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Monday saw my OH and I attending the Black Country Branch bank holiday special – two days (and a night) of missions and intrigue and froth to tempt the adventuring community of Ithron. Unfortunately I can only “report” on the Monday day missions as we had to travel home that evening, but I know that everyone who I met enjoyed themselves and were keen for the night mission and the events the next day.

Thank you Black Country Branch for your missions and your warm welcome. If you know you took part in one or other of the missions but are misnamed or unnamed, please contact me on wolfish dot written dot author at g mail dot com or comment below.

Black Country ran missions over the Bank Holiday for the Queen’s Jubilee, running two daysites with an interconnecting nightsite and plot that spanned both days (and beyond …). The event followed the typical daysite formula – with a mission run in the morning and afternoon separated by lunch, not to mention a quick pit-stop in the local pub for post-game froth and a bite to hit before getting back on the road.

The adventurers came to the town of Chennet in Middale, where the guards were barring entry to all newcomers regardless of permits unless people submitted to a full search – a very thorough search …

Monster Mission: Beware the sign of ‘Pi’ …

Some of the adventurers, frustrated at not being allowed into the town under instruction of the Knight Commander through the Grey Knight Keep and Earl Vale, travelled to a nearby village looking for information about what was going on. These adventurers included:

  • Baronet Oldfield Master Archie Cranium, Captain Rak and Captain Kavat Smithson of the Mercenaries;
  • Ranger Elenor Veldar, Woodsman Thorinthian Cuohtar Sarinthian of the Scouts;
  • High Guildsman Amelia Colins of the Alchemist Guild;
  • Master Thaumatagist Alfie and Apprentice Sid of the Mages Guild;
  • Journeyman Angelique D’maris of the Physicians Guild;
  • Errant Oliver Mormont of the Knightly Grey Order and manservant;
  • Brother Lucius Aquarius Rhade of the Church of Vleybor; Brother Rafe of the Church of Longstor, Chaplin of the Raptor Legion; Brother Leo Loralian, acting Defender of the Faith of Rolbor;

In the village they encountered normal every day folk going about their business, though with the recent upflurry of strange fae marks across the country and the recent outlawing of bearers of a certain mark (looks like a pi mark IC) which can appear on any part of their body. The bearers seem unaware of the presence of these marks, unaware of their purpose but some have been able to act as conduits for the Konnish (a nasty enemy who consort with demons and seem to be part of Summerfest’s list of bad guys), able to teleport a group of Konnish warriors into an area using their body as a conduit. The adventurers are understanably nervous and freaked when a villager showed them the mark on his hand, claiming it was a birth mark when asked where he’d got it from. Luckily for the villager (or perhaps not), Master Archie put him to sleep and forbid anyone from harming the man, instructing the villagers to put him in the pig pen until the adventurers returned.

Outside the gate a cart had broken a wheel and spilled its cargo, leading to some adventurers lending a hand whilst others spoke with an Ethronian gentleman. Outside the village, the adventurers were tasked with finding a merchant’s fiancee, who had been reported missing. As they set off on her trail, they came across a group of bandits who were taken advantage of a recent attack by looting the corpses for weapons and trinkets. A fight broke out, the adventurers dealt with them and the corpses were declared long dead. Ranger Veldar noticed a set of drag marks which seemed to fit with the description of the merchant’s beloved and the party pressed on, following the tracks.

They crossed territory occupied by foul spawn who tried to kill them to prove their strength but the adventurers fought them off and came to a cave entrance. Before they entered, Master Alfie conducted a ritual and daubed certain members of the party in woad to boost their magical protection. They entered the cave, hearing a woman crying in pain. Attacked by waves of undead who came through the walls and floor, the adventurers managed to confirm that this was the woman they sought though were unable to help her as she seemed to be incorporeal and bleeding to death. She told them there was a death knight beyond a door in the cave wall which bore a tabbard with words on it that would free her from the spell she was under, and the party formed up on the door – defending those trying to get in and pushing the undead back – but the undead seemed to be merely wounding the brave adventurers (one particular mage getting a savaging on the arm by a lithe shadowy creature), rather than attempting to kill them – strange? Did the adventurers even notice? Probably not.

Once the door was open a number of adventurers went after the death knight, managing to defeat it and taking its tabard which Baronet Oldfield held before the girl so she could read the words and break her spell. And break the spell she did. A change came upon her and up she rose, breaking the chains on her person and striking at those around her, a vampire hungry for blood and calling on the name of the Great White Liche. The undead answered her call and began to slaughter the party until there were only two standing. Brother Rhade expended his power to heal the critical wounds before getting up the physician and gradually the party regained its feet and its senses – asking the question “What happened?”

But their adventure was not yet over – following a trail that led them down the hill, they came across a woman tied to a tree being poked and prodded by an orc shaman, his two henchman and a demon in tow. They seemed confused at something, but could not make heads or tails of the situation. Upon seeing the party, the woman screamed and writhed in pain, calling forth a flood of Konn that attacked the henchman and a demon that fought against the orc’s pet. The Shaman tried to run off with the girl, but the adventurers, seeing what was going on, fought off the Konnish and dropped the woman with a command of sleep from Master Alfie. His prize snoring softly at his feet, the shaman turned to face the adventurers but was killed. Checking her hands they found the mark of the fae and Master Alfie proceeded to slit her throat and cut out her eyes for good measure. After checking the party for wounds and sharing their observations, the adventurers pressed on to be faced with a konnish scout come running towards them, fleeing a group of konnish warriors tracking him down.

He directed them up the hill back towards the village outside of Chennett, where a group of Konnish warriors were battering at the village gate whilst the guards atop the wall told them, in no uncertain terms, to “sod off”. However, as the adventurers watched, the guards were struck from behind and tossed over the wall to the cheers of the Konnish. The adventurers ploughed into battle, slaying the warriors and attempting to regain the town, which followed in a brutal sweep of the town, facing warriors in the throes of killing townsfolk or appearing out of burning buildings. A group of Konnish appeared to be putting out a fire but they fell to the adventurers blades until Brother Rafe attempted to put out the fire.

Once they had cleared the town, the adventurers came across the villager who had been placed in the pigpen, now accompanied by a group of Konnish eager for blood.

As the adventurers continued to tidy up the remaining pockets of Konnish and rescuing townsfolk from burning buildings, a group of Konnish briefly appeared, assessed the situation and began to walk away from the town towards a local manor house, with a young woman in tow. What followed was the adventurers picking off the woman’s protectors until they were depleted enough for her to call forth more Konnish – making her scream and writhe in pain – and continuing on their way. Gradually less and less were called forth but the adventurers were not able to stop her from entering the manor house …

What sinister deeds were about to happen? All would be revealed in time.

Player Mission: General lawlessness and trouble

Around the same time, another group of adventurers stood at the gates of Chennet, discussing with the guards the reasons why they were not being let inside. With the recent increase in people bearing fae marks and the stampede of locals fleeing to the town, the guards were required to check that no one with the mark got inside lest they call forth Konnish warriors to bring down the town from the inside. An understandable precaution but a frustrating one for the adventurers.

The adventurers were as follows:

  • Jarl Ragnar Morkai and Bjorn of the Guild of Mercenaries, Sister Saja and Master Thaumatagist Lahsaa Nethir of the Einherjar
  • Apprentice Balder of the Scouts;
  • Doctor Rosie Baker of the Physicians Guild;
  • Herald Ebany Farouq;
  • Errant Kador Hawkwinter of the Knightly Griffin Order;
  • Huntsmaster Jeramiah Fitzalvin and Junior Forester Rowan Tait of Amblevale, officers of the Foresters;
  • High Father Neil Nolastname of the Church of Tralda; Father Drefan of the Church of Longstor; Mother Tabitha Waye of the Church of Kharach; Father Vau of the Church of Crowa;

And so, whilst checking permits, the Huntsmaster instructed his newest Forester, Junior Forester Rowan Tait of Amblevale, to check all members of the party for fae marks on their hands and arms. Ebany the Herald also got punched by Saja, but apart from that, everyone seemed raring to go when the Earl requested that the Huntsmaster investigate some lawlessness that had sprung up in some of the villages – some folk openly against the choice of the future queen. As officers of the law, Rowan and the Huntsmaster agreed to look into it and into the undead that had marched out of Netherthong heading North.

The adventurers set out to track down some of these villages – coming across undead, a self proclaimed dragon slayer, wave upon wave of undead, a dragonkin looking for the Guardian of the Voice of the Middale dragon, more undead and a trio of law officials. As the party talked with them, Rowan and the Huntsmaster inspected permits and arms until someone brought up the name on the guard’s permit and they then looked harder at the permits before realising they were not truly legal. The trio were arrested, put into deathsleep and later retrieved for questioning. Rowan’s first set of arrests as a Forester.

They continued on where the party faced more undead, including Rowan’s first encounter with wraiths. Down the path they encountered something that super-charged Lahsaa with magic, causing a great deal of hilarity in and out of character as he was required to expend the magic very very quickly – teleporting things up for them to fall, teleporting people forwards, wounding heads before the Einherjar managed to bring the biggest undead knight down. After taking a breather the adventurers pressed on, climbing a hill before encountering a group of mercenaries with blessed/enchanted weapons and a tough attitude.

Rowan questioned them all for permits and fae marks, having a minor disagreement with one and narrowly avoided losing her temper with him, whilst the others spoke with the group’s leader – someone claiming to be the Guardian of the Voice of the Middale dragon. He was directed to where the Voice was being cared for, but was not informed that he would be disarmed before entering the place. Something was definately going on and many of the party were glad that whilst they didn’t tell the whole truth, it was for the best.

They came to a village where a Forester and Guard were struggling to calm a frantic population who were sure the King was dead. The Forester had recieved a notice declaring it so, but the adventurers tried to put their minds at ease and through a combined effort managed to calm the population. The forester and guard both had legitimate permits and the Forester directed them to the local Forester-in-Charge, before going back to his work. Taking a breather, Rowan, Lahsaa and the scout pressed on ahead.

Thoughout the mission, Rowan had been attempting to train the newly hired Scout something about scouting, furious that the party would send a green scout off on his own. He had good eyes though and spotted something out in the trees, so they crept closer before reporting back to the party. A group of undead with a swirl of magical energy centering on one, and quickly, before anything happened, Ebany the Herald drank down a “foretell future” potion just incase things went wrong.

And things did. And things didn’t.

The adventurers engaged in battle with the undead, led by a death knight, and fought off the usual mix of skeletons and zombies, dismissed a wraith and staked a vampire before turning on the death knight, who challenged Errant Kador to a duel.

They fought long and hard, pushing each other back and forth, blows ringing off armour and shield. At one point, Kador lost his footing and dropped his sword and the death knight allowed him to pick it up before continuing. Throughout it all, Ebany narrated the fight and evil whispers filled the air speaking the name of the Great White Liche (leading to Rowan praying to Crowa very very hard or singing, filling her mind so that she couldn’t hear anything else). But soon the knights were on their knees from exhaustion and Kador’s shield arm was wounded. Tossing away his shield, Kador was suprised to see the other knight discard his own and the battle continued to the cheers of encouragement from the party. However, it was soon over as the death knight wounded Kador’s body, causing him to fall to the ground. At this, the Einherjar pounced on the death knight and smashed it to pieces as the others rushed to Kador’s aid, bandaged him and brought him round.

Drinking down water, Errant Kador realised that his holy symbols had come off when he removed his coif and Rowan went looking for them, carefully bringing them back to him before congratulating him on his skill and helping him to his feet. Then a fight broke out between Jarl Ragnar and Ebany – though it was more like Ebany being beaten up – leading to Rowan trying to break up the fight and pulling Ragnar off the Herald.

The adventurers returned to Chennet, collected their pay before going their separate ways – the Huntsmaster, Rowan, Lahsaa and Dr Baker going back for the three deathslept lawmen and entering Chennet via the second gate and going straight to the law courts. Here they were searched for the marks and questioned the three men, learning a disturbing thing – that something was signing permits in the name of the Great White Liche, that tabards and permits were being left by an unknown someone for people to impersonate guards and foresters and therefore speak with the “voice of the law”, that these men had had the idea of speaking out against the King’s choice of bride but that they only took up the idea of spreading it to the peasants after being visited by something, that had looked like the death knight Errant Kador fought, in a dream.  And that a guard was dead on a small foresters post on the border between Esca and Norham, a small post where the three men had found their permits and sashes.

It seems that there was more going on that it seemed …

Later that evening, Rowan spoke with Ebany the Herald and was accepted into the Guild of Heralds to act as the NE Herald for Lirron and Newcroft, not to mention a “legal” Herald. Already she’s had a load of froth chucked at her and as her player, I’m feeling a little black and blue from my beating by the “plot hammer” – a term used for plot related research and other things relating to the main national plots running towards Summerfest.