Wednesday, 9 October 2013

AI - Chapter Seven - Power of the Dread Lord

After journeying for several days, Alera, Baba Zephyr, Direli, Finley, and Durgan return home to Nevermore.  The group had hoped to rest after their long journey, but with the terrible news that Jennu had not yet returned from his investigations of Oman's shipyard, paired with the terrible visions of pain and torture Therrah was having, the group had no choice but to go after Nevermore's guardian Dragon.

They felt they stood the best chance of infiltrating the base if they disguised themselves as members of Oman's forces, and used the egg the Dread Lord had been searching for as a way of getting inside.  They would also make Durgan appear to be a captured prisoner, to help strengthen their ruse.   

After sailing for a day, it was time to put their plan into action.  Their ship The Elder Break was disguised well, and fooled the harbour masters, but once they saw the red dragons flying overhead, they knew there would be no turning back.  One of the guards led them up into the keep, which was inside a large cavern, with thin walkways between rooms, and a long fall with a watery grave.  Not wanting to risk being stuck in a torture chamber, Durgan took his chances by breaking free of his makeshift ties, and leapt down the cliff into the waters below.  

Concerned about their cover being broken, the group was forced to ignore Durgan's stunt, and press on.  They found an opportunity soon after to get away from the guard, and they took it.  They dispatched him quickly, and then continued to bluff their way through the keep.

They eventually came to a large room with a glowing blue light emanating from its centre and rising up through a hole in the ceiling.  Jennu was trapped within the magical prison, that was being powered by a strange stone, controlled by a fiery humanoid known as an Azer. The group battled to free him, and were successful, but Jennu was in no condition to fly.  He instructed the group to destroy the stone, which would cause the whole island to sink back beneath the waves.

They did as he asked, and the entire island began to quake.  Knowing they only had a short window of opportunity to learn anything they could about Oman's plans, they agreed a quick search of the keep was a good idea.  This decision would prove costly though.  Their investigation led them face to face with Dread Lord Oman himself.

He had Durgan bound by rope, and demanded they hand over the egg, or it would cost Durgan his life.  But Finley Clearwater would not suffer Oman's negotiations, and with a carefully thrown dagger, he severed the rope that held Durgan prisoner.

Jennu, now in his human form, told them this was not a fight they could win, and urged the group to flee.  Durgan and Finley were not the type of heroes to run from a fight, no matter how grave it may seem, and the group leapt into battle.  They soon realized the truth of Jennu's pleas and decided they had no choice but to escape, but Finley and Durgan refused to retreat.

Jennu was able to escape with Alera, Direli and Baba Zephyr, but only because Finley and Durgan were buying them time.

Durgan was the first to fall to Oman's blade, and while Finley in all his rage was a force to be reckoned with, the Dread Lord's power proved to be too much for the brave Halfling, and Finley Clearwater of Nevermore was slain.

To Be Continued...
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Tuesday, 8 October 2013

AI - Chapter Six - The Centaurs of Feyfoot

Tasked with bringing news of the Lizardfolk's call for peace to the Centaurs, our heroes make their way to their home in Euratheon. Upon arrival they are greeted by their leader Barellion Aguastas, and his advisor known as Pharan. 

Barellion is relieved to hear that peace is desired, and sends out scouts to inform his troops to pull back.  He also agrees to the terms that Farelok put forward.  The war is ending, and since the party has proven themselves capable, Barellion asks them for their aid.  His son, Chiron has been investigating the disappearance of centaur wizards and sorcerers, and asks them for help.  They accept, much to the chagrin of Pharan, who believes it was simply packs of Gnolls that are behind it.  Barellion isn't convinced however, and sends the party away.  

The group meets up with Chiron, who informs them of a Human Sorcerer that has been hanging around their city right around the time the disappearances began.  He hasn't told anyone yet, because he's concerned Pharan is involved.  He has spied the two meeting on several occasions, and now Chiron believes Pharan has hidden the human away, concerned that the leader's son was getting too close to figuring it out.

He asks them to accompany him out into the wilderness, where he has just returned from. He learned that Pharan sent the human away to hide until they could make their next move, and that the human has since been taken in by Gnolls, strange half-hyena humanoids that live out in the woods.

The group comes upon the encampment, and after a brief battle they find the human, with a crow perched upon his shoulder.  To their horror, they discover that the human has no tongue and uses the crow on his shoulder to speak for him.  When they interrogate him, they learn that he had been forced to work for Oman.  The wizards and sorcerers were gone by now, and Oman has them. He also tells them about the mysterious island, and that Oman has turned it into a shipyard. Many of Oman's forces are there, but that a large amount of his army has been sent North to further his campaign of terror. 

Pharan is also in the employ of Oman, but has ambitions of his own.  When the centaur had sent him out into the woods, he used magic to attempt to break free of Oman's oath. While he no longer felt compelled to do his bidding, it cost him his tongue.  

The group runs back into town to stop Pharan, only to realize that much of the area is now dark and deserted.  When they reach Barellion's citadel, they find large Undead Centaur, and Pharan, who appears to be using strange black magical pillars for power, and Barellion who now lies unconscious at his feet. 

After an arduous battle, the group rescues Barellion and slays Pharan.  The other centaur are released from a prison Pharan had magically created.  Barellion rewards them for saving their city, and with all their affairs in order, the group is ready to head home.

They are eager to hear what Jennu has learned while investigating the strange island.

To Be Continued....
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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

AI - Chapter Five - Diplomats

When the party meets with Therrah, he's just finishing up a meeting with two Centaur emissaries from the southern territories of the island. They came bearing news that they were now in open war with a tribe of Lizardfolk that had begun encroaching on their lands. They are asking for military support from Nevermore, hoping to end the war by forcing their enemy to fight battles on two fronts.

Not wanting to commit Nevermore's forces to a war while Oman remains a threat, Therrah asks the party to go on a diplomatic mission to meet with the Lizard's leader, "Ashkoort, Son of Lightning", in hopes that they will learn why the Lizardfolk have come to Feyfoot Isle, and see if there is any way that peace can be reached between the two factions.

They also inform Jennu and Therrah about the mysterious island that does not appear on any normal sea charts, and ask if Jennu is willing to investigate the island while they leave on their mission.  Jennu agrees, and then quickly flies off.

The party leaves the following morning and travels south.  After nearly a day's travel, they are ambushed by a scouting party led by a Fighter named Farelok, and are quickly surrounded.  Farelok asks them to come peacefully to meet with their tribe.

They are brought before Ashkoort, and they quickly learn that he is a powerful being known as a Half-Dragon.  They also learn, that he has been driven mad with desperation, and all attempts at reasoning with him prove futile.  He asks the group to speak with a Centaur they've captured, and have him deliver his terms to the leader of the Centaurs.

The party deems his terms to be insane, and luckily for them, that is an opinion that Farelok agrees with.  He does not like this war, and believes the cost is too high for it to continue. The party reluctantly agrees to meet with this prisoner first however, and Farelok comes with them.

Along the way, their new friend informs them of the reason they have begun to settle on Feyfoot.  Pirates attacked their island in great force, with the aid of Red Dragons.  They have become refugees, and have since been forced to flee.  Ashkoort, a once noble and benevolent creature, has had to watch many of his people die, and as a result, he became twisted. 

Durgan suggests staging a coup and removing Ashkoort from power, which the centaur prisoner believes to be the best idea.  Farelok is reluctant at first, but is convinced by the group that replacing him with a far more level-headed leader is the strongest option to end the war.  Farelok agrees to the plan, and will have to prove his strength to his clansmen in order to become Ashkoort's successor. 

The group attempts one final act of diplomacy with Ashkoort, but when they fail miserably to make him see reason, they attack.  He is a fearsome enemy, but with their combined strength, they are able to bring him down. Farelok guarded the entrance to the main tent during the battle, and fought off anyone trying to aid them.

Their plan works perfectly, and Farelok assumes leadership of the Emerald Scale Tribe.  He then immediately signals the end of the war with the Centaurs, and asks the party to bring this news to Barellion Aguastas, leader of the Feyfoot Centaurs.

To Be Continued....

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Monday, 16 September 2013

AI - Chapter Four - The Islands and the Planes

Our heroes gathered up the egg, and brought it back to the ship.  The villagers were tended to, and then sent them home aboard the Argo.  Half of the crew stayed behind to help the party sail the pirate ship they had just liberated.  It was big enough to house them, and it was still fairly well provisioned.

Before departing, Devlin, the Cleric from the Order of the Pulling Tide that was accompanying them on this particular mission felt something strange in the air. Clerics of this particular order worship the Auroch Islands, and they are sensitive to changes to them. He tells the group that the islands are closely linked to the Elemental Planes of Water, and Air. He believes the islands are going to test them on their way home, and he mentions this to the group, but since there didn't appear to be any immediate sign of danger, the party set sail for Nevermore.

Devlin remained on the deck of the ship until nightfall, when suddenly, off in the distance he heard a terrible screeching sound over the crash of the water around them.  He called the group out on deck, as the screeching sound drew closer.  It wasn't long before they realized there were two creatures circling over head.  The wind picked up, and blew out the torches, and the group was shrouded in darkness.

A bolt of lightning pierced the night as it launched itself down towards Durgan, and the group went on the defensive.  The only one who was able to see what was attacking them was the dwarf, thanks to his darkvision, which let him see clearly at night up to 60ft.  He told them they were under attack from monstrous birds, and Devlin realized the Plane of Air had brought two beasts into the world.

Thanks to some clever planning, and spell casting, the party turned Durgan into a walking lantern, and as he climbed the mast of the ship, the creatures were illuminated, and the party was able to bring them down.

The rest of their journey home was uneventful, and they were happy to return victorious.  They wouldn't have much time to celebrate however, for when they finally arrived home, Therrah was waiting for them and was going to trust them with an important diplomatic mission...

To Be Continued...

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Wednesday, 7 August 2013

AI - Chapter Three - Swords and Fire

The letter was addressed to the "Captain of the Elder Break, Lothari Duskend" and bore the same terrible insignia of a dragon's skull with fire burning behind it.  The message was written in Draconic, a language in which Alera was fluent, and broken into two parts.

The first part was a mission to take the townsfolk of Illiad as slaves.  A mission that was now thwarted, save for the large group that was directed off into the forest.  The other half of the message was a direction to hold the town as long as it took while the band's best pirates, and Ranger were to head off into the forest in search of something, and the pirates were not to return until they had it, whatever it was.  

The group also found a strange map that had an island drawn on that wasn't on any other map they had ever seen, and if ever there was a sign that pointed to this Dread Lord Oman, this was surely it.  However, there was still the problem of the pirates in the jungle, and the object of Oman's mission.  

It was at this point, they heard the sound of a creature swimming towards the ship.  It was their Dwarven ally Durgan, who had come to join them in their battles with Oman's forces!  After taking some time to regroup, the party returned to the main land, and set up a defensive position in the town, waiting for the ruse they pulled on their foes to be realized.

Eventually two smaller figures emerged from the jungle, a goblin and a kobold.  After killing the goblin quickly, they took the kobold prisoner, and attempted to coerce information about Oman out of him.  Whenever he was openly asked about Oman, he would give the same reply: 

"Dread Lord Oman, Commander of the Gantrithor,
the Ship Eater. 
He will boil the seas, sink civilizations and 
devour nations!"

Every question was met with that answer, and when the group was tired of hearing it they threatened the creature with it's life. Upon realizing he was going to die if he didn't co-operate, the kobold appeared as if he was going to give them an answer, which triggered something truly horrifying.  

The creature's tongue fell out, the creature panicked, and the group decided to promptly put the creature put out of its misery.  

Our heroes then set off in search of the remaining pirates.  After a brief 20 minute march, they heard voices.  When they realized they had found the remaining pirates, our heroes rushed in to meet them!  A brief battle ensued, and our heroes emerged victorious.  

Among the various things they looted, one was a map with an X on it.  Some of the larger pirates had been looking over it when they first came upon them, and the group decided that if the pirates thought it important, they should probably investigate it.

After following the map, they came to the entrance of a darkened cave, whose surrounding area was full of charred trees, scorched bushes and grass.  Durgan went ahead into the cave, but his footsteps alerted what was waiting within.  A giant wave of fire came spewing out from an opening in the cave's side, and from the darkness, out stepped a Wyrmling Red Dragon.  

The group hardened themselves in preparation for the fight.  Despite the dragon's size and young age, the group knew that Dragons were not to be taken lightly.  Luckily they had a numbers advantage, and after a hectic fight, the dragon was defeated.

Much treasure was found in it's den, as Red Dragons are especially known for their greed and desire for wealth.  Among the gold however, lied the body of Oman's elite ranger, and a lone Red Dragon egg, sitting amongst a clutch of broken ones.

Was this what Oman was looking for?

To Be Continued...

Monday, 22 July 2013

AI - Chapter Two - Illiad and the Argo

The day after Argo's death, a funeral service is held, and most of the city is in attendance.  At the service, Therrah accepts responsibility for having let things go too far at the duel, and he calls upon the town to embody the newly anointed name, Nevermore, to help prevent a tragedy like this from occurring again.  He also asks the town to forgive itself for how it acted after the duel.

With the service complete, Therrah approaches Baba Zephyr, Finn, Alera, and Direli and tells them about the pirate hook that was given to them by their friend Durgan, an odd dwarven warrior that has been a friend of the group since they were just kids.  He found it while investigating a pirate camp north of the city.  The hook itself bears an insignia of a dragon skull facing forward with what appears to be flames behind it.  The equipment found on the pirates that attacked Nevermore have the same symbol, and Durgan also reported seeing the same symbol on flags and banners of a ship that was sailing north toward a fishing village on the northern coast of Feyfoot Isle.  

Therrah believes this is a cause for concern, as it signifies that pirates are beginning to organize.  Which can only mean that someone sinister, and crazy enough is trying to lead them.  The group believes this is a matter important enough to investigate, and that if a ship was sailing north towards the village Illiad they should hurry to investigate it.  The group agrees this is a matter worth looking into, and they begin making preparations for their trip.  

Under Therrah's advisement, they recruit a cleric named Devlin Abershin from the Order of the Pulling Tide to accompany them on their journey aboard their newly given ship, aptly named the "Argo".  Once everyone is ready to go they head off.

While sailing north, the ship is attacked by creatures known as Sahuagin.  An opportunistic race of aquatic reptiles looking to raid their ship.  Unfortunately for the beasts, the group is more than capable of repelling their boarding attempts.

After dispatching the creatures, the group continues their journey until they reach a bay on the other side of Illiad, where they can safely leave their ship for the night.  When they wake up the next morning they make their way inland towards the village using some scouting information Devlin was able to acquire the night before.

The city is under hostile occupation from the pirates, and manoeuvring around the town is no simple task.  The group manages to clear the town, hut by hut, even luring a large number of the pirates off into the jungle with some clever magic, rescuing any civilians they found along the way, and directing them towards the Argo.

After clearing the town of any pirates that didn't run off into the jungle, they disguised themselves as pirates and took a row boat out to the pirate ship anchored in the bay.  The captain, an elf, stood at the helm flanked by larger, more menacing bodyguards.  Their disguises gave them a surprise attack on the captain, and after a tense fight, the captain and his crew were slain.

They weren't out of danger yet though.  There was still a band of pirates they sent off into the jungle, and they had found an ominous message written by a mysterious Dread Lord Oman...

To be continued...

Saturday, 15 June 2013

The Auroch Islands - Chapter 1 - The Nominis Festival

Our story begins in the village of Haven.  It is a town of over 300 families located on Feyfoot Isle, inside the Bay of Gazing.  We find our new heroes sitting at a large banquet table as honoured guests.  They are Direli Wolfswift, a female human fighter with a burdened past, Baba Zephyr, a male human druid with ambitions of being the village's medicine man with an affinity for snakes and poisons, Finley Clearwater, a courageous halfling warrior, a legend amongst his family, and Alera Goldwing, a human wizard, daughter of a merchant family.  All four have been friends in the town since childhood.

They were chosen, along with a dozen other villagers, by the town leaders Therrah Gerrywill, an old white haired man, and Jennu Kehlash, a very old Silver Dragon, to compete in a competition to see who would earn the right to rename the town, a tradition that happens every half a century.

After the feast, all four teams were to sleep in the same long house on the docks.  When Direli went for a jog before resting, she heard the sounds of paddling off in the distance.  When she alerted a nearby guard to the noise, they soon realized that they were about to be attacked by pirates.  The guard ran to gather reinforcements while Direli woke the other competitors to help defend the harbour.  

The new foursome was put to the test, along with several other groups who had never seen true combat before.  They all fought bravely though, and were able to repel the attackers with ease.  Jennu flew above and out into the bay to deal with the main ship. His roar, and the cries of the terrified pirates rang through the giant canyon.  No one from the town died that night, or suffered any grievous injury.  

The following morning, despite the events of the previous night, the village thought it best to help raise the spirits of the town after the attack.  They would continue with the competition.  

The four competitors were led to their areas.  The events were an Arcane Alteration challenge, a wildlife taming challenge, a marksmanship challenge, as well as a one-on-one duel.

The four heroes all prevailed in their respective competitions, and overall placements were announced. the top two teams were to take part in a 4 on 4 battle to decide who would gain a large advantage in the conclusion of the festival.

The two teams met in the arena the following day.  The arena had Clerics surrounding it to act as first aid should any of the competitors suffer great wounds, but even those precautions wouldn't be enough.

It was an incredibly tense fight, but things took a terrible turn when Direli, empowered by one of Alera's spells, dealt a fantastically powerful blow to the other side's strongest warrior.  Argo, the half-orc barbarian was killed immediately, and the clerics on the side were helpless to save him. With the remainder of the group staggered, Jennu flew down and grabbed the body of the barbarian in his claws, as well as one of his other severely wounded allies and took them away. 

The crowd, shocked at what they had just witnessed, cheered.  The four heroes  left the arena, rather disgusted at their town's reaction to such violence.  It was a tragic accident.  Therrah would assume responsibility for not taking all the precautions needed to protect his townsfolk from harm, and would need to find a way to begin the healing process after Argo's death.

The four heroes named the city Nevermore, so that the town would never again allow something like this to happen.  The town was to become a beacon of peace, and protection.

The town was then left to contemplate the events of the day, while one of the group's friends came bearing information on the pirate's attack from the night before...

To Be Continued...