Each PC earns 400 xp, enough to reach 2nd level.
Introducing Our Heroes
- Crake Crozier, human rogue, charlatan
- "Flotsam" Rosie Fleisch, half-elf warlock, pirate (sailor)
- Gwastdyn Strakeln, shield dwarf druid, outlander
- Turin Elinast, moon elf bard, entertainer
- Ug St. John Smith, half-orc paladin of Ilmater, acolyte
10th Mirtul, 1490 DR
After travelling for several days across the Greenfields, guarding the wagon of optimistic merchant Samardag the Hoper, the PCs arrive at the town of Greenest at sundown, only to find it under attack from a dragon. Ug rushes into town to investigate; the others follow, leaving Samardag and his wagon at the side of the road.
Ug charges down the main road, closely followed by Gwastdyn; Rosie, Crake and Turin are more cautious and decide to follow the stream to the south into town. The half-orc and the dwarf soon run into a family being chased by four kobolds. It’s too late to save the woman, but the pair kill the kobolds and rescue her husband and three children. Meanwhile, the other group have encountered a second band of kobolds accompanied by an ambush drake. Turin and Crake go unconscious, leaving it to Rosie to stand alone. Fortunately Crake rolls 20 on her death save and comes round, then Gwastyn and Ug arrive to help. The druid heals Turin, Crake stabs the drake through the head, killing it, and the party are able to defeat the remaining kobolds. They hide in a house with the farmer Cuth Swift and his three children and have a short rest. Cuth tells the PCs they need to try and reach the safety of the keep.
Sneaking though the brush by the stream, the PCs lead Cuth and his kids towards the keep, with Ug carrying the body of Linan. Open ground lies between their position and the castle, so Turin uses his disguise kit to make the children look as much like kobolds as he can while the rest of the party and Cuth pretend to be cultists. The group are challenged by a patrol of raiders but manage to bluff their way past to reach safety. The doors of the keep are barred shut behind them as soon as they are inside.
Governor Nighthill is up on the parapet at the top of the keep and fills the party in on what’s been happening. The governor asks the PCs to open up the old tunnel which runs from the cellar to the stream so it can be used as a secret route in and out of the keep. After some persuasion, he gives them a potion of healing to take with them on their mission, and suggests they try and bring back a prisoner to interrogate. The party are taken down to the cellars by the castellan, Escobert the Red, and given the keys to the tunnel doors. The PCs battle two swarms of rats in the tunnel, then open the grate at the other end. They encounter a group of cultists and kobolds by the banks of the stream, defeating them quickly and taking one of the humans prisoner.
The PCs take their prisoner back to the keep where he is interrogated – Escobert and Ug take it in turns punching him until he tells them all he knows. The party learn that he is a member of the Cult of the Dragon, the raiders are in Greenest to collect loot "for the great hoard that will usher in the reign of the Queen of Dragons”, and they are led by a woman called Frulam Mondath. The dragon flying overhead is an ally but not under her command.
By now it is midnight and the governor sends the adventurers to rescue the townsfolk trapped inside the temple of Chauntea which is under attack from three groups of raiders. The PCs sneak through the bushes alongside the stream to reach the church without being detected, then use the smoke from the fire the cultists have started at the back door to provide concealment as they attack with surprise. Crake picks the lock on the door and the party goes inside. After some shouting they manage to calm down the panicking townsfolk with the help of Eadyan Falconmoon, the priest, and get them through the door to safety before the raiders manage to smash down the front door.
Back in the keep, the governor again asks the PCs for help – this time he wants them to stop the attackers burning down the town mill. This time, the party what kind of payment they can expect in exchange for their services. Governor Nighthill is a bit disappointed but gives them a second potion of healing and promises them a reward when the town is saved. Satisfied our heroes head for the mill but when they get there and see that the building isn’t really on fire, they are suspicious. Rosie scouts ahead and spots a pair of cultists lurking on the upper floor. Deciding it’s a trap, the PCs return to the keep as they can see the dragon is now circling around the tower.
The PCs hurry to the roof and make a few ineffective ranged attacks on the great blue dragon as it swoops in to breathe lightning on the defenders. Luckily, the party are unscathed, but several brave town guards are killed instantly. Rosie – who has experience of firing a ballista from her time as a pirate – shoots at the terrible beast, scoring a critical hit! The dragon decides that it’s not worth tangling with the adventurers and maybe getting wounded again. He flies off, leaving Greenest. Relieved, the adventurers go back downstairs for a much-needed short rest.
One of the cool concepts behind Numenera is how your descriptor (the adjective that describes your character), type (character class), and focus (what your character is all about) combine into a sentence like this:
Rafiq is a mystical (descriptor) nano (type) who explores dark places (focus)
So if another player asks you to tell her about your character, you’ve got this sentence to sum him or her up. Very neat.
Each of these three elements gives your character some abilities as you’d expect:
The nano is the Ninth World’s equivalent of a wizard or sorcerer, so Rafiq knows about the numenera – relics of past worlds that can be found while adventuring – and gets to use esoteries – magic-like special abilities that fit in with Numenera’s science fantasy setting. I picked Ward which gives Rafiq +1 armour – handy as I don’t think he’ll be wearing any – and Onslaught which allows him to attack an enemy he can see with either a ray of force or a mental blast.
Being a nano also determines Rafiq’s stats. There are only three in Numenera – Might, Speed and Intellect. Each has a starting value and I get 6 points to divide between them. Rafiq has 9 Might, 11 Speed and 14 Intellect. I also choose a nano connection for Rafiq – he studied at a school infamous for its dark, brooding instructors and graduates. He’s not going to be a jolly soul.
The Mystical descriptor gives Rafiq +2 Intellect, bringing his pool to 16, and gives him another esotery – Hedge Magic – pretty similar to prestidigitation in D&D. He can also sense “magic” around him but his moody, introspective nature makes it hard for him to make friends – tasks involving charming and persuading others are one step harder. Rafiq’s descriptor adds to his background too – I decide a dream has guided me to wherever the first adventure starts.
Each PC's focus is meant be what’s unique about him, so there shouldn’t be another PC who Explores Dark Places in Rafiq’s party. His focus makes Rafiq’s esoteries dark – almost silent, and any visual effects are shadowy. Cool. He’s trained in climbing, balancing and jumping, as well as searching and listening, and gets some bonus gear including an explorer’s pack. Handy for anyone who likes poking around in dangerous ancient ruins. I need to choose another PC as a former adventuring partner and Rafiq will get +1 to die rolls when the two of them collaborate on a task or attack the same foe.
Rafiq is obviously going to wear a black, hooded cloak over dark clothes; I choose a rapier as his weapon. He also gets three cyphers and two oddities from his type and descriptor. Cyphers are very cool one-use items, bits of ancient tech that can be found in ruins and other locales throughout the Ninth World. Rafiq can only bear three of them at any one time – the game activley encourages players to use these, rather than hoarding them.
Rafiq has a psychic communique (a metallic disk on his forehead which allows him to send a one off, one way telepathic message of up to ten words to anyone he knows), a temporal viewer (a wristband which shows, in sounds and images, events that took place at the current location up to a year ago), and a visual displacement device (a belt which projects holographic images to confuse attackers).
Oddities are like 5e’s trinkets, interesting little items that don’t have game effects. Rafiq has a lightning bug in a glass globe and a rose made of nigh-indestructible glass. Maybe he’ll find a use for these items on his adventures, or will be able to trade them with someone?
And that’s it. Character creation was fun and straightforward, and I’ve ended up with an interesting PC with some nice background elements to think about and a handful of cool abilities and one-shot items to use in the game. I've still not got my head round Numenera's rules system, but making a character has certainly got me excited about the game.
So, when do I get to play him? ;)
Here's the blurb:
Huddled in a sheltered cove at the base of lofty cliffs, the tiny village of Red Talon is inaccessible by land for all but the best climbers. Its folk are insular and vague rumours lay cannibalism and devil‐worship at their door—with good reason. Founded by the vicious pirate captain Hagruk Stormrider Red Talon hides a vicious, depraved cult dedicated to the unholy, cannibalistic worship of the little-known Ukre’kon’ala.
Adventurers often come to Red Talon—not to battle the hidden cult—but for the pirate booty said to lie in the waters just off the coast. Twenty years ago, Hagruk and his entire crew went down with his ship and now rumours of glittering treasure yet lying among the wreck of his galleon bring many to the village. Few leave… Village Backdrops are short, richly detailed supplements that each present a single village ready to insert into almost any home campaign. Perfect for use as a waystop on the road to adventure, as an adventure site themselves or as a PC’s home, Village Backdrop present the details so the busy GM can focus on crafting exciting, compelling adventures.
You can also read an extract at Raging Swan's site.
The Juma Associates climb the ancient paved road towards the ring of stone pillars. Hrothgar checks his map of unseen lands: ahead is the vast snow-covered peak where Vrishabha lies trapped in the ice, waiting to be freed. A great stone arch crosses the road, guarded by three rakshasas. Hrothgar charges in, followed by the others, and they are quickly dispatched.
From here, the road leads steeply upwards to a large round stone platform about a hundred feet in diameter. Nine great rock pillars, over 40 feet high and irregularly-shaped surround the platform, forming a circle of stone. Within the ring of pillars are eleven rakshasas – some have the heads of tigers and other great cats, others are foxes or vultures – and Gyeltsen, a yakfolk sorcerer.
These rakshasas are led by Avishandu (the Fourth Tribune and Boss of All Bosses); also present is the infamous Heinsoo, Aurius Kalothese (Tribune of the Imperial Quarter) and Mardinuya (once the deva Samael who discovered that Srivatsa’s Bow and the Arrows of Hanuman could be used to free Vrishabha).
Avishandu mocks the Juma Associates for their naivety and stupidity: “Before we kill you, I’d like to thank you for freeing so many of our servants from the curse that trapped them in bovine form. You really have made things so much easier for us. Now, prepare to die in agony.” Hrothgar responds with a bloodthirsty threat of his own and battle is joined!
Heinsoo shoots Hrothgar with his poisoned crossbow, then Juma is bloodied by a hail of arrows from the rakshasa warriors standing between the pillars. Gil takes down two of these archers with magic missile, then brave Juma charges in, only to go down from multiple sword attacks from Mardinuya and Aurius. Hrothgar also charges the rakshasas, despite being slowed by the poison, and Jenma attacks an archer with acid orb, while Ulthar moves forward to heal Juma. Unfortunately, Avishandu’s misleading visions send him reeling backwards and the Urskovian warlord’s carefully planned tactical sequence is in tatters. He does manage to heal the genasi but not much – Aurius’ deadly aura of doom prevents healing magic from functioning at full strength.
Vashnawi and Gil kill two more warriors, but now Hrothgar is in trouble, falling unconscious to attacks from Mardinuya, Heinsoo and Aurius. Marduniya’s cloying words dominate Ulthar but fortunately Jenma is on hand to slap the warlord in the face and snap him out of it. Still bloodied, dazed and prone, Juma teleports away from the rakshasas; he’s hit by Gyeltsen’s withering staff and weakened. Wisely, he decides to use his mask of the impish grin to hide.
As Ulthar goes to heal himself, the dagger with a gold dragon’s head hilt he’s been wearing on his belt for months, transforms into its true form – that of a snake-like raktavarna rakshasa – and bites him in the leg. The nasty creature’s mindbite again throws his plans into disarray and he growls in frustration, before pulling himself together and smashing the raktavarna to a pulp with his great axe. Meanwhile, a dao blademaster appears from the stone, summoned by the yakman, and attacks Vashnawi. The pair continue to fight each other at the edge of the stone platform for the rest of the encounter.
Jenma is pulled towards Aurius with his phantom lure and attacked, but the dragonborn turns one of the rakshasa’s sword blows back on him with chaos echoes. Gil casts ice storm to create his signature zone of icy terrain around the rakshasas, then follows up with furious immolation on the following round to burn Aurius, Mardinuya and Gyeltsen. “Bring me my great axe” rings out in the mountain air, and Hrothgar is healed as Heinsoo steals the escalation die with reversal of fate. The gnoll enters the hydra rage, his axe darting and biting like the hydra’s many heads as he attacks the rakshasas.
Aurius has been bloodied but Juma unbloodies him when he rolls his gambler’s die. Then, Mardinuya bloodies Jenma, allowing her to strike back with aspect of the dragon. At the end of the round, Ulthar attacks four opponents in turn with path of storm, killing Avishandu and Aurius. Gil turns to stone after being hit with Gyeltsen’s diamond bonds, while Juma is tricked into attacking an illusionary duplicate instead of the real Heinsoo. Hrothgar falls unconscious and is dying again. Jenma slays Mardinuya with twin bolt.
Ulthar heals everyone, rallying them to his warlord’s banner and grabs the Arrows and Bow from the stone altar. Next, he unleashes his warmaster’s assault and Hrothgar and Juma charge Heinsoo as the Urskovian takes down Gyeltsen. With her master slain, the dao vanishes.
Only Heinsoo is left standing, but not for long as Hrothgar uses his final confrontation to slain the party’s arch-nemesis.
With the rakshasas vanquished, Vashnawi leads the PCs in an hour long ritual to destroy the Arrows and Bow. As they sustain their om chants, dark storm clouds gather overhead. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning flashes down, striking the altar and blowing the two weapons into smithereens!
Now the final adventure of the Juma Associates is over, our heroes go their separate ways.
Gil returns to Forathin to his father Paelias, in the hopes that his magical knowledge and prowess will at last impress him.
Hrothgar travels to the Great Grass Sea in search of a legendary totem which will unite the gnoll packs of the steppes under his rulership as Khan of All Gnolls. A confrontation with Urgedai the Kinslayer seems inevitable.
Jenma tracks down her sister Sora and persuades the paladin to go on a new adventure with her.
Juma steals the secret formula for Parsantine Fire but Ulthar persuades him not to give it to Sheikh Babak al-Hasid. As punishment for his failure, Juma is forced to serve as a pleasure slave among the nomads for a year and day.
Ulthar goes into politics with the ambition of becoming the first Urskovian to sit on the Inner Council. The Old Quarter tribune, Murad al-Rumi vouches for him, and Juma helps his comrade’s political campaign behind the scenes with a few dirty tricks.
Pics by Gog Magog
11th December (contd)
Now inside the Furnace, the Juma Associates race through the streets to the Mosque of Blistering Atonement. As they hurry along, evading archon and efreeti patrols, Hrothgar and Gil spot a huge golden-feathered roc, hooded and tied to a stone pillar, attended by a solitary decrepit-looking firenewt. Perhaps the giant bird could provide a means of escape later?
The PCs approach the nightmarish-looking mosque, its walls made of black basalt and its domes sheathed in corroded green copper. Entering through the great brass doors, the party surprise the occupants: three fire giants and a fire titan. At first, the battle goes our heroes’ way – Gil casts ice storm in the centre of the temple, immobilising Olostro, the priest of Imix, and slowing the other giants while the others gang up on one of the fire giants. Hrothgar charges, Ulthar unleashes his hail of steel and Jenma finishes the giant off with acid orb.
Then, Olostro activates the crystal idol of Imix, trapping Hrothgar inside – his fur starts to sizzle and burn. Hrothgar tries to smash his way out, to no avail. The other PCs attack the second fire giant warrior, but before he can be taken down, he retreats to the mirhab to use its healing magic. Ulthar throws an axe at him and Gil casts magic missile but the giant is able to make it there on 1 hp and heal some of his wounds. He’s still bloodied, though, and Jenma is able to kill him with another acid orb. Gil’s next magic missile takes down the priest who has been clobbering Jh’od and shoving him into the blistering pillar.
Meanwhile, Hrothgar is still trapped inside the crystal idol, trying to smash his way out. Ulthar arrives to free him but realises he doesn’t have the necessary arcane knowledge. Jenma tries to help rescue the gnoll too but also fails; Hrothgar finally escapes of his own accord and charges the titan.
Ulthar uses his warlord’s banner to rally and heal the party before unleashing his war master’s assault, giving everyone a basic attack against the fire titan. But the Urskovian is down to 21 hp and he falls unconscious when the huge giant hurls fire at him. With the rest of the party ganging up on the titan, it doesn’t last long, and the Juma Associates are able to revive Ulthar so he is conscious on 1 hp.
Ulthar and Gil swap magic boots so that the warlord is able to sneak around like an elf, hopefully avoiding taking any damage, and the PCs explore the rooms leading off from the main hall of the mosque. There they find several potions of cure critical wounds which Ulthar swigs down enthusiatically, as well as a magical fire horn.
Low on surges and daily powers, the Juma Associates have no alternative but to head downstairs in search of Srivatsa’s Bow. Ahead is a fiery temple where a fire genasi priest of Imix and his azer and efreeti acolytes await the party....
1. A Drink with Shane Macgowan by Victoria Mary Clarke and Shane Macgowan
2. Be Awesome at Freelance Game Design by Creighton Broadhurst
3. The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
4. Dead Simple by Peter James
5. The Racing Factions by Robert Fabbri
6. Of Dice and Men by David M Ewalt
7. Arrows of Indra by RPGPundit
8. Dark Fey by Adam W. Roy (Pathfinder)
9. Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett
10. Cold Granite by Stuart Macbride
11. Tell No One by Harlan Coben
12. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1910 by Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill
13. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1969 by Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill
14. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 2009 by Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill
15. Midgard Tales (Pathfinder adventures)
16. Ruined Kingdoms by Steve Kurtz (Al-Qadim)
17. The Body in the Mithraeum by M E Mayer
18. Wolfsangel by M D Lachlan
19. Inferno by Dan Brown
20. Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle (D&D Next adventure)
21. Murder in Baldur's Gate (D&D Next adventure)
22. Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik
23. Fey Revisited (Pathfinder)
24. The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin
25. Saga Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
26. The Spirit in the Spice Groves by Donna K Fitch (d20 adventure)
27. The Mahabharata by R K Narayan
28. Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb
29. Personal by Lee Child
30. Witch Doctor Vol.1 Under the Knife by Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner
31. The Fallen Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood
32. Not Dead Yet by Peter James
33. Shadows of Eldolan by Cal Moore (13th Age adventure)
34. A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay
35. Designers and Dragons: the 70s by Shannon Appelcline
36. Not a Drill by Lee Child
37. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
38. Hoard of the Dragon Queen by Steve Winter and Wolfgang Baur (D&D 5e adventure)
39. Want You Dead by Peter James
40. Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
41. Saga Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
42. Saga Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
43. Saga Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
44. Scourge of the Sword Coast (D&D Next adventure)
45. Age of Shiva by James Lovegrove
46. Mouse Guard: The Black Axe by David Petersen
47. Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb
48. The Rise of Tiamat by Steve Winter (D&D 5e adventure)
49. Looking Good Dead by Peter James
50. Dungeon Master’s Guide (D&D 5e)
- Current Mood: thoughtful
- Current Music:Polica - Lay Your Cards Out
Jenma needs one more encounter to end her death penalty; Hrothgar needs another one to recover from his depression and be able to rage normally again.
11th December (contd)
Gil buys arcane reagents for rituals. Jenma hires a courier to take a message to Shah Abdul-Azim Abassi, asking for a meeting at the Burnished Coffee Pot in the Plume district. When the azer messenger returns, the efreeti noble’s reply is “tell the bitch to come to my house”. The Juma Associates cross the fiery Riqaq Canal and head through the Char district. They go past a parade ground where efreet officers are drilling fire archon and salamander troops, before arriving in the wealthy Plume neighbourhood.
Knocking on the door at the Palazzo of the Blue Horse, Jenma and her companions are shown into a large courtyard filled with leafless black serpent trees to see the efreeti shah. Abdul-Azim Abassi welcomes Jenma menacingly, asking her if she’s come to return the genie prison she stole from him and to apologise. Jenma, Ulthar and Gil bow deeply, heads to the floor; Hrothgar and Jh’od just stand there, confused. Jenma uses flattery to win over the efreeti, and with support from Ulthar, convinces him to tell the PCs where they can find Srivatsa’s Bow in return for the stolen genie bottle. The party must retrieve the Bow from the treasure vaults of the Chosen of Imix, beneath the Mosque of Blistering Atonement, in the Furnace district.
As the Juma Associates leave the palazzo, the great brass gong sounds, marking the start of the nightly curfew when non-efreeti must be off the city streets. The heroes attempt to avoid trouble by moving quickly through the estates of the noble efreets, running through garden and leaping over walls. Hrothgar and Jh’od lead the way but Gil isn’t that athletic and they are spotted by a fire archon patrol. Luckily, they make a run for it and are able to escape. The PCs cross into the Char without trouble and make it past the parade ground. As they approach the Phoenix Gate, they encounter another archon patrol but again manage to give it the slip.
Reaching the great gates into the Furnace, the Juma Associates discuss their strategy in an alleyway: the burning hot gates are guarded by two efreets, three salamander archers and five hell hounds. Unfortunately, they spend far too long in one place and a third fire archon patrol spots them. This time they can’t get away and a battle ensues. The archons are troublesome opponents, creating clouds of cinders that obscure vision and scorch the PCs. Hrothgar takes down the first one when Ulthar unleashes his hail of steel; Gil’s magic missiles finish off the last two.
Returning to the gate, the PCs drink their elixirs of flying and land on the roof of a nearby building. Ulthar is left behind though, and is surrounded by the hell hounds. He activates his cloak of the shadowform and flies after the others, landing on the top of the dome ahead of them. This attracts the attention of the archers who shoot him twice each; the warlord uses his phoenix sash to stay on his feet. For the first time ever, Gil heals Ulthar, then summons a stormstone fury on the top of the walls to battle the salamanders. He decides not to spend an action to control it, so it attacks of its own accord, which does thunder damage to the eladrin and knocks him over each round. The two efreets throw their flying scimitars at Hrothgar and Jh’od, then fly in to attack the party in melee. After the fighters and Jenma have done plenty of damage to the first efreet with their weapons and spells, Gil pings it with magic missile, killing it, obv. Jh’od shoves the second efreet off the roof, where it lands on top of the hell hounds, squashing three of them.
Meanwhile, Ulthar has flown over to the salamanders and landed on the burning hot ramparts. Dropping his insubstantiality, he kills one of the salamanders. Then, Hrothgar leaps down from the roof on top of the fallen efreet, slaying him. The two surviving hell hounds have fled, leaving a pair of salamanders for the PCs to finish off. Once these too have perished, the Juma Associates fly down to the other side of the gates and catch their breath. They are inside the Furnace!
Pics by Andy
The Juma Associates arrive back in Kishkindha with the geomancer sorceress’ head and a plan to come clean with King Narinda and tell him why they need the Arrows of Hanuman. If that doesn’t work, they will use the code word “diamond” and Juma will steal the arrows from the treasury. Unfortunately, when they get there, it turns out the arrows have been stolen already and the PCs’ guide Balachandra is the prime suspect. The party rush in to see the angry vanaran king who demands to know where Balachandra is and why a letter addressed to the Juma Associates was left in his treasury in place of the arrows!
Jenma eagerly grabs the note and reads it aloud, falling victim to the shadowflesh curse embedded in the writing. The dragonborn is wracked with hideous pain as her flesh warps, stretches and twists, infused with a spark of horrible, unnatural life force. She collapses to the floor, dead.
The note is a mocking message from “H”, which Ulthar guesses must be the infamous Heinsoo, a rakshasa agent of the Rajah Vrishabha. It is clear the Juma Associates have been very naive! Jenma’s body is taken away to the temple of Hanuman to be raised from the dead by the wizened high priestess, Sunazara. King Narinda tells the Juma Associates they must leave as soon as she is returned to life and bring back the arrows. Gil says the party will do their best.
The party arrive back in the village of Madhwa. Jenma is alive but has a death penalty until she reaches three milestones. Most of the PCs get a good night’s sleep in the Nutmeg Inn, but Hrothgar continues to be troubled by recurring nightmares of violence and slaughter.
Heading downriver on Pradnesh’s kettuvallam, the PCs arrive at the tributary leading to the lair of the notorious catoblepas. The Juma Associates board a small boat and row through the shallow, stagnant water for a couple of miles, coming into a dingy swamp full of diseased plant life. When their boat gets stuck, they climb out and continue through the bog on foot to the monster’s lair. Hrothgar charges in to attack the strange-looking beast, backed by the rest of the party. Gil casts mass resistance to poison on everyone which makes the catoblepas’ normally deadly breath much less effective and the creature is bloodied in the first round. Crying out “for Mormekar!”, Hrothgar enters the rage of the oak hammer, striking first with a critical hit, follow by a terrible rage strike which slays the beast.
Killing the catoblepas wins the death god’s favour, freeing Hrothgar from the demonic spirit that has possessed him for so long. The demon leaves the gnoll’s body, screeching in frustration, and Hrothgar slumps to the floor, sobbing as the terrible realisation hits him that he killed his own pack. Ulthar consoles him, encouraging him “to let it all out”. Searching the amongst the matted reeds and human and crocodile skulls in the lair, the others find treasure: 12,000 gp and a +4 earthbreaker parashu.
The PCs arrive back in the port city of Surivata. Hrothgar is still very low – for now, with the anger and hatred of the demon no longer spurring him on, he needs to make a saving throw to rage.
Gil casts linked portal and the Juma Associates teleport back to Vashnawi’s tower to report. The naga is horrified to learn that Heinsoo now has the arrows, and she urges the PCs to set off for the City of Brass without delay.
Gil makes a brief shopping expedition to the Victory Ward’s magic district to buy ritual scrolls, components and, of course, whetstones, then the PCs step into Vashnawi’s teleportation circle and are transported to the Elemental Plane of Fire. Juma becomes Jh’od before he teleports so he will blend in.
The planar portal bring the PCs into the middle of a great square, guarded by fire archons. They are in the centre of the Bazaar of Beggars which lies a few miles outside the Diamond Gate to the City of Brass. It is swelteringly hot, the sky is a dull red, and the imposing walls and shining brass domes of the fabled city can be seen in the distance.
Gil and Hrothgar need protection against the heat of the Elemental Plane of Fire, so the PCs visit Axam’s Forge to buy brazen amulets for 4,000 gp each from the azer smith. They still have geomancer magic items to identify, so their second stop is the tent of Burgundy Rose, a cheitan (half-efreeti) sage, who is able to tell the PCs their powers for a fee.
Knowing they are in a race against Heinsoo, the PCs decide not to join the slow-moving, miles long queue to enter the city. Instead, they approach one of the gargantuan tusk lords and pay 15,000 gp to bypass the queue. Ulthar does a fairly convincing impression of the catoblepas’ cry in the hopes that this will get them a discount but to no avail. As they approach the city on the back of the colossal elephant, Gil casts Sezrakan’s deceitful sensor to foil scrying for 12 hours.
At the Diamond Gate, the PCs join a far shorter queue. As they wait in line, a group of fire giants stride up, shoving past anyone in their way. Only Jh’od holds his ground – the other PCs step aside – and gets clobbered by a giant as they jump the queue.
Finally inside the city, a dishevelled, blind mystic grabs Ulthar’s arm, warning him that his “weapon will betray him”. The Juma Associates make their way to the district of Iskalat where they rent overpriced rooms at Razi’s Rest where Jenma has stayed before. From here, they travel to the Bazaar of Arcana in Pyraculum’s City Market and visit Hansiq’s Library. While Gil peruses the extensive range of rituals, Ulthar asks the djinni owner if he knows of Srivatsa’ Bow – he hasn’t. It looks like Jenma will have to brave the wrath of Shah Abdul-Azim Abassi and offer the efreeti noble her apologies and the stolen genie prison in exchange for information about the bow’s location....
To try and dispel some of this confusion I made this little crib sheet. It's not intended to be comprehensive but does cover some of the things that are similar but slightly different from edition to edition. Hope some of you find it useful too. Feedback and suggestions welcome!
On the way back from speaking to King Narinda, Gil stops off at a market stall in the central commons of Kishkindha and buys five whetstones of combustion. Praghal the whetstone dealer is sure to be talking about the bonanza the day Gil came to town for many years afterwards.
Back at the Heron and Lotus, the PCs speak to Zakti, the only vanara to survive from the scouting party that ran afoul of the sorceress, Shareshka, Sunderer of Dreams. He tells them what he knows about the geomancer and limps off. Juma explains that as an earthsoul genasi, Shareshka will get her power from contact with the earth, so the PCs come up with the idea of lifting her into the air. They return to the market and purchase an elixir of flying each, making Sajjana the elixir seller as happy as Praghal.
Jenma recovers from jungle fever, but Gil is still at stage 1. The Juma Associates head off through the jungle to the ruins of Udnagiri.
Gil finally recovers from jungle fever. The party arrive at the ruins, coming to an open plaza where they are attacked by stone thralls – ogres marked with strange glowing geomancer tattoos. Fortunately Hrothgar spots the lurking ogres, foiling their ambush, and the PCs charge into battle. The ogres do a lot of damage with their mauls: Juma and Ulthar are bloodied first, then Jenma is pounded into the ground with a crushing smash. Juma turns the tide, killing the first thrall, then Ulthar’s hail of steel kills the second with lethal damage coming from the warlord’s greataxe, Gil’s magic missile and Jenma’s acid orb. Hrothgar kills the third ogre, then the PCs surround the last one and Gil finishes it off with a precision-targeted scorching burst.
Climbing the broken stone steps, the Juma Associates can see the ruined temple of Kubera through the trees. Deciding that stealth is the best option, Juma sneaks around the side while the others creep through the foliage straight ahead. The genasi spots three earth archons and a huge earth titan at the temple entrance – using his mask of the impish grin to make himself invisible to them, he moves in closer. Meanwhile, Jenma and Ulthar don’t manage to be very stealthy, but the PCs are nonetheless able to get the drop on the monsters.
Gil and Jenma attack first – Gil’s ice storm is very effective in keeping the earth archons pinned down at the entrance and he follows it up with frostburn. Shareshka appears and casts Abi Dalzim's horrid wilting on Ulthar but the warlord resists and only takes half damage. Hrothgar drinks his elixir of flying and charges the mighty earth titan with support from Ulthar and Gil. Jenma is buried alive by Shareshka but manages to pull herself out of the ground. Juma moves in to attack the archons and sorceress, triggering a rba’ symbol of warding as he passes into the courtyard. Jenma and Gil (now transformed into a pillar of fire) finish off the hapless archons as the bloodied Juma flies after Shareshka, triggering the symbol for a second time.
Hrothgar takes down the earth titan and now all the PCs move in to attack the geomancer. Unfortunately flying over the wall into the courtyard does not protect Hrothgar and Ulthar from the warding symbol. Nonetheless, with the whole Juma Gang attacking her, Shareshka does not survive for long – Gil delivers the killing blow yet again. Sadly, the party didn’t get a chance to implement their plan to lift her off the ground while flying.
After a short rest, the PCs search the sorceress’ body, finding her +4 greater talisman of repulsion, and also recover several interesting geomancer artefacts from her campsite in the temple.
- Current Mood: sick
21st November (contd.)
After their battle with the girallon, the PCs continue their hot, tiring trek through the jungle. Hrothgar spots some of the yellow jungle geraniums said to help cure jungle fever growing in a tall tree; Balachandra scampers up to get them. The PCs stop for the night and are perplexed by strange glowing lights bobbing around and tinkling near their campfire. No harm comes to them though.
Jenma feels better: eating the jungle geraniums has brought her jungle fever down to stage 1, but Gil is still at stage 2. During the day’s travel, Juma climbs a “ladder” of large, flat, woody mushrooms spiralling up a large tree. At the top he finds a skeleton overgrown with plants and manages to pocket a pair of tiger agate gems without the rest of the party noticing. That night, Ulthar and Gil are disturbed when a huge swarm of bats flies though the camp. Hrothgar spots three large pairs of eyes watching the party but when he goes to investigate, they’ve gone. Balachandra can’t explain the bats’ strange behaviour but suggests that the eyes might belong to man-eating tigers, and points out the party are now in jungle giant territory.
It turns out Balachandra is right: as the PCs strike camp, they are approached by an 18’ tall female giant accompanied by three giant tigers. Jenma talks to her, using her helm of languages to translate what the giant is saying. She introduces herself as Kadufi, and explains that she and her two sisters are overjoyed at the PCs’ arrival. She offers the party ten valuable tusks of ivory if they will pose as models for the sisters – they love creating topiary and think the Juma Associates would make great subjects.
Kadufi is joined by Wadufi and Padufi, her two sisters – the youngest, Padufi, is particularly taken with Ulthar, bending and twisting his limbs painfully into suitable poses until he shoves her off. Willing to go along with the giants’ suggestion for a while, the party follow the sisters to their nearby stockade, a large wooden structure with 50’ high walls surrounded by the topiary the giants have created. Kadufi’s sculptures are terrible but the giant is oblivious to this. Reluctant to offend her, the PCs compliment her creativity. Wadufi’s sculptures are just as bad, but Padufi’s are the work of a real talent. After showing off the topiary, the giants head into their stockade to prepare lunch. The Juma Associates aren’t keen on following them inside so Jenma tells Padufi they would like to get started on the modelling straight away. At this time, they notice that Balachandra seems to have disappeared.
Padufi jerks and twists the PCs around into the poses she wants and starts clipping away at some nearby bushes. By this time, the PCs patience has run out and Gil summons a stormstone fury to attack the giant. Her sisters and their tigers soon arrive on the scene and a big battle ensues. The PCs dispose of the three giant tigers swiftly but the giants are tougher opponents, capable of inflicting grievous wounds with their khandas and arrows. To make matters worse, the giant wasps nesting in the stockade fly in to defend their mistresses – their poison first slows, then immobilises PCs who are stung. Wadufi is killed first, then Jenma slays Kadufi with azure talons, and finally Ulthar (who has blasted the pesky wasps with his conch) knocks out young Padufi. They tie her down to the ground with ropes and stakes and loot the stockade, finding a +4 stone of good luck and the ten ivory tusks (which weigh 200 lbs each!). Balachandra returns and the party decide to leave; Ulthar loosens Padufi’s bonds so she can escape when she wakes up.
After two days of hot, sweaty trekking through the jungle, the PCs arrive at a waterfall flowing into a lake through a ruined wall flanked by two ancient giant stone statues, one with the head of a hippopotamus; the other with its head missing. Large boulders form stepping stones going part way across the water. Before the PCs can slake their thirsts, a voluptuous dark-skinned female figure (a yaksha) emerges from the water of the lake and speaks to the party, explaining that the forbidden waters will kill anyone who doesn’t first answer a riddle. The yaksha’s “riddles” are more like philosophical questions designed to test if the answerer is enlightened or not which annoys Ulthar who was expecting a traditional Urskovian riddling contest. Nonetheless, Jenma is able to figure out a satisfactory answer to Ulthar’s riddle and Hrothgar answers his own; both can drink and bathe in the waters, while the others go thirsty.
Towards the end of the day, the party at last arrive at their destination: a cave entrance leading down to to the vanaran city of Kishkindha. Hrothgar climbs down the thick vine into the vast cavern where the city is located, followed by the others. At the bottom, the PCs are greeted warmly by the guards who direct them to the comfortable Heron and Lotus Inn. Here, the PCs are welcomed by Mathur, the inn’s vanaran owner who serves them vegetable curry accompanied by Lotus Heron, an exotic intoxicating drink made from mangoes and jungle spices. Mathur recounts that an evil sorceress has taken up residence in some nearby ancient geomancer ruins and this is making it impossible for his sons to harvest the spices they need to make the drink.
After the PCs have rested and eaten, they are escorted to see King Narinda, the ruler of Kishkindha, who asks if the party will get rid of the sorceress in exchange for a large emerald. When they ask about the Arrows of Hanuman, the king tells them they are a priceless holy relic of the vanaran people. The Juma Associates decide not to push the point, although Juma offers to slay the sorceress in exchange for a glimpse at the arrows before the others hastily shut him up. After some deliberation, the PCs agree to the mission. King Narinda promises to send Zakti, the only survivor of the patrol that went after the sorceress, to the Heron and Lotus to tell the PCs what he knows.
Here's what happened in this afternoon's game. Each PC gets enough xp to reach 18th level.
After a good night's sleep for everyone except Hrothgar (whose chicken sacrifice does not appear to have done any good), the Juma Associates board Prandesh's kettuvallam bound for the village of Madhwa upriver.
The first day passes uneventfully but Hrothgar is not impressed with the vegetable and fish curries at mealtimes. Ulthar tries to get Pradnesh to tell him what the strange crocodile shrines are along the river without success but Jenma has more luck with Jayanti, his wife, learning that they are there to protect the villages from the evil jungle goddess Magar-Mach.
The PCs' kettuvallam comes under attack from a boatload of Magar-Mach cultists led by a whip-wielding priestess who shapeshifts into a giant humanoid crocodile when Hrothgar leaps over to attack her. Juma finds himself surrounded by cultists and is shoved overboard twice into the mouths of the waiting crocodiles in the river. Ulthar heals the bloodied genasi and also jumps over, attacking one of the cult enforcers and the priestess. Meanwhile Gil and Jenma are casting spells from their boat. Hrothgar does an impressive 129 hp damage to the priestess in one round but it's Ulthar who delivers the killing blow, much to the gnoll's disappointment. Gil and Jenma join their companions on the enemy vessel, arriving just in time to be set on fire by Juma's seed of war spell which doesn't quite work as he intended it to. Jenma pushes a cultist overboard to be torn apart by the crocodiles, then Hrothgar slays the last one standing.
The PCs search the cultists' boat, finding a chest of Parsantine gold coins; Ulthar dons the priestess' ostentatious headdress of swift punishment. With no one alive to interrogate, Gil casts speak with dead on a cultist, learning that a well-dressed Parsantine with a beard hired them to attack the party.
Hrothgar sets fire to the cultists' boat, dedicating the pyre to Mormekar in the hopes the offering will be enough to stop his nightmares. It isn't.
The PCs harvest blue lotus flowers growing in a ruined temple by the side of the river. Dried and crushed to dust, the flowers can be used to extend the range and duration of arcane spells (+5 squares or no action to sustain).
Later, the boat passes a tributary where the vegetation is diseased and dying. Pradnesh tells them a terrible beast known as the catoblepas lives there. Because the monster has a connection to Mormekar, Hrothgar is determined to visit its lair when the PCs return this way after recovering the Arrows of Hanuman to see if he can win the god's forgiveness by killing (or even talking to) the creature.
Later that day the boat arrives in the jungle village of Madhwa. After getting rooms at the Nutmeg Inn, the PCs do some last minute shopping for supplies and hire a vanara guide named Balachandra to take them to Kishkindha.
The Juma Associates head into the Vyaharaja Jungle with Balachandra leading the way. Travelling through the jungle is hot, sticky and unpleasant and several PCs suffer because of the heat. Hrothgar, Gil and Jenma also catch jungle fever, although the gnoll manages to shake it off with help from Ulthar that night when the PCs camp. Unfortunately for Gil and Jenma, their fever gets worse (progressing to stage 2). Balachandra suggests the party keep an eye out for yellow jungle flowers which can help cure the disease.
As the PCs continue towards Kishkindha, they are ambushed by a jungle girallon alpha who lays into Ulthar with his mighty fists, bloodying the warlord. Although Gil's summoned stormstone fury doesn't do much damage, the rest of the Juma Associates' response is swift and terrible - Ulthar's warmaster's assault gives everyone an attack. Jenma criticals, then finishes the four-armed ape off with her dragon breath.
- Current Mood: relaxed
- Current Mood: nervous
Crossposted from http://parsantium.wordpress.com/blog
Here's the latest 13th Age icon write up for Parsantium – this one is definitely villainous. There's a GMs only spoiler at the bottom after the illustration, so don't scroll all the way down if you don't want to read it! You can read about the other icons here.
THE BOSS OF ALL BOSSES
Also known as the Fourth Tribune, the Boss of All Bosses controls the criminal gangs of the Hidden Quarter beneath the city streets of Parsantium.
“You have failed to meet your tribute target, Darius, for the first and final time. You will find the consequences of failure to be most unpleasant.”
In his secret headquarters in the Bone Catacombs below the Forest of the Dead.
Avishandu is the current Boss of All Bosses ruling Parsantium’s criminal gangs; he presides over any necessary strategic decisions, resolves disputes and takes a sizeable cut of the profits. Only the leaders of the biggest gangs (such as the Golden Scimitars) have actually met Avishandu – a handsome Aqhrani with an impeccably neat moustache and beard, piercing blue eyes, and a cruel smile. Dressed in a jewelled black turban and purple silk djellaba, he receives visitors while lounging on a golden throne, surrounded by beautiful women.
The Boss of All Bosses is cunning, absolutely ruthless and phenomenally patient – Avishandu is playing a long game. It has taken him ten years to build up his current power base in the Old Quarter, but the Fourth Tribune is plotting to expand his sphere of influence into the Mercantile and Imperial Quarters when the time is right. Avishandu has some concerns about the Old Quarter tribune Murad al-Rumi and his plans to tackle the criminal gangs but hasn’t overreacted: for now, he is content to gather more intelligence through the spy he has placed in the tribune’s household.
ADVENTURERS & THE ICON
Rogues, sellswords and other adventurers with dubious morals may decide to join a Hidden Quarter gang, carrying out daring burglaries and robberies, or acting as enforcers. Gang members in good standing might be called upon to undertake special missions by Heinsoo, Avishandu’s right-hand man. Freelance thieves will need to pay a percentage of their earnings to the local gang, or risk being found floating face down in the Dolphin Strait.
Heroic adventurers based in the Old Quarter are more likely to find themselves coming into conflict with the gangs, perhaps coming to the aid of a local businessman being leaned on for protection money or breaking up a smuggling operation. Experienced adventurers may become mixed up in the sinister schemes of the gang leaders, Heinsoo, and the Fourth Tribune himself.
See “Secret Knowledge” after the illustration below. The Boss of All Bosses will work with anyone who will further his aims to grow his power base in the city. He has met with agents of the Water Lords and the Caliph in the past, and the door is open for further negotiations.
The Basileus and his Prefect are determined to contain the Boss of All Bosses’ influence, and the Tribune of the Old Quarter, Murad al-Rumi, has taken an unprecedented stand against the criminal gangs. The Dragon works actively against Avishandu, steering heroic adventurers into the path of gang activity in the hopes they will put an end to it. The Cult of the Black Mother also operates in the Hidden Quarter: as yet, confrontations have been restricted to a few bloody fights over territory but further conflict is likely.
There has been someone in nominal charge of the Old Quarter gangs for centuries, but Avishandu is the first Boss of All Bosses to wield true influence over organized crime in Parsantium. In the past, the title was an honorary one given to the head of the most powerful gang who would arbitrate disputes over territory, but the Boss relied on the backing of the other gang leaders and did not exact tribute from them. This changed with the arrival of Avishandu who seized control in a bloody coup and ruthlessly eliminated any opposition to establish a firm grip on power. Now, the Fourth Tribune is feared and treated with great respect by all the gang leaders, several of whom have witnessed first hand how he deals with those who have displeased him.
THE TRUE DANGER
Everything will be alright while Avishandu’s power base remains confined to the Old Quarter and does not spread throughout Parsantium.
Spoiler after the illustration...
Avishandu is a powerful rakshasa lord, serving the Rajah, Vrishabha. While he builds his power base in the city, the Boss of All Bosses is using Heinsoo to search for the means to free his master from his icy prison in the Pillars of Heaven Mountains.
*Artwork copyright William McAusland, Outland Arts, used with permission
Crossposted from parsantium.wordpress.com/blog
The Juma Associates, the PCs in my own Parsantium campaign, have headed to the jungles of Sampur which meant coming up with a map. I've taken Symatt's world map and expanded it to include Sampur and the rest of the Caliphate of Aqhran. It's pretty rough but thought it might be of interest so have posted it here. The PCs have arrived in the port city of Surivata via teleportation circle and will be travelling up the Charapuzha River to visit the vanara city of Kishkindha where they hope to find the Arrows of Hanuman.
In other news, I am very pleased that Leisure Games in Finchley, London are now stocking Parsantium: City at the Crossroads.
Parsantium has also had a new review on InfoBarrel Entertainment and gets 4 stars :)
Here's the third in a series of 13th Age icons for Parsantium. Click here to see them all.
His Radiance Arcadius is the Archbishop of Parsantium and the head of the Church of Helion, Lord of the Gods and Bathuran god of the harvest, summer and the sun.
“May the light of Helion, Lord of the Gods, continue to shine brightly upon our Basileus, bathing him in its splendid golden glow.”
In the Holy Basilica of Helion in Parsantium’s Civic Ward.
As head of the Church of Helion, the Archbishop is the pinnacle of what is a state religion in all but name. Each week, the Basileus, the royal family and court attend services in the Holy Basilica conducted by Arcadius, and the Archbishop of Parsantium is called upon to preside over coronations, royal weddings and state funerals when these events arise. Arcadius is a 60-year-old man who relishes his influential role and is not shy of reminding ambitious nobles, government officials and politicians that the Basileus rules with his god’s blessing. He is thin and stooped, with gnarled arthritic fingers that no amount of clerical magic seems to be able to fix permanently, and appears weighed down by his ornate red and gold vestments and a fan-shaped mitre so tall and heavy he has trouble keeping it on his balding head.
ADVENTURERS & THE ICON
The Church’s doctrine is to shine the light of civilization onto the world; followers of Helion are expected to guard against evil wherever it might be found, and to show kindness and compassion to others. The Church is eager to recover holy relics plundered 100 years ago by the hobgoblin conqueror of Parsantium, Kalgroth Ironheart, and often hires adventurers to follow any leads to their whereabouts. More powerful (and trusted) characters might be sent by the Archbishop to deal with Laskaris, necromancer of the Bone Catacombs, or one of the sinister cults lurking in the Hidden Quarter.
The Archbishop is a staunch supporter of the Basileus who, in turn, shows proper respect to the Church. Arcadius also maintains good relations with Orthas, the Knight-Commander of the Platinum Knights, as the order’s goals are often aligned with the Church’s. Arcadius courts the favour of the Water Lords and Bishop of Loranto to ensure his status as supreme leader of Helion’s church is maintained.
Despite Helion’s doctrine of kindness and compassion, Arcadius shares many Bathuran nobles’ prejudice and distrust of the citizens of the Old Quarter, and this extends to the Caliph of Aqhran, whom he suspects is plotting to retake Parsantium. Arcadius despises the Cult of the Black Mother, which is corrupting Bathuran noblewomen and turning them away from Helion. He fears the Lady of the Summer Kingdom, who once tricked him into her bed after a state banquet.
The Archbishop of Rezana was once regarded as the supreme head of the Church of Helion, but was superseded by the Archbishop of Parsantium when Corandias the Magnificent built the Holy Basilica. Not all previous Archbishops have been as devout as Arcadius: many were corrupt, taking bribes from nobles and politicians; others regularly took part in debauched orgies or had their rivals murdered. Arcadius strives to live up to the beatific reputation of the legendary Archbishop Bonosus the Peacemaker who, 200 years ago, convinced an orcish warlord not to attack the city. Some say he did this by converting the orc leader to Helion; others that he bribed him with a huge chest of gold from the church’s vaults.
THE TRUE DANGER
Everything will be alright while Helion’s light shines brightly on Parsantium and the lands of the former Empire.
The PC spend the day shopping in the markets of the Mercantile Quarter: Gil buys a skeleton key, Hrothgar buys boots of levitation, Jenma buys a helm of languages, Juma buys a mask of the impish grin and Ulthar buys a pair of quickling boots. Juma asks around about how he might learn the recipe of Parsantine Fire to repay his debt to Sheikh Babak al-Hasid but none of the stallholders are much help.
Gil, Jenma and Ulthar head to the Library of All-Knowledge to research the information found in Vishaka’s journal. Meanwhile, Hrothgar and Juma go to their old stomping ground of Flotsam to try and find out where Avishandu is based.
At the library, the PCs pay their 20 gp research fee and are shown to a room on the third floor by one of the grey-robed priests. Their study is interrupted by the return of the priest who had been assisting them, accompanied by another priest and a pair of burly minotaur librarians. They enter the room, closing the door behind them, and attack the party. As Ulthar moves in to confront the minotaurs, the first priest grabs Vishaka’s journal and moves back to the entrance, while the other one attacks the PCs with misleading visions, sliding them away. To make things worse a rakshasa appears to join the assailants! Jenma and Gil launch spells at the rakshasa, minotaurs and priests, but only succeed in dispelling illusionary duplicates of their attackers. The priest over by the doorway responds with visions of terror in the form of a swarm of burning monkeys!
Down at the docks, after a conversation with Glyn Merryfield (the Juma Gang’s old landlord) at the Fat Grouper, Hrothgar and Juma head to the Floating Palace to see if any of the newly reformed Golden Scimitars know Avishandu’s location. En route, they run into three men with Golden Scimitars tattoos but these thugs aren’t what they first seem. One fires a deadly necrotic bolt from his crossbow at Hrothgar as the other two advance to attack the gnoll with their longswords. Juma does his best to defend his friend but Hrothgar is soon down to 10 hp. He starts raging and uses his seed of war to summon a metal soldier to help. As with the attackers in the library, the PCs find themselves striking illusions, rather than warm bodies.
Back in the library, it looks like the priest with the journal has somehow escaped, but the two invisible minotaurs reappear to attack Ulthar. The warlord’s tempest of triumph takes down one minotaur – who turns into a tiger-headed rakshasa on dying. This allows Jenma to make a basic attack which kills the second minotaur and in turn, Gil can launch a magic missile at the remaining priest. With all three attackers dead and revealed to be rakshasas, the PCs search the bodies for Vishaka’s journal without success, before the corpses turn into puddles of foul-smelling goo.
In the Dock Ward, the tide turns: Juma scores a critical hit on one thug, then teleports to hit another, allowing Hrothgar to take down the first one – again, the assailant turns into a rakshasa on dying. Then, the bloodied gnoll and the genasi finish off the other two. Hrothgar is still raging, though, and has to restrain himself from striking Juma with his axe once all three rakshasas are dead.
The PCs in the library are startled by the arrival of a naga with the face of a beautiful dark-skinned woman. She doesn’t attack but is babbling to herself in Primordial which Jenma can understand, thanks to her new magic helm. The naga, Vashnawi, explains that the PCs have appeared to her in troubling dreams involving the Rajah and invites them to her tower in the Scholasticia that evening so she can find out more about them. Soon afterwards, Zenodotus the Custodian arrives, utterly discombobulated by the kerfuffle in his library. Ulthar reassures him no books have been harmed and the PCs agree to speak with the Watch who are on their way. Once they’ve done this, they are able to complete their research, learning much useful information about Samael, Srivatsa’s Bow and the Arrows of Hanuman.
Meanwhile, Hrothgar and Juma visit the Floating Palace and interrogate a couple of Golden Scimitars who don’t appear to know Avishandu’s whereabouts. After hamstringing them, Hrothgar throws them overboard. Juma buys some pesh from a dealer and takes it.
Reunited later that evening, the PCs head back to the university district and climb the steps to the top of Vashnawi’s tower. Here the naga asks them about their adventures, focusing on their role in inadvertently freeing the cursed rakshasas who had been transformed into cows to make sure they are enemies of the Rajah, rather than his allies. When the PCs explain what they have learned from Vishaka’s journal, she starts babbling in tongues again and says that the rakshasas and yakfolk must be plotting to free the Rajah using Srivatsa’s Bow and the Arrows of Hanuman. If the arrows are cursed in a special ritual in the Vale of Descending Stars then fired into the ice trapping Vrishabha, the Rajah will be free. Vashnawi asks the PCs to go after the bow and the arrows so they can be destroyed – the bow can be found in the City of Brass, and the arrows are in the vanaran city of Kishkindha in the jungles of Sampur. The suspicious Hrothgar asks why the party should trust the naga and bring the items back to her. Vashnawi explains that she can open a portal to both locations from the teleportation circle in her tower which the PCs can return to with the ritual scrolls she gives them. Then, they can travel to the Vale of Descending Stars with her to destroy the artefacts. The PCs decide to head for the jungles first and go back to their apartment to rest.
That night, Hrothgar is troubled by a new dream; he is back in a yurt on the Great Grass Sea at a gathering of the gnoll tribes when he sees red and a terrible fight breaks out. He wakes up screaming in a cold sweat.
The PCs return to Vashnawi’s tower and use her teleportation circle to travel to the Sampuran port city of Surivata, gateway to the jungle. Here, they hire a river trader named Pradnesh to take them in his boat to the village of Madhwa. From there, they will be able to hire a guide to take them to Kishkindha. Pradnesh isn’t leaving until the following morning so the PCs rent expensive rooms at the Jasmine Dream inn and head off to explore the floating bazaar, buying jungle gear including insect repellant, mosquito nets, and oil to keep their armour for rusting, as well as a telescope for Gil and caged parrots for Gil and Jenma (one red, one blue). They are tempted by a bargain-priced elephant too but manage to restrain themselves. While floating through the market, Gil notices a small shrine with an idol depicting a crocodile-headed woman. When he asks about it back at the Jasmine Dream, he is rebuffed and told not to speak of such things again.
That night, before going to bed, Hrothgar steals and sacrifices a chicken to his patron god, Mormekar the Grim Wanderer, in the hopes that his troubling dreams will end.
- Current Mood: busy
Crossposted from http://parsantium.wordpress.com/blog
Here's the second icon write-up for Parsantium. Click here for the first one, the Basileus. More to come...
GRAND MASTER OF THE BLUE LOTUS
The Grand Master of the Esoteric Order of the Blue Lotus is the head of the world’s foremost arcanists’ guild – an order whose foundation dates back to the conquest of Parsantium by Corandias the Magnificent.
“May I remind you, Sabir, that the purpose of the Order is to advance magical knowledge, and not to use magic for political power over the people of this city.”
In the Marjani Minar, headquarters of the Esoteric Order in Parsantium’s Artisans Ward.
The Esoteric Order of the Blue Lotus is ruled by a council of four arcanists, each representing a different magical tradition. This is a lifetime role; on the death of a master, the other three will meet to choose his or her successor. Each master serves as Grand Master for two years in rotation.
The current Grand Master and Master of Southern Magic is the vanara Tapasranjan, a superlative practitioner of magic of the mind. Tapasranjan is just over five feet tall and his monkey-like body is covered in snow white fur; he rarely sits on his Master’s chair, preferring to float in the air in the lotus position instead. The Grand Master is extremely intelligent, honest, and very direct, cutting straight to the heart of any argument. He hates bullying and oppression and has recently spoken out about the prejudice faced by the citizens of the Old Quarter and the worsening division between the two halves of the city.
ADVENTURERS & THE ICON
The Esoteric Order is interested in acquiring spells, tomes and magical items especially those found in the buried remains of Dhak Janjua beneath Parsantium’s streets, or further afield in the desert ruins of Khemit to the south. Occasionally, those affiliated with the Order may be called upon to assist the City Watch in dealing with a dangerous magical threat. High level arcanists may find themselves summoned to the Marjani Minar and entrusted with the recovery of an unusual artefact or with sealing shut a portal leading to a perilous planar location.
The Grand Master meets irregularly with the Dragon to discuss potential magical dangers threatening the city. The Maharani of his homeland appreciates Tapasranjan standing up for the interests of Sampurans living in Parsantium and is in frequent magical contact. From time to time, the Grand Master will travel to the lands of Faerie to meet with the Lady of the Summer Kingdom.
The Mummy loathes the Esoteric Order for plundering magic from the tombs and pyramids of Khemit. Tapasranjan is all too aware of the Rajah’s desire to return and watches carefully for signs of rakshasa activity in the city.
The Esoteric Order of the Blue Lotus was founded over 850 years ago by Marcus Servius, vizier to Corandias the Magnificent, who was intrigued by the exotic Sampuran and Aqhrani magics used in battle against the Bathuran army by Parsantine sorcerers and wizards. Servius, a capable wizard, set up the Order so that magic could be studied across cultural boundaries. Since then, the Order has spread throughout the world and there are smaller branches in other major cities. Tapasranjan has served as the Grand Master for one year; he has another year to go before he hands over the title to Sabir al-Falasifa, the temperamental Master of Western Magic.
THE TRUE DANGER
Everything will be alright while Tapasranjan remains as Grand Master.
- Current Mood: aggravated