The Brewing Tempests

-or- Cudge smash!

14-15 Aslala of the year 73

Several days prior to the party’s most recent adventures

A huge man entered the village of Ravenlem; nearly seven feet tall, Cudge was well over a foot taller than most other men he encountered. He had been on the trail of the Residents of the Dark for over half a decade, since they had stolen from the Derosi temple he resided at. Their theft had been interrupted by the head priest, his mentor, and one of the members had killed him rather than leave a witness. As was their signature, they had also left a taunting note. He had finally gotten close to finding them, and thought Ravenlem might be near the end of his journey.

He sought out the Broken Lute tavern, where he ordered a couple drinks before finding the shadiest looking man in the place; he sat down across from another Derosi man. He introduced himself and inquired about whether the man knew anything about the Residents of the Dark.

Stin had come to Ravenlem attempting to track down a local smuggling ring. As a member of the Burning Fists, he had been tasked with either negotiating terms, as the local ring was impeding on his guild’s business, or eliminating them if an agreement could not be reached. He had heard whispers about the Residents of the Dark, and while he had little information for Cudge he noticed another tavern patron paying far too much attention to their conversation once the topic of the Residents had been brought up. Stin subtly informed Cudge of it, and Cudge, with his usual tact and subtlety, smashed his hammer into the floor next to the man, who fell off his seat.

Stin and Cudge questioned the man, who said the Residents regularly obtained rare, ancient, and historically significant items for clients; Lady Kurral in particular was a generous client, and the Residents had a tower several miles outside of town. They thanked him and departed, with Stin able to find the trail to the tower despite recent snow. Stin was convinced the Residents were the group he was sent to deal with, and as such was more motivated to find them than he previously had been.

there_once_was_a_windmill____by_yancis-d3ch62w.jpgAs they approached the tower Stin instructed Cudge to create a distraction; Stin would use it to sneak into the tower, and Stin promptly disappeared. He made his way to a door into the base of the tower, then threw a rock into the woods to draw the attention of anyone on guard duty. Unfortunately it hit a member of the Residents in the head as he was taking a piss, which drew four others out of the tower. Cudge managed to convince them that he was lost, and while he was unable to heal the slightly injured man he talked them into accompanying him to town for a drinking contest.

While Cudge got a large portion of the Residents drunk, Stin explored the tower, eventually stealthing upstairs where he found three of the Residents left. One was a dwarf, while the other two were humans, one male and one female. They were discussing plans for their next request, and while Stin was able to sneak up on them he was spotted before he had the opportunity to slit the throat of man that was closest to him. Toragar, the dwarf, asked him what he thought he was doing, and Stin unwisely attempted to attack.

Cudge had headed back to the tower after leaving the other Residents still drinking, and as he approached he heard the commotion of Stin’s fight. By the time he reached the top of the stairs Stin had dropped his weapon, and Toragar hit Cudge with his hammer as Cudge climbed the stairs. Angered and wanting to pound the dwarf to a pulp, he instead dislocated his shoulder when he swung and missed. Stin took the opportunity provided by the distraction to dive out the window, twisting his ankle in the process, and when Cudge realized he was outmatched he followed suit, sticking the landing perfectly.

Cudge and Stin managed to return to Ravenlem; while Cudge rejoined the Residents he had befriended and won his drinking contest, Stin wisely set up camp outside the village. Cudge tried and failed to seduce the two female Residents that had accompanied him, which left him heartbroken and binging on whiskey. Stin snuck into town and convinced Cudge to return with him to the campsite.

carolle_van_veen_by_gerryarthur-da1qvxp.jpgWhile on watch Stin was surprised by the woman from the tower when she slid a dagger to his throat; she questioned him on his motives, and he told her about the smuggling ring he had been sent to deal with. She informed him that was a different group, as the Residents only dealt with high end items, but that she had heard the smuggling ring would be moving a shipment through the area sometime in the next couple days. She had heard rumors that the ring, while previously primarily involved in luxury goods, had branched out into moving comatose people. Stin disavowed Cudge’s vendetta, and the visitor warned Stin that Cudge shouldn’t attempt another attack, before she slipped away into the night.

In the morning Stin told Cudge of the visit; Cudge, still drunk, staggered to Ravenlem to get a side of bacon and continued his drinking. He was, however, intrigued by the smugglers moving slaves through the area. With much difficulty he was able to recruit three of the Residents he had bonded with; while they distrusted him, the pay made it worthwhile for them.

While in the village Stin took note of the lack of silver items, with the exception of coins; silver jewelry was nonexistent, as were plates, decorations, pitchers, or anything other than silver coins. He quietly pointed this out to Cudge and warned him that this was most likely related to creatures of darkness, as demons, werewolves, vampires, and others were highly allergic to silver. To take precautions they paid a local blacksmith for time on his forge and used it to melt down some of their silver coins into sets of silver knuckles, which Cudge was able to craft.

That night Stin heard an argument near the route his visitor had informed him the smugglers tended to use. He stealthily approached, followed at a distance by Cudge and the three Residents. As they got closer Stin was able to see two groups; he recognized the larger one as composed of Kandari, the smaller who had a wagon as Rutani, and they were arguing over the contents of the wagon. The Kandari insisted the slaves belonged to them, while the outnumbered Rutani objected to the Kandari attempt to take the wagon.

The party crept close to the two groups, staying in the shadow of the wagon, and Stin launched an attack on the Rutani men, slicing one with his dagger. As the Residents moved around the end of the wagon, two with swords and one with a bow, Cudge vaulted over it, slamming the head of his hammer down through the injured man’s body. The Kandari reacted by attacking and killing the other two, and as the party and the Kandari began to regroup and sort out what had happened Stin heard hooves approaching.

fire-breathing-in-slow-motion.jpgFour Rutani wearing Lady Kurral’s crest approached the two groups, with the leader reminding the Kandari that they were forbidden to operate in Lady Kurral’s lands. By doing so their lives were forfeit; the party, seeing the opportunity provided, attacked the Kandari. Cudge and Stin both took out several of the Kandari, with Stin sliding behind one and stabbing repeatedly into the man’s taint, severing the femoral artery with one strike, and stabbing another in the vena cava. Cudge, meanwhile, took a swig of whiskey, sprayed it onto a small group of the Kandari, then took another swig and spit it through a torch’s flame, lighting the group on fire. However, one of the Residents, Seathan, was killed in the melee, and Cudge later vowed to avenge him. Lady Kurral’s force, meanwhile, was easily handling the other Kandari, and several used necromancy to weaken the Kandari. When only two of the Kandari were left they surrendered; Kurral’s force questioned the party, and satisfied with their answers, allowed them to go free. The two remaining Residents mourned the loss of Seathan, and they, Cudge, and Stin split the items they found on the dead Kandari and Rutani, while Kurral’s force took the two Kandari and the wagon, along with its contents.

Body Count: 7 Kandari slavers.
Baller Moment of the Week: Cudge’s fire-breathing trick.
Fuckup of the Week: Cudge’s not listening to Toragar’s warning to sit down.

Running Body Count: 132 humans, 56 creatures, 81 undead, 1 demon

Going full Murder Hobo
-or- Never go full Murder Hobo

18-19 Aslala of the year 73 the fight with Lady Kurral’s forces, Calissa examined the necklace Emmerick had found, Bieito, and Benjamin to determine how Lady Kurral had been able to tell they had teleported across the continent. There were no active spells on the necklace and Bieito was no longer beacon marked, but on Benjamin she found a blood mark; it operated like a beacon marker, but instead of being on an object was tied to his blood. Sileth was able to dispel the blood mark and use the connection to get a glimpse of the other end; he saw Lady Kurral and an unidentified younger man with white hair, and he told them they were coming.

The party and Benjamin’s father gathered as much as they could carry and relocated to a nearby cave Benjamin had previously used for smuggling. After Bieito fell asleep the others discussed what to do with him; Sileth told them there was a family resemblance between Bieito and the unidentified man he had seen, and they seriously considered killing Bieito in his sleep. Sileth in particular was concerned about the potential for Bieito to turn on the party and that the apparent family member might corrupt Bieito further. Ultimately they opted to continue on without him, leaving a note stating they were going to deal with Lady Kurral, and had Cane sign it with a paw print.

jakob.jpgThey stopped for the night in the village Ravenlem about 30 miles from Lady Kurral’s keep, and rented a room in the Broken Lute tavern. While the evening was uneventful, that night they awoke to the sound of dragging chains outside their room. A ghost passed through the door, imploring them for help; his name was Hayward, and his spirit had been bound by a man named Piker. He warned them that Piker was close to becoming a lich, and that he would be visited by three spirits that night. They needed to get him to willingly give up the ring he wore, and they should attempt to redeem his soul before he completed the process of becoming a lich. Sileth cast a cantrip on the necklace Emmerick had found to give it the appearance of magical properties while in actuality it possessed none.

zombie_68_homefront_by_uncannyknack-d86755z.jpgThe party found Piker’s manor with little difficulty, but it was surrounded by an iron fence topped with spikes and the grounds were patrolled by zombies. Emmerick attempted and failed to climb the fence, impaling his hand on one of the spikes, before letting Benjamin unlock the gate. They dealt with several of the closer zombies before gaining access to the house, although Benjamin was bitten by one from behind. A decapitated zombie head did hit a cow, which mooed.

piker1.jpgThey wound their way to the master bedroom, where they found a tome detailing Piker’s necromantic experiments. Sileth managed to slip the ring from Piker’s hand as he slept, then woke him and offered not destroy the tome, along with the necklace, in exchange for the party taking the ring. Piker refused, and when Sileth threatened him a demon appeared behind him.

pastor_hell_by_blueraincz-d353pbs.jpgThe demon attacked Emmerick first, poisoning his blood with a spell, and Benjamin nearly lost another of his dogs when it missed Piker. Piker and the demon gave the party the opportunity to retreat, but Sileth refused. The party was able to deal little damage to the demon and Sileth used telekinesis to throw Piker out of the second story window; Benjamin was hit by Emmerick when a strike missed, and Calissa was possessed by the demon and forced to attack Emmerick. Sileth managed to kill Piker by telekinetically throwing him onto the fence spikes, then with great difficulty banished the demon who had been thoroughly routing the party.

When they searched the house they found a number of books, including Hunted by the Phantoms, Animals & Necromancers, and How to Cook Brains, from which Benjamin tore out the section on head cheese for his own use. There was also a book detailing the different fiber and weave techniques of Bargas cultures, which was extremely obscure knowledge and of little use. Emmerick found head cheese in the kitchen and disposed of it instead of giving it to Benjamin, then made himself a jerky and cheese sandwich. In Piker’s tome Sileth found references to Piker having been orphaned by Kandari slavers, taken in by the previous Lady Kurral, and raised by her until she passed away, at which point he swore to defeat death by any means necessary.

The party located a basement filled with dead bodies, which they closed up again, and they burned all the necromantic items they were able to locate. Benjamin brought his sister to the manor to give them her take on the area; she told them the house was rarely visited, but that Lady Kurral kept a close watch on the area. She, much like her father, was quite cold towards Benjamin, and he appeared to be better liked by the party than his family. The rest of the night was quiet, but in the morning they saw a group approaching the manor.

Body Count: Piker, 5 zombies.
Baller Moment of the Week: None; going full murder hobo negated any baller moments.
Fuckup of the Week: Going full murder hobo, not retreating when given an opportunity.

Running Body Count: 125 humans, 56 creatures, 81 undead, 1 demon

On The Road Again
-or- Sileth, beam us up

15 Aslala – 17 Aslala of the year 73

After retiring for the night following sending the messenger to Akora, the party had a quiet couple days. Calissa took the opportunity to improve some of her skills, Emmerick sold the jewelry he had found in the ruins after they killed Morden, and Bieito, Benjamin, and Sileth crafted new spells. Benjamin also spent some time obtaining herbalism ingredients, while Bieito, after several attempts, managed to craft a necklace from the stone he had imprisoned a ghost in by attaching it to a leather strap.

13ddc295c421e43b99485e6aef08fa7d.jpgThe morning of the third day, however, saw the quiet end. They were awoken by a fight outside the Spectrum Creature; three of the Grim Sea clan members were fighting four members of a rival clan. Emmerick rushed outside, saying hello to one of the opponents just before running him through with his sword. The Grim Sea men were holding their own, and Bieito took out one of the other clan’s men with a clout shot and another with an arrow through his superior vena cava after Calissa stunned him with her hammer. With the last opponent distracted by two of Benjamin’s dogs attacking him, a Grim Sea man decapitated him with the decapitated head hitting Bieito in the head. The Grim Sea men thanked the party for their assistance and explained that they and the Black Fist clan had a blood feud going back two generations; tensions had been running high of late, and they were ambushed by the men.

0b4a5bebb13238154d740afb9a741281.jpgMid-afternoon a Derosi ship docked in the port, carrying a number of exotic goods. Sileth inquired with them whether they could book passage south; the captain said they would be in port for a few days, then they would proceed south to Recco, Sibero, and the last stop would be Viroconum in the Derosi Republic. He could take them to Recco for 25 silver each, and further south would be more.

Sileth then visited with Authulf at the Frozen Dryad, who had been able to make progress on acquiring the materials to destroy the ring. He informed Sileth that the Derosi ship had the rarer, more difficult to acquire materials that would enable him to remove the enchantment or enchantments on the ring, so it could be destroyed considerably sooner than they had expected. Sileth thanked him for the good news and returned to the Spectrum Creature to inform the others.

That evening the city guard came to question the party about the fight in the morning; Emmerick told them they had been assisting the Grim Sea men, and the guards warned them that interfering in clan business was prohibited. The city guard maintained the peace, with inter-clan business being settled between themselves. The clans had a long-standing agreement that they would not bring outside groups into their score settling, but as the party was unaware of this the guards let them off with a warning.

Several hours later Benjamin heard Lady Kurral‘s voice: “Destroying the ring, Benjamin? Poor choice.” He was shaken by this, and quietly told Sileth about it. At the same time Benjamin heard Kurral’s voice Bieito felt a strong buzzing behind his ear that stopped when the link was broken. Sileth picked up on Bieito’s confusion and asked him about it; he told the rest of the party about it, and they found a small lump and a scar that appeared to be relatively old. Calissa deduced it was from before he left Arvim, and Sileth was able to detect a beacon mark located on the lump. It seemed a small, beacon-marked object had been inserted under Bieito’s skin, and Sileth was able to cast a counterspell to remove the beacon mark. Sileth assumed Bieito had been the conduit for Kurral to contact Benjamin and believed removing the mark would eliminate that option. He was also able to determine that while he had removed the beacon mark from Bieito, it was networked with others from Arvim. His presence would no longer be detectable through the beacon, but he could still locate others in the network.

Unnerved by Kurral’s ability to reach out to such a distance and aware of the potential for reprisals against his family, Benjamin believed they needed to move immediately. Sileth agreed, but instead of setting sail he felt it was possible he would be able to teleport the party to Benjamin’s ranch. It would be exceedingly difficult, as it was about 550 miles, but it was possible. The party gathered their gear, Sileth retrieved the ring from Authulf on the way to a clear area outside of the city, and with Calissa having buffed his abilities and a potion from Benjamin that granted him a temporary boost he attempted the spell.

10955-1-1330983182.jpgThe party, along with Biggles, Cane, and the other two dogs in Benjamin’s pack, materialized several hundred yards from Benjamin’s ranch house. There was a strong ozone smell from the spell, and Sileth immediately collapsed, having completely drained himself with the spell.

“Well, that was an interesting move.” Kurral communicated to Benjamin. Disturbed by her still being able to communicate with him, Benjamin nonetheless helped the others carry Sileth to the house. He was brusquely greeted by his father; he was less than happy to see Benjamin, having regarded him as a disappointment, and was unimpressed that he had learned druidry and the ability to shape wood, pointing out that his mother had been able to raise the dead to plow the fields. He also was not pleased that Benjamin had brought company, particularly mages, which was revealed when he asked about the lingering scent of ozone.

Meanwhile, Bieito had been feeling a light buzzing behind his ear again. While not nearly as intense as when he first felt it, it was noticeable, and when he moved in the direction of Kurral’s keep it would almost imperceptibly strengthen.

Once inside the party got Sileth settled in a bed to recover, and Emmerick demonstrated new abilities when he used telekinesis to move a cup 20 feet across the house to him. The others were shocked by this, as he had never shown any arcane affinity previously, but Morden’s consciousness had left residual traces on him. He was by no means adept, but he could now perform relatively minor spells.

passing-torch.jpgThe party retired for the night, but several hours later Emmerick was woken by the sound of a half dozen horses outside. He roused the others and with the exception of Sileth, who was still too exhausted to be of assistance in a fight, they prepared for an attack. Benjamin and Bieito both took herbs that improved their marksmanship, which proved to be extremely beneficial. Outside were six men armed with broadswords carrying torches; while Sileth and Benjamin stayed inside, Calissa, Emmerick, and Bieito moved outside. Emmerick cast another telekinesis spell, this one to block incoming projectiles, and they engaged the attackers.

27704F6C00000578-3034632-image-m-9_1428737926957.jpgWhile three of Kurral’s men threw torches into the house, another directed them and two more approached. Sileth busied himself with putting out the fires as Bieito and Benjamin fired on the leader and Calissa and Emmerick engaged in melee combat; Emmerick, however, was hit by two spells from the leader, the first causing him to tremble in fear and the second making him dance. The men throwing torches switched to throwing them onto the roof, setting it on fire, and Emmerick climbed up onto it, silhouetting his dancing against the flames. Benjamin and Bieito managed to take out the leader, which released Emmerick from the spells, and while he attempted and failed to jump onto one of the attackers he did succeed in severely wounding another before disemboweling the one he tried to land on. Benjamin sicced two of his dogs on the remaining men, which ended poorly when one missed and the other lunged but ended up impaling himself on the attacker’s sword. The roof of the house was still on fire, and while they were able to extinguish the flames it was not until about a third of it had been burned.

Body Count: 4 Black Fist clan members, 6 of Kurral’s men.
Baller Moment of the Week: Sileth teleporting the party about 550 miles.
Fuckup of the Week: Emmerick break dancing.

Running Body Count: 124 humans, 56 creatures, 76 undead, 1 demon

The Gods Are Angry
-or- 6 days without a workplace death

8 Aslala – 14 Aslala of the year 73

Exhausted from the fight, the party rested in one of the vacant rooms in the ruins. The night was quiet, although a meteor storm, plus the comet and aurora, provided awe-inspiring views.

vord_by_daroz.jpgDuring the night Emmerick had a strange dream. He now had a family; a toddler daughter and a wife. While working in a garden he was approached by three Thalmun priests, who declared he was to be seized. Resisting, he released a frost spell, and the Thalmun retaliated. He was hit, and attacks were exchanged; a gout of fire missed him, and he heard screams from behind him.

juramentado_by_dleoblack-da6t0ne.jpgHe turned and was horrified by what he saw. His daughter had been hit by the attack. In his rage he unleashed a powerful spell and sucked the life force from the three Thalmun priests, which caused them to wither and die. He rushed to his wife, attempting to comfort her, but she shrank from him in revulsion. She blamed him for the attack and the death of their daughter and forced him to leave.

Shaken by the dream, Emmerick told the others about it, then tried to brush it off. He had never had a family, so his assumption was it was either his mind playing tricks on him or a vision of the future. Jalad Far-Travel reminded Emmerick that due to his illness, she and Akora had not settled on a price for her services; she felt 2 gold was fair for services rendered. Emmerick balked at the price, but Benjamin reminded him that she had been invaluable in the fight, and he acquiesced. The party set out to return to the village of Horga and besides the occasional visible meteor the day was uneventful.

9kE6k8c.jpgThat quiet ended early in the afternoon. As the party crested a rise the sky began brightening, and they saw a large meteor streaking towards them. It impacted as they began fleeing; the fireball from the impact was 22 times the size of the sun, and they were instantly hit by a blast of heat intense enough to burn and blister any exposed skin.

Before the heat had passed they were hit by the ground shaking; it was not powerful enough to knock them from their horses, but was nonetheless disturbing. Heading towards an outcropping, Calissa stole a quick glance at the site of the impact, and saw a shockwave flattening the trees as it headed towards them. The impact was 5 miles away, and the shockwave was already halfway to them.

The party reached the outcropping seconds before the shockwave struck; it was unlike anything anyone in the party had experienced before, with incredibly high winds and loud enough to cause ear pain. The party was barely able to keep control of the animals, with the horses spooked, Biggles trembling against Emmerick, and Cane and the other dogs cowering in fear.

Emmerick in particular had a breakdown; he was convinced the gods were angry at them, disturbed by this kind of retaliation after having killed a necromancer, and couldn’t understand why they were being so vindictive against the party. Calissa attempted to heal the burns but failed, although Benjamin was able to alleviate the pain.

6307402_orig.jpgAfter a while they ventured out to see what had happened; where the meteor struck there was now a huge crater, a little over a mile wide and nearly a quarter mile deep. All of the snow in the area had melted, nearly all the trees had been knocked down and the few still standing had been stripped of their bark and leaves, and all of the trees near the crater were burning. It was devastation on a scale none of them had imagined possible, and rightly disturbed them.

s-l1600.jpgThe party eventually ventured towards the crater, aware of the possibility of finding sky iron. The journey was difficult with the downed trees and melted snow having turned most of the ground to mud. By the time they approached the crater most of the fires had dwindled, although the area was still thick with smoke and the smell of burning rock; when they were still a half mile from the crater Sileth spotted a glowing red rock half buried in the muck. He used teleportation to lift it, recognizing it as sky iron. It was not particularly large, but it still weighed about 50 pounds, and its rarity made it incredibly valuable. Sileth decided it was his pet rock and named it Steven. Emmerick asked if he could draw a face on Steven; after consulting with Steven, Sileth relayed that Steven said no. The party continued on, with Benjamin finding an old, excellent campsite for the night.

jeff_bridges_by_apokefale-d58oztz.jpgThat night Emmerick dreamt he was with a female wizard and confronted in a town by an old man and a young woman. There was a short discussion where the man and woman warned Emmerick and the female wizard to leave. They also specifically urged Emmerick to reconsider his path; he was on an extremely dangerous one and that revenge, particularly with the methods he was exploring, would destroy him. The woman he was with threatened the two, but she backed down when it looks like the old man was going to act. While the young woman seemed to be a capable threat, it was clear the old man’s reputation preceded him.

CandleWind.jpgThe next morning the party continued on, with Steven still floating alongside Sileth, having cooled to the touch overnight. The day was quiet and when they drew close to Horga Sileth wrapped Steven in a bedroll and put it in Benjamin’s cart so as not to draw attention. They first visited the tomb where Akora had been placed in stasis. Benjamin sought out water and elfroot to make him comfortable, and when they found him he had not been disturbed. The candles inside the field were still lit, caught mid-flicker, and the parts of the apples outside the field had decayed some while the parts inside were still fresh. Satisfied that Akora was safe, Sileth dropped the stasis field.

Akora was confused as to why the party had immediately brought him back out of stasis, as for him no time had passed. Pointing out the burns from the meteor impact, Emmerick initially convinced Akora that he had been in stasis for three years while they hunted down Morden. He told Akora about the meteor, and Akora told him it was punishment for the others not worshipping the Silver God. Emmerick also informed Akora that he owed him 2 gold for paying Jalad, as he had not settled on a price with her, and Akora begrudgingly repaid him.

giphy.gifAkora was still in very poor health, and Sileth believed it would take him weeks to recover as he had been nearly completely drained by Morden. Benjamin thought he could brew something that would speed Akora’s recovery, but Sileth told him the damage done was far deeper than anything a potion could help with. It was not simply a matter of damage, but his life energy had been almost completely sapped by the curse. Anything Benjamin could make would make Akora feel better, but would not speed his recovery. They decided Akora would stay in Horga while the others dealt with the ring and Lady Kurral. While traveling there, Cane dunked Biggles into the snow, which elicited a “mangy mutt” comment from Emmerick.

Sileth said he would allow Akora to recover in his house, although he mentally took stock of everything he owned, not trusting the Kandari. They engaged in a discussion over the merits of the Naxos’s overthrowing the Derosi; as a Derosi, Sileth compared it to having spent a huge amount of time for a loved one, only to have a homeless child take a shit on it while on the way to delivering it.

R209.jpgSileth took Steven to the village’s blacksmith, selling him five pound piece of sky iron for 2 gold; he then gave 1 gold to the local healer to check in on Akora while the party was away. While Bieito was out, presumably beating off to corpses in the village graveyard, the others discussed what to do with the ring. Sileth revealed he had taken and hidden it after the battle with Morden, wary of Bieito getting possession of it. It was extremely powerful and he believed that beyond the base properties of the ring that it had either a corrupting curse or a malevolent spirit imprisoned in it, rendering it remarkably dangerous to use. He felt the best course of action would be to destroy it however possible, and the others agreed.

Treehouses-Dougherty-2.jpgEmmerick then mentioned the dreams he had been having; with little to go on, the others assumed they were premonitions, although they were troubled by this news. Emmerick had never shown signs of magical abilities, so to develop them in such a way was unusual. Emmerick did, however, take the opportunity to paint a face on Steven while Sileth was distracted. Benjamin, having been taught druidry by Jalad during the trip, took the opportunity to test his skills and shaped the trees near Sileth’s house to create a treehouse for his dogs to sleep in.

The next morning the party set out for Skara, and their trip was uneventful, taking three days. They arrived in Skara late on the third day, again getting rooms at the Spectrum Creature. After several nights of no memorable dreams, Emmerick had another featuring the same woman. This time the two were discussing defeating the Thalmun and ancient legends. She mentioned a place called Turev having been used to imprison hundreds, if not thousands of demons, and that someone skilled in all schools of magic could unlock it. They would need several specific weapons that were used to lock the seals to break them, however. The weapons she mentioned were:

  • Battle axe
  • Long axe
  • Dagger
  • Sidesword
  • Broadsword
  • Greatsword
  • Scimitar
  • Mace
  • War hammer

In the morning Emmerick told the others about the dream, and Sileth in particular was very disturbed by the details. He knew of legends surrounding Turev; it was an ancient necropolis in the far south, beyond the Kandari Empire somewhere in the Untamed Lands. If the legends were true and the seals were broken, it would be disastrous on an unimaginable scale.

Emmerick finally came to the realization that the dreams were not his, and that they were Morden’s. The others speculated part of Morden’s consciousness had been contained in the necklace Emmerick had found on his body, was transferred to Emmerick when he touched it, and it was establishing control over him. To test the theory, Emmerick attempted to perform a cantrip, but only succeeded in bursting a blood vessel in his eye. Sileth began questioning him to see if his personality or arcane knowledge had changed; while the personality questions were inconclusive, as both he and Morden were Uthad and disliked the Kandari, the arcane knowledge questions proved Emmerick could answer a few questions he would not have been able to previously. Emmerick asked him whether it would get worse, but he lost track of the following minute and had no memory of Sileth’s response or what else happened.

The party determined that a complex thaumaturgy spell cast by Calissa could expel Morden’s consciousness from Emmerick; it would require her to cast a powerful light spell coupled with inducing flight in evil creatures and granting immunity to necromancy. As it would be a custom, freeform spell it would be even more difficult than usual. With sufficient time and materials the difficulty could be reduced, but casting it would still be a gamble. Calissa and Sileth both contributed 1 gold towards materials, and she began preparing.

While Calissa prepared to cast the spell to free Emmerick, who was experiencing more blackouts, Sileth took Steven to several of the local blacksmiths and sold most of the sky iron, netting 40 gold, a huge sum. He returned when it was time for Calissa to cast the spell; it was exceedingly difficult, but she managed to succeed, and Emmerick was freed of Morden’s influence. He was disappointed, however, that he had not retained any magical abilities. Meanwhile, Bieito was missing, presumably again beating off in a graveyard somewhere.

the_alchemist_shop_by_feliciacano.jpgThat evening Sileth visited the Frozen Dryad shop, and while the owner Authulf was displeased at again being disturbed when closing the shop his demeanor changed when Sileth showed him gold. As an alchemist and the closest thing to an artificer in Skara, Sileth believed he might be able to assist in destroying the ring. Authulf examined it, explaining that it would be exceedingly difficult and time consuming; it could be separated into its individual components, but the diamond at the focus of the ring had a corruption curse on it or a spirit trapped inside it. The materials he would need to eliminate that aspect were rare and it would most likely take two weeks for him to be able to obtain them, though in the meantime he could separate the other components of the ring to make it more difficult to reassemble. Sileth agreed, and gave him 5 gold for his time and work, with the understanding that the components not imbued by necromantic forces could be sold as part of the compensation. While Sileth met with Authulf, Benjamin created another treehouse, this time for him and his dogs to sleep in.

Sileth returned to the Spectrum Creature and informed the others of the plans for destroying the ring. Not wanting to wait two weeks but not wanting to leave Authulf unwatched, he hired a messenger to travel to Horga and ask Akora to return to Skara. The rest of the night was quiet, with Emmerick filling in Temba Open-Arms on how the trip had gone, and she was glad to hear about Jalad being an excellent fit for the party.

While drinking, Benjamin and Emmerick both overheard people talking about a group of adventurers having overthrown Idran Mannik in Recco. The group was getting quite a bit of praise, and the party was pleased to be so renowned, until they brought up that it was them and were told that was bullshit. The real group was a bunch of Hoscans in town, who knew all the details and had Mannik’s jewelry to prove it. Benjamin and Emmerick in particular were outraged that others were taking credit for their exploits, and were told the group was staying at the Skanky Vampire tavern near the docks.

mead_hall_by_j_humphries-d4xh6mt.jpgThe party set out to find and confront this group, and when they found them they recognized Arngrim and the Laughing Brawlers from the road to Skara several weeks earlier. Emmerick confronted him, angry at them taking credit for his party’s work. Arngrim countered that it was a great story, Akora having given them all of the details and some of Mannik’s jewelry, and that it was getting his group free drinks and was a hit with both women and men in Skara. Sileth was amused at the audacity, and while the others were disgruntled they felt it might end up being a blessing in disguise as any of Mannik’s friends would seek out the Brawlers for revenge and would lessen pressure on the party to stay away from Recco.

Body Count: None. Everyone lives! Again!
Baller Moment of the Week: Sileth and Steven, Emmerick painting a face on Steven, Benjamin’s treehouses, and Calissa purging Morden’s consciousness from Emmerick.
Fuckup of the Week: Emmerick’s lack of realization that the dreams were not his own.

Running Body Count: 114 humans, 56 creatures, 76 undead, 1 demon

GM note: the meteor impact was a 50 meter iron asteroid entering the atmosphere at a 45 degree angle and moving at 25 km/s. It impacted at 15.4 km/s, having started breaking up before impact, and the impact was the equivalent of a 14.8 megaton blast. The fireball from the impact was 787 meters wide, and at a distance of 5 miles it had an intensity 44x that of the sun, enough to cause second degree burns. It generated a 5.4 magnitude earthquake, followed by 254 mph winds, blowing down 90% of trees and stripping the rest. The shockwave was 95 db, which coupled with the air pressure was enough to cause pain. The final size of the crater was 1.02 miles with a depth of 1150 feet. Results provided by Purdue’s Impact: Earth! simulator.

Ancient Ruins, Ancient Evil
-or- The Murder Hobos get...cautious?!

8 Aslala – 9 Aslala of the year 73

ruins_landscape_by_anne_wipf-d6ubx5e.jpgHaving disposed of the troll at the lake, the party continued on for several more hours before stopping for the night, where Emmerick made a barbarian snowman armed with a sword-shaped stick he found. Bieito contemplated turning the snowman into a golem, but determined the difficulty was too great. Benjamin, meanwhile, who had been training in druidry with Jalad Far-Travel, professed that he believed the comet was the return of the elves who lived on the moons. The rest of the night was quiet and in the morning the party continued on, passing through ancient ruins as they followed Morden’s trail. There may or may not have been a sign at the ruins reading “TRUMP”.

822760-1321726647.jpgEarly in the afternoon they found another set of ruins where the trail appeared to end; there were multiple old tracks going up the stairs, and instead of going up them the party searched the area, where they located an opening in the mountainside; it appeared the cliff face had collapsed at some point, revealing an opening, but it was about eighty feet up a sheer cliff. Taking a rope, Sileth teleported up to it, secured the rope to a boulder, and helped the rest of the party up; Benjamin’s dogs and Emmerick’s cat Biggles stayed with the horses, however.

The room they party found themselves in was carved stone, and the work was ancient. Sileth commented that it appeared to be Hoscan and that the Hoscan culture had not advanced much from this point; Benjamin, missing Akora, sarcastically replied that Sileth was very cultured, which Sileth dryly confirmed. Emmerick, on the other hand, was relieved to meet someone who was appreciative of other cultures, welcoming the contrast with Akora’s ethnocentrism. They began exploring the passageways, not finding any traps, and then heard Akora screaming for help.

wendigos_by_edwarddelandreart-d8z8fp7.jpgThey fought the impulse to rush to his aid, reassured by Sileth that he would know if the time stop he had placed on Akora was disturbed, and remembering their encounter with the wendigo, the party held their position while Sileth cast a spell that allowed him to remotely view the area the cries for help were coming from. He was able to see two wendigos in a room with one point of entry; unfamiliar with the creatures, he asked them to describe what they were like. The main point the others made was “incredibly fast” and Sileth said he had a spell that might be effective against them. Benjamin provided him with one of his potions that boosted Sileth’s will, which proved extremely useful later on.

ghost_2_by_wielkiboo-d9ekvjg.jpgChoosing to explore a side passage, Benjamin, Sileth, and Bieito found a Hoscan ghost carrying a spear and with several arrows still in its back. They were able to sneak up on it and Bieito, having cast a containment spell on a stone he found, tossed it through the ghost and captured it, binding it to his will. When they searched the room they discovered 50 silver and a sample of calcite that could be used in alchemy, and then they proceeded on closer to the wendigos.

Sileth cast a one-way telekinesis field across the corridor to the room the wendigos were in; things could get in, but couldn’t get out, and containing the wendigos proved to be an extremely successful strategy. Jalad informed them that fire would be very effective; after Emmerick and Calissa struck blows on one that rushed the barrier and Jalad hit it with a fireball, the others threw bottles containing oil in, coating the back of the room, then hit both wendigos with fire bombs provided by Jalad. The wendigo that had not been injured was still alive, but barely, after the fires went out, so Emmerick entered the room and decapitated it.

The party moved into the room, with Benjamin taking wendigo fur for alchemy, along with their antlers and cracking open their skulls for head cheese; Sileth then used the barrier to push the bodies out of the way before placing it back across the corridor as the party regrouped. What he was not counting on, however, was that four more ghosts, drawn by the noise of the fight, would approach; they were unaffected by the barrier and were able to enter the room. Drawing what wrought iron weapons they had, the party prepared to engage the ghosts. Emmerick drew his wrought iron axe and gave wrought iron arrows to Benjamin and Bieito, and Jalad drew her wrought iron-tipped staff, while the others pulled back.

oathbreaker_by_mikrob-d8cych5.jpgTaking the initiative, Benjamin and Bieito fired first and hit two of the ghosts, while Jalad and Emmerick attacked a third. All four attacks were successful, but then the ghosts swarmed Emmerick and he was heavily injured. Sileth counterspelled the uninjured ghost, causing it to explode and dissipate, while the party was able to destroy two of the others. The last ghost’s attack missed Emmerick, who then destroyed it. Calissa was able to sense the presence of Morden further into the ruins, Benjamin was able to partially heal Emmerick’s wounds, and the party then set out to explore the ruins further.

bleak_falls_barrow_by_katherinefan324-d4vd7qe.jpgOpting to exit through the main entrance, they found a giant, extremely deep pit at the top of the main stairs. Unable to see the bottom, Sileth dropped a copper coin in, listening for almost 15 seconds before he heard it hit bottom. Unnerved by the depth of the pit and finding nothing else of interest outside, the party reentered the ruins to continue their exploration. As they proceeded deeper, Benjamin was able to hear something large ahead of them; he, Sileth, and Jalad stealthily moved up to see what was next.

the_cave_by_blackfoxst-d5f503d.jpgThey were able to see two trolls in a large hall, and Calissa could sense they were under a druidry spell making them loyal to Morden. Sileth, however, was able to perform a counterspell, breaking the control over them, and Bieito then dominated one of the trolls. He then had it attack the other troll, which lead to a massive brawl between the two; eventually the troll Bieito had taken control over won, ripping the arms off the other, although the battle had caused significant damage to the columns supporting the ceiling in the hall and there was groaning and cracking of stone in the hall. The party was felt a rumbling in the floor similar to what they had experienced when fighting the Cult of Kurat, and it seemed to be coming from further ahead. Using a dagger provided by Sileth, Benjamin stripped fat from the dead troll and cracked open its skull for more head cheese before Bieito had the troll lead the way into the next chamber.

demons_released.jpgTheir new troll, however, did not last long. As soon as it entered the chamber it was picked up by an invisible force and dropped into a giant pit that occupied most of the room; across the pit from the party black smoke was pouring out of the floor, and they could make out four people chained to the back wall, along with Morden near where the smoke was coming from. The party split up: Jalad, Benjamin, and Bieito took cover behind pillars supporting the ceiling, Calissa, Emmerick, and the Grim Sea men moved around the edge of the room, and Sileth cast an invisibility spell to be able to get close to Morden and the captives.

ruby_by_vivianmckenzie-d3cb6z3.jpgAs he approached he saw the black smoke enter all three individuals; the two women had completely black eyes, while the man’s eyes were completely red. The man inhaled deeply, caught Sileth’s scent, and grabbed him by the throat, effortlessly snapping his chains in the process. He picked up Sileth, holding him in the air by his throat, and Sileth took the opportunity to stab him in the armpit with his sidesword. The man howled in pain and threw Sileth across the chamber back to the entrance, where he hit the wall and lost his grip on his sword.

supernatural__purification__by_bombattack-d3dl6sl.jpgCalissa cast a holy light spell as they approached Morden and the prisoners, and when she saw their eyes she recognized it as demonic possession, something she had been trained on but never encountered. While she approached the possessed, Emmerick and the Grim Sea men attacked Morden. Calissa cast a renunciation spell, which exorcised the demons possessing the two women, the demons pouring out of the hosts’ mouths as black smoke and fleeing the chamber The others focused on attacking Morden. Benjamin, Bieito, and Jalad fired on Morden as Emmerick and the Grim Sea men struck multiple blows, and while Morden was injured he was still up. Unexpectedly, the melee attacks by Emmerick and the Grim Sea men triggered retaliatory hits on each of them from a magic field surrounding Morden. He cast a frost spell around himself, which nearly killed the Grim Sea men and Emmerick. Sileth used telekinesis to throw his side sword at Morden at the same time Jalad fired at him; the arrow and the sword struck Morden at the same time, with the former going through his forehead and the latter through his throat, killing him instantly.

demon_eyes_by_annapostal666-d6h2yda.jpgMeanwhile, Calissa engaged with the red-eyed demon; her holy light was dealing it damage, but it grabbed her by the throat and picked her up. She attempted to stab it with her silver dagger, but it grabbed her wrist before she could bring it down. Emmerick capably assisted her, cutting the possessed man, and the demon had been hurt enough that it tried to flee but was burned away by Calissa’s light. Unfortunately, the possessed man was so badly injured from the fight and the ravages of possession that he bled out after the demon fled. While the others were focused on the demon Sileth surreptitiously pulled a ring off Morden’s finger using telekinesis, his invisibility cloaking it from the others.

R209.jpgBenjamin rushed to the Morden’s body to search for the ring; he was able to tell he had been wearing a ring, but it was no longer on his finger. Enraged, he took out his frustration on Morden’s face with his axe. He then cut off the finger the ring had been on, hoping it was concealed by magic, but to no avail. He questioned the two women, who confirmed Morden had been wearing a ring, and then began accusing the rest of the party of stealing it before he searched the rest of the chamber for any jewelry he could find. Calissa attempted to find it using arcane sight, but failed, and all Benjamin was able to find was a couple plain silver bands and a gold necklace. Sileth, still invisible, approached him and asked him to meet him outside up the stairs that exited the chamber.

566f9dabcec10bd5eaeab1a826bc2381-d7cqwl1.jpgWhen they searched Morden’s body they found gold and silver coins, a long axe, and the smite tome that had been stolen from Calissa’s temple. She was able to deduce Morden had cast a smite armor spell that surrounded him, which automatically hit back on melee attacks. They also explored the rest of the ruins, finding more silver coins and alchemy ingredients. Meanwhile, at the top of the ruins Sileth ended his invisibility spell and showed Benjamin the ring. He had hidden it to keep Bieito from having the opportunity to claim it; he was extremely reluctant for the necromancer to possess such a powerful object, warning that it had a corrupting influence and that if Bieito got a hold of it he could become another Morden. He cautioned that they should maintain the illusion of the ring still being missing while working out a plan for defeating Lady Kurral and possibly destroying the ring, to which Benjamin agreed. They descended the stairs to rejoin the others, where they chopped off Morden’s head and stuffed it in his old now-empty bag to ensure he was unable to easily return from the dead. Emmerick noticed a necklace with a stone around the stump of Morden’s neck, and when he touched it he triggered a message:

“The bard is dead and his beloved Kandari empire will fall. They took my daughter, and even should I fall the instruments of their destruction are on the move. Ziovana shall finish what is started."

Body Count: 2 wendigos, 4 ghosts, 2 trolls, 1 demon, 1 demon-possessed person, and that bastard Morden
Baller Moment of the Week: Sileth telekinetically throwing his sidesword through Morden’s neck. Honorable mentions to Emmerick for the snowman, Benjamin for wendigo head cheese, and Calissa for exorcising two demons.
Fuckup of the Week: Sileth being grabbed and thrown by a demon-possessed person while invisible.

Running Body Count: 114 humans, 56 creatures, 76 undead, 1 demon

Trolls, Literal & Figurative
-or- Exit Akora Stage Left

5 Aslala – 8 Aslala of the year 73

7e46cc1bec7ee64384c203ba145a6167.jpgAs the party waited for Jalad Far-Travel to gather her things for the journey, Emmerick observed a boy about 10 years old stealing a gold coin from Akora‘s coin purse; he grabbed the boy’s wrist, forcing him to drop the coin into Emmerick’s open palm. Akora, surprised by what was transpiring, nonetheless gave the boy a silver for his audacity. Emmerick openly pocketed the Akora’s gold, though he returned it later. Akora also spoke with Kolskegg; he was able to provide two men in decent shape, who Akora equipped with full chain armor and broadswords taken from fallen foes.

04-Side-B.jpgOn the way out of Skara the party stopped at the Frozen Dryad alchemy shop. Bieito purchased 25 bodkin arrows that had been infused with properties that improved Bieito’s ability to target them, as well as doing partial fire damage. The runes were scribed into the bodkin points, so in the event the shafts broke the points could be reused. Emmerick and Calissa both inquired about materials, but declined to make any major purchases, to the irritation of the owner. Emmerick did, however, buy an alchemy kit, catalysts, acids, and alkalines for alchemal reactions, as well as a large moonstone and leather cord, which he fashioned into a crude necklace; the raw moonstone would provide a small boost to his ability to recover, a bonus that would be greater once it was refined and focused with alchemy. They then left Skara, making it about three hours before stopping for the night. With a large party of 8, they doubled up on watches for the night. The comet loomed over, its green tail combining with the red and blue of auroras for a spectacular night view.


winter_by_insolense-d7hig80.pngThey continued on the next day; a snowstorm hit midday, and Bieito got a chance to try out his new arrows when they encountered a herd of bison crossing through ruins early in the afternoon. He fired at the closest member of the herd, and the arrow found its mark, boring a hole through the bison’s body, cauterizing the wound as it went, and killing the bison instantly. The party skinned the bison, cutting off much of the meat and taking the hooves, before continuing on. Emmerick reset his internal counter of ‘days without Kandari propaganda’ after Akora questioned why anyone would want to live in such weather conditions.

2-Black-Bear-Scat.jpgLate in the afternoon Benjamin and Emmerick located a small cave to shelter in; the only sign of activity was old, crusty bear scat that Emmerick found. They built a large fire near the entrance, smoking the bison meat. Akora had not been feeling well since leaving Skara, trying to shake it off, but he was gradually going downhill; by that night his veins were burning slightly.

tumblr_nuhsa48muz1uvamkso1_500.jpgA little while after setting out in the morning Akora asked Calissa if she had ever seen anything like what was on his neck. He craned his neck and pulled away his cloak to reveal a thick, black vein. Horrified, she pulled away, and the rest of the party quickly gathered to see what was happening. She was able to tell it was some form of necromancy curse causing him to waste away, and Bieito had a fleeting flashback to part of his memory gap, revealing to the others that he had seen something similar before. Calissa felt it was most likely immune to thaumaturgy magic, so curing him was out of the question, and killing the caster who placed the curse was possibly the only way to save Akora. Bieito believed the curse had been placed on Akora by Morden, most likely when they had first met with Jarl Orrin in Skara. Benjamin was able to help Akora feel slightly better, but not significantly so, and it only staved off him sensing the depth of his continuing degradation.

Darknessinfection.jpgThat evening they found the village of Horga, home to around 100 people, and the only tavern was called the Don’t Go Inn, a name that made Emmerick recall the tavern in Sibero months earlier. By the time they arrived the black veins had worked their way up to Akora’s head and were spreading to his face. They heard rumors of a man having come through the area a day and a half earlier with several creatures following him; they assumed this was Morden. Emmerick also heard of a wizard named Sileth in the village and the party decided to seek him out in the morning.

8x02Monster1.pngBy morning Akora was in extremely dire straits. The wasting curse had drained him of most of his health and the visible symptoms had completely covered his skin to the point that he looked like reheated living dead. Akora stayed at the inn while the others sought out Sileth. While they were away a disembodied voice came to him: “You Kandari will pay, and you will fail. You will not survive this.” Before passing out for a while he responded with “Raaa…..ciiiiiiiiiiiiist.”

cemetery_by_blue_blood_karina.jpgOn the way to find Sileth the party stopped by the village’s cemetery, where Bieito didn’t experience nerectile dysfunction and replenished his will. They were able to find Sileth prety easily, where they explained the situation. He came to visit Akora at the tavern; as a Derosi, he was less than pleased to see a Kandari, something his direct and tactless demeanor clearly conveyed. He explained that the best way to break the curse would be to kill Morden; performing a counterspell to break it was beyond his abilities, but he would be able to place Akora in a time stop bubble to prevent the curse from klling him. Even after it was broken, however, it would take Akora several weeks to fully recover. Due to the difficulty of the spell it would take quite some time to prepare and cast, and he would charge a gold for the service. He told them they would need to find a location where Akora would be undisturbed, and gave them directions to a couple local tombs.

They located the closer one easily, but while searching it found a note inside an open chest. Emmerick, unable to read it, handed it to Bieito, who read it for him:

“You’re late, Akora.” – Residents of the Dark

The note appeared to be several weeks old, so was likely not left by Morden on his way through the area. However, they each heard the same disembodied voice Akora had heard, speaking to them individually.

“So are you going to miss Akora?” it said to Emmerick, who went outside to check the area, and the voice laughed. “I’m not that close.” It then taunted him that Akora was going to die.

To Calissa it said “So they recruited another thaumaturgist, I see. Their last was an abject failure at life.” She relayed it to the others, and Emmerick agreed that Deuspugno had been a bit of a fuckup.

Bieito, however, turned out to be incredibly susceptible to the taunting. “You owe them nothing. Leave these fools and join us against the Kandari.” And then “You have much power and potential. Turn on them.” Then “They’re using you.” And “How many did you kill in your war? A dozen? Two? A hundred? You loved it.” And finally “How many since? Even trying to do good you kill so many.” Bieito’s reaction was extreme, and he began screaming in anguish, denying he’d enjoyed using necromancy, desperately trying to make the voice stop, which made it start laughing. Bieito proclaimed he would stand by the others, and the voice responded that he had made his choice before leaving him by stating “You will turn, though. If not now, in time.”

They returned to Sileth and informed him that they believed the tomb wouldn’t be safe, between the voice and the tomb having been previously visited, but Sileth told them that the time stop would completely immobilize Akora and make it impossible for anyone to move or disturb him. The party agreed to use the tomb they had visited and carried Akora to it; once he was in position Bieito took the opportunity to draw a dick on Akora’s face using ash from a discarded torch he had found.

Sileth positioned four lit candles and four apples around Akora, with the candles inside the time stop field and apples situated on the edge so half was inside and half was out. After the spell was completed the candles stopped flickering, with two of the flames off-center. The party decided to continue on without Akora when Sileth volunteered to join them; he felt they could use someone with his very particular set of skills in their coming battle with Morden. They welcomed the new addition, although he and Bieito had some disagreements over the nature of utilizing necromancy for good.

19-amazing-frozen-lakes_3.jpgThey reunited with Jalad and the two Grim Sea men, setting out after Morden again. In the late afternoon they were crossing a frozen lake; the ice was more than thick enough to support the weight of them and their horses, so they began across. When they got close to the other end of the lake, however, they spotted a large creature watching them from the shore.

9b615260b57e04c43f21a9b136549aa4-d7mc0ff.jpgIt was a huge troll. Well out of range of Bieito’s bow, the party dismounted, with Emmerick stowing Biggles in a saddlebag before driving a dagger into the ice and tying the horses to it. He then began moving in the direction of the troll, banging his sword on his shield to draw its attention. It worked, with the troll throwing a large boulder at Emmerick; it landed well short, but cracked the ice where it landed and skipped across the frozen surface towards him, which he easily avoided. Emmerick kept taunting it, and it finally charged the party.

dow_pond_octopus_20_ft.jpgAs the troll charged them Sileth released a spell turning himself invisible, surprising Calissa, Benjamin, and his dogs. Meanwhile, Bieito and Jalad prepared their shots, and Emmerick ordered the two Grim Sea men to advance with him. The troll, carrying another boulder and a club, pounded across the ice, with the sound of it cracking under the stress, and when it was in range Bieito and Jalad loosed their shots. Both found their mark, with Bieito firing one of his rune scribed arrows. It passed through the body, burning a hole as it went, and the troll roared as it flung the boulder at the party. While it missed everyone, it crashed through the ice and dangerous cracks began to form.

Sileth flanked the troll as it moved within range of Emmerick; Bieito and Jalad fired again, with Bieito’s arrow deflecting off the side of the troll’s knee, while Jalad’s hit the troll in the shoulder. Emmerick drew the troll’s attention as the Grim Sea men attacked as well, and all their hits landed, while Sileth snuck in behind and hit it with his mace, stunning it. The troll lashed out with its claws, hitting both Emmerick and one of the Grim Sea men, injuring both. Calissa and Benjamin moved the horses away from the hole and growing cracks, heading towards shore, while the others continued the fight. All of them hit again, with Bieito’s arrow burning through the troll’s knee and Sileth stunning it again, and when the troll swung at Sileth and Emmerick it missed both.

The ice underneath the fight was groaning and cracking loudly, so all of the combatants retreated away, with Emmerick drawing the troll’s attention again. Sileth, still invisible, teleported away from the fight to near Calissa and Benjamin, startling them when he greeted them. Back at the fight, the wound to the knee weakened it enough for it to fall on Emmerick, sinking its teeth into his shoulder. Emmerick was able to pull free, and with the continued assault by the party they were able to bring it down. Emmerick dealt the killing blow, his greatsword bifurcating it from shoulder to groin. Exhausted, they dragged half the troll to shore where Benjamin, Calissa, and Sileth were waiting. Remarkably only Emmerick and one of the Grim Sea men had sustained injuries, and Calissa was able to partially heal Emmerick, while Benjamin and Bieito set about recovering troll fat from the corpse for use in alchemy.

Body Count: 1 bison, 1 troll
Baller Moment of the Week: Sileth’s teleporting close to Calissa, while invisible, surprising her and Benjamin.
Fuckup of the Week: Bieito’s descent into madness. (points for the roleplaying, however)

Running Body Count: 112 humans, 52 creatures, 72 undead

Building Alliances
-or- Just this once, everybody lives!

4 Aslala – 5 Aslala of the year 73

Having been showered with bone shards, dozens of undead strewn in the streets, and Akora and Emmerick injured, the party conferred with the guards who thanked them for their assistance. Forgoing returning to the Spectrum Creature, they opted instead to find an abandoned building near the Temple of Ugris so they could keep watch on it. Benjamin located a two story building that suited their needs; there were several homeless individuals inside, and they started a fire in a fireplace on the second story.

how-to-start-a-fire-in-the-fireplace.jpgAkora took the opportunity to converse with the homeless men; they all reeked of alcohol and were in poor shape, although they had clearly been warriors in the past. He learned they had been dishonored after being captured instead of dying in battle, and when the light from the fire caught their dirty, worn tabards just right he noticed they bore the Grim Sea clan sigil. The nominal leader was an old, grizzled warrior named Kolskegg; he told Akora that his clan was the oldest and at one time had been the most powerful in Skara, but Torsten’s raids had nearly wiped them out. Once several hundred strong, the clan was a shadow of its former self, with only a few dozen still respected and their strength a fraction of what it once was. The few that had encountered Torsten’s fleet and survived were dishonored and had been cast out for not dying in battle; they were scattered throughout the area, with some having ended up in Ringsted on the Isle of Merkigil. Sympathizing with their plight, Akora gave Kolskegg two gold, a long axe, and a number of half helms with the promise that the party would join the Grim Sea clan in seeking vengeance against Torsten. He requested Kolskegg gather the dishonored members of the clan and that they take up residence at the Spectrum Creature Inn.

0b2be185a80b3db8e8a255a65ba014da.pngThe night was quiet and they did not observe any activity at the temple, but in the morning both Akora and Emmerick were feeling worse; the wounds they had sustained from the undead were getting worse, and they were not healing. Akora attempted to will himself to health; he strained himself, however, and ended up sharting himself. The others didn’t hear it, but the stench gave him away. Drawing on his herbalism knowledge, Benjamin sought out an apothecary that carried the ingredients he needed to be able to concoct a healing potion to cure Akora and Emmerick’s infections. Calissa took the opportunity to craft additional spells to both cure infections and to heal, although she did not need to cast them. The party took the opportunity to rest, with Akora and Emmerick drinking potions Benjamin had brewed that sped up the healing process. Benjamin and Bieito discussed what kinds of sexually transmitted diseases elves would have, with Benjamin insisting there was something called “crystal dick”, which caused quartz crystals to grow on their penis.

To blend into the Hoscan community, Akora cut his hair into a crude mohawk and had let his stubble grow to better hide his features; assuming he didn’t speak, he would be passable as a Hoscan. Bieito, meanwhile, set out to the building the skull had been heading towards the previous night; he was able to sense residual necromantic and wizardry magic in the vicinity. He then walked around the Temple of Ugris, picking up on a wizardry magic presence, before heading to Jarl Orrin’s tower, where he sensed magic energies similar to what he had felt near the first building. He also took the opportunity to stop by a local fletcher and replenish his stock of bodkin arrows, which he was running low on.

you_may_approach_the_jarl_by_lupusmagus-d4kk8sj.jpgBieito returned to the others and informed them of what he had picked up on; the agreed to visit the tower again and seek audience with the jarl. Upon arriving at the tower everyone but Akora attempted to talk the guard into admitting them; they were having little luck until Akora wandered over, handing him a couple silver, while Bieito observed Akora was a strange reverse beggar. After a couple more bribes the guard allowed the party to enter, although they had to leave their weapons in the antechamber before entering the main hall to meet with Orrin, although Bieito followed him back in.

Orrin was seated at a table at the end of the hall with his advisors, discussing the issue of succession of King Gudrik. A cloaked figure with his hood up stood along the wall behind Orrin; none of the party recognized him, but Bieito sensed the same necromantic and wizardry energy he had felt from where the skull had been moving towards. Unsure of the proper etiquette for greeting the jarl, Bieito suggested peeing on a dog, to which Emmerick responded by dragging him out to the antechamber.

They greeted the jarl and filled him in on their purpose for interrupting; they were seeking a stolen ring that had belonged to Benjamin’s mother and had learned that Orrin purchased. Orrin confirmed as much, informing them he had gifted it to the prophet Arnvid of the Cult of Ugris. He was reluctant to have it returned, but understood their desire to retrieve it. They thanked him and departed, heading to the temple to visit Arnvid.

a_StupidDog.jpgOn the way to the temple Benjamin found a pack of dogs and managed to tame a couple, who then began following him and Cane. The party arrived at the temple about a half hour before sunset, and were allowed to meet with Arnvid, although their weapons had to stay outside his chambers. Benjamin instructed his new pack to wait outside and to not eat anything, particularly the tapestries; the dogs cocked their heads and whined, then began licking themselves. When they entered Arnvid’s quarters they found a man in his early 60s, spry for his age, and floating about six inches above the ground as he meditated.

sorcerer_by_gryphart.jpgAkora apologized for the interruption, and recounted why they sought him out. Arnvid confirmed that he had been given the ring, although it had disappeared a week and a half earlier. Benjamin began lashing out in frustration, kicking and hitting things, but was petrified by Bieito’s threat to force him to stop. Arnvid spoke of a cloaked figure; Emmerick thought it might be Morden, but Arnvid did not recognize the name, although his physical description matched. Bieito, having gotten a look at the cloaked figure advising the jarl, told them he believed that it was Morden. The party recounted their previous encounters with Morden: when he had broken into the crypt and frozen Akora, how he had led them on a long chase before escaping, and his theft of a book from Calissa’s temple in Aramore. Calissa also spoke about the dream/vision she had had, feeling Morden may have been one of the figures in it. Troubled to hear this and what he could potentially do with the ring, Arnvid offered to assist the party however possible. He believed that Orrin was working with Morden in his play for succeeding Gudrik, something Akora believed he could counter by offering an alliance with Recco. Based on legends, Arnvid believed Morden had remained in Skara seeking information about another powerful artifact, although what and where it was were sketchy at best. After a short discussion, during which they could hear Benjamin’s pack snoring outside, they decided the best course of action was to immediately present the evidence against Morden to Orrin. Although concerned about their ability to fight, as they were still drained from the fight with the undead the previous night, they didn’t want to give Morden an opportunity to escape.

Still floating on a cushion of air, Arnvid accompanied the party to the jarl’s tower; rarely appearing in public, his appearance and floating drawing a small crowd. The same guard was on duty, and Akora greeted him with an enthusiastic handshake; the guard laughed and reminded him that he had five children to take care of. Akora gave him five more silver coins, and the party was allowed to enter the tower again. Akora managed to persuade the guards to the main hall to allow them to enter carrying weapons by informing them of the accusations they were going to level against Morden.

Akora apologized for interrupting the jarl again and detailed what they knew about Morden and their belief that he had stolen the ring from Arnvid. He also offered an alliance with Recco in exchange for the ring. Troubled by this development, Orrin questioned Morden, who took off his cloak; he was not wearing the ring and when questioned about it did not deny having taken it, informing them that it was now far away from Skara. Orrin ordered his guards to seize Morden, but before they could he teleported himself out of the tower. Frustrated that he had again escaped, they were given a lead by Orrin. Morden had narrowed down the location of the item he was seeking to a place four days to the northeast; Orrin was unsure what the place was, and had been planning to provide Morden assistance in retrieving the item in exchange for helping him take the throne. He believed that Temba Open-Arms at the Spectrum Creature would be able to put the party in touch with someone who knew that area well enough to act as a guide. They thanked him for the help, and Akora kept the offer of an alliance with Recco intact. Seeing through his disguise, Orrin did mention the issues with Kandari oppression, something Akora said he regretted although he was only half-Kandari.

On the way back to the Spectrum Creature Benjamin purchased a small cart for his pack to ride in and for the party to use to carry extra equipment, and Emmerick split the cost with him. Upon returning to the inn they consulted with Temba; she pointed them to a booth in the corner, telling them that Jalad Far-Travel was the best ranger she knew and would be their best bet. She also thanked them for sending Kolskegg and the other dishonored men, appreciating the business, although she wished they had made them take a bath first.

silver_eyed_irena___portrait__remake__by_gothawolf-d6dv1j4.pngThe party greeted Jalad, informing her of where they were trying to go. She questioned whether it would be dangerous; Akora confirmed it would be very dangerous, concerned she wouldn’t take the job. She responded that she wasn’t afraid of the danger, it was a question of how much she would charge for her services. Akora requested they negotiate a price on the road, producing four gold to show they would be able to pay, and she accepted the job, informing them she would need an hour to get her horse and gear ready.

Body Count: None! One session with no workplace deaths!
Baller Moment of the Week: Benjamin & Bieito’s speculation about elven STDs.
Fuckup of the Week: Akora sharting himself.

Running Body Count: 112 humans, 50 creatures, 72 undead

Welcome to Skara
-or- Krampus coming, yo!

4 Kabenla of the year 72 – 4 Aslala of the year 73

87e2e7af3ecba450f84873759182883d.jpgContinuing on after their encounter with the raiders, the party reached the small village of Joulu late in the afternoon. Emmerick adopted a stray cat that crossed his path and named it Biggles. The party visited the only tavern in town, the Groin & Spoon, and rented rooms for the night. Emmerick and Akora struck up a conversation with the local blacksmith, who said he’d be able to make proper repairs to their armor the next day, although it would be late in the day.

The next day was uneventful, and while Akora traded a couple broadswords to the blacksmith for the armor repairs the rest of the party took it easy. That evening they heard screaming from outside the tavern; upon exiting they saw about a half dozen furry, horned creatures grabbing children from their parents. Emmerick rushed in to attack and was about to cut one down when Akora grabbed his sword hand and stopped him; the screams were for show and the creatures were people in costume. After a few minutes they returned inside, where the night was mostly quiet; the highlight was Bieito saying that nothing would get him off his favorite drink, and Calissa replying “Jizz?” Several hours later retired to their rooms for the night.

Akora was paying for his own room and intended to sleep alone; with Benjamin’s assistance Bieito was able to unlock his door and creep inside, planning to sleep inside in an instance of tomfoolery. However, Akora awoke, and Bieito gave up; when he exited the room he sensed a large presence behind him and found himself confronted with a creature nearly seven feet tall.

der_krampus_by_lord_phillock-d34d4s5.pngKrampus filled much of the hallway, and Bieito’s scream woke the others. Akora hid next to the door out of direct line of sight, while Emmerick leapt into the hallway to confront Krampus. All three were able to see it clearly; Benjamin was able to make out the form of Krampus, but it was indistinct, while Calissa was unable to see it. Thinking it was someone in a costume, Akora grabbed it by its horns to pull off the mask. He immediately regretted the decision as Krampus’ tongue lashed out, wrapping around his neck and searing his flesh. Once Krampus struck Akora Calissa was able to see it, and the party attacked.

Akora slashed Krampus with his dagger and stumbled back, while Emmerick’s sword cut deep. Both wounds quickly began healing, however. Calissa attempted to cast a divine light spell, but it misfired and failed. Benjamin fired into melee, with his shot going wide and lodging in the ceiling, while Bieito also loosed arrows at Krampus. Turning to Emmerick, the demon cast a spell, forcing him to confuse his allies and enemies; he attacked Calissa, wounding her deeply. She was able to staunch the bleeding, and wielding her silver dagger she stabbed Krampus, which had been ignoring her. Krampus roared in pain, the wound smoking, hissing, and boiling. Benjamin bolted from the fight, jumping out the window, and sought out the only guard on duty.

Well toasted, the guard was of little assistance and doubted Benjamin’s story of Krampus being real and attacking people. Switching tactics, Benjamin told him there was a robbery happening in the tavern; he narrowly avoided getting his boots pissed on by the guard when the guard stopped to take a leak. Getting the guard back on track, he ran to the village temple, ringing the bell to wake the village.

Krampus turned on Akora, casting a fear spell on him and causing him to tremble in fear; Emmerick turned on Akora and swung at him, but the strike went wide and hit Krampus, which enabled Emmerick to break through the confusion clouding his mind. As the party began to focus fire on Krampus he cast another spell; when the drunk guard wandered in a minute later, his dick still hanging out of his pants, the party members were staring at each other in confusion, having lost all memory of the last ten minutes. Emmerick knocked out the guard and dragged him into one of the rooms shortly before Benjamin returned; having been out of range of the memory wiping spell Krampus cast, he was able to fill them in on what had transpired. Emmerick got in an argument with the gathering crowd of villagers who doubted the story about Krampus being real before they dispersed; he and the others then set out for the village temple to consult with the local priest. Along the way Bieito attempted to draw necromantic energy from the local cemetery, but experienced nerectile dysfunction and was unable to replenish his will.

The priest, although skeptical of their account about encountering Krampus, filled them in on the local lore. Krampus would appear once a year on the winter solstice to kidnap and punish the wicked; he would show himself to varying degrees to those on his list, which helped explain why Calissa was unable to see him. The priest was able to partially heal both Calissa and Akora, and they thanked him for his assistance before returning to the tavern for the rest of the night.

They set out in the morning, the first day of the new year, and next few days were uneventful before they reached Skara late in the afternoon of the fourth day. The party visited the Spectrum Creature Inn, run by Temba Open-Arms, who was able to tell them a little about Jarl Orrin; he was in his early 40s and a dark horse candidate to replace King Gudrik, who was in failing health. She was able to direct them to Orrin’s tower and informed them that Osvif, Orrin’s steward, would be who they would most likely encounter when trying to meet Orrin; they thanked her and set out to seek audience with the jarl.

alnwick_abbey_by_newcastlemale-d5tqi04.jpgHowever, upon arriving at the jarl’s tower they encountered problems with gaining entrance. The guards were under strict orders not to admit any Kandari, ruling out Akora, and after much negotiation the others were allowed in to meet Osvif on the condition that their weapons had to be left outside. Bieito, Emmerick, and Calissa entered, while Benjamin and Cane waited outside with Akora. Osvif confirmed that he had purchased the ring for Jarl Orrin, who had gifted it to the head of the Cult of Ugris, Arnvid. Arnvid was considered a prophet and the vessel of Ugris, the Goddess of Wind, and to the best of Osvif’s knowledge still possessed the ring. The party thanked him for his assistance and left, but not before Bieito picked up on the presence of necromantic energy.

45326c099a28459677e4fb83b4ffb73c.jpgIt was early evening by the time they reached the Temple of Ugris; the priest who answered the door told them that Arnvid was not to be disturbed after sundown, and that only Hoscans were permitted entry to the temple. Drawing on the Hoscan tongue he had grown up with in Arvim, Bieito persuaded the priest that he wished to view the temple’s architecture and tapestries. He discussed one in particular with the priest that depicted the defeat and imprisonment of Kurat and relayed the party’s experiences with fighting the Cult of Kurat. They also discussed the ring, which the priest told Bieito focused and amplified magic, and was itself not inherently evil or associated with necromancy. Bieito thanked him for his time and rejoined the party, which decided to stake out the temple from a nearby alleyway.

Several guard patrols took note of them until one finally stopped to question their lingering. The captain was particularly rude to Akora, who attempted to provoke a fight; he insulted the Hoscan religion several times, telling them to stop worshipping dogs and convert to the Silver God, and that they could worship Cane if they refused to convert. While the captain and his patrol were all about to fight Akora for his blasphemy, he backed down after realizing none of his compatriots were willing to join him in the fight. He and everyone except Benjamin moved on, heading back towards the Spectrum Creature, while Benjamin followed from the shadows to watch for anyone attempting to ambush the party.

He observed the guards talking with a figure in a dark cloak and motioning towards the party; the figure began following the party, and after a couple blocks Benjamin called out to them to warn them of their tail. The figure disappeared, and they made it back to the Spectrum Creature without further incident. They obtained food and drink from Temba before retiring to their room, where they set watches.

you_look_tasty_tonight_by_denkata5698-d5tjymt.jpgDuring the first watch Bieito observed shambling figures moving into view on the street below; he at first saw about a half dozen, but Benjamin’s better eyes picked out at least twice as many figures. They began pounding on doors of the buildings on the intersection and the party could hear their groaning and snarling as they began breaking into the buildings. The party quickly exited the inn, finding themselves confronted with a large horde of zombies.

feast_or_famine_mtg_by_chase_sc2-d5ebh39.jpgSeveral of the undead had already broken down the door to the brothel across the street, while others were making progress on breaking into the two other buildings on the intersection. Calissa cast a holy light spell, which began burning the undead, until a darkness spell fell upon the area and negated its effect. Emmerick rushed the undead that had gotten into the brothel; two had taken down one of the customers, while several others were making their way inside. Bieito made his way to the roof and Calissa rushed to help Emmerick, while Akora and Benjamin, having spotted a lich holding an arcane skull at the other end of the horde, split off to sneak through alleyways to attack it. Benjamin ordered Cane to assist Emmerick and Calissa, and he ran off to attack zombies.

DSC_0013.jpgAs they drew closer Akora and Benjamin were able to hear the skull blasting an incantation; Akora engaged with several ghouls that were guarding the lich and dispatched them, while Benjamin screamed at the lich that he was “a dozen shit demons combined to make one giant shit demon.” Meanwhile, Emmerick was able to dispatch several of the zombies, but was wounded by a ghoul; both he and Calissa were swarmed by the undead, although Calissa was able to break free and retreat towards the inn. Bieito took a clout shot at one of the zombies pursuing Calissa, with his arrow coming down through its temple and driving it into the ground. Emmerick was wounded again by the undead but also managed to make it back to the inn. He took up position with his back to the wall, while Calissa positioned herself in the doorway and cast a spell on herself that repelled the undead. Unable to hit her, they snarled and clawed at her, before attacking Emmerick.

lichking_by_dmon008-da1rhdr.jpgCity guard patrols arrived, slaying a number of the zombies, helping turn the tide of the fight for the party. Akora managed to engage the lich before being swarmed by several other ghouls; Benjamin loosed arrows at the lich, but it was unaffected by his attacks, with the arrows bouncing off its armor. Cane, having ripped a leg off a zombie, proudly brought it to Benjamin and dropped it at his feet and sitting for praise; Benjamin thanked him and told him to go get more, and Cane ran off to comply. Back at the inn, Bieito cast a frost spell, partially freezing several of the zombies that were attacking Emmerick and Calissa, before he struck the lich with an extremely well-placed shot. Akora and Benjamin dispatched the ghouls attacking Akora, and while Emmerick muscled his way through the remnants of the horde to rush the lich Akora knocked the skull from the lich’s hands, cracking it in the process; once the skull was no longer in the lich’s control the remaining undead fell.

avengers-15-arrow.jpgThe skull tumbled through the air straight towards Emmerick, but before he could catch it the skull froze in the air and began moving towards the top of a nearby building, cackling as it flew. With a perfect shot Bieito hit the skull in the occipital bone, shattering it and the skull exploded, with bone shards raining down on the area.

Body Count: 1 lich, 5 ghouls, 17 zombies
Baller Moment of the Week: Benjamin screaming obscenities at the lich, and Cane bringing him a zombie leg. (Honorable mention to Calissa for her takedown of Bieito about jizz)
Fuckup of the Week: Bieito’s nerectile dysfunction.

Running Body Count: 112 humans, 50 creatures, 72 undead

Raiders on the Road
-or- Akora's Storytime

27 Satna – 4 Kabenla of the year 72

The.Ghost.and.the.Darkness.02.jpgUpon returning to camp after killing the wendigo, the party found their foodstuffs missing and had to deal with three unconscious Hoscans. Emmerick and Bieito searched for their rations and tried to find something to hunt, but failed, while Akora sought out chopped additional firewood and Calissa managed to bring the Hoscans back to consciousness. The only things resembling food that Emmerick was able to find in the wendigo’s cave were human bones, which he tossed in a sack and brought back to Akora. Akora was excited to see what Emmerick had found, then confused when he opened the sack, and ended up tossing a femur to Cane. Lacking supplies and being only a day from Brekkur while three days from Stavanger and six from Skara, the party planned to return to Brekkur in the morning.

crystal_dagger_by_bradlyvancamp-d4gd3h1.jpgDuring the night Calissa found herself back in the chamber where they had fought Rannveig and the cult of Kurat; it was murky and indistinct, but she could see two cloaked figures. It was difficult to make out what they were saying; in a few seconds of clarity she could make out the first one asking about releasing Kurat, and the other replied that Kurat would need to wait for the others. The second picked up the dagger Rannveig had used to kill the child, while the first said the book had been burned. It became hazy again, and the only other words she was able to make out were Skara, Ringsted, and Turev, all seeming to be referring to locations. Calissa then woke with a start, unsure whether it was a dream, vision, premonition, or something else.

The party chatted with the Hoscans they had rescued on their way back to Brekkur; they were extremely thankful for being saved, but had little to offer but gratitude, and although they were hunters and trappers they were in no shape to assist in a hunt. They were able to tell the party that there was word of raiders on the road to Skara, something that excited Akora and Emmerick.

Reaching Brekkur late in the afternoon, they returned to the Dessicated Draugr tavern. Emmerick purchased rations for the entire party, which planned to stay the night in the tavern. Medieval_MAIN.jpgThe night was uneventful with the exception of the party being given crap about having returned to Brekkur after vowing to never visit again. The following morning Akora paid a visit to the woman Stuf had been taking advantage of; he tried to get her to understand that she needed to take care of herself and be more cautious, and while she listened, it was unclear whether she would take his advice. He also gave her a gold coin to help her with her troubles.

The party reached their old campsite with no issues, but by the time night fell it was clear that a snowstorm was coming. The party returned to the wendigo’s cave and cleared it out as best as possible, creating a large fire to keep warm and staying near the entrance, but the stench lingered. As the blizzard began Akora and Emmerick made one final search of the area outside the cave, where Emmerick lucked upon a stash of chopped firewood.

The snow stopped around midday the following day, having blanketed the area with nearly a foot and a half of snow. The party set out again, making it halfway back to the main road before they had to stop for the night. The night was quiet again, with the main entertainment being Emmerick drawing a smiley face in the snow on Akora’s shield.

They reached the main road late in the morning and set off north towards Skara. A couple hours later Akora noticed a dead horse and a body sticking out of the snow on the side of the road; both were frozen solid and rigor mortis had set in. CnpqBouWcAEYv4m.jpgThe horse had four arrows and a spear piercing it, while the man was on his back. His ribcage had been split open and his lungs pulled out and spread flat; Emmerick identified it as a ritual known as the ‘blood eagle’ that the Hoscans would perform, usually on worthy adversaries. The man’s throat had been slashed deep enough to nearly decapitate him, and the blood eagle ritual was done post mortem. Akora removed the sigil from the man’s tabard before Emmerick buried the body as best he could, then Emmerick cut several large steaks off the horse before the party continued north.

A couple hours later Emmerick saw a deer crossing the road; despite the distance, Bieito landed a lucky shot that pierced its neck. The deer stumbled off about 20 meters before falling, and Bieito slit its throat before skinning and butchering it. The party did take note of an old trail through the snow; it appeared to be at least a day old and was single file, so the party couldn’t tell how many people had passed that way.

ruins_in_the_snow_by_jannitraumtaenzerin-d6wt5r4.jpgLate in the afternoon Akora spotted a ruined tower a couple miles ahead; there was flickering light in the windows, making it appear occupied. The party approached cautiously, stopping about a mile south of the tower, and set up camp. Emmerick built a larger decoy fire several hundred meters from the party’s actual campsite next to a natural cut in the landscape, and they waited. A couple hours after dark they heard someone hailing the decoy fire, offering food and shelter. Akora thought the offer was legitimate and called the man over.

135-1-1.pngArngrim told him that his group was spending the night in the ruined tower, and that they were welcome to join his party for the night. The only requirement was that the Laughing Brawlers, as his group called themselves, demanded an entertaining story for admittance. Akora was ecstatic at the opportunity to showcase his skills and readily agreed. As the others gathered their gear Akora questioned Arngrim about the raiders on the road and the sigil he had taken from the body of the man they had found; Arngrim informed him that the sigil appeared to be that of the Grim Sea clan based in Skara, and that the raiders were a group associated with Torsten. Torsten had been a captain in King Gudrik‘s fleet before going rogue about five years earlier, and had turned into a thorn in Gudrik’s side. Torsten had at least 3-4 longships and 200 men, and Gudrik had placed a 50 gold bounty on Torsten’s head. The bounty had yet to be claimed.

When the party arrived at the tower Akora serenated the Laughing Brawlers with an epic in the form of song about the fall of Mannik; he concluded it with Deuspugno leaving the party because he would never be able to top that adventure, before launching into his Ballad of the Beeslayer. His performance left the audience weeping, with Arngrim giving a slow clap in appreciation. Both parties stood watch, though the night was quiet, and they all set out north the next morning. Akora told the Laughing Brawlers more tales of the party’s exploits, from the giant spiders to the explodey rats, and including killing Baba Yaga. Eventually the parties split ways, with the Laughing Brawlers taking a path northeast towards other adventures. Akora gave Arngrim one of Mannik’s rings before they parted as a token of goodwill.

desktop-1458758452.pngThe night was quiet and uneventful, with nothing out of the ordinary happening, and the party continued on in the morning. Around midmorning they spotted a group of seven in the road heading towards them; two were on horseback and armed with long axes, while the others were on foot, three with broadswords and two with war bows. They had the high ground and used it to their advantage, with Emmerick taking two arrows before the party pulled back out of bow range. The other group advanced, largely keeping together, while Bieito created two large ice wall barriers to block part of the road and slow down the raiders. Akora and Emmerick taunted the raiders, with Akora flinging insults, including how easily the Hoscans fell to the Kandari, and Emmerick shouting that they had a Kandari to beat up on.

mountain_clash_by_thomaswievegg-d6n6ad1.jpgThe fight was long and difficult; Emmerick fell after being hit by several more arrows while engaged in melee, while the raider’s leader fell unconscious after multiple hits from Calissa and Akora. Bieito enslaved one of the three Hoscans that were armed with broadswords, forcing her to attack the other mounted Hoscan before turning on the other raiders. Calissa brained the last of the raiders armed with a broadsword as Akora turned on the two archers, who had switched to sideswords and were attacking Bieito. Akora slew one of the archers before intimidating the other into surrendering, then knocked him unconscious with his shield after the archer indicated where their camp was. As Akora and Bieito bound and gagged the two unconscious raiders Calissa managed to revive Emmerick, who was near death, and they searched the bodies brought their captives to the campsite. They were able to recover three broadswords, two sideswords, two war bows, two long axes, five mail hauberks, two sets of full chain mail, seven half helms, three round shields, and 70 silver from the raiders, as well as two tents, more rations, cooking gear, a flute, and a war horn in the campsite. Akora hid the bodies of the raiders before collecting more firewood and drawing water from a nearby stream, then prepared to interrogate the captives.

Akora splashed water on the leader’s face to wake him, and the man immediately began spouting curses and insults. Uncooperative, the interrogation of the leader provided little useful information beyond a promise that Torsten would find and kill them. Bieito, attempting to use a spell to temporarily paralyze the captives, had it backfire and paralyzed himself for several minutes. Tired of the leader’s obstinate attitude, Akora stabbed him through the throat, then woke the archer that had surrendered. He was more compliant, though he was shocked at the death of Zinda Red-Eye, his now-deceased leader. The party learned that Torsten had at least four ships manned by a crew of around 200, and that the pirates had several bases with another 50 or so people. The main harbor they used was about 150-200 miles northwest, past Holbaek, but they also utilized an island off the Isle of Merkigil and a bay along the coast between Skara and Holbaek. Satisfied with what they had learned, Akora freed him, giving him a waterskin and tossing his confiscated dagger about 50 feet towards the south, advising him that there were smuggling openings in Recco. The party then relocated a couple miles further north, setting up camp well off the main road and planned to rest for the remainder of the day.

Body Count: 6 humans, 1 deer
Baller Moment of the Week: Bieito enslaving and turning one of the raiders against the others, turning the tide of the fight.
Fuckup of the Week: Bieito paralyzing himself. See a doctor if your erection lasts more than 4 hours.

Running Body Count: 112 humans, 50 creatures, 49 undead

Nights to Remember & Forget
-or- Akora's 90's band & 'Friends' episode

22 Satna – 26 Satna of the year 72

Deciding to return to Brekkur instead of resting, the party took Baba Yaga‘s head with them and led the eight surviving children back to the village; Emmerick also carried the body of the child Rannveig had sacrificed. It was before dawn when they arrived and roused the village; while most were happy to have the children returned, Akora singled out the local blacksmith, Robars, as being disgruntled. A miserable, hateful old drunkard, he didn’t want the children around, but his mood was marginally improved by Akora buying him a drink. Akora was wary of Baba Yaga being able to resurrect herself, but Bieito took the head outside. He was able to draw a substantial amount of energy off it to replenish his resolve, something he would not have been able to do were she still alive in some form and capable of resurrection, and he informed Akora that she was truly dead. After the villagers dispersed the party crashed out in the tavern to rest.

growling_guppy_tavern_by_anthonyavon-d6x8ajk.jpgThey woke around midday, rested but not fully recovered from the ordeal of the last few days. The tavern was relatively quiet, with only a few patrons, the owner Ottkatla, and the barmaid Gerrid present. The villagers had left the party a number of items as thanks for their efforts: there was 5 gold and 50 silver, a masterwork warhammer that Calissa took, 3 pairs of buckskin boots that would be advantageous when attempting to stealth, fur-lined coats, and a masterwork saddle. Ottkatla asked if they would be interested in taking care of her rat problem; the patrons, all trappers, scoffed, but she offered them free food, drinks, and lodging for the extermination. Bieito accepted and enlisted the aid of Benjamin and Emmerick, while Akora and Calissa declined. Bieito found two large rats rolling a wine barrel from the cellar towards a small tunnel; with a well-placed shot he killed both and sprung a leak in the barrel where the arrow lodged. Ottkatla helped him stop the barrel’s leaking and told him they would serve the rat blood-tainted wine to Akora later.

ragnar_by_sarmati-d73p49m.jpgCalissa observed an elderly woman eating and drinking with a much younger man; the age difference was enough for him to be her grandson. She moved closer to listen in, and from what she could pick up from the conversation it appeared he was seducing her. Ottkatla was clearly unhappy with his presence, and Calissa was irate when the man talked the woman he was with into paying for the food and drink. She talked to Ottkatla about it after they left; the man was a con artist named Stuf who would wander through every year or two. While in town he would seduce older women, preying on their loneliness and exploiting them for their money, as well as conducting seances with the dead. He would usually get away with 50-75 silver, a tidy sum; however, he was popular with the trappers who wintered in Brekkur, buying them drinks and telling stories, so she was reluctant to throw him out and lose their business. The party went to visit Stuf at the woman’s house; she told them to go away, but Akora’s mention of owing Stuf money from a supposed drinking contest the previous year brought him to the door. Akora drew him to the side and gave him a gold coin, telling him to leave town and that he would bury Stuf if he saw him again.

study__old_man_by_celyne-d6pjpaa.pngAssuming the rats were dealt with, Emmerick visited the blacksmith Robars to see about getting his armor repaired. Repeatedly cursing Emmerick and demanding he get him a drink, Robars offered to do so for about half the cost of the armor, a rate that was about double what they would pay at most blacksmith shops. When Emmerick balked at paying such an exorbitant rate Robars became even more irate, throwing him out of the shop while cursing at him. He told the others about his experience and Bieito offered to resolve matters for him. He used his abilities to dominate Robars and forced him to repair Akora and Emmerick’s armor for free, and while Robars tried to resist and continued cursing and demanding alcohol he had no choice but to comply. The repairs were rudimentary but passable, although the wolf ears of Emmerick’s helm were flattened. As a final command Bieito ordered Robars to cluck like a chicken, something he was forced to do until Bieito dropped the domination enchantment several hours later.

Giant_rats.jpgBack at the tavern, Ottkatla asked if they were going to deal with the rest of the rats. Emmerick went and bought a raw steak and soaked it with the rest of the spider venom he had; three rats died from it before the entire steak was consumed, so Benjamin thought it would be best to smoke out the rats. He dumped a bottle of brandy well up the tunnel, but neglecting to take into account the slight slope of the tunnel floor he barely managed to avoid getting scorched when the brandy that had flowed down towards him caught fire. He, Bieito, and Emmerick took up position at the entrance of the tunnel and after a couple minutes several rats scurried towards them. Emmerick swung hard and killed the first two, but was unprepared for the resulting explosion; as soon as his blade cut into the rats they exploded in a shower of rat guts and blood, injuring him. He and the others retreated back upstairs, and while Emmerick rinsed himself off in the horse trough outside Benjamin and Bieito heard several other explosions that sounded like wet flatulence.

Meanwhile, the barmaid Gerrid was chatting up Calissa and bringing her drinks, using her to avoid having to deal with the dwarf Naldrar and the Hoscan Borstig, two musicians that for months had been trying to get her to accept competing marriage proposals. Akora was playing with them after realizing they actually had a little talent; Borstig, with his gemshorn, had marginal talent at best, but Naldrar, with his dulcimer, was slightly better than Akora. They would spend hours playing a variety of ballads.

Benjamin, Bieito, and Emmerick returned to the cellar for round three with the rats. Bieito went first, slipped on the rat guts, and fell on his face in them. They continued on through the tunnels until Emmerick saw a rat approaching from a side tunnel; he waited until the last second then spitroasted the rat with his sword, the blade sliding completely through, and ducked back to avoid any potential explosion. The rat didn’t explode and he and the others decided the best course of action would be to flood the tunnels with smoke and asphyxiate the rats. They could hear sobbing from ahead and someone moaning about the death of their ‘babies’ but continued with their bonfire. They blocked off the entrance to the tunnel, leaving enough of a gap for air to get in, lit the fire, and waited. The screeching of rats and the coughing of a person continued for quite some time, but eventually ceased. They investigated the tunnels again, finding several more dead rats, as well as a small living area with the body of a young man and poetry he had written to the rats. They brought his body upstairs and outside, then brought Ottkatla outside; she identified the body as that of a man she had hired over the summer to eliminate the rats but who had disappeared.

Akora continued playing with Naldrar and Borstig, who largely played love ballads written for Gerrid; Gerrid, meanwhile, paid extra attention to Calissa, even inviting her to join her upstairs. Calissa politely declined and informed Akora that Gerrid didn’t welcome the advances of the two musicians. He had a long talk with them, and although neither seemed willing to give up, they took his advice under consideration. Emmerick, having washed off again, sat down next to Calissa; she commented on how he smelled like shit, a result of the combination of the smoke and the rat guts. Emmerick refused to acknowledge her observation.

Later that night Akora spotted Stuf in the crowd; he was chatting up a group of the trappers, buying them a round of drinks and openly bragging about how well he was doing. Akora slipped out, followed by the rest of the party, and while Akora and Emmerick went around to the front the others took up position near the back door. Akora kicked in the front door and shouted for Stuf, who took off running for the back door. He ran through the snow with Cane on his heels; Bieito shot an arrow in his ass cheek, sending him tumbling, as Emmerick and Akora caught up while Calissa watched. Emmerick picked him up, pinning his arms behind his back, and carried him back to the Dessicated Draugr with Cane growling at him. Benjamin stitched up Stuf’s wound, taking his time and making sure it was painful, while Emmerick tied his hands, then a noose; when Benjamin finished Emmerick slipped the noose around Stuf’s neck and dragged him to a tree, tying him up so his feet were barely touching the ground. By this time most of the trappers from the tavern had come outside to watch the confrontation.

Akora ordered Stuf to tell him where the gold he had given him was at; Stuf told him it was down his pants, the safest place for it. Akora cut him down and Stuf gave him the gold back, then Akora tossed an axe at his feet, telling him to pick it up. Hesitant at first, Stuf eventually did, and then finally attacked. He was far better than he had pretended and managed to land a blow on Akora, but then was killed when Akora sliced him across the throat, slitting the arteries, veins, and windpipe. Gurgling and spurting blood, Stuf collapsed into the snow, dead.

With the entertainment over everyone began proceeding back into the tavern, until Bieito was called out by Robars. Hurling insults and curses, calling him a little man, he insisted Bieito fight him. Bieito was reluctant, not interested in killing an old, miserable bastard, but eventually relented, letting Robars make the first strike. They traded blows, a pathetic follow up to the previous fight, and Robars died when after missing Bieito his sword continued on and cut into his leg, severing his femoral artery. He informed Ottkatla, who told him not to be concerned; Robars was universally disliked, having driven off his family, and while it would inconvenience the village they would eventually be able to find a replacement.

The next morning Bieito attempted to forge a mastercraft sidesword using Robar’s tools; it was an extremely difficult task and he had little tradecraft knowledge, and while he failed, it was not a spectacularly horrible attempt. Meanwhile Benjamin took the opportunity to find elfstalk and stubbornweed and was able to craft two potions, one that would double the speed at which someone healed for 8 hours and another that boosted someone’s will for 6 hours. The party otherwise rested, taking the opportunity to recover health and resolve before they set out for Skara three days later, vowing to never return to Brekkur. To save time the party decided to cut across country to reach the main road instead of following their original path back to it or cutting across country the entire way. The first day was uneventful and the party set up camp about halfway to the main road north of Stavanger, a coastal town about halfway between Roskilde and Skara. They set watches and the night was quiet until Calissa was unexpectedly woken.

Akora had been on second watch and Calissa was to take third, but when she woke Akora was nowhere to be found. Cane, Benjamin’s dog, was whining, and Calissa vaguely remembered some sound having woken her. She roused the others and while Cane was unwilling, Benjamin got him to follow Akora’s trail. After several minutes the party heard the sound of Akora shouting for help coming from ahead of them, and a few minutes later they heard him again from behind, roughly from the location of the party’s campsite.

They continued following the trail when Emmerick was grabbed by something incredibly fast; none of the others got a look at it, and they warily continued on. They occasionally heard calls for help from Akora and Emmerick from different directions but instead of pursuing the calls they stuck to the trail Cane was following.

wendigo.jpgEmmerick woke to find himself hanging in a cave; his hands had been tied, and Akora and three Hoscans were in the same predicament. All had been disarmed and while Akora was awake the Hoscans were unconscious. Emmerick was able to get a glimpse of what had grabbed him as it left again; it was a humanoid creature with a skull-like head and antlers, and was covered with dried blood matted in its fur. After the creature left he was able to free himself, then got Akora and the unconscious Hoscans down before arming himself with a loose rock he found among the human bones littering the cave floor. Drawing on the tales he had heard while traveling in caravans Akora guessed what they were facing was a wendigo; legend was that it had at one time been a person that resorted to cannibalism and emerged from hibernation every quarter century to feed. Whether there was any truth to that part of the legend was impossible to tell, but the parts about it being incredibly fast, feeding on humans, and able to mimic the voices of individuals was clearly true. Akora and Emmerick dragged the unconscious Hoscans to another part of the cave that was more defensible.

Meanwhile, after one call Benjamin was able to spot the wendigo; however, it was too far off for either Bieito or Calissa to hit with spells, but Calissa did cast her holy light spell to ward off the wendigo. When Benjamin glanced away the wendigo disappeared. The remaining three continued on until Bieito was grabbed from the middle of the group; Calissa had been maintaining her holy light spell, but the wendigo was unaffected by it. Bieito woke to find himself hanging in the cave with the wendigo examining the bonds from the others. He managed to cast a spell that would enslave the wendigo; unfortunately, the wendigo resisted and was able to break the spell, but not before Bieito ordered it to flee, giving himself a couple minutes before it would return. Emmerick overheard him casting the spell and came to cut him down; they, along with Akora, found their weapons near the cave entrance and they took up position blocking the cave entrance with Emmerick and Akora in front and Bieito behind. Drawing on more of his necromancer powers, Bieito cast a vampirism spell that drained part of the wendigo’s health as it closed back in on the party.

Akora took up a defensive posture and taunted the wendigo, goading it into attacking; both were able to land strikes, and it then exchanged blows with Emmerick. Benjamin and Calissa had closed in but were still too far away to engage in melee attacks; Benjamin loosed an arrow at the wendigo, but he missed his mark and hit Bieito instead. Bieito, though, didn’t have the same issue and hit the wendigo with a bodkin arrow, causing a significant amount of damage, and Akora finished it off with a massive blow but was gored by the wendigo’s antlers as it fell.

The party dressed their wounds then returned to their campsite with the unconscious Hoscans. They found the campsite ransacked by the wendigo, and while most of their supplies were still in good shape all of their rations were gone.

Body Count: 3 humans, 18 rats, 1 wendigo
Baller Moment of the Week: Akora’s handling of the con artist Stuf.
Fuckup of the Week: Benjamin nearly setting himself on fire when trying to smoke out the rats. (Honorable mentions to Emmerick for being injured by explodey rats and Bieito for slipping and falling face-first in rat guts)

Running Body Count: 106 humans, 49 creatures, 49 undead


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