Chremiss, Accursed of Rulership

Other Titles: Aloof Queen,  the Iron Crown, the One True Queen

Alignment: LN

Weapon: Warhammer (The Queller of Chaos)

Major Domains: Rulership, Rivalry

Minor Domains:  Obedience, Judges, Confidence

Totem Animal: Elk – The elk is a king of his land, confident in himself ,eager to prove his worthiness, yet obeys the natural laws when he is ruled unworthy.

Holy Symbol: A heavy iron crown with seven spikes across the front, set with a large, pale sapphire in the center.

Favored Appearances: Chremiss is extremely vain and revels in showing off beauty in every form that she takes. Both her male and female forms are almost overpoweringly sexual, and many a ruined king or presumptuous lord has come to their end due to her machinations. Her Female form is that of a striking Sylvan elf, with skin a deep auburn and blazing emerald eyes. Her long, perfectly straight and pitch black hair falls down her back. Tall for an elf, she is also well endowed, playing off it with her deep cut, form fitting dresses. She tends to frown on weaponry and armor in this form, preferring to stay dressed in regal finery.

Her male form is vastly different, but just as pleasing to the eye. Tall, with a straight back and broad shoulders, he holds himself with a regal bearing. Pale and tawny curls cover his head, and the same color holds for his beard and eyebrows, below which peer deep brown eyes that seem to understand you. He is always in peak physical condition, with well toned muscles belied by his loose fitting garments.

Warform:  Chremiss tends not to fight, but lead. However, when called upon to defend herself or battle necessitates it, she is fearless in battle as a massive elk of earth and stone, studded with gemstones. The eyes of the great beast are giant rubies, and the hooves are of pure diamond. The rack of horns upon her head is of topaz, both strong and sharp.

Personality: Chremiss is both vain and haughty, with an immense self worth and feeling of importance. What is worse is that she is often correct in her assessment of many situations and her keen intelligence and common sense has lead her to become one of the greatest battlefield commanders that that accursed have at their disposal. Though she knows she is more intelligent and understands her talents better than anyone, she is rarely one to explain herself and expects total obedience from her subjects. With the other Accursed, she is in constant political maneuverings and petty rivalries to bring her standing higher and higher. While they are currently ruled by a council, she has aspirations to be the sole ruler and monarch of the Accursed and defeat the Paltonarchs, and then the Demon Queen.

Teachings: Chremiss is the patron of both the rulers and the ruled, who appeases them both as the lawful and right way of the universe. There must be rulers, and that ruler must be a single entity, one that is able to assess the situations, make the best choices for all involved, and move forward with the proper choice, regardless of the sacrifices involved. If you are that chosen person, you must never look back in regards to those choices, be confident, and you will be obeyed. By the same token, you must remember those who have wronged or defied you, and strive at every turn to both earn their respect, or force it on them.  Finally, she teaches that in order to resolve impossible differences, there must be some sort of arbiter, and the judges are a profession that one should both revere and obey.

Abode: The Palace of Brilliant Might is one that stands at the very center of the Accursed Territory. A grand structure with hundreds of rooms for every conceivable concept, this is where the Accursed plan out their offenses and try and figure out a way to overthrow the Paltonarchs. Here, as well, is where the rules, laws and structure of the Accursed organization lies, within the halls of the One True Queens abode.

Cultists: Those who follow Chremiss are few and far between, publicly, but a number of power mad kings and princes have been known to worship her. Many countries have secret Organizations within their ruling classes that have followers and worshipers of Chremiss gather together to try and exert her brand of influence upon the country. These Cabals tend to be small, with no more than 10 or 12 members most times. They push rivalries with other nations, including warmongering if needed, absolute authority and strong, powerful governments if any can be arranged. 

Clerical Attire/colors: Chremiss’ followers wear dark blue, though the form, function and frequency is not always the same. They have a penchant for rings, often with sapphires and other brilliant blue stones, and circlets embedded with the same gems. Her followers are often high profile individuals, and they rarely wish to be known as worshiping one of the accursed, so they often disguise the colors of her worship. 

Followers: Kings, Rulers, Nobles and Generals. Sometimes Peasants who want comfort in their terrible existences, Mages, Athletes and Rogues.

This week, Tionas managed to show us just what sort of twisted and horrid things his mind can come up with.

We left off last week with the woman who we managed to save from the chest portal, and this week we tended to her a bit, getting some information out of her. She wasn’t sure when she was brought down here, but remembered she was separated from her daughter. Thankfully, her daughter was not taken into evil chest-portal land and made it back to town, causing the Constable to go hire us from the Vault. This meant she couldn’t have been in the mine for more than about a week.

After making sure the woman is good, we decide to take a long rest, to recover ourselves. During the night, Carric and I are on watch at the same time, and we hear a buzzing noise. Looking over to the main shaft, we see a small, winged creature fly up it. It is somewhat demonic looking, with bat wings, a bow, and horns. It looks at us, and then drops back down into the shaft. We determine that it’s best to let the others rest, and only mention it if the buzzing returns.

A little while later, Carric feels a poke on his leg, and on looking down he sees a small, demon-like familiar, miming all of his actions. When I ask what he’s doing, the thing vanishes.

After the rest, we decide to continue on. The main shaft has some small side shafts coming off of it, but the bottom is too far to see. We decide to head down the secondary shaft, where the ape creatures came up. Carric goes down first, and sees a somewhat familiar sight – An elf, chained to another pillar. But this time, when the elf sees him, he groans and shouts – And an ape creature starts pulling itself out of the portal in his chest.

Above, we can clearly hear the screaming of the man, and the woman, whose name we found out was Stacia, weeps in terror at the noise. Carric comes up and makes his report, and we decide that we need to deal with it. I ask Carric if he could allow the woman to borrow his dagger. It may not provide any real help to her, but it may at least make her feel better.

At that point in time, we hear the buzzing again, coming from below. Looking down, we see the ape creature, and Carric shoots it in the face with an arrow as it begins to climb. He gets another arrow into the thing before Ronin asks for us to hold, as he has an idea.

Each of us fall back a bit as Ronin takes the spot in front of where the creature will come up – But when it does come up, he dispenses with his plan and simply channels his inner Spartan, kicking the thing back down the hole and killing it. Stacia screams in terror as she sees it, and Ronin goes and informs her that we are going after them.

Meanwhile, Haltz and Carric descent the shaft, seeing a black fletched arrow near the base of the ladder that hadn’t been there before. Carric slips easily into the shadows, while Haltz turns to the man on the pillar – Soon enough to see another ape coming out. He chargest it, managing to knee it in the face.

Myself and Ronin reach the bottom of the shaft at this point, just in time to watch Haltz spear the creature dead. Carric, meanwhile, spots the flying thing from before, and thinking quickly, shoots it in the wing with his bow. It drops down the shaft it was hovering over.

Haltz and I pull the ape out of the elf’s body portal, and as Carric unlocks the manacles I pull the hooks holding his chest open. Like the woman, the pillar heals him until he’s not dieing, but he’s in much worse shape than the woman was, and begins coughing up blood. He is also delerious, not knowing where – or who – he is.

After some questions, Carric finds that the man is going to die anyway, and uses his dagger to mercifully end his pain. As Ronin and Haltz return to the shaft to inform the woman of what we’ve done, Carric makes his way down the other shaft in the room – Ending in a small tunnel, angled in one direction into water, and in the other direction a small hole. I pass my lantern down to him, and he sees the hole goes up further than the lantern can illuminate.

He returns up the shaft, and with no other place to go, we return to the woman, giving her some more supplies and some further niceties. She has already eaten about two days worth of rations, and has tied Carric’s dagger to the staff Ronin had left with her, forming a makeshift spear.

We decide to head down the main shaft to the side passage a short distance below us. Carric goes first, securing the rope to a post that is secured in the wall – Angled so that it would connect to a post in a side passage above us. It seems that the two were once connected.

The rest of us follow, squeezing down the narrow shaft until we emerge into a larger gallery. Carric stops Haltz and I from lighting our lights, as he sees his “friend” from before. After some discussion, I suggest using the lantern to light up the thing, to which the creature nods at.

On illumination, I discover just what the thing is – It is a quasid, a demon from the Iron Marches. Such demons are often summoned as a familiar by mages, and mages tend to keep familiars that are similar to them. It is not a far fetched conclusion to believe this is the familiar of a demonologist.

As I say this, the creature vanishes down a shaft sitting just behind it. We decide to go after it, but I notice some clothes in the corner. Before I can suggest anything, though, I feel something crawling up my back, beneath my armor. I alert the others, and they see a centipede-like creature crawl up out of my armor, morph into the creature, and then take a massive bite out of my neck.

Not wasting any time, we attack the creature – And I discover that I lack a secondary melee weapon, although I prove perfectly efficient at smacking things with my lantern. Eventually, I daze it with a smack from my lantern long enough for Ronin to grab it and smash it into the floor, killing it.

We take a short rest, during which Ronin brings the clothes to Stacia, who is grateful to have something to actually wear now. After we are rested, we look down the shaft the creature disappeared down.

This one has no ladder, for it has turned into a pile of rubble at the floor. We take a rope down, and on the far side of the largeish gallery we can see a pile of corpses – A peasant, a guard, and a knight with a greatsword. There is another shaft in the ceiling, and one more in the floor.

As all four of us arrive in the gallery, the knight rises. It turns out that it isn’t a knight, but simply a suit of armor. The sword also rises, although it is not held by the knight.

Instinctually, I throw some oil at it, although I miss the thing completely. Ronin moves forward and tries to attack it, although he only manages to get a painful foot out of the deal. My own attack ends up less painful for me, although I still fail just as well.

Thankfully, the knight seems to have no better luck than us, and misses its punches against Ronin. The sword, however, seems to be just fine, and smacks me pretty hard. Haltz attacks the armor, and Carric tries to shoot the sword with his bow.

Ronin gets into a punching match with the armor, with Haltz joining in as soon as he moves close enough. I begin to deal with the sword as Carric wisely decides to try and shoot the larger target.

I manage to smash the sword with my glaive, shattering it and sending the pieces flying across the room. Only moments later, Ronin manages to put his fist through plate steel, destroying whatever spell was animating the armor.

We find a few gold among the bodies, and looking up at the shaft above us we see that it ends in what looks like a cave-in, possibly the same one we ran into before. The shaft down ends unfinished in a pool of water.

As we begin making our way back to the entrance shaft, Carric pauses, and then pulls on the “rubble” on the floor. It lifts, revealing another shaft. From this shaft, heat, light, human groaning, and a mixture of Accursed/Killbaran muttering can be heard.

We decide to take no chances and drop all at once, seeing a wall adorned with an incompleted circle of living bodies. They are barely living, split neck to groin and joined together with one person’s neck in the next person’s crotch, with a pillar keeping each of them from dieing. A form is hunched over one of them, blackened skin visible even with its robes.

The figure turns, and we see a first generation Killbaran mage, a red third “eye” in his forhead. He shouts that he must finish his work, to which we ignore – Carric shoots him, and both Haltz and I charge him.

As we do so, Carric shoots him once more, interrupting whatever spell he was trying to cast. As he dies, we notice there are hooks in his chest – Not holding it open, but keeping it shut. We don’t have time to ponder this, though, as his chest bursts open as he dies. A demon comes through the resulting portal, shattering the body it used as transport. It is a great, winged creature wielding a black and red trident, and it wastes no time in meeting Haltz and I.

We attack it, Haltz dealing a significant strike with his spear. Carric shoots at it as Ronin joins with a flying jump kick. Somehow, we manage to evade all of its attacks before Ronin deals the final blow, killing it with a kick in its face.

We look around the room, and we see another figure on a pillar on the floor. On investigating the pillar, I find it is a different type – There is a different type of healing rune on this one, and considering the figure doesn’t have a chest portal, I deduce there is no realistic way to save these people.

Haltz, Carric, and I set about pulling people off of the wall to remove them from the range of their pillars before giving them a mercy killing. The pillars on the wall are also different – They have the same healing runes as the one on the floor, and while they also have conjuration runes like the ones we found above, those runes are much more potent. I can only guess that, had the wizard finished his work, he would have created a much larger portal to the Iron Marches.

Among the items in the room, I choose one of the knives the wizard had been using for a dagger, ensuring that I would have a secondary weapon if I needed it. Additionally, I find the wizard’s spellbook. This is in my field of study, and I find that, perhaps I can learn to utilize its power for a different purpose.

Dungeons and Dragons, as I have grown, seems to have followed my gaming preference path; Or maybe I’ve followed it, I don’t know.

What I do know is that what first got me into the game back in ’95 was that I could play anything, I could be anything, and I could play out a story in my mind.

The First D&D Image I ever saw

The First D&D Image I ever saw

This lead to the discovery, with my dad, family, and friends, that stories could be amazingly fun not only to play, but to tell. I DM’d for my family, and eventually for a few friends. Before I could get well and truly established, however, I moved with my family hundreds of miles south to start again

Continue reading

Taralin, God of Life

Other Titles: Selfless Guardian, Shield of Life, Avenger

Alignment: NG

Weapon: Saber (Succor and Salvation)

Major Domains: Life, Justice, Defenders

Minor Domains:  Vigilance, Guardians, Protection of the weak.

Totem Animal: Boar

Holy Symbol: A bright, glowing blue Ankh

Favored Appearances: Taralin is one of the most active and influential gods on the moral realm, and as such his appearance has changed numerous times over the ages. Currently, his favored forms are that of lively people, humans and elves most times, but occasionally dwarves, who have very similar features.

When male, he has long silver hair, bright blue eyes and a winning smile. He is of average height most times, though he leans on the short side. His frame is that of the average man, one who works every day of their life to attempt to feed their family and themselves. When preparing for combat, he wears black leathers trimmed in silver, and wields a pair of Sabers.

In female form, he is again a slighter, smaller person, but no skinnier than anyone else.  Her eyes are bright green, and her smile is warm, with her long silver hair tied up in a but with a few wisps let out to trail down her back.  She is a little older but has not lost the vigor, and only a touch of the beauty, of youth. She carries the same weapons and wears the same armor as her male counterpart.

Warform: As befits the god of life, his warform is that of a boar, stubbornly clinging to life past when all sense and reason has engulfed it. A towering (how many different ways can I find to say “big?”) Boar with a body composed completely of fire, with hooves that leave smoking craters and a mane of yellow-white flame. His eyes stream smoke from the great blue flames within. His tusks, are white hot flame jutting from a dull red mouth, both hard as steel and insubstantial as flame.

Personality: Taralin is a boisterus, jovial character, pleased to meet new people and enamored by the variety of personalities and people within this world. However, he is also grim and guarded, always on the lookout for challenges and dangers.  Taralin values life, and holds it sacred, but that sword, very literally swings both ways. He is uncompromising when it comes to dangerous people and those who have unjustifiably taken a life. He shows no mercy to these criminals and metes justice out in his own way.

Along side his brother and greatest friend, Dagor, god of Death, they hunt the undead endlessly across the world with their aspects. He cannot abide their stench in this world or the next, and constantly looks to eliminate them wherever possible.

Teachings:While Taralin is the god of life, you can’t be a pacifist in this world of violence, and you must be ready to defend yourself and others if the time comes, even to the point of hunting down those who threaten or have harmed others. Many times, the laws will protect or shelter those who have done wrong, and you must do all in your power to circumvent them, but if the laws would permit vengeance to be taken through them, it is better to abide by them.

The undead are an abomination on this world for any reason, and the guardian of life must seek out and destroy every suspected one of these vile creatures. All life must end, and it must not be evaded. To every beginning there is an end, and we all must play our part.

Abode: Taralin lives in the Temple of Vitality, a modest structure of stone and iron that is surrounded by a blazing wall of fire.  Here, the new comers of the Paltonarchs legions are trained and readied for combat against the Accursed and their warriors. Taralin is also in charge of guarding the borders of the lands held by the Paltonarchs, and it is here that his weary wardens come to rest and plan for their next excursion.

Clergy:  The priests of Taralin are a quiet lot, standing in the shadows of the more warlike and flashy gods that rule the elements. They teach that stoicism, patience and the reverence for all life is the key to a happy life of your own. They grow glorious gardens of amazing foods while also tending to herds of livestock to provide to those in need. The reverence of life extends to the wild places of the world, and many rangers and druids take up the tenants of Taralin during their lifetime, becoming holy wardens of nature and the sanctity of plants and animals as well. They will not, however, punish a person for taking only what they need. Life is both a precious gift and a commodity to be spent well when needed.

Priests of life are, along with the priests of Pain, present at many childbirths, while also being present at the burial or cremation of an individual, extolling their life and the sacrifices they made for others.

Knightly Orders: One of the most prolific Knightly Orders on all of Tysis is that of the Temple Knights of Taralins Sacred Wards, or the Sacred Templar for short. These dedicated men and women of all races have dedicated themselves to the stewardship of towns and cities alike, along with remote places that can’t truly fend for themselves. They often hold high rank in town guard, militia or local nobles military, instructing and preparing for defense as needed. While they are skilled leaders and able combatants, they have vowed only to lead punitive attacks against those who have wronged their communities and will never be seen leading an aggressors army.

Clerical Attire/colors: Clerics of Taralin favor simple black and silver garb, though a white tabard emblazoned with the Blue Ankh is popular as well. Many high ranking priests wear silver circlets embedded with a sapphire to signify their position, though it is voluntary. Warriors of Taralin tend to wear white and blue, with the black being the accent color to their garb. Red, as well, is a popular color, but mostly among the vengeful and justice seeking sects. Taralins clergy and warriors also tend to wear the heaviest armor possible, as staying alive oneself is the best way to keep defending life.

Followers: Taralin tends to attract rangers, guards, and hunters along with a number of shamans, a few dwarves and sometimes even a mage or two.

This week, we beat on some demon-sponges, jumped down a few more holes, and I explored a bit of the “Evil” part of my “Neutral Evil” alignment. Last week, Tionas couldn’t make it out, and this week our cleric was absent again. Sucks to be her, because it was awesome!

Where we left off last session, we had just set a puddle on fire, filled it with arrows, and also poked a few holes in some fungi that wanted to shout us to death. From this room, there was only one shaft down, and Carric decided to climb down the ladder to take a peak.

The room below had some movement in it, and Carric could hear some low moaning. So we had Haltz drop a lit torch down to the bottom. “Disturbing” is probably the kindest word that could be used to describe the things that waited for us. Well, not exactly  waited. More like shambled around the bottom.

They were humanoid, roughly human sized, but everything from the shoulders down was pretty much just a giant pile of flesh and mush. Their arms ended with sharp, vicious claws, and their faces had equally sharp teeth. Their eyes were black and empty, and the flesh was an awful orange color, somewhat like the goblin from before. They ignore the torch, doing as much as rolling right over it.

When Carric comes up and gives his report, Ronin goes down the ladder and uses his thaumaturgy spell to see if they react to sound. They do, and slither right over to where the sound came from. We also hear a very human, startled shout.

We come up with a plan – Carric sneaks down, Ronin goes down the ladder and distracts them with another sound, and Haltz and I rappel down the shaft. This goes as planned, and we all get down to the bottom. At this point, we all see what’s in the room – Five of these horrid flesh creatures, along with a glowing pillar that has a human figure chained to it.

Trying to lure them to another area, Ronin uses his spell again, but they see us as they move. Well, everyone except the sneaky Carric. Ronin moves up and punches one of the creatures, and finds that its consistency is pretty much that of a sponge, and it reforms itself quite well. Aside from the fact that it is now oozing black ichor where most creatures would simply bleed.

Haltz uses his handy darts, punching a hole through the creature’s eye and killing it. At this, the guy on the pillar screams, and Carric, making his way up, can see a bulge forming on his chest. He decides that the man is part of the creatures’ plans, and shoots him with his bow. I move up to support Ronin, but I don’t do much to the creature, cutting in but it seems like I’ve only mildly displeased it.

The creatures, slow as the bags of flesh they are, finally respond. Two manage to claw Ronin, one in a pretty hefty manner. The two others are now moving up to us, and Ronin decides to punch one of them, fairly successfully. Haltz decides to show us how to actually fight, and spears the one Ronin injured, killing it, and then kicks the one I injured, killing it as well.

Carrick \ fires another arrow, and the human shouts and slumps down, but the pillar will have none of it. Tendrils of energy come out and do.. something to the guy, who shouts once more.

Seeing that Ronin and Haltz have the creatures covered, I run up to the pillar and proceed to swear violently. It’s carved with Accursed script. The man chained to the pillar also has his chest cavity pulled open, held that way with iron hooks, and inside it I can see another one of the creatures pulling its way out. At this time, the creature pops out, and doesn’t seem particularly pleased with me being there.

One of the creatures that Haltz and Ronin are fighting manages to knock out Ronin, prompting Haltz to move back, getting one of the creatures to follow him. Carric is a great asset and shoots the creature right next to me, distracting it while I decide the best course of action.

My thought is that the creatures, and wherever they are coming from, are linked to the pillar. I am not a locksmith and I don’t have the tools to pop the manacles open, so my action is to physically sever the connection of the guy with the pillar. My glaive neatly severs the hands of the already-ravaged human, but this doesn’t stop the pillar’s magic from keeping him from bleeding profusely.

Carric, seeing he has the attention of one of the creatures, shoots and kills the second one that had been with Haltz and Ronin. The only thing the creatures can do at this point is follow them, so while they’re dealing with the creatures I sever the feet of the captive and drag him away from the pillar, eventually severing the connection. Inside the corpse’s chest, I can get a good look at the portal, and at this I swear even more violently. I can see leaden grass – It’s a portal to the Iron Marches, and in the accursed end of it to boot.

Some experimenting shows that the portal is solid, and after a little more inquisitive prodding by myself, I remove the iron hooks holding the corpse’s chest cavity open. It snaps shut, and pulling it apart reveals that this has closed the portal as well. Not fully satisfied, I take a look at the pillar while my companions tend to Ronin and check the rest of the mining gallery.

There’s one shaft down that’s open – Of the other two, one ends in a collapse and the other isn’t finished. The pillar, on the other hand, has crude yet strong magic, and is carved with both healing and conjuration runes.

We make our way into the next gallery, which is thankfully empty. This has one end that looks like it’s unfinished, and the other end is collapsed. There’s a small horizontal shaft that is one of the numerous ones that lead to the main shaft, and another shaft that goes down. Carric climbs down the ladder, and looks into the gallery. Another glowing pillar is there, with another figure chained to it. There are also two large forms, so Carric makes his way back up.

The gallery he scouted had two shafts in it, and we’re sure one of them is the main shaft. I ask Carric to look into the side passage, as it is too small for any of the rest of us and he is also supposed to be the sneaky one.

He climbs along it and looks down – into the faces of two creatures, both of them about 7.5 feet tall, covered in muscle, and with arms that look like they could rip someone in half. The person chained to the pillar has had their chest opened in the same way as the last one, although he couldn’t tell if this person also had a portal in their chest.

He climbs back and barely has enough time to describe what he saw to us before we hear the things shouting below us. Running over to the shaft, we see them climbing up it – Not via the ladder, but by ripping handholds from the stone. Carric shoots an arrow into one of them, while Haltz, Ronin, and I all ready ourselves for the creatures. Thankfully, Carric gets another shot into the same one, and shortly before it gets up to the top I stab my glaive into it, killing it and knocking it down. We can hear a scream from below us, and we dread having to deal with a stream of these things.

Ronin handily dealt with the other one, using its own momentum and mass against it to toss it over into where the rest of us can deal with it. Haltz spears it and gives it a solid kick, while my polearm deals the killing blow. This time, however, there is no scream from below.

We look down and see one more creature looking up at us. I can only assume it decided that a one-on-four battle was not entirely a good idea, so it disappears, shouting the whole way, into the mine.

I head down first, being the most defensible of the bunch, but there’s nothing there. As my companions come down behind me, I head over to the pillar. The woman there is in surprisingly good health, aside from the fact that her chest is held open with another dozen iron hooks with a portal to the Iron Marches inside. I also happen to recognize that this is the woman from the locket I found earlier. Makes finding the owner a lot easier, I suppose.

At this point, the beast’s shouting returns, and Ronin and Haltz have found another shaft – Which three of the beasts are now climbing up. Thankfully, it’s a lot longer than the previous shaft so we have some time to work.

I call Carric over to open the manacles, warn the woman what I’m going to do is going to hurt, and start pulling out the hooks. Racing against the creatures, Carric and I manage to both free her from the manacles and remove all of the hooks. Her ribcage slams shut, and when it bounces open a little I can see the portal is closed – And her internal organs seem to be still internal.

We notice that the pillar seems to be healing her, so I pick up my glaive and run to the shaft while Haltz throws some further darts. One of them hits a creature, and the creatures manage to climb to the top of the shaft before I can get there. Thankfully, both Haltz and Ronin are ready and dodge their attacks. Being distracted, though, they also don’t manage to deal any further damage to the creatures.

This doesn’t stop one creature from punching me, hard. Carric, while watching over the woman, is still observant and fires his bow at the one that hit me. The arrow hits hard, and the creature falls back into the shaft. One down, two to go.

Haltz hits one of the creatures, and Ronin manages to hit the last one, hard. At this point, though, we find out the other creature isn’t dead – As it flings itself out of the pit and takes a swing at me. Thankfully, though, it’s been injured and misses. The other two creatures have similarly bad times dealing with Haltz and Ronin.

Carric, not pleased that his target didn’t actually die, finishes the job with another arrow. This time, it really is dead as it falls back down the shaft, and we hear it land at the bottom. Haltz hits his again, and Ronin manages to knock his dead, the corpse also falling into the hole. Whatever’s down there is going to know we’re coming.

The last creature swings at Haltz but misses, and I finish it off with my glaive. At this point, silence falls, and we can see that the pillar has no further interest in the woman. She’s not perfectly healed, but she’s not being splayed open like something out of a horror movie anymore.

What awaits us in the gallery below I have no idea, but I’m sure we’ll find out next week. Considering how we dealt with its minions, I’m fairly sure it’s not going to be pleased to see us, either.

Mutaren, Accursed of Transformation

Other Titles: He Who Shifts, the Changeling, Father Chaos, Master of Change

Alignment: CN

Weapon: Spiked Chain ( Howling Death)

Major Domains: Transformation, Change, Rage,

Minor Domains:  Chaos, Lycanthyropy, Shapeshifting. Adapting

Totem Animal: Any/All /none – As the Master of Change and transformation, Mutaren has all animals and none. He seems to show is favor and present omens with chimeric creatures: Owlbears, Bulettes, Chimeras and other hybrids.

Holy Symbol: The Changing Man: A man spread eagle with the head of a Wolf, one arm a serpent, the other a wing, and each leg different as well, one of a feline the other a stag.

Favored Appearances: Though Mutaren enjoys many forms, and even changing between them, he does have a semi-permanent form the seems to shift to and from. In both his male and female forms he takes similarly grotesque appearances. His male form, though, is dominated by the deformities of a massive club foot, a shriveled right arm, and a nearly missing nose. His hair is patchy and wiry both on his head and around his body. He speaks with a barely whispered voice that can easily be missed if one isn’t paying attention.

His female form is dominated by the a massive left arm, a right leg that is almost 3 inches shorter than the left, and both ears missing from the side of her head. Hair, some fine and some coarse, covers most of her visible skin, contrasted by long, silky locks of blond hair that flows from her head and down her back.

In combat or when needed, though, Mutaren will drastically change his form to suite what is needed and is a consummate combatant, shifting his body shape, hardness and weight to his best advantage

Warform: The Warform of Mutaren is that of an ever shifting maelstrom of claws,fangs and tentacles formed of all four elements. Truly a child of the elements, he combines all four in a roiling mass of death, with Talons of Ice changing into a Psudopod of Fire and Jaws of lightning shifting into heavy wings of granite and marble

Personality: While Mutaren is a chaotic person of immutable forms and infinite rage, he is a very stable person otherwise. His strong rage is contained and let loose when needed but otherwise kept firmly under control. Surprisingly, he is extremely learned and educational to talk to, being a sage in the fields of the elements, of wild beasts and the application of Transmutational Magics. Though many would think his chaotic and ever changing nature would prevent him from learning, it is almost completely the opposite. He quickly tires of many things, but only after achieving mastery of them: How else can one correctly assess a situation and adapt to its needs?

All of this, however, cannot conceal his every changing physical aspects, his quick temper and his unabated embrace of both freedom and rage.  Once he is tipped over the edge and into his furious anger, there is little that can stop him short of the complete destruction of the target of his ire. he will constantly adapt and change his both mental state, short of ending his rage, and his physical form to best confront this enemy of his, and will often times destroy many innocent people in his blinded state, and though he acknowledges his acts, he has never once shown remorse for his actions.

Teachings: Above all, Mutaren teaches to embrace change, either in your body or your mind. The very apex of adaptation is embracing change without hardship. Secondary to that is the complete acceptance and acceptance of your rage, and that that rage can be used to transform you completely. Sometimes its a wild and uncontrolled rage, and sometimes its a cold, focused fury. These transformations are the key to understanding who and what you are and where you belong. The more you can change yourself, the more you can belong in the world around you. The chaos of keeping your mind and body constantly aware of and receptive to change will harden you and transform you even more. Never accept what you are, always strive to become better, become more than what you are, even at the cost of others. If they cannot change they must be thrown aside, and the same is true for society, government, family and friends. If it does not adapt, if it does not change, it must be discarded.

Abode: Mutaren lives in an ever changing labyrinth called the Stones of Chaos. This hideout deep in the heart of Accursed territory is where he will wander around contemplating the order of chaos, the sounds of silence and the darkest recesses of light itself. Here he will, alone, test the very limits of how and what he can mutate in himself, often loosing himself completely in a new form or body for days or weeks at a time.

Cultists: Cultists who follow Mutaren are strong willed individuals who have come to see transformation and change as the foundations of the world. They reach out to those afflicted with physical or mental problems and tempt them into their world of rage and change. From here they seek to change themselves through mystical rituals, potions of dubious and untested nature and physical tests of endurance and pain. Mutarens cults are not tolerated well, as they are seen as agents of discord and dissonance by the powers that be, and rightly so.

Clerical Attire/colors: Mutaren favors dull oranges and light grays, with followers often wearing robes, tunics and broaches of those colors. His Changing man is often tattooed over the heart to denote complete devotion to the Accursed of Chaos. and is often, strangely, the one thing they will not mutate on their body through their strange and mystical ways. The head cultists will often have beast-head helms and masks that they wear, and change often, during rituals and sacraments, with the best and most powerful of them being able to transform their actual heads.

Followers: Mutaren is worshiped by many lycanthropes and shapechangers, as well as a number of warriors, Transmuters and even a few conjurers who tap deep into the well of reality to pull out completely new forms of existence.

Last week, three characters almost died and it was all my fault. This week, two characters came even closer to death and it had nothing to do with me. And then I fell and practically broke my legs. But, let’s start at the beginning of this week. (As a note, the player for Octavia was absent this week, so she played no role in these events)

After successfully making our way down to the first gallery, we decided to check out the shorter shafts first. Our logic was if we fell, we probably wouldn’t die. Probably.

The first shaft we looked at was about twenty feet deep. The bottom was moldy as far as we could see, and while it had a ladder, moldy wood was not exactly something that’s conductive to climbing easily down it.

To that end, we decided to look at the other, 30-foot shaft. On first inspection, it had a pile of rubble from a cave in at the bottom. Some bones. Some pants. Carric descends first, using a safety line to secure his way down the shaft. On reaching the bottom, he sees a 70ft gallery, with the entrance being only about 10 feet from one end. After he makes his way down, Haltz, myself, and Ronin also descend.

Ronin and I both begin investigating the rubble. I find that it is easily not a cave in – The pants, for one, are at the wrong angle. But on further inspection, we’re interrupted by an investigating grunt/cry.

Everybody turns, and I spotlight an ugly, wretched goblin type thing with my lantern. Startled, it turns and runs, diving down a shaft along a rope tied to it. Carric and I both run after. Carric isn’t fast enough to catch him, and I fall flat on my face, extinguishing the lantern in the process.

Not pausing, Carric jumps on the rope and climbs down after the goblin, landing in a pile of awful nasty detritus – Sticks, mud, plant bits, and the like. He does see the goblin scurry into a tunnel, and while the rest of us climb down after, he goes in and looks.

It isn’t a large enough tunnel for the rest of us to fit in, and it goes out further past the mine. Haltz feels a breeze, and we guess this might be another entrance to the mine for the goblins. Not being able to enter the tunnel, I suggest that we fill the bottom of the shaft with some of the rubble, ensuring at the very least we won’t be backstabbed on our exploration through the rest of the mine. This is done using stones from the not-cave-in, and in the process we find that it looks less like a cave in and more like a set of nasty, awful, goblin beds.

The room also has a second exit, a shaft that leads down into piles of things. Broken barrels, sacks, half eaten limbs, and the like. Again, Carric descends first using a safety line. Midway down the shaft, the safety line comes into good use when half the ladder is missing and broken, leaving just a single pole on one side before resuming its normal form.

Before he can reach the bottom, a javelin comes flying out of the dark, clattering off the stones next to his face. Dropping the last few feet and taking some minor injuries in the process, Carric tries to hide in the rubble at the bottom but sees nothing. Haltz and myself, having seen and heard the spear, secure a line and I descend rapidly on it, ignoring the ladder.

As I descend, Carric stands – and almost fatal move. As he does so, the javelin thrower reveals himself, skewering Carric and sending him immediately unconscious. At this point, the great goblin charges me, his two-handed morning star swinging at me. Thankfully, my armor saves me from damage, and Hatlz arrives behind me, a much-needed boost.

He swings at the goblin before being fully down, using the rope as both a fist weapon and a balance for a kick. Sadly, neither connects, but the Goblin’s attack on Haltz hits. I swing, missing as well, and Haltz makes a second attack that also fails. The goblin, not content on one hit to Haltz, smacks him one more time, this time dealing a significant amount of damage to him and knocking him unconscious as well.

At this point, Ronin – who had managed to not notice the javelin in the first place, notices we’re having the snot beaten out of us and joins us at the bottom. As if trying to make up for his lack of noticing, he attacks the goblin, one punch missing wide but the other slamming into the goblin.

I swing again, but again I miss. Proving his worth, Ronin smacks the goblin again, and my next attack finally hits, my glaive cleaving the goblin in two. The inside of this goblin is as corrupted as the outside, covered in black and green nastiness, and somehow withered without impeding the goblin.

Ronin tends to Haltz and Carric, and then searches the room while I watch the entrance behind us. He finds a preliminary mining tunnel that leads to the main shaft, and after he is done searching I look at a pair of bodies in the corner.

One is a peasant, their throat slashed. The other is a man in gear similar to the guards in the town, his armor and side punctured by a hole that match the one made in Carric by the javelin. On him, I find a locket, a small painting of a woman inside. Thinking it might be of use, I put it in my pack. It may come in handy later. I also investigate the shaft, and as I look into the main shaft I see a guard fall screaming down it. He hits the net that Haltz had secured previously, but the fall was too great. His scream is silenced in a way that only death can manage, and continues falling down the shaft beyond us.

After resting for some time, allowing Carric and Haltz to regain some of their strength, we make our way to the main gallery. We test the rope to the surface, and it is secure. At the very least we’ll be able to make our way back up. Deciding the best decision was to press onward, we head down to the moldy shaft, with Ronin leading this time due to Carric’s injuries. Ronin lands, seeing the entirety of the cavern is filled with the mold. Spotting an interesting puddle with a corpse in it, he heads towards it. The corpse seems intact, but the breastplate it was wearing is quite a bit dissolved.

However, the room disagreed with the invasion, and was suddenly filled with a loud, wretched, screeching noise. I was most of the way to the bottom, but the shrieking startled me and I fell the last few feet, landing heavily. At this point, I reach in and find my second wind, bringing me back up to full fighting shape.

Carric and Haltz descend fairly quickly, and Halts quickly identifies four fungi that are emitting the shrieking. Letting Carric know which ones they are, Carric fires at each, but they remain in their ear-splitting noise mode.

Ronin, meanwhile, has noticed that the puddle has started moving, if slowly. Seeing Carric firing at the fungi, I make my way towards one, but a dart from Haltz kills it before I can reach it. However, this distraction allows me to spot that the puddle REALLY seems to like me. It is slowly reaching out towards me, and noting how slow it is moving I grab a flask of oil and throw it on the thing.

With that opportunity, Ronin lights the thing on fire with his torch while Carric finishes the fungi off, allowing our hearing to return to normal. With a few more arrows, Carric stops the now-flaming puddle, which quickly sputters out as the oil is consumed.

The area secure, we look around, finding another passage leading to the main shaft and two shafts leading down. One is unfinished, simply a hole that ends after a short distance. The other one leads about forty feet down to another gallery. It is there that we call time on the session.

In all, we managed to not die a horrid death from the goblin, possibly seal an entrance of theirs, and clear a room of fungi designed by a wretched god. Who knows what we will come across next week.

Kashua, Accursed of Blood

Other Titles: Bloody One, She the All Seeing, The Final Breath

Alignment: NE

Weapon: Sickle ( Dream Sever)

Major Domains: Blood, Dying, Divination

Minor Domains:  Famine, Bad Omens, Harvest

Totem Animal: Vulture

Holy Symbol: A single, bright red blood drop, often stylized, with the drop encasing a howling skull. Sometimes this is worn on a necklace or a bracelet, but it is worn as a circlet as well, with the blood drop settling between the eyes.

Favored Appearances: Kashua is often seen walking the earth, but it is not a pleasant tiding. Her favorite form of a wizened old man or woman tend to share the same features. Long, dying gray hair with cataract covered eyes, hunching over a walking stick of some sort. Both have lost most of their teeth and seem to be at the end of their lives. They always seem to be followed by vultures as if to telegraph their imminent demise. Both speak slowly and deliberately, never lying or attempting to deceive the listener. Her appearance in an area spooks the locals, who see in her both the coming of fall and the signs of the first frost in her footsteps both portents of the hard winter to follow.

Warform: A vulture of great size, as all warforms, hers is composed of solid rock, somehow afloat on the air none the less. Its Beak and Talons are sharp and made of obsidian while her feathers are carved in intricate patterns, often with shrieking faces being visible. She tends to lead armies on recon missions and attempts to outflank and out maneuver. with her ability to divine the future, she is always a great assett.

Personality:  The Accursed of Blood is a solitary individual. She keeps to herself and makes no lasting bonds with others. She is selfish and needy, as well, requiring attention from whoever seeks her out, and desiring to keep what she has attained for herself. Those who follow her and revere her offer up to her enormous amount of blood as sacrificial offers, and she receives it all, regardless of source. She has a small conflict with Ariannas, the Paltonarch of Banditry and violence due to the amount of unconsecrated blood she spills and wastes on a daily basis. Her association with the Accursed comes from the sly words of Ferosh, who brought to her awareness her vital connection to all the creatures in the world and that without her, without her massive power, their would be no life! She took this to heart and believes that the wrongs she is suffering now are the fault of the Paltonarchs not acknowledging the primacy of the younger gods, and the fault and blame of all the decisions made since then lies squarely on the four gods of the Elements.

Teachings: Kashua’s Teachings are fairly straight forward. She is the lifeblood of all living beings. As the Goddess of both Blood and Harvest, she has the ability to kill with a single displeasure. She is also the god of dying: not death, or the afterlife, simply the act of passage between one form of existence and the other. She believes that life is a choice and that if you so desire both suicide and death in combat or some such other means is a glorious, well deserved, end. To honor the goddess of blood is with living sacrifices, swift harvest and bloody deaths. What was once a well respected and admired following have now become ostracized on the outskirts of society.

Abode: Kashua lives in the Avra Geldura,  the old tongue phrase that roughly translates the beginning of blood. A dark maroon wooden structure deep within the mercury and Lead swamps in the heart of the Iron Marches, it is from here that she makes her stories and attacks deep into the contested lands.

Cultists: Those who follow Kashua are branded as lunatics and heretics among their societies.  Believing that bleeding out their sacrificial victims and letting them expire over the longest space of time will assist in harvests and prevent Famine, they are only sought out in the very worst of times to either alleviate plague or to bring a much needed boost to an ailing crop.  with their ability to divine the cause of the problems and the best possible outcome, they can spell out the best way to appease the goddess. Often demanding the the best and largest animal with the most blood for sacrifce, and have been known to bleed out animals for hours before letting them expire. Often, these fanatics are lone hermits in the deepest parts of the woods or high in the hills simply to perform their devotions to their chosen god in peace.

Clerical Attire/colors:  The colors of the goddess of blood are lighter tans and grays, with a rope of blood red or deep maroon around the waist. Their worship and sacrificial robes are very different, with each drop of  blood bringing character to the sacrificial robes. Priests often wield no weapons and carry no arms but a single sacrificial sickle that is used to open veins and arteries.

Followers: Most of her followers are loners and hermits, with a few doctors, teachers and farmers mixed in. Warriors and assassins also often worship her, so that when the day comes, their blood may work their way into her already massive power and grant them status in the afterlives.

Few Succeed.

Last week was spent mostly with making characters and setting the foundation for this week’s gaming. This week, we tried our hardest to kill off our painstakingly-made characters.

It was midday when we arrived in Meturius, and we then proceeded to make our way down the road to the mine. This took the rest of the day, and as the sun was setting we reached the camp of four guards who were charged with watching the mine.

They were not informed of our arrival. Upon asking for our reason for being there, Ronin replied “We’re here to fix your dragon problem!”

The guards were not amused. They had no dragon. They weren’t even sure they had goblins. They were also significantly less amused by Carric’s proclamation of “We’re the idiots that were sent to clear out your mine.”

To make things even better, a horse and rider came thundering up the road, barely halting before horrifically trampling all of us. Seemingly compounding the fact that we’re a bunch of idiots, the crazy horse lady announced that the Constable, the one that had hired us, had doubts for the four of us completing the mission alone and sent her.

And then she proceeded to dismount and almost started a fight with her horse. While Carric explained things with the guards, the woman simultaneously attempted to pawn the horse off onto one of the guards and do whatever care she could for it. While she didn’t like the horse (And the horse didn’t like her much either!), she wasn’t one to let it just die.

In the interest of making the guards not immediately hate our guts, I passed the one that had been roped into horse duty a couple of silver pieces. They had no food, no equipment, and certainly weren’t expecting such a burden.

When the horse was dealt with, Carric had not only managed to secure us a location to camp for the night (An empty field behind the guards’ camp), but had made a bet with one of the guards on our survival in the mines.

The night passed uneventfully, with the new member Octavia quizzing each of the rest of us on our backgrounds. After our rest, we were escorted to the mine by Carric’s guard friend, who explained to the guards at the entrance what we were doing. Again, wanting to encourage positive thoughts on us, I gave him a silver piece for his troubles. If all goes well, there will be plenty enough coin to replace it.

This mine is more in the Roman style – essentially straight down. This created some problems – First, we had to find a way down. After Ronin took a peek down seemingly-endless shaft, I lit my bullseye lantern and we made our way forward.

Carric found a winch mechanism, which I managed to figure out how to work. Octavia, meanwhile, found the platform which we figured they used and used her rope tying skills learned at sea to rig it up to the winch.

Gathering as many rocks as we could, I lowered it down in a test. It failed, dumping the rocks down the shaft and into the water at the bottom. One of the knots had come loose, and after I returned the platform to the surface it was obvious that the whole thing had almost fallen completely off.

Octavia set about her knot-tying again, but thankfully Carric decided to keep an eye, finding some issues with the knots and having her re-tie them properly. With that issue settled, it was time for the real test – Sending Haltz and Carric down into the first gallery, about two hundred feet below us.

I volunteered to operate the winch, being the strongest of the group. I also wouldn’t have to trust someone else with lowering me down, especially given the fact that if we had trusted the previous knots, someone would have died.

Sending them down was uneventful. Someone stumbled a little upon getting off, but that’s to be expected with a jury-rigged rope elevator. It was at this point that I realized just how much work it was to lower two fully-equipped adventurers two hundred feet down a hole, winch or no winch.

Bringing the platform back up was easy, and it was at this time that Octavia decided to ask one of the guards outside to help us back up after we made our decent. Somehow, an exit plan had not exactly been considered by any of the rest of us.

With our return route secured, it was time to send down Octavia and Ronin. This was where the fun begins. About halfway down, I loose control of the winch for just a second. The platform tips, spilling both Octavia and Ronin off, with at least 650 feet of shaft below them. Even had they managed to land in the first mining gallery where Haltz and Carric were waiting, the fall would have left them as little more than smears.

Like something out of a cartoon, Octavia managed to catch herself on one of the platform’s eye hooks, and then Ronin, missing the platform, managed to latch on to Octavia’s leg. Realizing that holding on to someone that was similarly holding on to something else was a Bad Idea, Ronin managed to grab onto the platform, both helping level it out and reducing the strain on Octavia.

With the pair now dangling, it was a significantly easier option to resume lowering them. Pulling them up would have been much harder, and they were just as far from the surface as they were from the gallery. Haltz and Carric, having heard their shouting, were standing by to help them off the platform without having them fall down the remainder of the shaft.

With no others to lower me down, I decided to reclaim the extra climbing rope, secure the winch, and climb down the line to the platform. This was easier said than done, and a simple loss of grip led me to plummet fifty feet before suffering pretty heavy rope burn before stopping myself. On finishing the journey down, Haltz took some of the rope and some of his pitons, making a net at the shaft’s hole. At the very least, the platform wouldn’t be lost even if someone above cut the rope.

The mining gallery we now stood in was pretty significant. About 150 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 15 feet tall, it was obvious that a significant amount of effort had been put into this mine. This was just the first gallery, and there were four shafts leading from it. One was the main shaft, heading down another 500 feet or so beyond where we were currently. Another looked like the mine’s secondary shaft, and a third was fairly short. The fourth shaft decended some distance before terminating in rubble, but not before expanding into another mining gallery.

That is where we left off this week. Three people almost died in the first 250 feet of our adventure, with no monsters needed. Plus, I had my hand in all three!

And as it would be unfair to leave Octavia without an introduction:

Name: Octavia

Race/Class: Human Cleric (Disciple of Nera)

Background: Coming from a merchant family devoted to Nera, Octavia was sent to a boarding school run by the priesthood of Nera. There, she learned many things about exploration and the oceans, things that would be useful for an adventurer. Upon her graduation, the head of the school arranged for her to have some work with the Obsidian Vault Reclamations, who then assigned the poor woman to work with us.

Over the last 18 years, I’ve DM’d nearly exclusively in a world of my own creation. It’s a fairly cold place, with short cool summers and brutal, cold winters but life has managed to grab hold, and civilization is nothing if not persistent. I’ve generally focused on the relatively medieval nation of Tyrndall and its fall from powerful nation to a despotic Tyranny, and I think it’s time for a change of pace. Tyrndall’s main rival and sufferer of equal misfortune is the late republican Roman based Killbar. Though the adventurers had heard about what had happened and even visited the land once or twice, the perils of its peoples and the darkness that has fallen on the land hasn’t really been showcased.

Continue reading