who would interfere with whatever Ampherd had planned for his father’s nameday celebration. This prompted Havaok to meet with Rutledge again and inform him of the character’s past exploits- namely retrieving three peryton eggs. 

The next morning dorsha dies but not before she draws a single harrow card for everyone.
The new characters El Guapo and Tiberius were ordered by Rutledge to gather up Ravenshadow and Trebek’s belongings and bring them to property control. An accidental slip caused the Box of Niss to spill its supernatural contents.

A magical maelstrom encircled El Guapo and Tiberius granting them their heroic class, magical items, and insight into what Niss was, as well as the character’s who came before El Guapo and Tiberius, as well as knowledge of the necrophagists. Rutledge as well as a mysterious tengu watched all this in silence. Rutledge had a basic understanding of what he just witnessed saw this as an opportunity to reinforce Havaok’s group of Zhents. And to insure this he sent El Guapo and Tiberius to Blair Castle to get advanced information on the proving grounds for Havaok, Dylan, and Lucas who were surely participating.

At Castle Blair the characters El Guapo and Tiberius examine each obstacle and water pool, even watching as Arton, Braidwood, and Audry add an undead to each water pool including the addition of a Bane symbol to one of the obstacles (reroll of a skill check).

The rest of the afternoon was filled with preparing for the evening competition, the awards ceremony, and the Zhent general /Elazarin’s nameday dinner atop Hawkehelm Castle.

Later that night scores of zhent soldiers and agents lined the cobbled road into Blair Castle where torches and braziers lit the proving grounds under the night’s constellations. As Havaok was entering Audry slipped him a hide from undead potion.

Once inside the characters were brought to a staging area when eventually Dylan went into the proving ground first not lasting much past the fourth obstacle, next Lucas who skillfully finished the course. Then finally Havaok who also did not finish the obstacle course but would publicly challenge Braidwood in single combat and eventually win becoming the undisputed antipaladin. What followed next was two hours of celebration and camaraderie as the characters waited to see witch Zhentarim general would select them to join the cause for the Ministry.

It was not long when the character’s would learn that Guthbert Golthammer has selected them and that would mean a summer campaign in Daggerdale to defeat the usurpers and restore Daggerdale to Zhentarim control.

Later, atop Hawkehelm, it was the General’s dinner where the eight treasures were laid out each were guarded by armored undead. As the dinner progressed, Elazarin and the Magisters came out and eventually gifts were displayed before the Magister of Potions. There were several rounds of uncomfortable toasts to Elazarin preceded the opening of the last gift, Ampherd’s gift of preyton eggs.

But when the dribble glass spilled the potion of ageing on the eggs, they immediately hatched into young adult preytons surprising everyone. What happened next tested the sanity of everyone who was at that table as the surprise startled the thing that had taken on the guise of Elazarin for so long. Elazarin’s left eye became impossibly large and filled the center of its head, it’s right eye raised up on a tiny stalk of pink flesh to join three other grotesque eyes on fleshy stalks that hid under Elazarin’s white wig. The body of Elazarin fell to the table and then to the floor as fleshy tendrils under the now floating head released the headless corpse. As this occurred a tremendous boom and fireball erupted in the night sky as the meteorite seen in the sky collided with Faerun’s atmosphere and descended changing the mountainous landscape forever.

Combat erupted, the eye-orb thing escaped, and the preytons were killed by the characters. The rooftop is evacuated and this is where we will begin next game session.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Magisters and the Tenloss Trade Agreement

Aurora Tenloss
The Great Hall of Castle Greyskull normally catered to the five Magisters, their apprentices and their nightly palavers; the five banners that featured either an elixir, ink well, pauldrons, a sword over shield, or crossed wands across five grand daises were gone. For this event, the Great Hall gave way to unified Zhentarim colors giving the merchant visitor the sense that the Magisters were of similar sentiments when in fact, Ampherd the transhumanist alchemist quietly lamented to himself, they argued more than they came to agreement thanks to his father. Collectively they served the Zhentarim but that is where census ended.

After about an hour of appetizers, entertainment by acrobats, and light courses of food and beverage it was Aurora Tenloss who expertly guided the nightcap with the Magisters to talk of business. Ampherd believed she was everything the people said about her; indeed business proved to be in the woman’s blood because she brought with her lucrative proposals that could keep all of the Magister’s alchemists and craft’s men busy until Full Earth. It turned out, much to Ampherd’s surprise, that aside from the Tenloss Consortium, she personally runs several black markets in several cities. Ampherd reflected momentarily; she may be the only woman he had ever admired, and that brought on feelings of desire. 

But when Aurora brought her final proposal to Elazarin Nanther, the Magister of Potions, Ampherd could not believe his senses at first. Ampherd listened as the details of the agreement were negotiated, helpless to speak on behalf of his father’s office. Ampherd could not help but notice across the room the scarlet haired merchant heiress smiled demurely at him as the contract was formally closed.

The business negotiations and contract closing look less than an hour after the formal diner and entertainment and was completed before midnight. Finally, without their merchant visitor the keepers of Greyskull were free to speak openly.
“Are you sure you can fulfill that high volume Elazarin and keep your obligations to the Zhentairm? The distribution that you are suggesting challenges the imagination.” It was Istaleus who was no supporter of Elazarin who asked; he too was trying to process the scope of Aurora’s proposal- now an agreement.

“Indeed,” the Magister of Potions answered with a watery voice; everyone had noticed the man wore the same clothes for several weeks in a row. “Dameron’s new and expanded territory will fill our needs as well as hold us to this bargain.” He had a weird gleeful look as he sopped up another drink with a cankerous tongue.

Ampherd Nanther
Two hour later, as was customary after formal meetings of the Magisters, friends Ampherd, Istaleus, and the Magister of Arms Brisbane Bruil, lingered in the Great Hall to enjoy an evening smoke and to unburden the mind.
“I think my father has overstepped his capabilities.” Ampherd said exhaling a waft of white pipe smoke as he spoke. “First he is not the craftsman he once was, and second no one likes working for him not even myself.”
“You realize this most recent deal with Aurora, the Magister of Potions has the potential to become the most powerful of the Magisters.” Istaleus pointed out.

“And who would you have that be?” Ampherd said to his friends. “Me or my father?”

“You of course, your father has become unappetizingly difficult to work with.” Brisbane said being honest and as forthcoming as he can. “And I do not like that smarmy druid he insists on working with.”

“Indeed,” agreed Istaleus. “You would need a majority support among the Magisters if he is proved unfit for his office or dies without a suitable replacement. The office of Magister does not pass to on to living heirs as you know.”

Ampherd regarded his friends, “With your support I believe I can persuade Zelda to see things our way, she holds no loyalty to my father.”

“Nor to your family,” Brisbane pointed out.

Zelda Leiyraghon, Magister of Wands
“True, but her family the Leiyraghons are loyal to your family Brisbane.” Ampherd pointed out, his plan unfolding before them all.

“How will it be done?” Istaleus asked shifting to the edge of his seat.

“Not to worry my friends, I’ve already set plans in motion.” Ampherd said as he went on to explain the most recent events and the acquisition of three rare preyton eggs

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Episode 5: Blood and The Beast of Malar

After securing an agreement with Heathyard, the Roommates travel to the Valley of Orogs, a short journey that brings them to the first tower guarding the valley.  Here the party meets with a couple of guards who indicate that some of the other guard towers have Malar worshiping guards. After Trebek gives the guardsman Harrigan a hard time they develop a camaraderie over shared smokes and the repair of a broken spyglass.  The guards agree to let the Roommates use the now repaired spyglass while in the valley and return it on departure.  Prior to heading into the valley, the Roommates go over what they have learned about the Orogs and are given some additional advice regarding a location in the valley the Orogs would not go.

Orog Valley Info:
1.       The Orc women are worse than the Orogs
2.       The Beast of Malar is in a section the Orogs would not go
3.       The towers on the far side of the valley are populated with Malar worshippers.
4.       The guards go around the valley, only entering the valley from the nearest tower to avoid travelling through the Orogs habitat

The Roommates decide to enter the valley directly and walk through.  They are soon being followed by several orc women and an Orog who is keeping an eye on them.  As the Roommates approach the area the Orogs would not go, Trebek makes the first of two fatal errors.  The young wizard/priest cast the spell Mage Armor and the Orog /Orcs 60 feet behind the Roommates notice and become agitated and angry.  Dylan, the only Roommate that speaks orc, informs the party of their threats.  Trebek then makes  his 2nd and final mistake.  He casts the sleep spell, and all the women around the Orog fall asleep.  The Orog is enraged, and can’t tell that the fallen women surrounding him are asleep and not dead.  He raises his weapon to the sky and calls for all the orcs and Orogs of the Valley to attack. 

The Roommates rush to the “cave” where the beast is laired and the Orogs will not go.  The cave is poorly named as it is actually a narrow tunnel and only one of the Roommates can make their way inside the tunnel.  The rest of the Roommates are forced outside to face the Orc/Orog onslaught which was an unknown number of female orc archers firing flaming arrows (two of which pepper Ravenshadow) while five Orogs rush and attack each Roommate. The Roommates were horrified to discover that the Orogs would indeed go to this location and that the orc women were not worse than the ferocious  Orogs.  While the battle with the Orogs raged outside, a battle with the Beast of Malar continued inside the “cave”, with Dylan and Havaok switching off against the strange shape changing creature which in one form looked like a bat.
The Beast escapes but not before spilling enough blood from Havaok to collect and return to the Brothers of the Forge.  Alas the battle with the orcs fares badly for the party with both Ravenshadow and Trebek falling to the Orogs massive blades.  Before Dylan, Lucas, and Havaok can react, the orcs drag off the two fallen Roommates and Malar worshipping tower guards arrive to harass the surviving Roommates.  The enemy guardsmen are finally defeated and the non-Malar worshipping tower guardsmen express their gratitude by leading the survivors to the Orog encampment where their fallen members were taken.   Both sustained massive damage, only Trebek surviving his wounds thank to magical healing.   Trebek’s luck was not to last however as Havaok’s anger overtook him when he blamed the caster for the failure in the Valley, beheading Trebek with his mighty falchion before returning home. 

Items recovered:
Barbarian: Lg Magical Bastard Sword, Hide Armor Vicious animals, cloak magical, 1 potions of cure moderate, MW Longbow, 2 Javelins, Throwing Axe

Cleric: MW Scimitar, Heavy Wooden Shield, Light Crossbow, Magical Chain mail, Magical Cloak Zhent Resistance +1, Lesser Restoration Potion, Wand of Cure Light Wounds 50 Charges

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Into The Valley of the Shadow of Death, He Feared No Evil

Dorsha awoke from her afternoon meditations with a cry of deepest heartache; her heart trembled under a thin stretch of skin threatened to stop in her chest forever. Sitting there stunned, still trying to process what she had envisioned, the horrower struggled to stand when a fit of sickly coughs nearly overcame her in its suffocating grip as the horrific vision toyed with her sanity as it replayed itself across her rheumy eyes.

In her vision Ravenshadow stood facing the dark path along the Shadow Road. His hair flew in an unseen wind and his eyes were stoic and unemotional; the exact contrast as to how she felt as she watched, unable to intervene in the vision. His brutal, deadly wounds and broken body told her all she needed to know that one of her worst fears has come to pass. Ravenshadow, one of her sons was dead.

Then in her vision the darkness took on a female shape, a translucent wisp of shadow; embraced her son with billowing arms while whispering terrible screams seductively into the his ears. Dorsha watched with renewed horror as Ravenshadow did not so much as resist the enveloping shadow and allowed the embrace of death to deliver him from the mortal realms. 

Dorsha went to her harrow deck frantic, her mind shattered, "False reading." She muttered over and over again turning cards over one at a time. "False reading, false reading, false reading..."

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Session 4: The Ministry Funeral

The Roommates arrive at Bridgeton only to discover that the Brothers of the Forge is closed for the night with Cam Bolton at the Copper Calf and Brisbane out on a date.  A local going by Topknot informs us that someone was looking for us and after getting a description from Topknot of the brutish looking figure, Trebek warns the partythat Nash is Rutledge’s brother and has reason to be angry with him.   While Trebek and Topknot talked Dylan notices that several members of the Seminary of Adepts were gathering in reverence over a litter.  Soon a couple of Adepts approached asking for pall bearers. Intrigued, Ravenshadow and Trebek offered their services and bearing the dead to the graveyard outside Bridgeton.  The burial ceremony for the Ministry ended with the ashes of the fallen adept being added to a metal base that would be used in the creation of an intelligent shield christened the Shield of Dambeth.  Witnessing the ceremony reveals a means of sacrifice to Ravenshadow that makes him believe he can utilize soulstones to previously unavailable magic.  
While the ceremony took place, the remaining roommates split up along the way to the Copper Calf.  Before departing, they spoke with Ringult Hornhelm a Geologist and several merchants including Aroura Tenloss who was there to appraise treasures the Ministry has obtained during the inquisition.  During these discussions, Ringult let slip the outlandish claim that he believes the Ministry has Elminster’s soul in its possession.

The Roommates arrive at the Copper Calf over the next several hours.  Ravenshadow, Trebek, and Dylan are the last to arrive and look a little worse for wear.  Just outside the graveyard, after the ceremony, Lucas passed by a gravestone with HIS name on it that promptly opened beneath the trio.  While Lucas and Trebek could jump clear of the opening grave, Ravenshadow fell into a grave lined with spikes that was quickly closing.  Ravenshadow was gravely wounded (pun intended) owing his life to the quick-thinking actions of Lucas who saved him while Trebek struggled with rope.  Once freed and restored to health via magical potion, the gravestone’s name had changed from Lucas to Shenston Shadowhand, a petty criminal from the area who was buried alive as punishment.
Once all were gathered at the Copper Calf, the characters take advantage of the food and drink awaiting Havaok’s midnight meeting.  Lucas confides with them about his missing father who he believes was taken.  They discuss what the next steps could be towards discovering his father’s fat when Heathyard the Orag handler a man even larger than Nash, arrives looking for Trebek.  He informs Dylan and Trebek about Rutledge’s order that they assist Heathyard with some Zombie herding and are told to arrive at the Heartsman’s club at midnight.  Their work proved far more interesting to Trebek than his previous penance, though Dylan was upset to get roped into Trebek’s punishment.  Dylan and Trebek learned the zombies were especially valuable trophy’s, tougher than normal, they were the fallen ninjas and assassin followers of Myrkul. 

While Dylan and Trebek ran herd on zombie, Havaok and a hidden Ravenshadow met on the roof with a cloaked woman soon revealed to be the beautiful Audrey Lanchester of Mulmaster.  Her visit was a political one, where she provided Havaok a rare book of anti-paladin spells entitled The Book of 9 Dooms.  Audrey expressed interest in supporting Havaok’s rise to power as she favors the Old church of Bane over the Ministry and its candidate Braidwood.  She explains that the Ministry worships a collective of deities and not just Bane. She cautions the young Anti-Paladin that his rise to power must seem, if not actually be legitimate. 
Lucas remains in the Copper Calf, discussing with Cam Bolton the repair of magical leather armor and the desire to trade for chainmail that Havaok can wear.  When Lucas describes the Lamassu imagery on the leather he learns that it belongs to a cavalier order.

The next morning the Roommates depart leaving Dylan alone to receive a delivery from Ampherd which turns out to be the groups reward, 4 magical Sipping Jackets along with 2000 in gold.  Dylan decides to inform the party of their good luck, sharing the jackets and 100 gold for each of the other roomies.  Havaok and Ravenshadow meet with Dorsha so that Havaok can inform her of his meeting with Audrey.

Trebek spends his day in study and creation of inks for the scribing of scrolls.  His study of the Books of Nis lead to the discovery of Cacodaemon with the ability to create a Soulstone.

After their daily business, the Roommates meet in Bridgeton at the Brothers of the Forge where they trade armor and get an agreement to repair the leather while removing the Lamassu imagery, putting 300 gp down for the job.  Brisbane supplies the Roommates with his last 3 oils of magic weapon. Cam Bolton conspires with Havaok to taint the Silverell with the blood of a lycanthrope or a beast of Malar and weaken Braidwood’s armor, a method that would not lead to any shame or fault with the Brothers of the Forge.  While discussing this the Roommates learn that Heathyard lost a couple of his Orogs to some of the Beast of Malar attacks.  

Seeing an opportunity for profit, the Roommates contact Heathyard again letting him know they were aware of the problem and prepared to act upon it.  After initially resisting admitting to the problem, Heathyard eventually concedes his need for help and offers a future favor should the Roommates prove successful in destroying the beasts. Upon securing his offer the Roommates leave for the Valley of Orogs on the hunt for the glossy black furred Beasts of Malar. 
Beast of Malar

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Hierarchy of Hate 3

Guthbert Golthammer
Blackguard Krandar Milinal raised his goblet to the five Regional High Commanding Officers and assembled Zhentarim and offered a toast.

“Clear mind, clear heart, clear focus.” It was a common mantra for those who use hate and tyranny to further their life’s work.

The stiff brew’s aroma was thick and warm, a summertime ale if there was any Krandar thought. The setting sun bathed the east wall in an afternoon light that washed the room in reds and crimson tones. Sounds of troop formations and early evening drills filtered all the way up to the central command spire atop of Hawkehelm Castle.

Within the spire, the others repeated the six words the Blackguard said with reverence before simultaneously drinking deeply of the ale.

Several cushioned high-backed chairs sat at regular intervals around a long polished table where maps of different types were unrolled and weighted down with pewter weights molded into chess pieces. Hand written notes and lines crisscrossed the maps as candle light danced a wavering waltz to and fro across the table.

Yorel Conandus
Seated at the table along with Lord Krandar was the Lore Warden Flamulder Thuldoum who had with him several scroll cases and the Strifelord Brouse Tremlor; then at regular intervals Zhent Commanders Guthbert Golthammer, the brutish old veteran from the Tesh Valley; Orgauth Verurni, a summoner with black hair, black eyes, and a black heart; Ulgrym Hud, the strict and swift commander of Zhent forces in Zhentil Keep, Sememmon, the tall mysterious foreigner and arcanist; and Yorel Conandus, Zhent swashbuckler- sorcerer from Melvaunt and youngest of the High Commanders. Also present were the Black Network Magisteers Elazarin Nanther and Istaleus along with Beaumont and Rutledge who each stood as ceremonial wizard and warrior respectively over the High Command Summit.

“Thank you all for coming so early this year,” Lord Krandar said after his goblet was emptied. “The Ministry is highly motivated and moves with an urgency we are not used to under the old banner of Lord Bane.”

From Krandar’s left Mulder rose from his seat to circle the long table placing scroll cases of various styles upon key locations on the maps that covered much of the table being careful not to disturb anything while Strifelord Tremlor signaled Rutledge to reveal several small crates that were carefully arranged on a banquet, each branded with a circular sigil.

“These are the Ministry’s appeals brought forth to the Black Network by the Percept’s own Chaplain.” Krandar explained as the Zhentarim officers pursued the Ministry documents. “and deposit to the commander of each charge.” Krandar finished indicating the unveiled crates.

“Ambitious plans.” The venerable Guthbert said as he made his selection after long moments looking at each appeal.

Krandar only silently nodded taking another sip of ale.

“I believe I still have all my maps of Daggerdale. I will put them to good use once again!” Guthbert said enthusiastically as a knowing smile forming on the man’s bearded face.

Orgauth Verurni
Sememmon, always difficult to read, “I appreciate the Ministry’s meaning behind bringing us these items.” The arcanist was more interested in the magical objects in the crates- the Ministry’s ‘deposit’ to the Zhentarim. Each Ministry appeal it seemed came with a magical wonder that ostensibly would aid the commander in their mission.

“It certainly implies power when the Ministry can depart with treasures such as these.” Sememmon said marveling at what he believed could be unique artifacts. Sememmon made his selection solely based on the treasure associated with it.

Across the table Orgauth was no novice as to how this formality was performed and as next in seniority he was anxious to make his selection. But his excitement turned sour during the next several minutes as he weighed and evaluated each remaining appeal.

“I would rather have gold.” The old Zhentarim veteran said as he passed the scrolls along. He would later think of his daughter Luersa whom he lost during the godsfall.
Ulgrym Hud

Ulgrym, born and raised in Zhentil Keep took up a scroll and asked, “What in Acheron is the 
Vigilante of Zhentil Keep?”

At this question the Strifelord spoke up, “You may wish to speak to Caval Daoran Hawkehelm’s Reeve regarding the Vigilante but suffice to say,” the Strifelord continued, “the Vigilante is a menace to the stability of the Ministry in Zhentil Keep.”

Yorel, High Commander of Brumstone whose sorcerous blood bordered on madness, looked to the remaining Ministry appeal and found a city map and census of Mulmaster.

“Gentlemen, Vremya nabora. Let the Time of Recruiting begin.”             

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Never as good as the first time

Sure, most folks didn't remember much of the times before Godsfall, but there was life back then, back when Bane was the Overlord, and backbone of Zhent aspiration. This afternoon happened in such times.

It was a hot summer day, the end of a hot summer day, and most of the older teens had finished their days work.Dark, but not yet secretive, Ravenshadow splashed in the waters of the swift currents of the shallow river with his companions. With the Zhents, one had many companions or comrades but few friends. Although he had come to terms with his blackened withered arms (he was happy to let the story rest with a foolish mistakes in the family bread hearth), jokes and teasing still stung the 20 year old, and Thaddeus was drunk enough to not stop when enough was enough. Fuming, his heart blacker than his charred fingertips, Ravenshadow smiled thinly, responded with a joke of his own and retreated a little farther downstream, seeking refuge in solitude but not willing to give up the cool waters on this waning summer afternoon. As evening gathered, the shadows of hills and scant cliff sides grew long and deepened, and the summer breeze had its first hint of cooling effect. Thaddeus had drunk enough to annoy his comrades, and decided to seek out "Cinder-Ella" (he was really proud of his made up name of mockery) as he left the shallows to sleep off his enebriation. He found him standing in chest deep waters, calmed by a deep eddy not far from the banks, nestled in a deep shadow cast over by the hilly rise above him. Seeing him approach, The darkman thought quickly, and submerged to the bottom of the calm waters. Leering greedily as if he had already won, Thad dove under to pull him back up. In the shallow waters given over to deep shadow, Thad never saw the spell cast that he didn't resist, and he panicked when he couldn't pry his shadow from its spot on the riverbed. He did see Ravenshadow's gritted teeth when he brought the rock roughly down against his nose. Involuntarily Thad gasped in pain and his lungs took their first swallow of cool  stream waters. Reflexively they spasmed and coughed, which only served to fill his lungs further with the relieving cool waters on his last hot summer day. Ravenshadow calmly held his breath and kept his leering face only inches out the grasp of his first murder victim.
"B A N E !" was his triumphant yawp as rose above the surface of the water. He lifted his gaze from the corpse that bobbed merrily in the river current, lifted it to find a slender raven-haired comrade now walking from the bank to the calm shadowed pool. The river wasn't the only reason for her wetness and her breaths came hot, rushed, and uneven. He was mesmerized by the blackness in her eyes and the fullness of her breasts buoyed by the current. She licked her thick lips before she spoke.
"He deserved that." She breathed into his ear asshe climbed down onto his growing lap.neither said any more as they each claimed their first rewards as adults.

Sure, most folks didn't remember much before Godsfall. But Ravenshadow remembered it often.

Session 3: The Peryton Caper

Our gang of Zhent Rookie Roomates pick up at the Brothers of the Forge, where Dylan notices a young woman hiding just outside, in a nook of the building. Trebek, curious about who is huddled in the nook, releases a small bit of magic noise to startle her, causing her to step forward.  The young woman is from the Copper Calf and is there to deliver a magical fabric to Havaok Umbrusk,  The fabric contained a divine scroll that the Anti-Paladin could learn and utilize against our enemies.  Havaok has indicated that the fabric also gave a time to meet, midnight atop the Copper Calf.

Moments later Trebek meets with Chase, a Zhent he had assisted the night before in the Copper Calf. Chase was impressed with Trebek's quick action and loyalty to Zhent causes.  Expressing a need for a Sorcerer, Chase offers Trebek a job with his band of Zhent agents travelling to Daggerdale.  Due to Trebek's most recent assignment to the Rookie Roommates he respectfully declines the invitation.

While the others are busy with messages and camaraderie, Ravenshadow has a vision of an empty Bridgeton colored by a drastically changed Skyline. He keeps his vision to himself but theorizes that his vision is possibly in the future and may reflect the shadow realm,

Soon after, the rookie roommates travel an hour to the Watchtower Path, along the horrific wall of Terror.  Soon after taking the Path the roommates come upon a fallen doe, barely alive with a bite taken from its neck.  Lucas, Dylan and Havaok approach the doe only to witness a baleful third eye open in the creatures flank.  Questioning their sanity they watch the eye float up and away disappearing into the scruff of the Mountains.  Havaok and Dylan seem to be greatly affected by this occurrence (4 points of Sanity Damage).

Arriving at the Watchtowers they had spied upon through the looking glass the day before, the roommates find the towers congested with sticks and broken supplies from the bunker.  Flying from behind the roommates and leading with their immense antlers, three Peryton's attack the Zhents some two hundred feet from the Watchtowers.  Rushing to the two towers, Lucas and Ravenshadow enter the southern tower and begin a hunt for the Peryton eggs the roommates are here to recover while Havaok, Dylan and Trebek attempt to fight off the strong magical beasts.

The battle proves dangerous and long with Dylan falling before being saved by one of their magical healing potions.  Havaok's mighty falchion proves to be the difference and the magical beasts are finally defeated.  The roommates had no time to recover from the battle however as stepping out from behind debris is the rapist Tinderbox along with 4 other Zhents,  two fighters, a rogue and ranger, demanding the rookies hand over the eggs.  Havaok would have none of their demands, taking the fight to them and crying out for the oracle Ravenshadow to destroy the eggs should we fall. Ravenshadow had his own idea and ran back to the Peryton's nest inside the tower and hid the eggs.

A long difficult battle ensued but in the end, the Roommates proved themselves to be rookies no more, slaying the three.  Havaok beheaded Tinderbox, placing his head among the eggs to be returned to Ampherd.  Trebek says several prayers over the bodies of the Zhents offering up their souls to Bane and feeling the touch of faith upon his shoulders. After a short rest and recovery of treasure, the Roommates return to Greyskull and the Citadel of the Raven where they meet with Ampherd who chuckles at the death of Tinderbox.  After compensating the Roommates, Ampherd requests their help as servants at his father's Nameday celebration the following evening.  We pick up the following session arriving in Bridgeton

Treasure Recoverd:
·         Treasure:  Ring of protection +1 (Russ) , pair of armbands  and a magic buffering cap crit to non lethal (Trebek), +1 studded leather with the broken condition image of a Lammasu upon it,  2 Cure light wounds, potion hide from animals, potion of hide from undead, potion of mage armor, potion of protection from chaos, potion of shield of faith +2, 3 Peryton Eggs
·         Tinderbox and his gang: Fighter 2 Chain Mail (Russ takes 1) , 2 Longswords (left behind), 2 light crossbows  , Ranger: Battle Axe, heavy crossbow (Russ) , studded leather, Rogue, Rapier, Light Crossbow, 2 daggers and studded leather
·         Tinder Box: MW Shortsword (Russ), +1 Chain Shirt (Rob), lotto potions as well as some other things. Multicolored glass bead Alchemist Item, Burglars Bracers (Tony), Goblin Fire Drum (Butch), MW Light Crossbow (Tony), Potion of Barkskin +2, Potion of Blur, 6 Potions of Cure Light Wounds, 3 Potions of Cure Moderate Wounds, Potion of Darkvision, 2 Potions of Resist Fire 10, 2 Potions of Shield of Faith +2, 2 Potions of Spider Climb, Potion of Undetectable Alignment (restricted by church), 6 Stat Potions, Sipping Jacket potion locked and loaded cure serious.

·         Ravenshadow has taken a skull amulet in secret