Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sorry for the long absence with the blog but real life got in the way.  My dad died last year and I'm still taking care of my mom's estate in the meantime (she had a stroke in 2007 and I've had my hands full dealing with that for the last six years) not to mention work obligations.  Anyway, I'm not trying to make excuses or anything but I'll get back to blogging about old school games in the near future.  We are currently playing in a B/X D&D game for the "A" series otherwise known as the Slavers series.  Our GM is using the WOTC re-release of that series and we are currently playing the new introductory module that was added to the new book.    We are currently 3rd level or so and are about to enter the Slave Pits of the Undercity.  Stay tuned for future recaps and campaign info updates on the current campaign as it unfolds...

The current campaign is set in our GM's world of Moog in the outlying regions beyond the City of Vermistdadt which was the setting for our previous Swords and Wizardry White Box city campaign.  I'll post more info on the current setting as well as more becomes available in an effort to help the GM flesh out the campaign setting info.  The World of Moog borrows heavily from the old Warhammer Fantasy Role Playing game and miniature combat game default world.  It is a gritty Swords and Sorcery type of setting that reminds me a lot of Fritz Leiber's World of Lankhmar where his awesome Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories take place.  The City of Vermistadt is a lot like the City of Lankhmar but with Warhammer types of gods and denizens (sort of a mashup) and the land of Moog can be roughly equated to Leiber's world of Nehwon coupled with influences from the Warhammer setting as well.  It is a fun setting to play in for a Swords and Sorcery type of game and often includes certain elements that might be considered a bit gonzo which adds a bit of dark comedic entertainment to the setting.

You can read a few older recaps of the Vermistadt White Box games which are posted posted at the blog here http://iguanaslair.blogspot.com/2011/08/entrance-to-hollowheim-and-demise-of.html
and here http://iguanaslair.blogspot.com/2012/03/lock-stock-and-one-smoking-wand-of.html.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Averlorn Campaign - Adventure Module X1 The Lair of the Kopru

Recap from 10/26/2012 Averlorn Session

While the other characters were waiting for the four to explore the area beyond the deep water in the large room, and after the water had receded quite a bit when it drained down the stair case, they noticed that what we had previously though was a dead crab in the middle of the room was in fact a very large clam!  At this point they realized that we had most likely found the location of the fabled giant black pearl that we were sent to retrieve – it was likely to be found within the shell of the giant clam!

After the advance group returned to the remaining party members, and Skeorn and the barbarian showed the rest of the group how to circumvent the deep water by going down the other hallway without having to swim, the group descended the staircase beyond the second portcullis at the landing.  When we got to the bottom we noticed that it was very hot and steamy due to all of the water running down the stairs and into the heat of the room below.  We also surmised that there was some sort of natural heat source down here like lava or boiling geysers or something.  So we decided to go back up the stairs for a bit until the steam went away or diminished somewhat, and so that we could give our Monk an opportunity to attempt to extricate the giant black pearl from the maw of the giant clam…

The Giant Clam did in fact contain the fabled black pearl! After using the trademark maneuver "Monkey steals the peach" Amul the Monk snatched the giant black pearl from the giant Clam before it could snap its shell closed upon his hand!  So we succeeded in our primary task of acquiring the gift of the giant pearl for the God King!

We continued to adventure in the City of the Ancients to the lower level after camping and resting up for the night. At the bottom of the staircase leading downward, the party encountered an underground steam-geyser cavern containing large pools of boiling mud with walkways leading into it along the edges of the cavern on the left and right of the cavern walls.  As we explored the further, we found that the cavern was very hot and humid as one would expect from such an underground infernal region. Little did we know that we were being watched and stalked by a creature dwelling in the bubbling mud called a Kopru - it looked something like this with a lamprey mouth:

We found out later that the Kopru were heat loving amphibians of great intelligence and power.  This creature lurked in the pool of hot boiling mud and used its spell like abilities to dominate and charm the party! Once the submersed creature cast its spell like charm abilities upon the group, both Narseal the Sun Elf and our Thugee war priest Skeorn began to attack the party with their weapons after having been charmed by the evil creature!  Luckily they were quickly subdued by Lorinar the Wizard with the use of his Wand of Paralysis!  The party quickly tied up the two charmed characters and returned to the canoes outside and the village beyond the lake and Taboo Island.  The two tied up characters were not very happy with their incarceration but after we explained to them that it was necessary due to the evil enchantment that was placed upon them by the Kopru, they forgave us for the transgression.  When we arrived at the village, the local witch doctor dispelled the evil Voodoo Magic that was placed upon them by casting dispel magic and remove curse upon the two affected party members.  It was determined that the island was named Voodoo Island for a reason and we decided it was best to let sleeping Kopru lie as they were a very dangerous and powerful foe to contend with.

After the group rested and healed up from the ordeal, we searched the outer rim of the crater and found the trail that led out of the crater to the north that the tribesmen from Taboo Isle had told us about.  After a few encounters with pteranodons and dire wolves, we found the ravine with the vein of corbitumite that had an estimated value of 25,000 g.p. if we were able to successfully mine the corbitumite vein and ship it's contents back to the mainland!!!  We quickly realized that we could be rich if we were able to organize a mercantile mining and shipping operation from the Isle of Dread to extricate the precious fuel and transport it via in order to ship it back to the mainland so we proceeded with setting up the operation with the means at our disposal.

With the mission complete we decided to return to the mainland in order to report in to the Brotherhood of the Black Crowes and to bestow our gift of the giant black peal upon the God King in order to conclude our quest.

ADVENTURE FINI!!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Averlorn Campaign - Adventure Module X1 The Lower Levels of the Temple

RECAP from 10/19/2012 Averlorn Session

We started off by searching the area around the first secret door that we had found previously.  We found spy holes looking out over entry area, rotted ropes and levers that did nothing when pulled.  Ragnar the Thugee War Wizard and Skeorn the Thugee Cleric got a rash from a yellow mold like substance that they touched while searching rubble in the corner.  We also found large stone feet on the steps outside above where the destroyed statue used to be.

The group then opened the secret door and found stairs that led to a platform over the giant stone face in the large room beyond the entry corridor where we had fought the natives in the previous session.  Skeorn pulled a lever and fire shot out of the mouth and set the firepit alight again!  While searching below the stairs, Skeorn fell into a trap door and took some damage.  He was in a room full of statues - four on two walls and two on another wall with a passage leading out of the room.  While searching the statues, Ragnar disturbed a group of four deadly poisonous cobras!  Unfortunately, three of the four bit him and he failed all three saving throws!  (he rolled a 2, a 2 and a 3)  It was only a matter of time before he died but Skorn had memorized Delay Poison and cast it on him to buy him some time.  We got back into the canoes and paddled back to the village of Mantru across the lake to see if there was anything that the villagers could do for him but all the village shaman could do was cast delay poison again which bought him another four hours and then he died.  We gave him a proper Viking funeral and put him in a canoe piled with wood, set it alight and sent it adrift into the lake to burn up and eventually sink to the bottom, so that he could rest in Valhalla with the good graces of Odin.

There was another Thugee barbarian warrior that had recently arrived at the village from the ship and he joined the group in Ragnar’s place.  So we headed back to Taboo Island in our canoes and resumed our search of the Temple of the Gods.  Several party members climbed back down into the room below the trap door and resumed the search.  Amul the Monk used his speak with animals ability to talk to the cobras and asked them if it was OK if we searched the statues and they said it was OK as long as we didn't bother them.  Besides, they said we were too big to eat and they were sorry they killed our friend but that he had startled them and they were merely acting in self defense. 

So after searching the room, one of the elves found a secret door in one corner of the room but we didn't open it right away.  Also, Skeorn had set off a pressure plate or something that caused a portcullis to fall over the only other portal out of the room.  The fighter types combined their strength to try to lift it but couldn't get it to budge.  Skeorn opened up a door in another corner that had a puddle of water on the floor around it and sure enough, just like we feared, the room quickly filled up with water which flooded down the hallway past the portcullis and we were forced to wade in waist deep water from that point on since the entire floor was now flooded.

So we opened up the secret door and came out into a hallway at a three way intersection.  This entire area was now flooded as well.  We traveled down one of the branches of the hallway with Skeorn the Thugee War priest and our new barbarian comrade in the lead.  The corridor went on for a ways and then we went up a short flight of stairs to a landing and down a short flight of stairs to a continuation of the hallway.  Once he got to the other side of the hallway beyond the second set of steps, he felt something brush up against his leg and then was attacked by three normal sized crocodiles!  After a brief melee, the three reptiles were killed by the two warriors with some help from the monk and one of the elves wielding spears and afterwards we resumed our search.  At the end of the long hallway was another flooded room in which there was a very wicked looking mace hanging on the wall!  Skeorn picked it up and kept it since it was even more wicked looking than the one he had and looked like the kind of weapon that would suit a Thugee War priest of Odin!

The group searched the room and the barbarian found a small purse with some gold coins in it and a couple of small coral statues that appeared to be worth a decent amount of money!  Aside from these items though, there was nothing else in the room.  We resumed our search and back tracked back to the three way intersection and went down another passageway.  This hallway was lined with a group of cell blocks on both sides with wrought iron bars from floor to ceiling and locked gates designed to keep prisoners in, though it had long ago been abandoned.  At the end of the hallway we found a torture chamber that was similarly abandoned and there were old decayed and rusty implements of torture lying about.  So we went back out into the hallway and down at one end there was a door that Skeorn opened. 

Beyond was another flooded room but this one was very large being some seventy feet square.  As Skeorn waded out into the water, he realized that he was on a landing that had stairs off of it going down deeper into the water!  Realizing that the water was very deep, the Thugee cleric and the barbarian stripped off their armor so they could swim and left their armor hanging on the statues back in the first room to keep it from sitting in the murky water and rusting away. Skeorn swam across to the other side of the room.  There he found a wide passageway in the middle of the one wall with a 20’ wide set of stairs leading up.  Unfortunately, the stairs were blocked with rubble from a cave in, and it looked like the entire staircase area had suffered a cave in long ago and collapsed.  So he couldn’t go up that way.  He swam across to the other side opposite the original landing and ended up at a shallower area which appeared to be a another set of semi circular steps in the water below, leading up to a quarter round dais landing at the highest point before finally reaching another portal that led out of the room.  

As he started walking up the stairs through the continually decreasing depth of water over them, he was attacked by two very large giant crabs that swam up out of the depth of the water of the room and tried to maul him with their four giant pincers!  So Skeorn had no armored protection aside from his shield and during the fight, they managed to cut him up a little, but fortunately, he had help from the archers and wizards across the room on the landing on the other side who pin-cushioned the giant crustaceans with arrows while the two wizards hit them with magical missiles.  We managed to kill one and hurt the other badly enough that Skeorn was able to finish it off with his mace.

Once the crabs were defeated, he was joined by the barbarian, the Monk Amul and Lorinar the Elvish wizard and the four swam across the room after him searching the deep water briefly.  While swimming across the water the barbarian spotted what looked to be a giant dead crab on the bottom but didn’t think anything of it so the three continued across to join Skeorn in the hallway on the other side.  With Skeorn leading the way, the group made its way past some apparent rat tunnels in the walls and to another door at the end of the hallway.  Skeorn entered the room with the barbarian and it appeared to be empty so he started heading to the door on the other side of the room. 

As he was walking through the waist deep water, he stepped over a tripwire and suddenly a gout of burning oil gushed out of an opening in the wall into the room and the hallway beyond burning the four characters with an oily substance that stuck to their skin!  (kind of like Napalm!)  As the four retreated to get away from the burning oil floating on top of the water, they continued getting burned until Lorinar realized that going under the water actually helped to put the fire out.  So the four party members were burned a little but not too badly.  After a few healing spells were cast, the group resumed their search.  This time Skeorn swam over the trip wire to get to the door beyond and didn’t set off the trap again.  When he opened the door, all of the water that had recently flooded the hallway and the other areas beyond rushed out and flooded out into the hall knocking Skeorn off of his feet, and he was pushed into an iron portcullis 10’ down the hall beyond.  He was a little bruised and battered but otherwise all right.

After the water drained out of the hallway we could see that beyond the portcullis was a stair leading down and another door on the left at the top of the landing.  We could also clearly see the trip wire on the floor that set off the burning oil trap which we could now simply step over.  He opened up the door and in the hallway beyond was what appeared to be a well going down further into the earth with gouts of heat and steam billowing up from it!  Whatever was down there was boiling and hot and best to be avoided.  The barbarian easily jumped across the well and Skeorn carefully went around it hugging the walls.  Beyond the well was another really long passageway which the two followed until they came to the other portcullis at the other end in the first room with the statues in it!  So they retrieved their armor and put it back on and went back around to the rest of the group that was still waiting in the larger room above the large flooded room that the others had previously swam accross.

While the other characters were waiting for the four to explore the area beyond the deep water in the large room, and after the water had receded quite a bit when it drained down the stair case, they noticed that what we had previously though was a dead crab in the middle of the room was in fact a very large clam!  At this point we realized that we had most likely found the location of the fabled giant black pearl that we were sent to retrieve – it was likely to be found within the shell of the giant clam!  So Skeorn and the barbarian showed the rest of the group how to circumvent the deep water by going down the other hallway without having to swim and the group descended the stair case beyond the second portcullis at the landing.  When we got to the bottom we noticed it was very hot and steamy due to all of the water running down the staircase into the heat of the room below.  We surmised that there was some sort of natural heat source down here like lava or boiling geysers or something.  So we decided to go back up the stairs for a bit until the steam went away or diminished a bit and our allow our Monk to attempt to extricate the giant black pearl from the maw of the giant clam…

TO BE CONTINUED…

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Averlorn Campaign - Adventure Module X1 The Monks Finest Hour: Fists of Fury!

RECAP from 10/13/2012 Averlorn Session

I have to say that was the most enjoyable battle we've had since switching over to AD&D - it was very cool. I was thinking about it a bit today and Amul really made the difference in that fight - first, he rolled a 20 to catch an arrow in mid air and knocked another one out of the air away from him while still in the entry tunnel after the two fighters had charged up the stairs to the left of the tunnel to engage the archers. After realizing that the arrows were poisoned, he fired the one that he caught from his bow and hit one of the tribal leaders that was charging towards the rest of the group at the tunnel entrance. This warrior failed his save and his eyes rolled up inside of his head and he started frothing at the mouth and dropped to the floor twitching and spasming in convulsions. Shortly afterwards, Amul finally turned invisible from the potion of invisibility he had taken previously, and ran up the stair with Narsil the Elf and Tobin's Ranger heading towards the archers on the balcony above. Before the two armored fighters even made it up the stairs they got swarmed by the warriors on the floor from below and had to turn around and fight them to fend them off. Since Amul had finally turned invisible when the natives reached the stair, he managed to quickly slip away from the fight up the stair past the two fighters onto the middle of the balcony overlooking the large room below. He fired his bow and managed to kill one or two of the archers on the balcony and became visible while the rest of the archers repositioned themselves further down the balcony and around the corner so they could get shots at the rest of the group and at the monk. 

In the following round, Amul realized that the shaman on the bottom of the stairs was about to cast something really nasty on the two fighters (Tony told us later it was hold person which could have been game over for those two guys if they had failed their saves since they were being swarmed by warriors) so he picked up a quiver of the poisoned arrows from the archer he had just dropped and fired two of them at the Shaman! The first one missed but the second one hit its mark before the spell was completed, and all of a sudden the shaman went all glassy eyed and dropped onto the stair with white froth coming out of his mouth and started twitching convulsively! Meanwhile, the battle below raged on with the two clerics in plate mail holding the hallway against a large group of warriors with Lorinar the Elvish Wizard behind them. Lorinar managed to cast his sleep spell and dropped all of the natives on the floor outside of the tunnel (including Skeorn, our Thuggee Cleric), except for the ones that charged our guide Quoyoga who suddenly turned visible in the middle of the room next to the central firepit as he was trying to cast sleep on the rest of the archers on the balcony! 

As if Amul hadn't already done enough to swing the battle in our favor, he was left with a stark choice - go through one of the doors off of the balcony to get out of site of the remaining ten or so archers on the railing, and effectively withdraw from the battle, climb down to the floor and risk being peppered by poisoned puffer fish venom arrows, or engage the remaining archers on the balcony in hand to hand by himself so they couldn't shoot him with their poisoned arrows! And wisely, he chose the latter option and luckily for him initiative was tied on that round! So instead of his usual two attacks with his fists of doom, since his weapon speed was 1 and their weapon speed was 4 (they were using clubs) he got to make four attacks in the round against the four guys around him! (when there is an initiative tie in AD&D you use the difference between the two weapon speeds - in this case it was 4 - 1 = 3 which meant that his attacks were three times faster than the clubs so he got two extra attacks!). And of course, one was a crit so he did damage and rolled his stunning attack and stunned one guy right before killing him, and the other three hits resulted in three more archers going down! It was like Bruce Lee just opened up a can of whoopass on a bunch of mooks and they were dropping like flies! 

Meanwhile, Rollo joined the fray on the stairs after charging the mob of natives there that were attacking the fighters and kept them from fleeing while the two fighters kept pounding on them from above on the steps. Narsil and the Ranger eventually managed to slay their leader after a fierce melee - Tony said he was a 7th level fighter after the battle! Meanwhile, Amul, I mean Bruce Lee, started Karate chopping the rest of the archers on the balcony and a few more went down and the rest started climbing down the large demon head statue at the end of the balcony to the floor below to get away from his fists of fury. Prior to that, the guys that had ganged up on Quoyoga had him outnumbered five to one and managed to drop him since he became visible in the center of the room before he could get his sleep spell off (he was lightly armored like our opponents). Seeing his plight, our Thugee War priest Skeorn, who Lorinar had awakened, single handedly charged them to try to save our guide. Two engaged him in melee and the other three started climbing up the rope to try to make it out through the hole in the ceiling along with some of the archers that had climbed down to the floor by this point.

Lorinar fired a few times with his bow and missed but Amul decided he was going to try to bring the lot of them down in one shot and aimed for the rope! It was a thick rope so it wasn't an impossible shot (Tony gave it an AC of 2) and he managed to hit it with one of his arrows! Then Tony figured out the rope's hit points after it failed an item saving throw to see if it actually took enough damage to break, and Allen rolled maximum damage or close to it and it did! Then Tony rolled to see how many guys took a d6 damage from the fall (they probably had less than six hit points) and he rolled a six! So one guy sprained his ankle and the rest of them were killed in the fall! Afterwards it was mop up time and Lorinar managed to kill one of the guys fleeing down the face of the statue with his bow and finally, the rest of them, seeing the futility of the situation surrendered! All of their leaders were gone, their children had managed to escape up the rope but the remaining archers, women combatants and warriors (only about 15 left out of 40 initially) had had enough and laid down their weapons seeing that they could not prevail. 

After the battle we found a +1 spear and a +2 longsword amongst them and a bunch of gems, a potion of flying and a nugget of Corbitimite around the leader's neck on a string! We asked the survivors where they had found that and they said that only the leaders knew where the corbitumite vein was located but if we could find it and successfully mine it, we would all be rich! Corbitumite is the fuel that powers the fires that drive the Dragonships and is a very valuable commodity. So we brought our prisoners back to the island and the villagers of Mantru were astonished that not only were their enemies not demons like they believed (they were all wearing scary demon masks), but they were in fact humans like themselves, and they were even more amazed that we managed to prevail against them and bring what remained of the tribe to them for judgement! So after they debated their fate, they had the remaining evil men amongst their enemies summarily executed (they were evil cannibals after all) and kept the women as slaves. We went back to the island afterwards and searched the big central room which served as their lair and found a couple of secret doors. Also, there was a tunnel leading through the big statue's head in the main chamber opposite the entry hallway that went straight for a ways and then turned to the right but since it was late we called the session there.

All I have to say is that Allen had the game of his life playing the Monk who was in his element against numerous low level lightly armored foes. That situation was really the best kind of fight for a mid level monk who is fast and has multiple punch attacks. I'm pretty sure he single handedly killed or poisoned like 15 or more of them out of the 40 (poisoned leader down below with arrow, killed another archer on the balcony with his bow, poisoned the shaman, killed another six or so archers by himself on the balcony, shot the rope that killed another six!) and I may have missed one or two in the count - it was a really fun and eventful session... 

TO BE CONTINUED...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Averlorn Campaign - Adventure Module X1 The City of the Ancients

RECAP from 10/5/12 Averlorn Session

Note: this recap was mostly written by Allen who was playing Amul the Monk at the time with edits and supplements at the end during the combat with the natives.  He posted the original recap on the Battlebuddies RPG Forum which was created and is run by our GM Scadgrad.  Allen's original recap can be found at the forum here:

We camped at the base of the mountain. The party needed a day or two to process all of the meat we acquired from killing several elk during a hunt that occurred during the session before (our rations were low and we were supplementing our food by hunting - elk and Pterodactyl jerky needed to be made). The party was accosted by a dino-armadillo creature during the third watch that did some damage, but we were able to put it down in short order.

The following morning the party climbed the mountain using the rope of climbing - it was a near vertical climb!  After a brief encounter with some Pterodactyls while we were climbing (we batted them away) the crows reached the summit and found out that we were on top of a volcano!   The party spent the night in sub- 0 temperatures which resulted in frostbite damage for everyone - it was perhaps the coldest night we have ever spent!! In fact it was colder than......

The following day, we ascended into the Caldera valley.  Here it was very warm and tropical on the valley floor and the crows spotted a village on the floor of the valley below. We guessed it had about one hundred or so island natives as inhabitants.  The village was set up for fishing the large lake at the center of the volcano.  They seemed hostile at first, but after figuring out we were friendly they accepted us - and, I mean accepted us!  They had no concept of personal property - simply put, what they had was ours and what we had was theirs!  The characters were all assigned to live with different family groups and we were one with the community!

Amul mentioned to the village community that 'our sister' Paladin Sierra was an unmarried female (a nice military-style practical joke since she was a Paladin!)

People of note:

THE CHIEF - a small stone statue - (this might be a god idol), but we were to respect it and talk to it as if it was a real person.

Oo-lot - "the talking chief" seemed to be the leader and was very old, friendly, and scarred.

Fon-o – the Village Shaman was an old leader type who worshiped the "Sky God".

After staying for a while to rest up and replenish our nourishment and supplies, the group found it had been totally befriended by the village.  At this point the village elders asked us to destroy the "Devils" that lived on the island in the middle of the lake.  The island was called "Taboo Island".  According to the elders these devils regularly hunted, captured, and preyed on the villagers.  After agreeing to help them in this matter, the party set off across the lake to attack the “Devils”. Upon our arrival, we found some "ancient ruins" which was what we had been seeking - the fabled City of the Ancients!!!

We crossed the lake from the village to the island in the middle in canoes provide to us by the villagers for the assault.  After an initial investigation of the old temple face on the edge of the lake, we went up some steps and found a hallway leading into darkness.  The hallway was filled with rubble so we could only proceed single file.  The crows began the advance into the hallway and suddenly, the Paladin in front was attacked by five spear men.  They were defending the "choke point" at the end of the tunnel so we couldn't really bring all of our forces to bear - only two people could fight at a time including one with a spear behind the Paladin. These spear men then raised the alarm alerting their companions beyond the entry.  During the initial melee, three spear men were killed and then the guards fell back into what appeared to be a large room beyond the entry corridor.  More natives charged in to block our entrance into the room, but we beat them back and finally cleared the choke point and they left a rearguard of two natives behind to cover their retreat who were finally overcome.

During the melee we wounded one of their leaders (a spear guy) who took 17 hits and fell back with the rest of them.  When it was over, Sierra was up front with Narsil the Sun Elf behind her and Rollo the dwarf was behind him with the rest of the party following behind in single file.  The Paladin could see many more in the large room beyond including archers, and it looked like they were waiting for us to charge into the room in order to let loose with a volley of arrows and spears - and that's where we left it.  We also thought that these devils were nothing more than evil humans in 'devil' costumes.   No gold or items where found but we did find a nice village and what seems to be the "City of the Ancients" so it was a productive session.  The next session is looking like a scrum from the get go and should be exciting... 

TO BE CONTINUED...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Averlorn Campaign - Adventure Module X1 the Isle of Dread

Recaps from 9/14/12 and 9/22/12 Averlorn Sessions

Part I - the Voyage

The Brotherhood of the Black Crowes had a new assignment for the group.  A map had recently been found by some adventurers and it was discovered that when heated, the location of a distant jungle island called the Isle of Dread showed up on the parchment.  There was also an account that indicated that a vast sum of riches and even a huge black pearl were hidden in a long lost City of the Gods located somewhere on the island.  We were assigned by the Brotherhood the task of finding the huge black pearl to give to the God King as a present, but were allowed to keep other treasures where found there minus 10% for the Brotherhood for arranging passage and setting up the whole expedition.  Several of our group were not used to sea travel and were ill for the first few days but eventually found there sea legs.  During the sea voyage, the ship was attacked by a very large bird of prey that killed a few sailors before the group finally managed to hit it with several magic missiles and arrows and finally, Ragnar’s sleep spell which brought it down.  Afterwards, we made it to Harbor Reach without any problems. 

The group brought aboard a quantity of trade goods to trade with the locals at the island upon our arrival.  When we boarded the ship the Golden lass, we noticed that Captain Jerran Colbertis had similar ideas, as he had stashed aboard the ship a large quantity of wine to trade in the port cities along the way since otherwise, the ship would have been empty sailing from port to port which would have been a wasted opportunity to trade some goods and make some money.  So once we arrived in Harbor Reach we decided to do likewise since it was known that good wine was made in that city but not necessarily in our next port of call which was the City of Zarathus.  Zarathus was another coastal city within the Kingdom of Ertris further to the south of Harbor Reach.  So when we finally arrived in Zarathus, the group managed to find a buyer for the wine and both the group and the Captain sold their wine to some merchants in a deal arranged in the Crippled Ape Tavern, a quiet little inn frequented by traders.  Once there, we made some inquiries as to what might be available in the islands and what they might want in trade, and used the profits from the wine sale to buy even more trade goods to trade with the natives of the island.

We sailed from Zarathus and had to outrun a violent storm by tacking along its edge but eventually made it to the Isle of Dread unharmed.  The isle was located in or near the Great Banks to the southeast if Zarathus.  When we arrived, we found the natives of the village of Tonnora to be very friendly and eager to trade with us.  We found out that they had ample supplies of ivory, coffee beans, and a beautiful and rare type of teak wood with a bluish purple color to trade, but they really lacked raw metal ore and glazed pottery and were eager to try and set up some sort of regular trading between our peoples.  We offloaded the trade goods and they loaded up the ship with about 5,000 g.p. worth of the ivory, rare wood, and coffee beans that they could gather or had on hand which we could sell for a tidy profit once back home or on the way there.

The other thing we discovered was that the natives had a matriarchal society – the women ruled the tribes but the men were still the warriors and held positions of authority like their spokesman Augma of the Hawk Clan.  There was also a witch doctor that eyed us suspiciously but we didn't really converse with him.  The village was one of many on the main island and nearby islands, but this one in particular was located on the southern tip of the main island in order to guard a massive stone wall across a narrow peninsula of land that separated the human inhabitants on this end of the island from the many dangers further inland.

The wall looked like it was a thousand years old and the natives said it had been built by the gods.  The wall had four huge seventy foot tall by a hundred foot square towers interspersed at regular intervals along its length, and a massive gate straight out of the movie King Kong, and was built to protect against the great beasts and rampaging humanoids found further to the north of the island.  The area beyond the walls had been cleared for a ways to allow archers to keep the wandering creatures from the island from getting too close to the walls and assaulting them.  Beyond that was another line of defense which had often helped to keep the larger predators away from the walls – the tar pits.  Augma also said the villagers regularly visited the tar pits in order to collect the tar for waterproofing the thatched roofs of their huts and for other uses, but rarely ventured any further than that.  When we asked him to pinpoint the location of the City of the Gods on our map, he pointed to an area in the northeast of the island before the island narrowed down to a point further to the north and east.

Within the town itself, we noticed that there was a central pyramid and four mounds at each of the cardinal points surrounded by a circular wooden palisade.  We were told that the ancestors were buried within the mounds and that there was one such mound for each of the clans (such as the Elk clan or instance).  We asked Augma about the ancestors but he didn’t want to talk about them – he said something about bad juju.  When we asked if they had had any recent visitors from the mainland the leader said some other visitors had arrived earlier in the spring that spoke a different language and also said that they had been forced to land because their ship had been damaged in a storm.  He also told us that there were cannibals living on some of the outer islands as well and to be wary of them.  When we asked him about the City of the Gods he said that his people believed that the gods actually lived there and built the place.

Part II - the Isle of Dread

So after the trade goods had been distributed and loaded aboard the ship, we provisioned ourselves and prepared to set forth further into the island beyond the great wall.  The villagers agreed to provide us with some porters and a guide for a nominal payment and we loaded up and set forth into the teeming jungle.  About halfway to the tar pits we set up camp for the evening and shortly into the first watch there was trouble.  Lorinar and Rollo were on the first watch when the camp was attacked by a large group of Rock Baboons!  We did our best to alert the camp but they were on us before everyone could even wake up and defend ourselves.  Several of the characters were wounded and four of the six porters were rent by the savage beasts limb from limb and killed in a grisly fashion.  Lorinar somehow managed to get a sleep spell off and managed to stay unscathed in the fray, but nearly everyone else in the group was wounded by the time we managed to slay the last of them.  At this point we found out that our guide Quyoga had some healing abilities since he also helped us to treat the wounded.  We also noticed that he wasn't quite like the other natives – he was Sea Blooded! (from Realms of Crawling Chaos).

So on the following day we resumed our journey and eventually made it to the tar pits…

Next session…

It was a fun session.  Tony rolled up a Sea Blooded fighter/cleric/shaman dude to play so we we would have a bit of healing - he turned out to be our guide which made it believable.  The first potential encounter was at night during one of the watches when a group of zombies came close to the camp - Quoyoga went into the woods and said he would take care of it and Lorinar saw him leading the zombies away!  At that point we were thinking they really were into ancestor worship because he said the "ancestors" are restless or something along those lines.

We continued our march through the hills and eventually into the jungle again and on another night, the group was nearly attacked by four gigantic bears (the biggest ones in the monster manual) so we decided to flee that encounter after Lorinar and Ragnar managed to slow them down with Stinking Cloud and Web spells.  One failed its save and was incapacitated by the cloud and the others had to go around or through the web but the spells bought us enough time to get away.  Unfortunately, our hasty withdrawal meant we lost a week or so of rations which were left behind, though that was better than becoming bear food ourselves!  These bears were huge and probably would have run us over and tore us to shreds!  So after that we kept going and entered an area of limestone hills that had caves everywhere and our guide told us not to go into the caves.  He said there was a tribe of white apes somewhere on the islands that drove the original inhabitants out but we weren't sure what was in the caves so we heeded his advice and continued on.  After that, we had another encounter during our watch with a pair of saber tooth tigers that were also huge and very hungry!  This time they were on us before we could get our stinking cloud and web spells off and it was a tough fight but we managed to slay them and only took a few wounds. 

After that we kept going and eventually hit a mountain range which we decided to cross.  On the other side we came to a deep canyon (like the size of the grand canyon!) with a river way at the bottom.  We noticed that off to the left was a rope bridge across it straight out of an Indiana Jones movie or something!  So the monk cautiously crossed the bridge and made it about halfway across, but then suddenly three Pteranodon's appeared in the sky above and started diving down towards him!  This was their hunting grounds apparently and they were hungry for some monk meat!  Fortunately, monks are fast (they move 15") and he quaffed half of his invisibility potion, turned invisible and made it back to the side that the group was on before they got to him.  So the Pteradon's swooped in on the party and a fierce melee ensued.  Lorinar cast magic missile on one, the paladin, Quoyoga and Narsil killed another, then Ragnar cast sleep in the comical finale and slept another one, put the Paladin and Abscondias to sleep, but not before Abscondias got off a magic missile spell and killed the third one on the way down and then the wizard hit the ground for a dirt nap afterwards, since both spells went off in the same segment!  That was pretty funny but that's where we left it.  We can see the plateau where the City of the Gods is supposed to be located beyond the canyon and the only thing between us and it is the rope bridge and the river gorge.  It was a fun and exciting session - I have to say that this module is pretty cool!  It has a very Indiana Jones/King Kong/Rudyard Kipling story feel to it...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Averlorn Campaign - A Murder Most Foul and an Evil Tome bound in human flesh...

Recap from 1/20/2013 Averlorn Online Session using Map Tools

I don't usually blog recaps about our online game using MapTools, but I took a lot of notes during the 1/23/2013 session which was mostly a story based adventure within the City of Caursetti in the Archipelago.  I thought it would be worthwhile endeavor to post a recap here since it has all of the elements of a good murder mystery.  The background was that as our campaign started, we were hired to escort one Gundar Thoricson, a Wealthy Thugee merchant, on a ship bound for Caursetti.  The ship hit rough waters and possibly shoals, and sank off of the Devil's Cape, also know as point Chuddoc on the southern tip of the Island of Rhaghaera.  The cape was known to be prowled by Sahugin (Sea Devils) and sure enough, we were attacked by them while floundering in the water and trying to swim for the shore.  During the fight, our benefactor Gundar was slain and the Sea Devils tried to make off with his possessions, including a curious puzzle box which we found out later contained some kind of Arcane Tome, not unlike the Necronomicon, which just so happened to be bound in human skin.  Amazingly, the group of 1st level characters managed to fend off two Sahugin while in the water who were slain during the fight, and we later dove into the shallows to retrieve both the puzzle box and his enchanted short sword.

What follows is a recap of the session in Caursetti where we were trying to extricate ourselves from a tricky legal and political situation within the Gleaming City of Arches.  We had employed an Elven Sage by the name of Lady Erslantz, a Sea Elf wizard, to identify the foul tome bound in human skin for us.  The next day when no one answered the door, our wizard cast Reduce on the door to gain entry suspecting foul play.  Sure enough, they found the body of Lady Erslantz and her handmaiden and a strange substance on both the blade and the floor.  It appeared that the lady had been strangled in her sleep and that her handmaiden and servant had first been hit by some sort of magical attack (like magic missile) and then gored by some fell creature, where-after she bled out and died.  The group left the premises and the door returned to normal size, and they notified the city watch that they were supposed to meet them at a certain time, and when they didn't answer that they went straight to the watch to ask them to investigate since they suspected foul play.  Of course, the city guard immediately assumed they were guilty of the crime and what follows is the narrative that occurred afterwards when we tried to extricate ourselves from a legal and potentially political situation within a country with strict laws, that just so happened to be at war with their enemy in Mallithorn which is led by Ravishar the Undying:

Sorrin, our Gnomish Cleric/Illusionist met with Frunsharn the learned, the gnome illusionist in order to discuss the enchantment on the door to one of the hideouts of Arham of the Cult of the Red Snake that we found in the Pod Caverns of the Sinister Shroom (Arham was apparently Grakhirt’s former master).  He said that the magic on the door was likely triggered by touching it and that if you could avoid touching it while trying to open it somehow, that you might avoid the enchantments.  He also said that the knock or dispel illusion could work to defeat the illusionary defenses along with a few other enchantments.  One of our companions was laid low by a powerful illusion spell in a previous session that had been placed on the door and was in a comatose like state.  Frunshar's efforts to revive the unwitting halfling met with failure and he remained in a deep magical slumber.

There are two armed camps in the Falconbridge neighborhood of Caursetti.  One of these is the Iron Keep which is a huge fortress where the Brotherhood of the Black Crowes are stationed and quartered.  The Crowes are an order of fanatical warrior monks in the service of the God King.  It is almost a city unto itself and occupies an area almost equal in size to a borough of the city.  The other one is the Embassy of the Sea Elves in Caursetti.  The Sea elf kingdom of Alatheon, which lies is to the Northwest of the island, has a smaller fortress and embassy located in Falconbridge to represent its interests in the kingdom.  It contains a small Elven contingent, and when within the embassy compound, one is considered to be upon Elven ground and subject to Elven laws.

Beyond the entrance to the Elven Embassy we were greeted by one Finoleth Oldemain – a star elf who told the group that he would talk to them about our problem.  During this time the characters there noticed a strange occurrence and commotion outside – a flight of Sea Elf dragons were approaching the city in a long slow formation in order to indicate that they held no hostile intent towards the city.  He went on to say that he spoke with his dead cousin the Elven sage a few hours ago (presumably using the Speak with Dead Spell) and that she was confused about what transpired the night that she died (she was murdered by some fell creature shortly after starting the task of investigating the Evil book’s magical properties).  She told the ambassador that she was tasked to identify an item, but that she died violently under uncertain conditions shortly after beginning the process of identification.

After he looked at the sword of the servant that we produced, and the oily substance on it, he indicated that it was a foe from Malithorn that attacked and had slain his cousins.  He said the sword belonged to the Sage’s handmaiden Kaselris and that the family of the slain handmaiden would want it back so the characters gave it to him.

They also told him about the book that the group had obtained from Gundar Thoricson that had presumably caused the enchantment.  They produced it from the puzzle box for him to see and he said that he believed that a considerable enchantment was on it to protect it from prying eyes.  He also said that Sea Elf Nobles and sages were often able to provide identification of such arcane items as this.  When the group told him that we were attacked by the Sahugin off of the Devil’s cape when Gundar Thoricson was killed (he was carrying the book at the time), he explained that the Sahugin can sense magic.  When our ship went down off of the Devil’s cape, the book was what likely drew them to us, for the book clearly has powerful magical properties.  He indicated that we might want to rid ourselves of such a foul and evil thing (it is bound in human skin after all), and if we were to toss it into the sea in the area around Caursetti or the Elven holdings, that it was unlikely to be found by the Sahugin or others at the bottom of the ocean.  The Sahugin in the area mostly live in the seas around Devils point (point Chuddoc) but are not known to prowl in the areas around Caursetti or where the Sea Elves reside.

He also told the group that Rallemon of Ilimus is a potent wizard and Archmage who is well connected within the city of Carusetti.  He said it was wise to deal with him cautiously with regard to such powerful and evil magical artifacts.  He went on to say that he is known to interact with the enemy (Ravishar’s minions) and that he frequently travelled freely amongst them.  He also said that he has powerful allies amongst the wizards in iron keep, Home of the Brotherhood of the Black Crowes who are the faithful servants of the God King.  He went on to explain that it was quite likely that the enemy would get the book if we sold it to Rallemon according to the ambassador.

Afterwards, he said that the group is currently in a compromised situation with regards to the slain elves that we employed to investigate the book.  He explained that the constabulary in the borough that we were residing in (God’s walk) is a man of ambitious political desires, and wields his power and influence in order to prove that he has full control over his borough in order to further his future political aspirations.  He then said that he will not stop until this matter is resolved.  The legal system in the great city is not what one would normally expect based on those found in other realms, but that the neighborhood, and others like it, are ruled with an iron fist especially the more affluent and secure neighborhoods in the city.

One option he presented, which he said would not be cheap, would be to have a close associate of the Sea Elf ambassador carry the item to Tol Alatheon where a wizard of the court could ascertain its properties and potential dangers.  He then said that we could secure passage on a human vessel and leave an advocate here from the Sea Elf embassy to answer to the charges, upon our honor that we would return at a later date if required by the powers that be in Caursetti.  He then said that the relatives of the slain cousins were unlikely to press charges in the matter of the deaths of their kinsmen, since other elves (including star elves) were involved in the alleged crime.  The only possible criminal charges to be brought were breaking and entering using sorcery which can carry the penalty of death in Caursetti, especially in the more affluent and strictly controlled boroughs such as Gods Walk and Falconbridge.

He indicated that he would send a representative (a barrister or lawyer) to meet with us to aid us in this matter.  He also said he would send an associate to the Kingdom of Alatheon in order to negotiate for us to have the elves there identify the book and its properties safely, though it would likely be a costly endeavor.  “There are spells that predate our world that are exceedingly dangerous which may be contained in the book.  We don’t want those spells to fall into the hands of the mortals” according to the Ambassador.  On the other hand, he said it may just be a spell book with protective magics bound into it that had caused the deaths of the elves.

The star elves in the group trust the Elven ambassador implicitly.  If a good deal can be made, he and his associates will do right by us and we will be justly rewarded as a result of the transaction.  During the meeting at the Elven embassy, an entire wing of Elven Blue Dragons were seen flying from the windows, and later landed in the courtyard below making a great commotion.  It was a very formal affair during which the bodies of the slain elves were taken away to the Elven court in Tol Alatheon to the northwest some 200-300 miles away.

Meanwhile, Thorvald the Thugee Barbarian, the Volkyr Monk Scetis, Gash the human fighter, the dwarven fighter Niric Dragonbane, and Sorrin the Gnome Illusionist/Cleric went to the dock district in Grimward to try and negotiate passage to the Devil’s cape aboard a ship so that we could investigate the hideouts of Arham of the Cult of the Red Snake that we had found notated on the map from Grakhirt’s lair.  Thorvald learned on good authority from a relatively sober Thugee sailor about the Broken Wife Inn which was to be found within the city (we had a document that Gundar was to meet him about the book before his demise).  It is located in the Coinbridge neighborhood across the river. There are two neighborhoods south of city and across the river in Caursetti that are rough neighborhoods to say the least.  Coinbridge is only marginally safer than the nearby South Hill neighborhood, both of which are considered to be rough parts of town. 

A local inn owner then told the Scetis the Monk of one Captain Jettit Obergin who is the master and captain of the Fickle Shark which makes the run from Caursetti to the Devil’s Cape regularly.  When we arrived at the ship at the docks, it was apparent that the crew was busily making preparations to depart.  The Fickle Shark is a simple merchant vessel that appeared to be well kept and run from our observations.  He said that they were not going in that direction but we negotiated a price for passage to the Devil’s Cape aboard ship, and embarked at the end of the session two hours after the evening meal.

Later that evening before we departed, we were approached in the Inn of the Scorned Weasel in Gods Walk by a sea elf named Aefelearth Bale Bitterbriar.  He had been appointed by the Elven Ambassador as our barrister and we told him everything that transpired concerning the book and the death of the Elven sage and her servant.  His Sun Elf bodyguards showed up at the Inn as a show of force to keep the local constable from trying any monkey business.  He said from the information that we gave him that he could stall the proceedings for five to seven years.  In our defense he said the Elves in our group were honor bound to protect their cousins out of fear for their safety which justified their illegal entry onto the premises.

Afterwards, when we met with Rallemon he said he was a trader of magical items, some of which were ancient and some of which were of a more recent manufacture, and that he had clients in the west that would pay top dollar for the more rare magical items, particularly those considered to be forgotten lore.  When questioned about the lands of Ravishar to the east he said that the border between the Kingdom of Raegeleth (the god king’s realm) and the lands of Ravishar is known to be defended by demons and the like, but that the coastal villages were not unlike normal Volkyr towns found elsewhere on the island.  Their denizens typically live in fear and are in a perpetual state of servitude to Ravishar the Undying.  He inquired about the rumors of some demon unleashed from an evil book and inferred that he thought that we were somehow involved, but we declined to comment on the matter.

There was a glisten of water on the floor behind him that we noticed as he was walking out the door of the Inn.  I mentioned to the DM that maybe he was a Deep One (Shades of Shadows Over Innsmouth) and he said he wasn’t – at least not yet anyway… LOL

Monday, January 14, 2013

Averlorn Campaign - Cities and Towns of the Archipelago

The Gleaming City of Cauersetti with her renowned arched bridges lies some seven days west of the Free City of Harbor Reach across the shallow ink-black sea.  Cauersetti is the capital of the Volkyr kingdom of Raegelith which lies on the island of Rhaghaera in the northern reaches of the archipelago. The city can be found along the western coast of the island.  Iron Keep is a fortress in the Falconbridge neighborhood of the city (a nice part of town) where the Brotherhood of the Black Crows are garrisoned (a mercenary Brotherhood of warrior monks who serve the God King).  Grimward is a dangerous vermin infested nasty quarter of the city adjacent to the dock district.  Other notable city quarters include a few rough neighborhoods such as Devil’s ward and Serpents walk, but there are much more well patrolled and peaceful districts such as Falconbridge, Merchant’s Ward and God’s walk among others.  Some of the great arches of the city are decorative in nature but the majority actually serve as bridges that connect the various districts of the city that are separated by the many waterways that wind and weave their way through the great metropolis.

The God King reigns supreme in Caursetti and much of Rhagheara and he alone has the sole power and authority to awaken the Imperial dragons – a special type of dragon given to the god king long ago by the Elves.  It is rumored that the Elves often come to Caursetti when the Imperial Dragons are awakened in order to help the God King’s dragon masters handle them, for they are the most powerful of their kind and the ability to control them is counted amongst the lost knowledge forgotten by most of mankind but that the Elves still yet retain.  It is also rumored that the Elves are desirous of acquiring one of the Imperial Dragons though none can say for sure.  When the Imperial dragons are summoned forth from their caves by the God King during times of war or strife, they fly high into the air above Caursetti to light the great beacons with their blue dragon fire – a magnificent site to behold!

The Free City of Cinnoros a.k.a. Harbor Reach – Harbor Reach is a prosperous protectorate of the Kingdom of Thebos which sits on an arm of land that reaches into the ocean far to the east of Thebos along the coast.  The city is quite young and surrounded by untamed lands but well located to defend itself.  Harbor Reach is a bustling center of trade and commerce and is an important trading port linking Thebos to the busy trade routes up and down the coast with the Archipelago to the west.  The city is a place the three primary human races of Averlorn regularly get together for trade.  Seven days to the West across the shallow sea lies the distant island of Rhaghaera and the gleaming city of Caursetti.  Harbor Reach is not as large or as old as Caursetti and trade frequently occurs between the two cities due to their close proximity.  Cinnoros hosts a large fleet of merchant vessels many of which are owned by its wealthy merchant families and the city boasts quite a large navy and an active fishing fleet as well.

Though it is a protectorate of Thebos, Cinnoros maintains a modicum of independence from the Theban Kingdom owing to its remote location, and people of all sorts seeking independence from the Theban kings or other tyrants often seek refuge here where they are far away and somewhat free from their former rulers or masters.  The result is that is Harbor Reach is considered a free city and boasts a wide variety of different cultures and races of people from many corners of Averlorn, including rogues, sailors, fishermen, refugees, former slaves, traders, mercenaries and adventurers all thrown together into the lively and interesting confines of the city.  It is a sanctuary of sorts for a wide variety of transient travelling folk and those who call it home, and it functions somewhat as its own city state with its own local laws and governance.  The reality is that like the kingdoms of the trench, it is really a remote backwater and is only protected by Thebos because of its importance as a gateway to maritime trade along the coast.  This invariably means that the senate in Grand Oryx rarely troubles themselves with the day to day goings on in the city unless there is a direct threat to its interests concerning trade and mercantile activity including war and the occasional act of piracy. 

The city does have a very large Oryxian guild presence due to the bustling maritime trade that occurs there, and it is sometimes referred to as “Little Grand Oryx” for this reason.  The city is well protected and has a very active and visible city watch, except in some of the rougher neighborhoods on the southern end of town.  The port in the harbor typically moors hundreds of ships at a time and the aerodrome is also very busy and usually hosts thirty or more dragon ships moored there on any given day.

The port city and shipping running in and out of Harbor reach is often plagued by roving bands of pirates which raid up and down the coastline looking to plunder lightly defended maritime shipping targets.  Adventurers, bounty hunters and mercenaries are often hired in the city to hunt down and eliminate these troublesome piratical bands and their leaders who prey upon the merchant vessels that frequent the port city.

Dark Eel Grove – a small town between Orcwall and Caursetti.  There was some trouble here recently Trouble the daughter of a trader’s cousin disappeared.  A party was sent out to find her but a Halfling was the only survivor of search party to return.

Point Chudoc a.k.a. the Devil’s Cape – point Chudoc and the town of the same name and lands nearby are located on the southwestern cape of the Island of Rhaghaera.  Point Chudoc is also called the Devil’s Cape because of the rock shoal and rough seas that cause so many shipwrecks here, and because of the many Sahugin that are known to prowl its waters.  About three miles inland from the beach, one can see a small square Norman style keep which guards the small human village that is nearby and serves as the seat of the Barony.  The town and keep are on the outskirts of the god king’s realm and the keep serves as a border outpost to guard against incursions by the forces of Malithorn.  The keep was was built by a minor noble named Emir Korin who was given the land by the God King and charged with the task of defending his borders from Ravishar’s dark hosts.



Orcwall – a.k.a. the Keep on the Borderlands is situated as a bulwark between the Kingdom of Raegeleth and Mallithorn.  The keep not as well defended as we originally thought – the baron has not been seen in some time and is presumed dead. He has been gone for 9 months or more as of the time of the Black Crowe’s adventure there.

The City of Rav'mheken – The capital of the Kingdom of Malithorn is the city of Rav ‘mheken which lies within a network of smaller islands off the eastern coast of Rhaghaera.  These islands are an extension of the Kingdom of Malithorn, most of which lies on the island of Rhaghaera in the Southeastern portion of the island.  Ravishar the Undying holds court in the tower of Nol Gremmen which overlooks the forbidding sea cliffs perched high above the city.

Tol Alatheon – a sea elf community and trading out post which is often incorrectly referred to as Alatheon, lies in the Northeast of the island of Rhaghaera along the coast. The island of Alatheon itself is to the Northwest – silly elves and their bizarre naming conventions.

Zarathus – an Etrisian coastal city much like Harbor Reach.  Zarathus is also a free city and a bustling center of trade and maritime commerce.  Zarathus is about a one week ship’s ride to the south of Harbor Reach.  Overlooking its busy harbor is a huge statue of Thor.  Despite the fact that the people of Zarathus are primarily of Ardrois stock, they worship a mixture of Greek and Norse gods.  The Crippled Ape Inn is a favorite of travelers and is usually relatively quiet.

Averlorn Campaign - Lands and Islands in and Around the Archipelago

The Archipelago is a sprawling island chain running north to south which lies across the shallow sea from the eastern coast of Averlorn  and the free cities of Harbor Reach and Zarathus.  The island chain is about the same size of all of the British Isles combined and starts in the warmer southern climate of the Grand Banks and stretches all the way to the north off of the coast of Fallen Leutra and the Northern Reaches covering a vast stretch of ocean from north to south.

The Sea Elf Kingdom of Alatheon - the Kingdom of Alatheon lies to the north of the Island of Rhaghaera.  The kingdom maintains a series of trading settlements, outposts of a sort on nearby islands including Rhageara. These are always found near the communities of their Volkyr allies and with names such as Tol Alatheon or Dur Alatheon, their names are the source of some confusion among men.

The Archipelago - The Archipelago is series of islands and island chains that is about the Size of all of the British Isles combined.  On the seas of the Archipelago, the Thugee often find themselves at odds with the sea elf culture and the Volkyr (the predominant and native human culture of the Archipelago). Currently, there is no state of war, but that's primarily because the Thugee are so disorganized and lack a central governing body.  Throw in the occasional pirate ship along with the vicious sea devils and you can see that the seas of the Archipelago are quite lawless.  The Thugee's chief antagonists are the Sea Elves, and occasionally, Mountain Elf raiders (sky wolves) who see themselves as the masters of the sky.

There are a few relatively large and xenophobic Elven communities in the Archipelago.  These realms are feudal and ruled by a monarchy chosen from one of the castes (they have a rotating monarchy not unlike what you see in Brusts' work). In that society, a Sun Elf would be seen as a soldier or perhaps a minor noble.

Big Croc Island - this island is or was a notorious pirate hangout.  The last group of pirates that were there came to a poor end 20-30 years ago.  Their hideout was reputed to be located in a series of caves found on the south side of the island off of the main inlet nearby.

Ertris – This City State is the principle rival of Grand Oryx.  Though considerably smaller in populace than Thebos, the Adroisian city state of Ertris wields surprising military might.  The superior natural resources of Ertris which exists in spite of her relatively small geographical area, allows the Ertrisians to field a formidable fleet of dragonships.  Tensions between the Ertris and Grand Oryx are always high and the occasional conflicts occur typically in the skies over the Scourge.

Fallen Leutra – This land is in the distant Northern Reaches and its primary inhabitants are the Thugee tribes of Leutra, the Northmen of Averlorn.  In the distant past, the Serpent Men Empire in Leutra stretched over much of the known world. Their greatest cities and temples were swallowed up by the vastness of the Scourge long ago but many ruins of their once great empire remain in the region of Leutra along with scattered populations of serpent men and lizard men.

The Island of Farault – this nearly deserted island is north of Caursetti.  Long ago, the Thugee erected rune stones of power here and it is seen by the Thugee as a sacred site.  The Stones of creation, as they are called, are purported to have healing power.  When Grumlor, the leader of the Black Crowes was sick (it was said that he was cursed by the gods) the healers of the Brotherhood needed the magic of stones to heal him and sent an expedition to the island to retrieve rubbings of the stones in order to perform powerful healing magics for their leader.

The Sea Elf Kingdom of Golfyria -  the Kingdom of Golfyria lies to the west of the Island of Rhaghaera.

The Great Banks – These savage Polynesian like jungle islands begin southeast of the Archipelago not far from the mainland.   Sea Elves and humans alike live in small villages scattered in and near the Great Banks.  The Volkyr people, a Polynesian like race of island dwellers, originally migrated to the Archipelago from the grand banks and the aboriginal people still dwell here.

The Island of Ilimus – a Thugee island far to the North of the island of Rhaghaera.  The island is home to one or more of the few scattered Thugee clan holdings in the north of the Archipelago island chain.

The Sea Elf Kingdom of Lothalyn – The Kingdom of Lothalyn is quite distant from Rhagheara, lying in the southwest of the Archipelago far closer in fact to the mainland. It is a single kingdom spread across a vast stretch of islands.

The Kingdom of Malithorn – Malithorn lies in the Southeastern portion of the island of Rhaghaera and is a poor swampy stretch of inhospitable land. A network of smaller islands lying off the coast is also part of the Realm of Malithorn and it is here that Ravishar the Undying holds court. His tower of  Nol Gremmen overlooks a forbidding stretch of sea cliffs perched high above the city of Rav'mheken. Ravishar periodically pits his armies against both the Sea Elf lands and the vast holdings of the God King and his Barons. The Undead Lord, for it is almost certain that he is either a lich or similar unliving monstrosity, shows very little interest in actually conquering the island, only in slowly spreading his influence and wresting away lands for his many nobles to control and rule. Not surprisingly, these borders do not remain settled for very long and frequent raiding from both sides often results in certain swatches of land changing hands with alarming frequency.

Ravishar’s humanoid armies consist primarily of goblins and orcs that bear the distinctive yellow and black Killer Bee symbol painted on their shields.  Evil clerics follow Ravishar but usually worship Orcus or other demon gods.  The Thugee of Fallen Leutra and the Northern reaches hold no love for Ravishar since so many of their kind have fallen under his sway, and it is said he uses their stock to create some of his orc soldiers.  For as long as anyone can remember the God King’s country has been at war with the minions of Malithorn.  The last war was merely three years ago.

The forces of ravisher usually slay their enemies using illusion, guile and deceit to achieve their ends and things are often not as they seem.  They often hire assassins to do these deeds who frequently use poisoned weapons. 

Ravishar is a great ally of the various Thugee tribes and most of the humans who dwell in his domain are of Thugee descent. With these hearty folk he produces a surprisingly potent breed of Orc, creatures that form the bulk of his armies, supplemented by horrendous necromantic constructs. Ravsihar the Undying is an ancient being of unsurpassing evil and malice. His deeds are even known in other lands and he appears to have contacts and minion in many lands. Though a number of his followers are indeed Necromancers, his relationship with the Cult of Orcus is strained and may be the result of a splinter cell born sometime ago within Malithorn.

Nadsul il Alatheon Nadsul il Alatheon is a trading outpost on a small island in the north of the Archipelago not far from the Ardrois city of Harbor Reach and is something akin to a military outpost given the assaults and raids it has endured over the years.

The Northern Reaches – The ancestral lands of the Thugee who make up for their primitive ships and barbarous ways through shear numbers and tenacity.  The Thugee are raiders, not invaders and often move on rather than moving in when seeking new targets once an area has been plundered. Their dragonships are not as advanced as those of the other races, though their naval power is quite potent, but not focused in any groups larger than a clan squadron.  There are other inhabitants in the Northern reaches besides the Thugee tribes including other human and demi human settlements.

The Kingdom of Raegleth – the Kingdom of Raegeleth lies in the north of the Archipelago along the western coast of the island of Rhaghaera.  The God King Reigns supreme in the golden domed three arched city of Caursetti and has the sole power and authority to awaken the Imperial dragons during times of strife and war.  His generals control vast armies and fleets all sworn to serve him unto death making Raegleth one of the most powerful Kingdoms found in all of the Archipelago.  Caursetti is located on the northeast coast and the lands to the south are farm more unsettled and controlled by a number of small baronies which guard the ever changing border with Malithorn.

The Island of RhaghaeraRhaghaera, the largest and principle island of the Archipelago, lies in the northern reaches of the island chain. The island is broken into three separate kingdoms; Raegeleth in the north and along the western coast, the Sea Elf holdings of Alatheon along the northeast coast, and the cruel kingdom of Mallithorn in the south.

The Kingdom of Thebos – Ancient Thebos is the country that sits on the volcanic plateau that rises above the scourge that includes the great City State of Grand Oryx and the surrounding areas of Lykaedia (the Anvil) and the planes of the Pangaeus to the north of Grand Oryx.  It is far inland and to the east of the free city of Harbor Reach.