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First Week

Nuwmont 1, AC 1018: Doom's Aftermath.

Location: Diplomatic camp near Stonewall camp in the Arkan Flatlands, Kingdom of Arkan, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Yesterday, the last day of AC 1017, the peace-talks between the Stonewall invaders and the alliance between Arkan and Foresthome ended in catastrophe when someone tried to assassinate Stonewall's leader and chief negotiator, General Selcomad, by firing a crossbow bolt at him that struck him in the chest. This caused a confusing battle as all sides seemed confused.

However, most of the important participants, among them General Lotaran, Wolf-Hunter, and Etesse from Arkan, Commander Trallans of Foresthome, and Amagast of Stonewall escaped without any particular wounds.

General Selcomad is obviously hurt, but he is not dead yet. However, because magic still hasn't returned, his condition is precarious at best. Still, once magic returns and one of Stonewall's priests hurries to cast a heal spell on him, it is clear that he will survive, but because he was so long subjected to the wound, he remains unfit and retires to recover from his wounds.

It is obvious, though, that the peace talks have failed completely, and the battles begin again. It does not amount to much in the beginning, however, because Stonewall currently has the upper hand in the war, and Selcomad is their leader, so most of their forces are uncertain what their overall effort should be now. There are numerous skirmishes as Arkan and Foresthome forces harass the Stonewall lines, though. (See Nu. 3, Nu. 8.)

What This Means: Nobody seems to know which side sabotaged the peace talks or if Selcomad was the intended victim. For the moment it doesn't matter since the outcome is clear, and the war continues. Once Stonewall recovers from the shock, that will be a big problem for Arkan because the Stonewall invaders are already uncomfortably close to Ceafem, the capital of Arkan.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are here, and assuming they survived the peace talks, there should be plenty of skirmishes for them to participate in, whichever side they favour.

Nuwmont 1, AC 1018: Escape from the Nameless Tower.

Location: Nameless Tower, Great Forest of Geffron, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: The battle inside and outside the Nameless Tower has ended, and the remaining Genalleth elves, along with Professor Dove, manage to escape the building before the break of dawn, avoiding its deadly magical traps, which now return to full power once the Day of Dread has passed. They retreat south through the snow-covered forest, licking their wounds, and prepare to return to the crusaders' camp at Enoreth Shrine. Of the 100 that set off, only about 75 escape. Two of four black dragons sent by the high priestess also manage to escape the fierce battle.

The Shadow Lord, also there to find his phylactery, manages to recover it and to flee before it's too late, teleporting to Two Lakes Vale once magic returns. There he hides from prying eyes the best he can, and proceeds to complete his ceremony of ascension to full lichdom.

Idris is informed of the intruders who have visited Her sanctuary and She is mortified to discover that despicable elves were among the intruders. Infuriated, She leaves it to Her high priestess to impart Her wrath on the infidels. (See Nu. 2, Nu. 7.)

What This Means: A serious blow has been dealt to Idris's plans and She is not amused. Her archenemies have penetrated Her most sacred bastion and the traitorous Shadow Lord has escaped Her clutches. For the moment, the high priestess is suffering Idris's full wrath and She needs to find alternate targets quickly.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs involved in the elven mission to the Nameless Tower will be called upon to negotiate deadly traps, fight or avoid various constructs, and battle black dragons outside the tower.

Nuwmont 1, AC 1018: Mixed Fortunes for Nyx's Plot.

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

Description: Sylarion was worried because of the Day of Dread's possible influence over the Death Stone and the gate to the Sphere of Entropy. However, the day has passed and the gate has remained stable.

Unfortunately, in areas of Norwold outside Two Lakes Vale, the death leeches sent to infiltrate the dominions reverted back to their normal form during the Day of Dread, and many of them were discovered and killed helplessly. (See Nu. 3, Ya. 12.)

What This Means: The gate to the Sphere of Entropy remained open as the Death Stone is an artifact and therefore immune to the effects of the Day of Dread. On the other hand, the death leeches being magical creatures were forced back to their natural form once magical failed. However, the death leeches retained their adopted forms in Two Lakes Vale due to the Death Stone and the Death Cloud.

What the PCs Can Do: Slaughter as many death leeches as possible, then discover where they have come from.

Nuwmont 1, AC 1018: Deltart's Fears Confirmed.

Location: Torenal Site, Sunken Arogansa, Nayce. AS

Description: Last year, Commander Deltart made an appeal to the Naycese Council for Torenal Site to be reinforced, as he feared the ghouls might take advantage of the Day of Dread to attack Torenal again as they did last year. Those concerns were justified, because that is exactly what the ghouls did, and in greater numbers than the year before! However, Torenal Site was ready this time. Deltart pleaded to King Juliast of Underocean strongly for help from the tritons, and a number of soldiers did arrive to defend Torenal Site, though Deltart was much dismayed to learn that their leader, Tanalos, and in fact many of the soldiers, were non-spellcasting merrow, and so commoners. Still, even Deltart had to admit that they were effective in their defence when the ghouls attacked, and with Torenal Site sealed off, the damage was relatively minor, although eleven merrow were killed. Today when magic returns, however, Deltart tells Tanalos that the "real leaders" have no further use for his soldiers now that magic has returned. The commander merely looks at him, then orders his soldiers back to Underocean, and they depart. (See Nu. 19, Va. 2.)

What This Means: Once again the arrogance of Alphatian aristocracy rears its ugly head-Torenal Site would have been doomed had it not been for the Underocean soldiers, yet in the end Deltart is more concerned with Tanalos, a mere commoner in his eyes, stealing his thunder. Tanalos is bitterly disappointed by Deltart's condescending tone, but decides to bite his tongue after the business between the wizard Allanas of Aquas and Underocean's Baron Torin last year. However, Tanalos will go back and tell King Juliast exactly what he thinks of these Alphatians. The consequence of that is that Deltart has burned a bridge in his blind dismissal of commoners, as King Juliast will be unlikely to commit troops to Torenal's defence again.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are involved, they might be able to smooth things over a little. They might be able to convince Tanalos that Deltart is a representative of all Alphatians, though they will be unable to convince him that most Alphatian leaders are different from Deltart. Similarly, they might convince Deltart that it is not too wise to dismiss the Underocean soldiers so rudely, though they have to be careful about how they choose to articulate their concerns-Alphatian aristocrats don't take kindly to what they perceive as criticism! Obviously the PCs can also help repel the remaining ghouls once magic returns. If they are tritons or merrow, they can be part of Tanalos's force and help repel the undead on the Day of Dread itself.

Nuwmont 1, AC 1018: Elves Escape from Lothenar Forest.

Location: Dragon Knights' Cave, Lothenar Forest, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: The Long Runner survivors of the assault on the Dragon Knights' cave in the heart of Lothenar Forest make a hasty retreat from the newly-formed tomb of their brave leader, Beasthunter. They head back to Enoreth Shrine intent on informing their brethren of the sacrifice of their late leader. (See Nu. 7, Va. 8.)

What This Means: Word will eventually spread throughout the elven clans of Beasthunter's final act, which will restore his lost honour after being fooled into assassinating King Gylharen of Wendar.

What the PCs Can Do: Lead and protect the survivors through the deadly Lothenar Forest to the sanctuary of Enoreth Shrine.

Nuwmont 1, AC 1018: Citizens Take to the Streets.

Location: City of Corisa, Milenian Empire. HW

Description: With the return of the Red Sun, scores of protestors take to the streets, calling for the removal of Emperor Adronius. They claim that the second disappearance of the sun within ten circles, both during Adronius's reign, are an ill portent, and a sign that he should be removed before further evil befalls the empire. They cite his original failure to eliminate the Zargosians, the scandal involving the Midwives, and other troubles throughout the empire as evidence of Adronius's poor leadership. (See Ya. 17, Ka. 13.)

What This Means: This a natural course of action in response to the uncertainty brought on by the disappearance of the sun. Political protest and democratic freedoms are a mainstay of Milenian society, and there is a percentage of citizens who would like to see a new emperor, for various reasons.

What the PCs Can Do: Join in the protests, if they are so disposed, or attempt to debate the protesters, if they favour the emperor. It is possible that the protest grows violent, in which case the PCs can be called upon to restore order.

Nuwmont 1, AC 1018: Bensarian "Wakes Up."

Location: Royal Citadel, City of Wendar, Kingdom of Wendar. OW

Description: The entire King's Guard have been guarding the royal citadel against any attempts to interfere with Bensarian as he undergoes his annual day-long sleep. The group of good elves of the guard make their move as magic returns. Using invisibility and sleep spells, they manage to overcome the guards between their station and Bensarian's chambers. Upon entering the chambers they notice Bensarian is beginning to awaken, but first they must attack the Idris cultists stationed there to "protect" the sage. It is a desperate battle. Those elves not in melee cast dispel magic on Bensarian, but their magic seems to have no success. The battle is not going well for the elves and they are driven away before they are able to intervene effectively.

Once Bensarian has regained his bearings, the Idris cultists welcome him back and inform him how they just saved him from the elves' attempt on his life. Bensarian gruffly thanks them, then asks them to arrange for meeting today with Idris's master spy in Wendar to discuss plans for the new year.

That evening, in a private house in Wendar City, Bensarian meets Idris's master spy. During the meeting they are ambushed and captured by Genalleth elves. (See Va. 4, Th. 3.)

What This Means: In truth, the real Bensarian awoke in his body this year and immediately realised what was happening. He pretended to still be the Onyx Wizard impersonating him and headed directly for the master spy (using Idris's network of spies and couriers to his advantage) to catch him. He sent the elves a series of secret messages telling them where and when they should intervene, and they trusted him. Once the spy was captured, the elves began to interrogate him to extract information about Idris's plans and Her network of spies in Wendar, but he took his own life without giving anything away.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are part of the group trying to rescue Bensarian they will have to plan the attacks well. The normal guards between where they are stationed and the royal chamber are not Idris cultists and should not be killed. The PCs cannot afford to be captured and must execute a good escape plan.

Nuwmont 1, AC 1018: Start of the Thirteenth Year of Rule.

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: An aging but still strong Stefan Karameikos appears before his court to celebrate his thirteenth full year of rule. This time he is, for the first time, clad in royal regalia sent to him by the Thyatian Empire-a splendid crown and brocaded silk robes both studded with jewels. He speaks briefly on the growing prosperity of the kingdom and peace with their neighbours. Most applaud enthusiastically but a few seem more subdued, almost discontented. (See Ya. 3, Sv. 7.)

What This Means: The people of Karameikos are happy with Stefan, but some wonder about his decision last year to cede some land to Thyatis, and are even more troubled by his appearing in regalia sent by the empire, believing that it might signify his submission to Thyatis. Eusebius did send the crown and robes as a form of symbolism, not only signifying the empire's acknowledgment of Stefan's royal rank but also to signify the superior authority of the emperor. But this is nothing more than a symbolic assertion of authority, and Karameikos remains independent. A few are angered by Stefan's cession of land and are still more enraged seeing him garbed in gifts from Eusebius, but they hide their anger and bide their time.

On the other hand, many Karameikans who follow the Cult of Halav are beginning to doubt their faith. Stefan is a very old man now, and the crisis they thought Stefan, as Halav incarnate, would overcome has yet to materialise. For a while they thought the threat would come from Thyatis, but now that has dissipated and they're getting more desperate. Some are even considering precipitating a crisis that "Halav" can overcome, proving his divinity and spreading his faith.

Nuwmont 1, AC 1018: Aftermath of the Massacre.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: In the light of the tragic Alexander's Day massacre, the princes of Glantri convene in an impromptu session of the council, with the primary concern being the potentially disastrous political and diplomatic ramifications of the event. Finger-pointing and blame-shifting quickly ensues-Princess Dolores Hillsbury, for excessive force against the pilgrims at Belcadiz Manor; Princesa Carnelia de Belcadiz, for alleged complicity in the miracle of Los Amantes-but Princess Isidore d'Ambreville, as chamberlain of the land, announces that she has already taken steps to secure road blocks on Glantri's borders, for the security of the clerics and pilgrims, and solicited the assistance of her family to aid the victims of the massacre. In the meantime, all the princes, especially the chancellor of the princes in charge of foreign relations of Glantri, Prince Urmahid Krinagar, are left to devise some definitive course of action.

That night, Lady Esmeralda Erewan hosts a small reception at the Hall of Diplomats, and Sir Boris Gorevitch-Woszlany is seen dining with Sergei Torenescu, Lord Ambassador of Karameikos. (See Nu. 5., Va. 3.)

What This Means: Ever pragmatic, Princess Isidore d'Ambreville leads the way in finding solutions to the clerical dilemma. One such way is asking her brother-in-law, the cleric Père Simon d'Ambreville, to resurrect the victims of the massacre, if possible. She also employs her nephew and his wife, Sire Jean-Louis and Lady Tatiana d'Ambreville-long-time allies of clerics in Glantri-to help assuage the situation with the clerics and pilgrims. On the other hand, she has her militant cousins, Sire Guillaume and Dame Jeanette d'Ambreville, cultural censers of Nouvelle Averoigne, to deal with the more belligerent factions of the Valerian worshippers-and there are many of them!

Taking their cue from Isidore, both Princess Carnelia and Prince Morphail Gorevitch-Woszlany order their retainers-Lady Esmeralda and Sir Boris, respectively, both skilled in charms mundane and magical-to meet the various ambassadors in Glantri and deal with potential problems on the diplomatic front.

What the PCs Can Do: Allies of clerics may be helping them escape Glantri, or assisting them in organising a reprisal for the Alexander's Day massacre. Alternatively, PCs may be attempting to capture and detain the pilgrims, as well as preventing injustice and wrongful treatment by the more rabid cleric-hating Glantrians. With the volatile situation in Glantri these days, PCs with any clerical connections will surely be kept busy!

Nuwmont 1, AC 1018: Trio.

Location: Trio Fighting Grounds, border between the City-States of Serenia and Adunapolis, Confederated Kingdom of Minaea. SK

Description: As every New Year's Day, at the Trio Fighting Grounds where athletic competitions are held between representatives of the cities of Serenia and Adunapolis, the bloodiest sport event of the land is held. The Trio is a fight between three citizens of Serenia and three of Adunapolis. The tradition is that every fourth year the fight to be to the death; otherwise, the fight goes on until one party is completely unconscious (so there are often fatalities anyway). This year it is a Death Trio, and a rabid audience from both cities, on opposite sides of the arena, is in attendance. This year, it is Serenia that wins the match, with only one surviving man, an experienced fighter known as Zulda, who has already taken part to the last three Trios. This is his third victory in four years. (See Nu. 4, Ka. 17.)

What This Means: Serenians and Adunapolites hate each other with passion, but the hatred remains confined to the arena. During the year there are several competitions, all held at the Trio Fighting Grounds, located at the border between the two city-states, on the road from Serenia to Adunapolis. The two cities' citizens take the competitions very seriously, and no accidents or brawls ever take place during the match or the preparation of the events. The Trio Fighting Grounds host an arena, inns and a small village. Apart from the few days around the events, the village's main activity is to sustain the local monastery of Ares, Bringer of War, one of the Olympian Immortals worshipped by the Minaeans. The clergy of Ares is responsible for the organisation and act as referees for all the competitions, the most important being the Trio, held each New Year's Day.

What the PCs Can Do: Either attend the match, or take part in it. Be warned that resurrection is not tolerated for characters that die in a Death Trio (though it is allowed for those that die during a normal Trio). Those who die in a Death Trio are considered sacrificed to Ares, Bringer of War, so a resurrected contender will have the clergy on his tracks, with the help of some of the two cities' best fighters, enraged by the sacrilege. If the DM is really evil, this is a good idea. Otherwise, you can decide that the Death Trio was held last year (or will be held next year).

Nuwmont 1, AC 1018: A Call from Soth.

Location: Tower of Soth, Delta Kingdom, Nithian Empire. HW

Description: El-Daman Khu arrives at the twisted and fell Tower of Soth. The cleric falls to his knees at the sight of the grotesque structure. After some time, he rises, walks toward the thing, and enters. (See Va. 22, Fl. 27.)

What This Means: El-Daman Khu is a powerful cleric of Ranivorus who was called by the Tower of Soth for some terrible purpose. The tower, which is actually a paralysed burrower, gained in strength during the darkening of the Hollow World's red sun at the end of last circle. Using its increased power, the tower called out to suitable candidates, persuading them to come and learn its dark secrets. El-Daman Khu travelled across the darkened land of Nithia, until finally arriving this sleep. The whispers in his head then beckoned for him to enter, and he obeyed.

Nuwmont 2, AC 1018: Tax Woes.

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

Description: In the imperial senate a number of senators begin to discuss the complaints of their constituents. They are upset over the emperor's recent trade policies that have made it more difficult to buy goods from foreign merchants (especially from Darokin), raising prices and causing some Thyatian merchants to not worry about quality because their foreign rivals have been restricted.

Beyond this, though, they raise bitter complaints over the property tax, claiming it is so onerous that people are having trouble paying it and that some are even getting close to having to sell their homes and other properties. They propose that it be eliminated, and debate begins in the senate on a law rescinding the property tax.

What This Means: The complaints are largely legitimate, though many senators are worried more about the higher cost they and their wealthy friends have to pay for imported luxuries and the impact of the property taxes on their estates than on the welfare of humbler Thyatians. Agents of the Darokinian Diplomatic Corps "helped" many senators make the connection between the higher price of some of the goods they desire and the actions of Thyatian customs agents in restricting the activities of foreign merchants. They hope to influence the senate to get the empire to change its policies, to the benefit of Darokin.

Eusebius learns of these discussions almost immediately. Though the emperor formally has no role in the senate, as Duke of Thyatis he appoints two senators who are, in effect, his mouthpieces. He knows the tax on property is bringing in a lot of revenue for the treasury but did not know that it was set so high that many people would find it hard to pay it, over time. He's interested not in beggaring Thyatis but in making it more prosperous, so that revenues will continue. He doesn't want the tax eliminated but after discussing it with his fiscal advisers understands the need to lower it. He soon has his supporters in the senate propose a measure that would reduce, rather than repeal, the tax.

As for the dispute over the impact of his policies on the price of foreign goods, Eusebius is less agreeable here. But he knows he has done a lot to upset many prominent Thyatians, whose continued support he needs. He decides not to push this, because he feels he can achieve his goals with respect to trade and the like by other means. (See Nu. 7, Nu. 13.)

What the PCs Can Do: If they own property in Thyatis, they might try to influence the course of debate by engaging in some political adventures and attempts to persuade the senators and other officials.

Nuwmont 2, AC 1018: A Dungeon Full of Scapegoats.

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

Description: The High Priestess of Idris, overcome with rage after learning that the elves had breached the Nameless Tower, orders the wholesale execution of many elven prisoners held in the dungeons below the tower. As many as 100 elves are mercilessly slaughtered before the high priestess's anger subsides and she reminds herself of the value of the elves for producing the Children of Idris. The high priestess then draws upon the power of the elven slaughter and bestows a terrible secret curse upon the Nameless Tower trespassers. (See Nu. 1; Nu. 7, Va. 3.)

What This Means: The high priestess has been beaten by the elves in this round and is far from a gracious loser. At the expense of stock for the Children of Idris creation project, she took her fury out on elves held captive as a result of Wendarian deportation and warring in the Great Forest of Geffron. So evil and violent an act committed by the high priestess it was, that she was granted the power to lay a special and ancient Denagothian curse upon the elves and Christopher Dove who entered the Nameless Tower. The recipients of this curse will not notice its effects for some time. One trespasser unnoticed by the high priestess was her unruly vassal, the Shadow Lord, who escaped curse-free.

What the PCs Can Do: If PCs are unlucky enough to be held in Idris Tower, they may be presented with an opportunity to escape. If they do escape they have the tough choice of either running for their lives or trying to save the doomed elves.

For the Nameless Tower warband, there is little the PCs can do to prevent the curse. If they are amongst this group, they are allowed a saving throw vs. spells at -4 to avoid the effects of the curse (via a secret DM roll).

Nuwmont 3 AC 1018: A Grand Call To Arms.

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

Description: A decree is issued from the Star Chamber in Freiburg: All able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 25 are to report to the nearest temple of Vanya, and present themselves to the senior cleric. If they are pronounced fit for military service, they will receive food and lodging at the temple until passage can be arranged to the cities of Freiburg, Landfall, Grauenberg, or Oceansend. Thereafter, they will assume active service in Her Most Valiant Lady's Order. (See Va. 20, Th. 24.)

What This Means: The declaration last year of Ordensgeneral Heinrich Straßenburger, a high-ranking member of the Heldannic Order, that the current Oberherr, Wulf von Klagendorf, was no longer fit to rule, shook the Heldannic Territories. While there have always been differences of opinion in terms of interpreting the doctrines of Vanya, never has the leader of the order been openly questioned in such a manner. By the end of AC 1017, Straßenburger was reportedly calling up troops in the regions that had declared allegiance to him. Facing an open rebellion, and possibly a civil war if things get out of hand, Herr Wulf has declared a call to arms of his own. He has decided to develop four power centres-those larger cities that declared allegiance to him-where troops could gather and train, and from which his armies could regain control of the country if necessary.

What the PCs Can Do: New PCs could start their adventuring careers by being among those young men who are called into active service. Women will be turned away at first, but those who show promise (i.e.: female PCs) will be allowed to train.

Nuwmont 3, AC 1018: Conceptual Leap for Nyx's Agents.

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

Description: Sylarion and Ulslime receive reports that their death leech infiltrators outside Two Lakes Vale reverted to their natural form on the Day of Dread, unlike the local death leeches. They begin to understand what kept the death leeches in Two Lakes Vale from experiencing the same occurrence: the Death Stone and the Death Cloud which covers the whole vale. They eagerly commence plans to accelerate the expansion of the Death Cloud. (See Nu. 1; Ya. 12, Ya. 13.)

What This Means: The Day of Dread has presented an obstacle to Nyx's plan of undead world conquest. It is now obvious that the death leeches' role of infiltrating ruler's courts around Norwold to prepare for an undead invasion first requires the expansion of the cover of the Death Cloudto be carried out successfully.

What the PCs Can Do: After the unmasking of the death leeches on the Day of Dread, heroes all over Norwold are questing to find the source of this new menace.

Nuwmont 3, AC 1018: Ill Winds Bring Ill News.

Location: City of Farend, Kingdom of Qeodhar, Nayce. AS

Description: Norlan, Kjavik [King. Ed.] of Qeodhar, receives news of the surrender of his garrison on Icehop Island late last year. Accompanying the report is a note from the Ystmarhavner rebels, who state that most of Norlan's men are still alive, and could be returned to him in exchange for the freedom of an equal number of rebel prisoners.

Disappointed at the news, but still resolute, Norlan orders his messengers to pass the word on to his generals: The assaults will continue regardless of the loss of Icehop Island, and effort will be made to bargain with the rebels. (See Nu. 13, Va. 24.)

What This Means: With the loss of Icehop Island, Norlan's forces no longer have a strongpoint from which to maintain an effective eastern front against the rebels. This, and the capture of the soldiers themselves (some of whom had official orders in their possession), has not only relieved the pressure on the rebels; they now have more information about Norlan's tactics and plans. They will be better able to anticipate his attacks now, which will make Norlan's goals harder to fulfil.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs in Norlan's employ may be sent to eastern Qeodhar to determine the actual situation on the field, and possibly to recommend courses of action. Such a mission, taking the PCs behind enemy lines, would be highly dangerous, of course.

Nuwmont 3, AC 1018: Stonewall Advances.

Location: Stonewall camp in the Arkan Flatlands, Kingdom of Arkan, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Initially a little surprised by the outcome of the peace talks, the Stonewallers clearly press forward once they put their minds to it. Selcomad is still wounded, but Stonewall has plenty of other warlords. Currently command falls to Colonel Sorentas, who pushes the Stonewall forces forward with fury and vengeance.

The Arkan and Foresthome forces are steadily pushed back toward Ceafem. (See Nu. 1; Nu. 8, Nu. 13.)

What This Means: This war could be over shortly. Stonewall is almost certain to lay siege to Ceafem soon, and although the capital has the advantage of the sea to resupply it, their chances don't look good against Stonewall's war machine. Colonel Sorentas is using the disgust many soldiers in Stonewall's ranks feel over what happened to Selcomad to push his forces forward-their leader was attacked by cowardly means and this is their opportunity to vent their rage and seek vengeance. And the fact that it puts Sorentas in command isn't exactly something he objects to, either.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs on the Arkan and Foresthome side will have their hands full trying to slow Stonewall down, whereas PCs with Stonewall may enjoy seeing and helping their side pushing the opposition back.

Nuwmont 4, AC 1018: Scandal in Alpha.

Location: City of Alpha, Kingdom of Alpha, Nayce, Southern Great Bay. NW

Description: Boyar Viktor Zhucharnov, King Ericall's minister of finance, is seized by the royal guards and charged with embezzlement. He is taken to the dungeon in Ericall's castle, where the door to his cell is wizard locked by Madiera the Counsellor. Word of the scandal quickly spreads throughout Alpha. (See Nu. 28, Va. 1.)

What This Means: Zhucharnov is a greedy and grasping noble in King Ericall's court. The charges brought against him are true; he has been stealing from the royal treasury for several years, and has managed to secure a sizeable fortune for himself. Madiera became suspicious of Viktor and launched an investigation. Although he covered his tracks well, Madiera's magic was able to reveal the truth. Zhucharnov will remain jailed until his formal trial before King Ericall.

What the PCs Can Do: Help Madiera with the investigation and the apprehension of Viktor. Madiera may even hire the PCs to conduct the entire investigation on her behalf.

Nuwmont 4, AC 1018: I Fight When I Wish To.

Location: City-State of Adunapolis, Confederated Kingdom of Minaea. SK

Description: This evening, the warrior and adventurer Aristogenes, Trio winner in AC 1017, is insulted by a group of drunken citizens at the Blue Boar's Inn. He is accused of cowardice and betrayal because he refused to represent the city at the annual Trio, where Adunapolis lost to Serenia. The drunken men go as far as to attack him, but he quickly avoids the offence, and leaves the tavern as soon as possible. (See Nu. 1; Ka. 17, Ka. 26.)

What This Means: Aristogenes refused to take part in this year's Trio because he didn't want to risk death in the fight-especially because he knows Zulda, the Serenian fighter who won this year's competition, and who he had defeated last year, very well. The oracle revealed to him that he could lose his life if he fought this year, which made him doubt that he could best Zulda, so he declined the invitation to be one of Adunapolis's representatives. This has generated bitterness in the population, given the outcome of the Trio.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are nationalist Adunapolites, they may not only be the ones to attack Aristogenes, but even go as far as trying to kill him.

Nuwmont 5, AC 1018: Gnomish Emigration.

Location: City of Torkyn Fall, Wendarian Ranges. OW

Description: An expedition of almost 2000 gnomes, who have long been living at Torkyn Fall, set out on a journey to Rockhome. The political climate of neighbouring nations has long been deteriorating, and the gnomes foresee great trouble on the horizon. They choose to journey to Rockhome, since they are related to the dwarves, expecting a warm welcome there, and a safer place to stay. (See Th. 7, Fl. 17.)

What This Means: The city of Torkyn Fall was generally considered the last of the great gnomish cities of the Wendarian Ranges. It was presumably destroyed by dragons in the times when the Flaemish ruled Glantri [See the novel Dragonlord of Mystara. Ed]. When gnomish scouts returned to the city after the assault of the dragons, they found that the damage was largely superficial, and that it could be rebuilt. Several members of the various gnomish clans that had lived in the Wendarian Ranges returned to the area of Torkyn Fall. They kept the rebuilt city a secret from their neighbours, more wary than ever after the trouble with the dragons.

Their city could not be kept secret forever, and as both Glantrian wizards (some looking for subjects for experiments) and Ethengar raiders learned of the city, life became increasingly troubled for the gnomes. That, and the fact that the meteor that struck Glantri in AC 1005 had wreaked havoc in certain areas of the city, that was largely built of brittle lava rock, has caused the Torkyn Clan to finally give up on their last great city in the Wendarian Ranges. The gnomes, looking for allies in safer lands, have decided that their distant cousins, the dwarves, are most likely to welcome them. They have sent no emissaries, knowing that the dwarves are less likely to turn them away if the entire clan shows up with no place else to go.

What the PCs Can Do: The gnomes have a dangerous journey before them. They might be inclined to hire bodyguards or people well-versed in foreign cultures to increase their chances of a successful journey.

Nuwmont 5, AC 1018: Council of Princes Reconvene.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: With cooler and clearer heads, the Council of Princes convenes again to deal with the aftermath of the Alexander's Day massacre.

Chamberlain of the Land Isidore d'Ambreville reports to the Council of Princes that the roadblocks at the Glantrian borders have been successful in dissuading clerics and pilgrims of the Immortal Valerias from entering the principalities, while those with any involvement with the massacre (mainly survivors and witnesses) have been tactfully safeguarded for reasons of security. She however reports that there was little success in raising the fallen pilgrims and clerics of the massacre.

Chancellor of the Princes Urmahid Krinagar reports that the ambassadors of Darokin, Karameikos, and Thyatis were surprisingly receptive to the much-understated official reports of the Alexander's Day massacre, and that those ambassadors would eagerly relay their assurances to their respective nations-particularly to the religious orders of the Immortal Valerias.

Supreme Judge of the Council Dolores Hillsbury facetiously suggests that, for all of Glantri's magic, why couldn't they just cast a charm powerful enough to mentally block the memories of the massacre from the minds of all who enter Glantri? Without warning, Princess Juliana Vlaardoen pipes up in assent, innocently recalling that the Flaems in the past were once able to perform such a spell to protect Braejr from mental domination of otherworldly dragons!

Prinz Jaggar von Drachenfels is quick to dismiss such ideas as folklore, but not quick enough to prevent Princess Dolores from catching meaningful all-too-knowing looks from Prince Angus McGregor and Princess Carlotina Erewan-as if some ultimate secret was suddenly exposed! Chancellor Urmahid and Chamberlain Isidore agree on the practicality and feasibility of such a massive mind block spell, and request of a distracted Prince Harald Haaskinz-who was conspiratorially whispering to his protégé Prince Ralindi Virayana-that he use the resources of the Great School of Magic to produce such a dweomer. (See Nu. 1; Va. 3, Va. 18.)

What This Means: It is the Glantrian nature to solve everything with magic. The princes of Glantri tacitly understood that the ambassadors to Glantri were all magically charmed and ensorcelled.

Princess Dolores, in her alternate persona as Synn the queen of the night dragons, had only vague recollections of a powerful mind block spell, cast by the Dragonlord of Mystara over the Flaemish capital of Braejr (later known as Glantri City) during an invasion of the gemstone dragons from another world. She did not expect Princess Juliana to confirm it! But what surprised her more were the reactions of Prince Angus, Princess Carlotina, and possibly even Prince Harald and Prince Ralindi-all of whom have some inkling that such a spell employed the power of the Radiance. Princess Dolores decides that after all the hullabaloo with the clerics is over, she will focus her attention on uncovering the shared secret of her four unlikely rivals.

In an attempt to undo the loss of life during the Alexander's Day massacre, Père Simon and his cleric allies have been attempting to raise the dead. While his Patron Immortal Razud has granted the power to raise the innocent victims and even several of the Glantrian constabulary killed in the massacre, Razud has not raised any of the followers of the Immortal Valerias as "their passionate sacrifice of martyrdom pleases the Lady of the Rose."

The true workings of the Immortals are as always inscrutable.

Nuwmont 7, AC 1018: Death and Taxes.

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

Description: After a week of furious debate the imperial senate votes down three proposals intended to reduce land and property taxes in the empire. Two measures, one to eliminate the tax entirely and one to reduce it by three quarters, both receive the support of fewer than half the senators. The third measure, to cut the tax by half, only narrowly fails to win the two-thirds majority required to pass.

A fourth plan is immediately submitted by several senators, one that would reduce the tax by two thirds. Debate on this bill begins the next day. (See Nu. 2; Nu. 13, Va. 8.)

What This Means: Eusebius made sure that the proposals that would have eliminated or quartered the tax failed, but hoped that the measure cutting it in half would pass as a compromise that would take the issue off the table. He was disappointed by the failure, but several of his advisers believe that this latest proposal, combined with a more ruthlessly efficient collection of taxes owed and efforts to eliminate embezzlement, will be more sustainable in the long run anyhow and produce sufficient revenue. Eusebius therefore announces his support for the tax-cutting plan, hoping to get credit for it (and increase his popularity).

Nuwmont 7, AC 1018: High Priestess of Idris Learns of the Loss of the Children of Idris's Cave.

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

Description: The High Priestess of Idris learns of the destruction of the Children of Idris's cave at the hands of the elves on the Day of Dread. Although deeply angered, she resists the urge to execute more elves. She immediately summons a secret meeting of the Onyx Ring to take stock and try to salvage the Children of Idris project. (See Nu. 1, Nu. 2; Va. 8, Ya. 25.)

What This Means: No Onyx Ring wizards survived the Day of Dread attack of Beasthunter's elves. Those members that will appear before the high priestess will be greatly reduced in number. With the main centre for producing Children of Idris destroyed, a lot of time and effort will be required to resume the project.

Nuwmont 7, AC 1018: White Wolf Inn Destroyed.

Location: City of Kronstadt, Kingdom of Brasov. WB

Description: The White Wolf Inn, one of the most renowned taverns of Kronstadt, is destroyed by a sudden fire. The first investigations suggest arson. (See Nu. 11, Nu. 19.)

What This Means: The arson was provoked through the use of magic, and there are really few magic-users in Brasov that could accomplish such a task. The few competent wizards in the whole Klagorst region are either rulers or lone wolves that study by themselves, not meddling at all with the common population.

What the PCs Can Do: The captain of the crown's guard of Kronstadt, Gyula Hunyadi, may employ adventurers to investigate the matter, instead of acting directly, because, considering that a magic-user seems to be involved, the task could be dangerous and he doesn't want to risk his own men.

Second Week

Nuwmont 8, AC 1018: Capture of Deipan.

Location: Town of Deipan, Kingdom of Eadrin, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: The Arogansan troops marching on Deipan reach the town, and immediately attack it. There is some resistance, but nothing like what was put up at the capital of Archpoint, and the town soon falls to the invaders. (See Nu. 20, Va. 5.)

What This Means: Arogansa had divided its troops entering Eadrin into three groups: one to Archpoint, one to Deipan, and one in reserve in between. While they have encountered great resistance at Archpoint, here in Deipan the defences are inadequate, probably the result of an effort, quite successful, to reinforce the capital.

Nuwmont 8, AC 1018: Ceafem Under Siege.

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

Description: The Arkan and Foresthome defenders outside Ceafem cannot hold against the Stonewall army any more. They retreat to the capital and barricade themselves, while Stonewall sets up a siege. (See Nu. 1, Nu. 3; Nu. 13, Va. 3.)

What This Means: This is exactly what King Qinn of Arkan has dreaded. Arkan has the advantage of ships, but even so, its defences are unlikely to be strong enough to keep Stonewall out. The situation seems even worse when Arath, the town commander of Ceafem, informs King Qinn and General Lotaran about the limited resources in Ceafem. Stonewall is very close to victory now.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs with the Arkan and Foresthome allies should hurry to organise the capital's defences, because Stonewall is not going to wait for that to happen. And obviously PCs on either side can participate in the inevitable siege.

Nuwmont 10, AC 1018: Thyatian Expedition to Norwold Sets Out.

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

Description: A flotilla of a score of merchant ships, accompanied by a dozen warships, leaves the port of Thyatis, heading north. Their ultimate destination is Norwold, where they are to set up a new Thyatian colony that will become the step stone of Thyatian commerce in the Norwold region. The ships carry settlers with construction materials, and Thyatian and Minrothaddan merchants. They are escorted by warships to protect them against possible hostile reactions from the Heldannic Knights or Alphatians, who already have a presence in the area, as well as from pirates. (See Nu. 19, Va. 12.)

What This Means: Emperor Eusebius is pursuing a policy of economic expansion, which requires the presence of ports friendly to Thyatian traders along the major sea lanes. Beyond Zeaburg and Helskir, the various ports of call are not particularly welcoming to Thyatian shipping (though generally not outright hostile either), as they are controlled by the Heldannic Order, or by Nayce, or by petty (and rather unreliable) independent lords. Oceansend used to be a friendly port with historical ties to the empire, but the conquest of the city by the Heldannic Empire has ended this privileged relationship. The small Marquisate of Panteria welcomes ships hailing from Minrothad, but it is located far to the north, beyond Alpha, as is the Jarldom of Nordenhafen. The emperor wishes to have a friendly port situated about halfway between Zeaburg or Helskir and Alpha, not far from Oceansend. Since there is no existing dominion that would accept a closing of ties with Thyatis, the emperor has granted a charter to establish a new colony in unclaimed land, on the islands off Oceansend, south of Ersenbal.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs can be part of the expedition, either as colonists, diplomats, or escort. Thyatian PCs of high level may be in charge of the whole mission, mandated by the emperor; though it is not a large colonisation effort and is accompanied with only a title of baron, it represents the same challenge and excitement as any dominion building.

Nuwmont 10, AC 1018: Final Voyage for the Domes.

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

Description: The final four domes intended for Torenal Site finally leave port. They have been sitting here for over a month because the Day of Dread had to pass before they left Notrion. King Corydon is much relieved to see them go. (See Va. 18, Th. 17.)

What This Means: Corydon has constantly been worrying that someone might cause damage to the domes or steal something vital from the ships-Notrion's economy is delicate at best, and he cannot afford anything to go wrong. Today he can sigh in relief, though, as the domes are no longer his problem-if anything goes wrong now, it is the responsibility of the escort fleet Nayce sent to protect the domes, not his.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could be sailors or guards for the domes, or they could be guards on the escort fleet.

Nuwmont 10, AC 1018: Captain Morgan Sets Sail.

Location: Town of Floresque, Merry Pirate Seas. HW

Description: Captain R. Morgan, of the barquentine Lucky Lass, and his crew have voted to set sail in search of the legendary treasure of Captain Blake. The ship is fully repaired and the crew is well rested and eager to search for this prize. They decide to take to the seas to look for the lost map, and to do a little plundering along the way, as well. Morgan is confident that they will be successful in their quest. (See Ya. 19, Kl. 16.)

What This Means: At the end of last circle, rumours spread that the map to the treasure of Captain Blake, an infamous pirate of over one hundred fifty circles past, would soon be found. The message was brought by clerics of Korotiku, who has a sizeable following in the Merry Pirate Seas. Since then, ship captains have been setting sail with an eye toward finding the lost map, which is rumoured to lead to a prize of immense wealth and magical treasures, including the fabled Eye of Protius. Captain Morgan's oversized ego has convinced him that Blake's riches will soon belong to him; after all, what other pirate could best him in this endeavour?

What the PCs Can Do: Join in the search for the lost map. PCs can be recruited to Morgan's crew or to the crews of other pirates. PCs who captain their own ships can launch their own expeditions. However, at the moment, no one really knows just where to look. The PCs can be sent anywhere and everywhere to look for clues leading to the map.

Nuwmont 11, AC 1018: A Fight on the Rooftops.

Location: City of Kronstadt, Kingdom of Brasov. WB

Description: During an exceptionally cold night, some guards in Kronstadt witness the fight between a man and a humanoid creature similar to a werewolf on the roof of a small house in the Stranger's District of the city. Before they manage to call for reinforcements, the bloody fight ends. The guards get on the roof and find the body of a man, apparently a Zuyevan. (See Nu. 7; Nu. 19, Va. 13.)

What This Means: The presence of Zuyevans in Brasov is not common, but some Zuyevans live in the city and some come to Brasov and Klagorst as adventurers. However, this time the circumstances reveal that there must be more behind this than a normal adventurer, or exile. The man cannot be identified, but some investigation will reveal that he had bought a small abode in the city three weeks before.

What the PCs Can Do: Again, the captain of the crown's guard may want to use adventurers, especially since there could be a connection with the assassination two days ago.

Nuwmont 11, AC 1018: Damn Their Hides!

Location: Bortak Tribe Territories, Ethengar Khanates. OW

Description: Batu, Khan of the Bortaks, has assembled his entire tribal horde for a war session. His presence reassures his subjects that he and his wife survived the treacherous attack of the Murkits in Eirmont of last year. They send out word to prepare for attack by Manghai Khan and his allies, the Taijits. (See Ya. 5, Kl. 8.)

What This Means: Manghai Khan (secretly possessed by the evil spirit Jaku the Render) broke a temporary cease-fire with the Bortaks enacted during the funeral of the Golden Khan Moglai. His Murkit Tribe joined with the Taijit Tribe of Ghazan Khan to attack Batu and his Bortaks, scattering them and leaving hundreds dead. Batu and his wife, Manghai's sister Bakai, only escaped due to the intervention of the Ylari sorcerer Akmad ibn Yussef (an adviser to Moglai Khan). Batu has managed to reassemble his scattered hordes and now they must prepare for the inevitable strikes of Manghai Khan.

What the PCs Can Do: Now that Manghai has turned his attentions towards the Bortaks, Batu Khan will be in need of allies since his forces are outnumbered. The PCs can be sent as emissaries to the camps of any of the other tribal khans-most notably those of the Kaerut or Uighur Tribes-and request alliance against the Murkits and Taijits.

Nuwmont 11, AC 1018: Renewal of an Old Cooperation.

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

Description: Admiral Halzunthram, Rear Admiral Pragen and Commodore Orlov from the Navy of the Lakes [these titles are self-appointed by the Navy of the Lake, not by official Alphatian authorities. Ed.], and High Admiral Zentgraf and Vice Admiral Doran from the Royal Amburese Fleet convene to discuss renewed cooperation. The meeting is being held in a quite relaxed atmosphere, as all officers involved have known each other for years now. The admirals come to an agreement on enlarging the number of ships the Navy of the Lakes will have to put under the command of Ambur. Two light ships are to be ready in the upcoming year [AY 2018, which starts in less than two months. Ed.] Another light and two heavy vessels must be ready by AY 2019 [AC 1019. Ed.]. The admirals agree to a five-year cooperative relationship, with an option to renew for another year, useable by either side. (See Nu. 12, Va. 11.)

What This Means: Ambur has been relying on the service of the Navy of the Lakes for a long time. The waters of Ambur, i.e. the Ambur River and the former Amburese ocean coast, have been guarded by forces from this mercenary organisation for many years. But after the sinking the number of ships was much reduced because of the losses in the war and the missing ocean coast.

Another area of operations has always been Crystal Lake, which is a field of primary interest for the Amburese government-no wonder since Starpoint is located on that lake. Of course Crystal Lake was nominally part of the Kingdom of Floating Ar, but the rulers of this country have always been satisfied to control the waters from the air. The smugglers and sometimes even pirates from Crystal Lake were not really impressed as they had developed methods to conceal themselves as harmless traders. The lake naval commanders from Floating Ar knew of this situation, of course, but, since they were usually commoners-these were not very prestigious positions for the noble officers-, they were never able to wrest away enough funds from the royal coffers to do their work properly. So Ambur has used the Navy of the Lakes with the same strategy of concealment to keep smugglers and pirates at bay.

As it is to be expected, chasing smugglers and pirates has to be done with small ships that do not look like warships. So the decision to hire on greater warships to be used on the lake is a new one for Ambur. Obviously the Kingdom of Ambur has more plans for the Crystal Lake.

The three mercenary officers are here because of their tasks. Halzunthram as the commander is here to sign the treaty, Pragen is responsible for acquiring, equipping and manning the ships, and Orlov is the designated commanding officer. Zentgraf is the leader of the Amburese navy-which consists mainly of mercenaries-who can negotiate that kind of agreement for the kingdom, and Doran is the designated Amburese commander.

What the PCs Can Do: The naval rearmament is interesting to Ambur's neighbours-especially for the beleaguered Arkan and the attacking Stonewall. The PCs can be sent as spies to get information about the plans of the kingdom. Naval-oriented PCs can be part of the new flotilla-either as mercenaries or as their Amburese officers.

Nuwmont 12, AC 1018: Council Spat.

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

Description: Facing the same recurrent political crises, the assembled members of the Naycese Council again show their incapacity to resolve anything through political discussion. Everywhere around Nayce, trouble arises, but the councillors at their conclave cannot discuss this civilly, let alone resolve the predicaments that their assemblage of nations is facing.

The calls of Ericall of Alpha, whose territory is threatened by the advancing Heldannic Knights, of Norlan of Qeodhar, whose nation is partially controlled by Ystmarhavner rebels, and of Favian Vern of Esterhold, whose republic is being overrun by Jennites, are totally ignored by the other rulers of Nayce.

There is much reproving of the unilateral, aggressive move of Thothia against the city-states of Ekto and Trikelios, fellow members of Nayce that have been purely and simply annexed by their more powerful neighbour, as well as the unjustified occupation of Eagret Island. Likewise, Underocean's attitude is largely criticised, as the sea folks have started hostilities with barely known sea races that some hoped to woo in-notably those that are Alphatian, in some fashion, while the folks of Underocean are not.

Nothing is done to solve these problems, however; accusations flare, and arguments come close to involving fists-magic is, fortunately, restricted within the council hall. The only area of consensus is on settling the various islands in the Alphatian Sea, though it does not go to the point where they could decide on the when and how.

After several hours of that pointless bickering, Master Terari rises from his seat and taps his staff on the ground. Voices gradually stop as the various councillors, engaged in their heated arguments, notice it and interrupt their discussions, until the whole room becomes silent, and expectant of Terari's words of wisdom. The wizard, however, does not speak, but turns heel, and without a word for the council leaves the room. (See Nu. 20, Th. 15.)

What This Means: The Naycese Council is continually losing power, and more and more its constituent nations are acting on their own. The council itself, since Thothia lost its grip upon it, has been stalled as each councillor acts only in the interest of his or her kingdom, without concern for the others or for the Alphatian Empire as a whole-and more often than not even acting against others even when their interests were not concerned, just to keep them from gaining any advantage. The revolts in various kingdoms have not been addressed, and even aggressions from barbaric nations have been let do; and nothing is being done to stifle the growing social discontent and the economic breakdown.

The Alphatians have forgotten the role Thothia played in keeping the Alphatian remnants out of Thyatian grasp, and the aura that the Thothians had gained has faded to the point that it has lost its grip on the council. Facing trouble at home, Pharaoh Ramenhotep dramatically altered his policy, which included using what power Thothia still has in the council to prevent it from interfering on the Isle of Dawn.

The faction, led by Favian Vern, that militantly urges for reforms within Nayce (of an order similar to what Emperor Eusebius is doing in Thyatis), has suffered several setbacks that are only augmented by the difficulties Vern faces in his own republic. These reformists tend to stick together, but they remain in the minority and are unable to get anything of importance done, and too often they disagree among themselves about the course that would improve things.

The Bellissarian kingdoms are a series of contradictions. Bellissaria represents, both in terms of land mass and population, the centre of Nayce, and they want to be treated as such; but at the same time the very conservative and isolationist aristocracy of Bellissaria refuses to be thus put forward. Besides, the various Bellissarian kings and queens do not trust each other, and even when they share common interests they are unable to cooperate.

The more conservative Alphatian kingdoms, led by Arkan and with the support of Commander Karszamon, wish to stick with the old Alphatian ways. They are quite influential at the council, but they tend to also oppose each other as each one wants to be the core of the new Alphatia; in addition, they do not like the idea of the council in the first place (they would rather have an emperor or empress), and as a result do not use the tool they despise to its fullest.

As for Terari, nobody knows for sure what he wants, nor why he has returned to Nayce. He came back three months ago without telling anyone in advance, before even the end of the academic year in the puny nation of Karameikos, and he has not returned there since. Several kings and queens or councillors and other aristocrats, especially those few who know his true identity, have been trying to find out his intentions, and whether he was definitively settling in Nayce, but so far they haven't been able to find out. It is clear that he is discontented with the council, but that does not amount to much. While they wonder what his intentions are, nobody wonders why he left Karameikos (it is too irrelevant a place to cross their minds, probably), nor why he has been showing up at every council session for the past three months although he is not a councillor (and thus has no right to attend).

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are high-level characters privy to that sphere of influence, they have probably already been swimming in that kind of intrigue for some time, of which they are main actors. If not, they might be hired by various characters to investigate Terari's return, or to spy on any other councillor that their employer orders them to; they should be careful though because they are certainly judged expandable.

Nuwmont 12, AC 1018: New Unit Recruited.

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

Description: The new ground force the Navy of the Lakes had announced some months ago, the 1st Marines of the Lakes, has now finished its first training phase. The marines are given the task of protecting the construction crews building the planned Alphatian canals. The commander, Major Sarond, can now send some units into engagement. Of course there will be more recruitment and training nevertheless. (See Fl. 9, Ya. 2.)

What This Means: The navy has formed this contingent to protect the construction in the wilderness of central Alphatia. It is not quite a part of the navy but a separate mercenary force owned and paid by the navy. It is debated whether the unit will be demobilised afterwards or given the task of patrolling the finished canals.

Sarond is a capable cavalry officer from the Arogansan army. Despite being a rough battle cleric who treats his troops harshly, he is fair, and like quite a number of noble officers in the empire he understands his elevated position as one of responsibility for the simple commoners. This trait, which is rare in his home kingdom of Arogansa, has brought him into big trouble as he has protected one of his men against the whim of a general when he was still a member of the Arogansan army. The general had tried to refuse the soldier his rights, and without the help of another noble the poor man would have been doomed. Sarond was successful, but there were no more promotions for him, and when parts of the army were demobilised he was thrown out. This soldier he protected, Sergeant Block, is still his second-in-command, and his assistant today.

What the PCs Can Do: The marines are still looking for capable people of all useful professions.

Nuwmont 13, AC 1018: Tax Measure Passes.

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

Description: The measure reducing land and property taxes in Thyatis from 6% per year to 2% per year passes overwhelmingly. The taxes will be collected quarterly, along with income taxes, with a half percent of the property's value due each quarter.

Eusebius also, more quietly, appoints several new officials. The first is Anastasius Tauromenium, a highly respected priest of Tarastia who is appointed as sacelarius, a position as general controller over the chancery officials in the treasury, responsible for supervising them and the logothetes. Simeon Ornogopolus is appointed as general logothete, supervising the tax collectors. Officials known as chartularies are appointed to administer the treasuries themselves (one for cash and one for other goods) and supervise expenditures. In addition, a number of logothetes serving as auditors are appointed with the responsibility of uncovering corruption and receiving a tenth of whatever embezzled funds they are able to reclaim.

Several superfluous offices and officials are eliminated in this reorganisation, so the size of the bureaucracy doesn't change much. Eusebius also orders the pay of a number of lower ranking officials increased. (See Nu. 2, Nu. 7; Va. 8, Kl. 1.)

What This Means: The land and property taxes have reached their definitive form, set at a level that the empire's citizens can sustain, especially with the general lowering of income taxes over the last several years. Over time, the property taxes will prove harder to evade since it is more difficult to hide property than income, and the lower income taxes will reduce the incentive to evade them as well.

This is also the purpose behind Eusebius's raising of the salaries of officials and the new ones he has appointed. Poorly paid officials are more open to bribes than better paid and better supervised ones. The new appointments also create a division between officials responsible for collecting revenues and the ones responsible for spending, making it more difficult for embezzlement to occur since a discrepancy between receipts, expenditures, and the amount in the treasury will be easier to notice. The new logothetes, appointed as auditors, almost all come not from the upper classes (as most Thyatian officials do) but from more humble origins, especially those who have benefited personally from Eusebius's regime so far. Many are well educated freedmen, while others are the superfluous sons and daughters of the mercantile class, the ones not in line to inherit the family business but well educated, especially in keeping financial records. All these are well supervised by the respected but severe Anastasius Tauromenium, who is absolutely intransigent in opposing corruption, and the scions of the trading families bring with them a knowledge of advanced accounting procedures which are soon adapted for government use.

These measures make the imperial government more efficient and help it generate significant revenue while lowering the tax burden on most citizens (only those who had managed to evade much of the taxes they were due to pay in the past are likely to pay more).

Nuwmont 13, AC 1018: Østmark Retaken.

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

Description: A sizeable force of Northmen, led by the now-renowned warrior woman named Olvi, surrounds the town of Østmark and informs the Qeodharan garrison stationed there of the fall of Icehop Island, and that, should they surrender now, they will be treated mercifully. The commander of the garrison, seeing that the Antalian force slightly outnumbers his own, nevertheless refuses, knowing that Østmark is the symbolic "capital" of the rebels, and that surrendering it would boost their morale.

The resulting battle is fierce, and within moments some Northmen are able to scale the palisade and begin hacking away at their enemies. Arrows rain down on both sides, in many cases finding their targets. With so many points of ingress, the rebels are able to secure various outlying buildings within the town, from which they can pin down the Qeodharans with arrows and stones while more of their number can enter the town. The battle becomes all the more violent when the Antalian warriors, many of whom were prisoners on Icehop Island, learn that the bulk of the village's populace was expelled to Qeodharan-controlled territories-some become consumed in a berserker-like frenzy, slashing wildly at their enemies regardless of the danger to themselves. Though many such men fall in battle, they take a considerable number of Qeodharans with them.

Within an hour, Østmark is once more in Antalian hands, and the surviving Qeodharans are disarmed and put in chains. (See Nu. 3; Va. 24, Th. 17.)

What This Means: The Qeodharan conquest of Østmark last year was a major victory for them, not least because of its significance to the Ystmarhavners as their "capital," where many of the jarls conferred and discussed their plans against Norlan's men. In the aftermath of its fall last year, the vast majority of the population (mainly women and children) were forcibly relocated to mines and farms further west, where they were to be worked as slave labour. The town was turned into a local command centre for the forces stationed in the area.

The battle was a costly one-of the original 120 Qeodharan soldiers, fewer than 30 remain alive; the Ystmarhavners and their Ostlander allies lost over 50 men, themselves. Now that Østmark is once again in rebel hands, it will serve once more as a command centre. The Qeodharan prisoners will be thoroughly interrogated in the coming days, in order to determine where the prisoners were sent, and where other large troop concentrations are located. Afterwards, the prisoners will be sent to Icehop Island, to join their comrades.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs on Norlan's side will have an extremely tough fight on their hands, and should they be captured, they will be interrogated harshly-there is a chance they might not survive the experience, depending on how injured they are. Afterwards, they will be sent to Icehop Island, where they will have to contend with poor living conditions, disease, and meagre rations. PCs will probably try to escape, and that would make for a tense, but exciting scenario. PCs on the rebel side will also have a tough fight, but should they be among the victors, there will be much work to do in terms of scouting the surrounding countryside, and acting on the information gained through the interrogations.

Nuwmont 13, AC 1018: Mykonos Opened for Settlement.

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

Description: The Kastelian colony of Mykonos, established last year [AC 1017. Ed.], is officially declared open for settlement. All citizens of Kastelios are eligible to apply for a limited number of land grants on the island, which have been set aside for farming; tradesmen of selected professions will be welcome, as well. Those who manage to obtain a farming grant will have two years to make their land productive, or their claim will be forfeited. Applicants are invited to apply to the offices of Adonai Stephanos, the city councillor acknowledged as the colony's overseer. (See Th. 23.)

What This Means: Much of the ground work for establishing Mykonos (such as surveying, clearing land for a village, and so on) as a colony has already been accomplished, and a small number of Milenian refugees from the Meghala Kimata Plains have already been living there for a couple of months. Work has already been started on the fortress that will guard the village of Mykonos, and some soldiers have already been posted there, in advance of the future colonists. Adonai and his men were careful to downplay the number of deaths caused by the volcano's venting of poisonous gases last Ambyrmont, reducing the publicly-stated figure considerably. This was not hard to do, as there are a number of dangers in the Sea of Dread capable of taking a life.

In the weeks to come, a number of Kastelians will apply for the land grants, but as there are only 150 available, not everyone will get one-neither Adonai nor the assembly wants the colony to grow too quickly. All grants are located around the village of Mykonos; the remainder of the island will be unavailable until such time as the council decides new settlements should be established. Given his level of influence in establishing Mykonos, it is not surprising that Adonai will have a hand in the selection of colonists-a considerable number of his personal friends and cronies will find their applications for grants have been approved.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs interested in establishing a home for themselves could file an application for land, or they could find work as guards for one or more of the colonists. The land granted is wilderness; colonists must clear it and build their homes before anything else can be done, during which time some protection might be needed (although Mykonos lacks dangerous animals, the inhabitants of neighbouring islands, other colonists, or amphibious monsters, could always pose a threat). Also, if they are investigating Adonai's activities for any reason, they may learn over the coming weeks that his friends seem to have all won themselves land-and often the best plots at that.

Nuwmont 13, AC 1018: The Iron Grip.

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

Description: The army of Stonewall, still under the command of Colonel Sorentas, sets up siege engines all around the city of Ceafem. They particularly set up catapults and ballistae close to the sea so they can attack any ships moving to or from Ceafem. In the coreward lands of Arkan, now conquered by Stonewall, the invaders assign troops to oversee farming of the land, so that grain can be sent back to Stonewall. A good portion of the occupation force is dedicated to the latter effort. (See Nu. 3, Nu. 8; Va. 3, Va. 9.)

What This Means: Naturally, this makes sea travel very dangerous near Ceafem. Stonewall is tightening its grip and plans to use this tactic to starve Arkan into submission. With the danger these siege engines represent, few ships will be willing to sail to or from Ceafem to resupply the besieged town or bring refugees to safety. And those few willing to risk it will do so at great risk. Because of the Hollow World's constant sunlight, ships cannot hope to sneak past this threat at night. This looks like another nail in Arkan's coffin.

Colonel Sorentas recently received orders to begin sending food back to Stonewall where a famine is still threatening the population. Because occupation forces must be reassigned to that end, this limits the amount of troops Sorentas can dedicate to actually fighting Arkan and its Foresthome allies. This makes the siege of Ceafem less overwhelming than it might otherwise have been, though it's still more aggressive than what Ceafem can be expected to withstand for any real length of time.

What the PCs Can Do: There will be constant fighting on the town walls, so the PCs can fight on either side. If they are on the side of the defenders, they can also attempt to sneak into the enemy camp or sail past the Stonewall offensive. The latter will be very dangerous, though. PCs on Stonewall's side can also try to sneak into town and perform acts of sabotage or even attempt to open the town gates, though that too will be dangerous, since the large amount of soldiers currently in town means security is very high.

Nuwmont 14, AC 1018: Royal Weddings.

Location: Modrigswerg kingdoms, Kingdom of Vestland. OW

Description: In the two major Modrigswerg kingdoms of Vestland, Makkres and Thrabol, the two Modrigswerg kings, King Hurkres of Makkres and King Buhrest of Thrabol, are both married to daughters of King Throfar of Gråbjerge in Ostland. The Modrigswerg hold feasts, consume way too much food and alcohol, and honour their kings with rich gifts. (See Va. 5, Va. 18.)

What This Means: King Throfar of Gråbjerge has long been planning to dabble in affairs of the world, but has been worried that his small kingdom would be eradicated by hostile forces. By allying closely with the other Modrigswerg kingdoms of the Northern Reaches, he not only appears stronger, but it's much more likely that his allies will be the first to be attacked, if any attacks are forthcoming, since they are closer to potential enemies.

Nuwmont 14, AC 1018: Favian Vern Sends Negotiators.

Location: Town of Rock Harbour, Province of Southrock, Republic of Esterhold, Nayce. SK

Description: After Faraway and Verdan fell to the Jennites last year and the town of Anchorage was then subsequently burned down, Favian Vern has been sending adventurers to Esterhold in an attempt to resolve the situation. However, their efforts haven't amounted to much, although they've helped some Alphatians escape to safety, slowed Jennite advances at times, and had the occasional skirmish with the Jennites.

Not content with this, Favian has recruited several skilled diplomats to be sent to negotiate with the Jennite leaders. Since Skyfyr is under siege, Favian has brought these negotiators to Rock Harbour, which is now the Alphatian settlement closest to the lands the Jennites have conquered. Today Favian sends these negotiators into the Esterhold wilderness so they may have a chance to meet the Jennites in a less hostile arena than an active siege. (See Nu. 12; Nu. 20, Nu. 25.)

What This Means: Favian could have joined the negotiators himself, but that could be taken as a sign of weakness on his part, both by his opponents in Nayce and among the Jennites. Favian is very much aware that if he were to go himself, some of his opponents in Nayce, Karszamon among others, could use this to hurt him politically, by saying he is now crawling to the Jennites, begging them to give him his nation back. The Jennites would likely also see such a move as a sign of weakness and so try to strengthen their advance, whereas sending negotiators could suggest that Favian is not worried about the situation and thus make them rethink their position.

Favian doesn't stop sending adventurers against the Jennites in Esterhold, though. He doesn't really want to escalate the situation by further antagonising the Jennites, but rather wants to defuse the situation and reach a compromise. But he will not let the Jennites continue to kill his own people and burn their towns, such as they did in Anchorage last year.

Favian is also in Rock Harbour for the secondary purpose of talking to Southrock's Governor, Darik Rockroll. Favian suspects that Southrock will be the next Alphatian settlement to be attacked by the rebel and free Jennites, so he has been trying to convince Darik to use the profit from the mines in Southrock to hire mercenaries that would protect the area. This hasn't been easy because Darik is a very typical dwarf who doesn't spend his hard-earned profit easily, so convincing him has taken time. Darik has come to see the wisdom of Favian's advice, though.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could be among the negotiators, possibly as guards or advisers, but due to the further events, it is not advised. The DM may, of course, do as he pleases, but should be aware how this plot unfolds and what impact the fate of the negotiators have on it before he decides to put the PCs in his campaign in the position of Favian's negotiators. It is more likely and appropriate they are among the adventurers Favian sends to Esterhold, in which case they should help escaping Alphatians and Jennites loyal to Favian and have skirmishes with the forces of the free and rebel Jennites.

The PCs are more likely to be among the mercenaries Darik Rockroll will begin to hire to protect Southrock from expected Jennite attacks, though it will be some time before those attacks become serious.

Third Week

Nuwmont 17, AC 1018: The Torpin Launched.

Location: Torpin Construction Site, Kingdom of Aquas, Nayce. AS

Description: Amid much fanfare, the Torpin is launched under the command of Dhallaq Trest. It is the first submersible of its class, and will, for now, be the only one. Among the honoured guests of this ceremony are Xerathis, Tredrigon, and Dlanor, the creators of the new submersible and all apprentices of the renowned Bordicar. They enjoy the luxurious treatment of the Naycese officials here to witness the launch of the Torpin as well as the praise they get for their achievement. In the end Dlanor teleports to the Torpin to sail off with it as its chief engineer. (See Nu. 27, Va. 2.)

What This Means: Though the Torpin isn't exactly everything the three mages hoped for, this launch is still a major success for them. With the doubtful Naycese economy, it has been a battle just to get the Torpin launched at all, and one that might not have been won if the project hadn't already advanced as far as it had before the Torpin became an imperial project. In truth, Nayce has pushed for the launch of the Torpin while the three mages have tried to stop it because they still wanted to make more additions to it and test it more. Eventually Dlanor argued that the Day of Dread would cause a problem and that it should not be launched until after it had passed and they had run some tests on it afterwards. Nayce eventually bowed to that argument and set this date for its launch. Dlanor is now the chief engineer of the Torpin, while Xerathis and Tredrigon will continue to build more submersibles, although those will be of the more simple Reaver class. Xerathis will fully dedicate himself to that project while Tredrigon will assist him and try to develop new submersible designs and maintain repair facilities ready for the Torpin, should it be necessary.

What the PCs Can Do: The Torpin has an extensive crew already, but the PCs can certainly be among them as some of the more "lowly" positions. If one of them is a wizard or cleric with the ability to cast the water breathing spell and they generally have underwater experience, they will be ideal candidates for away teams, should the Torpin need them. They are unlikely to be considered unless they are Alphatians, though.

Nuwmont 17, AC 1018: Gurrash Frenzy.

Location: Colonie de la Nouvelle-Renardie. SC

Description: Several war parties and lone gurrash hunters of Ator conduct raids upon Nouveaux Renardois, with the most daring attacks made on even the best fortified of the lupins' settlements. The town of Le Vieux Carré, built on the ruins of the gurrash village of Omsh, is notably targeted by the gurrash warriors, while the more peripheral towns of La Nouvelle Daens and Les Tentes-sur-Bancs receive fewer gurrash visitors. Everywhere, fights are brutally savage and bloody, in a way that the lupins have not seen since the earlier battles with the gator men that ended with the gurrash being driven out of the southern half of the Bayou. Many lupins are torn to death (and often devoured), though many gurrash fall to the more organized lupins notably in the better-defended places. (See Fl. 3, Fe. 19.)

What This Means: The shamans of Goron have spurred the gurrash to go to war against the Nouveaux Renardois. When the gurrash population reaches critical levels, the shamans provoke a war supposedly designed to acquire food, but which is actually mainly aimed at reducing the population to more reasonable levels. They generally attack the Shazak, but this time their target was easy to decide upon: the lupins that inhabit the southern Bayou, a territory taken from the gurrash. The shamans have been feeding to the gurrash stories about the lupins being sent by Goron to test the gurrash warriors, and that only by defeating them will their gain Her renewed favours and gifts-by settling in the southwest of the Bayou the lupins have cut gurrash access to their traditional exchanges of gifts with the Wallara, which the gurrash think of as gifts from Goron. This religious backdrop has helped, if that was needed, to increase the gurrash frenzy to an all-time high. Many isolated settlements are ravaged, but the fortified towns cannot be forced.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs can take part in the violent fights.

Nuwmont 18, AC 1018: A Guarded Peace.

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

Description: Efforts to repair the damage done to the mighty fortress of Vanya, begun late last year, are well underway. The number of troops manning the main walls has been doubled for the time being, and the roads connecting the main fortress to the ring of satellite fortifications to the north and south are now patrolled regularly. Despite the increased security precautions, no Meghaddara raiders have been spotted in Heldannic territory, although roving bands of the plains-folk have been spotted by farther-ranging scouts.

Thomas von Wettingen, Castellan of Vanya's Rest, considers this information, and orders his troops to maintain their state of vigilance. (See Va. 4, Va. 21.)

What This Means: The daring assault mounted by the Meghaddara and their rakasta allies last year [Fyrmont, AC 1017. Ed.] managed not only to weaken the Heldannic Knights' sense of security in the region; it also resulted in the damaging of the Star of Vanya, the artifact that, among other things, provided the Heldannic Order's warbirds with their means of flying. Since that time, the Meghaddara and rakasta have retreated to their own lands, both to watch their common foe, and to resume their own internal conflicts, now that the latest bout of Heldannic expansionism appears to have been halted, and great honour has been gained by the various clans who mounted the attacks.

Over the coming months, sporadic raiding will take place on the fringes of the territory claimed by the Heldannic Knights, but no major offensives will be undertaken. The garrisons of the border forts will also mount small punitive raids in response to these attacks, but nothing will come of these efforts for now. In other words, the situation around Vanya's Rest has returned to normal.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are serving with the Heldannic Knights, the PCs could be sent on scouting missions to explore Meghaddara territory, in order to determine where the raiding parties are based. Naturally, the DM can use this as an opportunity to stage a few wilderness encounters, both with the Meghaddara (by no means easy opponents) and the various forms of animal life that can be encountered on the Aryptian Savannah. Meghaddara PCs could stage small raids on Heldannic outposts, or ambush scouting parties that venture too far into clan territory. Alternatively, the PCs could take part in the various inter-clan feuds that will arise over the course of the year, in which they can gain honour through valorous combat, and through stealing the treasures and livestock of opposing clans.

Nuwmont 19, AC 1018: Who Would Have Thought?

Location: City of Kronstadt, Kingdom of Brasov. WB

Description: During the night, four adventurers, hired a few days prior by Gyula Hunyadi, captain of the crown's guard, come out of the house of Mattias Debrecen, renowned adviser of King Szabo II, bringing with them the man in chains, and proof of his connection with Nhorg, former Duke of Vrancea. Debrecen is brought to court, and after a few days he is executed as a traitor. (See Nu. 7, Nu. 11; Va. 13, Th. 9.)

What This Means: Debrecen was among the ones that suggested to King Szabo to avoid involvement in the war in Klagorst last year. Although he did not cause any major problem in the land, Szabo has decided to have him executed because there was strong proof of his connections with Nhorg, and, worried by the presence of spies in his closest entourage, he wanted to make a display of power. The adventurers have also discovered the identity of the Zuyevan: he was Piotr Skrjabin, one of the lieutenants of Nhorg. There could be a connection between Debrecen and Skrjabin's death, although that hasn't been proved yet.

What the PCs Can Do: Apart from finding the proofs after having investigated in the past days, and arrest the counsellor? Be secret agents of Nhorg and save Debrecen from the investigators sent by Hunyadi, of course!

Nuwmont 19, AC 1018: Halt in Zeaburg.

Location: City of Zeaburg, Kingdom of Ostland. OW

Description: The Thyatian expedition stops in Zeaburg on its way to Norwold. The Thyatians explain their intention to build a small, new colony off Oceansend, and check with the king that he has no views toward the chosen site. They assure the king that Ostlander ships will be welcome to stop by at the future harbour, as long as they do not pirate the Thyatian ships that will be increasingly plying the northern sea lanes. When the Thyatian expedition leaves Zeaburg, it is joined by a couple of longships that will travel with it before continuing their journey to reach their ultimate destination, Nordenhafen. (See Nu. 10; Va. 12, Va. 18.)

What This Means: Ostland has long considered the islands off Oceansend a possible site for new settlements, but no move has been made in that direction as settlers were welcomed into Heldun recently, and other places in Norwold have been the subject of the attention of the kingdom (notably the association with Bardeen of Nordenhafen). If the Thyatians secure a port on the Isle of the Dogs, it does not prevent Ostlander settlers from moving in later near the Thyatian area, if they want to. Having an additional friendly port is convenient for Ostland as well, as Ostlander longships are less than welcome in most Norwold dominions.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs may join the expedition as mercenaries, either boarding the Thyatian galleys or the Ostlander longships. High-level Ostlander PCs may also petition the king to create their own settlement near the intended Thyatian port.

Nuwmont 19, AC 1018: From Leehashire to the Five Shires.

Location: Village of Wereskalot, Shire of Eastshire, Five Shires. OW

Description: An expedition of more than 20 hin from Leehashire, Norwold, arrives in the Five Shires, successfully concluding a months-long expedition from their nation to the homeland of the hin on Brun. (See Nu. 28, Va. 11.)

What This Means: The arrival of the Leehashire hin is destined to shake up the comfortable status quo of the Five Shires, and this effect is visible immediately, as they become a sensation wherever they go.

Nuwmont 19, AC 1018: Juliast Meets Tanalos.

Location: North of Bluenose Ruins, Sunken Arogansa, Nayce. AS

Description: King Juliast and his forces are still hunting undead as they march on Bluenose to destroy both the ghouls and the zombies. He meets Tanalos who tells him of the losses he suffered defending Torenal Site on the Day of Dread and, in no uncertain terms, how Commander Deltart subsequently treated him. King Juliast's opinion of the Alphatians doesn't exactly improve as a result. (See Nu. 1; Va. 2, Va. 13.)

What This Means: Last year, Juliast and others detected a magical surge they concluded as coming from the Bluenose Ruins and subsequently noticed an alarming rise in the number of undead attacks. To Juliast this was proof that the lightning zombies were just as malevolent as the ghouls in spite of what Nayce claimed, and he decided to eradicate the problem once and for all. For months his men have been killing both zombies and ghouls on their march toward Bluenose, the small force sent to protect Torenal Site under Tanalos's command being the only exception.

Unknown to Juliast, the magical surge was actually created by the necromancer Pidimigd who attempted a spell to control the Alphadon, and it has caused trouble all over the Alphatian Sea. However, Juliast is now convinced that there is no distinction between the various brands of undead, and the report of Tanalos makes him even less willing to listen to the Alphatians.

What the PCs Can Do: PC tritons can participate in the battles Juliast fights against the undead on his way to the Bluenose Ruins.

Nuwmont 19, AC 1018: Dragonslayers Resume Quest.

Location: City of Wendar, Kingdom of Wendar. OW

Description: After failing to recover the Orb of the Great One and capture Siren the Sorceress in Eirmont AC 1016, the Dragonslayers' leader Kelter Zerben underwent a crisis of faith. Finally the group's priest, Ceowulf Bjorgensen, was able to convince Kelter that all was not lost if they could capture Siren the Sorceress. Through the use of many commune spells, Ceowulf was able to determine that Siren was somewhere in Denagoth. Once again, the Dragonslayers set off to catch their former comrade who betrayed them.

Today they meet a familiar face at the Gold & Grey Inn. They are astonished to see Sir Ernest Day, former Baron of Hopeland. They eagerly swap tales and agree to join forces once again. (See Th. 25, Fl. 2.)

What This Means: Kelter Zerben seems cursed. Throughout his life he has attempted many heroic deeds, only to precipitate tragedies of global proportions. Somewhat of an unwitting pawn of Entropic Immortals' plots, Kelter has been tricked into collapsing the Aegos Pit to the Hollow World, killing many innocents, murdering the leader of lawful dragons in Norwold, and was holding the Orb of the Great One when it was destroyed. With the Orb of the Great One destroyed, the Dragonslayers are now searching for Siren to discover who she really is and why she betrayed them.

Sir Ernest Day sheltered the Dragonslayers in his castle in Hopeland, Norwold, from the dragon attacks. However, as part of the peace treaty with the dragons, Sir Ernest was forced to abandon his dominion to the dragons. While preparing to return to his Darokinian homeland, Sir Ernest was intercepted by Adik de Chevas, who offered the good knight an opportunity to work with others who shared his goals. Sir Ernest agreed and was teleported to Wendar City. Adik informed Sir Ernest that there were a great number of rogue black dragons in the northern land of Denagoth waiting for a worthy knight to vanquish them. Over the past year, Sir Ernest has spent many a night at Wendar's famous School of Material Shadows gathering information on Denagoth in preparation for his quest.

Now he has been reunited with the Dragonslayers and all four are intent on journeying to Denagoth to restore lost honour.

What the PCs Can Do: High-level PCs could meet Sir Ernest or the Dragonslayers and agree to join forces on this deadly quest.

Nuwmont 19, AC 1018: Leader of the Planning Staff Starts Talking.

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

Description: General-Major Quoos from the Royal Army of Theranderol and Rear-Admiral Clarendon from the Navy of the Lakes convene to discuss the future canal connecting the Greenlake River and the Thera River. Both officers get along without a problem. Clarendon must admit that Quoos is on the right track concerning the planning of the canal, and the Theran general is grateful for some useful advice. They agree to meet every one or two months. Otherwise the army of Theranderol will be in charge of building this canal. Quoos hopes that he will be able to begin work next circle. (See Th. 7, Fl. 7.)

What This Means: This was the first meeting of the two senior officers. Quoos had to replace the former project leader Lady Tyrona, as she could not stand to work with a simple commoner like Clarendon. Anyway, the royal army prefers to have a general in charge, as it was its idea in the first place. Of course, both men share a lot of things: both are commoners with long military careers and both are responsible for logistics in their organisations. On the other hand Quoos is a sturdy fighter with a past as an infantry officer in a royal army, while Clarendon is a slender seaman in a mercenary navy with a past as a thief. Those differences have little relevance for both men, though.

Technically the planned canal is the perhaps the simplest which will be built in the next circles. The distance between Bigos and Sasdil is only approximately 100 miles of rather level terrain. The Thera is navigable until Bigos, so this town is the logical choice to start the canal, and Sasdil on the eastern bank of the Greenlake River is the nearest point. Of course both towns feature harbours that can be used by ships passing along the canal.

Nuwmont 19, AC 1018: Going Under.

Location: Under Town of Dmireton, under Kingdom of Randel, Underside, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: The Randel military establishes a small outpost in the Alphatian Underside. The outpost is located straight below the town of Dmireton, at the border with Bettellyn. The personnel consist in a small garrison of 20 battle wizards, 20 archers and 20 heavy infantry tasked with transforming a natural cavern into a Randel-quality fortress. That cave is also open to the Underside, allowing passage for the small squadron of 30 marines plus 15 crew manning a skysloop. The skyship brought the garrison in, and is tasked with exploring the Underside from the air while 20 scouts explore it from the ground in units of five. (See Sv. 11.)

What This Means: Although the war with Bettellyn is over, Randel has established a base in the Underside beneath its border with that nation. Randel wishes to investigate the military potential of the Alphatian Underside. It will soon become apparent that the Underside is impractical for extensive military usage, but Randel has to investigate it anyway-due to the reversed gravity armies can't walk the Underside so troops can't march across it, and the mist that covers the Underside makes it a hazard for skynavies.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs may garrison that new outpost, in which case they will certainly have to flush monsters out of the cavern. The most interesting part, however, is to act as scouts in the Underside, either from above (well, below, actually) aboard the skysloop, or as one of the party of ground scouts in which case they don't necessarily have to be part of the Randel army.

Nuwmont 19, AC 1018: Attack of the Gnolls.

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

Description: A company of soldiers from Stonewall, on their way as reinforcements for the Arkan campaign, come across a small band of elves under attack from a large party of gnolls in central Limn. They charge into the fray, trying to save the elves from the gnollish attackers. When the gnolls are slaughtered, with only a few escaping, the elves do not seem very grateful. In fact, they quickly disappear into the surrounding forest.

What This Means: Although Stonewall is considered philosophically different from the rest of Alphatia, they still have pretty much the same racial biases as do most humans. This bias led the soldiers to automatically assume the gnolls were the evil aggressors. In this case, however, the gnolls were a war party from the respected gnoll Chief Sthool, a Limnese lord, there to arrest the hunted elven criminal Levanthander. (See Nu. 13; Nu. 23, Ya. 4.)

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are Stonewallers, they could be part of the Stonewall unit, or they could be mercenaries hired by King Koblan. The PCs could also, if they are gnolls or similar humanoids, be part of the gnollish force. If the PCs fit into the category "hunted criminals" they could even replace Levanthander and his companions in this encounter.

Nuwmont 20, AC 1018: A Renewal of Intentions.

Location: City of Darokin, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: Bastian Rodens, a prominent member of the Magic-User's Guild, calls for a renewal of the failing guild. He states that over the years, Darokin has neglected the resources of magic and had better follow the example of nations like Karameikos and establish their own tradition of arcane magic if Darokin is to remain a competitive force in that field and the guild remain powerful. His presentation at the guild is well received among all who are present, and they ask him to head up the project of renewing the guild.

Bastian immediately proceeds to make a few suggestions. The guild is to be renamed the Mage's Guild and a college dedicated to the study of magic be formed. Toward the latter goal, they will need good wizards, and wizards in Darokin is a confusing affair, so Bastian suggests they announce the Gathering of wizards later this year. His suggestions are well met and quickly accepted. The Gathering is set for Yarthmont 8. (See Ya. 8, Ya. 19.)

What This Means: Bastian's suggestions are just what they seem-a renewal of Darokin's effort toward an important resource. In effect his comments demonstrate that Darokin's plutocracy is working, as this call for a renewal has come about in time to avoid problems Darokin might otherwise face later. Since Glantri and Darokin have grown more apart in recent years, Darokin can no longer depend on Glantri either as a market for importing magic from or to export more mundane goods to. Although Darokin is allied with Karameikos in the Western Defence League, the Karameikan School of Magecraft may still be a competitor to the old Magic-User's Guild.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs might attend the Gathering if a wizard in the group is from Darokin. Since Bastian wants the new guild to contain all the best wizards in Darokin, he will need to contact them; only contacting wizards can be a little risky. Wizards are usually reclusive and secretive folk, and they are no different in Darokin, so Bastian might hire PCs to go and talk to the more suspicious ones. He might even hire them to find all the reclusive wizards they can find and bring them the invitation to appear at the Gathering he is planning. That might send the PCs on a mission to search the farthest corners of Darokin for rumours of wizards hiding from the attention of the world.

Nuwmont 20, AC 1018: Favian and Karszamon Meet.

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

Description: Favian Vern, President of the Esterhold Republic, meets with Karszamon, commander of the Naycese forces, and asks for military assistance in Esterhold, both to end the conflict with the Jennites, save the lives of the fleeing Alphatians, and protect the settlements still under Alphatian control. Karszamon responds by saying that he will certainly send forces there, but only if Favian makes the request officially. After all, as commander he is permitted only to interfere if the Naycese Council gives him authority to do so, and, besides, his forces are spread rather thin at the moment due to Thothian expansionist tendencies and the potential threat of the strange undead on the sunken Alphatian continent. However, Karszamon also points out that if he goes to war, Favian will have to commit to it as well and accept the consequences, which means taking back all the territory conquered by the rebels as well as killing them all and their sympathisers so that they will serve as examples to any further potential insurgents against the Alphatian superiority. Favian tells him that he will consider the matter further and leaves. (See Nu. 12, Nu. 14; Nu. 25, Nu. 26.)

What This Means: Favian is hesitant to officially ask for intervention because it would be the same as admitting that he cannot control the situation in Esterhold. It is clear that Karszamon blames Favian for having caused this situation with his absurd ideas of democracy and equality between Alphatians and Jennites, and though Karszamon didn't say so, it is obvious to Favian that if he demands a military intervention, his political enemies will very quickly use that to have him deposed. Karszamon would without a doubt be one of those himself, both because he is clearly opposed to Favian's ideals, thus making him a political enemy, but also because Favian is a close friend of Broderick's, whose body Karszamon's spirit currently controls. If that happens, Favian has no doubt that the Naycese Council will either abandon Esterhold altogether or else send armed forces to destroy any Jennite resistance, thus ending the conflict in a bloodbath. Favian is actually willing to accept being deposed if it will save lives, but it doesn't seem to him that stepping down will accomplish the goal of saving lives, particularly not when Karszamon tells him that the Jennites must be killed to make an example of what happens to insurgents, and he also wants to give his negotiators time to settle the matter.

Karszamon absolutely blames Favian for what has happened in Esterhold. After all, Alphatians were able to hold the area for many years, so it can't be a coincidence that this is all happening now that Favian is in control of it. No, Favian has only managed to stir up thoughts of rebellion among the Jennites and convinced them that Nayce is weak and can be overthrown with his crazy ideas. Because of this, Karszamon thinks that Favian is, in many ways, far more dangerous to the empire than the Jennites ever could be. Nayce can certainly survive even if it does lose the Esterhold Peninsula, but Favian Vern is an Alphatian aristocrat himself! What would happen if his insane notions were to spread to other rulers of Nayce who would then begin showing the same sort of weakness he has? It could be the end of Nayce. In fact, this process has already begun, as Karszamon sees Favian's influence on more and more Naycese rulers, and it looks like it will only continue in the future. Karszamon is determined not to let that happen, and he is dedicated to both stopping and reversing this process in Nayce. So if Favian is unwilling to commit to the true ways of Alphatia because he believes his ideals need to have a chance of survival, then Karszamon is content to let Favian die along with those ideals. Nayce might lose Esterhold, but at least Favian's naïve ideals will be exposed for the nonsense they really are. And after the matter is settled, Nayce can reclaim Esterhold without Favian's interference. Certainly, Alphatian forces can easily defeat the Jennites, after which Karszamon will have all rebel Jennites put to death since rebellion against Alphatian aristocrats is treason.

What the PCs Can Do: This is an encounter with political consequences, not a confrontation. The PCs should not be involved as there is little for them to do.

Nuwmont 20, AC 1018: Archpoint Siege Continues.

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

Description: The siege of Archpoint continues. For the past month the defenders have been bolstering their defences and preparing for an attack that still has to come, as the Arogansans have been entrenching themselves around the city, only attacking ships and skyships that have been trying to move into or out of the besieged city. Neither side seems willing to precipitate the events. Combat occasionally takes place, sometimes with the Arogansans probing the Eadrin defences and sometimes with the Eadrin trying to shake the Arogansan resolve, but such skirmishes remain probing attacks that are not the trigger for larger battles. (See Nu. 8; Va. 5, Ya. 4.)

What This Means: Actually neither side wants to drag it on, but none want to take the initiative either.

The Arogansan officers fear a possible Randel intervention, made even more likely now that its war with Bettellyn is over, and the occasional sightings of Randel men makes them nervous. Hence their desire to end this campaign as quickly as possible, before Eadrin has the chance to gather outside support; but at the same time they realise that they are not strong enough to just rush at Archpoint and get past the city's defences, so they are stuck with that undesirable strategy of besieging the capital of Eadrin. They fear this default strategy is ultimately self-defeating, as they are convinced that it will only give time for Eadrin to garner outside support.

The Eadrin realise that they are not as strong as the besieging army from Arogansa, so they cannot leave their city walls and go engage them. Thus, they are stuck with enduring the siege, even though the city does not seem to be poised to fall either. For Eadrin it means that their country will continue to be occupied by Arogansa for an indefinite period of time, with no end in sight, and during that time no work can be done in the kingdom.

What the PCs Can Do: With the ongoing stalemate, each side should rely on brave adventurers willing to go behind the enemy lines to perform acts of sabotage or spying-anything that can turn the tide in their favour.

Nuwmont 20, AC 1018: Milenian Merchants Sunk.

Location: Shipping lanes north of City of Tyrnus, Southern Atlass Ocean. HW

Description: The Grey Lady, a three-masted warship captained by Alexus the Lawless, strikes at a pair of Milenian merchant galleys. The superior manoeuvrability and firepower of Alexus's frigate allows the pirates to quickly disable the merchants. The pirates capture the merchants' cargo, and Alexus gives the subdued Milenians the option to join him or die. Some Milenians, especially slave rowers, cross over to join the pirates. Alexus burns the captured ships and bombards them with artillery fire before sailing away. Both merchant ships soon sink into the Atlass Ocean. (See Fl. 26, Ya. 2.)

What This Means: Alexus is a follower of Vanya, and has recently been inspired by his patron to scale up his attacks on the Milenians. Vanya is still seething from the setback suffered by Her Cult of Matera last circle. She must bide Her time in moving that group to action again, so She is using other means to express Her dislike for the Milenians.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are sailing with the Merry Pirates, the PCs can help capture the merchant ships and split up the booty. If they are Milenian, the PCs can help to defend the merchants, or this can be staged as an opportunity for slave PCs to join the ranks of the pirates.

Nuwmont 21, AC 1018: Construction Crew Joined.

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

Description: Eriadna, as Queen of Alphas'ar, hires a construction team of high-ranking spellcasters who came up with an interesting plan to dig the canal between Andaire and the Llyn River by the extensive use of earth-moving, charming and polymorphing spells. Speaker for the team is Lord Frandar, a distant cousin of the empress, who is a renowned expert in charm magics. Lady Kalara comes as the earth-moving expert, Lord Venderun as a polymorpher, while Lady Xitra as a follower of Razud is responsible for all clerical needs. Some lesser nobles complete the team. The only member who is not a noble is Durgan, a young construction engineer. His task is to do all the tedious, mundane planning work that the nobles are not willing to do. (See Nu. 19; Th. 4, Ya. 2.)

What This Means: The project has started. Eriadna is determined to connect her realm to the future waterways, and now she has found her construction team. The charming idea is that an experienced mage can polymorph himself into a digging monster or he can charm a digging monster to do the heavy work. The team is thinking about purple worms whose use in big earth-moving construction projects has not been very common until today.

What the PCs Can Do: Noble PCs can be part of the team. Commoners will be unwelcome (except for common servants of the team's spellcasters, that is).

Fourth Week

Nuwmont 23, AC 1018: Tranquil Knightly Alliance.

Location: Town of Dikhoff, Barony of Dikhoff, Tranquil Coast. NW

Description: A contingent of twenty Heldannic Knights arrives in Dikhoff, and starts drilling besides the astonished Dikhoffian troops.

Before rumours of a Heldannic invasion spread, the baron announces to his senior officers, and then to the population of Dikhoff, that the barony has signed an alliance with the Heldannic Empire. The Dikhoffians should be proud, he says, because soon they will emerge victorious of the continual war against the evil Serenics and their pet allies. Soon they will be crushed, he predicts, and the proud and hardy people of Dikhoff will be part of the strong Heldannic Empire, with him, Dimitri Dikhoff, as the benevolent ruler of the Tranquil Coast region. (See Nu. 28, Va. 27.)

What This Means: The rumours that were spread by Serenity about Dikhoff's contacts with the Heldannic Knights were not true, but they got him to wonder. At long last, with the protracted war between the two enemies and their part-time allies seeing no end, Baron Dikhoff decided to actually try out what the rumours attributed to him, and contacted the Heldannic Landmeister of Oceansend Hermann Adalard.

The Heldannic Knights have stopped their advance at Oceansend, and the troubles they faced within the boundaries of Heldland with rebels have not encouraged them to look further north of Oceansend until now. Dikhoff's approach caused them to look into the muddied Tranquil Coast situation more closely, and it was soon apparent that the current standoff could easily be broken by a rather small commitment of a new party-a role the knights could easily play. The knights have no preference as to which local lord they should support-they all seem equally unaligned-so they might as well support the one who comes to them. The Heldannic Knights thus offer their support, and promise that when Dikhoff has conquered the Tranquil Coast he will be the ruler of that land under Heldannic authority-it is the same kind of deal with a local lord that they have previously made to accelerate progress in the conquest of what is now Heldland.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs may be the negotiators of this deal, or observers that make sure that the other side is keeping up to its part of the bargain. If the PCs are spies from other dominions-especially from Serenity-they will surely want to investigate the Heldannic involvement in Tranquil Coast affairs.

Nuwmont 23, AC 1018: Stonewallers Arrested.

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

Description: Four days after the incident with the gnollish party, the Stonewall soldiers are stopped by a large contingent of Limn's army. They are forced to surrender to the superior Limnese force, and are taken to Trollhattan in chains. (See Nu. 19; Ya. 4, Ya. 16.)

What This Means: When attacking the gnollish troops earlier, the Stonewall soldiers were in violation of Limnese law, promising equal treatment to all sentient races.

Nuwmont 25, AC 1018: Negotiators Ambushed.

Location: Countryside near the ruins of Anchorage, Esterhold Peninsula. SK

Description: The group of negotiators Favian Vern sent to Esterhold to settle the matter with the Jennites peacefully meets a group of Jennites. They make certain not to act in a hostile manner, yet when they approach the Jennite position, the Jennite leader orders his troops to charge them. None escape and the Alphatian peace negotiators are all killed. (See Nu. 14, Nu. 20; Nu. 26, Va. 28.)

What This Means: The negotiators had the misfortune to meet a group of Jennites under the command of Chieftain Maltaen, an extremist follower of the Jennite philosophy called the True Way. This philosophy strictly preaches adherence to the old ways of the free Jennites and the destruction of any outside interference, because such people would pollute the purity of the Jennite values. Maltaen's people were also the Jennites who burned down Anchorage last year, and they have been brutally hunting down fleeing Alphatians since then.

What the PCs Can Do: As noted earlier, it is easier if the PCs are not the negotiators. For the sake of how this plot will further unfold, Favian's negotiators are doomed. If the DM really does want the PCs among the negotiators, it would probably be best if he puts them in as guards and advisers so that they are not Favian's primary emissaries. The Jennites then attack the group, preferably with such force that the PCs must seek escape to survive the encounter. That way the PCs can escape, painfully aware that all of Favian's chosen negotiators were killed, and they can be the ones to bring that news to Favian as witnesses. Alternatively, the PCs could be scouts for the negotiators, and so be lured away when the ambush occurs. Or they might be the only ones to survive, but be captured by the Jennites and then have to fight to escape captivity and return to inform Favian about what has happened.

Nuwmont 26, AC 1018: Favian Vern Outraged.

Location: City of Skyfyr, Province of Blackrock, Republic of Esterhold, Nayce. SK

Description: News of the fate that has befallen Favian Vern's negotiators reaches him. He is both shocked and outraged. He withdraws for most of the day, then leaves his room and announces an official call for any and all adventurers to settle the chaos in Esterhold in his name. (See Nu. 20, Nu. 25; Va. 28, Th. 3.)

What This Means: Favian is both shocked and angry. He has been trying to talk to the Jennites and listen to them, but the brutal murder of his peaceful negotiators is just too much-apparently the Jennites who oppose him know only violence and hatred! There are Jennites who are allied with Favian, Kalin among them, but he always assumed the free Jennites and, particularly, the rebels had misunderstood his motives. It now seems to him that there is no reasoning with them. In the coming days, Favian will permit many adventurers to go and fight the Jennites in his name, and many will do so hoping they can earn land and power for themselves in the vast, unsettled frontier land of the Esterhold Peninsula, or else to simply reclaim captured Alphatian valuables and treasures from the Jennites as spoils of war. Favian doesn't completely lose his nerve, but he certainly becomes far less critical of the people he chooses to represent him before he sends them off to Esterhold.

This is a sad event. Favian is a peaceful man, but even the most peaceful man can take only so much abuse. He has been trying to listen to the Jennites and persuade them to listen peacefully to him, so why won't they even talk to him? Ages of abuse at the hands of Alphatians is one thing, but if they are so filled with hatred that they cannot even listen to reason, then the peaceful co-existence he hoped for seems to be impossible. It appears that brute force is the only thing these Jennites understand. If that is the case, then that might be precisely what they should get! This doesn't mean that Favian willingly sends the harshest mercenaries against them, but it does mean his patience and attempts at a peaceful solution is over-if the Jennites want peace, then they will have to demonstrate the desire for it themselves!

Favian does not, however, ask Karszamon for help, because he knows the cost will be that he abandons his dream of a democratic republic which can set the standard he hopes Nayce will follow one day. If he asks Nayce for military aid now, that dream is lost, and it is all he has left now. And he is determined to prove Karszamon's dismissal of his idealism wrong.

What the PCs Can Do: Obviously the PCs would ideally be one of the groups of adventurers Favian recruits to fight the Jennites. He would meet them and question them about how they intend to go about the situation, trying to evaluate whether he can trust them, instruct them about what he wants them to do and what not, then send them on their way.

Favian's call for adventurers is a major event of the war, but it is also the start of a large adventure. The Mystaran Almanac is dedicated to that adventure, which will be made available separately , so readers should note that many of the events in the Esterhold war events will be described in far more detail in the companion adventure-that can be found in Book III: Adventures-Where Brothers War.

Nuwmont 27, AC 1018: The Torpin Encounters Undead.

Location: Somewhere between Kingdom of Aquas and Sunken Arogansa, Nayce. AS

Description: The Torpin spots a group of undead at the bottom of the sea. Commander Dhallaq Trest orders a team to investigate to see if these are the Alphadon who have caused so much debate in Nayce or the ghoulish undead that attacked Torenal Site last year. However, the team attracts the attention of the undead, and immediately discovers that they are of the ghoul sort. A battle takes place and the undead are killed. A few of the decaying bodies are taken aboard, and Sister Yalonda and the ship's sages Dsaerdon and Haerdon are able to determine that these creatures are lacedons, a form of aquatic ghouls. (See Nu. 17; Va. 2, Va. 24.)

What This Means: These ghouls were actually among those who attacked Torenal Site on the Day of Dread and were repelled by the triton warriors from Underocean commanded by Tanalos. Other than that, there is nothing unusual going on here.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are on the Torpin, they should definitely be on the away team sent to spy on the ghouls.

Nuwmont 27, AC 1018: The Horror Revealed?

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

Description: For several months a special council of sages, established by a request from the city's governing assembly, has been discussing and debating the disturbing news brought by Dorian Giannapoulos [in Sviftmont, AC 1017. Ed.], who until recently had been a trader of some repute. Since that time, the scholars have interviewed him on a number of occasions, and, although he appears to have recovered from the shock of his experience, he lapses into fits of hysterics whenever he is asked to remember what he saw.

Nevertheless, the sages, through persistence, have managed to extract some puzzling information, and today they present it to the assembly as a formal report. They state that the Amalur Lowlands appear to have been invaded by a force of powerful lizard-kin, served by an army of troglodytes, from lands further west-possibly along the southern coast of the Izondian Deep. That these invaders are powerful is evidenced by the fire damage to Dorian's vessel, as well as the injuries that appear to have killed Dorian's crewmembers (precise scorch marks from magical bolts of energy, as well as curious burns from some form of acidic substance). Although Kastelios has never had formal relations with the various lizard man tribes of Amalur, the fact that such a mysterious force should appear to have overwhelmed them does not bode well for the security of the region. In closing, the sages recommend that a small expedition be mounted to the Amalur Lowlands to obtain more information, and that the information gained thus far should be shared with Kastelios's allies as soon as possible. The assembly assents to this. (See Va. 11, Va. 26.)

What This Means: What Dorian discovered last year is more than it seems. Only time will tell whether the people of northwestern Davania will discover what is going on in the Amalur Lowlands.

What the PCs Can Do: Taking part in the expedition to the Amalur Lowlands would be the best job for adventurers such as the PCs.

Nuwmont 28, AC 1018: Zhucharnov Freed.

Location: City of Alpha, Kingdom of Alpha, Nayce, Southern Great Bay. NW

Description: On the eve of his trial before the king, Viktor Zhucharnov mysteriously vanishes from his cell. The guards in his area were called away to a disturbance in an adjacent area of the dungeon. After suppressing the unruliness, they returned to find Zhucharnov gone. (See Nu. 4; Va. 1, Va. 2.)

What This Means: Viktor is not only a crafty and sly fellow, but also an accomplished rogue with ties to thieves' guilds throughout Norwold. His associates planned the altercation, which would be significant enough to momentarily distract the guards. The brief distraction was enough for Viktor to use the scroll of knock, smuggled in to him earlier, to bypass Madiera's wizard lock. Once free of the cell, he used his considerable thieving skills to slip out of the dungeons and flee from Alpha.

What the PCs Can Do: Search for Zhucharnov following the escape. PCs could also be hired by Madiera to investigate the circumstances of the escape, leading to the implication of the thieves' guilds. As an alternative, PCs with ties to Alpha's crime scene could even help to plan the escape and smuggle in the magic scroll!

Nuwmont 28, AC 1018: Leehashire Celebrities.

Location: Village of Mallowfern, Shire of Eastshire, Five Shires. OW

Description: The Leehashire hin have become genuine celebrities, and the Sheriff of Eastshire throws an elaborate outdoor feast in their honour outside Mallowfern, seemingly attended by everyone who's anyone in the entire shire. Following this banquet, the visitors begin a tour of the shires accompanied by a group of krondar and hin masters. On Vatermont 6, they arrive in Deepmoss, Seashire. (See Nu. 19; Va. 11, Va. 20.)

Nuwmont 28, AC 1018: Sonnenfeld Is Wary.

Location: Barony of Sonnenfeld, Tranquil Coast. NW

Description: Learning of the alliance of Dikhoff with the Heldannic Knights, Baron Fergus prudently withdraws his support. His men that were present in Dikhoff, or anywhere in the war zones, return home. (See Nu. 23; Va. 27, Th. 15.)

What This Means: Baron Fergus had increased his support of Dikhoff when rumours that Serenity was a pawn of Thyatis surfaced-although these rumours were never proven, they were sufficient to Fergus (who also dislikes Maximus of Swordcoast, an occasional ally of Serenity's). Fergus was undeterred by rumours of Dikhoff being himself a pawn of Heldann, but now that they are proven true he is more circumspect. Though he still believes that Swordcoast and Serenity are in Thyatis's pay, he has a dim view of the Heldannic Knights as well, and does not take kindly to their interruption into Tranquil Coast affairs. His lone ally having an unwholesome affair that he disapproves, Fergus is left isolated.

What the PCs Can Do: Fergus will send spies to investigate the level of implication of the Heldannic Knights within the Tranquil Coast.