Campaign of the Month: May 2016

Mysteria

In the Ghetto
The wait for Trade Permits is often long and frequently delayed.

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Arcael and The Oooze leave The Nautilus to start their long and painful induction in the New Foreigners’ Ghetto to await issue of their Trade Permits. All visiting Jambuka must endure this arduous process, but surprisingly, by some trumped up theft charge, the Edjet Dragonkin Karn Gudin is detained as well. “Most irregular!” Xavier, the barbarian, has been taken ill and has been forcably moved to the infirmary.

Rosa Klebb and her kobold servant Onzeen Orbeyes welcome the party and read out the Law of the Ghetto, a list of possible crimes and misdemeanours designed for easy arrest warrants. Some of these charges carry the Death Penalty, but most are dealt with by the Kangaroo Court of Delilah Ali, with punishments geared towards endless delay.

The group witness the severe punishment of Bingo the Gnome, meet a few unsavoury types like the trollkin, Big Winnie, who seems to take a strong dislike towards both Arcael and Goran; and Saabu Theet pretends to the worship of AZURAN (since the worship of non dragon gods carries the Death Penalty). Goran is arrested twice, once for “Disrespecting a Reptile” and the other for “Snivelling”. Karn Gudin turns out to be an excellent court representative in the halls of Delilah Ali, but the party are still detained for thirty days.

In the end of the session, violent rivalry with a group of Fanatical Devotees of LADA ends in conflict, with the party the victors, and the Priests of Lada awaiting judgement in the court. The wait continues…

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Arrival
A transference of information at the New Foreigner's Ghetto

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Dragonkin Akinji Officer Rex Khan is an expert broker of information stationed in the harbour and responsible for the gathering of information pertaining to all new intakes. He always reports directly to Rosa Klebb at each new intake of applicants moving through the induction process of the New Foreigner’s Ghetto.

Rosa Klebb: The usual bunch of odious hopefuls, I suppose?
Rex Khan: I’ve recommended an enterprising kobold to bypass the Ghetto and be conscripted straight away onto one of the warships leaving for Kyprion today.
Rosa Klebb: Unorthodox.
Rex Khan: Do you doubt me?
Rosa Klebb: Never.
Rex Khan: Splinter’s the name. We need sailors like him for the war effort.
Rosa Klebb: Anything else?
Rex Khan: Keep an eye on a bunch of Jambuka that came in on The Nautilus with a returning Edjet trader. I’m told they are famous musicians from Zobeck, and yet they handled themselves a bit too well fighting a stowaway vampire, from what I hear. I’ll be getting a full report from Captain Gillsnapper later.
Rosa Klebb: What do you know of the returning Edjet?
Rex Khan: Not much. Triolan resident is all. Why don’t you detain her with the others for a while?
Rosa Klebb: Detain a returning Edjet? That is unorthodox!
Rex Khan: Some disciplinary issue should do the trick. In the meantime, I’ll set up someone in the Lizard League to investigate her history. Maybe nothing. But best just to check.
Rosa Klebb: Anything else.
Rex Khan: Not really. But I would also watch out for that gnome, Bingo.
Rosa Klebb: Pureblood?
Rex Khan: I think so.
Rosa Klebb: Don’t worry. I’ll have him “questioned severely”.
Rex Khan: Good Day, Ma’am!
Rosa Klebb: Good…. oh, he’s gone….

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Tales of the Buccaneer
A conversation on the Mharoti Warship Firedrake

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Four kobold swashbucklers on a Mharoti raiding ship bound for the shores of Kyprion chatted one night, telling tales of amazing encounters they had witnessed in their lives.

Splinter: Ahr, not all them Jambuka are as soft skinned as you are led to believe, my friend. Take Arcael and The Oooze, for example. You may not have heard of them before, but even when I lived in the Seven Cities, we knew of their musical ventures in Zobeck and abroad. On my way here, I travelled on the Nautilus and had the good fortune to meet these human heroes. Well, one of them is dragonkin, but the rest are pink as petals if you get my meaning.
Razortooth: Squishy like peaches?
Splinter: You can laugh now, my friend, but you wouldn’t laugh in the face of that evil sorcerer, Arcael, I can assure you. I saw him cast magic spells the like of which you couldn’t believe. Took down a whole troop of ugly Sahuagin!
Noseplug: Three kobold swashbuklers armed with short spears could do that.
Splinter: You think so? And how would they fare against a Phase Vampire?
Scalewort: Does such a thing even exist?
Splinter: You better believe it. I saw it with my own eyes, hidden in the ship’s hold as I was. Pinned it down with magic they did…. and then that wicked Edjet sliced the beast in two with one foul swipe. Ah, it was martial majesty, I tell you!
Razortooth: And where are these terrors now?
Splinter: Last I heard they were still housed in the New Foreigners’ Ghetto, hoping to get trade permits to work in Harkesh.
Razortooth: Well, I hope that bitch Rosa Klebb gives them a good hard time!

[Kobold sniggers!]

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The Open Sea
Report of the Sahuagin Patrol Officer

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Our sharks were hungry so we followed a ship with many passengers, waiting for easy loan stragglers. For four days we fed our hungry sharks but on the fifth attempt, they were waiting for us, not only with armed sailors but with powerful adventurers. Although we gained another five sharkdinners on our final venture, we lost several good warriors and decided to return home. But at least the sharks are smiling!

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The Niflheim Tunnel
Report of the Quickling Thuvis Cloudshadow to the Queen of Night and Magic

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Thuvis Cloudshadow: Your Majesty, with the aid of your Dark Sculptor and his servants have I guarded the shadow road mountain pass of Niflheim against many wayfarers, but these were guided by a sluagh, and not only that, a thief commanded one of your own servants against me.
Sarastra: That is my will. How fared they?
Thuvis Cloudshadow: The sculptor is destroyed. The Moebius Strip broken.
Sarastra: And yet you stand here before me.
Thuvis Cloudshadow: Your humble servant, Majesty.
Sarastra: You are quick witted, and fleet of foot. I like both those properties. Do you not sense a test of two mettles?
Thuvis Cloudshadow: Have I failed you, Majesty?
Sarastra: Not at all. Tell me of the sorcerer.
Thuvis Cloudshadow: Powerful, I think. And aided by a Cleric of Thoth. And two mighty warriors, one dragonkin, the other human.
Sarastra: Do you feel lucky to be alive?
Thuvis Cloudshadow: With your blessing, Your Majesty.

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Voyage to the Golden City
Report by Shadow Demon Ephtus Crynge

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I followed a group of mortals along one of the Shadow Roads from Zobeck. For the most part they were guided by the Sluagh Knuckeltooth so I could not approach, but when they rested, Knuckletooth took guard position some way away from the group, and I made my move. Summoning one of my brethren, who summoned another, we all cast evocations and attacked with Deeper Darkness. The power of the Shadow Road suppresses our power of possession, so we were hampered from the start.

But these were no ordinary mortals. Godslayers they were, by the markings on their brow, and one at least, in league with the bitch Sarastra, pitting Shadow Brother against Shadow Brother. A sorcerer, a thief, a barbarian, a dragonkin warrior and a werelion cleric of Thoth. Too powerful were they for our group. With my companions slain, I had to retreat into the mystical forest. Forgive me, Oh Master….

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Tales from the West
from a high tower in Bemmea....

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In a high tower in Bemmea, two mages sit opposite each other with a table between them. On the table are two filled wineglasses and a strange device. One of the mages waves his hand over this device and a dark smoke emerges from it and wafts into the room. Tiefling Wizard Erramun the Sleepless and Teifling Archmage Exarch Vermes II are both members of the Ninemage Council.

Vermes: The Great Shadow of the East grows darker, my friend.
Erramun: So that is why you summoned me, My Lord.
Vermes: It cannot be ignored.
Erramun: No, My Lord. Indeed, it cannot. But what does the guiding eye of Sutemamel see?
Vermes: It sees much, my friend, but this is a long game, extending far into the future. I think we shall need to place one of our own there, surreptitiously….
Erramun: In the Empire?

There is a grim silence as both tieflings look into each other’s eyes, gazing deep into the dark soul windows, opened by the smoky magic emanating from the small device in the centre of the table.

Erramun: Dangerous….
Vermes: But possible….?
Erramun: But Lord, all of our members are too well known for such placement.
Vermes: There is the empty seat….
Erramun: My Lord, we surely cannot announce the death of Thelosiphus Duchang
Vermes: No, but even so, a position exists….provided it is not announced. The rituals may be performed without announcement. Salary and benefits can be secretly bestowed, and council anonymity sustained. We just need the perfect candidate. Someone who is prepared to be on the Council without being on the Council, if you know what I mean. You mentioned someone earlier…a young Caelmaran, I believe.
Erramun: The Rennaus boy.
Vermes: And you have checked his bloodline?
Erramun: Pure. But even better…it seems his mother is blessed of Hecate.
Vermes: Interesting.
Erramun: He is currently in Bemmea tending to his sick father, although he holds position in the Arcane Collegium of Zobeck. A great orator and singer. He has a band – Arcael and The Oooze – you may have heard of them?
Vermes: No.
Erramun: Fairly popular in Zobeck they were.
Vermes: But we don’t want to draw attention.
Erramun: I believe they no longer play together, but the interesting thing is that this merry band are extraordinary adventurers in their own rite. They could offer just the the support he will need.
Vermes: Hmmmn……I shall confer with Sutemamel. Speak nothing of this to the boy for now. Let us watch for a few years more. We shall need financial support. The Council cannot be seen to be involved. I think I may have to approach our old friend, Alexei.
Erramun: My Lord, as luck would have it, Splitleaf is already a sponsor of Arcael and his Ooozes.
Vermes: The plot thickens. Let us keep an eye on this brew. Put markers on this Arcael and all of his companions. Let us watch these folk for a while.
Erramun: Yes, My Lord!

With the last of the smoke dissipating into the air, the two tieflings, relax and extricate themselves from their telepathic state, uttering mere words instead.

Vermes: A fine burgundy this.
Erramun: Morgau and Doresh.
Vermes: Darakhul have their uses.

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More Tales from the Empire
The Kangaroo Court

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All newcomers of lower ranks who arrive in the City of Harkesh have to live in the New Foreigners’ Ghetto until their paperwork is sorted out. There is no specific time scale for this but officials are notoriously slow and there are such a list of demeanours specific to life in this ghetto that in many cases, delays are inevitable. Delays are usually set and extended by the kangaroo court of Delilah Ali.

This is a court specific to the New Foreigners’ Ghetto and specifically geared towards misdemeanours occurring within that place. Quasi-statutory infringements include:
Being late, Appearing to be late, Disrespecting a superior, Complaining, Appearing to be preparing to complain, Talking Utter Hogwash, Losing a Day Pass, Loitering, Disobedience, Not having a Day Pass, Destroying a Day Pass, Backchat, Fighting, Arguing, Unsavoury Whistling, Bad Singing, Reading Poetry in Public, Being Impatient, Climbing the Wall, Crossing the Boundary after Dark, Being Outside the Ghetto without a Day Pass, Abuse of a Day Pass, and other such misdemeanours.

There is a large building of holding cells near the gate of the ghetto, where those found guilty are imprisoned after sentencing. All sentencing is carried out by the chief official, Her Royal Magistrate Deilah Ali and sentences usually amount to extra time spent in prison, tedious labour, counting rice grains, and, in some cases, lashes; although this is usually avoided, as the primary function of the kangaroo court is to waste time and irritate people, to soften up foreigners before processing them into the system, but not to harm those who may later turn out to be important members of the trading society.

The court is generally more lenient towards Kobaldi and Sekban and harsher towards Jambuka. Edjet and higher ranks are not forced to stay in this Ghetto and any such newcomers will have their papers processed immediately.

The court is well served by a large number of well-armed and particularly surly dragonkin guards, and Delilah Ali’s personal Prismatic Drake companion, Eros Verbrinski makes sure that all court decisions are enforced.

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Tales from the Empire
The Justice of Captain Temujin Khitai

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Captain Temujin Khitai was one of three officers who alternated as Commander of the Triolan Quarter in Harkesh, a ghetto for lowly Jambuka (soft skinned races) who were not native to the province, most of them having some sort of Trade Permit that granted them the right to trade in the Grand Bazaar closer to the city centre. He worked directly for Governor Vladimir Potemkin, a corrupt military overlord who stayed in the Royal Palace and spent most of his time in the Quarter visiting the local Jambuka dignitaries and traders. Judicial matters within the ghetto were left mainly to the ghetto itself, or to the Scriptorium of Thoth-Hermes, but Temujin liked to “get dirty” in such affairs, and so it was that he now intevened in a local human dispute.

Two women had been found arguing over the ownership of a human child, each claiming to be the mother. His dragonkin soldiers had brought them to their Captain on Duty, to listen to the claims and make judgement. Both women seemed to have equal claims and so he pronounced his verdict.
“Each of these Jambuka females appears to have equal claim to the child, but do they show equal love?” He gazed around at the small crowd – mainly humans, a few sniggering Kobaldi at the edges of the crowd. “I order that the child be sliced in half and each mother be given an equal portion.”
With this, there was a sharp intake of breath among the crowd, but one of the women moved forward: “Great Captain, if this be the judgement, I drop my claim – better that the child may live.”
Temujin nodded triumphantly. Surely, this was the real mother of the child, he thought.
“I give the child to this woman,” he said to the crowd. Now go and be about your business."
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Later, Temujin had both women brought to him privately. To the one with the child, he gave a sword and commanded she cut the head from the other. Holding the child in his sharp dragonkin claws until the deed was done, his soldiers then disposed of the body of the other woman. He gave the distraught mother a gold piece and told her never to speak of her act, or her child would be next on his list. She nodded in fearful understanding. Captain Temujin hated all Jambuka, but those that were victors under his command must remain strong.

Here endeth the lesson…

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Home Sweet Home

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After a sumptuous final feast at the Palace of Siwal, Arcael and the Oooze travelled by sandship to spend three glorious days in the capital NURIA NATAL, where they attended a performance at one of the arenas, and as part of the tour, visited The Hall of Stars (where every God-King’s name is carved into the Obsidian), the Embassy of the Sultan of the Oasis of Figs and the Emissary of the Spider-Prophet. They also spent a day at The Screaming Court where they witnessed fanatical cleric of Aten, Anwar el-Ibrahim being torn apart by a troop of vicious mandrills as his punishment for trying to kill the party during the CURSE OF THE HOWLING GOD. Each member of the party was given a Magical Image Papyrus that helped to enshrine their memories of THE SOUTHLANDS in material form. Highlight of the tour was a visit to the High Oracle of Nuria Natal where each character’s Divine Avatar presided over the dealing of cards from the Deck of Many Things.

The party then flew by Dwarven Airship all the way to Zobeck where they were met by Truman Click, Alexei Splitleaf of Allain and Tad Familiar and taken to their improved accommodation at 33 Kingston Lane to settle into “normal life” for the next nine years…

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