Shades of Shadora

Approaching Thenga Velu

With the burning fields ambush and the strange, unnatural fog surrounding Water Wyrm Island a day behind you. The battered barge limps towards the confluence of three great tributaries of the Warm River. Your branch joins its sisters and the center fork of the Warm River reforms itself. The river rolls lazily but steadily towards a gap between two great arms of low mountains known as the Low Velu’s. The barge drifts onwards for a few hours and the keen eyes of the elves spot the great walled city that the river eventually bisects. Haven casts Farsee on the less able humans and they all gasp at the sight that rises before their newly strengthened eyes. The walls of Thenga Velu reach towards the sky and you gaze in wonder guessing at their true height to be visible from such a distance. Haven overhears your musings and comments from the tiller.

“They are over 100 meters tall and 50 meters thick, built on a foundation of solid bedrock such that no sapper would ever have a whisper of a prayer’s chance of tunneling under. They slope gently outward making scaling near impossible and entire barracks of men a billeted atop the walls, always available to throw off any assault. The walls of the city have never been breached; in fact no one in recent history has even tried. Some say the Lazuri are growing more aggressive on the frontier and may be preparing to mount an offensive. Suicide, if you ask me, but then the entire race has turned into raving fanatics in recent history.”

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On the Warm River

(this adventure spanned May 2005 – Dec 2007 as Shawn did an 18 month tour in Iraq )

Encounter Flow

Day 5: Crossing Kent’s Lake: Kraken Attacks!

Day 6,7,8:

3 day Layover in Kent’s Lake – summon Undine – carpentry repairs – Hire a Burdorn Pilot

Describe Kent’s Lake – players can spend some money, prices are inflated by 15% – “Kent” is an Agualan word for mercenary. The most accurate translation would be “bloody spear”. – Kent’s lake attracts those who would hire themselves out as bodyguards for migrating agualans. It also attracks those who would hire themselves out to slaughter agualans. – The agualan’s suffer mightily from natural predators and political ememies during their vast migration up the warm river to the Sundered Sea. – The looks you get as the barge pulls into the wharf are shifty and cruel. This is a place of hard men, loose coin and shifting alliances.

Describe the Agualan Migration

Sundered Sea (from the codex) The Agualans tell a tale of sadness and courage when they speak of the Sundered Sea. The Sundered Sea is an enormous freshwater lake atop a huge mountain that steams and bubbles from the volcanic vents deep beneath it. The Sundered Sea flows to the sea via the great Warm River. Each of the 5 great schools of the Agualans requires freshwater to breed. adulthood they make a vast migration to mate in the Sundered Sea. Some say this tie to the fresh water is insisted on by Aguala herself to insure her rivers remain protected. the Sundered Sea. creation of healing draughts and poison antidotes. Smiths also value the water for quenching their bronze to increase hardness in the creation of fine and superb weapons. Immersion in the lake is said to bestow longevity and good health. The bottom of the lake is rumored to contain much Elementia and a great and mysterious Agualan city.

The water of the lake is highly valued by healers and alchemists for the

Day 9: - Haven casts a Path Watch - Describe the scope of the river - History of Burdorn

On approach to the Burdorn Rapids: Griffon Hunting Party

- Roll Powx3% to be topside - Sun in your eyes -20%

Griffon Nest

o 3 consecutive climing rolls Hard -20% o After 3 on top 1 roll – normal -0%, STR vs SIZ + ENC/5 o

Day 10, 11: Running the Rapids 2 days of boating rolls: 8 rolls total ( -6d6% per roll ): Pilot ( Boat 75% ) adds Skill Roll Result Damage to Raft Modifier to Next Roll Fumble [1d6]d6 -20 Miss [1d4]d6 -10 Success 0 0 Special 0 skip 1 roll Critical 0 skip 2 rolls

- If you are Top Side, you will need to be lashed up and make DEX rolls - Undines move to the front and side of the boat to help with steering, they are not strong enough to hold the barge back

Near the final Row of Teeth: - newtlings take out the Pilot - Last 2 rolls without the Pilot! Barge’s tiller allows helmsman to mindspeech and command the undines - Ambush!

Day 11-12: Early Morning On approach to 3 Rivers a strange island appears out of the morning mist. Water Wyrms

Describe 3 Rivers.

Day 13-15 Layover at 3 Rivers – summon Undines – carpentry repairs – make checks at a disadvantage

Haven’s Apology

Well boys - hiring merc - Rallying the Cohort

Day 16: Neu Lake

Day 17: Burning Fields - newtling kill undines - barge drifts into the smoke - goblins in canoes - run aground on a small island - final battle in the cane lands

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Harvest Guards

After the summons, the wizards decide that they will sign on with Haven Vendor to guard the berry harvest as it heads down stream to Thenga Velu. The fighters show interest in helping rebuild the Air temple, but after asking around, find out that the rebuilding is not yet complete enough to need extra guards. As long as they are back before the Day of Gales in the week of Renewal ( about 32 days time ) they will be in time for the re-sanctification.

Haven is overjoyed to have the party along and offers to pay half of their return faire to get teleported back to Summerford from Thenga Velu. The job itself pays 10T per easy day and 25T for any fighting day.

Haven’s Briefing:

The day before setting out Haven pulls the party aside and takes them below into the cabin. Every open area is crammed with pieces of what looks like some sort of complex machine.

“I’m glad you boys could make it. We are going to need the help. I was hoping to have a few men along I can trust in a tight spot. I have a few suggestions and a couple of secrets to share with you. Various sources have led me to believe that the Lazuri are going to rally their forces in an attempt to stop us. I do not know the form it will take.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the clutter. These are a pair of ballista that I’ve smuggled onboard in pieces at night. I want to give any aggressors a surprise. Once under way, we will do the final assembly and mount them to the roof of the cabin. We’ll keep them under tarp until needed. The 2 men from Summerford, Fundin and Blahner, have experience with siege weapons. Plus, these have speedart and multimissile matrixes. They will lay waste to anything that stands against them. You will be trained in their use as we progress downstream. I have one more additional trick that I will keep secret for now.

Next, you will want to reduce your encumbrance to allow you to move about the barge and have a chance of swimming if you fall overboard. ENC SR will reduce Swim skill as per dodge. ( -25% per level ) The crew will be providing swimming and boating lessons as we progress.

Finally, I will let you in on the greatest secret of this little voyage. Through a series of payoffs, secret smugglings, divination and divine intervention, I have managed to procure the Sharpsword - Blade of Garrath. Garrath is a Kilwin Rune Lord and was a general of the forces that fought the Lazuri in the great battle of Thenga-Orana. Garrath is now in exile leading the resistance fighting to retake the city. His sword will serve as a great moral booster for those still struggling under the Lazuri yoke in Thenga-Orana. Garrath has also given me a simple note to deliver, “Have faith, stay strong. I will come for my sword soon!” I plan to take the sword to Thenga-Velu and arrange for transport to the resistance in Thenga-Orana. I have told no one of this cargo. I keep it here in this chest in a false bottom. If you know how to use it, one of you may borrow it for the duration of the voyage.

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The Summons

Your group is taking some much needed rest after sacking the JM temple. You are becoming somewhat famous in the town as Veteran ‘Thicketeers’. You are lounging in the common room of the Adventurer’s Guild when you see a pair of ghosts float in through the front door.

The ghosts float over to the main bar and speak to the bar tender who points a shaky finger at the party. The ghosts drift over to the party who sits up a little straighter as they approach. Once they are near, it is obvious to the wizards that these are illusions of great power and skill. These men have the look of powerful wizards, masters of their craft.

The first phantasm approaches Arghmon. He stands nearly 2 meters tall wiry, and is completely bald but bears a long black beard and mustache that appear to have been singed and burnt in many places. He has piercing brown eyes and dark smooth skin. He carries a black staff that looks to have been carved from a single chunk of obsidian that bears a large glowing fire ruby on its top. He wears the robes and rank of a Master of the College of Fire. “I am Yarela Flamedreamer and I am to be your master. From this day forward you will address me as master. If you choose to continue your studies you must be at the Great Arch of Thenga-Velu 3 tendays hence for transport to the Free City of Emancia. Your passage has been secured, but you must arrive on time. Once in Emancia you must pass through the Conundrum and prove that you are ready for apprenticeship. Now, I will need 3 references that can vouch for abilities and recent actions.”

The second specter approaches Prospero. He is short and strong of build with short, straight blond hair, light brown skin, and sharp green eyes. His throat bears the scar of what appears to have been a terrible animal bite. His warm smile is missing a few teeth and when he raises his left hand in greeting you see that he is missing 3 fingers. In his right hand he bears a gnarled wooden staff with the likeness of a hummingbird carved on the top that bears emeralds for eyes. A large black raven is perched on his shoulder. He wears the robes and rank of a Master of the College of Conjuration. “Well met Prospero. I am Abu-Balardus and I am to be your master. You need to be in Thenga-Velu in 30 days to take a wondrous trip thru the arch to return to the university for your exams. The conundrum is hard, but I’m sure you are up to it. Now go pack your things and be on your way – you don’t want to be late.” At this the raven squawks and Abu starts again. “Yes, yes I know he has plenty of time, but no sense procrastinating. I suppose I should introduce Olohad, my familiar. you’ll be having one of these soon my boy and what a great benefit they are. Now, I will need 3 references that can vouch for abilities and recent actions, not that I expect any problems there my lad, but you know rules are rules.”

“Any questions?”

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Berrik's Shade

Adventure Flow

Shaman Brenna-Orm sends a dream - Berrik’s spirit is at unrest and under the control of a sinister force. - He cries out to me in agony when his dark master is not tormenting him with acts of unspeakable evil. - You fought beside him last and his life force is imprinted upon your aura - We must venture into the heart of the thicket to lay his shade to rest. - Seek us on the trail at the border of the Farm and the Hide on the day of Blooms in the week of Growth (2 days). - If you are not there by the hour of the Raven (9pm) we will know that you are detained and proceed without you. - This journey will be your most perilous yet. - The Deep is a place of vile horrors, dark secrets and wild magic. - Prepare well

Encounter on route at the Thicket Edge ( 1 day ) o Bears – easily avoided

The Yatahay go to War - Lanarn and Nesend step out of the night and greet the party. “What ho friends of the Yatahay? I see that your eyes and ears are still those of a Yatahay babe in the thicket.” “It is of no mind – your masters are with you now to keep you safe!” - Their bodies bear the scars of a host of new tattoos and ritualistic runes and bundles of feathers adorn their weapons. - “You remember our spirit master, Brenna-Orm?” - The old village shaman steps from hiding in the shadows, showing that he is no babe in the thicket. He looks stooped and frail. The air about him is electric with the power of spirits. It is as if his presence alone was a dam holding back a huge reservoir of power. The hairs on your arm stand up when he clasps your forearm. - “The Yatahay are honored to have their new brothers join our quest. You bring a great many skills and powers that we can call apon.” - He looks over Lasheur and Simon with a knowing eye. “Your aura’s are too weak to survive this journey without protection. I will draw the circle and you will learn from me. The rest of you should sleep.” - Yatahay ancestors. Concessions. Both learn Spirit Screen 4 that night and get to bed late. - Sleep now – there is much yet to prepare – the thick has not been kind to you. - As the sun rises, Brenna-Orm is sleeping cross legged with his staff across his lap. - Lanarn calls to him, “Old man! – Wake up! or have you died on us before the journey begins!” - “You will know when I die Lanarn Sharptounge, for you will be the first one that my shade haunts!” - “I worked late into the night, searching the netherworld for suitable help. I fashioned these necklaces and bound willing Yatahay ancestors into them.” - He hands all 4 of you a leather thong threaded through the root of a single bear claw. “They have agreed to serve you for the duration of our quest.” POW 15 - You notice that Brenna-Orm bears a similar necklace with over 20 claws. - “Preparations have been made. The gods have received their sacrifices. The Yatahay go now, to battle.”

Encounters on route ( 3 days )

- 3 day journey through the thicket o Vinegaroons, Beetles, Centipedes being chased by Giant Porcuswines ( Vermin, Animals )

o Malamorph, Kur, and Harpies
     - medicine bundles, potions
     - hidden morph - w/tattoos of dead souls

A Shadow in the Thicket

The Yatahay feel like they are being watched.

Scan Success: A shadow is seen sliding thru the thicket out of the corner of their eyes. Scan Special: above + it is a large shadow Scan Critical: above + feeling of a strong intelligent presence.

Voice in the wizard’s heads: “Children of Flame and Stone. Perhaps there is hope yet, perhaps…”

Outside the Ruined Temple

Party sees the ruined temple complex from the edge of the thicket. (show pic)

They see a large number of goblins, hobgoblins and wolves encamped and patrolling the temple area. Goblin archers have been staged high on the flanks of both pyramids.

Brenna-Orm says that his visions and divination have shown the twin pyramids.

As the party watches, they see a huge tyrannosaur emerge from the thicket and stroll across the temple complex. A makeshift saddle has been thrown across the back of the creature’s head and a Bone Lord appears to guide the monstrosity with spoken commands.

One of the pyramids, the smaller one appears to have collapsed in on itself. The larger pyramid appears to have partially collapsed. However, the main door at ground level appears to have a lot of goblin traffic passing through it.

Eventually, after studying the situation, the party will decide to make a break for the non-ruined pyramid. As they plan for their break, they will see a sudden shift in the goblin forces. They will decide that now is their chance.

o Goblins/Hobgoblins o Wolves o Zombie T-Rex o Troll Death Lord and Initiates

In The Ruined Temple o shadows o animal skeletons o bone lords o ghouls o ghosts

The Buried Tomb o wraiths o lazuri zombies o zombie animals

The Chamber of Knowledge o lich o chaos sorcerer visiting and sharing

Making Your Escape o dragon intervention

The Journey Home ( 3 days ) o Elf Ambush – Lanarn captured o Displacer Beasts and Destrachan

Ruined Temple Area Descriptions

1. Entrance steps - the goblins will fall back to here if the battle goes poorly

2. Lobby: The double oaken doors open into a room with stone floor. Aging and cracked ceramic rune symbols of truth and mastery hang on the walls. - the goblins will make their last stand here 2a/b. Empty Storerooms with dust and debris. Goblin stores are here

3. Main temple area - door has a 4 point warding on it - This huge room must have been the main area of worship for those who came to visit the temple. A few stone pews still stand upright, but most have been overturned or destroyed. At the back of the room stands a towering statue of an unknown being behind an altar. The statue’s surface is cracked and pitted, as though it had been the target of weapon attacks. - Two Bone lords await the party here along with ghouls and animal skeletons. They will fall back to the shrine if pressed to gain help from the shadows. The Lich will be casting spells thru each of them during the battle.

4. Library: The doors to this chamber are stuck shut. Forcing them open requires a successful Strength check (STR 20). - Row after row of bookshelves once stood in this room, but most of them toppled over long ago, showering the floor with books, scrolls, and papers. Time, weather, and humidity have not been kind to these documents—all have either moldered or dried out. - 7 insane ghosts haunt this area - treasure: 3 gold scroll cases with sorcery spells

5. Shrine : This room is dominated by a massive statue of the same unknown being in armor. The statue once held a long sword aloft in one hand, but that arm now lies broken on the floor. - 10 shadows haunt this area. Tactics: The shadows surround the PCs if possible. Five shadows attack the first round; the rest attack the second round. If pressed, some of the shadows hide inside the statue, striking out at anyone close by. - Berrik’s shade is among them

6. Priest Quarter Cave in: This room stands open, but this portion of the temple has collapsed. No further progress in this direction is possible

Temple Underground 10. Statue Librarian – riddle or die 11. Library – crushed by the dragon 12. Cells – Captured Elves and Berry pickers 13. Zombies 14. Dark Naga ( Monster Manual )

1. Stairwell - prints of many feet lay in the dust here
2. Trap - Earth elemental
3. Trap - Shade
4. Wraiths - treasure room
5. Animal Zombies
6. Trap - air elemental
7. Trap - Water Elemental
8. Trap - fire elemental
9. Temple - Lich, Sroc, & gate to #10

The Aftermath of the Kur

o Exposure to Disease – Lanarn (4), Lasheur (6), Simon (5), Nesend (1) – the number after your name the number of diseases you were exposed too – For each disease, you need to make a series of CONx3% rolls. – Make the roll until you succeed counting the number of times you fail – The number of failures equals the strength of the disease. – Send the results to me.

e.g Fred get's bit by a 2 Kur exposing him to 2 diseases.  Fred's Con is 12.
    For the first disease Fred Rolls: 44, 51, 32 ( 2 failures )
    For the second disease Fred Rolls: 11 ( 0 failures )

o Treasure – Brenna-Orm makes you pile the bodies and burn them to protect the animals of the Thicket from getting infected and spreading disease. – During the stacking of the bodies, a strange leathery pouch is found on the shaman. The pouch appears to be made from the skin of some sort of lizard. – You cut open the pouch and find 300 gold fangs, freshly minted.

A Shadow in the Thicket

The Yatahay feel like they are being watched. Simon and Prospero see a shadow sliding thru the thicket out of the corner of their eyes. “Children of Flame and Stone. Perhaps there is hope yet, perhaps…”

The Wizards hear a voice in their heads:

Outside the Ruined Journeyman Temple

Party sees the ruined temple complex from the edge of the thicket. Pictures are on the web.

They see a large number of goblins, hobgoblins and wolves encamped and patrolling the temple area. Goblin archers have been staged high on the flanks of both pyramids.

Brenna-Orm says that his visions and divination have shown the twin pyramids. Prospero says that on Emancia, the twin pyramids housed the temples of Lore and Truth. These temples housed key documents that led to the foundations of Sorcery.

As the party watches, they see a huge tyrannosaur emerge from the thicket and stroll across the temple complex. A makeshift saddle has been thrown across the back of the creature’s head and a Bone Lord appears to guide the monstrosity with spoken commands.

One of the pyramids, the smaller one appears to have collapsed in on itself. The larger pyramid appears to have partially collapsed. However, the main door at ground level appears to have a lot of goblin traffic passing through it.

On to the questions

1) Is there any rush? Can the Yatahay keep us safe while we do some in depth reconnaissance? I’ve looked through our stuff and can get everyone inside but we wouldn’t be able to get out. So I want to understand what we are getting into before we get into it.

You have a day to plan. Berrik is being tormented while we wait….

2) Prospero has the conjure creature, could I summon a small animal like a (fly, grass snake, bird) than then have the Shaman put a ghost into it, cast a mind link and then have it investigate the temple interior?

Students always learn Conjure Creature with a mouse and you’ve carried the little tuft of fur with you ever since. Anything else you would have to catch….

3) From the sentries/patrols do we see any obvious magic in use? Wardings, counter magic, armoring spells etc. Interested in the giant lizards/dinosaurs in particular.

The Tyrannosaur is magical in some way ( glowing in mystic vision ). No other obvious magic in use.

4) Do we see any Lazuri?

Not a one.

5) Could we potentially take a prisoner to question without being detected?

Potentially….

6) Do the Yatahay have any idea’s?

You guys are the brains of the outfit. They just want to cast all their spells and take on the goblin army. Brenna is convinced that Berrik’s shade is in the temple.

7) Can we head for Summerford/Wood Fort for help?

The Yatahay won’t wait. Their blood brother’s soul is not at rest….

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Berry Quest

1. Thimble Berry (Invisibility) – Giant Wasps – protecting the hive – lots of animal skeletons around – loud hum – hive is partial above/below ground – berries are growing out of the hive

2.Miracle Berry (Insight) – Wooded Grappler – wait and feed – critical on plant lore notices the tendrils all emanating from 1 plant

Ambush! – before you hit the spiders – Rival Ambush – surrender your berries – these guys are tough – illusioned bridge

3. Bunch Berry (Haste) – Spiders – captured npc – gives up berries – spider web warren is in the ruins of and old journeyman building – Building contains a wall with a secret compartment. – Contains a map and some cool magic. Bracelets ( warm and warm ) Map of the ruins

4. Attriberry (Attributes) – Bone Lord and Ghouls – controlled by a lich in the ruins – chaos sorcerer – has a number of ghosts and a skeletal menagerie with him. – rides a bone saber tooth tiger – hands and eyes flicker with a black flame

5. Blood Berry (Invulnerability) – Dinosaurs – wounded and angry – feeding on the very berries the party wants – if they don’t scare him off, there will be none left.

On the Way in: – Bears eating berries

If you Get Lost: – Minotaur – Kur & Harpies – Elven Ambush

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Tour of Duty

Adventure Flow 1. Rescue Haven Vendor 2. Get Rescued in turn by the Veluvian Cohort ( the stuff of legend) 3. Travel to Karn’s Anvil ( stay a few days exp an disadvantages ) 4. Hit the Tavern – meet the dragon hunters 5. See Lazuri crossing Warm River 1 day out of Karn’s Anvil 6. Haven says we must warn the nearest city 7. Make haste to city of SummerFord 8. thicket description 9. Haven drops party off at the guild hall and goes to seek audience with Lord Dranning 10. Hang out at the guild hall and read the want adds ( Berry Race, Harvest guards, Bandit Lair, Scout the Lazuri, Chaos cleanup ) 11. Haven returns with Robart, Captain of the Guard

He offers the party temporary employment to warn the other settlements on the edge of the thicket. Party is honor bound to take the job. He offers 100T a piece, a recent map of the thicket, and 2 healing potions

SummerFord -> Lake Home ( 2 day ) ---------S

Day 1: 11PM-2AM: Bear: Brown[x] ( reaction roll )

Day 2: Lake Home: - “Yatahay people” - Chief and Spiritmaster Brenn-Orm - Long Houses - warriors meld with the forest - invited in to drink and smoke and challenge – Arghmon has a vision quest where he sees the future - 3 warriors agree to accompany party to woodfort ( but not all the way ) Berrik, Lanarn, Nesend

TangleThicket -> WoodFort (3 days )

Day 1: 7-10AM: Dinohyus (Giant Boar GB pg 21 ) [x]

Day 2: 7-10pm: Shadow (1d4+1) [] – one of the warriors (Berrik) is consumed and becomes a shadow

Day 3: 1-3PM: Elf Patrol - Yatahay scouts dissolve into the thicket - Party escorted to WoodFort - Brushwarden Voneal Leafwalker - climb the watch towers, use the telescopes, see the ruins and the great shadow - Brush Warden sends 1 scout to accompany party to trampled trail Varor Height: Tall (6’, 2”) Weight: Skinny (76 lbs.) Hair: Brown, moderate in length and straight Eyes: Blue Special: Visible tatoos on neck

Woodfort -> Warm River ( 2 days )

Day 1: 7-10AM:Centipede: Giant[]

Day 2: 10-2pm: The trampled trail – Party hears tremendous thumping – Stegosaur Dinosaur passes by with lazuri tenders – Elves Depart

Day 3: 7-10AM: Wooded Grappler []

Warm River -> SummerFord ( 3 days )

Day 1: get lost

Day 3: Return Summerford – the sleepy city has transformed into one ready for war – roll checks and disadvantages

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Mustering Out
One last thing before you go...

Your tour in the the army of Velu is complete. You are gathering your gear and shouldering on your packs. You’ve been discussing about heading darkward and you are looking forward to being on your own again. As you are heading out, a rider catches up to you. It is your old commander, Stonehand Lizardbane.

“Boys, I’ve got one last favor to ask of ye. The village 2 marks up the road has been having trouble of late with a marauding band of goblins. The villagers tracked them into the hills to a point in the woods near a burnt out stump. They were afraid to go any further. Start your search there. There are a few ravines in the area, so maybe they are holed up in a cave. The villagers have raised 20 talons for a reward and I’ll throw in an extra 10 for saving me the trouble of chasing them down. They also provided these Heal Potions to help you out”

You reluctantly agree. The 30 silver Talons would help your mustering out pay go a little further. Stonehand tosses you a sack with the coins and potions.

“Be careful. Goblins are filthy, treacherous and chaotic.”

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