Gift of Eomar

The Unter-Place Pt. I

The companions press down into the depths of Sastasha Seagrotto, led to its entrance by Priestess Boopu and are told to follow the steady stream of water, which should lead to the Briny Barnacle hideout.

They encounter the Junkyproon, a large fungoid monster. Defeating it, they find a mostly ceremonial blade that the untergnomes must have prized for it’s luster.

The companions slay a giant who had been slaying untergnomes unlucky enough to venture within his lair.

They find strange lichen creatures that soon overwhelm the group. The companions slay the lot of them, though it was a close thing and left them much depleted.

Coming on a quiet cavern, they find a travelling knapsack, a small amount of foodstuffs and a journal penned by a sailor named Brock.

Eventually the companions come to a passageway that leads to the Briny Barnacle Hideout…

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Villainy Below Gorganhelm

The companions make their way back to the docks after their excursion to the ‘Grey Dawn’, feeling the need to find this Sandoval before it’s too late. They make their way to the Second Son, the local hang-out for the ‘Briny Barnacle’ crew, who they believe Stenner Sandoval to have had some dealings with recently.

Soon within the Second Son, which seems to be a teahouse with a foreign, somewhat exotic vibe. Noticing some small area damaged and blocked off, they attempt to coax information from the staff. Unfortunately their attempts are clumsy and disorganized, which draws the attention of the Teamaster, who ushers them out of the establishment.

There they run into a small pack of sailors, who give them a small amount of grief. The freebooters mention that they intend to see that “Sandoval gets what’s coming to him, no amount of luck from the Lady will save him from that”. They soon depart, hearing rumor that the old seadog may have turned up at the docks.

Hearing that Sandoval seems to hold some stock in the Lady of Fortune, the companions quickly make their way to the re-purposed Chapel of Galindred, where they look for clues. With an invocation almost unnoticed, Sayer flicks a gold coin onto the pile of offerings, which upsets a stack currency, spilling a large portion onto the floor.

There’s a slight shudder, then the foundation of the floor gives way, depositing the companions in a pile of rubble into the depths of the chambers below, long dusted with disuse.

~

They press forward in this quiet place, finding damp rooms of mushroom and foliage in some chambers. Noticing a sign with a language little understood, they pressed on carefully. Unfortunately a misstep triggered a small rip-cord, which besides seeming to cause a sudden clatter beyond, merely puzzled the companions.

Continuing forward they made contact with Jarly Horkuun and the untergnomes, who seemed to be hiding. The two groups were vastly curious about the other, which was much precipitated by the companions giving small gifts of oddities and trinkets. A female untergnome by the name of Boopu knew some small amount of the common tongue and acted as mediator for the clan.

Through peaceful acts of goodwill the companions effectively bought Sandoval from the untergnomes, who who had been found lurking in their kingdom. They had intent to sell him to the “briny folk”, who had in dealings with the untergnomes in the past. Apparently the briny folk had their hideout far in the depths of the “unterplace”.

Boopu led them to the chambers, where they found a half-crazed dwarf begging for the illumination of another candle. He seemed terrified of the darkness that would envelop the cell should his lone lamp go out. Sensing a malevolence nearby, the companions blessed Sandoval, effectively ridding him of any curses that may have gripped his soul.

Instantaneously a shadow spirit flung itself out of Sandoval’s shadow and attacked the companions. They proved more than match in the enclosed space and soon the spirit cast a dimensional shift spell and fled away.

They found Sandoval to be a broken man, anguished by the choices of his young son. He had apparently begun running with those of the Briny Barnacle, a crew of ill repute. Sandoval had come here in attempt to find his son and bring him back. The companions decided to go in his stead and deal with the Briny gang, who seemed to not only be slavers but also seemed to give the untergnomes trouble from time to time.

Resolute in their task, they stayed enjoyed the peculiar hospitality of the untergnomes and prepared for to explore the unterplace.

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Black Night, Grey Dawn

The companions visit a small cafe in the upper districts of Gorganhelm, hoping to gather rumors. They soon meet a small group of young adventurer women who tell them of the “Grey Dawn”, a ship that has anchored herself in the harbor. There’s talk of dark omens, as not a single soul seems to walk her decks.

Some suggest that it has something to do with the strange elvish ghost who has been terrorizing the low places of the city at night. Others believe it to have something to do with the mysterious sea madness which has been gripping the uncharted seas of the deep south.

They all decide to row out to the ship come sundown. Indeed, they find the vessel to be bereft of any life whatsoever. Splitting up, they search the upper cabins and the lower levels. In the Captains quarters, they find a logbook, cataloging the last several days of the voyage.

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From the Log of Captain Horus Magpie, of the Grey Dawn:
- A sailor marooned upon a lifeboat sought passage to Gorganhelm, having barely survived a bloody revolt aboard the “Aquarius” (which he claims to have been lost in the mutiny).
- The sailor, who was recognized to be a dwarf named Sandoval, a lifetime freebooter of common standing. He was thrown in the brig.
- Over the coarse of several days, several crew members go missing, or die in strange accidents. Though none are implausible, the frequency is at first alarming then downright suspect.
- After days of these events, the surviving crew confronts Sandoval, who seems to be suffering sleep deprivation. Captain Magpie mentions that he intends to send him down the plank.
(Here in lies the last entry, which had been penned about three days ago).

Though below deck the scene is mostly calm and undisturbed, several cabins are scenes of bloody murder. Whatever had gotten to the survivors was both thorough and absolute.

Coming back together, the companions sneak down to the brig, ready for what may be lurking in wait. Strangely, they find the cell empty, the wrought iron bars bent and broken outward. With a final sweep of the ship coming up empty, they make haste to make for shore, to find this Sandoval before anyone else be slain.

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Sightseeing

The companions come together after their adventure in the wilds around Gorganhelm, finding Akasha trying to tend to the spirits of their friends. Though the effort seems have an effect on Baatu, Prince Zorba and Nazeer, Castien seems unmoved. Indeed, the elvish legionnaire seems to have room in his heart only for despair.

The companions seek out a safe place to keep their recovering friends, finding the remnants of an old ship wedged cradled through several trees in the cliffs high above the cove. They take the time to make it somewhat habitable, then continue to familiarize themselves with the city.

Among the destinations, they visit a small chapel in the upper district of Broad-Blade. Though several walls were covered with a carpet of moss and vines, the place didn’t seem completely disregarded. Centering the area was a large statue of a vaguely feminine being. She was surrounded by pieces of currency; some familiar while others must have come from far off lands and foreign societies. A placard nearby labeled the figure as thus: “Galindred, Lady of Fortune”.

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Foundation in the South Seas

The companions return to Gorganhelm, their experience in the strange shrine hanging heavy in their thoughts.

They spend the next week developing their own place in the city.

Sayer the Swashbuckler gains a proctor assignment with the Brass Gambit, serving in the ranks of Captain “Goldtooth” Malloy and his crew.

Witnessing the overly superstitious culture among the denizens of Gorganhelm, The Hand fabricated rumors of the ‘ghost of the elf noble’.

On’ogg spends some time reading some of the books that he has acquired and makes contact with the keeper of Bent Sheaf Depository. The keeper mentions that he will contact a colleague who may be able to shed light on the mysterious scrolls that Ogg had discovered in northern Collabria, who should be able to travel to Gorganhelm within a week or so.

~

The companions then come together at a small safehouse under the control of the Gambit crew. Here the operation officer under Captain Malloy assigns Sayer and his colleagues to look after the first mate of the Gambit, who has been long over due. He worries that the increasingly dangerous roads to the Vuthuk settlements may have something to do with her absence.

The companions set off to find her, following the road until eventually clues of the some struggle draws them off the beaten path. In their search they are confronted by a tribal native, who is attempting to find the beast who had slain his tribesman. They continue forward together after establishing that the lizardfolk would gain his trophy.

They follow signs of some wild beast further into the wilds, before coming on a long abandoned stone pavilion. Suddenly in a flash of movement, a lithe form attempts to flee; the companions and the lizardfolk intercept the figure of a half elf, who they realize is Lecksy the Briarthorn, who seems to in the verge of losing control. scene_-_curse_root.png

She explains in a panic that she has been inflicted with a strong lycanthropy, which she struggles to contain. The Vuthuk tribesman then attempts to engage her in combat, which is interrupted by the companions casting out the half elf’s curse. It billows forth, taking drawing in the fauna and root around the area and forming a mass of cursed root, which the companions soon slay.

First mate seems wary of returning, lest she bring trouble to her crew. She asks that the companions tell them that she is dead, a request which they comply. She then lays down on the altar of the pavilion and turns to a stone wolf. The Vuthuk tribesman is persuaded to take a trophy from the cursed root, cowing his thirst for vengeance.

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Chasing Shadows

The companions set out to find their friend Hopscotch. In a scouting effort the Hand sent their companion Mav to fly over the city of Gorganhelm and search for clues. Mav returned with a few points of interest, where the companions made efforts to investigate.

At the docks they bid on the outcome of a bareknuckle boxing match, then noticed a strange old man who seemed to be heeding their presence. They attempted to give chase, but they lost their query in a float den.

They continued their search, coming to see a public hanging of some scoundrel who had crossed XXXXX. During the spectacle they found the condemned to be a strangely humanoid looking simian creature, looking ragged and dirty. With a certain wonder they realized this person to be Hopscotch, transformed. With a bit of luck and determination they raised some mayhem and freed their friend, who introduced himself as Zorbastoram Elomarroth Davalin, Prince of the Sapphire Isles.

Through an effort the companions relocate their friends into more comfortable billets, at an inn called the Hangman’s Noose, a large raucous establishment in an old converted Imperial prison.

They act quickly when they notice those colleagues in tow have grown in number by one. Moving fast, they confront the peculiar old man who had been following them since their arrival in Gorganhelm. He revealed himself to be Garon Tharr, ex disciple of the Exalted One. He had on a short leash a rather ordinary goat.

He explains that he had long since severed his ties with the Exalted One, having been duped tragically by the powers provided by the Lord of Change decades before. He has as of late, begun hearing familiar whispers foretelling the return of the Exalted One. Through a latent psychic prescience Garon Tharr lingered in Gorganhelm, where he felt the call.

He recognized an elf noble who had been trying to move incognito in the streets of Gorganhelm, looking for passage to a uncharted isle mere hours away. Garon Tharr offered his small boat to the place. Garon Tharr had stayed in the boat, loath to find himself in a place of power for a God he had forsaken. Still he felt the place like a dark and twisted pool. Things apparently got really spooky and he left back, making his way back to Gorganhelm alone, tired row after row.

After his story Garon Tharr explained that he would assist the companions, simply to thwart the rise of the Exalted One. The next morning he brought around his boat, little more than a dingy with a three braced lodge. His goat was already sitting comfortably in the space within.

They made their way out of the bay, needling through large spires of micro-isles, The water a deep crystalline blue. The weather was pleasant. They eventually came to a small cave entrance, submerged by a foot of seawater. If the water lines on the rock were any indication, this entrance is hidden by the ocean during anything besides low tide.

scene_-_shrine_and_sacrifice.jpg The companions led the way, Garon Tharr and Goat following in the back. They found a profane temple to the Exalted One, ominous as all get out. Resisting a terrible wave of energy, On’ogg climbed the steps up to the alter, only to find the desiccated corpse of Magistrate Kellion Zandros. He seems to have been dead for some time.

Considering the implication, the companions and their new acquaintances are disturbed to hear something quake and quiver in the shadows that bath this place. It seems to come from all direction, moving as many but all as one.

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Travels

The companions continue their voyage to Gorganhelm aboard the Maiden’s Thirst, ship of Hazzar Boracha. There is some disturbance; one of the crewmen tries to commandeer a small vessel and strike a coarse away from the Maiden.

On’ogg and Sayer subdue the crewman, who seems to be gripped with some insanity. The news ripples across the ship, shaking raw the nerves of the other crewmembers. Captain Hazzar discloses that there have been ominous rumors of some strange sickness striking from random sailors their grip on reality.

There is a guard set as they tether the small vessel in tow behind the Maiden. Bound tightly, the poor sailor is set out where they can be safe from any contamination. During their watch,
the Hand uses their knowledge of the arcane to subdue the madness for a time, finding the sailor scared out of his wits.

The Hand rushes to alert the rest of the companions, who return to find only the line some distance back, a flimsy scrapping of wood bouncing in the surf.

~

The next day the Hand asks Akasha to join them in a small ritual. The Hand lays strange runes in the under-space of the forecastle. The two find themselves transported to a terrible, dead wasteland. They explore a bit and find a strange monolith of sorts, a peculiar light emanating from within passageways within.

They harden their resolve and venture into its depths, finding to their surprise the mystical figure of Baelmar, trudging around his workshop. He answers some questions long unasked, provides some semblance of refreshments and sends the travelers back to the mortal plane.

~

The next day the Maiden arrives in Gorganhelm, where they disembark, taking note of how to contact Captain Hazzar again if necessary. Having spent some portion of his youth in the city, Sayer directs them to the Olde Moldy, a tavern of some ill repute. They eat a few peanuts, turn coin over for a drink more hospitable than the standard grog and enjoy a small poem for what must be a local vagrant.

They discover the forlorn figure to be none other than Baatu, a hollow reflection of his jovial self. He was scarcely recognizable underneath what seemed to be weeks of grime. In a daze, he brought the companions to a small cove on the far end of the long set breaker, where they find a dilapidated hovel.

Within they find the sluggish form of Wilhelm von Keurig slumped near Nazeer. The elvish magi stumbles for a stick clumsily; his eyes were milky white and unresponsive. A great burden seems to have ground their souls into destitution. They pleaded for the companions to find Zorba, who is past due in his exploration of the area.

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Escape to Open Water

The companions lay hidden in the room where Akasha had been stabbed, deliberating on their course of action. Surely the Magistrate must pay for this catastrophe, but were they in a position currently to do more than forfeit their own lives?

Suddenly their conversation is cut short as a pair of the large guards clad in elaborate armor stomped their way up the stairwell. The Hand quickly casts an all encompassing invisibility spell over the companions. They seemed intent on finding the survivors, investigating the lifeless corpses of the assassins with a treatment as though they were no more than rag dolls.

When they are clear from the immediate danger they used the ropes that still hang outside to descend down to the grounds. They found it both dark and quiet, their boots settling in the softness of well manicured grass.

They followed Akasha’s lead as she wound her way through the city towards the docks. She utilized side streets and alleys, as the main thoroughfares were heavy with city guards and emergency fire patrols.

They came to the small customs office on the docks, where they believed
Hazzar Boracha to have been deterred. Sayer relieved the guard of his weapons. Though trying to be subtle On’ogg still caught the attention of the guard, who the Hand quickly convinced into thinking he was dreaming.

The companions rushed down and released Captain Hazzar Boracha from his overnight captivity. Apparently he too had been treated less than hospitably.

Once outside, the companions found a port skiff, Hazar showing his prowess in smuggling them within its cargo. Castien Vauldra stopped the skiff near a small salvage vessel who were fishing bodies from the water. He made a note of the lost crew members of the Callehad. They pressed on, Castien using his credentials to push past the blockade to the Maiden’s Thirst, Captain Hazar’s ship.

Within the relative safety of a ship disembarking from a dangerous place, the companions began to consider what was lost.

~

Akasha used what mental energy she could muster to call out to her friends who had been on board the Callehad. To Wilhelm she inquired as to what happened… to no response. To Baatu she asked if he was alright? Nothing still Nazeer she pleaded to, could anyone hear her…? Her words dispersed over the cold dark sea unanswered.

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The Gateway City of Ando'valah

The companions settle the estate of Darius Vayne, agreeing to work with Xandrilla for a time and folding Willem the Whistler into an indentured position within their cadre.

A suspicion begins to grow as they question the two usurpers. Perhaps young Darius wasn’t as victimized as he had let on. Akasha Delithrang makes questions his motives aboard the Callehad. While reading the surface thoughts of his mind he attacks her, lashing out like a trapped animal. He is soon subdued and brought to the keep where the companions find him guilty of murder of his lord father Tharon Vayne.

His sentence of death by hanging is carried out swiftly, leaving the companions within the manor and in disagreement about who should take ownership of the holdings. They decide to table the discussion for a time so that they can keep their appointment with the Legion of Aelosus at Ando’valah.

The companions make the voyage to Aelostrian, finding the city to be in some turmoil. They soon find out that Executor Rolland Malorne, the mentor of Captain Castien has gone missing.

Magistrate Kellion Zandros receives the companions. He has placed the city under martial law, believing ‘outside elements’ to have abducted Executor Malorne. Assuring them that his agents are working to rectify the situation, he throws a banquet to congratulate the companions on their efforts. He also sets up entertainment, a historical drama known as ‘The WInd & the Flame’.

After the reception party, the companions are seen to private quarters, where all comforts have been accounted for. There is an unease among them; the Magistrate seems to have insulated himself from the troubles outside the aristocratic palaces. They make note to confront the Magistrate in the morning, though they find it cannot come soon enough.

In the night they are attacked by elvish assassins; Akasha nearly succumbs to a series of vicious strikes. The companions recover the situation and defeat the assailants. the Hand manipulates one of the assassins into disclosing who had sent them; she reveals Magistrate Zandros to have made the order and is dispatched by being sent out the open window.

From that same window they notice the Callehad across the bay; the deck is engulfed in flame. Suddenly a massive explosion blows the ship to smithereens, a plume of fire billowing into the night sky. Other vessels shudder and sway from the force as pieces of wood and sail rain down on the area.

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Old Whistler's Keep
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The companions continue their voyage south aboard the Callehad. They make a stop at Archon’s Fall, where they see some great deal of construction under way. Calling on Lord Aetherion Tourek, they find the Explorer’s League in expansion. The guildmaster has been upgrading the facilities, fortifying the structure considerably.

They debrief Lord Tourek, who congratulates them on their good work. Wishing to continue their association, the guildmaster assigns Porthios to act as liaison during their voyage south. They convince Lord Tourek of their need and are afforded Morinth for a time, to help with the tracking of Jotun Borzegar and the Aurens. Displaced after the events of the long Night of Lights, it is believed that the Aurens can be allies in the conflict to come.

The companions also visit their old friend Clyde ‘the Lion’ Vanto.

scene_-_old_whistler_s_manor.jpg The companions then continue south to Coldwater Anchorage, the small port-of-call overseen by the Vayne Manor. The Hand visits with Darius Vayne and with a considerable amount of insight is able to coax a semblance of human dignity from the drunkard. During the voyage the Hand gains his trust, finding in him a longing for his Magdella. With her at his side he would set out for a life of adventure.

Within a few days the companions arrive at Coldwater Anchorage, where they device a plan to confront the bandit leader known as Willem the Whistler. They march up to the keep, finding the bridge drawn and the gates barred. Though the Hand is very adroit in posing as young Darius Vayne, scary even, they find those inside less than obligatory.

The companions fall back to concoct a more subtle approach.

With the use of a giant barrel, they make efforts to look as if though they are delivering a huge cask of wine to the Manor. With Akasha Delithrang, Elbanor and Sayer stowed within, On’ogg delivers it through the gates, with the Hand keeping watch from the tree line.

Bearing his share of insults from the crowd of bandits, Ogg blows open the cask revealing his companions within. The Hand joins the fray as the companions dispatch one bandit after another, taking heed to not strike lethal force. Once subdued, the companions forge ahead to confront the bandit leader.

The companions forge forward with the use of Hand’s ability to cast a mantle of invisibility over the companions in conjunction with general scare tactics and no shortage of chicanery. They find the Whistler in the main hall among his remaining outlaws. They seem to have lost the will to fight. Indeed, the Willem the Whistler stalls long enough for his gang to mostly escape, buying the time with his own freedom.

The companions subdue him as well, finding that there seems to be a witch in the manor as well. She had made her presence known when the Whistler had first taken hold of the estate. There seemed to be a truce among the two, as the witch seemed intent to hold the tower as long as she was not bothered.

The companions move through the halls to find this witch, finding the manor in a reasonably good state of affairs, all things considered. The objects of art have been taken down, but not destroyed. The store of goods have been rifled through, but not completely drained.

They find their way to the tower. Though it radiates a certain arcane energy, they find the door locked, no trap set. Moving in they find the place thick with the scent of incense. Eyes adjusting, they note the room to be comfortably furnished. Beyond they find a figure standing on the balcony that surely overlooks the entire area. The figure turns revealing herself to be none other than Xandrilla, the Bane of Thuul.

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