Gustavus and Friends

S13 - Good Riddance to Bad Demise

Welcome back dear readers! Glindy is back after her short hiatus, ready to bring you more of the adventures of Gustavus and the Pantsers. In last week’s issue the Pantsers had just arrived in Sharn chasing after the traitorous Tikulti and wicked Demise.

“Immediately upon reaching Sharn we were summoned to the Citadel to be debrief by Capt. Kalaes. Thanks to a zone of truth, and a bewildered Grovaan, we established the treachery of Tikulti and were set free to hunt down the vile miscreant. Grovaan set us on the right path to finding them by recalling that Yerra’s journal pointed to the Tomb of Ashurta as the focal point for a ritual to restore the Ashen Crown. We also learned that Prof. Gedd were seen the previous night in the company of armed men and an elf. Our contact in the cogs, the good priest Oolakki further confirmed that a party consisting of Demise and Emerald Knights had entered the tomb.

Resolving to finish this sordid affair, we asked Oolakki to gather a local militia to guard our backs, and so girded entered the tomb. The guardians left out front in the tomb consisted of unfortunate Morgrave scholars, undead and grafted with Kruthik bits, as well as a handful of soon very completely dead Emerald Claw agents. The remnants of the first party fell back to a second position, which we overran just as easily, and in so doing gained Tikulti as a captive.

Finally, after weeks of frustration and betrayal, we met Demise in mortal combat within the sanctum sanctorum of the crypt. She put up a terrible fight, bolstered by ghouls and the demented undead form of the good professor who had been turned some time ago. It was a terrible fight, with mighty blows exchanged on both sides.

First Konrad, and then Gronk fell to the vile claws of our enemies. Horrifically, their unconscious forms arose of a new volition and joined the attack against us! In weaving our dance of death we had to both avoid their ministrations while dealing carnage upon our true foes. Hard we fought, and bitterly, each blow thrown against the iron wall of exhaustion…

It was then, with a mighty swing of Ashurta’s Blade, that Demise became two, her head and her body separating for a final swan-song. Our victory, hard won, at last.

Her body cooling slowly on the stone floor, we ascended the ritual dais, and anointed in the blood of Goblin-Foes, we resurrected the Crown in its full glory. Its song of power, of history, and of triumph lifted our weary hearts and proclaimed our victory indelibly within our memories.

So ends the tale of the Search for the Ashen Crown.

[Unfortunately Tikulti, who we had bound up alive in a previous chamber escaped during all of this, and we also resorted to screaming for help from Oolakki and his militia just before we won, convinced we were all dead meat.]

"

Well, an exciting conclusion! I hope you’ve all enjoyed this tale from the early days of the Pantsers. I am currently in negotiation with Gustavus for a further adventure and will keep you appraised. Until then we will be fielding questions from our esteemed readers.

“Dear Glindy,

I’ve heard that the Panters kept the Crown with them for quite some time after their adventure. Shouldn’t such a priceless artifact have been given over to the Lesh or the Wordbearers immediately?

Sincerely,
Peach McHippie"

Well Peach, the Crown, once reassembled, is a sentient artifact, and made its wishes known to Grovaan that it should continue some time further in the company of the heroes who rescued it from obscurity. As you well know the Crown was eventually returned to Darguun, and what a mess that was! Perhaps it was for the best that it did not return immediately, instead leaving time for the various parties in that area to come to grips with its existence.

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S12 - Did anyone Actually Invent the Warforged?

Moderator: Welcome back everyone, for the third part of our four-talk series featuring the legendary Pantsers. Today Gustavus will continue from he left off yesterday, with the mysterious spinning shard.

Gustavus: Thank you professor, so I think we left off with the Pantsers exploring Nk’Tyrrak. Did I mention that was its original name? So, we had covered the whole structure, finding only a strange black shard, spinning beneath a heavy crystal cover. Having found nothing of interest in the rest of the complex, naturally Gronk opened the cover and reached right in. The rest of us were dumbfounded when he disappeared!

Moderator: I take it you hadn’t gotten into the habit of visiting House Orien circles yet then?

Gustavus: Well, no. We could barely afford our bar-tabs, let alone to travel like that! After a brief discussion we were pretty sure the shard was safe, so the rest of us decided to take the gamble and touch it. Whatever was going to happen couldn’t be worse than if we returned empty handed.

Grovaan: It certainly was worse!

Gustavus: Alright, so maybe it was. No sooner had we all touched the shard then we found ourselves in chamber that looked almost identical, save for a distinct lack of color. Even our own appearances were dimmed. Somehow we had been transported to Dolurrh! To top it off our arrival was remarked by a hideous undead beholder-beast. We engaged it, while surreptitiously acquiring a few trinkets for later study. At the time we had no idea where we were, and as you know we are in the business of exploration.

Grovaan: Is that what we are calling it? Sure, you might be, but I was quite glad to grab whatever we could to please tentacle-face. I should add that Gustavus threw a shuriken or two, but was mighty quick about grabbing some souvenirs too. Soul of the explorer eh?

[Out of Game: we found a crystal ball keyed to the Shadowfell, a bag of holding, the map was actually located here, 2 ritual scrolls, and 3 messed up rotting bodies]

Gustavus: Indeed! Soul of the explorer. We were forced to gamble upon the shard once more when the beholder’s big undead brother showed up too. Our next destination was perhaps more sinister though. I hope none of you out in the audience know what I mean when I say that everything was wrong. The walls were wrong, the air was wrong, the colors were wrong. Perhaps wrongest of all was the guards, a pair of brutish hulking warforged, led by an illithid!

Audience: You lie! Cannith invented warforged!

Konrad: Quiet! We saw what we saw! At every turn we have uncovered evidence of warforged operating under the aegis of Xoriat!

[Konrad and the audience member engage in a heated argument until Konrad manages to cow him with an oath foul enough to frighten off bears. A set of Starforged warforged plans were gleaned here too, we think]

Gustavus: Believe us or not that is what we found. In addition to hastily acquired evidence which allowed us to, among other things, identify that we had in fact travelled to Dolurrh, then Xoriat, and revealed our next destination as Thelanis, which we promptly fled to.

[Out of Game: we grabbed a power jewel, and a lodestone of the planes]

Grovaan: Thelanis may seem like the safest of the four destinations, but we soon found out otherwise. Like each stop along the way this room too was infested with abberant colonists, in the form of Oytughs. They had slaughtered adventurous predecessors of ours, leaving their smiling corpses to greet us.

Gustavus: We tried to collect a few identifying items from those poor souls, but never learned more of their identities. That gesture used up all our time as well, as we had to flee from the Oytughs as quickly as from the other locations. Thankfully our final destination was back to Nk’Tyrrak.

[Out of Game: we grabbed a panther’s spirit armor +2, and a pair of bracers of zeal.]

Konrad: Yes, we returned safely to that nightmare prison, only to find it was inhabited after all. A noble guardian appeared and accosted us, thinking us invaders from beyond the portal. We quickly proved our local provenance and warned him of events that had taken place outside his eternal post.

Gustavus: Poor creature, he had been trapped there for 10,000 years guarding the portal! He seemed content enough, and I think we did something to alleviate his boredom.

[Out of Game: What we did was have a heated argument about the warforged plans, wherein Gronk and Gustavus just about attacked each other. It was agreed to leave the plans with the Shardmind guardian, who buried them ‘deep’. Konrad supported getting the plans to Karrnath, Gustavus felt such an item would definitely be taken by the illithid who had sent us, and Gronk, well… It should also be noted that the plans strongly implied that the illithid inventor had ‘dreamed’ of the design, pointing to Dal Quor influence.]

Moderator: And then you returned to Xorchylic with your haul?

Gustavus: Yes, we returned to him. Oddly, of all the artifacts we had gleaned from our adventure he seemed most taken with a scrying sphere connected to the shadows. I suppose there isn’t much entertainment in Graywall.

Konrad: Our task completed, we were allowed our freedom. Our honor had been stained by Tikulti, and we learned that he and his employer had teleported to Sharn sometime prior. Resolving to find them, we made a pact with Grovaan and his remaining brethren and boarded the Kordanga.

Gustavus: Ah, the Kordanga. What a fine vessel. You never forget the first airship you’ve been attacked by a dragon on.

Grovaan: You never forget the first airship you teach a blue dragon to stay away from! You chained the creature to the deck you were so excited to get at it!

Konrad: And then shouted at us continuously until it was dead. What a glorious fight that was. Piracy does not pay.

Audience: Nervous laughter.

Gustavus: And that of course is where the founding piece of the Pantser Anatomy Hall came from.

Moderator: I’m afraid that we’re out of time everyone, we have the Pantsers for one more session tomorrow, be sure to bring plenty of questions as we’ll be opening up the floor.

[Pantsers leave stage while audience claps. Gronk and Gustavus walk ahead of the others.]

Gronk: Do not think that you thwarted the Becoming God that day.

Gustavus: No old friend, we very much have unfinished business. Perhaps one day you will come to see things my way.

Gronk: You are a fool. They will never accept us, we must fight and win, or lose and die.

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S11 – The Elves did it!

Moderator: Welcome back everyone, for the second part of our four-talk series featuring the legendary Pantsers. Today Gustavus will continue from where Konrad left off yesterday, leaving the Pantsers surprised and flat-footed by vicious Gnoll mercenaries.

Gustavus: Thank you professor, as always it is a great pleasure to be here. M and U! M and U!

Audience: M and U! M and U! Makes the other schools Black and Blue!

Gustavus: Yes, ye. So let’s see, Konrad has just gotten to the juicy bit. There we were, waiting for our erstwhile Kech Volar allies to burrow back up, when from across the bazaar I felt a cold chill sliding across me. Tracking the horrid sensation I came face to face with our old friend.. Demise. Nasty piece of work. Elf as old as a tree and meaner than a vampire. Somehow she had tracked us here, and eluded our scouts, and now her pointed her finger unleashing an ambush.

I’m sure a few of you have fought gnolls before, or better yet fought with them. They are savage but powerful warriors, competent in their own way. These gnolls must have been on the cheap end of the spectrum though. Unfortunately for us they were only a distraction, as Demise had summoned forth incorporeal wraiths to harry us. It was a pitched and bloody battle, but we gave it our all, our fury redoubled at being ambushed like so many mewling kittens.

Like most fights it seemed to go on forever, but as most of you know, only lasted a few short second. In that time we discovered several unsettling things. Firstly, the wraiths were thieves! Somehow they managed to filch Zaarani’s Solitaire from Faydark and almost made off with a few of my own trinkets.

Secondly, and more disturbingly it seemed that this Demise was a puppet, a doppelganger somehow convinced to fight and die for another’s cause. What dread strings must have been pulled to gain such loyalty we were to discover only later.

With faux-Demise and her mercenary slaughtered, we received message from our allies below that they were returning in some haste and that we should make ready.

Moderator: Ah, the good part of the story!

Gustavus: Yes, well. As I’m sure many of you have experienced while working with certain other… institutions, all is never as it seems. No sooner did wise Yerra and her honorable band pop out of the tunnel then they literally stabbed us in the backs! On closer inspection the mortal wounds and total lack of skin tone might have been a good tip-off that something was wrong. It seems that Tikulti was an agent of Demise, and he had not only stolen three of the four components of the Ashen Crown that we had discovered, but slain and horribly reanimated our companions! Grovaan, who had remained topside to watch for Demise, was particularly stricken.

Groovan: It was horrible to be cloven from my litter-mates in such a brutal fashion.

Gustavus: Yes, I can’t imagine how you must have felt.

Groovan: It was then that I swore deathly vengeance against the Emerald Claw, and chose to align myself with the Pantsers for as long as our goals coincided.

Gustavus: And I am glad you did! I’m sure all of you in the audience are aware of the heroic duty Grovaan has since performed in affiliation with our band. Just breaking the Aeranathril case saved thousands of hobgoblin and Brelish lives. Anyhow, we quickly dispatched our fallen comrades to a more permanent rest, and checked the excavation. There we found a thoroughly looted hobgoblin tomb, with no evidence of another entrance of exit. Finding nothing we returned topside…

Where I’m sure none of you would be surprised to hear that we surfaced right into the claws of Xorchylic’s finest, the Ogre-guard.

Audience: Scattered laughter, shouts of “Never fails,” “Always show up after the fight.”

Gustavus: So surprise, surprise, we were led by the nose to the overlord. As you might suspect, and audience with a psychic monster is unsettling. Most of it was totally silent, with some sort of staring contest going on between Gronk and Xorchylic. Gronk seemed pleased, disturbed, and perhaps even a little lost in turns. I suppose this should have foreshadowed what happened later. Xorchylic tested my own iron will, and must have found it too powerful since he burrowed no deeper than the uppermost of my thoughts before recoiling in pain. Sensing the time was come for words, he addressed us out loud.

His terms were as follows: for aiding, abetting, and wholly intending to steal an artifact from his city, we were to penetrate an ancient Daelkyr fortress and procure him a new one. Seems that the city of Graywall was once a mighty hobgoblin fortress, undermined by the hordes of Xoriat and turned into a forward post. The Gatekeepers put paid to that plan, sealing mighty weapons of use to the illithid within. Guess who got to find out if anything was still alive down there? Us! Not that anything was stopping Xorchylic sending his damnable ogres in. He must have been waiting months for some nice foreigners to sacrifice.

Gronk: He seemed fairly glad to send me in as well.

Gustavus: Fair enough. Nice foreigners with a crazed ancient warforged. So, we get marched down into the mines of Graywall, and escorted to an enormous gatekeeper runed door. Pushes open as easy as you please and we’re the first modern Khorvairans to see, and return, from this particular nightmare fortress. Now, your average Xoriat architect, he isn’t very interested in sublety. The whole place was sculpted to resemble flesh and bones, as if the fortress was grown, but of course the whole thing is made of rock. Now in Graywall, that rock is red marble, and whatever crazed thing that built it had polished everything to an almost living sheen. Creepy.

Grovaan: The worst part of it was definitely that the whole first level was completely empty. Here you’re walking in what for all the world seems like a living breathing creature, but no motion, no sound; only your own horrid reflections off of the smooth muscular walls to keep you company.

Gustavus: Yes, except for the now incredibly controversial etchings detailing Xoriat warforged… but I digress and you can all just read my paper and the 6 rebuttals. I remind the audience that further scholarly duels on the topic have been banned by the provost after what I did with the last one. We know what we found down there and you best believe it.

Moderator: And just what did you find down there?

Gustavus: Secrets. Magic. And a small spinning black shard to deliver us to it.

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S10 - The Light, It Burns

Dear readers, it is finally time for another stirring tale from the Brotherhood of the Travelling Pants! In our last few columns Gustavus and his intrepid band traveled to the fabled Six Kings in search of lost treasure. What will our heroes find, and where will they head next?

“A deadly and horrible place Six Kings turned out to be. Filthy tunnels bored up from Khyber, primitive and crazed goblin tribes, undead horrors from the indeterminable past or present. Fight after fight, room after room— we were ready to discover if Six Kings could deliver on the promise of Yerra.

With weary but cautious steps I was sent out before the group to spy out the next chamber, which thankfully proved to be the last. Unfortunately it was guarded by a sturdy contingent of living and undead Khyber beasts who swiftly learned the Pants way of things. From the slimy fingers of their fallen leader we plucked a grand prize though: Zaarani’s Solitaire.

A beautiful piece it was, a perfect golden sphere, as hard as diamond and with a luster beyond mortal ken. No sooner was this piece of glorious history in our hands than did Yerra and her band arrive, trailing a band of angry fiends and holding the Orb of Murkoorak. Hurriedly we all rushed out of the cave, to a ragged airship hired by Yerra, our hearts beating with pride at having recovered three of the five fabled pieces of the Ashen crown.

Not a moment too soon I would say, for the airship had been badly damaged by rampaging undead bearing the livery of the Emerald Claw! Through stealth and cunning we had entirely eluded them on our way out (indeed, we had not even noticed them), and we now set about destroying them in a series of hit-and-run actions.

The fighting finished we determined that all haste was warranted to Graywall and the last piece of the Ashen Crown. Unfortunately the ill-fated airship Kordanga needed a day’s repairs, and with the Emerald Claw on our tail speed was of the essence. Lantash noted that Warwingy could easily outpace any mere contrivance, and so Glint, Groban, and myself were sent ahead.

In Graywall, after doning an orcish disguise, I found a city bustling with life and crude of measure. We scoured the city in search of the Emerald Claw and the fourth piece of the Ashen Crown using an artifact belonging to Groban. Of course, laden with treasure, we also spent some time shopping at the bustling bazaar. I learned that negotiation is a tough business, but that shrewd salesmanship melded with a good knowledge of your customer is an unbeatable combination.

[The ancients treasures of Dhakaan were parlayed. The coins went to Kech Volaar collectors, the trinkets to Orc Prospectors, and the Vicious Spear was traded for two lesser magic items held by several subsequently very happy goblins. We gained four amulets of resistance, a pair of iron armbands, some healing potions, a pair of resplendent gloves, and the satisfaction of a treasure haul well bartered.]

While resupplying in this manner Groban announced that he had located the final treasure, and wouldn’t you know it, it was directly beneath the bazaar! Recognizing an opportunity, we set up a false merchant’s tent, hung a sign claiming ‘Exploratory Sewer Committee’ on it, and set to work. During these events Lantash and Faydark arrived thanks to a second heroic flight by Warwingy.

All too soon night fell, and seeking to lure any potential enemies we stayed at the less-than-totally secure Golden Dragon in the foreign quarter. Awakening to find our traps empty, we returned to our tent and began digging, now reinforced with the just arrived Kordanga contingent consisting of the rest of our party and the Kech Volaar.

The Kech Volaar, expert diggers that they are, quickly reached a mass of solid red granite that turned out to be the entrance to an open tunnel. Meanwhile the Pantsers stayed up top to fend off local curiosity. And great curiosity there was! ‘What are you selling,’ ‘What is a sewer,’ ‘How much for a sewer?’ I’ve never seen so much curiosity from city dwellers anywhere else before or since. By the end of the day our explanations, fabrications, and plain irritations had worn us to the bone as only the toughest battle could.

Funny I should say that though… for as the crowds thinned, a familiar face appeared watching us.

Demise.”

Oh dear readers, Gustavus has done it again, leaving us at the edge of our seats. Thank goodness this is a weekly column though, so you will not have to wait very long to hear the end of this tale.

“Dear Glindy,

I have been collecting Gustavus’ short articles concerning the battle tactics and counter-measures his group has employed in their adventures. I was wondering if he would be interested in publishing a compilation with me? I suspect that such a work would meet great demand in military and adventuring circles.

Thanks,
Lorgar Aurelian”

Lorgrar, I have discussed your project with Gustavus, and he has let me know that a manuscript of his previous publications is already in production and about to be shipped from Korranberg. However, should you be interested, he has a great deal of further notes on creatures yet to be discussed formally and would be glad of the assistance in compiling those for individual and collected publication. If you are in the area, he invites you to stop by the Pants Compound.

See you next week!

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S9 - Still Dark In Here

Subjects: Order of the Pants
Operative: DTI
Timestamp: Day H.3

Subjects continue exploration of tomb after extended rest. Receive intelligence that Kech Volaar group also met resistance and had to rest, apparently ghouls. Party acquires chip of purple crystal, feeds it to %_.

Subjects come upon battle between dar ghosts and daelkyr, destroy both parties. %_ acquires large mummified head, perhaps for ritual purposes.

Party explores source of daelkyr, finds tunnels leading to Khyber. Adjoining chamber found to be filled with daelkyr combatants, soon dead. Party continues into next room of tomb, is assaulted by dar primitives. Ignoring calls for their surrender, primitives find sharp deaths.

Subjects continue exploration…
For the Shadows and the future of the Dar. Black Feet on Steel Wind.

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S8 - Its dark in here!

Subjects: Order of the Pants
Operative: DTI
Timestamp: Day H.2

Subjects join with Kech Volaar party. Tension high, G_ F_ and K_ negotiate out of hostilities.

Kech Volaar demand Amolithar ritual to establish worth of pink-skinned subjects.

G_ spars Kech Volaar Scout saved earlier, crushes unworthy opponent
Yerra Dirge Singer fails to halt K_, unstoppable will
Akitani the Barbarian shown way of world by F_, world is filled with pain
Lantash displays sword-superiority to Juirpa, Juirpa impressed
Honorless dog Gl_ defeats Ulkuuz through trickery, no one notices

Kech Volaar hide shame through welcoming subjects to task. Share knowledge of two more pieces of target, hidden in tomb.

Combined troop venture into tomb. Find obelisk, sense death magic, disarm bodies scattered in chamber. Kech Volaar transport through obelisk, death magic trap activates and skeletons rise without equipment. Subjects defeat with minimum of effort. G_ takes rubbing of obelisk.

Subjects continue further into tomb, attacked by incorporeal undead and oozes, defeat handily. Next chamber reveals undead Daelkyr foes, ancient Dhakaani heroes entombed in purple crystal. Daelkyr learn that subjects are competent.

Subjects continue exploration…

Threat analysis:
Subjects continue to exhibit competence above expectations for experience. Have shamed superior forces and continue to gain strength rapidly. Military precision in tactics and strategy occasionally demonstrated. G_ K_ speak of Rekkenmark, likely background.

For the Shadows and the future of the Dar. Black Feet on Steel Wind.

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S7 - Bad time to be out on the Road

It sure has been an exciting week! As most of you know, the entire stock of last week’s edition containing my column mysteriously disappeared from Sharn. Clearly the work of nefarious ner-do-wells that we are diligently tracking down. Fear not dear readers, last week’s column appears reprinted on the page following this one, so flip back and read that first if you live in Sharn! Back to Gustavus.

“No sooner did we continue down the road than were we confronted with a vile squad of monstrous road-bandits. Their leader, a brawny minotaur, challenged us for tribute, and received the pointy sort. They put up a fierce fight, combining the brute strength of the minotaur with the arrows of orc archers, and the magic of a fierce gnoll priest. Lacking discipline and proper training, their ambush broke up on the rocky shores of the Brotherhood of Pants.

Having slain the brutes to a man, unblocking the King’s roads, we discovered a vile truth. Their campsite revealed a stewpot filled with a previous victim! Well, we couldn’t abide such barbarity, and quickly buried the unfortunate meal. It is just this sort of behavior that kept Droaam out of the Treaty of Thronehold.

We finished the burial and having demonstrated both our superior stealth and fighting capabilities, we let our Kech Volaar guest return to his comrades. I held great hope for him, having received the combined wisdom of both Glint and I concerning stealth. Maybe now he will live up to his potential or at least not embarrass himself so badly again.

Making rapid progress up into the mountains, we entered a forested area. A few hours in Glint spotted odd tracks leading off into the trees, and the two of us scouted them out, discovering an elaborate ambush set up by Emerald Claw agents. Thanks to our superlative scouting abilities we not only identified the location of the ambushers, but were able to lead the entire Brotherhood to the rear of the ambushers.

A swift attack from this promising position put paid to the nefarious plans of this bunch, with their wizard being the first to fall. The sharp end of their ambush, their strongest fighters, found themselves at completely the wrong side of battle, and were unable to save their hapless squad mates to the rear. A few archers hidden up in the trees gave a little trouble, but our victory was never in doubt. Surprised and outmatched they put up a dogged defense and we were only able to capture one alive. This man managed only a few paltry threats to us, “Demise will get you,” “The Claw cannot be defeated,” that sort of thing, before succumbing to his wounds. We really should hire a healer at some point.

Moving on we rose above the tree line and were proffered a splendid view of Breland behind us. I suppose it should come as no surprise, having been waylaid three times on the road already, that no sooner did the path narrow into a ravine, then we were attacked once more. This time we encountered a rare foe indeed: a squad of Kech Sharaat Bladebearer goblins!

These goblins lived up to their reputation for discipline and martial prowess. Where the Droaam raiders fought as a mob, and the Emerald Claw troops were easily outflanked, the goblins had chosen a narrow ravine suited to their highly drilled phalanx fighting tactics. No sooner had we declined to pay tribute to them, or hand over the Blade of Ashurta, then they locked shields and sent arrows hurtling our way from hidden sharpshooters. A marvelous display of by-the-book marshal tactics. It would have worked wonderfully had they been fighting a military unit.

As it was they picked a fight with the Brotherhood of Pants. Their phalanx stood firm, indeed could not move, for no sooner did they form up than Gronk shackled them magically to the ground. We proceeded to take apart their infantrymen one by one, while several of us climbed the ravine’s sides and dealt with the sharp-shooters. Let this be a lesson to any military readers out there: tactics must adapt to opponents. Adventuring parties tend to be very capable at range, and often highly magical. Don’t expect to take them on with even double their numbers even if you have a mixed troop.

And so ended the fourth ambush on the road to Six Kings. I now understand why no one wants to live in this area! You can’t even take a hike in the mountain without fighting off half the militias of Khorvaire.”

Yes, dear readers, this is unfortunately the end of Gustavus’ story for this week. But fear not, we have a letter!

“Dear Glindy,

I had the good fortune of seeing Lantash ride by on his magnificent mount. My greatest ambition is to join a flying cavalry unit. Does he have any tips on how to train and apply?

Thanks,
Bernaby Benbarnackle”

Well Bernaby, Lantash does have a few suggestions. First that you should get a good familiarity with mundane mounts first. Flying mounts are animals, and every bit of experience in handling easier animals puts you that much closer to handling their more exotic flying kin. Secondly, working at Vadalis animal ranches is a good way to get into contact with flying animals, and work your way up to learning to ride one. Meanwhile, do not neglect your martial drills. Familiarity with weapons, tactics, and techniques is crucial when applying to flying cavalry units.

Well that’s all folks, see you next week!

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S6 - Job Interview

Subjects: Order of the Pants
Operative: DTI
Timestamp: Day G.1

Subjects apprised of second group of hobgoblins searching cogs, fighting with first group of hobgoblins (Dhakaan vs. Darguun?)

Subjects sent invitation from Prof. Ged Nephret, wishes to discuss Ashen Crown

Citadel summons received by subjects, sent by Captain Kalaes, requesting meeting at noon.

Subjects meet with Professor in morning, learn elven origin of Ashen Crown, are offered lump sum of gold by purported Lady Dannae Ulyan (suspected to be Subject FD.16) who is accompanied by Jaenns (suspected to be Subject FD.19). G_ appears to want the Ashen Crown to be removed from Khorvaire, expresses concern that it may ignite war. Professor reveals that elves were introduced by common associate by name of Dala Oran. G_ warns Professor to be discrete, unusually wary.

Subjects encounter Dala, question her on Lady Dannae, Dala claims she heard of Ashen Crown business from rumors in Cogs. Rumor-patrol confirms successful insertion.

Subjects travel to Citadel at noon, and meet with Captain Kalaes. Captain recruits subjects to help Kech Volaar complete Ashen Crown, claims this is a Thunder-Bear imperative. Makes no firm offer of support. G_ becomes agitated and hostile at suggestion of helping Kech Volaar. K_ refuses to participate without sanction of his employers. G_ makes a scene, and ultimately talks to Captain Kalaes alone. [exchange excised 1]. Agreement is reached with group to extend Breland’s secret support to Kech Volaar. Vow of Loyalty to the mission and its secrecy is sworn by all but G_.

G_ bargains hard, requiring extension of significant mundane supplies from Captain Kalaes, who relents. Captain Kalaes reveals lead on two more fragments of the Crown located in Six Kings by the Graywall Mountains. G_ concocts plan for group to use connection to Professes Ged to cover story of being Morgrave study group. Kech Volaar group they will meet up with there consists of roughly 6 hobs, 2 bugs, and 1 caster.

Subjects leave, show Tomb-blade to Prof. Ged, receive Morgrave Expeditionary Commission.

Timestamp: G.2
Subjects receive note from Prof. Ged. Rush to her domicile, find it wrecked. Engage in skirmish with undead (led by FD.19?) Destroy opposition. Undead marked as Skullborn sect, mission danger flag increased. Find note concerning subject FD.16, trade name revealed to subjects as “Demise.”

Subjects leave house, warn Karrnathi about undead, and to advise the watch. Subjects inform Captain Kalaes, and then embark on the Airship Eminence to Western Breland.

Timestamp: G.3
Subjects arrive at border, move forward on foot. Skirmish with FD troops who had ambushed a Kech Volaar scout. Beat scout and surviving FD for information. Human reveals leader is called “Morick.” Scout is remonstrated by G_, denies fault, and is justly beaten unconscious.

Subjects continue forward, smoke on horizon. Free-booting Minotaur raiders from Turabpar suspected. G_ lectures party on Kech Volaar, citing work of AL.11 and AL.451. K_ visibly uncomfortable with mission for foreign power.

Subjects continue travelling…

Threat analysis:
K_ : Solid warrior and tactical leader, but carries less strategic weight. Adherence to past that wounds weakens his will. Particular hatred of FD.

Gl_ : Continues to value atcha over muut. Do not recommend contact, will never learn.

G_ : Initial indications are erratic. Suspect that he bears the Tomb-blade. Shows odd and wildly varying knowledge of Dhakaani and Darguuni lore and language. Journal is indecipherable gibberish written as child’s view on ventures.

%_ : Oddly communicative despite lack of language. Rubbing acquired, need daashor scholar to interpret. Seems to have taste for violence, motives unknown.

L_ : Amazingly durable, fights with bravery and honor. Overwhelm at range. Mount is no threat, poisoned rations recommended.

F_ : Powerful but unreliably so, Jorasco ties bind but do not restrict. Ambush and melee recommended. Certain resistance to mental attacks exhibited.

Rubbings enclosed with report. For the Shadows and the future of the Dar. Black Feet on Steel Wind.

-DTI

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S5 - Death and other Fun Stuff Pt 2

Welcome back delightful readers, for the on-going tale of the Brotherhood of Pants. Gustavus has been called away, again, but thankfully he sent word for a friend of his who witnessed some of this tale first-hand to keep our tale running. Without further ado, here is Deena Mevakri to continue the tale,

“Well, previously Gustavus was telling you about his little skirmish in the grave of Ashurta right? Something about the fight with the puffy undead thing? Well, next, the whole party decided that maybe they didn’t like traps anyhow and went down the secret tunnel to find a statue filled burial chamber. Being good little adventurers they immediately tried to plunder what they didn’t comprehend, awakening the powerful and malignant ghost of Ashurta and his retainers!

Well. Naturally the ghosts, with the benefit of surprise and being thoroughly dead, wiped the floor with the inexperienced Brotherhood. Ha, they were so cute and squishy back then! The Brotherhood was forced to retreat leaving three of their wounded unconscious in the tomb.

They deserve some credit though, the Brotherhood has never been proud or secretive, and they immediately went about recruiting a group of upstanding citizens to help go back into the tomb and reclaim their comrades. This included the good priest Olaakki who had hired them to go there in the first place, and myself.

Bolstered, the party had no difficulty in defeating poor restless Ashurta and his crumbly friends. We reclaimed the fallen, and took some time off for them to recover from the ordeal. Gustavus has always been just a little too eager to show off, and this fight left him looking dreadful. He really should be more protective of those solid Karrnathi good looks.

Anyhow, no sooner was everyone back on their feet than they cleared out the remaining chamber of the tomb, something about some rickety skeletons and a few wights. They mopped that up, disabled all the traps in the tomb, and then nobly reported its location to Morgrave.

With the generous and spontaneous reward from Morgrave they purchased the rights to the now famous Pants Complex, located at the Dusk Gate in Middle Landing. Of course at first they just had a small corner of the complex, but right from day one they were using it to the benefit of the poor and needy. It was sometime around then that they brought Amberthorn the Wilden into the circle. Funny little man, excellent herbologist though. He knows the oddest things about plants."

Well, I suppose sometimes stories do have a happy ending. While I had Deena Mevakri herself talking to me, I took the chance to ask this famous, and elusive, personage a few personal questions. As any resident of Sharn knows, Deena is perhaps the most famous aerial ballet cum opera singer in the city, not to mention by far the most beautiful. Standing a full two gnomeheights, she is a towering women, but lithe and quick with the grace of a born dancer. Her perfect features are framed with fiery red hair, and she stares intently about her with deep purple eyes.

Without further ado, here is my interview:

How did you get into the dancing business Deena?
Well Glindy, I actually started at the Ten Torches. What a place! It might not have the best reputation, or the most money, but for an aspiring artist it had a bracing combination of artistic ambition and youthful energy. I’d taken some lessons as a youth, sharpened my skills in more informal venues, and had decided to make a go of it. I must have been good at it I suppose, because everyone know the rest of the story.

You have something of a reputation among performers, your staff is minimal, and I hear that you only have one bodyguard?
Ha, you’ve found me out Glindy. I’m just not paranoid. Everyone worries and worries, and it just gives them wrinkles. I’ve hired just the amount of help I need, and anyone who tries anything will find out quickly that they’re wasting their time. Probably their breath too when Gunther tosses them out of a window. And then their pitiful little existence when their command performance ends on the pavement. It is a matter of principle for me that I take care of as much as possible of my life on my own.

Just what is your relationship with Gustavus?
Gustavus has been a dear friend of mine since I met him several months after the Mourning. I was living in Karrnath at the time, lost and direction-less after having narrowly escaped the tragedy. We bonded over our mutual grief. That’s about it really. He’s a wonderful understanding friend but there has never been more than that between us. Too bad really, he has those gorgeous black Karrnathi eyes.

Well folks, that’s all we have space for today! See you next week with the beginning of the Brotherhood of the Pant’s next adventure!

—Glindy.

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S5 - Death and other Fun Stuff

- rest later -

A note on Alric’s desk: “Our friends are losing patience. If you don’t get your hands on the artifact soon then someone from Morgrave is going to get suspicious. THIS MUST NOT HAPPEN. We have worked far too long to leave this matter in the hands of your foul visitors. I want you to destroy all evidence of our activity in Sharn, and put a stop to any curiosity from Morgrave. -DMS

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