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Thaumont 1, AC 1018: A Dedicated Emperor.
Location: City of Thyatis, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: For the first time since last year's assassination attempt, Eusebius begins weekly "rides" out of the palace quarter, presumably to visit the Senate House, which is still meeting at the foot of Emperor's Hill for the time being. On the way he makes sure to listen to some of the citizens that approach him and their complaints, and pass through the markets outside the Zendrolion, in the centre of The Heart, and in the Machine to see conditions there.
As a result of these processions through the city, several officials and wealthy aristocrats get put on trial for their abuses and corruption. (See Va. 1, Va. 27; Th. 12, Ya. 5.)
What This Means: Eusebius is doing several things with these processions. The first is to show that the assassination attempt has not made him afraid. Security has been tightened since then, but not overtly so, to prevent a similar attempt. This activity also helps him present the image of concern for the welfare of the common people and of imposing impartial justice without regard for rank. He does not necessarily feel that concern in his heart, but knows it is useful to appear that way, and imposing justice impartially serves his interest as much as it serves the people, especially if it roots out abusive or corrupt officials.
To that end Eusebius has also undertaken other, less obvious measures. He reviews all reports of tax receipts and expenditures, marking them when he has read them to insure they tally up with the sums owed and what is in the treasury. He keeps a personal list of what the most prominent Thyatian families owe in taxes, the ones most likely to be able to use their influence to evade their obligations, checking them off each quarter only when they are reported as paying, and charging those who fail to do so.
Eusebius is cold-hearted and calculating in this; he does not do this out of a sense of fairness so much as because he sees the empire as "his business," and anything that would weaken it (especially when it comes to revenues) undermines his authority. He is not as brilliant a leader as his father was, nor as sharp and imposing an emperor, so he makes up for it by diligence and steadfast (if uninspiring) administration.
What the PCs Can Do: Eusebius often uses unusual agents to investigate problems brought to his attention or to "convince" those who attempt to evade taxes that it would be in their interest to pay what is owed, and he pays rather well in return for efficient, loyal, and successful operatives, rewarding them well for their service but punishing them harshly if they prove untrustworthy or cross him.
Thaumont 2, AC 1018: Another Stalemate.
Location: Stonewall Camp outside Town of Ceafem, Kingdom of Arkan, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: For a few sleeps Colonel Sorentas has been considering his options. Today command is taken over by a less-than-pleased General Selcomad, now fully recovered from the injuries he received several weeks ago. He openly criticises Sorentas in front of several other officers, claiming that Sorentas has been blind to the situation before them. Sorentas is not happy, but there is little he can do about it. (See Va. 11, Va. 20; Th. 10, Fl. 4.)
What This Means: Though professional, the relationship between Selcomad and Sorentas has always been rather cool. Sorentas is a career soldier and has served the Stonewall army all his life, while Selcomad is a former adventurer who eventually entered the army when he received the offer due to his first-hand experience with combat. Sorentas has always thought Selcomad was unworthy of his position, not being a trained officer, but rather a retired veteran without discipline who wasted years running around on adventures and such. Needless to say, he is also a little envious of Selcomad's position. Selcomad, on the other hand, sees Sorentas as too ambitious. To Selcomad, the most important thing is to gain the trust of his soldiers. Years of adventuring and trust in companions have taught him that success or failure may depend on the smallest detail and without trust those details may not be in your favour. He needs Sorentas's experience with military procedure, but he does not like him as a person.
Moreover, Selcomad feels Sorentas has ignored obvious possibilities here. With the Arkan and Foresthome forces driven back to Ceafem, negotiations for peace should have been resumed, because Stonewall was in an even more favourable position at that time. Instead, Sorentas's relentless siege has given their enemies little choice, and their aggression has also caused Ambur to intervene, so now Stonewall faces a stalemate against an alliance of three nations-Arkan, Ambur, and Foresthome-instead of negotiations with two opponents in a disadvantageous position.
What the PCs Can Do: Stonewall PCs can merely state their opinion on the matter if they are influential enough, but it won't really change anything. PCs spying for the Arkan alliance might discover the dissent among the Stonewall forces, though. The discovery probably won't help the alliance that much, however, since Stonewall's officers are just too disciplined to allow their differences to tear them apart.
Thaumont 2, AC 1018: A Wizard Sighting.
Location: Countryside, Esterhold Peninsula. SK
Description: A group of Alphatian and Jennite refugees from former Faraway are ambushed by a warband of free Jennites. As the aggressors move forward, determined on cutting down the Alphatian oppressors and their treacherous allies, the refugees flee as fast as possible, even though escape seems hopeless considering the aggressors are armed with ranged weapons and are well rested. But suddenly a fireball explodes in the midst of the free Jennites, and they are forced to defend themselves. The refugees don't have time to waste, though, and hasten to make their escape. A few of them see the Jennites shooting at someone in the air, but their arrows apparently miss or bounce harmlessly off a robed black figure hovering over them. The refugees flee for the rest of the day before they stop to consider what happened. Obviously they were saved by some wizard who rained fire on the Jennites. (See Th. 12.)
What This Means: With all the adventurers Favian Vern has been sending to Esterhold to fight the Jennites, adventurers aren't so rare here these days, but a lonely wizard defending fleeing commoners is still a rather rare occurrence. However, this seems to have been one of those times...
What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are there, they might get to see this figure, although they won't find out much more because they will either be forced to flee with the other refugees or, if they stay and fight the Jennites, the dark figure won't be very involved and will magically disappear as soon as it is clear the PCs will be victorious. If they escape, they might be able to witness the figure casting some potent magic, however, like chain lightning or perhaps even meteor swarm.
Thaumont 2, AC 1018: Wreck.
Location: Sea of Minaea. SK
Description: The Lion's Den, Alexandros Verix's personal ship, is wrecked on her trip to Traun back from Minaea during a terrible storm. Nobody survives, neither Verix nor his bride Nausicaa. (See Va. 21, Va. 26.)
What This Means: When the news of the wreck reaches Traun and Minaea, a joint expedition will be sent to search for survivors and for the bodies of the nobleman and the princess. However, even if the exact location of the wreck may be found, the bodies will not be found. In Minaea, Korudon refuses a public mourning of the loss, saying that it is a personal affair, and not something that involves the population-in Minaea this is considered noble behaviour, because the personal sufferings must not be detrimental to the city's state of things. In Traun, where Verix was a member of the boulè, the political activities will be suspended for one day. His brother Adrian is extremely saddened by the loss, and especially since he fears that his family name will die out with him.
What the PCs Can Do: If they are part of Verix's staff, or are at sea during the storm, they could be lucky enough to save Verix and Nausicaa (or at least one of them).
Thaumont 3, AC 1018: The Siege Resumes.
Location: City of Skyfyr, Province of Blackrock, Republic of Esterhold, Nayce. SK
Description: As spring nears, the united Jennites resume their siege of Skyfyr. It doesn't begin as a huge battle, since the Jennites need to regroup their forces, but as the days pass and more of the free Jennites return, they begin to mount their assaults on the city again.
Of course, the defenders are well prepared for this. During winter, they have received goods and reinforcements from Nayce, and have had time to strengthen their defences, so they are quite ready for the siege and the Jennites make little progress at first. But as more days pass, more and more Jennites come to the aid of the aggressors. (See Nu. 25, Nu. 26; Th. 13, Th. 22.)
What This Means: This is no surprise at all. The free and rebel Jennites had to postpone their siege last year when winter arrived and the free Jennites had to settle down for the winter. The rebels have been holding the countryside around Skyfyr ever since, while the Alphatians and the Jennites on their side have been watching them closely and preparing their defences accordingly. However, some of the rebels have left the siege and will not return. During the winter they lived beside the free Jennites, and the conditions were hard for them. Aware that former Faraway is in Jennite control as the city of Draeh now, many have left for the new city to make a life for themselves there rather than continue to embrace the more savage and primitive lifestyle of the free Jennites. This is yet more evidence of the growing distance between the rebels and the free Jennites.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs on the Jennite side could arrive to encourage the siege against the Alphatians; perhaps Talin has even recruited them for that purpose. PCs on the Alphatian side should look to Skyfyr's defence in anticipation of the coming attacks, or they could be scouts sneaking out into the Jennite camp and beyond to evaluate the strength of the enemy and their numbers and tactics.
Thaumont 3, AC 1018: The Line Holds.
Location: Swamps along the River Torion, Territory of Thratia, Hinterlands, Thyatian Empire. DV
Description: After almost a month of hard fighting, the Thyatian armies have been able to hold a number of strategic hills overlooking the swamps, and have erected a series of small fortresses, each within signalling range of the next, to ensure that the assorted Thratian clans living to the south are not able to advance northwards into Thyatian territory. For the first time in months, it looks like the southern frontier might be secure for a while. (See Va. 8.)
What This Means: The Thyatians have abandoned the idea of using the river as their frontier for the time being; it is simply not worth expending hundreds of soldiers for the dubious value of controlling a fringe of swampland, when a more defensible position can be obtained in the hills. Over the coming weeks, more troops will arrive in the region, as roads are cleared through the jungles to formally link the forts and to allow the easier movement of troops between the frontier and the more densely populated regions to the north.
The Thratians, satisfied that the Thyatian advance has apparently halted, will hold their positions. They know that the momentum they had last year, under the leadership of Siobhan, daughter of Maeve, has been lost; not only did they fail to drive the Thyatians out of the Hinterlands, they have lost even more land as a result. Some individual sub-clans have abandoned the fight and returned to their homes, while those who remain (including Siobhan herself) cling to the fringes of the empire, watching their enemies closely. So the situation will remain for some time to come.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs could have taken part in the final battles during the past few weeks.
Thaumont 3, AC 1018: Assassination Attempt Fails.
Location: City of Wendar, Kingdom of Wendar. OW
Description: While making its way through Wendar City, Bensarian's entourage comes under attack from a group of men in black leather armour and black hoods. The assassins are eventually beaten off, but Bensarian and his companions are now extremely worried. Measures are taken to protect Bensarian with spells and trusted bodyguards. Bensarian will now stop travelling outside the royal citadel. (See Nu. 1, Va. 4; Fl. 18, Ya. 5.)
What This Means: The Darkblades, an order of trained Denagothian assassins, are responsible for the attack. Their near-success has sent shock waves through Bensarian and his supporters. The new security measures will unfortunately hamper Bensarian's reform efforts.
What the PCs Can Do: Find and eliminate the Darkblades.
Thaumont 3, AC 1018: Nordalfheim Is Laran Only.
Location: Town of Laran, Kingdom of Nordalfheim, Final Range. NW
Description: The Thyatian ships arrive in the small town of Laran, which is part of what is now the Kingdom of Nordalfheim. Elves and non-elves happily trade with the Thyatian and Minrothaddan merchants, but they also firmly remind them that only the elves among them may travel outside Laran.
The Thyatians then resume their northerly voyage. (See Va. 18, Va. 26; Th. 9, Th. 19.)
What This Means: In the Barony of Ironwood, which is the main part of the larger recently formed elven Kingdom of Nordalfheim, only the town of Laran is open to non-elves, who are denied access to the rest of the land. Laran is a rather open place, somewhat reminiscent of what Alfheim Town used to be, and thus quite receptive to Thyatian trading. Thyatis has a population of elves of its own, be they Vyalia from Thyatis itself or Meditor and Verdier from Minrothad, who may at a later time enter the restricted forests of Ironwood and set up relations, diplomatic and commercial, with Nordalfheim, with which Thyatis has had little contact so far but may well prove friendly. For the time being, though, the expedition leaves it at that and continues toward the Great Bay.
What the PCs Can Do: If there are elven PCs aboard the ships, they may remain behind and act as Thyatis's envoys to Nordalfheim. Elarianthas Blackblade is more interested, with his associate Zoltan the White, in the building of an elven nation, with the promotion of a new elven pantheon and the preservation of nature, rather than trading or politicking (at least with non-elven), so their task will be a challenge.
Thaumont 3, AC 1018: Another Harbour Reconstructed.
Location: Town of Igoin, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: Only a few days after the beginning of the new year Lord Abolon has managed to solve the technical problems in the harbour of Igoin. Some alarming information has been uncovered-the work has been undermined by saboteurs. Queen Kikania has sends more troops to protect the harbours. (See Va. 5; Th. 27, Fl. 9.)
What This Means: Indeed some of the enemies of the canals have attacked the project secretly. Whether Zallaras and Jolinar, who have fought the canals in the Grand Council, are responsible or not, cannot be verified.
What the PCs Can Do: The queen and the Navy of the Lakes are now looking for some clever and independent investigators who could ferret out the conspirators.
Thaumont 4, AC 1018: Permission Granted.
Location: City of Andaire, Kingdom of Alphas'ar, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: Eriadna, Queen of Vertiloch, signs the official document to permit the construction of an artificial waterway from Sasdil by the Greenlake River to the border of Theranderol. Colonel Woron from the Royal Army of Vertiloch and Lieutenant Commander Bartan from the imperial navy will act as liaison officers to the army of Theranderol. (See Nu. 21; Ya. 2, Kl. 19.)
What This Means: This was only a formal act necessary to begin with the preliminary work. That Eriadna would deny her daughter Eldrethila the right to build this canal was not to be expected. The army of Queen Eldrethila may now enter Vertiloch to survey and construct the canal. Bartan's mission is explained by the fact that the empress wants an expert in water- and ship-related matters on the team.
Thaumont 4, AC 1018: He Was a Friend of Mine.
Location: City of Dzibouti, Province of Ubu, Empire of Tangor. SK
Description: A Minaean adventurer, Asterione, arrives in the city of Dzibouti in order to meet with some adventurers, among which is his Tangor friend N'konga. Unfortunately for him, at the Golden Lion Inn, where the two were to meet on this day, he learns of the burning of the Seawalker, and the death of his friend. (See Va. 28; Th. 5, Th. 8.)
What This Means: N'konga had organized an expedition into the Lleweryn lands, to find the location of the ancient Scaly Temple, dedicated to an Exalted being known as Kthurbash the Nightwing. The two had agreed to meet in Dzibouti because N'konga had discovered some interesting information regarding the temple.
Thaumont 4, AC 1018: A Respite from the Sea.
Location: Near Town of Xarda, Milenian Empire. HW
Description: After many weeks of sailing on the Southern Atlass Ocean, and of being beset by fierce storms, the party of Friedrich von Dreiburg finally sights land, off to the east. By their calculations, they should either be nearing the lands of the Traldar, or the Milenian Empire. Before the end of the sleep, the ship pulls ashore not far from a large town, and von Dreiburg orders two of his men to stealthily enter it to determine where they are, and to steal essential supplies.
In the meantime, von Dreiburg and the remaining Heldannic Knights disguise themselves as Antalians, knowing that the Milenians oppose worshippers of Vanya. (See Th. 5, Fl. 3.)
What This Means: Since their escape from Okta Island late last year, von Dreiburg's party have been trying to find a safe haven where they can effect necessary repairs to their ship, and determine where they ought to go. Von Dreiburg is well aware that Vanya is not held in high esteem in the Milenian Empire; nor is She widely revered among the Traldar, either. Nevertheless, he would rather find himself among the latter than the former, as the Traldar are less cohesive and organized as a people, and so he and his followers are less likely to encounter any trouble from them, and they should be able to pass through their lands unseen. Unfortunately, von Dreiburg's navigator overestimated the strength of the winds; they are in Milenian waters, though none of the men know it yet.
What the PCs Can Do: If they are accompanying von Dreiburg, the PCs could be the ones ordered to enter the strange town and determine what the inhabitants are like.
Thaumont 5, AC 1018: Caught!!
Location: Town of Xarda, Milenian Empire. HW
Description: Friedrich von Dreiburg and his men, upon waking up, are surprised to find their anchored ship under the watch of several dozen Milenian bowmen. Making matters worse, a Milenian vessel is anchored to the stern of his own ship, brimming with more archers, as well as swordsmen. One of their number orders the Heldannic Knight and his entourage to surrender peacefully, or face the consequences. Noticing that his scouts have returned with the Milenians, albeit disarmed and manacled, von Dreiburg deduces that the locals have control of the situation, and he orders his men to surrender. (See Th. 4; Fl. 3, Fl. 8.)
What This Means: Von Dreiburg's scouts were discovered within hours of their entering Xarda, and they were quickly captured and interrogated. They divulged the location of von Dreiburg's ship, and provided some information on the nature of the crew. They also told their captors that they were merely trying to acquire necessary supplies before moving on. Von Dreiburg knew all too well that his men were ill prepared for a fight, being outnumbered and at a strategic disadvantage. Better to find out what the Milenians want, he reasons, and then decide whether to flee.
What the PCs Can Do: If they are with von Dreiburg, the PCs might be ordered to use whatever means they have available to avoid capture, and continue spying on the Milenians. Alternatively, they might be instructed to find a way to escape the Milenians.
Thaumont 5, AC 1018: A Letter to You.
Location: City of Dzibouti, Province of Ubu, Empire of Tangor. SK
Description: N'konga's wife Malena meets Asterione at the Golden Lion Inn, and gives him a letter from N'konga. In the letter, the Durhanian adventurer tells his friend about the location of the Scaly Temple, where he thought that a fabled jewel, the Krut Diamond, should be located. (See Va. 28, Th. 4; Th. 8, Th. 16.)
What This Means: The Krut Diamond was one of the royal jewels of the Kingdom of Rathasia, and after the conquest of that land by the Tangors it entered in the possession of the family of one of the victorious generals. However, the jewel was stolen by a sis'thik from Kezheli (a lizard-kin settlement in the eastern regions of Swanamutu), but he died, tracked by Tangor guards, in the jungles of Lleweryn, not before having hidden away the diamond.
Thaumont 6, AC 1018: The Dragon Awakes.
Location: Shire of Eastshire, Five Shires. OW
Description: A gold dragon is seen in the skies over Eastshire, in the Five Shires, near the border of Karameikos. Witnesses report that she circled in the skies for over an hour, apparently searching for something or someone. (See Fl. 13, Am. 20.)
What This Means: Scholars and long-lived hin masters and elves of the Five Shires have periodically seen this dragon throughout the centuries, but this year she will be seen more often than she has been for a millennium, as the result of a plot by powerful adventurers.
Thaumont 6, AC 1018: Spooky Shadows.
Location: Northwestern Wendarian Border, Kingdom of Wendar. OW
Description: Local trappers and hunters report spotting strange shadows near the Dark Woods of Baamor. (See Fl. 20, Ya. 5.)
What This Means: The Dark Woods of Baamor are rumoured to be haunted and are shunned by the Wendarians. Dozens of haunting tales are told of the woods each year and not everyone takes the report seriously.
What the PCs Can Do: Investigate the strange shadows.
Thaumont 6, AC 1018: Once Bitten, Twice Shy.
Location: East of Manacapuru Tribal Lands, Jungle Coast. DV
Description: After recovering from its battle with the fierce natives, the expedition pursued a meandering route along the coast, noting the presence of interesting islands and gathering specimens of plant and animal life. Today, the man on the crow's nest notes the mouth of yet another wide river up ahead, which soon comes into view. This estuary, which Julius names the Serpent River (based on the presence of many sea snakes swimming about), looks navigable, but remembering the expedition's experience following the exploration up the Black River, he opts to note the river's presence, and move on. (See Va. 18, Va. 21; Fl. 1, Fl. 2.)
What This Means: The meeting with the Qonqetasana warriors has made Julius think twice about exploring inviting rivers with his small party. In this case, it is well that he decided to pass the Serpent River by; it leads westwards to a large lake, upon whose northern shores sits the city of Manacapuru. Such a journey would have taken the expedition to the heart of Manacapuran territory.
What the PCs Can Do: There is not much for the PCs to do at this point, except help carry out the various duties involved in running a ship.
Thaumont 6, AC 1018: Tunnel Project Started.
Location: City of Denwarf-Hurgon, Kingdom of Stoutfellow, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: A large group of dwarven miners is sent down deep below Denwarf-Hurgon to start digging the docking cave for the upcoming harbour of the capital. At the same time gnomish and dwarven surveyors and engineers are sent out to find out where both tunnel openings shall be located. Smaller detachments will be sent out later to survey the route of the planned canal which will be under open sky. (See Va. 8, Va. 10; Ei. 14, Ei. 27.)
What This Means: Before this decision was made there was a lot of trouble and squabbling in Denwarf-Hurgon. The gnomes wanted more time to compute the requirements of the tunnel and to improve their digging devices. The more rational dwarves have remarked that it would be necessary to take a look at both sides of the Kerothar Mountains to decide how the tunnel should pass it. So finally Queen Buthra Bofadar herself has decided to send out the surveyors and to start with the cave. She and her mining advisers believe that the necessary time for the cave-preliminary work included-is so great that the surveyors will be ready much earlier.
What the PCs Can Do: This work is done by gnomes, dwarves and some hin only. PCs with the appropriate race and know-how can participate, or they might accompany the teams as guardians.
Thaumont 7, AC 1018: Angusburg Under Siege.
Location: Fort Angusburg, Principalities of Glantri. OW
Description: Just before construction is completed on the new fortress on the western border of Glantri, Fort Angusburg (named after its viceroy, Prince Angus McGregor of Klantyre) is raided and taken over by the Followers of the Claymore. The Warden of the Marches, Prince Malachie du Marais, leads several banners to Angusburg, but the Glantrian army is met with much resistance from the apparently effective defences of the fort itself. (See Nu. 5, Va. 3; Th. 11, Th. 15.)
What This Means: These rebellious fighters and clerics are not only opposed to the magocracy of the principalities, but have long been enemies of the princes of Klantyre. Embittered by the assault on clerics during the Alexander's Day massacre and emboldened by their apparent victory in Oxhill, the Followers of the Claymore boldly invade Prince Angus's viceroyalty.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs belonging to either the Followers of the Claymore or the Glantrian army will have much to do in the way of siege warfare, mass combat, and espionage.
Thaumont 7, AC 1018: Army Team Starts Survey.
Location: Town of Bigos, Kingdom of Theranderol, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: Captain Ichar from the royal army and his team start to survey the route of the upcoming canal between Bigos and Sasdil. He does not expect topographical or geological problems but the Haunted Marshes may pose a threat. Therefore he not only commands a troop of surveyors but also a battle group of sturdy infantry and cavalry soldiers. (See Nu. 19; Fl. 7, Fl. 28.)
What This Means: The formal requirements are fulfilled, the orders are given, and now the army goes into action. General-Major Quoos, the project leader, is already talking to engineers inside and outside the army to organise the necessary workforce.
Thaumont 7, AC 1018: Gnomes Reach Rockhome.
Location: Fort Denwarf, Kingdom of Rockhome. OW
Description: The entire Torkyn Clan of gnomes arrives at Fort Denwarf, asking for lands that they can settle. Dwarven officers are not overjoyed at the prospect of granting that many foreign gnomes land in Rockhome, and after sending messengers to Stahl and Dengar for advice, instead suggest that they go to the Falun Caverns in Soderfjord, which have been recently cleared of kobolds by humans. The Torkyn Clan sets out for Soderfjord. (See Nu. 5; Fl. 17, Ya. 19.)
What This Means: Due to the recent political turmoil and wars in Rockhome, the dwarves aren't as welcoming as they might have been. Besides, while dwarves like gnomes better than most other demihuman races, they prefer to have them at some distance.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs escorting the gnomes will still have a short journey left to Soderfjord, through friendly dwarven lands.
Thaumont 8, AC 1018: Chasing a Shadow.
Location: City of Darokin, Republic of Darokin. OW
Description: The rumours started by Shadow has provoked a response-Mauntea House has sent agents to catch Shadow and put a price of 2,000 daros on his head if someone can capture him. Throughout Darokin City every rock is being turned in search for this culprit. This causes a fair amount of annoyance among other folk who just want to be left alone. (See Va. 19; Fl. 21, Fl. 22.)
What This Means: Allana's necklace is estimated to be worth at least 25,000 daros due to the perfect gems and the skilful workmanship. Though it would be difficult to sell the necklace, a good thief, as Shadow obviously is, probably has a good fence, and even if he doesn't, the gems alone are still worth a lot of money. Besides, Corwyn Mauntea is not going to allow this Shadow to get away with putting ideas like this in people's heads, or else every two-bit cutpurse will think they can terrorise the upper classes with impunity.
However, the hunt for Shadow is making life miserable for other thieves in the city. Thus, a few bits of information may be revealed about Shadow, though they don't help much. A major problem is that a lot of thieves have taken the name "Shadow" over the years, and nobody is certain which "Shadow" this is. A few people will be arrested and held for questioning, then released again later, and the search will eventually die down.
What the PCs Can Do: The PCs might want to go after Shadow to claim the bounty for themselves, or they might be hired by Mauntea House to do so. Either way, they will find that the "Shadow" they are looking for is as slippery as they come-if the thief wanted another alias, "Eel" would be just as appropriate! The real Shadow will be impossible to catch, since he isn't even in the city. After making his bold statement, he made certain to leave the city because he knew Mauntea House might start a manhunt for him.
Thaumont 8, AC 1018: The Road to Wealth.
Location: City of Dzibouti, Province of Ubu, Empire of Tangor. SK
Description: After the revelations of Thaumont 5, Asterione hasn't lost time and has contacted some friends in the city, among which are Kobu Mari (a priestess of Korotiku), one fighter and one thief. These four humans leave toward the jungles of Lleweryn with N'konga's letter, determined to recover the fabled Krut Diamond. (See Th. 4, Th. 5; Th. 16, Th. 19.)
What This Means: There's nothing special about this event: Asterione and his friends want to lose no time... unfortunately, the death of N'konga prevents them from learning about the difficulties that his party had suffered near the Scaly Temple. And this could become a threat to their future.
What the PCs Can Do: The PCs can be hired by Asterione to join him in his expedition to the Scaly Temple in Lleweryn, where the Krut Diamond waits to be found by brave adventurers.
Thaumont 9, AC 1018: Dove's Health Worsens.
Location: Great Forest of Geffron, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW
Description: Professor Dove's condition worsens, as well as that of the other affected elves. Their bodies are now incredibly hot and they are almost incapable of speaking and thinking coherently. In his delirium, Professor Dove scribbles what he can remember of Idris's history from the frescoes inside the Nameless Tower.
The command of the Genalleth warband has now fallen upon young Enivaris, and he agonises over what to do next. With their most powerful members killed or violently ill, the elves have no way of communicating magically with General Durifern, nor can they travel magically to Enoreth Shrine. (See Nu. 2, Va. 3; Ya. 14, Kl. 21.)
What This Means: The elves' predicament worsens by the day. The sick are now unable to be moved. The vital information that Professor Dove has discovered is now confined to a few abbreviated clues on a piece of parchment. All their efforts are in danger of amounting to naught.
Thaumont 9, AC 1018: Thyatian Ships Enter Great Bay.
Location: Jarldom of Nordenhafen, Kingdom of Ostland, Great Bay. NW
Description: The Thyatian ships, which have avoided the dominions of the Tranquil Coast ever since they left the Isle of the Dogs, but have stopped at some coastal dominions of the Final Range, finally reach the Great Bay, where most of the commerce north of Oceansend takes place.
The expedition enters the Strait of Todstein then sails straight past Alpha to the Jarldom of Nordenhafen, as agreed upon in advance with their Ostlander allies. From there they will conduct their missions to the various dominions, large and small, of the bay.
But first, the Thyatians meet with their host, Bardeen Longwalker. The Northman is happy to see Thyatians come to this northern place, and delighted at the prospect of Thyatians sailing again the seas of Norwold. He is informed of the establishment of a colony on the Isle of the Dogs, where his longships can now stop without risking trouble by the Heldannic Knights, the Alphatians, or petty rulers; all ships that bear the flag of Ostland will have only half docking fees to pay, and their cargoes will not be inspected too closely by the authorities if they are to be traded away to Thyatian merchants-a clear invitation to buy the loot of the Nordenhafen raiders. The jarl returns the favour by granting free docking to Thyatian ships. (See Va. 26, Th. 3; Th. 19, Fl. 1.)
What This Means: Thyatis and Ostland, two old allies, are again cooperating in their attempt to expand their influence in Norwold. They have different objectives, so they are not in competition, but indeed in a position to work hand in hand.
Thyatis's objective is to extend its mercantile network, and reach new markets. To achieve that goal, in Norwold, it relies on a new colony on the Isle of the Dogs, and an aggressive trading policy, that should allow its merchants to gain preferred status (in matters such as taxes, docking fees, licenses, etc.) and gain control of local commerce. Besides such rights, they also hope to sway some small dominions' policies so as to establish trading posts within them.
Ostland's objective is to colonise new lands, where its growing population can settle, and send tribute to the homeland (a good part of which is gained through raiding).
The agreement between the two parties helps reinforce the cooperation; more to the point, it gives the Thyatians access to cheap Norwold goods that they can then sail elsewhere within or without the empire, while Nordenhafen will gain access to many products from throughout the Thyatian Empire and beyond that were rare until now.
Thaumont 9, AC 1018: Dissent in the Ranks.
Location: City-State of Draeh, Esterhold Peninsula. SK
Description: A dispute breaks out between the free Jennites and the rebel Jennites over what to do with the fortifications of Draeh that the Alphatians built to defend the city while it was still known as Faraway. At first this is just another disagreement, but within a few days the free Jennites are openly protesting the rebels' desire to keep the city as it is. They hold a demonstration where they voice their disagreement and end it by throwing stones and spears at the city walls, then pray to the Immortals to return their brethren, obviously corrupted by the Alphatians, to the true Jennite way of life, away from the Alphatians' curse of "city-dwelling." (See Ya. 15, Fe. 16.)
What This Means: This isn't the first sign of trouble between the Jennite rebels against the Alphatian rule and the more wild nature of the free Jennites, nor will it be the last. In fact, as time passes, the gap will only get wider. The truth of the matter is that while the rebels have indeed lived in horrible captivity and slavery under the Alphatians for a long time, they have also seen the benefits of civilisation, and while the Alphatians were ruthless oppressors, they did embrace a more advanced way of life than that of the free Jennites, whose customs seem almost barbaric and savage in their simplicity compared to the more evolved ways of the Alphatians. To the rebels, the free Jennites seem wild and uncivilised, so while they reject the Alphatian oppression, they have also begun to see that merely embracing the ways of the free Jennites would be an evolutionary step backwards, since the free Jennites remain trapped in the historical past.
This is really just the most obvious sign of this yet, but there has already been disagreement on the city harbour, most of the larger buildings, and the water supply in the city, all of which the free Jennites wanted to do away with because they represented "evil alien magic" in their eyes, while to the rebels they are merely common, everyday conveniences which it would be utter foolishness to abandon.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs should be in Draeh only if they are free or rebel Jennites, preferably a mix of both. If they are, they should face some really interesting role-playing situations, though the DM should take care not to make the situation too confrontational yet, especially not by having the PCs killing anyone-open hostility between the rebels and the free Jennites should occur, and if the PCs kill someone from the other side they'll likely force the issue beyond the DM's control. It could well come to that, but it shouldn't happen just yet.
Thaumont 9, AC 1018: I Am No Fool.
Location: Village of Szniezka, County of Gask, Confederation of Klagorst. WB
Description: Sensing the danger in Brasov, where werewolves are unknown and elves die if infected, Aleksandr Herziowski, the werewolf who fled from the city of Brasov a couple of months ago, reaches the small border village of Szniezka. He has spent the last days in wolf form, and hasn't stopped to take human form until now that he is safely in the Klagorst region. (See Nu. 19, Va. 13.)
What This Means: After the years of enslavement to Nhorg first and Debrecen after, Herziowski went into a frenzy when he recovered his freedom. When he realised he was killing more or less randomly, and regained his mental health, Herziowski was frightened that the Brasovians and the elves may send hunters after him. Being aware of the fact that lycanthropy is not known in Brasov, Herziowski decided to leave the country immediately to avoid arousing suspicion in the future, and return to his homeland Klagorst.
What the PCs Can Do: The DM can have one of the PCs become one of the first lycanthropes of Brasov, and see the reaction in the local population through the player's eyes (and through the eyes of his worried companions). Otherwise, they could be the hunters sent after the dangerous wolf (that will discover to be the lycanthrope Herziowski) by the worried elves.
Thaumont 10, AC 1018: The Leehashire Expedition Disperses.
Location: Five Shires. OW
Description: The Leehashire hin split into several groups. Representatives of several Norwold trading interests begin touring the country to establish economic ties with the hin of the shires. Another group, mostly representatives of important political factions in Norwold, stays in Shireton, speaking with historians and more politically-minded folk of the Dread Coast. Finally, a third group of Leehashire hin, mostly adventurers who had accompanied the expedition, begin touring the entire country, giving lecture tours at each stop, and delighting local hin with songs, recipes, stories and contests. (See Va. 20, Va. 26; Am. 1, Ka. 3.)
Thaumont 10, AC 1018: Randel Supports Stonewall.
Location: City of Rardish, Kingdom of Randel, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: In response to the recent criticism of Stonewall's invasion of Arkan in the Grand Council, Queen Karatnora of Randel announces Randel's support of Stonewall. Though Stonewall is populated mostly by commoners, Randel knows Stonewall as a proud people and as worthy allies in war. As such, they have as much right as any Alphatian nation to solve the famine in their country, and certainly so when the actions are decided upon by the rightful aristocratic ruler of Stonewall, King Koblan Dracodon. She further pledges assistance in the manner Randel can produce it in its current state and depending on the degree to which it is desired by Stonewall. (See Va. 3, Th. 2; Fl. 16, Sv. 2.)
What This Means: Karatnora replaced Junna as queen in a coup last year and received some essential support from Stonewall at the time, not least the aid of Brother Swertigon of the Order of Alphatia in Stonewall, who aided the conspiracy in exposing corruption among the Randel Order of Alphatia. However, there are also political reasons for this proclamation. After Junna's rule, Randel is not so strong at the moment, and by pledging allegiance to Stonewall, Karatnora and Alphatar, her adviser and the real power behind the throne, hope to compel Stonewall to make a similar demonstration of alliance. Randel withstood an invasion from Bettellyn last year, but in its current state, Randel would prefer to avoid a repetition of that. If Bettellyn thinks Stonewall will aid Randel, that might do much to persuade Bettellyn to leave Randel alone. Even so, it is doubtful how much support Randel can offer Stonewall, but obviously Randel is not so feeble that no help can come. Some will go north to help Stonewall as mercenaries. In fact, Randel already provided essential aid to Stonewall last year when Foresthome's intervention took them by surprise, and several Randel battlemages continue to serve in Stonewall's army currently in Arkan. That number will grow now.
What the PCs Can Do: Unless the PCs can be called upon as advisers, they won't be involved. But they could be among the reinforcements Randel sends to aid Stonewall in Arkan.
Thaumont 11, AC 1018: A Most Terrible Beast.
Location: Village of Hariq, Emirates of Ylaruam. OW
Description: For weeks the fishing village of Hariq, in the Emirate of Abbashan, has been plagued by a terrible beast. None have lived to tell of it, but victims have been found mauled nearly beyond recognition. The wounds appear to have been inflicted by one of the coastal lions, a beast that is regarded as noble and intelligent. The elders of the village agree that it is taking revenge for some past transgression and urge the perpetrator to come forward, so the matter can be resolved.
Any strangers in the area will automatically be prime suspects and may soon find themselves before a lynch mob looking to leave them defenceless in the wilderness in order to appease the lion.
What This Means: The beast is not just a lion, but a zombie lion. It was created by a foul sea hag who covets the sea near the village of Hariq. She hopes that her terrible pet will drive the villagers from the area. Should the zombie lion be defeated, she will likely come up with another plan to be rid of the villagers.
What the PCs Can Do: Confront the terrible zombie lion before it claims the lives of any more villagers and before they end up sacrificed to it. And perhaps learn of the sea hag and seek her out to "convince" her to leave the villagers alone.
Thaumont 11, AC 1018: Malachie Ends the Siege of Angusburg.
Location: Fort Angusburg, Principalities of Glantri. OW
Description: After three days of laying siege to Fort Angusburg, occupied by the Followers of the Claymore, Warden Malachie du Marais has met with much frustration and decides to use more radical measures. He calls upon the skyships of the Glantrian army (the same he used in Aengmor during the "Shadow Over Mystara" episodes in AC 1016) to bombard the fort with powerful fireballs and meteor swarms.
Malachie's hard-line tactics prove effective, as the Followers of the Claymore rout and abandon the fort, only to be met by the forces of the Glantrian army. (See Va. 3, Th. 7; Th. 15, Ya. 10.)
What This Means: As much as his rival Princess Dolores Hillsbury is using the constabulary to crack down on clerics in Glantri, Prince Malachie is enjoying-perhaps a bit too much-using his new authority as the warden of the marches against the belligerent clerical groups, and employing the powerful skyships of the Glantrian army. Some princes, particularly the past warden, Prinz Jaggar von Drachenfels, will find this disconcerting.
Prince Angus will be much displeased at the warden, since Fort Angusburg is heavily damaged and will require several more months until its completion.
Thaumont 11, AC 1018: The Battle for Freedom-May It Not Be in Vain.
Location: Northern jungles of the Amalur Lowlands. DV
Description: While marching northwards once more to the coast, the Kastelian forces join up, north of a large clearing. Both parties compare notes, and realise that something evil is stalking the land. Only one living lizard man was encountered, and, although several ruined villages were discovered, few bodies were in evidence. Resolving to discuss recent events within the safe confines of the ship, the Kastelians resume their northward march. Within an hour, however, one of the scouts deployed to cover the rear sprints to the marine captain, and tells him that he heard the telltale signs of an organized pursuit!
Knowing that the expeditionary force should reach the ship soon, the captain orders his troops to break into a jog, hoping to add distance between his force and the unknown pursuers. At first, it looks as though this strategy might work, but before long the sounds of pursuit grow louder, and soon the Kastelians realise that they will have to turn and face their unseen foes. Seeing a rise ahead, the Kastelians sprint the final distance, and then take up defensive positions where they can-within sight of their vessel, only a couple hundred yards ahead. They are hardly in place before a volley of spears impales the trees and bushes around them, and several burly lizard men leap out of the undergrowth to meet them.
The first assault is fierce; a couple of marines fall to the more powerful blows of their adversaries before the Kastelians can mount an organized response. To their dismay, the humans note that the lizard men fight as though possessed; blows that would normally kill an opponent only force them to stagger momentarily, and some of them continue to fight even though they have grievous injuries. Making matters worse, more lizard men can be seen further behind. Even the aid of their lizard man captive, who sided with the humans after recovering a fallen weapon, is not enough. The Kastelians' morale begins to fail, and, before all discipline breaks down, the captain orders a fighting withdrawal, and manages to keep his troops in some semblance of order in the face of their seemingly undefeatable opponents. Soon, however, it becomes apparent that a full retreat is necessary, and the Kastelian captain orders his remaining sergeant to lead the wounded and exhausted back to the ship as quickly as possible, while he leads a fighting withdrawal with the remaining men. The sergeant does so, taking the lizard man with him as well.
As the wounded are boarding the ship, the captain orders a retreat, but encounters an unpleasant surprise. Appearing to materialise out of the surrounding vegetation, well over a score of troglodytes ambush the retreating Kastelians from behind, effectively trapping the humans. Knowing what is about to happen, the captain tells his remaining men that they will be rewarded in the afterlife for their bravery, and, with a final salute to his troops, orders them to take as many enemies down with them as they can. This the Kastelians do, but not before they have the satisfaction of knowing their companions made it aboard the ship, and are already sailing for home. (See Va. 11, Va. 26; Th. 22, Th. 23.)
What This Means: The lizard men have been aware of the Kastelians' presence for many days; they had sent scouts to observe them covertly, but they took pains not to interfere in their activities until they found out what the humans were doing here. When it became apparent that the Kastelians were about to leave, and possibly share what they had learned with more of their kind, the lizard men decided to eliminate them. They were nearly successful: only one-third of the Kastelians managed to escape. Unfortunately for the lizard men, Sassteh escaped as well.
This encounter is significant in that this is the first time an outside force has met the Amalur lizard men in battle, and experienced the evil magics practiced by its less wholesome tribes. A number of the warriors were subjected to long-forgotten magics that instilled a rabid fervour in them, and deadened them to pain and many other sensations. Many of the warriors had technically been killed during the battle, but fought on anyway. Most of these will die within hours, as their bodies finally react to the amounts of damage they sustained.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs should be among those ordered to retreat to the ship-they could possibly be ordered to escort the wounded and ensure their safety. If they have powerful divinatory magic, or are skilled in wilderness tracking, the PCs might be able to detect the troglodytes before they can spring their trap. If this is done, the lizard men and their troglodyte servants will throw all caution to the wind and try to kill as many people as they can. The PCs will not be able to eliminate the entire lizard man force; there are simply too many of them. The most they can hope to do is delay the inevitable, and perhaps reduce the number of Kastelian losses.
Thaumont 12, AC 1018: Protective Measures.
Location: City of Thyatis, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW
Description: Eusebius orders various fortifications throughout Thyatis expanded and improved, and several additional ones built. He also orders a heliograph network similar to the one built by Thrainkell Firestorm on the Isle of Dawn constructed throughout Thyatis to connect each fortification and significant community (towns and cities especially, but also smaller communities along the route), to run parallel to roads wherever possible.
New roads are also ordered built in the Duchy of Hattias, connecting Port Hatti, Pilion and Vinton with Hattias City, and Grey Bay with Pilion, improving what were simply trails before. Roads are also built on the mainland between Port Lucinius and Lucinius Outpost and Lone Cove, and connecting Hillfork with Julinius. A wall will also be built around Hattias City for the first time in centuries.
Duke Thyarius takes this opportunity to endow an academy in Hattias City (which is starting to be called "Attiopolis" by the Milenian settlers), to be staffed largely by Milenian scholars but also several Thyatians. It will serve as a centre of learning in Hattias and the exchange of Milenian and Thyatian philosophy and knowledge, something that will benefit the empire over time. A few Milenian scholars have already been invited to lecture at the Imperial University in the city of Thyatis (where approximately 30,000 Milenians are to be settled, while a similar number of Thyatians from the city are re-settled in Hattias), but this creates a facility known for Milenian scholarship and the study of Davania. In addition to improving advanced education in the duchy it increases the cosmopolitan nature of Hattias, though this last purpose will not please everyone. Most of the more hide-bound Hattians have emigrated, but Hattias (and Thyatis as a whole) still has its share of Vanya worshippers, and She is not a fan of Milenians. (See Va. 1, Th. 1; Ya. 5, Ya. 12.)
What This Means: The newly built fortifications will be in the eastern and western frontiers of the empire. A series of fortified watchtower keeps are built between Fort Zendrol and the coast, every eight miles, within signalling distance of each other. These are intended to provide additional defence to the only border region that isn't covered by a county. Even though the Emirate of Tameronikas is currently friendly, Eusebius wants to take the opportunity provided by the current placid state of the border to provide additional defence against future raids and attacks.
The other fortification is built along the banks of the Rugalov River where it empties out of the Lake of Lost Dreams, on a spur of land that juts into the lake. This castle, to be named Haven Citadel, is intended to protect the new frontier in the area from incursions by humanoids that are known to infest the Dymrak Forest to the west and the hills and mountains to the northeast, just across the border in Karameikos. A moat will be dug so that the citadel will be surrounded on all sides by water. Construction on this fort began late last year, but the scope of the fortifications is increased. Nearby Vyalian elves are divided about this. Some like the increased protection against humanoids that the presence of Haven Citadel will provide, but others are more worried about a possible influx of humans into the region and the deforestation they may cause. Each of the fortifications will house a garrison of 500 (a citadel cohort) in peacetime with an additional 2,000 troops of a protectors legion in wartime.
The building projects have the side effect of putting many otherwise unemployed Milenian refugees to work, giving them their first employment as they get settled in the empire.
Thaumont 12, AC 1018: Audience at Vestland.
Location: City of Norrvik, Kingdom of Vestland. OW
Description: King Hurkres and King Buhrest of the two Modrigswerg kingdoms in Vestland send their emissaries to King Harald Gudmundson of Vestland. They inform him that they have dominions in the mountains of Vestland, and demand that they be acknowledged as independent kingdoms. King Bergthor Haraldson stalls for time. (See Va. 5, Va. 18; Fl. 1, Kl. 26.)
What This Means: King Bergthor is at a loss. On one hand the areas controlled by the Modrigswerg are inhospitable and have actually been theirs for centuries; on the other hand officially recognising their claims will estrange him from his Rockhome allies, and the many dwarves in Vestland. Unlike Throfar of Gråbjerge in Ostland, the haughty kings of the Vestlandic Modrigswerg kingdoms do not consider the humans to be a threat, and don't expect them to be able to do anything about this.
Thaumont 12, AC 1018: Another Wizard Sighting!
Location: Countryside, Province of Blackrock, Republic of Esterhold, Nayce. SK
Description: Some refugees from parts of Blackrock and former Verdan trying to reach the safety of Skyfyr have been fleeing from pursuing Jennites for days. A group of them are hunted down today and are about to give up and accept their fate. The free Jennite leader tells them that all Alphatians among them will be executed for crimes against the Jennite people and the rest taken prisoner until they can determine if any of them are still capable of abandoning the evil ways the Alphatians have taught them. Just as all seems most hopeless, the Jennite leader is disintegrated before the surprised eyes of everyone there! As the Jennites draw their weapons, a wall of fire rises among the bulk of them and a robed man becomes visible in front of the refugees. As the rest of the Jennites are about to attack, he tells them with an incredibly smooth voice that they had better drop their weapons and depart. The refugees are astounded to see the Jennites do as the robed figure tells them. They immediately thank this person, who turns out to be an elderly man of common Alphatian heritage and with a long beard and wearing a grey and red robe. He merely tells them to be careful on their further journey since Skyfyr is still under siege. As he then turns as if to walk off into the wilderness, the refugees ask him his name. He looks pensive for a moment, then tells them that they may call him Tylarian. Then he makes a waving movement with his hand and is gone. (See Nu. 12, Th. 2; Th. 15, Ya. 10.)
What This Means: Obviously this and the earlier wizard sighting will soon be the beginning of many tall tales. Among the Jennites, this will be the story of the evil Alphatian enchanter who enslaves even the bravest warrior with his deceptive voice of magic, while Alphatians and Jennites on their side will talk about the rescuing wizard Tylarian. After all, an Alphatian who comes to the aid of commoners and refugees isn't exactly common, and many tales will now be associated with the name "Tylarian." Even the subsequent actions of other wizards or even wizard-like characters in Esterhold may be attributed to Tylarian, even though they have nothing to do with him.
In truth, there is no such wizard. This wizard is actually none other than Tylion, the former Emperor of Alphatia who also masqueraded as head of the Karameikan School of Magecraft under the name Terari. He came here to see for himself how bad things really are in Esterhold. "Tylarian" was actually another identity he established in Esterhold long ago, but hasn't used in decades. However, because of that, some people in Esterhold might actually remember that name. The name "Tylarian" was one he took after his mother, Tylari III, who was Empress of Alphatia before him.
What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could be there, but if they are, the DM should modify the encounter a little. Instead the PCs should fight the Jennites to protect the refugees and find themselves up against odds stacked against them, and then Tylarian can come to their rescue. If the DM doesn't like such as blatant deus ex machina plot, however, he can instead have Tylarian fight some Jennites while others try to kill the refugees. Then the PCs can save the refugees that Tylarian cannot protect, and they can talk to him afterwards. He won't reveal much, though.
Thaumont 12, AC 1018: The Damsel's Revenge.
Location: Merry Pirate Seas. HW
Description: A brigantine bearing the colours of Handlebar Emilio, Pirate King of Puerto Morillos, is returning from a successful venture, bearing a rich prize. The ship, heavy with gold, is running low in the water, when she is beset by two vessels. The first, the sloop Vanity, approaches within striking distance while also flying Emilio's colours, before hoisting an unfamiliar jack. The other ship, the brigantine Damsel's Revenge, follows close behind and also flies this unknown flag. The two ships converge on Emilio's vessel and capture her. Emilio's men are taken aback by the women pirates who best them at their own game, fighting with toughness and grit. As the women make off with the gold, their captain has a message for the defeated men: "Tell your pig of a king, Emilio, that the Sisters of the Sea have had their way with him. It is not the first time, nor shall it be the last!" (See Ya. 3, Fy. 15.)
What This Means: This is another strike by Felicia Marlinspike and her radical women pirates, the Sisters of the Sea. Last circle, they captured the Vanity from Emilio's fleet, and made use of her this sleep to surprise their victim. Felicia has recruited more women of like mind to her cause against the womanising Emilio. Although she hates all men, she decided to let her victims live this time, with the "humiliation" that they were bested by a crew of women.
What the PCs Can Do: If they are allied with Emilio, they can help to stave off the attacking sisters, or at least bring word back to Emilio after the attack. If sailing with the Sisters of the Sea, PCs can help plan and execute the assault.
Thaumont 13, AC 1018: The Siege Intensifies.
Location: City of Skyfyr, Province of Blackrock, Republic of Esterhold, Nayce. SK
Description: Enough free and rebel Jennites have now returned to the city of Skyfyr after the winter for them to resume their siege in earnest. They unleash their forces on the city walls, but after several days of hard fighting, they are forced to realise that the city has prepared its defences very well. (See Nu. 26, Th. 3; Th. 22, Fl. 21.)
What This Means: Talin, leader of the rebel Jennites, is personally commanding this siege while his brother Kalin is fighting for the allied Alphatians and Jennites to break it. However, Kalin has several advantages. One is that the free Jennites and the rebels still aren't very good at fighting together-they may be allies, but that doesn't mean their methods of war are the same. And as if that isn't bad enough, the defenders are all trained (to some degree) by the military standards of the Alphatians, and they have information on the aggressors' tactics from people like the Alphatian soldier Lyriander who survived the Jennite assaults on both Vigil Keep, Faraway (now Draeh), and Anchorage last year. Beyond that, the defenders have the advantage of a few Alphatian wizards sent here by Favian to aid the defence with at least one archmage among them. This siege could last a long time.
What the PCs Can Do: Yet more fighting for both sides of the siege. PCs on the Jennite side would fight to scale the city walls, while PCs on the Alphatian side would fight to prevent that. Skyfyr's defences are very strong and any fight should reflect that, and Jennite PCs can expect to face pretty potent magic. Also, since the Jennites won't break into the city in numbers, Jennite PCs who do succeed would be in a world of trouble, since they would find themselves alone against Alphatians and their Jennite allies once they successfully enter the city. They could cause sabotage from within, but it would be extremely difficult to avoid capture, particularly with powerful wizards with access to spells that could locate them easily. Still, even if they are captured, Kalin will not treat them badly, and he might even need their help later.
Thaumont 14, AC 1018: Coolhands Reinstated As Clanmistress of the Long Runners.
Location: Callarii Clanhold, Dymrak Forest, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW
Description: The Alfheim Council of Clans meets again to discuss their future in the Canolbarth and the demise of Beasthunter. Coolhands is permitted to attend the meeting to plead her case to be reinstated as the Long Runner Clanmistress. Doriath reads out the note he received from Durifern, telling of Beasthunter's bravery and sacrifice. After hearing Durifern's praise of Beasthunter's actions, consensus in the council is to forgive Beasthunter and Coolhands for abandoning Durifern in AC 1016. A dissenting viewpoint was presented by the Chossum Clanmaster Carlisan who reminded the council that Beasthunter had failed to lead the crusaders to safety and had again jeopardised the safety of Durifern by perishing in a suicidal mission.
Despite Carlisan's attack, the council agreed to reinstate Coolhands as Clanmistress of the Long Runners and to cleanse the name of her late husband. (See Nu. 7, Va. 8; Th. 24, Ya. 25.)
What This Means: The honour of the Long Runners has been restored. Carlisan's machinations have been thwarted for now. Coolhands is tempted to again request assistance from the council to help the crusaders, but thinks better of it.
Thaumont 14, AC 1018: King Juliast Protests.
Location: City of Ionace, Ionace Island, Nayce. AS
Description: Arantria, the Underocean representative to the Naycese Council, makes an introduction for King Juliast who has himself come to Ionace to protest against Nayce's recent move against his kingdom. He states that if Nayce is willing to side with undead monsters over Underocean, a rightful member of Nayce, then Underocean's status as a Naycese kingdom is a travesty, and he will then remove his nation from Nayce. He then calls upon the Naycese Council to either accept Underocean's withdrawal from Nayce or else support him in the future.
This causes a huge debate, but most seem to agree that Underocean should have taken this matter before the council before it began a hostile campaign without authorisation-Underocean is a member of Nayce, and kingdoms of the empire don't start wars without warning.
King Juliast is surprised to see many he thought of as allies speak out against him. He expected Karszamon and kingdoms like Aquas or Floating Arkan to oppose him, but he doesn't even have Favian Vern's support. Though Favian expresses sympathy for Underocean, he still argues that a kingdom which is part of an empire cannot just take matters into its own hands. Karszamon vows that he will order more patrols in the areas around Sunken Arogansa to keep Underocean from attacking the Bluenose Ruins or other settlements of interest to the Alphatians again.
The vote Juliast called for actually never comes to pass, and Juliast leaves to consider his options, yet it is clear to all that Underocean's membership of Nayce hangs by a thread, and the atmosphere is ominous... (See Va. 24, Va. 25; Fl. 1, Kl. 1.)
What This Means: There are several political aspects to consider here. While Juliast is indeed angry about this turn of events and feels betrayed, he cannot entirely dismiss the argument that he should have taken the matter before the council either. The council did actually discuss just this very issue on Sviftmont 12 last year. Then again, Underocean is scarcely the only kingdom to act independently. Favian Vern's position is especially one that surprises King Juliast, as he has expressed ideals very similar to those of Underocean himself in the past, which forces Juliast to reconsider his position. However, though he remains more sceptical of Nayce than ever, he just won't remove Underocean from Nayce until he has taken the time to consider his options carefully, as he fears he might otherwise make a great mistake in his anger.
Favian Vern is split here. He feels closer to Underocean than to some Naycese kingdoms that still cling to the traditional values of the aristocracy, yet he cannot support Underocean's ignorance of the council either. This comes as a bitter realisation because he loses what he sees as an ally if Underocean leaves Nayce, and he needs all the allies he can get to support his own war against the free and rebel Jennites.
For Karszamon this situation is ideal, though. He never cared much for Underocean, particularly not since they don't distinguish between commoners and aristocrats. In his opinion, they don't belong in Nayce at all in the first place, so he welcomes the chance to berate them. At the same time, he now has an excellent excuse not to grant Favian Vern the troops he has asked for: If Favian asks for military intervention from Nayce, Karszamon will simply say that they are needed here in the heart of Nayce in case Underocean refuses to listen to the council again, and because of King Juliast's recent actions, he now has a lot of supporters for that point of view.
What the PCs Can Do: Unless the PCs are interested in the dark political manoeuvres of Nayce, this probably isn't too interesting. Then again, extremists could always try to kill King Juliast so that he would need bodyguards to protect him.
Thaumont 14, AC 1018: River Assault.
Location: Yalu River, near City of Sharya, Zuyevan Empire. WB
Description: The undead lich Don Claudio, who broke the control of his master the necromancer of Bosque de las Sombras (near Saragón on the Savage Coast) and began an assault against Zuyevo at the end of last year with the backing of the Master of Hule, has been cooped up in the ruined Kulikovo Fortress eyeing the mighty Zuyevan city of Sharya across the Yalu River. The winter chill has not yet abated and the river is still frozen with at least two feet of ice across its surface.
Don Claudio has been deserted by his humanoid followers who have found the winter in the region too severe and have returned to their homes with the loot from the sprawling fortress. Thus Don Claudio concludes that he must assault the city of Sharya before his magics that control his undead hordes weaken. He orders his three thousand undead warriors across the river.
This is the moment that Count Vasily Dimitriov has been waiting for. Watching from the tall spires of Sharya he sees the undead beginning to cross the river. He orders his archers to the battlements of the city and waits. With most of the undead horde on the river's surface, he orders his archers to commence firing. Arrows and bolts rain down on the undead hordes, doing little damage but serving as a superb distraction to the count's main purpose. With the undead and Don Claudio trying to protect themselves from the rain of death above, Zuyevan special forces are attaching delayed fireball gems to the underside of the ice before teleporting back to Sharya.
As the first of the undead reach the shoreline and the hearts of the soldiers on the battlements of Sharya begin to quail, a massive rumble is heard from within the river and suddenly enormous shards of ice fly into the air, ripping some of the undead asunder. Fiery explosions under the ice sheet rapidly melt the ice and the entire undead force collapses into the swift flowing waters of the river, swept to their destruction. (See Va. 6.)
What This Means: Zuyevo is spared the assault of Don Claudio. As soon as the rest of the Yalu River thaws, the Zuyevans will send out troops to reclaim and clear the Kulikovo Fortress and its two satellite fortresses of any remaining evil. This would be a good opportunity for PCs in the area to accept a commission from Count Dimitriov to assist in the clearance.
Thaumont 15, AC 1018: Master, Where Art Thou?
Location: Town of Krakatos, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW
Description: As the academic year begins in Karameikos, the Karameikan School of Magecraft is left without a head as Master Terari is notably absent. Classes commence anyway. (See Nu. 12; Am. 18, Ka. 6.)
What This Means: Terari left Karameikos for Nayce last year, before even the academic year ended. He did not attend graduation, and though some hoped he would show up today it is not really a surprise when he does not. There are other competent Alphatian and Karameikan professors, so things are not about to fall apart without Terari, but if he does not return shortly someone will have to take up his administrative responsibilities.
King Karameikos is concerned, because his ambassador to Ionace reported the arrival of Master Terari to the island at the time of his disappearance from Karameikos, and his continued presence there ever since. Terari did not warn Stefan of his departure, and the diplomat has not been able to talk with Terari to get any more information. Queen Olivia wonders what this means, and if it might possible that the wizard has returned to his homeland forever, taking with him state secrets. In the meantime, she decides to keep a close eye on the Alphatian community that lives in the country, and notably on the wizards. She also quietly starts looking for suitable candidates to succeed Terari both as headmaster of the school and as minister of magic, hoping to have pre-recruited the right candidate when her husband decides that it is time to replace Terari.
What the PCs Can Do: The king may hire the PCs to investigate the reasons for Terari's leaving for Nayce, or the queen's agents may hire them for spying on the Alphatians. If any PCs are high-level wizards, they may be approached by the queen's agents to possibly become the next headmaster or minister in lieu of the missing Terari, though they may not be aware that the queen is screening them for the post.
Thaumont 15, AC 1018: Exhibition of Wonders.
Location: Town of Crownhaven, Kingdom of Notrion, Bellissaria, Nayce. AS
Description: A festive carnival, Magister Formiesias's Travelling Exhibition of Wonders, has arrived here to the delight and astonishment of the local populace. The fair includes numerous acrobats, entertainers, and exhibits of all sorts, including monsters and magical rarities. But the major focal point is the colossal mountain of a man, which towers above everything in the town! Among the visitors to the fair is one Boyar Viktor Zhucharnov, come from Norwold to see the mighty metal machine for himself. Viktor is pleasantly surprised to take a tour of the mechanical marvel, known as Earthshaker! Viktor absorbs all that he can during the tour, and the tour guide, Milos, is quite helpful answering his many questions. (See Va. 1, Va. 2; Fl. 4, Ya. 26.)
What This Means: Zhucharnov has proved the existence of the rumoured war machine, the mighty Earthshaker. The rumours fall far short of reality-Zhucharnov is stunned by the sheer size of the thing: it stands 1,280 feet tall! He immediately knows that gaining control of this marvel would assure victory over King Ericall, and anyone else who dared to stand against him. But the thing is inhabited and controlled by a clan of gnomes who take no interest in his schemes, an obstacle that must be overcome. Zhucharnov gathers as much information on Earthshaker as he can, and hopes to bribe, coerce, or intimidate Milos Formiesias or the gnomes into his service.
What the PCs Can Do: If in the region, they can learn of the existence of Earthshaker, and also take a tour of the wonder. It is unlikely that PCs here will be aware of Zhucharnov's doings at this point.
Thaumont 15, AC 1018: Burn Them Out!
Location: Eastern fringes of Finsterwald, Territory of Heldland, Heldannic Empire. NW
Description: All along the eastern fringes of the Finsterwald, the domain of Helmut Jaschke, Count of Wolkenburg, Heldannic Knights from the villages of Seelitz, Treptow, and Nordberg set fire to the trees and shrubbery, fanning the flames where they can, and watching the forest burn. As the hours pass, the knights advance in the wake of the flames, lighting more fires wherever necessary. (See Th. 27, Fl. 10.)
What This Means: The freiherren of these three villages conferred late last year concerning the potential threat posed by Count Helmut Jaschke of Wolkenburg, whose domain-the Finsterwald-lies west of their lands. An expedition of almost 1,000 men had been mounted against him last year, but few soldiers survived the experience, and almost no headway was made against their enemy, aside from killing over 100 of his warriors. Now, the people living in these dominions desire vengeance for their losses. It was decided that, despite the bad weather, the eastern forests should be burned, in order to clear more land, and to send a message to Helmut-should he hear of their act-that the Heldannic Knights do not consider their battle with him to be over.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs on the side of the Heldannic Knights could be ordered to stand as sentries, watching the burning forests for any sneak attacks that might be mounted. Otherwise, PCs working for Helmut might observe the knights in their act, and report what they have seen to the count.
Thaumont 15, AC 1018: Hard-Pressed Serenity.
Location: Barony of Serenity, Tranquil Coast. NW
Description: The Dikhoffian army, with its supplement of Heldannic Knights, continues to march against Serenity, and the stands of the Serenic cavalry at various places are not successful in stopping its advance. The arrival of mercenaries from Swordcoast, and also some from Dag, boosts the defence, but it is insufficient, and Dikhoff is inexorably conquering Serenity. Over several weeks all of Serenity is occupied except for Castle Serenity; even the city of Serenity is conquered, as are all the ranches in the countryside. The Heldannic Knights seize the good horses of Serenity, and become mounted, and while they lay siege to the castle they train some Dikhoffians to become knights; some additional horses are sent back to Oceansend where the landmeister can put them to use. (See Nu. 28, Va. 27; Ya. 13, Kl. 28.)
What This Means: As expected, the support of the Heldannic Knights has been sufficient to break the stalemate between the warring baronies. The progress has been rather slow, mostly because Hermann Adalard has sent only a small number of his knights, but inexorable, and when Castle Serenity falls there will be little resistance left for Dikhoff to conquer the Tranquil Coast, under the supervision of Heldann.
Thaumont 15, AC 1018: Wedding at Krondahar.
Location: Principality of Krondahar, Principalities of Glantri. OW
Description: At the Palace of Singhabad, the long-awaited marriage of Prince Ralindi Virayana of Krondahar to Lady Rina Krinagar, niece of Prince Urmahid Krinagar of Bramyra, is a spectacular event, celebrated by commoner and nobleman alike. In attendance, besides these two princes, are three other princes of Glantri: Prince Harald Haaskinz, Ralindi's mentor, together with his son, Sir Dominick Haaskinz, Ralindi's best friend; Princesa Carnelia de Belcadiz, friend of Lady Lan-Syn Virayana, Urmahid's sister and wife of the former Prince Jherek Virayana IV, and is escorted by young Doña Ysabel de Fedorias; and most surprisingly, Princess Dolores Hillsbury, as a guest of Prince Urmahid.
Although there were threats of an attack or disturbance by the Thousand Fists of the Khan, the ceremony proceeds without a hitch. (See Va. 18, Th. 7; Fe. 4, Fe. 26.)
What This Means: House Singhabad and House Krinagar have been allies for years, and this politically-driven marriage comes as no surprise. However, Prince Urmahid has been seeking to gain a power base of his own in Glantrian politics, and those who know the spirited and self-possessed Rina Krinagar can see that the marriage to the young Krondaharan prince is a step towards this end. Urmahid's sister and Rina's godmother, Lady Lan-Syn is a good case in point, for she herself became Princess Regent of Krondahar for a time! Those in the know can also see the implicit alliances between Urmahid and Carnelia, and Urmahid and Dolores-as the two have been working closely together since the Alexander's Day situation.
The presence of Ysabel de Fedorias, Ralindi's former lover and now Dominick's betrothed, raised eyebrows and set tongues wagging among the Glantrians, but whether her complicity is personal, out of friendship and love, or political, as a pawn of the Glantrian princes, remains to be seen.
What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could be involved in security precautions or espionage plots against the Thousand Fists of the Khan. Prince Jherek Virayana IV of Krondahar was a relentless foe of the Thousand Fists of the Khan, and this belligerent sect would probably take much satisfaction in causing trouble on this very important day in Krondahar.
Thaumont 16, AC 1018: Political Priorities.
Location: City of Ionace, Ionace Island, Nayce. AS
Description: While Favian Vern is away to organise his stand against the Jennite advances, the Council of Nayce has been discussing the matter of the Esterhold uprising. Some are wondering why Nayce hasn't sent troops to Esterhold, but Karszamon, the military commander, explains that he has already discussed the matter with Favian who decided against it. Besides, Naycese forces are busy elsewhere. The council doesn't discuss much beyond that and soon moves on to other topics.
After the council session is over, King Verothrics has an informal meeting with Karszamon. He expresses his concern over the way things are going in Esterhold. Karszamon explains that as long as Favian doesn't officially request help from Nayce and accept the consequences of that, his hands are tied. Their meeting doesn't progress much beyond that and quickly ends. (See Nu. 20, Va. 8; Fl. 11, Ya. 1.)
What This Means: It is clear that Verothrics and Karszamon do not agree. The atmosphere is very cold during their meeting, but they both remain very calm. Verothrics suspects Karszamon has ulterior motives since he doesn't insist on sending troops to Esterhold. Verothrics doesn't really like Favian Vern's ideals either, but Karszamon is a more immediate political enemy as the Naycese Commander in Chief, a position that should definitely have gone to someone from Veroth. So realising this, Verothrics considers his options in the matter. If Karszamon won't send troops, that might be a point Verothrics can exploit to oppose him.
What the PCs Can Do: This is still just a political situation. It's too early for the PCs to become involved, unless they are political advisers or allies of either Karszamon or Verothrics.
Thaumont 16, AC 1018: The Ant Is on My Trail.
Location: Jungles of Lleweryn, Western Swanamutu. SK
Description: While Asterione and his friends travelled further in the jungles of Lleweryn, searching for the Scaly Temple of Kthurbash, a group of men from the Ant, the most important commercial organisation of Western Swanamutu, were sent on their trail. They have finally found them and are now following them, waiting for them to get to the temple. (See Th. 5, Th. 8; Th. 19.)
What This Means: N'konga had stolen the information about the location of the temple and the diamond from the Ant, during a trip to their head office in Zambul. The Ant, a powerful organisation, decided to send some agents on his trail: the result was the death of all of N'konga's companions before he could make it to the temple, although all of the Ant's agents were killed by the Durhanian adventurer. After hearing of N'konga's death in Dzibouti, the Ant has sent another group of agents after Asterione, N'konga's best friend, suspecting that he could know something about the diamond. And it seems they were right...
What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are part of Asterione's expedition, they will have to bypass the traps set by the Ant, in addition to the other dangers they might encounter in the jungles of Lleweryn.
Thaumont 17, AC 1018: All's Not Quiet on the Home Front.
Location: City of Farend, Kingdom of Qeodhar, Nayce. AS
Description: The relative peace of Farend has been shaken in recent days by increasing incidents involving protesters against the ongoing campaign to subdue the Ystmarhavners. The sentiments expressed are not, however, in sympathy for the Northmen; instead, the protesters complain that there is nothing to be gained in fighting, and dying, for "a few rustic fishing villages and a bunch of ungrateful barbarians." While some call on Norlan not to step up his campaign against the rebels, and to hold the line, others go as far as to demand that he seek peace with his enemies, so that people can live their lives normally once more. Norlan, not known for being overly patient where dissent is concerned, has those protesters who can be caught arrested, tried for treason and collaboration with the enemy, and executed publicly. (See Nu. 13, Va. 24; Fl. 2, Fl. 3.)
What This Means: Despite Norlan's suspicions, the protesters have no ties with the rebels; the sentiments they are expressing are natural outgrowths of several years of war-first against the various nations of Norwold, and now against the rebels. There are few families now who have not lost a son, nephew, or cousin in the battles that have been raging within and outside of Qeodhar. Quite simply, many people have had enough, and while there is certainly little love for the rebels, the passions that led to last year's hostilities are largely absent now. Morale in Farend will begin to falter in the coming weeks, especially as many people fail to sympathise with Norlan's harsh stance against protesters of any sort.
Thaumont 17, AC 1018: A Budgetary Dilemma.
Location: City of Aaslin, Kingdom of Notrion, Bellissaria, Nayce. AS
Description: King Corydon, while reviewing his daily correspondence, is interrupted by one of his treasurers, who wishes to discuss with him a matter of grave import. With a mixture of annoyance and foreboding, Corydon bids the man to continue, and he receives the most shocking news: If the current situation holds, Notrion will not be able to contribute its share to the Naycese treasury this year, nor will it be able to repay the loans issued to it over the previous years to aid its economic development.
Shocked, Corydon demands to know the reason for this, and he is told that Veroth continues to pay less than market value for the kingdom's grain, and that Thyatian grain purchases are in decline from last year-presumably due to the economic recovery underway there. Thus, Notrion is left with falling income, and an increasing stock of grain that no one apparently wants. After absorbing all of this, Corydon dismisses his subordinate, and ponders what to do. (See Nu. 10, Va. 18; Fl. 6, Ei. 3.)
What This Means: Notrion has always been an agrarian kingdom, with the vast majority of its grain being shipped to the Alphatian continent-particularly to the markets of Stonewall and Vertiloch. In the nearly ten years since the sinking of Alphatia, Notrion has been largely unable to secure new purchasers for its grain, as most other Naycese kingdoms produce enough staples to feed themselves, or they simply do not have a large enough population to import significant amounts.
In the immediate aftermath of the Great War, Notrion was buoyed somewhat by a surge in demand from Thyatis, whose own grain stocks had been ruined by the mummy rot induced by Thothia. Now that Thyatis has largely recovered, another customer has been lost. In AC 1017, following the establishment of Veroth, Corydon hoped that demand for grain would rise again, but the price the Verothians were willing to pay was lower than expected, and Notrion lacks sufficient leverage to raise those prices. Unless new markets are found, Notrion will face a severe cash crisis in the near future.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs who are known to Corydon might be summoned to help him devise plans to sell more grain, or devise ways to reconfigure the economy to be less dependent on grain exports. The latter task would be very difficult, however, as any attempted change would fly in the face of centuries of tradition, and would have to deal with the fact that many Notrion farmers know little but their own profession.
Thaumont 19, AC 1018: Trading Post Latela.
Location: Town of Civis Nova, Barony of Latela, Northern Great Bay. NW
Description: Starting their tour of the Great Bay dominions with the one most likely to be friendly to them, the Thyatian merchants sail from Nordenhafen to Latela, a rich barony on the northern shores. They set anchor at the capital of Civis Nova, where they ask to meet the baron and the guild master.
The Thyatian envoys meet with Baron Longtooth and various guildsmen at the Guildhall. There, agreements are reached with Tano Tarantella, the guild master-probably the most powerful man in the barony, before even the baron himself-to allow Thyatian merchants that conduct business in Latela the same rights for joining the various guilds as those of native Latelans. (See Th. 3, Th. 9; Fl. 1, Fl. 10.)
What This Means: The Thyatians merchants now have the exact same rights and opportunities as local tradesmen. The barony is still run by Longtooth and the United Guilds' Senior Chairman Tano Tarantella is still in control of the guilds. However, most of the Latelans are of Thyatian extraction, and the Tarantellas are a famous and powerful Thyatian family with ties to the Thyatian crime organisation known as Causa Nostra, so Latela is a de facto Thyatian dominion.
The Minrothaddan negotiators are quite nervous about the connection of the guild with a criminal organisation, but the Thyatians seem not to be bothered by this.
What the PCs Can Do: The PCs can negotiate the closing of ties between Latela and the Thyatian Empire, or take advantage of the renewed relations thereafter. The PCs can also be hired by either side to keep an eye on the other; they might thus find themselves working for Causa Nostra without realising it.
Thaumont 19, AC 1018: As Close to a Diamond as a Rabbit to a Carrot.
Location: Jungles of Lleweryn, Western Swanamutu. SK
Description: Finally, Asterione and his friends find the hidden Scale Temple. There, after a meeting with some undead guardians, the group enters it and breaks the seal of the treasure chamber. In the chamber, they find the fabled Krut Diamond-the eye of a pony-sized statue of a nightwing! Sensing an evil aura, Kobu Mari, the group's priestess, encourages the party to leave the temple, and to think well about the situation before acting.
Unfortunately, when they come out of the temple, they meet the Ant's agents. Convinced that Asterione has found the diamond, they ask him to give it to them, but he refuses, telling them that he hasn't taken it from the temple. Obviously, the Ant's agents don't believe him, and a desperate fight starts. At the end, only two of the agents survive, but all of Asterione's friends are killed. (See Th. 8, Th. 16.)
What This Means: The two surviving agents do not want to enter the temple. They are happy to have found the Scaly Temple, and now they will return back to Zambul to report to the top leaders of the Ant. They are sure that nobody knows of the location of the temple, and they are right...except for Malena, N'konga's wife.
What the PCs Can Do: Hopefully the PCs will not be killed by the Ant, and they will also solve the problem of the evil presence in the treasure chamber. Otherwise, if they are agents of the Ant, they could decide to take the jewel for themselves...but they should know how dangerous the Ant is!
Thaumont 22, AC 1018: Black and White.
Location: City of Ierendi, Kingdom of Ierendi. OW
Description: City guards investigate rumours of a wild animal attack on some homeowners in the residential district. Some witnesses claim to have seen white gorillas attacking Thyatian residents in the area late last night. Several new homes show signs of damage, and the bodies of three murdered victims are discovered in the investigation-torn from limb to limb. The case is left open, but there is little hope the ineffectual city guard will find the culprits responsible.
What This Means: The white apes were actually shapeshifting druids from White Island-followers of the Immortal Orisis, who long ago pledged to keep the world safe from the powers that destroyed the ancient nation of Nithia. Their victims were members of a cult of Thanatos worshippers that set up base in Ierendi following their flight from Thyatis last year. Orisis learned of them recently, and has directed His followers in an unusual exodus from White Island to Ierendi to eliminate the forces of Entropy.
What the PCs Can Do: Though the city guard may not investigate further, there are others who want to know what is going on. Thanatos cultists, city agents, even scholars curious at the appearance of white apes so far from their known habitat may approach the PCs to investigate the attacks.
Thaumont 22, AC 1018: Fire in Skyfyr.
Location: City of Skyfyr, Province of Blackrock, Republic of Esterhold, Nayce. SK
Description: The Jennite aggressors, having failed to breach the defences of Skyfyr, begin firing arrows and other missiles set aflame into the city. Several buildings catch fire, forcing the besieged city to devote serious resources to put out the fire. While they do so, the aggressors obviously use the opportunity to attack again. Some fierce battles take place, and at one point a group of rebels are successful at scaling the city walls, but although they are able to slay several defending soldiers, they are quickly pushed back when another group led by Lyriander reinforces the defenders. Eventually the defenders are able to both push the attackers out and put out the fires in the city, but a few buildings burn down and there are many casualties on both sides. (See Th. 3, Th. 13; Fl. 21, Fl. 26.)
What This Means: Although Skyfyr is far from being a major city of Nayce, the Alphatian concept of Fire Slayers is not unknown here. Fire Slayers are a sort of guard or watch whose members are wizards and priests using magic of cold and water to put out large fires in a city. Naturally the aggressors know this, but since the wizards and priests designated as Fire Slayers doubled as city defenders during a siege, they also knew that starting fires would divert these people from participating in the active defence of the city, and since the Fire Slayers were already committed to defence, they were more unprepared for a fire than they usually would be. Even so, the plan is not quite as successful as Talin and the other aggressors had hoped.
What the PCs Can Do: For Jennite PCs this is really just more confrontations, except for actually firing flaming arrows into the city. PCs on the Alphatian side will suddenly have to fight the fire and the Jennites at the same time, though. PC wizards and priests may even find themselves recruited as temporary Fire Slayers.
Thaumont 22, AC 1018: A Rising Tide of Darkness.
Location: City-State of Kastelios, Serpent Coast. DV
Description: With the Forum filled to capacity with curious and anxious city folk, the Kastelian Assembly hears the personal testimonies of the survivors of the expedition to the Amalur Lowlands, as well as Sassteh's recollections of what happened to his village. The information recounted is shocking, the losses tragic, and the implications of what has been learned are chilling in the extreme.
What emerges is a fearsome tale of a group of formerly reclusive lizard man tribes, who arose from their homelands in the western reaches of the Amalur Lowlands to conquer their neighbours. Employing large numbers of ruthless troglodyte warriors, these fearsome creatures would invade their enemies by stealth, overcoming village defences before anyone knew what was going on, and carrying off all the young lizard men and intact eggs that could be found for some unknown purpose-and presumably never to be seen again. The able-bodied villagers were enslaved, and led westwards. Those too old or weak to be of any use to the invaders, says Sassteh through a translator, were sacrificed to unknown Immortals and eaten.
After hearing the information, the assembly thanks everyone for their time, and expresses condolences for those who were lost. The assembly members then withdraw to discuss the matter. (See Va. 26, Th. 11; Th. 23, Kl. 15.)
What This Means: The events transpiring in the Amalur Lowlands have now become public knowledge, although rumours will soon replace facts in many cases. The Kastelian Assembly will now debate what has been heard, and develop an official position. Although many people suspect that something malevolent is afoot-more so than could reasonably be expected from a simple series of exaggerated inter-tribal quarrels-few people have any idea how entrenched this potential threat might be, nor how far-reaching it could become.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs who took part in the expedition will be asked to give their own testimony concerning what happened, and, depending on their stature in the city, they may be asked to provide advice to the assembly in its deliberations.
Thaumont 23, AC 1018: We Shall Watch... for Now.
Location: City-State of Kastelios, Serpent Coast. DV
Description: After spending the entire night debating what had been heard yesterday, the Kastelian Assembly announces that it will send spies to the Amalur Lowlands to observe the situation in greater detail, but it will do nothing else for now. Adventurers who wish to undertake such a perilous task are invited to apply in person to the assembly. (See Th. 11, Th. 22; Kl. 15, Kl. 25.)
What This Means: Although the news of what is going on in the lowlands is disturbing to say the least, a large number of the assembly members made a strong case that, although evil acts are no doubt being committed in that part of the continent, there is really nothing that Kastelios can do at the present time, and this is not really an immediate concern for the city-state. Some members go as far as to say that Kastelian resources would be far better spent in further developing the new colony of Mykonos, and in deepening trading relationships with the nations of southeastern Brun. Nonetheless, something ought to be done, if only to show the populace that their elected leaders can be decisive.
What the PCs Can Do: Being adventurers, the PCs would be natural candidates for such a dangerous mission. They will be required to spend many weeks exploring the Amalur Lowlands, and untold dangers await them in the jungles-not all of them of the lizard man persuasion. Even when they find out what is going on, they will have to make their way back to Kastelios.
Thaumont 23, AC 1018: From Dyke to Beach.
Location: Border between Kingdom of Randel and Kingdom of Eadrin, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: After weeks of intensive spellcasting, the group of Arogansan wizards decide that their efforts have been sufficient, and stop levelling the bed of the Thera River south of their dyke at the fork with the Randel. The rushing spring water is exerting a great pressure on their wall of stone dike, and the Randel River is at an all-time high.
The wizards then dispel the dyke. The water, which until now was wholly diverted toward the Randel, resumes its normal course, divided between the Thera and the Randel. A short distance away, however, the bed of the Thera disappears and the river cannot follow its old course, and the rushing waters spill over into the flatlands of Eadrin and Arogansa, flooding the lowlands that used to border the river. (See Va. 5, Va. 16; Th. 28, Fl. 19.)
What This Means: Inspired probably by the various canals that are under construction on the floating continent-more than they would care to admit, anyway-a group of Arogansan wizards decided to fill their kingdom's (and personal) desire to get new beaches to replace the lost ones. With no ocean surrounding the Alphatian continent anymore, they reasoned that the next best thing would be to have a lake within, or bordering, Arogansa. That's how they came up with the idea of diverting the Thera River and using its waters to create a lake at their border with occupied Eadrin.
Thaumont 24 AC 1018: Straßenburger Faction Takes Neuhafen.
Location: Town of Neuhafen, Territory of Heldann, Heldannic Empire. OW
Description: Soldiers loyal to Ordensgeneral Heinrich Straßenburger encircle the town of Neuhafen several hours before midday, and bar anyone from entering or leaving it. The townsfolk, seeing the sheer numbers of armed men in the surrounding fields, are at first confused at the development, and then, as they realise that the newcomers mean to occupy Neuhafen, they flee for their homes. The bürgermeister, observing the developments, passes through the gates to meet with the officers, and demands to know what is going on.
One of the officers tersely informs him that the soldiers are acting under the orders of Oberherr Heinrich Straßenburger, "the true leader of the Heldannic Order," and that Neuhafen can either be occupied peacefully, or it can be put to siege, in which case the inhabitants will be considered enemy soldiers, and will be treated as such. Knowing that Neuhafen would not stand long against a sustained assault, the bürgermeister opts to surrender the town, but asks that he have one hour to inform the townsfolk. The officers agree, and the man returns to his town, and calls an emergency meeting in the main square, during which he informs his fellow citizens of the choices laid out to him. He nervously explains that he would rather see Neuhafen safe under an occupier than destroyed needlessly in a battle that could not be won. The townsfolk, hearing this, murmur agreement, although it is clear they do not like the course of action they must take in order to protect their lives.
By early afternoon, Straßenburger's soldiers are filing into the town, but not before a large vessel leaves the port quickly, bearing those troops from the garrison who will not serve under the would-be usurper. (See Nu. 3, Va. 20; Fl. 2, Fl. 27.)
What This Means: Neuhafen is a lightly-garrisoned town on the Kamminer Bucht, or Bay of Kammin. It was founded in AC 1012, and has grown considerably since that time. The surrounding forests have been cut back, and the region has been given over to farming-attracting migrants from elsewhere in the Heldannic Territories, as well as from Hattias during the past year, who sought new lands and open spaces. As a result, the Neuhafeners are a fairly plain spoken, dependable folk who would be more than happy to let the outside world pass them by, while they occupied themselves with farming, logging, and shipbuilding. This is one reason why it did not declare for either Straßenburger or Oberherr Wulf von Klagendorf. The town has been lucky enough to avoid the strife of recent years, but no more. The locals hope that Straßenburger will leave them (and their town) alone, now that they have given to him what he wants.
Straßenburger ordered the seizure of Neuhafen primarily because of the strength of its shipbuilding industry, but also because of its location-roughly midway between Forton and Landfall. It will serve as an excellent stopover point for any naval campaigns against southern Heldland. Thus, he sent a force of roughly 700 men to take it over; the 250-man garrison knew it would have a tough, and ultimately futile, battle ahead of them if they resisted. Once the people became resigned to their fate, most of them decided to retreat to Landfall.
What the PCs Can Do: If they were part of the garrison of Neuhafen, the PCs will have an important choice to make-which side to support. Otherwise, if they are on Wulf's side, they might be able to perform a valuable service by spying on local troop movements, possibly uncovering future plans, or they could organise a local resistance movement (not everyone is willing to surrender).
Thaumont 24, AC 1018: Elves Step Up Raids in Geffron.
Location: Great Forest of Geffron, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW
Description: Elves in the Great Forest of Geffron make more effective raids against the Shadow Army, inspired by the heroic tale of the late Beasthunter. Aeleris the Wyrd profits from these raids by raising some of the fallen soldiers on both sides as zombies, to enlarge his army. (See Va. 8, Th. 14; Ya. 25, Kl. 13.)
What This Means: Elven raids have been curtailed by winter and low morale. The Shadow Army is also increasing its activity and clashes are becoming more frequent. With Sylarion gone, Aeleris is keen to increase his own undead force and is profiting from the increase in Geffron battles.
What the PCs Can Do: Lead attacks on the Shadow Army for Beasthunter! Avoid Aeleris's minions.
Thaumont 24, AC 1018: Ersenbal Plans to Hunt the Dogs.
Location: Town of Ersenbal, County of Ersenbal, Walrus Island, Tranquil Coast. NW
Description: Although the Thyatians did not publicise their presence on the Isle of the Dogs yet, word has reached the County of Ersenbal of the Thyatian settlement on the islands to the south of the county. Lord Gerwen, who is in charge of Ersenbal in the absence of its rightful ruler, decides to nip the Thyatian expansion in the bud.
The navy of Ersenbal is not very mighty, and in fact consists only in eight ships, which are only lightly armed and armoured, although they can be used as transport. Ersenbal has a lot of veterans from the Great War, who are willing to take arms against the Thyatians again to prevent any expansion of the empire in the north.
A large force of 400 men, plus sailors, is assembled. It will sail south and land on the Isle of the Dogs, where it is expected to easily crush the Thyatian defenders, who are estimated at about one hundred fighting men. Once the outpost is destroyed, the Thyatian vessels will probably leave the area-Ersenbal does not plan to engage the superior Thyatian war fleet. (See Va. 18; Fl. 7, Fl. 18.)
What This Means: Ersenbal is inhabited by many veterans from the war, and is notably hostile to Thyatians (and to Heldannic Knights). The Heldannic Knights have already conquered Norwold up to the city of Oceansend, facing Ersenbal, although the knights have not landed on the well-defended Walrus Island. Norwold has been free from imperial Thyatian presence for quite some time now, and Ersenbal wishes it to remain that way. Unlike the Heldannic Knights, the Thyatians have come in rather small numbers, so Lord Gerwen thinks he can stop the Thyatian expansion right now and there.
What the PCs Can Do: Veteran PCs who have settled in Ersenbal might yearn for some action, like many of their comrades.
Thaumont 24, AC 1018: A Swift Strike.
Location: Town of Arreghi, Kingdom of Arkan, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: In a surprise move, a large detachment of Stonewall soldiers attack near Arreghi and force the defenders back. The defending soldiers are forced to retreat to the town, which is once more under siege. (See Va. 20, Th. 2; Fl. 8, Fl. 27.)
What This Means: General Selcomad has chosen to move on Arreghi. With the recent reinforcements arriving from Foresthome, the town thought itself relatively safe. With all the towns on the Crystal Lake reinforced, Selcomad simply chose to attack them one at a time. Intelligence reports suggested the alliance expected Stonewall to concentrate its attacks on either Ceafem or the new Amburese allies in Reer, so Selcomad decided on a surprise assault on Arreghi. This was a decisive move that took the Foresthome forces here by surprise, and they lost a good portion of their force. The recent alliance boosted morale among Arkan, Amburese, and Foresthome men, but Selcomad thought they might underestimate Stonewall as a result, and he was proven right. The Foresthome troops have bitterly learned that Stonewall is still a force to be reckoned with!
What the PCs Can Do: PCs on the allies' side may be able to organise a more ordered retreat to Arreghi and so avoid too many losses for Foresthome. If they are scouts, they can also be the first to discover the Stonewall offensive and warn the allies. PCs with Stonewall can fight back the defenders or be an advance group sent to intercept scouts and prevent them from bringing word of the offensive to Arreghi.
Thaumont 25, AC 1018: The Forgotten Menace.
Location: Somewhere on Bellissaria, Nayce. AS
Description: Since he lost his throne in Verdan, Nicodemus has been hiding from the wrath of Broderick and Nayce by living under a false identity. Now, however, he receives word from some old loyal friends at Ionace that some refugees from Esterhold are sympathetic to his ways. He decides to look into the matter by contacting a few friends on the subject and eventually agrees to meet with these refugees. (See Nu. 20, Va. 8; Fl. 19, Ya. 5.)
What This Means: Esterhold seems to have forgotten Nicodemus, but he hasn't forgotten anything. With the way things are going in Esterhold, he begins to realise that there is an opening for his return, which he then promptly begins plotting.
What the PCs Can Do: This is a behind-the-scenes event, which the PCs cannot influence.
Thaumont 25, AC 1018: Dragonslayers Head for Denagoth.
Location: City of Wendar, Kingdom of Wendar. OW
Description: The Dragonslayers ride out from Wendar City toward the menacing Mengul Mountains, bound for the dark land of Denagoth. (See Nu. 19; Fl. 2, Ya. 10.)
What This Means: The Dragonslayers are hunting Siren the Sorceress and black dragons. They know that Siren may even be a black dragon. They also know that Siren has some powerful wizardly friends who escaped with her from Scar Mesa after the Orb of the Great One was destroyed. They know precious little about their destination, except that the Church of Idris originates in Denagoth.
Thaumont 26, AC 1018: The Crimson Avengers Unleashed.
Location: Countryside, Esterhold Peninsula. SK
Description: The Crimson Avengers, one of several groups of adventurers recruited by Favian Vern to stop the Jennite advance, begin their campaign against the Jennites. It quickly becomes a campaign of horror. The Crimson Avengers are some of the more horrible Alphatians one could meet, and they consider the Jennites to be beneath contempt. Whenever they meet Jennites or anyone allying with them, they brutally assault them and kill all involved, be they men, women, or children, and it doesn't take them long to make the name of the Crimson Avengers feared throughout the Esterhold Peninsula, particularly the symbol they have chosen for the banner they carry around to make them appear more grandiose, which is that of a falling eagle, apparently struck down by an arrow resembling a lightning bolt still piercing its body. (See Nu. 26, Va. 28; Fl. 21, Ya. 24.)
What This Means: The Crimson Avengers are a disease created by the hardships Alphatians have seen over the last decade. They have seen Alphatia sink because of what they consider cowardly actions by Glantrians, Alphatian lands on the Isle of Dawn and the Alatian Islands fall to the Thyatians, and Esterhold slowly slipping away. As a result, they see themselves as Alphatia's just revenge-if Alphatia must endure such hardships, then so must everybody else! At first little is heard of this since there are rarely survivors after someone encounters them, but over the next weeks and months, the horrors they commit will make them both infamous and feared.
The symbol of the Crimson Avengers, the falling eagle with a lightning bolt through its body, is a reference to the Empire of Thyatis whose symbol is that of an imposing eagle. Apparently this is the sort of contempt the Crimson Avengers feel for Thyatis.
Meanwhile, Favian Vern, who unleashed the Crimson Avengers, remains on Ionace in Nayce and so stays blissfully ignorant of what this group does in his name. Because of this, it will be some time before Favian hears of those atrocities, let alone realises that he has made a severe mistake in choosing them as his soldiers.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs on either side shouldn't meet Crimson Avengers, both because of how this plot unfolds and because they are a harsh and powerful group. However, it is more than appropriate that they see some of the atrocities they have committed, such as finding Jennite camps where everybody-men, women, and children-have been killed by the Crimson Avengers. If the PCs are loyal to Favian, they might be noticed by Jennite troops as they explore the carnage and so be mistaken for the Crimson Avengers themselves, whereas Jennite PCs might find such Alphatian groups examining the remains and so think they committed those acts of horror.
Thaumont 27, AC 1018: There Is Much Anger in the Forest.
Location: Eastern fringes of Finsterwald, Territory of Heldland. NW
Description: The Heldannic campaign to burn down a swath of the eastern Finsterwald hits a snag today, as spontaneous snowstorms smother the fires. Undeterred, a group of Heldannic Knights, axes in hand, begins to chop down the trees, only to be confronted with a pack of snarling wolves, who spring suddenly from the underbrush. Quickly, the knights regroup and deal with this new threat, but as they do this, several enraged bears emerge from the woods to one side, and attack another group of Heldannic soldiers. A few volleys of arrows manage to drive off the beasts, but many of the common soldiers lose the will to press on; they implore upon their commanders to acknowledge the progress made thus far, and keep what has been gained, lest the forces of nature strike them with increased fury. The commanders consider this, and order scouts to enter the forest once more, in the hopes of locating the people who sent the animals against them. (See Th. 15; Fl. 10, Ya. 4.)
What This Means: Count Helmut Jaschke of Wolkenburg not only receives the support of those native Heldanners who live in the Finsterwald; he has also made an alliance with a druid who has appointed himself protector of the forest. It was this druid who used weather-controlling magic, and animal-summoning spells, to attempt to drive away the attackers. In this the druid was largely successful, as the Heldannic soldiers suffered some casualties, and their morale suffered.
The higher-ranking knights suspected that magic was at work; hence the order to dispatch scouts to ferret out the source of their problems.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs on the side of the Heldannic Knights will have to contend with vicious bears and wolves, and they may be among those sent into the Finsterwald as scouts. Once inside, the PCs could be the target of many varieties of magical and mundane attacks, both at the hands of the druid, and of Helmut's own army.
Thaumont 27, AC 1018: Survey Finished.
Location: City of Greenwood, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: The surveyors for the Foresthome Rim Canal are back. Due to the civilised nature of the region they had to cross the work went fast. On the other hand some sections of the canal are disputable as they pass through the estate of one noble or another. Queen Kikania decides to use the most appropriate route regardless of whose estate is affected. (See Va. 5, Th. 3; Fl. 9, Fl. 11.)
What This Means: That decision will stir up some trouble, but only one or two of the nobles are mighty enough-politically, socially and magically-to challenge the queen. Anyhow, one royal estate is affected as well, so the queen has the unbeatable argument that she does not hesitate to offer her own property for the welfare of the kingdom. Of course she will have to offer some compensation nevertheless.
Thaumont 28, AC 1018: Wet Feet.
Location: Town of Deipan, Kingdom of Eadrin, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW
Description: The town of Deipan, which normally borders the Thera River, finds itself under one foot of water, and rising. The aristocrats in town protect their estates with spells and the hard work of their slaves and servants, but commoners don't have nearly the same resources to save their houses (which are also less resistant against the surging water). Whole fields and orchards around Deipan and elsewhere in the lowlands are flooded as well, and their crops most likely spoiled. The Arogansan soldiers, who currently hold the town, are just as surprised as the inhabitant, and are put to work by their commanders in keeping their camp out of the water. (See Va. 16, Th. 23; Fl. 19, Ya. 4.)
What This Means: The Thera, without its riverbed, is flooding the whole countryside. The riverbed near Deipan is actually intact because the wizards did not destroy it near settlements to avoid attention, so it acts as a drain but not enough to significantly alleviate the inundation.
What the PCs Can Do: PCs can be hired to help save people, or they may feel compelled to do so out of the goodness of their hearts. Aristocrats who have estates in the region are also hiring additional servants, so if the PCs are still restricted to that caste it may be a good opportunity for them to switch masters.