Wars of the Black Alliance

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Mysteries of Moriban, the year of 1402

Sticking it to the Black Alliance
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Darnell the Barkeep looked around. “The Brawling Bear” was full tonight. It had been for the last many nights since the Black Alliance had taken over the city. Even though the foreign occupation was good for business Darnell the Barkeep did not like it one bit. The town was full of mercenaries, orcs and gnolls. The Black Alliance had picked the worst time to attack the town: The former lord at Dawnstone Keep had thrown a fit when the city guard had demanded better wages and had fired them all until they came to their senses. Thats when they came, with no guards around it had been all too easy for them to destroy and pillage. They had killed the lord the first night.
Darnell the Barkeep had only seen their leader one time. He had called himself Brother Captain Ansgar. A giant of a man, clad in what looked to be a fine set of plate armor, he was adressing the whole town telling them that anyone caught working against the Black Alliance would be sacrificed to Saliac the Vengeful. Good business was all fine and dandy, but Darnell the Barkeep hated the presence of the Black Alliance.
He looked up as a crow flew in through one of the open windows, it had a piece of parchment in its mouth. It laid the parchment in front of Darnell the Barkeep.
The message read:
Darnell, old friend
I’ve found help against our opressors, a few travelling nobles have come to help. They don’t have any soldiers, but they seem able themselves. We have taken out a small patrol outside of town. But we need help to take out the entirety of the oppression. Talk to Joyce and Ulfred and come see me when you can so we can form a strategy together and get rid of this oppression.
- Evandil

Somewhere outside of town seven masked men slowly made their way towards the old sleeping man. One of them prodded at him with his staff, but the old man didn’t seem to wake up. The man prodded him again, and the old man sat upright with a blissful look on his face.
One of the seven pointed his sword at the old man’s face and said ‘Gimme all your money or it’s your life!’
The old man began giggling slightly and the thugs looked confused at each other.
“What’s so funny old man?” one of the thugs asked.
The old man chuckled on for a moment more and replied “Blueberry muffins…”
The thugs looked at each other no less confused than before. One of the thugs hit the old man in the back of his head with his quarterstaff and the old mans big greyish hat almost fell off. “Stop that! That is not very nice!” the old man replied. “You can’t just hit people in the head, it hurts and it’s terribly rude.”
“Give us you money or you’re done for you old weirdo. We’re seven against one. You don’t stand a chance.”
“I say…” the old man began muttering. “You are all being really rude, and I should tell you, bullying is not a nice thing to do at all. People can get really sad when being bullied.”
“Shut up and give us your money! Can’t you see we’re highwaymen and youre being mugged! Quit your lecturing and hand over the gold!” The closest of the seven masked men stepped closer and was now all up in the old mans face.
“I suppose that would make you muggers then, and not technically highwaymen, since what you do is mugging” the old men said with a thoughtfull expression on his face.
The man grabbed the old mans beard and motioned with his knife in the other hand "I’ll cut off your beard if you try to be smart again.
One of the other men snatched a piece of Parchment from one of the old mans pockets. “I found something guys, I think it’s a magical scroll of some sort, let’s see what it says: Remember to buy more scrolls to make more shopping lists so you do not forget what to buy the next time… What the hell is this?” the guy asked with a puzzled expression.
“Give me that. And let go of my beard. You are all being really rude!”

Player Objectives

- Liberate the town.
- Win the hearts and minds of the people in town.
- Become Heroes
- Collect loot

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Loves First Kiss
Humble Beginnings

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The story of Israfel’s first love is so closely intertwined with the story of Israfel’s second love that one cannot be told without telling the other.

He still had duties to be done, as he had done none this day and spent the entire day in the warm spring sun playing on his old Lute that his mother had given him a year ago, when he had begged her repeatedly for weeks on end. He knew he was gonna get in trouble when he got home, so he had no intention of going there just yet. His dad would be furious. His mother would likely be busy trying to make things good with Lord Gorndai Falcor insisting that Israfel was a good boy and would do his duties the next time.

Outside of the tavern he could hear music coming from the tavern. Someone was playing a violin, a tune of melancholy and pain. The song about about a woman who was called The Wild Rose. The song was like none he had heard before. So full of life and yet so full of tragedy.
It was still only early evening as Israfel entered the tavern. “The Singing Slap” was not yet full, people were still on their way here for the night. But tonight there seemed to be more people than usual and the mood was entirely different.
Israfel was still too young to be allowed to drink, but he didn’t come here for the alcohol. He was here for the music. And tonight, he knew,would be a night like none other. He had never heard music like this before. It called out to him, he listened to the composition and was amazed with the multitudes of ups and downs, so beautifully woven into a story and making the small hairs on his arms stand up in a tingle.
He tried to make his way up to the stage, but there already was too much of a crowd, and he was still just a boy. Try as he might, he couldn’t get up and see who was playing.
That was when it happened. He heard the most incredible voice he had ever heard. A silky fine and jolly womans voice started to sing. Stretching across several octaves, the voice reached out and Israfel felt drawn to it. But he couldn’t get through the crowd in front of the stage. Israfel never saw the singer. He was lost in the song, he felt as though his soul was on fire. This, he knew, was the music he wanted to play! Music that touched people, that gathered people. Music that would be recorded for history to marvel over.

Later, as he went home, he couldn’t stop thinking about the music. How it had called to him and how he had wanted to play such music himself.

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The Blessings of Selene
Holy Shit!

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“Someone has found the Dawnbringer Chalice you say? That is splendid news!” Father Argyle closed the cupboard and returned to the table with two glasses in one hand and a dusty bottle of wine in the other. He put the glasses on the table and poured the wine after which he sat down opposite his esteemed guest. “Well that explains why a High Priestess would grace my little chantry with her presence. No offense, but Moriban is but an isolated region in the grander empire, we are used to the isolation here.” Father Argyle continued. “None taken, but you are mistaking my words, the Chalice has not been found yet. I am here to speak with the very one to find it.” the elven lady opposite the priest said. “I see,” said the priest “and you believe that this person is here?” The elderly priest was still a bit awestruck from the elven priestess’ presence, she looked like a young woman, no older than 25, but Father Argyle knew that the elves were blessed with long lifespans. This particular elven lady almost seemed to glow with a divine light although there was no apparent light source other than the priestess herself.
“I will know when I meet the right one. Selene has guided me here, for this very reason. I am not here on any sort of political mission nor do I care for such, I am here to direct a soul because Selene has shown me that is her will.” Father Argyle lifted his glass and took a sip of it “Political or not, my lady, it is still an honour to receive the attention of a High Priestess. I will aid you in any way I can.” The elder priest couldn’t help but smile back when the young elf smiled, he had never met an elf before, but he definitely liked this one.

Neri Nicebottom returns to the temple that taught her, to ponder all that has happened to her since the destruction of Fair Oaks. Little does she know that things are about to transpire that will change her world.

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5. Caution to the winds
Mysteries of Moriban, the year of 1402

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The Empire was abandoning Crowns Reach.

The howls of victory rose up from the army of the Black Alliance. Orcs, Gnolls, and humans advanced to war cries and drums. Only the undead soared forward in eerie silence.

Lord Cruel, the supreme commander of the Black Alliance had every reason to be pleased. He had crushed the Imperial army, and the city of Crowns Reach, the regional capital of Moriban, was finally in his hands. Or their hands, really – the Dark Cabal’s.

Yes, their hands indeed. He sighed and sat down at the nearby ballista. His army’s servitude to Lord Curseweaver and his mysterious Dark Cabal had proven beneficial. They had provided an immense army of shambling undead through the unholy power of their Amulet of Undying.

He absent-mindedly shot a bolt into the retreating mass of Imperial soldiers while he tried to ignore the presence of the Witch Queen Narween Warpdancer, the chief strategist of the Dark Cabal, who had come over to stand next to him. It irritated him because she was spoiling his perfectly good ballista mood.

“Look at them. They are routed, broken. Why do you not pursue and destroy them?” she asked impatiently in her cat-like voice.

Lord Cruel glared at her. “You lack understanding of the arts of war, mistress Warpdancer” he growled. “Behold, they are not routed, as you say. The imperial soldiers are holding firm against my warriors. A rash attack would risk everything we won here today. “

He rose from the ballista and towered over her slight form. He noted that she did not recoil in fear as so many others would and it irritated him further.

“We cannot break them here with our remaining strength. If you and your master had provided me with the so-called Broken Ones – as you had promised – we could have swarmed them and destroyed their army here. But you did not.”

“There has been an unforeseen delay.” she stated coldly.

The enigmatic witch did not seem in a mood to elaborate, so Lord Cruel snorted. “It is of no matter, mistress Warpdancer." he said, “The Imperials will retreat up the River Oseos to lick their wounds. We will remain here and do likewise. In the meantime we will also be able to strengthen our position back across the river, crush the last resistance in Moriban, and prepare for the next phase of the war – the conquest of the Empire. Let the Imperial fools live to fight another day – I always do enjoy a good fight.”

“True, the Imperials may live to fight again” Warpdancer said with a smile “But they will know only the sour taste of defeat from now on. My Lord will raise the fallen on this field and they will join the ranks of your army.” She turned and stared into his eyes, and he was surprised to note that it was he who recoiled beneath her unholy stare. “And then” she said, “the Cabal will be unstoppable.”

Unnerved by her stare, the mighty Lord Cruel merely nodded.

At the same time, there was someone else nearby who felt nearly as uncomfortable as Lord Cruel was right now. That person was Sigurd Ironhammer, the now former Thane to the now former Earl of the now former Imperial earldom of Blackreach. The former earl was walking sullenly next to him, his arm in a sling. Yes, the Empire was doomed all right, Sigurd sighed, and wondered where that heroic band of adventurers had gone. It was obvious that they had not yet managed to obtain the Amulet of Undying, otherwise that army of undead would not just have savaged the Imperial army so thoroughly.

Several heavy horsemen rode past him to reinforce the rear-guard. The army was fighting desperately to detach itself from the enemy, but it looked as if the enemy was not in mind to pursue them. That, at least, was fortunate.

Sigurd could see Baron Theodemir, the Imperial lord of Moriban, issue orders to couriers. He had ordered the army south, to regroup and fortify the remaining cities and prepare for the inevitable sieges. Meanwhile, the Baron himself would travel to Ostmark and raise new armies to come to their aid. “Travel? No, he’s running” Sigurd thought contemptibly and spat on the ground.

He turned to take one last look behind him. Crowns Reach was burning in the distance.

“If your heroes don’t do something soon, there won’t be much left to save, thane.” his lord said angrily. Sigurd shuffled uncomfortably and nodded like an idiot. What else was he supposed to do? Again he wondered where the heroic band of adventurers had gone. He had prayed for them every night since they departed, as he would again tonight. Those brave souls were probably making their way across the freezing Mountains of Bone. Or perhaps they were knee deep in blood in the haunted Forest of Darkness. Or maybe they were struggling for their lives on the dangerous reefs of the Blood Coast. Either way, they would be at Black Harbour soon. All was not yet lost. “Don’t worry, m’lord” he said, “I’m certain they won’t let us down.”

The defeated army trotted slowly south towards Boatmans Ferry.

Somewhere else, far away, and with a far more pleasant climate, you stroll through the city gates of al-Hammam. In tow, you have one sullen captured prince and one pouty rescued princess. Man, breaking into that desert fortress was way easier than you thought it would be. All you have to do now is return the two royal brats to the Sheikh and collect your substantial reward. Then you get to go home. Home… yeah… You wonder if much have changed and if that evil Black Alliance thing has blown over. Sure they butchered everyone you ever knew and loved, but haven’t, like, the Empire or someone dealt with them yet? Oh yeah, there was that Amulet of Undying you was supposed to find. Maybe you should actually go find it and get some payback. As you continue towards the palace, you are feeling pretty good about yourself. You flex your muscles and regard your companions, all tanned and healthy looking. Indeed, you’ve all come a long way since you fled from the Black Alliance over a year ago. Now all that stands between you and your home is one (hopefully short and hopefully pleasant) trip by sea. And if you happened that cross paths with that rascally Captain Ghudraan again, the trip might even be entertaining.

Yes, you think as you flex your muscles… entertaining indeed.

Player objectives:

  • Brave the seas
    Become heroes
    Collect loot
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4. Blood in the Desert
Mysteries of Moriban, the year of 1402
Oh, the intrigue…

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“Detain anyone who is acting suspicious. Do not let them leave town”, the Vizier had said “even the family of the Sheikh”.

Qaid Sufyaan, son of Mutlaq the Dentist, was volunteer captain of the Shurta police militia and these were certainly not orders he was comfortable with.

But he had to admit that the events of the last few weeks had been worrying. Sailors from Moriban could tell of evil armies ravaging the land across the sea, and even al-Hammâm had been troubled by mysterious nightly disappearances.

The Qaid was thinking about strange night-monsters when a group of horsemen came trotting up to the gate that led out of the city.

There were twenty men. They wore long robes like Bedouin, but Sufyaan could see the outline of armor hidden underneath the garments. The horses carried heavy saddlebags.

“Greetings, good sir Qaid” the lead rider yelled, as he leapt from his horse. then man ran up and shook Sufyaan’s hand vigorously. His voice carried a slur like he had a hungover, but he smelled of ash and fire.

“Ehh, greetings, good sir.” Replied Sufyaan and vainly attempted to liberate his hand “Might I inquire as to your name, sir?"
“Of course! My name is… Yoosuf… the Always-Honest… of Agrabah” the stranger said and gestured at his followers with his free hand “and these are my servants”
“Well, mister Yoosuf” said Sufyaan, and eyed the silent men suspiciously, “what are you transporting?”

“Ohh, just trade goods bound for Agrabah.” Yoosuf said, “But tell me, since when does a Qaid of the Shurta worry about whom or what leaves town?”
“Since this morning, sir” Replied Sufyaan, finally managing to release his now sweaty hand, Vizier Jiffar instructed us to be extra vigilant.”
“Did he now?” said the other.
“So I am sorry but I have to inconvenience you with a tariff search.” Said Sufyaan, not feeling sorry at all.
“We’re not the people you’re looking for, Qaid.” Tried Yoosuf producing a gold coin in his hand. But Sufyaan contemptuously ignored the bribe. He made a sign with his hand and the other men of the Shurta closed in. The stranger looked him in the eyes for a second and then made an exasperated gesture before stepping back from his horse.

As Sufyaan stepped past him, he could see that the rearmost rider was discretely trying to hide a riderless horse behind his own. Sufyaan noted this with interest and went directly to the rider.
“Open your bag please” he said. The rider glanced towards Yoosuf, and Sufyaan momentarily feared a confrontation, but then the rider sighed and opened his saddlebag. There was a bunch of swords bundled up inside. Some of them gave off a strange glow.
“Eh, tell me, does that sword glow or is it me?” asked Sufyaan.
“…no… it, uh, doesn’t.” said the rider.
“Yes it does. It glows. Magical weapons are illegal unless you have a permit, you know.” Said Sufyaan.
Yoosuf stepped up next to him and held out two gold coins “Maybe you’re seeing things?” he suggested.
“Mhhmhmhmhmmd” suggested the saddle bag on the neighbouring horse
“Eh, what was that?” asked Sufyaan and waved away the gold coins.
“Uhh, I just said maybe you’re seeing AND hearing things.” Tried Yoosuf, now holding three gold coins.
“Mhhmhmhhhhhrrr!” objected the saddle bag.
“Welp!” Sufyaan exclaimed as he leapt back and drew his sword, “Sir, I believe your saddlebag is speaking.”
The other men of the Shurta quickly surrounded them. The stranger was clearly uneasy now.

Sufyaan ignored him for the moment and carefully poked the bag with his sword, “It’s not… a mimic, is it?” he asked. Sufyaan had seen a mimic only once before, in the course of his 10 year career, so he naturally felt reluctant to touch the saddlebag. “Nhhhhyhidt!” complained the saddlebag and Yoosuf shook his head, “No, it is not a mimic.” He said, “please stop poking it with your sword.”
Sufyaan gave Yoosuf a good hard stare and then proceeded to carefully open the mysterious talking saddlebag.
He found a young woman inside, gagged, her hair a sweat-soaked mess, and eyes that seemed unable to focus. She smelled of wine, smoke and vomit.
Sufyaan removed her gag and turned to Yoosuf “You, uh, know this girl?"
“Sadly, yes.” Yoosuf replied, “She is my sister. She’s a little crazy.”
“…Am… Ami…” the crazy sister mumbled.
“Tragic, isn’t it?” said Yoosuf and prepared to close the bag, “But, no harm done. Now, come along, sis. Time to go see the doctor.”
But Sufyaan put a hand on his arm “Wait a minute, sir.” He said, “She looks awfully familiar.”
“Ah well. She, uh, is one of the most famous belly dancers in all the cities of the coast!” explained Yoosuf.
“A famous belly dancer, really?” asked Sufyaan incredulously, clasping the medallion of Tharwah around his neck, and contemplating that a captain of the Shurta should not know any famous belly dancers.
“Wait. You’re not… abducting her, are you?” asked the Qaid, and suddenly hoped that he had uncovered the mysterious kidnapping plot that had plagued the city.
“Aaah…Amit” said the woman, “Amit, take me back to father you f…”
“Amit?” asked Sufyaan and looked at the stranger with new suspicion.
“..ucking doofus.” continued the woman.
“Uhhh…” explained the man who called himself Yoosuf.
Sufyaan turned to the woman and lifted her head. She spluttered a bit before suddenly focusing her eyes on him. He recognized that look immediately. “Unhand me, vile peasant!” cried princess Amira, daughter of Sheikh Harun Qadib.
Sufyaan reeled, let go of the princess, and stepped back from the saddlebag. His men reeled as well and fell to their knees.
“Oh, now you’ve done it, you fool” cried Yoosuf, who Sufyaan now recognized as Prince Amit.
Before Sufyaan could ask what the noble siblings were doing with all those swords, a cry could be heard; “Stop that man, if you please! He has kidnapped the princess, noneother!” Sufyaan turned in direction of the voice and saw the gallant and heroic Crown Prince Zengi riding towards them, his sword raised. “Oh, a regular family gathering” thought Sufyaan, half expecting the Shiekh to show up next. Sufyaan’s husband had always warned him to stay out of politics. Well, it looked like politics had found him anyway. But before Sufyaan could offer praise to the gathered nobles, Prince Amit made a strange move with his hand, and the world exploded around them.

When Sufyaan came to, he was lying on the ground with his men. He was in pain but he didn’t seem to be badly hurt. The Crown Prince was also lying on the ground. He had been thrown from his horse and his cape was smoldering. There was no sign of the horsemen…

Player objectives:

  • Return to the Sheikh to get your reward for stopping the Mad Magus.
  • Do heroic shit and look awesome while doing it
  • Collect loot
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3. The Lair of Darkness - Part 2
Mysteries of Moriban, the year of 1402

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The Dark Tower

He was not like the other of the master’s monsters. He had a heart. In fact the master had once told him, that his heart was too big, since it was from a pig. As long as he could remember, he had served the Mad Magus, as butler and lab assistant. Once in a while the master was good to him, but not so often.
As most nights he had opened the main gate to let the master’s creations out. As most nights his master was in a foul mood. This night however, the creations should have been back with their prey hours ago, but they weren’t.

“Rigor!!!!!!!” The Master’s voice rang out. “Yes Master!” he answered. “What is that damn noise. I am trying to concentrate on my work. Find my ingredients and bring them here as fast as you can!!!”
Rigor looked up. He noticed he was laying face first, unto the floor at the bottom of the stairs. All around him lay shattered jars and glass containers. All over the floor was spread various magical ingredients. He stood up as fast as he could. He couldn’t feel pain but his head was still spinning from the flight down the stairs, but in particular from the abrubt landing. He checked himself to make sure nothing was broken. He could feel something liquid dripping from his lips, he wiped it off with the sleeve of his tunic to see if it was blood. It was not, it was probably just drool again.
“Sorry Master, I fell down the stairs again Master. But I landed on my head, so nothing important is broken!” “I don’t care if you’re hurt. Just get me those ingredients, you moron!”
“Yes Master!”
He found the broom and gathered as many of the ingridients as he could. Then hurried up the stairs to where his master would be. “Here you go Master. All that you asked for!”
His master looked at him impatiently. “Have the creatures returned yet?” “No Master, not yet.” He knew his master wouldn’t be pleased of those news, but then again, he rarely were in the first place. “They shouldn’t be late! What’s keeping them?”
Rigor had no idea what was keeping the creatures from coming home. “Maybe the city guard has caught them Master. Maybe they have been arrested.”
“Bah, I have an arrangement with the city guard, they will look the other way. It must be something else! Hand me those ram horns over there” Rigor went over to the shelve to get the horns and handed them back to his master.
RAM HORNS! Not Elk horns!” His master hit him across the face, it didn’t hurt, but Rigot knew that the master would get even more furious if he didn’t pretend it hurt. “You good for nothing idiot! I should have given you a bigger brain when I made you! Even Fisto is smarter than you!” Rigor didn’t like it when the master compared him to Fisto who was a completely mindless construct.“Come on, get to work! Stitch up those three bodies over there or I’ll punish you again!”
“Yes Master!!!!”

Efter at være blevet solgt som slaver af den sleske pirat Captain Ghudraan til Sheikh Harun Qadib er vores helte blevet lovet deres frihed hvis de stopper den ondskab der hærger al-Hammam.
I kloakkerne under byen har vores helte fulgt et spor der har ledt dem gennem horder af broken ones, udøde og andre vederstyggeligheder.
De kommer ud af kloakkerne langt uden for byen. Natten er faldet på, en intens regn vælter ned fra himlen og det er tordenvejr. Som skyerne forsvinder kan de se et Tårn hvor lyn slår ned. Tårnet stikker op af udkanten af en ækel og gigantisk mose der strækker sig så langt som øjet rækker.
Når de kommer tættere på tårnet kan de se flere broken ones stavre omkring i en indhegning med porten åben.
Der står et skilt udenfor med teksten “The Mad Magus. Beware: Monsters live here.” skrevet med store ubehjælpelige børnebogstaver.
Vil vores helte nogensinde besejre The Mad Magus? Vil de blive frigivet fra deres trældom? Vil de finde Loot?

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3. The Lair of Darkness
Mysteries of Moriban, the year of 1402

Shit’s about to get real!
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Almawt Alwashik entered the room, the air was thick with the smoke from water pipes, he inhaled the air in a deep breath and went straight for the bar. “A large mug of your sweetest wine!” he asked the bar wench as he sat down at a small table on the edge of the room.
“You shouldn’t travel alone! There be vile beasties out there.” a voice nearby said, Almawt turned his head and saw some of the local sailors talking. Almawt had heard the rumors of broken shapes attacking people in the night, but he didn’t believe them. People with multiple arms and claws and hooves… Bah, just the ramblings of drugged madmen. Many times had Almawt helped the smugglers importing Starpowder filled stonedust mushrooms, knowing full well that they could render an otherwise sane man into a raving lunatic seeing lights and shadows and the most wondrous of sights. Only a fool would believe the ramblings of such a madman as actual evidence for a crime.
“Harbourmaster Alwashik?” a man approached him. “Aye” he replied. A man carrying two tall glasses of wine sat down opposite him. Alwahik looked up at him, he didn’t know him, but he had the distinct look of a foreign sailor about him, “Yes?” he asked. “I hear that you’re the man to talk to if I want to get something into the city without questions being asked.” “That might be, what excactly are we talking about?” “I am Gilbert de Pontenac, captain of the Windstrider, which is currently moored in the bay outside the city, I come bearing precious cargo.” Alwashik raised an eyebrow and gestured for the man to sit down. “Precisely what and how much are we talking about?”. The captain sat down opposite Alwashik, “Amongst my cargo of fine clothes and hides I have fifty cases of Green Arbour wine, but as you know very well, the port authorities will never let that wine enter the city, which is why I need you.” Alwashik knew about Green Arbour wine all too well, considered by many to be the finest wine in the world, but presently very much illegal to bring into al-Hammâm due to political tensions between Green Arbour and al-Hammâm. “That might be possible, but it will cost you” he said with a sly tone. “… Which is why I brought this…” the captain said placing a pouch on the table before him, Alwashik looked in the pouch, “This is not nearly enough, my services don’t come cheap, there are arrangements to be made and bribes to be placed if you want to get that wine into the city safely. Or you could just take your chances in the dead of night if you feel the price is too high.” Alwashik knew that the captain would never be able to move his contraband without his help, and therefore knew that he could demand a steep price.
They talked for a few minutes and in the end the captain settled for Alwashiks price, not that he had any choice in the matter. “A pleasure doing business with you” Alwashik said with a smug smile grabbing the pouch before him “I will take this as your initial downpayment, make sure to have the rest of my fee ready when we unload the ship.” He emptied his mug and stood up and left the tavern.
Business had been good this night, Alwashik thought, he had gotten almost twice his usual price from the captain, more than enough to cover all his own costs in the matter and still leave him with a hefty profit. He pocketed the pouch and pulled the hood of his cloak up over his head, the weather was fickle this night, cold and foggy, not at all pleasant.
A few hundred feet from the tavern he heard a soft clicking sound, he turned around and saw a dark figure behind him. He picked up his pace and went down an alleyway holding a hand on the dagger at his side. He turned his head and saw that the figure were following him and had gotten closer. The clicking sound had gotten higher and closer. He ducked around another corner and prepared to face the figure head on. No common thug would get the better of him.
He could hear the clicking sound getting closer and closer, he drew his dagger and stepped out in front of the figure. “What do you want, don’t you know who I…” his voice disappeared as he saw his pursuer clearly, it was no man, at least not entirely. The face was a mosaic of different faces, some of it human, but not all of it, the right side of the face was furry with a red eye, the lower jaw had green skin and long tusks and above the maw were small pincers one would expect to see on an insect. Surprised he took a few steps back before he found his courage again. He raised his dagger to strike, but as he did a big crablike pincer caught his arm around the wrist sending searing pain down the length of his arm. His grip around the dagger loosened and a soft clank sounded as his dagger hit the cobbled street. Alwashik looked at his assailant with a mixture of panic and utter amazement. “Wh-… wh-… what are you?” he stuttered trying to squeeze away to no avail. The pincer pulled him closer and the mouth of the impossible face opened impossibly wide before sinking it’s teeth into his should opposite his trapped hand. Alwashik screamed in pain and sheer terror, all thoughts of fighting back gone from his mind. The creatures raised it’s other arm, which ended in a long stinger dripping with a vile green liquid. The stinger plunged into Alwashik’s left thigh with a jab of sharp pain. within seconds all feeling in his leg had vanished, and he could feel the sensation spreading throughout his body and he started to get dizzy. He struggled to remain conscious, but knew it was a battle he could never win.
“The Magus needs more subjects” Alwashik heard a raspy voice from the creature say before he passed out.

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2. An Expected Journey - Part 2
Mysteries of Moriban, the year of 1402

What do we want?!! Hate crimes!!! When do we want it?!! When we catch the interlopers!!!
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The following is from the diary of Joél Greenspring (aka Joe the sniffer)

… No amount of fair weather, nor bard inspiration can mask the stench and misery that is this river voyage. The monotony of it all only adding fuel to the proverbial slow cooking of boredom and discomfort, making it a welcome distraction when you spot a lone traveller cornered by four orcs on the river bank. Dispatching two barbarians to traverse the perilous river to do battle, the bard and the priest assisted with some well-aimed long distance support. The traveller proves capable with a blade as he slay two of the brutish orcs, leaving far too few orcs for the barbarians liking. There is much rejoicing back on the boat (and the bard didith playeth a tone).

The traveller is introduced as Joe, a fellow adventurer commissioned to get the Amulet of the Undying away from the Black Alliance (what are the odds). A new alliance is formed by the time the boat reached Marshtown, now all that was left for you to do was find the girl and gain entry to the dreaded Black Harbour.

Witch! Burn her!!” Marshtown is in uproar (or celebrating, it is hard to tell the difference), and it appears that Tilda the Fairhaired is at the center of the commotion, having being tried and judged a witch. You find yourself in a bind; the town distrust you, the girl is set to burn at dawn, and the baptism into the faith of Turius that Slak has just undergone usually ends with an offering to said God.

Time is short and the options few. As night falls and the town celebrates the pending burning, you have to come up with a plan, a good plan (preferable one that does not include burning pigs as a diversion) to get the girl, or at least what she knows and get out of town without dying. Good luck…

Player objectives:

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2. An Expected Journey
Mysteries of Moriban, the year of 1402

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“Ahh, the ancient Iron Crown of Oaths. My master will be pleased.”

Selvin Silvertongue pours some sweet honeyed wine into his flagon and sits back to study the Crown, smiling that annoying smile of his. It is late in the evening in the Hercking Carver, the best tavern in Greywater Edge.

Recently returned from the depths of the Halls of the Ancient Dead, you speculate that the sweet taste of honeyed wine could banish the memory of the hideously disgusting and foul smelling carrion crawler, the ugly one that bit you in that special place you don’t talk of in public. But Selvin doesn’t seem to be offering any.

“Yes, he will be most pleased.” Selvin continues. “Wouldn’t you say, Gelimir?”

Gelimir the Black, standing in the dark behind Selvin, with his hands resting on his sword-hilt, merely grunts his approval.

You can feel him eying you suspiciously as you stand there, in your torn stinky clothes, cradling your dinged up helmet, feeling pain in your groin.

“And of course, I am also pleased that my fine friends have survived their foray into the Haunted Hills. Yes, very pleased.” Selvin says, in a way that leaves you without a doubt that he is not pleased at all. Gelimir grunts another approval in much the same way.

“So now I will honor my end of the bargain.” Selvin continues, as he hands the Iron Crown back to Gelimir, and produces a piece of paper. Gelimir quickly hides the Crown under his vest.
“This one is called Tilda the Fairhaired.” Selvin proclaims, showing you the paper. “ She is currently wanted by agents of the cursed Black Alliance.”

Upon the mentioning of the Black Alliance, everyone in the inn within earshot spits on the floor. Gelimir’s spit lands perilously close to your left boot. You discretely shift your foot and look closer at the sketch of the woman on the paper. She is young and innocent looking. Underneath her picture, bold writing proclaims her WANTED by the Black Alliance, and mentions something about her being a runaway slave, and a reward for bringing her in.

“As you can see, it is a fairly substantial reward” Selvin says, as he absentmindedly fingers the iron piece fastened on his broken nose. “I have her tracked down to a stinky little settlement called Marshtown, a few days upriver from here. She is hiding there in the inn”

You notice that he occasionally grimaces in pain from his broken nose. The thought makes you smile.

“Actually, I was very tempted to claim the reward for myself.” he says. “But I digress. I know I owe you a way to Black Harbor, and I am a man of my word. She is it.”

“Okay…” you say, doubtfully, as the others in your group look to you. “But how exactly are we going to be able to use her to get us to Black Harbor? If she is on the run, I very much doubt that she’ll want to go ba…”

“Use your brain, hero.” Selvin says with his annoying smile. “She got out. She’ll know the way in. All you need to do is persuade her to tell you how.”

“Use your imagination.” Gelimir says. “But don’t do anything foolish.”

Images of the bar fight in Felldragon Inn flashes through your mind. As do the fight with the city guard, the escape over the rooftops, the dead guards, the prison stay, the life-long ban on ever visiting Boatman’s Ferry again, upon pain of death.

“Of course.” You say. “We won’t do anything foolish at all.”

“Right.” Selvin says, clearly not convinced. “A word of warning, fine friends. The people of Marshtown take their faith very seriously. They have been known to burn visitors who disagrees on their interpretation on religious doctrine, so I’d try not to offend their sensibilities, if I were you.

“I am sure nothing of the sort will happen” you say, nervously eying the rest of your group.

“Anyway.” Says Selvin. “My good friend Gelimir here, have arranged for a discrete river barge that’ll take you lot towards Marshtown. Expect the journey to take a week or so. Now, if you have no other matters to discuss, I think it would be best for all of us if you went on your way.”

As you are led out of the tavern, you pass by the noble Sir Sigurd Ironhammer, Thane to the Earl of Blackreach, and the one who talked you into this Quest™. He enthusiastically gives you a thumbs up as you pass.

“Good luck, noble adventurers.” He says in a booming voice. “The safety of the Empire rests on your heroic shoulders.”

Gelimir unsuccessfully attempts to stifle a laugh, much to your chagrin. But Sigurd seems unfazed.

“We shall await your return with great anticipation!”

Gelimir is still laughing to himself as you are led down the backstreets and alleyways, down to the small harbor of Greywater Edge. Across the river, you can see the lights from Boatmans Ferry. The harbor is almost deserted, except for…

“No way!” Suddenly you stop in your tracks. The only sizeable ship is an ugly looking river barge, and it doesn’t look very seaworthy. You find yourself really hoping it isn’t that one. But it is. The boat captain waves to Gelimir, who in turn waves you toward to boat with an unkind gesture.

“What a piece of junk!” You exclaim.

“She’ll make it to Marshtown in five days.” Says the boat’s captain, busily herding pigs onboard. “She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts. I’ve made a lot of special modifications myself.”

“Oink” says one of the pigs.

As you climb onboard, and stuff your gear in among the smelly pigs, you briefly wonder what Gelimir the Black intends to do with the Iron Crown you found. But whatever it is, you’re sure it will never come back to haunt you.

Anyway, the journey awaits. That damsel in Marshtown knows the way to Black Harbor, and to the best of your knowledge, you owe a few of those Black Alliance crooks a good beating. For justice.

You look around you, seeing your friends, the pigs, and all your gear. “Onwards to adventure!” you cry. “ Onwards to glory!”. “For the noble dead of Fair Oaks!” your friends cry.

“Oink!” says the pig.

The smelly river boat begins to tug mindboggling slowly up the river.

Player objectives:

View
1. The Amulet of Undying
Mysteries of Moriban, the year of 1402

Lake town

Sigurd Ironhammer shivered in the cold night. He didn’t like it here. Boatman’s Ferry was a godforsaken town in a godforsaken province, and if anything, the dirty alley behind Felldragon Inn, in which Sigurd Ironhammer currently found himself, was even more godforsaken. Every second he could be mugged by bandits, or worse, get the contents of a shitpot tossed at him from one of the upper floor windows.

He tugged at his coat. Baldur was late. Typical of a dwarf.

It took half an hour of Sigurd worrying about raining feces, before a horseman came trotting slowly down the alley. The rider was slumped in the saddle. An ominous sign.

Sigurd rested a hand on his sword and approached the rider. It was Baldur alright. Sigurd grimaced; The dwarf had three crossbow bolts sticking out of his chainmail shirt.
Oh well.. Sigurd thought to himself, …Guess I’ll have to find ano-“YAAATARH!” his thoughts turned into an exclamation, as the dead dwarf suddenly grabbed hold of his coat. Baldur held his gaze and spoke, his voice a feeble rasp; “Shadows in the mist. Death from the darkne- cough cough all dead, they’re all dead…”

“All of them, eh?” Sigurd asked, disappointed, “I thought you were the best?”

Baldur spluttered “…The pass at Strongfall, our elf ranger died there, brave though she were, gutted by the blades of the Black Orcs… The savage monsters of Coldmarsh claimed our noble barbarian… The cursed Fenbeast of Black Pines took our wise wizard… Our thief cough cough our thief was lost in the deadly traps of Ravenflight…”

Sigurd poked his ear in irritation “I don’t really know any of those places, old friend, but did you at least find the… you know, the amulet?”

“No, and damn your amulet. " Baldur gurgled and slumped back over the saddle.
Unfazed, Sigurd tried again “Perhaps, when, or if, you recover, I could talk you into leading another quest to recover the amulet?”

Baldur feebly raised himself “Damn your suicidal quest, Imperial. If I survive, I’m going back to gold mining in Tavastia.”

Sigurd sighed and conceded defeat to the quarrelsome dwarf “Oh well, thanks for your time. Sorry for the mortal wounds and all.”

“Actually, I think I’ll make it.” Baldur said and instantly died.

Sigurd was annoyed, his entire band of merry adventures had met unfortunate ends… again. This was, like, the fourth time that had happened. Baron Theodemir was getting impatient. Oh, and doom was approaching.

“Yes, we’re doomed alright.” Sigurd said to himself.
Shaking his head, he left the dwarf and his horse in the alley and entered Feldragon Inn. He would need a big mug of strong ale after this recent setback. Heck, he’d never find another group of hardy and reckless adventurers in time. The last four groups had been good, but Boatman’s Ferry was rapidly running out of adventurous strangers – oh wait, nevermind, there was a new bunch of adventurous strangers, right there in front of him!

They were perfect, totally perfect. A rough loincloth-clad and well-muscled barbarian with a terrible-looking broadsword seemed to be the leader of the group. A black-bearded dwarf, wearing a chainmail shirt, with a mug of ale in one hand and a mighty warhammer in the other, was quietly talking to him. Add to that a scantily clad elven female of seductive beauty, with a bow and arrow, and a mysterious looking thief, clad in black and with a glimpse of a sharp dagger tugged into his sleeve, not to mention the wise-looking pointy-hatted wizard with a look in his eyes as if he had seen beyond eternity and understood the secrets of the universe. Perfect indeed.

Sigurd made a little dance and approached the group.

“Salutations” Sigurd began, “…brothers and sisters of the Empire. I come to you in dire need. The Empire is threatened by Doom… Doom from the east! Do-” The seated barbarian calmly interrupted the speech with a raised hand. “I’m sorry, sheriff, but we’re not interested in what you’re selling.”

Sigurd blinked in surprise “But, what?… but I come to you with adventure! With dangers! With gold to be looted! A battle against evil to be won! Wi-”
“Really, sir..” the barbarian said “…we’re not interested. We’re pacifists, actually.”
Sigurd blinked in disbelief.
The scantily clad elven female interjected: “and we’re absolutely, positively, not interested in your quest, we all know what happened to the other fellowships who tried.”
Sigurd was amazed. But he didn’t know what to say, so he just blinked again.
“And the weapons we carry…” the dwarf continued “…we are carrying to the Temple of Shara’s Mercy, where they will be smelted into chalices, never again to be used to strike death into living flesh.”
“Shame on you…” the wizard said “…for assuming that you could lure us into mortal danger for mere gold. We are not mercenaries to be bought.”
“Yes…” the thief added “…why do you people always assume that we just sit here, all day long in the tavern, just waiting for some pompous fool to drop by with a silly quest? We have jobs you know.”

Doomed indeed. Sigurd’s brain was trying to jump out of his skull through his eyes, hence some rapid blinking. This was impossible. He would have to return to Baron Theodemir. With a sigh, Sigurd backed away from the crazy people at the table and walked out. He might as well give up.

He spent the next few hours walking around the streets, cursing his piss-poor luck, cursing barons, amulets, and approaching doom, and sighing some more. It was early dawn when he found himself at the dock and the ferry arrived. A band of adventurous-looking characters stepped ashore. Hope? They definitely looked like adventurers… Actually they looked a bit shabby.

Well, it wouldn’t do much to be picky at this point. Sigurd sauntered towards the new arrivals, readying his recruiting speech for the umpteenth time…

Player objectives:

  • Speak to Sigurd Ironhammer
  • Become heroes
  • Collect loot
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