Friday, 5 September 2014

PotS 1x05 - Scouting the Ruins

These posts are from our DnD group's latest game. The current adventure is a return to the world of Eberron, and specifically Xen'drik.  Along with a strange chest, they now held information that should see them cured from their Xoriat-induced monstrous deformities, and their mission proper could continue.

The Loss of Curses and Limbs
...yes, I know it has only one head. And wings. I don't have any hydras - feel free to send me one, if you want!
The Hydra Battle
The trip back to shore seemed to take far longer than their journey out to the island garrison - perhaps it was Kami playing it safe with her ship, and the lack of Hassan's guidance, or maybe the cause was more supernatural than they wanted to accept.  Maybe even the tide itself was fighting against them, keeping them from completing their mission, and exploring the ruins.

Whatever it was, the crew eventually planted their feet on solid ground once more.  From there, they quickly returned to the eladrin grove, giving Analastra and Berrian the information taken from Gordian's library.  Together, they worked to rid the grasp of Xoriat from their father, and saw that the party was cured of their touch, as well.  Handing the mysterious chest over to Hassan for further investigation, they moved to the mountain path, and started the slow climb to its guardian - the green-scaled hydra.

The battle was fierce, but with Kami's well-placed haunting serpents spectres, the beast's spirit to fight was lessened.  Despite its caustic venom, enough heads were severed to bring the guardian low, and allow the team passage to the ruins proper.

The Tale of Two Galinndans
Good old "Lord of the Rings" & "The Hobbit" LEGO setting the scene!
Approaching the Gate
The climb to the mountain's top took the better part of the rest of the afternoon, leaving them with little over an hour to scout the actual ruins.  And that didn't include the time it took to fight back the current occupants!

The gate that had once stood proudly before the mountain settlement now held dust, cobwebs, and soot from when the dragons had razed it.  One of the gigantic doors remained upright, its hinges long-since failed.  The other was little more than part of the path, pressed into the dirt and rubble surrounding it.  Regdar sensed they eyes watching him before he noticed the tell-tale movements of the gargoyles.  With a warning call, he kept the others back, and made the enemy come to them.

Unfortunately, it was not just gargoyles that attacked them.  Mid-battle, one of the enemy abruptly took on the form of Galinndan, and the eladrin warlord himself turned to attack his own captain.  Fortunate he was that Hassan had remained behind, else the azure guard might have experienced just how Hassan Elfbane had earned his surname!

Who knew LEGO "Mixel" figures could so easily come in to DnD games?
A Wild Decay Beast Appears!
Amongst the ruins lurked another creature, driven mad by hunger, empowered by the arcane disaster many years ago.  This decay beast had long ago stopped preying on simple metal items, and had instead taken a liking to anything that could decay. Weapons and armour started tearing, rusting, and splintering before him, as his hunger brought his teeth about Ogg's person, dissolving and consuming his armour.

The outfit clearly had meant a lot to Ogg, for he didn't take that slight lying down.  His carefully-aimed blasts of raw power were able to distinguish friend from foe, and within moments, only crumpled, shattered remains were left behind.

Atop the Plateau
The majority of the settlement was now in ruins.  The arcane cataclysm had destroyed much of the structures, and now only three remained upright.  Dragonfire had reduced most of that to rubble and ash, but the temple standing in the middle of the plateau still had half of a roof. 

The stone walls of a former barracks stood to one side, but when investigated further, only the dead bodies of a bulette and two carrion-crawlers were found.  The creatures were killed recently, and violently, prompting Urquilla to investigate more thoroughly.  The tracks and remnants of the battle suggested that the mysterious group who had taken out the spiders in the forest had cleared up here, too.

Along the opposite side of the settlement, there stood a structure that was perhaps once dedicated to those who looked after the temple.  Its walls bore faded frescoes, covered with thick webs.  It was no surprise to anyone that some giant spiders had settled here - and, as no one felt strongly about taking it back, they left the overgrown arachnids to their thing, and focused on the temple.

The Temple of Battle
Three statues were the central focal point of the temple, though various alcoves here and there had their own, smaller, dedications to the various members of the Soverign Host.  But the main three - Dol Dorn, the god of courage; Dol Arrah, the goddess of combat; and a third figure who was unrecognisable in its currently degraded state - were clearly seen as the most important by those who built and had operated the temple.
I had a lacking of appropriate "fiery warforged" LEGO and DnD miniatures, so I went with the fire motif, and something that looked imposing.
Final stages of the Temple battle

Galinndan stepped forward, trying to work out who the mysterious figure was, but a voice high in the rafters "All the faithful of the Knights of Battle, come and pay them worship!" it cried, as the figure of a twisted harpy settled before them.  Long dead, and driven crazy by some unseen force, this ghostly remnant of one of the temple's former servants screeched and cursed at them, activating two warforgeds to come to her aid.  Their fires burned strong, and even after the ghost was dismissed with certain finality, they locked together and fought on, almost bringing an end to the valiant heroes who stood before them.
stopped his study. 

But in the end, they did triumph, and with the settlement now cleared of enemies (aside from those nasty spiders, who were just left to do their own thing), they were able to finally scout and map the ruins. 

The Ruins, Scouted
Knowing that a sizeable paycheck awaited them upon their return to Stormreach, Kami set the crew's sight towards the month-long journey it would take to get there - but she knew, as did the others, that there were still mysteries here to search further.

Hassan was eager to get some help in unlocking the chest, but at the same time didn't wish to leave the tower unguarded.  Two of the Kaapiot quadruplets volunteered to remain behind, though no one was sure which two, so Kami just declared that all four would remain, and the matter was settled.

Galinndan, on the other hand, didn't cherish the thought of spending another month trapped aboard the dwarven ship.  Instead, he elected to remain with Analastra and her family, helping to set up the arcane waypoint once the crew returned to Cousin Walid.  Although she wasn't overly happy to let the eladrin out of her sight, Kami eventually agreed to this, and the crew set sail once more.

Friday, 6 June 2014

PotS 1x04 - The Paladins' Nest

These posts are from our DnD group's latest game. The current adventure is a return to the world of Eberron, and specifically Xen'drik. After taking over the Watchtower, and being touched by Xoriat's foul presence, the crew search for information that may be used to rid themselves of their monstrous deformities.

An Unnatural Mist
The crew reached the Kami Kaze at early dawn, and quickly readied it for their trip to the islands.  Hassan was able to reach out and confer with Kami some more, guiding them quickly to the most obvious location of the garrison.  In his Watchtower-aided-searching, he had come across a large expanse of mist that had not evaporated with the rising sun.  Able to get a high view of the cloudy expanse, he could also tell that it seemed to sit neatly in a circle, as if magic was involved.

Indeed, once Kami had led her ship into the fog, it was clear that the oppressive vapours were magically aided.  They dulled all sound, and shortened all sight -  not even Regdar could pierce it, nor convince any of his feathered friends to scout much farther ahead than they could already see.

By late morning, they had passed two smaller islands, and confirmed they were empty.  The third one, large enough to actually contain a small camp, they sent the rowboat to investigate further.  Ogg, Tvennr and Galinndan joined Kami on the away-mission, and moved over sand that had no trace of guests for many a year - indeed, the only life they found on the entire island was a few birds roosting atop the broken tower.

Their first stop was the garrison proper - the ruined first floor of a structure that once, centuries ago, held a portion of the paladins' order.  Now, its mostly-crumbled remains were guarded by the wraith-like form of one of the former soldiers, and an enchantment-bound door that stood against the test of time.  "Only the Lonely Sword can pass!" and "Gordian must open the seal!" were the only information they could get from the poor individual.  Not wanting to disrupt him further - at least, not for now - they moved off and searched the rest of the island.

Unseasonably Chilled
Moments later: the "statue" icons turned into the gargoyles (portrayed by Chima ravens)The only other thing of interest was half a wizard's tower (the bottom half), which seemed to be built to overlook the garrison.  The ground floor was a macabre laboratory, complete with a twisted, grotesque cadaver upon a fallen pillar.  The chaotic magic that danced about the lab lit the golem-creature, and as Tvennr disturbed it, revealed its violent nature.  Joined by two gargoyles from outside, the battle was dangerous, but whatever had given a false life to the poor individual had not restored its mind - it fought with ferocity, but not with skill, and was soon put to a more permanent rest.

Crazy wizard...Radagast feels like a good fit!Upstairs, Gordian was finally discovered - though, the fellow was clearly not the same as the wizard who originally built the tower and set up the protective wards over the paladins.  Time, heartache, and a whole heap of broken magic had warped him and his study, which was now filled with the frozen forms of past 'guests'...and he wanted to add more. 

His work with animating the dead was not restricted to Elaida downstairs - he was currently working on two corpses as the team broke in, and after Tvennr went to smack him with his axe, the two mummies joined the battle, spreading their curse and their rot to the party.  But once the frail, lifeless form of Gordian was put to rest, the team were able to gather up enough of his writings to open the Garrison, and hopefully, restore all those touched by Xoriat's influence.

The Paladins' Chest
...yes, the duplo block was the chest.  I couldn't find an actual chest in a reasonable amount of time!The garrison had its own bound demon, as well as two paladin-wraiths, but after the horrors of the tower, they were easily dealt with.  The chest within, however, was not so easily bested.  Four intricate locks, each needing a separate key, ensured the chest stayed closed, whilst intricate and powerful spells woven through its very structure kept out less-physical options of opening it.  Without the ability to investigate further, Kami had the chest moved to her ship, and set sail for the mainland once more.  Her crew needed to be strengthened, and these ruins weren't going to investigate themselves!

Friday, 16 May 2014

PotS 1x03b - Watching the Watchtower

These posts are from our DnD group's latest game. The current adventure is a return to the world of Eberron, and specifically Xen'drik. The pirate crew have taken to the land, and after defeating the nightmarish terror within the Watchtower, are trying to recover, and work out what to do next. This post is a recap of things that happened via email in-between games.

The Aftermath
Leaving Hassan behind to study the watchtower further - for even with a cursory look, it was clear that there was more to the tower than mere vantage points - the party took Zandrian and Gernathiel back to the eladrin camp in the woods.  Analastra and Berrian were, to no one's surprise, both overjoyed at their father's return, and horrified at his twisted form.  After their countless attempts of restoring him (and the others who found themselves to be changed by their brush with Xoriat), the eladrin siblings had to admit defeat.  They saw to his comfort, and properly listened to the tales, both of his initial quest, and of Kami's crew's travel through the tower.

Berrian spoke with concern once the tale was told.  "What you discovered within the tower disturbs me.  Such a bridge across the planes should not be possible, especially to Xoriat.  There must have been powerful magic involved to cause such a breach.  And, where one breach is, others surely linger.  We must learn more."

The unspoken statement clearly leaves the searching in the hands of the party, not the eladrin and his team.  However, Zandrian does have an idea of where to start.  "There is an island in the gulf, one of many, to be sure.  But one island alone has a garrison, a defensive point from which we paladins used to draw strength.  A wizard who worked with the order - Gordian Pierce was his name - had done much study on the planes.  Perhaps something of his study remains?"  

The decision was reached - Kami would allow this minor distraction in the hopes that their crew members' afflictions could be cured, and that they would all prove more useful for the remainder of the mission. It would be a solid hike down to the shore, and who knew how long it would take them to find the island garrison, but the hope was that it would all be worthwhile in the end.

Secrets Found
Fortune was with them, however: for in the morning, when they rose to begin their trek, Kami was surprised by Hassan's voice greeting her.  The keen Kundarak-taught dwarf had learnt many things about the Watchtower over the night - the first, as he was using now, was to project his voice at great distances.
More importantly, Hassan had learned how to project his sight, and was now capable of viewing locations all around the gulf, and up and down the coast, too.  No wonder the Watchtower had been such a strong point of defence for the gulf!
But there was more - though he hadn't worked out how to activate it safely, Hassan had uncovered transportational magic within the tower.  He hoped that, given some more investigation, he could set it to aid their movements around the gulf.  For now, though, they would have to travel on foot and by ship.  And, after learning of their new mission from Kami, Hassan would focus on scouring the islands for a sight of this garrison.  If he could find it by the time they reached the Kami Kaze, Hassan could guide them straight to it, still saving them valuable hours (or days) of searching for it themselves!

Friday, 2 May 2014

PotS 1x03 - The Twisted Watchtower

These posts are from our DnD group's latest game. The current adventure is a return to the world of Eberron, and specifically Xen'drik. The pirate crew have taken to the land, and after a considerable walk, have made it to the Watchtower that looms overhead atop the gulf's cliffs. 

A Piece of History
Creatures from Xoriat, or the Realm of Madness, had once tried to take over Eberron.  Roughly 9,000 years ago, the plane had overlapped enough to allow Daelkyr and their aberrant armies to flow across and destroy the Dhakaani Empire.  The Gatekeeper Druids of Khorvaire had pushed them back, aided by at least one dragon.  Since then, Xoriat had not become close enough for another invasion to occur.

However, none of the Daelkyr were returned to their home.  They, and their aberrant creations, were trapped below in Khyber, and from there, slowly let their madness leech through their surroundings.

One such soldier - a beholder - was trapped within a tower.  It had tried to use the tower's magic to bring the surrounding lands under its rule, or failing that, find a way home.  Instead, a group of paladins led by the eladrin Zandrian Velfarren trapped and fought the beholder, unwilling to allow him access to the watchtower's power.  They fought him, but could not overpower the eye tyrant; ultimately,  they found themselves locked in an eternal struggle, as they were twisted and reshaped by its ties to Xoriat, just as it was trapped behind by their presence.  

Over the many years that followed, the watchtower remained as a bridge between the realms, neither properly within Eberron, nor quite reaching to Xoriat.  That is, until the Dread Pirate Kami and her crew arrived.

The Oozing Watchtower
The tower looked like a giant slug.  Or, more correctly, it looked like it had been created out of a giant slug.  There were windows and even a door, the parapet stood at the top, and as Ogg flew around, even the inside rooms looked to be stable.  But instead of being formed of stone, the entire thing felt like it had a squishy, black coating.

Ogg had joined the party as they left the forest, bringing fresh supplies and updates from the crew.  There had been sightings of more dragons, but after the loss of their great white, they had not risked another encounter with the pirate ship.  Wanting to prove his usefulness, the goliath stepped forward and zapped the tower's wall with his harnessed lightning, causing a flood of small black oozes to spring forward.  Though they were easy to deal with, the party agreed that an alternate method was needed.

The idea of fire was quickly brought to bear, but before a bonfire could be built, Hassan's card - Flame - was discovered to have an interesting reaction with the oozing wall.  Tvennr took the card for some experimentation, and before long, it was discovered that the ooze would back away from the card, allowing them entrance to the inside of the tower.  Unfortunately, the trip was only one way, so once they were inside, they felt distinctively trapped.

Travels through Madness
Regdar lost a wolf to the first wave of ooze-like puddings that attacked them, and Tvennr was lost within a crevice for longer than anyone was comfortable with.  But even after the ooze issue was dealt with, things only became stranger.  The tower became less solid, and more Xoriat-like, as it stretched out into the stars, and offered many portals of tentacles for them to be caught within.  Every now and then, someone would see reality amongst the maddening spectres before them, or simply see reason in what was quickly becoming a waking nightmare.  

By the end of their endeavour, half their number had been severely twisted and changed by their journey - Ogg was thinking that he was a mythical unicorn, Tvennr found it increasingly hard to wrap his tentacle-like fingers around his axes, and Urquilla kept misstepping, now that he had a third foot, but not enough legs to go around.  

Their new appendages, extra eyes, and other horrific physical changes were not as bad as Zandrian and his paladins - the years had turned them into horrific shells of their former selves, bonding weapon and armour with flesh, and causing their minds to retreat so far as to not recognise friend or foe.  The beholder, still alive and still very much not happy with his situation, fought to create more underlings.  He almost had a Hassan-statue, and a few people had segments of flesh and armour disintegrated, but they proved stronger, slaying the aberrant and, with his death, severing the tower's link to Xoriat.  Slowly, the jelly-like walls returned to their stone, and the staircase replaced the flight-through-the-stars they had to use on the way up.  

Only two of the paladins survived the battle - Zandrian, who was able to relay much of his tale to the party, once he was free of the beholder's influence, and Gernathiel, who no longer had much of a mouth to speak of (or through).  Though his return would be celebrated by his children, Analastra and Berrian, their joy would be lessened at his strange and highly disturbing appearance.

Friday, 21 March 2014

D&D Insider Expiration

I received the following email this week.

The subscription detailed below will be expiring 6 days from today. Since you were one of the first subscribers, we wanted to invite you to renew your service before it runs out.

Product Name                        Subscription Date  Expiration Date  Amount
1 Year Dungeons and Dragon          03/25/2012           03/25/2014           $71.40

To renew your subscription, you'll want to wait 6 days until your subscription is completely finished. You'll have a few days grace period before your access to D&D Insider officially goes away. At that time, please place a new subscription order at

Please note -- if you want to use Manual Renewal again, you will need to notify Customer Service in order to turn off Auto-Renew on your new purchase. We apologize for this inconvenience and are working on streamlining this process.

We hope that you've enjoyed D&D Insider and we look forward to your continued participation!

Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

I have to admit - it was nice that they "remembered" me from the start of the subscription service.  Though, that fact didn't really seem to change much else.

I had already written to WotC, as well as expressed elsewhere (eg here), but felt that the email needed a response. So, I wrote:

Dear WotC Insider folk,
Thank you for your email alerting me to the ending of my (long term) subscription, and for remembering that I was amongst the first subscribers to the service. 
Unfortunately, I do not wish to continue the service at this point in time.  Sadly, as WotC has moved away from the 4th Edition of DnD, and towards the 5th Edition (currently referred to as "DnD Next"), there has been a significant drop in products and usefulness of the subscription service, including:
  • No new Dragon or Dungeon magazines
  • No new rulebooks introducing new content into the Compendium or Character Builder
  • No updates or fixes to the Character Builder
  • No updates of fixes to the Compendium
  • No updates or fixes to the Adventure Tools
  • A total lack of many other programs (virtual table, character visualiser/portrait, etc) that were promised back at the start of the service.
Plus, there has been no clear response from WotC about what will happen with the 4e online tools, once 5e is released in a few months time.  I don't think it wise to sign up for another year when I might only get a few months out of that subscription.
In short, the price-point of the subscription has been hard for some time now, but with these issues, it has become greatly undesirable.  I do not think it a fair, nor wise price point to commit the asked amount of money to a service that provides me with a slow and broken character builder, and a compendium of rules I already own in paper form, and that should be free anyway.   
If you were to offer a downloadable version of the compendium and character builder (preferably one that allowed us to fix what WotC does not seen to feel it necessary to fix), where we could work to include our own house rules, where we could fix links to use in such programs as, and where we could have as many characters as we want, instead of the very restraining 20 hard limit, then I'd be interested.  But for now, I have to say "no thanks", and leave my subscription expiring.
As I said before, it is sad that it has to go, but they have continuously given less than they promised up-front, and with the culling of all new mechanics, the price-point leaped into the absurd.  The asked-for price was harsh when it was for a number of articles, a few books of info, and the online tools.  For simply the tools, I have to say "no".

Now, let's see where that leaves me in a months time...!

Friday, 7 March 2014

PotS 1x02 - Whispered Secrets

These posts are from our DnD group's latest game. The current adventure is a return to the world of Eberron, and specifically Xen'drik. The pirate crew have taken to the land, and are trying to make their way to the Watchtower that looms overhead atop the gulf's cliffs. But before them are some trees...many trees!

The foreboding forest loomed overhead, it's dark branches thick with webs. A path had already been cut through sections of webbing and brambles, presumably by those who had camped at its edge before them. There were no signs of Galinndan, who had vanished at some point in the night.

The party moved into the wooded area, cutting through webbing far too thick to be the work of regular spiders. Regdar found a relatively clean tree, and climbed to the top. From there, he gained enough knowledge to direct their paths more clearly, eventually leading them out of the spider-infested trees. However, even as they left, there were surprises remaining to be found: bodies of three giant spiders sagged in trees and lay cut apart across their path; the floor of the forest was littered with dozens of smaller (but still overly large) hatchlings. All were quite dead; crushed, stabbed, even scalded by magic. And not only the arachnids showed the signs of battle - trees had lost leaves and branches amidst the skirmish. But once again, the mysterious party had not left enough to identify themselves.

The Budding Feyspire
By about midday, the party had made it to what felt like the heart of the forest. Trees stood around them as far as any could see, and though the dark tower loomed ever waiting in the far north, they didn't feel quite as unnerved by it as they had done earlier. But this grove was not just a safe-haven - it held a pond, and from the pond protruded a strange object. The grove was filled with a strange magic...and, as they grew aware of their surroundings, a number of eladrin, too.

The leader turned on them sharply, demanding answers from the dwarves, but his companion stilled his hostilities. "No, Berrian," Galinndan spoke calmly. "They are not the ones you saw earlier - they are...with me."

Once introductions were made, the eladrins explained their own presence. Sir Berrian and his sister Analastra had been searching for their father, Zandrian Velfarren, for a significant period of time. They had travelled far, and been lost in the chaotic jungles of Xen'drik more often than not, but had finally found traces of him here. The pool had a budding feyspire, a growing eladrin tower, that their father had hoped would one day become a castle enchanted with fey magic, and provide a way back to their lands. But neither had actually found their father. And Analastra had gone missing during a routine scouting operation... Kami and her crew begrudgingly agreed to join the scouting effort.

Of Beasts and Maidens
The short bell-tower was falling apart, decades (if not centuries) of neglect had allowed the surrounding forest to reclaim much of the area about it. But still, the touch of the feywild had changed the place. Analastra was found, running, nearby the ruined tower; the feybeasts catching and throwing her to the ground as the party charged in to her defence. The displacer beasts were tough, sneaky and quick, but the rugged dwarves fought on, and slew them both before the elf was lost to her other enemy - a pair of stirges. The dire bloodsuckers had been awoken from their nest within the bell-tower, and happily shifted their attention to the meals-on-legs that the dwarves offered, but eventually even they were disposed.

When she could sit and speak again, Analastra explained why she had been trying to fight the beasts. She had found a cottage that she assumed was her fathers. Within it would be magics and enchantments that would help them defend and grow the spire, but a pair of owlbears had taken up residence. Knowing the owlbear's dislike for displacer beasts (the scents sent them running), she had foolishly tried to heard them in that direction. But now, perhaps there would be an easier task?

Regdar and Urquilla helped skin and de-gland the beasts, before "preparing" the dwarves with the musks of the creatures. Tentacles were slung across shoulders like elaborate scarves, and a few extra glands were handed across as short-ranged splash weapons.  Then, the pair helped Analastra back to the fey camp.

The dwarves had been surprisingly stealthy upon their approach to the hut.  They had even practised their mimicry of the beasts well beforehand, and felt confident in their calls.  But still, mistakes happened, roofs were collapsed, and a little too much displacer-gland was sprayed on the wrong individual.  They managed to get one owlbear to flee; the second, they had to kill (after using Hassan as live bait).

Secret Revelations 
There was one further task that the Velfarrens asked of Kami and her crew - to search for any further sign of their father.  Even more begrudgingly than last time, they accepted, and spent the better part of their afternoon combing a section of woods for any further information.  The only thing they came across was a grove of nymphs.  Well, that might have been enough for some folk, but Kami, Tvennr and Hassan?  No, they did not like it, not one bit.  They put up with them, in the hopes of information.  They listened to their singing, they obliged their music, and much of the rest of their little 'games' session may well never be told again.  In the end, the nymphs promised knowledge in return for secrets, and so, one by one, the three dwarves eventually gave of themselves in order to learn more.

Tvennr revealed a personal shame.  He liked the seas, and he thoroughly enjoyed sky-ships...what lurked behind the dwarf's tough, rough exterior was a fear, however.  Though born to the mountain caves, the ranger found himself prone to claustrophobia, especially in naturally-forming caves. For a dwarf, this was pretty grave indeed.  In return, one nymph told him about the dragons, how they flew in from Argonnessen, attracted to the raw magical power of the artefact, and had decimated the nearby town when they first arrived.  They would allow nothing to come between them and their riches...though that dark tower still had them paused.  For now, they lurked on the eastern side of the gulf, and on a few of the islands in between, watching and snapping at anyone who looked to be a threat to their increased wealth and power.

Eager to learn more about the tower, Kami offered one of her less desirable past experiences.  Her first "First Mate" role was not given to her purely based upon her talent as a sailor, but rather because she slept with the captain.  Nothing more about the captain was said; that was incriminating enough.  Nodding, one nymph stepped up to tell the trio of the black Watchtower, which had stood central to the downfall of the area.  It was a place used to keep the cove, and the settlement within it, in security and safety, until it was linked to Xoriat, the Realm of Madness.  For almost 9,000 years, the realm had been locked away, after Daelkyr had crossed over and caused the downfall of the golinoid Dhakaani Empire.  Druids and dragons had worked alongside then, barely managing to stop the chaotic forces from destroying all life on Eberron.  This time, the Watchtower had been the battleground, and it was the cork that stopped the madness leaking into our world.

Still with no answer to the whereabouts of Analastra and Berrian's father, Hassan stepped forward with his own revelation to give.  All knew of his hate of elvenkind; many had heard rumours of childhood complications with the fey people; but none had known who had started his vendetta.  None, until today, when he uttered four simple words..."It was a girl..."  Nothing more would be said, but the nymphs, perhaps sensing something deeper, or knowing something left unsaid, nodded solemnly. "Zandrian Velfarren was last seen defending the Watchtower. He never left. He can be found there, still."

After hearing about the nymphs advice, Galinndan decided to visit them.  He had struggled with this secret long enough - it was time for him to share it with another...and gain from the experience.  As it turned out, heights were his weakness; he is fine on a ship, but secretly dreads ever completing his mission, and managing to get one to actually fly.  With a knowing smile, the closest nymph nodded her head, and offered up a riddle - "Cards collect atop towers, and with commanders of companies."  Simple enough, Galinndan thought, and perhaps that is why the nymph had given it as such - was that a wink that had passed between her and the eladrin?

Ominously as it sounded, the dwarves' actions did not change. They were headed to the Watchtower before; now, there was but another reason to head there. Circling back to alert Urquilla and Regdar of their plans and to let the Velfarrens know of their learning, Kami's crew marched out of the forest, killed a few extra spiders on their way, and started their trek to the cliff walls, and the base of the dark Watchtower.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Pirates of the Thunder Sea - Meet the Crew! (part 2)

This post is some background for our latest game.  The current adventure is a return to the world of Eberron, and specifically Xen'drik.  Last week, we met the dwarven half of the PCs, now let's see what the taller half are like!
Admiral Galinndan Duskwalker, Emissary of the Spire

"Admiral" Galinndan Duskwalker

Galinndan left his Feyspire numerous years ago to explore the possibilities of harnessing the power of airships without a Dragonmark.  His title is less of a naval rank, and more of a rough translation of his position back in the Feyspire.

Galinndan's current predicament - being trapped at the mercy of a dwarven crew of pirates - came about after his latest voyage of experimentation failed.  The experimental ships foundered and sunk not long into the journey, leaving the renamed (and re-crewed) Kami Kaze to be attacked and plundered by the piratical bunch of dwarves.

The eladrin believes that he can find a way to bring the airship technology to the Feyspires, though he concedes that the half-elves, and House Lyrandar in particular, may not be too keen on losing their monopoly.

Urquilla the Scaled, Delegate of the Takamak Tribe

Urquilla the Scaled

Urquilla recently joined the dwarven crew after their latest stop off in Stormreach.  There, the dwarves managed to save his father from the hands of savage orcs, and he signed himself on as payment for the debt he felt he owed them.

Brought up as one of the few remaining warriors in his tribe who still drew their strength from primal forces, Urquilla has been trained to fight the hated Argonnessan dragons from a young age.  Already mastering the fighting styles of the Black, Red and Gold dragons, his recent foray with the White aboard the Kami Kaze has further expanded his repertoire of manoeuvres.  

Despite his rough appearance, Urquilla has had a good amount of schooling, already speaking Dwarven fluently, and making good headways into the Elven tongue.  He hopes he may be able to soothe tensions between the two races, though realises that there will probably be few opportunities to perform such tasks.

Regdar d'Vadalis, Outcast Animal Handler

Regdar d'Vadalis

Regdar the Druid wouldn't even admit to his last name or dragonmark until Kami forced it out of him "for official reasons".  What the House Vadalis animal trainer was doing on his own in Stormreach has not yet been divulged, though it is only too apparent that he had some sort of falling out with his house.  Those that knew him vouched that he had been in Xen'drik for a few years, back from before the Last War ended, though none could add to his mysterious background.

What he lacked in clear answers he made up for in other talents, not the least of which is his uncanny ability to see clearly in the darkest of nights, and at a distance far outstretching any other on board the ship.  So, the mysterious traveller joined the crew as lookout, causing Redtail to return to his rigging role.

Although he keeps to himself, he has no lack of companions - animals of all kinds come to him, fighting alongside or even ahead of Regdar, and all with a fierce loyalty that would see them dead before he should take injury.

Thanks for reading about our crew! Now, look out for their future adventures, coming soon!