Sep 5, 2016

Old Things Ought Not Be Disturbed

Rejoined in Peakshadow, Brumbar and Snow make fast re-acquaintance with Father Brendan. Their common cause is to find Erenth's only honest thief -- Thalwyn the Lawful. As their quarry is also a wizard, the three agree to journey into the Mistwood to seek out the elven warlock rumored to reside within. It is hoped that he will be able to point them in the right direction.

For their own safety, the party accompanies a trade caravan for Menea and splits off a few days North of that city to go cross country toward their goal.

Before long, they happen upon a gently used road through a baron's holdings. While camping under the stars, they make contact with a gnome artificer who appears to be handy with a sharpening stone. He has a ferret as an animal companion, who unbeknownst to him turns out to be capable of shapeshifting and working great mischief. As a result of that mischief, the party is accosted by the shire reeve and his men and must buy their way out of further trouble.

The road ends at the village of Farthingwell. As it turns out the gnome and his mischief-making companion have already worked their mischief there. Brumbar uses the gift of his God to heal an old man, growing increasing blind and deaf. He immediately gains the welcome of the villagers who invite the party into the public house.

While enjoying their warm ale, the pub receives more visitors -- three elves from the Mistwood who announce that they have come into human habitations to enjoy their last drink before decamping for their Winter home. The party inquires of Magister Sylvanus and the elves assure them that they can be ushered directly to him.

Once in Sylvanus' presence they find him to be a particularly sadistic man. He knows of Thalwyn and claims to be his tutor, but doesn't seem to show any sympathy for his student. He can be persuaded to advise them of his precarious whereabouts, if only they will agree to retrieve a certain item from a nearby catacombs.

Aug 28, 2016

Ashore At Last

Excerpted from the diary of Jack Presser, Captain of all the Ocean's Deep.

We have put ashore expecting to find habitation and civilization and found neither. This land is full of goblins! There is one building distant. It appears to have a strange red hue which is most visible when the sun is behind us. We make for it tomorrow.


Some miles separated our ship from what turned out to be a ziggurat raised in the midst of this forbidden landscape. Heedless of the obvious danger of such an inhospitable place, my companions insisted that we enter and demand hospitality. Now hours later, we make with all due haste to return to the ship and safety. There are men there who fancy themselves scholars but are little more than brigands. Not all of us escaped. The man Snow did not accompany us and my questions to Brumbar went unanswered.


A day later, we are safely afloat, where my skills are unmatched by any who ply the oceans. I think on the events of the last day and suppress a chill. Never have I seen a knight so savage as this Brumbar. He has seen to our safety and taken a hostage for good measure, but I can't help but think we might have been able to resolve our differences without so much spilt blood. We were pursued, as well, by a gaunt man who I swear appeared more dead than alive. By some magic his voice came to us on the wind as we retreated from the shore -- all sails aloft and all oars in the water. I shudder to think of his promise of vengeance.


As captain of this ship I have determined to prove that Erenth is no cylinder. My next enterprise will be to circumnavigate this world (I insist it is a globe) from North to South. I expect it will go as well as our traverse from West to East. I expect some cooler weather ahead. Brumbar is resistant.

Aug 7, 2016

69 Days

Excerpts from the diary of Jack Presser, Captain of all the Oceans Deep.

Mad Jack they called me. Because I dared to say that a sea route might be found from Eastrun to Westrun by sailing toward the rising sun. First the kings of Westrun and their learned fools cast me from their courts. Then the princes of the Free Provinces laughed in my face. Finally, the emperors of Eastrun threatened to jail me. Finally, destitute and nearly hopeless, I found myself in the court of the baroness Mai Fung Lee of Shu, begging for ships and a chance to prove my theories.

She has the last outpost of that empire on the shores of the Seas of Certain Death. Her reputation is well earned as a mistress of ships, but even in the court of her misfit traders and merchantmen I found no hearing. Until Brumbar, a knight errant with a rare gift for violence, begged her leave to return to the land of his birth. As it turned out, she also had pressing matters that needed attending to, so she sent him forth with one of her minions and allowed him to pursue whatever route he chose.

In their company was a woman of uncommon beauty – I think I have found my wife!

Brumbar took little convincing. With utmost confidence in me, he helped to sway the minion. The minion was so distracted that he scarcely noticed our point of sail. We were two days East of Shu with both ships before the question even came up.

“Why East?” the minion protested.

“We’re adventurers!” Brumbar reminded him.

The winds favor and we are making excellent time. To stoke their imaginations and to keep them watchful, I offered 500 Westrun gold to whomever spotted land first. To temper their expectations, I also determined to fake my log entries to misrepresent our travel at only 75% of actual distance.

We fought a giant crustacean today. My love, she who was too shy to ever express her true feelings for me perished in the attack. I had the crew sew her body into a sail and Brumbar made a gift of an ornate box (contents unknown). We committed her to the deep.

I shall never love again.

We have discovered a vast island, hundreds of miles square and covered in a lush and steamy jungle. Upon it are fantastical creatures too large to be natural. They are like stories beasts from an ancient time. We re-provisioned and left with all due haste. It is customary to name such a place. As its discoverer, I will call it Mai’s Bush Island.

We have found the Mother of Storms! She is a great whirlpool in the midst of the deep. All things for scores of miles come rushing into her great and toothy maw until her hunger is satiated.

We too found there was not enough wind to arrest our headlong rush. Thinking quickly, Brumbar and the minion sent evacuated the Dhow and set it aflame, allowing that one ship to crash into the mouth. We barely escaped.

We ran aground on a coral atoll. Then swarmed and attacked by 50 sea devils. Our armed parties repelled them handily. We also managed to cut the ropes to which they had latched several sea anchors. The battle was only six or seven minutes long, but it was harrowing. We escaped with our lives.

Oct 26, 2015

The Governors Twenty

From the Diary of Myla called Halfelven.

Well, they did it.

I am not sure how with all the odds against them, but there is no doubt they succeeded. My ward, Toland, tells me that they are off the island, the Southrun assassins were stymied and the girl and her brother are safely out of the governor's clutches. That is success by anyone's standards.

So it seems I have misapprehended their abilities. If I ever see them again I will be sure to tell them that they impressed me today. Free City is a dangerous place. I know that well. I have lived three lifetimes here, it seems, and I am never sure I will have tomorrow. So how these mainlanders always muddle through is beyond me.

Let me begin at the beginning. I have the whole story now from everyone involved. I know the details even the heroes don't.

The story begins with a girl of Westrun, anxious to run from her petty existence on the streets of the city of Balduren. She goes to the wharf of that town, like any child seeking adventure might, and runs into the arms of the first person she meets with a wink and a smile and the promise of a better life. Unfortunately for her, those arms belong to Ergin the Whip, a slaver of some reputation. She is quickly trundled off into the hold of a ship and taken to Free City, ironically the city of greatest bondage for young women in all Erenth.

Once in Free City she becomes one of the Governors Twenty, a bevy of hand-picked women assigned to his exclusive brothel, catering to his personal desires and those of his richest customers. She might have been lost to that life forever, where it not for the pluck of a younger brother. He comes across that handful of adventurers who are motivated enough by a sad tale and promise of riches to actually try to emancipate her from her assigned fate.

Unfortunately for her would be rescuers, they are pursued by assassins of Southrun, the so-called Crimson Scimitars, who mean to kill them for one sleight or another. They sought my help of course, but ran afoul of my darling protector, Toland -- who I admit is overly suspicious for my sake.

Nevertheless, without my help, they managed to secret the girl and her brother away from the Governors compound. They did so even after learning that the brother had none of the riches he claimed to and finding that he and his sister were common cast offs in that city. These they paid to have returned to Balduren, and put them in the hands of the Protectors, who operate an orphanage thereabouts.

By some manner of luck they escaped both the Crimson Scimitars and the Hue and Cry of every headhunter, mercenary, and ne'erdowell on the salty streets of Free. I don't expect them to return, but if they ever do, I mean to buy them a drink.

Jun 27, 2015

NPC Characters

Belloq, Raiders of the Lost Ark
Han Solo, Star Wars
Tom Hagen, The Godfather
Little Bill Daggett, Unforgiven
Jean Lundegaard, Fargo
Titus Pollo, Rome
Goffery, Game of Thrones
Vizini, The Princess Bride
Retired Gunny, Jack Reacher
Javier, Les Miserables

Nov 13, 2013

Briefly: Wanted Dead or Alive

A Notice to All Sell Swords and Bounty Hunters and the Decent Peoples of Bolden,
Be you warned that our streets are plagued by vile and uncivilized foreigners,
who are both thieves and murderers of honest tradesmen, and eaters of horses.

Upon this Thewsday last, in the very middle of the day,
a day which shall live on in infamy,
with wanton cruelty and brazen intent, and in the eyes of several witnesses,
the crown jewels of His Grace,
King Halinard,
a prize of the common people of the Kingdom of Bolden and the source of all their pride,
obtained for their benefit and with their love and labors, did while they were under the faithful stewardship of,
Wallace the Just,
fall victim to common thievery with multiple murders attending that crime.

These same eyewitnesses name three savage Eastrun Bandits, a man and his two vile consorts. One of which matches the description of an infamous kidnapper known to lure unspoilt maids into a life of ill repute.
This vile deed, undertaken when said jewels were being sent out for cleaning, occured in the full sight of young children and woman and ladies of some bearing. Additionally, these cutthroats were heard uttering imprecations to their strange gods and dedicating this task into those unholy names. Moreover they were heard to say that they were not respecters of Westrun society, nor had they any regard for the several guilds including most especially the Food Rationers and Storesmans Guild.
In light of these acts, be it known by all that the Kingdom of Bolden authorizes the sum of 10,000 Crowns for the live capture or dead rendition of the male ringleader, and 4,000 Crowns for each of his molls. All three subjects are known to dress in finer clothes. Both females dress scantily over armor and one is described as unbathed.

Nov 9, 2013

Briefly: One Satyrday in Bolden

Hendy entered the study and cleared his throat.

The boss decided not to look up, but from the corner of his eye he could see the idiot bouncing on his heels. The damn fool had something to say and would stammer like an idiot for ten minutes before getting his thoughts and/or courage up. The boss decided he didn't feel like waiting to put him out of his misery.

"What is it?"

The simpleton said, "Sir, Gaenor is dead."

"Who?" The boss barely remembered his employees names. Most of them, like this one, were a pain.

"The baker, sir."

The boss looked up and saw that Hendy had turned pale. My, but he was really scared. Good. The boss prided himself on running a tight operation. It was important for his people to know fear. Fear of consequences. Fear of him.

Still not looking up. "I see."

He leaned back in his chair. He'd just given the baker a great business opportunity -- one of his most important. In a typical display of ineptitude, the baker up and dies. The boss was beginning to question the wisdom of insulating himself from day to day operations. He liked clean hands, but they came at a certain expense. He needed quality people to stay that clean, apparently. Quality people were in short supply.

He looked at Hendy now. "Fine, give it to the tailor."

Hendy looked like he was in pain and clutched his stomach. The boss could practically hear it turning from across the room. The fool was a bundle of nerves. Hendy was not quality. Quality was people who could keep calm with things erupted around them.

"What is it?" he dmaneded, impatient.

"S-s-s-sir," Hendy stammered, "you gave Gaenor the job already. He... uh... already made the deal. He took delivery of the items... and he... uh... made the loan."

The boss rolled his eyes. He hated sentimentality from those beneath him. It was such a waste of time and it stopped them from being able to think clearly. Who cared if the baker was dead? What difference did it make. No lord would default on pawned crown jewels. When he spoke again, he spoke slowly so Hendy could keep up.

"Send a boy to His Royal Perfumery, and explain that whats his name..."

"Gaenor," the idiot interrupted.

"That Gaenor has met with an accident. Tell him that his jewels are in capable hands and that payments can be made as previously arranged, but now they will be made to the tailor."

Now the boss really did hear Hendy's stomach.  The pale idiot actually covered his mouth as if to keep from vomiting. Watching the man still squirming and searching for things to say made the boss felt a little uneasy himself.

"What is it, you damned simpering fool?"

"Sir, the items are g-g-gone."

The boss stood up suddenly and involuntarily. His heart began thudding in his ears.

"Gone where?" he roared.

"Uh... that is... no one knows, sir."

The boss felt himself shaking in anger. The fury was boiling through his veins and threatened to explode in a massive surge of profanity and violence. This deal was less than a few hours old and it had gone to gong already.

"Somebody knows, you idiot, bring his crew here and lets get to the bottom of this. We can't have those things in the wind."

"His... the crew was... they were all killed, too," Hendy sobbed.

The mewling sound only added to the fury the boss felt.

"Killed?!?!" The boss picked up the table nearest him and turned it over with a loud splintering crash. He pulled a book off the shelf nearest him and lobbed it at Hendy who was took weak or blind to duck. It careened off his skull with a deep thud. That was joined by a second and a third. A cut opened above the sobbing man's eye.

The boss roared, "You didn't say he had been killed. You said he was dead."

Hendy sank to his knees, blood streaming from his torn scalp and mixing with the tears and snot from his eyes and nose. By the smell, the lesser man had soiled himself. No matter. The boss pulled the bookshelf down next to the desk with another splintering crash, then turned and crossed the room to stare out the window and think.

If the baker and his whole crew were gone, that meant a hit. It meant that another one of the Arches was moving on him. The common people were too smart to make a move against a member of the Guild. No napper would be stupid enough to hit an Uncle in his own place. It had to be one of the Arches making a move... or else....

The boss thought for a moment and willed his thoughts to move slowly. Then he said them aloud.

"Or else the Prince himself is hanging us out to dry."

At that, Hendy sobbed again from behind him on the rug.

The boss knew what he wanted to do, but he had to take a breath and think it through. His tendency was toward immediate retribution. Extreme violence, perpetrated quickly against every available target. Crush everyone and everything... Now! But, he hadn't gotten this far loosing control and soiling himself like the idiot on his rug behind him. No, the first thing he needed was information. Good information. Complete information. He turned back to his idiot employee, still sobbing with his drawers full of shite.

"Tell me, again. This time don't leave out any details."

The boss sat down to listen, but his thoughts were still racing and Hendy would be forced to tell it again and again.

This was 10 gold bar deal. His biggest deal. That meant that his appraiser found the items valued much, much higher. That's how the business worked. If a noble defaulted on the loan extended, they knew the guild could turn the pawned collateral into cash in a hurry. That's why they only pawned things at half, it made the turnover that much easier. So there was a lot of incentive to keep up on the payments.

It worked both ways. These nobles, especially royalty, knew their things were safe. No one nossed with the Guild. No one and not even the Guild would rip off the crown. They too, had to keep their end of the bargain. And if the Guild couldn't keep those things that were pawned, safe?

The boss shook his head. There would be a storm. The King would loose his men on Guild. A lot of good thieves would die and a lot more would rot in the dungeon. Lads, Uncles, Arches... hell the Prince himself would be hung or drawn. Oh, yes, business would suffer for that kind of retribution and the crown would feel it, too. Things would be bad in Bolden and across the whole kingdom, but a king would weather that and just tax his nobles for lost revenue. The nobles would tax the commoners and tighten their leashes on the serfs. In the end, it would be inconvenient for the crown, but no king ever lost his life fighting the Guild.

So what? That wouldn't happen to the Guild. That couldn't happen. The Prince wouldn't allow it. He'd pay off the perfumed pansy just to avoid the trouble and he wouldn't eat the expense, either. His next stop would be right here. He'd come looking to collect.

The boss knew he was on the hook for the items. More than 25 gold bars... maybe as much as 30. That was a lifetime of wages for him. All of his operations in hock. All of his plans down the drain. He would be left barely heaving. No, this would amount to what he liked to call... unacceptable losses.

The boss looked at Hendy, who was still droning on in painstaking detail as the load in his breeches filled the study with the unmistakable smell of a privy-in-the-raw. The boss still wasn't listening. His anger had turned into a seething iron. He was quiet and controlled, but still white hot. He decided, then and there, to kill Hendy when the idiot finished telling it all a third time. It would be good sport, he decided, and would take the edge off this whole mess. And after Hendy was dead and in the ground, the boss would figure out what to do next. He always did. He didn't get where he was today, by not thinking clearly.

Oct 14, 2013

The Hospitality of Duke Havenar pt. 2

After the slaying of the leprechaun; Lord Budokai, Lady Mai and Lu-Chen are joined by Sir Jarvis, lately come from Wanderhalt; and a Ranger arrived to investigate the rumors of the cat on behalf of the mysterious White Robes. The group has little time for discussing their mutual interests before they hear another pedestrian coming along on the wooded path.

Oct 11, 2013

The Hospitality of Duke Havenar pt. 1

Having donated his portion of the mystery ore to King Aleyn (less what would be needed for the fashioning of a few items) Budokai purposes to leave Collonia and return to Menea and his wife. Lu Chen and Mai agree to go with him, at least as far as the Pass at Oromir.

Oct 2, 2013

Cache a Fallen Star pt. 7

A rescued Dwarf by the name of Hafgar identifies himself as a master smith and agrees to work the mysterious ore for the party in exchange for mere room and board.

Aug 23, 2013

Catching Up: The Further Travels of Ziek pt. 3

Fleeing the burning barn, Ziek and Ward made good time before the sun rose. They ate the last of their rations on the road and put in a full day’s travel, and then some.

Aug 20, 2013

Cache a Fallen Star pt. 6

The Frost Giant Shaman is somewhere in the complex. The party stands having defeated most of the Jarl's forces in combat. Two Stone Giants are captive and scores of dwarves come spilling into the courtyard from some unseen warren. The party decides to move with haste. Leaving Beleg behind to treat with his fellow Dwarves, they disregard the door through which the Shaman was seen retreating, and head into the manor from the side entrance. They immediately surprise another Frost Giant who works in the kitchen and dispatch him before he can beg for quarter.

Aug 19, 2013

Backstory: Lita

Lita grew up in a small village called Winston, on the outskirts of the Mistwood Forest. She came from an ordinary home. Her parents had a small house and garden, where they grew enough food to survive. Her father, who was rumored to be a Ranger in his youth, was a great hunter. There was always meat on the table for dinner. His name was Leonard, and his wife was Isabella.

Men Stomp Where Elves Fear to Tred

Two sell-swords, Bronn and Assaad find themselves in a public house in Rath and unemployed. Their waitress brings their latest round of drinks along with a notice from a person unknown.

Men-at-Arms Wanted
for a task most dangerous.
Rewards commensurate.

Inquire of Mr. Hobbes, 
at Penn Oyal's Inn

The Brothers Unprepared

Dunsmyr and Dinsmyr, twin brothers and half breed elves of the Mistwood are summoned to the Tower of their Wizard, the Llormaster of the Mistwood. There they find that Magister Sylvanus has taken leave of the tower and left his primus, Tuorwyn in charge. Tuorwyn has an offer for the two half-elves.

Jul 20, 2013

Briefly: Wanted Dead or Alive?

A Notice to Travelers and Bounty Hunters Alike

Attention Road Weary and Restless Souls the wood hereabout is haunted by a brigand
and a murderer of honest men.