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First Week

Vatermont 1, AC 1017: A Night-time Intrusion.

Location: Strait of Alinquin, Nayce. AS

Description: The Surshield warship, the Feyos, is travelling to Aaslin, Notrion, to assist in the escort operations for the completed Torenal Domes. During the night while most of the crew are asleep, the vessel's second mate and helmsman spot several glowing apparitions moving about the crowded main deck. The junior officer sends a sailor to summon the captain and to alert the ship's contingent of marines. Their wait is short, as the captain and a platoon of quickly-armed marines soon join them.

Pointing out the glowing figures, the second mate quickly relates their movements to his captain. Captain Klastynn motions for the marines to move in and challenge the boarders. The marines creep down to the main deck and begin moving forward. The intruders quickly detect their approach and they turn to meet the marines. Seeing their surprise lost, the marines yell a challenge to the individuals to halt and identify themselves.

For a few tense moments, the intruders seem to talk in muffled tones to each other. Then they suddenly sprint towards the nearest side of the vessel. Amid a volley of crossbow and spell fire, the intruders dive over the side and into the lapping waves. Rushing to the side, the marines watch as the glow of the individuals grows faint as they move to deeper depths and away from the vessel.

Captain Klastynn orders all crew to their positions for the remainder of the night. The crew goes through the vessel from top to bottom but find no signs of damage or anything really out of place. Still, the incursion does warrant strengthening of lookouts and sentries during the coming nights. (See Nu. 12, Nu. 20; Ya. 26, Am. 2.)

What This Means: The intruders are lightning zombies from the ruins of the Alphatian city of Bluenose. Since their discovery last year, the lightning zombies have taken a keen interest in the Alphatian peoples living around them. Much of this is based off of their own curiosity about their former lives and the people that spawned them. It was this curiosity that influenced the lightning zombies to investigate the approaching sailing vessel. Their intent is to merely observe the Alphatians aboard the Feyos. The opportunity to actually board her during the night is an ambitious move, one that nearly proves fatal.

What This Means: If the PCs are onboard the Feyos it could be their first encounter with the lightning zombies. They may be sent to chase after them.

Vatermont 1, AC 1017: Hapta Ablaze.

Location: City of Hapta, Empire of Nithia. HW

Description: In the wake of yet another horrible murder-this time a prominent Nithian shopkeeper and his family-a large crowd of Nithian commoners march upon a neighbourhood populated largely by Tanagoro merchants and labourers, and proceed to loot everything they see. Those who try to stop them, Tanagoro and Nithian alike, are pushed aside, and in many cases beaten severely. Even city guards who try to quell the disturbance are attacked, as the mob descends into a frenzy of looting and burning.

The unrest continues for several hours, until enough city guards have been mobilised to break up the crowds, and imprison those who have been caught stealing or actively rioting, though many ruffians manage to escape. In the aftermath, an entire neighbourhood has been devastated. (See Nu. 4, Nu. 10; Va. 2, Va. 18.)

What This Means: Demagogues have taken advantage of the tensions to pursue their own narrow agendas. In reality, there is no real methodology behind these activities; ringleaders wish only to engage in looting and burning against an ethnic group they dislike, and do not care who gets hurt in the process.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs may find their services urgently needed here; they will have their hands full saving innocent bystanders, opponents of the riot, and the Tanagoro Haptans themselves. If they succeed in preventing serious injury or death, or even use clerical magic afterwards to heal the injured, they will gain staunch allies among those they helped.

Vatermont 1, AC 1017: Confidence Is High.

Location: Throughout the Thyatian Empire. OW, SD, DV

Description: A dark cloud seems to have lifted from the Empire of Thyatis. Where once people were grim and sombre, they are more optimistic. Seeming to spread outwards from the city and Duchy of Thyatis, prosperity seems to rise with the confidence of the people. Tax receipts are unexpectedly large in the mainland regions, a tenth higher than normal for this time of year. Diligent citizens expose several foreign agents operating in Thyatis City and the Duchy of Thyatis to the government.

Trade is gradually recovering after the war and becomes more brisk as the impact of incorporating Minrothad into the empire and the economic reforms initiated last year begin to reach fruition. Justin Karameikos, always interested in trade and economics, makes a suggestion. He proposes that the additional income be used to promote even more trade and economic vitality instead of simply being spent immediately. Eusebius sees the wisdom in this idea, since in the long run more trade means more tax revenue.

As a result of Justin's proposal the imperial treasury announces a governmental loan policy, whereby the government will loan qualifying persons up to 5,000 lucins (the price of a small sailing ship or caravel) at a set interest rate (15%) for trade and business start up. With the government now competing alongside aristocratic lenders and syndicates, this fixes interest rates in Thyatis for legitimate debt, and previously usurious lending becomes uncommon. The longest loans given by the imperial government must be repaid at the end of two years, however, with most due by the end of a year (permitting merchants to complete caravan or ship routes, but less useful for long-term ventures). (See Nu. 21, Nu. 22; Va. 16, Va. 19.)

What This Means: This surge in confidence is in part a natural effect, and in part a supernatural one. The Great War and the war with Thothia severely impacted the Thyatian economy. Thyatis started to recover from this last year, but the process was interrupted by the Crown War. Now that it is over, recovery might begin to resume. Also, the setbacks of the years of war and reverses caused people to become pessimistic, and they hoarded money, in case things got worse. The victory has raised people's spirits, and they are making purchases they had put off during the hard times. The defeat of Farid in Tel Akbir spurred confidence to even greater heights.

As for the supernatural effect, Eusebius has worn the Imperial Crown in public ceremony since it was recovered, and throughout his procession across the empire. Many citizens have seen it, and it seems to have had an effect on their confidence in their leaders.

Justin Karameikos has caught the emperor's attention as a wise and crafty man, and if his loan program works out he will be listened to more in the future, and suitably rewarded as well.

What the PCs Can Do: This is an opportunity for trustworthy characters (with no criminal or dubious backgrounds) to get into the trading game. Note that the Thyatian government will be very hard on people who skip out on their loans or default (using divination and the like to locate them if necessary), especially in the first few years of the program (to set an example). This is another way for the players to get involved: they could be hired to track down loan jumpers. A repo man's life is always intense.

Vatermont 1, AC 1017: Hattias Officially Submits to Eusebius.

Location: City of Hattias, County of Hattias, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: Having stopped briefly in Terentias to inspect the skyship construction yards built there last year and meet with prominent citizens, Eusebius sailed to Hattias, landing at Pilion before travelling up river to the city of Hattias, which he reaches today. He receives the official submission of the city's officials. Eusebius does ensure that he does not harm Hattian pride more than it already has been. Most significantly he meets with, and publicly thanks, prominent leaders of the Hattian resistance, which opposed the minions of Thanatos during the Crown War.

After spending several days touring Hattias and organising a reconstruction program, Eusebius and his entourage travel northeast, to Vinton. (See Nu. 14, Nu. 21; Va. 3, Va. 12.)

What This Means: Eusebius is taking care to insure that all the areas of Thyatis that rebelled against him are completely subdued. While in each area, he places agents loyal to himself in various civil and administrative positions, to keep an eye on things for him and make future revolts more difficult.

Vatermont 2, AC 1017: Geron Besieged.

Location: Town of Geron, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: The elves who captured the town of Geron back in AC 1015 are surprised by a sneak attack made by a strong contingent of Denagothian troops. The elves barricade themselves inside the town, trying to resist the best they can manage, even though they know their fate is sealed. (See Nu. 2; Va. 28.)

What This Means: Back in AC 1015, the elven crusaders captured the small town of Geron, a Denagothian outpost that watched over the only safe pass that leads into Wendar. From here, the elves marched on towards the Denagothian Plateau, with a small warband of a hundred elves left back to garrison the town. During AC 1016, they were hit by sporadic forays of humanoids, but were able to repel them with minor casualties. However, with each passing week they realised they would have been no match for a small well-trained squadron of Denagothian pikemen, so sent messengers to Wendar asking for reinforcements to hold Geron. Unfortunately, Bensarian was already in power when these requests arrived, and he never replied to them, reporting instead to the Church of Idris about the situation in Geron. So this attack was planned in the middle of the winter, when the elves would be more vulnerable, to claim back the old frontier town, with the Denagothians sure that nobody will come to the elves' aid.

Vatermont 2, AC 1017: Knights Bolster Defences Even More.

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

Description: Wolfgang Stemmel, Governor of Polakatsikes, issues orders to his garrison and the newly-formed Southern Legion of Vanya, to coordinate efforts aimed at bolstering the town's defences even more. He also orders a detachment of 50 knights to secure a number of villages lying to the north and northwest. (See Nu. 27, Nu. 28; Va. 6, Va. 10.)

What This Means: Although scouts have been dispatched, Wolfgang is not going to wait for the news; he wants to do everything he can to fortify the Heldannic position in this region, including securing other settlements in order to delay any Mivosian advance from reaching Polakatsikes.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could be part of the patrols sent to secure outlying villages, or they could oversee the completion of the fortification efforts.

Vatermont 2, AC 1017: A Period of Remarkable Peace.

Location: Town of Lothar, Continent of Iciria. HW

Description: It has been almost three years since any outsiders have made contact with the Nithian outpost of Lothar, and since that time, aside from the occasional scuffle, the three groups occupying the town have been largely at peace. The only events of note during that period were the occasional incursions by carnivorous dinosaurs. Uart-neter Semsu, Lord of Lothar, reflects on this today, and drafts a letter, to be sent to the Nithian Pharaoh, requesting colonists to help clear more land, and settle the region properly. (See Th. 10, Fl. 14.)

What This Means: With its remote location near the Sea of Yr, Lothar has remained untouched by the occasional strife which erupts in the nearby Milenian Empire, or the Jennite lands. Owing in large part to this isolation, all three groups residing here-Nithian, Antalian, and Heldannic-have for the most part been able to cooperate in ensuring the basic essentials of life are met. This still has not prevented some problems from arising-the six Heldannic Knights had been trying, largely unsuccessfully, to convert the Nithians and Antalians to their faith, until finally giving up late last year; and the Nithians still tend to look down on the lighter-skinned companions as being less civilised. Despite the relative peace here, the effort required to carve out a habitable colony has been very taxing, and only so much can be done before the services of professional engineers and other workmen are needed.

Vatermont 2, AC 1017: Emergency Rule Imposed.

Location: City of Hapta, Empire of Nithia. HW

Description: Nephren-Amen, ruler of Hapta, makes a public declaration, to the effect that, outside of regular working time, all residents are to remain in their homes until the beginning of the next sleep. Only city guards who are on duty, or those with special permits bearing the governor's seal, will be permitted to remain outside. Those who violate this ruling will be imprisoned. (See Nu. 10, Va. 1; Va. 18, Fl. 13.)

What This Means: The establishment of a curfew, it is hoped, might clear the streets of unwanted rabble, and perhaps make it easier to find the killer (since he or she will likely be wandering the streets, he reasons). Only time will tell if this will work.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are helping to solve this mystery, PCs will be given permits to move freely during the "night." Encounters with city guardsmen will be frequent, so they should ensure that they do not lose their documents.

Vatermont 3, AC 1017: The First Sorties.

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

Description: By order of the ordensgeneral, several squads of Heldannic Knights are sent into the territories surrounding Helskir, both to determine the lay of the land, and to gauge the defensive capabilities of their enemies. They will report back over the next couple of weeks, detailing the positions of enemy forces, and locating likely targets for future attacks. (See Nu. 4; Va. 20, Th. 2.)

What the PCs Can Do: If they are with the knights, PCs could be sent along. This is a good way of introducing them to the wilds of the northern Isle of Dawn (which is still in large part untamed), as well as providing opportunities to stage encounters with remnants of Helskir's defensive forces, some of whom have likely fled to the surrounding forests and villages. If they are on the side of Helskir, the PCs could take the opportunity to ensure that some enemy scouts never return.

Vatermont 3, AC 1017: Immigration to Heldann Continues.

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

Description: While reviewing matters of state in his private office, Oberherr Wulf von Klagendorf is approached by one of his retinue of personal attendants, who states quietly that he brings good news. After signing a routine document, Wulf focuses his attention on the other man, who then informs his master that he has received fresh news regarding the continuing immigration of Hattian settlers to the Heldannic Territories. In saying this, he presents Wulf with a folded piece of parchment.

Wulf takes a few moments to read the message in detail, and then orders the attendant to relay an order to all of the ordensgeneralen: that the resettlement of Hattians into the Heldannic Territories is continuing apace, and that every effort should be made to encourage them to settle in Heldland. (See Va. 13, Va. 22.)

What This Means: Since Kaldmont of last year, another 20,000 Hattians have arrived in Freiburg and Kammin, seeking new, safer lands to settle in face of continued upheavals in Hattias due to the Crown War. Much of the knights' bureaucracy has been turned to the comparatively new task of identifying the settlers, allocating land to them, and ensuring they reach their new homes safely. These newcomers, in addition to the roughly 15,000 Hattians who arrived last year, present a logistical nightmare to the authorities. In spite of these problems, Wulf considers this unexpected immigration to be a tremendous opportunity-one which will allow the Heldannic Order to solidify its hold on the newly-conquered territories of Heldland.

What the PCs Can Do: While there is nothing the PCs can do directly, this situation may be of benefit to them in the sense that they may be able to obtain some land if they are among the migrants. Of course, if they do gain land, they will be obligated to clear it, build a permanent habitation, and render it productive-definitely a challenge for adventurers if there are plenty of wild animals or humanoids running about.

Vatermont 3, AC 1017: Deputation Reaches Mirros.

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: The envoys of the Empire of Thyatis reach Mirros and petition for an audience with King Stefan. They are greeted warmly by Stefan's palace staff, but asked to wait, because, according to them, the king is a very busy man these days. (See Nu. 21; Th. 4, Th. 5.)

What This Means: Stefan is making the Thyatians wait in part to show his ire at the Thyatians for supporting Minrothad. Also, Olivia recommended a delay, which she will use to find out what the Thyatian envoys want, so that Karameikos can be prepared for any surprises.

What The PCs Can Do: Karameikan characters can act on behalf of Olivia and Stefan to try and get information out of the Thyatian envoys.

Vatermont 3, AC 1017: The Taterhill Races.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: The Council of Princes meets to vote on several minor orders of business. As their final order of business for the day, they are presented with a proposal by Archduke John Beaumarys-Moorkroft of Westheath. His plan is to host annual summertime horse races, to boost the morale of the Glantrian populace and improve the economies of the small towns of the principalities, which suffered greatly from the recent wars. The regal horse races will be attended by the nobles throughout the principalities and will be a proud show of solidarity among the rulers of Glantri. Lord John proposes the venue of these horse races to be Taterhill, a modest village just north of Glantri City, and implores the council for funding.

The proposal does not receive enough votes to pass, but it is not shot down. It will pass on to parliament for the final appeal. (See Va. 12, Va. 15.)

Vatermont 3, AC 1017: Meet Your Ancestors!

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: The streets near the north gate of Mirros are packed with onlookers hoping to get a sight of the mysterious inhabitants of the Lost Valley. Sages from the Mage's Guild in Mirros, intrigued by evidence that the Valley Traldar are related to the Karameikan Traladarans, have convinced a group of the valley dwellers to come to the city.

The Valley Traldar are overwhelmed by the sights around them, and scared by the vast numbers of strange-looking people they see. They are unconvinced that they are related in any way to these skinny, hairy people. They aren't the only ones.

A contingent of priests from the Church of Traladara arrive on the scene, to inspect their rumoured "cousins." Seeing only short, bald barbarians, the priests denounce claims of their ancestry as heresy. Someone in the crowd throws a stone at one of the Valley Traldar, and soon a riot ensues. Fortunately, the magicians of the guild manage to protect the Valley Traldar from being seriously injured, and the king's guard is able to break up the riot before it gets too far out of control. (See Nu. 4, Nu. 8; Va. 4, Va. 16.)

What This Means: Contact between very different cultures is often devastating. The long separation of the two Traladaran peoples has worked changes in both, and they are very evident. The revelations of the Traladarans' history that are being brought forth due to contact with the Lost Valley are not going to be easy to believe. The Valley Traldar will return to their home with all due haste, and it may be a long time before they feel comfortable venturing out again.

Vatermont 3, AC 1017: Bubblin' Crude.

Location: Village of Norfen, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: While out hunting near the Malpheggi Swamp, a local villager makes an amazing discovery. When his arrow misses its target, landing instead in the ground, a black substance bubbles up out of the marshy ground-oil! The man quickly returns to his village and begins the process of staking out his claim.

What This Means: The Malpheggi Swamp has been gradually sinking in size over the last decade, due to the decreased runoff from the Sump in the magical forest of Canolbarth. Last year's realisation that the Trees of Life can counter the Entropic effects of the shadowelf curse on the forest has led to a halt in the deterioration of the swamp. Nevertheless, the villager's discovery shows that there may be an untapped wealth of mineral resources in the swamp-resources that can more easily be accessed now that its area has shrunk. When word of the discovery gets out, there will be increased settlement in the region, both by the Darokin Council hoping to expand its territory, and by greedy entrepreneurs hoping to strike it rich.

Vatermont 4, AC 1017: Cape Town Renamed.

Location: Town of Cape Town, Hinterlands, Thyatian Empire. DV

Description: In a proclamation issued by the colonial administration in Raven Scarp, the coastal village of Cape Town is renamed Cittanova (New City).

What This Means: Nothing much is behind this occurrence-the inhabitants of Cape Town were predominantly of Kerendan extraction, and they never referred to their home by its official name. Since everyone seemed to call the place Cittanova, the administration figured it would be more efficient to honour the unconscious selection of the townsfolk, and change the settlement's name officially.

Vatermont 4, AC 1017: Church Representatives Speak Out.

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: Priests of the Church of Traladara declaim the so-called Lost Valley in an inflammatory speech before their congregation. They feel that the rumours coming out of the valley, about its Hutaakan and Traldar inhabitants, are heresy, directly contradicting the Song of Halav, and they protest any contact with the peoples of the valley.

Elsewhere, in a separate but just as inflammatory speech, Alfric Oderbry of the Church of Karameikos addresses his own congregation. He states that the Valley Traldar are evidence of just how barbaric the Traladaran people really are, and that the tales of their Hutaakan overlords show that they need someone to guide their lives and paths-someone like the Thyatians.

Incidents of violence between Thyatians and Traladarans rise dramatically following these speeches. (See Nu. 8, Va. 3; Va. 16, Va. 19.)

What This Means: Some people look for a means to advance their own causes wherever they can find it. Alfric Oderbry has long been opposed to the Traladarans and their church, and sees the Lost Valley controversy as fuel to stir up anti-Traladaran sentiment. For their part, the Church of Traladara are truly convinced that the information that is coming out of the Lost Valley is against their doctrines, and cannot be believed.

Vatermont 4, AC 1017: Firestorm Orders Heliograph Network Expanded.

Location: Thyatian-Controlled Dominions, Isle of Dawn, Thyatian Empire. SD

Description: With the other Thyatian rulers of dominions on the Isle of Dawn either on the mainland aiding Eusebius in the Crown War or deposed, Thrainkell Firestorm has been largely in command of the region. He has, however, made no moves towards seeking independence, but instead concentrated on continuing the process of restoring the region in the aftermath of the conflicts that wracked it over the last decade and spurring new settlement. Today he announces a project to expand and improve the signalling system that has existed in Westrourke for a long time. It will be extended to other Thyatian dominions, to connect to the communities of West Portage, Kendach, and Redstone as well. The system will also be improved, to use flashes of light focused and enhanced with mirrors and lenses. The goal is to create a communications network less reliant upon magic, so it can be used on the Day of Dread and other unforeseen circumstances. (See Va. 21)

What This Means: Firestorm got approval for this plan from the emperor and the other Isle of Dawn rulers before initiating it. The other Isle of Dawn rulers, and new ones appointed by Eusebius, will be returning to resume control over their dominions by the beginning of summer.

This communications network will supplement other, generally magical, means of communication used by the imperial government and its military forces on the Isle of Dawn, but it will also be available for use by traders and other civilians-for a fee-to send messages. Eventually similar heliograph networks will be built in other regions of the Thyatian Empire, including the mainland. The tower's flashes will be focused so they will be clearly visible to the next station down the line, but not as clear outside that line of sight.

What the PCs Can Do: Areas where heliograph towers are to be built might be infested with monsters, and the characters could be hired to clear them out. Or a tower could be taken over by monsters or other enemies, and the PCs sent to investigate the situation and eliminate the threat. Others might continue to look into the mystery of Firestorm's less-independent policies, and what brought on his apparent change in character.

Vatermont 4, AC 1017: Harbingers of Conflict.

Location: Somewhere in Neathar Lands. HW

Description: A diplomatic group from the Hatfei arrives in Makekei territory to petition the Makekei ruler for compensation on the lost deer, or to at least establish an understanding of hunting territory where their lands meet. Following a brief dinner reception, the Hatfei party voices its grievances. To their surprise the Makekei ruler, Chief Horn-Devil, meets their parley with indifference. He cites the matter as too trivial to worry over and cites that the deer was on his people's land. As for compensation he offers that the meal that the Hatfei have just shared in should more than cover the food a single deer provided, the comment drawing some muffled laughter from the assembled Makekei. The Hatfei oblige Horn-Devil's decision and soon after leave for their own lands. (See Nu. 14; Va. 22, Fl. 2.)

What This Means: Though Chief Devil-Horn can understand the situation, he sees the matter as minor, even comical. To him and his fellow Neathar, it is just a deer, with the Hatfei being frustrated at losing a hunted animal to fate and to an imperfect hit. Conscious of maintaining peace between the two tribes he hopes that offering a simple dinner will suffice. For the Hatfei the matter is developing into less of a matter of the deer than it is the matter of tribal honour. To them the conduct was a further travesty to that honour.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs may be the wronged party, coming to the other tribe's territory to conduct a diplomatic settlement that would restore cordial relations between the tribes, while getting a just replacement for the lost deer.

Vatermont 4, AC 1017 : A Map Is Found.

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

Description: Captain Buraganu's agents in Kota-Jayang have provided him with a treasure map from a trusted and reliable source. The treasure lies to the northwest, on an island reportedly inhabited by the primitive kara-kara, or orcs of the sea. Although dangerous, the prize of jewellery seems worth the risk. Buraganu consults with Kray, who endorses the idea. (See Nu. 12; Va. 7, Va. 11.)

What This Means: Buraganu is eager to locate this horde and reclaim the support of his crew, so he is willing to risk encountering the kara-kara.

Vatermont 5, AC 1017: Stonewall Plots.

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

Description: King Koblan Dracodon again meets with his advisers, including Selcomad and Rogart, to plan where they can get the supplies they need. After the meeting, scouts are sent to various areas of Alphatia. (See Nu. 14, Nu. 23; Th. 2, Th. 4.)

What This Means: Koblan and his advisers have decided to go to war to get what they need. Now they need to establish where it would be best to get it, so they have sent spies (rogues), which Stonewall has to a much larger degree than other Alphatian nations, to all corners of the empire to acquire information. They need to establish where they can best gain the food they need to support Stonewall's large population, and then gather strategic intelligence on the military strengths and, particularly, weaknesses of such nations, so that they can invade!

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are stealthy, then it's time to put those skills to use. The DM should use the descriptions of the various Alphatian nations and cities to set up such spy missions.

Vatermont 5, AC 1017: Jailbreak in Gargoņa.

Location: Town of Ciudad Real, Baronía de Gargoņa. SC

Description: Los Elegidos have been busy in Gargoņa since the Narvaezans took the place over: the jails of Gargoņa are brimming with those who refuse to follow Ixion with the required piety, and the formerly peaceful city is no longer a stranger to the odd public execution. However, on this night not everything goes according to plan for the inquisition. A black masked figure sneaks into the Ciudad Real jail, and, knocking out several guards, manages to get about two dozen prisoners into the streets. Unfortunately, about this time a guard the an in black did not notice raises the alarm, and rescuer and rescued flee towards the docks to a waiting ship. Manning the small vessel single-handedly, the man in black dispatches the Narvaezans foolish enough to board the vessel, and heads for the open sea, and safer harbours. (See Th. 2, Th. 4.)

What This Means: Swashbucklers have always enjoyed humiliating the inquisition, and Gargoņa has no shortage of swashbucklers. The jailbreak enrages the local garrison, and provides a ray of light to the native Gargoņans as the occupation wears on.

Vatermont 6, AC 1017: A Family Urging.

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

Description: Queen Junna summons Rardish's City Administrator, Alphatar, before her to discuss a planned measure to redecorate the capital's interior to make it more fashionable. Junna is quite proud of the changes the clerics have formulated and wants to show them off to her uncle Alphatar before going public with them. As Junna goes over the plans, she notices that her uncle remains quiet and even a bit agitated. As she finishes her presentation, she notices that his demeanour is quite scornful. She demands to know what the problem is.

Alphatar tells his niece that such renovations are unneeded and too costly. The Randel people are too militaristic in their demeanour to support such flagrant visual displays. He tells her that such funds could be better used to rebuild Randel's military power and prestige, which are so demonstrative to the Randel mindset and social structure. Alphatar goes on to tell her that her "artsy" doctrines have already caused a good deal of dissension within the very traditional and very militaristic populace.

Though obviously enraged by the criticism, Junna dismisses Alphatar to return to his post. After he is gone, her cleric advisers first try to get her to have Alphatar arrested and charged with insubordination. When Junna opposes this, Sister Riddlynn tries to persuade her into removing him from his position as Rardish's administrator. This she opposes as well. Instead, she admits that he might be right in some of his opposition, Randel cannot afford such luxuries as a renovation of the capital. Likewise, the Randel are fanatical militarists.

Junna decides to take some advice from her uncle and not implement the changes to the city. Likewise she will try to accommodate the militaristic populace by turning attentions to the military. Though Randel's armed forces are severely limited as compared to pre-war levels, the underlying military mindset is too prevalent in the populace to ignore. However, Junna has had little contact with the Randel people;. her formative years were spent among the Order of Alphatia and its doctrines of peaceful prosperity. (See Va. 12, Th. 5.)

Vatermont 6, AC 1017: To Brace Oneself 'Gainst a Dark Tide.

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

Description: Scouts return to Polakatsikes today, and bring bad news: the host of soldiers spotted several days previously, and which was rumoured to be Mivosian, has in fact turned out to be so. The scouts estimate that, at their current rate of travel, they will arrive in Heldannic lands in roughly one week's time. Upon hearing this, Wolfgang Stemmel orders his forces to redouble their efforts.

Later that day, in a private message to Vanya's Rest, Wolfgang requests reinforcements, in order to stem the Mivosian tide. (See Nu. 28, Va. 2; Va. 10, Va. 13.)

What This Means: The scouts' report is correct; the rumours have turned out to be true. Whether Wolfgang's forces turn out to be sufficient, however, is another question entirely.

Vatermont 7, AC 1017: A Secret Meeting.

Location: Lands of Jen, Esterhold Peninsula. SK

Description: Talin, the leader of the rebel Jennites of Verdan, meets with several chieftains of the Jennite people. He tells the chieftains that the rebel Jennites, long enslaved by the Alphatians, are now free and wish to rejoin their ancient brethren. If they do so, they can join forces and finally take back their homeland from the hated Alphatian oppressors. (See Va. 11, Th. 26.)

What This Means: Talin is trying to forge an alliance between the free Jennites and his own rebel Jennites against the Alphatians on the Esterhold Peninsula. The free Jennites have long hated the Alphatians, and a great number of them still suspect the Alphatians of having caused a devastating disease among their herds two years ago, so the hatred of the Alphatians is fresh. Talin soon realises this, and tells the chieftains of the free Jennite tribes that they can finally drive the Alphatians off if they join forces.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are on the side of either the free Jennites or the rebel Jennites, then this is their chance to add their own suggestions to the proposed alliance. If they're allies with the Alphatians, particularly those in Verdan, however, they can do some spying here which could be rather critical to Verdan quite soon. There is no obvious reason why they would know of this meeting, though, unless they're secret agents sent to spy on Talin himself.

Vatermont 7, AC 1017: A Vote Is Taken.

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

Description: Buraganu proposes the mission to the crew of the Butchery (a two-masted brigantine), but they are sceptical of such a dangerous raid. He makes an impassioned plea, in which he pledges his word that the prize of the kara-kara will make them all rich men. The crew is persuaded by this, and they make preparations to set sail. (See Nu. 12, Va. 4; Va. 11, Va. 12.)

What This Means: Buraganu is desperate to retain his ship and the loyalty of his crew. Listening to the advice of Kray, the quartermaster, he pledged his word in order to sway the crew. The kara-kara prize had better be priceless, for the pirates take such oaths very seriously.

What the PCs Can Do: Take part in the vote, perhaps advising the captain, or persuading other crew members.

Vatermont 7, AC 1017: Cool Talks.

Location: Barony of Ylourgne, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: The group of Long Runner exiles fleeing Wendar arrives at the Fortresse d'Ylourgne, on the Glantrian border. Their leaders, Coolhands and Brendian Erendyl, request an auction with the baron to gain permission to cross the Glantrian border and proceed through Nouvelle Averoigne towards the Principality of Erewan. After a long and tense meeting, Baron Vincienzo di Randazzi grants the elves the permission to travel across his territory to reach Erewan. However, he informs the clanmasters they might be the targets of lycanthrope attacks during their march, and that neither the House du Marais nor the House of Sylaire will take any responsibility for these assaults. Coolhands and Brendian are left pondering the implications of their decision. (See Va. 10, Va. 24.)

What This Means: Coolhands and Brendian Erendyl are leading the second group of Alfheimers that last year migrated from Wendar in order to escape the prison camps. [See Fyrmont and Sviftmont of AC 1016. Ed.] Coolhands was originally a Belcadiz elf, and she pushed for a migration to New Alvar. However, the Long Runner elders, who remember the Belcadiz' haughtiness towards the Erewans-the other Glantrian elven clan that has always been supported by Alfheim- insist on going to Erewan, where they think they will be welcomed because of the Erewans' kinship with the Erendyls. Together they led their people-7,100 elves of which 1,300 are Long Runners, 5,500 Erendyls and 300 are elves from minor Alfheim clans-along the western trail between Glantri and the Adri Varma Plateau, and arrived at the border with Sylaire after a long and tiring trek. The way across the Wendarian Alps would have been shorter to reach Glantri, but Coolhands didn't want to risk encounters with dragons and humanoids and she didn't want to brave the Boldavian ways in the middle of winter. They are now trying to reach Erewan to seek refuge at the court of Princess Carlotina until good news will come from Beasthunter. However, the warnings of the baron have now left the two clanmistresses wondering if the price they'll have to pay to reach Erewan may not be too high.

Second Week

Vatermont 8, AC 1017: Same Old Foe, More Heretical Than Ever.

Location: Border between Schattenalfen Lands and Azcan Empire. HW

Description: After a long period of relative peace, the southern border of the Azcan Empire suffers from brutal raids by the Schattenalfen. The Schattenalfen soon reoccupy all the territory from which they had withdrawn, and then press hard into Azcan territory. Large war parties roam the jungles and emerge from hidden tunnels, and engage Azcan warriors ferociously. Many battles take place, the most important one being the siege of the southernmost Azcan fortress, Calpaquelli Keep. (See Fe. 11, Fy. 18.)

What This Means: With their war against the Shadow Elves over (and lost), the Schattenalfen are turning their anger back at their traditional enemy, the Azcans. They are encouraged to do so by their patron Immortal, Atzanteotl, who is enraged at the plot which the Immortals Quetzalcoatl, Otzitiotl and Kalaktatla have successfully staged against Him. Meanwhile, the ability of the Azcans to defend themselves is undermined by the efforts of the underground led by the followers of Atzanteotl, who still has a large amount of support in the empire.

Vatermont 9, AC 1017: Sabotage!

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

Description: The warehouses of Montgolfičre & Urbaal, Ltd. are set ablaze in the early dawn hours. They are extinguished before they spread to other warehouses and buildings in the area, but there is significant damage to two commercial blimps that are being constructed. It will be several months before the business partners can repair their damaged vessels. In the meantime, they have only one functional dirigible, and many of their more sceptical backers will pull out of the venture project. (See Nu. 14.)

What This Means: This is a deliberate plot by the Free Anachronic Society of Aalban, one of Glantri's secret factions. The members of the F.A.S.A. despise scientific innovation, and they see the Montgolfičre-Urbaal blimp as a heresy against the ways of Glantrian society. With this attack, they have dealt a serious setback to the businessmen's hope for a commercial venture. The entrepreneurs will press on with the one blimp they have, but the F.A.S.A. will likewise continue in their attempts to shut Montgolfičre & Urbaal down.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs may be hired by the members of the F.A.S.A. to set the fire and destroy the blimp business, or they may choose to investigate the causes of the fire after the fact.

Vatermont 9, AC 1017: Election Day to Come!

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

Description: Following the customary 10-day period of mourning for Thesius Palakratidos, Xenthos Sarantakos, spokesman of the assembly, announces the candidates for the forthcoming by-election. All of them are known local residents from a variety of professions, and they are scheduled to present their views and political philosophies at the public forum in three days' time. (See Nu. 22, Nu. 26; Va. 12, Va. 14.)

What This Means: Kastelios is governed by a system of representative democracy, whereby local constituents elect one of their neighbours for a six-year term to promote their own interests and look after their concerns. Owing to its small size, such a system can function effectively, although seats on the assembly cannot remain vacant for long, for fear of letting constituents think their voice is not being heard. Another quirk is that local loyalties are so strong in Kastelios that appointing someone to represent another district is unthinkable, as that person will not be considered a local. Hence the need for the by-election-and quickly.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are well-known (i.e. Name-level), and live in the district in question, the PCs could run in the by-election.

Vatermont 10, AC 1017: The Way to Erewan.

Location: Barony of Ylourgne, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: The Alfheim refugees led by Coolhands and Brendian march into Averoignian territory heading southwards, along the River Isoile. Their final destination is the elven Principality of Erewan, in the southeastern corner of Glantri, and they are resolute to brave whatever dangers they find on their path to reach it. (See Va. 7; Va. 24.)

What This Means: After a long talk with all the surviving Long Runner and Erendyl elders and the representatives of the minor clans present in the expedition, Coolhands and Brendian reached the conclusion that all of them want to find a safe sanctuary where to spend the rest of the year. For this reason they don't care about the possible threat posed by the lycanthropes and have expressed their will to go on with their march. The elves believe they are numerous and powerful enough to repel any pack of deadly werewolves that will assault them.

What the PCs Can Do: They can go along the expedition if they belonged to the group of elves that stayed in Wendar during the time of troubles. In that case they had plenty of opportunities to act as guards and scouts in the past months, and they will be needed also to stop the inevitable assaults of the lycanthropes let loose by Synn in this part of Glantri last year. If they are not elves but are in Averoigne, they may be hired during the trip by the elves to help them against the werewolves and every other kind of deadly monster prowling the area.

Vatermont 10, AC 1017: Hule Counters Rebels.

Location: Olgarian Levtja and Monzag Banat, the Converted Lands, Hulean Empire. WB

Description: The Master has sent orders to bring the rebellious provinces in the Converted Lands back under control. Since most of his regular armies are either abroad or in the east cleaning up the remnants of last year's nomad invasions, Hosadus has his humanoid armies from the Janizary Lands strike at Olgar. Goblins and orcs from the nearby reserves pour over the border, overrunning Zayetska and Lubova within days. The rebels desperately organise a defensive front against the humanoid hordes.

Elsewhere, the Antasynians are steadily equipping their armies using the gold from Bylot Hills. As soon as new soldiers are ready, they are sent northeast to apply pressure against the rebels of Monzag, who now control more than two-thirds of that disputed province. They are reinforced by nearby trolls and bugbears. The Monzags are put under greater and greater strain, as Antasynian forces steadily increase in number, but manage to hold them back with assistance from the Sendaryans. In both Olgar and Monzag, several recovered villages are put to the torch. All men are slain, while women and children are taken away. The women are sold into slavery, while the children are taken to Greatrealm, for unknown purposes. (See Nu. 23; Fl. 15, Fy. 16.)

What This Means: The Master needs to regain control over the rebellious territories, so he is using his allies and minions to do that for him. In the process the loyalty of Antasynians and humanoids will increase as they profit from the spoils of war. The imprisoned children will be indoctrinated into the teachings of Bozdogan and turned into fanatic warriors. It is certain that the rebels would be greatly demoralised if they saw their own children fanatically fighting against them, and Hosadus is going to use it to his advantage.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs on the side of the rebels can organise resistance against the Hulean offensive.

Vatermont 10, AC 1017: Legal Trouble for Underocean.

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

Description: Allanas, an Aquan wizard who recently built a research tower in Underocean, files a claim against the government of that nation. As it turns out, the tower was allegedly dangerously close to the nomadic merrow's fish herds, and the merrow Baron Torin ordered the tower moved or destroyed. When Allanas failed to comply, Torin ordered Underocean military forces to destroy the tower.

Normally, this would be a straightforward case. However, Allanas claims that since Torin is not a spellcaster, he had no legitimate authority. The mage demands compensation and that Torin be punished to the full extent of Alphatian law.

In a statement, Underocean's representative claims that Underocean's own laws of equality for the spellcasting and non-spellcasting populace, derived from similar laws used in Undersea, take precedence over the general Alphatian ban on non-spellcasting nobility. (See Nu. 19; Va. 19, Va. 25.)

What the PCs Can Do: Allanas, outraged at the treatment he received from the Underoceaners, may hire the PCs to punish those he feels offended him. [Underoceaners is the best translation into Thyatian we could find for the triton word Kellaraven, literally "those from the waters beneath the ocean." Similarly, Underocean is a translation of Kellaraver, the actual name for the kingdom. Ed.]

Vatermont 10, AC 1017: The March of the Weary.

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

Description: Heldannic cavalry on patrol are surprised to see the arrival of a long column of individuals, apparently unarmed. Upon sighting the fortifications erected around the village (currently occupied by a detachment of Heldannic Knights), the travellers beg permission to pass, so that they might put as much distance as possible between themselves and the "Mivosian scourge at our heels." After a few moments conferring amongst themselves, the knights refuse the refugees entry, telling them to head north, away from the field of battle. Seeing little alternative, the refugees turn north, watched carefully by the knights. (See Va. 2, Va. 6; Va. 13, Va. 16.)

What This Means: As the Mivosians continue their advance towards Polakatsikes, they are systematically destroying any settlements which oppose their rule, and driving forth the survivors. Even in those villages and towns which do acquiesce, some inhabitants opt to abandon their homes instead of remaining under Mivosian rule. While many are fleeing ahead of the Mivosians, many more are heading north and west, to areas which, they believe, are free of conflict.

Vatermont 11, AC 1017: Isle of the Kara-Kara.

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

Description: The Butchery arrives at the island located on Buraganu's map. The pirates prepare a landing party and follow the map into the island's interior. Before long, drums begin to play, and they are assaulted and overrun by hordes of chanting, kara-kara savages. The pirates retreat to the ship, but the orcs of the sea pursue them in outrigger canoes, inflicting even more casualties. Eventually, Buraganu is able to steer the ship away to safety. (See Va. 4, Va. 7; Va. 12, Va. 13.)

What This Means: The kara-kara are a singing and chanting people who can increase their fighting prowess while doing so. They were too strong for the pirates to defeat on their own terrain. This does not bode well for Buraganu, who now has led two failed raids in a row.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs can join the landing party and explore the jungle island, leading the fight to hold off the kara-kara.

Vatermont 11, AC 1017: Brothers in Arms.

Location: Camp of free Jennites, Land of Jen, Esterhold Peninsula. SK

Description: Having negotiated for days, an alliance is finally forged between the rebel Jennites, led by former governor Talin, and some free Jennites tribes. The Jennite chieftains have listened to Talin's proposals and considered them, and they have decided that they like the prospect of chasing off the hated Alphatians. Plans are then made for the forces of the two sides to meet in the forests and hills north of the Jennite Mountains in order to attack the forts on the Verdan border. (See Va. 7; Th. 26, Fl. 14.)

What This Means: The free Jennites, and the rebel Jennites who used to be oppressed by the Alphatians, have united. It won't be long before the Alphatians in Verdan, particularly those in the three strongholds on the border to the lands of Jen, learn of this the hard way!

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are Alphatian allies, then they should hasten back to warn Verdan of the impending invasion. Along the way, the DM should naturally stage a number of attempts by both rebel and free Jennites to stop them. If they do well, they might get to help prepare the strongholds for the coming aggression. If the PCs are with the Jennites, then they may help plan the attacks on the strongholds and participate in them. They could also infiltrate the strongholds to discover flaws in their defences for the aggressors to exploit, or they could do the opposite of the above: they could be sent to stop Alphatian spies from bringing news of the plans back to Verdan.

Vatermont 11, AC 1017: Rioting in Edairo.

Location: City of Edairo, Kingdom of Thothia, Isle of Dawn. SD

Description: Several priests and lay followers of the now banned spider religion in Thothia stage a protest outside the central temple of Rathanos. What begins as a simple protest against the denunciation of their faith soon escalates into a full-scale riot, as they rile up bystanders and begin to attack the Rathanian priests with stones and hurled fruits. When the city guard comes to deal with the problem, they too find themselves caught up in the action, as guards square off against one another-victims of religious discord.

The pharaoh's personal guard has to be called in to deal with the problem, but not without some unfortunate loss of civilian life. As the guards clear away the quelling rioters, one of them notices something odd about his sword-it is dripping a purplish fluid that isn't blood. He looks around for the body of the city guardsman he was forced to stab.

To his astonishment, there is a man-sized spider body in city guardsman clothing lying in the middle of the street. (See Va. 26, Kl. 22.)

What This Means: The werespider agents of the araneas on the plateau have been stirring up religious discord in Thothia ever since late last year. Using their human guises to pose as priests, they have been stirring up Thothian sentiments in the ancient Entropic faith that the araneas and their patron Arachne Prime had instilled centuries ago in the Thothian community. Ever since his coronation, Ramenhotep XXIV has been trying to rid his empire of the faith-he knows personally that it claimed his father, and that his stepmother Aketheti was an Entropic creature herself.

Until now, though, Ramenhotep had thought the religious discord was being caused by his rival, Haptuthep. Now he has physical evidence that the araneas have returned to Thothia. Though he does not yet have the means to combat them effectively, the insight will help him to better decide the next step to maintain his empire.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are in Edairo, they will most likely be caught up in the riot. Perhaps they can be the ones to capture or kill the werespider instigators.

Vatermont 11, AC 1017: Raiders in the Night.

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

Description: Goblinoids from the Yazak Steppes manage to sneak past the border guards and raid the outskirts of the town of Norchester. Little real damage is done, but many homes are plundered and the locals there demand retribution. During the subsequent days, rumours fly throughout northern Bellayne about the possibilities of larger scale goblinoid incursions in the future. (See Nu. 7, Nu. 28; Va. 15, Th. 4.)

What This Means: Pressure will be placed upon the King of Bellayne to increase the defences of the northern reaches of his kingdom by the locals.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters could be sent to guard the northern border and exact reprisals against the goblinoids. The king is especially likely to send characters on this job if they have indicated they are inclined to side with the parliament against him, but as good patriots they will likely not be able to refuse a mission that is indisputably in the interests of Bellayne.

Vatermont 12, AC 1017: New Information on Taterhill.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: Princess Isidore d'Ambreville of Nouvelle Averoigne, Chamberlain of the Land, receives some interesting information regarding the Taterhill races proposal of Archduke John Beaumarys-Moorkroft. Her agents in the Paparazzi Glantri have learned that the archduke has been buying large tracts of land in the Taterhill area, due to the sudden drop of market prices since the war with Ethengar. Of course, most of the Taterhill land is already owned by the wealthy Stratford family of Fenswick, of which Lady Anne Beaumarys-Moorkroft, the archduke's mother, is the sole living inheritor.

The princess ponders what to do with this information. (See Va. 3; Va. 15.)

What This Means: The Paparazzi Glantri is a Glantrian magazine that provides the latest in trends, gossip, rumours, intrigues, speculations and miscellany about the Principalities of Glantri; the Mystaran Almanac and the Paparazzi Glantri occasionally work together.

Vatermont 12, AC 1017: Eusebius Reassures Senate.

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

Description: After leaving Hattias, Eusebius spent several days in Port Lucinius, checking on the status of the fleet being prepared to sally forth against the Twaelar when the shipping season begins. He then returned to the city of Thyatis, reaching it yesterday. Today Eusebius meets with the imperial senate. Several senators voice their concern that Eusebius might try to dispense with rulers of the various dominions defeated in the Crown War, and attempt instead to rule them directly through appointed governors. Eusebius declares he has no such intention; he is simply taking time to ensure that those elevated to rule those dominions are selected properly, so that their nobles will be loyal and honourable. He does propose that in the future all those who seek to succeed to the rule of dominions following the death or abdication of a current ruler have their positions ratified by both the senate and emperor. He presents this in a manner so it seems like only a minor alteration of past practice, since all nobles had their authority confirmed by the emperor, and had to recognise the authority of the imperial senate. He has Domitius Enobarbos, one of his most subtle and capable supporters in the senate, draft a bill on the measure, which is then scheduled for debate in a few weeks. (See Nu. 14, Nu. 21; Va. 21, Th. 23.)

What This Means: Though Thyatis is changing in a number of ways; many of its old institutions are still important and respected. As strong as Eusebius' authority is after defeating the last open opposition to his reign, he knows he would find it difficult and controversial to dispense with Thyatis' traditional hierarchy of nobility. The alteration he proposes is a bit more sweeping than he presents it as, however. If passed by the senate, it would tend to reduce the hereditary aspect of dominion succession. Eusebius hopes to make the measure more popular among the senate by adding the provision that they would also have authority in ratification of rulers.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters who rule dominions will definitely be interested in the outcome of this measure. Political scheming and intrigue to sway votes will come to play here. Characters who oppose Eusebius' wishes on the matter will have a steep hill to climb in mobilising support for defeating it-plus they will earn the ire of the emperor. This is doubly true if their efforts are successful.

Vatermont 12, AC 1017: Official Announcement of New Uniforms.

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

Description: In a move to show her support of the military, Queen Junna announces her intent to redesign the Randel military uniform. Junna commissions several renowned Alphatian clothes designers to propose a new uniform, the best design to be determined by her as the winner. The announcement is met with mixed feelings, as most see no need for a redesign of a uniform that has served the Randel so well for so many years. Still, that she is offering some attentions to the armed forces is encouraging. (See Va. 6; Th. 5, Ya. 1.)

What This Means: Encouraged by the urgings of her uncle, Junna has decided to make a move to improve her standing with the armed forces. This redesign of the Randel battle-dress is unneeded, but Junna sees this attention to uniforms as a way that she can support the military sects first-hand while implementing some of her artistic ideals. She also sees it as a means to pave the way for her next decree.

Vatermont 12, AC 1017: Mutiny on the Butchery.

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

Description: The crew of the Butchery has had enough of Captain Buraganu. The pirates are furious at this latest failure, and the broken oath of their captain. Redbeard Kray leads the pirates in taking over the ship and apprehending Buraganu. As quartermaster, Kray keeps Buraganu under arrest, and directs the ship to the east. (See Va. 7, Va. 11; Va. 13, Va. 14.)

What This Means: Redbeard set up Buraganu from the beginning-the kara-kara map was a fake. In a classic double-cross, he is using this as a bid to gain the captaincy of the ship.

Vatermont 12, AC 1017: Candidates Share Their Views.

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

Description: In the open-air amphitheatre of the public forum, candidates running in the by-election, numbering eight in all, introduce themselves to their potential constituents, and outline, in turn, why they think they should be elected. One of the candidates, an ambitious young merchant named Adonai Stephanos, delivers a well-crafted, charismatic speech, in which he promises to advocate building upon the successes derived from last year's accord with Thyatis, and expand Kastelios' trading network. In closing his speech, he outlines to the people present that he will make it a personal commitment of his to further the cause advocated by the late Thesius Palakratidos, that of building a just society for all Kastelians.

Once all of the candidates outline their views, Xenthos Sarantakos instructs the constituents to return to the public forum tomorrow to cast their votes. (See Nu. 26, Va. 9; Va. 14, Th. 7.)

What This Means: In an electoral contest where personal style has an important impact upon the outcome, those who possess a personal magnetism-as Adonai certainly does-start off in an advantageous position. Although he certainly seems sincere, it is more his personable nature, and his aura of competence, which attract many voters. Some observers will note amongst themselves that, although Adonai talks big, the specific details of his future plans are all very sketchy-more so than those of his opponents.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are well-known locally, one or more of the PCs might be a candidate in the by-election. Players who enjoy acting should be encouraged to act out their characters' speeches if they so choose, perhaps with other players playing temporarily the parts of the other NPC candidates, though the DM should play Adonai if this is done. If one or more PCs is a candidate, public opinion should still sway in favour of Adonai; otherwise, future events in this scenario should be modified or ignored.

Vatermont 13, AC 1017: Zuyevan Minister Dies.

Location: City of Zuyganev, Zuyevan Empire. WB

Description: The Zuyevan Minister of State dies of old age. His replacement is Vasily Stolbov, a young and energetic nobleman. (See Nu. 1; Fl. 17.)

What This Means: At first glance, there is nothing special about this situation. The former minister was old and everyone expected him to die at any time. However, Vasily, the new minister, is not what he seems. Last year, after the Master of Hule was "killed" by Zuyevan-sponsored adventurers, he disappeared for a week. After gaining his revenge on the adventurers, Hosadus spent some time determining his Zuyevan foe's strengths and weaknesses. He also recruited some agents in Zuyevo, in order to undermine that realm from within. One of those agents was the nobleman Vasily Stolbov.

Zuyevo is a large country, and appears strongly unified. However, most of its lands are governed by nobles and officials, many of whom formally respect the tsar but also look out to fill their own pockets. The Master's agents are capitalising on that latter trait; many of them worm their way into the power structure as advisers to the aforementioned nobles and officials, encouraging them to take advantage of everything they can. Vasily Stolbov was one such corrupt nobleman. He does not realise that he is working in the Master's interests-but he listens to his "faithful advisers" and is not interested in bringing prosperity to Zuyevo or fighting Hule; he is only interested in his own benefit. And now, due to his own and Hosadus' machinations, Vasily is in a very powerful position.

Vatermont 13, AC 1017: Migrants Revolt.

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

Description: Already under intense pressure due to the large numbers of Hattians arriving in Heldann, the ad hoc immigration processing system devised by the order's top bureaucrats collapses, after having shown signs of extreme organisational pressure. Delays caused by detailed record-keeping of all Hattian immigrants (intended to calculate the total acreage of granted lands, as well as foregone taxes in accordance with last year's policies [see AC 1016 almanac. Ed.] lengthen tremendously, until, unable to take it anymore, a large group of Hattians tries to break out of the cordoned-off areas reserved for newcomers.

Swiftly, soldiers descend on the immigrants, at first trying to dissuade them from further rowdiness, and later, as the migrants begin to attack the soldiers, to put down the revolt. The violence is over within a short time, but a large number of immigrants lie dead or wounded in the streets of Freiburg. (See Va. 3; Va. 22, Ka. 12.)

What This Means: Although the large numbers of Hattian immigrants are more than the senior Heldannic Knights could ever hope for, they have also proven to be something of a curse. The Heldannic bureaucracy, never very well-developed, began showing its limitations within weeks, as clerks trained to handle military logistics were forced to tend to the needs of civilian migrants-something which is not quite the same. Making matters worse is that the region allotted to the migrants as living quarters while they awaited processing-a row of empty warehouses near the docks-proved to be totally insufficient. Faced with overcrowding, disease, and long waiting periods, some of the migrants had had enough. Although the revolt has been crushed, the anger at the authorities for doing too little, too late will not subside soon.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are working for the Heldannic Order, high-level PCs with suggestions concerning how to handle the immigrant housing and processing questions will find many willing listeners-some of whom are high-ranking knights.

Vatermont 13, AC 1017: New Captain Is Elected.

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

Description: The crew of the Butchery calls for the election of a new captain. Redbeard Kray, the popular, but sometimes brutal quartermaster, is the leading candidate. His role in leading the mutiny and reputation with the crew weigh in his favour. Other sailors dislike him for the overly cruel punishments he is known to administer. When the vote is taken, Kray is the victor with half the votes, and two other pirates splitting the remaining votes. Redbeard Kray is now Captain of the Butchery. A new quartermaster is elected to replace him. (See Va. 11, Va. 12; Va. 14, Va. 17.)

What This Means: Kray is a ruthless pirate, but his success has earned him a decent following. He was able to bribe other crewmen with extra shares and to influence even more votes through fear. The fact that the two other candidates split the vote was the key to his election. The new quartermaster is an ally of Kray, meaning Redbeard has additional power, without the check and balance of a dissenting quartermaster.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs with significant experience can be considered as candidates for captain. With enough influence and bribery of their own, perhaps they can even win.

Vatermont 13, AC 1017: Enemies Sighted!

Location: Villages of Treminios and Doleria, Dominion of Polakatsikes, Heldannic Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: Heldannic positions in the villages of Treminios and Doleria are tested by advance elements of the Mivosian army, which, after scouting their enemy's makeshift fortifications, begin peppering them with arrows. The Heldannic forces retaliate, launching several volleys of crossbow bolts at the invaders. The sniping continues for several hours, until the Mivosians pull back. (See Va. 6, Va. 10; Va. 16, Va. 17.)

What This Means: The Mivosians had no intention of conducting a full-scale invasion quite yet; they wish to test their opponents' battle-readiness, first.

Vatermont 14, AC 1017: A Sailor Gets a Royal Audience.

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

Description: Admiral Halzunthram from the Navy of the Lakes gets an audience with Queen Kikania of Foresthome. For several hours they discuss the possibility of building impressive canals in the kingdom to improve transportation and increase trade. Admiral Halzunthram assures the queen that the navy includes some of the best Alphatian engineers for such matters, and that sailors who are members of the Grand Council, or who have connections in it, are working for a larger recognition by the empire. Queen Kikania, who like most aristocrats never gave much credit to the minor naval guild, is most interested and promises her support. (See Va. 19, Th. 3.)

What This Means: Halzunthram is the leader of the Hollow World section of this naval organisation that operates a great number of galleys both for trade and warfare. Though he is a fighter, Halzunthram is considered nobility nonetheless as he is a (spellcasting) servant of the Immortal Protius, though he is generally treated as less than equal by those who should be his peers. [In other countries he would be called a paladin. Ed.] After the sinking of Alphatia he took over the leadership of the Navy of the Lakes as the former Chief Admiral Ardannabras was stranded with the Alphatian troops in the Outer World. The navy is a mixture of a trader's guild and a mercenary unit. Unlike most organisations in Alphatia-with the notable exception of the imperial navy and army-the ranks are open to all without restriction based on nobility; like in the imperial navy, spellcasters tend to be in charge though it is less blatant in the Navy of the Lakes. It is a minor Alphatian guild, and was never able to achieve much of its goals in biased imperial Alphatia, and it was always viewed with suspicion by most noblemen. This has not hindered the leaders of the various kingdoms, who have often hired the navy as a coast guard, but the political influence of the navy has always remained negligible. On the other hand the sailors have always shown a strong faith in the empire, so there is no persecution by official authorities either. [The titles given members of the Navy of the Lakes are internal to that organisation only; they have nothing to do with similar titles from the imperial navy, and do not bestow any privilege outside the navy. Ed.]

The primary interest of the Navy of the Lakes is to sail Alphatian waterways with galleys. To restore their trade now that the seas encompassing Alphatia are gone, the sailors have developed a plan to connect the natural waterways-lakes and rivers of the interior of the floating continent-by an extensive system of canals. This plan is not completely new, but until now it was laughed at, on those rare occasions the navy got the opportunity to expose its ideas at all. The kings and queens of Foresthome notably opposed this plan strongly (and made sure the Navy of the Lakes was never taken seriously or allowed to gain any sort of influence) as it would alter the kingdom with a possibly endangerment of the woods. So the Navy of the Lakes has drawn many plans over the years but not one of them has been even close to being tried-until now.

Since the reappearance in the Hollow World, though, all Alphatians who can remember the days on the Outer World see that the economical situation has largely deteriorated. An important part of the problem is that, without any seas, naval trade has almost disappeared, and it cannot be replaced aerial transportation for the foreseeable future. With the former port cities now useless as sources of food (from fishing, and especially food imports), many freemen of the coastal cities have left their homes heading for Lake Llyn, eventually rejoined by aristocrats displacing whole estates-including their servants and slaves. The situation in Foresthome is nowhere as critical as it is in Stonewall, where the food problem is actually becoming dangerous, but it is bad enough that Queen Kikania is seriously considering allowing the construction of canals in her kingdom.

What the PCs Can Do: It is possible that Alphatian PCs, notably non-spellcasters, are part of the rather open-minded Navy of the Lakes. In that case, they may now have influential positions within the navy (possibly because of the gaps resulting from the war and the sinking). If they do, they may realise the grave transportation problem Alphatia is facing, and be the ones who bring forth the idea of using the old plans of the navy to build canals. It will be difficult for them to get appointments with prominent nobles, and even more so to convince them, but if they do they will become the uncontested leaders of the navy (except for jealous rivals, naturally), and maybe even important characters in Alphatia.

Vatermont 14, AC 1017: Marooning of Buraganu.

Location: Sharkfin Sea (between Towns of Puerto Morillos and Kota-Jayang), Merry Pirate Seas. HW

Description: In his first act as captain, Redbeard orders Buraganu to be stranded on a sandbar in the Sharkfin Sea and left to die. The former captain is left on a sandbar at low tide with only a flask of fresh water and a vial of sea snake poison. (See Va. 11, Va. 13; Va. 17, Va. 23.)

What This Means: Marooning is a common punishment of the pirates, and most will choose to kill themselves with the poison, before starvation, or worse. Once the tide comes in, Buraganu will be swept out to sea, to be left to the mercy of the sharks.

What the PCs Can Do: Merciful PCs might suggest a less cruel means of execution for their former captain, suggest that Buraganu be given a last request, etc. As an alternative, to set up PCs opposed to Redbeard, you could have their ship come upon the marooned captain, in time to rescue him from the sharks. In this case, Buraganu would most likely sign the articles of his rescuing ship.

Vatermont 14, AC 1017: Cabal Reaches Rialtos.

Location: Town of Rialtos, Province of Septentriona, Isle of Dawn, Thyatian Empire. SD

Description: Several ships arrive in the harbour of Rialtos today. The passengers claim to be colonists sent out from mainland Thyatis to settle the province. The town's officials weren't expecting them, but aren't surprised. The new arrivals claim they were allotted lands upriver. They sell the ships to local Thyatian and Minrothaddan merchants and use the money to purchase provisions and supplies before setting out a few days later. (See Nu. 7, Nu. 16; Th. 2, Kl. 3.)

What This Means: This is actually the group of Thanatos followers and unrepentant rebels who landed in Ierendi last month. The plan is to use barges to travel upriver, and then to disappear into the wilderness of the Great Escarpment and establish a new base of operations there. They figure their unexplained disappearance will go largely unnoticed since the Shadow Coast is still largely a wilderness filled with barely-understood dangers.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters who happen to be in Rialtos are unlikely to be aware of the significance of the band of "colonists" passing through town.

Vatermont 14, AC 1017: And the Winner Is...

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

Description: The former constituents of the late Thesius Palakratidos gather in the public forum, to learn who will be their representative on the assembly. To the surprise of some, Adonai Stephanos is proclaimed the victor, having won by a fairly wide margin in yesterday's voting. Presenting himself to his new constituents, Adonai thanks everyone present for their support, and restates his pledge to protect and promote their interests in the assembly. (See Va. 9, Va. 12; Th. 7, Th. 25.)

What This Means: Adonai Stephanos won the by-election by a comfortable margin of victory; he will have considerable leeway to act as he wishes, so long as his aims do not conflict with the desires of his constituents.

What the PCs Can Do: If one or more of the PCs were candidates in the by-election, and paid close attention to Adonai's speeches, they may suspect that something shady is going on. If so, they can try to investigate Adonai's activities, though it will be hard to find anything incriminating, as Adonai is a private family man. If a PC won the by-election, subsequent events will have to be altered, though the PC will now enter the world of politics-which may prove to be more perilous than any monster.

Vatermont 14, AC 1017: Ghoul Attack.

Location: Torenal Site, Sunken Arogansa, Nayce. AS

Description: One of the outlying perimeter picket defences reports ghoulish troops assaulting its position. Hurriedly, the Torenal garrison mobilises submersibles and aquatic mercenaries to venture out to investigate. Arriving on the spot, they encounter a group of ghouls clamouring over the picket position, trying to gain entrance; also, several small groups are visibly attacking the small view ports. Though the defenders inside have taken a toll on the assaulting undead, the bunker is quickly filling with water thanks to the series of leaks at the view ports. Luckily, the arriving reinforcements make short work of the ghouls before the water rises too high. (See Nu. 7, Nu. 18; Va. 25, Th. 2.)

What This Means: On the surface, this attack seams fairly small and of little consequence. However, the attack offers more far-reaching troubles that will only be recognised later. The ghouls have recognised that the mortals need air to live beneath the waves. They have also realised that it will be less costly to them to attack the mortals through their air breathing needs. One such way of doing this is to cause a breach in their underwater havens and flood the interior.

What the PCs Can Do: They can fight the ghouls.

Vatermont 14, AC 1017: Demobilisation in Thyatis.

Location: Throughout the Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: With the apparent conclusion of the Crown War and the suppression of the attempted coup in Tel Akbir, Eusebius' authority as emperor is finally undisputed. However, the burden of maintaining so many soldiers while the empire's economy is still in a fragile state is becoming onerous.

Therefore, in a special ceremony the emperor thanks each of the units from the far reaches of the Thyatian Empire and beyond that rallied to him in his time of need. Each is given a citation of meritorious service, a token of the emperor's and the senate's appreciation, and then permitted to return home. There is one man, though, that shivers when he understands that there will be no need for his services anymore.

This is also done with respect to most of the reserve forces that have been on active duty throughout Thyatis' Era of Crisis (as it is becoming known). They are demobilised, again with the thanks of a grateful emperor and senate. Some of those who have found they like the military life continue on, joining regular units, but most return to their homes.

Many of those who are mustered out of active duty have received grants of land in the empire, and so are better off for having served. They continue on as reservists.

The mercenaries, however, are continued on in imperial service-though some individual soldiers do leave, others are recruited into their place. These mercenaries are organized into a special guard unit, the Antalian Guard, which the emperor plans to make wide use of. (See Nu. 15, Va. 1; Sv. 4, Ka. 11.)

What This Means: For as long as people can remember the Thyatian Empire has maintained inordinately large armed forces. Even after the Great War the surviving forces, though reduced severely in quality, were relatively large. While the empire was at the height of its powers, this was not a problem. However, this large armed force put a severe strain on Thyatis in the weakened condition it was in during the period after the Great War. Eusebius recognised last year that for the empire to be able to recover, he needed to reduce the strain the large standing army was putting on it. Furthermore, even for the military to be able to recover its strength and quality, it needed to be restructured.

Therefore Eusebius initiated a program to reduce the size of the imperial military but increase its quality, making it more effective and flexible while being less of a societal burden. The eruption of the Crown War delayed the implementation of this plan. Plus, it struck the empire at a time when Eusebius' forces were most vulnerable, disorganised by the reorganisation and not yet re-formed into the new force structure. But now the empire has a respite where it can complete the process. The new units have completed their initial training and are beginning to enter active service.

As for the empire as a whole, it is still facing conflicts on several fronts-the war with the Twaelar goes on, the Heldannic invasion of Heldun is still a threat, and fighting in the Davanian Hinterlands is heating up. But Eusebius plans on confronting these and other conflicts merely with his reduced, regular forces. Considering that the size of these forces is still large compared to that of the empire's foes, he is probably not making a mistake.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters who had been serving more-or-less as part of the Thyatian military can take this opportunity to retire from active duty. However, more to the point from an adventuring stand point is the fact that, with a reduced armed forces, the empire will seek to solve various problems by non-military means. It will thus be in greater need of agents-adventurer-types-to pursue its goals.

Vatermont 14, AC 1017: Hopeless Dove.

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

Description: In the days following their first meeting, Christopher Dove and the mysterious wizard have gone on with their secret meetings, helped by the local rodent population. Dove has come to trust the wizard, who introduced himself as Vespen and disclosed him many secrets of the tower that holds them prisoners. However, the most unsettling news is revealed today, when Vespen crushes Dove's trust in Wendar's intervention in Denagoth by saying that the current regent of the kingdom is in fact a puppet of the Church of Idris. Shocked, Dove asks how it is possible that King Gylharen (who has always fought against the Shadow Lord's attempts at invading Wendar) is a spy of Idris. At this, Vespen merely grins through the rat's fangs and informs Dove that King Gylharen is no longer alive, and that a coup organized by the Church of Idris has replaced him with Bensarian of Kevar. To Dove's growing astonishment, Vespen also explains the old sage is no more in control of his own body and mind, now possessed by a powerful wizard of the Onyx Ring (a secret sect faithful to Idris), and that Wendar will plunge into darkness as the months pass. Vespen adds he is aware of this because he was formerly a member of the Onyx Ring himself, but later betrayed Idris to save his relatives, who got executed nonetheless after his treachery. Dove is left pondering the news alone when the rat-messenger scuttles away in a crack in the wall. (See Nu. 10; Th. 17, Th. 28.)

What This Means: Dove is deeply shocked by the news he has gathered so far. It seems Idris and the Shadow Lord are gaining power in Wendar at an alarming rate, and Dove fears the worst for himself as well as for Wendar. He doesn't know there are still many elves fighting against the Shadow Army in the Great Forest of Geffron, and his only thought now goes to the day he will finally see the sun again. After this last revelation, he is completely persuaded that Vespen is a reliable friend and source of information, but he has understood that if even this powerful wizard is unable to break free of this dungeon, he has next to no chance of doing so himself.

Third Week

Vatermont 15, AC 1017: No Races for Moorkroft.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: Before the final vote on the Taterhill races proposal, Baron Gerrid Rientha of Egorn requests permission to speak before the parliament. His request granted, the baron presents information he has gathered regarding the ownership of the lands of Taterhill. The House of Lords bursts into chaos. The representative of House Ritterburg is the first to withdraw his support, followed by Duke Eachainn McDougall of Hightower, and Baron Qenildor Erewan of Celedyl. Many other nobles follow their lead.

At the final tally, the Taterhill races proposal receives a total of nine votes (the archduke himself was the sole supporter of the bill). The majority of the nobles vote nay, while the rest abstain. The archduke silently swears vengeance upon all his detractors. (See Va. 3, Va. 12; Fe. 18.)

What This Means: Being a wise politician, Princess Isidore opted not to confront the archduke with this information herself. Rather, she passed this information on to Baron Gerrid Rientha, the acknowledged archenemy of the archduke.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs may be the agents in the employ of the princess sent to uncover the archduke's dirty little secret. If discovered, they will have made a permanent (and powerful) enemy in the person of Lord John Beaumarys-Moorkroft.

Vatermont 15, AC 1017: The Jarls Decide.

Location: Town of Østmark, Kingdom of Qeodhar, Nayce. AS

Description: The assorted jarls of the Antalian communities of Qeodhar meet once again to discuss recent events. The news is grim: Norlan's forces have razed no less than four villages over the past few weeks, with those who tried to defend their homes being massacred. News is also spreading of survivors being marched southwards, deep within government-held territory, their fate unknown.

Many of the jarls, upon hearing of recent events, grow furious over the continuing oppression being forced upon their country folk. The current campaign of harassing isolated government patrols is no longer sufficient; the assembled men agree that the fight should be taken to the Qeodharans themselves-and soon. (See Nu. 21; Va. 27, Th. 16.)

What This Means: Word of Norlan's deeds has become known to almost every Antalian on the island, and with it the knowledge that, if nothing is done soon, they could face annihilation. Hence the perceived need to escalate the conflict.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are on the side of the Antalians, they could very well have brought the news to the jarls, otherwise they could aid in planning counterattacks (if they have sufficient combat experience). If the PCs are working for Norlan, they could act as spies, sending information concerning the Antalians' plans back to Farend.

Vatermont 15, AC 1017: A Strange Sight.

Location: Sea of Rax, near continent of Suridal. HW

Description: While flying about over the Sea of Rax, near the continent of Suridal, the crew of the Alphatian skyship Wayseeker notice several glowing balls of light rise from the eastern horizon, very rapidly. Intrigued, Captain Adath orders his crew to cautiously steer the skyship towards this bizarre phenomenon. (See Va. 17, Va. 18.)

What This Means: The Wayseeker has been commissioned this year to explore the region around the continent of Suridal, which has thus far been ignored by Alphatia, whose attention was directed towards events on the main continent of Iciria. Initial surveys near the northern coast of Suridal seemed to indicate that it was uninhabited. This may not be the case, however...

Vatermont 15, AC 1017: King Appeals to Parliament.

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

Description: Finding the royal treasuries to be not nearly as full as would be desirable, thanks partly to the huge debts left by the previous monarch, Queen Catherine, the king appeals to the parliament for money to raise the local militias in defence.

Given the antics of the king last year, the Commons refuses after a heated debate between Blythe-Jackson and Treeby, fearful of what else the army might be used for once it has been raised. (See Nu. 28, Va. 11; Th. 4, Th. 8.)

What This Means: King James is unable to muster and fully arm the territorial army regiments based in the north. Instead he must rely upon the standing army of Bellayne for defence. After some thought, James decides not to divert regulars from the south to cover the north. Orders go out to the commanders of the northern garrisons to be doubly vigilant in the future.

Vatermont 15, AC 1017: Once Bitten...

Location: Emirate of Alasiya, Emirates of Ylaruam. OW

Description: A series of attacks on residents of Tel al Kebir point to a case of vampirism striking the town. Several gravesites show evidence of recent exhumation, and townsfolk have been bitten and drained of blood. The sheik puts his militia on the lookout, and priests of the Eternal Truth begin to actively seek out signs of undead activity. (See Th. 6, Ya. 5.)

What The PCs Can Do: Grab those stakes, break out the garlic, and get ready for some vampire-slaying!

Vatermont 16, AC 1017: Jowett Steps Down.

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: A special congregation of the Church of Karameikos is called. In a surprising move, Oliver Jowett, patriarch of the church, announces his retirement. He names his successor as Sherlane Halaran, Baron of Threshold. The ceremony is solemn and respectful. When it is over, however, a suspiciously quiet Alfric Oderbry is the first to leave, followed by a file of members of the Order of the Griffon. (See Va. 3, Va. 4; Va. 19, Th. 2.)

What This Means: Jowett sees trouble on the horizon, for his church and for Karameikos. The aging patriarch knew that his failing health would not be strong enough to help weather the church, so he has passed the reins on to someone else. He had Halaran travel secretly from Threshold for this occasion, so as not to tip off Oderbry, whom he suspected might react badly.

Sherlane Halaran will step down from his baronial duties; his niece, Aleena Yurevich, will be confirmed as the new baroness in his stead by King Stefan.

Vatermont 16, AC 1017: Proposals in Minrothad.

Location: City of Minrothad, Exarchate of Minrothad, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: Demetius Vannopolus, the current Exarch of Minrothad, informs the guild masters' council that the imperial government is interested in purchasing several fast Minrothad clippers. They debate the idea and agree to it, so long as all the clippers are built in Minrothad by guild shipwrights.

Demetius also tells Oran Meditor that the empire would appreciate the help of the Seahome elves in fighting the Twaelar. Meditor replies that Minrothad is a nation of merchants, not fighters, and that if they wished to fight a war they would not have needed Thyatian help in the first place. The two discuss the matter, with Vannopolus attempting to persuade Meditor. Eventually Meditor agrees to allow the Thyatians to hire volunteers among the water elves, but not to conscript anyone. He also agrees to send a deputation, again of volunteers, to attempt to negotiate with the Twaelar. (See Va. 1; Va. 19, Fl. 9.)

What This Means: The Thyatians will put a number of clippers to use on postal routes throughout their sprawling empire. This will improve the Thyatian communications network. Though magic items (such as scrolls of communication and mirrors of sending) and spells (such as sending or even teleport without error) are used for important government communications, magic isn't always reliable (especially given the Day of Dread) and for many common uses these methods are too expensive or restrictive. The clippers will allow people to send small packages and letters and have them arrive faster than they otherwise might, and facilitate the spread of information. The Minrothaddan shipbuilders will try to keep the secret of the methods of constructing clippers to themselves, however, though it's not clear how long that will last.

The Thyatians will manage to recruit a small but skilled group of water elves, which, coupled with some aquatic elves from Actius, will help serve as scouting parties in the continuing battles against the Twaelar. But the envoys dispatched to negotiate a resolution to the war, a party that will eventually include both Thyatians and Minrothaddan elves, might have more chance of success.

What the PCs Can Do: Players might enjoy travelling to the heart of the Twaelar Merrow Empire as part of a group unlikely to be immediately viewed as supper. The difficulties of negotiating with the Twaelar should not be underestimated, however.

Vatermont 16, AC 1017: Mivosian War Machine on the Move.

Location: Villages of Treminios and Doleria, Dominion of Polakatsikes, Heldannic Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: Heldannic positions in Treminios and Doleria come under more concerted attack, following several days of quiet. The initial Mivosian sorties are pushed back with withering volleys of crossbow fire, but soon light catapults begin to bombard Heldannic positions, slowly taking their toll on the defenders. As the residents of the two villages, already in the process of fleeing since hostilities commenced, begin to panic and flee en masse, the Heldannic infantry begins to find it increasingly difficult to hold their ground in the rising confusion.

By day's end, the Heldannic forces are forced to withdraw from both villages, and take up defensive positions atop a number of hills to the southeast. By sundown, Mivosian scouts are entering the villages, finding them abandoned, with anything of value already taken by the departing villagers. They then entrench themselves, waiting for the main body of the Mivosian army to join them. (See Va. 10, Va. 13; Va. 17, Va. 18.)

What This Means: Only a token force of Heldannic Knights and soldiers was stationed in Treminios and Doleria, enough to survey the surrounding countryside, but too few to hold back a concerted assault. Of the 50 knights and soldiers stationed here, plus almost 100 locals who volunteered to help them hold back the Mivosians, about one-third were killed, and around 30 villagers were also killed in the crossfire. The remaining villagers, numbering around 500, fled southeast towards Polakatsikes. These men will be pulled back to Polakatsikes in the coming weeks. The Mivosians took fewer than 30 casualties.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are with the Heldannic Knights, the PCs can try to inflict more casualties upon the Mivosians, or otherwise slow their advance, though unless they are of extremely high level, the best they can hope to achieve is a delaying action of a few days at most. If they are with the Mivosians, the PCs could try to prevent the Heldannic soldiers from withdrawing in as organized a manner, or try to trap them in the villages.

Vatermont 16, AC 1017: Arkan Raid.

Location: Isolated farmsteads, Lower Arkan, Kingdom of Arkan, Nayce. AS

Description: Though winter is relatively mild, several raids on food reserves and farmsteads are reported in Lower Arkan. Local rulers mount expeditions to drive off the lowlife, but the bandits know the hills and caves better than the understaffed militias.

What This Means: During the Arkan takeover of the Yanniveys, the local lowlife were merely, if ruthlessly, pushed toward their best-defended hideouts, when not wiped out or pressed into service as farm slaves. They have continued to plague the newly-gained dominions ever since, and are now getting organized and bold enough to launch more important attacks. The local rulers of Lower Arkan are snubbed by the traditional aristocracy of Floating Arkan, and get no help from the king and must fight off the bandits with their limited means, i.e. ineffectively. Lower Arkan is gradually turning into a dangerous frontier land, a fact the Floating Arkans couldn't care less about.

What the PCs Can Do: The pay is low and the risks are high, but the petty nobility of Lower Arkan is looking for adventurers and mercenaries. In this new land, this could lead to serious opportunities at troop commanding or dominion administering.

Vatermont 17, AC 1017: Counterstrike!

Location: Northeast of Village of Doleria, Dominion of Polakatsikes, Heldannic Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: As the Mivosian army continues mustering in the now-abandoned villages of Treminios and Doleria, a force of 25 Heldannic cavalry, accompanied by 50 archers (members of the Southern Legion of Vanya) harry the enemy force on the plains just outside of Doleria. Thinking that they were secure, as the original Heldannic force was still encamped in the hills southeast of the villages, the Mivosian sentries are caught unawares, and killed swiftly. Before the invaders realise what is happening, small squads of Heldannic cavalry are riding through the camps, slashing wildly with their swords at anything that moves, while the archers add to the chaos with sporadic flights of arrows.

Before long, however, the Mivosians bring themselves to order, and begin forming up their soldiers into coherent squads to eliminate the intruders. A number of their pikemen manage to trap the stragglers, but for the most part the cavalry manages to evade their enemies. Seeing that the element of surprise has vanished, the cavalry captain blows his horn to sound a general withdrawal, and the Heldannic Knights ride to safety with all due haste, pursued by Mivosian light infantry armed with spears. Some of these pursuers are taken down by arrows before the Mivosians, unwilling to lose any men needlessly, order the pursuit to be called off. (See Va. 13, Va. 16; Va. 18, Va. 24.)

What This Means: The Heldannic forces know that they are outnumbered by the Mivosians, and thus must fight strategically. There is no chance here for glorious charges into battle; they must use hit-and-run tactics instead, and otherwise try to keep the Mivosians guessing as to where the Heldannic troop concentrations are located. Another necessary change is the reliance upon local troops to bolster their own numbers; aside from the Southern Legion of Vanya (which is composed of Polakatsikan volunteers), the knights have been forced to raise local levies to hold back the Mivosians. These are people whom the knights realise may have an interest in turning against them in favour of the Mivosians, on account of the fact that the knights themselves were invaders not too long ago [AC 1015. Ed.], and that, unlike the Mivosians, the knights are not of Milenian stock.

What the PCs Can Do: Heldannic PCs (or those allied to the Heldannic Knights) might be part of the raiding party, in which case they can try to do as much damage as possible in a short time. Otherwise, Mivosian PCs might be dispatched to capture one of the raiders for interrogation.

Vatermont 17, AC 1017: Treasure Island.

Location: Sharkfin Sea, Merry Pirate Seas. HW

Description: Redbeard finds another map amongst Buraganu's possessions, which leads to a treasure on a nearby island. Kray presents it to the crew, and they decide to make a run at it. They arrive at the island, and a landing party is chosen by Kray and the new quartermaster. Those who voted against Kray for captain, and the other candidates themselves, are placed in the lead group. The map leads to a hidden jungle cavern that proves to be a green dragon's lair. The wyrm's breath and physical attacks decimate the front ranks, but it is eventually slain by Kray and the remaining pirates, which include a mage. The surviving pirates claim the dragon's hoard and load the riches on board the ship. (See Va. 13, Va. 14; Va. 23, Th. 24.)

What This Means: Kray had the map to the dragon treasure all along, and he was aware that a dragon would be there. He used the incident to accomplish several goals: Buraganu was further discredited, for holding out on this treasure map; he eliminated his potential rivals and most of the crew who were not in his camp; and he succeeded in claiming a very fabulous prize for himself and his crew. With the newfound wealth and his rivals dead, Redbeard is now in complete control of the Butchery.

What the PCs Can Do: Take part in the dragon-slaying. PCs loyal to Redbeard can play a major role in fighting the wyrm after it destroys the frontline fodder opposed to him. If the PCs are in the frontline, they may be able to turn the tide and prevent the deaths of the other pirates. In any event, it will not be clear that Kray knew of the dragon and was using this to eliminate his rivals. It would be viewed as a test of loyalty to the new captain to lead the expedition. PCs successful in slaying the dragon would earn favour with Kray, even if they voted against him in the election for captain.

Vatermont 17, AC 1017: Meeting the Natives.

Location: Western coast of Suridal. HW

Description: After heading towards the site of the strange lights two days ago, the crew of the Wayseeker now find themselves flying above the continent of Suridal itself, once the clouds below them thin out. Instead of virgin, unsettled lands, they are amazed to see a vast network of roads, towns, and other evidence of civilisation stretching below them. As the Alphatians begin making notes of their surroundings, a bright flash of light appears behind the vessel.

Before anyone can react, four bright lights erupt from the clouds behind the skyship, which then quickly dash across the sky, looping around the ship. An alert observer exclaims with amazement that the lights appear to be flying chariots, apparently made of fire. As Adath and his executive officers absorb this news, one of the flying objects breaks away from the others, which continue circling the Wayseeker. As is slowly draws near the port side of the skyship, it soon becomes clear that it is indeed a flaming chariot, pulled by a team of pegasi, themselves made of fire. The strange craft bears two passengers, one of whom, an armoured woman, addresses the skyship's crew in a language they cannot understand.

Using magical means, Adath is able to understand what the woman is saying. He learns that his skyship is flying over an empire known as Selhomarr, a nation that covers a large portion of the continent of Suridal. He also learns that his vessel was spotted several days ago, and that this group of flying chariots was dispatched to intercept him in order to determine his intentions. The woman, who identifies herself as Tessia, requests permission to board to discuss Adath's intentions. (See Va. 15; Va. 18, Va. 24.)

What This Means: Adath and his crew have unknowingly entered Selhomarrian airspace, and their presence in the region has been known for several days. The emperor of Selhomarr, thinking that the Wayseeker might have hostile intentions, sent Tessia and her squad to investigate.

Vatermont 18, AC 1017: The Stalker Observed!

Location: City of Hapta, Empire of Nithia. HW

Description: While on patrol during curfew, a squad of city guards is startled by a scream coming from one of the nearby houses. Not wasting any time, they smash open the door and are confronted by a horrid scene: standing in the shadows in the dim room, over the body of a woman, is a tall, gaunt individual, with pale, taut skin. Before any of the men can react, the murderer fixes them with a cold stare, and they find themselves immobile! They can only watch with horror as the man picks up the woman's body, and brushes by them as he leaves the house. They feel an intense chill wash through their bodies as he passes, and by the time they find themselves able to move once more, their quarry has seemingly disappeared into the warren of streets that is Hapta. (See Va. 1, Va. 2; Fl. 13, Fl. 23.)

What This Means: Although only a handful of men have now seen the mysterious assailant, speculation and rumour will only spread even faster concerning his true nature. It will soon become apparent that something does not match up, as the reported sightings of the killer last year [Sv. 22. Ed.] were of a dark-skinned man. As time passes, the distinction between truth and rumour will become blurred, and the killer will turn into some utterly inhuman monster in the eyes of the people of Hapta.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs were with the city guards at the time of the encounter, they will be affected in much the same way, but should not be allowed to capture or kill the mysterious killer.

Vatermont 18, AC 1017: A Great Discovery.

Location: Wayseeker, above the continent of Suridal. HW

Description: Having spent many hours in discussion, Adath concludes an agreement with Tessia that will allow him to venture deeper into Selhomarrian territory, in exchange for consenting to an armed escort of flying chariots. The first stop for the Wayseeker will be the capital city of Selhomarr, Calimnis. One of the flying chariots is sent to the capital city to report to the emperor, while the remainder accompany the skyship-one chariot leading the way, and the remaining two following behind. (See Va. 15, Va. 17; Va. 24, Va. 25.)

What This Means: Adath has acquired some basic information about Selhomarr from his discussion with Tessia. He learned that Selhomarr is an ancient empire, one that has existed for so long in the Hollow World that its historians have documented the appearance of many other cultures. It is also a nation of great clerics and sages, with millennia of accumulated lore. Intrigued by this nation, which has existed here for so long, Adath decides that Alphatia would benefit by learning more about it.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are serving on the Wayseeker, they will have an opportunity to learn something of the empire that lies below them.

Vatermont 18, AC 1017: A Strange Withdrawal.

Location: Villages of Treminios and Doleria, Dominion of Polakatsikes, Heldannic Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: A considerable portion of the Mivosian force that is currently occupying the villages of Treminios and Doleria withdraws to the north, much to the puzzlement of the Heldannic forces stationed to the southeast. By the afternoon, roughly 250 Mivosians remain in the area, and these entrench themselves further. (See Va. 16, Va. 17; Va. 24, Va. 25.)

What This Means: The Mivosian army is up to something, that much is obvious to the Heldannic forces, but their ultimate intent remains unclear. Those Mivosians who remain, however, are more than sufficient to hold off a Heldannic counterattack for the near future.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs serving with the Heldannic Knights might be ordered to spy on the Mivosians, in order to determine what is going on. If they manage to find any useful information, future events could very well be affected.

Vatermont 19, AC 1017: Meeting in the Headquarters.

Location: Lakim Island, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Admiral Halzunthram, Admiral Solturnun and Rear-Admiral Clarendon from the Navy of the Lakes convene in the navy's headquarters on Lakim Island in Lake Llyn. Admiral Halzunthram tells his fellow officers about the results of his audience with the Queen of Foresthome. Admiral Solturnun, a member of the Grand Council, is pleased to hear the good news and promises to initiate a debate about the canal plans immediately. As an appropriate date Solturnun sees the first session in the upcoming year AY 2017 on Alphamir3 [Thaumont 3, AC 1017; the Alphatian year starts on Thaumont 1. Ed.]. Admiral Clarendon is even more excited about these good news as he and his staff are responsible for the old canal project, so he returns merrily to his work to dust off some old reports and maps. (See Va. 14; Th. 3, Th. 4.)

What This Means: Admiral Solturnun, being an experienced wizard, has been a member of the Grand Council for quite a number of years now; there he fights for the political goals of the navy, though with little support and just as little success. Now, with the support of Queen Kikania of Foresthome, the chances of getting an imperial concession-or at the very least being listened to-are better than ever before. Rear-Admiral Clarendon is the only one of the three who is not a spellcaster and consequently not a nobleman. He spent some years as a thief on the docks of Aasla until he was captured by the crew of a navy's ship. He was given the choice between being delivered to the constabulary or joining the ranks of the navy. He chose to become a sailor, and since then he has proved to be the best expert in logistics the navy has ever had. His task within the navy is to improve the routes for the galleys of the navy, and one of his ideas was the construction of canals, though the navy was never able to put it to test so far.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could be sent to spy on the plans of the navy or they could be sailors themselves with the task of foiling any acts committed by spies.

Vatermont 19, AC 1017: Got Any Other Bright Ideas?

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

Description: When he arrived in the City of Thyatis last year Justin could not help noticing the many aqueducts that brought water to The City, and the water mills that lined the Mesonian River. When he visited Kerendas, he noticed that it too had a couple aqueducts, though not as many as the capital. An idea began to germinate in his head, and he began to discuss it with several engineers that were part of the imperial army. Upon returning to the city of Thyatis, the concepts were brought to the attention of academic engineers and physicists at the imperial academy.

Today the results of these discussions, a plan for using the aqueducts not only to bring water to The City but also to harness them to power additional water mills, is brought before the Praefect of the City, Nikephorus Logotharion. Justin and Nikephorus developed a friendship last year, and the two share many of the same interests. The praefect immediately sees the potential of this plan, and orders work begun on it at once. (See Va. 1, Va. 16; Am. 10.)

What This Means: Alone among major nations, Thyatis makes significant use of aqueducts to supply water to its cities. If this water can be further harnessed to power additional mills, economic productivity in Thyatis will increase and the perceived need for slave labour will drop. Eusebius will hear of this almost immediately, and soon order its implementation in other Thyatian cities that have aqueducts. He also continues to be impressed by how much creativity and initiative Justin Karameikos has.

Justin Karameikos is not a genius, but he's an insightful man who is seeing Thyatis with the fresh eyes of an outsider. Thus he comes up with ideas that do not occur to people for whom these things (aqueducts etc.) have become so much a part of the backdrop that they don't even think about them-or how they might be put to other uses. But the Thyatians are smart enough to recognise the quality of Justin's ideas.

What the PCs Can Do: Some of this construction will involve digging chambers deeper into the ground below The City. Crews might stumble across forgotten chambers or catacomb tunnels, which the PCs might be employed to explore.

Vatermont 19, AC 1017: Underocean's First Day in Court.

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

Description: Alphatian courts hear the case of Allanas vs. Underocean. The case has inflamed sentiment both in Underocean and among traditional elements of the nobility. The tritons feel the case threatens their independence, while some mages claim an Underocean victory would be the nail in the coffin for Alphatia's long and proud traditions of bias against non-spellcasters.

As protesters rally outside the court chambers, the court hears the initial arguments of both sides in a closed hearing. (See Nu. 19, Va. 10; Va. 25, Th. 8.)

Vatermont 19, AC 1017: Church of Traladara Raided.

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: Several members of the Order of the Griffon, a fighting order of the Church of Karameikos, break into the Church of Traladara. They attack and beat several acolytes, but are finally brought to heel by hold spells of some of the more powerful priests. They scream imprecations at the Traladarans, shouting that, "On behalf of the true patriarch of the Church of Karameikos, Alfric Oderbry, we will crush you!" They are delivered into the custody of the king's guard to await sentencing.

At the Church of Karameikos, Alfric Oderbry is nowhere to be found. Even more alarmingly, several senior members of the Order of the Griffon, and many more acolytes of the church, have abandoned their quarters as well. (See Va. 4, Va. 16; Th. 2, Th. 14.)

What This Means: Oderbry was incensed by Jowett's declaration of successor, and has gathered all of his loyal henchmen to his side. He will begin a campaign of terrorism against the Church of Traladara, which he believes is his holy quest.

What the PCs Can Do: They can hunt down Oderbry's faction, and bring them in to the proper authorities.

Vatermont 20, AC 1017: Heldannic Might in Helskir Grows-Anna Announces a Fresh Offensive.

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

Description: Having reviewed the reports of her scouts in detail, Ordensgeneral Anna von Hendriks decides the time is ripe to advance further into Helskir. Their numbers bolstered by an additional 500 soldiers newly-arrived from the Heldannic Territories, the knights venture outward into the surrounding territories, while the people of Helskir are watched closely by those who stay behind. (See Nu. 4, Va. 3; Th. 2, Th. 13.)

What This Means: Being well aware of the perils inherent in spreading one's forces too quickly and too thinly, Anna decided to send out scouts to probe enemy lines, and determine where likely targets would lie. This way, she would be able to use her relatively scant forces (numbering about 2,200-including the reinforcements) to best effect. Complicating matters is the fact that the occupation of Helskir will require a significant portion of her forces, otherwise the city could be lost, and with it a secure landing point for further operations in the northern Isle of Dawn. She reasons that 200 handpicked knights should be able to maintain order, while the bulk of her force sets out to pacify the surrounding territory.

As for her scouts, they reported the existence of several villages within 20 miles of Helskir, as well as what appeared to be fortifications-perhaps bases in use by the remnants of the Helskiran army. She reasons that such vulnerable targets should fall easily.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are with the knights, the PCs could be part of the invasion force, or they could be tasked with watching the people of Helskir. Anna is wary of revolts among the Helskirans; if she trusts the PCs, they could be given the important task of spying on important cityfolk, and crushing any signs of open revolt. If they are with the Helskirans, the PCs could use the departure of so many troops as an opportunity to stage a few revolts, or carry out acts of sabotage.

Vatermont 21, AC 1017: Nomination of Isle of Dawn Rulers.

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

Description: As debate over the proposed ratification measure rages in the imperial senate, the emperor proclaims his intention of nominate the pro tempore rulers of the Isle of Dawn dominions. He asks the senate to ratify the title assignments to the loyal dominion rulers: Thrainkell Firestorm, Exarch of Westrourke; Uthgaard McRhomaag, Baron of Caerdwicca; Phileus Furmenglaive, Count of Furmenglaive; Anaxibius and Stefania Torion, Count and Countess of Redstone. He also proposes to temporarily assign the other dominions' rule to the three loyal rulers, until the senate and the emperor will be able to agree on suitable candidates to the titles. Even though the measures proposed by Eusebius are very reasonable, the debate is two days long, because of the proposal of Leana Scaurus, leader of the aristocratic faction. She pushes for an immediate nomination of the new rulers, based on the idea of giving them to the nearest loyal relatives of the old dominion rulers. In the end, the senate rejects her proposal, although the emperor promises to consider the idea of the aristocratic faction. (See Va. 12; Th. 23, Fl. 11.)

What This Means: This is a part of the process of rewarding those who were loyal during the war. It is also part of the process of Eusebius strengthening his authority. The ratification of titles for those who already held them is billed as a recognition of their service, but also sets a new precedent.

Fourth Week

Vatermont 22, AC 1017: Migrants Dispersed.

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

Description: By the order of Oberherr Wulf von Klagendorf, all Hattian migrants in Freiburg awaiting the completion of their processing may, under guard, move to the nearest large population centre to their destination, and await processing there. Once issued, this order is carried out swiftly, and several thousand Hattian migrants are loaded onto vessels destined for Forton and Landfall, while others board river boats to head up the Naga River towards Altendorf, or overland to Grauenberg. (See Va. 3, Va. 13; Ka. 12.)

What This Means: Wulf, seeing the ineptitude of the Heldannic bureaucracy in the face of continued immigration and rising tensions, decided to step into the matter and try to resolve things himself. Although he thinks this move will resolve the problem, he is incorrect. By trying to do the bureaucracy's job, he will no doubt make several enemies for himself in that organisation, and in arranging to have many of the migrants move closer to their ultimate destinations, he is exposing more of them to banditry and humanoid raids en route.

Vatermont 22, AC 1017: Sweet Gathering Turns Sour.

Location: Somewhere in Neathar Lands. HW

Description: At a normally festive gathering of several Neathar tribes, members of the Hatfei and Makekei tribes clash once again over the matter of the deer. As the arguments become more heated, weapons are wielded. In the end one Hatfei is wounded and one Makekei is killed before the confrontation is broken up and the combatants dispersed. The death of the Makekei hunter leaves a sour note on the normally festive gathering and soon after the various tribesmen depart for their own lands. Almost going unnoticed is the romantic interaction between Tyana of the Hatfei and Zallon of the Makekei. (See Nu. 14, Va. 4; Fl. 2, Ya. 6.)

What This Means: The gathering of tribes has been a traditional practice where the tribesmen can gather to discuss matters, to barter, and to have a day of fun. However this gathering is different as the tensions growing between the Hatfei and Makekei are clearly displayed. The gathering had seen much sniping between the two, finally culminating in a direct argument by the more vocal members of each tribe, including several of the hunters involved in the deer incident. Two of the hunters engaged in melee, with the Hatfei hunter, Duma, delivering a fatal blow before being wounded himself.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs can try to stop the fight, or, if they are Hatfei or Makekei, defend their tribe's honour.

Vatermont 23, AC 1017: The Butchery Arrives in Baraga.

Location: City of Baraga, Merry Pirate Seas. HW

Description: Redbeard decides to put in at Baraga instead of returning to Kota-Jayang. The crew is in need of some much deserved rest and recreation and there is no better place for this than Baraga, especially with the wealth of a dragon hoard in their pockets! The tales of the Butchery are spread throughout the city. (See Va. 14, Va. 17; Th. 24, Th. 25.)

What This Means: This is a good move to increase the crew's morale, and to spend some of their hard-earned money. It is also a better place for Redbeard to recruit new members for his crew to replace those lost over the previous campaign.

Vatermont 23, AC 1017: Independent Member of the Parliament Elected in Lichfield.

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

Description: A surprise in Lichfield: despite campaigning along broadly royalist/parliamentary lines, an independent is elected member of the parliament for Lichfield. Even more unusual, the individual in question turns out to be a somewhat reclusive wizard who lives alone some distance from the village itself. So, duly, Philip Southwell will represent Lichfield in the House of Commons. (See Nu. 5; Fe. 23.)

What This Means: The unrest in Bellayne has not gone unnoticed. In neighbouring Herath, the wizard-king has found the whole debate in Bellayne amusing, and potentially dangerous to Herath should the unrest spill over the border. To ensure that Bellayne is kept in line, the wizard-king appointed one of his more powerful minions, an aranean lich named Vezhrya, to infiltrate the Parliament of Bellayne.

The real Southwell was silently dispatched by Vezhrya some time ago, and the master of disguise proved to be charismatic enough (and with some simple magic) to sway the local farmers of Lichfield sufficiently to ensure his election. In the guise of Southwell, Vezhrya will report on the goings on in the parliament to his master, Yahav IV.

Vatermont 24, AC 1017: Military Reorganisation Received and Passed On.

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

Description: Eriadna is presented with a report on the planned reorganisation of the empire's military forces in the Hollow World. After conferring with her military and economic advisers, she tentatively approves the report and passes it on to the Alphatian Grand Council for further study and approval.

The plan is fairly straightforward; there is a lessened need for the large imperial forces that Eriadna had organized after the reawakening in the Hollow World. The imperial units will be demobilised to smaller and more efficient numbers with an emphasis on the aerial units. The excess troops will go back to their home kingdoms and be used there according to the desires of their monarch. (See Th. 21, Fe. 8.)

What This Means: Following the reawakening in Hollow World, Empress Eriadna reorganised the empire's kingdom armies into a single force under imperial command. Given the general anarchy and the real potential for trouble, the move was accepted and implemented by the Imperial Throne and Grand Council. The years since have seen a lessening need for such a force. Already, several Alphatian kingdoms have demobilised aspects of their own sovereign armed forces.

Last year, it was decided that the Alphatian Empire had no real need for its large and costly armed forces. Given its lofty nature and protective skyshield, attack from the more primitive Hollow World peoples is doubtful. The existing military forces are to be reorganised. The report is an official sign of the work being done to carry out the plan. Eriadna is a bit taken back by the number of troops demobilised and hesitates at wholeheartedly approving it for implementation. Instead, she passes the report on to the Alphatian Grand Council as a precaution against hostile dissension from the rank and file.

Vatermont 24, AC 1017: A Mivosian Encirclement?

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

Description: Word reaches Wolfgang Stemmel, Governor of Polakatsikes, that the City-state of Syropolis has come under siege by Mivosian forces. His scouts' reports are later verified by those of his cavalry patrols, who send word of the arrival of a number of refugees from Syropolis, some of whom asked for asylum. Already familiar with the local geography, Wolfgang realises that the city-state lies northeast of Polakatsikes; clearly, the Mivosians are trying to encircle Heldannic positions by conquering the surrounding territory. Unable to do anything at this time, he issues the order for his soldiers to prepare for battle. (See Va. 17, Va. 18; Va. 25, Va. 28.)

What This Means: Syropolis, a small city-state inhabited by roughly 3,000 people, lies roughly three days to the northeast of Polakatsikes by foot. As with many of the city-states in this region of the Meghala Kimata Plains, the primary concern lies with defending oneself against sporadic raiding from the desert-dwelling tribes of the Meghales Amosses Desert, and as such most armies in this area are lightly armoured (for the sake of swiftness) and more of a defensive nature. Such a military structure is good for keeping the peace, but rather poor for holding off massed assaults by heavily-armoured soldiers fighting in formation, equipped with war horses, artillery, and battle magic. This was one factor contributing to the Heldannic victory in Polakatsikes two years ago, and it is contributing to the string of Mivosian victories now.

Most of the people living in Syropolis will flee northwards or to the east over the next few days, if they can, but some came south. The city-state itself will likely fall within days.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are with the Heldannic Knights, and witnessed the partial withdrawal at Treminios and Doleria, the PCs might have been able to figure out what the Mivosians were planning to do, in which case they might be able to make it to Syropolis and aid the locals in holding off the assault. Even if they are high-level, the most they are likely to accomplish is a delaying action; there are simply too many Mivosians (roughly 1,000, with another 700 men conscripted from the conquered city-states). Nonetheless, their actions might allow more people to flee to safety.

Vatermont 24, AC 1017: Paradise Regained.

Location: Town of Erendyl, Principality of Erewan, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: The Alfheim refugees arrive in Erewan's capital and are immediately welcomed by their elven brethren. Princess Carlotina sympathises with the refugees' cause and formally offers them sanctuary in her principality as long as they wish. In exchange for her hospitality, she asks them to help her protect her forests from the dreadful lycanthropes, which are claiming many victims among her kin, and from the occasional humanoid raid. At Coolhands' request to mobilise Glantri to intervene in the internal affairs of the neighbouring Wendar, to stop the elves' mistreatment, Princess Carlotina makes the elf understand there is next to no chance the other princes will sponsor such a risky mission. (See Va. 7, Va. 10; Th. 11, Fe. 18.)

What This Means: The trek along central Glantri was not without problems, and the elves were in fact attacked repeatedly by lycanthropes and other fierce magical beasts. However, the casualties among them were limited, thanks to the Long Runners' mastery of the magical arts, and Coolhands and Brendian were able to reach Erewan in a short time. Princess Carlotina obviously welcomed the elves to replenish her dominion's population with fresh blood, and she is secretly hoping the elves will settle there permanently. They will be a useful help in the constant battle against the forces of chaos spreading across her lands. As for a possible Glantrian intervention in Wendar's internal politics, she knows the other princes will never back up such a request, especially now that the situation is so uncertain and chaotic even inside Glantri.

Vatermont 24, AC 1017: Arrival in Calimnis.

Location: City of Calimnis, Empire of Selhomarr. HW

Description: The Wayseeker, with its escort of flying chariots, arrives over the western outskirts of Calimnis. Citizens stop what they are doing and stare at the skyship as it coasts by, hundreds of feet above them. As the crowds gather, Adath and his crew look down upon the city, and note its considerable size, the colourful buildings, as well as the intricate network of canals. The Wayseeker is directed over a large square, near the centre of the city, which had already been surrounded by soldiers. Tessia tells Adath that he may maintain his position at this location during his stay. As the curious crowds gather around the ring of soldiers, a lone flaming chariot nears the starboard side, and its driver offers to ferry Adath to the ground, where he may meet some of the emperor's aides. Wishing to learn more of this strange nation, the captain agrees, but only if his most trusted officers may come, as well. The driver considers this, and agrees to make arrangements to ferry two other officers down.

Once on the ground, Adath is greeted by Aymir, Lord Seneschal of Calimnis, and he leads everyone present to his personal residence, where the Alphatians will stay for the duration of their visit. The Alphatian captain is told that, as a representative of his people, he will be given an audience with the emperor the next day. (See Va. 17, Va. 18; Va. 25, Th. 2.)

What This Means: The various dignitaries and public officials of Calimnis, informed by the advance scout of the Alphatians' imminent arrival, were prepared to meet them. Also included in the retinue of hosts are some of the wisest sages in the city, for Selhomarr does not know anything about Alphatia, and this has been deemed an opportune time to obtain valuable information. During their stay, Adath and his two officers will have a small escort of soldiers (to both protect them and to ensure they do not stray far), but otherwise will have relatively free run of the city.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are with the Alphatians, the PCs might be accompanying Adath to the surface, where ample culture-shock and role-playing opportunities await. If the PCs are Selhomarrian, they might be assigned the task of obtaining strategic information about Alphatia.

Vatermont 25, AC 1017: Shipping Season Commences.

Location: Throughout the Thyatian Empire. OW, SD, DV

Description: Today marks the beginning of the shipping season in the Thyatian Empire. Many merchant ships depart on voyages of trade. Once again the imperial navy prepares to sortie against the Twaelar. Many ships have been refitted and units reorganised, retrained, and re-equipped. All vessels are now protected with shipshock spells, set to discharge if the hulls are tampered with. The empire hopes to win decisively this year.

Also launched today, however, are a number of long-range exploratory trade expeditions, jointly manned by Thyatian and Minrothaddan crews, using large, well-stocked ships. One heads east, towards the Alphatian Sea and eventually Skothar, another sails west to make contact with the so-called Savage Baronies, while a third sails south towards Davania. The expeditions are not only jointly crewed, but also commissioned jointly, by the Thyatian mercantile families, the guilds of Minrothad, and the imperial family (out of its private wealth). (See Va. 1, Va. 16; Th. 13, Th. 17.)

What This Means: This is a normal event, but marks the continuing revival and expansion of the Thyatian trading network. Though the imperial government is favouring native Thyatian mercantile operations, especially those of the City of Thyatis, the traders of Minrothad are benefiting from their new relationship with Thyatis, since trade is increasing due to new markets being opened and developed by colonisation. It is mainly other tradesmen, especially those from the Western Defence League nations, who are being displaced as a result of these measures. This will continue to cause disputes and friction.

Many of the Thyatian trading vessels are travelling under a new, strange concept-they and their cargoes are insured. The shipping losses in previous years due to war, first with the Alphatians and then with the Twaelar, have caused Thyatian merchants to look for some way to limit the risks of trade. Persons shipping goods have begun to pay a fee to agents who promise that, in the event that the goods are lost or damaged, they will work to recover it or compensate the owner for the loss. Fees for this are high enough that in general the agents have made a profit, even though having to pay out to cover the occasional loss. These agents have tended to congregate in a members-only bistro near the Great Harbour, Lucan's of Thyatis, and form syndicates among themselves to lessen their own individual risk, both cooperating with and competing against each other. Lucan Lachanodracon, the owner of the bistro, is not involved in insurance but provides the premises, reliable shipping news and a variety of services to enable his ships' captains, merchants and wealthy investors to carry on their business of insuring ships and their cargoes. Those who work in the bistro arrange contracts between shippers and agents, with each agent taking a share of the risk for an agreed-upon fee, signing their names one beneath the other on the policy together, with the amount they agree to cover. For this reason they are known as underwriters. Rumours that the major criminal organisations of Thyatis (such as the Shadow Hand) are involved have not been confirmed, though many of Thyatis' wealthy mercantile families have promoted and invested in these syndicates. All the major mercantile families of Thyatis have a piece of the action. Even nobles who would otherwise disdain direct involvement in trade have invested in limited liabilities. But so far the guilds of Minrothad are not involved in the insurance underwriting business, except occasionally as clients.

What the PCs Can Do: Players with a yearning for combat with aquatic creatures can volunteer to sail with the fleet against the Twaelar. Characters who prefer visiting far away, exotic lands can join the exploration missions.

The syndicates often hire capable teams or use magic to recover or restore insured properties if this would save them money. Characters could be hired for salvage jobs.

Vatermont 25, AC 1017: Adath Meets the Emperor.

Location: City of Calimnis, Empire of Selhomarr. HW

Description: After having a stimulating conversation with several Selhomarrian dignitaries the previous day, Adath and his two officers are escorted into the main audience chamber of the imperial palace. There, the Alphatians come face-to-face with the aging, but still imposing, figure of Tamaris, Emperor of Selhomarr. Tamaris addresses them in Neathar, welcoming them to his realm in open friendship, and in the hopes that they will enjoy their stay in Selhomarr. In return, Adath, also in Neathar, thanks Tamaris, and he states that Alphatia would be interested in opening relations with the Empire of Selhomarr.

Tamaris then smiles broadly, and invites Adath and his small entourage to accompany him to the Imperial Gardens, where they may all discuss various topics and engage in some good conversation. Once there, and accompanied by various Selhomarrian advisers, Tamaris asks Adath and his officers many questions about his homeland, and what life is like there. The ensuing conversation lasts many hours, until Adath and his party begin to grow tired. Realising that his guests need their rest, Tamaris concludes the audience, and has the Alphatians escorted back to their quarters. In parting, he wishes them a pleasurable stay in his empire, and grants them permission to freely travel Selhomarr's skies during their visit.

Declaring the initial meetings with the people of Selhomarr a success, Adath requests the emperor's permission to allow his crew a few days of shore leave. To this Tamaris consents. (See Va. 18, Va. 24; Th. 2, Th. 3.)

What This Means: Adath and his officers had many pleasurable conversations yesterday with the Selhomarrian dignitaries who met them. Both groups learned a considerable amount about each other. Word had been carried to Tamaris that the Alphatians spoke Neathar, in addition to possessing magic spells that facilitated translation-all of which made the audience less awkward. Today's audience was more of a formality; many of the preliminary details of the future relationship between Alphatia and Selhomarr will be developed over the coming months. Tamaris was eager to meet Adath, primarily to obtain information about Alphatia, but also to satisfy his own curiosity about the newcomers.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are Alphatian, they might get the opportunity to see Calimnis if they are granted shore leave, or they might be one of Adath's officers, in which case they will meet the emperor. Selhomarrian PCs will have the chance to learn more about the Alphatians.

Vatermont 25, AC 1017: Envoys Dispatched to Tyrnae.

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

Description: Amid reports that the Mivosians are pressing their advantage against the Syropolan army, Governor Wolfgang Stemmel orders envoys to head for the nearby City-state of Tyrnae, which lies east of Syropolis. He hopes to forge an alliance with the city-state, in the hopes of halting the Mivosian advance. (See Va. 18, Va. 24; Va. 28, Th. 4.)

What This Means: Isolated from other Heldannic holdings, the garrison of Polakatsikes is now relying increasingly upon local aid in meeting its strategic objectives. This is something that was previously unheard of within the ranks of the Heldannic Order, but it merely reflects the current political and strategic reality.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs could be among the envoys sent to Tyrnae.

Vatermont 25, AC 1017: Reinforcements Arrive.

Location: Torenal Site, Sunken Arogansa, Nayce. AS

Description: The Seashield troops, submersibles, and aquatic mercenaries arrive at Torenal Site. With these reinforcements, morale is bolstered and work continues. Among the reinforcements are Pidimigd and several other necromancers. Though priorities have led him and the other necromancers to Torenal to help in dealing with the ghouls, Pidimigd's interests are still focused upon the sentient undead discovered in Bluenose last year. However, it will be some time before he can focus on them.

Though Aquas had hoped to have Underocean troops already at the site, difficulties with negotiations and the recent legal problems have been holding up the deal. (See Va. 14, Va. 19; Th. 2, Th. 11.)

Vatermont 26, AC 1017: Alphatian Centre for Disease Control.

Location: City of East Portage, Kingdom of Hillvale, Nayce, Isle of Dawn. SD

Description: Thothian emissaries of Ramenhotep XXIV arrive in East Portage. They immediately head for the Alphatian Centre for Disease Control building in the central regions of the city. With them, they bear the carefully wrapped body of the werespider that was slain in Edairo two weeks ago. (See Va. 11; Kl. 22.)

What This Means: The Alphatian Centre for Disease Control was created centuries ago to attempt to study and control the effects of lycanthropy on Mystara. When the lycanthropic plague of AC 425 spread from Alphatia outwards, East Portage was the primary route by which it reached the western nations of the world (carried by merchants). The centre set up an institute in the city in order to attempt to contain the epidemic. Since the sinking of Alphatia, the institute in East Portage is now the largest and best maintained such institute in the world.

Ramenhotep has sent his agents here to enlist the centre's help in combating the araneas. He is hoping they can come up with some means of detecting and countering the shapeshifting ability of the werespider infiltrators, that he might prevent them from rallying his people into religious antics.

What the PCs Can Do: The emissaries will need protection on the long trip from Edairo. Werespider and aranean spies might have uncovered their objective, and will surely want to keep them from reaching East Portage.

Vatermont 27, AC 1017: A Reversal at Olmshaven.

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

Description: Olmshaven, a small Qeodharan port of 150 souls situated on the southeastern coast of the island, is surrounded by an assembled force of 270 Antalian warriors early this morning-utterly surprising the inhabitants. One man, who makes himself known as Cnut, tells the inhabitants that they must leave Olmshaven before midday, heading towards the west, or suffer the consequences. Many villagers, frightened at the spectacle, hurriedly gather their belongings and flee, while braver souls demand to know why they must do so. With a leer, Cnut tells them that his people are "reclaiming what is ours by right, from you who have taken it from us so long ago." When it becomes clear that the Antalians mean to drive them out, by force if necessary, the remainder of the inhabitants leave. (See Nu. 21, Va. 15; Th. 16, Ya. 4.)

What This Means: The jarls have agreed that, just as the Qeodharans have driven the Antalians from their homes, they should do the same thing in return. They also happen to have a rich oral tradition on their side, which tells them that they once ruled the entire island-something that makes them feel justified in what they are doing. Once the region is secured, some Antalian families will no doubt settle the region.

Vatermont 27, AC 1017: Border Raids Increase.

Location: Borderlands of the Hinterlands, Thyatian Empire. DV

Description: Throughout the Hinterlands, raids by Thratian (Hinterlander) warriors have increased throughout the last several weeks, striking at outlying Thyatian settlements and outposts. (See Th. 6, Ya. 27.)

What This Means: The Thratians (Hinterlanders) have been brought together under one leader for the first time in memory. Siobhan, daughter of Maeve, a leader of the Leopard Clan, has managed to convince most of the Thratians that now was the best opportunity to expel the invading Thyatians from Davania. She had hoped to strike while Thyatis was distracted by the Crown War, but convincing reluctant clan chiefs and organising her forces for war took longer than expected. She hopes the ongoing war with the Twaelar will limit the amount of reinforcements Thyatis will send.

The Thratians' friends in the Kingdom of Emerond advised them to take this opportunity to secure an agreement of peaceful co-existence with the Thyatians. But after much debate at the Clan-Meets, the Thratians eventually rejected this option, desiring to expel the invader from Davania. In Thyatis, when Leilah ben Nadir hears of the increased attacks, she uses magic to transport herself back to Raven Scarp and begin organising the Thyatian forces to respond.

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

Vatermont 28, AC 1017: Nova Svoga Is Finally Free!

Location: Border Territories of City-State of Nova Svoga. SC

Description: The people of Nova Svoga can finally breathe a sigh of relief as the last Hulean armies withdraw from the borderlands that they were still occupying. They reinforce their border fortifications and watch Hule with a wary eye, but to all appearances, Hulean armies have for the most part withdrawn from the borders of the city-states. (See Nu. 1; Th. 5.)

What This Means: This means more or less what it looks like. The city-states are of secondary interest to the Master at this time, and he has withdrawn his forces for use elsewhere. However, he has left several agents in Nova Svoga, who will stir up trouble and promote internal rivalries.

Vatermont 28, AC 1017: The Turning of the Tide?

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

Description: Governor Wolfgang Stemmel receives the latest news: Tyrnae has agreed to a military alliance with the Heldannic Knights, in exchange for the future sharing of clerical knowledge once hostilities end. Without hesitation, Wolfgang dispatches 20 cavalry, 30 heavy infantry, as well as 15 high-level priests to Tyrnae.

As the soldiers commence their march to Tyrnae, Wolfgang receives more news from Vanya's Rest: the garrison will be sending an additional 200 men to Polakatsikes, as soon as possible, to aid the remote outpost's efforts aimed at repelling what appears to be an imminent Mivosian invasion. (See Va. 24, Va. 25; Th. 4, Th. 9.)

What the PCs Can Do: If they are with the Heldannic forces, the PCs could be sent to Tyrnae.

Vatermont 28, AC 1017: Geron Falls.

Location: Village of Geron, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: The starving elves' defences are breached by the assault of the Denagothian pikemen, who storm inside the town and begin the slaughtering. At the end of the day the last elven survivors prefer suicide to surrender, knowing their fate could be far worse if the Denagothians enslaved them. (See Nu. 2, Va. 2.)

What This Means: Geron is now again under the control of the Shadow Army and Idris will undoubtedly use it to threaten Wendar's safety in the future.