Atlas   Rules   Resources   Adventures   Stories       FAQ   Search   Links


First Week

Sviftmont 1, AC 1017: A-Hunting We Shall Go.

Location: Town of Grawyz, County of Valeryia, Confederacy of Klagorst. WB

Description: The Adventurers' Guild of Grawyz, under the leadership of Andrzej Vatacek, starts its expedition to find the Reptile Knights and put an end to their raids. There are 25 men, among whom are adventurers of the guild, bounty hunters, and mercenaries, all of whom have been promised 1,800 zeurs if they succeed. (See Fy. 7, Am. 27; Ei. 13.)

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs want to fight against the Reptile Knights, they will have to be of high level. The Reptile Knights are all avengers of at least level 10 [14 OD&D], extremely well trained in the use of the axe and the long sword, and are all in the possession of two or three magical items. It will take a long time just to find them, and when that happens, the battle will be hard, and several of the members of the expedition will probably die-hopefully, not the PCs.

Sviftmont 1, AC 1017: A Leader Addresses the Masses.

Location: City of Rardish, Kingdom of Randel, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: From the palace's battlements, Queen Karatnora speaks publicly to the people of Rardish. The message is read aloud throughout the kingdom.

"Men and women of Randel. The past few years have seen grievous injustices poured upon the warriors of this kingdom. Age-old traditions and expectations have been thrown asunder, all in the name of peace and pacifism as dictated by the Immortal Alphatia. I praise your composure and discipline in standing fast amid an obviously slanderous administration. Sadly, these injustices have come from within our very borders and from the palace.

"However, I cannot and will not place all of the blame upon Junna. Much of the blame has to rest upon the shoulders of her clerics, who had grown fat and corrupt upon their newfound power and influence. She had resided among their ways for far too long; forgetting her duties and heritage as part of the Randel.

"However I cannot lay all blame upon the Order of the Immortal Alphatia. Though the Immortal preaches peace and prosperity, such doctrines do not need to submit totally to pacifism. In fact, peace and prosperity often go hand in hand with a stout sword arm, a volley of spell fire, and a raising of the Randel battle standard.

"But in our recent history, the cohesiveness and cooperation of peace and prosperity and the Randel way have been forgotten in favour of pacifism. Those that would try to engineer the Randel to match their ideas of the ways of the Immortal Alphatia are no more. The corrupt and misguided actions of this clergy have been addressed and the direst punishments handed out. Though the effects of their misguided attentions will surely linger, we can and will rebuild.

"We are of Randel. We are fighters. We have survived far worse than this. If it does not kill us, it makes us stronger. Our military abilities and traditions are akin to a bird's ability to fly-you can cage it but it will always look towards the skies. Like a bird of prey, our wings have been clipped and our strengths weakened. However, our feathers will grow back out and we shall reclaim our birthright.

"So as I assure the Randel people that we will survive, let me also cry out to our neighbours, both allies, foes, and others, that the Randel may be weakened and diminished. However, proper funding and support make not a warrior people. Such matters are gained by birthright as much as they are gained by training. Though our armour is dinged and dirty; though our swords are dull and rusty; though our spell fire is diminished and lacks of practice, I assure you, and our neighbours, that the Randel people can and will fight like the beguiled forces of old for every square foot of Randel land.

"We regret that we cannot offer similar military attentions to our besieged brethren in Eadrin. However, the Eadrin are a stout and hearty lot, I am confident that they can handle their own defences. For the time being, we can only offer support and well wishes."(See Am. 14, Am. 18; Sv. 7, Sv. 11.)

What This Means: The speech is well received throughout Randel. The speech itself is part of the damage control process for the whole matter with Junna. It is designed to remove the stigma of the whole ordeal away from Junna and from the mainstream followings of the Immortal Alphatia, and to rekindle Randel patriotism and tradition. However this angle is undermined as key examples of Randel strength and past actions cannot be referenced to as they contradict the false memories that the bulk of the populace has. Finally, the speech is engineered to make Karatnora come off like a devoted militarist. This is needed as Karatnora has a reputation of being rather carefree and uncaring when it comes to traditional Randel militarism.

Sviftmont 1, AC 1017: First Survey Report Made.

Location: City of Greenwood, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: A mage from the surveyor team on the coast of Foresthome teleports to the capital and delivers the first report to the queen. According to this report it is possible to construct a short passageway from the Llyn River to the harbour of Tenoboa. This short section of the planned coastal canal avoids the dangerous area near the rim waterfall, which would hinder ships sailing into the harbour. (See Am. 16, Am. 22; Sv. 10, Sv. 14.)

What This Means: Now that she has decided to allow canals in her kingdom Queen Kikania is determined to push forward her own project as fast as possible. She wants to get one or two of her harbours reconnected to the trade routes before the end of the year [the Alphatian year does not end until Vatermont 28. Ed.].

Tenoboa's harbour used to be in the mouth of Llyn River, with access to both the river and the Alphatian Sea. With the relocation and the disappearance of the sea, the Llyn River now directly falls over the edge of the continent at the Llyn Waterfall, and the channel here that used to be broad and calm is now rough and unfit to navigation, with most of the port facility destroyed or unused. The dam is to prevent the worst of the waterfall, and create an artificial harbour where the old one used to be, thus reconnecting Tenoboa to the rest of the Llyn River system and, when the Rim Canal is built, to the other rim settlements as well.

Sviftmont 1, AC 1017: A Call for Help.

Location: Exarchate of Davania Superior, Hinterlands, Thyatian Empire. DV

Description: Communities all over southern and western Davania Superior have been trying for weeks to cope with the influx of large numbers of Milenian refugees from the Meghala Kimata Plains. Although the local bureaucracy is reasonably efficient, it is small in scale, and used to handling the needs of Thyatian citizens in the region, not several thousand newcomers lacking food and shelter. At first, local temples and charitable organisations were contacted, but soon afterwards even they could not help in this monumental task. Many refugees were to be moved to Raven Scarp, but threats from Siobhan's army prevented any large-scale movements for weeks, leaving the problem in the hands of towns and villages, and straining their resources ever more.

Compounding this has been a string of attacks against the Milenians by Thyatians and Thyatianised Hinterlanders, as feelings of resentment against the newcomers begins to rise. Seeing the situation deteriorate rapidly, Exarch Leilah ben Nadir sends a personal message to Emperor Eusebius, asking that he provide aid to his southern dominions in handling the influx. (See Am. 19, Am. 27; Sv. 6, Sv. 17.)

What This Means: Although the Hinterlands are better able to handle colonists than they were even ten years ago, the arrival of over 30,000 refugees during the first half of the year has taxed the administrative structures to a standstill. The infrastructure to handle such a population increase simply does not exist, and few dominions can afford to take in any of the migrants, being more concerned with establishing themselves. So long as the situation persists, food shortages will become more common, as will disease and strife as locals come to resent the presence of the Milenians, who, to some people, appear to be sponging off of everyone else.

What the PCs Can Do: If one or more of the PCs is a dominion ruler in the Hinterlands, they will have received by now a personal letter from Leilah ben Nadir, asking them to take in as many Milenian refugees as they can. If they can, and agree to take in some of them, the PCs will have to cope with resettling them, as well as dealing with culture shock, and trying to integrate them with the rest of the residents of their dominions. If they refuse, and it is shown that they can handle an influx, Leilah will pull rank and order them to comply-which might pave the way for tensions in the future.

Sviftmont 1, AC 1017: More Elven Intrigues.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: The emissary of Princes Tanadaleyo of Aengmor has not yet received an official reply from the Council of Princes about the intrusion of Glantrian skyships over Aengmor's territories. The chancellor of princes, Prince Urmahid Krinagar convenes a closed-door meeting with the Council of Princes. In the end, Prince Urmahid and Princess Carlotina Erewan are seen meeting with the shadowelf emissary, who then returns to Rafielton appeased. The matter of the skyships is never discussed again. (See Fe. 20, Am. 15; Am. 25, Ka. 22.)

What This Means: Prince Urmahid is caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, he is fully aware that it was Prince Malachie, the newly-chosen warden of the marches, who sent the skyships to Aengmor. On the other, his admission of such would endanger Glantri's already tenuous diplomatic relations with Aengmor and other Old World relations. Prince Urmahid calls on all the other princes to thresh out the matter-and as expected, politics and intrigue ran high.

Prince Malachie remained adamant that the skyship manoeuvres were for a secret, but fully justified, military mission (he could not yet directly link Princess Dolores Hillsbury with the sorceress Synn!). Princess Dolores Hillsbury, of course, pointed out that the "new and untested" warden of the marches had so far not presented to any good cause for his move-save perhaps to outshine his predecessor.

Meanwhile, Princess Carnelia de Belcadiz questioned the significance of their diplomatic ties with Aengmor, which in turn elicited a reaction from her rival, Princess Carlotina Erewan, whom she rightfully suspected of harbouring secret alliances with the shadow elves. In the end, the good-natured Princess Carlotina volunteered to speak with the shadowelf emissary, promising to use her good graces with these elven brethren on behalf of the Council of Princes.

At the end of the meeting, several princes of Glantri began to reconsider their opinions of former allies and enemies. Both Prince Urmahid and Prince Malachie are genuinely taken in by Princess Carlotina's selfless act, while Prinz Jaggar von Drachenfels, the former warden of the marches, is not totally unaffected by Princess Dolores' insinuations of Prince Malachie's grandstanding.

Sviftmont 1, AC 1017: Under Assault Again.

Location: Eagret Island, Nayce. AS

Description: Lookouts raise a cry of alarm to the naval base's garrison. Talmata's vigilance prevails as the troops turn out to the refurbished defences. Before them they see an army of figures emerging from the sea and walking across the beach towards the base. The attackers are obviously undead; their staggering walk and the pre-emptive stench denoting their nature far in advance. There are numerous mundane undead present, mostly animated skeletons, zombies, and ghouls. More powerful undead are mixed within their ranks and appear to be leading them in their assault. Talmata and his more experienced officers begin identifying them from the battlements; skeletal warriors, undead beholders, wights, and spectres are all seen.

The undead silently form up in rudimentary ranks and begin a bizarre march on the base. Though they manage to scale the walls several times, they are unable to maintain any foothold on its interior. As the undead assault begins to fall apart, they begin falling back out of missile range. They form up to begin another assault.

A renewed assault does not immediately come. Instead, a lone figure emerges from their ranks and strides boldly towards the walls holding a rudimentary flag of truce. The figure stops at the base of the walls, his features showing themselves clearly to the defenders. He is an imposing figure wearing battered plate armour of a darkened hue. His features are skeletal with eyes burning red. Slung on his back is a large spiked mace.

The death knight scans the walls with his unnatural eyes. Spotting Talmata, he points at him and offers a proposal. In a hollow voice, he states that this matter can be resolved with a contest of champions. If he wins, the island is his. If the Alphatian champion wins, his forces will depart.

Talmata contemplates the offer. He knows that the battle is not decidedly in their favour. Likewise, he is aware that the undead can fight on without rest, and merely wear his men down. Since he will act as champion, he is unwilling to place all of his men's lives on his success or failure.

As if it has sensed the cleric's thoughts and apprehensions, the death knights interjects that he would prefer to not battle Talmata, a cleric of the Razud faith. However, as he made the challenge he cannot stipulate the identity of the Alphatian champion. In light of this, he adds that if Talmata names someone beside himself as the champion he will add another aspect of the challenge: if the Alphatian champion falls, he guarantees the safe evacuation of the garrison.

Though the word of an undead may be subject to ridicule, Talmata senses that the offer is sincere. He is actually more worried that the undead will continue their assault if their presumed leader falls than if he succeeds. It really depends upon his second in command. Talmata decides that the matter is worth the risk. He gathers his most able warriors and puts the matter before them. He decides upon the fighter Garrek, a longtime friend and compatriot.

Talmata announces his decision and his champion. The death knight agrees to the opponent and restates the conditions. He formally announces to his undead troops and their commanders that the deal has been struck. He then states that he, Faruuza the Fallen, has ordained it as so and that his forces shall oblige by the decision. In response, the undead nod their heads in stoic subservient approval.

That said, Faruuza and Garrek meet outside of the base's walls and square up for combat. Faruuza immediately surprises Garrek by saluting him and wishing him good luck. Puzzled, Garrek starts to return the remarks but is stopped in mid-sentence. The death knight tells him that he deserves no similar praises or goodwill. To further halt conversation he begins the battle.

The two champions begin their contest of arms, each making probing attacks to feel out the opponent's strengths and weaknesses. Soon after, the combat intensifies as the two begin testing their strengths and assessments of their opponent. Initially, the two appear to be evenly matched with neither showing an apparent advantage. However, the death knight begins to gain an advantage as Garrek becomes fatigued and goes on the defensive.

The battle appears to be lost when the heavy mace of Faruuza knocks the protective shield of Garrek from his arm. The undead warrior pauses momentarily to survey his impending victory. However victory goes to Garrek as he brandishes his battleaxe with both hands and begins a fanatical assault on the death knight. Under the barrage of axe blows Faruuza is forced back as he tries to dodge and parry his opponent's blows. However, he cannot meet each attack and steadily the blade of Garrek racks up hit after hit upon the dead flesh.

Finally, the death knight drops to his knees. Looking up at Garrek and his raised battle axe, he tells him to finish it. Garrek obliges and with all of his remaining strength sends the broad blade into the form of the death knight. The blade connects, nearly severing the undead's head. The decaying flesh collapses to the ground, the dark eye sockets attesting that the death knight is no more.

Though victorious, Garrek turns to the undead that surround him. Their dead gaze ferries between the form of their fallen master and that of his slayer. They pause for a moment unsure what to do. Fearing treachery on their part, Garrek takes a defensive posture and moves back towards the walls. Behind him he can hear to sounds of his fellows cocking crossbows and loosening weapons in their scabbards.

The undead decide to oblige their master's commands. They begin withdrawing from the walls, back to the beach, and out into the surf. As the defenders open the main doors to pull Garrek in, he collapses in their arms. The man is overwhelmed with exhaustion and emotion. He is immediately carried to his quarters and attended to by Talmata's clerical spells.

With rest and medical attention, Garrek will survive the battle. Likewise, the base will not be harassed any further this day. Scouts are sent and report no signs of any undead on the island.-the undead have honoured the deal their master had brokered. Later, Garrek will ask Talmata about this Faruuza. Talmata will vaguely tell him that he had once known a cleric named Faruuza; an honourable man, he had lost much with the burning of Aasla. It had been thought that he had perished during the Great War. (See Am. 22, Am. 26; Sv. 5, Sv. 13.)

What This Means: Faruuza is a death knight, his undead existence being a result of atrocities that he committed after losing his family in the fire storm that razed Aasla during the Great War. Before his undeath, he had been a devoted cleric in the service of the Immortal Razud. Recently he has come under the sway of the mysterious voice that is leading the undead in the area. Without any purpose, he was easily caught up in the matter. The mysterious voice appointed him as the commander of the assault on Eagret Island.

As the battle went from idea to actual practice, he had had second thoughts on his allegiance. Residual loyalties to the Alphatian Empire and the Razud clergy have pestered his resolve. However, it is his seeing Alphatians led by Talmata being barraged by his forces that he decided on a course of action, and he offered the champions' battle to decide the matter. The battle "winner take all" contest is a farce; Faruuza had no thought of actually winning. However, he knew that the mysterious voice would be watching and knew that he must proceed with caution.

He rationalised that Talmata would want to offer himself as the champion of the living. However, Faruuza did not want to take up arms against his former clergy members. Likewise he was not overly keen on his death coming at the hands of one of them. Thus the proposal was staged so that it offered him his means of an honourable death on his own terms without being overly obvious that he was throwing the fight.

Garrek did fairly well against the death knight, but had Faruuza desired he could have won the day. In the battle he abstained from using several of his unnatural abilities that his nature provided him. He never really pressed his attacks. When Garrek lost his shield, Faruuza essentially gave up any pretences of winning. The living fighter was just too tired and too overmatched.

In time, Garrek will realise that his victory was a hollow one. He will confide in Talmata his suspicions. Talmata will eventually divulge the story of Faruuza and surmise that his death was a final act of sacrifice, probably to end his undead existence in an honourable manner.

As for Faruuza's undead forces, they do oblige the final command of their leader. It will be some time before the mysterious voice can find another undead sergeant powerful enough to act as her general and maintain control over so many undead at one time. For the time being, the undead will return to operating in smaller groups under the guidance of undead masters. Also for the time being, the nature and identity of the mysterious voice will remain a mystery.

Sviftmont 1, AC 1017: Monzag Resistance Collapses.

Location: Kingdom of Monzag, Converted Lands. WB

Description: The capture of Puzstòck and Szekçarüt by the Master's allies (the Antasynians and the Dark Wood nomads) results in the collapse of the Monzag resistance. The rebel Monzag Wizard-King, Balàzs Khuen, refuses to admit defeat and is killed in a glorious last battle. The nomads that the Master recruited earlier this year from the Dark Wood begin to settle their new conquest, taking property and women from the locals. The common people of Monzag are persuaded by Hulean agents that the uprising was not a freedom movement, but an effort to sell them out by oppressive and uncaring lords to a foreign power (Zuyevo). (See Fl. 15, Fy. 16.)

What This Means: This was an inevitable result of the Master's machinations. He weakened the Monzag from within by pitting their aristocrats against each other and he directly financed the nomads and Antasynians in their battles against the Monzags. The Zuyevans were not actually involved in efforts to destabilise Monzag and Antasyn, but their well known goal of seizing the Bylot Hills is craftily used by the Master to convince people that Zuyevo was behind the insurgency. Several of the lords who submit to Hule and surrender "confess" their supposed involvement with Zuyevan agents, which further lends further credibility to the Hulean version, which is spread among the common folk through adept use of minstrels and bards.

Sviftmont 1, AC 1017: The War Machine Rolls Relentlessly.

Location: Countryside, Kingdom of Arkan, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Despite the recent successes of Wolf-Hunter and his Wolf-Pack, the Stonewall war machine marches on without mercy or remorse. Though they have been harassed along the way, the Arkan resistance has been insufficient to really slow down their advance, let alone stop it. (See Am. 4, Am. 16; Sv. 4, Sv. 7.)

What This Means: The Stonewall army is moving forward at an alarming rate-if they continue at their current pace, they will reach the city of Ceafem within the next two weeks and put it under a siege that it probably would not be able to withstand for long. Unless something is done soon, Arkan will surely have lost the war!

What the PCs Can Do: The Wolf-Pack will obviously continue with its tactics, but unless the PCs are incredibly powerful, there is little they can do to stop the advance of the entire Stonewall army.

Sviftmont 1, AC 1017: Is There Ever End to Disgrace?

Location: Barony of Two Lakes Vale, Icereach Range. NW

Description: Sylarion receives a visit from Ulslime, a devoted priest of Nyx, who has been charged with a special task by the Night Mother. Sylarion begins to harvest as many living and undead beings as possible, providing them to Ulslime for his experiments.

Meanwhile word of Two Lakes Vale's situation has spread in Norwold, and adventurers are coming from every corner to gain fame and honour from this seemingly impossible quest against the forces of darkness... much to the delight of the Shadow Lord's sadistic tastes. (See Am. 20, Am. 26; Sv. 10.)

What This Means: Nyx sent Ulslime to complete Her mischievous plan in Two Lakes Vale. He is to create something that will definitely turn the tables in favour of the undead of the whole world, so She will take revenge upon all those so-called champions of Good who have killed so many of Her dear children in the past centuries.

What the PCs Can Do: Save the day in the Barony of Two Lakes Vale, what else? The DM can follow the encounters described in CM2 The Death Ride module with the above-mentioned changes. If the party is of high level, the adventure can become more challenging if the DM puts at least one of the components of the Hammer of Life under the Shadow Lord's close watch.

Sviftmont 2, AC 1017: Too Late To Help.

Location: Eastern Jungle Coast, roughly 200 miles east of Colony of Davania Inferior. DV

Description: Continuing their eastward voyage, Julius Ambrosius' exploratory flotilla notices an island early in the morning, situated not far from their current position, upon which can be seen evidence of habitation-evidenced by piles of splintered wood, overgrown fields, and orderly piles of stone. Intrigued, but at the same time cautious, Julius orders the ships to head for the island.

Before long, they arrive at their destination, and proceed to circumnavigate the island, a task that is completed well before sundown. Seeing that there is at least a couple of hours of daylight left, Julius sends a detachment of marines to secure the beach, while he and a select group of explorers come ashore. Though a quick survey of the island reveals nothing dangerous, it is not long before the party identifies the wood as having once been the planks of a ship, as well as boards from barrels. Within the tumbled pile of stone is found two skeletons, as well as a rusted tin box containing a salt-stained logbook.

Skimming the book, Julius informs his companions that the skeletons they see are the remains of two Thyatian explorers, whose vessel, the Stinging Bee, ran aground in a storm, killing the remainder of the crew. The men were marooned here until their deaths, almost 22 years previously. Closing the book, Julius asks the resident cleric to say a prayer for the fallen, while the others turn the collapsed shack into a makeshift grave. (See Fy. 18, Am. 9; Ei. 13.)

What This Means: The Jungle Coast is dangerous for many reasons, not the least of which are its treacherous shores. Over the years, many ships sank during the storms that batter these shores regularly, or ran afoul of the coral reefs and sandbars. The Stinging Bee is one such vessel, missing for over 22 years. Julius plans, once he returns to Thyatis, to inform the relevant authorities of his discovery-one ship, at least, will be missing no longer.

For the time being, Julius will have his men explore the island, and collect whatever interesting samples they can find. They will rest here for the night, before continuing their voyage.

Sviftmont 2, AC 1017: Hockstein Declares for Straßenburger

Location: Town of Hockstein, Territory of Heldann, Heldannic Empire. OW

Description: Adelard von Bohm, Landmeister of Hockstein, issues a declaration of support for Heinrich Straßenburger, stating that he has no faith in the current leadership of the Heldannic Order. He states further that his forces will be at Straßenburger's disposal. (See Am. 26, Am. 28; Sv. 6, Sv. 21)

What This Means: Support for Straßenburger's rebellion against the leadership of Oberherr Wulf von Klagendorf appears to be growing.

Sviftmont 2, AC 1017: Jennites March.

Location: Countryside between City of Skyfyr and ruins of Town of Anchorage, Provinces of Blackrock and Anchorage, Republic of Esterhold, Nayce. SK

Description: With winter approaching and the Jennites wanting to drive off the Alphatians before it's too late, the united Jennites hasten to reach the second-most hated Alphatian city on the Esterhold Peninsula-Skyfyr!(See Fy. 26, Am. 23; Ei. 17, Ka. 13.)

What This Means: Once winter comes, the Jennite advance will be halted because the free Jennites must settle for the winter to keep their vital herds alive, and since the siege of Anchorage took more time than expected, the Jennites have to make up for the lost time on their plans for conquest. Skyfyr in Blackrock is a particularly important target for them, both because it was built on the ruins of an original Jennite city that the Alphatians burned to the ground when they first invaded the area centuries ago, and because the harsh Alphatian aristocrat Xanthus used to rule there-therefore the Jennites cannot allow the Alphatians to remain in control of that area. Blackrock is also a place of special interest to Talin because the governor of the province is his own brother, Kalin, who has sided with the Alphatian Favian Vern and his concepts of democracy.

What the PCs Can Do: There is little to do here except the obvious planning of the coming battles, scouting missions, and the odd encounter with monsters.

Sviftmont 3, AC 1017: Ierendi Joins Western Defence League.

Location: City of Darokin, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: Ambassadors from Ierendi and Darokin, working with agents of the Western Defence League, formalise agreements allowing the Kingdom of Ierendi to join in alliance with the other member nations of the league. Like the other members-which currently include Darokin, Karameikos, the Five Shires, and Vestland-Ierendi agrees to provide mutual aid in the event of major invasion or war in the Old World region. (See Fy. 10.)

What This Means: Ierendi's alliance with the Western Defence League should give any nation pause before attempting to invade the isles or any of the league nations along the Sea of Dread. The unspoken desire is to forestall any attempts by the Empire of Thyatis to try furthering its colonial efforts in the Sea of Dread. The Republic of Darokin also recalls the threat of the Hulean Sea Reavers of a few years back-though their threat has ended, Darokin remains keenly aware of the damages they caused. Having the powerful navy of Ierendi on their side should help to end any such threats in the future.

Sviftmont 3, AC 1017: Pullout from Heldun.

Location: Region surrounding City of Helskir, Exarchate/Kingdom of Heldun, Thyatian Empire and Nayce, Isle of Dawn. SD

Description: After many days of mustering troops and prisoners, the Thyatian and Naycese troops proceed to leave Helskir, while the Heldunian force remains behind to maintain order. Despondent prisoners are marched aboard the Naycese vessels resting in the harbour, and forced below decks, while captured clerics, still recognised as aristocrats under Naycese law, are detained in spartan, if tidy, crew cabins. Across town, the Thyatian columns march south, led by the victorious Antalian Guard, followed by several ranks of bound Heldannic prisoners, and the other imperial regiments, with the tuldum regiment taking up the rear. (See Am. 12, Am. 17; Sv. 6, Sv. 10.)

Sviftmont 4, AC 1017: The Mincer.

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

Description: A young and beautiful lady, Alexandra Kralomene, is found dead in her bedroom in the city of Thyatis. She is half-naked and horribly mutilated. The first suspect is her former husband, Senator Aemilian Cratides.

Alexandra was a courtesan. The Thyatian authorities are pretending to suspect the husband, but this is the third woman of this profession to die violently and horribly in the last several months, and they have made every effort to prevent the news of the killings becoming known. They can't keep this one quiet, however, and public attention is very caught up in this killing. Alexandra was widely known for her beauty, intelligence and her luxurious parties, as well as for her man-eating skills. Several of the most prominent figures of Thyatian military, diplomacy and politics had fallen for her beauty. She was 34.

As for The Mincer, he gains that appellation because of the horribly mutilated and chopped-up state in which he leaves his victims. After he's done with them, they end up resembling minced meat more than human beings. (See Va. 14; Sv. 17, Ei. 26.)

Sviftmont 4, AC 1017: A Requests For Aid.

Location: City of Archport, Kingdom of Eadrin, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Using magic, King Idon II contacts the royal courts of Randel and Theranderol, requesting assistance in his war with the Arogansan invaders. Karatnora respectfully informs Idon that the best wishes of the Randel people are with the Eadrin in their fight with the Arogansans; however, at the present time Randel cannot afford any assistance to their friends. At best she can assemble some small volunteer units to act as displays of Randel resolve in the matter.

Karatnora does offer a bit of encouragement to the beleaguered ruler. She tells him that Randel's forces are growing with the return of monarchical attention and from returning demobilised imperial troops. She stresses that if Eadrin can hold out for a given time, perhaps Randel forces can be sent to aid them. Karatnora suggests that something should be known by the Day of Dread.

Queen Eldrethila likewise declines sending aid. Her kingdom's interests are not necessarily dependent upon the well-being of Eadrin. Even though her people have traditionally been at odds with the people of Theranderol, she has her doubts that they would support such intervention. Instead she cites that her best contributions could be in maintaining a strong military presence along the Theranderol/Arogansan border. This should tie up a good number of Arogansan troops to meet this possible assault into their own lands. If the situation turns utterly sour for the Eadrin, she invites the royal family and aristocracy to come to her kingdom for safety. (See Am. 23, Sv. 1; Sv. 4, Sv. 9.)

What This Means: Idon is a bit discouraged at this lack of support. Were the circumstances not so grim, he would not have even petitioned his neighbours. He can understand that Randel, the most likely kingdom to intervene, is weakened militarily and has its own hands full with Bettellyn threats-that Karatnora is sending even a token force is a great surprise. Theranderol's lack of assistance is not a surprise-the motive of a common dislike and rivalry to the Arogansans are weak excuses for the Theranderol forces to intervene on Eadrin's behalf.

Idon knows that Eadrin will have to soldier on by itself. Whatever help his neighbours can offer, both directly and indirectly, will have to suffice. With most of his regular armed forces still in imperial service, Idon plans out a defence that capitalises on his own available troops. Intelligence reports tell that Arogansa is fielding a rather large invasion force, but it is poorly trained and poorly equipped. With his own available troops being in excellent shape, Idon is confident that quality will overcome quantity. The trick will be in placing these troops in positions to strategically meet and counter each Arogansan attack without being outflanked.

What the PCs Can Do: Eadrin needs heroes and mercenaries.

Sviftmont 4, AC 1017: Thothia Doubles in Size.

Location: Kingdoms of Ekto and Trikelios, Nayce, Isle of Dawn. SD

Description: The Thothian troops garrisoned in Ekto and Trikelios, since those cities were taken back from the Thyatians in AC 1012, are reinforced by fresh troops from Edairo. Pharaoh Ramenhotep XXIV declares that to counter the threat posed to the city-states by the rampaging araneas from the Great Escarpment, and by the followers of the false pharaoh Haptuthep, the cities are to be reintegrated into the Thothian Kingdom.

The local militaries, which were already heavily dependent upon the Thothians, are fully merged into the Thothian army. King Tristan and Queen Stillian approve the annexation and become governors, and lose their seats on the Nayce Council. Life goes on as usual in Ekto and Trikelios. (See Kl. 12, Fe. 14; Sv. 5, Sv. 7.)

What This Means: Ever since the Thothians freed the Alphatian city-states of eastern Isle of Dawn from Thyatian occupation, those cities have been closely aligned with Thothia, and have relied on their strong neighbour for their security. Although he had extensive control over them, Pharaoh Ramenhotep saw more political advantage in maintaining their independence; now, though, the situation has changed and the pharaoh sees more benefit from annexing the city-states.

The change in attitude is brought about by several factors. To begin with, there are the araneas and Haptuthep, who both threaten to raid the city-states on their way to the heart of Thothia, and Thothia needs to reinforce its control over that route down from the Great Escarpment. This is the official reason for Thothia asserting control over the region.

But most importantly, Pharaoh Ramenhotep needs a strong move to reassert his authority and prestige, which are being challenged by Haptuthep. Although he is an open man who wishes to lead his nation to a bright future, and who wants to work with the Alphatians of Nayce, his position has been seriously weakened by the appearance of Haptuthep. Despite his best efforts, the influence of Thothia at the council has been diluted over time, and Representative Ragmon is no longer the de facto head councillor he was in the early years of Nayce. Meanwhile, Thyatis has regained strength on the Isle of Dawn, as it restructured its dominions, intervened in unified Heldun, and even treacherously claimed a stretch of land just south of Thothia [the Thyatians claim this move is perfectly faithful to the treaty, and indeed it has not been challenged by Nayce or even Thothia. Ed.].

The annexation of Ekto and Trikelios is an aggressive move on the part of the pharaoh, intended to remind various groups that the Thothians are no pushovers and are to be reckoned with, something that has been forgotten since the Thothian counterattack only a few years back. To Nayce it is a warning that Thothia is still to be reckoned with, else it might go on its own and become a major power by itself, weakening Nayce a great deal. To Thyatis, it is a reminder, if they have forgotten, that they are still capable of striking at them if they keep pushing the limits. Internally, it is an attempt at undermining Haptuthep's arguments by embracing them.

The cultists of Thanatos, who had previously established a main base of operations in Ekto, are not displeased by the change. Though it undermines any possibility that they might in any major way control the city's political scene, their potential for action in Thothia is suddenly much better, and their necromantic activities will be less visible in the context of Thothian mysticism.

Sviftmont 4: The Silence of the Wolves.

Location: Village of Ronung, Kingdom of Arkan, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Wolf-Hunter has brought his group, the Wolf-Pack, to the front lines where they are to try and sneak into the enemy camp, steal their plans and maps, and eavesdrop to their plans if they get a chance. [Ronung is roughly below where Skyreach used to be. Ed.] (See Am. 16, Sv. 1; Sv. 7, Sv. 11.)

What This Means: With things going so badly for Arkan, Wolf-hunter has decided that they must learn more of Stonewall's plans for invasion. The invaders are currently moving across the Arkan countryside at an alarming rate, so this must be done soon before the kingdom falls. In order to discover them, drastic measures and great risks are called for.

What the PCs Can Do: Join the Wolf-Pack and steal Stonewall's plans, of course. This will be difficult, but if the PCs do well, the DM should allow them to learn more of Stonewall's plans. If, for example, a thief is prepared to take the risk and sneak into Selcomad's headquarters to listen to his battle plans, the DM should allow this to reveal some strategic information, though the thief will obviously also risk capture. Wolf-Hunter and a good portion of the group should be allowed to escape, though. PCs on Stonewall's side won't do much here, though they might catch one or two of the more careless spies.

Sviftmont 5, AC 1017: Underocean Reacts to Trouble.

Location: Sunken Alphatia, Nayce. AS

Description: As vast hordes of undead continue to pour out of the Bluenose area, apparently as a result of the magical surge detected there, Underocean proclaims that this is proof that the Alphadon are hostile. The Underocean forces around Torenal Site break camp and head for Bluenose, while Juliast orders further forces from Underocean sent south. Both armies are ordered to terminate with extreme prejudice any undead they encounter, including Alphadon.

Over the next few days, the tritons will engage and destroy in excess of three thousand undead as their forces converge on Bluenose. Underocean ignores protests from the Nayce Council on this unilateral action. (See Am. 26, Sv. 1; Sv. 12, Ei. 14.)

What this Means: The people of Underocean have a very understandable prejudice against undead. They have lost patience with waiting for Nayce's permission to destroy what they see as abominations.

Sviftmont 5, AC 1017: Royalist Army Gets a Surprise.

Location: City of Norchester, Earldom of Penwick, Kingdom of Bellayne. SC

Description: Roughly 1,200 elite royalist regulars and 3,000 reserves under Edgwinton's command take up positions on the plains of Norchester, and demand that the city garrison surrender to their king. Duly, the gates are opened, and with much pomp and fanfare Brigadier Colwys-Hinton of the 3rd reserve leads his men to the southern gates in triumph... where he is met by the battle-hardened dwarves of the Coldstream Guards.

Lord Mortimer prudently moved the guards from the northern border to Norchester in readiness for the king's assault. The fact that the guards are the only Bellaynish regiment to employ smokepowder weaponry makes the surprise that much more devastating. When the gates open the royalists are subjected to a storm of musket fire that decimates their ranks. Colwys-Hinton is a sitting duck on his horse, and is killed outright in the first volley. The royalists beat a hasty retreat out of range while a withering barrage thins the ranks of the reserves.

Edgwinton, later that day, gets more bad news-apparently a sizeable parliamentarian force is headed out of Leominster towards Bromstow. Not wishing to get caught between hammer and anvil, he orders that the royalists pull back as speedily as they are able, hoping to get to the ruins of Oldsbury before the parliamentarians cut him off. (See Am. 17, Am. 26; Sv. 12, Sv. 14.)

What This Means: Norchester will prove to be a tough nut to crack with the Coldstream Guards dug in there-the unit had a nearly legendary ability to weather the attacks of the goblinoids in the last war. The royalist reserves took quite a mauling too in their first fight, which dents their morale somewhat.

What the PCs Can Do: Royalist-aligned PCs could infiltrate Norchester and try to undermine its defences prior to an attack. Parliament-aligned characters could scout out the enemy force and try to sabotage its efforts.

Sviftmont 5, AC 1017: The Small and the Large.

Location: Kingdom of Hillvale, Nayce, Isle of Dawn. SD

Description: King Quicklimn of Hillvale and the merchants of the city are worried about the Thothian annexation of the other city-states, Ekto and Trikelios. The king turns to Nayce for reassurance that they will remain independent. (See Sv. 4; Sv. 7, Sv. 13.)

What This Means: Though Thothian presence in Hillvale is nothing like it was in Ekto and Trikelios, the king wonders why Pharaoh Ramenhotep didn't annex his nation as well, leaving it as the only independent city-state of the Isle of Dawn, surrounded by three giants: Thothia to the south, the bloc of Thyatian exarchates on the other side of the isle, and the hybrid nation of Heldun to the north. The powers that be in Hillvale wonder if they can compete, economically as well as militarily, against those expanding neighbours.

Sviftmont 5, AC 1017: Kulikovo Besieged.

Location: Kulikovo Fortress, Zuyevan Empire. WB.

Description: The horde of Don Claudio surrounds and lays siege to the grim Fortress of Kulikovo on the banks of Yalu River. The troops are dispirited when the turning efforts of their priests seem to be ineffective. Don Claudio has his troops prepare to assault the fortress, constructing scaling ladders and siege artillery, while the dragons harass the Zuyevans. The Zuyevans are heartened, however, when one of their most able priests manages to destroy an undead dragon with a holy word. However, the priest himself is then slain, as the other four dragons concentrate their attentions on him. (See Am. 6, Am. 26; Sv. 11, Sv. 27.)

What This Means: The undead are difficult to turn because they are backed by a greater power.

Sviftmont 6, AC 1017: A Call for Allegiance.

Location: City of Freiburg, Territory of Heldann, Heldannic Empire. OW

Description: Oberherr Wulf von Klagendorf dispatches messengers through the Heldannic Territories, including Heldland, ordering them to obtain pledges of allegiance from the order's assorted ordensgeneralen and landmeister in an effort to determine the loyalty of his underlings. (See Am. 28, Sv. 2; Sv. 21.)

What This Means: In the wake of Hockstein's and Altendorf's declarations for Heinrich Straßenburger, and their promises of military support, Herr Wulf needs to know who among the ruling knights will support him. He has also received reports of peasant uprisings in a number of towns and villages, protesting what they see as favouritism towards the newly-arrived Hattian migrants from Thyatis (who received tax freedom and cash settlements in exchange for settling in Heldland and other border regions, while earlier settlers received nothing).

Sviftmont 6, AC 1017: Alphatian Census.

Location: City of Ionace, Ionace Island, Nayce, and City of Andaire, Kingdom of Alphas'ar, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. AS, HW

Description: The results of the census, which was initiated one year ago in both Nayce on the surface and Alphatia in the Hollow World, are still not available. Empress Eriadna is furious that she still does not know exactly the population numbers and the distribution within the kingdoms of the floating continent, which were affected by the sinking and the relocation, but in a manner still undetermined. She orders that the census's report be on her desk by the end of the [Alphatian. Ed.] year. The Nayce Council, while also anxious to get the result of the census being carried in its various member kingdoms, is too embroiled in its internal politics to issue an order similar to Eriadna's.

What This Means: Though the Alphatians have at their disposal magical means, slave-ownership declarations, and agents roaming the wilderness of the territory, they have been unable to completely map out the population present in either Nayce or the floating continent. The main difficulty is, as often is the case in Alphatia, the aristocracy's lack of cooperation with the authorities, either because they are too busy to help with such insignificant matters, or because they want to keep some information secret. Magic scrying and counting has been unable to penetrate some well-protected estates' magical barriers, and mundane means of investigations have often been kept at bay with other kind of magical or physical barriers. Some wizards who wanted to keep the location and personnel of their estates (which can amount to a large retinue) secret volunteered the information, but most did not bother.

What the PCs Can Do: More investigators are needed to complete the census. This generally means travelling to the most wild and dangerous places of Alphatia, and interrupting a wizard in his or her research-or appear to break into his or her estate. A dangerous job, well-suited for PCs, especially challenging to a mundaner-only party.

Sviftmont 6, AC 1017: Protests in Minrothad.

Location: City of Minrothad, Trader's Island, Exarchate of Minrothad, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: The Council of Guild Masters convenes, with the Thyatian Exarch, Demetius Vannopolus, present. Past meetings had all been cordial and cooperative, but this one is different. Several prominent guildsmen protest the changes that the Thyatians have brought upon their way of doing things. Furthermore, they say that while they have come to respect Vannopolus himself, they object to the highest reigning official in Minrothad not being from the isles. Some go further, claiming the Thyatians engineered the entire Linton affair as an excuse to take over Minrothad by treacherous guile. This causes many of the others to lapse into embarrassed silence for a moment.

This allows Demetius Vannopolus to interject. He calmly reminds the guilders of the various benefits that they have had on account of their ties to Thyatis, and how well the guilds have prospered from the relationship. With every change there comes some unsettling things, as he reminds them the Thyatians know all too well themselves. But he asks them if, overall, with the good and the bad taken together, aren't they better off now than they were before? Some of the guildsmen mutter disagreeably, but none speak up to say they are worse off. Before any can do so, Vannopolus goes on to say that, as for his own appointment as exarch, it was always meant to be purely temporary to begin with, to last just long enough for things to calm down. Enough time has passed, and he says that, if the guild masters can come together to agree upon a suitable replacement, he will step down and recommend to the emperor that this person be made exarch. He goes on to say that the emperor has already promised him personally that he would ratify whatever choice the people of Minrothad submitted to him.

The guildsmen seem satisfied with that, and the politicking begins among them for the right to be the next exarch. Many hope that then, if only they personally can take power as exarch, they can restore things to the way they used to be while still retaining the benefits of association with Thyatis. (See Va. 16, Fl. 9; Sv. 27, Ka. 15.)

What This Means: Things have changed considerably inside Minrothad in some ways, despite a conscious effort by the Thyatians to pretend that changes weren't being imposed. But with membership in the Thyatian Empire, the guilds lost their monopoly status in their home islands. To be treated as Thyatian merchants in the rest of the empire, they had to allow Thyatian merchants free access to the isles, in effect suspending the monopoly laws. This still benefited the guilds overall-since they had great and privileged access to imperial markets, and were generally able to remain dominant in Minrothad as well. But the fact of competition meant that if the old (monopoly) Minrothaddan guild was charging more for goods or services (the monopoly rents they were used to) than a Thyatian competitor was, this gave the buyer an alternative source. That helped the buyers, but it irritated the selling guilds, even as they profited overall due to superior access to the large Thyatian market. Thus the old cartelisation of Minrothad was undermined.

Most of the people of Minrothad came to admire Demetius Vannopolus' judgement and fair-mindedness, as well as respecting him personally because he showed no favouritism and seemed like a decent and honest man, a neutral arbitrator in the rivalries and disputes of the fractious guilds. But it rankles almost everyone that the nominal ruler of Minrothad was an outsider. This is just part of the greater issue, which is that membership in the Thyatian Empire threatens the traditional insularity of Minrothad. Coping with this will definitely be a continuing friction point.

Now, though, the leaders of the guilds are distracted from these concerns by the scramble to become exarch. With this position, many hope to turn back the clock (except with respect to the things they see as beneficial; they hope to keep preferred access to Thyatis' imperial markets, while closing their own again), but with even greater fervour they hope to settle old scores among their rivals in the guilds.

As for the Thyatians and Vannopolus, they hope to use their influence to end up with an exarch that is agreeable to them. If all else fails, they will support Oran Meditor for the position. While they're reluctant to see the old ruler in the job, because he is a strong-minded man and it will be difficult if not impossible to pull his strings as a puppet (they would prefer someone more pliable), they realise that he is generally more amenable to openness to outside influences and the kind of changes the Thyatians themselves want to impose on Minrothad than most of the other guild masters are. While the Thyatians would prefer a pliable front man that would be the mouthpiece of his Thyatian advisers, they will promote Meditor as a compromise choice if this proves impossible.

What the PCs Can Do: An ambitious Minrothaddan character could try to become the next ruler of the guilds! Bribery, promises to various other guilders, and persuasiveness will be key in any such attempt.

Sviftmont 6, AC 1017: Asteriela Returns to Helskir.

Location: City of Helskir, Exarchate/Kingdom of Heldun, Thyatian Empire and Nayce, Isle of Dawn. SD

Description: Amid much fanfare and joy, Queen Asteriela of Heldun parades triumphantly into Helskir, surrounded by elite soldiers of the new Heldunian army. Before taking up residence in the palace, she makes a point of touring the entire city, and inspecting some of the hardest-hit portions of it. In an effort to become close to her people once more, she also takes the time to speak with many of the people she encounters along the way. (See Am. 17, Sv. 3; Sv. 10, Sv. 16.)

What This Means: Now that the allied forces have departed, taking the Heldannic prisoners with them, Asteriela decided to step into the breach and resume control. Conscious of her image, Asteriela toured the city to make a show of being actively interested in the safety of Helskir and its residents (which she is, but visibly being so doesn't hurt), as well as showing the people that she can be a caring monarch. She is aware that much needs to be done to restore Helskir to its former self, and she will rely on the hard work of her people in order for this to happen; by reinventing herself as a strong, but caring ruler, she feels that her people will follow her as they once did Eruul Zaar.

Sviftmont 6, AC 1017: An Imperial Solution.

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

Description: Exarch Leilah ben Nadir receives an official response form Emperor Eusebius, informing her that, when she is able, she is to ship as many Milenian refugees as are willing to travel to Hattias, where they will be resettled. Relieved at the news, she orders messengers to spread the word throughout the Hinterlands, and she enlists the aid of any Kastelians residing in the region in informing the refugees themselves. (See Am. 27, Sv. 1; Sv. 17, Sv. 26.)

What This Means: Although the Hinterlands exists on the periphery of the empire, Emperor Eusebius knows that it is an important foothold in Davania, as well as being a source of some of the more exotic trade goods exported to other nations. Should the domestic situation in the Hinterlands become too unstable, colonisation might be hindered or, worse yet, the empire's position in that part of the world might become compromised.

Another consideration is that, since the end of AC 1016, a considerable number of Hattians have emigrated to the Heldannic Territories, ostensibly because of the colonisation drive in Heldland. Many Thyatian officials, however, suspect that the outcome of the Crown War, which saw Hattian predominance in Hattias come to an end, likely played a major role in their decisions to move. Regardless, considerable tracts of Hattias are currently uninhabited, and the resettlement of the Milenians to the region would be a boon.

What the PCs Can Do: Thyatian PCs may find themselves enlisted in spreading the word to the various dominion rulers, as well as making arrangements to ship the Milenians to Brun.

Sviftmont 6, AC 1017: Return of the Dark Lady.

Location: Tower of Night, Milenian Empire. HW

Description: Vix, the dark-skinned champion of the Zargosians, returns to the dark group's lair after two years of adventuring in distant lands. She is astonished by the changes that have taken place in her absence, as the worshippers of Zargos have apparently succumbed to the influence of a foreign wizard, an Alphatian by the name of Zandor. Vix develops an instant dislike for the haughty Alphatian mage, who seemingly has become the most important persona here during her absence.

She questions Caracanomnos, the supposed leader of the Zargosians, about the role of Zandor in their secret society, and how come he orders the necromancers around and is obeyed. Caracanomnos explains the partnership between the Zargosians and the escaped archmage Zandor, i.e. that with his magical knowledge he will help them decipher the Book of Zargos and finally achieve their goal. (See Sv. 9, Ei. 2.)

What This Means: You leave your secret society for a couple years in the hands of your trusted lieutenant, and look what happens! That is what Vix thinks, and she isn't thrilled by the idea of working hand in hand with a powerful foreign wizard-she only expects foul play. In any case, the Alphatian shouldn't become a central figure in the organisation, but be subservient. She fully intends to confront Zandor.

Sviftmont 6, AC 1017: Grab That Thief!

Location: City of Ranak, Empire of Nithia. HW

Description: The markets of Ranak are full of commotion-an incredibly dexterous thief has plundered no fewer than twenty stalls within a few moments! So shocked are the local guardsmen that the scoundrel is able to escape unimpeded.

What This Means: Nothing more ominous than a local thief, who has luckily (for her) come across a ring of quickness, which functions much the same way as a haste spell. Being an intelligent person, she put the ring to good use, and is now conducting a string of thefts which leaves the local authorities utterly confused-for now.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are in the area, and are known to the authorities, they might be asked to track down the thief and bring her to justice. This event is left open-ended, to allow the DM some flexibility to fit it into his or her own campaign. The thief could be a fallen young noble from another city, trying to recoup her losses, or a wanderer from another land, eager to fleece the locals for some extra money. Regardless, the PCs, with their abilities, should be led on an interesting chase.

Sviftmont 7, AC 1017: Whose Shrine Is It Anyway?

Location: City of Titlapoca, Azcan Empire. HW

Description: Several lesser priests of Quetzalcoatl are found murdered within their temple, and several sacred items missing or destroyed. The temple itself has been desecrated. (See Fy. 18, Am. 24; Ka. 13; Ka. 14.)

What This Means: Many temples dedicated to Atzanteotl have been desecrated by the new priesthood, so this is payback. The choice of Titlapoca, the city Tlatoani Otziltipac governed and started the revolution from, is symbolic.

Sviftmont 7, AC 1017: Sailing the Savage Seas.

Location: Town of Kladanovic, northwestern neck of the Serpent Peninsula. SC

Description: After bolstering the town's defences, the Thyatian expedition sets sail for the north. They leave some men and ships behind to secure the town and begin opening the trade lane. The rest of the expedition sails north along the coast, towards Slagovich. (See Kl. 8, Kl. 14; Sv. 13, Ei. 5.)

What This Means: The expedition actually has instructions to contact Hule and the Savage Baronies, but are not exactly prepared for the reception they might receive in the Savage Coast. The earlier expedition of the Ironclad brought back some information on trading opportunities but also the dangers of the Red Curse. The commander has instructions to gather more information on this obstacle and how to protect against it before proceeding on.

What the PCs Can Do: These seas are filled with potential dangers, encounters with a pirate vessel from the Savage Baronies might be their first introduction to the unique aspects of that region.

Sviftmont 7, AC 1017: Shake the Council.

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

Description: The Council of Nayce, informed of the Thothian annexation of Ekto and Trikelios only after it is a done deal, are both surprised and furious. There is nothing they can do, however, as the targets of the move do not consider themselves victims, but accept it before relinquishing their seats at the council as they are now represented by Thothia.

Interrogated about Thothia's intentions regarding Hillvale, the one remaining independent city-state, Representative Ragmon assures that Thothia has no intention to annex it, unless Hillvale were to need help as it did when the Thyatians conquered it. Since Hillvale isn't directly threatened by the araneas or by Haptuthep, he says, and as long as Thyatis doesn't threaten it, there is no reason for Thothia to act militarily in Hillvale.

Commander in Chief Karszamon is furious, though, and says he will dispatch the troops stationed on Eagret Island, where their assignment is to patrol the border between the Sea of Dawn and the Alphatian Sea, to defend Hillvale against any attempt at conquest, by anyone. (See Sv. 4, Sv. 5; Sv. 13, Sv. 15.)

What This Means: The Thothians certainly did get the Council of Nayce's attention. Their nationalistic attitude isn't to the taste of everyone, though, as the Alphatians are used to treating them as equals, but also expect them to be quiet and supportive. Karszamon is especially infuriated.

Sviftmont 7, AC 1017: Foresthome Intervenes in the War.

Location: Town of Arreghi, Kingdom of Arkan, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: A large army from Foresthome under Commander Trallans arrives from the southern border in Foresthome. At first the people of Arreghi are anxious, but Commander Trallans soon meets with the town leader and assures him that the army has come to aid Arkan against the invaders from Stonewall because Queen Kikania is not prepared to have Arkan be settled by invaders who might target any nation next. (See Sv. 1, Sv. 4; Sv. 11, Sv. 19.)

What This Means: Naturally, news of this will immediately be brought to King Qinn in Ceafem. The army was actually sent from Foresthome some time ago, but it took some time getting here because Foresthome is such a large forested land without roads to Arkan.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs can have followed the Foresthome army here or bring the news of their arrival to King Qinn. If they are with Stonewall, they can bring General Selcomad the first news of the Foresthome army.

Sviftmont 7, AC 1017: The Invasion Begins... Finally.

Location: The Bettellyn Line, Kingdom of Bettellyn, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: With preparations complete after a long delay, General Taghist orders his troops to cross the border into Randel and begin their assaults on the fortresses of the Randel Line. The invasions begin on an ominous and foreboding note as Bettellyn columns become bogged down in the no man's land that is the border. In spite of this, Taghist adheres to the original battle plan at the insistence of his queen, though in his private moments he wonders to himself whether she wants Bettellyn to be defeated. At other moments, he just wonders if the Immortals have stacked the deck against his nation. His fatalism and lack of confidence does little to help his troops.

In spite of the delays, the day sees his forces achieve some successes. His forces have established siege lines around the fortresses to isolate the border defences. Other troops formations are moving into the Randel interior. Taghist leads the primary invasion force. (See Am. 18, Sv. 1; Sv. 11, Sv. 13.)

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs can act as scouts for either side.

Second Week

Sviftmont 9, AC 1017: Monastery of the Studium Endowed.

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

Description: Gallia Pulchera, a wealthy widow, dies and in her will all her wealth and properties are used to create a trust or endowment for the establishment of a scholastic clerical order in the City of Thyatis. Pulchera's husband died several years ago. Both her sons were killed in the Great War and her only daughter died of mummy rot, leaving her with no direct family. So she created this endowment in her will as a way for her family's legacy to live on.

Her family estate consists of a complex of several buildings inside the city of Thyatis and some lands along the Mesonian River, as well as some rental buildings in the blocks. The large family domus and attached buildings will be used as the monastery proper, and the other properties used to generate income to help support the facility.

Shortly after the will is read, an organisation known as the Justiciar Institute matches Gallia's grant to the new Studium, and also endows the monastery with an unusually good collection of theological materials. They also step forward with an offer to help the new monastic community identify promising potential members, aiding in recruiting and thus doing much to shape the nature of the Order of the Studium. (See Kl. 6, Am. 19; Ei. 2.)

What This Means: The monastic community that will evolve out of this will concentrate on the study of theology and training of new clerics. It will fall under the authority of the Church of Thyatis, and not be dedicated to any single Immortal, but rather include clerics of most of the Immortals that are of significant stature within Thyatis (except the outlawed ones). The Studium will also have a hospice for the indigent (work and pray in exchange for room and board), an orphanage, and a parochial school for the young.

No one's quite sure what the Justiciar Institute is, but some begin to quietly investigate the matter.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters with similar interests might take oaths of membership to join the Order of the Studium. As a relatively new organisation opportunities to reach significant positions of influence and authority might be easier here than with more established orders. Also, the Studium will quickly find itself on the forefront of the study of theological and mystical matters in the city of Thyatis, and will be a good place for characters researching priestly magics to search for knowledge.

The Studium will also evolve into a foundation that will likely generate adventure opportunities for characters, sending them on tasks that will aid the Studium in promoting its values, achieving its goals, and acquiring both knowledge and objects-or at least keeping such things out of the wrong hands.

Characters can also investigate the background of the so-called Justiciar Institute.

Special Note: For those who are converting from old editions of the rules sets to the new 3rd Edition rules, this is also an opportunity to introduce priest-related changes within the context of the game world.

Sviftmont 9, AC 1017: The Beauty and the Fallen Emperor.

Location: Tower of Night, Milenian Empire. HW

Description: Vix summons Zandor to confront him about his status in the Zargosians' organisation, and the results of his researches on the Book of Zargos. Reluctantly, Zandor meets with the beautiful, but not magically-gifted, ebony warrioress. They are wary of each other, suspicious, and rather disdainful, so that the ambience is tense.

After a while Vix realises that Zandor has been using the resources of the Zargosians to study several spells, including many that were unknown to them, but that he has not been studying the unholy Book of Zargos at all. Though he has shared the spells discovered with the Zargosians, he has failed to do what he was supposed to, so that his help, even if not to be dismissed, is unlikely to any great extent to achieve the group's goals. Besides, Vix suspects that Zandor has been keeping some of his magical findings to himself, and that he will betray them eventually. Vix orders Zandor to start studying the Book of Zargos. (See Sv. 6; Ei. 2, Ei. 12.)

What This Means: Vix is right about Zandor, he has neglected to share with the Zargosians the most interesting results of his researches. Besides, he has been stalling research in the fields that are of utmost importance to them, especially the Book of Zargos, in the hope of either gaining control of the sect, or failing that using their resources as much as he could and leaving with the fruits of his researches to another, more hospitable place-and ultimately on to regaining what his rightfully his, the Alphatian Empire. Obviously, the return of Vix has dashed his master plan, so that he switches to plan B. He controls himself though, and after cursing silently about the lack of the most useful spells in this barbaric place (especially teleport), he returns to his studies and starts planning his leaving. To soothe Vix's suspicions, he even agrees to begin studying the Book of Zargos. Needless to say, he hates Vix for foiling his plans, and this is a reciprocal feeling.

Sviftmont 9, AC 1017: The Incidental Tourist.

Location: Near Town of Deipan, Lower Thera River, Kingdoms of Arogansa and Eadrin Border, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: While on patrol, an Arogansan riverboat spots an approaching river galley sailing slowly down the river. Though his crew would be greatly outnumbered by the galley's crew and rowers, the Arogansan captain challenges the galley. His challenge is met by the typical objections. The Arogansan vessel pulls alongside to haggle with the galley's captain on the matter.

The Arogansan officer is surprised to be told that the galley is a private vessel of the Randel royal family. The vessel is sailing down the river to the Arogansan town of Ascopal. From there, they will journey overland to stay in the resort town of Dhobig. The Arogansan officer is still suspicious; the coincidence of a Randel vessel travelling the same river course that leads to the Eadrin capital is too apparent.

The officer continues to demand permission to board-and the Randel captain continues to object. The two begin arguing the point with some very obvious threats. A resolution is only found by the interdiction of the galley's royal passenger, who arrives on the deck from her quarters. Princess Junna calmly tells the Arogansan officer to cease his requests. If he is so intent on boarding, then he shall have that right. Junna assures him that there are only her armed escort, her personal servants, the galley's rowers, and crew aboard the vessel.

Surprisingly the Arogansan responds that there is no need to board and further inconvenience the former queen. He is well aware of Junna's debacle as queen of the Randel and her artistic preferences. He seriously doubts that she is a threat and loses interest in examining the vessel's cargo. Plus, he also has certain reservations about enraging an Alphatian noble of a royal lineage. He surmises that the royal family has chosen to ship her off to another kingdom as a form of political exile while they are busy dealing with the Bettellyn. (See Sv. 1, Sv. 4; Ei. 26, Ka. 11.)

Sviftmont 9, AC 1017: Milenian Merchant Victimised.

Location: Southern Atlass Ocean. HW

Description: Alexus the Lawless, Captain of the Grey Lady, a heavily-armed frigate, strikes at a Milenian merchant ship. The merchant galley is unescorted, en route to Huitlaktima on a trading venture. The galley is bombarded with artillery and then boarded, as it is no match for the pirate ship. The cargo is taken along with any slaves who wish to defect and join Alexus' crew. The others are left drifting at the mercy of the sea. (See Am. 20, Am. 27; Ei. 1, Ka. 12.)

What This Means: Alexus is a follower of Vanya, who delights in pirating Milenian ships and port towns. Suffering only minimal casualties, he makes off with a prize of exotic spices, which will fetch a fair price back in Baraga. Milenians generally use slaves to row their galleys; occasionally, some will be bold enough to leave that life and sail with the Merry Pirates.

What the PCs Can Do: Help raid the merchant ship.

Sviftmont 10, AC 1017: A Strange Theft.

Location: Village of Dawnhaven, Exarchate/Kingdom of Heldun, Thyatian Empire and Nayce, Isle of Dawn. SD

Description: The people of this coastal village on the Western Sea of Dawn awake to find something amiss-all of their largest sailing vessels have been stolen! A quick search indicates that nothing else has been taken, but the loss is perplexing. (See Sv. 3, Sv. 6; Sv. 16, Sv. 25.)

Sviftmont 10, AC 1017: Thyatian Vessel Reaches Thonia.

Location: City of Serison, Thonian Empire. SK

Description: After circumnavigating Esterhold, the Thyatian exploration ship reaches Serison, the capital of Thonia. They conduct some trade in the port and try to arrange an audience with the Thonian Emperor, but are put off. Since it is late in the year and the seas in the area are already starting to get rough, the captain decides to winter in Thonia. This proves to be a somewhat regrettable decision, as the Thonians look on the Thyatians with disdain, and the area is particularly unpleasant. Eventually, an audience is arranged with the Thonian Emperor, but he is haughty and contemptuous of the Thyatians as well, and little is accomplished.

The Thyatians do manage to establish trade with Thonia, but are expected to keep to themselves and the other "barbarians" in the Foreign Quarter reserved for such lowly persons in an unfashionable district of Serison, near the harbour and the tanneries. (See Kl. 27, Fe. 21.)

What This Means: The Thonians are even more contemptuous of other people than the Thyatians, priding themselves on the age of their civilisation. Since they hold the Alphatians in a minimum of high regard, they think even less of the younger Thyatian Empire. When some of the members of the Thyatian delegation try to claim a connection between the Thyatian people and ancient Thonia as a means of bridging this gap, that only serves to further irritate the Thonians. These attitudes of condescension are, though, largely absent from the trading class of Thonia, so the Thyatians are able to make some contacts there and thus establish a basis of commerce. But in part because of the relative openness of the Thonian merchants to outsiders, they themselves form a sort of despised underclass within Thonian society, being seen as tainted by such contact and not quite good Thonians. Thus, strong ties to the merchant class of Thonia further isolates the Thyatians from any political ties to the Thonian elite.

Realizing that under these circumstances it could be a long, dreary winter in Serison with little to show for it, the Thyatian captain decides to send out an exploration party into Skothar, to try and make contact with the rumoured dwarven enclave in the Mountains of Thorin. He goes along with this party, leaving his lieutenant and a few men with the thankless, tedious task of staying in Serison to watch over the ship and try to improve relations with Thonia.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters are probably likely to take as instant a dislike to the Thonians as the Thonians will to them. However, starting any unpleasantness is probably an unwise thing for them to do-being on their best behaviour is the only way of achieving anything here, which will further rankle the characters, no doubt. The party will probably do whatever it takes to be brought along on the captain's expedition to the Thorin Mountains, and leave the Thonian cities. Outside the cities, in the Thonian countryside, the party will find the serfs of Thonia sullen and insular, but the people at crossroads inns and taverns will be passingly hospitable.

Thonia is a land of fading glory but rich heritage, so any expeditions into, for instance, the ancient ruins of the old settlements under modern Serison might be rewarding. But finding any Blackmoor-era technologies or magic items will be difficult, as none of the current Thonian settlements actually existed during that time, but were instead founded later by refugees from the cataclysm that destroyed the old civilisation.

Sviftmont 10, AC 1017: It's Alive! Or Isn't It?

Location: Barony of Two Lakes Vale, Icereach Range. NW

Description: Ulslime reports to Sylarion he has finally concluded his experiments. The old priest introduces the vampire elf to three human beings that look at him with uninterested gazes. At Ulslime's offer to taste their blood, Sylarion bites one of the humans, but he is surprised when he discovers he's not drinking blood, rather a sticky milky white substance that oozes from the wound. Ulslime explains the vampire that these are the last of Nyx's children, the death leeches, and that they will help the undead overtake the whole of Norwold! (See Am. 26, Sv. 1.)

What This Means: The death leeches created by Ulslime are the final touch in Nyx's vengeance upon the world of the living beings. The death leeches are undead creatures because they are powered by negative energy, yet they have been created by magically crossing human beings, lesser undead and doppelgangers. They can simulate the breathing and eating of the living creatures, even though their bodies are without organs, and they assimilate everything they ingest like a gelatinous cube does. Their bodies are much like a big amorphous amoeba in their original forms, with hundreds of veins and tendons running through them. They are able to assume the exact shape and features of every creature (from small up to large size) they kill by assimilating it, thus masquerading as perfect undead replicas of the living beings. Also, they can walk in the sun, cast a reflection and a shadow and radiate a mild amount of heat from their body, becoming virtually impossible to detect as undead. But their most fearsome ability is that they can provide nourishment for those undead who prey on bodily fluids and carrion simply by giving away part of their body slime, regenerating it later on through ingestion of simple foods and liquids (this obviously includes devouring living beings). They reproduce by cellular duplication: once they kill a living being, they can either assimilate it (thus gaining the ability to assume his or her shape and features) or they can inject a small fraction of their slime in the corpse. After 24 hours, the corpse gets reanimated as a new death leech, which is now living inside it, having assimilated the body.

Nyx wants to use the death leeches to infiltrate all of the human and demihuman communities and replace their living members, thus becoming bridgeheads for a later invasion of the other undead spawn.

What the PCs Can Do: At this point they must absolutely stop Nyx's plans of conquest, discover the death leeches already created and stop Ulslime from creating others before they spread to other regions. And finally they must locate the Hammer of Life to destroy the Death Stone, then they can begin to push back to hell the army of darkness that still occupies Two Lakes Vale.

Sviftmont 10, AC 1017: Surveyor Team Attacked.

Location: Snake River, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: The surveyor team following the Snake River upstream is attacked by five griffons. The protecting sailors manage to kill two and hurt the others so severely that they flee. Some team members are injured but nothing the clerics could not heal easily. The morale in the team remains good. (See Am. 22, Sv. 1; Sv. 14, Ei. 2.)

What This Means: The Alphatian interior is a dangerous place and the attack was an absolutely normal incident. Nobody is really surprised or worried.

Sviftmont 11, AC 1017: Kulikovo Assaulted.

Location: Kulikovo Fortress, Zuyevan Empire. WB

Description: The undead horde of Don Claudio assault Kulikovo Fortress in the dark of night. Their nocturnal attack does not catch the defenders by surprise, as they expected such a manoeuvre. However, the defenders are still hampered because they are unaccustomed to fighting in darkness, while the undead are not debilitated at all.

The defenders manage to hold their own, however, and it seems like they will beat back the attack and survive until dawn, when they hope relief will arrive. They even manage to destroy another of Don Claudio's dragons, as well as decimating his undead hordes, though they take severe casualties themselves. But then, just as dawn begins to approach, a demon of terrible power bursts among the Zuyevans from within the very heart of the fortress. It slaughters the defenders of the citadel's main gatehouse, allowing the attacking forces to swarm into Kulikovo. Resistance crumbles, and the defenders are slaughtered. (See Am. 26, Sv. 5; Sv. 27, Ei. 3.)

What This Means: The demon was Joramurrak, who had been sent to cause havoc in Zuyevo by the Master of Hule earlier this year. The Master had made contact with it before Don Claudio's horde reached Kulikovo Fortress, directing Joramurrak to use its magical powers to disguise itself and infiltrate the fortress, to strike at the best moment of opportunity. After the battle, Joramurrak teleports back into the heart of Zuyevo, where the demon continues to unleash gated fellows and undead upon the empire's core areas.

Don Claudio's forces, especially his undead troops (which were used as shock troops in the assault), took severe casualties in achieving their victory. But he immediately begins to replace his losses by animating the slain Zuyevans. He takes special pleasure in turning the many slain Zuyevan priests into undead minions. However, he is unable to replace the lost undead dragons.

When the Zuyevan relief army hears of the fall of the fortress, it pauses on the opposite side of the Yalu River, in the city of Sharya, to await reinforcements from within the empire.

Sviftmont 11, AC 1017: Amphibious Assault.

Location: City of Jahore, Mumlyket of Putnabad, Kingdom of Sind, Hulean Empire. OW

Description: The Hulean occupying force in Jahore wakes this morning to see a large armada of ships off the coast. Flying overhead are a half dozen airships, amid swarms of aerial cavalry. At distant range the airships open up with their artillery, attempting to clear the walls of defenders.

While thus engaging the attentions of the Hulean forces, hundreds of Thyatian frogmen, hardened from battles against the Twaelar, advance along the sea floor, stealthily sneaking into the harbour of Jahore. It quickly becomes apparent to the Hulean commander that he won't be able to defeat the invaders without reinforcements, so he orders his forces to withdraw towards Jaibul while the Sindhi forces delay the enemy.

Once outside Jahore, however, a horde of Urduk nomads appear. At first the Hulean forces think they must be friendly, but the nomads attack them, and the Hulean troops are forced to withdraw north.

In Jahore, the Sindhi troops of Putnabad put up only token resistance before submitting. By the end of the day Maharaja Ashupta announces that he pledges his loyalty to Chandra Ul Nervi, but is accepting advisers and assistance from the Thyatian Empire in exchange for giving them basing rights and preferred trading status.

Once Jahore is secured, the Thyatian forces begin withdrawing. Those troops will return home, to celebrate a triumph as a result of the conclusion of the Twaelar War. The Urduk nomads, with some Thyatian military advisers, will remain in Putnabad as mercenaries serving Thyatis, and an agreement is signed with the maharaja, and a separate one with Jaibul, committing Thyatis to defend them if they are attacked. (See Sv. 15, Ka. 8.)

What This Means: The forces of Hule continue to suffer setbacks in Sind, and will soon be expelled from all of Putnabad. This is actually part of Hosadus' long term plan, however. Meanwhile, his agents persist throughout the liberated areas of Sind. He is not as happy with someone else poaching off "his" nomads, though, and will take steps to ensure the Thyatians do not gain influence over any more of the Urduk tribes in the Great Waste.

For Thyatis, the imperative was almost the opposite as for Hule. Eusebius is intent on creating the impression of renewed imperial strength. This he is doing by picking his fights carefully to achieve a succession of quick victories. They have also made a pact with the Black Raja of Jaibul. Jahore will become an entrepôt dominated by Thyatian merchants rather than the traders of Darokin, bringing renewed friction between the two, as the Darokinians had begun to see Sind as their market.

The Thyatian troops withdraw because Thyatian forces are still very limited in this period, and they can't afford to leave garrisons. So they leave a few military advisers, and concentrate on having Jahore and Jaibul build up their landward defences. Thus they hope that in case of crisis, the defenders will be able to hold out until reinforcements arrive from Thyatis.

Jaibul is playing a game of intrigue with both Hule and Thyatis. Right at the moment, they are cosying up to Thyatis, but they are maintaining their contacts with the Huleans as well.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters might be involved in the invasion, but will probably find many more opportunities in the field of counter-espionage, rooting out the agents and influence of Hule. Hulean spies and infiltrators continue to have a strong presence throughout Sind.

Sviftmont 11, AC 1017: Foresthome Army Arrives.

Location: City of Ceafem, Kingdom of Arkan, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: The army from Foresthome arrives to the capital and Commander Trallans meets with King Qinn and General Lotaran. They inspect the troops of Foresthome. General Lotaran finds the behaviour of his new allies a little odd, but King Qinn won't hear of his doubts and is extremely happy to have found new allies in this time of need. (See Sv. 4, Sv. 7; Sv. 19, Ei. 12.)

What This Means: Lotaran questioned several soldiers, but found that often they refused to respond and just looked to Commander Trallans. He finds this a little curious, but decides that King Qinn is probably right-Arkan is lucky to have any allies at all, or they would surely have been doomed. King Qinn himself is far too happy to take any notice at all.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs explore the matter, they will find attitudes similar to the ones Lotaran noticed. If they're among the Foresthome troops themselves, they will have their orders to say as little as possible.

Sviftmont 11, AC 1017: Statue of Solarios Invictus unveiled.

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

Description: At the centre of one of the new plazas in the city of Thyatis built over the cistern between the Zendrolium and The Heart, a statue of Solarios the Unconquered is unveiled. Carved out of a single huge slab of marble by the renowned artist, Michelius Angelinios, it is instantly recognised as a masterpiece.

What This Means: This is one of the signs of the expanded recognition and reverence Ixion (Solarios) has in Thyatis. The work was commissioned by several wealthy patrons, and supported by Eusebius as part of his policy of beautifying the Queen of Cities and making it a showcase of his rule. This has been one of his dreams ever since the Great Fire of AC 1012, if not before-he wants to leave behind many monuments and grand buildings as a lasting legacy of his reign, and make The City the jewel of Mystara.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters wanting a monument to their own glory might hire Michelius Angelinios to depict them in art. Conversely, he might approach particularly striking characters to model for one of his works, especially if they have done something particularly heroic that have brought them public attention and acclaim.

Sviftmont 11, AC 1017: A New Evil Arises.

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

Description: In the middle of an otherwise calm day of trading along the docks of Kastelios, a battered and scorched personal sailing vessel, bearing the colours of Dorian Giannapoulos-a known merchant of some repute-, lurches aimlessly into the harbour. The sight of the ship, its sails burnt severely in several places, and its apparently abandoned state, arouses more than a little interest and concern. As the dock hands manage to secure the ship to the nearest pier, the onlookers' sense of curiosity slowly turns towards fear, as, scattered about on the small ship's deck are the decaying remains of the crew.

Taking control of the situation, a squad of city guardsmen boards the ship, and proceeds below decks to determine if anyone is alive down there. Within moments, loud shouting is heard, accompanied by the sounds of frenzied struggles. Within moments, the guardsmen return to the deck, bringing with them a wild-eyed man dressed in burnt clothing, his mouth almost frothing as he raves about "mighty lizard armies rising in the west, bringing foul magic and unspeakably evil things." Everyone present recoils in shock as they recognise the wretch's identity-none other than Dorian Giannapoulos himself, seemingly aged before his time. His diatribe continues as the guardsmen drag him to the nearest city watch guardhouse, where he will be held until his family can claim him.

What This Means: Dorian was a small-scale merchant who, convinced that there was great wealth to be had in the western reaches of Davania, focused his exploratory and trading efforts there, when most Kastelian merchants look towards Yavdlom, Sind, and increasingly Thyatis as their main markets. He would set sail in his small ship for weeks on end, sometimes coming home with all sorts of strange goods-some of them exceedingly beautiful, others simply strange. Of late, he had been exploring the coasts of the Amalur Lowlands, a vast territory of mixed jungle and swamps lying west of the Adakkian Mounts, as well as certain portions of the Adakkian Sound itself.

The Amalur Lowlands is known to the Kastelians as being inhabited by lizard men and troglodytes, the former ruling over the latter. Apparently, Dorian encountered something terrible, something that he did not expect to see (having made the trip a couple of times before with no incident). Unfortunately, whatever it was, the poor man's mind has become unhinged. Word of this incident will spread over the following days, and the public will begin to ponder actively what is going on in the west.

What the PCs Can Do: PC clerics or mages may have access to certain spells which could either calm Dorian's mind, or probe it to a sufficient depth to determine what it was that disturbed the man so much.

Sviftmont 11, AC 1017: Taghist Blinks.

Location: West of Town of Dmireton, Kingdom of Randel, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Since crossing the Randel Line and entering Randel lands, General Taghist's invasion force has met little opposition except at the forts, none of which have fallen. Aside from a few Randel scouting parties, there has been no contact between the invader and the invaded, because Taghist has not pressed the attack against any of the forts. With the town of Dmireton so close, Taghist is placed in a difficult position. Normally the town would be an inviting target, but it is well garrisoned and the skyships there are those imperial vessels under Dogrel's command. Taghist is indecisive and does not wish to attack Dmireton, partly because his main army is not as strong as it could be, due to the many forces detached from it besieging various Randel fortresses. (See Sv. 1, Sv. 7; Sv. 13, Sv. 17.)

What This Means: He also has several other factors to think about. To use his forces to lay siege to the town would take up time. He had expected that the Randel would have marched to meet his forces by now. Without a decisive battle Taghist feels that establishing a siege on the town will also place his forces in a precarious position. If Randel troops are in the area they could trap his forces between their forces and the defenders of Dmireton.

Though Taghist dislikes leaving the town in his rear area where it will still form an anvil against which his forces can be beaten, as well as a focal point for raids harassing his supply lines, he sees no way around it because he's too indecisive to attack it. He decides to continue his southern march and instead target the town of Telsadun. In his opinion, Telsadun is a relatively soft target. Since it has traditionally served as a rest and recreation town for the troops deployed to the Randel Line the defences should be slight. From there he can marshal his forces for a push on Dmiliburg and for a possible addressing of Dmireton.

Taghist is hopeful that the Randel forces will show themselves soon. He would rather meet them out in the open and not when his forces are busy in urban assault. Once the regional Randel forces are dealt with, the invasion can be carried out at Taghist's leisure. Also, the mystery in their lack of presence is a bit unnerving-Taghist and his officers had expected a Randel response from the offset of the invasion.

Sviftmont 12, AC 1017: The Taterhill Races... Again?

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: After several months of palm-greasing, giving-giving, promise-making-and not a few threats-the Council of Princes convenes to vote on the new Duke of Taterhill. Only two candidates offer themselves up for the position: Marquis Alasdair McAllister of Dunvegan, and (oddly) Baron Gerrid Rientha of Egorn. (Lord Gerrid had tended to the affairs of the Archduchy of Westheath during the confusing years of the Great War with Alphatia, and Harald encouraged him to try and win the new title). Lord Alasdair wins the title, largely due to the irregularity of Gerrid's proposal, but only barely. He will be the new Duke of Taterhill.

Signor Antonio di Tarento succeeds McAllister as the new Marquis of Dunvegan, and is in turn succeeded by Doña Isabella de Montebello as the new Countess of Glenargyll. Any other prospective candidates either refused to run for the position, or weren't taken seriously in their proposals (like the mad Viscount Innocenti di Malapietra).

Complications arise when the title of Viscount of Castelbianco comes up. All three candidates-Baron Gerrid Rientha of Egorn, Baron Pieter Vandehaar of Oxhill, and Baron Vincienzo di Randazzi of Ylourgne-receive sufficient votes for the title. Final selection will go before the House of Lords.

Finally, there is voting on a new noble to fill whichever of the baronial positions is vacated. Several candidates are proposed, among them Lathan Aendyr (son of the presumed late Prince Volospin), an orcish wokan, and Danira Voshane, a prominent sorceress. When the votes are tallied, Danira Voshane is the winner (and joins the ranks of nobility who are also secretly members of the Brotherhood of the Radiance).

The council is disbanded for the day. (See Sv. 20, Ei. 5.)

What the PCs Can Do: If nobles in Glantri, or eligible for nobility, this is a perfect time for them to attempt to further their own political ambitions within the nation.

Sviftmont 12, AC 1017: A Surprise at the Council.

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

Description: The Nayce Council Hall is filled to capacity as the various Naycese kingdom rulers convene to discuss the political infighting. Often Underocean's recent unilateral military action is brought forth as an example, though King Juliast declines to comment on the issue. However as matters are brought forth, the attendees begin arguing amongst themselves. Even the council falls into anarchy as the council representatives fall in to support their kingdoms' rulers.

As the more orderly council representatives try to bring back a sense of order within the ranks of the council representatives, the sound of the council chamber's main doors slamming is clearly heard in a resonating boom. The intrusion draws their attentions and stares as the figure strides towards them. Their sudden silence is only broken by the sounds of his feet tapping across the marbled floors.

Stopping before the council representatives and kingdom rulers, Master Terari glares at each of them with a face bearing distinct disappointment. Shaking his head slowly he solemnly berates them for their conduct. He cites that individualism and diversity have always been paramount to Alphatian society, but what he has just witnessed is more reminiscent of childish tantrums. (See Sv. 1, Sv. 5; Ei. 14.)

Sviftmont 12, AC 1017: Royalists Are Reinforced.

Location: Village of Bromstow, Bishopric of Leominster, Kingdom of Bellayne. SC

Description: Edgwinton's advance force is met by Lord Rodney's cavalry. Rodney, not a man to wait around, left Oldsbury and galloped to Bromstow as quickly as he was able to assist the royalist forces.

Lord Rodney is eager to hurt the parliamentarians, and overrides Edgwinton's urges to move to more defensible ground to the west. The royalist army will hold here, and meet the parliamentarians head on! (See Am. 26, Sv. 5; Sv. 14, Sv. 15.)

What This Means: Between the two of them, the royalist commanders can field around 5,000 soldiers, with a high percentage of cavalry; drawn from the rakasta nobility, most of these cavalrymen have excellent weaponry and know how to use it, although they have not fought together as a military unit before.

Sviftmont 13, AC 1017: News From the Line.

Location: West of Town of Dmireton, Kingdom of Randel, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: General Taghist is informed that the sieges of the Randel Line fortresses are not going well. Though the fortresses are still encircled and isolated by the besieging Bettellyn forces, their attempts to take them by force have been disappointing. The officers almost unanimously report that the fortresses' defences are too tough for the forces available to them, since no one Bettellyn contingent has been given sufficient support. This is the result of the division of resources among too many targets. Even magic has been ineffective as the defences are heavily warded. Their warmages have taken a good number of casualties. Many are now refusing to continue their spellcasting assaults.

Taghist contemplates turning his column around and reinforcing the sieges on the forts. However, he feels that he has already committed his forces. He can aid the sieges better in preventing the fortresses from being relieved or reinforced. Likewise, turning back could doom the invasion,. as the costs of taking the fortresses could dissuade Llynara from continuing the war. And if the war ends at the Randel Line, Bettellyn would at best gain only the border regions. (See Sv. 7, Sv. 11; Sv. 17, Sv. 21.)

What This Means: The Randel Line is an old series of fortresses lining the no-man's-land that marks the Randel/Bettellyn border. The Randel have created these fortresses with longevity in mind; using the years to constantly enchant the defences against magical assault. The defenders are some of the kingdom's best troops, just like all the other soldiers of Randel. In their defensive positions they are much more formidable than previously thought.

The refusal of the Bettellyn mages to commit is based on their feeble support of the war. As long as the battles were expected to be easy, the mages were happy to contribute; however, as mages are wounded and even killed they are losing their motivation to fight. There really isn't a lot for them to gain in risking their lives on the fortresses. Plus, the troops are all dispirited by what they see as a hopeless war.

Sviftmont 13, AC 1017: Port of Call, Port of Intrigue.

Location: City of Slagovich, Gulf of Hule. SC

Description: The ships of the Thyatian exploratory trade expedition reach the city of Slagovich. They stock up on provisions, trade goods with local merchants, and while the sailors explore the port's taverns and flesh-pots, the officers and agents begin to seek out information on the Savage Coast and its peculiar dangers and opportunities. (See Kl. 14, Sv. 7; Ei. 5, Ei. 17.)

What This Means: The merchants of Slagovich have considerable experience trading with the Savage Baronies. However, they're reluctant (at best) to share that knowledge with potential competitors. The Thyatian agents will have a hard time getting the information they want, and it will take longer than they expect. Those involved on the other side may attempt to take more drastic steps to prevent the Thyatians (and their Minrothaddan allies) from achieving their objective.

What the PCs Can Do: Information gathering in the face of subtle opposition and thugs-by-night. Various intrigues conceived and plotted by either side may involve the PCs somehow. As this is a good way to introduce outside characters into the Savage Coast, however, it should be difficult but not frustrating for them to get the information they need.

Sviftmont 13, AC 1017: Hillvale Reinforced.

Location: Kingdom of Hillvale, Nayce, Isle of Dawn. SD

Description: Naycese troops, recalled from their assignment on Eagret Island, arrive in Hillvale. The forces of William Hazard also return to Hillvale, as further deterrent. The Thothian troops that were stationed in Hillvale remain in position. (See Sv. 5, Sv. 7; Sv. 15, Sv. 19.)

What This Means: Commander Karszamon is convinced the Thothians will finish the job and annex Hillvale, completing the tri-polarisation of the Isle of Dawn. To prevent this from happening, and thwart Thothia's attempt at becoming a major power within Nayce (and possibly be tempted to leave the new Alphatian empire and hinder it), he moved an important contingent from the nearest place, Eagret (Heldun is demilitarised except when it's attacked by the Heldannic Knights, and the rest of Alphatian part of the Isle of Dawn is Thothian).

Sviftmont 13, AC 1017: Legacy of Nennaya-Sherat.

Location: City of Selenica, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: A Vestlandic wizard, in town to study artifacts from the tomb of the Nithian Queen Nennaya-Sherat that are in the possession of a local sage, makes a strange discovery. The catalogue of items the sage purchased from gravediggers back in 1011 does not match the sage's actual inventory. After an exhaustive search of the sage's home, the pair can only conclude that several items have been stolen by unknown means. More alarming is the fact that a wizard must have been involved, as the items were enchanted with powerful sorceries, and had been kept under special protection from theft. (See Nu. 12.)

What This Means: The items were stolen by the same person who is responsible for the attack on the Ylari wizard Istakhr, back in Nuwmont. The mysterious thief is indeed a powerful wizard, and has left few traces of his crime.

What the PCs Can Do: The sage will be anxious to recover the items, and could enlist the PCs to help track down the thief. Unless they have powerful magic of their own, however, it will be nearly impossible to find him: he has used his own powerful magicks to effectively erase his tracks.

Sviftmont 14, AC 1017: Reconstruction of the Harbours Begins.

Location: Town of Tenoboa, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: The first construction work of the canal project begins today. A construction team starts building up the wall that shall hold back the water in the harbour. The overseeing engineer is Lord Abolon, who has erected houses, dams and bridges all over the empire. Many commoners will install wooden forms for the dam, then some mages will cast iron walls into this form. Afterwards the form will be filled with mud by the workers. Finally the mud will be transformed into solid rock by mages again. The estimated time to finish the work is two months. (See Sv. 1, Sv. 10; Ei. 2, Ei. 17.)

What This Means: Of course the work could have been done with a lot more magic, but as everywhere on Mystara it is a question of price. Queen Kikania has chosen the cheaper method. Besides, the time won is not really important in this case, as the harbour's use is limited as long as there is no canal. For Lord Abolon it does not matter; he is intrigued by this project, and he will use exactly as much magic as the queen is willing to pay for.

What the PCs Can Do: They could be part of the work team, especially if they are mages.

Sviftmont 14, AC 1017: A Tough Swamp to Crack

Location: Swamps along the River Torion, Hinterlands, Thyatian Empire. DV

Description: Thyatian forces fighting the Thratian Hinterlanders bump up against a difficult obstacle, the swamps southwest of Raven Scarp along the River Torion. Having occupied and begun to fortify the hills to the north, the Thyatians attempt to press south, hoping to conquer everything as far as the river and push back the resisting Thratians in order to secure the Thyatian-inhabited parts of the Hinterlands.

But the swamplands are proving difficult indeed. The Thratian warriors in them are elusive, and there are few areas where the Thyatians can set up permanent strongpoints to control the swamp region. Thus, though the Thyatian patrols are able to pass through, the Thratians just reoccupy the area after the Thyatian soldiers have gone. (See Fy. 9, Fy. 25.)

What This Means: This is a setback in Thyatis' efforts to pacify the Hinterlands and end resistance to their control of the area. In this particular case, Emerond is aiding the Thratians, covertly. Emerond does not mind contact and trade with Thyatis, but is leery of seeing the empire become overly strong and threatening. Thus, while befriending the Thyatians on one hand in order to have good relations with their new and powerful neighbour, they are helping the Thratians (with whom they are also friendly) by sending them nature-shaped items. None of these items are weapons, but they give the Thratians a leg up in the swamps, helping them hold out against the Thyatians. Thus, while the Thyatians continue to advance in the jungles, the Thratians achieve a stalemate in the southern swamps.

What the PCs Can Do: Thyatian characters might come up with an innovative way to break the stalemate.

Sviftmont 14, AC 1017: Trikard's Replacement.

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

Description: King Trikard announces that the military mage Stolander will take his place as General of Neatharm. The decree makes official what has been in practice since Trikard had been given command of the kingdom. Stolander is a militarist mage that has served the Neatharm military since the early days. His most notable achievement was his command of the skyship The Tipsy Tyrant and her role in the defence of the young settlement against Heldannic Knight attacks during the Great War. (See Nu. 8, Am. 1; Sv. 27, Ei. 14.)

What the PCs Can Do: Since Stolander is detailed in Wrath of the Immortals: Book II The Immortals' Fury, it is possible that PCs that participated in that campaign could have contact with him. Depending on that history, PCs could be called upon to perform duties for Neatharm or its military.

Sviftmont 14, 1017: Battle of Siren Hill.

Location: Siren Hill, West of Village of Bromstow, Bishopric of Leominster, Kingdom of Bellayne. SC

Description: Despite reconnaissance from both sides, the two armies only realise how close they are to each other when a party of royalist quartermasters at Bromstow organising billets for the men clash with their parliamentarian opposite numbers doing the same.

Edgwinton initially places his army on Siren Hill, a ridge with a commanding view of the battlefield a few miles to the west of Bromstow. Although a famous observation post, the wooded area is completely unsuitable for cavalry; seeing this, Edgwinton then orders his men to line up at the foot of the hill. By 2 o'clock the parliamentarian army, numbering 6,000 men, almost entirely composed of militiamen from Leominster under the command of Richard Croft, is 800 yards away from the royalist forces.

At 3 o'clock, the battle begins with the parliamentary cavalry moving forward to take possession of the hedgerows between the two armies-valuable cover from archer fire. Wasting no further time Lord Rodney orders his own cavalry units to charge the parliamentarians down. The superior quality of the royalist cavalry quickly becomes evident, as before too long the parliamentarians are pushed back across the front, being hotly pursued by Rodney's men. The retreat becomes a rout and the parliamentarian cavalry flees back towards Bromstow.

However, the royalist cavalry choose to continue the chase and engage the parliamentary baggage train rather than return to dispose of the parliamentary foot. Croft pushes the parliamentary infantry into the tree line at the base of Siren Hill where his men are met by some of the choicest royalist units. At first the more hardened veterans of the royalist forces throw back assaults by the poorly trained militiamen of Leominster, but then Croft hurls himself into the forefront of the fighting. He manages to carve his way through the royalist ranks, and rallying his men behind him, presses against the royalist guards around Edgwinton himself, capturing the Banner Royal. A royal counterattack pushes the parliamentary foot backwards, recapturing the banner, but the Leominster militiamen fighting alongside Croft put up stout resistance, giving the royalists a bloody nose.

By this time both armies are in chaos, with units uncertain in the gathering darkness who is friend or foe, and launching volleys of arrows at any who showed opposition and any bodies of horse or foot returning to the scene of the battle. Into this confusion, royalist catapults volley showers of boulders, causing havoc for both sides. Before two long, exhausted, the two sides manage to disengage.

The next day, the two armies remain on the field, though each is battered. Blythe-Jackson is shocked by the number of corpses on the green pastures between the two armies, and decides to pull his forces back to Leominster, leaving the field to the royalists. (See Sv. 5, Sv. 12; Sv. 15, Sv. 20.)

What This Means: The royalists have split the two parliamentary cities of Norchester and Leominster, but once again it remains to be seen if their position is tenable, with the army vulnerable to attack from both the north and south.

To all intents and purposes the Battle of Siren Hill was a drawn fight, but national opinion sees it as a victory for the royalists. Celebrations are held in Theeds, and King James predicts that Leominster will be returned to the royal fold by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, in Leominster, Blythe-Jackson has other plans...

What the PCs Can Do: Characters who are present can fight for their side, either making the victory more decisive or helping more of their side escape the battle.

Third Week

Sviftmont 15, AC 1017: Vanya Visits Richard Croft.

Location: Parliamentary Army Headquarters, outside the City of Leominster, Bishopric of Leominster, Kingdom of Bellayne. SC

Description: Richard Croft, one of the parliamentary general staff, receives a divine visit this night. A pious follower of Belbion, he wakes having believed that his patron visited him in his dreams. Even more full of righteous fervour than normal, Croft hurriedly sets to personally training the Leominster recruits over the next few months. (See Sv. 12, Sv. 14; Sv. 20, Sv. 27.)

What This Means: The Immortal Vanya has had a hand in inciting the conflicts of Bellayne (it is at Her urging that Blythe-Jackson led the nation into civil war), and She was observing the battle at Siren Hill with great interest. Richard Croft's performance, leading his untrained soldiers against the disciplined royalist pikemen, struck a chord in Her, reminding Her somewhat of Her own mortal life, holding off the advancing Milenians with Her warriors. Vanya hopes to replace Tarastia as the main Immortal worshipped in Bellayne by helping the parliamentary forces win-and Croft, She decides, will be the instrument that She will use to do it.

Sviftmont 15, AC 1017: Hosadus Offers Negotiations.

Location: City of Sayr Ulan, Mumlyket of Sindrastan, and City of Jahore, Mumlyket of Putnabad, Kingdom of Sind. OW

Description: Emissaries from the Master of Hule arrive at the camps of the Sindhi and Thyatian armies, bearing offers of negotiations from Hosadus. He proposes a cease-fire, and negotiations for a peace treaty in Sind. Chandra ul Nervi ponders the arrangement with his Darokinian allies for a while, but he finally agrees to start peace talks. The Thyatians quickly follow suit. (See Am. 19, Sv. 11; Ka. 8, Ka. 12.)

What This Means: Hosadus is using his recent defeat in Putnabad to advance his schemes. He knows that although Thyatis has defeated his army, fighting Hule isn't a high priority for Eusebius. On the other hand, Sind will want to negotiate because their own forces are stalemated. During the negotiations, each side will try to gain the most possible advantageous position for itself.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs can take part in the negotiations as part of either side's team.

Sviftmont 15, AC 1017: Beach-landing on a Desert Island.

Location: Eagret Island, Nayce. AS

Description: A small force lands at the just-deserted Eagret Island, and claims it in the name of Thothia. (See Sv. 7, Sv. 13; Sv. 19.)

What This Means: Since Karszamon announced at the council that he would transfer troops from Eagret to protect Hillvale, the Thothians only had to watch for their departure and move in.

Sviftmont 16, AC 1017: Judgement Day for the Traitors.

Location: City of Helskir, Exarchate/Kingdom of Heldun, Thyatian Empire and Nayce, Isle of Dawn. SD

Description: Amid much public interest and speculation, Queen Asteriela makes a public pronouncement to all her subjects massed before her. In a clear voice, she proclaims that all citizens of Heldun, regardless of their ethnic origins, who willingly aided the Heldannic occupiers, "are hereby and in perpetuity held in our eyes to be traitors of the realm, and enemies of the people." Without emotion, she pronounces a sentence of death for all traitors, to be carried out immediately. Her statement is greeted by much jubilation and banner-waving.

That afternoon, the collaborators are led from the goal, and beheaded in the still-ruined market square. Their heads will be placed on stakes, and lined atop the parapets of the inner wall. (See Sv. 6, Sv. 10; Sv. 25.)

What This Means: This is another move on the part of Asteriela to show her people that she is a strong ruler, and a decisive one. She is well aware that, since the death of her husband, the late King Eruul Zaar, she must assume control quickly to assure that Heldun as a whole remains stable.

Sviftmont 17, AC 1017: Another Murder in Thyatis.

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

Description: Another aristocratic lady is found dead in her bed. This time, it is Euriale Korrigan, wife of the senator Georgos Korrigan. Now the population is aware that a vicious killer is stalking the streets of Thyatis. (See Sv. 4; Ei. 26, Ka. 11.)

What This Means: Korrigan is the real murderer this time. He has access to the information on Iacovus The Mincer and studied his style in order to get rid of his hated wife. He hopes his position and the confusion and excitement spreading through the city due to the killings will prevent him from being caught. He intends to wait a few months and then marry the cousin of Euriale, Licia, with whom he planned the murder. He made some mistakes, though, and investigators will eventually discover the discrepancies.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters can be involved in this investigation, too, and will have to notice clues that someone other than Iacovus committed the murder in order to find out that Korrigan was responsible for it.

Sviftmont 17, AC 1017: Strategic Meeting of the Generals.

Location: City of Errolyn, Kingdom of Theranderol, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: In a meeting of the senior officers of the army of Randel, General-Major Quoos presents an idea he and his subordinate officers have worked out: they propose to connect the Thera River and the Greenlake River by a canal. This would create a waterway from the ruins of Sundsvall to Errolyn, and farther to Rardish or Archport. The advantages for economic and military purposes would be remarkable. Should Queen Eldrethila agree to the project, it could start right away. The permission by the Queen of Vertiloch should really be no problem as she is Eldrethila's mother anyway. General-Lieutenant Olmon, the senior general of Theranderol, decides to ask the queen as soon as possible. (See Kl. 15, Am. 1; Sv. 21, Ei. 5.)

What This Means: Theranderol is not so well known for its military history as other kingdoms, but it has the Randel Wall and the Theranderol and Arogansan Lines at the borders with their potentially hostile neighbours, a reminder of past disputes that keep the Theranderol generals alert. The senior staff now has developed a strategic vision to transport personal and supply between Vertiloch and Theranderol; as there are other canal projects to link the northern rivers together, this would link Theranderol with the rest of the new waterway system. General-Major Quoos is responsible for the logistical problems of the army, and so he has worked out a still rough idea.

Sviftmont 17, AC 1017: Land Grants Announced.

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

Description: In recognition of the continuing pressures imposed by the flow of refugees from the Meghala Kimata Plains, Exarch Leilah ben Nadir announces that land grants will be issued for the regions surrounding Raven Scarp and other major centres in Davania Superior, for those Milenian refugees who wish to settle in the Hinterlands. (See Sv. 1, Sv. 6; Sv. 26, Ei. 20.)

What This Means: Contrary to Leilah's hopes, a solution to the refugee problem was found much later than she had hoped, and both she and her advisers came to the conclusion that part of the resettlement effort might best be accomplished in the Hinterlands. As a result of this declaration, land will be made available outside urban centres to allow those Milenians who wish to do so to settle.

Sviftmont 17, AC 1017: Randel Reacts.

Location: North of Town of Telsadun, Kingdom of Randel, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Bettellyn scouts report sighting a large body of Randel troops. Taghist is pleased that the Randel have finally shown themselves, however he is displeased that his scouts only give vague reports and did not properly estimate their numbers, composition, and exact position. Taghist sends out more scouts with orders to fill these requirements. In the meantime he orders the column to halt and assemble for battle. (See Sv. 11, Sv. 13; Sv. 21, Sv. 24.)

What This Means: Taghist fully expects that the Randel are well aware where he is and where he is going. He will wait for them, considering passivity his best strategy. By the crude estimates of his scouts he feels certain that he has a distinct numerical superiority. Likewise he feels that his troops are in better shape and better led, thanks to Queen Junna's ineptitude. His one worry is that the sighted Randel formation is may not be the full complement in the area, As the Randel tend to march in scattered units and converge on an enemy force. Taghist hopes that his scouts will find any other Randel formations moving about in the area.

The truth is that the Randel are sending four formations to intercept Taghist. Two are regular army regiments. The third and fourth formations are militia and garrison forces scrambled from Telsadun and Dmiliburg. These two latter formations compose the bulk of the Randel forces moving against Taghist's formation. Even with these Taghist retains a numerical superiority.

These Randel units are being sent to counter Taghist's advance, not destroy it. With their armed forces in a sorry state, the Randel High Command has adopted a strategy to draw the Bettellyn out and overextend their logistical chain. They will bleed the invaders before counterattacking. They have no plans about attempting to launch their own counter-invasion of Bettellyn,. they merely want to drive the Bettellyn forces out of Randel.

Randel cannot afford a protracted war that will erode its already weakened military further. They want to save as many of their troops as possible to use as the foundation of a rebuilding Randel military. They are going to destroy the leadership of the Bettellyn invasion force, eroding its fighting ability before committing to more customary land battles. The real attack on Taghist's forces is to come from a far more covert source. The Randel High Command has already moved Randel heroes into Telsadun to prepare for an attack on the invaders' officers.

What the PCs Can Do: The Bettellyn need their best scouts, while the Randel send their best assassins (called heroes and patriots, of course) to wreak havoc in the enemy command.

Sviftmont 19, AC 1017: Lost Patrols.

Location: Countryside, Kingdom of Arkan, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Several scouting patrols of the Stonewall army have gone missing over the last few days. (See Sv. 7, Sv. 11; Ei. 12, Ka. 15.)

What This Means: This is once again the work of the Wolf-Pack. During the recent infiltration of the Stonewall army's camp, Wolf-Hunter was able to learn that Stonewall is taking the main road directly to Ceafem, and he also learned some of the planned areas the patrols will cross. The Wolf-Pack have ambushed and killed or captured several of these since then.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs with the Wolf-Pack can help catch the patrols, while PCs with the invaders can try to find out why the army's patrols go missing.

Sviftmont 19, AC 1017: He Who Controls the Military.

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

Description: Representative Ragmon informs the Council of Nayce that Thothia has claimed the empty island of Eagret and intends to send settlers there. The other councillors are shocked, but unable to speak in a single voice. Karszamon is even more furious at the Thothians, and claims that the island is a military outpost and can't be owned by any single member nation of Nayce, only by the central authority; but the Thothians stand by their position. (See Sv. 13, Sv. 15.)

What This Means: There is little Karszamon can do short of attacking the Thothians. The Thothian troops are acting outside of their constitutional boundaries, as national troops are supposed to be under the authority of the commander in chief, and not a national figure.

Karszamon's lack of ability at military strategy is, once again, evidenced.

Thothians are not particularly known for being bold settlers, so it remains to be seen whether the island is actually colonised. Settling was only a pretence though, not the actual intent of the military action.

Sviftmont 20, AC 1017: Who's the Viscount?

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: The House of Lords convenes to vote on the succession of the Viscountcy of Castelbianco. With three candidates to select from, it is expected that it will be very difficult for any of them to get the requisite number of votes to be chosen. Not surprisingly, none are able to muster enough support for their position. As a result, the candidates must go to Duelling Court in order to secure their title. As none of the three seems willing to back down from their objective, Supreme Judge Dolores Hillsbury declares that this shall be a three-way duel, with all contestants competing against one another at the same time. The duel date is set for two weeks hence. (See Sv. 12; Ei. 5.)

What This Means: A rather unusual event in Glantrian politics. The three-way duel will be the rage amongst the Glantrian nobility and peasantry alike. Seats will go for hundreds of ducats apiece, and there won't be a vacant spot in the arena. The students and faculty of the Great School will begin to make immediate plans for the duel, setting up the arena and making sure there are ample obstacles for the different contestants. In the betting parlours, Baron Gerrid Rientha is the hands down favourite, with Baron Pieter Vandehaar coming in second. For their parts, Lord Gerrid and Lord Pieter make plans for the duel-the former practicing his magic, the latter making deals and plotting with his allies to try and swing the odds in his favour. Meanwhile, underdog Signor Vincienzo will be busy studying his opponents and trying to put on as good a display as he can.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are Glantrian barons, perhaps they are among the candidates to be selected for the new title (in which case there may be more than three duellists contending for the title!). If students at the Great School of Magic, they can participate in the preparations for the duel-setting up magical traps, creatures, and other obstacles for the contestants (and perhaps being approached by those in the employ of Baron Pieter Vandehaar or his allies to help fix the contest for him).

Sviftmont 20, AC 1017: Privateers Called Out for the King.

Location: City of Theeds, Earldom of Theeds, Kingdom of Bellayne. SC

Description: Following the clashes at Siren Hill, the king puts out word in Theeds-the temporary royal capital-of the need for brave sea-captains to stand forward for their sovereign in this, his hour of need, against certain treasonous and disloyal subjects. The results are less than expected, but the royal navy receives several positive responses from the local sailors-a most welcome result, since all of the navy's light ships disappeared in a storm not so many months ago. (See Sv. 14, Sv. 15; Sv. 27, Ei. 12.)

What This Means: Ships take a long time to build, the royal navy must husband them all. The king is growing suspicious of Vilaverde, and hopes to expand his navy to deter Vilaverdan involvement.

The royal navy is still no match for the sea might of Vilaverde, but Vilaverde is a long way away, and the king hopes to at least give them food for thought.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters loyal to the king, interested in adventure on the high seas, or just looking for an excuse to loot other ships, can sign on as privateers and receive a letter of marque and reprisal from the royalist faction, somewhat legitimising their piracy.

Sviftmont 21, AC 1017: Report to the Queen.

Location: City of Errolyn, Kingdom of Theranderol, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: General-Lieutenant Olmon makes his regular report to his queen. Among other matters he presents the planned canal. Queen Eldrethila likes this idea as trade and tax revenues will increase. The general and the queen agree to ask Lord Torn. The lord is a member of the Grand Council and, being from Theranderol, he has always been a friend. Now he has to get in touch with Lord Solturnun to get more information. As the leader of the planning staff the queen appoints one of her advisers, Lady Tyrona. (See Am. 1, Sv. 17; Ei. 5, Ei. 15.)

What This Means: Eldrethila's mother, Empress Eriadna, is using the services of the Navy of the Lakes for planning her own new canal. As this seems to work quite well, the queen wants to benefit from the experience. The general has no objections although he would have preferred to keep the planning in the hands of the army.

Sviftmont 21, AC 1017: Good and Bad Tidings.

Location: City of Freiburg, Territory of Heldann, Heldannic Empire. OW

Description: After almost two weeks of preparations for a possible military conflict, amid rumours of mobilisations of troops loyal to Straßenburger, Oberherr Wulf von Klagendorf receives word from his underlings as to their loyalty. The landmeister of Kammin, Pflenzen, Landfall, Oceansend, and Grauenberg have reaffirmed their loyalty to the current oberherr, and have pledged to fulfil their oaths of fealty to him through military support if necessary. Furthermore, the freiherren of Treptow, Nordberg, Klagen, Kaltstein, Blauendorf, and Seelitz will also lend what assistance they can, though the three Heldland dominions warn that, due to continued raiding on the part of Count Helmut of Wolkenberg, they will require most of their forces to remain at home.

Unfortunately, the landmeister of Forton and Thurgau have cast their lot with Straßenburger, stating that they will support Straßenburger by any means necessary. This bad news is compounded by the fact that, aside from a few ragged survivors arriving by ship in Ambyrmont, the expeditionary force sent to Helskir appears to have been destroyed-including Ordensgeneral Anna von Hendriks. Herr Wulf knew some of the senior knights serving in that group, and felt he could count on their support, if he needed it. (See Sv. 2, Sv. 6.)

What This Means: The latest defections have effectively given Heinrich Straßenburger control over large swaths of the heartland of the Heldannic Territories, and allow him to threaten Grauenberg (which is cut off from other loyalist regions), Kammin, Landfall, and the coastal holdings near Vestland-should he decide to take over the order by force. Herr Wulf, on the other hand, can count on the loyalty of Freiburg and the coastal regions of Heldann proper, the border fortresses near Ethengar (plus Grauenberg) as well as almost all of Heldland. Unfortunately, the support of Heldland may not mean much, as it is sparsely populated compared to the heartland, and is still a largely untamed region, which may need the bulk of its forces to maintain order. Straßenburger's region is concentrated geographically, well-settled, and has a higher population density, thus giving him access to more troops and resources. Clearly, it is uncertain who would have the upper hand.

What the PCs Can Do: Depending on their own opinions of Herr Wulf, PC dominion rulers could support him, or they could ally themselves with Straßenburger. This is not a decision to be taken lightly; if they end up siding with the loser, they will lose their lands at the very least-and possibly find their lives forfeit. A situation could even arise where a group of PC rulers might support opposing factions, leading to increased tensions. Regardless, this scenario provides an opportunity for PCs supporting either side to engage in espionage, to determine what the other side is doing.

Sviftmont 21, AC 1017: Outcry in the Senate.

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

Description: The imperial senate, upon receiving a report of the cost of the Devil Ray, reacts in surprise. Many, led by Leana Scaurus, begin to protest that the funds could have been spent more productively and efficiently on other things. Marzia Venobis, the senator appointed by Retebius, argues that for the cost of the one Devil Ray, the entire Retebius Air Fleet (she doesn't use the now-official terminology, air cavalry) could have been mounted on dragons. Others counter that she's over-dramatising the cost, and that at any rate there aren't that many dragons available, plus it would take some time to train them even if there were. But the point remains that the ship cost more than a whole flock of dragons would have cost at prevailing prices. Furthermore, Irene Pallathakis reminds everyone that the ships of the entire imperial navy cost only marginally more than the one Devil Ray costs.

After considerable debate, the senate gets the emperor to agree to suspend construction of Devil Rays. The Thyatian airship program will continue, but will concentrate on less expensive ships, and additional funds will be directed to the Retebius Air Cavalry, as well as other projects (like economic development and reconstruction). Further efforts will also be made to integrate the air cavalry with the skyship forces, to create force-multipliers that make both forces more effective and efficient, thus making them more valuable (and thereby justifying the expense devoted to them). (See Am. 5.)

What This Means: The Thyatians aren't used to spending millions of gold pieces on expensive toys, unlike the Alphatians. While skyships have their uses, and will definitely be a major component in the imperial armed forces in the future, hugely expensive ones just are not deemed worth the cost. Especially at a time when the empire's resources are still somewhat strained.

The designers on Borydos will go back to the drawing board, concentrating on developing a smaller, cheaper vessel. This will result in the construction of the Spitfire class, named after a famous squadron of dragon-knights who fought in the Great War against the Alphatian war machine's skyships. Meanwhile the original Devil Ray will be fitted out as an exploration cruiser, and construction of the less versatile, but much less expensive, Sky Dromonds will continue on Terentias and now in the city of Thyatis itself.

What the PCs Can Do: Thyatian characters might be hired to go fetch dragons and other mounts, to help rebuild the cheaper but efficient flying armada of Thyatis-the Retebius Air Fleet.

Sviftmont 21, AC 1017: Where Are Our Eyes? Where Are Our Hearts?

Location: North of Town of Telsadun, Kingdom of Randel, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Taghist is growing concerned over recent events. Of the plethora of scouts that he has dispatched, only a handful have returned. Those that have returned report no contacts with enemy forces. Taghist is fairly certain that these missing scouts have met with the Randel and have either been captured or killed, which doesn't surprise the disillusioned man. Though he does not know where the Randel forces are, the lack of contact by some scouts tells him where they are not. (See Sv. 13, Sv. 17; Sv. 24, Ei. 2.)

What This Means: The losses among the scouts are easily recognised. Taghist is increasingly concerned as his remaining scouts are becoming hesitant in their searches for the enemy. Some perform half-hearted patrol sweeps within a few hours' ride of the Bettellyn camp. Others are coming down with convenient illnesses, such as upset stomachs.

Fourth Week

Sviftmont 22, AC 1017: More Followers of Gareth... Or Are They?

Location: Southeastern Barren Plain. OW

Description: Several tribes of the Urduk nomads are approached by groups of priests who tell about their Immortal, Gareth. They tell the Urduks how Gareth protects His followers against the ravages of power-hungry oppressors and other Immortals. The Urduks, who have long been oppressed by the Sindhi, listen on with interest. After the priests are done talking, many Urduks are offering prayers to this new Immortal. (See Nu. 1.)

What This Means: The priests who approached the Urduks are not followers of Gareth. They are in fact priests of Bozdogan, sent by the Master of Hule to "convert" the Urduks and to gain increased influence over them. The Master is using Gareth's name to gain more followers for himself and for Bozdogan.

Sviftmont 23, AC 1017: Mists near Maelstrom.

Location: Sundsvall Maelstrom, Nayce. AS

Description: Mists form in various spots of the Alphatian Sea in the vicinity of the Sundsvall Maelstrom. The origin of the mists remains mysterious, and they are gone the next day. (See Fe. 10, Fy. 16; Ei. 18.)

Sviftmont 24, AC 1017: Off With Their Heads.

Location: North of Town of Telsadun, Kingdom of Randel, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: General Taghist's camp is rocked by a series of covert raids by Randel heroes. The raiders seem to come from nowhere and wreak havoc upon the dispirited Bettellyn forces, killing troops and setting fire to tents and supply caches. The Randel raiders withdraw from camp before the startled Bettellyn can mobilise to meet them. As the damage is assessed, it is quickly realised that the raids were well planned out-the supplies were specifically targeted, and the bulk of the troops killed are officers. Among the casualties are General Taghist who has his right hand amputated by the blade of one of the raiders. He accepts this fatalistically as his lot. (See Sv. 17, Sv. 21; Ei. 2, Ei. 20.)

What This Means: The raid has been carried out by Randel adventurers and by Randel's own elite forces. Honed by years of covert raids they easily infiltrate the encampment and hit predetermined objectives-supplies and command organisation. The raiders are pretty successful in their attempt, managing to destroy weeks worth of supplies and to kill several key officers and wound many more.

As a mage, Taghist's amputated hand is a serious hindrance. Without both hands, he cannot cast spells normally. And without his spells he loses a good deal of the prestige of his position. The raid has left his cadre of spellcasters woefully weak. He does not have the mages or clerics available to cast the spells needed to restore his hand. The bitter irony is that with both of his hands he could cast the spell himself.

Sviftmont 25, AC 1017: Bornbank Clanholds Raided.

Location: Southern Clanholds, Kingdom of Vestland. OW

Description: A large raiding party from the northern border clanholds of Soderfjord roars into Vestland, pillaging and looting. They make it all the way to the town of Vanger before Bornbank clan warriors are able to muster their forces and drive them back across the border. Jarl Ceowulf Rotolfson of the Bornbank clan sends immediate word to his liege, King Bergthor, proclaiming the raid as an act of war by the Kingdom of Soderfjord. (See Ei. 3, Ei. 20.)

What This Means: Ragnar the Stout of Soderfjord was grudgingly acknowledged king in AC 1012. Since then, he has done little to justify his leadership in the eyes of many of the Soderfjord jarls. One of his rivals, Jarl Guthorm Brittle-Bone, has decided the time is ripe to attempt to oust Ragnar and take his place. To this end, he has convinced his fellow jarls of the northern border clans to participate in this raid. The northern border jarls of Soderfjord have long desired the fringe regions of the Bornbank clan, claiming they rightfully belong to Soderfjord.

What the PCs Can Do: The Bornbank clan has suffered raids from their neighbours for many years, and many of the clan members are former mercenaries adopted into the clan to help in its defence. The PCs may already be members, or may join up, and be allowed the full benefits of clan membership-so long as they help fight off Soderfjord raiders.

Sviftmont 25, AC 1017: An Inauspicious Homecoming.

Location: Town of Kammin, Territory of Heldann, Heldannic Empire. OW

Description: During a slow day in the port town of Kammin, the dockworkers note with interest a small number of sailing vessels, bearing no flags of any sort, making their way towards the port. After their supervisors are alerted, word spreads quickly, and a small contingent of soldiers is dispatched. As the ships draws nearer, it soon becomes apparent that the occupants are all Heldannic soldiers and knights, some of whom are injured. Orders are issued, and by the time the ships dock, arrangements have been made to tend to the wounded, while Landmeisterin Julia von Kolmburg looks on.

Within an hour, the injured are removed to suitable quarters, while the able-bodied officers deliver reports concerning the reasons for their unscheduled arrival in Kammin. Even von Kolmburg, however, is surprised when Ordensgeneral Anna von Hendriks arises from below decks of one of the ships, and delivers her own version of events to the landmeisterin. Before long, all present are made aware the Heldannic Order has been defeated by the combined might of Thyatis and Nayce.

Taking everything in, von Kolmburg invites the ordensgeneral to dine with her, as much has happened in the Heldannic Territories since the ill-fated expedition to Heldun began last year. (See Sv. 16, Sv. 21; Ka. 12.)

What This Means: Ordensgeneral Anna von Hendriks, and a group of roughly 40 knights and soldiers, managed to escape the palace in Helskir, and make their way through the countryside to the village of Dawnhaven, where, they knew, they could steal a number of sailing vessels to make their way to Heldann. Being a principled leader, Anna did not wish to cast word of recall in order to return to her dwelling, as she would leave behind many of those who accompanied her to Heldun, and remained with her still out of loyalty. Thus, they had to rely on mundane means to escape.

Unbeknownst to Anna, however, the unity of the Heldannic Order is no longer assured. Those loyal to Heinrich von Straßenburger, knowing that the well-known ordensgeneral was generally loyal to Oberherr Wulf von Klagendorf, might try to eliminate her should they become aware that she survived the fall of Helskir. Landmeisterin Julia von Kolmburg, being a dominion ruler (and therefore more immersed in the politics of the land) as well as a supporter of the current oberherr, will inform Anna of the potential dangers awaiting her in Heldann, and will urge her to avoid detection as much as possible.

What the PCs Can Do: If they were Heldannic Knights or soldiers serving Anna during her escape from Helskir, this is probably the main way by which they can return home.

Sviftmont 26, AC 1017: First Ships Depart.

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

Description: A small flotilla of Thyatian vessels sets sail for Pilion, Hattias, bearing over a thousand Milenians who have accepted the offer to settle there. (See Sv. 6, Sv. 17; Ei. 20.)

What This Means: When they heard about the offer to settle in Hattias, the Milenians accepted for the most part. Not only where they told about the opportunities to farm their own lands, or to resume their crafts in safety; they were told that this new land was far away from the ongoing conflict between Mivosia and the Heldannic Knights. Most of the refugees saw their homes and livelihoods destroyed by war; there is really nothing holding them back from finding a new home elsewhere.

This is the first such movement; others will follow as more ships become available, and as the situation in the Hinterlands becomes clearer (the authorities are still not sure exactly how many Milenians have fled to the empire, though they do know that the inflow is continuing).

What the PCs Can Do: If they are Milenian, this could be one way for the PCs to go to the Old World. Otherwise, Thyatian PCs might be tasked to protect the Milenians from the various dangers of the Sea of Dread.

Sviftmont 27, AC 1017: Sharya Assaulted.

Location: City of Sharya, Zuyevan Empire. WB

Description: In a massive assault in the depths of the night, hordes of zombies, juju zombies, and other undead swarm out of the river and assault the docks of Sharya, where the city's defences are thin. The attack comes as somewhat of a surprise to troops used to dealing with a normal enemy, but since the undead don't need to swim they were able to crawl along the river bottom until they were ready to assault the town. Most of the undead leading the attack are former soldiers from Kulikovo Fortress, which further disheartens the defenders of Sharya. Don Claudio orders his remaining three undead dragons to assault the defenders from the air, tearing through the defences. As the walls crumble, more and more undead swarm into the city itself, where house-to-house fighting commences as the people of Sharya fight for their lives. The dragons bombard the city with inflammables (flaming pitch casks which were captured at Kulikovo), setting numerous fires which burn large sections of Sharya to the ground.

But imperial forces and the people of Sharya refuse to give in, fighting back tenaciously. In bloody fighting they grimly overcome the assaulting undead, and by morning have eliminated Don Claudio's assault force. His undead dragons fly back to Kulikovo Fortress. Much of Sharya has burned to the ground, however, and there are thousands of dead littering the streets. (See Sv. 5, Sv. 11; Ei. 3.)

What This Means: Don Claudio hoped to conquer Sharya, which would open the way for an advance to Zuyevo's capital, Zuyganev. His failure to take Sharya is a major setback for him. Indeed, this isn't his only setback. Most of the humanoids which are with his army came looking for loot, and the victories over the Zuyevan armies as well as the booty captured at Kulikovo Fortress has satiated their current greed. They are not interested in a long war against Zuyevo, and begin to drift away, leaving Don Claudio with a force of 3,000 undead troops, 1,000 humanoids, and his trump card, the dragons. This is enough, perhaps, to hold Kulikovo against the inevitable counter-attacks, but it is not enough to invade the empire.

Don Claudio feels betrayed, and he has been. The Master of Hule does not intend to send further support to him. He wanted to knock Zuyevo off balance and curb their expansionism, but he never saw Don Claudio succeeding in conquering Zuyevo. He expects the demon, Joramurrak, to continue to undermine Zuyevo and destabilise it, which is all Hosadus wants for now.

Sviftmont 27, AC 1017: Recruitment.

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

Description: With a definite need for an increased military presence and a boost to the population, King Trikard issues a decree targeted towards the numerous demobilised troops of the Alphatian military. The monarch offers tracts of land in exchange for colonisation in the Kingdom of Neatharm. Trikard is aware that his kingdom sits on the proverbial front line of any Hollow World conflict. Drawing upon the Norwold precedent, he decides that the kingdom needs a very strong military and wise and able-bodied nobles. He sees the military as his primary recruitment pool. With the imperial forces demobilising, he hopes to entice many of the released troops to settle in Neatharm. (See Am. 1, Sv. 14; Ei. 14.)

Sviftmont 27, AC 1017: Meet the New Boss...

Location: City of Minrothad, Trader's Isle, Exarchate of Minrothad, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: After weeks of political manoeuvring, it is announced by the exarch and the Council of Guilders that, surprise of surprises, Oran Meditor will replace Demetius Vannopolus as the next Exarch of Minrothad. Emperor Eusebius and the Thyatian Senate have already sent their approval of the choice. Meditor will take office as exarch officially on Kaldmont 23, the first day of Minrothad's Midwinter Festival. (See Fl. 9, Sv. 6; Ka. 15.)

What This Means: It quickly became apparent to Vannopolus that the guilders were having none of the nonentities the Thyatians were promoting for the job. The Thyatians themselves absolutely abhorred the prospect of some of the other candidates becoming exarch, so they pushed for Meditor. While many of the guilders have grudges against Meditor, he was their ruler before, and is the one with the broadest general support.

What the PCs Can Do: A PC might have managed to become exarch, or otherwise been involved in the scheming.

Sviftmont 27, AC 1017: Aldhythe Castle Switches Sides.

Location: Aldhythe Castle, Bishopric of Leominster, Kingdom of Bellayne. SC

Description: Aldhythe Castle has been under the pro-parliament commander Lord Frederick Epping since the start of the dispute. Late on this night, royalist soldiers stage a bloodless coup, disarming their colleagues who refuse to cash in their lot with the king and throwing them out the castle gates. The leader turns out to be Sir Basil Epping, son of Frederick, who sadly orders that his father be detained under house arrest until he can be delivered to the king's justice. (See Sv. 15, Sv. 20; Ei. 12, Ei. 25.)

What This Means: Aldhythe Castle has been used as the residence of the monarch many times in the past, and as such it is an exceedingly well built fortification-one of the largest castles on the Savage Coast-including a full range of magical wards. While the small garrison poses little threat to any nearby parliamentarians, the castle does control the only clear southern road to Renardie from Leominster. As parliamentarian forces are already stretched to deal with the king's offensive around Bromstow, it seems that Sir Basil will be Lord of Aldhythe for some time-and a thorn in the side of parliament.

Sviftmont 27, AC 1017: Renegotiations in Kastelios

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

Description: Having removed the Twaelar war from consideration and developed alternate routes to the Hinterlands, the Thyatians are seeing less and less need for their current deal with Kastelios. Most trade vessels headed towards the Hinterlands have taken either the eastern route passing near Ochalea or, with the Twaelar war ending, the direct southern route through the eastern Thanegioth islands, to avoid paying the onerous fees mandated by the Kastelios treaty. Most of the ships passing near Kastelios just do so to pick up Milenian refugees to transport to Thyatis, as part of Eusebius' plan to re-populate the empire. But this traffic provides little income for the Kastelians.

With this as backdrop, knowing the empire has greater leverage with which to bargain this time, Eusebius sent Helena Delanarius back to Kastelios after the end of the Twaelar War, to negotiate a new arrangement. She points out that with the fees set at 20% of the value of goods passing through Kastelios, traffic that might otherwise dock in the city is avoiding it. Thus the Kastelians are receiving less income than they would if the rate was lower, encouraging more Thyatian (and Minrothaddan) merchants to dock here. She also points out that with unrest in Davania growing, the Kastelians would profit from a closer alliance with Thyatis.

She proposes several modifications to last year's agreement. First, that instead of receiving 20% of the value of all goods passing through Kastelios, the rate will instead be 10%. In the case of goods destined for imperial ports (for example, in the Hinterlands), the Thyatian government will pay it directly (in effect, giving Kastelios the commercia tax on these goods). In the case of goods destined for other ports, the fee will be split, with half paid by the Thyatian government and half by the trader who owns the goods. In the case of goods destined for Kastelios, the trader will pay the entire amount in question. In exchange, the Thyatians ask that a section of docks and warehouses be set aside for their use, with the usual dockage and warehouse taxes waived in this district. This would, in effect, create a Thyatian Quarter. The funds provided will help subsidise Kastelios' army and navy in these dangerous times, she says. Helena also proposes increased military cooperation-in addition to joint patrols of the Sea of Dread along the Davanian coast between Kastelios and the Hinterlands, Thyatis will pledge to come to the aid of Kastelios should it be attacked.

The Kastelian Assembly finds this proposal fair and reasonable, and quickly accepts it. (See Fy. 19, Am. 20.)

What This Means: Helena Delanarius' hands were tied in last year's negotiations, because the Thyatians needed the agreement much more than the Kastelians did. The situation is somewhat different this time, but Delanarius is also more reasonable, proposing terms that will benefit Kastelios as much as Thyatis. The Kastelians are thus much more favourably inclined, as her proposal last year, which would have amounted to virtual annexation of Kastelios, irritated them. Now, the Kastelians are interested in a deal, since the situation in Davania has become much more unsettled, and they could use increased income to help them deal with the influx of refugees, as well as an ally in case they are attacked. Such an alliance might even deter potential attackers, keeping Kastelios free from war.

The Kastelians can turn over docks and warehouses that have been largely used by Thyatians anyhow. Kastelios will thus become a link in the expanding trade network of the Thyatian Empire, and with more trade passing through both will benefit. Traders headed to (or from) Yavdlom and the southwestern coast of Davania will make Kastelios a regular stop. The merchants of Kastelios itself, growing active themselves, will find a prosperous niche as intermediaries in this trade. They will also make money shipping and selling goods to support the Thyatian war effort in the Hinterlands, especially during the winter months. These things will further increasing the prosperity of Kastelios.

What the PCs Can Do: Higher-level PCs (Thyatian or Kastelian) could take part in the discussions.

Sviftmont 28, AC 1017: Spirit Herd in Julinius.

Location: Town of Julinius, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: Every night from Sviftmont 28 to Kaldmont 2, the city of Julinius is the theatre of an eerie event. Several herds of translucent cows pass through the city and are seen by a good number of surprised citizens, some of whom are terrified by the site. They do not harm anyone, however, and simply pass through the city from one side to the other. The best explanation seems to be a spirit manifestation of the cattle that died suddenly of disease earlier this year. (See Fe. 1.)