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First Week

Thaumont 1, AC 1017: Grunalfs Sail North.

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

Description: After two months spent in the northern woods of Heldann, the Alfheim exiles are politely but firmly presented with an order to abandon the Heldannic nation within the month. The Alfheimers' request for refuge in Vanya's theocracy has been refused, and they are forced to leave the nation to avoid further political and physical repercussions. The Grunalfs (and all the other elves belonging to minor clans that travelled with them) decide to migrate northwards, to reach the small elven Barony of Ironwood, where other brethren have been living since AC 1015, after the invitation of the elf mage Baron Elarianthas Blackblade. To avoid travelling through dangerous territories, the elves board some merchant ships sailing towards Alpha. (See Nu. 1; Fl. 13.)

What This Means: Oberherr Wulf von Klagendorf has decided to expel the elves because he doesn't want any trouble with Denagoth at the moment, especially seeing what has happened in nearby Wendar because of the Alfheimers. Now that they have been abandoned to their own fate, the Grunalfs' last hope lies in the northern lord Elarianthas Blackblade, accomplished mage and skilled fighter, who invited them to relocate to his dominion back in AC 1015, when the Alfheim reserves were created in Wendar. They have chosen sailing northwards because they had no other choice: going south through the Northern Reaches would have only brought them more problems, and then both the Ylari and the dwarves would have blocked their way to Darokin or Karameikos.

Thaumont 1, AC 1017: Zuyevo Seizes an Opportunity.

Location: Western Kingdom of Douzbakjian, Midlands. WB

Description: Last year Ustalam, leader of the northern Nomadic Empire (which stretched from the areas north of Zuyevo to Douzbakjian and other parts of the Midlands) was killed by the Master of Hule. The Zuyevan Empire now sees an opportunity to expand its influence in the Midlands. With an expedition of 12,500 troops (including Talmav cavalry, imperial hussars and the 6th 12th and 14th imperial infantry) under Tsar Andrei's firstborn son, Crown Prince Dmitry, Zuyevo plans to conquer as much of Douzbakjian and the Midlands as it can. This will allow it access to the rich resources of the region and the opportunity to open up another front from which to attack Hule should that become necessary. (See Fl. 11, Ya. 1.)

What This Means: Douzbakjian is the largest and most northerly of the Midlands nations. It cradles the southern rim of the Yalu Sea [that great big body of water north of Hule. Ed.]. Douzbakjian is populated largely by civilised humans and dwarves, many of whom were previously nomadic or barbaric. Douzbakjian is a major grain-producing nation and has strategic importance in that it controls access from the plains north of the Tunguska to the Midlands and Hule. This is a very important trade route that also gives control of the mighty Yalu River, which drains from the Yalu Sea. North of that sea are a number of scattered barbarian tribes as well as the feared white orcs, whose territory stretches right across the upper Borean Plateau from the Endworld Line to the Adri Varma Plateau. As such, control of Douzbakjian would give a conqueror influence and access to the Midlands, as well as wealth from imposing taxes on the trade caravans that go north and west from Hule and the Old World. The only other overland trade route would be through the heavily contested Bylot Hills which once was monster infested and now is the scene of constant conflicts between Zuyevo, Hule, Olgar, Monzag, Antasyn and also barbarian tribes from the Zdredanyan Forest-i.e. the Sendaryan tribes.

Hule is seeking to expand its influence in Western Brun, but the Empire of Zuyevo is seeking to do the same. The two empires respond to the challenge differently, Hule with deception and intrigue, Zuyevo with force of arms.

Thaumont 2, AC 1017: Wayseeker Sets Out.

Location: City of Calimnis, Empire of Selhomarr. HW

Description: The Wayseeker silently pulls away from its resting place above the main square of Calimnis, heading due east. Friction between the crew and their hosts had erupted during their shore leave, but Adath was able to smooth matters over with the Selhomarrians. As the skyship leaves, some of the emperor's aides observe the spectacle, pondering what the Alphatians' arrival means for Selhomarr. (See Va. 24, Va. 25; Th. 3, Th. 4.)

What This Means: Despite the best of intentions, the Alphatians and the Selhomarrians possess many differences between them-enough to mar the otherwise positive encounter somewhat. To some of the Alphatian guests-particularly among the conservative spellcasters-the prominence of clerics among the Selhomarrian populace, as opposed to wizards, was viewed with some disdain. Some clerics of Xeron, the dominant Immortal of Selhomarr, perceived this attitude and were offended by it. Likewise, those Alphatians who had little exposure to foreign cultures did not take kindly to mere commoners addressing them directly, as though considering themselves to be in the presence of equals. Equally, however, there were instances where both peoples were able to interact without problems.

Many Selhomarrians, by contrast, viewed the Alphatians with cautious curiosity, and sometimes outright suspicion. The prospect that any foreign nation possessed the ability to traverse the skies with such apparent ease caused many to wonder what the Alphatians' true motive was for visiting Selhomarr. The imperial court will no doubt be under pressure in the coming months from advisers and prominent citizens to devise policies concerning Alphatia. Xenophobic organisations within the empire will no doubt seize the opportunity to advance their own agendas.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs with either the Alphatians or the Selhomarrians have a golden opportunity here to make a name for themselves in international diplomacy. Depending on what they do to ease tensions that might arise (assuming they do anything at all), the outcome of this first visit might turn out more favourably (or less so) than described here. If they do well, they could earn the gratitude of Adath and the Selhomarrians. Alternatively, if the initial meeting goes poorly, Eriadna (or one of her advisers) might send the PCs to Selhomarr during a subsequent visit to smooth things over; either way, this is a chance to expose them to this vastly different nation.

Thaumont 2, AC 1017: Stonewall Looks to Arkan.

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

Description: Intelligence reports of various Alphatian nations have been submitted to King Koblan and his court, and they now consider those. It is decided that despite the distance, the best target for an invasion is Arkan. (See Nu. 23, Va. 5; Th. 4, Th. 25.)

What This Means: Arkan is far away and so transportation will be a big problem. On the other hand, it is the obvious target for several reasons, mainly because Arkan has large amounts of good farmland, but also because Arkan is more vulnerable to an attack. When Alphatia was brought into the Hollow World by the Immortals, almost all the aristocrats of Arkan remained in the outer world because they mostly lived on the nation's floating islands. This region, called Floating Ar, remained in the outer world when Alphatia was destroyed and then recreated as a floating continent. Because of this, the population is almost entirely composed of commoners, meaning that Stonewall forces are likely to meet little magical opposition if they can bring their troops there.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are involved in this, they should definitely be the ones to perform the spy mission in Arkan. That way, they'll not only submit their findings to the court, but also be invited to participate in the planning of the invasion due to their first-hand knowledge of the land.

Thaumont 2, AC 1017: Almarrón and Saragón Respond.

Location: Baronía de Gargoña. SC

Description: Don Balthazar, Baron of Saragón, leads the Saragóner army into Gargoña from the west hoping to dislodge the Narvaezan forces under Barón Hugo from the barony. Meanwhile, Barón Maximiliano of Almarrón leads his forces north in an effort to capture Barón Hugo in a pincer movement. The Almarróñan and Saragóner forces make considerable headway against the Narvaezan skirmishing troops and begin to push them back towards Ciudad Real. (See Va. 5; Th. 4, Th. 11.)

What This Means: This is a result of Barón Hugo's unprovoked attack on Gargoña at the end of last year. While Almarrón and Saragón have been unable to get assistance from Cimarron or Torreón to aid them against Narvaez, they know that if they do not fight Narvaez, their baronies will be the next ones that Barón Hugo targets for invasion. The Almarróñan and Saragóner forces are making considerable headway because Barón Hugo is holding back his main forces for a counterstrike when the time is right. He has been told by visions he thinks are sent by Ixion (but are instead sent by a much more sinister force) that help will arrive if he just holds the Saragóner and Almarróñan armies in Gargoña for a while.

Thaumont 2, AC 1017: The Move Towards Military Might.

Location: City of Bluenose, Kingdom of Arogansa, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Queen Detteria Scarback summons her chief military officers and advisers. She informs them that Arogansa needs to be taken seriously by its neighbours. For far too long the kingdom's focus on tourism has made them look like frivolous fools to their neighbours. Since Alphatians seem to respect power and might, Detteria proposes that attention must be given to giving the kingdom a powerful military.

Detteria points out that most of their neighbours have been severely weakened militarily as their forces have been integrated into the imperial forces. Arogansa should take advantage of this power vacuum and build up its own forces. Detteria initiates a program of recruitment and even conscription to fill the ranks with mundane troops. (See Fy. 20, Am. 11.)

Thaumont 2, AC 1017: More Terrorism in Mirros.

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: Several members of the Torenescu clan are attacked by members of the Church of Karameikos. The church members manage to escape before they can be apprehended by the city guard, but the Torenescu men claim they stated that they were agents of Oderbry and were taking their vengeance on Traladarans. (See Va. 16, Va. 19; Th. 14, Fl. 6.)

What This Means: The men were not actually agents of Oderbry. This was all a ruse by the Torenescu faction to take advantage of the chaos and undermine the authority of the Church of Karameikos and the king. While it advances their own interests, their story will serve to rile up the populace of the nation further, and ironically aid Oderbry's group's aims as well.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs investigate and discover the Torenescu plot, they may be able to help quell the growing discord between the Traladarans and Thyatians.

Thaumont 2, AC 1017: Battle of Two-Forks Ridge.

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

Description: While marching through a hilly region known as Two-Forks Ridge-so named for the two forked, steep-sided valleys that cut through this land-the Heldannic force under the command of Ordensgeneral Anna von Hendriks is attacked by a massed force of Heldunian soldiers. Despite the initial surprise, in which some medium cavalry outriders are felled by missile fire, the knights are able to close ranks.

The battle itself is fierce, with no quarter asked or given. While the Heldunian forces count Alphatian irregulars, remnants of the Helskiran militia, Thyatian troops, and a hardy band of Ostlander mercenaries among their numbers, this diverse grouping of military skill does not stand up to the Heldannic defence, and counterattack. By early afternoon, it becomes clear that Anna's forces are carrying the day. With a triumphant last push, the knights surge forward, breaking the remnants of those forces encircling them, and pursuing those who lose heart. (See Va. 3, Va. 20; Th. 13, Th. 15.)

What This Means: The Heldunian forces had numerical superiority (4,838 defenders versus 2,000 Heldannic soldiers), but the decisive factor in this battle was the level of skill of the troops involved. After the fall of Helskir in AC 1016, Asteriela dispatched messengers throughout the land, urging everyone-homesteaders and cityfolk alike-to defend themselves against the Heldannic invaders. In the months following the conquest and consolidation of Heldannic rule, a nascent defence force was formed, comprised of those Helskiran city guards who escaped, and remnants of the kingdom's army. As significant portions of the country remain in disarray due to the events of AC 1016 (including the relocation of the capital and the demobilisation of troops in accordance with the treaty), this was the best that could be mobilised on short notice. To this was added two Thyatian reformatory cohorts, a unit of Alphatian irregulars serving as mercenaries, and a band of Ostlander reavers (Harald's Hard Axes), who also sold their services to Heldun.

As might be expected, the battle turned out to be disastrous for Heldun with over half of their forces being killed or injured. The knights lost a little more than one-tenth of their forces. With such a crushing defeat, those Heldunian forces that survived were forced to retreat further southwards and regroup, while those casualties who were left behind either dead or captured. Times are grim for Heldun, indeed.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are with the defenders, the PCs could try to inflict more casualties on the knights (and if they are higher level, this is certainly possible), but unless they have an army of their own, it is unlikely that they will change the outcome of this battle. Likewise, if they are with the knights, the PCs could try to prevent more of their enemies from escaping, but word will still get out concerning the battle.

Thaumont 2, AC 1017: Cabal Establishes Base on Great Escarpment.

Location: Western portion of the Great Escarpment, Isle of Dawn. SD

Description: After travelling up the Skull River and making a harrowing ascent up to the summit of the hundreds of feet high Great Escarpment, the followers of Thanatos reach a gloomy, secluded area. Here, in the grand tradition of villainous organisations everywhere, they begin to construct a hidden base. Efforts are also begun to bring the local monsters under their domination. They are several miles to the west of Stompor, where the refugees from Serraine have been living, but so far neither group has discovered the presence of the other. (See Nu. 16, Va. 14; Kl. 3, Fy. 19.)

What This Means: Once they have established themselves, the Cult of Thanatos will begin competing for power and influence with the other factions of the Great Escarpment. They will also eventually send their tentacles out into the human settlements of the nearby dominions, spawning plots and mischief.

What the PCs Can Do: Once firmly established, the group will become a source of opponents for PCs on the Isle of Dawn-and possibly beyond.

Thaumont 2, AC 1017: A Bizarre Captive.

Location: Torenal Site, Sunken Arogansa, Nayce. AS

Description: A group of Destroyers arrive at Torenal Site from an expedition out in the Arogansan seascape. As the airlock is opened the adventurers tell the docking officer to alert the garrison commander that they have a prisoner taken from an encounter with the ghouls. Under the watchful eye of several Naycese troops and a handful of mages, the Destroyers drag their undead quarry to a holding cell. Commander Deltart summons the necromancer Pidimigd to oversee the interrogation of the ghoul.

The Destroyers also show to Deltart some items recovered from the ghoul party that they had fought. Most items are ornate urns, vases, and braziers; some are of obvious monetary value while others are simple household vessels. Deltart tells the adventurers that they can have the items after they are tested for enchantments. He arrogantly adds that as the site's commander he will lay claim to any items that he desires.

Deltart, Pidimigd, and several accompanying troops endure the stench of the creature to question it. Except for Pidimigd, who seems more comfortable with it, the others stand back a few steps, trying to avoid the stench. The creature is obviously distracted by the abundant mortal flesh and avoids responding to their questions; instead, it keeps ranting about food and its hunger. More disturbing though are its references to the Phylactery of Agmas and "the will of the dark one." At hearing this, Pidimigd gasps and begins demanding more answers. However, the ghoul cannot or will not reveal anymore and the source of the trouble remains a mystery.

Undaunted, Pidimigd presses the interrogation with Deltart's blessing. However, their magical and physical efforts are in vain-the interrogation ends as the agonised ghoul lashes out at them, freeing one its clawed hands from its bindings and struggling to free itself further. Deltart motions to a trooper to dispatch the creature with his sword, and the ghoul slumps and dies. Deltart orders the corpse destroyed and convenes with Pidimigd to discuss their findings.

Having heard the words "phylactery" and "dark one," Deltart suspects a lich is at work and behind the ghoul attacks. He presses Pidimigd on the subject. Though Pidimigd initially expresses ignorance on the matter, he finally offers that the Phylactery of Agmas is a legendary artifact of immense power. However, he cites that the name is a misnomer, the item being more akin to an artifact of Entropy than the item a lich stores its life force into. Though Pidimigd cannot offer any more information on the item, he does stress that Deltart take the matter seriously and send word to Ionace on its possible involvement. For his part, Pidimigd promises to research the matter for more answers. (See Va. 19, Va. 25; Th. 11, Ya. 5.)

What This Means: The ghoul knows very little; it's just a foot soldier in the undead forces and as a ghoul has a low intelligence. The ghouls are searching for food as well as the phylactery. The "dark one" is a voice that has been visiting the undead, guiding them. One of the tasks the voice has placed upon the ghouls is a search for the Phylactery of Agmas. Being ghouls, they have no idea really what to look for and have been roaming the seabed ruins, collecting various items to be given to the voice.

The desired information about who is behind the attacks and where the ghouls are massing is not revealed. Deltart and Pidimigd will have to look elsewhere for this information. Pidimigd will also have to look for more information on the phylactery. Though he is a necromancer, the artifact is almost mythical and he knows almost nothing about it. He is keenly interested in its recovery, preferably being placed in his hands for study, than some vague and mysterious "dark one." The downside for Pidimigd is that Deltart's order now sets back his own desires to meet with the sentient undead in Bluenose.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs signed up as Destroyers, they may be the ones who manage to first capture some ghouls and bring them back for interrogation. Once they learn of the Phylactery of Agmas, it's likely they will want to find it.

Thaumont 3, AC 1017: More Consolidation Ahead.

Location: Dominion of Vanya's Rest, Aryptian Savannah, Heldannic Empire. DV

Description: Heinz Kronenburg, Castellan of Vanya's Rest, orders the creation of a cordon sanitaire around the region currently controlled by the knights. He sends out several detachments into the northern, southern, and western hinterlands to scout the regions to be pacified, and to assess the feasibility of constructing better fortifications. (See Th. 14, Fl. 9.)

What This Means: Since the raids undertaken by Meghaddaran warriors last year, the Heldannic authorities have been paying closer attention to the threat posed by that people. If the security of the Heldannic Order's holiest shrine is to be ensured, a more extensive network of defences will be required. Furthermore, the lands farther away from Vanya's Rest are slightly richer than those already controlled; more (and better) lands will be needed if this dominion is to have a greater chance of becoming self-sufficient.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs stationed at Vanya's Rest could be part of one of the patrols.

Thaumont 3, AC 1017: Wayseeker Visits Olathis.

Location: City of Olathis, Empire of Selhomarr. HW

Description: While flying high over the Selhomarrian coast, mapping out the terrain, Adath sees a large port city down below, further to the east. Realising that the Wayseeker's stores should be replenished soon, he decides to set his ship down in the water, several miles out in the Bay of Lokam, and then sail into the city. When he arrives in port, he discovers that many of the city-folk were aware of his arrival, and both he and his crew are the subject of much curiosity.

While Adath and his crew try to make their way through the crowd of onlookers, a loud blasting of trumpets is heard. Quickly, the crowd parts, revealing a regally-dressed man approaching them. Speaking in Neathar, he identifies himself as Prince Caltir, ruler of the city of Olathis and the surrounding province of Regelnis. He tells them that he was heard of their arrival in Selhomarr, and he wished to meet them personally. Surprised, but nonetheless pleased, Adath agrees. (See Va. 25, Th. 2; Th. 4, Th. 6.)

What This Means: Word of Adath's arrival in Selhomarr is spreading rapidly all over the empire. Before the year is out, there will not be a single village that has not heard of Adath and his flying ship, though most of what is discussed will be more exaggeration than fact. Thus, word of Adath's meeting with the emperor was related to Caltir beforehand, and when he spotted the Wayseeker, he knew that the Alphatians could very well visit his city. Ever interested about news of the world outside of Selhomarr, as well as wishing to raise his own profile in the eyes of his political rivals, Caltir sees Adath as a possible source of information, as well as being an interesting foreigner.

Thaumont 3, AC 1017: The Political Discussion Begins.

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

Description: Admiral Solturnun starts the discussion about the Navy of the Lakes' canal-building plans in the earnest by asking for imperial support in such projects. To the big surprise of some members a majority votes for opening the discussion-the first time a proposition brought forth by the Navy of the Lakes isn't rejected from the start. (See Va. 14, Va. 19; Th. 4, Th. 8.)

What This Means: Solturnun has done a lot of political work over the years. Now, and this comes as a surprise to some, he has enough support at least to start the discussion. The planned canals have been opposed from the beginning for various reasons. The traditionalists simply had not wished to see such a big change to Alphatia. Among these had been the imperial government and the empress herself who were content with a wild and largely uninhabited inland. Also, the rulers of Foresthome did not wish to see the foundation of new cities along the canals in their forests. Other opponents had seen a big economic rival in an increasing inland naval trade. Of course the economic point of view is turning dramatically for the canals right now.

A much bigger problem is the view of the navy itself. Many Alphatians have never believed in the navy's goals, and they suspect the existence of a dark and sinister plan to overthrow the old establishment. These fears originated from the economic success of the sailors who have used their ships always to conduct trade on the rivers, lakes and coastal waterways. Additionally they had worked for the coast guards of quite a number of kingdoms. In doing this the Navy of the Lakes has earned money and even some influence-too much for many people! This influence is over-estimated, but it drives the opinions of some foes.

But the greatest problem for the Alphatian aristocracy was the fact that the navy is a very egalitarian organisation. Every Alphatian joining the navy has about the same chances of advancement-an unheard of barbaric abomination! Not even the official navy of the empire offers such an opportunity. That the last three leaders of the Navy of the Lakes, and indeed many of its utmost members, were nobles, has done virtually nothing do decrease the anger of the foes.

There is a reason internal to the Council of Wizards for them to allow the matter to be discussed: the council is trying hard to recover from the Great War's devastation. Many wizards, whose lives had been magically extended, died during the Week Without Magic, and several more during the bombardment of Glantri and the sinking of Alphatia. Several more were left stranded on the surface world, and were not aware of Alphatia's survival in the Hollow World for several years, and then had a hard time rejoining it. Thus, in the aftermath of the recreation of the continent in the Hollow World, Empress Eriadna, revived by the Immortals, could tighten her grip on power, with barely any resistance from the not-so-blessed council, allowing the empire to remain whole and strong despite the hard blows it had suffered. Now, with their numbers growing again, the wizards are struggling to regain their counter-power role. What better way to make themselves heard than to shock the rest of the aristocracy, and the empress?

The winds of change are blowing now but only the future will show if they will be strong enough.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs who are members of the Grand Council can be involved in the ongoing campaign. For most others there will be enough work to be done, as the council is a political hotbed full of intrigue, spies and blackmail-now even more than usual! Certain members or bureaucrats might use the assistance of some adventurers.

Thaumont 4, AC 1017: The Man in Black Strikes Again.

Location: Baronía de Narvaez. SC

Description: At about one o'clock in the morning, the silence of the night is broken by an ear-splitting explosion. Flames leap into the sky as one of the few Narvaezan galleons in Hugo's navy literally goes up in smoke. Priests rush to put out the flames with their magic, but to no avail-Hugo's new cannons need powder, and the magazine goes up before they get in range, raining pieces of galleon all over the harbour for hundreds of yards.

In the investigation afterwards, magical interrogations reveal the presence of a masked figure in the harbour before the attack-the same man who was responsible for the jailbreak in Gargoña, no doubt. The interference caused by the vermeil dust prevents the exact identification of the culprit, however. (See Va. 5, Th. 2; Th. 11, Fl. 2.)

What This Means: Narvaez has never been a naval power, and so the military loss is not too significant-Hugo's navy simply is not that important. However, this blow was serious-galleons are not cheap after all! The jailbreak was a pinprick, but this attack stirs the Narvaezans into a fury. Barón Hugo tells his underlings that the capture of the man in black is to be of the utmost urgency from now on.

Thaumont 4, AC 1017: Stonewall Prepares Invasion.

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

Description: Stonewall quietly begins mobilising its forces. The target for invasion has not become public knowledge because there are still important matters to address, but while these are being considered, the fighting forces are being assembled. (See Va. 5, Th. 2; Th. 25, Fl. 4.)

What This Means: Arkan is far away from Stonewall, so the invaders face a serious problem of both transportation and logistics. Magical means can be used to help in the effort, but they can scarcely solve it for Koblan and his people, so they must explore other options on this matter as well.

What the PCs Can Do: As unlikely as this may sound in Alphatia, this actually means that Stonewall may wish to hire foreign spellcasters to help their war effort for the simple reason that the nation has relatively few spellcasters of its own. Then again, any PCs who have suggestions to make about solving the transportation and/or logistics problems will certainly note that Koblan is very interested in listening to what they have to say.

Thaumont 4, AC 1017: Wayseeker Heads North.

Location: City of Olathis, Empire of Selhomarr. HW

Description: After a pleasant day spent in the company of Prince Caltir, Adath takes leave of his host, saying that he and his crew must return to Alphatia. Caltir is only too happy to help replenish the Wayseeker's depleted supplies, as well as carry out some brisk trading. As the ship pulls away from the docks, Adath and his crew bid farewell, and then proceed to prepare the ship for lift-off. (See Th. 2, Th. 3; Th. 6, Th. 10.)

Thaumont 4, AC 1017: The Battle Joined Once More.

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

Description: Scant hours after the arrival of Heldannic forces, advance patrols of the Mivosian army are visible, ascending nearby hills and preparing what appear to be artillery emplacements. Losing no time, Tyrnaean forces rush out towards the enemy, establishing themselves in moderately defensible advance positions, and commence sporadic sniping at their foes with longbows. Initially, it appears as though the defenders might have the advantage; no other Mivosian forces are detected. Nonetheless, it becomes apparent that both sides are fighting a war of attrition, a conflict which the Mivosians appear better-placed to win, given their greater numbers and use of conscripts from conquered city-states (many of the latter, it becomes clear, are working as artillery crews under armed guard). As soon as one artillery crew is taken down, another springs up elsewhere, while Mivosian archers begin to fire upon the defenders.

Realizing that this battle cannot go on for long, the Heldannic cavalry surges forth, overrunning a number of the knots of Mivosian archers, but even this serves as only a delaying tactic; more enemy archers are soon deployed, forcing the knights to retreat to Tyrnae. By day's end, the defenders are ensconced once more within Tyrnae's walls, while the Mivosian presence outside grows. (See Va. 25, Va. 28; Th. 9, Th. 17.)

What This Means: Through the use of conscripts from conquered city-states and villages (many of whom are kept in line with arrows aimed at their backs, or by the knowledge that some of their family members are being held hostage), the Mivosians have been able to expand their domain with minimal cost to themselves. Thus, they now have the leisure of playing with their opponents. In today's case, they sent token forces to see what the defenders' reaction would be, as well as wage psychological warfare by starting a war of attrition they know they can win. Only when the defenders seemed to be gaining the upper hand, or otherwise holding their own, did they bring more of their forces to bear. Now, the Tyrnaeans and their Heldannic allies are under siege.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs working for either side could be sent as spies to determine the opponent's weaknesses, or otherwise carry out acts of sabotage.

Thaumont 4, AC 1017: An Unexpected Assistance.

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

Description: A member of the Grand Council from Foresthome, known to be a supporter of the royal point of view, makes a speech in which he declares his support in favour of the canal law. The Grand Council is puzzled. (See Va. 19, Th. 3; Th. 8, Th. 27.)

What This Means: Queen Kikania has kept her promise. As she has changed her mind on the matter she has informed all members of the Grand Council who are allied to her or her kingdom.

What the PCs Can Do: Some members are in need of information urgently concerning the reason that member from Foresthome has changed his mind. Political investigations might be useful.

Thaumont 4, AC 1017: Militia Bill Raised in the Commons.

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

Description: The parliament has not been ignoring the latest goblinoid raid in the north, and has been debating at some length a means to resolve the situation. Today, the Militia Bill is presented to the Commons by Blythe-Jackson and Sir Hampden of the Wyndham Party. The bill will place all naval and military appointments under the parliament's control. The bill is hotly contested by the Royal Party, but in the end passes by a narrow margin, on the assurance that the reservists will be brought to bear against the goblinoid threat should the bill be passed. (See Va. 11, Va. 15; Th. 8, Th. 19.)

What This Means: There would be a massive shift of power in Bellayne should the Militia Bill become law. Currently the king and to a lesser extent the nobility have fairly direct control of the armed forces-this would be set to change. After being passed by the Commons, the Militia Bill is sent to the House of Lords, where it is likely to provoke a vigorous debate.

Thaumont 4, AC 1017: The Waiting Is the Hardest Part.

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: Having been forced to wait for an entire month, the Thyatian envoys are finally allowed to meet with King Stefan. They are greeted warmly, but the audience is brief. The Thyatian envoys express the emperor's praise regarding the bravery and honour of Justin Karameikos and the volunteers he led to Thyatis' aid. But they also tell Stefan that the emperor finds it unfortunate that Stefan seems to have forsworn his Thyatian heritage to make common cause with its enemies, the Alphatians. The king announces he has other affairs to attend to and asks the envoys to discuss their main concerns with Lord Alexius Korrigan, the Seneschal of the Royal Estate.

The envoys tell Lord Alexius Korrigan that Emperor Eusebius would like to restore relations with Karameikos, but that there are some matters to be settled first. They point out that Thyatis still has not formally recognised Karameikos' status as an independent kingdom, but they might be willing to do so-if some things were resolved first. They produce maps that purport to show that Emperor Thincol's original grant of land to Stefan marked the border of Traladara at the Rugalov River.

Korrigan's own maps depict the border where it currently is, as the original frontier. The Thyatians counter by producing old land titles, for farms in northern Machetos, which now lay within the current border of Karameikos. They claim that these areas were ceded to Thincol in the trade.

The Vyalian elves among the Thyatian envoys then speak up. They say that they have been affiliated with Thyatis for centuries, but never considered themselves part of Karameikos. Korrigan says he will inform Stefan of the views expressed here, and that they should return tomorrow. (See Va. 3; Th. 5, Ei. 28.)

What This Means: The current situation in Karameikos is very tense, and Stefan knows that the Thyatians are pressing their "claim" now to take advantage of this fact. Unfortunately, it seems his hands are tied. Stefan wants to avoid conflict with Thyatis if he can, knowing that it might undermine his kingdom's growing prosperity.

Regarding the facts of the territory under dispute, there is merit to the position of both sides. For his part, Stefan has administrated the area under dispute since his deal with Thincol, without any question over his right to do so. On the other hand, while the Thyatian envoys' documents of ownership are fraudulent, the Vyalia elves have never considered themselves to be under the authority of Karameikos. They have, on the other hand, long been allied to the Thyatian Empire. Thus, perhaps, Karameikos will lose its claim on the region, but get in exchange assurances from the Thyatians of good will, and avoid the possibility that they might stir up problems in Karameikos and take advantage of the opportunity to try and reassert control over it. Eusebius is counting on Stefan's desire to avoid conflict and be friends with everyone to ensure that he gets his way.

Thaumont 5, AC 1017: You Did Not Free Me!

Location: City-State of Nova Svoga. SC

Description: The Church of Halav in Nova Svoga holds an official ceremony celebrating the liberation of that city-state from Hulean occupation and thanking Halav for His help. In the middle of the ceremony, a group of followers of Gareth bursts into the church, yelling that Halav abandoned His children and it was Gareth who freed the city. A fracas ensues, and the Garethans are severely beaten by the followers of Halav and taken to the constabulary. However, soon a message is received from Anya, the ruler of the city, ordering the Garethans to be released and paid reparations by the Church of Halav. The Garethans are freed, but the Church of Halav flatly refuses to pay any reparations, and Halavites across the city are outraged at Anya's orders. (See Nu. 1, Va. 28.)

What This Means: Hulean agents were involved, but only marginally. They have only helped to fan the fires that were already springing up between the traditionalist Halavites and the reformist Garethans. Anya, herself a follower of Gareth, is young and brash, and her orders were impulsive and not well thought-out, only further escalating the tensions. The Church of Halav may soon call for a complete banning of Gareth's religion from Nova Svoga.

Thaumont 5, AC 1017: Militant Military.

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

Description: Amid a degree of secrecy, Army General Brikstrist, Air General Hevrothria, and several other prominent Randel officers meet inside the High Command Headquarters to discuss the current state of the military and the edicts issued by Queen Junna. Several officers offer suggestions of ousting the queen and asserting one of their own as the Randel ruler. Others promote patience in dealing with their queen and continue to try to sway her from the influences of the clergy and Sister Riddlynn. However several officers add that care must be taken in assaulting any Immortal's temple as it can draw in forces from other temples throughout the empire. The meeting convenes with the officers deeply divided and without any unified plan of action. (See Va. 6, Va. 12; Fl. 8, Kl. 10.)

What This Means: This meeting is a further sign of the alienation that has developed between the Randel militarists and Queen Junna over her procession of pacifist and non-militaristic edicts. Tempers are flaring and there is a sizeable minority preaching a hostile removal of Junna. Other officers, aware that a forceful coup could have disastrous affects on the kingdom, opt for patience in getting things back to normal. Almost unanimously, the officers agree that at least part of the problem stems from the clerical influence of the queen's advisers, led by Sister Riddlynn. Several officers decide to look into the clerics on their own.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs may find their skills needed in partaking in some of these independent investigations. Given the royal ramifications, subtlety is required. Any investigator employer will eventually point the PCs towards the clerics and their role in influencing Junna.

Thaumont 5, AC 1017: Conscience of a King?

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: The Thyatian envoys receive an audience with King Stefan of Karameikos again. The king tells them that Lord Korrigan has brought the matters they raised to his attentions. Stefan says that he knows what Thincol granted him, as did Thincol, and there was never any trouble over the border while his friend lived. He knows the border stands where he and Thincol agreed it should. However, in the interests of goodwill between the Empire of Thyatis and the Kingdom of Karameikos, he will agree to sign a treaty ceding the disputed area to Thyatis. The Thyatian envoys immediately hail Stefan as king, recognising Karameikos as a fully independent kingdom. All parties hope for improved relations in the future.

This stuns the entire court, which is shocked by Stefan's action. Reactions are mixed, but most onlookers maintain a bemused but respectful air. After all, the area in question is still largely wilderness. The few inhabitants are mostly Vyalian elves who have never been integrated into Karameikos. Indeed, with the border fixed at the river, some rationalise that it might help with the kingdom's defence. (See Va. 3, Th. 4; Ei. 28.)

What This Means: The ceded area consists of that portion of Karameikos that lays east of the Rugalov River. Most of it becomes part of the County of Vyalia, while the cleared farming areas along the northern border of Machetos become part of that county. Thyatis and Karameikos agree to jointly fund the construction of an imposing stone bridge across the river, the Kinship Bridge, as a symbol of their affinity and joint heritage.

One man who is not pleased with this when he hears of it is Sir Yuschiev, Baron of Rugalov. His barony now lies directly along the border with Thyatis. Yuschiev sees this cession by Stefan as a betrayal of Traladara. His hatred of Thyatians grows.

Thaumont 6, AC 1017: Twice Shy.

Location: Emirate of Alasiya, Emirates of Ylaruam. OW

Description: The last of the vampires that have been plaguing the town of Tel al Kebir is put to rest. The vampire is recognised to be a man from the nearby town of Cinsa-Men-Noo, and is believed to have been the instigator of the vampiric epidemic. Word is sent out to both the Sheik of Cinsa-Men-Noo and the Sultan of Ylaruam that there may be trouble brewing in the Emirate of Nithia. (See Va. 15; Ya. 5.)

What This Means: The Emirate of Nithia has long been a source of evil and foulness in Ylaruam, and recent events have only added to that reputation. Since the opening of the Dead Place in AC 1015, otherworldly demons have been a terrible, if rare, occurrence in the northern emirate. Now it seems a new threat-a plague of vampirism-may be building in the north, and the rest of the emirates will have to take measures to guard against it.

Thaumont 6, AC 1017: Elves Move Out.

Location: Forest of Geffron, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: The frigid winter has claimed some victims among the elven troops stationed in the woods, but yet more numerous have been the elves that have mysteriously vanished in the last months. Suspecting evil at work, the elven Generals Durifern and Beasthunter have decided to move their troops to a safer location, far from the dreaded Drax Tallen and the eerie Aeleris Pits where the ghastly army of their ally Sylarion is stationed. With the first days of spring and the coming thaw, they march westwards steadily. (See Th. 15, Fe. 10.)

What This Means: Even since Durifern informed Beasthunter of the deal stricken with the vampire elf Sylarion, Beasthunter had been suspicious of the undead lord. With each passing month and the elves' unexplained disappearances, Beasthunter's suspicions became real accusations and so he proposed that Durifern relocate to another place to avoid further problems. Now Sylarion will have to ambush the Shadow Army if he wants to gather new food for his undead minions.

Thaumont 6, AC 1017: Ferocious Border Skirmishes Fail to Materialise.

Location: Borderlands of the Hinterlands, Thyatian Empire. DV

Description: Thyatian forces operating under Leilah ben Nadir's direction initiate a series of counterstrikes against the Thratian raiders plaguing the borderlands of the Hinterlands. Their efforts are largely thwarted, however: bands of raiders withdraw from an area when Thyatian forces approach, and raids are conducted in areas that are sparsely guarded. Thratian forces shift nimbly, avoiding direct confrontations with large Thyatian forces, while their fellows increase raids where the Thyatian troops are not strong. (See Va. 27; Ya. 27, Kl. 1.)

What This Means: The Thratian (Hinterlander) forces, operating in accordance with Siobhan's strategy, are sharing information about Thyatian troop movements so they can strike where the Thyatians are not present, and thus keep the pressure up. Leilah ben Nadir begins to notice the surprising level of coordination among the Thratian forces as the pattern develops. She begins to beef up her own troops in order to lead a campaign against them in person, recruiting some additional native levies and calling for reinforcements from Thyatis itself.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters can participate in the conflict on either side.

Thaumont 6, AC 1017: Dragons!

Location: City of Rethnaris, Empire of Selhomarr. HW

Description: Having spent the better part of two days flying high over the Bay of Lokam, one of the lookouts reports that land is sighted to the north. Realising that he has reached the northern realms of Selhomarr, Adath orders the crew to reduce altitude.

Before long, however, it soon becomes apparent that all is not well. Consulting the maps provided by Caltir, Adath deduces that he is approaching the northern port city of Rethnaris, but there should not be so much smoke and fire! Soon, it becomes clear that the city is being attacked by a small group of red dragons, and though the defenders are holding out, they are clearly at a disadvantage. Deciding that he must act, Adath orders his crew to prepare for battle.

The dragons are surprised at the arrival of such a large flying vessel, occupied as they are with ballista bolts and catapult stones from below, as well as a handful of flying chariots. Bringing his vessel's might to bear, Adath is able the seriously injure one of the creatures, and give flight to another, while the remainder are beaten off by the city's defenders. Not long afterwards, the slightly damaged Wayseeker lands in a small lake nearby. The militia of Rethnaris approaches the disembarking Alphatians, and thank them for their aid in repelling the dragons. Seeing the amount of damage the dragons have done, Adath orders his crew to assist the locals in clearing the worst of the debris, and in locating survivors in the rubble. (See Th. 3, Th. 4; Th. 10, Th. 11.)

What This Means: Rethnaris has long been subject to attacks from the red dragons who live in the Kordithos Mountains to the north, having been razed during one brutal attack long ago, but rebuilt afterwards. Adath's intervention not only resolved the problem sooner than would have been otherwise possible; many lives, and large sections of the city, were also saved. The people of Rethnaris realise this, and are not slow in acknowledging the aid that has been rendered.

What the PCs Can Do: Alphatian or Selhomarrian PCs can get involved in a nasty fight with dragons-there might also be a chance to acquire some treasure, if the dragons are pursued.

Thaumont 6, AC 1017: Murder at the Cosmopolitan Theatre.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: On the gala night of the latest Glantrian opera The Doom of Alphatia, an assassin dressed as one of the characters (Volospin) makes an attempt on the life of Princess Dolores Hillsbury of Fenswick. The climax of the second act consists of the ensemble of actors flying up above the audience (as the assaulting Alphatian army), amidst a spectacular display of phantasmal lightning bolts, windstorms, and "summoned" (illusionary) flying creatures. The assassin uses this opportunity to fly up to the theatre box of Princess Dolores and fire two real lightning bolts at her. Princess Dolores is injured in the attempt, but when the assassin lands in the box to ensure the death of his victim, he is stabbed in the chest by Noussoir du Marais, Princess Dolores' present beau and companion at the theatre. The assassin falls to the lower box, that of Lord John Beaumarys-Moorkroft, Archduke of Westheath, who promptly disintegrates him, leaving no trace. (See Th. 8, Th. 9.)

What This Means: Princess Dolores Hillsbury has many enemies, and with this attack, she realises she is not as untouchable as she believed herself to be. She does not die from this assassination attempt, but this event will only fuel her hatred for her enemies and drive her to be more ruthless in her plots.

Most other princes of Glantri are shocked at this event, and review their own security arrangements.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs at the Cosmopolitan Theatre at the time, they may pick up clues of an assassination plot, and they may be the ones to stop the assassin. Otherwise, they may be questioned by the constabulary as witnesses or even suspects.

Thaumont 7, AC 1017: An Ambitious Proposal.

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

Description: During a lively debate concerning the impact of increased trade on Kastelian society, the question of the desirability of increased contact with the nations of Brun is raised. Traditionalists decry the recent opening of Kastelios to the lands north of the Sea of Dread, saying that they will only use their larger size and deeper pockets to overpower the city-state and reduce it to a mere appendage. Thus, they say, it would be far better for the people of Kastelios that no deeper ties be sought at this time. Their opponents vociferously deny this, saying that contact with the southeastern nations of Brun will only improve the lot of the average Kastelian-already new markets have been found for Kastelian goods, and the accord with Thyatis provides additional revenue for the city-state's coffers, while leaving it independent.

One young member of the assembly, named Adonai Stephanos, advances an idea that, he thinks, might bridge the philosophical gap in the assembly. He proposes that an outpost of sorts be founded on one of the smaller islands of the Thanegioth Archipelago. If this were done, not only would Kastelian traders have a rest stop on the way to Brun; the potential for foreigners to have undue influence over Kastelios would be lessened, as they would be presented with a place to do business which is much closer to their homes. Adonai is gratified to see that his frank arguments win over many of the conservatives, and when the proposal is put to a vote, it passes handily. (See Va. 12, Va. 14; Th. 25, Fl. 13.)

What This Means: The debate in the assembly is symptomatic of a larger division within Kastelian society-between those who favour increased contacts with the nations of Brun, and those who do not. Each side has vested interests, but, for now, the segment of society favouring openness is ascendant; most people see the benefits of increased trade, and for those brave souls seeking adventure, southeastern Brun is now a potential place where young people can "find themselves." Despite this, the more conservative elements of society are still influential, and many have elected representatives to the assembly to protect their own interests. Adonai is aware of this, and thus he had to structure his argument to obtain as wide a base of support as possible-even though he thinks fears of being swamped by the nations of Brun to be unfounded.

Adonai has other motives for establishing such a way-station, but these are not apparent at the moment...

What the PCs Can Do: Unless they are serving members of the assembly, it is unlikely that the PCs will have any input into the final decision, though they may be approached to help out later on, as the way-station becomes established. Alternatively, if one of the PCs was elected instead of Adonai, then another member of the assembly could advance the proposal for a way-station-being coached by Adonai, who has since found someone he can influence.

Second Week

Thaumont 8, AC 1017: The Forces of Conservatism Form Their Ranks.

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

Description: Council Member Zallaras from Vertiloch makes himself the speaker for the foes of the canal plan. In a very emotional speech he fights valiantly against this "abomination, which is doomed to spoil our beloved Alphatia." He assures that there are many members on his side-indeed some of the members side with Zallaras immediately. Council Member Jolinar from Haven even calls it a de-beautification of the empire. Instead he makes a counterproposal that the empire should support a campaign of magically altering the land, with artists from Haven leading at the edge, in a vast campaign of beautification. As the members of the Grand Council are used to similar demands by the Havenites, most simply smile, murmur "Havies!" and proceed. (See Th. 3, Th. 4; Th. 27, Ya. 3.)

What This Means: It was only a question of time until the resistance would start. Solturnun is not really surprised and he still hopes for a lucky final. The beautification of the whole empire, as Jolinar has proposed, will not come now. The members who are not from Haven might enjoy the beautification of this kingdom when visiting for a weekend trip but they do not want to see it everywhere.

What the PCs Can Do: An interesting question now is how many members of the Grand Council are on the side of Zallaras. Some contrived interviews or the right pair of ears at the right place might help now. Campaigns for rallying support rage on, and the various sides may hire the PCs to help them in their dealings-working for a powerful council member can be both rewarding and dangerous-so the PCs may have not only to spy and bribe, but maybe also convince, entertain, or be sent on quests or errands for the most powerful wizards and clerics of the empire.

Thaumont 8, AC 1017: Initial Investigations.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: The Glantrian Constabulary announces the initial findings on the assassination attempt on Princess Dolores Hillsbury of Fenswick during a show at the Cosmopolitan Theatre. The assassin was a Flaemish actor, Baldewijn de Woens, who was playing the part of Prince Volospin Aendyr, the former ruler of the Principality of Blackhill and the alleged father of Princess Dolores Hillsbury. The assassin's motives were unclear, but the constabulary surmises that Baldewijn de Woens was a Flaemish radical, who hated all Alphatians and wanted to destroy the Aendyr line, through his portrayal in the opera as a traitor to Glantri, notably Prince Volospin's descendants, which includes Princess Dolores. (See Th. 6; Th. 9, Th. 14.)

What This Means: Princess Dolores, and the other Glantrian nobles, will be far from satisfied with the results of the initial investigation by the constabulary. Some nobles will try to discreetly investigate the matter, if only to ensure that they themselves are not implicated or in danger of any other assassination attempts. A general air of paranoia and distrust pervades among the Glantrians.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs may be hired by Princess Dolores or some prince of Glantri to conduct their own investigation of the matter. Similarly, as Glantrian plots go, the PCs may be hired to foil the investigation by the constabulary or by another group.

Thaumont 8, AC 1017: King James Visits the Parliament.

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

Description: King James arrives in state at the parliament building not to answer the measure but to bid the House of Lords to cease all the disputing about the Militia Bill and to demand once again more money for the army. (See Va. 15, Th. 4; Th. 19, Fl. 1.)

What This Means: James is trying his hand at diplomacy. The lords are definitely the most royalist of the two houses of the parliament, and so James is attempting to put pressure where it will be most well received. In the event, the lords take a dim view of the king's snub in not answering the measure as requested by the parliament.

Thaumont 8, AC 1017: Ruling in Underocean Case.

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

Description: After deliberating for three hours, the judges in the Allanas vs. Underocean case rule in favour of Allanas. The court orders Baron Torin to appear before it to face criminal charges. The decision is met with favour among a large number of Naycese nobility, while it is met with anger in Underocean.

Anti-Alphatian riots break out in New Smaar, claiming the lives of three Aquan immigrants and causing untold property damage. King Juliast officially protests the decision, and vows to take the matter to the Nayce Council. (See Va. 10, Va. 19; Th. 11, Th. 19.)

Thaumont 9, AC 1017: The Mystery Deepens.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: The body of Baldewijn de Woens, the prime suspect for the assassination attempt on Princess Dolores Hillsbury of Fenswick, is found floating in the canals around the Cosmopolitan Theatre. This proves that he was not the one who was disintegrated by Archduke John Beaumarys-Moorkroft, after the failed attempt on Princess Dolores' life. The constabulary recants the pronouncements of the previous day and proceeds to further investigation. (See Th. 6, Th. 8; Th. 14, Kl. 17.)

What This Means: Even as Princess Dolores' newest ally, Signor Antonio di Tarento, Count of Glenargyll and secret leader of the Unseen Hand, assures her that his own assassins were not involved in the attempt, the princess is nonetheless aware that her would-be assassin could be practically anyone.

Thaumont 9, AC 1017: Trade Wars!

Location: Northern Sea of Dread. OW

Description: In reaction to last year's assassination of Lucius Linton and Minrothad's joining with Thyatis, the pirates of the Five Shires step up their activities this year. They raid the trading ships of Minrothad as well as Thyatis, claiming to be operating to avenge their Western Defence League allies. The governments of the league, including the Shires, claim no knowledge of these activities.

In response, the Privateer's Guild of Minrothad and the Thyatian pirates of Terentias and Hattias redouble their own efforts. They begin to cooperate together in raiding the ships of Darokin and the Shires. Merchant ships of all stripes increase their defences. Thyatian traders make arrangements when they can to gain the services of Minrothaddan merchant-prince characters when travelling through dangerous waters. (See Th. 19, Kl. 22.)

What This Means: The seas of the Sea of Dread continue to get exciting. The pirates of both sides aren't all that choosy when it comes right down to it, either-so any ship can expect to be attacked. The only scruples they normally adhere to are not attacking ships of their own nation or its close allies. Everything else is fair game.

Many of these attacks, though, are not really independent piratical actions-many of these pirates are sponsored and encouraged by mercantile interests of both sides. House Linton covertly backed and funded many of the hin pirates, and the guilds of Minrothad and merchant families of Thyatis will do the same with their privateers. Thus, this is more the escalation of trade conflicts than pure piracy. But what else is new?

What the PCs Can Do: Characters can join in the action in many ways-either as pirates, or hired as security by traders, or even drawn into the fray while travelling as passengers.

Thaumont 9, AC 1017: Tyrnae Falls.

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

Description: Mivosian forces, after conducting an intense, brief siege, manage to breach Tyrnae's walls in a number of locations, and the heavily-armoured warriors of that city-state commence slaughtering of anyone who stands in their way, while pikemen from Syropolis, Parthenaeum, Deletria, and other places are force-marched against the defenders. The Tyrnaean soldiers fight bravely, but they are no match for the more disciplined and better-armed Mivosians. The Heldannic infantry, stationed in the central market, are able to bring low more than their share of enemies, but even they soon begin to succumb to increasing numbers of Mivosian archers, who take up positions on conquered portions of the city wall.

The one area where the defenders appear to be holding out, the ceremonial gardens surrounding the palace, is guarded by the elite soldiers of Tyrnae, as well as the Heldannic battle-priests-the latter of whom drive off some of the invaders with judicious applications of insect plague, creeping doom, and barrier spells. Even these efforts, however, are not enough; in one terrible moment, over half of the priests are killed in a withering barrage of fireballs, while the remainder, wounded from the assault but still able to fight, fall to the blades of the Mivosians, who surged into the gardens following the magical attack.

With the last effective resistance to the Mivosians eliminated, the remainder of the city-state falls in short order, but not before several hundred residents manage to flee in the chaos of looting which is already beginning, and head northeast. (See Va. 28, Th. 4; Th. 17, Th. 26.)

What This Means: Once word of the defeat reaches Wolfgang Stemmel, he will become very upset about this, the first true loss in the campaign against Mivosia. Not a single Heldannic soldier survived the assault, and their Tyrnaean allies also suffered heavy casualties. Though the Mivosians suffered some losses, they will likely be replaced once some of the locals are conscripted, though the loss of roughly 30 Mivosian elite soldiers will not be so easily compensated.

What the PCs Can Do: If they were with the Heldannic forces, the PCs will have enough trouble saving their own lives, let alone escaping the city-state.

Thaumont 10, AC 1017: Adath Flies West.

Location: City of Rethnaris, Empire of Selhomarr. HW

Description: Having spent the better part of four days helping to locate survivors, and repairing the Wayseeker, which turned out to be in worse shape than expected, Adath prepares to take to the skies. The Alphatians received many gifts from the people of Rethnaris, as well as the personal thanks of Prince Jurannir, ruler of this province. Today, before they board their ship, all present are told by Jurannir that the Wayseeker and its crew are always welcome in Rethnaris. (See Th. 4, Th. 6; Th. 11, Ya. 17.)

Thaumont 10, AC 1017: Stampede!

Location: Town of Lothar, Continent of Iciria. HW

Description: After over a cycle of relative calm in the outpost of Lothar, the peace is shattered by a low rumbling noise, almost undetectable at first, but which grows steadily in volume as the moments pass. Within minutes, no one in the walled village is able to ignore what they hear-the unmistakable sound of many animals running! Losing no time, some of the guards rush to the observation towers, in order to determine the source of the disturbance.

From the dense foliage along the northern perimeter emerge dozens of herbivorous dinosaurs, large and small, which trample everything in their path. Fortunately, the beasts skirt Lothar's walls (instead of charging through them), and soon disappear into the hilly forests lying south of the village, their noises gradually receding into silence. (See Va. 2; Fl. 14, Fl. 21.)

What This Means: The dinosaurs (primarily brontosaurus, but a few hadrosaurs-such as duck-billed dinosaurs-are present in the herd) were spooked somehow from their normal grazing lands farther to the north. What disturbed them could have been an earthquake, a volcanic eruption, or perhaps Milenian activity; the choice is up to the DM. The dinosaurs will remain in the area for several days, before migrating elsewhere in search of food (the plants growing around Lothar are not their favourite types).

What the PCs Can Do: Investigate the cause of the stampede, which may lead to days of adventuring in the wilderness.

Thaumont 11, AC 1017: Wanted-Dead or Alive!

Location: Baronía de Narvaez. SC

Description: Barón Hugo of Narvaez makes it known that the government of Narvaez will pay the individual responsible for the capture or confirmed death of the man in black, responsible for the destruction of the La Oro Sol, a Narvaezan galleon, the sum of 20,000 oros in gold. Patriotic Narvaezans and bounty hunters are soon as thick as fleas in Narvaez and Gargoña-but to no avail, the man in black is nowhere to be found. (See Th. 2, Th. 4; Fl. 2, Fl. 3.)

What This Means: 20,000 oros is a lot of money for the Narvaezan government. However, it is not as much as the cost of a brand new galleon, and Hugo does not want the past performance repeated. Hugo half believes that the man in black will not be caught by bounty hunters and opportunists anyway, but at the very least it will help tighten security in Narvaez with minimal effort.

Thaumont 11, AC 1017: Torenal Site Defence Negotiations Complete.

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

Description: Amidst the chaos over the Allanas vs. Underocean ruling, negotiations between Aquas and Underocean over the defence of the Torenal Site are finished. Underocean agrees to match the Aquan troop commitment, but Aquas will have to supply the Underoceaner forces once they reach Torenal. In return, Aquas will contribute resources to the rebuilding of Underocean after the last few years' troubles-if they can build domes they can help Underocean. (See Th. 2, Th. 8; Ya. 5, Ya. 17.)

Thaumont 11, AC 1017: Bounty in Celedyl.

Location: Barony of Celedyl, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: The Erendyl immigrants from Wendar arrive in the Barony of Celedyl. The elven outcasts have come to settle in alongside their cousins in the fledgling barony. Baron Qenildor Erewan warmly greets them, and invites their leader Brendian to dine with him and discuss the future of their two peoples. (See Va. 10, Va. 24.)

What This Means: The Ellerovyn clan broke off from the Erendyl clan over 300 years ago, and now it seems as if they may have come full circle. Both groups have suffered much hardship in the centuries since their separation, and have finally ended up in a position where they can help one another, and perhaps allow the clan to return to its full strength. Brendian brought the remnants of her clan to Celedyl, rather than remain in Erewan, so as not to come into conflict with Carlotina. The younger Qenildor is more interested in running his barony and countering the threat of the humanoids than in ruling a clan, so he and Brendian can complement one another. Additionally, the increased population and support he gets from the new members of his realm will help him greatly in his efforts. As soon as the trade route through Celedyl to Darokin is complete, Qenildor's new realm will be well on its way to prosperity.

Thaumont 11, AC 1017: Wayseeker Reaches Sea of Rax.

Location: Sea of Rax, west of Selhomarrian coast. HW

Description: The western coasts of Selhomarr recede into the distance, and nothing is visible down below except the calm waves of the Sea of Rax. Knowing that they are on the final leg of their expedition, many of the crewmembers begin to look forward to going home. (See Th. 6, Th. 10; Ya. 17.)

Thaumont 12, AC 1017: Agricultural Manual Distributed.

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

Description: A primer on advanced farming techniques is published and distributed to agricultural communities in the Thyatian mainland. Scholars at the imperial academy in the City of Thyatis and members of the imperial hospitaliers jointly wrote it. It contains information on the best of known agricultural techniques throughout Mystara. New rotation systems, crop alternating, and the like are encouraged. Simultaneously, the imperial hospitaliers announce a new initiative-they will work to coordinate and expand the magical blessing of fields, and research spells (similar to the spell fertilize) aimed at improving agricultural bounty throughout Thyatis. Plant growth and even animal growth will also be used where appropriate, at least on a limited scale.

What This Means: Many farmers will be reluctant to take advice from people they see as ivory-tower academics who don't know the difference between a plough and a scythe. This is partly overcome by the fact that the agricultural manual is distributed first to parish priests in each village. Many of these serve agriculture-oriented Immortals, and in any case the locals are used to taking advice from their local cleric. Improved methods, along with the expanded use of spells to improve yields (and preserve crops from spoilage) will spread throughout Thyatis. This measure is aimed at preventing future famines. This event demonstrates that the Order of the Imperial Hospitaliers also continues to increase in size and influence.

This was spurred by the fact that it is increasingly difficult to recruit colonists. Most residents of Thyatis do not wish to leave for an overseas colony-they are content in Thyatis, especially now that the worst of the Era of Crisis appears to be over. Though some of the recently-freed slaves may do so eventually, once their period of indenture is over, there will still be a large number of people in the heartland of Thyatis. Therefore, increasing productivity at home has become another means of solving the problem. Colonisation will still continue, of course.

What the PCs Can Do: Green Acres is the place to be-Farm livin' is the life for me. Keep Thyatis, just gimmie that country sky.

Thaumont 12, AC 1017: Trouble on the Wesel.

Location: Northeast of City of Landfall, Territory of Heldland, Heldannic Empire. NW

Description: News spreads quickly of a series of particularly brutal raids on newly-established homesteads in the forests northeast of Landfall, along the Wesel River. Though the actual fatalities are not excessive, the aftermath of these attacks-burnt homes, slaughtered livestock, and the charred bodies of those who could not escape-serve as ample fodder for rumours and tall tales. As a result, over 200 settlers flee for the comparative safety of Landfall today, and alert the authorities. (See Th. 26.)

What This Means: The recent attacks were carried out by a local tribe of orcs, who are trying to drive away the humans who have been encroaching steadily upon their habitat. They hope that, if enough homesteads are destroyed, the Wesel River valley will be left alone. As settlement continues across Heldland, similar responses by nearby humanoid tribes can be expected.

What the PCs Can Do: This is a perfect opportunity for up-and-coming local adventurers to make a name for themselves, or for those on the road to undertake a little side trek. The orcs are reasonably well armed and armoured, and have a well-defended stronghold deep in the forests to the west of the Wesel River-they should be challenging opponents for low- to mid-level parties, but not impossible to defeat. If the adventurers are successful in clearing out the orcs, the lands around the Wesel River will be resettled quickly, and the PCs themselves will earn the gratitude of the locals.

Thaumont 12, AC 1017: Truly the Master of the Desert Nomads.

Location: The Sanctified Lands and Monzag Banat, Hulean Empire. WB

Description: The nomads wandering in the Dark Wood have been regularly visited by Hulean priests, who brought food and supplies and gradually taught them the dogma of Bozdogan. Today, the priests tell the nomads that the Master has generously allowed them to settle the bountiful lands to the north, in Monzag. The only thing the nomads have to do is to drive out or enslave the rebels who are currently occupying those lands. After some deliberation, most of the nomads agree to take this land. (See Nu. 1, Nu. 26; Sv. 1.)

What This Means: The nomads will provide yet another reinforcement to the Antasynian offensive in Monzag. Those of them who leave Hule will go back home, bearing word of the Master's generosity and kindness.

Thaumont 13, AC 1017: Twaelar Swarm Mora.

Location: Village of Mora , Isle of Dread, Thanegioth Archipelago, Sea of Dread. OW

Description: In the middle of the night swarms of Twaelar Merrow creep onto the shore near the village of Mora, where the Thyatians set up a base for their operations against the Twaelar last year. They are using special air breathing magics and means of moving to help them operate on land. Several guards give the alarm, but the defenders are slow in reacting. Soon the Twaelar have overrun much of the base and scattered the surviving defenders, who flee into the island. The Twaelar then begin destroying as much of the facility as possible.

By dawn the defenders have regrouped some, and have been reinforced with troops and warriors from the other villages. They counter-attack to retake the town. The Twaelar put up only slight resistance, skirmishing as they withdraw back into the sea. Much of Mora is in shambles, and efforts are begun to rebuild it. (See Va. 25; Ya. 16, Fy. 10.)

What This Means: Just as the Thyatians decided the best way to defeat the Twaelar would be to strike at their undersea bases, the Twaelar have decided the best way to win the war would be to strike at the landlubber's bases. To do this they had to develop means of fighting on land, high-priced enchantments for the most part. The war is becoming increasingly costly and bloody, but the Twaelar now hope they are close to final victory.

The Twaelar achieved their objective, which wasn't to conquer and hold the village but simply to do as much damage as possible to the Thyatians based there. Then they withdrew as planned. It will be some weeks before Mora is rebuilt.

What the PCs Can Do: If the characters happen to be in the area on the Isle of Dread, they can help repulse the Twaelar.

Thaumont 13, AC 1017: March of Shame.

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

Description: The cityfolk of Helskir are commanded by town criers early this morning to assemble along the main street of the city by 10 o'clock. Hours later, as the milling crowds gather nervously, wondering what the Heldannic administration wishes of them, they are surprised to see the south gates open, and, amid martial music, a long column files into the city. The lead soldiers, bearing the banners of Anna's regiment, call out the cadence as over 1,000 Heldannic soldiers march up the street towards the harbour. Behind them, bound in chains and plodding dejectedly, row upon row of captured Heldunian soldiers-over 800 in all-to the shocked expressions of the cityfolk. Once the captured troops are marched into the large market square, the town criers read out the proclamation of Anna von Hendriks.

"To the people of Helskir: the triumphant Knights of Vanya have met, and crushed, resistance to our rule of Two-Forks Ridge 11 days past. These men before you fought well, but failed; thus they were spared for their bravery. Do not repeat their mistake, lest you join them in bondage. These prisoners will be treated well, so long as the people of this city do not oppose, or otherwise impede, the rulership that has been granted to them in right of Her Most Gracious Lady. That is all."

With that, the prisoners are marched southwards once more, and outside of the city proper. (See Va. 20, Th. 2; Th. 15, Th. 15.)

What This Means: Anna decided that a show of strength would be useful in order to drive the point home to her subjects that resistance is useless, but also that loyalty would not go unrewarded. Those families who have one or more relatives captured in battle will likely think twice before opposing Heldannic rule openly.

Thaumont 14, AC 1017: Griffon vs. Griffon.

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: A heated debate between members of the Order of the Griffon in Mirros turns violent, as pro-Oderbry members duke it out with pro-Halaran members. The violence is contained, and does not spread outside the order's quarters, but word nevertheless makes it to the street. Several members defect to join Oderbry's terrorist squad. (See Va. 19, Th. 2; Fl. 6, Ya. 23.)

What This Means: Not everyone immediately joined Oderbry's faction, but the tensions between Traladarans and Thyatians has begun to heat their blood. Simple disputes over religious issues can get very heated, as happened here. Oderbry has now gained several more followers to his cause, and the rumours of infighting within the church will only strengthen the tension in the streets of Mirros.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are clever enough, the PCs could use this confrontation as an opportunity to infiltrate Oderbry's faction, and draw him out of hiding. Perhaps they even staged this themselves, allowing agents of Oderbry's who hear of the incident to compel them to join the cause?

Thaumont 14, AC 1017: A Mystery Left Unsolved.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: One week after the discovery of the body of Baldewijn de Woens, the prime suspect for the assassination attempt on Princess Dolores Hillsbury at the Cosmopolitan Theatre, the constabulary announces the findings that Baldewijn de Woens was murdered by strangulation. (See Th. 8, Th. 9; Kl. 17, Am. 1.)

What This Means: The Glantrian Constabulary has exhausted all its means, both magical and mundane, in solving the assassination attempt on Princess Dolores Hillsbury and has come up with very little. The constabulary considers this the end of the case, but Princess Dolores is only beginning to plot her vengeance against her enemies, perceived or otherwise.

Thaumont 14, AC 1017: Dig This Crazy Beach, Must Be Low Tide.

Location: City of Bluenose, Kingdom of Arogansa, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: The majority of the city's business owners meet to discuss the future of the tourist trade. With the sinking, Bluenose and other coastal resort communities lost their primary attractions. Their respective businesses are failing and many fear total financial ruin unless the tourists can be drawn back in. Though numerous approaches are offered none are accepted.

One business owner, Jhadix, requests to be heard. A mediocre merchant who was known to dabble in everything from courtesans to decorative chamber pots, few expect his opinions to be of any worth. However, most see no resolution in any of their fellows' ideas nor do they think that anything he says will hurt. Plus, a few see the potential to vent their frustrations upon him as he offers his presumed "ludicrous and amateurish ideas."

Jhadix inquires as to what Bluenose was known for. A few mutter that the beaches and oceans drew in the crowds. With that, Jhadix smiles and asserts a few little notes to think about. First, though the tourists came to Bluenose for the beaches he sorely doubts that they spent all of their free time on them. They had to eat. They had to sleep. Life's necessities aside, the real financial draw came from the various entertainments that the tourists always turned to when the beaches had worn out their appeal or night's veil had fallen.

As if on cue, Jhadix notes that a few of the assembled businessmen see where he is going. Before anyone can interrupt him, he states that they only need to refocus their attention onto these entertainments. They have to draw the tourists in with their entertainments. Jhadix proposes that they organise and promote a Bluenose Festival where tourists will be pampered and live to the extremes of the aristocratic lifestyle; do things that mainstream society would frown upon.

Several business owners suggest that they also cater to the mundane classes as that opens up even more potential for revenue. Jhadix disagrees, citing that that would undermine the carefree and elitist attitude that should and has prevailed in Bluenose. He adds that the aristocrats are the ones to target as they have the funds and the power to offer the most to the kingdom. Bluenose should be the place where Alphatia's elite go to have fun.

After a brief discussion, the business owners agree that Jhadix's plan should be adopted. They decide to use the week of Kaldmont 15 to stage their little extravaganza under the guise of celebrating Closing Day. To them this seems very appropriate and financially lucrative as it opens up a bevy of new and young mages to celebrate their graduation. With that the business owners depart to prepare their establishments. Many are already contemplating enhancements to their businesses to increase their marketability. (See Am. 2, Am. 23.)

What the PCs Can Do: PCs may find themselves involved in this venture on many fronts. They may be hired to acquire exotic items and creatures for various entertainments. They may find themselves hired by tourists to act as armed escorts. The business owners wishing to bolster security for the festivities may also hire them. Likewise the business owners may hire the PCs to participate in their attractions by recounting adventures and heroic deeds. Or aristocratic PCs may go to Bluenose to partake in the festivities. Either way, with all of the mages running about and being encouraged to live on the wild side, there is bound to be a good deal of trouble to address.

Thaumont 14, AC 1017: The Rivers Shall Run Red, but the Fires Burn Forevermore.

Location: North of Dominion of Vanya's Rest, Aryptian Savannah, Heldannic Empire. DV

Description: Heldannic outriders come across a small camp of Meghaddaran hunters, sheltering in a narrow river valley, while scouting the savannah north of Vanya's Rest. Not wishing to lose time in alerting their companions marching behind them, the knights fall upon the Meghaddara, and manage to take them by surprise. The skirmish is quick, but brutal; many hunters are peppered with crossbow bolts where they sit, while those who do manage to ready weapons are ridden down. In the end, most of the Meghaddara lie dead, save for a handful, disarmed and bound, who are to be interrogated.

From the subsequent interrogation, the knights learn of the existence of a small Meghaddaran village, not far north of their current location, which lies at the joining of two rivers. After dispatching the prisoners, the knights march swiftly northwards, where they stage a raid, with the cavalry riding from the northwest and the foot soldiers marching from the south. Meghaddaran scouts soon become aware of the Heldannic infantry, and alert the village militia in order to stage an effective counterattack. Soon, the village's defenders become embroiled in a nasty melee, in which, although they fight ferociously and are well armed (with short thrusting spears and throwing axes), they are unable to withstand the concerted Heldannic assault. Soon, the Meghaddara stage an organized retreat, falling back to more defensible positions, where they can hurl spears at their enemies, and where they can lure their opponents into such traps as concealed pits and snares.

With the Heldannic assault becoming bogged down around the outskirts of the village, and with the invaders beginning to suffer casualties of their own, it soon appears as though the Meghaddara will win the day, but then disaster strikes. Alert scouts watching the defenders' flanks and rear raise an alarm-horsemen approach! The outcome is as bloody as it is predictable; preoccupied with holding off the soldiers attacking from the south, the Meghaddara are too few to hold back the Heldannic cavalry, which, though small in number, manages to inflict a heavy toll. By the end of the day, the village has been razed, and those Meghaddara who could not escape, or did not surrender, are killed. (See Th. 3; Fl. 9, Fl. 17.)

What This Means: This sort of encounter is likely to be repeated several times over the coming weeks, as Heldannic forces try to secure a broad swath of territory surrounding Vanya's Rest, both to provide a buffer zone for their colony, as well as colonise those regions deemed suitable for agriculture. Heinz Kronenburg has given each detachment's commander broad authority to do whatever is necessary to pacify the lands in question; as long as Heldannic control is extended successfully, all else is secondary. Some detachments will accomplish their missions through obtaining the surrender of those Meghaddara living in the territories, but many, seeing the plains people as more of an obstacle than anything else, will try to destroy them utterly. Those Meghaddara who surrender, or are captured, will be sent to Vanya's Rest, where they will be imprisoned until their fate is decided.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are with the Heldannic Knights, they may, depending on their own alignments and moral codes, try to persuade their commanders to spare as many prisoners as possible, or otherwise try to prevent senseless slaughter. If they do so, they will be remembered by the Meghaddara-even if the PCs do not succeed. Alternatively, Meghaddaran PCs, or those allied with them, could try to slow down, or even reverse, the Heldannic advance. They could do so by ambushing scouts, warning villagers so that they can prepare better defences or flee the area, or by using their skills (if they are of higher level) to lead effective counterattacks.

Third Week

Thaumont 15, AC 1017: Bad News from Freiburg.

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

Description: While pondering the latest updates to the strategic situation in the northern Isle of Dawn, Ordensgeneral Anna von Hendriks is approached by a messenger, bearing a note from the leadership in Freiburg. Dismissing the messenger and her advisers, Anna reads the encrypted note silently. Shocked at its contents, she reads them again, to be sure that what she sees is what is actually written. After several moments of stunned silence, Anna steels her nerve, and summons her advisers, telling them that there is a great deal of work to do; no further assistance is forthcoming from the Heldannic Territories. (See Th. 2, Th. 13; Th. 15, Th. 16.)

What This Means: Information concerning resistance activities, including Thyatian forces based in northern Westrourke, has been making its way to Anna for several days now. Although no serious opposition has been faced since the battle at Two-Forks Ridge, the Heldannic leadership in Helskir is well aware of the fact that they would be at a numerical and logistical disadvantage should full-scale war erupt in the northern Isle of Dawn. As a result, a secret message was sent to Freiburg, asking for more reinforcements in order to ensure that Helskir is not lost.

Unfortunately for her, the response (which bears Wulf von Klagendorf's seal) cites security concerns in northern Heldland, and in the region surrounding Vanya's Rest in Davania, as having highest priority at the moment. As such, no reinforcements will be made available for the time being. Being no fool, Anna realises that she will be forced to utilise what she has now to best effect.

Thaumont 15, AC 1017: Ties Severed with Heldann.

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

Description: Emperor Eusebius makes an announcement, to the effect that, in response to the unprovoked aggressive acts conducted by the Heldannic Knights in the imperial territory of Heldun, all Thyatian diplomatic and economic ties with the Heldannic Territories will be severed immediately, and all diplomatic staff will be recalled. (See Th. 13, Th. 15; Th. 16, Th. 17.)

What This Means: This is a political move on the part of Eusebius to distance himself from the current regime governing the Heldannic Territories, with which his empire has been allied in the past. Also, the recent Heldannic victory at Two-Forks Ridge, in which Thyatian troops-albeit reformatory cohorts-had been defeated, required a response. Thus, Eusebius is seen by his opponents to be doing something, while seizing the moral high ground in the process.

Not insignificant in this proclamation is that fact that all Thyatian funding that originally went towards the Heldannic Church of Vanya will instead be redirected towards its Thyatian counterpart, and much of this money will be used to rebuild its affiliated fighting orders.

Thaumont 15, AC 1017: Elves Find Sanctuary.

Location: Enoreth Shrine, Forest of Geffron, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: The elves reach Enoreth Shrine deep in the western part of Geffron, and they decide to settle here because of the place's friendly aura and magical defences against the forces of evil. They proceed to build fortifications both on the trees surrounding the glade and below ground. (See Th. 6; Fe. 10, Fe. 18.)

What This Means: The elven crusaders have chosen a new site from which to launch their forays against the Shadow Army patrolling Geffron. Their goal is to weaken the Shadow Lord's control over the forest and to wear out his troops, while the undead army of Sylarion is left to deal with the Denagothians garrisoning Drax Tallen. The elves also intend to investigate on the tunnels found beneath the Great Forest of Geffron and to use them to their advantage.

Thaumont 16, AC 1017: A Daring Robbery.

Location: City of Corisa, Milenian Empire. HW

Description: There is a large degree of excitement amongst the estates of the city as the city guard can be seen hustling through the streets around the home of Halcion, a minor government administrator. It quickly becomes apparent that Halcion's estate has been burgled, while he and his wife were away at a party. The thief sneaked by most of the house's slaves and servants. One of them stumbled into a room he was in, and was incapacitated and tied up, but he has recollection of what the robber looked like. Found missing are several examples of jewellery, some miscellaneous currency, and an ornamental sword. The only clue found is a strange message scrawled upon the top of a chest, which had held the jewellery. The message reads "another daring exploit of The Fox." Halcion's wife, Dyonesis, is particularly upset at the intrusion even though the items taken are seen as minor. (See Nu. 3; Fl. 4, Kl. 5.)

What This Means: The robbery is a cover for the investigation into the Matera conspiracy. The robber is an agent hired by General Tythus. The estate gained his attention as Dyonesis had been often seen conversing with Sephone and other suspected conspirators. Dyonesis has every right to be upset as several additional items are missing, items she did not inform the guard of. These items are paraphernalia associated with the Order of Matera, items not typical of your standard midwife, which is doubly odd, as she is not a known midwife. However, the most important item taken is Dyonesis' personal journal, which does have some sensitive writings on the order. The brash message having "The Fox" taking credit for the robbery is a farce; there is no thief known as The Fox.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs may find themselves involved in the intrusion. Likewise, they may find themselves hired to track down "The Fox" to gain some revenge and peace of mind for his beloved Dyonesis. This plot could draw the PCs into the investigation. Perhaps one of the PCs is accused of being The Fox.

Thaumont 16, AC 1017: An Offer Is Made.

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

Description: Early this morning, the Heldunian prisoners of war are gathered outside the southern gate of Helskir, under the watchful eye of their captors. As they mill about with uncertainty, Ordensgeneral Anna von Hendriks arises atop the parapet, and addresses them. She offers the prisoners a choice: they may regain their freedom if they choose to fight honourably for the Heldannic Order in the weeks and months ahead, perhaps even gaining land in Heldann if they prove exceptionally loyal; or they may remain in bondage, and be put to work building new fortifications and repairing existing ones. She gives them one hour to decide.

Once the appointed time arrives, knights are dispersed throughout the crowd, segregating those who have opted to serve the knights from those who have not. The men and women who decided to serve the knights are marched into Helskir, while the remainder are guided back to their camps. (See Th. 15, Th. 15; Th. 17, Th. 20.)

What This Means: Anna recognises that, in the absence of any reinforcements, she needs to bolster her own forces in the near future. She knows that she is taking a big risk by providing arms to some of her enemies, but she and her advisers felt that offering freedom might be sufficient to sway the more pragmatic individuals to the Heldannic cause. Whether or not the Heldannic Order will actually provide those Helskirans who fight honourably and loyally with land is a moot point; the chance that it might happen may be enough to sway those who remain indecisive.

Thaumont 16, AC 1017: Flames in Qeodhar.

Location: Village of Ephanir, Kingdom of Qeodhar, Nayce. AS

Description: The village of Ephanir, which is located in a hilly region of southeastern Qeodhar, is encircled by an Antalian force of roughly 200 men. Its leader, an imposing woman named Olvi, orders the inhabitants to leave the village and head westwards, for the village was to be claimed by the Antalian people of Qeodhar as part of their rightful heritage. Many of the 120 inhabitants, some of whom are retired soldiers and adventurers, loudly refuse to do so, saying they would sooner die than abandon their homes. With a muttered, "So be it," Olvi orders her warriors to attack the village.

Expecting the villagers to scatter under the assault, the Antalians are surprised to see groups of disciplined fighters among the defenders, who use their knowledge to guide their less-experienced comrades. Many raiders fall under skilfully wielded swords and axes, and peasants armed with pitchforks and long poles manage to blunt the edge of the Antalian spike. Hurriedly, Olvi orders her men to regroup, and concentrate their efforts on outlying defenders. She also orders her few archers to focus their fire on those enemies who appear to be veteran fighters, though this latter strategy falls far of its mark-many peasants are killed instead.

Despite the best efforts of the defenders, however, the odds are against them. Not only are they outnumbered; the Antalians have surrounded Ephanir, and before long the surviving villagers are forced to retreat to the village hall, while pillars of flame erupt from outlying buildings already being looted by the Antalians. This last attempt to hold off the attackers lasts but one hour, before Olvi's raiders storm the building, slaughtering the inhabitants. Once the day is done, Ephanir is firmly in Antalian hands, but the cost was heavy-30 dead, and 20 injured. (See Va. 15, Va. 27; Ya. 4, Fy. 9.)

What This Means: Several villages have been conquered in much the same manner as Olmshaven, with hardly a casualty to report. Unfortunately for the Antalians, this earlier fortune was purely luck. Now, they are pressing inland, towards the more densely populated regions of Qeodhar. Here, they will find the populace to be more resolute. Also, word of their campaign has already reached Norlan, who has seen to it that larger settlements will be well garrisoned, and that troops are well trained.

In staging her attack in this manner, Olvi has also shown that, in many ways, the Antalians are no better in their tactics than the enemies they loathe so much.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are travelling with Olvi's group, they might try to find a way to spare some of the populace. This would be difficult, as many of the attackers are thirsting for revenge. If they are siding with Norlan, and happen to be in the area, they can try to alter the outcome of the battle somewhat. They will likely not be able to save the village, but they might be able to hold off the Antalians long enough to allow some villagers to escape.

Thaumont 17, AC 1017: Bolstered Defences for Helskir.

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

Description: Early today, a large group of prisoners of war are put to work outside Helskir's walls, digging trenches and hauling stone from nearby quarries, all under the supervision of watchful Heldannic Knights. (See Th. 15, Th. 16; Th. 17, Th. 20.)

What This Means: Though a few prisoners (primarily mercenaries) have been re-hired by the knights to make up partially for their own losses, the bulk of the remainder are being put to work-by building a new series of fortifications outside Helskir's city walls. An outer wall will be constructed at a distance of 200 feet from the current walls, and beyond that will be a series of stake-filled trenches. The empty space between these two walls will serve initially as a killing field for those invaders who manage to breach the outer defences, though even now some senior knights are proposing that the land might be set aside for colonists in the future. Clearly, the knights plan to stay in Helskir for a long time.

Thaumont 17, AC 1017: The Enemy at the Door.

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

Description: The long-dreaded day finally arrives; the Mivosian army closes in on Polakatsikes, and soon is catapulted into confusion when advance scouts fall victim to an assortment of traps surrounding the town's walls! As the Mivosians come to grips with this unexpected development, their forces are literally knocked off their feet with well-placed applications of the earthquake spell. Suffering from the compounded effects of these unpleasant surprises, the Mivosians closest to the walls are cut down by withering crossbow fire, while the remainder, fearing a sortie by the defenders, quickly withdraw to ponder their next move. (See Th. 4, Th. 9; Th. 26, Fl. 2.)

What This Means: The long-awaited arrival of the Mivosians has finally come to pass, and Wolfgang Stemmel's expectations have already been exceeded. The assorted traps took the invaders completely by surprise, and the earthquakes sowed such chaos that his crossbowmen were able to fire away with relative impunity. Nevertheless, Wolfgang is aware that, with a much-reduced garrison (due to the fall of Tyrnae), his forces cannot afford to take undue risks; they will have to either somehow dissuade the Mivosians from continuing their campaign, or find ways to exploit their weaknesses.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are with the Heldannic forces, the PCs may play a pivotal role here if they have either fought the Mivosians before, or if they have helped break a siege before. Wolfgang will certainly appreciate any good advice the PCs have to give, and if they have a workable plan (that is, one that would not endanger too many of his solders' lives), he will be more than willing to provide them with whatever resources he has at his disposal. If they are with the Mivosians, the PCs may be given the task of trying to find a way inside Polakatsikes.

Thaumont 17, AC 1017: Raid on Trollheim.

Location: Hamlet of Hornford, Trollheim Hills, Kingdom of Vestland. OW

Description: Bortak raiders from Ethengar descend upon the fortified hamlet of Hornford. The Vestlanders put up a fierce struggle, but are forced to retreat into the hills. When they return to their village a few days later, it has been nearly razed to the ground, and pillaged. The settlers face a serious setback.

What This Means: Hornford is one of the newest settlements to arise from the reinstatement of the Homesteading Acts by the king of Vestland. They have been doing well in their attempt to carve out a place in the Trollheim Hills, able to fend off even goblinoid raiders until now. The more organized Ethengar horsemen have proven too much for them, however. The Bortak nomads will go home with ample booty for the winter.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs have dominions in the Trollheim areas, they may be the ones under attack. Otherwise, they may be hired by Vestlandic lords to help protect their wilderness domains from Ethengar raids.

Thaumont 17, AC 1017: Thyatian Expedition Docks in Jaibul.

Location: City of Jaibul, Mumlyket of Jaibul. OW

Description: The joint Minrothaddan-Thyatian western trade mission docks in Jaibul to fill their holds with provisions before continuing on. Thyatian envoys have a brief meeting with representatives of the black rajah, but nothing significant is announced. (See Va. 25; Fl. 1, Fl. 8.)

What This Means: This is a normal event, but does have some hidden future consequences. Jaibul is heavily involved in the slave trade, and Thyatis remains one of the few areas where they can sell slaves openly. The Thyatians see Darokin gaining increasing influence in the Sind region, and are looking for contacts in the area in order to maintain a balance of power in the region (namely, a balance of Thyatian power). Nothing was formalised with Jaibul at this time, and Jaibul remains aligned with Hule, but surreptitious negotiations will continue over the following months, and Thyatis is an important market for Jaibul, one they cannot afford to lose.

What the PCs Can Do: If the characters are part of the exploratory flotilla, the DM can throw an adventure or two at them while in Jaibul. The ships are in town for two or three days, plenty long enough for characters to get into trouble.

Thaumont 17, AC 1017: The Loss of The Daeren Caterra.

Location: City of Blueside, Kingdom of Lagrius, Continent of Bellissaria, Nayce. AS

Description: For the renowned merchant Dreximar, the day brings a bit of bad news: a merchant vessel, the Daeren Caterra has been long overdue and wreckage has been found out off the Notrion Coast. Dreximar has a sizeable investment in the cargo the ship was carrying and is openly upset at the financial loss. Dreximar blames the loss on the undead and in a very public display vows to do whatever he can to insure that similar losses are not repeated. He even goes as far as to make a public donation to the families of those sailors that lost live in Blueside.

What This Means: Dreximar did indeed have a rather sizeable investment in the cargo aboard the Daeren Caterra, however it won't bankrupt him. His real loss is in prestige in the eyes of the Blueside populace. Whether it is magic, mercantilism, or yachting he is very self-conscious about his prominence within Blueside and how such matters build up his social standing. Hence, his rather showy demonstration and donations. As a sailing enthusiast and a merchant, he does have some sympathies for those lost. Likewise the captain and owner of the Daeren Caterra, Fregdist, was a friend and long-standing business associate. However, Dreximar is also aware that such dangers are to be expected in such pursuits; he himself has had his brushes with mortality. He does believe that the undead were involved and probably will take action or lobby heavily for Naycese assistance.

The truth surrounding the loss of the Daeren Caterra is not what it appears to be. The vessel's sinking is more a product of human greed than undead attack. Fregdist was a businessman, whose fortune rested upon his ability to ferry cargo. The Daeren Caterra was not a large craft, therefore its owner had to run it wisely to remain competitive and make a profit. Though he had hired out his craft to Dreximar, he had also taken on some added cargo. The vessel was too heavily laden and floundered in the surf as it tried to navigate into the mouth of the Lagrius River for its final leg into Lake Lagrius. That the craft made it that far is a testament to the abilities of the captain and crew.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs may become hired, either by Dreximar or family members of those lost, to investigate the matter. They may even be hired to try to salvage the cargo and discover what really transpired. For those that worked for Dreximar in AC 1016 their usefulness will already be known to him.

Thaumont 17, AC 1017: Teng Lin-Dieu Starts Investigations.

Location: City of Beitung, Exarchate of Ochalea, Thyatian Empire. SD

Description: Teng Lin-Dieu always considered himself as much Thyatian as Ochalean. Thus, over the years, as he looked back on things, he became increasingly puzzled by his decision to secede from Thyatis during the Great War. He thought at first that it might have been at the encouragement of Koryis, his patron Immortal and an arbiter of peaceful ways. However, upon communion with Koryis, he learned this was not the case. During a discussion with Nurokidu Nuar, he learned that the king of the Pearl Islands was puzzled, too. Nuar's own communions with Korotiku revealed that his patron had no particular wishes in the matter of the secession. Both rulers were at a loss over what had happened, and the difficulty to interpret the will of their Immortals.

Teng Lin-Dieu is interested in uncovering the truth, not only for the sake of understanding , but also to insure that he has control over his country. He thus charges his officials with a deeper investigation into the matter. Things seem to have started with what in retrospect seems to be a small but vocal and highly visible number of agitators who exercised influence all out of proportion of their actual numbers. The Ochalean investigators' first suspect that they were instigated by Alphatian agents, and they want to make sure that the nation is free of Alphatian infiltrators.

At the same time, due to Ochalea's natural interest in theological matters, Teng Lin-Dieu decides to send a deputation to meet with the followers of Gareth, in Sind. Teng Lin-Dieu is not considering converting, but he is very intrigued by the teachings of that Immortal, and wants to keep Ochalea at the cutting edge of the study of Immortals, as it traditionally has been. The team he sends is under orders to meet with the followers of Gareth, learn their teachings, and hopefully to return to Ochalea with one of their clerics. (See Kl. 17.)

What This Means: The Ochaleans are wary of the possibility that Alphatian agents were partially responsible for the independence unrest, and want to make sure their country isn't under the influence of Alphatian infiltrators. However, as the investigation proceeds, they will discover that the Alphatian Empire was not directly involved, and things happened for very different reasons than they first believed.

The deputation will also help Ochalea stay in the forefront of the study of theological matters, but also will coincidentally and unintentionally come into play with the investigation of the agitators.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters might be sent as part of the deputation to travel to Sind, or they might be hired to guard its members. They might also be among those investigating the agitation that led to the Ochalea and the Pearl Islands declarations of independence, which may lead them to uncover some of the deepest secrets of the Great War and into the plots of the Immortals.

Thaumont 17, AC 1017: Undying Secret.

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

Description: Dove is pleased to receive word that his release is due in the next few weeks, and that he will resume travelling through Denagoth to write his essays on behalf of the high priestess. When the rat-messenger of Vespen reaches him and he tells him the news, Vespen (always in grim mood) decides to reveal another secret to the archaeologist. He tells him not to trust the high priestess's word, because she is not what she appears to be. When Dove presses him hard with questions, Vespen only adds that he has gathered evidence that the high priestess is not a living being anymore, and that she is far more powerful than what she lets the others think. Dove then asks him what is the link that binds the Shadow Lord (also a powerful necromancer) to her, but Vespen is unable to respond and the communication abruptly ends. (See Nu. 10, Va. 14; Th. 28, Fl. 15.)

What This Means: Vespen's information concerning the high priestess's real nature is unsettling for Dove, especially because he has never suspected the woman being anything but human (he met her twice in the last year and she always seemed perfectly normal at first sight). If this is true, then maybe the Shadow Lord is not the tip of the iceberg, and the archaeologist suspects there are far more secrets he must discover before grasping the whole truth about the real situation in Denagoth.

Thaumont 19, AC 1017: Trade Frictions Escalate

Location: Customs Frontiers throughout the Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: In reaction to the increase of piratical attacks against its merchants and the suspicions revolving around House al-Azrad, the Thyatian government starts holding up trade caravans and ships of Western Defence League nations entering Thyatian ports and borders. The imperial customs officials inspect every crate and mule, rather than spot-checking them, and even turn down the usual "gifts" that used to smooth things along (bribes). League merchants, especially Darokinian ones, find themselves at the end of the line for inspections, as Thyatian and Minrothaddan traders are given priority, as well as not being hassled nearly as much. Inspectors who turn up violations of Thyatian trade laws and regulations are imposing unusually severe punishments and fines on the league merchants. The Western Defence League merchants find it hard to complain, because the Thyatian officials aren't breaking any laws-they are just enforcing them so strictly that it is imposing a severe burden on the traders. Since in trade time is money, even the delays are costly. Some customs officials do, with more grudging resistance than usual, accept the bribes, but they demand more than usual and do not offer as much in exchange, making it less effectual an option than it would normally be.

Karameikan merchants seem to be the only league traders who don't face this problem-or at least not to the same degree. Their customs inspections are slightly longer than they used to be, but not inordinately so. And they don't face unusually stiff penalties if caught in violation.

In Tel Akbir, House al-Azrad's properties are actually seized in a forfeiture decision, much as those of some Thyatian rebels who lost properties in the aftermath of the Crown War. The merchants found to be involved in the conspiracy, including Akir al-Sudif, are ostentatiously pardoned for any acts of espionage and sedition they committed, but expelled from Thyatis and told never to return. Eusebius claims this is a magnanimous and merciful decision, but the Darokinians protest the confiscation. The Thyatians hold out the possibility that the confiscated properties might be returned, depending on the ultimate outcome of their investigation. (See Th. 9; Fl. 7, Kl. 22.)

What This Means: In Darokin the saying is "he who has the gold makes the rules." In Thyatis the saying is "he who makes the rules wins the gold." The Thyatians are manipulating the rules to gain the upper hand. The Western Defence League nations will respond in kind to this sort of interference, as trade frictions continue to spiral out of control. The better treatment of tradesmen from Karameikos is part of Eusebius' other current scheme, intended to help improve relations with that nation and, if possible, weaken its ties to the Western Defence League and Nayce. Fellow league members will be suspicious as to why the Karameikans are being treated better. This aspect probably will not work very well, though, because the league nations are pretty tight-knit and any misunderstandings or confusions will eventually be worked through discussing the matter among themselves.

The imperial government has put this policy in the strongest possible terms in its orders to its officials, and it is implemented with great efficiency. Most of the worst corrupt officials have been eliminated in previous purges, while others have seen what happened to those and thus have mended their ways. Thus the affected merchants have trouble even bribing the officials to smooth things over. Patriotic and civic-spirited ones participate in the zeal strike with gusto and enthusiasm, and that example discourages others from accepting bribes. Nor do the zealous ones allow their fellows to get away with bribery in this instance without turning them in. A number of customs officers discovered accepting bribes are very publicly fired at this time and tried on charges of corruption for emphasis, discouraging others from succumbing to temptation without an unusually high bribe being offered.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters who conduct trade (or anything resembling it) and who are tied to either side of the conflict will find themselves facing an unusual level of resistance and discriminatory practices when trading with the other side in the conflict.

Thaumont 19, AC 1017: Secret Parliamentary Council Formed.

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

Description: Blythe-Jackson privately believes that an armed confrontation between parliament and king is likely, and so invites some key figures to a secret meeting in Norchester. The worthies he invites include Arthur Sullivan, leader of the Company of the Sun, Sir Mewsbury, representative of the various mercantile interests throughout the kingdom, Lord Mortimer the Defiant, ruler of Norchester, and two members of the Commons, Sir Edward Hampden (a vocal dwarven member from Norchester) and Richard Croft (a devout worshipper of Belbion who strongly believes that the parliament should be given more power). (See Th. 4, Th. 8; Fl. 1, Fl. 2.)

What This Means: Blythe-Jackson decided last year that the parliament could do a much better job of governing Bellayne than King James (especially given that he currently leads the Commons). Though he cannot admit to this in public, he has searched for potential supporters in the last few months. At today's meeting he discusses damage limitation should the king resort to the use of force once more. The real purpose is to attempt to divine how supportive everybody is of his ideas.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters may be members of the inner circle of any one of the luminaries who join the council, in which case they will be important go-betweens and agents. Once King James hears of this, characters loyal to him might be tasked with infiltrating the council and digging up information on its intentions.

Thaumont 19, AC 1017: Nayce Council Meets on Underocean Matter.

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

Description: The Nayce Council convenes over the Allanas vs. Underocean decision. The meeting is closed, though this does not prevent supporters and opponents of the ruling from demonstrating. Strangely orderly, the proceedings run smoothly, and a vote on the matter is held today. A strange alliance between the more progressive and more hard-line representatives is shown, as the hard-liners fear that the ruling will lead to unprecedented interference in their own kingdoms' internal matters.

In the end, the council narrowly votes to overturn the ruling. In a related matter, the families of the immigrants killed in the New Smaar riots file their own claims against Underocean. (See Va. 19, Th. 8; Ya. 14.)

Thaumont 20, AC 1017: The Restoration Begins.

Location: City of Tarthis, Empire of Nithia. HW

Description: Pharaoh Ramose of Nithia makes a proclamation, to the effect that those soldiers who served Senkha during her rulership last cycle, and who have been sentenced to work in the mines, will have their sentences reduced if they agree to participate in restoration projects around the empire. This proclamation is to take effect immediately, and all cases shall be considered by the bureaucracy. (See Fl. 18, Fy. 4.)

What This Means: Although he has been restored to the throne of Nithia, Ramose knows that his hold on the reins of power is by no means assured. Those soldiers who served Senkha may not have done so willingly-they could have been ordered to do so by their superiors, or perhaps family members were held hostage-and they might become embittered against his rule if they see themselves as being unjustly sentenced. At the same time, the Nithian people, and tradition, demand that justice be done.

The proclamation is a compromise; the former soldiers still perform penal servitude, but instead they will be repairing roads and buildings damaged by the civil war (rather than toiling in mines), and their sentences will be shorter. Thus, Ramose will show himself to be a merciful ruler (yet one who can act decisively), and he can eliminate potential hotbeds of resistance.

Thaumont 20, AC 1017: Sjofjord Conquered.

Location: Village of Sjofjord, Kingdom of Heldun, Thyatian Empire and Nayce, Isle of Dawn. SD

Description: As part of their ongoing offensive in Heldun, the 1st Vanya's Loyal Heldannic Expeditionary Force regiment occupies the village of Sjofjord. Faced with fighting almost 500 armed soldiers, the village's militia of 60 men decides to surrender, and preserve their own lives. (See Th. 16, Th. 17; Fl. 2, Fl. 17.)

Thaumont 20, AC 1017: Pirates!

Location: Northern Marches of the Great Bay. NW

Description: With the coming of thaw, the coastal ports of Draken, Latela and Panteria are surprised by the unexpected attacks of sea-raiders bearing the Qeodharan and Ostlander insignias. These raids go on sporadically along the northern coast of the Great Bay, extending also to Kameloth's waters, and the navy of the targeted dominions cannot prevent them. The lords of the northern marches decide to sign a military agreement to create a coast guard with the sole duty to patrol their coastlines and discourage the raiders' plundering. (See Kl. 10, Fe. 9.)

What This Means: After the end of the Norwold War in Eirmont of AC 1016, a few ships once serving the Qeodharan Baron decided to remain in Norwold and act as free pirates. They settled in the shunned isles in the Strait of Todstein and have waited patiently in those foggy waters for the spring to come and the Great Bay to become navigable once again. They are responsible for the raids on Latela and Draken, and have no intention to stop this lucrative, albeit risky, business. The Heldanners of Nordenhafen have also taken back to their old pastimes, encouraged by Baron Bardeen and led by the Ostlanders that came last year with the pirate wizard Oberack (now dead after the confrontation with Count Shuren of Kameloth in Sviftmont of AC 1016). They are preying on Panteria, Latela and Kameloth as well, and have agreed to an unwritten pact of friendship with the Qeodharan pirates, to avoid clashing with one another over the same waters. Baron Bardeen plans on going on with these raids as long as possible, and doesn't care about King Ericall discovering his treachery.

What the PCs Can Do: If they live in Norwold, they can go pirate-hunting, discovering their nests and retrieving the small treasures plundered so far.

Thaumont 21, AC 1017: Report Returned... Revised and Approved.

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

Description: The Alphatian Grand Council returns to Eriadna the plan to reorganise and demobilise portions of the Alphatian armed forces. The empress studies its content, noting the council's alterations and comments. The council has followed her recommendations that the imperial units are to be demobilised to more manageable numbers and that integrated troops be returned to their respective kingdoms. The kingdoms can then decide which troops they want to retain and which ones they want to demobilise to either civilian life or militias.

After meeting with her advisers, Eriadna approves the reformation. She has multiple copies made and distributed throughout Alphatia, to the individual kingdoms and the individual divisional commands. The reformation is met with some protest, however it is accepted and the officers begin the logistics of carrying out the measure. (See Va. 24; Fe. 8, Fy. 1.)

What This Means: With the council's support, Eriadna issues the proclamation outlying the designs of the new armed forces. The imperial units are none too happy at their forces being affected, however it is the empress's ruling and does have the sanctioning of the Grand Council. Surprisingly, most troops welcome the reorganisation. Due to Eriadna's military reorganisation and integration of AC 1010, most have been away from their native kingdoms for years. Many wish to go home, either to return to civilian life or to defend their own native lands.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs that were mobilised earlier now have the opportunity to return to civilian life, or to integrate the military of their kingdoms, or to apply for continued imperial service. Either option will lead to a new life, and to new opportunities.

Fourth Week

Thaumont 22, AC 1017: Ghastly Peace in Wendar.

Location: Kingdom of Wendar. OW

Description: Wendarians awaken to find the first signs of the coming thaw outside their homes. They also realise that the whole winter passed without incident, and thank Bensarian and his wise decisions for the newfound peace. The Genalleth elves, who know far better what price had to be paid for this peace, pray for the souls of their Alfheim brethren deported to Denagoth and ask their Immortal patrons, the Korrigans, to enlighten Bensarian before he makes a decision every Wendarian will then regret. (See Nu. 2; Ya. 27, Fe. 18.)

What This Means: Since Sviftmont AC 1016, after the last free Alfheimers fled Wendar in fear and the unlucky Alfheimers held in the prison camps were deported to Denagoth to please the request of the Denagothian ambassador, Wendar hasn't been troubled by internal riots anymore. This is obviously due to the absence of the Alfheim Avengers and to the abrupt end imposed by the cultists of Idris to their human followers' terrorist acts. Bensarian obviously gets the credit for this result in the eyes of the human population, and Denagoth doesn't look so fearsome anymore, now that it has established cordial diplomatic relations with Wendar. The only people who have noticed the bloody price paid by Wendar for this yet dubious peace are the elves, who have seen firsthand the humiliations and the grief the Alfheimers had to undergo. They are starting to doubt Bensarian's actions (even though he has always been considered a wise man and a friend of elvenkind) and fearing for their own future.

Thaumont 22, AC 1017: Stalemate in Baratkand.

Location: Border of Mumlykets of Sindrastan and Baratkand, Kingdom of Sind. OW

Description: Emboldened by last year's victories, the armies of Chandra ul Nervi and his allied forces attempt to push northwest through the desert, to the Mumlyket of Baratkand. At the border, they are met by a large Hulean army. The two forces battle for hours, suffering many casualties but neither emerging clearly victorious. Finally the forces break off combat, establishing fortified camps some distance from each other. (See Ya. 19, Am. 17.)

What This Means: Although the Master is planning to withdraw his armies from Sind, he isn't going to make it easy for his enemies. His armies are still quite potent, and will hold off those of Sind at the borders of Baratkand for the time being.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs can help whichever side they are on.

Thaumont 23, AC 1017: Debate about Reform of the Senate Begins.

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

Description: Finally, after long days of proposals and debates about the nobility/dominion ruler ratification, as described on Vatermont 12, Domitius Aenobarbus, among the most brilliant senators of gens Zendrolian (the emperor's faction), presents a bill in the senate embodying those proposals. This causes a stir of fierce debate over the following weeks. The debate is long and it seems like every senator has something to say about it. (See Va. 12, Va. 21; Fl. 11, Fl. 12.)

What This Means: Domitius Aenobarbus has proposed much more than he wanted, as this would result in the achievement of his true objective.

Thaumont 24, AC 1017: Strike on the Traldar.

Location: Shipping lanes west of Town of Dossalonos, Traldar Kingdoms. HW

Description: Captain R. Morgan, commanding the barquentine Lucky Lass, launches an attack on a pair of Traldar galleys. The galleys are lightly armed, and one is heavily laden. Both ships turn to fight. Morgan's artillery (catapults and ballistae) damages the lighter ship from long range; then using his superior seamanship, he closes with the galley and sideswipes it, breaking the oars. Rather than boarding, he sails on, avoiding the other galley's attempt to ram, and then letting more artillery fly. The second galley heads for safety, but the Lucky Lass keeps it within range of bombardment. Eventually Morgan grapples the vessel and his pirates swarm aboard, singing and jeering, with Morgan swilling from a flask of rum the whole time. The galley promptly surrenders, and the other one soon follows suit. Morgan's men loot the ships, and then set the first galley ablaze before sailing off. Morgan charts a course back to his homeport of Floresque. (See Va. 17, Va. 23; Th. 25, Fl. 7.)

What This Means: This is a typical Merry Pirate raid at sea, although challenging two Traldar galleys is bolder than most. But then again, Morgan's ego is certainly bigger than most. The barq is faster, more manoeuvrable, and better armed than the Traldar ships, and Morgan knows it. He is wise to soften them up at long range and then board when their morale is down, as the Traldar are stubborn combatants. The pirates make off with the coins and jewellery from both ships, plus a substantial amount of wine and olive oil, to be sold later on. Setting fire to one of the ships forces the other to rescue the stranded seamen or help fight the blaze, thus hindering pursuit.

What the PCs Can Do: Participate in the raid! Fire artillery, use missile fire, or board the galleys to melee with the Traldar. PCs who perform exceptional actions may be given choice of any special treasures found, above their normal share. If they are Traldar, PCs can turn the pirates away, or at least make it a good fight.

Thaumont 25, AC 1017: Next Stop, Thanegioth!

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

Description: A small collection of sailing ships departs northwards, laden with provisions and tools, and crewed by sturdy Kastelians as well as a smattering of hired foreigners. Gazing over the bow of the lead ship, Adonai Stephanos takes in the exhilarating sea air, and ponders what the future may bring. (See Va. 14, Th. 7; Fl. 13, Fl. 26.)

What This Means: Adonai Stephanos was not only able to secure support for his venture; he was able to obtain substantial amounts of funding for the construction of his way-station. Now that he has the official support of the assembly to continue his project, nothing seems to stand in his way.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are skilled in eliminating various threats to civilisation (as most adventurers can claim to be), the PCs might be hired by Adonai to accompany the crew of these ships, for the purposes of dealing with any monsters encountered. If Adonai did not win the by-election, he could still be leading this venture, under the sponsorship of another member of the assembly.

Thaumont 25, AC 1017: Concerns of National Security.

Location: Various Alphatian nations, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: The secret is out-Stonewall is preparing for war! Over the last few weeks, enough rumours have circulated about the mobilisation of forces in Stonewall that some nations have made this conclusion. The question is, who will they go to war with? Many rulers all over Alphatia dispatch their own spies to find out what's going on. (See Th. 2, Th. 4; Fl. 4, Fl. 9.)

What This Means: This isn't really a surprise for Stonewall-it's impossible to keep the mobilisation of so many troops a secret for very long, and they did not really expect to anyway. Still, keeping it secret for as long as possible could only give Stonewall an edge, so that's what they've done so far. Now, however, they'd probably be better off letting their neighbours know about their intents, so that they won't feel so threatened that they'll mount their own counterattack.

What the PCs Can Do: Lots of stealth and spying are possible here. Most nations will send their own spies to find out what Stonewall is up to, as will Eriadna, and the PCs can certainly be such spies. If the PCs are with Stonewall, they should try to uncover spies sent by other nations or supply them with false intelligence. Ironically, Arkan itself is unlikely to send spies because they have few such people, and their nation is rather poor in magic after almost their entire aristocracy was left behind in the outer world. Besides, they feel rather secure, Stonewall being so far away. This means that if the PCs really do find out what Stonewall is up to, they could make a lot of profit by telling King Qinn of Arkan and then selling him the evidence to support their claim.

Thaumont 25, AC 1017: Articles Are Amended.

Location: City of Baraga, Merry Pirate Seas. HW

Description: Redbeard Kray has recruited new crewmen to fill his openings. He uses this opportunity to amend the articles of the Butchery, which are then signed by all crewmen, old and new alike. (See Va. 23, Th. 24; Fl. 7, Fl. 17.)

What This Means: Redbeard is tailoring the laws of his ship more to his liking. The modified articles come close to giving Redbeard absolute control of the ship.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are members of Redbeard's crew, they can use this opportunity to leave, if they wish. They will face pressure to sign the amendments, and will make enemies of Kray and his men if they refuse, but the choice is theirs.

Thaumont 26, AC 1017: The Goblins Ride Tonight.

Location: Village of Nordberg, Territory of Heldland, Heldannic Empire. NW

Description: Outlying homesteads and small groups of travellers in this area have been facing increasingly fierce attacks on the part of the local goblin tribes during the past few weeks, but today marks an especially bold move on the part of the humanoids. In the predawn gloom, no less than 40 goblins, riding dire wolves, streak out of the surrounding forest and descend upon the village of Nordberg.

The goblins manage to riddle the sentries manning the village's guard tower with arrows before they can raise a cry of alarm, while other attackers approaching the settlement on foot open the gates silently. Within minutes, many shops along the main street are looted, their readily portable goods taken, and any humans rising against them brought low as quickly as possible. The commotion attracts the attention of the local garrison, nonetheless, and within the hour patrols of Heldannic footmen are chasing the fleeing goblins through the streets, while bowmen snipe at the raiders from the rooftops. The bulk of the goblin raiding party, its greed sated, flees into the forest once more. (See Th. 12.)

What This Means: As the Heldannic colonisation efforts continue, the indigenous humanoid tribes find themselves increasingly hemmed in, unable to access their traditional hunting grounds as farms and villages spring up everywhere. While some tribes simply retreat further inland, others decide to strike back, either trying to drive out the humans, or making a new living for themselves as raiders. Such activities will no doubt continue for the foreseeable future. This attack, though doing relatively little damage, makes the locals feel very insecure, and deprives them of much of their wealth, such that it is.

What the PCs Can Do: Unless they are in possession of fast mounts, it is unlikely the PCs will be able to catch the fleeing goblins, though they might be able to capture and/or kill some of them while the looting is still going on. The local authorities would certainly like to know where the goblins are based, and may pay the PCs handsomely if they agree to perform such a task.

Thaumont 26, AC 1017: League Meets.

Location: City of Darokin, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: Representatives of the Western Defence League nations-Darokin, Karameikos, the Five Shires, and Vestland-meet to discuss the "Thyatian problem." Thyatis has been gobbling up land in the Old World region-first annexing the Minrothad Guilds, then gaining land in Karameikos, as well as their conflicts with Ylaruam. In the end, it is decided merely that they shall be more observant to the acts of the empire, and step up the defences in their own countries. Darokin and Vestland agree to joint military exercises in each other's respective nation. A representative from Rockhome states that the dwarven nation will assist any military acts of defence by invasion, but that Rockhome wants no other ties with the Western Defence League. (See Th. 5; Fl. 10, Kl. 15.)

What This Means: There is concern that Thyatis is attempting to expand its territory across the Old World. Unfortunately, they are not doing so militarily, and the league was formed as a means to counter military threats, so the representatives are baffled about their next move.

Thaumont 26, AC 1017: A Welcome Sight!

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

Description: The Mivosian siege of Polakatsikes has been underway for over a week, with little progress made on either side. Shortly after establishing themselves around the town, the Mivosians soon learned, the hard way, that the Heldannic Knights have a few small artillery pieces stationed within Polakatsikes' walls, and that their crossbowmen are good marksmen. For their own part, the defenders soon discovered the Mivosians to be hard to dislodge from their positions. For the most part, the siege is quiet, as each side tries to size up its opponent, with the Mivosians trying to starve the Heldannic forces into submission.

A low rumble disturbs what promised to be yet another day of waiting, as, much to their amazement, the Mivosians see a black dot flying over the eastern horizon, which slowly grows in size. Soon, it becomes apparent that whatever it is, it cannot be good; the besieged Heldannic forces are now cheering, for they see it too. Confusion and unease soon becomes fear, as the object flying towards them appears to be nothing less than a giant bird, bearing great sails on its back! Never having seen such a thing before, some Mivosian observers lose heart. The great bird becomes larger as it approaches, until it flies almost directly above Polakatsikes, greeted with the cheers of the defenders.

The Mivosians' amazement soon turns into alarm, as a great wave of energy blasts from the bird's back, sweeping down towards the besieging army along the eastern wall. The energy streaks towards the largest catapult placed in that area, and instantly crumbles it to dust! While the Mivosians are still startled, a volley of ballista bolts rakes through the men gathered around the now-destroyed weapon, killing many of them. Then, in a graceful arc, the bird wheels through the air, swoops over the wall, and descends into the town. Seizing the opportunity, Heldannic crossbowmen fire several volleys at the Mivosians, killing a number of them before they can stage an effective counterattack. (See Th. 9, Th. 17; Fl. 2, Fl. 7.)

What This Means: The promised aid for governor Wolfgang Stemmel has finally arrived, in the form of a light Heldannic warbird from Vanya's Rest. The vessel is carrying 100 fresh soldiers, as well as crossbow and ballista bolts, basic medical supplies, weapons, and preserved rations. In its initial approach, the warbird's captain decided to fire the blight belcher at the besieging forces, as well as launch a volley of ballista bolts, in order to stir things up a little for the enemy. This is the first of a number of convoys to Polakatsikes, as Wolfgang has been promised 200 men to reinforce his garrison, and there simply was not enough room to bring them all in one trip. As it is, many of the warbird's regular contents had to be removed to accommodate all of the soldiers.

Before the warbird leaves later today, the most critically injured soldiers will be placed in the vessel's infirmary, and any vital correspondence will be entrusted with the captain for delivery to Vanya's Rest.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs who are critically injured might be loaded onto the warbird; this might be their proverbial ticket out of this war zone, at least for a while. Alternatively, PCs whom the DM wishes to introduce to the area might be among the reinforcements.

Thaumont 26, AC 1017: Under Siege.

Location: Sentinel Fortress, Eastern Province of Verdan, Republic of Esterhold, Nayce. SK

Description: The united forces of the free Jennites and the rebel Jennites attack the northernmost stronghold of the Alphatians, Sentinel Fortress, and besiege it. The attack takes the Alphatians completely by surprise, as they haven't heard of any Jennite attacks on the other forts. As the soldiers of the fort begin to realise the number of hostile Jennites, they soon begin to prepare for an evacuation. (See Va. 7, Va. 11; Fl. 14, Ya. 17.)

What This Means: The Alphatians haven't heard of other attacks because there were none. Talin convinced the allied Jennites that if they could stage an attack against Sentinel Fortress, the northernmost fort, then they could cut off the two forts to the south, Bastion of Nicodemus and Vigil Keep, as well as their supply lines to the capital, Faraway. In doing so, the allied Jennites could effectively cut Verdan in half and then starve the two southern forts until they surrender, or so Talin hopes.

What the PCs Can Do: Fight, of course! They can either participate in the actual battles, or they can rely on stealth and try to cause trouble inside the fort if they're with the Jennites. If the PCs are with the Alphatians, they'll likely be sent on a mission to inform Faraway and the other forts of the attack, which would require them to find their way through the enemy lines-a task well-suited for most PCs.

Thaumont 27, AC 1017: Torpin Under Fire.

Location: Seashield Dome, Kingdom of Aquas, Nayce. AS

Description: Summoned to appear before visiting Naycese officials, Xerathis, Tredrigon, and Dlanor are questioned about the status of the Torpin. The Torpin project managers review the vessel's planned abilities and tell them of the progress. The officials express their discontent at the time needed and the high cost. Xerathis, Tredrigon, and Dlanor are dismissed to return to the project work site. Within a few days, the officials will go to the site to see the Torpin for themselves. (See Ya. 9, Ya. 23.)

What This Means: The meeting is a prelude to a fact-finding mission on the Torpin. What sounded like a good idea has now begun to be rethought. Costs, construction time, and the need for more practical submersibles have been the topic of conversation in Ionace and the council is becoming impatient with the Torpin project. The Naycese officials have come to Seashield to meet with the project leaders and establish a visitation to see the vessel firsthand.

Thaumont 27, AC 1017: More Assistance Is Promised.

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

Description: A member of the Grand Council reports about a study comparing the economic situation now and that expected after the construction of strategically planned canals. The loss of the oceans has reduced the cargo capacity of the economical non-magical ships and the experiences from the last years have shown that magical transports-either by skyships or by teleportation-are limited by their sheer costs. The conclusions from this report strongly favour the construction of canals to replace the lost ocean trading capacity. Other members denounce the integrity of this report. Zallaras does not speak this day but he is seen grinning ominously. (See Th. 4, Th. 8; Ya. 3, Kl. 15.)

What This Means: The report is actually correct but in the council nobody trusts a report he has not composed himself. Besides, few are aware of-or care to learn about-the grim reality of the empire's situation.

What the PCs Can Do: Of course everybody wants to know if the report is true or false. The PCs may also have been employed to gather information that lead to this report, or to others like it.

Thaumont 28, AC 1017: Bleak Sun.

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

Description: Taken before the High Priestess of Idris, Dove is given permission to resume his trip inside Denagoth, with the task to describe the wonders of this kingdom for his almanac. The high priestess coldly explains he has been held in the dungeons to protect him from the dangers of winter, and that he will now be free to roam her land... escorted by her trusted servants, who will watch over him. After he has been given a backpack full of provisions, parchment, and quills, Dove exits the darkened halls of Idris Tower and is able to gaze once again at the sky. He has the task to travel through the bleak Dead Forest of Lothenar and its environs, accompanied by half a dozen soldiers led by a menacing, silent warlord clad in blue armour. (See Va. 14, Th. 17; Fl. 15, Fl. 20.)

What This Means: The high priestess has decided it is time for Dove to return to the outside world and resume his writings, both to avoid attracting unwanted attention from the Mystaran Almanac should one of their reporters vanish in her lands, and to provide the southern nations with a powerful but reassuring description of her kingdom through unofficial means (the almanac). What she doesn't know is that Dove is now a potential threat to her shady plans, because he knows far too much thanks to the confidences he received from the enigmatic wizard Vespen.