Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Session 2 Part 2: The Invasion Begins


THE INVASION BEGINS - Mid Afternoon of Day 1 to Early Morning of Day 2

The by now very intimidated fellowship rush back to the town, child in tow, to find almost all preparations for the evacuation are complete. Despite all the best efforts of the Sherrif and the two Morton’s, many of the townsfolk have elected to ignore the advice of their betters and take off into the hills alone or in small groups.

As they enter the town, the first wagons of the column have already begun to pull out of the town square, making for the mountain road and the pass to the south-east. From the barely spotted glimpse of blue-and-white robes at the fore, it seems evident that Father Morton himself is leading the way.

Meanwhile, in the square the Sheriff and a small band of volunteers who have hastily donned the armour and weapons captures by the party wait to form a rear-guard. Ruz and the professional warrior types in the party (Nine, Clifford and Thutson), take one look at this motley shambles and polite suggest that the men take the place of honour at the head of the column while the party protects the rear.

A somewhat relieved looking sheriff hobbles off with the men under his command in tow, limping up the column as fast as his aged bones will carry him. As the party tags onto the tail end of the column, the tone and character of the red light changes noticeably. Its low hum increases in pitch to a near scream as mushroom shaped pulses of light begin to shoot up into the air from the stumps, following the path of the “spear” as would a loop of metal hung on a post.

The character notes this ominous change with trepidation, and begin to hurry the villagers along as far as possible.

Although they wait a solid fifteen minutes themselves before heading out after the last of the villagers, is not long before they come across the first stragglers. Among them are the old, the infirm and children accompanied by lone mothers, widows of the Last War. Already at the side of the path, the players past discarded, useless objects, pots, pans, cutlery and so forth, brought along by the fleeing townsfolk despite the advice of the town leaders.

Its not long before the party find these stragglers beginning to fall behind even them. In some annoyance, Adriana runs further up the column to acquire a cart or some other vehicle for these folk who evidently should not be walking. She comes across the very large wagon -a wide bullock-wagon pulled by four of the foul smelling beasts and driven by an even more odious specimen. The drivers cart is packed with food -but also with useless items such as furniture and bed-stuffs. When the man refuses to slow down and ditch his useless weight in favour of passengers, Adriana decides to use her own particular favourite form of persuasion, knocking the fellow of his cart (and into the land of Nod) with the carefully applied argument embodied by a hefty smack from a black-jack.

The other characters help to distribute the food from the wagon upon the shoulders of the healthiest stragglers (those who simply refused to leave the infirm behind) and place those who cant keep up on the wagon-bed. Begrudgingly, Adriana allows the driver to be chucked on the back of the wagon-bed a well, though clearly she’d rather leave him for the invaders.

After another hours travel, the party tops a rise where they can peer down into the bay below. Beneath and behind them, a distance of perhaps no more than four miles as the townsman stumbles, the first of the black-ship’s has begin to disgorge its unwholesome cargo upon the shore. To their horror, the party realises that each ship -and there are dozens of them creeping into the bay- carries at least a hundred troops. And what’s more, the very first one to land carries an additional surprise: the hunched, four legged forms of what can only be Wargs (spotted by Adriana‘s keen senses).

The more military-minded players exchange looks of consternation at this news. They had been counting on the fact any horses in the Black Fleet would require time to settle on dry land again after however many days at sea. They had not counted on the ferocious intelligence and ruthless determination of Wargs. Such creatures would not be troubled by the mountainous terrain the column hoped to use in covering its retreat.

Several of the more aggressive party members, including Thutson, wanted to make a stand there and then. Cooler heads prevailed however, as the ground on which they stood, (at that point, still open, rolling foothills rather than the mountains themselves) was not suited to a desperate rear-guard defence. They had no hope but to press on. Knowing that combat was inevitable at this point, room was made for Constance, Bagson and Clifford on the wagon. All three of these spell casters had exhausted their complement of magic. It was clear that without the support of the spell casters, the expedition was doomed.

(Dms Note: A sensible decision actually, had they decided to stand their ground there, the wargs would simply have ignored them and ran past them to engage the refugees, hoping to kill and wound them in sufficient numbers to slow them enough for the rest of the army to arrive).
Not long after, it seemed that the column ground to a halt. Ruz and Adriana ran swiftly up the column to investigate. To their incredulity, despite everything Father Morton and the Sheriff could do, the townsfolk had decided to stop for a rest and a coked meal.

After a hurried conference with the Sheriff and the good Father, in which both these worthies were quickly filled in regarding the Warg situation, Ruz learned of a natural choke point on the road a few hours ahead, one that a small force could defend adequately for a time. As Father Morton and the Sherrif pressed the hastily organised militia into forcing the refugees to their feet in the strange eerily red light of dusk, the thee Shard-born returned to the rest of the party with news that this natural defence was close by.

They reached the choke point, a narrow ravine in the mountain trail, shortly before the onset of full night. As the wagons were unloaded one by one to be manhandled through the gap, the remaining (awake) members of the party picked their ground and formatted a plan. They would wait until the pursuit cleared the next rise whereupon the foe would be subjected to a barrage of missiles from atop the steep walls on either side. The bullock cart- which by all accounts was too wide to fit through the narrow gap in any case- would be used as a barricade from atop which Thutson, Nine and Bagson would hold the defensive line.

Shortly before the last of the civilian wagons made it through the gap, a chilling howl echoed through the hills. The party had only the barest of moments to register the proximity of their pursuit however, for a mere moment later a red flash appeared in the western sky, above the village, as the stumps themselves seemed to explode in a wave of reddish energy that shook the top of the ships just barely visible in the harbour.

The locals needed no further reminder of why they must hurry through the night, and the last of the wagons sound disappeared over the next ridge. The character were left alone, with only their howls and the strange red light in the sky to distract them from their fears as the moon began to rise.

The characters failed to spot the arrival of the first scouts a mere two hours after they (those who were awake at least) had finished preparing their positions for the fight to come. The six Warg scouts and their mounted hobgoblin passengers did not fancy their chances in a direct assault and slinked off into the night to find a workable path around the position. They failed.
So it was that they returned a further four hours later, as the night entered what would normally have been its darkest phase, were it not from the red reflections against the cloud, by which time the sleeping party members had recovered their strength and rested sufficiently to regain their spells and infusions.

The attack came swiftly and without warning. Five dark shapes leapt over the rise leading down into the ravine (the sixth scout and rider having been sent back with a message by the remainder and barrelled down upon the wagons defenders. They were met by the anticipated barrage of missile fire, which dropped one rider and injured several wargs. With one of the two bow armed Warg-Riders down, the “mount” itself decided to climb the bank even as its companion held its position at the top of the rise, allowing its rider to provide counter-archery fire, and scrambled up the slope to find the archers that had slain its rider.

All four archers (Clifford and Constance on the right, Ruz and Adriana on the left) refused to pass up such a choice target and launched a volley at the Warg as it scrambled up the slope (a climb action, meaning no dex bonus), wounding it terribly. However, this ommission allowed the three wargs with lance armed passengers to reach and engage the wagons defenders without further mishap. However the Wargs were quickly dismayed to find the defenders elevated position meant that they could not bring their own jaws to bear and were forced to rely on the weapons of their riders to win the battle. The three heroes were not so constrained however, and focused their energies on disabling the wargs themselves. One rider was crushed unconscious beneath his dying mount and another finally managed to leap aboard the wagon, every other attempt having been smacked down by then characters with successful attacks of opportunity.

However, this was only possible because Nine had been forced to abandon the line in order to come to the rescue of his colleagues. Above the ravine, the climbing Warg had finally reached its tormentors. Unsure whether or not it should first savage the elf or the changeling, the decision was made for it when Adrian rushed to place the spell-casting Ruz (who had just failed to affect the beast with a whim spell) between her and the Warg. The Warg chomped down mightily on the poor unfortunate Ruz, who once again took serious injuries and was forced to spend an action point to stabilise for the second time that day and the third time in two sessions!

Ruz would prove to be the only friendly casualty of the battle however. With the second Warg at the wagon down and its rider slain, the last Warg and its near-passenger chose that moment to fail a morale check and run for the hills. Neither would live to see the Black Ships again as a series of attacks of opportunity and missile fire from Constance and Clifford brought them low. Seeing this, the last archer and his Warg turned and legged it, hoping to “report” the presence of powerful defenders with the column. The final Warg snarled its hatred at the elf who had wounded it so mercilessly from afar, but simple intelligence one over brute savagery and the beast opted to retreat before being faced with the mighty war hammer of Nine.

The party, battered and bloodied, stood victorious. Elated but relieved. Ruz was quickly healed back t a useful state by Clifford, but the short battle had taken a hefty toll on the heroes.
Constance had used every one of her infusions before the battle to either heal or augment the combat powers of Nine. Clifford had used more than half his spells in the aftermath of the battle to heal the wounded Ruz and Bagson. Meanwhile, Ruz had burned through another Action Point, as had Adriana, Clifford and Constance. Indeed, worst of all, Nine had spent FOUR of the six action points he`d gained upon reaching second level and Bagson had used all but his least powerful spells in this first battle.

Worse, it was not yet dawn, the column had at least another three days march ahead of it and the party could expect a fresh attack at any moment.

It would prove to be a bleak night for the heroes of Bronce.

And how had the Sword of Xenphon spent the battle? Bagson, the dwarf who felt the wooden sword to be useless, had spent the whole battle with it strapped to his back in a hide cover. The groups single most powerful asset hadn`t even been used once in the whole encounter.

Sunday, 19 August 2007


KYBER RISING Part II Mid-afternoon to early evening. Day One.

The characters had a surprise as they left the mine. To the West, a great red shaft of light pierced the sky, parting the clouds and causing a light rain to fall. They didn’t need a clear view of the island to realise that the light came from the stumps. Somewhat alarmed to say the least and carrying their near-comatose charge with them, the party hustled back to town as swiftly as Constance`s sheltered upbringing would allow.

Arriving back at Bronce, they found the town in an uproar. Father Morton was no-where to be seen as the villagers rapidly packed what belongings they had into packs or loaded them on to wagons and mules. The Sheriff was trying to organise the shambles into some sense of order, persuading the locals to leave what few valuables they owned behind and to take only food and water.

Adriana observed that suddenly the locals didn’t seem to feel so confident about the Sword anymore.

They learned from the boys grateful mother that the “Red Spear” had struck the sky only just over an hour ago, presumably about the same time as the party entered the mines, and that the “Black Ships” had been sighted moving in on the coast.

After a hurried explanation of the Hobgoblins ransom demands (watched by a tearful mother demanding to know why it had been her child that was left behind) Ruz brought up the matter of the murdered tax collector. He did not fail to notice the sudden flash of guilt that crossed his face. After some prodding the sheriff admitted that he knew. Indeed, half the town seemed to share this dirty little secret. An outraged Bagson demanded to know why the Sheriff hadn’t done anything about it, only to receive an incredulous look.

“I`m sixty-two years old, I have more old wounds and aching bones than you`ll experience in a dwarves lifetime and my only deputy is a fifteen year old boy whose never had to shave let alone had a woman. Why in the Gods name do you think I haven`t done anything? You do something if you like. Me? I`m busy here!”

Bagson didn`t have much to say to that and a burial party was quickly organised for the corpse of the tax-collector, which Nine had carried down the mountain.. Satisfied that they now had at least the grudging permission of the law on their side, the party left Young Morton behind to help the sheriff and set off at a fairly rigid pace to rescue the tax-money from Big Jim`s mill.
The party did not approach recklessly however, after all, their only healer had exhausted his spells and they faced four men whom, or so the Sheriff had it, were seasoned adventurers. Constance refused to be left behind. Saying they needed every crossbow they could find, and placed several magical infusions on Nine to strengthen his weapons and another on Thutson to enchant his weapon.

With that, the party approached the mill not from the front gate, but from a gap in the hedge to one side. Constance, Adirana, Bagson and Clifford formed the missile group which circled round to the right, ready to cover the door to the mil building, while Nine and Thutson moved through the gap in the hedge up the centre, looking to head down the small path between the storage shed and what appeared to be a small cottage. Raz meanwhile circled round to the left, crossbow in hand, to guard that flank.

The battle started badly. Jim’s dogs, three savage brutes, burst from the cottage at the characters approach and made straight for Nine. Fortunately, although not one of the groups archers actually managed to hit a dog, the hounds found that Nine`s rough adamantine and wood skin hurt their teeth. Unfortunately, that simply meant they turned on the less well protected Thutson, who was savaged badly by the dogs before he and Nine finally put the last one down. Meanwhile Adriana set about lighting the shed and cottage roofs with fire-arrows.
No sooner had they done so that Thom, the first and largest of Jim`s band, burst from the mill itself. Glistening all over with a strange grey-ish oil and wielding a massive great-axe, the huge warrior let out a howl of rage and made straight for the missile group, leaping across the hedge and into melee with Clifford, ignoring the wounds he had taken from three crossbows in the process.

This was too much for Constance, who seemed to turn and flee at this point.

Jim himself followed, throwing himself into combat with nine and the wounded Thutson, shaking off a Whim spell cast by Raz in the process, and immediately setting about the raging barbarian and the war forged warrior. Thutson fell almost immediately, taking a hefty blow first from Jims axe, them a vicious uppercut with the Rim of his shield. He fell to the ground unmoving and near-death (on -9 hit points and spending the First Action Point of the Battle to auto-stabilise - if he hadn’t he would have died at the beginning of his next initiative).

The next to emerge was Halton, the Scout sprinted half-way from the mill to the cottage wall, stopping half-way to launch a wickedly accurate crossbow bolt that struck Ruz full on the chest, dropping the Changling behind the hedge. Fortunately however, the Changling had strength enough to crawl out of harms way, behind a small fold in the ground. Things were looking bleak however, in their first round of entering the combat, Big Jim`s boys had dropped two of the fellowship. The battle had barely begun and yet the odds looked bleak.

It would grow darker still, not long after Jacko revealed that he was indeed a powerful wizard, launching a pair of shining purple orbs that struck Nine with a deep, resounding thud, leaving behind the noise of tortured metal and burning wood. For the first time in his life, Nine knew real pain, greater by far than the mere scratch inflicted upon him by the hobgoblin at the Stumps.

And then the third party member fell.

Though pierced and battered by crossbow bolts, bludgeoned by Clifford, slashed by Bagson and sneak-attacked by Adriana, the howling Thom refused to fall. His oily bloody and ragged hide cloak were both matted with deep red, arterial blood, yet still he fought on, cleaving Clifford with a blow that near tore the Favoured Soul in Two (Second Action Point, spent to stabilise).
Realising how dire their chances looked, Nine called upon every ounce of strength and courage he had to land telling blows on Jim, (spending four action points in the process) yet the determined thug simply would not go down. Even his infusion enhanced Adamantine body could not protect him form the fury of Jims axe, and as the partys last true melee specialist began to fail, it seemed like it was all over for the characters.

But Constance had not fled, she had worked her way steadily into a position where she could fire on Hal from behind and above. Though so far she had missed twice, her bolts landing so far from the mark that Halton had simply ignored her, her third shot flew true, striking the scout through the back of the chest and piercing his heart. (Typically, she had rolled a critical threat on her first ever successful attack roll, scoring 12 damage on a character with only 10 hit points).
The players (and presumably the characters too) let out a cheer at the sigh, and Constance seemed unphased when Jim, seeing the whole thing, roared angrily “You`ll pay for that b&!%@!”.

But the tide had turned, and the party new it. Only moments later, a sneak attack from Adriana (which hit thanks to the Seventh Action Point of the Session) finally dropped the rampaging, monstrous Thom.

Jim was not concerned though. Three of his foes were down, the last skilled warrior was near de-activation and of the reaming three, two had suffered at the hands of Thom and the last was a scared slip of a girl who`d near dropped her crossbow when he’d threatened her. He only swore vengeance and continued to fight.

Jacko was not so confident, he’d used his last decent spell trying to drop Bagson and failed, though he left the dwarves warrior nearly spent. Always the coward of the group, he shouted “Run Jim”, and fled with the benefit of his last spell - Expeditious Retreat.
Big Jim howled in rage, and took one last swing at Nine before turning to run. Even spending his last action point, Nine couldn’t land a blow on the retreating warrior. It seemed Jim would escape.

But they had reckoned without Raz. Dismayed and angered by the sigh of Thutson lying seemingly dead (and having a player who knows a recurring villains when he see’s one) Raz rose from his crouch and used the last of his strength to fire his still-loaded crossbow at Jims back. He missed, but decalred that an action point would be spent, despite being told he needed to roll a six. We watched in mingled horror (from me) and fascination as, without preamble, Raz’s player rolled a six and dropped the fiend to negative hit points.

After the ensuing celebration (which Raz himself did not remain conscious to see), the standing party members gathered their wits and spotted Jacko heading for the causeway and the stumps as fast as his skinny legs and flapping robes would carry him. But the elation was short lived. Three of their friends were down and most of the remainder near death. As the lightest and fastest of the four victors, Adriana was dispatched back to town without ceremony to fetch Father Morton.

In the meantime, with the shed and cottage burning merrily about them, the others decided to search the mill.

“I just hope the money wasn’t in one of those.” Constance was heard to comment quietly. Luckily (although I WAS tempted) the treasure -and a small armoury- proved to be in the mill house itself. While Nine loaded the captured weapons onto the mills mule, Constance and Bagson found a small chest under the floorboards.

Not long after Adriana returned with a very cross Father Morton (who was not pleased about having been left out of the fight) and the parties injured were quickly healed. Adriana and Raz then proceeded to open the chest, after first disarming the trap that guarded it, and examine the contents. They found the tax money did not quite add up to a mere 1000gp, but were confident that the other items and art objects contained therein would increase the haul to the required 2000gp. There was some talk of keeping some of the money or else using some of the weapons they had found as barter but Father Morton soon put a stop to that.

He also claimed the weapons and armour (minus those the party had chosen for themselves - Constance, Clifford and Thutson got a breastplate each, while Adriana was happy to acquire Constance`s cast off Masterwork chain shirt and Raz claimed Haltons masterwork but damaged studded leather) for the towns militia, pointing out that the townsfolk needed them more the characters needed cash.

Bagson complained about this as well, but the good father simply replied, “Consider it a gratuity for all that free healing”.

Once again, Bagson did not have much more to say about that.

Beneath the chest, Bagons detect magic spells sensed something in the recently disturbed earth. Reaching his hand into the soil, he felt it clasps around the haft of something thick and wooden. Lifting it from the soil, the party were near-blinded by a blue-csytalline flash. As Bagons held the sword aloft, all could see that he held in his hand a strnagely crafted wooden sword, still ozzing living sap upon the blade and veined with what appeared to be blue crystal.
All the shardborn present felt a strange affinity for the sword, as if the had just seen a friend long missed hale and in good health. All except Bagson, who paused only to complain:

"What the hell are we going to do with a wooden sword!"

It was at this moment that Raz pointed out. "Well, Father Morton was right about one thing, thats no human design. Xenophon was a hob-goblin."

As the party rushed back down the hill and into town, the first of the Black Sailed Ships moved into sight around the hills. Still a few hours from landfall, the company nevertheless took note, and redoubled their efforts to return to the Mine.

Another surprise awaited them there.

Gone were the scrappy, dishevelled hobgoblin brigands from before. Instead, they found themselves marched down mine shafts packed tight with fierce, chanting, yelling hobgoblin warriors in full, matching armour and uniforms of Red and Dark Blue. The hobgoblins chanted in some strange foreign tongue (not goblin) none of the party could understand. Fearful of their lives, and wondering where these hobgoblins came from, and whether the hobgoblin who`d made the deal was still in charge, they were lead swiftly to the lift shaft.

The hobgoblin leader awaited him there. Gone were the wounds from before, seemingly magical healed. His cloak was of the deepest midnight blue, his sword and armour of the finest quality . The guards beside him carried banners adorned with some strange runes. His very bearing was altogether different, this hobgoblin carried himself like a King, not a tribal chief. Yet it was undoubtedly the same one. They recognised the scar across his cheek.

This time the hobgoblin spoke eloquently, welcoming them in dulcet tones and perfect common and confiding they had not eaten the boy after all. “Not enough to go round,” one of the banner men joked as the nearby hobgoblin parade laughed. The party were in no doubt this display was not just for their benefit - they were to serve as the bearers of grave tidings to the people of Chillhame. This was no simple pirate raid or barbarian incursion. It was to be a full blown invasion.

“The truce lasts until you reach the village and my general reaches land. . Once the Terror arrives, all truces expire. And this island shall drown in blood.”

At this, the hobgoblins take up the chant “Blood, Blood, Blood!” Banging sword against shield and spear butts against the ground as the party - and the last boy- are escorted back through the heaving throng of orange flesh. To their surprise, they once again reach safety -but not before being accosted by a band of grey-skinned, red-haired dwarves!
As they exit the caves, Bagson is unusually quiet. He believes now that he knows what happened Eberron's lost clan of Dwarves.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Kyber Rising Part One


Dawn to early-afternoon. Second Sul of the month of Rhann (early autumn) 1008 KY, on the Island of Chillhame, near the Town of Bronce.

The characters are recalled to wakefulness by a blood-curdling scream. As they look about themselves they find they lie upon a stone plinth, with a glowing megalith towering above it, in a cluster of twelve other stone tables of a similar sort, all occupied. They have only a moment to take in these strange surroundings however, as their eyes are drawn to a terrible sight.

Above one of the plinths stands a woman both exotic and terrible. Twelve small twisted horns like those a goat grow finger-like from her forehead, crowning her in the shape of a Tiara. Her purple skin glistens with sweat and she licks her dark lips as though squirming with primal ecstasy, her organic seeming purple armour leaving her midriff and much of her chest bare and seeming to quiver with an excitement of its own. In one up-raised, perfect hand she clings to a still-dripping heart, beating erratically in her grasp. The other holds a bloody dagger. She laughs as the figure beneath her reaches feebly upwards, as if striving to reclaim the sacred treasure stolen from it’s chest.

At the sight of this someone gasps, and the woman’s attention is returned to the present. She howls in hatred and points to the plinths.

“Kill them! Kill the Shard-born!” she screams. In but a moment, she is gone, faded into the mists that surround the clearing. But other figures have not, as over a dozen frenzied, humanoid figures unleash their rage in a ulullalating, bestial war-cry and charge wildly out of the mists.
Immediately, some of the figures on the plinths are cut down, slaughtered before they can even fully regain their feat, but a small band, seven in number, rise at the far side of the clearing and begin to give battle.

Two of them, the War forged, Nine and his erstwhile companion, Ruz, hold their ground, electing to permit the enemy to come to them. But another, dressed in hide armour and bearing Longsword and shield charges forward to meet the uncommon creatures.

As he nears them, he recognises them for what they are. Mere hobgoblins, but hobgoblins of athe strangest sort. For these carry rusty, crude weapons and wear patchwork armour, as poorly kept and maintained as their discipline. Thutson nearly cleaves his first foe in two, but this first combatant is swiftly joined by two others. This rash act however, perhaps saves the life of a young girl.

To the eyes of the other heroes , peering through the mists, this young girl is in fact an elven archer of the Valenar horse-lords. Yet she acts as strangely as their attackers. Rather than stand and fight, she throws her bow in the air and screams, cowering behind her plinth as the other orange skinned warriors bear down upon her.

Yet the town guardsman, Clifford, does not let her fall undefended. He lunges forward, placing himself between the girl and the foe, and is quickly joined by Ruz, whose enchantment magic causes one hobgoblin facing Clifford to become distracted by a terrible wracking agony inside his head. The two are swiftly joined thereafter by the Warrforged, Nine.

Meanwhile, a second melee develops around Thutson, aided by the axe of Bagson and the bow of the groups true elf, Adria.

Against so formidable a group, the hobgoblins fall easily, the last one retreating into the mists. Alas, the group has not been quick enough to save the others, who fade from sight even now, seemingly taken by the mists, never to return.

The seriously wounded Ruz, almost becomes one of them. Luckily, it transpires that one of his new companions is not only a soul favoured by the gods, but posessed of a kind heart. Though it takes almost half of Cliffords spells, the changling is saved from an early, and likely very permanent, demise.

With the help of Adria, Constance, the girl cowering behind the stone, is quickly calmed. By her upper-class Sharn accent and the sheer expense of her make-up and costume - the bow alone being wrapped with platinum wire and inlaid with peal- it is clear the lass is out of her depth. However, upon seeing Nine she runs to him, clinging to his leg as though he were some sort of talisman against the dark. While Clifford heals the wounds of the party’s organic members - using his entire allotment of spells for the day- Constance turns her hand to magically repairing the wounds suffered by Nine. As she does so, the Warforged has a flashback, in which he recognises her as having been present at his creation.

The girl seems genuinely confused by this news, claiming not to remember any such thing. At that moment, most of then other characters realise that they cannot recall many important events in their lives, such as where they born or the names of their parents. While they seem to remember how to swing a sword or cast a spell, the secrets of their past seems lost to them.

While this conversation takes place, Ruz and Bagson examine the stone monliths. The plinths themselves each bear a niche, right beneath where the occupants heart would be were they once again lying on the slab in question. Each cnihe is filled by a now spent Siberys crystal, perhaps the length of a human forearm. The monoliths themselves appear to be carved from stone and to have fragments of glowing crystal embedded within. But as a dwarf, Bagson is able to proclaim that the stone was added later, like a sheath to protect the inner cystal. Each of the thirteen plinths bears a strange engraving, glowing with a faint purple radiance. Bagson has never seen anything like them, but the changeling recognises them as Dargonmarks -much as they would look when seen on the skin of a living being. None of the actual marks look familar to him, and neither of them think to bring the marks to the attention of Constance, who has already revealed herself to be a scion of House d'Cannith.

It is at that point the apparition appears.

She takes form slowly, over the central mound, and appears as a beautiful yet translucent women of golden skin and silvery hair. She speaks to the heroes as if very far away, calling them the “Shard-born” and warning them of a great evil which threatens the world. A great evil they must face alone. She seems saddened by what she calls their premature emergence, and by the quality of their vessels, which she says are as yet unprepared. It seems then, that whatever ritual has been performed, it was performed too soon, and by an enemy seeking to prevent “their” emergence at their true power. Whoever “their” might be.

After only a few moments, and leaving more questions behind than answers, including instructions to seek the Sword of Xenophon, “so that you might begin to remember”, she fades away into nothingness.

The characters begin to feel as if a soothing presence has been lifted, and though the mist has retreated in the last few moments, they find their surroundings as bleak and ominous as ever. They are on an island, perhaps a quarter of a mile across, linked to the mainland by a long, narrow causeway. The sun has risen. And on the southern horizon, a fleet of black sails appear on the horizon.

With no sign of the mysterious purple woman, or her hobgoblin servants, the party flee quickly to the mainland.

As they run, Constance, clearly unable to keep up and unused to such things, casts aside her bow and arrows, seeming not to care about the cost as Adria recovers them for her own use. For the sake of speed, Nine lifts her in his adamantine arms and runs with her cradled like a small child. By the time they are half-way across, the water is lapping around their ankles and around the thighs of the dwarf. However, at this point it becomes clear that what appeared to be the two peaks of a saddle bisecting a single hill is, in fact, two hills flanking the entrance to a small bay. Only moments later, as they skirt the hills which block their view of the Bay, they spot a large village complete with a single nearby windmill.

Fearing for the safety of the townsfolk, they run into the town, but are perplexed to see it near deserted so early in the day, at a time when all should be up and about and conducting their business, especially given the number of fishing boats drawn up on the beech. However, Bagson notes the poor quality of the boats and the terrible state of the nets and the party rightly conclude that fishing is not this towns usual means of support. Constance is so shocked at the state of the town that she exclaims “People actually live here?” not in snooty tones but in genuine shock. She seems quite moved when she learns that this is the case and that people could live quite comfortably in such squalor. She confesses she had never realised what a sad thing it was to be poor, as she has never before left the D`Cannith house enclave in Sharn. At least, not that she can remember. Her simple concern seems to improve her worth considerably in the eyes of her companions, some of whom finally realise that, far from being spoiled, she has merely been overly-sheltered by her parents. And that her sweet nature is truly no ruse.

This becomes even more clear as they reach the town to find it in as dilapidated a state as the boats themselves. Half the homes are falling apart, with rotten wood showing through the adobe facings and peeling paint. Clearly the town has fallen upon hard times. Even the many mine entrances now visible in the hills have no activity around them. Indeed, the only sign of life is an old woman who flees into her shop as soon as they party comes into sight of it. Although Thutson runs up one of the hills flanking the bay entrance, looking to measure the progress of the pirates, the others hurry up to the old woman`s shop.

The bang upon her barred door but are given no entrance. Instead, the old woman threatens to call the sheriff if they do not leave her be. Eventually they persuade her to provide directions to the inn. They head for the town square, still in some haste and somewhat dismayed by the old woman’s refusal to believe an invasion fleet is on the way. The find the inn at the far side of the marketplace, with an old fountain fronting a ruined shrine to the Sovereign Host before it. Although Clifford seems dismayed by the poor condition of this hallowed location, he does not allow himself to be distracted from his task.

The fellowship bursts into the inn, yelling about pirates and an invasion fleet and are met with ridicule and laughter. Even at this early hour, the inn is packed with folk who should be working. One group in particular catch the eye of the party, four fierce looking men who slouch in the corner and eye them suspiciously. It swiftly becomes apparent that not only do the characters not know what town they are in, they do not even know they are on an island! This only causes the four men to become even more suspicious, narrowly avoiding a fight when Nine engages what he refers to as “threat mode”. Luckily, the presence of a member of house D`Cannith and a sharply worded order from the young Constance calms him. However, the suspicion of the four men only grows when the party reveal they don’t even know what YEAR it is.

Indeed, at learning the news that the last war ended not seven but TEN years ago, Constance is so shocked that she near collapses and bursts in to tears screaming “I`m twenty! How can I be twenty! I haven`t even had a chance to be seventeen!”

Adria quickly moves to comfort her, though she herself is stunned to learn the date is FIVE years later than she remembered. She is not quite so affected however, nor is Bagson who learns seven years have passed since his last memeory. Both are from long-lived races and, though disconcerted, do not feel the loss as much as poor Constance, who, given what she can recall of their advanced age and poor-health, has every reason to suspect her parents may be dead by now!

Of all the party, Nine takes news of these lost years the best. He cannot even recall what year it was when he met Ruz anyway, and since he was only a few weeks old at the time (as far as he believes) he has yet to come to appreciate the value of those wasted years.

At this point, evidently either deciding the party is crazy, cursed, or both, most of the villagers save the barman and the group in the corner, leave the inn with some haste. The four thugs simply look angrier, and more suspicious, than ever.

At that moment, a terrified local comes bursting into the inn, complaining about “some grey-skinned monster tearing up the town and yelling for his friends. Adria and Ruz quickly move outside and wave to Thutson, who quickly runs up and reports that he cannot see the sails at all from the hills, which are somewhat lower than the hill upon which they appeared.

Before Thutson can finish gathering his breath, three men, all armoured and clearly expecting trouble, burst into the inn. One, the oldest man, is of advancing years and is clearly the sheriff. Clad in chain mail and carrying a seemingly ancient spear older even than he is and with a bronzed helmet perched upon his head, he quickly tells the other two to stand down. The youngest of the three is a boy of perhaps sixteen, clad in poorly fitting leather armour and armed only with a brace of javelins. The third, who bears a clear family resemblance to the young man, is between the other two in years and carries a simple farmers flail balanced on one shoulder. His blue and white vestments, worn over his well-fitted breastplate, mark him as the local Priest.

Relieved to finally find the sheriff, the group relate their tale, explaining that they happened to sight a fleet of black sails after appearing in the strange magical circle across the causeway. On an island they are informed the locals call the Stumps. The local men seem sceptical and the three newcomers even laugh.

One, the youngest, blurts out. “Hah, Pirates have never troubled us before. We’ve got the Sword of Xen..” he shuts up after being cuffed round the ear and told to shut up the sheriff. The youth throws an apologetic, almost fearful glance across the room to the four thugs, and mutters a terrified apology to the man seated in the centre. Someone he calls “Big Jim”, evidently the leader of the four thugs.

Despite the sudden silence in the room, the party asks what the lad means. Seemingly unafraid of the four thugs the priest, who introduces himself as Father Morton, explains that the locals believe that the village is protected from harm by the sword of some hero - they say a human but he reckons a hobgoblin- named Xenophon. This Xenpohon supposedly fought a great battle against an evil army and slew its demonic leader not far from the town. Though the locals clearly look angry that the Priest has told these adventurous looking foreigners about the sword, the father seems unconcerned. It`s fairly clear that while even the sheriff and his deputy - father Mortons son- fear Big Jim and his cohorts, they in turn have a healthy respect for the prowess of the priest.

Still concerned and not entirely sure this Sword will save the village, the party set to discussing whether or not they should try to reclaim the sword. What if it is the only thing keeping this village safe from raiders? While the others agree that the ships seem to be staying out of sight for the moment and agree to rent a few rooms for the night, Ruz slips out the back and catches up with father Morton.

The priest explains a little more about the Swords history, stating that it was supposedly stored someplace secret nearby, but that the only records he knew of its location went up in flames when the local library - the private collection of the towns previous mayor- went up in smoke with all the town records six years ago. He explains that the townsfolk cling to a “superstitious” belief that the Sword has kept them safe while all the surrounding villages were long ago plundered and slavered into extinction. Privately, he believes it has more to do with the fact the bay entrance is invisible from the sea. After all, if this Sword was so powerful, why have all the mines dried up and the town reduced to such a penurious state?

Ruz makes some comment about asking just out of interest in a good tale, but the Father sees right through him and merely smiles. “The tombs up there in the hills somewhere,” he says, “and good riddance to the Sword if you find it. As long as it`s here these fools will cling to this half-life they lead, trusting in the sword to protect them rather taking fate into their own hands. Half these fools still believe things will get better again if only the keep faith with the sword.” He nods sadly towards the ruins of the old shrine, a testimony to the townsfolks faith in the sword rather than the Gods.

He goes on to explain that many of the villagers would likely fight to keep the sword safe. He goes on to mention that the islanders are a stubborn lot. They fought off no less than four invasions by Breland during the War, and even now, twelve years after the Day of Mourning, they still consider themselves subjects of the Kingdom of Cyre. Even though the surviving Prince of Cyre barely recognises that the island exists. Some of these folk even believe the Sword was the only thing that saved the island from the same fate as the rest of Cyre. Maybe they are right after all, for things started going bad right about then. Perhaps saving the island from the fate of their mother Kingdom simply exhausted the Swords Power. the father speculates. But it is readily apparent that the Father doesn’t believe it. “Swords that powerful”, he says, “simply don’t exist.”

“Host knows the locals don’t have faith in the Gods anymore. Speaking of which, services are held nightly here, at my house. Your friends are all welcome. I expect you’ll need me for some free healing soon too -but only if no villagers need it first. Good day.”

Happy to have learned so much information, Ruz returns to the rest of the group. They have wiled away the time making plans in quietly hushed voices, relating what they can remember of their origins and chatting amicably among themselves. Bagson makes a few unwholesome jokes that leave Constance near sickened, and the two girls head of the far end of the table to indulge in a little girl talk. Young Constance still seems out of her depth, but thanks to the efforts of Adria she has begun to admit that things are indeed, "quite exciting".

Before long, Thutson indicates he’s going to take another look from the hill, and is followed by the majority of the party save Clifford, who intends to keep an eye on their gear -such as it is- and Adria, who declares her intention to do a little sneaking.

Shortly after the party leave the inn, Adria also rises and goes to poke about town. Two of the thugs follow her out. Clifford, torn between following and letting the parties gear -and the other two thugs- out of his sight decides to trust in the abilities of his elven companion and remains right where he is.

Adria quickly spots her tail, and tries to loose them by ducking behind a building. She’s spotted however, and the two thugs mockingly lounge against the opposite wall for a while, waving and leering, until one them decides to approach.

He reveals that Jim and his boys are on to them, don’t believe the idiotic story that they simply appeared on the Stumps, and know what they’re really pokeing about for. They offer a hundred gold, fifty now and fifty to be collected from the mile marker outside town, if they leave before nightfall and tell their masters they found nothing.

Perplexed, but smelling an opportunity for profit, Adria agrees and accepts a hefty bag of gold. As she heads back to the inn, feeling smug, she wonders how the hell someone could be willing to part with so much gold -much less own so much gold- in a town where the inn-keep told her not to flash her wealth around when she bought drinks with a silver piece.

Not long after, she bumps into the sheriffs deputy, Young Morton, who adds he also knows why the characters are really here and that, if they cut him into the treasure, he can lead the party to the old tomb, where Xenophon is said to lie in state. Adria once again agrees readily and arranges to meet the youngster at dusk, at the milestone outside the village.

She gets back to the inn shortly before the others return. Hearing that the group spotted a single black-sailed mast skirting the horizon before fading from view, the groups concludes that the fleet is waiting for something -or someone. Ruz is determined to find out more about the Swords location and picks through the ruins of the library, drawing a few curious looks from the locals. He finds nothing but charred flagstones and a few starved rats. However, not long after he heads out the back of the inn to the privy, the only place he has not been followed by one of the thugs since Adria made the deal, and takes on the form of Father Morton.

In this form he walks casually past the two thugs standing by the inn door (keeping a wary eye on Bagson, who is having a fly pipe-smoke outside the inn) with a cheery wave which the two thugs do not return.

He makes a show of cleaning up the shrine a little, while in fact he is actually searching it. He comes across a small piece of paper -evidently a confession to murder written by one of Jims boys, placed here as a request for forgiveness for this sin- and pockets it. He also finds a small flagstone marked with a hobgoblin “X” rune, but thinks nothing of it at the time and returns to the group, deciding to keep his discovery to himself for the time being and considering whether he should take up the matter himself or leave it to the sheriff.

As he reaches the inn door, a young lad, breathless as a blown horse, runs through the town square bawling “They took ‘em, the gobbers took me friends.” Immediately a crowd, including the characters, gathers round the boy. After some coaxing he reveals that he and his friends were up playing by the old tomb when some gobbers appeared and started dancing and preying “an stuff.” Rather stupidly, his younger friends, Cal and Hob, stayed to watch and were caught soon after another bunch of hobgoblins showed up and fought a battle with the first arrivals. The lad watched saw the whole thing from a distance, but ran away shortly after the boys were dragged off. Alas, he is in such a state he cannot remember in which direction the hobgoblins were headed.

A near riot breaks out as the village sceptics shout “Where was the sword when we needed it eh?” and others cry out that it was the boys on fault for committing sacrilege by playing round the tomb. Father Morton and the Sheriff make a start at calming the mob down, and send young Morton off to lead the characters to the Tomb.

They get there about twenty minutes later and after some careful scouting determine that the second group of hobgoblins did indeed win the fight. The bodies have been stripped bare, all save that of two priests who kneel before a ragged alter at the tomb. Young Morton is able to determine which of the tracks belonged to the winners by the two sets of drag marks that suggest the boys were led off to the east.

Although the tracks disappear over broken ground, he reckons they are headed for the old gold mine, and can lead the way. There is some talk of sending Constance back to town, for her safety, but she disagrees. It seems she is not only rather embarrassed but also somewhat ashamed by her conduct back on the Stumps. She has always dreamed of doing “field work” and is determined to do better. Reluctantly, the party agrees, but only after Clifford hands over his crossbow to the otherwise weapon-less sprig of a girl.

Young Morton smiles nervously at her, and the two youths (both are barely seventeen) seem to draw confidence from each others presence. The party follows the tracks and Ruz, disguised as a goblin, scouts the buildings at the mine head. Three are little more than shacks housing old and useless mine equipment. One is some sort of office. Although it reeks of stale beer, urine and faeces, Ruz holds his breath and does some exploring. He comes across a tattered uniform with a single blood-stained rent above the heart. Further inspection finds an official warrant declaring the bearer as a Tax-Collector for the Crown City of Saraghost. He also finds the mans official tax collection pouch. Unsurprisingly, it is empty.

However, the party do not yet make the connection between the corpse and the strange behaviour exhibited by Big Jim and the rest of the town.

The party explore further into the dungeon, with a very nervous Constance and Young Morten bringing up the rear, Morten with a torch and Constance with a loaded crossbow. At least, its loaded until Bagson reaches back and removes the bolt. “Never cock the weapon with abolt loaded until you need to shoot it”, he whispers in grandfatherly tones, “you might slip and shoot yourself.” Contrite, the young lady never the less nods her understanding, and while she leaves the string pulled back, the quarrel stays tightly held in her quivering spare hand. Both the youths are clearly terrified, and its only the presence and coaxing of the other heroes that keeps them from bolting.

As the party moves deeper into the mines, Ruz, carrying a torch and wearing the shape of a hobgoblin, leads the group with Bagson and Thutson (both of whom have dark vision) about thirty feet behind. Each with one eye closed against the light to protect their dark-sight. The remaining group travel about thirty feet behind the "odd-couple".

Bagson’s bat familiar scouts ahead, screeching once after returning from a side passage. Knowing foes to be present, the parties sneakier members stalk down the short passageway into the old tackroom, where two drunken guards sleep off the victory celebrations. Both are quickly slain and the party members cannot help but comment once again on the strange lack of discipline displayed by these famously militant creatures.

After continuing down a corridor, ignoring several flooded side passages showing no trace of use, they reach a fork in the mine and choose to follow the steeper path. The party are startled by the screeching and moaning of a ghost, which, though terrifying in aspect, appears either unable or unwilling to actually harm them. The ghost is thatof a naked young man, with a great stab wound in his chest and a gaping slash in his throat. When the wailing and moaning attracts the attention of two hobgoblins, who seem rather blaise with regards to the ghost in their midst, Ruz heads down the corridor to intercept them while wearing the face of a dead drunk. Disgusted, the two hobgoblins warn the drunken hobgoblin to return to his post and sober up before the boss sees him. At least if he wants to live until tomorrow. The two guards chuckle nastily and head back the way the came.

Meanwhile, the characters determine that the ghost simply wants them to retrieve his corpse for burial. After some wading in a deep murky pool, the bloated body is removed. It`s clearly been in the water for around a week, and the skin seems to slough off as the characters touch it. Constance bravely manages to avoid throwing up, but only because Morton and the others seem to be watching. Bagson finds a peice of a blade broken off in the neck wound, and pockets the evidence for later. He is swiftly becoming suspicious about just where Jim and his boys got their money from. And why they are so worried about having strangers poke about the place.

The party promise the ghost they will bury the body on the way back , as they have to “tend to the living first, then the dead,” . This seems to remind the ghost of something, and after further pantomime they determine that the two boys are indeed down this corridor along with lots and lots of hobgoblins. Indeed as the party heads further down the corridor, they begin to hear the noise of revelry and celebration, though its hard to determine from where, as the noise seems subdued as it echoes its way through the mineshafts.

Wearing the uniforms of the dead guards, Thutson and Ruz amble up to the two guards from earlier, who appear to be guarding some form of lift mechanism. The two guards seem more annoyed than alarmed at their “drunken” approach and seem more concerned with discussing whether or not one of them should exchange posts with the drunks than what the two newcomers are doing with their hands. Ruz`s rapier strikes the first guard in the throat, nicking the windpipe and narrowly missing the jugular. Its not enough to kill him however, and he tries to rasp out an alarm. Thutson on the other hand beheads his foe with a might blow. Alas, the element of surprise is lost however, as the still-helmeted head makes its noisy, clanging way down the mineshaft, followed an instant later by the armoured body of the second, fanatical hobgoblin, who screams that his death is dedicated to the “Dark Worm” as he throws himself down the shaft.

Below, the sounds of revelry cease.

At the lift, the party makes plans for when the platform rises to meet them, not quite realising that the mechanism only operates from above. At least, not until the mechanically savvy Constance points this out. When they begin to hear sounds of a barricade being assembled below, the party finally decides to act. Constance activates the lift mechanism, bringing the platform up from the level below. Though the characters are ready for battle, the platform is empty. It seems the characters must take the battle to the enemy themselves. Constance and Morton are delegated to remain above and guard the lift mechanism, ready to recall the lift platform at a shout from the others. Both youths realise they are deliberately being left out of the most dangerous fighting, but neither protest. They both know how important their role will be, especially with some unexplored passages still behind them.

The lift descends slowly, with the party’s shield-users in the foe. Though the drop is only a mere sixty feet, it seems to take forever for the aging mechanism to reach the next level.

There, what the character see in the mighty cavern, is enough to make their hearts stop.

Six hobgoblin warriors, all bearing light wounds and drawn longbows, stand not fifty feet away behind a makeshift barricade of tables and mining equipment. Behind them stands a mighty warrior, scarred near from head to foot, with a dagger held to the throat of one of the boys. To his left stands a decrepit old crone in ceremonial clothing, decorated with rats skulls and bird claws, holding a knife at the throat of a second boy. At the other end of the torch lit cavern, a gaggle of hobgoblin children are clustered behind a large assembly of cooking pots and pans, clutching improvised kitchen tools and protected by a mob of hobgoblin women carrying small but deadly looking meat-knives and kitchen-cleavers.

Its clear that the characters cannot win this battle without taking losses. Not least amoung them to two boys. Tense negotiations follow, in which the hobgoblins agree to relinquish one of the two boys as down payment in exchange for 2000gp. The other boy will be released only delivery of the money, unless, the chief hobgoblin agrees, “we get too hungry first. So be quick!”.

The characters return up the lift, with the screams of the second boy screaming in their ears, “Don’t leave me. Don’t leeeeaaaavvvvvve meeeeeeee!”

The question remains? Where will the party find 2000 gold in a one-horse town like Bronce? Bagson and Adria think they know the answer

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Khyber Fall: D&D 3.5 in Eberron

Just played the first session of my new Ebrron Campaign: KhyberFall, on Wednesday. Here's the blurb the players were given before the game. It`s followed by character descriptions and a summary of the first session.

"It is dark, you have no memory of this place. All that you can feel beneath you is a harsh stone slab. You cannot speak, you cannot move, you cannot sleep. You have no idea of how long you have been trapped here. You hear the sounds of movement all around you, others, trapped, strapped down like yourself. Forest noises reach you faintly as if from far away. You have no clue as to who has brought you here, or why. Your last memory is of a face - a friend, a lover, a foe. It matters not, it is only by great force of will that you can focus on that memory and the ones which have come before. Memories of great battles, great loves, of friends won and lost. You were a hero, an adventurer. Slowly, the past return to you. You still cannot remember how you came to be here, but at last you have remembered who you are.Footsteps ring on stone.The sound of someone singing draws near.A blade is drawn.Your mind opens........"

Adria: Female Elf Rogue 1

Fast-talking and ever-looking to make a quick copper at some-ones expense, Adria speaks so swiftly and says so much in a single breath -without punctuation- that it is hard to follow her part of the conversation. The normally slow-witted Clifford has already joked that he wishes he had a horse so fast as Adria’s tongue. At least, the party thinks he was joking.

Bubbly and friendly, like Nine, Adria has taken young Constance under her wing and already introduced her to the art of “slumming it”. It is largely due to her efforts that the party has been able to enlist the aid of Young Morton and calmed Constance enough for her to become a useful member of the party rather than a screaming impediment. Her enthusiasm for a caper is infectious, and her sassy attitude keeps everyone in high spirits.

Bagson son of Bagmore: Dwarf Male Battle-Sorcerer 1

An unusual member of his species, Bagson seems at first glance to be a very orderly individual. However, this Bastard-sword wielding spell-caster is as foul-mouthed as it is possible for a dwarf to be. Though valiant and brave, he has already managed to disgust Constance and Adria to the extent that Constance at least has begun to despise and distrust him. His lewd and suggestive comments have yet to obviously trouble the rest of the party over-much, yet Clifford in particular seems to frown upon the dwarves obscenity. Thutson however, seems to find him quite amusing.

Clifford of Hard-dale. Human Male Favoured Soul (Sovereign Host) 1

Although not the brightest member of his species, for some reason Clifford seems blessed by the Gods. A member of the city watch in his home town of Hard-Dale and a veteran of the Last War, Clifford remembers being “elected” the town priest not long after he returned from the Wars. Clifford (never Cliff) vaguely remembers having been far brighter before taking the head wound that saw him discharged from Aundair’s army, and seems somewhat saddened by the slowing of his wit and speech. Clifford rarelyy speaks as a result of his embaressment. But when he does speak,the others have learned to listen, for good sense invariably follows.

Constance Amber D’Cannith, Female Human Artificer 1:

A first year student and disciple of Baron Merrix D’Cannith, her inexplicable fear of the man is overshadowed only by her idolising devotion. Amber (or Constance, she goes by either name) is a delightful and charming young woman. She is intelligent and vivacious, but has a lot to learn about how the world works. The lass will likely shed a few more tears- and illusions- along the way. Though bookish, she is charming and seems to be thoroughly impossible to dislike. A seventeen year old only child of elderly parents - parents she tearfully can barely remember- she has quickly become the darling of the entire party.

The last thing she remembers before joining the rest of the party is attending a costume ball in honour of her seventeenth birthday.

“Nine”. 9-60160. Male personality Warforged Fighter 1:

Nine is an unusual specimen. Despite the "fact" no-war forged had been created since the end of the Last War (six full years before Ruz and Nine encountered each other on the road outside Sharn) he is in seemingly pristine condition. His adamantine plating lacks even the smallest scratch or etching to mar it’s perfect surface. A s a result, Nine is very clearly a newly created Warforged. He has trouble understanding any situation from anything other than a tactical strongpoint and has yet to develop a strong personality of his own. He has become very protective of young Constance, whom he vaguely remembers as having been present at the moment of his "birth". Constance does not share his memory of this event.

Ruz: Male Changeling, Beguiler level 1:

Ruz is a soft-spoken changeling who seems to take a very moral attitude to the use of his racial abilities to deceive others, wearing his own form as much as possible. He appears to be a voice for reason and planning within the group and the others have very quickly learned to listen to his sound advice and judgement. The clever changing favours subtlety and intelligence over brute force and rash action. He is already growing into a leadership role within the party.

Thutson. Half-Orc Barbarian 1

Thutson is a mountainous piece of muscle. Though a member of the the Tribes of the Demon-Wastes, he can recall little of his past life - or how he came to be where he is. The outside world in which he finds himself seems strange to Thutson, and so rather than display his ignorance he has elected to keep his mouth shut for the time being. In this, he has shown himself to be far more canny than the others realise. Something of an oddity, he generally works well with the group despite his incommunicative nature. However, he is nothing if not reckless, and has already charged into combat once while the rest of the party clearly intended to stand their ground.

Next Post: Session One