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I’ve been terribly slack in getting these write ups done, so we have a bumper load this week – three missions featuring big darn heroes and plot spiralling up towards Summer Fest (which is just round the corner!). I’ll also give a quick round up of the current rumours about the setting.

Thank you Edinburgh Branch for suffering our “invasion” and we hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as we did. Thank you also to the first mission ref for running that mission and letting me complete my frothy keen research in such style. You’ve doubled my Keen for Summer Fest now.

If you know you took part in one of the missions detailed below but are misnamed or unnamed (because I’ve left this longer than usual), please contact me on wolfish dot written dot author at g mail dot com or comment below.

JUL 2012 – Kryganite Scum

Doctor O’Kyle had received a letter from the guild directing him to quietly arrange the rescue and escort of a retired physician whose life was in danger. Believing it to be legitimate, a group were quietly hired by a one eyed man ‘sent’ by the Doctor, who left Newcroft under the cover of darkness. The party consisted of:

  • Ranger Ned of Newcroft, Woodsman Jonathon and Tracker Haydanus of the Guild of Scouts;
  • Guildsman Thomas Charnock and Journeyman Tiberius Spark of the Alchemists Guild;
  • Doctor Leofrick Llew O’Kyle of the Physicians Guild;
  • High Father Cornway of Tralda;

On the way, they passed through dark elf territory and were ambushed by furious dark elves. Something had upset them, the evidence of which was found later – a flayed body trapped in death sleep. The elves believed them to be dead bodies but they were unable to send them to Kharach as they still lived.

Arriving at the village, they met a group of loitering men who seemed amiable enough, if a little strange, and up the hill the adventurers heard a mad man preaching of a return to the Old Ways and bearing the marks of the fae in league with the Konnish. They killed him as the guards brought out the retired doctor they had come to collect who explained that her life was under threat, her home had been torched and all her research had gone up in smoke. The party escorted the doctor down the hill where the loiters were waiting – except they were no longer amiable and they attacked the party after talking a little strangely. They were attacked by more of these ‘crazy’ men, some playing tricks, some just attacking the group at random,  until they came across a Vleyborian shrine tended by an armed devoted. As High Father Cornway knelt in prayer, he had a vision of what was to come, the other religious characters heard the sounds of chinking chains, but the rest heard nothing. Moving on, the party encountered more of the crazy followers of the ‘good’ doctor who seemed to be looking for the doctor in their company and Doctor O’Kyle began to have a sinking suspicion of who this ‘good’ doctor could be – the dastardly Randle Porter, the Kryganite who was plaguing the local guild with trouble.

As the party crossed an open patch of ground one of the scouts suddenly turned to flee in terror from something in the bushes. It took a long time for the party to get past the bushes with a pair of Elderkin harassing the party for fun, but eventually, after the retired doctor knocked some heads together and berated the adventurers for their cowardice, the group passed beyond that place and encountered a pair of adventuring scouts who offered advice on the local area. They knew of a local problem of some Kryganites holed up in a house, and offered some advice on how to get around them – either by taking the gorge on the other side of the river, or going silently by. Looking to investigate the Kryganites before they could get away, the party opted for the silent way and off they went, to creep past and then double back on themselves. Jonathon drank a potion of foretell future and took an invis with him to creep down, overhear their plans and come back. He was successful in his scouting, but the Kryganites jumped the party, trussed them up, stripped them of weapons and took the retired doctor away.

The party awoke to the jeers of Kryganites and underwent a series of tortures as Randall demanded information from them. Ned was shocked by an electric sea-urchin, Leo was draped in silver chains, Cornway played Russian roulette with poison, Thomas was sprayed with acid, Haydanus had two teeth pulled and Jonathon faced having to kill one of his fellows. But the adventurers escaped thanks to a hidden knife and another stolen from some food left just within arm’s reach, to overthrow their captors and go rescue the retired doctor who was to be sacrificed at dawn.

The trio who had her came down to the hut to clarify what they were to do with the doctor and there was a brief scuffle between the Kryganites and the adventurers, but the doctor escaped their clutches and the party gave chase. But Father Cornway snuck round and caught them before they could escape. The Doctor was escorted to Newcroft, Leo was going to have words with his Guild Protector and Randall Porter is still at large, skulking in the wilder parts of Berwickshire, biding his time. This is not the last we have seen of Doctor Randall Porter …

 

JUL 2012 – Onto the Immortal Ice – Edinburgh

With adventurers around the country seeking out the dragons of the Old Kingdoms and finding candidates to be their Voice or representative, one dragon has been largely forgotten … save by one adventurer. Rowan Tait had scoured the libraries of the land, written to letters to the Library in Dunlirron and had heard little more than folk tales until the Librarian at Dunlirron was able to furnish her with a set of old tales (translated from another language) featuring a similar dragon. As she dug through the information and eventually met with Crow of Stoat Tribe, a man of the Ice Tribes, she came to the conclusion that she would have to climb onto the Immortal Ice of Dunlirron (which her research led to her assumption that the Ice could be the dragon) and speak with the self-named Dragon Tribe to try and convince the current Voice to help them or obtain the Voice themselves.

Turning to the Grand Council of Ithron and the adventurers of Newcroft, Rowan pulled together equipment and supplies to brave the Ice, seeking allies to come with her on her quest. Many answered her plea for assistance but not all came with her upon the Ice. Those who did were as follows:

  • Captain-General Catherine Brack-on-Hill, Captain Jonah of Tallmael, and Gunnarr Húsbjörnson of the Guild of Mercenaries;
  • Ranger Ned of Newcroft and Fálki Ullrson of the Guild of Scouts;
  • Jnr Forester Rowan Tait of Amblevale;
  • Junior Guildsman Gaaelen Iskarschrynn of the Guild of Mages;
  • Sister Madeline Blanchefleur of the Holy Rose Order;
  • Father Benedict DePiercy of Crowa; Father Lucius Aquarius Rhade of Vleybor;
  • Crow of Dragon Tribe;

In Dunlirron, Rowan gathered together the trio of local adventurers – Crow who would guide them and two of the Llaminusian crew of the Blood Raven who knew about journeying in cold climates. Jonah came north upon hearing of her quest and joined the fight, another experienced traveller of Llaminusia.

The brief was simple, most people already informed of the task, and Rowan made sure that everyone knew what they were there to do. She assigned pairs to people, ordered the formation of skirmish lines and impressed upon those gathered as to how she wanted them to work – the first time she had led a party on her own. Once ready, they were met by a group of scouts sent by the local Foresters who led them north to Glen Turret and onto the Ice, to wait two days for the party to return should they need assistance – another of Rowan’s paranoid preparations including sourcing rope, borrowing a potion of survival from Doctor O’Kyle of Newcroft and bringing along a two-handed Claymore from the Berwickshire Medium Infantry’s armoury just in case. Unused to carrying the sword she soon learnt to walk sideways to avoid stabbing the others of the party with the sharpened blade – something she made Gaalen do before getting on the Ice.

They encountered Ice Tribe members who attacked when Rowan spoke out and Catherine noticed that something was moving under their feet. They met odd groups of Ice Tribe members who did not let them talk for long, particularly not when they became aware of their purpose and Crow led the way across the Ice as snow began to fall. The Ice itself seemed to be attacking their boots and legs, clinging to weapons that lay upon the ground or clawing at exposed limbs or fighting itself – the dragon struggling against itself mirroring the conflict between the Dragon and the Ice Tribes.

Several times they were attacked by ice zombies and Ice Apes that Rowan had been warned off and each time they fought them off with relative ease, though their encounters with the Ice Tribes were less successful as they seemed quick to betray and only interested in nuggets of gold or other metals.

The Scouts happened upon a Dragon Tribe member – painted with white markings – that was being eaten by the Apes, but they paid no mind to it until they chased off some zombies from another corpse. They encountered two Ice Tribesmen harassing a Dragon Tribesman and after the Ice Tribesmen proved treacherous, earned the Dragon’s trust. He agreed to lead them to his people if they sheathed their blades and did not insult them by speaking out of turn, something Rowan impressed upon he more outspoken members of the party.

They met the leader of the Dragon Tribe, a man named Fang, who demanded to know the reason why they had come. Rowan spoke across Crow, explaining they were here to talk to the dragon or to speak with its Voice, to which Fang mocked them – the Voice was lost, he said, gone, stolen by the one who names himself King. He told them the story of the Dragon and her woe (the dragon being female coming as a surprise to Rowan). Rowan volunteered to retrieve the Voice, with Ned and Crow volunteering as the other candidates (Catherine hastily stopping Benedict from volunteering) and the trio were told what had to be done.

They had to become ‘of’ the Ice by drinking Ice Troll blood to allow them to survive the icy conditions, they had to kill the Ice ‘King’ and retrieve that which he stole, and make a sacrifice upon the horn.

The Dragon Tribe member led the party to where they could find a troll and several members of the party drank it’s blood after culling its undead allies and opening the veins in its arms – some people dipped in a finger, but Rowan, Ned and Crow drank deep much to Rowan’s disgust. Supposedly it tasted like vodka. Afterwards, they could no longer feel the ice clawing at their boots, but it did not mean that they were immune to the effects of frostbite.

They fought off more undead, the party spreading out leading to a confrontation between Rowan and Lucius, before they came upon the Ice ‘King’ who tried to get them to side with him and crush the Dragon Tribe, saying he would give Rowan the Voice if she shattered the horn and killed the Dragon Tribe. Eventually, after some deliberation and an attempt at verifying his words with a potion of Truthtell, Rowan was unable to make a decision between the two and did not choose a side, leading the Ice Tribes to go off to butcher the Dragon Tribe.

Cursing her indecision, Rowan decided that they should go see what happened, so raced after the tribes to find them in combat with the Dragons. Pushing through the lines, Rowan ran to see the fate of the Dragon leader and the Ice ‘King’ and came upon them hurling power at each other. Unable to stop them, Crow threw a brick at the ‘King’ who was then dragged off to the horn and killed. Fang turned, knife dripping with the blood of his enemy and demanded the sacrifice to complete their task. Afraid, Rowan turned to Ned who refused the Voice unless she could not do it, and with that, Rowan stubbornly offered herself.

As she knelt before the horn piercing the Ice, she realised that she was to be the sacrifice and felt a rush of pure fear as the knife was brought to her throat. Coughing blood over the ice she collapsed, bleeding quickly, and Fang kept the others back as they finished fighting the undead and the other enemies and came to see what was going on. Eventually, Ned managed to creep closer and was able to see that she was still breathing even though the pool of blood was growing larger until the ground rocked under his feet, sending him tumbling backwards. Rowan’s slit throat sealed itself with Ice as the Dragon took her as her Voice and Rowan became cold, so that when she woke as Catherine and Ned began to try and patch her up, she was like the Ice Tribes – cold as the Ice itself. This seemed a wonder to Fang who knew she was now the Voice as the Ice quietened – at peace.
Rowan now bears the marks of her trial and seems unable to warm up as she carries the spirit of the Ice within. The Dragon, however, has bestowed some of her power upon her Voice and Rowan returned triumphant – having done what she set out to do.

JUL 2012 – Scout Training – Edinburgh

Stewart came north with Rowan but volunteered to stay behind to await their return, privy to her plans. Whilst in Dunlirron he was called upon to assist a group of local adventurers with their investigation into some missing trade caravans. Setting out from Dunlirron on foot, the adventurers were:

  • Guildsman Haydanus, Finn and 4 apprentices of the Guild of Scouts
  • Journeyman Dwor Ironhall of the Alchemists Guild;
  • Guildsman Sorely Brewerson of the School of Demonology;
  • Sir Stewart DePiercy of the Knightly Griffin Order; Sir Dalon Berwick of the Knightly Grey Order;
  • Supplicant Barnabas Locke of Sidhe

They came across a Forester with two apprentices who checked their permits and warned them that they’d been having trouble on the road and were advising people to travel carefully, not to mention the lack of merchants coming through. After warning the Sidhean Supplicant about not carrying a permit for his mace and advising him to hand himself into a Guard or Forester upon his return – which he did upon returning to Newcroft – she let them on their way.

Up ahead they came to a village where the villagers attacked them viciously without reason, frothing at the mouth. Pressing on they came across a dead Forester who had been torn to pieces and a trio of goblins hiding in the bushes a little way along. The scouts slaughtered the goblins and picked through their pockets for loot, much to the exasperation of the knights on the party.

More foaming suicidal villagers, some of them attacking a squealing goblin and the party came to the conclusion that they were dealing with cannibals. But further along the road the party came across a stream with two dead bodies floating in it. As one of the scouts splashes into the water he stumbles, turns and attacks the party. It seems that the water is tainted!

They manage to subdue him eventually, patched themselves up and considered their situation. They were obviously entering foul spawn territory, there was a problem with this water source, they had a colleague who would probably try and kill him if they woke him up. So they decided they would try and cut back to the main road and return to report on what they had seen. Dwor carried the unconscious scout gingerly, trying not to wake him as the party went on their way.

But the foul spawn were aware of their presence and a goblin scout spotted them. When they got too close, it ran off and the scouts followed – straight into a badly prepared ambush. Stewart was targeted by the goblin shaman who fired off a number of spells before encouraging the others into the fight and orcs and goblins popped out of the grass. One of them, a hobgoblin, made the party very nervous and Sorely Brewerson vanished to reappear behind the creature to try and kill it. Except it didn’t work and down he went. Chaos followed as Scouts were reluctant to leave the path based on some previous orders and Stewart and Dalon spitting orders to go and save the mage.

Further along they came across a larger, more organised group of foul spawn who’s leader challenged the knights to a duel. After fighting hand to hand Dalon Berwick was victor of the day, Sorely befriended and stabbed another orc and the goblins fled before the rest of the party.

The party crossed paths with more frothing villages and a strange fae that sat singing nursery rhymes before turning to the party and exploding with a shriek.

Limping, the adventurers returned to the road to find the same Forester they’d met earlier waiting for the change of shift of her apprentices. She commented on their appearance, heard their report and escorted them back into the city, though not before the unconscious scout awoke and tried to kill the dwarf. He had to be stabbed to render him unconscious and he was quickly patched up as the Forester demanded to know what was going on.

And thus ended another grand day out at Edinburgh, with everyone congregating at the pub down the road to grab some food or a drink before the journey home. Thanks for having us guys! We shall be back …

AUG 2012 – The Valley Beyond the Veil

The Great White Liche was rumoured to be coming north, raising an army in his path as he came. Powerful allies became powerful undead when twisted to him whim and standing in his path was the contents of the myserious Valley Beyond the Veil, also known as the Valley of Kings – the ancient burial place of the old Barwyckshire dynasties.

– Note – Barwyckshire is the old Kingdom of what is now known as Berwickshire in the game system. They had their own Kings, their own dynastic families (now mostly nobles) in a similar way that England used to be lots of separate kingdoms before becoming united under one ruler. Just so you don’t complain about spelling typos etc –

Understandably, the discovery of this place of Kings from a time before the active priests of Kharach made several of the Heralds Guild and the Guild Council nervous. Rowan Tait, tasked by her secondary guild to investigate potential problems, found the Valley with her apprentice Arden Digby and approached the local Kharachian Church for allies in solving this problem. The Churches of Newcroft took it upon themselves to hire adventurers to escort Sister Sorcha and Father Enacus into the valley and the following adventurers set off from Newcroft.

  • High Guildsman Ronan Eadronhart of the Guild of Mercenaries
  • Skirmisher Brendan DePiercy and Woodsman Jonathon of the Guild of Scouts;
  • Jnr Forester Rowan Tait of Amblevale;
  • Junior Guildsman Gaaelen Iskarschrynn of the Guild of Mages;
  • Doctor Leofrick Llew O’Kyle of the Physicians Guild;
  • Sir Stewart DePiercy of the Knightly Griffin Order;
  • Father Benedict DePiercy of Crowa; Father Enacus and Sister Sorcha Gravesong of Kharach;

In conducting her research, Rowan had called upon the Scouts to assist her – receiving information on tales of the Old Kings from Arden, a lineage of Kings from Brendan who in turn asked his brother Benedict, Champion of the Vortigens, to see what he could find. Buried in the library Benedict found references to passwords used to enter and exit the magical barriers protecting the Valley and the party set out, expecting trouble to await them inside.

The barrier let them past apparently unharmed, however the Kharachians felt a disturbing lack of their God and the other holy symbols began to heat up as the other Gods reached out to try and fill the gap. This was a bad sign, as the party was reliant on the Kharachians’ ability to lay souls to rest – a blessing of their god – and the party had to stick close together to be able to keep moving as they were drawn towards the distressed Kharachians against their will.

Pushing on, the group began to descend into the valley and encountered a set of guardians that let them past after the appropriate password, though a great skeletal warrior charged the party and was laid low. Continuing on they came across the first of the dead kings – King Raegenhere Rynnick, an unfortunate ruler who’d been assassinated after attempting to make peace with the Axirian invaders. He was more than willing to talk to the company, explaining that he had be ousted from his bones by the one who killed him and he was wandering the Valley because he had nowhere to go. He spoke of the Liche who had been speaking with them and that many of the Kings were waiting on the judgement of King Wvortigen, the founder of the Kingdom, before they decided on what they would do. This was good news for the group – if they could convince Wvortigen not to side with the Liche then they might be able to stop him from twisting the others to his will. Whilst they were talking, a ghost of a High Tower came to speak with her “nephew” Doctor O’Kyle. Rowan and the other scouts went on ahead where Brendan and Rowan compared their notes on the Kings and what they could expect – particularly trying to figure out which King they had met and who might prove difficult to deal with. King Raegenhere warned of a Paleun device that kept out the old Kharachian Soul Stealers (the old Barwyckshire term for the Kharachian priesthood). Destroy this and Kharach would be able to connect with his priests in the valley, allowing them to lay souls to rest. They were also given some advice on where to find some of the dynasties.

Pressing on they were attacked by more undead, having to carry one through a set of guardians to simulate the body the password called for, before facing a necromancer who claimed allegiance with the Liche. Once he’d introduced himself and mocked the party, the knight put him down and the rest of the party dropped the rest of his minions. Ahead of them the path became loose, as if graves had been upturned or dug out (or crawled out of). As Brendan and Jonathon observed the changes under foot, Rowan seemed to become distressed, muttering to herself in another language. Undead erupted out of the ground and the party fought back to move off the grave path where Rowan seemed to recover her powers of speech though she refused to explain what had happened.

Up ahead, the adventurers came across two stone golems marking the way to two of the familial crypts – the Piercers and the Pendrakes. Rowan argued that as there was only Pendrake King he should be dealt with first to see the extent of how the Liche had warped the old Kings. They crossed a deep crack in the earth and climbed up to the tomb where King Redwald Pendrake rose from his shattered coffin with tattered bandages and in his rotten skin. He cut through the first fighters and those he touched became ill, but eventually the party managed to dismiss him and patched themselves up. The man who died of plague became a Mummy and armed with this information Rowan tried to think of what others could cause problems for them if they had sided with the Liche.

On past the golem in Piercer heraldry and up to the hill where four of the Piercer Kings waited expectantly, the party engaged in conversation with the old Kings, trying to convince them of their identity and that it would be better for them to go onto Kharach than stay and risk being destroyed by the Liche. Eventually they agreed and let the DePiercy brothers access to the Paluen artefact they had been guarding, Stewart destroying its power by bleeding on it. With the baleful influence gone, the Kharachians felt their God returned and performed the ritual of lay to rest upon the four Piercers.

The party continued on, fighting off undead and heading for the Wvortigen Barrow. They came across a monstrosity that challenged them before leaving it’s minions to attack them, leading them into its barrow where it came for them with a paralysing touch. Upon entering the barrow everyone noticed the sudden drop in temperature and its strength sapping quality, all except Rowan who felt much better for the sudden temperature change. In the battle against the Barrow-wight King Tiber Rynnik, this proved useful as she was unaffected by the cold and able to fight as normal, though she called upon one of the gifts given by the Lirronese Dragon to protect herself from a mortal wound. Unfortunately her armour took a beating and as she knelt to rouse Benedict from unconsciousness, she was struck from behind and fell to the floor wounded. Father Enacus managed to destroy the creature and as everyone picked themselves up, it became clear that Rowan was wounded and they came very close to losing the Voice many of them had worked so hard to help her gain.

As weapons were blessed and sharpened, Rowan sat and communed with the dragon, seeking comfort as she realised how vulnerable she was without her armour. As they continued on their way they had to make a choice to leave zombies undestroyed as they were running low on holy water and power, aiming to return and destroy them on the way out of the Valley.

They came to another bridge where Raegenhere was waiting for them with advice on the Liche. One way would take them straight to the Wvortigen Barrow without crossing paths with the Liche, the other way would lead them straight to the Liche who was attempting to raise the coward King Swindhelm High Tower. After a quick council with the highest ranking guild members on the party, Sir Stewart decided to go stop the Liche – better to stop him in his tracks than allow him to keep twisting Kings to his will.

So off the party went, hurrying to distract the figure in white and fight off his minions. There was an undead spell caster who slept many members of the party and zombies that kept getting up when the party were unable to tend to them. Rowan, pouring alchemy down Jonathon’s throat to save him dashed across to help, but found that she was excellent bait for the Liche, who was drawn to her and the raging Voice of the Lirronese Dragon. The Liche tried to convince her to renounce her human weaknesses and turn to his side and severed Rowan from her Goddess in an attempt to show his power. Most religious folk struggle to come to terms with this unnatural severing, but the Lirronese Dragon swept into the gap and Rowan simply laughed at him and warned him that his days as the Voice were numbered.

The party back on their feet finally reached the Wvortigen Hall where many of the Wvortigen family waited. Stewart, Benedict and Enacus set about convincing Wvotigen that his time was up and it would be better for him to go to Kharach’s Halls than lose his sense of ‘self’ to the Liche. Eventually they managed to convince him of their worth and he called upon those present to swear an oath to uphold the ideals of Old Barwyckshire and her Kings and Queens. Some amended their oath, others swore to it whole heartedly – including Rowan who was recognised as Voice of the Ice Dragon by the old king.

Once this was done, the adventurers heard the First King of Barwyckshire call out to Kharach to ask entrance for himself and his kin and then they were gone. The mission was a success, a good number of souls saved from the Liche. But not all souls were accounted for, not all Kings found or their monstrosities destroyed. The Liche may very well yet have some powerful allies on his side …

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