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, 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.
Red Over White
Run by Laura & Xan on 16th January 2005 (Sunday 1st week, Hilary term)
Players: "Ripper" Bill McKenzie (James), Jared (Fergus), Reimus Velasquez - RIP (Julian), Ryn Coth (Ellie), Shenya Cristofori (Helen W)
Mission Brief: Vincenzi Velasquez hires a group of adventurers to travel to the village of Redbridge in the great Western Forest, a place where humans and Children of the Vine live in peace under the guidance of a powerful sorceress and priestess of the Lady of Blood and Wine named Belladonna. Redbridge is known for producing some exceptionally fine wines, but no word or wine has arrived from the village for two weeks and the last letter Vincenzi received from Belladonna has him worried...
Original Plot Document (.rtf file)
Adventure Summary: After briefing them in the Black Griffin Vincenzi gives the party a bag of his homebrew healing potions and a bottle of good wine to ease negotiations with the Children of the Vine, asking them not to harm any wolves that they meet in the Forest and giving them a copy of the poem which the Lady of Blood and Wine spoke to him when he communed with her to try and find out more about the situation: "With lust intoxicated, - In crystal consummated. - From grape to glass - Unending thirst - Down splint'ring pass - With absence curst." The party head off westwards, after a few days' travel they're deep in the Forest when they see a young girl caught by animate vines and pleading piteously for help as she is slowly crushed to death - the party wade in to her rescue, fighting off the vines as they go, Ryn creates a protective shell of thorns around the vines' victim and reaches in to pull the girl free - only to find herself grabbing hold of a bunch of vines and her hand pierced by poison thorns. Ryn manages to hack at the vines and pull herself free, using Blood magic to counteract the paralysing poison. The plant creates illusions of another victim (a young Child of the Vine this time) and then a pitiful whining wolfcub as the party move on, giving the thing a wide berth and vowing to return with oil and torches at a later date. Some time later the party reach the outskirts of the lands around Redbridge, only to find their route onwards guarded by a line of wolves that sits blocking the path. The wolves have blood red eyes, which Ryn speculates may be the result of them having been Blood Tied to a Blood sorcerer, and seem to be acting in an unusually orderly and intelligent manner. The wolves move aside to let the party pass after they have tasted the blood of each adventurer. The party then find themselves travelling through vineyards, but the vines don't appear to have been visited or tended for some time and on closer examination it is apparent that the grapes have all turned to glass - each one is a glass shell containing a fragile honeycomb of glass and even glass pips, though the rest of the vines appear to be normal and healthy even down to their roots. Moving closer to the village the fields are seen to be empty of livestock and the villagers seem to be building some kind of barricade - they tell the party that terrible things come in the night hungry for blood, tearing their victims limb from limb with their inhuman strength and draining the bodies of blood. The villagers have run out of animals to sacrifice each night and are now in terror for their own lives, the messenger they sent to fetch help from the White City never having been seen again. They mention that the terrible things started turning up shortly after Belladonna vanished a couple of weeks previously, that she had taken a strange travelling scholar from the South dressed all in white as her latest lover and that if she's not left him or killed him by now then he's lasted longer than most. The villagers know nothing of the wolves, saying that Belladonna always blessed their travels before they left the village. They beg the adventurers to stay and help them, pointing out that it is getting close to dark. This the adventurers do - as darkness finally falls the terrible things turn up and are revealed to be three young women, two of them human and one a Child of the Vine, once beautiful but now gaunt and terrifying with fine webs of bloodless cuts covering every inch of their visible flesh, pale bloodless skin, wickedly sharp claws and teeth and long glass knives. Wielding both Glass magic and Blood magic, they toss the barricades aside with ease and a vicious fight ensues - Bill is almost immediately taken out of action after his mind is blasted by Glass magic, Reimus is dragged off by one of the terrible things and has his arms torn off and drained of blood before it is sated and retreats into the night, the other two terrible things are eventually killed by the combined efforts of the remaining adventurers. Reimus is rescued and healed and uses Blood magic to restore one of his arms to use, Bill eventually comes round and the villagers repair the party's leather armour and offer them hospitality for the night.
In the morning the villagers identify the two dead terrible things as having once been Belladonna's acolytes and give the party directions to Belladonna's cottage in the Forest. The party set off, but on the way there encounter three large creatures that look like skinless ogres with horns, fangs and claws, roaring in pain and wielding large clubs, which notice the party and move to attack. Ryn identifies them as being "Things That Get You When You Stray Off The Path", creatures sent by the Old Powers to avenge harm to the land and which can only be destroyed by appeasing the Powers that sent them. There is a desperate battle during which the creatures are dropped several times but keep rising again, eventually most of the party manage to outrun the TTGYWYSOTPs and flee northwards though Reimus is killed and his body carried off into the Forest. Ryn offers up prayers for his spirit. At Belladonna's cottage the party finds indications that four women used to live there but apparently abandoned the place in a hurry roughly a fortnight earlier. On a table is some kind of divinatory apparatus, a crystal pendulum suspended from a tripod over a stylised map of the area that appears to have been drawn in blood. The party manage to use the device and note that it seems to be indicating a nearby canyon. On leaving the cottage the party meet a group of hostile and suspicious Children of the Vine accompanied by more of the red-eyed wolves. After giving them the wine from Vincenzi the party manage to talk them round and show them the map, the Children are led by a seer who confirms that the canyon is likely to be some kind of place of power and tells them the easiest route to get there.
The canyon itself is a narrow gorge with a ledge along one side high above the watercourse - the ledge leads to a cave behind the waterfall at the far end. The party are forced to travel in single file along the ledge, fighting off the vines that line the cliff and appear to have razor sharp thorns of green glass growing from them. Passing through the waterfall they find a cave lined with glittering quartz crystals. Belladonna is pinned to the far wall by glass spikes through her wrists and ankles, her once beautiful face marred by a web of razor cuts, blood staining the crystals around her deep red - she seems to be in some kind of trance and barely clinging onto life. The air is heavy with the fumes of vainglory and silverleaf. Between her and the party are a pair of splinter-men and a man dressed all in white who smiles amicably and introduces himself as Lorenzo. There is a stand-off for some minutes as Lorenzo talks to the party, telling them that Belladonna is deep in meditation communing with her goddess and will likely come round and talk to them if they're willing to wait for a while - in reality he is stalling for time as Belladonna is heavily drugged and when the last of her life drains away his ritual to summon a Vitriarch will be complete. Midway through the discussion Bill charges Lorenzo and once again has his mind blasted into insensibility by Glass magic. Eventually Ryn Blood Ties herself to Belladonna, but then stabs herself in the chest to fatally Blood Curse Lorenzo forgetting that Belladonna will also take the damage - at this point Belladonna dies and her corpse calmly pulls itself from the glass spikes and begins walking out of the cave. More splinter-men form from the glass spikes and the crystals of the cave and the glass thorns of the vines along the canyon wall as Belladonna's corpse, now a living dead Crystal Vessel containing a Vitriarch, strolls out of the canyon. The party fight off the splinter-men, pick up Bill's unconscious body and chase after the Vitriarch. Jared hacks at the Vitriarch, forgetting that every blow he does to Belladonna's corpse does equal harm to Ryn - Ryn barely manages to survive, only sustained by her link to the remnants of Belladonna's life-force still contained in the bloodstained crystals of the cave, as Jared leaves gaping wounds in the undead Crystal Vessel that are healed over by glass almost as fast as he can deal them. Eventually the Vitriarch blasts his mind into insensibility and walks off, leaving Shenya to heal Ryn and wait for Bill and Jared to come round. The party build a raft and float downriver to the southeast (easily outpacing a TTGYWYSOTP that sees them from the bank and tries to swim after them) until they enter White City territory, at which point they disembark and trudge back to the White City. Here Vincenzi thanks them for their efforts and breaks the Blood Tie still linking Ryn to the undead Crystal Vessel and the bloodstained crystal cave, giving each of them some payment and promising that he owes them each a favour for doing their best to save Belladonna and the village.
The Mysterious City of Gold
Run by Ellie & Joe W on 22nd January 2005 (Saturday 1st week, Hilary term)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Helen W & hosted by Chris N.
Players: Bartholomew D'Artois (Ben), "Ripper" Bill McKenzie (James), Gideon Vassily (Twitch), Captain Matteus De Almedia (Xan), Sebastian (Joff), Selena Curiana (Vicky)
Mission Brief: The merchant Marlin Carstel has come into possession of a map that shows the location of a city of gold on one of the Breathing Isles in the southern seas, which he hires a group of adventurers to investigate. At least, he has half of the map - first the adventurers will have to retrieve the other half from the Port of Glass.
Adventure Summary: Marlin Carstel pinned a notice to the wall of the Black Griffin tavern stating "Capable and fearless individuals wanted for investigative mission in the Breathing Isles! Rewards and excitement guaranteed. See Marlin Carstel if interested. (Cowards need not apply)". Six adventurers responded to the note and met at Marlin's premises, where he explained that a sailor (of euphemistically piratical nature) had seen a city of gold on one of the Breathing Isles while passing aboard a ship, noted its location on a naval chart and later disembarked at the Port of Glass. In the docks of the Port the sailor was mugged and half the map was stolen from him, but he made it to the White City with half of the map and contacted Carstel. Carstel hires the adventurers with some money in advance and the promise of more on their return, the amount depending on what they bring back with them. He gives them the half of the map he has in his possession and tells them how to contact his factor in the Port of Glass, who has a ship waiting for them, but informs them that they will have to recover the other half of the map for themselves - since the half they have shows which island the city is on, but not how to get there.
The journey to the Port of Glass is uneventful until the party are within sight of the walls of the Port, at which point they meet a large number of armed folk wearing tattered Broken Guard uniforms. These folk claim that the party must pay an official toll in order to enter the Port, but after some unconvincing dialogue between them and Bartholomew he turns one of them into a glass statue and the rest embrace discretion as the better part of valour. It is around this point that Selena first displays discomfort from the voices in her head - Bartholomew states that the voices are the words of her guardian spirit and that she should not be exorcised. Entering the Port and travelling to the docks, picking up some inconspicuous garb and appearances on the way, Sebastian attempts to hire some dockworkers as informants while the forewoman they were formerly arguing with about pay and some ladies of the street discuss mugging the party. Meanwhile Bill talks to an eccentric woman and strikes a secretive deal, then tells the party that he knows where the other half of the map is and leads them to a tavern. Here they meet another party of adventuring types who admit to having the other half of the map but demand a ridiculously high price for it - much bluster and bargaining later, Bartholomew arranges a deal whereby the two parties meet in the tavern the following morning and each copy the other's half of the map, such that both parties end up with complete maps. Despite some suggestions about attempted doublecrosses, this is indeed what takes place, following which both parties rush to their ships - the adventurers from the White City set off first, but the rival party have a Wind sorcerer amongst their number who summons a wind that enables them to overtake and vanish off into the distance. Later a pirate ship approaches and despite being turned to glass by Bartholomew manages to pull alongside, at which point swarms of pirates try to force a boarding and are valiantly beaten back by the adventurers as a terrible storm approaches. The remaining pirates retreat to their own glass ship as the storm hits, the adventurers tie themselves to whatever looks like it will float, the pirate ship and Carstel's ship are broken up on a hidden reef and all the pirates and crew are lost and drowned - but somehow the adventurers manage to survive and are washed ashore. Here they light a fire and rest for a while on the beach before setting off around the island - they're fairly sure it's the island shown on the map as having the city of gold on it, and want revenge for the storm they think was sent by the Wind sorcerer among their rivals.
Travelling around the beach, they find the boat from their rival's ship guarded by five sailors and negotiate to be allowed passage back to the mainland on board that ship. They then follow the rival party into the jungle, where they meet a large group of belligerent four-armed scaly lizard-people clad only in loincloths and wielding primitive weapons and bows. The party attempt diplomacy but end up having to fight off and kill the lizardfolk. Moving further along the path, they meet the rival party heading back to the beach - jibes and heated words are exchanged but nothing more, the White City adventurers turn and follow their rivals back to the beach and check that the boat is still ashore and the rival party have headed off to a different part of the island, then decide to travel up the slopes of the volcano instead. After some distance they catch sight of the city of gold, visible through Sebastian's spyglass as being inhabited by some two dozen lizardfolk (many with golden limbs) and a man of living gold - the ground, the buildings and even the trees also being made of gold. They journey on to the city, where several of the adventurers fill their pockets with golden leaves. The lizardfolk begin threatening them but are soon persuaded to back off by Mendoza, a human made of living gold whom the lizardfolk seem to respect. It transpires that Mendoza is a Light sorcerer who claims to have been sent to the island some time ago by others for some kind of mission, but cannot remember any more and seems to be generally addled of wit. Matteus drinks from the flask Mendoza offers him and finds his right arm turning to solid gold, only after frantically persuading one of his fellow adventurers to help him uncork and drink a purification potion does the effect stop spreading and his arm change from inanimate metal to living, moving gold. Mendoza speaks of how the gold is a sign of purity and a blessing of the Light and mentions the spirit of the volcano - Bartholomew ascertains that this is a powerful firebird spirit of the Old Powers which has been trapped within a large gold avian statue and talks to the spirit. After a little more discussion with Mendoza the party make their excuses and leave, then travel a short way down the path to discuss matters. Bartholomew tells them that the firebird wishes to be free, the volcano will soon erupt and the firebird will protect the party if they free it. All agree that Mendoza must be stopped before he can take his plan of turning the whole world into pure gold any further. Matteus finds that his golden arm is invulnerable to physical harm and speculates that Mendoza, being made entirely of living gold, will prove likewise invulnerable. A plan is concocted to take Mendoza to the lip of the volcano and throw him in after Bartholomew frees the firebird - the party return to the city and persuade Mendoza to show them to the volcano, but have led him and the lizardfolk only partway there (with Bartholomew remaining in the city) when the firebird is freed. Mendoza runs back to the city and a general melee ensues, during which Selena nearly dies but all the lizardfolk are slain, Bartholomew channels the Shattered Plain and turns Mendoza partly to glass (the effect spreading to nearly everything Mendoza has turned to gold), following which Matteus and Sebastian pick up Mendoza and run up the trail to the volcano's lip, where Matteus lifts Mendoza over his head and throws him into the crater.
At this point the volcano erupts and everyone but Bartholomew runs back to the beach, where the boat is preparing to leave. People cram into the boat and begin casting off, Bartholomew strolling into view surrounded by the lava the firebird is keeping respectfully away from him and wading out to join them. In the boat Bill attempts to exorcise the spirit in Selena's head but has his mind blasted into oblivion by its Glass magic. On the trip back Matteus questions the Wind sorcerer and communes with his god until everyone is satisfied that the storm was sent by one of the local Princes of the Breath rather than the sorcerer. On returning to the Port Bartholomew persuades everyone to sell their golden leaves (which have turned half to glass) to his father Lemuel D'Artois, though Bill is reluctant to do so. Then everyone returns to the White City, Matteus having a quiet word with one of the guards on the gate as the party enters. Carstel is distraught at the loss of the ship and the destruction of the golden city, but pays the agreed rate (though Bartholomew generously forgoes his payment and returns his advance). As people leave Matteus takes charge of the contingent of High Guard he had sent to meet them and orders Gideon and Selena arrested. Selena he orders arrested for her own protection so that she can be taken to the Exalted Church of the Light and exorcised, Gideon he orders arrested on suspicion of practicing Glass magic within the bounds of the White City. Bartholomew takes Selena under the diplomatic protection of the Port of Glass Embassy, while Gideon is arrested and put on trial but released for lack of concrete evidence. Matteus visits the Exalted Church of the Light and is told that Mendoza was a lost missionary of theirs and that his new golden arm is indeed a blessing of the Light, though it has become slightly less resistant to damage since leaving the vicinity of the golden city and requires the regular consumption of purification potions in order to prevent it from becoming an inanimate lump of metal again.
Heads & Minds
Part one of the "Naming & Binding War" campaign.
Run by Rich on 29th January 2005 (Saturday 2nd week, Hilary term)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Joff & hosted by Chris N.
Players: Bartholomew D'Artois (Ben), Carlos de Mamushi (Joe W), Dante De Almedia (Chris V), Jared - RIP (Fergus), Shenya Cristofori (Helen W)
Mission Brief: A worshipper of the Bound Ones named Wate is recruiting cultists in the southern reaches of the great Western Forest. The De Courci Family hires some adventurers to kill the cultists and bring back their heads for sorcerous interrogation.
Adventure Summary: The party sets off southwest, where after a couple of days' travel they stumble across a group of bandits seemingly asleep. The bandits are woken, words are exchanged and Bartholomew vitrifies the bandit leader (despite still being within the boundaries of White City territory) at which point the rest of the bandits angrily attack and are almost all slaughtered, save some poor unfortunates left unconscious with glass shards stuck in their eyes. The party leaves White City territory and fights some wolves before arriving at a village whose inhabitants are complaining that Wate turned up and convinced all of their teenage children to join his cult, taking them off into the Forest. The villagers want their kids back and are pleased to hear that the adventurers are after Wate, begging them to bring the kids back home alive.
Continuing deeper into the Forest the party encounter a really, really, really big spider being worshipped by a Weaver. Both spider and Weaver ignore them until they disturb the Weaver, at which point the Weaver runs off into the Forest and the spider attacks; with great effort Bartholomew manages to vitrify one of its legs and eventually the party defeat it. Further on is a cave outside of which a large wounded female bear is surrounded by her distraught cubs. Jared cautiously approaches with some healing potions, pouring them into the bear's mouth and over the sword wounds in her side, until she is much recovered. Shortly afterwards an even larger male bear staggers into the clearing and the two bears enter the cave for some noisy hot bear lovin' while the adventurers manage to tear themselves away from the adorably cute bearcubs and move on, Carlos with some reluctance. The party meet a group of Children of the Vine who seem to be recovering from a party - the somewhat hungover Vinechildren offer them food and drink and ask to taste their blood, all of the adventurers but Bartholomew obliging; Carlos also goes into the woods with one of the Vinechildren to feed him some other bodily fluids. Later on the party pass through and end up fleeing from a swampy area filled with clouds of biting insects against which their armour offers no protection, before encountering a group of trolls who seem to be arguing over the best way to cook humans. As a debate over the relative merits of rosemary and oregano is about to degenerate into violence they spot the adventurers and attack, three of them succumbing to Bartholomew's Glass sorcery and the rest being swiftly dealt with by blade and brand.
The party's next encounter is with some outlying sentries watching the path to Wate's camp. The inexperienced and poorly equipped teenagers are swiftly slaughtered by the hardened adventurers, but one gets away to warn the camp and the party arrive to find Wate and his dozens of followers waiting for them. Both sides spend some time in tense conversation, but the party cannot be dissuaded from their mission to bring back his head and eventually attack. As the teenage hordes descend upon the party, their light armour and lack of experience slightly compensated for by the poison on their blades, Wate attempts to flee but is chased down and decapitated by Jared. The party head back to the White City with Wate's head, carefully avoiding the village they passed through on their way, but are ambushed by a large group of Weavers in steelsilk armour who seek vengeance for the death of one of their Spider-Queens at the party's hands. A pitched battle ensues in which Jared is slain but the rest of the party manage to deal with the Weavers and survive. The De Courcis are happy to have Wate's head and Bartholomew's illegal indiscretion is hushed up, though not without some favours to Carlos to keep him quiet.
Troggle Death Cult
Run by Joff & James on 5th February 2005 (Saturday 3rd week, Hilary term)
A sequel to "Ashen Memorial".
Players: Arik Blackthorne (Julian), Cassio (Glyn), Gex the Ratcatcher (Rich), Brother Jara (Xan), Phillippe de Navarro Velasquez (Gobion)
Mission Brief: A colony of troglodytes in the Western Forest is causing trouble, particularly since some of their number appear to be Ash sorcerers. The Temple of Ashes hires a group of adventurers to go and deal with them, bringing any non-Ordained Ash sorcerers back with them for conversion if possible.
Adventure Summary: A note is posted at the gates of the Temple of Ashes in the White City:
"Wanted: Sensible, virtuous persons with the physical and mental prowess to deal with an issue of theological delicacy and possible slight physical risk and hardship. Apply within."
Five worthy adventurers soon respond. They are hired by the Temple of Ashes to enter the Western Forest, find the colony of troglodytes which may or may not have been practicing Ash magic, and take whatever measures they see fit to prevent the troglodytes from continuing in their necromantic ways. Although a bonus is offered if they can bring any of the troglodyte Ash sorcerers back to the Temple to be Ordained.
When the party reach the borders of White City land, they encounter a small group of drunk, rowdy and ill-disciplined High Guardsmen who attempt to start a fight. The party prevent them from having their wicked way with Arik, who then claims that he was sent by Shenya Cristofori (see the adventure summary of "The Spider & The Fly" for the history of this enmity) to "restore order" to this outpost. After a couple of days' travel and some wolf-bashing, they enter the territory of the troglodyte colony. They are attacked by a mob of troglodytes who appear from underground warrens and insist that because the party have approached from the East, they should be dead; and since they are not already, they will "make you dead for Him". This assertion proves to be inaccurate, and leaving some twenty troglodyte corpses behind them the party venture onwards, largely unscathed.
Later, they come across a group of Weavers and spiders who have witnessed the full horror of Ash sorcery in the hands of troglodytes and seen the tribe's Spider-Queen Commended to Ash by a suicidal troglodyte sorcerer. Since these Weavers recognise Arik as "spider-friend", their leader and another of their number accompany the adventurers deeper into the troglodytes' territory. Sadly, one of the Weavers is soon immolated by a surprise attack from a troglodyte suicide sorcerer and the other is carried off by blind troglodyte warriors under the cover of yet another troglodyte necromancer's Ashen Cloud. As this sorcerer and his agents disappear, giggling, the party are told that they should return to the White City and await their doom in their beds.
Left to forge on alone, the party battle their way through a veritable army of troglodytes both alive and undead on their way to, and down into, the troglodyte warren. Here, after much slaughter, they find troglodytes worshipping at a crude facsimile of the statue of Ayun Boight, which "escaped" from the city square of the City of Crossroads in the previous year (see the "Ashen Memorial" adventure summary) and was later admitted to the Tower of Heroes thanks to the efforts of Arik, his erstwhile companions and a Crossroads Ash-priest called Dreshush (who was killed in the confusion).
The party slaughter the unarmed worshippers, who seem to be guarding something. Imagine the party's surprise when they discover that the entire horrible scheme has been orchestrated by the spirit of Dreshush, occupying the body of Marek, one of Arik's fallen comrades! He plans to raise an army of necromancer troglodytes in order to take revenge on the White City for sending out a party of adventurers, one of whom inexplicably (as far as he can tell) slit his throat during the confrontation with the statue of Ayun Boight. This deadly adversary faces off against the heroes and, while they are distracted by a treacherous troglodyte attack from the rear, sends his deadly TrogloFu-wielding martial artists to take the fallen Brother Jara hostage. He holds the Chain sorcerer's life forfeit, but his bluff is called (or possibly Jara's companions genuinely didn't care after all) and the undead necromancer is forced to open a gateway to the Burned Realm and beat a retreat, vowing revenge. The last words to be heard through the gateway, as it was gestured closed by a shadowy presence on the other side, were later reported as "Hah! And I shall return, to... oh. Oh dear. Oh... gods... no. Oh no - not you! Oh gods, the rending! The rending!" It can be surmised from this report that a number of Ashen Guardians were eagerly awaiting Dreshush's return to the Burned Realm, and that he was not pleased to see them.
Armed with Dreshush's journal as proof of their exploits, the party fight their way out of the warren and return to the White City, pausing only to avoid the Watchtower full of drunken guardsmen and briefly trip over a small bandit troop, before making it back to the Black Griffin in time for last orders.
Life is Cheap
Part two of the "Naming & Binding War" campaign, a sequel to "Heads & Minds".
Run by Rich on 12th February 2005 (Saturday 4th week, Hilary term)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Fergus & hosted by Chris N.
Players: "Ripper" Bill McKenzie (James), Kit Fisable (Helen W), Selena Curiana (Vicky), Serafine D'Artois (Laura), Toquell Velasquez (Joe W)
Mission Brief: The word goes out through certain channels in the White City that somebody wants some people dead and is willing to pay very well for the deed. Five adventurers of dubious moral integrity come to the Rotting Badger Tavern to answer the call.
Adventure Summary: Having heard rumours through his shadier minions of someone who is willing to pay exceptionally well for a few innocent deaths, Toquell gathers his Band of Merry Bastards and arranges that they meet at the Rotting Badger tavern at dawn. They arrive in various states of disguise - Serafine using Glass sorcery to imitate someone else's face, Kit cowled and hooded, Toquell blindfolded and posing as a Priest of the Light. They are shown through to the back room by the bartender, where they wait for some time before a street urchin, apparently oblivious to their presence, enters the room and sits at the head of the table, whittling on a piece of wood. After a pause, the voice of the Bagman speaks through the urchin, explaining that the child is deaf and will be unable to report their conversation. He hires the adventurers to dispatch three sets of target - an old woman, a married couple, and a young noblewoman with child - before the end of the day. He refuses to explain why these people must die, but offers a princely fee of fifty Hexa per adventurer per kill. After some brief deliberation, the adventurers agree to take the mission; they are each provided with a fifty Hexa advance, and the Bagman's representative leaves.
The party briefly discuss whether they should fulfil the terms of the mission, and where they should investigate first. They agree that it could be useful to know who requires the deaths of these innocents, and why, and set off for the hamlet where they have been told the first target, a mad old woman, lives. On the way they encounter wolves by the path who seem unusually lean and vicious for the time of year, but the creatures are swiftly dispatched. On arrival at the village, the party talk to the villagers - Serafine and Toquell do most of the talking, while Bill hangs back to avoid attention being drawn to his eyes, and Kit tries to simultaneously conceal her forehead and prevent Selena, who is clearly mad, from communicating with any of the villagers. They are eventually directed to the hut where Mad Old Peg resides, and after talking to her briefly - establishing she has a daughter who lives with her husband at a smallholding outside the city, but little else of use - they have Bill suffocate her. Toquell reveals that Mad Old Peg's true name is "Great-Grandmother of the Destruction of the White City". Leaving the village with some speed, they make for the City and locate the house of the young noblewoman with her child.
Toquell discovers that the name of the noblewoman is - as expected - "Mother of the Destruction of the White City" and the name of the child is "Destruction of the White City". After observing the house, which is located near a busy market square, for some time - and having a great deal of furious debate in secluded alleyways over whether or not to leave the child alive, including communing with the Vitriarchs for their advice - the party decide to have Bill and Kit distract the guards while Toquell, Serafine and Selena break into the house and abduct the child.
Bill and Kit leave their weapons with Selena for safety then start a fistfight in the marketplace, but overzealous High Guardsmen, a paranoid parent and an unexpectedly competent bodyguard (keeping the child safe despite Serafine's attempts to incapacitate him with Glass sorcery, as she did the child's mother) combine to scupper the plan. The staged fight between Bill and Kit is quickly broken up; Kit is arrested, while Bill "The Better Part of Valour" McKenzie flees the scene; Toquell, Serafine and Selena are also taken to the local guardhouse, along with the mother and child and bodyguard, who are separated. On waking up without her child, and having had her mind blasted to the Shattered Plain with Glass sorcery, the mother manages to impale herself on a bar from the cell's window and dies. Kit and Selena both escape the cells - Selena using necromancy to turn the bars to ash (and carefully concealing the ash afterwards), Kit picking the locks and retrieving her sword and crossbow on the way out - and, freeing the others, eventually regroup with Bill.
Toquell consults Bartholomew D'Artois on their next move. Bartholomew alerts Rebecca De Courci to the danger of the child - by this time, however, sunset is fast approaching, and the party are already on their way to the smallholding where the man and wife - the last two targets - are located. On the way, they meet a peddler selling weapons. Already more than a little worried by the day's events, and impatient to complete their mission within the time specified, the adventurers murder him and take his goods. On reaching the smallholding, the party discover several children picking berries nearby - apparently adopted by the couple, but not their own children; they claim to have none. Their names, "Grandmother" and "Grandfather of the Destruction of the White City", thus seem to be less than literal. Toquell attempts to convince Kit to poison them; she refuses, and after some deliberation Toquell Names a large troll into existence, which kills the man and wife. Bill then defeats the troll singlehanded as the children of the smallholding run screaming.
The party are briefly attacked by bandits on their way back to the City, but swiftly dispatch them with the help of Toquell's Chain sorcery. On reaching the City, they discuss their next move and eventually decide to fire the guardhouse in which are held their arrest warrants and possibly the child. The fire is later reported as having started in two places at once, though the adventurers notice no other influence during their skulduggery. Joining with the bucket chains as a cover, they check the bodies but discover no child, although the bodyguard did die of smoke inhalation during the blaze. They are paid for the death of all five targets, though nobody will say what has happened to the child itself. Any guardsmen that are questioned about that day say that nothing unusual happened and they will keep to that story, whatever pressure is brought to bear. No mention is made of any of the adventurers involved being wanted for arrest, and after a little persuasion from Rebecca De Courci the Velasquez Family accepts Toquell back as one of their own.
Mad Dogs & Vitriarchs
Purging the Low Guard
Run by Xan & Joff on 19th February 2005 (Saturday 5th week, Hilary term)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Joe R & Chris V, hosted by Chris N.
Players: Carmina Curiana (Vicky), Dante De Almedia (Chris V), Gex the Ratcatcher (Rich), Quinn (Fergus), Phillionel Curiana - RIP (James), Winsel (Ben), Yana (Ellie)
Mission Brief: A small cell in the Low Guard has started learning Glass magic. Several factions within the White City, among them the Exalted Church of the Light, the Knights of the Shining Order, the High Guard and some factions of the Low Guard, are very concerned about this and send some of their members, along with some sympathetic hired adventurers, to find the cell's isolated base of operations and wipe it out.
Edited Original Plot Document (.rtf file)
Adventure Summary: The adventurers are discreetly contacted and asked to rendezvous at lunchtime in a secluded clearing in a patch of woodland half a day's travel northeast of the White City. Here they meet a large, outspoken Knight of the Shining Order and a Low Guard agent with a scarf hiding most of his face. The Knight tells the party of the concerns over a Low Guard faction learning Glass sorcery and informs them that a training encampment has been discovered five days' travel east-north-east of the White City, in an area of wooded hills. The encampment masquerades as a settlement for hunters, trappers, and dog trainers (who breed and train vicious attack dogs) but this is just a cover and somewhere in the encampment is the entrance to an underground complex where the real business is going on. There is believed to be a tutor from the Port of Glass and perhaps as many as half a dozen agents now skilled in Glass sorcery. The party are given a map which clearly indicates the villages of Wattlewold and Daubwold, the minor White City watchtower that marks the edge of this slice of the City's territory and the encampment itself. The party are also given a rendezvous point at which to meet on their return, and told that they will be rewarded appropriately for their work. The Knight offers the blessing of the Light to those of the adventurers who wish to accept it, while Gex and Winsel quietly confer with the Low Guard agent. That night, after another half day's travel, the party camp in the wilderness and Dante has a dream in which he is floating in front of a huge Low Guard badge against a background of darkness - the silver crowns gleam so bright as to be nearly blinding, while the ebony is so dark that it stands out as a blacker patch against the surrounding void. Slowly, starting at the lowest edge, the badge starts turning to glass, glass which has a slick, oily appearance that just oozes sickening, corrupt wrongness. Once the whole badge has turned to glass, small cracks start to appear in the centre of it and begin slowly but unstoppably spreading outwards, until the whole thing is a network of cracks and suddenly shatters, splinters of glass exploding outwards and two piercing his eyes, which strangely causes no pain - they slide in like water. At this point he hears the sound of barking dogs, distant at first but rapidly growing louder, and sees a dark cave from which peer dozens of gleaming feral canine eyes, burning with hunger. He rushes towards the eyes, past them into the cave, then finds himself falling down a pit, smashing through thin sheets of glass as he descends. Finally, surrounded by a hail of vitrine fragments, he lands on a smooth solid slippery glass surface in a room whose walls and floors are heavy red velvet curtains. Looking behind one of the curtains he comes face to face with himself, but a version of himself whose eyes are pits of endless evil and whose expression fills him with unimaginable horror... at which point he wakes screaming and, once he recovers his composure, discusses his dream with the rest of the party.
Moving on the next morning the party find the Red Sword mercenary band camped and training while they wait to meet the caravan they are escorting to the City of Crossroads, and ignoring the offer of some sparring or a duel with the band's leader Andreas the adventurers pass on. Around lunchtime they come to the village of Wattlewold, one of the Velasquez Family's holdings. They spend some time talking to the villagers, letting slip enough information about themselves and their mission that after they leave the local poacher (actually a Low Guard agent watching the road on behalf of the encampment the party is heading to) sends a messenger pigeon to warn the encampment. The next day at noon some spirits of psychotic madness from the Shattered Plain, visible to the exorcists in the party as large jagged spinning shards of glass whose edges drip constantly with blood, are sent to attack the party, having been summoned in a ritual at the encampment. Carmina succumbs to one of the spirits, as does Phillionel when he tries to exorcise her, and the two of them enter a berserk rage in which they try to kill each other until the rest of the party manage to knock them out and restrain them until the effects have worn off.
At dusk of that day the party arrive at one of the lesser watchtowers that guards the borders of the City's territory, a small wooden affair with a palisade containing a cluster of huts, manned by a High Guard sergeant and his seven guardsmen who are rather bored by staffing this quiet out-of-the-way position. Most of the party stay in one of the guest huts, except for Gex who stays in a hut with three of the guardsmen. During the evening Phillionel discovers the forged letter which Winsel has placed in his pack, reads it and tears it up in disgust, but Carmina later finds the fragments and pieces them back together, duly convinced by the letter's contents that her father Phillionel has disgraced the Shining Order and the Exalted Church of the Light by having a torrid affair. Meanwhile Gex is coshed unconscious and tied up by the three guardsmen with whom he's sharing, who have been corrupted into worshipping the Faceless Lord. These three cultists sneak out through a loose plank in the palisade but are spotted and followed by Winsel, who trails them some distance into the wilderness and sees them performing a ritual of worship while wearing blank and faceless white masks. The cultists are somehow alerted to Winsel's presence and chase him back to the watchtower, but by the time he can warn everyone else they have hidden their masks and daggers and join the commotion as Gex is found bound. Various accusations fly back and forth, the loose plank is hammered firmly back in place, the guard on the palisade is doubled and the party all hole up in the guest hut with guards on the door and some of the adventurers on watch. Next morning the party head off again, but the sergeant is suspicious of them and sends two of his men to follow them for a day to make sure they're not up to any mischief - these two men happening to be two of the cultists!
That morning the party encounter a group of local bandits who are allied with the encampment and accompanied by a Low Guard agent. A toll is demanded and a battle breaks out, during which the cultists who have followed the party from the watchtower don their ritual masks and break out their poison daggers and attack from behind. The Low Guard agent escapes, the bandits and one of the cultists are slain and the surviving cultist is captured and tortured for information, but is too much of a fanatic to be of much help so is soon killed. At around lunchtime the party come to the village of Daubwold, whose inhabitants are suspicious at first (suspecting the adventurers of being shapeshifted ogres) but eventually admit them and spend a while talking to them, healing them and mending their armour for exorbitant prices, only for the villagers to have all of their money stolen by Winsel before he leaves. That afternoon the party encounter a group of vicious dogs and their handlers, sent from the encampment to intercept them - the handlers set their dogs on the party under the pretense of suspecting them to be shapeshifted ogres, but handlers and dogs alike are all slain.
The next day the party encounter a group of genuine ogres, who have taken the forms of a schoolmistress and her class of schoolgirls; the pitched battle which follows results in the death of Phillionel Curiana. Carmina is so disgusted by what she read earlier in the forged letter that she refuses to give her father the Last Rites, this duty being carried out by Quinn instead. Phillionel is cremated and his equipment taken to be returned to the Shining Order. That afternoon the party enters the low wooded hills in which the encampment lies and finds a sleeping bear lying in their path; Winsel creeps up and coshes it, at which point a motley horde of animals attack from the undergrowth and when slain turn into human corpses, revealing them to have been Trapped Men. Eventually, as dusk falls, the party reaches the Low Guard encampment, a series of huts and dog pens scattered through the woods plus various curing frames and a cave. Several sentries with packs of dogs attack the party but are soon slain, bar a single sentry whose sight is bound by Yana who retreats into the cave, which contains many more dogs penned in by a sturdy wooden fence and gate. After thoroughly searching the huts of the encampment, and also finding a hutch full of messenger pigeons near one of the huts, the party build a fire outside the cave and Quinn uses Wind sorcery to blow the smoke in and smoke out the dogs, who emerge in a panic and are efficiently cut down by the waiting party. Then Quinn uses more Wind sorcery to clear the cave of smoke and Gex uses the huddled blind sentry for archery target practice despite his attempts to bargain with the adventurers.
Winsel searches the cave and finds a secret door, cunningly carved and painted to look like the surrounding rock and opening onto a short corridor sloping slightly down, which then turns into a spiral ramp. At the bottom of the ramp is a slightly longer corridor ending in a thick, heavy red velvet curtain - remembering Dante's dream the party keep their eyes lowered as they move onwards, avoiding looking at the large full length mirror fixed to the wall where the corridor turns a corner. The corridor then continues to another curtain, behind which is a heavy wooden door, beyond which is another curtain opening onto a large rectangular room. In the centre of the room stands a Glass Sentinel with a blank featureless oval for a face, while the walls and ceiling consist of rock coated with a thick uneven layer of glass filled with strange lines and cracks and bumps. As the party cautiously enters the room everything remains motionless until Yana touches the curtain hiding the door at the far end, at which point the Glass Sentinel animates and attacks her while the glass on the walls reveals itself as a horde of tessellated Splinter-Men who also attack. The Splinter-Men are relatively easily dispatched but the Glass Sentinel continues to give the party trouble until Quinn reaches into its chest and forcibly wrenches its fragments apart, taking some nasty cuts to the arms in doing so.
The party charges through the next door... to find themselves in a large and fairly empty room. Over on the left wall are a collection of mirrors and a lot of wooden boarding studded with holes from bow and crossbow practice and peppered with glass shards. Several wooden sparring-practice dummies stand nearby. On the far wall are four wooden doors, while over to the right are several curtained alcoves, some chairs and tables and a set of shelves. Behind the curtains to the right are found a privy, a small kitchen and washroom and a cell with stout iron bars. Behind the first door (Winsel manages to pick the lock and avoid the poison needle trap) is a spartan room containing furniture, an armour dummy, a weapons rack, a stout chest and a writing desk, behind the second door is a shrine hung with red velvet curtains and festooned with hooks and candles; a large mirror rests upon the altar, but with two exorcists among their number the party manages to easily dispatch the Looking-Glass Hunter that lurks within. The third room contains a large four-poster bed, an elegantly carved wardrobe, a large wall-mirror and opulent silk wall-hangings and looks to have been abandoned in some haste, while the fourth room contains beds and footlockers and armour dummies for four people, plus a large weapons rack. The whole place is deserted, but evidence suggests only for a day or so - on the writing desk in the first room is found a small note, smelling slightly of pigeon, describing the party and saying that they are on a mission for the Exalted Church of the Light and could be a danger. The party return to their rendezvous point to report the failure of their mission, encountering little trouble on the way back, and are given a small reward for their valiant efforts plus a slightly larger reward for uncovering the cultists in the watchtower - upon further investigation it is revealed that the three guardsmen had been corrupted by one of the Low Guard Glass sorcerers (posing as a hunter and trapper) during his travels between the encampment and the White City. The sergeant from the watchtower is demoted for his negligence in allowing this to happen.
[The rather anticlimactic ending was due to the LARP being cut short by overrunning and lack of light.]
If I Had A Hammer
Part three of the "Naming & Binding War" campaign, a sequel to "Heads & Minds".
Run by Rich & Chris N on 26th February 2005 (Saturday 6th week, Hilary term)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Fergus & Jen, hosted by Chris N.
Players: Carlos de Mamushi (Joe W), Kit Fisable (Helen W), Sebastian (Joff), Vincenzi Velasquez (Xan), Yana (Ellie)
Mission Brief: Murmurs are going around the adventuring circles of the White City that information has come to light of a powerful artefact that could free the Bound Ones! Soon the High Guard and co shes the Cloistered Brethren of Chains will be forming a expedition to go and recover the artefact. Already various parties have left the White City in various directions to seek out this artefact, not knowing what it is or where it is. Various people are murmuring that if anybody was able to bring this thing back before the High Guard and the Cloistered Brethren got to it then they would be the toast of the City. It would be a powerful symbol of the fact the Bound Ones are going to stay bound, a massive reassurance to the City.
Everybody is rooting around for information on what this artefact is and where it might be. The more well informed adventurers may have heard that a Priest of the Bound Ones was apprehended out to the southwest of the White City and into the great Western Forest. Now if only somebody was to discover the information of what it was that was being looked for. One merchant, named Trab Bas, got a little more drunk in the Black Griffin than he intended and did go on about knowing what the artefact was. So rather than be mobbed or killed for the information he has put out word that he wants people to go and find the thing to bring it back to the White City and donate it to the authorities before people badger him so much that he has to give up work as a trader in the City.
Adventure Summary: Heading out into the Western Forest, the party first encounter a group of amateur treasure hunters after the artefact. Despite denying any interest in it themselves the party are offered a map to it, but negotiations for the map's possible purchase are hampered by accusations of pickpocketing flying back and forth until one of the amateurs is caught with Carlos' purse and swords are drawn; only two of the amateurs survive the battle (one of those crippled) and their map is revealed as cheap and worthless. Travelling onwards, some wolves and giant spiders are fought off before the party meets a troll that seems to be in pain from something stuck in its foot, leaving his sword behind Vincenzi goes forward unarmed to see if he can help it but is ambushed by its companions from the bushes, being sorely injured before his companions rush forward to his aid and the trolls are eventually slain.
Continuing deeper into the Forest the party find their path blocked by a group of men who, after some time in a standoff, claim at first to be members of the Low Guard with an important captive whom they ask the party to escort back to the White City for them - when their bluff is called and their pitiful attempts at faking Low Guard badges revealed, after Carlos recognises their leader as one of Wate's erstwhile followers (see the "Heads & Minds" adventure summary), they eventually admit to having been specifically sent there and ordered to delay the party. After some more discussion a battle breaks out during which they are all slain and their captive released - the captive claims to be a representative of some ancient secret order sent to that spot to observe an occurrence of great mystic significance at dawn on the next day, captured as a precaution by the others when they arrived, but the party are chary of any further delay so leave her there to observe it herself. They move on to spend the night in a small village full of remarkably incompetent people - the blacksmith who attempts to repair Yana's armour instead ends up ruining parts of it beyond use and is severely chastised for the harm he's done, the local Blood sorcerer faints at the sight of blood and the whores with whom Vincenzi spends the night give him a nasty infection which he has to use Blood sorcery to cure the next day.
Setting off the next morning the party first face a couple of battles with wolf packs who have been driven from their usual territory by treasure seekers. None of the wolves attack Vincenzi, but while the rest of the party is busy he is sought out by a Chain-Wraith and forced to defend himself from its psychic attacks. Not much further on the party is beset by a horde of angry Weavers out for revenge on the humans who have harried them also from their usual haunts, all of whom are slain in self defence. Some time later the party pass by a cave where the charred bodies of earlier treasure seekers lying outside it bear witness to the presence of a firedrake. Hearing the party pass by, the firedrake emerges and tries to give a warning blast but its fires are still exhausted from its earlier battle and as Yana binds its sight it retreats into the cave. Yana and Vincenzi wish to move on without delay, but Carlos, Kit and Sebastian go into the cave after the beast in search of trophies, with Carlos' Light sorcery to light their way, until they realise how unwise fighting even a blind firedrake in close quarters is and agree to travel onwards.
Reaching a narrow bridge, the party are faced by another gang of trolls demanding a hefty toll for passage. Sebastian challenges their leader to a duel, Yana keeping the other trolls occupied with Chain sorcery to prevent them from interfering while Vincenzi lights a cautionary torch, Kit covers them with her crossbow and Carlos creeps into position. As Sebastian's opponent falls defeated Vincenzi springs forward to torch the body and Carlos begins coshing the rest, all of them swiftly dispatched and cremated before Vincenzi heals Sebastian's wounds. Teamwork is rather less in evidence when deeper in the Forest the party find a group of Children of the Vine engaging in the prolonged and painful sacrifice of an apparently unwilling young human woman. Kit lurks in the undergrowth while Vincenzi goes up to the Vinechildren and joins the ritual and the other three adventurers express their disquiet, but before a diplomatic solution can be reached Carlos coshes Vincenzi as Yana and Sebastian wade in to subdue the Children of the Vine and free their captive, Sebastian killing one of the Vinechildren in the process. The young woman is healed and sent on her way, Carlos leaves a bottle of divine blood with the unconscious Vinechildren in substitution for her sacrifice and then Vincenzi is disarmed and brought round - after some tense talk he is given a dagger and goes off to commune with the Lady of Blood and Wine, who tells him that Carlos' offering is acceptable, leaving him to plot later vengeance on Carlos and Sebastian on his own behalf. So the adventurers move on again, but when they later encounter a group of vengeful spirits of the dead Vincenzi sulkily stands back and lets the other party members fend them off alone rather than use his skills as an exorcist to help.
Not long afterwards the party meets another group of warriors led by one of Wate's former recruits, who also admit to having been sent there with orders to block the party's path and delay them for as long as possible but refuse to reveal by whom. Vincenzi drops their leader with a succession of Blood curses and the rest are soon put to the sword. Finally the party reach their goal, a large flat rock surrounded by a stream running in a ring, but are somewhat alarmed to see it surrounded by a flock of Chain-Wraiths. After some hesitation the party move closer to the rock, on which lies a hammer, a six foot length of ancient petrified wood and a collection of crushed walnut shells. One of the adventurers cautiously creeps in and grabs the hammer and the length of wood, at which point all the Chain-Wraiths but one slink off into the Forest. The remaining Chain-Wraith stands there motionless until Kit swings her sword through it, at which point it takes umbrage and attacks her but is easily dispatched with Vincenzi's help. Examining their acquisitions, the hammer is immediately seen to be shiny and new with a White City maker's mark on it so the party theorise that the ancient piece of petrified wood must be the First Hammer, since the large rock is discovered to be rooted deep in the ground and too heavy to move. They are curious as to who left the new hammer there though, Vincenzi's attempts to track its owner from the rock are foiled when their quarry's trail leads over bare stone so he shifts into the form of a bloodhound and tracks by scent, eventually finding a frightened lad named Whisty who had been using the rock and hammer to crack nuts when the Chain-Wraiths turned up and scared him away, terrifying him so much that he abandoned his hammer in his haste to flee. Whisty's hammer is returned to him and the party head back towards the White City. On the way Kit pays a messenger to quickly carry news of their return to Toquell and the rest of his Merry Band of Bastards so that they can intercept the party and claim the First Hammer before it reaches the White City, but when the party arrive at the Western Watchtower with the First Hammer they are given an escort of High Guard and Low Guard which spoils Toquell's plans. The adventurers and their escort enter the White City to glorious celebration and formally deliver the First Hammer to the Cloistered Brethren of Chains in a ceremony overseen by the De Courcis and the High Guard.
Pocketful Of Posies
Run by Joe W & Ellie on 5th March 2005 (Saturday 7th week, Hilary term)
Players: Belor de Velland (Peter), Gex the Ratcatcher (Rich), Marco di Falconi (Joff), Selena Curiana (Vicky), Stephano De Courci (Julian)
Mission Brief: There is a sickness in the White City. At first it was but a minor concern, those seriously ill being easily treated by the City's sorcerers and healers; now the numbers of people affected have spiralled beyond control - those lucky another to be cured early on can only watch as those close to them sicken. Last night the pestilence claimed its first life and by sunrise over a hundred more were dead. In the marketplaces people talk of plague and eye each other warily for any symptoms. Faced with this disaster the College of the Thousand Arts has put out a call for adventurers to step forward and do their bit for the City...
Adventure Summary: The adventurers are sent to meet Dr. Borne, a noted herbalist who has had some success in treating the disease, but find his house besieged by an angry mob demanding cures for themselves and their loved ones. The adventurers clear the mob with diplomacy and deceit, then escort the herbalist to the College. He tells them that he needs some eaglespan, a rare herb from the northern mountains, in order to concoct more cures and asks their help in fetching it. So they set off northwards, encountering on the road a man who claims to be a private emissary from the De Courci Family and asks that the herb is delivered to him instead that one of the infected De Courcis may be saved.
Passing through the territory of the Palace at Three Rivers the party are attacked by zombies, then later by wolves, before finally reaching the Whistful City, where they are beset by lunatics in their search for further information on the herb they seek. Moving further up into the mountains they find a village of the Bear Tribe whose last few inhabitants are being finished off by members of the White Eagle Tribe. The White Eagle warriors attack the party, but are slain or driven off, after which Selena attempts to speak with the spirit of the dead Bear Tribe shaman - but the spirit proves too strong for her and takes up residence in her mind. The party leave the village and travel higher into the mountains, along precipitous paths where they are attacked by Fears-of-Falling but save the one person who succumbs to the lures of the spirits by having roped themselves together. Eventually they reach the territory of the White Eagle Tribe, where they are recognised from the fight at the village as strong warriors and granted audience with the chief. The chief tells the party that their leader must defeat the tribe's champion in single combat in order to gain the help of the tribe - Belor accepts the challenge and triumphs, the defeated champion being revived by one of Gex's healing potions only to throw himself off a cliff in shame at his failure. The adventurers are tattooed with the stylised eagle mark of the White Eagle Tribe to show their acceptance (Belor and Stephano on their hands, Selena on her breast, Gex on his buttock and Marco on his crotch). The White Eagle shaman tells them where to find the Old Power known as the King of the Eagles, who can grant them the herb they seek, and gives them a mixture of herbs (mainly nightgrass and vainglory) which, if taken at the appropriate juncture, will enable them to cross the crevasse at Dream-Bridge.
Moving on to Dream-Bridge, all of the party but Stephano being attacked by small Snow-Riders on the way, the party take the herbs and are able to see the bridge as it was over a hundred years ago at the time of the legendary battle, complete with the memories of two warring armies locked in eternal conflict - fighting and dodging their way through the battle before the herbs can wear off, the party finally reach the eyrie of the King of the Eagles, who is attended by his court of Dream-Catchers and great eagles. The King tells them that he will grant them the herb - but only if one of them proves how much they are willing to give for it by jumping off the nearby cliff. Belor volunteers with little hesitation, falling most of the way to the ground before great white eagle wings sprout messily and painfully from his shoulderblades and enable him to glide to safety. One of the King's eagles swoops down and grabs him in its talons to lift him back up to rejoin his comrades, who are given the eaglespan they need.
Taking all but the dregs of the herbs to fight, dodge and run their way back over Dream-Bridge, the party make it back to the White City with only an encounter with bandits to slow their progress. As they travel southwards Belor's wings shrink into two ugly scars on his back and Stephano proudly preens the rose braided into his hair as the mark of the blessing of the Rose Prince of the North, whom he encountered on their travels. The eaglespan is delivered to the College, where Dr. Borne gets straight to work on formulating a cure for the sickness. For some weeks the situation in the City continues to worsen and a great number of people are brought low by the illness, but after this things begin to settle down; the College is active throughout the City, making the cure readily available to all, and within a month the epidemic has passed. Meanwhile the party make their rendezvous with the person claiming to be an emissary from the De Courcis, who Stephano knows is lying, but this trickster sees through their prevarications and gives them the slip. Selena seeks out Bill McKenzie to exorcise the dead Bear Shaman living in her head, but although the shaman's spirit is driven out his influence remains and Selena's mind becomes somewhat more ursine in nature.
Hammering the Snake
Part four of the "Naming & Binding War" campaign, a sequel to "If I Had A Hammer" & "The Chain-Snake".
Run by Rich & Ellie on 12th March 2005 (Saturday 8th week, Hilary term)
Players: Bartholomew D'Artois (Ben), Kit Fisable (Helen W), Selena Curiana (Vicky), Serafine D'Artois (Laura), Toquell Velasquez (Joe W)
Mission Brief: Toquell Velasquez and his Band of Merry Bastards steal the First Hammer from the College of the Thousand Arts and head East to hunt down the Chain-Snake.
Adventure Summary: While the First Hammer is being kept under careful guard at the College of the Thousand Arts for further study Kit comes up with a cunning masterplan that allows her to use her burglary skills to drug the guards and steal the Hammer while planting papers in the office of Senior Lecturer Lidstone from the Faculty of the Arcane (previously appearing in the "It Came From The Forest II: Data Capture" LARP) which imply that he stole the Hammer on behalf of the City of Crossroads. As uproar erupts in the College and the City, Kit sneaks out of the gates with the First Hammer hidden in a longbow case and meets up with the rest of Toquell's Merry Band of Bastards at "The Grassy Knoll", a tavern on the East Road a short distance outside the boundary of the Watchtowers. There is a certain amount of consternation on the part of Kit and Serafine when Bartholomew joins them, having temporarily taken leave of his ambassadorial duties in order to travel incognito on this mission, but eventually tempers are calmed and the adventurers reluctantly agree to all work together. Toquell has bound his sorcery and left it in the White City as part of his progression in the art of Chain magic, so brings only his considerable martial skills and knowledge to the expedition.
On their way to the area where the Chain-Snake was last seen they are accosted by a Chain-Wraith and a group of bandits apparently under its control (each bandit having a chain around their neck). The Chain-Wraith knows that they have the Hammer, asks them their intentions and tells them that they must destroy the Chain-Snake - after some discussion the party say their farewells and move on. They are ineffectually attacked by a horde of troglodytes, then ambushed by a group of ghouls with one of their number playing dead as bait. Soon afterwards they find some more ghouls being cut down by a trio of Ashen Guardians. The Guardians turn to the party and demand that Selena, as a necromancer, is handed over to the justice of the Burned Lords. Kit and Serafine stand back and refuse to get involved, but Toquell and Bartholomew help Selena destroy the Ashen Guardians before moving on. The party is then attacked by a group of hungry trolls, whom they also defeat.
As dusk approaches, the party arrives at a small cave in the hillside where they are greeted by a mad old man surrounded by a flock of budgies. They try to question him about whether he's seen the Chain-Snake, but his replies are nonsense. They are about to move on as the sun sets - the old man falls asleep and cannot be woken, while the budgies are revealed as Trapped Men as they transform into their human shapes. While some of their number gather fruits, berries and seeds for the old man's meals on the morrow, others speak with the party and tell them where the Chain-Snake was last seen. It is discovered that the touch of the First Hammer fills them with agonising pain - following a lengthy discussion on the nature of the curse which binds the Trapped Men, the party stay the night and as the sun rises Toquell attempts to break the binding on one of the Trapped Men by striking him with the First Hammer at the moment of his transformation. Sadly his frail budgerigar body cannot stand the pain and dies of a heart attack - after his body transforms into human form for the last time Bartholomew conducts the Last Rites in his typical Vitriarch-worshipping manner and is ineffectually attacked by a flock of angry budgies as the party departs before the old man wakes.
As they continue on their path the party finds a large pile of glass shards which transforms into a horde of Splinter-Men and attacks them until every last Splinter-Man has been destroyed. Further on an unnatural blizzard approaches from the mountains to the North and the party are attacked by Snow-Riders out on the Eastern plains! Later that day they find a circle of sandstone monoliths which is not marked on any of Kit's maps. In the centre of the circle is a twelve foot sandstone statue, which they eventually notice is swaying slightly. This figure starts a conversation and is soon identified as the Old Power known as the Lord of Sand & Stone, spaced out on stonecap mushrooms. He tells them that he saw the Chain-Snake, that it was very rude, and that it went thataway. The party move on, but in doing so Toquell and Selena cross the boundaries of the circle and the Lord demands an apology. Selena refuses to say sorry and flees at high speed. Toquell apologises in an only slightly sarcastic manner and is persuaded to eat some of the stonecap mushrooms growing on the monoliths to prove his contrition, departing in a somewhat psychedelic state of mind.
Moving onwards, the party find themselves passing through a fractured land where time and distance stretch and flow in an unnatural and disturbing manner. On entering a vast graveyard they are attacked by skeletons, several of whom Selena commends to ash. They then meet an injured Chain sorcerer who tells them that He Who Walks Wilderness has been running in circles around the Chain-Snake, twisting reality as he travels so that it has trouble finding or catching Him. They find the Chain-Snake itself at the centre of the area and attack it with the First Hammer - the Chain-Snake binds Bartholomew's will and he vitrifies the First Hammer with Glass sorcery, but although the artefact turns from petrified wood into the blackest obsidian it doesn't seem any more fragile or any less potent for its transformation. Bartholomew and Serafine blast each other into unconsciousness with Glass sorcery as Toquell rushes in to take up the First Hammer, the Chain-Snake casts bindings about but through the use of potions against Chain magic the party shrug them off and eventually destroy it with blows from the First Hammer, at which point it unravels into a great deal of relatively ordinary chain with an ancient skull at the centre. Selena attempts to call up the spirit of the skull so she can speak to it, but things do not go well. The party head back home with the First Hammer and the remains of the Chain-Snake, pausing only on meeting a Red Gryphon patrol who initially seem hostile but respectfully step aside on Toquell's orders when they see his glowing purple eyes.
The Hunt for Shenya Cristofori
Run by Julian & Helen W on 26th March 2005 (a Saturday in the Easter vacation)
Players: Shardface (James), Sirius Panastra (Rich), ??? - the adventurer formerly known as "Tibs" (Joe W)
Mission Brief: Arik Blackthorne hires some adventurers to find and kill Shenya Cristofori for him.
Adventure Summary: The party is hired by a mysterious hooded man in the Black Griffin pub to hunt down and kill Shenya Cristofori, whom he claims has stolen an ancient family heirloom from him without which his family is doomed to fall into decline and ruin. Seeing no problem with simple murder for profit, the party set out to find Shenya, heading first to her house in the White City. On the way there the party is accosted by Reginald De Courci and his bodyguards, fresh from an all-night drinking session and eager to make some entertainment out of the motley band of adventurers passing through their neighbourhood. During the ensuing ‘conversation’ Shardface coshes Reginald into unconsciousness and runs off, pursued by Reginald's bodyguards, and Sirius takes the opportunity to smash Reginald’s skull across the cobbles in full view of a street full of nobles. At the same time, Shardface uses Glass magic to escape Reginald’s bodyguards. Soon, the party is being hunted throughout the White City by the High Guard.
Slipping away from the chaos for a short time, the party make their way to Shenya’s house, which the nameless adventurer (having used Glass sorcery to change his appearance) finds empty but for a High Guardsman on duty at the door and one of Shenya’s servants. He discovers that Shenya is hunting a group of bandits led by an exiled noble of the White City called Giovanno, and that she set out for the village of Minerva on the borders of the Western Forest some days ago. Meanwhile, Sirius and Shardface are hiding in a nearby alleyway when Shardface is spotted by a High Guard patrol and runs off and hides in a rubbish cart. The party eventually meet up again, but cannot immediately follow Shenya because the White City has been locked down by the High Guard to prevent the escape of Reginald’s murderers. Sirius suggests simply killing their way out through the main gates, but is eventually persuaded that this plan might be a little suicidal by the nameless adventurer, who suggests an alternative route in the form of a secret exit from the White City in a backroom of the Wall Inn in the poor district. Avoiding the traditional bribe by pretending to go upstairs to make use of the tavern’s whore, Sirius’ mighty strength is used to smash through the wall between the inn's rooms and rip the iron door from its hinges and escape the city, the inn's management and patrons soon abandoning their pursuit.
Making their way to Minerva, the party discovers that the place has already been attacked by bandits hoping to lay a trap for Shenya. Shenya has already passed through, but the bandits attack the party anyway, hoping they are carrying valuables. A short fight ensues and the bandits are killed (after a few are questioned), Shardface skinning some of their faces to take as souvenirs. Searching the houses of the village, the party finds that the village mayor has survived by hiding under a pile of corpses. He tells them Shenya headed down a wood-cutter's trail heading west. The party stay the night in the ruins of Minerva, but while they sleep the nameless adventurer is attacked and possessed by the spirit of a poor dead villager shown kindness by Shenya when she was there. This spirit waits in the back of the nameless adventurer's mind, hoping to prevent the party from killing Shenya.
Following the trail in the morning, the party come across a man named Eris who is fleeing down the path. He tells them that Shenya and her party were captured by Giovanno in a bandit ambush further down the path from which he alone escaped. Continuing through the whole day, the party meets a High Guard officer who is infatuated with Shenya and looking for her with some of his men in order to ensure she doesn't get into any trouble. Directing him to a different part of the Forest entirely, the party continue onwards and find the site of the ambush as it begins to get dark, the unburied bodies of many bandits being scattered about. They burn the bodies, but the smell of cooking flesh attracts a pack of wolves which the party are forced to slay. In the night the party are attacked by the spirits of the dead bandits, who possess both Sirius and Shardface in the hope of later using them to take revenge against their killers: Shenya and her party.
Following the tracks made by the bandits the next day, the party finally finds Giovanno’s lair. After making short work of the sentries and entering the cave a mighty fight ensues, in which Shardface loses consciousness from overuse of Glass sorcery and Sirius is very nearly killed, having been struck by eleven crossbow bolts in the course of the fight. Shortly after the bandits are slain Shenya’s party arrives on the scene, having escaped from their bandit captors deeper in the caves. At this point the nameless adventurer is possessed by the spirit of the dead villager who hopes to save Shenya, while Sirius and Shardface are impelled by their possessing spirits to go on a killing spree. As they are already injured, though, a combination of force and Chain magic allows Shenya and her companions to subdue Sirius and Shardface, with the assistance of the possessed nameless adventurer. Sirius and Shardface are exorcised of their possessing spirits and taken prisoner, Shenya and company arranging for their conveyance back to the White City for trial. On the way back, however, despite his sight being bound Sirius manages to use his legendary strength to escape, and taking his companions with him he flees into the Forest.
Run by Rich on 9th April 2005 (a Saturday in the Easter vacation)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Helen W & Laura, hosted by Chris N.
Players: David Southpaw (Arthur), Federico Velasquez (Joff), Captain Matteus De Almedia (Xan), Stephano De Courci (Julian), Winsel (Ben)
Mission Brief: Five adventurers are drinking in a tavern in the village of Treamdip on the borders of the Great Forest when a breathless villager runs in to announce that it's trollberry season again - so they decide to try their luck.
Adventure Summary: Trollberries are used to make trollberry juice, a rare and expensive delicacy occasionally drunk by the upper classes of the White City. The newly arrived villager mentions in a blatant stage whisper to the barkeeper that the trollberry bushes had been found some distance to the west, and on further questioning the adventurers are told that trollberry bushes bloom only for a relatively short period once every couple of years or so and get their name because the smell attracts trolls from miles around and drives them into a ravenous feeding frenzy during which they eat as many of the berries as they can. As the villagers start preparing to head into the Forest for the trollberry gathering, the adventurers purchase some sacks, torches and oil and set off to follow the tracks of the villager who brought the news back to their source.
The first couple of trolls the adventurers meet are easily dispatched, as is a wolverine who springs on Stephano from a tree as they pause to investigate the corpse of a bear it had slain earlier. Then a large group of bandits is encountered and after a brief bit of blustering a fight inevitably ensues. Most of the bandits are killed, a couple escape and all of the adventurers but Winsel (this becomes a theme of the expedition) take a considerable amount of damage. They rest and wait while David repairs people's armour and Matteus makes more makeshift torches from tree branches and the clothing and bootlaces of the slaughtered bandits. While this is going on a group of Weavers pass by and are told that trollberries have fruited nearby, which seems to worry them and they move off briskly. Once most of the party's leather armour has been repaired they move on, swiftly slaying a pack of wolves which has cornered a giant spider in a low isolated tree and letting the spider go free to feed on their corpses, then encounter a large group of hostile trolls who are unwilling to talk much and seem angered that the smell of the adventurers is drowning out the smell of the trollberries they're seeking. A fight ensues, during which Matteus loses the use of his leg and David nearly dies. Eventually the trolls are slain and everyone is healed at least enough to walk, after which David does some more armour repair while Winsel and Matteus fashion more makeshift torches from branches and their own cloaks.
A thirsty bunch of Children of the Vine bumps into the party not much further down the path, offering wine and eager for company, but the adventurers manage to tear themselves away (some with more reluctance than others). Farther on they find a pair of trolls in company with a pair of ghouls feasting on a couple of human corpses. The trolls and ghouls are slain, though the ghouls are captured and questioned first, and the party are also forced to deal with the two corpses which animate as zombies. Why the trolls were associating with the ghouls is unknown. The tracks lead through a swampy area, where the party run through clouds of biting insects as Stephano tries to blow them away by summoning up the Wind. Finally the adventurers come in sight of the trollberry bushes, which are being stripped bare by a bunch of trolls led by a particularly large and nasty specimen of their race. After some discussion of tactics the adventurers attack, with the plan of holding the trolls off while they grab the trollberries and retreat. Unfortunately this doesn't quite work, as a troll manages to break Federico's leg and he is left unable to move, leaving Matteus holding off most of the trolls while the rest of the party run off with the berries and the torches. Eventually Matteus manages to call their comrades back and most of the trolls are slain, the big troll running off after its arms are bound by Federico and being chased down by Matteus, who then drags it back to where his comrades are waiting with the torches. The berries are gathered, some healing is done and Matteus gives a brief rant on the subject of teamwork that degenerates into an argument with David and results in Matteus losing his temper and punching David in the face, Stephano stepping in to calm things down as David starts to draw his sword. Tempers calm, apologies are made, hands are shaken and the party move on before more trolls arrive, after following Federico's example by taking cuttings from the trollberry bushes in hope of later cultivation.
The adventurers meet another group of bandits on their way back to Treamdip, who initially pose as impoverished villagers and attempt to beg or buy some trollberries while Winsel leads others of their number on a chase through the woods. While the party are distracted by negotiations some of the bandits behind them load their bows and crossbows and attack, another melee ensues during which Federico comes close to death but the bandits are all slain or driven off and the trollberries brought through intact. At long last the party return to Treamdip to find the villagers setting out with nets and scoops to gather trollberries the easy way, the adventurers stay for a short while to learn the details of making trollberry juice before heading back to the White City. David and Winsel sell their share of the trollberries for a tidy sum, while the three nobles throw a trollberry juice party to great acclaim. As feared, the trollberry bush cuttings prove impossible to domesticate.
Prince of Winters
Run by Julian & Joff on 16th April 2005 (a Saturday in the Easter vacation)
Players: Abelard Velasquez (Rich), David Southpaw (Arthur), Kit Fisable (Helen W)
Mission Brief: Laodisia De Courci hires some adventurers to find her daughter Tithona, an explorer from the College of the Thousand Arts who has disappeared on a visit to the Whistful City.
Adventure Summary: Laodisia De Courci, a mid-ranking and rather vapid socialite of the De Courci Family, has lost her daughter Tithona. She puts out a few loud and public notices around the White City enquiring after adventurers of strength and good moral fibre; she is answered, however, by Abelard Velasquez, David Southpaw and Kit Fisable. Laodisia reveals that Tithona was something of an embarrassment to the Family; she associated herself with adventuring types and spent a lot of time in the North, researching and exploring. She was apparently also a member of the Faculty of Botany at Thousand Arts. A certain amount of sniffing around ensues; little more can be discovered about Tithona from sources inside the White City, and she certainly seems to be the upstanding young noble scholar that her mother makes her out to be. The Faculty would really rather like her back, please, as she's about the only academic there who's not on drugs. With this preparation, the party set out for the North.
The journey to the Watchtowers is largely uneventful, though later the party do run across a Southern merchant and his bodyguard suffering an attack by zombies as they approach Three Rivers. They rescue the merchant, who is named Renaldo and claims to be working the Whistful City - White City - Port of Glass trade route (though Kit believes him to be a spy). There is some discussion of the road further ahead - Renaldo says that nothing has been heard from the Whistful City for some weeks and that the weather is rumoured to be foul - and the two groups go their separate ways. Some nights later, while still well outside the range of the usual unpleasant weather to be expected in the mountains, the party run into a severe snowstorm. While waiting it out they are attacked by Snow-Riders whispering Tithona's name, who seem unusually aggressive and numerous considering that the party are not yet in the foothills. After fighting the creatures off, the adventurers move north and reach the Whistful City in good time. There, they investigate stories of Tithona's disappearance; it seems that she set out to map an as-yet uncharted glacier up the River of Whispers some weeks ago and has not been seen since. Various mystics and dreamers also seem to be under the impression that she has gained the favour of the Frost Prince, who wishes to take her as his bride. Gaining access to the lodging-house where Tithona was staying, they discover nothing left behind except a saffron dress and a note. The note gives directions to the area where Tithona was mapping, in addition to a rough map and the location of a former guide named Grettern living in the City who might be able to offer further help. A storm begins to whip up as the party leave the house, and as they reach the doorway they are confronted by a number of dead-seeming, ice-bound humans who do not speak but indicate that they want Tithona's dress. Not being in the mood for a fight, the party hand the dress over and the storm abates. They then visit Grettern, who advises them of the best route into the mountains and offers to sell them various maps of the area - his lifetime's work. After a quick study of the maps, Kit goes pale and doesn't even try to haggle when he asks fifty Hexa for the lot. She promptly returns to their rooms, copies out the pertinent sections and stores the rest in a strongbox at the Exalted Church of the Light until their return.
Equipping themselves for cold weather, the adventurers set out on Tithona's trail. Soon, only a short way into the mountains, they encounter a stone temple to the Frost Prince where they are met by a group of his disciples who seem intent on stopping them by any means necessary. A frantic fight ensues, and though the party fight bravely they are no match for the powerful Wind sorcerer accompanying the disciples and his lightning bolts. David and Abelard are knocked unconscious and Kit, badly injured, flees, returning shortly afterwards to dispatch the surviving disciples in a surprise attack before they can sacrifice her two companions. Travelling onwards through the mountains, the adventurers discover the water of the River of Whispers to have an unexpected effect when they drink it, increasing their camaraderie and sense of well-being towards one another. Battered and nervous, the party follow Tithona's trail to a ford across the River (which seems to be whispering Tithona's name); a man stands on the other side of the ford, blocking the path but saying nothing. The party attempt to communicate with him, but he continues silent; after some worried discussion Abelard steps out into the river, which promptly freezes around him, damaging his legs and holding him fast until David and Kit pull him out. This display of hostility drives the party over the edge into full-blown paranoia and Kit shoots the man with her crossbow. He seems unconcerned by this, so she shoots him again. He shows no particular sign of concern (though appears to be bleeding badly) and, after some threats and posturing on both sides, the party are allowed to cross the ford via an ice-bridge. The anonymous man introduces himself as the Prince of Storms. After apologies from the mortals, the Prince indicates his opposition to his brother's wedding and convinces the party to agree to attend the wedding feast and somehow prevent the ceremony.
That night, as the party are camped with a fire burning and David on watch, an aged man caked in ice approaches the camp with jerky, puppet-like movements and introduces himself, in a voice that seems to come from the snows and mountains around them, as the Voice of the Frost Prince. He demands that the party turn back and leave Tithona to the Frost Prince. Things rapidly turn hostile, the Voice sending in more of the ice-bound dead to attack the party before casting a couple of lightning bolts, summoning a tempest and then flying off; it is discovered during a frantic battle that the ice-bound dead can only be stopped by hacking them to pieces near the fire, where it is warm enough to thaw the ice that encases their corpses. The next day the party reach the gateway to the path to the Frost-Prince's palace, deep in uncharted mountains, and the source of the River of Whispers. The large stone statues guarding the gates seem convinced by their story that they are carrying a blessing from the bride's mother, but require them to kneel in the snow and shed their cold-weather furs before they will be admitted to the wedding. At the palace, they come to a great icy hall and find the Frost Prince seated with his fiancée, who is encased in a block of ice, on enormous thrones of ice at the head of a grand feasting table laid only with jugs of ice-cold water and plates of sculpted snow. They keep up their story of bringing blessings from his future mother-in-law, but are not given permission to speak to Tithona - she must remain thus until the wedding the following morning. The other guests begin to arrive: the Rose Prince of the North, the King of the Eagles, the Prince of Storms (who pretends not to recognise the party) and - finally and most dramatically, appearing through a flame-filled gateway - the Lord of the House of Gods. The other deities seem respectful of the Burned Lord, whom the Frost Prince reveals will be officiating at the wedding.
After the celebrations end, the party are taken to their quarters for the night and locked in. David and Kit, who both have experience of adventuring in the mountains, know that they will freeze to death before morning if they cannot get out. All three are already suffering the effects of the cold, and they prepare to meet their deaths philosophically - having discovered that the Lord of the House of Gods is actually a really decent bloke, they all feel fairly positive about the Burned Realm. Before the cold can kill them, however, the Prince of Storms reappears to strike a bargain: he will release them from the room and ensure that they do not die of cold during the night if they agree to do his bidding at the wedding the next morning. They accede unquestioningly, and survive the night. At the wedding, the Prince of Storms requires them to ensure that Tithona rejects her future husband. Gambling that she is there against her will, the party convince the Frost Prince to release her from the block of ice; she immediately begs them to take her away from her abductor and clearly states that she is there against her will. The Frost Prince again encases her in ice, but not before the party can raise their objections with the Lord of the House of the Gods. He takes them aside, explaining that while he himself objects to the wedding, he has no power to act outside the code of laws known as Amroth which binds the gods. Under this code, the mortals may prevent the wedding - but only by winning in a challenge of chance against their opponent. The Frost Prince seems furious, but is forced to agree to the challenge - the party choose dice after a significant exchange of looks with the Prince of Storms. The dice are manipulated; the party win the game, the Frost Prince gives Tithona his "blessing" in the form of a kiss on the cheek, and they proceed to leave the mountains with Tithona at great speed, killing some innocent explorers to replace their lost cold-weather gear on the way. They are hunted and assaulted by Snow-Riders and other creatures all the way out of the mountains, but return to the Whistful City alive and safe. Tithona sickens and wastes away as they leave the mountains, but the last anyone heard she was well on her way to a full recovery with the help of various powerful sorcerers. The adventurers are recognised, and well paid, by the De Courcis for their achievement and Kit is promoted to the Chief Professorship of the Cartography Faculty of the College of the Thousand Arts for her revolutionary new findings on the nature of the gods.
Run by Joff & Helen W on 24th April 2005 (Sunday 1st week, Trinity term)
A sequel to "Hammering the Snake" & "Mad Dogs & Vitriarchs".
Players: Belor de Velland (Peter), Carlos de Mamushi (Joe W), Brother Jara (Xan), Julia van der Meer (Laura), Yana (Ellie)
Mission Brief: Agent Verrone of the Low Guard calls some adventurers to the Grassy Knoll tavern and tells them that a highly placed politician and merchant in the City of Crossroads has come into possession of the First Hammer and is preparing a ritual to free the Bound Ones. The adventurers are tasked with recovering the First Hammer at any cost, in order to save the world.
Adventure Summary: The adventurers meet up with Verrone at the Grassy Knoll Tavern, outside the Watchtowers on the Eastern road. He tells them that the First Hammer (see the "Hammering the Snake" adventure summary for details of how the First Hammer was stolen and the City of Crossroads framed for its theft) has been traced to the house of a prominent merchant and politician in the City of Crossroads named Andre Daul, who is known to be a cultist of the Bound Ones and is believed to be preparing a ritual to use the Hammer to free them from their bindings. They are given Daul's address and instructed to memorise it, being warned that the future of the world could depend on their recovering the Hammer before he can use it, given a 10 Hexa advance to cover any expenses they incur and sent off to the East.
On their way along the road to the City of Crossroads they encounter a group of bandits who try to lure them into an ambush by asking for help with a "broken" cart and attack when this ruse is ignored, all of whom are slain and burnt on a makeshift pyre. Later on their journey they meet a mad Light sorcerer who lives in a cave near the road and emerges to rant at them. He and Carlos raise the Light together and he purifies Carlos without incident, but then he tries to purify the rest of the party and attacks Yana when she refuses the Light's "blessing", at which point the rest of the adventurers rush in to subdue him and, after some discussion, leave him by the roadside, finding nothing in his cave but crude paintings of smiling faces. As the adventurers camp that night they are attacked by wolves, while fighting off the pack of vicious animals the mad Light sorcerer catches up with the party and also attacks them, being subdued again then having his throat slit to stop him troubling them any longer.
Eventually arriving at the City of Crossroads, where Yana, Jara and Julia profess to be visiting their families while Belor and Carlos pose as their friends and tourists, they eventually convince the gate guards to admit them. The party hire rooms for the night in an expensive inn close to Daul's home in the wealthy quarter of the city, despite a great deal of anti-White-City sentiment from the management and locals (due to White City rumour blaming Crossroads for the theft of the Hammer) which leaves bad feeling all round but narrowly avoids degenerating into a brawl. Belor finds a smith to fix his armour, Carlos seeks out some seedy contacts to learn more about Daul and the rest of the party go for a stroll around the block containing Daul's residence, noting the high walls, stout gates with watchful guards, spacious gardens and lack of back alleys. It is discovered that Daul has a reputation as an upstanding family man with a loving wife and daughter whose politics support strong moral values. Returning to the inn, Carlos and Belor make public their interest in purchasing a property locally before the party retire for the night.
Next morning the party are approached over breakfast by an estate agent bearing details of several nearby properties which are vacant and available for purchase, some of which are in the same block as Daul's residence. Carlos waits until Daul has left his home for the day and talks his way in to an audience with Daul's wife and daughter, with Yana posing as his bodyguard, telling them that he is interested in purchasing a nearby property and would like their opinion on the area. Meanwhile Belor, Jara and Julia approach a vacant property whose garden backs onto Daul's and Julia subtly commends the lock on the gate to ash. The three adventurers enter the property as if looking round as potential purchasers, but have only spent a few minutes looking at the back garden when a large bunch of Crossroads Guards charge into the property and attack them! The guards are driven off with sorcery and swords, a couple of them killed in the process, and the three adventurers hop over the wall into Daul's garden and hide in the bushes. Meanwhile more Crossroads guards have burst into Daul's house and assaulted Carlos and Yana - one is captured and a knife held to his throat by Carlos, but with a cry of "For the CNP!" he forces his throat onto the blade and kills himself (CNP is later discovered to stand for the Crossroads National Party, a fringe political faction in the city). During this temporary lull, the two parties meet up and Jara searches Daul's house, finding no trace of the First Hammer nor anything else incriminating or out of the ordinary. Julia commends the door of Daul's safe to ash and flees into a nearby garden with Jara, Belor and the papers from the safe, but when read under cover of some shrubbery the papers are found to be merely mercantile and political notes containing nothing dubious or cult related. After persuading a new squad of guards that they are innocent of all wrongdoing, Carlos and Yana climb through back gardens to join their comrades and the party uses Jara's local knowledge to flee the city through the sewers as a citywide manhunt gets underway.
Heading East to check out rumours of cultists of the Eater Of Wings, the party are ambushed from the undergrowth by a group of rangers whose weapons bear the symbol of an eye overlaying the usual Crossroads shield. After all of them are slain or driven off Julia summons up the spirit of their leader and learns that they were members of "The Watchful", Crossroads' equivalent of the Low Guard, sent to capture and kill the party. More concerning is the news that the Watchful were warned that the party were coming to the City of Crossroads to assassinate Daul by an anonymous source some three weeks previously, before the adventurers themselves were even told of their mission! Continuing East, the party run into a group of cultists of the Eater of Wings - most of the cultists are cutting the wings from chickens and consuming them raw, while their large half-naked leader smashes chains with a hammer. The cultists spot the party and charge, a fierce battle leading to their swift demise. The mutilated chickens are put out of their misery and the party are slightly alarmed to discover that Yana and Carlos recognise the leader's hammer as the same one found on the rock next to the First Hammer (see the "If I Had A Hammer" adventure summary). Spirits of the dead cultists are summoned up - the leader says that the worship of the Eater Of Wings has been passed down through his family for generations and that the cultists are becoming more public because they're confident their god will soon be free! He also admits to eating Whisty, the young lad who previously owned the hammer. One of the dead cultists was a visionary who claims to have foreseen the freeing of the Eater Of Wings and the arrival of the party, also claiming to have seen rather vague visions of the First Hammer - carried by "a group of five people, some armoured, some not armoured, some male, some female, going around breaking stuff".
Taking a very circuitous route around to the north of the City of Crossroads the party head back towards the Eastern watchtower of the White City, staying off the roads. A day's journey from the Watchtower they are ambushed by a large group of bandits, but after a long and confused fight they win through, leaving some of the bandits unconscious with a warning to spread the word that attacking small groups of heavily armed travellers is a bad idea. Then the bandits' camp is searched and the party find a White City diplomatic pouch captured on its way from the White City to the City of Crossroads, broken open by the bandits and its contents read, said contents including an unsigned memo (which purports to be one of five copies) telling the White City embassy in the City of Crossroads to deny all knowledge of the party's Low Guard sponsored mission! The unconscious bandits are then slain to keep the White City's secrets. Arriving at the Eastern Watchtower, Carlos uses subtle Low Guard signals to make contact with a Low Guard agent there and tell him the news of what's really been going on, then the adventurers make a beeline back to the White City.
On the way to their various destinations in the White City the party are ambushed in a backstreet by a group of armed footpads, running from them to see High Guardsmen putting up posters bearing the party's faces and accusing them of associating with the wanted murderer Sirius Panastra! Jara and Yana flee to the Cloistered Brethren of Chains, where they are granted an audience with the order's Master and tell him what's been going on. Meanwhile Carlos leads Belor and Julia to the Governor's Palace and tries to gain an audience with Sir Francis De Courci, but as he is unavailable they meet with Governor Rebecca De Courci instead and explained the situation to her before being summoned to see the Cloistered Brethren by a messenger from the Master. Verrone, having been appraised of the situation by Rebecca, finds the party with the Cloistered Brethren and tells them that Rebecca has spoken to the High Guard and sorted out the problem with the wanted posters and that he believes the source of all the scheming is his superior, whom he knows only as "Silver" who reports to "Gold". With Yana watching through his eyes, Verrone meets Silver's messenger for their regular exchange of messages and follows him through the streets to Silver's mansion elsewhere in the city. Once the messenger has left Verrone barges in to confront Silver, with the party hiding outside - Silver blasts Verrone into unconsciousness with Glass sorcery, at which point the party burst in to subdue Silver and his Chain sorcerer bodyguard. Carlos gathers Silver's papers, refusing to let anyone else see confidential Low Guard information. Silver's house is found to be full of the mirrors used by some Glass sorcerers for communication. Once Verrone recovers Silver and his bodyguard are handed over to the Low Guard.
In the aftermath of these events everybody's name is cleared, the High Guardsmen investigating the murder of Reginald De Courci publicly apologising and declaring that there is no reason to suspect that those named on the erroneous poster have ever even met Sirius Panastra. Jobs are lost over the affair. Soon afterwards a remarkably heavily guarded courier, with a remarkably large and heavily laden wagon, rolls East from the White City, following which a story reaches the White City from the City of Crossroads about a band of Glass sorcerers who, having stolen the faces of citizens of the White City, attempted to burgle the house of a rich Crossroads merchant but were driven off by the brave Crossroads City Guard. The adventurers each receive a purse of money and an anonymous note both apologising and thanking them. Carlos receives an audience with Sir Francis De Courci, who 'asks' that all the papers (including those marked with coded notes in green ink and a map marking an important location in a desert to the south of the City of Crossroads) from Silver's study be handed over. Sir Francis also instructs Verrone to train Carlos as his replacement pending Verrone's own promotion to Silver status.
Soon after the papers are in the Low Guard's hands there is a series of brutal murders including apparently respectable merchants, rangers, High Guardsmen and even a couple of minor nobles. The High Guard explains these murders away as a disagreement within a smuggling ring. A White City merchant is left outside the Eastern Watchtower with an arrow through his neck, a mirror in his purse and the word 'LIAR' and a small eye cut into his forehead.
Escape From The Red Gryphon
Part five of the "Naming & Binding War" campaign, a sequel to "Hammering the Snake".
Run by Rich & Joe W on 30th April 2005 (Saturday 1st week, Trinity term)
Players: Belor de Velland (Peter), Brynna Mortivelli (Helen W), Sebastian (Joff), Stephano De Courci (Julian), Vincenzi Velasquez (Xan)
Mission Brief: Sir Francis De Courci has a quiet word in Vincenzi's ear and asks him to put together a team of adventurers to head East and scout out the Army of the Red Gryphon in a manner which gives the White City full deniability.
Adventure Summary: After meeting Sir Francis De Courci in the back room of the Chalice & Barrel inn to discuss plans, expenses, cover stories et cetera the adventurers head out East, having relatively little trouble until they reach a site of slaughter - the ground all around is churned up from the passage of many feet and soaked in blood, one body lying on the ground and more bodies dripping blood from the branches of trees overhead. The party approaches cautiously, Vincenzi identifying the body as belonging to a Blood sorcerer from the White City who was obsessed with the concept of vengeance. His corpse appears to have died from blood loss and bears numerous small pinpricks all over it, his hands still clutching a letter written with a dagger dipped in his own blood. Vincenzi is able to translate the letter, which is written in a variant of one of the Oldest Tongues used by followers of the Old Powers and speaks of "the coming of Vengeance". The tracks in the area indicate that a small caravan was intercepted by a group of around a hundred soldiers, who then departed to the north. Brynna summons up the spirit of the dead Blood sorcerer, who tells her that he was travelling to the City of Crossroads with a small party from the White City including an envoy from the De Courcis when a hundred Red Gryphon soldiers ambushed and surrounded them. The soldiers kept them hemmed inside a wide circle and then parted to let through a huge man with glowing purple eyes and his face covered in pulsing black veins, who carried a blood-dripping sword that inflicted wounds which Blood magic and healing potions couldn't heal. The huge man seemed to harbour a particular hatred for those associated with the De Courcis and slaughtered the caravan one by one, breaking their bones with his bare hands and throwing their bodies up into the branches of the trees. Vincenzi surmises that the sword the huge man wielded is the infamous blade called "Vengeance" and worries that the huge man referred to could be Sirius Panastra.
The party heads north, following the tracks of the patrol, being ambushed along the way by a group of ogres disguised as trees. The land they travel over shifts and twists in strange ways, evidence of the passage of He Who Walks Wilderness, but they manage to follow the patrol's tracks to a small rocky outcrop in the middle of the plains, the outcrop being distinguished by containing a cave mouth guarded by a small group of Red Gryphon soldiers. The adventurers approach with weapons sheathed and attempt to parley, but are almost immediately denounced as spies and attacked - after killing a couple of dozen Red Gryphon soldiers, with more swarming out of the cave mouth every minute, they retreat to a safe distance to reconsider their approach. Leaving the rest of the party in cover, Vincenzi strips naked and circles round the outcrop carrying only one of Sebastian's throwing daggers, his plan being to use Blood sorcery to grow trees that will collapse the cave mouth with their roots, flying to safety as a bird if need be. On his way to the outcrop he meets a single wolf, which leads him to a small hole in the side of the outcrop just large enough for people to crawl through. Vincenzi thanks the wolf and leaves it by the tunnel while he climbs up the outcrop to above the cave mouth - but is assailed by vertigo when he peers over the edge and finds himself looking down upon a mountain pass from hundreds of feet up a cliff. Realising that collapsing a whole dimensionally warped mountain is beyond him, he returns to his comrades and they all follow the wolf through the small tunnel. This passageway continues for some distance before opening out onto a high mountain ledge, leaving no trace of the way back. The party find themselves looking out over a large valley ringed by mountains with a single pass leading through them, in the middle of the valley a vast army camp housing in the order of a hundred thousand men. An array of siege engines is practicing against mock-ups of sections of the White City's walls while overhead fly gigantic red gryphons thirty feet long, many of them bearing riders, some of them spotted transforming into huge ogres when they land. The adventurers spend some time observing the camp through Sebastian's spyglass and making notes of the army's disposition, then notice one of the gigantic gryphon's flying in the direction of their ledge. Before the party can be seen the wolf breaks cover and runs off down the mountainside, snatched up by the gryphon and transforming into a human as she dies, revealing herself to have been a Trapped Man. While the gryphon flies back to the camp with its snack the party decide to make for the pass and try to fight their way to freedom.
They reach the pass and fight their way through the first group of Red Gryphon soldiers, travelling on they are ambushed by ogres disguised as rocks and after dismembering them fight their way through another group of Red Gryphon troops. Then their path is blocked by three of the gigantic ogres - telling everyone to grab onto her, Brynna summons forth an ashen cloud and leads the party through, losing one of the gigantic ogres and giving the adventurers a headstart on the other two. The party flees down the pass but is unable to outrun the long legs of their two pursuers, eventually turning to face them and taking them down in an extremely challenging battle. The next group of Red Gryphon soldiers they meet includes a Chain-Wraith (swiftly exorcised by Vincenzi and Brynna) and is led by an officer with glowing purple eyes - after slaughtering the troops the party take the officer's head and the notes from his belt pouch for later examination and interrogation back in the city. They also take the uniforms from some of their slain opponents; posing as Red Gryphon troops allows them to get close enough to the next group of soldiers that they are able to attack with some measure of surprise. Vincenzi warns his comrades not to release the raggedly dressed young woman chained up nearby, as he suspects her to be a Fell Beast from the original Binding War. The ruse is rather less successful against the next group of Red Gryphon soldiers, who are numerous and well trained and nearly manage to take down half the party before being defeated, but at last the party limp out into the sunlight and finds that they have finally fought their way free of the outcrop. They start to head homewards, only to find their path blocked by a horde of troglodytes - as the trogs attack Vincenzi takes down most of the first wave with Blood curses, but things take a turn for the worse when one of the troglodytes reveals itself to be the gigantic ogre the party managed to outrun earlier! After a great deal of hard work the ogre is taken down, but before it can be fully dismembered Brynna decides to try out her latest experimental potion on it to see what happens. What happens is that the gigantic ogre is healed up and becomes able to fly in ogre form, resulting in an aerial duel with Stephano, another long hard battle and a certain amount of yelling at Brynna. After a night's rest, Vincenzi transforms into an eagle and flies back to the White City to bring them the news as fast as possible, leaving his comrades to catch up. Sir Francis De Courci is somewhat shocked by the news and the White City immediately moves to a war footing.
White City Banquet
GMed by Rich, organised by Chris V, Ellie, Helen W & Joe R, a sequel to "Escape From The Red Gryphon".
Run at The Mitre on the evening of 6th May 2005 (Friday 2nd week, Trinity term)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Chris V & hosted by Chris N.
PCs: Belor de Velland (Peter), "Ripper" Bill McKenzie (James), Carlos de Mamushi (Joe W), Dante De Almedia (Chris V), Edwin Lunn (Andrew), Erica de Velland (Vicky), Federico Velasquez (Joff), Johanna De Courci (Christi), Kisu (Dom), Professor Kit Fisable (Helen W), Lucia du Bois (Lucy), Neara (Helen L), Sebastian (Joff), Serafine D'Artois (Laura), Stephano De Courci (Julian), Toquell Velasquez (Joe W), Toramil Ayaron Loralion (Francis), Vincenzi Velasquez (Xan)
NPCs: Sir Alexander Monteveri of the Shining Order (Matt), Brand of the Temple of Ashes (Arthur), Captain Caraban of the Army of the Red Gryphon (Chris V), Rebecca De Courci (Ellie), Lady Sophia of the City of Crossroads (Tristram), Xerxes of the Port of Glass (Mark B), a skeletal emissary of the Necromancer of Three Rivers (Rich), a Sergeant of the High Guard (Rich), a Brother of the Cloistered Brethren of Chains (Rich)
Event Brief: With tensions between the White City and the City of Crossroads running at an all-time high following the theft of the First Hammer, a banquet has been arranged for the people of the two cities to mingle, politic and socialise in an effort to foster more cordial diplomatic relations while current events are discussed.
But soon afterwards, gossip goes through the White City like chilli through a short grandmother. And when the gossip is that an army is on your doorstep that chilli has extra peppers!
The city is now a-buzz as people are preparing for war. The blacksmiths have gone into overproduction. Food and goods are being called in from the city's hinterlands. Far from panic, people seem to have an attitude along the lines of "We knew something was coming" and they are just glad to get on with it. The De Courcis are overseeing the main efforts and the war chests are being broached. Money comes forth to pay for troops, the High Guard and Low Guard look busy. The entire city is galvanised, from the highest noble to the lowest sewer cleaner. Everyone has a sharp knife in waiting.
The De Courcis have announced that the small event they had organised to smooth things over further between the White City and the City of Crossroads now has greater importance. They wish, in the coming conflict, to see their allies stand with them so they can be counted and praised. Let the fair weather friends retreat before the storm. A storm the White City will weather.
Event Summary: The event has been organised by Rebecca De Courci, the Governor of the White City, in concert with the White City's embassy from the City of Crossroads. As well as the politicians, nobles and diplomats that one would expect the event is also open to adventurers, merchants, priests, sorcerers and scholars so that the people of the two cities may mingle freely and get to know each other, warts and all. The event takes place in the "Knight Inn", which stands alone on a small hillock just inside a small park in the White City. An excellent venue if one wants a trouble free event, as it is easily guarded and surrounded by a cordon of troops. Those who wish can make a grand entrance or sneak up unseen. Special measures have been taken to ensure that nothing interrupts this meeting. The Cloistered Brethren of Chains have brought out a huge chain which has encircled the Knight Inn. Those who cross into the chain are bound to do no harm and to use no magic or skill to harm another while within. It is traditional to carry a small chain to be seen to accept these conditions. Notable events at the banquet include:
The Horse Whisperers
Run by Joe W, Ellie & Xan on 7th May 2005 (Saturday 2nd week, Trinity term)
Linked to the "Naming & Binding War" campaign, a sequel to the "White City Banquet".
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Fergus, hosted by Chris N.
Players: Alexis (Tristram), Erica de Velland (Vicky), Erskine Uskglass aka "Roland the Subtle" (Matt), Johanna De Courci (Christi), Kisu (Dom), Lucia du Bois (Lucy), Toramil Ayaron Loralion (Francis)
Mission Brief: Louis Trentard, a priest of the Verdant Lord, asks a group of adventurers to travel West into the Great Forest to speak with a friendly tribe of centaurs in an attempt to persuade them to lend their aid in the war against the Army of the Red Gryphon.
Adventure Summary: Louis guides the party past the Watchtowers and into the Great Forest, guiding them past most of the Forest's dangers apart from a pack of wolves which attack the party's camp one night while Louis is deep in meditation (having turned himself into a tree). Meeting the centaur tribe with whom Louis has previously established friendly relations, the adventurers fend off the rude jokes and amorous advances of the younger members and talk to the elder, who asks that they prove their worth before being offered any help or advice that the tribe may give. To do this the party are sent off to destroy a small group of trolls who have set up camp not far away and are occasionally bothering the centaurs. Once the trolls are slain the party returns and are addressed by the centaur tribe's stargazer, who tells them that all living centaurs are descended from the First Tribe. This Tribe followed their leader and patron deity, the Old Power known as The Great Hunter, into battle in the original Binding War, but the Great Hunter was slain and their numbers decimated, the survivors travelling South over the seas a thousand years ago and not having been heard of since then. But the stargazer says that now the Queen of Lilies has passed through the constellation of the Hunt the tribe's wisefolk have judged it an auspicious time to search for their ancestors and say that if the First Tribe return and join the war, many centaur tribes from the Great Forest would follow them into battle. The party are advised to travel to the Breathing Isles in search of further clues. They head South to the coast, with only some minor trouble when accosted by a group of bandits along the way, and find a small fishing village friendly to the White City where they are able to hire a boat and its crew to take them on a sea voyage.
Arriving at largest island of the Breathing Isles, the adventurers find a small port ruled over by the so-called Pirate King. On landing they are accosted by a number of inquisitive buccaneers eager to learn their business, Erica soon ingratiates herself with the locals and everyone moves to a nearby tavern where the party drink and carouse with the natives, a couple of whom slip off surreptitiously amidst the confusion. There is a great deal of ribaldry and amusement when the adventurers claim to be looking for centaurs, a brief bar fight breaks out, various indecent proposals are made, but eventually the party learn that strange tracks have been seen near the northern end of the island and they set off, telling their boat to wait for them in the port. On their way north they meet a mad Glass sorcerer named Maximillian, accompanied by an escort of Splinter-Men. Maximillian tells them that he is mapping the island on behalf of Lemuel D'Artois and orders them to stay absolutely still so as not to spoil the accuracy of his map, which he is crafting from a large block of solid glass. The conversation soon deteriorates, especially when Maximillian reveals that now the party know why he's here he will have to kill them all for knowing too much and a fight ensues. Maximillian is killed and his escort destroyed - once the fight is over Roland nearly smashes the map, but concerned about what might happen the rest of the party persuade him that it's best off just buried. Moving on, the party meet a friendly group of travellers who have stopped for lunch and invite the adventurers to join them. Everybody sits down and starts lunching, the travellers offering to repair the damaged leather armour which some of the adventurers are wearing - but once the party are relaxed and partially unarmoured the travellers draw daggers and attack, wielding their weapons with some skill! A confused and vicious melée ensues, which the adventurers eventually win - a few of the injured assassins try to flee but are brought down by Wind sorcery, captured and questioned. They say nothing, but some of them have hidden tattoos which Roland and Erica recognise as symbols of the Rattle Prince. The party continue north, until near dusk they spot a mad old hermit named Whistler who offers them the hospitality of his coastal hovel for the night. He tells the party of his twenty years of solitude following a shipwreck on the nearby coast of which he was the only survivor and they all settle down to sleep, to be attacked by strange spirits in the middle of the night. On waking in the morning, most of the adventurers are uncharacteristically fractious, insulting and disagreeable, as a result of which several arguments break out and nearly result in violence before peace is restored and they move off, grumbling.
Later that morning Kisu finds some old hoofed tracks that lead to a large crack in a hillside guarded by a number of hostile people armed with daggers who tell the party to leave. The adventurers refuse to do so and another battle ensues, once the guards are slain the party enter the crack and find a narrow gorge leading to a large, lush, hidden valley with a small village at the far end and a number of very large ponies milling around in a herd in the grassy meadows. Travelling to the village, which is bustling with activity, the party are met with a great deal of hostility and suspicion from the villagers - who appear to be under the impression that the original Binding War still rages beyond their valley and that only the protection of the Great Hunter keeps them safe. They say that none of their number who have ventured outside the valley have ever returned, but that the Great Hunter occasionally visits them to take their best and brightest with Him to fight at His side in the Binding War. The village priest in particular is incensed by the party's arrival, accusing them of being agents of the Namers and enemies of the people in the village, but many of the other villagers are eventually persuaded to relax their guard a little and talk to the adventurers. They seem worried by their priest's increasingly erratic and deranged behaviour, but openly talk of how the large ponies are called "horses" and can be ridden by people, even into battle! There is a great deal of discussion, confusion and tension, a certain amount of Wind sorcery is covertly performed, one of the villagers is afflicted with illness after speaking out against the priest, a scuffle results in the priest being rendered unconscious, eventually the villagers warily accept that there's a chance the adventurers might be telling the truth and seek a sign from the Great Hunter - at which point a wind blows symbols in the dirt and these are interpreted as indicating that the villagers should ride to war! The whole village packs up and heads for the island's port; along the way they are accosted by a large group of pirates who demand that they be given the large ponies, a fight ensues during which some of the villagers demonstrate the efficacy of lance charges against swordsmen on foot and the pirates are soon slain. At the port a much larger boat is hired to carry the villagers of the First Tribe back to the mainland, where they eventually come to the White City in triumph - though the centaur tribes are displeased at the suggestions and implications that the First Tribe were humans on "horses" rather than true centaurs.
Forging Kit Fisable
Part six-A of the "Naming & Binding War" campaign, a sequel to "Hammering the Snake".
Run by Rich & Ellie on 14th May 2005 (Saturday 3rd week, Trinity term)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Fergus, Dom & Lucy, hosted by Chris N.
Players: Arik Blackthorne (Julian), Belor de Velland (Peter), "Ripper" Bill McKenzie (James), Professor Kit Fisable (Helen W), Selena Curiana (Vicky), Toquell Velasquez (Joe W)
Mission Brief: Toquell and his "Band of Merry Bastards" head West into the Great Forest in search of the First Anvil, where they hope to use the First Hammer, the remains of the Serpent of Chains and a willing sacrifice to create a weapon that will bring down the Powers themselves.
Adventure Summary: After some research, it has been discovered that the rock upon which the First Hammer was found is in fact the First Anvil. Toquell and his entourage plan out the ritual and then head into the Forest with the First Hammer and a number of the chains that used to comprise the Serpent of Chains. After defeating a large group of trolls they arrive at the First Anvil, only to find it surrounded by Children of the Vine, somewhat hungover and recovering from a wild party the night before. Kit hides in the bushes while Bill feeds them some of his blood and the other adventurers persuade them to leave with fanciful tales of another wild party a few miles off and a broken wagon full of wine not far down the trail. With the area to themselves, the adventurers notice that there appear to be two copies of the First Anvil rather than just one - Glass magic reveals the second anvil to be a shapeshifted sleeping ogre, which is soon slain. Then the party notice that there are floating walnuts being cracked on the First Anvil; upon investigating Bill discerns the spirit of the lad named Whisty, who has become a poltergeist after being killed and eaten by cultists of the Eater of Wings. After some negotiation Whisty agrees to leave the area while the ritual is being carried out, after having revealed that a small un-Vitrified fragment of the First Hammer still survives near the First Anvil, and so the process begins - a lengthy ritual which involves Kit being bound to the First Anvil with the chains from the Serpent of Chains, Chain magic, Name magic, Glass magic, Kit's appearance shifting to look like Selena and the First Hammer being used to drive the chains into Kit's heart, after which all of the chains are sucked into her body as Toquell binds her spirit to her body and she is renamed by Toquell's Name magic as "Binder of the Seven Powers". During the ritual the party are attacked by a large group of bandits and then by a horde of ferocious woodland animals which appear to be belligerently drunk. Eventually the ritual is completed successfully, with Kit's outward appearance unchanged - though she now leaves noticeably heavier tracks in the ground where she walks. The party head back out of the Forest, fighting a large pack of wolves and a horde of Splinter-Men on their way home to the White City.
Uniting The Tribes
Part six-B of the "Naming & Binding War" campaign, a sequel to the "White City Banquet".
Run by Rich & Joe W on 14th May 2005 (Saturday 3rd week, Trinity term)
Players: Federico Velasquez (Joff), Kisu (Dom), Lucia du Bois (Lucy), Neara (Helen L), Vincenzi Velasquez (Xan), Yana (Ellie)
Mission Brief: Kisu leads a mission East under Vincenzi's sponsorship in an attempt to unite the tribes of the East and recruit their aid against the Army of the Red Gryphon.
Adventure Summary: The party head East through the territory patrolled by the Army of the Red Gryphon, with Vincenzi shapeshifting by Blood magic and scouting ahead in the form of an eagle to help them avoid danger. This doesn't prevent an ambush by ogres, who disguise themselves by shapeshifting into rocks and plants until the party are close and then shapeshift to look like trolls just before the party come into sight, being defeated in a hard fought battle. Flying off to scout again, Vincenzi leads the party towards the weakest point in the line of Red Gryphon patrols, where they only have to face a relatively small group of Red Gryphon soldiers and their captain accompanied by a single giant ogre which Yana manages to take down. Moving into the lands of the Eastern tribes, they find a village which has been taken over by a cannibal band of outcast tribesmen who offer the party a taste of their stew - stew in which a captive (and still protesting) villager is being boiled alive. Vincenzi accepts a bowl and seems to like it but the rest decline with some distaste; after some tense negotiations the cannibals move aside to let the party pass through but there is muttering in the ranks of both sides and they draw weapons and turn on each other almost simultaneously. The cannibals are soon cut down, two of their number taken alive and tied to stakes for questioning (which mostly consists of being ranted at by the party and beaten up by Federico), but this hasn't gone on long before the bodies of the original villagers break out of the hut in which they had been stored for later consumption, having acquired a cruel semblance of life as zombies in search of vengeance upon the living for their untimely demise. These too are cut down, but during the battle Neara frees the two captive cannibals and they run off. The rest of the party rant at her for a bit, then Vincenzi shapeshifts into a horse and chases the fleeing cannibals down, kicking and trampling them to death with his hooves before rejoining his companions.
Some way further on they reach the lands of the Eastern tribes, where Kisu is surprised to find all of the surviving tribes gathered together for a great meeting. There is much debate and posturing, the chieftains are shown the steel weapons and steelsilk armour which the White City offers for their assistance, the party talk to the chieftains and shamans of the tribes at length and two tests are demanded by the tribes. First, Kisu is pitted against one of the champion warriors of the tribes and narrowly defeats his opponent, though sorely wounded in the process. Next Yana is pitted against a captive ogre, released from its chains and wielding a huge mace in each hand, while a great deal of betting on the contest takes place. Yana is triumphant and the ogre is chained up once more before its wounds can heal enough for it to regain consciousness. The tribes agree to unite and help the White City fight against the Army of the Red Gryphon, which decision is commemorated by a great celebration before the adventurers return to the White City with the good news.
Hope From The North
Part six-C of the "Naming & Binding War" campaign, a sequel to the "White City Banquet".
Run by Rich & Ellie on 14th May 2005 (Saturday 3rd week, Trinity term)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Fergus, Dom & Lucy, hosted by Chris N.
Players: Andreas Garric (Fergus), Dr. Edward Holtz (Joe W), Erskine Uskglass aka "Roland the Subtle" (Matt), Brother Jara (Xan), Johanna De Courci (Christi), Professor Kit Fisable (Helen W)
Mission Brief: Kit leads a College of the Thousand Arts sponsored mission North in an attempt to recruit the aid of the dragon known as "Toramaes, The Burning Ghost" and the army known as "The Black Sword of Hope" for the war against the Army of the Red Gryphon.
Adventure Summary: The party head North towards the mountains, encountering a group of zombies led by an undead necromancer as they pass through the territory claimed by the Palace at Three Rivers. The necromancer seems rather put out at the treatment given to his master's envoy at the recent White City Banquet, but he and his minions are soon destroyed. Moving on, the party encounter what appears to be a hostage situation - a bandit is holding a dagger to his captive's throat while a woman pleads with him for her friend's release. The party leap to the woman's rescue, but find themselves drawn into a trap as bandit, captive and woman are revealed as ravenous ghouls, more ghouls springing out from their hiding place and leaping on the party. In a hard fought battle Johanna is nearly slain, several potions and the help of her comrades required to get her back on her feet. Eventually the adventurers reach the Whistful City, where the inhabitants they find seem even more drugged out than usual. Questions about dragons and the army of the Black Sword of Hope are replied to with little but nonsense, but the party do manage to pick up a couple of leads and get some of their armour repaired before retiring to an inn for the night, dragging the reluctant and by now somewhat spaced out Andreas with them despite his pleas to stay with his new found friends and their interesting herbs.
The next morning the party set out for the high mountains, their progress being slowed by an encounter with a large group of bandits. The bandits are quickly slain, two of their archers being bound by Chain magic and captured for questioning - after some light torture by Brother Jara, browbeating from Andreas and intimidating surgical opinions from Dr. Holtz they are soon ready to tell everything they know, which isn't much, after which Andreas orders them released and they run off. At last the party arrive at a high mountain plateau where they manage to attract Toramaes' attention and he flies down to speak with them, landing in his vast dragon form and then shifting into a human form for ease of conversation. Kit does most of the talking, playing up her part in relieving Toramaes of his former fire (see the "Dragonfire & Deep Water" adventure summary) in hopes of gratitude, but he initially seems unconvinced. After some time, despite reluctance on the part of some of the adventurers to show him respect and babbling about anatomy and goans from Dr. Holtz which nearly has him killed by the rest of the party for angering Toramaes (and eventually gets him clubbed into unconsciousness by his comrades before he can commit yet another faux pas) the dragon agrees to head south and visit the war, expressing an interest in snacking on some of the giant ogres he's told about - but demands to be impressed when he arrives, causing some of the party concern as to which side (if any) he'll actually end up fighting on. Toramaes departs, following which most of the party turn angrily on Dr. Holtz with talk of tragic "accidents" in the mountains, only Brother Jara willing to take the doctor's side.
Eventually the party move on in search of the Black Sword of Hope. They find Captain Armenius Domovoi and two of his men surrounded by bandits and fighting for their lives, so rush in to rescue them. The bandits slain, Captain Domovoi escorts the adventurers back to his army's camp, telling them that the Black Sword's Generals have been lost in the Dreamlands and not heard from for many months. Back at the camp, while Dr. Holtz argues with the camp's surgeon about surgical theories and techniques Captain Domovoi is appraised of the current situation with the Army of the Red Gryphon and pledges to take as many of the Black Sword of Hope soldiers as he can gather at short notice south, not to fight on any one side but, he claims, to singlehandedly put a stop to the war!
Pirates of the Southern Seas
Run by Laura on 21st May 2005 (Saturday 4th week, Trinity term)
Linked to the "Naming & Binding War" campaign, a sequel to the "White City Banquet".
Players: Abelard Velasquez (Rich), Andreas Garric (Fergus), Erica de Velland (Vicky), Sebastian (Joff), Stephano De Courci (Julian)
Mission Brief: A group of adventurers from the White City head to the Breathing Isles to talk to the Pirate King in an attempt to recruit his aid against the Army of the Red Gryphon.
Adventure Summary: The party travel south towards the Port of Glass, encountering on the way a group of bandits claiming to work for a woman named Lucrecia D’Artois. The bandits asking that the party hand over the woman named Jade, who allegedly “belongs” to Lucrecia D’Artois. The party refuse and a fight ensues. Eventually the bandits are defeated but as the bodies are searched they discover wanted posters which bear an uncanny resemblance to Erica de Velland. Erica explains that she believes that someone must have used her face during her time in the Port of Glass, although not without arousing suspicion of some of the other party members.
Sebastian arranges for the party to travel on a boat from a small village near the Port. This requires the party to travel for some time through the Garden Lands, where they encounter the Bodach. An unusual amount of the surrounding land has been vitrified and the leader of the Bodach seems to suggest there is some kind of conflict ensuing with the Port. The party however are unable to give any aid, other than promising to raise the issue of the Bodach's plight when they return to the White City. Reluctantly there are allowed to leave.
On arriving in the village Sebastian negotiates with some of his old friends and arranges a passage to the largest of the Breathing Isles, where the Pirate King is supposedly located. The passage is mostly uneventful, save for some stormy weather.
Upon discussion with the locals Sebastian discovers the location of the Pirate King and arranges a meeting. He arranges a deal with the King, that if the King's men fight on the side of the White city in the forthcoming battle against the Army of the Red Gryphon then they will have the first choice of the spoils of war. The King accepts and informs the party of the presence of a powerful Wind sorcerer towards the southern end of the island. The sorcerer supposedly inhabits a lighthouse in a part of the stormiest area of the island. The Pirate King tells them that his men would consider it lucky if they could recruit the sorcerer’s aid.
The part encounter a flurry of birds as they head towards the lighthouse where the sorcerer is supposedly located and swiftly fight them off. Then they come to a garden filled with yellow roses. The Wind sorcerer appears and challenges Stephano to single combat, which he accepts. Suddenly Wind spirits appear and call up a breeze which prevents the other members of the party from interfering in the duel. Stephano fights, but soon discovers he is losing and so calls upon his Wind magic and fires lightning bolts at his adversary, which are reciprocated. Eventually Stephano is on the verge of death, at which point his opponent calls down a rejuvenating fire upon him and heals all his wounds. The sorcerer then takes off in flight, leaving behind him a yellow rose on the cliff edge. Stephano briefly attempts to follow him before returning and placing the yellow rose in his hair, where it takes root. He leaves satisfied that he has earned the blessing of his lords.
The return journey to the White City is mostly uneventful, save for a few skirmishes with bandits. Meeting with Rebecca De Courci the party inform her they have secured the aid of the Pirate King and his followers. She accepts the terms that were offered.
Part seven of the "Naming & Binding War" campaign, a sequel to "Hope From The North" & the "White City Banquet".
Run by Rich & Ellie on 28th May 2005 (Saturday 5th week, Trinity term)
Players: Belor de Velland (Peter), "Ripper" Bill McKenzie (James), Professor Kit Fisable (Helen W), Selena Curiana (Vicky), Toquell Velasquez (Joe W)
Mission Brief: Toquell and his entourage travel North in search of an avalanche, which he plans to bind in his recently acquired Chain of Gold and deliver to the Army of the Red Gryphon in their mountain hideaway to the East.
Adventure Summary: The adventurers head North from the White City, the first thing they run into outside the Watchtowers being a group of ogres shapeshifted into the forms of zombies and skeletons. These are swiftly dispatched, though not without some headaches for Selena after she commends two of them to Ash. As they pass through the territory claimed by the Palace at Three Rivers they are ambushed by a large hunting party of ghouls who leap down out of the trees in search of an easy meal and are sorely disappointed. Reaching the Whistful City, they spend some time talking to the inhabitants and having their armour repaired, then spend the night in an inn before setting out for the high mountain plateau where Toquell previously met the Frost Prince (see the "Dragonfire & Deep Water" adventure summary). Encountering a group of Fears-of-Falling on a high mountain path, they use rope and pitons to tie themselves together and attach themselves to the cliffside as they inch slowly forwards until they reach a point where the Fears-of-Falling attack and are rapidly defeated. Approaching the plateau itself, a horde of Snow-Riders set upon the party and nearly kill Bill before being dispersed. There is no sign of the Frost Prince on the plateau this time, so Belor is lowered over one edge on a rope and sets off an avalanche, using his wings to carry himself clear of danger as Toquell binds the avalanche in his Golden Chain. As the party leave the plateau and start heading back to the White City they are set upon by a pair of Chain Wraiths, who invade Belor's mind and cause an ethereal chain to manifest about his neck before being swiftly dealt with by Kit. Running into an archer-heavy Red Gryphon patrol on their way out of the mountains, the party attempt to bluff their way past using fake Red Gryphon uniforms but Toquell is recognised and the patrol attacks. During some heavy fighting Bill and Selena are knocked down, but eventually the patrol are slaughtered and the party manage to recover enough to deal with a returning Red Gryphon scouting party when it arrives some minutes later, finding both groups of soldiers well equipped with strength potions and potions against Chain magic.
Pausing only briefly in the White City to repair their armour and re-equip themselves, the party then head East towards the rocky outcrop where Vincenzi found the Army of the Red Gryphon some weeks earlier (see the "Escape From The Red Gryphon" adventure summary). They find that the pass into the outcrop is now being held by the beleaguered forces of the Black Sword of Hope that travelled south under the command of General (formerly Captain) Armenius Domovoi, three thousand men holding the narrow passage against the entire Red Gryphon army. The bodies are piling up on both sides and being dragged clear with billhooks so that the fighting can continue, while the gigantic ogres are being dealt with by kamikaze Black Sword soldiers who roll themselves in molasses and charge forward towards the ogres to let themselves be eaten, after having imbibed an alchemical concoction that enables their blood, when mixed with the stomach juices of an ogre, to cause an immense explosion that tears the ogre apart and showers pieces of flesh over a wide area; as a result of this most of the ogres have been withdrawn. After a brief discussion with General Domovoi, Belor leads the adventurers towards the narrow crack into the mountains which Vincenzi's group used on their previous visit. Creeping along the mountainside within, they find a good vantage point above the pass from where Toquell unleashes the avalanche, killing approximately half of both the armies in the process - about fifteen hundred of the Black Sword soldiers who were holding the pass and nearly fifty thousand of the Red Gryphon soldiers who were massing in the pass to force their way out! Having drawn a certain amount of attention, the party leave as fast as they can, while below them gigantic ogres shapeshift into immense badgers to begin digging the avalanche away. On their way back to the crack the party are intercepted by a patrol of Red Gryphon soldiers and soon afterwards by six of the gigantic ogres in red gryphon form, Toquell using Chain magic to blind one of them and set another upon its comrades. Outside there is another brief discussion with General Domovoi, who is determined to keep every one of his men there defending the pass, Toquell promising to return to the White City and send reinforcements to support the army of the Black Sword of Hope. On their way back to the White City the party run into a young unarmed boy in tattered clothing who is being chased by a group of Red Gryphon soldiers and begs them for sanctuary. However, as the party face off against the soldiers the boy leaps on Bill from behind, revealing itself to be a Fell Beast from the Binding War as its touch tries to drain away Bill's consciousness. The battle soon shifts from the adventurers against the soldiers to adventurers and soldiers united against the Fell Beast, which manages to drain Selena into unconsciousness before Toquell binds its arms and the rest of those gathered round hack it down. But Toquell is unable to bind its will and the gathered forces are unable to prevent its wounds from regenerating before it gets to its feet once more and runs off, outpacing the pursuing soldiers despite still having its arms bound. So the adventurers continue onwards and return to the White City in triumph, hailed as heroes for their achievement.
The Cruel Tutelage of Liu-Ne
Dancing Ferret, Chomping Wombat
Run by Joff & Vicky on 4th June 2005 (Saturday 6th week, Trinity term)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, hosted by Chris N.
Players: Abelard Velasquez (Rich), Carlos de Mamushi (Joe W), Edwin Lunn (Andrew)
Mission Brief: Carlos de Mamushi has come into possession of a fragment of a map of the northeast, which he believes will lead him to the origin of the deadly art of TrogloFu.
Adventure Summary: The three adventurers head off northeast into the mountains. Along the way they fight off some troglodytes, climb up a difficult crumbling cliff face where they are pelted by falling rocks, fight some more troglodytes (who are persuaded to argue among themselves by Carlos offering them a lump of fool's gold) and eventually reach Liu-Ne's dojo. Here they are taken on as students, shown a board-breaking trick, taught the Dancing Ferret kata, instructed in the secrets of Unlock-Lip and the basics of TrogloFu and finally have their skills tested in unarmed combat against some of Liu-Ne's instructors, Abelard and Carlos winning their bouts and each being awarded the rank of TrogloFu Master (symbolised by black cloth belts) while Edwin loses his and is merely awarded the rank of TrogloFu Practitioner (symbolised by a blue cloth belt). Once the three adventurers have finished their training, Liu-Ne tells them of the evil Noh-Kan Do of the rival Chomping Wombat dojo in a nearby valley, who has stolen a box containing something of great value from the Dancing Ferret dojo. The party are asked to recover this box and set off, defeating the students of the Chomping Wombat dojo before facing Noh-Kan Do himself within the dojo and giving him a thorough beating. They recover the box, which they are unable to open, and return it to Liu-Ne, who instructs them to deliver it to Rebecca De Courci. This they do, Rebecca opening it in such a way that only she can see inside and seeming very pleased to have it.
The Battle For The White City
Part eight of the "Naming & Binding War" campaign, a sequel to "Avalanche Delivery" and numerous other LARPs.
Run by Rich on 11th June 2005 (Saturday 7th week, Trinity term)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, hosted by Chris N.
The duel between Sirius and Matteus has inspired a song.
Players: Andreas Garric (Fergus), Arik Blackthorne (Julian), Belor de Velland (Peter), "Ripper" Bill McKenzie (James), Brick (Jen), Carlos de Mamushi (Joe W), Carmina Curiana (Vicky), Edwin Lunn (Andrew), Erskine Uskglass aka "Roland the Subtle" (Matt), Federico Velasquez (Joff), Brother Jara (Xan), Professor Kit Fisable (Helen W), Marco di Falconi (Joff), Captain Matteus De Almedia (Xan), Neara (Helen L), Rupert Blake (James), Ryn Coth - RIP (Ellie), Sebastian (Joff), Selena Curiana (Vicky), Shenya Cristofori (Helen W), Simon de Briganza (Matt), Stephano De Courci (Julian), Toquell Velasquez (Joe W), Yana (Ellie), ??? - the adventurer formerly known as "Tibs" (Joe W)
Mission Brief: With the Army of the Red Gryphon only a few miles from the White City, battle will soon be joined. The White City has been asked to send forth a champion to face the Red Gryphon's champion before the armies clash. Forces gathering in the White City include:
At some point after the avalanche which took out a large part of the Red Gryphon army a lone figure is seen in the air coming over the horizon, it is a soldier of the Red Gryphon army riding a gigantic red gryphon. He carries a white flag of truce riding high and true, his mount coming to rest above the spikes on the Eastern Gate as the rider plucks a scroll from his belt and begins to read:
"People of the barbarous city, you have forsaken your true gods. The Prince of the East and his army had sought to reconcile you with them and end the rule in your city of the Usurpers. The Exalted Church of the Light was to be torn down, the Cloistered Brethren of Chains to be eradicated. The De Courcis were to be stripped of power under a new regime. The noble Families were to retain most of their power. This cannot now happen. Your city is too dangerous and will be wiped from the ground. All shall perish. Unless..."
"You are a city that does not obey its own laws. Our champion came from this your city after his family was killed, and despite being denied justice still seeks to meet in battle any champion in arms of this barbarous city. We offer life to any after your surrender should you defeat our champion..."
Returning to the air he wheels over the city dropping leaflets saying the same thing over all the major markets, before flying back East.
Adventure Summary: As the Army of the Red Gryphon approach the city they are harried by the Watchful from the City of Crossroads, pirates from the Southern Seas and members of the Low Guard. Belor, Neara and Roland sneak towards the Red Gryphon pickets accompanied by four Watchful archers and crossbowmen and manage to wipe out a group of Red Gryphon soldiers twice their size, though in the process all of their Watchful allies are slain and the White City adventurers are sorely wounded. Once the battle is over Belor and Neara change into the counterfeit Red Gryphon uniforms they had brought with them and stumble, wounded, into the Red Gryphon camp and towards the medical tent, where their wounds are healed and they each requisition an undamaged suit of armour. This also gives the Cloistered Brethren of Chains a good luck at the Red Gryphon camp, since before leaving the city Belor has his sight bound by the Chain magic of one of their number. Meanwhile, Roland remains at the site of the battle and uses Wind magic to steal his own breath so that he passes out, in the hope of being found by a new Red Gryphon patrol and taken in. His plan succeeds and he wakes stripped down to his undergarments, manacled and closely watched by two guards in the tent of a Red Gryphon officer with glowing purple eyes. The scrolls he was carrying, fake battle plans devised by the Low Guard in the hopes of drawing the Red Gryphon army to attack a false weak spot in the White City's defences, have been taken from him and appear to be believed, so after some questioning the officer gives orders to have him led off to be executed. Wandering through the camp, Belor and Neara see Roland being led away from the officer's tend by half a dozen guards and Neara goes to rescue him while Belor goes to see who's in the tent, both ignoring the banners that mark the approach of the Prince of the East. Belor goes round to the back of the tent and uses his dagger to cut a small hole through which to peer inside, but he is spotted and the two guards in the tent rush out to give chase. The officer commands two of the guards with Roland to do likewise, with the result that Belor is caught and wounded and bludgeoned into unconsciousness. Meanwhile Neara artfully tears her uniform to reveal plenty of cleavage and approaches Roland and his guards posing as an interrogator come to question the prisoner. The remaining four guards are so distracted by Neara's lascivious manner and her "torture" of Roland that he is able to raise the Wind, under cover of being driven to babbling nonsense by the torture, and fly the two of them out of the camp, taking only minor injuries in the process, from where they stumble back to the White City. Shortly afterwards, Belor comes round to find himself also stripped and manacled under guard in the officer's tent. Some convincing lying persuades the officer that he is willing to betray the White City and he is sent out with a detachment of Red Gryphon troops to lead them to a secret entrance to the city, on the way to which he manages to give them the slip and sneak away into hiding unobserved.
As the Army of the Red Gryphon approaches the walls of the White City, where the battleground has been enchanted by a Wind magic ritual such that orders and dramatic speeches will carry clearly for great distances, the surviving forces of General Armenius Domovoi's detachment of the Black Sword of Hope attempt to hold their advance. The Red Gryphon Army is fifty thousand strong, divided into five detachments of ten thousand men each, while by this stage the Black Sword troops number only in the hundreds. Their numbers dwindle rapidly until General Domovoi and his five surviving soldiers regroup on a grassy knoll in sight of the city walls, from where he gives an inspiring speech. With a rousing battle cry of "Hope is eternal!" these six warriors heroically charge the Red Gryphon Army, selling their lives dearly. Soon only Armenius remains alive, on his knees, bleeding heavily and barely able to lift his sword. At this point the Red Gryphon troops back away respectfully as Sirius Panastra swoops in from the east atop the black gryphon created for him by He Who Walks Wilderness (see the adventure summary for "The Black Wind"). Sirius, once an adventurer from the White City, now the Champion of the Army of the Red Gryphon, marked by glowing purple eyes and discoloured skin distorted by pulsing black veins, wields the terrible enchanted sword known as Vengeance which inflicts wounds that can be healed only by the most powerful of magics. He holds this fell sword to Domovoi's throat and rails at the White City about his thirst for vengeance for the death of his family, his son having been killed by order of Rebecca De Courci (being the child in the "Life is Cheap" LARP). He calls for the city to send forth their champions to face him in single combat, as stated by the earlier proclamation, so that he may kill them. With Shenya Cristofori bound in Chains by Federico Velasquez to prevent her from accepting the challenge, Captain Matteus De Almedia strides forth from the city gates to face Sirius, with Yana of the Cloistered Brethren as his second. Many of the White City's citizenry watch from the city walls as harsh words are exchanged between the two warriors and battle is joined, Matteus in steelsilk armour with sword and main-gauche against Sirius in heavy steel armour with a heater shield and the sword Vengeance. For some minutes there is a furious exchange of blows, neither warrior being able to penetrate the other's guard, but soon they are both taking wounds, Matteus dropping to one knee after losing the use of his right leg while Sirius appears to be ignoring wounds that have cut into his legs deep enough that white bone is showing clearly through. Believing Matteus defeated, Sirius casts aside his shield and wields the sword Vengeance in two hands to finish him, but Matteus parries several blows and then with a twist of his sword disarms Sirius, sending Vengeance flying through the air. Sirius scrambles backwards, drawing a pair of daggers as Matteus uses his good leg to drag himself forward on one knee and press the attack. He continues to harry Sirius as the Red Gryphon champion discards the daggers and draws a long mace which he wields in crushing two-handed blows. Yana yells at Matteus to let her come and help him, as Sirius is clearly empowered by sorcery to be able to fight on with such terrible wounds to his limbs, but as Matteus frantically parries blows he insists that this fight is his alone. Then the mace bashes through Matteus' guard, leaving his left arm broken and useless, forcing him to drop his main-gauche. All seems lost until a bolt of lightning blasts from where Stephano De Courci stands upon the city walls and bursts around Matteus, healing all his wounds - even those taken to his golden arm and those inflicted by the sword Vengeance. Snatching his main-gauche from the dirt and leaping to his feet once more, Matteus attacks with renewed vigour and despite managing to reclaim the sword Vengeance Sirius eventually falls to the ground after a series of punishing blows to the torso. Yana rushes in to his side while Matteus sees Sirius' flesh begin to knit together as his wounds start to heal, but with some effort the two of them manage to sever his arm and head and Matteus kicks Vengeance away with his boot. He raises Sirius' decapitated head on high and displays it to the Red Gryphon army, rewarded for his efforts by two gigantic red gryphons swooping down and transforming into great ogres which attempt to eat Yana and himself. As Matteus throws Sirius' head towards the city walls so that he has both hands free to fight, Yana uses Chain magic to blind one of the great ogres and the two towering creatures are soon defeated, Matteus scooping up Sirius' head again as he and Yana sprint back to the city gates ahead of the advancing army. Overhead, a small man with long white hair and beard who has been perched on the battlements watching proceedings with interest gives a slow clap, tucks a napkin into his collar, licks his lips and launches himself from the city walls, transforming in mid-air into the dragon Toramaes. Toramaes launches himself into the approaching flock of gigantic red gryphons, snatching them from the skies with his jaws and keeping them occupied for the rest of the battle. In the confusion, however, Domovoi has vanished amid the dust and the sword Vengeance is snatched up by a lone figure who sprints forward from the city gates and runs back into the city, ignoring the wounds inflicted upon him by pursuing High Guardsmen and vanishing into a maze of back alleys. Eyewitnesses near the Port of Glass Embassy report seeing a similar figure charge the Embassy screaming for vengeance and vanishing inside...
As the Red Gryphon army advances the forces of the Cloistered Brethren of Chains and the Exalted Church of the Light march forth from the city gates to face the army's main strength. The Red Gryphon troops are bound with chains, blinded and their wills bound to turn them against their comrades while they are hacked down with swords and staves and maces and blasted with burning Light. In one stretch of the line Yana, Toquell Velasquez, Simon de Briganza, Brother Jara and Carmina Curiana advance inexorably through wave after wave of Red Gryphon soldiers.
In another part of the battle, Shenya Cristofori attempts to lead Federico Velasquez and a band of eager young nobles on a mad charge deep into the Red Gryphon lines. Sadly this proves less than successful, several waves of Red Gryphon soldiers soon put paid to the eager young nobles and Federico fights for his life as Shenya is surrounded and beaten into unconsciousness, her body dragged off by a Red Gryphon soldier shortly before Federico, with the aid of his Chain magic, defeats the last of the opponents facing him. Things look grim for that section of the battle until the people of the One Tribe charge forth in a mad frenzy, men, women and children, old and young, all laying about them with bloodthirsty abandon, the warrior Kisu being seen taking down an ogre in the thick of the fighting while wielding only the heads of earlier enemies as weapons!
Within the city, some of the citizens are rather surprised to find themselves thrown into combat against a group of Red Gryphon soldiers who have snuck into the city in disguise during the preceding weeks and are gathered together in a marketplace wreaking havoc, slaughtering stallholders and smashing their stalls. Carlos de Mamushi, Edwin Lunn, Rupert Blake and another citizen find themselves fighting for their lives against the soldiers, whose ranks are soon shown to include a shapeshifted ogre. Arik Blackthorne, meanwhile, seeks shelter in some abandoned shops and swaggers out to help once the fight is nearly over, his pockets bulging. Carlos impresses all with his leet martial arts moves, finally killing the ogre by tearing the still-beating heart from its chest with his bare hands.
Meanwhile the city gates are being held by the High Guard and some of the more sensible nobles, Captain Matteus De Almedia (having changed into a fresh suit of steelsilk armour and been sorcerously healed up since his previous fight) commanding the defence alongside Stephano De Courci, Marco di Falconi, Andreas Garric and some more High Guard troops. They hold the line against wave after wave of Red Gryphon soldiers, but find themselves slowly being worn down. Eventually Matteus loses the use of his legs, while Marco loses consciousness entirely, and as Matteus is busy pouring healing potions down his and Marco's throats several of the Red Gryphon soldiers break the lines and charge through the gates into the city. They are pursued and cut down by Stephano and Andreas but by this point the army's advance upon the gates seems nearly unstoppable - until the ground erupts beneath them as titanic trapdoor spiders burst from cover, ridden and accompanied by a horde of Weavers. The Weavers and their arachnid allies halt the Red Gryphon advance while the High Guard and nobles regroup.
Over on another flank of the battle the psychopaths of the penal battalions are set loose upon the enemy, accompanied by the Blood sorcerers "Ripper" Bill McKenzie, Brick and Ryn Coth. They cut a bloody swathe through the enemy troops, hacking down Red Gryphon soldiers by the dozen, though tragedy strikes when Bill himself eviscerates Ryn in his psychotic frenzy, no longer able to distinguish between friend and foe. The carnage attracts the attention of the Lord of Blood-Fury, who has also been scything his way through the battle killing all who come near, and Bill eagerly charges forward for the honour of facing his god blade to blade. He is soon cut down by the Lord's whirling swords, but seems to have impressed the Old Power with his courage - the Lord plucks his limp and bleeding body from where it fell and carries it with him, laughing "I like this one!". In the distance the Lady of Battles is also seen, striding calmly though the fray deflecting every blow that comes near her with a casual movement of her sword, and some claim to have seen her bless Ryn's body as she passes.
Near the centre of the battle, the forces of the Cloistered Brethren of Chains and the Exalted Church of the Light continue to press forward towards the centre of the Red Gryphon army, Yana, Toquell Velasquez, Simon de Briganza and Brother Jara still fighting in the front line and now joined by Professor Kit Fisable, Selena Curiana and Sebastian. They find themselves facing stronger and more highly skilled troops in heavy armour, who all bear a faint resemblance to Sirius and carry potions of strength and healing and potions against Chain magic. These soldiers, accompanied by occasional ogres, are too strong to be bound in chains and too loyal to their comrades to be turned against their allies by sorcery, thus slowing the advance and making the fighting much harder going. After several waves of the enemy are defeated, by which point some of the chains inside Kit's flesh are visible through her wounds, Brother Jara insists on remaining in the battle after temporarily losing the use of his left arm, despite the protestations of his sister Yana. He eventually retreats from the front lines only after his right arm has been rendered useless and his left arm has been completely severed, Yana recovering the sword he is forced to drop upon the battlefield. After some more Sons of Sirius have been slain the remaining adventurers find themselves facing a group of Sons accompanied by a Chain Wraith and a fearsome looking Fell Beast with the ethereal chain of the Chain Wraith's binding visible about its neck. The Fell Beast and the Sons of Sirius surge forward and attack, once the Sons are cut down and the Fell Beast is on the ground with its wounds regenerating Toquell binds Kit's will and commands her to bind the creature - a chain vomits forth from her mouth and the Fell Beast, once it heals, crouches at her feet like a loyal hound. The Chain Wraith moves forward to contest the theft of its minion, but is no match for the Glass sorcery and psychic strength of Kit and Selena. Kit sends the Fell Best off into the battle to wreak havoc amongst the ranks of the Red Gryphon army as the adventurers advance towards the Red Gryphon's command banners.
Here they find He Who Walks Wilderness and the Prince of the East together with an honour guard of Sons of Sirius. After a brief confrontation the two sides leap to attack each other, He Who Walks Wilderness taking little part in the melee as He strides through it with any wound inflicted upon Him healing in an instant. The Prince of the East ends up in a duel with Sebastian, whom he renamed at their previous meeting. Sebastian is outmatched and disarmed, the Prince of the East discouraging Simon from interfering by threatening to Name him "dead" if he doesn't stop raising the Light. He Who Walks creates a new sword and gives it to Sebastian to prolong the fight, but soon Sebastian and Simon both lie on the ground bleeding to death. Selena uses necromantic Ash magic to completely heal Simon's wounds in a matter of moments, as He Who Walks heals the wounds and mends the armour of the Prince of the East while the Prince arrogantly allows Selena and Yana to see to their comrades. By now the Sons of Sirius in the vicinity have all been slain and the remaining Red Gryphon troops are hanging back in fear, as much of their commander and their god as of the adventurers. There is a stand off, during which Toquell binds Kit's will once more and orders her to bind He Who Walks but she has no idea how to do so. Then she touches His hand and He screams in pain, jerking back. Kit rushes forward and embraces Him, her touch somehow binding His flesh into a fixed physical form which can be hurt and damaged, while the Prince of the East leaps to his god's defence and is cut down from behind by Sebastian as he faces Yana - as he falls the Prince mutters an incomprehensible word and is sucked down beneath the earth, eldritch fire blasting from the spot where he last stood and wreathing Sebastian in eerie freezing flames. As Kit wrestles with He Who Walks Wilderness while Toquell looks on and Sebastian writhes on the ground screaming, four Ashen Guardians step through a gate from the Burned Realm and advance upon Selena in response to her earlier uses of necromancy. They manage to smash all four of Simon's limbs beyond recovery when he stands in their way and leave Selena unconscious on the ground before being destroyed by Yana and Toquell. While Selena and Simon are healed back to consciousness Kit and Toquell manage to finally destroy the physical form of He Who Walks Wilderness, leaving only a shimmering in the air like a heat haze as Kit finds herself drawn into psychic combat and Selena uses her skills as an exorcist to join the battle against the god's spirit. With the vast resources of Glass magic at their disposal the weakened god is outmatched and reduced to a mere fraction of his power, at which point a great chain bursts from Kit's mouth, titanic stone links far large than her body could possibly contain. He Who Walks Wilderness is bound beneath the earth once more, titanic stone chains marking his resting place in the same manner as they did on the Eastern battlefield until two years previously, only this time arching into the sky within a mile of the White City's walls. Toquell strides over to Sebastian, still wreathed in the freezing flames that are slowly killing him, and binds the cold fire into his Golden Chain. Then he uses his authority as her superior in the Cloistered Brethren of Chains to swear Yana to silence about all she has seen there, has Simon's broken body gathered up by Kit and Selena and goes back to the city in triumph as, with its god and its commander dead, the fight goes out of the Red Gryphon army.
Death & The Maiden
Run by Julian & Rich on 18th June 2005 (Saturday 8th week, Trinity term)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Joff & Fergus, hosted by Chris N.
The events of this LARP have inspired a popular song about the ship Inferno.
Players: "Ripper" Bill McKenzie (James), Professor Kit Fisable (Helen W), Selena Curiana (Vicky), Toquell Velasquez (Joe W)
Mission Brief: Toquell and his Band of Merry Bastards seek an entrance to the Burned Realm so they can visit the House of Gods and steal a valuable artefact containing the soul of a dead god.
Adventure Summary: Seeking an entrance to the Burned Realm, Toquell takes his minions south to a meeting with his contact, Bill having returned from his meeting with the Lord of the Blood-Fury with a right hand that now constantly drips with his blood. The party are met upon the road by a small delegation of priests, knights and enforcers from the Exalted Church of the Light, the Shining Order and the Temple of Ashes, who block their path and tell them to abandon their mission and turn back. After some protestation about blocking a noble's progress on a public highway, Toquell manages to start an argument between the followers of the Light and the followers of the Burned Lords during which the party slip away and cut across country, rejoining the road further to the south. Camping in some ruins, they rendezvous there with a Glass sorcerer named Imaldo D'Artois the next morning, much to the surprise and concern of Bill and Kit. Imaldo appears to be one man in three bodies, the body of his youthful self, the body of his mature self and the body of his aged self. Matching Toquell for arrogance, he offers knowledge of the location of a permanent entrance to the Burned Realm, monetary rewards and a means for Toquell to rid himself of his brother's curses if the party will venture to the House of Gods in the Burned Realm and recover for him an artefact containing the spirit of a long-dead Prince of the Breath known as the Impaled Maiden of Tempests. After some arrogant banter on both sides, during which the Imaldos promise to arrange safe passage through the Port of Glass and transport to the island on which the entrance is located aboard a pirate ship named "The Inferno", Toquell agrees to do so. The party departs southward; while camped one night on their way to the Port of Glass they are attacked by a large group of Ash priests led by an Ash sorcerer, all clad in grey and carrying icons depicting an enthroned figure beneath a stylised hall. The attackers fight to the death and are all slain, one of them found to be carrying a note which reads "Trevillo, Toquell and his band have met with The Three, as we feared. They should be heading south towards the Port of Glass - ensure that they do not arrive! Plautilla".
Arriving at the Port of Glass Bill and Kit wait some distance down the coast while Toquell and Selena head to the harbour and board the Inferno, captained by a young lady of dubious sanity named Perdana who has been hired to sail them to their destination and back again. They set sail, travel along the coast to pick up Bill and Kit and then sail off into the Southern Oceans - where after sailing for some days they are approached by a vast black ship flying the banners of the Temple of Ashes and bearing a temple-like construction on its deck. The black ship closes quickly and the Inferno is boarded by a horde of Ash sorcerers and marines - Toquell unleashes the coldfire created by the Prince of the East on the black ship's sails, where it spreads rapidly. Captain Perdana is slain during the fighting, as are the forces of the Temple of Ashes, the black ship mostly consumed by the coldfire before Toquell rebinds it. Kit's sword and Toquell's Chain of Silk are commended to Ash during the fighting, but Kit picks up a replacement sword from one of the dead and Toquell uses Name magic to create a new chain. Eventually they reach the densely forested Ashen Isle, upon which there is no sign of birdsong or animal life even though the plant life seems to be flourishing. Halfway up the mountain the party find a rude village and are accosted by its inhabitants, most of whom speak a variant on one of the Oldest Tongues (which Kit is able to translate) and one of whom is a shipwrecked sailor who speaks a recognisable language but has been driven slightly mad by his experiences. The villagers demand that the party leave the sacred island immediately, there is a tense stand-off for some time before one of the villagers goes off to meditate for a while and then returns to denounce Selena as a necromancer and demand that she is handed over for execution! Toquell agrees to hand her over, Selena flees back down the mountain pursued by several of the villagers and everything degenerates into a confused and strung-out fight. Eventually most of the villagers are slaughtered and the party continues, finding a cave behind a waterfall that leads into the mountain's heart...
The party enter the cave and travel down the tunnel within for what seems like hours, the rocks beneath their feet growing finer and finer until they are walking through banks of shifting grey ash. Eventually they arrive at a cave mouth which opens onto a vast waste of ash lit from above by some sort of waxy grey light, with occasional stunted dead trees the only landmarks. Their way is blocked by a man dressed in dark robes sitting quietly in the opening, who introduces himself as the Gatekeeper and tells the party to turn back as the living may not pass. Toquell is contemptuous of the Gatekeeper's ability to stop them, so after exchanging insults for stubborn determination for a while humanoid figures rise from the ash all around and attack. These ashen warriors fall with relatively little trouble but the Gatekeeper holds out for a very long time before being struck down - at which point there is a faint rumble and the ash ripples outwards into the Burned Realm before everything goes ominously silent. Scanning the horizon, the adventurers make out the tip of a ship's mast projecting from the ash in the distance and head towards it. Here they find a group of ghostly figures who were once sailors - they have been here so long that they have forgotten their names, still bound to the wreck of their ship. Talking to the ship's captain, it is eventually revealed that the ship was destroyed in a storm after the captain refused to sacrifice his beautiful only daughter to the Maiden of Tempests before the start of the voyage, the captain and his crew wanting nothing more than vengeance on the Maiden but unable to leave their ship. The adventurers are evasive about their own reason for being in the Burned Realm, but after several attempts to use Chain magic to interfere with the link between the spirits and the Burned Realm and the wrecked ship (each of which causes the ash to ripple outwards in an ever expanding circle from his location) Toquell eventually manages to bind the captain's spirit to a small manikin of spit and ash, leading to another ominous rumble and an even bigger ripple in the ash. The captain directs Toquell to dig in the ash nearby and uncovers a small golden compass which he claims will direct them to the Maiden of Tempests. Travelling onwards, the party is attacked by three great cowled figures, guardians of the Burned Realm drawn by the party's actions whose grasp turns anything they touch to ash. Two of them are knocked unconscious by Kit's Glass magic, the other cut down by Toquell's sword, but not before most of the party's weapons and some of their armour have been turned to ash and Toquell is forced to use Name magic to create replacement weapons for his comrades. Many hours of travel bring the party to an enormous forest of dead trees, in which spirits rise from the roots and weave through the branches, constantly screaming and wailing and moaning in an eerie fashion. One spirit approaches Selena, introducing itself as the ghost of her dead father, Sacchus. Sacchus tries to persuade Selena to stay and keep him company, but when he tries to possess her the exorcists present quickly destroy him, at which point the other spirits of the forest quieten a little. After leaving the forest the party start to find pieces of glass scattered through the ash, including one gigantic shard encasing an Ashen Guardian who claims to have been trapped there in a great battle many years before. He tries to bargain with the party for his freedom, but they do not trust him and move on, finally reaching the House of Gods.
The House of Gods is a vast edifice of black stone, its walls stretching away out of sight in every direction, marked only by a huge set of doors. One side of the hall appears to be partially collapsed, the realm itself warped and shattered with fields of broken glass and howling winds combined with the sounds of cracking and breaking drifting through, Ashen Guardians and Splinter-Men fighting around the edges of the break in reality. The doors to the House of Gods swing open as the party approaches and they enter. Inside the hall is bare stone but for a throne at the far end on which sits the Lord of the House of Gods and a multitude of carved black wooden doors hanging in the air, each bearing a mural and the closest bearing the mark of the Maiden of Tempests and pointed to by the compass. The Lord asks the adventurers their business and converses with Toquell for a time, the manikin of the dead ship's captain squeaking a demand for vengeance on the Maiden of Tempests from Toquell's pocket before falling silent as Toquell starts threatening the Lord in his own House, magnanimously offering to "come for him last" in the Merry Band's war upon the gods. Incensed by Toquell's arrogance, the Lord rises from his distant throne as the flagstones crack and a numberless horde of Ashen Guardians rise to attack the party, who are driven back to the doorway in a fighting retreat. Leaving the House of Gods, observing that the Ashen Guardians will not follow them through the doorway, Selena judges which section of the wall is closest to the Maiden's door and commends its keystones to ash, as a result of which a large portion of the wall falls inwards and crushes the Ashen Guardians behind it, momentarily leaving a clear path to the Maiden's door. Toquell rushes forward, touches the door and vanishes, his comrades also touching the door but finding themselves unable to follow and so making another fighting retreat back out of the gap in the wall, Kit and Bill dragging Selena to safety and healing her after she is cut down. Deciding that they should leave the Burned Realm as soon as possible, Selena uses the hole in the wall to open a Burned Gate back to the world of the living.
Meanwhile, Toquell finds himself in a vast black void lit by a silvery sphere within which is the spirit of the Maiden of Tempests. She asks Toquell to free her, so he does. Back in the House of the Gods the carved black wooden door bearing her symbol shatters - she flies out of the wreckage and through the portal into the world of the living, closely followed by Toquell and his comrades, pursued by a horde of Ashen Guardians and the Lord of the House of Gods. The Maiden escapes, as do Kit and Bill. Selena is cut down by Ashen Guardians and would have died but for Toquell catching up, destroying the Ashen Guardians with coldfire and using Name magic to make her whole again. The rest of the Ashen Guardians are soon outdistanced and the party find themselves alone in a forest. After travelling for some time they are attacked by a horde of giant spiders; things look grim until the Maiden of Tempests flies in, destroys the spiders with lightning bolts and heals the adventurers with rejuvenating fire, branding Bill's forehead with the symbol of a lightning bolt in the process. She offers the party her assistance in gratitude for Toquell having freed her, destroys the manikin to which the dead captain's spirit was bound and is quickly appraised of the major events of the past thousand years or more, after which she summons winds to fly the party home from their current location - which turns out to be in the depths of the Great Forest far to the west of the City of Silk. So the party return to the White City, where they find Imaldo waiting for them at the gate. Imaldo is displeased that the Maiden was released into the world and nonplussed by being offered the dead captain's compass. As Toquell falls to his knees from the onset of Vincenzi's curses (his last doses of potions against Blood magic having worn off) Imaldo blasts Bill and Selena into unconsciousness with Glass magic (despite Selena's attempts to do the same to one of him) as Kit runs off, then watches Toquell squirm in his agonised efforts to drink fresh potions before doing the same to him and leaving with Toquell's four Chains and the golden compass. The High Guard do nothing to stop Imaldo, since he slew all the guardsmen on the gate shortly before the party arrived.
Some time later, Bill manages to track down the Inferno and takes over as the ship's new captain.
Hunt The Gryphon
Run by Xan on 25th June 2005 (a Saturday in the summer vacation)
A sequel to "The Battle For The White City".
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Helen W, hosted by Chris N.
Players: Carmina Curiana (Vicky), Fal-Kar De Almedia (Rich), Marco di Falconi (Joff)
Mission Brief: The Army of the Red Gryphon has been defeated, but many of its scattered and demoralised troops still roam the lands - some of them human, others less so. The High Guard has offered a bounty for every right hand (or bestial equivalent) brought back, which many adventurers are eager to collect.
Original Plot Document (.rtf file)
Adventure Summary: After registering with Sergeant Jacobs at the High Guardhouse and being given their "Sanctioned Bounty Hunter" cards the three adventurers set off East for the Eastern Watchtower. Their first two days of travel pass peacefully, until on the third day they encounter and defeat a mixed group of dead soldiers from various factions involved in the war, who have risen again as zombies to seek vengeance on the living for their violent deaths. Later that day they encounter one of the huge spiders which the Weavers had brought from the Great Forest, now running wild since its handlers were slain - Marco dashes about from cover to cover keeping out of its way as Fal-Kar flies around out of its reach trying to drain its stamina and Carmina drives it back with the intensity of her glow while blasting it with bolt after bolt of burning Light until it dies, after which Marco drains some of its venom into bottles and the party moves on. Arriving at the Eastern Watchtower that evening and officially registering there as Sanctioned Bounty Hunters, they accept Captain Hawkins' hospitality and, after having their wounds seen to and their armour repaired, listen to various fanciful rumours over a chicken dinner while deciding which way to travel.
The next morning the party set out directly East along the road to the City of Crossroads, encountering around lunchtime a slightly dubious band of professed bounty hunters lurking in the undergrowth near the road; these people have official cards and claim to be waiting for any Red Gryphon soldiers that might pass that way. Later that day the party meets a group of refugees fleeing for the safety of the White City, led by a priestess of the Prince of the Trade Winds; when the Army of the Red Gryphon passed their village it had just confiscated their weapons and exacted a tithe, but now the lands are overrun with bandits and deserters and worse the villagers have been forced to flee. They plead with the party for weapons to protect themselves on their way to the city, so Fal-Kar uses one of his swords to cut off some branches and fashion them clubs, then gives them the somewhat blunted sword. In return for this the priestess gives him the blessing of the Prince of the Trade Winds, and after communing with his gods Fal-Kar gives the refugees some healing potions and advice as well before moving on. Shortly before making camp for the evening the adventurers are attacked by a group of Trapped Men tigers, whom they swiftly slay.
Travelling on for several days, the party are ambushed by a group of ogres disguised as trees, slaughter a group of eight Red Gryphon soldiers who have turned to banditry, and come across a small skirmish where two ogres have decided that the half dozen Red Gryphon soldiers they were travelling with would make better lunch than they make comrades. The party stand back and watch, picking soldiers and ogres off with blasts of Light and stealing their breath with Wind sorcery until both ogres and most of the soldiers are dead, at which point they chase down and kill the remaining soldiers. One soldier is taken alive - after being brought round and interrogated, during which he talks of being pressganged into the army and claims to have been heading East with his comrades to try and find somewhere safe to start over as a farmer, the party lectures and harangues him for his misdeeds in being part of the Army of the Red Gryphon, cuts off his right hand and leaves him unconscious in the wilderness with one hand and a broken leg to "start a new life". Moving further East they find a giant ogre who has been vitrified into a thirty foot tall glass statue, surrounded by the smashed remnants of Splinter-Men. Marco and Carmina give the whole area a wide berth, while Fal-Kar ignores their advice and flies up to the ogre's shoulders where, with the aid of some judicious scoring and a strength potion, he attempts to break off the statue's right hand to take back as a trophy for the bounty. After taking some time and tearing the sleeves of his armour he does succeed in separating the right hand from the rest of the statue, but it falls to the ground and smashes. Marco notices that the tracks of the Splinter-Men come from the East; travelling on the party comes to a small village which has been turned entirely to Glass, including the buildings, the plants and the Red Gryphon troops who appear to have been trying to run for cover and shield their heads when they died. From various evidence Marco concludes that Glass shards rained down upon the village from the sky, and notices that one of the Vitrified soldiers has the letters "UdR" scratched on his chest. Lurking in the ruins are a Chain-Wraith and the spirits of three of the Vitrified soldiers, still bound to its service. After some hostile banter between the Chain-Wraith and the party it sends its minions to attack them in psychic combat, but all three minions are defeated. There follows more hostile banter, during which the Chain-Wraith is angered by Fal-Kar's arrogance and possesses him, leaving him with an ethereal chain around his neck and sinister whispers in his mind just below the level of comprehension, though the whispers are soon banished by a potion against Chain magic. At this point the party decides to turn back and start heading home to collect the bounties on the trophies they've collected.
The journey back is fairly uneventful until they are within half a day of the Eastern Watchtower, where they discover the slaughtered bodies of the refugees they met on the way out. Marco finds the tracks of those responsible and the party follow their trail south for a little over a day before coming in sight of a camp of ten Red Gryphon guerrillas. The party's attack on the camp is somewhat hampered by Fal-Kar's finding himself psychologically unable to attack the Red Gryphon troops, even to render them unconscious with bludgeoning and Wind sorcery. The party is driven back, after taking a bit of a battering Fal-Kar takes to the skies, Carmina is taken down and her life saved by Fal-Kar's Wind sorcery, meanwhile Marco barely manages to fight off the soldiers facing him as others drag Carmina's body back to camp. Carmina is stripped of her armour and gear, tied to a tree and tortured, including having her breast branded with the mark of the Red Gryphon, while Marco and Fal-Kar meet up some distance from the camp and plan her rescue. This consists of Marco charging in to attack while Fal-Kar distracts as many of the guerrillas as possible. One of the guerrillas holds Carmina hostage with a knife to her throat but is attacked anyway, Carmina's resultant slit throat held closed by the application of Wind sorcery until Fal-Kar can fly down to her and pour half a dozen healing potions into her. The guerrillas defeated, Marco takes trophies and scavenges some armour while Carmina slices the brand from her flesh with a dagger to maintain her body's purity, healing the wound with another of the healing potions to which she is addicted. After a night's rest they head back for the Watchtower, only to be stopped scant hours from their goal by the same dubious band of professed bounty hunters they met before, who now reveal their plan - letting other people go out to collect the trophies then ambushing them as they return to collect their chits! There is a fierce and bitter battle which leaves Marco so drained by Blood magic that he cannot stand, but eventually the bandits are slain, Fal-Kar's temper by this point being so stretched that he delivers the Last Rites by the application of bolts of lightning. Finally the adventurers attempt to return to the Watchtower - only for Fal-Kar to find that he is unable to bring himself to approach the Watchtower or enter the bounds of the White City's territory. So Marco and Carmina return to the Eastern Watchtower, where they have their wounds healed and their armour repaired, and exchange their trophies (six ogre hands, twenty-three soldier hands and five bandit hands) for the appropriate chits, which they redeem at the White City High Guardhouse for their bounty. Meanwhile Fal-Kar skirts round the southern edge of the city's territory to the road near the Western Watchtower and joins a caravan headed West for the City of Silk, where his Family put him in contact with a Weaver exorcist. The Chain-Wraith's influence is exorcised and Fal-Kar, now owing a favour to the Weavers, returns to the White City, where the Cloistered Brethren of Chains remove all trace of his enslavement.
Run by Helen & Joff on 9th July 2005 (a Saturday in the summer vacation)
Players: Brother Jara (Xan), Loric (Joe R)
Mission Brief: The Low Guard introduce two adventurers in a pub.
Adventure Summary: A group of beleaguered merchants on the main Crossroads trade road spot two hooded figures moving East at some speed.
Some days later, Lord Roderick De Courci dies in a tragic accident during a housefire at his home estate of Stonefall.
He is succeeded in his stewardship of this minor branch of the Family by his eldest child Mariana, who will be spending some time in the White City while the signets, seals and patents of nobility lost in the fire are replaced.
Run by Joe W on 16th July 2005 (a Saturday in the summer vacation)
Players: Arik Blackthorne (Julian), Baragh (Paul), Brother Jara (Xan), Marco di Falconi (Joff)
Mission Brief: Messages are put up around the White City stating that Oliviero Cristofori wishes to recruit some adventurers for a simple caravan escort job to the Whistful City and back.
Adventure Summary: The four adventurers meet Oliviero Cristofori in a pub, where he is turning away a number of hopeful riff-raff applying for the job. After some discussion and haggling, during which he says that the mercenary company the Cristofori Family usually uses for its caravan escort requirements is currently unavailable due to other commitments, the party are hired with each of them receiving a 10 Hexa advance and being promised a balance of 30 Hexa payable on their successful return. They meet up with Turner, a drover with an empty mule-drawn wagon, at the city's North Gate the next morning and set off. After travelling for some days, leaving the Watchtowers and skirting the western edge of the Palace's territory, they are travelling along the banks of the River of Shadows when a group of shadows rise out of the water and attack. The party's weapons have little effect on such adversaries and the adventurers take a fearsome battering before destroying them. Later that day they encounter a group of rather incompetent bandits, who prove rather less of a challenge - especially once the party's Chain sorcery comes into play. One bandit survives unharmed, having spent the battle bound with chains - while he's still unable to resist Arik cuts off his nose and carves the name "Arik" into his forehead with a dagger before letting him run away to be an example to others.
As evening draws in the caravan comes across a scene of carnage, one black-clad warrior surrounded by slaughtered victims. As the party approach he tells them that he was killed by the Necromancer of Three Rivers and raised again as an undead abomination, now seeking death and killing all those who will not or cannot destroy him. He refuses to let the caravan past, telling the party that he will kill them if they do not kill him and challenging them to face him in single combat. Arik accepts the challenge, strides forward and binds his arms with sorcery in heavy iron chains - the warrior responds by breaking the chains with his great strength and, with a wave of his hand, summoning forth the spirit of one of his previous victims to engage Arik in psychic combat. Arik falls to the ground unconscious as the warrior repeats his challenge and moves forward to attack. A hasty discussion ensues, during which he says that he doesn't mind the rest of the party all fighting him at once since clearly none of them are seasoned warriors, after which a melee begins. This continues for some time, but the warrior is too tough for them and they fall back - more discussion follows, during which Marco suggests that the Last Rites are performed. The warrior allows Marco to perform the Last Rites in his own inimitable style, but they have no effect other than looking gory and spattering blood around; Marco then suggests decapitation, but as the warrior kneels down for Marco to try this Arik rises to his feet and charges the warrior with a scream of berserk fury, attacking him in a frenzy. As Arik is clearly not in his right mind and will not listen to reason, Marco coshes him unconscious and Jara exorcises the dead spirit that was possessing him. Then Marco raises his sword, the warrior murmurs a brief prayer to the Light, Marco brings his sword down and the warrior's head comes free. Marco removes the warrior's sword and begins arguing with Turner about carrying the head with them in the wagon when the head's eyes open and the body gets to its feet and starts moving towards Marco - Marco and Jara hack at the body, eventually managing to disable and sever its limbs as it ineffectually flails at them, then cremate the limbs and head on separate fires and bury the ashes around the edges of the clearing. They take the warrior's sword with them since it's a weapon of excellent manufacture and will fetch some money back in civilisation.
Arriving at the Whistful City some days later, Turner tells them to meet him back at the gates the next morning and trundles the wagon away. Baragh and Arik get their armour repaired and talk to the locals, Baragh having to borrow some money on his mother's account to do so, then there is a fracas during which a woman tries to pick Arik's pocket. Arik binds her legs with Chain sorcery and brutally kills her there in the street, stripping her body of all valuables and rolling it into a sewer, much to the disgust of his comrades. The party retire to an inn for the night, attempting to lose Arik but finding him waiting for them in the inn's taproom the next morning, then rejoin Turner and set off south again, the wagon now full of trade goods and perishables and Turner eager to make good time. They have not been travelling long when they find a battered young woman lying unconscious by the roadside and stop to see if she's okay - she comes round and says her name is Tabitha, that she was mugged and her sisters dragged away - Marco's inspection of the tracks in the area confirms her story. Tabitha is invited to travel with them for safety, riding alongside Turner on the wagon. Not long afterwards the caravan encounters a group of ghouls eating another young woman who bears, as far as can be told from her remains, a striking resemblance to Tabitha. The ghouls draw weapons and say they will allow the caravan to pass if one of its members is left with them as a sacrifice - the party attack, most of the ghouls are cut down but when Baragh and Jara run off into the woods to find and kill the one survivor they are surrounded by more ghouls and forced to flee back to the wagon. Eventually all the ghouls in the area are killed, Tabitha seeming strangely unmoved by her sister's death. The rest of the journey back to the White City is uneventful, though Tabitha becomes increasingly forgetful as the days wear on and Turner also becomes somewhat absentminded, but insists she is taken safely to the city. At the city gates the High Guardsman on duty lets Turner and his wagon through with a nod and a wink and Jara gives Tabitha over into the Guardsman's care, recommending that a surgeon or healer is found to check out the symptoms she's suffering from the blow to her head. Turner thanks the party for their assistance and tells them to collect their payment from Oliviero at his mansion.
The party go to Oliviero's mansion, after some discussion with the doorman (who claims that Oliviero hasn't hired any adventurers to escort one of his caravans) Oliviero himself comes to talk to them. Though he looks exactly the same as the person they saw earlier, it soon becomes apparent that they've been had - eventually the real Oliviero offers them 20 Hexa each if they can uncover the impostor and find out what's been going on. Going back to the North Gate, they find a new High Guardsman on duty who tells them that the Guardsman who seemed to be on good terms with Turner has gone off duty, taking Tabitha off with him to his home in the slums. Jara goes off to bring the Cloistered Brethren of Chains and the Low Guard up to speed with what's been going on and ask if any of them have heard anything, which they haven't, then the four adventurers meet up again and go in search of Ernie's house. They find the door ajar, the bedclothes rumpled and Ernie lying on the floor of the bedroom drooling, his mind apparently so completely wiped away that he is no longer capable of understanding speech or basic social interaction. The party are discussing what to do next when one of Jara's Low Guard contacts arrives, claiming to be a messenger from the Cloistered Brethren, and tells him that Turner's wagon has been spotted entering a nearby part of the slums. Jara tells the contact about "Tabitha" and the Low Guardsman carries Ernie's body away, promising to alert the authorities, while the party goes looking in the slums for someone to tell them where Turner's wagon went. Finding a gathering of shifty slumdwellers, Arik attempts to extract information from them by being shifty and sinister and making empty promises until Marco decides to try and extract information by showing off his ex-High-Guard boots and torturing one of them with Blood magic. The High Guard is called, Jara makes himself scarce, some far-fetched fast-talking ensues and the High Guard leave, as do several of the slumdwellers. Then one of the slumdwellers sells Arik and Marco some false information about "secret tunnels below the Port of Glass Embassy" and scarper before Jara can tell them they've been had - they track him down to the tavern in which he's drinking the money he stole from them, where Arik slams his face against the bar, drags his limp form out of the tavern to a nearby alleyway and brutally slaughters him in a manner intended to look like a ritual killing. Arik then makes himself scarce while Marco attempts to find Turner's place by following wagon tracks through the streets and Jara and Baragh find a contact who tells them, for a small consideration, that Turner operates out of a certain warehouse in the slums as a legitimate front, without King Eric's protection but with twenty or so goons to guard the place. Picking up Arik on the way, Jara and Baragh go to the warehouse and find Marco waiting there for them. After observing the place for some time they decide on a frontal approach, talk to the guards for a bit then draw weapons and attack, but the guards' superior numbers drive them back time after time. The adventurers retreat to get their armour repaired, then return to watching the warehouse and follow the guards home individually as they leave after their shifts end - Arik brutally murders some, Marco and Jara knock out and tie up others, until there are only half a dozen guards left at the warehouse. The attack this time goes slightly better, at least until two of the guards run off to fetch the High Guard - Jara makes himself scarce again as Arik and Marco manage to convince the High Guardsmen that they are a secret Low Guard investigatory team there to look into rumours of smuggling ! The warehouse is searched and they find a trapdoor over a ladder leading down into the sewers - the trapdoor is booby-trapped with a glass needle which pricks the hand of one of the High Guardsman and begins vitrifying his arm, he's rushed off to be seen to as Jara rejoins the party and they convince the High Guard to cordon off the warehouse while they investigate the sewers.
In the sewers, Marco finds the right course by reaching down into the sewage to feel for footprints in the crusted muck at the base of the channel. Eventually they reach a point where the trail splits, a more lightly used path leading off to the right down a tunnel from which comes the faint sound of chanting. Creeping forward to investigate, the party finds a group of cultists worshipping an altar which apparently consists of a great pile of faeces. As the party are spotted they are decried as infidels who must be slain for profaning the sacred ritual and a creature formed of pure animate filth is summoned forth from the altar. The party kill most of the cultists, Marco springing forward to kill the heavily tattooed Wind sorcerer who leads them and being cursed by the sorcerer's dying breath while the rest of the party attack the filth-creature. However, this proves counterproductive as instead of being destroyed the creature merely splits in two - the adventurers scurry round evading the creatures' clutches (Arik and Baragh splitting the second creature again) as Jara cuts off the Wind sorcerer's left arm and takes it with him for later investigation of the strange tattoos while Marco plunges his arms deep into the pile of filth on the altar to search it, finding nothing. The party retreat, leaving the three filth-creatures behind them and carrying the arm lashed to Jara's belt, returning to the main trail. A short distance further on they find two people collapsed against the sewer wall slowly succumbing to vitrification, who recognise Baragh and are in turn identified as some of King Eric's Men. They beg for purification potions and tell of how they were attacked by Splinter-Men - sure enough a horde of Splinter-Men clatter down the tunnels and attack the party. Arik and Marco drink purification potions to avert their own vitrification and Arik relents to the protests of the two poor unfortunates and gives one of them a purification potion as well, telling him to run back and bring help for his friend. Arik then proceeds to make the remaining poor unfortunate's last few minutes as miserable as possible, by standing over her taunting and gloating and staring into her eyes as she dies. Marco and Jara are very disturbed by this, even more so when they notice the wounds in Arik's chest being healed from the inside by a multitude of tiny spiders weaving a new layer of strange skin over the gashes, and decide to kill him before he leaves the sewers.
At last the trail leads to some steps that rise up out of the sewage to a wooden door, behind which is a room where the air is thick with silverleaf smoke and a number of people lounge around on cushions, so drugged out that they barely react to the party's presence. One of the junkies appears to have been using glass needles to purify and inject the drug in some fashion. At the far end of the room lies another door, behind which the adventurers find Turner and a gang of heavily armed mooks. There are some tense moments with drawn weapons, but the situation calms slightly as Arik negotiates with Turner and after some discussion reaches the suggestion that the party will turn around, leave and never say anything to anyone in return for a payment of 55 Hexa each. After reluctant agreement on both sides Turner hands over the cash and the party leave, closing the door behind them - only to stop in the smoke-filled room, draw their weapons, turn round, bash the door in and attack. There is a drawn out and confused melee, during which it becomes apparent that the guards are extremely competent and Turner himself exceptionally strong and highly skilled with a sword. Eventually, however, all are slain (though Jara is nearly killed as well) and Turner is tortured into giving the name Logan Whilder as the man he works for. Turner is killed, searching his room the party find some more money and a large quantity of drugs, much of which appears to be being cut with powdered glass. Several of the party take samples then investigate the room's back exit, where a ladder leads up into the darkness, but before they can investigate the junkies in the other room all start shuffling to their feet and one of them addresses the adventurers, claiming to be the voice of Logan Whilder. Marco is hit with a storm of glass shards to the chest and goes down, Jara stays long enough to pour a healing potion down Marco's throat and get him back on his feet then turns and runs for the ladder, Marco and Baragh following suit as another storm of glass shards takes down Arik. Arik's erstwhile colleagues abandon him and emerge from a manhole in the streets of the noble quarter near Oliviero's mansion, where they immediately start calling for the High Guard. The High Guard investigate but find no trace of Arik or Logan and are sceptical about the party's stories of what they found in the sewers. It is discovered that many of the junkies are of noble birth, so the whole thing is immediately hushed up and the High Guard ask that the party go along with the story that the young nobles were "kidnapped" and make no mention that drugs or Glass were involved. Resigned, Jara reports the latest events to the Low Guard and Cloistered Brethren (giving each of them a sizeable sample of the confiscated drugs) then the party return to Oliviero's, where he is disappointed that they can give him nothing but the name of the impostor but pleased that they were discreet enough not to mention his name to the High Guard, rewarding them with 10 Hexa each. Jara gives the Wind sorcerer's arm to the Cloistered Brethren for investigation, they identify the tattoos as symbolising the Prince of Miasmas.
Glass & Green
Run by Dom, Helen W, Lucy & Ellie on 23rd July 2005 (a Saturday in the summer vacation)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Dom & Lucy, hosted by Chris N.
Players: Abelard Velasquez (Rich), "Ripper" Bill McKenzie (James), Carlos de Mamushi (Joe W), Erica de Velland (Vicky), Federico Velasquez (Joff),
Mission Brief: The young noble Johann de Cotteril must spend a night in a ruined abbey in the Great Forest as part of his Family's traditional "coming of age" rites. He asks his friend Federico Velasquez to gather some companions to keep him company and safeguard his sojourn.
Adventure Summary: In answer to a summons to accompany his old school friend Johan de Cotteril to the Abbey, Federico gathers together some of his family and friends to join him. Johan greets the party warmly and explains his desire to follow in the tradition of his father and his forefathers. He tells how his great grandfather defended the Abbey against thieves and bandits, and says how he dreams of being a man like the famed ancestor. After being given strict instruction by Elaine de Cotteril (Johan's mother) that her son is not to be harmed, the party agree to meet Johan at the Inn of the Shattered Thigh, a few nights later, after he has seen to a few "pressing affairs." As they leave, Erica glimpses a vision of - "A ruined Abbey, a vision of an eye in the sun becoming tangled in weeds and vines, the Light gradually becoming obscured by the Green. A sense of awful foreboding, fire, a screaming sound that hurts the ears”.
On route, the party meet a group of strolling players, who perform for them “The Three Fish”, a tale of lost love and tragic death, before admitting that their latest show has been a flop, and after being chased from the last village they hanged their playwright and turned to banditry, which they’re not particularly good at either. Federico gives the players his card and asks them to visit the White City, where he will patronise them. The party then go on their way. A little while later the party find the corpse of the playwright against a tree, still clutching his quill tightly. Bill looks beyond, spotting the shade of the spirit, confused and lonely, hovering around the tree. Carlos performs the Last Rites and Bill communes with his god, to be told that the quill that the corpse clutches is a precious item. He pockets it and the party cremate the body and move on.
That night the party sleep soundly, except for Bill, who is plagued by dreams of spiders and scorpions, scary dreams that leave him feeling exhausted. They press on, however, only to interrupt a group of trolls that have somehow learned to speak poetry. The poetry slam, however, soon turns nasty, and the party are attacked. They defeat the trolls without any difficulty. Much more of a problem, however, are the Vine Children that swarm from the trees later, attracted by the scent of blood. Their eyes are white and they are crazed with hunger. The party at this point are heavily wounded and stop to rest, all except Bill who is plagued by more strange dreams, of trolls and childhood foes hammering him into the dirt. They march on, arriving at the little hamlet of Meerham, just on the border of the Watchtowers. There is a rush of fear as the party become aware that something is watching them, without being able to tell what. After this, the party have some unpleasantness with the local smith, and run him out of the village. Some of them break into the smithy to spend the night there, while others spend the night in Carlos' steelsilk tent. As dawn breaks, the smithy is beset by the sound of large cats mrowling and hissing. They launch an attack while the party are waking up. Hidden among them are two Catkin, servants of the Lady of Blood and Wine, who hang well back and stay in cat shape until the party are heavily wounded, before rising on their hind legs and launching in at a furious pace with their thorns and claws, bursting into the party, inflicting a fury of blows while dodging and parrying any moves the party make at them, before bolting into retreat the moment they are hit. This happens for some length of time, wearing the party down, while the villagers cower in their homes. Finally, Abelard and Carlos beat the one remaining Catkin senseless, binding it and slaughtering it. There is some unpleasantness while they question the villagers and find that the smith that ran out into the night previously was, presumably, slaughtered and eaten by the cat-creatures.
The party move on and are in sight of The Shattered Thigh Inn by nightfall, where in the courtyard of the inn a drunken patron is squaring up to Herrik, the innkeeper, a rather civilised troll. The ensuing fistfight spills into the bar, but is eventually quashed by the bar staff – the big one, which is hung on a nail by the bar. As the chaos dies down, there is a cry of “I say, this is all rather exciting!” and Johan enters, having just dismissed the pony and trap. He then books himself a room for the night. Carlos follows, stealing the boy’s purse and using it to buy drinks for the inn. The smith in the inn's yard fixes Abelard's armour. Some of the locals explain about the history of the Abbey and raise a toast to Old Ironfist. That night, Bill wakes feeling awful and talks to Abelard about the quill and the dreams. Abelard agrees to take the quill from him, and Bill finally rests easily. Abelard, however, has a night of strange dreams and begins to wonder why Bill would want to part with such a pretty quill, becoming enamoured with it.
The party set off, with Johan in tow and talking all the while. On the road they meet a group of bedraggled adventurers, travelling in the opposite direction, carrying with them, on a wagon, the corpse of a giant wyrm-creature, which they hunted in the Forest and are dragging back to the White City to claim their reward. They are tired and jumpy after a long fight, and are initially suspicious, but after some discussion the adventurers let the party pass. A few minutes later, some adventurers come running back down the path, flesh torn, arms hanging limp, screaming for help, before dying at the party’s feet, beyond recovery. The party investigate and find a clearing full of scattered corpses, and an empty wagon. Of the firedrake there is no sign. There is also a foul smell of rotten meat. Johan is violently sick at this point. The party spend the next hour discussing how to react to this, before being convinced by Johan that they should hunt down the beast using his superior tracking skills. The party follow him through the undergrowth for several hours, before finding themselves back at a scorched clearing that seems strangely familiar. Johan is looking slightly sheepish. The party move on, and are once again beset by the feeling that something is watching them. There is an encounter with some bandits, deep in the forest, which ends with Johan misfiring into the fight, lodging a crossbow bolt in Bill’s buttock. While Carlos removes it, Abelard dispenses some rough justice to a captive bandit by chopping her hand off. That evening the party reach the Abbey of the Green Maid, an old ruin overgrown with weeds but providing some shelter from the elements. Inspection reveals that while it was, for many years, used as a house of the Light, the original building work seems to denote worship of an older power. There is an overgrown well in the centre of the courtyard. There are a number of wolves prowling the ruins, a fight that proves no trouble at all for the party, apart from ensuring that Johan stays well out of the battle.
Johan begins to make obeisance to the Light and to the spirits of his father and grandfather, kneeling in prayer. At this point, the party is attacked by the group of strolling players, now sporting Glass sorcerers and Splinter-Men. While Johan is praying, with the party camped nearby, the actors Vitrify him and smash the resulting statue to pieces before attacking the party, aided by a horde of Splinter-Men, as the sorcerer runs off into the night. The battle has disturbed the Spirit of the Abbey, which rises from the well. The spirit is a creature of vines and bark, and is not happy. The spirit asks why it's been disturbed, as a worshipper of another Old Power Bill steps forward to explain and is treated as a friend, the spirit asks the others who they are and demands that they render sacrifice to make amends. Federico leads the rest of the party in cutting out the hearts of the slain actors and feeding them to it, after which the spirit allows them to go on their way without trouble. It advises each of the party of certain information and gives Bill McKenzie the blessing of the Verdant Lord. The party try to gather up the remnants of Johan's shattered glass body but can't find many of the pieces amongst all the shards of Splinter-Men. At some point, Carlos consecrates the Abbey to the Hushed Princess. The party decide to track down the sorcerer who Vitrified Johan, using Carlos' Wind sorcery and rites. The party leave the Abbey, following the wind. On route they meet a group of Weavers that are camped far from the City of Silk, scouting a trade route to local villages. The Weavers are just packing the last of their gear to move out in the opposite direction to the party, who force a march onward. The party find the Glass sorcerer on the edge of the Forest, and after a quick and ruthless pitched battle the party lay waste to his Splinter-Men and take him, unconscious, back towards the White City. After marching for some time the party reach the edge of the Watchtowers again, where they are met by a troop of High Guard. Abelard takes charge, and hands over their captive, before the party return to the White City to question him.
Under questioning, the Glass sorcerer is revealed as a professional freelance assassin and reveals certain information to Carlos, who leads the investigation. Johan's mother is very angry with Federico and vows revenge. It is discovered that Johan had left his lands to the party in his will, some of the adventurers pass their bequeathments back to Johan's mother and sister in apology for not being able to protect her son, Bill begins to manifest a blessing of the Verdant Lord as grass and flowers blossom in his footsteps. Abelard finds himself unable to write anything he knows to be untrue but is possessed of newfound skill as a playwright and novelist.
Run by James W & Vicky on 13th August 2005 (a Saturday in the summer vacation)
This was an experimental one-off LARP run for six GM-created NPCs given to the players at random at the start of the LARP. Every one of the NPCs had a secret mission to try and kill the bequeathers rest of the party.
NPCs: Billy - RIP (Lucy), Sir Enzo Cristofori - RIP (Joe W), Gilbert Green (Dom), Morrid Dostor (Xan), Rufus - RIP (Joff), Sable - RIP (Tristram)
Mission Brief: Six adventurers are hired by the Low Guard to assassinate a necromancer named Choke-Bone, who has a lair in the wooded hills to the northwest of the White City.
Original Plot Document (.rtf file)
Adventure Summary: The adventurers set off, with a certain amount of ribald amusement over the necromancer's name along the way, to one of the Watchtowers where they are more fully briefed by the High Guardsman in charge. They are also told that one of the necromancer's undead minions has been captured and questioned and claims that the party includes a traitor in the service of Choke-Bone - there is some consternation at this news and the party all visit the dungeons together to question the minion further, but get nothing useful out of him. They set off northwest and follow the stench of chemicals to a small group of bandits led by an experimental alchemist who has set up a still nearby. The bandits drink various potions before they attack, giving one of them the power to fly, one the power to breathe fire, one vicious tentacles, another a semi-substantial form that is resistant to damage and similar advantages to the rest, but this does not prevent them from being defeated and the few remaining experimental potions looted. The party continues onwards, fights and defeats a group of zombies and later makes camp for the night, setting double watches in case there is a traitor.
Morrid and Rufus find the first watch uneventful. On the second watch Gilbert kills Sable and goes off to hide his body in the woods. On the third watch, with Gilbert and Sable still absent, Billy persuades Sir Enzo to take a swig from a flask of spirits that has been dosed with a sleeping potion and he falls fast asleep. Billy then drinks one of the experimental potions and creeps into Rufus' tent, where he slits Rufus' throat. At this point the experimental potion creates a loud explosion that wakes Morrid and draws Gilbert back to the camp, they rush to Rufus' tent to find Billy standing over him with a dagger drawn claiming that the camp was attacked by bandits, Billy feeds Rufus a "healing potion" (actually poison) while Morrid uses Wind sorcery to heal Rufus of both the wound and the poison. Billy is questioned and claims that bandits crept up, knocked him and Sir Enzo unconscious then slit Rufus' throat, Billy waking up just in time to see them leaving and rushing to check on Rufus and the rest as an unexplained explosion occurred. Gilbert looks around and claims that there are indeed bandit tracks entering the camp, it is presumed that these bandits made off with Sable (who cannot be found) but the fact that Sir Enzo shows no sign of having been hit on the head casts further doubt on Billy's story. Eventually Sir Enzo comes round and says that he remembers nothing after being offered a drink by Billy, at which point Rufus and Morrid execute Billy as the traitor and there is much expression of relief that the traitor in the party has been found!
Billy's possessions are divided up between the survivors and they move on until Gilbert comes back from scouting possessed by a ghost and claiming that the rest of the party killed him, Morrid and Rufus eventually manage to talk him down and once he's back in his right mind he tells them that up ahead lies a scene of carnage where the necromancer's victims have been crucified and impaled along the pathway and all the ways round are thick with the webs of giant spiders. The adventurers attempt to run past before any more lingering ghosts can notice them and try to possess them, Morrid makes it, Rufus and Sir Enzo are attacked by ghosts but manage to fight off the attempted possession, however Gilbert is possessed once more and attacks Sir Enzo, being subdued by Morrid's Wind sorcery before he can cause any damage. Once he comes round there is some discussion over what to do with him but he is eventually allowed to continue alongside his comrades with his weapons returned. The webs around the path grow thicker and the party are attacked by giant spiders, managing to defeat them all. Finally the party arrive at the cave in which Choke-Bone is rumoured to make his lair, the entrance guarded by a horde of skeletons. Gilbert hides in the bushes as the skeletons attack, at which point Morrid uses Wind sorcery to render Rufus and Sir Enzo unconscious so that they can be taken by the skeletons and then makes his way back to the White City, where he reports that Gilbert and Billy were the traitors who scuppered the mission. Meanwhile Gilbert is brought to Choke-Bone's presence by an escort of undead minions and is made the necromancer's new lieutenant.
Raindrops & Roses
Run at The Mitre by Chris N, Helen W & Joe R on the evening of 13th August 2005 (a Saturday in the summer vacation)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by unknown photographer(s), hosted by Chris N.
Players: Lieutenant Ambriel Chermes (Helen W), Bartholomew D'Artois (Ben), Captain "Ripper" Bill McKenzie (James W), Carlos de Mamushi (Joe W), Neara Therapainas (Helen L), "Francesca Correlli" aka Serafine D'Artois (Laura), Shardface (James W), Toquell Velasquez (Joe W)
NPCs: Alice Gower (Lucy), Alicia Fane (Ellie), Arturo de Verlay (Dan), Belinda Thaler (Jen), Duchess Caroline D'Artois (Celine), Captain (retired) Dominic Laird (Chris N), Emmanuel D'Artois (Xan), Engel Karlsson (James W), Horatio Cristofori (Joff), Imelda Foucard (Helen L), Jeniveive De Almedia (Tristram), Karl D’Artois (Matt), Duke Lemuel D'Artois (Joe R), Niske D’Artois (Dom), Raddigan Bey (Julian), Rose D’Artois (Vicky), Silvestre D’Artois (Chris N), Thaddeus de Verlay (Rich), Wat Miller (Arthur)
Event Brief: Various movers and shakers are invited by Duke Lemuel D'Artois to a party, held at his Ducal Palace in the Port of Glass, to celebrate the twenty-second birthday of his latest wife, Duchess Caroline D'Artois. The attendants will be a mix of D'Artois, merchants, criminals and other nobles from the Port, and foreign notables - both those attached to the Embassy and those attending for the occasion. Anyone with an ear to the ground will know that such parties are popular breeding grounds for political manoeuvring, and that this occasion in particular is rumoured to be a fertile one for anyone contemplating the idea of regime change in the Port.
Official Invitation (.rtf file)
Adventure Summary: A great deal of socialising and plotting and deal making goes on quietly in secluded corners or behind the scenes. There is a card game in progress for most of the evening which various people dropped in and out of playing. Some of the more publicly notable events of the occasion include Carlos proposing a toast to Lady Caroline, Niske causing a fuss over being challenged to a duel by Emmanuel as a result of which both of them are ordered by Lemuel to make a public apology for causing a scene at the party, Imelda being politely asked by Lemuel to give a public opinion of Lady Caroline following a certain amount of barbed social bitterness, Arturo and Rose indulging in their usual interminable philosophical bickering and Bill causing equal amounts amusement and consternation by dripping blood all over the floor and generally being considerably out of his social depth.
There is an In-Character write-up of the event available here, written by Xan.
Run by Joff & Joe W on 27th August 2005 (a Saturday in the summer vacation)
Players: Adanemoay (Xan), Captain "Ripper" Bill McKenzie (James), Don Inigo Montoya (Julian), Sebastian (Joff), ??? - the adventurer formerly known as "Tibs" (Joe W)
Mission Brief: To celebrate the first anniversary of the opening of his shop, Sebastian organises a small melée tournament in the adjoining market square with some choice weapons as prizes for the winners.
Adventure Summary: The tournament is arranged in a number of rounds, with each entrant fighting one bout in each round and hired Blood sorcerers and Wind sorcerers on hand to provide healing between rounds, a supply of weapons and light leather armour available so that all contestants have suitable arms for every round. Armour other than light armour is forbidden. The prizes on offer are an exceptionally well made sword crafted by a mad blacksmith in the Whistful City for the overall winner, a troglodyte broadsword for second place and a pair of throwing knives for third place, the tournament to be followed by a buffet and a sale. The entrants are a warrior from the Whistful City named Adanemoay, a professional duellist from the City of Crossroads named Don Inigo Montoya, a dual mace wielding warrior from the East named Krarg, a cloaked young man named Timothy and the infamous "Ripper" Bill McKenzie, with Sebastian joining in to make even numbers but not eligible for any of the prizes. The tournament starts with introductions of the contestants and some concern over Bill's ability to refrain from killing any of his opponents, but eventually people's worries are settled and Bill begins by consecrating the ring to the Lord of the Blood-Fury.
The first round is single sword to first damaging blow, with one point each going to Inigo (against Bill), Krarg (against Adanemoay) and Timothy (against Sebastian).
The second round is sword and main-gauche, as people's skill allows, to submission or the incapacitation of a limb, with one point each going to Bill (against Sebastian), Timothy (against Adanemoay) and Krarg (against Inigo, who runs around the ring attempting to escape after being ignominiously disarmed).
The third round is single weapon of choice to submission or unconsciousness, with one point each going to Timothy (against Krarg), Inigo (against Bill) and Sebastian (against Adanemoay).
The fourth round is a knife fight to submission or unconsciousness, each contestant wielding one or two knives or daggers as their skill allows, with one point each going to Bill (against Adanemoay) and Sebastian (against Krarg). Inigo and Timothy manage to draw and are awarded one point apiece for their bout.
The fifth round is a fight with up to two weapons of choice each to submission or unconsciousness. It starts with a bout between Bill and Timothy in which Bill becomes unaccountably enraged halfway through and attacks Timothy with a Blood curse, claiming that he's a Glass sorcerer. Bill is prevented from killing Timothy until the High Guard arrive - Bill is coshed unconscious and manacled while Timothy is examined, but since no evidence of Bill's claims can be found Bill is disqualified from the tournament and taken off to the cells to cool down while Timothy continues with the contest, Sebastian dropping out to keep the numbers even. The round starts over and one point goes to Timothy (against Adanemoay), while Krarg and Inigo manage to administer simultaneous finishing blows to each other and are awarded one point apiece for their bout.
The final round is a melée between all four contestants with a single weapon of choice each, two points going to the winner - things start cautiously with the four contestants keeping their distance, then there is a flurry of activity and fleeting alliances which sees Krarg fall and Adanemoay badly injured. Adanemoay backs off to let Inigo and Timothy duel, but they both turn on him and leave him in one corner of the ring with his right arm and right leg incapacitated before continuing. A long drawn out fight leaves Inigo unconscious and Timothy badly hurt as he comes to finish Adanemoay off, but this proves more difficult than expected and ends with the two contestants on their knees in the centre of the ring as they administer simultaneous blows that leave each of them with both arms and one leg incapacitated, at which point the round is declared a draw and they are awarded two points each.
This leaves the final score at two points to Adanemoay, three points to Krarg, four points to Inigo and seven points to Timothy, who is proclaimed the victor and enters the shop with Sebastian to collect his prize - only for the two of them to emerge moments later, Sebastian ranting that the prizes and most of his stock have been stolen! Timothy immediately sets off to search for the thieves while Sebastian appeals for help - Inigo and Adanemoay agree to aid him, though they are at a loss as to where to start looking. An urchin is found in the crowd who claims to have seen several masked men loading weapons into a cart from the back of the shop while everybody else was engrossed in the tournament and says he knows which way they went. He leads the two adventurers along various narrow city streets until they come to a run-down area of the slums where several armed men tell them that there's a toll to pay if they want to pass. Adanemoay and Inigo protest that they have no money and consider turning back to look for another way through, but are concerned about losing their quarry and discussions soon degenerate to the point where swords are drawn and combat is joined. One of the thugs runs off after being badly wounded, another tries to do the same but is chased down and marked by Inigo and the third is incapacitated and subdued by Adanemoay, who calls for the High Guard - but the High Guard rarely visit this part of the slums and his cries go unanswered, so they leave the miscreant sitting in the street and proceed upon their way. Not much further on they find the cart abandoned and evidence that the men who were with it took their loot into the sewers, so the urchin and the two adventurers follow them down. In the sewers they find a toll-point manned by some of King Eric's men, who allow them to pass and tell them which way their quarry went in return for the adventurers dealing with a nearby nest of Splinter-Men for them. Further along they are moving down a tunnel when a horde of troglodytes break through the wall, invading the White City in the name of High King Streng. Inigo and Adanemoay dispatch troglodyte after troglodyte while the urchin, whom Inigo has named Diego, removes bricks until the breach collapses and the troglodyte tunnel is sealed. Later they meet a Light sorcerer of the Shining Order accompanied by two members of the High Guard, all three of whom appear extremely nervous - the cause of their nervousness soon becomes apparent as the two High Guardsmen are dragged beneath the filth and devoured by two creatures seemingly formed from the muck itself. The Light sorcerer asks Inigo and Adanemoay to keep the creatures off while he builds up the power to destroy them - the two adventurers hold the narrow passageway against a seemingly endless horde of the creatures while the Light sorcerer spends four or five minutes raising the Light before casting a massive purification that scours the sewers clean of all ordure. Near the end of the fight, however, Inigo looks back at the sorcerer and has his eyes burnt out by the glory of the Light, so once the sewers are purified the sorcerer ordains him as a Priest of the Light and initiates him into the Shining Order, as a result of which he is then able to see clearly even without his eyes. The Light sorcerer returns to the surface and the other three continue onwards, collecting from the sewer floor occasional valuables that had been lost in the muck. Eventually the sewers lead to a scorched door which Inigo kicks in to reveal a room in which three thugs are rifling through the goods stolen from Sebastian's shop - a hard fought fight ensues in which one of the thieves is marked by Inigo and the other two are beaten unconscious and taken back to Sebastian's with his goods, although the sword which was to be awarded to the tournament's winner is missing. The thugs are turned over to the High Guard and, under questioning, reveal that the theft was organised by a man who matches Timothy's description. Other evidence corroborates Bill's accusation that "Timothy" is indeed a Glass sorcerer, so Bill is released without charge.
The Blind Leading The Blind
Run by Rich on 10th September 2005 (a Saturday in the summer vacation)
Players: Diego (Joe W), Don Inigo Montoya of the Shining Order (Julian), "John Coates" aka Erskine Uskglass (Matt)
Mission Brief: The Exalted Church of the Light advertises for some adventurers to go to the Great Forest and find out what has happened to one of their missionaries, a man named Sloughberne who went forth to spread the doctrine of the Light.
Adventure Summary: On their way northwest the party meet a trader who is driving a pack of four wolves on leashes to the city to be sold, but as he nears the party the leashes break and the wolves turn on the trader and rip him to shreds before attacking the party, at which point they are swiftly put down. The party pass by one of the minor Watchtowers and find it strangely deserted, food still on the stove and no signs of anything out of the ordinary having occurred but not a trace of any of the guardsmen or where they might have gone. They meet and kill some large, stupid and argumentative trolls before arriving at a small hamlet where Sloughberne stayed for some weeks and converted many of the inhabitants to the worship of the Light. The local priest gives a sermon and Inigo does likewise as a guest preacher, the party spending the night there before moving on in the direction the villagers tell them Sloughberne went. In a clearing in the Forest they find some dead bodies and are attacked by ghosts, but manage to keep the spirits out of their minds. Then they come to a wooden bridge over a fast flowing river where a swordsmen named Eduardo asks if any of them have the skill to prove themselves worthy of passage - Inigo accepts the challenge and a duel ensues, but when it finally reaches the point where some of Inigo's blows are getting through Eduardo's guard John summons forth a lightning bolt which blasts the bridge to smithereens and knocks both fighters into the water. Inigo lands near the bank and is able to pull himself to safety, but Eduardo is swept away by the currents and yells about dishonour and vengeance during the brief moments when he surfaces, obviously having difficulty staying afloat. Inigo drinks a potion to increase his strength and dives in to rescue Eduardo, pulling him to safety on the far bank some distance downstream and giving him a healing potion, but then Inigo realises that he has lost his sword and dives back in to look for it, staying under too long and eventually bobbing back to the surface with his sword clutched tightly in his grasp but nearly dead of drowning. John has taken to the air to look for Inigo by this point and swoops down to use Wind sorcery to revive him, enabling him to swim back to shore with his sword. With the bridge gone, John flies across the river while Inigo swims across with Diego holding onto his back. Once they all reach the other side Inigo rails at John about his actions for a while, making it clear that he 'll be in so much trouble if he pulls something like that again.
The party continue looking for Sloughberne, eventually finding a village full of ghouls. As the adventurers enter the village the ghouls begin raising the Light and blasting them with burning Purges until killed. A short while later the party are attacked by several ghosts with ghostly chains around their necks, Diego flees and John succumbs to their assaults on his mind. Once the ghosts are destroyed a Chain-Wraith with a shining crown attacks Inigo, leaving him with an ethereal chain around his neck before departing into the Forest. Diego comes back to find both his comrades unconscious on the ground, but eventually they come round and continue. The party encounter a small group of zombies and skeletons who raise the Light and attack the party with Light sorcery again, the ghost's influence on John's mind forcing him to go berserk and charge forward into melee; a prolonged fight ensues before the undead are destroyed. Not much further on the party finally meet Sloughberne, surrounded by an entourage of undead. They speak with him and he rants about how he has been bringing the message of the Light to those who need it most, gesturing to the undead around him, saying that the Light shines most brightly in the deepest darkness and spouting similar dubious philosophy. The undead begin raising the Light but Sloughberne orders them not to attack. Finally Inigo attacks Sloughberne and another battle ensues, during which Sloughberne calls forth an Ashen Cloud before being struck down. At this point the battered party flee from the remaining undead minions to recoup their strength, returning a little later to find no trace of the remaining minions or of Sloughberne's body bar some tracks disappearing into the Forest. They return to the White City, on their way passing by the same Watchtower they investigated on their way out and finding it now inhabited by a full complement of guardsmen who say they realise's never left their posts and haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary. Inigo visits the Cloistered Brethren of Chains to see if they can remove the ethereal chain around his neck, they give him a sleeping potion and when he wakes up it's gone. Then the party go to the Exalted Church of the Light to report that Sloughberne went mad and had to be killed, in thanks to Inigo and Diego for their part in the mission the Church agree to enrol Diego in their Academy. The report on John's actions during the mission, however, earns him the Church's disfavour.
Lands of the Dying Sun
Run by Julian on 17th September 2005 (a Saturday in the summer vacation)
Players: Belor de Velland (Peter), Captain Matteus De Almedia (Xan), "Roland the Subtle" aka Erskine Uskglass (Matt), Yana (Ellie)
Mission Brief: Her Eminence Rebecca De Courci sponsors a large caravan led by the merchant Marco Grigori to travel far to the West, journeying many weeks beyond the City of Silk, in search of new trading partners and more information about the great danger warned of by Belor de Velland. The party are hired as scouts and guards.
Adventure Summary: Marco Grigori, who has made it his life's ambition to lead a merchant caravan to the far West and has finally managed to get funding from Rebecca De Courci as a result of the tales Belor has told of a great danger threatening from that compass and only being held back by the efforts of the de Velland Family, meets up with the adventurers the night before the expedition departs and takes them to a farewell party hosted by Rebecca De Courci. At this party Bemito D'Artois, the Port of Glass Ambassador to the White City, takes several of them aside individually to ask them to spy for him or just invite them to dinner on their return. Also at the party is Brother Silus, one of the most senior members of the Cloistered Brethren of Chains, who binds Belor's will and orders him to see that the mission fails. Eventually the party ends and the four adventurers go their separate ways to spend the night in their own beds, but are each waylaid in the city streets by a group of three or four assassins clad in featureless grey uniforms. Yana swiftly kills and subdues her assailants and carries the survivors to the Cloistered Brethren, where she is told that she was not meant to be attacked and to release her captives before being asked inside for further instructions. Belor has a difficult battle but eventually triumphs, dragging the body of one of his assailants to the Temple of Ashes where the priests seem unwilling to commune with its dead spirit on his behalf. Matteus swiftly kills and subdues his assailants and blows his whistle to summon the guard, Roland uses Wind sorcery to take to the air and dispatches two of his opponents by means of lightning bolts and breath-stealing, when the third assassin flees he lands, breaks the legs of the unconscious survivor and drags him towards the sound of the whistle. Matteus sends a couple of the High Guard to check on Belor and Yana to see if they've also been attacked, then with the help of the guardsmen Matteus and Roland have their captives taken back to the Guardhouse for questioning and torture, but have only had them in custody for a few minutes when a high ranking representative of the Exalted Church of the Light arrives with a small entourage and demands that the prisoners are handed over to his custody. Matteus grudgingly agrees, then speaks with Belor and Yana when they arrive. Belor says that the Temple of Ashes have also been unhelpful but Yana says only that she dealt with her attackers. As the others go to snatch a few hours sleep before dawn, Matteus goes to speak with the Chamberlain of the Duke and Duchess De Almedia and tells him what's happened, asking for his Family's assistance for the High Guard to investigate a possible conspiracy of the Exalted Church and Temple of Ashes to try and stop the expedition.
The caravan sets off, Marco being told of the night's events, and reaches the Western Watchtower without trouble. Not much later the party are scouting ahead when they encounter a group of warriors accompanied by a Chain sorcerer and demanding that they and the caravan abandon their mission and turn back to the White City. A fight ensues, during which Yana has cause to Shatter Chains (breaking the binding on Belor's will) and the opposing Chain sorcerer falls on his own sword rather than let himself be taken alive. Some captives are taken and questioned, claiming that the Chain sorcerer with them was a member of the Cloistered Brethren who had come to hire their band of mercenaries to stop the caravan, but Yana ridicules the suggestion and it is opined that any Chain sorcerer could have claimed to be a member of the Cloistered Brethren. At Yana's request she's left to deal with the captives as the rest of the party move on. Much travel later they arrive at the City of Silk, where people talk to various of the inhabitants and a Weaver hunter who tells them of a village in a valley further to the West where the primitive natives worship the Old Powers, have close contact with the local Spider Queens and their tribes and can offer them advice and guidance on their journey deeper into the Forest. Moving on, the party pass through a heavily web-festooned area of the forest where they are attacked by a horde of giant black spiders with red hourglass markings on their backs. Fighting these attackers off, they eventually arrive at the village they were told of and attempt to negotiate with the natives for a guide. But the villagers shun the shiny beads and gifts of food they are offered and demand wives, so the party wait for the caravan to catch up and Marco pays the camp followers to sleep with the men of the village as "one night wives". The village chieftain uses Blood sorcery and announces that anybody who sleeps with one of the village's men that night will bear a child. One of the villagers tries it on with Yana and is so persistent that he is only discouraged when she breaks his arm. The next morning, the satisfied chieftain tells the party about a war between two local clans of spiders (the Widow Clan and the Knife Clan), deciding that Matteus must be a servant of the Widow Clan since he wears a red tabard with a black spider on it, and gives them a guide to show them the way through the Forest. Realising that the caravan will have to travel through the territory of one of the two tribes of spiders, the party attack the knife-spiders to clear a safe route through the Forest - the fight is hard, the vicious blade-like legs of the spiders doing a great deal of damage when they hit and the Spider-Queen that leads the tribe using Blood sorcery to heal her minions, but eventually the party are victorious. One of the Spider-Queen's last acts is to curse Yana with an affliction that begins to warp her left hand into an inhuman claw.
The journey continues, after more weeks of travel the party see smoke ahead and find a clearing containing an isolated house surrounded by vegetable patches and livestock. In this house lives a hermit who speaks a little of the language spoken in the lands known to the White City and invites the party in. He tells them that he has been living in the Forest as a hermit for twenty years, though before that he lived in the beautiful City of Mists less than a week's travel to the West, describes the city to them and even teaches them some of his language. Belor is highly suspicious, claiming that the City of Mists doesn't really exist and that the hermit is an agent of the great Nameless Evil of the Far West against which his Family fight. There is a certain amount of disagreement, eventually the party move on at the hermit's request, Belor insisting on staying behind a little longer to question the hermit further after giving Matteus his word that he won't attempt to harm him - Matteus and Yana move on but Roland lurks in the trees to watch Belor and sees him attack the hermit, so uses Wind sorcery to steal Belor's breath. Matteus and Yana come back to investigate and find Belor unconscious and tied up, when he comes round he claims that he was possessed by a spirit sent by the Nameless Evil and has no knowledge of events since arriving at the clearing. The party discuss this for a while and return to the caravan to talk to Marco, deciding that if spirits in the service of the Nameless Evil can undetectably possess people and turn them against their comrades then this area is too dangerous and the caravan should turn back to the White City. But Marco insists on continuing and Roland says that he exorcised the spirit from Belor himself and that it was extremely weak. So the party continues westwards, now with a great deal of internal tension. The caravan emerges from the far side of the Great Forest and begins establishing a settlement which Marco calls "Belor's Folly", then the party and Marco begin moving on in search of the City of Mists. They pass by an abandoned ruined temple with a dome of purple marble and eventually see carrion birds circling above a battlefield. Dead bodies in black tabards bearing an emblem of three silver stars above a silver tower are strewn around, their weapons and armour showing evidence of an equal level of civilisation to the White City, while a great pyre burns the corpses of the victorious side. A large warrior clad in purple bars the narrow bridge that carries the road across a stream and beckons the party forward to talk to him - after some communication by mime Marco and Yana put down their weapons and move forward to speak, the warrior putting down his weapons likewise. With the warrior speaking none of the eastern tongue and Marco speaking only a few snatches of the western tongue, conversation proceeds haltingly for a short while before another man in ornate purple robes and jeweled rings comes up. With gestures and foreign words he commands all of the party to put down their weapons and kneel, which they do out of politeness. Then he demands that they kiss his ring - Marco and Yana comply but Matteus refuses to pay him obeisance, talking loudly and slowly in an attempt to make him understand that it would not be proper to do so. The robed man begins to lose his temper and addresses Roland by his true name of Erskine, which shocks him deeply and has him whispering to his comrades about Name sorcery. Finally the robed man loses patience and addresses the party fluently in their own language, demanding to know why they don't show proper obeisance to a representative of the Emperor? When the party profess no knowledge of the Empire of which he speaks and will not submit to his orders, he is convinced they must be lying rebels and orders his men to attack - soldiers erupt from the surrounding undergrowth and a pitched battle ensues, which ends in a stand-off once all but two of the soldiers are downed and Yana binds the robed man's will and commands him to call off the survivors. This he does, and the party cautiously return to Belor's Folly. Before they leave Yana commands the robed man to mention nothing of them to anyone else and to order his troops to keep similarly silent.
Back at Belor's Folly, Yana confesses that she was ordered by the Cloistered Brethren to stop the mission from ever getting this far but just couldn't bring herself to do it and now fears what calamity she might have brought upon the White City by alerting this Empire to its existence, given that the Cloistered Brethren's orders were apparently based on the evidence of prophecies in their possession. Marco and Matteus remain at Belor's Folly as Mayor and High Sheriff respectively, determined to fend off the Empire's attentions while attempting to make contact with its enemies for trade and alliance and beginning work on a road through the Great Forest. Belor also remains behind, saying that the Empire is clearly a manifestation of the Nameless Evil and its servants and that he wishes to try and make contact with the rest of his Family. Meanwhile Yana and Roland return to the White City with a fraction of the caravan to take them this disturbing news of what's been found, bearing letters from Matteus to his Family about the role of the Cloistered Brethren and the Exalted Church of the Light in the attempts to stop the mission. Yana hands the Chain which still binds the will of the Imperial sorcerer to the Cloistered Brethren, who provide her with a replacement.
Vengeance Is Whose?
Run by Joe W & Ellie on 24th September 2005 (a Saturday in the summer vacation)
A sequel to "The Battle For The White City".
Players: Abelard Velasquez (Rich), Stephano De Courci (Julian)
Mission Brief: Word is put out amongst adventuring circles that Duchess Chiara Velasquez is looking for capable and discreet individuals to engage in a lucrative but risky venture outside the lands of the White City.
Adventure Summary: Chiara has discovered that the sword Vengeance, used by Sirius Panastra (the Champion of the Army of the Red Gryphon) in the war against the White City, has been captured by the Port of Glass Embassy and is being taken south to the Port of Glass by one of Lemuel D'Artois' personal bodyguards, he and his entourage travelling with a caravan. She wants it recovered and brought back to her so that, she claims, she may present it to Rebecca De Courci. Abelard and Stephano head off south, before reaching the Watchtowers they meet a small group of bandits who are slowly turning to glass after being nicked by the bodyguard's glass dagger and claim to be innocent victims and plead for help. Abelard and Stephano give these bandits all four of their purification potions, earning their gratitude, and move on. They pass the South Watchtower, converse with the guards there (who tell them that the caravan is heading southwest towards the Great Forest), travel onwards and set up camp for the night, being attacked by wolves while they sleep. They meet a small group of Knights of the Shining Order who are hunting a lame, bald Glass sorcerer named Xavier and the "tainted children" he has with him. The Knights demand assistance in this quest and the two adventurers agree to help hunt and kill Xavier and his entourage, separating from the Knights so that between them the two groups can cover more ground. Abelard and Stephano do indeed run across Xavier and his three surviving wards, after some conversation (during which Xavier asks them to kill the Knights who are hunting him and the children) they advise him to keep running and try for sanctuary in the City of Silk. Continuing to follow the caravan's route they reach a tiny hamlet named Oakhaven in the southeastern part of the Great Forest where Stephano demonstrates his skill at the game of "reds and yellows" and they discover that the bodyguard and his men have separated from the caravan and are now headed in the direction of the Three Gardens of the Bodach. Stephano dedicates himself to the worship of the Princess of the West Wind above the other Rose Princes.
The next morning they head off, having an encounter with some hungry Children of the Vine who demand their blood and attack to get it. Stephano is nearly killed but some tense negotiations allow the adventurers to continue on their way after the surviving Vinechildren have fed on their blood and the blood of the Vinechild who died in the fight. They spot something shiny in a tree, on closer inspection this proves to be a mirror placed there by the bodyguard to stop anyone on his trail - as Abelard finds out when the Looking Glass Hunter within tries to consume his soul! Luckily Stephano is able to smash the mirror just as Abelard's spirit is about to be dragged off to the Shattered Plain and the two of them continue to the borders of the Three Gardens, where the bodach are extremely suspicious but eventually agree to let them enter when told that they are on the trail of a Glass sorcerer and his men. Within the Gardens it is plain that there is a war going on, the two adventurers find the wounded Lord of the Gardens in his grey armour, one hand pressed against the weeping wound in his side, propped against a tree surrounded by the bodies of dead bodach and the shattered and ash-commended remains of Splinter-Men, Glass Sentinels and Vitrimorphs. They speak with him, he mentions that the Powers of Ash are becoming less potent against those of Glass, they agree to carry a message back to the Temple of Ashes in the White City on his behalf. Stephano takes to the air to scout out the route ahead, but attracts the attention of a vast dragon made of glass so he and Abelard seek shelter beneath the trees. There they hide from the dragon until it gets bored of uprooting trees trying to find them and flies off again. As they cautiously move on a tower of glass erupts from the ground and disgorges a horde of Splinter-Men, which they destroy.
In a clearing in the Gardens they finally catch up with the bodyguard, named Quinn, who is accompanied by several mercenaries and carries Vengeance wrapped securely in cloth. After a little bluster Quinn and his men attack, Quinn wielding one of the Shard Knives and a dagger with exceptional skill. All but one of the mercenaries are slain before Quinn, now badly injured, knocks Stephano unconscious with Glass magic. One of the mercenaries stands over Vengeance to guard it while Abelard cuts down Quinn, but he rolls away from Abelard's finishing blow (so that it merely severs one of his arms) and uses Glass magic to finish Abelard off with storms of glass shards. Quinn's other mercenaries return, Abelard and Stephano are healed enough to keep them alive then stripped of their possessions and armour and tied up, then the mercenaries prepare supper while Quinn discusses the practicalities of taking them back to the Port of Glass as prisoners. But when they come round Abelard proves strong enough to snap his bonds and fight his way to Vengeance, the sword's bindings and wrappings fall away as he reaches for it and in a fury of bloodlust he cuts down Quinn and one of the mercenaries before the remaining two mercenaries flee and Stephano blasts Abelard with a lightning bolt. Though the lightning bolt doesn't knock Abelard out, it disables his limbs long enough for Stephano to remove Vengeance from him (being careful not to touch it with his bare hands) and securely wrap it up again. The two adventurers put their armour back on and recover their possessions then head for the White City, the sword now strapped to Stephano's back. Another tower of glass erupts from the ground and spews forth eight Glass Sentinels, during the battle that ensues Stephano resorts to drawing Vengeance but even this is not enough to save him, after a hard fight Stephano is left lying against a tree with his limbs smashed into uselessness and Abelard is left dying on the ground as the Glass Sentinels move onwards into the Gardens. Stephano calls on the Rose Princes for aid and is lucky enough to have his prayer answered, rejuvenating fire blasting from the heavens to heal him in time for him to save Abelard. The glass dragon reappears and Vengeance urges Stephano to attack it, but with an effort of will he manages to sheathe the sword and flee for cover again. The two adventurers head north for the White City, but on the road they are met by a masked woman accompanied by several thugs. The masked woman demands that the sword is handed over to her, her voice strangely familiar to Stephano, and when the adventurers refuse she commands her thugs to take them alive and get her the sword. Two of the thugs are swiftly killed, the third rendered unconscious with Wind sorcery and the woman flees. The captive thug is brought round and admits (under questioning) to being one of King Eric's Men, hired for this job by the woman (who he suspects to be a noble lady) but with no idea who she is. The masked woman returns and negotiates for the return of her surviving thug, the adventurers agree and leave them both there. On their return to the White City they acquire a small escort of High Guardsmen and deliver the sword directly to Rebecca De Courci, inviting Duchess Chiara there to witness the handover and giving her credit as the instigator of the sword's recovery. There is a certain amount of polite tension between the Governor and the Duchess, but the sword's capture is duly celebrated. Abelard secretly holds onto the Shard Knife.
The Name Of The Rose
Run by Matt & Joff on 1st October 2005 (a Saturday in the summer vacation)
A sequel to "The Battle For The White City".
Players: Diego (Joe W), Don Inigo Montoya (Julian), Brother Jara (Xan), Ratrina De Almedia (Andrea)
Mission Brief: Gilliano de Riaga, brother to the Count de Riaga, seeks enterprising individuals for search and retrieval work of an unusual nature.
Adventure Summary: Gi llano de Riaga meets the adventurers in the back room of a well-to-do tavern and tells them that there is a mysterious woman coming south who has been projecting her dreams to him, and that he believes this woman may be in danger and should be found and escorted to the White City. Once the party agree to the job and receive their advance he gives them a sketch of the woman and a map of the area he believes she's in and advises them to start their search at one of the Watchtowers to the northwest. The party reach the Watchtower without incident and speak with the guardsmen on duty there, who are worried because one of their patrols left a week ago to sweep the area for bandits and hasn't come back. The guardsmen offer to help with the party's search if they can first find out what's happened to the missing patrol. There is some comment on Inigo's blindness, which results in him having a duel to first blood with the sergeant in charge of the Watchtower that Inigo easily wins. The party head out, Ratrina using her tracking skills to follow the trail of the patrol and noticing that it soon merges with the trail of a larger group. This trail is followed to a camp in the woods where two people are tied to the tree, one of them the woman the party are seeking. The inhabitants of the camp claim to be simple woodsmen and hunters who have captured a pair of bandits and are going to hand them over to the High Guard, they offer the party some stew from their pot. On investigating the pot Inigo spots a High Guard badge floating in it and denounces the people in the camp as cannibals. A fight ensues, many bandits are slain and the last few, seeing that things have turned against them, deny that they knew anything about the cannibalism and chase after their fleeing leader. The bandit leader is run to ground and disabled by the surviving few bandits, who assert that he was in charge of both body disposal and cooking and that none of them suspected anything. They tear off the leader's clothing to reveal a tattoo of a skull with a snake winding through it that they claim indicates his devotion to the Rattle Prince, at which Inigo slays him and allows the rest of the bandits to flee after they have dropped their weapon and he has carved an M into one of their chests. Back at the camp the badly beaten High Guardsman tied to the tree is healed and helped to his feet, while the woman is malnourished and does not appear to be in her right mind so her hands are manacled for everyone's safety. A search of the camp reveals a little money and the badges and uniforms of the missing patrol. Before the party can move on one of the Living Dead turns up with a horde of zombies at his heels, announcing that the Necromancer of Three Rivers dreams of the woman and demands that she is handed over to him. The party refuse and the undead attack and are slain, despite their leader's necromantic sorcery.
The party escort the woman and the injured High Guardsman back to the Watchtower. The men there are pleased to see their lost comrade but horrified by what happened to the rest of the patrol, whose badges and uniforms are returned to them. The party then take the woman back to the city and deliver her to Gilliano at his townhouse. Gilliano pays them and spends some time with the woman, who has retreated into near catatonia. He says that she may be brought out of her stupor by the mention of her name and that he knows of a hermit in the Eastern plains near the town of Haverford who would be able to tell what her name is. He offers the party more money if they will travel to Haverford and bring this hermit back with them, the adventurers agree. Before the party meet up and head out the next morning Brother Jara visits the Cloistered Brethren and tells them of the mission so that a "suitable reception" can be arranged for the hermit, whom they suspect to be a Name sorcerer, after he has done his task for Gilliano.
The party travel East, having some minor skirmishes with a large band of troglodytes and a pack of skeletons which bursts from the ground in front of them. Then they pass through an area full of large boulders only to have the boulders transform into ogres once the party are in their midst! Inigo, Jara and Ratrina flee and manage to outdistance the ogres, but Diego hides nearby and is nearly captured before he too manages to run away and rejoin his companions. A little further on they meet a patrol of Cloistered Brethren troops led by the Chain sorcerer Alianna de Briganza, out in the wilderness hunting down the remnants of the Army of the Red Gryphon. The two groups make camp together and share news and provisions, that night while the rest of the party sleeps Brother Jara tells Alianna of their mission and warns her not to interfere, telling her that he and the Cloistered Brethren back in the White City have it all under control. The next day the two groups part and not long afterwards the adventurers reach the village of Haverford, where everyone tells them how wonderful the hermit is and how he turned up shortly after the war to help them rebuild. They speak at length of how he has a knack for always finding tools and supplies and has revitalised and protected the village and the surrounding area. After having their armour repaired and staying overnight in the village's inn the party go to meet the hermit in his hut a short distance from Haverford. They find that the hermit has glowing purple eyes and is addressed by his assistant (clearly a military man) as "Captain", but negotiate with him anyway. The hermit, named Lamen, agrees to do as they ask if they will first perform some tasks for him - dealing with a nearby group of bandits led by Kaylan Haight, persuading Jim Grislop to resign from his position as mayor of a nearby settlement and persuading Lord Richard Blakelock to "make a decision". On further questioning, Lamen's assistant reveals that the bandits are accompanied by a Chain-Wraith, though he pretends not to know what one is.
The party deal with the bandits first, Jara running round their flanks in an attempt to exorcise the Chain-Wraith - he falls unconscious as the Chain-Wraith is destroyed but the loss of its influence doesn't stop the bandits from fighting and so they are slaughtered. Their camp proves remarkably bare of loot and it is clear they were more interested in killing than profit. Next the party moves on to the small village run by Jim Grislop. Arriving at the tavern, they ask for food but are astonished at the extortionate prices the villagers demand. The commotion attracts the mayor and while Inigo has a heated exchange with him Diego pokes him with a stick until he loses his temper and kicks Diego away. At this point Inigo starts attacking Grislop, the villagers leap on Inigo to try and subdue him but he draws his sword and starts dismembering them. Fortunately things are calmed down before anyone dies and Grislop challenges Inigo to a duel to the death the next morning at dawn, just the two of them with no spectators. Inigo accepts and the party retire for the night, though the villagers make so much protest outside their tents that they cannot get any sleep. The next morning Inigo sets off for the duel, secretly shadowed by Diego, to find Grislop waiting with two seconds. As the sun rises over the horizon Grislop's two seconds are revealed as Trapped Men who turn into bears and charge Inigo, Diego bursts from hiding and joins the fight and the duel becomes a melee - which Diego and Inigo eventually win. They rejoin their comrades and leave for the Blakelock estate. At the estate they find Lord Blakelock with his son Sammy, a pale young boy with startling red eyes who has a fondness for the blood of animals. It transpires that Lord Blakelock was a former member of the Shining Order but was forced to leave in disgrace due to Sammy's parentage. After lengthy discussion with Ratrina he makes his decision and decides to head west with Sammy and his entourage to visit the Great Forest and find Sammy's mother. That night there is a banquet, Diego and Sammy become fast friends and share a room and several bottles of wine (though Sammy refuses Diego's request to become blood-brothers) then in the morning the two groups head their separate ways. The adventurers return to Lamen's hut, where they have just begun talking to Lamen when Alianna de Briganza and her troops kick the door down and attack! Alianna and her followers are determined to slaughter everyone as traitors to the White City while Diego, Inigo and Ratrina decide to defend Lamen and his assistant Garric against them. Jara tries to persuade his comrades to put down their weapons and surrender, attempting to bind and subdue people and stop the other Cloistered Brethren from killing Ratrina. Lamen reveals himself to be a Chain sorcerer as well as a Name sorcerer and both he and Garric demonstrate considerable martial skill, as a result of which Alianna and her troops are all slain while Jara flees into the wilderness and attempts to make it back to the White City on his own to let people know what's happened.
The remaining three adventurers escort Lamen back to the White City. On their way across the battlefield left from the recent war the ghosts of White City soldiers rise from the ground to meet them, although extremely weak and powerless these ghosts are angry that a Captain of the Army of the Red Gryphon is being brought to the city, something which they died to prevent, and attempt to possess the party; but Lamen proves himself to be an extremely powerful exorcist and soon defeats the ghosts. Ratrina uses her authority as a noble to get the group through the city gates without the guards on duty questioning the fact that Lamen is wearing a hooded cloak which hides his face and they arrive at Gilliano de Riaga's townhouse, where Lamen is introduced to the woman and speaks her name, Julianna Casemore. Immediately Julianna's name is uttered she begins to come round, grasping Gilliano by the shoulders and telling him that he is "stayed for in the Whistful City". Whatever this means he seems extremely agitated and begins making preparations to depart for the north, meanwhile the adventurers are paid and make plans to smuggle Lamen back out of the city, this task being made more difficult by the fact that small groups of Cloistered Brethren and their troops appear to be patrolling the nearby streets. Diego uses his knowledge of the city's less salubrious byways to lead Lamen and Inigo through a large sewer pipe that comes out in the plains to the east while Ratrina fetches some De Almedia troops to assist in their escape. The end of the sewer pipe is blocked by a small group of King Eric's Men accompanied by a sorcerer from the Cloistered Brethren of Chains and a sorcerer from the Exalted Church of the Light, but these are soon slaughtered, the one man who manages to escape chased down and captured by the De Almedia troops. Lamen leaves, but not before giving Inigo a new pair of eyes (in startling green) and Naming Diego as a "good boy".
Inigo loses his ordination to the Light as a result and is coldly cast out by the Shining Order. Later that week, Ratrina De Almedia is called into the Duke De Almedia's study and told to 'tread carefully'. The Duke repeats this warning several times, with an expression of uncertainty and anger on his face.
Best Served Cold (Part 1)
Run by Julian & Xan on 8th October 2005 (Saturday 0th week, Michaelmas term)
A sequel to "Death & The Maiden".
Players: Captain "Ripper" Bill McKenzie (James), Professor Kit Fisable (Helen W), Marietta (Andrea), Selena Curiana (Vicky), Toquell Velasquez (Joe W)
Mission Brief: Desiring vengeance on Imaldo D'Artois, the party start by researching his background... until Kit receives a vision of the Maiden of Tempests and they set off towards the south coast in search of the site she saw.
Adventure Summary: pending.
Part one of the "Dream A Little Dream" campaign, a sequel to "The Name Of The Rose".
Run by Joff & Matt H on 15th October 2005 (Saturday 1st week, Michaelmas term)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Denise, hosted by Chris N.
Players: Baragh (Paul F), Edwin Lunn (Andrew C), Harriet Pinter (Ellie), Mrs. Hespera Pax (Helen L), Paulo (Tom), Sir Pedoran of the Shining Order (Peter R), Ratrina De Almedia (Andrea), ? (Andrew P)
Mission Brief: Many people in the White City receive a strange dream in which the Dream sorcerer Gilliano de Riaga appears and requests their aid, asking them to travel to the Whistful City and meet with Juliana Casemore for a further briefing.
Adventure Summary: pending.
Bill & The Bodach
Run by James W & Joe W on Saturday 22nd October 2005 (Saturday 2nd week, Michaelmas term)
A sequel to "Vengeance Is Whose?".
There is an In-Character write-up of this adventure available here, written by James F.
Players: Adanemoay (Xan), Arbella Luxfrey (James F), Bairoth (Peter M), Franceso di Vert (Matt R), Gex the Ratcatcher (Rich), Marco di Falconi (Joff), Sir Pedoran of the Shining Order (Peter R)
Mission Brief: News has reached the White City that the Port of Glass are beginning an invasion of the Three Gardens. While the diplomatic channels seem unwilling to do anything about this, word on the street is that the feared pirate, Blood sorcerer and psychopathic madman Bill McKenzie is looking for adventurers to travel with him and assist the Bodach in their fight. Exact details remain unclear, but interested parties can probably find him in his favourite drinking-hole, 'The Boot & Jockstrap'.
Original Plot Document (.rtf)
Adventure Summary: Bill McKenzie is looking for people to accompany him to the Three Gardens, so that he can perform a Blood ritual and help fight off the Port of Glass invasion.
He gets Adanemoay, a Light Priest from the Whistful City, Arbella Luxfrey, a rich young gossipy noblewoman, Bairoth, a Wind sorcerer in service to the Hushed Princess, Francesco di Vert, a Garden Lands noble, Gex the Ratcatcher, Marco di Falconi and Sir Pedoran, a Knight of the Shining Order.
Meeting in a local of Bill's, the Boot and Jockstrap, they journey south into the Garden Lands, Bill explaining on the way that as he will require all his strength for the ritual he will be unable to help them fight.
In the Three Gardens they are sniped at by bodach. Marco tries to reason with them to no effect. They come across zombies who appear to be fighting on the side of the Port of Glass. These they quickly dispatch, though Arbella ends up fleeing off the path and trampling the gardens. Marco uses his Blood sorcery to heal the damage done to the Gardens, but nonetheless Bella finds herself attacked by snapping vines. The rest of the party fight them off and help Bella escape, ignoring a tempting-looking nut which has been placed on a stone pedestal some distance from the path.
The party then meet some Port of Glass ruffians. Despite Bill's protests, they pretend to be employed by the Port of Glass themselves, and offer the mercenaries a drink spiked with hallucinogens. Amidst the confusion Adanemoay begins attacking, and the ensuing fight is much easier due to the mercenaries' occasional attempts to cut the weasels out of their own eyes.
The party eventually reach a clearing and Bill begins the ritual, first blessing Marco in the name of the Lord of the Blood-Fury - a process that leaves a large, red, bloody handprint on Marco's face. It transpires that the ritual involves Bill slitting his wrists and laying down, letting the blood seep into the bed of vines he lies on.
The party protect Bill variously from bodach snipers, Splinter-Men led by a Glass sorcerer, and more zombies. They are then greeted by a delegation of bodach, who order the party to hand Bill over to them and leave the Three Gardens. Despite negotiation on behalf of the party, they are unable to come to a compromise and the bodach leave, giving them five minutes to decide.
While they wait, a figure in black armour appears: the Lord of the House of Gods. He orders the party to hand over Bill, and they begin to withdraw until the Lord of the Gardens appears. The two Burned Lords get into a heated argument, which ends with the Lord of the House of Gods stalking off furiously and opening a portal to the Burned Realm from which pour Ashen Guardians. The party bravely defend Bill until the ritual is completed, at which point the vines Bill was lying on come alive, shooting up into his body through the wounds in his wrists, through his mouth and nose, and eventually burying the Blood sorcerer in a sea of vegetation. At this point the Ashen Guardians cease their attack.
The bodach return, furious that the ritual was completed, and order the party off their lands.
On the way out of the Three Gardens the party clash with more mercenaries, a Crystal Vessel inhabited by a Glass sorcerer, and far too many Splinter-Men. During the fight the vegetation of the Gardens joins in, entangling the Port of Glass forces and dragging them into the earth. Despite this, the party only barely escape with their lives.
I Dream of Vengeance
Part two of the "Dream A Little Dream" campaign, a sequel to "The Name Of The Rose" & "Vengeance Is Whose?".
Run by Joff & Andrea on Saturday 29th October 2005 (Saturday 3rd week, Michaelmas term)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Lucy, hosted by Chris N.
Players: Aramil (Mark P), Edwin Lunn (Andrew C), Jamus de Ar (Andrew P), Orpheus du Valle (Dom), "Roland the Subtle" aka Erskine Uskglass (Matt H), ? (Kali)
Mission Brief: "Roland the Subtle" advertises for people to accompany him to the Whistful City for a business venture trading in "herbal remedies".
Adventure Summary: pending.
Best Served Cold (Part 2)
Run by Julian on 5th November 2005 (Saturday 4th week, Michaelmas term)
A sequel to "Best Served Cold (Part 1)".
Players: Belor de Velland (Peter M), Professor Kit Fisable (Helen W), Selena Curiana (Vicky), Toquell Velasquez (Joe W)
Mission Brief: Toquell and his Merry Band continue their quest to hunt down and destroy Imaldo D'Artois.
Adventure Summary: Toquell and the Band have been waiting for some weeks for word of Imaldo D'Artois, whose whereabouts will be revealed by the Maiden of Tempests when he returns to the earthly plane, when Toquell receives a visitor. The visitor claims to be a cultist of the Maiden of Tempests, and delivers a message - Imaldo is back, and can be found in the ruined keep on the borders of the Port of Glass where he first met the Merry Band (see the "Death & The Maiden" LARP).
Toquell quickly assembles as much of the Band as he can (Bill still missing following "Bill & The Bodach") and races south to intercept Imaldo before he can move on, their passage interrupted only by a band of cultists serving the King in Fragments who declare that Imaldo is sacred to their faith before being summarily slain by the Merry Band. Arriving at the keep, the Band find Imaldo in conference with another group of adventurers. Imaldo summons the Glass Tower and flees up it as the Band arrive, leaving them to fight a brutal battle with his employees, who are slain with some difficulty. The Band then pursue Imaldo up the Glass Tower, until their progress is interrupted by a huge mirror crossing their path. As they attempt to proceed, their reflections in the mirror come alive and attack, using Glass sorcery to knock Toquell and Selena unconscious and badly wounding Kit. Belor manages to extricate the party from the chaos with some difficulty resulting in a period of nervous planning, and even consideration of abandoning the attack. Eventually, however, the party decide to obscure their reflections using an Ashen Cloud and destroy the mirror by commending it to Ash, allowing them to proceed.
After some time climbing the Glass Tower the party finally catch up to Imaldo. Remembering to cover their eyes as a protection from Glass sorcery this time, the Band swiftly destroy Imaldo, his body shattering into thousands of pieces of glass when he is struck down. The party swiftly separate Imaldo's parts into many bags and set off for the great northern volcano the Maiden of Tempests told them was the only place Imaldo could be completely destroyed (see the "Best Served Cold (Part 1)" LARP).
The Band at this point return to the White City to stock up on provisions, and in order for Kit to petition the College of the Thousand Arts for a map of the North leading to the volcano, which the band discover is called 'The Mountain of Tears'. Kit proceeds alone to the College while the rest of the Band relax at Toquell's manor, and a fierce debate ensues with the learned professors, who seem reluctant to grant Kit the map. Eventually she persuades them that her intent is to study the volcano for geological purposes, and the professors agree to begin the paperwork that will allow her access. While this is going on, Kit manages to bribe the librarian to speed the process up somewhat, and actually acquires the map before the end of the decade.
The Band, now provisioned and equipped with their map, head north, stopping only at the Whistful City to stock up on cold weather clothing and further provisions. While there, they are approached by a group of northern tribesmen who tell them that they are prophesied to do great good in the North. They try to persuade the Band to allow their palms to be cut with volcanic glass - a ritual they say will help guide the party through the Dreamlands to the Mountain of Tears. Selena has her hand cut, but Toquell then establishes that the northmen are cultists of the King in Fragments, and he persuades the Band to leave immediately before cutting off Selena's hand to prevent any evil magics from taking effect.
The Band then provision and head out north, their journey interrupted by bad weather and an attack by the Voice of the Frost Prince, who attempts to destroy Kit on behalf of his master. Proceeding further, the Band is attacked by living beings seemingly spawned by the aurora borealis of the Dreamlands, intent on sucking out the Band's souls to fuel unnatural existences of their own. Proving surprisingly potent foes, the Band is scattered in the fight. Selena is downed by the creatures but her cursed immortality prevents serious harm. Belor is not so lucky, his life being drained by the creatures and his body left for dead in the snow. The rest of the party manage to revive him, but he is deeply changed by the experience, his eyes now swirling with shifting patterns of colour and his person now even creepier than before.
Proceeding on, the Band finally arrive at the Mountain of Tears - the strange volcano spewing purple fire which swarms with strange creatures of flame. The party spy a large town at the base of the volcano and approach to treat with the inhabitants, who claim to be the first people ever created and are worshippers of Tears-As-Fire. They explain that the mountain is the birthplace of the Bound One and the world itself, at which point the band pretend to be on a pilgrimage to sacrifice themselves to the mountain and are allowed to pass on up the path to the caldera. The Band make it to the lip of the volcano, interrupted only by a brief fight with the fiery creatures the volcano spawns, and are met their by an individual introducing himself as Born-of-Fire. He claims to be the firstborn son of Tears-As-Fire and refuses to allow the Band to cast Imaldo's remains into the volcano, claiming it would spoil the volcano's purity as a force of creation if it were used for destructive purposes. The Band shrug off his objections, at which point Born-of-Fire reveals his true form - that of a mighty dragon. After a fierce fight, the dragon is slain; at which point Toquell, blinded by his lust for power, cuts open its chest and feasts upon its flaming heart. Overcome by the power surging through him, Toquell falls into a deep coma, at which point the Band cast Imaldo's remains into the volcano, resulting in a massive release of power and an eruption. Belor grabs Toquell and flees the mountain, the rest of the Band not far behind, and they make it off the mountain in time to witness it grow cold and silent - slain perhaps by the act of destruction they performed in its heart.
At this point the Band notice that many of Toquell's wounds have not healed as they customarily would - a result perhaps of conditions in the north - and resolve to end his evil forever. Selena commends him to Ash and the Band bury his remains in the Frost Prince's glacier, reasoning that the extreme cold will damp the potency of his blood and prevent him regenerating.
Rumours of Toquell's death spread through the White City with the Band's return... but Toquell was not so easily defeated. He somehow escapes his icy tomb and returns to the White City to renew the bonds of loyalty owed him by Belor and Kit. Selena, however, has already fled the White City, and is yet to be found...
Infinite Dreams (Part 1)
Part three of the "Dream A Little Dream" campaign, a sequel to "Gilliano Dreaming" & "Innocence"
Run by Joff on 12th November 2005 (Saturday 5th week, Michaelmas term)
Players: Adi (Jessie), Arbella Luxfrey (James F), Clare Shelton (Emma L), Eldron Haderas (Andrew P), Harriet Pinter (Ellie), Don Inigo Montoya (Julian), Rupert Locke (James W), ? (Amy)
Mission Brief: Singing recruiters from the High Guard send people north to assist the beleaguered army known as the Black Sword of Hope.
You can read the recruitment song the High Guard sang.
Adventure Summary: After Rebecca De Courci gets the message from the Black Sword of Hope asking for the White City's debt to them from the recent War against the Army of the Red Gryphon to be repaid, she sends the High Guard out singing the recruitment song (see "Up In The Mountains Far Away" in the Filk section). The call is answered by a number of warriors seeking adventure, a number of scholars seeking knowledge of the North and Arbella Luxfrey seeking a good time. Before encountering anything too scary they meet someone with a huge crossbow who offers to act as their guide, fighting alongside them against the undead. They gladly accept his aid.
On their way to the Whistful City, they first fight their way through the mindless hordes of zombies around the Palace of the Three Rivers. The scholars started dissecting them (Locke), burning them (Harriet), or generally acting scared (The Undergrads). Arbella shows everyone how to chop their heads off, as she's encountered zombies before, only to be surprised by zombies who need to have their arms cut off in order to incapacitate them. Whoops.
Proceeding further North, the party are haunted by all manner of unearthly noises filtering through the fog. And then they get charged by lots of ghouls. Which aren't as easy to kill as zombies, and lead to a bit more damage.
Finally they get to the Whistful City, and proceed to do the normal Whistful City activities - listening to Dream seers, arguing about the price of squirrels on sticks, buying telescopes that don't work and refusing the free drugs. Well, except for Arbella. Who flirts with a street salesman, tries to find her brother Solric, sniffs some interesting white powder, chases a dancing weasel, and watches the sky go tessellated.
After leaving the Whistful City, the party is attacked by a pack of undead and betrayed by their guide. Meanwhile Arbella thinks they are attacked by clowns with comically huge penises. Eventually the party manage to fight off their enemies and subdue Arbella, and carry on into the bitter North.
They get to the camp of the Black Sword of Hope, where they meet lots of ribald soldiers and a haggard commander. Who briefs them - their mission is to go out into the furthest Dream and try and find some of their lost new recruits. Most of the party settle down for a good night of sleep, whilst Arbella has a very good night but not much sleep...
Harriet Pinter takes over guiding the party the next day, muttering about some glowing light on her hand that's pointing the way. No-one else can see anything, but the Black Sword told them to follow her so they do. They fight their way through Snow Riders and similar Northern problems, until encountering a small squad of warriors wearing dirty green clothes being attacked by a giant incarnate nightmare with lots of tentacles.
The party runs away.
Then Harriet Calls Forth The Ashen Cloud, and they attack and finally defeat the nightmare, and confront the warriors. Who seem to be scared witless, babbling about Charlie and the VC and waving their strange black sticks at everything. The party convince the strangers to follow them back to the Black Sword of Hope camp, but on the way get attacked by a mysterious individual with two pet ghouls - Alexis de Tariq.
Whilst the party fights the ghouls, Don Inigo insists on fighting Alexis de Tariq individually, as a duel. Unfortunately, it's not quite as easy to kill Alexis as hoped, as every time he's hit he leaves behind a shadowy form and appears in a new location. Locke Binds Alexis, only to then go mad with fear as Alexis morphs into Professor Currell and withdraws his funding. Much Wibbly Dream Shit happens, shadowy cat-like forms start distracting the party, people collapse all over the place from fear, and Don Inigo takes quite a lot of damage but still refuses to stop the duel.
Meanwhile Alexis seems to be winning, and keeps killing the new recruits as fast as the party can pour healing potions down them. Arbella tries to engage scholars in bets on who will win the duel, but is refused on grounds of bad taste. Finally Don Inigo collapses (half out of fear and half out of pain) and the rest of the party all throw themselves at Alexis, and drag him down.
The party fight their way back to the Black Sword of Hope, and give them the new recruits. But suddenly, the lookout sounds the alarm...
Run by Dom on 19th November 2005 (Saturday 6th week, Michaelmas term)
A sequel to "Glass & Green".
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Dom, hosted by Chris N.
Players: Abelard Velasquez (Rich), Arabella Dawn (Lucy), Ambassador Constantine D'Artois (Nathan), "John Coates" aka Erskine Uskglass (Matt H), Baron Rorschach (Ralph)
Mission Brief: Professor Heinrich Estall of the Zoology Faculty at the College of a Thousand Arts wishes to mount an expedition to the edge of the Great Forest in hopes of capturing some catkin.
Adventure Summary: pending.
Infinite Dreams (Part 2)
Part four of the "Dream A Little Dream" campaign, a sequel to "Infinite Dreams (Part 1)".
Run by Joff & Matt H on 26th November 2005 (Saturday 7th week, Michaelmas term)
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Helen W, hosted by Chris N.
Players: Adi (Jessie), Arbella Luxfrey (James F), Clare Shelton (Emma L), Diego (Joe W), Eldron Haderas (Andrew P), Harriet Pinter (Ellie), Rupert Locke (James W), Tora (sp?) (Steve ?)
Mission Brief: Fighting off attacks by the minions of the Necromancer of Three Rivers, the adventurers attempt to restore Hope to her former glory.
Adventure Summary: After the adventurers return the new recruits to the Black Sword camp, the lookout sounds the alarm. A massed army of the walking dead has been sent by the Necromancer of Three Rivers, and is attacking the Black Sword camp! An epic fight commences, in which wave after wave of the undead are beaten off.
Then the party, minus a few members who are sent to train the new recruits and plus a few other White City warriors who've arrived a bit late, are taken to meet Hope. 'Hope' being a bedraggled heron-like creature covered in oil, who seems rather ill. Hope tells the party to find Innocence, to help her be reborn. Diego wants to burn her, but everyone stops him. Rupert Locke takes lots of notes, and talks about Anomalous Zoology (or Freaky Animals, as Arbella calls it).
The party battles through Snow Riders and other Northern mountain perils, and finally makes it to a temple high on the top of the Peak of Memory. Where they meet a large pony with a single horn who says she is Innocence. She refuses to become re-involved with the world, and takes the party inside the temple to show them why (changing into a beautiful woman on the way).
There the party have a vision of a circle of robed people chanting. In the centre of the circle is a man covered in heavy chains. A robed figure with purple eyes steps forwards, and plunges his sword into the chained man. At which point the chains flow into the wound, rebuilding him. With a cry he leads his people out of the temple, off to destroy the Namers.
Innocence explains that this was the point where the world had gone wrong, when "The Beautiful Ones", who were hers and only wanted to create, were overthrown.
This causes something of a stir amongst the party. The two Chain sorcerers (Rupert Locke and Clare Shelton) seem extremely thoughtful, whilst the two Light-educated party members ('Good Boy' Diego and Arbella Luxfrey) declare that if Innocence sides with the Bound Ones, who are Evil, then "Innocence Is Evil". And must be prevented from returning to the world. Arguments ensue, Diego has his arms Bound In Chains by Rupert Locke, and Harriet tries to be the voice of reason and persuade everyone to complete the mission.
Eventually and reluctantly the party set out, with Arbella and Diego hanging around at the back and planning treachery. Then the party is attacked by Fears-Of-Falling. Diego cuts his rope and runs, whilst half the party members try to throw themselves off the cliff. Arbella proves particularly difficult to restrain, and some people are in favour of just letting her go. Eventually those who were trying to throw themselves off are subdued, and the party sets up camp for the night.
During the second watch Diego sneaks up on the camp and drives a dagger through Innocence's back. Innocence disappears, and reappears on the other side of camp. Diego bursts out crying, says he just was trying to be a Good Boy and stop her filthy lies. Adi and Harriet comfort him.
The next day the party, led by Innocence, head back to the Black Sword of Hope. On the way they are attacked by a necromancer, who turns out to be Alexis de Tariq, again. The party kills him, again. This time is easier.
Finally Innocence gets to Hope, sets fire to her and she is reborn. Diego points out he suggested doing that a few days ago. Calm also appears, and Diego tries to kill him as well (but fails, he does the same disappear-appear trick as p
The Black Sword seem very cheery, and say they're going to gather more recruits and eliminate the Necromancer at Three Rivers, but Calm tells them the Path is Closed and no more recruits will come, and that because they have recruited from too far 'outside' they can never again march south of the mountains. The Black Sword become less cheery. The party return to the White City, in separate groups.
Arbella secretly reports that "Innocence Is Evil" to the Cloistered Brethren and they invite her to join them, whereas Rupert publishes his findings about the Bound Ones publicly and gains the displeasure of the Brethren.
Bill, The Bodach & The Broken Guard
Run by James W & Matt H on 3rd December 2005 (Saturday 8th week, Michaelmas term)
A sequel to "Bill & The Bodach".
Players: Lieutenant Ambriel Chermes (Helen W), Aramil (Mark P), Ambassador Constantine D'Artois (Nathan), Selena Curiana (Vicky), ??? - the adventurer formerly known as "Tibs" (Joe W)
Mission Brief: Waldo, the Port of Glass' crazed spymaster, hires some adventurers to journey into one of the Three Gardens of the Bodach and deal with the horrible Blood-sorcery fuelled monstrosity that has arisen there.
Original Plot Document (.rtf file)
Adventure Summary: The party is hired by Waldo, the Port of Glass' crazed spymaster, to head into one of the Three Gardens and deal with the horrible Blood-sorcery fuelled monstrosity that has arisen there. They are led by Selena, who plans to corrupt the thing that Bill has created by feeding it a mixture of Shattered and Ashen blood. Travelling through the farmlands north of the Port, they are forced to fight their way through a barricade raised by Wat Tyler in order to keep large armies from passing through. Upon reaching the Garden Lands, they come across the remnants of a Port mercenary squad who have come under attack by satyrs worshipping the Lord of the Blood-Fury. After eventually defeating the satyrs, Selena interrogates one of the dead mercenaries to learn the location of what the terrified spirit called the "heart of the vines".
As the party proceed, the vines quickly become a jungle and they find themselves under attack by prehensile vines, some of which have formed into humanoid shapes and started walking around on legs made from vegetation. Unsettlingly, these vines bleed when cut. Proceeding onwards, the party steal a nut which had been placed on a pedestal and which Selena identifies as the seed of a burned tree. Selena's use of necromancy within the Three Gardens has been noted and an attack by Ashen Guardians, coming at the same time as vines dropping down from the canopy above, nearly finishes off the party. Praying for divine intervention, Constantine succeeds in having one Ashen Guardian shatter into fragments, but at the same time is swallowed by the mass of vines masquerading as the ground. The party eventually reaches the location which Selena has identified as the heart of the vines: an amorphous, writhing knot of vegetation surrounded by bodies cocooned in vines. One of these is identified as Constantine, and cut free; Selena then proceeds to pour her corrupted blood into the heart of the monstrosity.
In response, climbing out of the ground comes a huge creature of tendrils and vines. As soon as it's struck the beast shatters into fragments, which reform into reflections of Bill McKenzie. After defeating these, the party notes that the vines now seem to be dying, and they are able to escape the Garden without coming under attack. On the way back to the Port, however, they come across the Lord of the Gardens. The Lord has been evidently sent mad by the corruption of one of his Gardens, as Selena is able to convince him that the Garden had been changed for the better. As a reward for her 'good deed', he calls up a Glass Tower around them, taking her to the Shattered Plain.
Run by Joe W & Ellie on 10th December 2005 (a Saturday in the winter vacation)
A sequel to "I Dream of Vengeance".
There is a gallery of photographs from this game available here, taken by Tom, hosted by Chris N.
Players: Abelard Velasquez (Rich), Federico Velasquez (Joff), "Roland" aka Erskine Uskglass (Matt H), Stephano De Courci (Julian)
Mission Brief: Stephano gathers some companions and heads for the City of Chains to seek mystical components with which to forge a sword to kill Toquell Velasquez.
Adventure Summary: Having freed the seemingly harmless Opal (a Name Power of some sort) and taken the links that bound him from the City of Chains, the party travelled North and slaughtered the last proud remnants of the Bear Tribe to wrest the remains of the sword Vengeance from their possession.
Federico won Opal's approval for his aid in freeing him, and for his conscientious behaviour in the Bound One's presence. As a result he now occasionally sees Opal's face when he looks into gemstones and can be considered to be Ordained.
Abelard tried to stab Opal in the face with his Shard-Knife. This was taken in high spirits by the Namer, who upon his release turned the knife, and Abelard's hand with it, into a single, beautiful piece of diamond. Abelard now wears a specially crafted glove and telescope attachment. Word amongst the nobility is that he lost his hand whilst out adventuring.
Stephano's three companions were made members of the Eagle Tribe upon his recommendation, and upon having proved themselves in combat. Roland received his mark on his right palm. Federico bears the Eagle on the side of his neck. Abelard is marked below the armour line of his right arm.
Stephano and Roland took rather a lot of items made with the diamond-edged Shard-Knife back to the White City. A visit to a jeweller brought out the fact that while the outside of the items is indeed diamond, the insides are made of glass. As a result the value of the items is rather less than expected. Nonetheless the earnings are significant. Some of this money is invested into funding a venture to the mountain where Opal had been advised to go. Early prospectors come back with a number of gemstones, however when a larger professional expedition departs for the mountain, communications with the White City suddenly stop...
Run by Joff on 17th December 2005 (a Saturday in the winter vacation)
Players: Lieutenant Ambriel Chermes (Helen W), The Honourable Arbella Luxfrey (James F), Captain "Ripper" Bill McKenzie (James W), Ambassador Constantine D'Artois (Nathan), Erica de Velland (Vicky), Federico Velasquez (Joff), Harriet Pinter (Ellie), Professor Kit Fisable (Helen W), Rupert Locke (James W), "Joan" aka Selena Curiana (Vicky), Toquell Velasquez (Joe W), Yana (Ellie)
Event Brief: This was an IC social event held in the Port Mahon pub on St. Clement's to provide an afternoon of plot-light freeform roleplaying. IC it was a party held in the Seven Candles tavern to celebrate the engagement of Federico Velasquez and Erica de Velland. The Seven Candles is one of the nicest upper-class taverns in the White City, with a reputation for superb wines and exquisite food. It has a zero tolerance policy on barfights and use of sorcery, all weapons are peace-bonded on the door with darling little gold thread and steelsilk ropetassels with the Seven Candles sign on a little shield in the middle.
Event Summary: The party started in the really-rather-posh surroundings of the Seven Candles, home to fine drinks, marvellous food, and absolutely no fighting or magic. Invited to join the general aristocratic crowd of hangers-on you get at these types of events were Toquell Velasquez, Rupert Locke, Yana, Harriet Pinter, Arbella Luxfrey and two members of the Port of Glass Embassy to the White City - Constantine D'Artois and Lieutenant Ambriel Chermes. Notable events included (in roughly chronological order):
After the happy couple had retired for the evening, a few of the more determined party-goers (Toquell's Merry Band, Arbella and Constantine) went onwards to the slightly less refined atmosphere of the Knee & Jockstrap, where they met up with a rather attractive but exceedingly drunk girl called 'Joan'. Who claimed not to be a Glass sorcerer, a necromancer or immortal, and to be a better not-a-Glass-sorcerer-or-a-necromancer-or-immortal than anyone else present. And told Arbella and Constantine even more of Toquell's secrets.
Heavy drinking ensued, there was lots of vocal arguing, Bill punched 'Joan', Toquell showed Arbella his glowing purple eyes, Kit got into a fight with a Priest of the Frost Prince (and came back with blood on her boots), Bill turned into a bear(!), Toquell told the Merry Band he was planning an expedition to the West, and 'Joan' offered herself to Toquell. Repeatedly. Until he was forced to Bind Her Will in order to stop her.
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