Campaign of the Month: May 2016

Mysteria

The Free Eclectic Band
Taurus
Arcael
Incendarius
Old Ben Gone
Kotira
Brandon Kane



Arcael – Vocals
Incendarius – Percussion
Old Ben Gone – Moonshine Jugs
Taurus – Bagpipes
Brandon Kane – Mandolin
Kotira – Keyboards

At the offer of ELUSHIEL STARBEARER, our astral minstrels enter the STAR CITADEL to await an audience with KING IORATAS and QUEEN ASTRAKIA to discuss their plight. SCHMIDT HAPPENS are given a day to either remove the LEVIATHAN or sign it over to the Star Citadel for butchery. Failure to do one of these things will result in the party being blinded and cast into the void. However, Arcael’s great oratory powers are not in vain for as the group leave the temple a starbearer whispers to him that ABDIEL, MASTER OF THE BRIDLE, has the very item that they need to control the huge interstellar beast.

The group spend some time discovering the wonders of the Star Citadel, determining the majority of its inhabitants to be starbearers, augur kytons and arbiter inevitables. They also see some white haired albino Halflings of the Stars, a stern HOUND ARCHON guarding the armoury, a stressed out SHADOW FEY running the kitchen, and an over-run alchemist, SCARLET CRUCIBLE, who seems friendly enough but cannot offer any appointments within the next three months. In search of PRINCESS MYDELLA of the STARRY LOVERS, they enter the temple but are met only by subservient priests, praying to twin statues of HECATE and VELES.

With Elushiel Starbearer arranging an appointment with Abdiel, Master of the Bridle, the party arrive at the BUTCHER’S TOWER and are invited to a celebratory toast. The wine is fine but poisoned, and as Arcael and Taurus slump to the floor, the Master makes his attack, aided not only by two Augur Kytons but also by their devious guide, Elushiel Starbearer..

The fate of SCHMIDT HAPPENS may well be decided in this room.

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Dead Finks Don't Talk
Anastrianna Arca Domina Lord Flasheart Jonni Helmsgard Yander Spikey Jonze
Anastrianna
Arca Domina
Lord Flasheart
Jonni Helmsgard
Yander
Spikey Jonze


We remember and honour our dead…


I have set up a HALLS OF THE HONOURED DEAD page in the PC HORIZONS wiki – some epitaphs have already been entered. If you wish to impart any gems pertaining to the characters of those fallen (in or out of character), please make an entry in the comments section below, say who it pertains to and who it is uttered by, and I will add it to the HALLS.

Comments also welcome from any outsiders (by that I mean OP members outside of Mysteria – not DEMONS or ANGELS!).

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Angels...

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Sometimes in life, bands go through line up changes, and never was that fact truer than when Arcael led the newly replenished SCHMIDT HAPPENS from the TOMB OF QORAZ for the second time, this time joined by the buccaneer, Brandon Kane, the fiery theologian, Incendarius, and the minotaur barbarian, Taurus.

Emerging victoriously with the Book of Vael Turog in the BAG OF HOLDING, the minstrels winced as they saw their boat, THE SPEEDWELL burning in the harbour, but rejoiced when they saw the small form of Spikey Jonze making his way toward them. Alas, celebrations were cut short by the realisation that their old friend was now a wight. A wight which they quickly slew, before meeting a wild man of the island offering scrolls of Restoration in return for promises of cheese. Old Ben Gone may be nuts but allies were in short supply, so his support was welcomed and life stories put off till a more convenient time; as was the arrival of pirate sorcerer Kotira and his summoned EIDOLON.

The talking book had offered help if they would get it to the shore, so sneaking their way round a promontory, they set up near a secluded beach while Arcael read powerful magic from the pages of the book. There were several minutes of tense anticipation before a giant land mass appeared next to the shore. With several undead followers of Queen Ilnora now descending from the hill towards them, the book urged the party to leap onto the new island. All were successful but for the not so dextrous Taurus, who stumbled and fell into a sea of churning REEFCLAWS that pinched and grappled him to unconciousness.

Brave rescue attempts ensued with the help of the book, whose Levitation and Fireball spells proved handy for just such a precarious situation. The giant LEVIATHAN then moved into the sea, leaving its new inhabitants to discover its lands as it sped far west across the ocean. Noting a barren landscape throughout the island, the merry minstrels found some old huts, an ancient ruined tower and what seemed like a glass bubble that they determined to be a magical airtight viewing room near the top of the head of the moving landmass.

The next day the group adventured further onto the island, discovering an old vault, thousands of deep indentations that may have been egg sacks and a little grove of trees tended by some weird mongrelmen that chanted for the party to eat of the GODFLESH, and offered pear-like fruits from the trees. Half the group partook of the offer and not only received nourishment but also some basic communion with the beast on which they travelled, learning that the creature was on a voyage of great destiny and that it was happy to be free. For those who did not partake of the GODFLESH, hunger set in after the remaining fireballed REEFCLAW steaks were finished.

When the LEVIATHAN dived into the ocean, half the party were in the BUBBLE TOWER but the other half followed the Godflesh loving MONGRELMEN into their secret cave, where they could see nothing but were well cared for with ample reserves of GODFLESH. For those in the BUBBLE TOWER, they witnessed three days of underwater travel, with great hunger pangs causing fatigue, but surviving on the water created by Incendarius.

As the great entity rose from the depths at the end of the third day, the group saw the edge of the world for the first time. A black expanse dotted with stars at the edge of a huge sea lip that seemed to be held in place by a great nebulous coiled form – the WORM OUROBORUS! Alarmingly, the creature was heading straight for the edge!

With a mighty leap, the creature plunged into the ether and started swimming toward the stars. Four stars seemed to move next to the creature, two on either side, until it made its way to what seemed like a huge star like citadel floating in the ethereal sea. Other star creatures came out from the city and one of their guides transformed into a humanoid figure.

“Alight, strangers, travellers on Leviathan. Alight and tell your tale. Wherefrom come thou? Wherefore art thou? What is your quest? What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?”

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Lay of the lizard...

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Sold into ten years of slavery by his parents and later scratching out a meagre existence in the Kobold slums of ZOBECK, his only solace a home-made single stringed gourd instrument that nobody liked, it had always been Spikey’s dream to excel as an entertainer, so acceptance into the up and coming minstrels of SCHMIDT HAPPENS was without question the highlight of the kobold’s life.

As Spikey, Arcael and Brandon Kane ran screaming from the Tomb of Qoraz, they tragically bumped into a magic wielding wight that targeted Spikey’s favourite sorcerer, the GREAT ARCAEL of the ARCANE COLLEGIUM. The wounded sorcerer fell and Spikey and Brandon ran like death itself was after them. Nimble as anything, Brandon soon left poor Spikey behind. With his short legs pumping, the crafty kobold thought he might use his skills of climbing and hiding to escape the wight by ascending a tree. However, the red glowing eyes of the undead enemy followed his life form, climbing up the trunk ever closer.

Spikey took out his hand crossbow. Twice he hit the wicked wight as it climbed. Twice the pungent flesh was pierced by Spikey’s deadly bolt with almost no effect. Spikey took out his trusty mining pick and balanced his short legs on the bough. He would make this beast pay for what he had done to Arcael. Lifting his pick, he swung at the horrid clawed hand of his adversary, a mighty swipe fuelled by the passion of a bereaved colleague, and infused with the training of an experienced miner. A swipe aimed with anger and with desperation, a swipe that missed the wight and shifted the kobold’s body into the reach his enemy and eternal UNDEATH. “Now you are MINE!” whispered the wight.

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Book of Days...

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Often would Nethus The Unchained, Lord of Fish and Whales and Keeper of Storms, roam his domain, surveying all around him as he crashed through mighty waves and bathed in the huge swells of the ocean. Perchance would he take pause, and stand on the tall cliffs of a rugged shore to survey the fine works of his sister Ceres, the Provider, Goddess of the Harvest or even stand among the Saints of Mavros as they guided their warriors in great and mighty wars. Sometimes a small island would pique his interest and he would straddle its shores, looking down upon its inhabitants with bemused expression as the mortals played out their continual games and factions.

On one such time, Nethus stopped in at the Black Bay of ANAMARETH on the desolate Isle of Karn’lothra, where one of the powerful Tomes of the young Ankeleshians remained entombed in deep occult. He gazed briefly at undead soldiers, whipping slaves carrying bows and burning arrows as they made their way to the harbour of black sails, but he stopped not here, instead preferring to look once more on the hallowed Tomb of his favoured Minotaur Prince, Quoraz Velesson of the Seven Cities.

The tomb lay open, plundered by thieves and Nethus wept a salty tear upon the blood stained ground, marking that one of the robbers held the powerful magic book. Guarded by shadows, and aided by an ancient ward, the book had been lifted from its resting place by what seemed like an ill fitting gang of armed minstrels.

Nethus watched as one of Mavros’s paladins slipped deftly past a SPHERE OF ANNIHILATION to casually jump 60 feet into a dark well and yet survive. He saw that the group had split in two, some entering the tomb, some staying at the entrance where one brave young sorcerer chanted the ancient ritual of a mighty abjuration to save himself and his comrades (two thieves of human and kobold type) from the ravages of shadows.

He roared with laughter at the greed of a Northerner, who while trying to escape with his comrades (a fiery Theologian and a Minotaur barbarian) to join with the injured Paladin below, desperately tried to pull a heavy magical chest on top of himself as he passed close to the EVENT HORIZON of the terrific sphere, frozen in time, and were it not for his brave minotaur companion, totally vanquished. Such frivolity ensued as the whole bunch tumbled down the deep well, the Northerner surviving death by annihilation only to suffer death by force of gravity and hard rock.

The paladin fought bravely but alas, with his strength already sapped to the limit, fell to one of the shadows that attacked them, falling prey to that death most abhorrent to paladins, UNDEATH as a shadow controlled by his killer. One of the shadows fell, and the other, near destruction, retreated. The minotaur and the theologian made their way through the dark tunnel to relative safety.

Meanwhile Nethus’s gaze turned to the sorcerer and his companions as they struggled against another undead foe. A wight with a magic wand cut down the sorcerer as they ran, and, unable to chase the nimble human, followed the kobold up a tree. Looking away, Nethus now saw that the human turned to help his sorcerer friend. Providing him with a potion, the two made their way down the hill, eventually joining up with the minotaur and the theologian.

Nethus watched the group as they stood on a high outcrop looking down to a burning ship now bright with flame upon the sea. So, that was their ship, he mused. Escape would seem impossible, and if Nethus was not a God, he may have considered this event the end of the tale, but deep within his gut he now felt a wrenching feeling that something important was about to happen….

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Defeat.
Written by Stigandr

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I force myself to write this: Defeat. This is what it tastes like to flee beaten.

But this is more than just my bruised ego. I had high hopes for the monk and rogue, and the half-elf met her end bravely. Equipment can be replaced but today I have lost more than I thought, I lost comrades. I accept I didn’t show them the esteem I held them in, but hear this Yander, Arca and yes, Anastrianna I will avenge you.

I swear by Khors the day will come when I will slay the guardians of that tomb and take your bones to a more fitting resting place so that the sleep of each of your souls will know the warmth of its true home.

Now to the task at hand – revenge. The crew of the ship perhaps? Some of them had the air of pirates and mercenaries… And we need to overcome the pit, focus on each of these monsters in turn, kill them quickly and be prepared for worse.

I know that facing this danger goes against all I have been taught, but I have sworn on this, and if my word is to mean anything, this must be a binding oath.

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That smell....

Chamber_in_Tomb_of_Qoraz.png

The stench of death was never a stranger to Karn’lothra but it reeks a little stronger today!

Waking up in a stranger’s house after a long rest, the party are just in time to catch the fading light of the day as a strange ghostly figure flies toward them. Mad Prince Deland is an envoy to Queen Ilnora and wishes to know the business of the new visitors to Anamareth. He converses with Arcael in his ancient Ankeleshian accent until he hears that the group not only wish an audience with his queen, but that they bear gifts from afar.

Bidding them leave their weapons behind, he takes them past two barnacle-encrusted Draugr at the gates, and into the presence of the tall queen and her royal escourt. HEARTLESS PEARL seems to be the commander over four more draugr, while Queen Ilnora dwarves them all with her almost untainted beauty, standing a full seven feet tall and bearing only the slightest whiff of decay.

The queen accepts the hounds gladly and the saltmice gleefully and is persuaded by the flowery language of Arcael to allow a visit to the Tomb of Qoraz for the minstrels to “pay their respects”.

Waiting until daylight, SCHMIDT HAPPENS climb up the slopes of the island’s volcano for almost two hours before reaching the walls surrounding the tomb. Arca Domina climbs over the wall while the others discover an unlocked iron gate and walk through. Jonni Helmsgard and Spikey Jonze have remained on the ship, but the rest of the party scramble their way up the steep rocks through the cold sulphurous air until they reach a RED DOOR set in the rock.

Using the Key of Veles to open the door, the party witness a long thin passage with a strange light at the end and two wispy forms that rush toward them. Yander and Arca Domina fall prey to a pit trap. Yander manages to save himself but the monk falls in with the wispy forms following behind her to attack.

It is soon pretty clear these wispy forms are no trifles when Arca Domina stops moving. Anastrianna and Lord Flasheart both attempt to rescue the lithe form of the Zen Archeress, while brave Yander leaps over the pit toward the end of the passage, where a bright light seems to be consumed by an evil darkness and moving shadows. The bravery of Yander will be sung about for many days as will his noble death at the nebulous hands of the VAMPIRIC MISTS of the Tomb of Qoraz.

Arcael fired countless magic rays into the creature but with each of their life sapping attacks, draining blood and constitution, the creatures seemed to grow in strength. The ranger Anastrianna cut into them with her mighty bastard sword, but losing her grip, slipped and fell on her own bloody blade. Soon the mists were devouring both her and the cleric, Henry Ansara and, realising there was no further point in continuing the lost cause, Arcael and Lord Flasheart retreated to mourn their friends and to consolidate their remaining strength.

To those who have died in the quest for Mysteria, we salute you!

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This almost feels like an exposition....
Written by Stigandr

Behind_The_Mask.png

Arcael’s Journal (written in a cypher and in Old Caelmaron):

The bard has proven moderately useful thus far as has the rogue and the moody monk, they possibly have use as long-term allies. It may be wise to make continual and subtle overtures of ‘loyalty’ to them to keep them onside.

The Ranger, I am sure will one day charge to some doom, followed probably by the Paladin – both are too aggressive and unpredictable to invest much in. Or should that be too predictably homicidal? I should develop some summoning expertise in order to compensate for when their eventual demise occurs… and have a means of escape ready.

The Lich Hounds are troublesome in numbers or when they can potentially attack me, but their weakness to cold means I can conserve spells. When we return to civilisation I should remember to suggest that my ‘companions’ buy some weapons of use against monsters such as the fey and un-dead… Odin knows how I came to be adventuring with a group so ignorant of the matters of faith and undeath… That fact alone means I have little hope for them in the longer term.

The Lich Queen will need to be courted with gifts I suspect, it is probable that this group wouldn’t know etiquette if it danced naked before them… I have little optimism we will avoid combat.

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We three things ...

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In the eerie silence of midday, Captain Gullnipper’s SPEEDWELL coasted past the tomb laden hills of Karn’lothra into the harbour of ANAMARETH, the City Unforgotten. Leaving Spikey Jonze behind to guard the goblin, the others stepped onto the shore and tried to talk to some of the locals. Some ignored them. Some closed their shutters. Some ran away…but one young man, beguiled by some of the most beautiful lute playing ever to grace the town (courtesy of Jonni Helmsgard) stopped to listen. He even spoke: “We don’t talk to strangers!”

At the top of the hill rose the castle of Queen Ilnora, so SCHMIDT HAPPENS boldly made their way there until assailed by a strange undead hound that could fly, disappear, howl, trip, rake and coup de grace. Quite the PARTY ANIMAL! Jonni Helmsgard and Yander both fell in the first wave, but the group were able to defeat the LICH HOUND by careful manoeuvring and brilliant strategy. Arca Domina took the high ground, Anastrianna attacked ferociously in double weapon frenzy, Arcael delivered potent spells and the Cleric Henry Ansara kept the stricken alive.

When the dastardly dog was destroyed, the group wiped the floor with it. Literally! All over the place, entrails, bones and all! But Arca Domina, on the high ground, heard a sound: “Ooh ooh! Ah! Ah!” You guessed it – MONKEY SWARM! Brave Yander hid on the roof, noble Lord Flasheart kicked in a door, and the others piled into an empty house, with Arcael taking the lead in using old furniture to barricade the broken door closed. Unfortunately, Anastrianna remained outside to fight off the swarm. However, pretty soon, with the help of spells from Arcael, arrows from Arca Domina and some expert hiding by Yander, the swarm was overcome and ran away burning into the distance.

Making their way upwards toward the castle, the group encountered another two Lich Hounds, and although remaining victors they chose to hold off in another empty house to wait for nightfall before approaching further….

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I'm leaving on an airship...
(don't know when I'll be really hip)

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Schmidt happens…at the Wheatsheaf! So read the sign that Carla Siccone had pasted on the wall a week before the event, her wry smile taking in the multiple levels of irony implicit in the message. The event was of course a third GIG at The Wheatsheaf Tavern that produced a surprisingly good turnout. Truman Click was there with his new flute, Arcael sang, Anastrianna tapped out a cool beat, Lord Flasheart kept the groupies satisfied with some KILLER CHORDS and Arca Domina danced her mesmerising dance, lacking somewhat as her dancing partner, Yander had taken ill and was unable to attend. (Spikey Jonze was going to go but he had a lot of housework to do that night.)

Many new faces looked on from the audience. Mister Corpulent and Master Doldrum from THE TARNISH area of Lower Zobeck entertained some clients and seemed pleased with the performance. Even Gustav Reinke, who didn’t usually attend such events, raised a glass to his arcane friend, Arcael. Another new face who took a very strong interest was the Hyperborian Dayborn friend of Lord Flasheart, the accomplished bard of the North, Jonni Helmsgard. He watched with a trained eye, interested not only for the music, but because he had been hoping to invite himself into the group.

About a month after the event, Truman Click had travelled south to take extra flute lessons from a grand master in RUNKELSTAD and Jonni Helmsgard, affectionately nicknamed Strawberry Fluff had worked his way into the favour of the group, practising with them and supporting Arca Domina in her unsuccessful attempt to win a local archery competion. An urgent message from Sir Henry de la Zouche opened up a fantastic opportunity to travel on an Airship of the TEMPLEFORGE dwarves to the city of BARSELLA in the far west to deliver a special package for the group sponsor, Lord Aaron Von Schmidt.

A four day journey soon found SCHMIDT HAPPENS in that fair western city, delivering an unknown box to the noble geomancer, Simez Rothgazzi. With no ship immediately available to return the party, Simez offered a short quest: Find the BOOK OF VAEL TUROG in the TOMB OF QORAZ on the island of Karn’lothra, run by the Lich-Queen of Anamareth, the City Unforgotten and return with it to reap reward.

A sea quest for Mysteria could not be missed and the group were soon bound on Captain Gullnipper’s vessel, THE SPEEDWELL in search of the mysterious island. Gathering together some gifts to take for the queen comprising two HUNTING SALUKIS (Tango and Cash) and a bag of stinking SALT MICE, the merry minstrels endured the harsh barking of their DRAGONKIN captain and took in some fresh sea air. Brave Yander remained sick throughout the voyage tended by the doting kobold, Spikey Jonze, but the others passed many waves until one night a surprise attack of pirate goblins and a GOBLIN SHARK woke them from their hold and brought forth some rather magnificent fighting. By their excellent swashbuckling, SCHMIDT HAPPENS saved THE SPEEDWELL and killed all attackers but for a single goblin whom Jonni Helmsgard took as slave.

Entering the port of Anamareth during mid day, the port and city seem strangely silent….

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