Astorian

The Adventure Begins

It appeared to be a normal day at The Academy for four of it’s students, until the four were summoned to appear before the Master’s Circle, the 9 heads of teaching at The Academy.

The four students in question were Adolamin Tarmikos, a mighty Barbarian, Elessaria, a smart-mouthed spellthief, Henzo Slegger, a skilled warblade and Thronus, a assimar cleric of good sense.

Being somewhat confused by being called in front of the Circle, (especially for Elessaria, who couldn’t think about what she had done, today being only Secondey), the Circle proceeded to tell them that they needed to go and investigate a cease in communication from the nearby Dearth Woods. Hititha Oakenscratch, the head of wilderness training, tried to impart the importance of continuous information flowing from the woods, and the new adventuring group got together after grabbing their gear and leaving via the Eastern Way towards the Dearth Woods. After several hours of sauntering, skipping and other methods of walking, the party came across two Ogres, roasting the greater portion of a cow just off the Way. Trying to get a closer look, Elessaria moved closer and barely avoided getting smacked by a large greatclub. Deciding that this was not on, the party swiftly dealt with the Ogres, nicked their lunch, and continued onto the Woods.

Reaching the woods, it was decided that Adolamin would lead them into the deep, dark part, being a barbarian and knowledgable about the nature and survival, lead them past a family of foraging Dire Boars (hunting for the elusive Dire Truffle), finally decided after several hours that they were lost. After much discussion, Ado, as he likes to be called, found which way to go, and led the party onwards, towards a cliff. Luckily they were at the top of the cliff, looking down into the valley that ran through the Woods, spotting a clearing that seemed like a good place to go, they climbed down, and trapsed through the woods to the clearing.

In this clearing, they found a stone circle, with two large oak trees in the middle, one looking odd, with an altar between them. Bound to this altar was a woman, though the party couldn’t figure out what it was, they were attacked by the guards of the white-skinned porcine humanoid standing over the altar, dagger in hand.

The party struggled with the fight, as the white orc was guarded by not only Forest Orc grunts, but by a pair of Orc Berserkers and a Orc Howler, who stalemated the party until the white-skinned orc entered the fray, paralysing Henzo for a long time, and infecting Thronus with a deadly disease. Eventually the party killed all the guards, but the white-skinned one appeared to shrug off all but the heaviest of hits, when he could be hit at all. The white orc appeared to be winning, until Elessaria moved to the altar and freed the Dryad bound there. The Dryad successfully sent the white orc into a deep sleep, then Henzo delivered the coup de gras.

After looting the various corpses, the dryad sent them back through her oak tree to the edge of the woods, near to the Eastern Way. Returning to Uungaar, the party reported to the Master’s Circle, gaining no insight into the nature of the white orc, (which they brought back with them), as the most learned of the Master’s couldn’t identify it. After finishing their report (thus completing the quest), the party was allowed to visit the chapel for healing, and the artificers level of the Wizard’s Tower in the Academy to have their items identified.

During the day, the party heard rumors of wierd things happening in the old part of the town, and the party sought out someone on the Master’s Circle to get permission to investigate it. Fardun Silverbright, the somewhat eccentric Warmage, gave the party permission to leave the Academy grounds that night to investigate the weirdness.

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Undeath and Travel

Leaving the Academy grounds some 2 hours before dusk, the party headed to the old part of town to look for clues. After several scared individuals ran from the party screaming either about zombies, or the party being made up of necromancers, they decided to investigate the only building that look out of place, covered in cobwebs but mysteriously free from them around the edges of the large doors into the building, which upon forcing them open, the party discovered that the building was an old abandoned temple, although to which Deity the party never discovered.

The light from the outside only penetrated the first room of the temple about 20ft., and strangely, low-light vision seemed strangely limited. Deciding that she wasn’t going to go into the dark without a lantern, Elessaria left the party to but some lanterns and oil. After she had been gone for a while, the rest of the party, hanging around just inside the doors, after the sun had set, were attacked by a trio of wraiths, drawn to the temple by some dark energy. The party had trouble hitting the incorporeal wraiths, until Thronus Turned them, destroying two and sending the last fleeing from the temple. About half a glass (hour) later, Elessaria was annoyed to have missed the fight, especially given that the rest of the party seemed to have grown in some indefinable way.

Lighting the recently aquired lanterns, the party moved deeper into the temple, through a door into what used to be the preist’s preparation chamber, covered in a layer of dust. Looking through all the doors and cupboards in the room, the first to discover something was Adolamin, who found a zombie playing hide and seek in a wardrobe. Ado, fairly casually, chopped the zombie in two, and found in the bottom of the wardrobe 100sp and a pewter figurine of a man on horseback. In the main pantry-type storage area, the party found several vials of unholy water, marked as holy water, and a trap door. After several tries, Ado and Henzo managed to wrestle the door up to reveal a ladder that plunged several feet into darkness. Moving slowy down the ladder, the party found that they had descended into a crypt, with a single exit. Opening the door, they were presented by a long, 5ft. wide corridor, engraved along both sides on the walls with a funerary scene, with priests leading biers towards a tomb. Moving cautiously down the corridor, Ado was the first to be surprised when, bursting from the walls came several creatures that may have been Ghasts, but given their tattos of runic symbols, probably were not.

Fighting a retreating action, Ado fell back to the rest of the group, amazed as his mighty barbarian strength seemed useless against the tough hides of the undead. Thanks to the turning ability of Thronus, the party saw off the undead, and deciding it was time for a rest, set up a camp in the crypt space, with Ado using his body as a barricade against the door to the corridor. This didn’t help, as midway through the night, fog flowed through the gaps between the door and frame and condensed itself into a dwarf, armed with waraxe and hammer. This dwarf then proceed to kick the living out of the party, only retreating when Elessaria placed a broken arrow in it’s back, near to it’s heart, almost killing it. The creature then turned to smoke and vanished through the door. After a quick discussion, the team returned to the surface, and to The Academy, where they sought out Fardun. In his quarters, they related the tale of what they had found to him. Swearing the party to secrecy, warning them not to touch anything, Fardun locked the party in his quarters to seek out the Headmaster Moranin Lightbringer. Returning to Fardun’s quarters later, Moranin and the party teleported themselves to the crypt room of the temple, and proceeded down the corridor to the next room, in which the party faced off against the remaining ghasts, and 3 vampire spawn. Not wanting to waste his skills, Moranin blessed the party and meleed with the creatures until all were dead.

Moranin, not impressed by the vampire spawn, asked the party were the vampire was. They responded that one was here somewhere, and his was very big and very bad. After looting the chamber, the party moved through the crypt into a lavishly worked chamber, with a big hole in one wall. The party moved through this hole into a recently carved tunnel, and found a larger chamber, lit by 6 golden candleabras, surrounding a gold sarcophagus, and the party could just spy a hole in the floor behind the golden box. From this sarcophagus came a cloud of fog that turned into the dwarven vampire. With a distainful snort at the party for saying that this dwarf was a big vampire, Moranin and the party charged into combat. Slowlt but surely the powerful team defeated the vampire, then staked it to keep it dead. Once this was done, a explosion rocked the chamber, and the hole in the floor behind the sarcophagus was collapsed in.

The party then ensured the destruction of the vampire and it’s spawn by taking them into the sun and utterly removing them from existance (quest completed). After soundly looting the underground complex, the party did some shopping, and returned to the Academy, where the Master’s Circle told them that they had graduated, once they accomplished a short escort mission from an Elf they introduced to the party as the Old One.

The party left Uungaar the next day, walking alongside the Old One’s wagon, passing the 5 day trip to Marash, the city where they were to collect the things the Old One needed, mostly uneventfully, apart from the team of wagons transporting a load of gold to Uungaar, under very heavy protection, and a battalion of Marashian foot soliders, some 300 fighting men and women, and 50 support personnel (cooks etc.) also heading north, providing the party with the rumors that “something’s up” in the areas north of Uungaar.

Upon arriving at the very heavily fortified city of Marash, the party and the wagon were searched before being allowed into the city proper, and told that they could only stay as long as 2 days, the time that the Old One said he needed to gather all the things he needed.

The party is now at rest in the Witch’s Brew Inn, with the sun setting on the 20th day of their adventures.

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A long walk

After spending some time in the city state of Marash, the party learned several things about the recent goings on about the area. Apparently, far to the north, the capital city of Nagon, Hezporia, had requested aid in the form of troops to help protect their north and eastern borders from increasing raids. Marash, needing Nagon as a place to trade with, has sent most of it’s militia forces north to aid Nagon, and the rest of it’s regular army is off somewhere, but the citizens don’t know where, although most of Marah’s citizens are happy with the fact that the militia has been called up, as it has removed most of the undesirables from the town, namely beggars and thieves.

The other tidbit of information the party learned was that Marash’s southern neighbour, the independant town of Sandpur has stopped trading altogether, worring several of the smaller merchants and inn keeps, as a great deal of the cloth and ales that Marash consumes come from that area.

Deciding that these oddities can wait until after they have escorted the Old One home, they returned to the Inn and passed the remaining time playing cards and what-not, until the Old One summoned them and the party left the Marash.

Not too long after leaving the town, the party fought a marauding gang of Ogres, lead by an Ogre Mage, which killed the Old One’s Wagon’s horse, before being sent to it’s grave. This meant that the fastest memeber of the party, Ado, had to run back to town to find a horse. Given that most, if not all the horses had been appropriated by the army, he struggled to find one, and even then, it cost too much, and was run down.

Managing to coach the horse back to the party, the Old One fit the horse to his wagon, and the party continued to Saragash, the small mining community at the base of the Spellmist Mountains.

After haggling for, and paying too much (again) for a team of mules, the party left Saragash on the last leg of their journey, through the valley’s and peaks of the Spellmist. Upon reaching the valley that the Old One called home, and hadn’t visited in several decades… erm centuries, the group was attacked by a Ruin Elemental that had moved into the area in the intervening years. It took some time, but with the help of the Old One, the party defeated the elemental. After the creature fell, the party watched the Old One as he led the mule team into the standing part of the ruins, and activating a round platform that descended underground. As night falls, the party is wondering what will happen next. (quest completed)

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Armies
and handies?

After watching the Old One descend into his secret underground chamber, the party were left wondering what was going on and decided to spend the night in the ruins of the above ground area of the Old One’s home.

In the morning, the were awoken to a grinding sound, and a platform rose from beneath the ground bearing the Old One and a massive bronze and mithral statue, easily 20ft tall, with a massive stone sword strapped to its back. The Old One then began to circle the statue, throwing things at it and chanting in an unfamiliar tongue as the sun rose over the tops of the mountains.

After an hour or so of doing this, the peaceful calm of the valley was shattered when a ballista bolt the size of a large tree slammed into the centre of the statue, blowing it apart and stunning the Old One. Tracing the path of the bolt back, the party saw a dozen Ogres working the crank on a massive ballista, readying it to fire again, and charging down the mountain towards the party were a least 2 dozen more Ogres, as well as some smaller, barely discernable figures fliting to the sides and rear of the main ogre force.

Regaining his senses, the Old One told the party to flee south, as they had no chance, and stood preparing a spell to throw to buy the party some more time. The party, seeing it was a good idea, fled south into the Spellmist as quickly as they could, and once they had cleared the valley, a massive explosion rocked the ground and a huge cloud of smoke appeared in the sky, marking the probable end of the old one.

Carefully (though not always successfully) negotiating the mountains, the party fought and were cpatured by some unfamiliar elf-like creatures, who tied the party up an began to question them. This lasted until one was sent off someone, and Ado broke free of his bindings, clubbing to death the odd creatures. Still having no idea what they were, the party fled farther south until they reached the very south of the mountains, and the desert at the ranges base.

Skirting the edge of the desert, they fought several manticores, before running afowl of a sand dragon, which tax the parties skills somewhat. Deciding that they needed to heal, the party found a place that they could rest up, and did so.

Unfortunately the team ran into a spot of bother when a Behir, a massive serpent dragon, decided it fancied them for it’s dinner. The party fought hard and well, but alas, both Elessaria and Henzo Slegger fell to the beast’s hunger.

Briefly mourning the loss of their companions, Ado and Thronus continued moving around the desert until they came to a small desert town, where they purchased camels to move quickly south to the seatown of Farport. Told to take the bestest way, not the bestest path to the south, the pair were abushed by bandits, which bothered the pair not a bit, and left the bandits in pieces for the vultures.

Arriving in Farport, the party sold the camels and bought passage back to Marash, which they reached quickly, more so after weevils got into the ships food, spoiling several days worth of rations. Whilst on the boat, the pair got familiar with two of the crew, a pair of elves, one a druid named Arabella Hoffendraghar and the other refused to give his name.

At Marash, both Ado and Thronus were arrested and questioned about their involvement with the Academy at Unngaar, when they told the port authorities where they were ultimately headed. After extensive questioning, the pair were released, rejoined by the two elves, and shipped off to the militia forces to the north to serve in the militia to protect the capital of Nagon, Hezporia from whatever is threatening them.

Leaving on the Sea Lord, one of Marash’s newly built troop transport ships, the pair that set off from Unngar almost 2 months ago were shocked to find that the town had been sacked, with very little left standing. When they asked the crew and their travelling companions what had happened, they were told that the town was full of traitors and needed to be destroyed. With heavy hearts, Ado and Thronus stared at the town as the ship passed it by, wondering what had happened to their friends and family, and why the Marashi had declared an independant town traitors.

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A late post

Alas, a post long in coming…

The party, having arrived in the city Hezporia, spent a short time looking at the sights of the city, as they were forced marched through it, by a dwarf in golden plate armor.

After passing through the countryside and being assigned to a duty station near the western border of the town, the party managed a whole 2 days in the army before they deserted.

Travelling west, the party tried to track down the remnants of the Academy, or at least the survivors of Unngaar. Finding a solid door built into the mountain, Ado tried to open it, and failed to see the trap door under his feet. Managing not to fall down the hole, he proceeded to try the door, and found it to not be a door at all, just a wall with hinges painted on it.

Discovering a ladder in the revealed trap door, the party climbed down in to round, almost spherical chamber, with a single door with three holes in it. After looking in the holes and discovering that by pulling the ropes inside they could unlock the door. Unfortunately, they got the sequence wrong, and the chamber began to fill with water. Trying as many combinations as they could, they eventually got the door open, although the water level continued to rise, at least to the height of the doorstep. Going down the revealed tunnel, that descended and was flooded.

Taking a deep breath, Ado swam under the water to the chamber beyond, and spent a frantic few minutes moving a column around, trying to unlock sonething. After returning to his fellows, they discovered how to manipulate the pillar, and by arranging the pillar just so, they drained the water from the chamber, and discovered a further descent, via ladder that led into a stone cavern, guarded by a pair of the surviving Academy students. These students led the party to the surviving Academy Masters, and now the party waits for more info…..

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We're back baby!

Talking to the two surviving members of the masters council, Fardun and Aliana, the party discovered how the town of Uungaar was attacked, aparrently without provocation, and razed to the ground by the elite forces of Marash, the Skullguard. During this conversation, the hideout was attacked by a force of whitespawn, servants of the white dragon whose territory the Academy remmants were hiding in. After a short but fierce battle, the party defeated the invaders, then were promptly chewed out by the Masters, and were told that they needed to remove the dragon before the dragon sent the rest of it’s forces after them. Because attacking a white dragon in it’s home is risky business, the Master’s sent two of the remaining students with them, Furstar Candlebright, a wizard and his friend/bodyguard Warspike Farstrike, a archer of some skill. Readily agreeing to this, the party was also told to find and remove the leaders of the unknown forces attacking the outlying parts of Nagon.

Leaving the caves, the party, or rather Ado and Thronus were attacked by Justicar Jania and two of her assistants, for deserting the Marashi army. A mostly slow battle took place, with each side trying to beat the other into unconsiousness, with the Justicat nearly succeeding with Ado, even managing to trap his hands in a pair of manacles. However, with the help of Barry, Thronus’ giant eagle summon, they were able to knock out the Justicar’s assistants, whilst the Justicar herself fell back to get help.

Arabella then led the party, following what she could of the whitespawn tracks, until they became unreadable half way into the rocky foothills of the northern Spellmist Mountains. The party is now camped for the night, deciding which of the many caves in the mountains that a white dragon could call home.

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There be dragons

After resting comfortably in the cave, the party set out to explore the mountain area to locate the lair of the white dragon. However, after wondering around for a couple of hours, they encountered a fierce windstorm that forced them to find shelter before a blizzard hit. Hiding in another cave, the party waited through the day, the night and then most of the next day until the storm blew itself out.

Exiting their refuge, the party looked around and spotted a white dragon flying north, obviously enjoying the crisp, cold air of the clear sky. Tracking the dragon as best they could, the party located what appeared to be a cave complex, though the entrance tunnel wasn’t wide enough for a dragon to enter, the party proceeded as stealthily as possible whilst carrying lit lanterns. They were fine until, at the front of the party, Ado was struck by a ballista bolt. Weathering the attack, the party charged into the cavern, to face off against close to a dozen whitespawn hordelings and three whitespawn hunters. Fighting furiously, with archery support from Thronus and Warspike, and with flames from Arabella, the party killed the group, and proceeded to move deeper into the complex before Arabella’s spell wore off.

This proved to be a slight tactical error, as rounding a tight corner, the white dragon Yarlihizik pounced on the party, using it’s breath weapon to full effect, before whaling on Ado, until the rest of the party could move up. After the battle as Yarlihizik fell, he screamed out in draconic, “Deparasthizak will end you!” before dying.

Just as the party were going to pat themselves on the back, a portal in the back of the cavern flared, spewing out a bluespawn stormlizard, that charged into the party, wounding Thronus, whilst Arabella threw boulders at the portal, trying to destroy it before more spawn arrived.

Dropping the stormlizard, Ado ran to the portal to help in the effort to destroy the portal. After another boulder from Arabella and a couple of mighty hits from Ado, the portal frame cracked, then exploded with magical force. Unfortunately, the magical explosion blinded Ado, who now sees only white.

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Something learned

Whilst Arabella was busily learning how a dragon works by dismembering the corpse of Yarlihizik, Ado, Gaarbunn and Thronus went out patrolling, only encountering a pair of wondering ogres which the trio dispatched without breaking a sweat.

After Arabella had finished, the party made it’s way down the mountain, returning to the Academy’s hideout. When they arrived, the party discovered that someone had been busy, destroying the entrance to the cave and leaving a banner planted in the ground.

Fearing the worst, the party proceeded into the cave complex, setting off a barrier trap, sealing them in, before being attacked by a babau demon that someone thoughtfully left to take care of intruders. Being barely able to cope with the demons resistance to their weapons, the party relied on Thronus casting align weapon to help overcome the demons thick skin. The party won, unfortunately, both Ado’s greataxe and Gaarbunn’s light mace took some minor damage from the ooze that constantly seeped through the demons pores.

Going into the living area of the caves, the party were shocked to find the bodies of the remaining students hanged from the ceiling, each with a plaque reading “Traitor” around it’s neck. Finding another of the banners, the party cut down the bodies and burned them, before heading to Hezporia, trying to locate the owners of the banner.

Arriving at the city, they found it full of refugees, fleeing an army, which until a few days before, was laying siege to Hezporia. Making their way in, the party found a member of the Hezporian Home Guard, and asked him about the banner, which they were informed was that of the Crown Legion of Marash, the Skullguard.

Deciding to work it out, the party returned to the caves, then tracked the force that had killed the remaining students to a cave guarded by a pair of well-dressed and equiped orcs. Silently taking them down, the party now stands at the entrance the cave, pondering…..

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Minotaurs and Mazes

Upon entering the cave that the orcs guarded, the party were greeted almost instantly by a fork in the tunnel.

Taking the left-tunnel, the party entered a cave that had been fitted out as a stable. Unfortunately the stables only occupants were four ogres. The ogres attacked the party, and after a fast paced battle the party dropped the ogres, finding some nice magical items.

Returning to the fork, the party took the right most path, and entered under a gothic arch into a maze. Exploring the maze, the party fought 2 minotaurs, and negotiated several traps before leaving the maze, and encountering another fork in the trail. Again taking the left fork first, the party entered a largish chamber that held four objects. One was a large table, the others were a large minotaur holding a flaming greataxe, a armored woman carrying a glaive and a strange dark-skinned smalled horned humanoid with a spear.

The minotaur asked the party if they were from Uungaar. Ado replied “yes” and the minotaur, supported by the others charged into combat. A intense battle followed, with all members of the party tested to the limit, with Furstar nearly going down in the spell dual with the dark skinned humanoid.

All was well until the closing moments of the battle, when, in the seconds before he fell, the minotaur dropped Ado.

The party is now standing over the body of Ado, a coded letter in hand, wondering what to do next.

...Below is the note…

dwwhqwlrq edwwoh ohdghu qhur.

sxoo brxu irufhv dzdb iurp khcsruld dqg surfhhg wr wkh orfdwlrq wkdw mxvwlfdu bxuwkdo zloo vkrz brx dqg holplqdwh wkh uhpdlqlqj dfdghpb vwxghqwv dqg pdvwhuv. rqfh wkdw kdv ehhq dfklhyhg, uhwxuq wr wkh vwdjlqj duhd dv l pdb kdyh qhz rughuv iru brx.

lq pb kdqg
- kljk orug udjqdu gudjrqvnlq
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Cave-in

After looting the room of the commanders, and stuffing Ado into their new accquisition (a bag of holding iv), the party explored the rest of the complex. The first thing they found was a library, packed with books on tactics, strategy, and religious materials. Seeing the religious materials, the party soon found a magical scroll, which they used to bring Ado back to life (after first removing him from the bag).

Continuing to explore, they fought a orcish patrol, and cleaned out a small barracks of orcs, probably one of many, as the force that the party knew to be involved with at Hezporia and the Adademy cave was much larger.

Continuing to the last unexplored passage, they (or rather Gaarbunn) triggered a trap that collapsed part of the roof, completely sealing the tunnel. The party is now searching for a way forward…...

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