Gustavus and Friends

S14 - Pay Delay

[Glindy’s Notes]

Pantzers return to Sharn, and are summoned to meet with Captain Kalaes.

The good Captain pays out the bounty on Demise’s head, but points out that their original mission is far from done: the Kech Sharaat have only grown stronger relative to the Kech Volaar, and the Crown, despite its wishes, is still in the hands of the party and not the Wordbearers. Paint Capt K as a faithless task-master, or as a straight-laced penny-pinching drill sergeant?

The Pantzers spend two months getting their compound in order, expanding and filling it. A new neighbor moves in downstairs, a strange purple skinned gnome with glowing blue eyes. He introduces himself and is promptly recruited by Gustavus. No sooner is the ink dry on his membership form than a Kech Sharaat strike team appears by balloon and through the adjoining buildings by the compound.

The Pantzers knock nearly all the goblins off the complex and down several stories, and then finish off those foolish enough to return to the fight. This scene needs embellishment, perhaps double the reported number of enemies and say it was raining.

[In between the PCs also do a bit of shopping, and level to 7.]

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Prince for a day

The following happens immediately after the crown is reassembled:

Grovaan passes the crown each person in the party, ending with Gustavus. As Gustavus talks with the crown he begins to turn pale. He looks a little sick and wisps of steam begin to rise from his skin. He trembles, and falls against the statue of four hobgoblins to support himself. The steam starts to form a cloud of mist about his slumped form as his skin begins to flush with color. Gustavus yells in pain, and the yell deepens into a throaty roar. A moment later the mist clears. Gustavus’ roguish good looks have been replaced with the body of a red-skinned hobgoblin!

Harun

Grovaan tries help the hobgoblin into a sitting position. “Gustavus! What has happened to you?”

The hobgoblin gingerly seats himself on the floor. He takes several deep breaths before replying in a rough voice. “Gustavus? No, I am Harun Shaarat, son of Lhesh Haruuk Shaarat’kor.”

Grovaan frowns at this. “Now is not the time for jokes Gustavus. Prince Harun was killed in Cyre during The Mourning. You dishonor his memory with such foolishness.”

Gustavus coughs out a final puff of mist before replying. “Attacked. Cursed. But not killed. I am Harun Shaarat. Here, upon my brow, I bear the marks of the razor crown tribe.” And indeed, there is a line of scars upon the hobgoblin’s forehead. This seems to impress Grovaan somewhat.

“But how did you get here? And what happened to Gustavus?”

Harun shakes his head. “I have dreamed of a man called Gustavus. It feels like I’ve been dreaming ever since that cloud attacked us in Cyre.” He looks at Grovaan and the rest of the party. “You. I’ve seen your faces in my dreams as well. And other goblins in tombs. Everything is hazy, hard to remember, but I’ve seen you. And I remember this room. I hate this room. Let’s get out of here.”

The party helps Harun to his feet, collects the corpse of Demise, and makes their way back to their apartment in Greyhome Tower. Glint and Grovaan grill Harun with questions, but he has few answers. He remembers a life before The Mourning. He claims to be the son of the king of Darguun. Harun remembers growing up in the palace of Khaar Mbar’ost (the Red House) in Rhukaan Draal, the capital of Darguun. He claims to have been sent with a raiding party into Cyre to capture supplies from a town across the border. He has no memories about events after The Mourning except vague images. He knows almost nothing about Gustavus. Since it’s been a rough day, and seeing that conversation isn’t providing much new information, the group decides to table the topic until the next day.

Gustavus wakes up his normal, human self. He has no idea who Harun Sharaat is and is rather insulted when the party calls him a hobgoblin. He insists that he only fainted from the excitement of holding the legendary Ashen Crown. Eventually he gets angry and leaves to go collect money for all the articles he’s been writing.

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Ashen Crown Completed!

The party has slain Demise and recovered all the pieces of the Ashen Crown. Congratulations! However, you had left the treacherous Tikulti unattended long enough for him to use his Dark Lantern escape skills to loose his bonds and slip away. Perhaps he will live long enough to realize his dream of becoming immortal after all.

The priest Olaakki and the inhabitants of the Cogs thank you for helping them rid their city of a dangerous group of necromancers. Olaakki says he will perform the necessary rites to ensure the souls of the zombified Morgrave students will be at peace.

Since Demise so kindly prepared everything needed to perform the rite of Arkantaash and restore the crown, Lantash completes the ritual. Grovaan assists by chanting a history of the great deeds performed by the heroes of Dhakaan. Lantash combines Lurtaan’s Cord, Ashurta’s Blade, Zaarani’s Solitaire and Murkoorak’s Orb with Karruuk’s Circlet to form Arkantaash, the legendary Ashen Crown!

Grovaan reverently picks up the crown from its place within the circle. He admires it with an expression of awe and surprise. “Listen,” he says, “Arkantaash speaks! Can you not hear? … I see. You must be in contact with the crown to hear its voice. It wishes to know who has sought the pieces and reassembled the crown. I am Grovaan Guzuurtor, a seeker, of the Kech Volaar tribe. My companions and I have searched far and faced many dangers to recover this lost artifact of Dhakaan. The others from my tribe that accompanied me on my quest were deceived and betrayed by a shape-changing necromancer. We were forced to fight them after the necromancer transformed them into foul zombies.”
Grovaan passes the crown to each of you in turn so you can introduce yourself and tell your own tale of heroism.


The crown is an artifact that was created to chronicle the history of its owners. It was used first by the ancient elves, then the Dhakaani goblins. Kings consulted with the crown when they were in need of advice, and used its power over the dead to gain knowledge that was lost to time. You can check out it’s stats in the Items section of the wiki.

Grovaan is anxious to return the crown to his superiors in Darguun. However, the crown is presently concerned with learning about the heroes who reassembled it and what has happened to the Empire of Dhakaan. Grovaan is willing to let the crown remain with the party for a time until it has chronicled your stories.

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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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