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Thaumont

Thaumont 1, AC 1019

Canolbarth Forest Returns to Life.

Location: Canolbarth Forest, Colony of Aengmor, Shadow Elves' Territories. OW

Description: It's First Day of Spring for fair elves, and Discovery fasti day for the shadow elves, and for the first time in centuries the two elven races celebrate both festivals together in Alfheim-turned-Aengmor, particularly near Rafielton and the woods around the Lakes of Selinar (where most Alfheimers have settled), where the forest has been growing more and more alive and well every day, thanks to the combined work of fair elven treekeepers and shadowelf shamans. The fairies are also returning to Canolbarth, awing the shadow elves. (See Fl. 12, Ya. 5.)

What This Means: In the aftermath of last year's successes, many more magic points have been reactivated around the forest, and the blight is finally ending. The two races of elves cannot deny that the forest seems more and more alive near Rafielton and in the woods of Selinar, where fair and shadow elves now live alongside each other, a token of the elven Immortals' approval of the sharing of the land. After years of grudges and millennia of separation, the elves can begin the long process of becoming one people again. But in the shadows, Alfheim Avengers and shadow elves corrupted by Atzanteotl will do everything to disrupt the peace.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could be very busy preventing the resurgence of conflict, especially if evil-minded elves attempt to reactivate the Bad Magic Points.

Arrival in Eagret.

Location: City of Eagret, Kingdom of Greenspur, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: The crew of the Island delivers Wakzun at the temple of Palartarkan and starts a lengthy shopping trip. Wakzun is welcomed by the temple's priests and introduced into the life of a novice. (See Va. 20, Va. 25; Th. 13, Th. 22.)

What This Means: In a land like Alphatia where so few people decide to become priests, every willing candidate is welcomed. The priests' task will be to find out whether Wakzun has the necessary qualities to become a priest.

What the PCs Can Do: Members of the Island's crew will have a busy time fetching all the necessary items their friends back in the Tower of Zynillith will need.

Citizen Women.

Location: City of Beitung, Celestial Domains, Exarchate of Ochalea, Thyatian Empire. SD

Description: The decision of the exarch to officially make women full citizens is met with stiff opposition in the courts by conservative bureaucrats, nobles and clerics. Not to be dissuaded, the exarch furthermore announces his intentions to place limitations on the practice of polygamy since he doubts any mortal man is saintly enough to care properly for the number of wives reported to be in the households of some nobles, traders and high clerics. (See Va. 6; Th. 6, Th. 11.)

What This Means: The opening of the Ochalean society did not occur only on the trade front, but also affected its culture. The subservient role given the women is deeply anchored in Ochalean society, and any attempt to improve their status is bound to be met with a lot of resistance from the conservative Ochaleans.

Swampy Ruins Discovered.

Location: Region of Guadalimas, Savage Baronies. SC

Description: Following the directions of a group of Narvaezan refugees, the Thyatian expedition comes across a site that was obviously inhabited at some point in the distant past. Although mostly submerged in brackish water and overgrown with vines and other growth, the remnants of pillars can be found, as well as building foundations and a pier. Fascinated by the find, the Thyatians begin exploring the site. (See Va. 22, Va. 26; Th. 2, Th. 27.)

What This Means: These ruins are the remnant of a Nithian colonial port city, which served as a local hub of commerce during the height of the colony's power. At that time, the Guadalimas was a fertile river delta; it has since become a stagnant swamp. In the years since that time, the ruins have been picked clean of almost anything of material value, but there is still a wealth of information to be found for those who take the time to look. Paulus and the rest of his party will spend several days here, searching the site as thoroughly as possible its exact location will be documented for further investigation later.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs can help investigate the ruins, or they can protect the site from bandits or monsters who might be attracted by the commotion. There may also be an unpleasant surprise or two hidden in the ruins, too.

Thaumont 2, AC 1019

Cristobal Enters the Realm of Barimoor.

Location: Village of Kirkuk, Emirate of Alasiyan, Emirates of Ylaruam. OW

Description: While his master, Mujibur, is enthralled with matching wits and stories with Khalid "Tale-Teller," Cristobal enters the underground realm of Barimoor. (See Nu. 15, Va. 11; Th. 20, Fl. 25.)

What This Means: Cristobal, the scion of Mujibur, has been warned not to enter Barimoor's realm alone, as Mujibur is well aware of the many dangers under the sands of Ylaruam. Cristobal is just eager to prove his worth, and so leaves secretly.

What the PCs Can Do: Cristobal is an arrogant foreigner from the Savage Coast, but a devout follower of al-Kalim. He has accompanied Mujibur for the last eight years, and routinely takes many unnecessary risks; unfortunately, Mujibur is occupied and will not be present to bail him out, leaving the task in the hands of the PCs.

The Welcoming Committee.

Location: Region of Guadalimas, Savage Baronies. SC

Description: While exploring part of the ruins, Paulus Angelinus and his party are attacked by a small band of bandits. Expecting easy prey, the bandits are surprised by the discipline of the Thyatian marines accompanying the party, as well as their effectiveness in combat. After a brief, but furious struggle, the bandits retreat, leaving roughly one quarter of their number both dead and wounded behind them. Losing no time, Paulus orders the survivors interrogated, and from them he learns of the location of the bandits' hideout.

Within hours, a force of marines and adventurers descends on the hideout (an overgrown, ruined Nithian tower), and wages a pitched battle to clear out the occupants. Some of the bandits take up positions on the walls and loose crossbow bolts at their opponents, while the remainder tries to direct their opponents to areas where only a handful can attack them at a time. Despite their best efforts, the bandits are overcome, and the survivors are led back to the Thyatian camp in chains. (See Va. 26, Th. 1; Th. 27, Fl. 12.)

What This Means: Although the Guadalimas is unclaimed land, bandits use it as a staging area to launch raids on outlying settlements in Narvaez and Texeiras. In exploring the Nithian ruins, the Thyatians attracted the attention of the local group of bandits, who thought they might get some easy loot from the foreigners. Unfortunately for them, they did not notice the detachment of marines. The two skirmishes resulted in the deaths of five marines and 16 bandits, but the expedition now has over 30 prisoners, who will be questioned concerning the whereabouts of other bandits, and then put to work excavating the portion of the ruins near a larger river.

What the PCs Can Do: If present, the PCs will likely be fighting the bandits. The encounters should not be too difficult; the bandits are not well armed or armoured, and have little discipline.

Thaumont 3, AC 1019

Royal Manoeuvring.

Location: City of Zeaburg, Kingdom of Ostland. OW

Description: King Finn Hordson rewards two Ostlanders for "bravery and fortitude" by appointing them as thanes, granting each one of the islands between Thyatis's Barony of Canium and the County of Ersenbal. The western island, now the Thanedom of Huninhold, is granted to Vin Svenson, while the other, the Thanedom of Muninhold, is given to Rolf Dirkson. Oddly, both men are known to be traditionalists, neither too keen on the new ways that Queen Yrsa introduced into Ostland.

The king grants them leave to rule their dominions independently, without reference to royal authority, as colonies of Ostland but not beholden to the kingdom. He welcomes their friendship but does not demand their obedience. (See Va. 5; Fl. 21, Kl. 1.)

What This Means: Some wonder if the king is turning against the policies of his mother by rewarding her opponents. But it was Yrsa who advised him to make these appointments. Firstly, it will help defuse opposition to the king, as rewarding the other side in this way will mollify them somewhat. Secondly, this is a good way to remove opponents without bloodshed. Hundreds of Ostlanders will follow each thane to settle the new colonies. Almost all of them will be hard-line traditionalists, leaving Ostland to the reformers. By letting the colonies be independent, the king ensures that whatever actions they take which he will not have any control over in any case will not be his responsibility to deal with, and Ostland will not be blamed.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters of a more traditionalist bent might find good opportunities as followers and right-hand men of either of the thanes, with new opportunities for raiding now that they are diminishing in Ostland.

Now This Is More Like It!

Location: Southern coast of Island of Oceania. DV

Description: After three peaceful days of sailing, the Thyatian expedition rounds the southern tip of Oceania, and sees the overgrown ruins of what can only be a port city! Excited, Julius Ambrosius orders his crew to set a course for the dead city, managing to drop anchor at one of the still intact stone piers. In short order, a landing party is sent ashore to investigate the ruins. (See Va. 24, Va. 27; Th. 8, Th. 10.)

What This Means: Julius has found the ruins of an ancient Oceanian port town. The party sent ashore could encounter any number of wild animals, undead, or perhaps small bands of humanoids. They are not likely to run into any night dragons, as those creatures tend to inhabit the central mountain range of the island. This event has been left open-ended, to allow the DM to insert a side adventure of his or her choosing. Likewise, the DM is encouraged to develop suitable treasures (if any) for the PCs, who are assumed to be part of any landing party.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs are natural candidates for this landing party.

Nightstalkers.

Location: Hinterlands, Thyatian Empire. DV

Description: A group of elite Thratians, the Nightstalkers, is formed to resist Thyatian expansion in Davania. They are organised like a large adventuring party, and dedicate themselves to fighting against what they see as the oppression of their people. They operate primarily at night in the jungles on the frontier, but occasionally strike into deeper parts of the Hinterlands, even the back alleys of Raven Scarp itself. (See Fe. 14, Fy. 21.)

What This Means: For a long time the Thyatians have had the upper hand in the Hinterlands, driving the native Thratians who had difficulty coming up with a way of fighting back before them. But the unconventional methods used by the Nightstalkers prove troublesome to the Thyatians. Not strong enough to tackle the empire head on, the Nightstalkers, and other Thratian groups that soon form to emulate them, ambush Thyatian patrols and frontier outposts, causing a steady trickle of casualties and putting fear into the heart of Thyatian soldiers, who become reluctant to venture out at night. If this continues, large areas of the Hinterlands may be made unsafe for the Thyatians and the Thyatianized Hinterlanders. Or at least that's what the leader of the Nightstalkers, Hedrick Son of Maug, hopes.

What the PCs Can Do: Thratian PCs, or PCs who simply oppose the Thyatian Empire or support the Thratians, might follow the Nightstalkers' example, raiding Thyatian outposts, ambushing Thyatian patrols, and gathering information to help such attacks succeed. Pro-Thyatian PCs might try to confront the Nightstalkers, or one or more of the other Thratian groups, and try to put an end to the attacks or at least slow them down.

Thaumont 4, AC 1019

The Death of Agostino di Malapietra?

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: At the Malapietra estate in the capital, not a week after a luxurious reception held by Lucrecia di Malapietra, the de facto ruler of House Sirecchia, is entertaining a few old friends and Caurenzan allies, including Signor Antonio di Tarento, the new Marquis of Dunvegan, and Signor Griseo Fulvina, Viscount of Verazzano; several visiting dignitaries from the Thyatian Empire are also in attendance. A mysterious carriage and a train of heavily armed retainers arrives, and out steps Agostino di Malapietra, Lucrecia's long estranged younger brother.

Signor Agostino forces entrance into his family residence and demands audience with La Signora Lucrecia. Without preamble, Agostino accuses Lucrecia of murdering Signor Innocenti di Malapietra, the mad Visconte di Sirecchia, and keeping the death secret, so that she can maintain her hold of House Sirecchia at the parliament. Agostino threatens exposure and demands she abdicate in his favour. Despite the presence of her distinguished Caurenzan and Thyatian audience (or perhaps, because of it), Signora Lucrecia decides to confront her brother with biting candour and uncharacteristic straightforwardness. The impassioned exchange of words quickly turns violent; deadly magic begins to fly, and Agostino's private army make their stand.

But no sooner has the duel begun that Agostino freezes in place and begins to petrify from the feet upwards. Agostino tries to free himself with magic, but his spellcasting is foiled when the air is suddenly filled with bat-like earth fundamentals. Caught unaware, Agostino's mercenaries also find themselves sinking into the floor of fine Caurenzan marble. Finally, two large stone statues of Principe Innocenti and their father, Principe Mario di Malapietra, come to life from both sides, and crush Agostino and his crew under their large stony fists.

Later that day, Princess Dolores Hillsbury announces at the parliament that Signora Lucrecia di Malapietra has just escaped an attempt at her life by her murderously insane brother Agostino di Malapietra. Signor Antonio di Tarento attests to the veracity of this event, but the one other witness, Visconte Griseo Fulvina, is not present nor represented at the House of Lords. (See Nu. 4, Va. 27;Fl. 22, Fl. 26.)

What This Means: Ever since Fort Ylourgne was enfeoffed as a barony in AC 1006, and Agostino's assignment as Castellan of Ylourgne was revoked, he had been incommunicado from the rest of the Malapietras; not the least of his reasons was that Lucrecia made an attempt at his life. Agostino had been hiding incognito at Castelbianco, with the help of his friend and master shapechanger, Signor Cesare Fulvina, son of the Viscount of Verazzano. But with rumours of Innocenti's death, Agostino decided to return and make his claim to the rulership of Sirecchia.

Signora Lucrecia, though surprised at Agostino's inopportune reappearance and uncharacteristic barefaced attack the Malapietras have always preferred the underhanded subtleties of assassination and poisoning was not unprepared to deal with him directly and forcefully, with her powerful elemental earth magic. Politically, Lucrecia's allies were prepared to lend legitimacy to Agostino's killing.

However, one unexpected turn led to another. Expecting that his sister would greet his arrival with traps and deadly enchantments, Agostino did not make the bold and public appearance at the Malapietra estate. Instead, it was Cesare Fulvina who posed as him and presented the ultimatum to the silver-tongued sister and ultimately met an untimely demise. This is one final surprise that a much-aggrieved Signor Griseo Fulvina would only discover later.

What the PCs Can Do: With all the rival factions in this Glantrian power play, PCs with any Caurenzan connection will find themselves playing very active roles. Both Agostino and Lucrecia will need bodyguards, men-at-arms, spies, and assassins to play against each other. Lucrecia's ally, Princess Dolores Hillsbury, will send her agents, both covert and open, to ensure Lucrecia retains her power, as will Signor Antonio di Tarento, with his assassins from the Unseen Hand (his loyalty lies more with Princess Dolores, rather than Lucrecia). On the other hand, Agostino has an ally by circumstance in the Fulvina wizards, a family of experts in shapechanging magic, who will want vengeance for Cesare's death.

There are other Caurenzan and Glantrian factions with some stake in this matter who have yet to make their play, so behind-the-scenes schemes, espionage, assassination, and secret sorceries will be plentiful!

Stowaways in Kastelios.

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

Description: The two ships of Wilhelm Folgen's expedition leave Kastelios after a stop of a couple of days spent searching for information and sea maps for the long voyage still ahead. Just a little after their departure, the crew of the Red Maid find some stowaways on board, a group of Ierendi adventurers. (See Nu. 3, Va. 2; Fl. 13, Fl. 16.)

What This Means: The adventurers hid in the ship, while they were escaping from the guards of Kastelios, hoping to return to Ierendi or anywhere in the Known World. Once more down on their luck, they had no idea that these ships were headed for an unexplored part of Davania, rather than going back to the Old World! Wilhelm orders them to be imprisoned in the ship's brig.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are the adventurers they will begin a long voyage, in the ship's brig, to the wilds of Davania. After some days maybe they should be able to persuade the Heldanners to let them out, or maybe not. If the PCs are part of the ship's crew, they could be the ones who discover the stowaways.

Juggernaut versus Petunias.

Location: Estate of Dentarthadint, near Town of Tirenlos, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: The construction team has reached the estate of Dentarthadint. As agreed, work on the canal is to be discontinued at the estate, and the great magician is to construct this section himself. Claudia has no desire to stop working, though, and she keeps on digging dangerously closer to the beds of petunias Dentarthadint loves so dearly. The work crew tries to stop her, and the chief overseer is called. Inevitably Dentarthadint learns about the menace to his beloved flower beds, and demands that the juggernaut be stopped. Zas Ubul assures the mage that his men are doing their very best and that they will stop Claudia before she rolls over the aristocrat's prized garden. Dentarthadint does not believe him, however, and starts battling the unstoppable juggernaut.

Such constructs are tough though, and nothing really seems to work. Finally he casts a devastating meteor swarm and Claudia comes to a halt. At last she turns around and rolls back, finally back under control. Dentarthadint remains alone at the place of his victory, smiling, but then he realises that his beloved petunias have been turned to charcoal by one of his own meteors. He wants to kill Zas Ubul who appears to have left silently.

Later this day, Dentarthadint demands compensation for his burned petunias, but Zas Ubul rejects this demand and turns over the whole affair to his legal representative. (See Va. 15, Va. 27; Th. 6; Th. 25.)

What This Means: The juggernauts provided by Bleek and Daker are known to be temperamental and therefore somewhat unreliable, an unfortunate side effect of the potent magics imbued into the golems. Of course it is Zas Ubul's responsibility to pay for any damage his juggernauts inflict, but since the flowers have been destroyed by Dentarthadint himself this promises to be an interesting legal affair.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs employed by Dentarthadint might be instructed to investigate the project, to determine whether Zas Ubul has any plans to circumvent the agreement that was reached last year concerning how the canal project would progress over the great wizard's estate. The Grand Council member is truly furious this time, and may take such extreme measures as showing up at a council meeting to raise the matter a notable feat for him, since he rarely leaves his estate.

Strongholds Reinforced, but Is It Enough?

Location: Towns of Klevermund and Kammin, Territory of Heldann, Heldannic Empire. OW

Description: Following orders issued by Ordensmeisterin Anna von Hendriks, improvements to fortifications around the port town of Kammin, begun last year [Kaldmont, AC 1018. Ed.] continue at an even greater pace. In addition, the rapidly growing port town of Klevermund, located on the eastern shore of the Heldland Peninsula, is now home to hundreds of engineers and labourers, who begin expanding the docklands and building more massive fortifications. (See Nu. 4, Va. 27; Th. 27, Fl. 6.)

What This Means: Forces loyal to Heinrich Stra▀enburger hold the ports of Landfall, Forton, and Neuhafen all of which are deep water, and have the capacity to hold many ships. The only thing keeping Stra▀enburger's forces from sailing the Alphatian Sea with impunity is Anna's hold on Kammin and Klevermund; together, these ports can sustain a fleet large enough to patrol the Strait of Kammin, thereby bottling up Stra▀enburger's small navy. Because of the obvious strategic significance of these towns, their fortifications must be built up as much as possible.

What the PCs Can Do: Although it is unlikely that the PCs will be involved in the actual infrastructure enhancements to either town, they may be given the task of ferreting out enemy spies and the like.

Thaumont 5, AC 1019

New Minister of Magic Appointed.

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: After several interviews of candidates, King Stefan Karameikos names Claransa the Seer Minister of Magic to replace Terari, the famous Alphatian wizard who left his position to return to Nayce.

Claransa the Seer is a famous Karameikan diviner, who was the second most important figure at the Magicians' Guild the major centre for magical knowledge in Karameikos before the founding of the Karameikan School of Magecraft, led by Teldon and has travelled to the mysterious Hollow World. An accomplished wizard, she has accepted to settle, at least for a while, rather than continue her travels. Her Karameikan origins, and her frequent contacts with Alphatians in Norwold where she briefly held a dominion, or more recently aboard the Concordia should come in handy to deal with the variety of magics present in Karameikos. (See Th. 15, Fl. 14.)

What This Means: After a lot of information gathering and interviews, Queen Olivia chose Claransa, a Karameikan of mixed ancestry who understands the Alphatian mindset. Since Terari's surprising departure from the kingdom, the queen has been increasingly suspicious of the Alphatians living in Karameikos, especially the wizards, hence her choice. It was not too difficult then to steer her royal husband toward the same conclusion.

A Diplomat Returns.

Location: City of Athenos, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: Millington Vonaday, a diplomat of the Darokin Diplomatic Corps (DDC), arrives home from his former assignment in Ierendi, where he has been on active duty for seventeen years. After some welcoming formalities, he immediately arranges for travelling to the capital. (See Nu. 3; Th. 14, Ya. 26.)

What This Means: Vonaday has returned because he found clues to the riddle of Itheldown Island in Lake Amsorak last year. He has long been trying to solve the riddle, but all previous attempts to uncover more about the matter ended with adventurers disappearing when going to the island or similar failures. A visit to Ierendi's Honor Island gave him some new clues to pursue last year, and since his assignment to Ierendi was ending anyway, he decided to return home to explore the matter further.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are returning from Darokin, they could meet and travel with Millington. That would be a good opportunity for a few encounters at sea and on the road with Millington, who will soon get involved with plenty of adventure.

Thaumont 6, AC 1019

Petitions for No Change.

Location: Exarchate of Ochalea, Thyatian Empire. SD

Description: Numerous noble parties and interests begin a process of petitioning the royal courts to renegotiate the terms of Ochalean membership in the Thyatian Imperium. With their monies and influence the nobles ensure that theirs are the petitions that are heard first, last and most often, thereby dragging the royal courts to a virtual standstill. (See Th. 1; Th. 11, Th. 13.)

What This Means: Although the imperium has brought new wealth to Ochalea, not everyone is happy with the opening of the Ochalean society to foreign influence, which they view as a threat to their traditional way of life. Ochaleans have always been pressed to adapt to the two vast empires that surround them, and as a consequence have established a very structured and unchanging society. Maybe it is the collapse of Alphatia, or the wind of change in Thyatis, but the events that have shaken the rest of the world and left Ochalea unmoved have begun to infiltrate Ochalean society, to the displeasure of some. The increase in the presence of foreigners, albeit mostly traders, and the influx of new ideas that run counter to those of the Ochalean culture most noticeably, the place of women in society are seen by many as destabilising and undesirable.

Norwold Mines.

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

Description: In order to alleviate the problem of the growing number of impoverished, unemployed commoners, the Naycese Council proposes to begin prospecting the mountain ranges of Norwold. Where deposits of common or precious ores are found, mining towns will be set up by shipping entire groups of commoners with mining equipment. Any metal thus mined will be very useful throughout Nayce, where metal is scarce since the Alphatian mainland sank, and Esterhold's mines were lost to war and the Jennites. King Ericall's representative fights such a project, citing Alpha's distinctive laws regarding commoners, and the uneasy balance between the regional powers, but to no avail. (See Nu. 13, Nu. 21; Th. 19, Th. 22.)

What This Means: The council is trying to find solutions to the deteriorating economic and social situation in Nayce. Norwold is, in theory, owned by the Alphatian Empire, and therefore by Nayce. Norwold is also a vast wilderness, with many untapped resources. While timber is of little interest to Nayce, the mountains show great potential to supply Nayce with the ores it is lacking. Thyatian and Minrothaddan merchants certainly supply the metals Nayce needs at a premium, of course but with large numbers of unemployed commoner labour and promising mountain ranges, why not set up their own operations instead?

Of course, the situation is not that simple, as the Alphan representative tries to explain vainly. Firstly, where mines are known to exist they are already exploited by whoever controls them Alphatians, dwarves, local Antalian tribes, or any of the uncountable number of local petty nobles. Certainly new mines could be opened, but Norwold is a dangerous, cold land, with many hostile tribes and warlords, not to mention monsters and dragons. There is also an uneasy truce between the Alphatian dominions, the Heldannic Knights, the new Thyatian dominions, the dragons, and the various petty warlords, which might be upset by the Nayce's project. In addition, King Ericall is not a spellcaster and there is no legal distinction within his kingdom between aristocrats and commoners. Any attempt to forcefully bring commoners from other kingdoms may therefore cause turmoil in Alpha.

What the PCs Can Do: The council will be looking for prospectors and in the Norwold region, they had better be tough, armed groups. Norwold is a high-level setting, and the PCs may have to fight with weapons or otherwise tough opponents, including dragons. It is possible that the PCs will try to use this opportunity to claim lands for themselves, in a second wave of dominion-building in Norwold, with Nayce nicely providing the subject settlers if the PCs are successful.

Wilhelm Works.

Location: Canal Construction Site, North of Town of Tirenlos, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Bleek arrives with Wilhelm, the earth-moving golem that will be added to Zas Ubul's magical construct workforce. On her way back home she has to take with her the damaged Claudia. (See Va. 27, Th. 4; Th. 25, Fl. 10.)

What This Means: Dentarthadint was not able to destroy Claudia, but he has damaged her and she needs some repairs.

Tha-to.

Location: Caves of Fang Cave Clan, Lands of the Brute-Men. HW

Description: The clan's mood is dark, as no dragon has been spotted in the surrounding region despite searches by scouting parties. Ka-ro is ostracised by his kinsfolk. (See Nu. 26, Nu. 27; Th. 11, Th. 14.)

What This Means: While it may have been seen as good news, as the arrival of a dragon could have been devastating to the clan, there remained the artifact that Ka-ro found. So, not able to dismiss his story as made-up, and with no evidence of a dragon or other large flying predator in the vicinity, the Brute-Men racked their primitive brains in search of an explanation. Since Ka-ro said he never clearly saw the creature, speculations abounded about the creature's nature. The Brute-Men's imagination is not the most limited part of their intellect (which allowed them to develop rudimentary artistry), and somehow the name of Tha-to (Thanatos) became whispered.

Thaumont 7, AC 1019

A Dark Disturbance.

Location: Caverns below the Island of Ionace, Nayce. AS

Description: A group of adventurers exploring "the world's greatest dungeon" in the caverns of "monster island" (Ionace) disturb some monsters that would have better been left alone. They encounter a large number of skeletal dwarves, who immediately attack and then pursue them. The adventuring party loses several of its members before the survivors decide to run, but though they run back toward the surface, they hear the skeletons following them relentlessly all day. (See Ya. 5, Fy. 19.)

What This Means: The skeletal dwarves are the remains of a group of dwarves who "went deep" to seek shelter when Alphatia was destroyed. Unfortunately they chanced upon a group of dusanu, who managed to infect a good number of them. The dusanu is a Mystaran monster, also known as the rot fiend, which actually consists of a colony of spores infecting a humanoid or similar creature, allowing those spores to form a collective group mind, which animates the body and makes it appear to be alive (or rather undead, given the appearance). The adventurers are unaware of this, but it is actually highly unusual to encounter such a large concentration of dusanu in one place, and this might hint at some greater mystery behind the infestation.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are not the very adventurers who find and then flee from the dusanu, they will certainly meet them soon enough if they are exploring the caverns beneath Ionace the dusanu reproduce by spreading the infection to humanoid victims, and having been stuck in the dark for years, the monsters are now hungry to spread and multiply. Since the fleeing adventurers are returning to the surface, they will be showing the dusanu the way up, which means they will soon come across other adventurers exploring the area. The PCs should be wary, since there are hundreds of dwarven dusanu now moving toward the surface.

It's Atruaghin Day for the Tiger Clan, Too.

Location: Tiger Clan Lands, Atruaghin Territories. OW

Description: This Atruaghin Day, usually celebrated anywhere in Atruaghin lands but the Tiger Clan's, riots erupt in several villages against priests and followers of Atzanteotl. King Naravipa Dagger Tooth and the priesthood of Danel Tigerstripes support the popular uprising with the aid of the Church of Atruaghin, and after one day of disorder the Church of Atzanteotl is officially prohibited and forced into hiding in all the lands of the Tiger Clan. (See Kl. 13, Fe. 3.)

What This Means: After the disastrous war of AC 1015, the Children of the Tiger have had enough of the Church of Atzanteotl, and particularly Danel Tigerstripes has had enough of His former patron.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could fight against powerful priests or followers of Atzanteotl, maybe as adventurers or DDC agents sent to the aid of the Tiger Clan.

Thaumont 8, AC 1019

On to Everfeed.

Location: Eastern coast of Island of Oceania. DV

Description: After having searched the ruined Oceanian city, the Thyatian expedition heads southeast, to the mysterious Island of Everfeed. (See Va. 27, Th. 3; Th. 10, Th. 14.)

What This Means: Julius Ambrosius learned much of what the Manakarans knew of their former home, and thus he knew it was a dangerous place certainly not a place to visit with a relatively small party. His interest was piqued more by tales of the "spirit-haunted" Island of Everfeed, and stranger lands further to the southeast.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are higher level, they might be able to persuade Julius to spend more time in Oceania, since they might be better able to handle the island's dangers.

Civilization at Last!

Location: City-State of Ilioloosti, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: The plenipotentiary messengers from Polakatsikes reach Ilioloosti at sunset. They are fatigued after more than twenty days on horseback. They are informed that they will be received first thing in the morning by the authorities. (See Va. 10, Va. 11; Th. 9, Th. 10.)

What This Means: Avoiding the regular trails has slowed the messengers and they had to find their way in the wild with only old maps at their disposal. Each group of messengers comprises both Heldannic Knights and Meghalans.

What the PCs Can Do: Prepare for tomorrow's meeting.

Thaumont 9, AC 1019

Plea for Polakatsikes.

Location: City-State of Ilioloosti, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: The plenipotentiaries are received by the Ilioloostian council members to discuss the events related to war around Polakatsikes. The council members mainly ask questions to plenipotentiary of Milenian stock to be assured that they are not used as pawns by the Heldannic Knights, whose real intentions in the region have never been clear.

By the end of the day, the council members tell the messengers they need to take a couple of days to ponder things and come to a decision. In the meantime, they have the right to visit the city as long as they are escorted by a squad of "guides." (See Va. 10, Th. 8; Th. 10, Th. 12.)

What This Means: Ilioloosti is located far from the battleground and yet the effects of war have been heavily felt there too. Mivosia has always been a thorn on Ilioloosti's side and the events of last year [see Fe. 17, AC 1018. Ed.] have proved that the Mivosians cannot be trusted and will certainly turn their eyes towards Ilioloosti once they are finished with the Heldannic Knights and have secured their new conquests. The council members have been moved by the words of the Meghalans, who are Milenians just like them, and who suffer. They now have to figure out a way to intervene in the conflict without risking too much. They also have to think about the crisis in the Amalur Lowlands, and they must protect their own people first.

What the PCs Can Do: Enjoy the tour, see what Milenians accomplished in their glory, and maybe uncover Mivosian spies and expose them.

Thaumont 10, AC 1019

Knives in the Night.

Location: City-State of Ilioloosti, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: In the darkest hours of the night, the inn where the messengers have been installed is attacked and set aflame by cloaked figures. The Heldannic messengers manage to escape and save the other people present at the inn. At dawn the next morning the inn in nothing but ashes and smoke. (See Th. 8, Th. 9; Th. 12, Th. 13.)

What This Means: The Mivosian network is still active in the city. While dormant for some time, it seized this opportunity to strike at the hated Heldannic Knights. It is not overly difficult for the organised Heldannic party members to help everyone get out of the inn safely. There is only one casualty, a cloaked figure whose identification might take some time but whose goals were clear since he covered the escape of his fellows and fell to the blades of the knights.

What the PCs Can Do: A good opportunity for the PC to have some sport fighting high level assassins and try to save the inn's patrons from the fire.

The Horde Reaches Sablestone.

Location: Principality of Sablestone, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: Over the past week, residents in the westernmost frontier territories of Glantri have reported numerous tremors and landslides, destroying lives and property in Sablestone, the villages of Estin and Kern, and even the Barony of Oxhill. Strangest of all are the sightings of an enormous mass of odd, clay-covered caterpillars, surfacing from underground caverns, destroying crops, and literally undermining the foundations of many manmade structures.

A contingent of Glantrian military wizards led by Sir Dominick Haaskinz, heir to the throne of Sablestone, investigates a large concentration of the strange caterpillars and determines them to be magical creatures made of elemental earth. Sir Dominick then consults his father, Prinz Harald Haaskinz. After much deliberation, Prinz Harald organises a secret cabal of wizards, including his son Dominick, his mistress Rowan Zarovan, his friend and ally Sir Gerrid Rientha, Viscount of Castelbianco, and a select few of his most trusted apprentices to confront the threat with their combined magic. (See Nu. 1; Th. 26, Am. 15.)

What This Means: The mysterious caterpillars menacing the Sablestone region are none other than the horde unleashed by Frau Hildegarde von Drachenfels in her duel against Signor Innocenti di Malapietra for the High Mastery of the Secret Craft of Earth Elementalism. Like its more mundane counterparts, the caterpillar horde burrowed deep in the earth during the cold of the Glantrian winter, and emerged from its dormancy in the warmth of spring. For weeks, it has been moving westward from the Caurenzan region through the Kurish Massif, until it emerged in the lowlands of the Sablestone area.

Prinz Harald Haaskinz, being the High Master of the Secret Craft of Water Elementalism, knows that his elemental magic would be well suited to flush out this elemental threat, and thus gathered his most trusted supporters to collaborate, most of whom are powerful water elementalists.

The truth is, Prinz Harald has suffered a major breakdown last winter, stemming from a host of harrowing events the siege at Sablestone, physical and mental exhaustion, the corrupting effect of the Radiance, and the fear of madness from the Haaskinz line. As such, he is reluctant to wield his powerful magic on such a grand scale, and fears another breakdown should he attempt this task at all!

Ultimately, however, the cabal of water elementalists will only succeed in driving the horde out of the Principality of Sablestone, back to the Kurish Massif.

What the PCs Can Do: Life on the Glantrian frontier has always been hard, and with this magical threat, the villagers in the regions will need a lot of help from any able-bodied adventurers. If the PCs are powerful wizards, whether or not they belong to the Secret Craft of Water Elementalism, Prince Harald may recruit them to help in the mission to drive out the horde.

To Catch a Thief.

Location: City of Selenica, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: Shady business in the back streets of Selenica suddenly turns into chaos when a thief tries to fence stolen goods. The guards step in, but the thief eludes capture by escaping over the rooftops. Despite having a good description of the thief now, the city guards are unable to find her again. (See Va. 13; Fl. 27, Ya. 19.)

What This Means: The thief is the renowned Shadow, who stole the necklace of Allana Mauntea, the wife of Chancellor Corwyn Mauntea, at the Darokin Masked Ball last year. Shadow has been biding her time for a while now and thought that it was finally safe to come out and fence the jewellery, but she miscalculated the determination of the bounty hunters, who have been chasing her for months. With the help of the authorities, many fences have been intimidated, which means that no place in the republic will be safe for Shadow to fence the necklace. Shadow contacted this particular fence a few days ago, but failed to detect that he feared the authorities so much that he immediately reported the matter and helped set a trap for her. Even though it failed, Shadow is slowly coming to realise that she has gotten in over her head and will not be able to pull off her latest feat. She did manage to escape with the necklace, though, and succeeded in eluding subsequent capture due to her skill at disguise.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs are excellent candidates to be hot on the trail of Shadow. Since Shadow is beginning to see that she will not elude the authorities forever, the DM can set up an encounter where Shadow meets with the PCs without them knowing who she is, so she (and the DM) can determine whether they're people she can cut a deal with in return for the stolen necklace.

Alone in Paradise?

See picture of Thyatian expedition approaching the forested shore of Everfeed.

Location: Western shore of Island of Everfeed. DV

Description: The Thyatian expedition lands at the westernmost tip of Everfeed. From shore, the heavily forested island shows no visible signs of habitation. Julius Ambrosius dispatches a small landing party to go ashore and scout for a few hours. They return later that day, reporting nothing unusual, save for the constant feeling that they were being watched.

Julius thinks on the matter, and resolves to chart the island's coastline and continue landing at selected points to gather specimens. (See Th. 3, Th. 8; Th. 14, Th. 23.)

What This Means: Julius is not sure what to make of the Manakaran tales surrounding Everfeed, many of which involve the unpleasant fates of sailors who venture ashore, and disturb the forest spirits who are said to rule the island. Although he is inclined to discount superstition, Julius knows that some of it can be based on fact. That the island shows no signs of habitation on the coast means nothing; the interior could very well conceal large cities of jungle savages, or worse. Julius will be cautious for the next several days.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could be part of the landing parties. If this is the case, DMs are encouraged to run random wilderness encounters, but only with wild animals. DMs are also encouraged to instil in the PCs the sense that they are being watched, and followed wherever they go. No matter how skilful they are at tracking or concealment, they will not be able to find out who (or what) is watching them. PC magic users who try to detect magic will detect faint traces of it all over the place.

Thaumont 11, AC 1019

Students against Women.

Location: Exarchate of Ochalea, Thyatian Empire. SD

Description: Student demonstrators from many of the finest schools fill the streets, declaring the exarch to be a heretic for his decision to make women equal to men the demonstrations have likely been fomented by the conservative professors themselves. In some provinces the demonstrations get ugly and the governors' forces have to be called out. Many students and commoners die in the riots. (See Th. 1, Th. 6; Th. 13, Th. 26.)

What This Means: After the conservative nobility, the conservative faculty agitate against the rather brutal to them changes that have been brought to the Ochalean society by this new Thyatian millennium.

Fight.

Location: Caves of Fang Cave Clan, Lands of the Brute-Men. HW

Description: Ka-ro is attacked by several members of his clan. The commotion prompts Na-do to step in and put an end to the fight. When tempers have cooled down a bit, those involved explain that Ka-ro, by witnessing Tha-to hunt a mammoth, and by stealing His prey and His great claw, has brought the dark being's wrath upon the clan, and that something terrible will befall the clan unless something is done to appease Tha-to. Ug-rum, the clan shaman, says he will take the matter under consideration, and that Ka-Ro is to come to no harm until then. Ug-rum also takes the artifact, which he will use in his mystical contemplation. (See Nu. 27, Th. 6; Th. 14, Th. 22.)

What This Means: Though they are normally a peaceful lot, unusual events can easily upset the Brute-Men. An irrational fear that Tha-to is preparing to strike the Fang Cave Clan with His fury over Ka-Ro's actions has crept into their collective mind, and caused violence. The shaman is a powerful member of the clan, though, and his decision will be respected, but he had better come up with a solution that will appease the frightened clan.

Thaumont 12, AC 1019

The Council of Ilioloosti.

Location: City-State of Ilioloosti, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: The council meets the messengers again, rendering their decision. They are ready to assist Polakatsikes in its war effort against Mivosia provided that the Heldannic Order solemnly swears on Vanya's name that it shall never turn against Ilioloosti, else the everlasting wrath of their Patroness shall strike them wherever they are. They must also agree to share clerical, medical, technological and magical knowledge with the Milenians (except Mivosians of course) and to sign a treaty of mutual alliance with a duration of ten years, at the end of which it can be renewed in the same terms (this last condition is a guarantee for the people of Ilioloosti that should the situation in the Amalur Lowlands degenerate, they can count on the Heldannic Knights' support, provided that Mivosia has been taken care of).

The Heldannic Knights ask for a recess to make their decision. (See Th. 9, Th. 10; Th. 13, Th. 15.)

What This Means: Ilioloosti wants proof of the Heldannic Knights' good intentions. Since they have the upper hand in the negotiations, they can dictate their conditions as long as they remain within an acceptable range. The Heldannic Knights have very little margin to negotiate, yet they feel that their very survival in Polakatsikes depends on their alliances and their capacity to stay truthful to their word. They know perfectly well that they cannot break an oath made upon Vanya's name, as the most fanatical members of the order would not take this easily. But they have come to think of themselves as protectors in the Heldannic sense of the Meghalans/Milenians, as they have been for the Heldanners. A victory against Mivosia will not allow them to annex the conquered cities, but will certainly make them heroes in this part of the continent. Vanya's glory shall then be enhanced and the order will be reinforced by new members and converts, just like in Polakatsikes.

Vanya is carefully observing Her followers. She has realised that pure might in battle is not always enough to conquer and to keep what has been conquered. Despite Her resentment for the Milenians who enslaved Her as a mortal, She also remembers that She was befriended by a Milenian cleric who helped Her to escape, and then to find the Path of the Dynast. Ilioloostian Milenians have nothing to do with the aggressive Milenians She fought as a mortal, who were much more similar to the present-day Mivosians. She has faith in Her followers' ability to see what is best for the order and ultimately for Her own glory. She has learned the lesson and will likely not try anymore to simply spread war everywhere just for war's sake. In a way this new disposition make Her a more "humanist" Immortal.

What the PCs Can Do: As members of the team of plenipotentiaries, they can be the ones to make the final decision. DMs should feel free to send the PCs dreams and visions to help them make the good decision (that is to say, forge an alliance with Ilioloosti) and reveal Vanya's changing dispositions, which in turn may have an impact on which side they support in the civil war (if they have not taken sides already) and ultimately, if they reach high positions, may influence the course of the Heldannic Order as a whole.

I Had a Dream.

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

Description: Governor Wolfgang Stemmel wakes up in the middle of the night after a nightmare in which a strange voice came from an ancient burial vault and said to him:

"When Victory Is at Stake

The Man in Robe Can Crush the Desert Snake.

In a Desolate Place My Heart Shall Pain

Unleash upon My Enemies Again."

The next day, he tells no one but his most trusted men about his dream. (See Va. 15; Th. 13, Th. 15.)

What This Means: Wolfgang is at first puzzled and scared by the night vision, in which he saw his beloved town of Polakatsikes set aflame and fall under siege from all directions. The temple of Vanya had been crushed by catapults and hundreds of his knights' bodies lay on the ground. Polakatsikans were enslaved and taken south. Then, once out of the town walls, while passing before an ancient and very old-looking burial vault, miles away from the town, a female voice came out of the grave and told him in plain ancient Milenian a strange poem.

What the PCs Can Do: One of the PCs, or the whole group, could receive the dream instead. This could lead them into a long quest, which is described later. Ideally such PCs should already be followers of Vanya, but you can have the experience make the PCs become true believers instead.

Thaumont 13, AC 1019

An Occasion.

Location: City of Eagret, Kingdom of Greenspur, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: A crewman of the Island has met someone who has an old dynamo of flying for sale. The device is damaged but not beyond repair. Indeed the seller also has the necessary spells and materials to repair it. The cost is higher than the crew can afford though, at least without asking Lady Ardana first. The owner of the device agrees to a much lower price if the Island and her crew will help him fetch a special magical item he is looking for. (See Va. 25, Th. 1; Th. 22, Fl. 3.)

What This Means: Properly mounted, a dynamo of flying can provide a standard Alphatian windrider with fully three-dimensional movement. The final price is reasonable, and the crew estimates the additional service as an appropriate price. This service includes flying to a specific dungeon plus a little bit of dungeon-crawling to fetch the requested item.

What the PCs Can Do: Members of the Island's crew will do the negotiations, but they should be able to do the upcoming work too.

The Wall Is Raised.

Location: Kingdom of Qeodhar and Jarldom of Ystmarhavn. AS

Description: Amid very little fanfare, the last section of the new wall separating Qeodhar from its eastern neighbour, Ystmarhavn, is completed. (See Fl. 2.)

What This Means: Following the cessation of hostilities between the two realms sharing the Island of Qeodhar in Flaurmont, AC 1018, Kjavik [king. Ed.] Norlan decreed that a wall be built to prevent the Antalians of Ystmarhavn from engaging in hostile actions against his realm again. The wall's construction, although accomplished relatively quickly, was more a stop-gap effort than anything else existing watchtowers, palisades and town walls were linked together using whatever materials were handy, resulting in a twisting line of loose stone, brick, and wood winding its way from the Qeodim Mountains southwards to the coast. Complicating matters was the fact that, at first, the effort was largely uncoordinated, being driven at the local level by Qeodharans eager to protect their families and property.

Fortunately for the local Qeodharans, the previous months have been rather uneventful, with only a handful of raids taking place along the less settled portions of the new border. In the future, Norlan will likely feel pressured to upgrade the wall whenever he has the resources to do so, but with the Naycese economy still in poor shape, he needs his people mining, building ships, fishing, and whaling more than anything else.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs in Norlan's employ may be ordered to supervise construction efforts, or they may perform scouting missions in western Ystmarhavn, before the wall is sealed entirely.

Shadow from the Past.

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

Description: Still very shaken, Governor Wolfgang Stemmel orders a watch to be set at the limit of the Meghales Amosses Desert. He also meets local sages and masters of the tradition to try to locate the burial vault from his dreams. (See Th. 12; Th. 15, Th. 15.)

What This Means: Wolfgang fears that the danger he witnessed in his nightmare might come from the desert.

What the PCs Can Do: They can be sent south to survey any possible threat coming from the desert.

A Ban on Demonstrations.

Location: Exarchate of Ochalea, Thyatian Empire. SD

Description: The nobility cries out at the loss of their children in the suppression of the riots. The bureaucrats declare demonstrations of any kind except for religious festivals and royal parades to be illegal. In fact few noble children died in the riots, having escaped when things started to get ugly. (See Th. 6, Th. 11; Th. 26, Fl. 24.)

What This Means: The various movements that oppose the changes in Ochalea are not unconnected, and fuel each other.

United We Shall Fight.

Location: City-State of Ilioloosti, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: The plenipotentiary Heldannic Knights agree on all terms of the treaty. (See Th. 10, Th. 12; Th. 15, Fl. 2.)

What This Means: Now that they made their decision they want to go back to Polakatsikes as soon as possible to bring the good news. The mission is to be followed by a force of 500 Ilioloostian soldiers right away. The rest of the expeditionary corps (about 1,000 men) shall depart soon and should reach Polakatsikes in less than two months to have a chance to save the city from the expected attack of the spring. A general shall lead the remaining 1,000 men.

What the PCs Can Do: It is a good opportunity for young adventurers from Ilioloosti to see the world and fight bravely.

Thaumont 14, AC 1019

So Long, and Thanks for All Your Work...

Location: City of Alinquin, Kingdom of Dawnrim, Continent of Bellissaria, Nayce. AS

Description: Olmorrad, a local mage of some renown, gathers all of the master glassblowers he employs at his factory in downtown Alinquin, and announces that their services will no longer be required, due to the rising cost of raw materials. He thanks them for their hard work, and wishes them the best in their future endeavours. (See Nu. 21; Th. 16, Th. 19.)

What This Means: Olmorrad, and many mages with commercial interests like him, have been hit hard by the rising prices of many commodities in Nayce over the past year. Aristocrats, however, have been protected from the worst of the economic uncertainty due to their status, and their personal fortunes. Nevertheless, even their enterprises are in trouble, and many can no longer afford to run them.

What the PCs Can Do: Spellcasting PCs might control one or more businesses, in which case they will also be suffering from rising commodity prices.

Missing Investigators.

Location: City of Akorros, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: A group of hand-picked adventurers sent by the DDC to investigate the recent loss of ships in Lake Amsorak fails to report in, despite being in possession of magical means of communication. The DDC is worried and prohibits all further investigation of the island until more research can be conducted. (See Nu. 3, Th. 5; Ya. 26, Kl. 11.)

What This Means: The situation on Lake Amsorak is worse than the DDC suspected. While sailors have long been wary of Itheldown Island, the leaders of the DDC aren't nearly as superstitious, but even they now have to face the undeniable fact that something is very wrong somewhere on Lake Amsorak, and it doesn't look like a problem that can be easily solved by throwing a few adventurers at it.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs have contacts in the DDC, they might suggest experienced high priests or knowledgeable sages and then be charged with seeking them out for clues on the Amsorak problem. The DDC will discourage and even prevent attempts to go to Itheldown Island for the time being, however, since they don't wish to lose any more resources until they have an idea of what they're dealing with.

Decision.

Location: Caves of Fang Cave Clan, Lands of the Brute-Men. HW

Description: Ug-rum, the shaman of the Fang Cave Clan, announces that Ka-ro has indeed glimpsed Tha-to, causing much gasping and shouting and agitation among the clansmen. Ug-rum adds that Ka-ro was not smitten because he did not look at Tha-to directly, but even so the young boy has been cursed, and whoever associates with him shares his curse. Therefore, Ka-ro is exiled from the clan, and must never again come into contact with a Brute-Man. As long as the artifact remains with the clan, there is a chance that Tha-to will pay a new visit, so the clan has to get rid of it. To accomplish that, Ug-rum proposes to bring it back where it was found so that Tha-to can retrieve what is His without threat to the clan. Ug-rum will carry that task, as he is under the protection of Ka-gar even when watched by Tha-to. (See Th. 6, Th. 11; Th. 22, Kl. 13.)

What This Means: Although Ka-ro is a bright, strong young Brute-Man who would surely have become a prominent member of the clan, Ug-rum had no choice but to exile him in order to divert Tha-to's evil eye and restore peace to the clan.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are friends of Ka-ro's, the PCs may try to intervene in his favour. If they fail, they may decide to accompany him in his exile (though, in their eyes too, Ka-ro is cursed) and the adventures it entails.

A Sunset Ceremony.

Location: Northern coast of Island of Everfeed. DV

Description: While sailing eastwards along the northern coast of Everfeed, looking for a place to drop anchor for the night, the Thyatians hear the faint strains of music. Curious, Julius Ambrosius orders his crew to press on. The vessel rounds a narrow, rocky peninsula, and straight ahead, sheltered in a bay, a pristine beach can be seen, upon which many figures cavort in the setting sun. Julius orders his crew to try to bring the ship within hailing distance, and asks his mage to prepare a communications spell. Before Julius can call out to the strange revellers, however, they notice his ship approaching them, and flee swiftly into the surrounding vegetation.

A small landing party is soon sent ashore, but aside from tracks that are quickly lost, no sign can be found of the natives. Nonplussed, Julius orders everyone back to the ship, and the expedition drops anchor in the bay for the night. (See Th. 8, Th. 10; Th. 23, Th. 24.)

What This Means: It seems that there may be some truth to the Manakaran tales of forest spirits inhabiting the Island of Everfeed.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs may try to track the fleeing natives, and, if they make difficult skill checks, they will be able to follow them into the surrounding forests for a while, but they should not be able to catch up with them, let alone get a good view of them. The impression that the PCs can get is that the natives are fairly light-footed, and they are excellent at concealing their tracks quickly.

Thaumont 15, AC 1019

Return to the Steppes.

Location: Esterhold Peninsula. SK

Description: With the campaign to free the Esterhold Peninsula of Alphatian rulership now over, several Jennite tribes return to the Steppes of Jen in the spring. Other tribes decide to stay in the areas they have conquered. This effectively ends the alliance of the tribes. (See Nu. 13.)

What This Means: The war leaders convened before winter, to conclude that the war was over. Now that spring is upon the peninsula, several tribes begin the trek east.

What the PCs Can Do: Tribal competition to claim the best captured lands may lead PCs to keep championing for their tribes including in continued skirmishes against Alphatians, as the best lands are those they used to occupy.

First Troops Depart for Polakatsikes.

Location: City-State of Ilioloosti, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: The first 500 men mentioned in the treaty leave for Polakatsikes, accompanied of course by the plenipotentiaries. (See Th. 12, Th. 13; Fl. 2, Fl. 3.)

What the PCs Can Do: They have to find a way to have 500 men move unnoticed through Mivosian-held territories.

Strange Vault Found.

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

Description: While conducting an inspection, Governor Wolfgang Stemmel finds a strange burial vault on the top of a rocky hill overseeing the surrounding lands. He climbs the hill to have a look around, or so he says to his escort. After a minute or two, he comes back to the horse and resumes his inspection, apparently worried by something. (See Th. 12, Th. 13; Th. 15, Th. 16.)

What This Means: On the pretext of inspecting the watch posts around Polakatsikes, Wolfgang, following the instructions of the sages he consulted, has found the burial vault he dreamed about. He now wants to go back to the place tonight, but with men he trusts.

What the PCs Can Do: They can be among those people the governor trusts and would be charged to arrange the "expedition." Or if they were the ones who had the dream, they can either be alone or joined by the governor and his most trusted advisers.

Masked One Almost Headmaster.

Location: Town of Krakatos, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: There is still no official headmaster of the Karameikan School of Magecraft for this new academic year. The Masked One, an otherwise unremarkable wizard except for the wooden mask he wears to conceal his face who does not dabble in the politics of either the school or the state, continues to unobtrusively assume a lot of the former headmaster's responsibilities. (See Th. 5; Fl. 14, Ya. 28.)

What This Means: There were a lot of rivalries within the Karameikan wizardly community, which is one of the reasons that led King Stefan to appoint Terari as headmaster of the then-new Karameikan School of Magecraft. Terari's leadership was also uncontested by his fellow Alphatians, so that rivalries abated during his tenure. With his departure, however, they have flared up again. Amid the chaos brought on by the unexpected disappearance of Master Terari and the ensuing squabbles, the unassuming Masked One quietly kept the school running.

The Karameikan wizards do not feel threatened by the Masked One, who is seen as an unambitious, apolitical mage of little magical talent or charisma. The Alphatian wizards mostly look down upon him: to them he is an ungifted mage he cannot even use magic instead of a mundane mask to hide his failure (a lab accident, obviously) who is better at boring administrative tasks than magical mastery, and thus doomed to merely serve the archmages (i.e. themselves) without hope of ever becoming one (Alphatia is full of such average spellcasters); thus, they feel he is in his proper place while they strive far above him. Another potential headmaster, the historian Igor Grygorovich, cannot be considered for the position as he has delved fully into his favourite topic again: the study of Traladaran lore and history, following new discoveries he witnessed in AC 1018 [see Legend of the Bronze Warrior in last year's almanac. Ed.].

While the situation is not optimal, with the infighting among the wizards, taking sides would be even more risky for the king. After the departure of Terari, Queen Olivia has become more suspicious of the Alphatians and will not allow any of them to become the new headmaster. Although the king could appoint one of the Karameikan wizards, none appears to be the obvious best choice, so, since the Masked One was able to keep the school afloat so far, he is happy to let him continue until someone else emerges. Also, the fact that the Masked One is a Traladaran-Karameikan though his identity remains mysterious and as yet untraceable, to Queen Olivia's annoyance helps maintain some balance, in a country where tensions are at their highest between Thyatians and Traladarans, as the new minister of war is a Karameikan of mixed heritage who went on expeditions funded by the royal treasury (which, to some these days, means Thyatian funds). King Stefan even thought of actually appointing the Masked One headmaster, but the chance that the others might suddenly see him as an actual rival and torpedo him was too great.

What the PCs Can Do: Rivalry among wizards equals employment opportunities for the PCs. It should remain quite clean, though, unless the DM wants to make it uglier, or maybe just darker. PC wizards may actually be among the pretenders to the job, as succeeding to Teldon and Terari would make one of them the most important wizard of Karameikos.

Vault Examined in Secret.

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

Description: Around midnight, a group of ten men climb the hilltop where Governor Wolfgang Stemmel found a burial vault. They carry with them a tent made of thick jet-black fabric and set it above the grave. They enter the tent, light lanterns, and start examining the grave. A high-level wizard casts a remove curse upon the grave as a precaution, and men lever the burial vault open.

The vault is empty but for a flight of steep stairs which go down into the heart of the hill. A strange whisper is heard and followed by profound silence. As soon as they pass the level of the fifth stair, they don't emit any noise anymore. A detect magic informs them that a powerful spell of silence has been cast, that cannot be dispelled. The men below are instructed to explore the rooms they see.

An hour later, two of them emerge from the dark and hand a map to the governor. They tell him that the walls everywhere are covered with beautiful mosaics. They saw no one, but felt a comforting presence nearby. Against the counsel of his comrades, Wolfgang steps into the tomb and descends into the darkness. After a 60-foot descent, a tunnel opens into a wide chamber with pillars supporting arches, and a rectangular pool of clear water. The pillars are in fact statues of warriors, which support a painted ceiling representing a night sky constellated with stars made of gems! An elegant metal basin on a silver pedestal stands next to the pool on the northern side. The whisper is once again heard. Wolfgang approaches the basin, takes water from the pool in an upside-down helmet and pours water into the basin. Smoke rises from the basin and suddenly, he is staring at a distant landscape. The same visions are reflected in the central pool into which the other men stare.

There is nothing but the sea, and the point of view is flying fast toward the coastline. War vessels, bearing Thyatian colours and escorting big sailing ships full of tools and other supplies necessary for a colonisation effort, are anchored. A flag, bearing a raven, flies above a citadel, which in turn stands over a busy coastal city. Then the flight resumes and goes south following the course of a winding river, which ploughs into the jungle. It leads to a long lake of brown waters surrounded by the jungle. Then flying up the stream the point of view speeds up and follows the river up to a swamp where three rivers meet. Then heading southeast it speeds up again and takes altitude. In the south, a high mountain spews smoke, and in the east, a vast clearing in the jungle, hundreds of miles wide, can be observed. The point of view loses altitude, flying down in circles like a bird of prey, and ancient roads, cities and temples, now in ruin, become visible. They do not seem inhabited, but the presence of humanoid tribes is evidenced by smoke coming from fires under the cover of trees. The flight speeds up once more and seems to lead to the southernmost isolated chain of hills. While approaching the vast network of ruins present in the hills, the sun sets, light dims, and the basin shows no more.

Wolfgang staggers on his feet, feeling suddenly dizzy by his return to normality. He asks to be escorted out to get some fresh air. The vault is closed, and the tent is dismantled. Guards are set around the vault and are told to stay hidden, waiting for the next visit of the governor, which he plans for the following day. (See Th. 13, Th. 15; Th. 16, Fl. 1.)

What This Means: This long-forgotten tomb from Milenian times is built on a rocky hill at the top of which stands a large mesa of solid rock. It is known locally as "the conqueror's grave." The place is rumoured to be the meeting place of ghosts and other spectral beings from Milenian times. Needless to say it is generally avoided.

It did not take long for Wolfgang to send an expedition there to check if it had something to do with his dream which it did, as it turned out. The visions, sent by Vanya Herself, showed Her faithful governor where to seek an artifact called the Conqueror's Heart, destined to help him in the war to come. What the governor does not suspect is that the basin can be used as long as it is fuelled by magical energy. Many secrets still lie in the vault to be discovered in due time by only the most faithful of Her followers.

The vision they experienced had them fly over Raven Scarp and then follow the river up to the Hills of Desolation, one of the most forsaken and dangerous places in Davania. There lie eons-old ruins in which the artifact is supposed to be guarded by foul creatures. This is just the beginning of a quest.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs were the ones who originally had the dream, this could be the starting point of their future quest.

Thaumont 16, AC 1019

... Now, Back to Business.

Location: City of Alinquin, Kingdom of Dawnrim, Continent of Bellissaria, Nayce. AS

Description: At a party thrown by Olmorrad the mage, the host's latest innovations in magical glassware are showcased to an admiring crowd. Among Olmorrad's latest creations are a pair of finely crafted glass golems, who perform a variety of complicated tasks. Over the informal conversation that follows, Olmorrad admits to several of his admirers that he had to make several sacrifices to construct his golems, including closing down his glassware factory. (See Nu. 21, Th. 14; Th. 19, Th. 20.)

What This Means: For some elite members of Naycese society, the continuing shortage of goods, and the resulting economic hardships, pose no obstacles to the pursuit of their hobbies and pet projects. Olmorrad is one such person.

What the PCs Can Do: Former employees of Olmorrad, who might have reason to be suspicious of the sudden closure of the factory, might hire the PCs to investigate the matter. If one or more of the PCs are aristocrats, and are known personalities in Alinquin, they might have been invited to Olmorrad's party. Otherwise, the PCs could learn of the party, and sneak into the wizard's estate.

Torreˇn Takes Mina do Norte.

Location: Mina do Norte, Terra Vermelha, Savage Baronies. SC

Description: The Torreˇner troops converge onto Mina do Norte and Campo dos Ogros, from Pueblo Real in the north and from Puebla de Alcßzar in the south. The Vilaverdan force and its ogrish allies defend the cinnabryl mine, but when it becomes clear it is hopeless the Vilaverdan commander negotiates a withdrawal. The ogrish mercenaries are hired by the Torreˇners and resume their duties, except that they work for another employer now.

The Torreˇner force from Puebla de Alcßzar turns back south to meet that which is in control of Mina do Sul, driving the retreating Vilaverdan force before it. Meanwhile, the rest marches northeast, toward Antro do Dragßo and the Hulean border, leaving only a token force to oversee the ogres. (See Va. 11, Va. 26; Fl. 9, Ya. 28.)

What This Means: Torreˇn has conquered most of Terra Vermelha; this was the easy part of the campaign, though, and the real challenge is whether it can keep it. Texeiras and Vilaverde are both sea-based powers, so even if they try to it is not certain they can enforce the Treaty of Tampicos against Torreˇn's beefed-up occupation force.

Strange Vault Explored Once More.

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

Description: By night the party of trusted advisers and friends meets again and enters the vault once more. Governor Wolfgang Stemmel has all the engravings, mosaics, and markings of any sort copied for further study. He then orders everyone out, takes the magical basin, and has the vault sealed once again and protected by defensive spells and a secret watch which is to be conducted around the hill. (See Th. 15, Th. 15; Fl. 1, Fl. 7.)

What This Means: Wolfgang realises that coming back and forth to this place will endanger both himself and the integrity of the vault, which obviously is of great importance to Vanya. He does not want the Mivosians to get involved in any way, and so he would rather have the vault sealed and discretely guarded than possibly exposed.

What the PCs Can Do: Guard the hill against any unwanted visitor.

Thaumont 18, AC 1019

Garugto's Expedition Departs.

Location: City of Emdur, Kingdom of Gombar, Arm of the Immortals. SC

Description: Garugto's expedition gathers in front of the Mining Exchange in Emdur, and after a droning speech he finally gives the order to march out toward the Great Immortal's Shield.

The merchants, who are present in large numbers at the Mining Exchange, are amazed that the old demi-ogre many say old fool appears to be serious about his idea, as this is by far the largest such expedition in decades. No one present gives him any chance of succeeding in this crazy endeavour, but many seem concerned that he just might.

In the next few weeks, many enterprising merchants mull over ways to reach the eastern side of the Arm of the Immortals before Garugto. None mount a land expedition through the Great Immortal's Shield, but several increase their efforts into finding a way to sail past the dangerous Strait of Izonda. (See Va. 9; Ei. 15.)

What This Means: The route through the Great Immortal's Shield may be nearly impassable, but so is the Strait of Izonda. The Strait of Izonda stretches for 350 miles between the southern extent of the Arm of the Immortals and the northwestern reaches of Davania. Located at the equator, it links the open western ocean with the Izondian Deep. Where the two meet is the most dangerous sea region on Mystara: the best ships in the world are capsized or crushed by towering waves, swallowed or mashed by inescapable maelstroms, sunk or toppled by squalling storms and hurricanes. Even the great migrations of old have had to somehow circumvent the zone; while north-south travel is possible between western Davania and western Brun, east-west movement is almost impossible at any latitude between the Izondian Desert and the lands of Zuyevo. In addition to the natural conditions, sea captains who sail in less treacherous seas often get lost; this is due to the fact that the ee'aar use their controllable lights to fool them away from their homeland by imitating certain stars used for navigation.

What the PCs Can Do: The Gombarians and Suma'ans are looking for brave (or foolish) enough captains and crew.

Thaumont 19, AC 1019

Ericall Upset by Nayce.

Location: City of Alpha, Kingdom of Alpha, Nayce. NW

Description: King Ericall is furious with the decisions that Nayce made concerning Norwold, which assume power in the region that it does not possess, disregard the agreements that have been crafted in the past few years, not to mention pass over his authority. He ponders Alpha's future, with respect to this newest decision by Nayce and the wars and agreements and alliances currently prevailing in Norwold, with his wife and his closest advisers. (See Va. 5, Th. 6; Th. 22, Th. 28.)

What This Means: As could be expected, King Ericall was not happy to learn what the Naycese Council decided for his kingdom, especially considering the difficult times that Norwold just went through and the resulting tentative peace. The fact that Nayce suddenly was taking an unhealthy, in the king's opinion interest in the region, after years of ignoring it after he repeatedly requested support from the rest of the Alphatian kingdoms, concerns Ericall.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are among Ericall's close advisers, they will play their part in Alphan policy-making.

Disgruntled Workers on the Warpath.

Location: City of Alinquin, Kingdom of Dawnrim, Continent of Bellissaria, Nayce. AS

Description: Guards at Olmorrad the mage's estate in Alinquin are alerted by the sounds of breaking glass, thumps, and muffled shouts shortly before midnight. Teleporting to their master's laboratory, they find a scene of absolute chaos shelves have been pulled over, tables overturned, and the floor is covered with broken glass. Lying amid the debris are several men, many of them dead. One of the guards shouts a warning, and points to a couple of shadowy figures leaping out a broken window. Wasting no time, some of the guards teleport outside, and intercept the fugitives. A scuffle breaks out, in which another assailant dies, but the others are overpowered. It does not take long before the attackers are identified they all worked at Olmorrad's factory. (See Th. 14, Th. 16; Th. 20, Th. 22.)

What This Means: While many of Olmorrad's former employees have begun the painful process of trying to rebuild their lives, some could not accept the situation, and suspected their former employer of shady dealings. When news of Olmorrad's lavish party, and his projects, reached them, they realised that he had sacrificed his commercial venture and their livelihoods to protect his projects. While the angry men recognised that they were only commoners, they were still freemen, and therefore felt they should be given more consideration than that given to a servant or a slave. Furious, they sneaked into Olmorrad's laboratory, and tried to destroy the hated glass golems. While they were successful, they triggered several protective wards and other spells, which killed many of them.

Those former employees who were captured will now be tried for their crimes under Alphatian law.

What the PCs Can Do: Although it is unlikely that the PCs would have been involved personally in this event, they may become involved if they were hired to investigate Olmorrad's actions, or if one of their relatives worked at the mage's factory. If the latter is the case, DMs may wish to have the relative be among those captured by the authorities, which would necessitate a daring attempt to rescue them.

Thaumont 20, AC 1019

Cristobal Discovers the Realm of Shamaash.

Location: Tunnels of Barimoor, Emirates of Ylaruam. OW

Description: Cristobal is looking for Barimoor, but discovers Shamaash instead. Cristobal, thinking Barimoor is the biggest threat, makes a mistake by assuming it is a mere minion of Barimoor. Outclassed and outnumbered, Cristobal dies at the hands of this fiend. (See Va. 11, Th. 2; Fl. 25, Ya. 5.)

What This Means: Cristobal's death will set Mujibur's quest for Immortality back by another decade, as he needs to train another scion to replace him.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs can rescue Cristobal or discover his blackened and lifeless body. One or more of them may attempt to become the next scion of Mujibur.

Saboteurs Executed.

Location: City of Alinquin, Kingdom of Dawnrim, Continent of Bellissaria, Nayce. AS

Description: Following a brief trial, the surviving men who attacked Olmorrad the mage's estate are found guilty of vandalism, attempted theft, and attempted murder of an aristocrat, and are sentenced to death. The execution is carried out publicly, before a large crowd. (See Th. 16, Th. 19; Th. 22, Fl. 12.)

What This Means: The local authorities decided to hold the trial publicly in order to discourage further acts of vandalism, and to show that all criminal elements in society will be tracked down and eliminated. The outcome of the trial itself was foregone there was simply no way the Naycese legal system was going to let the surviving mundaner attackers off easy. Many would-be saboteurs will be cowed by the spectacle, but others will be infuriated by what they see so much so that similar acts of sabotage will be carried out in the coming weeks in and around Alinquin. Many of these people, if caught, will face the same punishment.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs at the beginning of their adventuring careers could witness the arrest and execution of a relative or close friend in this manner, and thus be spurred to campaign for a cause. Otherwise, the PCs could be hired by a family to save a relative from such a fate.

Thaumont 22, AC 1019

Migrants Need Not Apply.

Location: Across Continent of Bellissaria, Nayce. AS

Description: In various towns throughout the Bellissarian continent, with the exception of the Kingdom of Turmoil, many migrants are encountering increasing difficulty finding work. Businesses that advertise a need for workers often turn away people whom they know are not locals, while at the same time accepting people they know (most often family members), without making any effort to conceal their favouritism. Some employers even go as far as to put up signs outside their establishments, declaring, "No foreigners need apply." Those migrants who protest these actions are either ignored by the authorities, or chased out of town. (See Th. 19, Th. 20; Fl. 12, Ya. 9.)

What This Means: Compared to many other Naycese lands, Bellissaria, with its open spaces and relatively abundant resources, is seen as a land of opportunity for those migrants desperate to find a way to remain freemen and to support their families. This is especially true for those who fled the recent wars in Esterhold. Unfortunately for the migrants, Bellissarians are very insular, and do not want strangers upsetting their way of life. Resentment over the incursion of economic migrants has been on the rise for months now, and the first visible signs of a backlash are becoming noticeable. This is the uglier side of Bellissarian insularity coming to the fore once more, as locals band together against the newcomers, trying to hold on to what they still have. A volatile situation such as this could lead to violence, as people on both sides seek to vent their frustrations.

What the PCs Can Do: As tensions rise, it is very likely that violence will erupt in a number of places3/4most likely in the larger population centres of Bellissaria. Here, PCs may find their skills in demand, as rulers seek to quell riots with as little bloodshed as possible. Higher-level PCs might even be sought out by the Bellissarian elite, in the hopes that their power and influence might defuse tensions, or otherwise help solve the problem.

Atonement.

Location: Territory of Fang Cave Clan, Lands of the Brute-Men. HW

Description: Ug-rum, the clan shaman, brings the artifact of Tha-to to the clearing where it was found by the young scout, Ka-ro. There, he engages in a ritual beseeching forgiveness for the removal of Tha-to's artifact, and renewed protection and blessings from Ka-gar. Ug-rum buries the artifact, and declares the clearing taboo. At the end of the ceremony, the clansmen return home and turn their back on Ka-ro, who is left behind, never to come back. (See Th. 11, Th. 14; Kl. 13, Ei. 19.)

What This Means: The clan had to atone for its perceived offence against Tha-to (Thanatos). Not only have the Brute-Men's beliefs, or their bias, prevented them from recognising the object for what it really was (an Alphatian magical crossbow bolt) and help them progress, it also deprived them of one of their hunting grounds and a promising youth.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs who adventure near this place may hear about the taboo land, and the legend of the "artifact" called the Claw of Tha-to. If so, they may decide to search for it. They may eventually find the magical bolt, which will forever remain in pristine condition thanks to the magic with which it was imbued, and, depending on their cultural origins, understand what it is. They will have to avoid encountering Brute-Men, who will consider them cursed by Tha-to.

Unveiling Ruined by Robin Moorkroft.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: At the Amberhouse, the eccentric Sire Gaston d'Ambreville unveils his latest artistic masterpiece, a set of portraits of the ruling Princesse Isidore d'Ambreville and the rest of the d'Ambreville family. Despite the infighting and jealousy, the d'Ambrevilles attend in full force, as well as their friends and allies Dame GeneviŔve de Sephora, Comtesse de Touraine, Sire Gilles Grenier, the Vicomte de Fausseflammes, and the voluptuous Dame Diane de Moriamis, wife of Prince Malachie du Marais of Morlay-Malinbois (the prince himself does not attend on account of his archenemy, GeneviŔve de Sephora, who came in a sparkling dress of silver thread!).

When the curtain is lifted and the painting finally revealed, the guests are all shocked as the family portrait has been disfigured! Jeanette is portrayed as an ogre; Jean-Louis is portrayed as a priest; Claude appears as a nosferatu; MagdalŔne, a zombie; Richard, a lion-headed rakasta; while the rest, including Princess Isidore, are shown as dog-faced werewolves!

At the corner of the painting, the artist's signature has also been altered to divulge the person behind this plot the magical miscreant Robin Moorkroft and his Mundaner Men! (See Kl. 21, Fy. 17.)

What This Means: Robin Moorkroft struck again! He and his Mundaner Men (actually all quite capable spellcasters) gathered the nastiest gossip about the longest living noble family of Glantri, broke into the Amberhouse, and at their moment of glory brought the d'Ambrevilles shock and embarrassment.

Most of the caricatures have some truth behind them, such as Jean-Louis secretly supporting clerics in Glantri and MagdalŔne once buried alive, but not all are accurate not that it matters to Robin Moorkroft!

Recovering from the initial shock, the d'Ambrevilles figure out the alterations are magical and easily dispelled. The sensitive Sire Gaston flees to Rymskigrad in Boldavia to "calm his nerves" at the Lovecraft Asylum.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs who have been on the trail of Robin Moorkroft and his Mundaner Men the past year might find leads and clues from this scandalous crime. PCs loyal to the d'Ambrevilles or with connections in the Glantrian constabulary may be called upon to search for the audacious wizard-bandit!

Into the Dungeon.

Location: Obscure ruins somewhere on the Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: The Island has reached her destination. A landing party of sufficient size enters the ruins to look for the item the seller wants to obtain. Some hours later they reappear, exhausted but merry, with the item, and return to the ship. (See Th. 1, Th. 13; Fl. 3, Fl. 7.)

What This Means: The team working for Lady Ardana has sold its services to acquire a magical item that should prove very useful to achieve the group's goal.

What the PCs Can Do: Members of the Island's crew have to enter a dungeon and face unknown perils, traps, and monsters a treat for PCs!

Thaumont 23, AC 1019

Meet the Natives!

Location: Southern coast of Island of Everfeed. DV

Description: While sailing westwards along the southern coast of Everfeed, the Thyatian expedition sights a strange, narrow vessel bearing in their direction from aft. Julius Ambrosius orders the marines to prepare for battle if need be, and instructs the crew to bring the ship about in order to meet the other craft. No warning shots are fired, and before long the other ship turns out to be single-masted with a low draft probably not an ocean-going vessel, and therefore it must come from Everfeed!

The vessel's occupants are no less surprising, for they are elves, but attired in flowing grey robes and bearing no weapons. The eldest among the elves gestures at the Thyatians' ship, and it stops moving, as though held fast in solid rock! The elf then speaks to the Thyatians in a clear, musical voice, which those crewmembers who speak Elvish translate for the benefit of the others, with difficulty:

"You who come from over the sea," he says, "are not welcome here. Dark is the shadow of men, and we have no wish to stand under you, for we crave the sun and moon. No blood has yet been shed, and nor do we wish it to be; so we will render aid unto you as we can, 'ere you depart our shores. Do you accept this offer?"

Julius assents, and, under the guidance of the elder, boards the elven vessel with a handful of advisers for a few hours of discussion, while some of the elves bring supplies to the Thyatians' ship. (See Th. 10, Th. 14; Th. 24, Fl. 12.)

What This Means: The Thyatian expedition has finally made contact with the elusive "forest spirits" of Everfeed. Julius and his closest associates will learn a great deal from the elves this evening, but they will not get the chance to visit the island. Nevertheless, the elves' generosity will help the Thyatians on the potentially long journey ahead.

What the PCs Can Do: Higher-level PCs may be invited to the elves' ship along with Julius.

Thaumont 24, AC 1019

Where One Path Closes, Another Opens.

Location: Southern coast of Island of Everfeed. DV

Description: After spending the night conferring with the mysterious elves of Everfeed, Julius Ambrosius and his expedition plot a new course to the southeast, towards the Isles of Steam. (See Th. 14, Th. 23; Fl. 12, Fl. 23.)

What This Means: Although the elves were most helpful and friendly, it was made clear that nothing aside from brute force would gain the Thyatians access to the Island of Everfeed. Having no desire to shed blood needlessly, and having seen what the elves are capable of doing with their magic, Julius has resolved to note as much as he can of last night's encounter, and pass on the information to the authorities once he returns to Thyatis City. Quiet diplomacy might open a few proverbial doors with these elves, but now is not the time.

Nevertheless, the elves provided tantalising clues of what might lie hidden in the Isles of Steam, and Julius's curiosity has been piqued.

What the PCs Can Do: Since the elves of Everfeed will not let the PCs stay behind, there is little they can do but go forth!

Thaumont 25, AC 1019

Sir Grygory Awakens.

Location: Estate of Baron Yuschiev, City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: After having remained in a strange sleep ever since he was found, Sir Grygory finally awakens. He is still very weak, but begins to tell his tale as he slowly regains his strength. His tale is one of terror and demons, so at first his friends fear he is delusional. (See Va. 13, Va. 22.)

What This Means: Grygory is still weak, but he is not delusional. Given his earlier actions, his friends might be excused for fearing it, though. But over time, as he grows stronger and maintains his story, they will come to believe him, particularly since it explains his weird behaviour, at which time Baron Yuschiev will announce that he did what he did because he was under a demonic influence that Grygory subsequently slew after his disappearance. His victory very nearly cost Grygory his life, but he has returned now, and Baron Yuschiev proclaims him a slayer of demonic beings.

Doris Disembarks.

Location: Canal Construction Site, North of Town of Tirenlos, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Daker delivers Doris, the fourth magical caterpillar. Claudia is still damaged, but Zas Ubul allows Benjamin to leave for testing. (See Th. 4, Th. 6; Fl. 10, Fl. 17.)

What This Means: Bleek and Daker are working to bring the workforce to full strength, but they also have to keep the maintenance intervals, and Benjaminhas shown some early signs of problems.

Thaumont 26, AC 1019

Noble Women Speak Up.

Location: Exarchate of Ochalea, Thyatian Empire. SD

Description: Many noble women stand up on both sides of the feminine rights debate in the royal courts, some advocating the conservative and some the liberal position. The chaos of women openly debating against men (when the only acceptable reason for them to be in the courts at all is to lend secretarial and social support for their men whilst away from home) sends the bureaucratic clerics into fits, and they begin demanding that the noblemen control their women or face penance. (See Th. 11, Th. 13; Fl. 24, Kl. 7.)

What This Means: Even though they have not been promoted to equal status yet, the fact that women take part in the debate at all comes as shock to many an Ochalean. This fuels the opposition to the idea.

Landslides in Gunjab.

Location: Mumlyket of Gunjab, Kingdom of Sind. OW

Description: Goatherds come running from the hills, raising the alarm about several landslides occurring in the surrounding Kurish Massif mounts. In the city of Raneshwar, Maharajah Sarojun Sur organises rescue missions to address reports of mountaineers buried alive, while the rishiyas (clerical caste) begin to offer prayers and sacrifices to various Sindhi Immortals, particularly Prithivi (Terra), Jaivana (Djaea), and Kala (Hel). (See Nu. 1, Th. 10; Fl. 2, Fl. 21.)

What This Means: The landslides are a result of the horde, a creature of elemental earth in the form of thousands of burrowing caterpillars. It originated from the Caurenzan regions of Glantri, lodged in the Kurish Massif through the winter, but is now moving south towards Sind.

The Sindhi rishiyas have been severely undermined by the followers of Gareth over the past years, and are quick to take advantage of this seemingly natural disaster. In spite of what they believe and preach, the Immortals have little involvement in this occurrence.

What the PCs Can Do: The Maharajah of Gunjab will hire rangers, druids, and other brave adventurers for this wilderness rescue, while the rishiyas may need clerics and rogues to further their religious goals in this matter, the former for out-and-out proselytising and ministering, the latter for more clandestine methods of subterfuge and sabotage.

Thaumont 27, AC 1019

Grauenberg Still Isolated.

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

Description: The embattled defenders of Grauenberg [under siege since Vatermont, AC 1018. Ed.] mount a sortie against forces loyal to Heinrich Stra▀enburger. Although initially caught by surprise, the besieging armies rally, and manage to maintain their lines. Before long, the Grauenbergers are pushed back into their city with considerable losses, but they manage to prevent their enemies from breaching the walls, and a handful of light cavalry manage to escape into the countryside. (See Va. 27, Th. 4; Fl. 6, Fl. 13.)

What This Means: Grauenberg is situated close to the Ethengar border, and as such, it has been attacked a number of times over the years. Thus, the city is well stocked, and has been able to weather the current siege so far. Unfortunately, most of the grain stores have been exhausted, and the city's clerics are spending more of their time healing the injured and the sick, and purifying wells, than creating food and water. Unless the siege is broken within the next few weeks, Grauenberg's situation will likely become very dire, indeed.

Although the attempt to break the leaguer failed, Stra▀enburger's forces suffered sustained minor losses, and some messengers managed to get out. These men and women will ride for Kammin and other loyalist areas, to plead their case and provide crucial information about the besieging army's troop strength.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs who are currently assisting in the defence of Grauenberg are the most logical choice for messengers. This would provide DMs with opportunities for many wilderness encounters in the increasingly dangerous interior of Heldann. Depending on the situation, the PCs might also be entrusted with important holy relics, to ensure that they do not fall into the hands of Stra▀enburger's army. Also, depending on how the PCs participate in the attempt to break the siege, Stra▀enburger's forces might sustain many more casualties than has been described in this event.

Outpost Founded.

Location: Region of Guadalimas, Savage Baronies. SC

Description: Paulus Angelinus, leader of the Thyatian expedition, designates the portion of the ruins that has been excavated as an outpost and future supply depot. Engineers restored some of the more solid-looking buildings to serve as living quarters and storehouses, and the prisoners dredged the area surrounding one of the quays. In the meantime, he orders messengers to seek out the known refugee settlement, and offer them shelter at the outpost, as well as pay and meaningful work. (See Th. 1, Th. 2; Fl. 12, Fl. 13.)

What This Means: Paulus has given some thought to his initial plan to establish a secret outpost in the region, and has decided that it has merit, and that the ruins would be the best location. Nothing of archaeological interest was discovered in the excavated region, so that part of the ruined town can be converted into a place of habitation. Paulus plans to continue dredging one of the sediment-choked river channels only up to the nearest navigable river the outpost cannot be readily visible to passers-by, therefore, only smaller boats (i.e., those with shallower drafts, or those capable of navigating narrower channels) will be able to access it. He decided to contact the refugees because they need aid (he hopes they would be willing to serve the empire in exchange for protection and money), and he cannot afford to leave too many people behind to lay the foundations for the outpost. About half of the refugees already contacted (roughly 30 people) will accept Paulus's offer, and some will relish the opportunity to build something that may possibly, one day, harm Narvaezan interests.

Paulus will stay long enough to ensure that the outpost is well underway, and then will resume his journey. A small detachment of engineers will remain behind to oversee construction efforts and future excavations, and a handful of marines will stay to guard the prisoners (who will continue to work on the outpost), while the refugees will perform other tasks.

What the PCs Can Do: Thyatian PCs can stay behind to explore more of the Guadalimas, or the ruins, or they can patrol the surrounding territory in search of Narvaezan infiltrators. Narvaezan PCs can begin play as former refugees in the employ of the Thyatians, and perform similar tasks, too this could be the beginning of a long, covert campaign against Narvaez, in which the PCs could infiltrate their former homeland to acquire information and rescue people suffering under the inquisition, and help the Thyatians establish a secret presence in the region.

Some of the refugees could also be Narvaezan spies, who would be no doubt surprised at the sudden arrival of the Thyatians. This could present an opportunity for Narvaezan PCs to keep tabs on the establishment of the outpost, and try to ensure that their masters in Puerto Morillos learn what is going on a dangerous job.

Thaumont 28, AC 1019

Norwold Confederacy Summoned.

Location: City of Alpha, Kingdom of Alpha, Nayce. NW

Description: King Ericall asks Overlord Ethendril h'Caramore to convene the Norwold Confederacy. The overlord dispatches requests to the lords of the dominions that are part of the confederacy, and to some that are friendly. (See Th. 6, Th. 19; Ya. 15, Ya. 28.)

What This Means: After consulting with his close advisers, King Ericall will extend the discussion to a larger circle.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs who are rulers of dominions in Norwold may be invited, if they are part of the Norwold Confederacy or close to it.

Topic of the Month

Everfeed

Taken as an extract from Julius Ambrosius's journal, generously provided by an anonymous source. More information about Everfeed has apparently been provided in an official report to the Emperor of Thyatis, which we were not able to obtain.

Thaumont 24, AC 1019

I am happy to note that the Thyatian Empire has made successful contact with the sovereign inhabitants of the island of Everfeed, which lies east of Cestia and Oceania.

The inhabitants of this verdant land are elves, not unlike the fair folk living in many regions of the Old World. They proclaimed themselves to be of the Isoinia Clan, a branch of elvenkind, it was later revealed to us, that did not embark upon Ilsundal's migration so many millennia ago. Instead, it seems, they sought and found shelter on Everfeed, and looked no further.

The emperor will be pleased that the good offices entrusted to me served in the required manner, and as a result, I was able to conclude an agreement of general goodwill between our two peoples. Much information was shared with the Everfeed elves, but some things puzzle me. They have lived on their island for many thousands of years longer even than the elves of Thyatis have dwelt in their forests and yet they have very little knowledge of events on the Davanian mainland, let alone farther afield. Indeed, they appear to lack any interest whatsoever in the goings-on of the neighbouring islands.

Although we were not permitted to visit any of their settlements, we were assured that they did exist, but they are apparently located deep within the island's forests, so well concealed that no outsider could hope to find them. Few elves live near the shores, segments of which seem to have been set aside for religious purposes: to honour the tides, and the rising and setting of the sun and moon. They are a most peculiar people, for they do not seem to venerate Immortals as we would understand them they seem to worship certain elements of the world themselves.

They seem to be similarly primitive in terms of their social structure, for, unlike the elven clans of the Old World, they do not appear to have clanmasters. Instead, each village lives as a sort of commune, with no entrenched hierarchy or social classes even by the loose standards of most elven clans! Respect is given to an elf based on his or her skills and wisdom, and the situation at hand, regardless of age. They seemed rather nonplussed when I described the various social systems in use in the Old World; they were concerned that too much power would be concentrated in the hands of one person, who might not be best suited to handle all situations. Their society sounds very egalitarian, something akin to the old Milenian concepts of democracy, but the idea leaves many questions unanswered not the least: how a person comes to the fore when a situation demands it. Nevertheless, by all appearances Everfeed society is stable, and unified.

The elves spoke of other things that night, which I have taken the liberty to commit to paper in a formal report to the emperor. One last thing the elder spoke, before he departed with his kinfolk, was in response to a brief discussion about our aims in the region. I had merely said that Thyatis was interested in learning more of the continent of Davania, and he said to me, "Raise your sails and catch the northwestern wind, and sail with it for fourteen days, after which you shall come upon a great cloud of steam, within which many islands great and small rise from the sea. Ye shall find on these islands that which gave rise to many legends of this part of the world, and therein shall ye learn much of what ye seek."

I wonder how such an avowedly isolationist clan could know of such islands, but there is so much we do not know about the people of Everfeed. Perhaps I shall yet gain passage to their land, but in the meantime these mysterious islands beckon. The Immortals willing, we will find many answers to our questions.