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61
In Character Discussions / Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« Last post by Johan on March 14, 2014, 04:28:58 PM »
The deep, constant vibration of the drone, delivered by the gathered gnarcheon, was felt in the bodies of all who were at the grove that night. Pine needles danced upon the floor of the forest in response to the drone, and lights from each of the four fires flowed through the night on the energy currents driven by the drone and seemingly guided by the four Chankathur who threw their wild spirits into the night.

Then Maragarn’s flute joined the voices of the Ritual, and the swirling halo that encircled the Grove of Needles reached in towards the center of the circle. Towards the white light that thrust up from Mahiya’s fire.

The physical world in the grove quivered with the power of the drone. The divine fires put forth their lights according to the will of the song that Varshya sang, Eswarth and Mirriam beat, Cailyder graced, and Maragarn knitted together. Every living thing in the grove was joined as one body for a brief moment.

Then, when the drone seemed set to break stones asunder, and the song of the Chankathur seemed set to shatter the lines that kept two from becoming one, the lights all mingled together in a flash of brilliant luminence that left a spectral image in one’s eyes and rained down upon the grove as from a Vallenwood. In that instant, when the fires’ lights all joined in one silent explosion, silence fell suddenly upon the Grove of Needles. The drone abruptly ended.

Most of the convened gnarcheon had participated in this ritual in the past and knew what to expect. Some who had not before participated had been briefed by their mentors and preceptors. Still there were others for whom this was a real experience; these few could only look on in wonder, somehow able to see with great clarity Mahiya’s fire and the few participants there. As though the distance that separated each gnarcheon with Mahiya’s fire was but a few strides.

They looked on in silence while a tiny figure stepped forward, somehow looking simultaneously directly into the eyes of everyone present, and she spoke softly though the power of the ritual brought her matronly voice throughout the Grove to all who were there, speaking to each in their native language…such was the power of the ritual: to bring all gnarcheon together as one, so that all understood each other.

“Welcome, children,” Shankaria said, “to the Grove of Needles. This year there is much to speak about, much to learn, much to share. We have come far, but there is more work before us than there is behind.”

Bareglar sobbed his joy, recognizing in an instant his true family.
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Game Log / Session 38 "The Iron Orc"
« Last post by Wildfire on March 10, 2014, 12:33:06 PM »
I actually have fun writing them even if I do miss a couple of details.
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Game Log / Session 38 "The Iron Orc"
« Last post by Johan on March 06, 2014, 08:11:20 AM »
Thanks, WF. I appreciate the effort that it takes to pull these things together.
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Game Log / Session 38 "The Iron Orc"
« Last post by Wildfire on March 03, 2014, 06:00:46 PM »
Session 38 “The Iron Orc”
Party:
Belwar: Griznuq
Mirri: Phineas
Himo: Himo
Faznar: Chassic
Zurn: Wildfire

The following day we, The Forest Keepers, continue to follow the tracks that lead to the home base of Burke the Ettin. Ghering the Orc comes insists on coming with us and we gladly accept his company.

Through the forest we come to a simple network of pointy wooden bulwarks meant to seriously impede accessible progress unless the normal entrance route is taken. Beyond the bulwark is a large clearing in the middle of which we see two orcs, an enormous boar, and a fire roasting deer and a pig. Beyond the fire is a large cave entrance.  A discussion ensues on how best to proceed into the compound, and swipe the glyph with as little combat as possible. We vote that Melzak…err…rather Faznar proceeds in and tries to BS his way through by pretending to be Melzak. Mirri meanwhile will take the road less traveled around the bulwarks and up the hillside that will then lead down into the compound.

Mirri, like a cat, slinks her way past the bulwarks and up the hill. At this point she’s discovered by an orc masturbating in the bushes. Battle ensues. The two orcs in the clearing near the fire along with the boar begin to move towards the commotion. Himo follows in Faznar’s footsteps which bring to the far side of where Mirri and the horny orc are fighting. Belwar like a gazelle hops the bulwark and proceeds towards Mirri. Zurn and Ghering follow Belwar. The big boar sees Belwar and decides to attack the sweaty toothed dwarf. Belwar is smitten with the idea of having a boar as a mount. Himo and Faznar inflict some long range damage, Mirri inflicts some up close damage, and Belwar, Ghering, and Zurn make bacon. During all of this one orc flees into the cave.

After reducing the threat on the outside of the compound, The Forest Keepers decide to take their ire into the cave.

Entering the cave the passage runs left and right. With no tracks to follow we take a stab at the right passage. An orc shoots Mirri and runs further into the cave. Mirri, not at all pleased with this, follows the wily orc. Amidst a couple of more arrow shots Mirri catches up with not just one orc but two! Shortly after the rest of the party arrives, so begins the battle. It is a battle of much blood with this one orc that must have invested lots of gold in the glyph taking industry because he was damn tough. So tough that Faznar kept asking if he was bloody. During the fracas even Ghering was caught in one of Himo’s chaotic spells and took some damage (and wasn’t at all happy of it). Eventually the orc could not stand the Los Angeles style beating he was enduring and tried to flee. With a final blow Zurn, who up to this point spent most of his time healing Mirri (because sometimes the price of inflicting awesome damage is awesome wounds), brought the iron orc down.
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In Character Discussions / Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« Last post by Wildfire on February 20, 2014, 07:55:30 PM »
He ran up the steep slope dodging large trees and on occasion toppling small ones. He sensed he was getting close to his destination. He had come all this way on an undeniable urge that drove him from the sacred bush. As he reached the top of the ridge his breath came to him with challenge. He needed to rest a while.

Finally cresting to the height of this leg of impressive foothills that, after climbing it, he felt should by all rights be named mountains he took a deep breath and tilted his head back to face the night sky. His broad, muscular chest heaved in its thirst for air. Sweat built up on his thick brow and cooled him with the breeze. He leaned upon a large rock outcrop that if he were of a mind would make decent shelter.

He took out his water skin and greedily drank it down. He had more so in his mind he wasn’t being too careless in his rationing. He casually walked around knowing this would help him catch his breath. He stopped occasionally and placed his enormous hands on his knees and bent over in a stretch. He felt alive! The consuming fulfillment of fatigue had never felt so good to him.

He looked out from the hill crest to take in the overland sight. At three different points in the sky he could see that Akadi, the deep blue moon, was near a waning half, Istisha, the emerald green moon, was near a waxing half, and Grumbar, the brown moon, was in a waning gibbous phase. The three of them cast an eerie glow upon the trees. To him it was as though he was seeing them for the first time with new eyes. His heart pounded in excitement despite his efforts to calm it down. There was a magic in those moons and it filled him with purpose. He gently felt his belt pouch to be sure the five berries were still in his protection. Satisfied that they were he took another sip from his water skin.

As he finished his gulp he felt an energy from deep within him and from outside of him all at once. It was a vibration as from a sound, a deep bass hum that seemed to come from the ground itself. He looked all about him checking to be sure it wasn’t his kin to come collect him. No, it was something else. He knelt down and touched the ground with both of his hands. He could feel the depth of the emotion tied with this drone. He looked ahead to see if he could see the source of this sonic fountain. Well ahead of him he saw a glow that he would have missed were he not actively seeking it as he was now. He could barely see it for its distance but it had distinct colors much the same as the moons in the sky above him. The pieces of his life and recent events began to take shape and make sense. He could feel his destiny and his purpose. He didn’t think about what it was he just knew it and it was almost in view.

His legs began to move him quickly and effortlessly down the hillside towards the glow.
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Game Log / Session 26 - Like Shooting Dwarves in a Barrel
« Last post by Wildfire on February 12, 2014, 06:14:59 PM »
Bravo...thanks for this!
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Game Log / Session 27 - Captain Tindarin
« Last post by Wildfire on February 12, 2014, 06:14:01 PM »
Thanks for the recap Johan!
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Game Log / Session 27 - Captain Tindarin
« Last post by Johan on February 11, 2014, 03:46:59 PM »
Play Date: Unknown, 2013

Players: Huntmaster Jarmok (Conlon the Elder), & Darian Firefist (Buccella the characterless)

Qwydeon Albyr Basque VY. 237 (June 5)

In the morning, Sayer got all craven on us and went back on the boat. He claimed that he was looking for "fire wood".

Jarmok and Darian forged a path in-land to approach Ivy Berry from the North. Hopefully, in the daylight, the resident Shadow Riders might be able to be overtaken. Guile, tact, and no doubt bravery will be needed as well.

The companions came upon a farmland, overlooked by a watch tower. Jarmok snuck up into the fields and got within a few feet of one of the guards watching over the fields. The guard was clearly a Shadow Rider. Not wanting to start a ruckus that might be overseen from the watch tower, Jarmok crept away from the field guard. He came upon a field worker who told him that he needed to get out...the fields are closely watched from the tower in addition to guards in the fields themselves (nothing we didn't already know by then). She did state that the tower had a few Kurr guards in addition to Shadow Rider guards. They needed Kurr to send troops.

Darian and Jarmok decided to attempt to take the tower, and thus boldly walked up to the tower's gate.

The two were stopped by a Shadow Rider guard, and they told him that they were looking for Captain Tandrin...they had news from Kurr. The guard was suspicious, but he was a quick kill too. The duo pressed into the tower. However, it did start a sequence of combat that was hard-fought...nearly to the loss.

At the end of it, two shadewolves were dead, numerous Shadow Riders were dead, all of the Kurr guards that were resident in the tower were also dead, and Jarmok & Darian had captured Captain Tandrin (a female Shadow Rider captain who was extremely tough to best). At first sight, Captain Tandrin became affectionately known as "Captain big tits". I'm not sure why! :)

The companions interrogated Tandrin, and learned the following (if it be trustworthy):

    In the boathouse, there are supplies & bodies
    An "associate" is supposed to animate the bodies
    There shouldn't be any other people there
    There are 3 Shadow Riders in the fields
    Tandrin was born a Shadow Rider - "Not all of us take the vow of Umbrage"
    The goal is the conquest of Kurr
    All of the bodies that are set for animation are out of Kurr
    When asked whether there were other Shadow Rider cells, she said "most assuredly", though for the protection of the overall Empire, she did not know where they might be
    The population of the tower would have been 3 Kurr guards (all now dead), 4 Shadow Riders (3 bodies at this point accounted for)


In the tower Darian found quite a bit of correspondence between Tandrin and Fitzsimmons. These correspondences indicate that the Ivy Berry cell has been in operation for about a month-and-a-half.

Also, they learned that Fitzsimmons' superior was the same as Tandrin's. With fire, she uttered a name: Nightstar.

Believing that they had gotten as much as they could from Tandrin, they searched the remainder of the tower, finding in a war room on the second story the last Shadow Rider...dead.
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Game Log / Session 26 - Like Shooting Dwarves in a Barrel
« Last post by Johan on February 11, 2014, 03:39:17 PM »
Play Date: October 26, 2013
Players: Councilor Sayer (Phin of the Vision), Huntmaster Jarmok (Johan the Elder), & Darian Firefist (Chassic the characterless)

Qwydeon Albyr Syncath VY. 237 (June 3)

After the evidence of Fitzsimmon's treason was sealed and delivered, Archduke Corwynn had an assignment for the companions:

Search Markel's warehouse (from where Argen McKenzie’s family was rescued). Corwynn Would like to know what’s being trafficked into and out of Kurr. Need an inventory. Also, we need to try to find out where these shipments are coming from and / or going to.

Note: Markell's is a distinguished family and upstanding citizens of Kurr (hopefully). Erikarn Markell is the son of the owner, and he accompanies the trio (and the detachment of guards put at their disposal) to the warehouse.

In the basement of the warehouse, where the fight on the night before occurred, the group proceeded to inventory the barrels that were there.

Barrel 1: body of a dead male dwarf (stabbed in the back of the head, dock laborer).
Barrel 2: body of a dead male elf (Fop, dead ~1 week, stabbed in chest)

In all 18 bodies are found. The demographics are:
    Mid- & Lower-class
    Male & female
    All races
    All dead within the last week
    All stabbed...nice, clean stab wounds from sharp blades...wounds expertly placed


There are crates here too, and they contain foodstuffs and weapons.
The weapons are smithed by many different smiths, from all over the country.

Essentially, there seems to be nothing that ties these victims together, and there's also nothing to point to a specific smithy that might be supplying the SR cause.

The companions decide to question Jeeza MacKenzie, who had been captive there for some time...she might have some insight.

    Crates & barrels came in and out constantly
    She heard Ivy Berry mentioned more than once (Ivy Berry is a fishing & farming community on the far side of Lake Vallensun)
    The people working in this subterranean dock weren't "normal". They had dusky skin.


Looks like a trip to Ivy Berry will be in order. A man called Dorith is Magistrate of that community.

FIRST: Let us wait to see who shows up here tonight.

Sometime between sun-down and midnight, a small dingy pulls into the dock. The dingy is occupied by two men: one dark-cloaked human, and one scale-clad human.

The companions set an ambush, and the dark-cloaked man is killed. The scale-clad man is eventually captured, as he found himself swimming in scale!

The scale-clad fellow spoke pretty readily (it's amazing how the threat of fire loosens a coward's tongue!!) We learned as follows:

    The boat is from Ivy Berry (it is the Ivy Berry Annie); it is here for a pick-up, and is due back before dawn
    The boaters identify the destination dock by the color of the lanterns on them (doesn't know if it's the same technique as docks in other places) - we later took care to look at the lantern on this dock...it is a very normal-looking lantern with green glass. Along the docks, lanterns might have any of a number of different colors of glass...more than one are green
    The sun hurts the Shadow Riders; They can't move normally
    After pick-ups, deliveries are made to Ivy Berry; Boats are guided into the community by a light that only Shadow Riders can see.

Sayer then issued a task for the Kurr guard: Take a small boat under the docks. We would like to know how many of these docks have what we have come to call "under-docks".

It is late...to bed now, and on the morrow: Ivy Berry.

Qwydeon Albyr Arkus VY. 237 (June 4)

With Sayer's accompaniment, we embarked upon a very comfortable boat to Ivy Berry.

Landing on the docks of Ivy Berry, we were approached by a haggard-looking fellow (haggard, although he yet bore the posture of faded authority). He introduced himself as Dorth - he is Magistrate of Ivy Berry. Dorith was quite nervous, and clearly frightened. He begged the companions to leave, for the sake of the village. With some uneasiness, we agree to leave. Dorith then whispers, "They are here."

"How many?" We asked quietly.
"Less than 10...in the boathouse."

With this information, we took again to the water. Once out of sight, we took the boat north with the intent to disembark and make our way via land, circling back into Ivy Berry.

We camped that night, listening to Shade Wolves calling each other.
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In Character Discussions / Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« Last post by Wildfire on February 10, 2014, 07:33:35 PM »
Maragarn looked at Shankaria’s soothing and matronly smile. He took comfort in knowing that she was there to lean on in a time of need. He liked to think he didn’t need anything, he was, after all, a revered Vallenbrush warden. What more could he need? He needed his Vallenbrush. He needed to be among friends. He needed to be here. He needed Mahiya.

He removed his flute from his belt and looked at it. It was so common among his kin and it was what everyone expected to see a satyr with. At this moment it gave him courage. He looked overhead to see the colorful light tendrils reaching for the center fire. He needed to bring them full circle. He spied the Blood Tear through the needles and branches of the grove. There it was, a sign of portents, a sign of change.

By now the drone had embraced everyone in the grove. Varshya sang in full glory, Eswarth and Mirriam kept one beat over the over, and Cailyder spun her fire sticks around with dizzying abandon. They were all ready and waiting for him. Maragarn began to play his flute. It was low and whispering at first. Barely audible even to him. Like the drone, he could feel it. He wanted to play a lamenting dirge but in this moment he could not. The flute’s volume began to rise and did so in time with all of the other fire stewards ritual offerings. Maragarn sunk into his place of peace. He could feel himself being moved by something within him and without him. His mind drifted away to wonder and intuition. It was here that he knew who he was and what his place in the world meant.

The chromatic streams of light finally connected to the center fire and flared up and out in a swirling, blazing twist of elemental divinity. The four fire streams made one and the one made four. It was a union of all things to make precious life.
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