News and Updates - ARCHIVE 2018

Archives: 2019 - 2018

The Under-Nex Pt. 3 - Finale!

Posted November 16th, 2018

The group of adventurers considered their predicament. The room they were about to enter was clearly the heart of this dungeon and had 3 entrances, the one they were entering from, the east, a southern and a western. Each, they knew, contained multiple Wights and undead warriors beyond their doors. If not swift, they would be overwhelmed by sheer numbers. But, the Heroes knew that this was their only shot at ridding Nex of the undead occupying force and completing their task as decreed by Lady D'Fyll. The Assassin, Theron, would naturally enter first and try to eliminate the pearlescent Zamberian Vampire first thing. The others would then enter and attempt to contain the creature in one of their Beads of Force.

The Dwarven Cleric of the Forge, Blazer, quickly and quietly constructed a simple mechanism that would seal the entrance behind them as they entered the central temple. That would be one less direction from which they could be attacked. Armed with the instructional scroll from the library, Zephir was confidence he could magically activate, and control, the teleportation portal on the far side of the room... it would make for a quick escape once the Vampire was defeated.

Theron entered stealthily, lined up his shot, and fired... and the crossbow bolt zipped cleanly through the illusion of the meditating Vampire! Immediately, a raspy growl emanated from the shadowy stone arches that supported the ceiling high above! The Vampire ran down the wall, as if it were flat ground, and began to attack Theron. Within seconds, Ironwolf the Arcane Marksman Ranger, Blazer the Forge Cleric, and Zephir the Wind Wizard (Sorcerer) entered the fray.

Ironwolf tossed his Bead of Force at the Vampire, which deftly dodged its encapsulating magic, leaving a hollow, translucent, 10-foot-wide bubble near the western entrance to the cathedral. The heroes threw all that they had left at the vampire spawn. The battle seemed to drag on as both sides attempted to outmanuever the other.

Eventually, outnumbered, and wounded by Blazers holy fire, the undead creature realized that it needed to be more tactical if it were to survive this encounter and summoned a Spawn of Kyuss to aid it. Soon, a Wraith faded, ghost-like up, up through the stone floor and dealt a devastating blow to Blazer.

To protect Blazer from his ghost-like foe, Zephir summoned a Dust Devil and used its violent gusts to push back the life-draining apparition. The Vampire spawn retreated to the shadows of the arches above to regenerate, though Ironwolf harried it with a constant barrage of gun fire and Spellgunned cantrips. Zephir, seeing that the vampire had retreated beyond reach, called to Theron and cast Fly upon him, allowing the assassin to launch himself into the rafters in pursuit of the vampire. Wounded and outmatched, the Vampire spawn called out and commanded all the undead under its command within the dungeon to come to its aid... within moments, dozens of Wights, Zombies and Undead Warriors were streaming through the darkened corridors towards the heroes!

Meanwhile, on the cold stone floor, the Spawn of Kyuss lumbered across the melee and attacked Blazer, launching its fetid worms onto him. Soon, they began to burrow under his armor and into his flesh, where they caused terrible necrotic damage to his internal organs.

The Wraith was soon dispatched, its cold, hollow screams fading under the sounds of combat. Hiding and re-orienting himself amongst the stone rafters, Theron got a bead on the Vampire spawn and, with uncanny precision, put a magical crossbow bolt through its head... and the creature's body fell the ground, already self-immolating in its unholy demise. The Spawn of Kyuss, and its infernal worms, managed to down Blazer... whose fate was sealed: he would rise in mere minutes as a Spawn of Kyuss himself, surely to then attack his once-comrades.

With the major threats eliminated, their target destroyed, and Blazer deceased, the remaining heroes made a desperate dash towards the magical Portal. Theron swooped down and poured a powerful Potion of Healing down Blazer's throat... and, miraculously (and also thanks to his incredible luck and Dwarven Fortitude) it brought him to the brink of consciousness just long enough form him to cast his final spell, Lessor Restoration, which cured him of the infestation of Kyuss.

Ironwolf, producing several allies from his Bag of Tricks, (and Ape and a Baboon), held the western door against the small army of Wights attempting to enter. Zephir's Dust Devil managed to block most of the attacked entering from the southern doorway which gave him just enough time to activate the portal as Theron dragged Blazer onto it.

In a flash of blood-red light, the four heroes were instantaneously back in the warrens of the troglodytes, safe from immediate danger. Zephir destroyed several of the runes carved on the circle, ensuring they would not be followed.

Bloodied, battered, bruised and exhausted the heroes emerged from the caves into the permanent dusk of the Defiled lands under the Miasma and made their way back to Lenora's rally point to report their success.

Lenora, not wasting a moment, gave a signal and scores of Defiled soldiers appeared from all around and formed ranks. They immediately marched on the city to retake it from the scattered undead that remained. As per their orders, the heroes made their way back to D'Kae to report their victory and that the battle to retain the city had begun.

Aided by Ironwolf's Ranger training, they easily made it back to the city and were greeted by the eerie, hollow-faced Defiled citizens as they lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the living beings that were their newest champions.

Lady D'Fyll received them and congratulated them on a job well done. Once Lenora and the rest of her army returned from Nex, there would be a celebration and acknowledgment of their efforts, these strangers in a strange land. In the meantime, they were free to return to the Mansion to recuperate and explore the city at their leisure; they were now honorary Defiled.

Returning the bubble-island of normalcy amid the Miasma, the heroes learned that some of the Throatcutter's crew had mutinied and attempted to escape. They exited the protective field surrounding the Mansion into the Miasma and have not been heard or seen since.

After a long rest, the heroes spoke again to Deverick, who explained a little more of his past with Grindstaff the Gaunt. They were partners once, but Grindstaff worked with the Thieves Guild only under duress: direct threat to the lives of his wife and daughter. When he refused a job, they the Guild had them killed... and it was Deverick who was the selected executioner. This drove Grindstaff mad and, unbeknownst to the larger Thieves Guild, he began to consolidate his power and laying the groundwork to take his revenge against not only the Guild, but all of humanity. Grindstaff would use the Guild's resources against itself. He would make sure they were the instruments of their own downfall. Deverick implored Theron, his assassin son, to take a nobler path in life than he had.

The heroes still had a few days before Lenora and the Defiled army were to return and began to explore the strange temple-city of D'Kae. They marveled at the necrotech devices and machines that powered the city: the eerie witchlight lanterns, the massive bone-and-muscle cranes that moved goods and building materials, the web of black Spark cables that seems to connect everything to everything. The lack of certain things unnerved them as well; there were no children, no farms, no restaurants, no taverns or bars. 'Life' for the Defiled was different indeed.

The question was then, "What now"? What will Lady D'Fyll decree next? Will our heroes spend the rest of their days in this dark and poisoned land, never to see the Sun or breath fresh air again? Find out next time!

The Under-Nex Pt. 2

Posted November 2nd, 2018

An oily-feathered, bird-like Vrock stepped from the demonic summoning circle... only to be immediately shot in the head by an expertly aimed crossbow both from Theron, his assassin's instincts in full effect. Enraged, the demon then shrieked and dove into the heroes, its jagged beak snapping and claws tearing! The battle was brutal, but short and the heroes sent the creature back to whatever Hell it was summoned from. After a cursory search of the summoning room, the heroes examined the northern path, which they conclude was going back to where they've already been, and away from their goal: the lead undead of this cursed place.

Returning to the Alchemical lab, they set up a makeshift barricades against the doors in this area, lest they be flanked and outmaneuvered. Feeling some measure of security, then examined and entered the door to the south. The long chamber was once a barracks, but its score or so beds were now nothing more than piles of wood and rotted cloth. Standing and laying amongst the room were dozens of zombies, seemingly inert or 'asleep'... perhaps these were the rank-and-file troops of Ash Mo'dan's army of the dead?

Stepping lightly through the room, the hero's presence didn't seem to affect the animated bodies in any way. Relieved, but wary, they continued to an adjacent room, a library of sorts. Tripping a magical trap, they quickly recovered from the poison gas and began searching the room, only to find several critical items: a secret door leading back to the Troglodyte area, several magical scrolls, and, most importantly, an ancient vellum scroll which described the magical mechanisms for control the strange portals that littered the dungeon. Zephir could easily decipher the magical instruction and was confident that he could control their transportational abilities, should the need arise.

Moving South from the library, the heroes came upon a manned guard post... with its undead defenders facing away from them. With his newly honed assassin abilities, Theron snuck ahead and dispatched two of the undead warriors before they could even react. The remainder of the battle was short and the heroes moved on, to the southwest.

This room was, at one time, a kitchen. Now, only a solitary figure stood at the chopping block, mindlessly dismembering any creature, living or dead, that got too close. Again, through shrewd strategy, the heroes made short work of The Butcher. They continued to the southwest.

The next room they encountered seemed to be the main entrance to the under-complex. An intimidating human skull pattern had recently been carved into the stone floor, which was enough warning for them.. they decided to go back the way they came and find the pale Zamberian vampire that seemed to be the ranking entity of this occupying force.

They passed back through the rows of 'sleeping' zombies in the barracks and made a left. Peeking into the room through a cracked door, they spotted their target: a pale, iridescent Zamberian, clothed in black leather armor. The creature seemed to be perched serenely on top of the sacrificial alter in the large, ceremony room, apparently in meditation. The heroes quietly closed the door and began to plan. They were tired, hungry, and almost out of resources, but, they knew they would never get an opportunity to strike at the heart of this army of undead again...

The Under-Nex Pt. 1

Posted October 13th, 2018

After arriving at the ancient temple-city, now embattled border town, of Nex, the heroes and their entourage reviewed their plan. Lenora and the Faceless would stay back, monitor the situation and secure the escape route. The four heroes, 'Blazer', Dwarven Cleric of the Forge, 'Ironwolf' the human Ranger, 'Theron' the Elven rogue and 'Zephir', the Air Genasi Wind Wizard, would infiltrate the settlement, seek out and destroy the leader of Ash Mo'dan's foraces and then escape, giving the Defiled an opportunity to take back this strategic holdout.

The heroes circled the dark, overgrown stone town, looking for the most advantageous entrance. The coming of night forced their decision and they entered a dank, cave-like opening on the eastern side of the hill on which the temple-village was built. Scouting ahead, Theron spied what seemed like a small village of lizard-like troglodytes deep under the town. After spying them for a while and planning their next moves, the heroes decided to take a chance... they spoke to the trogs and found that they had no love for the undead that now infested their warrens and the town above.

Promising to help end the occupation of the unliving, the heroes secured passage through the troglodyte caves, which lead deeper into the small mountain, to the heart of the undead's control center.

With the guidance of the trogs, the heroes took a safer path, past a desiccated, and quite mad, Treant, into the 'smooth stone' area of the dungeon. They found themselves in a macabre trophy room of sorts; a large room lined by metal spikes and hooks... on which the bodies of previous unsuccessful adventurers were impaled. Ironwolf quickly spied the ancient corpse of an elven woman, clutching a pristine mithril rifle. After checking for traps, he touched it which unleashed the Elf's trapped ghost. She was to remain there until her sacred duty to teach others the ways of the Arcane Marksmen was fulfilled. Her ghost offered to re-weave the nature of reality around Ironwolf if he swore to take on this geas. He agreed, and reality was altered... Shadow, his panther companion, disappeared, replaced by ancient and long-forgotten knowledge of how to combine arcane might and firearms. He was now an Arcane Marksman, able to cast potent destructive magic through his rifle and enhance his gunning abilities with arcane knowledge.

Moving on, the heroes finally encountered their first undead opponents in a scrying room. After a pitched battle with the ghasts and undead warriors, Zephir used the scrying pool and discovered that the leader of this occupation was a pearlescent white Zamberian vampire! Surrounded by its guards, it appeared to be close by, merely a few rooms to the south.

The heroes pressed on, cleverly drawing the next room of undead alchemists back and dispatching them easily. From there, they entered a seemingly unoccupied room. It contained a few bookcases, a desk, and a bloody, demonic summoning circle. As soon as the heroes got near the circle, it sprang to hellish life and the twisted forms of demons appeared in a flash of red light!

Into the Heart of Darkness

Posted September 15th, 2018

Map of South Drak Isle Damaged and beleaguered, The BSTC Throatcutter finally docked at the abandoned port town of Vanth. A retinue of hooded, silent figures greeted them, eerily watching them from the cliffs above. Once the ship was secured, the figures descended and began to dutifully unload the ship's cargo. About halfway through this process, a chaotic series of blasts and flashes of light echoed from the ruined village above... some sort of battle was raging just beyond the view of heroes.

The hooded figures dropped their cargo and swiftly made their way up the pier, only to be incinerated by blasts of black-purple electricity. The heroes followed, but a ghostly, faceless, black-clad figure appeared from the dust and ash, commanding them to surrender. The Faceless figure stated that the Heroes were, in fact, under arrest for smuggling, trespassing, piracy, espionage, and conspiracy against the Defiled people.

After a few tense moments of back and forth, the Captain of the Guard, a female Defiled by the name of Lenora, stepped forward and finally convinced the heroes to lay down their arms and to come peacefully.

She provided the heroes, and the rest of the criminal crew, with enchanted leather and metal 'gas masks' to protect them from the noxious miasma that blanketed most of the island, loaded them up into a caravan of wagons and headed north, deeper into the dark island and directly into the Miasma.

During the overland voyage to the capital city of D'Kae, the heroes saw mutant horrors beyond their imagining... twisted, chimeric, necrotic creatures that violated the grey line between life and death, trees with pulsing veins, grass that wavered and twitched without a breeze, and countless eldritch forms silhouetted in the green/brown/amber Miasma.

Cresting a hill, the heroes got a glimpse of D'Kae proper, before the caravan of prisoners swung eastward, towards a small outskirt village. There, a magically protected mansion stood in a faint, iridescent bubble, untouched by the Miasma. This is where the mortals were to await their trial with Lady D'Fyll, the Queen of these cursed people.

Within, only a single old human man, of roguish appearance, was there to greet the heroes and the rest of the crew of the Throatcutter. Almost immediately, Theron and the man realized their connection; this was the master rogue Deverick, Theron's long-missing father! Over a lavish, magically-provided dinner in honor of the new 'guests', Deverick explained his place in this mystery and revealed the conspiracy so many were willing to kill, and die, to protect.

Decades ago, Grindstaff the Gaunt discovered the Defiled. Utterly fascinated by their existence and technology, he made it his life's work to recreate the tireless necrotech machines... in order to weaponize them for conquest and profit. Pulling from his resources and connections with the Thieves Guild of Terra, he founded the Black Sun Trading Company (with his then partner Deverick), exclusively to smuggle necrotech out of South Drak Isle back to his laboratories in Terra.

At first, Deverick was happy to partner (and profit) in the endeavor even while being repulsed by Grindstaff's inhuman treatment of his subjects, his alignment with the 'Black Sun' (the extremist, expansionist cult within the Defiled) which to and his monstrous pursuit of forbidden knowledge. Perhaps sensing his partners waning resolve, Grindstaff double-crossed Deverick, allowing him to be captured by Lady D'Fyll's forces. For a year, he contemplated escape and, on the fateful night of his one and only attempt, he was exposed to the flesh-rending effects of the Miasma, which left him badly deformed and nearly dead. The Defiled discovered him and, with their finest Fleshcrafters, tried to reconstruct his human form. Their extraordinary skills left Deverick alive, but still badly scarred.

From that point on, Deverick acted more as an advisor to the Queen. In the intervening years, he saw firsthand how the people he had once considered inhuman undead monsters to be fair, rational, self-aware of their place in the world, and even kind. In penance for the actions that lead him to this place in his life, he decided to help the Defiled in any way that could, to ally himself with the people he had once sold out. To this day, he is a man riddled with guilt, for abandoning his son, for a life of crime, and for being an accessory to Grindstaff's machinations against and innocent and peaceful people.

By the end of the meal, Deverick had finished his tale. He then advised the heroes to simply be honest in their 'trial' with lady D'Fyll. They came here, not as smugglers or as pawns of the Black Sun Trading Company, but as agents to put an end to it.

In a moment of private conversation, Theron made his lack of forgiveness for his abandonment clear to his estranged father.

The next morning, Lenora, backed by a retinue of The Faceless, arrived at the mansion to escort the heroes, Calibor Brightshield the Paladin, Theron the Assassin, Ironwolf the Ranger, and Zephir the Wind Wizard, to D'kae for their trial with Lady D'Fyll.

The heroes arrived by carriage to the city square, at the gates of the great gothic cathedral where the Lady made her throne room. The Heroes were quickly ushered inside among the eerily quite throngs of Defiled outside by The Faceless. At the far end of the cavernous cathedral, a massive, jagged obsidian throne stood. Seated atop the edifice, a lithe, alabaster white, female form sat, wreathed in a cloak of jet-black feathers. As the heroes stood at the podium in the center of the cathedral, amongst the gallery of watching Defiled, Lady D'Fyll descended the angled stairs. As she softly treaded, she unfurled a set of massive raven-like wings, the feather-tips crackling with residual Spark energy. Two sets of arms outstretched, revealing a porcelain-like body, covered by only a shimmery loincloth. Her face, while smooth and chalky-white, was gaunt and hinted at her undead nature.

Once to the base of her throne, she spoke, stating what the heroes were accused of. She then asked how they plead to these charges. In turn, they responded 'not guilty'. They explained their quest, from their first encounter with Grindstaff in Terra all the way to their capture at Vanth. The Lady showed sorrow for the innocent lives lost in Terra and seemed to believe that the heroes were no simple smugglers or pirates. To test their resolve and skill, she offered them the chance to prove their innocence. They were to go a Defiled city to the northeast, Nex, that had recently fallen to the undead forces of Ash Mo'dan. Once there, they were to infiltrate the city, find Ash Mo'dan's lieutenant, destroy them, and return with its head as proof of the deed done. The Heroes readily agreed and were returned to the mansion to prepare... Lenora would lead them to Nex in the morning.

That night, per a decree from his Deity to stay, Calibor relinquished his position in the party to "Blazer" Flameforge, a Dwarven Cleric of the Forge that was also a resident of the mansion. Blazer had been in a magical slumber in one of the many bedrooms of the mansion, awaiting his Deity's command to awaken and fulfill his destiny.

What awaits the Heroes in Nex? Will they continue to assist Lady D'Fyll to end the Black Sun's threat to enshroud the world in Miasma? Will they ever face Grindstaff again, and if they do, how will they defeat him?

Over the Sea

Posted August 25th, 2018

With three days to kill in Seavale before the Caravel, BSTC 'Throatcutter', is to depart for South Drak Isle, the heroes decided to make good use of their time by investigating the remaining breadcrumbs left by Grindstaff the Mage. Following up on the rumors of strange undead in the Ruins, the heroes quickly discovered an abandoned well... and the hidden, and quite mucky, passage into the ancient sewers at the bottom.

Delving into the abandoned lair, the heroes came across a friendly, if rather simple-minded and bored, Otyugh who called himself "Fred". Fred, happy for the conversation, told the heroes that it had been a long, long time since Grindstaff had visited (and fed) him. Exploring further, the heroes found a secured door blocking their path. Unfortunately, the floor just before it was a well-hidden trap and fell away as they stepped upon it, causing Calibor the Paladin to fall into the slimy, spike-filled pit below.

The heroes extracted Calibor, cleverly placed wooden planks upon the spikes and then ran a guide rope over them, to make traversing the pit far more safe and efficient. Using their wits and few fields rations, they convinced Fred to use his powerful and long tentacles to smash down the door from a safe distance. Satisfied with his payment of 'meaty bits' from their rations, the Otyugh retreated back to his filthy pit of sewage and the heroes continued forward.

The chamber within was unmistakably one of Grindstaff's necromantic laboratories. Bits of Necrotech and reverse-engineered technology littered the small chamber. A desiccated and forgotten female Aragonian corpse lay upon the singular autopsy table. With a start, the figure suddenly exhaled a gout of dust! Barely able to move, the creature motioned for a nearby, small device. The handheld, pronged device was handed to the figure who then immediately jabbed the prongs into its own arm! A shock of black-purple energy pulsed into her and she began to speak in great agony. Her name was Lyssa and she had been 'asleep' for nearly 20 years. She had been taken from her home on South Drak Isle, and given to Grindstaff who had performed unspeakable experiments upon her for untold years, until one day he simply stopped appearing.

Lyssa's mind quickly deteriorated, forcing Zolloch to use his magical mace to end her misery.

With no further leads, and even more questions than answers, the heroes returned to the surface (with a gift from Fred: a silvery, ruby-pommelled rapier) to prepare for their impending voyage.

On the morning of the third day, the heroes arrive at the appointed dock, a spied their crew: Captain Bilge, a tall Ork, First Mate "Merc", a male human veteren known to Calibor, and finally, Zephir, an exotic, dark-skinned Wind Wizard. Bilge, with zero tolerance for nonsense, had the ship set sail immediately.

After a desperate and harrowing 'Red Wing' Sky Pirate attack, just beyond the southern reach of the The Wall, the heroes prepared for landfall on South Drak Isle and the port village of Vanth. To pass the time, Theron the Rogue decided to poke around the quarters of Zephir, the Wind Wizard. Finding an old Crimson Guard wanted poster, he couldnt help but notice that the image of the exotic man included a few unusual details, such as horns, blue skin, and inhuman eyes.

'Clawface' Clyde and that One Damn Ring

Posted July 28th, 2018

The heroes, after spending a few hours to plan and rest, decide to infiltrate, and then assault, 'Clawface' Clyde's 3rd story penthouse suite in the Red Dawn Inn. Recalling that they have a Potion of Gaseous Form in their possession, it's decided that Theron the Rogue will imbibe the potion, sneak into the room, scout it out (find Rotten Polly's ring, if possible), and unlock the door from the inside.

The reader can imagine how according to plan the situation resolved itself...

Gaseously moving into the bedroom of the penthouse suite, Theron spotted the ring on a nightstand... next to a snoring, half-dressed Clyde. Moving into the room, and in a literal 'altered state', Theron made no attempt to move stealthily, assuming his gaseous form would also be undetectable. Unfortunately for him, this was a painful mistake, as Clyde felt his presence in the room, woke up, and attacked him with his viscious flail!

Sacrificing his airy form for raw speed, Theron dispelled the effect and made a mad dash for the still locked, and securely barred, door. Clyde, half-dressed and groggy, chased him down, screaming curses in a mindless rage, and began to whale upon the Rogue, as his friends were mere feet away on the other side of an extremely secure door.

Both Ironwolf and Calibor slammed themselves against the oaken, iron-bound door, but it was Ironwolf, in a moment of Inspiration, who bashed it down with pure brawn. The heroes were then upon Clyde. The battle was bloody and several of the heroes were beaten unconscious by Clyde's savage attacks, only to be deftly saved and reinvigorated by Zolloch.

With the power of numbers on their side, the tide began to turn in favor of the heroes. ...And then 'Rockfist' Ro appeared in a roar of quad-iron pistol blasts in an expertly executed assassination move from the balcony. Ironwolf was lain low in a single volley, but was again saved by Zolloch. Clyde, bearing the brunt of the rain of Calibor's holy smites, attempted to parley, only to be rebuffed by the Paladin of the Oath.

In a mad attempt to seperate the dastardly duo, and take advantage of the local terrain, Ironwolf successfully charged, tackled, and went over the balcony railing with Ro, with both landing on the cobblestone alleyway some 40ft below, battered and breathless. Seeing little hope of survival, Clyde seemingly vanished into thin air, and Ro, first to recover from the fall, decided it was better to live to fight another day and escaped, as well.

After looting Clyde and Ro's ill-gotten treasure and equipment, and handling a terse interaction with the local authorities, the heroes returned to the Greasy Minotaur, ring in hand, for a long, well-deserved rest.

The next day, the heroes planned their next moves. With the ring secured, they were now free to follow up on the mystery of Grindstaff's undead abomination that killed so many innocents in Terra. Theron and Ironwolf, the two least-conspicuous of the foursome, went to the Black Sun Trading Company's real office. Theron, using his Hat of Disguise and his extensive skills with a disguise kit, impersonated Grindstaff and easily fooled the clerk who then handed over all of the transactions Grindstaff ever had with the BSTC... which went back nearly 40 years. They detailed a young hedge-wizard being sucked into the service of the criminal underground and eventually gaining enough power to become its ally, not its pawn.

At the end of the sordid record of transactions, the final entry of Grindstaff's ledger, was the 10,000gp delivery of the Abomination... signed by none other than Houston Dykstra.

Luring Houston out of his mansion to Adreth's (Zolloch's distant cousin) exclusive jewelry shoppe, "Gemheart's", the heroes pressed him for information in the security of the backroom. Lord Dykstra offered to give the heroes passage to 'Vanth', a location on the faraway land of South Drak Isle (for a price in gold, of course). He would only explain, "You wouldn't believe me if i told you... to truly understand, you must see it for youtrselves".

In three days time, the BSTC caraval 'Throatcutter' departs for the western seas... will the heroes be aboard?

The Free City of Seavale (and a big cat)

Posted July 7th, 2018

Only a few days out from Seavale, the heroes came across a day-old ambush. After cautiously investigating the area and finding no immediate threat, they continued on, only to come across a small band of.. Orcs? These Orchish humanoids were not the hunched, primative brutes that the heroes were accustomed to. No, these were groomed, tall with straight backs, and wore advanced, well-maintained armor. The lead 'Orc' brandished a massive 'hand cannon' firearm of unknown manufacture. The 'Orcs' were gathered around wheeled cage which contained a large, hungry, and very annoyed, black panther.

As the heroes approached, the 'Orcs' called out in a strange, almost unrecognizable form of Orcish, but they were undeterred; a battle ensued! In the aftermath of their victory over the 'Orcs', the heroes concluded that these lightly armed and armored warriors were advanced scouts, kitted for quick travel and not for heavy combat or raiding. After freeing and befriending the panther by Ironwolf the Ranger, the party continued to Seavale.

Arriving at the massive port city, the heroes made their way past the city gates, found lodging at The Greasy Minotaur, and then began their investigations into the Black Sun Trading Company. On the way the BSTC main office, the heroes, quite by accident, ran into "Clawface" Clyde. Despite his inebriated state and the threat of bodily harm, Theren the Rogue attempted to press him into conversation. After delivering an annoyed body slam to Theren, Clyde realized the heroes must be after Rotten Polly's ring. As he staggered away, laughing, he mentioned that he sold it to a pawn shop as soon as he arrived in town.

From there, a goose chase criss-crossing the city ensued as the heroes tracked down the cursed band of gold. From a grubby pawnshop on Warehouse Row, to the mansion of local aristocrat and playboy Houston Dykstra (who bought the ring out of desperation for a spur-of-the-moment marriage proposal), to an upscale jewelry store ("Gemheart's") in the Noble's Square (that happened to be owned and operated by a cousin of Zolloch the Cleric), to the Gemheart's small Market Row stall used to sell off their junk... all of that way, only to see Clyde walk out of the stall with the ring and a smug smile on his face.

The heroes followed him all the way across Seavale to an adventurer-centric hotel, the Red Dawn, where he apparently had rented the third (and top) floor penthouse suite. After they confirmed that was his current place of residence, the heroes began strategizing a way to get that blasted ring away from Clyde and Ro and back to the Hag, Rotten Polly, in faraway Tredway, in order to save the town, and themselves, from a terrible curse.

Will the heroes manage to rest the ring from Clyde's possession? What, if any, connection is there to the Black Sun Trading Company? What are the strange, wired zombies that have rumored to have been seen in Seavale (and match the the description of the monstrosity that attacked Terra)?
Stay tuned!

The Village of Tredway

Posted June 10th, 2018

The small caravan of Ironwolf the Ranger, Zolloch the Dwarven Cleric, Calibor the Paladin, and Theren the Rogue (and Hartford the Dwarven merchant, of course!), reached the mid-point of their journey to Seavale: the small pitstop village of Tredway. Entering the small, muddy village, the heroes noticed that no townsfolk were out and about; the village was quiet, save for a Black dragon scale-armored Dwarf in the square, shouting and demanding tribute. The Dwarf, known as 'Clawface' Clyde, was spoiling for a fight, but he quickly realized he bit off more than he could chew when Theren landed a devastating critical hit sneak attack with his crossbow. A few rounds of combat later, a bloody and worn-down Clyde recognized Theren, saying, "I shoulda expected as much from Deverick's boy". As Clyde surrendered, he signaled for his well-hidden companion, 'Rockfist' Ro, to emerge from hiding on a nearby rooftop. The silent Aragonian slung his longrifle and again disappeared from sight. This revelation soured the heroes feeling of victory slightly, but the relieved townsfolk treated their saviors with all of the amenities they had to offer: free meals, ale and cozy rooms at the Halfway Inn.

In the small hours of the morning, just as the heroes had their fill of merriment, a local hunter burst into the tavern, a clammy fog rolling in behind him. "Rotten Polly", an old soothsayer woman who lived a few miles from town, was furious and every citizen of Tredway was to suffer for it. Despite the Rogue's advice to simply leave these mud-kicking villager to their fate, the others agreed to help. Weary and unrested, they made their way into the fog rolling in from the lake. Passing through the village, they saw a plague of vermin, frogs, snakes, spiders, centipedes and countless other creepy crawlies pour out of the village's waterwell and, seemingly, from the very earth itself. Polly was indeed angry.

As they made their way east, through the darkness and fog of the swampy lands at the edge of the lake, the hunter explained how Polly had lived outside the village for generations, granting magical favors in return for high personal costs... and sometimes making the people's lives miserable for no discernable reason. The heroes quickly surmised she was a witch or a hag of some sort. The hunter went on to explain that Polly seems to have had something valuable stolen from her... by Clyde himself, and that the entire village would now suffer in retribution.

The heroes eventually made it to a clearing in the fog, only to see a half-collapsed cabin at the edge of the lake. In front, at a cooking pit, were two bugbears roasting a sheep. The cabin was clearly occupied, so Theren and Ironwolf, the stealthiest of the four, began to circle the cabin, only to be ambushed by a wizened old lady at the back, who was none too happy to have trespassers. From there, a strange battle ensued, as Rotten Polly confused and attempted to divide the heroes with illusions and demoralizations. After being savagely attacked by a non-illusiory Rotten Polly, Theren hastily offered to find Clyde and get Polly's stolen item back: the unused engagement ring of the young couple she drove to mutual murder in the cabin that is now her home. Suspicious, but eager to get her ring back, Polly agreed to let the heroes go, but threatened them all with curses on their descendents for generations, if they didn't uphold their end of the bargain.

With that, the heroes returned to Tredway and were pleased to see that the plague of vermin had ceased, even if the fog had not yet lifted. The next morning they loaded up the caravan and continued the journey to Seavale... and to catch up to Clyde and Ro.

The Plot Thickens!

Posted May 28th, 2018

The heroes returned to Terra, empowered materially and personally from their foray into the abandoned cult stronghold and reported back to Daelin, the head of the City Rangers. After shopping, sorting their gear, and officially given freedom to pursue their destinies by their benefactors, the heroes found themselves in the wrong/right place at the wrong/right time... An inexplicable undead(-ish) abomination smashed through the wall of a nearby warehouse and began a mindless, deadly rampage, killing and wounded dozens of bystanders.

During the battle with the necrotic Ogre, its assumed Master (a stricken human mage by the name of 'Grindstaff') appeared, found his control had been broken, and proceeded to Fireball his own laboratory before making his escape via an Invisiblity spell. After searching the smoldering ruins of the warehouse-turned-secret laboratory, the heroes discovered a shipping ledger with an entry written in Theives Cant. The entry described a large, mysterious (and kingly-priced) delivery made about a month ago to the warehouse, via from the Black Sun Trading Company, from the city of Seavale.

After an afternoon of investigation in the seedier neighborhoods of Terra, the heroes learned that the Black Sun Trading Company is the public face of a Thieves Guild-run smuggling operation.

The heroes quickly sought passage to Seavale, finding a lone Dwarven craftsmen by the name of Hartford in need of protection for his mercantile journey and formed a small caravan. Merely a week out from Terra, they were already beset by brigands...

D&D 5th Edition

Posted May 19th, 2018

Keeping a D&D game going as an adult, with other adults, is tricky, but oh-so worth it.
After a basic dungeon crawl into a long-forgotten hideout for a cult worshipping the Demon Lord Orcus, the heroes are heading back to Terra to report their success in clearing the desecration and abandoned undead guardians.

The party consists of:

  • Calibor Brightshield - Human Paladin. An ex-soldier who felt the call of a higher power to serve.
  • Theren - Half-Elf Rogue. Selfish, slick, and well-trained in the roguish arts, he travels with the party out of convenience.
  • Zolloch Gemheart - Dwarf Cleric. Just because one serves Life, doesnt mean they can't get rich at the same time.
  • Francis "Ironwolf" Christian - Human Ranger. Roaming and protecting the wildlands in the name of Terra is a family legacy for this member of the Ranger's Guild.

New Campaign

Posted April 22nd, 2018

Time to start again. A new 5th Edition Campaign starts May 5th, 2018

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