The below information is strictly Out of Character and relatively little of it will be publicly known, except (in most cases) by the characters involved. Please do not assume that, just because it's written here, your character might know about it. Also, much of the below information has been written from memory, some of it almost a year and a half after the original events mentioned, so there are likely to be any number of errors and omissions.
If you can help correct any mistakes or fill in any gaps, then please email the webmaster to let us know.
Run by Natalie on 24th January 2004 (Saturday 1st week, Hilary term)
Players: Arik Blackthorne (Julian), Kit Fisable (Helen W), Ratrina De Almedia (Andrea), Sebastian (Joff), Winsel (Ben)
Mission Brief: It is discovered that a scion of the De Almedia Family has been raised by bandits out in the woods, so a member of the Family and some adventurers are sent to fetch him home.
Adventure Summary: The characters travel into the Western Forest, fight some bandits, defeat a couple of trolls and rescue the bunch of travellers they were holding captive for supper, encounter a group of Swarm in weird forms behaving very strangely, then eventually come to the camp of Sir Thomas Wollesley. There is some (at times fraught) negotiation for safe passage, which results in a duel between Sir Tom and Sebastian. Meanwhile, one of Sir Tom's men absconds with the money that has been bet, some more of Sir Tom's men and Winsel chase after him and they all come back reporting blows to the back of the head and the money vanished, Winsel managing to keep a straight face throughout. Jacques is spotted in Sir Tom's camp, and persuaded to accompany the adventurers back to the White City. Giant spiders are fought, some ethereal spirits of goodness assail Winsel and banish the influence of the evil spirits which attacked him on his previous adventure, the party parties with a group of centaurs, the party fearfully avoids a group of villagers who bear cards attesting their status as innocent yokels, more giant spiders are fought and eventually the party bring Jacques home.
Run by James on 7th February 2004 (Saturday 3rd week, Hilary term)
Players: Corinna (Claire S), Fal-Kar De Almedia (Rich), Lacey (Chris N), Ratrina De Almedia (Andrea), Sebastian (Joff)
Mission Brief: The village of Quaint, near the City of Crossroads, has stopped sending the consignments of armour that the High Guard need. Adventurers are sent to find out what has happened and ensure that the shipments start again.
Adventure Summary: Quaint (and another village nearby) were sent insane by the passing-by of He Who Walks Wilderness. Its presence also awoke the Serpent of Chains, an ancient and powerful weapon created to fight in the Binding War, which proceeded to deal with the corruption of Quaint in its own way by razing it to the ground. The adventurers follow its trail and, after hearing its side of the story, decide to side with it. They travel with it to the other village, and manage to subdue the inhabitants with Light magic before it can slaughter them all. Satisfied, the Serpent leaves to hunt some Bound One.
Run by Natalie on 21st February 2004 (Saturday 5th week, Hilary term)
A sequel of sorts to Bound to the East.
Players: Carmina Curiana (Vicky), Fal-Kar De Almedia (Rich), Mistor De Almedia (Tristram), Ratrina De Almedia (Andrea), Ryn Coth (Ellie), Serafine D'Artois (Laura)
Mission Brief: Serafine D'Artois recruits a group of priestesses and De Almedia nobles to visit the Tattered Hat tribe of troglodytes and convert them away from the worship of the Vitriarchs.
Adventure Summary: Encounters are encountered, bandits are fought and defeated, some Trapped Men in the forms of various farmyard animals attack and are slain, the party reach the caves of the troglodyte tribe and spend quite some time attempting to convert them away from the worship of the Vitriarchs to the worship of the Princes of Breath and the Old Powers with both words and demonstrations of Blood and Wind magic. After speaking to Serafine, the tribe's chief and his minions go off to perform a ritual and the chief comes back as a crystal vessel possessed by the King in Fragments, who blasts Fal-Kar's mind into nightmare and gloats at Serafine until the crystal vessel is destroyed and shatters into glass shrapnel. With their chief gone, the rest of the tribe agree to convert if the party will prove the power of their Powers by defeating a large bear which has been troubling the tribe. The bear is lured out of its nearby cave and defeated, and the tribe agrees to convert.
Run by Ben on 6th March 2004 (Saturday 7th week, Hilary term)
A sequel to Waterfire.
Players: Antonio (Steve J), "Ripper" Bill McKenzie (James), Captain Matteus De Almedia (Xan), Serafine D'Artois (Laura), Tibs (Joe W)
Mission Brief: The Waterfire is causing problems in the City of Silk. The White City sends a High Guard Captain, a Low Guard agent and some adventurers with previous experience of the Waterfire to collect it and bring it to the Cloistered Brethren of Chains so that it can be properly dealt with.
Adventure Summary: The party reach the City of Silk with relatively few problems besides some bandits they bluff their way past and some lunatic Bound One cultists trying to dye their eyeballs purple, tell the guards on the gate their business and are taken to speak with Queen Marianna Mor. Moments after the Waterfire is handed over to them they are attacked by Bound One cultists and Lesser Bound One spirits in the Queen's throne room itself! They quickly slay the cultists while defending the Queen and the Waterfire, but unbeknownst to the rest of the party Antonio is quietly possessed by a spirit which bides its time until the party make camp that night, having first buried the Waterfire nearby for safekeeping while they sleep. During Antonio's watch he digs up and deliberately spills the Waterfire at the prompting of the possessing spirit, but Serafine is able to enter the sphere of the Waterfire's influence and right it again. Later that night the camp is attacked by several trolls and a horde of troglodytes, the trolls throwing the troglodytes into the midst of the fray until all are defeated. The night is interrupted a third time by a group of Trapped Men who claim to have been drawn from the East by the Waterfire's presence and ask to be baptised with it, believing that this will free them from their twice daily transformations - the party warily agrees and the Trapped Men line up one by one to anoint themselves from the bowl, some of them admonished to be more careful after it is nearly spilt, before departing peacefully. Later on their journey the party encounter a group of bandits who, it transpires during a stand-off and tense conversation, have been hired by a group of cultists to waylay the party and take the Waterfire from them. Antonio shows the bandit leader his Low Guard badge and negotiates with him in private, with the result that the bandits let the party pass unmolested in return for a small sum of Hexa and the party's agreement that they will leave the money and possessions of the cultists for the bandits to take. Sure enough, the party meet the cultists, who are led by a powerful Name sorcerer with glowing purple eyes who empowers the other cultists by Naming them "strong" and "armoured" and the like. There is a fierce fought battle, during which one of the cultists manages to spill the Waterfire - as its influence spreads Bill crosses the boundary and meets his reflection, the two of them fight and there is an escalation of Blood Curses which results in the real Bill's leg exploding. Eventually the cultists are defeated and their leader knocked unconscious and captured, to be taken back to the White City for questioning. The adventurers reach the White City, but are not long through the gates when Tibs grabs the Waterfire and flees, using his superior knowledge of the city's streets to lose his pursuers and vanish, then later using his promise to the blind seer he met (see the "Waterfire" LARP) to give up his name thus making him harder to find when a citywide manhunt is launched for him and the Waterfire. Bill replaces his lost leg with a wooden peg-leg to fit his piratical image.
Run by Chris N on 20th March 2004 (a Saturday in the Easter vacation)
Players: Antonio (Steve J), Brick (Jen), Kit Fisable (Helen W), Captain Matteus De Almedia (Xan)
Mission Brief: The White City Dream sorcerer Alexis de Tariq hires a group of adventurers to go and map some of the Dreamlands on the far side of the Northern mountains and look for an unusual creature of which he's recently been dreaming.
Adventure Summary: The party head North, passing an Ashen Guardian which seems to be waiting for something, meeting a ranger in the woods who helps them fight off some wolves, then arriving at the Northern Watchtower which is currently being overseen by Piera Velasquez, an arrogant bureaucracy-obsessed nobleman who treats everyone but Matteus with contempt and makes baseless insinuations about Matteus' relationship with Kit. Travelling onwards the party meet a group of three travellers sitting at camp in the wilderness playing dice, one of them the infamous bandit leader Captain Lessened! Antonio and Captain Lessened talk privately, after which Antonio takes Matteus aside and reveals that he is a Low Guard agent and that Captain Lessened is travelling on business for Sir Francis De Courci. The adventurers play Captain Lessened and his men at dice for a while, Kit winning, before heading off. Passing through the territory of the Palace at Three Rivers they fight off a patrol of skeletons and continue northwards, following the course of the River of Whispers. They meet a Dream-Catcher and a centaur, the latter admonishes them about treating the land with respect and the former asks if one of them will let her travel with them in their dreams so that she can eat any nightmares they encounter, but is refused. Continuing on their journey the party is attacked by a large pack of ghouls, Kit is nearly killed but Matteus charges into the centre of the pack to hold off the ghouls long enough to pour a healing potion down her throat. Once up in the mountains themselves the party come across a large and well organised camp of soldiers, after some tense introductions they are allowed to pass on across the mountains and eventually find the creature Alexis has asked them to look for, a large talking pony with a single horn jutting from her brow (dubbed by Kit a "siege pony") who calls herself "Innocence". The party talk with Innocence for some time before moving on to try and make their way home again, but on their journey they meet three firedrakes blocking their path and are certain they are doomed... only for Alexis de Tariq to turn up out of nowhere and turn the three firedrakes into cheese with Dream sorcery! The adventurers ask Alexis if he can help make their journey home easier, he says he can if they all lie down to sleep...
The adventurers awaken far further south on the lower slopes of the mountains, with no sign of Alexis, surrounded by armed men. These warriors introduce themselves as representatives of a group calling itself the Black Sword of Hope and command that the party surrender their weapons and their persons and come to meet the group's leader. Being at something of a disadvantage, as they are all lying on the ground with their weapons sheathed, the party give up all their visible weapons and are escorted to meet a man calling himself Captain D'Orso in a larger army camp than the one they saw earlier. The Captain says that the army is hunting Innocence, fast talking ensues during which the party deny all knowledge of her or her location, Kit sells the Captain copies of the maps and notes she's taken on the expedition, then the party have their weapons returned and are allowed to leave, bickering on their way. The journey home includes relatively little trouble but there is some alarm when an Ashen Guardian is found Vitrified in mid sword-swing, an eviscerated corpse at its feet. The party return home and berate Alexis for delivering them into the hands of the Black Sword, for which he is most contrite and agrees that he owes them one. The party is paid and reports of their journey are filed with various organisations.
Pirates of the Breathing Isle
Run by Natalie & Steve J on 16th-18th April 2004 (36-hour special event over the Easter vacation, from Friday evening to Sunday 0th week afternoon at Candleston campsite in South Wales)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by various people and hosted by Chris N.
Players: Fal-Kar De Almedia (Rich), Jacques De Almedia (Chris N), Kit Fisable (Helen W), Captain Matteus De Almedia (Xan), Sebastian (Joff), Toquell Velasquez (Joe W)
Mission Brief: The De Almedia Family sends a mission to the Breathing Isle to negotiate trade contracts with the inhabitants. Rebecca De Courci insists that another noble Family is also represented on the venture, thus the presence of Toquell Velasquez. The De Almedias hire Kit for her cartographic and scholastic skills and Sebastian for his seafaring knowledge of the area and extra swordarm.
Adventure Summary: The party leave the White City and head South towards the coast, being ambushed and accosted by numerous groups of bandits along the way (one led by an arrogant and short lived swordsman calling himself El Diablo) almost all of whom are slaughtered. One group of bandits turns out to be old acquaintances of Jac's who provide hospitality and conversation, despite a few tense misunderstandings and Toquell's underhand attempt to start a fight through Binding the Tongue of one of their number to insult the De Almedias. The party is assailed by a large number of wolves and meets a group of crazy wannabe heroes and adventurers with some very odd ideas about the White City. Finally they reach their rendezvous at a small cove on the coast, where they embark upon the ship of Captain Alfonso and his crew of buccaneers, who have traded with the inhabitants of the Breathing Isle before. During the journey Fal-Kar finds strange things happening to his sorcerous ability when another ship draws up alongside, pirates attempt to board but are fought off. The adventurers witness one of the vicious "flying fish" of the Southern Seas when it leaps over the deck and bites Toquell. One of the ship's crew repairs the party's light armour.
Arriving at the Breathing Isle, a seemingly normal island with a large mountain in the centre, the party are set ashore and leave the ship so that the Alfonso can conduct his own trade with the island's piratical inhabitants in private. Setting off to explore, Fal-Kar discovers that his Wind sorcery is strong on the island and the party find large quantities of glass shards strewn across the dunes, leading them to worry about a possible Port of Glass presence on the island - worry that is intensified when they are attacked by a horde of Splinter-Men. Later they come across the site of a battle between rival factions of pirates, distinguished by their red and blue headscarves. The red pirates have come off worst and there is evidence that some of the blue pirates have been using Glass sorcery, the adventurers scavenge headscarves of both colours from the bodies for potential disguise purposes. Following the tracks from the battle, the party find a group of blue pirates torturing some red pirate hostages; after listening and observing from the cover of a ridge they attack, healing the surviving hostage and taking her with them along with a couple of blue pirate prisoners for questioning. The rescued red pirate tells them that the red pirates are the faction loyal to the Pirate King while the blue pirates are a breakaway faction allied with recent arrivals to the island, several of whom are Glass and Chain sorcerers, who took over the Pirate King's fortress and drove the loyalist faction out. The rescuee leads them to the Pirate King's new headquarters, the party fighting off blue pirates and wolves along the way. When they arrive the Pirate King is initially suspicious but eventually won round, there is mercantile discussion with the De Almedias displaying samples of steelsilk and White City workmanship while the Pirate King shows them glowing gems and Breathing Isle perishables. However, the Pirate King refuses to make any trade agreements until the blue pirates and their allies have been defeated, insisting that the adventurers liberate her former fortress as a first step. She gives them a crude map of the island and some finely made suits of leather armour to assist in this endeavour and sends them on their way.
The party set off for the fortress, fighting off more blue pirates and wolves and Splinter-Men, finding the remnants of a group of pirates who have all been vitrified and circling cautiously around a lone Glass Sentinel standing vigilance in the dunes. There is some extended reconnaissance of the fortress as the party attempts to come up with a plan, however when Toquell and another are sent forward in an attempt to negotiate things go badly and Toquell is captured, driving the party to attempt a desperate frontal assault during which they are all defeated and captured due to the presence of several accomplished Chain sorcerers. Toquell, who has had his tongue cut out, is able to restore it via the use of Chain sorcery to bind Matteus' tongue and Name sorcery (with Matteus' voice) to make his injuries whole again. The person in charge of the fortress reveals her faction's grand plan to enact a ritual of Chain sorcery to bind the Prince of the Breath whose home is the peak of the island's mountain and tries to bargain for the party's cooperation, but Fal-Kar and Matteus state that they would rather die than aid in the binding of a Power from the pantheon they serve. Others of the adventurers, however, put on a semblance of agreement and are duly released, the blue pirates organise a great banquet in celebration and Kit poisons the banquet with the herbs she gathered earlier, killing everyone in the fortress but the adventurers. The party ransack the fortress and get some rest before setting off in search of the smaller tower from which the head Chain sorcerer is coordinating his assault on the Prince of the Breath.
The party fight Splinter-Men, zombies and pirates before encountering a powerful Wind spirit, possibly the local Prince of the Breath themself. All of them are duly respectful but Toquell, who refuses to kneel until knocked to his knees from behind by Jac's shield. The Wind spirit is grateful to Fal-Kar for his devotion, marks the position of the tower and the blue pirate patrols on the party's map and gives all of the party but Toquell her blessing, making them "as swift as the wind" in combat. Toquell challenges Jacques to a duel on their return to the White City. More pirates are fought, the party evading the worst of their patrols thanks to the Wind spirit's map, and the party eventually find the leader of the Chain sorcerers with his retinue having a picnic. The entire retinue is slaughtered and Toquell searches the Chain sorcerer's body, finding an emblem of the Cloistered Brethren of Chains which he manages to take and conceal from everyone else present. The party return to the Pirate King victorious and make trade arrangements, including a clause allowing safe passage for ships flying the De Almedia colours. One of the party discovers that their armour had small shards of glass sewn into it when it was repaired by one of Captain Alfonso's crewmen, the buccaneer responsible is brought to justice and Alfonso is advised to check his crew for other spies and infiltrators. The adventurers return to the White City with little further incident. Toquell wins his duel against Jacques.
Run by Helen W & Steve J on 1st May 2004 (Saturday 1st week, Trinity term)
Players: "Ripper" Bill McKenzie (James), Carmina Curiana (Vicky), Fal-Kar De Almedia (Rich), Sebastian (Joff)
Mission Brief: The De Almedia steelsilk trade with the City of Silk is suffering. Fal-Kar is sent, with an entourage, to find out why and to restore the regular flow of trade.
Adventure Summary: The party finds a breakaway cult of Weavers who believe that steelsilk should not be allowed into the possession of non-Weavers and are preventing steelsilk from leaving the Western Forest by killing any merchants carrying it. So the adventurers kill them and their Really Big Spider too and take the heads back to Queen Marianna at the City of Silk. Normal steelsilk trade resumes.
Part one of the "Dreams & Nightmares" campaign.
Run by Rich on 8th May 2004 (Saturday 2nd week, Trinity term)
Players: Antonio (Steve J), Dr. Edward Holtz (Joe W), Jacques De Almedia (Chris N), Ryn Coth (Ellie)
Mission Brief: Four adventurers receive a mysterious note asking them to seek out and destroy a camp of bandits as a test for an unknown potential employer.
Adventure Summary: The party head North, there is much oddness. There is an encounter with a crying baby which seems to be generating dangerous spirits that nearly kill the party before Antonio puts a stop to them by killing the baby. Eventually the party find the main bandit camp but after fighting valiantly are forced to flee the bandits' superior numbers. This doesn't matter too much, as it eventually transpires that the whole adventure was a dream sent by their potential employer, a Dream sorcerer named Brucci, to see if they were suitable to undertake a mission for him.
Recovering the Defector
Run by Natalie & Chris N on 15th May 2004 (Saturday 3rd week, Trinity term)
Players: "Ripper" Bill McKenzie (James), Carmina Curiana (Vicky), Kit Fisable (Helen W), Mab (Emma ?), Winsel (Ben)
Mission Brief: A defector from the Port of Glass military has found her way into the hands of the Bodach in the Garden Lands. The party are sent to find her and bring her back to the White City before the forces of the Port of Glass can retrieve her.
Adventure Summary: The party do, indeed, rescue the defector. Along the way, they variously: meet Lemuel D'Artois in both crystal vessel and corporeal form, run away from Lemuel D'Artois (twice), negotiate with the Bodach chieftain, and some of them become humorously addicted to potions against Glass Magic.
( NB: The duel between Toquell Velasquez and Jacques De Almedia also happened on this date, although not IC on this LARP. )
Run by Helen W on 22nd May 2004 (Saturday 4th week, Trinity term)
Players: "Ripper" Bill McKenzie (James), Brick (Jen), Carmina Curiana (Vicky), Kevin (Smaff), Winsel (Ben)
Mission Brief: Robert Ivanescu, a merchant from the City of Crossroads, hires a band of adventurers to kidnap Alissa D'Edibri, heiress of the D'Edibri Family of Crossroads nobility.
Adventure Summary: Robert Ivanescu convinces the party that there are very good reasons for Alissa's kidnap and that she is a dangerous Wind sorcerer so they must subdue and gag her before she has a chance to start casting sorcery at them and them self they must keep her bound while returning her to him. However, when the party arrive at the place where they've been told she will be, they find her sitting up a tree and are unable to get to her before she talks to them and convinces them that their employer has deceived them. She offers them more money to escort her to meet Robert and capture him so that he can be taken back to the City of Crossroads for justice. This they do, fighting off wolves, camping near a guardpost, fighting off bandits, killing some marauding Trapped Men (whom all but Alissa find unbearably adorably cute) shortly before sunset, fighting off more bandits and eventually meeting Robert and his men. Robert's men are variously killed, subdued and driven off, Robert is captured and taken back to the City of Crossroads and put on trial, with the adventurers as the trial's main witnesses. It emerges that the Ivanescus planned to have Alissa marry Robert so that their family became members of the Crossroads' nobility, Robert pleads that the whole thing was his idea and nothing to do with any of his other family members, Robert is condemned to execution and the Ivanescu family make reparations to the D'Edibri Family.
The Sword of Drant
Part two of the "Dreams & Nightmares" campaign, a sequel to The Sentinel.
Run by Rich on 29th May 2004 (Saturday 5th week, Trinity term)
Players: Antonio (Steve J), Dr. Edward Holtz (Joe W), Jacques De Almedia (Chris N), Ryn Coth (Ellie)
Mission Brief: Having proven themselves to their employer, a Dream sorcerer named Brucci, he sends the party North to find and recover the mystical Sword of Drant.
Adventure Summary: unknown.
Run by Joff on 5th June 2004 (Saturday 6th week, Trinity term)
Players: Arik Blackthorne (Julian), Gideon Vassily (Twitch), Loric (Joe R), Marek - RIP (Martin), ? (Joe P)
Mission Brief: An Ash sorcerer from the City of Crossroads named Dreshush has stolen various papers and animated a statue, causing vast destruction and setting it free to roam the lands. As the statue rampages westwards past the White City, a group of adventurers is hired by the Temple of Ashes to stop Dreshush and his creation.
Adventure Summary: The adventurers head westwards into the Great Forest, following the trail of destruction. They find numerous zombies, including a whole village whose inhabitants have all been zombified, all of them with strange burning eyes. During a running melée with some of the zombies they encounter another group of adventurers also sent out to deal with the problems and accidentally kill one of their number who tries to help them, mistaking him for a zombie in the heat of battle. They meet a tribe of troglodyte refugees from the East who have fled to the Great Forest to seek refuge from the horde of zombies trailing in the wake of the Ash sorcerer and the statue, now convinced that everything to the east of the Great Forest has been slain or zombified and that anyone approaching from the east must be a murderous undead monstrosity - most of them are slain when they accuse the party of being zombies and attack. There is an ambush during which Marek, scouting ahead to investigate an apparent corpse lying in the road, finds himself cut off from the rest of the party when the "corpse" gets up and draws a sword while more bandits spring from the undergrowth - he flees further away, only to be chased down and killed before his fellow adventurers can reach him and save his life. This deeply distresses his brother Loric. Eventually the party find the camp of the notorious bandit leader Sir Thomas Wollesley and his men, where shelter is being given to Dreshush, the Ash sorcerer the party is looking for. Dreshush, shocked and shaken by his ordeal, tells the party that he was a simple scholar in the City of Crossroads who found some papers indicating that Ayun Boight, a mighty warrior and great hero from the Binding War whose statue stood in the middle of a great square in the city, had found a way to cheat death and had instead been imprisoned within the "statue" for nearly a thousand years - until Dreshush accidentally freed Ayun during his investigations. Ayun is now a horrific hulking undead monstrosity, able to animate those he kills as zombies with burning eyes, and Dreshush has been following him in an attempt to put a stop to his depredations. The party look at the papers Dreshush took with him, which confirm his story, and agree to aid him in stopping Ayun Boight, which also pleases Sir Thomas Wollesley as his banditry profits are being harmed by the rampaging zombies. The party are given the hospitality of Sir Tom's camp for the night, during which time one of them makes the mistake of trying the soup which the camp's cook has seasoned with some Forest mushrooms... In the morning the camp is approached by a peaceful delegation of Weavers and giant spiders who have been driven from their lair by Ayun, the Weavers ask that Ayun is stopped and give directions to the cave he's in before departing. The party go to the cave with Dreshush and some bandits to help them and find Ayun, now a huge invulnerable burning monstrosity which is barely recognisable as having once been human. Finding him unvanquishable in combat but able to immobilise his legs by using a ritual contained in the papers Dreshush took, the party back off and talk to him and eventually convince him to accept his death and go to the Burned Realm as is proper. During the battle Dreshush's throat is slit by Loric in retribution for indirectly causing his brother's death, without any of the other adventurers noticing who's responsible for the murder.
Part three of the "Dreams & Nightmares" campaign, a sequel to The Sword of Drant.
Run by Rich on 12th June 2004 (Saturday 7th week, Trinity term)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Izzy and hosted by Chris N.
Players: Antonio (Steve J), Dr. Edward Holtz (Joe W), Jacques De Almedia (Chris N), Ryn Coth (Ellie)
Mission Brief: Heading back to the White City, the party find a town beset by nightmarish spirits and attempt to save the town from this evil menace.
Adventure Summary: On their way south the party meet a group of people who festoon them with garlands and hail them as saviours, then lead them to a nearby town where the mayor tells them they are great heroes destined to save the town from the "horrors" and offers them hospitality. Moving on, they meet a second group of people who apparently worship the horrors. The party try to bluff their way through as fellow horror-worshippers, so a horror is fetched and psychically attacks Jacques - thanks to Edward's exorcism skills the horror is destroyed, and the party convince the cultists (with the help of an Ashen cloud) that the horror's disappearance is a blessing! Seeking the source of the horrors, the party find a hut wherein lie a pair of lovers trapped in nightmares, and Edward uses a potion to enter their dreams and defeat the horror he finds there. Continuing down the path, the party are attacked by a horde of feral villagers, who they defeat and then question - after Edward exorcises a survivor it becomes apparent that they were possessed by horrors. The party meet a helmed man named Gimpster who sells them pies, and then encounter a horde of urchins of whom the last two are in the process of being possessed by horrors. The urchins are defeated, some of the survivors then tied up for questioning and exorcised. Moving on, the party come to a tower wherein a huge pile of sleeping Dream Sorcerers are trapped in nightmares by a trio of terrifying horrors. Edward attempts to exorcise one of the horrors, but is defeated by the combined might of all three and dragged into the nightmare. Antonio and Jacques drink potions and follow him in, leaving Ryn to guard their bodies...
Within the nightmare Antonio and Jacques meet a quartet of Dream Sorcerers near a stream who are in fear for their lives after several attacks. Two large flaming trolls appear and attack, but are cut down and slain by the combined efforts of all those there with water from the stream. Antonio and Jacques attempt to persuade the Dream Sorcerers to accompany them, but the Sorcerers are too fearful to move. The pair of adventurers finally meet the three horrors, who are in the process of cutting down more Dream Sorcerers, and in a pitched battle just manage to defeat them. At this point everyone wakes up again and the party head back towards the town, meeting a woman perched on the edge of a tower whose baby died in its sleep and who is generating fear spirits - the fear spirits are fought off while Ryn manages to talk her down and calm her fears. Then the party meet a dog-trainer who sets his pack of hounds on them, and finally return to the town where they defeat the cultists and are hailed as saviours.
Part four of the "Dreams & Nightmares" campaign, a sequel to Waking Nightmares.
Run by Rich on 19th June 2004 (Saturday 8th week, Trinity term)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Izzy and hosted by Chris N.
Players: Antonio (Steve J), Dr. Edward Holtz (Joe W), Jacques De Almedia (Chris N), Ryn Coth (Ellie)
Mission Brief: Returning to the White City, the party meet up with Brucci to give him the Sword of Drant. But he is sorely afflicted by Glass magic and they must enter his dreams to try and save him.
Adventure Summary: The party meet up with Brucci and talk to him, but he collapses to the ground and after much discussion the party use potions to enter his dreams and find out what's wrong. They are assailed by spirits of fear, then meet two groups of bandits having a battle over territory - the party join the fray, and purely by chance one group is almost wiped out while the other side is subdued and then interrogated. Eventually the party make a deal with their captive bandits and free them, the bandits then run off in search of their surviving rival, one of them also taking Antonio's bow and arrows! The party travel on, encountering a fight between a human warrior and a warrior made of Glass where they help destroy the Glass warrior. Next they are attacked by a bunch of ghouls, whom they slay, then travel on and talk to an old man and answer his questions, after which they find two clones of Brucci both claiming to be the "real" Brucci and trying to kill each other. The party subdue and restrain both of them, inspect them and find one of them to be wearing an amulet riddled with shards of Glass, so kill him. At this point they all wake up, and Brucci comes round and destroys the amulet he's been wearing which had been sabotaged by a Glass Sorcerer. The party summon the High Guard and everyone goes to talk to Sir Francis De Courci, where Brucci admits what's been going on and is soundly chastised.
Search & Destroy
Run by Steve J & Ellie on 3rd July 2004 (a Saturday in the summer vacation)
There is an In-Character write-up of this adventure available here, written by Xan.
Players: Brynna Mortivelli (Helen W), Jzad (Caz), Loric (Joe R), Vincenzi Velasquez (Xan)
Mission Brief: Bandits based in the village of Four Elms are attacking Cristofori caravans, and the Family's own men are failing to stop them, so Duke Cristofori hires some adventurers to seek out and destroy the bandit group.
Adventure Summary: The party meet a group of bandits who don't want to fight, fight some wolves, meet Sebastian and some Weavers selling steelsilk, fight some more wolves and meet a group of bandits some of whom are wearing stolen Cristofori livery. There is a fight, at the end of which all of the bandits are found to have eagle tattoos on their forearms and one is taken alive and questioned. The party find several dead Cristofori guards who've been given last rites by a Priest of the Lord of the Blood-Fury, call up one of their spirits for questioning, and follow the tracks of the wounded guard who got away. They find him, heal him, talk to him and send him back to the White City, then hunt down the other two bandit scouting groups with magic and swords and question some of them before heading on to Four Elms. The village has been taken over by the bandits, with the oppressed villagers living in terror. The party kill a group of bandit guards (though not before they set off the alarm), heal the villager injured during the battle, rescue an old lady from being beaten up by more bandits, then find the bandit leader with his Blood-Priest and remaining men waiting around a large fire in the village square. The party set fire to the mayor's house as a distraction then attack with magic and swords, eventually killing all of the bandits but the leader, who they manage to take alive for questioning. The villagers express their gratitude and the Cristofori agents reveal themselves and help escort the party back to the White City. On their way they're attacked by the cowardly bandits who they met before, and kill them with extreme prejudice then summon up one of their spirits for more retribution.
The Adventures of Bobbin Snood
Run by Jen on 11th July 2004 (a Sunday in the summer vacation)
Players: Agelmar Cristofori (Steve J), Althea (Rei), Sir Gustav Oberon of the Shining Order (Hanbury), Thalia (Laura)
Mission Brief: Agelmar Cristofori and an entourage are sent to help the Sheriff of Shottingham collect taxes on behalf of Lord Corioli, as the Sheriff is being hampered by the bandit Bobbin Snood and his men.
Adventure Summary: The party meet starving refugees from Lord Corioli's lands, travelling to the White City in search of a better living, then a group of Bobbin's men who demand their surrender. After some debate a fight breaks out, during which the bandits are defeated but Thalia is captured and taken back to their camp to talk to Bobbin. The rest of the party find a village where the Sheriff and his men are collecting taxes, meet up with Thalia again, find another village where the villagers complain about the harsh and unfair taxes and a noble named Sir George is "hunting dwagons", then travel on to find Bobbin and his men waiting in ambush around a pit trap. The party temporarily surrender their weapons and talk to Bobbin about the plight of the local villagers, then head on to Lord Corioli's castle. At the castle Lord Corioli, Sheriff Shottingham, Sir George and several other nobles are having a feast and invite the party to join them. An attack on the castle's grain stores by a mob of villagers is repulsed, and Agelmar remonstrates with Lord Corioli over the Sheriff's tax collecting excesses. Lord Corioli agrees to look into matters, and asks the party to escort Sir George on his hunting expedition. They do so, fighting off an attack by bandits in sheepskins posing as a shepherd and his flock, and come to a cave where Sir George charges in and defeats a "dragon", only for the party to follow him in and find the "dragon" to be five villagers with a dragon skull and costume who Sir George was paying for their service. Sir George leaves, and the party find another village being heavily taxed by the Sheriff's men. They meet up with Bobbin and go to rescue his sweetheart, Lady Bagel, who is sleeping in a shrine being guarded by a squad of heavily armoured guards in the livery of the Bagel Family. A fracas ensues between Bobbin and the party on one side and the guards on the other, which results in a stand-off, then an envoy of the Bagel Family arrives in a carriage with more guards and takes Lady Bagel away to be married to the Sheriff. At the wedding ceremony, there is a knife-throwing competition which Bobbin enters in disguise and wins, only to have Lord Corioli and the Sheriff order their guards to arrest him! Much confusion ensues, during which Bobbin holds the Sheriff hostage, Bobbin is married to Lady Bagel by Thalia and the wedding witnessed by Sir Gustav, there is a fight, Althea steals a guard's arrows and Bobbin is finally taken away to the dungeons and beheaded, after which Lady Bagel is married to the Sheriff of Shottingham by a high ranking Priest of the Light. Agelmar challenges the Sheriff to a formal duel, which the Sheriff wins, and the party return to the White City under a cloud of discontent.
Run by Xan on 24th July 2004 (a Saturday in the summer vacation)
Players: Agelmar Cristofori (Steve J), Carlos de Mamushi (Joe W), Marcellus the Seer (Dan), Marco di Falconi (Joff), Thalia (Laura)
Mission Brief: The merchant Alfred Burns hires some adventurers to find out why he's stopped receiving regular letters from his daughter Emily, who lives in the small Garden Lands farming village of Golden Hills with her husband Simeon, a Priest and sorcerer of the Light.
Adventure Summary: The party travel South, meeting a Knight of the Shining Order, a travelling fair where all their money is stolen, a mad seer and his disciples, a ghost whom they lay to rest and a trading caravan from the Port of Glass. Approaching Golden Hills through untended vineyards and olive groves filled with birds, they meet two lunatics and find a peaceful hilltop glade wherein is a pure white lily. Carlos plucks the lily, at which point it withers and dies and the nearby sunbeams attack the party, Marcellus having a near-death experience as a result. Slaying a ferocious pack of dogs uncovers the body of Alfred's last messenger. They find the village itself full of seeming lunatics, and at its centre a large shifting cloud of light which Simeon had summoned some weeks previously. The party have a prolonged argument and stand-off with Simeon, who is mad with jealousy, and his devoted wife Emily, during which time several of them succumb to the cloud of light and become fixated on a single emotion (Agelmar's desperation, Marco's frustration and Thalia's concern). Simeon is knocked unconscious and locked in a cellar while the party persuade a villager to touch the withered lily to the cloud of light, at which point darkness spreads through the cloud like a cancer and it shoots up into the sky as a massive thunderstorm starts. Simeon breaks free and goes on the rampage, and is killed by a blast of searing Light from Marcellus, who plants the lily by the village well and sprinkles it with Simeon's ashes. In the morning everyone in the village is back to normal, and the party fights off an attack of splinter-men before heading back to the White City to return Emily to her father.
Saving Private Kit
Run by Dan on 14th August 2004 (a Saturday in the summer vacation)
A sequel of sorts to Recovering the Defector.
Players: Antonio (Steve J), Fal-Kar De Almedia (Rich), Jacques De Almedia - RIP (Chris N), Serafine D'Artois (Laura)
Mission Brief: Some adventurers put together a plan to rescue their friend Kit Fisable from the clutches of Lemuel D'Artois in the Port of Glass.
Adventure Summary: The party set off for the south coast, taking a roundabout route through the Western Forest for the sake of secrecy and meeting therein a member of the Low Guard and a group of the Swarm who apparently wish to initiate diplomatic relations between the Swarm and humanity. In a small south coast fishing village they hire passage to the Port of Glass on The Spitting Swallow, a ship under the command of Cap'n Bill, and after speeding its passage with sorcerous winds arrange to have it wait in the docks for twenty-four hours so they can depart again after rescuing Kit. The dock guard is bribed to ignore them and they start talking to various Port of Glass residents, discovering that Kit and Lemuel D'Artois are due to be married in just under a week and eventually arranging to be taken to meet a local crimelord named Bey. At his headquarters they arrange to have their presence in the Port kept secret for twenty-four hours in exchange for trading concessions from the De Almedia Family. The party then visit one of the De Almedia Family's main agents in the Port, and stay overnight in his mansion.
Come morning, Antonio drinks a potion of dreams and receives a very unsettling vision, following which the party goes to the Avenue of Faiths where Serafine knows of a secret entrance into the Labyrinth of Selves. Jacques and Fal-Kar slaughter the mad heretical Light Sorcerer in whose shrine the entrance lies, and the party enter the Labyrinth. Here they encounter various alternate past or future selves - Fal-Kar as a drunken failure, Jacques as a bitter outcast, Serafine as a powerful Glass-Priestess, Antonio as a ruthless cold-blooded assassin, Serafine as a happily married mother, Fal-Kar and Jacques as twisted blood-drinking spider-beast Blood-Sorcerers and finally Kit as a confident and contented Glass-Sorcerer of the Port of Glass nobility - and either accept or defeat them. Reaching the stair at the far end of the Labyrinth, after what seems like only a matter of hours but has in fact been several days, they climb up and emerge in the palatial mansion of Lemuel D'Artois where the guards and servants recognise Serafine, welcome her back and inform her that her father and his wife-to-be are at the Temple of the King in Fragments. At the Temple Lemuel greets Serafine and the party watches as Kit undergoes her final initiation as a Priestess, in the course of which the elderly High Priest uses water of vitriol to burn the broken-crown symbol into her forehead and then has a heart attack once the ritual is over. Kit talks to the party, and Fal-Kar sneaks her a potion brewed to allay the effects Glass Magic and arranges a later assignation.
Leaving Antonio and Jacques at a tavern, Fal-Kar and Serafine wander through the streets of the Port and encounter Serafine's arrogant twat of a brother Emmanuel, who wields a vitrifying blade of glass and bone, challenges Fal-Kar to a duel and defeats him soundly before wandering off again. Fal-Kar and Serafine then lurk beneath Kit's room in the mansion as Kit drinks the potion that was passed to her and comes out onto her balcony. Fal-Kar flies up to the balcony, grabs Kit and flies off with her, Serafine changing her image to look like that of Kit and running off in a different direction as a decoy. On discovering this, Lemuel calls up a storm of glass shards that rains down upon the whole Port and sends the Broken Guard after them. The party miraculously meet up in the streets and seek cover from the storm in a shop, where they fight off several members of the Broken Guard before uncovering a mirror in which Lemuel appears and speaks to them. They shatter the mirror and run through the storm to the docks, fighting off more of the Broken Guard on the way, only to find that The Spitting Swallow has long since departed and the sails of every other ship there have been shredded by the storm.
What happened next is to remain secret for reasons of Plot. Suffice to say that Antonio, Fal-Kar, Kit and Serafine eventually return to the White City, while Jacques does not, and none of them are quite the same as when they left...
The Kind Man
Run by Jen on 28th August 2004 (a Saturday in the summer vacation)
Players: Bartholomew D'Artois (Ben), Marco di Falconi (Joff), Serafine D'Artois (Laura), ??? - the adventurer formerly known as "Tibs" (Joe W)
Mission Brief: Four adventurers wake up in a field late one afternoon, dressed only in their nightclothes.
Adventure Summary: Having been coshed and kidnapped, four adventurers wake up late one afternoon in a field and are chased into the woods by swarms of bees, the nameless adventurer taking on the appearance of Marco. After being psychically attacked by some shadowy incorporeal spirits, they come to a village surrounded by a boundary of white flags. The villagers consider glass, blood, wine, nudity, wood fires, open wounds, the Old Powers and other things to be bad concepts that attract the "bad things" from the woods. After insisting that Serafine covers her shattered eyes and wine-stained tunic and giving Marco and the nameless adventurer britches, the Elders of the village agree to allow the party to stay for the night and give them a couple of knives. Moving on next morning the party encounter a troupe of actors, who put on a play for them but refused to talk, then meet a group of people who spend their time building a sanctuary that keeps falling down again, then encounter some incorporeal spirits who psychically attacked them again. Next they come across a group of craftsmen who ask the party to set them challenges so that they can prove which of them is the greatest. High quality weapons and armour are made in a surprisingly short time from various materials such as metal, wood, bone, silk and song, then given to the party so that they can judge which are the best. After taking their armaments and moving on a short way the party attempt to rest and pray for the night, but are beset by more disembodied spirits, following which Bartholomew cannot be roused and has to be carried onwards. The party walk around a large circular prison, full of captives being tortured and guarded by trolls and firedrakes, then came to the halls of "The Kind Man", who has a horde of troglodyte minions in his throne room and a guard of trolls and firedrakes at his call. The Kind Man tries to get members of the party to sign contracts with him, during which time Marco is able to sneak his way into the Kind Man's inner sanctum and break some of his stuff, thus freeing Bartholomew. But there is little else the party can do, and so eventually they flee back to the White City.
Blessed Are The Cheesemakers
Run by Hanbury & Laura on 4th September 2004 (a Saturday in the summer vacation)
Players: Althea (Rei), Marcellus the Seer (Dan), Vincenzi Velasquez (Xan)
Mission Brief: Harding & Sons cheese merchants are suffering from a shortage of cheeses, as their caravans from the village of Urdale have stopped arriving. In need of cheese for his next party, Vincenzi recruits some random adventurers to go with him and restore the cheese supply.
Adventure Summary: The party travel north to Urdale. On the way they meet a pair of farmers whose cow is being stolen by a pair of Children of the Vine, so Vincenzi stops the affray and (over)pays the farmers for their cow. Then the party reach Urdale, where everyone is acting strangely - the town militia are moving and behaving oddly, not talking and all wearing blindfolds which the townsfolk claim not to see. The townsfolk are all obsessed with the idea of making and storing cheese, and seem offended that outsiders should want to take or eat their cheese. The messenger from Harding & Sons is found, now a dedicated cheesemaker with no intention of returning to the White City. The party visit Father Robert, a Priest of the Verdant Lord and Harding & Sons' main contact in the town, and find him behaving and moving extremely oddly. Conversation with him proves unhelpful, and shortly after leaving his house the party are attacked by a group of incarnate nightmare spirits clothed in physical flesh, which the townsfolk don't seem to realise are present. The party investigate the town further, but are warned away from the large heavily guarded barn in the town's centre where the cheese is stored.
While sleeping in the inn that night Vincenzi and Marcellus find themselves in a shared dream wherein they "wake up" to find Althea gone and all the townsfolk fleeing a nameless threat. Althea comes from her own warded dream and finds them, then tries to lead them back to the safety of her dream, but their way is blocked by a large dark spirit with feline overtones which the party fight and defeat. Althea leads the other two back to her own dream and tells them that the dark spirit was sent by a horde of small minds. They all wake up, and Vincenzi turns into an owl and flies into the barn where he sees a horde of mice and rats scurrying up out of a trapdoor in the floor and eating all the cheese the townsfolk store there. They make plans for the morning and then go back to sleep, only to be woken by Father Robert in the streets outside exhorting the townsfolk to carry more cheese into the barn. Vincenzi and Marcellus attack Father Robert with Blood curses and Light purging from the inn's window, while Father Robert flings Blood curses back at them, and eventually Father Robert collapses and a horde of living and dead rats spill from his shattered hollow body. Militia attack the inn and are slain, revealing themselves to be corpses animated by the rats inside them. Vincenzi and Marcellus subdue the townsfolk while Althea fights off a psychic attack from a swarm of rats. With the townsfolk out of the way, the party gather flammables with which to burn down the barn, at which point swarms of rats and incarnate nightmares come out to defend it and are destroyed. After some discussion the party enter the barn and descend into the tunnel beneath the trapdoor, but retreat after coming to a larger cave where many swarms of rats attack them out of the walls.
Back on the surface, the party travel overland in the direction of the tunnel and find a large cave hidden by a screen of trees. Within the cave are many small tunnels, many crates of cheese and a huge Beast with three heads - one goat head, one lion head and one dragon head. The Beast is a dying Old Power, riddled with wounds, sores and great holes, which claims to be beyond healing and asks to be put out of its misery. But five gigantic grey rats with their tales knotted together emerge from a hole in the Beast's side and speak, saying that the Beast must not be killed. The Rat-King summons an incarnate nightmare and sends it to attack the party, but the nightmare is defeated and Althea prevents any more nightmares from being summoned while Vincenzi and Marcellus destroy the Rat-King. Then the party remove the cheese and rats from the cave and Vincenzi lays the Beast to rest with a Blood curse and gives it the last rites, after which he uses Blood magic to grow a profusion of trefoil plants which cover the Beast's body and collapse the cave, burying it. The party return to the village, explain what has happened, heal the wounded villagers and arrange for cheese deliveries to the White City to resume, in return for which they're given a share of Harding & Sons' profits.
Disciples of Darkness
Run by Xan on 11th September 2004 (a Saturday in the summer vacation)
A sequel to Love Burns.
Players: Bartholomew D'Artois (Ben), Marco di Falconi (Joff), Mistor De Almedia (Tristram), Thalia (Laura)
Mission Brief: Banditry on the South Road between the White City and the Port of Glass is on the increase, caravans vanishing without trace along with their guards and passengers. The attacks seem to be centred around the area containing the small farming village of Golden Hills, once famed for its wine and olives and now the heart of a black canker upon the landscape. General Sanders of the High Guard sends a representative of the White City's noble Families, accompanied by two adventurers who have been to the area before and a diplomatic representative of the Port of Glass, to investigate and hopefully put a stop to the problems.
Adventure Summary: The party meet the folk from the travelling fair from the prequel, who had turned to banditry to survive after losing all their money - Bartholomew turns one of them to glass, and negotiates a small toll fee for the rest of the party to pass. They meet a small group of cloaked figures who are planting seeds by the roadside, these figures talk to the party of death and give them some seeds. They go to the spring near Golden Hills, where the surrounding glade is filled with sunbeams and has a couple of charred corpses and a sprinkling of powdered glass near one edge. The sunbeams seem hostile, so the party wait until nearly sunset to attack and destroy them and fill several bottles with water from the spring. Travelling towards the village itself, the party are attacked by ghostly dogs and then set up camp, Bartholomew summoning a Glass tower to sleep in. During the night the party are attacked by a group of ghouls and two groups of zombies, and end up retreating to the tower, chucking the tower's furniture onto the zombies from the balcony and then fleeing to the village. At the village all the buildings are ruined and burnt down and the well is surrounded by black waxy bushes with black flowers that give off a soporific odour of rotting flesh. The party sprinkle water from the spring onto the bushes, which turn some of them to ash, but are driven off by the zombies lying hidden amongst the vegetation. Marco tries setting the bushes on fire, but they burn reluctantly while giving off thick black smoke and he is overcome by the fumes. The party leave the village and, once Marco as come round, head to a nearby farmhouse where Mr. Maddox the farmer and his daughters and dogs have barricaded themselves in for fear of zombies. Mr. Maddox lowers a rope for Thalia to climb in an upstairs window and talk to them, gives her some wine and is persuaded to lend the party a bucket. The party goes to a nearby tower which local legend claims is inhabited by a Wind Sorcerer who hasn't been seen for years, but the tower has no visible doors or windows and is guarded by Wind spirits who zapped Marco with a small lightning bolt when he tries to approach. So the party retreat and go to inspect the local watchpost, where zombies have been nailed to the supports and the watchpost festooned with entrails and piled with skulls - the party is attacked by zombies and carrion crows, which they defeat and slay, and then Marco and Bartholomew climb to the top from where they see a small group of figures entering a cave. Bartholomew moves off and begins praying, at which point he is psychically attacked by a dark presence which he drives off with Glass sorcery. The party travels back to the spring and waits until sunset, at which point the sunbeams fade away. They then start filling bottles, a waterskin and the bucket from the spring while Marco washes his clothes off in it, only to have moonbeams fade into view and attack the party - they flee the glade, dropping the bucket on the way, and retreat to the Maddox farmhouse. They try to persuade Mr. Maddox to let them stay in the farmhouse for the night, but negotiations are unsuccessful until Bartholomew turns Mr. Maddox to glass and only turns him back once his daughters have let down ropes and agreed to let the party stay.
In the morning the party leave, and after his morning toilet Bartholomew uses Name sorcery to repair the damage done by Mr. Maddox's vengeful Blood curse. Then the party return to the village, and hold the zombies off long enough for Marco to pour the waterskin full of spring water down the well - at this point all the zombies fall down and a cloud of darkness shoots up from the well and engulfs Marco. He falls over, at which point Bartholomew enters the cloud and used Glass sorcery to destroy it. Then the party drag Marco out of the bushes, wait for him to come round and head off to the caves. In the caves they meet a group of ghostly ethereal figures whose piercing wailing hurts the mind - Bartholomew uses Glass sorcery to destroy most of them then passes out, and the party flee the last one dragging Bartholomew with them. They find themselves in a cave full of human corpses and one dead bear, and Thalia finds a Low Guard badge on one of the bodies. They return to the first cave, where Bartholomew uses Glass sorcery to destroy the last spirit and then they take another tunnel, carefully stepping over a tripwire and then defeating a large group of ghoul death-cultists. Bartholomew stops to pray, during which time another group of cultists attacks the party, then they move on to a final cave containing an altar draped with black silks and velvets and piled with skulls, a spring of dark water that stinks of rotting flesh and the mad seer Barmedas with his inner circle of disciples. Bartholomew turns Barmedas to glass, his disciples are slain, Marco kicks Barmedas over so he shatters, the dark spring is purified with water from the spring in the sunbeam glade and the altar is swept clean, revealing the secret compartment where the cult's loot is hidden. The party finds the trade goods from the raided caravans piled in a cave and despoiled, and a final cave full of bones, and return to the White City to collect their reward and give the Low Guard badge to General Sanders. After the adventure ends the bushes around the village well wither away, the few scattered groups of cultists who escaped are hunted down or go into hiding, the Exalted Church of the Light sets up a shrine at the site of the spring, Mr. Maddox and his daughters rebuild his farm, the rest of Golden Hills is left to slowly recover from the blight at nature's steady pace and black lilies grow up all along the sides of the road between the White City and the Port of Glass, but as the parent plant has been destroyed they have no powers.
Dragonfire & Deep Water
Run by Ben on 25th September 2004 (a Saturday in the summer vacation)
A sequel to Returning Waterfire.
There is an In-Character diary covering the events of this adventure available here, written by Helen W.
Players: Kit Fisable (Helen W), Sirius Panastra (Rich), Toquell Velasquez (Joe W), Vincenzi Velasquez (Xan)
Mission Brief: Having come into possession of the Waterfire, Toquell Velasquez seeks to persuade a dragon to sacrifice its fire so that he may then take the Waterfire to the deep ocean and destroy it. At least, that's what he's telling his brother and the adventurers he's hired...
Adventure Summary: Toquell Velasquez, having come into possession of the artefact known as the Waterfire (last seen being stolen by the madman Tibs, who claimed to be a servant of the Velasquez Family, as it was being brought back from the City of Silk to be handed over to the Cloistered Brethren of Chains (see Returning Waterfire)), funds a mission to the West, accompanied by his brother Vincenzi - a Blood sorcerer and Priest of the Lady of Blood and Wine - and two hired adventurers, the famous warrior Sirius Panastra and a cartographer from the College of the Thousand Arts named Kit Fisable. Vincenzi has been told that the mission is for the purpose of destroying the Waterfire, while Kit has been informed that the adventure's purpose is to locate the creatures known as Western Dragons. Armed with a map which purports to show the route to the lair of the dragon responsible for the death of Amadeus De Almedia two decades previously, and anecdotal directions to a city of dragonspawn in the northern reaches of the Western Forest, the adventurers set out towards the City of Silk.
The journey to the City of Silk is relatively uneventful, with one minor attack from a group of bandits who seem to be specifically after Toquell but are dispatched before it can be discovered who sent them. On arrival at the City of Silk Toquell is greeted warmly by the gate guards, who seem to expect him, and the party are given a personal escort for the duration of their stay in the city. Thinking themselves safe, the party find an inn and retire for the night, but are awoken by an attack from a group of cultists apparently worshipping a Bound One somehow connected with the Waterfire. One of the cultists is captured and briefly questioned, then killed by Toquell. No major injuries are sustained by the adventurers and the party depart the city the next morning, making first for the lair of the dragon described in Amadeus De Almedia's journals as having a lair nearby. They fight their way through the usual arachnid debris of the Forest and a large bunch of wolves, Vincenzi refusing to harm any of the Forest's native denizens and the party observing a highly concerning effect when the bowl containing the Waterfire is spilled, then spend a little time retracing their steps and becoming lost before eventually locating the swamp in which Amadeus' dragon, known as Inskuldraes the Shapeless Wyrm, is lairing.
The dragon appears in the form of a giant wolf, protected by a multitude of smaller, though still larger than normal, wolves. These wolves are immediately hostile and attack the party; Vincenzi refuses to fight them on moral grounds, Kit postulates that this might be some sort of test and suggests that Inskuldraes will be more impressed if an individual defeats his minions, and Toquell begs off on the grounds of needing to keep the Waterfire protected. Sirius, therefore, is left to fight off the horde of ravening wolves alone. The other three retire to a safe distance and place bets.
An attack from a wolf who has managed to sneak around the party and come at them from behind finally prompts the other three to action, and Toquell tries to communicate directly with the dragon by binding its eyes with Chain magic so that it can see nothing but him. This does not have the desired effect, as Inskuldraes changes into the shape of a snake and disappears into an underground cave, refusing to come out despite all Toquell's pleading. Vincenzi stays outside while the rest of the party enter Inskuldraes' extensive cavern complex for some fruitless negotiations with the dragon's firebreathing serpentmen spawn, following which the adventurers depart, unwilling to effect wholesale slaughter upon the creatures. They are armed with a tale of another dragon, Toramaes, higher in the mountains than the city they have already heard of.
The map that the adventurers have gained from their researches shows the route from the City of Silk to the city of dragonspawn only. However, a direct route would be shorter and after some discussion they decide to cut across the Forest, wilfully ignoring the age-old wisdom that one does not travel through the Deep Forest if one wishes to keep one's skin. Vincenzi is confident of his ability to handle anything the Forest can throw at them, Kit is eager to map an as-yet unexplored part of the Forest, and Toquell and Sirius seem mostly unconcerned with the danger.
Unsurprisingly, Toquell's band has not travelled far before they run into trouble - a group of drunk and cheerfully belligerent Children of the Vine. The adventurers are offered no violence by the Vine-Children, but instead led on to the "party" they are throwing - only to discover that the Lady of Blood and Wine herself is in attendance. Kit panics, recalling Toquell's previous track record with divinities, and is altogether too concerned with trying to ensure that the young lord shows proper respect to the Lady to notice that she herself is attracting an unreasonable amount of attention. Within moments, two sturdy Vine-Children are restraining her while the Lady registers her displeasure with the symbol of the King in Fragments currently marking the scholar's forehead and orders Vincenzi to remove her skin. In the presence of his goddess, Vincenzi has no choice but to cheerfully comply; Kit calls for Sirius and Toquell to help her, but Toquell seems unconcerned and though Sirius tries to help, he is swiftly disabled as the Lady causes his strength to disappear.
As the grisly ritual continues, with Kit kept both alive and conscious by a combination of Vincenzi's Blood sorcery and the Vine-Children's bloodwine, Toquell is offered a mixture of sacred wine and the Lady's blood. He accepts, but surreptitiously spits the mixture into the bowl containing the Waterfire. Events take a turn for the worse when the Lady demands a drink from the bowl, and Toquell has no choice but to acquiesce; the Lady's blood begins to burn, as do the blood and eyes of the Vine-Children and the mark on Vincenzi's forehead. Violence is only just averted, and following the completion of the ritual and the burning of Kit's skin over a fire, the Lady and her Vine-Children part company with the adventurers. Once they have reached a safe distance Toquell uses Name sorcery to heal Kit's injuries, despite Vincenzi's protests, but the broken crown returns to her brow and it now both bleeds and burns. All four have survived the encounter, but Sirius is furious with himself, Vincenzi irritated and concerned, Kit stranger and more broken than ever, and Toquell humbled (slightly).
The journey onwards to the city of dragonspawn is interrupted briefly by two large lizard-like creatures who seem to have the intention of eating the party. After discovering that their weapons barely scratch the creatures, Toquell blinds one and binds the other, causing them to attack one another in their confusion, and the party disappears swiftly northwards while they are occupied. Reaching the city, they are greeted by a large number of humanoid lizardfolk who seem to be responsible for the strange, oddly angular architecture of the place; stating their business, the party are politely relieved of their weapons and escorted to the hall of Barameus the God-King, the ruler of the city. Toquell is (for once) sufficiently humble for a time, then Barameus sends his spawn away so that he can discuss things more frankly and soon Toquell angers him; the dragonfire aimed at Toquell is absorbed as a demonstration of the power of the Waterfire, after which Barameus agrees not to eat the adventurers but offers no further help. He also states that his brother Toramaes might be better suited to their cause, and advises them to seek him in the North.
Before visiting the third dragon, Toquell decides that the party should seek a blessing from the dragon's father, the Frost-Prince, who is rumoured to live on the higher plateaus of the Northern Mountains above the Forest. The party begin the ascent, roping themselves together for the more perilous climbs, and meet an outlying patrol of the Black Sword of Hope, members of whom Kit recognises from her previous travels in the mountains. The soldiers seem to have lost their leader to some sort of accident, which they are unwilling to discuss but which has melted a great bowl of ice out of the snow and bedrock of the mountain. The two groups take their leave of each other and the party move on, dispatching some Snow-Riders as they begin the final ascent to the mountaintop.
An encounter with some Fears-of-Falling proves almost too easy for the party, with Kit discovering that her Ordained status makes psychic combat a great deal easier than she had previously suspected and Vincenzi using his skill at exorcism to aid his comrades. The next denizen of the North to cross their path leaves it swiftly, as Sirius recognises a Rosemary Maid and hurls it off the cliffedge before it can touch anyone. The journey continues towards the peak and soon the party find themselves grateful for the rope as a second attack by Fears-of-Falling proves effective enough to send Kit leaping off the edge. Sirius hauls her back up and Vincenzi exorcises the spirit possessing her, and the party continue up to the peak.
As the party reach the plateau, it is only through Sirius' exceptional size and strength that all are prevented from being swept off the edge of the mountaintop. The Frost-Prince's manifestation is capricious, wild and cold, but with some extremely fast talking, Toquell manages to obtain a blessing for his venture from the god, who kisses him on the brow then once again disappears into the wind after his approval is given. The party, frozen, return down from the plateau, making for the coomb where they have been told that Toramaes the Burning Ghost resides.
Toramaes is certainly an impressive sight, a hot-blooded creature seeming incongruous amongst the ice and snow of his surroundings, the heat of his fire keeping further Snow-Riders at bay. As Toquell explains his proposition to the dragon, that Toquell will draw the fire in his blood out into the Waterfire so that he can once again fly with his father the Frost-Prince, while Vincenzi uses Blood sorcery to keep him alive, the others hang back, in awe of the mournful creature. Toramaes, though more willing to listen than Inskuldraes, is immediately suspicious; he is concerned that after the fire has been drained from his blood the adventurers will not be able to heal him again. Toquell agrees that some proof is required and, to demonstrate, stabs Kit through the gut and immediately restores her with Name sorcery. After some further talking, the dragon seems convinced, and the ritual begins.
Things almost take a nasty turn as Sirius and Kit, muttering together, discover that not only has Toquell been telling them both different stories about the Waterfire but that there is a difference of a hundred Hexa between their compensations for the expedition. Before the talk of mutiny can become any more than that, however, events are interrupted by Toramaes' ascension and departure by flight as his blood is altogether drained of fire - which promptly lodges itself in the bowl containing the Waterfire. With Toramaes' departure the Snow-Riders move into attack, nearly killing Vincenzi (who is so weakened from the Blood sorcery required to keep the dragon alive that he can barely stand) as the party escapes.
The journey home is made slower but less risky by the new nature of the Waterfire, which is now spouting an eight-foot column of flame above the bowl. The only things that dare to attack the party as they pass downriver towards the White City are a group of zombies from the Palace at Three Rivers and a small group of cultists; Toquell has a quiet, private word with these Bound One worshippers, who promptly cease their hostilities and allow the adventurers to pass. Back at the White City, Toquell dismisses Sirius and Kit from his service and sets about preparing to hire a boat to take him and his brother South, to the deepest point of the ocean known to man.
Kit and Sirius, now certain that Toquell has no intention of destroying the Waterfire, ensure that the boat he hires is captained by "Honest" Sebastian, an old friend and adventuring companion of Kit's. The crew are carefully briefed and the two adventurers stowed away in the hold, where they remain until Toquell reaches his destination. Water is drawn from the deepest part of the ocean and mixed with the Waterfire, which Toquell promptly drinks before even Vincenzi can stop him. Great gouts of steam erupt from the bowl, and all is obscured.
As the steam is clearing, Toquell is set upon by his brother, Sirius, and most of Sebastian's crew, restrained and then decapitated. His body is taken to an obscure, uncharted island (the same land which can now be found marked on maps as the Burning Isle), where it is cut into four pieces and buried at separate corners of the island. Sebastian sails the others back to the White City, where a group of Chain and Light sorcerers are assembled to return to the island and ensure that Toquell really is dead; when they return, the sand at the burial sites is fused into glass and Toquell's remains are nowhere to be seen. The abortive expedition returns to the city.
The kiss on Vincenzi's forehead eventually stops burning, as do the eyes of the Vine-Children. Kit's mark continues to bleed and burn. Several contradictory rumours are spread about Toquell's fate, though his Family are largely thought to believe him dead. Kit uses the cartographical and draconic information from the mission to gain a teaching post within the College of the Thousand Arts, while Vincenzi becomes known as one of the premier Blood sorcerers of the city. Sirius' fame as a bravo-for-hire grows yet more widespread, if such a thing is possible.
Run by Joe W on 9th October 2004 (Saturday 0th week, Michaelmas term)
Players: Agelmar Cristofori (Steve J), Arik Blackthorne (Julian), "Guy Cristofori" aka Shardface - RIP? (James), Marcellus the Seer (Dan), Selena Curiana (Vicky)
Mission Brief: Brother Bertrand of the Cloistered Brethren of Chains hires Agelmar Cristofori to lead a group of adventurers to the City of Chains and recover an ancient book for him.
Adventure Summary: The party first travel to the City of Crossroads, where a merchant named Caroles asks them to find out what's been happening to the caravans carrying his goods, which have all been raided near the territory containing the City of Chains. The party then travel on towards the City of Chains, passing through a small village where the innkeeper's young grand-daughter Matilda has gone missing in the woods and they agree to a detour to rescue her. After battling and defeating a pair of ogres posing as Matilda and her captor, they find the real Matilda being looked after by a tribe of Trapped Men who take the form of rabbits during the day and refuse to return the girl unless the villagers agree to stop hunting their rabbit-forms for food. The party help mediate the negotiations between the villagers and the Trapped Men, and once the villagers agree to the terms and Matilda is returned they move on. After being attacked by some ghouls, the party reach the camp of a group of deserters from the armies of the Red Gryphon. There is a stand-off for a bit while the two sides talk, then a formal duel between Agelmar and the deserter Captain is arranged to decide whether the party will pass on unmolested or pay a "toll". Shortly after the duel begins Arik treacherously turns on the soldiers and a fight begins, during which Guy dies but his body is possessed and animated by the Chain-Wraith from the slain Captain with most of the party none the wiser. Selena does realise that something's not quite right and attempts to commune with Guy's spirit, but finds herself semi-possessed by the spirit of Shardface when she does so. The party search the camp and find the goods stolen from Caroles' caravans plus a cache of loot.
Moving on, the party encounter a patrol from the armies of the Red Gryphon and agree to surrender their weapons and be taken to meet the Red Gryphon commander. They find the armies of the Red Gryphon camped surrounding the City of Chains, and after negotiations with the commander are given two days to search the city for the book as well as Blood-healing from a priest of the Lord of the Blood-Fury and repairs to their armour, all at reasonable prices. Entering the city, they battle animated skeletons before meeting more skeletons with silver chains around their foreheads and the ability to speak, who also appear to be battling the other skeletons - the leader of this second group wears the emblem of the Exalted Church of the Light around its neckbones. The chained skeletons declare themselves to be the city's guardians, Knights of the Shining Order bound to the eternal protection of the City of Chains by the Cloistered Brethren of Chains, and ask the party's purpose in the city. They inform the party that a necromancer has recently arrived in the city, raised the dead to serve him and warded certain portions of the city against them, and offer to lead the party to one who can tell them where the book they seek is if the party will destroy the ward over a certain archway. The party agree, and during a pitched battle with more of the necromancer's skeletons Marcellus breaks through and destroys the necromancer's ward with a blast of Light, enabling the skeletal Knight Protectors to rush in and drive back the necromancer's forces. The leader of the Knight Protectors guides the party through the labyrinthine passages beneath the city to a place where a researcher from the Cloistered Brethren has been trapped by one of the city's ancient guard-wards, and from her they receive directions to a buried library. Progressing through the tunnels, they encounter another person trapped in chains who begs for release - the party free the captive, which reveals itself to be a shapeshifter serving the Bound Ones and attacks, its blows doing no physical damage but hurting the minds of those it hits. Arik collapses and the spirit possessing Guy reveals its allegiance to the creature, in the battle that follows "Guy" escapes and flees into the city while the creature is likewise driven off after reaching into Marcellus' mind as he is raising the Light.
Regrouping, the surviving adventurers move on through the tunnels, fight off an attack by troglodytes and find the library the researcher spoke of, where a second group of troglodytes is burning books for warmth. Agelmar sneakily slaughters these troglodytes while the party makes diplomatic overtures, and the library is searched for the book the party seeks. It eventually becomes apparent that the book isn't on the library's shelves, but they do find a chest which they are unable to open and conclude that the book must be contained within. They return to the City of Crossroads, barely surviving an attack by bandits on the way, find that the villagers have slaughtered the Trapped Men, and are rewarded by Caroles after telling him the location of his stolen goods. They then return to Brother Bertrand, who opens the chest to reveal three books written in the Oldest Tongues. One is the book he sought, for which he rewards the party, one is sold to the College of the Thousand Arts by Agelmar and the third, a book on names, is kept by Selena.
The Hunt for Radjic Tobarr
Run by Joff & Helen W on 23rd October 2004 (Saturday 2nd week, Michaelmas term)
Players: Alberto (Ben), Belor (Peter), Carlos de Mamushi (Joe W), Yana (Ellie)
Mission Brief: Bandit activity between the White City and the Port of Glass has increased to the point where trade is becoming all-but-impossible. The De Courci Family hires some adventurers to clean out the bandits.
Adventure Summary: Beginning with some harsh negotiations with the De Courci factor, the party eventually convince him not only to up the bounty per confirmed kill to twice what was intended, but also to sign a contract stating that the party will be paid "per ear" rather than "per pair of ears". Happy in the knowledge that they are about to defraud their home city out of a great deal of money, our fearless adventurers set out along the road and promptly run into some bandits, whom they dispatch without much effort. A potential culture clash between Alberto and the rest of the party is resolved when it is realised that nobody actually very much minds him drinking the blood of the fallen. Ears are carefully collected and stored. Another group of bandits, claiming with mildly depressing unoriginality to be "toll collectors", barely slow them down, and before long they are moving into the areas of copse and light forest south of the White City. They then run across a camp of bandits driven out of their usual territory by the general bandit hunt and hoping for an easy kill; when they question the one survivor of the camp, it is revealed that the bandits are, indeed, simply normal bandits. The party are about to release their prisoner when she drops dead at their feet. The Blood Sorcerer responsible approaches with her commander, Agent Verrone, a Low Guard officer sent to give the party the details of their real mission. Verrone congratulates the party, and informs them that a rogue faction within the White City has become impatient with the De Courcis' manoeuvrings with the Port of Glass and has taken it upon themselves to eliminate Lemuel D'Artois. To this end they have sent Radjic Tobarr, a Light Sorcerer and one of the most lethal assassins in the Low Guard, in the direction of the Port of Glass along with a small support team. If the team are caught, or even spotted, this may precipitate open war - they must be stopped at all costs. The party accept the mission - dubiously - after having their wounds healed and armour repaired and being succinctly informed that the "kill team" will also have ears to collect, and move out.
Their journey down the South Road is interrupted by a troll, who is swiftly (though not easily) dispatched through a combination of Yana's magic and Alberto's wine. They make camp for the night, and are plagued by wolves; a cunning plan for increasing their firewood by burning one of the bodies of the fallen creatures ends in a blazing fop-off between Belor and Carlos and an all-pervading smell of damp, singed wolf. Alberto discovers the benefits of hiding up a tree during combat, and later gets a badger drunk. Moving on in the morning, the party meet up with an extremely lost group of Children of the Vine, who appear to have chased something out of the Western Forest during the hunt and then found themselves unpleasantly sober and too far East for comfort. Alberto gets on splendidly with them, and conflict is happily avoided. Soon, the party find a pack of ghouls feasting on a group of bandits who have obviously been killed by a professional hand; Radjic's trail is clearly growing warm. Some time later, as night begins to fall, the party come across a group of three heavily-armed persons crossing the path in front of them; conversation is cut short when the party announce their origin in the White City and the leader of the group bolts, followed shortly by the other two. After a fruitless chase, all three of the assassins lose themselves in the forest and the party make their way onwards towards the Port, hoping to intercept them before they reach there. The assassins are unlucky, and attempt to sneak back onto the path directly under the noses of the party - Radjic's two assistants are brought to bay, one by Carlos and the other by Yana and Belor; Alberto pursues Radjic himself as he makes a dash towards the walls of the Port - right into the arms of a waiting team from the Port of Glass. The fight stops in some confusion, and a tense situation is almost turned into a bloodbath as Yana uses Chain magic to bind the noble accompanying the group, but all is soon made clear; the group is led by Emmanuel D'Artois and his tutor, and is apparently already aware of the assassins' presence and purpose in Port lands. With Radjic already a pile of bones and glass shards, Emmanuel's tutor negotiates with the party to release the remaining two assassins into their "custody"; they agree, and Emmanuel swiftly dispatches one assistant, who quickly begins to vitrify.
On returning to the city, the De Courci factor and the party both deny all knowledge of any "extra" mission; all four party members receive a later warning from the Low Guard to be discreet about the details of their journey.
Bounty for the Guy
Run by Vicky & James on 6th November 2004 (Saturday 4th week, Michaelmas term)
A sequel to Bookbinders.
Players: Carlos de Mamushi (Joe W), Brother Jara (Xan), Marco di Falconi (Joff), Shenya Cristofori (Helen W)
Mission Brief: Guy Cristofori was last seen fleeing into the City of Chains in service to the Bound Ones. The Family Cristofori hires some adventurers to help Shenya bring him back before he embarrasses them - alive if possible, dead if necessary.
Adventure Summary: The party set out eastwards. Shortly after leaving the city, they see a large chest by the side of the road with somebody asleep on top of it - as Carlos approaches the sleeper wakes and attacks him, and the party are ambushed by bandits whom they swiftly slaughter. When opened, the chest is empty. Moving on, they encounter a group of troglodytes led by a troglodyte Light Sorcerer - the troglodytes demand the party's shiny weapons, and attack when the adventurers refuse to give them up. Later, the party find an abandoned village where the only living creatures are rabbits, the houses are empty and weapons are concealed in random hiding places. There is no sign of what happened to the villagers, but as it is nearly dark the party gather the weapons and a large amount of furniture (plus one rabbit which Carlos has stuffed into a bag) into one hut and barricade themselves in for the night. When the sun sets the rabbits transform into angry Trapped Men, one of whom tunnels under the hut and levers up a loose floorboard to take the weapons. The ones outside the hut negotiate for the release of the one who was inside Carlos' bag, and there is a tense and hostile stand-off for a while with the Trapped Men during which they talk of a group of militant Trapped Men called the "Iron Paws" who slaughtered all of the village's original human inhabitants and taught them that all humans are evil and must be killed. A fragile peace is eventually negotiated, and Carlos goes off to have an orgy with the Trapped Men while the rest of the party barricade themselves in and sleep.
The party meet an ogre posing as a woodcutter, who is swiftly killed. Then an old man in a hooded cloak with a blindfold across his eyes meets them on the path. Acting extremely suspiciously, he seems to know their names and offers an extraordinarily generous sum of money if they will recover a wooden box from the City of Chains for him. He describes the box and gives them some money in advance, but refuses to answer most of their questions. Moving on, the party are hailed by a patrol of Red Gryphon soldiers. After some discussion, the patrol confiscates the party's weapons, escorts them to the gates of the City of Chains, returns their weapons and leaves.
On entering the City of Chains the party is attacked by Lesser Bound One spirits and shortly afterwards a group of skeletons, then comes to the rescue of a skeletal Knight Protector who is being attacked by a large group of skeletons and zombies. The crippled Knight Protector tells them that the necromancer (a servant of the one from the Palace at Three Rivers) has warded parts of the City against the Knight Protectors, and offers to tell them the location of Guy Cristofori in return for their help against the necromancer. The party agree, and are given directions to the commander of the Knight Protectors. The commander tells them that he knows where Guy Cristofori is, and that the box they seek was taken from the City of Chains some weeks previously by Agelmar Cristofori and his companions, then guides them to the edge of the wards. The party charge in, fight their way past a number of skeletons raised by the necromancer, disrupt his wards and defeat him, at which point he takes his own life with a ritual dagger for reasons that are not entirely clear. The Knight Protectors rush in to dispose of the necromancer's remaining forces and their commander informs the party that Guy Cristofori is in the basement of a building with four fluted staircases leading down below ground. The party head towards this building, fighting a group of troglodytes on the way, and descend to find Guy, protected by two Red Gryphon soldiers, starting to hack away at the restraints of a creature of the Bound Ones that is chained between two statues. They attack and subdue Guy, at which point the Chain-Wraith leaves his body (which it soon becomes apparent has been dead for some weeks) and is exorcised and destroyed by Brother Jara. The Red Gryphon soldiers, possessed by Lesser Bound Ones, are both slain (though their possessing spirits remain free, one chased off by Brother Jara and the other hovering near the corpse of its former vessel). The creature of the Bound Ones reveals itself as a shapeshifter which cannot be harmed by physical weapons and whose touch hurts the mind, and at the end of the battle is held by only one chain (one arm of the two statues having been destroyed by "Guy"). The creature alternates between trying to persuade the party to free it and attacking all those who come within reach, but after trying and failing to reattach the loose chain the party take Guy's body and leave, Carlos giving the creature the odd mirror he stole from Emmanuel D'Artois to keep it company. The party reach the gates of the City of Chains without further trouble, where they find the Army of the Red Gryphon gone and the old man waiting for them - when he hears that they do not have the box he demands the return of the advance he gave them, but offers another generous reward for the name of the one who took it. Most of the party refuse to deal with him, but Carlos tells him that the box was taken by Captain Matteus De Almedia and is generously rewarded with money that turns into dung the next day! Guy's body is returned to his Family, who give him a full and honourable burial.
Four Legs Good
Run by James on 20th November 2004 (Saturday 6th week, Michaelmas term)
Players: Artemis (Claire), Crow (Carla), Jared (Fergus), Ryn Coth (Ellie), Selena Curiana (Vicky), Winsel (Ben), Nameless (Olivia)
Mission Brief: The Low Guard sends a party of adventurers to investigate a spate of robberies in the area of a swamp to the southwest of the White City.
Original Plot Document (.rtf file)
Adventure Summary: A Blood sorcerer called Vincent is leading a rebellion of Trapped Men. He is building up a small army known as "The Iron Paws" in a swamp to the southwest of the White City. The party is sent to investigate some robberies that have been happening in the area, unaware that these are due to the Iron Paws. The party heads southwest disguised as a merchant caravan with Winsel's goods on the back. They find a dead Low Guardsman surrounded by shards of glass, including a mirror which they take. They stop Selena poking shards into her hands, and Selena becomes convinced that Winsel plans to kill her. They fight and kill Gwok-Gwok, the guardian spirit of the swamp, which appears as an enormous, squat, toad-like creature which carries its young in its mouth. They fight their way through an army of assorted animals in leather armour and kill Vincent as he changes into a bear. Selena rescues a Trapped Man kitten and starts to teach it the way of the Vitriarchs.
The Spider & The Fly
Run by Ellie & Joe W on 27th November 2004 (Saturday 7th week, Michaelmas term)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Joe R and hosted by Chris N.
Players: Arik Blackthorne (Julian), Dante De Almedia (Chris V), Brother Jara (Xan), Morgock Sarm (Rich), Sebastian (Joff), Shenya Cristofori (Helen W)
Mission Brief: Nadia-Caterina De Almedia has had visions that the Spider-Queen of the Seven-Legs tribe in the Western Forest is having trouble and requires assistance. She hires a group of adventurers led by Dante De Almedia to find the tribe's territory, discover what's going on and help solve the tribe's problems.
Adventure Summary: The party set off into the Western Forest and are attacked by wolves on their way to the City of Silk. They dispatch their lupine assailants without too much trouble and after Morgock collects a snack they head onwards. Reaching the City of Silk without further incident the party split up to look for clues. Dante, Shenya and Jara head to the estate of the De Almedia’s main factor in the City and Dante obtains from him a map of the surrounding area, including directions to the territory of the Seven-Legs tribe. Meanwhile the other half of the party talk to traders and mad beggars. After resting the night at the De Almedia’s expense the party travel back out into the Forest. After some hours of travel the party come upon a number of trolls who appear to have strung up a man in preparation for lunch. The party bravely launch themselves at the beasts and Jara is able to heal, talk to and free the injured man whilst the rest of the party slay the trolls. When Jara finds the man's ebony badge and identifies himself as a fellow member of the Low Guard the man tells of how he was ambushed by the trolls while waiting to meet another Low Guard agent, named Marcus, who is due to become the White City's ambassador to the Swarm but is late. Once the battle is over the man, professing to the rest of the party to be a humble woodcutter, thanks the adventurers for their aid and hurries off back towards the City of Silk. Travelling onwards the party come across a hunting pack of young spiders; Morgock does his best to calm the creatures, but in the end the party is forced to cut down the giant arachnids in self-defence. Arik, who has been holding back from the battle, begins to be plagued by flies and is harangued by his companions for his lack of assistance. Finally arriving within the territory of the Seven-Legs tribe the party are intercepted by the local Weavers who take them to meet the Lady of Sevens, one of the Forest’s legendary Spider-Queens. After Morgock persuades her of his comrades’ good intentions she informs them that a group of men in the colours of the White City’s High Guard are encamped within the territory of her tribe and have defeated all attempts to remove them. Arik’s fly problems are dealt with by a small spider setting up home in his ear; he is informed that this is a gift and that he should treat it well. Much alarmed by the possibility of a complete diplomatic breakdown between the White City and the Spider-Queens, the party hurry to discover the identity of the interlopers, led by a cat-sized spider from the Lady’s retinue/family. The adventurers approach the men who, after some confusing conversation, are revealed to be a part of the Swarm awaiting the arrival of an ambassador from the White City. The Swarm embassy is unable to understand the need to move from the Seven-Legs tribe’s territory, and states that they will remain there until the ambassador finds them.
Jara tells his comrades about Marcus and the party decide to go and look for the ambassador, stopping off at the Seven-Legs tribe to inform the Lady of Sevens of what’s going on. Morgock slips ahead of the rest of the party, navigating swiftly through familiar territory to speak to the Spider-Queen. Meanwhile the rest of the group suffer a surprise attack by another band of spiders; these overpower Arik and string him up in the trees for later. Luckily the remainder of the group is able to free him, discovering as they do a small ambassadorial pouch bearing the emblem of the White City also caught in the webs. After eventually cutting Arik out of the web they remove his paralysis and move on, meeting up with Morgock, but shortly afterwards Arik is revealed as having lied about his lack of potions and there is a major argument over Arik’s cowardly behaviour and continual lying, during which weapons are drawn, Arik is paralysed by Morgock's claws and Arik's potions are taken by Shenya and distributed amongst the party. In the end a contrite Arik promises to pull his weight in the future and has his weapons returned to him. Unbeknownst to the rest of the party Arik has been infested with spider eggs which, unfortunately for him, hatch in his stomach and are not dislodged even by a purification potion. This leads to some… interesting consequences. Morgock tells the rest of the party that his conversation with the Lady of Sevens revealed that Marcus has been captured by her people and she refuses to release him until the Swarm embassy has left her territory. After some discussion the party return to the Swarm to try and convince them once more to move from the glade. The Swarm refuse, saying that they require a location with caves and running water and that they await the ambassador and cannot select a new location without him, then they take and eat the party's map. After some further discussion Jara volunteers to be a temporary ambassador for the Swarm until a location is found and he is 'released'. Several of the Swarm break up into clouds of flies which proceed to surround him and swarm into him, turning his eyes black. With a part of the Swarm in him he is able to lead the way through the Forest (according to the map the Swarm absorbed) to check out three other potentially suitable locations.
The first location appears perfect for a moment, until the cave is revealed to be inhabited by a firedrake. With great courage Shenya strides towards the beast, challenging it to single combat. The firedrake blows a single fireball towards her and accounts tell that this ’fifty foot wyrm’ eventually forced her to retreat. Not much more is said on the matter. The second location appears to be the site of a really good party. The adventurers meet a group of Children of the Vine who are in the middle of offering up worship to the Lady of Blood and Wine. They are insistent that the party aid them in this. Shenya seems a little sceptical at first but soon gets drawn into the cave, Jara remains aloof while Sebastian makes the “acquaintance” of two delightful partygoers. Morgock exchanges delicacies with the group. Eventually they leave unmolested, but are forced to look elsewhere for a suitable location, the Children of the Vine being unwilling to move. Jara loses his temper with Arik as Arik keeps casting hungry glances towards the flies that infest him. The third site is just right apart from three bears (two large, one small) who have taken up residence in the cave. They are fairly easily dispatched by the group, who then gather in the cave to await the arrival of the rest of the Swarm who have been alerted through Jara of this new site. Morgock at this point departs to inform the Lady of Sevens of the Swarm's movement and duly collects Marcus the ambassador from her. Meanwhile the rest of the party are bothered by a pack of wolves who, seeing that the bears have vacated the cave, have decided to try and acquire this new piece of real estate. After a fairly prolonged battle defending all entrances to the cave the wolves are finally dispatched and the party return to waiting. Morgock arrives back with Marcus, who is given his diplomatic pouch, and shortly afterwards the Swarm join the merry group (the Swarm in Jara being sucked out by Marcus). The rest of the Swarm ask Marcus if he is ready to become the ambassador and he confirms his choice, at which point they engulf him and he disappears amongst the swarming insects. The Swarm begin to busily assemble a new citadel and the form of Marcus reappears to the party displaying slightly odd characteristics... members of the Swarm also appear displaying slightly more human mannerisms than before. ‘Marcus’ gives Jara some documents showing that he arrived and asking that they be given to the appropriate authorities. The party agree to this and return to the White City without incident. They are appropriately rewarded by Nadia-Caterina, who thanks them for restoring peace to the Spider-Queens. After further conversation with his Family, Dante is awarded the entirely undesirable title of De Almedia Representative to the Swarm and tasked to make something of this latest development.
It Came From The Forest!
Run by Rich on 4th December 2004 (Saturday 8th week, Michaelmas term)
Players: Carlos de Mamushi (Joe W), Carmina Curiana (Vicky), Phillionel Curiana (James), Winsel (Ben), Yana (Ellie)
Mission Brief: The White City's inns and whorehouses seem full to the gills. Unsavoury types are flooding into the city for some unknown reason. A merchant hires some adventurers to find out why everyone is fleeing the lands to the North for the safety of the White City.
Adventure Summary: After a certain amount of time and activity in the White City, the party set off northwards. They first meet a group of bandits leaving the wilds for the safety of the City walls and the chance to spend their stolen Hexa, who stop to talk for a while then continue on their way. The party then come across a scene of carnage where several flea-ridden wolves have been slain, one left barely alive near the bodies and several of its packmates lurking in the undergrowth - the party slay the injured wolf, prod the corpses warily and move on. Later, as the party stop for lunch, a group of poor refugees trudge down the road towards them. These villagers tell the adventurers of how they found the next village over from theirs abandoned, no trace of its inhabitants or assailants but blood spattered over the walls, the occasional small scrap of flesh and clawmarks on the doors and buildings. Rather than wait for the same thing to happen to their own village, they are fleeing for the safety of the White City with all of their worldly goods that they can carry. Some distance farther on, the party are attacked by a group of hungry trolls who have for some reason lost their usual ability to regenerate and are easily slain.
The party camp for the night, and are assaulted by a group of strong howling sword-wielding humanoids with the heads of wolves. These wolf-men flee back into the darkness when badly injured, and seem unwilling to leave any of their dead or Chained behind. After recovering from the battle the party settle down for a good night's sleep, and Carlos settles down to try and seduce Carmina, when their camp is overrun by the spirits of the slaughtered villagers whom the earlier refugees had mentioned. These spirits whisper to the adventurers of the inevitability of death and their thirst for revenge upon the living, then attack their minds with visions of death, but the ghosts are surprisingly weak and easily driven off. The next morning the party set off northwards once again, passing through the ruins of the slaughtered village and finding the remains of the Black Hand mercenary group's main settlement before coming to a pass in the mountains which is held by the remnants of the Black Hand. The mercenaries tell the party of how the wolfmen are attacking them most nights and have whittled their forces down to less than a dozen, and suggest an alliance to hold the two ends of the pass that night. The party agree, and remain to hold that entrance while the mercenaries head off to the far end of the pass. Sure enough, that night the party are attacked by one wave of wolfmen and then a second, which includes one wolfman who is slightly larger and stronger than the others and seems to be in charge. After a long hard battle, the pass is held and all the wolfmen are slain, including the leader - who is found to be carrying a strange potion upon his person. Heading to the far end of the pass next morning, the party find that the Black Hand mercenaries have fought off three times as many wolfmen and are reduced to only three survivors. These survivors express their gratitude and offer to tattoo the adventurers with small Black Hand symbols to indicate their group's favour - several of the adventurers agree, while the Priests of the Light decline.
On returning to the White City, where Winsel hands the potion over to the Low Guard, and consulting with various experts, the conclusion reached is that the leader of the wolfmen must have been some kind of Blood sorcerer who had specialised in casting a variant of the Blood of the Beast spell to assume a hybrid half-wolf half-man form, and had then worked out how to brew an alchemical potion containing his own blood mixed with the blood of wolves and various other ingredients to enable others to take on a similar form.
It Came From The Forest II: Data Capture
Run by Helen W & Xan on 18th December 2004 (a Saturday in the winter vacation)
A sequel to It Came From The Forest!
Players: Alexis (Tristram), Carlos de Mamushi (Joe W), Thalia (Laura), Winsel (Ben)
Mission Brief: Two separate and rival faculties of the College of the Thousand Arts, the Faculty of the Arcane and the Faculty of the Western Forest, both wish to acquire a live specimen of one of the northern wolfmen. The Faculty of the Arcane has already sent out a retrieval team, so the Faculty of the Western Forest hires some adventurers to foil the rival team and to help their own guide and scholar gather data.
Original Plot Document (.rtf file)
Adventure Summary: The party are hired by Professor Oreb, chief professor of the Faculty of the Western Forest at the College of the Thousand Arts. Oreb, a snide and pedantic lady of mature years, explains that the rival Faculty of the Arcane has - with unexpected efficiency - sent out a team of researchers to study the recent events in the north-west. Oreb has neither the resources nor the inclination to set up a full team of her own researchers, but cannot countenance the possibility that her rivals in the Faculty of the Arcane might get one over her. She explains this to the party, and offers them a substantial reward if they will, accompanied by a local researcher from her own Department, prevent the team from the Faculty of the Arcane from reaching their goal or bringing back any useful data. She explains that their guide is Benjamin Tarsus, a slightly damp young research student who is in line for promotion and should probably get in some fieldwork before he begins lecturing.
The party accept Oreb's mission, take her advance and retire to discuss the job. Thalia and Winsel seem firmly of the opinion that three weeks in a pub somewhere outside the city spending Oreb's money and getting the research student so drunk he can't remember his own name, let alone give the game away, would be the most productive use of their time; the other adventurers disagree. Eventually, they all accept that they probably have the best chance of coming away successful and rich if they go tell the Faculty of the Arcane what Oreb is up to. Besides, nobody much likes Professor Oreb - Thalia in particular objects to her frequent attempts to restrict travel within the Western Forest to missions personally approved by her Faculty. On reaching the Faculty of the Arcane, a rushed and slightly harassed professor is disgusted (though not surprised) with Oreb's skulduggery and pays the party extra to reach Lidstone's team as requested but, rather than hindering him, to aid him in his collection of "research material". The professor from the Faculty of the Arcane also offers them a token which he says Lidstone's team will recognise. The party accept, and, meeting their guide, Benjamin Tarsus, at the gates of the city, set off for the last reported location of Lidstone's team.
Leaving the city, the party pass a straggly group of badly hungover bandits, who don't seem much interested in a fight. They are moving back home to the North after spending all of their money getting horribly drunk in the White City, and after some discussion the party move on. As they reach the border of White City land they come across a slightly more organised group of bandits, who trot out the usual story about being tax collectors; they say they're from the Whistful City, and claim that customs fees are necessary if they are to allow the adventurers to pass. After some discussion, the bandits' archer, who has been drawing a bead on Carlos, suddenly and inexplicably faints and a fight ensues. During the confusion, Alexis manages to quietly kill the archer he subdued with Glass magic before anyone can awaken and interrogate her.
As the party continue, Tarsus advises them to avoid the direct route marked on the map as it will take them through the outskirts of the lands of the Palace at Three Rivers. He claims to know a path which will take them North through the outskirts of the Western Forest. Agreeing, the party avoid the worst of the undead creatures haunting the region. A day or so along Tarsus' route they discover a group of badly mauled and battered-looking creatures who look mostly human, but who scatter as soon as the party appear and hide in the undergrowth. They cautiously come out as the party continue on, and eventually follow the adventurers as they continue through the forest. These ghouls don't dare to attack, however, until the party are accosted by a pack of wolves, at which point a messy three-way brawl results in several injured adventurers and a large number of dead bodies. Battered but whole, the party move on, only to be attacked by a small pack of wild hunting spiders - these are quickly dispatched before the party camp for the night.
Leaving the forest, the party soon arrive at Tarsus' home village of Shackleford. Tarsus, playing up to his image as the returning hero from the city, is made much of by his peasant friends and relatives. The villagers seem relatively uninterested in involving themselves in the conflict between Lidstone's men and the Faculty of the Western Forest, but are willing to give Tarsus and his companions directions to where the other party were last seen and a rough idea of the geography of the surrounding area. The adventurers are offered free food, and the smith begins work on repairing their armour for a reasonable fee - suddenly, however, the smith discovers his money to be missing. Voices are raised, accusations are hurled, and Winsel suggests that everyone turn out their pockets - the money is discovered on the person of the woodcutter. Nobody believes him to be the thief, however, since he is both trustworthy and the smith's brother. After a period of altercation and recrimination, the party are given back their half-repaired armour and turned out of the village for the night.
Moving on the next morning, two of the adventurers go on to "scout ahead" - in reality, to reach and brief Senior Lecturer Lidstone - while the others keep Tarsus occupied. A certain amount of negotiation later, these two return to the others and the entire party - including Tarsus - approach Lidstone's camp in a threatening manner, though Tarsus is heavily mocked by the rival Faculty of the Arcane undergraduates as he approaches. Ham acting ensues, and Lidstone makes a show of being "persuaded" to hand over his notes and leave the site, saying that he'll be returning home and leaving Tarsus' group to find as much data as they can. In reality, the notes they have handed over are worthless; Lidstone's team has no intention of returning home; and the area where they claim they've found evidence of wolfmen contains only a run-down cave inhabited by an ancient hermit who thinks he can turn into a wolf.
The party immediately set off to look for clues to the wolfmen's current location, starting with the hermitage. On discovering the inhabitant to be apparently nothing more than a mad and noisome geriatric, the adventurers argue with Tarsus, each other, and the madman for some time; then, as evening approaches, they provoke him until he attacks them and proceed to knock him out and steal his stuff. They begin a sweep of the local area for signs of wolfmen, splitting into several groups to cover as much ground as possible. Shortly after Alexis and Tarsus vanish into the undergrowth, a scream is heard; the other adventurers come running to find Alexis, apparently distraught, standing over Tarsus' body. He claims that the scholar insisted on going off alone, and was killed by bandits, with Alexis arriving moments too late to save him. Though skulduggery is suspected by some, the party disperse into the forest to search for the escaped "bandits". Winsel, meanwhile, sneaks back to Tarsus' body and hides it in the undergrowth; the disappearance is blamed on wolfmen, and the party eventually return to Lidstone's camp.
Back at the camp, the adventurers and Lidstone's men settle down for the night, only to be awakened by Alexis acting strangely and hacking at Carlos' steelsilk tent with his sword. After a few minutes of shouting and panic, he is disarmed and subdued, at which point the cause of his distress is discerned - he has been possessed by a spirit, seemingly that of Benjamin Tarsus, who blames him for his death and claims he was murdered with Glass magic. As the party have no means of exorcising the spirit, Alexis/Tarsus is tied up and strung from a convenient tree branch until a way can be found to deal with him and everyone goes back to sleep. Then, during second watch, everyone is awakened again by a pair of ravening wolfmen attacking the camp. The students fight bravely, though ineffectually, and all but four are killed; the adventurers and Lidstone, a Blood sorcerer, are more successful, and eventually subdue one of the wolf-creatures. The other runs off into the forest, badly injured, and is not seen again. Tarsus' spirit leaves Alexis at sunrise - Alexis awakes with little idea of what has happened, but seems convincingly guilt-wracked. Licking their wounds and leaving behind Tarsus' distraught parents, a great many dead undergraduates, and Lidstone - who follows on later with the captured wolf-creature and surviving students - the adventurers return to the White City, where they are suitably rewarded by the Faculty of the Arcane and roundly cursed by Professor Oreb, who is now known to be under investigation by the Dean's office.
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