Monday, April 16, 2018


Once agreement on plans for the morning are reached, and everyone begins to settle for the night, Zeb will find a place in Erathmar's camp to stow his gear, leaving everything except for his trousers, light boots, Malaran fetish around his neck and belt of sheathed knives.  Zeb's trophy for the night, Ignish's fetish, hangs from his belt, and his prey's blood has been smeared in a thick line across Zeb's chest.

Zeb is tired and wounded, but he has been bolstered by Tussugar's words and feels very much alive after the ritual combat with Ignish, at one with his savage, bestial god.  Zeb's going out...and Zeb's going to Hunt.

Not so much worried about Carcerus, other scouts or any other dangers that might lurk in the forest at night, Zeb feels instilled by the Beastlord right now, and this is how he'll learn that he's either chosen correctly--or that he hasn't, in which case he could meet a very bloody end.  Zeb doesn't know what the formal rite of vorishnaad entails, but this is how he's going to execute HIS vorishnaad. formally severing his ties with the beast cults, and establishing his own new, one-man sect with a new purpose, a new aclupar--seek justice for those slain in Shadfeld, and prevent it from ever happening again.

What Zeb seeks in the forest this night is a nod from Malar, some sign that his vorishnaad is approved.  No longer will Zeb play the role of prey to Korvich's insane aclupar or to threat from the Black Devil, Carcerus.  Stand or fall, succeed or fail, he'll confront them on his own terms.

Malar's Dogma

Survival of the fittest and the winnowing of the weak are Malar’s legacy. A brutal, bloody death or kill has great meaning. The crux of life is the challenge between the hunter and the prey, the determination of who lives or dies. View every important task as a hunt. Remain ever alert and alive. Walk the wilderness without trepidation, and show no fear in the hunt. Savagery and strong emotions defeat reason and careful thought in all things. Taste the blood of those you slay, and never kill from a distance. Work against those who cut back the forest and who kill beasts solely because they are dangerous. Slay not the young, the pregnant, or deepspawn so that prey will remain plentiful.

Friday, April 13, 2018

XP awards for sessions 5-7

Looking at the accomplishments over the past few games, I'm going to continue the advancement rate (for now) of 1,000 XP per character, per session. More reasoning and explanation can be found here.

Updated totals:

  • Audric - 12,000
  • Zeb - 3,000/10,200
This puts Zeb over the key threshold for attaining 4th level as an abjurer. The training requirements set forth last time apply now as well, and I know that Jason has some specific ideas around this milestone that he can work on executing next session. While Zeb's two recent advancements feel a bit close in proximity, this is mainly attributable to his dual-class nature. It's also probably the last time we'll have this situation, since XP requirements going forward are now significantly higher.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

#7: Ignish

We spend the remaining light preparing for camp; what traps and snares we have at our disposal are set against potential foes.  Audric tends to our wounds, using the magic provided him by the goddess Mystra.  Three watches are set, and we settle into a light, restless sleep.

We are awakened in the middle of the night by Rould; all is dark, except for the barest of moonbeams that illuminate the forest and area around Oldkeep.  We ascend from the troll’s nest, and feel the warm, damp night air, accompanied by fog.  Goblins have gathered near the corpse of the troll.  Quickly, we climb to the roof of Oldkeep.

From the broken wall, we hear a cry that pierces the night—another goblin, and this one has stepped upon caltrops laid out near the wall.  I summon a creeping fog to obscure the six goblins near the troll’s corpse, while Audric gives us Mystra’s blessing in the case that blades and arrows are brought to bear.

All of us reach the roof, and while Rould & Arkhen defend us with their bows, I assist Audric into his mail.  At least one goblin falls to their arrows, and Audric summons forth a swarm of vermin into the fog; unfortunately, we do not hear the cries of those caught within the swarm.  It is likely that our foes have retreated, and perhaps regrouped to rethink their attack.

The decision is made to allow Audric to rest in order to recover his spells.  Unfortunately, the weather does not cooperate with our plans, and a violent downpour disturbs our rest…again.  At least it’s not goblins.  We retreat to the cover of Oldkeep once again, and awaken to an overcast morning.  We’re wet, we’re wounded, and we’re poorly rested…and we’re ready to return to Carrock.

On the way back, Audric reveals that he has been wearing the magic ring all along, and asks Zeb’s thoughts on the encounter the night before.  Audric’s yell echoed from the troll—or perhaps from his sword—after striking the troll.  Zeb is surprised at the revelation, but has little to add to Audric’s quest for discovery.  The remainder of the journey passes in awkward silence.

We acquire cold drinks and warm meals, and share our news with Drachus.  Tussugar is absent, and no one has seen Maglarosh in days.  During the meal, one of Erathmar’s men approaches us, indicating that Erathmar has established a small camp and wishes to see us about a matter of some importance.

When we get to Erathmar’s camp, we find the trader…and see that he’s clearly injured.  He leads us away to someplace private, into the nearby woods.  Audric immediately suspects that it may have been Selben, returning to his previous unstable behavior.  There’s a lantern in the woods, and in the lantern’s light we see the boy, Selben, holding a dagger in front of him, and a man bound with ropes to a tree.  He is straggly and bearded, with a crazed look in his eyes.  I recognize him—Ignish, of the Beast Cults of Malar.

Erathmar explains that Ignish found the camp during the day several hours ago, encountered Erathmar and stabbed him, clearly looking for me.  Erathmar would have been killed were it not for Selben’s intervention.  Erathmar hands a scrimshaw medallion, upon which is painted a beast’s head with a bloody maw.

I pull out my own humble fetish, symbol to Malar.  I put it around my neck, seeing what reaction it elicits, and throw his symbol on the ground, stepping upon it.  Ignish responds to my goading, revealing that he serves Carcerus—and considers Korvich nothing, compared to the Black Devil.  He also reveals that Carcerus doesn’t know of Ignish’s infiltration of Carrock—can that be used to our advantage?

Audric provides his own manner of interrogation—by calling the blessing of Mystra upon him.  Audric’s intimidation results in the following revelation: “The Black Devil gathers the wolf to his aid in the depths of the forest.  You will be set upon and destroyed.”

It is clear, at this point, that Ignish cannot be allowed to live.  Though simply slitting his throat is the most expedient option, murdering a helpless opponent, even one whose actions have likely justified such a punishment, is not the way of nature.  If Ignish would have my blood…then let him take it.  I reveal my plan to Erathmar and Audric—I am wounded, and will give Ignish a grave wound to match my own and ensure his death, regardless of the outcome…then he and I will fight to the death.  If Malar deems his conviction more powerful than my own, then so be it.

I do not expect Erathmar or Audric to understand, but the trader is stoic about the affair, and Audric agrees reluctantly, though only if Tussugar, Rould and Arkhen are brought to the camp to ensure that Ignish does not escape.  Surprised, I agree to the terms.  Tussugar remains silent about my plans as well, clearly torn between seeking his own revenge and my pursuit of justice with Ignish, but he also allows me to proceed.

There’s a tang of iron in the air, as I slide my blade between Ignish’s ribs, drawing a well of dark blood and puncturing his lung.  I press his symbol—a false representation of Malar, twisted by Korvich’s insane aclupar—back into Ignish’s hand.  A knife is thrown to his feet and he is cut loose, and Ignish attacks me in a rage.

We share slashes, sizing each other up, though it is clear that Ignish is blinded by his rage.  He cuts my side, a grazing wound, while I land more penetrating blows.  He slashes at my face, drawing a long, red line that will leave a scar, but I punctuate the exchange by sinking my own blade deep into his flesh.  Ignish falls, losing consciousness, and I step forward and mercilessly end his suffering.

The kill is swift, a single drive of the knife through his neck, severing an artery and embedding itself deep into his skull with an upward thrust.  His lifeblood coats my hands, and I taste my kill, droning a low prayer to the Beastlord as salt and iron burn my throat.  I make a trophy of his false symbol, expecting others to eventually join it.

I turn to Tussugar.  “They’ve found me.  They’re close.”  

He replies, gravely—"What must we do?”