Fury of the Immortals

Out of the Frying Pan
Fury of the Immortals

Campaign Journal – Spring, 11th year of the reign of Uther Andahar

Tensions were clearly running high as the Raven’s Companions spent ten days on the Gretchin’ in the barge’s cramped, cloying hold.  The lingering smell of sickness below decks did little to help. The fifteen minutes breaks spent above deck in the gloomy light and chill Spring air only served to highlight to each traveler the danger of The Great Dismal Swamp.

Amongst those dangers were foot long leeches that drained a hapless deckhand of his lifeblood and schools of vicious fish that stripped the flesh from a hapless sailor who fell into the water when the Gretchin’ ran aground.  Eaeros selflessly dove into the frigid, sulfurous swamp water to rescue the dying man suffering dozens of tiny wounds.

Such incidents did little to put the party at ease.  Adding to the dangers without, within the hold Veslo Meridan found occasion to pointedly sharpen her sword while re-telling the tale of how her friend Alwyn Morland was lost – after Alwyn insisted on exploring the dead wizard’s tower to help “that charming Eaeros out.”

This simmering powder keg exploded on a small island in the swamp not far from the Temple of the Frog when the Gretchin’ happened upon a group of monks pulling a small rowing boat ashore.  Arwan insisted Captain Tehn order the barge ashore to see if the party could be of any “assistance” when he overheard the monks’ white-robed leader implore the others to pursue some escaped slaves.

Arwan and Niko readily volunteered to track down the terrified family hiding in a grove of swamp trees.  When the white-robed monk moved to lead them back to his boat, the man in the group slashed at him with a rusty knife.  Arwan promptly knocked the man unconscious and dragged him back to the waiting monks.  All the while, his wife and young daughter crying and begging for mercy.

This turned out to be too much for Eaeros to bear.   He was not content to allow the slaves to be returned to their captive condition at the Temple.  He refused an order to load the woman and child into the monks’ small boat putting the party’s clandestine mission in jeopardy.  When the white-robed monk gave the order for his four subordinates to kill Eaeros, a fight ensued. 

All five monks were felled and Eaeros and Niko displayed newfound and gruesome powers.  Not all the monks were lucky enough to experience the relative ease of dying upon Arwan’s razor-sharp blade.  The monks white-robed leader wept blood from his eyes, infected with foul contagion by Niko, as he was interrogated kneeling in the stinking mud.  After telling all he would, he was granted the release of death.

After witnessing such horrors, only a large amount of gold and a healthy fear of Arwan will likely ensure the silence of Captain Tehn and his crew.  

All Miklos, Ruda and Veslo could do was shake their heads and wonder whether the party was cut out for a mission requiring a certain amount of discretion.

Everyone earns an Inspiration.

24th and 25th session –1950 XP (total all sessions: 34, 605)

 

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Total Chaos
Fury of the Immortals

Campaign Journal – Fall, 10th year of the reign of Uther Andahar

The Chaos Blade lies on the floor next to the face-down form of Arwan, its hilt bathing the gore-splattered temple to Abholos the Infinite Blight in a dull red glow.  The red light makes the blood pooling on the floor look almost black and the crushed chitinous form of the lobster-like creature seem even more otherworldly.  The stench of burned meat wafting from the charred body of the corrupted Ogre chief fills the temple with smoky dense air that almost burns one’s throat. 

The only sounds presently heard in the temple are the coughing of Lwin, likely caused by whatever noxious fumes he inhaled from the Plague Doctor’s censor rather than the Ogre chief’s corpse, the quiet mutterings of Niko over Arwan’s body, and the soft weeping coming from the late Baron’s wife.  No noise can be heard from without to indicate whether the war galleys’ war parties of Gnolls and Lizardmen have regained any semblance of control or forayed into the cave, but the temple lies too deep within the caverns to permit sound.

As such, exiting the temple may be as risky as entering – particularly since, to the surprise of all, the Baroness Glendower appears to be very pregnant. She is also distraught and nearly catatonic after her long tenure of suffering at the hands of the Egg’s cultists.

There are also the matters of the Chaos Blade and Scroll of Final Words, two-thirds of the objects required to complete the ritual to free Abholos, and the Chaos Mote, the enormous, cracked silver orb that is a gate to the malevolent entity’s extraplanar prison.

It appeared from the Plague Doctor’s soliloquy that gathering all three of the evil artifacts might not have been enough to free the plague cultists' dread lord.  He seemed to say that even more power would be needed than could be provided by the artifacts.  He believed that the City of the Gods was the source of the Wyrd and the cultists might be able to harness the Wyrd to their ends if they could only gain access to the City – access that might be had through the magic of the Vault of Song.

What the party will do with the objects and such information will only matter if they can escape the Egg’s domain with their lives.

23rd session –4000 XP (total all sessions: 32,655)

 

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Fortune Favored the Bold
Fury of the Immortals

Campaign Journal – Fall, 10th year of the reign of Uther Andahar

As the cool, crisp air of autumn caught up and overtook the warm breezes of summer in Three Crowns, so too did the Raven’s Companions past visit upon them.  It appeared in the guise of hunched, cloaked figure in a beaked mask with glassy eyes born aloft in a thorny palanquin.  It brought tidings as noxious as the fumes emitted from the censor atop its staff.  The creature arrived to the shores of Three Crowns aboard a “plague ship” … a galley flying a black sail, fitted for battle and transporting a war party of hungry looking Gnolls.

Three bells rang for the militia to muster and Arwan strode forth to bravely parlay with the Egg’s ambassador. In a muted, tinny voice, it demanded the Key to the Vault of Song – the Diamond Staff.  Arwan agreed to trade the Staff for the Baron of Glendower and his bride.  The ambassador gave Three Crowns 30 days before he returned in force to collect the Staff or destroy the village.

The party flew into action – Eaeros preparing the villagers for a long march to safety in Blackmoor Town, Niko sending riders to allies in Maus and the Elf Wood and Arwan organizing the village’s military defense and developing a bold plan to rescue the Baron, destroy the Egg’s forces and end the threat to Three Crowns.

When Ondres failed to return with information on the plague ship’s direction (after quickly turning into a shark to pursue it) the party set out in their new sailing boat to catch up with Eaeros in Blackmoor Town. 

Eaeros provided the key information with launched the rest of the Companions against the keep of Coot’s Watch.  Infiltrating the Baron’s former, crumbling fortress, they eagerly led the King’s soldiers against the mangy Gnolls inside capturing their bandit leader.  Thinking the battle won, they then learned that the keep held a deeper, darker secret below.

An unknown entity living beyond the Prime Material Plane saw fit to reveal to Niko the magical password that would permit the party to enter the cultists’ hideout underneath the stairs. They descended into the gloom with a peculiarly single-minded companion newly unshackled from the galley’s rowing benches.  Below the keep they defeated the ironically named Lareth the Beautiful- who was little more than a collection of fungal spores – and his thugs.

Niko then lost himself in the darkness of the Scroll of Final Words, learning that the cultists aim was to use three evil artifacts, of which the Scroll was one, to free Abholos the Infinite Blight from his prison.  A map and some notes in the room suggested this event would take place in a temple to Chaos situated amongst a swamp and some caves on the Egg’s island. 

The party soon set sail in their new galley in hopes of thwarting this threat, rescuing the Baron and dashing any planned invasion of Three Crowns.

22nd session –3000 XP (total all sessions: 28,655)

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The Gods Must Be Crazy
Fury of the Immortals

Campaign Journal – Summer, 10th year of the reign of Uther Andahar

High atop the sun god’s cathedral in Maushold, Niko, Fil, Baik and their new companion Ondres caught a purported glimpse of the City of Gods … that same city that is professed to lie south of Blackmoor in the Valley of the Ancients.  That hint of the rumored City was caught through a portal opened by Karis, a wild mage with the ability to manipulate the Wyrd, and husband to Den-el Svarga – the “Tormentor.”  That brief view of its spires suggests the City does indeed exist.

The portal was part of Svarga’s plan to transport Karis to the City of the Gods in hopes that they could end her catatonic state.  She had been convalescing as a “guest” in Maushold ever since she was struck down by Robert the Bald during the Vestfold wizards’ rebellion.  In the intervening years, the priests of the sanitarium made little progress in relieving her condition.  The storm of wild magic brewing around Maus was a sign to Svarga of some small return to consciousness by Karis, though not enough for her to apply her powers and control it.

Prevented from blackmailing Lady Nidris into giving him ships by kidnapping her son, Svarga hoped his powers of mental manipulation might allow him to direct whatever existed of Karis’ mind to transport them more directly to the City via the storm.  Apparently, his alliance with the Egg’s fire cultists was one of convenience – muscle he could use to his ends.  

It was not learned why he thought the gods could help Karis or where he obtained the steel “lightning staff,” but it is clear he believed in their power.   With the death of the two Cabal wizards, the storm cleared and some normalcy returned to Maus, though the “Night of Madness” will be spoken of across the Northland’s for many years to come.

Before journeying back to Three Crowns, Filandriel made the most of the wine dens of Maus while Nikolaj spent time studying with Jal – who was most pleased to learn of the demise of the two rebellious wizards and the recovery of an artifact of the Gods.  Jal also disclosed that during the Night of Madness the son of the Baron of Maus apparently murdered his father the Baron and then fled into the fens.  Last, but not least, Niko, Fil, Baik, Ondres and Noctis were rewarded 2000GP each as a reward from the Mayor of Maus.  

Life at Three Crowns continues much as before Niko and Fil left for Maus and its people are eagerly awaiting the first harvests.  Arwan and Earos have been dutifully studying oration and healing.  Though there are the matters of the disappearance of the Baron of Glendower, the murder of the Baron of Maus, the ongoing tragedy at Bloodstone, and the City of the Gods, it appears the Companions have settled nicely into a domesticated routine.  Only time will tell if such bliss will be interrupted.

21st session –5875XP (total all sessions: 25,655)

"When it's sunny in Niflheim." (Northern proverb, meaning that it will never happen.)

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A Lyin' in the Sand
Fury of the Immortals

Campaign Journal – Summer, 10th year of the reign of Uther Andahar

The party’s experience in the city of Maus has been certainly more eventful than the trip through the swamp to reach it.  It is difficult to say what has been more alarming – the sacking of their mark Lady Sala Nidris’ home, the kidnapping of her son Zan, the fierce battle on the beach that nearly cost two of the party their lives, the transformation of the Raven’s Companions from a figurative to a literal moniker, the disappearing man in the devil mask, or the storm that is eerily like the tempest that swallowed the Calypso in The Broken Lands.

These trials leave Niko with much to ponder as Lady Nidris’ armored coach rattles over Maus’ cobblestone streets on the way back to her house.  Her young son Zan babbles on about “the Tormenter” and stares blankly at the roof.  Clearly, the devil-masked man had been working some kind of mind magic on Zan when the party interrupted him.  His mother pets his hair and stares out at the rain. 

Arriving, it appears the Lady’s servants have begun to clean up the broken glass and furniture in her house.  The Lady also sends Tulzu to call upon on a priestess of Freya known to her.  The priestess tends to the most badly wounded members of the party.  She is able to rouse Ondres and Noctis.

“The ‘Tormenter’ is still out there…a danger.  He hurt my son and I expect he’ll hurt others,” says the Lady quietly.  “If there are fire cultists here in Maus, then they must be stopped at all costs.  If you head back down to the docks maybe a shop owner or a patron of the Beached Leviathan saw something that could help you track him down.  He couldn’t have gotten far.  I’ll see to it that the Mayor offers a reward.”

Tulzu warns that you will need oilskins if you head back out into the rain.  He also warns to be on the lookout for people acting strange.  On his travel back from the priestess’ he saw a man crawling along the street stones on all fours barking at passersby like a hound.  “He tried to bite the priestess on the ankle before I gave him a swat.”  He swears he also saw two men trying to carry away a goat to the head of which they had affixed a great, pink bonnet.  “The King’s soldiers busy indeed…”

At that moment, you hear what sounds like the mewing of a cat and a scuffle out in the street …

20th session –1680XP (total all sessions: 19,780)

"Down the mushroom road." (Dwarven, refers to delirium tremens from mushroom moonshine)

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On the Road Again
Fury of the Immortals

Campaign Journal – Summer, 10th year of the reign of Uther Andahar

In truth, the road to Maus is little more than a wet, spongy track twisting through endless fens.  The cloying mud creeping up the bank of the Raider’s “Road” pulls at the legs of horses and heavily spatters travelers’ cloaks.  The dense canopy of birch and white oak trees allows in little of the warm summer sun to dry your clothes.

The four and a half days of rough, damp travel does not seem to perturb monkish Jallapiere.  He seems content to sit on a wet stump or log each twilight next to a fire of rank, smoldering grass and talk while you attempt to knock weevils out of your moist hard tack.   

Jal seems disturbed that the destruction of Blackmoor appears to have come to pass – given the nature of The Broken Lands in your own time. He wonders aloud whether the Halfing’s misgivings about the University have any merit?  He says “surely the Hin will point to the destruction of Uvaeren by an apparent act of the gods as a warning to those who seek to learn the secrets of the Spheres of Power.  They certainly are sticklers for tradition.”  Still, he has a hard time imagining how working to bring the races together and improve their lot through advancing the University (“even the Orcs!”) could be anything but the gods’ plan for mortals. 

He also entrusts to you that he believes that the star that destroyed Uvaeren might have something to do with the Wyrd.  He believes it is not a coincidence that the areas where the star crashed have concentrations of the smooth, starry black stones that appear to influence wild magic.  Odd too that the Wyrd still seems to affect magic in your time based on your tales of spells going awry, strange magical storms, extraplanar monsters and portals and objects that seem to bend time, space and magic.  “Perhaps its source has outlived Blackmoor!”

He also posits that it cannot be a good sign that creatures in your time bearing the mark of the Egg were sniffing around the Mirror Shield and Fire Opal Eye.  He frowns, “They can mean no good if they seek a portal to your time and world.  Perhaps you should heed the doomsayer’s from your own time.”

He remarks again that the Raven’s Companions did a great deed by keeping the Cabal of Wizards out of Uvaeren.  “The Cabal’s obsession with the purity of magic and taming the Wyrd has driven them mad.  They say the University’s science will destroy magic, but if they can ever bend the Wyrd to their ends that will surely unbalance the Spheres and bring catastrophe – it is too much power.”

He says once you arrive in Maus, you should seek out a merchant – a Lady Nidris Sala – Skandaharian in origin – who owns several ships and is suspected of being engaged in the elicit flesh trade.  She can often be found at day’s end in the Moonstone Mask.  Jal says he will be making use of his divining tools to see if he can learn any information while you investigate.

He hopes that the dark clouds that appear to be gathering on the outskirts of Maus as you approach do not interfere with your investigation.

He also appears to avoid the topic of his dual prophecy out of politeness…

19th session –2500XP (total all sessions: 18,100)

“Blue ones are at it again.” (Ylari/Sindian; lighting is associated with blue dragons mating or battling)

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Land of the Lost
Fury of the Immortals

Campaign Journal – Winter, 10th year of the reign of Uther Andahar

Few legends or stories are known about the lost civilization of Uvaeren. Those that are told tend to focus on a central theme – the irony that the elves who were so enamored of all things astronomical were destroyed by a celestial body that plummeted from the sky.  As recounted to the party by the sad vision of Chomylla, a silvery "star" burned Uvaeranni forests and destroyed their cities before carving out the Valley of the Ancients, wherein lies the fabled City of the Gods.

It is sung that the Uvaeranni strove too far in their knowledge of the heavens and air magics – that they nearly rivaled the gods themselves.  The gods, being jealous, especially the sun, smote them down for their impertinence and to restore balance to the Spheres of Power.

The accurate star map ceilings, astrological puzzles, moon arches and glowing sun motifs deep within the Uvaeranni ruins ably demonstrated to the party the elves’ deep knowledge of the firmament.  Such artistry might be expected from that vanished civilization.

What the Companions likely did not expect to find under the forest floor were Guard Drakes magically hidden within stone columns – their surprise attack nearly rent Arwan limb from limb. They also may not have expected that the Death's Head mercenaries also secreted within that room would prove deadly accurate with their crossbows.  And, of course no one expected when retreating to the chamber of the astrological elven maids that they were being tracked by some sort of "clockwork hunstman" in the employ of the Egg and his deformed cultists. 

Only the timely reunion of Earos with the Companions likely saved them all.  As they rest with the exploded shell of their mechanical pursuer, the Companions must know that they will need to re-enter the dim, starlit chamber of the Drakes and once again play cat and mouse with the Death’s Head mercenaries.

If they do find their object – the Vault of Song -, it is not yet certain whether the Companions will seek to understand the lost sciences of the Uvaeranni and tempt the wrath of the gods or the corruption that can come with knowing too much.

Earos earned an Inspiration for shaming Constable Gherrin of Peldan’s Helm.

18th session –1300XP (total all sessions: 15,600)

“Two things are infinite: the universe and the arrogance of mortals.” (Maco Bolgee; Halfing Philosopher)

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The Double Double Cross
Fury of the Immortals

Campaign Journal – Winter, 10th year of the reign of Uther Andahar

When Niko called on Arwan to “put down” the Egg’s scaly-faced lieutenant Marquiless, the party added another double cross to a string of subterfuges that stretched from Sizen’s original lie in Three Crowns, to the ambush in Hap, to Phoedele’s betrayal of Barcero, to the party’s present circumstances.  Clearly, a deeper mystery hangs about these events like the webs that drape the elven ruins of Uvaeren where the party hopes to uncover the Vault of Song.

Likely, Uvaeren will reveal more mysteries before the Companions track down Phoedele or find their doom within.  Already, Niko, Arwan and Filandriel found themselves in mortal danger when spindly, spider-like humanoids wielding as many fast blades as their four arms dropped upon them from the dark, upper reaches of a collapsed, ruined hall.  Were it not for the Egg’s glow-eyed, mutated minions taking the brunt of the assault, the Companions might have ended up as cocoons suspended from the wall like one of Phoedele’s unlucky mercenaries.

As such, Niko’s earlier decision to infiltrate the Egg’s minions, rather than confront them at the cabin in the woods, may have saved his and his friends’ lives.  It remains to be seen whether the search for the Vault will require further life and death decisions.

Earos found he had to make a life and death decision while travelling apart from the rest of the party.  Reaching the western turn of the Champion River he fell from his horse mid-crossing.  It is difficult to say whether the icy water or the carnage on the south side of the river caused the chill that gripped his core.

Leaving the scene of torn men and women and pushing westward, Earos discovered a group of whole men, women and children – though hungry, tired, exhausted and nearing the end of a long journey from Bloodstone.  Some were nearer their journey’s end than others…

Their tale of woe and strange murders in Bloodstone was pierced by a bloodcurdling howl which forced Earos to decide whether he would rush to save the mass of refugees or a woman and children.  Ultimately, it was no decision and Earos fought two, massive, white-furred wolves to a standstill barely surviving.  The few refugees that survived the lupine attack will eventually carry on to join the community of Three Crowns.

Mayhap only Ixion’s light is powerful enough to illuminate the dark corners of these enigmas born in the 10th winter of Uther Andahar’s reign.

17th session –1400XP (total all sessions: 14,300)

It's like trading with Minrothaddans." (Common: Fighting an uphill battle.)

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The Diamond Stiff
Fury of the Immortals

Campaign Journal – Winter, 10th year of the reign of Uther Andahar

The party rode forth from Sildonis’ tower in Hap with an eye to preventing the meeting between the mercenary Phoedele and her employer “Barcero” – a Thonian necromancer in league with the Wizard’s Cabal.  Their horseback journey to the “Ghost Hold” of Sandersal Manor was cold, snowy and uneventful, but their evening there was anything but.

Sandersal must have once been an elegant three-story, fortified retreat for a Thonian grandee, but had fallen on hard times since its abandonment to Skandaharian raiders and transient beasts.  Stealthily creeping through the burned timbers of the collapsed manor, the party found little remaining intact apart from a small coffer containing gems in the ruined watchtower.

With little to hold their interest, Arwan led the Companions to the rear walled courtyard of the house.   He found it occupied by a man wearing exotic, velvet, black embroidered robes guarded by three bald, pale, gray-skinned creatures bearing sharp, elongated teeth and claws and smelling of the grave and two muscular, tattooed and pierced guards bearing blunt weapons. 

The man paced about the small room incessantly and occasionally poked his head out of its doors to look about the courtyard.  After watching this for a while Arwan concluded the man must be Barcero and concocted a plan to sneak in through the stable’s broken window and surprise the corrupt gathering before Phoedele arrived.

As Arwan dragged himself quietly and slowly through the empty window frame, holding his breath, every muscle tense and ready for the coming violent confrontation, the room suddenly exploded with a thunderous roar.  A shockwave sent Arwan flying back into the courtyard nearly knocking him insensate.

Earos had opted for a different plan in which he turned himself into an invisible, arcane bomb.  Naturally, a chaotic melee ensued between Barcero, his guardians and the Companions.  By its conclusion, Barcero had fled through a summoned portal and the party managed to capture one of his tattooed thugs. 

Under interrogation he revealed that Phoedele did not show as intended, presumably double-crossing Barcero and making for Peldan’s Helm to seek out the Vault of Song’s secrets for herself.  As the party planned to set out for Peldan’s Helm in the morning to catch her, Earos rode off into the night with the captive towards Jackport.  Separating himself from the party at great risk to himself, Earos made clear bringing the Thonian agent to justice was his highest priority.

16th session –950XP (total all sessions: 12900)

"Just wait until the 29th." (X will never happen – Mystaran months only have 28 days)

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Hap Happening
Fury of the Immortals

Campaign Journal – Winter, 10th year of the reign of Uther Andahar

The Raven’s Companions pointedly downed their ale before dashing out of the Millery Inn door to face an orcish attack in the dimming evening light.  Between Arwan’s twin rapiers, Filandriel’s deft arrows, Earos’ endless thunder magic and Niko, the party ended the threat to Hap in short order.  Though not before Niko turned into a plant – an example of the wild magic, or “Wyrd,” that permeates parts of the Northlands.

While Earos remained in the village to help battle a burgeoning blaze, the rest of the Companions trudged off through the mud and snow towards the shouts and sounds of battle coming from Sildonis’ tower at the base of nearby Haptooth Hill.

Arriving, they found a raging battle underway between several orcs and a beserk guardian, Sildonis unconscious and gravely wounded, and the apprentice Drindol locked in the cottage at the rear of the tower. 

The party managed to defeat the orcs as Niko stabilized Sildonis.  Earos arrived just in time to heal and rouse the Wizard of the Wood, so he could keep his rampaging Flesh Golem from crushing the life out of Arwan.   With the immediate danger over Sildonis and Drindol pieced together how several orcs had stolen an elvish artifact – the Diamond Staff of Chomylla – and fled before the Golem could stop them.

Filandriel tracked the orcish raiders to a cave just a quarter mile north of Haptooth Hill.  Discovering horses inside the cave entrance (which the party thought odd for orcs), Earos noisily tramped inside bringing on an attack from the rest of the inhabitants – more orcs and a few human warriors and mage.  The humans’ clothing bore a symbol of a lightning bolt and skull and the orcs appeared to have sharp, animal teeth embedded in their hide gauntlets.

After a battle with more Wyrd – this time Earos glowing brightly and blinding friend and foe alike – the party discovered a letter on the dead mage.  It suggested that a Captain Phoedele had fled the cave with the Diamond Staff to meet one Barcero at a “ghost manor” on the coast near Archlis.  It appears the party will need to interrupt this rendezvous to recover the Diamond Staff and the key to lost, elven knowledge.

XP is awarded as follows:

15th session –1420XP (total all sessions: 11950)

The Immortals bless the sage who leaves before the storm.  (Ylari common saying)

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