Arden Vul

A Brief Summary of Events Dark and Deep

We have new titles based on the last session:

Wicktrimmer: Champion of Thoth and Traveler of the Astral Plane
Callista: Calmer of the Star-Fallen
Grimley: Conqueror of the Zodiac
Luna: Slayer of the Montari

Sssmoke Signals
floating through the ether

Almosst sssertainly noticed, if not actually intersssepted, by Klimt the Watcher, Klimt the Observant, Klimt the Eyefully Endowed . . .

Boys. Left town quickly. New standing orders. Don’t kill anyone. Beatings fine. Watch CoP. C.

Cats. Blue fool blew up patrol. Three survivors. Do not kill. Discredit. C.

Dudes. Outlawed. Need smoke-tight alibi. Blame doppelgangers? C.

Eggs. New plan, Op: REASONABLE DOUBT. Buy sightings from CoP goblin. Total crime wave. Noone dies. C.

Fellows. Hiding out. Smoke silence. Do not attempt extraction. Continue REASONABLE DOUBT. Don’t overdo. Infamous, not monstrous. C.

Who Knew Dwarves Could Sing?
From the laboratory journals of Pyrite the Magician, member in good standing, College of Perception:

This is maddening! There is simply not enough of the hallucinogenic poison left on the dart to analyze alchemically. The Shen have disappeared from Narsileon, and no one here knows where they have gone. Otherwise I would just get a larger sample, or – better – Hypnotize one of them into telling me all they know of it. My new spells might allow me to find them, eventually, but if the servants don’t know where to go, then searching systematically will take longer than I expect to live, especially if the Shen have gone back to their far Western homeland. Unless I had literally thousands of Shadow Servants searching in parallel … (note to self: research hijacking of Shadow Servants cast by other mages).

I could ask my elders here at the College, but that would cost more gold than the warrior wench is paying me. I could visit Klimt, but that would be even more expensive, in “contracts.” Flipping Achonteans. What’s wrong with a good Goblin spit-shake?

The library here at CoP has been little help, so far. There are 61 volumes on opium, and a dozen on mushrooms of various species – though none on the fungal forest that we found underneath Arden Vul. There is also an epic poem in Khazak by a bard of unsavory reputation who styles himself the Lizard King, whose handwriting certainly looks as if he were on something. If I still had my helmet, the translation would be instantaneous. Hm . . . I could easily visit the Dwarf embassy here in Narsileon.

Who should I wear? Someone formal, I think.

"At 3rd level, monks can speak with animals"
"This is not a magical ability, and the GM should determine how it works."

From the Scriptures of the Jade Cup:

I’m getting used to dreaming other people’s dreams. It’s almost a good thing that they’re mostly dead people’s dreams. That makes it easier to tell where they came from. Once I know that it’s not my dream, but someone else’s, I can relax and move around in that dream without fear. I learn all kinds of things that way. Sword and staff techniques. Catching that Shen dart? Saw that in a snake woman’s dream. Didn’t know there were snake women? Me neither. They dream weird, weird things.

Usually those dreams happen when I’m asleep, or meditating. And until today they were always people’s dreams. People who walk and talk. Not … animals. I figured, who would use the Cup to raise a squirrel from the dead?

I was sitting meditation, just following my breath, when a little brown bird dropped to the ground in front of me. Their eyes are on the sides of their heads, so if they want to look straight at you, they turn their heads. I never thought about that before. This bird looked straight at me with one eye and put that half of his brain to sleep. Its other eye, pointed away from me, was still awake, looking out for trouble.

Maybe that’s what Luna does … ?

Anyway, the swamp sparrow (that’s what I decided to call it) had a very detailed map of the campsite and the surrounding area in his head. Yes, it was a he. Suddenly I knew where to find every seed and insect for a hundred yards. Then he woke up and flew to a rotten log about 15 yards from where I was sitting. I stood up, walked over, and split the log open with my longsword. Ants swarmed out, stupid with anger. The sparrow pecked up his fill and flew off.

That was the strangest thing that happened to me, that day.

Ülv Fire-Eyes (Bruntzilla) bad trip with Cat-Vultures

Ülv Fire-Eyes (Bruntzilla) bad trip with Cat-Vultures.

Sweaty Visions
_From the laboratory journals of Pyrite the Magician, member in good standing, College of Perception, Narsileon._

A tall woman visited the house today, claiming to be the warrior Jasper freed from the Cult of Set’s gaol underneath the Forum in Arden Vul. She was better fed, and sun-darkened, and vaguely different in demeanor, but I detected no whiff of illusion magic.

She produced a small dart, which she said was coated with a poison that induced potent, debilitating visions. Similar darts had apparently rendered Br and Bz completely batshit crazy for a period of several hours. Bz, she said, had fallen in love with a fountain – not in the romantic sense (though that would have been hilarious). Instead he had become aesthetically transfixed, unable to look away. The barbarian’s visions were different but equally powerful.

The users of the poison, a group of Shen from the far west, beyond the Elfin Kingdom, though friendly in their brusque and honor-bound way, would neither reveal the source of their “sacrament,” nor trade for larger samples of it. They only allowed her to keep the one dart because she had plucked it from the air when they shot it at her. Apparently that meant she had “won” it from them? Religious people are so weird (Note for later: legality of starting own religion). The nature of the misunderstanding that led to them spitting darts at her was never mentioned.

In any case, she offered me a thousand gold to solve the riddle for her, either to identify the toxin and where it might be found, or to replicate its effects alchemically. I have plenty of my own research projects to carry out, but none of them is cheap.

Preliminary questions:

1) minimum effective dose?
2) independent effect, or synergistic with illusion spells?
3) soluble in water, alcohol, or oil?

An Ode to Doffy

song that will soon be played by all bards, especially in the Rampant Monkey

Dem bones, dem bones, dem Dof bones,
Dem bones, dem bones, dem Dof bones,
Dem bones, dem bones, dem Dof bones,
Now shake dem goblin bones!

The toe bone’s connected to the foot bone, The foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone, The ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone,

Not no more you green bastard!

The leg bone’s connected to the knee bone, The knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone, The thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone, Not no more you lying freak! Dem bones, dem bones, dem Dof bones, Dem bones, dem bones, dem Dof bones, Dem bones, dem bones, dem Dof bones, Now gonna slice dem Dof bones! The hip bone’s connected to the back bone The back bone’s connected to the neck bone, The neck bone’s connected to the head bone, Not no more you bloated corpse! The finger bone’s connected to the hand bone, The hand bone’s connected to the arm bone, The arm bone’s connected to the shoulder bone, Not no more you pile o’ bones! Dem bones, dem bones gonna fall down Dem bones, dem bones, gonna fall down Dem bones, dem bones, gonna fall down Now shake dem goblin bones!

DIE MOTHERF********** DIE! AND STAY DEAD!!!!!!!!!
smashes mandolin on stage

A little closer ...
Callista's internal monologue

Oh, my head hurts. What’s in that necromancer’s staff, lead?

Go down. Play dead. Wait for him to turn his back.

Oh, for Odin’s sake. They’re picking me up! So gross. I hate touching dead things. Should have thought of that — necromancers don’t waste raw materials — but it’s fine, it’s fine. With them jostling me around, I don’t even have to hold my breath to look dead. They’ll take me right to him. Just one moment of surprise, and once I get my hands on that staff, he’s mine.

What’s that thing chained to the wall!?!

This could be a problem. The zombies are dragging me the wrong way. Where’s that bloody paladin? If he turns the zombies, they’ll drop me right about … there. Then if he circles left, the priest will fade backwards to release the monster. He’ll have to step right over me. Yes, that will work. That’s it, a little closer …

NO, don’t attack the zombies! Ach! Amateurs!

Oh, my head hurts.

Afteraction Report on Operation Y-8724

The following assets were used toward the completion of this mission: Arch, Evening, Lobster, Patient, Pendulum, and Syrup. All performed admirably.

Reliable intelligence pointed to the target embedded at Villa Stormpoint, a royal compound down the coast. Further humint gathered by myself and asset Evening confirmed this fact and my interactions with B and the Silent Factor provided an excellent cover for this operation’s execution.

Asset Patient secured means for a water-borne infiltration. Once within landfall, asset Evening providing an overflight, confirming pre-operation intelligence that this was anything other than an ordinary villa. Asset Evening then overflew the cliffs. Sigint provided by item G-4543 revealed the location of the expected cave entrance. Initial scouting by myself exposed three humanoids unloaded a boat, a stone staircase further into the compound, and a rope bridge crossing the water, connecting the launch to another complex (See file M-2748 for details). Returning to the cave with asset Pendulum, one target was executed before the trap was sprung. Following protocol, one humanoid was allowed to trip the alarm to draw out further foes.

At this point, asset Pendulum went into action, quickly dispatching the remaining two humanoids. At this point, undead entered the theatre of operation, guided by a cleric heretofore unknown to us. Suggest termination. Asset Pendulum held the bridge (Mark 1-C on file M-2748) until the further assets arrived via fishing boat.

Asset Syrup immediately turned the wave of undead. Five humanoid guards emerged from the previously noted staircase (Mark 1-B on file M-2748). Asset Evening provided tactical support with a sleep spell that affected all but two. Asset Patient succeeded in holding the attention of those two for the time being. Asset Arch assisted Asset Pendulum in the elimination of the retreating undead. Asset Lobster leapt the bridge to engage the cleric. During this brief exchange, Asset Pendulum was seriously injured and captured by the undead. She has ties to K, so a rescue operation should be considered.

As the undead fell, one humanoid attempted to flee. I dispatched him in the stairwell before he could raise further alarms.

It was at this point that the target revealed himself, striking Asset Evening with a stone. Assets Arch and Evening immediately laid down effective suppressive fire severely injuring the target. It is believed that at this point, the target engaged invisibility. However, item G-4543 rendered his attempt at obfuscation moot. He then entered the water and made toward the first boat. Asset Arch set the boat aflame in an attempt to close off an obvious escape route. The target, true to form, was more clever. Within a few feet of the jetty, he launched item T-7646 (unconfirmed). As its payload formed, distracting the assets on the jetty, I employed item W-6009 and item I-5626 and entered the water in pursuit of the target.

Already injured by the efforts of Assets Arch and Evening, the target proved easy to pursue and terminate.

The plan is in motion and proceeded according to schedule.

Items for further action: Determine the true nature of the operations below Stormpoint. Determine ties between Doffy and Apateon family.

CC: Shirley, Shirley, Shirley, Shirley

To my Future Biographer
A Letter from Balthazar the Blue

The following letter was discovered in the personal effects of Balthazar the Blue shortly after his death. The letter appears to have been written in the days immediately after the events discussed and was in an envelope addressed simply to ‘The greatest writer in the world’.

Future Biographer,

I, the glorious Balthazar the Blue, write this letter in hopes that it will ease the difficulty you face in chronicling the adventures of myself and my, mostly competent, assistants without whom I would never have been able to make it this far (as quickly). Through the course of the past several days we have embarked on adventures that make all my past conquests, and what conquests they were, seem trivial by comparison. Indeed any normal man, lacking the quality of character, compassion, and power that I have in such abundance, would have shrunk before the odds my assistants and I have faced, and even I, if briefly, wondered if we would overcome our great adversaries. I now present, without bias, the story of how the magnificent Balthazar the Blue met a god, recovered a powerful relic, and defeated an ancient, but mighty, hero.

While enjoying a drink at a local tavern in Narsilleon, for I am truly a man of the people, with my assistants I was approached by a traveler that was most uncommon. Immediately I knew something was wrong and was on-guard to defend myself and my companions if the traveler showed aggression. The travel, being of obvious foreign origin, connected immediately with my bodyguard and friend Brunt with whom he spoke briefly in their shared savage tongue. I, fearing immediately that any conversation in this harsh language could not be appropriate for public company, introduced myself to the stranger and was unsurprised to find that the traveler was already familiar with the legend of Balthazar the Blue. After some lighthearted business involving dicing and gambling, in which I let our guest triumph to win his trust, the traveler confirmed my suspicions that he was not what he was presenting himself to be. After some uninteresting games, consisting of test of strengths and precision (in which the traveler was extraordinary skilled, but not able to defeat our Elven friend), the traveler had the nerve to challenge I, Balthazar the Blue, to a game of wits. This was the traveler’s first mistake as only someone of great power, or great stupidity, would think they could best someone as obviously superior as myself. When the traveler revealed that his identity to be that of Odin, the one eyed god, it became clear that our game of wits was unjust as not even someone of my great intellect could compete with his omniscience. It was during this reveal that my companions and I bore witness to the single greatest act of drama I have ever witnessed when our friendly deity altered the reality around us to conform to his will and provide us with a quiet place, divorced from reality, where we could share a conversation. I can only imagine that the awe and humility I experienced in this moment is similar to the experience the average citizen has when they meet Balthazar the Blue (I must remember to interact with them more frequently to share this joy). Odin shared with my companions and I that he had a task for which he required our assistance, for which we were honored. Our traveling friend revealed that an ancient artifact, used by an ancient hero of the Skandik people (whose name was uninteresting but whose deeds were legendary), was under threat from the vile earthen Dwarves. Bolstered by my normal disdain for their type, excepting a brave former companion to which we all owe my life, we agreed that we would retrieve this artifact despite great personal risk. Understanding the importance of our quest my companions and I set off immediately for the north towards the ancient burial mound in which the artifact was said to be located. After two uneventful, and boring for myself, days of travel we arrived at great cliffs and discovered the barrow we were seeking. My companions, eager for action, foolishly avoided my call for caution and charged through the first entrance they found into the structure. My companions, the fighter Brunt and the archer Luna, thanks to my lightning fast reaction and warning, were able to narrowly avoid a collapsing ceiling and escape certain death. We will never know if this collapse was triggered by natural decay or by intentional snare, but it underscored my message of caution to my companions. After a brief search, for our first method of entry was blocked by the collapse, I was able to find a secondary entrance to the barrow and we proceed guided by the beautiful blue light for which I am known. The barrow smelled of mold, rot and worse and if not guided by a promise made to a deity, along with the promise of riches, my companions would have struggled to continue. As we descended in to the rotten structure we discovered a large circular room where the smell became the least of our worries. As we entered the room dozens of corpses, still for a millennia, began to rise from their eternal rest jealous of the life we still possessed. Although I lent some assistance through some mild magic, potent to most, but unimpressive by my standards, my companions were able to dispatch these foes with little difficulty. Continuing to explore, we discovered another identical room in which more scourge were destroyed by our cleric Adric, wielding the power granted by Odin himself. Eventually my companions and I discovered a circular room decorated with reliefs of the one-eyed god and the mighty hero whose tomb we were in. Further inspection indicated that there was a passageway located behind the images of Odin, but my companions were unable to locate a way of opening the passageway. The key, to our surprise, was a statue of a raven located in the center of the room, that when we began to investigate came to life and presented us with three riddles. Thanks to my unsurpassed intellect and wit we were able to make short work of the raven’s riddles and the passageway opened for us. Exploring these tunnels we quickly found what we were looking for, a tomb where the hero was laid to rest inside his ship. Sensing our presence, and perhaps our intention to relieve him of the mighty weapon Dolghamar, the remains of the hero rose to greet us with arrows that hit their mark with surprising accuracy. This mighty hero, and he must have been mighty indeed for he withstood multiple blasts from my most potent magics as well as the best efforts of my skilled companions, realized that he was outmatched and summoned assistance from vile creatures in adjoining rooms. Concentrating our efforts on the hero I was able, with one final blast of a powerful lightning bolt, to return him to his grave, and with their leader destroyed the lesser undead proved to be less than competent and struggled to make even a dent in the armor of my assistants. These undead were easily dispatched and only our poor fighter Brunt showed any substantial hurt from their efforts. We discovered among the dead several items that will prove valuable for our party, most noticeably a girdle that when worn by our friend Brunt bolstered his strength to impressive levels (if one is impressed by such base things). In the hands of our great opponent we discovered the mighty Dolghamar, which will prove to be an exceptional weapon in the hands of our Adric and bring him much glory in the eyes of his god. Shame that such a beautifully crafted weapon should reside with such an unfortunate looking individual, but who are we to argue with the wishes of Odin the wanderer?

The tale presented in these preceding pages is both humbly told and focusing on bringing some truth to a situation that, by the time you read these words, will likely have become the fruit of myth and legend. I hope that you can use these recollections to show that Balthazar the Blue is not only the extraordinary hero spoken of in the legends of your day, but also a man of flesh and bone. I hope that you will use your gift of our language to present this journey in a manner that excites your readers and invokes the importance of these events. If you cannot do this I ask that you reprint my exquisite words in the form presented here so that all may know my voice.

Humbly Yours,

Balthazar the Blue


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