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April 17, 2006

The Ninth Telvar Open Tournament: Faces from the Past

[The Word-formatted Summary is found here.]

"It had never previously been understood why the Northerner word for 'unavoidable danger' literally translated as 'blue fire mountain.'" - Loren Kenither, BoS


""More are men's ends mark'd than their lives before.

The setting sun, and music at the close,

As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last,

Writ in remembrance more than things long past."

--William Shakespeare, King Richard II


Events of 5 November 2005 in Charlotte, N.C. / 10-11 June 2192 B.Y.
in far western Cromwell, a place known as the Salt Sea Region


[the same day as the events of the Eighth Telvar Open]


[NOTE: Some of the diverse summaries of these events contain contradictory information, and skewed perspectives based on the experiences of the characters involved. Some of these have been noted specifically, but otherwise the unique

perspectives of each group have been maintained. The truth

of each situation probably lies somewhere in the middle.]



We begin as:


A corrupt and evil kingdom of slave lords collapses...

A city built on the edge of a large salty sea is in chaos...

And Cromwellian forces enter the region to restore order and crush the slavers...


The ruins of an ancient Kraken temple molder...

A haunted forest in the shadow of an extinct volcano slumbers...

And a librarian at Cromwell's famed Academy heads off on an unusual vacation...


But meanwhile:


A holy Paladin of Nevron receives a vision of great importance...

One of the High Priests of Aurora hears a rumor of a city in dire straits...

And the government of Cromwell realizes that there are several “irregularities” in the librarian's preparations for his vacation, resulting in an Academy Team known as Death from Above being dispatched in pursuit...


Events begin to fall into place in the city, forest, and surrounding lands, as…


The city of Towlmere devolves into chaos and mayhem…

The servants of Aurora and Nevron converge on the area…

The Academy Team finds the trail of the errant librarian and is in hot pursuit…


As the librarian completes his work on a strange device at the top of an ancient pyramid in the midst of the haunted forest…


And an ancient evil awakens...



Summary: Towlmere, City on the Edge of Midnight.



Xavier, played by Jack McKechnie

Javin, henchman of Xavier, played by Ryan Snead

Towlmere community leader/politician, played by David Bjorlin


Xavier, an Auroran evangelist and hero, has spent several years in Cromwell and the Near Realm, working on behalf of his god and the people of the region. With friends and contacts in many places, Xavier’s ear has been to the ground… and lately he has heard rumblings.


Upon hearing of the collapse of a slave lord kingdom on the edge of Cromwell’s Salt Sea Region, has traveled there to look for new worshippers for Aurora amongst the recently freed slaves and see where his many skills might be put to use. There is a large settlement on the edge of the Cromwellian zone of control that seemed a likely place to look for new worshippers of Aurora, the city of Towlmere. On a peninsula jutting into the large salty Sea, Towlmere was in chaos, and Xavier had heard of the approach of lawful forces seeking to restore order. His contacts in the Realmish government had spoken with the people of importance in the Cromwellian government and he knew that the advancing Cromwellian army should reach the city in about six days.


Xavier and his trusted henchman Javin [played by Ryan Snead] slipped into Towlmere ahead of the approaching army with the thought of leading a movement within the city to disrupt any defense mounted by the criminal leaders of the city, the Slave Lords. Such a move would establish Xavier as a hero to the local people and possibly lead to thousands of conversions to Aurora in a city that seems destined to be populous and weathly in the years ahead. Also, Xavier could use his copious administrative and clerical skills to make things more comfortable for the populace.


Xavier arrived in Towlmere expecting to find the Slave Lords preparing a defense against the approaching army—possibly forcing slaves and poor residents to fight on their own behalf. Yet the city was a mix of desolation and chaos. There were about 30,000 persons still in the city, and no sign of the Slave Lords. The brutal guards that enforced their rule were gone. The wealthy districts of the city were largely empty, save for scattered looters. The docks were almost entirely devoid of boats, and the warehouses stood open and barren. The citadel at the center of the city was closed and dark. Xavier looked around with an eye to taking some useful action.


As Xavier wandered the city, he stumbled across a tavern-like building named "The Clam House." It was packed, but only one voice echoed out its open double doors. Inside he found many locals and a community leader who had run some sort of an outreach in the slums for many years [played by David Bjorlin]. He shared news of the situation in the city with Xavier.


Apparently, the Slave lords had left, taking everything of value they could take with them. They had left a city of hungry and abused people with nowhere to go—waiting and hoping for the arrival of the Cromwellian army. He is now trying to establish some sort of order in the city, to stem the crime and looting, to unchain the abandoned slaves, and to bring food to a city that has no stores, and almost no boats to resume fishing. The few artisans that remained in the city fled as the Slave Lords left, fearing the chaos of a lawless city and prosecution for cooperating with the Slave Lords. Now only abandoned slaves and the poor remain, and many are weak and undernourished already. Starvation will begin to take its toll soon, perhaps in as little as two days….


Thus begins the Open for the city group.


We first began in a damage-control mode evaluating what people and resources we had and how to avoid the worst of the coming humanitarian disaster. Thousands had gathered in one part of the city but among them there were only a few able-bodied men for defense, exploration, and aid. We established the Clam House as our base and sent scouts to the front gate and to the plaza area to look around. The front gates were unoccupied, so we left a small force there to monitor things. The large plaza area in the southern part of town contained hundreds of slaves still chained to their stations and left to die. We organized a larger relief effort to free these slaves, and after we discovered that there was a somewhat sizable supply of food and water there, we sought to move the mass of free people to that area.


Later, our scouts at the gate reported disappearances and glimpses of 'shadowy' things outside of vision. Meanwhile, Xavier, while leading an expedition in the plaza area to free slaves, was suddenly joined by the paladin, Sir Konrad as he landed in the city on his pegasus. Konrad told us of a large undead army approaching the city. This army included level drainers that the common solder or peasant had no hope of fighting. Xavier and Konrad decided to explore the citadel in the center of the city as either a possible escape or defensive locale for the thousands of helpless city inhabitants.


They entered through the roof of the building with ease, and met an interesting old man evidently quite disinterested in the current state of events. He claimed he was the high wizard for the city, but the ruling authorities had left. He seemed quite content to stay and await whatever fate befell the city. And the citadel was not nearly large enough to serve as a defense of last resort for the thousands of city inhabitants.


Konrad and Xavier were planning a desperate last ditch defense plan utilizing the plaza area for the thousands of innocents when the Cromwellian adventuring parties arrived. At this point the groups merged as things became more interesting still…


[To be continued…]


~~Xavier, High Priest of Aurora [written by Jack McKechnie with minor editing by Kyle]



Summary: The Librarian and the Mysterious Artifact.


Starring: Death from Above, a Cromwellian Academy party, composed of:

Taniqué, 8th level fighter (scimitar wielder and party leader), played by Kathryn Snead

Cherry, 5th Level Monk / 4th level Scholar, played by Alan Jones

MacKensie, 6th level fighter (bastard sword user), played by David Jones

Sigmund, 6th level Nevronian Cleric, played by Brian Riedel

Kelvar, 5th level half-orc fighter (spear user), played by Rhonda Jones

Nygond, 5th level illusionist, played by Ashley Merritt

Tara, 5th level woodsman (bow specialist), played by Aaron Schweinsberg

Lisette, 5th level mage, played by Joey Hess


[Not present were Borin, a level 6 dwarven fighter [and former Stone Soules member], and his henchman Rat, a level 2 Nevronian Cleric, who were at home visiting family.]


While Xavier was entering Towlmere and getting a feel for his surroundings, a Cromwellian Academy Team, Death from Above, was in midst of a long mission pursuing the Librarian of the Academy, who had departed under unusual circumstances some time before…


The adventure was a marathon, not a sprint. Our story begins with the party receiving a mission, relating to some very troubling news. It turns out that the Librarian, of the Library at the Academy in Cromwell, named Thieran, had recently disappeared, along with over 12,000 gold pieces in cash, and several ancient relics and files that had been under his stewardship. It was our task to track him down and bring back both the man and what he stole. Ideally we would figure out what in the world was going on, as well.


We followed Thieran, learning that we were maybe a week behind him from some of the people in the villages we spoke with. We knew that he traveled with a mule-drawn cart and a carpenter, blacksmith, and silversmith that he had hired. Also, a group of five hobgoblins from Dorson had been recruited.


His trail ended at a long set of stairs leading up a strange mountain in the forested wilderness, which we later learned was known as the Watchtower. The cart was left at the base, amongst the creepy trees, and from the tracks, it seemed they had ascended the stairs between 24 and 48 hours ago. We started climbing the stairs after them. As we trudged up the stairs, we noticed that the walls were formed of volcanic rock, and they were carved with hundreds and hundreds of faces. Text around the faces indicated names and (mostly military) exploits in a dialect of the Archaic Northerner tongue.


After thirty minutes of stair climbing, we came to a landing and needed to pause to rest. At the landing, there was a mural carved in relief in a sort of semi-dome. The scene depicted was one of an army (around the viewer) fighting downhill. There was a date given in an ancient language that we could not interpret.


Further climbing revealed landings every thirty minutes, each with a similar mural.

• A battle on an island. The forces on both sides looked more-or-less the same, both Northerner.

• A scene inside a building, possibly a hallway. This one had close up images. Four Northerners and one other person in a party with the viewer, fighting six other people.

• A scene taking place underwater, Northerners walking on the bottom of a lake fighting others. A large shark looms over the battle. We see underwater structures depicted. One prominent Northerner with a barbed spear appeared near the viewer in an arch to the right, and we recalled that he could be found in all the images.


Thirty more minutes after we leave this landing, we come near the end of the stairs. We see (and hear) a crackling blue flame centered on some landing above us. To our surprise, we see five disgruntled-looking hobgoblins descending the stairs. As they near us, they address us with: "Greetings, Officers."


We press them for an explanation of their activities, and they tell us that they had traveled with Thieran and helped him assemble this bizarre aquamarine apparatus he had with him on the top of the mountain. After the device was finished, Thieran simply stood, facing the device, doing and saying nothing. Eventually, the hobgoblins decided to leave with their pay, although the artisans were still up above. They didn't particularly question his motives (he had an "official seal"), and when we informed them of Thieran's apparent treachery, they wanted it noted that they were acting under orders. We let them go.


We rushed the rest of the way up the stairs. We saw two troughs of blue, cold, life-draining flame, running up beside the stairs as we ran. We could tell that it was not regular fire by the way that MacKensie's ring of warmth could not keep him warm next to it, and since MacKensie had experienced this exact effect before, he knew the fire to be negative material energy, capable of draining the life from anyone who touched it. Fortunately, none of the party tried to put it out, although many theories were hazarded.


Finally, the party crested the stairs to find that the troughs ran from the stairs to a platform on which was situated an apparatus, composed of a round metal frame with an aquamarine-colored scepter inside. The flame was slowly ascending the troughs to reach the upper platform. Above us, near the device, the man Thieran turned to face us. He shouted, "The Eye is on the eye, but not the other eye!" [capitalization uncertain]


Most of the party started charging up the stairs at him, Taniqué in the lead. Tara moved to the side and prepared a bowshot.


The raving cleric continued, "I am the Mad Prophet! Wise enough to recognize my madness, I cannot be stopped!" With that, he launched a spell down at the party. Fearful of the deadly-seeming energy, the illusionist Nygond had only moments in which to use a powerful one-shot item: his mirror of spell turning. The blast reflected back up at the priest, dropping him and everyone else up at the platform instantly. It appeared to have been some sort of powerful stunning spell. We felt that we had to clear the area up above before the blue trough flames reached the top. (Though the aquamarine ball atop the scepter was already flaming). MacKensie, Kelvar, and Sigmund led the effort to clear the collapsed Thieran, apparently possessed, and the workers, off the upper platform just before it was ignited in cold flame. Unfortunately, we could not approach the device as it was past the flames. Even though we didn't know what it did (spell-ID suggested some sort of spell-range amplifier) we decided that anything fueled by life-draining blue flame was bad news and we wanted to put it out of commission.


The flames started expanding out from the scepter and it looked as if the flames, once they passed the round frame of the device, might explode outward and yet kill us all. Tara activated a token of boat and launched it at the scepter. As the boat hurtled past the flames, it seemed to decay and break up in mid-air, but there was still plenty of solid mass left when the boat slammed head-on into the scepter.


After the impact, the scepter was bent, and it spun and flamed erratically. It was clear we had messed up its function to some extent, but we weren't sure how completely. We still couldn't approach it, but we decided it was important to take it out once and for all, so

we came up with a plan to do just that, involving yet another powerful one-shot item of our illusionist's. Nygond, the illusionist, was given an Aid and a Fly spell. He flew up high above the device (avoiding the jet of flame) and cast an illusion of a hovering couch-sized lead block below him. He then sprinkled 9 doses of dust of substance on the block to give it reality, and away it fell, smashing the apparatus completely with a violent crunch. Some bits of the frame flew up and even hit Nygond, but the Aid spell soaked up the damage.


Making use of the Fly spell, Nygond surveyed the land around the mountain. He spotted a mass of "people in white" to the north, moving toward the mountain. We were very concerned. Were they people, or undead? Were they coming for us, or just to the mountain? Were they summoned here by the light? Additionally, we weren't sure if we should flee immediately, or try to recover the remains of the artifact (now squashed under a lead block). We decided to try to recover at least the scepter, lest it fall again into the wrong hands, so MacKensie’s engineering skills came in handy as we spent a half hour or so moving the block, with ropes, a mule, and a potion of giant strength.


During this time, we also had a chance to investigate some of the files the cleric had taken. They included some old maps of the region and an unknown settlement, some depictions and descriptions of the artifact, and some strange riddles.


• "When the lament resounds - the hunchback's one good eye must focus on the evil and it will see."

• "I must eye the eye with my eye when I eye the eye. I eye the eye on the other eye, as I eye the eye."


When the block was pulled aside, we grabbed the scepter (carefully), tossed it in a box, and fled south with the unconscious workers and cleric.


We rode straight south without stopping until we got to a costal resort hotel called the Hamilton. We decided to rest there, and were surprised to learn that we were the second group of Cromwellians to come through here recently. We were told that an army 100-200 strong had passed by earlier. They came from the east and left to the north-west. Talking to other people in the Hamilton, we met one shady character who said he had some items he could rent to us that might be of interest. One was a telescope on the roof of the building (rental fee, 500 gold pieces). He also had a boat we could rent, which we considered sailing east to get to the Kest coast, getting the artifact remains and ourselves away to safety as fast as possible.


We decided first to rent the telescope in the morning. Through it, we did not see the "white army" we feared was chasing us, but a different small army, marching to the east. Two of our party [Taniqué and Kelvar?] went out to parley with them, and we would watch their interaction through the telescope. What we found out was that it was the Cromwellian army that had passed by the Hamilton earlier. They had just themselves fled a harrowing encounter with a mass of undead to the west. They had been expecting to take on a smugglers' camp, but found it already overrun with undead. We filled them in on the details of our mission as well, and we decided to join them as they traveled east and then travel south by land to the settlement of Towlmere, where, we were sure, we could rest and be safely protected from the ravaging undead.


The soldiers in charge of the Cromwellian army force shared with the party what they knew: their officers were heading to the city of Towlmere (on a peninsula to the south and east) on a special mission with the paladin Sir Konrad, and that was about it. The party decided that Konrad and the army officers, if they were operating in the area, needed to know about the weird white army, the blue light, the undead flames, and the rest. We also wanted to offer our services, as we had accomplished our mission. We set off down the road after them, and caught up with the army officers en route to Towlmere.


~~Tara and Taniqué, of the Cromwellian Academy Team Death from Above

[Written by Aaron Schweinsberg with contributions from Kathryn Snead, and compilation and minor editing by Kyle]



Summary: Mission: Confusing.


Memoirs of Cpt. Bernard Mathou, Wysos Regulars, Cromwellian Expeditionary Force

10-11 June 2192 [Played by Sean Paus]


It started out straight forward enough. As part of the ongoing efforts to bring order to the former Realmish regions, we were tasked to eliminate one of the local criminal organizations near the northern Suss Forest. Our target was a slave plantation whose primary endeavor was the manufacture of the highly addictive and dangerous drug Spellum. Our intelligence indicated the plantation held 200 to 300 slaves, 50 armed thugs, a few body guards and the plantation owners. Our goals were to rescue the slaves, destroy the crops of Spellum and any of the drug that had been distilled, and capture as many of the slavers as possible. Our force was composed of two units of cavalry, two units of spearmen, a unit of heavy infantry and a unit of crossbowmen. I was accompanied by my second in command, Henri [Darleen], our cleric Joana [Jay Bates], our ranger Spider and an elven scout named Pheraguat, with hippogriff mount, that we had hired [Andrew Anderson]. Along for the ride were two adventurers, an elven fighter/mage and Regent’s courtier named Site Bowlength [Keith Nelson] and a human fighter and Regent’s courtier named Jennifer Hookhill [Katherine Anderson]. Site was the slightly-overprotective “uncle” of Jennifer and had adventured with her father Tim and with Ranore in battles against the Slave Lords many years earlier. However, Jennifer was quite a capable fighter and scholar on her own, and brought many skills to bear. I was confident that with all of these people forming our group, the forces at command should be more than capable of handling the slave plantation.


Half a day before we reached the Hamilton (a resort on the edge of the inland salt sea that had fallen into the hands of the criminal element) we were joined by the famous and powerful paladin Sir Konrad. He indicated that he was sent by Nevron to the region because his calling indicated that an event was imminent which could cause much suffering and that he was there to help. This was very exciting, as we had all heard of his great deeds, but was also disturbing as our mission did not seem to warrant his presence. Were the forces at the plantation more powerful than we had thought? Could our fight with the slavers end up unleashing a force of such destructive power as to endanger everyone in the region? Then there was the possibility that the event requiring his presence had nothing to do with us at all. We revised our plans to assault the plantation to include the possibility that Konrad would be present and continued to advance on the plantation. Joana suggested that she should perform a Divination, but that she was not currently prepared to do so. We included in our plans time for her to prepare and perform a divination, thinking that would aid Konrad in his activities.


Though our target was not the only slave plantation in the region, we were aware of only one route to it and I did not want to alert the slave lords prematurely. Undoubtedly, they were already aware of our presence and nervous about our intent. Luckily, a haunted region of forest surrounding a lone mountain called The Watchtower to the north gave me an idea. It was my hope that by acting like we were there to deal with some recent increase in undead activity, our target would relax just enough for us to catch them off guard. We stopped at The Hamilton, briefly, to drop some hints to that effect and inquire into recent activity in the haunted area when we were approached by an individual who overheard our conversations and provided us with some disturbing news. He claimed to have encountered a Cromwellian official with three prisoners and a squad of hobgoblins in tow who was also traveling north into the haunted woods. He assumed that we were already aware of his presence and was confused by the questions we were asking. We asked him to describe the official and any insignia he bore. Based on the description, Henri [the second-in-command] determined that he was wearing the attire of a Nevronian cleric, but could discern nothing more.


I asked Konrad if his calling had anything to say about this, and he replied that things had become much worse, but more uncertain. We did not know how to interpret this and continued with our plan. He was still interested in hearing the results of Joana's divination and decided to travel with us until then. That was the first mistake of many we made that day. We headed north, towards the haunted region, and camped at the edge of the forest. After that, things started, rapidly, to fall apart.


First, at about midnight, we noticed a blue beam of light, like a lighthouse beacon, shine forth from the top of The Watchtower. It swept the horizon less than a handful of times before it wavered eratically and then went out. We all had the impression that we had missed something important.


Next, Konrad's calling became more intense. Apparently, whatever event he was here for was upon us and happening everywhere in the region. In addition, the area in most dire need of him was back the way we came. Uncertain whether to backtrack and help those in need, or stop whatever had been set in motion, he stayed long enough for Joana's divination.


Before Joana was ready to perform the divination, Pheraguat [mounted on his hippogriff] returned from his scouting mission to the plantation. He reported that the plantation had been overrun by undead, that a flying wraithlike creature was swooping down and turning those left alive into other wraithlike creatures. There were hundreds of pale, mindless creatures wandering the compound. The slavers were fighting a losing battle and were probably all dead by now. All that was left was for Joana to perform her divination. This is what she learned:


The forces of Neutral Evil, influenced by the Elder Elemental Eye, are Beyond Descriptive Terms.

The influence of Anar, the god of Chaos and Randomness, is Significant but Fading.

The forces of Nevron are Meaningful.

The puppet forces of Neutrality are very, very large and in motion.

The chance of incurring the wrath of the forces of Evil, especially those of the Elder Elemental Eye, is Likely.

The chance of incurring the wrath of the forces of Nevron is Low.

The treasure in the region is Beyond Descriptive Terms.


It seemed clear to us that Anar's minions were responsible for the beam of light we saw on The Watchtower, but had been dealt with. It also seemed clear to us that they had either alerted or awakened the Neutral Evil forces responsible for the undead creatures that had recently become active. We were unsure what to make about the puppet forces of Neutrality. Whether they were puppets of the servants of Anar or the Elder Elemental Eye, it was clear that we were all in extreme peril.


Upon reflection, we should have interpreted the change in Konrad's calling as a sign for him to pursue the cleric of Nevron and his prisoners. Whether the cleric was genuine Nevronian or a servant of Anar, Konrad would have been able to deal with the sitation and much suffering would have been averted. I am even more convinced of that given what I learned later.


At some point, one of our scouts spotted a wraithlike creature near our encampment. It did not attack us, but its proximity to us worried me. I thought on Pheraguat's report from the plantation and did not want my forces to suffer the same fate. I knew that our forces would be largely ineffectual against a horde of wraithlike undead and decided to send them home. I also sent a messenger to King Ranore [of Cromwell] describing what we had witnessed and the result of the divination. I then led those of us that remained south to give Konrad any aid we could. We noticed wraithlike creatures on wraithlike mounts following us as we travelled south and prayed to Nevron that we were doing the right thing.


As we passed The Hamilton, it was clear that Konrad had continued further south to the city of Towlmere. As we approached the peninsula we were overtaken by another group of riders. Luckily, they turned out to be the famous adventuring group Death from Above and not a horde of undead warriors. Unfortunately, the tale they told us confirmed some of my earlier suspicions and served to illustrate just how badly we all had failed in doing Nevron's bidding.


According to Taniqué, leader of Death from Above, they were dispatched from the Academy to track down and stop the Head Librarian of the Academy. The librarian, who was also a cleric of Nevron, had gone insane. He took an old broken artifact from the basement, captured three craftsmen, and made his way to this region. He had the craftsmen repair the artifact, which he placed in a recepticle at the top of The Watchtower. This device was the source of the blue light we witnessed. They did their best to stop him and managed to destroy the beacon, but realized they had gotten there too late. They headed south in order to flee an approaching undead army, learned of our presence in the area and caught up with us. We agreed to join forces and aid Konrad in his endeavors.


When we reached Towlmere, it was clear that the city had been abandoned. We made our way to the center of the city where we encountered the remaining surviving citizens and Konrad. He was trying to find a way to evacuate the remaining 15,000 innocents when we showed up. All of the people were in an area resembling a park. There were earthen walls surrounding it, but it was clear that we lacked the resources to adequately defend it. The keep in the center of the city was defensible, but not large enough to house all of the civillians. We were at a loss for ideas on how to evacuate the 15,000 poor and

former slaves of the city and instead concentrated our efforts on ways to stop the encroaching undead menace. It was then that a fog rolled in from the sea, obscuring everything.


Taniqué mentioned that the librarian was spouting cryptic riddles involving eyes looking at various things. They also mentioned seeing some bas reliefs on The Watchtower depicting a great battle that culminated in a group of warriors traveling through a corridor and beneath the sea. Finally, someone noticed that the layout of the city resembled that of an eye, and that it appeared to be "looking" at a place in the sea known as the Isle of Patterns.


At the southern end of the city, at the edge of the sea, stood a monument surrounded by a fountain. This structure was radiating an evil force and was covered in archaic runes that roughly translated into "Those who serve will be strengthened." We interpreted the clues from the bas reliefs, the Librarian’s riddles, the shape of the city, and the location of the monument to indicate that the source of the threat lay on the Isle of Patterns. Only one person was able to reach the isle swiftly, and that was Konrad. We had no means, mundane or magical, to get anyone else there in time to stop the approaching army.

Though there was a powerful wizard in the city, a recluse, he refused to transport anyone to the isle. We sent Konrad to the isle, hoping that he would be enough to deal with the threat.


But, we didn't give up in trying to find an alternate route to the isle. Given the depictions on the bas reliefs, it made sense that access to the isle should be possible from underneath the city. In addition, given the location of the monument it seemed to be the obvious place to start looking. Though no one had been able to find a way into or underneath it after centuries of searching, we endeavored to find one. Inspection of the monument and fountain revealed that a person could climb down the shaft from which the water sprang, but the force of the flow would prohibit movement. I had Joana use her scroll of Lower Water on the fountain in the hopes that we could get a man down there to investigate. The power of her magic had an unexpected effect. The monument descended into the ground, revealing a spiral staircase.


Exploration of the stairs revealed a corridor, much like the one depicted at The Watchtower. The corridor opened up into a large room containing two large alcoves. In one of the alcoves hung a 50-foot long adamantine shark that radiated a strong aura of Evil. The corridor continued beyond the room to the edge of visibility. In addition, there was evidence that the room and corridor had recently been filled with water and that it was obvious that they would flood again once Joana’s spell expired. Suspecting that the shark was some sort of vehicle, I ordered a search for an entrance or hatch, neither of which could be found.


Realizing that we were short on time, we returned to the surface. When the spell expired and the monument returned to its former position, we did the only thing we could. We started destroying the monument. Cherry and Joana started hitting it with their hammers, and we had ropes wrapped around it that we and many of the local populace heaved on in order to bring it down. Eventually it collapsed, and the foundation was oddly soft and muddy. But, with the collapse of the monument came an unexpected and sad event. Citizens started collapsing and dying by the hundreds. The monument’s magic had, evidently, been feeding these people, keeping them alive under conditions beyond which their bodies could handle. Our attempts at saving these people were not going well.


All seemed lost when the undead horde arrived. They picked off our watchmen and scouts, but left everyone inside the park alone. Instead, they formed a ring around us, preventing our escape. It was then that someone noticed a statue, resembling one of the figures depicted on The Watchtower, light up with archaic runes. These runes translated as "50", "South East" and "40". The "40" rune changed to a "39", then a "38". Something was coming, and it would reach the city by dawn. I feared Konrad had failed.


Surprisingly soon after, Konrad returned. He said that he had made it to the isle. On it

was a ring of 50 cylinders that had risen up from underneath the ground. Each one was large enough to house a creature of giant size, and each one had opened and spilled its contents. It seemed that the undead horde meant for us to fight these creatures to some unknown end, and it was clear that we had, yet again, failed Nevron.


We prepared for the impending assault, but there was little we could do. We were all fatigued, and the members of Death from Above had had no sleep over the past day. I felt certain that, if the approaching creatures did not do us in, the undead horde would…


[To be continued…]


~~Captain Bernard Mathou [written by Sean Paus with minor editing by Kyle]


Summary: Excerpt from the After-Action Report of Pheraguat, Cromwellian Scout


By Pheraguat, as played by Andrew Anderson


10 Jun 2192


Mounted on my hippogriff and armed with my bow, I was hired to the serve as scout for the Wysos Regulars, Cromwellian Expeditionary Force. I have served the Cromwellian government for over a decade conducting dangerous scouting missions in the mountains bordering the Realm. In this capacity I provided the initial reconnaissance against the slaving and illegal drug operations of an extensive criminal organization operating in the New and Old Worlds [possibly the Blue and the Grey].


The Cromwellian army dispatched a force of about 200 men under the command of Cpt. Bernard Mathou, and accompanied by members of the Regent's court, with the mission of (1) freeing the slaves and returning them to safety, (2) destroying the drug fields, processing equipment, and any refined drugs, (3) gathering information to further the Regent's government's pursuit of the larger criminal enterprises, and finally, (4) capturing (or if necessary, killing) the slavers at the camp.


From previous reconnaissance, I had identified the basic structure of the camp. The slavers' compound was built in the elbow of a bend of the mountains at the edge of the haunted Suss Forest, so that its north, west, and south were protected by mountains. A wooden palisade of widely placed timbers surrounded the rectangular camp. A gate on the eastern fence opened onto a path leading past a guard tower to join the main road a few miles off. Near the gate stood the stone and timber slavers' quarters. In the NW corner rose a small, low hill and a small farm field. A smaller gate on the south led from the slaves' quarters to a mine entrance in the slope to the south. It was unknown if the mine was active or what ore the slaves were extracting from the mine.


The Cromwellian party was soon joined by the Nevronian champion Sir Konrad, the pegasus-mounted paladin, with whom I had once adventured in the Southern Waste many years before.


Several days away from the compound, the party reached a former seaside resort turned ballista-armed hotel and trading station, The Hamilton. As the men-at-arms and mule train waited outside, several of the officers and the courtiers entered the hotel to speak with the locals and travelers. In the courtyard of the hotel/resort, the officers passed a group of [Flesh-render?] hobgoblins cooking strange fish in the courtyard. It smelled foul to the humans, but the hobgoblins were heard to speak of it as a delicacy. The officers learned from a merchant of a small party of four claiming to be from the Cromwellian Academy, including one who presented official government credentials. We also learned that common people were fleeing the area – apparently word of the approach of Cromwellian justice had preceded us. The slavers' supporters, collaborators, and a few who simply feared being caught in the middle of any conflict were pulling up stakes and heading west or south away from stabilizing Cromwell, following the main road skirting the inland sea. There were also somewhat-typical stories of strange things moving in the woods, dangerous, evil things, and local people disappearing. We initially did not consider these an immediate threat, but noted it for future action. (We later saw unearthly black-clad riders watching our campsites from great distance.)


The presence of another Cromwellian government party in the area was a surprise to the army detachment, but not particularly worrying at the time, as the group knew nothing of the group's true identities or goals. The stories of evil, perhaps even undead (zombies or ghouls), stalking the wilds was noted for future action, and additional care was taken to ensure each guard rotation would include at least one detachment member capable of dealing with such threats until the whole could join the combat.


This second piece of news, however, was the greatest concern to the mission. Fearing for the safety of the slaves, our primary mission, or that the narco-criminal slavers might escape along with the evidence, I left immediately to scout the camp while the full detachment followed as quickly as possible.


Landing at dusk on the far side of one of the mountains overlooking the compound, I bedded down my hippogriff and moved down the wooded slope to approach the camp from the south. In anticipation of needing a diversion, I pre-positioned several pyrotechnics above the mine entrance. As I drew near the camp, I could hear anguished, terrorized screams and battle orders. It sounded as though the slavers were slaughtering their captives before making their escape. I encountered no sentries or guards as I hurried to the compound, so I leapt to the top of the palisade. From there I witnessed death and slaughter.


Throughout the camp, slaves were panicked, running about in groups of two or three or sometimes singly, ankle-chained together, dragging empty shackles. To my horror, I saw one shackled group of four slaves attacked by dark, shadowy shapes. Each strike from the undead turned the slave victim into another undead spirit. The remaining slaves continued to try to run nowhere in particular, with the empty set of manacles dragging between or behind them.


A group of narco-criminal captains had emerged from their quarters and were trying to restore order, shouting commands to the guards not to open the gates, to keep the slaves inside the compound, even to kill those trying to escape. Most guards were trying to follow instructions, but discipline was breaking down. A fire near the low hill in the west of camp illuminated more undead spilling from a new opening in the hillside, and still more undead were being created by the spirit-wraiths' attacks on the slaves and guards. The guards' attempts to defend themselves were ineffectual, lacking magic or blessed weapons.


The slaver captains seemed to be having little more luck. Although they were able to hold off most of the types of undead, a large evil flying spectre was endlessly cackling and taunting them in some strange language, swooping in on the group. None appeared to understand what the specter was saying, but his presence and attacks must have been the death knell of the slaver captains' hope. Their own discipline was being shaken, and they were noticeably near panic when some of their own number fell to the shadows and turned into shadows themselves.


To the east at the main gate was confusion as one band of slaver guards, under loud direction from one of the slaver captains, was locked in combat with some of their own who were trying to open the gate and escape the undead. The light at the gate seemed to be keeping at bay some of the lesser wraiths, perhaps newly defiled slaves or guards, but stronger undead shadows were savaging these guards more than their former compatriots were.


I entered the compound and moved towards the eastern gate, avoiding notice from the swarms of flying shadow-like undead. As I approached it became clear that the band of panicked (or potentially undead-controlled) guards were going to defeat their fellows defending the gate against slaves or guards escaping. Realizing there was nothing to be done to defend the slaves from the masses of undead, even by joining forces with the slavers, I made ready to return to the main Cromwellian party. I climbed the wall and dropped to the ground outside the camp. Moving stealthily in the brush to the south of the path, my impressions were confirmed: even had I been able to get some of the slaves out the main gate, another pack of undead shadows were waiting on the outside, waiting with the patience of the dead and the impatience of the hungry.


I circled back up the slope, collecting my pyrotechnics and returning to my resting hippogriff. Despite the dangers of flying at night in the mountains, I flew off to the southeast to warn the party of the soul-devouring undead. While the Cromwellian captains might stand a chance, the men-at-arms and civilians would be quickly slaughtered and converted to more undead.


When I returned to the detachment, they were still traveling towards the compound as they readied plans to attack the narco-criminals and free the slaves. After I reported on the undead swarm, and with fresh reports of black riders in the area, Cpt. Bernard Mathou quickly ordered the men-at-arms and mule train under the command of a sergeant to move east on the main road at maximum speed with news of the shadows. Reinforcements from a large Cromwellian army were days away, but against such foes, there was nothing the men-at-arms could have done.


The officers of the main Cromwellian party would turn south towards the seaside town to ready defenses and help ease an orderly escape for the citizens.


11 Jun 2192


Resting the hippogriff, I remained with the Cromwellian captains overnight before they turned south in the morning. As soon as my mount was able, I returned to the slaver drug compound, arriving in the mid-morning. Although the sun was out, a dozen zombies moved through the courtyard. Nothing else moved, and there were no corpses left behind from the combat the night before. Apparently all had been dragged off to the low hill in the NW corner, a hill that had (now, obviously) been a barrow, and was now a portal or breeding hive for the undead. Landing on the roof of the captains' quarters, I bedded down my mount and selected a firing position. Despite hitting with every bowshot, I was soon running out of arrows as each zombie was the largest, toughest specimen of that ill-fated brood. Deciding to save my magic arrows against the chance of encountering one of the spectres, I lowered myself from the roof, drew my long sword, and closed on the last handful of undead. Again able to land a blow with every swing, I kept each zombie at bay until all three had fallen.


With the courtyard cleared of sun-walking undead, I moved into the slaver captains' quarters. Moving with caution against further undead, I moved from one floor to the next. In several of the rooms I found a traveling desk much like Cpt. Mathou’s and a collection of logbooks, accounts, and other materials documenting the drugger/slavers' work at this compound and the larger criminal enterprise. Collecting these items, I prepared the building for burning and moved outside and on to the nearby barn.


Inside the barn were several large barrels of the drug and processing and transporting equipment. Wheeling the barrels outside, I tipped the barrels onto the ground, letting the sunlight destroy the drug.


Searching the rest of the compound found no life, but I discovered some human/humanoid tracks heading south out the gate to the mine entrance. The mine's walls were crisscrossed with veins of a strange blue-silver metal. Approximately a hundred feet inside the mine I discovered a small group of slaves who had been working in the mine at the time of the attack, and a few who had fled there. A few stood shackled together with empty manacles. I gave them what food and water I carried on my person while they told their story. Realizing that the slaves would be unable to travel fast enough to reach the main party before nightfall – and the likely return of the spectres and shadows – and that, for whatever reason, the undead had not ventured into the cave, I decided they were safest remaining deep in the mine. I brought them out into the compound to gather as much food and water as possible and the necessary tools to free them from the manacles. (The keys had probably been dragged into the barrow along with the corpses of the narco-criminal captains.) All returned to the cave. I collected 10-20 coin weights of the strange metal. Giving them what comfort I could and promising to return for them, I then returned to compound, set fire to the buildings to ensure the destruction of all the drugs and paraphernalia, and mounted my hippogriff for another long flight.


Pushing the hippogriff to the edge of its endurance, I arrived at the town of Towlmere, on the edge of the Salt Sea, to find that the Cromwellians had met with the town leaders. Preparations had been made and guards posted, and meanwhile, the captains were speaking with an ancient sage/wizard at the citadel. While his power was inferred by all, his mental capacities were somewhat questionable. He seemed a bit too fatalistic to be entirely sane, at least as humans are accustomed to thinking.


From these discussions and others, and auguries, the captains had learned that the eye-beacon we'd seen swing over the landscape like a lighthouse beam earlier had apparently awakened about a dozen huge giant greater sahaugin that had been preserved since before history in massive pillars on a small island out on the sea.


(We later learned that this beacon had been activated by a Kraken agent, who had worked in the Cromwellian Academy, but had fallen under some evil spell, and one step in front of an official investigation, had fled the Academy with equipment for activating the Beacon. He and his small entourage were the small Cromwellian group traveling with official papers, of whom we heard from the merchants at the old resort.)


Recognizing these sahaugin must be the bodyguard of some Kraken or a major ally, Sir Konrad had made arrangements with a ship captain of dubious employ to transport us to the island, as we realized this was a new locus of evil in the area and hoped we could intercept any threat there before it reached the town. Several townsfolk had fled over water to the south and east also, skirting the island and heading for the linked series of lakes that lead to Cromwell's interior.


The strange metal that I had recovered from the mine was identified as mithril. The presence of this metal in sufficient quantities prevents scrying and other such effects, and probably shielded the escaped slaves from detection by the undead savaging the slaver compound. With any luck, it would continue to do so until we could return to free the slaves hidden there, as I had promised.


We'd also found that the fountain in the main square of town was intensely magical. However, with the awakening of the sahaugin, its magical dweomer was changing. After much investigating, we learned that the fountain concealed a passageway. Using a Lower Water scroll to drain the fountain, we activated a hidden staircase descending into the ground.


While others calculated the duration of the Lower Water and discussed the risks, I tied a rope to my flying harness, drew my sword and descended the stairs. A still damp tunnel lead due south from the town's peninsula in the direction of the island. As the rope played out across the floor, several others followed me down the tunnel. The tunnel continued to slope downward. The walls depicted battles between what appeared to be Kraken allies and land-dwellers, including one recurring character with a trident reminiscent of fairy tales who appeared to be leading the anti-Kraken forces. A couple hundred feet along the floor was noticeably wetter, implying we were at depths now straining the limits of the Lower Water spell. At about this depth we came across two large metallic shark statues resting in racks along the walls of the tunnel. Guessing that these, too, must be defenders of the Kraken we now expected to have been at the island, I was reluctant to remain in the area, especially as the water would soon rise in the tunnel. Judging by the distance to the island, the Lower Water scrolls the Cromwellians carried would never last long enough for us to reach the island at the far end of the tunnel. Therefore, we returned to the surface.


When the magic of the fountain was dispelled, several townsfolk collapsed. It turned out that the fountain was a cursed spring that had leant the people uncommon constitution, but now with its effect gone, they were brought low and in some cases died. We later learned the fountain had been built by the Kraken for their human mind-slaves who populated the town in ancient times. Their descendants had continued to live in the town through the centuries. Why this did not lead us to question the loyalty of the wizard/sage in the citadel, I am still not sure.


As the water level rose again in the tunnel and fountain, closing the stairs, dusk was approaching. The guards posted throughout the city turned out to be fodder for the undead army closing on the town from the peninsula. Few if any survived and none managed to alert us to nearness of the danger to the north. While Konrad and I took to the air, the others boarded the ship captain's vessel. The undead followed the boat but never overtook it, apparently by choice as they were clearly not moving as fast as they could. On land, too, the undead seemed willing to wait, keeping their distance until some unknown signal. To the south, however, breaking from the waves we could now see the greater sahaugin lords emerging. This, apparently, was the signal. The battle was joined.


[to be continued…]


~~Pheraguat [Written by Andrew Anderson with minor editing from Kyle]


Summary: Drawn of Nevron’s Will.


After a recent trip to the Shrine of Nevron, the paladin Sir Konrad gained the ability to sense when and where innocents were in danger. At the start of the events of this day - midmorning of June 10, 2192 - Konrad was traveling toward an area that contained a midsized group of people needing his assistance. After coming across a Cromwellian Expeditionary Unit on its way to remove a drug plantation that had approximately 200 to 400 slaves being forced to work the drug fields, the direction and distance coincided with Konrad's sense of where he was needed. He therefore decided to accompany the Cromweliian Unit under the assumption that their missions were complementary. After discussing options with the expedition's leader, Konrad offered his assistance for as long as his mission allowed.


After making plans for the assault and sending an aerial unit (Pheraguat) out to scout the plantation for more recent information, the Expeditionary Unit and Konrad began moving toward the target site - their path took them past an Inn that had been taken over by criminal elements in the area. After arriving at the Hamilton [the previously mentioned Inn] with the Expeditionary leader Bernard and his lieutenant Henri to try and disseminate some false information about the unit's presence in the area, the three ironically enough used the cover story that the Cromwellian troops were there to provide support for Konrad in removing the undead presence in the northern Suss Forest. While playing the role of trying to gain information we learned that tens of thousands of people had fled the area because of rumors that the Army was on its way. Also, they learned that a Cromwellian official was travelling north into the forest with prisoners and a royal order to take them deep into the forest and leave them. While an interesting piece of information this was outside the scope of the Expeditionary Unit's orders and in a different direction from where Konrad was needed.


The Cromwellian forces, Konrad and its leaders, then proceeded on towards the edge of the haunted forest to the north to further disguise their true target, with the intention of turning back to the west after reaching the edge of the forest. After reaching the forest at approximately dusk, the group stopped for the night and the expedition’s cleric slept for a spell shift to be able to cast a Divination. Not long after setting up camp, a rotating blue beam appeared from the north - moments later it started wobbling erratically and then



During the travel Konrad's feeling that he was traveling in the right direction began to fade - by nightfall Konrad got the impression there were thousands of people in danger and the largest concentration was back the way they had come. Since the decision was made to cast a Divination, Konrad decided to wait for Joana (the Nevronian Cleric) to wake and cast the spell before moving off to help the people in danger.


At approximately three in the morning, Pheraguat returned with news that the drug plantation had been attacked by a several wraithlike creatures, the slaves had been turned into more of these creatures and the criminals were also falling, even though they were able to put up some minor resistance. Shortly after this report, guards reported seeing shadowy horseback figures scouting out our camp.


The Divination revealed an evil influence that was "beyond describable terms" as well as an additional Nevronian presence of a similar power level to the Cromwellian presence and that the forces of Anar had influence that was fading quickly. All of this was in a 15 to 20 mile radius around the peak known as the Watchtower.


With the reports of large numbers of level draining undead we came to the decision to send all the regular troops [now being referred to as "wraith-fodder"] out of the area and back to the areas under Cromwellian military control as quickly as possible. At this point Konrad took to the air toward where he felt the most need for his presence.


After several hours Konrad arrived at the city of Towlmere, on a peninsula in the salt sea - exactly where he felt he was needed. While overflying the city and noticing how relatively empty it was, Konrad finally spotted an armored figure that appeared to be in charge and landed to inform them of the approaching danger. Both individuals were quite surprised to find they already knew each other - the armored person was the Auroran cleric Xavier [played by Jack McKechnie]. Xavier was in Towlmere to help with a slave revolt and was currently involved with finding food and supplies to help the now-freed slaves. Konrad's news that a large undead army was on its way was less than pleasantly received. Konrad, Xavier and the resistance leaders then worked on finding a way to protect as many people as possible from the undead.


During their time in the city Xavier and the people he was helping had noticed a keep in the center of the city, but had made no attempt to make it past the barred gates. With the new information and the addition of a flying mount, entering and exploring the keep became feasible and more urgent. Konrad and Xavier flew to the top of the keep and after Xavier detected a trap on the only entrance to the building - Konrad decided to

force the door open, causing a dart trap to fire, but with no effect. Once inside we found an old man who was once the high wizard for the city - he informed us that the keep would only hold around 1000 of the more than 20,000 survivors in the city. Lacking any other options we decided to bring all the people we could into the warehouse district, which still had standing city walls, and into the keep.


After making what arrangements we could, we waited. Soon the officers from the Cromwellian Expeditionary Unit arrived in the company of a Royal Academy Team, bringing additional information about the undead coming out of the forest and some more information about the undead army and the strange blue beam from the evening before.


With several ancient riddles and being able to compare ancient and recent maps of the city, as well as local rumors of a hidden tunnel out to the island in the middle of the salt sea, we found that the monument in the center of the city fountain now had writing in an ancient script that had only recently appeared and that now detected as Evil when Konrad checked it - despite the fact that this monument had been checked before by people looking for the underwater tunnel. Attempts to find a secret entrance were unsuccessful, so Konrad flew back to The Hamilton to procure a ship the Academy team had talked to a local smuggler about chartering. Upon arriving at The Hamilton, Konrad was recognized and struck a deal with the captain of the ship to sail to Towlmere and ferry parties to the Isle of Patterns. While the ship was preparing to sail, crew members rushed down to the boat to announce that undead were attacking the inn. Konrad gave orders that the ship sail immediately and then took to the air to see if he could help any of the people on the ground. Seeing that he could make no difference, Konrad made certain the ship was on its way and then heading back to the city.


Upon arrival, Konrad learned that the people remaining had found a way to open the portal blocked by the monument and was asked to check out an artifact in the tunnel below. This artifact was a 50-foot long shark made entirely of adamantite and it radiated immense Evil. Since the tunnel appeared to only be open while the monument was submerged, everyone decided to return to the surface.


Konrad decided to fly over to the island to see if anything could be done to ward off the undead army or evacuate the people in the city. Upon reaching the island there was a chamber that had recently opened that contained two vertical rows of 25 cylinders - each cylinder was 9 to 10 feet tall, open and still dripping fluid onto the floor. Konrad headed back to the city to report the 50 "large somethings" were most likely on the way.


During Konrad's travels the remaining forces in the city began to receive reports of guards and city inhabitants disappearing, the civilians in the city started to panic and once the small ship arrived they became extremely agitated - clearly thinking they were going to be abandoned. The various groups left in the city decided to destroy the monument and began attacking it with digging equipment while another team attempted to pull the monument down. After Konrad returned, the undead forces pulled back from the city

and appeared to just be waiting - another monument had also started running a message that translated as "50 <something> South 40 miles" and the distance was dropping - so whatever had come out of the cylinders was obviously coming closer. We could not figure out a way to get the civilians out past the undead and could only try to contain the growing fear and potential riot. We were in serious trouble…


[to be continued…]


~~Sir Konrad [written by Rodger Henson with minor editing by Kyle]




Summary: “One of the Many Tiny Safeguards…”


[Title reference: Warwick’s investigation of the Inviolate Realm of Horbani contained in the summary of the Weather Front’s expedition to the Fane of the Winds. http://blog.telvar.net/2000/12/alegras_final_summary_the_fane.html]


A little background:


Twelve thousand years prior to the events described herein, the Great War that pitted the sentient races of Telvar against the evil slavemasters known as the Kraken was in full swing. Fighting on the side of the giant squid-like Kraken were their human and non-human slaves, conditioned and controlled mentally by the powerful tentacled creatures, as well as several allied native races including the aquatic sahaugin (or devil-men).


In general, these slaves did not come to voluntarily fight on behalf of their Masters. Prior to the war, the slaves of the Kraken were housed in large camps of many thousands, where control was total and life was brutal and short. Any chance that the slaves had to escape the mind control of the Kraken was crushed. The worship of gods, the practice of magic, and the use of mental powers of a psionic nature were all repressed. In the slave camps, the Kraken erected huge monuments that had several effects on their captives. First, they were erected as sites of worship of the Masters. Second, the monuments helped improve the physical conditioning of the slaves, allowing the Masters to keep them alive even while depriving them of food and other sustenance. Lastly, and most importantly, these monuments kept the populace controlled. That is, all who lived for a period of time under the influence of the monuments rendered themselves susceptible to the mind control of the Kraken. These monuments made the coming revolt against the Kraken much more difficult for those who opposed them, because their erstwhile allies (i.e., the slaves) were unable to rise up in solidarity, because the Masters held sway over their feeble mental states.


That being said, over years of super-secret training and planning, a Resistance formed against the tentacled Masters. Humans and those of other races who had escaped mind control and managed to escape the slave camps had managed to learn military, magical, and clerical skills, and over time had developed the great abilities and magical items necessary to fight the Kraken. They were joined and aided by the inland and underground peoples of Telvar (such as dwarves), and those resistant or immune to mental control, particularly golems and undead.


In the course of the War against the Masters, the undead in particular formed an important phalanx in the offensive and defensive power of the Resistance. Eventually, these undead came to be directed from a number of separate areas known as the Inviolate Realms. Some of those who had formed the Resistance had developed the necessary knowledge to allow them to either summon or, in fact, become extremely powerful magical undead, likely liches of some form, in order to form and control the undead of these Realms. [As an aside, one of these Realms, located in the present day Dim Forest, was known as the Inviolate Realm of Horbani, which may be familiar to those who have followed the adventures of Warwick, Principal Ranger of Cromwell.]


With the aid of these Inviolate Realms and the rest of the sentient beings who formed the Resistance, the War eventually ended. In battles which took place both on Telvar and across the Plane, the Kraken were driven out of Telvar and eventually off the Material Plane, their minions slain or freed from the Masters’ influence. [The Restinford Defenders have also encountered some of the descendants of the Resistance, who fight the Kraken in other parts of the Multiverse. The news is not good: http://blog.telvar.net/2000/01/defenders_summary_75_wheel_of.html ]




Meanwhile, back in our current situation:


The Inviolate Realm of Tarana was one of the Resistance outposts in the War and its aftermath. The Realm was controlled by three individual once-humans who had become powerful undead guardians to lead the Realm in perpetuity. The three each possessed unique talents: one was a peerless fighter [18th level, played by Sean Guarino], the second an archpriest [20th level, played by Joel Green] of the Elder Elemental Eye (a neutral to neutral evil deity of elemental destruction, represented by a floating eye), and the third was an archmage of unparalleled learning [18th level, played by Kyle MacLea] and the nominal leader of the Realm. The trio agreed to a binding contract between themselves and the fellow heroes who continued to battle the Kraken across the Multiverse: they (along with those who had fallen in battling the Masters) would sleep as undead until such time as they were called upon once more to battle the Kraken. As the Inviolate Realm of Tarana slipped into slumber, the other surviving heroes removed the last vestiges of the Kraken’s domination of Telvar, eliminating the remaining servants of the Kraken and destroying temples, magical items, and any artifacts that they could find.


The rulership of this Inviolate Realm of Tarana came with many abilities. The trio could instantly detect any Kraken, servant of the Kraken, or Kraken artifact within the domain of the Inviolate Realm. They could summon vast numbers of various types of undead (some unfamiliar to the adventurers of today), from several sites in the Realm. The two chief sites of interest to this story were known as the Warriors’ Cairns, where the Righteous Fallen who had died fighting the Kraken had been buried and could be called upon in need to fight the Kraken again, even in death. The leaders of the Realm could call upon some of these undead as commanders, or use their power to see through their eyes, or even make them a conduit for a portion of each controlling lich’s spell-casting or combat ability. Though using any of their abilities or control would cost power, and the Inviolate Realm had a finite pool of resources from which to draw their strength in battling the Kraken, this store of power was extremely large and in most cases would be more than sufficient to deal with any minor advances or infiltrations of the Masters or their servants.


Despite this, it had cost the liches a large amount of their reserve power simply to wake up from their slumber. If they needed to leave the inner Sanctum of their power, the temple they lay in, it would cost them more still. And such was the nature of their original contract that though their power to battle the Kraken was immense, but it was not infinite. The trio could not venture outside the boundaries of the Inviolate Realm.


The Realm itself was built at the site of a former slave camp. The area of control stretched across a forested region bordered mostly by mountains in the north, open to the east and west, and stretched into a large inland salt sea containing a defunct Kraken temple. The slave camp was located on a finger-shaped peninsula of land extending south into the lake from the edge of the forest. The forest filled the valley, stretching to within a few miles of the lakeshore and the eastern and western passes. Inside the forest were two of the Warriors’ Cairns, one on the eastern side of the Realm, the other on the west, from which they could deploy their undead minions. In addition to the temple where the leaders of the Realm slept, there was also a war memorial in the form of a huge pyramid, called the Hall of Faces [and referred to as the Watchtower by other parties in this adventure]. It contained images of the faces of those who had died fighting the Kraken. At the Hall of Faces was an immense scrying device, something of a “Kraken radar” which allowed the archmage lich to both survey their own Realm and to look beyond it for signs of Kraken infiltration in the area. Finally, in the northeastern corner of the Inviolate Realm lay a dormant volcano called “Roaring Fool.” The pent-up energy contained in this volcano could be released in the event of complete distaster in the Realm and wipe invader and defender alike from the face of Telvar. This option of last resort was considered a sort of “reset button” should the Kraken or their minions succeed in overrunning the defenses of the Realm.




The power contained in the Inviolate Realm was immense, but dormant.


Twelve thousand years passed, and the three slumbered.


Their Realm was quiescent, patrolled by a small coterie of undead. Though considered “Haunted” and mysterious, it was hardly a threat to the surrounding lands.


The true nature of the valley was forgotten by the locals, and over time, many things changed…




Consciousness returned, foggily, to the long-sleeping leaders of the Inviolate Realm of Tarana at dusk on June 10, 2192. All they knew, initially, was that something had woken them up.


They came to several realizations about their territory almost instantly, even without the mage’s special scrying device, which had become broken over the course of millenia. [As an aside, although it wouldn’t be difficult to fix the device, it would take some effort. But other observations about their Realm were instantly much more important, and so the initial realization of the loss of the scrying device was not deemed to be a terribly serious one.]


Most shockingly, though, it was apparent to the leaders of the Inviolate Realm that the former slave camp had been resettled and was now home to about 35,000 sentient beings, all of whom were corrupted by the Kraken!


It seemed that the other heroes who had fought beside the leaders of the Realm, who had been assigned the task of removing all vestiges of Kraken rule from the face of Telvar while the Realm slept, had failed them in several important ways.


First, the monument built by the Kraken to control their subjects in the slave camp still stood, and was exerting its influence over these 35,000 beings. Second, the Kraken temple, though ruined and crumbling, still stood intact in the chambers beneath its island in the salt sea. Held in stasis in these chambers were fifty of the greater sahaugin that had served the Kraken so faithfully in their war. This was highly disappointing.


Although they would need to learn more about the region by using the scrying device when it was fixed, the trio laid out a series of objectives in priority order:


First and foremost: Destroy the black stone Kraken monument by whatever means necessary. The 35,000 sentient beings living within its aura would become instant slaves should the Kraken return, something that could not be allowed to happen. Though the leaders of the Inviolate Realm felt certain that the 35,000 could be slaughtered if necessary, it would be preferable to leave them alive to fight as allies against the Kraken if it did not interfere with the Realm’s other goals.


Second: Use as little power as possible in all tasks, so as to conserve the maximum amount of power for use in an eventual war against the Kraken.


Third: Rip down the remnants of the Kraken temple, on its island in the salt sea and slay the fifty sahaugin servants of the Kraken found there.


The remaining goals were potentially mutually contradictory, but laid out several contingencies wherein the Realm could maintain itself as a hedge against the Kraken, should the top goals above (destroy the monument, scatter the slaves, destroy the devil-men on the island, and use as little power as possible in doing so) be unworkable.


Fourth: Slay any sentient beings affected by the monument (especially should they become charmed by the Kraken or should the destruction of the monument become impossible).


Fifth: Remove all sentient beings from the Inviolate realm or slay them.


Sixth: Kill as many sentient beings as possible, especially those that have settled inside the Inviolate Realm. Their corpses could be dragged back to the Temple or the Warriors’ Cairns to serve as further undead guardians for future battles with the Kraken.


Seventh: Slay all living things, even non-sentient ones. They may also be made into undead.


Eighth: Raze the slave village and destroy any other remnants of the Kraken, especially those of a magical nature.




The trio immediately began establishing forces and plans to meet their objectives, closed within the walls of the Temple. With access to virtually every mage and clerical spell, and an absurdly huge reserve of undead, the question became one of moderation and preservation of resources. The elegance of the solution was the challenge here.


Second, they considered what threats they might face. Who had woken them up, and why? The Kraken did not seem to have returned. Was it an accident, or deliberate? Were those responsible aware of their power? Was it servants of the Kraken or enemies who had done it? Were meddling Korians involved? (Being high-level undead masters, they worried that they might be facing a Korian invasion—the Korians’ hatred of undead, even as protective hedge against the mind-dominating Kraken, was known to them.)


Without more information, it seemed difficult to formulate specific defenses, other than to create contingency plans in case the Temple or other important locations were breached. Clearly, lacking the scrying device would slow down their reaction.


The monument was top priority, and they needed information about its surroundings. How could it be destroyed? They imagined that the thousands of sentient beings had likely enclosed the monument in some sort of protective temple, likely devoted to the worship of this ancient evil force. They envisioned all sorts of magical and non-magical guardians and protective walls, and so they needed a creature that could at least infiltrate the defenses and scout for them, quietly. To accomplish this they dispatched a single wraith (from the small pool of already existing undead guardians) that they could see through and command (although it was not a conduit for spells—this they saved for a later time when they would know the defenses). Its task: to scout the city and report on the defenses around the monument.


Next, they hatched a plan to attack the monument that could react to information from the wraith scout. They would send two identical forces, one out of the western cairn, and the other out of the eastern. These forces were each led by a spectre “conduit” (one spectre linked to the cleric, through which is could cast its spells of power, and the other linked to the archmage) that would be used as a force to destroy the monument with a nasty spell of some sort (that would be determined later). Escorting the spectre would be a wraith and five shadows—all ethereal or nearly ethereal beings that could travel relatively quickly and escape notice. The wraith and the shadows would provide distraction for any guards while the spectre assaulted the monument. Because the leaders of the Inviolate Realm couldn’t risk failure on the primary objective, they created these two identical forces to provide redundancy. The two forces would approach from different angles and hopefully learn a bit more about the inhabitants as they went. These forces could only travel by night and take cover in the forest. Fortunately, the forest stretched to the coast, whereupon the forces could take refuge in the water and continue traveling, perhaps even in daylight in the depths.


To confuse the inhabitants of the slave camp further, and to keep their attention away from the locations important to the Realm, they conceived of several stratagems. To cause chaos inside the slave camp itself, they dispatched 20 shadows. The shadows’ job was to make more shadows, terrorize the sentient beings, and otherwise keep their attention directed away from the monument. To create additional distracting targets outside the slave camp, the liches created a large army of weak undead: 800 skeletons, 20 ghouls, 10 wights, and 1 ghast (which acted as a conduit for the vastly powerful fighter [played by Sean Guarino] and could channel his tremendous combat abilities). This army could be obliterated if met in combat by determined soldiers or unknown high-level adventurers, but the liches hoped their enemies might consider this army to be the true threat.


In addition, the liches deployed most of their pre-existing undead forces to protect the western pass around the Hall of Faces. It wasn’t a particularly strong force, but it would provide them with warning in case someone approached the Temple area. Being personally drawn into combat would be highly embarrassing even though the results of such a combat would be well-known in advance. Better to keep meddling fools away from the places of power with an appropriate show of force.


Additionally, more scouting would need to occur. They sent a single spectre (not a spell-casting conduit, but merely a scout) by which they could observe the Kraken temple (on its island in the salt sea) and ideally kill the sleeping Kraken servants there.


Lastly, they created 10 wights mounted on spectral horses to race about the forest and scout the terrain. Their goal would be to determine who had already penetrated the borders and provide eyes-and-ears for the trio, given the loss of the archmage’s scrying device. And certainly they could also deal with riff-raff, as necessary.


Satisfied, they waited for the results of their manipulations. The trio didn’t have to wait long before several new factors made themselves known, if you will.




Two hours after waking and deploying forces, the mage’s scrying device atop the Hall of Faces suddenly turned on. Apparently, the trigger that had awakened the Realm was someone attempting to fix the artifact.


Confused but intrigued, the archmage and his comrades immediately received a flash vision of the Inviolate Realm and its immediate surroundings. Several things had changed in the preceding 12,000 years.


First and foremost, the forest no longer stretched to the coast. It had been cut back for a dozen miles or more; simultaneously the salt sea’s level had dropped and the coast and had shifted a bit farther away. This geographic shift would cause complications when the deployed undead reached the edge of the forest. Could they reach the salt sea in time?


Second, the slave camp was a sprawling city covering the entire peninsula, with several colonies dotting the coast of the sea.


Third, someone had repaired the scrying device!


Mere seconds after the scrying device powered on, the liches saw something truly bizarre: a large wooden boat crashed down onto the scrying device, causing everything to go blurry and giving the mage a momentary headache.


Clearly the Inviolate Realm had been penetrated more deeply than originally anticipated. Something would have to be done.


A divination on the Hall of Faces revealed some interesting facts:


The forces of Nevron are piddling.

The forces of Anar are beneath notice and rapidly fading.

Treasure is not worth picking up.

Chances of incurring the wrath of forces of good are low.


[Before you laugh hysterically at these results, recall that divination gives power levels with respect to the caster, a 20th level archpriest… The problem with casting divination at this level is that it gives extremely low resolution results. What’s “piddling”? Ninth level?]


The liches had a few theories on what was happening. One was that an adventuring party (say mid-level from a normal adventurer standpoint) of Nevronian meddlers had penetrated the Hall of Faces to repair the ancient magical device. The boat was their airship that they used to reach the central section of the forest. They had an anarchist traitor amongst them, who tried to betray them by destroying the item they were trying to fix, and he was currently bleeding to death. [Which turned out to be exactly backwards, ironically. Though of course the airship turned out to be pure nonsense.]


No Korians, at least. That was good.


The liches decided on two new actions in response. They deployed a new army to strike at the Hall of Faces and trap the adventurers inside: 300 skeletons, 6 zombies on horseback with non-magical metallic armor (to make them look scarier), 20 ghouls, 2 ghasts (one a conduit for the fighter), 20 wights made invisible by invisibility, 10’ radius, and 1 wraith. Secondly, we created two spectres to act as backup conduits for the mage and cleric.




At about this time, the small force of a spectre (under the control of the cleric), a wraith, and five shadows that had been deployed out of the western cairn discovered that just a few hundred yards away lay some sort of walled compound, containing several hundred sentient beings!


This would need to be dealt with, since it was very close to the Warriors’ Cairn. The spectre led the force over the walls of the compound, where it discovered that the hundreds of sentient beings were all neatly chained together. They could not run, and inexorably the five shadows swarmed over them and converted them all…




With several hundred new shadows, a new wraith, and a new spectre, the lich archpriest considered the compound itself through the eyes of his conduit spectre. There were a small number of sentient beings inside, likely more powerful than the prisoners outside. Still, it would be worth an assault. The spectre poked his head through the floor, and drained the energy out of one of the inhabitants before he knew what had happened.


Widespread panic came about as a few hundred shadows swarmed into the mansion. Panic and screams gave way as the more sturdy defenders slowly collapsed and retreated to the ground floor so that the spectre couldn’t drain them through the floor. A mage retreated out of the compound onto the solid earth, and just before he was crushed under the press of shadows, he saw a vision in the moonlight of a spectral being dancing and cackling madly in an ancient tongue…




Several minutes after their vision through the scrying device had gone blurry, the liches’ scrying device suddenly terminated. The sight went completely dark.


At a loss for what had happened, the liches decided to spy on those in the Hall of Faces. They cast a clairvoyance on the room, revealing an odd scene: they saw humans in armor with ropes and a pulley attempting to pull a 6’ x 6’ x 6’ lead block off of the crushed remains of the scrying device!




A few hours later in the evening, the western group, now nearly three hundred shadows strong, deployed a dozen zombies to haul the remaining corpses to the Cairn. Then they set off south for their rendezvous with the monument.


Meanwhile, the scout wraith had arrived at the slave camp city. It observed many torches and a considerable amount of movement—this struck the liches as odd since the shadows had not yet arrived to stir up the populace to panic. The wraith continued south to the heavily defended compound the monument surely lay concealed within…


… and the liches were, to be kind, flabbergasted.


The wraith saw a park. Inside the park was a row of statues, a random one of which was the black stone Kraken monument!


The fools considered the Kraken monument to be… art?!


Suddenly, the liches felt like things would go smoothly. The monument was not only unguarded, completely out in the open, but clearly the denizens of the slave camp didn’t even realize the monument had any significance at all!


This simplified matters. The liches considered various spells to destroy the monument when the first conduit spectre arrived. They came up with a number of alternatives for both the cleric and mage, should either be called upon to attack it. Given this lack of security, perhaps the skeleton armies could simply rip it down.


At around the same time, the army approaching the Hall of Faces arrived and stormed the compound… but found it abandoned. Clearly the adventurers had either seen the army coming or they had just departed too quickly. The army followed in hot pursuit, the speedy conduit ghast leading the way. The ghast caught up to the party as it fled, but it seemed that unless they stopped to rest for the evening within the forest, the army would be forced to halt at the forest’s edge with the coming of day and let them escape.




The sun rose, severely hampering the progress of the liches’ forces. Both large armies and the shadows sent to disrupt the slave camp were forced to halt at the edge of the forest. The wraith inside the camp took cover in an abandoned warehouse near the monument. The three-hundred-shadow army heard from the scouting wights on spectral horseback that an army of perhaps a hundred humans had reached the edge of the forest, then abruptly turned east on a trajectory vaguely back toward the slave camp, or a bit north of it. The shadows could not follow during the day, and the pursuit would have to wait.


With the coming of dawn, the spectre ordered to reach the Kraken temple suffered grave misfortune. Due to severe miscalculation, the creature somehow managed to get obliterated by sunlight despite being deep underwater. This would slow down the liches’ reconnaissance as they were forced to reconsider how to deal with the Kraken temple.


In the end, it was decided to merge the two large armies into a greater force and march it south into the harbor east of the slave camp peninsula. The army could then be deployed either against the camp and the monument en masse, or continue south to destroy the Kraken temple. This gave the liches additional flexibility and allowed them to avoid creating any new undead forces (which would not reach the slave camp for a couple of days).


Meanwhile, it became apparent that the dozen zombies that were supposed to be hauling corpses from the compound back to the cairn had suffered some misfortune. The archpriest used a scrying spell to uncover what had happened. He saw a man on a griffon had been flying about and putting arrows through the poor defenseless zombies. The man was now setting the fields on fire!


This was annoying. Unfortunately there was no force nearby to deal with this griffon rider, so the liches ignored it for the time being.


Realizing that time was passing, the liches needed to find a way to get the skeleton army to the slave camp during the daylight. A control weather spell provided a dense fog that shielded the undead from the sun’s harmful rays and allowed them to reach the coast unobserved. The skeleton army reached the harbor and sank beneath the waves, marching underwater.




As dusk settled, the other forces were finally free to advance once more. The twenty shadows arrived in the slave camp and began causing problems, making various sentries “disappear” from the walls. The archpriest-led shadow army advanced east along the coast of the salt sea, heading toward the western side of the slave camp. Much to the surprise of the liches, the force encountered another settlement built along the shore.


Someone had actually built, for lack of a better phrase, a resort hotel along the shoreline! There were several hundred sentient beings inside.


The archpriest didn’t hesitate. Hundreds of shadows swarmed down on the guests of the hotel. Shrieks and cries of panic turned to eerie silence as the shadows swallowed the souls of the humans, sapping their strength and replicating anew. A group of four swashbucklers held in a corner and fought valiantly, slaying nearly eighty shadows, but they were trapped and they knew it. The cleaning staff had been on the second floor and thus instantly wiped out by the non-corporeal energy-draining creatures, like the spectres. The carnage was complete and shockingly fast.


Over five hundred shadows departed the eerily quiet resort, heading east toward the slave city…




The wraith observing the monument noticed a lot of activity. Someone had taken an interest in the monument. It seemed like this wouldn’t matter to the liches, but they underestimated the foolhardiness of the townsfolk…


A small group of people appeared, and cast something at the monument. They began fiddling around with the symbols, and then suddenly the monument sank into the ground, revealing a doorway and staircase!


…and instantly the liches sensed the sahaugin in the Kraken temple wake from their sleep. They awoke, armed, and left the temple, swimming directly for the slave camp and the monument, which they would reach in a single day…


As these matters unfolded, the wraith observed a different monument near the site of the Kraken monument began displaying a flaming warning. It read: “50 Servants of the Kraken, South-East, Distance: 40 Miles.”


Furthermore, the wraith observed the foolhardy humans wander down into the revealed passage, then re-emerge a while later. It seemed they hadn’t found much of interest, but they knew nothing of the danger heading for them.




This was not good. Matters had come to a head more quickly than the liches had hoped. They could not afford to experiment and needed to make sure the monument was destroyed. What spell would destroy the monument? Additionally, what would happen when the sahaugin reached the monument? Could they enthrall the slaves and create 35,000 new servants for the Kraken?


If the sahaugin could take over the populace, then they would need to be defeated beforehand. This would mean taking the skeleton army and fighting the sahaugin devil-men on the creatures’ own terms in the sea between the Kraken temple and the monument. This was not something the liches relished.


In order to be safe and narrow down their options, the archpriest Communed with his god, the Elder Elemental Eye, and asked:


Can the monument be destroyed by Earthquake? Yes

Can the monument be destroyed by Disintegrate? Yes

Can the monument be destroyed by Transmute Rock to Mud? Yes

Can the Sahaugin charm the populace of the city? No


This simplified matters considerably. The sahaugin need not be prevented from reaching the monument. In fact it might be possible to use them to annihilate the slave camp. But it would need to be done very carefully. None of the sahaugin could escape in the aftermath.




The conduit spectre force attached to the archmage finally arrived at the monument center a few hours later, from the east. There was a crowd gathered around the monument, and there seemed to be considerable signs of panic amongst the populace. This set the stage for the attack on the monument to begin.


Suddenly an area of sunlight surrounded the monument for a hundred yards, holding back the unnaturally powerful fog the liches had created earlier. Though it initially gave the liches pause, it turned out to be not much of an obstacle, as the range of the liches’ spells vastly exceeded those of the humans.


The spectre, wraith, and shadows rose from hiding and caused considerable panic. The spectre faced the monument and through him the archmage cast a powerful dispel magic upon it, followed by Transmute Rock to Mud. The monument melted and sank into the ground. The undead then retreated into a warehouse to await the arrival of the devil-men.


These Kraken-spittle would be destroyed as the others that the Inviolate Realm had faced over the millennia had been vanquished… With as much enthusiasm as soulless undead could muster.



Finale: The Battle Is Joined.


The undead in the water simply watched impassively as the flaming warning burning on the surface of the remaining protector monument showed that the Servants of the Kraken had arrived. Promptly the water in the harbor swelled and from the depths emerged fifty great devil-men, each with four arms wielding gigantic spears. The populace of Towlmere, the city built on the ruins of the Kraken slave camp, cringed and waited as the creatures advanced onto the shore, fast approaching the guards.


The wizard of Towlmere’s citadel reacted. The liches blinked. Two spectres arose from the waves as the strongest adventurers stepped forward to confront the evil from the sea. Power surged.


Several things happened simultaneously. The low-power spells were cast aside contemptuously by the sahaugin, but they could not evade the power of the greater magic cast at them. The water surrounding the devil-men fell away, exposing them fully to the attacks of the people on the shore and the undead in the water.


A gigantic swarm of meteors crashed into the group of sahaugin, sending them bleeding to the ground, horribly injured. Before the creatures could react, two huge flamestrike spells exploded over the survivors of the meteor swarm, exposing the creatures’ weakness to fire. A tremendous fireball barbecued the devil-men on the shore, as the city’s warriors advanced to finish off the weakened Servants of the Masters.


The slaughter was total. Fifty devil-men lay dead on the wet shore, crushed, burned and pummeled.


The silence was broken by the sound of creaking bones. A single skeleton emerged, dripping, from the water and approached the humans huddled in the dying city. It proclaimed loudly, in an ancient tongue, this message to the people (which was translated by the old archmage from the citadel):


“This land is part of the reclaimed Inviolate Realm of Tarana.
You are ordered to leave the area immediately, or perish.”


And so it was agreed. The former denizens of Towlmere abandoned the area to the undead horde and the trio of liches re-established their domain, destroying what little remained of the Masters’ handiwork.


And they prepared for the Kraken’s inevitable return.


~~The Inviolate Realm of Tarana [Sean Guarino, Joel Green, Kyle MacLea]


[Summary of the leaders of the Inviolate Realm of Tarana was written by Joel Green and Kyle MacLea. The final wrap-up section was written by Joel and Kyle and the entire summary was assembled by Kyle and Joel.]


Addendum: The End of the Memoirs of the Leader of the Wysos Expeditionary Force


As the runes on the strange monument approached zero and whatever had emerged from the chambers on the Isle of Patterns reached us, the reclusive wizard emerged from his house. He intended to go down fighting with the rest of us. I may have found him strange and uncooperative, but this I could respect. At the same time, three wraithlike figures emerged from the undead horde and approached the sea. As the giant, four armed, amphibious humanoids emerged from the water, Joana parted the water from around them in order to fully expose them. Our offensive spells and missile weapons were largely ineffectual against these creatures. I was certain that I would die this day. The old wizard blasted them with a mighty ball of fire that took out a few and fazed a handful of others. But the turning point came when the three wraiths, chanting in their archaic tongues, unleashed such destruction that the old wizard’s efforts paled in comparison. A conflagration exploded in the midst of the creatures, burning many of them. Then, it seemed that the stars themselves rained down upon them, crushing and incinerating

them. Those that survived tried to escape to the sea, but were dispatched by the few of us who could catch them and inflict harm on their foul bodies.


We awaited the attack of the undead, but were surprised when a single skeleton advanced on us. It started talking, and since we could not understand the words the old wizard used his arcane arts to translate them. The skeleton said: "You are trespassing on the Inviolate Realm of Tarana. Leave now, or be destroyed." Thankful that our lives had been spared, we gave no argument and immediately worked to escort those in the region that had survived to safety.


I realize, after all of this, that I am merely a mortal man, imperfect and prone to mistakes. Even a man as blessed as Konrad, with as much faith in him from his god as he has, isn't always certain what he is supposed to do. The gods must have a difficult time getting anything done using us as their proxies. I do not know if we could have done anything to stop the undead hordes of Tarana. Our presence seems to have been so ineffectual. I still don't understand what actually took place by the sea at Towlmere. What were those creatures? Why did the wraiths destroy them and not us? Why did the wraiths kill so many people in the countryside, yet leave the survivors in the city alive? So many

questions, so few answers. I hope that one day, Nevron will give me the wisdom to understand ...


~~Captain Bernard Mathou [written by Sean Paus with minor editing by Kyle]


Addendum: Sir Konrad’s Observations on the Last Days of Towlmere


After I had returned from the Isle of Patterns and at the time when the distance counter on the strange monument had dropped to zero, fifty 9 foot tall four-armed figures were emerging from the water. The Nevronian cleric Joana read Part Water from a scroll, completely exposing the attackers as all the other spell casters opened up on the creatures. Two shadowy figures emerged from the ranks of the undead and cast flame spells of some type, the old man from the keep cast a large fireball, and soon the number of attackers was down to single digits. With the water level so low the remaining invaders were easy to ride down and clean up - none escaped.


Once everything else had been finished, a skeletal figure approached and informed all of us that the Inviolate Realm of Tarana had returned and every living being must leave the area. We were able to lead the survivors out and back to the civilized portions of Cromwell.


~~Sir Konrad [written by Rodger Henson with minor editing by Kyle]


Addendum: Additional Insight from Joana’s Perspective.


By Joana, Cleric of Nevron in the Wysos Expeditionary Force [played by Jay Bates]


I was Joana, Nevronian Cleric in the Wysos Cromwellian Expeditionary Force. I was essentially third in command after Captain Bernard and Lieutenant Henri. Our mission was to free 200 to 400 slaves from the clutches of drug lords in a manor house in the woods southwest of The Watchtower. We also needed to burn the flowers and dump the concentrated drug on sunlit ground. The 100 pound casks were worth 10kgp each. The highly addictive drug rots the intestines in about three weeks.


About two hours before we started the game, Sir Konrad arrived saying that he had been sent by Nevron to the area to stop as much suffering as possible. We welcomed his help.


We decided to stop by The Hamilton to try to throw any spies from the drug lords off our scent by asking about the haunted woods to the north since our 70 troops and commanders. When the gateman got permission for a couple of us to go in, Captain Bernard, Lieutenant Henri, and Sir Konrad entered (to the gateman's dismay at our math skills). They were only allowed to speak to the staff, but a liquor supplier piped up that he had seen an individual in Nevronian garb with a couple of prisoners and a squad of hobgoblins in tow headed into the Haunted Woods. We also found out that about 25,000 people had headed west and then south away from the coming army, which we suspect was a rumor spawned by the presence of our force and the previous anti-drug force that had gone before us.


We headed north as if going to the Wood and camped a couple of hours after dark. I rested and had enough time to switch to a Divination and a few other spells for our assault. Just before I was awakened, the guards saw a blue light circling like a lighthouse and then it swung high and low before finally vanishing.


About the time I was done with the 4kgp casting [of Divination] we got news from our flying scout Pheraguat that the Drug Farm was overrun by a wraith and his spawn (mostly the slaves and guards). Konrad also then got the impression that the greatest need was southeast of our current position, so we decided to follow him, but sent Pheraguat back to deal with the remaining plants and drugs. We also decided that our squads of low level troops would just be fodder for conversion to undead, so we sent them back east to Cromwell and we prceeded back toward The Hamilton.


Many hours later, we were joined by another Cromwellian Expeditionary force, this one from the Academy and they filled us in on some details. We accompanied them to the city and I'm sure others will fill in those details. My main contributions were a Weather Control spell from scroll to try to clear the fog, a Lower Water to open the monument and a Part Water from the same Level 16 scroll to leave the Sahaugin high and dry for the slaughter.


[Jay’s note: I had realized the date within the first hour or so, since I have begun to record the dates in my party calendars just for grins and giggles, which now seems to be significant and we'll see where Realms pop up. Balinor/Morty/Tarplin are a couple of months past June 2192 and the BLADES are just into 2192.]


The results of my Divination that was centered on The Watchtower before dawn (after the light and undead attacks) in an area of 15-20 miles are given in the report of Captain Bernard.


~~Joana [written by Jay with minor editing by Kyle]


Addendum: Additional Comments from the Perspective of Taniqué


Did you never get a summary from our group? I can give you a vague synopsis, but I can't guarantee that it won't be a little me-centric and filled with inaccuracy after all this time.


I had always been the party leader for this party, and so when we started up, I assumed that I was simply taking back on my role. A few had played their characters before (Alan, Rhonda, and Ashley), but the others were just getting to know their characters, and in one case (Lisette), the character was brand new. We chose a marching order and a guard shift, neither of which ended up being of any use to us.


Ashley [playing Nygond the illusionist] had only five seconds to decide whether to use his mirror of spell turning or not when the Mad Prophet cast a stunning spell at us. At his first chance, Ashley said, "Yes" which ended up deciding the battle for us. Afterwards, he [the Mad Prophet, the librarian who had reassembled the blue device on the mountain] was completely out-of-it, and needed gentle handling, although he was pretty much manhandled, sack-of-potatoes-like, for the rest of the game, as we fled from the undead.


Of course, during all of this, blue undead fire was racing its way to the top of the mountain along two channels along the side of the steps. At the top, we found the apparatus that the clerk had stolen, repaired and looking menacing.


(As a side note, Death from Above has almost always been outgunned by whatever critter it was facing, as it has always been a government investigative party, not a battle party. As a result, running from danger was a given, and there was always back-up if we decided that we needed it. It gave the party a kind of a "not in the face!" battle cry, and resulted in a bit of fatalism about our survival chances, and a lot of careful trap-checking and paranoia. To a party like that, anything that caused a mild-mannered clerk to go crazy and do crazy things, even while sitting there not doing anything particularly dangerous at the moment, looks menacing.)


The most exciting section was when we had to race to the top and grab the collapsed clerk and the bound workers before the whole top section lit up in blue undead fire (as was what happened when the channels reached the top). Previously, MacKensie had volunteered to drag the prone body of the clerk off the top. I remember Edwin counting down seconds as I instructed Kelvar and Sigmund to get the other two workers with me. We jumped off at the last minute just as we were all yelling for someone (Tara) to throw the boat. We had a boat token, and in a last-ditch effort to damage the apparatus at the top before the fire reached it, someone threw the boat at it. The boat apparently aged in mid-flight, but did knock the apparatus off-kilter, resulting in the weird skew to the blue light meant to scan the horizon.


Well, we decided that the blue light had to go, no matter the cost. If it had been menacing before, it was definitely menacing now. So we hatched the “flying illusionist with lead slab spell and dust of making-things-real” plan [detailed in the Death from Above summary and in Ashley’s further discussion below]. I wasn't wild about the idea, as it seemed foolhardy, but we decided that the blue light was really dangerous, and it had to go. So, to my surprise, it worked, the apparatus was crushed, and the fire went out.


Well, our task had been to reacquire the apparatus and clerk, one of which was accomplished, but the other of which now required moving a large heavy iron slab. Well, with many of our bright and talented minds working on it (including MacKensie's engineering skill) we managed to get it on the second try. We tossed it in its original crate (while not touching it, even though it seemed completely inert now - still paranoid!)


During this, our flying illusionist went up and out the top of the mountain to take a look around to see if there was a noticeable effect from the blue-light thing. Well, there was a giant white-looking army marching towards the mountain, which we took as a “Yes.” Deciding (as is only natural) that we didn’t want to meet any armies at all, we skedaddled. We triangulated a route to avoid the army and get back to the road (we headed pretty much due south), we ditched our mule so we could travel at a 15” movement rate and not 12”, and we hoofed it for many, many hours. [Note from Kyle: Death from Above kindly donated to the cause of Inviolate Realm. One undead mule, coming up.]


We went to the inn called The Hamilton, and we told them who we were. The innkeeper said, “Another special government party?” Apparently, someone had come by earlier in the day, claiming to be us [later determined to have been a completely different government party!]. We thought it was suspicious, but we had other concerns on our minds at that moment. We asked to go to the roof to look back to see if we were being followed. It being dark, we could see nothing, but we figured this was a good spot to wait for a moment, get back our breath, and sleep for an hour or two to refresh ourselves. (The entire party has “Sleep-on-the-Go”. It’s a party pre-requisite.)


A weird guy on the bottom floor offered to sell us a spyglass and a boat for an exorbitant sum. We said, “Uh, we’ll think about it.” We had the money with us, but we’re government workers…we have to account for purchases when we return! We decided as dawn approached, that we needed the spyglass. We saw the obviously Cromwellian, obviously huge, and obviously slow-moving army trudging its way back east through the edge of the forest, perpendicular to the way the giant white army had been moving. We decided to ride out and parlay. I think two of us went, with others watching through the spyglass for a sign of trouble. We spoke with the leaders, who indicated they were following orders to head East, and didn’t know about the other army. They did know that their officers were heading to Towlmere on a special mission with Konrad, and that was about it.


We decided that Konrad and the army officers, if they were operating in the area, needed to know about the weird white army, the blue light, the undead flames, etc. We also wanted to offer our services, as we had accomplished our mission. We set off down the road after them, and caught up with the army officers en route.


The rest is better known, of course, and intersects with other groups.


~~Taniqué (and Kathryn) [written by Kathryn Snead and clipped by Kyle]


Addendum: Additional Comments from the Perspective of Nygond the Illusionist


I was with the Cromwellian crimestoppers Death from Above. My character was Nygond, the Illusionist (level 5). I haven’t played Nygond for about 12 years, but I do remember that he always seems to have the right spell or item at just the right moment. Nygond is close to 65 years old and rapidly approaching retirement as the adventure begins.


We began with our group in hot pursuit of the fugitive librarian from the Academy. He had stolen some artifact from the Academy, but we had limited information about what it was and what it could be used for. During our hunt, we discovered that he was traveling with several Hobgoblins (perhaps 5) and that he had kidnapped 3 skilled craftsmen along the way. His trail led to this mysterious mountain with stairs carved in the side extending to near the summit. We began to ascend the mountain and along the way discovered periodic alcoves along the way with unusual carvings (I think some kind of bas-relief). These different alcoves showed a series of battles in various locales, including a large scale outdoor battle, a battle inside a passageway involving a small number of combatants and a large scale battle underwater. All but one of these scenes involved a particular hero with an unusual spear-like weapon (I think). Anyway, we weren’t sure what to make of all of this so we kept climbing. Soon enough we encountered the hobgoblins on their way back down. They claimed that the librarian had shown them official documents allowing him to contract their services in the name of Cromwell to apprehend certain individuals and provide escort. The librarian had access to the Royal Seal so we figured they were probably telling the truth. The hobgoblins further volunteered that they were getting the heck out of there because the librarian was acting fairly insane up near the top of the mountain. We let them go on their way and hastened our ascent.


We arrived almost at the top and found these chained-up craftsmen who had been made to build a frame of some sort for the “crazy” librarian. At this point, there were troughs alongside the stairs leading up to the summit that were filled with an eerie and nasty looking blue flame. We surmised that the flames were similar to type of magical flame known to absorb life-force. The flames were rapidly advancing up the stairs. The nutty librarian was here as well and he cackled something about being invincible. As we came up on the guy, he shot a beam of energy at the group. Fortunately I had readied my trusty Mirror of Spell Reflection, which happens to also work against spell-like innate powers. The beam was reflected back at the nutcase, who was paralyzed by his own beam. This was when we surmised that this old dude was being possessed or something similar (He didn’t used to have god-like powers?!!)


The way was now clear, but we were too late to prevent the flame from ascending to the top and engulfing the entire summit. The artifact that was stolen was on that summit in a newly repaired (or newly assembled?) frame. When the flames reached it, the artifact began to spin and cast out a beam of light like a lighthouse. We knew this couldn’t be good, but the life-sucking flames kept us at bay. One of our group had a portable boat, which he caused to materialize over the artifact. The boat fell onto it, but as it passed through the flames, the boat began to rot away in the mysterious flames, such that the impact was not optimal. The boat drop succeeded in damaging the beacon, causing it to wobble off of its intended axis. Obviously we needed something more substantial.


While an illusionist with Phantasmal Force isn’t good at destroying inanimate objects, he can create a large nifty illusionary slab of lead hovering above the beacon. I also had some hand Dust of Substance to make the illusion real. Someone cast a fly spell on me, but either way, the dust was sprinkled and the lead slab made real. The slab then dropped onto the beacon creating an explosion that nearly made my forthcoming retirement party unnecessary, but I lived to tell the tale with some injuries from flying debris (which was quickly healed).


So now the beacon was destroyed and the frame flattened. It became obvious that someone or something was meant to see the beacon and we didn’t want to be caught on the scene so I went up flying as a lookout to see if anyone was coming. We saw a large army far in the distance but approaching. We couldn’t tell much about them except for they looked pale white from this distance. So, we picked up the slab, salvaged the artifact and hightailed it out of there with the unconscious librarian and the rescued craftsmen. As we left the shadow of the mountain, we decided to get the heck out of there in a hurry (as I continually advocated from this point on). We made our way south to a small resort [The Hamilton] on the shore of the Salt Sea. From the watchtower of the resort, we used a spyglass to spot a Cromwellian army headed East, and we rode out to intercept them. They told us of a raid on slavers to the West that had unexpectedly involved dangerous undead. Their officers had sent them out of harms way to get reinforcements. We then headed out for a fishing town [the City of Towlmere] on a causeway in the Sea to find these officers.


We caught up to the officers, who told us of Spectres or Shadows or some sort of undead that wiped out a mining camp full of slavers. They were heading to the town to find the famous Paladin, Sir Konrad who was in the area. Then there was of course the undead army, the tunnel underwater, the Super-Sahuagin, the destruction of the obelisk and the final climactic battle between mysterious forces. After all of this hubbub, I was only too happy to return to Cromwell to begin my well deserved retirement.


~~Nygond (and Ashley) [Written by Ashley Merritt with minor editing by Kyle]


Addendum: The Complete After-Action Report of Pheraguat, Scout


Pheraguat, as played by Andrew Anderson



10-11 Jun 2192

Pheraguat, Elven woodsman, scout under the command of Cpt. Bernard Mathou, Wysos Regulars, Cromwellian Expeditionary Force.


14 Jun 2192



A Kraken agent lit a magical beacon to the sahaugin giant bodyguards held in stasis on an inland sea island. The release of these Kraken guards, along with simultaneous actions taken miles distant [see 8th Open synopsis], awoke the Inviolable Realms, including one in the region into which our unit was dispatched on a counter-narcotics, counter-slavery expedition.


By coincidence in the region of these events, the Cromwellian army group under command of Cpt. Bernard Mathou, Wysos Regulars, was successful in its mission to destroy the processed drugs, apparatus, and fields. The slaver drug-dealers were also destroyed, absorbed into the legions of the Inviolable Realm. Some of the slaves were also saved, and, with local townsfolk, given safe passage east to Cromwell proper, by agreement with the Inviolable Realm.


The emergence of the Inviolable Realms, and especially one on the borders of Cromwell proper, poses serious threats, some not readily apparent, but the long-term effect on the natural order may be more critical than the mere presence of a powerful evil army stronghold on the borders. In the strictly military sense, there is some hope for avoiding total open war in that we have a common enemy in the Kraken. Some of the Kraken's bodyguard sahaugin certainly escaped. It was unclear whether an actual Kraken was released by the beacon. We know that there is at least one mithril mine in this Inviolable Realm's domain.


All members of the Cromwellian party survived encountering the Kraken's sahaugin and the Inviolable Realm's army, returning to their home posts.



10 Jun 2192


Mounted on my hippogriff and armed with my bow, I was hired to the serve as scout for the Wysos Regulars, Cromwellian Expeditionary Force…


[the Narrative is included above and is not repeated here for brevity. The continuation of the Narrative for the second day of events is recorded here for completeness.]


11 Jun 2192


… The guards posted throughout the city turned out to be fodder for the undead army closing on the town from the peninsula. Few if any survived and none managed to alert us to nearness of the danger to the north. While Konrad and I took to the air, the others boarded the ship captain's vessel. The undead followed the boat but never overtook it, apparently by choice as they were clearly not moving as fast as they could. On land, too, the undead seemed willing to wait, keeping their distance until some unknown signal. To the south, however, breaking from the waves we could now see the greater sahaugin lords emerging. This, apparently, was the signal. The battle was joined.


The wizard/sage of the citadel did participate in the fight, flinging fireballs at the sahaugin as we attacked the Kraken’s lackeys. Konrad charged as he flew on his pegasus, and I circled on my hippogriff firing arrows at the sahaugin.


Overwhelmed by the combination of forces waiting for them at the waters edge, the sahaugin lords were defeated.


It was learned that the undead were legions of one of the Inviolable Realms, sworn enemies of the Kraken. Luckily, mindless undead are not subject to the charming and mind-effecting powers of the Kraken. While we recognized that those present could not defeat the undead armies or protect the citizens from them, the Inviolate Realms' several lich-lords also realized that doing combat with our force would have wasted resources. No doubt, however, the deciding factor was the unattractiveness of doing battle with a chosen champion of Nevron, Konrad, would have been very costly for ultimately little gain – there were few souls left to capture in the Krakens' enraptured city. A parley was called and the Lord Konrad and Cpt. Bernard Mathou made agreement with the Inviolable Realm to secure passage for the townsfolk, themselves not guilty of their ancient ancestors falling under the Krakens' charm.


I was joyed to return to the slaves secreted in the mithril mine and lead them under safe passage out of their captivity under the slavers and keeping them from the worse fate of falling under the Inviolable Realm.



The rise of the Inviolable Realm so near Cromwell proper is obviously of serious military concern, however, the Cromwellian government cannot afford to overlook the threat posed to the natural world and the ecology, and the risk that such damage will leach into Cromwell from this undead stronghold. These corruptions of the natural cycle of life, these perverted creations of twisted soul-less men, are an abomination to the natural order. I shudder to think what effect their presence will have on the land and beasts under their sway. Although the undead do not take active notice of the indigenous flora and fauna, their very unnaturalness will surely have some negative effect. This effect will spread. I urge the Cromwellian government to redouble its efforts to protect its natural realm. The Strangers should be aggressively expanded to assist in patrolling the border to watch for movements and creeping invasions of perversity in the natural order. The Druids will certainly be active in the New World, on guard for such threats. Cromwell should make every effort to join efforts with the Druids and others in these efforts.


[Kyle’s note: It is my opinion that the “Beacon” was not lit by an agent of the Kraken at all, but rather by an agent opposed to the Kraken, who was interested in awakening the Inviolate Realm. The awakening of the sahuagin appears to have been precipitated by the Lower Water of the explorers of Towlmere, or possibly indirectly by the awakening of the Inviolate Realm. Still, I believe that the agent who precipitated the whole thing was an anarchist, who are opposed to the Kraken for the simple reason that the Kraken are the ultimate supernatural and powerful agents of Martial Law. The ‘Mad Prophet’ who possessed Cromwell’s librarian did so to awaken the Inviolate Realm and cause the eye of the Kraken to turn from Telvar, not to awaken the sahuagin. That the sahuagin were

awakened was of little concern to the anarchist agent, as they would have
probably been dealt with, as they were, and would as such be one more tiny
injury to the Kraken power base on Telvar.
It is unclear if the Mad Prophet knew that the device was in actuality a
Warning and Scrying Device for determining the presence of the Kraken and their
agents, but it appears he did know that it would awaken the Realm. style="mso-spacerun: yes"> Regardless, Pheraguat’s assertion that a
pro-Kraken agent may have been responsible for the lighting of the Beacon is
also hard to disprove from the perspective of the knowledge available to the
Cromwellians and others at Towlmere after the battle against the sahuagin and
the ultimatum of the Inviolate Realm of Tarana. It is only with the knowledge of the Realm’s motivations and
composition that one can begin to put the pieces together.]


~~Pheraguat [Written by Andrew Anderson with minor editing from Kyle]

April 01, 2006

BLADES Notes #59

Character Race & Class Level HP AC Player Creator
Raybur Sidebottom Dwarven Fighter/Cleric 6/6 54 (-7) -3/0/2 Dean Joel
Phyllis Sidebottom Dwarven Fighter 7 54(64) -5/-5 Katherine Katherine
Effrede George Half Elven Magic User/Thief 6/6 34 -3/1 Katherine Katherine
Talarian Blackguard Half Elven Fighter 7 68 Occ. Ring
(-9) -8/-3
(-7) -6/-1 Dean Dean
Conrhia Applewhite Half Elven Woodsman 7 68 -5/-4/0 Rhonda Rhonda
Serlisse Reintar Half Elven Druid 7 32 -1/1/1 Rhonda Rhonda
Sputnik Half Elven Cleric 7 49 1/4/4 Jay Jay
Arthur of Petethal Half Elven Ranger 6 58 2/4 David David
Zephram Trent Hill Gnome Fighter/Illusionist 5/5 41 (-5) -3/-2/2
1/5 w/out PA Alan Alan
Shirlard Half Orkish Fighter 5 44 3/3 Darleen Darleen
Costigan Coastlander Fighter//Cleric 1//2 20 (2)3/3 Rodger Rodger

March 26, 2193

Rest and Identify. We think the undead will dissipate when we beat them and take time to reform. We could then Exorcise them, which might free them rather than destroy them. The Locatha recommend entombing the Kraken artifact.

April 5, 2193

We are ready to go again. We owe The Republic for a Chain Mail upgrade +1 to +2 for Costigan.

The skills from the Ancients’ Pool are open & close doors; operate the elevators in a non-random fashion; fold rooms; unfold rooms and lock & unlock doors.

April 20, 2193

We are back at the City. We decide to rebuild the coastal vessel.

April 23, 2193

We start looking for the door into the City.

Where the water enters the City, it flows through the stone as if it were a sieve with very small holes. There is a disguised track of a wheeled cart and hard boots that becomes hidden after a little ways. It has been many days, but it happened since the rainy season. We can’t follow the tracks past where they are covered.

There seem to be three small fires on the beach inside the dome at night.

April 27, 2193

We find a camouflaged rowboat at one end of the tracks. It is further to the West along the coast. Up to 8 can row and 20 with supplies can be carried – up to 40 without supplies. It is marked in Hobgoblin that sort of translates as Chum Generator.

The other direction is constrained by the topography, but a couple of days of searching do not yield anything.

After much poncing around we leave a note in Orkish on a stone tube saying pay salvage and don’t come back.

We start searching around the city for the door that we hope is there. We looked for doors around the base of all towers.

May 8, 2193

Six days later, the dinosaurs wander off. Serlisse found the panel that opens near the Tofu generator. There is a coffee pot like dispenser. Fred finds another door inside. There is a 500 gp sized ruby that glows faintly. When touched it stops glowing and the tofu stops dripping. When touched again, it starts glowing but it takes a minute or so for the tofu to start gathering again. We can’t find any other doors.

May 9, 2193 to May 13, 2193

Fred checks around on the seawall, but finds nothing. Serlisse talks to a fish and we eventually find out that there seems to be a large hole underwater and there are walrusmen and a hot turtle.

Land dragons are the largest and dumbest of the three descendants of the dragons. Behirs are smaller and smarter. Dragon turtles can occasionally grow larger that Land Dragons and are the smartest of the three. Land Dragons breathe sound which makes parts of you fall off. Behirs breathe lightning which kills you. Dragon Turtles breathe steam which cooks and kills you.

May 14, 2193

We trek back around the city.

May 15 & 16, 2193

A small shrew-like creature gives us some info and a bird points us to the south west. After much searching we find a cave with a small slot kind of opening that opens up greatly. There are many openings inside. We find a possum nearby that knows the other big people’s secret. They know the twisty secret. You have to stick your hand through the slot. There is a trap deep inside, but the door itself seems to be fairly simple and elegant. Raybur fails to Dispel the trap, but Sputnik does it.

There is a fake wall that is disguised from the other side. A little bit of monkeying around by Fred and Serlisse tells us that the 20 hobgoblins on the other side are ready for us.

20 hobgoblins try to mug us, but after 18 segments, we prevail.

The bridge is guarded by some sort of invisible being. It protects the hobgoblins and tries to dissuade them from crossing the bridge. They haven’t done it in three years. The humans had to do all the basic “menial” tasks. The Wind Chime alerted the hobgoblins of intruders. There are beautiful trees in a nice neighborhood. This place does not produce cigars or liquor other than beer. Special supplies were purchased with the equipment they sold off to the orcs and the Locatha. There is someone on the far side of the bridge that they feared and hated. There were some forays into some of the other houses, which their whipped butts. Half of the hobgoblins would stay behind. There is comfy pillow and blanket of

There are three white buildings made with a vaulted arch style of design instead of a more traditional style. They are separated by small parks. They look like they were set up for four people to live in each with lots of open spaces. A fourth one is closed up. The three are open on three sides, but the one nearer the cliff into the water. There is a railing at an overlook by the water. They may have been practice/concert halls with sound proofing and

The hobgoblin tells us that the servant golems will attack or throw a temper tantrum. They also ran into insane dwarves at the artisans’ mall – the huge dome across the river. There was a human that showed the hobgoblins showed the way into the city. He claimed that he had to get away from the mall. He felt like he had to have all the things in the mall. The mall is a huge dome with multiple floors and lots of shops. Outside the mall on our side is a restaurant with good magically generated food. That is where the restaurant with the poltergeists was.

2 magic rings – one each on the brothers

Magic dart

Magic knife

Magic battle axe


2 quilts

2 potions, marked identically – Tranquility

Orcish potion – marked Disorder Cure

Half bottle of seasoning oil that makes the food taste spectacular (4 of 8 doses) each dose makes food for 12

Ancients’ Magical harp– the Hobgoblins didn’t know what it was

Half Tube of glue – they took to the orcs and brought it back – the two brothers glued their hands to each other, sat for a full day and then separated

A tiny magical ladder – the Hobgoblins didn’t know what it was