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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Misty Mountain Wars

Mingled in the regional histories of many of the more extant eastern countries are references to the Misty Mountain Wars.  This 42-year stretch of history is not only a bloody one for the Misty Isles but also a spur of change for the entire central coastal region of Khaora.  It directly spawned one other country and was indirectly responsible for several more.  It gave the impetus to the formation of the stone-toothed quays found in the cities and ruins of Aldoré; magikal forces released near the end of that struggle inadvertently formed the Uquiliu Venting and the a poor, foolish and misguided Amazon Priestess of Hekate let loose an evil in the world whose appetite is unquenched still.  The wars were indeed a tumultuous time for the region and they ended only through the death of Duchess (and Amazon General) Quotara-la in the sacrificial trees high on Mist Finger Mountain (thus ending her claims to the Mist Wind Throne) and the fleeing of General Avelda (who founded a country of the same name) from the Misty Isles.  With these two claimants slain or departed from the scene, soon-to-be Queen Lysippl consolidated the rest of the isles under her iron fist and ended the wars.

Thus, you can see this was a powerful event in Misty Isles history.  While it would grow to large proportions and change the course of nation, those who started it had no idea this would occur.  Like many other great events this war began as something trivial—so much so it might have swept into the ocean of the past without changing anything if it were not for the critical (though likely accidental) intervention of a few.  An unlikely grouping: a Phraint, two Dwarves, an Elf, and a (very slim) Hobbitt saved a smuggler from stoning in Brēll.  Their motives were not altruistic by any means, as the fool owed them money (and no small amount either).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Price of Safety

In think a little background on this session is required.  The characters were all hobbitts or hobbitt breeds (yes, Arduin people spell it with two tt’s not one).  One of the players (Jake) had bought rice wine from a village we had walked through and almost everyone half sloshed by the time we started.  If you’ve never had the stuff, it’s a demon.  Their naming stunk as badly as their breath and Jake, Cal, and Tim thought it was funny to name themselves after weapons.  They also dared everyone to play hobbitts.  For whatever reason, they thought it funny to do so and cajoled the other two into playing them as well.

Anyway, the run lasted a couple of hours and was recorded by me.  The players were set in Arduin but in the nation of Malgoreem.  I’d ruled they had past history and had run together during the excursion of the Mok from the Blood Dawn nexus two years ago.  They had all survived that bloody day when the Mok overran a chunk of southern Malgoreem before they were banished back to whatever hell spawned them.
Moarx – Hobbitt Warrior
Koch – Half Hobbitt/Human Mercenary
Wesson – Hobbitt Priest of Saren
Kimbir – Half Hobbitt/Human Warrior
Glock – Hobbitt Mage

The five had been away for a time, each traveling their own path in the world before they returned home.  They had agreed, on the stark and windy day that they had left, to return in two years time.  They met up on the road and camped, swamping stories of their exploits before taking up the road again the next morning to go into the town of their birth.  They had few ambitions:  to see old haunts, maybe an old girlfriend or two and to visit Wesson’s sister Tessa and Moarx’s sister Erin.

Breezing into town, everyone greeted them friendly especially when they realized who they were.  Once or two people looked at them nervously but the five wrote it off to fears of old quarrels.  Moarx sister offered to take two of them into her home while Wesson’s agreed to have the other three.   
The five, the two sisters and few old cronies from the old days met up at the only establishment that went for a place to eat and be merry, Crangstons.  It was much improved since the old days, with new beams along the ceiling and better ale.  The night went fast, as did the next day.  Partying tended to do that.  A few more people began to look at them nervously and it made them curious.  Everyone denied it but the town magistrate, Accias, did stop by with an inquiry on when they planned to leave.  Wesson, just to pull his toe hair, mentioned potentially staying.  Accias just harrumphed like he always did.  He frowned and said Wesson would have to ask the town for permission.  Regardless, he wanted the lot of us troublemakers out by tomorrow.
Of course, that did nothing but pique their interest.  They laid heavily into the two sisters who pale but determined, refused to say anything.  Angry, they went out and roamed around the town.  It was sad but they had to hear the truth of it from the town drunk,  March.  He told them that a few months after the five had left, kobolds had raided the town from the Lead Ridge hills.  It seemed endless and they were carting off everything.  It stopped as abruptly as it started and a Manticore had landed outside of town the next day.  It had two farmers, and sent one in to tell the town that it had slew many kobolds and would keep the town safe as long as they paid it tribute.  It would hold the other farmer until it had its tribute.  It demanded meats, freshly slain and a live victim once every couple of months.  The town, unwilling to submit, sent out a team of militia, hardened veterans of the Mok invasion and the recent Kobold attacks.  They found the Manticore in its lair in the nearby Silver Crown woods.  The manticore slew them all and devoured them in the air over the town, raining pieces of the men everywhere and fouling the Saren’s Fountain in the town circle.
Powerless, Accias had given in.  The Manticore demanded its tribute though it accepted a wagon of skins, furs and carpets in place of a victim; it had already eaten well.  
Unhinged by this news, they demanded how the people were picked.  The drunk only knew there was a lottery.  Everyone who lived here participated in it.  No one was exempt.  Outraged they return to the houses but the sisters locked them out.  They spend a cold night in the streets.
The next day, more braced and hardened they attend the town meeting about the lottery.   The meeting was in shambles from the beginning as they yell and curse the townspeople.  Who roar back and warn them against acting.  They had tried, they pleaded, not once but three times to kill the beast.  Once when it showed, again three months afterward with a near dozen men hired from High Wall.  They were strong, sturdy men who died like flies when it rained death down on them and gouged their hearts out.  The Manticore demanded more tribute after that and the town paid with a living sacrifice per month.  It lasted three months before, Prandial, the priest of Saren returned from his pilgrimage to the Sun Scorch Mountains.  Hearing of the tale of horror, he marshaled his faith and confronted the beast.  He never returned.
Finally, the town watch get the players to shut up.  The lottery is done and Wesson’s sister is chosen.  The five go completely bat shit and argue vehemently about the justice and right of the shrine.  Eventually they have to be throw out.  Wesson goes to the fountain, now clean and sparkling with the sun, and calls on Saren but gets no answer even though he asks so desperately (GM Note:  He blew the roll with a fumble).
Out in the street, Glock and Koch are all for marching on the beast immediately and putting it to the sword.  They are loud about it too and chase down Wesson to say that they should kill it, whether Saren is on their side or not. It’s the right thing to do.  Numerous townspeople try to talk them out of it, including a blustering Accias.  Kimbir and Moarx finally track the other three.  They tell them to shut it, apologize to everyone and drag them away.  They meet at the sister’s house.  They are debating on what to do (she’s left and went to a friend’s house) when several members of the militia show up.  They tell them to stay in the house and to not interfere.  To make sure it happens, the guys are going to keep a watch on them.  No sneaking out the back either!
The five just look at each other and shut the door.  Later when their relief shows up, Glock puts the whole lot to sleep.  They truss them up and sneak out of town.
Tessa, Wesson’s sister, though, she finds them.  She always knows where her brother is (it was hell growing up!)  and meets them not far outside of time.  She confronts Wesson and the other four, telling them it is fate and that she doesn’t want to see him or the other die trying to kill the Manticore.  Wesson refuses to hear her out and they fight; eventually she runs away weeping.  
Disturbed but still determined, they move on.  The Silver Crown woods is alight with thin tendrils of smoke and moving lights, making the silver bark of the trees and the mantle of leaves glimmer to live up to its name.   They are not long in the wood before they run afoul a nest of Argo Caols.  Moarx had discovered them and told the rest.  His capacity to talk to and be liked by insects made it easy to see why he was an excellent scout.  He gets a picture of how the three of them are lounging in the trims (ready to drop on prey below) and the five of them attack instead.  They butcher them quickly, without much effort.  Koch took down one with his ax in a mighty blow (surprise + an awesome damage roll), Glock froze on stiff and watched it shatter when it fell, while Wesson and Kimbir sliced the third simultaneously (snake sushi).
They quickly moved away from the noise and bodies.  They thought they had gone far enough but a Sepithidan (a monkey like thing that attacks from the trees) picked up their scent and followed them, throwing rocks and pieces of tree s well as making an unholy racket.  Moarx got a lucky shot on it, pinning it to a limb and Glock got off another freezing dart that immobilized it.  It didn’t take much after that to kill it and Moarx shoved it in a hollow tree to feed the bugs.
Moarx led them farther in towards the lair, using the insects for a guide (even they knew where the big predators laired).  They almost stumbled into a spirit haunt (ghosts locked to the land) but caught their steps in time.  It took a few hours to skirt around it and while traversing a lowered, marshy part of the trees the group ran smack into a clump of screaming scarlet itchies.  They loved Moarx, who was unbothered but crawled all other the rest.  It took all their willpower to back out and retreat far enough that Moarx could get them off the rest of the group.  By that point, it was coming to morning.  Wesson prays to the morning sun (Saren) and is rebuked (second fumble of the night on this).  Chastised, he must return to the Saren’s fountain (in the town; it’s the shrine to the god locally) to be cleansed. (He won’t get mana or faith until he does; it’s part of the fumble).  Frustrated but unwilling to do it without him, they return to the town.
The townsfolk are upset with them.  The slept guards were found and this time they are totally surrounded.  The townspeople are glad to hear they did not anger the Manticore but they suspect the players will do something and cause the Manticore to kill more of them.  They demand the group leave.  The five of them confer and make a plan.  Tessa forces her way into their council and insists that if they must be mad, she will join them in their madness.  They hesitate but agree, changing the plan to incorporate her.
Wesson talks to the guards.  He insists he be allowed to the fountain.  Mollified by the groups compliance with their demands, they allow it under guard.  Wesson prays at the fountain and is filled with mana and faith though Saren doesn’t answer his most ardent question.  Seeing no alternative, he enacts the plan.
Wesson says he is to take his sister’s place.   Seeing as how he just prayed and visibly was blessed by the gods, the townsfolk are encouraged to believe him.  And to think it is the will of the gods.  The townsfolk meet and agree, but only if they can lock up the other four in room when they pay tribute.  
After some arguing, the others agree.  The other four are locked up in a room while they truss and strip Wesson down to nothing but a cloth to protect his modesty.  Someone stays on guard while the rest of them go get the remaining tribute.
Simultaneously, Glock casts an illusion that the 4 are in the room.  Koch knocks out a floor board (quietly) and the slip away.  Moarx goes into the woods covertly to find the swarm of screaming scarlet itchies.  He has Wesson’s equipment.
The other three meet Wesson’s sister Tessa behind the butchers (she is also a butcher).  Pale but determined, she dunks them with blood, and has them get into the wagon and then puts them in the big bags that hold the meats to go to the Manticore.  Tessa pads each one in a ball of meat.  She then hands them over to the men that come to get the meats.  The men pound on each bag with a hammer.   Glock gets hurt but manages to suppress his cry of pain (nice roll too!).
The men take the wagon out of town, meeting the other with the trussed up Wesson.  They all dismount and put Wesson in the seat.  They then draw straws to see who has to drive him and the tribute out to the Manticore.  The baker draws the short straw.  
Once in motion the four cut air holes to breath better (I was making them make checks to not pass out and suffocate).  When they get to the arranged spot the baker rolls out the bags.  Koch gets hurt but Wesson was making noise and it covers his cry of pain.
Once unloaded, the baker mutters an apology to Wesson while averting his eyes, and places him next to the bags, still trussed up.  Wesson lays there, the sun on his face, praying to his god.  Moarx has made it to the edge of the wood and can barely see them.  It’s a good run across rough ground but he’s confident he can get into it.  He has the screaming scarlet itchies wrapped around him like a cloud and he’s keeping them on him to blanket his form from sight.
The Manticore comes, drawn by the scent of blood.  Wesson tells them while it circles and they cut the bottoms of their bags open so they can get up and move better.  Satisfied no one is laying in wait, the Manticore drops to the ground and comes slowly up to Wesson, pawing the ground and cackling with hoarse laughter.
In a rough voice it taunts Wesson, telling him it is going to eat him.  Wesson ignores it and quietly chants a prayer to Saren, the sun god.  When he ends, the others free their weapons and then burst out of the bags.  Seeing them do it, Moarx starts his run, the screaming scarlet itchies moving around him like a cloud.   The Manticore rears back, not only surprised by their appearance, but by the blinding sunlight aura that rings Wesson.  

Glock throws a Landfast spell but spoils it (he blew the roll) due to the blood.  Kimbir dives at it, rolling beneath and throws a thick rope around its middle, binding himself to it.  Koch attacks, hacking at it with his axe, cutting a huge swathe in its wing.
Luckily, Glock gets his spell going the second time before the Manticore can get back into the air (better roll this time).  This time, his Landfast spell goes off and binds it to the ground.  The Manticore doesn’t know that though and tries to throw itself into the air.  It fails and almost bellies out, which scares the hell out of Kimbir.  It snarls and bites at Koch, chewing on the haft of his axe (he parried).
Moarx is in full tilt but seems a mile away (he won’t show up for a few melee rounds).  Koch gets another bite out of its wing with his ax and Kimbir slides towards his left, digging his spurs (he’s got fighting spurs on) in its belly while drawing and driving two daggers, one in each hand, in its ribs.
Wesson’s ropes are smoking (as is his skimpy loin cloth) from his sun aura.  Moarx is still running and Koch and Kimbir are fighting the Manticore.  It realizes after a second that it can move still but has to keep its feet in contact with the ground.  It heaves itself forward, sliding on its belly, hurting itself but nearly crushing Kimbir in the process.  This also puts it near Glock, who peppers it with a mystic dart spell and backs up.  Koch charges and slices off its tail (rolled a crit, yeah!) and Kimbir continues to dig in from underneath though one of his legs is now broken.
It’s a standoff, of sorts.  The two, Kimbir and Koch keep hacking at it though poor Glock slips and nearly falls into the Manticore’s mouth.  It proceeds to bite him in two (another crit, this time for the GM!).  Kimbir gets on top of it and starts stabbing from the top, still roped in.  Koch dodges in and out to hack at its wings and legs.  They keep up the dance long enough for Moarx to show up with his swarm of screaming scarlet itchies.  Koch backs off and Kimbir cuts his rope and rolls away.  Wesson manages to finally get free of his ropes.  
The swarm of screaming scarlet itchies coats the Manticore and Moarx keeps them on it, coaxing them to coat and aggravate it.  Wesson forges the sunlight with his faith (this is a ritual) and hands Kimbir and Koch spears of pure sunlight.  They cast them repeatedly into the Manticore until it slumps, finally defeated.
Moarx slips in and thrusts his blade into its neck, slicing it free with a wave of blood.  The Manticore is defeated!  
Moarx dismisses his insect friends.  The others collect Glock’s body and take him and themselves to a small pond fed by a stream that lies nearby.  They wash and cover Glock and then lay him out in the sun (he was a Saren follower too).

Monday, February 27, 2012

Master Words of Power

Tales and songs of Dzor Khorenin are typically not the fare of many bards, though occasionally one hears this tale. Bards regard the song about this supposed forefather of their art with a range starting in ambivalence and ending in hatred. Some consider his acts the most heinous of crimes committed while others sorrow at the choice he had to make. Regardless of their feeling, all agree that according to the tales, Dzor Khorenin justly held a reputation of power, subtlety, and spoken presence so intense that none could abide or deny his words. His charisma, once unleashed, was undeniable.

All of the tales and songs agree that lying idle one day, Dzor was surprised by Oolnydragen, the Demon of Whispers. Now the slightest sound of Oolnydragen’s voice was death, it was said, and it hated all other beings. Its utmost delight was in the expression of surprise and fear adorning every victim’s face as they heard its voice. Dzor knew these tales well, for he had sung them myriad times to inspire fear in others, mimicking the stealthy approach of Oolnydragen to strike terror in children and adults alike. Presented by reality, Dzor acted in the only way he instinctively could—he began to sing! Dzor raised his voice in an attempt to drown out Oolnydragen’s whispers as they burned into his mind. Its tentacles and oozing tendrils followed, but as they whipped and whirled around him, Dzor ignored his dread and spoke more powerfully the words, belted out the songs that made him tower in greatness. With each word and song he felt safer, yet at the same time felt a sharp pain as if something was literally torn from him. In horror, he soon realized Oolnydragen was devouring his every word, stripping away each song, forever ripping them from his being! Trapped and refusing to accept such a death, he sung on, feeding Oolnydragen every hateful word, epithet, destructive phrase, and song of death he could produce. As they flowed from him, each departed like a treasured friend, forever leaving, never to return. Yet, no matter what hate-filled magik he spoke, Oolnydragen never wavered in the devouring of his speech and seemed to eternally yearn for more.

With no recourse left, Dzor spoke the words of power that shaped him into the master he was, letting each one go like an arrow at the heart of the Greater Demon. Oolnydragen shivered with each word, each master’s utterance given form in song, but Dzor only sorrowed as he watched the power slip from him forever. In the end, exhausted, armed with only his last word, Dzor spoke and waited, fatigue overcoming him. The silence that fell after this last, final, cogent utterance was a burning razor across his skin, and utterly drained, Dzor could only wait, eyes closed, for his doom. In a length of time where legends melted and time ground to dust, past when he could stand it no more, Dzor opened his eyes and found Oolnydragen gone—blasted perhaps, or just filled to the max of his gullet, drunk in Dzor’s power and mastery over the word and song. Regardless, Dzor sorrowed mightily, for now he was but a shadow of what he was, and words that had defined him were gone—slipped away in the voracious appetite of the Greater Demon. Thus, so went the words of power for bards from the world…

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sorrow and Bright Blade Rivers

Around the Sorrow and Bright Blade Rivers persists an old tradition, harkening back to when both rivers were named after the Ithalosian Monarch Vilal Kynnyn for his two legendary blades. Supposedly, the monarch lost his famous ‘Bright Blade’ on the verge of battle to a thief, but his guards were able to slay the miscreant before he fled too far. Alas, the thief had cast the monarch’s famed blade from a bridge and it was lost in the churning waters of river beneath.

Now, the king was wroth that evening while his enemies laughed and plotted for his doom at the break of light. Yet, the king, no matter how deep his ire, was wily and wise. He turned misfortune around in a way they could not foresee. On morn, when the armies gathered for war in the cold mist that clung to the low hills, his enemies were dumbfounded as the sun burned off the mist and lit the river like fire. Calling out to them from a nearby hill, King Vilal Kynnyn said boldly that they would feel the light of his blade no matter how they tried their treachery! The monarch then released the dams he had commanded built and swept a low, but powerful wave of water down towards his foes, all the time with the river shining and sparking like flames! As the enemy panicked and its troops milled around demoralized, King Vilal rode them down twirling his famous blade Sorrow and a mighty hammer, in the other. Before an hour was spent more than half of the enemy were slain and the rest sent them fleeing for the trees.

That evening, he recounted the tale, speaking how he had commanded half his soldiers to work all night damming the river, while the other half fashioned clay and grass ‘boats’. These he ordered filled with ‘mirrors’ of polished brass. In the morning before the battle, while the mist lay on the land, he had them loose the little clay ‘boats’ with polished brass mirrors, so that as light fell on them it would light the river like fire. Combining this with breaking the dams utterly unnerved the enemy, who feared he had someone how mastered the river to his power.

Every year on the 22nd of Khoros, the people who dwell along the river will commemorate this battle and light its length with clay and paper boats to bring ‘light to the king’s shining blade once again’. The display is quite beautiful at first light when the bobbing boats are released t0 catch the sun.

A similar tale involves the king’s blade ‘Sorrow’, and is an echo to this one but involving the shattering of his blade over the remorse of accidentally killing his son while enflamed with battle. Those who dwell near both rivers relive these acts, taking the day to honor this legend of their first monarch.

Conversation overheard in the Undercity

An intro into a short run campaign about 9 years ago.


Shivering, cold and hungry, a small boy sits in filth. The sound of water crashing echoes in the distance as does the murmuring of the winds. The boy huddles tighter into the small niche he has found, peering into the darkness, vainly trying to pierce its veil. He cuddles tighter around the dimly glowing moss he had found. From nowhere comes a mocking voice.

Still floundering around in the dark? Now, don’t get testy—you won’t need that dagger you are clutching! Not that you could hit me with it anyway, taking into account you haven’t eaten in three days and are limping pretty bad. 
Astaroth’s Tits boy, I run the Warren and know everything there is to know!
Who am I?
Come now, even a gnawbone like you has heard of me, I am sure.
Lachat is my name and if you want to survive down here in the warren, underneath the great city you had better be like Machaic before Skirin and wise up!

I have watched you since you stumbled down here from above, running from that tattooed Salt Arm. What do you owe them—money? Sex? Work? Or your life for some infringement? Not interested in telling me?
Don’t worry, you will in time 

Lachat’s voice fades away into the darkness

A small form hunkered down in the slime ridden moss of a stony corner. Once perhaps, the room of sorts served a different purpose, but now was little more than a byway for the sewer that coursed above and around. Of course, it served as a byway for more than the refuse of those who dwelled above and more than one lurker plied its ways as a pathway in the equally grand Undercity below.

So, how is the taste of rat?

From nowhere, the mocking voice floats on the air.

The boy scrambles around and looks up fearfully from his first meal in an indeterminable time.

Don’t worry, the voice says, I its long since I have desired to feast upon the flesh of rats. My taste runs to more richer flesh, you might say.

Sooo, ready to speak to Lachat today? No?

Too bad. I hear the Gloom Striddlers are looking for a nice bit like you. Nice bit of cringing there! Really, I was just kidding…though don’t underestimate the dangers of the Wizzen. You luck will not last forever, you know.

What’s that? Done well have you? Think you are surviving okay since you avoided Urbail, our local unsavory slaver and slew a few Swlive with your little knife?

You’ve learned a few tricks but you’ll need more than that to survive where you are wandering into now. Good luck! 

With a sardonic chuckle the voice departs again.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Regrettably the times have caught up with Emperors Choice.  Today we increased the prices on a lot of our items, most noticeable is the miniatures.  As you all probably know we do 90% of our own sculpting, mold work and casting in house which allowed us to be one of the cheaper miniature companies on the block, but the times got us also, between metal, rubber, labor etc we really felt we had no choice to help keep Arduin alive.  We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you but we still have some ongoing specials as usual on the store under "Specials" so some savings is still there.

Thank you,

-Emperors Choice

Friday, February 24, 2012

A sampling coming in the far future (probably end of year to summer 2013.

1/160 scale (N Scale).  These are some o f the original German sculpts we have had on deck for a couple of years.

A Trek to Caliban

Almost 31 years ago, I sat down with bunch of friends for a game. It was an impromptu thing, as my cousin (Jim) had come in from England where he was stationed in the Air Force. There was 5 of us at the table, well, actually 6 but he had to take off early. I’d been familiar with Arduin for a few years at this point but I’d been playing RQ recently and had been out of it.

Anyway, I came in with two characters I’d played in the past: a wizard named Petrois Ne’ Cor, wielder of the Wild Purple Winds of Cohchur and bearer of the 5 Rings that sank Tendo the Fair, the shining jewel of the Southern Ocean; and a Martial Artist known only as Core-do-mauc. Core-do-mauc was a tormented soul, caught between the hellish world of his demonic sire and the one of his hobbitton mother. He never carried a weapon, content to use the harsh planes of his bones where they protruded from his skin as all the weapons he’d ever needed. The few times he lost his cool and sunk into the torment that chewed at his mind like a pack of hounds, the curse his fathering sire intoned when he was born would show forth on his skin, the spidery runic writing burning through cloth and steel.

Jim got us all together and told us to talk and plan before we started because we were making a trek into Caliban. Caliban! I’d been there once with a different character and it was tough – tougher than nearly any other adventure I’d been on! Whispering, we stuck our heads together and started plotting. I peeked every now and then in-between and caught Jim watching us out of the corner of his eye and smiling while he doodled at writing some notes. Anyway…we had all brought a couple of character and after some plotting decided on the following characters:

1. Faux Shaddoe, a son of the night, scion of its darkness (16th level)
2. Bear Walks into Ghost Claws, a Blue Barbarian (11th level)
3. Lord Jevlin Motedreal, a Priest of Megalon and bearer of the Shield of the Fellowship of Stars (14th level);
4. Kanaan, son of Konaan, winner of 100 duels (13th level Warrior)
5. Josephus, who heard the first words of magik spoken and was forever marked by their utterance (14th level Wizard)
6. Gimly, Nightblade wielder and Hero of the Battle of Elements Cross (15th level Warrior)
7. Shainaine, cursed by the Red Moon to be both spider and man (were-spyder Trader 17th level)
8. While I had both characters, I ended up playing Petrois Ne’ Cor (14th wizard) as the 8th member of our party to give us more arcane backup.

Seeing we were settled, Jim called us over and we sidled over to the table. A bit of storyline later landed us all in Talismondé, meeting with an interesting patron. Each of us had different reasons for being there at the meet, from greed to revenge. It wasn’t hard for Jim to leverage reasons for us to find our way to Caliban. Our common enthusiasm and desire to game under the hand of a truly experienced GM bonded us into the excitement he was building at the table. Jim used the NPCs and our own character personalities to play off us off, one by one and in en masse, using Faux’s delight in mysteries and ego to challenge Josephus and his appetite for knowledge while Bear Walks into Ghost Claws was challenged by Motedreal in a way he could not back down from for fear of disgracing himself before the spirits of his ancestors and his god. Gimly was the hardest but the taunting of Shainaine (who went out of greed) and Kanaan (who walked with us for glory and to poke Gimly in the nose) soon brought him along. Petrois went to find the Red Winds, lost to time and trouble in the past.

We stocked up and prepped at Josephus’ place outside of Talismondé. Our patron was an enigmatic fellow, cloaked and garbed to disguise limb and feature. We trusted him little but he spoke the oath bond to Megalon that what he passed on was true and made plain his aims in our quest: to gain the Fire Stones of Anarr, once worn as a necklace for the Giantess Eldincarissa, who bore it into Caliban and lost it when she died in the grasp of a radioactive blood ooze. He had divined that they were within, laying upon the burning altar dedicated to the Greater Demon Ralkull! At our refusal to piss off a Greater Demon he swore that by replacing it with an even more treasured piece that we would not incur Ralkull’s wrath. We were skeptical; but listened a little more keenly when he offhandedly said he had three of the Blued Blades of Ananias: Izidkiel, Hanael, and Kepharel, each named after the quasi-divine beings that bore them into battle during the Heaven Siege. After some wheeling and dealing we agreed but only if we could take the blades as well, kind of a “just in case Ralkull shows up…” backup. The object we were to replace the necklace with was a reliquary of Boreas, the withered but potent left hand of the Borean Saint Raven Boaz. Our patron, I guess, had recently stolen it from a wintry shrine in the far north but didn’t relate much of the story that went along with it. He did indicate that it was thrice cursed and that the triple curses would adhere to whoever kept it for any length of time; kind of a poke to make sure we did this in a timely manner.

Thus, accoutered, we were ready. We swore fell oaths in ensure both sides would carry out our obligations. Josephus was the gate, so to speak, on how to get to Caliban. He had been there once prior and had magik at this disposal to transport us to the right world. A short time later and we found ourselves in a world with yellow skies, a single moon, huge and swollen on the horizon and rugged, forested plains in all directions. Taking stock and moving around, we quickly found Caliban, its needle like basalt stone stabbing the sky like a dagger in the eye of heaven. We weren’t alone however, and an army of thousands surrounded it on all sides. The men of the army were like the Mongols, tough asian looking men on horses supplemented with floating sorcerers dressed in long silk robes.

While determining what or how we should approach, we kept moving to get a view from all angles. Unfortunately we tripped an alarm or just had bad luck (or, maybe Jim wanted to move us along!) – anyway, we quickly found ourselves embroiled in a melee with an over strength company of the army. As tough as they were and even with numbers (probably 200 or so) they had never seen anything like us before. Josephus and I cast spells near simultaneously, he conjuring forth metal spikes from the earth in a circle around us, angling them outwards in a bristling wall. I called forth a massive volley of arcane bolts, ones that jumped, sparked and danced from person to person. The others engaged as well each in their own way. Lord Jevlin Motedreal was spectacular, evoking forth a blue light that filled the sky, grim and ominous to the enemy, draining their courage while empowering and bright to us.

We made quick work of them though it wasn’t all with ease. Josephus and I tangled with the Chinese like sorcerers, taking on a floating pentad of them. One nearly ripped the organs right out of my body but I held them within by sheer force of will (a close save!). I returned the favor by melting his bones, succeeding where he failed. Josephus called forth two gaunt, scrofulous death figures, ringing them with a halo of unwholesome yellow in accompaniment. The sorcerers were not without their tricks as well and summoned forth winged snakes of lighting, writhing tentacles of darkness out of the ground and a rain of throttling hands. In the end we won, though I was burned, frozen, whipped and near strangled. Josephus had lost use of his left arm to some kind of genetic dissonance spell but was otherwise okay. The rest fared in equal parts and we retreated quickly, Lord Jevlin Motedreal calling forth a sanctuary. Within the sanctuary, out of the flow of the world we had landed to find Caliban, we rested and healed.

While within, we plotted. Some careful divination (something we should have done earlier) quickly exposed a plethora of information we could use. After we egress the sanctuary we back tracked from the Caliban area, using more care than previously. We found our goal, which was a village of people, mostly peasants. Between Faux and Shainaine, we quickly got what we needed through trade, treachery and talk. Armed with the knowledge of the local heroes, legends and demigods, we enacted our plan. See, we were going to walk boldly up to the army acting like we were heroes and demigods of legend and mythology!

Some quick magik makeover and a little preparation had us doing just that, stomping into the camp of the Co Tang horde. We picked a mix of churlish and prickly heroes to emulate and it worked to our advantage. If we messed up (and we did!) we reacted with anger and after killing a person or two, people were a lot less apt to point out inaccuracies. The Co Tang commander was Han; he had a long stinking name Jim rolled off but we stuck to calling him Han just to piss him off. After a few days of wreaking havoc in his army Han was about ready to let us do whatever we needed to get us out of his hair. Which is what we hoped/prayed for. He gave us pass to Caliban, almost relishing the thought. He mentioned the loss of many men to it and we didn’t think much of it, knowing Caliban’s reputation.

A short trudge later had us within sight of the giant basalt steps and megalithic doors. A storm was raging around the tower where it pierced the clouds and in the flicker of lightning under the hail of raindrops we could see a field of carnage laid out before us. A few men? More like several hundred! The remains of men lay strewn in parts and pieces in a wide arc in front of the doors. Deciding not to attempt the obvious danger we scouted for other routes. Josephus attempted to go airborne but the winds quickly cut that idea short. Dimensional door/teleport options failed completely. Entry via the planes was fenced in. Attempts to quell the storm turned out to be impossible. No other entry ways at the ground level were available, even after we scoured the sides in the rain. We did find that the tower had a disconcerting way of slowly absorbing anything that pressed against it for more than a minute. We almost lost Kanaan to that. Luckily he regenerated or else he’d be shy a limb! When the attempt to move earth to go underneath failed (it kept collapsing) we were resigned the doors were the only option left.

After the rest of us moved away some distance, Faux slipped up to the doors. In the rain and darkened sky we all lost sight of him. After a little while we heard several loud and obnoxious retorts, a sound some of us were familiar with all too well. Gimly said it for us: that was a gun, a big one. When Faux didn’t come back, we had to do something. Not willing to risk another disappearing, we decided to go as a group. Not interested in dying, we tried to be smart. Kanaan had in his possession a most wondrous sphere. One that could conjure forth a spherical barrier of power around himself and a group of others. Its downfall was once within, he could not move it. However, Bear Walks into Ghost Claws was monstrously strong and after some practice found he could roll it (slowly, so we could walk with it). While the area around the tower was muddy and wet it was primarily level. Bear Walks into Ghost Claws rolled us towards the doors and we quickly found out exactly what happened. We got within 100 yards of the doors and it seemed like hell opened up on us! A massive volley of shells slammed into the sphere followed by an echoing series of retorts like rolling thunder. After recovering from his surprise, Bear Walks into Ghost Claws waited and then slowly maneuvered the sphere towards the doors at an oblique angle; it kept him from getting hit. The shells were coming at the sphere from several points around the door, spraying out across the field. Once we figured out the angles, he maneuvered the sphere and smashed each one with a giant blow, causing it to explode when it spit forth its next barrage of shells. He got a little singed and pierced by fragments of metal but otherwise was unscathed. Once it quieted, we waited a little and then exited the sphere to look for Faux.

We scoured the mess of sodden body fragments but Faux found us instead of the other way around. He slipped out of the wet darkness like a ghost, his body held together by liquid darkness. Pissed but otherwise fine, he explained how he had crept up toward the door but didn’t make it too far before several of the guns around the door opened up on him. It took him this long just to recuperate – luckily the storm provided the necessary darkness he needed to heal. Not that he would be full strength for a little bit. He rested, along with some of the others, who choose to go among the dead. Lord Jevlin Motedreal moved among the fallen to give them last rites and others for less respectable reasons (thievery!); Josephus, I and Gimly scoped out the door and the area surrounding it.

To our eyes, senses and magical viewing, the doors seemed otherwise unbarred. It looked like entry was as simple as opening the very large doors: imposing, 50 ft monstrosities, scarred, battered but otherwise formed of some fibrous metallic material. We piddle around for some time, observing the area and waiting for Faux to heal (his condition/state only allowed him to heal in a certain way; a weakness I filed away in case it became useful at a later date). We finished and finally moved in.

Inside, the doors opened up to a giant, well, foyer, for the lack of a better term. The room was long, angular and connected to a couple of small hallways and several smaller versions of the outside door. On each side of the room, deep grooves were etched into the floor and it was obvious that a section of the wall on each side could slide out, opening up to a tunnel or room on the other side. Josephus found he could fly inside and quickly sprouted a pair of large white wings to do just so (nice spell). He did a quick scout of the area (the ceiling was some 50 ft in height on average, arched and groined like a cathedral. While we arranged into a decent fighting order, he found and disabled a few sensory devices – some techno, some magical in origin. Something he did must have triggered a trap or security measure because one moment we were talking about how and where to proceed and he was winging down to the ground and the next the room filled with dark green-blue fumes, arid and choking. The winds whipped up around me, forcing the fumes away even before they could come close to me but it took a second before I could expand this protection to the others. By the time I had bound up the fumes into a churning ball of smoke in the center of the room, it had worked its powers on the rest of us. Shainaine had been forced into his spyder shape and Faux into pure shadow. No one else seemed affected but both found they could not return to their original forms. Shainaine was little affected as he planned to assume his were form anyway. Faux was livid – he lost a lot of flexibility being forced only into shadow form.

We funneled the fumes out the door. We cautiously moved around and finding we didn’t trigger anything further, chose to investigate a little more before going forward. Faux used his shadow form to slip down one of the grooves in the sides and found one side led to a ramp going down into a tunnel and the other led to a ramp going up. He didn’t follow either any distance but found the triggering mechanism for both on each side. Investigation of the others doors quickly revealed they were unlocked and easily opened. Presented by a mass of possibilities, we had Faux slip underneath the doors of each and quick scout the other side. More rooms and hallways presented themselves and we were left using guesswork to choose the way. None of the guidance we had gotten indicated the way and what we learned about the shrine and its followers indicated they were long-lived or immortal followers of Ralkull and never left.

Figuring the side hallways were for mass movements we chose one of the other smaller hallways. It went straight, curved and then ascended. It connected to other rooms and halls but prelim investigation revealed only dust and debris from ages gone. We traveled some more, using care but getting a little less cautious as time went on and it seemed easy. We found some evidence of occupation but nothing distinctive. We slowed and used more care again. Our path led us to an odd area: a room of hallways leading to a center area, perhaps a cistern in the past but now scum filled and muck covered, with tendrils of the stuff crawling up the walls and long the hallways. Slits in the stone walls let air from the stormy outside and the mix over the cistern’s water formed a list mist that lingered.

Unwilling to enter the area (who wants to fight an ooze or slime?), we considered backing out and taking another direction but Josephus elected to scout from the air (it had another vaulted ceiling) and Shainaine skittered along the walls in spyder form. I directed my winds to keep the mist away from Josephus, glad when it worked. Scouting didn’t reveal much but we weren’t too terribly surprised when something found us – it had been too quiet and we were expecting it! No one saw where they came from but the cats slipped in and pounced on Josephus in the air, sliding through the dimensions and mist like great predators, surrounding him in whirlwind of burning eyes and claws. We reacted, of course, and set off a mess of events. Shainaine managed to web one of them and was fighting it while the rest of us unlimbered missile weapons, spells and magik. Less than a second in the room and our presence roused the skeletons in the cistern: sodden bones who hurled gobs of the slime that covered their bodies or sought to grapple and pull us under the water. It was a mass melee, with seeming endless numbers of them coming out of the cistern. Still its not like we weren’t heroes after all and laid into them with gusto! Sad as it may sound it was almost pleasant to tear into an enemy after such a long period of quiet and we were all pulling out some heavy fire power to decimate the skeletons and zombies that joined them. The cats barely lasted the first few melee rounds and skeletons and zombies? Come on! What’s this crap? Well, never taunt the GM. There we were, kicking some major arse and Jim pulls out a trump card: a cluster of Spiga! Not one, or even two but four of these babies, who crept up on us while we were engaged with the above. I felt the first bite of their attack as they nailed me with several spells simultaneously, along hitting Lord Jevlin Motedreal and Gimly at the same time. If they had concentrated attacks, I’d died immediately. Luckily they didn’t. Two Thunderballs popped right on top of me follow by a Sonic Sidewider (concentrated sound attack that disintegrates matter). Gimly was blasted with bolts of black lightning (bolts of devastation) and Lord Jevlin Motedreal suffered a physical attack of some kind (don’t remember/notes don’t say). I got lucky on my rolls and negated most of the damage from the thunderballs but the sidewinder almost killed me outright.

Gimly, Lord Jevlin Motedreal and a few others retargeted on the Spiga and I took one on myself. I command the Wild Purple Winds of Cohchur to turn opaque and to whip and snarl around me, spun the ring on my left finger to invoke Endrig’s Expeditious Action to move me across the room instantaneously and began barking out a spell. The Spiga hammered the spot where I was, dissipating the Purple Winds a spell I had never seen before, one that started as a pillar of dark fire that split into nine sinuous necks ending in dragon-like heads that exploded on impact. At the same time it realized I had moved, I finished by utterance to Call of the Nijgeedean and triggered another spell I had bound out of time, directing the Chill of the Void spell to surround the Spiga. It came out of the globe of vacuum the Chill of the Void called pissed, chattering at me in some language I’d never heard, leaping up to cling to the ceiling. Of course, the Nijgeedean started showing up in masses at that point. It launched a spell and fired off its spinneret but I eluded the silk and resisted its disintegration. Enough of the one-inch golden flies had entered via the portal I’d created with my summons and they swarmed over it, stinging it thousands of times until it died.

When I looked up again, the melee was over and a few of us were down or dying. Kanaan was out. Faux had been eaten alive by some terrible spell but Gimly had thrown a darkness stone over his corpse, knowing he would likely regenerate back. Bear Walks into Ghost Claws had been petrified and then partly shattered by a sonic spell from one of the Spiga. Lord Jevlin Motedreal was up and in decent enough shape and was working on them. A feather could have pushed me over I was so torn up. Josephus looked equally as bad: fried, frostbitten, shocked and parts of him disintegrated in turn. I think only magik was holding him together and keeping him alive. Shainaine was still in spyder form since if he switched back he’d probably die immediately from wounds. Gimly was in the best shape since his darkblade had drunk deeply of their life force before they died. It was he who took care of any remaining skeletons who occasionally would rise up from the cistern.

It took some time to get patched up. We lost Bear Walks into Ghost Claws permanently as his spirit was unwilling to return (we blew all the rolls to make the Deathbreaker spell work). Faux didn’t seem to be regenerating back but Gimly pinned the darkness stone to his body and stuck him in a bag of stupendous stasis. I personally didn’t think it would help but Gimly was both convinced it would/didn’t care.

We patched up and talked about whether we could/should go on. After some serious debate about our resources and ability to do so, we crept farther along. The next encounter was brutal. Josephus was the first to go, exploding into red pulpy froth as concentrated sound slammed into him simultaneous with two shrieking sparking blurs of fiery light. We had trekked carefully down a few corridors and through rooms towards our goal but in the last, seemingly empty one something had eluded us. Something had been cloaked and activated as we entered, a metallic cone/golem with rectangular chainlinks for feet and various tubes, rods and metallic coils hanging from it [a war droid though we didn’t know it. It hit Jossephus with a sonic disintegrater and two rockets].

We scattered but it didn’t matter. A storm of grenades, lasers and rockets later left me and Gimly still standing. I’d tried a few spells but without must effect. Gimly had gotten the closest to it but had gotten badly burned by its flame thrower. I got hit and almost went down. Barely standing, Gimly grabs me and starts running. Realizing he’s to hurt to get away, he pragmatically shoves his dark blade into me (jerk!), killing Petrois to get enough HP and energy to run. He was nice enough to shove my corpse into his bag with Faux and ended up the only one to make it out of there alive.

---- We never finished the game, much to my sadness. It got late, Jim ran out of time and had to leave and the adventure stayed open. Still, its one of my more memorable treks to Caliban.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hell Spirals

Hell Spirals are a form of mystik path that acts as a ‘gate’ or ‘pathway’ to other places, times or realities is a Hell Spiral. These are a form of ‘gate’ created by exceedingly powerful individuals in a 13-hour ritual that requires a lesser demon to be bound into it forever. Otherwise, it will last just a day, and once opened, is open both ways. Such creations are usually carved or painted and hurt the eyes if looked upon for a long period of time. A person wishing to utilize this means of travel must step onto the outside point of the spiral, always looking down to where his feet will go next. A person must then proceed along the lambent spiral track, never wavering, and never trying to stop or go back. If a person does—disaster! A Hell Spiral’s maker always has a 100% chance of successfully walking the ‘pathway’; others are not so blessed have anything from a ten to 100% chance, depending on their individual power. Regardless of success or failure these paths are trod by the denizens of limbo, the hells and other dimensional realities—encounters are frequent, and typically deadly. Walk these with the greatest of care for to failure to traverse the length of the Hell Spiral brings on a chance of death, insanity, horrible aging, blindness or a trip to a dimension altogether inimical.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hell Walking

Some creatures can naturally move, at will, from one version of reality to another simply by walking, flying, swimming, sailing, running (or whatever). There are even a handful of artifacts will allow people to travel this way, but their rarity and immense value makes them mythical to all but a very few. It works, rather like this: from where one stands, each step forward is the entrance to another reality ‘next door’, another of an infinite number of variations in the multiverse. 

 So trans-reality movement, sometimes called ‘Hell Walking’, simply allows the being in question to travel to an alternate reality other than the one he is actually in, solely by application of will and magikal power! As he concentrates upon the reality that he wants to be in, the land around him subtly and ever so slowly ‘fades’ from one reality to the next, each change minute but closer to the reality he is traveling to and less like the one he is traveling from. Each change actually puts the traveler into another reality, even if only briefly, and each such reality will have its own ‘laws’ and cosmology. The distance physically covered (and time required to do so) during this type of movement will be exactly the same regardless of the intervening other realities. 

What this boils down to is that the longer you travel, the more realities other than your own you must pass through. Every reality you travel away from your own requires the ever-growing expenditure of power, in prodigious amounts. Realities widely different from your own that you must transit are even more draining, multiplying the difficulty by two, three, four or even more times based on how much different; though the vagaries of the endless change of perception is too lengthy to include here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gnomish Land Law

Gnomes are an odd sort, considered the worst for sticking to the letter or the most squeamish to part with coin. Under Gnomish inheritance law, land inherited by an individual had to be physically entered (walked on by the owner) before it was transmittable to his heirs. Otherwise, said land reverts back to the previous owner who had walked each breadth and length of the land. This odd law has stirred up more trouble between them and ‘buyers’ of land they have sold. More time than once they have showed up to claim ‘their land’ when the heirs of the person they sold land to over 50 years ago dies…

Monday, February 20, 2012

Coming Soon - Bloodbeast

Zirhaine Amusement Tax

The (in-) famous Amusement Tax or Feast Law as it is sometimes derisively regarded is a quirk of Zirhaine. Uncertain of origins, this law came into being a few cycles back and levies a tax on fees paid to visit the numerous singing cinemas and plays predominate in the region. Szgorke (Zirhaine for pigdancer) are the officials who attempt to ensure this law is enforced and they are scorned as the worst of the worst and the lowest of the low. It also applies to any feasts or celebration thrown and its officials are sometimes kicked, buffeted and bombarded with food when they show up to collect this unfavorable tax.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Winds of Limbo

Known by many names: the Winds of Limbo, Winds of Change and also the Winds of Chance, this oddly named phenomena is something that happens during Triangularus, Red Solstice and the Gray Equinox. At these times, all the Nexus Gates around Khaas open simultaneously! This great opening of the ways usually lasts from the 13th hour of one night until the 13th hour of the next, 25 hours in all. During this time all sorts of things roam about the landscape, one such being the Winds of Change. These Winds are of unknown origin, age, and ultimate potency. What is known about them is dreadful enough. 

  • Any living being exposed to these arcane winds is struck with an equivalent 200 strength arcane attack.  If it overwhelms a being's MD, then they die!  Those who die are (99% chance) immediately reincarnated (see Random Reincarnation Chart). Those that roll the 1% chance when dying are just gone and may not be raised by any means whatsoever. Those who survive (i.e. successful MRS roll), suffer permanently at the hands of extreme change. 
  •  All Undead creatures exposed to these Winds are immediately discorporate, fragmented, and borne away on the winds, gone forevermore. 
  • Spirit seem to be the only beings in existence unaffected by these dreadful winds.
The Winds are an experience extremely hard to describe, but for one will experience EVERYTHING AT ONCE. This means heat, cold, pleasure, pain, knowledge, insanity, insensibility, elation, terror, greed, ecstasy and so on and so on. Every mental and physical facet of existence will flood over and through them. A complete sensory overload is another way of describing it. How long it lasts, none can truly say. Survivors say it felt like no time, yet forever—eternity in an instant.

These Winds are sometimes encountered while walking Hell Spirals or otherwise transgressing those realms arcane.

These, then, are the Winds of Change; may they never blow your way!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

new psychic-based character options

Some new options for your racial choices.

Mind of Razors (2 point cost)
Your mind is like a pit of razors and anyone who transgresses it suffers for it. You inflict half your EGO in psychic damage on anyone who attacks your mind, consciousness, id, etc. Effectively, if it uses a Mind skill check against your PD, you damage it back.

Native Facility with Psychic Powers – You are naturally better at psychic powers and it is second nature for you. You start with a +5 bonus to your PSI power pool and to the amount of PSI you can move in a melee round. Additionally, each time you use an EPS to acquire Noetics, Channel, and Psychic secrets or to gain access to OP of mental powers, you add a +2 bonus to one of Noetics, Channel, Mind (choose a spell or school), power pool, or the amount you can move in a melee round. On the other hand, you have trouble in other areas, lowering your LR –4 (minimum of LR 1) and –2 CON.

Psi-Patterned Soul (2 point cost)
You are destined to follow the call of the psychic; its traditions and ways imprinted on your soul, regardless of your occupation.

  • Add a +10 advancement bonus to the Noetics, Mind, Channel and Ceremony skills.
  • Add a +20 bonus to PD.
  • Select one of Noetics, Mind, Channel or Ceremony. You begin with 10 skill ranks and the knowledge of 1 secret (you must meet its prerequisites).

Friday, February 17, 2012

Battle of Foam Horses

With an eye on ever adding to the vast pattern of history in Khaas, this week we have pulled out a small excerpt concerning the nation of Arduin and the Nexus Wars!

There are few in the east of Arduin who do not know the Crystal River. The clear, frothing but flowing waters of this river are an avenue of trade, travel, and military use in current day, just as they have in every age of Arduin. So strategic is this river to the eastern portion of the kingdom that it has featured in nearly every major conflict to a lesser or greater degree. One conflict of note that raged on its banks was the Battle of the Foam Stallions, a small part in the greater whole of the bloody Wars of When. While some know it from the memoirs of their forefathers who shed blood and tears in that battle, most know it from the time when the great bard Fire Eyes Darkness Weeps composed and sung the ballad the “Ride of the Gallant Froth Horses” at Tai Taowyn after the first year of founding the city of Talismondé. During that time, there was a sense of piquant desire to give homage to the brave Elven ones who died defending their home, a home from which the new Arduin was being built. This popularized the song, and the others about the same battle, the “Deed of Shaldonness”, and the “Lay of the Elven Eleven Hundred”. While these songs are not sung with the same frequency or desire as back then, they are still heard from time to time in the inns and ways of Arduin.

As in many tales, the words of the song vary depending on who sings it while the truth of the battle does not. The Elven General Almari Shaldonness had led his band of 2200 Elves to the newly named Weeping Wood with the words of the queen echoing in his ears, “let no man pass on your life!” For twenty years, this was their battle cry and they let none pass their woods. Yet, their numbers dwindled and yet always the throngs of men grew larger. Soon an army came for which the burning arrows and blades of Elves could not wither. Onward this army marched, a composite of fierce and hardy Morvaenians, Hyrkhallians, and Viruelandians all in one array of 21,000 strong. After days of devastating battle on each side and rapid losses to the Elves, Almari devised a plan and gave the marauders the desire in their hearts—to close with the stealthy Elven guerrillas! Retreating rapidly towards the Crystal River and taking increasingly worse losses, General Almari stoically continued to lead the wave of men into a muddy shallow area. When enough poured into the wet area, he gave the signal and the Elves turned and ran at full sprint towards an outcropping of stone. With cries of victory, the men charged after, not realizing that the final part of the trap was sprung by the weight of their pounding feet. While the Elves had harried and fought in the woods, the general had sent his strongest Elves and engineers to dam this part of the river. The heavy thuds of the feet of the charging men were the triggers to shake loose the stones and timber, sending cascading foam-crested waves to send them to their doom.

The full “heart” of that army died that day, swallowed under the hooves of foam-crested waves released from broken dams. General Almari swept the rest of that army away, driving them from Arduin. Still, while they celebrated mightily that day, the Elves knew more would come. They were not wrong, either. Not but two months after another army, even greater swept through their land, and while their bravery and sacrifice was no less those days than when they fought previously, Elven might did not carry the day and they gave ground before the onslaught of foreign mailed might.

Face secret

It looks like I did not define this well enough.  The psychic can employ this secret against any number of people.  However the effect is only temporary, lasting until the mental signature of that person changes.  Normally this takes a few days (I.e. d6 or so days) but could be faster if the said person was subjected to intense emotion or trauma or longer if they live a placid life.

Face requires you to see the person in question and they must have REAS 1 or more for it to work.

You can combine it with brain lock.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A short discussion on Trelves

The Trelves accidentally entered Khaas sometime in the past and have despised the place since. Elves of a sort from an alternative universe, they worship the harsh fracture of the geometry, the beauty in discordant symmetry and the powerful sound of cacophony. Their world is a place with violet and lavender skies, ones that crush with crimson hues when it storms and turn off white when clouds rake the sky. Vegetation moves, foliage hungers, and animals pursue them in an endless struggle of dominance. Trelf hatred for such things is unparalleled.
Those that entered Khaas found themselves in a universe that typified everything they despised in their own; one that despised them in turn. They have hidden away from the mainstream of the world, staying out of events for the most part, seeking either to return to their own universe or makeover this one in its image.

AE Bandit stats

BANDITS (50% 2-20; 30% 5d8 of them acting as a group; 20% 2d100)
Description: Can be drawn from any race but typically human.
Ad: 7 Move: 24 Fe: 53
Ref: 9 PER: 38 Di: 33
S: 10 Dodge: 10 Sh: 29
Sz: 8 CF: 25 P/V: 37
M: 11 COORD: 18 DEF: 46 (DR: 2)
C: 17 BODY: 29 MD: 44 (MR: 3)
W: 16 MA: 20 PD: 51 (PR: 12)
R: 9 LEAD: 24

E: 14 APT: 36 Quick Rank: 10
Eg: 13 HP: 48

Ch: 11

Skills: Ac: 13, Ath: 38, Cl: 41, Co: 26, Gu: 8, Int: 16, Lo: 14, Mec: 11, Med: 7, Re: 32, Ri: 5, Uw: 42, Wi: 31
Secrets: Terrain Familiarity [local area], Improvised Weapon [Co]
Tactics: Bandits use one or all of Ambush, Hit and Run (+2), or Swarm (+2) tactics. Most are Cowardly and Destructive. Such bandits roam in packs and use greater numbers and advance information to succeed. Highwaymen are Stealthy Ambush and Hit and Run (+3) attackers who use their smarts and quickness to carry the day.

  • Bandits come from many backgrounds and have skill in a profession or path, usually (90%) Warrior with 3d10 skill ranks in the profession/path skill and an equivalent spread of skill in Core skills and half in Favored skills for the path/profession. Additionally, Bandits have one secret for every 10 skill ranks (round up) in their profession/path. Bandits use Ability Advancement [Range: 1 – 20, Skill: 32, Secret: 1, Time: 5x2].
  • Bandits steal for food, slaves, goods or due to a lack of an ethical and moral compass. Sometimes its both to one degree or another.
  • Bandits met will be outfitted chaotically, with items or completely random quality. Bandits will only keep what they can travel fast in and rarely are seen in other than leather or studded leather if they wear armor at all.