East of Winter

G-g-g-ghost Pirates!?
Zoiks!

Dear Dream Journal

Rhollor Rhollor Blah blah blah. Amen.

I led an expedition of the Knights of Solaris to the Pier near Cradle.  Fenris, Zanath, Milton, Imildrak and Abaraxia accompanied me.  Upon our arrival I curtly informed them that they were on our land and that the docks belonged to us now.  They were somehow confused by this simple prospect, probably due to their limited human faculties.

During our visit we discovered that a ghost ship was being spotted near shore with alarming frequency.  Verily hath Rhollor spake that he ain't afraid of no ghost, and lo we resolved to bust them.  All ghosts have unfinished business that keeps them on the material plane.  We ascertained that this ship still has an outstanding delivery.  The cargo was now at the bottom of the ocean.  We sailed on the ghost ship to the spot of their sunken treasure and jumped into the icy waters.

Even in the icy deeps the warmth of Rhollor sustained us.  For just like the flame we too require life giving air which Rhollor supplied to us in his infinite capacity and blah blah blah. 

We encountered a race of evil shark men who we handily dispatched.  We interrogated a survivor who informed us that a powerful creature was forcing the Sahaguin to serve him.  We came to believe that this creature would have the sunken treasure as well.  We sought out this creature who turned out to be a Marid.  He had been sinking ships for sport for quite some time, there was a graveyard of wrecks in his underwater domain.  We ceased his idle boasts with fire and steel.  The Marid was consumed in the boiling heat of Rhollor's fury.  Woe betide the wicked who live in the darkness and shun the light.  Rhollor shall sustain the righteous with his warmth and burn the wicked with white hot fury. 

It should be noted that white hot flame is hotter than standard flame b/c blah blah blah thermodynamics, blah blah blah, boiling point, blah blah blah Rhollor Rhollor yada yada yackity smackity. 

 

 

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Reading Rainbow for Robots
The Pale "god"

Dear Dream Journal,

I returned to the primitive purple flame worshiping humans only to find that they are now worshiping the Pale god.  My brother Imildrak informed me that some local mushroom folk were also in the thrall of this dubious deity, who he had discovered was actually a pale child behind a curtain.  The whole thing smelled suspicious, however, there was a more pressing matter concerning an open gate to hell and a mysterious orb that could either cause or prevent the demons from creating hell on earth. 

Imildrak and I took a trip to a library to learn more about the orb.  They granted us access in exchange for a pedantic account of our exploits.  With aid from Imildrak's peerless intellect we discovered that Professor Fwimsy used to work at the library before stole a couple of books, and abducted a pale child.  This is all before he was driven mad, created an army of constructs and gained an unhealthy obsession with fire (as opposed to the healthy obsession with fire that I have.)  We discovered that there are three books that have the power to seal the demon gate.  We believed that the pale child would know more about the book that Fwimsy stole.

I found the pale child lurking invisible near the once sacred purple flame.  After some coercion and cajoling he agreed to help us find the book.  Imildrak gleaned clues linking the book to a race of metal men by probing the mind of Mushroom zombie Fwimsy.  Don't Ask.  The child knew of the metal men and led us through the underdark to find them. 

On the way to the metal men we were ambushed by a group of powerful Slaad.  During the encounter my body was baptized in flame.  The pain was exquisite.  The lines permanently etched in my flesh hold the key to greater mysteries.  Rhollor raised me from the ashes like the phoenix, more powerful than ever.  (In all fairness lets give some credit to Nocturne for keeping me conscious through this trial.)  We eventually prevailed with help from the greatest archer in the world, and also the greatest human archer in the world. 

We found the metal men, who we discovered were guarding the book.  There are some 300 odd constructs forming a civilization centered around reproducing and protecting the book.  I concocted a flawless plan to teleport away with the book, but before I could enact it Zanath solved the issue through diplomacy.  The constructs agreed to read the book regularly in order to stave off the demon apocalypse.  They thought that reading the book would endanger it, we convinced them that reading it was the only way to keep it safe.

We returned the pale child to the humans so that he could continue pretending to be their god.  Those dumb apes are better off with a false god than none at all.

There are still two books that could strengthen the wards on the demon gate, but that is an adventure for another day.  Or year.  Let's just wait a few years and see how it all turns out. 

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The Creature in the Lake
Given that we’re supposed to be cautious friends with Fargonlon at the moment, I’m not sure we really ought to have been traveling in the badlands, but Runt got this idea about seeing a giant scorpion, and, frankly, I was bored, so here we were. 

Fenriss, poor dear, lead us into the desert okay- she’s been here before, it seems- but she wasn’t dressed for it at all, furs for autumn in Cradle and not the blazing sun, and she was absolutely exhausted by the time we came upon evidence of another intelligent hunter of some kind. Which was curious, since, of course, the badlands are theoretically uninhabited (and therefore inhabitable). 

So, we went to check out the neighbors. They live in an enormous rock, which they’ve carved out into a set of two caverns- one set sized for people (or…people shaped things) and the other for much larger creatures. 

In respect for our perhaps inadvisable presence in the area, we did try to sneak in and check things out before we sent in the army of Barrys, but once Al popped back with a bleeding Zannah, it was pretty clear they weren’t friendly. Spears through the wall, really

Also, as we bandaged the wounded and prepared for the attack, Imil and I…changed. Something strange in the air, almost certainly the fault of whatever was living in the cave. I’ve become rather fond of my feathers now, but I have to say they were a bit of a shock when they first appeared. I like to be asked about my body modifications. Rude

 Ergo: army of undead. 

They had a clever little setup, for what they were, narrow hallways with holes just large enough to poke a vicious spear through, and no access save past the hallway. I’m sure it worked great against whatever the usual desert crowd was. 

They were not prepared for us. A little hypnotic razzle-dazzle, a wizard who can go through walls, and delightfully narrow rooms full of kobolds behind, some fire and lightning, little bit of mindbending; as you do. 

Beyond their murderous little hallway, we discovered a larger facility, including a large, heavily trapped room, vents all around- designed to flood the room with something? We were able to avoid whatever gruesome fate the creatures intended for us, but it was clear they were protecting something. 

We encountered more kobolds, which were of no particular concern, and unholy joined creatures- half spider, half jackalwere- which were honestly pretty terrifying. Especially for those of us in the midst of turning into something unknown, thanks. 

The jackal-spiders burned much of our remaining resources, but we didn’t dare to rest, even for a moment, having not yet found the source of the contagion. So we pushed on, until we found a vast chamber beneath the rock, dark water lapping at the edges. And skeletons, scattered around the sand. 

Very…large…skeletons. 

We judged it might be wise to send a couple of Barrys to investigate, instead of poking our own pretty noses in quite yet. 

They made it to the edge of the water before the thing emerged, and then they were just gone. It was easily the biggest creature I’ve ever seen, and for certain the ugliest- five heads, tentacles, snapping claws, a tail, acid breath, the full complement of monster Trouble. I remain certain that if we’d tried to fight it then, at least one of us wouldn’t have made it back. 

But my second favorite wizard wisely suggested he use his excellent hat to take us back to Cradle for the night, far enough away from this thing, which was probably causing the mutations, to be safe from further contagion. Theoretically. I was exhausted enough not to ask questions, and he turned out to be right, so it worked out. 

We came back, fully loaded, knowing what we faced, and still only fought it to a draw. 

Two heads were down, destroyed and cauterized, before it took out most of the remaining Barrys in one overwhelming swipe. And then it tried to eat Imil. 

I mean, it did eat him. He just didn’t stay eaten, because peerless wizard. Nevertheless, not something I can allow to stand, obviously. It takes skill to be a nightmare to a nightmare, but I’m a talented woman when I’m inspired. 

It fled from us, deep into the water, and we could not follow, save for Runt, and fighting a Thessalhydra one-on-one is a path to certain death. It lies there still, nursing its wounds, waiting to strike. We will not leave it waiting long. 
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Heroes reborn
The founding of the Order of Solaris

They set foot upon ground not trod for generations.  The thunder of their hooves echoed the lightning of their magics and the flash of their blades.  These brave souls answered the call of a kingdom crying out for glory, for growth, all in the name of the King.  

For a turn they brought to heel the elements as well as their foes.  And in their wake Remidon blossomed with the turning of the seasons.  As the kingdom regained purchase in these lands our noble heroes gained too.  They were rewarded for their efforts, their bravery, their unselfish sacrifice, with an opportunity to formally serve the King in stations befitting their heroism.  And so was founded the knightly Order of Solaris; bringers of the dawn to the East, shining spear of the King's lance, and champions of the realm of Remidon.

- an excerpt from 'The Young Court of His Majesty King Hecaton IV' by Sylrora, Magpie Feather of the Order of the Quill

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Dispatch from the East 2
Mother, c/o Vincent Ludd, Guild of Allied Trades

Mother,

I regret the length of time it has been since last I wrote, but I have been quite busy.  We recently held a feast to celebrate the claiming of Cradle in the name of our King, long may he reign.  No less a personage than the Duke of Norway himself graced us with his presence and I have been knighted as a founding member of a new order of knights with remit to further tame the lands of the east!

I have been named as captain of the town guard and work tirelessly to protect the citizens of Cradle while doing my best to facilitate efficient commerce and safe passage for those headed further east.

A new priestess has arrived in town, providing spiritual succor for this humble follower of Lady Luck.  I look forward to her sermons and sage advice as I humbly proceed with my daily tasks.

I have enclosed with this letter a remittance to help pay for your needs at home; I feel like I am finally in a position to contribute back to the family for all the help they have given me.

Give my regards to sissy, and should you stumble across a trustworthy courier with sufficient haste, I should love to hear from you soon.

I hope this finds you well.

Glim

::enclosed is a cracked gem worth 10gp::
::second page::

Tra orreqor uk sra vreaksakk ek om axcarrams ksav suvordk aksobrekrems uirkarqak rara. Wa roqa osraad sros es koae ba baks kur rar su koemsoem o koka deksomca kruk sra siord, orsruisr I kurakaa kaekark daqaruvems o dasraa uk veasae I vraqeuikrae rocdad; sros es ek su Oir Lodae uk sra Cuem ek o vumdarkir cuemcedamca! Momae kakbark uk uir sierd roqa baam dmesrsad, omd srara ek orraodae sord uk kirsrar odqomcems uk emsaraksk baaeumd Crodra. Ak va vikr kirsrar uis, I koae ba ovoae kura uksam kruk Crodra, omd o ksrums kacumd em cukkomd verr ba ikakir. I roqa baam sruukems o redarae kom kruk uir racams orreqork, omd verr koda kira ra daqaruvk o soksa kur rareseum, suu. I'qa emcridad sra kerks uk vros I vrom su ba rasiror srebisa. Huvaqar, o kura kacira kasrud kur sromkvursoseum omd cukkimecoseum ek dakerobra- I'k roqems su kamd srek vocdosa vesr o kurdear I bakreamdad okumsks sra Dida'k amsuirosa. Ik aeui roqa omae edaok um sros ekkia, I ok uvam su kissakseumk. Arku, ek srara'k omae dasoerk um sra vuresecor kesioseum okumsks sra muberesae, sros cuird vruqa ikakir su kisira amdaoquirk rara. Wa'ra mus ruudems su rucd sra buos suu kuum, bis srara roqa baam empiereak emsu sra deqeda basvaam sruka vru vekr su axvomd kirsrar emsu sra aoks omd sruka vru vekr su koemsoem cirrams burdark. Tra amcrukad sak rok baam deksiekad ok vursrrakk, bis I sremd o dmuvradsaobra ovvroekar kruird kemd es su ba vursr uma rimdrad surd. I ruva su roqa kirsrar omd kura cumkeksams srebisa ok sremsk ksobereza rara. I rakoem,
Glim

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Make your voice heard!
Vote on game day

Hey everybody.  Lots of people want to get together and play soon.  The only question is when.  In order to facilitate as many people being available as possible I've created a poll for four possible dates.  You can vote for any day you're available, including more than one day.  So far only 6 people have voted.  Please go and vote so we can schedule a really big event!

I'll be closing it tomorrow night so get out the vote and let your voice be heard!

Thanks!

Drew aka the DM

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Pious Purple Inferno
Nope it was just gas

Dear Dream Journal,

The primitive humans who live near the Wailing Woods called Jonar for help after their sacred fire was stolen.  As a renowned Flametoligist he wisely came to me for help.  We set out with Nocturn the bard and the mysterious Paladin Umbriel.

We arrived at the human's quaint village to find all the adult females pregnant and a lone male who was extremely fatigued.  These simple apes confirmed all of the stereotypes I have about humans.  I condescended to help the poor primitive creatures recover their sacred fire.

The tribe settled in this area a year and a half ago because they discovered a purple flame that burned continually with no apparent fuel source. It burned with both heat and light, but now it was gone.  Following rumors of metal monsters that glowed with an inner purple light we set out for a nearby cave.

While travelling past the wailing woods we encountered a Glabzeru Daemon who was chasing imps like the proverbial bunny foo foo who bopped field mice in the days of yore.  He grabbed Jonar in his crab claws and proceeded to drag him off into the woods, but Umbriel waylaid him.  My holy flames sent him back to the fire in which he was spawned.  The flames of Rhollor burn hotter than 40 hells.  Amen.

As we made it closer to the cave system we encountered a hulking metal T-Rex.  Not only was it immune to fire it also was invigorated by flame, returning volleys of fire breath when it was burned.  These constructs are weak to cold damage.  I was unprepared for this eventuality so I was reduced to throwing magic missiles at Golem-zilla while it stomped all over my companions. 

Jonar has an interesting tanking technique which involves him getting flattened and then getting back up again and again and again.  I haven't seen a human take a beating like that since we left Fargenlon.  There Jonar was, unconscious in the jaws of that metal monstrosity when Umbriel dealt it the final blow causing it to drop his flaccid body.  Nocturne was the true force keeping Jonar and Umbriel on their feet with her encouraging words of healing.  Her faerie fires also proved quite useful in guiding our attacks.

I discovered the fuel source within the belly of the beast.  There was a gas fuel reserve that fed the purple flame.  The tank would only keep the beast running for a day, he must be getting refueled nearby.  We tracked the beast to the caves and discovered a lair of a technologically advanced psychopath.  Mechanized Mammoth Minions met us at every turn, gouts of purple flame blocked many passages.  Tiny mechanical owls mined iron. 

We fought our way through the lair until we made our way to the final room.  Burners protruded from the walls, the mad scientist whirled his dials and chittered to himself about how the fire is life and how it would cleanse us all.  He was giving a bad name to legitimate fire enthusiasts such as myself.  He had to be stopped.

I cleverly teleported us past all of his Bunsen burners and left us in a neat bunch next to him.  He teleported into a mechanical monstrosity and used it to burn us all within an inch of our lives.  I have to admit this is the first time that I've been seriously burned.  It really hurt!  Is this what I've been doing to people?  "I deserve thiiiiiiis!" I cried as I flew away and hurled chromatic orbs of cold at him. 

It was a hard fight.  I of course saved the day.  Banishing his metal mammoth minion and teleporting us all away after Mad-dog Murdoch turned up the heat too far and all his machinations evaporated in a big purple fireball.  I humbly acknowledge that I couldn't have done it without the others, they provided a great distraction.

When we returned to the primitive human village we discovered that the flame was still missing, but they were getting powerful visions in the temple now.  I relit the temple pilot light and there was much rejoicing.  I extolled the virtues of Rhollor who is the spark that ignites all flame.  I suspect we will hear from them again when they discover the finite nature of their long lasting, but not quite eternal sacred fire.  Holy fire sent by the gods?  Nope, it was just gas.

 

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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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