Thursday, August 31, 2017

Malta Session 3: 08/30/2017: Fessaj Cooperates and Finding Osso

We begin this session in front of the Chomstop in Zebbug. When our characters arrived the awning of the store had caught on fire as four cloak humanoid individuals raced from the store…

Lex, with a quick assessment believes the small fire is actually a medium sized fire elemental. We close in and find our adversaries are catfolk plus one tengu. We were successful in getting two catfolk to surrender. Lete calls for guards as two of catfolk are restrained and disarmed. Marco asks the cooperative Fessaj who hired them and was instructed that a Captain Soverah Fessaj put them to task; Marco allows that cat folk to ‘escape’ in return for this valuable information. Soon deputies Muck and Guck arrive.

The shopkeeper explains to the deputies the catfolk asked about Osso and was directed to the upstairs to search for whatever they were looking for. The shopkeeper states that Osso has not been seen for about day; Osso’s upstairs apartment looks to have been ransacked, our characters assume they did not find what they were looking for. Further speaking with the shopkeeper he indicates the offenders were disguised when they asked about Osso.

The guards check our identifications and seem appreciative for our character’s efforts. A mention of magic has alarming reactions bordering on the superstitious. Lete and Lex briefly leave looking for Jabari who had run off to find the fourth assailant- a tengu and the likely cause of the fire elemental (both were first spotted on the roof of the Chomstop.

We want Osso right meow. 
Later our own search of Osso’s apartment as well as the roof top yields a false chimney, inside are three healthy sized finely cut diamonds, an Egyptian marked ring as well as a blank masterwork badge. Jabari would eventually look for Eye symbols in the shop but instead sees a woman taking interest in the activity around the shop.  Once she sees she was noticed the woman walks steadily away.

The deputies says they are taking the captured catfolk to a nearby cellar where he will sit until payment is made, proceeds are to go to the lord-mayor. An arrangement we are not comfortable with, we must eventually speak to this lord-mayor.

The shopkeeper expresses his gratitude and offers us a discount for helping. We offer the masterwork falchion (with markings of Bayaloynian origin), a composite short bow and a breastplate. He offers 200 gold each in diamonds gemstones for the falchion but warns that the gem conversion is not equal throughout Malta.

The shopkeeper indicates where we can receive healing and offers the upstairs apartment during our stay. Furthermore he says Osso has been seeing a woman Evagara. We decide to investigate this woman and head to what is a family farm.

The farm looks deserted but we call out and approach and eventually meet Evagara. We explain ourselves and why we are looking for Osso. She claims to have not seen him and offers to extend our interest in finding him for our common employer Garamaldi. Lex pleads to her sympathy and warns that Osso is in danger. Lex and Marco decide to stake out Evagara’s farm while the rest of us go to try to secure healing with Gamon the Green.

Exotic Flower
Lete, Jabari, and Carlo find the large grove, located in the central portion of Zebbug, and are welcomed with a goodberry by a young druid.  Upon inquiring about Gamon the Green the young adapt agrees to introduce the trio if they will follow social protocol and disarm themselves. Explaining their desire for healing we propose trading the composite shortbow for five CLW potions. Gamon agrees, offering to sweeten the deal (with a neutralize poison) if we would spread the seeds of a particular flower during our travels in the Mediterranean specifically Malta. We agree and are welcome anytime at the grove. Lete is offered a task of pruning rose bushes for healing, which he does saving the thorns for a makeshift caltrop bag.

Jabari asks the centaur of he is old enough to remember the Sundering? While Gamon is not he advises speaking with his father Nagamon. Gamon says that if we should ever encounter the Halfling Pan and bring him along he is Nagamon’s favorite cook and would go a long way towards good relations. Jabari asks if Gamon has ever seen a dragon? No and he hopes to never do, they are not of the natural order. Jabari asks how old Nagamon is? That is uncertain as counting of time is differs, but he is old. Jabari asks if Gamon knows Osso? Yes and are we friends of this man? No our characters reply but it is the nature of our visit to Zebbug. Gamon does not trust the man; in addition Evagara is recently returned to Malta after studying abroad. Jabari explains our encounter at their farm; Gamon explains the farm was uninhabited and is boarded up because of a past illness. After this Lete, Jabari and Carlo return to the farm.

Lex and Marco keep watch for over an hour.  Evagara is clearly on the look-out but fails to notice our well hidden characters. When Lete, Jabari, and Carlo return Lex notices a flag is now missing from the front porch- probably some kind of signal.

We spread ourselves out keeping in sight of each other waiting for the cover of darkness before we attempt a stealthy entry. After about ninety minutes Jabari sees a flash of movement on the farm grounds. Lete is alerted to a camouflaged ice cellar which he opens and enters, waiting for Jabari and Lex before following  a crooked passage towards a farmhouse door. Junk litters the basement. Searching the basement we find a family crypt but nothing of interest or value

Outside, Marco and Carlo witness individuals walking in their direction scythes working back and forth through the farmland. Marco and Carlo keen on watching for a diversion.

Back at the farmhouse Jabari, Lex and Lete climb steps to the first floor to the sounds of conversation. “we just have to wait until nightfall and then we can leave” Jabari moves to signal Marco and Carlo who warn of the scythe wielding visitors. We eventually reunite and reveal ourselves to the farmhouse occupants Osso, Evagara and a tiefling.
We explain that we came for the journal. Osso asks who wants it. We ask why the journal wasn't delivered to Garamaldi? Osso admits to crafting a story and that he took a better offer. Without the diamonds? Lex asks and things get hostile.

“Zabbar will learn of this treachery” the teifling says as he flees the fray. After a short battle Osso and Evagara surrender saying the journal is in Hagar Qim “surely we can come to some kind agreement” Osso states; when asked he explains he was hoping to secure their own ship. The sample was what he was using to secure the deal with Zabbar.

Evagara will be safe and will travel with us until we obtain the journal from Hagar Qim. Osso says we are looking for Mallox, a former slave dwarf who offers discrete safe storage and all we have to do is give the dwarf one of the gems (we found).

Meanwhile the tiefling is laid low and that is where we end our session. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Waterhawk

Pilini walked back across the deck of The Waterhawk to go over arrangements with the Captain an additional time. The newly appointed Captain nodded, “The first mates quarters shall remain empty as you instructed, of course everything will be done as you have instructed.” 

Pilini continued, this time switching to their native gnome tongue, “Since I am not going to be with you, I have to be sure we have covered everything. Mapping is going to be very important, Carlysle can handle it but he is an artist with an artist’s temperament, remind your crew that his work is very valuable  

The other fellow Alithando, he it turns out is a skilled diplomat and linguist, don’t allow the sailors to bring him to any harm.”  The gnome captain nodded before asking about the Halfling Stewart, “He spooks me, what is his story?”   

Pilini sighed and looked down at the waters slapping against the hull, “Stewart was a prisoner down there," he explained pointing down at the foaming sea, "Out of everyone we’ve saved from this storm, he’s the only one without jumbled fragmented memories.  Give Stewart a chance, he’s agreed to help out our cause.  Besides, if he decides to disembark somewhere along the way and get on with a life, he is free to go.”
Captain Varbold 

Captain Varbold smiled at that, “Thanks again for this Pilini, Stormhaven is too dangerous for all of us any longer!  Everyone aboard this ship owes you their lives. We will deliver everyone to their missions and if we make it to the great continent, assist Carlysle with mapping its coasts. 
Sailing from Stormhaven

Thursday, August 24, 2017

08/23/2017 Malta Session 2: Blood on the Swords and The Third Tit

Garamaldi's Eye Window
We begin this week’s session heading to Garamaldi’s half tower, our identification badges ready. The man offers breakfast and coffee at the early morning. After eats we retreat to the upper area and find the art room in a mess with some of our renderings ruined (Lete and Lex) or at best damaged (Marco); however, we do not find Jabari’s or Carlos renderings.

Geramaldi says there are also others missing besides ours (including one of a Halfling), furthermore a valued commission is missing- Wassier. Garamaldi states this must have happened within the last hour. A short time later a servant explains how he was getting water, he does remember a noise however and the sound caused him to check the ceiling window’s latch but it didn’t appear to be opened. This was a half hour ago.

In regards to our current task Garamaldi warns that in some cases between here and Zebbug are hills that may contain hidden entrances home to under races and perhaps rat-folk and where there are rat-folk, there are bugbears. He has also heard of night creatures and monsters, so travel during the day. Garamaldi gives us a signet ring to use at our discretion Marco carries the ring.

We eventually make our way out of Garamaldi’s half-tower when Lete sees a figure a block away in the shadows. Lete uses the bonded mind to alert Jabari who tarries behind. Eventually the form emerges from the shadow and seems to follow the group, albeit across the street. Jabari follows in suit.

The Curious Tengu
Lete and company sets up an ambush with perfect timing. “Can I help you friend.” The individual is was a surprised tengu, black plumage and all. “Why are you following me.” Lete demoralizes him, but the Tengu does well to hide it. The tengu is seen to have a variety of daggers and a hand crossbow and after some brief words realize the tengu works for somebody who ‘wants to know things about Garamaldi and who works for him’ but in all likelihood was really interested about our characters and our business.

We set for Zebbeg with a song. The path changes from paved stone to rural road then to trail a short time later. Several landmarks make travel easy. About two and a half miles our characters crest a hill and see a driverless wagon being pulled by (trained?) oxen. The trail they are on leads to what is likely a farmhouse; there seemed to be no blood or foul play so we continue on another half hour.

Eventually we come across stone structures akin to an old unused oven. Jabari finds three loose bricks and leaves behind images of an eye in each one and through a series of connections discover Garamaldi’s signet ring is an Eye. During this some of us see a feathered serpentine shape in sky far off in the distance.

We continue travel to what is known as the third tit and find a blood splattered humanoid lying on the ground. Some of us see the third hill has an abnormality and a flash of movement. Characters approach, Lete wary for the imminent ambush. Seeing movement Carlo points this out and the trap is sprung. None of us really surprised by a ratfolk and two bugbears Merd the turd and Gnasher. After some shitty dice rolling we drop Gnasher but the ratfolk and Merd got away.

We recover a stolen masterwork falchion with markings of Bayaloynian origin (reward?), 6 javelins, and a fine (possibly magical cloak), a vial separate from the rest of this equipment; a breastplate, and on a leather thong he has a brass skeleton key. 21 gold pieces, each coin uniquely stamped (a coin collector) including one of Egyptian coinage.

Shortly after our character investigate ‘the third tit’ and find a rat warren tunnel. Introducing a lit torch triggers scraping sounds while also revealing a dirt tunnel. With the help of a rope Lete lowers Lex into the tunnel followed by the rest of the characters. Our characters follow the tunnel to a resting chamber where we happen across sleeping ratfolk; we continue on to find a naked and drunken bugbear and with some stealth we continue to an upper level. Eventually we decide to retreat from the bugbears, ratfolk and possible disaster.

We emerge and begin to pass through hills and farms and the closer we get to Zebbug we see the emergence of an active civilization. Early interactions with the populace are filled questions on the dangers of the road including any unusual weather. We are directed to Nebettawy or Gamon the Green for our healing needs. We report ratfolk which is confirmed by the Zebbuggians.

Upon entrance to the walled city we are asked our business (‘requisition of property’) by a guardsman who politely explains the sense of the city layout. Investigations lead us to west side Chomstop. When we arrive the awning of the store has caught on fire as four cloak humanoid individuals race from the store.

We begin with this scene next game session. We gain 400 xp. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Maltese Grid

I have the above printed out for our use.  The grid will allow us to communicate easier without having to remember every odd name.  As you learn of places or go there, you can add it to your map and we can update it here. 

Modern Malta covers 122 Square miles, our ancient version is larger and further spread out. 
We are going to say 200 square miles.  

What does that mean for us.  It means that in the map grid above each lettered square across is roughly 16.5 miles across left to right.  It means that each square down is roughly 28.5 miles. Example, square 1A is 16.5 miles across by 28.5 miles down. 

With that knowledge we can apply the following:

Average walk speed is 3mph

Average Sailing speed is 7 knots which is roughly 6mph.  Larger ships can get to greater speeds we are just dealing with averages

Average Flying Speed is 6mph.  This is based on the idea that most PC's move 30 and move 60 if the fly spell is cast on them. 

The goal behind this is to give us a quick go to when we need to be able to calculate or realize travel time.   

Walled City of Zebbug

Walled City Zebbug

N Small City Corruption +4; Crime +4; Economy +2; Law +2; Lore +4; Society +2 Danger +8

Primary Religion:  Green Faith

Marketplace Base Value 4,000 gp; Purchase Limit 25,000 gp

Government: Lord Mayor served by a Religious Adviser.

The Current Lord Mayor is IL-Kataniz.  The Lord Mayor always comes from the Kataniz family as they are the wealthy benefactors of Zebbug residing in Castle Kataniz.

The Mayor chooses the faith he draws his adviser from and the church chooses which of their parish is sent. Large donations help secure the pontiff of choice
The Religious Adviser is considered the voice of the Lord Mayor and therefore the 2nd most powerful person in local government.

Gamon the Green
The Current Religious Advisor is a centaur, son of Nogamon, Gamon the Green.

Population 7,903 (5,000 humans; 1,000 elves; 500 halflings; 500 dwarves; 400 half-elves; 400 gnomes; 103 other)  

Zebbug is a walled farming community based around the nurturing of the olive groves the Kataniz family has been cultivating for generations. Olives are over seventy percent of all farming done in Zebbug, the remaining farming providing for the base needs of the city.  Due to this Zebbug has been having to import more and more products to keep up with their growing population.

People of Note:
Lord Mayor Il-Kataniz is a well liked half-elf leader known for his generosity.  During times of bad weather citizens of Zebbug have taken refuge in Kataniz castle. The family has also provided access to the family library to those citizens trying to learn to read. 

Gamon the Green blesses the farms here and has kept the olives free from disease.  He is well liked but locals often find his presence troubling as he has no sense of propriety and is always nude. 

Chomson is the second wealthiest man in Zebbug owning two general stores that serve the community.  His payments are usually a percentage of a harvest, gems, or trade holdings elsewhere in Malta.  Chomson is a human bachelor that enjoys taking his meals with different farms throughout the city.  Relations are sometimes strained between Chomson and the Kataniz family due to sometimes conflicting interests.  Overall Chomson is a well liked respected member of the community.

Borko the Dwarven Beer maker supplies all of Zebbug with the beer bearing his name, Borko Beer. His family owns a number of stills that provide liquors to trade with the rest of  Malta. Borko would be wealthier if it were not for his penchant for gambling and financing sailors treasure hunters.  

Kereka is the dwarven wife of Borko.  She is also a priest of a dwarven deity that serves the cities dwarf population.

Nebettawy is a Egyptian woman that provides auguries and healing.  Some of the locals won't go to her claiming she is a mind reader.  She is the daughter of the Oracle Isetnoket.

Sciortino is a notorious Tiefling, having been convicted in the circle of judgment three different times.  Each time he was sent to walk the plank (the local nick name for the walk through the archway) the portal flashed but did not take the Tiefling.  In the eyes of the council of faiths Sciortino had been judged not guilty by the gods and his convictions were overturned.

Siggiewi is a catfolk that proclaims her profession as a tree sculptor. Several farms use her services which come with a recommendation from Gamon the Green

Tal-Grazzja operates a gaming emporium, Grazzja's Chance, where locals gather to smoke, drink, gamble, and play other games of entertainment.  The emporium frequently hosts fights and attracts many recruiters for the Malta fight circuit.  Grazzja's operates purely on gems or small merchant weight bars of silver and gold.  Grazzja's Chance also offers training in linguistics as well as a variety of skill focus feats.  A standard fee for training in a language or an approved skill focus is equal to the downtime costs plus a service for whomever you convince to train you. 

Places of note in Zebbug:

Grazzja's Chance: See notes above.  The structure is an old barn and corn silo. 

Kataniz Castle: An impressive stone structure that dominates the center of the city, it too is walled. 

Kbira Lake: Located on the west end of Zebbug, Kbira lake pierces the walls of Zebbug the only opening in the well crafted walls.  The lake itself runs west continuing outside Zebbug.  Its the cities primary water source. 
Kbira Lake

Olive Groves....lots of them

Chomstop: Two general stores located on opposite ends of the city, each owned by Chomson.  For those shoppers looking for items beyond the basics Chomstop offers catalog shopping.  Most requests can be delivered within two weeks.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Malta House Rules

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

1.1 Potions that provide spell duration bonus to the PC take up a magic item slot.  See below

1.2 No more than 3 potions can be consumed in a round regardless of shenanigans, mythic or otherwise. 

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

4. Critical Hit/Critical Miss cards won’t be used this campaign.
Critical hits, besides providing your weapons critical hit modifier to damage, will also provide +2 Luck Bonus on your next attack.  Critical Misses will provide a -2 on your next attack plus the evil creativity of the GM

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

8.1 One free teamwork feat Bonded Mind

8.2 Some feats will be available to learn at specific locations in Malta.  The training is accomplished via downtime rules.   A non-mythic PC may only learn one of these extra feats.  A mythic PC may learn an additional, non mythic feat. If a feat is available, it will be listed in a city or locations description. 

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

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

10.1 One free skill point per level for Perception

11.  Body Slots not only limit the number of magic items that you can have but also the number of spells that can be on an individual.  Any spell of a duration greater than instantaneous takes up an empty body slot on the person it is cast upon.  Detrimental spells like curse or a prayer that works against you also take up body slots.  If body slots are full the detrimental effect takes over the lowest level spell filling a body slot.  If all body slots are full from magic items, the magic item effect is suppressed for the duration of the detrimental spell.  The affected player chooses which magic item is suppressed. 

House Advice

HA 1 
Pay attention, even when it isn’t your turn/scene and try to limit speaking over others. Check out Facebook alerts and unimportant texts/messages/email before and after the game. Don't talk over other players that are playing the game so you can finish your story or talk about Game of Thrones.

HA 2
Help each other out; combat can pull attention in multiple directions, while the GM is talking about the height of the ceiling, the parties’ spell-caster might be looking up area of effect rules.  If you hear a pertinent fact use the dry erase mat to write it down.  Use the dry erase mat to write down bonuses and penalties if you don’t keep track electronically.

HA 3
Keep good notes, if you recovered a +2 weapon from a combat or bought an alchemical item somewhere it wouldn’t hurt to know it.  Saying I’m going to throw a tangelfoot bag is one thing, saying you’re throwing the last tanglefoot bag from crazy eddies in Gibraltar is more fun and provides the GM an opportunity to get creative. Keeping good notes includes keeping track of the source material your abilities/feats come from.

HA 4
The GM has a lot to try to remember and manage.  Please make the effort to know your own characters abilities.  If you’ve leveled up and it’s the first time doing something, say so, and then we can take our time working through it.  Try to figure out how something works, not how it doesn't. 

HA 5
This is a game and it’s supposed to be fun.  The higher level the party, the greater the complexity and thus the longer it takes to run combat.  Because of this sometimes a penalty such as being paralyzed feels worse than it was intended because despite the roll only saying three rounds it’s been an hour since you’ve been able to have your character act.  Speak up and say something regarding the situation.  Not saying that every time something gets said I’ll say yeah that’s long enough but I may come up with a lesser penalty that still allows you to do something (see luck above).  Along the same lines, if you are down, help the GM run NPCs, offer to take over initiative until you are back or remind the other players of conditions, effects and how they can help you etc.  If you’ve been “killed” and are waiting for a return to action and don’t want to pay attention to the combat, review notes and previous posts about the game.

HA 6
Remember your party members are counting on you to fulfill your portion of the social contract.  Communication helps.  It sucks to have your character die, it’s even worse when you discover that your fellow player forgot they had that wand of healing or the scroll of restoration.  It’s hard for people to plan if you never communicate your abilities and possessions, or worse don’t know them.

HA 7
All of us have parts of the game we excel at and portions we don’t enjoy as much.  If you mentally check out during the portions you don’t enjoy as much, those portions are never going to improve.  Try to identify what you don’t like about it and make suggestions for improvement at the appropriate time. If you make it fun for others you’ll find yourself having fun too. Make an effort, the more you put in the more you’ll get out. 

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

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

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

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The GemCutter

Merchant Prince Ffahra Ffahra
Ffahra Ffahra read the message again, trying to determine if there was any hidden meaning to Lemont's message.  Lemont's blunt confession of failure troubled Ffahra more than the actual failure.
The message read:
Unable to determine the ships exact location.  The GemCutter is well hidden, lost in plain sight somewhere in the many Rock Island's north of Malta. 

Ffahra thought for a few moments before penning his own reply:
The Oracle Isetnoket

Pay the oracle and use her sight to guide our recovery team.  I want the GemCutter returned as quickly as possible.  Once you have deciphered the woman's visions, see if Gagnyon (pronounced Gan Yon) can help us, that merfolk owes me. You go with him and make sure the GemCutter is recovered. 

Finishing the note, Ffahra stepped out of his den and headed down to the church library where he had agreed to meet Valcrum Nuvere.  The half elf was seeking to trade a valuable crystal for a piece of Real Estate Ffahra had acquired.
Valcrum Nuvere

Friday, August 18, 2017

Malta 0 and 1: Our Story Begins and Right and Tight

The game begins with our characters Lex Elis, Carlo, Lete Cordasco, Marco Andrezi, and Jabari coming together with about two dozen others on a sea faring vessel on its way to the Island of Malta, once a part of the Evening Isles, in the Mediterranean Sea.

Our characters become fast friends after joining at a ship-moot and learning we share a bonded mind, a type of telepathy that allows for non-verbal communication. Jabari and Carlo were the first to share the touch and experience physic flashes of confusing and troubling images. Soon the other characters likewise experience similar effects. Lete however comes to the group sharing his knowledge of reincarnation and that these impressions are old and future memories of ourselves. Our characters come to believe that somehow our characters all find each other again and again throughout time.

With the bonded mind our characters quickly become a team and learn of each other's fears and beliefs and after about 3 days our characters come to beautiful Malta and the city of Paola to wait before the circle of judgement.

While our character's wait every necessity is provided for as our characters observe their surroundings. Along a line of artist easels stands a tireless elf-blooded man, our characters learn is named Garamaldi, who observes the artist renderings of each individual entering Malta before being set along a path that leads to one of the seven churches. Devoid of religious symbols, Garamaldi interacts with each new arrival. Some of our characters notice Garamaldi appraising us, but the tension is lifted after he speaks to us- asking our length and reason for visit and offers us dinner later that evening. Most of our answers were vague and typical for traveling adventurers.

Our characters watch as Garamaldi adds a final characterization to each artist rendering before he takes the originals himself to a studio to finish the identification process. Lex and Carlo take precautions to foil their renderings.
Lex Elis

Checking into Malta takes the better part of the day; eventually some of our characters overhears a melodic voice speaking through the noise of the crowd, it was the voice of Aulus Daquaretti, the priest of Mercury speaking to two Italians. Words like "I'm going to speak to one of them. What's the harm?" and "Competition? are you mad? they just arrived." The two Italians eventually leave in the direction of either the Egyptian, or Tiamat Babylonian / Nammu Sumerian temples.

Soon after, Jabari meets a man named Wassier who inquired about Jabari's skills as a sailor and that Wassier has a job for just a sailor as Jabari. At Fungus Rock a ship must be dislodged from whatever and retrieved... discretely. Wassier offers our characters a place to stay as our characters consider his offer. Jabari promises to give him some kind of answer later tonight.

**Fungus Rock: This island is west of Gozo and is a botanist dream. The variety of plant life is astounding, although be warned, some of the plants are sentient.  One half of the island is full of Dire animal life and larger monsters.  The other half of the island is the half mountain remains of a volcano that burst up from the sea floor.  A group of pirates known as "The Plague" operates from the half mountain.  The Plague is said to have two dozen ships under the command of Captain Benald Mokeif.

As our characters wait professions are called out for but otherwise talk generalizes around the Circle of Judgement, the Age of Dragons, and what work was to be found on Malta; that's when our characters notice a familiar group from our arriving vessel leaving the Egyptian church heading back to port.

Eventually Aulus Daquaretti makes his presence known as our renderings are beginning. He wanders through the artists looking at each but soon approaches our characters. Lex steps up to the Priest of Mercury with a delivery for the church of Uranus who accepts the parcel gravely. The rest of our characters see that a lot of attention is being paid to us; priests, spellcasters and islanders alike including one group of six, three wearing exotic bracers of religious quality- two are tieflings and one was a tengu.

Eventually each of us declares a religion: Jabari/ the Greek pantheon, Lete/Apollo, Lex/Greek, Carlo/Neptune, Marco/Mercury. Of the others from our sea vessel four chose Egyptian and two to Otherware.

Our characters are led inside a temple that is divided, Greek on one side and Roman on the other, each pantheon facing away from the other. We see Neptune/Poseidon have the largest shrines. Aulus begins with a sermon and words of welcome then recites the local customs, faiths and laws that everyone is expected to adhere to. In regards to law, all faiths agree that the Portal way of sentencing is fair and equitable.

Symbol of the Eye
Once prayers are said Aulus gets down to the issue of tithing (10%) in return for healing resources. Our characters settle in and ask the Priest of Mercury of there are any enemies of the church, he says yes, but elaborates that our characters may already have enemies as there are already people asking about our characters: merceneries, bounty hunters collecting individuals that possess innate magical skill.

Lete (channeling the future 2030 archaeologist Mary Kenyon) asks if there is any symbol or iconagraphy to keep our EYE on? This confirmation of the Eye is made with the gift of a CLW potion that bears an eye symbol within a Egyptian stylized pyramid.

Lete and even Marco Andrezi had heard of this omnipresent and mysterious organization of in information brokers.

Aulus warns of a movement in Grease, an uprising against Uranus and of rebels growing in Korinthos, it would be dangerous for Lex to return to the home land.

Talk wanes to how to find legit businessmen and employment when Aulus himself offers a job and begins to speak of an Island where its beach is lined with gemstones and suggests to us a gem gathering mission and if at all possible to gather Cindermoss. The job does come with risks but high reward and offers future magic commissions at cost.

Our charactersare invited to his personal den to talk further and learn Aulus performs ceremonies in three days and at each full moon. In his den Lete finds and clues his friends in on Aulus' collection of books on dragons. Here our characters find books that categorize dragons into Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic each written by Naxxar. Aulus later offers the barracks to use in the meantime.

Our characters stay until our meeting with Garamaldi.

Garamaldi's was unfinished half-tower where a large oval window that resembled an eye. inside our characters also see our artist renderings and learn of the identification process. This leads Lete to look for sybolage of the Eye and finds it in in the form of a tattoo on Garamaldi's wrist. Our characters learn of his reason for coming to Malta: from Italy to serve the church and that pleases his family.

He informs our characters that he too has a task for individuals of our skills. A search and delivery of master work leather and magical instructions on the creation of magical identifications was stolen on its route back to Malta.

He contracted a now dead individual and Osso who returned on 'The Golden Fleese' to Hagar Qim a week before our arrival to Malta. Osso, the survivor, is in Zebbug and could be found for further information. In return Garamaldi offers to make our identifications magical. Our characters would consider his offer.

Later, Jabari, Carlo, and Marco Andrezi walk to Wassier's estate and an light evening party. While the characters did not commit to the job they were able to negotiate a ship to use for the task.

Back at the barracks, Lete and Marco overhear the Aulus talking with a woman and Xanus a man who was seen talking to Aulus earlier in the day. Woman: "Have you seen their drawings?" Aulus: "I don't think they are ready, artists will be working all night." Woman: "I've dreamed of them, and that leads to your death." it was a warning that ended the conversation.

We begin next session retrieving our identifications and travel to Zebbug to speak to Osso.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Seven Churches of Malta

The Seven Churches

1. Tiamat Babylonian Pantheon/ Nammu Sumerian Pantheon 
Ffahra Ffahra
This temple is led strangely enough by a merchant prince named Ffahra Ffahra (pronounced Fa Ra Fa Ra).  The former desert nomad is in Malta on the direct orders of the Lord High Dragon Tiamat, so far only using the temple as a sort of embassy.  Ffahara has happily served on the Council of Faiths. The only priest at this temple is Kasok,whose faith lies with Utu a sun god in the Sumerian faith.  

2. Ra Sun God (Egyptian Pantheon)
High Priest Rudjek
The High Priest Rudjek runs the wealthiest temple in Malta. It is rare to find anyone on the main island that hasn't benefited financially in some way from this influential church.  They provide any child born on the island with the opportunity to learn to read and write...Akkadian or Coptic of course.

3.Green Faith: Greeks believe this is Gaea (the earth), other pantheons their nature deity
Nogamon, a centaur druid is believed to be the oldest individual in Malta.  The centaur considers the main island his grove.  Nogamon maintains The Ring of Judgement, serving not only on the Council of Faiths but also as the arbiter of disagreements between the temples. 

4. Uranus (the sky) Greek Pantheon/Jupiter Roman Pantheon
The fastest growing temple with many claiming the faith simply from ignorance of any others. Mediterranean sailors are familiar with gods of each due to the number of ships that bear their chosen deity's name or symbol on their flags. Many priests operate at this temple varying in Greek or Roman flavors. The priest who serves on the Council of Faiths is Aulus Daquaretti a priest of Mercury. Aulus frequently feuds with the rest of the council  
Aulus Daquaretti

5. Ukko  Finnish Pantheon
The smallest temple of the seven, it is currently devoid of a leader due to the recent death of priestess Marjaana.  The priests of the other temple tend to the building and provide worshipers access when requested.  
Finnish Temple

6. Odin Norse Pantheon
The second smallest temple, other faiths believe this religion hails from a mythical cloud continent or perhaps another plane.  Its current high priest was often referred to as the world's tallest elf.  Cian, a minster of Frey, stands some eight feet in height. A local legend claims that "The Tall One" is the only council member to ever attack someone during judgement. 

7. The Temple of Otherwhere
The Catchall of faith, this final temple handles any of the various travelers that arrive at the island with faiths falling into an unknown category or even covering an agnostic.  A unique requirement to claiming this faith requires the claimant to enter the temple and either find a relic or shrine to your faith or donate something that a member of your faith would consider a religious token. The Temple of Otherwhere is also unique for its manner of selecting a representative to the Council of Faith.   Every month the names of every person who has claimed the temple as their faith is put into a random drawing.  The name drawn is sought out and either negotiates with the current servitor to continue his or her service on the council, pays someone to serve in their stead, or spends the next month judging new arrivals to Malta. This month's councilor, Zallas, has held the seat for the last several months and appears to be getting quite wealthy from her service. 


Monday, August 14, 2017

Archipelago de Malta

Note: These islands are real and while i'm using real names, I'm not attempting to be accurate as to their real location in relation to Malta.  For game purposes they will be located in areas for our convenience. 

The minor islands that form part of the archipelago are varied in resources as well as species, some are as yet unconquered by any known humanoid race. The islands to the north of Malta are controlled by a variety of buccaneer forces while the ones to the south tend towards wealthy family holdings. Most Pirate islands include the word rock in their name, as most of the islands inhabited by the pirates are either unwanted volcanic wastes or slowly sinking islands.

Barbganni Rock: A small island northeast of Gozo, Barbganni is primarily a gnomish enclave, supported by many halflings and dwarves.  The Barbganni gnomes craft a unique powder for the pirates to use in firing their cannons. While the gnomes seem to suffer no ill effects from the powder known as Salt Pyre, many of the pirates who operate the cannon are known to become maniacal from too much exposure to the substance.  The barbarians from Tunis are said to purchase large quantities of Salt Pyre but the men of Tunis are not known for their use of cannon.

Comminoto (Kemmunett): The small island is known for three things, the gems that can be found on its beaches, the flammable Cindermoss coveted by alchemists, and finally the goblin/hobgoblin, bugbear, and ogre forces that serve the islands ruler.  For the last several years the island has been under the control of the Ogre-Magi Karok. The civilized islands haven't moved against Karok, due to his followers propensity for attacking pirate ships and other small islands. 

Dellimara Island: There is something about the Dellimara family, the Maltese people don't speak of it however its there.  Somehow even though they have lived there for as long as most people could remember, they weren't viewed as original islanders.  The island itself is very small, consisting of a large manor, a tower, temple and a small dock.  The manor strangely built, the walls end in uneven angles that create optical illusions that people find difficult to gaze upon for longer than a moment.
Some sailors claim that besides the Dellimara family that resides in the manor there is a druid that maintains a grove on the island.

Fessaj Rock: The broken stone coast of this island provides many caves for the Fessaj pirates to take cover in.  From the sea, the largest cave appears wide enough for a ship to maneuver into. The Fessaj pirates are a wide mix of races but always lead by one of the Catfolk descendants of Captain Liarstooth Fessaj.  The Fessaj pirates lead by Soverah Fessaj recently claimed two frigate traders believed to hail from Carthage. 
Captain Soverah Fessaj

Fungus Rock: This island is west of Gozo and is a botanist dream. The variety of plant life is astounding, although be warned, some of the plants are sentient.  One half of the island is full of Dire animal life and larger monsters.  The other half of the island is the half mountain remains of a volcano that burst up from the sea floor.  A group of pirates known as "The Plague" operates from the half mountain.  The Plague is said to have two dozen ships under the command of Captain Benald Mokeif.

Ghallis Rock: Naxxar rules this rock, which is incredibly easy to defend from other ships due to the path ships have to travel through sea debris and other land masses.  Naxxar is an elven wizard whose piracy is unique in that he harasses the Egyptians. There is a rumor that Naxxar is willing to  train other pirates in wizardry if they have the talent.  
Naxxar is fond of employing half-elves and halflings, among which are a famous pair, a ship captain and his first mate.  The elven Captain Vargin is commander of The Sea Whiskey, a smaller agile ship recognized by most sailors in the region. Captain Vargin's first mate, the halfling known as Walker (the Mediterranean Sea Ranger), was widely recognized as the best cannon shot in the Mediterranean.
Captain Vargin

Halfa Rock (Gozo): Halfa Rock sits a few miles south of Gozo and causes many problems for all of Malta due to the poppy that grows here.  Halfa is layered, with the northern and eastern portion of the islands risen several dozen feet above sea level while the southern and western portions frequently flood during rain season.  There are many pirates who claim dominion of Halfa Rock but their control over the island usually only lasts  until their men are overcome with addiction. Wanna Be captains and stranded sailors in the region will frequently check Halfa Rock for available ships first, as it isn't unheard of to find abandoned sea-craft there.
Halfa Rock

Large Blue Lagoon Rocks (Comino): is populated by several Tengu pirates. While no one pirate is said to rule the island, the most famous of the ships that dock there is The Sea Raven, captained by Relu Gokkut, a short Tengu known for his skill in swordplay. The Large Blue Lagoon Rock is said to have freshwater ponds, a rarity for "Rocks".  The Large Blue is also considered a dueling ground for conflicts between Pirate Captains who wish to spare their ships and crewmen.  On occasion arbitration between pirates can occur her, usually in times of extreme weather or foreign invasion. 

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

Tac-Cawl Rock (Gozo): Easily the largest of the Rocks, Tac-Cawl is known for the mountain of bones made from the remains of the Dire Ape's victims.  The totem honoring their ferocity rises some 50 feet tall and is made up of bones from adventurers, pirates, and dire beasts.  Little known beyond Malta is that for the last several years a group of Centaur Hunters has taken up residence on the Rock proving themselves against its harsh environment. 

Ta' Fraben Island: Even the Egyptians try to avoid this island, over run with Thri-Kreen and insectoids known as Trox.  The islands foliage is overgrown and their aren't any known structures built there. The largest trees are believed to serve the Thri-Kreen while the Trox' customs are unknown.  Thri-Kreen have been known to leave the island, a rare few even joining up with pirates in the region. Of course their are sailor's rumors regarding treasures buried on the island but there is no denying the ship that has laid wrecked on its shores for this last year. Beached on the island and laid open on its side, The Monger warship was believed to be a Roman merchant's prized possession. Many larcenous hearts covet whatever treasures lie in its hold. 
The Roman

The Greek

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