Scorching Dawn

Episode 1
Chaos in the Kaer

The story so far…

  • The Broken Hills Kaer is getting ready to celebrate the Council Festival where the new Councillors will be chosen. Each council nominee selects a champion to compete in a race around the Kaer. The race takes the Champions to five checkpoints where they must collect a talisman symbolizing the five elements.
  • During the competition Jorn uses his “Fun with Doors” spell to seal the Temple of the Passions, effectively slowing down both Darrius and Stubbs as well as three other champions. Jorn then tries the same trick in the Market in an attempt to slow down Stubbs but having seen through the illusion once already Stubbs manages to push through the illusion.
  • At the Reservoir, Stubbs notices that the gateway is slightly ajar and his curiosity gets the better of him as he sacrifices the race in order to investigate. Inside the Reservoir he finds two guards, one dead and one seriously wounded, who were stationed outside the Reservoir as part of the competition. Their chests have been punctured by stone shards. The wounded guard tells Stubbs that Hanurai is responsible for the attack and has gone mad, saying things like “You’ve stood in my way too long” and “I will have my revenge”. Before passing out he warns that Hanurai made a threat to “Crush the leaders of the Kaer”.
  • Stubbs manages to carry the injured guard out of the Reservoir and with the help of Gorus Kallazod, one of the other Champions, they get him to the hospital.
  • Meanwhile the race has ended. Darrius’ brother Gideon, who is Championing himself, makes amazing time during the race, easily taking first place. Darrius places third securing Gortwog’s place on the council. Jorn’s brother places fifth however since only one Ork is allowed to serve he is disqualified.
  • Stubbs, no longer concerned with the competition alerts one of the Councillors to the murders that have taken place. The Councillor sends two guards to find Hanurai.
  • While the ceremony is taking place to appoint the new Councillors the crowd is amazed to see the statues in the Hall of Heroes come to life. The crowd flees while the militia move in to deal with this threat, the likes of which have never been seen in the Kaer.
  • Jorn, Darrius and Stubbs take part in the fight to bring down the statues. During the fight Darrius’ sister, Tamrial, is engulfed by one of the statues and crushed. Working together Darrius and Jorn manage to free her with Darrius burning through all of his karma and pushing himself to the point of exhaustion while Jorn resorts to casting raw magic. Stubbs gets his uncle Belarus to safety then lures one of the statues out of the hall and towards Hanurai’s estate while chipping away at it with a few well placed sling stones before Darrius finally demolishes it with an incredible sword strike.
  • With the statues defeated and the wounded taken to the hospital Jorn goes to investigate Hanurai’s home while Stubbs and Darrius return to look for clues at the Reservoir.
  • Jorn meets with one of the Councillors at Hanurai’s home and is given a journal that Hanurai has written in magic. Jorn deciphers the writing and learns that Hanurai may have indeed gone mad. His journal shows that Hanurai no longer feels a connection to his liferock and fears his brothers are dead and he blames the Broken Hills Kaer for keeping him from them. He also seems to have been a follower of the Passion Rashomon, the Passion of Leadership but now refers to him as Raggok. A figure of Rashomon in Hanurai’s study also appears to have been warped giving it the head of a ram. While Jorn is reading this one of the militia soldiers reports that a tunnel has been dug out of Hanurai’s home and through the Kaer wall. Peering into the tunnel Jorn can see only darkness.
  • Meanwhile, Stubbs and Darrius discover that the Elemental Water Crystal that Hanurai put in place and is responsible for supplying the Kaer with water seems to have been disenchanted.
  • In light of these two discoveries, an emergency meeting is called for all the Councillors and Adepts of the Kaer to decide how next to proceed.
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Episode 2
Journey to the Surface

The story so far…

  • The kaer holds an emergency assembly to discuss the disasters that have befallen them. In attendance is the previous council members, the newly appointed council members and all the kaer’s adepts, including Jorn, Stubbs and Darrius.
  • Harrowmont, the previous head of the council reveals that Hanurai has apparently stolen an orichalcum disc that was crafted in commemoration of the kaer’s sealing and displayed in the Council Hall. The disc is magical and is also a pattern item for the kaer making it a very dangerous artifact should it fall into the wrong hands.
  • It is decided that the kaer must be resealed for the safety of the citizens however since no new water is being created they have no choice but to send some of the adepts out into the world. Their mission will be two-fold: 1) Find a source of water for the kaer, and 2) Track down Hanurai and stop whatever evil he his planning or at the very least recover the orichalcum disc.
  • Stubbs, who’s family has been spearheading an initiative to open the kaer for some time is an obvious choice to venture out into the world. Darrius as one of the best swordmasters in the kaer and the only adept with combat training volunteers to journey with him. Jorn, though hesitant to leave what little safety is left in the kaer, decides to journey out as well.
  • The assembly decides to divide up and assess the current situation. Stubbs is put in charge of investigating the tunnels that Hanurai used to escape and devise a plan to collapse the tunnels and reseal the Kaer. Ceres, Darrius’ mother is sent to investigate the disenchanted elemental crystal and learn whatever she can about how it can be reactivated. Gideon and the rest of the council begin to work on a plan to ration the kaer’s water supply and break the news about what has happened to the rest of the citizens. It is estimated that at most the kaer has only four months of water left.
  • Stubbs has the tunnels rigged with explosives that will collapse the tunnel once they leave. Ceres reports back that the crystal could be re-enchanted by an Elementalist and recommends the party take the crystal with them.
  • Ceres gives Darrius his grandfather’s sword, Malachai’s Wit, a threaded sword that was used by both his grandfather and father. To Jorn she gives a stone elephant charm named Trumpkin, a spell matrix item she received from her mother when she was a little girl.
  • Jorn says farewell to his family. His brother Marek congratulates him on the adventure he is about to undertake.
  • Stubbs says farewell to his family. His wife gives his a fine jeweled necklace passed down through her family in the hopes that its value can aid Stubbs in some way. His uncle, Agnar, gives him a magical compass called a Homesense Compass so that he can always find his way home. By placing some earth or stone in the compass it will point towards the location where the earth comes from.
  • When the party is ready they head out through Hanurai’s tunnel with instructions to those behind to detonate the explosives 15 minutes after they’re through (after much debate between Darrius, Jorn and Stubbs). Stubb’s finds one of Hanurai’s footprints in the tunnel and uses his Tracking Talent to illuminate the footprints so they can track him out of the kaer. They bring with them three kegs of black powder with the intention of collapsing the other end of the tunnel.
  • The party finds themselves in a large natural cavern lit by Jorn’s Light spell and the group investigates the cavern system. After exploring the cavern they decide to use the kegs they’ve brought with them and collapse the tunnel.
  • Darrius realizes that one of the caves must connect to the kaer entrance. The party decides to see if they can find the kaer’s door and ensure it is still protected. As they travel through the cave system they come across the remains of some Name-Givers that look to be only a few decades old. Jorn notices a patch of the cavern floor that has been intentionally hidden and points it out to the others. The group decides it must be a trap and bypass the patch after making a small mark to help them find it again on the way back.
  • The group finds the kaer entrance, a massive stone door carved with runes and symbols. The door looks untouched and the party sets out back up the cavern. Stubbs attempts to track Hanurai again but is unsuccessful. The party presses forward assuming that Hanurai must have gone up.
  • As the party journeys on they come across some spike traps that have been set off decades before. Stubbs stops short of one of the pits when he notices that the pit is partially obscured by webbing. He realizes this must be some type of spider nest, however while he considers the best way to proceed Darrius picks up a stone and drops it through the webbing and into a pit which startles the spiders within.
  • A giant spider emerges from the pit and Darrius moves to engage it in combat. Darrius keeps manoeuvring around the spider to keep its attention while slashing at its limbs. Meanwhile, Stubbs attempts to skirt the outside of the pit but slips and falls into the pit, barely catching himself at the last second. Jorn slides to Stubb’s rescue and hauls him back out as he notices two more spiders emerging from the nest.
  • While Darrius continues to attack the largest spider Jorn slashes at one of the smaller spiders with his dagger but is forced back by the spider who eventually bites him. Jorn is poisoned causing him to become dizzy and unfocused. Stubbs circumvents the pit to the far side but is pursued by one of the smaller spiders.
  • Darrius makes a devastating attack on the largest spider severing some of its legs. As the spider tries to retreat Stubbs takes the opportunity to hit it with a stone from his sling, killing it. The spider attacking Stubbs manages to climb over his shield and bite him, knocking him to the ground. The spider then takes a giant chunk out of Stubbs while he attempts to crawl away and infects him with the poison.
  • Darrius wounds the spider that is attacking Jorn causing it to retreat then leaps over the pit to aid Stubbs. Jorn creates an illusion to seal the pit making it appear that the web has completely covered the pit. Jorn then follows Darrius but slips and falls into the pit, disappearing through the illusion. Fortunately for Jorn the pit is not deep and he finds nothing but skeletons and a rusty sword. The illusionary web stops the spiders above from returning to the pit.
  • The last spider proves quite dangerous and surprises Darrius, attacking him and poisoning him. As Darrius attempts to recover he is attacked again and falls unconscious from the attack. The spider then continues to attack Stubbs and knocks him unconscious. Jorn, hearing the commotion above manages to climb out of the pit. Feeling out of options he again resorts to casting raw magic and manages to take down the spider with two Ephemeral Bolts spells.
  • Jorn manages to revive Stubbs and together they haul Darrius away from the nest. Feeling battered they find a small alcove to camp in and rest for the night.
  • The next morning they finally emerge from the caves into the surface world, a stark barren landscape of stone and sand. Unsure how to proceed in this unfamiliar environment the party spends their first day outside scouting out the immediate area and decide to make camp in the familiar entrance to the caves they emerged from…

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Episode 3
First Contact

The story so far…

  • Jorn realizes that Hanurai is most likely headed to the North towards his Liferock. At sundown the party ventures forth from the cavern entrance and begins to head north, following the dried out river bed at the bottom of the ravine.
  • Scouting ahead, Stubbs discovers a stone structure set up as some kind of marker. Inspecting the structure Jorn discovers that there are markings and view ports built into the structure and decides it must be some type of navigational marker. Stubbs marks down the symbols and rough directions from the marker and they continue on their way.
  • Late into the night Stubbs spots what appears to be a sleeping man near the base of large boulder in the hills above the ravine. Alerting his companions Stubb then sneaks up the hillside, approaching the figure from behind. Darrius and Jorn follow at a distance.
  • While Stubbs gets into a hidden position and readies his sling Jorn decides to cast his Light spell in front of the man in an attempt to blind him and keep their location secret. A sphere of light bursts into existence above the figure as Jorn calls out to the man to identify himself. The group is startled when instead they hear a loud inhuman cry from about 20 yards behind them. The figure beneath the boulder doesn’t move and as Jorn approaches he realizes that the man is dead.
  • Darrius draws his weapon and cautiously backs down the hill in search of the source of the sound but after searching the area he finds no signs of the creature.
  • Meanwhile Stubbs and Jorn search the dead ork. He appears to have died nearly a week ago and the corpse has been baked by the sun and is armed and wearing a tunic with a hand-painted, red bird crest on it. Jorn speaks some words of respect to the ork then takes his sword and buckler. Stubbs decides to take the ork’s tunic as well in case it becomes useful later. As he pulls at the tunic a pouch falls out.
  • Looking in the pouch he finds some copper and couple of silver pieces as well as a piece of parchment which reads Your name is Ignar. Don’t sleep.
  • Darrius returns and examines the body discovering that the ork died of dehydration. No other wounds appear on his body. The party spends a few more minutes looking around the area and then decide to continue on.
  • They travel for a few more hours until dawn breaks on the horizon. Up ahead, over one of the hill crests, they see a cloud of dust. They cautiously approach, keeping hidden. In a clearing of what may have once been a small lake that has since dried up long ago they see a wagon and four men near a small hill covered in large stones with an old tree stretching out from among the stones. The men appear to be preparing for something and are well armed. One of the men readies a bow and moves up into the boulders to hide. In the back of the wagon is a large crate.
  • Darrius decides he will approach the men and ask for directions and information. Stubbs and Jorn stay hidden though Jorn casts a Displace Self spell that makes Darrius appear to be four yards from where he is actually standing in case the men prove hostile.
  • Darrius walks confidently out to meet the men who snap to attention as soon as they see him. Their leader calls out to Darrius to stop and identify himself. Darrius calls back that his name is Darrius and that he has recently left his kaer and is looking for any information about the world and directions that the men can provide. The leader calls back that Darrius is in the wrong place at the wrong time and tells him to just walk away but Darrius persists.
  • As they are talking the Displace Self spell wears off causing Darrius to appear to suddenly teleport four yards to the left. Startled, the men go for their weapons and the leader demands to know if Darrius is an adept. Darrius says he is and again asks to speak to the man insisting he means them no harm. Persuaded, and appearing to want to avoid a fight, the leader agrees that Darrius can approach if he leaves his weapons behind and Darrius agrees.
  • Darrius and the man meet face to face. The stranger asks a few more questions about where Darrius is from and Darrius decides to lie and say his kaer is called Dorren Hills instead of Broken Hills. The man then tells him that he should continue North where he can find the city of Thadizar.
  • Darrius thanks the man and turns to leave but notices a muffled noise coming from the crate in the wagon. One of the men casually leans on the wagon in an attempt to hide the noise. Darrius leaves, collects his weapon and returns to Jorn and Stubbs.
  • Darrius passes on the information from his conversation and mentions that he may have heard someone in the crate. Jorn feels that if there is even a slim chance that someone is being held prisoner that he must intervene. As the group has been traveling all night and it is now morning Stubbs and Darrius discuss setting up camp nearby assuming that the men must be here to meet someone. They want to wait and see who shows up so they can further assess the situation.
  • Jorn refuses, and insists that they act now. Darrius and Stubbs decide they will let Jorn do what he wants but they are not ready to act yet. They decide to start heading North without Jorn. Jorn casts Displace Self on himself and then walks out boldly towards the men.
  • The leader calls out to Jorn warning him to leave now or they will attack. Jorn continues his approach and they rush to attack him. Hearing the commotion Darrius decides to help Jorn while Stubbs circles around the back in an attempt to sneak up on the archer (after securely tucking his family jewels into his loin cloth —HA!)
  • While the men swing their weapons at the illusion of Jorn the real Jorn dashes towards the wagon. From above, the archer fires a few arrows at Jorn but they pass harmlessly through his illusion.
  • Darrius maneuvers around one of the men and attacks with a crushing blow that fractures the man’s spine. The man collapses to the ground in pain. Meanwhile Jorn begins to climb onto the wagon however one of the men realizes that he’s been fooled by an illusion and after a moment of surprise moves to attack the real Jorn. Fortunately the shield Jorn picked up off the dead ork ealier that evening allows him to parry the man’s blows.
  • Stubbs climbs up the hill towards the archer but the archer notices him and turns to face him. Stubbs motions to the large rock in his hand and points at his head. Confused the archer points to one of his arrows and then points to Stubbs. Alarmed, Stubbs turns around and backs down the hill.
  • Darrius moves to attack the leader of the band of men calling for him to surrender but the man looks unsure and continues to move in to attack. Jorn smashes the lock on the crate and flipping the lid open discovers a young human girl bound and gagged inside the crate. Enraged Jorn turns to face the man still attacking him. He brings his sword down on the man slashing into his collar bone and drawing blood.
  • As Stubbs walks down the hill he spots another dust cloud over the hill and realizes that another party is approaching and is only minutes away. He turns around and rushes back up the hill leaping onto the archer while shouting to his friends to “Wrap things up cause trouble is on the way”
  • As Stubbs and the archer wrestle atop the hill Darrius and the leader square off. Darrius easily counters the man’s attack and pierces his chest with his sword. The man looks heavily wounded but struggles to counter attack. Reluctantly Darrius attacks with a fatal blow nearly decapitating the man who collapses in a pool of blood. Angry Darrius turns and calls out for the remaining men to surrender.
  • Stubbs continues to wrestle with the archer and demands to know who is approaching. The archer looks worried and breaks free from Stubbs and starts running away. Stubbs chases after him and begins to sling stones at the man as he flees calling after him “I’m not actually chasing you, we’re just running in the same direction and the only reason I’m pelting you with rocks is because you didn’t answer my question.”
  • Seeing that their leader is dead and one of the men has passed out from a crippling injury the last man drops his weapon and flees.
  • Jorn unties the girl who is desperate to escape the crate. As she clambers out of the box she asks Jorn and Darrius who they are and if her father sent them. Darrius uses his First Impression talent and tells her they are travelling heroes who have come to save her. Dazzled by Darrius’ charm she thanks him. Jorn is unimpressed that Darrius has stolen the credit for the rescue from him but can’t afford to dwell on the matter and gets ready to steal the wagon.
  • Stubbs manages to knock the archer out with a few well placed stones. He proceeds to sit on the mans chest and slap him awake. As the man regains consciousness Stubbs shouts WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!” and again demands to know who is approaching. The man tells him that a slaver named Cassius is coming and that they had a deal with him but now Cassius will kill them all.
  • Realizing they don’t have much time Darrius helps the girl onto the cart as Jorn climbs into the driver’s seat. Jorn drives the wagon over to where Stubbs and the archer are and they load him into the cart as well and then start driving off in the opposite direction of the approaching party.
  • Darrius remains behind. He collects some supplies from the fallen men and then revives the injured man whose spine was fractured. Questioning him he learns the man’s name is Horaloth [GM note: Not sure if this was the name]. Darrius then gives the man some food and water and carries him over to the boulders telling him that if he ever finds his way back to civilization to change his path and give up the slave trade.
  • The approaching party is only seconds away…

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Episode 4
Welcome to Thadizar

The story so far…

  • Jorn, Stubbs, the girl and the archer take off down the southwest canyon on the wagon. Stubbs decides he really doesn’t need the archer and pushes him off the cart. The archer manages to roll to his feet and runs up the west bank of the canyon, disappearing over the ledge.
  • Meanwhile Darrius runs for the high ground and then begins to sneak his way south in the last direction he saw Stubbs and Jorn going. As he moves along the canyon edge he hears approaching riders and spies three riders on strange beasts that appear to be large lion-like animals with the head and beak of a bird of prey. As he drops to a stealthy position in the rocks above he accidentally triggers a small rock slide that alerts the riders to his presence.
  • Darrius makes a run for it, sprinting as fast as he can but hears the approach of one of the riders cresting the hill. Realizing he can’t outrun the rider he turns, flourishes his cloak and confidently holds his ground. The rider is suitably impressed as he approaches and decides a diplomatic approach might be in order. The rider states he is working for Cassius and is searching for some men who may have stolen something that belongs to him and then asks if Darrius has seen anyone out here.
  • Darrius bluffs and tells the man he has not seen anyone. The man seems satisfied and in a hurry and leaves to join his companions leaving Darrius to himself. Darrius breathes a sigh of relief and takes off to the south in pursuit of his allies.
  • After riding for 10 minutes, Jorn spies a small outcropping of stones and decides to stop the cart. He then spurs the horse on alone down the canyon. Jorn reattunes his spell matrix to Fun With Doors and then run for cover. While he and the girl run for the outcropping Stubbs take a few seconds to try to hide their tracks.
  • Jorn and the girl build a crude doorway out of rocks at the entrance of the outcropping. As soon as Stubbs makes it into the cramped hovel Jorn casts Fun With Doors to hide the entrance.
  • The girl points out that if they’re discovered she doesn’t want to be caught unarmed and asks Jorn if she can borrow a weapon. Jorn refuses, however Stubbs let her look through his pack and she takes one of his hammers as a weapon.
  • Hiding in their hovel the group can hear the riders outside searching around but after a few minutes they leave. After waiting a bit Jorn removes the illusion and they head outside to discuss their next move. The girl introduces herself as Tanya and says that they should be safe if they can make it to Thadizar (which Jorn and Stubbs have only recently learned is somewhere to the north). While they are discussing the plan Jorn hears the sound of the riders returning.
  • Stubbs decides he should go out alone and try and lead the riders away and then try to reunite with the group later. Tanya tells him to try and find her father, Kane Telvarri, in Thadizar if they can’t find each other (Jorn suggests that they try to rendezvous at the “orkiest inn” in Thadizar). Jorn and Tanya then retreat back to the hovel while Stubbs once again tries to mask their tracks. Then Stubbs climbs the west bank of the canyon and waits.
  • By this time Darrius has caught up to the rest of the group and hidden on the east side of the canyon. The riders below return to where they lost the trail but after a few minutes of searching give up and continue north down the canyon.
  • Feeling it’s now safe, Stubbs and Darrius climb down and are reunited with Jorn and Tanya. The sun is high in the sky and the group is concerned that the riders might return and so the group heads into the hills to make camp. Stubbs manages to construct a small shelter for the group and they rest, keeping watch in shifts.
  • At the camp Tanya explains that her father is a wealthy merchant who is currently residing in Thadizar and she suspects a rival merchant house may have had something to do with her abduction. She is originally from a large city call Khaldera but is travelling with her father. She appears to have a slight infatuation with Darrius and once again asks if she can have a real weapon in case she needs to defend herself. Darrius lends her his broadsword and observes that while not entirely skilled she does seem to have some training with a blade.
  • Jorn weaves a thread to Trumpkin, the matrix item he was given by Ceres, and learns he can make the stone elephant dance with a spoken command. He tries to impress Tanya with this new trick but she seems irritated by the gesture as if he’s treating her like a child. Jorn and Darrius trade a few verbal jabs with each other to Stubb’s irritation but eventually the group manages to get some sleep throughout the afternoon and early evening.
  • At dusk the group packs up and starts heading north being careful in case the riders are still about. Jorn and Darrius can see fine by starlight. Tanya, being human sticks close to Darrius in the dark. Darrius suggests that Jorn use his light spell:
    Darrius: Why don’t you just cast that light spell you have to help her see?
    Jorn: Are you nuts? And just give away our position to anyone who’s looking for us?
    Darrius: Can’t you just make it dim and cast it at our feet or something?
    Jorn: I don’t know. I’ve never tried that before and I’m not going to now.
    Darrius: What if you just put it in your pants to kind of make a glow?
  • Stubbs scouts ahead and as they approach the dust bowl valley where they first encountered the bandits he spies the heat signatures from the riders and their mounts in a small camp. In total he counts four men. He quietly returns to the group to find them discussing the versatility of Jorn’s light spell and warns them of the camp up ahead.
  • Not wishing to encounter the riders again the group heads east and gives a wide berth to the dust bowl before heading north again. The rest of the evening is uneventful and late in the night they spy the city of Thadizar in the distance.
  • As they approach the city a horn sounds and the gate opens as six mounted soldiers ride out and surround the group. Tanya speaks to the guards telling them that she was rescued by the group and they should be treated as heroes. One of the guards scoops her up and rides back to the city with her. The rest of the soldiers escort the group into the city which looks to be heavily fortified with thick stone walls lined with watch towers and possibly built on the ruins of an ancient fortress. Jorn begins to babble nervously.
  • Once in the city the captain of the guard questions the group to find out how they came to be in the company of Tanya. Darrius tells him the truth to Jorn’s frustration as Jorn does not trust anyone and wants to share as little info as possible. In the discussion they reveal to the captain of the guard that the group has left a still sealed kaer though they do not state where it is located. They learn that Hanurai has passed through Thadizar two days ago but not much else. The guard speculates that Hanurai was most likely headed towards Khaldera which is near somewhere called the Sand Sea. Eventually the guard releases the group and puts them up for the night in a local inn.
  • At the inn Jorn asks his companions to stop telling people things they don’t need to know and then orders some food from the innkeeper who is not pleased to have been awoken. Jorn manages to barter him down and feels pretty proud of himself though Stubbs and Darrius argue with him whether bartering brings more or less attention to the group.
  • The next morning the group hears a knock at the door and open it to find a well dressed man who states he is a servant for Kane Telvarri, Tanya’s father. Kane has invited the group to his home to be properly thanked. The group decides they should do their best to clean up though Stubbs doesn’t give it much though but eventually is convinced to dust off a bit. They decide to have breakfast at the inn before leaving. Jorn, being in a much better mood even tips the innkeeper. They then follow the servant across town to the Telvarri manor.
  • The servant shows them to a parlor with some luxurious couches and tapestries. A pitcher of water has been set out and Stubbs decides to refill his water skin. After a few minutes Kane Telvarri enters. He is an elderly man but seems quite friendly and thankful for the return of his daughter.
  • Kane promises the group a reward. Darrius mentions that they are searching for a water crystal and bends the truth to say that Hanurai is an old ally who has stolen the crystal from them. Jorn is shocked that Darrius is being so free with this information. Kane says that he can help them track down a water crystal but that it won’t be easy or cheap. He estimates that a water crystal large enough to supply a village could cost 2000 gold coins. The group is somewhat astounded at the value of the water crystal and ask if a broken crystal could be repaired. Kane thinks it could be done and depending on the extent of the damage might cost half the price. Stubbs, who has been carrying the broken crystal in his travel bag, realizes that the crystal could definitely attract the wrong type of attention if they’re not careful.
  • In addition to the information about the water crystal the group asks for transportation to Khaldera. Kane offers to let them travel with his caravan but lets them know he doesn’t plan to leave for at least a week. The group is unsure whether to wait and take his offer or leave earlier. Before they leave Kane’s house he asks them to return that evening and join him for dinner. They agree and then head out into the city to see if they can learn more about Hanurai’s stay as well as visit the local craftsman and merchants.

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Episode 5
Thadizar, The Desert Fortress

The story so far…

  • After leaving Kane Telvarri’s manor the group decides to split up and try to uncover any information they can about Hanurai.
  • Jorn uses his streetwise skills to learn which inn Hanurai stayed at and questions the innkeeper. The innkeeper becomes suspicious of Jorn’s motives and stops answering questions as Jorn becomes sarcastic and evasive. Eventually Jorn bribes the innkeeper who decides to give him the information just to get rid of him.
  • Jorn learns that Hanurai stayed at the inn two nights ago, paid extra to have his meals delivered to his room and to be left alone, and then left the next morning. In addition he learns that the Passion Rashomon has indeed gone mad, confirming what he read in Hanurai’s journal. The innkeeper tells Jorn that any temples to Rashomon have been torn down and that other Passions have also gone mad as a result of the Horror’s Scourge. Jorn then asks if there are any Illusionists in town. The innkeeper seems amused and tells him to find a dwarf named Dusty in the market if he’s interested in learning tricks.
  • Meanwhile, Stubbs has been asking around town and eventually finds his way to the same inn that Jorn had left 30 minutes before. Instead of approaching the innkeeper however he scans the tavern and spots a man in dusty robes and a wide brimmed hat who looks well travelled.
  • Stubbs approaches the man and asks if he can join him at his table. The man seems weathered and replies it’s a free chair. Stubbs orders a bowl of stew and the two men eat in silence. When the man finishes he asks if Stubbs is looking for something. Stubbs says he might be looking for something and asks the man if he can guess what for. The man looks him over and comments that Stubbs hasn’t seen much sun as he’s got a bit of a sunburn so he must be searching for an obsidiman.
  • Stubbs is surprised how accurate the stranger’s guess is but manages to keep a straight face. He asks how the man has arrived at that conclusion and the man reveals that he overheard a conversation between a young ork and the bartender and that the ork was also sunburned and the man assumed the two were travelling companions. Stubbs feels a certain kinship with this man and asks him if he knows the area well. The man states that he’s been exploring the wilderness and probably knows it better than most people in this town.
  • Stubbs shows him one of his hand drawn maps and asks if the man can help fill in some of the blanks. The stranger seems impressed with the map Stubbs had made but comments that it doesn’t cover much area. He introduces himself as Lando Rickett and tells Stubbs that if he wants his help to come find him out in the wilderness in one day. He then hands Stubbs a dried flower and tells him to bring a fresh one with him when he comes to find Rickett.
  • Meanwhile Darrius heads into town to see if he can find a Weaponsmith. He is a little overwhelmed by the busy marketplace, and stands out in the crowd. He notices that iron cages hang from some wooden posts with sun bleached bones within and realizes that thievery may be harshly punished here. After wandering for a while he locates the smith – a dwarf by the name of Tunstan – and asks if he can study his grandfather’s sword and learn the key knowledges that would enable Darrius to weave threads to it.
  • Tunstan looks the sword over and says he should be able to study the sword but it could take up to a week and would cost 10 silver. Darrius looks in his coin purse and learns that he must have been pick pocketed earlier has he has lost a few coins and can no longer afford Tunstan’s services. Tunstan is willing to barter but Darrius isn’t sure he’ll even be here a week and so tells him he might return later.
  • Darrius then begins to look for some work. He manages to get hired by a shopkeeper who needs several crates moved in his warehouse and earns 5 copper for an exhausting day’s work of hard manual labour.
  • Jorn heads to the market and asks around to learn of Dusty’s location. He finds a dirty looking Dwarf on a street corner running a shell game with three tin cups and a ball of clay. Jorn watches for a bit and can see that Dusty might know a few tricks. When he approaches, Dusty calls out and to Jorn to try his luck at the game. Jorn bets a copper and watches the cups as Dusty mixes them up. Jorn thinks he knows which cup has the ball but chooses a different cup and tries to create a minor illusion of the ball of clay in the cup but is unsuccessful.
  • Dusty feigns some false pity and asks him to try again. Jorn agrees and tries again but this time he manages to make a ball of clay appear in the cup he chose. Dusty is surprised and lifts the cup he thought had the ball and reveals a second ball. Dusty becomes enraged, standing up to accuse Jorn of rigging the game and then cancelling the bet and returning Jorn’s coin.
  • Jorn asks Dusty to teach him the game but Dusty refuses. Then Jorn asks where he learned how to do his tricks and Dusty tells him that an Illusionist once tried to teach him some magic but he lacked the drive to really learn more than a few tricks. He tells Jorn that he can take him to meet this Illusionist if he’s willing to pay a few silver. Jorn agrees and Dusty tells him to meet him back here tomorrow and to bring some travelling supplies because the Illusionist lives as a hermit outside of the town and the journey will take a couple of hours. As he turns to leave Jorn asks Dusty which inn is the orkiest in town and Dusty points him towards an inn called “The Tooth and Nail”. Jorn heads back to the inn to prepare for dinner with Kane Telvarri.
  • After his conversation with Rickett, Stubbs asks the innkeeper for any more information about he can provide about Hanurai and slips him a handful of copper. The innkeeper is happy to oblige but has little information to offer but agrees to let Stubbs search Hanurai’s room. Stubbs spends a few minutes looking around but learns little other than that Hanurai kept his belonging close and didn’t really unpack while he was staying at the inn. He manages to find a scuff mark that Hanurai made and uses his Scout magic to follow his trail through the city.
  • He learns that Hanurai entered through the south gate of the city, stayed at the inn, visited the market and then left through the north gate, heading North on foot. As dusk approaches Stubbs returns to the inn and meets up with Jorn and a tired looking Darrius.
  • The three trade stories and information and then decide they better clean up before heading to the Telvarri manor. They don’t have a room booked for the night and Jorn wants to visit the inn that Dusty told him about and convinces Stubbs and Darrius to accompany him.
  • The three find the Tooth and Nail Tavern and it appears to be a somewhat rowdier establishment. Jorn flirts with one of the barmaids and getting caught up in the spirit of things rents a room and buys a couple of mugs of ale. Stubbs makes up his mind to return to the inn they stayed in the night before.
  • Eventually Darrius and Stubbs drag Jorn out of the tavern and the three head to the manor. They are greeted by a servant who takes them to a room where they can clean up and change into fresh clothes. They are then shown into the dining hall where they meet up with Kane and a new guest who Kane introduces as Masada Sicari (Trimbeard). At dinner they are also joined by Tanya who is now dressed in a fine dress and looks somewhat embarrassed to be back in the group’s presence. Stubbs adopts a fatherly attitude towards Tanya and compliments her on her appearance. Darrius says he’s happy to see her doing well. Jorn makes some inappropriate innuendos to Darrius in Elven.
  • Over dinner, Darrius entertains their host and his guest with tales of how the group saved Tanya from the bandits and their battle with the stone statue though he is careful to leave out details about the kaer. Masada is very impressed with Darrius’ manners and charisma and asks several questions about where the group originated and Jorn awkwardly deflects the questions.
  • Masada picks up on the groups’ reluctance to speak about being adepts and wonders why as most adepts are eager to become legends. Jorn says that they would rather let their actions speak for themselves and create great stories rather than tell them which impresses Kane, who heartily agrees.
  • Stubbs speaks to Masada asking about his connection with Kane and Masada says they are business partners and that he is a member of the Telvarri Merchant Guild. Kane interrupts to tell the group that part of the reason he asked them to dinner was to offer them membership in the Telvarri guild. Being in the guild provides certain benefits such as access to guild contacts, discounts with other merchants and the security of guild houses and caravans. If they wish to permanently ally themselves with house Telvarri there is a blood oath they can take but Kane tells them there is no need for a commitment at this time.
  • The group is hesitant to join and Kane tells them that he is still eager to work with them and maintain a positive business relationship as adepts can be powerful allies. He says if they wish to join on a more temporary basis they can still achieve membership for a monthly fee of 20 silver.
  • After dinner the party retires to the parlor for some brandy and light conversation. Tanya dismisses herself and Jorn once again makes some inappropriate comments about Tanya and Darrius which offends Kane. Eventually the group excuses themselves and leave for the night, taking the clothes they were offered with them in addition to their old clothes which were washed while they were at dinner.
  • Jorn and Darrius return to the Tooth and Nail while Stubbs retires to his inn. At Darrius’ request Stubbs rents a room for the two of them and then goes to bed.
  • Jorn and Stubbs find that the Tooth and Nail has gotten quite lively over the evening. They change in Jorn’s room and then head downstairs to partake in some of the festivities. As they descend they hear the tail end of a fight and find a half naked ork man at the bar with a large two-handed sword strapped over his shoulder who appears to have just beaten a couple of drunks in a fight. A few broken pieces of furniture lie about and a ring of people has formed around the ork.
  • The ork shouts out a humored challenge to the tavern asking if anyone in the place knows how to use a weapon or handle themselves in a fight. Jorn pushes Darrius out and shouts an insult about the ork’s mother. As Darrius enters the ring the ork smashes his mug on the bar and turns around to see Darrius.
  • Darrius picks up a broken chair leg and taunts the ork saying that he doesn’t need a real weapon to beat him in a fight. The two begin to maneuver around each other and Darrius realizes that this ork may be an adept.
  • Darrius is quicker than the ork and leaps to the attack, striking him in the chest. The ork catches the chair leg as it bounces back and then brings it down hard on Darrius’ arm. The two trade blows while maneuvering around each other.
  • Darrius sees an oppurtunity to end the fight and in a lightning fast strike he slashes at the ork’s belt buckle, loosening his pants. The ork grabs his pants and breaks into laughter. He mock bows and states to the audience that Darrius has more balls than the lot of them combined. Then he heads to the bar for another round of drinks, dragging Darrius along.
  • While the two men drink their ale, Jorn tries to get a bar fight going and after a few poorly placed blows and a Displace spell later he manages to get a small brawl going before slipping out.
  • The ork introduces himself as the Glorious Korgash, Swordmaster extraordinaire. He compliments Darrius’ skill but says he could still teach Darrius a thing or two and offers to provide some training if Darrius can help him find a more reliable belt.
  • After several drinks Darrius eventually stumbles back to his inn and crashes for the night. Jorn attempts to pick up one of the bar maids but even with Darrius as a wingman he doesn’t get lucky and eventually crashes in his own room at the Tooth and Nail.

5/120

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Episode 6
Training Day

The story so far…

  • After sleeping off the ale from the night before Darrius and Jorn meet for breakfast back at The Tooth & Nail Tavern. Darrius has begun to wonder what they will do when they do find Hanurai since he is far more powerful than them. He has also begun to wonder if they should return to the Kaer and report to the Council that the world is survivable if not necessarily hospitable.
  • Jorn agrees that the group needs to learn more about their Disciplines and become more powerful if they are going to deal with Hanurai but isn’t yet convinced that having the rest of the Broken Hills citizens leave the kaer is a wise move. Jorn also reminds Darrius that Hanurai has the kaer’s pattern item and that it will give him power over anyone connected to the kaer if he decides to use it for revenge. Darrius and Jorn decide that it might be wise to learn more about the world. Darrius then borrows 3 silver from Jorn so that he can pay to have his sword examined by the local Weaponsmith.
  • After breakfast Jorn returns to the market to meet with Dusty, the dwarf beggar he’d met the previous day. The two set off into the wilderness with Dusty leading the way in search of the Illusionist who taught Dusty the basic of Illusionism.
  • After a couple of hours of travel up a rocky hillside they come come upon a clearing. As they crest the hill they see the an ancient stone tower engulfed in flames. Dusty, horrified rushes down towards the tower. A stunned Jorn stands at the crest of the hill.
  • Jorn spies a large wolf-like creature emerging from the flames in the tower, as does Dusty, who begins to run back towards Jorn in a panic. Jorn begins to weave threads to his Displace Self spell.
  • The beast appears to have flames pouring from its mouth and as Dusty flees a ball of flame erupts from the beasts mouth igniting Dusty’s back. Dusty drops to the ground and starts to extinguish the flames.
  • Jorn casts Displace Self on himself then draws his sword and runs to Dusty’s aid, calling out to get the beast’s attention. The beast whirls around to attack Jorn, sniffing the air but then jumping to attack Jorn’s illusion as Jorn swings his blade at the beast. The beast passes harmlessly through Jorn’s illusion but senses Jorn’s attack and gives Jorn a wide berth.
  • Unsure about Jorn the beast decides to attack the easy prey. As Dusty tries to crawl to freedom the beast lunges at him, grabbing Dusty’s neck in his jaws and tearing out his throat. Satisfied, the beast then returns to cautiously attacking Jorn.
  • The beast senses that something is wrong about Jorn and again opens its mouth and emits a large ball of flame that engulfs Jorn’s arm. The beast then charges at Jorn, effortless avoiding his sword blows and bites into his flesh.
  • Once again, a desperate Jorn resorts to casting raw magic and casts an Ephemeral Bolt at the beast. The beast whimpers and runs from Jorn, seemly shrinking in size as he runs to Jorn’s puzzlement.
  • Jorn rushes to Dusty’s side and is surprised to find a pulse. Realizing he might have been tricked he wills away the illusion as Dusty sits up. Dusty congratulates Jorn on surviving the ordeal though comments that he needs to become more observant and offers to train Jorn for a price of 200 silver pieces.
  • Jorn balks a bit at the price and Dusty tells him he’d also consider Jorn’s services as payment and offers to give him his first lesson for free, “If you want to become a better Illusionist you might want to rely more on spellcasting and less on swordsmanship.”
  • On the walk back to Thadizar Jorn asks Dusty why he lives as a beggar on the street and Dusty tells him that people let their guard down when they think you’re nothing. He also tells Jorn that the Illusionist’s skill is not just to trick people but rather to see through deception themselves and expose trickery.
  • Meanwhile Darrius returns to the Blacksmith and pays to have him study his sword and learns its key knowledges. The Blacksmith takes the blade and tells Darrius to return in a week.
  • Afterwards Darrius searches for Korgash and finds him boasting/lecturing some of the militia soldiers at the city gates. After his speech, Darrius approaches Korgash and jokes with him about the previous night’s festivities. Darrius mentions that he would like to train to a higher circle and Korgash tells him he’d be happy to oblige for 20 gold pieces.
  • Darrius half-heartedly challenges Korgash to a duel with training as the stakes but Korgash simply laughs it off and tells Darrius that there is lots of treasure available for the taking and that if Darrius can come up with the gold in the next three weeks that Korgash will happily train him.
  • Darrius then performs a Karma Ritual at the militia’s training ground, demonstrating his skills to the soldiers.
  • After waking, Stubbs decides to visit the local Apothecary and see if he can learn anything about the flower than Rickett left him. The Apothecary is an elderly dwarf who studies the flower and tells Stubbs that he can tell him what it is for a price. Stubbs tries to bluff and convince the Apothecary that he already knows what the flower is but this just annoys the dwarf.
  • Stubbs then offers to collect herbs and other plants that the Apothecary might need. The dwarf agrees to pay Stubbs two silver and tell him about the flower if Stubbs can return with a sack of useful plants. Stubbs then heads out of the city to find plants.
  • After a few hours of searching Stubbs has found enough plants to fill half a sack when he comes across one of the flowers growing in a sunken dust bowl surrounded by brown, dried out plants. Curious how the flower has managed to avoid the fate of its surrounding plants Stubb approaches and studies the plant. It appears to be quite healthy but as he goes to dig it up and grasps the plant he feels a prick on his fingers and blood gushes out of his hand.
  • Stubbs pulls back and realizes the wound is merely a small prick and has bled much more than it should have. He wraps his hand then carefully digs up the flower revealing a large swollen root. He decides to head back to the city with his find.
  • Back at the Apothecary Stubbs tries to bargain with the shop keeper and manages to get 1 silver for the half a bag of goods and learns that the flower is a rare desert plant that absorbs the moisture from everything around it. The swollen root contains enough water inside to last a day and can be a life saver for a man lost in the desert. The Apothecary tells him that though the plant can be dangerous Stubbs shouldn’t worry about his injury though cautions him that if the flower has come in contact with horror tainted blood it could be dangerous. Stubbs briefly considers performing one of his artistic rituals to see if he bears a horror mark.
  • Stubbs leaves and then heads back to the inn where he first met Rickett. There he bribes the bartender for more information about Rickett and learns that he is a semi-regular at the tavern and then when he is in town he ofter does scouting jobs for the local Merchant Houses and the city militia. Stubbs heads to the militia camp to see if anyone there might know where Rickett could be.
  • At the militia camp Stubbs meets up with Darrius who has just finished his karma ritual. The two of them speak with one of the guards who takes them to see the captain. The captain tells them that Rickett is not currently working for them. Stubbs informs that captain that he is also available for scouting missions should the need arise and then asks if he could survey the surrounding countryside from one of the city’s archer towers. The captain agrees to allow them to use the tower and has a guard show them the way.
  • From the tower Stubbs can see that the countryside rises into sharp, rocky mountains to the east and west while the land continues to slop downwards to the north. Returning to the ground he decides to see if he can track Rickett out in the wilderness.
  • He asks Darrius if we wants to accompany him and offers to split any earning they might make from finding herbs on the way. Darrius agrees to journey with him and the two head out of the city where they rendezvous with a returning Jorn and Dusty.
  • Dusty returns to the city and Jorn joins Stubbs and Darrius. After a few minutes of searching Stubbs does come across one of Rickett’s boot prints and begins to follow the trail. The three men head east into the mountains.
  • After many hours of travel the three men find themselves high on a canyon wall looking over a rocky bluff. Stubbs hears a whispered voice telling him to get down and the three drop to the ground. A hidden Rickett emerges and congratulates Stubbs on finding him and asks if he brought the flower.
  • Stubbs reveals the flower he found and Rickett asks him if he learned anything about it. Stubbs tells him he knows about the flower’s ability to collect and store water. Satisfied Rickett then asks him to peek over the bluff and tell him what he sees in the canyon. Stubbs looks but sees nothing special but tries to bluff and asks Rickett what he’s supposed to be looking for without revealing he hasn’t noticed anything.
  • Rickett points out an entrance to a cave within a crack in the canyon wall that has been reinforced with wooden beams and rope. He tells the group that he has been hired by House Telvarri to track down the men responsible for taking Tanya Telvarri captive and that he has tracked them here.
  • Rickett proposes that the group return to Telvarri with the information while he continues to watch them and see what Telvarri wants to do next though he offers that he suspects Kane will not be kind to these men.
  • The group decides that rather than returning to Thadizar they should attack the men and capture or kill them if they can. Rickett is not opposed to the idea but tells them he has no intention of putting himself in danger though he might lend them a distraction if they need it. They decide to wait until nightfall. Darrius and Jorn rest while Stubbs collects dried leaves and other plants in a sack.
  • After dark the three climb down into the canyon and start to slowly approach. Jorn kicks a few loose stones accidentally but they are not heard by the watchman.
  • Stubbs sneaks up ahead with the sack until he can see the guard with his heat vistion. He realizes that the guard is also a Dwarf and will be able to see him so ducks behind the sack and waits.
  • Jorn and Darrius see Stubbs waiting and decide to sneak up to where he is however Jorn trips as they leave their hiding place and scatters a collection of stones that alerts the guard. He calls out and another guard emerges from the cave.
  • Seeing little option Stubbs decides to rush the guard. He ignites his moist sack and then pops out from cover, tossing his sack over the guards’ heads and into the cavern hoping to cause a smokescreen and cause confusion in the cave. The guards draw their swords and one of the them runs back into the cave sounding the alarm while the other rushes out to attack Stubbs.
  • Jorn meanwhile has cast Displace Self on himself and Darrius. Darrius rushes forward to help Stubbs who is hit by the guard’s attacks and takes a serious wound that knocks him to his feet. Darrius taunts the guard as the guard turns to intercept Darrius and nearly manages to land a blow on the elf but instead strikes at Darrius’ illusion with enough skill to break the illusion. Seeing that he is outnumbered he begins to retreat just a Jorn casts Fun With Doors and makes the cavern entrance appear to be sealed by a great wooden gate.
  • With his back to the wall the guard goes into a defensive stance and manages to hold his own against Darrius’ attacks but is barely able to strike back. Stubbs retreats to the canyon walls and starts taking pot shots with his sling.
  • Jorn decides to attempt to blind the guard with his Light spell and causes a ball of light to appear in front of the guard. The spell doesn’t blind the guard but provides Rickett, who is still hidden above on the bluff, with enough light to shoot the guard with a crossbow bolt, dealing a serious injury to the man.
  • Peering through his own illusion Jorn can see that the other bandits are at the false gate and are trying to break through it and that their leader, Cassius is leading the charge atop his mount.
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Episode 7
Showdown in the Canyon

The story so far…

  • Jorn sees the mounted dwarf inside the cave ready a lance and begin to charge the illusionary door. The dwarf smashes into the door but the illusion holds.
  • Having reached the top of the stone pile against the cliff wall Stubbs begins to try and scale the cliff wall but is unable to find suitable handholds.
  • Darrius and Jorn continue to battle the lone bandit in front of the doorway. Darrius outmaneuvers his opponent and delivers a deep wound, knocking his foe to his feet. Pointing his sword at the man Darrius challenges him to flee or die. Fearing for his life the man takes Darrius’ offer and runs into the dark.
  • Jorn retreats to the side of the door and recasts his Displace Image spell on himself.
  • Stubbs throws a grapple and rope up the cliff side and then begins to ascend the cliff face. Eventually reaching a small outcropping that is able to support him.
  • Only moments later, the dwarf calvaryman Cassius charges through the illusion of the door and bursts out into the lit canyon. Temporarily stunned he surveys the scene and sees Darrius, Jorn and Stubbs. His remaining soldiers remain trapped behind the illusion.
  • Darrius attempts to maneuver around Cassius but finds himself in a dangerous position near the dwarf’s lance. Cassius raises his weapon and brings down on the side of Darrius’ head, knocking him to the ground unconscious. The dwarf then rides a short distance away before turning about face and readies to charge against Jorn.
  • Jorn begins to weave threads to his You Got Me spell and prepares to cast the spell using raw magic.
  • Stubbs takes a few pot shots from his perch but when he realizes that he is doing little damage to the calvaryman he begins to climb the cliff again.
  • Cassius charges Jorn but only tears through the Displaced Image, shattering the illusion. The three soldiers inside attempt to disbelieve the door in front of them and manage to see through the trick.
  • Suddenly another bolt flies out of the darkness above and strikes Cassius in the shoulder. At the last second Cassius tries to wheel around and dodge the attack but fails and is knocked prone off his mount.
  • Jorn casts his spell and takes the form of Kane Telvarri. He then rushes to the prone Cassius and holds his blade at his throat and tells him to surrender or Kane’s archers will fill him with arrows. As if on cue another bolt flies into Cassius’ chest. The dwarf seems fearful and tells Jorn that he surrenders.
  • While Cassius is still surrendering his men rush to his aid. One of them shoves Jorn to the side while another attacks him inflicting only some minor damage. The third helps Cassius to his feet and he calls for his mount.
  • The bandits retreat, running and riding into the night.
  • Jorn runs to Darrius’ aid and revives him. As Darrius comes to Jorn continues to act as Kane and tells him “You’ve really messed up tonight, Darrius. You’ll never have a chance with my daughter now!”.
  • Darrius is completely disoriented but apologizes profusely to who he believes is Kane. Jorn can only hold the illusion for so long before he bursts out laughing and Darrius sees through the disguise. Jorn apologizes for the trick and then helps Darrius bind his wounds.
  • Stubbs reaches the top of the cliff face and hikes up to where Lando is waiting. Lando observes that the battle was not entirely a smooth operation. Stubbs agrees and apologizes for losing the quarry. Lando tells him that he will keep tracking them and asks what Stubbs will do now. Stubbs says he’s still looking for training and Lando tells him to come with him and help track the bandits. Stubbs agrees to pay for the training when they get back to town.
  • Meanwhile Jorn and Darrius enter the cave. Inside they find some rooms hewn from the cavern. They find a bunk room with some basic clothing and a small pouch with 6 silver coins. They also find Cassius’ room which contains a locked chest and a stable with two Huttawa mounts.
  • Darrius attempts to calm the mounts but they seem alarmed at his presence. Jorn uses his still active spell to make himself appear as Cassius. He is able to calm the mounts.
  • The two grab a few tools and return to Cassius’ chambers and begin to break the locked chest open. As the break the lock they hear a rip and the hiss of gas. A poisonous cloud sprays over them and the two get woozy and fall unconscious.
  • After resting and taking care of his injuries Stubbs heads back down to find out what is taking Darrius and Jorn so long. He comes across their sleeping bodies and is able to tell they’ve been poisoned but is unsure how to treat it.
  • Searching through the chest he finds a leather pouch with 30 gold pieces as well as some fine clothing and parchment that has been ruined with some type of blackish ink that spilled out of the same skin that was holding the gas.
  • Stubbs puts Jorn and Darrius onto the bunks and leaves them with 10 gold each and a note that tells them he is tracking Cassius with Lando and that he will return when he has completed his training…

6/120

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Episode 8
The Next Circle

The story so far…

  • Stubbs and Lando set off to track Cassius and his band of men.
  • Darrius and Jorn wake up in unfamiliar beds in the dark, unsure of how much time has passed, and after a few seconds of disorientation they realize they are still in Cassius’ cavern fort. They look around and discover that the contents of Cassius’ chest have been emptied and that each of them are 10 gold pieces richer. After reading Stubbs’ note they decide to return to the city.
  • They decide to take the two huttawas that were left in the stable and return to Thadizar, leading the animals. They journey for the rest of the night and enter the city at sunrise.
  • Meanwhile, Stubbs spends a week with Lando as they track Cassius to a new hideout; a fortress constructed in what appears to be an old ruin. Over the course of the week Lando teaches Stubbs about the land and how a Scout must not just learn how to hide but rather how to become one with his surroundings. Unlike a Thief a Scout must truly belong to his environment, not just avoid notice.
  • Lando then lets Stubbs copy his map of the area though he doesn’t tell him what all the markings on the map mean as he intends for Stubbs to discover these things on his own. Stubbs decides to follow in Lando’s steps and chooses to specialize in his Discipline as an Explorer, embracing his link with nature and the unknown wasteland.
  • Upon arriving back in Thadizar, Stubbs decides to invest in a better weapon and purchases a crossbow and a quiver of bolts from the market.
  • Darrius and Jorn decide they also need training. Darrius attempts to make a deal with Korgash but Korgash is unrelenting. He refuses any deal except payment in gold. Without any other option Darrius turns to Jorn to lend him the money.
  • Jorn does not have enough coin to cover both of their training expenses but remembers that Dusty had indicated he may be open to working out a deal in exchange for training. Jorn approaches Dusty and Dusty agrees to train him if Jorn will perform a job for him.

“A sleight of hand job?”

  • Jorn agrees and then lends the money to Darrius so he can also pay for his training. The two then spend the next week training with their respective masters and learning the tricks of their trade.
  • Korgash encourages Darrius to be more aggressive and embrace the sword mastery aspect of his Discipline. Under Korgash’s guidance, Darrius focus on becoming a Blade Master Specialist, choosing to focus on his blade rather than on his wits.
  • After a week’s time the three travelers have each learned new Talents, becoming more powerful and infused with the magic of their Disciplines. However they are also quite poor now, having spent the majority of their money (especially Darrius who is now quite indebted to Jorn).

“Maybe I should just fight Korgash and take my money back.”
“Wait, like in a duel?”
“I’ve beaten him in a fight once before.”
“Didn’t you cut his pants off?”
“Gayest bar fight ever.”

GM Note: By the way, I never made you pay for a week’s food or for the inn while you were training but I’m feeling generous so we’ll say you camped while training and had to catch and cook your own food.

  • Darrius returns to Tunsten the Weaponsmith and retrieves the sword he left with the dwarf. Tunsten tells him that the sword is magical and has four ranks. To begin weaving to the sword’s pattern Darrius must know the name of the sword. To weave the last rank Darrius must win a duel against a worthy opponent without ever drawing the blade. Darrius is impressed with Tunsten’s skill and pays him an extra 5 silver pieces for his work.
  • Having received training, Jorn and Darrius must now honor Jorn’s agreement with Dusty. Dusty explains to Jorn that he has been watching a local merchant by the name Silas who he suspects may be up to something sinister. Dusty has observed that Silas has met with several different adventurers and mercenaries over the last several months and that while every one of these men has soon after left the city none have ever returned. Dusty explains that there is no proof that anything foul has occurred but he would like Jorn, and anyone he chooses to bring with him, to meet with Silas and see if they can find out what he is up to.
  • While Darrius and Jorn discuss their new mission in town they happen upon a shrub with a remarkable resemblance to Stubbs. While they debate whether the shrub would be a suitable replacement for their long lost companion Stubbs arrives and reunites with his old friends.
  • Jorn and Darrius explain to Stubbs that they have already committed to performing a task for Dusty and ask for his help. Stubbs seems irritated that they are spending more time with distractions but agrees to help them out.
  • Darrius wants to inform Kane of what happened with Cassius but Stubbs tells him that Lando has already reported. In any case, Stubbs decides to visit the Telvarri manor and see how progress on Kane’s caravan to Khaldera is progressing.
  • Stubbs meets with Kane and, after first taking some credit for tracking down Cassius, learns that the caravan will be ready to leave in approximately four days. Kane re-extends his offer to let the three travel with him and also offers to hire them on as guards for the caravan, though he explains that will require them to stay with the caravan all the way until it arrives at Khaldera. Jorn says they will consider the offer and let him know before the caravan is ready to leave.
  • While Stubbs is at the Telvarri manor Jorn and Darrius head to the local tavern to track down Silas. There they find a piece of parchment attached to a board that states that Silas is looking for men to undertake an expedition and has directions on how to find Silas.
  • When Stubbs returns the three set off to find Silas. They arrive at this home in the merchant quarter of the city and Darrius tells Stubbs to hide so that no one knows he is part of their group.
  • Silas answers the door and shows Darrius and Jorn into his home. After serving them water he sits with them and has them take an oath that what he tells them will remain secret.
  • Silas tells them that he has come into possession of a map that shows the way to a pre-scourge temple of Jaspree. He wants the two men to journey to this temple and recover an idol of Jaspree from the temple, believing that it may still hold some power over nature. He expects the Journey will there and back will take two days and offers them 50 silver in payment in addition to any other treasure they might find there.
  • Jorn casually brings up that he has heard that other men have been hired for this mission in the past and haven’t returned. Silas seems surprised by this claim and assures them that he has never hired any men for this mission before.
  • The two barter with him, explaining they are adepts and that their time is very valuable. Silas agrees to pay them 100 silver pieces. After agreeing to the mission Silas then shows them the map and allows Jorn to make a copy of it.
  • Once outside the two meet up with Stubbs again who is frustrated that he was left out of the negotiations.

“That deception was completely pointless!”
“The deception has only just begun.”
“What?”
YOU are the deception.”

  • Feeling the call of adventure the three eagerly set off, without telling anyone where they are going, into the wilderness following Jorn’s map. Jorn and Darrius lead the way and Stubbs trails a couple of hours behind, maintaining the deception.
  • As dusk approaches, Darrius and Jorn make camp near where the map points to the location of the temple. Stubbs makes a second camp nearby and the three decide to rest the night and tackle the temple in the morning…

14/120

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Episode 9
Of Eyes and Idols

The story so far…

  • While camping out in the desert Jorn notices a light coming from an opening in a nearby hillside and believes it to be torchlight. He wakes Darrius and they both see the light fade away as if the light is moving deeper into the cavern.
  • The two men collect their belongings and head towards where they saw the light in order to investigate its source. Stubbs, who is camped nearby, packs up as well and trails behind Jorn and Darrius.
  • Arriving at the point where they saw the light they find an arched doorway and a wide hall leading into the hillside. The structure is built out of large stone blocks and appears to be quite ancient. Jorn creates a ball of light and he and Darrius head into the hall.
  • The two move quickly but cautiously, listening for any sign of whoever was holding the light but they hear nothing. As they round the corner to the right they see the light disappearing once more around another corner up ahead.
  • Jorn notices that the even through the halls appear quite ancient they also show some sign of being recently repaired. Darrius and Jorn take a moment to inspect the walls and floor and determine that they are quite solid and sturdy.
  • Outside the temple entrance, Stubbs spends a moment to find his friends’ tracks and uses his Tracking Talent to find their trail. He then slowly follows them while erasing their tracks behind him so no one will be able to tell where they’ve gone.
  • Rounding the corner where they last saw the light, Darrius and Jorn find themselves facing a long, dark tunnel and no sign of the light. Uneasy now, Jorn decides to peer into Astral Space. Gazing into the swirling energy of Astral Space he sees that there is heavy corruption in this area and tells Darrius that there is definitely something evil at work in this place.
  • They continue down the hallway and notice that some of the offshoot hallways have collapsed. After walking 30 or 40 yards down the hall, they come across some shallow alcoves in the walls of the hallway where four sarcophagi lie on stone shelves.
  • Two of the sarcophagi are open and peering inside Jorn sees that ancient, dried up, skeletons lie inside. He is puzzled to note that both of the skeletons are missing their arms. Jorn slides the coverings off the remaining two sarcophagi and finds two more skeletons, fully in tact.
  • Stubbs, who is still further back in the hallway notices a light coming from the left hallway and watches as it disappears around a corner. He decides to catch up to Jorn and Darrius and hurries down the right hall.
  • Stubbs tells the others that he saw a light now a different passage and the three begin to suspect that they may be in some kind of trap. They decide to return outside and see if they can determine if this is even the temple they are looking for. Stubbs starts leading them back through the hallway.
  • As Stubbs heads down the hall the entire structure begins to rumble and based on his mining experience Stubbs realizes that the floor is collapsing. He calls out a warning and tries to sprint forward however the floor collapse and the three adventures fall into the darkness below.
  • Stubbs manages to land on his feet, avoiding any damage from falling rubble. Darrius takes only minor injuries however Jorn lands hard the stone and takes a wound from his fall.
  • The three look around and realize they’ve fallen into a long, large room. The room is littered with piles of stone and rubble and looking at the ceiling they can see that there must have been several different cave-ins over time. At the far end of the room they can see atop a short, raised platform a stone altar. A soft, glowing light is being emitted from behind the altar.
  • The three spread out and approach the light after Darrius and Stubbs each take an end of Stubb’s rope to make sure they don’t get separated. Darrius leads the way, flourishing his cloak and demanding that whoever is there to show them respect for coming here. Stubbs fans out and hugs the far wall, trying to get a view around the altar. As he manoeuvres along the wall he sees a ball of soft light floating a few inches off the ground. Near the light there appears to be a body lying on the ground. The light suddenly fades and disappears.
  • The three approach the body and see that it is a corpse, probably dead for a few weeks now. They also notice that it is lying in the middle of a circle made of human bones and that a large amount of dried blood stains the floor.
  • Jorn peers into Astral Space and sees that the circle of bones are glowing with magical energy. In the corpse’s hand there appears to be a magical object. Jorn deduces that this corpse must have once been a Nethermancer and bravely/foolishly steps into the circle, feeling a wave of energy pass over him. Turning the corpse’s hand over he sees that it is clutching a large, spherical ruby. The ruby radiates an inky black energy and appears to have burned into the flesh of the corpse’s hand. Jorn says a quick prayer for the dead Nethermancer and then cuts off the corpse’s arm with his knife so as to avoid touching the ruby.
  • While Jorn investigates the corpse Stubbs hears something moving in the hall above them. He readies his crossbow and waits. He is horrified to see a monstrous, centipede-like Horror crawl into the room from the gap in the ceiling. Instead of legs the creature appears to have the arms of Namegivers growing out of its side as if they have been grafted to its body. It uses these arms and hands to pull itself along the ground. Its giant face appears to resemble a dead human face but one of its eyes appear to have been dug out of its socket and black, sticky blood seeps from the wound. Stubbs fires his crossbow into the monster but the bolt bounces harmless off its thick hide.
  • The Horror speaks into the adventurers’ minds without moving its mouth. They hear a raspy, echoing voice tell them that it will destroy them unless they agree to give it the ruby that Jorn is clutching. Looking at the wound in the Horror’s face the group realizes they are in actuality holding the Horror’s missing eye.
  • Jorn refuses to make a deal with the Horror who then moves to attack. Darrius moves back in the room, towards Jorn and the bone circle however the Horror rushes towards Stubbs, grasping him with one of its many arms and begins to suck the life out him.
  • Stubbs manages to bring his axe up and strikes the arm grasping him, the blow causes the Horror to drop him and he scrambles to his feet. Jorn attempts to cast an Ephemeral Bolt spell at the horror from within the bone circle but as the spell crosses the circle it explodes in a burst of energy. Darrius aggressively attack from the side, attempting to tangle the Horror’s limbs in Stubb’s rope. He manages to injure the Horror but fails to entangle its limbs.
  • The Horror then shrieks in a demonic roar that terrifies both Stubbs and Darrius. Jorn is just barely able to resist its effect. Stubbs manages to crawl back and fall into the circle of bone. The Horror attacks Darrius causing serious injury.
  • The Horror then picks up Darrius and hurls him at Jorn, attempting to knock Jorn out of the circle. Jorn is hit but manages to scramble back into the circle and drags Darrius’ body in as well.
  • Realizing that they are somewhat at an impasse the Horror begins to attempt to bargain with the group again, once more offering to let them leave with their lives if they will turn over the ruby. Stubbs tries to negotiate a different deal…

Stubbs: “Where is the idol?”
Horror: “Ha ha ha, you still believe there’s an idol? Such gullible creatures.”
Stubbs: “Bring us the idol and we’ll give you the eye!”
Horror: “…….”
Jorn: “…….”
Darrius: “…….”
Horror: “There is no idol. There never was.”

  • Jorn once again refuses to make a deal and attempts to hit the Horror with another Ephemeral Bolt but the spell has no effect and the Horror retreats, climbing back up through the hole in the ceiling promising that it will outlast them, dragging Stubb’s rope with him.
  • The group takes a moment to recoup and catch their breath. Darrius bandages himself up with his last medicine kit. Jorn does a more thorough search of the corpse and finds a scroll case and a leather pouch with some coins in it. He also discovers a deep wound across the corpse’s belly and it appears to be a self inflicted wound. An ornate knife still lies stabbed into the side of the corpse. Jorn theorizes that the Nethermancer used his own blood to cast a blood magic spell, probably the one that sealed the circle against the Horror.
  • Jorn pieces together that the ruby eye must be a pattern item of the Horror since it seems so desperate to recover it. He concludes that the Nethermancer must have some how injured the Horror and took its eye and then used blood magic to create a barrier preventing the Horror from retrieving the eye.
  • Going through the scroll case reveals that it is the Nethermancer’s grimoire and that his name was Zanza. There is also a map within the case that Stubb’s recognizes as being the same as the map they received from the merchant Silas. They suspect that he must have sent many people to their deaths in this ruin with his map.
  • The group decides to take a quick look around, being careful to keep an eye on all the entrances into the room in case the Horror returns. The discover under some of the rubble piles additional corpses that appear to have had they arms torn off. They recover a few more coins and weapons from the corpses and then return to the circle to formulate a plan.
  • Several plans are discussed including having Stubbs run off with a decoy ruby while Darrius and Jorn sneak out with the ruby, leaving the ruby in the circle and returning before the spell wears off, confronting the horror and killing it, and sending word to Kane to send help.

Stubbs: “We should destroy the eye.”
Jorn: “No, we already tried that and it’s impossible.”
Stubbs: “What did we try?”
Jorn: “We hit it with a hammer.”

  • After some discussion, the group unanimously agree that the best plan is to sneak out, leaving the ruby within the circle and return later to kill the Horror once they’ve become more powerful.
  • The group collects their supplies and look for a place to hide the ruby in case anyone else finds their way into the ruins.

Jorn: “Ohhhhh… I know where I can hide it.”

  • They eventually decide to hide the ruby inside the Nethermancer’s corpse, sliding it into the knife wound in his belly. Stubbs then leads the way down one of the unexplored passages.
  • Stubbs leads them down a few hallways until they come across a room with a round fountain in the center surrounded by statues of the Passions. The statues are old and tarnished and the fountain is dry. Pressing on, Stubbs hears the sound of many “feet” rushing towards them from around the corner. Seconds later the Horror rounds the corner on the attack.
  • The Horror attacks Stubbs hitting him with several blows. Stubbs draws his spade from his back and attempts to blind the Horror’s good eye but fumbles with the tool, dropping it to the side. Darrius rushes forward to aid Stubbs and maneovers into an attack position while Jorn falls back and fires an Ephemeral Bolt at the Horror.
  • The Horror rears up and attacks Darrius with a heavy blow, wounding him again. A second blow is narrowly avoided by Darrius who then leaps off the wall and strikes down with a powerful sword strike, stabbing deep into the Horror’s head. The Horror collapses and the three adventures continue to stab the beast, until black blood flows freely down the hall.

Stubbs: “I walk along his body stabbing each of his balls.”

  • Satisfied and a little surprised that the Horror is truly dead the three decide to leave the ruby eye hidden in the ruins until they can report back to town and see if there’s another way to permanently destroy the object.
  • Exploring the ruins they find stair leading back to the entrance as well as the Horror’s lair where several corpses are found in a heap with their arms torn off. They recover a few more coins from the dead and Darrius collects several blades. Jorn finds a body shield.
  • The three now set their sights on returning to Thadizar to confront the merchant, Silas.
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