Karris’Mhor – Session 123

Players: Malcolm Campbell (Baron Faith), Neil McClean (Maia), Neil Simpson (Quarlius)
Date: 3 September 2014

Ventasday, 17th of The Settling

For three weeks Quarlius has been training with the sword-version of Thraelian, and then training with the fey knights. He has now joined this order. His duty is to make sure the Unseelie don’t get out of hand. His uniform of choice is imposign black plate armour with a featureless helm. When donned he looks the chief henchman of a force of unspeakable evil. Sort of like a death knight, but with less of the death. Quarlius is not fond of the comparison. The elves give Quarlius a set of black plate if he wants to enchant or wear it.

The good news is that Magic has returned to the world, and both Maia and Faith are getting used to their new powers and abilities. Maia seems largely unchanged in her genasi self, although the way she draws upon magical power to produce other effects seems both more powerful and more limited. Faith isn’t sure where he is, having been transformed so many times over recent months. He’s fairly sure he’s a spellcaster again, though.

The bad news is that much of our equipment did not survive the change between worlds. Almost all our magical paraphenalia has been disjoined. Only the Sword of Venta and the Godsblood Armour have survived for Maia, but she doesn’t mind that too much. She sure there will be plenty of other opportunities to kill things and steal their magic items. Rather more annoying is that all the party’s collected wealth is also gone. Such is life.

With magic restored, the magical portals around Tel’Nix are also working now. We are summoned to the harbour, and travel there by entering a portal on the edge of the city into a pocket dimension in the ethereal plane. Here we see an elven armada of flying shops – some 60-70 vessels are floating here. We head over to an aircraft carrier, that carries flitters (10-15), then there are arrow-wings (cruisers) and small men-o-war: this is the same size as a caravel. It has huge sail-like wings and a prow with two ballista and a catapult on the rear. An eladrin walks out in “jaunty” dress. A blue uniform, mucho braid. He is fleet captain: Captain Treyermer of Morwyr’Guile.

The Captain is to escourt us to the forward forces at Icewall. We can feel the frisson of magic about the ship. The captain speaks into a speaking tube and commands the “mage” to make way to Antarres. We’re warned about the temperature. It’s -30°C there. Maia shifts to her Fire and Air manifestation. This gives her immunity to the Ia virus and the ability to stand on deck in a bikini while everyone else is freezing to death.

A little while later, the ship arrives at Icewall. Lady Elithia, Fey Knight, Order of the Dragon (the Icewall Maiden) comes out to meet us. We are issued with potions of protection against fire, and three barrels of ten swords. Each has minor enchantment and can be used to attack the remorhazz as any other sword short of an artefact will be destroyed. We each three cure serious wounds, and five cure moderate wounds potions each. We have 30 enchanted swords. Maia is fairly sure that her sword won’t be affected. After all, it is Venta-blessed.

Faith plots to bring Siobhan in and give her to the remorhazz. One of the guards worries that Maia isn’t sufficiently armoured. She takes his shield and surfs off down the tunnel. Faith follows. We crash comically.

Inside Maia and Quarlius can hear more than 5 creatures. The babies have grown up! Large remorhazs are moving beneath the floor. Faith makes a statement. A remorhazz rises out of the floor and launches itself at us. Then six more attack. Faith is badly wounded. Maia despatches the first one with awesome tread. Faith hastes everyone and retreats down the passage to summon something. Quarlius vomits up some acid breath, wounding them all. Maia kills a second one. Still two on her.

Meanwhile, six more enter the room and queue up to eat Maia and Quarlius. Faith conjures a huge (greater) earth elemental, it falls down immediately and slides to the combat. But it gets stuck and Faith successfully blocks the tunnel. Maia takes down a third Remorhazz. More acid from Quarlius takes down the three nearest to him and injures another three.

Then four more arrive. Maia gets mullared by her opponents. Faith dismisses the Earth elemental and summons a water elemental to replace it. It attacks one of the two attacking Maia. She transdimensionally assaults and attacks eight at random locations around the chamber. She manages to kill two of them – total five dead for Maia. She likes to keep score.

More acid from Quarlius over the ones Maia has wounded brings down another four. That just leaves four left! Until a further ten enter the chamber…

The water elemental kills one of them, and is then consumed by fire. So Faith summons a bone devil and sends that in to attack. Baron Faith has the nicest friends! With the odds rising with each passing moment, it’s time to lure them out! They certainly seem cross enough now. Maia teleports to the exit and goads them to follow her (largely unnecessary). Quarlius uses his acid power (kills two more) then teleports to Maia and Faith.

Then another ten enter the room and surge forward toward us. They attack Quarlius and Maia, who disengage and head to the exit. The first the elves outside see of us, we’re sauntering out, drinking healing potions.

Outside the hole. A crusier and another warship has appeared, hovering in the stay. Catapults and ballista pointing in the area. 40 remorhaz boil up behind us as we stroll to safety. The catapults and ballista are energy enchanted and they unleash a terrible bombardment that kills all of the creatures. The remorhaz menace is at an end.

A little while later, we enter Icewall as a group of 100. The eladrin set up an encampment and a lab. We show them to the shaft where Maia nearly died (of course she can just fly up it now). We are given a glass jar and sent off to collect an ooze. We head up the cliff and near the fountain, and then Faith walks into an invisible acidic web. A glitterdust spell from Faith reveals an oozing web that is connecting all these hands that are trying to reach for us. That is connected to all those hands that are reaching out from the frozen walls. The hands of the infected elves imprisoned here..

Maia attacks it with fire, and it jumps out and envelopes Maia in a cob-webby thing. Maia tries to burn it, but it manages to dodge out of the way. Quarlius casts burning hands on Maia, but the web continues to dissolve Maia. Faith vomits up some acid on Maia, and she drops a ground zero fireball on herself. Quarlis casts remove disease and it leaps off her and forms a web between these creatures. Another remove disease spell drives it away. Maia thanks Quarlius. Obviously being immune to catching the disease isn’t going to stop it trying to kill her!

We need to get through the webbing so we can reach the oozes on the other side. Maia proposes back-flipping like an acrobatic cat-burglar through the web. If she touches it her immunity should help, then all she needs to do is grab an ooze and teleport back.

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Karris’Mhor – Session 122

Players: Malcolm Campbell (Baron Faith), Neil McClean (Maia), Neil Simpson (Quarlius)
Date: 12 August 2014

23 Stormwrack 1083 PS

Faith slides down the luge. Maia doesn’t hesitate in following him. Quarlius isn’t so sure, and hangs about on the surface just to see what happens next. Maia and Faith arrive in an oval chamber, with three exits, including the one they just entered. There are clusters of crystals in the centre of the chamber – more than twenty. Many more. Above Maia notices a a stunning eladrin entirely encased in the ice of the ceiling. Faith points out that this cavern has been melted away, it should have been solid ice but something has created this chamber…

Faith shouts up to the ceiling and then throws a lump of ice at the figure encased there – but there is no response. Once the pair ascertain that Quarlius is not immediately following, they start to look around the chamber. Maia looks at the crystals, it doesn’t take a druid to realise they’re remorhaz eggs. Maia is peering closely into one when a youngster jumps out an attaches it to her face. She wrenches it off and holds the thing at arm’s length: it chitters and screams and wriggles, wrapping itself around Maia’s wrist. Then the earth starts to shake. It is the unmistakably ominous shake of something very large getting closer. The mother? Maia is distracted enough for the young remorhaz to leap back onto her face.

The sound is indeed the mother, which scuttles into the room on its many armoured legs. It roars and raises its body to strike. The heat is intense. Maia remembers the plan and bolts for the exit, intending to lead the mother out of Icewall when she can do no more damage. She calls to Faith to explain the plan but in that moment the giant remorhaz falls upon her and swallows her in one gulp.

Seeing this terrible act, Faith’s first reaction is to talk to the creature. Meanwhile inside, the pre-digested Maia manages to draw a dagger and starts to hack away at the beast from the inside. The heat is intense, but fortunately Maia’s genasi nature protects. By the time she cuts through to freedom the dagger is little more than molten slag in her hand. She tumbles to her feet ready to fight, but in the meantime Faith has manages to strike up a conversation.

The dragonborn has worked out that the language of this beast is similar to Jotun. He does speak much of that language, although Maia does…. enough to to start up a rudimentary conversation. “No kill spawnlings. Fireheart, no kill spawnlings.” the monster is saying. Faith finally understands, and with Maia’s help the pair start a conversation. The remorhaz says that it has made nest here, eating frozen elves. The virus makes the elves hot. Hot elves are tasty elves. So the remhoraz has the ability to sniff out the infected, although it wants to eat them.

There is a crack from above and the top half of the eladrin woman is freed. The heat from the remorhaz must have melted the ice sufficiently. She swears violently in High Fey. The eladrin is called Siobhan. She was just passing through the town…. she was frozen, but periodically freed by the remhoraz’s heat. It keeps her as a storyteller. Maia and Faith convince remorhaz to let us have a look around the place to see if anyone else is free. We leave the Siobhan ( or “the book” as the remorhaz calls her) stuck in the ceiling.

Finally Quarlius comes down the tunnel to investigate. He sees Siobhan in the ceiling, and she tells him that she is an eladrin adventuress from the Feywild who came to Anteris to see the sights. That didn’t work out too well for her. Siobhan says that Maia and Faith are likely to encounter many of the Ia, as the heat of the remhoraz has partially released some of them – although the remorhaz itself did not notice this.

Quarlius catches up with the party and we compare notes. Maia goes in alone as she is immune to the virus. There’s a 120 ft. ice wall in her way. She chips and climbs 110 feet, but then falls down and is found unconscious by Faith and Quarlius. So close!

The party makes a deal with Siobhan to free her and take her back to Tel’Nix. The remhoraz speaks of the trilla that it is at war with… the frost wyrms… they eat the frozen elves too, but not the infected ones. The frost wyrms are attracted by the mythal that is freezing the place, so the presence of the remorhaz has now become bad for a whole new set of reasons. Siobhan offers to kill the remhoraz if they release her. For the moment she is ignored.

Faith persuades the remorhaz to take them to the origin of the “hum in the larder” (the mythal in the town). It picks up Maia. As they head away, Faith surreptitiously throws an ice axe to Siobhan, but her arms arestill  trapped and she cannot reach it.

Faith and Quarlius eventually get to the top of the wall that nearly killed Maia… they arrive in a frozen cobbled area, exposed by the remorhaz but still covered in ice. There are arms poking out of the walls trying to grab Quarlius and Faith. They slip and slide down the tunnel, trying to stay out of the way of the grasping and infected hands.

They arrive at the magic stone that is responsible for keeping Icewall in its frozen state. The remorhaz leaves then leaves them. Faith touches the device, and is almost flash-frozen by it. Faith comes to the conclusion that all the elves are being eaten and the remorhaz should probably be killed. He hates it when Maia is right. They spred out and check around for any further melting. Faith almost stumbles into a grey ooze, that almost immediately attacks him.

A fight ensues, and eventually Quarlius drags Faith out of the ooze’s territory. The remorhaz returns and gives us some extremely important information. The frost wyrms eat the infected elves and get sick, but when they eat the grey ooze it cures them! The ooze is a cure for the Ia virus? It’s something to investigate. The pair return to the chamber at the entrance to the city. The remorhaz carries Maia down the ice wall, just to be safe.

24 Stormwrack 1083 PS

Maia wakes up from her injuries. Faith’s plan is to get the remorhaz to lead Faith and Quarlius back into the town while Maia remains behind and frees Siobhan. Then they should leave. Maia agrees and heads outside to prime the owls. Some are more eager than others be chased by the remorhaz, but Quill agrees to carry Siobhan once she has been rescued.

Meanwhile, Faith is plotting to rob the elven town. He wants the Remorhaz to take him to the temple for some serious looting. Siobhan likes this idea. Faith starts to sketch the Remorhaz, and during the process the creature falls asleep. Taking advantage of the opportunity the group move up their plan to rescue Siobhan. Faith puts on the harness he was given to allow the owl to safely carry him. Maia clambers up on top of this to reach Siobhan. Stretching up she manages to grab her.

It is immediately apparent to Maia that Siobhan is no eladrin. Underneath her long hair, her back is completely hollowed out. She’s a fey. A huldra: something that comes into existence when a dryad’s tree dies, but the dryad survives. It makes her hollow both physically and emotionally. Such creatures become attracted to others with a strong personality, vicariously living through them. Of course, this doesn’t stop Maia from rescuing Siobhan for a moment.

Maia yanks Siobhan down, but the noise awakens the remorhaz. Siobhan sees the danger and uses her superior fey strength to throw Maia over her shoulder and make a run for it. Seeing Quarlius and Faith quickly following, Maia is happy to play the role of the damsel for once. The party get back to the owls in double-quick time and we flee the seen. The remorhaz rages below: it wants its book back! But we escape! And return to Tel’Nix and then the aerie.

Jelith the servant of Lord Oross is waiting for us when we arrive. The three are taken to see Lady Elathia and Lord Rhuln of the Houses of Art. Siobhan is questioned. She admits to be running from the Fens on the Feywild (from the Queen of Air and Darkness). She fled through a portal into Icewall. She had stolen from the Queen’s servant…. Frankly, this only endears her in Maia’s eyes.

We tell Rhuln all that transpired. He intends to return and set up an encampment in Icewall. After the remorhaz is killed, he can then start experimenting on a cure with the oozes and the infected. Maia volunteers to with them. Rhuln says that trhe expedition cannot start for a while, and besides Quarlius has been summoned by the Council of Blades (aka the Moon Blades) that are held in the city. The imperial moonblade, Draiochta, is particularly insistent on it. Quarlius has heard of Draiochta. He is one of the first moon blades with 24 runes running along the blade.

Maia has some rest, is medically attended to, and then then heads off for a ‘massage’ at the local sauna. She takes Siobhan with her. Then Maia hurries to meet up with Quarlius, who has been taken to the reliquary with Gwen. She points out the extradimensional demiplanes that make up Tel’Nix, although they’re not accessible at the moment. The harbour, the gardens etc.

We enter a functional building with overtones of a temple. It’s a temple of the Seladrine, which is far more recent than the moonblades. These eladrin servants stole all this stuff from the Kingdom, now they are the masters. We head to an inverted tower, hanging in the ethereal plane. In the centre are eight stole plinths covered in sigils, with a moonblade half-sheathed in each one. A person is standing behind 7 of the 8 blades.

We recognise six of them as the heads of the fey knight orders. Behind the seventh sword is a robed male with an orange sash, and the there is no-one behind the eighth. That sword is not being wielded at the moment, that is Draiochta.

But all eight are powerful imperial moon blades. They really stole the best! Memory, War, Swift, Pure, Sense, Truth, Swift and Magic. As we approach the blades start to steam and vapourous forms appear over each blade – they are obviously all high mages. The spirits of the blades. The spirit of Draiochta is… Thraelian!? He really does get about.

Maia says “Hello!” to him, which doesn’t go down well. They summon Quarlius into the middle of the circle and introduces the mages who are now the spirits within the blades. They are truly ancient, and some even invented the fundamental spells that are still cast today. These are the founders of arcane magic, the fathers of wizardry. They underpin how magic used to work. Quarlius goes down on one knee. “Rise my apprentice,” says Thraelian.

Thraelian says that circle is turning once again. It’s turning closer to how it once was. Changing into what they once were. They will become more powerful. Quarlius has to learn this, and learn this quickly. He needs to pick to order. Thraelian lists them all. He says that Rulissa must be reformed (again), and that he knows where she can be found. But Quarlius is untrained for what is to come. He needs to learn how to wield the blade, to become one with it. He needs to be able to teach others. He will become a teacher, a sensei, a wandering master…

Thraelian will go on teaching Quarlius. Thraelian commands Quarlius to sit, and a beam of light strikes him in the centre of his head. He needs a kira to store the magic (his is in the bag), then the beam intensifies and knowledge is implanted into Quarlius’s mind. The beam is eventually cut off, and a bamboozled Quarlius is told that he and Thraelian will reconvene the next day. As for her new specialisation, Quarlius chooses Siryl of the Wounded Heart, the Unseelie, the secret police. He will forge a blade worthy of a fey knight when the magic returns.

Thraelian says that Rulissa is in three pieces once again. The hilt is in Karris’Mhor. The point is in Ravenfalens. The mid-piece is in the Shadowfell, at a point Coterminous with Karis’Mhor. So back where they originally were.

Now as Maia and Faith enjoy the comfort of Tel’Nix and magic begins to return to the world, Quarlius embarks a programme of intensive magical training that can only properly be conveyed by way of a montage scene set to a thumping 80s rock track. There is meditation, blood, the ineffectual swinging of a swords, more meditation, magical mojo. The world settles and Magic – the new Magic – finally returns. There are cakes. And eventually at the end of all Quarlius has been remade as someone slightly more effective than he once was.

After the training, which takes about three weeks, Thraelian confirms that the he knew the Kingdom would fall, and that the first eight moon blades would be used poorly in that fight. So he arranged for them to be ‘stolen’ by the arquesir (the people who now live in Tel’Nix – more than elves, but less than eladrin). They take care of the memory. And the archmages that are the blades, skipped all the sin and the shame of the fall. Maia realises that the fall happened many, many thousands of years ago. Quarlius seems to know what Thraelian is talking about, however.

The party is now given a choice. Help the elves in their quest to find a cure, or go by elven flying ship back to the near ethereal around Karris’Mhor. Whatever they decide, the trio is now a foursome as Sioban has apparently adopted Maia.

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Karris’Mhor – Session 121

Players: Malcolm Campbell (Baron Faith), Neil McClean (Maia), Neil Simpson (Quarlius)
Date: 30 July 2014

22 Stormwrack 1083 PS

The party follows the elf inside the tower to discover that it is entirely hollow. The icy eladrin reveals that his actual name is is Orr – a representation of Haestus Or’Bethranyl. He says they are at the doorway to Tel’Nix. It is warmer in here, so Maia dumps Faith next to a warm crystal wall to wake him up. A confusing conversation ensues, as Haestus (or ‘Orr’) is an ice construct that appears to have some memories of a long dead or no longer present elf that he doesn’t really seem to know about. He’s only been in existence for about six hours – since the time the party broke the Cap.

Orr explains that the starlight barrier stops the Ia (the virus) from penetrating. He doesn’t know how to leave this land, as he’s the gatekeeper to Tel’Nix and doesn’t need to know anything else. The doorway to Tel’Nix is a purple portal at the very top of the tower (and the origin of the light that is shining into the sky). With Quarlius’s magic up the spout, Maia’s windsoul powers on the fritz and Faith’s wings missing in action, getting up to the portal seems something of a challenge. Maia suggests climbing up the ice wall around the outside of the power. No-one else shares her enthusiasm.

Haestas/Orr makes it easier, and conjures a ladder up the outside of the tower. The trio climb hundreds of feet to the apex where they find a crackling ball of golden energy. Maia runs over and dives in. The other follow more sedately.

At the other end of the portal, Maia notices she’s arrived 50 feet above a similarly designed tower (although not made of ice). Keeping her nerve as she plummets grabs on to the pinnacle of the tower and slides down with all the style of a seasoned pole-dancer. She’s placed her feet safely on an upper done when she sees Faith and Quarlius tumble past her. They slide down the roof and come to rest some way below Maia. They are about 200 feet above the ground on a very thin secondary spire.  Maia takes in the view. The sky is still pink. A purplish-whitish mist covers the city below us. The city is shaped liked a snowflake

The three begin to head down the side of the building, some more gracefully than others. Faith simply falls from ledge to ledge. Maia gives the hopeless Quarlius a piggy back. Eventually, they reach the highest balcony, and Maia knocks on the door. A beautiful, yet puzzled, blonde haired elven woman opens the door. Despite her looks, Quarlius doesn’t think that she’s an elf… although she’s not quite an eladrin either. When she speaks, she speaks in High Fey – a language that only Quarlius can understand. She introduces herself as Ylis, and says that we are in the home of Lady Britta of the Houses of Memory. Quarlius recognises the term. It’s an old style of local government in the Kingdom. It’s actually pre-kingdom; he is intrigued.

Ylis goes to get her mistress, leaving us to peruse the small library in the room. Maia looks for books with rude pictures in them. Quarlius has found a tome on the ‘Great Shames of the Kingdom’ when Brytta arrives. She is more mature, bt no less beautiful than Ylis, with blonde hair silver eyes. She has a presence that is close to Thraelian – a certain understated power. Maia thinks she seems nice. Britta tells us that we are on the ethereal plane, but aside from the mythal that protects the city, magic is no longer working for the elves. She doesn’t know how we might get home. However, she’s an historian and not an expert on these matters. She suggests that we speak to the head of the House of Runes.

The best idea is to go and see the chap in charge. This is Coronal Haestus Or’Bethranyl, and he’s apparently more than 17,000 years old. Haestus was an original servant of the Bethranyls and is more eladrin than elf. The nature of this place begins to make more sense in Quarlius’s mind. Britta says that there are seven Moon Blades in the city, as well as an armada of elven flying ships – although of them currently non-functional. Looks as though these elves looted the eladrin treasury when they had the chance.

Soon after, the party have arrived inside audience chamber. Around the throne arguing are three men and two women. There’s a very old eladrin here (Haestus). The others present are introduced as

Captain Agor of the Wild Hunt – light green armour
Captain Sirel of the Wounded Heart – black armour – of the Order of Cold Iron
Captain Immarennis of the Order of Pegasus – sky blue and silver armour
Lady in White is Callana the White – Order of the Unicorn
Yohan Greenheart of the Order of the Millennium Tree – in traditional armour embossed with a tree
Elathia the Icewall Maiden of the Order of the Dragon – dark green armour, dragon emblem

Lady Brytta of the Houses of Memory
Lady Shanree of the Houses of Wisdom
Lady Tendess of the Houses of Creation
Lord Rhuln of the Houses of Art
Lord Oross of the Houses of Growth
Lord Eldora of the Houses of War

Quarlius reveals himself of House Bethranyl – although is an ex-noble now that he has lost Rulissa. Talk turns to Rulissa.

Maia then tells the tale of all the party has done – relieved that she can now speak the truth without fear of it being overheard or stolen from the minds of her friends by the Queen of Air and Darkness.

They speak of the living virus: the Ia. It seems that the elves here know a great deal about it – something that can help against the threat of the virus that is heading south toward Karris’Mhor as they speak. Elathia speaks of the town of Icewall. She says that it was a town built into the side of the glacier. A delerious traveller from Tzina arrived, and was taken to houses of healing with a fever, but the fever could not be cured and it spread. All who have the fever developed a kind of hive mind and engaged in strange and repetitive tasks. They were building a device, beacon, of some kind. This is the work of Ia.

Elathia explains that the virus seems unable to infect those with resistance or immunity to fire. It’s natural predators are the remorhaz, who hunt it. The presence of the Ia in Icewall has greatly increase the number of remorhaz in the town. The elves had no choice but to freeze the city to stop the virus from escaping, but remorhaz generate a lot of heat… too many of them in the town and the virus will escape.

Icewall is within the starlight barrier, on the Anterres coast (not in the Ethereal plane). It can’t necessary cross the water on its own, but these things can find a way.The remorhaz need to be removed so that he town can remain frozen, even though there are many elves frozen and trapped there. The presence of the virus in a controlled area, also makes it easier to study and to possibly find a cure.

Maia volunteers to help. She thinks that she’ll be immune due to her firesoul manifestation. She can go in and get whatever is required to make a cure. The council think this is a good idea. The party is asked to rest before heading back through the portal via giant owl tomorrow.

Before the meeting completely breaks up, the party asks about the Iadon: the are four-armed, two brained spellcasters. It is true they might know something about the virus. They were first people to use arcane magic, and have a connection to Ia. The party knows that there are Iadon  in the Nordfel. They were told this by the shifters they encountered at Holdenguard. They were fleeing a growing force in the Nordfel. The Iadon, the spellweavers, were gathering there.

After the meeting breaks up, Maia asks Calanna about unicorns. Is true what they say? Calanna sighs. She tells Maia that a unicorn will accept any rider that is virtuous, you don’t need to be a virgin. This is something of a relief to Maia, as she always wanted to ride a unicorn. However, she doubts that she is virtuous enough after all she’s done. She probably enjoys killing too much. You need to be virtuous, not a virgin. Maia would like to meet one.

Faith says that Maia is one of the nicest people he knows. Maia isn’t sure that this is a compliment considering the company that Faith has been keeping. But Faith is adamant that he thinks so much of Maia that he even considers her to be a person. She is touched.

The party go and see the coin collecting unicorn of Lady Callana, called Whitespear and his companion Snowdream. Maia passes him some coins from the destroyed word and he seems to appreciate it.

23 Stormwrack 1083 PS

The following day, an elf called Yelth arrives and introduces the party to their mounts – flying giant owls. The trio head to the menagerie in the centre of the city. It is a massive area containing manner of beasts. They climb steps to free floating platforms where they meet the owls Rossht, Quill and Maegar. They take off and fly to Icewall. Maegar carries Maia.

From above the party can see motionless figures through the ice in frozen city. The cold is holding, but it looks as though something got in there (according to Quarlius). He can see a tunnel carved through the ice into the town. It is about 15 feet wide – about the size a remorahaz would leave. Quarlius is worried. The monster radiates enormous heat. It could be melting Icewall from within.

The party look for for the entrance tunnel, and find an opening some distance from the environs of Icewall. The capricious Faith tries to push Maia in but misses and slides in head first into the hole. His companies and the elves mistake his clumsiness for enthusiasm.

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Karris’Mhor – Session 120

Players: Malcolm Campbell (Baron Faith), Neil McClean (Maia), Neil Simpson (Quarlius)
Date: 23 July 2014

22 Stormwrack 1083 PS

It is the end. The destruction of the entire world. A terrible howling scream tells of the final defeat of the Queen of Air and Darkness. She realises Moradin’s plan too late. Faith, Quarlius and Maia stand in the eye of the storm, as a broiling jumble of reality whirls around them. Magic is profoundly altered, and a spell plague rolls across the Feywild. Fortunately our heroes resist its effects.

A funnel opens in the ground, giving a glimpse of all the horror and majesty of Moradin’s new creation. Sights that mortal minds were not meant to see and cannot comprehend. Maia and Quarlius fall unconscious and tumble into the breach. Faith manages to hold on, and reaches out to grab his companions. He cannot hold them and they drag him into the vortex. He is awake for the journey through the dimensions, his mind naked and exposed. Eventually he blacks out, but not before he has already seen too much.

Time passes. Quarlius and Maia wake up at at much the same moment. Faith is clinging to Quarlius like a child. The pair are awake in in an icy, snowy plain with a pink sky and twinkling stars. Quarlius shrugs off Faith, and Maia wakes him with some gentle kicking.

Quarlius thinks he can see a spire in the very distant horizon. The baron, dragging himself awake, believes that he knows where they are. The trip to the vortex has left him with half-memories of many places he has never visited or even heard off. This, Faith thinks, is the the realm Tel’Nix. It’s an elven realm. That would mean that the trio have returned from to the right planet, but are far away from Karris’Mhor on the continent of Anterus – the realm of the living virus, Maia quickly points out. “How do we get home with no magic?” she asks – none of the party’s previous abilities or magical items seem to be functioning… not even the Sword of Venta. Both Rulissa and Balthasar were lost in the explosion. Quarlius points to the tower. The tower of Anterus he calls it. It’s as good a place as any to start.

Maia’s resistance to the cold gives her ample time to spend the journey to the tower questioning what they have wrought. She is desperate for news of the friends they left behind, and can only focus on getting back to Karris’Mhor as quickly as possible. She quickly becomes tiresome.

Faith collapses due to the cold on the way to the tower, so Maia carries him. He is large and heavy for a dragonborn, but Maia has little trouble in lifting him. As they approach, they see that the tower is made of ice and that a purple beam of energy shooting out of the top, 1000 ft up. This beam is what is making the the horizon pink. There is a powerful artefact powering this, a mythal, says Quarlius. Such a thing could only be made by an eladrin high mage.

As they approach, the party hear a grinding and scraping noise. An ornate gateway draws itself in front of us in the ice. Gate swings open and a man composed of ice walks out. He has eladrin features. He introduces himself as Haestes, and bids them welcome.

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Karris’Mhor – Session 7

Players: Malcolm Campbell (Baron Faith), Neil McClean (Gellis Tarn)
Date: 23 December 2008

Morday, 8 Allsend 1082 PS

Slightly over a week has passed since the bloodbath in the Docklands, and Duke Comet is still to make a move in retaliation. Relaxing at the town house of Baron Sarlan, taking tea in preparation for his meeting with the green dragonborn, Helman Faith reflects that he just might have got away from it.

He has taken certain precautions since the wanton carnage. Distancing himself from that nutcase Amman was an important first step. He has also put Gellis on the payroll full-time, just in case he needs protection. Gellis is in the kitchens now, helping themselves to Sarlan’s provisions. Hopefully the elf’s presence will not be necessary, and Faith can enjoy an extended period without his life being placed in jeopardy.

Faith looks up as Baron Sarlan enters the room. The green dragonborn is as inscrutable as ever. Sarlan sits down opposite Faith and regards him gravely. He has bad news. No not the Dukes. Neither Duke Comet nor Duke Crucible seem to have realised that Faith has been persistantly working against there interests. This is something altogether more unsettling, and something that hits the Baron closer to home.

“What do you know of the Tangled Skein?” Sarlan rasps. Faith has heard of them: a nasty bunch of necromancers, demonologists and life-splicers. What of them? Sarlan says that the a large force of Tangled Skein left Karris’Mhor yesterday and are heading east across the Darkenmere toward the Aventurine Hills. More specifically, they are going to Faith Holds: Baron Faith’s lucrative holdings in that area.

Sarlan does not know why the Skein are moving such a force through the swamp, neither does he know what their intentions might be when they get there. However, as Faith Holds is one of the main sources of Karris’Mhor’s aventurine supply, he suggests that stopping them should be Faith’s new priority. Now that this intelligence has been delivered, Sarlan must bid Faith good day. He has another, more important guest in his home.

Faith takes his leave of Sarlan, carefully weighing the import of his mentor’s words. He ignores Gellis’s chirpy blather as the pair leave Sarlan’s townhouse and return to Faith’s own abode (about two doors up). It is when they are halfway between the two, that they are ambushed by a group of hideous and misshapen undead, and their black-robed masters. Faith never thought such creatures would be able to find their way into the Secret City. He quickly defends himself.

The fight looks lost before it has begun, until help arrives from an unexpected quarter. A kobold, a moloke dragonborn and two dwarves rush forward to assist Baron Faith and his companion. Even in the heat of battle, Faith notices that both the kobold and the moloke work for him. They are each sporting the family crest of the House of Mhor, and he recognises them from Faith Holds. The kobold is Crux, a trusted member of the allied kobold clans. The moloke is one of the sergeants-of-the-guard of Faith’s own militia. What are they doing in Karris’Mhor? Their presence, the undead and Sarlan’s message can hardly be a coinicidence.

The fight is brutal and lengthy, but the arrival of Crux and his allies turns the tide against the necromancers and their creations. They dispatch the unliving beasties and, with gargantuan effort, manage to render one of the necromancers unconscious. Standing over the prone form of the black-robed villain, Faith thanks Crux for his timely arrival. There is evidently much to discuss, but this may not be the time or the place.

Heavily-armed members of the Royal Guard now arrive on the road. Faith senses that the mystery behind this attack is not necessarily something he wants to share with the soldiers, or their masters. Using his own position, and the authority of Baron Sarlan, Faith takes charge of the situation. He dismisses the Royal Guard and orders his servants to carry the unconscious body of the necromancer into Sarlan’s town house. Gellis ties the body securely to a chair, and then searches his belongings. In addition to the usual paraphernalia of infamy, Gellis finds a glass orb that he hands to the baron.

Faith accepts it, and then turns to quiz his retainers. Why are they here in the Secret City? And can they tell him anything about these necromancers? Crux says that he has journeyed all this way to show Baron Faith an odd mineral that has been recovered from the Faith Mine up in Faith Holds. “You have a mine?” Gellis asks. Faith ignores him, as he watches the kobol rummage around in his bag. Crux produces an odd crystalline substance, purple in hue. He says that it is possessed of feint magical characteristics, although no-one in Faith Holds has been able to identify it. Faith examines the material closely, but cannot learn any more from it. He turns back to Crux. Obviously, there is more.

The kobold nods. Faith Holds is haunted. None of the inhabitants venture out of doors at night. They are frightened. “You have a whole town?” Gellis asks. Crux ignores him. Crux speculates that perhaps something has been disturbed in the mine, but has no evidence of this. He knows that it is much to ask, but could the baron return with him and put an end to all this trouble? Faith smiles grimly. He thinks he can fit that in with his plans.

But what of the dwarves? Baron Faith looks sternly at Baggie and Athik Bloodiron. How are they connected with this? Crux reports that a large number of dwarves from the Bloodiron Clan stopped over at Lake Faith a few weeks ago. “You have a lake?” Gellis asks. He doesn’t expect a response. Most of the dwarves moved on to Karris’Mhor, but three remained to help against the undead. Two of them agreed to help protect Crux on the trip back to Karris’Mhor.

Faith nods knowingly, and thanks the dwarves for their assistance. It seems that any other answers are going to have to come from their prisoner. He orders Gellis to wake him up. Gellis looks around and spies a vase on an elegant darkwood dresser. He dumps the flowers and throws the water over the necromancer. The villain splutters and opens his eyes. Realising his predicament he struggles vainly against his bonds.

Baron Faith moves in to begin the interrogation. Who is he? Who does he work for? Why is he here? Gellis has to admit that the baron has a talent for inspiring bowel-loosening terror in his enemies. It takes a lot to put the frighteners on a necromancer, but Faith certainly has the right stuff. The man says that his name is Edric. He is a member of the Weavers Guild, although that is not where his allegiance lies. He has been hired by the Tangled Skein.

Faith colours himself unsurprised. What was the nature of the employ? Edric looks nervous, and is sweating profusely, as if he fears what will happen if he reveals any further secrets. The baron senses this and tries take a different tact.

What other crimes has he perpetrated on behalf of the Skein? What sort of man is the baron dealing with? Edric gleefully confesses to abducting a young child from the head of the Guild of Husbandry, for torturing a member of the City Watch for information about Skein members he held in custody and then killing the guard afterwards. Edric’s litany of atrocities is impressive, and he seems quite proud of them. Faith asks again: what was the nature of your mission. This time Edric slips up.

He says that he was ordered to target the scaled ones (meaning Crux and the Sergeant-at-arms). The aim was to retrieve any gems, rocks and pebbles they might have been carrying. Edric has now been overtaken by a deathly pallor. Cold sweat is running down his face. The ropes are straining under a renewed desire to be free. And is he getting bigger?

“Boss?” prompts Gellis, retreating to the other side of the room and drawing his bow. “Mr F? You’re seeing that, right?” But Baron Faith isn’t finished. Who are his masters? How does Faith contact them? Edric nods to the orb. “They contacted me through that. Imps. I can’t contact them myself!” Faith looks down at the orb in his hand. It is pulsing with an infernal light. And then it shatters.

At the same moment the ropes holding the necromancer burst, and the prisoner staggers to his feet. But this is no longer Edric the Weaver. A huge misshapen undead monstrosity stands in his place, and this horrid creature lunges for Faith.

Gellis lets fly with an arrow, planting it firmly in the monsters chest. Faith quickly steps backwards allowing Crux, the Sergeant and the two Bloodirons to swarm the beastie. Gellis can no longer get a clear shot at the monster. Swearing inventively, he draws his swords and moves in.

The undead creature is extremely resistant to damage. Gellis dances in and out of combat like a fairy, staying outside the range of the monster’s claws, and allowing it to pound on the dwarves instead. A combination of flailing fists, swords, axes and breath-weapons succeed in breaking Sarlan’s antique chairs, upending a bookcase and bringing down a chandelier. But eventually, the creature is destroyed.

Faith quickly scans the damage to Baron Sarlan’s study, as he hears the sound of heavy footsteps quickly approaching the room. The double doors are thrown open and an enormous blue dragonborn stands framed in the doorway. He is holding a staff in his hand that crackles with electrical energy. Rather than leap into the fray the newcomer puts his hand on his hip, poses and turns his good side to the assembled. “It’s all right, I’m here!” he booms.

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Karris’Mhor – Session 6

Players: Daniel Coleman (Amman), Malcolm Campbell (Baron Faith), James Dean-Hughes (Phaid), Neil McClean (Gellis Tarn), Neil Simpson (Quarlius), Graham Reynolds (Bruce)
Date: 9 September 2008

Zethusday, 27 Geomyr 1082 PS

That evening is the first Baron Faith and Quarlius hear of Phaid’s “simple plan”. On the whole, the baron likes it. Having been forced into a situation where they have to deal with Croxamkellvandarlis (Faith glares at Gellis), this seems to be a reasonable compromise. But he wants more intelligence first.

He wants to know what sort of resistance they can expect to face at the warehouse. That’s where Bruce, Phaid and Gellis come in. He wants them to stake out the place. Secondly, he wants to know more about Croxamkellvandarlis and the Key to the Crucible. Quarlius can add no more than he has already, so the baron suggests he consults some more learned historians. Quarlius says that there’s a large library and a wealth of historical and archaeological knowledge at the Explorers Society. He can try and gain access to that.

Faith says that he doesn’t want Quarlius going alone. He has reason to suspect that that they have more enemies in this city than they realise. For completely separate reasons, each member of the party finds this very easy to believe. Faith suggests that Quarlius take Amman with him. The tiefling can masquerade as Quarlius’s slave for the evening. Quarlius agrees to the plan, and tells Amman to wait here at the guild while he goes and finds the necessary funds to gain access to the Explorers Society.

Quarlius heads into the Orchard District and to the Golden House, the embassy of his people in Karris’Mhor. He speaks to the ambassador, Quintantantus of the Seven Branches, and explains Baron Faith’s plan. It is clear that Quarlius himself has an ulterior motive in being the baron’s lackey, and Quintantantus is keen that he keep on the baron’s good side. He gives Quarlius the funds he requires, and writes a letter of introduction for him.

As Gellis, Bruce and Phaid watch the dockland headquarters of Travis and his gang, Quarlius and Amman head to the Explorers Society. A large and well-presented town house that is also in the Orchard District. Quarlius is met at the door by the major-domo, who takes his coat and his slave. It is evening by this time, and Quarlius is told that a number of members of the society are meeting in the lounge. He is welcome to join them.

Amman is shown down to a number of holding cells beneath the society. As far as slave conditions go, they are rather swish. He has a comfortable bed in which to wait for his master, and the door is not locked when the housemaster leaves. Amman decides that Quarlius isn’t in any danger, and relaxes on the bed. He is most pleased when the kitchens send down a hot meal an hour later.

Quarlius arrives in the plush society lounge. There are four individuals present in the room. Baronet Sirruk is a green dragonborn and renowned historian. Viscount Thessis, a white dragonborn, is an accomplished explorer and famous in the society. The other two are the dwarf, Lord Vingar Bloodiron and the beautiful, Elysia Llewellyn, daughter of Tristram Llewellyn, the richest merchant prince in Karris’Mhor.

They are discussing a venture proposed by Lady Llewellyn and Lord Bloodiron, to take a force from Karris’Mhor into the mountains and discover the fate of the lost dwarven clanhold of Bjernloggedden. Bloodiron is the rightful ruler of that city, and he believes that the goblin raiders that drove the dwarves away centuries ago will have long since departed. For her part, Lady Elysia wants the adventure and the chance to prove herself in the eyes of the Society and (Quarlius thinks), her father.

Neither of the dragonborn think much of the scheme. It’s too dangerous, and too little chance of reward. What are they actually going to find out there besides goblins and deaths? Brokengeld (as Bjernloggedden has become known) is too far from Karris’Mhor, through much too difficult terrain. They would need a large force, and the means to equip and supply them. And what fool is going to pay for that?

Quarlius joins their discussions, and is happy to speak of the adventure and the romance of such an expedition. In this, he is of the same mind as Lady Elysia who is evidently over-awed by the wonder of it all. In fact Quarlius’s attempts to ingratiate himself onto Lady Elysia are so successful that she thinks he wants to come with them on the expedition. Not seeing a way that he can back-pedal without causing offence, Quarlius says that he would love to come, but his destiny is tied to that of Baron Faith. If the baron decides to patronise the mission, and even to come along, then it would his pleasure to travel to Bjernloggedden. Lady Elysia says that she will work on Baron Faith.

Quarlius now makes his own enquiries. Sirruk tells him much about the Guardians and the Guardian Wars, and how each of the eight dragons gained and lost their positions of power. Some of this Quarlius knows, and some of it is new. Interesting, the dragonborn says that the eight Keys were more than just tokens. The Keys granted the holders the ability to appoint the new Prince Consort. The Iron Dukes (such as Duke Crucible) only have this power because they have the Key. And if they have given that key away – if Duke Crucible gave it to his son, for example – then that power would move to his son.

Quarlius begins to see what might happen if they go through with their plan. If they take the Key to Crucible from Griff and give it to Croxam, then Griff loses power in relation to the four other Iron Dukes. This will obviously make him quite cross. Croxam could then bestow the Key on anyone he liked, creating a different voter when it comes to decide who will succeed Prince Yarin as consort.

After a few more drinks, Quarlius gathers Amman and returns to Baron Faith. Faith says that on balance, the original plan must hold. Hopefully, the theft would be traced back to the Gentlemen and not to them. They leave to meet up with Gellis, Phaid and Bruce.

The mercenaries inform the baron that the place is well guarded, but that the warehouse juts out from the shore. There is a cargo hatch on the underside of the building to unload boats. They should be able to sneak in that way in Phaid’s boat and take care of business. The baron agrees. These are grim times, and he must certainly not be identified by the mobsters. “Remember,” he says. “No survivors.”

Sunday, 28 Geomyr 1082 PS

A little after midnight, Phaid’s boat quietly moors under the warehouse. The party of six burst up through the floor and a massive battle ensues. They have surprised Travis and his paid killers, but this advantage does not last for long. It is a furious and deadly battle, and Gellis is alarmed to find himself a whisker away from mêlée combat on more than one occasion. However, soon the tide starts to turn in the party’s favour, and the mission becomes all about killing their enemies before they can escape.

Baron Faith seizes Travis’s mind and compels him backward. He falls through the hatch into Phaid’s boat, where he grabs the oars and starts to escape. Bruce and Gellis race after him. Bruce jumps into the boat and wrestles with Travis while Gellis shoots arrows at them both. Eventually, Bruce succeeds in killing the mobster but loses his body over the side of the boat. Gellis is forced to dive in and retrieve it.

A short time later the dead bodies of Travis and his mob are laid down on the floor in the warehouse. The question is, how do they leave a message for the Gentlemen? Amman has an idea, strips Travis’s body and begins to scrawl on the mobster’s back with his wicked curved dagger. He isn’t sure what to say, and a number of crossings out make the back all but unintelligible. But Amman has the blood-lust now.

Faith looks at his companions, who shrug impotently as Amman races around the warehouse desecrating as many bodies as he can. Ostensibly this is in the name of his goddess, but he really seems to enjoy it. He cuts off Travis’s head and, inserting his hand into the neck, makes a crude glove-puppet.

On the whole, this isn’t the sort of impression that Baron Faith wants to leave for the Gentlemen of the Black Rose.

Gellis points out that the first thing that Duke Comet is going to do when he finds these men is to bring in a cleric and Speak with Dead. At which point Baron Faith gets fingered. “So we need to cut off all the heads!” yells Amman with glee. Gellis was more thinking of taking the bodies and dumping them in the swamp for the crocodiles to eat. Faith agrees.

Amman is aghast. All his artistic work trying to leave the Gentlemen a message written in intestines and punctuated by kidneys. Surely it can’t go to waste? Faith informs him that it certainly can go to waste. He isn’t in the business of this sort of blood-letting. As for the Gentlemen, they have to assume that they were watching this place and they know what has transpired. They need to clear up and clear out. Then they must wait for the Gentlemen to come to them.

Leaving his minions to clear up the mess and dispose of the bodies, Faith returns to his town house in the Secret City to burn his clothes and have a much needed rest. He then settles back to wait to hear from the Gentlemen of the Black Rose. He does not have to wait long. A message comes mid-morning, and an hour later he and Quarlius are participating in a clandestine meeting with shadowy figures.

The Gentlemen are grateful for the baron’s actions, but realise that he wouldn’t have done them a favour if he didn’t have an ulterior motive. Faith says this is quite true, and explains the heist that he wishes them to perform on his behalf. Knowing of the nature of the Gentlemen, Faith plays up the danger and the difficulty of the task. It is a challenge that they must rise to. And they agree.

Morday, 1 Allsend 1082 PS

The Key to the Crucible is delivered to Baron Faith in the Secret City early in the morning. There is also a note from the Gentlemen stating that they consider the debt repaid. Apparently, the key was in the possession of Marques Kellit. Faith wonders how long before Kellit or Duke Griff realises the theft, and ponders what would happen if they ever traced it back to him.

Faith collects Quarlius and then heads to the Mercenaries Guild to gather his flunkies. The six take Phaid’s boat and return to the Undercity and the domain of Croxamkellvandarlis. The black dragon is waiting for them expectantly, and is extremely happy to once more have the Key to the Crucible in his possession. He hands over the scroll without hesitation.

Now that he has the Key, Croxam says that he can take leave of this place and that he will be able to regain his true size and power. Gellis already thought he was plenty big. The dragon spreads his wings, shaking the chamber that he occupies. Rubble falls from the ceiling, opening a channel to the open air. The dragon takes flight and he is gone.

Baron Faith returns to his townhouse to change, and then sends words that he wishes to meet with Baron Sarlan. He looks at the scroll tube lying on his bed. He is under strict instructions not to open it and, wanting to make a good impression on Sarlan, he decides it’s best to do as he is told. After all, if you can’t trust Baron Sarlan who can you trust?

Late in the day the Scroll of Tanmash’Mhor is delivered to Sarlan, who is grateful that Faith has managed to retrieve it with a “minimum of fuss”. Cash rewards are sent to the mercenaries, and Faith feels certain that he has gained respect in his mentor’s eyes.

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Karris’Mhor – Session 5

Players: Daniel Coleman (Amman), James Dean-Hughes (Phaid), Neil McClean (Gellis Tarn), Graham Reynolds (Bruce)
Date: 19 August 2008

Phiksday, 26 Geomyr 1082 PS

Gellis, Phaid, Quarlius and Vex dig out Baron Faith. Gellis wonders at the baron’s predilection for being buried under large amounts of masonry. When they recover Faith he is unconscious and very nearly dead. With no healing skills between then, and Amman not present, the party have no choice but to carry him back to the service. But what to say to Croxam? The dragon is waiting for an answer.

Gellis says that he’ll handle it. The elf, Bruce and Phaid return to the chamber where the black dragon is waiting for them. The choice is obvious: they either agree to the dragon’s terms, or they fight him. Gellis doesn’t want to fight the dragon. That strikes him as rather silly. He talks to Croxam and wants to make sure that he understands the situation correctly.

“If we obtain this Key of the Crucible for you, then you’ll hand over the scroll. All fair and above board? No unnecessary killing or dying?” Croxam says that he will. Well, Gellis can’t see the harm in lending a hand here. He seals the deal with the dragon by shaking him by the claw, and then returns to the others.

Phaid and Gellis carry the baron out of the corridor and back through the double doors to the goblin’s chamber. Fortunately, all the sleeping goblins have awoken and fled. Faith is unceremoniously dragged on his back through the sewer and back to Phaid’s boat. The group then returns to Karris’Mhor.

Quarlius and Vex take the baron to somewhere he can get help. Meanwhile Bruce, Phaid and Gellis return to the Explorers Society. The trio meet up with Amman and, to celebrate not being dead, and embark on a wild frenzy of drug-induced abandon. Well, Gellis does anyway. Bruce nurses one toad all evening, while Gellis manages to consume most of the Brunt Bverantbørn’s supplies.

It is during this evening, that Gellis once again crosses swords with the Blue Owl – or the Pink Wombat, as Gellis now insists on calling him. The Blue Owl’s companions are spoiling for fight, and Gellis’s companions are spoiling to be somewhere else. Has the constant baiting, jibes and insults finally got the best of the Blue Owl? Is Gellis going to get his comeuppance? The elf is rather too stoned to care either way.

Zethusday, 27 Geomyr 1082 PS

Gellis wakes up in a hammock slung between the third floor of the Mercenaries Guild and an adjacent building. He is about thirty feet from the ground. His tongue is roughly three times the size it should be, he can hear nothing for the pounding behind his eyes and his stomach feels as though he’s consumed a dozen live eels. He also notices that he’s wearing high heels, suspenders and at least three quarters of an elegant pink ball gown. “Good night,” he surmises.

Grasping the side of the hammock, Gellis begins to shinny his way back to the Mercenaries Guild, and succeeds in climbing in through an open window. Breaking into his quarters, Gellis leaves the dress on the bed of the Blue Owl and then heads back to his own room, where he changes into more traditional raggedy attire. He keeps the suspenders just in case.

Heading down to the common room, Gellis sees the Blue Owl and his friends who are laughing raucously. He smiles and heads over to them. “Nice one,” he says extending the hand of friendship to the Blue Owl. However, the Blue Owl is not accepting such a gesture. Something in Gellis’s demeanour offends him again, and he storms out. “I thought we were friends!” Gellis calls after him as the Blue Owl departs in a huff.

Meanwhile, Amman is out in the city administering the will of Tiamat to anyone who will sit still long enough to suffer it. He has been briefed over the events in the sewers, and thinks that one of his many shady contacts might be able to shed some light on what is happening. He wants the word on the street.

Remarkably, Amman’s contact is even more scruffy and disreputable than he is. Amman takes the old codger into a near-by bar and plies him with two large jars of beer. Alcohol is well beyond the man’s means and he is happy to spill what he knows: which isn’t much and doesn’t seem at all related to anything the party is currently investigating.

The raving old loon tells Amman of dirty business going on in the Docklands. There’s a mobster called Travis: a right nasty piece of work. He’s breaking legs and taking names. Shaking down the local criminal underclass for anything they known on the Gentlemen of the Black Rose. Amman blinks at his uncomprehendingly. Wiping the froth from his sore-ridden chin, the contact ‘reminds’ the tiefling that the Gentlemen are a bunch of high class thieves. Rumour has it they’re the sons of noble dragonborn. They steal things for larks. A bunch of hooray-henries in his book.

Word is that one of the Gentlemen has knocked up one of the six daughters of Duke Marnik of the Comet. Seems old Duke Comet isn’t too thrilled by this turn of events, and he’s asked Travis to look into the matter for him. It’s only a matter of time before Travis finds them, and then who knows what will happen? The Gentlemen have a code. They don’t kill. That puts them at a disadvantage against men like Travis.

Amman thanks the raggedy man and returns to the Mercenaries Guild, where he meets his scummy companions. When he retells his story, a plan begins to form between them. If indeed Duke Griff has the Key to Crucible then there’s no way that they can go and steal it from him. Subtlety and stealth isn’t really their style – at least not on the scale that would be required to pull this off. What they’re good at is random destruction and murder.

Now the Gentlemen of the Black Rose are just the sort of thieves capable of pulling off the heist that is required. And the party are the sort of cut-throats capable of sorting out a man like Travis. It seems to Phaid that what they have is an obvious case of you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours.

They should go out and take down Travis. That will gain them goodwill with the Gentlemen. Then the Gentlemen can get them the Key to the Crucible, that they will give to Croxamkellvandarlis, who will give the Scroll of Tanmash’Mhor to Baron Faith, who will give it to Baron Sarlan who will then pony up the cash for Phaid, Gellis, Bruce and Amman.

A simple plan, surely.

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