Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A letter to Cyneric's best friend

I hope this letter finds you safe and not getting into too much mischief, but I know you far too well to assume that wish to be at all likely. (That no one is catching on that you are the cause of the antics you wreak would be a more appropriate hope.) I have a great deal I want to tell you since my last letter, but much will have to wait until our paths next cross, partly because I don't want this letter to turn into a tome and partly because some of this information I do not feel safe sending even with our brethren. Yes, I know you are rolling your eyes and thinking me overly paranoid but I do have my reasons to be so worried.

I will give a vague warning here that I will elaborate on when I next see you: please, please be careful with a certain disguise. My party has become unfortunately high profile and as a result that disguise may no longer be safe for you to use on this side of the continent; in fact, it's probably not safe since being conspicuous means my group has made enemies. Once again, I am likely being unduly paranoid, but... well, please be cautious. And do not worry about me; you know I am not a risk taker, and traveling with adventurers has not changed that fact. I even have a bodyguard now who I trust to always have my back; he's an orc we met on the road who is bereft of his kin, so I'm hoping that traveling with my group makes him feel less alone. I know from experience that having friends can fill that kind of void, as you are quite aware.

So much has happened to me and my traveling companions lately that I can't possibly fit it into one letter, so I'll just give you a short summary. (Honestly, there are so many monster infestations around the area that I'm having some trouble keeping track of what's happening where and what the locations are that we're likely to be sent next; you know I have a horrible head for anything involving battle plans and fighting.) I mentioned earlier about being high profile; well, you know the dragon Khrom-Vel that I've mentioned before? We've become his champions (complete with uncanny wrist tattoo) after we helped heal him from a battle with two other dragons. I'm not entirely sure what this entails, but it seems like it means that we now can call on him if we have the need, and having a dragon on your side cannot possibly be a bad thing.

We've been traveling up and down the coast for a while; we were in Joven recently helping out Dwight, our old traveling companion, with a gnoll problem in that area. While there we also had an ill-fated encounter with a wizard that resulted in the death of one of our party members, the gnome Caleb. (I'm beginning to think that wherever we go, trouble is bound to follow close behind.) Our travels have finally taken us back to Woodland, but since the mosque has no assignment for me at the moment, I'll be going south with the rest of the group on a task set by the mercenary's guild. Between my duty and the tasks set by the guild, I'm rarely in Woodland anymore for more than just a quick stop over; I'm aware that sounds silly when you spend even more time away from there than I do, but I can't help feeling a bit homesick when on the road for an extended period of time. I know that soon enough I'll have permanent duty there, though, and will then yearn for all this traveling. Go figure!

Anyway, I've had an ongoing assignment for a while that you will find quite interesting. The Messengers in Port Town have developed a kind of magic... thing (I still do not completely understand it) that allows one to travel between mosques in a matter of moments, no matter the distance between them. It involves a stone altar-type thing and a canopic jar; the jar powers the Gate and allows it to function. (I think.) I have been dropping off the plans for this gate at each mosque I pass through and sending some along with those I deem trustworthy. Once every mosque has one, I'd imagine our assignments will be safer and quicker, but I'm still having mixed feelings about it since it means less traveling and that has always been what Messengers do. I can't say that I dislike being able to get home from, say, Joven, in seconds, though!

There is so much more I want to tell you, but, judging from the length of this letter, it will have to wait until I see you in person. Speaking of... do you think you could perhaps hint that you'd like some assignments that will take you back towards Woodland? I have no idea if the mosques you've been working through have any deliveries that have to come that direction, but I know you're quite good at persuading people to do things to your advantage. I'd like to give you a copy of the Gate plans to take back in that direction and have new information to give you for a disguise, but I'll admit that my wish to see you is not entirely (alright, not even close to entirely) duty or mischief-related; I miss you terribly. I'd joke that Hermes is having a good laugh over our assignments keeping us so far apart, but knowing Him, that's probably the truth. Hmph.

Sending my love,

((I posted this on Cyneric's blog earlier today, but figured what the heck, I'll post it here, too, since we haven't had any other game-related stuff for me to put here. This isn't quite up to date since Cyn would have handed it to a Messenger heading west before the group left Woodland a few gaming sessions ago. It's also a bit chronologically wrong since I wanted to include some parts that probably would have gone in an earlier letter- that warning, for one.))

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Logging Town, the Hidden Village, and monsters

I just realized I've fallen behind with this journal again, so bear with me; this is going to be a fairly long entry.

Dallas finally came to in the House of Healing in Joven; the woman who was with her and also unconscious is still out, however. After finding her way to the Joven Messenger's Mosque, she was Gated to Woodland, where she was able to hitch a ride south to meet us in Logging Town. She shared with us a strange nightmare she'd been having about a creepy voice telling her to free it from an amulet. Ayman has an amulet on him, but we're not sure if that is the one that was meant.

Ghost and I wrote up a message for Dwight (about Dorian going missing) that I sent via a crow to Woodland in the hopes that it'll find its way to Armand, who can Gate it to Dwight. After the group tricked Shocko into a much-needed bath, we set off northwest, following the river for a bit, then though the trees. On their watch that night, Linora and Shocko found a group of traveling halflings, which she managed to get to follow her back to camp; the halflings introduced themselves as Old Pete, Lenny, Bruce, and George. During much drinking by most of the group, Ghost snuck off to follow their trail while I charmed them in the hopes that they'd give us more information while they were pleasantly drunk. The halflings told me that our friend Homer was in their village a few days ago, but wasn't there now, and that we should ask the sheriff. They then offered to take us to their village, but since I was afraid that they'd go back on their word once they were sober, I pried them for more information; they let me know that the village was a couple of hours north of here in the trees and camouflaged, and you need to say a password (which had been "ham and cheese") to a certain person.

The next day we set off north by northwest; we begun to see clouds rolling in (Dorrmags had been warned of a bad storm coming). After a while we noticed the ground starting to look tilled and doors set into the side of the hill (but painted to blend in), and the halflings led us back into the treeline. He knocked on a tree and gave a password ("old reliable"), and we were allowed into an elevator in the tree and taken up to the village.

Ghost inquired about Homer again and Old Pete told us that two weeks ago some of that group stayed and some headed back to Logging Town, but Homer stayed longer and snuck out of town in the middle of the night. We found the sheriff and we learned that he does not like Homer (our friend apparently doesn't pay taxes and also wanted to ravish the sheriff's daughter), and he and his daughter came with us to have drinks.

At the tavern, Ghost asked the barkeep about Homer- he knows him and had seen him last a moon ago, and that Homer had headed east. The sheriff informed us that Old Pete knows a way into the mine. At this time Dorrmags and the sheriff's daughter Edwina began flirting; not wanting to miss a great opportunity, Ayman and I decided to try to be mischievous and make Mags look silly, which worked almost perfectly. Meanwhile Ghost went looking for Old Pete, who told her more about that secret way into the mines.

We set off soon afterwards and traveled back through the forest, making camp at the river where an interestingly placed fish made for much amusement in Linora's tent. As the group was laughing hysterically, we noticed a random person laughing with us- it was the short man called "The Master" who a few members of the group had last seen in a tent under a cemetery. He invited us into his tent (always larger inside than out) where he told us about a new credit system he was starting and that he had seen Homer go east to the mine and that the paladin was still in there. Then, going into sales-pitch-mode, he told us that if we signed up he would give us a helpful item. The rest of the group quickly agreed and put their hands on a midnight blue orb he had put on the table, but I held back, not trusting this. Not wanting to be separated from my party or the like, I (and SwampFox) finally did the same; The Master chanted and lighting hit the orb. When our vision cleared, we were again sitting in camp and The Master's tent was missing; our left wrists also felt warm and when we looked, we noticed The Master's midnight blue symbol integrated with Khrom-Vel's before they faded again.

We spent the next day and night back in Logging Town, then headed east towards the mine. The rain began that morning and became a heavy storm the day after as we traveled. That night the lightning started and while on watch I noticed a crowd of something moving west. I sent my fox to look and woke up Linora so she could fly out and see while Ghost went off, as well. My fox came back terrified and unable to tell me what he saw, but when Linora came back we learned that the crowd were lots of howling shorter-than-human figures. Fog rolled over, then a huge shape (looking like a dragon) blasted the crowd, which stopped and the fog rolled away.

Meanwhile Ghost noticed her tattoo glow faintly as she went to look at the figures; they appeared to look frozen to death and were grey hairy things with manes and two toes. Even though the creatures seemed to be dead, I sent a messenger crow to Logging Town to warn them to be on the lookout just in case.

The next day it continued to rain but the storm stopped as we continued east for half a day until we reached the mine. Ghost informed us where the guards were stationed and the group made up a plan on how to get in. Unfortunately the plan went awry because of Ghost and some hobgoblins, and all hell broke lose when the enemy noticed us and sounded the alarm. Most of the group ran in every direction to fight after this (for some reason), instead of retreating and making a new plan, and Mags ended up getting killed by a pair of bugbears (luckily he was able to seal up the mine entrance with a wall of thorns before that unfortunate occurrence). After this nonsense had gone on for far too long, I yelled at the group that we had to get far away before the creatures inside made it out another exit or the wall went away (or was chopped through). Adventurers we may be, but we're no match for an entire mine filled with goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears, and who knows what else.

~Cyneric Conroy, Order of the Fleet Fox
May 17th, 3rd day of Bleakmoon

Monday, March 08, 2010

Logging Town- spiders, goblins, and a missing halfling

We set off south the next morning (with a slight delay caused by Linora breaking Shocko's nose) and arrived in the area where we had once met with a werewolf. The party checked to make sure our spells and silver weapons were at the ready, but instead of anything "were" we came across large spiderwebs strung between trees, positioned to catch the unwary. Fortunately Ghost noticed these as she ranged ahead, but when Dorrmags sent his parrot up to check out the area, it got ensnared up in a tree.

Dorrmags climbed up after the bird while Ayman cast his favorite Grease spell on the tree tops, dislodging three things from the branches: the bird and two large, ugly spider creatures. As we fought the spider-men-things, six large regular spiders came down from the trees. We defeated all but one of the normal spiders, which Dorrmags decided to keep as a pet. (Ugh! Thanks, Mags.)

We continued traveling and reached the abandoned outpost we had fought at before; however, it wasn't entirely abandoned- we found a handful of goblins in the tower. We teamed up (I cast Silence on the tower and sent up some fire ants, Dorrmags sent his spider up, and Ghost shot arrows at the tower), then when Ayman cast a spell to frighten the remaining goblins, they jumped from the tower covered in fire ants. Goblins destroyed, we searched around the fort.

We camped in the fort that night and, while on watch, Linora flew above the trees and saw a plume of smoke to the southwest miles and miles away, in the direction we're heading. When I was on watch later that night I was surprised to see a kobold peeking in through one of the holes in the wall of the fort. He ran away, leaving his lunch behind (was he on a kobold picnic?).

The next day we made it out of the treeline and reached the plains, where we met with a group of centaurs. One of them told us that they'd seen a group with a paladin pass by a week ago heading towards Logging Town. He also told us that they saw a halfling with a war band going west; he thought it may be because the group was looking for a hidden halfling village in the trees.

We finally reached Logging Town where we heard the tale of Maxwell from the bard who was in the tavern. We asked around about Homer and Dorian and learned that the paladin was in town but went east, and some of his group stayed behind. Ghost and Dorrmags went to find the mayor and found out that goblins come every few days and that two months ago they saw a black dragon to the east (but not near the town). Meanwhile Ayman and I found the people who had been left behind from Dorian's party: two teenaged boys. They were left behind because the group didn't want to take them into the mines, so they're in town taking care of the horses. They told us it's been two weeks since the group set off for the mines, but they should only have been gone a few days. They sent a message to Dwight a few days ago, but as soon as we have all the information together, I'm going to send a message to Armand to Gate to Dwight so that the duke will learn of this sooner. It is definitely strange that Dorian has been missing for so long, and I'm wondering why Homer went west when he was supposed to go south.

~Cyneric Conroy, Order of the Fleet Fox
May 13th, 6th day of Brightmoon

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Joven and Griff's Watch- Gnolls and Gates

I apologize for my laxness in updating this journal; I'll summarize the recent events.

In Joven, our ducal friend Dwight enlisted our help for a problem in the area. His farms were besieged by an unusually organized tribe of gnolls who were hitting all the towns and farms in the area with the exception of Griff's Watch. We decided that was where we should head next, but on the way we stopped at Garrison and Hauksness. With Ghost's tracking skills (and some help from my fox), we were able to track the gnolls away from Hauksness. The trail curved in a way we didn't expect, but Ghost figured out that it was because the gnolls were planning to hit Griff's Watch from a different angle.

We were able to clear out the gnolls and rescue two people they held captive, but Dallas and the rescued woman Brianna fainted and fell to the ground. Dorrmags and I were unable to detect any magic or evil on either women, but we were not able to revive them. Fortunately our group did help heal the man we rescued (Brother John of Watch Hill).

Returning to Griff's Watch, we took the injured three to the house of healing, but the priests of Apollo were also unable to learn why the women will not awaken. We questioned Brother John, but he was unable to tell much about his horrible experience of being captive. He had been minding his own business when he was hit and knocked out, he also did know know why the women were unconsious, and he told us that most of the gnolls' sacrifice victims were humans with the exception of a halfling woman.

When we made it back to Joven, the priests at the house of healing were also unsure about our unconscious companions, but we left them there in the competent hands of the Hammehauk priests. We found Cornwallis still in Joven, and he identified a few found objects for us while Ghost and Ayman went to talk to Dwight to let him know what had happened.

The next morning we set out back to Woodland, only this time via the Gate my Brothers had built at the Joven mosque. They told us that the Gate is only one way at a time, so we were unable to toss something through to check if it was safe. We went through anyway, but as our large group went through, the canopic jar powering the Gate on the Woodland side exploded, resulting in the smell of brimstone and Shocko being shot out (with his pants on fire, if I recall correctly). While the group did whatever it is they do when we're home (I think Linora bought a dog), I spoke with Armand because I was curious about the Gate and the items we had found at the gnoll camp (I'm especially curious about that moon shield). Apparently the reason the canopic jar exploded was because the more people sent through the Gate, the more stress it puts on the jar. Somehow the Gates function by the jars remembering where the other Gates are; it sounds crazy, but it works. Well, except when henchmen are tossed out of them.

While I was at the mosque, Ghost and Ayman spoke with the Guildmaster who told them that our halfling friend Homer has gone missing. He had been sent on a mission into the goblin mines, so he (the Guildmaster) wants us to find Homer and help complete his mission. During our short stop in Woodland, a green dragon flew over; this has happened about twice a month.

Setting out the next morning to head south, we found Shocko pantsless in a fountain; what is it with that man and pants? When we made camp tonight, we saw the shadow of a green dragon flying overhead, heading east.

~Cyneric Conroy, Order of the Fleet Fox
May 8th, 1st day of Brightmoon