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Flaurmont 1, AC 1018: Fair of Adunapolis Starts.
Location: City-State of Adunapolis, Confederated Kingdom of Minaea. SK
Description: In the city of Adunapolis, the first ten days of Flaurmont are dedicated to the Fair of Adunapolis.
This is the most important holiday for the Minaeans in general, and those of Adunapolis in particular. During these ten days about 15-20,000 visitors from all over Minaea and Tangor come to buy, sell, find adventuring possibilities, take part in the athletic games or the philosophical debates, or to watch or perform in the public demonstrations held at the Theatre of Arts, or simply take part in the celebrations, held since AC 917 to remember the victory of the confederated cities over a green orc invasion. (See Fl. 4.)
What This Means: Nothing more than what it seems: it is a long celebration, very close to the heart of all Minaeans. It is noteworthy that in the month of Flaurmont, considering the amount of goods that flow in the region because of the fair, piratical activities are double those normally found during the year.
What the PCs Can Do: As is always the case with fairs, PCs have lots of things to do, especially if they are pirates, or if they are employed by wealthy merchants to protect their goods from pirates. If the PCs are not from Adunapolis but are in Minaea during this period, it is highly recommended to send them there, and let them understand the meaning of this festivity to the Minaean people.
Flaurmont 1, AC 1018: Dwarves Prove Their Worth.
Location: Jarldom of Vithesford, Kingdom of Ostland. OW
Description: King Finn, by invitation of Jarl Throfar of Gråbjerge, visits the Modrigswerg Jarldom of Gråbjerge. As he is travelling through the domain of Vithesford, a group of mercenaries attack the king. The royal guard proves inadequate, and just as the leader of the mercenaries strikes the first blow against King Finn, a group of Modrigswerg dwarves, led by Jarl Throfar's daughter Gilis of Gråbjerge, come to his rescue.
Once the mercenaries have been dealt with, an interrogation reveals that they were contracted by a shady person in Soderfjord. The mercenaries are taken prisoner and left to the Jarl of Vithesford to dispense justice over them. The king is impressed with the prowess of his new dwarven allies. (See Va. 18, Th. 12; Ei. 4, Ei. 24.)
What This Means: Throfar, acting through middlemen that can't be traced back to him, set up this attack to gain the trust of King Finn. The gamble pays off, as Finn will believe the Modrigswerg to be trustworthy allies. Asgrim the Bowed suspects foul play at the hands of the notoriously untrustworthy Modrigswerg, but is unable to prove anything, though he will make inquiries.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs could conceivably be tricked into attacking King Finn, taking the place of the mercenaries, in which case they will have some explaining to do, and an escape to plan. They could also be hired to protect the king, in which case they'll likely be overwhelmed by the enemy and fall from the king's graces.
Flaurmont 1, AC 1018: A Cold War under the Ocean.
Location: Kingdom of Underocean and Sunken Alphatia, Nayce. AS
Description: For a while any encounters between anyone from Underocean and anyone from the rest of Nayce have been ignored by both sides. If people from either side meet, they tend to turn around and leave the area without even talking to each other. (See Va. 25, Th. 14; Kl. 1, Fe. 8.)
What This Means: Since King Juliast's protest to the Naycese Council, the atmosphere between Underocean and the rest of Nayce has been bitter cold.
For that reason Underocean and the rest of Nayce are likely to keep out of each other's way for a while, so as to not stir up further trouble. Underocean will continue to hunt down the undead, and Nayce will continue to protect some of the Alphadon settlements whenever they can find them. Where the two forces meet, both sides are likely to withdraw and so not instigate hostilities. Nayce doesn't want to force Underocean out, and Underocean doesn't want to have Nayce as an enemy, so this will remain the status quo for a while. A consequence of this is that Alphadon will be "saved" when discovered by Naycese forces and killed when Underocean finds them first, meaning that over time the Alphadon will be concentrated in the settlements of Sunken Alphatia known to Nayce.
What the PCs Can Do: The DM can set up several cold war scenarios here.
Flaurmont 1, AC 1018: Timely Intervention Gains a New Ally.
Location: North of Yasuko Tribal Lands, Jungle Coast. DV
Description: Continuing its eastward journey, the Thyatian expedition, sailing close to shore, sees several pillars of smoke rising above the jungled shores, and the more perceptive crewmembers hear human-sounding screams. Grasping the situation, the captain of the marines advises Julius Ambrosius that his men will go ashore to assess the situation, and render any possible aid. Within moments, both squads of marines board the landing craft, and they row to shore rapidly, while the ship's crew break out the spare crossbows in the armoury, in order to cover any retreat staged by the marines if necessary.
On shore, the marines discover a primitive village-little more than a collection of wood-framed grass huts-being attacked by a party of jungle orcs. The battle is going badly for the human villagers: The warriors are outnumbered by the raiders, and they are falling under the stronger blows of their orcish adversaries, who do not discriminate in terms of who they attack. All this is taken in within seconds, and the captain orders his marines to take up positions and strafe the orcs with crossbow fire. The first volleys catch the orcs completely by surprise; over 20 of them are dead before they realise that another foe has joined the fray. Splitting their forces into two groups, the orcs turn their attention to both groups of humans, but now that there are more targets, the native warriors have a better chance to reorganise themselves, and their morale is boosted slightly at the sight of these strange men who are fighting on their side.
The battle soon becomes a vicious melee, where the marines are forced to drop their crossbows and draw their swords. No quarter is asked or given, and while Thyatian blades still the beating of many orcish hearts, the orcs' axes and spears take their toll, too. The battle soon looks as though it will turn into a stalemate, but the captain then orders the advance of his fighting clerics, who had until this time remained hidden. Casting hold and protection from evil spells strategically, the clerics are able to neutralise several opponents, while boosting the Thyatians' impact in the battle. Before long, the orcs are forced to withdraw, but not before more of them are cut down by a final volley of crossbow bolts.
The natives, surveying the scene around them, cautiously approach the Thyatians, and, smiling, make grand gestures of thanks for their help. Without a word, the clerics sweep the village for survivors, and use their available spells to render what aid they can, while the captain orders a runner to report back to the ship to provide Julius and the crew with an update of the situation, and a suggestion that a formal meeting with these natives should take place. (See Va. 21, Th. 6; Fl. 2, Ya. 7.)
What This Means: The Thyatian expedition has encountered one of the Yasuko tribes, a people who vaguely resemble the Ochaleans. The Yasuko tribes and their hereditary enemies to the south, the Turkhoshan jungle orcs, have been fighting over these jungle territories for as long as most people living here can remember. For centuries, it seems, an uneasy stalemate was maintained-until recently. The Yasukan villagers will tell the Thyatians (their language has some similarities with Ochalean) that a powerful chieftain has gained control over the orcs, and has crushed internal rivalries. Now, the orcs are a more unified force, and they have surged northwards, overrunning the central hills of the Yasuko lands (which provide the tribes with gold and silver with which they make their jewellery, and whose valleys provide the best croplands), and killing anyone who stood in their way. The Yasukans' own grand chieftain, Ama-Yasuko (their chieftains all go by that name during their lifelong tenure), was killed during the most recent raids, and now it seems the Yasukan legends are true, "When Ama-Yasuko falls to his blood-enemies, so will the old ways die forever." This raid that the Thyatians repulsed is the northernmost yet; the Yasukans are certain that all that remains of their lands are the coastal territories.
Julius will see the gravity of the situation, and meet with his advisers tonight. Tomorrow, a formal discussion will take place between the Thyatians and the Yasukans. Although he cannot forge policy for the empire, Julius knows that Thyatis would much prefer a strong Yasukan presence in this region than to see it controlled by jungle orcs, who might threaten imperial interests in the future. With this in mind, he will see what might be done to aid the natives.
What the PCs Can Do: Depending on how well Julius knows the PCs, they may be among his trusted advisers on this expedition, and therefore they might take part in the meeting.
Flaurmont 1, AC 1018: Formalisation of Ties with Panteria.
Location: Marquisate of Panteria, Kingdom of Alpha, Nayce, Northern Great Bay. NW
Description: The Thyatian expedition continues its tour of the Great Bay dominions by another friendly territory, the Marquisate of Panteria. They meet both with Marquise Celia and Governor Weston, as well as with several guildsmen, including Lucci Day. There, unlike in Latela, the Minrothaddans among the Thyatian envoys take the fore, and easily have the favoured trade agreement extended to merchants from the whole Thyatian Empire.
The Thyatians also meet with several prominent Oceansenders that came to Panteria when their city fell to the Heldannic Knights.
The Thyatians then sail toward Leeha, bypassing for now the Duchy of Chitine (a less friendly Alphan vassal) and other small landlocked dominions, and also not making contact with the northern expense of Nordalfheim for the moment. (See Th. 9, Th. 19; Fl. 10, Fl. 20.)
What This Means: Minrothaddan merchants have long benefited from a favoured status in Panteria, before their country became part of the Thyatian Empire. These advantages include cheap anchoring fees, lighter bureaucratic procedures, reduced tariffs (this contingency being useful now only on those circumstances when tariffs are not waved entirely as a result of the treaty between Nayce and Thyatis), and more generally local guilds taking care of a lot of things for them. Panteria is a mercantile nation, with access to exotic goods from northern Norwold-Shiye clans, Littonia, Kaarjala.
Panteria and Latela are both mercantile petty dominions, ruled by guilds, and fierce competitors. Latela is more Thyatian-friendly, and now basically a Thyatian client-state; Panteria is more pro-Alphatia, but also on excellent terms with Oceansend and Minrothad, and now by extension with Thyatis itself. The Thyatians plan to play on the rivalry between the two states to further their own plans, by playing one against the other as required, or by advantaging one to force the other to make concessions, or using any other scheme that might work to Thyatis's advantage. The goal is, of course, to gain more and more influence over them, and use them to further plots in other Great Bay dominions. The standing allegiance of Panteria to Alpha is notably perceived as an annoyance, and the Thyatians would very much like to have it break away so as to better control and infiltrate it-but the marquise has her own networks and acquaintances within Alpha that she is not ready to give up. The infiltrated agents of Causa Nostra from Latela might come in handy.
The King of Oceansend and part of his court reside in Alpha, but many merchants have taken exile in Panteria instead, whence they continue their businesses, as do several other court members and gentry. It is important for the Thyatians to make contact with them, as the Thyatians would very much like to restore the city as either an independent city-state or as an exarchate, because they could use the markets of Oceansend-a trading partner even after it became independent from the empire-which is unlikely as long as the Heldannic Knights remain in control of the city.
What the PCs Can Do: The question of the extension of the trade agreements is an obvious one, and the real work resides in all the underground manoeuvrings of the various factions-which means a lot of employment opportunities for PCs. Investigation and infiltration of the other factions, secret or official meetings (from protection to organisation to participation to spying), and other thuggish activities are all possible. Possible employers include Marquise Celia, the guilds of Panteria, the guilds of Latela, Causa Nostra, Naycese officials, Oceansender merchants, Thyatian or Minrothaddan merchants, Thyatian spies, and more.
Flaurmont 1, AC 1018: Radiant Voices.
Location: Across the Principalities of Glantri. OW
Description: The members of the secretive Brotherhood of the Radiance in various places in Glantri make contact with one another on this summer solstice night. Some are surprised upon hearing the voice of a woman, which many suppose to be a new member of the brotherhood. But many are disturbed when it appears that the Radiance itself is addressing them, although in words unintelligible as of yet to their mortal minds. (See Ya. 10, Sv. 1.)
What This Means: The woman's voice is simply Danira Voshane's, a long-time practitioner of the Radiance but only recently revealed to the brotherhood, since her becoming the Baroness of Egorn. She was a student of Prince Etienne d'Ambreville and is an ally of Prince Harald Haaskinz and Viscount Gerrid Rientha.
The other voice is indeed the Radiance itself, which seems to have become sentient. Whether this sentience is the Immortal Rad or some other sinister entity remains to be seen.
Flaurmont 2, AC 1018: Showdown in Almisford.
Location: Town of Almisford, Kingdom of Qeodhar, Nayce. AS
Description: In the misty early dawn hours, a host of some 550 Northmen, a large portion of the rebel army in the area, swoop down from a row of grassy hills southeast of this town in central Qeodhar. Among the men leading the charge is Harald Yorlsson, one of those men who had been turned away from this very town a little over a year ago, under different circumstances. The battle is soon joined by the defenders, a slightly greater number of Qeodharans, some of whom have fought the rebels before. The two forces meet just outside town, on its eastern side. The din of battle is so great that it can be heard for miles away, and the townsfolk look on with a mixture of curiosity and fear.
Hours pass, and the battle breaks off several times due to fatigue, and the need to regroup, but, amazingly, the two forces go at it again and again, with each skirmish seeming to be more ferocious than the one before. The battle line moves back and forth during the day, with scouts and archers taking up positions along the fringes to try and aid their sides, but neither side seems to make much headway. By sundown, the defenders pull back to the town, and take up defensive positions behind its walls. The attackers, seeing that they could not take Almisford in their current state, rest and regroup beyond bow range. (See Va. 24, Th. 17; Fl. 3, Fl. 4.)
What This Means: The Ystmarhavners and their Ostlander allies have mounted a fierce campaign over the past few weeks to try to push the Qeodharans out of those lands they claimed for themselves-mainly the northern and eastern portions of the island. The cold and rugged lands north of the Qeodim Mountains have remained largely under rebel control for the duration of the civil war, as Norlan had little interest in those territories, and they are far too poor in his eyes to be worth wasting men in any effort to take them. The central and eastern plains of Qeodhar, however, are a different story. Here, even in this harsh realm, is where agriculture is possible, and where the greatest mineral deposits may be found, and this is why all of the battles have been fought here.
Almisford lies roughly in the middle of the plains, and is situated at a crossroads, connecting the mines in the north to the coastal villages of the south, as well as Farend. Not only is it a strategic town; it is also symbolic because it is where many Antalians were expelled, and where many more were refused entry, following Norlan's decision to expel the Antalian minority from the Qeodharan heartland in AC 1016. Today's battle cost each side almost 200 men, although the attackers' losses were slightly greater.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs on either side of the conflict will face numerous tough opponents today, and more to come in the future! Stealthy PCs may find their services as spies and scouts in demand, as each side tries to break the stalemate and become the victor.
Flaurmont 2, AC 1018: Back from the Dead!
Location: City of Freiburg, Territory of Heldann, Heldannic Empire. OW
Description: Still reeling over the capitulation of Neuhafen to his enemy, Ordensgeneral Heinrich Straßenburger, and reviewing fresh reports from the field, Oberherr Wulf von Klagendorf is interrupted by a knock at the door of his study. More than a little irritated, he angrily demands who it is. The low voice of one of his aides responds that one of his ordensgeneralen wishes to see him; it appears that there is fresh news from the field. Bracing himself for the worst, Herr Wulf tells his subordinate to show the officer in.
Nothing prepares him for the shock of seeing Anna von Hendriks standing before him, delivering a crisp salute and handing him a full listing of those soldiers who survived the expedition to Helskir last year. Before he can respond, she relates her experiences over the past year quickly, and mentions that she has noted where her tactics left her army at a disadvantage against the allied force of Thyatians, Alphatians, and Helskirans. Stunned for a few moments, the oberherr soon regains his composure, and welcomes his subordinate back to the Heldannic Territories. He tells her that there will be time enough for a full report in the coming days, but in the meantime he would be pleased if Anna would join him for a meal, so that he can both bring her up to date on recent events, and grab a respite from the current situation with someone he feels he can trust. (See Va. 20, Th. 24; Fl. 27, Ya. 1.)
What This Means: With the utter collapse of the Heldannic offensive in Helskir late last year [AC 1017. Ed.], and the lack of news about the expeditionary force since that time, many people in Heldann assumed that Anna was either dead, or she had been captured. Unbeknownst of almost everyone, she and a handful of her soldiers managed to escape Helskir during the final battle, and they made their way to Kammin, where they rested and recuperated in secrecy, as advised to do so by the Landmeisterin, Julia von Kolmburg. In the meantime, Anna has managed to keep abreast of recent developments, though she will not tell Herr Wulf of this (she does not wish to steal his proverbial thunder). Anna knows little of Straßenburger, having met him on only a couple of occasions, but she feels that his assertions that Herr Wulf is unfit to lead the Heldannic Order are untrue. She has seen the order grow in power under the oberherr's leadership, adding new territories and attracting new converts, and restoring the order's prestige in the eyes of Vanya Herself.
Herr Wulf is honestly surprised to see Anna alive, and pleasantly so. Despite her lack of success in Stonehaven in AC 1011, and in Helskir in AC 1017, Anna has remained loyal to the principles of the Heldannic Order, and has maintained the discipline of her subordinates-even under situations others would deem hopeless. During the conflict to come, he will need people like her.
Flaurmont 2, AC 1018: First Skirmishes near Rock Harbour.
Location: Town of Rock Harbour, Province of Southrock, Republic of Esterhold, Nayce. SK
Description: Jennite warbands have their first conflicts with the people of Southrock. Governor Darik Rockroll considers the matter and tries to calm his people, but eventually tells them that mercenaries will be hired to keep Southrock and especially Rock Harbour safe from the Jennite advance. (See Th. 3, Th. 16; Fl. 11, Ya. 1.)
What This Means: Rock Harbour is rich from the nearby gold mines, so although it is against his better nature as a dwarf, Darik was convinced by Favian Vern last year he would have to use some of those riches to protect his community against the Jennites. Favian Vern recently learned that Jennites were marching on Southrock and then went to see Darik about preparing his defences. So mercenaries are actually standing by already, only Darik didn't want to alert his people unnecessarily. Now that the Jennites have arrived, however, he is better served by having his mercenaries act immediately. Over the next weeks they will clash with the Jennites on a regular basis.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs could be mercenaries hired by Darik and Favian to protect Southrock, in which case they will find it relatively easy to defend Rock Harbour itself since the escarpment makes it very difficult to attack, but they will also find that defending the rest of Southrock is far more difficult. Jennite PCs would first attack the lands around Rock Harbour and easily drive off the Alphatians, only to find themselves deadlocked once they get near Rock Harbour itself which is all but impregnable because of the terrain.
Flaurmont 2, AC 1018: Dragonslayers Learn More.
Location: Geron Bridge, kingdom of Denagoth. NW
Description: After becoming familiar with the guard movements on Geron Bridge, the Dragonslayers easily defeat the Denagothians, taking their commanding officer captive. After initial resistance, the prisoner suddenly becomes very friendly with the Dragonslayers' mage Alminthrar and proves quite informative about Denagoth. Unfortunately, the officer has never heard of Siren. (See Nu. 19, Th. 25; Ya. 10.)
What This Means: The Dragonslayers now have a good idea of notable sites on the Denagothian Plateau and the identities and locations of the main groups of the land. The Dragonslayers will now head for Idris Tower, hoping Siren will be there.
What the PCs Can Do: Assist in the battle on Geron Bridge.
Flaurmont 2, AC 1018: Yasukans To Receive Aid.
Location: Northern Yasuko Tribelands, Jungle Coast. DV
Description: Julius and his advisers meet with the Yasukan village headmen, and there, through a pidgin mixture of Thyatian, Ochalean, and Yasukan, both sides are able to share information in basic terms. The Thyatians say that they are willing to provide aid to the Yasukans in the form of weapons and helping them build better fortifications, and in exchange they would request a stretch of coastline upon which to build a small fort. The Thyatians make it clear that they consider the Yasukans to be allies against the orcs; they do not wish to conquer them. The Yasukans listen to this, and ask for clarifications on a number of occasions due to linguistic difficulties, and in the end seem content with the arrangement. (See Th. 6, Fl. 1; Ya. 7, Ya. 18.)
What This Means: One of the goals of the Thyatian expeditions is to establish ties with friendly cultures, in order to secure exotic goods for trade, exchange information, as well as facilitate the establishment of outposts for these purposes. This Yasukan tribe represents the first friendly encounter so far, and Julius was quick to build upon the feelings of goodwill and gratitude that already exist in order to lay the foundations of the first outpost, as well as the start of what may prove to be a beneficial relationship. Realising that the threat posed by the orcs is far from ended, Julius will make arrangements for one squad of marines and a handful of scholars to remain behind and establish a temporary fort on the coast, as well as study the locals, while he leads the remainder back to Seagirt (which lies due north according to his charts) to inform the authorities of the situation, and to bring supplies for the new outpost as well as the natives.
What the PCs Can Do: The PCs might volunteer (or be ordered) to remain behind. If this is the case, anything could happen while Julius is away, although another orcish raid is most likely.
Flaurmont 2, AC 1018: Survey Team Retreats.
Location: Northern region of Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: The second survey team heading east on the route of the Shiell-Crystal Canal must retreat. In the last days there have been too many military operations near their position. They are able to leave the region without being captured. (See Nu. 13, Va. 9; Fl. 27, Fe. 18.)
What This Means: Now the work of surveying has come to an end in the north. This is a major drawback, of course. Some more paranoid team members even suspect that they have been sold out to the Stonewall army.
What the PCs Can Do: A group of creative adventurers would be a good assurance for the rest of the time to break free.
Flaurmont 3, AC 1018: The Battle Continues.
Location: Town of Almisford, Kingdom of Qeodhar, Nayce. AS
Description: The battle for Almisford resumes before dawn with several volleys of arrows fired by both sides, followed by daring attempts by the attackers to scale the walls-none of which succeed. On several occasions, the defenders attempt a few sorties of their own, but these are brutally beaten back to the town's gates, for, much to the surprise of the Qeodharans, there appear to be more Northmen besieging Almisford than there were the day before!
Hours pass, and while the Qeodharan line appears to hold, the pressure applied by the besiegers does not let up; feinting attacks are mounted to draw the attention of the defenders, while the real attacks are mounted several hundred feet further down the wall. Once these are blocked, more attacks are staged elsewhere. Unlike the previous day, only small units of men are thrown at the defenders, forcing the Qeodharans to divide their forces in order to watch their perimeter. Although each such attack costs the attackers a few men, in many cases they manage to take a few of their foes with them as well. By evening, some of the townsfolk begin to wonder if the invaders will actually be driven off at all, while the skirmishing continues intermittently through the night. (See Th. 17, Fl. 2; Fl. 4, Fl. 6.)
What This Means: The Antalians are trying a different tactic. This time, instead of mounting bold frontal assaults (which gained them nothing yesterday), they are now trying to wear down their opponents, attacking in limited groups while the remainder rest in concealment, well outside of bow range. Thus, the Northmen have the luxury of resting at least some of their men, and thereby are able to maintain pressure on their foes. Their cause was helped, as well, by the arrival of over 60 Ostlander warriors, fresh from looting the countryside further south.
What the PCs Can Do: Qeodharan PCs might be given the task of trying to break the siege-either by sneaking outside of Almisford and causing confusion, or by seeking reinforcements further west. PCs on the side of the Northmen might be entrusted with the task of finding a way to undermine the Qeodharans' defences, and entering the town.
Flaurmont 3, AC 1018: There Is a New Restaurant in Town.
Location: Town of La Nouvelle Daens, Colonie de la Nouvelle-Renardie. SC
Description: A new restaurant, L'Écaille du Coquillage, opens in La Nouvelle Daens, in a shop that used to be occupied by a barrel-maker, until the owner sold his business following the death of his son and daughter-in-law and their two pups in a brutal gurrash attack. This would have been an unremarkable event, were it not for the fact that there is a growing buzz in town about the place serving excellent dishes, and notably fish and shellfish. Soon enough, the restaurant is always full, and you have to make reservations well in advance to get a table. The place, although located in a rather common part of the town, becomes the rendezvous of the budding bourgeoisie of La Nouvelle Daens, and the owner, Fabien Morais, suddenly becomes very rich and famous. Eventually, the renown of the establishment reaches all over Nouvelle-Renardie.
When patrons ask to see the chef and congratulate him for his excellent recipes, Monsieur Morais always answers that the chef is very protective of his recipes and does not want to even discuss them. (See Nu. 17; Fe. 19, Am. 6.)
What This Means: This is not just a fad: the food really is excellent, and the Nouveaux Renardois are gourmets. It is not uncommon for Renardois to keep secret their special recipes for dishes (and the fabrication of their wines), but it is generally the case only with very special recipes and wines that may win at contests the lupins are so fond of.
What the PCs Can Do: Rivals, or wealthy patrons, covet the secret recipes. The PCs may be hired to steal the recipes, or, if they are not written (the chef seems so paranoid that he may have committed nothing to writing), to kidnap the chef. Alternatively, the owner may hire the PCs as bouncers during the day (to keep people from trying to reach the cuisines) and as guards the night (to prevent burglary and kidnapping).
Flaurmont 3, AC 1018: We Have Ways of Making You Talk...
Location: Town of Xarda, Milenian Empire. HW
Description: Friedrich von Dreiburg and his followers have been imprisoned by the Milenians for several weeks, providing only basic information about their reasons for being in Milenian territory. Even as the interrogation methods became more intense, von Dreiburg and his men refused to give more information. Today, in part out of desperation, the interrogators send a runner to the nearest oracle, in order to persuade him to use his divinatory powers to discern the truth. (See Th. 4, Th. 5; Fl. 8, Fl. 9.)
What This Means: Von Dreiburg underestimated the tenacity of his interrogators. Thinking the Milenians to be uncivilised worshippers of weak Immortals, he was able to convince his followers to resist their questioners, convinced that they would ultimately win out. The oracle, however, may be able to tell the Milenians what they need to know. Unbeknownst to him, however, is that a number of the Milenians have noticed subtle differences in the behaviour of their captives. They have noticed that there appear to be two distinct groups-the Antalians, and a small group of men (of which von Dreiburg is a member) who resemble the other Northmen in many ways, yet their mode of speech and mannerisms seem in some ways different. The chief interrogator, in particular, suspects something is amiss, and he secretly hopes the oracle can shed some light on this, too.
What the PCs Can Do: If they are with von Dreiburg, the PCs will face a significant challenge in not succumbing to their interrogators. If they are crafty enough, they might be able to escape, but pursuit will not be far behind.
Flaurmont 4, AC 1018: Reaping What You Sow.
Location: Town of Almisford, Kingdom of Qeodhar, Nayce. AS
Description: Following a lull in the skirmishes that have continued from the previous night, the resting Qeodharan soldiers are aroused by an urgent call of alarm-the Northmen have scaled a portion of the wall! Losing no time, the defenders rush to meet the threat, to be greeted by fallen comrades and a battle still in full swing. As the conflict ensues, some of the invaders drop down onto nearby roofs, and then into the streets, in order to sow further chaos. Some soldiers are dispatched to hunt these men down, and while some are caught and killed, the screams of commoners begin to be heard from down below-the Northmen are beginning to loot and burn.
Before long, another section of the wall is scaled, and more men are tied down trying to hold off the invaders, while still more Northmen break through the defences and begin to run wild in the streets. Within an hour, several buildings are already ablaze, and while commoners frantically try to quench the fires, more spring up in other areas. Despite the chaos, the situation seems to hold, until a horn sounds from one of the gates! Suddenly, the besiegers on the walls stage a fighting withdrawal, dragging their wounded with them. The Qeodharans, sensing victory, pursue their foes with vigour, killing many of them in the process, but their reverie is short-lived: the streets are now filled with groups of Northmen running rampant, pursuing townsfolk, looting homes and shops, and fighting those soldiers on the streets that they can find.
What was once a clear combat degenerates into a frenzied free-for-all, and soon most of the town is burning, its streets running red with blood. The flames illuminate the ghastly scene of primal bloodletting well into the evening, and even after dark the fighting continues, until a section of the wall collapses in a thunderous roar, silencing the battlefield for a few moments. Then, the quarrelling loses its edge, as the surviving Northmen pull back to the east, looting and killing as they go, and the remaining soldiers round up the surviving townsfolk and evacuate them. (See Fl. 2, Fl. 3; Fl. 6, Fl. 17.)
What This Means: Months of brutal warfare have been building up to this, a last, great assault of vengeance against the Qeodharans. The attack cost the Northmen dearly-over two-thirds of them are either dead or injured-but the havoc they wreaked was absolute. The town of Almisford has been almost completely destroyed, and most of its residents and defenders have either been killed or driven away. Although many Qeodharans acknowledged that the Antalians were good warriors, none could have conceived that this civil war would lead to the complete destruction of an entire town. What shocked the surviving townsfolk, and what will be retold many times, however, was the near-bestiality of both sides in their violence towards each other. No quarter was asked or given, and those injured combatants who could not escape their foes suffered horrible deaths.
What the PCs Can Do: Survive the battle, if they are lucky. There is great glory to be had on either side, though some PCs might very well become disturbed by what they see, and possibly by what they do.
Flaurmont 4, AC 1018: Adunapolis's Day.
Location: All over the Confederated Kingdom of Minaea. SK
Description: This is the main holiday in all Minaea. It is a day of great festivity, with great celebrations in all the cities that make up the confederacy. Adunapolis is obviously the centre of the holiday, due notably to the presence of the fair; on this day, in the Theatre of Arts, demonstrations are held continuously from sunrise to sunrise, and the finals of the main athletic competitions are held. In the rest of Minaea, athletic games are played, and in every city the main temple hosts an important ceremony to thank the Olympian Immortals for the victory against the green orcs in AC 917. During the ceremony, one hundred oxen and one black goat are ceremonially sacrificed by the highest-ranking priests, and their entrails burnt as offerings to the Olympians. The black goat's meat is eaten by the priests, while the rest of the meat is served to the ruling bodies of the city. (See Fl. 1.)
Flaurmont 4, AC 1018: Zhucharnov Returns to Norwold.
Location: Alak Dool's Tower, City-State of Dool, Tranquil Coast. NW
Description: Zhucharnov returns to Norwold and meets with Alak Dool to update him on the progress of their plan. Viktor informs Dool that the Earthshaker is indeed a mighty weapon, but that it may not be a sure thing versus Ericall. He expresses his frustration at the gnomes' lack of interest in bribes and his failure to persuade Milos Formiesias to assist in any way. Milos and the gnomes are steadfastly neutral and apolitical, and have no desire to see Earthshaker fight for any cause, no matter how noble. Viktor also has doubts that the machine could be controlled without the complete cooperation of the gnomish clan that inhabits it. Viktor recalls something that Alak alluded to during their earlier planning-a means to control the war machine. Dool reveals that he learned of the Earthshaker from a third party, the renegade cleric Coiger de Mory. After some discussion, they decide to extend an overture to Coiger in the hope that he can provide further information. (See Va. 2, Th. 15; Fl. 19, Ya. 26.)
What This Means: Zhucharnov's attempts to coerce the gnomes or Milos to help him in his struggle against the "tyrannical" King Ericall have failed. It was apparent that there was nothing, probably not even magic, that would bend them to his will. Thus, an alternative had to be devised. They calculated that Coiger may be able to aid them, despite the risks of bringing a third player into the plot.
Flaurmont 4, AC 1018: Tsar Catches On.
Location: City of Zuyganev, Zuyevan Empire. WB
Description: The Tsar of Zuyevo has for the last year placed considerable trust in his apparently erstwhile Minister of State, Vasily Stolbov. However, the tsar's suspicions have been rising about his minister-and the tsar quietly orders a band of loyal adventurers to investigate several claims that Stolbov has made in the last year-including the opening of Zuyevan gold mines in the Bylot Hills and the sending of supplies to the Olgarian resistance against Hule. (see Fy. 1.)
What This Means: The tsar is not a foolish man. Initially he thought he could trust his minister of state but now he is not so sure. He has no intention of letting Stolbov know of his suspicions, however, and continues to play along as if nothing has changed. If the PCs are in Zuyevo and have proved themselves previously to the tsar, they may find themselves employed for a substantial reward to go on a long range reconnaissance trip via the Bylot Hills and Olgar. The journey will be dangerous, and they will need to be careful not to alert the diabolical agents of Hule to their task.
Flaurmont 4, AC 1018: The Siege Is Broken... Almost.
Location: Town of Ceafem, Kingdom of Arkan, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: With so much of Stonewall's army concentrated near Arreghi, the allies in Ceafem mount a counterattack to push the besieging Stonewall force away. They are only partially successful.
The Arkan and Amburese force, commanded by General Lotaran, push away the besiegers and advance far enough to destroy a portion of the catapults and ballistae Stonewall has set up outside Ceafem, particularly those close to Crystal Lake that threaten ships. Meanwhile, the Foresthome force still in Ceafem board ships, which leave the Ceafem harbour and sail south in an attempt to reach Arreghi and reinforce their countrymen there.
However, after destroying some of the Stonewall siege engines, the Arkan and Amburese forces are pushed back toward Ceafem, and the siege is resumed. The move has cost Stonewall, particularly in war material, but the allies have lost valuable troops that aren't easy to replace. (See Th. 2, Th. 24; Fl. 8, Fl. 27.)
What This Means: News of the Stonewall offensive near Arreghi reached Ceafem quickly because Wolf-Hunter is still in or near Arreghi, and he was able to contact General Lotaran through the use of his falcon. With this news, Lotaran decided to move against the Stonewallers while a portion of their force was committed elsewhere. His plan was only partially successful, because, while they destroyed siege engines, they were still pushed back to the city in the end, and the defenders lost more people than Stonewall. On the other hand, with the siege engines mostly destroyed, Ceafem can now be further reinforced from Ailpon or, more likely, Ambur.
What the PCs Can Do: There is plenty of action for the PCs here. If they are among the Arkan or Amburese forces in Ceafem, they can help fight their way to the Stonewall siege engines to destroy them. If they are with the Foresthome force, they can sail south, though they won't be much help unless they are experienced sailors. Stonewall PCs have more than enough to do fighting off the opposition.
Flaurmont 4, AC 1018: A Grand Hunt!
Location: City of Calimnis, Empire of Selhomarr. HW
Description: Amid much fanfare, Emperor Tamaris of Selhomarr announces the commencement of a grand hunt for one of the legendary artifacts of Selhomarr-the Trident of Rillina. The various eager treasure hunters and other personages assembled in the audience hall hear the palace sage describe the lost weapon, as well as some of its rumoured properties. Once the elderly man finishes speaking, the emperor formally blesses the crowd before him, and requests that the successful hunter return to the palace for his or her just reward.
What This Means: Being an ancient nation, Selhomarr has produced a considerable number of unique magical items, many of which have gone missing over the millennia. A large number of these powerful items were lost during the ancient wars against the Carnifex of Y'hog, and the Lhomarrian Emperor at that time decreed that a hunt should take place to retrieve those items to aid in the war effort. Since the transposition of the Lhomarrians and Ilarnnians to the Hollow World, this hunt has been ritualised thanks to the Spell of Preservation. Once every few years, the emperor, in consultation with his closest advisers, announces a Grand Hunt, in which would-be treasure hunters from all over the empire seek out a known treasure. The hunter who manages to find the item, and bring it back to the imperial palace, traditionally receives many gifts from the emperor, including money, land, a position, or other favours. On occasion, they might even be allowed to keep the item in question, but in most cases it is understood that the hunters are performing a service to the empire.
Grand Hunts can take many years to complete, and, as many involve treks through the wild fringes of Selhomarr, as well as forgotten ruins and other places, they are often quite dangerous. It is not unknown for many hunters to never return from their quests.
What the PCs Can Do: Selhomarrian PCs could be among the treasure hunters, in which case they could have a long quest ahead of them. DMs are encouraged to work out the precise details of the hunt in question-where the trident is located (if it even exists at all anymore), what dangers must be overcome in obtaining it, and so on. As always, the obstacles should be commensurate with the reward.
Flaurmont 4, AC 1018: Redbeard Strikes the Serpent.
Location: Merry Pirate Seas. HW
Description: Captain Redbeard Kray, sailing the two-masted brigantine the Butchery, launches an attack on a sloop flying the jack of Baharu the Serpent, Pirate King of Kota-Jayang. Although the sloop is faster and more manoeuvrable than the Butchery, Kray's attack has caught her crew unawares. The Butchery closes to artillery range and scores several hits, which, along with spells from Kray's ship mage, hinder the sloop considerably. Eventually, the sloop is caught and Redbeard's crew boards the vessel, overwhelming the inferior numbers of the smaller ship. They loot the ship's hold and make off with a fair take of treasure. The surviving crew of the sloop are locked in the hold and Kray orders the ship to be torched. (See Sv. 2, Sv. 16.)
What This Means: Redbeard is making a statement that he is not afraid to target ships of a pirate king, and the king of his home port, nonetheless. The ruthless Kray will earn the enmity of Baharu, once he finds out what happened, but this is just what Redbeard wants. He feels strong enough to challenge the Serpent's supremacy in Kota-Jayang, and hopefully supplant him as that town's king.
What the PCs Can Do: Help raid the ship.
Flaurmont 6, AC 1018: All Brothers under the Skin?
Location: City of Hattias, Duchy of Hattias, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: Many have welcomed the influx of Milenians into Hattias, especially with the emigration of many Hattians (notably those most loyal to Vanya) out of the empire-but others are less welcoming. Today in a private club several Hattians and Thyatians meet to found an organisation known as the Bruderbund, or Brotherhood. They plan on recruiting like-minded members into their organisation and opposing "Milenian influence." They don't believe that everyone is a brother under the skin, and, at least where Milenians are concerned, reject the dominant Thyatian attitude of openness to other cultures and peoples. (See Th. 12.)
What This Means: The organisation seems to have a lot in common with the Storm Soldiers, but is entirely distinct from it. Actually it is initiated as a Plot by Vanya. She was unable to stop the empire from allowing Milenian refugees in, because Her attentions were directed elsewhere (primarily with the Heldannic Knights and also with encouraging Hattians to join them), but Her dislike of Milenians is deep seated. She doesn't wish to have Her followers in the empire act against them openly at this time, because She wants to keep Her influence from being undercut further by the likes of Ixion and Valerias.
She thus promoted the creation of this group to serve as Her tool against the Milenians within Thyatis (while having Her Heldannic Knights wage war on them in Davania). For now the Bruderbund will be fairly quiet, concentrating more on recruiting members by spreading rumours of vices and crimes committed by Milenian refugees. Their aim will be to build up strength and support over the coming months before taking any actions.
Flaurmont 6, AC 1018: Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures.
Location: City of Aaslin, Kingdom of Notrion, Bellissaria, Nayce. AS
Description: As a partial response to the ongoing financial crisis being experienced by his kingdom, King Corydon decrees that henceforth, there shall be a surtax of 2% on all consumer goods and services. Anticipating discontent over such a move, he explains that the kingdom needs added revenue to make up for the continuing decline of grain sales, while still being able to maintain its commitment to enchant domes for the Torenal site. Although there is indeed some public discontent, most people are persuaded by Corydon's argument. (See Va. 18, Th. 17; Ya. 26, Ei. 3.)
What This Means: Corydon has told his people a partial truth. Notrion is still continuing to suffer a shortfall in grain sales, and its ongoing commitment to the Torenal effort is becoming increasingly onerous, but not all the revenues gained from this new tax (applicable to all sales of consumer goods, as well as such services as laundering, deliveries, and accommodations at inns) will go to the kingdom's coffers. Roughly one-third of the new monies will instead be given to the various spellcasters who continue to enchant domes for the Torenal site, as the Naycese government is no longer providing subsidies to Notrion for its contribution. Spellcasters do not work for free, and the kingdom cannot afford to pay them at their current rate, so new money had to be found.
What the PCs Can Do: If they are working for Corydon, the PCs may be entrusted with the task of ensuring that the truth behind the tax does not become public knowledge. Alternatively, the PCs could be instructed by a political opponent to determine whether Corydon is doing anything shady. This could certainly qualify.
Flaurmont 6, AC 1018: What Price Victory?
Location: City of Farend, Kingdom of Qeodhar, Nayce. AS
Description: News of the destruction of Almisford has spread like wildfire across Qeodhar. While the battle was technically a victory for Norlan's forces-it was the Northmen who withdrew, after all-their victory was an empty one: a ruined town, whose blackened buildings are now empty. What is also known is that almost 500 Qeodharan soldiers died during the battle, and it is still unknown how many townsfolk died. The knowledge of what happened stirs up numerous protests across western Qeodhar; too many people have died, or seen their livelihoods destroyed, by this civil war, which has still not been won. People begin to ask publicly what it would take to finally end the Antalian threat, how many more men must die until every last rebel has been either imprisoned or killed. The protests culminate with a march on Norlan's castle, where, blocked by spear-wielding guards, several hundred people demand that Norlan seek peace with the Antalian rebels, and negotiate the return of any Qeodharan prisoners still being held.
At first, upon witnessing the protests, Norlan prepares to order his soldiers to crush the people gathered before his castle. Before he can do so, a messenger interrupts him, bearing an urgent message from some of his commanders. The message is brief, relating that Antalian scouts have been spotted in the past couple of days in several locations, and outlying farms have been attacked sporadically. What attracts his attention, however, are the reports of unrest among the commoners-people are beginning to fear for their safety, despite the military presence in every settlement of note, and some are beginning to mount protests of their own. Norlan comes to the realisation that he no longer has widespread support for his war against the Antalians, as he did only two years ago. His people no longer wish to sacrifice their lives for a conflict that seemingly has no end.
He sags in his chair, letting the message fall to the ground, and stares listlessly for a few moments. Then, noticing the messenger still standing expectantly by his side, he orders the man to go to the front gate, and tell the mob that their king will seek peace with the rebels. (See Fl. 3, Fl. 4; Fl. 17, Fl. 20.)
What This Means: The hostilities between the Qeodharans and the rebels are now officially over; domestic pressures, plus the horror at what happened in Almisford, are what finally broke the Qeodharans' will to fight. Knowing that his people no longer support him, Norlan realises that, if he pursues this war, he could very well see the protests turn into full-scale rebellions against him.
In the next few days, Norlan will assemble his advisers to draft a message to send to the rebels, outlining his proposal for peace, as well as the terms he expects in return. Although news of this will spread quickly, some isolated skirmishes will continue, but these will become less frequent as the days pass. The current battle lines remain as they are, though.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs working for Norlan may be asked to advise him on how to propose peace to the rebels, and they may be called upon to relay the message to the rebels themselves, and act as messengers afterwards.
Flaurmont 7, AC 1018: Ersenbal to the Dogs.
Location: Village of Portus Canium, Barony of Canium, Isle of the Dogs, Thyatian Empire, Tranquil Coast. NW
Description: A half dozen ships are spotted north of the Isle of the Dogs by a Thyatian patrol ship. Those ships bear the colours of Ersenbal, a dominion that lies to the north of the new Thyatian colony. Horns are blown to call for reinforcements. The Ersenbal ships do not slow their course, though, so the lone Thyatian warship engages them in an attempt to prevent them from reaching the coast and disembarking their men. The Thyatian vessel is more powerful than her Ersenbal counterparts, and sinks two before the combined attacks of the Ersenbal ships destroys the Thyatian galley. Two more galleys and a longship join in the fray, but two of the enemy ships have time to reach the shore and start disembarking. The Thyatian and Ostlander vessels make short work of the remaining ships, but about 70 men have disembarked before their ships are sunken at shore.
The Ersenbal troops regroup and march toward the little-defended (as yet) village of Portus Canium. They inflict damage to the Thyatian garrison and collapse some buildings, but two galleys sail into port and two scores of additional Thyatians join in the defence of the city. With the additional help, the Thyatians are able to stand their ground. Both sides lose a few dozen men, until the Ersenbal side surrenders when the Thyatians that sunk their transport ships and disembarked after them catch up from behind, encircling and overwhelming them. (See Va. 18, Th. 24; Fl. 18, Ya. 7.)
What This Means: The Thyatians were expecting a possible attack from the Heldannic Knights primarily, but they were not excluding the possibility of hostile action from other dominions as well, and notably from the close-by County of Ersenbal.
Ersenbal's casualties are high, as more than 350 of its veterans drowned before they were even able to land on the island, or in the following battle that they fought with a much-reduced advantage than they expected; the rest are prisoners. The Thyatians also suffered losses and damages, but the goal of driving them away has failed.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs who are engaged with either side can alter the course of the battle significantly.
Flaurmont 7, AC 1018: The Lord Regrets.
Location: City of Errolyn, Kingdom of Theranderol, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: General-Major Quoos and Lord Abolon, the famous Alphatian engineer, convene a meeting to talk about the construction of the upcoming Bigos-Sasdil Canal. The talks are going badly, as Abolon does not want to fulfil the requirements the general is presenting, so he regretfully leaves the capital. (See Nu. 19, Th. 7; Fl. 9, Fl. 28.)
What This Means: As he has said last circle, Abolon does not have the necessary workforce to help Theranderol. So the project would have to be put on ice-something not acceptable for the army. As an alternative Abolon has offered the massive use of magic, with almost no assistance by commoner workers. For this solution the general does not have a sufficient budget, however. Both sides cannot come to terms now.
Flaurmont 8, AC 1018: Further Reinforcements Arrive.
Location: Town of Arreghi, Kingdom of Arkan, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: The ships from Ceafem carrying Foresthome troops to strengthen Arreghi arrive. They manage to enter the harbour and unload their troops without too much trouble. (See Th. 24, Fl. 4; Fl. 27, Ya. 1.)
What This Means: All of Foresthome's troops in the war are now concentrated in Arreghi under the command of Commander Trallans. It may not seem to be more than a rearrangement of their troops, but it's an advantage to Trallans because he is now close to the borders to his homeland with all his troops. It is also obvious that Stonewall is ill equipped for sea battles. They built primitive river boats to bring them to Arkan last year, but those are still at the Fris River, and they wouldn't be any good in battle anyway. Selcomad is contemplating building ships, but he will need to capture one of the Crystal Lake towns first, either Reer, Ceafem, or Arreghi.
Stonewall did try to stop these ships from entering the harbour, but the speed with which they attacked the forces around Arreghi didn't allow them to bring siege engines, and building new ones is a slow process.
What the PCs Can Do: There are some skirmishes here the PCs can participate in, but nothing major. Scouting missions to discover what the enemy is doing would be more relevant.
Flaurmont 8, AC 1018: A Most Interesting Revelation.
Location: Town of Xarda, Milenian Empire. HW
Description: After several sleeps, the runner returns from the oracle, bearing interesting news. After relating the situation to the oracle, the enigmatic oldster wrote his response on a scroll, and gave it to the petitioner, instructing him to bring it unread to his master. The chief interrogator takes the scroll, and reads the following:
"Beyond a great wall of stone, where Atlass cannot be discerned,
There shalt thou find 'twixt earth and water
A domain of the river men.
From thence hath the swordswoman's servants
But recently fled."
Puzzling as the revelation may be, everyone present is certain that it is extremely important. The runner is immediately dispatched to Corisa, to relay the information to the authorities, where they might make better sense of the cryptic message. The other Milenians, seeing that von Dreiburg and his men are of no further use to them, inform their captives that they will be sent to Corisa in two sleeps, where they will be interrogated in more depth, before their final fates are determined. (See Th. 5, Fl. 3; Fl. 9, Sv. 16.)
What This Means: The Milenian oracle was able to obtain the information that brute force could not. Fortunately for the people of Lothar, the oracle divulged only vague information about Lothar (he was not able to divine its name, for instance). It will not be long, however, before the Milenians determine that the "wall of stone" mentioned by the oracle is the Bahl Masiv to the southeast, and that the "river men" are likely the Nithians (whose own empire is centred around the River Nithia). Efforts to locate and destroy this Nithian outpost will commence once this is deduced.
The oracle also provided vague clues as to the nature of some of the captives, namely, that there are followers of Vanya (the "swordswoman") in their midst. The Milenians' disdain for the followers of Vanya is well known to Friedrich von Dreiburg and his men, and, although he instructed his followers to give no indication as to their true faith (instead, they pretended to follow the Norse pantheon), the fact that more interrogation is to come does not bode well. Normally, prisoners who outlive their usefulness are enslaved; von Dreiburg has the distinct impression that he and his men will not be so fortunate.
What the PCs Can Do: If they are part of von Dreiburg's entourage, the PCs might be focusing their efforts on the immediate task of escaping.
Flaurmont 8, AC 1018: Where Are My Subjects?
Location: "City" of Izchnizoy, "Kingdom" of Omegaran, Underside, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: In the lone tower that he magically erected, "Emperor" Zandor goes into one of his fits of rage, one of his infamous tantrums. The subject of his displeasure is that he has so few people to do his bidding: his empire, he realised, is one without subjects to obey their rightful emperor! There are no servants to attend to his needs, and abide by his whims! Not to mention that slaves should be working on transforming his tower into the palace that his imperial stature deserves.
Once he has regained his composure, Zandor sends his minions out to locate his future subjects. (See Va. 27; Sv. 11, Ei. 18.)
What This Means: Zandor came to the Underside convinced that he could use his hard-acquired necromantic skills-he was afflicted with the curse of the Zargosians for his efforts, a condition that makes him incapable of withstanding sunlight-to surround himself with a swarm of undead he would control. In time, he had imagined, his control would spill over to the surface of Alphatia, and he would be able to reclaim rulership over the whole of Alphatia, his to be ruled by right. The only detail he had not yet decided upon in his fanciful dream of power was whether he would rule Alphatia from his dark palace in the Underside, or from the palace in Sundsvall, eternal capital of the Alphatian Empire-for Sundsvall either still stands unscathed or he will have it rebuilt (both prospects cross Zandor's deranged mind at different times).
The reality, which Zandor cannot accept, is very different though: without the living to act as material or sustenance (or both) for the undead, Zandor cannot populate his empire! In fact, so far he has been enchanting more constructs than he has raised undead, a slow, exhausting process that does not fit with Zandor's vision of his empire.
Thus, Zandor has sent the minions he has created so far to scour his empire for subjects-be they undead that have moved to the Underside to protect themselves from the sun, or living settlers that for some reason have moved to the unlit side of the Alphatian continent.
What the PCs Can Do: An unusual type of campaign may be started by DMs whose players want to play in an undead campaign. In that case, PCs may be undead, or even the more bizarre types of constructs, who are tasked by their master Zandor to gather subjects for his empire. They may have many adventures while performing their mission: not only must they subdue the living and the dead and the undead, explore the Underside, and maybe venture on the surface, but they also have to fight for their own survival (including by finding their own sustenance, in addition to the more usual dangers naturally brought by their mission). At some point it is even possible that they would become king or queen of one of the kingdoms that Zandor intends to carve out from the Underside; note that PCs who are of a type of undead that can cast spells may be the only ones that are eligible, though Zandor has promoted commoners to such positions before, during his brief reign as Emperor of the New Alphatian Empire on the surface world.
Flaurmont 9, AC 1018: Von Dreiburg Escapes His Captors.
Location: Town of Xarda, Milenian Empire. HW
Description: The Milenian prison guards, thinking to check on von Dreiburg and his followers, are surprised to see that the Heldannic Knight and his men are missing! The guard who was on duty was apparently killed not long beforehand. A search of the town is mounted immediately, but no trace of the fugitives can be found. (See Fl. 3, Fl. 8; Sv. 16.)
What This Means: Von Dreiburg feared that escape would be far more difficult once he and his followers were moved to Corisa, and that if their true nature were uncovered, they would be executed. Accordingly, he pretended to lose all hope of escape, and ordered his followers to do the same. Thinking the prisoners to be little more than barbarians, some of the guards had grown complacent, thinking that there would be no trouble, since they had apparently been cowed. The guard on duty last night was lured to the cell by a strange noise, grabbed by a couple of von Dreiburg's Antalian followers, disarmed, and killed. The prisoners then unlocked their cell and made their escape.
Von Dreiburg and his followers are now heading northwards along the coast, looking for a small village where they can sneak in and steal another vessel, since they realise that crossing through the Milenian Empire would be foolhardy. They will then resume their journey northwards.
What the PCs Can Do: Assuming they are still with von Dreiburg, the PCs could be given the task of watching for any organized pursuit, or of seeking a decent-sized vessel to make possible a quicker escape. Alternatively, the PCs might come up with a more ingenious escape plan; this would provide a tense, but interesting encounter.
Flaurmont 9, AC 1018: Construction Started.
Location: City of Greenwood and Town of Soctel, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: Two construction teams of Lord Abolon start to connect the two Foresthome harbour towns with a section of the Foresthome Rim Canal. They will meet somewhere in the middle, and Abolon and his subordinate engineer are optimistic that they will be able to open this first section to shipping before the year ends. Both construction sites are guarded by the 1st Marines, who don't have too much work to do as the protests organized in both towns are lower than expected. (See Th. 3, Th. 27; Fl. 17, Fl. 28.)
What This Means: The speed Queen Kikania demands is incredibly high, but Abolon has put enough resources and experience into the project to fulfil her wishes. Once ready the town of Soctel will be reconnected to the interior Alphatian waterways, as was done for Tenoboa. The next section to be started, on the other side of the canal, is that between Tenoboa and Igoin.
Flaurmont 10, AC 1018: This Means War!
Location: Eastern fringes of Finsterwald, Territory of Heldland, Heldannic Empire. NW
Description: The Heldannic commanders overseeing the operations against the forces of Count Helmut of Wolkenburg receive news-one of their scouts has returned! Losing no time, they rush to meet the scout at the camp that has been set up in the newly claimed lands just east of the Finsterwald. There, the haggard woman tells them a tale of being stalked by seasoned woodsmen, ferocious animals, and of living under a sense of dread, as though her every move was being watched by someone... or something. When questioned about the fates of the other scouts, the woman notes that she heard screams on a number of occasions, but when she arrived at where she thought the noise had come from, there was nothing to be found but animal tracks, perhaps a discarded weapon, and blood. She feels convinced that it was only because of her knack for sensing danger that she avoided a similar fate.
Thanking the scout for her report, the commanders decide to mount a full-scale campaign of destruction as a retributive strike against Helmut. (See Th. 15, Th. 27; Ya. 4.)
What This Means: Helmut has employed his warriors to good effect against the scouts, most of whom were highly competent woodsmen in their own right. His efforts were aided by the druid, who summoned bears, wolves, and lynxes to deal with the intruders.
What the PCs Can Do: If they were part of the scouting force, the PCs will find themselves faced with an unusually large number of encounters-much more frequent than one would reasonably expect. Furthermore, the animals encountered will be tougher than expected, and will fight with an intelligence that seems uncanny for "normal" animals. In addition, Helmut's warriors are also patrolling the forests, and they have been instructed not to take prisoners. If they are on Helmut's side, the PCs will be busy tracking down the scouts, and trying to kill them as quickly as possible. Given that the scouts are woodsmen themselves, the PCs will have to use their tracking and listening skills to good effect in order to locate their enemies.
Flaurmont 10, AC 1018: Leehan Tolls.
Location: City of Leeha, Shire of Leeha, Western Great Bay. NW
Description: The Thyatian merchants continue their counter clockwise tour of the Great Bay, and arrive in the hin territory of Leeha. They meet with Sheriff Shaedrik Divotfoot, but the man is neither a haggling trader nor a sly politician, simply the custodian of the hin people and therefore quite unmoved by the various attempts of the Thyatians to gain anything that would give them an advantage. The toll to sail the White Bear River upriver remains unchanged, the same that every non-hin ship, regardless of flag, must pay.
The expedition decides to continue their tour of the Great Bay by sea rather than sail up the White Bear toward the rather unpredictable Kingdom of Siegeria. (See Th. 19, Fl. 1; Fl. 20, Ya. 8.)
What This Means: The traders knew it was unlikely that they could gain any concession from the hin, as they have throughout the centuries remained steadfastly impartial in their relations with outsiders. They expected this position, and plan on trying to make arrangement on a more local basis, with hin individuals, families or clans, to try and bend the rigidity of global hin policy of neutrality.
Flaurmont 11, AC 1018: An Informal Suggestion.
Location: Kingdom of Veroth, Bellissaria, Nayce. AS
Description: King Verothrics makes it known that many Alphatian areas in Esterhold, particularly Rock Harbour in Southrock, are seeking mercenaries to protect their towns and population. He doesn't order anyone to Esterhold, but strongly implies that soldiers and mercenaries ought to seize the opportunity to go and help Nayce end the threat that the free and rebel Jennites represent to their empire, for who else but the brave people of Veroth would be more suitable warriors in this stand for Nayce. (See Th. 16, Fl. 2; Ya. 1, Ya. 5.)
What This Means: Though King Verothrics is uncertain why, he is convinced that Karszamon has his own motives for not having stepped in to deal with the situation in Esterhold. However, since Karszamon is the commander of the Nayce military and the Naycese Council hasn't pushed him into action, Verothrics's hands are tied. His conclusion is that Esterhold must seem very far from Ionace to Karszamon, but to the people of Veroth, it is fairly close, just across the sea, to the nations of Bellissaria. The Jennites cannot be allowed to show such insolence against the Alphatians so close to Bellissaria, which is the heartland of Nayce now, after all. That would only be a sign of weakness, and an invitation for the Jennites and others to invade Nayce further. That cannot be permitted, and Verothrics expects the much better trained forces of Veroth will be able to deal with the primitive Jennites in short order and so gain some influence in Esterhold which, in turn, may also reflect well on Veroth in the Naycese Council.
But while this seems to indicate that Verothrics supports Favian's ideals, that is certainly not the case. Verothrics doesn't so much support Favian as he opposes Karszamon. The Verothians tried to claim the position as supreme commander of the military of Nayce for someone from their own ranks last year, but it went to Karszamon instead. They have not forgotten that, and this is one way to set themselves apart from him.
However, there are also other reasons for this. Veroth has had few funds since it was founded, and while Verothrics doesn't like to admit it, he needs the grain from Notrion to feed his troops and people, only Notrion has been making a big issue of the prices and lack of payments. If mercenaries went to Southrock in Esterhold and were paid out of the wealth from the rich mines in that area, then that would surely be an income Veroth could use.
What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are Verothians, they should obviously follow Verothrics's "advice" to travel to Southrock and fight the Jennites. If the PCs are merely travelling through the area, they will find they can hire many willing NPC mercenaries here. Even if they don't, they will certainly notice that the number of mercenaries travelling to the southern parts of Esterhold will rise dramatically over the following weeks.
Flaurmont 11, AC 1018: Most Unwelcome Visitors.
Location: Estate of Dentarthadint, near Town of Tirenlos, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: While basking in the eternal sun on his estate, the peace of Dentarthadint, occasional member of the Grand Council, is shattered by the sounds of underbrush being snapped and leaves rustling. Slightly annoyed, he dispatches a couple of servants to investigate, and resumes his stately repose. His peace is shattered yet again when his servants return, escorting a rather plain-looking man dressed in travelling clothes.
The man identifies himself as Prostir, a representative of the Navy of the Lakes. He states his business on Dentarthadint's property: The Navy of the Lakes was granted a charter to develop a series of canals connecting Lake Llyn, Lake Shiell, and Crystal Lake, under the patronage of Queen Kikania. His particular surveying team has been working since that time, assessing the surrounding countryside to determine the best possible route for the canal. He tells Dentarthadint that his estate lies along that route, and, as a result, the canal will run through his property along the southern edge. Unfortunately, the mage's bed of prized petunias will have to be moved.
Speechless for a few moments, Dentarthadint regains his composure, and orders his servants to escort Prostir and his men off his property, and he tells the surveyor on no uncertain terms that he is not welcome to return. While being escorted away, Prostir calls back, "Then take your complaint to the Office of Surveys, in Greenwood!" (See Th. 27; Fl. 14, Ya. 3.)
What This Means: In Ambyrmont, AC 1017, the Grand Council approved a contentious proposal for the establishment of canals to both boost internal trade and make domestic transportation faster and more efficient. The Navy of the Lakes was one such party that was granted a charter to build its canals. Although most nobles became aware of the situation, some did not. In Dentarthadint's case, because he prefers to while away his time on his estate, taking little notice of what goes on in the world at large, the news of the construction passed him by entirely-this encounter has surprised him. Dentarthadint's property does, in fact, lie along the proposed route, but, feeling satisfied that he has won, he decides not to pursue the matter. Over the coming days, however, Dentarthadint's advisers will suggest to him that he should perhaps go to Greenwood, to the Office of Surveys, and make his case there. As an aristocrat, and a member of the Grand Council, he should surely be able to force the decision to be changed.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs in the employ of Dentarthadint might be given the task of investigating the mysterious Prostir and his men, to determine if they are in fact what they say they are!
Flaurmont 12, AC 1018: Let There Be Roads!
Location: City of Raven Scarp, Exarchate of Davania Superior, Hinterlands, Thyatian Empire. DV
Description: Leilah ben Nadir, Exarcha of Davania Superior, announces that work shall commence soon for the construction of a paved road linking the city of Raven Scarp with Cittanova. The route shall follow the coast, passing through various coastal towns and villages, as well as the Barony of Fiorenza. (See Kl. 13.)
What This Means: Davania Superior is the most settled of all the dominions of the Thyatian Hinterlands, and although it does have a network of roads and trails connecting its population centres, they are not to the same standards as one would find in Thyatis proper. Leilah has decided to allocate some of her treasury towards building more roads, which will open up more land for settlement, and give the local economy a bit of a boost (not only because there is work to be done; goods and people will travel more efficiently across the exarchate).
What the PCs Can Do: PCs could obtain work as guards while the construction is underway-someone will be needed to drive off monsters from the surrounding jungles, after all.
Flaurmont 13, AC 1018: Wings over Eastshire.
Location: North of Rollstone Keep, Shire of Eastshire, Five Shires. OW
Description: The gold dragon is again seen in the skies over Eastshire, this time north of Rollstone Keep. She appears to be in pursuit of a trio of riders on black horses, who take to the air as she approaches. All four disappear into the evening sky. (See Th. 6; Am. 20, Ka. 26.)
What This Means: Scholars suggest that this may be the dragon Azem. A hin master reportedly confirms her identity to the sheriffs later.
Flaurmont 14, AC 1018: Irate Magist: 0; Imperial Bureaucracy: 1.
Location: City of Greenwood, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: Grand Council member Dentarthadint, having decided to give the Office of Surveys a piece of his mind, has arrived in Greenwood to challenge the imperial bureaucracy over its decision to dig a canal through his prized petunia patch. In relatively little time, he locates the building-little more than an imposing block of granite decorated with statuary-and makes his way inside...
... Only to be surrounded by absolute darkness. Muttering, he determines that the darkness is magical, although his attempt to dispel it fails. Slightly annoyed at this meagre attempt to dissuade the general public from interfering with the machinery of government, he casts batsense, a spell of his own creation that allows him, via echolocation, to navigate the silent, furniture-strewn foyer without tripping. Soon, however, his senses become addled-did he just make a right or left turn? Confused, he wanders aimlessly for a few moments, until he steps into a pit, falling several dozen feet before his ring of feather falling kicks in, and settles him gently to the ground, 100 feet below.
The confusion wearing off, Dentarthadint is quite angry now, and he stomps along the only other way out-a long corridor stretching into darkness. Within moments, the walls seem to shift and bend, and soon he finds himself in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. Growling in frustration, he dispels the maze, and resumes his journey. Over an hour later, he reaches the end of the corridor (after dealing with several illusions and teleportation traps designed to bar his passage), and finds himself facing an imposing, wizard locked door of solid black iron, with the words, "Office of Surveys - Inquiries and Complaints" engraved upon it in flowing gold script. Grasping the prominent knocker, he pounds on the door, demanding to speak to someone.
His answer comes in the form of four giant cheese golems, who suddenly step through a dimension door from Frisland, and immediately attack the wizard. A few quick fireballs reduce the constructs to melted cheese, which Dentarthadint quickly samples, nodding in approval.
While he waits impatiently for a response, a rather small fellow appears next to him with an audible "poof," and thanks the wizard for his patience. Before Dentarthadint can say anything, the man continues, "Unfortunately, all of our officials are busy today-so I'm afraid you'll have to come back later. Perhaps next week." Turning white with rage, Dentarthadint sputters a few curses, and angrily demands to receive prompt service, as befits a standing member of the Grand Council. "I'm afraid that won't be possible, my lord," replies the man, "we have our instructions to follow, and they say explicitly that all canal proposals, evaluations, and complaints must be processed in the order in which they have been received. Now then, your complaint was made after the original proposal and evaluation had been filed, since the canal had to have been built, or at least be under construction, in order for you to notice-and disagree-with it. That being the case, the canal's construction precedes your complaint in the temporal sense, as does the evaluation, which we are currently conducting now. Therefore we can't deal with your complaint until the actual canal in question has been evaluated, and of course that won't be possible until it has been built. Quality control and procedural accountability are our watchwords, you know."
"But that's ludicrous," shouts Dentarthadint, "my petunia patch will have been destroyed by the time your accursed evaluation is complete! I demand restitution at once!" At this, the bureaucrat shrugs his shoulders, and replies that he is merely following the regulations that have been put in place by his superiors, and that the original proposal had been posted at the Office of Surveys for "at least a couple of days;" the wizard would have had plenty of time to examine them and make comments at that time. "At any rate," says the bureaucrat, "my lunch break is about to start, and the rules state that I can't handle government business during that time." With that, he vanishes in a puff of smoke, leaving Dentarthadint, standing ankle-deep in congealed cheese, to fume silently. (See Fl. 11; Ya. 3, Ya. 6.)
What This Means: Thinking his cause to be just, Dentarthadint tried to challenge the imperial bureaucracy, and force it to change its decision to approve the canal that is supposed to cut through his property. He lost.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs who are in Dentarthadint's employ will find their boss more than a little angry upon his return from Greenwood. They may find themselves given the task of trying to track down the bureaucrat responsible for developing the rules pertaining to the approval of canals, in which case the PCs will have to brave the Office of Surveys themselves. Since they probably lack the magical repertoire of their employer, this mission could (and probably will) be quite dangerous. DMs are free to dig out Tomb of Horrors (if they have it) as the basis for the adventure, or they can cook up some fiendish adventure on their own. The PCs might even succeed in their mission, but that would be unlikely; a 2,000-year-old bureaucracy is a formidable opponent.
Flaurmont 15, AC 1018: Iceberg! Right Ahead!
Location: Somewhere in the northern Alphatian Sea, Sunken Alphatia, Nayce. AS
Description: The Torpin, while on patrol searching for Alphadon as so many other Naycese forces are, has a near-fatal encounter with an iceberg. The submersible doesn't see the iceberg until it is too late, and a jarring sound seems to suggest a threat to the very hull of the ship. Chief Engineer Dlanor hurries to cast spells, but it is too late-the Torpin is already taking on water! Before he can cast a spell, half the deck is flooded. The Torpin crew struggle the entire day to save the submersible. They are eventually successful, but two decks are flooded and several crewmembers are dead. The Torpin begins a slow journey back to its construction site in Aquas.
Chief Navigator Thallyn was not on duty when the Torpin hit the iceberg, yet she fears she will be blamed for it, both because she is the chief navigator, but especially because she is a commoner, whereas the person actually navigating at the time, Tellesar, is an aristocrat. Nobody has blamed her yet, but then neither has anyone declared her innocent either... She fears that nobody is saying anything because of her relationship with Commander Dhallaq, and they therefore won't accuse her until they reach Aquas itself where Dhallaq can't protect her anymore. (See Va. 24, Fl. 1; Ya. 12, Kl. 3.)
What This Means: Thallyn is indeed a skilled navigator, but even navigators have to sleep sometimes, and unfortunately the substitute Tellesar was a former skyship navigator not used to underwater conditions. Thallyn is a former skyship officer herself, but she has adjusted her navigation to the underwater conditions, whereas Tellesar has earned his position because he was a mage from a respected family in Seashield. This is once again an example of how the Alphatians still tend to place skill at magic over skill at whatever is relevant, and still refuse to accept it when that principle is not confirmed in practice. Thallyn knows this, which is why she is worried. She might even be right!
What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are on the Torpin, they will have their hands full trying to save the submersible. This is an excellent opportunity for the DM to run an underwater submersible disaster adventure.
Flaurmont 16, AC 1018: The Famine Menace.
Location: City of Draco, Kingdom of Stonewall, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: In his palace in Draco, King Koblan Dracodon is considering Stonewall's war in the north. Though General Selcomad has been largely successful, the war is taking longer than expected, and the reactions in the Grand Council are a major concern as well. Even more alarming is the fact that people are now beginning to die of starvation. Already it is estimated that about 2,000 people have died from starvation, either directly or indirectly.
However, with Randel's recent support, Koblan decides to call for help in fighting the famine. He calls for clerics to use magic to create food and water and purify food and drink. Stonewall already has many clerics able to do this, but they just cannot create enough food to save the population.
Apart from that, Koblan begins considering other alternatives in case the Arkan war continues even longer than expected. It was hoped that by now food would be produced in Arkan, but the war is still unresolved. (See Va. 3, Th. 10; Ya. 1, Ya. 9.)
What This Means: King Koblan does several things. First, he authorises General Selcomad to bring more Randel military to Arkan if he desires it. Koblan could order it, but Selcomad is in command of the conflict, and Koblan is content to let him organise the war. The war may not have gone as well as he hoped, but he can hardly fault Selcomad for the unexpected intervention of Foresthome or Ambur. Naturally, Koblan also confers with Selcomad and makes him aware of the situation in Stonewall.
He also asks for clerics from Randel to help fight the famine in Stonewall. This is the sort of request Queen Karatnora is likely to respond to because it require few resources of Randel, and carries no political consequences beyond better relations with Stonewall, so a fair number of clerics will likely arrive.
Finally, Koblan begins looking into other alternatives. That might involve other hostilities with other nations, but as he decided last year, if that is the price for Stonewall's survival, so be it. He begins discussing plans with his advisers and recalls Rogart from Arkan to Stonewall to help in his considerations.
What the PCs Can Do: PC clerics will be very welcome in Stonewall at the moment. Otherwise PCs might serve as couriers, or they could be scouts or spies used by Koblan once he begins considering his "alternatives."
Flaurmont 17, AC 1018: Gnomes Reach Soderfjord.
Location: City of Soderfjord, Kingdom of Soderfjord. OW
Description: The gnomes of the Torkyn Clan reach Soderfjord, where they gain an audience with King Ragnar. He eventually agrees to let the gnomes move into the Falun Caverns. The gnomes in turn agree to trade artifacts for food, tools, etc. (See Nu. 5, Th. 7; Ya. 19, Ya. 22.)
What This Means: Ragnar has long been at a loss as to what to do with the Falun Caverns, now that they've been cleared of kobolds. Since most of the caverns are too cramped to be homes to humans, he has tried to get dwarves to move in there. Though small numbers of dwarves have agreed, Ragnar would rather have an entire clan living there, since that would provide a more stable community. The gnomes seem to be the perfect solution to his problems.
Flaurmont 17, AC 1018: Meeting the Enemy.
Location: Plains south of Town of Almisford, Kingdom of Qeodhar, Nayce. AS
Description: Tense meetings, agreed-upon beforehand, take place between Norlan's representatives and Harald Yorlsson, Olvi, and a number of Ostlanders. The feeling of mutual distrust is palpable, but Norlan's emissaries reiterate his proposals to the rebels, which have already been sent to them via messenger. The rebels state their own counter-demands, and a round of negotiations ensues, as both sides try to minimise the other's benefit and maximise its own gains. The discussions continue into the evening and night. (See Fl. 4, Fl. 6; Fl. 20, Kl. 8.)
What This Means: This is the test to see if both sides can come to an agreement. Neither side wishes to continue the conflict, as both have lost many people and have grown weary of the constant warfare. What emerges from these discussions will likely determine the future shape of Qeodhar for many years to come.
What the PCs Can Do: If they played prominent roles on either side in the civil war, the PCs could very well be present here, giving their own perspective and providing players with good role-playing opportunities.
Flaurmont 17, AC 1018: Last Harbour Sealed.
Location: Town of Orfil, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: With the completion of the last dam in the harbours of Foresthome another phase of the Foresthome Rim Canal is finished. Queen Kikania promises that in no more than two circles the canal will be fully operational. (See Th. 27, Fl. 9; Fl. 28, Ka. 5.)
What This Means: The important work of reconstructing the harbours is done now, and Lord Abolon withdraws the workers to relocate them to the canal construction sites proper. Indeed he hopes that at least one half of the canal will be ready by the end of AY 2018 [Vatermont 28, AC 1019. Ed.], followed by the rest in AY 2019 [AC 1019. Ed.].
Flaurmont 18, AC 1018: Out with the Mivosians!
Location: Cities of Tyrnae and Syropolis, Mivosian Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV
Description: Large-scale revolts are staged in several parts of the former city-states of Tyrnae and Syropolis, all of which commence just before noon. The Mivosian garrisons, having faced increasing, but manageable, troubles from the occupied city-states' inhabitants, are caught by surprise, and before long some parts of Tyrnae and Syropolis are free of Mivosian control. Street battles erupt in a sporadic fashion, and although the Mivosians manage to regain control of certain parts of the cities, others remain free. (See Va. 4, Va. 21; Ya. 2, Ya. 5.)
What This Means: The plan outlined by Governor Wolfgang Stemmel of Polakatsikes, and the allied Army of Meghala, has been put into motion, although it was decided to try a larger-scale revolt anyway, partly to test the resolve of the Mivosians. Weapons have been sneaked into both Tyrnae and Syropolis, for the use of the nascent resistance movements there, and more agitators have made their way into the city-states. The Mivosians did not expect the rebels to be so well coordinated, or disciplined.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs could take part in the uprisings, assuming they are opposed to the Mivosians. In this case, they could ambush patrols of Mivosian troops, try to sneak into barracks and other government buildings to steal equipment, weapons, or other valuables, or perform other tasks aimed at destabilising the Mivosian regime. The PCs could also be organising resistance cells.
Flaurmont 18, AC 1018: Church of Idris Active in Western Wendar.
Location: Towns of Oakwall and Woodgate, Kingdom of Wendar. OW
Description: Agents of Bensarian spot mysterious caravans from Denagoth reach Oakwall and Woodgate with new acolytes of Idris and packed goods. The acolytes quickly disappear inside each town's temple of Idris before the agents can ascertain anything further. (See Va. 4, Th. 3; Kl. 6, Fy. 7.)
What This Means: The High Priestess of Idris is building a power base in the predominantly human towns of Woodgate and Oakwall to launch an all-out assault on Wendar.
What the PCs Can Do: Find out more information and report back to Bensarian.
Flaurmont 18, AC 1018: Dogs Bite Back.
Location: Town of Ersenbal, County of Ersenbal, Walrus Island, Tranquil Coast. NW
Description: The Thyatians from the Isle of the Dogs retaliate after the failed attack from Ersenbal. Five war galleys are diverted from their regular patrolling and strike at the harbour of Ersenbal, where they sink the two remaining ships of the Ersenbal navy, as well as several fishing ships that cross their path. They bombard the docks with flaming oil, setting fire to a good portion of the harbour. They even send some boulders at Castle Ersenbal, but when the aim of the defence catapults from the castle starts to gain in accuracy, damaging a galley, the Thyatians retreat out of range. (See Th. 24, Fl. 7; Ya. 7, Ya. 8.)
What This Means: The Thyatians have responded to the attack on their new colony on the Isle of the Dogs. The goal was not to capture Ersenbal, but to show that unprovoked attacks would be answered in kind, and to cripple Ersenbal by destroying its navy. Although Ersenbal has a strong infantry, it has a weak navy, and now that it has been destroyed it is isolated from the rest of the world, with Thyatian ships sailing freely in its own waters.
The failure of the assault on the Thyatian settlement, doubled by the successful riposte, is a hard blow to Lord Gerwen, as Laurida Tremlaine blames the seneschal for these costly setbacks.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs who came with the Thyatians might lead the counterstrike.
Flaurmont 19, AC 1018: Roses Against Amber.
Location: City of Thyatis, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: At a social function at the Thyatian imperial court, Dame Catherine d'Ambreville, the Glantrian Ambassador to Thyatis, meets a charming Thyatian gentleman, who seduces her and promises a night of unbridled passion. The ambassadress is seen leaving the affair with the handsome gallant.
Shortly after dawn, the imperial court is awakened by the arrival of Dame Catherine and her diplomatic retinue, bringing with them the same handsome gentleman encased in a giant piece of amber, frozen in a very uncompromising position-he is totally naked, with a murderous look on his face and a dagger in one hand, his privates exposed and aroused, and a thorny rose tattoo on his groin. Emperor Eusebius Torion and Dame Catherine spend most of the morning in a closed-door session. (See Nu. 5, Va. 24; Fe. 15, Fe. 15.)
What This Means: Diplomatic relations between Thyatis and Glantri are being put to the test with the recent troubles with the zealous clerics of Valerias. The man who seduced Dame Catherine was an assassin, who the powerful Glantrian wizardess was able to stop-even in the midst of their bedchamber activities. Whether the would-be assassin was actually connected to the Temple of Valerias, or is only trying to implicate the order, remains to be seen.
What the PCs Can Do: The PCs may be present to stop the assassination attempt, or may be assigned later to investigate it. Alternatively, the PCs may be approached by fanatical clerics of Valerias (or some party pretending to be such) to assassinate the Glantrian ambassadress.
Flaurmont 19, AC 1018: Coiger Is Enlisted.
Location: Coiger's Lair, Tyrannie de Mory, Icereach Range. NW
Description: Viktor Zhucharnov and Alak Dool meet with Coiger de Mory, at Coiger's cave complex in the Icereach Range. Coiger is quite surprised that they have tracked down the Earthshaker so quickly. Viktor describes the thing's power and size, and how it would bring ultimate power to whoever controls it. He fails to mention that they are already planning to march it on Alpha, although it is clear that they wish to strike at their enemies. Coiger says that he will help them gain control of the colossus, provided they allow him to use the operational mechanoid first, to crush his enemies in Chitine and elsewhere. He also demands help from Dool's humanoid forces and Viktor's criminal network to cause trouble for his archrival, Lambert Bohn. After arguing and threatening each other for some time, the trio comes to agreement. Coiger tells them of the Mind Gem, whose existence he has deduced from legends regarding the ancient Earthshaker. If the Mind Gem can be recovered, whoever controls it can control the Earthshaker without the help of the gnomes. The three agree to begin searching for the gem, using all of the resources at their disposal. (See Th. 15, Fl. 4; Ya. 26, Fy. 14.)
What This Means: Coiger is a collector of ancient magical relics and rarities, including artifacts. Thus, he has considerable knowledge of legends and lore regarding such treasures. Coiger originally mentioned the Earthshaker to Dool in the hopes that he would help him to search for the thing. The fact that he also added Zhucharnov and his resources, and also moved on this so quickly, is especially pleasing to the obsessive cleric. Now he has an entire team to search for the ancient gem, which he can add to his collection, and also use to control the Earthshaker and destroy his enemies. Lambert Bohn was a key player in driving Coiger and his efreet allies from neighbouring Chitine last year, in the Burning War. He seeks vengeance on Bohn, the sollux who aided him, and Duke Ney of Chitine. Dool and Zhucharnov agree to his demands, since they each plan on killing the others and taking the Earthshaker for themselves anyway.
What the PCs Can Do: The forces that will spread out over Mystara to search for the Mind Gem will be adept at not drawing undo attention to themselves. It is unlikely that the PCs will learn of their efforts-though they may be hired to help locate or retrieve the artifact, without knowing its ultimate purpose.
Flaurmont 19, AC 1018: A Meeting in the Shadows.
Location: City of Ionace, Ionace Island, Nayce. AS
Description: Nicodemus secretly travels to Ionace to a surprise meeting with Noral Alska and a few of his allies. The refugees pledge their loyalty to Nicodemus if he can only get their land back and save the Alphatians still trapped and hunted by the barbaric Jennites. Nicodemus promises that he will try to save refugees with his magic, but also tells Noral and his allies that to get Esterhold back, he will need the support of the Naycese Council which doesn't think highly of him at the moment. Noral Alska agrees to begin a campaign on his behalf to have Favian Vern removed from office and have Nicodemus return. They seal the agreement and go about their plans. (See Va. 8, Th. 25; Ya. 5, Fe. 8.)
What This Means: Nicodemus knows that the refugees currently have a lot of goodwill in the Naycese Council, so if they spoke out in his favour, it certainly couldn't hurt him. He can't do so himself, however, because it was the Naycese Council that removed him from office originally, and until he regains their good graces, they are just as likely to put him in prison as listen to him. They are far more likely to listen to refugees who have suffered first-hand at the Jennite aggression. Noral isn't completely tricked into this, though-he knows exactly what sort of man Nicodemus is, but he doesn't consider this a bad agreement at all. He could never do what Nicodemus can do with his magic, so if he can get their land back and gain a powerful aristocratic ally at the same time, so much the better.
What the PCs Can Do: More behind-the-scenes plotting. The PCs may eventually find out, but probably not just yet.
Flaurmont 19, AC 1018: Flood Stabilises.
Location: Lowlands, Kingdom of Eadrin and Kingdom of Arogansa, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: The lowlands of the two kingdoms bordering what used to be the southern branch of the Thera River are completely flooded, including the town of Deipan in Eadrin. The water level stabilises, but is has risen by two feet on average, though even in that flat landscape irregularities exist where the water has not submerged small hills at all, or on the contrary depressions are drowned under several feet of water. In addition, the old riverbed had not been flattened out everywhere, especially near the larger settlements and notably Deipan, where it acts as a partial drain. Nonetheless, the Arogansan troops that held the town abandon it.
Everywhere the scene is terrible, with fields and crops submerged while forests and trees are partially drowned, animals flee the flood or drift dead, and the inhabitants themselves either flee, leaving their inundated houses behind, or try to resist to the rising of water as best they can. Some wizards try to magically move earth to create hills under their estates (and several towers topple as a result of such often badly executed attempts), or erect dikes-magical or mundane-to protect their estates from the rather slow-moving waters. The road between Errolyn and Archpoint becomes impassable along a good part of its length. (See Th. 23, Th. 28; Ya. 4, Ya. 15.)
What This Means: The Arogansan wizards had omitted to warn anyone about their plans, or to take any measures to save people, plants, or animals in the area they knew they would be flooding. Now as the calamity strikes, everyone do what they can to save their skins and their possessions.
Flaurmont 20, AC 1018: Dark Ceremonies.
Location: Northwestern Wendarian Border, Kingdom of Wendar. OW
Description: Hunters and herders in the northwest are growing more concerned: they report seeing hooded figures chanting near the outer fringes of the Dark Woods of Baamor. Rumours identify them as witches, dark fey or even fiends, trying to awaken something long forgotten and buried inside the cursed forest. (See Th. 6; Ya. 5, Kl. 6.)
What This Means: It is unknown if the Baamor is a single powerful being or a race of evil beings. Whatever the case, the Baamor is said to be imprisoned in the dark woods. Just who these chanters are is a mystery, but it seems clear they are attempting to free the Baamor. The locals are certainly not game enough to discover more and the authorities in the towns of Wendar are too distant to be concerned with spooky stories from these simple folk.
What the PCs Can Do: The PCs will hear these rumours and may decide to test their validity first-hand.
Flaurmont 20, AC 1018: Peace Declared.
Location: City of Farend, Kingdom of Qeodhar, Nayce. AS
Description: After tense meetings with some of the rebel leaders in neutral territory, a treaty has been drafted, which is acceptable to both sides. This is what Norlan presents to his people in a special ceremony in the main square of Farend today. Basically, the treaty, which took effect on Flaurmont 18, states the following:
All Antalian advances must hereby be halted, and their troops must withdraw to their positions as of Flaurmont 1.
All prisoners held by either side are to be returned, unharmed, within one month's time.
The town of Almisford, and a zone stretching 100 feet around it, is hereby declared to be "no man's land"-no person may settle or bear arms within its ruined walls. Each side will commit sufficient resources to build a low wall delimiting this zone.
The battle lines as of Flaurmont 1, stretching north and south of Almisford, will hereby delineate the respective territories of Qeodhar and Ystmarhavn. The latter territory is not obligated to bear allegiance to Nayce. (See Fl. 6, Fl. 17; Kl. 8, Fe. 12.)
What This Means: The civil war is now officially over. Soldiers from both sides will now begin to stand down and return home, while others will remain and erect fortifications to mark their territories. The sweetest element of victory for the Ystmarhavners is that their imprisoned friends and relatives, who number about 800 in all, will be returned within the month, and that a definitive border has been recognised. For the Qeodharans, there is now a guarantee that there will be security along their new eastern border (although some people will soon be calling for a wall to be built, stretching from the mountains to the sea), and their own imprisoned friends and relatives, numbering around 400, will soon be free and returned to them.
Despite the collective relief that there is peace again, there is considerable dissatisfaction in some quarters. Many Qeodharans, despite being sick of the war, are angry that the town of Almisford, which was technically retained by them at great cost, is now no-man's land. Also, many are convinced that the rebels are getting too good of a deal; essentially, they are getting their own nation, even though Norlan will never willingly mention it by name, or acknowledge that it even exists. Privately, he begins to feel anger and frustration about his position; Nayce did not send him aid when he most needed it, and now he is forced to accept the loss of part of his kingdom out of a tacit recognition that those lands are well and truly lost-the Naycese Council's silence on this matter is testament to the level of support he enjoys now. Likewise, many Ystmarhavners feel that, as their forefathers once ruled the island, all of it should be theirs-to let the Qeodharans keep even a portion of the island is seen by some as an insult to their glorious ancestors.
Despite the passions on both sides, there is a lot of rebuilding to do, and, even though there is peace, there is no trust. It will be many years before either nation officially speaks to the other; old hatreds die hard, and in this case, those sleeping hostilities were allowed to roam free for over a year before being subdued once more.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs allied with the rebels, and who acted valorously, might be rewarded with lands (alongside the Ostlanders who came here last year), or positions in the new Ystmarhavner government. At the very least, they will have the friendship and gratitude of the Antalians. PCs allied to the Qeodharans may find themselves employed as spies along the new border, or they may find themselves patrolling the frontier to ensure that no Northmen cross it.
Flaurmont 20, AC 1018: On to Alpha.
Location: Great Bay. NW
Description: Halfway between Leeha and Nordenhafen, rather than turn south and circle the maelstrom, the Thyatian trading expedition keeps its eastward course, makes a stop at Nordenhafen, then sails on to Alpha. (See Fl. 1, Fl. 10; Ya. 8, Ya. 11.)
What This Means: The dominions of the Southern Bay Marches, Kameloth, Ublaat-nor, and the Free Plains, are minor domains, not very rich, powerful, or influential; some are Alphan vassals while others are independent but all are quite wild and chaotic. The Chaosarchy of Redhorn is the most weird and chaotic of them all, and it is populated by the alien diaboli with whom few dare trade. Minrothaddan traders have little contact with them, and the Thyatian commander decides to not delay the expedition for them, but head straight for Alpha and come back later.
Flaurmont 21, AC 1018: Talin Meets with Other Jennite Leaders.
Location: Countryside, Province of Blackrock, Republic of Esterhold, Nayce. SK
Description: Following the actions committed by the Crimson Avengers, Talin is called from his siege of Skyfyr to meet with several other Jennite leaders so they can learn more about the rumours they are hearing of a new bloodthirsty enemy. The siege of Skyfyr is left mostly in the hands of the free Jennites while Talin and a few of his men meet the other leaders. Once they meet, they exchange rumours they have heard recently. They realise that several groups of adventurers now stand against them and that one in particular is determined to slay them. They then assign forces to hunt these groups down and end the threat they represent. (See Th. 22, Th. 26; Fl. 26, Ya. 6.)
What This Means: Though the Crimson Avengers are obviously more eager to kill Jennites, the other groups of adventurers recruited by Favian are also causing the Jennites no end of trouble. Clearly they will have to do something about them, though it is easier said than done-adventurers are skilled and resourceful people, and just a few of them can match a fair number of soldiers if they are experienced enough. Because of this, the adventurer groups fighting for Favian Vern are able to harass the Jennite offensive even in those cases where they wouldn't actually pose a threat in direct battle. As time passes, this problem will only grow for the united Jennites, and they will have to commit more and more military resources to it.
What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could escort Talin to and from this meeting as elite guards. Along the way they could clash with Alphatian adventurers sent by Favian and see the carnage the Crimson Avengers have caused for themselves.
Flaurmont 21, AC 1018: Blood Thirst Needs Quenching.
Location: Barony of Two Lakes Vale, Icereach Range. NW
Description: Sylarion's vampires in Two Lakes Vale are growing restless: The human food reserves are dwindling. The alternative food source offered by Sylarion is the death leeches. But their internal fluids, albeit nutritional, are disgusting even for vampires, and provide no vital energy. To quell the ranks, Sylarion allows some of them to leave the vale and feed on nearby populations. (See Nu. 1, Nu. 3; Fl. 26, Fe. 7.)
Flaurmont 21, AC 1018: Stop the Thief! Stop the Thief!
Location: City of Darokin, Republic of Darokin. OW
Description: The day of the Darokin Masked Ball arrives, and Allana Mauntea still has her necklace. She and Mauntea House in general are very pleased with themselves at having obviously discouraged the alleged theft, and she looks forward to wearing it at the ball in all its splendour. Because of the rumours, she speculates that wearing it will be an even greater demonstration of Mauntea House's prestige this year.
And she is right, because there is even more admiration and jealousy in the eyes of the other women at the ball, clearly visible even under their masks. Allana revels in the greatness of the moment... and then cries out in shock-the necklace is gone!
Suddenly the masked ball explodes in chaos. Guards storm the room to catch the thief among the frightened guests, but since everybody is wearing a mask, the search for the thief is nearly hopeless. Chancellor Corwyn Mauntea is even harassed by one of the guards until he takes off his mask and orders the guard away. He then orders all men arrested and their possessions searched, much to the protest of several wealthy and influential merchants. The women are all ordered home. Despite the protests, all men are searched, but with little effect. Nobody has the necklace, and after an hour Chancellor Mauntea has to allow everybody to go home. A few merchants, particularly from the Linton and Umbarth Houses, tell him that this will not be the end of the humiliating experience he has subjected them to this night! (See Va. 19, Th. 8; Fl. 22, Kl. 11.)
What This Means: The Shadow's "prophecy" has come true after a fashion-Allana wore her necklace only during part of the masked ball. Shadow intended to steal it during the confusion of the masked ball all along, realising that at a social event where everybody was dressed up and wearing a mask, catching a thief would be all but impossible. And what everybody has failed to realise is that Shadow is actually a woman! So tonight she simply dressed up and stole the necklace (she's a master thief), then left the masked ball with all the other women.
What the PCs Can Do: This is a good chance for the DM to run a fun adventure of confusion against an upper class background and a "gentleman thief" plot. The PCs should dress up like everybody else and try to keep their eyes on Allana at all times. They may even act as her bodyguards, though she won't exactly make it easy for them as she's carried away by the glory of the moment. Catching Shadow should be next to impossible. Beyond being a highly skilled thief, she also has the aid of a few magical items she has collected over the years. For example, she might have some extra-dimensional space to hide the necklace in, or she could have a ring of invisibility. Make sure to give Shadow more powerful magic items if the PCs are more experienced-catching her should be difficult. Even if the PCs do see her, they will be slowed by the guards entering the room and demanding they reveal who they are. Needless to say, they will be taken for the thieves if they resist. Even if they spot Shadow in the act of pilfering, it won't help them that much later if she escapes because she is a master at disguises, and she is wearing one disguise now and will wear another the next time. They might get a vital clue others have missed, though-they are looking for a woman!
Flaurmont 22, AC 1018: Bounty for a Shadow.
Location: City of Darokin, Republic of Darokin. OW
Description: After the humiliating theft of Allana Mauntea's necklace during the Darokin Masked Ball last night, Mauntea House raises the bounty for catching the thief called Shadow to 15,000 daros, 25,000 daros if alive. The return of the necklace, undamaged, will be worth a reward of 20,000 daros. (See Th. 8, Fl. 21; Kl. 11.)
What This Means: The reward for the necklace is less than it's worth, but then not many people know that, and it would be very difficult to sell it anyway. Corwyn Mauntea prefers to catch this Shadow alive-he wants someone he can punish publicly for this outrage.
These rewards will call many bounty hunters to Darokin, ruthless mercenaries and would-be treasure hunters alike. They will cause a lot of problems and confusion in Darokin in the next months, all of which will make it a little more difficult to actually find the real Shadow because the confusion will spawn many rumours, some by nefarious bounty hunters who aren't above leading competitors astray.
Naturally Mauntea House will also use their own contacts and agents to find Shadow and the stolen necklace.
What the PCs Can Do: There should be plenty for the PCs to do here-sorting the rumours from the facts should be a major challenge alone! Shadow herself will be lying low for a while. She had all this planned in advance, so finding her will be exceedingly difficult until she makes a move again. She has also put out false clues to her whereabouts, so it is entirely possible for the PCs to reach incorrect conclusions and catch the wrong "Shadow"... (After all, you don't become an experienced thief by being careless, and nosy adventurers are one of the first things a successful thief seeks to protect herself from!)
Flaurmont 22, AC 1018: An Engineer Hires On.
Location: Headquarters of the Navy of the Lakes, Town of Lakim, Island of Lakim, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: Admirals Halzunthram and Clarendon hire the engineer Zas Ubul to construct the canals the navy is planning. Zas Ubul is another of the famous engineers of Alphatia, although his methods are very unique. (See Va. 9, Fl. 2; Fl. 28, Kl. 24.)
What This Means: Zas Ubul is not a noble, but he is known as a capable engineer who does not have to hide behind the famous Lord Abolon. There is not one noble on his salary list, but that does not prevent him from hiring one as a freelancer when some spell power is needed. It does not prevent him from using magical means and tools which are useable by commoners either. His family has a long tradition of building and constructing, and the magical equipment they have acquired over the time is astonishing. Today nearly every worker is equipped with a magical shovel or pick, and he has several hundred workers. Besides Zas Ubul is brave-some say silly-enough to test the inventions of the siblings Bleek and Daker. Those creative spellcasters enjoy spending their time creating new and fantastic tools and carts. Their fame is not the greatest as some of their inventions malfunction strangely from time to time, and, after all, constructing "machines" which can be used by commoners has a distinct "gnomish" touch that is generally frowned upon (when not laughed at). They are normal humans, though, not gnomes. As some of their work depends on unusual technologies they were somewhat neutralised in the last circles, but recently they have undergone the process of acquiring the full range of magic again. Now they are eager to complete an old idea-the caterpillar. It will be an earth-moving juggernaut, and the siblings and Zas Ubul are hoping that it will work soon.
Flaurmont 25, AC 1018: Neighbourhood Dispute.
Location: Village of Stryna, Duchy of Vyolstagrad, Final Range. NW
Description: The barbaric and ruthless knight Heimgarlson leads a border raid on the village of Stryna. The raiders ride into town, with a larger contingent of footmen following close behind. The surprise attack takes place during a festive town fair, with many women and children caught in the onslaught. The men of Stryna are rallied by the village burgomeister, Ruva Kolchitsky, but not soon enough. Heimgarlson hacks down everyone in his path, and seeks out Kolchitsky, hoping to challenge him to battle. But Kolchitsky is occupied with the organisation of the defence, which has begun to push the invaders back. Heimgarlson comes upon the burgomeister's home, and, not finding him there, decides to take out his savagery on those who are-Kolchitsky's parents, wife, and four children are all slain. The raiders then flee, crossing the ford back into the Duchy of Stamtral. (See Ya. 18, Kl. 12.)
What This Means: This is another skirmish in an ongoing dispute between Stamtral and Vyolstagrad, although this one is considerably harsher than most. The brutal knight Heimgarlson has taken things beyond the intentions of Duke Stano by killing innocent townsfolk. Heimgarlson will deny the outright murder of civilians and claim that the peasants were all rising up to defend the village, and some were unfortunate enough to be caught in the battle. He also hopes that the severity of his attack will lead to an overreaction by the army of Vyolstagrad. Despite Kolchitsky's pleas for revenge, Duke Nevik is content to increase his troops on the border and perhaps launch a small retaliatory raid or two. He is not yet willing to take the bait, which would lead to all-out war with his neighbour.
What the PCs Can Do: Fight for either side. As defenders of the village of Stryna, they may be able to lessen the damage caused by the surprise attack and save townspeople from harm. If they are raiders from Stamtral, they can batter the village's defences even more, while discouraging attacks upon townsfolk. PCs who do so will earn the enmity of the brutal Heimgarlson, however.
Flaurmont 26, AC 1018: Vampiric Attacks in Heldland.
Location: Territory of Heldland, Heldannic Empire. NW
Description: Vampire attacks are reported to local clergy in the northern farming communities of Heldland. The clergy immediately associate the attacks with the ominous cloud to the north and request assistance. (See Th. 24, Fl. 21; Ya. 4, Fe. 7.)
What This Means: The attacks are being carried out by Sylarion's vampires to satisfy their feeding needs. A collateral advantage of their feeding is the creation of more vampires from their victims. The Heldannic Knights are better equipped than most states to deal with undead, however it will take some time before troops and high-level clerics will arrive in the region, especially with the schism affecting the Heldannic Order. In the meantime, the nightly attacks will continue.
What the PCs Can Do: If they are in or near the Heldannic Territories they may answer the call to hunt the vampires down, possibly to the ominous cloud in the north.
Flaurmont 26, AC 1018: The Cost of Misunderstandings.
Location: City of Skyfyr, Province of Blackrock, Republic of Esterhold, Nayce. SK
Description: While Talin is away to meet with other Jennite leaders, the aggressors again attempt to set Skyfyr ablaze with flaming arrows and missiles. The defenders are better prepared this time and are able to put out the fire while holding the Jennites off. The Jennite aggressors lose as many people this time, but the defenders' losses are lesser than before.
Even so, Kalin is tired of this harassment and sends a messenger out to offer the aggressors an attempt at a peaceful end to the siege, not knowing that Talin is not currently in the enemy camp. When the messenger nears the Jennite camp and calls for a truce, they mistakenly think he is offering it because the Alphatians think the aggressors' side has weakened. They are enraged and in their fury one of them fires an arrow that kills the messenger. They then bury the messenger and decide to keep the matter secret since the messenger came in peace.
Obviously Kalin and the other defenders of Skyfyr are furious over this misdeed, but for now there is little they can do about it. (See Th. 22, Fl. 21; Ya. 6, Ya. 18.)
What This Means: This is what happens when tensions are high. The free Jennites are not as used to large war campaigns and negotiations, and the defenders didn't know most of the rebels were not present. Since Talin will remain unaware of this once he returns, this will further complicate matters.
What the PCs Can Do: Not much to do here for the PCs unless they are Jennites and are willing to kill the messenger themselves.
Flaurmont 26, AC 1018: The Grey Lady Strikes Again.
Location: Gulf of Corisa, Milenian Empire. HW
Description: Alexus the Lawless returns to Milenian waters after cashing in his previous take back in Baraga. This time, he prowls the Gulf of Corisa, which is heavy with sea traffic going to and from the Milenian capital. His three-masted frigate, the Grey Lady, harasses numerous merchant galleys over the next few sleeps. Some ships are merely chased, while others are fired upon, and a few are grappled and boarded, their cargo looted. More than a few Milenian vessels are sunk, as the pirates have a grand old time for themselves. With the arrival of Milenian war galleys, the Grey Lady sails away, avoiding a direct confrontation. Nevertheless, Alexus remains in Milenian waters and continues to terrorise merchant ships while steering clear of the warships. (See Nu. 20; Ya. 2, Ya. 17.)
What This Means: Alexus is growing bolder in his quest against the Milenians, and is meeting with a good amount of success. His tactics and sailing skills are no match for the Milenian galleys, and he is putting a good scare into the merchants. However, his games will not last, as he has even bolder action planned.
What the PCs Can Do: Participate in the raiding of the ships. Milenian PCs can try to track down the notorious Alexus the Lawless in defence of their territorial waters and shipping lanes.
Flaurmont 27, AC 1018: Eusebius Receives an Unexpected Guest.
Location: City of Thyatis, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: While discussing economic policies with his advisers, Emperor Eusebius Torion receives word from one of his aides that a woman wearing the garb of a Heldannic Knight officer has requested an audience with him. Intrigued, Eusebius directs the aide to lead the woman to one of his audience chambers, and to inform her that he will see her at his earliest convenience. He then dispatches a few aides to investigate the reason for her arrival, and to report to him their findings before the meeting.
Once his meeting is over, Eusebius strides into the room, coming face-to-face with a person he did not fully expect to see-Anna von Hendriks. Not losing the initiative, he welcomes his guest to Thyatis City, and asks of Anna the purpose of her visit. Slightly disarmed by the emperor's congenial manner, Anna nonetheless mentally steels herself, and states her purpose for being here: A factional dispute has arisen within the Heldannic Order, and a high-ranking member has attracted followers to stand against Oberherr Wulf von Klagendorf. Even now, armed forces on both sides are on the march, and, although the outcome is by no means certain, prolonged armed conflict seems likely. She then asks the emperor if Thyatis would be willing, despite past hostilities, to support Herr Wulf's faction in whatever manner is feasible in the event that hostilities erupt.
Eusebius ponders what he has been told, and tells her he will meet her on the following day, at noon, to give his response. (See Th. 24, Fl. 2; Ya. 1, Ya. 23.)
What This Means: Herr Wulf knows that, in aftermath of the failed invasion of Helskir, the Heldannic Order has become isolated diplomatically; it no longer has any allies upon which it can fully depend, since it seems that his faction will not be able to beat Straßenburger's alone. When Emperor Eusebius ordered the diversion of Thyatian funds away from the order in favour of the Vanyan faith within Thyatis itself [Thaumont, AC 1017. Ed.], the Heldannic Knights saw their financial resources shrink considerably. Nevertheless, due to cultural ties, and the fact that Vanya is venerated widely in Thyatis, it was determined that if any nation would provide aid, it would be Thyatis. Herr Wulf has further decided that if anyone should be sent as an envoy, it should be Anna. He felt that he would be needed in Heldann to strategise; Anna is also known to the Thyatians, and she is an ordensgeneral as well. Furthermore, as the Thyatians know that Anna led the Heldannic army in Helskir, and fought bravely, she might win respect not only for her courage in seeking an audience with the emperor; her martial skills might also win her a degree of respect.
What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs participated in the Heldun campaign on the Heldannic side, and made a name for themselves there, they might be sent in Anna's place, but only if they are of a high enough level (Name level at least).
Flaurmont 27, AC 1018: Survey Team Makes Report.
Location: Headquarters of the Navy of the Lakes, Town of Lakim, Island of Lakim, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: The survey team which has retreated from the north has finally made its way to the headquarters of the navy in the Llyn Lake. Of course the senior officers are very worried, and they decide to start an investigation into the other team-the one that has been captured by Stonewall. (See Va. 9, Fl. 2; Fe. 18, Fe. 25.)
What This Means: The war in the north has become a real threat for the plans of the navy, and the admirals and captains must react now. One option is to ask the empress, who has her own options (e.g. aerial observations from skyships), to learn such relevant facts.
What the PCs Can Do: Besides the option to simply ask the empress, the navy is looking for adventurers who can search for the missing team.
Flaurmont 27, AC 1018: I Am the Dark.
Location: Woods of Aknar, Duchy of Vrancea, Confederation of Klagorst. WB
Description: Lord Jozef Drulovic, Duke of Vrancea, is seriously wounded during a hunting accident in the Woods of Aknar, the private hunting grounds of the dukes of Vrancea. He is brought to his castle near the old castle of Aknar, where he fights for his life all night. On the next morning, he is finally declared out of danger by his clerics and attendants. The news relieves the worried (and still having hard times recovering) population of the duchy. (See Ya. 15.)
What This Means: On Flaurmont 27, by tradition, the Duke of Vrancea leads the land's nobles for a hunt in his personal hunting grounds in Aknar. This tradition was ignored by Vrancea's former Duke Nhorg. Duke Jozef restored the tradition in order to show the population that his rule will lead to better days.
The accident, however, was not an accident, although this information will be kept secret as long as possible. The truth is that one of the surviving Reptile Knights, who knows all the secrets of the woods, attempted to kill Duke Jozef. Before the hunting companions of the duke managed to understand what happened, they saw the duke fall from his horse with four arrows in his chest. The would-be killer can't seem to be found.
What the PCs Can Do: If they are so important that they can be part of Duke Jozef's hunting party (or if they are scouts who know the forest and are hired to guide the hunt), they can change the outcome of the event. If they are allies of Nhorg, one (or more) of them could be the one attempting to kill the duke. Obviously, the duke, after his recovery, will put a reward on the man's capture, creating interesting opportunities for both sides.
Flaurmont 27, AC 1018: Uncomfortable Suspicions.
Location: Towns of Ceafem and Arreghi, Kingdom of Arkan, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: General Lotaran in Ceafem receives a message from Wolf-Hunter, still in Arreghi, that something strange is going on in the Stonewall camp. Wolf-Hunter isn't sure what's happening, but promises to find out. (See Fl. 4, Fl. 8; Ya. 1, Ya. 9.)
What This Means: Both Lotaran and Wolf-Hunter have had their doubts about some of the Foresthome officers for a while, and Wolf-Hunter suspects some might be secretly meeting with the enemy.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs with the Wolf Pack should definitely join Wolf-Hunter's mission. They'll risk being captured by Stonewall, but if they succeed they could discover some very valuable information.
Flaurmont 27, AC 1018: Gnolls Band Together.
Location: Howling Lands, Delta Kingdom, Nithian Empire. HW
Description: Greeah-Oog, formerly known as El-Daman Khu, arrives at a gnollish encampment, along with his escort. They immediately attack the camp's sentries, fighting in a berserk rage until their opponents are slain. The camp rouses to action to repel the intruders, but Greeah-Oog abruptly ceases his attack and launches into an inspired oratory about the chosen of Ranivorus. The gnolls listen in awe, and their chieftain submits to his authority. (See Nu. 1, Va. 22; Ya. 18, Fy. 5.)
What This Means: Greeah-Oog has been spreading the faith of Ranivorus and uniting the various gnollish tribes in this region of Nithia under his leadership. The gnolls have been persuaded by his clerical skill, superior intellect, ferocity in battle, and outright madness, that the time is ripe for them to claim Nithia as their own. The gnollish uprising is just one aspect of Soth's evil machinations.
What the PCs Can Do: Adventurers travelling throughout the wilderness of the Howling Lands, the Uplands, the Punishing Hills, or other areas of eastern Nithia may encounter savage bands of gnolls, intent on killing anyone they may come across.
Flaurmont 28, AC 1018: Engineers Wanted!
Location: City of Errolyn, Kingdom of Theranderol, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: General-Major Quoos gets a negative reply from Zas Ubul. The engineer has committed to the service of the Navy of the Lakes only a week ago and will be occupied for circles. Quoos requests a strategic meeting of the senior officers, and General-Lieutenant Olmon makes the call. The senior officers debate for many hours. Finally they decide that Brigadier Okano from the engineer corps will build the canal. (See Fl. 7, Fl. 22; Sv. 15, Ei. 25.)
What This Means: The most renowned engineers are booked up for a long time now, and instead of searching further the generals have found an internal solution. The engineers of the Royal Army of Theranderol now will do the job. Although it might take longer and will be more expensive than a civilian solution, the army can hide the costs better as the engineer would have been supplied anyhow. So now planning and execution are done by the army. The generals like this.
Flaurmont 28, AC 1018: Next Section Started.
Location: Towns of Tenoboa and Igoin, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: Lord Abolon now has another two teams at work. Their task is to build the Tenoboa-Igoin section of the canal. The remaining gap between Soctel, Orfil and Igoin will be closed later.
Interestingly, there are virtually no protests in both towns. (See Fl. 9, Fl. 17; Ka. 5, Ka. 10.)
What This Means: Jolinar and Zallaras have decided to stop any action against the Foresthome Rim Canal. The reason is not that they have made themselves familiar with the idea of canals but that there is no support in Foresthome anymore for their stance. The commoners range between cheerful expectation and standard indifference to the ideas of nobles. The aristocrats who supported the protest last circle have reconsidered their position and many are now eager to buy land on or at the planned canal. Either way they can benefit from the project, so resistance would be against their own interests.