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

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Hierarchy of Hate 2

The Strifelord
The Strifelord weighed the Chaplin’s words carefully as the tall man spoke, his dark tone was thick with implications. Years connected the two men and their positions; the Strifelord, then under Bane’s dark clergy and member of the Zhentarim high command; he would communicate regularly with the Precept’s own Chaplain of the Black Altar in Zhentil Keep. But that thin connective tissue, the church of Bane, was gone leaving behind the behemoth that was the Ministry.

A small wooden crate sat like stone, dead center in the parlor adding gravity to the meeting while emphasizing a kind of gulf that had come between the two men. Outside the stone castle, cold wind blew with renewed ferocity despite the warmer months to come.

“In years past the Black Network has provided its invaluable service in shaping the realms and has helped elevate the Moonsea to the next great era of man. I am here as a formal representative because the Ministry calls for the Zhentarim again; though I come to you as a colleague with hopes of elevating your position.” the Chaplain paused before explaining, “the world is at a tipping point and threatens to regress man back to the dark ages.”

It was an overstatement but the Strifelord understood that anything that halted the progress of mankind threatened the very concept of progress itself.

The Chaplain
“The collective dogma under the Ministry’s tenants demands we strike out for the preservation of our way of life.” The Chaplain balled his fists for emphasis. He could have gone on but both men were colleagues before the godsfall, and why should that change? But here he was, the Chaplain formally petitioning the Zhentarim.

The Chaplain indicated the crate in front of them, “These are the war plans for the new offensive. It is time we remove the purple stain from the world map." 

The Strifelord's first reaction was one of amusement when he identified the target of the offensive and then shock. Dozens of maps heavily denoted with troop deployments for both undead and living combatants; phases of war along with land targets complete with projected timetables. It was complete, taking in account for contingencies- it was genius. 
“The Ministry hopes this arrangement can endure for future years and it looks to you Strifelord, to act as the Zhentairm’s new director. This should help your ambitions in light of the organization’s most recent setback. ”

The Strifelord hid is surprise well from the Chaplain and thought next about how to proceed, the time of recruiting has begun.