So it begins...

Return to the Golden City

###Attendees

  • AJ (Soltari En’Vec)
  • Nick C (Quoben Darktracker)
  • Brian (Jik Chelos)
  • Aidan (Devlin)

###Documentary

((This is a tag written by the DM until it gets filled out more fully))

Party goes to Denzen to find the place abandoned. Undead are cooped up inside some of the buildings in various states. Some are comatose. Some are rambling about taxes and liens.

At one point, Jik separates from the group and examines the barber’s shop. He encounters a heavily-cloaked individual who runs when spotted. No one catches this person.

The group begins systematically clearing out the undead. However, after clearing the Drunken Mare, they discover the undead collecting outside and mulling about. They watch as the undead circle around the building as though going somewhere but none ever come in. Eventually they spot an individual standing on the barber shop across the street trying to get their attention. This person has a heavily decayed face.

Soltari floats over to him and talk. This man reveals that he’s in charge of the town now, and that he’s been given a task to complete. He complains that the group should not have come here. This entire time he’s holding a stick behind his back which, when attention is drawn to it, implies that it’s the source of his power.

When Soltari threatens him to give up the stick, this strange man yells to the undead that these intruders are tax collectors from Sahria. The undead go berserk and charge the inn.

Soltari fights the man, but soon finds this man to be a formidable opponent. He floats away instead. In the inn, the others have barricaded the stairs and are fighting the undead as they clamor toward them.

Eventually, the group begins to win out. The strange man, seeing that he’s losing his men, retreats. He escapes into the woods. The group chase after him for miles. Party members get tuckered out and fall behind until only Jik is on the case. The man turns and drives Jik away after a short fight.

The group gets back together… and decide to just let bygones be bygones I guess. They don’t follow up or track him down, or wait around to see if he comes back, or search the place. Oh, but Quoben does decide to burn down the town, which angers Soltari into leaving the party.

Soltari heads back toward the Golden City. On the way he encounters a mysterious couple who also travel at night, and seem not to travel during the day. But Soltari gives absolutely zero shits. He goes back to the city and that’s that.

After discussion, the rest of the group decide to follow after him. They sneak back into town through the same smuggler’s tunnel. They pay only 5gp per person to get in, but in the future, the thugs controlling the tunnel insist they pay the full price of 10gp.

Quoben and Jik contact some of the city’s underbelly in order to get information on where Soltari might have gone.

Soltari returns the loot taken from the evidence locker in order to garner favor. Wodaunfein sees through this and realizes Soltari was part of the original group. However, eyes wink, elbows prod, signets come out. He does Soltari a favor and doesn’t draw attention to Soltari’s involvement. Soltari is instead known as the man who returned stolen property.

Devlin enters the city through the front gate, but then realizes that he never established a place to meet the others. Lost, he decides to start casing high-end mansions for a place to rob.

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Escape from the Golden City

###Attendees

  • AJ (Soltari En’Vec)
  • Nick C (Quoben Darktracker)
  • Brian (Jik Chelos)
  • Alex (Gab Denton)
  • Nick M (Weymar)
  • Aidan (Devlin)

###Documentary

((This is a quick rundown by the DM until this documentation is done more fully.))
Gab Denton and Jik get taken in for questioning. Zuckarest Annavim and Wodaunfein represent them and the city council respectively. Evidence against the group seems daunting.

Meanwhile, Soltari prepares forged documents. Then he and Devlin find their way to the police station where the others are being kept.

In parallel, Quoben and Waymar go to the station disguised as another man and a woman. After mentioning details that were not disclosed to the public, they attract attention. Instead of abandoning their plan, they split up. Quoben goes downstairs, meets more police, tries to talk his way out but fails. Ultimately he drops a bomb and runs up two flights. Waymar went upstairs and was trying to help Gab and Jik escape when Quoben shows up with the police after them. A fight ensues wherein several guards are severely injured (by falling or being pushed down slippery stairs). They all escape out a second story window and run away.

Soltary and Devlin had come in moments after the commotion started. They took advantage of the distraction to break into the evidence room, killing a guard in the process. They stole everything of value and made off.

After the group meet back up, they lay low. Quoben goes out to gauge whether they’re wanted men, but ends up going antiquing instead. Waymar finds information about a secret smuggling tunnel leading out of the city, and after paying some informants, the group decides to leave that way.

Only problem is the tunnel is temporarily out of service because a rock beetle has nested at the other end. The party agree to kill it in exchange for free passage. They do so and head west toward Densen.

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Escape from Urgathua's Sewer

###Attendees

  • AJ (Soltari En’Vec)
  • Nick C (Quoben Darktracker)
  • Brian (Jik Chelos)
  • Alex (Gab Denton)
  • Nick M (Weymar)
  • Aidan (Devlin)

###Documentary
We left our motley crew of spellslingers and swordsmen surrounded by three captives: a snoring Lieutenant, a terrified Acolyte, and a battered cleric teetering on the edge of consciousness. The party’s amateurish attempts to frighten the already hysterical woman into revealing information were interrupted by the plodding footsteps of ghouls. After dispatching a few waves of undead and emptying a room of cultist acolytes, the gang found escape in a securely-bolted sewer grate.

The ever-prepared Jik carried a crowbar the perfect size to pry the lock off. Unfortunately, the schools in the Northlands do not stress the mechanics of a fulcrum, and Jik wielded the bar from the wrong end, doing little against the sturdy grate. Only with Weymar’s understanding of basic physics aiding Jik was the group able to snap the bolt and venture on.

The evil secrets that lurk in those black catacombs have been lost to history, as the intrepid band decided to turn tail and flee into the sewers.

The first thing to hit them was the smell, soupy and noxious in the expansive network of canals that ran under the Golden City. The second thing to hit them were the splashes of waste water displaced by the Lieutenant’s unconscious body as it ragdolled into the sludgy river and promptly sank. Local fishermen would later recover a pair of feet, gnawed off at the ankles, and most of a face from their cast nets.

The gang set down the rickety ladder and started cavalierly through the forbidding tunnels.

SHLWOOP!” thundered out in the darkness as Aelador landed hard upon the masoned ground. Drawing on his extensive experience in the dark and horrible places of the world, Weymar recognized the sound as a body slipping on a Grey Ooze. Despite its small and squishy nature, our heroes were completely ill-equipped to combat such a foe and could only plink away at the slimy mass with a torrent of bolts and javelins.

The assault was momentarily interrupted by a water beast bursting from the river and attacking the party from behind. Her attack was ill-conceived, however, as she was quickly chased back by the blows of Soltari, Weymar, and Aelador (?). Eventually the quivering Ooze also fell with a resounding SPLOOSH across the damp floor, and Quoben scooped some of the remains into a small vial for his stores.

All that stood between the party and fresh air was another locked grate. Jik worked on it with his crowbar, but once again his faltering efforts required the aid of the mercenary to make any headway. Under the open sky once again, they set off toward the gates of the Golden City, their two remaining captives slung over their shoulders.

They encountered no resistance at the gate, the overworked guard was so distracted by the news of his wife’s pregnancy he was waving all comers through.

Records indicate the party was headed to Major Adrian Comstock’s estate to interrogate their prisoners, but there is no indication what was to be gained by bringing them into the city nor why Comstock would be amenable to such proceedings. The point was moot, however, as misfortune finally caught up with them at the Major’s doorstep. Aelador and Soltari’s investigation into the suspiciously quiet abode revealed Comstock’s murdered corpse, still-tacky blood staining crimson the hand-tooled desk.

The grisly scene was interrupted by the canter of a squad of mounted City Guardsmen. As they approached, Weymar blended into the mass of citizens and Quoben dove into the cover of nearby brush, leaving Jik and Gab alone to explain the unconscious Death Cultists at their feet. Their fumbling excuses were interrupted, however, by Quoben hurling a bomb into the busy morning streets and fleeing down an alley. His escape was secured by the judicious use of yet another bomb to spook the constables’ horses. In the confusion Aelador and Soltari absconded from the manor with the Comstock signet ring and a decade’s worth of ledgers.

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Paranormal Investigations

###Attendees

  • AJ (Soltari En’Vec – drow monk/rogue)
  • Nick C (Quoben Darktracker)
  • Brian (Jik Chelos)
  • Alex (Gab Denton)

###Documentary
The group continued their travels after leaving the Wutherford estate and headed for Maltealda the “Golden City.” The group’s journey was uneventful and swift as they took the most direct path temporarily leaving the business with Lord Wutherford and Baron Cortez until a later date.

With packs full of gold and high hopes to rest and rearm in the city the group chose to find accommodations close to the city center. There in the heart of the city was the Charlatan. Known for its ostentatious exterior and extravagant decor, the Charlatan put shame to the word “inn”. However, when seeking accommodations things took an unexpected turn.

Whilst the group prepared to make accommodations for rooms at the inn they were mistaken for a group of traders from the north who were associated with Lord Ferguson and given the entirety of the top floor for their use. Unable to believe their good luck the group excitedly took a look at the rooms and marveled at the wealth and opulence of the rooms. Quickly divvying up the rooms like a bunch of 12-year olds at space camp, Quoben decided to find their benefactor and ran into a Drow who introduced himself as Soltari En’Vec.

After some discussion, it became apparent that Soltari created documents prior to the groups arrival that billed their rooms to Lord Ferguson. Soltari seemed unlike most of the Drow from the Underdark, in that he had a flair for the dramatic and seemed to revel in revealing his achievements to the group. Quoben quickly tired of the conversation with the Dark Elf and after introducing him to the group he retired to his room. However, he was not the only one to leave. Faced with the possibility of a Drow joining the group, Alviss Earthen-Shield bellowed that he would not join forces with a Drow and quickly left leaving no time for discussion. The group questioned the Drow thoroughly and after satisfied that he wouldn’t poison them in the night they agreed that he might stay with them for the eight days of their lodgings.

At this point there was much to be done around town so the group split up with Weymar, Gab Denton, and Jik Chelos finding goods for sale during the day and drinking in the finest parts of the town at night. Quoben locked himself in his room only to come out for meals and was undisturbed for the most part with no one wanting to breathe in the acrid smoke billowing from under his door or deal with the bubbling and popping sounds that went on for most of the day and night. Devlin also took his leave from the group leaving in the early evening from the Charlatan and not returning for days or late morning at the earliest. During this time Soltari would also be found enjoying the hospitality of the Charlatan and would be seen sitting solitary drinking in the finest wines they could offer.

However, on the 5th day the routine was broken. Gab, his half-elf restlessness keeping him always moving, decided he wanted to investigate what was happening with the undead so he sought out the wizard’s spire in the center of the city. The spire was almost otherworldly, it’s craftsmanship dating to a time thousands of years before the group entered the town. It stood alone with it’s smooth white stone rising to the sky with no seams or blemishes on the exterior. Gab waited till nightfall and procured the help of Soltari who he guessed would be able to get him an audience with the Arch-Mage. After creating a clever forgery they bypassed the entrance and were ushered into the Arch-Mage’s office. Gab tried his best to charm and wheedle information from the old man but the wizard seemed more intent on writing and paid no serious attention to Gab. However, when Soltari pointed out the forged letter and tried to get the Arch-Mage to help he started to get angry rather than just annoyed and after yelling that it was a cult of Urgathoa that was the most likely culprit, he stonewalled them yelling them out of his office.

Dejected, the duo returned to the Charlatan and lamented their failure only to fail again when trying to speak with the concierge about Urgathoa. Being a concierge he had no idea what they were talking about and even when presented with a bribe he was unable or unwilling to help.

At this point Soltari had enough and returned to the bar while Gab slunk upstairs only to be chastised by an ornery Quoben who told them to find the information they should speak with a beggar and trade information about the happenings of the city for coin. Chastised, he took Jik with him and they searched the streets for a likely beggar.

After finding an especially run down beggar Jik and Gab went about the business of trying to butter up the beggar for information. However, it wasn’t that simple. The guy was clearly a little nuts and wanted to trade silver for a painting he could make of some of the people from the group. Although he never saw the group members he drew portraits of them by fingerpainting with a brown, pungent material he pulled from under his robes. While he painted he rambled on about people disappearing because of a cult that operated out of the home of one of the city council member’s homes, Margot. Not satisfied with just one painting covered in shit, Jik made sure to trade silver for a second feces covered masterpiece with Jackson Pollack overtones.

Confident that they were finally on the right track, Jik and Gab headed to the estate district each home more opulent than the last. Stopping a guard on his rounds the duo enquired where they might find the home of Margot the council member. The guard immediately turned from from a neutral tone to a hostile one, questioning their intent. Gab made a series of attempts to gain the necessary information but failed and the guard told them to leave before he arrested them.

While walking back to the Charlatan, Gab was doing some serious soul searching wondering if he would ever find the information he desired. He collapsed onto a couch in the living room of their accommodations and sat there glumly until interrupted by Quoben asking if he found what they were looking for. After shaking his head and being called an idiot ten different ways they consulted with Yohan Zilwager regarding local politics. Quoben reasoned that if she was on the council she had beaten out someone else and that person would be in a position of power to help them. After Yohan gave a dissertation regarding her political history they headed to the home of Adrian Cobbstock a councilman who opposed Margot.

Quoben, Gab, Jik and Soltari grouped up to confront the failed councilman and ascertain the truth of her association with Urgathoa. After using some fine words on the doorman, they were introduced to Lord Cobbstock and given refreshment. However, their discussion did not go as planned. The failed councilman mistook their conspiratorial tones for blackmail and as opposed to actually stopping the cult and agreed to lend his help where he could giving them all the information he knew about Margot. The group left the failed councilman’s home feeling slightly better about their chances and finally having a plan. The plan was to infiltrate Margot’s home and either frame her for being a member of Urgathoa’s cult or if she was an actual member, to stop the cult and try to help eliminate the undead threat.

Time passed crafting the necessary materials to frame Margot it was on to the break-in. The group cased the building during the daylight hours of the 7th day to find out as much information as possible before their night time escapades would begin. After seeing two guards outside they proceeded to walk around the exterior looking for clues. Searching for secret doors, Quoben crafted a quick magical extract and quaffed it trying to make sure nothing was missed. While surreptitiously making their rounds Quoben noticed a secret door on the exterior of the building. Concentrating he found the mechanism for opening the door and informed his companions of what he had discovered. With that in mind the group decided to wait until nightfall and then infiltrate the building either to frame Margot or find if she was actually a member of the cult.

Night came swiftly and with it more guards on the exterior of the building standing watch. While the group stood in the shadows they bickered about how they were to proceed. After deciding to use the secret door, Quoben pulled a vial from his pocket and started taking sheets of paper and creating a paper-mache wall. After throwing some pebbles and sticks on it, it looked like a blind mason built the wall but a wall nonetheless. Because Devlin had not returned from his nighttime shenanigans they decided it was best for Quoben to use his familiar to scout the interior of the building. Opening the secret entrance they were greeted with a home in perfect order. The decor was neat and managed and it illustrated the wealth and power that someone on the council could hold.

The bizarre featherless owl flew deeper into the home and Quoben followed at a distance hoping that the tiny bird would be able to be unnoticed by anyone approaching. Empathically communicating with his owl, Quoben mentally screamed “SEARCH!” into the bird’s mind and the owl responded by perceiving more than he could imagine. The owl told him the locations of people inside the rooms and Quoben realized there were two rooms that had people inside and there was a roving guard winding his way through the halls. Cursing his lack of stealth, Quoben wound his way through the building searching the rooms while avoiding the guards and occupied rooms.

As the rest of the group grew restless they began entering the building one after another but were met by a frumpled Quoben who pushed them back outside the secret door closing it behind him. While the group argued Quoben played with some iron vials pulled from the bandolier on his chest. The extracts simmered with the same magical quality that the previous extract had and looked identical. After the group overruled Quoben about continuing alone, he agreed on the condition that he would lead.

Fumbling in his pockets for yet another vial, Quoben quickly applied a dark liquid to his drawn dagger. They reopened the passageway and sneakily opened the doorway to the first occupied room. Quaffing yet another extract Quoben explained that there was another secret passage in this room. Looking inside the group noticed a guard sleeping in a chair in the room. Trying to be as unnoticed as possible Quoben came up behind the guard and came up with a quandary. Should he kill the guard with his dagger and let there be no sound escaping the room or should he injure him with the dagger inflicting the sleeping poison on him and risking being noticed. Not being a murderer, Quoben opted for the second option and immediately regretted his decision.

The guard screamed a short scream and immediately fell unconscious. Hearing the guards thundering towards the room, Quoben yelled for the group to get inside and barricade the door. Jik, Gab and Soltari held the door while an alchemy crazed Quoben applied a thick clear substance around the door. Almost immediately the substance hardened and the door appeared glued in place.

The guards banged loudly on the door and demanded entrance and Gab took center stage to try and convince them not to enter. He tried to intimate that he was getting hot and heavy with a serving wench from a local tavern and for once it looked like he might convince them as the pounding on the door stopped. However, after some discussion on the outside of the door about how the lieutenant had no game and this just wasn’t possible, the bashing of the door continued.

Looking at the wall where the secret passage lay, Quoben was greeted with bookshelves that reached to the ceiling. Unable to discern how to open the passage, Quoben decided to brute force the problem and began ripping books off the shelves in no discernable order. After a few seconds of doing his best Jik impression on the shelves he found the book that would open the passage and Gab,Quoben and Soltari carried the unconscious body of the lieutenant down the dark stairway. Jik stayed behind momentarily, trashing the room to make it uncertain what exactly happened and obscuring the use of the secret passage.

What the group saw upon entering the underground passage was very dim light and two separate passageways both to the East and the West. After Quoben’s mishaps, Soltari demanded the lead and explored the area noting four hooded people, two human men and two human women, who discussed in soft tones politics and other news of the day. After quick discussion of this information it was decided that they would try and bumrush the westerly group and see if they could capture and interrogate them. However, it all went to hell very quickly.

Quoben and his owl got the jump on the woman but they hit nothing but air while everyone else stood like statues almost as if waiting their turn. The robed figures reacted quickly yelling out and casting spells under their breath.

Jik, totally ignoring the spell cast by the male hooded figure, tackled him into the wall and they began to roll around on the floor. Meanwhile, Quoben began hurling bombs around the small alcove he was in which quickly filled with a Beijing level of smog leaving him unable to see. He guessed at the location of the woman and threw a bomb only to hear a scream which satisfied him.

Out in the hallways, the two other robed figures headed towards the commotion giant scythes in hand and advanced on Gab and Soltari. Gab pointed his hand like a gun and depressed his thumb like the hammer firing magic missiles at the oncoming scythe wielding amazon. She charged him bellowing rage and missed with her scythe taking a large chunk out of the stone wall.

Across the room Soltari was in no mood to have a fair fight and touched his cloak blackness spreading outward from him in every direction. The total blackness covered the room leaving all but him unable to see. His opponent swung his scythe ineffectively and Soltari countered landing blows with his fists on the cloaked man who bellowed in pain.

Cloaked in total darkness, Jik felt something in him snap and he punched the man he grappled with a huge uppercut slamming him to the wall. However, he wasn’t done yet and with the fury only a barbarian can bring to bear he bit at his throat ripping out the man’s jugular. Blood sprayed everywhere and was a poignant reminder to Jik who began to calm down.

Seeing no way to win the fight and unable to see, the Amazon and her companion began to retreat towards the faint glimmer of light they could see in the distance. Seeing his companions fumbling in the dark, Soltari took his cloak and stuffed it into his backpack, bringing light back to the room.

Quoben, Gab and Soltari gave chase to the two escaping cultists while Gab stood over the dead body of the throatless man. Gab noticed the woman with the tattered robes and burnt skin hiding in a corner and after taking one look at her with his blood covered face she promptly wet herself in fear. Taking the opportunity to complete their capture of one of the enemy, Jik bound her with rope as she shook like a leaf in fear.

On the other side of the hall, Gab and Quoben pelted the duo with a barrage of magic and explosives while Soltari chased as close as he could without being hit by the explosives. After retreating further the cloaked man hit a switch and a heavy iron gate collapsed across the hallway stopping the group from moving forward.

Soltari took a step towards the gate and stood like a statue with his face screwed in concentration. Then with a clang the gate suddenly rose into the air.

Given a second chance the group continued pelting the Amazon and even Quoben’s owl Archimedes got into the action pecking at her head. With a final blast from Gab’s magic missile the Amazon collapsed and the man escaped through a locked doorway. The group, although unscathed, were very tired from this fight and took a knee waiting for their adventure to continue.

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Production Line Hickups

###Attendees

  • AJ (Alviss Earthen-Shield)
  • Nick C (Quoben Darktracker)
  • Brian (Jik Chelos)
  • Nick M (Weymar)
  • Aiden (Devlin – half-elf rogue)
  • Alex (Gab Denton – half-elf sorcerer)

###Documentary

The group traveled until nightfall. The entire way, Jik covered their tracks as to avoid any followers. Fortunately for the group. Their night was uneventful. Although their hostage made several attempts to bargain with them. The mercenary offered to help the group turn in Natalie Wutherford to Baron Cortez for the bounty he placed on her head. However, his pleas fell on deaf ears.

In the morning, the group arrived at the Wutherford Manor. With Natalie with them, they were of course admitted. Inside they laid eyes upon one of the most extravagant estates on the north side of the fracture. It’s only flaw? It was hardly defended.

> You have to understand. Lord Wutherford was not a military man. He was a merchant. He ran a gold mining operation and was the possibly the Sahrian Imperial Mint’s exclusive supplier. He was not prepared when the Manton border disputes began. He was reactive. The first time Cortez encroached on his territory, he got border patrol. The first time one of his hamlets was attacked, he got town guards. And he had no pool of experienced soldiers to pull from. All he could do was hire anyone who would take the job and outfit them with the best equipment and training available, but as any soldier knows. That’s not enough.
>
>>-Kilton Strongwind

Gilgamesh Wutherford himself invited the group to join him for dinner as they told him of their tale. They ate, drank, and were merry as they told of how they came to rescue his daughter. Records indicate that a few members of the group may have made some rather inflated requests for compensation.

It was during this talk that the dining party received some rather disturbing news. A guard rushes into the room, interrupting their discussion to inform them of an attack on the Austre mines by an unknown assailant. The group initially offers to help but Lord Wutherford rufused. That is, until another guard rushed in to inform him that Baron Cortez’s men had just taken over a southern hamlet.

With two places his men needed to be, Lord Wutherford was in a bind.

> Wutherford’s men were no good. Deep down, I think he knew that perfectly well. His men had trained together, they fought together, what little fighting they’d done. But those men trained as a group. Split them up and they’d have no idea how to act. That’s why cross military training is important. You’ve always got to mix up the training, make them adaptive
>
>>-Kilton Strongwind

Wutherford accepts the groups offer to help, and provides them with a horse and carriage to get to the mines. Along with them came a man by the name of Caleb Denton who identified himself as Lord Wutherfords nephew. He came claiming to represent the family’s interest, although the tales he told of his origin and his family were tall indeed. Although when the time came, he held his own in combat.

Half way there, they encounter an oddity. Ambling about the road are a couple of skeletons without an apparent purpose or origin.

> The group struck those skellies down like nothing. But I wonder if they stopped to wonder what that could mean. Skeletons. In the middle of the day. Just ambling about. No necromancer. No graveyard. No unhallowed ground. Not even a hint of how they got there. At the time, it probably seemed irrelevant.
>
>>-Prof. Markheim Zilwager

Afterward, the group arrived at the mine. They found much amiss. Dead dwarven bodies lay about, and a strange humanoid creature with gray, sickened skin was feasting upon the flesh of the dead. As soon as it saw the others, it retreated into the mine.

A short search quickly turned up one surviving dwarf, who told them tales of how the miners had discovered an underground river weeks before. After a someone had nearly been pulled to their death during exploration, the dwarves decided to install a grate to prevent the tide from pulling any miners to their death. But then strange creatures from deep within, perhaps from the water itself, emerged and began slaughtering the dwarves. Whatever these things were they, blended right in with the surrounding rocks. Troglodytes.

> The troglodytes are an ancient race. Way way back in the day they were once the top dogs. Used to be technologically superior to everyone else, they’d enslave other races. Somewhere along the line, they just stopped doing their homework. While all the other races advanced, they just stagnated. Now they’re just a bunch of underground lizard men wearing loin cloths and chewing at each other’s bits. Don’t mistake me. A pack of troglodytes are no laughing matter.
>
>>-Andaeriel Mistymoon

The group calmed the surviving dwarf as best they could, then told him to await them at the carriage. Before venturing into the mine, the group took a moment to subdue their hostage, the mercenary captain. The records aren’t clear why they brought the captain with them, perhaps for lack of anything better to do. Nor are we sure how they subdued him. Written accounts speak of them beating him unconscious with a stick, but they also make clear that the man was already hogtied. Perhaps we will never know exactly what was going through their heads, but we do know for certain that they left him outside the mine.

The first person into the mine was the rogue known as Devlin. He scouted ahead until he heard gruesome noises.

> It’s a horrible thing when the dead feast. They don’t exactly have table manners. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be in the pitch dark with Devlin, listening to the tearing and gnawing, smelling that godawful stench, knowing the walking dead are only paces away.
>
>>-Prof. Markheim Zilwager

He returned to the group and reported what he heard. After discussion, the group decided the best course of action was to venture in. They tried to sneak, but not until after making all their swords glow with primitive magic, so we’re not entirely sure what they were trying to accomplish. Deep inside, the undead spotted them and swarmed. For the second time in so many days, the group encountered the Tormented. This time, they were the fresh bodies of the dead miners. But behind the zombies were two of the very same creature the group had seen outside the mine. Slick, gray skin. Hateful white eyes. Rows of bleeding teeth. The creatures stalked behind the other undead like commanders of a platoon.

> Ghouls. Nasty lot. We like to think they were the lieutenants of the undead armies. Unlike the mindless Tormented or the Shamblers. These could think for themselves. They knew tactics. If ghouls are leading the pack, then your undead problems just got that much worse. The pestilence of their bite alone can kill you, and you’d just return as one of them days later.
>
>>-Andaeriel Mistymoon

The group fought bravely. They received many grave injuries, especially Jik Chelos, but they drove off the undead, even managing to strike down one of the fiendish ghouls. The other ghoul, however, escaped.

They severed the beast’s head and took it as proof of their deed, then ventured further into the mine until they came upon the underground river. It was here that they encountered the second danger of the mine. The troglodytes. Initially disguised as stalagmites, the troglodytes lashed out. This fight however, was short-lived. They didn’t pose nearly the same challenge that the undead had.

After a quick fight, the group was left with the question of what to do. Again, after discussion and much, much bickering, they decided to investigate the underground river to find out where the troglodytes came from. After cave diving, they discovered a small chamber, which upon further examination, revealed a hidden door against the far wall.

> Well, like I’d said, the troglodytes were once a proud race. Technology, culture… riches. The old ones used to practice burial rites where a troglodyte would be buried with all the wealth it’d acquired during its life. These crypts, as it were, would be far off the beaten path from the troglodyte empire so they’d be at peace, and left alone from looters. Even then, many times these crypts would be trapped to ward away the more determined…
>
>>-Andaeriel Mistymoon

Fortunately for our group, they identified the signs of a security system, and endeavored to disarm it. Once then, they entered to find the ancient trove of troglodyte noble from an age long past.

After this, there was nothing more to do but to return to the Wutherford manor and report. Outside, they made a gruesome, yet inevitable discovery.

> I’m not sure what they were thinking leaving a tied up and unconscious man laying about where the undead had been prowling. The ghouls in particular are known for their remarkable sense of smell, at least for finding fresh meat. That poor mercenary captain had no chance.
>
>>-Prof. Markheim Zilwager

The captain had been torn to piece and feasted upon, perhaps by the very ghoul that escaped earlier. There was nothing they could do except to destroy the body in the hopes the captain would not rise as an undead himself. They then traveled swiftly back the Wutherford estate.

There, they reported what they had found, and what they had slain, presenting the severed ghoul head as evidence of their grizzly deed.

Gilgamesh Wutherford compensated the group for their efforts and bid them a good day. He had other matters to deal with, the encroaching threat of the Baron Cortez. The group took their payment and continued on their way to the grand golden city of Maltealda.

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The pebble strikes the water

###Attendees

  • AJ (Alviss Earthen-Shield – dwarven cleric)
  • Nick C (Quoben Darktracker – elf alchemist)
  • Brian (Jik Chelos)

###Documentary
The night did not prove easy for this band of adventurers. While they recouped their losses and healed wounds, they faced and even greater adversary than those they encountered within the cave—a foe they could not slay with their swords.

Dysentery.

> What a lot of people don’t realize is that dysentery claims more lives on the battlefield than any other hazard. Most armies will just assume they’ll lose a certain percentage of their troops to it. If you have so many people living in harsh wartime conditions, it becomes inevitable. It’s a fact of life.
>
>> -Kilton Strongwind

Several of the members became afflicted overnight. Come morning, they were unable to even leave their tents. Only three of the adventurers returned to the cave.

This day was better recorded in the annals of history. They indicate that this party of three consisted of a dwarven cleric and an elven alchemist, both well-aged and at the time considered themselves at the end of their career. We believe this was considerably closer to the truth than a drow and a half-elf wizard. We know that the barbarian known as Jik Chelos, although little was known about his past at this point.

Inside the abandoned fort, the group made straight away for the very tunnel where they had encountered the centipedes and proceeded onward. They found themselves emerging into the main alter of the fort, where the soldiers had once prayed to their God of travel and wilderness. The chamber had suffered over centuries of unexplained tectonic activity. Most of the ceiling had crumbled, exposing dense clusters of stalagmites. But the most amazing sight was in the center of the chamber, where the alter had once been.

A sphere of translucent energy. Inside was a small pocket from another plane of existence.

> Imagine, if you will, if you took a chunk of one world, a world completely alien and bizarre to us, and dropped it into our world. A perfect, spherical chunk. As though a supreme being had used some kind of astral cookie cutter.
>
>> -Prof. Markheim Zilwager

Inside that pocket was a throne made of a marble blacker than any kind nature could produce, and draped over that throne was dead body, clutching in one hand a giant bag of gold; in the other, a scepter—made of the same black marble as the throne, and a spattering of precious metals. At its end was glowing sphere, held ever so delicately between three angular talons.

> The was the first time the member laid eyes on that device. At the time, they had no idea it would become as quintessential as it did. All they knew was this: it was obviously the object they’d come here for, the object causing all the death in the surrounding lands; and it was valuable. They looked at that and the bag of gold, and thought: I want that. That is our reward. Who could blame them?
>
>> -Prof. Markheim Zilwager

The only thing that stood between them and what they desired was that shimmering, translucent energy. They tested it by reaching things through. Rocks and pebbles had no effect. Wood and rope were not so unaffected. Before their eyes, it would warp and writhe even after the item was removed. But the true nature of the energy didn’t reveal itself until they put the hand of a dead kobold through.

> They watched as the kobold’s hand took on a life of its own. At first it only twitched, but soon it began groping for freedom like a leashed dog. The sphere was made of energies no one had ever named before.
>
>> -Prof. Markheim Zilwager

The group discussed how they might reach the item. However, before any plan could hatch, the ceiling of the chamber revealed a sinister surprise.

Within a single moment, they found themselves engaged in a fight with a pair of swift and agile foes—genuine masters of disguise. The Darkmantle.

> When the darkmantle is motionless. It’s almost impossible to distinguish from other stalactites. They often make a nasty surprise for spelunkers, or even just travelers seeking shelter in a cave. They tear with the hooked tendrils, or use their bodies to constrict the life out of their victims. I’ve seen enough eviscerated travelers to know they are no laughing matter.
>
>> -Andaeriel Mistymoon
>> Aventis Reservation Animal doctor/Field ranger

Fortunately for this group, they kept their wits about themselves and fended off the darkmantles with ease. However, by happenstance, one such darkmantle fell into the sphere and jarred the dead body.

It turned out not to be so dead after all. It stirred, coughed clouds of dust, and rose to its feet. The group watched through the sphere as the corpse took stock of itself, collected the belongings, then popped the energy bubble with a simple tap of the scepter. Only once the energy was no longer obscuring the dark room did the animated body see the others.

> I wish I could have been there at that moment when the adventurers met with Methos the Liar. Neither knew who the other was; neither spoke the others’ language. Some texts say that their first interaction was simple waves from both groups. \chuckles\. Just to think. With all the cataclysm that was to come, that it all started with a simple wave hello.
>
>> -Prof. Markheim Zilwager

But this chance meeting soon turned into a standoff. Records are unclear how tensions started, we only know that a fight started, and that the adventurers struck first.

Quoben struck him with one of his concoctions. Jik ran him through with his spear, but then, Methos struck back.

> It happened in the blink of an eye. Methos fell, as though succumbing to the pain, but was a foul trick, the first of many. Before he struck the ground, he spun, drew his rapier, and lashed out like a viper. Just like that, Jik Chelos was laying on the ground, his life bleeding from his arteries. In that second, Methos proved to be far more formidable that he first appeared.
>
>> -Kilton Strongwind

Although as swift as he may have been, the adventurers proved to much for him.

He escaped.

While the party was preoccupied with the remaining darkmantel, reanimated by the energies of the sphere, Methos set up a distraction. The moment the party started looking for him, they hear a resounding crash from the other room. When they investigated, all they found were a few broken urns, and thread leading down the hall. Methos was gone.

The group headed out, but on the way, they chanced upon the very bag Methos had been carrying with him. The gold was there, but nothing else. He had left it behind.

> It’s a common strategy, really. If you’re carrying too much, you gotta put something down. Logic. What you want to do is put down the stuff that is least valuable for its weight. You wouldn’t think to leave gold behind, but professionals know better. A gold coin is worth just that, a gold coin. That weight adds up. A good art piece or a magic artifact will be worth much more for its weight.
>
>> -Pimlam Nimblefingers (HM Royal Agent & Field Investigator, Ret.)

The adventurers return to find their camp ransacked. Those who had remained behind had been too sick to notice who had done it, but given their newfound wealth (4500gp), they were not concerned.

The time had nearly come for the party to leave, but their was one last thing for them to do. Using potions of reduce person they have procured, the party returned to the narrow tunnels the kobolds had disappeared down. We have no records of what happened down there, only accounts of the sounds: clashing metal, explosions, reptile screams. When they returned, Quoben carried with him the kobold chief’s prized wand of wind, and single kobold egg.

Their time at the fort came to a close. After two nights of recuperating and considering their options, they set out north for the Golden City, a place where they could spend their new-found wealth.

But their journey was not uneventful. After three days of travel, they stumbled upon a group of mercenaries transporting prisoners to the Baron Romero Cortez. The prisoners were Natalie Wutherford, the daughter of Lord Gilgamesh Wutherford, and a kindly old man by the name of Yohan Zilwagar.

The party spoke briefly with the merceneries, but then quite suddenly, the party attack.

> That was how they rolled, you know? Whether you think they were heroes or villians, these adventurers were men of action. If you ever met them, they would change your life, whether they killed you, or hired you, or saved you. Your fate would forever be changed.
>
>> -Kilton Strongwind

They made short work of the mercenaries, and while a few escaped, the group did take their captain hostage. The prisoners they freed, and at the request of Yohan, they swore return young Lady Natalie to her home.

> I think this is a prime example of how these men have touched everyone’s lives. With that chance encounter, they may have turned the tides of the Cortez/Wutherford conflict. They made both friends and enemies. My own ancestor, Yohan, lived on because of their whim.
>
>> -Prof. Markheim Zilwager

The ball is rolling. Events which will shape mankind are on the horizon. Already, they’ve seen more excitement then they ever have before, but their journeys have just begun.

View
Five adventurers walk into a dungeon

Attendees

  • AJ (Dauthi – drow cleric)
  • Nick C (Quoben Darktracker – half-elf wizard)
  • Nick M (Weymar – human fighter)
  • Brian (Jik Chelos – human barbarian)
  • Aidan (unnamed – half-elf ranger)

Documentary

Over two hundred years ago, historians point to this day as the day it all began. Five explorers burst in the door of a seemingly abandoned military outpost carved into a hill. To this day, we’re not sure who was in that original party, but early records suggest it was a Dark Elf outcast and his mercenary, a spear-wielding barbarian, a half-elf wizard, and a ranger. We know now that this is utterly false.

Archeological findings tell a different tale. Whoever these men were, they were in for a surprise the moment they walked in the door…

These men had no idea what they were getting into. Half of them expected this to be their final ‘hurrah!’. They had no idea they would be the spark that would jump start the entire ordeal that reached to every end of the planet. I think it’s safe to say literally everyone was affected by what happened in that cave.

-Prof. Markheim Zilwager (Historian/Sahri Royal Academy)

They experience trouble right from the get-go. In the centuries since it’s abandonment, a tribe of kobolds had taken up residence. Almost immediately, a fight broke out.

It was a slaughter. These men weren’t expecting the fight, but kobolds are scavengers. They don’t fight. They run.

-Kilton Strongwind (Combat specialist/Royal tactical research)

The group killed the kobolds by the score (11). But the creatures were not entirely defenseless. Their feather-donning leader had a stolen arcanic wand which launched forth powerful gusts of winds. It gave the kobolds times to escape into the darker, more organic parts of the outpost.

Further in they encountered their first real threat. Centipedes. This was a fight they were entirely unprepared for.

…they’d swing their swords. The swarm would split. They’d throw things. The centipedes would just get out of the way. All the while, the centipedes were biting, crawling, eating. The group had no idea what to do.

-Kilton Strongwind

Ultimately, the group resorted to fire. They threw oil lanterns from the walls. They lit furniture on fire to smother and block the centipedes. They drove the centipedes off, but not without cost.

It was at this point the group doubled back to the crypt. That was where the group came face to face with a terrible sight. Undead. The risen bodies of the soldiers who’d lived and died there so long ago. They were out of their crypts, but they were standing completely motionless. Until the bodies were disturbed.

They’d never encountered anything like this before. No one had. It was terrifying. You have to realize these people had never heard rumors about them. They didn’t know what brought them back to life, or why they screamed. This was the first time anyone had ever encountered The Tormented before now. They didn’t expect to be swarmed the way they were. It nearly cost them their lives.

-Prof. Markheim Zilwager

The party quickly found themselves surrounded, fighting for their lives. The screams were deafening. The corpses clawed for them like beggars on the street. Only through sheer luck and perseverance did the party manage to escape and lock the undead inside.

At this point, the party was so grievously injured that they had to call a retreat, with the intent to return the next day.

…what was supposed to be simple search and recovery mission ended up being more than they could handle. They had to run back to their camp with their tails between their legs. I sometimes wonder how the world would have gone if they’d decided to never come back…

-Prof. Markheim Zilwager

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