Theropsid Escorts

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Summary

GM: Chris C
Session: Summer 810 WK
Night: Thursday - next 7th January 2010
Location: Onehunga
Level: Low/ Medium

Party

6 maximum

  1. Ara - played by Zeb
  2. Ath- played by Nick
  3. Lothar - played by William (Military Strategist)
  4. Lyric - played by Michelle
  5. Mario - played by Dean (Party Leader)
  6. Sam the Ork - played by Andrew (Scribe)
Employer
Egon von Adler. Egon is a merchant of some reputation and a member of the Carzalan Merchants Council of long standing. Also Captain Vandar von Adler his father, an ex-pirate; and Francois, their assistant.
Mission
The guild has been approached to provide an escort to a merchant, his companions and his consignment of goods between Seagate and Port Avalossa in the far SE of Alusia (~120ºE 30ºS). The party will accompany the merchant on board a Destinian packet ship the Santa Esmeralda as it sails from Seagate to Ebola via St Hylena and Avenal. Once in Ebola another ship will be arranged for carriage to Port Avalossa. Once the merchant has arrived in Port Avalossa and his goods safely stored in a secure location the party will be freed from his contract until his return journey home several weeks later (exact length of time will be dependent on the time taken to get to Port Avalossa and estimated time to get back) which the party may undertake themselves at an agreed rate; this role will be subcontracted to others if they are unavailable.
Pay
  1. 35,000sp split between party for the guarding of the merchant and his goods on route to Port Avalossa - until the goods are landed and bonded in a secure warehouse in Port Avalossa.
  2. 10,000sp split between the party for guarding of the merchant and his goods on route to Seagate from Port Avalossa - until the goods are landed and bonded in a secure warehouse in Seagate. Up to an additional 20,000sp if this return trip involves hazardous duty
  3. The guild will pay double guild rates (400sp per week) while the party is on adventure in return for the party assessing the area for possible business opportunities and undertaking of any small activities to further the guild's goal of building reputation in the port and surrounding regions and enhancing knowledge of the area for future activities.
  4. The party may free-lance while in Port Avalossa, and receive third-party payment (tax free), as part of building the Guild's reputation in the region.

Diary

1 Meadow

Receive briefing from Von Adler. Prepare goods for journey. Party given 3,000sp/head in advance to pay off creditors and enraged husbands, or purchase supplies/potions/trade goods.

2 Meadow

Embark after midnight. Fully loaded by 2am. Sail with tide at 4am. Sail West for several hours, then Southsouthwest. Reach 31ºN by midnight.

3 Meadow

Sail SSW. Reach 22ºN by midnight.

Drar Diary
Today I scored 10points for single cabin girl in the evening....40points for the cabin girls in the morning (double points for two at the same time).
Don't know why the other two are wasting their time trying to...whats that word?.....seduce?
Looks like a waste of time to me.
These cabin girls give both quantity and quality. I'd rather have a seasoned pro than send my time chasing an inexperienced "lady" that's playing hard to get!
On a side note....there's fleas in my cabin!
Ath

4 Meadow

Sail SSW. Reach 13ºN by midnight.

Dear Diary 
Bugger that Sam.
The fleas are his "pets".
Now the girls won't come near my bed...err...cabin.
Better find somewhere else to entertain them.
Hmmm....the rope locker...that opens up some possibilities.
Also..
To help fill the time between trysts I've secured some training with the Mater of Arms.
Time to learn how to use this dagger properly.
Ath

5 Meadow

We approach the trade isle of St Hylena (~10°N 32°W) in the wee hours, and dock shortly after dawn. The island is only 5 miles across in any direction, and is essentailly a single 8000 foot volcano rising out of the sea, with a snug and deep harbour formed by a landslip or previous crater. Jungle covers the bottom third of the volcano, and above this a giant scree slope covers a lava cone. As almost the whole island is at the steepness that causes loose rock to slide, walking on the bare mountain would be dangerous. The wharves are bustling, with several other ships in dock, including the Singing Mermaid, and the Pavonni Flyer. Sadly we didn't get to explore this cultural melting pot at the cross-roads of the Northern, Southern, and Lunar trade routes.

As we disembarked, skirting the customs and excise officer Estavo De Gama (a solid professional), we were waylaid by a bevy of merry elven sailors, who seemed to work for Mario. They were led by Cap'n Felicity. Apparantly these tall, buxom lasses ply their nautical trade up and down the Southern trade route, transporting Pavonni wine and various drugs and narcotics targetted at children. Given their behaviour and clothing I'm not sure whether sailor, slut, pirate or pusher was their primary occupation, but children love all four! To wit, Mario and Ath were all over them, and while Lyric and I took a tour of their ship, the aforementioned Pavonni Flyer, they were off in cabins, making sure they were satisfied with the officiers and crew of the ship. If you don't regard 20 tall, broad-shouldered elven women in scanty sailors' garb as distinctive enough, they all had the ability to strip paint with their harsh accents, which were apparantly part of their desert nomad upbringing, from which they also sourced the strongest of their narcotics. Words from their native tongue, such as Shelia, Struth, and Maate were interwoven with Common. As usual, the elves are wonderful to look at, smell, and stroke, but when you look under the veils, they are cruel child slavers. One can't blame the crew howeer; their perpetual cherriness was clearly drug-induced (what elf in their right mind welcomes strange orcs and dwarves on board, and entertains them for hours with nary a bad word?)

Urgla - This chocolate milk appears to make elves and humans quite cheery, like a form of alcohol, but as it also had similar effects on Lyric, a stout and steady dwarf, I suspect that the effects are more to do with the type of cow it comes from. Possibly a dark brown camel? Its effects are most similar to tincture of artemisia, anise and fennel, also known as the Green Fairy (in honour of Teeanna). However, is has no effect on orcs.

Jyice - This orange juice is laced with some psychodelic hallucinogen which increases your libedo and disconnects you from consequences. Its effects most closely mirror Special K; the expert in this area is Sabastian. This does have an effect on orcs, and should be taken within the context of a well-established relationship - initial overtures when high and horny can lead to embarrassing mornings-afer.

Both these drugs are regularly sold to minors, presumably as a prelude to the slave trade, which Mario was making further business contacts with on the journey (see details on Lady Tanzen). To further spread his business, Mario had 20 gallons of Jyice brought on board 'for personal use'. I suspect we'll be shipping some slatted crates back home, containing 'special needs children'. Humans are so much more culturally advanced than us orcs. I suppose I should drug and kidnap some children and sell them, so I can learn to fit in better.

Anyway, by noon, we are back on board our ship, with new cargo and fresh water, and heading further south, to Port Avenal. I'm riding the drug they slipped me, and not quite with it.

6 Meadow

Getting along well with the ship's doctor, despite the awkwardness of yesterday afternoon. The ship is making good time. We cross the equator just after noon, without any of the dunking ceremonies.

7 Meadow

Another 24 hours at 25 knots. The ship cabin appears to be shrinking.

8 Meadow

Most of today we sail more than a mile above the ocean floor. I miss earth.

9 Meadow

At 4 am, Mario and Ath wake us all. There is a coating of rime on the deck, sparkly lights in the rigging, the ship is starting to toss about despite the water and air mages, and Mario only decides to wake us after he has a bad precog. Lyric and I lash our cargo while Mario and Ath check up on deck. The ship is in a mana storm, and the Captain is hoping to outrun it before the vessel sinks. Mario tells the Captain about a vision of four gigantic angels riding blue crystalline seahorses that watch the boat burning to the waterline. Rather than blaming pharmaceuticals, the captain is desperate enough to listen. By the time the rest of us get out of the hold, the rime has changed to a foot-thick coating of hot mud on all the near-horizontal surfaces, and the deck is starting to creak. Ath start putting witchsight on us and the crew. The situation is sufficiently unstable that its worth taking a risk or two, so having warned the party, I summon an earth elemental. The mana is wild enough to support the summoning without direct earth contact, but the earth elemental, presumably frightened by the ship, lashes out rather than listening to me entreaties of friendship. Lyric, the practical E&E, controls the elemental and brutally binds it to her will. The elemental makes short work of the mud. The crew is giving us a wide birth by now. We decide to protect the ship from further accumulations of ice, mud, or the expected fire, by building a shell over the ship, while Mario's precog recommends an easterly course. The elemental and I jointly cast walls of stone, in large shell-shell like shapes, forming domes over the front, middle, and back of the ship. The elemental shows me how to curve the walls and make them only one inch thick. We get everyone off the rigging, including 4 sailors who have apparantly died in the crows-nest. I can just detect they are still alive, although soulless! Mario checks via precog, and the ship looks like it will run into sirens, while the angels watch on. We block everyone's ears (I prefer to be tied to the mast and listen, for research purposes), and sail past them while elemental precipitation slides off our magical stone shell. After a few more tense incidents, we sail out of the mana storm by dawn.

The rest of the day passes quietly, in healing, rest, and conversation with the elemental. Several people -- mainly passengers -- have broken bones, there is a spinal injury, and a partically nasty concussion requires Lyric to talk to the patient to keep them from going to sleep. I finally put the patient out of his misery once the simpler injuries are tended to.

10 Meadow

A quiet day of rest, relaxation, and contemplation. We slip along the coasts of the desert wastes east of Neverre.

11 Meadow

We reach Port Avenal in the early evening (~34°40'S 0°E), and are out again shortly after. It appears that paper were the chief cargo shipped in and out of here - Avenal is the main port of Britania, which was founded by 'rebel' Destinians a few years back, so presumably the papers have diplomatic import.

12 Meadow

We sail further south, and east to the horn, a southern cape. The jungle around here has many orcs, including the mining crews I met three months ago off-plane.

13 Meadow

A smooth journey into the roaring forties, although the seas more than a few hundred feet from teh boat look pretty fierce. Air and water mages are really good on boats.

14 Meadow

We round the western tip of the cape, head north again, and into the lee of the continent. The seascape is monotonous and the salt is killing my fleas.

15 Meadow

We pass more of Plaz'toro, a land of dictators, rebel hobbits, endless plains of grass, and smuggling. I'm not sure how that all goes together, but we stay over the horizon from the land, so I don't get a chance to learn.

16 Meadow

Land ho! We head towards the Ebola river head (~19°S, 17°E), which turns out to be a fjord, and moor around noon. There is a little scrabbling for the wharves by various earth mages. It is confirmed that the city is Ebolo, Ebola (so foul they cursed it twice). There has been a lot of expansion on trading faciliites recently, and it looks like Ebola is no longer going to be the end of the line for Destinian trade runs. The timing of our trip makes more and more sense.

The town of Ebolo consists of a lot of white plastered boxes with terracotta tile roofs crammed onto one flat area near the water's edge, and is surrounded by high cliffs and desert on three sides, and a fringe of wharves and water on the other. There is a huge cavern (200' high!) which ships can sail into, and have their cargo unloaded vertically, via giant gantries and fancy pulley systems. I'm surprised that the longshoremen of the area allowed this - must be a giant kick-back involved somewhere. There are also two pairs of wagon-sized lifts, with each pair of trays rising and falling as counter-weights to each other. This looks very organised, and highly taxable.

Our employer has arranged passage for us on a new Destinian/Ebolan ship, the Espirito del Gloria, which will be captained by Miguel de Guerra for her maiden voyage. Mario's old friends Vurdamort, Mortanga and Astrogen have been hired to protect the ship by the local evil Wizeer, whom we all know as "Bryn's dad". Lothar and Mario stay behind on Esme to supervise the transferral of cargo to Gloria via this new gantry/dock system.

Meanwhile Ara and Ath head into town for some fine food and shopping for exotics, while Lyric and Sam get some shoreleave in the local pubs. See Ebolo for some of the pubs visited. Ara and Ath like Suliman's Herbarium, an Apothecary with lots of bottled critters and shrunken heads in jars. It also sells lethal and paralytic poisons over-the-counter or in bulk, to discerning members of the trade and open-mouthed tourists. Ara bought 20 vials of a vicious 'anti-septic' (apply it to wounds, preferably while making the wounds; also can be ingested for a similar relaxing feeling of total paralysis) obviously as a keepsake. 2,000sp is a fine amount to spend on local colour. Ath also bought 5 vials, but he's an elf, so that's just cultural. Nothing to see here. Move along to the next paragraph.

There are public baths. They are cheap and communal, but the water is clean, and it is a wholesome place you can take your children. It is not sleazy to take off all your clothes when everyone else of all ages is doing it too. After a bathe, the four on shore-leave met up and went back to Suliman's to look at an Azamin lizard that Ath and Ara had spotted earlier. Azamin lizards are around four inches long, can survive without food for many decades in a small glass jar, and can consume 8 inch long rats without leaving a bulge in their tummies. If they bite a corpse, it will not decompose (also if they bite a soon-to-be-corpse) for 100 times longer than usual. They are short-lived, but naturally use stability magic to distort both space and time in the ways outlined above. Their livers are apparantly useful for potions (but not this one - he's completely unfit for dissection, poor thing). Sam got it at a bargain for just under 1,000sp. Hmm, I hope it doesn't attack rabbits.

The good ship Espirito del Gloria is christened that evening. The Destianian packet ship the Esme (Santa Emeralda) has already left in the afternoon - there's a reason why they are the fastest thing on the high seas, and its not just the tip-top mages on board.

17 Meadow

We leave port, fully loaded and equipped with a dozen officers, 150 marines, and NO sailors, at 3am the next morning. As well as the captain Miguel de Guerre, the officers include Abu Abdullah Mohammed Hamis, Mamla Sultan, Qansub Al-ghawri, and Hayreddyn Barbarossa. The military nature of the crew makes us feel both safe and concerned all at once. Glory makes a good 16 knots under mage current until we reach the open seas, at which point a substantial water elemental pushes our speed up to around 25 knots. We sail East. We learn Mylae, the language of Avalossa.

18 Meadow

We sail East. Learn Mylae.

19 Meadow

We sail East. Learn Mylae.

20 Meadow

We sail East. Learn Mylae.

21 Meadow

We sail East. Learn Mylae.

22 Meadow

We sail East. At dawn, we are in heavy fog, and slow right down, as there are occasional lights, and the charts indicates jagged rocks and reefs. As the fog lifts, we see Chingkapur - Jewel of the Southern Seas - rising before us, with its hills covered with exotic palaces and temples, and the occasional oddities of Borderlay-style chateau and Aladarian towers. The city is huge, being a major trade hub at the end of a massive peninsula (as big as the baronies) descending to the tip of the massive archipelago of the southern seas. There are at least 60,000 people in the city, maybe more. There are 30-40 deep-ocean vessels in the sheltered harbour, and around 300 lighter coastal or island-hopping craft. However, there are no ships coming in or out, and little activity on the wharves.
Two multi-hulled boats with double banks of oars pull out briskly as we loom out of the mist. While one stands by with ballistas and archers, the other approaches to within a few yards, and demands to know our business. They appear to be customs and excise, but are more concerned about keeping people out of the town, due to the plague. The plague has been going for around 2 weeks, and killed at least 3,000 people in Chingkapur already (which sounds about right), and they don't want us to go in and help (which doesn't). I can understand why they might be banning people from leaving, or stopping people from arriving from plague towns, but something odd is going on. A couple of the people holding us at halbard-length during our closest tete-a-tete has recovered from the plague, which looks fairly nasty and magical, so they aren't bluffing. They won't let me ashre to help cure the nobility or doctors, either. Coup? Demon-cursed plague, so they might ruin their rep if it spreads? Natural paranoia? Distrust of letting orcs into cities with limited law-and-order? Symptoms of the plague include delirium, vomiting, dehydration, and death. We didn't catch it, and we checked twice - and again three days later.

The captain agrees to sail on east to Avalossa, as they can't trade here, and there is plenty of food and water, it being a maiden voyage and thus bound to go wrong. We continue to learn Mylae, the language of Avalossa. We start heading through a archapelago of at least 200 islands. Lothar combines his triangles/squares warrior training game with Mario's barrles and ropes swashbuckling training games, and people have to place their feet onl on the triangles drawn on the side of the rolling barrels. Sam heals the people involved repeatedly.

23 Meadow

We sail East. Learn Mylae. More warrior/acrobat/buffoon training.

24 Meadow

We sail East. Learn Mylae. More warrior/acrobat/buffoon training.

25 Meadow

We sail East. At dawn, we hit a fogbank until noon. Learn Mylae. The ocean is 'shallowing out' to around 2,000 feet deep, according to our water elemental. There are signs of islands nearby from the local bird life, etc. At dusk we see a small island ahead, with small fires. We are briefed about the local culture - sacred cows and cannibalism (I told you it was brief). Matanda throws up some water scrying after our two E&amps;Es look confused when asked about Crystals of Vision (apparantly its a general, so they will learn it soon, or something). ITs a small fishing village, with 2 canoes, 6-8 huts, on an isle of around 2 square miles. We stop and trade after dusk. We are given directions to Avalossa (it turns out that the officiers were lost - they had never been this far east) - around 180 miles NE, past the reefs and sea serpents. We certainly plan to get past the reefs and serpents, but you can never tell. We buy some bunches of phallic yellow fruit to entertain ourselves.

26 Meadow

We sail North East, quite slowly through the night. At dawn, a boat teleports to beside us, or drops its invisibility, or our look-outs wake up, as a ship slams into our side, and 100 orcs pour over our gunwales. There is a brief skirmish. The use of Maelstrom, Lightning, Water Elementals, and around 100 marins (the others were asleep, and didnt have time to get on deck) subdued the 30-odd surviving orcs within a minute, for the small cost of their entire vessel. After a little arm-twisting by the orc(s) in the party, Matanda kindly makes two longboats for the surviving orcs to row home in, accompanied by an apologetic keg of beer from Sam, and they row off to the NW. The dead crew (numbering around?? Chris!!), a dead orc officer, and a living orc officer are left on the ship. The living orc officer is questioned as to the where-abouts of Analossa, and it turns out to be around 15 miles NW, pretty-much where the orcs have headed off to. We pass them in the fog, and arrive at legendary Avalossa around 8:30am.


Avalossa is a large and bustling trading city. Most of the information about the people and places will be found under Avalossa, and only those bits that are particularly relevant to our adventure will be repeated here.

We were met on the docks by a squad of height-selected elves - 8 soldiers at 6'2½", with an officier at 6'3". They ignored us and dealt with the Captain about security issues. They are probably Sealord guards (never clarified). Instead, we got to bicker with an equal number of longshoremen, who insisted on unloading our goods and charging us for the privilege. We head to the nearest Coach house to get transportation for our employer's good (and our own). Samuel Cooch is most helpful, and we get a fair bargain in the end. He also suggests the Scholar's Quill as a cheap and safe place to stay. We get the wagons loaded up by the longshoremen, and head to The Vault. After Egon gets his goods stored here, we inquire about alternative storage. Zorak recommends Basil's Warehouse. At Basil's warehouse, we rent room for our 7 tons of iron ingots, 20-odd barrels of booze, and 83 corpses (18 sailors, 65 orcs, which Sam commandeered). Fortunately, they are storing some spare coffins, so we have a place to put the bodies. Sam arranges to come back the next day to start fixing the bodies.

By mid-afternoon, we are unpacked and looking for food and shelter. We visit the Wizard Guild, to let them know we are in town. They know all about us, and are quite helpful. Jurgan appears keen to get some practical mages in town, presumably to stop locals distirbing their research. They soon work out we are second-rate mages by their standards. They gives us some names of people we can buy or rent property from.

We head to the Matchlock tavern, which is nearby, and a haunt of Iris McCellan, the daughter of a wealthy landowner. We arrange to be shown a number of properties the next day.

We then head to the Scholar's Quill, where we organise food, beds, and rest.

27 Meadow

Breakfast at the Scholar's Quill. Sam spends all day at Basil's resurrecting Sailors and Orcs, with the help of Syrese, Miles, Lucas and Simon (all kindly lent by the Wizards Guild, although only Lucas was requested). Meanwhile, the rest of the party explores Avalossa. They sell Sam's iron to Morgan the Armourer, for a healthy profit (before transport costs), and manage to flog off the bushells of pipeweed for a reasonable rate. They also look at several buildings, first with Iris McCellan, and then investigate some of the other real estate people - none are any better than her. They visit the Matchlock, Frog and Toad, Crack Pan, Honey Pot, and the Tawny Rose, where they sell Mario's range of illegal or revolting liquor, in breach of several trading/monopoly laws. Speaking of which, the party negotiates various deals by offering ongoing trading rights for wine, iron, drugs, etc.; of course, we have no right to offer these, and no way of enforcing it if that does occur, except some vague idea that the guild might get a portal here sometime, and decide to let us control/trax who and what goes through it. Despite this, negotiations go well. Over lunch at Basils, Mario organises a date with Syrese, if he can get a table that night at the Guilt Club. Later that afternoon, he drugs a noble at a pub (Lord Roger Jeffreys) to steal his Guilt Club booking. In every place that the party visit, they try to drum up business for the Guild.

That evening, we settle on a building for the Guild House, and elect to occupy it for a few days 'on a trial basis'. It is around 5,000 sq foot, 2½ stories, and there is a semi-derilect shell next door that we can use as a stable. We check the place out. Of the resurrectees, the 18 Ebolan marines and 6 of the Orcs decide to work for us, while the other 57 Orcish pirates lurch off into the streets. They have been warned not to mess with us, and the code 'wɐs' has been branded into their forehead so we can recognise them. Our marines are led by Lieutenant Bascombe and Sergeants Naismith and Emurty. Our Orcs are Sergeant Culok, Gemmell, Tong, Bulok, Dodak, and Damak. We assign the Orcs night watches, and the Ebolans the day watches. Gemmell is now the Guild cook.

The rain starts to set in pretty heavily. A neighbour, Mistress Lisa, pops in as she has heard that she can do pretty much anything. Our first job: her dog is missing. It is a small brown male dog, with one white eye patch and one black eye patch, and doesn't answer to the name 'Fido'. It is too dark and wet for the party to search for lost dogs, so Sam summons 8 dogs, and sends them off searching for Fido. We sleep in shifts. During their watch, Lyric and Sam are woken by the returning dogs. They claim that Fido is in the harbour. Sam and Lyric head out in the rain at the end of their watch. They get to the harbour, and search until they find the corpse. Lyric TKs it out, and they head home, socked to the skin. The dog has been killed by a bite. The teeth marks and jaw size are consistent with a large canine or lupine. The dog also has lycanthropy. Fido is handed over to Ara and Ath, with vague but ominous warnings about serious consequences if the dog comes back to life and attacks the party. Ath and Ara hog-tie the tiny corpse, place it in a sack, and lock it in the basement. They spend the rest of their watch peering into the basement, while Sam and Lyric chortle quietly.

28 Meadow

Most of the party go out shopping. They order four four-poster beds with feather mattresses, three dors, a few chairs, a table, and plenty of lumber, mostly from Simon at some warehouse (possibly Basils). If its from a warehouse, he's probably nicked it from the owner, so the party bargains the price down. Lisa returns hoping for an update on Fido. We explain that he's dead, and that he may take a turn for the worse. After a hurried untying, we show her the tiny wet dog, then re-secure him. It turns out that Lisa is the neighbourhood piemaker, so we make arrangements for her to deliver pies to us every day. We also make enquiries as to any young relatives who can play music, as we want to class up our waiting room. The marines start to erect partitions in the Guild Hall.

Our pie-shaped second breakfast is interrupted by Brother Egril, a monk pacted to some aspect of the Powers of Light. He would like to hire us to recover some books missing from the temple library. The books are on the magical properties of metals. Oh, and the researcher who was reading them is also missing. Yes! a missing-persons case. The missing researcher is his best friend Marcus Lucias Sutonius, a monk with a shady past. Around six years ago, Marcus suddenly started acting odd, becoming aggressive, rule-breaking, etc., and was expelled from the Temple. He was away for almost four years. He came back a couple of years ago, a reformed character, and begged to be let back into the order. The temple hierarchy refused point-blank, but after a private meeting with High Priest Thorin, suddenly everything was sweetness and light. He had brought back 6 tomes with him, bound in red dragon skin -- these are the books that are now missing. Since then hes been working hard on translating and understanding the tomes, and has been a bit loopy, haggard and unwell. The books are from around the time of the War of Tears. They are not written in any known variant of Eldaran, Draconic, Elven or Drow. Two days ago, Marcus just disappeared, and the books can't be found, which is very odd.

We accept the job. First we check out the house where Marcus has been living. The place seems ok - messy and lived in, but no signs of a violent struggle. There is a slightly odd smell in the air. We don't investigate too thoroughly, so we can come back later and track him via smell (in wolf form). After that, we are escorted to the Temple of Knowledge across town. It is a fortified building which is primarily underground, with big bronze doors at the entrance. The main library chamber is a 200x200x20' room full of books and scrolls. It is thoroughly warded, to protect from any extra-planar entrance/exits/banishments, and the books are oddly hard to damage. We check out the place, including the huge crystal chandilier, and the rather toothsome young receptionist Griselda. It seems that Marcus worked in one of several caged/secured areas within the library to keep his research confidential. We have a good search through his research area, but as none of us read the local language (Mylae), or the mystical language that he was researching, all we can really confirm is that there is no sign of the books. We do various mystical things. Lyric finds some friends from the Scholar's Quill, and is soon taken out of the library for waving weapons and talking far far far far too much. Some of the researchers are taken away for counselling.

We have lunch at the Crab's Luck with Egon. The food is OK. He's been hearing about our presence, so word is getting out there. His business is going much better than expected. We head down to the Hall of Public Records, to talk to Reid, an old and cantankerous man. He sorts out the various licenses we need to operate as a Guild, and also confirms that the building we wish to purchase is for sale, and has no liens, loans, or demolition orders on it. I wouldn't call him helpful, but if you are polite, cheerful, and grease the the wheels, he's reasonably efficient.

After organising our licenses, we wander by the Sealord's palace to present our credentials as ambassadors of Carzala, and as a new Guild. Not that we expect the Sealord to see us, but we don't want to ignore his court either. We are met at the gates by Simon De Winter. He is the Sealord's spy master (or one of them?), and has extra-ordinarily detailed notes on who we are and what we have been up to, and its right up-to-the-minute, which is more surprising. He tells us to go away and that Kali or another Council member can come and present the Guild's credentials. We hardly sulk at all.

Back to the Temple of Knowledge. We spend the rest of the afternoon poking around. With permission of the hovering Proctors, we trigger some of the library defenses. The room is sealed, and the noise renders most of the researchers incoherent. One thing that catches our eye is a giant crystal slab, around 7'x3'x3', which is next to the desk outside the library. This is Zelstr the Register. We soon determine that it is a sentient fragment of a Crystal Dragon. It memorises every book (object, person) that comes in contact with it, and binds them into a ward. The highlights of the missing books include Summoning and Binding magics from Greater Summoner, Eldemar Greater Summoning Lore, and Metallurgy. It takes us a while to set up an effective way of communicating with the Register. The final solution is:

  • Lothar casts Speak to Enchanted, so he can talk to Zelstra.
  • Ara wears a sharing crystal, and another is placed on Zelstr.
  • Ara cases hypnotism on herself. She and Zelstr fall into a trance.
  • Mario casts Telepathy, and reads Zelstr's mind to get the answers.

This allows us (with Zelstr's permission) to delve into areas she can no longer remember. She is very old, and has set up around a dozen different secure areas over the last 50 thousand years. It is unclear what she kept in the earlier vaults (?people, knowledge, root vegetables). This vault contains many thousands of books and scrolls, all of which she knows the contents of. She binds the books to the location, and can tell whenever they cross the edges of the ward. She knows that Marcus last left the room a few days ago, and that the books never have. We find a subtle loophole where she uses aura to recognise people, and will allow visitors in if they are with approved people. The guards have not let any strangers in recently, but they base their entry on appearance. If someone came in once, in the company of a priest, and looking like another priest, took/destroyed the books, and then left never to return again, then there would be no record of them. This is our working hypothesis. We also think that it's probably a demon or demon-worshipper. We want to talk to High Priest Theron, but he is out at a lighthouse. We go out for dinner instead.

After various minor crises at the Guild house involving building a dungeon to keep the dead dog secure, and sightings of mobs roaming the streets looking for werewolves, we return to the Temple of Knowledge. We get permission for another round of more intrusive experiments. We register some pieces of paper with a little writing on them, and put them in the library. They can't be burned, and ripping a single piece of paper takes magick-boosted Orc strength. Sam holds a piece of paper, and turns into a Wolf. He now cannot leave the library. Nor can he change back for the next four hours - oh, and Sam is the only one who can speak to Wolves. Grrrrr. Ath taunts the wolf, darting in and out of the library door. After some time, Sam traces Marcus's most recent and common movements, and works out he spends some time at a set of scroll pigeonholes. He then identifies the scroll case that smell most of Marcus. Further smell-based investigation is fruitless, as is the continued chat with Zelstr. Eventually Sam turns back from being a wolf, just before midnight. The scroll case contains a small pile of ash, that was affected with SuperNova, an ancient Celestial Star spell (like whitefire, but hotter). Zelstr confirms that the remnants of all six books are contained in this small pile of ash. We think that a Celestial Demon snuck in here, to destroy the Greater Summoning knowledge (or associated dark lore) before they could be affected by it.

It is late, so we decide to head home. As we are leaving the High Priest Theron sweeps in. Theron was apparantly at a new lighthouse site investigating some recently uncovered demon-tainted ruins. He still has a demon-taint around him. As he sweeps in, he offers blessings, and the more suspicious of us refuse. Mario and Lyric accept, and get the equivalent of Death-buzzes for the next few days. A very nice blessing indeed.

Once out of the Temple, we hear some wolf howls. Seeing the foolish mobs sweeping this way and that, we feel compelled to find the wolves before they kill/infect more innocents. Staggering tiredly towards the sounds, we soon find ourselves at the edge of the city, staring across some open ground lit by the full moon, towards a dark jungle lit only by the occasional glint of luminescent eyes. We power up, and head across the broken field, into the jungle. Within seconds of entering the jungle, three huge constrctor snakes drop out of the trees around the front ranks, while half a dozen wolves bound out of cover. There is a brief but deadly fight. Ara disappears into the shadows, and rescues Ath (unconscious) from the coils of a snake that was heading into the trees. The other snakes are engaged by Mario and Lothar, who chop them down to size, while most of the wolves are captured in Hands of Earth. The others are surrounded, but refuse to surrender -- sadly for them, Bloody Lyric is there. The leader is finally taken down, as a torch-carrying mob arrives. We try to sound impressive and professional, and send them for carts. With some assistance, we wheel the repeatedly-unconscious bodies of the wolves back through the streets to the Guild Hall, and throw them in the now-heavily-fortified basement.

Once they have been secured in our new holding cell, we talk to the werewolves, and get a little information from them. There are probably around 100 werewolves in total. Most of them are only a few nights old. The leader of this group was lured down an alley by a beautiful woman with one blue eye and one green eye. He later attacked/infected the rest of this group, which is why he is their leader. We set watches, and try to get a few hours sleep.

29 Meadow

Overnight, one of the six prisoners has been killed and eaten by the other five, who are now emaciated and starving again. There is not enough of the corpse to be resurrected. We spend some time feeding them; they eat voraciously, and seem to need ten to a hundred times as much food as a normal human.

Lyric, Lothar, Mario and Ara go back to the Temple to find out about lycanthropy. On the way, they come across a lad hawking The Shipping News on a street corner. The rag credits the townsfolk with defeating the werewolf menace. We get the name of the lying journo - Thaddeus Merchack.

At the Temple we speak to Hubert von Doran, the Temple of Knowledge’s expert in Lycanthropy. He believes our prisoners have Metabolic Lycanthropy, and suggests what we come to call exercism: by forcing them to undertake frenetic exercise for an extended period, we can exhaust them of all energy, which should either kill them or cure them. This activity needs to be quite extreme, to counter the effects of their rapid metabolism. Another method is to get a more powerful werewolf to drain the essence of were from them. This usually kills them while curing them. As we are casual about resurrection, if not killing, this seems like a good option.

Investigating the office of the Shipping News, it is closed up until the writers get in after dark, although the ‘cleaners’ patrol and defend the building very professionally. As we hang around the area, trying investigatory magic, an urchin runs up with a message. The message appears to be from the leader of the werewolves. We are told to hand over the wolves to the pack, or else. We send a reply to ‘bring it on’ – somehow being threatened made the party far more confrontational than any of us expected.

Meanwhile, a townsman ?John? came to the Guild Hall looking for his brother ?Jack? who went missing a few nights ago. Jack is the dead werewolf. We tell John that we will require some sort of payment, plus a piglet for the resurrection ritual (if he wants Jack resurrected). He can provide 100 live chickens, which should be useful for assuaging the remaining werewolves’ appetite.

When the party re-groups, we get the leader of werewolves to drain the others. The good news is that at the end of the process, we have four cured corpses. The bad news is that he gets a lot bigger and more powerful than we expect. By the end of the process he is eight foot tall, and bulging with physical and metaphysical muscles. Oops. In the meantime, some chickens arrive.

Ath and Sam go to the Wizards Guild. Miles is still working on the portal – apparently it will take some time, and is unlikely to be sorted out within the month. The most likely approach is for them to build a portal to Kin Lu, as we can then portal to Borovia, and then fly to Seagate. A portal beyond 2-3,000 miles is just too far for Miles’ rune magic, even as a major working. The ever-helpful Marcus suggests that a wizard called Morris could be of some assistance with our werewolf problem. When we hear that his price is to keep one of every five werewolves in return for curing the other four, we are leery. It seems that this is the best chance that they have to be cured, but something in the Orc revolts against this traditional form of payment – too many Orcs have been forced to serve Necromancers using this sort of seemingly practical trade-off. We also learn that lycanthropy plagues aren’t that uncommon – the last big rash of attacks occurred around 2½ years ago, and was seemingly led by a mysterious woman with mismatched eyes.

Back to the Guild-house again. By now, it is almost dusk, a perfect time for hunting crepuscular predators on their home turf. A limited precognition about the spot where we were ambushed by the lycanthropes provides a vision of a cave with luminescent eyes peering out of it, and the sound of women chanting wafting in the night breeze. A fragment of a ritual to a blood god is followed by images of snakes and wolves. We grit our teeth, cast a few power-up magics, and head through the streets, following the howls and avoiding the torch-lit mobs. Owing to the low mana in the city, we stop off at Jermaine’s Apothocary for a few stiff drinks, and some wolfsbane. His assistant is very nice, and the drinks are top-shelf. We sneak (as best we can) towards the edge of the jungle, pass through the trampled site of the fight, and find a cave a couple of hundred feet further into the jungle.

We slowly approach the cave, descend into it, and discover a pile of 5 naked sleepers around a blood-stained altar. A rapid slaughter ensues, with the defenceless and slumbering people lacking the time to even wake and shape-shift into their animal forms before all being callously struck down. The altar is dedicated to the Queen of Unspeakable Darkness. A hidden compartment is found under the altar, containing a bag of stuff. An associated poison trap forces the party to evacuate, with most party members being carried to the surface by Sam as Ath provides moral support. We take the bag. He buries the bodies and the altar twenty-five feet underground. During this time, the altar calls to Sam. Unfortunately, it likes the cozy secret darkness. Worse still, Sam has backfired himself into a state where he can’t get the altar to the surface again. Oh well, ancient evil altars are uncovered all the time.

We return to the Guild house. The super-charged Lycanthrope has tunnelled his way out into the sewers, which run a few feet under the building. Yet another way for us to guard. We do not sleep well that night.

30 Meadow

In the morning, we are all tired and on-edge. We prowl around the Guild Hall, doing carpentry, organising the furniture and staff for the reception/public area. Divans, snacks, and live music are all arranged, and the builders seem to enjoy all of this. Egon stops by, letting us know he is leaving in two days. By mid-afternoon, most of the party have caught up on their sleep, and we have barricaded various upstairs rooms. Tonight being the last night of the Full Moon, we believe that the attack will happen soon. The downstairs has three doors, seven windows, a chimney, a new internal door to the barn, easy access to an internal passage in teh city wall, and open staircases to the first floor and basement. The basement has the new hole leading to the sewer. The upstairs levels are freely accessible from the various roofs, plus have many windows. We decide to hold just the large room on the ground floor. This gives us a 55x30 space to hold with 30 people, with 5 doors, three windows, two staircases and a fireplace. The fire is stoked, with plenty of wood available for the night, in case the wolves come down the chimney. Some wards are attempted, but are not successful. We wait.

That night, we take turns dozing fitfully until around 3am. We hear the howling of wolves from all directions, and cast a few Walls of Light and Hands of Earth. The first rush of wolves from the front rooms are held off by Lothar and the Walls of Light, while the flanking attacks from the alleyway are snuffed out by the Hands of Earth. The few who make it through meet Bloody Lyric. Chickens laced with Paralysis poisons are chucked in arcs towards the back of the attacking groups, where they are promptly rended, taking out a few more wolves. Meanwhile, the ceiling planks are being levered up, and there are sounds of chanting from below. We are organised enough to greet the three wolves who leap down on us with cold steel, with one thrown in a spare Hand of Earth, and the others killed within seconds. The remaining upstairs wolves, including a woman with mismatched eyes, stay away from the edge of the hole. Mario TKs a chicken up into the hole to lure them to jump down after it.

Suddenly the floor is tunneled out, and most of us fall through. Six wolves, including the giant leader and a mage are in the cellar. A vicious fight ensues. The leader is killing an orc or sailor every 5 seconds, while most of the rest are quickly defeated in the press of bodies. Sam decides to make an omelette, and tunnels the leader, plus the orcs clinging to his limbs, dropping them all 70 feet. They all die. By the time we get back the the ground level, past the walls and hands of earth, those on the upper floors have fled. The injured werwolves are recovering rapidly, and starting to break out of the hands of earth, and we are too injured to take them prisoner, so we decide to kill them. This is a bloody decision, but otherwise they will kill more innocents (and us). Their bodies (now in human form) are stacked in one corner, while our fallen are laid out in another.

The guards turn up a few minutes later. Apparantly if half a dozen heavily armed orcs coated with blood and feathers point to a pile of twenty dead humans and say its all under control, a patrol of guards will not argue, at least at 3:30am. The rest of the night is spent tending wounds, straightening furniture, and planning which parts of the place we will re-build first.

1 Heat

Our first visitors of the morning are some noisy neighbours, the local builders, and Syrese the Drow Necromancer. She offers to resurrect our fallen, and take the pile of werewolves off our hands. We politely decline, then repeat ourselves less politely when she continues to want to be 'helpful'. I ddon't *think* we made an enemy. The Azamin lizard preseves the various bodies, and Sam starts re-resurrecting our fallen guards on the kitchen table - we lost all the orcs and 4 of the sailors. The rest of us are wounded, but our preparation of everyone drinking pints of wolves-bane and garlic brew seems to have paid off - no one (not even the dead) appear to be infected with lycanthropy. The surviving chickens are moved back to the stable, while the big room (soon to be the Guild Dining Hall) is scrubbed and de-feathered. By the time the morning pies are delivered, the place smells of sawdust, hot pastry, and blood, which is a vast improvement on the previous smell.

We ask Lisa our friendly piemaker to contact neighbours with missing people, and their priests. We offer to either return the bodies of the fallen/were-wolves back to the relatives, or resurrect them and act as intermediaries to Syrese/Morris if they want to try to get them cured. To our relief, the locals, with the support of their priests, decide to bury their fallen in consecrated ground, rather than try to bring them back from the dead and bargain with necromancers for their souls. We probably didn't make many friends, but we were sensitive in their time of loss, and also organised coffins for all of them from Basil's warehouse. You win some, you lose some - it could have been a lot worse.

That afternoon we hire a senior administrator to run the Guild as our factor until the Seagate people can send a permanent staff member, and leave them with 20ksp as spending money. Given the number of bodies being carried out, the resurrections in the Kitchen, and the casual way we dealt with the powerful mage Syrese, the factor is unlikely to try to take the money and run. *Update* - it seems like Sabastian will be taking over, so we should be getting a better class of decoration in the reception, and a number of missing people if anyone tries to cross us - this is all as it should be.

The Ebolan marines have heard about a new Ebolan ship in port, and wish to travel back home on it, so we release them from our (casual) contract. The six orcs will be staying on, as the first set of guards/guild members/security *at least until Sabastian says otherwise*. Egon is also ready to travel back to Seagate, and as we have pretty much launched the Guild in spectacular style, we are quite ready to leave as well.

3 Heat

We sail out of Port Avalossa.

30 Heat

We reach Seagate, 2 months after we left it.


Information

Goods

von Adler is transporting 26 crates mainly containing metal 'agricultural equipment', and around 50 tonnes of fine wooden furniture. Some of the metal ingots have runes. We add Drow script to mark each box.

The Seagate Orphans' Trust is transporting 20 barrels of Pavoni wine, around 7 tonnes of iron ingot and weapon blanks (20,000sp at Seagate bulk-retail), several bushels of various Pipeweeds (5,000sp at Seagate wholesale), and 6 barrels of cheap drinking ale as a health tonic.

Santa Emeralda

140 foot Destinian Galleon and 'packet ship'. Captain is Don Rodrigo San Madiera.

Crew

100 sailors, including officers. 20 marines led by Master at Arms Charles Deango. Two Air Mage Officers, two Water Mage Officers, each with Rank 20 in Mage Current/Wind transport magic, allowing guaranteed maximum possible speed (25 knots x 24 hours = 600 nautical miles/day). The Ship's Doctor, Donna Elise, is a fine lady, earnest, and adequately skilled (bones but not organs). Oddly for a military vessel, there are 5 'cabin girls' who work passage in time-honoured fashion. Ath insists we list their names: Laverne, Sheryl, Sienna, Brandy, Selice. All hard working rather than skilled or pretty. Available to crew, marines, passengers, etc. Diseased, cheap and nasty. Also work as servitors in the Officer's mess.

Passengers

In addition to our party of nine, there are twenty other passengers. They include:

  • Three very dark skinned mages that Mario et al freed from some giant Borderley spiders a few months back. Vurdamort (Air), Mortanga (Water) and Astrogen (Ice) seem pleasant enough men given their fragmentary Common. Danger - magical, betrayal.
  • Simon and Karyn, young merchant couple. Loyal, if cold marriage. Danger - frostbite.
  • Bryn, the teenage daughter of `Az-Cheem, the 'Wizeer' of Ebola. She seems slightly pouty, and is later confirmed as a mind mage. She is on holiday from the Southhaven Academy for Girls‎, which apparantly teaches assassination and siege warfare. She forms a firm friendship with Lyric. Danger - political, magical, emotional.
  • Tanzyn, Sanctuary Slaver and Black Widow. Has taken an interest in Mario. Danger - financial, physical.
  • Thirteen other passengers, all male. Danger - drunken brawl, jealously.

Loot, Purchases, and Pay

Loot recovered from fighting the Werewolves and desecrating their sacred shrine in the jungle

  • A set of Fox-hide Armour
  • Stoic Sword
  • Shield of Spines
  • A Vaysharan Crossbow
  • Shield of Usefulness
  • Green-stone Earring
  • Topaz resin Amulet
  • Key Des Entree
  • Devils Blood Poison
  • Devils Blood Poison
  • Devils Blood Poison
  • Devils Blood Poison
  • Torc of Concentration
  • False Life Liquor
  • Denial Dagger
  • Crown of Domination
  • Ball of Memory
  • Sun-ring of the depths
  • Ring of Vengeance
  • Ring of Tunneling

Quotes

They were severely injured, and we have not yet managed to heal them enough for them to be alive.
We'd like to rent 83 coffins.
Helga was a working girl - she was a 'woodworker' as she turned knobs.
Mario: 'These vampire fangs are kinky'
Lyric: 'What does kinky mean?'
Mario: 'Curved...'

Calendar

Summer

  Moonday Duesday W'ansday Th'rsday Frysday Reapsday Sunday
Moon0.jpg Beltane
Meadow (1)
  1 Guild Meeting 2 leave Seagate Santa Emeralda 3   4   5 St Hylena 6  
Moon1.jpg 7   8   9 Mana Storm 10   11 Port Avenal 12   13  
Moon2.jpg 14 New Moon 15   16 Arrive at Ebola 17 Leave Ebola Espirito del Gloria 18   19   20  
Moon3.jpg 21   22 Chingkapur 23   24   25   26 Avalossa 27 House hunting
Moon0.jpg 28 Library
Full Moon
29 Redecorating 30 Werewolf siege  
Heat (2)
  1 Rebuilding 2   3 Leave Avalossa 4  
Moon1.jpg 5   6   7   8   9   10   11  
Moon2.jpg 12 New Moon 13   14 Midsummers Eve 15 Solstice 16   17   18  
Moon3.jpg 19   20   21   22   23   24   25  
Moon0.jpg 26 Full Moon 27   28   29   30 Arrive Seagate