The Gyldwasser Depths

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Adventure: The Gyldwasser Depths
GM: Chris C
Season: Spring 812WK
Night: Tuesday - Starting 18th September
Level: Low to Med
Location: Royal Oak/Onehunga
Start Night: 18th September

Party

  1. Tari - Michelle Ellis - Elven Druid. Party Leader
  2. Teeanna - Hannah - Fae Sorceress. Princess. (role negotiable)
  3. Everan - Dean - Human 'Scholar'. Military Strategist, Info Scribe.
  4. Ibrihim - Andrew - Human Desert Mage. Narrative Scribe.
  5. Roderigo the Unbecoming - Michael McFadden - Halfling E & E. Vice Leader
Resigned
  • Sir Wojer - Ian Wood - Elven Air Warrior. The Front Line. Leaves the Flag of Battle as additional loot for party, declines any ep, loot or money for the adventure.

Mission

Employer
Viscount Vladimir Mangelsdorff of Baltheim, Aladar.
Primary Task(s)
  1. A large number of humanoids have been noted in the Gyldwasser Mountains in Aladar and a party is sought to deal with this problem, to ensure the Heliotrope mine is reopened promptly, with the majority of revenue going to the Barony of Salicton.
  2. Escort 300 tons of grain via ship from Seagate to Port Gerbestadt in Aladar, then on wagons to Baltheim by way of Tartan Pass.
  3. Guard and evaluate a band of 40 Brandenburg mercenaries (titled Geralds Guards and who are led by Captain Gerald) travelling with said caravan (they are being paid to guard the wagons, but also not to be bandits, and to move on).
  4. They seem to want to add to the list: more jobs, fixed pay...
Pay
20,000sp each.
Background
Local Western Kingdom forces are needed elsewhere to deal with the Drow invasion, civil insurrection, emergency assistance, infrastructure rebuilding, border incursions and several instances of large scale bandit activity. The primary distraction is that the Ffenargh is besieged by thousands of Drow Mages on an iceberg, and Western Kingdom troops are trying to relieve the siege.

Diary

1st of Thaw 812: Seagate Guild

We meet up - well, all the mortals and Tari; the others are on Elf-time. We discuss the mission and background with Lord Connor. Roderigo taps his underworld contacts to find out about Orc thugs being hired. Tari investigates the various machinations/invasions of the Drow and Elves - mainly to see how much her Dad is responsible for. Working on Roderigo's leads, Ibrihim identifies the Mages through his Air/Fire contacts. Everan researches information on the area, its history, and the artefacts lost there a hundred years ago. We see Laura, a Guild Astrologer, who gives us a depressing reading.

2nd of Thaw: Seagate, Confederation Bay

Teanna and Sir Wojer decide to show up elvishly late, just in time to purchase some more wine and board the ship. Our vessel is The Pride of Dumar, a Carrack out of Zumular loaded with 300 tons of grain, corn and beans sourced from the plentiful lands of Carzala and Brastor. We leave on the mid afternoon tide in a convoy of ten vessels.

A series of ominous cloud banks form, and swing across our course north, but they are summarily sent out to various corners of the deep ocean by Wojer and Ibrihim working in tandem flying around with their weather/storm calling magic. The res of the early evening is then peaceful until a malodorous and malignant miasma, stinking of sulphur and brimstone, rises around midnight; this is The Great Fog of Despair.

3rd of Thaw: Confederation Bay

Shortly after dawn, with the pea soup thickening to 100 yards visibility and still not a breath of wind, Wojer uses a sequence of Mage Winds to power the entire fleet. The existential Despair hangs heavily on crew and adventurers alike, and some people spiral down into the dark places within them.
Our spirits are diverted, if not lifted, by reports of a burning and listing vessel, the Freetaun Flyer bound for Skeeveton. All the convoy's ships heave-to, while attempts are made to repair the near-scuttled ship and her surviving passengers and crew. Everan does most of the repair work, descending deep into the flooded bowels of the ship to run his hands over the stoved-in strakes and give them new strength. Meanwhile, Teanna and Wojer do a cabin-search and shuttle out 7 children from deep under-deck, while the ship was still badly holed. Ibrihim puts out the slow-buring fire by scouring it with sand, while Tari stabilises and heals the wounded, and Roderigo protects our legal claims to salvage from the other crews who board as the ship becomes seaworthy.

One of the survivors tells of the events that he can remember: the Flyer was rammed several times by two small caravels that just appeared out of the fog. The pirates threw some Greek fire and methane grenadoes, and then drew back to pepper the watch with arrows. One of the caravels continued suppressing fire while the other closed and boarded. Once the ship was secured, a larger vessel came out of the fog and off-loaded the bulk of the 90 tonnes of corn, plus some barrels of wine, using several derricks. The then pirates set fire to the superstructure with more Greek fire, and disappeared into the fog just before we appeared. [It is probable they used pitchblende rather than Greek fire, being 50 times cheaper and readily available on any ship, but why argue with a dying man?] The wounded were left to die by blood-loss, fire, drowning, or shark-bite [which is considerably crueller and less convenient than simply slitting their throats and tossing them overboard before spending a couple of hours off-loading corn - cults? policy? amusement?].

Five of the ships decide to leave the convoy and head to shore at the news of pirates; we wish them luck in the becalming fog, without Wojer's hot air to power them. The remaining ships all provide some bailing crew, for the newly-watertight vessel rides even lower in the water than when its holds where overflowing with corn. We sell our share of the hull to a consortium of ship captains for 20,000sp, but keep the rights to dispose of the remaining water-damaged cargo.

Just as the convoy starts to make way northwards once more, screams are heard from the Grobbety Flyer; it appears their crew member Nessa Ancalimë is sick, and they ask the elves to save her (or at least take the unlucky witch off their hands). There is much confusion, yelling, and waving of swords before

  • Drow turns up,
  • Roderigo cursed/owned,
  • windstorm - most of fleet de-masted (oops)
  • Naptha attack disembodies Drow insert name here.

Finally, Tari takes Nessa downstairs and converts a cabin into an extra-dimensional space to cut off the on-going blood magic, and the screaming. Throughout the evening and next morning we attempt a number of investigations into the odd affair; despite the healers' best efforts, Roderigo makes the most progress.

4th of Thaw: Confederation Bay, Gerbestadt

Everan builds a coffin to house Nessa; Tari will make it extra-dimensional space so Nessa is protected while we take her somewhere safe [?where? when?]. Shortly after dawn, we break free of the enervating effluvium that has shrouded us for 36 hours. The remains of our convoy splits up, with the other ships heading to towns just up or down the coast. We reach Gerbestadt around noon, tired and on edge, but pleased to reach dry land once again. Our dear leader and the helpful human fly off to Seagate with Nessa - she should be safe in the Guild Vaults. Meeting up with the rest of the escourt we head north, 20 wagons pulled by 120 large horses and another 60 for us.

4th of Thaw: Gerbestadt to the Guild, Ibrihim and Tari

Expecting to be reasonably safe flying over the top of the mist in a straight line towards Seagate, Tari and Ibrihim set off carrying the coffin. They are soon assailed from out of the mists by multiple migures on dark wings. With what lead they have they eke out as many miles as possible towards the land to the east, but are eventually caught and must fight. A desperate battle ensues with a timely Windstorm causing enough disruption to the enemy for Tari and Ibrihim to break clear. They are pursued again, and are just about to be brought to bay again, when succour arrives from below in the form of holy priests form the local church. The enemies retreat, an offer of escort is taken up, and they eventually find their way to the Guild, bruised but safe. There they hand over the coffin into the care of the guild, retrieve the magic chain of Tari, and rest up in preparation for their journey back to the party

5th of Thaw: North of Gerbestadt

We head north to a gap through the hills. It is guarded at each end of the 15 mile pass by a large fortress (Gyges Fortress)with walls spanning the mile which seperates the hills here. The central gates and towers are fully complete, however parts of the rest of the structure still requires work. The walls themselves are complete, and achieve their function fully, but additional items such as towers and other defensive structures are still being built. Sir Wojer is heard to muse The incomplete defences have been made by human hand - I thought we taught them earth magics? We travel on through this first bastion with a view to camping near its twin fortress at the northern end of the pass. About noon we faintly hear bells ringing from the direction of the coast so the "Heroic" elf flies to Gerbestadt and sure enough a Drow invasion fleet is 30 miles away. Attacking Gerbestadt is 5 black tririemes, attacking Skeeveton is 9 tririemes and further east is a mountain sized ship, far larger even than the epic Star of Naggaroth. We estimate each ship to contain of the order of 500 troops, and shudder to think what the large ship contains. Taking military dispatches Sir Wojer flies to other human settlements on the coast and the army commander, then back to fort and the rest of the party. He earns a copper farthing for his troubles. At 3 pm the new air mage known as Sir Wojer sent a Whispering Winds message to Count Blitzkrieg "Thaw05 3pm Wotcha STOP 5 drow trimarines approaching Gerbestadt 500 troops each STOP 9 approaching Skeeveton STOP An Island approaches Montrethurn STOP Swarms of flying things STOP locals seem unimpressed STOP Sir Wojer sends"
Our beloved leader and Ibrihim return that afternoon and whipped the party, or at least that was Sir Wojers take on events.
We continue on and spend the night at the Fortress at the northern end of the pass. Prior to our travels finishing, a Crystal of Vision is used to see how Gerbestadt has fared in the attack. It is found that they have beaten off there attackers, though at a cost to both men and defences.

6th Thaw: Northern Fortress, Baltheim City and Bandit Site

The earth shakes violently at 3 am. Some damage to the walls and surrounding buildings, some loss of life and injuries from falling debris. The "heroic" air mage is at it again, sending two messages to Count Blitzkreig 5 minutes apart: "Thaw06 3am Greetings Earthquakes STOP Fortress #3 damaged STOP Land in upheaval STOP Crystal shows Gerbistolt holds STOP two drow ships sinking in bay STOP More at dawn Sir Wojer sends"
We eventually get back to sleep with a view to pushing on to Baltheim first thing in the morning
Sketchy details below, to be elaborated on further when time permits
Travel to Baltheim, meet up with local noble ranger. He takes possession of half the wagons, and asks us to continue on with the other half. We give our positive report on the mercenaries, and he assigns them to continue the escort duties with us. A lot of information is gained from the ranger and some scouts who were looking at the Orc troop movements in the Mtns, detailed in the Information section. It is a lot to absorb, but gives us a primary goal, alongside the continuing journey of the wagons, of finding the two companies of troops that have recently headed north and not been heard from.
After a short lunch break, we head on our way. We leave the initial wagon journeying in the capable hands of the mercenaries as well as another contingent of troops (the 5th Baltheim Company of 300men), and fly north to scout the gap for signs troops/battles/bad guys/etc.
We find a single troop of some 400 men, which ends up being the combined troops, minus losses from the battle fought recently nearby. They have taken out a 400 strong bandit force that was making its way back to its hideout in the nearby forest, after sacking a northern village plus an Inn and other buildings at the foot of the pass. We also find a bandit survivor of the recent battle, and take him in for questioning. Turns out an Ogre shaman named Carnassus, along with some orc flunkies of hers, had fought for and taken over leadership of the already existing bandit group. They then tricked them into thinking certain villages and places were evil, mainly through use of illusions, hence the destruction we had found.
Carnassus is not only is an agent of Malthus, but part of a larger plot to undermine the Western Kingdom. She reports to an orc (name unknown) who has been paid to cause as much mayhem as possible, including but not limited to, blocking access to sources of funds such as the mines, intercepting food trains, destroying infrastructure, diverting and killing troops, etc. The Ogre is one of at least 15 doing similar duties both in and external to Aladar, so it is by no means a small operation. Their access into at least this area is through Haven portals, though it is unclear if they are their backers, or whether the Drow thread links to this or is just a "happy" coincidence. Lady Teeanna is given the task of carrying The Chalices of Evil 812WK.
Flew back to the wagons and got there just before dusk. The wagons and their attendant

7th Thaw: Wagons, Bandit Base Camp and Gardillon

The night passed peacefully at the wagons, and we resolved to fly ahead and deal with the various survivors of the bandit army's actions, as the wagons would make only 12-15 miles progress today. The first task was to deal with the fwe remnants of camp followers and the wounded that might be left behind at the bandits' old camp. We found the location of the camp, but it was heavily wooded, so we approached on foot. Having penetrated past their sentries, we decided that the camp was far too big for a surprise approach, so the two humans announced themselves, with the sneaky races on overwatch. To our surprise, the camp contained close to 500 souls, being almost 200 women, twenty-odd wounded men, and near-on 300 children under the age of thirteen. There was relatively little mourning for their loss, as most of the women were glad to see the back of their trouble-making men. We suggested that they could be reintegrated into the county, but that they should stop any illicit food-gathering activities, and take the position that all such things had been done by the men, now dead. We had tentatively planned for a relocation to a nearby village, but the sheer number of refugees meant that we had to ask them to wait for a few days while we sent the Viscount's men to find places they could be resettled. Brastor was also raised as an option for a fresh start.

By noon we were ready to go on, and flew to the village of Gardillon that had been attacked by the ogre-led bandits. A prophetic dream of Roderigo's caused him to pause by the ruins of the Boar's Head, the local Tavern. He heard cries inside, and after some work and the help of an earth elemental, we cleared the rubble away and released 2 teachers and 20 very hungry children. A large lunch was made, and the first part of the afternoon passed leisurely, with the children recovering from their two days of terror and confinement.

By mid-afternoon, having fed and calmed the children, and made plans for their relocation, we decided to explore the rest of the village. The only notable feature was the ruins of the Church to St Alaric. In amongst the rubble lay the impaled remains of Father Narissa, an elven priest who had protected the village for some hundreds of years. Further searching of the church grounds revealed a substantial entrance to the church basement. Some of the party stayed on the surface to protect the children and guard the entrance; not that the air mages were claustrophobic in the slightest. The rest of us explored beneath the fallen church, first examining the village crypt containing urns full of ashes, then a village strongroom (already looted) beneath that. A series of twisty stairs descended over a hundred feet to a recently looted 'storeroom' that appeared to have housed the Chalices of evil. The container for the Chalices was a font made of bound earth, lined in lead, and still containing the Holy Water that the Chalices had been immersed in. This made us somewhat wary of the corrupting effects of the Chalices. Roderigo located a concealed doorway off the stairwell, leading to a yet deeper tomb belonging to Sir Reynolf de Uperdyk in which his full armour and equipment lay inside a coffin with an aura of magical protection and retribution around it. There was some poking of the protection, and then Everan asked Sir Reynolf a few pointed questions. In short, he died in 690, as the last of a band of Alaric knights on a holy mission taking the Chalices from a vampiric lord to a safe haven.

Everan began to construct a reliquary to carry the chalices. the plan was to create a wooden case, lined with beeswax (being easier to mould than lead), fill it with the Holy Water from the font, and then fly back tot eh wagons to store the chalices before they corrupted anyone. The request to those upstairs for fresh beeswax candles resulted in a short silence, and then the loss of the mind speech. The spelunkers sped upstairs with all possible haste, assuming an attack from dark forces unknown. It was worse than we feared.

The attack from dark forces known resulted in a frank exchange of views by the party. The magics included Amnesia, Telekinetic Rage, Mass Teleportation, Necrosis, Agony, an attempt at an interdimensional portal, the summoning of Medusae, Djinn, and Elementals, and finally Enchanted Sleep. Thanks to good luck and the occasional Trollskin, the only casualties were a passing cat and trust. The victorious segment of the party (Tari, Everan, and Roderigo) flew to the town of Baltheim with Tari carrying the sleeping Teanna. Once she was safely ensconced with the local namer, they flew back to Gardillon with further mages from Gardillon to remove the amnesia from Wojer and the petrification from Ibrihim. The conversation around the dinner table at Baltheim that night was very subdued. Roderigo in particular seemed not to have forgiven Teanna or Everan.

8th Thaw: Baltheim, nowhere special, and Kalind

Breakfast was another tense meal. With the chalices securely in the reliquary, we flew to the place that Sir Reynolf had been heading. The entrance was well-hidden, and we only made it in because we knew where we were going, had the appropriate reason to be there, and had the secret codes.
By noon we had ensured that the chalices would be secure, and returned by flight to the wagons. In the late afternoon, as the wagons rolled up the road towards Kalind, Roderigo saw Flashes of Light from a small copse a couple of miles ahead. Fearing another bandit/ogre attack, we flew off to investigate. This time the sneaky folk approached through the trees while the humans circled above. The saw six or seven humans falling back from a combined human/orc front line protecting two Drow spell casters. The party prepared their magic and charged in to assist, only to be met with a wave of Blackfire.

The rest of the fight is yet to be resolved.


Tomorrow morning we should head to the foot of Ned's trail where we have agreed to meet the 400 men that defeated the bandits.

9th Thaw: Kalind, Wagons and Ned's Trail

10th Thaw: Wagons and Ned's Trail

11th Thaw: xxx

12th Thaw: xxx

13th Thaw: xxx

Future Plans

Now
We find Captain Gerald's Brandenburg mercenaries, and then watch the grain transferred to wagons. We march north-east to Baltheim with the wagons and troops at 10-15 miles/day, then to Salicton with some of the wagons (and troops?). [Do we take Nessa to the Guild immediately? - one day flight there-and-back, with Strength of Stone on Strength; two flyers for safety and load-swapping].
7th Thaw
We may lose Teanna for a day, but should only travel 10 miles anyway, so she can catch up easily.
Later
Once at Salicton, we scout out the orcs and their dark leaders around Helyotrop Mine.
Finally
We kill everything that moves, and loot. We consider returning to Ormond and hunting down the pirates.

Information

On Orc Migration Patterns

Whatever Orcs used to live in the Gyldwasser Mountains have been pushed out by the continued rise of humans in the area. They have been forced west to Cauldersfield and the Pagan Mountains, or North into various areas of the Dragonspine Mountains.
Conclusion: Their presence in organised numbers in the Gyldwasser Mountains is abnormal and must have drivers behind it
Follow up questions: Why are they there and whom is leading them?
Answer: Will be revealed when the party knows more and explores the local area of the Gyldwasser Mountains

Regarding Religious Pilgrims and Holy Artefacts

The pilgrim in question is one Father Jheronimus von Aken. The artifacts in question are the Quill of Power (steeped in Scriptomancy, power words and sunlight) and the Talisman of the Spheres (linked to control of spheres). A Urielite priest from Aken, he just happened to be passing by the Helyotrop mine on his way to The Monastery of the Divine Edelweiss, at the time of their issues with some sort of dark power. He chose to be brave, or stupid, enough to enter the mines and take on the darkness. He did not return, neither did the artifacts he carried, but it would seem his efforts were not in vain. The darkness was vanquished, but replaced by some sort of sphere of annihilation which was the representation of a long term curse that still kept people from entering the mine. 100 years on the, the curse had run its course, or been ended by means unknown, and the sphere was gone
Conclusion: The sphere of annihilation links nicely to the Talisman, and the power words and sunlight of the Quill in combination obviously was enough to vanquish the foe, but leaves questions unanswered

Follow up questions: The priest looked to have been successful, so why did he, and his artifacts, never return?

What was the nature of the dark foe?

Answer: Will be revealed when the party knows more and explores the mine area

About Dwarven Mining in the Gyldwasser Mountains

TBC

The Great Confederation Bay Fog of Despair

Almost the entirety of Confederation Bay, an area of at least 200 miles across, is covered with a magically summoned Effluvium of Despair. The subtle smell of sulphur and brimstone indicates a possibly demonic origin. In this fog, no wind blows, and the swell rises and falls listlessly. With visibility reduced to a hundred yards or less, and neither wind, sun, nor stars to serve as a guide, there is little hope for the mundane sailor to row or drift clear of the fogbank once it rises. All who breathe the vapours must fight the magic or become overwhelmed with Despair and Lassitude, prizing their own life and noble purposes no higher than that of a speck of sea-tossed foam. The only blessing this provides is the indifference to the raging hunger and thirst that eventually must seize all men who are indefinitely becalmed out of sight of land or salvation. Once caught in this miasma, there is no way out; it is best to slit the throats of your companions while they peacefully sleep to spare them further suffering, then drink yourself into a stupor, and finally slip overboard and be drawn down to a watery grave when you cannot struggle. An alternative plan for those who rightfully fear and loathe water is to set fire to the ship deep within its holds, and have it burn to the waterline, taking all its souls directly to their deserving judgement. Tonight I will attempt this method of escape; any report of its success must be written by others.

From the Dead Raiders

Think of themselves as freedom fighters, acting to liberate food for their families and others. Apparently lead by Ernst out of Ormondton. Supported by multiple mages within the group of ships that attacked.

Conclusions: This is no rag tag peasant group jumping in their longboats to raid for food. The presence of multiple mages, the quality of the ships, the ability to find ships somehow within the mist and the seeming ability to avoid the lassitude and despair of the mist point to high powered backing and planning. Ernst needs a serious talking to to find out who put him up for this
Follow up questions: Who are the backers? Are they the same ones that are backing other disruptive strategies in and around the Western Kingdom?

Answer: Further investigation required

The Branding of Roderigo

Roderigo has been branded by Harliss, a nasty drow sorceror (are there other types?)
It is a Scriptomancy effect attached to his soul rather than his physical being. It marks him as owned by Harliss, though I think Roderigo would like to contend this position, just not in person.

Scout Reports

What few scouts ventured into the high mountains this winter have all reported seeing groups of humanoids in the high mountains in the area and these were not just small groups but groups of at least 40-60 humanoids with Orc’s being the most predominant. Subsequent military scouts sent up saw several such groups and tracks for many others and efforts to track where they were headed were stopped when hidden guard/chokepoints were noticed before being tripped upon. We did lose 8 seasoned trackers who were sent up into the high mountains looking for such signs and we suspect they have fallen afoul of these humanoids or perhaps the bad weather got them but we believe it is the first case as these were all experienced mountain trackers and hunters.


Written Reports from the 8 scouts that have returned to tell the tale (these are written down by scribes)

They have noticed tracks of many humanoids and animals with cloven hooves. They followed the tracks and several times they narrowly avoided stumbling across traps and hidden guard/chokepoints in the high hills. They were able to get close to a few of these and saw between 6 and 20 humanoids with a number of Orcs as well as Humans, goblins and other types. It appeared that these chokepoints were well suited to survey local terrain and provide a fine all round view. They were hidden and well chosen. The guards were alert and capable with the scouts finding difficulty getting closer than 30ft.

Arneaus Swarte’s firsthand story - told in person to the party

I was hunting for signs of these creatures in the high mountains NE of Salicton with my friend Piet Kroonenberg and he was 80 yards ahead of me and we were both being very careful as we had come across fresh tracks heading towards the old village of Aultsvylle (was abandoned in 712WK as some said it was haunted) which was located at the far NE corner of Lake Travis.

We were about 3 miles east of there and headed westwards when I saw Piet skewered by about half a dozen arrows fired from a hide beside and above the trail. I stopped dead and sunk low and noticed 3 white cloaked figures drop down and make sure Piet was dead and stare intently towards me but I stayed low and clutched my lucky family amulet praying to not be seen and I wasn’t.

After a while I moved very slowly backwards until I was able to make some distance between me and the spot. I returned to an elevated position and saw the spot had been cleaned and smoothed away as if nothing had happened.

I then observed the spot and moved slowly around it for a few days in the slopes nearby before I got a view of a cave covered by white furs and housing up to 2 dozen sentries that dispersed along the hill during the day and night keeping an eye on the approaches. I noticed that several of the sentries were smaller than normal and were Orcs and there were 2 goblins as well whom I noted went out at night to I think lay traps.

I watched several other groups pass along the trail and I think that I saw around 300 humanoids – mostly orcs but some humans, elves, ogres and the like.

I got back to Salicton and reported my findings to the Baron on the 20th of Ice and then took his request for additional aid here to Baltheim and the Viscount, reaching here on the 2nd of Thaw. I was told to await Lord Connor before returning home.

People

Bad Guys
The Barons of Salicton and Lisbraun have recently had reports of a large number of humanoids (between several hundred to thousands) in the area of the mines and possibly infested them (they have been closed for some time) which is a cause for concern when there is a need to see them cleared and working once more.

The majority of the humanoids seem to be Orcs but there have been a lot of different types identified by a few scouts. They are generally in war bands or 40-60. Eight human trackers/scouts have failed to return from investigating them over the last six weeks.

Lord Connor McGyld
Chief Mountaineer of Salicton. 6'2" red hair/beard, 50+ years old. Appears to run most rangers/troops/outdoor activities in Salicton (according to himself). Our party contact, and actual face-to-face employer.
Connor's Aunt Lucy
Mad wailing hag (~80 years old?) who wanders around the mountaintops alone, apart from some sheep, her raven companions, and a dagger. Prone to prophesy, curses, and not getting mugged. She has advised her nephew The dark shall pour from the mountains and will kill you all, which sounds accurate.
Father Jheronimus von Aken
A Urielite priest from Aken who was headed to the Monastery of the Divine Edelweiss but probably sacrificed himself to power the divine miracle/ritual that involved several holy artefacts to bind the Darkness that had escaped into the Helyotrop Mines on 3 Heat 712 and threatened to break out of the confines of the mines. The Artefacts may have included the Quill of Power (associated with power words, sunlight, Scriptomancy), and the Talisman of the Spheres, which gives control of spheres of darkness/light/annihilation and other round objects of mass destruction.
Gerald's Guards
A group of 40 Brandenburg Mercenaries, led by Capt Gerald. In Gerbestadt at the start of Spring 812WK.
The Silver Sabres
a group of 200 Mercenaries hired by the Viscount of Baltheim in Spring 812wk
Nessa Ancalimë
Elvish sailor from the Elvish Isles, recently with the Grobbety Flyer. Struck by a blood curse 3rd Thaw 812WK. Lost around 70 pints of blood (enough for a dozen people) through exsanguination magic, but didn't die. A list of 12 Elvish Houses are tattooed on her arm, with all but `Ancalimë' struck through by the blood magic. Also, an animated Kraken tattoo has appeared on her buttock. Krakens are linked to some of the Drow houses. A number of Drow used the dust of her dried blood to take semi-corporeal form - they could inflict damage and be burnt, but ignored sword blows and magical wind. * speculation: Nessa may be immortal or fated to survive, or similar. She may be the last scion of an Elvish House that is opposed to the Drow.
Lord Ranger of Baltheim, Marcus Aranarth
Arneaus Swarte
Carnassus
A female Ogre Illusionist. Died 5th of Thaw 812wk in a battle with The Silver Sabres and the 3rd Baltheim Company. Interrogated by the party non life specialist on the afternoon of the 6th of Thaw.

Maps

Baltheim, particularly the Gyldwasser Mountains

Baltheim The scale for this map is 1 square is 1 mile.

Gyldwasser Mountains 2.jpg On this map is 1 square is 1/2 mile.

Places

All these places are in the Viscounty of Baltheim, although some used to be in Zumular. Baltheim is ruled by Viscount Vladimir Mangelsdorff who has extensive holdings high in the Gyldwasser Mountains. He has some valuable mines in the high hills of the Barony of Salicton.

Gyldwasser Mountains
Massively tall set of peaks set on a plateau rising out of the plain in northern Baltheim. The plateau is around 7,000' high and forty miles across, with at least 9 peaks rising to 12,000'-14,000' at various points. Most of the plateau is not only above the tree-line, but even above the snowline in Spring, apart from some alpine meadows.
Plateau of Leung
Mount Keraptis
14,000' peak in West Gyldwasser. Famed for its storms.
Barony of Lisbraun
A Barony and town in eastern Baltheim, previously western Zumular.
Barony of Salicton
The northern-most Barony in Baltheim; it includes most of the Gyldwasser Mountains. Its centre is the town of Salicton where the Baron and his administration are located.
Helyotrop Mine
A disused mine in north-east Gyldwasser. Opened around 400WK, and worked by the local humans, it produced gold, true-silver, precious gems, and a wide range of other minerals and ores until 3 Heat 712WK. At that point, the dwarves delved too deep (Kh. berrag barzûl, meaning to get over-excited, go too far in a prank, or unearth a long-buried demon - lit. dig a lot). A Darkness ascended from the Stygian depths, coming out of the very walls of the mine and consuming all before it. Over 400 souls were lost that day. A passing priest, Father Jheronimus von Aken, then descended into the depths alone, armed only with his faith and a small collection of priceless holy artefacts. While neither Jheronimus nor his loot artifacts returned, the entire mine was warded/cursed with a sphere of annihilation, which stopped anyone from passing its boundaries (in either direction) for a hundred years. With the passing of seasons, political changes, and several calendar reforms, the exact date that the warding was lifted (probably 3 Heat 812) was forgotten, and it was only chance encounters eight months later that revealed that the curse had been lifted. Meanwhile, the first geopolitical events of this narrative had occurred, and the humans could not resume their mining operations.
Decameron Mine
Dwarven mine in northern Gyldwasser Mountains. Connected to the Boccacio mine via long subterranean tunnels. Closed around 50 years ago in 762wk.
Boccacio Mine
Dwarven city and mine in north-western Gyldwasser Mountains. At least 1000 years old. Closed 50 years ago in 762wk after a natural disaster caused by much of a glacier from a neighboring valley instantly thawing and flooding the mine, followed by then snap-freezing again. There were only two known survivors, who are now living with a related clan, the Steadfast dwarves of Cauldersfield. ~25 miles from Helyotrop.
The Hollow Woods
This is a large area of woods in the south and west of the Mandala Plain.
Kadarth Passage
This is the main access way for land traffic passing south out of the Gyldwasser Mountains and is between the Gyldwasser Mountains and the Hollow Woods
The Thunder Plain
The Mandala Plain
Baltheim City
Gardillon
Viktran
This village is at the end of the Kadarth Passage and is another resupply village as well as some small nearby mines and herds. Population 400
Salicton
Travis Village
Kalind
This village is at the end of the Mara’s Pass and is mainly a resupply village with some local mining activity. Population 330
Royssak

Other Info

Recruitment Drive
In midwinter some foreigners employed at least 2 dozen Seagate Orcs, as well as 10 Mages (1 Orc, 9 others) for 'liberation operations' with some war bands. Apparently bankrolled by southern Orcs. Pay is 500sp/quarter (sixpence a day, roughly comparable with local troops); Mages paid 5000sp/month; they also get a sign-on bonus. Using college contacts, we trace records and find that 3 Air mages (Thaum, Wiley and Karket - Thaum specialises in Weather), 4 Fire mages, 2 Ices mage, and an Orcish namer have gone missing (presumably hired) that week. Most of these mages are journeymen (around half a dozen special spells, some moderately ranked). We presume this hiring is related to the Gyldwasser occupation. We expect that other places wouldn't have too many Mages for hire (except maybe Sanctuary?), so hope this is a fair portion of their magical troops, and that they are split amongst the various warbands.
Astrology Reading
We ask Laura, a Guild Astrologer, "Who is the mastermind behind the hiring of the Mages and Orcs in Seagate over midwinter?" Her vision is of 7 ancient Orcs pierced with bones, and tattooed with magical sigils, standing next to a pit of roiling Darkness. On an elevated plinth to one side are three deeply cowled figures, with long claw-like fingernails, and red glowing eyes; two of them hold fresh pumping hearts, and the third is magically attractive and imposing (ogre-sized). In the background is a river of gems. <gulp> "Clearly a random reading"

Events in the Gyldwasser Mountains since 15th of Ice (Winter) 812wk – the Day Lord Connor was despatched to the guild

This list of events was related to the party by the Lord Ranger of Baltheim, Marcus Aranarth at 10am on the 6th of Thaw when the party and wagon train arrived in Baltheim to discuss their work and find out local events.

  1. 7th of Ice - A large storm settles over the mountains with heavy snowfalls and high winds.
  2. 8th of Ice - The baron starts more work on the walls around Salicton to the North and East. These are old walls and need some maintenance.
  3. 15th of Ice - Lord Connor departs Salicton aiming to get to Seagate by the 30th of Ice
  4. 19th of Ice - The large storm that has been over the mountains for the last 12 days is abating with the winds reducing and snowfalls becoming less heavy. A survivor from Travis Village stumbles into Salicton out of the snow and reports that on the 16th he saw Travis Village assaulted by several hundred humanoids that came out of the nearby hills and killed or captured everyone. He was walking back to the village and was 500yards away so he could see it but he ran away to raise the alarm.
  5. 20th of Ice - Arneaus Swarte returns to Salicton with latest news of movements in the high country
  6. 21st of Ice - The Baron of Salicton and most of the Militia depart for Travis Village.
  7. 23rd of Ice - The Baronial forces arrive at Travis Village to find the village destroyed but few remains of bodies. The 3 that were found showed signs of teeth marks and having been eaten.
  8. 25th of Ice - The Baron of Salicton sent a pigeon to Baltheim advising the attacks and requesting aid. Pigeons also sent to Gardillon and Viktran
  9. 26th of Ice - The Viscount of Baltheim dispatches 300 regular troops of the 3rd Baltheim Company to Salicton – ETA 3rd of Thaw
  10. 30th of Ice - Lord Connor arrives in Seagate
  11. 1st of Thaw - Lord Connor hires the guild party
  12. 2nd of Thaw - Arneaus Swarte arrives in Baltheim city and reports to the Viscount recent events. Arneaus had to avoid 2 bands of bandits on the way here as well as large areas of snowfalls.
  13. 3rd of Thaw - Baron of Salicton and half of the Salicton Militia (300men) and some militia from Gardillon (200men) and Viktran (100men) do a sweep of the Plateau of Leung. They encounter a large party of humanoids (400 humanoids) in the open (after they had been warned by their scouts) and kill half of them before withdrawing. The enemy fell back in good order and areas of darkness began rising unexpectedly which allowed the enemy to get to the rough ground and run away. The Baronial troops lost 150 men before withdrawing from the combat.
  14. 4th of Thaw - The Baronial troops return and the baron of Salicton dispatches another pigeon, again asking for aid saying that the 3rd Baltheim Company has yet to arrive.

Party Organisation

Wagon Train Logistics - Rough Notes

Oxen can average 12 miles a day (1800s Australia/US), rather than the 15-20 miles of horses or mules. However, oxen are superior to horses and mules, as they are hardier, less temperamental, cope better with poorer weather and terrain, cost less, and eat less food of a poorer quality. The resulting loss in speed is almost always cost-effective.

Oxen can pull up to half a ton, but for journeys of more than 2 days some lee-way is required. A standard recommendation is 8 oxen (4 pair) for a 3–ton wagon. This configuration can average 12 miles a day (1800s Australia/US). For slopes, passes, or poor quality sections of road, it is common to hitch two ox-trains together, so 1 oxen would pull a wagon. This involves much shuttling back-and-forwards with oxen, and generally progress is at best ¼ speed (there, back, there again, plus messing around). When travelling single-file, ox trains are spaced at least 20 yards apart on average.

For every two cargo wagons, a third wagon is recommended for spare parts, sand/grit, food, water, etc when travelling in hostile terrain such as early spring in mountains. Each wagon has an ox-handler, and usually an apprentice or off-sider. Wagon-wrights, blacksmiths, and their equipment are also required. etc., The accompanying merchants will have servants, possibly family, scouts, and so on. This many people also needs a quartermaster, cooks, tinkers, mendicants, healers, musicians, and camp-followers of all kinds, along with any fellow-travellers who join the wagons for protection. In addition, there may be guards, plus the 46 of us.

1 wagon = 3 tons = 8 oxen = 1.5 handlers, 0.5 cart support staff, 0.5 person support staff, 0.5 camp staff, 0.3 hangers-on = 3.3 people. 1 extra wagon / 2 wagons of grain.

So, 6 tons = 3 wagons, 10 people, 60 yards.

300 tons = 150 wagons, 500 people, 3,000 yards = 2 miles long, 1.5 hours long.


  • Update to reflect 6 ton wagons pulled by 6 draft horses, 20 wagons = 120 horses, + 60 horses for Gerald's men, our party, and spares. Also, what about support staff/equipment? Would expect another 5-8 wagons of support staff as we are going more than a week between towns - or perhaps this is only between big towns ont eh map.

Party Roles / Order

Watches

Rolling four hour watches as and when required:

Night Watch Day
Dusk - 10pm Everan & Wojer Dawn- 10am
10pm - 2am Ibrihim & Tari 10am - 2pm
2am - Dawn Roderigo & Teanna 2pm - Dusk

Loot

The Carrack Freetaun Flyer
Hastily patched, demasted, jury-rigged, near-crewless, cursed, and fire-scarred. (We saved her; other crews helped out after the chief danger was passed. By the laws of the sea, she's ours, or our and theirs, if she can limp to a port) All rights to the hull sold for 20,000sp.
Contents of the Freetaun Flyer
Water-damaged remnants of the cargo, to be sold/bartered at Gerbestadt. Valuation: low-ish. Sold for 35,000sp
Seven Children
Hopefully to be returned to their parents or at least a workhouse, rather than put in supplies. Possibly handed over to the captains as part of the Freetaun Flyer settlement? - ????
Nessa
An infinite supply of cursed blood, plus a (possibly immortal) Elvish sailor, must be worth something in the right market. Again, probably to be restored to health and set free. Taken to the Guild on the 4th of Thaw by Tari and Ibrahim.

Buffs

Magic Rk Effects Duration Everan Ibrihim Roderigo Tari Teanna Wojer
Strength of Stone 20 +20 EN 21 hrs Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif
Armour of Earth 10 +22 Def 5.5 hrs Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif
Air Flight ? Flight: wait, not weight ? hrs Red x.png Green-tick.gif
Carpet Flight 10 Flight: weight, not wait 5½ hrs Green-tick.gif Red x.png
Darkvision 6 See in Dark as Cat 7 hrs Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Red x.png Red x.png Red x.png
 

Other Useful Spells

  • Greater Enchantment Rank 15 = +16, Faerie Luck +3%, as per GE yet stackable
  • Lesser Enchantment
  • Resist Cold +10C
  • Agony (yeah, right)
  • Quickness !!! - number of targets?
  • Mind Speech - 7 targets
  • TK rage (pretty please)

GM Notes

Mil Sci stuff

This game will involve some Mil Sci work regarding troop movements, planning, strategy/tactics, mass combat and logistical tasks so Mil Scis looking for master works can apply as long as they aren’t outside the level of the game. Depending on which PCs come the focus can be more or less on the Mil Sci aspect of the game but if we do the Mil Sci work then the Mil Sci will be doing work between weeks regarding military operations that can be resolved either on game nights or between weeks - happy to work out a good medium for all concerned.

Scribe stuff

I provide a 30% EXP bonus for good scribe notes to encourage the completion of good scribe notes so whomever wants that bonus should step up and be scribe. Scribe notes should go up weekly (prior to the next session starting) on the wiki (or emailed to the group) so that you don’t spend time reviewing what you thought you’d done/discussed last week/previously. Time spent rehashing/going over what has already been done, decided, stated or said is wasted time and doesn't promote role-playing, fun and enjoyment. Also the scribe must contribute a summary to the Seagate Times (either their own or someone in the party that they have beaten enough to provide one) in order to get their EXP.

Fun

This game is supposed to be fun