Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Stones Above the Falls

Dec. 18, 572pfk
The Tiger Vale, Northern Manawyn

     Secure for the time being in the tree of Arys, the group rests and recuperates as best they can. While their faelinarie host is away, they discuss their options. Some think going back to the Laird Turath's mansion is the only way to find their stones and return themselves to the appropriate size. The majority believe the temple of the Traveler is their best chance, even if neither are great. Either way, by Arys's druidic charm of non-detection, they know they only have a limited time period before Turath finds them with a scrying spell.

     When Grello (aka Denrick) sees Snap attempting to carve a bow, he gets excited and shows the group his stash of sprite weapons and armor, which they happily accept. This brings them around to discussing the Durin pilgrim's problems again. On the off chance that Grello has a connection to the splintered gemstone, Calder gives him the shard. There's a violent reaction and Denrick is knocked to the floor. When he comes around, his wits have returned, as well as several inches of his height.

    With the bard's help, they learn that Sharhad Hasul, the protector spirit of the temple, was locked away when a unhallowing was laid over the temple and the protector's holy focus was removed. The confluence of magical power that once flowed to Sharhad Hasul is now diverted somewhere else. Denrick tells them they must:

1. Scratch out the runes of the last unhallowing and reconsecrate the temple with a Hallow Spell.

2. Replace the Holy symbol focus, which Cawyn believes to be a lantern, like the one given them by the Tinker, Mathias Drumholler.

     Unfortunately, Denrick's wits fade after a short conversation.

     When Arys returns, they catch their host up on what has happened. With the new information, and the knowledge that Drumholler's lamp is possibly in a backpack left outside the temple, more than ever they're ready to go to the temple. Only when Arys mentions the druidic moon circle at his destroyed village do they change their mind.

     With the hope of the circle being able to return their spellcasting abilities, they decide the ghosts and cursed protectors are worth the risk. Arys nervously agrees to take them, but it must be at night. The rest of the crew is left in the treehouse, while Calder, Cawyn, Harrick, Falco and Snap climb once more into the flightless faelinarie's rucksack, this time at least equipped with armor and weapons.

     Across the forest valley they go, quietly and carefully making their way up valley. At the river's edge they come across Master Moonshade and a few Kudra, but are able to stay hidden. A few minutes later they stop in a hollowed out old log, where Cawyn attempts a Pass Without Trace spell. it fails miserably and he's wracked with a sharp pain that forces him to cry out. The cry is heard by a couple sprite scouts, who approach the log. Luckily, Calder and Arys are able to kill the evil fey before they escape with word.

    Eventually, without further trouble, they find a series of stepped waterfalls that lead upward along a precarious path to the ruined faelinarie village. Readying themselves as best they can, Arys begins the climb. As he hops across the moss covered rocks of a turbid pool the air suddenly goes frigid and a mold covered claw the size of Arys's torso emerges from the water, snapping at the faelinarie and jostling the little's on his back!

Stay tuned!


Monday, December 11, 2017

Luck Rabbits

Dec. 18, 572pfk
The Tiger Vale, Northern Manawyn

     Stuck between an irate rabbit and the poison barbed arrows of the unseelie sprites, the dirty, exhausted group of littles make their way toward the side tunnel. Upon closer inspection of the hare, Falco and Cawyn realize it's magical nature, deducing that it is in fact a Hare of Rhiswyn, a golden furred luck rabbit. They advance up the side tunnel and don't get far before they are jumped by a pair of evil looking weasels.

     Though Harrick takes some injury, they manage to vanquish the first weasel. Instead of dying, it reverts to its true form, becoming a Kudra minion and filling the small tunnel to over capacity with it's goblin bulk, smooshing several of the little fighters into the hard packed dirt walls around its head and shoulders. On the plus side, it neatly blocks the passage and prevents the other weasel or sprites from joining the fray.

     Pain and a little time sees Cawyn, Harrick and Falco free and the group continues along the tunnel, leaving the wounded and cursing kudra behind. Eventually they come to tunnel's end, an exit from the burrow. Unfortunately, the group's exhaustion and thirst is quickly growing to be too much. Huddled near the exit, they wait for Falco and Snap to scout out their path.

     The two scouts quickly realize the Luck rabbit's fur must be helping to keep the den entrance hidden. After taking some back to the group, they find another entrance within the rock pile where they hide from a sprite scout, and then are nearly killed by the second weasel. "Luckily", they are saved by a mysterious wingless faelinarie who skewers the weasel and kills the kudra which it reverts to.

     Returning and explaining things to the group, they take their savior's aid and climb into his ruck sack, being carried swiftly away from the scene and through the forest. When they emerge from the pack, they find themselves on the treetop front porch of the Faelinarie's arboreal home. They are led inside, given food and water and allowed to clean up.

     They learn their savior's name is Arys. He is a lone survivor of his tribe's war against the evil Laird Turath. It was the arch fey who took his wings. They learn from Arys the following bits of information:

1. Laird Turath has been setting traps for airship crews and lone travelers at the temple for over thirty years.

2. A band of Air pirates collect the ships after their crew has been shrunken and enslaved. Arys knows little about the pirates.

3. The temple is ancient, and was once dedicated to a demi-power of Gleeve, a powerful gynosphinx named Sharhad Hasul. The flying cats are a small, remaining vestige of her power.

4. Arys rescued another micro-slave two months ago. He is addled in the brain and simple-minded and goes by the name Grello. Dennia recognizes him as Denrick Fallhollow, the escaped Gleevian pilgrim.

     After a restful night's sleep, Arys offers to gather components for Cawyn and Falco. He informs the group that there are still a couple patrols of Kudra in the valley, and a group at the temple. Otherwise it seems the manhunt has been lessened.

    Thankful for the Faelinarie's help, and at least temporary respite from being hunted, the tiny crew of the Maven sip hot soup from acorn cups and discuss their next steps.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Mr. Rat's Wyld Ride

Dec. 17, 572pfk
The Manse of Laird Turath, Mar Nan Os - The Fey Wild

     Time is pressing and plans are hurried along. The group gathers what minimal supplies they can and make their way to the wall, where Harrick and the officers help the less athletic in their climb. Cawyn and Falco rush down, where they meet up with the rats and re-establish relations.

     Yellowtooth, the rat who appears to be in charge of the other rodents, offers to carry the group outside, and none too soon, as the fey household is beginning to wake for the day. As the crew and slaves ride the rats, some three our four to beast, the first casualty occurs in the dangerous jump from the pillar to the bookcase. Erru Dorsett, the slave scribe, falls from the rat's back and to his death.

     After making their way into the crawlspace between floors, they finally come to a narrow crack that leads outside. In honor of the last portion of their deal, Yellowtooth gives the group a whole emerald, which he claims came from the fey master's drawers. The stone glows with warmth and actually hums with power.

     Outside of the crack is a wet, crisp fall-ish day in the fey wyld. They get their first good view of the raised hill on which Laird Turath's mansion perches, surrounded on all sides by a dense green forest. Following the simple directions given by the rats, the group finds a dangerous "stairway" of loosened stone in the outer tower wall which they begin to descend. They are headed to the front of the mansion and to a pillared circle where the rift gate is.

     A quarter of the way down, they are attacked by one of the huge, toothy frogs camouflaged against the tower wall. Wanting nothing to do with the dangerous threat, Cawyn wastes no time Moonbeaming the amphibian, sending it flailing into the vine covered hillside.

     From inside they all hear the sound of Master Moonshade raising the alarm. Deciding it's a good time to test a theory, after getting a little distance from the Durin, Harrick gives Cader the emerald. With a magical pop, the tiny slave reverts to his true size and slides off the wall and into the ivy below. Gathering the rest of the littles, hairy, naked Cader runs across the causeway and toward the portals.

     When confronted by a troupe of unseelie sprites, he only pauses a moment before rushing forward and diving through the stones. Unfortunately he's not quick enough to avoid at least one enchanted arrow in the cheek. Like that, they find themselves once more in the Tiger vale of the middle realm. After a brief look around at the unfamiliar clearing, they choose a animal trail and begin running.

     While they do, another unhelpful situation becomes apparent as more than half of the crew begins to quickly forget the details of their time in the Fey Wyld.

     Cader's natural Durin resilience to the sleepy time poison begins to ebb also and he stumbles off the trail. When he drops two of the crew, they get him to stop. Snap brings up the somewhat heartbreaking realization that they will have to abandon Cader if they have any hope of escaping pursuit. Lying to the naked, drugged Durin, they send him off into the forest on his own.

     No more than a half candle later they hear the sound of fey pursuit from the gate. Horns and hounds begin the chase as the tiny escapees make their way to a mound of stones and earth, steering clear of spiders and making their way into the pile.

     In the distance, they hear the sounds the faerie hounds attacking someone. Most likely Cader.

    Deep into the muddy stones, they also hear the sound of hounds digging and snorting at their path. Snap finds a burrow of some sort and they drop into it. Choosing a direction they set off. Behind them they hear the eerie voices of the Unseelie sprites in pursuit. Ahead, a pair of eyes peeks around the corner and they are faced with a huge, furry, hare.

    A side tunnel breaks away between them and the burrow maker. Armed sprites approach from somewhere behind. Several of the crew are fatigued from the arduous run through the undergrowth. Most only have a vague idea where they are, and no idea why they are so small.

To be continued...

Monday, November 13, 2017

Levers, Pulleys and Big Big Bullies

Dec. 17, 572pfk
The Manse of Laird Turath, Mar Nan Os - The Fey Wild

     Falco and Harrick watch Calder and Cawyn make their way to a cabinet at the base of the shelf, then begin to explore the sparse desktop.

     In the first book they're able to make out dates and quantities. The most recent dates are from yesterday, noting a pending sale of 16 stones, selling each item for between 1000 and 5000 gold to a person or entity named Rolsten Cam. There is also a note under the entry: “Heavily Damaged Cog with War Crystal - auction pending. Awaiting Seahand’s word.”

Upon further investigation, Falco also notices some kind of scaling system of 1-10 next to the sixteen items. As well, there are two small letters next to each entry, (MN, MT, MN, MD, MK, FN, MK, etc.)

The next book appears to be of better make, and is clasped shut with a leather and brass tab which the two tiny heroes have some difficulty opening. After several failed attempts, they finally rig a lever out of the Laird's quill and ink pot that does the trick, but breaks the quill.

They quickly open and scan the book, finding it to be yet another ledger of numbers and things sold to people or estates. Sylvan titles like “Glaurfynial Keep,” “Hall of the Gloomlord” are present, along with something about the skill and quality of the slaves. Older entries have a “Sold status” with the exception of four: Two female Nerans and one male Neran. There are fourteen new entries with simple descriptions:

Autumn/Durin/Male - Manual Labor
Summer/Neran/Male - Gladiatorial?
Summer/Neran/Female - academic
Summer/Orokan/Male - Gladiatorial “Moonshade”

Meanwhile, in the cabinet, Cawyn and Calder have discovered a glass-like sliver of orange crystal which will work quite well as an improvised shortsword.

Everyone freezes when they hear the sound of footfalls on the stairs. Falco and Harrick quickly scramble to return things to their original positions and run for the wax draped skull, their legs disappearing into the eye sockets as the Kuranani known simply as Master Moonshade enters the study, makes a tour of the room and investigates the slave village and the desk before returning up the stairs.

Serious exhaustion is setting in now, as is proven by Harrick falling off the desk during the climb down. Only another clutch Featherfall by Falco saves both of them from serious injury.

While heading back across the floor to the Village table, they are surprised by Moonshade once more. Falco and Calder barely make it out of sight when the giant nabs Harrick and Cawyn. Harrick uses his splinter sword to good effect jabbing it deep into Moonshade's palm, and once more when he's dropped and the giant tries to grab him. He's too tired to evade the second slap, which leaves him badly injured on the carpeted floor. It is only Cawyn's calming words describing Harrick's obvious value that save the Oroka from a nasty end.

In quiet angry tones, Moonshade awakens the village and questions the captured slaves. When it becomes apparent he's going to do a head count, Falco comes out of hiding as well, to prevent a search that might reveal Calder. The three slaves are put into one of the magical golden cages until the morning, when Laird Turath will deal with them.

As Cawyn, Harrick and Falco talk with the rest of the crew, Cader and the remaining slaves, Calder finds the rest of the orange gem in the cabinet. It is cracked and partly shattered, but retains a magical warmth. He takes the time necessary to study the gem and eventually deduces it to be a slave gem, containing the remaining magical essence of a slave's missing mass. He then makes his tired way back to the village.

Up top, Cawyn turns aside a scared Erru's plans to spill the beans. A plan is hatched to speed up the escape. The miniature livestock are slaughtered to feed the rats and Calder, Snap and Wall make yet one more foray to the desk, to retrieve the jade key that will open the cage. This again requires some interesting uses of levers and pulleys to open the drawer. Calder's tail proves clutch.

Leaving the desk a mess, they return to the village to find that the rats have already begun collecting the meat from where it has been thrown to the study floor. They use the key to free the caged prisoners, Cawyn takes the pain of a healing ritual to fix up Harrick's busted ankle and arm and they ready themselves to talk to the rats.

There can be little more than a candle before the residences of the house begin to wake. The tiny slaves nervously watch as the crew begins to enact the final parts of their rushed plan.

Will they escape in time?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Rodents Of Usual Size? I don't think they exist.

Dec. 17, 572pfk
The Manse of Laird Turath, Mar Nan Os - The Fey Wild

     The meeting consists of the group plus Hennesey, Bosun Delver and Snap. Hennesey is unable to give any more detail concerning her theory on "artifacts of missing mass" in alchemical arcana. When Cader joins them, Harrick takes a chance and reveals the Captain's presence after the slave boss expresses an interest in coming with them should they decide to make an escape attempt.

     Cader also warns them that Master Moonshade, the Kuranani who oversaw their training, was very interested in Harrick, and might snatch him away in the next couple days. This is enough to hurry their plans. The officers plus Snap make a dangerous climb out of the village in search of rats.

     Investigation of the shelf, after a close call with a kudra servant, reveals a rodent's path up a stone serpent statue in the corner, across the top shelf and then along a narrow ledge around the room. While Cawyn preps a ritual, Falco makes his way to the top shelf to hopefully track down a rat.

     He finds two and narrowly escapes becoming their dinner, then narrowly avoids becoming a pancake when his concentration waivers from the spell pain of a feather fall spell. The rats race after him, coming down the statue quickly. Harrick keeps them at bay with a sword given him by Cader while Cawyn concentrates past his own pain and casts a Speak with Animals spell. The rats nearly run away, suddenly fearing the little adventurers, but the tiny druid is able to convince them to stay and listen, through the tried and true lure of "sweet, stinky meat."

     Over the following conversation, it is learned that Denrick Fallhallow apparently befriended and used the rats to make his escape to the "magic hole" outside the mansion, but caused them to lose several of their brothers and sisters to the dangers of outdoors. Though the rats are loath to go outside again, they eventually agree to bring the group something shiny, and to show them a hidden way outside in exchange for large quantities of said sweet, stinky meat.

     This deal made, the group says goodbye to the rats and heads toward Laird Turath's desk. This climb proves too much for Calder and Cawyn, but Harrick and Falco see two large books on the desktop that look promising, if also taxing to open.

     It is here that we rejoin the adventure.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Fey Laird's Mansion

Dec. 16, 572pfk
The Manse of Laird Turath, Mar Nan Os - The Fey Wild

     When next the band awakens, they find themselves altogether in a different place, at a different size. Caged by a powerful arch fey and apparently shrunken to a height of six inches, they find that everyone in their crew is scheduled to be a slave/playthings for the pleasure of the dark fey. The Captain and Grail are missing.

     They are eventually taken to a tiny village on a table in the Laird's main hall, where they begin their training and conditioning, some to be tiny gladiators, others to perform scholarly duties, or whatever...? From the slaves already there, they learn that the Laird has a regular business, selling micro-slaves to other lords in the Shadowy unseelie courts.

     Meanwhile, Calder made his way from the gruesome trash of the Laird's lab, where he was left for dead, to the tiny village, climbed in and made contact with his friends and crew. That night they climbed out and made their first foray into the mansion, seeking answers to some important questions.

     By use of a beast shape in the form of a proportionally giant wasp, Cawyn and Calder made their way back to the lab, narrowly escaping an encounter with a shaggy fey hound and an old woman arch fey. They learned that the magic done to them was alchemical in nature. They also read from a journal of a pilgrim named Denrick Fallhallow, about the true nature of the temple in the Tigerwood Vale, that the place was once a powerful temple dedicated to the Traveler god, Gleeve.

     Falco meanwhile searched the shelves of the Laird's main hall, where he found one of the Laird's older alchemy journals. Within the book, he found the depressing news that the shrinking process is permanent. he also came face to snout with a giant, angry rat, but feather fell to safety.

Session Break

     Upon everyone returning, they found that Cawyn and Falco were suffering the negative effects of casting magic. Cawyn was hit especially hard by his beast shape, which left him disfigured and in great pain. When Cader, the slave boss found out, he offered to remain silent, and let them scheme, as long as he could maintain plausible deniability.

     From Erru, the somewhat laid back, pipe smoking scribe, they were shown some hidden writings of Denrick Fallhollow, that spoke of a nearby portal back to the Tigerwood Vale, and his plans to enlist the aid of some rats he made friends with to escape and return to the temple.

     In addition, Hennesey remembered some of her college classes on alchemy, and seems fairly convinced that there will be a physical presence of the remaining corporeal matter left behind after the shrinking process. An arcane representation of their missing mass.

     As we return to the crew, they are planning their next steps in the bunkhouse.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Grand Theft and Dirty Pirates

Dec. 11, 572pfk
Parnell's Aerie. Milum Deoria

     When last we left our intrepid adventurers, they were staying the night at Parnell's Aerie, a floating, military outpost of the Empire. While three quarters of the group played at cards and small talk in the main hall, Falco stooped motionless in the shadows, hoping the old, robed scholar wouldn't see him on his secret mission.

     And thankfully, he didn't.
     Once the preoccupied scholar passed, Falco continued his search, eventually finding Apprentice Thurgood's room. After inspecting the lock, he found an alarm spell. A Misty Step bypassed that nicely and he was in. It was quick matter to find the correct journal. He also found the plans to an interesting and confidential, Imperial Engineer's project, but there was no way to take them without it being noticed. the plans were signed, "M. Woodbridge."
     With the book tucked away on his person, he returned to his rooms. The following morning, the crew left the fort, their theft unnoticed.

Session Break

The Maven drops Dreya's book to an unknown contact in Glors, before the ship continues its journey south along the Great Line, crossing the inland sea of Fahl and the floating sky-fortresses that surround the Great Rift. Their journey is smooth for two days as they continue southward, but the third day they are attacked by a pirate cloudrunner while nearing the Manawyn border.
     An air skirmish ensues, in which the skillful piloting of Falco, along with the equally skilled cannon-work of Harrick and the boys, sees their enemy crash-landing in the forest below. They opt to pursue, and end up forcing the pirates to surrender after their ship catches fire. They end up driving off a third party of Cull warriors with their Morodos Hill giant, with treasure, two injured prisoners and a freed Deorian noble named Josua Gold.
     Gold attempts to convince the Maven to return him north to his home, but fearing a reprisal from more pirates, they choose to instead take him to the first southern skyport, of Fauradyr, in Manawyn.
     In the Skyport they learn further bad news. Apparently the company contracting their parchment shipment is behind on shipping taxes. The government of Manawyn wants to seize their cargo or turn them back North. Either that, or they must pay the 7,000 gold owed. They also turn in an Imperial report on the pirate attack, leaving out anything about prisoners, since they promised the pirate captain they would release the pirates instead of turning them in.

Session Break (crib notes style)

     Talk down Captain Nalik from searching the ship for pirate prisoners. Send off Sid Roy by featherfall. Dismember the dead pirate and feed him to the pyromite boilers. Problem solved.
     Later morning: Return visit by Master Pallin. More grief about incorrect report. Falco comes back with, "Why are you busting our balls? We saved someone and killed some pirates." Pallin backs off. "Please revise the report and consider your stay at the Stags Inn on us." Calder still distrusts slimy Pallin. Harrick gives Nalik a tour while they wait. Pallin leaves with report for magistrate. Promises to have the cargo offloaded by tomorrow.
     Rest for officers. Cawyn and Falco go to High District and Pallin's residence to speak with Ser Gold to renegotiate his passage. Meet Mathias Drumholler - tinker, on the way. Haggle for potions. Gather a little local intel about the pirate king Cullom Farcus. Rumors of Pirate bay on the West Coast. 
Gold is not currently at home. Palin explains he is meeting with a captain of a Windcutter to book swift passage back.
     Meanwhile, Harrick takes a meeting meant for the captain with Lord Evanshard, a local factor, knight and businessman. Lord Evenshard has a business proposition for the Maven. Agree to rescue his shipment of Aether Spring water from a downed barge in the foothills and he will clear up the tax issues. The barge is holed up near an old ruin, in Knockfar territory, but they are still in Crystal communications. Time is of the essence. Harrick returns to tell the captain the offer, promises an answer quickly. Meets Cawyn and Falco on their way back to the ship. Offers ride in Evenshard's coach.

Session Break

     They do some more dealing with Mathias the Tinker, Buy potions of featherfall and a shiny lantern. They choose to accept Evenshard's deal and leave in the morning, headed west into the forested foothills in search of the downed zeppelin barge.
     At first the trip goes well. They make contact with the barge captain, who explains that they were threatened by Knockfar in the forest and had to take their goods to a nearby ruined temple. He gives directions. When they finally find the valley known as Tiger's Vale, they have some difficulty spotting the landing site and no one responds to their crystal. Eventually they send a small team into the forest to make their way to the temple. Falco, Harrick, Boggs, Snap, McFall and Grail find old sign of Knockfar and newer sign of a cart and Neran tracks leading to the temple.
     As they approach the densely forested old temple, they spy flying cats. Cawyn takes some time to talk to a bird or two, who only verifies that their are two-legs at the temple, and that the flying cats are dangerous to birds and small beasts.
     The group carefully approaches. There are a dozen or so of the winged cats, but they don't do more than watch them. The pyramid style temple has an old and crumbling statue of a feminine feline/humanoid form at it's apex. They leave Grail at the entrance and go in, being very careful to check for traps.
     In the main worship chamber they find another statue of a giant, winged feline figure with the upper torso of a Neran. One eye contains a sparkling red gem. As they are getting ready to explore further, the distant report of a cannon can be heard, followed by the resonant tone of a giant bell. The sound instantly knocks out the crew, who fall where they stood and do not rise again...


Current Contracts

Package For Baron Broke (Shipping) UNDERWAY

Torellan, Manawyn to (Destination revealed by Shipper)
Start Date: By Dec 30, 572
Delivery Date: Unspecified.
Baron Broke of Starbourn Industries wants a package picked up from Sunstrider Exports in the Capital City of Torellan. Delivery location will be revealed by shipping agent, Mavrus Tynebough.
Payment: 9,000 gold upon delivery. (10,000 - 10% Retainer Fee)

Paper Pushing (Shipping) UNDERWAY
Milum, Deoria to the College of the Southern Arcanum, Torellan, Manawyn
Delivery Date: Jun 30, 573
Deliver 100 Tons (16hs) of Parchment to the College of the Southern Arcanum, 20 miles south of Torellan in the Brass Forest.
Payment: 7500 gold upon delivery.