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First Week

Nuwmont 1, AC 1017: Evil Dead, Too.

Location: City of Thyatis, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: As midnight approaches, Yalag and his wererat companion hurry through the tunnels under the City of Thyatis, bearing the crown. The wererat returns to his people to inform them of the success of the mission, while Yalag re-enters The City, to locate Eusebius and give him the Imperial Crown.

At the same moment, the undead assault grows fiercer. Then the Gown of Valerias flares with an unnatural holy light. Suddenly, the blows of the undead and other rebels do not seem as effective. Many begin to wonder whether magic has returned an hour early [magic does not return until almost 1 AM here. Ed.]-but neither spells nor magic items seem to function, yet. The attack begins to falter, but Heinrich then commits his reserve, sending his force of dark knights forward to attack the main gates. They meet stiff resistance, but seem to shrug off every blow themselves, and are soon scrambling up the battlements. It is there that Eusebius and his bodyguards and advisers make their appearance. The emperor's personal guard rushes forth to repel the dark knights as Yalag hands the Imperial Crown to a priestess as Eusebius kneels. Behind him stand, in a half circle, Demetrion, Anaxibius, Stefania, Tredorian, Coltius, and Lucianna. Behind them stand prelates representing each of the major faiths in Thyatis. The priestess places the crown on Eusebius' head, and there is another sudden flash, seen to almost all the defenders and attackers alike. As vision clears, Eusebius is standing again, crowned in regal splendour. Eusebius' bodyguards rush forward to stem the advance of the dark knights.

Magic returns shortly thereafter, and the spellcasters of both sides call forth their most devastating spells to smite their opponents. But the spells of the rebels seem to have limited effect-only their most powerful magics strike true. A swarm of huge, bat-like creatures fly towards the battlements, to strike at the defenders. They are decimated by Thyatian priests and mages, however, fluttering to the ground smoking, and quickly turning to ash. Seeing the attack beginning to fail, Heinrich calls for his forces to retreat. They withdraw back to camp in good order. The victory celebration in the city of Thyatis that follows is among the most boisterous and passionate in recent memory. It seems like the despondent pall, which had settled over Thyatis since the Great War, is beginning to lift. Following this victory, Eusebius visits the hospices where the wounded are being tended. Remarkably, he discovers that his touch tends to heal them while he's wearing the Imperial Crown. Many soldiers' lives who otherwise would have been lost are saved. As a result, the emperor reaches new heights of popularity among them. (See Nu. 2, Nu. 3.)

What This Means: The Gown of Valerias and the Imperial Crown are both artifacts. The gown is effective only in aiding the defence of The City, but is revealed as being fairly potent in that regard. The Imperial Crown has significant psychological and magical effects when worn by the Emperor of Thyatis. The priestess is none other than Aline Sigbertsdatter, the mother of Thincol Torion. Aline ascended to the ranks of the Immortals some time ago in the Sphere of Time, as the Immortal Liena. This war is part of the Trial She had to face in founding a dynasty. Though Manfred is also the son of Thincol, his ascension to the throne as a pawn of Entropy would bode ill for the future of Aline's dynasty. The wererat who helped Yalag, and survived, was an agent and companion of Hers. Note that this does not diminish the contributions of the two wererats who died helping retrieve the crown-nor does it mean Her agent was not a wererat himself (he was). Few of those present-Eusebius, his family, and a couple of his close advisers-have any knowledge of who Aline is. Even they do not know of her Quest for Immortality, nor the significance of her presence. They only know it is important.

What The PCs Can Do: PCs might either have gone with Yalag on his mission or gone in his stead. If so, they might face further opposition on their way back to The City with the crown. If the opposition gets the better of them, they will receive unexpected help from a powerful cleric, in the nick of time as it were. If the PCs are attempting to prevent the crown from falling into the hands of Eusebius, they will find Yalag and his wererat companion much tougher than they expected-also, additional wererats might rally to their aid once they are in the tunnel. Again there is always that meddling cleric to watch out for as well. Aline is very tough, and has some followers and friends who are almost as capable as she is. If necessary, Aline should be played as being at least as high in level as the most experienced cleric (PC or NPC) in the game world, but with a minimum level of 20 (36 OD&D). This would be a mission for high-level characters.

Nuwmont 1, AC 1017: A New Agenda.

Location: Temple of Greatrealm, The Sanctified Lands, Hulean Empire. WB

Description: Immediately after the Day of Dread, the Master of Hule calls his top-ranking priests and bakans (top government officials, akin to ministers) to his temple. He announces that from now on, Hule will switch to a less militaristic approach to dealing with other nations. Instead, troops will be gradually withdrawn and used to defend Hule and to hold its possessions at home, while other countries shall be subjugated through diplomacy and intrigue. Some of those present are surprised by the Master's seemingly sudden change, but they trust his judgment and apparent favour of Bozdogan. (See Nu. 12, Nu. 26.)

What This Means: Hosadus, the Master of Hule, is on a quest for Immortality. He has been at it for the last few centuries, and he is nearing the crucial, final phase. He has already successfully demonstrated his ability to sow chaos through military might-conquering Sind driving his forces to Darokin City itself. Though he was subsequently defeated by forces of Darokin and their allies in Karameikos and the Five Shires, he still arranged to salvage what he wanted. As his forces "withdrew" from Darokin, they left behind agents whose mission would be to make sure that Darokin feels the after-effects of the chaos caused by Hule for a long time. The Master's next quest stage is to prove his ability to sow chaos and discord through subterfuge, intrigue, and deceit-the very things for which he is seeking Immortality.

To do this, the Master will gradually reduce the involvement of his military in the surrounding nations, and move towards using secret agents to do his will. What the Master aims for is to eventually negotiate cease-fires or peace treaties with various nations, quite possibly giving up many Hulean conquests in the process, and withdrawing its military to Hule proper. Meanwhile, the Master hopes to infiltrate his agents into the highest levels of their societies, there to be able to cause as much chaos and confusion as he desires. In order to hide Hulean involvement, the agents are generally recruited directly from the target country, using means such as promises of wealth and power, blackmail, and even religious conversion.

Nuwmont 1, AC 1016: Alfheimers Stop in Heldann.

Location: Grünwald Forest, Territory of Heldann, Heldannic Empire. OW

Description: After two months spent travelling from Wendar towards the Heldannic Territories to escape the Wendarian prison camps created by Bensarian in Fyrmont of AC 1016, the Alfheimers finally settle in the woods near Kammin and Altendorf. They implore the Heldannic government to accept their request to stay in their territory as political refugees. The Landmeister of Altendorf assures the elves they have the permission to spend the winter inside Grünwald, and that the matter will be presented to the high priest to evaluate. The official answer to the elves' plea will come on the first day of spring. (See Th. 1 Fl. 13.)

What This Means: This is one of the two groups of exiles that left Wendar in a hurry to escape the prison camps and deportation to Denagoth. [See Fyrmont and Sviftmont of AC 1016. Ed.] The majority of these Alfheimers are Grunalfs (300 out of 500 elves), who didn't follow Durifern in the elven crusade to Denagoth back in AC 1015 mainly because they were too old, too young or simply not interested in the quest. They decided to go to Norwold because they hoped to gain the Heldanners' help and protection, and for now they have at least a safe home where to spend the winter.

Nuwmont 2, AC 1016: Bensarian Awakens Again.

Location: Village of Kevar, Kingdom of Wendar. OW

Description: Bensarian awakens from his coma, just as he did last year. After reassuring his attendants and a couple of trusted friends of his regained health, he proceeds to return to Wendar City, to attend the daily political meetings and check the current situation of the Alfheimers. (See Th. 22, Ya. 27.)

What This Means: As it happened last year, after the Day of Dread Bensarian's soul attempted to regain control of his body and fought bitterly with the Onyx Ring mage for its control. In the end, the evil wizard's will finally prevailed and he was able to enter once again the old man's body. This time however, he was prepared, and had ordered his sleeping room be guarded by some loyal servants (also spies of the Church of Idris), to prevent Bensarian's escape in case the old sage had regained possession of his own body. The plan went smoothly and now his next move will be to plunge Wendar into chaos, trying to avoid being exposed.

Nuwmont 2, AC 1017: Death of a Duke.

Location: City of Tel Akbir, Duchy of Tel Akbir, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: The 82 years old Tarik ben Nadir, Duke (Sheik) of Tel Akbir, dies this morning of old age. (See Nu. 3, Nu. 5.)

What This Means: In fact, Tarik was very old, and would not have survived much longer. But recently, his son Farid has secretly poisoned him gradually to accelerate this process, hoping to make him die during the Crown Rebellion so he could take advantage of the disorder in the empire and unite Tel Akbir with Ylaruam. The old duke took longer to die than Farid hoped, however, but he has at last succumbed.

Farid has been in contact with the Kin Sultan of Ylaruam since the start of the War of the Crown. The sultan has promised Farid strong military support if he rebels against Thyatis and declares the duchy rightly part of Ylaruam. In his declining years, Duke Tarik had turned over the supervision of Tel Akbir's guard forces to Farid. Farid has packed them with mercenaries from Ylaruam and the few Tel Akbirans who support his goal. Most of the troops loyal to Thyatis were sent to occupy Kantrium when it rebelled, or to Thyatis City to re-enforce Eusebius. Farid did that to get them out of the way. The troops left in Tel Akbir are almost entirely loyal to him and Ylaruam.

In change, the Kin faction has promised him that he will marry the daughter of the Sultan, Hassam al-Kalim, thus becoming one of the possible heirs to the Alasiyan throne.

Several members of House al-Azrad's operations in the area have secretly funded and encouraged Farid. This includes Akir al-Sudif, the supervisor of House al-Azrad's merchants in the area. They have provided the funding out of their own private wealth, not that of the house. Eshram al-Azrad is unaware of these efforts; those involved figure he would be pleased, though, considering the current state of relations between Darokin and Thyatis, as well as the house's traditional sympathies with Ylaruam.

In truth, the Master of Hule manipulated things to reach this outcome, as Akir al-Sudif is one of his agents, and he persuaded other al-Azrad merchants in Tel Akbir to participate in the conspiracy in order to fan the flames of antagonism between Thyatis and Darokin.

What the PCs Can Do: There is little they can do to halt the death of the duke, especially because there is no reason to think that it was not a natural one. More probably, they can be involved by being one of the Ylari agents that have contacted Farid, or one of the poisoners used by the son of the duke.

Nuwmont 2, AC 1017: Nightmares and Dreamscapes.

Location: Across the Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: In various locations in Glantri, the secretive Brotherhood of the Radiance makes contact with one another. Their conclave goes on undisturbed, but much later, as they all lay down to sleep, they experience fitful dreams. Upon awakening, none can quite recall what so bothered them during their slumber, and pass it off as nothing. (See Fl. 11, Ei. 5.)

What This Means: None of the members of the brotherhood speak of this event to their brethren, and so none is aware that their unrest is shared by others. However, the incidents will continue sporadically over the next several months.

Nuwmont 2, AC 1017: Eusebius' Declaration.

Location: City of Thyatis, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW.

Description: Following the battle, Eusebius calls a special session of the imperial senate, where he gives a speech. Wearing the by now famous Imperial Crown, he calls for reconciliation and forgiveness, and promises to be just to the defeated. He announces that there should be amnesty for the common troopers among the rebels-so long as they cease to resist, and surrender. Those who continue their revolt will face the penalties for treason, and will be enslaved and consigned to the mines or other harsh conditions when captured. As for the ringleaders and aristocrats, Eusebius offers to spare their lives and give them a chance to redeem themselves if they also surrender and beg forgiveness for their treason. He does, however, announce that the imperial throne hereby confiscates their lands, and their slaves are hereby freed by imperial edict.

After brief deliberation, the imperial senate passes a resolution supporting Eusebius' proclamation. Following this, wererats in human form and rogues (including members of the Shadow Hand!) infiltrate the rebel camp, where morale is sagging, spreading news of the proclamation. Their spirits fall more later this same day, when several Thyatian airships hover into view from the south, and land in the City of Thyatis. Many soldiers sneak away that night, deserting the rebel cause. But in the camp of the usurper, dark priests and necromantic mages work feverishly to create hordes of undead. (See Nu. 1; Nu. 3, Nu. 4.)

What This Means: This measure undercuts any incentive for people to continue to support the rebel cause. After failing to take the capital, the rebellion now seems doomed, and continuing to support it in the face of possible ruin and enslavement, when amnesty has been offered, seems foolish to many.

This declaration also ends up freeing most of the slaves in Hattias, since support for the rebellion among the aristocracy was particularly strong there. Over the next several months Eusebius will grant out the lands in Hattias and elsewhere that were confiscated, giving them to his soldiers and to the freedmen. For the most part these lands will be assigned as much as granted. They are given in exchange for military service, and when the recipient dies or retires they must designate a son, relative, or other successor to serve, or the lands will be re-assigned. Thus, Eusebius creates a category of military lands throughout the empire, which will cover the confiscated areas and many of the lands granted out for new settlement. The families of the nobles and aristocrats who surrender will receive new lands-of a size equal or almost equal to the lands they lost. But their new lands will be unimproved wilderness lands, either in the interior areas of Thyatis (the previous Imperial Territories which were given to various dominions last year) or in the overseas colonies. They will then have to work hard to develop them and restore their family fortunes, and will be watched closely, and will also be required to provide service in exchange for the lands they receive. Those who don't give up the fight will likely lose everything, though their families might be able to salvage something if they serve the emperor diligently in the next several years. Eusebius has little desire to make many new enemies. But he will crush those who insist upon opposing him.

What the PCs Can Do: There is little the PCs can do to directly affect this event. However, the ramifications of the declaration are likely to create many adventure opportunities... as well as posing a choice for PCs who may have joined the rebellion. If they give up now, they will loose little. PCs who continue to resist will have a hard road ahead of them should their side lose. PCs who turn themselves to imperial forces will receive forgiveness... in exchange for completing this one task that needs to be done.

Also, things don't end here. Even loyalist PCs will receive opportunities as a result of this event: they might be given land, but faced with challenges from the previous owner. They might be approached by some of those who have lost long-held family possessions, and asked to intercede with the authorities on their behalf (yes, this does mean that eventually some property might be returned to those it was confiscated from). They might be hired or asked to help carve out new estates for the displaced aristocracy, and the like.

Nuwmont 3, AC 1017: Dead Bodies Everywhere.

Location: Torenal Site, Sunken Arogansa, Nayce. AS

Description: With magic returned, spellcasting and mundane personnel that had been away for the Day of Dread return to Torenal Site to renew their efforts. The first group leaves Aquas, utilising teleportation spells to make their arrival at the site. They are confronted with the signs and evidence of the ghoul attack. More eerily though, they are met by silence. The arrivals begin cautiously making their way towards the main barracks to seek out the facility's administrator, Commander Talmata.

After a rather tedious trek through the darkened, and at times flooded corridors and chambers that compose the construction facilities, they arrive at the main barracks. There they are met and challenged by a group of facility garrison troops from barricaded positions. After a few tense moments of dialogue, the returning party is allowed entrance.

The party is escorted to see Commander Talmata. Though bedridden from wounds suffered in the ghoul attack, the grizzled cleric greets them warmly, citing that their numbers and spells would greatly bolster their defences. Puzzled, the returning personnel ask what had transpired. Talmata tells them of the ghoul attack and the carnage wreaked during the Day of Dread.

At the urgings of the senior cleric, the returning Alphatians integrate their own numbers into the ranks of the defenders. Though there has been no sightings of renewed ghoul attacks since the Day of Dread they do not want to compromise their weakened state. Therefore, cleanup and further damage control will be limited to the main barracks area for the time being. While they are doing this, he sends word to Aquas of the ghoul attack and requests the return of all personnel away from the site. (See Nu. 4, Nu. 6.)

What This Means: Last year, on the Day of Dread, Torenal Site was besieged by a horde of ghouls. Since many of the site's spellcasters and mundane name-level personnel had chosen to leave the site as a precaution against the affects of the Day of Dread, the site's defences were sorely undermanned. The ghouls took advantage of this and wreaked havoc on the site, gaining entrance to several chambers, flooding them in the process.

Though magic returned on Nuwmont 1, the personnel on sabbatical did not immediately return. Many chose to take a few extra days to rest, entertain, or see to matters resulting from the Day of Dread. This returning group is the first to make their way back to Torenal Site. The ghoul attack is all news to them as most magic was denied to the defenders. The few mages unable to avoid the Day of Dread either perished in the attack or were too inexperienced to cast the spells to magically inform their superiors in Aquas or in Nayce.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs who were at Torenal Site can witness the return of the mages, perhaps even have their feats glorified. Those that are returning with them will be shocked and horrified at what they see. The DM should really play up the carnage, dim light, and damp nature of the scene.

Nuwmont 3, AC 1017: The Duke's Funeral.

Location: Duchy of Tel Akbir, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: Tarik Ben Nadir is buried amid much ceremony. The people of Tel Akbir form long lines to file past his funeral bier. It is clear from their mourning that the duke was much beloved by his people. His son, Farid, stands above it all, with a sombre expression on his face. (See Nu. 2; Nu. 5, Nu. 15.)

What This Means: The funeral is not unusual. This does give people (including, perhaps, the PCs) the first look at the man who is likely to be Tel Akbir's next ruler, Farid ben Nadir. Two men, robed in desert style, which is not unusual for Tel Akbir, flank Farid. Except that no one remembers seeing these advisers in the court of Tarik. Standing near him also is Akir al-Sudif, the head of al-Azrad House's operations in Tel Akbir, though this is not seen as unusual.

Though this is not known at the time, the two men are agents of the Sultan of Ylaruam-a cleric and a fighter sent to help, but also to manipulate the somewhat impetuous and foolhardy Farid.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are loyal to the Kin faction, they could be among the guards who have been employed by Farid in the last period. In the alternative, if they are of high level and proven loyalty to the sultan, they could even be one of the two men sent by Ylaruam to influence Farid's moves. If they are on the Thyatians' side, they would have not much to do in this situation... but if they are paying close attention to the situation, they may find it strange and do some investigating on their own.

Nuwmont 3, AC 1017: Lightning Struck.

Location: Outside the City of Thyatis, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: Just after dawn, dromonds of the imperial navy begin rowing their way up the Mesonian River. Imperial forces, gathered atop Emperors Hill, receive blessings for victory from the chief prelates of Thyatis. Then, led by Eusebius, they sally forth from The City, heading towards the rebel encampment. The soldiers march forth singing, a song written by Lucianna and Coltius following the tune of an ancient ballad sung during the Struggle for Freedom, over a thousand years ago. Overhead several Thyatian skyships soar accompanied by members of the Retebius Air Cavalry. With them is the Imperial Magist, Demetrion, mounted on the golden dragon Hytiliaph, and Vivianna Romanones, mounted on the golden dragon Chrystonian.

In the rebel camp, the call to arms sounds, and Count Oesterhaus orders the forces under his command to form a battle line. Members of the Storm Soldiers assemble on the right wing. Oesterhaus, Manfred, and the black knights form a body in the centre of the line, the huge twin-lightning bolt-black banner flapping overhead. To the front of this force stand serried ranks of undead, shrouded in shadow. Among these troops are the Thanatons and necromancers who follow Oesterhaus. The remaining rebellious aristocracy forms up on the left wing, the horses of their captains snorting and rearing while the soldiers themselves steel themselves for the coming clash.

While they are preparing, the imperial host marches forth, units wheeling out of the column, alternating left and right, forming the imperial battle line. Fierce northmen with huge axes stand forth in the centre, backed by the emperor himself and his companion cavalry. To each side members of the guard regiments form wedges of armoured cavalry. To the left of these are the Karameikans and other volunteers and mercenaries, including many of the Alphatians who took service with the imperium following the Great War, commanded on this occasion by Tredorian, their imperial prince. Among these also is a contingent of the Order of the Grey Lady, including many Hattians who returned to The City with Palykratidius and the skyships, under the leadership of the Hattian noble, Wilhelm Habsburg. These stand opposite the Storm Soldiers, facing them across the battlefield with grim resolve. To the right of the guards are the Hinterlanders and the detachment from Minrothad. To the flanks of each, the auxiliaries of Ochalea and the Pearl Islands form up. Behind these, forming the reserve, there are formations of Eusebius' reformed army, both infantry and cavalry. In an arc beyond them are light cavalry of Thyatis and skirmishers from the Isle of Dawn-the whole body of the nation, drawn up as an army.

The skyships hover over the imperial force and begin to pelt the rebel army with artillery at long range. It is then that Oesterhaus takes out a black-fletched arrow and a bow of black iron, drawing it back and aiming it at the nearest of the skyships. The distance is still impossibly far, but the arrow's fight is true. It strikes the prow of the skyship Adrasteia with the force of a thunderclap. An explosion rips through the hull, causing the entire ship to lurch, and it lists to starboard and begins to descend. The crew manages to pull it back from the line, and soldiers scamper out of the way before it settles to the ground with a groan. Oesterhaus pulls out another arrow, and fires it at the next ship in line, with similar results. The Thyatian skyships pull back-but as they do so the imperial army begins to march forward.

Oesterhaus fires two more arrows, one each at the golden dragons still flying overhead. But their riders are ready, and both arrows burst into flame before hitting their targets, causing no effect. At this point a group of specks appear on the horizon, to the north of the enemy force, flying rapidly towards its left flank. The imperial light cavalry begins to pelt the rebel line with arrows as this formation nears. This force is revealed to be a flight of dragons and griffons from Retebius, led by Callastian and Mitasula Retebius, mounted on a pair of ruby dragons (their personal pegasi are back in Retebius). These forces swoop over the left wing of the enemy army, raining devastation upon them and causing it to panic. Soon the survivors of the aristocratic rebel forces are fleeing in all directions. But when the Retebian force attempts to reproduce the same result against Oesterhaus and his knights and undead, they fare far less well. The breath weapons of the dragons seem to splash away when they get within a few feet of the enemy troops. A few are struck by spells and aerial archery, but the Thanatons and necromancers exact a price as well, when one of the dragons is felled by a finger of death and crashes to the ground. The rider, severely wounded in the fall, is swiftly dispatched. But at that moment, the leading edge of the imperial line charges into the rebel force, compelling them to turn their attentions away from the aerial cavalry, which wheels to the south, flying behind the imperial line. Clerics of Thyatis destroy multitudes of undead by calling on the power of their Immortals, and more are felled by spells, and by the axes of the northmen, chopping into the line. To the south, the troops of the Order of the Grey Lady and Hattians rush the Storm Soldiers, clashing in a fierce melee.

Oesterhaus decides the only way to decide the issue in his favour is to charge the centre of the imperial line, to kill Eusebius and his men. He spurs his dark knights forward, Manfred at his side, and they pierce the line of Northmen. The two forces of heavy cavalry charge each other, meeting with a clatter of metal so loud it sounds like the tolling of a multitude of bells. Heinrich spurs his mount forward, but above he has momentarily lost track of Demetrion, who casts a spell down upon him and Manfred. The spell has no apparent effect upon Oesterhaus, but Manfred suddenly sits up in his saddle, sharp-eyed. He swings his sword forth-not at the imperials, but at Oesterhaus, striking him just before the count's lance reaches Eusebius, knocking off his aim. Oesterhaus pulls up short, his charger rearing, and in a rage, with one fluid motion, draws a two-handed sword and slashes Manfred. Manfred raises his sword to parry, but it glances aside. Heinrich's sword cleaves through Manfred's arm, then through the torso of his horse, and Manfred is pitched forward from the saddle. The priestess who crowned Eusebius simultaneously spurs her mount forward, a great glowing hammer in her right hand. She swings the hammer-the Hammer of Destiny-in a vicious arc. It strikes Oesterhaus on the side of his head with a great flash, blinding the entire battlefield. When vision clears a moment later, Oesterhaus and the priestess are gone. The undead have collapsed to the ground, no longer animated. Surviving members of the rebel army attempt to flee-except for two forces. The dark knights fight on, but without leadership they are soon cut to pieces. As for the Storm Soldiers, they are surrounded on a hillock. Their opponents, the Hattians who have come to curse their name, give them no quarter and they fall to a man. During the battle the imperial fleet had guarded the northern flank to prevent enemy troops from escaping across the river. The ships now proceed up river towards Hillfork, to return it to imperial authority. (See Nu. 1, Nu. 2; Nu. 4, Nu. 7.)

What This Means: This is the final decisive battle of the Crown War. Though Thanatos' minions are defeated, many escape and will cause trouble elsewhere. As for Thanatos Himself-this should not be considered a stroke of any kind against him, or even truly a setback. He achieved many of His goals in this-much death and destruction, which paves the way for renewal. This was Entropy serving its purpose in the cosmic order. The Heinrich Oesterhaus identity served Thanatos long and well, but was reaching the end of its utility in any case. It is time for another identity-somewhere, sometime soon, He will replace another. And the cycle will begin anew. As for Aline, her role in this time and place was also completed. She disappeared as mysteriously as she arrived, no doubt to face new challenges on her quest, one of the quests that led to her ascendance as Liena. The weapons both Oesterhaus and Aline used disappeared with them: bow, arrows, hammer, lance, and all.

As for the Hammer of Destiny, which Aline used against Oesterhaus, it is an artifact created by Ixion to be used to banish Entropy. The hammer disappears at the same time Aline does, but it does not go with her-in effect, it is retrieved by Ixion, who hides it in a new location, somewhere else (not in Thyatis), where one day it might be recovered and used against another foe. Such is the way of artifacts. This does have an impact in Thyatis, however. Many of the people near Oesterhaus when the priestess hit him with the hammer swear they saw a shape superimposed over Heinrich's features. A mummy, swathed in dark bandages and covered in heavy black robes, holding a large black scythe instead of a two-handed sword. And in place of Aline they saw a man with golden hair and flaming eyes garbed in robes of gilded silk. This was also a price Aline paid for using the hammer, an artifact of Energy-though Aline is questing for Immortality in the Sphere of Time, Solarios (Ixion) will be credited for defeating the forces of Entropy.

This also brings to full circle a longer-ranged plot by Valerias and Ixion. As a result of their interference (mostly Valerias', actually) during the Wrath War, and Vanya's own bungling, the Thyatians began to call into question some of their earlier assumptions. This opened the way for other Immortals to increase their influence. Beset by famine, mummy rot, Thothian undead, and now the Crown Rebellion, many Thyatians become open to faiths that would halt or reverse decline. As a result, many more Thyatians will invoke Solarios after the Crown War. Other Immortals will continue to receive reverence, but the faith of Solarios will become a central one in the empire, gaining influence over time.

The dragons that came with Callastian and Mitasula Retebius were recruited last year. Some came from the Isle of Dawn (near Laticea), while others left Norwold during last year's Dragon Wars. This is part of Thyatis' effort to rebuild their aerial forces following the Great War.

For Thyatis, the War of the Crown Rebellion is essentially defeated-the danger that Eusebius will be overthrown is over. But that does not mean there remain no challenges ahead-there are pockets to be cleaned up, traitors to be dealt with, many now-vacant positions of nobility needing replacement, and a nation to be revitalised. And not all of those disloyal to Thyatis joined this rebellion.

Manfred will survive, as will many of the wounded Thyatians, in no small part due once again to the manifestation of the powers of the Imperial Crown of Thyatis. The Gown of Valerias, used in the previous battle, will go into the care of the Vestals of Valerias, enshrined below their main Temple in Thyatis City. It may emerge again if the City of Thyatis is ever attacked again. The Imperial Crown will become part of the regalia of the Thyatian Empire-for now, at least.

As for the damaged Thyatian skyships, they will be recovered, taken to the City of Thyatis, and repaired over the next several months.

What the PCs Can Do: This is one of the largest and most significant battles since the end of the Great War. PCs of sufficient power can be instrumental in slaying Thanatons and necromancers. Tangling directly with Oesterhaus is not recommended, however. If the party chooses to do so, they will face an avenger of super-human abilities (literally) armed with mighty, Entropic weapons (those who like to have their levels drained will enjoy such a fight immensely). The DM should make Oesterhaus single-handedly equal to an entire party of master-level adventurers. Fighting him should be a battle they'll never forget.

Nuwmont 3, AC 1017: A Plea for Help.

Location: City of Andaire, Kingdom of Alphas'ar, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Selcomad, a warrior currently leading a delegation from Stonewall, arrives in Andaire from Draco and makes a plea to the imperial court of Empress Eriadna and her advisers to aid Stonewall, which has a food shortage and now faces famine. His plea is generally ignored by those to whom it is made; some ignore it because he's a commoner and so find him, and Stonewall in general, unworthy of their attention, some because they are too busy considering other matters in other Alphatian nations, which seem more important to them. Selcomad is told that the matter will be taken under advisement and is then sent back to Stonewall. (See Nu. 14, Nu. 23.)

What This Means: After the destruction of Alphatia and its subsequent recreation in the Hollow World, the empire has been facing a general food-shortage because they no longer have access to the resources they formerly received from Bellissaria. Some nations have been able to grow more food to get around this problem, while others have simply used their magics to solve their problem. Some nations, like Haven or Vertiloch, just don't have the problem simply because they lost such a large proportion of their populations during the Great War with Glantri and Thyatis in the outer world. Stonewall has been unable to solve the problem because, while it's a geographically small nation, it still has the densest population of Alphatia. Due to their preference for non-spellcasters, this now means that they cannot use magic to solve the problem, while they also have too little farmland to feed their population. For years the leaders of Stonewall have been trying to make the imperial court aware of this situation, but the empire has failed to take their situation seriously for whatever reason. In the last few years, Stonewall has been using grain reserves but also money to buy surplus grain from other Alphatian kingdoms. But all surplus food stored in granaries has now been used up, trade opportunities have been exhausted, and famine seems imminent and inevitable, so Stonewall is getting rather desperate this winter. They have sent Selcomad to Andaire to negotiate because he is quite a hero in Stonewall and has an impressive record in the service of the empire, and he also learned some diplomatic skills during his youthful life as an adventurer years ago.

What the PCs Can Do: Selcomad needs all the help he can get, especially from people skilled in diplomacy and negotiation, but also from spellcasters who might be more inclined to get the ear of the court (Stonewall has a lot fewer spellcasters than other nations and those are probably busy using their magic to aid their people, or else they just don't care about the nation's problems and might already have moved elsewhere). He could also use guards to help him make the trip to Andaire and then back to Draco. If the PCs are with Selcomad, the DM should certainly add a few colourful encounters along the way. For example, Selcomad's previous adventures are likely to have made him a few enemies, perhaps among some powerful wizards, who will use this opportunity to get revenge while he's not in Stonewall.

Nuwmont 3, AC 1017: The Investigation Reconvenes.

Location: City of Corisa, Milenian Empire. HW

Description: Senator Krameos summons his fellow investigators to meet at the baths. As Senator Tibernos, High Priest Dagos, High Priestess Helentia, Tassia Red-Hair, General Tythus, Xanthipon, and High Magus Amnethon arrive, they begin going over the fruits of their labours. All put forward their own findings, concluding that an outside party is definitely influencing Adviser Dionios. More disturbing though are the realisation that Dionios is but a small part of a bigger conspiracy. The investigators end their meeting with a common understanding of the situation. They agree to meet again to decide on a course of action. They all agree that when they move, it will have to be done altogether to insure success. (See Th. 16, Fl. 4.)

What This Means: After a good bit of investigating, Krameos and his compatriots have uncovered enough information to get some idea about a possible conspiracy within the Order of Matera and its covert influences upon Milenia. However, their findings are limited to rumours, speculations, and circumstantial evidence. Since the order extends up into some very high places, they want more solid evidence before proceeding.

What the PCs Can Do: As the investigation focuses on gaining hard evidence, the risks will become ever more intense. PCs may be called upon to handle much of this. Conversely, PCs may be friends of targeted individuals or acting as bodyguards. The PCs may find themselves dragged into the investigation and even recruited to help the investigators.

Nuwmont 4, AC 1017: More Infamy in Hapta.

Location: City of Hapta, Empire of Nithia. HW

Description: Scant weeks after the last grisly murder in this tense city, the constabulary is surprised to receive urgent summons to go to the main Temple of Horon-it appears the unnamed assailant has struck again! Wasting no time, several guardsmen rush to the site, only to find the mutilated bodies of three Nithian clerics of Horon, and the signs of a struggle. Braziers have been knocked over, and decorative wall hangings torn and spattered with blood. Realising that there is little they can do, the guards seal off the room, but already temple servants are running through the streets, shouting hysterically what has just happened. (See Nu. 10, Va. 1.)

What This Means: Efforts to identify and capture the killer have been unsuccessful thus far, and this latest attack, against three well-known clerics of Horon, will no doubt stoke the fires of civil unrest even more.

What the PCs Can Do: The most the PCs can do at this stage is keep trying to find out who (or what) is responsible for the killings, or at least try to calm the city-folk.

Nuwmont 4, AC 1017: Coming Out of Their Shells.

Location: Torenal Site, Sunken Arogansa, Nayce. AS

Description: With no renewed ghoul attacks, Commander Talmata decides that the ghoul threat has passed. He decides to send parties out into the rest of the complex to assess the damage, seek out survivors, and deal with any residual ghouls. With the numbers of returning personnel trickling in, the already present spellcasters support this move. (See Nu. 3; Nu. 6, Nu. 7.)

What the PCs Can Do: PCs at Torenal Site may find themselves tasked with the mission of securing the complex. PC clerics will be working alongside Talmata, tending to the wounded and seeing to the remains of the deceased. Though the ghoul forces are nowhere in the area, there should be a few isolated ghouls left in the complex to pop up to hamper these efforts. Remaining ghouls should not be the only threat:. the complex has suffered a good deal of flooding and there are several airlocks that are wide open to the sea, and the fresh blood may have drawn a good deal of natural predators into the area seeking an easy meal.

Nuwmont 4, AC 1017: Entrenchment in Helskir.

Location: City of Helskir, Dominion of Helskir, Heldannic Empire, Isle of Dawn. SD

Description: Having secured the port city of Helskir and its immediate surroundings, the occupying force of Heldannic Knights, under the leadership of Ordensgeneral Anna von Hendriks, proceeds to repair damaged fortifications and inspect minutely the walled city. Cityfolk are pressed into service to carry out the bulk of the repairs, though low-ranking knights spend a lot of time going about these gruelling tasks, as well. Once these tasks are completed to her satisfaction, Anna will send some of the vessels docked in port back to the Heldannic Territories for reinforcements. (See Va. 3, Va. 20.)

What This Means: Having succeeded (after so many failed attempts) in conquering the city of Helskir, to which the Heldannic Order has laid claim for a long time, the knights are doing their best to ensure that their tenuous toehold on the Isle of Dawn is not crushed before they can make use of it.

Nuwmont 4, AC 1017: Triumphal Procession.

Location: City of Thyatis, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: The imperial army marches back into the City of Thyatis following their victory over the rebels yesterday. Various heroes and commanders who played a key role in the victory march at the head of their men, to the cheers of the citizens. The people of Thyatis hang richly-brocaded carpets over balconies, and gay streamers fly from poles. Fragrant flower petals are showered from the rooftops onto the victorious troops and generals.

Following after the troops themselves march the defeated captives. Manfred himself is made to walk barefoot before the chariot that Emperor Eusebius rides in. This chariot is pulled by eight large white stallions, and is made out of ivory and mother of pearl, cased with gold. The emperor stands clad in gilded armour, with a laurel wreath on his head, with a servant holding the Imperial Crown over him, and whispering in his ear that all glory is fleeting...

The procession makes its way to the floor of the Colosseum passing through the Triumphal Arch of Zendrol and the Arch of Alasiyanus Victor on the way, where the units of the army form up in seared ranks. The Colosseum seats are full, with the most prominent citizens of the empire and the families of the troops therein. The empire's chief prelate pronounces a benediction upon the troops, and Eusebius gives a short speech, promising to complete the process of defeating the rebels and to bring a new bright age for Thyatis. The crowd roars its approval. Eusebius says that this will begin here, in the centre of the empire, and announces plans to build a great temple to the Immortals on the pinnacle of The City, where all can see its glory, and to rebuild the ancient palace in the Zendrolion district. He then beckons Manfred up from the ground and into the back of his chariot, and embraces him as a brother. The imperial chariot then leads a procession of the troops in a circuit around the floor of the Colosseum, again to the loud approval of the assembled spectators.

The people of the city of Thyatis celebrate late into the night. The next day plans are begun to convert the imperial palace into the most spectacular temple in Mystara, and to rebuild the old palace in the Zendrolion district. Upriver, Thyatian warships reach Hillfork and receive its submission to the emperor. Meanwhile, not far away, several ships sail quietly from a harbour, heading westward... (See Nu. 2, Nu. 3; Nu. 7, Nu. 14.)

What This Means: The people of Thyatis are happy to finally have something to celebrate, and they may be overdoing it a bit. There is still much work to do in rebuilding the empire, much less bringing about a new golden age. Never the less, Eusebius sees this as a perfect opportunity to arouse the people of Thyatis to action to recover their greatness, and to start some projects that will be a testimony to his dream. This will also put people to work: last year, when the slaves were manumitted, they received their freedom in exchange for doing imperial service for the duration of the crisis or one year, whichever was greater. Many of these will be put to work on the construction projects, others will be tasked with repairing the damage caused during the war (all suitably supervised by engineers and architects, of course). Since such large numbers are not needed all at once, they will be divided into three work crews, each to work four months in succession, following which their service time will be commuted.

Most of the captives who submitted before being defeated will be treated as Eusebius promised. They will likely be sent overseas, to serve in units stationed in the colonies or become colonists themselves. Those that did not surrender and are exceptionally recalcitrant will be treated as traitors and either sold or consigned to the mines. Most others will be forgiven, regardless, after a short span in the work gangs.

As for the Storm Soldiers, that order was decimated during the Crown War-but it was not destroyed. It has lost much of its base of support in Hattias, however, as the Hattians are significantly less favourable towards them now. It will, however, reconstitute itself as a secret society and begin to rebuild itself, recruiting from throughout Thyatis (and elsewhere). The Storm Soldiers organisation will have a significantly lower profile for a long time to come, however, and is a much weaker institution. But does not die out, and in fact becomes much more subtle, insidious and, eventually, dangerous.

What the PCs Can Do: Crowds of people fill the streets-rogue PCs will find no shortage of ways to try and take advantage of this situation. Other, more gallant, PCs might come to the rescue of those who are beset by such scoundrels. Those looking for a way to make money could be hired as bodyguards or entertainers by wealthy patrons.

Characters who distinguished themselves during the war itself will get prominent positions in the procession, befitting their status and contributions. Eusebius might acknowledge certain individual efforts when in the Colosseum, and that would be a good time for him to hand out rewards for heroism, in front of the empire's most distinguished lords and ladies. Dominions will not be granted on this occasion, however, though they may be later-but medals, orders of knighthood, or lordships may be received.

Nuwmont 4, AC 1017: Lost Valley Secure.

Location: Foamfire Valley near Threshold, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: An expedition of sages and adventurers sent to investigate the Lost Valley in Sviftmont of last year returns. They are greeted by the King's Road Battalion, who have been preventing any other outsiders from gaining access to the valley. The envoys are immediately escorted to Mirros, to meet with King Stefan. (See Nu. 8, Va. 3.)

What This Means: The Lost Valley of Hutaaka was discovered last year, and quickly became the object of many adventurers' quests. This in turn caused troubles with gnolls in the hills north of Threshold. A Darokinian merchant operating in the Lost Valley requested the king's aid with a political situation there, and Stefan agreed to send a team to investigate. They have returned with many interesting tales to tell.

Nuwmont 4, AC 1017: Flock to the True Pharaoh.

Location: Valley of Kings, Isle of Dawn. SD

Description: Dozens of Thothians, feeling disenfranchised by Pharaoh Ramenhotep's collaboration with Nayce, flock to the Valley of the Kings. There they hope to join the secessionist Thothian colony and its leader, self-proclaimed Pharaoh Haptuthep II. (See Kl. 12, Sv. 4.)

What This Means: Pharaoh Haptuthep II (actually the lich Haptuthep I) convinced several Thothian settlements to secede from the nation last year, and used ancient magicks to effectively seal the Valley of Kings off from outsiders. It is here, in the valley and the escarpment around it, that he hopes to give birth to a new Thothian Empire, one free of Alphatian influence, and able to bask in its rightful superiority. Many Thothians, having only very recently been freed of centuries of Entropic influence, have begun to feel common cause with Haptuthep.

Nuwmont 5, AC 1017: Death in Lichfield.

Location: Village of Lichfield, Bishopric of Kittings, Kingdom of Bellayne. SC

Description: Archibald Shaw, the member of parliament for the small mining town of Lichfield in northern Bellayne, is found dead in his house this morning. Shaw was a particularly old rakasta, so his death was not a great surprise among the locals. (See Va. 23, Fe. 23.)

What This Means: There will have to be a by-election in Lichfield soon to replace the deceased Shaw. Given the current tensions in the country, it seems likely that this particular by-election will be particularly hard fought by the various factions that are emerging.

Nuwmont 5, AC 1017: A New Duke, A New Enemy.

Location: Duchy of Tel Akbir, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: Farid Ben Nadir, eldest son of Tarik Ben Nadir, former Duke of Tel Akbir, announces that he is now the new Emir of Tel Akbir. This surprises everyone, for the emperor has not proclaimed this. More surprising is the fact that he declares Tel Akbir part of the Emirates of Ylaruam, no longer part of the empire. Farid gives all non-Ylari citizens of the duchy ten days of time to get out of the emirates' territories, thereafter all Thyatians and non-Alasiyans found will be executed.

Farid also frees the Ylari raiders that were captured attempting to attack Thyatis last year, gives them arms, and incorporates them into his forces. (See Nu. 2, Nu. 3; Nu. 15, Nu. 17.)

What This Means: Farid has had a long time to prepare this event, and believes that now the empire will not be able to sustain a new conflict with a whole nation (the emirates). Most of the army of Tel Akbir is with him, but the people are definitively not-they consider themselves Thyatians, not Ylari.

The wizard Sarapammon, who had been a close friend and adviser to Tarik ben Nadir, and Ralak Ahman al-Mustafa, Tel Akbir's chief priest, begin working secretly to organise people to resist Farid and the Ylari occupation.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are Alasiyans with Ylari sympathies they may help Farid's interest, but if they are not, they will probably have enough to do trying to save their life in the upcoming hard period.

Nuwmont 6, AC 1017: The Costs of Unwanted Visitors.

Location: Torenal Site, Sunken Arogansa, Nayce. AS

Description: After tying up the loose ends at the construction site, Commander Talmata compiles a report on the matter and has one of the mages forward it to Seashield. The report is full of mixed findings. In regards to the facility, damage was slight with flooded chambers and damaged airlocks. All of these can be repaired and bilged out without too much trouble. However, the attack was costly in the form of personnel. Of the construction crews, casualties include 55 dead, 12 missing, and an additional 25 wounded. Of the military forces, casualties include 43 dead, 20 missing, and an additional 30 wounded. Talmata estimates that a third of his casualties came from flooding chambers rather than the attacks of the ghouls proper. In particular he cites the flooding of one of the workers' quarters where 20 workers were drowned. He adds that morale is low among the personnel, many desiring to go home. Talmata requests increased wages for the specialised and common labourers to provide additional motivation for them to stay. (See Nu. 3, Nu. 4; Nu. 7, Nu. 18.)

What This Means: The battle with the undead was a terror for the site personnel and it has given many of the workers reasons to want to leave. Casualties were high and most survivors can attest to seeing comrades struck down or carried away by the ghouls. However more can claim that the sea itself took more lives than the undead. Luckily, the ghouls' attention was on food and not on destroying the various buildings of the construction site; therefore, damage was limited to breaches to gain entrance and collateral damage from the flooding.

Nuwmont 6, AC 1017: Winter Chill.

Location: Western Kingdom of Douzbakjian, Midlands. WB

Description: A large raiding party of white orcs from the Endless Winter Clan descend on the hamlet of Arkady in Western Douzbakjian. They come in the middle of the night during a mild blizzard-the hamlet receives no advance warning. The orcs and their dire wolves make short work of the hamlet-they slaughter every villager they can find, loot the houses, round up the livestock and then torch the entire place before they retreat into the night.

What This Means: The white orcs, a breed of orcs especially adapted to the cold climate of northern Brun, are becoming increasingly audacious in their strikes. This is being facilitated by the fact that every year in the region stretching from northern Zuyevo to the Midlands to the Adri Varma Plateau, the winters are getting slightly longer and slightly colder. Every year also, the viciousness of the winter weather increases. This effect is being created by the near-immortal ice demon of the north known as Kazukarzash who is subtly making the climate of northern Brun colder. His eventual goal is to freeze the entire continent of Brun and bring death to all its residents apart from his own minions.

Nuwmont 6, AC 1017: The Days of Extravagant Military Orders.

Location: City of Ionace, Ionace Island, Nayce. AS

Description: Commander Broderick issues a series of orders that range from the bizarre to the extravagant, sending patrols in desert areas, ordering a tree-climbing contest among his officers, or renaming every unit using a pattern only he can comprehend. Displaying a behaviour that doesn't resemble him, he also treats his non-spellcasting officers in a rather rude way. Though some are puzzled, nobody dares question his attitude, yet even his orders. (See Nu. 9, Nu. 17.)

What This Means: Broderick is normally a no-nonsense man, sometimes harsh yet fair, who is not biased against mundaners since he is one himself yet knows how to handle aristocrats and behave in their midst without stepping out of his caste (that would be dangerous) nor bowing too low before them (that would undermine his military authority). It is those qualities that allowed him to be a respected officer and rise through the ranks, doing the real work on behalf of the mages with the honorifics. Ultimately, when Zandor needed someone to lead his armies and would not trust any other wizard to do it, the loyal (and, in Zandor's eyes, negligible and naturally subservient) Broderick came to light without having to be the inferior of some wizard, a veritable revolution in Alphatian military thinking.

But these past few days he has been acting strangely. In fact, he has been acting very much like an aristocrat officer of the pre-sinking days, those that used to have fanciful titles but no idea how to lead an army, whose vain orders you would bend so they were content with themselves but in a way the military wouldn't be disrupted. Since Broderick is a cold man, none can really call him a true friend, and so none dare tell him of his odd ways.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs work for Broderick, they should receive their fair share of inept orders. If the PCs trust Broderick's judgment and blindly follow the orders, that should result in a fun, silly session of play (the exact orders are left at the DM's discretion). If they don't follow the orders, they will eventually find themselves in trouble though, so when they eventually figure something is wrong they will have to learn the Alphatian mundaner's art of handling aristocrats' whims without getting into trouble.

Nuwmont 7, AC 1017: The Procession Continues.

Location: Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: After resting in Thyatis City for a day, Eusebius and his soldiers file out of The City once more, heading west along the coast road. A strong garrison is left behind, but Eusebius takes Manfred with him (as a brother, but also to keep an eye on him and to show to everyone that the rebel is captured.) Eusebius' goal is to clean up the remaining pockets of resistance. While his forces march, throngs of sightseers line the highways, cheering the imperial forces as they pass by.

The procession reaches Julinius by mid afternoon. The small rebel garrison there is reluctant to surrender, but when Manfred encourages them to submit and Eusebius guarantees them the amnesty that was offered, they put down their arms. Several ships thought to be in the harbour of Julinius are discovered missing, however. The former rebels say they were commandeered by several rebel officers and their staffs and sailed west a couple days ago. Eusebius sends messages to his admirals directing a search for them, but they are not found in Thyatian waters.

Eusebius also sends out several other messengers this day. He has received word of what is going on in Tel Akbir. He sends a messenger to his commander occupying Kantrium, Ettore Ottaviano, ordering him to prepare to march against Farid, once reinforcements arrive. Eusebius dispatches some of his swiftest ground troops to march to Kantridae. Once they arrive, Ottaviano is to strike at the new rebellion, and hopefully crush it before the Ylari become entrenched in Tel Akbir.

Note that throughout the march, Eusebius will be making appointments to fill vacancies that were created during the Crown War in civil ministry positions and in the judiciary. Many of these appointments, especially new judges and treasury officials, will turn out to be clerics of Tarastia. (See Nu. 3, Nu. 4; Nu. 14, Nu. 15.)

What This Means: The heart has gone out of the Crown Rebellion, and it is collapsing swiftly. New problems continue to arise, however, one being Farid's secession. Eusebius hopes to deal with this one decisively before it gets too serious.

Appointing clerics of Tarastia to government office is one side-effect the crown is having on Eusebius. These appointments will have the benefit of cutting down on corruption in the imperial government and improving the justice of the courts, but they also increase the strength and influence of the followers of Tarastia within Thyatis.

What the PCs Can Do: Players with Eusebius' forces can either remain with them if that is most interesting to them, or be dispatched east to help deal with the newest problem facing Thyatis.

Nuwmont 7, AC 1017: A Broken Torenal Gets a Quick Fix.

Location: City of Ionace, Ionace Island, Nayce. AS

Description: In response to the needs of Torenal Site, the Nayce Council convenes to discuss the matter. After the usual rhetoric of argument and unfocused dialog, order is called and the matter addressed. Since Torenal is a military project, the council defers to the judgment of Commander Broderick, who quickly orders the deployment of Seashield troops and submersibles to remedy the matter of defence. He orders that replacement workers can be gathered through conscription and suggests slaves be used if need be.

Since the current administrator, Commander Talmata, has "allowed" his command to be attacked, he should be remanded back to the rank of captain and placed in a more acceptable position. For a replacement, Broderick suggests that the council deploys the mage Captain Deltart to the facility and appoint him the facility's commander. Though few of the council can blame Talmata, they defer to Broderick's judgment of this Captain Deltart in replacing the elder Talmata.

The Aquas representative objects to this strategy of deployment of Seashield troops as it will undermine Aquas' ability to defend itself. Undaunted, Broderick orders the Nayce-allotted Aquas troops to dispatch an expeditionary force to the site. He also orders a similar contingent be sent to the Torpin Site to prevent a similar attack from unfolding there. To make up for any defensive shortcomings, Broderick suggests that Aquas can call upon all of its aquatic races living in and around the kingdom for assistance.

The Aquas representative further objects and calls for a council vote to settle the matter. When the votes are counted, Broderick's proposal is passed through by a large margin-since the measure won't affect them or their economies, most representatives are quite willing to let Aquas bear the costs of the project. Even though Torenal is a Naycese project, they see Aquas' expertise in underwater construction as placing the responsibility for its completion upon Aquas' shoulders. With the power of the Nayce Council behind him, the measures are implemented.

Ironically, the main objections posed come from the Verothian representative, who wants to clarify that the disaster at Torenal Site should not be blamed on Commander Talmata. He also has certain apprehensions about the command capabilities of Deltart as he has served as a staff officer only and never held a combat position. Though the Verothians can claim their own expertise in military matters, Broderick's rank and influence within the council override their concerns.

In response to the Naycese orders to deploy forces to protect the site, Aquas begins to negotiate with Underocean to split the burden of providing troops, in return for trade concessions. (See Nu. 4, Nu. 6; Nu. 18, Va. 14.)

Nuwmont 7, AC 1017: Change of Tactics for the King.

Location: City of Leominster, Bishopric of Leominster, Kingdom of Bellayne. SC

Description: Lord Marston the Just, Archbishop of the Church of Pax Bellanica, has spent most of the winter hurriedly educating King James in the arts of etiquette, diplomacy and patience. Marston was deeply distressed by the fighting last year, and wants to help smooth the troubled waters. King James is not the most amenable of students, but the message seems to have gotten across. (See Nu. 28, Va. 11.)

What This Means: The faith of Pax Bellanica (Tarastia) is the officially sanctioned faith of the kingdom. Marston suspects that his main religious rivals, the worshippers of Belbion, have something to do with stirring up trouble in the kingdom, and so he is attempting to assist his king as best as he is able.

Second Week

Nuwmont 8, AC 1017: Terari Gives Report.

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: Master Terari and the rest of the Lost Valley expedition meet to tell King Stefan of their findings. They report that the natives of the valley-dog headed humanoids known as Hutaakans, and a degenerate group of humans calling themselves Traldar-were at war with one another. Their attempts at diplomatic contact were unsuccessful-until they realised that their efforts were being undermined by agents of the Iron Ring. The nefarious group of slavers had infiltrated the valley on their own last year, with hopes to bring the natives under their own control. Terari's group sought out and captured or killed all agents of the Iron Ring, and once more set their sights to diplomacy. They managed to bring the two groups to a shaky peace, brought on mostly by the valley inhabitants' knowledge of an outside world. There are some conditions to the agreement, though, which Stefan endorses. (See Nu. 4; Va. 3, Va. 4.)

What This Means: The Hutaakans and Valley Traldar are curious about the outside world, yet are wary at the same time. They want to be assured that no unwanted visitors will come into their valley, but they are willing to accept limited contact. Stefan will assign a temporary garrison outside the valley until more permanent accommodations can be made. In return, his diplomats will be allowed access to the valley and its inhabitants in order to learn from them and teach them of the outside world. The Darokinian merchant, Finnwiddey Nimbletoes, gets exclusive rights to trade with the valley's inhabitants for his diplomatic efforts, which Stefan also agrees to; Stefan can always rightfully tax any trade coming through the valley's only entrance into his kingdom.

Nuwmont 8, AC 1017: The Shadow Grows.

Location: City-State of Mivosia, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: Numbering almost 2,000 strong, a host of Mivosian soldiers commences its long march southwestwards-to Polakatsikes. From the battlements of the imposing citadel, the triumvirate watches its army surge forth, envisioning the havoc that will be wreaked upon the hated Heldannic interlopers. (See Nu. 21, Nu. 28.)

What This Means: After it learned of the conquest of Polakatsikes by the Heldannic Knights, the ruling Triumvirate of Mivosia did not take a long time to figure out that its own dream of conquering the eastern Meghala Kimata Plains might never come to pass if a "mob of religious fanatics" overran the territory and converted everyone to their cause. The fact that, after almost two years, this has not come to pass means nothing to the Mivosian leadership; they believe it is their manifest destiny to rule this region. If the Heldannic Knights will not leave after being pressured to do so [last year's "cold war," see AC 1016 almanac for more details. Ed.], then the Mivosians are prepared to use force, and eradicate the threat once and for all.

Nuwmont 8, AC 1017: Trikard Announces the Winner, Sort of.

Location: City of Haldemar, Kingdom of Alphatian Neatharum., Alphatian Empire HW

Description: Last year, Military Governor Trikard announced his intent to step down as governor of the Kingdom of Alphatian Neatharum. To find a suitable replacement he initiated a series of trials where candidates would compete for the throne. The winner was to be announced on Nuwmont 1 of this year. However, that date has come and gone without any news.

Military Governor Trikard announces that due to a general lack of interest, his planned tournament to find a worthy ruler has been a failure. The few individuals that entered the competitions were too inexperienced to fulfil all of its rigours. As such, Trikard sees it as his duty to postpone his retirement and remain as military governor until the empress can appoint a worthy individual. The news is surprisingly well-received by the populace as most of them like Trikard and want him to remain as their leader. They see him as being one of them and a more amiable ruler than some arrogant aristocrat from the continent. (See Am. 1, Sv. 14.)

What This Means: The general lack of interest was mainly the result of the fact that few Alphatian spellcasters who would be acceptable rulers were interested in leaving the floating continent, and Trikard didn't consider any non-spellcaster worthy of the position. Many non-aristocrats expressed interest, but Trikard found deficiencies with each of them.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs may be candidates for the job. In that case, Trikard has deemed them unsuitable as well-either because they are (at least in regards to his criteria), or maybe because rivals have spread rumours about them that they must now rectify. If the PCs considered them well-suited for the job, they may question Trikard's true motives and investigate him, possibly thinking they will discover he wants to keep power to himself.

Nuwmont 9, AC 1017: He Who Casts a Spell...

Location: City of Ionace, Ionace Island, Nayce. AS

Description: During a meeting of senior officers Commander Broderick punctuates his discourse with several showy cantrips and other mild magics, obviously uttering magical words himself and not activating magical devices. When he is done he casts a final spell and teleports away from the dumbfounded officers. Murmurs start and grow in volume after his departure, but no one speaks his mind too explicitly or too loud. (See Nu. 6; Nu. 17, Nu. 19.)

What This Means: Though several officers have deduced from Broderick's attitude that someone has been impersonating him, they have been proved wrong by the non-activation of the safety devices that protect sensible buildings from mundane and magical infiltration, leaving them the more puzzled and concerned.

What the PCs Can Do: Any PC working for Broderick, either as officer or mercenary or any other position, will certainly by now have noticed his change in behaviour. Investigation is de rigueur.

Nuwmont 10, AC 1017: Foreshadowing of Things to Come...

Location: City of Hapta, Empire of Nithia. HW

Description: As word spreads of the continuing inability of the city guard to find the perpetrator of the recent string of murders, some local firebrands take the opportunity to further their own ends. At a public gathering, a wizened Nithian man addresses passers-by, telling them that there is a reason why only Nithians have been the victims in this tragedy: the Tanagoro inhabitants are responsible! Appealing to the emotions of his listeners, the man tells them about how the Tanagoro are allegedly living off of the fruits of Nithian labour, and how they are not truly loyal to the empire-how could they be, for they are not of Nithian blood!

Although many bystanders shrug off the man's diatribe, others prove to be eager listeners, and they talk with him earnestly afterwards. (See Nu. 4; Va. 1, Va. 2.)

Nuwmont 10, AC 1017: Interlude with the Shadow.

Location: Idris Tower, Forest of Lothenar, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: Christopher Dove, during his forced sojourn in the dungeons of Idris Tower, is surprised when addressed by a foul rat that has crept inside his cell. The rat talks to him asking his identity, and albeit reluctantly, Dove greets with open heart the opportunity to exchange a few words with another living being. As it turns out, the rat is not intelligent or magical, but merely the vessel through which the occupant of another cell is trying to communicate with other prisoners of the dungeon. The mysterious stranger explains he is a wizard imprisoned by the high priestess because of his crimes against Idris' regime. Dove, keeping faith in the old saying "an enemy of my enemy is my friend," gladly welcomes the newcomer and tells him his woeful story. The two exchange vows of friendship and promise to help each other escape this terrible prison, then the wizard must interrupt the communication to avoid being discovered. (See Va. 14, Th. 17.)

What This Means: After travelling throughout the Avien Plains during the last months of fall of AC 1016 in order to write his geographical survey for the Mystaran Almanac (carefully revised by Idris' minions before being sent to Mirros), Christopher Dove has been held prisoner in the dungeons of Idris Tower for the last three months. According to the orders of the high priestess, he must be kept alive as a propaganda tool to use with the civilised nations of the Old World, and his travels through Denagoth will resume once again at the break of spring. In the meantime, Dove tries desperately to obtain any useful information on the high priestess's plans and on the situation outside the tower, planning his escape if the opportunity arises. Dove doesn't know the identity of his new interlocutor, but he has noticed he is feared by the guards and closely watched. Trusting in this man's powers and knowledge, he hopes to gather his aid and to escape Idris' clutches soon.

What the PCs Can Do: All the adventures that befall Christopher Dove can easily be adapted for a group of PCs venturing into Denagoth. Or captured PCs may meet Christopher Dove in the dungeons of Idris Tower, and form a bond with the almanac correspondent, so they will be adventuring together.

Nuwmont 11, AC 1017: Hinterlands Reorganised.

Location: City of Raven Scarp, Hinterlands, Thyatian Empire. DV

Description: During one of her regular audiences, General Leilah ben Nadir, Governor of the Thyatian Hinterlands, announces that, in recognition of the continuing colonisation of the region, the Hinterlands will be reorganised into a number of colonial holdings. The division will be as follows:

The territory lying east of the River Torion (which runs through Raven Scarp) will be known as Davania Inferior. This region will remain under colonial administration.

The coastal territories lying west of the River Torion, extending northwest to Fiorenza and inland roughly 100 miles, will be known as the Exarchate of Davania Superior; Raven Scarp will be its capital city, and General ben Nadir will serve as exarch for now.

The Barony of Fiorenza, established by Justinian Silvestro in AC 1011, will retain its designation, but be officially recognised as a separate dominion, outside colonial administration.

The port colony of Cape Town will be enlarged somewhat to the south, and be a barony.

The bulk of the northwestern Hinterlands (excluding Cape Town and Fiorenza) will be the colonial territory of Torionensis.

The broad swath of territory running along the southern fringes of the Hinterlands will be known as Thratia. This territory, still only loosely controlled by Thyatis, will be under military jurisdiction.

What This Means: Since the invasion of the Hinterlands first began in AC 988, the Thyatian Empire has made considerable inroads into the territory. Colonisation has continued apace, and the empire's grip in the coastal regions, at least, has become far more secure than it once was. As a result, some regions of the Hinterlands, such as Fiorenza and the lands around Raven Scarp, have been tamed to some extent. The reorganisation of the Hinterlands is a recognition of the fact that one person cannot oversee the territory for the empire, and that civilian control for some regions would be more appropriate.

What the PCs Can Do: Although there is nothing the PCs can do to influence the decision, the new administrative boundaries might make it easier for them to acquire dominions, should they be Name-level. Colonial territories such as Torionensis and Davania Inferior are largely unpopulated (by Thyatian citizens, at least), and thus land is available on very favourable terms.

Nuwmont 11, AC 1017: Ire of the Sea.

Location: Sea outside Town of Port Fewalskij, Barony of Fewalskij, Confederacy of Klagorst. WB

Description: A cargo directed to the Kerminhae from Port Fewalskij is sunk during a tempest. The cargo's content was apparently composed of farming animals. The portal authorities of Port Fewalskij send some agents to investigate the matter. Here, the sea is not particularly deep, and there are many rocks in the area. Thanks to this and to magical means, they discover an unusual number of dead men in the area, many naked, and put inside metal cages. The agents report secretly the news to the harbourmaster, Jasin Pankow, who decides to keep the information from becoming public domain. (See Nu. 21.)

What This Means: This was a very strange cargo, and it raises disturbing thoughts about the activities of the hresha-rhak, the race that live in the Kerminhae. Pankow does not want to spread panic among the population, nor does he want to stop the profitable commerce with the Kerminhae, creating a diplomatic incident. So he will make some investigations, first, and decide later.

What the PCs Can Do: This is a great opportunity for investigating in the city, because low profile adventurers, who would not attract much attention, would suit very well the purposes of the harbour master.

Nuwmont 12, AC 1017: Work Finished... for Now.

Location: City of Aaslin, Kingdom of Notrion, Continent of Bellissaria, Nayce. AS

Description: King Corydon reports to the Nayce Council that the first batch of domes for the Torenal Site are completed and awaiting transport to the construction site. Corydon is told to prepare the domes for transportation while the council organises the proper workforce and fleet to transport them and safeguard them. Corydon obliges the message and issues orders to make things ready. (See Nu. 20, Va. 1.)

What This Means: The initial batch of domes for Torenal Site has been completed on schedule. Corydon is quite anxious to deliver this news; though he is grateful for the job opportunities and added coin to his kingdom's economy, he has become quite apprehensive to get the finished domes off his docks and out of his hands, mainly for security reasons-he fears the domes may be damaged by accident or even by sabotage. He feels that as long as the finished domes are still in his kingdom, work on the new domes is placed at a standstill, and since he also fears that these idle mages may use the opportunity to plan to usurp his rule...

What the PCs Can Do: PCs in and around Notrion may find themselves hired to help guard the domes, or retained to assist in their transportation. Corydon may even recruit PCs to help bolster his own personal security and even spy on the mages. The truth is, at present no mages really seek to usurp his reign-the kingdom is too poor to attract the attentions of would be mage rulers. The tasks will be rather boring, so the DM may want to create some potential sabotage for them to root out and eliminate. Of course Corydon's growing paranoia could have them running around in a wild goose chase after supposed usurpers.

Nuwmont 12, AC 1017: Heart of the Enemy.

Location: City of Akesoli, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: As Greenleaf Vickers, leader of the Umbarth House, is relaxing at his Akesoli villa, a shadowy figure suddenly appears before him. Vickers listens, entranced, as the figure explains that the Master of Hule has noticed the worth of Umbarth House, which is unrecognised in the Darokin Council. The Master offers to have his agents covertly support Umbarth by providing secret trade information, by influencing local authorities to support Umbarth merchants, and by taking care of Umbarth's opposition. In return, the Master asks to be informed of the goings-on in the Darokin Council and for Vickers to speak and vote as the Master instructs. After some deliberation, and considering the potential for profit, Vickers agrees to the proposal. (See Nu. 1; Fl. 7, Fl. 23.)

What This Means: Greenleaf Vickers has become an embittered, selfish man over the last decade, seeking only profit for himself. He has watched the fortunes of Umbarth House dwindle over the years. First his operations in Sind were disrupted by the warfare there, then, Alfheim was invaded by the Shadow Elves and all his trade there was lost. After that, his Glantrian operations were hard-hit by Ethengar's invasion, and the local authorities only helped in the restoration of native merchants, not caring about Darokinians. Throughout it all, the Darokin Council did nothing to help Umbarth, despite Vickers' repeated pleas. Today, Umbarth House only holds trade around Akesoli and Akorros, as well as some shreds in Sind and Glantri. Vickers is desperate to regain his house's fortunes, and the Master has offered him an opportunity to do so. As a result, the Master now has an agent in the very heart of Darokin.

Nuwmont 12, AC 1017: Explosion!

Location: Emirate of Makistan, Emirates of Ylaruam. OW

Description: Shepherds in the plains near the town of Anram hear a tremendous explosion several miles away. The Sheik of Anram sends agents out to investigate, and they eventually discover a ruined structure in the wilds to the west-evidently all that remains of the tower of Istakhr, an eccentric Makistani sorcerer. The residue of powerful magicks taints the area, and evidence seems to point to a magical duel. No one is quite sure what to make of this news. (See Sv. 13.)

What This Means: Istakhr was ambushed by a powerful rival wizard, and their duel unleashed potent energies that destroyed his tower. Istakhr is presumed dead, and the identity of his nemesis is unknown.

Nuwmont 12, AC 1017: Return from Azca.

Location: Town of Kota-Jayang, Merry Pirate Seas. HW

Description: Captain Buraganu has returned to his homeport of Kota-Jayang, after a failed raid on the Azcan city of Huitlaktima. The crew's morale is low, but Buraganu and his quartermaster, Redbeard Kray, hope to keep them motivated and then set out in search of a prize. (See Va. 4, Va. 7.)

What This Means: The swarming Azcan armies battling in and around Huitlaktima at the end of last circle, prevented Buraganu and his ship, the Butchery, from capturing any booty. The crew voted to return to Kota-Jayang and regroup. Buraganu hopes that he can retain control of his crew, but the failure to capture a single coin is not looked upon highly.

Nuwmont 14, AC 1017: Stonewall Explores Its Options.

Location: City of Draco, Kingdom of Stonewall, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: The situation is slowly growing more serious in Stonewall-the hunger menace seems ever more imminent and inevitable. In an attempt to solve the problem, Koblan Dracodon, King of Stonewall, has called together a number of advisers to explore the options. Among these are Selcomad, the diplomatic warrior who was sent to Andaire, and Rogart, a historian and personal adviser to the king. Various trading options and magical solutions are discussed, but they are rejected because they are not feasible in Stonewall. The debate grows more desperate until Rogart makes a stunning suggestion: if Stonewall cannot find aid, the nation may have to go to war with other Alphatian nations! Wars among the kingdoms are not unheard of in Alphatia, but it has been a while since the last one. Then again, all agree that Stonewall isn't just going to lie down and die, and if they must use force to gain what they need, then so be it. In the end, King Koblan decides to go to Andaire himself to address the empress one last time. (See Nu. 3; Nu. 23, Va. 5.)

What This Means: Stonewall is getting desperate! In the outer world, Stonewall depended greatly upon trade with places like Bellissaria or Norwold to sustain its vast population. But these trading partners are now gone, and because Alphatia has become a floating continent, trade with other nations is all but impossible due to Stonewall's lack of skyships to transport goods. Similarly, magical solutions are not available because of the low number of spellcasters in Stonewall.

What the PCs Can Do: King Koblan is desperate for solutions; if the PCs have any suggestions to make, then he will certainly listen to them. They had better be serious, though, because Koblan will be very upset with them if he feels that they are wasting his time in this hour of need.

Nuwmont 14, AC 1017: An Honourable Sacrifice.

Location: Duchy of Kerendas, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: After recovering Julinius, the imperial army marched west, receiving the submission of Bayville and Bridleton, and eventually reaching the City of Kerendas. The gates are open when the army arrives, and the Kerendan guards do nothing to stop Eusebius' forces from entering the city, standing around and watching instead. The imperial forces march on to the ducal palace at Castle Kerendas, several miles outside of town. The doors of both the castle and palace open when tried. The palace is unusually quiet, and Eusebius begins to suspect a trap. He orders his soldiers back, and enters with an elite force (adventurer types).

They find the Duke, Maldinius Kerendas, in his bath. His wrists are slit. (See Nu. 4, Nu. 7; Nu. 15, Nu. 21.)

What This Means: By ancient Thyatian tradition a man can avoid disgracing his family by committing suicide himself. This is what Maldinius did. As a result, Eusebius will not strip his family of its lands and wealth. Several prominent rebel aristocrats have chosen this course of action, Maldinius being the most significant of these.

Though Maldinius' family is not impoverished, Eusebius waits before deciding if the rebel duke's heir should succeed him in ruling Kerendas itself. The matter is extremely difficult to handle because Maldinius is uncle of Lucianna Torion, Eusebius' wife [see Joshuan's Almanac page 136. Ed.]. He does make one appointment while in Kerendas, however. He gives Tredorian, Eriadna's son, the position of commandant of the cavalry academy and the rank of lord knight.

Eusebius will tarry in Kerendas for at least a week, entrenching his control over the administration once again, and dispatching forces to secure control over the Kerendan countryside.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs could be approached by Maldinius' children, each of whom hopes to become the next duke. They will ask them to support their candidacy, and lobby the emperor's advisers (or even Eusebius himself) on their behalf. Sufficiently distinguished and ambitious PCs might try to further ingratiate themselves with Eusebius in the hope of becoming duke themselves.

In fact, the period after the War of the Crown rebellion is a perfect time for Thyatian PCs to become dominion rulers. Many positions in the imperial hierarchy are vacant, and characters can achieve title in a variety of areas. Should your characters receive any of the ranks that are granted out in later events, simply ignore those and substitute the name of the characters in your campaign receiving them instead.

Nuwmont 14, AC 1017: Up, Up, and Away!

Location: Town of Leenz, Principality of Aalban, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: The business of Montgolfière & Urbaal, Ltd. unveils its first mutual creation today-the commercial blimp. This tremendous contraption, a large gondola-like device carried by a huge steam-powered balloon, will revolutionise the transportation industry in Glantri, they claim. They allow several prominent nobles to ride on the device, and they take a several hour trip around the region of Aalban, and then to Glantri City. Though this is the only working blimp they currently have, they are in the process of making several more, and they declare that they will be running transportation for commercial tourists within the month. (See Va. 9.)

What This Means: The two enterprising men, Jean-Louis Montgolfière and Yarov Urbaal (son of the late Count Emeth Urbaal of Wylon), met in the days following the war with Ethengar. Both men had similar designs for hot air ballooning devices, and decided to merge their ideas. After finding several wealthy backers, they are attempting to open their commercial transport venture. Their main headquarters is in Leenz, but they hope to have several similar locations in many other principalities soon. Initial transportation costs will be expensive, but as they make more balloons, they hope to reduce their rates so that even mundaners can afford to use their wondrous device to travel swiftly between the villages and towns of Glantri.

Nuwmont 14, AC 1017: Hunters Quarrel.

Location: Somewhere in Neathar Lands. HW

Description: A Hatfei hunting party are seeking game close to the borders of their territorial holdings. Sighting a group of deer, they move into position and unleash their slings and spears at the beasts, striking several. The Hatfei hunters begin the task of tracking the mortally wounded beasts to harvest their kills. Several Hatfei follow one of the blood trails but find that a Makekei hunting party has already claimed their trophy. Both parties claim the fallen beasts are theirs, neither group willing to relinquish the game. The situation is further muddied as both hunting parties cite that the area is their own. Before long the two hunting parties clash over the slain deer. Outnumbered, the Hatfei are forced to abandon the deer and head back into safer areas, where they relate the tale to their fellow tribesmen. Not wishing to shed blood over a single deer carcass, the Hatfei elders decide to focus on the other deer that they have taken and voice their grievance to the Makekei tribal ruler. (See Va. 4, Va. 22.)

What This Means: The incident begins as a pure chance encounter. The Hatfei had in fact delivered the mortal blow to the deer and the Makekei had merely finished it off. The Hatfei genuinely believe that they had killed the beast and that the Makekei are just trying to claim their kill. The matter worsens as the Hatfei were on their normal lands, the pursuing hunters having crossed over to Makekei lands pursuing the deer. The location of where the deer fell is the basis of the Makekei's claim to an easy harvest of venison.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are part of either hunting party, the DM should make it obvious that the other group is not sincere, and see how they react.

Third Week

Nuwmont 15, AC 1017: Seize Them!

Location: Throughout the Emirate of Tel Akbir, Emirates of Ylaruam. OW

Description: Tel Akbir guards all over the duchy start to round up non-Alasiyans, and expel or execute them. There is widespread, but passive, resistance to this throughout Tel Akbir, as people hide their friends and neighbours from Farid's men. (See Nu. 3, Nu. 5; Nu. 17, Nu. 18.)

What This Means: This is part of Farid's plan to incorporate Tel Akbir into Kin-led Ylaruam and purge it of Thyatian influence.

The wizard Sarapammon and Ralak Ahman al-Mustafa's covert efforts to create and organise opposition to Farid increase, and they work to help hide people from Farid's troops.

What the PCs Can Do: Ylari PCs who support the Kin, or who just want to see Tel Akbir as part of the emirates, could come to help Farid. Thyatian PCs might be sent by Eusebius as spies and pathfinders for the inevitable counter-attack, and given instructions to organise resistance to Farid's rule.

Nuwmont 15, AC 1017: We Are All Happy Huleans.

Location: All around Hulean Empire. WB

Description: Today, it is proclaimed throughout the Hulean kingdoms that humanoids shall from now on be allowed to live outside their reserves, together with Hulean humans, as long as they obey the Master's laws and do not engage in disorderly behaviour. The humanoids meet this proclamation by cheering and praising Hosadus. Many Huleans are baffled, but trust their Master's wisdom. (See Ka. 23.)

What This Means: Hosadus has made this proclamation in response to the unrest among humanoids that was experienced last year. He knows that having unrest in the heart of his empire would be bad, and so takes steps to improve the humanoids' loyalty. In reality this proclamation won't change things much-the humanoids still prefer to live with their own kind, and so most remain in their reserves. Those who leave are watched by the Master's guardsmen; the more orderly humanoids settle in Hulean cities and are cautiously accepted by the populace, while the wilder ones are quickly sent back to the reservations.

Nuwmont 15, AC 1017: War Weary.

Location: Duchy of Kerendas, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: Tredorian seeks audience with Eusebius to discuss the concerns of the empire's Alphatian troops. Following the Great War, several thousand Alphatian soldiers entered Thyatian service. Though some of these later defected, many have served Thyatis faithfully throughout the struggles that followed. Like Tredorian, they have formed bonds (and in numerous cases, families), within the empire. Since they have served Thyatis, they know they would be unlikely to receive a warm welcome in Naycese lands.

But they have also fought in many battles for over a decade, and many are growing weary of fighting, and would like to settle down. Tredorian petitions the emperor on their behalf. Eusebius agrees to grant them plots of land as if they were retiring Thyatian soldiers, and insures that they will all be given respect and the status of Thyatian citizens. He also issues a proclamation regarding the contributions of these Alphatian troops to the empire, admonishing people not to take out their anger against the Alphatian Empire on loyal Thyatians who are of Alphatian heritage. This is in echo of the Wrath of the Immortals Day of seven years ago. Eusebius also asks the soldiers to serve out the rest of the year before retiring. He does not demand that they do so, but in part as a result of not commanding them, almost all of them agree. (See Nu. 7, Nu. 14; Nu. 21, Th. 5.)

What This Means: Anti-Alphatian sentiment was strong in the immediate aftermath of the Great War, due to the suffering many had received at the hands of the invaders. Passions and hatreds were inflamed, as many had lost loved ones or friends during the war. These hard feelings have subsided with time. No one in Thyatis is a fan of the Alphatian Empire, but as Thyatians now, of Alphatian ethnicity, they are accepted as citizens. Some in Kerendas believe that they should have been given the lands these soldiers were, though, and there will be some friction on that score.

For the Alphatian soldiers themselves, Eusebius' guarantees are much welcomed. Many are ready to lay down the burden of arms (though a large number of these will still serve in reserve units). Others will continue to serve in the military, but are comforted knowing that they have been adopted into Thyatis and will be able to make a home here.

The land grants given to the Alphatians are in the following areas: portions of the land in hills of Kerendas along the Trevanion River, parts of Machetos (though these are granted out later), and some of the confiscated estates in Hattias. Eusebius is shrewd in how he does this. He makes sure that Alphatians who served in the same company are clustered with their comrades, but he also makes sure that they are interspersed among Thyatians, rather than forming a solid block which may not assimilate itself into Thyatian society or, worse, might rebel at some point. And none of them are settled in entire division communities.

What the PCs Can Do: Though unlikely, it is possible that Alphatian characters took service with the Thyatians after the events of the Wrath of the Immortals campaign, and have remained in Thyatian service until now. If so, they too will benefit from this event. Prominent Alphatians, who, like Tredorian, distinguished themselves above the norm, may receive knighthoods, baronies, or lord knighthoods as well.

Nuwmont 16, AC 1017: Garlic and Stakes and Everything Breaks.

Location: Keep of Drax Tallen, Forest of Geffron, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: The umpteenth assault made by Sylarion's undead inside Drax Tallen turns out to be less easy than was expected. In fact, the Shadow Army is now equipped with many garlic flowers, holy symbols of Idris and circles of protection against evil, and the soldiers led by General Grumman are able to withstand the attacks of the vampires and wyrds without many losses. The Elf Skull Unit humanoids, for their part, manage to strike a good deal of oaken stakes through the hearts of the elven vampires, killing nearly one third of the assailants before the undead retreat into the forest. (See Fe. 13, Fe. 14.)

What This Means: After General Grumman's arrival in Drax Tallen in Sviftmont of AC 1016, the undead troops of the vampire elf Sylarion have made regular forays into the keep (unhindered by the harsh winter) to exact revenge for their treatment under the Shadow Lord's tyranny and to satisfy their feeding necessities. Grumman realised that he needed to resort to old folktales ways to counter the undead's assaults, so he enlisted the help of many priests of Idris from the nearby Avien Plains and equipped his men with imported garlic flowers against the vampires. Also, he made the wizards stationed at the keep draw magical circles of protection in the key points inside the keep to hold the undead at bay, while the Elf Skull Unit humanoids discovered that the vampire elves could be destroyed by staking them with oaken weapons. Thus the defence against Sylarion's troop came to be, and under Grumman's orders the Shadow Army gained its first significant victory. Now Sylarion will be much more careful in his assaults, in order to avoid losing precious followers.

Nuwmont 16, AC 1017: Refugees Reach Ierendi.

Location: City of Ierendi, Kingdom of Ierendi. OW

Description: Several Thyatian ships sail into Ierendi's harbour today. The passengers and crews claim to be refugees from the civil war in Thyatis. They stock up on provisions and most say they are continuing on, hoping to make new lives in the Thyatian baronies (a.k.a. the Savage Baronies) near Hule. Some decide to stay and settle in Ierendi, however. They keep one of the ships for their own use (or to sell in order to acquire houses in Ierendi) while the rest of the refugees sail on. (See Nu. 4, Nu. 7; Va. 14, Th. 2.)

What This Mean: These are actually followers of Thanatos and others who joined the Crown Rebellion but decided to flee rather than submit. They landed here and planted the rumour of proceeding on to the far west, but they actually plan on sailing south through the sea of Dread before swinging back east, to the Isle of Dawn. They hope to throw any imperial pursuit off their trail. Those that stayed behind consist of people who really do want to live in Ierendi, but also some that are settling for a more sinister purpose. Thanatos ordered a few of his followers to stay in Ierendi to establish a secret shrine and base of operations. They will attempt to recruit people to their cause.

What the PCs Can Do: Ierendi-based characters could find themselves immersed in a series of adventures revolving around the activities of the cult of Thanatos.

Nuwmont 17, AC 1017: ... Must Be a Wizard.

Location: City of Ionace, Ionace Island, Nayce. AS

Description: At a Nayce Council meeting, Commander Broderick leaves his usual reserve and addresses representatives and rulers alike in a fashion which does not fall within proper protocol, apparently forgetting he is only gentry among nobility. His friend Favian Vern, though himself not annoyed by this, notices the furious looks of several present, and gently urges Broderick to show some restraint. Broderick's reaction is the opposite of what he expected, though, as he instead erupts into rage, stating vociferously that "I, Karszamon, refuse to be silenced without a magical duel."

After the initial shock of the revelation, which causes everybody to fail to notice the challenge to a duel (to which, incidentally, Vern will never respond), Queen Zynnia, recognising the name as that of a powerful enchanter from Theranderol, asks him to explain how he came here.

"Well," he says, "I was genially enchanting this," he raises Frightcorps, "with magical dweomers, when I was sucked into the item. Even though I hadn't properly finished the enchantment, my talent at preparing it was more than enough to make it stable and, because my great mind was fused into it, an item of tremendous power indeed. Unfortunately it was that stubborn individual you call Broderick that was wielding it, but I finally was able to overcome his lesser mind and possess his body. Since my body and estate were destroyed, I think I'll keep both this body and the functions attached with it; in fact I've been doing just that those past few days, and I must say certainly better than the, uh, crude original."

The shock is immense at the council. Agreeing to think about the avalanche of revelations before committing to a course of action, the council ends for the day. (See Nu. 6, Nu. 9; Nu. 19, Nu. 22.)

What This Means: Karszamon is a powerful wizard that had (and still has, since the position cannot be revoked unless death is proved) a seat at the Great Council. The wizard, an acquaintance of Zandor's, was allowed to remain in his tower and enchant that weapon (assumedly because it would be useful in the war effort, though some wonder if it wasn't destined as a gift to his friend, the new emperor), rather than participate in the attack on Glantri. He was trapped in his own enchantment when the power of the Radiance was released on Alphatia and created an unknown number of Alphatian Artifacts by fusing minds with magical items and Radiance. Though his entrapment wasn't the result of his own genius, his escape was in part, as he finally overcame Broderick's mind in a contest of willpower during the last Day of Dread. Thanks to Broderick's abundant notes, he quickly filled in the time gap and grasped the current political situation, then decided that since he had lost all his magical books and items, he could as well be the supreme commander of New Alphatia.

Nuwmont 17, AC 1017: Of Wind and Fiends.

Location: Alasiyan Desert, Emirates of Ylaruam. OW

Description: A troop of 200 Ylari cavalry and 400 infantry on the way to Tel Akbir to support Farid's rebellion disappears in the desert. It almost seems as if a sudden and very violent desert storm has dispersed them. (See Nu. 5, Nu. 15; Nu. 18, Nu. 19.)

What This Means: In fact, the responsible of the disappearance is a fiend, and a squad of Alasiyan undead, who died in the previous year's problem with the fiend. The demon benefited of the strong desert wind to attack the cavalry and most horses fled in panic. Some of the bolder (and well-equipped) Ylari (mostly officers) managed to face him, and, equipped with some magical weapons, they defeat the fiend. When the 50 undead and the fiend are finally killed, of the Ylari division only 20 men remain (though some others, who fled into the desert during the attack, eventually trickle back into Abbashan).

What the PCs Can Do: This is a good way to provide a fight with a supernatural force, if the PC's missed the events of AC 1015. But this obviously halts the march toward Tel Akbir. If the PCs are strong enough, they could change the end of the conflict...

Nuwmont 18, AC 1017: A Changing of the Guard and a Not-So-Gentle Nudge.

Location: Torenal Site, Sunken Arogansa, Nayce. AS

Description: A trio of submersibles arrives at Torenal Site. Among their cargo of personnel and supplies is a newly promoted Commander Deltart. Deltart appears before Commander Talmata and issues him the papers turning over command to him. He also hands Talmata his orders sending him to Eagret Island to assume command there . Talmata begins assembling his personal possessions and prepares for his departure.

Deltart's first act as facility administrator is to meet with his staff to go over Talmata's organisation and personnel allotments. After a few minutes, he decides to leave them in place with but a few changes. He then sends an aide to collect all of the available members that compose the Destroyer and Super Destroyer units, to read them a message from none other than Broderick. The letter strongly urges the adventurers to "start pulling their weight and deal with this ghoul nuisance." He passes the parchment out to allow each attendee the opportunity to read it for themselves. (See Nu. 6, Nu. 7; Va. 14, Va. 25.)

What This Means: This is the official change of power for Torenal Site. Ambitious, Deltart wastes little time in setting up his authority. He is ambitious and a bit arrogant, even by Alphatian nobility standards. He is aware that he is not powerful enough to manhandle his authority over the other spellcasters and that owes a great deal to family connections;. however he also knows that his position gives him a great deal of power over the mundaners and most of the spellcasters under his command. Talmata's organisational skills prove sound and the new commander leaves them essentially as they were-the exceptions are merely the areas that were greatly affected by the attack and need new personnel. There is little that Deltart can do to undermine the efforts of his predecessor.

Deltart is a bit wary in dealing with the adventurers. He knows that these individuals are adventurers and are not nearly as subservient to the authority that the council has given him. Likewise he is aware that he would fare badly if it came to physical conflict with most of them. Aware of the contents of Broderick's letter, he is a bit nervous about its confrontational and accusing contents. Therefore he makes it very clear that those words are from Broderick and not his own, going as far as to let them see the dispatch for themselves.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs involved in the Torenal Site will immediately see Deltart just for what he is: an arrogant novice flaunting the power given him by the council. The DM should play him up as the worst of Alphatian nobility, where even other nobles do not like him. He likes to pander to nobles of equal or greater experience to gain allies. He panders to those of greater magical, political, and even melee power. However those less experienced than Deltart will find themselves berated and ridiculed.

Nuwmont 18, AC 1017: The General Strikes.

Location: Town of Kantridae, Duchy of Kantrium, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: Ettore Ottaviano, a loyalist general in charge of garrisoning Kantrium (which revolted last year, but was occupied by forces from Retebius and Tel Akbir) marches immediately toward Tel Akbir. (See Nu. 15, Nu. 17; Nu. 20, Nu. 21.)

What This Means: Ettore Ottaviano is the former ambassador in Ierendi and one of the most prominent diplomats and generals of the country. Ottaviano received a message from Eusebius that he must march toward Tel Akbir as soon as the reinforcements arrived. He was thinking to leave for Tel Akbir even if they haven't arrived yet, because he has heard news from Ralak Ahman al-Mustafa of Ylari troops sent by the Kin sultan to help the traitor Farid. Fortunately for him, fresh troops from Port Lucinius have arrived near Fort Zendrol pursuing a group of rebels who refused to surrender. Ettore Ottaviano contacts its commander, Iulius Scaevola and asks to leave the rebel group and march toward Tel Akbir. Scaevola agrees, and the two groups unite and direct themselves toward the city. Apart from the political considerations, Eusebius has to choose new rulers for several dominions, and he believes that this could be a test to see if Ottaviano is fit for the title of duke that he long desired. It will be a very hard task for him to reconquer the duchy without creating any diplomatic problem with Ylaruam, especially since the Kin are now firmly on the throne. He doesn't know, but the luck has been on his side, destroying the first Ylari reinforcements.

What the PCs Can Do: A lot of military fighting in Thyatis this year.

Nuwmont 18, AC 1017: Mixed Reviews.

Location: City of Starpoint, Kingdom of Ambur, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Noted eccentric playwright Azomog publishes his latest play. Of Skies Blue, Rivers Red draws a variety of reviews from critics, thespians, and theatre enthusiasts. Some praise it as "a strange but remarkable unpredictable piece of entertainment." Others describe it as being "ahead of its time." More critical readers handle their judgment with far harsher terms such as "garbage" and "the meandering rants of a mentally-deficient orc." Despite all of the pre-release hype, there are no immediate plans for any theatre troupe to present the play. (See Am. 27.)

What This Means: In truth, the play is an experiment. Azomog crafted his tale while under the effects of zzonga and by going without sleep for extended periods. Its content is full of abstract and nonsensical passages. There is no apparent plot and it really comes off as a series of incoherent ramblings. Azomog is fairly certain that as it is the play will fail. Not wishing to waste the experience, he has already begun using his developmental notes to write a play based on the life of a zzonga addict.

Nuwmont 18, AC 1017: Crackdown!

Location: City-State of Kastelios, Serpent Coast. DV

Description: During the night, several warehouses along the shores of Euripidos Island are raided by squads of city guards. A number of these do not appear to contain anything out of the ordinary, but some are inhabited by a number of shady individuals, who resent the intrusion. Skirmishes break out amongst the docks, but the city guard has numbers on its side, and soon overpowers most of them-though almost a quarter of the malefactors escape. Some of those who surrendered are taken into custody for questioning. (See Nu. 22, Nu. 26.)

What This Means: Euripidos Island, which sits at the mouth of the Amoros and Vasilios Rivers, is the location of almost half of Kastelios' warehouses. It is also home to the less savoury aspects of Kastelios-most notably the business interests of the city-state's more powerful criminals, which include the illicit sale of antiquities and magic items, drugs, prostitution, and slavery. It is said that almost anything can be bought on the island, and this is in fact true-provided one has enough money.

For years, there was an unspoken agreement between the assembly and the criminal overlords of Euripidos Island. As long as the Kastelian government interfered as little as possible with the commerce of the island, the crime bosses would try to limit their excesses in the rest of the city, and contribute "gifts" to the government's coffers. Although this has been the norm, there have been periods where ambitious members of the assembly, eager to clean up the city and to prove themselves as capable leaders, tried to crush the criminal element. Though the raid was remarkably well-timed, this appears to be the beginning of another such period.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs can be involved in the raids, or in tracking down those criminals who escape.

Nuwmont 19, AC 1017: New Barons in Underocean.

Location: City of New Smaar, Kingdom of Underocean, Sunken Alphatia, Nayce. AS

Description: King Juliast announces the appointment of several new barons to help manage Underocean's growing population, as a small but steady stream of immigrants arrives from Aquas. However, unlike the barons of Undersea, these barons will have no ability to check the king's power, and for the moment will not have specific territories assigned to them, but will instead act as roving representatives of the king.

Of note is that one of the new barons, Torin Deepwatcher, is a non-spellcasting merrow. (See Va. 10, Va. 19.)

What the PCs Can Do: If they are well-established heroes of Underocean, they may be among the new nobility.

Nuwmont 19, AC 1017: Sultan Angered.

Location: City of Ylaruam, Emirate of Alasiya, Emirates of Ylaruam. OW

Description: The survivors of the demon attack return to Ylaruam and report of the event. Fearing that many demons could still be in the region and enraged at the blasphemous act of animating dead Ylari to further Entropic purposes, the sultan begins to consider the idea of a full scale inspection of the desert. He then sends new troops to Tel Akbir. (See Nu 5, Nu. 17; Nu. 20, Nu. 22.)

What This Means: The sultan is quite embarrassed. On one hand, he is beginning to think that he has not defeated the demons as completely as he had thought, and that the demons may still prove a problem to Ylaruam. He would prefer not to send new men to Tel Akbir with the risk of triggering a war with the Thyatians when he is not sure in his own border. But he doesn't want to lose Tel Akbir, and especially not to be untrue to his word to Farid.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are among the ones who battled the demon in the desert, it could be upon them to tell the sultan of the situation. Hassam could remember them once he has decided how to confront this situation once more, and they could be sent to find and eliminate hidden crèches of demons. Otherwise, if they had remained in Ylaruam, it could be the second occasion for them to join a heroic quest against the Thyatian infidels.

Nuwmont 19, AC 1017: Broderick vs. Karszamon.

Location: City of Ionace, Ionace Island, Nayce. AS

Description: The topic of this specially convened Nayce Council meeting is to choose the next commander in chief of the Naycese forces.

The first subject brought to discussion is the fates of Broderick and Karszamon, though, for on opening the meeting Queen Zynnia demands a way to bring Broderick back. (Prudently, Favian Vern had avoided bringing up that topic himself, as he feared Karszamon would renew his challenge, and for good this time.) According to Karszamon, the two of them cannot exist at the same time, for his body has been destroyed, and one must remain within Frightcorps while the other occupies Broderick's body. Karszamon is genuinely surprised that several council members pause to consider whether Broderick should be returned to his own body, rather than him, Karszamon, an aristocrat! When the vote is held, Karszamon wins over absent Broderick, though the atmosphere is heavy and the council rescinds its decision and schedules another vote on today's topic in three days. (See Nu. 9, Nu. 17; Nu. 22, Fy. 27.)

What This Means: Though he was not magically-gifted, Broderick was a competent and loyal man who on numerous occasions helped various rulers. They trusted him, and relied on him, despite his lower status. He was also the quiet symbol of the renewal some were trying to bring to the Nayce under the impulse of Favian Vern; more than a symbol, he was concrete if discreet evidence of the good of the new ways, and his disappearance in favour of Karszamon is a great step backwards to the old Alphatian ways. Whatever happens next, this is a great loss for the reformists' wing.

Meanwhile, this event makes Karszamon realise that what happened one way, might happen the other, too. Though he's confident that he can resist any attempt by the commoner to return to his body, he decides to shelve Frightcorps, and research a means to destroy it. He also vows to oppose those who would oppose the natural order of things by preferring a simple commoner over a great master of the arcane, a sure sign of the decay of the Alphatian way that could only lead to an end to the Alphatian superiority.

Nuwmont 20, AC 1017: It's Going to End Soon... and It's Going to Make Me Feel Better.

Location: Emirate of Tel Akbir, Emirates of Ylaruam. OW

Description: Ettore Ottaviano reaches Tel Akbir during the night. After a rapid discussion with Iulius Scaevola, the centarch who led the reinforcements from Port Lucinius, he decides to move as swiftly as possible. The officers plan a lightning strike and assault Tel Akbir. When the troops begin to storm the city walls, many citizens revolt and attack the guards, with Sarapammon and Ralak Ahman al-Mustafa casting spells from inside the city to help the Thyatian troops enter it quickly. Most of Farid's troops surrender quickly, and when the cold winter sun illuminates the city, Ettore Ottaviano has the traitor Farid executed. (See Nu. 17, Nu. 18; Nu. 22, Va. 1.)

What This Means: The nearly immediate reconquest of Tel Akbir shows the strategic ability of Ettore Ottaviano. Luck was also on his side, as well, along with key support from within Tel Akbir. Farid's Ylari advisers are captured along with many of Farid's troops.

Among those fighting against Farid in Tel Akbir is his sister, Jamila bint Nadir. She and Ettore Ottaviano happen to meet during the struggle, and become intrigued with each other.

Akir al-Sudif of House al-Azrad tries to hide his involvement, but palace staff and other witnesses are soon reporting his unusual degree of friendship with Farid during the secession attempt. The Thyatians, especially Eusebius, are looking for any excuse to curb the influence of Darokinian merchants in Thyatis, especially ones like al-Azrad House, which are seen as friendly to Thyatian enemies.

What the PCs Can Do: Ylari PCs might help delay the Thyatian victory, but will be hamstrung by the fact that the people of Tel Akbir will try anything to help Ottaviano's forces enter the city. Alternatively, they could encourage Farid to flee, hoping to fight again another day.

Nuwmont 20, AC 1017: Nayce Dome Insurance.

Location: Kingdom of Notrion, Continent of Bellissaria, Nayce. AS

Description: King Corydon is informed by the Nayce Council that even though the domes are finished, their transportation to Torenal Site will have to await the arrival of an escort fleet. They inform him that the fleet has been organized and deployed; elements of it should be reaching Aaslin within the next few days. Corydon is much relieved. (See Nu. 12; Va. 1, Ya. 26.)

What This Means: Organising the escort and support fleet has been no easy task for the Nayce Council. The usual indecision and rhetoric have slowed the organisation process. The fleet is a hodgepodge collection of vessels from various kingdoms' fleets, mostly what each kingdom feels they can spare.

What the PCs Can Do: King Corydon will hire a party to defend the precious domes against any sabotage attempt.

Nuwmont 21, AC 1017: Blood Calls for Blood.

Location: Throughout Kingdom of Qeodhar, Nayce. AS

Description: In response to a number of raids conducted by Antalian militants against Qeodharan positions in northern and eastern Qeodhar last year [please refer to the AC 1016 edition of the almanac. Ed.], Baron Norlan's forces begin a campaign of terror to make his opponents pay for their activities. Over the next few weeks, predominantly Antalian hamlets in northern and eastern Qeodhar are raided, and opposition is crushed ruthlessly. The fact that most of the Antalian minority in Qeodhar has already been displaced from the heartland, and has gathered in these peripheral settlements, only makes the job easier for Norlan's soldiers. (See Va. 15, Va. 27.)

What This Means: This is a deliberate ploy to crush domestic unrest, before it gets out of hand. Norlan also fears that news of the situation will reach other rulers within Nayce; it is bad enough that he enjoys little status as it is-proof that he is unable to control his own dominion would destroy what little remains of his credibility.

Nuwmont 21, AC 1017: Conclusions about Hresha-Rhak.

Location: Town of Port Fewalskij, Barony of Fewalskij, Confederacy of Klagorst. WB

Description: Jasin Pankow receives the reports from his agents. They have discovered that the hresha-rhak, through merchants all over the western coast of Brun, bring slaves from several areas of the continent to their territories. They do not know, however, what their reason for doing so happens to be. Jasin Pankow, considering the situation, decides that it is not Fewalskij's concern to find out what the strange race does with the slaves, but decides to talk with hresha-rhak representatives, because he does not want them to disguise their mercantile activities, pretending to transport different cargoes. (See Nu. 11.)

What This Means: Slavery is legal all over Klagorst, so Pankow is quite puzzled about the reasons why the merchants would choose to hide their cargo. He is convinced that it is simply a question of illegal acquisition of slaves, and does not want this to happen. If the hresha-rhak want slaves, they had better stick to the law, and not kidnap people, as Pankow fears they have done. Anyway, by informing the hresha-rhak of his concerns, he hopes to have them understand that they have to abide by the law in the future.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs may be the agents who uncovered these activities. Depending on the DM's preferences, the truth behind the hresha-rhak's activities may be much worse than presented in the almanac!

Nuwmont 21, AC 1017: The Capitulation of Machetos.

Location: Duchy of Machetos, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: After spending a week in Kerendas, Eusebius and his troops march across the river and take control of Machetos. Callastian Jowdynites, the aged duke, is nowhere to be found. Eusebius orders his troops to search the land for him, but they are unable to locate him. Eusebius muses aloud about sending the army further west to bring other recalcitrant rebels who sympathise with the enemies of the imperium to heel. Justin Karameikos, who was within earshot when Eusebius speaks, looks shocked and appalled. Eusebius merely winks at him and smiles.

The next day Eusebius and part of the imperial army set sail from Kerendas. They stop over at Terentias before continuing on to Hattias. Eusebius also dispatches official envoys to travel to Mirros in order to negotiate an official recognition of Karameikos and an improvement of relations, in return for some concessions. Among the envoys are several Vyalian elves. Several of the Karameikans who have decided to return to their homeland travel with the entourage, and will act as guards and intermediaries. But most, including Justin, stay behind in Thyatis for now. (See Nu. 7, Nu. 14; Va. 1, Va. 3.)

What This Means: Jowdynites has vanished. He was a very old man, and it is not known for sure if he survived the Crown War or not.

Eusebius is not normally a humorous man, but he is currently in good spirits. After the utterance, he speaks privately with Justin to make sure there was no misunderstanding, and about the envoys he planned on sending the next day. Justin is mollified, and lets his men know about this so those who've decided to return can travel with the same group. But Eusebius was also making a point-crafty and devious, he knows that word of his joke will get out, and reach the ears of King Stefan and his advisers once the party of envoys and Karameikans arrive. He is counting on Stefan wanting to avoid even the possibility of war to make him more tractable to the Thyatian Empire's moderate requests of its Karameikan progeny.

What the PCs Can Do: Players can be part of the group sent to Karameikos to negotiate things with Stefan, or they can investigate the mysterious disappearance of Callastian Jowdynites.

Nuwmont 21, AC 1017: Mivosians Annex Parthenaeum.

Location: City-State of Parthenaeum, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: On its march towards Polakatsikes, the Mivosian army approaches the minor City-state of Parthenaeum, which lies roughly one-third of the way along the route. Noting that the city-state's defenders have noticed his army's approach, the Mivosian commander sends a handful of representatives to the main gates, to demand Parthenaeum's surrender and surplus food, in exchange for which no harm shall befall the people of the city-state. While his messengers go about their task, the commander orders his catapults into a position where they can bombard any visible defences, and several phalanxes of soldiers are positioned in two long rows along the northern and southern hills that flank the city-state.

Parthenaeum's ruler, King Callicles, observes the positioning of Mivosia's forces, and listens to the message delivered to him by the messengers. He then asks the messengers to relay his response, that he will think on the matter, and provide an answer by sundown. Hours later, the Mivosians observe that the banners of Parthenaeum are taken down from the main dome of the palace, just as a runner, dispatched from the city-state, arrives under guard at the camp. He bears the message that King Callicles has agreed to surrender, under the terms offered by the Mivosians. Upon hearing the news, the commander orders his forces to bed down for the night, while he and his senior officers enter Parthenaeum to work out the finer details of the surrender. (See Nu. 8; Nu. 27, Nu. 28.)

What This Means: Parthenaeum is a fair-sized city-state, having roughly 12,000 people living within its walls. King Callicles is well aware of the size and martial power of Mivosia, and, much as he is disgusted by doing so, he realises that his forces would likely lose in a siege, and much of Parthenaeum would be destroyed. Being a fairly just king, who cares about the welfare of his people, Callicles feels that it would be better to be a vassal of Mivosia, and live, than to stand against them and die.

For the Mivosians, Parthenaeum is important in that it lies on the way to Polakatsikes, and, as one of the largest city-states in the area, it has resources which could be used in the war effort-such as men to conscript in armies, foodstuffs to feed the army, and skilled craftsmen to fashion weapons and equipment. Furthermore, this city-state may eventually become the administrative centre of a future province of the Mivosian Empire; thus the Mivosians were interested in obtaining it intact. Although fully prepared to besiege Parthenaeum, the Mivosians are happy that there is no need to do so.

About half of the Mivosian force will remain in Parthenaeum as a reserve force, while the remainder will continue on its way to Polakatsikes. A large number of Parthenaean men will also be pressed into military service over the next few days, as well.

Fourth Week

Nuwmont 22, AC 1017: The Next Commander in Chief.

Location: City of Ionace, Ionace Island, Nayce. AS

Description: The topic of this specially convened Nayce Council meeting is, again, to choose the next commander in chief of the Naycese forces.

King Verothrics begins contentiously by bluntly declaring that, since a large chunk of the imperial troops are Verothian, and that his men are the best Nayce possesses, it is only sound that a Verothian senior officer be promoted to the position of overall commander.

Furious that the King of Veroth attributes himself all the laurels while it is Thothia that fought Alphatia's battles a few years ago, Representative Ragmon throws his support (and by extension that of his allies) in favour of Karszamon. Likewise, other adversaries of a strong Bellissaria follow the same logic and support Karszamon. Favian Vern doesn't like either prospect, but reasons that he'd better support Karszamon on the chance that maybe someday Broderick can be brought back.

Since even several of the Bellissarian nations fear the prospect of a strong Veroth, Karszamon wins the position by a considerable margin. He decides to rename his office to "Supreme Marshal-Defender of the New Alphatian Empire and of Alphatia That Lays Still in the Depth of the Sea."(See Nu. 17, Nu. 19; Fy. 27, Sv. 7.)

What This Means: This council session is an example of the fierce politicking that now takes place at the council, with the immediate threat of Thyatian and other foreign empires no more in central focus.

It is clear that the confederal faction, that was the driving force of the constitution of Nayce, whose goal was a new Alphatian way for the good of all, with Favian Vern as the main figure, is no more in control.

Likewise, the Thothians' grip on the council is eroding inexorably, which, in addition to the trouble at home, is really putting Pharaoh Ramenhotep's strategy of empire-building in jeopardy.

At the same time, the Bellissarian continent, while apparently a strengthening bloc, is kept in check by internal competition and lack of trust as much as by the opposition of the more peripheral kingdoms to any attempt at centralisation in Bellissaria.

The emerging faction seems to be the conservative Alphatians, especially Arkans and Aquans, though they too are dispersed and uncooperative, as fits their generally chaotic and haughty character.

Nuwmont 22, AC 1017: The Rise of Shazula.

Location: Tanagoro Plains. HW

Description: Tanagoro warriors of the Shazeke Tribe discover a raggedly-dressed old woman butchering a freshly-slaughtered aurochs calf. The warriors arrest her and drag her into the village to stand trial before Chief Shazula. The old hag, Izala, claims to be a shaman and have the ability to see the future. For such visions had led her here and the butchering was part of her routine of divination and to confirm the visions she had been having of the chief. Shazula inquires to these visions, stating that the crone's life is at stake. Izala goes on to tell the Shazeke chief that she had had visions of him, rising to the very throne of the Tanagoro people and ushering in a new age where the Tanagoro would be feared and respected among their neighbours.

Much interested, Shazula orders the bringing of food and drink to the crone and urges her to continue. Licking her lips in anticipation, Izala obliges and continues relating her visions. She cites that the road to ultimate power will at first be slow, then rapid as his obstacles give way. But his destiny is not to be just a king, but a legend. His legend will unfold by his elevating of the Tanagoro to higher plateaus. His posterity will live on through his child and his children's children. However she cites that fate is a frugal bitch and that the wrong choice in a wife to bear his children may unravel everything.

Shazula asks the now eating crone who this wife and mother of a dynasty is to be. Between mouthfuls of food she responds that the future is cloudy, but the woman is of Tanagoro heritage but is not within Tanagoro lands. She is of uncommon beauty, with ample skills in the martial ways of their neighbours. She declares that she knows not her name, nor her current location. However she does see her as possibly being in Milenian lands. She also declares that fate has declared a weakness to his rise; a weakness that she is all too well aware of but cannot vocalise in mortal terms. Citing that that is all the Immortals have granted her, she turns her attentions back to stuffing the food into her mouth.

Shazula sits there, quietly watching the decrepit woman feast before him. Once she has finished, he motions to his guards to take her away. Surprised, Izala declares that only she can guide his rise, that only she knows what weaknesses may purloin his destiny. Shazula states that the matter of her poaching on his people's livestock is not negated by her visions. She has committed a grievous crime against his tribe and the penalty is death. With that, he stands and executes his own sentence. (See Fl. 15, Ya. 9.)

What This Means: In reality, Izala is little more than a con artist, being neither a shaman nor a soothsayer. In truth she had been the second wife of another chief that had passed away. She had been exiled from her own village for plotting against the new chief after he had refused to appoint her to an adviser's position. Since then she had been roaming the Tanagoro Plains living off handouts, scavenging, and stealing when need be. She had been caught butchering a calf and had quickly fabricated the whole shaman story to try to gain her freedom.

Shazula is the embodiment of the Tanagoro warrior chief, an attribute that endeared him to Korolo's father. Korolo is not the cunning tactician and formidable warrior that his father was. He instead prefers civil engineering projects and focusing on the domestic attributes of rule. Though the idea of being king is intriguing, Shazula prefers dealing with his warriors and displaying his own combat abilities. As a chief, he dreads what political duties he has. The idea of being hampered by being king is too much for him to stomach. As a warrior Shazula has few beliefs in prophecies, preferring to believe that he, and he alone, dictates his destiny through his strengths and weaknesses on the field of battle.

Shazula has some serious doubts as to Izala's claim of being a shaman. Many tribes hold the shamans as sacred members of society and would be greatly angered by them coming to harm. She never mentions her home tribe or allies that may take umbrage at her coming to harm. Likewise, she did not bear any items that denoted her as a shaman, nor did she bear any of the curious mannerisms that shamans usually display. Lastly, her visions and quest to find him are undermined by her stopping to butcher a calf-prudence would have dictated that she seek out Shazula first.

At best, Shazula accepts Izala's visions as an amusing tale. He is at first tempted to forgive her of the crime of poaching Shazeke livestock. However, she earns his wrath by pressing the point after he orders the guards to take her away from him. He cannot and will not take such displays of insolence from anyone, much less some old hag. As such, he carries out the normal sentence for poaching: death.

Nuwmont 22, AC 1017: Too Late!

Location: Duchy of Tel Akbir, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: 800 men from Ylaruam reach the city of Tel Akbir late this afternoon. Soon they are discouraged when scouts sent ahead see the situation in the city and discover the truth!

They soon begin to retreat to their country, hoping not to encounter Thyatian troops.

Tel Akbirans loyal to Thyatis had rushed to the city, alerting Ottaviano to the coming of the Ylari troops. He mobilises his cavalry, chasing the Ylari forces back to the border. There is some skirmishing between the forces, but few loses on either side. (See Nu. 19, Nu. 20; Va. 1, Va. 14.)

What This Means: The Ylari did not expect the Thyatians to react so fast to Farid's defection. Their forces are not strong enough to fight the Thyatian troops in Tel Akbir. Recognising this, their commander quickly orders a retreat, and they manage to return to Ylaruam without much trouble.

In Tel Akbir itself, imperial officials begin investigating the activities of House al-Azrad's merchants in the conspiracy of Farid, taking Akir al-Sudif and other al-Azrad merchants into custody for questioning. When Darokin hears of this, the council protests, and Eshram denies any attempt by his house to interfere with Thyatis or promote a revolt. But investigators quickly discover that Akir and some others were providing funds to Farid, and they have trouble believing that Eshram and his house were not involved in supporting the conspiracy. Eshram is telling the truth, however, as he was not involved in any way.

The operations of al-Azrad House are severely disrupted by the investigation, however. Imperial officials impound most properties (warehouses and goods) owned and operated by al-Azrad House in the region during the investigation in Tel Akbir, preventing most transactions from taking place. A less disruptive investigation is begun in Biazzan as well; though goods aren't impounded, the suspicions that are raised end up costing al-Azrad many deals.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are part of the Ylari troops, they may be sent to the city as scouts, and discover the situation. The DM would probably enjoy spicing up things, having them sighted by the Thyatian guards, compelling the PCs to kill them silently in order to escape from an unpleasant situation...

If they have fought with the Thyatians, either in the army or among the citizens, they could be able to hinder the pace of the fugitives, and be able to capture and kill more Ylari. Anyway, the outcome of the skirmishes will probably end up being the same.

Nuwmont 22, AC 1017: ... And the Best-Laid Plans Come to Naught.

Location: City-State of Kastelios, Serpent Coast. DV

Description: During a rainy night, by some warehouses on the northern shores of the Amoros River, a furtive band of cloaked individuals busily unloads a line of horse-drawn carts, moving the goods onto a waiting low-slung sailing ship. The work seems to be progressing well, until one of the men falls dead, his neck punctured by a crossbow bolt! Before anyone can react, city guards seem to spring up everywhere-even some of the smugglers shed their cloaks and reveal their identities as guardsmen. A spirited melee ensues, but the smugglers soon realise that there is no way they can win-or even escape-and those who were not felled in the fighting surrender.

The guard captain, taking control of the situation, orders a detachment to march the prisoners to the dungeons to await trial, while the others are to examine the cargo in detail. (See Nu. 18; Nu. 26, Va. 9.)

What This Means: The successful raids of Nuwmont 18 enabled the city guard to capture a number of criminals, who, after interrogation, revealed the planned smuggling of a few loads of raw opium (which is illegal in Kastelios) to Tanakumba, and from thence to locations throughout the Savage Baronies. The city guard already had a couple of undercover agents planted in some of the crime families, and these agents were able to confirm the information, as well as place regular guardsmen amongst the smugglers to aid in apprehension of the criminals. Although not a devastating blow to criminal operations in the city-state, the confiscation of the opium does cost them a substantial amount of money.

When they hear of the operation, the criminal overlords of Kastelios will not be pleased; they will become suspicious of both their own underlings as well as the intentions of the Kastelian Assembly, which until now had, for the most part, respected the unspoken agreement between the crime families and the government. They reason that the raid of Nuwmont 18 was too well-timed to be a coincidence; either someone is feeding the city guard information, or the government is truly breaking its deal with them.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs will have to think fast on either side-as criminals trying to escape the city guard, and as law enforcement officers trying to prevent anyone from escaping.

Nuwmont 23, AC 1017: Stonewall's Plea Repeated.

Location: City of Andaire, Kingdom of Alphas'ar, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: King Koblan Dracodon of Stonewall appears before Empress Eriadna and her imperial court to ask for imperial assistance against the famine that now threatens Stonewall. There is some discussion, but Koblan understands that the matter has already been decided upon and that Stonewall will have to solve its own problems. This so infuriates Koblan that he addresses Eriadna and her advisers with anger and hostility, and accuses them of being biased against his nation simply because there are many commoners and few aristocrats there, and because they don't like the many warriors in his nation. In the end Koblan states that if Eriadna is unwilling to help, then he will have his nation do what they must to survive! Then he and his small delegation (including Selcomad and Rogart) quickly leave for Draco. (See Nu. 3, Nu. 14; Va. 5, Th. 2.)

What This Means: Koblan was never much of a diplomat and all his arguments were mere repetitions of what Selcomad had already said in court earlier. Thus, there were no new arguments to consider, in which case Eriadna felt that her ruling should stand. Koblan may indeed have a point when he claims that the antipathy of aristocrats towards Stonewall may have something to do with the decision. It is not a secret that a great many aristocrats feel that Stonewall is nothing but a settlement for common rabble, and are perfectly willing to let them all starve. On the other hand, Koblan's outbursts also mean that he has now lost any chance he might ever have had for support from Eriadna's court.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs can do little here, as Koblan is determined to address Eriadna and once he does, he will get into trouble. Unless the PCs are skilled diplomats, it is unlikely that they will even be part of Koblan's delegation.

Nuwmont 23, AC 1017: Gold Mines Opened.

Location: Bylot Hills. WB

Description: The first gold mines in Bylot Hills are opened by the Antasynians. The village of Fletrip doubles its population in a few days as miners and prospectors move in. Some of the gold is sent to Hule's treasury, while the rest is used to raise and equip Antasynian armies against the rebels in Monzag. (See Va. 10, Fl. 15.)

What This Means: The Master knows that he must take initiative in Bylot Hills before Zuyevo does, so he has his Antasynian allies open the gold mines, thus helping both them and himself while expending very little. Later in the year, as Hulean armies return from other lands, some will be sent to Bylot Hills to guard the mines against any Zuyevan incursions.

What the PCs Can Do: Hulean or Antasynian PCs might be charged with helping open the mines and guard them against attacks. PCs who support the rebels might try to disrupt the mines' operation.

Nuwmont 26, AC 1017: Retribution.

Location: City-State of Kastelios, Serpent Coast. DV

Description: Thesius Palakratidos, a respected member of the Kastelian Assembly, is found dead this morning in his home, apparently killed by strangulation. Many Kastelians suspect that this killing was not a random act because Thesius had always been an outspoken critic of what he saw as lethargic efforts to eliminate crime in the city-state. The spokesman of the assembly, Xenthos Sarantakos, issues a statement, that following the customary period of mourning, a by-election will be held in Thesius' electoral district to vote for a successor. (See Nu. 18, Nu. 22; Va. 9, Va. 12.)

What This Means: Although the people of Kastelios are truly saddened and disgusted over the murder of Thesius, who was dearly loved by his constituents, most people in government, and many in the rest of society, suspect that the killed was in retribution for the operations of Nuwmont 18 and 22. Those Kastelians who are aware of the informal arrangement that has existed between the government and organized crime are, for the most part, against it, but at the same time they feel that the city has too many external concerns to devote very much of its energies to wiping out the crime families forever, and that the deal, though unpalatable, is far better than the alternative.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are in any way associated with the assembly, they may be asked to investigate the murder discreetly.

Nuwmont 26, AC 1017: Nomads Approached.

Location: The Sanctified Lands, Hulean Empire. WB

Description: The nomads who entered the Dark Wood in Sviftmont last year have been wandering around the Dark Wood for weeks, finding little food and grazing for their horses. Today they are surprised when a group of priests in white robes approach them, bringing food and drink in generous amounts. Though suspicious, the nomads accept the offerings. The priests spend an afternoon telling them about Hulean legends and doctrines. They leave in the evening, promising to return with more supplies. (See Nu. 1; Th. 12, Sv. 1.)

What This Means: The Master is taking the first steps at converting the nomads who entered the Dark Wood. If he succeeds, they will prove a useful resource.

Nuwmont 27, AC 1017: And Is This the Price We Pay for Freedom?

Location: Town of Deletria, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: The peaceful atmosphere of the town of Deletria is shattered by the appearance of over a hundred weary individuals, who implore the town guards to allow them to enter the town. When pressed as to the reason for their arrival in such a state, they relate how their farms and villages have been overrun by Mivosian soldiers. Without further word, the fleeing country folk are granted admission into Deletria.

Scant hours later, the town's defenders observe pillars of smoke rising from behind nearby hills to the north, and the occasional scream. The noises grow louder as the minutes pass, and, as the town guards gather along the northern defences and ready their weapons in preparation for an as-yet unseen threat, they observe a force of heavily-armoured soldiers march over the hills, heading directly for Deletria, followed by three small catapults. Not wishing to lose a moment's time, the town guards open fire with their short bows, taking down some soldiers in the front ranks, but before they can prepare a second volley, they hear the din of battle-coming from the south! As some of them turn to face the new threat, they notice that the southern defences have already been breached, and many buildings are already burning.

Even as they assess this threat, the soldiers marching from the north charge the Deletrian positions. Though they do not break through immediately, they are able to pose enough of a threat that the defenders cannot muster sufficient force to meet the attack from the south, and hold off the northern assault at the same time. That, and the chaos in the streets as townsfolk desperately try to escape the fighting, make any effort to coordinate the defence of the town almost impossible. Soon, the Mivosians crush the remnants of Deletria's forces, and proclaim the battle a victory. The commander then announces to his soldiers that they will have liberty of the town until sunset tomorrow. (See Nu. 8, Nu. 21; Nu. 28, Va. 2.)

What This Means: Since the annexation of Parthenaeum, the Mivosians have been looting their way to Polakatsikes, driving forth villagers and farmers who refuse to swear allegiance to Mivosia, and sustaining themselves with what they have been able to confiscate. Deletria is the second significant settlement that they have encountered. Although the Mivosians had to exercise some degree of caution when dealing with Parthenaeum, no such concern is present in the case of Deletria. This small town, having little more than 2,500 people within its walls, is more of a trading hub than a centre of military control. The forces it mustered against the Mivosians would never have been enough to hold them off, and now it has become the latest acquisition of the growing Mivosian hegemony on the Meghala Kimata Plains.

Once the town has been secured, the Mivosian commander will order the execution of one-third of the remaining town guards, and will enslave the families of the executed. Of the remaining townsfolk, one-third will be expelled from their homes, given until sunrise the next day to leave Deletria under pain of death. In the meantime, the Mivosian soldiers will be busy looting everything in sight, having been given free license by their commander to do so. This is intended to dissuade the Deletrians from rising up against their new overlords, as well as to provide an outlet for the Mivosian soldiers.

Nuwmont 28, AC 1017: Parliament Warns the King.

Location: City of Leominster, Bishopric of Leominster, Kingdom of Bellayne. SC

Description: After an all-night sitting in the Commons, a measure is passed by a single vote denouncing the king's handling of the nation last year. The Commons also votes to demand that the king visits the parliament to explain his position and plans for the upcoming year. (See Nu. 7; Va. 11, Va. 15.)

What This Means: Most members of the parliament are as shocked as the king himself about the clash of arms last year. This measure represents an attempt by the parliament to reopen negotiations with King James before things get even more out of hand.

Unfortunately the demand was penned in a somewhat harsh tone, so when the king reads it, the measure may have the opposite effect. In the event this proves not to be a problem, as the king does not appear to give it a second glance.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters can take sides in the growing conflict and make contacts that will give them a prominent position, or try to act as intermediaries in negotiations between the parliament and the king.

Nuwmont 28, AC 1017: The Shadow Lengthens Amid Much Speculation.

Location: Town of Polakatsikes, Dominion of Polakatsikes, Heldannic Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: Rumours of a great host of soldiers marching across the plains has spread to Polakatsikes, as townsfolk share what they have heard with their neighbours, and in doing so, public tensions increase. The Heldannic authorities, not wishing disorder to inhibit their continuing efforts to integrate the city-state into the Heldannic Empire, order scouts to venture northwestwards, towards Mivosia, in order to determine whether there is any truth in these tales. (See Nu. 21, Nu. 27; Va. 2, Va. 6.)

What This Means: If there is one thing Wolfgang Stemmel (the current Heldannic Governor of Polakatsikes) and Trimos Sortiropolis (the former leader) agree about, it is that anything involving Mivosia cannot be good. Their interaction with Mivosia last year was anything but friendly, and both of them know that some sort of conflict is likely. Hence the decision to dispatch scouts to determine what is really going on.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs (whether they are Milenian or Heldannic) could be sent as one of the scouting parties. If so, the DM should set up several wilderness encounters (against bandits, wild animals, Mivosian scouts, or worse) to challenge them.