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Kaldmont 1, AC 1016: The Darkest Hour...
Location: City of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: Over the last week the siege engines of Manfred's army have battered the walls of the city without stop. Just as continuously, work crews within the city have repaired and buttressed the walls. At times, especially at night, the besieger's trebuchets have fired flaming pitch into Thyatis City. Bucket crews, reinforced by water elementals and other fire-suppressant magics, have put out these fires as fast as they are lit, preventing serious damage. The city seems more united than ever, morale high due to a renewed civic spirit. But exhaustion is beginning to set in.
Now, on midwinter's day, units of the rebel army form up for a renewed assault on the city. Veterans of the war against Thothia quail at the sight, as units of zombies lead the assault. All are shocked as the mantlets and galleries are pushed closer to the walls: the rebels have chained captives to their front, knowing the defenders will be reluctant to kill their hostage comrades. Thyatian clerics manage to successfully turn most of the undead, but the assault presses on. The battle rages into twilight.
Under cover of the battle and darkness, Heinrich dispatches select crews down a hidden tunnel and into the city. As a reward for their successes in the last battle, Hansel Oesterhaus and his closest circle of Storm Soldiers lead the attack, with them the Kerendans who managed to reach the top of the wall, re-enforced by a couple powerful Thanatons. These elite bands work their way through the tunnel, down a secret passage connecting to a sewer, then into another passage that runs right under Emperor's Hill and the imperial palace. Appearing suddenly from below they surprise the few members of the imperial guard who are on duty at the palace and overcome them. Their goal is to find Eusebius, kill him, and present his head for all to see.
The bands search the palace, fighting brief melees with guards and palace residents at every turn, but they cannot find Eusebius. They burst into the imperial chambers hoping to find him there, but with no luck. At that moment Anaxibius, Stefania and Tredorian, leading a band of Thyatians including Helena Ledamiades, charge up the stairs and into the corridor behind the invaders, and a fierce battle with no quarter shown begins. Suddenly Ledamiades separates herself from the battle and calls out in the name of Valerias and Solarios [Solarios is the Thyatian name for Ixion. Ed.], and a pillar of flame strikes one of the Thanatons and a cluster of Storm Soldiers, slaying them all. Helena Ledamiades herself is consumed by the powerful magics she has unleashed.
Then, Thyarius Palykratidius switches sides, driving his sword into the priest of Thanatos. Tredorian finishes off the Thanaton and most of the Kerendans follow Palykratidius' example. The Storm Soldiers are quickly cut down, till only Hansel remains. Anaxibius steps forward and engages Hansel in single combat and beheads him.
Outside the city, the assault begins to falter and the attackers retreat to their camp under the cover of darkness. (See Ei. 22, Ei. 23; Ka. 2, Ka. 3.)
What This Means: Heinrich's plan was brilliant. He used the assault on the walls as a diversion. Throughout most of the battle Eusebius was on the walls, fighting alongside his soldiers, exhorting them to throw back the enemy. When the sun went down, Eusebius left the walls, presumably to break and consult with his generals.
When Heinrich noticed that, he sent his assault bands into the city. They used an old tunnel dug by the Storm Soldiers to arrange secret comings and goings from Thyatis City. Following the strike force sent to the palace were regular detachments, which would use the tunnels and catacombs to circumvent the walls and take the city from inside. It was a perfect plan, but failed to take account of two factors.
First was Eusebius. When he left the walls, he did not go to the imperial palace, but rather to quarters in the Zendrolium (quite near Julinius' old archaeological dig, in fact), where he has been spending much of his time. Then he went to see the wounded. When word reached him that a band of attackers was in the palace, he dispatched Anaxibius and his sister Stefania along with some of Thyatis' toughest fighters. They ran into Ledamiades in the palace's forecourt, and she persuaded them into letting her tag along. By morning, word of her sacrifice and the holy fire that slew the attackers will spread throughout the city, being exaggerated with each telling till it grows to legendary proportions.
The second thing Heinrich did not take into consideration was the community of wererats who live below Thyatis City. They didn't take kindly to armed bands intruding on their territory in such large numbers. The palace strike force got past them because they did not expect them, but the other units sent by Heinrich were ambushed as they passed through the tunnels. They never knew what hit them; few made it back to their encampments.
Kaldmont 1, AC 1016: Domes at the Docks.
Location: City of Aaslin, Kingdom of Notrion, NACE, Bellissaria. AS
Description: Moored at Aaslin's docks are some six small domes mounted on barges. Though completed, their delivery is postponed until after the Day of Dread. Still not completely sure in its control of the Alphatian Sea, the NACE has opted to wait until the New Year to begin towing the domes out to the construction site. (See Fy. 27, Am. 5; Ka. 6, Ka. 28.)
What the PCs Can Do: PCs may be tasked with guarding the domes. As the Day of Dread approaches, security will tighten. Conversely, PCs may find themselves hired by other nations to sabotage the domes.
Kaldmont 1, AC 1016: Invasion!
Location: Village of Los Peregrinos, Baronía de Narvaez. SC
Description: Barón Hugo personally leads a large force of Narvaezan troops into northern Gargoña with the intention of crushing the barony at the behest of his "immortal." As he pushes south towards Ciudad Real he meets little resistance. baronesa Esperanza, warned of the advance by terrified farmers fleeing Hugo's marauding army, immediately sends for help from Saragón and Almarrón. (See Fe. 1, Sv. 22; Ka. 4, Ka. 9.)
What This Means: This is the result of Hugo putting into effect what he thinks is Ixion's greater plan for him and Narvaez.
What the PCs Can Do: If any PCs are in Gargoña, they can be the ones sent to Saragón for help. The mission will not be easy as Barón Hugo has anticipated this move and has sent a small force of Los Matónes to try and ambush any messengers travelling to Saragón.
Kaldmont 2, AC 1016: ... Is Always Before the Dawn.
Location: City of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: Everything is eerily calm and quiet as sun rises over Thyatis City; only the moans of the wounded can be heard. Both the attackers and the defenders are exhausted. Many in the city hope that this latest failure will cause the rebellion to collapse, or that at least they will retreat, but the besiegers show no sign of giving up.
Then, at mid morning, lookouts spot longships sailing up Vanya's Girdle from the east. A large contingent of Ostlander warriors reaches the city. Then, at noon, the lateen-rigged sails of a few ships appear far over the horizon to the west, flying above the water. Shortly afterwards more appear, in larger numbers, sailing the sea itself up the girdle from the west towards the city.
Meanwhile, in the rebel camp, Thanatons prepare their rituals. The mask is being torn away, and the true threat to Thyatis revealed is not as the rebellion of nobility, but as a threat to existence itself. (See Ei. 23, Ka. 1; Ka. 3, Ka. 4.)
What This Means: The reinforcements reach the city just in time to provide respite to weary defenders. The eastern force is of course from Ostland; the western fleet comes from throughout Thyatis-troops dispatched from the Pearl Islands and Ochalea along with the returning squadron of Thyatian skyships, two units of Minrothaddan Home Guards sent by Vannopolus, and even a force of fierce Hinterlanders.
The priests of Thanatons are planning to revive the rebel army's dead. However, they are not contenting themselves with simple zombies this time: greater rituals and spells are being called upon.
Kaldmont 2, AC 1016: Blockade!
Location: Kingdom of Helskir, Thyatian Empire and NACE, Isle of Dawn. SD
Description: The guards of Helskir's garrison are surprised this morning to see seven large warships, flying the colours of the Heldannic Order, approaching the city's harbour. Raising an alarm, the guards keep watch on the ships, which, once they enter the waters of the harbour proper, form themselves into a line, blocking further naval access to the city. The ships sit silently in the water afterwards, bristling with well-armed men.
Within an hour, while the city's leadership ponders this development, horns sound from the walls. Rushing outside to see what is going on, word spreads to them, that the city is surrounded by a large host of Heldannic Knights. People run about the streets in panic, as the news becomes exaggerated beyond all proportions. (See Fl. 3, Fl. 17; Ka. 3, Ka. 4.)
What This Means: The Heldannic Knights have always had their eyes on Helskir, considering it to be a natural addition to their own territories. They have tried on a few occasions to conquer it, but have never been successful. Now, it seems that the knights have come up with a well-coordinated plan; Helskir's defenders received no warning that the knights had landed elsewhere in the kingdom, so they have been caught totally unawares. This, and the rampant rumours circulating concerning what this development means, has dealt a serious blow to morale in the city.
What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are in the city, and are known to be heroes, they will likely be requested by the city's leadership to try to quell the disturbances and otherwise boost morale.
Kaldmont 3, AC 1016: Undead in the Tunnels.
Location: City of Thyatis, Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: Not one to give up easily, Heinrich sends a few hordes of undead through secret tunnels into Thyatis City's sewers. The wererats, in the process of collapsing the vulnerable tunnels leading outside the city, find themselves knee-deep in undead, and fight like cornered rats to survive.
Eventually, the wererats destroy most of the dead, often by collapsing tunnels onto them. The Thyatians never even notice the battles under their feet. (See Ka. 2; Ka. 3, Ka. 4, Ka. 7.)
What This Means: Unknown to the wererats (or the Thyatians), the undead Heinrich sent are carriers of some fairly nasty diseases, some of which have been passed on to the wererats. These include "Sewers Typhoid," "Bugbear Typhus," "Griffon Pox," "Goblin Measles," and others [details for these diseases can be found in the Eastern Trail Map. Ed.]. The diseases will not manifest any symptoms for several weeks; by then, the plagues will have spread throughout Thyatis City and further.
Kaldmont 3, AC 1016: The Ultimatum.
Location: Kingdom of Helskir, Thyatian Empire and NACE, Isle of Dawn. SD
Description: An envoy of the Heldannic Knights, under a banner of peace, arrives at the main gates of Helskir requesting an audience with the city's leadership. Quickly, he is admitted to the kingdom's main reception hall, where he presents the Heldannic Order's ultimatum to the Kingdom of Helskir.
First, Helskir is to unconditionally surrender to the massed might of the Heldannic Knights, and thus become a dominion of the Heldannic Territories. Second, the ruler of Helskir, Asteriela Torion, is to abdicate the throne of the kingdom, and renounce all claims to it. Should she do so, she will have a guarantee of free passage to the nation of her choice. Third, all citizens of Helskir who do not wish to live under Heldannic rule may leave freely, but they must abandon any lands they own within the kingdom's borders.
Hearing these demands, yet knowing that Helskir has fought off the knights before, the city's leadership refuses these terms, and orders the envoy out of the city. (See Fl. 17, Ka. 2; Ka. 4, Ka. 5.)
What This Means: The Heldannic Order has decided to annex the kingdom of Helskir, but it would rather do so without expending too much of its resources. The order already has two existing fronts-one in Norwold and the other in Davania, and it is hoping this third front will be short-lived, and decisive. The senior members of the knights commanding this expedition were hoping that giving the defenders an easy way out would encourage them to take it.
Kaldmont 3, AC 1016: Approaching Huitlaktima Again.
Location: City of Huitlaktima, Azcan Empire. HW
Description: After securing the two major cities of the empire's eastern part, Otziltipac's army, much reduced in size but with high morale, finally reaches the city of Huitlaktima, the centre of power for the remaining followers of Atzanteotl and their emperor, Chupicuaro. (See Sv. 24, Ei. 2; Ka. 4, Ka. 6.)
What This Means: The numerous towns and villages standing between Yuzihuapac and Huitlaktima were all captured on the way to Huitlaktima, with minimal losses. Otziltipac feared an ambush by the regrouped remains of Chupicuaro's army, but the attack did not come. Now it seems evident that Chupicuaro concentrated his remaining followers within his capital, letting Otziltipac take control of most of the country without any tough resistance. The next battle will be tough for the Azcan warriors, and the assault is delayed by one day to let them rest and ready themselves.
Kaldmont 3, AC 1016: A Dwarven Departure.
Location: City of Denwarf-Hurgon, Kingdom of Stoutfellow, Floating Continent of Alphatia. HW
Description: Groups of dwarves board several Alphatian skyships and head for Neatharum. The dwarves, numbering 500 in all, are a mixture of miners and soldiers. (See Ka. 15.)
What This Means: These dwarves are going to set up mines in Neatharum, near the former mining town of Dogrel. The dwarven troops are along to insure their safety. Governor Trikard will only now become aware of their impending arrival; needless to say he is not happy at not being told before.
Kaldmont 3, AC 1016: Mrikitat Gives Up on Thyatis.
Location: City of Thyatis, Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: Mrikitat decides that Thyatis City is doomed, and that it is only a matter of time before hordes of undead claim the sewers from his beloved wererats. He hatches a plan to keep at least some of his worshippers alive. He visits Pandius to ask for the help of a few possibly sympathetic Immortals, such as Ka, Korotiku, Terra, and even Nyx. (See Ka. 2, Ka. 3; Ka. 4, Ka. 7.)
What This Means: The Big City of Wererats underneath Thyatis is going to change drastically, if not disappear altogether.
Kaldmont 4, AC 1016: Counter-Offensive Launched.
Location: Town of Vinton, City of Port Hatti, and Town of Pilion, Duchy of Hattias, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: This morning imperial skyships and dromonds under the command of Thyarius Palykratidius cross the short distance from Thyatis City to Port Hatti and capture the town after a short battle with its defenders. At almost the same times ships launch from Lucinius and capture the town of Vinton, while down the western coast a squadron of ships, part of the blockade of Hattias, lands at Pilion.
Captured Storm Soldiers and Thanatons are sent back to Thyatis City and put on trial for treason. The imperial assault forces begin to converge on the capital of Hattias, joined by bands of resistance fighters. Meanwhile Thyatis City remains under siege by the rebel army. (See Ka. 2, Ka. 3; Ka. 14, Ka. 27.)
What This Means: With their army vastly increased in size by forces from throughout the empire and its allies, the imperial forces can now contemplate a counter offensive. Eusebius' generals advised him to strike against the besieging army. They were surprised when he declined, and instead ordered an invasion of Hattias. Eusebius further shocked them by putting Thyarius Palykratidius in command. Eusebius' reason for that was simple: if Palykratidius switched sides only to be better able to betray Eusebius later, he's now out of the city. The officers have instructions to disobey and arrest Palykratidius if he starts issuing strange orders.
As for the invasion of Hattias itself, Eusebius had several reasons for his decision. The first was that since most Hattian forces are now with the rebel army outside the city walls, Hattias is lightly defended. Taking it will be an easy, morale-boosting victory. The second was that attacking the rebel army itself might fail. If his army is defeated again, the defenders might loose heart. Making the besiegers assault the city gives the defenders a great advantage-as long as Eusebius controls the seas and can bring in supplies, the burden is on the rebels to take the city by force. Time is on Eusebius' side.
The third reason might be the most important, however: Thyarius Palykratidius has had dreams, images of the plight of Vanya's faithful in Hattias. Strange smoke pyres have been rising from the temples of Port Hatti. By closing the shrines of Thanatos and reopening the temples of Vanya and other Immortals, he hopes his army will be strengthened. Many people, including pragmatic men like Eusebius, believe that the Immortals reward those who support them.
Kaldmont 4, AC 1016: The Battle Is Joined.
Location: Kingdom of Helskir, Thyatian Empire and NACE, Isle of Dawn. SD
Description: The peace of the morning is broken by a deep roar coming from the Heldannic Knights, as they advance upon the city with their siege towers. From a distance, catapults and ballistae bombard Helskir, though little damage is actually done. The city's defenders rain arrows down upon the besiegers, as well as boiling oil, thus setting fire to a large number of siege towers. In some places, the knights almost manage to scale the walls, but every time they are pushed back.
Overseeing the defence of the city, Guard Captain Ardamanian is perplexed that, although the massed force of the knights must easily number almost 1,000 men, and they possess many pieces of siege equipment, they do not seem to be doing much damage to the city itself. The walls remain intact, and many of the attacks seem almost half-hearted. Dismissing these doubts, he orders his men to defend the city with renewed vigour. (See Ka. 2, Ka. 3; Ka. 5.)
What This Means: There is more to the knights' strategy than is readily apparent, but none of the defenders can figure out what it is.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs on Helskir's side will likely be helping to hold off the besiegers, while those fighting for the knights may be trying to scale the walls, or engaging in covert operations against the defenders.
Kaldmont 4, AC 1016: Chupicuaro's Last Stand.
Location: City of Huitlaktima, Azcan Empire. HW
Description: Otziltipac's military launches the attack of Chupicuaro's centre of power. His warriors are met by ferocious defenders, and combat is bloody. After a few hours, Otziltipac's officers order a retreat, but it takes a few more hours before all of them obey the withdrawal order. There are so many casualties on both sides, that anybody else but the Azcans would be reviled by the carnage and quit the field. (See Ei. 2, Ka. 3; Ka. 6, Ka. 28.)
What This Means: Both forces are much reduced in numbers after the many battles they fought, especially in Chitlacan and Yuzihuapac, but that does not stop them from being as
Kaldmont 4, AC 1016: Battle of Real.
Location: Town of Ciudad Real, Baronía de Gargoña. SC
Description: Barón Hugo's army arrives at Ciudad Real to find the bridge over the Rio Copos manned by the Gargoñan army. The Narvaezan forces easily outnumber the Gargoñan army and with the assistance of clerical magic, a proliferation of firearms and their surprise weapon-Torreóner bombards-they crush the Gargoñan troops and rush into the town of Ciudad Real. This begins an orgy of looting and killing in the Gargoñan capital until by sunset much of the town is burning. The Narvaezan victory was so swift that baronesa Esperanza was unable to escape before Barón Hugo's troops overran the town. She is brought before Barón Hugo's grand inquisitor who gives her the benefit of a short show trial before she is declared a heretic to be burned at the stake. (See Sv. 22, Ka. 1; Ka. 9, Ka. 14.)
What This Means: The Gargoñan defence forces were never going to be strong enough to defeat Barón Hugo's new and improved army. But the baronesa was hoping to hold them off long enough for Saragóner and Almarróñan reinforcements to arrive. Now, unless there are some brave adventurers around to save her, she will be burnt at the stake in Ciudad Real at dawn tomorrow.
Kaldmont 5, AC 1016: Caught Unawares.
Location: Kingdom of Helskir, Thyatian Empire and NACE, Isle of Dawn. SD
Description: After a strenuous day of fighting off the invaders, the soldiers of Helskir are surprised to see that the forces massed outside the city are much smaller than the day before. Hopes that some of the knights have given up are voiced among the defenders, and morale begins to climb once more. With fewer knights assaulting the walls, the defenders have an easier time holding them off.
These hopes are dashed quickly. Sounds of fighting rise from the area of the main gate, and it soon becomes apparent that the main gates have been opened-from the inside! As large groups of startled Helskir soldiers descend the steps to the street level, in the hopes of closing the gate once more, it soon becomes apparent that it is too late-the knights have breached the gates, and dozens stream into the city every minute. To make matters worse, many more knights erupt upwards from the sewers, slaying any guards standing in their way.
Although the defenders fight bravely, they know they cannot win. Buffeted by the knights on the one hand, and panicked civilians on the other, many guards surrender in the chaos. Even the few wizards in the city cannot lend effective aid. Within hours, the last holdouts of resistance are quelled, and the citizens are ordered to remain in their homes. By midday, a large column of knights approaches the palace, bearing the banners of the Heldannic Order. Seeing no one guarding the building, the knights enter, finding that most of the city's officials, including the rulers, are not present.
Realizing that her objective is accomplished, Ordensgeneral Anna von Hendriks appoints herself Governor of the Heldannic Dominion of Helskir. (See Ka. 3, Ka. 4.)
What This Means: The knights had help from the inside in conquering Helskir. The band of 12 "merchants" who arrived in the city several months beforehand were actually Heldannic spies, entrusted with the task of uncovering any alternative entrances to the city, and of opening the gate from the inside once the siege was into its second day. Between the time of their arrival and the invasion, they discovered the existence of a long-forgotten escape tunnel under the city walls, dug by some unknown ruler long ago. This connected to the network of sewers underneath the city.
During the night before the assault, half of the knights moved to the region of the gate, to wait for their companions to open it. While this was happening, the other half of the force attacked the city once more to occupy most of the guards' attention. Thus, the 12 infiltrators were able to overcome the gate guards, and open the city to the invaders. Additionally, a force of about 150 knights entered the tunnel to enter Helskir through its sewers.
Anna von Hendriks, in an effort to make up for losing Stonehaven in the Hollow World, volunteered to lead this expedition, knowing full well that it was dangerous. She had been told beforehand that if she succeeded, she would be allowed to govern the kingdom in the Heldannic Order's name.
Kaldmont 5, AC 1016: The Red Disease.
Location: Former Barony of Ironwood, Nordalfheim, Final Range. NW
Description: A huge bank of red fog rolling in from the Alphatian Sea engulfs the eastern coasts of Norwold, crawling over the elven lands of Ironwood like a silent and deadly lover. The elves wake up coughing and find themselves looking through a translucent veil of red fog; other elves do not wake up at all. The mists are brought westwards by strong wind currents and start to expand inland at high speed. (See Fy. 1, Sv. 8; Ka. 16, Ka. 20.)
What This Means: Alphaks has unleashed His final weapon upon Norwold to destroy all His enemies, both Alphatians and non-Alphatians alike. Talitha convinced Him to resort to the sick red fog produced by a special artifact She crafted and gave Him, the Crimson Brazier. So He placed the artifact inside Alphaks' Volcano and ordered His Black King and Black Queen to activate it, powering it through the use of the Pouch of the Winds, one of the so-called Alphatian Artifacts, which is steady pushing westwards the red mists at high speed. Alphaks plans to infect the whole Norwold with the disease carried by the fog, a debilitating plague which causes a heart attack to those who inhale it and slowly drains away the strengths of those who survive but remain in contact with it. Those who die because of the Red Disease have their skin turned into crimson red and their soul is drawn into the Crimson Brazier, thus preventing any attempt to raise them.
Kaldmont 5, AC 1016: A Third Tragedy.
Location: Town of Hapta, Kingdom of Nithia. HW
Description: Public outcry arises today at the discovery of a scene of utter carnage. Three Nithian families in a poor neighbourhood are found gutted in their beds-a sign that the murders in Sviftmont are continuing, and escalating. Within an hour, a street riot breaks out, with several Tanagoro-owned shops being looted, and lone Tanagoro being attacked-though none are killed, fortunately.
The town guard, desperate to head off widespread violence, puts its forces on alert and begins to patrol the streets in force. (See Sv. 12, Sv. 22.)
What This Means: The murderer appears to have struck again, though this time he (or she) has escalated the conflict further, killing more people in a gruesome manner. The town's Nithian population, frustrated over the apparent inaction on the part of the town guard, tried to take matters into their own hands and seek vengeance.
Though the guard is now in control once more, it is only managing to do so through sheer numbers, and its resources are being stretched to the limit. In the near future, attacks on the Tanagoro community are likely to increase, and the Nithian population seeks a scapegoat for their anger.
What the PCs Can Do: The PCs will have a lot to do if they stay in Hapta. They could easily find themselves helping maintain order, or meeting with leaders of the Tanagoro community to obtain more information.
Kaldmont 6, AC 1016: Disappearance of a Tlatoani.
Location: City of Huitlaktima, Azcan Empire. HW
Description: A second assault starts on Huitlaktima, with warriors swarming the city like enraged bees. This battle is as bloody as the first one.
Then as the day passes, a rumour grows within the followers of Atzanteotl, that the priesthood of Atzanteotl withdrew to the main temple of the city to invoke the power of Atzanteotl and blast their enemy. Indeed, there are no priests of Atzanteotl fighting alongside the warriors. Slowly, Chupicuaro's followers regroup around the main plaza and the temple to their Immortal, forming a wall of spears and blades to protect their priests against the rebels until they can complete the invocation of His wrath.
However, no sign of immortal help is coming. No pillars of fire, no lightning bolts, no rain of arrows, not even a flying viper. Increasingly in a bad position, as they cornered themselves to that small area, the defenders of the temple are starting to loose morale. A few of them decide to enter the pyramid, resolute to discover how much more time they will have to buy in that delicate position. Once inside, however, they discover no trace of any priest; the most valuable treasures and religious items have also disappeared. With the defection of the clergy apparent, morale falters and most followers of Atzanteotl surrender to Otziltipac. (See Ka. 3, Ka. 4; Ka. 28.)
What This Means: Sensing defeat coming, Chupicuaro decided to use the fanatic defenders as a last-ditch stand to allow him and the clergy to escape the doomed city by secret exits below the main temple.
There, the cult of Atzanteotl will go underground, and will very slowly try to regain its following. They will have a much easier time, since it is easier to do sacrifices in secret than to strongly disapprove of sacrifices in secret, and try to oppose them without giving yourself away. They are not utterly defeated though, and they remain under the leadership of Chupicuaro, who is a shadow emperor leading the underground movement to restore the worship of Atzanteotl.
Kaldmont 6, AC 1016: Necromancer News.
Location: Construction site of Torenal, Sunken Arogansa, Sunken Alphatia, NACE. AS
Description: The magist Pidimigd reports his findings in the recent troubles with undead near the dome construction site, concluding that there are basically two types of undead at work. The first are lacedons-an aquatic form of a ghoul-, the second are lightning zombies-a sentient type of zombie. He theorises that the ghouls were drawn to the sunken continent to feed upon the abundant carrion of those slain during the sinking.
Returning to the lightning zombies, he draws upon a report of skinned-skinned undead encountered in Darokin back before the Great War from which he concludes that like the Darokinian lightning zombies, the corpses were animated by immense powers, probably the expelled energies that caused the continent to sink. He adds that given the national origins of the lightning zombies, he has to conclude that they are at least semi-aware of their pasts.
He finishes his report by stating that he sees little threat from the lightning zombies. He feels that if they are left unmolested, they will likely be peaceful to the NACE's underwater interests. He actually encourages the NACE to establish contact with them to found the basis of relations to prevent any clashes.
The council takes Pidimigd's report into consideration. Until others can verify his theories, they cancel any and all expeditions into the Bluenose ruins but do not halt the ghoul-hunting parties as they do pose an evident problem. They thank Pidimigd for his efforts and inform him that he may leave. The necromancer requests to remain to further study these lightning zombies; perhaps he can even be of use in their defences against the ghouls. The council agrees to his request. (See Am. 5, Ka. 1; Ka. 28.)
What This Means: Pidimigd is essentially correct in his theories. It will be but a few weeks before the council has verification and rules on how to proceed with the lightning zombies. The lacedon matter is more easily handled: with no doubt of the threat they pose, the council will intensify their efforts to eradicate them.
For his part Pidimigd is all set to remain in Torenal. Though he is to focus on countering the ghouls, his thoughts will be on the lightning zombies, the highlight of his career.
What the PCs Can Do: The lightening zombies will draw much attention and despite the NACE's decree, mages will want an example of these undead for personal study. PCs may be hired by such mages to capture a specimen. Pidimigd himself may become impatient and bypass regulations and fund his own expedition. PCs assigned to the construction effort may find themselves besieged by both undead ghouls and by adventurers.
Kaldmont 6, AC 1016: Debredladany Annexed.
Location: City of Debredladany, Protectorate of Monzag, Hulean Empire. SC
Description: The western region of Monzag is given by the Master to his Antasynian allies. Debredladany takes back its old name of Gjitra. The Antasynians celebrate the return of their historical capital into their homeland and praise the wisdom of the Master. (See Ya. 23, Kl. 22.)
What This Means: The Antasynians are the Master's surest allies in the Converted Lands; Antasyn is also the gateway to the mineral-rich Bylot Hills. This administrative fusion has been thought about for a while but was not implemented for it helped the Hulean forces from loosing Monzag in its entirety. Now that two-thirds of Monzag have been liberated from the Hulean control, it is more rewarding for the Master to regroup the Antasynians than to leave a part of Monzag in fragile situation. In fact, with this decision, the Master acknowledges that Monzag won't be retaken soon.
Kaldmont 7, AC 1016: Rats Leaving a Sinking City.
Location: City of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: Mrikitat plunks down an artifact near his wererats' Big City, and tells His clerics about it. The artifact is a stone archway; the wererats are told that by walking through it, they will be transported far away from Thyatis City to a golden new homeland full of milk and honey.
This is true; the arch will transport them to either a hidden location in the Hollow Moon [or the Hollow World, if your campaign doesn't have the Hollow Moon sub-setting. Ed.], or to a cavern system underneath the Free City of Dunwick in the Savage Coast.
What Mrikitat does not say is that when any lycanthrope besides a greater wererat travels through the arch to the Savage Coast, they will be permanently locked into their hybrid, beast-man form. Greater wererats will also be changed, so that their "default" form becomes a man-rat, but they retain their ability to transform to giant rat or human forms. Giant rats that travel through are transformed into a new species of rodent, useful for both riding and milk. (The honey comes from the bees that pollinate the sleeping lotuses aboveground; the gold is flashy iron pyrite dust, which is common in the caves the wererats will travel to.) Anybody else who uses the gate turns into a giant rat.
Over the next few weeks, two-thirds of Thyatis' wererats funnel through the archway. Those who stay behind remain with the hope they can still save their undercity from the expected assaults. (See Ka. 3, Ka. 4; Ka. 10, Ka. 12.)
What This Means: Mrikitat is getting a little tired of his followers being killed so often. He is using this opportunity to create a new race of followers who won't necessarily be attacked on sight.
Mrikitat's Escape Arch Artifact:
Vessel(s): Several Stonehenge-like archways, which the fleeing wererats walk through. One arch is in a tunnel underneath the wererats' Big City underneath Thyatis; another somewhere in the Hollow Moon [or the Hollow World. Ed.]; and the final one lies in the cavern system underneath the Free City of Dunwick on the Savage Coast.
Powers: When a person walks through one arch, they walk out one of the others. Which one they walk out of is either simply random, or determined by Mrikitat.
1) When a greater wererat goes through, their "default" form becomes their man-rat form; they are still as able as ever to change to human and giant-rat forms.
2) When any other lycanthrope goes through, they change into their beast-man form, permanently. They are still immune to other forms of lycanthropy.
3) When a giant rat goes through, it transforms into an even larger rodent, which the new ratling race can get milk from and ride on.
4) When a human, demihuman, or humanoid goes through, they are transformed into giant rats. This effect can be dispelled if the giant rat can find a way to make someone cast a remove curse or dispel magic. Should they try to go back through the arch, effect three will turn them into a riding beast. (This effect is from Korotiku the Trickster.)
5) Should any undead go through the gate, non-sentient undead are transformed into undead giant rats, while sentient undead change into undead ratlings. This does not affect any of the undead's abilities, just their appearance. (Nyx is using the gate as a way to experiment with a new shape of undead.)
Unknown to the any of the creators of the arches, Thanatos has pulled a fast one on them all. Remember the disease-ridden undead Heinrich sent into the wererat tunnels? When an infected wererat goes through the arch and is transformed, they will no longer have to worry about any of the disease's symptoms; they will be immune to whatever diseases they carry (including their original lycanthropy). They're simply going to be carriers, infecting any non-ratlings they meet.
Kaldmont 7, AC 1016: A New Order in Norwold.
Location: Barony of Wyrmhart, Wyrmsteeth Mountains. NW
Description: On the request of the three Elder Wyrms of Norwold, all the members of the Norwold Confederacy and representatives of the Heldannic Territories meet at Castle Maximilian, in the Barony of Wyrmhart, to discuss the terms of the peace with the Draconic Kingdom of Wyrmsteeth. The dragons' spokesperson is Lady Maximilian herself, who is accompanied by a polymorphed gold dragon emissary of the Council of Wyrms. Lady Maximilian clearly states the dragons' requests for the peace:
- the dragons claim all the Wyrmsteeth Mountains as their kingdom, including the foothills of the range;
- all human and demihuman settlements inside their territory will be considered under their protection and subject to the draconic rules. Those who do not wish to stay can leave and relocate before the end of the month;
- the Barony of Wyrmhart will be considered subject state to the Kingdom of Wyrmsteeth and will not be harmed in any way, having remained neutral during the war. It will pay homage to Renffeodagg the Doombringer and will swear an oath of allegiance to him, cutting all ties with the other human and demihuman lands. The barony will only be accessible through the Wyrm's Way, a road that links Oceansend with Lady Maximilian's dominion; all humans passing on this road will fear no harm from the dragons. Should they leave it while in the Wyrmsteeth, however, they shall expect to be hunted down as illegal trespassers unless previously authorised by the elder wyrms;
- the aerial space over the Wyrmsteeth will be considered barred to all humans and demihumans; all trespassers will be hunted down and either driven out of the Wyrmsteeth or killed;
- permission to enter and walk across or to cross the skies over the draconic kingdom must be requested each time to the elder wyrm which controls the clans living in said territory. An audience with them can be obtained only by coming to the Barony of Wyrmhart, which will host the draconic emissaries of all the dragon masters of Norwold;
- all the dragons will be subject to the Draconic Law, forbidding them to destroy or raze the settlements under the protection of the Norwold Confederacy or the Heldannic Territories. Any trespassers will be sought and judged by the Council of Wyrms. All humans and demihumans are absolutely prohibited to hunt down and kill these rogue dragons: they will have to report these wyrms' misdeeds to the Council of Wyrms and wait for the outlaws' capture without confronting them, even if they come back;
- any mortal caught killing a dragon member of the Kingdom of Wyrmsteeth will be immediately slain by the dragons. Any mortals found guilty by the Council of Wyrms of "draconicide" will have to be delivered to the elders for proper death sentence by whoever meets them. All those who will help or somehow protect the culprits will be considered their allies and will face just retribution from the dragonkind;
- the Barony of Dragonard and the Barony of Day are to be considered territories of the Kingdom of Wyrmsteeth, the first because its former ruler was a gold dragon, and the latter because it lays within the Wyrmsteeth. Baron Day is declared persona non grata by the elder wyrms and must therefore leave his dominion, possibly leaving Norwold altogether;
- all further commercial and political agreements between the Kingdom of Wyrmsteeth and the other Norwold powers (Heldannic Territories, Norwold Confederacy and independent lords) will be discussed privately at the beginning of the new year and ratified yearly.
A heated debate follows, trying to modify as much as possible the requests put forth by the dragons. At the end of the meeting, all the representatives of the confederacy and the Heldannic Territories agree to respect the draconic points with these amendments:
- King Sieger von Duwn, having bought Dragonard from the dragons, now controls that land, but he will make sure the Draconic Law be enforced upon his dominion as well. He has also signed a treaty of friendship and alliance with the dragons that grants him the protection of Hessuarveeum's wyrms in case of attack by a foreign threat. The king in turn must pay the lawful dragons for their protection with a monthly tithe;
- should a rogue dragon attack the territories controlled by the Heldannic Knights, the Norwold Confederacy lords or King Sieger von Duwn, the inhabitants of these lands are allowed to stop the dragon without harming it, delivering it to the Council of Wyrms immediately after its capture;
- the Heldannic Knights are allowed to fly over the lower Wyrmsteeth Range (as far north as Kildorkak) in exchange for a monthly tithe paid to the Council of Wyrms. The elder wyrms reserve the right to ratify the permission monthly;
- Sieger von Duwn, Arcadius and Adik de Chevas are proclaimed "Friends of Dragonkind" and are granted permission to travel on their lands for an unlimited period of time (or until they trespass against the Draconic Treaty). (See Ei. 19, Ei. 25; Ka. 12.)
What This Means: The Draconic Treaty finally restores order in Norwold, even though the new laws imposed by the dragons seem very much restricting to both the lords of the confederacy and the Heldannic Knights. They could not refuse the main clauses of the treaty, else they would have risked a prolonged conflict with the dragons, and nobody wanted to discover how many forces the dragons could marshal. For this reason, they were grudgingly forced to sign the treaty, wrestling away only a few minor concessions from the dragons with the Caretakers' mediation.
What the PCs Can Do: Participate in the council and voice their own opinion on the matter, maybe changing some of the discussed points or raising others.
Kaldmont 9, AC 1016: Preparations.
Location: Town of Ciudad Tejillas, Baronía de Almarrón. SC
Description: Hearing of the sacking of Ciudad Real, Don Balthazar teleports Don Luis to Ciudad Tejillas to confer with Barón Maximiliano on how best to respond to this threat from Narvaez. The two men decide to coordinate their forces for a joint attack on Gargoña. Maximiliano will attack from the south and Don Luis will lead Saragóner forces from the west. They both set about making preparations for war-recalling troops from leave, laying on supplies and garnering support from local mages for the war effort. The preparations will be complete within a few weeks and the attack is set down for early in the new year. (See Ka. 1, Ka. 4; Ka. 14.)
What This Means: Barón Hugo is soon about to suffer the wrath of the combined Saragóner and Almarróñan armies. However, he is sure that with divine assistance he can defeat them. With a secret alliance with Torreón he knows that his northern borders are safe. Texeiras is increasingly investing their forces west of the Savage Coast and he knows that they will not attack without the support of Torreón. Meanwhile however, the people of Gargoña are suffering under Hugo. His armies are looting and burning every settlement they come across. The trickle of refugees soon becomes a flood into Almarrón, Saragón and into the hills of Sierra Borgosa. The refugees face an uncertain future as winter begins to set in-they risk starvation and disease.
Kaldmont 10, AC 1016: Fight for the Homeland.
Location: Underneath the Free City of Dunwick. SC
Description: Mrikitat's Escape Arch underneath Dunwick is in a cave underneath the snappers' area. The ratlings started appearing there three days ago and have started exploring. They now encounter the snappers... but they have just come from a war against much tougher opponents, plus they have been promised the caves as THEIR new homeland.
Within two weeks, the thousands of rats pouring through Mrikitat's arch overpower the snappers and push them out of the tortle ruins. (See Ka. 4, Ka. 7; Ka. 12, Ka. 14.)
Kaldmont 12, AC 1016: Valley Closed.
Location: City of Edairo, Kingdom of Thothia, NACE, Isle of Dawn. SD
Description: A sphinx arrives in Edairo bearing a message from Haptuthep II. In it, a proclamation is issued stating that the Valley of Kings shall henceforth be closed to any Alphatian-allied Thothians, starting with pharaoh Ramenhotep himself. Furthermore, all villages and towns in and around the valley, including those atop the southern portion of the Great Escarpment, are under the reign of pharaoh Haptuthep II, and are no longer tied to "Alphatian Thothia." Any attempt to reclaim these territories will be met with the full force of ancient Thothian magics Haptuthep II can bring to bear.
Over the next few days, scouts working for Ramenhotep report the presence of two stone golems guarding the entrance to the valley. (See Am. 10, Sv. 18.)
What This Means: Haptuthep is finally making his move. His magic will enable him to hold the Valley of Kings against almost anything Ramenhotep can bring to bear. In the meanwhile, he will continue to build his forces and attempt to undermine the current pharaoh's authority, even as Ramenhotep struggles against the intrigues brought on by the araneas that have infiltrated Thothia.
Ramenhotep considers mobilising his forces against the rebels, in hopes that he can utilise the Day of Dread to his advantage-immobilising the Thothian magics of the Valley. He decides against it at this time, feeling (rightly so) that he would not be able to stop the conflict within the 24 hour period of the Day of Dread.
Kaldmont 12, AC 1016: The Storm Gathers.
Location: Southeast of City-State of Mivosia, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV
Description: On the plains just outside of Mivosia's walls, a host of 1,500 men gathers in tight formation. Wearing scale mail armour and bearing axes, swords, and spears, the massed forces listens intently to the speech given by the ruling triumvirate standing before them on a platform. The three leaders urge the soldiers to strike at the heart of the Heldannic forces based in Polakatsikes, and to utterly raze the city-state to the ground. They exhort the warriors to increase the power of Mivosia by striking down all enemies before them, and to herald the coming of the Mivosian Empire.
The speech ends, drowned out by the raging battle-lust of 1,500 men. (See Fl. 26, Am. 7.)
What This Means: Mivosia's leadership has decided that the time has come to drive the Heldannic Knights out of Davania. They see the knights as a threat to their own hegemony in the region, and they know that they would be an obstacle to Mivosia's bid to dominate northern Davania. They feel that this massed force should be sufficient to defeat the knights.
Kaldmont 12, AC 1016: Ernest Day Leaves.
Location: City of Alpha, Kingdom of Alpha, NACE, Southern Bay Marches. NW
Description: During a private meeting with some of the most prominent Norwold lords, Ericall offers Sir Ernest Day, now dispossessed of his lands as a result of the Draconic Treaty, the rulership of the territory of Ossian. To everyone's surprise, Sir Day declines the offer, also rejecting the next affectionate proposal advanced by an unusually shy Lady Allisa to share with her the rulership of her dominion. When questioned about his intentions, he declares that he has no will to remain in Norwold, where he could only be a cause for further troubles to everyone who would associate with him. Sad at the thought of all those who have so far perished because of his conduct, he announces that he is leaving Norwold with a ship that is setting sail towards the Old World in a couple of hours, trying to begin a new life there. Then, thanking everyone for their friendship and loyalty, he leaves Ericall's castle, but not before making Lord Brogahn swear in private that he will take care of Allisa.
Nobody notices the tears rolling down Allisa's cheeks while she observes the gallant knight walking away from the castle's battlements. And no one, not even Lady Allisa, spots the cloaked figure who stops Sir Day halfway from the port and leads him in a dark alleyway. Ernest Day will never reach the ship leaving for the Old World, and nobody will ever see him again in Alpha. (See Ei. 25, Ka. 7.)
What This Means: Ernest Day knows that the dragons hate him for his past quests against the members of their race, which he killed to protect his people from their raids. He also knows that, having associated with the Dragonslayers, he is now viewed as a dangerous enemy of all dragonkind, and the wyrms will certainly try to exact their vengeance upon him as well. He does not want to attract any other troubles in the lands of his friends and for this reason he has chosen to exile himself from his beloved Norwold and from his beloved Allisa.
However, on the path towards the ship that would have brought him out of Norwold he met Adik de Chevas, who made him a strange proposal. He offered to teleport him in a safe place where he would have been able to fight for a just cause together with some friends who shared his ideals and goals. Ernest Day, trusting the man, accepted the offer, and he was teleported away. His real destination and his current situation remain a mystery.
Kaldmont 12, AC 1016: A New Humanoid Race?
Location: Free City of Dunwick, eastern Renardie, and western Eusdria. SC
Description: People begin reporting sighting a new type of humanoid, rodent-like, often riding strange mounts. (See Ka. 7, Ka. 10; Ka. 14, Ka. 22.)
The statistics for the new ratling race are:
AC 7; HD 1; Mv 120'(40'); #Att 1; Dmg 1d4 or weapon; #App 1d4 (10d4); Save NM; Morale 9; TT S (C); Align C; XP 10.
Ratlings are vile humanoids that have the fur and facial features of rats. Their tiny black eyes give them infravision, which allows them to see up to 60 feet in dark areas. Ratlings defend themselves with daggers, clubs, and similar weapons, or by biting and clawing.
What This Means: Mrikitat's new race is starting to scout out their surroundings. Milk and honey are fine occasionally, but as a steady diet begin to pall after a short while. They are also beginning to suffer the effects of the Red Curse, and none have any explanation for it.
What the PCs Can Do: They might be one of the first people to meet the ratlings (or Mrikans, as they call themselves). Or, they might be hired to investigate them, to see if they pose any threat to the lupins or to Eusdria.
Kaldmont 13, AC 1016: A Governor Dies.
Location: City of Faraway, Province Verdan, Republic of Esterhold, NACE. AS
Description: During a rebel raid on the city of Faraway, "Governor" Draeh, the secessionist Jennite that declared Verdan's independence-which led to the current war-, is killed while leading a band of tribesmen on a daring attack. (See Am. 4, Am. 14.)
What This Means: Although he was a dangerous foe of the Alphatians, it is not certain at all that the death of Draeh will better the situation. Draeh was a famous rebel leader who, though not as charismatic as his friend Talin, was a figurehead of the Jennite rebellion in Verdan. Though he actually was very warlike and bloodthirsty, the Jennites remember him as the Jennite who gained power lawfully and helped his people emancipate from the Alphatians' tyranny, but was overthrown by the sneaky Alphatians who would not let the Jennites govern themselves despite their promises.
Kaldmont 13, AC 1016: Justice... Alphatian Style.
Location: City of Skyreach, Kingdom of Ar, Floating Continent of Alphatia. HW
Description: Skyreach boasts the first team duel in recent memory. One team of combatants consists of the owners of the Drigallia Theatre. The other team is made up of friends and family members of several patrons that lost their lives when the balcony collapsed. The duel is long, but eventually ends with the friends and family team prevailing. (See Fl. 22.)
What This Means: It only took a few weeks to uncover cause of the Drigallia Theatre incident. However, it has taken several months to locate the owners of the theatre. They were found hiding out in neighbouring Ar. With their quarry within reach, the victims' families arranged for their capture and issued a challenge for a duel. Not content to take chances, the families enlisted the services of some powerful spellcasters to portray themselves as family friends and supplement their team of duellists. The outcome is obvious and justice is served.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs may be hired by the victims' families to participate in the duel. Given the reason for the duel, there is more than ample motivation for spellcasters to hire out their services.
Kaldmont 14, AC 1016: The Gown of Valerias.
Location: City of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: Amid great ceremony, Helena Daphnotarthius, the most prominent priestess of Valerias in the empire, presents to the senate and people of Thyatis the gown worn by Helena Ledamiades during the battle in the imperial palace. She declares that Valerias grants this relic to Thyatis City as a symbol of Her protection. In future battles, the gown will be displayed atop the Golden Gate, the foremost entrance into the city, along with other relics. (See Ka. 1.)
What This Means: This is a morale boosting excursus for the people of Thyatis; for Valerias, it is a way to gain followers and support. From now on the citizens of Thyatis City will honour Valerias as the guardian of the city. They will not stop worshipping the Immortals they currently follow, but Valerias will take on the status of patroness of the city. The gown itself may be an actual relic, a magic item, or merely an inspirational emblem. If it is either of the former, then the DM should decide what powers it should have. Any powers should be associated solely with protecting Thyatis City.
In the future, out of a spirit of emulation and competition, other Thyatian cities will adopt their own patron Immortals. None of the patron Immortals will displace the worship of other Immortals, but they will have special status and be revered if not worshipped by the residents of each city. And if Eusebius' faction wins the War of the Crown Rebellion, Immortals who oppose darkness and entropy stand to gain respect throughout Thyatis. Considering the tribulations of the empire over the last decade, it should not be surprising that any Immortal that helps resist decay would find favour in Thyatis.
Kaldmont 14, AC 1016: Cimarron Refuses Assistance.
Location: Town of Smokestone City, County of Cimarron. SC
Description: Don Luis visits Smokestone City today to see if he can drum up support from Sir John for an attack on Narvaez. Sir John says that he sympathises with the plight of Gargoña but all his available forces are tied up in the Bushwack Prairie. It seems that the goblinoids of the Badlands have been showing uncharacteristic cooperation and organisation lately and Fort Whitestone has had to defuse several concerted goblinoid attacks in the last few months. (See Fy. 21, Ka. 9.)
What This Means: Saragón and Almarrón are becoming increasingly isolated against Narvaez. Sir John would truly have loved to send troops to support Don Luis but what he says about the goblinoids is true. Despite the joint Cimarron-Carrascal crushing victory over the goblin horde some four months ago, some groups are still very aggressive and still raid into both countries, possibly allied with some rebel gnolls from El Grande Carrascal. They have been increasing the intensity and organisation of their attacks on Cimarron-almost as if some dark force is directing their movements.
Kaldmont 14, AC 1016: The Ratling Frenzy.
Location: Underneath the Free City of Dunwick. SC
Description: The ratlings discover a facet of their reproductive system they were previously unaware of. During the three days around the full moon, unless she is already pregnant, a female ratling goes into estrus, compelling the attention of any nearby male.
The claiming of their homeland is delayed three days as most ratlings are completely distracted. (See Ka. 10, Ka. 12; Ka. 22, Ka. 28.)
What This Means: The ratlings' reproductive cycle is completely involuntary. Pregnancy lasts eight months; the first full moon after giving birth, a female ratling goes into estrus again, almost certainly becoming pregnant. Their population is going to explode very quickly, unless other factors (such as disease, starvation, or war) limit their numbers.
Kaldmont 14, AC 1016: Artifact Found in Buenos Viente.
Location: Town of Buenos Viente, Baronía de l Grande Carrascal. SC
Description: The sage Mazrooth al Yedom, and the Hutaakan priests of Pflarr that help him in his archaeological diggings, unearth an object that is immediately rated by Mazrooth as being of the Late Oltec period. According to the inheritor's theory, this means that this relic would be from the missing period in the Savage Coast's history, and from the same origin as the one he studied a few years ago in Almarrón [see novel The Black Vessel. Ed.]. This object is a simple urn with runes written in an unknown language, similar to the jackal-headed statue, and drawings of both humans and jackal-headed creatures. The Hutaakan priests hope that this item is from their civilisation. The item is magical and contains unspoiled food. (See Th. 21, Sv. 9.)
What This Means: This item is actually a Nithian urn of preservation (prevents content from decaying or rotting).
Kaldmont 15, AC 1016: End of Academic Year.
Location: Alphatian Empire, NACE and Kingdom of Karameikos. HW, AS, SD, NW, OW
Description: Today marks the day when schools close all around the Alphatian territories, both in the outer and the inner worlds, and in Karameikos.
The Alphatian Magical Training School is a mild success for its first year. Of its initial 30 students, 23 have graduated as mages and 2 as clerics, while one died in the Sundsvall Maelstrom, 6 failed to graduate in due time, but none left the island. The faculty have gained experience, though, and hope to achieve a better ratio next year, although some deaths in the Sundsvall Maelstrom are unavoidable. The faculty remains on the isle after the end of the academic year so as to work on more adapted lessons for next year while workers from the NACE erect new buildings to accommodate a hundred students next year. (See Nu. 28, Va. 25, Th. 15.)
Kaldmont 15, AC 1016: The Norwold Lords Meet Again.
Location: City of Alpha, Kingdom of Alpha, NACE, Southern Bay Marches. NW
Description: King Ericall summons the nobles of the confederacy to his castle to discuss the future of Norwold. After thanking all those who fought alongside Alpha during the difficult past months, he announces that they have convened there to grant awards to those who have distinguished themselves in the recent war.
In particular, the counties of Draken and Kameloth are elevated to the status of duchies, while the Free Plains become a county with the approval of the majority of the council members, due to the great merits and loyalty of their leaders. Also, the Duchy of Chitine is now renamed grand duchy, making the furmy Ney stand high above the other Norwold lords, as a sign of sincere friendship that links Ericall to the archduke. Finally Overlord h'Caramore announces that the keep of Regent's Pass is now under the dragons' control and that the dominion of Ossian has been stripped of some of its land (again by the dragons) and reduced to the status of barony. It is now up for grabs for every Norwold hero who proved his or her loyalty during the recent war. As to the former Barony of Odinia, it is now free territory and it is likely nobody will claim it (given the dragons' proximity and its current state of misery).
However, there are still troubles that plague Norwold. The overlord reminds everyone that Chitine is still under siege by the elemental forces of Duke Dahish, and a new expedition of combined forces will have to be organised to help Archduke Ney in freeing his territory. Also, the news coming from the Free Baronies of the eastern coast tells of a strange red fog that is leaving a trail of corpses behind its passage. Somebody must go there and investigate on the matter before it becomes too widespread and the dragons start blaming the humans for the phenomenon. After assigning the duties to each noble, the meeting ends with a dinner held at Ericall's castle. (See Ka. 5, Ka. 7; Ka. 20.)
What This Means: The Norwold lords are slowly wrapping up the loose ends, hoping to end the year with the order finally restored throughout the whole Norwold. Now the lords have to stop this new threat, the Red Fog, the last of the Crones of Crystykk's prophesied plagues, before it reaches their lands or the Wyrmsteeth, for they don't know how the dragons could react to these mists (they could be-or pretend to be-driven insane and attack the nearby settlements).
What the PCs Can Do: They can either investigate in the Red Fog's cause, trying to find a cure to its disease or simply stop it, or, if they are not yet rulers but have fought valiantly during the war, they can compete for the throne of Ossian, where they will have to work hard to lift up again the country.
Kaldmont 15, AC 1016: A Ruler Resigns.
Location: City of Haldemar, Kingdom of Alphatian Neatharum. HW
Description: After acting as military governor for several months, Commander Trikard offers his resignation. His replacement will be decided by a contest; applicants will be given their assignments that they must have completed by Nuwmont 1st of next year to meet Trikard's departure date. The empire will evaluate those completing their task and one will be appointed to be the monarch. (See Kl. 20, Fy. 8.)
What This Means: Trikard has not enjoyed his tenure as administrator of Neatharum. He is a military man, more at home drilling his troops than currying to political lobbyists. The final straw was the dwarven miners' arrival: as chief administrator he would have liked to have been advised, or even asked beforehand. Trikard has accepted a command in his native Theranderol, at the head of an imperial division. To fill this vacancy with a more permanent ruler, Eriadna has drawn upon the Ierendi custom of appointing a monarch by a tournament. Unlike Ierendi, the winner will have real power and the duration will depend on the quality of his or her administration.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs may find themselves entering the contest for the crown. Less ambitious PCs may find themselves hired by a contestant to aid him or her in the quest, or to thwart other contestants.
The individual DM should create a contest based more upon a quest than a tournament. Given the greater prize, the risks should be greater as well. Of course only Alphatian nationals need to apply.
Kaldmont 16, AC 1016: Alphaks' Volcano Spotted.
Location: Alphaks' Volcano. AS
Description: A small party of adventurers, sent by the NACE Council to discover the source of the mists that have been plaguing Norwold lately, discover the existence of Alphaks' Volcano. (See Ka. 5; Ka. 20.)
What This Means: Alphaks, the entropic Immortal whose main goal is to destroy Alphatia and the Alphatians, has been at work in the Alphatian Sea to recreate His dreadful volcano that had been destroyed prior to Alphatia's sinking. He hopes to use the tiny island as a base to bring about the doom of the Alphatians that still live in the outer world.
The mists are created by the volcano, but their effect has been enhanced by the use of the Pouch of Winds, an Alphatian Artifact brought by the infamous Monster after his pirate lair was overwhelmed by Broderick's army earlier this year.
What the PCs Can Do: The PCs may be hired by the council to investigate the strange mists. Managing to retrieve the Pouch of Winds will certainly attract the attention of the Alphatian Artifact Agency unto the PCs, either to become members (Retrievers, Bearers) or tracked enemies (pursued by Retrievers). [See module M1 for more information on Alphaks' Volcano. Ed.]
Kaldmont 17 AC 1016: Dominions Offered.
Location: Village of Fletrip, Freelands of the northern Bylot Hills. SC
Description: The Master is calling for adventurers of the Old World and the Midlands to settle in the lands known as the Freelands of the northern Bylot Hills and is ready to grant dominions and tenures in the region. Adventurers are only required to defend the possessions given by the Master and send their surpluses to the empire. Dominions in the region are free of taxes and free of their decisions as long as nominal fealty is owed to the Hulean Empire. (See Ei. 12.)
What This Means: The Master thinks that the best way to develop the region and keep the Hulean control over it is to bring outsiders to it. This solution has numerous advantages: it allows the Master to spare vital troops from being sent at the farthest fringes of the empire, it will bring in the region small landlords who might not be happy with his policy but will be against the extension of the influence of the Empire of Zuyevo, and finally, it will help the orderly development of the resources of the region.
Kaldmont 19, AC 1016: Norlan Denies Norwold Involvement.
Location: Confederate capital of Ionace, NACE. AS
Description: Questioned about the Qeodharan military involvement in Norwold, which cause a lot of chaos in Norwold those last months [Norwold was the target of a coordinated attack by the Heldannic Knights and the Qeodharans, among other wars that ravaged the region. Ed] Norlan denies any responsibility. Though he does not deny knowledge of the engagement of Qeodharan raiders in Norwold, he claims that they were not forces loyal to him, but certainly rebels that have been active in his kingdom too.
Further questioned about these rebels, Norlan mentions a minority who call themselves Ystmarhavners, Antalian-descended people. He presents them as revengeful natives who are unthankful for everything the Alphatians have brought to the island nation, and want independence from both Qeodhar and the NACE, to create their own nation based on the savage ways of their ancestors. Norlan adds that they have been attacking innocent, hard-working Qeodharans, and that his local militia have trouble coping with them as many of his troops are in mission in various areas of the confederacy, leaving those dangerous rebels free to harm their families back at the homeland.
Seeing the similarity between the tactics exposed by Norlan and that used by the raiders in Norwold, and seeing how they were aided by the Heldannic Knights and by Ostland raiders, the council members are convinced that it was the Ystmarhavners who raided Norwold from Qeodhar. Considering them to be a threat, they grant Norlan additional troops and ask him to put an end to that nuisance. (See Sv. 22, Ei. 4.)
What This Means: The Ystmarhavners are not the savage terrorists Norlan presented, and they are innocent from the attack on Norwold. But they are an annoyance to Norlan, who wants to get rid of them, and saw this as an excellent opportunity to frame the secessionists for his own actions. And if the NACE is willing to deal with the rebels for him, why should he refuse?
Kaldmont 20, 1016: A Final Tally.
Location: City of Freiburg, Heldann, Heldannic Territories. OW
Description: Senior members of the order and high-ranking bureaucrats meet in the Star Chamber to review reports from the ongoing effort of integrating the Hattian immigrants into Heldannic society. Thus far, almost 15,000 Hattians have migrated to the territories, of which 12,000 have settled in Heldland, primarily in the regions around Landfall, Seelitz, and Treptow, as well as Forton. The remaining 3,000 have settled in western Heldann, near the Mengul Mountains. Among both groups, villages have already been founded, and hundreds of farms have been claimed from the wilderness.
Considerable capital outlays were made in granting tax freedom to the new arrivals, as well as in payments to families sending their sons to the order, but it was deemed worthwhile. Many of the new settlers are quite loyal to their new rulers, and already 700 young men have been recruited. News has also filtered in of bitterness among those who have already settled in Heldland in years past, but did not receive such a generous offer. Most of those present decide to ignore this news. (See Ei. 10, Ei. 25.)
What This Means: Overall, the plan to incorporate the Hattian immigrants has been a success. An unprecedented number of immigrants arrived, enough to tip the balance of the overall population more in the Hattians' favour. Also, large swaths of land have been opened for settlement, and now the order's hold extends firmly up to Treptow-almost halfway between Landfall and Oceansend. The bitterness on the part of the more established settlers, however, is something that could become more troublesome later on.
Kaldmont 20, AC 1016: The Friendship Exchange Program.
Location: Kingdom of Emerond, Jungle Coast. DV
Description: After one month of meetings with various Emerondian personalities, it is clear to Ambassador Bovas that Emerond is a peaceful but reclusive nation that relies on an autarchic economic system and agriculture. It has no interest in the affairs of the Old World and does not want to be caught in the middle of the Thyatian-Hinterlander skirmishes. Apparently this fear and mistrust towards the foreigners has deep roots in the Emerondian past, although the ambassador has not discovered much about it. Ambassador Bovas proposes then to the Thyatian Senate a strange diplomatic solution to be used with Emerond: a Friendship Exchange Program. His idea is to let some Emerondians come to Thyatis to visit the empire and learn its language and customs, while some Thyatians would live among the Emerondians in the same time. The senate ponders the idea. (See Sv. 17, Ei. 14; Ka. 27.)
What This Means: Ambassador Bovas has understood that Emerond will not be easily drawn inside Thyatis' political chessboard. They are an alien culture as well as an alien race and it will take time to understand it completely and to communicate with it. For this reason he has proposed a simple "cultural exchange" as first step to possibly integrate Emerond in the empire, and gain its trust and allegiance, sometime in the future. What the end result will be on this experiment is unknown to everyone at this time.
Kaldmont 20, AC 1016: Showdown in Alphaks' Volcano.
Location: Alphaks' Volcano. AS
Description: An expedition of adventurers and lords from Norwold reach Alphaks' Volcano aboard the Silver Arrow II (King Sieger's skyship) by following eastwards the huge fog bank responsible for the disease that struck Norwold. It soon becomes clear that Alphaks the Destroyer is behind the Red Disease, and the Caretakers and King Blackblade (also on board of Sieger's skyship) organise an on-the-spot investigation to locate the source of this plague and destroy it. All the adventurers and lords gathered on the ship take part in the action, which leads them inside the heart of the enemy base.
After confronting dozens of undead, including a nightwalker and a nightwing, tens of cultists and other dangerous madmen, they find the chamber where the Crimson Brazier is guarded and are met by the Black King and Black Queen and their golem guards, backed by none other than the mortal identity of Alphaks! A fierce and ruthless battle takes place for the conquest of the Crimson Brazier and the Pouch of Winds, and when the Norwold heroes manage to kill the Black Queen and hurt Alphaks, the Roaring Fiend goes berserk and assumes His manifestation form, unleashing His fury onto the bystanders, who nevertheless manage to hold their own with Him. This only enrages Him more, and the wizards exploit His fits of rage to their advantage: Sieger grasps the Crimson Brazier and manages to have Alphaks cast a spell on him while holding the artifact in his hands. The destructive spell shatters the artifact, although Sieger manages to survive the explosion thanks to the immediate cure cast by Zoltan and his own protective spells.
Out of His wits for the impudence of the mortals, Alphaks prepares to rip their souls with His own claws, not noticing that a group of strangers has appeared in the hall. When He is about to throw Himself against the Caretakers and their friends, He discovers He cannot move: somebody with a titanic force is holding His arms from behind. Turning around and cursing, He suddenly turns pale when He recognises the strangers who are now staring at Him with an angry look. The blond muscled warrior of clear Antalian blood that is holding Alphaks' arms swiftly lifts the now screaming demon over His head and thrusts Him against the wall, which then collapses over the stunned demon. As the other strangers begin to wave a powerful spell under Alphaks' dreadful stare, the blond warrior whispers something to the Caretakers, and they immediately round up their friends and flee from the place at the highest speed possible. When they return aboard the Silver Arrow II, which is floating above the isle, they hear a loud "boom" and an inhuman cry coming from Alphaks' Volcano, and after a while the mists stop pouring out of the volcano's mouth. Then the island starts to sink, shaken by powerful earthquakes. After witnessing the complete destruction of Alphaks' Volcano, the flying ship heads back to Norwold. (See Ka. 5, Ka. 16; Ka. 26.)
What This Means: The events that led to this final showdown between the Norwold lords and Alphaks have been carefully planned by Talitha from the very beginning of the war. She wanted to use this plot to inflict Alphaks a major stroke, thus removing His influence from Norwold to supplant Him, and it seems She outwitted Him masterfully. She is responsible for closing Alphaks' gate in Ossian during the last battle, to prevent Him from winning that battle (although He did not discover this). Knowing that He would not have resisted to using the Crimson Brazier, She offered it to Him, also knowing that this would have attracted the best of Norwold heroes to Alphaks' nest like bears to honey. She hoped they would have proved so tough and skilful to upset Alphaks and enrage Him to the point of making Him assume His Manifestation Form on Mystara, something which is strictly forbidden by Immortal Laws. He did and She immediately informed the Council of Intrusion of His misdeed, so They teleported on the Prime Plane and punished Him for breaking the rules. With Alphaks now banished from Mystara for the following three years and His followers scattered across Norwold without a leader, She has all the time and space to extend Her influence over Norwold and the NACE.
What the PCs Can Do: What else, fight the Manslayer Himself! How many other opportunities will they have of fighting against an entropic Immortal and being rescued by a whole group of Hierarchs?
Kaldmont 21, AC 1016: Surshield Officially Dissolved.
Location: Confederate Capital of Ionace, NACE. AS
Description: The NACE Council officially announces that the Kingdom of Surshield will have its boundaries redrawn, divided into three smaller kingdoms.
The easternmost kingdom will be known as Surshield and Queen Gratia will remain its ruler.
The westernmost kingdom will be known as Eirundrynn and will be administered by Jhedryll, who will act as military governor. The council explains that Jhedryll has been acting as the overall military commander of the NACE's forces there. In light of his services and his familiarity with the populace, he has been promoted to military governor immediately.
The middle kingdom will be referred to as the Turmoil Territory and for the time being will remain an anarchy. The future ruler of Turmoil will come from that kingdom. The council urges that the populace find a suitable ruler; if they do not resolve the ruler deficiency soon, then the council will do it for them.
The council also announces that the financial aid to Notrion (and Turmoil) will be cut next quarter [i.e. the quarter starting on Alphamir (Thaumont). Ed.], though on the other hand Eirundrynn will get a temporary reconstruction fund. (See Am. 18, Ei. 11; Ka. 27.)
What This Means: This announcement is just a way to make the whole thing official, since word of the planned division had already spread since the meeting on Ambyrmont 18. The council had thought of leaving Turmoil as an anarchy, but since then they have had second thoughts. Most agree that an anarchy amid the heart of the NACE is ill advised; as such, they have assumed a more hard-line stance on the matter.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs have the opportunity to gain a domain of their own. If they prove themselves to the populace and the council they have a chance. Of course the locals will be more inclined to submit to the PC if he or she is from the region.
Kaldmont 22, AC 1016: The Ratlings Claim Their Homeland.
Location: Underneath the Free City of Dunwick. SC
Description: The last of the snappers inhabiting the tortle ruins underneath Dunwick are either killed or have escaped... or have died of one disease or another, caught from the ratlings.
The ratlings creatively call their new city "The Bigger City." (See Ka. 12, Ka. 14; Ka. 28.)
What This Means: Mrikitat's new race are soon going to start exploring the tunnels leading from their new home, and will start popping up all over the Savage Coast. The inhabitants of Dunwick are going to be the first ones to meet the ratlings, with mixed reactions... especially when they start falling sick.
What the PCs Can Do: "It's a wererat! Kill it!" "No I'm not!" "Kill it anyway!"
Kaldmont 23, AC 1016: The Alphatians Return.
Location: Valley of the Kubitts. HW
Description: After a week, a skyship appears in the skies over the kubitts' territory. Meeting with Zoranthis, the Alphatians express Eriadna's sympathies at Zoranthis' loss. Queen Zoranthis, who has assumed rulership of the Kubitts, tells her Alphatian friends that she would like more time before opening formal relations between the Kubitts and Alphatians. The Alphatians oblige and depart; before leaving, they present the queen with a gift from Eriadna. (See Ei. 8.)
What This Means: Duty has won out over Zoranthis' desire to see the world. Though her first thought is to cement relations with the Alphatians, she digresses. There are still many kubitts who are wary of the Alphatians, in particular the clergy is against any relations. Zoranthis wishes to solidify her hold on power before making any official moves towards the Alphatians. The visiting Alphatians do offer Zoranthis a magical means to contact Eriadna.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs of kubitt heritage may be called upon by either Zoranthis or the clergy of Vanya to influence the opinion of the populace. If the situation intensifies, either side may hire PCs to deal with the opposition. Non-kubitt PCs may even be hired by the clerics of Vanya, to perform acts to discredit outsiders.
Kaldmont 26, AC 1016: Norwold Purged.
Location: All throughout Norwold. NW
Description: Using powerful weather control spells and dispel magic, the Caretakers, helped by King Blackblade, Madiera, Lord Shuren, Lord Beriak, Blind Wooster, Tarn Oakleaf and High Priest Zoltan the White, are able to wash away the Red Fog from Norwold and save the sick people from sure death. Many have died in the last days, but many more have been saved thanks to the combined efforts of Norwold's most powerful spellcasters. With the Red Disease now vanished, Norwold can finally take a deep breath and look to the new year with hopeful eyes.
The recently established Norwold Confederacy and the elven kingdom of Nordalfheim have both successfully vanquished this dangerous threat to their existence. (See Ka. 5, Ka. 20.)
What the PCs Can Do: Take part in the greatest magical event in Norwold since the raising of the White Oak of Life.
Kaldmont 27, AC 1016: The Threat Unmasked, a Scheme Hatched.
Location: City of Thyatis City, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: In between helping fend off attacks on Thyatis City, Demetrion, the Imperial Magist, and Breindel Tzuriel, the Prefect of the Imperial Hospitaliers, have spent their time researching old texts. They hoped their searches would uncover information that would help in defending the city. What Tzuriel discovered disturbed him greatly; what Demetrion discovered kindled a new hope. They examine each other's findings, and present them to Emperor Eusebius.
Tzuriel presents his findings first. He believes that the real Heinrich Oesterhaus died long ago, while on some escapade. This means that the man known as "Heinrich Oesterhaus" is someone, or something, else. The unusual magics that allowed the Hattians to cross over into Kerendas, along with the spells at the battle of Bayville, cause Tzuriel to surmise that this Heinrich is a being of great power. The temples of Thanatos found in Hattias, and the vast numbers of undead, are not encouraging. Tzuriel is not sure, but he believes that Thyatis is facing a lich or other being of great and dark power. Eusebius takes this information silently.
Then Demetrion makes his presentation. Searching Thyatian documents from the Bright Age of Thyatis, he has uncovered information that great powers were associated with the Imperial Crown of Thyatis. He believes it is a relic of Law, and that it is capable of enhancing morale throughout the imperium and in the army specifically. Acquiring the crown from the rebel camp could be of great benefit to the defenders, and the empire as a whole. He has divined that the crown Manfred usually wears is not the real one, which is probably safely kept elsewhere in the enemy camp. Eusebius takes this in, and ponders. He needs a plan, and calls a meeting of his war council to discuss one.
They decide to table Tzuriel's revelation for now, and instead work on retrieving the crown. It would be difficult to snatch anything so valuable from the heavily guarded enemy camp; however, it might be possible to sneak into the camp during the Day of Dread, when magical alarms won't work. Crossing the open terrain to the enemy camp seems like a foolish project, however: the enemy has probably heavily guarded, if not filled in, the tunnel they used to break into the imperial palace. The council seems stumped. At this point Anaxibius speaks up, telling the council that the city's gladiators may be able to help here, and that he can arrange it if the emperor permits. Eusebius agrees to let Anaxibius try his idea. Anaxibius asks Yalag, a prominent orcish gladiator, to undertake the mission; he tells him it is urgent, and Yalag disappears underground. (See Ka. 7, Ka. 14.)
What This Means: The fact that the empire is facing a threat that is something more than merely a rebellious nobility is by now obvious to the defenders. The idea that this foe might be something of unusual power is troubling, but not surprising by now, with undead ringing Thyatis City. No one has any reason to suspect it is Thanatos Himself at this point.
Anaxibius's idea is simple, but dangerous: he knows the tale of the wererats that live in the catacombs under the city. They might know of a way into the enemy camp; if offered something in return, they might help retrieve the crown. He does not share the whole story with the council, however-as a member of the Order of the Sands he is sworn to keep this information secret. Since Anaxibius seems confident and is the only one to propose anything, Eusebius delegates the mission to him.
What the PCs Can Do: Characters who have served as gladiators and are members of the Order of the Sands may know of the catacombs and the wererats that live under Thyatis City. If so, they might be the ones dispatched to seek the aid of the wererats.
Kaldmont 27, AC 1016: Jhedryll Reinforced.
Location: Kingdom of Eirundrynn, NACE, Bellissaria. AS
Description: A group of 200 elves, a mixture of Shiye, Eadrin, and Foresthome elves, arrive in Eirundrynn to reinforce Jhedryll. Their travelling to Eirundrynn so close to the Day of Dread is risky, but they have arrived just in time. (See Ei. 11, Ka. 21.)
What This Means: These elves are in Eirundrynn to aid Jhedryll. Being an elf, Jhedryll has drawn much attention from the elves of the NACE, as the possibility of a new elven kingdom has not escaped their notice. This is especially so for the stranded Foresthome elves: the Shiye have settlements in Norwold, but clan members opposed to the war established those. So the more loyal Shiye have thrown their lot in with Jhedryll, probably the first of several to travel here.
What the PCs Can Do: Elven PCs may find themselves drawn to Eirundrynn. If they perform well, they may find themselves appointed to important positions. Conversely, PCs may be hired by locals to make life difficult for Jhedryll and his elves.
Kaldmont 27, AC 1016: Emerond and Thyatis Agree.
Location: Kingdom of Emerond, Jungle Coast. DV
Description: After much debating, the Thyatian Senate deliberates to accept Ambassador Bovas' proposal and officially presents the Friendship Exchange Program to Emerond. The Emerondian king and governors of the main settlements meet and agree to the proposal. Twenty people will be selected among the most "enlightened" members of each culture yearly, and will be sent to the hosting nation to learn the ways of the foreigners, in order to understand them better. The visitors will have to respect the hosting nation's laws and customs and they will decide whether to remain another year or to return home at the end of each year. The exchange program is scheduled to start on Nuwmont of AC 1017. (See Ei. 14, Ka. 20.)
What This Means: This proposal satisfies both Emerondians (who have avoided Thyatian intervention in their land and any formal alliance) and Thyatians (who have now a big opportunity to learn as much as they can about the Emerondians and their society, military, resources, and mysteries). The two nations think they have got the better of the deal, but only time will tell...
What the PCs Can Do: The PCs can be among those fortunate people chosen to visit Emerond (or Thyatis if they are Emerondians) for a whole year, meeting new threats and experiencing new fantastic adventures in a wild and somewhat alien land.
Day of Dread
Kaldmont 28, AC 1016: Bensarian Comatose Again.
Location: Village of Kevar, Kingdom of Wendar. OW
Description: With the Day of Dread, last year's scene repeats in Kevar when Bensarian falls into a deep coma at dawn. His assistants have been prepared to this occurrence after witnessing last year's event, and even Bensarian warned them this might happen. He has attributed this to the elven blood flowing in his veins and to his old age, so his companions are not overly worried. They watch over him for the whole day, hoping he will regain consciousness after the Day of Dread has passed, as he did last year. (See Nu. 2.)
What This Means: The Onyx Ring wizard possessing Bensarian's body knew that the Day of Dread would have dissolved his control over the sage and so came to this day prepared after last year's surprise. He came up with a fake explanation in order to keep suspicions low; he will have to fight with Bensarian's will once the Day of Dread passes in order to regain control of the host body.
What the PCs Can Do: Since some of the PCs might know Bensarian for quite some time, they will notice that Bensarian's explanation does not hold. He never suffered from this magical disease in the four years following the first Week of No Magic and their Days of Dread. Only last year did he pass out, and this year the event repeated, so this has obviously nothing to do with his elven blood. The PCs could discover Bensarian's secret if they connect the clues he has unwittingly left behind and if they are smart enough to see Idris' treachery in his last startling decisions concerning the Alfheim elves' future.
Kaldmont 28, AC 1016: Frockson's Revolt.
Location: Evekarr Pass, Kingdom of Rockhome. OW
Description: As magic once more fails to operate on this day, Frockson and his giantish jarls stationed in Evekarr Pass form a revolt. Over the past month, Frockson has managed to convince the other giants that the spears of giant killing are fakes, and that they have been duped by the dwarves and goblinoids. With the breaking of dawn, the giants rise up against their goblinoid oppressors.
Though outnumbering their attackers, the goblinoids are unable to stand against the more powerful giantish forces. Worse, their morale breaks when it turns out that their magical spears of giant killing do not appear to have any effect on the giants. They are quickly defeated, and those survivors that were unable to retreat are captured. Frockson and his jarls take their prisoners back to Jotunheim, abandoning their position outside of Evekarr Fort. (See Th. 23, Ei. 27.)
What This Means: Had the spears of giant killing been real artifacts, instead of poor imitations, the Day of Dread would not have affected their killing power (in fact, the sole giantish casualty, is caused by just such a spear).
The giants have contributed largely to the success of goblinoid forces in the Klintest Lowlands. The defection of Frockson and his jarls will quickly spread to the other bands of giants, who will also abandon the goblinoid armies and return to their home of Jotunheim.
Kaldmont 28, AC 1016: Good Spirits Send Warning.
Location: Plain of Grass, Ethengar khanates. OW
Description: Trungpa, a shaman of the Murkit clan, receives an urgent message this morning. During her daily meditations, her spirit lord appears to her and warns her that all is not right with the Spirit World. The evil spirits have been very active recently, and have begun to make excursions into the World Yurt (the Prime Material Plane). Though the spirit lord is prohibited from revealing too much, he is allowed to say that the troubles revolve strongly around the person of Manghai Khan. The spirit lord encourages Trungpa to investigate matters and attempt to resolve them before events lead to an imbalance of power in the Spirit and World Yurts. (See Fl. 16, Am. 11.)
What This Means: Jaku the Render's possession of Manghai has indeed led to an upset in the balance of power in the Spirit World, and if left unchecked, his ambition will have enormous consequences both for the Spirit World as well as the Prime Plane. The good spirits are limited in the aid they can give to their shamans on the Prime Plane, for reasons of balance, but they have decided to send warnings such as this one to their shamans, in hopes that the situation can be rectified.
What the PCs Can Do: If there is a shaman PC in the party, he or she can be the recipient of this warning, rather than Trungpa. At that point, the means they choose to investigate matters is in their hands, but should eventually lead to the revelation that Manghai is in the possession of an evil spirit.
Kaldmont 28, AC 1016: A New Feature.
Location: City of the Stars, Shadow Elves Territories. OW
Description: In the City of the Stars the shamans experiment with the Chamber of the Spheres and the radiant soul crystals, discovering that they can cast spells as usual when they are near the temple, despite today being the Day of Dread [see Kaldmont 28, AC 1015. Ed.], but not elsewhere... unless they happen to own one of the radiant soul crystals. (See Fl. 28, Fy. 26.)
What This Means: This is a new feature of the Chamber of the Spheres. Using the radiant soul crystals the shamans can cast their spells on the Day of Dread also far from the Temple of Rafiel, ie also on the surface.
What else will the Chamber of the Spheres do?
Kaldmont 28, AC 1016: Torenal Under Siege.
Location: Construction site of Torenal, Sunken Arogansa, Sunken Alphatia, NACE. AS
Description: With work halted, most of their submersibles grounded, and the bulk of the mages on sabbatical, the construction crews wait out the Day of Dread inside their sealed barracks. As they idly pass the time, the relative peace is broken by the sounds of battle and rushing water.
Ghouls have assaulted the construction site and overwhelmed the outlying defence lines, and have since smashed through a series of airlocks and gained entrance into the barracks. The battles are waged throughout the day as guards try to hold back the ghouls and allow the workers time to seal the breached airlocks.
Aided greatly by the efforts of mercenary tritons and merrow the ghouls are eventually driven off. The rest of the day is spent securing the barracks and sealing the airlocks. The merrow and tritons venture out and inspect the damage to the outlying defence posts, which are discovered in shambles and their assigned sentries gone or torn to shreds. The barracks themselves are partially flooded but thankfully the domes themselves are undamaged. (See Ka. 1, Ka. 6.)
What This Means: Without magic, the defences of Torenal are severely weakened. Unable to venture out into the sea, the sentry stations are of little use, so the ghouls simply overwhelm these posts or bypass them. The patrols of merrow and tritons are too busily engaged with one group of ghouls to counter the others so the defenders can only really engage the ghouls once they are inside the barracks complex wreaking havoc.
It is mainly due to the eventual arrival of merrow and triton troops that the ghouls are routed. By attacking them at their entrance points, the ghouls were forced to fight on two fronts and were hampered their efforts to reinforce their fellows already inside.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs assigned to the construction effort may very well find themselves embroiled in the battle with the ghouls. With magic absent, the PCs will have to depend upon their wits and skills to survive.
Kaldmont 28, AC 1016: The One Tlatoani.
Location: City of Chitlacan, Azcan Empire. HW
Description: In the capital of Chitlacan, exactly one year after the Return of Quetzalcoatl, Otziltipac is acknowledge as the one true tlatoani of the Azcans, and the cult of Atzanteotl is declared illegal. A warrant is issued against Chupicuaro.
The new tlatoani elevates the Way of Quetzalcoatl as the new official religion, and forbids human sacrifices as Papalotl's final chalchiuatl quenched the sun's thirst for blood. Instead, prisoners will be turned to slavery, and animals-especially flying vipers-will be sacrificed instead. To give further weight to this new way he spares the lives of all the followers of Atzanteotl that were captured during the attack on Huitlaktima, and they will live a life of slavery instead of being sacrificed on the altar. Likewise, the tlachtli teams will no more be sacrificed.
Otziltipac then lets his wife Malinalxoch, the ometochtzin (head of all cults save Atzanteotl), further explain to the gathered crowd of priests, nobles and commoners alike what the new spirituality will be like.
Quetzalcoatl is to replace Atzanteotl as the main Immortal of the Azcan pantheon. The worship of other Immortals, like Otzitiotl and Kalaktatla, will be allowed, though the worship of Atzanteotl is now illegal and His name cannot be said loud anymore-He should from now on be know as the Evil Twin. As a consequence, the first day of the calendar will be known as "Evil Twin" (or Nameless), and the second day as Quetzalcoatl. The calendar stone will be replaced by the old one, which is said in legend to have been crafted by Otzitiotl Himself, as soon as true followers find it. (See Ka. 4, Ka. 6.)
What This Means: A new Azcan Empire has emerged from the ashes of the old, one in which there is no ritual bloodshed and Atruatzin, Kalaktatla and Otzitiotl are worshipped once more. Quetzalcoatl is the main Immortal, but Otzitiotl and Kalaktatla start to slowly come back to prominence too thanks to the lack of oppression from Atruatzin's more open-minded followers.
Atruatzin and Papalotl are the same person to the Azcans, worshipped as different facets of a same Immortal, Quetzalcoatl. In the legends, and in prophecies come true, Quetzalcoatl is referred to as the twin, so the Azcans could easily be tempted to effectively worship each of the two twins. Atruatzin is the first twin, the father, the wise ruler, death (heroic death) and the dead; Papalotl is the second twin, the son, the moving sun and changing seasons, the feathered serpent, reincarnation/rebirth/renewal, self-sacrifice. Both are worshipped as Quetzalcoatl in the temples who are dedicated to Him and purged from any elements of Atzanteotl influence. The underground followers of Atzanteotl will continue sacrificing humans though.
As the clergy of Atzanteotl has gone underground, a new nobility will likely arise, elected leaders will rise to renewed prominence, and the country will probably be at peace for some time. The Azcans will always remain a violent, cruel, passionate and ultimately warlike people; though they will become less cruel and less willing to sacrifice sentient beings, they will not simply cease all of the behaviour that other peoples see as barbaric.
Kaldmont 28, AC 1016: The First-Born Ratlings.
Location: Underneath the Free City of Dunwick. SC
Description: A few of the female lesser wererat who went through Mrikitat's arch were already pregnant, and were not affected when the other females went into estrus. Just before midnight, the furthest-along of them gives birth to a pair of twin ratlings. Which is a little odd, since she was not carrying twins before she went through the gate. (See Ka. 14, Ka. 22.)
What This Means: Ratlings will nearly always give birth to twins, and occasionally triplets. Just another little bonus from Mrikitat to ensure a massive population boom.
Kaldmont 28, AC 1016: Truly Dreadful.
Location: City of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: Today, magic fails, and units of Manfred's army form up to assault Thyatis City. The remaining human troops, with Storm Soldiers in the fore, lead the way, backed by undead who are not badly affected by light. They swarm towards the walls under the cover of siege engines, now operated by skeleton crews (literally) supervised by otherwise impotent mages and priests. Wave after wave of attackers break against the city's stout defences, only to rally and return to the attack again. A band of Storm Soldiers find a gate left inexplicably unbarred, and burst into the gatehouse. Justin Karameikos, at the head of a band of Karameikans, leads a counterattack that drives them back, but he is badly wounded. His men urge him to withdraw to their ships, since no healing magic is available today, but he refuses. His courage invigorates his men; they seal the gate and repel the attack. As darkness falls, hordes of undead, ghouls and worse creatures shamble towards the city. The priestly orders of Thyatis call on the powers of their Immortals to turn back many, destroying some. But more take their place, and the attacks grow fiercer if less well-coordinated as the human assailants fall and are replaced by the undead.
While this is going on, Yalag is meeting with the wererats. He is told of their previous efforts in repelling an invasion of their tunnels by the attackers. But they are reluctant to involve themselves further, preferring to defend their own home and, as a last resort, using the secret escape, so Yalag tries a desperate ploy: he tells them the senate will make them all Thyatian citizens if they help recover the crown and save the city. The wererat leaders find this hard to believe, but after Mrikitat's priests tell the leaders that He supports Yalag, decide to permit Yalag and any of their number who volunteer to help him to use their tunnels to sneak into the enemy camp. They succeed in entering the near-deserted camp close to the 11th hour of night. They first search Manfred's tent, but with no luck. They find Heinrich's tent, its entrance guarded by two black knights. Yalag and three wererats attack the knights, distracting them, while two wererats slit the rear of the tent and search it. Picking the lock of a chest under Heinrich's bed, they find the crown. The black knights kill two wererats during the scuffle and wound Yalag, but he and the remaining wererat destroy the knights, revealing gaunt, skeletal creatures. They retreat to the catacombs, racing towards the city as midnight approaches. The year ends with Thyatis City under attack. (See Ka. 14, Ka. 27.)
What This Means: Mrikitat loves the idea of his wererats being accepted into Thyatian society and secretly turns off the Escape Arch, planning on re-activating it should Thyatis topple.
The year ends with the outcome of the War of the Crown still in doubt.