Terraden

Prologue - Introduction to Terraden
In the beginning...

A brief history of Terraden…
By Grande Magestra Vugentris of the Celestial College,
Elder of House Paramai’ae of the Sangranni Elder Elven Nation

Terraden. Once known as the Settlers Sanctuary …the Pilgrims Paradise.

Long ago, this was a world to which the races came from many worlds and across all the known planes – a refuge of deep forests and endless fields, mighty mountains and fathomless oceans…a shelter from the wicked of the outer worlds.

In this early era there was lasting peace that spanned millennia for all who sought refuge here. Countless races living together in great cities of culture and knowledge; rich and prosperous times…when the races of Terraden traded song and story from one another, instead of steel and sorcery against each other.

This enlightened age was forged and preserved by an ancient race of elders known as the Jyanai (Yawn-eye). This advanced race was the first to find this Eden and tame its wilds. Their knowledge of science, architecture, philosophy, magic and nature was so advanced they govern and protected the other races from afar and maintained balance in this new world – for this they were called “the watchers” and said to be among the first and most gifted of the Gods’ creations.

That was before the time of the Great Sundering.

Nearly two thousand years have passed since that dreadful time – when the first of the Nights’ Fire fell bringing with it a terrible destruction and chaos. Cities were swallowed whole by the oceans…entire nations burned to wastelands of gray ash. For several days, the Night’s Fire came and went without warning or mercy, each time more destructive than the last. Those that still knew the ways of traveling the skies died trying to leave their shattered sanctuaries and dying world, pieces of their vessels rained down from the darkness of space as a warning to others.

Then came the final night of wrath which is now known as the Great Sundering. The smoky evening sky parted to a great mass of flame and light that drove into the earth, splitting Terraden into the world we know today.

The elder race of the Jyanai disappeared completely leaving the shatter remnants of civilization without guidance, without assistance and never to return. Many were not prepared for the wars that followed when the races fought for the land that was left unscathed. Many more died. The scars that were left from that time and the mistrust formed in those early centuries lingers to this day – an echo of the pain that was felt.

Violent forces from the Night’s Fire distorted the very nature of many remaining nations that survived …this “new birth” spawned untold variations of monster and mankind into the world from which came many warring factions that began to consume what little civilization was left – plunging the survivors into a thousand years of darkness and fear – the Great Night.

It was then that the core races came together, signed the Old Oaths to overcome the Aberrant Wars and defeated the beasts that crept from darkness after the Great Sundering…but that is another tale.

But now, in this age, visions of the evil that shattered this world have begun again — prophesied by the High Elders of the Elven Council. Even the secretive Astromancers came out of hiding several seasons ago to speak of the paths above changing as never before — revealing the coming of a renewed conflict. This was suppressed quickly by elements of the CAP that wish to remain in control of the fragile balance that exists.

You can feel it, no? A great change is coming the likes of which have not been seen since the Great Sundering.

Will this be the true end or a new beginning?

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Chapter 1.1A - Xenos Initiative
Answering the call of the Chosen...

The Xenos Initiative was a move by the College of Keepers to unite races separated by history, distance and the old scars of wars past – wars that have begun to start anew. Sanctioned by the Elder Elven Empire (E3), the Human Central Allied Provinces (Allies or CAP) and Deep Dwarven Kingdoms (DDK), the Xenos Initiative was meant to gather chosen initiates from all over Terraden, provide them superior train and join them as a force of delegates that would work toward the greater good. Lead by the College of Keepers, an ancient coalition of mages that have preserved sacred knowledge passed down by the Jyanai, the Xenos Initiative was aimed at halting the divisions that have led to numerous conflict between major nations and outer races.

To each corner of Terraden were sent scouts with letters bearing the invitation from the Keepers for this initiative. Leaders of every major town and community that could be reached were given the honor of selecting a chosen delegate to send to one of several camps operated by the Keepers to train, test and prepare the initiates for their greater service.

First from the southern isle of the Aerranai (Winged Elves) was chosen Aelyria, the white winged ranger – unique among her own kind. Her deadly bow and aerial assaults often bring death to enemies before they ever see her shadow – an assault on her people has not happened since the Aberrant Wars (some 1600+ years ago).

Second from the Eldren Reach, a great expanse of grassy fields and woodlands that separates the E3 from the CAP, traveled Narm, the Eladrin Swordmage trained in the art of bending the fabric of magic with his weapon and mind. With few of his race on Terraden and no way to return to his home world due to the inability for any summoned being to Terraden to slip back to their home plane, Narm was persuaded by his elder Uncle to pursue this path with the Keepers in the hopes that it would represent his rare race to this world and maybe one day lead to knowledge the Keepers may possess on returning to their home plane.

Then came twins from the Southern wilds of the E3, Gnarl (brother) and Nat (sister), both Gylanai (Wild Elves) journeyed to be a part of the Xenos Initiative so that they might help rediscover more about themselves and face whatever attempts to pervert natures will. Gnarl being a Monk of the Ironfist dedicates his life to mediation and practice of his unarmed fighting style (nature already gave him the best weapon – you just have to know how to use them) while Nat draws on the raw power of nature to restore balance as a Druid. Both lost in the woods as youth they know what primal beings exist within them and are thankful to the Priest who found them in the woods and help to give them purpose in the name of nature beyond that of mere survival.

The fifth and final was he oldest and most enigmatic of this group, who goes by the name Kraye the Conduit (a Warforged who is partially humanistic, partially construct). Little is know about this ageless man of mystery who dabbles in ancient alchemy and magic. He is a relatively new operative for the Order of Unification, the largest holy order of the Allied lands bringing unity to the worship of Gods and order to society of men. His allegiance to this order may stem from his activities in aristocratic circles – many in high society pay homage to the Order of Unification to please the Gods who have blessed their endeavors and maintain the balance of their own power/influence.

These five initiates came to the province of Darmas in the south of the CAP were they were assigned to Bunkhouse 11 by the College of Keepers elders. Commander Merrick welcomed the new recruits explaining that 5 camps exist around Terraden as part of the Xenos Initiative. This collection of initiates assembled is the third to be tested and recruited at Camp Cairn.

Each recruit was given a guide stone on their wrist and assigned a handler. Bunkhouse 11 was assigned Hector the Troll, a most unique member of the College in that he is descendant from a line of feral trolls but was born different as a result of experimentation by Keepers. He is quite intelligent, a practiced mage in his own right and wears a monocle on a chain that runs down to his vest. After pleasant introductions to the team of five it was noted that a dwarf name Frud the Firemaster was not interested in getting to know his fellow recruits in Bunkhouse 11. His gruff manner stalled efforts to share information on the first night of their meeting.

After initial testing Xenos C3-11 (third class, bunkhouse 11) was run through a simulated battle in an old gaming field arena of the ruins where Camp Cairn was housed. This battle of spectral undead were of little challenge to all but Frud who struck out on his own and was severely struck down by spectral opponents. A battle highlight was the Druid thorn-lashing an enemy into a spike trap set for the team.

So began the journey of Xenos C3-11…

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Chapter 1.1B - There's an "i" in Team

After coming to Camp Cairn as part of the Xenos Initiative, Team C3-11 is led by their Handler, Hector the Troll, in the dead of night through a wooded game trail to an abandoned underground cultist layer that has been turned into a training camp for initiates. The unique characteristics of this underground honeycomb cause the various chambers to shift tunnels, rooms, doors and stairs to the will of it’s caretakers, the Keepers who have cleared our the cultists.

Hector addresses the party:

    “You’ve done well so far Team C3-11…but this challenge will test your true metal…the metal of the mind. It will also test your agility …the finesse of your mortal forms (looks at Kraye) somewhat mortal at any rate. This cavern was cleared some years ago by the college and was deemed a local hazard to be marked on caraveener maps. Once the Xenos Initiative was started and Camp Cairn established this site was reopened, the horrors that a dark cult once filled this underground den with were deemed…ideal… for use as a testing ground for new recruits.”

With that Hector then gestured to the guide stone bracelet that was put on each recruits wrist and began to explain it’s use:

    “It is now time for you to understand one important feature of your guide stone. With it you have a way to signal for help or a hasty exit should the worst arise and you are unable to strategically retreat to safety. If you should need to use your guide stone, say ‘The light breaks forward…’ and you should hear my disembodied voice speaking to you from the stone. Any questions before we begin your next phase of testing?”

Eager to find out what challenge the college has prepared they the team is then lead to the entrance to begin their first true test – the Narrow’s Maze.

Entering this rough hewn stone quick became fitted stone blocks that lead to a T. At this T passage the wall in front of them displays a message to the initiates in glowing blue letters:

    A TEAM IS BUILT FROM A GROUP OF EQUALS
    FOR ALL TO SURVIVE YOU MUST WORK AS A TEAM
    A TEAM SHARES IN THE WEALTH THAT’S FOUND
    YOU MUST ALL LEARN TO TRUST IN YOUR TEAM
    A TEAM WILL FAIL IF THE WEAKEST LINK FAILS

Passages lead from this wall to either side splitting Team C3-11 to the left and right. The shifting of a stone tile prompted the party to lift that tile revealing vines that whipped away from the light and could be heard off in the room ahead where the two passages come together leading to a dim light ahead.

The cautious party ventured to a dimly light room that shone with tiles on the dome ceiling in exquisite detail of Terraden’s night sky. One the floor before entering this room can be seen the letters:

    Lone you enter, missing stars surrender

To gain a better view of what the tiled domed room Narm, the Eladrin Swordmage, steps into the room first. The rest of the party finds a thin magic veil now blocking passage for any others. With Narm the only member in the round domed room he can now clearly see a large hole in the center of this sloping room – faint orange light shining from the grated hole below. From this large grated hole flows several vines that radiate along the floor of the room to several corpses of soldiers and a cloaked skeletal figure.

Narm moves slowly along the circular room to examine some of the corpses next to the vines – finding the cloaked skeletal remains to be that of an woman in a teal dress next to a vine of the same color. Upon reaching this vine it comes to life and “looks” at Narm, moves slowly toward him and, much to his surprise, rubs against his leg with tender affection. As the vine wraps slowly around his leg in a hug, Narm’s mind is flooded with images of a female priest dying at the tendrils of a blood-sucking plant. An image of her final moments of death as she prays to her Goddess shows her essence infusing into the vine that killed her – becoming the teal color of her dress.

With his new found friend, Wendy the Vine, now observing his progress he advances to check the other corpses and the dome tiles above.

After some poking and prodding of the fresher soldier corpses located at the opposite side of the room where he found Wendy, Narm finds small gem tiles just as the blood vines near the soldier corpses react to his movement. Below in the grate can be heard a great rumble as he begins a combat exchange with the malicious vines – the grate cannot hold back whatever beast Narm has awoke below and without his fellow recruits he would be doomed to face it alone in this chamber. Arrows bounce of the force barrier as the team attempts to help Narm tackle the vines that now assault him so he can solve whatever riddle will unlock this room before the beast below confronts him – luckly a few spells pass through the barrier to assist Narm as he methodically cuts down the vines in this room. With a loud ROAR his enrages the beast below who now smashes at the grate to assault it’s next meal directly.

Now needing to solve the puzzle before the beast below breaks through the grate, Narm takes the small gem tiles found on the soldiers corpse and looks to the ceiling above for what significance the tiled stars above may have to getting out of this room. The party, namely Nat who is well versed in the knowledge of nature as a Druid, notices when examining the dim stars in the tiles of the ceiling that a prominent constellation is missing and informs the lone member of their party, Narm, of this omission above. But how can he reach what is above him by 15 feet? As he stretches up the curved wall to reach the missing constellation in vain he feels Wendy wrap around his torso and heft him upward to the length of her full “body” putting Narm near the missing stars.

Looking back at his team for assistance as to the shape of the constellation, Nat tapes on the barrier in the pattern of the constellation, lighting a sequence to model the pattern for Narm. With the grate bent upward and the beast almost into the chamber Narm plunges the gem tiles into place. The new constellation glows with a brillance, then matched by the other stars down upon the circular hole in the floor where the beast is bursting to come out and with a great whirling the grate, beast and orange light below are sucked down in a WHOOSH that leaves a faint blue light below.

The party is now reunited with short trek down the central hole into a hallway that leads down to a gap filled with water some 30 feet long. At the edge of the landing before the water reads:

    FIND THE i IN TEAM

The narrow hall and low ceiling make flying across to the other side impossible for Aelyria and a shot from her bow across to the other side shows fine threads stronger than steel blocking the opposite landing. Kraye and Gnarl drop a lite sun rod into the water which is covered by a thin oil slick which lights immediately in a flash. The clearing of the surface reveals wicked spikes lining the bottom and notice the subtle movement of an transparent ooze flowing among the spikes below. On the surface also floats thin sticks of wet bamboo that are all exactly five feet across – which the team quickly collects. As they examine the sticks and the walls of the area the team sees the letters on the landing start to light with blue fire – just as the letters as that were encountered when they first entered the caverns. This complex puzzle now involves several rooms in the cavern and prove the intricacy of tasks the College have prepared.

Kraye and Gnarl then backtrack to the entrance and feel along the five sentence message for clues – Kraye feels a small indentation in the A of every TEAM in this message. Pushing on these indentations resulted in a beams arising from the water downstairs in five foot intervals – the party has a way across if they can keep each button in the message pressed. It is then that the party closes a set of doors at the entrance – locking the front to use as a surface to brace the rods. Closing those doors lowers the spikes and empties the water (and oozes with the water) in the hallway below via hidden mechanisms in the hinges of the door. Kraye and Gnarl then use the rods collected below, bracing the five bamboo rods against the door/walls and into the indentations in the message to keep the beams up the hall below. Kraye and Gnarl join their part below to jump the beams as they cross the now drained canal. In crossing Kraye collects a few objects that were covered by water and hidden in the spikes.

On the opposite side of the water/beam/spike challenge, the team now advances down the hall and turning left find a stone door with a large face that moves slowly as it seems to sleep.

What is this door and how will they pass it? How far is the team through this intense College challenge? If this challenge is getting harder, what’s in store beyond this door?

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Chapter 1.1C - Falko the Face, Grum the Hand

After the riddles were successfully answered by Team 11, Flako the Face offer the capable party a reward for helping find his stone hand, Grum.

Having passed the great vine monster in the chamber with the missing constellation and solved the puzzle of the poles to get through the water spiked crossing the team of recruits now finds themselves in front of a stone face that blocks the passage forward. In a gruff, grinding old man’s voice the face speaks:

    “Hey – more recruits. The wizards said I should only let you through if you use that brain of yours to answer a few riddles. I’m Falko the Face and if you answer three riddles I’ll move to let you pass. If you fail, you’ll have to beg for the wizards to come help you out of this dungeon cuz I’m not moving…”

Without much choice the party agrees to Falko’s game of riddles. He asks them:

    The person who makes it, sells it. The person who buys it never uses it and the person who uses it doesn’t know they are. What is it?
    A coffin
    The more you have of it, the less you see. What is it?
    Darkness
    What’s black when you get it, red when you use it, and white when you’re all through with it?
    Charcoal.

Having answered Falko’s three riddles he explains they’re free to pass. But because he’s so bored down here he offers the recruits a chance to win something extra if they answer several more riddles. If they answer two they get some coin to line their pockets, three and they get a minor item of arcane enchantment, and if they answer a fourth riddle they can have his prized Graver’s Key – a special artifact left by the cultist that once occupied and expanded this region of the underground halls. With Nat and Gnarl having expertly answered the first three riddles they decide to see just how hard the next few could be…

    You throw away the outside and cook the inside. Then you eat the outside and throw away the inside. What did you eat?
    An ear of corn.
    I never was, am always to be. No one ever saw me, nor ever will. And yet I am the confidence of man, To live and breath on this sundered land. What am I?
    Tomorrow or the future.
    It is greater than God and more evil than the devil. The poor have it, the rich need it and if you eat it you’ll die. What is it?
    Nothing. Nothing is greater than God, nothing is more evil than the devil, the poor have nothing, the rich need nothing and if you eat nothing you’ll die.
    Until I am measured… I am not known, Yet how you miss me…When I have flown.
    Time

Having successfully answer every riddle that Falko the Face can produce the party gains entry to the halls beyond and take from an alcove the Falko opens with a word the fruits of their mental labor. Quite impressed, Falko the Face then offers the party another reward for something more personal:

    “Because you did so well with the riddles and everything I was hoping you might do me a bit of a favor. I’ve lost track of my hand…my right hand to be exact. Several days ago it was out searching the forbidden caves for remnants of the cult that once used many parts of this vast complex. I’m going to adjust the area you next go into – it’s a little off the beaten path for college training but a group as capable as you could take a little more excitement, right? If you find my hand send it back here and make sure to scold it good …my precious left hand shouldn’t have to do all the heavy lifting down here.”

Falko the Face offers the group a sizable reward in gold (500gp) if they bring back his right hand. Seeing no down side to this but not sure if “off the beaten path” is worth the gold they accept Falko’s offer to track down his lost stone hand. To aid them Falko gives them a small stone that shines with a blue light similar to those they’ve seen embedded in the walls along these underground tunnels. He explains it to be a key to shifting the halls ahead – a diversion to the way the Keepers have laid out for the testing grounds.

Past the stone face of Falko the group sees an alcove where a large stone hand (the size of a large dog) with a bunch of bones and bone dust sits on a plush pillow – there is only one bed in this alcove with no sign of the other hands resting place.

The hall leads to a square chamber of finely crafted stone with shelves in corners, pedestals standing in the center, lines carved in various colors on the floor and a series of vents arrayed around the room. An imposing door stands across the room with two levers that have spiked handles (anyone who applies much pressure on these risks cutting their hands).

Upon entering this room the entry door closes and a black, smokey vapor begins to seep out of the vents of this room – sapping at the strength of the party as it licks at their ankles and legs – filling the room. As the vapor fills the room the shape of an hour glass in the center materializes. The party turns the hour glass and phantom goblets begin the materialize on the pedestals – to which scratching sounds can now be heard as something invisible to the eye begins to clamor at the vents for entry. The group quickly discusses the game plan of grabbing the goblets with care, moving them tot he corners and working to ratchet the spiked levers that click in response to the placing of the phantom goblets.

Amazingly group worked in such unison that the exit door opens before whatever invisible scratch that was heard at the vents could enter the room – the black vapors begin the recede as the party exits with haste.

In the next hallway a light on the wall that was flickering caused the group to replace the flickering stone with the glowing stone provided by Falko the Face. This initiated a shifting sound in the stones around them and a passage form in the wall before them that led off in a different direction than was provided by the College Challenge.

Moving slowly and cautiously the recruits notice the dimly lit contrast of the new hallway made of a more roughly cut stone. This hallway leads to a hexagon-shaped room with a great well in the center and scattered debris around the well. Moving into the room they look through the debris for any sign of another passage or valuables – nothing but the castoffs of something that feeds in this area – which leads the group to look down the well in the room to see something shining at the bottom some 100 feet below. Gnarl drops a rock down the well which results in movement at the bottom. Exploding up the well as the party rains arrows and arcane might down on the ascending gelatinous sphere moving up the well walls. Cresting the edge of the well this large, clear menace engages the party in this small space.

Plain for all to see in this gelatinous mass are a few bones, decaying flesh and a stone hand in suspension – the party has found Grum – who looks to be fighting to get out of the gelatinous sphere. As the grueling battle that resulted in Kraye nearly dying by acidic juices that enveloped his warforged body comes to a close, Gnarl grabs at Grum as the dying sphere disintegrates into goo back down into the well.

Grum, thankful to his savior, Gnarl, relays he was send on another scavenging mission by Falko the Face to bring back shiny and valuable objects when he was engulfed by the giant ooze and drawn down into the creatures lair at the bottom of the well. Many objects of worth lie at the bottom of the well which the party retrieves – including shields and chain mail armor, long swords, an axe and assorted coins.

Grum shares with the party several potions and other objects in the chest that he wears on his back as thanks. A stunningly beautiful necklace Grum holds on to telling Nat (who asked about the necklace) and the party that he would give them his most value item if they would help him find his family in Dwarven ruins very far from here.

Explaining that Falko requested the party to bring Grum back leds to a sad Grum telling the party of the abuses Falko the Face has wrought on him through the years – giving love and attention to the left hand while neglecting and sending Grum into harms way for valuables found deep in the cultist catacombs that Falko would keep. Not wanting Grum to suffer at the hands of Falko any more they ask if he would like to leave this place with their help. Grum gladly accepts their help – determined to leave Falko and the nasty left hand behind.

Not finding any other passages the party returns to the Keeper’s Challenge section of the catacombs to the exit of the challenge where archways randomly imbue a few of the party with temporary boost based on which arch they walk through.

Now out of the Keeper’s Challenge, what will the party next we tasked with? How will Wendy the Vine and Grum the Hand integrate the party and be treated by the Keepers? What will Falko the Face and the left hand do with Grum running away? How deep do these cultist ruins run and what was their original purpose?

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Chapter 1.2A - Mining for More Trouble
Off to Red Wolf Mine to help Commander Merrick...

The three days of training by the recruits covers the basics of Terraden to make sure they’re familiar the world outside their little regions, the structure of various cultures, an exhaustive list of current events and individual training to hone their knowledge on topics like the CAP, the E3, the DDK, Terraden ecology, currency systems, common legends/lore (including the Rim other side of Terraden), major religious factions, uncommonly common uses of the arcane, the Four Matrons (Moons), the Paths above, and various cultural customs of note.

After several days of class training the team is ready at nightfall to go back to bunkhouse 11 when Hector comes into the classroom to gather group.

    “Commander Merrick asks to see you in his quarters. He seemed somewhat hush-hush about the whole thing which is odd – he’s never asked to see recruits outside of the training grounds.”

Hector leads the team out of the classroom, across the training yard and out of the main camp to an old stone structure that still stands from the original fort that Camp Cairn occupies. Several CAP guards, on lone to the Keepers for protection, stand near the entrance nod at Hector as he leads the group into a large hall that has been converted into a fine suite – in stark contrast to your bunkhouse. This large hall with vaulted ceiling has several separate quarters created by using wooden panels and fine cloth draped between rooms. One area looks to be for bathing with a fine copper tube, another with several cots for servants and farther back a large area set up as sleeping quarters for the Commander.

In the central common area is a long, finely crafted table of tooled wood and inlaid metal covered with sweet rolls, exotic fruits and several empty goblets. A pile of fine armor pieces sit next to a rack along with exotic looking weapons lays near the wall. Several charts and books lay spread out on another smaller table in the far corner. Commander Merrick stands in the farthest section of the hall in his sleeping quarters before an ornate mirror of unusual make – still dressed in his finely crafted CAP armor. He turns to the party, walks forward and slides a cloth to close off his private quarters from view as he comes to greet the group.

    “Xenos C3-11 – You’ve done well and many instructors here have taken note. During your training you’ve shown promise – something that cannot be said of most who answer the call of the Keepers. Several weeks from now you’ll complete your testing and training here, and if you perform as I believe you will – you’ll be inducted into the Keepers order as Initiates of Xenos…from the largest class to graduate here at Camp Cairn and go travel then to Delanbur, the Allied Capital, to receive your choice of assignment. But before you go off to greater glory in service to the world I have a more immediate need – something a little more hands-on?”

He points to chairs that surround the table indicating where they party should sit and hear his offer. Merrick looks back at a door to the side and shouts:

    “Azamuki! Bring something memorable for our future leaders – they should grow accustom to better accommodations as not doubt these few, these Chosen Elite, will be remembered for their works. Good Azamuki…now back to your bed – we will be talking.”

Out scurries a small but muscular goblin breathing hard but with a slight smile of polite servitude when he comes to the table. Azamuki the Goblin pours the party a very fine wine.

Commander Merrick makes sure you all have a drink, raises his chalice and asks:

    “To the rise of the mighty – may the new age promised come by our hands. So what do you say my Chosen – are you ready to rise?”

As the party drinks of the fine wine they look to one another with smiles and a little trepidation. One by one they start nodding their heads in support.

    “I expected nothing less. This assignment is a sign of great confidence, coming at the request of the highest levels within the Keepers. Do your part well…and they will certainly take notice of what has been accomplished.”

With that, Commander Merrick taps the table in a series of quick taps in an elaborate sequence while saying something swiftly under his breath. He closes his eyes and seems to concentrate…moments later a dim light fills the surface of the table flowing up the fingers of the Commander and seeming to draw images from his mind back down the hand to the table where it creates a map that floats in the air in stark gray-white light.

Commander Merrick opens his eyes to examine the accuracy of the reconstruction, then turns to the party with a serious look on his face:

    “Out of necessity, this assignment is best kept secret from the other recruits – your first “strictly off the books” mission which the Keepers are famous for running. [MERRICK POINTS TO THE FLOATING MAP] This is the town of Lunnac, a small mining operation that became a hub for the surrounding villages – and a vital asset to the College by provided Terridium – a commodity used to fortify the refinement of Lumi-nox and Jyntec . The borough warden of Denslu, Smathis, has asked for the Keepers assistance with strange rumors from an exhausted rider that a few key people have disappeared after a mining accident. Lending a hand to the locals in finding their missing folks will help prevent a temporarily shut down of the Red Wolf Mine, a source of commerce for the region. The masters here will teleport you to Lunnac which is normally a four day journey through Denslu and north along the Sea March (road). When you enter Lunnac, seek out Fenster our local contact who owns a scrap yard and pawn shop. Ask him about the local situation, track down the source of what’s behind the missing workers report back here as soon as you can.

    When you’re done you can follow that road back down to Denslu and stay in the Briggon Brat Inn – give the Innkeep this note and he’ll put you up for the night, give you hot meal and a substantial monetary reward for your efforts – Greggor, the proprietor, once worked in the Red Wolf Mine. Come back to camp and report for your immediate graduation to the final stage of initiation and recruitment into the Keepers.”

    To ensure the new recruits have guidance Hector, you handler, will accompany you on this trip.

A noticeably nervous Hector swigs from his flask and smiles to the party – apparently uncomfortable with the possibility of combat.

Told the party should leave tonight they request to grab supplies from their bunkhouse which the Commander agrees they should do but insists they return to leave on this mission at once. Grabbing only what is necessary, the party returns to Commander Merrick quickly as requested.

Then Commander Merrick leads them to what was once a stone chapel now made into a lab, library and study for the masters of the college here to assist the training. One familiar looking old keeper is searching through tomes on the walls and putting them in a stack as they party enters. An orcish-looking servant assisting the old man takes these books and packs them into a large strong box.

The old keeper turns to the party after finding a moment to pause and nods to Commander Merrick:

    “So the chosen will go to Lunnac – very good. Uragiru – clear the trans-pad.”

The orc shifts his attention to the transept alcove where several large items such as statues, map racks and skeletal reconstruction projects – clearing this space by pushing these item to the side to reveal a series of tiles placed on the floor in a pattern that connects them (like an elaborate puzzle of stone pieces that interlock). The old master walks to the trans-pad with an aged staff in hand, knocks on the stones in a firm sequence while whispering words that sound like spiders crawling into your ears and mind. The tiles glow with dim green light – the master indicates for everyone who wishes to go to step on the panel.

With anticipation the party steps onto the floor and tingles their feet as the green light swirls around their ankles. The team sees a faint image forming in their mind as they stand on the pad – an image of a small town with a mining entrance against the mountain that lies at the end of town. The green light sparkles up each of their bodies as they feel their essence flow down into the stones and then up from the ground next to a statue that overlooks the town. A small plaque on the statue reads Welcome to Lunnac and the Red Wolf Mine.

Even at dusk the group can see several buildings on fire and many others boarded up with lights out. The a huge fire near the mine entrance burns with what looks like a pile of bodies. A large building in the center of town appears to have boarded the windows with dim lights shining on the upper floors. This town is in ruins, dark figures can be seen moving about in the shadows below.

Just as the party talks about decending the road down into the lowered ground of the town they see two hulking black figures emerge from the mine entrance – a very bad feeling creeps into the hearts of our new heroes – how will they find out what’s happening in this small town that looks to be in utter ruin?

From the brush nearby emerges a dark figure that speaks to them – asking their business here after watching them materialize from the ground in green light. The party meets Groot, a local Warlock who has tracked the source of a darkness he found several mines from this small town of Lunnac which he has frequented in the past.

They explain the basics of the mission they understood they were on – and further explain that this does not appear to be the situation they were told to expect. After a few details of disease that has been spreading in the area, killing all wildlife around it and spawning dread in it’s wake – Groot the Warlock suggests they should seek counsel with an old wise women of the dark wood several hours from Lunnac in the direction of his home village. He explains that this sudo-witch named Geziel may be able to help them understand what could be causing this and what they may do to stop it.

Fighting through the thick woods that surround the area Groot leads them to, they come across an owl with glowing eyes that speaks to them with the voice of an old woman:


“What are you doing here Groot and who are your companions?”

Explaining the events and the desire of his new traveling companions to investigate the scene at Lunnac, Geziel offers them access to her hidden tree hollow. There she explains to the party that this can only be exposure to a potent vein of Nox-Nuri – a substance that she explains is very rare near the surface and very dangerous – spreading a plague called “The Corruption” for those that come in contact with it and releasing terror things upon the land where it spreads.

When asked for help, Geziel agrees under the condition that the party solve her problem of collecting herbs for her medical condition.

    “Collect the pollen of the Night’s Widow, a rare flower that flourishes at Lake Lumin northwest of here. Do this for me and I will share with you a protective agent again the Corruption. Be cautious at the Lake as there is a beast, a terrible ooze, that has kept me from collecting my own Night’s Widow. Should you kill this beast I will reward you greater – with a recipe for greater protection against that Corruption.”

Very interested in ways the group can protect themselves from the horrible plague known as the Corruption, they thank Geziel and journey to Lake Lumin in search of her Night’s Widow flower.

Looking around in the darkness of Lake Lumin at night the group, led by Nat the Druid who’s looking for this rare flower, comes across a dark trail leading from the water’s edge and up along a walking trail into the woods. Determined to find out if this is the ooze they are suppose to confront the recruits walk the trail for 30 or so minutes before they run into a few dark shambling creatures – humans corrupted with the dreadful disease. The Corrupted creatures see the party and engage them with a hunger. In the midst of this battle Narm takes a hit from the Corrupted and feels the sickness enter his body – sapping his strength as the disease sets in.

With a diseased member of the party they now make haste and continue to follow the dried dark drip marks along the wooded trail until they come across a small cabin with a faint light that can be seen from the window. The door slightly ajar the party advances to the window to see within a blacken man on the floor oozing dark liquid and convulsing in painful spasms. As the slowly and cautiously enter the cabin the dying man takes notice of their arrival and seems incoherent during a string of questioning that leads to little solid information on what gave him this disease. Close to death he summons the strength to ask:

    “Please – don’t come over or you risk…your own life. The Gods are finally punishing me for all that I have done with my wretched life [PAINFUL SPASM]. Who are you?”…I know of the Xenos Initiative – you are a pawn in a game that is about to turn – I have seen the pieces moving – leave this place and do not return. May saving a few innocent lives buy me some measure of mercy on the other side. Prove you are worth saving by doing me one kind act Angel of Mercy (LOOKING AT AERRENAI), end my suffering before you leave this place [PAINFUL SPASM].”

Aelyria seeing the pain in this man’s eyes looked at the party who all nodded in solemn approval. As Aelyria grabs an arrow from her quiver the man starts mumbling a series of numbers the party memorizes in puzzlement. She notched a arrow and ended the poor mans suffering.

After a quick search of the small cabin a small chest with little in it draws their attention as they notice a series of numbers that can be depressed. Trying the sequence the dying man uttered it causes the chest to draw back, leading down a tunnel to a small room underground – a small smugglers den. In this room lingers smoke from the burning of papers that now lay in ash around the room – all but one note written in code. The note told of four groups that the dying man warned must be stopped.

Several barrels here have a narcotic powder and several bundles of unworked silk. Under the lone bed in this small underground room is scrawled in blood the word ATBASH. It did not take long for recruits to remember this as a code used in earlier wars to transmit secret messages.

Gnarl and Groot above dismantle the floor boards above when they notice something carved into the hard earth under the cabin – a rough map of the CAP with several marks where the various Xenos Initiative camps are located and written with capital letters in strange locations. Narm grabbed the note provided by Commander Merrick and quickly determined it contained the same Atbash code in CAPITAL LETTERS. The note Commander Merrick gave the group for lodging at the Briggon Brat Inn after their trip to Lunnac clearly was coded to have them murdered should they make it to the Inn.

In respect to dead man of the cabin they built a quick pyre and burned the diseased corpse. While watching the blaze the group wondered why Commander Merrick would want them dead? Who was the man they just killed? What gave him this disease? Who are the groups he warned must be stopped?

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Chapter 1.2C - Encounters at Lake Lumin
More under the water than you might think...

Along the shores of Lake Lumin in the dead of the night our party can see the darkened waters and black worm-like oozlings crawling from the edge of the water, tearing at several animal corpses and dragging pieces of blackened flesh back under the water’s surface – it’s assumed by the party to feed the dread ooze Geziel has asked the party to deal with in exchange for help warding the corruption.

Aleryia, the winged-elf ranger, scouts the skies above the lake for a way to deal with the ooze and a way to reach the island in the middle of the lake when she notices a faint glowing light at the south tip of Lake Lumin. Nat, the wild elf druid, summons her toad and wades into the waters of the lake to investigate why this faint light seems to ward off the oozlings. To her surprise before reaching the light, it begins to move slowly in her direction.

Swimming backward at the same speed as the approaching light, Nat returns to the shore to prepare for whatever this new discovery might yield. From the waters of the lake emerges a woman’s form imbued with light, her frame made from the water of the lake itself. Nat can hear in her head the ethereal voice from this Lady of Lake Lumin…

“You have come to these waters, but they are not safe. Who are you and what do you seek here?”

Nat explains they are here to stop the source of this corruption. The Lady explains she is unable to face this foe as she is repelled by an unseen force to move near it – so too are it’s black offspring unable to approach the Lady. The Lady then advises they search for the water-riding device that the smuggler of the island used to get to his hidden retreat by searching the woods to the east of the lake. She also asks for respectful treatment of the brickmaker before she descends back into the waters of the lake.

Advancing around to the eastern woods they spot a distortion among the foliage,an invisible rafts, under which a sack full of grenade-like bottles safely sit. Gnarl disarms a spiked trapped tied to anyone who disturbs the invisible raft and grabs the sack of bottles – which Kraye identifies as an anti-ooze agent in grenade-form – perhaps the makings of an assault by the smuggler on the dread ooze that had invaded his den.

Dragging the invisible raft to the shore the team splits up half the team crosses the waters to the island. Disturbing the waters and using flames to burn back a few black worm-like oozlings, a great rumbling roar can be heard over the water. In response the black oozlings move quickly toward the island as though recalled to the hive. On the beach a dozen oozlings advance on the members of the party that had landed there – Gnarl and Narm making short work of the advancing oozlings that compound into larger entities before the blast them down.

With the oozlings abated (for now) the rest of the party crosses to the island to search the entrance for signs of traps or protections. Quite visible at the entrance, due to the corruption killing off all green vegetation on the island, are dead-head caps – poisonous mushrooms the release choking and paralyzing spores if disturbed. Several members jump across this mass of poisonous shrooms with success – but Narm’s jump falls short and as he stumbles to what will surely be a face full of deadly spores he slips into a portal (using his Eladrin fey-sources powers) to avoid his fate. While slipping across planes of existence Narm is use to suffering the effects of Televertigo, a glitching of his teleporting powers due to Terraden’s bound nature, barring it from other planes. Televertigo sometimes yields painful distortions of his body, sonic booms that deafen his senses and even summoning strange animals/monsters/objects when he teleports. But this time, Narm teleported in a moment of great peril and the Televertigo slipped his mind into a omni-present knowledge of the surrounding area – allowing his mind to wander outside space-time to any point in the smuggler’s den he could now see and materialise. As part of this god-like moment of awareness and power he was also able to teleport his party to the surrounding area near his destination, putting the party deep into the den of the smuggler – the heart of the island – in a room reserved for the smugglers greatest loot and personal possesions.

In this room they found a letter describing that this was the den of Fenster, the pawnshop owner they were meant to meet in Lunnac; and several white raven communications between Agent F (assumed to be Fenster) and C.M. (assumed to be Commander Merrick). Together they describe that Fenster was attacked in Lunnac by forces of Merrick the Betrayer; was taken ill by the corruption; warned his clients and friends of the dangers there; and snuck back in the tunnels leading from his pawnshop to the woods by Lake Lumin. The hasty note to his brother, a member in the College of the Keepers, was left before he escaped the den to his cabin in the woods where he would destroy evidence that might incriminate his clients, friends and brother – all before he ultimately died at the hands of a merciful arrow from Aleryia in his final, painful moments of life.

Narm and Gnarl secured his strong room with chest of valuables – Fensters prized possessions and valuables – divided among the party. A safe above the fireplace (using a code found earlier on an ingenious safe lock located in the chandelier of the ceiling) produced Fensters personal gear and additional survival gear he left for his brother.

Now in the heart of the smuggler’s den and aware of their surroundings the party must now find their way out, find the hiding place of the dread ooze they came to kill, perhaps even use Nat’s Graver’s Key to summon the long-dead in an underground cemetery to find out more information of this odd place – why there’s an entire brick house below the island, who the Lady of the Lake is and why she yearns to protect “The Brickmaker”.

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Chapter 1.2D - Meeting the Brickmaker, Defeating the Corruptuteer
Kill an evil monster and it's dark master, reunite the brick and babe...

With Narm teleporting away from the danger of falling into a patch of DeathCaps at the entrance of Fenster’s Smuggling Den, his televertigo instead allowed him to jump the entire party through the smugglers den to Fenster’s secure room. Now that they are in, the must get out. The group now cautiously works its way out to explore the underground tunnels of this secluded island hideout.

Coming out of Fenster’s secure room they find a small chamber with barrels the Kraye identifies as a highly explosive mixture. With caution they move on toward the direction of the entrance and come to an expansive room that is oddly bare. Gnarl throws several rocks into the room to see if any hidden dangers reveal themselves. Turning around the party moves back to investigate other tunnels but Gnarl notices one stone begins to roll slowly toward the wall, then another. Not convinced the party decides to come back to this room later…

Done with the strange nature of the room ahead they turn back, following the tunnels to the Brickmaker’s house, as seen in Narm’s televertigo vision, they find the brick house half-buried in an underground chamber. The door made of brick did not seem to yield a response when Narm knocked on it – but a whirling wind grew as the noise outside the house drew the attention of several elemental Dust Devils.

Taking the party by surprise the Dust Devils assault them by bashing them with viscous winds, cutting earthen-shrapnel and pushing them back with every hit. Groot was pushed back so violently that he was thrown into the shallow chasm at the entrance of the chamber. Narm and Gnarl were beaten back by the Dust Devils before the party hears a roaring sound from the only tunnel leading out of the Brickmaker’s house chamber. At this sound the Dust Devils swirl away back into the hole in the house of the Brickmaker were they originally entered.

Turning from one threat to ready for the other, the group prepares for a twitching black ooze that appears to have a writhing figure within (later hypothesised to be moments away from mitosis – splitting in two). The chasm at the entrance begins to fill with oozlings and black water – to which Aelyria summoned a patch of thick vines and roots to cover the chasm.

As the party hurls anti-ooze ampules that splash damaging liquid onto the large, black ooze, the group also assails with arrows, arcane fire, slashing swords and flying fists – quickly dispatching what was to be the primary foe in this den. But the real danger was spotted by Nat in the darkness of the tunnels behind the ooze, a tentacled horror that seemed to guide the actions of the ooze like a puppeteer.

Rushing forward with fury Narm runs headlong toward the retreating monstrous puppeteer – the true source of the corruption in the smuggler’s den. The tentacled puppeteer spins around, lashes out at Narm to push him back before retreating into the water of a tunnel that drops. The brazen group, charged by the intense battles with the Dust Devils and Black Ooze cast all their most powerful arcane might, precise shots and even a thorned whip from Nat that drew the beast from the shallow waters. The final barrage fell on the puppeteer as it lay helplessly stunned by Gnarl’s psychic bashing.

Having cleared the smuggler’s den of the corrupting forces (as directed by Geziel), the party moved down to the large storage chamber with rows of gravestones that date back to the Great Sundering and made from the same brick as the house in the adjacent chamber. Using the Graver’s Key, won from Falko the Face by answering riddles in the Keeper’s Challenge, Nat brings the skeletal remains of a little girl to find information about the Brickmaker and the brick house.

The little skeletal girl asks for her mother and her father – who turn out to be the Brickmaker and the Lady of Lake Lumin. After discussing a little history, Nat asks about the house to which the little girl runs to the house, performs a complicated series of knocks on the brick door to open the magically sealed house. Now able to access the first floor of the brick house the group sees all the furniture smashed up against the walls of the great entry room and a large brick throne in the center, upon which is seated a dusty brick golem with long grey hair and fingernails that have grown out very long from several thousand years of hibernation.

Unable to wake the brick golem from its hibernation, the party leaves the golem behind and attempts to leave so that they can report the good news of the corruptions defeat. Along their way to entrance, Narm hears a small voice telling him to “HOLD” when his party enters the spacious empty room near the entrance. Mud begins to flow down the far side of the empty chamber, coalescing into small fey figures standing 10" tall.

The Gillig, Mud Fey that excel at obfuscation and isolation, approach Narm (a fellow from the Feywild) to thank him for defeating the evil they have been hiding from and for helping the Lady of the Lake…but they sense something wrong with Narm. “You are hurting inside” the leader says, referring to Narm’s “corruption” inside. They ask if they knew of Fensters condition to which they sadly explain he died. They explain that Fenster was too far gone when they spoke with him last, they use healing mud from their elder shamanistic mudster to try to save him – something they offer to Narm as repayment for helping them with the corrupted beasts and warn him that it will take three days to fully work and will leech the blackness from him in a trail that will be left behind him (which happened to Fenster when trekking up to his cabin).

Wondering what the Gillig may be able to do about the brick golem they ask if the healers of the Gillig can do anything about the unresponsive statue. A ceremony and mud-throwing circle around the golem seems to fill in the many cracks in the brick with new mud and bring the golem back to “life”. The party asks the golem if it is the brick maker – to which the golem confirms, “Yes – I am”. Wishing to reunite the brickmaker with his wife, the Lady of the Lake, they lead him out with the Gillig in tow. With a the Gillig summoning the Lady form the waters, the Brickmaker and Lady stare briefly, wonderingly at one another – then run to one another…the water washing over and around the golem who “embraces” his long lost wife.

Due to their heroic acts, Brillig the Gillig asks to accompany the Eladrin, Narm, on their journey to see some of the outside world as a scout for his colony.

What is the future of the Lady and Brickmaker? What will the Gillig do now that Fenster is gone? How will the party deal with the menace that looms back in Lunnac? Will the party find the Night’s Widow flower needed to garner Geziel’s favor (and protection from the corruption)?

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Chapter 1.3A - Sealing Red Wolf Mine
Into the deep to face the seeping dark, saviors are born...
  • Gillig bas relief of heroes
  • Finding Night’s Widow (skill challenge – success)
  • Back to Gezeil for Night Widow reward and Lumaward recipe
  • Back to Lunnac – found Grum and Wendy
  • Hector helping citizens after dark troops leave
  • Talked with priest and foreman of town
  • Entered mine to save it (skill challenge – success)
  • Failed check in mine with Crazy Stan attracted corrupted – fought small group of dark horde
  • Saved Lunnac – with full bonuses – new title “Saviors of Lunnac”
  • Granted Fenster’s Pawn Shop (abandoned)
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1.3B - New Digs in Lunnac and Lady Laena's Plea
A base of operations as a reward and Crazy Stan's "help"...
  • Assessment of new home – plans for new home
  • Crazy Stan’s adaptation of Gnarl’s Dagger and Narm’s Sword
  • Talked with Lady Laena – search for Fjorn in nearby ruins

New Items:

  • Golden Earth Ritual
  • Crazy Stan’s Concordant Pack
  • Narm’s Lizard Licker
  • Gnarl’s Holy Parrying Dagger of Opposing Elements
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1.3C - Finding Fjorn's Foothold
Fjorn's Folly found to be haunted dwarven prison - dark with looming doom...
  • Received White Raven from Client 114 for possible new job
  • Gathered information from locals on ruins in Bedrock Basin outside of town
  • Travel back and found hidden dwarven prison (blendrite) away from false ruins
  • Grum has Tam’pekar to enter hidden dwarven site
  • Entered prison and found goblin ghost
  • Kraye noticed it was Hexatecture – constructed by master of dwarven earth kingdom
  • Harmonic locks on gates opened with code found on Korb’s the opened outer doors
  • Fought several dwarven ghosts – vanquished Fjorn’s damned spirit
  • Found Gnash hiding in old latrine – now blood bonded to Kraye
  • Opened last gate to find elevator shaft that requires a different Korb to descend deeper
  • Found a hand scrawled symbol on wall of Mai’hoc-noipoc symbol – Fjorn’s drawing copy
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