The first games

The game began in the city of Omice where the party assembled, bought supplies, and set out into the unknown in the search of Jiri Thrane’s inherited village. Along the way they encountered a small group of bandits, a spooky abandoned village where a dire wolf attacked them and then zombies were found in a church basement, and what seemed to be a large organized group of raiders operating near their final destination. Finally the party arrives at Pevnost and finds the village inhabited but ruled by an oppressive foreigner, Tolui Koberidze and a few of his henchmen. Rather than fighting it out, the party solves their first major potential conflict through negotiation by allowing Tolui to stay in the village and retain some of his power as a sort of manager or magistrate and his henchmen made into the town guard.

After almost a century, the village has been successfully re-claimed by a Thrane but the party’s problems continue to grow. Tolui explains that powerful raiders expect yearly tributes in grain and the village is not allowed to have walls or a militia. The party decides to bide their time and play along with the raiders, presenting them with tribute this year, but preparing to rebel the next.

Exploring the area, the party finds a small ruined keep to the east that is full of supplies and they gladly liberate them from what they assume are bandits. Days afterwards the town is attacked by an invisible mage and a small group of bandits who are all killed or captured. The mage named Albina Linvega pleads for his life and offers the location of his groups other supply cache’s in exchange for being let go and promises to never be seen again. The party, after much argument and deliberation, decide to let him go and enjoy his loot, badly needed food and supplies.

Months after being set free, a ragged Albina returns to Pevnost begging for their help. Once again the players are not keen to trust him, but he claims to have found one of the ancient sites of power but needs their help to investigate it. The party agrees and makes a short journey north to the site where strange monstrous guardians are fought with, and an even stranger creature is slain deeper within the facility. Albina begins trying to use a large magical device the moment the players are distracted but is seemingly killed, either by the players interrupting his magic, or the device being too much for him to control.

Shit gets REAL
awww hell naww

Shortly after discovering the power site, the party makes friends with a village to the south called Enim lead by Ales Ventluka who suggests the party goes back to the capital to inform them of their plight and perhaps even receive aid and support. The players eventually do head to the capital and attempt to speak with various important political figures, but no one can quite believe their story ass official reports indicate no one lives in the area other than very small amounts of bandits and fugitives not worth searching for. The power site is never mentioned as the party hopes to keep it a secret, but they meet a mysterious elf explorer, Tithdirdon, who they quickly spill the beans about everything to. Tithdirdon warns them to be extremely careful with their information and subtly black-mails them into allowing him to join them. The party realizes that the only way the entire western half of the county could be kept a secret so long is through a massive conspiracy at the highest levels of government, and they may be in danger now that they have told every senior official in the government about the situation. The party quickly returns to Pevnost with a sense of imposing doom between the government conspiracy and the dangerous power site.

Everything worked out!
Safe at last?

Tithdirdon and the party investigate the power site and enter into previously unexplored areas of the structure. Inside they find the actual core of the power site and attempt to investigate it but it is far beyond any of their ken. Suddenly, monsters come running down the hall the way the group came and they fight their way out, not wanting to be trapped inside. The party is assaulted by many horrific creatures, the most dangerous of which is what appears to be a head on the end of an extremely long spine, it’s body always out of sight. The face chases them while firing poisoned darts and the group barely escapes to the surface carrying a wounded and unconscious Tithdirdon. With the site now over-run with monsters they bunker down in their village and wait for the worst.

After about a week of being on guard the party’s fears are realized when a huge storm begins to grow, centered on the power site. What begins as a storm turns into days of pitch darkness without even moonlight. The village is evacuated to Enim and the party stays behind to investigate. Upon arriving at the power site the party finds hundreds of charred bodies, roaming zombies, and two massive slender undead guardians. Feeling them selves over their heads, the party returns to their village only to be forced into further retreat by strange balloon-like creatures.

After a few days in Enim, the weather begins to turn for the better and the party decides to travel back to their village. Upon arriving in the village they find daylight and their buildings intact, other than a single strange box-like creature that they destroy resulting in damage to their large barn. Moving on to the power site, they find the guardians gone and The Church in control of the area with the aid of local militias. With the power-site storm gone and the village seeming safe, the villagers are allowed to return to their homes.

After everyone has settled back in, communication is established with the military and the General’s aid, Col. Stanislav Rizman (one of the officials they told their story to) informs the party that he is in charge of the area now and is happy to have finally confirmed the party’s accusations of conspiracy. He tells them that Lord Milan Nemcova has been exposed and has fled the country and that he had plans to kill the party and perhaps even wipe out their village.

With the power site under control, the conspiracy exposed, and the military as an ally securing the area the party finally feels hopeful that their village can become secure and prosperous.

Helping the Colonel
Beach fun!

Asked by Col. Stanislav Rizman to help scout the region, the party agrees to travel to the south west and explore along the coastline for any signs of populated villages or raider bases and camps. Stopping in Enim on the way then traveling from the hills down to the flat grasslands near the coast that were once productive farmland but are now wild and over-grown, the players eventually reach the sea. After exploring along the coast for a few hours the party finds a set of stairs down the clay cliffs that make up most of the shore. Hilo Vruk decides to go for a relaxing swim with the others explore the area. Fulframent is alerted by his hawk to something potentially dangerous in the area and upon investigating along with the rest of the party, minus Hilo who is now sun-bathing and drying off, are attacked by some sort of huge lizard. After a bloody fight in which most receive injuries, the entire party cripples and then slays the beast. Exhausted and wounded, the party retreats to a grove of trees to make camp for the night.

Bald Bernards and Terrible Choices
I can't beileve we are so stupid

So we got jumped by a purple lizard (everyone else says it’s blue, but it’s totally purple) and got a little beat up. My legs are sore, but Fulfy is walking with a limp. Typical, because he is a sissy elf. Symeon got knocked on his ass and tried to act tough, and Jiri just seemed winded. I fought the thing barefoot and half naked, and nobody complimented me on my fantastic elbow drop.

I wanted to make a fire, but no. “We need to be SAFE and SECURE and EFFICIENT and ffffffffffffffffff” Fulfy, our elf ranger guy, is seriously paranoid. Every time we find a rock or a leaf blows by or a snail farts he drops to the ground and whips out his bow. He’s a great fighter don’t get me wrong, I just seriously think he’s ever been laid. In fact he is so tense I’d go ahead and say his dad was never laid either. Anyway, I wanted to cook and eat the lizard but he didn’t want a fire. Since I’m not some sort of green-skinned savage I hacked up the thing with my axe and kept its left-front paw. It just feels right, you know?

Jiri and I whistled some tunes. Jiri is a great leader, but it seems he doesn’t have the confidence to match the skills he obviously possesses. He’ll grow into it though, at least he was enjoying the salty sea air with me. It’s what we should all be doing is enjoy ourselves, we’re alive and now ‘in’ with the military. Things are looking up!

Cresting a hill we happen upon a small coastal village. Turns out it is inhabited and has a cove with ships. We st As always, Fulfy starts over-analyzing the situation, trying to pull some super-secret ground cover avoidance exercise. Before I can roll my eyes, Symeon, that rich kid we rescued from the Crows, starts waltzing toward the town without a care in the world. Kid’s got moxie. I followed him, and Jiri behind me. Fufly, of course, played super-commando and refused to come with us to the town. Symeon had a point, how would a town of pirates know we’re not pirates?

We get to the village, it’s about the size of Pevnost but of course on the coast with ships docked. Finding our way (after some directions) to the center of the town we go inside what we can only describe as Tavern/Town Hall/Market sort of building we walk in. Right away things go south. First, instead of casually ordering a drink and sitting down and relaxing, both Symeon and Jiri start talking to an in-progress meeting with the obvious leaders of this place. It falls apart even more when we find ourselves giving up information to this fellow (the leader calls himself ‘Bernard’ and he’s as much of a dick as you can imagine) and he isn’t giving up anything useful.

Soon we get to a calm discussion. Bernard is a bandit leader, and got VERY excited when we mentioned the military was now here in force. He went on and on about how he is so smart and how he plans ahead. Jokes on him, we’re a military scouting party. One of his henchmen mentioned a name, “Sedlec”. Not sure if it’s a person or a place. Anyway, we get fed and Bernard tells us we should camp in some caves. As we are leaving he casually says “Oh, there is a door. That isn’t anything for you” and smiles like a smug asshole.

We leave and hook back up with Commando Fulfy. It’s decided that we’ll check out these caves to see exactly why he mentioned this door. The place we found was the Sea Cave.

Moths to a Flame
Further adventures in the Sea Cave

After leaving the Sea Cave, we made camp around some trees and shrubs. It was a safe spot, no fire, but somehow we were discovered. Just after sundown, Jiri saw movement a short distance to the west. I gave chase, pursuing what seemed to be a man – or at least shaped like one – until I was suppressed behind a berm by volleys of some sort of projectile. Noticing Beliya flying erratically above me in the sky, my companions arrived to help. Symeon pointed out that it was not wise to stray far from the camp, lest we be out-maneuvered and our supplies stolen, so we returned and slept uneasily.

I rose at first light and headed west to look for tracks and signs. On and around the berm where I had taken cover, there were several lead balls which appeared to have impacted the ground at great speed. There were strange, toed tracks in the adjoining field. The rest of the party arrived at this point, and together we followed the tracks west, where they eventually lead to the entrance to the Sea Cave.

Up to this point, we were handling things my way, through careful, quiet observation. Once we were back at the cave, though, it became another round of getting behind the Orc and running into the lion’s den. I think these people are rubbing off on me – though honestly I can’t say I mind too much. Naturally curious, I suppose. As long as I’ve got a clear shot and someone in front of me I can handle some direct action.

Before we got too far into the cave, we discovered two bodies which had been run through. A strange, vaguely crescent-shaped mark was carved into their foreheads. Someone recognized one of the bodies as one of Bernard’s men. Can’t say I’m going to lose a lot of sleep over that one. Continuing on, we made it to the weird altar room. The altar was hot to the touch, and some sort of force flickered between the upper and lower portions of it. It reminded me of the magics that swirled around Albina as he died. Not a good association. The walls of the chamber were covered with carvings of cocoons and butterflies.

As we investigated the chamber, the metal door suddenly opened, revealing a horror not entirely unlike the things that defended the power site north of Pevnost. This one seemed different, though. It had the same spindly, chitinous, humanoid body, but with a different face, and eyes that belied a fell intelligence. After a brief attempt at communication, I resorted to my preferred form of diplomacy by shooting it in the eye. This did not produce the desired effect, and after Hilo tackled it, it ran away towards the strange platform at the end of the long hallway. I am all but certain that this was the intruder that had harassed us the night before, due to its distinctive feet and arm-mounted projectile weapon.

Finding the cell rooms past the altar empty, we arrived the platform and found it empty. I tossed one of the horror’s projectiles into the distance. Big mistake. From the depths, two of the beasts hopped up onto the platform while another with massive butterfly wings alighted next to us after descending from the darkness. To everyone’s relief, they decided to briefly talk to us before killing us, and this gave Jiri enough of a window to work that silver tongue of his.

The bargain we eventually reached was simple: we answer a few questions, we leave and forget about the encounter, and in return, we get to live. Not a bad deal, I suppose. During our brief discussion, we did manage to learn some interesting tidbits. Intrusions into the horrors’ domain have been increasing recently, after several years of quiet. They consider it a holy place. They apparently deny being designed by necromancers. They hinted that the creatures at the power site near Pevnost could not be communicated with. They don’t intend to stay in the Sea Cave much longer.

Hell if I know what this adds up to, but at least we’ve lived so that one day we can blunder into the next cave of death.

Northward Bound

After our encounter in the Sea Cave we headed north to find the village that we had heard about in passing while at Koda. It did not take us long to arrive at the outskirts of the village’s fields and we quickly went to making a plan of sorts.

As the village was located on the plains and it was still early in the day stealthy reconnaissance was not an option so we opted to approach together as a group, talking to peasants on the way. Symeon was not talkative or forward today, which I attribute to begin shaken up from out encounter this morning. We found out that this place was indeed Sedlec, and that it seemed that they were under the “control” of one of the bandit groups of the region.

Once in the village proper we were greeted by Dalimil, the chief of the village, who assumed that we were part of Bernard’s posse. We quickly corrected him that we were no friend of the man, and didn’t care for him either. After a proper introduction we were gladly welcomed into the chief’s home where we discussed the changes that had been sweeping the region (though of course, not taking credit for it, though responsible for it). We learned that Bernard had in the past tried to strong arm Sedlec into submission, and was likely going to do so again now that the Crows seemed to be out of the picture. Hearing of this we decided that it was time to send the good Colonel a sport report. He believed us about the bandits before, and came here as soon as he was able. Perhaps he would be able to at least spare some aid.

We sent the message back to Pevnost via Beliyah. Perhaps I should ask Fulframent to teach me more about her and how he seems to work so well with animals. At the very least we could work on getting her to not seem so awkward around me. I would swear that bird is far smarter than some of the peasants we’ve run across, or at least has more of a personality.

Dalimil implored us to rest the night in the village and we agreed. It had been days since we had slept in a soft bed in a safe place. Our rest was cut short though when in the middle of the night Olloth showed up. The poor man looked like he hadn’t slept in days, and that was always a bad sign. Actually, almost everything that Olloth alerts us to is a bad thing. We calmed him down and he told us about the sense of dread and danger he got from the site up north, and left soon after us to find us. It’s amazing that he was able to find us and catch up. It’s probably magic. We talked of what to do next and decided we should return home, at least for now, and we can explore the interior of the region once we know more about the situation back at Pevnost and the power site.

We all went back to bed and rose in the morning. Beliyah returned with a message from the Colonel, saying he still does not have the man power, and to stay out of bandit politics. He also mentioned that the church seemed to be having a bit of trouble, but didn’t seem too concerned. Sadly I have to agree with him on the bandits, alone we don’t have the might to do much of anything against Bernard if it came down to it. Olloth also seemed a bit more at ease today.

Dalimil told us more about the ruins that could be see in the distance from the village. As we were about to leave a tall man with a great sword approached us, introducing himself as Drak and offering his help. None of us remember seeing him yesterday so I went to talk to Dalimil about him. It turns out that Drak is the one man of the law here, as it were. It was also stressed that he seemed to believe everything could be broken down into right and wrong, which was an annoyance to the Chief. With the Chief’s blessing (or perhaps his gratitude for taking him) Drak joined us, though quite upset with us leaving Sedlec which could be ‘attacked any minute!’. He calmed down after a bit.

Because the ruins were on the way home and Drak mentioned ‘treasure’ most of the party agreed they wanted to investigate. Hilo was a bit upset that we were detouring at all since he wanted to get back to Pevnost for the sake of the village. We all agreed a quick peek and maybe a little exploring would be fine, since we would still be back likely the same day still.

The ruins were a bit impressive. I did not recognize the style of it’s architecture, resembling a stack of rectangles that got smaller in area the further up one went. There was a door at the entrance, declaring it Crow property and with various warnings of death and the like.

We had Drak knock down the door. He was more than eager. Bandits are bad after all.

We entered and investigated, it looked as if it had been used within the past few days, the pews, for lack of a better word, arranged into beds and the like. There seemed to be a small look out area up a ladder, where we found some bows. I swear we have enough to outfit every able man in the village now once we add these weapons to our horde of them back at Pevnost. We have bows running out our ears.

Then Fulframent heard something. We all went on alert. It was a man down the stairs, claiming this was Crow property and we should leave or else. Only hearing the one man we call him on his bluff and try to get him to come out. We quickly learned that he wasn’t all right, the man sounded crazed.

We headed down the stairs and got a look at him. He wasn’t in any condition to fight but he had his weapon drawn. He fled, screaming about things coming out of the walls.

Taking caution, we followed him down while consulting with Olloth. We ran across a very detailed wall engraving and took a rubbing. It was of an eye, and the center was done in exquisite detail. The room reminded some of my fellows of a similar room in the Sea Cave. Olloth said that he could feel the magic of the place, but that it didn’t feel hostile like the place in the north… That put us at ease for the moment, which as I write this realize was likely a mistake.

We find the man in what appears to be the bottom basement level. He was crying and saying that they were all gone. We looked and saw the soiled bedding, the blood on them was fresh… but what was worse was the trails of blood from where the men… or bodies at this point, were dragged. They led to a closed wall.

The man kept babbling about secret passages and hidden doors and such, talking about the monster that he had faced. We were on alert when we heard the sound – not of foot steps, clawing or scraping, but of gears and counter weights. Then the awful thud. Searching the way we came we found that it was blocked, the seam between the door and the wall barely a hairline grove.

I wish we had brought the dwarf.

fuck my life

So, I’m hiding out in our old base after pretty much all my friends are killed, and these assholes come in and treat me like a prisoner in my own home and drag me away from tending my few remaining wounded but alive friends. Worse yet, they attract the horrible creatures that have been after us for weeks. While these idiots are all loud and yelling at me, the door up above gets shut by who knows what. Oh, and now my friends are dead and gone, glad you guys showed up, thanks for the help. They can’t make up their minds if they want to kill me, take pity on me, or ignore me. I assume these monsters are going to kill me any moment so I’ll admit I wasn’t really all there, I was freaking out to be honest. So anyways, these assholes want to go through this secret door deeper into the basements. I tell them it’s a dead end but they don’t believe me or just want to see for them selves. I grab my sword, ready to fight with them against the monsters who killed my friends, and the orc punches me, the elf ties me up, and the douche-bag in the fancy armour just rolls his eyes. Sorry I’m trying to help you guys out! Good luck opening that door without my help! Assholes.

So we go down into our old base, and there’s the fucking monster that’s been chasing my late friends and me for weeks, dead and pinned to the wall. I didn’t care who killed it, but I was glad it was dead. How the hell did it even get down here? Did it get past all of us and through the secret door? What ever, it’s dead. They ask me more stupid questions about the place, I keep answering politely. Finally they decide to give me my sword back and untie me as they need a sucker to go first down the next hallway. I’m all pumped up at this point so I charge down that hallway, kinda glad to leave them behind. I find these three weird guys, a big guy and two kids or something. I don’t kill kids, but these things weren’t human and had claws so I just charged in there and cut them down. The big guy shot me with some sort of cannon and pinned me to the wall with a rod. Next thing I know, the assholes are helping me up and have bandaged me up, maybe they’re not all bad.

We chase after the big guy, but we never find him. I lived here, so I know it’s a dead end, but they think he used magic or something to go into a stone??? These fucking guys say they’re working for the church and the army but this guy does not look like a church mage, they’ve got a damned illegal mage with them and they treat me like the criminal scum! The mage can’t figure anything out and says we need to wait, so we camp for like a whole day. The next day we all go into this room again, I don’t know exactly what’s going on but the next thing I know I’m hit by lighting and wake up blind and freezing.

So, we’re in some old dwarf temple or something. It’s freezing cold, the air is thin, but we find a big hall with fire pit and they just start making a fire without exploring anymore. The fire was in fact a good idea, and we all warm up and try to turn out blankets into winter clothing. Of course, the place is full of zombies and they come bursting through the door as we’re having our fire, and I run like hell back to that stone thing. I can hear a lot of fighting but I just stay at this stone, hoping it will take me home or away from this shitty place. The assholes managed to kill all the zombies in the end, but we’re apparently not even in the Empire anymore…

Exploring the Ruin
A bunch of wizardry we don't have time for

Finding ourselves with some downtime, Jiri and I decided to explore the Dwarven Ruin while everyone else rested up after the day’s exertion. It appears that at one point, this place was a keep or redoubt for a dwarf noble of some magical ability and a few dozen of his men. To wit, Jiri and I discovered the following in our tour of the halls:

- Storage areas containing sundry materials for military and civilian life
- A dank area that probably was used to grow mushrooms for food
- Modest living quarters for about fifty dwarves
- A defensive area with arrow slits overlooking the main entrance
- A large hall where a battle between men and dwarves had taken place some time ago
- What seemed to be the pyre of a dwarven noble. His regalia bore the same copper skull-and-hammer symbol that we saw upstairs where we emerged. I helped myself to some of his jewelry.

The last two rooms we searched were the most interesting. Hilo and Olloth joined us for these rooms. To one side of the large front hall was a well-appointed living area, with baths, sleeping quarters, and a library. The library was stocked with many ancient texts, codices, tomes, and so on, largely in the vulgar language of the dwarves. Among these volumes, however, were a number of grimoires of such power and malice that Olloth grew reluctant to even remain in the ruin, written in a fell and ancient tongue that none of us recognized. He seemed to think that these books were actively casting some spell. Indeed, there was an evil feeling about the place, and the books were strangely preserved. At Olloth’s suggestion, Jiri closed one grimoire that lay open, to no apparent effect.

The room on the other side of the great hall seemed to be a workshop. There were many “drafting tables,” according to Hilo, and plans for some great mechanism were strewn about. The machine itself – a large disc containing smaller discs – lay unfinished. We cannot fathom its purpose. I sifted through some of the drawings but could make head nor tail of them. The orc, being an engineer himself, was ecstatic to discover this machine temple.

The ruin is in reasonably good condition and seems to be quite defensible. We might have stumbled onto a gold mine of magical and mechanical lore – the dwarves, though rude, ugly people, are geniuses with metal and stone. But how long might it take to comprehend it and put it to good use? It could be years, and Pevnost cannot wait that long.

Against my protests, the party seems to want to give the teleportation stone another go. Let’s hope Olloth knows what he is doing…

Honored Guests

We spent the rest of the day exploring the ruins, Hilo pouring over the schematics he found, Olloth poking the stone, Drak and Fulframent doing… something, and myself chatting with Alojz. He seems to be a decent enough man and would have likely been of great assistance to Pevnost if he had not been working for the Crows first.

We all rested, several of us holing up in was probably once was the lord’s chambers. Hilo was too busy to sleep much, looking over his schematics with a gleam in his eye. At least he wasn’t greasing his hammer for once.

The next morning we met to do our vote for what to do next – Fulframent and Drak wanted to trek down the mountain and barter our way back, while Hilo and Olloth were for trying to use the stone. Olloth seemed pretty convinced he could take us close to home… maybe. I was just about to agree to trek down… and partially did.

Maybe it was the magic in the place or maybe I was possessed, but I quickly cast my vote and told Olloth to start it up. Alozj, who was against going through the portal again was free to leave and he said his farewell, the ‘Good luck suckers!’ he shouted will hopefully be the last time we hear from him.

Drak said he was going to punch Olloth. Then everything went all strange again.

When we arrived it was hot… but we didn’t have the strange side affects as last time we used the device. Olloth was also confidant that the stone was charging quickly. This was good news in case we needed to get out… He said it would take maybe an hour. Fulframent went to scout and then we heard it – armored foot steps. Had we gotten into the Power site and the church was bearing down on us? No… it couldn’t be. We knew where the stone was there – even if we didn’t realize it’s purpose.

We were greeted with threats – which at this point is far more preferable than being assaulted. We surrendered and were lead away from the stone and into a lighted area.

It was almost like a dream. Seeing all of the… people? I suppose that is what they should be called. It was like walking through a perverse carnival, the actors and performers not wearing their masks and stilts, but having them being part of their bodies. Patch work skin, masquerade faces, and even beings made of intricate wire work. Whatever birthed or created these … people is quite abstract and foreign to what I know of art and beauty.

I knew I should be frightened. I should have been frightened at the Sea Cave as well. But I wasn’t. It was all too fascinating. Then we met their leader, Osvald. Towering over us but still, it was just too fascinating, too intriguing to cower before.

Then the game of words started – the apologies, the pleading, the proving of our worth alive rather than dead. I must not be as terrible as I believe I am at it since this is twice I have gotten us out of the worst scenario.

And I mustn’t forget: Osvald stated that Olloth seems to be the first human mage to use the stone. If true that is a feat indeed. He also knows.. or rather knew, of the power site north of Pevnost, and of Albina. He would not go into detail of either however, but he did not seem terribly upset that he was dead.

And now we sit in a cell, waiting for the teleportation device – as our host Osvald calls it- to recharge so we can prove that where we came from is worth sending us home.


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