The White Star prowl the wilds of Berwickshire still, and all manner of things creep in the shadows. Two groups of adventurers, hearing the call for aid, gathered for their separate tasks and set out seeking heroic deeds, quests, companionship and pay.
The woods where we run our daysites were a flame with the colours of autumn, though I think I’ve missed the best of it. It did however make for a picturesque setting for the day’s games, and made me glad I had my camera to hand. I filled it with more landscape photos than photos of the adventure I monstered for, but never mind …
Player Mission: On the Pilgrim’s Way
The Church of Crowa called for aid in clearing one of their pilgrim routes of the foulspawn that have been threatening the two shrines to Crowa and Kharach. Brigit, always concerned by the welfare of the followers of faith and those who take up the pilgrim’s road went to meet with the Church to offer her aid, and she was joined by others at the hamlet at the foot of Ser Ulrik’s Way.
These adventurers were:
- Captain Christo Eadronhart of the Berwickshire Medium;
- Dr Krom Goodfellow of the Physicians Guild;
- Aoife Murphy and Wren of the Alchemists Guild;
- Sir Vincent Savage of the Feudal Order of the Stag;
- High Father Andre of Rolbor; Brigit Wooller of Crowa;
Ser Ulrik was no saint. He was just an Oluthen Mercenary who, after fighting for years for the Lords of Berwickshire turned aside from his path of self service and gathered together the people to face a great foulspawn threat that came down from the north. This pilgrim’s way is the path of the battle to the Berwickshire victory, where Ser Ulrik knelt in thanksgiving to Crowa before he was betrayed by one of his own men and his bones became the site of the shrine to Kharach. The route itself is short and for many is the first pilgrimage they make as children in the county, recognising the power of the gods and the power they have to change the heart of even the most mercenary of men.
The pilgrims have been threatened by the White Star which could not be allowed to continue. The Church wished for the two shrines to be checked and the White Star in the area cleared out or moved on, and for a couple of adventurers to take some papers to a White Star informant and gather the information he had promised to deliver. Brigit and Sir Vincent agreed to do this additional task and the company set out upon the road following the map they had been given. Without a scout they were unsure of how far the shrines were from each other, but the path was well worn and easy to follow from the many feet that had gone before them. The first indication of trouble were bodies on the road – a pair of Kharachians and a pair of Crowans who had all clearly been in a fight. Were these pilgrims or Shrine Guardians? They could not tell, but one of the bodies had had their finger hacked off which angered Wren. Praying over the bodies for their Gods to welcome their souls home, Brigit was stunned at the brutality that had recently disturbed the peaceful place.
The shrine to Crowa was off the path and the group only found it by the warm feeling familiar to the priests as a sign of a hallowed place. Kneeling before the shrine Brigit gave thanks and prayed again for the souls of the fallen, only to have her Lady lean over her and command her to stand and defend the shrine against those with evil intentions. Placing a book she had been given by Dr Krom upon the shrine, she told the party what her goddess had commanded her and turned to face the narrow bridge from the road onto the shrine ground. She drew her longsword and found it touched by grace and blessed by Crowa, felt the protections of her Lady fall upon her and she stood in defence of the hallowed ground from the White Star that approached. Her companions went to her aid until she asked them to stand aside, but they lent their support as her shield was broken and Christo succumbed to the control of the shaman and began to overturn the shrine. High Father Andre chased off the last of the shamans and made sure it would cause no further mischief. Brigit tidied the shrine and cleansed it, praying to try and strengthen the flickering flame that was the glory of the shrine. Joined by the others in fellowship the shrine recovered and Crowa bent once more to speak in Brigit’s ear, calling her to stand as Shrine Guardian and return to that place as its keeper. The book was returned to her, cleansed of the stain placed there by the last bearer, and Brigit could only kneel in amazement and bow to her Goddess’s wishes.
The group separated to complete the secondary objective, the party passing alchemy to the pair going off alone in a bid to keep them safe, and Brigit and Sir Vincent took their leave. The group met with other pilgrims on the road and fought off White Star on the way to the Kharachian Shrine, but Brigit and Sir Vincent found a path through the woods. They found a trio of White Star scouting and fought them off – Brigit falling to a goblin with a knife – but they kept on until they found the Goblin “Griggles”. They defended him as he tried to tell them the information, but he was reluctant to give too much away until Brigit put her Father’s trading skills to good use. He gave her the key important points, and about 2/3rds of the information he had. She then gave him the papers which conferred the protections of the court upon him, and then he gave the rest.
The information was alarming – the White Star Seer was in the area seeking to make a goblin market so that he can buy a means to get rid of the “magic elf” who has been interfering with his visions. By casting gruesome offerings and trophies and “goods” around a shrine he can corrupt it to form the market, but once the market is formed he loses his ability to “see”. With him in the area and soon to be vulnerable, Brigit and Sir Vincent hurried on to meet their companions to catch the Seer and save Finn from his malicious scheme. They found the group by the sounds of fighting and blurted out the information they had, and the party spread out around the clearing expecting to stumble upon the Seer and his horde any point soon.
The Kharachian Shrine is founded on the bones of Ser Ulrik, but the orcs had disturbed the relic and the fire of the shrine was beginning to go out. Dr Krom and Aoife worked to lay the bones out correctly and Brigit offered to help the Kharachian Devotee by cleansing the shrine. But then the orcs fell upon them and Brigit handed her short sword into the hands of the devotee so that she could defend herself and the shrine. The Seer escaped once using his “foresight” but was chased down and caught by some of the group as Brigit held her leg together and bade the physician to tend to the fallen Alchemist. With the Seer in their custody and unconcious, the party regathered at the shrine, but the fae descended upon them at the rumour of a goblin market. Coming with goods to trade – apples, cakes, the heart of one’s true love (at being presented this Brigit shrieked in horror) – but the party were in no mood to trade with the pesky little blighters.
With the help of High Father Andre Brigit was able to cleanse the shrine through the works of two priests and prayers to their own gods and Kharach. The spirit of Ser Ulrik, this being Kharach’s holy day, appeared to them and thanked them – leading to Andre having to translate for this Oluthen spirit – and spoke directly to Wren. Then he asked that the foulspawn be built into a pyre and torched so that their spirits would go on.
This done, the party returned to the hamlet to report to the priest of Crowa and then on to Newcroft with their captive for questioning. And so the Seer of the White Star was undone, Finn saved from his wrath, and perhaps the control of the White Star may have finally been broken…?
Monster Mission: Rumblings in the Wilds
The mines under Ember have fallen silent in the wake of the adventurers who went underground to drive out the Mithrans. But in recent weeks the ground has begun to rumble and crack and rumours of great and terrible things have reached the ears of the Thane’s Court. Determined to dismiss these rumours, the Court sends adventurers out into the wilds to investigate.
The adventurers who heeded this request were:
- Don of the Mercenaries Guild;
- James of the Guards;
- Pestopheles of the Physicians Guild;
- Roger of the Blacksmiths Guild;
- Albrecht Crowe of the School of Enchantment;
- Errant Thomas DePiercy, Feudal Vassal;
- Tungdil Stonehammer of Tralda; Kai of Kharach;
Entering the area they were met by a group of villagers fleeing their home – a family devastated at having lost their home and their son. Begging for their help they told of how a great worm had appeared and swallowed down the house, how it had snapped up their son – dragging him into the ground! Rattled, the adventurers continued on to the ominious sound of rumbling beneath the ground.
They avoided a dark elf ambush and came upon the site of the house only to find it a crater filled with dirt and no sign of any settlement. As Roger tried stepping onto the ground his boots were sucked into the fine sediment and his companions had to haul him out before he was lost.
The group were ambushed by more dark elves who had secreted themselves amongst the woodland, found the missing son who had died and returned as a zombie, and came upon a group of lizard men looking for the Great Wyrm. Before they could start discussing trade and directions the party killed them, recovering a book which belonged to a forgetful Dwarven surveyor. He had been sent from Dun Mhurdo to map the changing tunnel layouts, but so much changed so quickly he was forced to rely on his maps and charts to keep up. Having been jumped by a group of scaly lizard folk he was overjoyed to see his book returned to him and gave the adventurers a warning about the changing tunnels – it’s not natural! And there ain’t nothing much alive down there …
An encounter with a group of lizardmen with their shaman ended in another fight and the adventurers pressed on into the area that had seen the most change. There was a great hissing rumble from the ground around them and the hillside seemed to grow steeper before their eyes as rocks and trees moved under the moving ground. Scrabbling up the hill, rolling and tumbling amidst the rocks, the adventurers were able to escape whatever terror was playing havoc with the tunnels, only to run into a milling mass of undead. Hurrying on their way they stumbled upon a fresh crack in the earth and came face to face with a pair of disgruntled Roden and their undead minions. They were not happy to see adventurers, having had some adventurers enter their lairs months before and shatter the rock pillar holding up the roof of a cavern connected to the tunnels (which had been full of automata …) With the collapse of the cavern the tunnels had fallen in and they had been forced to flee their home.
The adventurers leapt into battle with the Roden and their minions, unwilling to led a host of undead escape into the wilds of the county. Errant Thomas DePiercy slew one of the necromancers as his companions were nearly all put to the floor, and as he cleaned the blood off his sword a great disaster befell the company. Kai, the Nipponese devotee of Kharach, a supplicant to the priesthood, broke the trust of his God and was shunned. All the Gods turned their backs on him as he writhed screaming in pain as the excommunication mark branded itself upon his face. His friends stripped him of his weapons to prevent him taking his own life. But upon his return to Newcroft he set his affairs in order and went beyond the walls of Newcroft to end it.
His companions returned to Newcroft to report on what they had learned, hurting from the loss of their friend and the inevitable end that would follow.