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Sviftmont

Sviftmont 1, AC 1019

Rush to Universities.

Location: Exarchate of Ochalea, Thyatian Empire. SD

Description: Students are once again turned away from the universities by the thousands because of a shortage of faculty to instruct the huge numbers of people. Most of these students return to their villages but a significant number remain in the cities petitioning smaller schools, individual masters and monasteries for entrance. (See Fe. 26, Am. 14; Ei. 3.)

Lost Warrens.

Location: City of Er, Low Realm of Apsur in the Province of Er, Kingdom of Nimmur, Orc's Head Peninsula. SC

Description: King Anupalassar obtains increased assistance from Queen Tigurta of the Low Realm of Apsur in his war effort against the enduks that occupy the Nimmurian city of Um-Shedu. Five Sohktar pincers (500 manscorpions), almost half of Apsur's army, will join the battle under the king's command, although they cannot fight in the daylight on the surface. They will lead the king's army through old tunnels only the Sohktars know about, which can be used by the manscorpions to enter the city from an unexpected direction. (See Nu. 1; Ei. 8, Ei. 28.)

What This Means: The city of Um-Shedu will not fall by siege, and the enduks have set up defences that have foiled all attempts to reconquer it. The known tunnels have been collapsed, flooded, or otherwise rendered useless by the enduks; although the Nimmurians have been working for years to reopen them, with limited success. The enduks are unaware of the sheer number of tunnels that have been built by the manscorpions, especially those tunnels that were constructed for more secretive purposes. Access through alternative warrens, old and not practical but maintained by the Sohktars nevertheless, and whose existence is certainly as unknown to the enduks and the manscorpion traitors, should prove a definitive strategic advantage that will allow the king to finally go on the offensive and deal with this problem once and for all.

While the continued presence of enduks in Nimmur is a major concern for the king and the priesthood of Menlil (Atzanteotl), it is of little importance to the Sohktars. While the followers of Nin-Hurabi (Nyx) have little sympathy for those of Idu (Ixion), they would rather the manscorpions return to the old Sohktar ways and return to their dark caves rather than keep fighting on the surface world. Putting five pincers at the king's disposal is only a token help, as they will be unable to fight under the light of day, and the enduks are unlikely to go underground to engage them either. So, basically, the Sohktar help really is limited to guiding the king's armies through unfamiliar warrens. In return for this assistance, Apsur will be exempted from taxes for five years, one more step towards making the underground kingdom independent from Nimmur.

Sail Away.

Location: Southwest of City of Jaibul, Rajahstan of Jaibul, Sind Desert. OW

Description: The trio who escaped from Jaibul's evil ruler are currently sailing away on an Ierendi trading clipper. They are heading toward the Serpent Peninsula thanks to favourable winds and currents. Despite her best efforts, Alatia has no way to call upon magic to send a message to Polakatsikes announcing that their mission is successful so far and that they are on their way back, but with no magical way to increase the vessel's speed the trip could be longer than expected. (See Am. 26, Am. 28; Sv. 12, Sv. 13.)

What This Means: This is a consequence of the erasure of Alatia's spellbook.

What the PCs Can Do: They can enjoy the trip and face the dangers of the journey with intelligence and other resources than magic.

Crew Formed.

Location: Tower of Zynillith, Kingdom of Blackheart, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Lady Ardana announces that Kossan, Iris and Xanax will be the crew to fly into the void. Kossan has shown a profound understanding of the ship, Iris brought back ship and crew during this nearly fatal test flight, and Xanax is the best scientist on the team. So Kossan will command the mission, Iris will pilot the ship, and Xanax's task will be to determine which island might be suitable for their purposes. (See Am. 26, Am. 27; Sv. 4, Sv. 9.)

What This Means: Everything is ready. The members of the crew have proved their talents during the preparations and the tests, and everybody hopes that there are no unpleasant surprises ahead. Kossan, who had been shoved out of the program, celebrates a glorious return because he had foreseen the problems with the air-conditioning enchantments.

What the PCs Can Do: Hopefully the PCs have proved their skill during the test flights and are selected to fly Apollo I to parts unknown.

A Successful Meeting.

Location: Town of Withimer, King's Domain, Kingdom of Eusdria. SC

Description: Having completed negotiations, Paulus Angelinus and his closest advisers head inland to see more of Eusdria. The remainder of the expedition will remain in Withimer for a few weeks, before heading for Harstal to meet up with Paulus and company once again. (See Am. 21, Am. 26; Sv. 16, Sv. 24.)

What This Means: Paulus has accomplished all he can, as far as official relations go. Both Eusdria and Thyatis have agreed to establish diplomatic relations, and Thyatis has agreed to import Eusdrian honey, beer, and herring, in exchange for which the kingdom will import metals and books. The latter commodity Sigismund plans to put to good use in his expanding network of schools run by the church. In the short term, however, the deal will change little, as Eusdria was not able to secure a firm commitment from Thyatis to provide military aid, although Paulus did promise to raise the matter with his superiors as soon as possible. The leaders of the Thyatian expedition will head inland to visit Othmar (which is the temporary capital until Gundegard can be reconquered), where they will learn more about Eusdrian government, as well as meet with officials of the Church of Tiuz.

Afterwards, they will head west, to the Barony of Mohesia, to tour the countryside and visit Baron Arthaulf the Forthright, before heading northeast to visit the Duchy of Frisonnia, and meet with Duchess Beovilda the Blunt. In both dominions, the Thyatians will tour fortifications, and see the Plain of Dreams for themselves. The Thyatians know that King Sigismund plans to extend his nation's borders northwards to the Dream and Lugdumna Rivers, and westwards to Renardie thus securing a more defensible border and part of the reason for coming to the frontier dominions was to get a feel for the lay of the land, and to assess the strength of Eusdria's armies. Based on what they see, the expedition will advise the emperor as to whether or not directing military aid to Eusdria would be a wise move.

What the PCs Can Do: Assuming they are not exploring Gundegard, the PCs could accompany Paulus. While on the frontier, the PCs could easily encounter goblinoids, and nastier creatures.

Sviftmont 2, AC 1019

On the Road Again.

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

Description: Scouts are sent east to try to find natural resources and people willing to relocate to Heldannic-held lands. (See Am. 27.)

What This Means: Governor Wolfgang Stemmel wants to build a strong nation around Polakatsikes, and to do so he needs both a good population base and many natural resources upon which to build an economy. Carefully exploring the eastern regions is a good way for him to secure the road to Vanya's Rest. Wolfgang has also received secret omens and dreams telling him to pacify the Vanya's Rest region. To do so he needs to secure a route to that dominion. He cannot use the mystical and magical portals on a large scale since it consumes gems, and so tends to be very expensive to use. Conventional ways shall be used here.

What the PCs Can Do: Great opportunities for daring adventurers to wander the wilderness in search of resources and uncharted population centres. Large numbers of monsters from the desert can also be encountered.

Wanted Bold Adventurers to Explore Plague-Ridden Swamp.

Location: City of Raven Scarp, Davania Superior, Hinterlands, Thyatian Empire. DV

Description: A general call is issued today by Exarcha Leilah ben Nadir a generous reward will be offered to the first adventuring party to enter the Fens of Lost Hope, and put an end to the menacing plague that is afflicting that region of the Hinterlands. (See Am. 8, Am. 10.)

What This Means: After the information gained from the Emerondians was analysed, it was concluded quickly that the source of the plague lay in the Fens of Lost Hope, south of Fiorenza, and that the target would likely be an abandoned elven clan hold, fairy sanctuary, or similar structure. This information will be provided to anyone who responds to the call. The offer of a reward is also serious 10,000 lucins plus half of any treasure obtained in and around the plague's source, or a land grant.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could be among those who offer to undertake this quest. The DM is free to develop the actual adventure him- or herself, but the general outline should be an abandoned elven stronghold containing a tainted Tree of Life (which is causing the plague), or some similar structure. The location itself should be guarded heavily by powerful creatures, and the corrupted artifact or item itself could be under the control of a malevolent entity possibly someone pursuing Immortality in the Sphere of Entropy. Alternatively, the DM could wait for this plotline to continue in the next Mystaran Almanac.

Sviftmont 3, AC 1019

Tour of Gerwen.

Location: Village of Gerwen, County of Ersenbal, Walrus Island, Tranquil Coast. NW

Description: Faced with growing unrest in the town of Ersenbal, Seneschal Gerwen rides to his fief town in order to appraise the mood of the subjects of Ersenbal in a part of the county that should not have been subverted by the captain and her minions. To his surprise, however, he hears resentment against the failed invasion of the Isle of the Dogs and the humiliation at the hands of the Thyatians, and economic distress at the naval blockade. Startled by the qualms and disarray of the isle's population, notably the veterans of the Great War, the seneschal comes to the conclusion that he cannot allow the situation to continue or he may face a civil war. (See Fy. 10, Am. 17; Sv. 25, Ei. 27.)

What This Means: Gerwen thought the unrest in Ersenbal was a result of Laurida Tremlaine's manipulations to wrest power from him in the absence of the count, but a small tour of his own domain showed him that there was a real malaise or that she was very successful.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could be hired to help Gerwen discover the truth by feeling the mood of the subjects by any method they deem appropriate. Depending on how much complexity the DM wants to add to the matter, Gerwen may be made to look like someone who might shoot the messenger, they could be approached by agents of Laurida Tremlaine or even by Thyatian infiltrators.

Itheldown Beckons...

Location: City of Akorros, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: The company composed of Graylock, Shadow, Millington Vonaday, and their companions sets out from Akorros toward Itheldown Island. (See Am. 15, Am. 19; Sv. 8, Sv. 26.)

What This Means: The final confrontation with Razrog, the roaring demon, is at hand, but first the group has to reach the island itself, which won't be easy, since they cannot use Graylock's protective magics until they get there. Even if they could, Graylock is reluctant to do so, since it would make Razrog aware of their coming.

What the PCs Can Do: The sea journey toward Itheldown Island can be as dangerous as the DM prefers. Razrog continues to send his demons forth from the island, and the group will undoubtedly meet increasing numbers of them as they travel closer to the island. The danger is constant, since the demons can attack without warning at any time, which is really inconvenient when the heroes are sleeping... The DM can add as many or as few of these encounters as desired, depending on the general experience of the PCs, but only high-level PCs should undertake this trip in the first place, as it will definitely be deadly. Once the group reaches the island itself, it will get even worse... The trip itself will be dangerous enough without any protections or wards, though, so the PCs should sit down with Millington and other clerics in the group to consider some form of protection on the way.

Sviftmont 4, AC 1019

New Imperial Capital.

See map of Bellissaria with new capital location.

Location: City of Vaisalian, Imperial Territory, Continent of Bellissaria, Nayce. AS

Description: Ever since the dusanu assault on Ionace, the Naycese Council has been highly reluctant to return there to discuss politics. Obviously that could not go on, so the council has decided to establish a new imperial seat of power. Thothia tried to place it in Edairo, but given the unrest and anti-Alphatian sentiments there over the last few years, the council did not agree, and it has instead been decided to place the new imperial seat on Bellissaria as the new mainland of Nayce. Upon Master Terari's suggestion, the new imperial seat is placed on the former fishing village of Vaisalian, which has been heavily depopulated recently due to the economic crisis. The remaining population has been moved away to another town, and a new imperial palace and port city is being established in its place. Vaisalian is on the border between the nations of Notrion, Veroth, and Lagrius, just north of the great central lake of Bellissaria, and an area of several miles around the area has been declared neutral imperial territory belonging to neither kingdom. (See Fy. 19, Am. 5; Sv. 18, Sv. 26.)

What This Means: The monster-infested Ionace can safely reclaim its old name "Monster Island" now. The island isn't entirely abandoned by Nayce, but the Naycese Council will be very reluctant to return to the former capital. Indeed, the council has already settled down in Vaisalian before the new palace is finished.

Takeoff!

Location: Tower of Zynillith, Kingdom of Blackheart, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Apollo 1 starts her mission, taking off without any problems. Soon, she penetrates the skyshield and disappears in the depths of the void. The wishes and hopes of those who stay behind are with her and her crew. The life in the tower continues as usual. (See Am. 27, Sv. 1; Sv. 9, Sv. 11.)

What This Means: This is the moment for which Ardana and her friends have worked for so long. The mission might last several months, so nobody can say when Apollo 1 will be back.

Sviftmont 6, AC 1019

Covering Up.

Location: City of Suneveh, Province of Suneveh, Kingdom of Nimmur, Orc's Head Peninsula. SC

Description: Prince Enshurnasirpal is distraught by the bad news he just received from his army in Jibar˙: While the campaign until now had been going smoothly, with his men starting forest fires that spread easily thanks to the strong winds from the Wind Flats, with few losses as they progressed in the wake of these fires, now they are taking heavier losses as the phanaton skirmishes have increased and the forest fires are being effectively extinguished by continuing rain in the area. Much worse, instead of killing the manscorpion soldiers with poisoned darts as the barbaric little monkeys usually do, they use a new weapon that removes the Nimmurians' protective makeup and leaves them exposed to die from sunlight. The phanatons have uncovered the manscorpions' secret and devised a way to use that knowledge.

Mulling over this bad news, the prince reluctantly grants audience to an envoy of Ankesh. The envoy brings even worse news than he anticipated: Not only Ankesh's army has been attacked with the new weapon, but it is withdrawing from Jibar˙ as the phanatons there have resorted to the use of their poison darts in defence of the homes, and the envoy conveys in rather crude terms Prince Sheneser's fury, and the fact that he blames Enshurnasirpal for the fiasco. The prince is awfully tempted to have the impudent envoy executed or better yet, to gut him himself but reason prevails and he decides not to further damage relations with Ankesh. Instead, he sends the envoy back to Ankesh to deliver a response message but with his tongue cut off, to show his displeasure. The message is a well-written letter that combines sympathy for the losses suffered, sadness for the withdrawal of Ankesh, irritation and reproach for the failure to terminate the phanaton nuisance, and insincere reassurances about the phanatons' weapon which he dismisses as a fairy tale that the Ankesh officers invented to cover their failure. The prince further lies by affirming that no such weapon has been used on his side of the front, and that the secret of Nimmur remains safe as if the barbaric phanatons could uncover it!

Prince Enshurnasirpal sends order to withdraw from Jibar˙ back into the Wind Flats. (See Am. 22, Am. 24; Sv. 20, Ei. 3.)

What This Means: Prince Enshurnasirpal is furious, and worried. His bold campaign against the pesky phanatons has faltered, and the phanatons know the Nimmurians' weakness. His relations with Ankesh have cooled, and all he is left with is the Wind Flats, which will take years to settle and will be nothing but a drag in the meantime. The prince does his best to do damage control, however: He puts a good face on the Wind Flats annexation, heralding it as a great northward Nimmurian expansion, hides the phanatons' discovery of the Nimmurian vulnerability to the sun, and transforms the defeat in Jibar˙ as a victory that has created a buffer of dead forest which will soon become good grasslands into which Nimmur will be able to continue its northward expansion in the future.

Reversal in Vastergard.

Location: Jarldom of Vastergard, Kingdom of Soderfjord. OW

Description: After several weeks of skirmishes, the Mordenic coalition finally meets Hoskuld's men in open battle. The result is a disaster for the coalition bad communications, disagreements between commanders, and distrust in the ranks result in the coalition forces being routed from the field.

The warband of Skaddri the Skald, recently arrived in Vastergard, is one of the few units to salvage any honour from the debacle. Though untested, they hold ranks and cover the retreat of many of their allies. (See Am. 22; Sv. 19.)

What This Means: Hoskuld's intrigues strike again. The efforts of his spies and of the cultists of Loki are, more than anything, responsible for the confusion in the coalition ranks. His forces are still badly outnumbered, but he is now more confident of ultimate victory.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs fighting on the side of the Mordener forces can help to cover their allies' retreat, or launch an attack on the Vastergarders as a distraction. PCs fighting with Hoskuld can enjoy an easy victory, or may find themselves facing a coalition unit that's showing more backbone than the rest.

Sviftmont 8, AC 1019

The Terror of the Sea.

Location: Lake Amsorak, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: The ship carrying Millington Vonaday, Graylock, Shadow and their companions to Itheldown Island comes under attack from a group of screaming demons. A heavy battle ensues, but the group is eventually victorious, though many sailors are killed, making the trip more difficult. (See Am. 19, Sv. 3; Sv. 26, Ei. 1.)

What This Means: At this point Razrog has brought so many demons through the gate to the lower planes that he is certain he can no longer keep his presence on Mystara secret, so he has sent groups of demons to patrol the areas around Itheldown Island as well as prey on ships that might chance the sea. He plans to slowly widen his circle of dominion from Itheldown Island until he has taken all of Darokin and other lands.

What the PCs Can Do: The screaming demon is a stork-like being standing nearly eight feet tall. The DM should set their numbers a bit below the strength of the PCs. After all, more screaming demons patrol Lake Amsorak, so if the initial group is defeated without too much trouble, the DM can always have the demons attack in greater numbers later. It's probably a good idea to demonstrate the demons' Call Other abilities early, so the PCs are warned that their enemies have the ability to summon more demons at will. It will also be significant whether the attack is during day or night, since ranged weapons are difficult to use in the dark. The demons will attempt to sink the ship, and if the PCs can make it to shore alive, the DM might even let them succeed.

Sviftmont 9, AC 1019

Alphatians under Scrutiny.

Location: Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: The Alphatians of Karameikos who decided to stay are the subjects of renewed surveillance from the Karameikan authorities. This does not improve morale within the various Alphatian towns that sprang up in Karameikos when the Alphatians settled, nor in the larger towns and cities. (See Fy. 13, Am. 12.)

What This Means: The Alphatians who stayed fail to understand why they are being treated with suspicion, as for most of them what they really want is only to be allowed to become Karameikans. They now realise that they may not be as welcome as it initially seemed, and that it is not that easy to become a Karameikan as some of them they know from living alongside Traladarans and Thyatians, who also have their grievances.

It is a shame that those Alphatians who suffer most from the king's suspicion are actually those who most wanted to become Karameikan, and who thought they were after having lived quietly in the country for a decade. Some even mixed and married with the local Traladarans and even the Thyatians, thus actually playing in King Stefan's dream of New Karameikans. Many of those Alphatians were formerly slaves or servants who became freemen and freewomen when they settled in Karameikos, and thus were supportive of the regime those who thought otherwise generally left.

What the PCs Can Do: Alphatian PCs may petition the king on behalf of the Alphatians, much like Davinos did for the Traladarans.

In the Void.

Location: The Void. HW

Description: Life aboard Apollo 1 has become somewhat normal for the crew. Although she is not a big ship there is enough room for the crew. Xanax spots an island of an appropriate size, and Kossan flies there to examine it. (See Sv. 1, Sv. 4; Sv. 11, Sv. 12.)

What This Means: It is the first floating island Apollo 1 will visit, and the crew hopes that it will be the right one. They do not allow themselves too much hope, though.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs will have to discover and explore a whole slew of strange new floating islands large, small, inhabited or not, with strange shapes and gravities and denizens, and boldly go where no Alphatian has gone before. Apollo I is closer to a lunar module than to a galactic starship, though.

Sviftmont 10, AC 1019

A Sad Birthday for Atzanteotl?

Location: Tiger Clan Lands, Atruaghin Territories. OW

Description: The official influence of the Church of Atzanteotl in Tiger Clan towns is ended, but the church is still very active throughout the land. In the past months many priests of Danel and Atruaghin have been murdered, and Eelsha maintains trustworthy agents in every town and among every social group. During Atzanteotl Day attacks and assassinations terrorise members of the rival churches and government officials. (See Kl. 13, Fe. 3; Ei. 16, Ei. 22.)

What This Means: Even though Eelsha Spider's Kiss still has many followers, she knows that returning to power would be very difficult. She also knows that her best hope is to destabilise the clan, maybe by provoking another war or winning the support of the humanoids that inhabit Atruaghin lands.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are enemies of the Church of Atzanteotl, they should have some tough fights today.

Sviftmont 11, AC 1019

End of Slayer Hunt.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: The Brotherhood of Wolves announces to its lycanthropic members that the bounty placed upon Myndella "the slayer" has lapsed. Any and all members pursuing her should be recalled. Henceforth, any action taken against her, without provocation, is done without the approval or support of the Brotherhood of Wolves and may result in punishment. (See Fy. 23, Am. 3.)

What This Means: The announcement is part of the agreement that Prince Malachie made with Prince Morphail regarding Myndella. The agreed-upon three months have passed and Prince Malachie is fulfilling his end of the agreement. Though there are some grumblings of discontent from among the ranks, the passage of time and continued casualties have lessened the resolve of the werewolves in pursuing Myndella.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs employed to hunt down Myndella will find themselves recalled. PCs may also be hired to spread the word of the announcement, enforcing it as needed.

Eye of the Everlasting Dragon.

Location: City of Shavraim, County of Enom, Kingdom of Herath, Animal Kingdoms. SC

Description: In a seaside inn, a figure clad in a dark robe comes to the table of a middle-aged warrior wearing a patch over an eye, and sits across from him. No feature is visible under the dark robe, but the shape suggests that it is not human. The seasoned warrior seems not to notice the dark figure's presence at first, but then a long discussion takes place between the two. Nobody pays attention to the exchange. (See Ka. 12.)

What This Means: The dark figure is a carnifex, and the warrior is Pyre the dragon using her hat of disguise to spy in Herath. Pyre often travels to the northern lands to spy or otherwise advance her goals. She was investigating the whereabouts of a legendary artifact in Shavraim called the Eye of the Everlasting Dragon, a name that caught Pyre's imagination, when she was contacted by an informant. The true nature of the informant is unknown to her, and frankly irrelevant, though of course a dragon does not live to be a great wyrm by blindly trusting shady people either.

The carnifex is an agent of the power rising anew in the south after a few carnifex escaped from their dimensional prison a few years ago. Though not involved in events of the northern continent as yet, the Carnifex Empire is keeping a watchful eye on it, making sure that the northern powers do not learn about its presence too soon, while it is not strong enough to face them directly. Thus, the carnifex's agenda is to keep them at each other's throats, and distracted from interfering with their plans.

The Eye of the Everlasting Dragon is an ancient carnifex artifact, which can turn a dragon into a creature of nightmare, a dragon lich of sorts but even more terrible due to the dark magics used in its crafting. It was used by the Serpentine Empire to gain mastery of the sky by giving the artifact to a subservient dragon. The carnifex have no idea where the artifact is now, or even if it is still imbued with magic, but they can provide Pyre with enough believable information concerning its nature to seriously pique her interest. The carnifex do not know if the eye really is in Shavraim, but since the araneas are an ancient race that remembers the carnifex and opposed them in the past, hurling Pyre at them seems like a good diversion. The carnifex envoy promises help in the form of shock troops and powerful battlemages when Pyre attacks Shavraim; the price for the information and assistance is turning half of the prisoners over to slavery for the Carnifex Empire.

Dynamo Fixed.

Location: Tower of Zynillith, Kingdom of Blackheart, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Lady Ardana has finally repaired the damage to the dynamo of flying. She orders her comrades to fasten it to the Island for a test flight. (See Sv. 4, Sv. 9; Sv. 12, Sv. 14.)

What This Means: Equipped with the dynamo and enough potions of flying, the Island will acquire a limited void travel capability. Of course the team will have to be equipped with protective magic, and likewise the potions are still to be brewed. Luckily enough, Lord Loraan is a capable alchemist, which will make the matter much simpler.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could be instructed by Lord Loraan to acquire any rare alchemical ingredients he might need to prepare his potions. Some of these might be available in Blackheart, in which case a party of powerful adventurers might have a challenge on their hands.

Sviftmont 12, AC 1019

The Reluctant Prince Makes a Move.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: At the Silver Tower Inn, the favourite haunt of the Glantrian powers-that-be, guests are agog when Prinz Harald Haaskinz, Prince of Sablestone and Grand Master of the Great School of Magic, arrives to dine with a retinue of friends and allies. While no one bats an eyelash at Viscount Gerrid Rientha of Castelbianco and his lover Baroness Danira Voshane of Egorn (both habituÚs of the Silver Tower Inn and friends of Prinz Harald), all eyebrows are raised at the fact that "The Reluctant Prince" has at his table the most fashionable of Glantrian princes, La Princesa Carnelia de Belcadiz.

And as if that were not enough to cause tongues wagging from Aalban to Sablestone, in wafts the diaphanous, pastel-coloured Princess Carlotina Erewan to good-naturedly join Prinz Harald and Princess Carnelia for a hearty, if cordial, dinner.

Onlookers keep a keen eye out for sudden explosions of spellfire, lace, and elven body parts, but are disappointed that the two rival elven princesses remain civil, and even convivial, in Prinz Harald's company. Eavesdroppers keep a sharp ear for veiled threats, insults, or curses (magical and otherwise), but Prinz Harald keeps the topic on "what's good for Glantri and all its principalities," and the three princes (disappointingly) seem to be in agreement about common ideas.

At the end of the sumptuous repast, Princess Carnelia retires first in an amiable mood and not in the flustered huff hoped for by the more malicious rumourmongers. After a few more liqueurs and tea, Prinz Harald, Princess Carlotina, and the rest leave together, sharing a private gondola heading off to the Voshane city residence. (See Fl. 2, Am. 15; Ei. 5, Ei. 28.)

What This Means: For the greater part of the year, Prinz Harald has kept to the privacy of his chambers at the Great School of Magic, when he was not secluded altogether in Sablestone. This public appearance is a bold move, sending a clear message that "The Reluctant Prince" has chosen powerful allies the rival elven princesses of Glantri dining at the same table! and that his enemies, whoever they are, should beware.

Following the not-so-secret visit from Etienne d'Ambreville (the secret mortal identity of the Immortal Rad), Prinz Harald has been convinced of the insidious darkness and chaos slowly pervading the land and that the good and lawful forces of Glantri must take a strong stand although Harald remains unclear, against whom. Despite their long and deep-seated enmity, the two elven Princesses of Belcadiz and Erewan are willing to cease hostilities and cooperate in the meantime at least, under Harald's banner.

Later that night, Prinz Harald, Lady Danira and Sir Gerrid (all members of the Brotherhood of the Radiance) secretly discuss with Princess Carlotina matters of the Radiance and Prince Etienne's revelations regarding it.

Landfall.

Location: The Void. HW

Description: Apollo 1 lands on the first island in the void, but soon the crew discovers that it will not be the right one for a new home, because there is neither an atmosphere nor enough solid ground for caves. They note the island's position and course, but nobody expects to return there. Apollo 1 takes off again to continue the search. (See Sv. 9, Sv. 11; Sv. 14, Sv. 27.)

What This Means: It was the first floating island the Apollo 1 had reached, and it was not the right one. Others will follow.

Stopover in Tyjaret.

Location: Town of Tyjaret, Serpent Peninsula. SC

Description: At sunset, after a quiet journey, the clipper transporting Alatia's party drops anchor in Tyjaret to replenish its water supplies, unload some goods, and load others for the voyage back to Ierendi. They book a room in a local inn and look for a ship going south to Kastelios, Garganin, or Raven Scarp. They are told that the first ship heading south is to set sail in two weeks, and that they should try to make the best of their time in Tyjaret.

Later that night, Alatia and Bertolucius manage to make contact with some minor Heldannic agents. Brother Ignatius takes advantage of their absence to knock out Thra´m and leave Tyjaret with the help of Hulean agents. He then rides west to Kladanovic, carrying a semi-conscious Thra´m on the back of a horse. (See Am. 28, Sv. 1; Sv. 13, Sv. 14.)

What This Means: Tyjaret in itself is a trading town with some possible action. Yet secrecy is required for it surely hosts Hulean or Jaibuli agents.

What the PCs Can Do: This is a convenient way to have them explore the town and learn about the local powers at work here. If they are too sleepy, have a local talented thief rob them in order to force them to give chase and explore the town. Lion hunting could be fun too...

Sviftmont 13, AC 1019

Our Brother Is a Traitor!

Location: Town of Tyjaret, Serpent Peninsula. SC

Description: When they return some time after midnight, Alatia and Bertolucius find the room empty. No trace of their comrades can be found; they seem to have completely disappeared along with all the precious documents they took from the Rajah of Jaibul. Alatia uses a scroll inscribed with a modified locate objects spell and, focusing on a very personal object belonging to Thra´m, she ascertains that they have left heading west. Before dawn, Bertolucius and Alatia, after giving some instructions to the Heldannic agents in Tyjaret, ride west following Ignatius's trail as instructed by the Heldannic network. Ten miles west of Tyjaret they find an almost dead Thra´m lying on the side of the road, gagged and tied. Three potions later he is able to speak and tell his story. To their amazement, Bertolucius and Alatia realise that they had a mole in their midst the whole time. It was not surprising then that Jaibul's agents were always a step ahead of their pursuers.

They decide to split up there, and while Alatia is to go back to Tyjaret with a weakened Thra´m, Bertolucius is to try to catch up with Ignatius to learn exactly who is behind this treachery. (See Sv. 1, Sv. 12; Sv. 13, Sv. 14.)

What This Means: Brother Ignatius was re-activated by the Black Rajah of Jaibul, and instructed to steal from his comrades all the documents they got from the rajah and to travel to Kladanovic to take a ship waiting for him.

Unknown to them, Ignatius was keeping Bertolucius in a drugged state slow his recovery process. He always had good reasons to give him new medicine to help him fight the infected wounds he received in Jaibul's dungeons. Any potion Bertolucius takes now is a real one and heals him for good. He is now very eager to catch up to Ignatius and interrogate him, the Jaibuli way if need be!

Ignatius can be assisted by some local Jaibuli agents (which are quite numerous, active and resourceful).

What the PCs Can Do: DMs should give Ignatius some time to head into the savannah before allowing the rest of the party to pick up his trail.

Kladanovic in the Mist.

Location: Town of Kladanovic, Serpent Peninsula. SC

Description: The city of Kladanovic wakes up bathed in very thick greyish fog. It spreads all over the city and hundreds of yards over the sea. Sounds are muted and no one notices that Texeiran vessels have unloaded armed parties on the shores inside and outside the city. When the Thyatian governor realises that something is happening, he orders a war galley to patrol the port entry. As the vessel disappears into the fog, shrieks are carried by the wind but hours later no one returns to report. (See Sv. 12, Sv. 13; Sv. 13, Sv. 14.)

What This Means: The Master of Hule has hired mercenaries and wizards from the Savage Baronies to seize Kladanovic and set up a puppet government. He has always thought that this part of Mystara was his personal playground and that no foreign power should ever be allowed to set foot there without his consent (which they are unlikely to obtain). He is betting on the fact that some of the barons are watching the Thyatians' return to the region (albeit in the form of a mercantile expedition) with some concern, which should conceal his own involvement. This should also allay any Thyatian suspicions that Hule is not respecting the secret compact signed between the two nations earlier this year [Yarthmont 18, AC 1019. Ed.]. So he organised a blockade, and used magic to cover the arrival of his agents there.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are part of the mercenaries, this is a great opportunity to infiltrate a town and take strategic positions. If they are locals, they can try to investigate this unusual fog and find out what's behind it.

Tyjaret under Attack.

Location: Town of Tyjaret, Serpent Peninsula. SC

Description: Not long after sunrise, the town of Tyjaret is violently attacked by bands of mounted Uruk nomads who fire volleys of flaming arrows over the Thyatian merchant warehouses in the town. The Thyatian governor launches a counterstrike using fifty of his best men mounted on warhorses. They cut through the enemy lines and gather on a small hill a quarter of a mile from the town's walls. There they are assaulted by bands of orcs who had been hiding in the rocks. The Thyatians are routed and the few survivors ride away to safety. The volleys of arrows continue, and soon start many fires in the commercial district of the town. At the same time, inside the town, riots break out, and some demonstrators take up arms against the Thyatians, claiming that they are of no use if they cannot even protect the population against marauding bands of nomads. Amid the chaos, the outer fortifications are breached in some locations, and enemies start pouring into the town, pillaging everything. The Thyatians retreat to selected defensible positions and to the fortress, and prepare to resist what could become a siege. By nightfall, only small pockets of Thyatian resistance remain, especially in the port area. (See Sv. 13, Sv. 13; Sv. 15, Sv. 17.)

What This Means: The attack on Tyjaret has occurred, as planed by the Black Rajah of Jaibul and Hule. The nomads, although not usual allies of the orcish tribes, took advantage of the crushing of the Thyatian cavalry. The Thyatians were taken by surprise by a very well planned attack from both inside and outside.

The two regional players were not happy at all that Thyatis has invited itself into their playground. They have gathered as many forces as they could get without giving a clear sign that they were behind those attacks.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could be with either the attackers or the defenders.

A Prince in Peril?

Location: Town of Kaarja, Kingdom of Kaarjala. NW

Description: While presiding over the daily affairs of his court, King Kaarlo Taavinen of Kaarjala is interrupted by a messenger, bearing news of great importance. Seeing the seal of his captain of the guard on the vellum scroll clutched in the messenger's hands, Kaarlo adjourns proceedings for the day, and, once everyone else has left, orders the messenger to bring the message to him.

The message is brief Prince Veikko, the king's eldest son, has gone missing in the southern bogs while on a hunt. His Vaarana [the nomadic cousins of the Saamari, who are the city-dwellers among the Kaarjalan people. Ed.] guides reported seeing the sky darken ominously before the prince's disappearance, and the air grew noticeably colder. A sudden gust of frigid, salty air assailed them, forcing them to take cover, but as soon as the blast struck them, it dissipated, but of the prince there was no sign.

Kaarlo orders the messenger to carry instructions to the captain of the guard, to bring the Vaarana guides before him to tell him their tale personally. (See Sv. 16, Sv. 27.)

What This Means: Prince Veikko was an accomplished hunter, and still in his prime; Kaarlo feels that there is only one way that his son could vanish in such a way sorcery of the foulest kind.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs serving in the Kaarjalan court might be ordered by the captain of the guard to track down the Vaarana hunters and bring them to the capital. This is no easy feat, as Kaarjala is vast and sparsely populated, with much of its territory being comprised of wilderness. There is a good chance the PCs could run into some of the many humanoids who live in the Kaarjalan borderlands.

Sviftmont 14, AC 1019

Thyatians Sail for their Lives.

Location: Town of Kladanovic, Serpent Peninsula. SC

Description: Thyatians troops are fiercely attacked and forced to retreat, and finally embark on the ships they can find in the port. They set sail to the heart of the mist and are engaged by the Texeiran mercenaries. Yet many Thyatian ships manage to break the blockade. On both sides the damage done to the ships are heavy. In the meantime, Heldannic agents have been teleported to Slagovich to gather as much help as possible. Later, the Texeiran navy takes up positions in the port and troops pour out of their vessels to loot the market area. Much of the town's garrison is forced to surrender (although some of them secure defensible areas from which to lead a resistance effort, with much less success than in Tyjaret), while some of the locals are put to the sword. (See Sv. 13, Sv. 13; Sv. 15, Sv. 16.)

What This Means: The original idea of the Master was to force his enemies into their ships and then sink them with his untapped naval forces. Unfortunately for the attackers the thick fog served the Thyatians too and many ships escaped the blockade, to regroup some miles to the north, hidden in a remote bay on a small rocky island.

What the PCs Can Do: Hunt or be hunted, depending on their allegiance.

Exploration Party Returns.

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

Description: A party of explorers who left Polakatsikes in Fyrmont using the mystical conveyor returns with good news. The region around the mystical point they explored has been secured and should soon be kept under guard, for it is now of strategic importance. The region is described as being very fertile and only populated by non-violent tribes of fishermen who welcomed the knights' party after they helped them get rid of some of their natural predators. (See Fy. 21; Ei. 3, Ei. 11.)

What This Means: This is a first successful step in the exploration of the closest mystical points linked to the new means of magical transportation. Soon other missions shall be conducted to explore the other Davanian mystical points.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs were members of the mission, they can return home and be rewarded by the officers aware of their secret mission, since it turned out to be a success.

Test Conducted.

Location: Tower of Zynillith, Kingdom of Blackheart, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Lady Ardana and most of her friends test the Island. The dynamo of flying is working normally. Ardana decides not to leave Alphatia this time, and returns to the tower. There is still a lot of work to be done. (See Sv. 11, Sv. 12; Sv. 27, Ka. 3.)

What This Means: The dynamo is working, and now the final preparations have to be made. The team starts right now, although nobody can tell if Apollo 1 will locate a new home for the Alphatians.

Sviftmont 15, AC 1019

Parliamentarian Assassins.

Location: City of Theeds, Earldom of Theeds, Kingdom of Bellayne, Animal Kingdoms. SC

Description: An attempt on the life of King James in Theeds, the temporary or maybe not so temporary royal capital, is prevented by the king's guard. The surviving assassins can reveal nothing, and are executed.

What This Means: After the death of the queen and the ascension to the throne of the young King James, members of the Bellaynish Parliament tried to wrest away as much power as they could, by transferring much of it notably regarding the military of Bellayne from the king to the parliament. This political battle of bills led to a schism in Bellaynish society, with each faction having its own government and diplomats, its supporters and armies and financing. During the summer of AC 1017, the two factions finally came to blows, and the rakasta nation descended into civil war. Numerous clashes between Royalists and Parliamentarians have taken place since, and some attempts at peace settlements as well, with periods of truce (with the appropriate amount of spying and observing and skirmishing) in between.

A new threshold has been reached by this assassination attempt, decreasing the chances of ever finding a peaceful outcome. It seems a lot more rakasta blood will have to be shed before this civil war can end.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs can be the ones who try to either take or save the king's life. Their success or failure could have a tremendous effect on the duration and severity of the civil war. The PCs should be given a fair chance of success, and of survival. If the PCs do murder the king, the DM may alter the course of the war accordingly, or keep it on course by having the Royalists cover the death of their king (they want to avoid the collapse of the monarchy), in which case the PCs may have to actually try to prove that they committed regicide!

Dine and Dash.

Location: Town of Tyjaret, Serpent peninsula. SC

Description: The orcs, who were waiting outside the town walls, decide that their share of the looting was not enough and opt for more direct action against the human settlement. They storm the outskirts of the town and take with them as many women and children as possible. Yet they do not dare venture into the town for fear of retaliation from their allies. News of this only reaches the newly proclaimed lord of the town after the orcs have departed. (See Sv. 12, Sv. 1;, Sv. 16, Sv. 17.)

What This Means: The humanoids were in fact true to their word: They indeed helped the nomads take the town. Yet they also saw to it that they could really improve their lot by looting and then fleeing.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are on the outskirts they will have a hard time preventing the orcs from looting he place. They can try fight back, but the orcs outnumber the human there 6 to 1.

Kladanovic Call for Help Is Heard.

Location: City-state of Slagovich, Serpent Peninsula. SC

Description: The Heldannic operatives sent out of the besieged town of Kladanovic have convinced Slagovich officials that an unstable Kladanovic could only mean one thing: they would be the next to be attacked. The intelligence they have gathered tends to pinpoint Hule as a likely suspect. Slagovich authorities decide that they should act preventively and help their Kladanovic cousins get rid of the invaders (which may end up including the Thyatians). A detachment of two hundred riders is sent to Kladanovic, while a dozen ships sail south to help retake Kladanovic from the foreign invaders. (See Sv. 13, Sv. 14; Sv. 16, Sv. 17.)

What This Means: The Heldannic operatives have not introduced themselves as such (for they would not be welcomed) and have exaggerated the arguments that Slagovich would soon face such an attack, too. They know that their influence in Slagovich is slight, but they knew that it is the only neutral power that could provide any military help in a relatively short time.

What the PCs Can Do: Negotiators, this is your day (fabricating evidence without being revealed as Heldannic agents could prove quite a challenge).

Zandor Is Not Home.

Location: Tower of Night, Milenian Empire. HW

Description: At the Zargosians' headquarters, Vix receives an update on the investigation about the whereabouts of the treacherous wizard Zandor. The investigation again turned up nothing; in fact, the report states no evidence was found that Zandor might be hiding somewhere in the Milenian Empire, and it strongly advises that further research be conducted outside the empire.

Vix is not pleased, but faced by the obvious reluctance of the Zargosians to investigate further (and especially farther), she indicates that she will track Zandor wherever he might be holed up, and bring unto him the revenge of Zargos. (See Kl. 10; Ei. 7.)

What This Means: Vix, a champion of Zargos (Nyx), often travels the Hollow World to advance the goals of her patron, and her own. She was, however, furious that Zandor duped her, and outraged at the affront he made against Zargos, by misusing the power of His church, and His most (un)holy Book of Zargos. For his unforgivable betrayal, she has sworn to find and kill him or maybe worse, if she can devise a suitable punishment. It remains unclear how Zandor could escape from the clutches of the Zargosians, right under Vix's nose, or how he could leave the empire with the Zargosians chasing after him albeit with lessened resources due to the very events that he brought to bear upon the order. So, Vix grabs her pilgrim's staff or rather, climbs into her magical floating chariot, with her magical spear at her side and heads out of the empire on her quest for Zandor.

Unknown to Vix, this is all a plan by the higher-ranking Zargosians to get rid of her, as her single-minded eagerness to catch Zandor has overtaxed the Zargosians' network, already severely hurt when the Red Sun returned and the Zargosians were chased from power. Therefore, they manoeuvred to get Vix to continue her crusade, which they hope will succeed, outside the empire: Vix, Zargos's champion, is not the right person to lead the cult right now. It is true, however, that the Zargosians could not locate Zandor anywhere within the empire, so they did not have to falsify their reports, only convince Vix that it was futile to persist and that she had better start looking somewhere else preferably far away.

Sviftmont 16, AC 1019

Hope Sometimes Comes from Inside...

Location: Town of Tyjaret, Serpent Peninsula. SC

Description: The local inhabitants of Tyjaret are so ill-treated by their new lords that many choose to join the Thyatians in their attempt to drive back the invaders. They bring whatever weapon and food supplies they can carry and are let into the fortress to strengthen the resistance.

Meanwhile, large ships apparently allied with the nomads have arrived. The nomads help the crew load goods looted from the town. (See Sv. 13, Sv. 15; Sv. 17, Sv. 18.)

What This Means: This is a setback for the invaders. They were counting on local support against the Thyatians. Unfortunately they did not realise that the Thyatians had been conducting themselves very well with the locals and that Thyatis had provided work, prosperity and relative stability for most. So the population reacted violently when the new lords took away much of their newfound prosperity. They suddenly saw the cost of "freedom."

What the PCs Can Do: If they are locals or Thyatians, the PCs can lead the pockets of resistance and conduct hit and run attacks to allow more people to reach the fortress safely.

Thyatians Strike Back.

Location: Town of Kladanovic, Serpent Peninsula. SC

Description: The Thyatian ships that escaped Kladanovic on Sviftmont 14 mount a surprise attack by land and sea. Their main goal is to evacuate as much of the population as possible. Their mission is partially successful since they manage to have two thirds of the population vacate the city. The Thyatian forces then retreat into the night. (See Sv. 14, Sv. 16; Sv. 17, Sv. 18.)

What This Means: The Thyatian governor has contacted his counterpart in Tyjaret, and has learned that both towns have been attacked at the same time. His information leads him to think that the local population is in grave danger of total extermination. So he organised a last (and very much unexpected) move to save as many people as possible. The Texeirans were caught by surprise and the population took advantage of the situation to flee their town.

What the PCs Can Do: Great place and time for would-be heroes. This is a great cause to fight for.

In Search of a Prince.

Location: Town of Kaarja, Kingdom of Kaarjala. NW

Description: The Vaarana hunters who were acting as guides for Prince Veikko on the day he disappeared are brought before King Kaarlo Taavinen to recount their tale. The hunters' own telling of the tale differs little from the official report delivered to the king already, but they are able to indicate on a map where the prince disappeared. Kaarlo asks a few additional questions, and then dismisses the hunters.

Within the hour, the king announces a quest, to all who would be champions of Kaarjala, to seek out and rescue Prince Veikko, or to bring back his body if he has died. The first one to succeed in this quest will be rewarded with his or her weight in gold and gems. (See Sv. 13; Sv. 27, Ei. 2.)

What This Means: The tale told by the hunters confirmed what Kaarlo had already been told. He felt that no further time could be wasted; hence, the call for champions (read, adventurers). The king really is serious about his reward the first person to bring back Prince Veikko will receive his or her weight in nonmagical treasure.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs who hear of the king's announcement, and who wish to undertake the quest, will be instructed to present themselves to the king, so that they may receive his seal, a wooden disk with his insignia, which will allow them to roam Kaarjala unmolested by wilderness patrols. The PCs must pledge their honest intent by the Great Saampo, the artifact that makes Kaarjala's temperate climate possible, in order to obtain a seal. DMs should note that these seals are magical, and will turn to dust if the PCs attack any Kaarjalan without provocation, or if they wilfully abandon the quest. If they do undertake this quest, the PCs will be directed southward, to the frozen bogs, to commence their search.

A Final Meeting in Harstal.

Location: Town of Harstal, County of Harstal, Kingdom of Eusdria. SC

Description: Paulus Angelinus and the rest of the Thyatian expedition reach the port of Harstal, to meet with Count Theodamir the Stutterer, to complete their tour of Eusdria. An honour guard meets the expedition at the pier, and Paulus and his most senior associates are escorted to the count's palace, situated on a hill overlooking the town, while the vessels finish docking. Count Theodamir greets his guests warmly, and, over a sumptuous banquet, asks innocuous questions concerning what the Thyatians have seen since their arrival. Paulus answers the questions without providing too much information especially when matters turn to the empire's dealings with Texeiras and Vilaverde. Realising that he will not find out what he wants to know, Theodamir turns to other topics, and, by dinner's end, invites his guests to stay in the county as long as they wish. (See Am. 26, Sv. 1; Sv. 24, Sv. 25.)

What This Means: Paulus decided to visit Harstal because the expedition had already spent time in the other Eusdrian dominions it would have been an affront not to go but also because the county had been influenced by the Heldannic Knights in the past. Although King Sigismund drove out the knights not long after Haldemar's visit in AC 1000, Paulus wanted to know if the current count was under any lingering Heldannic influence. Aside from an easily detectable resentment against King Sigismund's policies, as well as territorial ambitions against the Texeiran Protectorado da Presa (more specifically, Theodamir dreams of taking over the colony's lucrative opal mine), neither Paulus nor his spies could detect anything amiss, but several spies will be left behind with instructions to continue investigating the count and his followers. Should any lingering ties to the Heldannic Knights be found, they will be instructed to approach the king with the information. The remainder of the expedition's stay in Harstal will be spent making deals with local merchant houses, as well as meeting with prominent members of the county's sizeable dwarven minority.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs with a lot of spying experience could be instructed by Paulus to remain behind and observe Theodamir's activities a dangerous job because the count fears suffering the same fate as his father (who was stripped of his powers by the king for his allegiance to the Heldannic Knights), and therefore surrounds himself with experienced guards and spy catchers.

Sviftmont 17, AC 1019

...Sometimes from Below.

Location: Town of Tyjaret, Serpent Peninsula. SC

Description: At night, the resistance launches a very effective counterstrike. Such an operation is made possible by the arrival of the few remaining Thyatian cavalrymen that Alatia could gather in the savannah. She leads them into the sewer system of the town, helped by the Heldannic network operatives, a small group of highly trained and effective soldiers who know perfectly well how to use the sewers to surprise the invaders, divide their troops, and utterly crush them one band at a time.

Late in the night, the last knot of invaders rides away and flees northward. Some ships filled with a portion of the loot are caught by fast sailing ship launched after them, and they are brought back to port in the following morning.

Alatia and the Heldannic operatives tend to the wounded and later meet with the Thyatian governor. (See Sv. 15, Sv. 16; Sv. 18, Sv. 19.)

What This Means: It has been clear that ever since her departure at dawn on Sviftmont 13 Alatia has worked behind the scenes to help organise the rebellion, first from afar then from below. The only problem is that the majority of the Heldannic agents have blown their years-long covers to take the defence of the town into their own hands. Their future in Tyjaret as foreign agents is compromised.

What the PCs Can Do: Fight bravely.

Southern Outpost Destroyed.

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

Description: An outlying Heldannic outpost is attacked during the night by a group of highly trained soldiers, among whom are powerful wizards. The outpost is burned to ashes and every Heldannic soldier is either captured or killed. The news about it will not reach Polakatsikes for another week, when people notice the lack of reports from this outpost. (See Fe. 10; Ka. 5, Ka. 9.)

What This Means: This attack is just a test by Moray Vaco's minions. They will, from time to time, storm an isolated settlement and wreak havoc, and then enslave those they manage to capture.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are Heldannic soldiers, or allied with them, their main goal might be to avoid capture, and try to reach the nearest Heldannic settlement. If they are Moray Vaco's minions, their mission is to capture or kill everyone they can find.

Kladanovic Set Aflame (a.k.a. Bye Bye, Birdy!)

Location: Town of Kladanovic, Serpent Peninsula. SC

Description: The mercenaries sent by Hule to seize the town are alerted that a convoy of heavily armed ships has set sail from Slagovich and is sailing south to fight them back. Fully aware that his mercenary force would be no match against Slagovich's naval forces, the Master orders his troops to torch the town and leave with as much loot as possible. The Texeiran mercenaries execute the orders and loot the town. They capture as many remaining able-bodied prisoners as possible to sell them later as slaves. The loot is loaded on several recently arrived transports. They set sail at sunset heading west.

Bertolucius only reaches the town amidst a very fierce battle. He spots his former comrade Ignatius embarking on a ship that later heads north. Around him, the town of Kladanovic is still in flames and turmoil and the Thyatians there have suffered heavy losses. Only the intervention of Slagovich's mercenaries has saved the Thyatian presence there. Bertolucius presents himself to the authorities, who have been informed that he was to arrive soon in town.

He is taken care of, cured, and offered good accommodation.

Unknown to Ignatius, Alatia's parchments were magically marked by a spell allowing her to track them later, provided that they are not enclosed in a specially made net of magical alloy. (See Sv. 15, Sv. 16; Sv. 18, Sv. 19.)

What This Means: The Master realised that his meddling in the region could be discovered and he was not willing to jeopardise his newly improved relations with Thyatis for a moderately important coastal town that is not easily controllable. So he opted to make the best of it, and ordered his troops to bring him as much loot as possible. But he was not willing to give up the town untouched.

Alatia used a spell she often carries to mark people or objects she doesn't want to see "disappear."

The mystical link Brother Ignatius had with Vanya was severed when someone else took over his will. That's why he was unable to work any clerical magic.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are still in Kladanovic, their attempt to fight the fire could win them a good position later. There are many important archives in the local library (those not already looted) that are worth saving. You can run this as a mini adventure, or make it part of the whole exploration of the region.

A New Land Beckons!

Location: East of Lost Valley. DV

Description: After investigating the ruins of Erkalion, the Thyatian expedition, led by Julius Ambrosius, continued its westward journey along the coast of the Vulcanian Peninsula. After the better part of a month, the Thyatians come across a land that bears the unmistakable stamp of civilisation. At the mouth of a great river, deep and wide enough that their vessel could easily sail upstream, the travellers note that the forests have been cut back considerably, and, several hundred feet upstream, a great chain has been threaded across the river, anchored at each end by immense blockhouses. Thinking that they have arrived in a land of giants, the Thyatians sail up to one of the blockhouses, in the hopes of making contact with the locals, and being allowed to go further into the interior.

Nothing can prepare them for what they encounter next. Where they expected a formidable giant to meet them, they are instead accosted by a gnome, who emerges from a previously unseen door in the blockhouse, and who, after trying unsuccessfully to communicate with the newcomers in a variety of unknown languages, settles on a patois of Alphatian, Gnomish, and other unidentifiable tongues. The Thyatians have enough Alphatian and Gnomish speakers among them to make their purpose known, but communications are made easier by Julius's personal magist, who casts a spell that allows everyone to converse.

It becomes apparent that Julius and his crew have happened upon the eastern frontier of the "Valley of the Earthshakers," and that they must pay an entry tax if they wish to pass. When questioned about the extensive river defences, when the countryside appears to be wide open, the gnome simply responds that the gnomish cities have no reason to fear marching armies. As the tax being levied is not onerous, Julius orders that it be paid, and the chain is lowered into the river, allowing the Thyatians to pass. (See Fe. 28, Fy. 25; Sv. 24, Sv. 26.)

What This Means: The transition from uninhabited forests to clear land was a rather abrupt one, and the presence of gnomes in this isolated part of the world is all the more confusing to Julius and his crew. Until now, they had considered gnomes to be unique to the Old World, having never heard tales of them living elsewhere. The possibility of there being a gnomish realm and an apparently powerful one as well has piqued the interest of the expedition.

What the PCs Can Do: Unless they are very worldly, the PCs could very well be surprised by an established gnomish presence in this remote part of the world. More astounding sights await!

Sviftmont 18, AC 1019

Farming Scheme a Less Than Resounding Success.

Location: Across Nayce. AS, SD

Description: After several months, the Naycese Council has analysed the results of its plan to ease the unemployment problem by employing masterless servants as farmers, and found less than stellar results. Some kingdoms, such as Gaity, Aegos and Meriander, were quite successful, due in part to their lower populations few people migrated to those lands to seek work and fertile soils. They also benefited from the fact that local farmers were able to help the newcomers get started. In places such as Notrion, Surshield, and Dawnrim, the outcome was not so promising. Hardly anyone in Notrion carried out the directive, citing the fact that the nation has little money, while attempts to carry out the instructions failed in the other two kingdoms due to active resistance on the part of the unemployed. Few Thothian aristocrats even responded. Seeing that more must be done, the council convenes an emergency session to discuss the matter. (See Fe. 5, Fe. 14; Sv. 26, Ei. 14.)

What This Means: The Naycese Council's "back to the land" scheme was not successful in large part because few of the aristocrats saw it as important. Although the Alphatians have faced many changes since the sinking of the Alphatian continent in AC 1009, they still remain, for the most part, a very individualistic and chaotic people. This is especially true for the aristocrats, who, having grown up in a society designed to cater to their whims, see no reason why they should make any effort, much less sacrifices, for something that does not interest them, or does not pose any direct benefit to them. Many aristocrats are also wrapped up in their own projects and private interests, and therefore see no reason why they should pay attention to anything else.

Not all aristocrats behaved that way, however. In those kingdoms where the program seemed to work, the elites saw a benefit, indirect through it might be, in investing in other people. These nobles were not in the majority, though.

What the PCs Can Do: Depending on the PCs' philosophies, and where their lands are located, they might have complied with the directive, and been successful.

The Art of the Deal.

Location: Town of Tyjaret, Serpent Peninsula. SC

Description: After hours of long talks and negotiations, the Heldannic Knights and the Thyatians have finally reached an agreement. Thyatis will remain in control of the towns (as it did before), and in exchange for the provision of Heldannic caravan guards (plus the founding of fortified rest houses owned and operated by the Heldannic Order at set intervals along the planned road between Tyjaret and Kladanovic, where caravans can get healing, food, weapon repairs, basic supplies, and clean water), and any other aid or involvement the order chooses to render, the Heldannic Knights will get a percentage of the toll, as well as some taxation on trade passing through the two towns. The Heldannic Order is also allowed to found churches (tithe from the faithful in the two towns will be handed to the order). So, the Thyatian Empire benefits by getting the road it wants (without having to commit too many of its own troops), and strengthens its influence and hold even more, while the Heldannic Knights benefit by getting a secure revenue source (which can only grow as trade between the Savage Coast and the Old World grows), and an opportunity to spread the word of Vanya. It is quite likely, after seeing the Heldannic Knights defeat several allied raiders, that interest in the faith will grow. The population of the free towns will benefit from the wealth brought by the growing trade, and the protection awarded by the two empires.

The elements of the deal are written down and are to be sent to Thyatis and Polakatsikes for approval by the respective authorities. Later that day, Alatia and Thra´m are teleported to Kladanovic where they hope to meet Bertolucius. (See Sv. 16, Sv. 17; Sv. 19, Sv. 22.)

What This Means: Thyatian authorities were surprised by the attack. They realised that without the intervention of the Heldannic network of operatives, they would not have been up to the challenge. So the Thyatian governor decided that it would be better to work with strong allies and thus to present a common front to the local forces gathered to counter their influence in the region. Ever since they lost their flight capabilities, the Heldannic emissaries have laid low and gathered intelligence and influence. Yet they are far from their motherland, still torn apart by a deadly conflict, and so they organised themselves without referring to the official chain of command. From now on they will answer to the only strong authority in the order they can rely on, that is to say Polakatsikes's governor.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are good negotiators, they could help gain more for their side.

Among the Ashes, There Is Little Hope Left.

Location: Town of Kladanovic, Serpent Peninsula. SC

Description: The population that fled the torching of the town slowly returns, only to find smoking ruins and desolation. Only a small group of buildings have been spared, among which stands the library, albeit partially damaged by a neighbouring building that collapsed. The garrison does its best to establish camps and offers to heal the injured. Vanya's priests and agents are greatly appreciated, not only for their healing skills, but also because they show more respect to those in need than the Thyatians. (See Sv. 16, Sv. 17; Sv. 19, Sv. 22.)

What This Means: As always after a big fire left unchecked in a densely populated city, there is not much to salvage. Vanya instructed Her followers to treat the population as if they were true believers. She hopes to root the order in the region, and starting with respect is a new approach, which She thinks could prove very fruitful conquer the heart and reap the soul.

What the PCs Can Do: There is much to do in a situation like this. Based on their alignments and ethics, the PCs can either try to take advantage of the situation (there is loot to be gathered in the ruins) or offer their help (which could in the long term prove even more fruitful).

Sviftmont 19, AC 1019

Just a little Zzonga...

Location: All over Nayce. AS

Description: Naycese authorities are beginning to notice that use of zzonga has spread rapidly among the lower classes recently, especially on Bellissaria. It seems to be primarily the poor and unemployed who are using the drug, and they apparently steal and commit other crimes to find the money for their habits. Subsequent investigations reveal that an organisation called The Silent Distribution is apparently involved in the selling of zzonga. (See Va. 1, Sv. 18; Sv. 26.)

What This Means: When people see no future before them, they sometimes turn to whatever can keep their minds away from their bleak existence, particularly if they have responsibilities that they cannot live up to, such as feeding their families. The problem isn't very widespread because few can actually afford the zzonga, which is scarce. The Silent Distribution is actually a thieves' guild operating out of South Harbour in Turmoil. The guild has since spread to various other cities and towns of Bellissaria in the recent years after Alphatia sank. Thieves' guilds did not exist on the Alphatian continent due to the powerful magics of the mages there, which would reveal the thieves, but since Alphatia sank, thieves have had it much easier. A key figure in the distribution is Jeremol the Deceptive, who is head of the traders' guild in Turmoil, which is actually just a front for The Silent Distribution. He gets the zzonga from some of the wizards who have settled down in Turmoil and then distributes it before paying the mages. Presumably the mages grow the zzonga or else get it from Thyatis, where it is apparently also available.

What the PCs Can Do: The DM can run a real investigation, where the PCs have to find out where the zzonga came from and who, or what, this "Silent Distribution" really is. Be warned that Turmoil itself will not be a nice place to visit as an anarchy, it's the rule of the strongest, and if you're coming to take down the local guild of thieves, who bring profit into the area, then you're not going to be particularly welcome. Besides, the wizards in Turmoil are ruthless to the local population, whom they don't care about, so imagine how they'd feel about nosy adventurers coming to stop their money-making scheme...

Hoskuld Defeated.

Location: Jarldom of Vastergard, Kingdom of Soderfjord. OW

Description: The commanders of the Mordenic coalition have had a couple of weeks to heal and regroup, and march forward to engage Hoskuld's forces once again. This time, things go better the coalition's morale is high, the chain of command is clear, and the men of Vastergard are crushed.

None emerge from the victory with more glory than Skaddri the Skald. Though his warband takes heavy casualties, they are always at the front of the fighting, and cleanly block the only counterattack attempted by the Vastergarders. Several soldiers excitedly tell of the death-duel between Skaddri and Hoskuld himself. (See Sv. 6; Sv. 19, Sv. 20.)

What This Means: The improvements in the coalition's fighting ability aren't just due to improved command. The Loki cultists serving Hoskuld have backed out, obeying orders from their patron and leaving the false jarl to take the fall. Hoskuld was never more than a tool for Loki's interests, and he's now been used up.

What the PCs Can Do: Take part in the victory over Hoskuld.

Loki the Taunter.

Location: City of Pandius, Matera.

Description: The Immortal Loki tells other assembled Immortals about the rise of a new hero in the Soderfjord Jarldoms, Skaddri the Skald. Though the Northern Reaches are a known playground of the Prince of Deceit, many who enjoy His stories of treachery, although They would never admit it gather around to listen to a promisingly entertaining tale. Thus, Loki recounts the adventures of Skaddri, often quoting the skald himself, to the delight of the Immortals who are eagerly waiting for the twist (there is always a dark twist in Loki's stories, that is why they are so popular) except for other Immortals of the Northern Pantheon who rather dread the Stroke (there is often a Stroke in Loki's stories, making them twice as popular).

The twist comes when Loki changes shape and assumes His mortal identity of Skaddri and, turning to look Thor right in the eye, says "I like victory parties that end with a crowning" and disappears, leaving a fuming Thor behind. The other Immortals are disappointed: there was no Stroke involved, though they suspect that Thor's followers will suffer under Loki's rule. (See Sv. 6, Sv. 19; Sv. 20, Ei. 1.)

What This Means: The Immortals are not especially worried about Loki becoming King of Soderfjord: Immortals do that from time to time, until They quit because it isn't that much fun and indeed very limiting to Their Immortal powers (Rad is an exception in that regard). If anything, the story reduces their interest in the Northern Reaches due to Their disappointment at a lack of Stroke in one of Loki's plots. The Northern Pantheon clique is very worried, however, and Thor in particular is thundering.

What the PCs Can Do: This is the kind of show that Immortal PCs should be attracted to, because it gives them clues to other Immortals' activities, and might urge them to interfere (i.e. Immortal-level adventure opportunity).

Kladanovic.

Location: Town of Kladanovic, Serpent Peninsula. SC

Description: Alatia and Thra´m have been teleported in Kladanovic (Sviftmont 18) and they are gladly joined by a fully cured Bertolucius. He is informed of the deal made between the Heldannic Order and the Thyatians for the benefit of the two groups. For the three following days, Alatia, Bertolucius and their gnomish friend Thra´m make an extensive survey of the ruined town of Kladanovic.

Alatia focuses on the local library. Though it is small compared to many other libraries she has visited, this one offers some clues as to who the people of Kladanovic are, and why they chose such a remote place to establish a town. It soon becomes clear that Tyjaret and Kladanovic are twin towns and that one has always been the counterpart of the other, thus explaining their similarities. Kladanovic has a Traladaran name while Tyjaret is obviously a Hulean name. It seems that Kladanovic was under Slagovich's rule for a long time, but became independent some decades ago during a political crisis among the Slagovich nobility, only to fall into Thyatian hands in AC 1017. The people are very similar to those met in Slagovich; a mix of Traldar, Ispans, and Huleans.

Thra´m and Bertolucius focus on the strategic and geological features of the town and its surroundings. They travel extensively around the town and only come back to the inn at night to write down their observations and add them to Alatia's. (See Sv. 17, Sv. 18; Sv. 22, Sv. 25.)

What This Means: The trio is acting as any information-gathering party should.

What the PCs Can Do: There is much to be learned from the local population even though they are not very talkative to strangers. One should win their way into the hearts of the locals. Make it sound very boring to test the PC patience and willingness to accomplish such a tedious and yet valuable mission.

Sviftmont 20, AC 1019

Rain, Rain, Go Away.

Location: Kingdom of Nimmur and Kingdom of Jibar˙, Orc's Head Peninsula. SC

Description: The steady torrent of rains of the past month begins to clear. (See Am. 24, Sv. 6; Ei. 3, Ei. 8.)

Divine Intervention?!?

Location: Jarldom of Vastergard, Kingdom of Soderfjord. OW

Description: The victory party in Vastergard is going full swing, and nobody is hailed more than Skaddri the Skald. That is, until the Immortal Thor shows up.

It's really him. Ten feet tall, carrying a hammer larger than some of the warriors on the field, glowing like a small star, and almost blinded by rage. He denounces Skaddri as a liar and a cheat, a traitor to the Northern Reaches, a manifestation of Loki, and attacks. Skaddri defends himself as best he can, but even his giant-forged sword can't make more than a few scratches on the outraged Immortal. And then Thor flattens Skaddri with one mighty swing of his hammer, and the skald drops to the ground. His body shimmers, then disappears, and a moment later Thor vanishes as well. (See Sv. 6, Sv. 19; Ei. 1, Ei. 2.)

What This Means: Astonishingly enough, Loki was working towards this end the entire time. He contacted Thor last night, taunting the other Immortal with his actions as Skaddri and a plausible (but false) plan to cause further unrest in Soderfjord, and basically working Thor into a killing rage. Now, Thor has appeared in Manifestation Form on the Prime Plane, violating the law of the Immortals, and thus is in very deep trouble.

Note that for this fight, Skaddri was fighting with a mortal-level copy of the Knife of Hruggr, not the true artifact. Loki knew that Thor would flatten Him in this battle, and had no intention of allowing his enemy to claim the knife or destroy it. It can still prove more useful elsewhere.

What the PCs Can Do: Though Skaddri is "only" a Mortal Identity of Loki, he is still as powerful as any mortal hero... and Thor is even more dangerous. In a fight between these two, any PC who tries to get in the way is going to be crushed.

Sviftmont 21, AC 1019

Barony of Thanopolis Founded.

Location: Barony of Thanopolis, Davania Inferior, Hinterlands, Thyatian Empire. DV

Description: The Barony of Thanopolis is officially founded today on the eastern shores of Lake Solarios. The founder, a former Kastelian mercenary named Adrianos Kyrenos, selects a section of shoreline to clear first, and then he and his retainers go to work. (See Ei. 2, Ei. 23.)

What This Means: Following the conclusion of the Crown War in AC 1017, Emperor Eusebius rewarded those commanders who supported him with lands under imperial control, if they desired them. This served two purposes it would strengthen the new dominion rulers' loyalties to the emperor, and it would open more lands to settlement and economic development. Adrianos committed his small sailing vessel to the emperor's service by ferrying troops to Thyatis, and he participated in a small-scale naval blockade of Vanya's Girdle to prevent rebels from escaping by sea. He returned to Davania after the war, brought his family from Kastelios, and then petitioned the emperor for some land in Davania Inferior. He was allotted 250 square miles, which he must survey and develop over the next three years. By the end of that time, as per imperial regulations, his fledgling dominion must contribute 1,000 lucins annually to the imperial coffers, or he must forfeit his title and lands.

Adrianos selected the name of Thanopolis because he visited the Yavdlom capital city of Tanakumba once, and learned about the city's purported old name, and liked it.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are Adrianos's retainers, the PCs will have their hands full surveying the land, which consists of gentle beaches that quickly give way to dense jungles. Any enemy Leopard Clan Hinterlanders in the area will also have to be dealt with, in addition to other perils in the region.

Comparing Notes.

Location: City of Selenica, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: Thyatian envoys arrive in Selenica, ostensibly to discuss trade matters. The meeting is held in a nondescript building owned by the Darokinian Diplomatic Corps. (See Am. 6, Am. 27; Ei. 8.)

What This Means: Through the Darokinian embassy in Thyatis, Darokinian investigators heard news of a similar, well-coordinated goblin raiding campaign that took place in the Kerendas Hills earlier in the year. The matter apparently aroused local concern, but all official accounts state that the threat was "neutralised." Unofficial reports indicated that organised goblin raids are still being carried out in the region, although infrequently, and nowhere near any large settlements. The investigators then shared their observations of goblin activities in southeastern Darokin with the embassy, which then quietly contacted the Thyatian government. The information reached the right people, and now the two nations will begin comparing notes in earnest, to determine whether the attacks are indeed linked, and what this means for the region.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs can be the investigators who obtained the unofficial reports of what happened in the Kerendas Hills. Political and economic interests in both nations might have reasons for preventing this information from ever being shared; wariness and discretion, plus a sharpened sword and a good spell, will help the PCs considerably.

Sviftmont 22, AC 1019

Benefits of Open Trade.

Location: Emirates of Ylaruam. OW

Description: Minrothaddan merchants have long sought ports of call on the eastern fringes of the Thyatian Empire. Ylari merchants have long dominated the perilous journeys between Alphatia and the Old World. With Alphatia gone, increased exchanges and trade have been made with Thothia, Ochalea, and the Pearl Islands. Many new items have captured the fancy of Minrothaddans, and they have agreed to free trade with the Ylari and exchanged knowledge of seamanship. (See Am. 2, Am. 12; Ka. 5.)

What This Means: Khalid, as an adviser, has worked a deal to have Ylari captains trained side by side with Minrothaddans. The exchange is going to benefit shipbuilders, navigators, and privateers alike from both nations. The free trade is going to give a huge influx of exotic items from the far east: Thothian silk, Nuari pearls, Ochalean jade, fine ceramics, and other commodities. It also means more pirating to dampen Thyatis's attempts to rebuild its empire thus favouring merchants hailing from Minrothad rather than the rest of the Thyatian Empire, as Minrothaddans don't intend to simply be dissolved into the empire but use the situation to their own advantage.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs could be involved with the negotiations or be trained by one culture or the other in their seamanship. Seagoing characters may see a renewed influx of pirating on the eastern side of Thyatis, and a more organised market for far eastern goods. PCs in coastal areas are also going to see more and more Ylari out of their desert environment.

Going Back to Tyjaret.

Location: Region between the Towns of Kladanovic and Tyjaret, Serpent Peninsula. SC

Description: After gathering information about the town, its people, its history, its natural defences and its geology, the trio of Heldannic agents leaves Kladanovic and rides back to Tyjaret to be on time to catch the next ship going south. (See Sv. 18, Sv. 19; Sv. 25, Ei. 25.)

What This Means: The party is fortunately made of different kind of persons, each one able to add to the group. They have fully understood what a profitable asset a proper road linking the two twin towns could become. Now they want to ascertain the veracity of the information contained in seized Jaibuli documents, especially regarding the Black Rajah's financial projections.

What the PCs Can Do: Run as many mini adventures as you want. Some ruined buildings might hold minor magical objects. Monsters are not uncommon in the region, but are rarely seen in great numbers. But for a magically undermined party, they could prove to be more than marauding monsters.

Sviftmont 23, AC 1019

Sean McAllister Kidnapped!

Location: Duchy of Taterhill, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: For months now, the apathetic Duke Alasdair McAllister of Taterhill has not seen or heard of his prodigal son, Sean. More alarmingly, Sean has not been asking for his monthly stipend nor has he been dipping into the McAllister coffers! He further learns that Sean was not even at the Raising the Walls festivities last week where wizards from the Great School of Magic construct defensive walls on the frozen canals of Glantri City and the duke becomes duly disturbed.

Sir Alasdair makes his way to Sean's apartments in Glantri City. Strewn all over the place are the costumes, paraphernalia, and the plunder of that magical miscreant, Robin Moorkroft! The duke concludes that his son has been kidnapped by the wizard-rogue! (See Th. 22, Fy. 17; Ei. 5, Ka. 20.)

What This Means: Is Sean McAllister's mysterious disappearance another criminal prank by Robin Moorkroft and his Mundaner Men against the Glantrian magocracy? It would seem so, except for one key fact...

What the PCs Can Do: Despite being a cold-hearted misanthrope, the Duke of Taterhill does have political reasons for wanting to find the sole heir of House McAllister. He will report Sean's disappearance to the constabulary and the Great School of Magic. He will mobilise the guards and agents of House Crownguard, and hire private agents (legitimate and otherwise) to find his son. The PCs could well find themselves in the employ of one of the highest-ranking nobles of Glantri to investigate the kidnapping of a young noble wizard.

Sviftmont 24, AC 1019

A City Unlike Any Other.

Location: Valley of the Earthshakers, Lost Valley. DV

Description: While sailing up what they have named the Latus River, the Thyatian expedition hears great clanking and rumbling noises coming from the hills to the south. Intrigued, Julius Ambrosius orders the crew to draw closer to the southern shore, and, just as the vessel comes within a few hundred feet of the shoreline, the ominous noises resolve themselves into a giant metal man, well over 500 feet in height, who crests the hills and approaches the river!

Much of the crew stands gaping in awe at the spectacle, and Julius orders his marine contingent to prepare for an attack. The giant, apparently a construct of some sort, stops at the shore of the river, and two previously unseen panels slide open in its legs, from which gnomes emerge. While the Thyatians watch, the gnomes lower what appear to be thick ropes into the river, after which great sucking sounds can be heard. After a few minutes, the ropes are reeled back into the construct, and, for the first time, the gnomes notice the foreigners. The Thyatians introduce themselves to the gnomes with the aid of their magist, and the gnomes welcome the outlanders to the Valley of the Earthshakers, and present themselves as representatives of the city of Dwerrigg. When the Thyatians ask whether Dwerrigg lies far away, the gnomes point to the earthshaker, indicating that it is, in fact, the city in question. (See Fy. 25, Sv. 17; Sv. 26, Ei. 7.)

What This Means: The Thyatian expedition has encountered one of the fabled earthshakers, which give this part of the valley its well-deserved name. They will confer with the gnomes of Dwerrigg for several hours, learning from them a little of the rivalries between the many gnomish mobile cities that roam the region.

What the PCs Can Do: The gnomes might be persuaded to allow some of the Thyatians to enter their mobile city, in which case the PCs might be among those who visit it. Although they will likely find the interior of Dwerrigg to be a tight fit, there should be plenty of room for the PCs to get into all sorts of unintentional trouble. Some of the city's residents will not be pleased to hear of foreigners traipsing about, and they might try to ensure that the outsiders do not have any chance of bringing information back to their homeland, but nevertheless make it look like an "accident."

The Free City Beckons!

Location: Free City of Dunwick. SC

Description: After completing a stopover in the Protectorado da Presa, where they purchased additional supplies, the Thyatian expedition continued its journey. Paulus Angelinus, the commander of the expedition, was initially unimpressed by what he saw a seemingly endless stretch of tidal flats and sandy beaches, with no apparent sign of habitation. Today, the crew of the lead vessel spots a walled city by the sea, which, as the expedition approaches it, is obviously a large settlement. Consulting their maps, the expedition concludes that this must be the so-called Free City of Dunwick. Within relatively short order, the Thyatians and Minrothaddans alter their course, and head straight for the city, where they obtain permission to dock. (See Sv. 1, Sv. 16; Sv. 25, Ei. 2.)

What This Means: The Thyatian expedition had heard of the Free City of Dunwick through their Texeiran and Vilaverdan contacts, but they were not able to obtain very much detailed information about it. The Thyatians plan to spend the next few days exploring the city before actively seeking to establish political and economic relations with the city.

What the PCs Can Do: Most PCs would probably be eager to go ashore and explore Dunwick, a city populated primarily by tortles, but which is also home to just about every intelligent race inhabiting the Savage Coast. The PCs being who they are, there is a great range of possibilities for adventures, from running afoul of the authorities to becoming embroiled in the ongoing intrigues between the various political groups active in the city. Dunwick is also a fairly old city, originally founded around a monastery of the Lawful Brotherhood; there could be any number of horrible monsters or villains lurking in its sewers and less frequented byways.

Sviftmont 25, AC 1019

Gerwen Steps Down.

Location: Town of Ersenbal, County of Ersenbal, Walrus Island, Tranquil Coast. NW

Description: Lord Gerwen transfers his authority over the County of Ersenbal that he was entrusted with by Count Martigan before he left for parts unknown years ago. Captain Laurida Tremlaine becomes the new Seneschal of Ersenbal and, in the count's absence, ruler of the county. (See Am. 17, Sv. 3; Ei. 27, Ka. 7.)

What This Means: Faced with the possibility of a civil war, and seeing no better way to improve the situation, Lord Gerwen did the honourable thing: he quit a position of power for the greater good of Ersenbal. Ironically, a military defeat has resulted in a transfer of civilian power to the leader of the military.

What the PCs Can Do: A PC may become the new ruler of Ersenbal.

Dunwick Interested in Thyatian Trade.

Location: Free City of Dunwick. SC

Description: After only a day spent exploring the byways of Dunwick, Paulus Angelinus and his closest advisers are approached by a delegation of tortles, humans, and goblins, escorted by uniformed Torreˇner and Texeiran swordsmen! Caught off guard by the sight of armed Texeirans and Torreˇners in such close proximity (without coming to blows), Paulus urges caution. The strange delegation, which, it soon becomes apparent, consists of representatives of the leading trading houses of Dunwick, officially welcomes the Thyatians to the city, and invites them to the lord mayor's residence, where, they hope, items of mutual interest may be discussed. Paulus accepts the invitation. (See Sv. 16, Sv. 24; Ei. 2.)

What This Means: Although they have not been in the Savage Coast for an overly long time, the Thyatians are well aware of the animosities between Texeiras and Torreˇn particularly where the hotly contested Terra Vermelha is concerned. Although Torreˇner mercenaries are a fairly common sight throughout the Savage Baronies, very few work for, or with, Texeirans. Nevertheless, the fact that they are in Dunwick indicates that there is something here that, in someone's opinion, is worth protecting Paulus would very much like to know what that might be.

Foreign merchants are a common sight in Dunwick, which, the Thyatians have already learned, has a reputation for being an "open city" (Dunwick's revenues are largely derived from customs duties and docking fees, but the authorities turn a blind eye to what is being exchanged, for the most part); even the odd trader from Jaibul and Hule can be found here. Nevertheless, the Thyatians and Minrothaddans are so obviously foreign in comparison to other contingents that few Dunwickers could help but notice them. The leading mercantile interests spent hours debating the significance of the expedition's arrival and what they should do; about the only thing they could agree on was that a united front was essential. Most Dunwickers know very little of Thyatis, save that it is a powerful nation in the distant east.

The Thyatians are happy to open discussions with the Dunwickers. Given the city's reputation for being open to everyone, and the fact that it is independent and mercantile, they may try to use Dunwick as a transfer point for goods, or for conducting clandestine deals in the region. Dunwick could also become a useful location for acquiring goods from the far west.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could take part in the discussions with the leading merchants and the lord mayor, a high-ranking member of the LB Trading Company (which carries a lot of influence in Dunwick), or they can continue their explorations of the city.

Fortress Upon the Burial Vault Completed.

Location: Three miles west of the Town of Polakatsikes, Dominion of Polakatsikes, Heldannic Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: Lord Clenarius and the construction team report the completion of the main fortress built upon the burial vault. The gnomes have been of great assistance in devising traps and protection mechanisms. The construction was mainly carried out by many consecutive stoneform, ironform, steelform, and woodform spells cast by the high magist himself. (See Am. 9, Am. 27; Ei. 23.)

What This Means: To accelerate the construction, Lord Clenarius and Governor Wolfgang Stemmel agreed that some of the treasure from Pyris could be used. They were able to get some of the components for the spells Clenarius needed to use in great number.

What the PCs Can Do: They could be sent on a mission to bring back rare components needed for the magist to cast the needed spells.

The Price of Magic.

Location: Town of Tyjaret, Serpent Peninsula. SC

Description: Alatia is thrilled when she manages to buy an old spellbook out of a Sindhi tradesman. Despite the fact that the spells are of very low level (3rd level maximum), this is a good thing for the group, for they shall not be without magic anymore. Alatia writes down the few remaining spells in her memory for later use.

The group prepares for the trip to Kastelios the following day, and books its way on a large Thyatian ship heading to the Hinterlands. (See Sv. 19, Sv. 22; Ei. 25, Ei. 26.)

What This Means: Good fortune is back for the Heldannic agents. They are on their way home.

What the PCs Can Do: Feel free to add more encounters while they are in Tyjaret. There are a lot of side adventures to be run here, notably run-ins with parties of Jaibuli agents who have been forced to retreat miles from Tyjaret.

Sviftmont 26, AC 1019

Council Takes Matters into Its Own Hands.

Location: City of Vaisalian, Imperial Territory, Continent of Bellissaria, Nayce. AS

Description: After witnessing the failure of the various Naycese kingdoms to lift themselves out of the economic malaise, the Naycese Council unveils a wide-ranging plan to reinvigorate the economy.

First, citing the failure of many aristocrats to back its strategy to increase agricultural output, the council will appoint a select group of mages, assisted by the Naycese rulers, to administer the land allocation program, by which unemployed servants and freemen are paid to farm remote regions of Nayce. Those aristocrats who complied with the directive will be allowed to continue running farms on their lands as they see fit.

Second, the Naycese kingdoms are to undertake, with council assistance as necessary, projects to employ skilled workers. These projects should strengthen Nayce's economy, and should otherwise promote further development.

Finally, the council will order the imperial mints to mint more coins, to encourage people to buy more, and thereby strengthen the economy.

The announcements are applauded enthusiastically by King Corydon, Prince Olerandon, and Princess Deldruthynnia of Notrion, as well as King Teskilion of Dawnrim and Queen Gratia of Surshield all of whom are council members whose kingdoms have suffered considerably during the current period of economic malaise. The only representative of Turmoil, an enigmatic wizard known only as Darkcloak, chuckles loudly, and states that the people of Turmoil will do what they wish. King Villiun of Horken derides the measures, saying that his kingdom's struggling shipbuilding industry will be swept aside in favour of Surshield's, as there are simply not enough resources to accomplish everything the council proposes to do. He then accuses the "beggar kingdoms" of whining about their plights so loudly that they receive special treatment, while the other kingdoms make do with what they have. Tempers flare momentarily, but not before senior council members, including Tylion, call for order. The measures are approved by the end of the day. (See Sv. 18, Sv. 18; Ka. 11.)

What This Means: The Naycese Council knows all too well that the decentralised nature of Nayce, with its largely independent kingdoms, hinders any concerted effort to end the economic turmoil. Thus, it decided to take the lead, and impose those changes its members felt would be necessary to turn things around. The coming weeks and months will see the establishment of council-run farms throughout the Naycese kingdoms, with many of them located in Notrion, Dawnrim, and Lagrius. The crops grown will be those most likely to flourish in those regions, and the council hopes they will be established in time for next year's growing season.

The plan to undertake special projects will attract the most interest. The Naycese Council will receive many proposals in the near future from entrepreneurial Alphatians wealthy mundaners and aristocrats alike who would like to obtain a few, or a few hundred, extra hands to complete a specific pet project of theirs. Some of these projects will have merit, but others will be no different than those pursued by the elite for centuries.

The minting of more coinage will be accomplished by debasing the gold content in the crowns. In the short term, this will allow the mints to produce more coins without increasing their costs. In the longer term, however, the larger money supply could place inflationary pressures on the Naycese economy, which could raise prices even more. Only time will tell whether or not this will be a problem.

The discussions surrounding what to do about Nayce's situation underline the stresses that are developing within the Alphatian territories. Some kingdoms, such as Notrion, are seen by others as being nations of whiners people unwilling to work harder to get themselves out of financial trouble, and instead going to Ionace to demand extra money. The truth is, everyone is suffering to a greater or lesser extent; some are simply worse off than others right now.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs who rule a Naycese dominion will definitely be interested in what the council has decided to do, especially since these actions will affect their lands directly. The council might buy some of the PCs' lands to establish council farms, and perhaps use its political and magical power to "convince" the PCs to sell the land. Also, the projects announcement may attract the interest of wealthy PCs who would like to advance an idea.

Showdown on Itheldown Island.

Location: Itheldown Island, Lake Amsorak, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: Graylock, Shadow, Millington Vonaday, and their companions arrive on Itheldown Island. They come across hordes of demons and undead, but they are eventually able to make their way inside the cursed castle, as the hordes teeming around them seem to be uneasily held at bay by the protective magics of Graylock and the power of Millington Vonaday's holy symbol. It is clear that fighting the hordes of opposition would be certain death, so when Razrog reaches out with his powers and destroys the protective wards, the group almost panics, but is able to make its way into the lower dungeons, where they seal off the entrance, then fight their way to the basement where Henry Ithel once attempted to summon Razrog. The room is magically sealed off by ancient wards set up by Henry Ithel, but as a member of the Ithel family, Graylock is able to gain entrance through the use of a spell and a drop of his blood. Inside the sealed chamber, the group finally faces the fury of Razrog himself, who wastes no time in attacking the group. The group holds off Razrog as Graylock searches for the tome called The Throne of Dark Arts and eventually finds it. He is unable to find The Nefatrixis, however, since it is in Razrog's possession, but Shadow's abilities as a thief are helpful when she manages to steal it and throw it to her brother. With both items, Graylock can complete the ancient magics once begun by Henry Ithel and thus hold Razrog at bay. With the help of his companions, the group is eventually able to force Razrog back through the gate to the lower planes from which demons invaded. As Razrog's evil is banished, the dark magics that held the castle together begin to fail, and several of the crooked spires of Itheldown Castle tumble into the sea along with a good deal of the island itself. Graylock finds that the gate cannot be closed, however, since the centuries for which it has endured have apparently made it too strong. The only way it can be closed now is by destroying the gate from both sides at the same time. However, since Shadow has the ability to use magical scrolls as a thief, she can complete the ritual from Itheldown Island using The Throne of Dark Arts, while Graylock passes through the gate and uses his magic and The Nefatrixis from the lower planes. This way the gate is finally destroyed as the castle threatens to fall apart completely. The surviving group members barely escape the destruction alive. (See Sv. 3, Sv. 8; Ei. 1.)

What This Means: Razrog is defeated and the curse of Itheldown Island is lifted. Not all of Itheldown Island and its castle is gone, however; most of the island itself has survived, and the towers that formed the central parts of the castle also remain, though in poor condition. Given the reputation of the place, however, few sailors will dare to sail anywhere close to the place in the future. With Razrog gone, his surviving demonic hordes will spread and fight amongst themselves, and the undead will be released from his control and finally be able to rest. Itheldown Island could still be a dangerous place with some demons and undead still roaming about.

What the PCs Can Do: There is plenty of action here, but the DM should be aware that the opposition is both constant and deadly on the island. Once the group reaches the island, they will come under immediate attack before they can even leave their ship. The sailors will refuse to move close to the island, and the group will have to sail to shore by boat while keeping off demons testing their defences. On the island itself, Graylock's wards will protect the group from all sorts of demons and the undead remains of intrepid adventurers who have come to explore the island's mysteries in the past. High-level warriors will have become skeletal warriors under Razrog's command, for example, and since they have been coming for several centuries there will be many of them. Graylock's magical ward can be as effective or as limited as the DM prefers, to give the PCs a fighting chance for survival but with an appropriate level of difficulty. For example, the ward might keep demons at bay, but not undead. It should be obvious, however, that the group must focus on ignoring or avoiding as much opposition as possible and rush to confront Razrog himself instead. It should also be obvious that they must either defeat Razrog or perish if they fail, there will be no escape, as the group is cut off by the hordes roaming the island. Razrog knows his enemies are coming now, and PCs who decide to stand their ground and fight down all opposition are doomed, since the hordes will be endless. After hacking through hordes of demons and undead, it then gets worse, since the group must face Razrog himself. How the final battle takes place depends a bit on how powerful the DM determines the PCs to be. Basically, the PCs will be holding off Razrog and his hordes while Graylock and Shadow banish him and close the gate. Graylock will then realise that the centuries that have passed have stabilised the gate so much that it can no longer be closed from Mystara itself it must be closed from both sides at the same time, which means he must pass into the lower planes and then close the gate from there, while Shadow and Millington remain on Mystara to close the gate from that side. If the DM thinks the PCs can survive it, they should follow Graylock onto the lower planes and protect him from Razrog's demonic hordes while he completes the ritual and closes the gate. Graylock can then bring the PCs back to Mystara with his magic. The Ithel family doubtless has magical items and other treasures stored on the island that the DM can give to the PCs as a reward.

The Expedition Parts Ways.

Location: Valley of the Earthshakers. DV

Description: After having met the gnomes of Dwerrigg, the Thyatian expedition confers to discuss where it should go next. No one wishes to leave the vessel behind, or to leave it with a small crew while the bulk of the party ventures to parts unknown possibly never to return. Julius Ambrosius, therefore, decides to split his expedition, with a large part of the expedition sailing back out to sea, and the remainder (including himself) heading further inland and to the north, to a land known as the Kingdom of Niscosenia. (See Sv. 17, Sv. 24; Ei. 7, Ei. 22.)

What This Means: The gnomes of Dwerrigg have told the Thyatians about two interesting locations Niscosenia, and the Island of Arnath. The same impulses that drove Julius to sail to the ruined temple in the midst of the ocean are driving him to visit Niscosenia, and he cannot ignore them. Nevertheless, he is well aware of his duty to his emperor to document as much as possible of what he sees. Thus, he will take only a small party of followers with him, since he will be heading deeper into the Lost Valley. The remainder of the expedition will sail out to the coast once more, bearing all the information and samples collected thus far, as well as a copy of Julius's journal, should something untoward befall him. They will then sail northwards along the coast, continuing to survey the land in Julius's absence. Both parties will maintain contact via scrolls of communication.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are part of the expedition, the PCs will be presented with a choice trek inland to parts unknown with Julius, or return to the open sea to equally unknown regions. Depending on what sort of relationship they have with Julius, he might ask them to accompany him (especially if they were with him in the Mountain of Bones), but he will not force them.

Sviftmont 27, AC 1019

Into the Frozen Bogs...

Location: Bogs of southern Kaarjala, Kingdom of Kaarjala. NW

Description: A group of adventurers, who have heeded the Kaarjalan King's call for heroes to find his son, have reached the location where Prince Veikko disappeared. After scouting the area, they find signs of a struggle, and many old tracks heading south, deeper into the frozen bogs that mark the southern frontier of the kingdom. (See Sv. 13, Sv. 16; Ei. 2, Ei. 5.)

What This Means: The information provided by the Vaarana hunters who accompanied the prince on the day he was abducted led the adventurers to this location, but their tracking skills allowed them to spot the faded tracks. The adventurers will be heading beyond the borderlands of Kaarjala, into the frozen salt swamps purported to be the domain of a creature known as the Rimal Hag, a witch of great power.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could be the party in question. Whether or not they know about the Rimal Hag is another matter entirely.

A Feeling of Sliding.

Location: The Void. HW

Description: Apollo 1 has found a lovely island in the void, complete with plants and air. It even rotates along the long axis and creates true days and nights (though the crew fails to grasp how much it will delight Ardana, who retains memories from the outer world). After encounters with some inappropriate islands in the last sleeps, Kossan decides to land on this one, and Iris manages to land softly. Kossan and Xanax leave the ship to examine the terrain, but soon they discover that the gravity on this strange voidal body does not rotate together with the island. The ground becomes steeper very fast, and our two brave "voidonauts" are sliding toward the edge increasingly faster. Iris is able to take off in time, although it is a very narrow escape. Luckily enough, she also manages to find her drifting comrades before they pop the skyshield, and so Kossan and Xanax can enjoy the impressive sight of Apollo 1 floating closer to fetch them. The position of the island will be documented, but it is definitely not what they are seeking. (See Sv. 12, Sv. 14; Ka. 3, Ka. 6.)

What This Means: There are a lot of flying islands in the void but it seems to be very difficult to find the right one. Some already had to be excluded. This special one had a really new and bizarre problem though.

Topic of the Month

Wolfgang Stemmel

Wolfgang was born in AC 970 in Thurgau. His parents had just settled in the area for two years, coming from Hattias. They were modest, hard-working people who taught him to be proud of any achievement reached through hard work and merit. He is fairly plain-spoken and does not tend to put on airs. He entered the order as soon as he could in, AC 986, as a means of seeing the world. Throughout his long years of service in the order, he has acquired extensive combat experience, sometimes adventuring alone in the wilderness and under assumed identities. His faith was strengthened as years went by, since he escaped near-death situations on too many occasions to believe it was just luck. Wolfgang now sees himself a very pious member of the order, willing to spread justice and enlighten any people using the words of Vanya or the order's military might. Over the years he has proved himself to be a very efficient strategist and a natural born leader. He tends to be very cautious when dealing with the more zealous members of the order, since he has only disdain for the bigots who act too swiftly. His long talks with his personal friend and magist, Clenarius, and the recent visions he has had, led him to treat the Meghala Kimata Plains people with more trust and respect. He now wants to elevate them, and hopes that with their help he could spread Vanya's faith in Davania.

OD&D Stats: Level 23 Cleric. St 16, In 14, Wi 18, Dx 13, Co 14, Ch 17, AL N.

Elven chain mail +3, long sword +3 (+5 vs Undead or Enchanted Monsters) special power haste, Plate mail +3 (teleportation 1/day) (for battle use), ring of regeneration, rod of dominion. Wolfgang also has access to all the magical items ever seized by his armies under his command, yet they are not his property but the order's.

Wolfgang is of Hattian stock, and of average height. He has a fair skin tone, a strong build, pepper-and-salt hair, blue eyes, and wide brows. He is always dressed in uniform, and secretly wears a very thin but strong mail shirt under his clothes to avoid any stabbing. He also always carries a cureall potion with two doses in a small vial. Generally very formal when addressing anyone, he likes to know a lot of personal information concerning all of his officers. He rarely confides in anyone but his close friend and personal magist Clenarius. Ever since he started receiving strange and recurrent dreams he has become very concerned about the well-being of the native population of Polakatsikes. He and his best friend have great dreams for the region, which they want to see flourish under Heldannic rule.

Clenarius

Clenarius was born in BC 973 in Davania, in the newly arrived Kerendan tribe, under the rule of the Nithians. With his intelligence and natural intellectual abilities he became a scribe at the local library. His thirst for knowledge soon led him to long for more books to read and more knowledge to assimilate. He was brought to the Isle of Dawn by a Thothian wizard who recognised him as a very bright young man. Once in Thothia, the wizard took him as an apprentice and he rapidly learned the fundamentals of the magical arts. Then one day, around BC 950, Clenarius's master was attacked and defeated by a rival wizard, who wanted to seize his considerable collection of magical knowledge. Clenarius was no match for the rival archmage, who put him in a sort of temporal stasis, to be exhibited in his tower as a trophy. There he remained for a long, long time.

In the meantime, the Alphatians had strengthened their hold over their new territory in Mystara, the Nithian Empire had fallen, and the three tribes in Davania had been driven out by the Milenians, and their descendants founded the Thyatian Empire, which warred against Alphatia many times.

One day in AC 827 a party of adventurers discovered ancient ruins deep within the forests of the Aurora River Valley. There they dug and among many treasures and monsters they discovered a remarkably preserved body floating in mid-air in a large area which probably had been a feast hall centuries ago. There they accidentally triggered a sequence of spells which freed Clenarius from his life imprisonment. At first very disoriented, he soon came to and tried to communicate with the adventurers. Although he only spoke archaic forms of language, they managed to understand each other and he learned with surprise that he had spent more than a millennium trapped in this tower. He discreetly got his hands on the grimoire of the former master of the place and headed toward his former master's tower to pay him a last homage.

He worked some months in Edairo as a translator of ancient hieroglyphs and archaic languages and as a mapmaker to prepare the expedition toward his former master's abode. There he found the place buried under tons of earth, and overgrown by the jungle. Knowing that the rival wizard had not found and so had not taken the most valuable magic his master had gathered, he worked for weeks to uncover the ruins. His knowledge of the place and of the ancient writings helped him avoid deadly traps by chanting old poems written on the engraved stone walls. But his companions fell victim to undead attacks until he remained the only survivor. Then he felt compelled by a strong-willed entity to enter the tunnels and meet the master of the place. In a burial chamber, among dust and treasures scattered on the ground, he met what he found was his doom, an archlich one of the most powerful undead ever to be found on Mystara. He told the lich his reason for being there and that he wanted nothing more than to pay a last homage to his former beloved master. To his astonishment, the archlich turned out to be his former master, who had found no other way after his defeat several centuries ago but to seek lichdom to pursue his goal. Surprisingly, too, Clenarius asked the lich to complete his training, and it accepted. He learned to respect every creature living or undead as long as its deeds were not harmful to others.

Clenarius grew rapidly in power, having one of the most powerful spellcasters as a tutor, plus the help of the grimoire of the rival mage he took back with him. But the lich was magically compelled to remain in the vicinity of its former castle. Hence Clenarius acted as its spokesman and ambassador to the Thothian rulers for years. During one of his visits to Edairo a band of very experienced Alphatian adventurers broke in and shattered the lich's phylactery, causing its death. Upon his return, Clenarius stumbled onto the party leaving the place with its booty and he crushed them to the last using the most powerful and wicked spells he knew. His power was then diminished, since the use of some spells cost him a great deal of his personal energy. He then packed his belongings and departed for West Portage to embark for Thyatis where he had learned that his people now lived. Out of spite for the Alphatians who had killed his master he accepted a good position in the Thyatian army as a magical adviser and in AC 900 he helped conquer Traladara. This place, still very wild and untamed, he learned to cherish a lot. He never revealed his real age nor the fact that he had been taught by his archlich master arcane secrets to help him remain young and strong almost for ever. Several times per century, he changed both his name and his appearance and assumed new identities, to avoid drawing too much attention to himself.

Many times he worked as a renowned mapmaker, for he had travelled so extensively in his life that many places were familiar to him. His former master had also passed onto him a very convenient spell which allows someone to draw very precise maps of locations only observed through the use of scrying devices. His natural ability to draw, augmented by the spell effect, allowed him to create one of the most complete map libraries of Mystara, second only to that of Azlum Swith, the Alphatian wandering mage.

In AC 970 he joined Stefan Karameikos in the founding of the new grand duchy. He helped to clean up some remote places from many dangers and was finally awarded a dominion, just north of Penhaligon. During the first years, his barony prospered and some gold mines were dug in the surrounding hills. That was what attracted a mighty dragon: At dusk , one summer day, a huge wyrm came flying from the nearby mountains and spread havoc and death...

Clenarius hired dragonslayers, but none came back to claim the reward, and the dragon known as Myrthrin kept on harassing the barony. So Clenarius, fearing for his dominion's sake, took the matter in his own hands and hunted down the beast. He met it one morning outside a small fortified hamlet; from the highest tower, Clenarius challenged the dragon to a one-on-one battle. The battle was fierce because the dragon also was well versed in the arcane. Fire burst, lightning bolts surged, acid fell from the sky, after hours of cataclysmic magic release, hiding his exhaustion from the dragon, Clenarius offered the beast a deal:

"Hear me well, oh mighty Myrthrin! I shan't kill thee now with the most powerful spell known to man, for I was taught to respect life in all its forms. If thou shouldst willingly choose to let us live in peace, and remain loyal to your word, I shall grant thee lordship over the hills in the west that thou shalt rule as thou wishest. Thou canst keep for thy personal hoard one fifth of everything produced or traded in thy land. Maketh thy mind quickly, mighty Myrthrin, but wert thou to not agree to those terms, wouldest thou suffer even worse pain than which was inflicted by the Dragonlord unto your kin, for I have the power to summon his might against thee. What is thy choice, mighty Myrthrin?"

The great wyrm pondered for a time. He had no doubt that the mage had shown unexpected resistance to his full wrath and managed to demonstrate very rare or utterly unseen battle spells. He obviously had access to a great variety of spells. Being on the verge of exhaustion too, and not willing to admit it to a puny human wizard and to all the witnesses gathered at a safe distance, he accepted the deal out of doubt, for if the mage had the dreaded power of the Dragonlord he surely could try to steal it from him once he had gained his trust, and then he could easily become the most feared creature on Mystara:

"I shan't kill thee either, puny baron. Thou art wise to offer something of value to buy thy life out of my anger... I shall settle in those hills that I declare mine and where I shall be fed every week with fresh cattle. We shall meet in ten years in this very field to renew the terms of our deal."

In fact both opponents were exhausted to the point of fainting; they were able, in this way, to quit the field with honour. The dragon settled in the northern hills and was given a land in which he was his own master as long as he refrained from killing people unless attacked first.

The barony was wealthy and prosperous so the tribute to the dragon was higher than expected. With the gold he got he was able to purchase cattle and other services from merchants and local peasants. But his wealth also attracted many would-be dragon slayers and bounty hunters. Many were killed swiftly and the others barely escaped, and the treasure was growing steadily.

Ten years later, the day the battle should occur came and Clenarius met the mighty wyrm in the fields. The battle was even fiercer than before (if possible), but this time Clenarius, who had spent some time in Glantri studying dragon tactics, was able to soundly defeat the dragon. He once again offered him mercy in exchange for a new deal:

"From now on, thou shalt be a regular citizen of this barony, no more, no less. The hoard thou already hast gathered is thine for ever. Thou shalt make a living for thyself and in any honest way of thy liking. I can even offer thee a commanding position in my army. But like every other citizen, taxes thou shalt pay."

The dragon, openly defeated, was not pleased at all. He felt diminished, whereas he had always been treated with awe and fear beforehand. This was too much for him. He realised that he could never crush the mage and steal his precious spells for his own use, so he prepared himself to use his last breath even at the cost of his own life.

Clenarius uttered the most powerful spell of his repertoire and banished Myrthrin the Mighty from existence. Yet in doing so his own might again was diminished . His fame grew and more lands were awarded to him. Months later an even mightier dragon came to claim Myrthrin's hoard. He also found his doom battling with Clenarius, who once again was forced to use the costly battle spell. Soon it became clear that he would never be let at peace by dragons, especially renegades who wanted to make a name for themselves out of his death. So he staged a false demise at the hand of a powerful and phoney Glantrian wizard. He blasted into oblivion his newly built fortress, where Myrthrin's hoard and his private library were supposed to be held, and he disappeared, leaving the dominion to his son and two daughters.

He changed his appearance and took pleasure once again in an adventurous life for some time, wandering the Old World looking for adventure. He founded a company of adventurers and with their help he travelled a lot, enriching his spell collection and his historical knowledge and map library. There was nothing more interesting for him than original spells or information regarding long-forgotten artifacts. After forty years of adventuring, most of his friends had either settled or moved to other planes and some were dead. So he headed to the Principalities of Glantri, were he worked some time at the university as a historian and specialist of very obscure necromantic magic. His knowledge of long-lost secrets regarding necromancy (learned in the company of his archlich master) earned him respect from the Boldavians, who, when he retired, offered him a very cosy tower in the far east near the Heldannic border where he could further his research in this field, hoping to unveil some powerful and unknown necromantic magic. Yet his interest regarding magic and necromancy was purely intellectual and when he discovered that most of his discoveries had been used to further evil ends, he left the tower, but not without securing his studies and leaving misleading tracks.

Clenarius went into the mountains to seek peace and meditate upon the errors he had made; ridden with guilt, he openly prayed and asked the Immortals for a chance to redeem himself. The following night, he spotted a crumbled manor, where he met Wolfgang Stemmel, a promising Heldannic Knight who had been captured by a powerful vampire while seeking fame by pursuing undead in the region. The poor cleric had been chained to the walls in the dungeons and was being tortured by the undead. Clenarius destroyed the vampire and its pawns to the last, freed the cleric and torched the place. In the following months they befriended each other and Clenarius resumed adventuring, accompanying Wolfgang in his quests, mostly consisting in getting rid of undead in the western part of Heldann. He noticed that in the presence of Wolfgang, he did not feel the guilt as much as before, as if his friend had a special redeeming power over him. It was also at that time that he first experienced strange foretelling dreams. He hid his dreams from everyone but Wolfgang, who told him that Immortals such as the Lady Vanya sometimes used such means of communication with Their more faithful followers, especially those who had an important mission that could further Her ends. So he learned as much as he could about Vanya and meditated a lot upon his past deeds and their meaning in the light of Vanya's ways. Although he had never been very religious, he always had a strong morality and was not into evil doings.

Despite his being much more powerful than Wolfgang, he took pride into never showing off or using more magic than needed for the situation. Eventually he earned the trust of the Heldannic Order and was granted permission to join and assist in some missions to recover artifacts for the order. He is known in Heldann as "Wizard" or "Herr Wizard" for his immense knowledge regarding old spells and artifacts.

His daughter Alatia just recently sought and found him. He was very pleased to see her and share news of his relatives in Karameikos. He learned that his second daughter had been awarded a dominion in Norwold, and that things were going well for her. As for his grandson in Karameikos, he had inherited the family dominion.

When Wolfgang was assigned to Polakatsikes, Clenarius suspected Vanya's intervention and seized the opportunity to return to his motherland accompanied by his daughter.

Centuries had passed since his departure, and it was a great pain for him to see so much chaos in the region. Aided by his position of magist of Polakatsikes (even if technically he's more Wolfgang's personal magist) and member of the council of the city, he tried his best to bring a new era of prosperity to this part of Davania.

In the beginning of AC 1019 he seized the opportunity to lead the Heldannic embassy sent to his beloved Ilioloosti pleading for help in the war against Mivosia.

Far from the bigotry of some officers of the order, he secretly worked to undermine the influence of the more zealous and bloodthirsty Heldannic Knights. He also received strange foretelling dreams from Vanya which he has not fully managed to decipher. He now thinks that Vanya may have guided his path to Davania so as to establish a more gentle grasp over the native Milenian population.

In summer AC 1019, in Polakatsikes, he defeated a dragon-mounted archmage who was leading the siege of the city. Later that day he triggered a long-lost artifact to destroy a colossus launched at the gates. He once again lost some inner power, but since he did that out of sacrifice for his fellow Milenian people, some of his former might was restored to him by Vanya Herself.

He tried to rally the zealous factions when he planned the foundation of Vanyapolis, in the honour of the Lady (who helped him redeem himself for his errors), who, he hopes, will work to bring peace and prosperity to the Milenian people, under Heldannic guidance.

He has a very deep interest for the recovered secret from the lost city of Pyris. He feels that they could be of great importance in the years to come not only for the Heldannic Order but also to all humans in the region and even in the world.

He is now considering embarking on the path of the Dynast, probably as a king-maker for he thinks that the region would need a dedicated Immortal patron to protect this part of Davania from the chaos he has witnessed in his strange and latest dreams.

OD&D Stats: Level 36 Wizard. St 9, In 18, Wi 17, Dx 13, Co 16, Ch 16, Al N.

Light olive skin tone, strongly built, pepper-and-salt hair, green eyes, wide brows. Average height Thyatian. Dressed very commonly except on special occasions or to honour a special guest, yet always wears an old Nithian bronze collar around his neck.

On every occasion he carries a very extensive set of rods, wands and staffs at hand to avoid using his own spells (his personal experiences lead him to believe that showing off his magical might only attracts the attention of potential powerful rivals). He loves to spend hours mapping or studying ancient maps. Sometimes reclusive, he's always ready to enlarge his spell collection or simply to share news from the remote places. There are few places on Mystara he hasn't heard about. He can be a generous source of information for any lawful- or neutral-aligned party of adventurers. He likes to assume many identities to gather information or to manipulate groups of people to further his own ends. He and his best friend Wolfgang have great plans for Polakatsikes's future.