Chaldea

Vishkon PCs, Session 002

Attending: Elven.

Elven decides it’s time to leave home and set off to meet her father. Drazzo points out the mountains to the north and informs Elven that she met him thereabout in a dwarven town called Perth. Drazzo gives Elven a scale off her body, it’s about the size of a human shield. “Here, give this to my father. He asked me for it.”

Before she leaves, along with her trusty giant spider friend, Szazarac, Elven has a dream about seeing her reflection in a beautiful pool.

We establish that the name of the nearby elven village is Barkhome.

On the way to Perth, Elven has a lusty encounter with the nyads Nile and his wife, Lucinda, and their airheaded elven friend, Spritz. Elven falls under Nile’s spell, falling in love with the pool and loses herself. For a whole year! The year has a magical dream-like quality, surreal, with days filled with love, romance, passion, swimming, and sunshine. During this year she forgets all about her quest to meet her father and pass along the scale to her grandfather. She also gets pregnant and bears a son by Nile! (We establish that due to Vishkon’s heritage, Elven is quite fertile.) For the birthing an elven midwife named Nana shows up. Her son is named Sly.

The departure from Nile’s pool is awkward. Elven has mixed feelings of lost love, lost innocence. Was she raped? Lucinda seems sad to see her go, while she is cradling Sly as if it were her own child. Elven promises to return though Nile warns her not to. Nile gives her a beautiful rainbow pearl. Elven takes it but doesn’t understand. Is this a bribe? Is this alimony? Is this guilt? She promises to herself that the pearl “is for Sly someday.”

After she leaves she wonders, “Did Nile send the dream of the reflecting pool?” And she asks Szazarac, “Why didn’t you rescue me?” Szazarac responds, “I had no idea you were enspelled! You seemed very happy.”

View
Saratov PCs, Setup

Saratov PC’s - Setup

These notes describe the setup for this group, leading into the first session. —PA

Date: January 12, 2011

The Players: (ALL Present)
Peter Adkson – GM
Steve Conard – Mavra Chang
Mike Boozer – Vecna
CJ – Prince Kalibar
Scott – Kwell Geldzahn
Adrian Swartout – Ada Loban Nythil

GM Voice…

The initial setup of any long term campaign is a special opportunity. This is the only point in the entire campaign where the player characters don’t know each other and have no established relationship or purpose. Since it’s a time and opportunity that will not happen again it pays to think about it ahead of time instead of treating it casually. The pressure was on to come up with something cool, although it would be hard to match what we did for my 3E Ilboria campaign where all the PC’s met for the first time when they were magically summoned to slay a young green dragon who’d just drawn the Death card from a deck of many things.

What I decided was that the players would have an opportunity, if they so desired, to play the character that would eventually become the namesake of a famous (our infamous) artifact of Modern Chaldea, artifacts that were dear or perhaps feared by some of the same players’ characters from decades ago real time (and about 5,000 years in the future, Chaldea time). CJ jumped on this immediately and created Prince Kalibar, the namesake of the Rapiers of Kalibar which his character Yo would collect in Modern times. Boozer decided to play the most famous artifact-related villain of all time, Vecna, who we decided was a high elf before becoming a lich. Steve, true to form, suggested he play Mavra Chang, the ultimate being creator of the universe who occasionally takes on a human life with no memory of her omnipotent status. Adrian and Scott had never played in my old campaign so this technique didn’t hold the same luster for them; they contented themselves with burning characters normally. Another thing I did for this group is give each of them a special ability.

I invited all the players to burn five lifepath characters (not realizing that humans should have more than elves or dwarves). Experienced players will note that I did not guide the players well in developing their beliefs. This took several sections to rectify.

Player Character Introductions

Kalibar is a human male of Somacian blood (Somacians are the Arabs of Chaldea) and is of royal blood. He has exceptional perception of G2 (Kalibar is the only PC I’ve allowed to start with a grey attribute) and is incredibly strong with a power of B8. Of course this means his other attributes are somewhat average. He is skilled at riding, scimitar, command, and intimidation. Kalibar took the trait Tainted Legacy, which we decided has to do with an Efreet grandfather. From time to time his eyes burn like fire. Kalibar is serving time in a Somacian military unit that is part of the Imperial army stationed in Saratov.

Kalibar’s initial beliefs are: (1) My family’s curse will catch up to me. (2) I must have the finest weapon; if I see it, I get it. (3) There is no “I” in team. He has a special ability that allows him to borrow attributes from others in his presence.

Vecna is a male high elf sorcerer who is apprentice to Lalfroth, Elder Dragon, Grand Vizier of the Empire. Vecna also excels at negotiation and skills at court. He hails from the Garnon Forest but we have not developed much of that back story. What we do know is that Kordaava demanded of the elves that one of their race come serve in the capacity of Warden of the Forested Lands of the Empire and Vecna agreed to the mission because it also opened the door to studying magic under Lalfroth.

Vecna’s beliefs are: (1) I can talk my way out of anything. (2) It’s important to be patient with the lessor races. (3) I will be the most powerful sorcerer in the world. He has a special ability to see souls out of his peripheral vision and to look into someone’s eyes and know their secrets.

Mavra Chang is an Asian female human, slight of build but with a big presence, speaking with a voice of authority. Raised in unfortunate circumstances, Mavra slept her way to the top from slave to privateer to captain of her own ship, The Markovian. Even though Mavra is the all-being-master of time-space-and-dimension it does her no good. She doesn’t know it, and when she put herself on the planet it was with the understanding that Obie, her omnipotent super-computer companion, never intercede on her behalf—-except, of course, to not let her die permanently. In each of these lives she puts herself in the lowest possible station, but with a sharp mind and a healthy body. She enjoys the challenge of seeing herself rise above her background, something she has done time and time again over the ages. With the Markovian moored at her own private sloop nearby Mavra is learning the ins and outs of Saratov, developing her street wise skill after being raised a slave and then spending most of her days at sea.

Mavra’s initial beliefs are: (1) I should always have sex with the boss. (2) The riskier the road, the greater the reward. And (3) Wealth is best when shared - theirs! Mavra’s special ability was extra stat bonuses, representing a “near perfect” body, plus some degree of soul protection.

Kwell Geldzahn is a male dwarf who’s marriage to Serakka Cloudforge represents a union of two great Dwarven clans. As multitudes of dwarves had fled the surface world, delving deeper and deeper into the planet’s core, the few who remain have banded together and tend to be quite wealthy, having inherited the lands and businesses of those left behind. The sun is setting on the dwarven race, though, for the dwarves who remain have lost their fecundity. Kwell and Serakka are both sole heirs to their families’ holdings and there is tremendous pressure to uphold the traditions of the clan, build their business empires, and find a way forward to bearing children.

Kwell’s initial beliefs are: (1) I know you, or you are unknown. (2) They’ll always pay another 5%. (3) Dragon hearts enhance dwarven fertility. I will corner the market & restore the dwarves to fecundity. And (4) Marriage oath: I will restore the lineage of Clan Cloudforge. Kwell’s special ability is that he is the sole heir to his family and his wife’s family; he started with very high resources and is in a position to become even more obscenely wealthy.

Ada Loban Nythil is a female wilder elf ranger who’s best friend and most faithful companion is her falcon, Moxie. Ada is no wallflower, however. She is fanatically loyal to her home in the Georgian Forest and the natural denizens thereof. Some might judge her priorities a kilter given that she killed human hunters who were torturing Moxie. Humans can doubt all they want, Moxie knows the truth, and Ada trusts Moxie. Ada now must face the unknowns of learning about humans and their ways for she has been appointed Ambassador of the Georgian Forest to the Empire.

Ada’s initial beliefs are: (1) Humans have a purpose - I will figure out what it is. (2) Not in my forest! And (3) Only cowards look the other way. Ada’s special ability is that she can share her skills and stats with others. By default, she shares her Observation skill with Moxie.

Location

Having already established the campaign setting as Ancient Chaldea we agreed to have the Imperial capital of Saratov as the central point of where the action would be. Every player could charge forward with character burning but with the notion that the character is based in Saratov or has a reason to visit there frequently. For Kalibar, his unit is stationed in Saratov. For Vecna, he holds a position in the Imperial Court. For Ada, she is an ambassador to the Court. For Mavra, her sloop is in Saratov. For Kwell, his business is based in Saratov.

Intra-Party Relationships

To determine inter-party relationships I took an idea from Fiasco. In Fiasco, the players sit around a table (of course) and each player’s character has some sort of relationship with the characters of the players to the left and right. Since we were doing this via email I arranged the players virtually and suggested starting intra-party relationships as follows:

Vecna – Kalibar: Kalibar’s unit, the Janissaries, is the honor guard military unit assigned to Lalfroth. Given this relationship, various matters of logistics must often be sorted out. For this, Lalfroth relies on Vecna, and Kalibar’s commander (Packta) relies on Kalibar. So Kalibar and Vecna coordinate the activities of their respective organizations, and Kalibar is assigned to protect Vecna.

Kalibar – Kwell: Kwell’s family deals in weapons and armor. Kalibar loves weapons. He also needs to secure weapons for his unit from time to time. Over the course of time Kalibar has grown to see Kwell as a valuable resource for trade, and Kwell knows a good customer when he sees one.

Kwell – Mavra: Kwell is surrounded by wealth and luxury, but sometimes he just needs to unwind and he goes “slumming”. On one of those nights he met Mavra and they became drinking buddies. Mavra was quick to warm up to him - he’s loaded!

Mavra – Ada: This is the only relationship that wasn’t pre-play. Instead, it became the topic of the opening vignette. See the notes later on, from actual play.

AdaVecna: Vecna, as the Warden for the Forested Lands of the Empire, learns that Ada has just been awarded the ambassadorial position from the Georgian Forest. They’ve never met, but they have a relationship due to these positions as Vecna is the person Ada would come to with any concerns about her lands. And, oh boy does she have a list!

View
Saratov PCs, Session 001
History in the Making

Adventure 1: History in the Making

Date:
July 14, 2010

The Players: (ALL Present)
Peter Adkson – GM
Steve Conard – Mavra Chang
Mike Boozer – Vecna
CJ – Prince Kalibar
Scott – Kwell Geldzahn
Adrian Swartout – Ada Loban Nythil

Since moving to Saratov, Mavra has been interested in discovering/exploring the local rogues guild. What she discovers is that there is a group of personalities (in the city) that overlaps with pirates. There is a joint land and sea operations going on in Saratov. There is a thriving Empire Underworld of bounty hunters, assassins, freelance agents, fugitives, thieves, and petty criminals.

Triangle Connection: Vecna, Mavra and Ada. Through the rogues guild, Mavra is hired to escort Ada and look after her for a period of time. Mavra arrives at the Viziers Palace where Lalfroth lives (black dragon)

Lalfroth is the Elder Black Dragon and the grand vizier to Emperor Kordava. Lalfroth’s Palace is best described as an Igloo design with a massive arching dome. The top is at the top so that Lalfroth can launch himself out of the upper dome.

Lalfroth has three Apprentices:

  • Makala: An Orc Witch (very dark magic, terrible brews, and blood contracts with otherworld creatures, hateful, angry, spiteful).
  • Cerberus: A dogman – race of bipedal creatures (good with weapons, magic and sneaking about (Fighter, thief, mage). He is quite diversified in his talents.
  • Vecna: High-Elf Wizard. Warden of the Forested Lands of the Empire.

Mavra climbed aboard the Markovian her critical eyes immediately sweeping the ship’s deck from bow to stern. Her eyes danced from jib to quarterdeck, mast, sails and scuppers. It was a habit she found herself performing every time she came a board. The Markovian was a beautiful Perrin made sloop – in Saratov she had no equal. Mavra was proud of her ship and was single-minded in the manner in which she maintained in.

Her two men Yakov and Smirnoff were busy polishing brass and organizing tackle. It was only mid-morning but the sun was already baking the teak deck. Yakov wiped away beads of sweat as he approached, “You received this urgent message.” Yakov presented a letter sealed with a red wax seal. Mavra instantly recognized Viktor’s seal and tore into it promptly. Viktor was an important business associate, pivotal to her success as a Privateer. Viktor held great influence in the Saratov business community and even more authority in the clandestine underground. But to Mavra, Viktor was more than just a business associate, she had once been his slave and he had arranged for her to buy her freedom. A gesture she would never forget.

The letter read: “Come quickly, I would like to discuss a rare business opportunity.”

  • * * * *
“Baby sitting is more like it.” Mavra cursed loudly.

Viktor’s office was business elegant – posh without being too pretentious. He sat in a black high backed leather chair behind a massive rosewood desk – only a few loose papers littered its otherwise flawless surface. A manservant stood silently nearby, at the ready to perform any demanded task.

“Calm yourself,” Victor said with a sigh, his irritation starting to show. “As I previously stated, this is a rare opportunity for both you and I. Lolfroth’s influence in Saratov is immeasurable, not to mention his contacts across the empire. Vecna is both high-elf and an apprentice to Lolfroth. We should treat this request with both respect and, to be honest, a rare business opportunity that we’ll unlikely see again. To reject it is folly.

Viktor was not a tall man standing a mere 5’9”. He appeared to be in his early 60’s and was nearly bald with severely receding hairline. What hair he did have was silver and tightly cropped military style. He had dazzling blue eyes of a much younger man. His skin was darkly tanned with early age marks starting to show from years of sun exposure. Viktor was easily recognized by the round birthmark in the middle of his forehead just above his eyes. Despite his age, Viktor was in remarkably good shape with a body of a man half his age. Mavra had always suspected there was something supernatural about his life style.

“Surely there is someone within Lolfroth’s organization who can look after this girl.” After reading Viktor’s note, Mavra had been excited for a new business opportunity. Her imagination had skipped from possibility to new possibility. She hadn’t been prepared for what she now heard. A new ambassador had recently come to Saratov from the Georgian Forest. This ambassador was a young elf maiden named Ada Loban Nythil. As Viktor had described it, “She is a fair elf lass from the Georgian Forest and is an esteemed ambassador of the Georgian forest to the empire. Your task is to introduce Ambassador Ada to the grand city of Saratov. Security and well-being is priority one. Secondary to that is her education—teach her about Saratov. Lastly, she is elven and it’s important that she is well entertained.”

“Open your mind and stop arguing with me.” Victor snapped, the tone in his voice edging up. “Besides, the job pays well.”

Recognizing the dangerous tone in Vicktor’s voice, Mavra relented, “What must I do?”

“Report to Lolfroth’s palace directly. Once there, final instructions will be given.” Viktor eyed the young privateer. She had angered him, an unfortunate habit she’d gotten into. But he found himself unable to stay angry with her. He smiled. “Now off with you.”

Mavra stood erect snapping a smart solute. “Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.” Viktor didn’t miss the snide manner.

“I expect a full report.” Said Viktor nonchalantly as Mavra swept from the room.

  • * * * *

Mavra did exactly as she had been instructed. Although she was annoyed with the assignment, she would never allow her personal feelings to get in the way of performing her job professionally. Less than 30-minutes after leaving Viktor’s office she found herself being ushered into a reception room with in Lolfroth’s palace. The Somacian guards eyeing her warily. Mavra had seen the Palace from a distance, but never up close. She had no real desire to go beyond it’s high security walls. She had of course heard about the Janissaries (Lolfroth’s personal honor guard), and their resolute, one-minded dedication to their guardianship. She suspected much of what she heard to be tall tales, but someone in her line of work (if wise) would stay far away from these gung-ho Somacians.

Mavra waited patiently surveying her surroundings. She considered changing her definition of Posh, she had always thought Viktor’s office and home as posh. Lolfroth’s Palace was luxurious and opulent. The room was decorated with ancient works of art, beautiful woven tapestries and graceful marble sculptures. Mavra mental cataloged each and every item in the room.

Mavra was studying a gold pen and ink set when a man in elegant black silken robes swept into the room. With a curt nod he introduced himself. “Hello, my name is Pavel. I am Vecna’s personal assistant and courtier to Lolfroth’s court.”

“Hello, I’m Mavra I was sent –“

“Yes, I know why you are here.” Interjected Pavel. He walked around and around Mavra studying her clothing and overall appearance. “This won’t do. Won’t do at all.”

“What’s the problem?” asked Mavra unsure of what was going on.

Pavel was a dark skinned man with the characteristics of those from Port Car. Mavra was intrigued by the man as she had always had respect for those from Port Car.

Note: Pavel is the son of a noble from Port Car; dark skinned with all of the characteristic of those from Port Car). He has a highly tuned instinct: Whenever Vecna is in a meeting, he stays within ear shot.”

Pavel had an ingratiating manner, pleasant and leisurely making Mavra feel at ease despite his critical eye. He had the skills of a practiced politician, having been born and raised in aristocratic settings.

“Is this my guard,” said a cheery feminine voice with musical elven accent. A beautiful young elven maiden danced into the room with a flourish of energy. She was wearing revealing green elven smock, which could be described as barely wearing anything at all. Her long flowing hair was tied back at the nap of the neck with berries and floral arrangement. On her arm was a majestic speckled falcon.

“This is Mavra Chang milady.” Said Pavel with introduction. “She will accompany you here in Saratov. Think of Mavra as your guide here in Saratov. She will be your chauffeur and yes, guardian. You have a week to explore the city and see the sights. Make sure you make good use of your time.”

“Hello.” said Mavra bowing slightly, “It’s nice–”

“Why hello Mavra.” Ada interrupted. Bubbling with enthusiasm Ada skipped forward and kissed Mavra on both cheeks in rapid succession. “I’m glad to finally meet someone of the softer persuasion.” Ada winked with a glint in her eye, “You know what I mean. There are a lot of boys in this palace.” Ada grinned widely. “Am I supposed to wear clothes like yours?” Ada asked indicating Mavra’s soft leather pants and exposed midriff jerkin.

“Well, no, not exactly–”.” Mavra answered.

“Good.” Ada interrupted again. “Before we begin, I need to figure out what to do with Moxie.”

“Moxie?”

“My falcon, my best friend in the whole wide world.” Ada held up the Falcon sitting on her arm. “Isn’t she the most beautiful bird of prey you’ve ever seen?”

“Yes. She’s quite–”

“I need to find a home for her while I’m doing my job. Like me, Moxie isn’t used to the city. Her home is the Georgian Forest. Where will she hunt while she’s here? She’ll need to eat. She’ll need to stretch her wings. We can’t expect her to eat human food. She needs the hunt, the kill. She needs fresh meat.”

Moxie screeched loudly.

Ada pointed to the bird. “See, she agrees.”

“Do not worry. We will attend to Moxie.” A tall blond elf stood in the doorway in royal stately robs. He was taller than any elf Mavra had ever seen. “Be assured, she will be safe and well cared for while you are here in Saratov.”

“Oh thank you Vecna.” Ada squealed with delight. “Hear that Moxie. You will have a home too.”

“What did you have in mind milord?” Pavel asked.

Vecna walked into the room further studying Mavra, “Summon the imperial Falconer and the Gamer Keeper.”

Pavel looked doubtful “As you wish.”

“Be quick about it,” said the high elf, “I have business to attend and don’t want to waste my morning.” Vecna’s never once took his eyes off Mavra. Mavra felt oddly peculiar with the high elf staring at her.

While Pavel was gone Mavra and Vecna come to a business arrangement for caring for Ada [3 cash dice per session].

After some time, Pavel returned with and a human man that Ada immediately described to herself as “a warrior.” Not a warrior in the sense that he was decked out with armor and weapons or that he saluted and stood at attention, but a warrior in the sense that he was filled with an aura of confidence and assertion. Physically strong, yes, but the strength went deeper than that. This human had a sense of masculinity and purpose, someone you’d want on your side in a brawl. Even Mavra was impressed. Ada had not spent enough times amongst humans to notice the difference, but Mavra could tell that this man was of some ethnic variation she’d never encountered.

“Allow me to present Lord ”/campaigns/chaldea/characters/arkada" class=“wiki-content-link”>Arkada, Wardon of the Emperor’s Hunting Grounds here in Saratov," Pavel announced. “Arkada will see to your friend,” Pavel added, nodding courteously to Ada, before continuing the introductions of Vecna, Ada, and Mavra to Arkada.

Vecna cut short any chance for chit chat. He addressed the beast master, “Arkada, you will care for lady Ada’s falcon. She is the Ambassador of the Georgian Forest. If you offend her or the bird, you offend me.”

“Yes sir. Your will is done.” He spoke impeccably.

“Moxie needs to hunt.” Ada blurted out.

“Of course.” Said Arkada, “Follow me.”

  • * * * *

Mavra and Ada spent the next few hours getting to know each other as Moxie foraged in the Imperial Hunting Grounds. Ada was impressed with the park, it was the most luxuriant and magical place she’d been since leaving the Georgian Forest. Mavra could see down the hill to where her boat was moored. Twice today she’d been admitted to places normally off limits. I guess Viktor was right.

The park was vast and designed for hunting. Ada was further relieved to find Arkada a master animal trainer. He treated Moxie with firm touch and reassuring hand. By the end of the afternoon Ada felt confident that Moxie would be safe in the Hunting Grounds with Arkada.

“What shall we do now?” said Ada taking Mavra’s arms into hers. “We have the whole evening ahead of us.”

“I thought we would go out for dinner,” Answered Mavra, “I have a friend who invited me to dinner this evening. It’ll be good for you. There will be many people there for you to meet.”

“Who is this friend?”

“Kwell Geldzahn. He’s a dwarf.”

“A dwarf!?”

“Yes. A rich dwarf.”

“Ohhh.”

  • * * * *

Somehow during the middle of all this several of the PCs ended up at the Polo Club where Kalibar gave riding lessons to Ada while enjoying the social scene. [this might have happened in the next session…]

  • * * * *

“You can’t possibly go to dinner in those clothes.” Pavel said exasperated. Mavra and Ada had returned to the palace following their afternoon at the Palace Gardens.

“Why not?” Mavra snapped, “I eat dinner in these clothes every night.”

“It shows.”

Vecna sauntered into the room with a crystal goblet of wine in hand. Cutting into the argument he said, “Get Mavra a dress.”

“Really?” Pavel said unsure.

“LOAN her a dress.” Vecna said flatly, “and give Ada a dress as well. I’ve arranged dinner at the Chaldean Prime. I need those who accompany me to be appropriately dressed.”

Pavel hesitated. “The Chaldean Prime?” He stammered. “The last time you ate there it nearly cost me my head. Might we consider a different restaurant, maybe one less. . .”

“You worry too much.”Vecna put in. Seeing his courtier’s unease, “When I heard Mavra and Ada were going to dinner with Kwell I decided I should attend. I’ll have words with the proprietor; there will be no heads this time around.”

  • * * * *

“These clothes are on loan.” Pavel stated again for the umpteenth time. “When you are done they are to be returned here to the palace. You will sign here on the contract saying as much. Everything in this palace belongs to Lolfroth. What you steal from here you steal from him.” Pavel picked up the gold pen and ink set Mavra had been studying all day. He pointed out an iconic letter ‘L’. Everything here is thusly labeled.” Mavra hopes were dashed when she noticed the label in the dressed had the same L mark. She had made plans to add the dress to her wardrobe.

In early evening Vecna, Mavra and Ada take a carriage ride to the Chaldean Prime. An exclusive dwarven restaurant. There they meet up with the rest of the dinner party. Introductions are made.

• Ada
• Kalibar
• Kwell (and his wife Serakka)
• Mavra
• Vecna

The Chaldean Prime is a dwarven steak house notable for it’s high class liquor. As we take our seats in a private section. Kalilbar stops to pay respects General Anton Thromback a human Selucidan general (one of the four houses of nobility in the empire.

Kwell takes initiative and orders the meals. [Scott quickly rifled off the menu, rich dwarven food – can’t recall what he said].

The food is impeccable. The spirits even more so. Kalibar gets loose and keeps hiccupping has he drinks. The meal is perfect.

Kalibar is proud of his stallion and at the end of the evening demonstrates his riding prowess. He performs and incredible acrobatic mounting maneuver.

  • * * * *

Other Notes

Vecna is employed as an apprentice to Lolfroth. Vecna spends at least 50% of his time working in administration duties. He’s been employed, for a number of years, 5-years. Lolfroth, gently and consistently reinforces Vecna’s arrogance. Vecna receives flash-backs, remembers lolfroth holding court. Vecna showed a bit of sympathy to concerns of some remote village, some strange race of rodents, rodents that can speak and are large, with some intelligence. Afterwards, Lolfroths made the comment, “Vecna, don’t you forget ALL OF THESE RACES, (with a wave of his giant claw), are inferior to you!” Vecna came from the Garnon forest. A high elf citadel in the Garnon forest,

View
Vishkon PCs, Session 003

Attending: Elven.
Time stamp is an estimate only.

Eventually Elven arrives at the edge of the forest as it things out while rising into the foothills of the mountains. The beautiful alpine setting lifts her spirits a bit and helps her project her thoughts forward instead of reminiscing on the pool which left more questions than answers. In the flowery slopes she finds new plants to catalog! Dragon Lilys! And something unknown with a beautiful purple bloom. When she touches it her hand immediately breaks out in hives and then her entire body goes rigid with poison. She falls to the ground in an awkward pose, helpless. “Oh my.” Szazarac straightens her body into a natural position and stands guard.

A patrol of human warriors find Elven on the flowery slopes. At first she is terrified; her experience with humans has been limited. One thing’s for sure, the elves don’t trust them and consider them enemies of the forest. The soldiers look at her, laughing. “That spider found a big lunch! Look, he can’t figure out which end to start eating first!” Szazarac responds, “She’s my friend, not my lunch. And stay back, or you’ll be lunch too!” Then the human in charge orders steps forward and orders the soldiers back. He parlies with Szazarac and explains, “She touched a poisonous plant; she’ll be alright after a bit.” Eventually Elven comes around.

Once she’s able to converse she develops a rapport with this human. His name is Mikael and he’s from Perth! She explains her mission and he offers her sanctuary. She notes he has a fine dwarven axe. Mikael takes Elven to Perth where she stays with his wife, Matilda, and their twin children. She also meets Yuri, a councilman of Perth.

During the night she decides to explore and sneaks out. Unfortunately, she ends up damage the lock on the door during her adventure. But while exploring the mountain outside Perth she finds a shaft down to Vishkon’s lair and finally gets to meet her grandfather. In the discussion she passes along the scale from Drazzo, “Here’s the scale you wanted.” Vishkon chuckles, “The use I had in mind for this has long sense expired. Keep it. Find a good articifer who can make a good shield out of it!”

View
Saratov PCs, Session 003
Rats of Poseidon

Adventure 3: Rats of Poseidon

Date:
August 18, 2010

The Players: (ALL Present)
Peter Adkson – GM
Steve Conard – Mavra Chang
Mike Boozer – Vecna
CJ – Prince Kalibar
Scott – Kwell Geldzahn
Adrian Swartout – Ada Loban Nythil

We began with learning how to ride – Kalibar was only too happy to teach us how to ride, he’d never instructed before, it came naturally to him like fish to water.

New Skills
• Kalibar – opening up new skill INSTRUCTION – Success!
• Ada – Opening Riding Skill: +1 die for successful Instructor – Success
• Vecna – Opening Riding Skill: Success
• Mavra – Opening Riding Skill: Success
• Kwell – Opening Riding Skill: Success

Kwell begins opening up a new skill TOPOGRAPHY

Ada goes hunting with the game warden (hunting pheasant).

Vecna meets an albino in Lolfroth’s court, (a humorless individual), he’s the Comp Controller responsible company assets. [I didn’t catch his name]. Vecna wants to begin working on a appraisal skill.

Mavra is ashamed to admit that she doesn’t know Saratov as well as she should, probably due to living at sea for so long. She picks up a few maps and begins memorizing the city layout (memorizing street names and general topography).

Kalibar has a flasback moment working on symbology. [I didn’t catch who he was speaking with.]

  • * * *

Early the next morning Vecna and his retinue arrive at the harbor and begin loading materials and men onto the Markovian, (Mavra’s private sloop). In the group is Vecna and his assistant Pavel. The security detail consists of Prince Kalibar and eight elite soldiers. . . and a horse.

Mavra is irritable “A horse! Really! Is that necessary.”

Mavra is bit perturbed when Prince Kalibar begins loading a horse on the small ocean vessel. Mavra is quick to point out, “Cleaning up after the horse is your responsibility. I don’t want poop staining my deck. Assign one of your men if you have to. Just make sure you keep it clean.”

Prince Kalibar seems astonished, “Don’t you have servants to maintain this. . . this dingy.” Kalibar’s gaze sweeps the small two-masted sloop. “It’s not really that big is it. Hardly a boat at all.”

“This boat is Perrin made I’ll have you know.” Snapped Mavra. “You will respect it and keep it clean as long as you are on it. Understand.”

“Yeah. Yeah.”

There were 16 people in all; a tight fit to be sure.

A tall dark and ugly man lumbered down the warf limping heavily on a peg-leg. He was missing his left arm below the elbow. The rest of body was savagely scarred, a lazy eye floated in an oversized eye socket. This was Warz the harbormaster who was stopping by to see what all the activity was about. Wartz was notorious for detail, not missing a single detail in his harbor. He was there to monitor goings-on.

“It’s a beautiful ship you have here Mavra.” The man said nicely, “and a nice day for sailing. Where are you bound?”

“Vinnitsa. We have business there.”

The harbormaster quickly surveyed the deck taking stock of the mishmash of personalities. High elves, dwarves, men-at-arms and a horse all under the command of young female captain. He showed no concern.

“Who is this man?” Vecna asked Mavra.

“Why Warz is the harbormaster.” Mavra replied respectfully, “No ship sails or drops anchor without his leave.”

“Really!”

Vecna pointed a quizzical stare at Warz. “Who do you work for?”

Warz turned his one-good-eye towards the high elf. The Harbormaster’s physical demeanor was unflinching, he neither cared nor appeared to be troubled being in the presence of a high elf. He simple ignored Vecna’s question.

A flock of noisy gulls circled the main mast. Ada was hanging from the ratlines enjoying their company – calling to each one in turn. The young elf maiden had an affinity for birds.

“Keeping this boat ship-shape takes a lot of effort.” Mavra called to Ada, “try to keep your friends from pooping on everything.” What the heck was up with these people and their pets.

Kwell knew the war hardened harbormaster by reputation. Warz was answerable to the empire and reported directly to Duke Ptolemy. The most ancient of all the houses, Ptolemy ruled the empire before Kordava. Kwell nodded his head professionally, “Give my regards to Duke Ptolemy.” A quizzical shadow briefly danced across Warz’s rough features. He jotted down a quick note on a small pad of paper.

“I trust my associates submitted the appropriate documents to your office.” Said Mavra indicating Yuri and Yakov.

“Yes.” Warz nonchalantly waved his hand. “All is in order. When will you be returning?”

“Ten days max. Probably closer to eight.”

“I see. Good luck and may the winds favor your passage.”

Under full sail the Markovian passed by the breakwaters into the waiting sea.

Mavra with Yuri and Yakov at her side stood at the stern rail. Reverently they dropped three coins into a small pouch and tossed it into the sea.

Afterwards Vecna inquired, “What was that all about?”

Turning her gaze to the graceful highelf she reflected, “The sea is a mysterious place. Sailors are–“

“Superstitious.” Vecna had gathered her meaning.

“Indeed.”

The two stared across the sun-drenched waters for a time enjoying the sounds of the sea, splashing waters and the sound of canvas against the wind. Ada was sitting with her feet dangling off the side of the boat, she was having a long conversation with her bird moxie (he was apparently enjoying the open sea). Mavra knew having a trained bird of prey on a ship would have its benefits.

“You are a man of magic.” Mavra began.

Vecna’s stance tightened at Mavra’s unintentional insult.

“Sorry, I meant Elf.” Mavra continued, “These waters are full of magic. Ancient and wild.”

“Really. How so?”

“The Brinnatti Witches claim these waters.” Mavra pointed across the open sea, “They live on any one of a hundred islands. They are rumored to live one-with the elements. Calling upon ancient powers in the sea and high above in the winds. They control the “witches cauldron” great vortex’s that will suck even the largest vessels into the murky depths. It’s wise to avoid the witches wrath, to do so is at your own peril.”

“Do you know these witches?”

“I know of them.” Said Mavra avoiding the question.

“Have you ever met one?”

“Yes. Once.” Mavra quickly changed the subject. “When it comes to sea magic, Perrin is undoubtedly the best. The great ships of the line utilize arcane mages, such as yourself, to control the winds and manipulate the weather. The weather is a captain’s greatest worry. Perrin are master shipwrights. This ship here, the Markovian is Perrin made.” Mavra said bragging.

“Really!? Perrin made you say.” Vecna was quite interested now. “And you say they use magic. Do you mind if I cast a spell.”

“A spell.” Mavra stammered, not quite comprehending exactly what Vecna meant.

Vecna made to explain. “It’s your vessel, I wouldn’t do anything to harm your cute little boat without your permission. Don’t worry, I won’t harm it.”

“Ah. Ok.”

Vecna turned his attention to the Markovian, using his knowledge of magic to determine if the vessel had any permanent enchantments woven into it’s design. After a bit Vecna returned to Mavra’s side with a pleasant smile and intoned, “This is a special boat, it contains an enchantment called ‘Dolphin Glide’, it is unique spell interwoven into the deck and hull to improve speed. I shouldn’t wander, the Markovian can make great speed upon the wind.”

Mavra tried to hide her surprise at this knowledge. She always knew the Markovian was fast, she hadn’t considered it was partly due to supernatural enchantments, “And to think I thought it was my sailing talent.”

They both laughed.

The Markovian sailed upon favorable winds and by nightfall they had the “The Horn” in sight, a great jut of land. “land ho, the Horn on our leeward bow.” Yuri called from the crow’s-nest.

Mavra had predicted they’d arrive in Vinnitsa in four days. They’d be there in two.

  • * * *

Mavra slept fretfully, there was an uneasy air about the ship. She tossed between dream and consciousness. Suddenly she was acutely aware . . . the weather had turned bad. The seas had become rougher and the boat pitched over against the rising swells. Heavy rain beat relentless against the deck and the scuppers were busy with runoff. Tossing on britches and shirt Mavra ran to the wheel where Yuri was busy keeping the boat on course.

“Anything to report?”

Yuri winked reporting, “Nothing to worry about, just a small squall – snuck up on us in the past few minutes.”

“If it gets any worst we’ll have to reef the sails.”

Just then Mavra caught something out of the corner of her eyes, shadows just barely visible against the dark rain soak deck. The central grating over the main hold rose and fell. Small shadowy figures scrambled across the deck, heading for the side rail. They appeared to be carry heavy laden bags. The Markovian was being robed.

Grabbing the ships bell Mavra screamed, “All Hands on Deck! All Hands on Deck we have intruders!”

Ada who had been meditating on deck turned to see a little humanoid rat looking thing. The closest one rushed at her attempting to push her into the sea.

The Rats were smartly dressed with little shirts and britches and cape. Each wielding small little daggers in their impish clawed hands.

Another tossed a net at Yuri and Mavra, but missed.

Gino, one of Prince Kalibar’s soldiers who had been standing guard (apparently badly) dodged a second net.

The first one attacked Ada, attempting to push her into the sea.

Ada bravely met the leaping rat bandit head-on. The two came together with a loud crunch, the resulting contact sent the two sprawling head over heels into the water. The boats speed quickly left the two struggling far to the stern bobbing in the windswept waves.

Ada quickly remembered, she couldn’t swim. She struggled to stay afloat as she defended herself against the rat.

Drawing her sword from scabbard, Mavra charged the closest rat swinging wildly. The rat bandit deftly parried the attack and slashed back, catching Mavra across the back of the leg opening up a savage wound, fracturing the femur in the process. “Sunuva!”

Gino responded quickly to Mavra’s ringing bell and grabbed a rat attempting to leap from the boat. The smaller rat was no match for the stronger man, no doubt the reason they were attempting to loot and flee rather than attempting a straight up fight. Gino snapped both of the rats arms exposing bone through skin and just as quickly tossed the vermin into the sea.

“Nice work there Gino.” Prince Kaliban had just come on deck to witness his man dispatching the rat bandit.

Vecna and Kwell came on deck to see what the commotion was all about. “What the heck is going on here? Is it dinner time.” The dwarf was oblivious to the fighting. “I’m starving Mavra.” It was then that he saw Mavra facing off against a rat bandit. Her britches were cut and soaked with blood.

“Rats! I didn’t’ know we had rats onboard. What kind of ship are you running here?”

Yuri stepped between Mavra and her attacker. “Mavra take the wheel, I’ll take care of this rat.” Mavra didn’t argue, pain lancing up her leg.

The rat seeing his advantage failing decided to cut and run, squealing loudly, “It is this dagger, that cut the great Mavra Chang!! Jumping high up and over the railing the rat performed a perfect backflip and disappeared between the waves.

“This dingy is a garbage scow.” Prince Kaliban remarked jokingly, “full of rats.”

Many more rat jokes are quickly leveled toward Mavra, all at her expense. The humor of rats on a ship is not lost on anyone.

By now the intruders had jumped ship but Vecna wasn’t keen on letting them merely escape. Leaning over the rail he could see the rats swimming as fast as they could. He casts a White Fire spell illuminating the deck in an intense white light. Two of the rats are directly impacted and cease to live. The others disappear into the dark waters.

The white hot energy was unlike anything anyone had ever seen. Literally, no hyperbole here. Literally no one had seen such as spell cast before.

Mavra was the first to speak. “Dude! Fire. Really! Don’t you know fire is a boats worst enemy. This ship is a tinder box.”

“You should have told me in advance, besides, I missed your precious boat. ” The high elf didn’t seem to take much stock in Mavra’s concern.

“I thought this was a clean ship.” Fucking Prince Kalibar wasn’t relenting. “Did they attack us from some kind of rat carrier.” He was peering over the side expecting to see some Jolly Roger rat ship.

Leaning against the capstan, Mavra’s leg continued to bleed. She let her feelings be known, “while all you strong men were standing about, it was the women who were fighting.”

“What women?” asked Kwell, “I don’t see any women.”

“Ada!” Mavra checked her frustration. “Ada fell into the water with one of the rats. We need to save her.”

A few minutes later they pulled a drenched Ada on board. “That little bugger cut my hair.” Indicating a massive swath. “Can you believe it, cut my hair. Then he whistled at me and giggled and then dove under the waves. I can’t believe it.”

“That’s ok Ada,” said Mavra, “I’m just glad you’re alive. When we get to Vinnitsa we’ll go to a salon and get your hair fixed up.”

“What is a saloon?”

“It’s a salon. A place were they will dote on you, clean and style your hair and manicure your nails.”

“Men-a-cure.”

“Manicure.” Mavra touched her tenderly on the shoulder, “You’ll see. Once you understand what a salon is, you’ll never want to leave.”

Vecna determined the stormy weather was caused by an elven spell called Supplication of the Wind. The crew debated what might have caused this. Seems someone was after Mavra, (they knew her name) probably something they were carrying in the bags. Shaking his head, he admitted it was quite probable an elf was working with the rat bandits. Or possibly they had an elven magical item.

Mavra with the help of the others reconstruct the scene of the crime. They must have snuck on board under the cover of darkness, the very sneakily entered the cargo hold, picked a few locks, stole some of the weapons Mavra was carrying to Vinnitsa. Mavra determined they had stolen a couple of crossbows, bolts and some short swords. Luckily they hadn’t gotten away with much.

Mavra takes notice of the exact location of where the, Rats of Poseidon, attacked us. Directly off the Horn!

We recover a few things off the two dead rat bandits Vecna killed.

2x Rodent Clothing
2x Garrote
2x Knife
2x Daggers
A pouch 5 pearls (3 ghost dice)
Capes

They have distinctive emblems on their capes. We take note to figure who and what the emblems are linked to.

A day later the Markovian sails into Vinnitsa harbor in record time despite the encounter with the rat bandits. Vinnitsa is a tier two city, dedicated to trade. The surrounding countryside is rich farmlands – it’s the breadbasket of the empire.

TO BE CONTINUED!

View
Vishkon PCs, Session 004

Attending: Elven.
Timestamp is approximate only.

During the days following her arrival in Perth Elven:

Learns her father’s name was Duanor Dzirt and he was close friends with Mikael. (All she knew from her mother was her name for him, which was Eeky.) Mikael saved Duanor’s life in the war and was given his great dwarven waraxe as a sign of dwarven friendship.

Meets Buzo, a local dwarven banker who has taken an interest in Elven.

Meets several other dwarves, including Harlick, a dwarven articifer; Vasya, the clan leader and beau of Balin; Umod Dzirt, her half-brother who eventually warms up to Elven; Dia Dzirt, her half-sister, who most definitely does not warm up to Elven; and Oleg, a clan warrior; Gennady, a dwarven tinkerer.

View
Saratov PCs, Session 005
Vecna's Flash Ball, Part 1

Adventure 5: Flash Ball

Date:
October 17, 2010

The Players: (ALL Present)

Guest List

  • Thornbird – Proprietor (2 sons on security)
  • Pablo – Smuggler
  • Col. Berry – Marine Officer
  • Minah – Hot Elf Etharc
  • Vera – Kalibar’s Date
  • Vadim – Earl of Vinnitsia
  • Bool – Son of Vadim
  • Theodore Prukin – DW. Banker
  • Tomi, Priest of Set
  • Bartow, Philanthropist
  • Tinielle, Socialite
  • Lola, Socialite
  • Boris, the pimp (Candy & Lilac)
  • Singal, Captain
  • Toram, Herbalist
  • Gump, Disgraced socialite party crasher
  • Farth Dunn, Relic Hunter
  • Crispen Angel, Renowned Bard
  • Flame, Fire Dancer/eater
  • Jack and Fran Rebus – Proprietors of the Haunted Mystery House. They have a bit a haunted look to them.
  • Jory Critterton (half Elf) – Exotic Animal

Pablo tells Mavra about Vera. We need to pick her up, at 8. Kalibar refuses to pick up Vera. He says he’s got an entire heirloom at home, he has to take a shower. Kalibar calls for Pavel and Gino. “Take this carriage and go pick up this chick!” ok boss.

Minah arrives at the party. He brings a gift for Ada. Chaos reigns in the preparation for the story.

“I brought you a little something.”

Thank you so much.

Ada opens it up, it’s chocolate. Vinnitsa is famous and known for it’s rare exotic chocolates. Ada has not had chocolate before. It’s a human treat.

They decide to find a safe out of the way spot, out of the thoroughfare. Guests are still coming, preparation is going on in main area.

He leads Ada over to the piano. “Do you play?” Yes I do, perhaps there is a song we both know. He plays and she sings a beautiful elven song. Should bring to your . “A roaring ancient river” I like this . “Ode to a really big tree. Falcon, my Falcon.” Moon over the Misty Mountains. Our old favorites.

  • * * *
    Mavra is interesting is spotting wealth
    Mavra had business cards printed up, gives them away to everyone.
    • Looking for people visible wealth
    Mavra wants to loiter around the entrance see who comes and goes, gather information.

Pepper short hobbit/leprechaun/gnome type guy. I’m not on the list. I’m coming to this party, new to town. You are the person I came to meet. Discussion with Pepper about him coming to this plan to see a fight. I take look off dead people. I don’t make people dead, I don’t fight. If a fight happens I make a quick exit, but not too far, I stay within ear shot. Ready and alert.

The carriage arrives with Vera. Mavra escorts her into the bar.

Captain Singal talks to Minah, he meets Ada, they introduce each other. Captain is original Tinah, I’m from all over sailing in these parts. He’s the captain of the Mistral. He slides on down, plays the piano, he immediately steps up the music,(Elton John like). Minah allows Captain to graciously have the spot light for a while. Ada haven’t done a lot of dating, she doesn’t know how to read the signs. The captain is smitten with Ada, it’s obvious. Minah is keeping it cool. The two guys trade barbs.

View
Az PCs, Session 001
Getting Acquainted

Attending: Argent, Durgoth Derlahn, Shadon Rahl, and Vol

This session was played remotely on www.infrno.net

Opened with introductions and resolutions of technical difficulties, which were less than expected. Main issues are controlling volume and the missing chat bar with 5 participants. I’ve posted on the forums already about the chat bar issue.

Started the session with a bit of a verbal overview of the history and region, zeroing in and increasing detail in the zone I anticipate the most action which is Kansk, the Black River, and the Dire Forest. I’m trying to strike a balance of giving just enough information to provide color while leaving plenty of material to explore with fertile ground for wises. Ditto with NPC’s; introducing too many NPC’s lowers the need for circles tests.

The session consisted of three separate groupings: Shadon and Vol, Argent, and Durgoth with Shadon and Vol getting about 65% of the screen time, Argent 25%, and Durgoth 10%. I will try and estimate these after each session so that I can balance over time. Feel free to push back on these estimates if you don’t feel I nailed it.

Shadon and Vol

James learned that Shadon’s spring is a spring of healing and that it is in Dire West. It’s deep enough into the forest that the Empire has not discovered its existence. Few elves know either, although it’s discretely listed in the elven hall of records. Water taken away can add 1D to healing-related tests. Healing tests conducted at the spring gain 3D.

Vol and Shadon met just outside Vol’s village as Dad described in his narrative, with Vol joyfully and anxiously running toward her village only to round the corner and see humans. Shadon pulled her into the woods discretely before she was discovered. Shadon shared with Vol what he knew of the village, which happened about two years ago. The 7th Legion decided it wanted the land due to its strategic importance. It ordered the villagers to move. The village elders tried to understand, tried to negotiate, tried to explore options. The local commander grew impatient and sent in troops and demons. The village did not put up armed resistance, most of them simply fled. Some were slain. The military now occupies the village and there is a human settlement there for traders, trappers, and hunters.

Shadon also shared with Vol what he knows of Lorwyn’s disappearance. Turns out Lorwyn is the latest in a string of six disappearances over the last two years, all in Dire West. Vol learned that this problem has been taken seriously by the elven community, including assistance from the Elven Council in Dire East and exploratory missions deeper into the forests and even the foothills of the Armenian Mountains and polar regions but no signs have been found. Vol has a fresh idea (GM’s contrivance for steering the elves to the city), that if the trail of the disappearing elves can’t be found in Dire West, and if these elves have been enslaved, perhaps the trail could be picked up in Kansk.

Much of this news about the village and missing elves is news to Vol. Vol figures out that Lorwyn’s letters undoubtedly sheltered Vol from the grim realities of life in Dire West.
Vol is clearly driven to find Lorwyn. Shadon “The Lost” sees this as an opportunity to have a purpose once again to his life as Vol clearly should not head off to Kansk all by herself. Yay, two PC’s with a clear story arc!

Before heading to Kansk Shadon convinces Vol to travel to Dire East to meet with his sword master, Baelianavel (Pr. Bale + lian + avel). They catch an elven river sloop up the Black River. On the way they pass under Caraktion Bridge, about half way between Dire West and Dire East, a bridge tall enough to permit river traffic, but long enough to provide a gentle arch over the river for ease of wagon traffic. The bridge is well constructed as a single arch and no supporting pillars, a marvel of Imperial construction. The PCs earn challenging steel checks due to the presence of the two demons on the bridge staring down at them as they pass under. There is a large military encampment here on both sides of the river. There is no suggestion of stopping for a visit to the local bar nor interest in even slowing down to view the standards and regalia of the 7th Legion elements quartered here.

Frame forward: Shadon and Vol arrive at Glistenmare, the Etharch citadel in Dire East from which the elven kingdom of the Dire Forest is cared for. There is much beauty here, life looks untouched by Imperial presence. No human civilians or military are spotted here. Vol is nervous about her lack of presentable attire so Shadon tracks down Bealianavel without her. Shadon fails his etiquette roll and barges into a room where Bealianavel is clearly in attendance with three other elven nobility (two gray elves and a high elven sorcerer named Tilith). Bealianavel excuses himself from the others and the two go to find Vol. Bealianavel confirms the stories above about the village and missing elves and adds this information: the 7th Legion commander who attacked the village is Melboron Seluciden, the tribune laticlavious (2nd in command) of the legion. He is young, Latvian, and of noble descent, probably in line for the Senate. Of the missing elves, they learn that the elven sorcerer Tilith has been asked to look into the matter. The idea of picking up the investigation in Kansk is welcomed. Bealianavel explains that in his capacity as Ambassador of the Dire Forest to the Empire he has explained the incident to Vecna, the high elven sorcerer in Saratov who all the elven forest ambassadors report to. Vecna is a member of Kordaava’s court and has the title, “Warden of the Forested Lands of the Kordavan Empire.” (Via follow-up email) Shadon learns that all of the missing elves were armed, no children or unarmed villagers are missing.

En route to Kansk one of Vol’s doves arrives. Thinking it’s a message from Lorwyn, Vol approaches excitedly, nervously. But the note is from Mr. Granger, inquiring about her mission, and asking her to send some cardamom—-an obscure spice when written in Halfling could have easily been misinterpreted as something even more exotic and expensive, but Dad makes the roll.

Argent

Some time is spent describing the Golden Flask, a small dockside tavern, dingy, dark woods, solid door to keep out the wind, and tiny windows covered with grime that are useless. There’s a public entrance in front, a few tables, some thick square supporting columns, a target for knife throwing, a bar, a private room for accounting books and storage behind the bar, and an exit from the back room out into the alley. There is a ladder up into the loft which is a large room that Argent and Uthred share, with curtains for privacy, and no windows. There is a hatch for roof access. I’ll assume the roof hatch and alley door are locked from the inside with run of the mill padlocks.

Business is often slow, many nights seeing only a couple of customers. Boom times are about once every 3 or 4 months when there are gladiatorial games as the bar is well located for traffic heading out to the coliseum. The bar’s best week was six months ago for the biggest annual games. During the games a fair number of Imperial soldiers patronize the bar, but most customers are fishermen, sailors, and dock workers.

After a particularly slow week the Flask is visited by a dozen “fish ladies.” These are burly, bawdy, working class women who Argent learns work at the local fishery cleaning fish. This work requires a lot of heavy lifting and precision work with sharp knives - which they all carry at least one of. The knives are well used and incredibly sharp. The ladies debate whether to come in and Argent rushes out to encourage them to give the place a try. Some fun, friendly banter ensues with Argent wagering at knife throwing with the ring leader, Phyllis, who has B5 throwing and B6 power. They tie at throwing knives but amazingly Argent wins the contest by beating her at arm wrestling. Obviously the Golden Flask wasn’t their first stop tonight. Argent’s charm wins the day and the fish ladies become regulars of the bar, coming by en force once every two weeks after they get paid, which tends to increase the foot traffic from local men as well.
A man comes to the bar and discretely shows his “gang tat” to Argent. It’s similar to Argent’s, signifying his allegiance to the House of Vosk from Port Car. Uthred is left to tend the bar and they discretely meet elsewhere and Argent learns this guy’s name is Toran, an assassin in training, delivering a message to Argent. “The Az merchant, Baroness Tomei, needs to be sent a message, that the reach of Port Car assassins extends far, throughout the empire, and that the great merchant houses of Port Car demand favorable pricing for spider silk.” Toran offers his assistance but Argent declines. Toran says he will visit weekly for updates until the mission is complete. But time is of the essence; Vosk will not be pleased if Toran does not report home soon.

Durgoth

I reviewed the role of Mirador in the dwarven society of Kansk. I confirmed for Simon, yes, Mirdador is a huge Dick with a capital D. Mirador mettles in every aspect of the lives of all dwarves in Kansk. Hot topics are the worship of Ra and that Durgoth and Baji need to wed and bear young.

We learn a bit about Durgoth’s family history. A grandparent was human, which makes the GM feel better about allowing Durgoth to angle for the Faithful trait. Mechanically, aside from the eligibility for the Faithful trait, Simon will use dwarven stats and rules 100% for Durgoth. Simon will work on the background more to incorporate the human heritage. We learn Baji was formerly a housekeeper and the relationship blossomed into something more. They aren’t married yet, but are being pressured by the clan to do so and start bearing children.

We learned that Durgoth likes to trade with pirates in ways that undermine the empire.
A local policeman, a “bobby” named Frank, brings a cart to Durgoth for repairs. Looks like something large and hairy escaped from it. I had not anticipated the question of what the creature was (although I should have). Looking back, I’ve decided it was a yeti! Frank wouldn’t know that “yeti” is what the creature is that he describes, I share that for the players so you can better picture the description Frank gives. Frank mentions that the beast was captured up in the Armenian mountains for “the games” and there is a reward for its recapture.

Durgoth manages to patch up the hole but didn’t roll well enough even with Baji’s help to strengthen the design. But he makes amends by not charging for the repair and uses persuasion to convince Frank he got a great deal. (nice recovery!)

Durgoth desires to find a priest of Ra but we cut the session short before starting down this path.

Beliefs Played

Argent’s finding allies: 1 fate
Shadon’s finding allies: 1 fate
Vol’s searching for Lorwyn: 1 fate
Vol’s investigating village: 1 fate
Durgoth’s looking for a priest: 1 fate
Durgoth’s looking for allies: 1 fate

View
Saratov PCs, Session 009
"I want my ring back!"

Adventure 9: “I want my ring back!”

Date:
January 12, 2011

The Players: (ALL Present)
Peter Adkson – GM
Steve Conard – Mavra Chang
Mike Boozer – Vecna
CJ – Prince Kalibar
Scott – Kwell Geldzahn
Adrian Swartout – Ada Loban Nythil

We sail to Vinnitsa . . .

Following the orc fight at the shipyards Mavra sets sail for Vinnitsa. “I’m not staying her once second longer. Those damn dirty orcs tried to burn down my ship. If you’re coming get on board or be left behind. Your choice.”

With the shipyard sinking away in the distance it took many hours for everyone to come down from the blood-lust of the orc fight. Istan had decided to accompany Ada to Vinnitsa and who knew how much further.

Ada was heartbroken by all that she had witnessed in previous days. Istan consoled her by teaching her an elven lament called “Lament of Stars”.

“We sail on a cosmic sea.” She sang. Mavra from her post at the wheel witnessed a single tear slowly fall and for a second she thought she heard the sea crying with her. Moxie screeched mournfully.

A somber cloud hung over the Markovian as elven voices carried across the water, harmonizing with wind and wave. The days on ship were surreal.

Meanwhile Vecna was mentally preparing to meet with Kordava. He mentioned to Ada, “I now have a better understanding of what is happening in your forest. Ammunition for when I speak with Lolfroth and perhaps Kordava. Seeing the orcs attacking the shipyard brought acute clarity to the situation. With an attack of that size, this is definitely a martial problem for the empire. I can use that, perhaps, to seek concessions from the government to stop wholesale destruction of the forest. As of now, they are not tending to the problem.”

Ada was heartened by Vecna’s assurance to help her.

“Is there anything else in the forest that needs to be protected.” Asked Vecna, “more than others?”

“Yes, there are these mushrooms, with purple dots and green ferns, yes green ferns. Georgian forest ferns.” Said Ada drawing closer to Vecna, imploring him to understand. Her voice rose, “If they are destroyed, they will be gone, lost forever. Do you understand?”

“Ferns.”

“Yes, ferns. Green ferns.”

“I see.” Said Vecna with little if any inflection in his voice, “And mushrooms?”

“Yes. The best kind of mushrooms. Lost forever, a horrible tragedy. A species wholly wiped out.”

Vecna and Ada erupted into a heated debate. Discussing world politics, what can and cannot possibly be accomplished at court. “He is hell-bent (the emperor) on building a fleet. There is nothing that I or anyone else can possible do to stop it. Once the emperor has made up his mind, that is the end of it.” Vecna tried to explain to Ada how the emperor thought, “I can’t change his mind.”

Ada would hear nothing of it and continued to argue. “We will burn down the forest first before we allow any more trees to be taken in this manner.”

“No you won’t, I don’t believe it.” Snapped Vecna

“I will.” She threatened.

Vecna was patient but was clearly getting annoyed with the young elf. At last Vecna walked away, having exhaustively discussed the same topic, retreading over the same ground a dozen times.

Below deck and away from Ada’s ranting voice Vecna and Mavra set their minds to the Ring of Set, (the mysterious ring the leprechaun Pepper pilfered from the dead high priest of set).

From a hidden compartment, concealed in a false bottom of wine keg, Mavra pulled out the emerald ring and handed it to Vecna. It was a stylish design, a coiled snake with an inset emerald.

With Mavra watching intently, Vecna inspected the ring. Vecna “did his thing” (using arcane knowledge he read the rings aura), and determined the ring was a magical focusing device for high priests. Made to be used by religious clergy. There was definitely more to the ring, but what Vecna could not ascertain.

“This thing is far too dangerous to sell in Vinnitsa.” Vecna intoned.

“No shit!” blurted Mavra her eyes rolling, “That’s why I have it hidden here.”

“We need to sell it someplace,” Vecna said thinking, “somewhere with less. . . “

“Churches of set.” Mavra finished. “Yeah I know. I was thinking of Kordava. I’ve always wanted to go there.”

“That’s an interesting thought.”

“What about the free city of Esch.” Mavra suggested, “I hear it’s a country that tolerates religious freedom, people are free to worship any god they chose.”

“Yes that’s true,” replied Vecna, “by decree of the emperor.”

“With open religion there will be more priests available to sell the ring.”

“I want a cut,” said Vecna, “if I’m going to help sell it.”

“Fine.”, replied Mavra, “my share is 20% of the sell price. The other 80% goes to Pepper. I’ll give you half of mine. I get 10%, you get 10%. I’m not interested in retiring off of one job, it’s more important to establish business relationships.”

“Agreed!”

  • * * *

The trip to Vinnitsa took longer than anticipated. Mavra blamed overshooting the anchorage to the melancholy mood the elves brought to the boat. Arriving a few hours late, the sun had already set beyond the horizon, the Markovian slipped into the harbor under dark.

“Are we going out to dinner with Vadim tonight?” Asked Ada jumping lithely to the dock, moxie soaring next to her.

“No. Definitely not.” Replied Vecna giving Mavra a stern glance, “For some reason we arrived late.”

“What?” Mavra shot back daring him to continue. She and Smirnoff were finishing tying off the ropes to the dock.

“Bye!” Ada shot over her shoulder, “In that case I’m heading to a party.”

Outside of town Ada and Istan met up with Mina. Mina suggested that it was time for Ada to meet Vishkon the Elder Dragon of Nature. “I don’t know if I have time.” Replied Ada, “I have to leave for Saratov in a days time.”

“If we ride fast,” said Mina, “we should be able to make Perth and be back by tomorrow evening.”

  • * * *

The next morning Vecna headed off to the Bronze Tower to visit Taras with Kalibar and Kwell in tow.

Security let them in. They were expected. Once inside they were led to a side parlor off the main entrance. The three were instructed to wait until Taras arrived. A table populated with an assortment of food trays filled with cheeses, fruits, nuts and other finger foods sat up against the wall under a grand tapestry. Two chilled bottles of wine were open next to crystal goblets. Vecna helped himself to the wine and studied an original oil painting hanging on the wall depicting tall ships sailing across land.

Kwell took a healthy sample of the food and chugged an entire bottle of wine in a single take. With a mighty burp Kwell vented, “I’ve had better.”

Kalibar sat back in a chaise longue clearly uneasy, having had a bad experience the last time he’d visited the Bronze Tower.

Finally after a brief wait, Taras swept into the room to greet Vecna, “It’s so good to see someone of your stature again,” he swooned in a sickly sweet voice, “I hope your trip to the Georgian Forest was fruitful. He spiraled around the room, acknowledging Kwell and lastly Kalibar. “Please help yourself to the refreshments.”

Kalibar noticed Tineille was nowhere to be seen.

“Why.” Said Vecna, “Whatever do you mean.”

“Were you not just visiting the forest, with a tour of the shipwrights?”

“Yes, it was attacked by orcs.” Replied Vecna flatly, “While we were there.”

Taras shrugged, unconcerned. “It’s in their nature. When they get bored and have nothing to do, they get violent. I see you managed to survive.” He picked up an olive and devoured it.

Bored of orc talk and the inevitable topic of deforestation Vecna changed the subject, “So how did your investigation go?”

“The organ?” Taras deftly took his meaning, “I’m done.”

“Let me guess the result.” Vecna pursued.

Taras winked, “Please enlighten me with your vast intuition.”

Vecna plowed ahead, “It was of no value to you.”

“No.” said Taras bluntly, “not cut apart from the host body.

“Shocking.”

Ignoring Vecna Taras transformed into a politician, “I’m willing to be most generous. I’ll put the appendix back and mark this entire thing up to a gross misunderstanding.”

Kalibar perked upon hearing this news.

“You and I however.” Taras continued, pointing at Vecna, “still need to come to a resolution. You owe me.”

[INSERT more details here pertaining to the arrangement between Vecna and Taras]

“Yes I know.” Said Vecna, “I stand by my word.”

“Good. Good.” Said Taras rising, “Let’s get down to it, shall we.” He snapped his fingers at Kalibar to follow, “Vecna would you like to assist me. It’s fascinating work that, if I’m not mistaken, you’ll find mentally stimulating.”

Vecna did indeed. Somewhere else in the tower Taras entered an eerie operating room with a collection of medical instruments hanging from hooks on the ceiling. Bookshelves lined the far wall filled with leather-bound tomes. Vecna could well imagine the atrocities that victims had endured in this room. It was however remarkable clean, sterile even. If indescribable horrors had taken place here there was no evidence.

In the center of the room was a large table draped with white linen. Overhead was a large glowing orb that came to life when Taras entered the room.

“Off with your clothes and up you go.” Taras said to Kalibar, “This shant take too long.”

Kalibar looked uneasily as he did what he was asked. Taras disappeared into an adjoining room and returned a moment later in a clean white smock. Little of the former sorcerer was visible; a surgeon was in the room.

Kalibar stood naked next to the table. “Do you think you could give me a penis enlargement while you’re at it?”

“No I don’t think so.”

“Yeah your right, It’s already HUGE!”

With a snap of his fingers, Taras quickly put Kalibar under.

Vecna marveled at Taras’s surgical skills. He was a master. The surgery was relatively clean, he used a mechanism to keep the wound clean of blood while he operated. When at last, with Kalibar’s abdomen splayed wide, Taras pulled Kalibar’s appendix from a jar.

But this is where traditional surgery ended. Taras finished the job with a spell. When the spell was complete the appendix was reattached, good as new. As if it had never been removed in the first place.

Taras seemed quite pleased. Next he cast another spell.

Vecna couldn’t allow such an opportunity to pass without learning more. The second spell was a diagnostic spell, to verify if Kaliban’s organ was functioning properly. Not only did it test if the organ was functioning physically but also on a meta-physical level.

“That’s a nice spell.” Vecna said.

“It’s important Kalibar’s natural ability is restored fully.” Said Taras sounding like a teacher, “It’s quite unique you know. Powerful. I believe it’s linked to his family’s past.

With the operation complete Kalibar was taken to a bedroom to recover. Much as before. He had a slight incision on his abdomen (Light Wound). Taras gave him explicit instruction to not perform any strenuous work or heavy lifting for the next few days.

“I have something more I would like to discuss with you.” Vecna said.

“Very well, what is it?” replied Taras removing his gloves and tossing them into a bucket.

“It is somewhat similar to Kalibar and his unique ability. Regarding the organ and how it’s the reservoir of power that holds and controls his ability.”

“Yes, many magical creatures and entities, those that have natural magical abilities. These abilities are usually connected to organs.”

“I have a similar ability.” Admitted Vecna. “Well, not exactly the same ability as Kalibar, I have my own unique one.”

“Really?” Taras seemed genuinely interested.

“Yes.”

“I would be interested in examining you.”

Vecna smiled, “That would be ok with me. I can tell you what I know.”

“Please do.” Taras pulled up a chair and relaxed, “continue.”

“I could see the true form of your associate.” Said Vecna, referring to the party in which Taras’s associate Tineille came as a beautiful socialite. Vecna had been able to see through her magical disguise.

Taras nodded knowingly, “and she perceived that you saw her.” Taras gave it a thought or two before continuing, “That is very unusual and quite powerful. I don’t know what the limits are. Even if Tineille is the limit that is quite good.”

“That is not the limit of my abilities.”

“Do tell.”

“I can look into someone’s eyes and see their secrets.”

Taras looked visibly concerned about this revelation and put on glasses. “Do these people you look at, do they know you’ve seen their secrets?”

“I can’t say.”

Not looking at Vecna directly, “I would say the magical organ is your eyes. Would you be willing to donate your organs to science, I’m sure I could construct a powerful artifact out of them.”

“That wouldn’t be my first choice. No.”

“That’s too bad. In the mean time, what can I do to show my gratitude for this knowlege.” said Taras bowing graciously.

“As you know I’m just an apprentice mage. I am searching for anything that might add to my power base.”

“Magic, status, money . . .” Taras volunteered.

“All of the above.”

“Of course.”

Vecna and Taras spoke for a great long while discussing business opportunities. In the end Taras suggested, “I am not into haggling and bartering and all the business minutia that goes with the territory. I would like you to be my broker. I am in constant, never-ending need of rare materials. You know, rare metals, gems, and the like. You can make a tidy profit. With the offer comes a title Broker of rare materials for Taras.”

Vecna and Taras come to an agreement. The Net Affect: Vecna’s Resources Increase Rby one. Essentially establish a new trade route.

The deal is struck.

With the deal behind them, Taras used a spell on Vecna. What kind Vecna didn’t know – probably a magical identification/understanding spell. Afterwards Taras said, “Don’t lose your eye!”

They leave it at that. . .

  • * * *

While Kalibar was off having surgery and Ada was getting a sore ass riding fast to meet an Elder Dragon, Mavra was having a swanky lunch with her business associate Pablo at a posh restaurant overlooking the city. The proprietor with hearty hugs and handshakes met Pablo. As a frequent customer Pablo was led to a private room on the second floor with a balcony. They were blessed with good weather and discussed business over lunch outside. The sound of the sea and crashing waves was ever present.

“Spices are in heavy demand. The empire must eat! Restaurants in Saratov need spices; they are expensive and heavily taxed. The aristocracy has acquired a taste. Merchants from abroad come to me from time-to-time ready to buy and sell spices for Saratov. I want to avoid taxes in Saratov.”

“Yes of course,” Mavra nodded, “I understand.”

“Taxes on spices are steep. Crippling. There is a wealthy family, a noble, that has the spice trade rights for the city of Saratov. The spice must flow, as it must. They have exclusive rights and anyone else who imports spices must pay a heavy tax. There are government officials who enforce these taxes.”

“What kind of quantity are we talking?”

“Four pallets.”

“I’m your gal.” smiled Mavra.

“Viktor will meet you in Saratov. Same-o, same-o. You know the drill. I will pay you half up front and Viktor will pay the remaining portion assuming all goes well. [4 Cash Dice total]

“My hold is near bursting with alcohol now, but I’m certain I have room for the spices.” Mavra sighed heavily. “I’m carrying around all this liquor, as if I’m Kwell’s personal delivery service. It takes money to keep a ship running. When he unloads it I’m taking my share.”

“I’d take it,” Pablo wringed his hands, “but there isn’t anything in it for me, I can’t see how to turn a profit on it here in Vinnitsa.”

“I’m guessing Kwell has plans to sell it in Saratov.” Returned Mavra.

Pablo looked grave, “You know not to smuggle contraband into Saratov under Viktor’s nose. Right?”

Mavra looked startled. “Heavens no. Of course not.”

“Ok good. I’m assuming Kwell has contacts. Probably his family if he doesn’t mind sharing the profits with them.”

“God knows what Kwell is planning.” Said Mavra and they both laughed.

They spent the rest of the meal discussing business and smuggling.

  • * * *

Ada’s ass hurt. At no time in her short life had her backside hurt this bad (that she could recall anyway). Ada and the elves rode their horses quickly through a beautiful valley, up a narrow gorge continuing along a picturesque alpine dale. Eventually they were met by six humans on horseback. Mina seemed to know the leader and he in return. The leader dismounted and approached. The other riders stayed at a discreet distance. The human wore light armor and had a savage looking dwarven axe at his side. Mina made introductions, “I would like to present to you Ada the ambassador of the Georgian forest. This is Mikael from the town of Perth.”

“Well hello milady.” Said Mikael nodding, “welcome to our valley.”

Mina continued. “We thought it was high time the ambassador of the forest met the protector of the forest.”

Mikael pursed his lips, “I can certainly escort you, but it’s not my decision.”

No further words were said as the riders led Ada and the other elves deeper into the valley. After a time they passed into a wider upper valley where they came upon a contingent of dwarves. Mikael hailed the dwarf leader and passed the escort responsibility to him. “This is Vasya, he will take you the remaining distance to Perth. Farewell Ambassador Ada.”

Perth was a picturesque little village nestled along the shore of a green alpine lake, but Ada barely gave it a glace as a monumental waterfall on the far side of the valley dominated her vision. The falls fell over a massive granite fascia that rose a few thousand feet. A river (which was hidden from view) came crashing over the high stone cliffs with thunderous conviction, falling in a single drop to the alpine lake. A thick haze of mist hung over the lake and tall evergreens encircling it. A surreal feeling of green engulfed Ada.

At the entrance of town stood a wide stone plinth holding a rustic carved beryl sign containing the town’s name. A squirrel sat on the sign chewing on an acorn. “Welcome to Perth.” Said Vasya.

The dwarf extended a hand to help Ada down from her horse. “You have come here to visit Vishkon?” The dwarf was unusually casual, even blasé Ada thought.

Rubbing the soreness from her bum she replied, “I have.”

“Have you ever met him before?”

“No, have you?”

The dwarf laughed, an infectious throaty chuckle, “Yes – of course. On a daily basis. One of the greatest inspiring entities you’ll ever meet. Vishkon has already sensed your presence.” Explained the dwarf, “We will proceed to the entrance of his lair. If he is interested, possibly, but if he isn’t. I’m sorry.”

“Then let’s go then.” Said Ada, “The world turns.” Ada impatiently pushed past the dwarf.

The dwarf frowned, “Are you in a hurry, Don’t you want to stay and drink some dwarven ale. We have great nog.”

“Sorry, I’d like to but I have a ship to catch in the morning.” Honestly Ada wasn’t interested in drinking dwarven spirits, she preferred the elven wine of the Georgian Forest, sweet and pure. Ada continued ahead, “It’s this way I presume.”

The dwarf gave an uncertain glance at Mina.

“She’s young.” offered Mina, as if that explained everything.

Vasya with a retinue of stocky well-armed dwarves caught up to Ada. “This way milady.” The dwarf set a brisk pace.

At first Ada was lost in the charm of Perth and it’s beautiful surroundings, her mind wandered, wondering if places such as this were doomed by the clear-cutting.

Ada’s thoughts were suddenly invaded by dwarven song. Vasya’s baritone voice echoed through the trees with great volume his barrel chest heaving with effort. He was unabashedly bold with his words:
“When cavorting with dwarven women,
a warning most dire,
the line between pleasure and pain,
is soothing like orc fire.”

The dwarves laughed raucously, tossing insults at their leader. A lively crew if there ever was one. The insults seemed to be directed at Vasya’s wife and not particularly to him. But he didn’t seem to mind.

The dwarf lead the elves along the lakeshore and up a firm dirt road cluttered with pine needles heading in the general direction of the falls. The mist became thicker and more pronounced as they approached the far side of the lake; here dewdrops clung to the trees and forest undergrowth. Ada was cognoscente of the ever-present roar, the rush of falling water plunging into the lake. The dwarf was chatty, volunteering all sorts of facts and tidbits of information about Perth and it’s protector. Ada was easily taken in by his charm and together they whittled away the walk with idle chat like old friends.

The dirt road wound around the lake circling in and around large groups of granite boulders and clusters of trees. As they approached the falls the road became increasingly steeper, requiring switchbacks to maneuver the steep incline. After the long ride to Perth the walk felt good, the mist helped make the long climb bearable.

Ada was breathing hard from exertion, “Are we almost there?” she asked.

“Yes, just here.” The road came to a dead-end at the falls where there was a massive cavern entrance. The force of the falling water was overpowering and the mist here was thick as fog. Ada was unable to see past the mist into the cave.

“Is he in there?” asked Ada.

“Yes.” Vasya called into the fog, “This is Ambassador Ada of the Georgian Forest.” It was comical as Vasya hit upon every minute detail pertaining to Ada as if he was reading her resume.

Moments passed and finally as if to shut Vasya up a great groan was heard from behind the curtain of mist, “I heard that when so and so said it to so and so.” A great beastly sigh was made to be heard, “Bring her in.”

Ada took a step to enter the cave but was forcefully restrained by Mina, “You did bring a gift, right?”

“No.” she replied, “Should I have brought one?” she asked,

“Hello, Dragon!”

Frustrated he yanked an ornate sapphire ring from his left hand and gave it to Ada, “Here”.

The mist separated giving Ada a corridor in which to enter the cavern. Behind the veil was a monumentally huge dragon. [Missing description of dragon]. Behind him were heaps upon heaps of riches beyond counting.

The dragon drew closer, his massive head peering down upon the small elf maiden. An eye drew closer until Ada could see herself inside it, like a giant oval mirror.

“I am Vishkon.” the dragon said introducing himself, “Dragon of nature.”

The cavern was massive, full of mist, such that it was hard to ascertain exactly how big the cavern really was or it’s relative dimension. In the back, far behind the dragon, was a strikingly beautifully white tree. Ada was torn, not knowing which was more impressive the elder dragon or the tree. She couldn’t decide which.

Vishkon revealed a green silk pillow and patted it gently.

“Why thank you .” said Ada, “I am quite tired after my long journey.” She made to sit down.

“No.” boomed the dragon. “Not for you, it’s for the ring.”

“Ohh! Oh dear.” Said Ada stopping in mid crouch. Hiding her embarrassment, she put the sapphire ring Mina had given her gently on the pillow.

Vishkon took the pillow and studied the ring, turning the pillow slowly, taking in every detail, every facet. Ada took the opportunity to study the tree. Finally, after a good-long-time, Vishkon took the ring and placed in a pile with a bunch of other rings.

“So, why have you come?” Asked Vishkon.

Ada ejaculated every single detail pertaining to the clear-cutting of the Georgian Forest by the empire. She barely had time to breath as her emotions boiled over explaining the horrific atrocities being inflicted upon the forest.

“So.” Vishkon didn’t seem to care. “So what?”

“Ahhh.” Ada sputtered. And then she let loose another volley of horrific details. This time she explained how the orcs attacked the shipwrights and how she killed one with her bow.

“The forest will grow back.” He volunteered nonchalantly.

“Are you high!??” she screamed.

“Wow.” The dragon said mirthfully, “what a mouth on you.”

Ada was frustrated and didn’t seem to care that she was in the presence of a dragon, or even an elder dragon. Her emotions drove her onward. She had to make the dragon understand.

Finally the dragon had heard enough, “So what are you going to do about it?”

“Me!?” she said not quite understanding, “Well I’m here aren’t I.”

“You are the ambassador of the Georgian Forest are you not? Go to the imperial court and deal with it.”

“I can’t just . . .” she began.

Vishkon cut her off, “Yes you can.”

“I need help. Guidance. I don’t know what to do. I want . . . I need to protect the forest.”

“You are an attaché, isn’t there anyone else that can help you at court.”

“There is the high-elf.”

“High elf?”

“Vecna. He is my protector, I was sent to him.”

“I have heard of him.”

“He works for Lolfroth.”

“That is where I’ve heard of him.”

Vishkon gave advice to Ada about the imperial court and what motivated Lord Kordava. He is a human and the empire is managed by the whims of a human. Kordava and Lolfroth are allies, “But make no mistake about it Lolfroth is more powerful than Kordava will ever be. Lolfroth is a dragon, Kordava is just a man.”

“Why don’t you just take him out?” asked Ada.

“Take him out? Why? he’s a friend.” Said Vishkon, “But as long as we’re on the subject, how is Lolfroth these days, tell me more about him.” Vishkon seemed to care more about Lolfroth then discussing the emperor or the Georgian Forest matter.

“I want my ring back.” snapped Ada suddenly holding her hand out.

“Why?” said the dragon perplexed by the audacity.

“Because you gave me bad advice.”

“Bad advice?” Vishkon rolled over onto his front appendages, and stared down upon Ada. “It’s not bad advice just because I didn’t tell you what you wanted to hear.”

Ada turned her back to Vishkon, “It’s bad advice. I want my ring back.”

The dragon reared up, “The ring isn’t payment for advice, it’s payment to see my grand visage. Is it not grand!? I think you got your money’s worth.”

“Hah!” Ada laughed and immediately headed for the exit.

Vishkon bellowed, “Stop elf girl!” his voice changing octaves.

Ada felt an uncontrollable urge and stopped.

“It’s true,” Viskon continued, his voice once again lowering, “what is happening to the forest is a shame. Do something about it. Play the hand you were dealt.”

Ada snorted and tried to leave.

“Now, now come back here.” Vishkon demanded. Yet again Ada was forced to listen and she turned back around.

“Vecna knows an orc. Makala. A powerful orc sorceress. She too is an apprentice of Lolfroth. Have Vecna go to her and get her to stop hiring the orcs to cut down the trees.” Vishkon suddenly became distant, his mind wandering, “Oh yeah, she owes me a favor.”

“Thank you!” said Ada suddenly melting, all her pent up frustrations suddenly gone. She moved closer to the dragon and whispered, “I’d like to give you a kiss on the cheek.”

Vishkon looked oddly taken back and a little awkward, he held out his claw, “you may kiss this.”

Ada groped the claw, running her hands over its scaly texture and gave it a warm kiss. Purring she said, “It’s so creamy!”

“Ok off with you.” Said Vishkon rolling over, his massive girth sending gold cascading, “I’m tried.”

It was late by the time Ada returned from the dragon’s lair. Mina was silent, still perturbed by the loss of his sapphire ring. Ada was made to pay as they rode hard back to Vinnitsa – it was the hardest thing Ada had ever endured. By the time she arrived at the Markovian her legs and bum were beyond repair.

Ada’s hard ride back to Vinnitsa is an OB-6 (She rolled awesome, but still misses)

  • * * *

That night Vecna was forced to endure dinner with Earl Vadim and his family.

[Cutting to the details – game night was getting late]

Earl Vadim was still quite interested in having his son study magic under Vecna’s tutelage, “So what is the appropriate age for my son to begin studying magic?”

“84.”

“What!?” remarked the earl, not understanding or not hearing correctly.

“Wait!” said Vecna holding his hand up pretending to listen to the winds of fate. “Did you hear that? 84. Distinctly 84.”

The earl grinned widely, “You joke with me, he is human. He is human. He has to start at a young age. Right?”

“Magic is difficult and subtle all at once. It is not a science that should be entered into lightly. One must be ready and not before.”

“I think puberty is the right age.” Remarked the earl, “or after he learns to read. But it matters not now, he is only 3. There is time yet.”

The earl refilled his goblet with wine, “Now more pressing matters. You are going to court, I think you could be of great service; I’ve been lobbying to have the Georgian Forest annexed into my domain. There has been problem after problem. Clear-cutting. I know you elves have issues with this. The orcs are the problem, are they not? If I had control of the forest I could fix these problems. I could put in military units to protect. I can solve this problem for you and Ada. We should preserve the forest, for future generations. If this forest was part of my earldom, I would make sure the forest is preserved and protected under the loving grace of my family.

Vecna listened to the earls argument. It sounded eerily similar to Ada’s words, her arguments. Finally he said, “I will certainly bring it to the attention of the emperor.”

View
Az PCs, Session 002
Durgoth's Faith is Tested

Attending: Argent, Durgoth Derlahn, Shadon Rahl, and Vol

Screentime: Shadon (9%), Vol (16%), Argent (25%), and Durgoth (50%).

Shadon and Vol

We backtracked to note that Tilith would have established with Shadon a meeting place at a memorial location along the sandy bank of the Black River just outside Kansk where there is a gnarled juniper tree. The memorial celebrates the victory of the empire over the elves.
We estimate that the river time plus time in Dire East added up to a month for training and practice for the elven PCs.

Shadon and Vol arrive at Kansk. The Elven sloop stops just outside the city wall and releases its passengers. No coin for transport is asked for. There is a silent understanding on the part of the river boat’s captain that his passengers’ business is of great import.

Shadon and Vol spend much of the day wandering the city, getting acquainted with the town. I describe the city has having streets mostly of mud and clay, with the terrible stench typical of medieval fantasy cities. The exception is four stone roads built by the Empire in the years shortly after conquering Kansk. From the city’s center, from the Forum of Trade and Craft, these four roads head in the four directions of the compass, at least initially. Eventually the roads curve toward strategic destinations but the topography is cleverly designed so that when standing in the middle of the forum the roads look perfectly straight in each direction for as far as the eye can see. The road west leads to the dock area, arriving at the point where the Black River meets the sea and then turns south to wind along the bay, passing all the various piers and shipping-related commerce and service industries, eventually passing the Golden Flask before diverging from the bay due south to Mount Marble where the Colliseum is prominently displayed above the cliffs. The road north reaches the Black River and then skirts the river through turns taking the road a mixture of north and northwest. At the point where the road meets the river there is a large bridge that leads to the Grey Citadel and the main fortified military positions. This is the road the elves came in on, and along the banks of the river the elves spot for future reference the location of the memorial referred to by Tilith. The road east leads to the palace of Sivitis and other places of governmental import. The central bank is along this route. The road south leads to the Temple of Set and various homes of wealth and nobility.

The city is dirty, smelly, and hustling. I describe some sights but nothing seems like an obvious lead to finding the elven slaves.

Argent

Argent decides that the next time Cyrus Poole comes around to squeeze him for “taxes” he’s going to shadow him a bit and see who some of his other “clients” are. Late one after Cyrus arrives. He is tall with balding blond hair and spectacles and carrying a few extra pounds, wearing a lime green business suit and a yellow hat with a wide brown brim. He is not armed and appears to be in good spirits. Argent jovially offers him a drink on the house and in his high pitched Perrin accent his offers his thoughts on the upcoming games. He then collects his tax (Argent passes Ob 1 Resources test), downs one last shot for the road, and strolls off.

Argent pulls out all the stops as if shadowing an assassin of Port Car, using stealth, a quick disguise, and inconspicuous. While prudent, the care is unnecessary. Cyrus strolls about with the blissful self-confidence of a gentleman with the might of the Imperial bureaucracy behind him. His stops today are mainly service industries in the dock area along the boardwalk. Two stops of note are Victor’s House of Gaming, where he is fronted a nice stack of chips to gamble with, and Madame Elle’s, one of the higher-class of brothels. He stays at Madame Elle’s for some time; when he leaves it is after dark and he departs by hired carriage.

Durgoth

Durgoth and Baji are in attendance at a celebration at Mirador’s Clanhome. It’s one of the oldest structures in town, a dwarven clan hold that is on the side of one of the hills of Kansk. It’s outside blends human and dwarven traditions, combining large gardens, manicured lawns, fountains, and even a gazebo surrounded by a strong stone wall with battlements, a portcullis, and a manor entrance carved into a stone cliff. The living estate is all inside the cliff and dwarven in style, with balconies here and there coming out onto the cliff at higher places with amazing overviews of the city. In ancient history perhaps a thousand dwarves lived, crafted, traded, and even mined here. Now the entire clanhome is owned by Mirador and is his “home”. It’s so much more room than needed that much of it has been boarded up. Mirador insists he has plans for every cubic meter.

The cause for celebration is an annual festival held throughout dwarven culture where every dwarf is expected to return to his clan and enjoy feasting, drinking, and general revelry with his clanmates, similar to an American Thanksgiving. No dwarf in good standing with his clan would miss this event, and for dwarven outcasts this is the saddest day of the year. The celebration last for several days and culminates with a somber, often tearful (especially considering the drunkenness) exchange of stories and vows of loyalty to the clan.

On the morning of the last day of the festival Durgoth and Baji are summoned to meet Mirador in his office. Durgoth can tell that Baji is distracted; she seems somber and won’t look him in the eyes. Durgoth asks if she knows what this meeting is about. She tries to sidestep the question without lying, saying “Well, I do know that Mirador wishes to see us wed.” Baji totally botches her Falsehood test; Durgoth can tell there’s more but decides not to press the issue.

They enter Mirador’s office. On the desk, conspicuously displayed, are the religious items Durgoth inherited from his human grandmother. Grandma, long deceased, was a priestess of Ra from a couple of centuries ago, before Set was the only legal religion. The marriage was quite the scandal in their day! The two religious items were a statue of Ra holding the sun in one hand and an ankh in the other (the ankh is to Egyptian worshippers as the crucifix is to Catholics) and a prayerbook of Ra, praising his power, kindness, and the warmth of the sun.

Mirador points to a chair and commands Durgoth to sit down. Durgoth calms himself, calling on his character trait, Humility in the Face of One’s Betters. [GM note: this is an excellent example of the use of a character trait. Good job!] Mirador stands up and launches into a full-on verbal assault about Durgoth’s decision to worship Ra. A Duel of Wits is called for! At stake: If Mirador wins, Durgoth must either renounce his faith or leave the clan! If Durgoth wins, Mirdador converts to the worship of Ra! Simon and Peter are both sweating bullets as the extremes are so dramatic—-Simon’s whole character concept is on the line, and Mirador is supposed to be a bad guy damn it! The debate is loud, confrontational, and boisterous, as is the dwarven way. Durgoth and Mirador both use Stentorious Debate as their primary debating skill. Mirador sharpens his tongue by using his strength of position to fork in intimidation. Durgoth, knowing his place, forks in Soothing Platitudes as a somewhat more respectful tactic.

Although outmatched, Durgoth scores some effective maneuvers in the early phase of the duel. Mirador underestimates Durgoth, thinking the “young” dwarf will fold quickly, so he goes for the killing blow too early with a Dismiss in the first Exchange. But Durgoth’s Rebuttal is all too effective, making the point that if the dwarves and dwarven deities are forsaking this world perhaps those of us who remain should ally ourselves with a human deity capable of opposing Set. Mirador is stunned and loses his next action, creating an opening for Durgoth to come in all guns blazing. Simon sees his name in headlines and spends three persona points on Stentorious Debate, backs it up with fate, and in one fell swoop reduces Mirador’s body of argument from 12 to 7.
Caught off guard, Mirador is impressed with the conviction of this young man. It’s obvious his nephew will end up with a compromise, but convert? No way. Mirador drives the ball up the center with a flurry of Points. Knowing Mirador is likely to win, Durgoth counter attacks with another rebuttal and reduces Mirador’s body of argument from 7 to 5, winning a major concession in the compromise. In the last volley Baji recovers enough of her poise to aid her husband with a helping die.

The compromise: Durgoth maintains good standing in the clan while worshipping Ra in private.
As they leave Mirador’s office, Baji looks at her husband with a new level of respect. One could imagine that even Mirador puts aside his greed and egomania for a brief moment to take pride in his nephew’s commitment to his ideals (though foolish and ill-considered).
The air cleared, Durgoth rejoins the festivities, filled with a well-earned sense of pride. He fought toe to toe with his clan leader and maneuvered well enough to keep his faith and status in the clan. The evening’s closing ceremony of clan fellowship and exchanging of oaths is particularly moving and heartfelt.

Shadon, Vol, and Argent

As the elves wander the city they start to question the wisdom of their quest. Neither of them knows human customs and neither of them knows Kansk. Shadon has never left the Dire Forest. Vol has traveled through Kansk before but on both occasions she hired a private carriage and whisked through as quickly as possible, the first time distracted by what would await her in Dorsang, the next time distracted by worries of Lorwyn. What were they expecting? The closest thing to a house of slaves was a random slave merchant in the street with six nude human slaves in chains. The thought of approaching him was repulsive.

“We don’t even know how to look for what we’re looking for,” Vol commented to Shadon in despair, after wandering the central forum. The road south quickly became too residential, and in an obviously exclusive sort of way. The road east led into a seemingly inaccessible maze of government buildings and offices. The last road to search was the road west, which led to the docks. Although the docks held an air of danger, the elves strangely felt just slightly more comfortable amongst ruffians and sailors than soldiers and aristocrats—-it was somehow more honest. The elves lingered in this area much longer, wandering along the piers and seaside bars and warehouses, starting to get a feel for the locale. Vol’s spirits started to lift as she sensed that somewhere nearby she would find a friendly ear. At the same time, Shadon points out that the two of them really stand out here.

But each bar, gambling house, or brothel seemed wrong in some way. The bars were too loud, the gamblers too desperate, and neither elf wanted to face the awkwardness of entering a brothel. After reaching nearly the end of the business district Vol fell into an even deeper despair than before. She was convinced something was here, but nothing. Now it was getting dark; the elves hadn’t even thought about where they would rest tonight. As the sun disappeared into the bay, the exciting energy of the docks developed a rougher edge to it. Then Shadon pointed out, “Look, there’s a light ahead. It looks like there’s one more place down at the end, before the road heads inland, just before those cliffs.”

Argent’s Mark of Privilege trait reads as follows, “Those born into nobility bear certain features—-telltale signs of their lineage. Their nose, their bearing, their skin or even their speech mark them as one of the privileged.” And I can only assume that a reputation of “friendly bartender” must have been developed on the back of a friendly demeanor. When Vol nervously peers inside the Golden Flask her eyes lock with Argent’s and she just knows she has found an ally. “This is the place, she whispers to Shadon, who takes the initiative and enters first.”

Perhaps similarly to how Duncan Idaho sensed that the Fremen could become an invaluable ally of House Attreides, Argent often wondered if the elves could play prominently in his plans for a free Azerbaijan. Not long after settling in at Kansk and opening the Golden Flask Argent promised himself that he would someday visit their lands and learn their ways. Argent’s reverie about this dream is broken when he looks up and sees two elves peer in while passing by. The male elf is tall and strong, not bulky like a legionnaire, but lithe and agile, with steely eyes that betray the fact that his bow and sword are not simply a fashion statement. Argent takes in Shadon quickly and then his eyes linger on Vol. The elven woman is beautiful, filled with grace, with intelligent eyes, yet carrying a heavy burden and moving with purpose. These elves are obviously not just tourists!

“Greetings, kind elves, can I offer you a drink?”

The elves enter and sit and drink for awhile with Argent, “getting to know each other.” There is an immediate chemistry amongst the three.

Meanwhile, Argent’s only other customer, a human sailor who is often drunk and one of Argent’s few “regulars” is obviously not a big fan of elves. Uthred dotes on the sailor and keeps him at the far end of the bar. The sailor talks about how elven men in particular are very evil, that they rape any human virgins who enter the forest and that elven sorcerers can make the sky dark as night even in mid-day. Uthred manages to keep the sailor calm and the adventurers are so engrossed in conversation that the magical moment shared amongst them is not spoilt by the drunk’s ramblings.

Eventually conversation leads to the purpose of the elves’ visit, the six missing elves. Shadon explains they have searched the forests, and even into the mountains of Armenia and the polar caps, but have found no leads. Vol has a theory that perhaps the elves were taken by slavers and their trail could be picked up here. She asks if Argent knows anything of the missing elven men.
Argent responds with a joke along the lines of, “In case you haven’t noticed, six elves in Kansk would have brought quite a bit of notice! No, I haven’t seen them. I’m sure they are nowhere to be found in Kansk or we would have heard of it.”

Argent has the notion that if displaced elves are who they’re looking for perhaps Ceylonda would know something of them. Darrell uses a Circles test to find “An elven first mate of a mixed-race merchant ship, with the self-imposed penalty of her happening to be in town at the moment.” I decide the test is Ob 3 and Argent fails the roll. Giddily, I invoke the enmity clause. “Hey Uthred, what’s the name of the elven first mate we met in Port Facility?” “Ceylonda. Maybe she’s in town, I hear the Misty Raven is anchored out in the bay.” “Uthred, we should go look her up, maybe she could help us find these missing elves.” “Uh, I’m not sure she’s going to be happy to see you, Argent. She felt she deserved an equal share from that job.” “Oh, I can’t imagine she’s still holding a grudge over that. Let’s go see her!”

Durgoth

The day after the clan’s festivities have concluded, Durgoth’s old friend Malcolm comes by. Malcolm is a human male and one of those friends that tends to get you in trouble. Durgoth likes to “fight back against the empire” by buying stolen goods from pirates, doing his part to make sure that those who plunder from the Emperor’s coffers are encouraged to do so. Malcolm has brokered a couple such transactions.

Malcolm tells Durgoth, “Hey, let’s go get drunk! I want to hear all about your fight with your uncle! There’s a small little bar down on the wharf run by a guy who’s spent his fair share of time on the wrong side of maritime law.” Enter, the Golden Flask.

Shadon, Vol, Argent, and Durgoth

Durgoth enters the Golden Flask with Malcolm. Malcolm looks familiar to Argent but they’re not on a first name basis. But Argent’s excitement rises when he sees the dwarf! Every bar tender gets nervous but excited when a dwarf enters his bar. Excited for the volume of alcohol likely purchased, nervous about the loud, boisterous singing that often follows. Argent, ever friendly, invites them in for a drink.

Malcolm boldly approaches Argent and the two elves. “Yes, of course! Argent, I’d like to present to you my good friend, Durgoth Derlahn. And now that I think of it, I’m not sure we’ve ever formally met. I’m Malcolm Tucher, a broker of sorts.” He gives a sly wink.
“First elves, now dwarves? This place has gone to hell!” So says the drunken sailor as he stumbles out the door.

Sensing where the conversation might lead—-into treasonous territory—-Uthred bars the door and flips the sign while Argent pours another round.

There is an instant kinship amongst the four player characters. A feeling of destiny is shared.
At this point people in Germany started waking up and my connection really started to go sideways. Instead of a satisfying conclusion and wind-down the session awkwardly fizzled out due to technical difficulties. I think I got the gist of the player characters each revealing a level of distrust for the empire and establishing some level of mutual interest in some degree of activity outside the law. I tried to get across that Malcolm enthusiastically participated in this conversation and would have, with startling openness, shared that he regularly deals with stolen goods in the black market.

In the fading moments of technical difficulty the party establishes that the GM should focus his attention on preparing for the party to go find Ceylonda.

Artha Awards and Beliefs Played

Awards for playing to beliefs:
- Argent, finding allies: 1 fate
- Argent, learn more about the elves: 1 fate
- Shadon, finding allies: 1 fate
- Vol, looking for Lorwyn: 1 fate
- Durgoth, looking for allies: 1 fate
- Durgoth, moldbreaker, for playing the struggle between loyalty to Ra and loyalty to clan: 1 persona

Three of you have beliefs relating to finding allies. If you think the other PC’s plus Uthred and Malcolm are sufficient, then call the belief resolved, change your award above from a fate to a persona, and create a new belief to replace that one and, of course, let me know about it!
Awards for using instincts to create complications for your character: none
Awards for using a character trait for truly colorful roleplaying:
- Durgoth, for invoking Humility in the Face of One’s Betters: 1 fate.
Awards for humor:
- All players: 1 persona
Player-to-Player awards:
Need nominations from the table
- Embodiment: Durgoth
- MVP: Argent
- Workhorse:
Summary of Artha Awards:
Argent: 2 Fate, 2 Persona
Shadon: 1 Fate, 1 Persona
Vol: 1 Fate, 1 Persona
Durgoth: 2 Fate, 3 Persona

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.