East of Winter

State of Play 3
Here there be Dragons

These are dark times my friends.  Many of us are preparing for our annual pilgrammage to face the Dragon.  I am working on the suit of armor that will protect my very life as I wrestle the great Wyrm for three solid days.  While this is happening, I will be unable to run D&D.  

But, we've got two other GMs that might be able to do it.  So if you guys want to play please coordinate with them.  If you need books or resources just let me know.

Thanks and happy Dragon Con to all!

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The Battle of the Warrens 1469

The chattering and yipping could be heard hundreds of feet away. It had begun, the first of what I am sure will be many battles. The gnolls can no longer be allowed to live. Coming up behind the gnoll skirmish line, their destruction was all but certain. Within seconds, all 30 of the gnolls were electrified, burnt, or ripped apart by my undead army. It was glorious. I never knew how amazing the smell of war is.

Marching further into the warrens, our war party found what appeared to b e their leader, under the possession of some demonic power. After cutting off the head of the snake, all remaining gnolls turned and fled, scattering to the winds with the help of their extensive underground tunnel network. 

Having struck a heavy blow (complete victory in battle and the death of the gnoll leader), our group left the warrens. I don't believe this is the end of it, though. I'm sure we just started a war… and I couldn't be happier. History will remember this battle as the beginning.

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Welcome to town
Let's burn a tree down

At the point where I had finally lost count of the days I’ve been in this dreadful caravan, we reach a quaint little town. It’s probably for the best that I can part ways with my dwarfish companions because I think they may finally becoming suspicious. I joined as a matter of convenience and have kept my place by keeping them informed of their ‘futures’. While they love when I read their cards, they haven’t figured out that things are serious when the death card shows up. For some reason they still hadn’t caught on that death cards and disappearing usually go hand in hand, not that I would have anything to do with it. It’s just what the cards read. Funny how the death card only shows up after someone has pissed me off…

Anyway, Leader Leadfoot (Lady Irontoe, whatever) caught wind of this little town, I decided it might be the perfect time to part ways. As much as I enjoy being able to eat without having to do the work to get the food, I am OVER being around this many dwarves. After a quick look around, it seems the perfect spot to settle for a bit. There seems to be a good variety of creatures and even someone as colorful as me can blend in. The leader of this place (Cradle? Or something) met with Leadfoot and invited us to stick around. She looks wild. She’s got glowing eyes and a TAIL! (No really, an actual tail.) And this is the leader. Wow. Blending in is going to be easier than I thought. I’ve gone from a caravan to a whole new carnival of crazy.

I stopped by the tavern to get a drink and met a couple of the locals. (The barmaid sparkles… I think I’m going to like this place.) A human man named Zanneth was talking to this tall Elf man Alcadizzar (seems like a lot… I’m gonna call him Dizzy. He’ll like it.) The conversation is about a special tree. Z seems into it cause he likes Wood. (hmph.)  Apparently, it grows ruby fruit, life-saving or poisonous or something. (I mean, I guess it could go either way.) The goal is to go find the tree and burn it down. Seems like a waste, but I figured I’d tag along to see what happens. I was thinking maybe I could get a sprig and regrow my own fruity tree? (Make some money??) They notice me listening in and invite me to come.

Glowy-eyed tail girl, who’s name is apparently Abby, is gung-ho about me coming along, but “staying close” so I don’t get hurt. (That’s nice of her but it’s not like I would let that happen, hah!) There are several more people coming with us, and I’m trying to figure out how we’re getting the crowd to the tree. Elf man TELEPORTS us (like, one minute all of us are in town and poof holy cow, we’re in a sunken cave!) to the castle where he collected a book. (I need to figure out how Dizzy does that.) Abby and Dizzy tell “B squad” to stick around and check things out, while the two of them, Z, Napa, and I head further underground. (I hate being underground, but I begrudgingly follow.) They explain that the tree is magic so doesn’t need light so it’s white not green (weird). It can also control bushes, too. (Super.)

Once we get into an open cavern, things seem okay, but Abby is very on edge. She was right, slugs start falling off the ceiling!! These are not normal little garden variety slugs. They have beaks and seem to hurt Dizzy, glance off Abby, but miss Z altogether. We start trying to kill the slugs and a big stalactite on the ceiling turns into a really ugly blobby creature with tentacles. Abby charges in to fight, Z is shooting arrows like a boss, and Dizzy is floating around the room throwing fire. (Pretty badass group I’m with. I hang back and try to ‘help’ from a distance.) Slimy tentacle ends up grabbing me to pull me towards it’s mouth, I’m not having it. Dizzy throws more fire and the tentacle holding me is severed. (Thanks man.) We end up kicking its ass (I totally helped, and did all the things) and continue into the caverns.

We find the tree. It really is enormous (and white. Kinda creepy.) There are two ‘guards’ for lack of a better description of them, but they seem really off. (It’s like, they used to be human, but now they look more like the tree. Eww.) Abby and Dizzy engage in a conversation and it seems like this is going to be a pretty easy adventure. (I was wrong.) Dizzy notices the fruit was ready and floats up on his saucer to grab it. (This is apparently the “good fruit” and not the deadly poisonous one…oh well.) Abby wants to use it to try to cure/free girl guard from the hold of the tree. (I feel like we could just take it and make a fruit salad, sell it, and get a little money, but these people are apparently bettter than I am.) She’s not eating the Ruby Fruit no matter what Abby or I say, (honestly I’m not trying to convience her all that hard, cause if she doesn’t want it, maybe we can keep it.) So eventually they agree that Napa should give it a shot. (I know this is going to go REALLY WELL because Napa is in one word Enthusiastic. At this point, I’m ready to step back and watch this go down. Should be fun.) As expected, it comes to blows, and Napa pounds this girl… also as expected, they go from nice to fight ready in one face punch. Dizzy is throwing fire, preaching about some god named Rhollor. Abby is all up in the fight. Napa is hitting anything that moves. And Zanny is shooting arrows. (He has a face punch arrow that is pretty effective and entertaining.) I am not good at throwing fire yet, (maybe I can learn from Dizzy… he’s a pro). I give up engaging in the fight, hide, and try my hand at distraction by having a ‘big bad’ come around the corner. (I think they said his name was Skulk, and he is a HUGE ASS lizard man. It seemed like it could be good distraction… Too bad it wasn’t as successful as I was hoping.) The tree is burning, Dizzy hits it with more fire, cause why not? Once the tree looks like it is losing its battle with fire, the two guards are down and start molting off the bark skin. (again, eww.) Once the girl starts waking up, Abby starts feeding her the special fruit a bite at a time. She seems to regain herself and figure out what’s going on. She wants the rest of the fruit, but Abby asks if she thought it could work on both her and the man. She really wakes up when she realizes the man is here. Abby helps her over to the man. He’s waking up and doesn’t want to share the fruit. He seems to think they can’t share it… ensue short argument, Dizzy and Abby decide they should both try the fruit. (I bring up the fact that if one bite will save each of them, we could always cut up the rest to share with more people for a nominal fee. I was wrong again. I’m sensing a trend.) Dizzy and Abby have a side conversation about some lady back at Cradle knowing that these people were here. They don’t seem happy about it.

Z and I collect a little ash from the outer parts of the burning tree pile. Who knows, could be useful later. Z estimates that the tree will take about 5 hours to burn out completely, so the group decides to head back to town for the night. After a nights rest, the group gets a little suspicious that things went well, too easily. We use the ash to teleport back to the spot of the tree. (Your welcome for the ASH!) Immediately, Abby and Dizzy notice that something is wrong. The guys dig through ashes as find a rectangular hole. Z checks his book (a vampire hunter’s journal or something, sounds legit.) Dread dawns on everyone’s faces as they realize evil tree existed because it grew from a stake through a vampire’s heart. (Trying not to be too excited about this… they seem really fearful.) We apparently released an over 500 year old vampire. (oops)

((It wasn’t until after the fact that anyone even thought about the fact that B squad was still around when old vampy got out… double oops.))

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The Deep Terror

Pitt, he first mate from the trade ship at the pier came to Cradle looking for help. He must've been truly desperate to ask me. His Captain, Garrett, had been acting strangely. Most recently, he had taken 3 men late at night off somewhere. Pitt hadn't seen any of them since. His explanation seemed terribly tedious to me; it was obvious that an Aboleth had taken control of the captain. Pitt did offer to pay us though, and I need money. Soraya, Esmeralda, Nocturne, Runt, and I set off to take care of the problem.

We get to the Pier, ask a couple questions, find out this has been going on for a while. Garrett has taken at least 3 seperate groups with him, at steady intervals. He's due back in town the next day. So we wait, then follow Garrett and his 3 new followers to a cave at the mouth of a waterfall. Runt dispels the mind control holding Garrett, and we send the group on their way. I enter the cave first, surrounded by 22 Teds. Somehow bringing that many bodies into the cave caused a traffic jam (totally unintentional, the skeletons weren't playing goalie or anything). Well while everyone's dealing with a pile of bones, a cloaker snatches me up. Too bad we didn't let Garrett's men go in the cave. I wouldn't have been nearly killed if we had. In either case, the Teds get their act together, my cohorts save me from a smothering, and the Aboleth surfaces shortly thereafter (see, it was obviously going to be an Aboleth). Turns out, though, that 22 Teds are somewhat deadly. It gets turned into a pin cushion, we loot its lair, everyone has a good time: I got to see the devastation my army can wreak, the more… moral people got to save a handful of people.

Really, though, this only served to solidify that I'm the smartest person alive. The mystery of the Aboleth really was elementary.

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Introducing Woodies the Lumber Emporium

Unfortunately, due to a couple of unresolved disagreements with the Lumber Cartels in Belchamp it is no longer safe to call the lumber mill, Got Wood. So without skipping a beat, the mill and attached store will now be known as Woodies the Lumber Emporium. I’ve still got all the lumber you could possibly ever need, from the finest oaks and pines you don’t want to chop down yourself to things like our famous whisper wood*.

 

Don’t want or have the time to build something with my fine wood, Not A Problem, I’ve also got an extensive collection of completed wood furniture and items all made right here in Sprigand. Feel the need to move, but not go anywhere? How about the comfiest chestnut rocking chairs you’ll ever plop your butt in. Maybe you want to lay on your side and eat? Then might I suggest one of my timeless redwood klinai. I guarantee** you’ll be the envy of your friends and other people will want to be you or with you. 

 

So come by and see me, Zannath Nat, and let’s get my wood in your hands.


 

*Listening to whisper wood may lead to body swaps, lost in the jungle syndrome, wood spirit trickery, devil pacts, etc. Not guaranteed to whisper.

**Not a guarantee

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Guilty Spark 312, The Tower's Keeper

An Iron Golem, named Keeper (his friends call him Jeeves), guards the Alchemist's Tower. The golem's master hasn't been there for 514 years. Either the Edict took his master, or his master is the Abandoned. I'm pretty sure Keeper has free will… to an extent. He serves his master unerringly, but he didn't have to give us the potion the first time we were here, and he didn't have to let us into the tower.

The tower was once a wizard's college. It will be again. I will resurrect it, make it more than it once was. Out here, beyond the influence of the Archmagus, true magic can be wrought. Magic borne from experimentation and curiosity, from a lust for knowledge, unshackled from the traditions of Remidon. I will learn to mold the world around me, to breathe life into existence. And I will teach those who would dare to learn what true power is. Creation suits me. 

The only problem is that the only way into the tower is through a portal hidden deep within the Faerie Forest. I hate the fey. I'm sure given time, I can remedy this problem in one way or another. As always, magic will solve all problems.

I hope Jeeves doesn't have to die in order for my dreams to come to fruition. He's a beautiful specimen. I envy his creator. 

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The Return to Virtum Sol
Uh oh. Skulk made a boo-boo.

Skulk has had better adventures than Virtum Sol.

You understand, yes, Skulk did not mean to release an ancient evil? You understand Skulk did not want to make talking-bones-lich mad?

Ho boy! Was he mad, though! He so mad that he could see us, though I think he was very, very far away. He called us foolish and yelled at us for opening the catacombs beneath Virtum Sol. Talking-bones! It was your lizard who attacked Skulk! Skulk could have chopped his lizard throat in secret, but instead Skulk practiced ancient Belchamping art of diploming. (Is not as useful as Milton said.)

Once their lizard saw Imildrak, all was over, though.

Skulk has been trying to understand irony. Is pretty sure Talking-bones' minions attacking us for having necroman is is what that is. It was less funny at time when lizard spit lightning at us, but Skulk is having little chuckle right now.

Harder to chuckle when I think; we do not understand what we did at Virtum Sol. There was a thing caught there, and now it is loose. Skulk cannot see what will come of this. Skulk cannot know what will come of Talking-bones's ire.  If evil bones wanted it locked away… can it be so bad?  

Talking bones calls himself 'Abandoned.'  Who abandoned Talking-bones?  

Sometimes when everyone is sleeping, and Skulk is alone in empty house… Skulk starts to worry that maybe we are not doing the right things.

 

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A Vision of Missing Children

I recently joined the Dawn of Spring Guild to find inspiration for heroic songs. I had an unusually vivid dream of a specific village, far to the east, of innocent children being dragged by Drow from their burning homes. I saw an elven woman I did not recognize. Upon awakening, I discussed my dream with other members of the Guild including Jelder and Urki, and I met Ligeia, the woman from my dream. I was convinced this dream was prophetic, as the details were so specific and they seemed to be happening right as I witnessed them. We hastily traveled to the area where my dream took place, but found an unburnt village. The elders of the village claimed nearly all of their children had been taken by Drow who lived near the Wailing Woods, although they had not actually seen them do it. We travelled through the woods on the border of the Wailing Woods, having been warned of the danger of the place, and encountered a strange blue light that spoke to those of us who were on second watch every night. Ignoring the light, which claimed to me that it could help us find the children if we followed it, we pursued the tip from the elders (and my dream) to find the Drow camp near the woods. We decided to use a decoy and disguises to try to infiltrate the Drow camp. Ligeia and I disguised ourselves as drow, and I created a Minor Illusion of a bound and kidnapped child to pretend we were bringing them a fresh one; we were simply trying to find out where they were taking the children. Our deception ran afoul of the Drow who were upset we had kidnapped a child and attacked us. After a lengthy battle, where several of the Drow died, their leader stopped to ask why we were killing them when they only had 5 people left. We stopped fighting and talked for a while, learning that the Drow children had also been stolen in the woods, and that their leader At-Ob had disappeared into the woods a century ago, shortly before their children began to disappear as well. Grieving, the Drow clan decided to stop having children, and their numbers dwindled from hundreds down to five. We stayed with the Drow that night to mourn their recently dead, and promised to return their children if we could find them to atone for our sins. Venturing back into the woods, we encountered the will-o-the-wisp we saw before, and it led us deep into the forest to a place called Table Rock, where we were ambushed by a gargoyle and some pseudodragons. We are still trying to find the missing children.

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Two liches, one east?

We flew on the wind back to Vitrum Sol. What should've been a 3 week journey, Cicada's magics turned into just hours. It was impressive, I must say. 

Inside, we found a group of guards: a couple of humans and a half dragon leading them. They said they were followers of the Abandoned, a lich with a kingdom somewhere in the reaches beyond the Edict.

Yes, beyond the Edict. The edict only created a wall of winter. Everything beyond it is untouched, and some do not even realize that the Edict has ended. This lich's minions definitely didn't. They didn't live to tell their master the news.

Yet, they rose again. After a time, their corpses arose to serve their master. What's concerning is that they were just as powerful in their newfound glory of undeath. By concerning, I mean it's concerning that I can't do that.

We fought through the Sol, eventually coming to a chamber, where a spectral image of the Lich appeared and yelled at us for "unleashing a terrible evil upon the land," whatever that means. Liches like being melodramatic. Maybe it's the original lich, the one from before the Edict. That would be fun.

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Dwarven Nights, Disguised Goblin

I was enjoying catching up with three of my 6 best friends, Esmerelda, Soraya and Runt, when our favorite Dwarven Guild leader appeared to invite Runt to speak at a Dwarven debate.  Naturally we tagged along because of there being an entire party hall full of Dwarves.  The trip was easy, though I did have to let Soraya disguise me due to specisim.  Just cause 99% of all goblins are murder murder dogs taste good, I have to be wary around people outside cradle.  On the plus side, they had tiny cakes!  After smoozing with the dwarven elite and making new friends, it became clear that the Dwarven crusader leader was a big thief, so we stole things right back!  I have learned a lot from best friend Cicada, including that us Divine Casters can unlock doors and disarm traps almost as well as Rogues.  So I did that and then we took out really large minotaurs.  After Runt took down the crusader leader wuth his words, we headed back to Cradle.  

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