Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Knights of Neverwinter - Curse of Death: 15th of Mirtul, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning.

In the wake of the Siege of Neverwinter perpetrated by Red Arrow Orcs, The Nine of Neverwinter were officially Knighted by Lord Dagult Neverember in what some suspect was a half hearted publicity move. Whatever the Lord's motive, the Knights were soon contacted by Harper agent Remallia Haventree. Haventree proposed a mission for the newly knighted heroes, one that was sympathetic to their aims.

The Stormcaller had been ill since his raising from the dead for several days in what seemed an unnatural affliction, and so too had a Harper called Syndra Silvane, a masked wizardress who accompanied Haventree. The Harpers suspected the ailments were caused by a Death Curse which drained those who had cheated death not unlike the manner in which a Lich feeds souls to its phylactery. Haventree felt strongly that a lich might know more about this process that was afflicting so many along the Sword Coast and sought to question one.

However, few liches would be so readily forthcoming with such information, and herein is where a mission for the Knights of Neverwinter lie. Haventree would have them steal or otherwise obtain a lich's phylactery and force the information from the creature. The Harpers would keep the Duchess of Rot, Zaldara Cordress of Cloakwood, preoccupied in battle, while the Knight stole into the lower levels of her tower and procured the Phylactery.

Sirs Gizyg, Azun, The Stormcaller, and a few other newly appointed Knights -  including the Deposed King Bumi, Baodin of Mithrendain, and Coridella of the High Forest, set sail out of Neverwinter, down along the Sword Coast to the Cloakwoods aboard the Harper ship, Diviner. In a matter of a few days, which gave the Harpers ample amounts of time to coordinate an attack upon the Duchess of Rot's tower; they arrived at the shores of the Cloakwood.

Stealing into the lower levels was easy, as the lich had an escape route from her tower that lead into seaside caverns. As planned, Zaldara was easily distracted by the Harpers at her gate and the Knights made their way in stealth into the creature's lair.

With the combined powers of Baodin's strange Sidhe psionics and the pull of the Curse upon Stormcaller, Zaldara's Phylactery, her spellbook, was found relatively quickly. The Lich was enraged and fled from the battle, seeking those who had that which was most precious to her. Stormcaller clutched the book and threatened Zaldara. He would easily destroy the book unless she answered questions. The Duchess literally shook with rage, but the battle outside had sapped her of spells and she was quite vulnerable.

She revealed that the cause of the Death Curse was indeed something like a Phylactery called a Soulmonger and that its origin was somewhere south in the land of Chult. The Knights returned her spellbook and vowed never to cross her path again ...

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Scroll of Yuri, Son of Malgrym (Scribed by Jacob J Kollar)

Yuri was born 4 Ches, The Year of the Forged Sigil, deep within the Wealdath, the son of Malgrym, the human ranger, and Sariel Amastacia, the wood elf druid. His father was forced to flee the forest days after he was conceived and his mother died during childbirth.

Yuri had a strange childhood with little contact with other intelligent creatures. During his first decade he occasionally spent time among the druids of Mosstone. At the beginning of his tenth summer he left the walls of the city for the last time and went into hiding, from a threat he never knew, deep within the forest. He spent much of his time communing with nature spirits and studying the manuscripts left behind by his mother. His only contact was the infrequent visit from his full elven brother, Thyrricean, which had raised him since birth. At an early age he began to exhibit signs that he shared his mother's bond with the forest. He became quite adept at summoning denizens of the forest and even spirits of nature.

He also seemed to bear another gift which his mother also had, his dreams would sometimes reveal things that would come to pass. The dreams were infrequent and unpredictable, but he always woke with a knowledge that what he dreamed would indeed happen. These dreams coupled with instructions left behind by Sariel always kept the brothers one step ahead of a nameless horror that was stalking Yuri through the forest.

During the winter heralding his 3rd decade he had one such dream about the father he had never met. Upon sharing the details of the dream with Thyrricean the brothers agreed they must depart the Wealdath immediately heading Northeast to rescue Malgrym from the fate that would soon befall him.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Scroll of Thyrricean-Amastacia (penned by Jacob J Kollar)

Tethir Xiloscient was born 29 Ches, the Year of the Worm, within Suldanessellar, high among the trees of the Wealdath, the son of Quarion Xiloscient and Sariel Amastacia. While he was but a toddler the very gods walked the earth during what would later be known as The Time of Troubles. At twelve he and Sariel fled to Myth Rynn as the motions set forth by the outcast

Joneleth brought war to Suldanessellar. During the next 7 decades Tethir’s years were equally divided living amongst the Ar'Tel'Quessir of his father's tribe and the Sy'Tel'Quessir of his mother's, but never did he visit the two together. He was raised by his father, who unbeknownst to him was part of a cell of the Eldruth Veluuthra, to despise all N'Tel'Quess especially humans.

He and the other children of his tribe would frequently join the adult hunting parties as they stalked humans that dared to enter the Wealdath. Occasionally, as these children edged ever closer to declaring themselves adults, they would hunt humans without the guidance of adults. He learned well to be cruel and swift in his punishment for perceived slights against the lands of Tel’Quessir.

Although he respected Quarion and had a great desire to make his father proud, he found he enjoyed his time with Sariel, alone in the forest, much more. This had little to do with the fact that he bore a stronger resemblance to his mother's kin than his father's. His mother, a great druid, instilled in him a love of the forest and a respect for the balance of nature. She was well aware of the monster Quarion was raising her son to be. It was her desire to temper Tethir’s genocidal tendencies and she vowed to herself that she would be the counter balance to his father’s teachings.

Near Tethir's 80th nameday Sariel began tutoring a young human boy, named Malgrym, in the ways of the elves. Tethir was appalled that his mother would allow a human to enter the Wealdath, but in time he came to not only accept the boy, but to begrudgingly befriend him. Sariel made Tethir promise never to mention Malgrym to Quarion.

Over the next two decades Tethir wintered with his father, learning the ways of warfare while hunting humans, and spent the fairer months in the forest with his mother and Malgrym. Though Tethir was still a youth and yet played with the Sun Elf children of his father's Elmanesse tribe, Malgrym quickly became a man. As they sparred and trained together, Tethir couldn't help but notice how much more driven Malgrym had been and how quickly his skills had progressed. Malgrym had grown up while Tethir barely aged. The lines had blurred as to which was the more skilled ranger.

In Alturiak, The Year of the Plotting Priests, word reached Quarion that Sariel had been harboring a human within the Wealdath. He ordered Tethir to return to her immediately and slay Malgrym. When Tethir arrived he found his mother with Malgrym. As he prepared to loose the arrow that would end Malgrym’s life, she stepped between the two and revealed to Tethir that she was carrying Malgrym's child. Tethir demanded Malgrym leave the Wealdath and never return on pain of death.

For the next year Sariel taught Tethir to move about the forest to avoid being located by the Eldreth Veluuthra. The half-human infant proved to be too much for Sariel's small elven body and she died giving birth. She left Tethir a journal detailing that she knew she would not survive which also contained instructions for him to assist with raising his brother, Yuri, named for Malgrym's father.

It was on this day, 4 Ches, The Year of the Forged Sigil, that Tethir Xiloscient shrugged off the mantle of childhood and declared himself an adult. He adopted the name Thyrricean Amastacia and spent the next two decades moving from place to place to ensure the Eldreth Veluuthra never found his brother.

Malgrym's Tale, 15th of Mirtul, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning.

At first it was a sort of madness that grilled his brain, the whisperings of a thousand voices, the urgings of demonic spirits that drove him into solitude. Being captured by the Sabrak Clan for all those terrible weeks not only increased the number of the voices in his unholy choir, but gave them a terrible name he dare not speak … only to be called That Which Lurks.

When given the shot at freedom from the Dwarves, he barely gave the Ivory Scimitars so much a thanks as he fled the unholy temple. He wandered in a fog for days, living off what he could in the wilderness … slowly drowning out the voices. This evil would spread to men of the Heartlands if left unchecked. Such a torment would break lesser men, but Malgrym reclaimed his wits and headed north to Kelton.

In captivity, he’d heard flippant conversation about a Grand Temple in the Southlands, a place even the mad Dwarves of Sabrak shuddered to mention; an underground stronghold beneath Mount Sklagarra in the Troll Mountains. Malgrym drank deeply from his bowl of wine as he relayed his knowledge to the Wizard Ramne, as pipesmoke filled the Conclave Tower with a deep richness in the air. Molo of the Five Wives, a Calishite Wizard, turned his dark eyes from Ramne to Rabralthion, Master Wizard of the Conclave. The weight of Malgrym’s tale demanded action, for the village of Kelton had just recently been absolved of a terrible lizard cult, and in not-so-far away Easting, this dark religion of That Which Lurks had stricken enough citizens to warrant the attention of The Purple Dragons of northern Cormyr. Rabralthion instructed Ramne to collect what allies he could trust and he would lead the Conclave south to investigate and find a way to stop this vile cult of madness.

Ramne wasted little time making his way across the courtyard to Aldemier Manor, but as it was, the Ivory Scimitars had been summoned to Iriaebor. He then made his way to the house of his elf-friends, Dorian and Lywillyn. The High Elves greeted him with tea, and listened carefully to what Malgrym, a ranger they both knew well, had said of the growing evil. They committed both bow and blade to the journey and followed the old Wizard back to the Conclave Tower.

As Lathander’s rosy palm of light first crested the horizon, the band of wizards and Elves were already trekking south into the grasslands. Rabralthion had arranged for horses for the Conclave, but the Elves and Malgrym preferred to run. By midday, a curious sight along the Eshpurta Road was seen. The Elves waved the mounted wizards back beneath a small grove of trees as they moved in for a closer look. A massive campground had been staged along the tradeway and a caravan of merchants were being held up by what was clearly Amnish soldiers, their banners brazenly flying in territory that was not theirs to claim. The Elves reported back to the Wizards and Rabralthion quickly charged his apprentice, Braith Kalywynn, to ride hard to Iriaebor and deliver the news of their sighting to Lord Bron herself. The Conclave would continue on their mission, which they all agreed was of probable greater importance.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Ivory Scimitars: 12th of Mirtul, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning.

Prompted by Lady Bron of Iriaebor, The Ivory Scimitars Adventuring Company set forth to southern bound Eastings to investigate rumors of a Abyssal Plague spreading rapidly in the region. Upon arriving in Eastings, all was quiet ... too quiet for the crossroads of the Cormyrian Trading Route. The streets were deserted and the smouldering remains of a building along the main street was the only grim activity.

At the Church of Chauntea, voices were heard and investigated. Father Evendur and a Purple Dragon Knight, Sir Arvine, were arguing about how best to handle the growing plague that had inflicted their small town. Sir Arvine held the opinion that those afflicted with the disease should be put to death to best contain the sickness, even though she showed obvious symptoms of the plague. Father Evendur  stubbornly rejected this notion, claiming that not all of the sick transformed into daemons. Many of the ill were housed in a stable adjacent to the church, and the Scimitars suggested to examine the poor folk before either course of action was taken.

Upon entering the stables, the foul stench of sweat and sulphur pierced the air. The Scimitars were set upon by those sick who'd transformed into Abyssal creatures. The skirmish was swift and the daemons were dispatched. the sick were examined by Morn, who concluded that the disease was only contactable through a daemon's bite, and true to Father Evendur's notion, not all those stricken with the disease would transform, though it was impossible to determine which ones would.

After searching the stables thoroughly, the dwarf Jakairn Sabrak was found in hiding. After a intimidating interrogation was done of the dwarf, it was found the he was responsible for tainting the well of Easting with a poisonous potion that was given to him by his eldest brother, Zarnak - A high priest of a cult of That which Lurks, located about a days travel to the south. The dwarf was left in the custody of the church and the Ivroy Scimitars headed south in search of this cult and the origins of this demonic disease.

 At the River Chionthar, the Adventuring Company was ambushed by Clan Sabrak dwarves utilizing two Earth Elementals. Roldrick commanded the usage of a shield wall to best defend against the Elemental thralls and the day was won against the dwarven assailants. The dwarves all bore a symbol of Ghaunadaur, a stylized eye with a left handed spiral where the pupil should be.

Into the fields between the Green Fields and The Troll Mountains, commonly called The Badlands by most travellers, The Party encountered an odd hermit - a Galeb Dhur, who after some confusion upon which language to best use to communicate with, reviled that a companion of his, a ranger called Malgrym had been captured by Mad Dwarves to the south that worshipped even Madder Gods. He also warned the Scimitars that he'd seen Drow Elves in the region, their vile business their own.

The warning was well taken, but the group found themselves ambushed by the Drow some hours later at twilight. Giant Spiders leaped upon the group like so many flies in a web. The Drow attacked only after engulfing the Party in darkness spells and then fired hand crossbows into the blinded group. Manjores attempted to turn the Fallen Fey, as such was the nature of his Paladinship. This only served to anger the dark elves and open himself up as a specific target of their cruelty. The battle went harshly for the Scimitars, but ultimately the Drow were pushed to parley after the Water-bending Oki trapped the one of attackers in frozen ice.

The Drow Priestess, a young dark elf by the name of Chalindra, offered up the exact location of Clan Sabrak's forsaken temple. She knew much about the surrounding area, having been scouting it for potential raids against Cormyrian caravans. She described the twisting spires about the temple grounds, clawing into the dark like some fell beast trying to snare Selune from her nightly march across the sky. As it turned out, the Drow Priestess was only buying time for her companion to free himself of the ice and once he'd done so, the once again enshrouded the Party in darkness to make their escape.

Arriving at the twisted spires, the Ivory Scimitars were then set upon by an Elemental trap - the doors to the temple were guarded by Elementals of Air and Mud. Defeating these guardians, the Party descended into the temple.

The Dwarves were ready for the Ivory Scimitars and a three pronged assault on their numbers destroyed their shield wall and scattered the group - Roldrick called for skirmishing tactics. Zabrak, the High Priest of the Temple laughed at their confusion and delay from behind a downed portcullis and strolled safely away from the combat.

After some exploring, the Party made it to a large hall ... the very shrine of That which Lurks. Here, More clansmen and Norkers were fought, whittling our heroes health away axe bit by bite. tentacles reached for the Scimitars from two open pools in the chamber while Bolters fired quarrels into the Party with devilish accuracy. Bloodied and weary, the Ivory Scimitars prevailed.

It was discovered that the Altar to Ghaunadaur was built on a pivot, but upon moving it, the Altar began oozing a blue slime which rapidly grew into a horror that attacked the non-believers. The cold beast injured several Scimitars into unconsciousness before it was dispatched, leaving a spiralling stairwell that descended into the darkness below the Great Shrine.

The party tread downward into the inky gulf of darkness, scarcely illuminated by Roldrick's Everlasting Torch. They found themselves in a room with four exit-ways, each one hallmarked by elemental symbols, though perverted and twisted. The wizard Morn deciphered the symbols as being meshed with that of That Which Lurks on a fundamental level ... that perhaps the madness of the dwarves might be more related to Elemental Evil rather than Ghaunadaur.

Morn suggested the explore the Path of Air. As they tread the winding tunnel before them, each member of the Ivory Scimitars began to feel more and more as if the were free-falling ... so much so that the feeling became a crude reality as winds swept them up into a vortex. The chamber was spherical in nature and around and around the spun in the chaos that was the whirlwind. Korrick managed to get a hand-hold on the wall of the chamber and fought against hurricane force winds to make it to the landing on the opposite side. Malark and Darkedge flung ropes into the winds, hoping that Korrick could catch the and pull them in. After some struggling, Korrick managed to pull most of the party to the ledge, and then the chamber began to crumble ... Stefon the Bard was swept up into the unknown.

The inverted pyramid shaped Temple of the Eye greeted the Ivory Scimitars with the roar of Daemonkind. Venomous teeth and filthy claws raked the Party as the sickening smell of old sweat and sulphur assailed their senses. Ultimately the Scimitars prevailed and soon explored an Onyx Obelisk at the lowest tier of the chamber. It was featureless smooth stone, cool to the touch. But upon that touch, powerful magics were released in the form of a violet glowing doorway.

Roldrick felt a twinge of homesickness for his lost Greyhawk, having fell through these Planar Gates before. Morn tied a rope around himself and entered the portal, but the rope severed after he passed through it. Malark bounded through the portal without so much a second thought; as did the tiefling, Akira. Roldrick also took a leap of faith, but Grissom did not feel so hasty. Nor did Darkedge or Korrick. The now divided Scimitars stood in the lavender glow of the portal until it's magic ran out and became Onyx Stone once more.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

To End a Cult - Part 2

The whereabouts of Malark and Korrick were not long hidden, as they marched down the hallway to the inner chambers with a dozen trident armed Lizardmen soldiers in tow. Somehow they'd been mind controlled to lead the vile reptiles in what would be a last ditch attempt to destroy the Ivory Scimitars. But the adventuring company was ready - Ramne, with his magic, lulled Malark to sleep while the rest of the group gave wide berth to the Goliath Barbarian, hoping he would come to his senses.

The battle was short and Lizardmen fell one by one at the beckon of spells and swords. The gamble on Korrick snapping out of the mind control paid off, but the party wondered if the sleeping Malark would also be free of the charm.

Their musings would be forgotten in an instant as something large and serpentine slithered into the Hall of Worship. It raised itself to a full nine feet tall as it coiled around the altar, its base of power.

"Fools ..." it hissed, its golden eyes on fire. "You may have slain my devoted, but I am eternal!"  The great Naga cast a devastating spell of firey death that exploded from the ceiling down ...

It was at this moment Roldrick thought he wished for more money for potions before they set out on this mission. But wait - No - The Wish!

Roldrick wished that the Naga was dead.

Without knowing, Roldrick had accidentally cyphered the only means of permanently slaying the Spirit Naga. The reptilian beast fell dead before his feet, and so ended the Cult of the Reptile God.

The Ivory Scimitars gathered up what treasure they could carry - including their original items that had been taken from them when they were prisoners of the Cult. The journey back to Kelton was leisurely, the group enjoying a slower pace through the grasslands, and eventually the farmlands, of the Borderlands. They returned to Aldenmier Manor, where they'd earned a long rest.

News spread quickly about town about the destruction of the Reptile Cult, and just as quickly throughout the region. The news had reached Lady Bron of Iriaebor, who was looking for just such a group of heroes to investigate a deep concern of hers ...

Friday, April 27, 2018

To Destroy a Cult ... Part 1

In the lowest level of the complex, Undead claws scratched away at the lives of the Ivory Scimitars. Their numbers seemed unending, as wave after wave of the departed Troglodytes were slain and some recovering from destruction, only to haunt the living a second time. Were it not for the raw power of faith applied by the Warpriest, Grissom, they might have been overrun by the ghastly hoard. Channeling this faith through his warhammer, he drove the walking corpses back to enable the barbarians, Malark and Korrik, to drive forward through their ranks.

When all the dead truly laid at rest, there was eerie silence. An ominous feeling of stillness radiated from the unopened door to the North. Soft chanting broke the stillness, adding to the sense of unnerving dread. The party split into three units; two on either side of the door consisting of fighting men, and the other group back from the door some thirty to forty feet consisting of wielders of magic. Time seemed to slow as the Scimitars waited for the coming attack; but ultimately it did come in the form of spell throwing cultist. Black fir rained down upon the wizards of the group as white robed men burst in through the door. Blood sprayed upon white robes, as Axe and Sword found these cultist.

The Necromancer strode into the room calmly and prepared with spells as blades slid off his Mage Armor; the common greeting given to Lizard Worshippers by The Ivory Scimitars. He blasted the magic users with a foul smelling cloud of hell, which choked them and caused the to stumble in their spellcasting. Acolytes of The Lizard God fell one after another as the Necromancer ignored his followers' plight, focusing keenly on killing those who cast spells against him. He weaved a deadly curse that would surly destroy them, but Malark turned his murderous rage upon the practitioner of the Black Arts and caused the death spell to be spoiled. A lone Acolyte cast his final spell, one of Sanctuary upon his master - and sensing that the fight had turned against him and him alone, the Necromancer attempted to flee. Despite the protective magics, he did not get far.

The chamber to the North was a hall of horror. Snakes by the hundreds filled this room, lying or slithering upon the floor, pews, and all manner of furnishings - so much so that it was difficult to discern what other furnishings there were. The Altar in the hall was obvious, however, as an ornately carved pulpit marked by a strange snake-man hybrid statue suspended from the ceiling above it.

Upon the altar rested a small leather pouch, and when investigated, it held a deck of card within. Stephon drew a card from the seemingly simple item and to his astonishment, summoned a spectre of death, which he fought bravely and slew. This was no ordinary deck of cards, but a collection of powerful magics. Intrigued, Stephon drew another card, this time increasing his might. He placed the cards he drew back in the deck and handed the item to Malark, the Barbarian - who immediately hoped to ply his luck. He, too, had to do battle with a spectre of death. Malark was defeated, but somehow cheated death, as the spectre vanished upon his unconsciousness. A strange fever overcame the Ivory Scimitars, as draw after draw from the deck was taken, and boons were given ... and taken away. Only Manjores, the Paladin, refused to draw - the randomness of the deck offending his principals. The fun turned serious when Malark and Korrik both vanished, only their belongings remaining ... Roldrick drew an odd card that promised to grant him a solitary wish ...

... Then she reached into the center of them, all huddled around the deck. She picked up the item and flirtatiously winked at them all with a smile, all the more accented by her boyish haircut ... and they were gone.