Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year and a New World

First of all, Centuria wishes everyone a Happy New Year!

Secondly, to give a hint of things to come here is a picture of some work in progress:

Its the continent of Waipuku in the making. Several hours in Photoshop remaining but expect a finished map to appear in a not too distant future. Then for the other (even bigger) continents... Ah, well lets take a break to celebrate 2016!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Creating a world

The two continents of Umarald not big enough for you? Well, here comes a first-time image of the entire planet of Aladron! The size of the earth is marked with blue background for comparison and you just might find the already described parts in the center if you look real close!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Linking up!

As a new test campaign dawns, placed in the Void, we introduce some more advanced Electoos - so go ahead and link up to a device of your choice for a better experience!

The updated rules can be downloaded from the downloads page.

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Roof-top Challenge

Ongoing test play of the Age of Information yesterday featured a mission where the players where required to access the top floor of a large skyscraper. Finding the rule book equipment lacking alternatives the options available where elaborated with drop pods and gliders. Taking advantage of the great opportunity of full control over the rule book the latter have now been added to the gear chapter. How drop pods should be represented remain an issue to be considered.

Also some new drugs made it to the list as well. A cyberpunk world can never have enough drugs it seems...

Monday, November 2, 2015

Age of Knowledge and Age of Information rule books

While stil under development - undergoing a phase of testing and content art being added - the full versions of the Age of Knowledge and Age of Information rule books are now available under the downloads page.

No big fanfares or anything - just hoping they inspire a great deal of adventures!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - The Ending

In a majestic hall hidden deep beneath the royal mausoleum at Haomas' Grave stands ancient prince Gamaral together with Azela, Kael, Sikra, Valerian and Zantana. After entering through the royal tombs and finding a hidden passage they arrived there only a few hours ago. Three pillars, surrounded by magical patterns and runes, are in front of them seemingly awaiting the return of the Necromancer's Orbs with endless patience. Luckily for the humans the wait is short and soon a hidden door on the opposite side of the large hall opens and consul Quadrata enters accompanied by Charon, Horacio and Thriatos. The newcomers spot sommething hiding in the shadows and Gamaral, Azela and Kael decide to meet them.

The situation is tense but no one wants to be the first to act until the third orb has arrived, but in their vigil Quadrata's companion spot Valerian and Sikra who also comes forth. As it is revealed by Quadrata that they are consul Savvas' seneschals the tension rises, but as unpleasantries threatens to escalate Gamaral mentions the third orb is still missing and a kind of cease fire is agreed upon until this happens.

An hour passes until yet more footsteps are heard and this time it is consul Seneca, accompanied by no other than Mingone leader of the Zhengdi King's Guard. Closing the main doors behind him, Seneca announces that he carries the third orb and commands that each party place their orb upon a pillar. Gamaral is quick to follow him and after a moment's hesitation Quadrata does the same. Seneca spots Charon and Thriatos with her and asks them to come join him, which they do. The air is thick with magic but before anything has time to happen a voilent thud shakes the large doors. A second pounding shatters them, reavealing two massive bronze golems followed by consul Savvas and yet two more golems. Thanking the others for their hard work she calls her seneschals to her and after they've joined her a silence quickly covers the room as all await a first blow.

In the end, no one starts a fight because yet another approaches the all. The present consuls are all surprised to see consul Callissios marching through the smashed doors - accompanied by none other than the king of the mountain trolls. Callissios thanks them all for their services so far to which an annoyed Savvas suggests he leave the place while he can. Callissios has no such intention however and, as he finds Savvas to be a nuisance he sentence her to death. Savvas laughs at this threat but to the surprise and horror of everyone present Callissios is suddently transformed into a gigantic dragon - the red dragon from the mountains - and ends the life of consul Savvas with one mighty bite. He commands all to join him or die in this hall.

Consul Seneca is the first to act: his guess is the dragon intends to use the orbs to turn itself into a dragon-lich which could then threaten the entire Empire. Together with Mingone he engage the beast, urging the others to do the same. Gamaral and the undead quickly side with him and so do Quadrata. Horacio, still seeing the dragon as his true master, decides to defend it but gets locked in a mage duel with Valerian. Sikra, Charon and Thriatos all stand frozen at the scene while the hidden Zantana sneaks up to Horacio and steals his spell book to weaken the mage.

Migone is engaged by the troll king but gets aid from Azela. Gamaral casts a prepared ritual, summoning the Emperor of Zhengdi to the chamber after which the two join the consuls assaulting the dragon. Still the great beast seems to strong for them and after the troll king injures Quadrata with a sweeping blow the dragon burns Gamaral to ash with a burst of fire. Seneca tries to shield the others from the dragons attacks while the emperor lashes out with lightning, force and fire towards it. Finding Horacio's decision to aid the dragon rather far fetched Charon decides to passify his companion to keep him out of harm's way - but instead he manage to break his initiative, turning Horacio into target practice for Valerian's offensive magic. Finally he finds himself useful by healing Quadrata's wounds as best as able, returning the consul to the fight.

As the fighting escalate Sikra note that no one seems to be paying attention to the orbs. Carefully she moves closer and manage to reach the center of the hall. A strange sensation creeps over her as the colors begin to change and she can see a strange power flowing from everyone in the room towards the orbs which are then connected to her. The sensation of power overwhealms her and she is frozen in inaction trying to comprehend what is happening.

At this moment Quadrata in an act of ultimate defiance plunges her sacrifical dagger into her own heart, producing a life's worth of blood magic energy to turn her staff into a projectile which she throws at the dragon. As the consul fall down dead the staff, by now glowing red from magic energy, pierce the dragon's head, causing the beast to jerk at the sudden and unexpected pain, only to collapse in the following moment. Having just managed to focus her mind, Sikra miraculously manage to throw herself out of harm's way. After Mingone and Azela manage to slay the troll king Horacio finds himself short of allies and surrender.

At this point the Zhengdi Emperor, his dry skin showing no signs of fatigue from the battle, take place among the orbs. He proclaims he now takes command of the orbs and use them to return lives rather than take them, as has been done previously. His intention is to return the souls of the Zhengdi people which power the orbs to their rightful rest in the Realm of Unlife. As this action will destroy the orbs he offers a last boon to those who have aided him, granting Azela, Kael and Zantana a chance to return among the living. In the end only Zantana wishes to walk this path and the emperor uses the orbs power to revitalize her body, giving her life once more. When it comes to Horacio the emperor is unwilling to kill more men today and demands that he be spared - but also commands Azela and Kael to keep a watch over him for the next 50 years to ensure he serves his people. Having said so, he begins his final ritual and as it finishes he, Mingone and the orbs are dissolved into dust which a light wind begin to scatter in the room.

As the only surviving consul Seneca takes the lead out into the light. A group of legionnaires await them and are unwilling to follow the orders of the consul until they realize the gravity of the situation as the bodies of consuls Quadrata and Savvas are laid before them. They then inform the consul and his followers that a battle is raging outside the city as the two armies which had assembled have been assaulted by a horde of goblins and trolls which had been hiding among the hills and caves. Hurrying to get a view of the battle the group arrive as the legionnaires begin their final push against their foes, ultimately breaking them and sending the survivors fleeing into the desert. As the city now holds little of interest Seneca intends to return to the capital and the Mages' Council, which he believes will have a hard time surviving the recent events. Because of this he frees his senechals from their vows, saying they can go anywhere they please. To everyone else he says good bye.

In the aftermatch Valerian and Sikra return to the capital with Valerian seeking to claim the post of his deceased consul. Charon, Thriatos and Horacio - the latter accompanied by Azela and Kael - return to Leupthia. Zantana, now human, return to Pantoria and the business there.

What happened after this, well, that's another campaign.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 66

Surprised but not shocked the seneschals welcome the unexpected consul to the house. Quadrata asks for Horacio and so Charon and Thriatos hurry (well, eventually) away to find him. In the middle of a house meeting Horacio is surprised - and not pleasantly so - to find the consul litterally in his doorstep. His fellow mages hurriedly makes excuses and leave the scene, leaving Charon, Thriatos and Horacio alone with the consul. Quadrata wastes no time and begin asking about the orb the three of them brought to Leupthia and once she learns it is safe she begins talking about a journey to Amoros. Not quite according to the plans of the mages, Horacio tries to complain that it's not a good time but quickly realizes its no good. Charon is quickly persuaded as the consul lets him know that she has a copy of the book he is seeking and promises to lend it to him once their current business have been concluded.

Quadrata wishes to leave as soon as possible so the wizards deal with their most critical affairs and make a light pack. While catching a ship in Neddam they are met by a sympathic Acidus (who is however not so sympatic as to risk the consul staying any longer than usual) and after saying their good byes they leave for the mainland.

Amoros seems to be the same old Place regardless of the insurgencies across the Empire. Charon immediately runs off to purchase the necessary materials for copying the Book of Unlife. He is joined by Thriatos and Horacio as their only other option is to tag along with the consul. Taking the opportunity to inspect their old quarters at the wizard house they return to the consul late in the evening.

During the evening dinner Quadrata finally sheds some light on the current events. Her desire is to head to the graveyard city of Haomas' Grave as she has learned about divinations predicting the reunion of the three orbs of the Necromancer's Legacy will soon take place there. As consul Savvas has already begun acting to have the imperial legion move to occupy the site Quadrata is keen to get there before she succeeds. She also mentions the orbs represent magic on a scale which has not been seen for centuries. They all realize they cannot be the only ones to covert this power and Quadrata suggests Savvas is their chief competitor as she believes Seneca - who was last seen heading into the desert of Ten Makao - to be, at least a temporary, ally. Consul Callissios should not be forgotten, but she finds him illusively hard to judge on the matter. She suggests the three seneschals learn as much as they can about the politics before they head out in 2 days as news might be hard to come by in the desert.

The next day Thriatos thus travel to the Temple to speak to one of his old contacts there. He gets confirmed that Savvas is indeed mobilizing the army to march on Haomas' Grave and also learns the Temple holds maps over the ruins. Arranging such maps to be sent to Quadrata's palace before they departe.

Meanwhile, Horacio learns that Acidus nephew Kaeso have been sighted in the city and hurry to check up on the young man. Kaeso, found at an inn in a less than sober state, is shocked to see him and has a long story to tell - beginning with how he ventured to Pantoria in the company of seneschal Ignatia. Horacio isn't exactly destitute to learn of his colleauge's demise but do find the information most interesting. He brings the drunken Kaeso with him back to Quadrata's palace.

Lastly, Charon heads to the harbor to speak with an old acquaintance. While most of what he learns concerns everyday politics it appears the city has been stockpiling resources for some unknown purpose.

Meeting back at the consul's palace the three share what they have learned and while they are keen to enlist Kaeso to their next endeavour he does not seem overly excited about a new adventure and soon withdraws to his quarters to rest a while. In truth, however, he flees the palace at the first opportunity - an adventure in the company of four wizards of high rank currently one of the least attractive options he could ever imagine. The others are however unaware of this as seneshal Silus, servant of Callissios, shows up at the palace claiming he has important news to share. Surprised to the Horacio, Charon and Thriatos back in the city he nevertheless bring the news that consul Seneca has returned and is believed to be gathering support among the legionnaires of Areanacre. Many in the imperial city, lead by Savvas, fears he will gather an army of his own and march towards Haomas' Grave and thus the plans for the army has been rushed. Quadrata decides they must leave before the army so they hurriedly pack their things and leave the city to spend the night at consul Seneca's estate as it is on the road to their destination.

Arriving late in the evening they are met by Julius and Constance, who both appears to be aware of consul Seneca's return, but there aren't much time for them to catch up as the mages leave at dawn on the following day. Accompanied by an impatient Quadrata the mages make their way to Haomas' Grave and the Wizards' Mausoleum where the consul claims a secret entrace to the deepest level of the royal crypts can be found. After reaching the mausoleum they find a set of labyrinth-like catacombs which Charon realizes is tied to the Octagon of Wizardry - a symbol of the schools of magic. Using this knowledge they manage to find a secret entrace in the tomb representing the school of divination - the art of dicerning the truth. From there a set of stairs leads deeper down beneath the earth...

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 65

With their position in Sunn seemingly secured the undead start planning for the future, but the seneschals receive news that will affect them all. Consul Seneca who left the Empire for the Ten Makao desert some months ago have returned - and with him a Necromancer's Orb he recovered from the graveyard city of Haomas' Grave. Consul Savvas commands her servants to make haste and bring the second orb there as well as she has learned the third orb will also be making the journey. Unsure if they can take the orb from their undead allies by force, Valerian and Sikra think about their options. But before they can come to any conclusion Gamaral seeks them out and explains he knows about their condrum. Claiming it has long been forseen that the orbs will be reunited in the tomb of Haomas he will convince the others to make the journey. And so they all set out towards the Empire on the following day, leaving Sunn and their business behind for the time being.

During the long journey Gamaral explains more about the situation. The three orbs are the most powerful necromantic artifacts ever created. The one in their possession allows the wielder to enter the Realm of Unlife in spirit without effort, the second emanates the powers of the realm allowing wielder to cast necromantic spells of great power while the third grants the wielder the power to raise undead at will and in unlimited numbers. They where created by one of the Zhengdi emperors by attaching each and every soul of his subjects to a grand ritual. For years they served their people in a rather benevolent fashion until they where eventually stolen and taken to the Empire by him, Gamaral, many, many years ago. While he doesn't dwell on his own motives Gamaral tells that his father, then emperor, Haomas quickly took control over the orbs. At the time the Empire was suffering from internal unrest and with the vast majority of his forces engaged in the invasion of the Northlands the emperor had precious few men to combat the ursurpers. With the orbs however the emperor realized he would be unstoppable and he didn't care for Gamaral's warnings about the rituals which must be observed to handle the orbs safely. In the end the emperor turned himself into the first human lich, dragging Gamaral and the soul of everyone ever tied to the orbs with him into the Realm of Unlife. With this the kingdom of Zhengdi was transformed in an instant to a realm of the undead with only the mages and exceptionally strong willed able to maintain their sanity and awareness through the transformation.

Eventually they reach the borderlands between the Empire and the risen state of Pantoria. Using a local inn to plan for their crossing they are reached by the news that consul Seneca has taken command over the legionnaires stationed at the fortress of Areanacre and is marching towards Haomas' Grave. Rumors also tell that a force of undead are accompanying them. As Gamaral falls into his old, shattered self, apparently unable to answer any questions in a coherent fashion, the others take this as a confirmation he knows more than he lets on.

Using their status as imperial seneschals Valerian and Sikra manage to get the entire group past the border. As they close in on Haomas' Grave they all put pressure on Gamaral to learn what he has been withholding. Eventually he cracks and explains that he is there to ensure the orbs are destroyed. Only then can the undead of Zhengdi be laid to rest. Only then can he regain his soul...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 64

In Leupthia, negotiations about the surrender of Usdar and the governor has started as the city is being besieged by Acidus and his forces. Horacio prepares his reclaimation of the wizard house Lacerta and secures a good income by confiscating weapons and armor from surrendered legionnaires and having captain Scaurus trade them to the pantorians to the north. Charon and Thriatos meanwhile embarks on a quest to find the illusive Book of Unlife - a legendary text on necromancy - of which they learn a copy was in the hands of a coven of necromancers working for consul Quadrata in Usdar and another might have been held by the city's Temple. It appears the city must fall before they can continue their line of inquiry any further.

After two weeks the three mages learn a proposal has been made in which the governor and his advisors, accompanied by the remaining legionnaires, should be allowed to leave unmolested for Sarinia in return for handing over the city of Usdar. They are invited to a meeting to discuss the proposal alongside Acidus, Celena dux of Neddam, spymaster Jonius and lieutenant Tyras. While a governor in exile may always remain a threat the council sees greater dangers in refusing the proposal as this could cause further unrest among the governor's loyalists. The seneschals suggest their servant Mergus could infiltrate the governor's entourage and remain close to him to stop him should he ever consider returning. Also, they are quite keen to capture lord Jorian to question about the events at the estate which almost lead to their death by execution but without any real claims for doing so the rest of the council is unwilling to risk the governor refusing their response. Thus the matter is settled and a positive response is sent back to Usdar.

A few days prior to the official signing of a peace treaty the senechals are visited by Pater accompanied by Silus, the seneschal of consul Callissios. Silus reveals he has obtained evidence that lord Jorian had staged the murder at the estate to frame the seneschals from scrying in the past. Pater claims that this might be reason enough to capture Jorian but suggests thay wait until the treaty is signed to avoid any political reprecussions.

The signing of the treaty is made in front of the gates of Usdar with two armies watching each other. Acidus and governor Rubaros accompanied by a few aides meet in an open tent and signs the document for all to see. As the treaty forces both Rubaros and grandmaster Marcia to renounce their posts Acidus now claims the title of governor while Horacio might style himself grandmaster. When Rubaros' army prepares to leave lieutenant Tyras arrives to arrest lord Jorian for plotting against Acidus and his companions. Unwilling to risk their safe passage Jorian recieve no support from his allies and are taken away to the dungeons of Neddam with the three seneschals watching from a distance, content.

With the city made safe Horacio, Charon and Thriatos return to Usdar where they make themselves at home. Horacio immediately makes himself a leading figure in the city by lending mercenaries to the city guard and keeping himself informed of events in the city while lettling in as the grandmaster of Lacerta. Charon and Thriatos are given generous quarters in the building and after Horacio has assured the members of the house no harm will come to them for supporting the governor as long as they stay loyal to him thing starts to settle back to normal. With Horacio getting stuck in administrative work Charon and Thriatos resume their search for the Book of Unlife but finds the city's templars have left with the governor along with their possessions. Searching the wizard house they do find notes from the house's necromancers suggesting a secret chamber. Unable to find it they ask Horacio for help and, having been part of the group of necromancers he can tell where it is, but not how to open it. Charon and Thriatos quickly begin to research the door's wardings to unlock it.
While it takes them the better part of the day they finally succeed and find dark stairs leading down. They hurry down to explore before anyone discovers their success and come across an old laboratory. Charon believes a shape is lurking in the darkness and to their great surprise consul Quadrata turns around and welcomes them to her circle.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 63

In the city of Lao-Din the remains of the undead horde is already falling appart without their leader and Gamaral ensures those who are still standing return to Zhengdi, ending the invasion. Returning to the city the undead and the seneschals meet with grandmaster Kanadir who is very distraught by the number of mages killed in the fighting but grateful that the castle wasn't taken by the undead. No one thinks this to be a good time to tell him of Karachen's return so they simply say their good byes and head back towards Sunn.

A marginally more friendly reception greets them there: the general concensus is they all did what was expected of them - no more, no less. Thus everything returns to business as usuall, although with a slightly uneasy feeling in the air.

The following weeks are less dramatic but not without adventure. The expedition sent to Sarinia returns with good news, sparking an expansion of their business. Geb travels to Lao-Din to attempt to expand their network there while the others set about recruiting lots of people to exploit this possibility. Less good news comes from Rutgar who lets them know that crimelord Dardalion seems to have both survived and returned to claim his part of the city. While Rutgar wants to muscle him out Azela offer to solve the problem if the dwarf can only supply her with the location of Dardalion.

While the criminals get to work other news arrive: due to unrest in the province of Leupthia to the south (wonder what might be happening there?) smugglers have arrived in Godara selling imperial weapons and armor. There's real profit to be made and Zantana decides to jump to it - the fact that the imperials won't be very pleased doesn't bother her at all. Amoros is, after all, quite a long way off.

Its a lucky streak when Rutgar's men finally can deliver some information on Dardalion. The name is a front used by a local nobleman whose sister has great influence in the city, so Azela prepares a stealthy approach. The following morning the man is found dead - an arrow to his head - and neither city guard nor Dardalion's thugs are any wiser as to who committed the deed. The confusion is enough for Rutgar to again secure his grip over the city's underworld.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 62: The Siege of Neddam, episode 3

With two giant towers reaching the city fighting erupts on the wall. Archers, mages and a summoned demon prevents them from advancing but meanwhile the enemy have sent their giant elementals to pound at the city gates, which are close to breaking.

With a lucky hit Thriatos shatters one of the chains holding the drawbridge for one of the towers, sending many soldiers to their deaths and preventing more from reinforcing. However, Charon gets injured by an arrow and despite the best efforts of Horacio to prevent it the gates are smashed open and soldiers charge the waiting defenders. With the battle on the walls less critical, Thriatos hurry down to help.

While Charon commands Jamal to pull out the arrow (equally brave to any feat seen in the battle, to be sure) Horacio and the soldiers still on the wall manage to push back the supporting mages gathered outside the walls, improving the chances for the defenders down below. As Thriatos reaches the battleground at the gate he finds himself to close for comfort and after attempting pyromancy under pressure he is forced to withdraw to extinguish his smoldering clothes and heal some bad burns. The battle hangs in the balance when a distant war cry is suddently heard above the sounds of battle. Horacio quickly recognize the mao battle chant and the attack against the city quickly withdrawn to form a defensive line as an army of natives pour out on the grassland from the jungles.

Having suffered considerable losses the defenders hurriedly barricade the gate while Charon, Horacio and Thriatos hurry around the city to meet up with grandmaster Acidus, who accompanies the mao army. The grandmaster explains they had been watching the battle for some time, awaiting an appropriate time to join the battle. With the legionnaires tired from the fighting his troops now have orders to keep them busy until night time at which point they will attack. Still want to be part of the action, the three mages decides to gather a small force to sneak in to the enemy camp after the fighting has started for some pillage and plunder.

As darkness falls over the combatants the chanting of the day is replaced by the sounds of battle. With the mao charge the legionnaires have only a small detachment to watch the city and the mages and their small entourage of volontary fighters manage to sneak past and into the enemy camp. Facing a few soldiers these are quickly silenced and the raiding party grab what they can and head back into the city before any reinforcements arrive.

Before the night is over the word reaches them that the battle is won. Surrounded by the numerically superior natives and with their supplies cut off the legionnaires have agreed to surrender after having failed to break the opposing lines. While the city is relieved the situation is quite tense. Many have lost relatives on both sides in the battle and the victory will certainly see a power shift from the imperials to the native population in the time to come. This is not something that troubles Acidus, who seem confident the province will soon be in his hands and without much bloodshed as his opponent is closed off inland with no good route for supplies or reinforcements. Thanking them for their efforts in the siege he grants Charon, Horacio and Thriatos a palace within the city of Neddam and place the Resources of the wizard house to their disposal. While not officially in power yet he also grants them the title of councillors in his new government and promise to give Horacio the title of grandmaster of Lacerta once the city of Usdar is in his hands.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 62: The Siege of Neddam, episode 2

As a new day dawns Charon, Horacio and Thriatos enjoys a good breakfast after their excellent results on the previous day. They are interrupted by lieutenant Tyras who wants them to come to the city walls. Finishing with haste they follow the commander and discovers that the enemy has started to construct massive siege towers - clearly yesterday's actions have raised the stakes.

Its soon a race against time as the defenders work hard on their own preparations. Copies of the demonic ballistae are produced by the city's craftsmen, the mages summon rains to turn the fields in front of the walls into a swamp and oil is collected from the city's lighthouse to be used in the defense. Horacio also commands the wizard house to produce elixirs for night vision, should they later decide to sally forth in the darkness. At the same time the extra food - which now seems a bit superfluous - have started to arrive. Confident they've done what they could, as the dusk settles the mages go to bed.

While the sleep is good they are awoken early by the news that the enemy has, protected by the mists from the endless rains outside the walls, landed a small force on the island Karnor, housing the city's Lighthouse. As the island is connected to the city's unprotected harbour via several islands and bridges the attackers have opened up a second front and appear to be digging in. Hurriedly, Horacio takes the lead and gathers a company of mages and soldiers to attempt to repell the landing force.

At the small Island of Langlong, which houses the only guard tower between Karnor and the rest of the city, the force is greeted by relieved city guards who had expected to be overrun at any moment. They can report that almost two companies of legionnaires have made their way ashore and for Charon, Horacio and Thriatos it is clear they must act now. They command their accompanying mages to summon forth servants - be they demonic or elemental - to bolster their numbers. As not all mages are used to handling this kind of pressure a demon is set loose and attacks but Thriatos is quick to capture it. But the commotion gives the legionnaires time to prepare a defensive formation around the Karnor bridge.

As the battle begins Horacio and Thriatos use aeromancy to weaken the enemy's formation followed by a charge of demons and elementals across the bridge and a barrage of spells from the mages. Again, some of the mages fail to control their spells and soon the battlefield is haunted by a lightning storm and fires rage in the tall grass of the island, killing attackers and defenders alike. At this point lieutenant Tyras personally leads a charge with his soldiers towards the weakened legionnaire ranks. Attacking in a wedge against the center of the enemy formation, Horacio and Thriatos batter the flanks using pyromancy. Charon meanwhile spots the enemy commander and gathering a few mages he manage to get close enough to kill the commander with a necromantic spell. Buckling under the pressure the legionnaires' left flank starts to retreat while the the center and right is broken and routs. The even battle is turned into a great victory as only a handfull of legionnaires manage to leave the island before being captured. Leaving a few scouts behind the defenders return triumphantly to the city and the attackers' plans are halted for the rest of the day.

As a new day dawns the siege towers stand ready with grim determination. The summoned rains are banished - which suits the defenders just fine as they prefer a clear aim for their Archers and the ground is already saturated with water. Despite the muddy ground the attackers manage to move the siege towers forward - each pushed by four massive earth elementals. Fire from the newly constructed ballistae have limited effects on the giants so is instead directed towards the towers, aiming to kill the soldiers waiting inside. Horacio sends Soraman to the wizard house to find any banishing spells they might have while Charon and Thriatos commence a ritual to attempt to disspell one of the elementals. While successful, the crumbling giant creates an earthquake as it is absorbed into the ground - bringing one of the towers off course, thus delaying its arrival to the walls. As the other towers reach the walls Charon implodes the landing gate, exposing the soldiers behind to a rain of stones and arrows.  

The battle for Neddam has begun.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 62: The Siege of Neddam, episode 1

Charon, Thriatos and Horacio find themselves on the road to Neddam. Their guide Pater, who works for Acidus' spymaster Jonicus, helps them with the practical arrangements as they need to smuggle themselves into the city. The plan goes well and a day later the three find themselves safely behind the walls of Neddam.

As they arrive in the city they are greeted by Acidus second in command, Soraman, who in the grandmaster's absence leads the mages of house Caeduis. Showing them their quarters Soraman explains they will meet lieutenant Tyras in the morning who will talk to them concerning the city's defenses.

As the new day dawns the mages follow Tyras around on his tour of the city. He explains that the governor is currently laying siege as his goal is to conquer the city, not raise it. While the city's supplies are good for another month the lieutenant fear that the population might rebell if the situation haven't been solved until then. The mages all agree they do best in increasing the pressure on governor Rubaros' forces and split up to work on their separate solutions. Charon draws inspiration from the botched gremlin crossbow-deal and seeks out the city's craftsmen to see if they can provide him with something similar, but without any schematics he has little luck in this. Thriatos and Horacio plow through the ends of the wizard house's library to see if any spells that might be of use can be found.

After a few days of research Thriatos concludes that a simple spell to increase the range of the defender's projectiles could force the attackers to give up ground and move back their positions. Horacio commenders some of the wizard adepts to learn such a spell. Meanwhile, Charon has not given up on his idea of a large crossbow or ballistae and decides that demonic help is the best solution. With Thriatos' aid a demon is summoned who agrees to help in exchange for a second summoning within the Imperial capital. After some consideration the men agrees.

Judging progress is as good as it can be, Charon now diverts his time and energy to convince the city's dux to spend more money on food supplies. The dux reluctantly agree to match any offer the wizard house makes and 50,000 gold later the city has invested in supplies for another two weeks. Charon quite unabashed pass his half of the bill on to Soraman, who agrees it might be for the best but suggests the three keep quiet about it to avoid getting enemies among the other mages. As for transport, the ever willing captain Scaurus is more than happy to ferry food to the city for a price.

A few days later Charon receives his ballistae from the demon and they decide to stir the hornets' nest by aiming it at the enemies main camp. As the bolt lodges itself firmly in the ground next to their largest campfire the soldiers quickly catch up on the message and within an hour they are moving their tents further away from the walls. With all the commotion going on Thriatos and Horacio gather as many conjurers as they can find and summon a small horde of imps which they send to assault the busy soldiers. While not posing much of a threat, the imps do start quite a few fires, topple a couple of supply-laiden carts and startle many horses and other animals. Shortly, it is a provication hard to ignore...

Friday, July 10, 2015

What's your personality?

A small update to the core rule book have now been uploaded to the site.

Actually you don't need your PC at all since its, you know, a book...

Apart from some markup regarding headers, small fixes and so on there are 3 larger changes:

1) Traits have new effects! Trying to map the current traits to modern psychology* (check out for a reference) the following is now true:
Loyalty grants a bonus when Lending Aid but might also force a character to do so even when its not a good tactical decision.
Honor helps overcoming Fear but might also force a character to uphold his or her ideals in dangerous situations.
Empathy grants a bonus to Social skills when trying to help others while increasing difficulty when attempting to hinder others.
Aggression grants a bonus to Toughness and Willpower skills but increases a character's tendency to violence.
Greediness enhances a character's Perception based skills but can force the character to make dangerous choices in order to keep his or her personal items in difficult situations.
Faith also helps a character to overcome Fear (stacking with Honor) but will also force the character to adhere to the teachings of his or her faith, disregarding the consequences.

- As usual it is up to the GM to decide how much to rely on these new rules, which can be seen as an inspirational source.

2) Craftmanship, that is to say quality, of weapons and armor have been changed to make more of a difference. This in combination with a new durability system will make it more worthwhile to pay the extra silver/pounds/credits that a quality item requires.

3)  Rules concerning Drugs have been revised and altered to depend on TOU rather than WIL for addiction checks. WIL still comes into play when a character is trying to detoxify him or herself, but it is deemed more realistic that a character's physical resilience determine a drug's effects.

* The idea is that Loyalty corresponds to the Mind (Introvert/Extravert) trait; not trying to state that introverts are less loyal but merely that they work better with themselves in focus. Honor corresponds to the Tactics (Prospecting/Judging) trait, where a prospecting character is more tactically adaptive while the judging more prone to defend his or her position. Empathy quite nicely matches the Nature (Thinking/Feeling) trait; again not saying Thinking individuals are less empathic but merely that they resort to logical reasoning before bringing feelings into the picture. Aggression and Greediness are a bit tricky but are roughly tied to the Energy (Intuitive/Observant) trait, with high values corresponding to a more down-to-earth kind of perception which forces a character to take such things into account. The more flexible lower values leaves a character free to act as he or she feel is best. A rather far-fetched interpretation to be sure, but hopefully not extremly so. And lastly there is Faith which is matched with the Identity (Turbulent/Assertive) trait, where a high value forces a more predictable course of action and a low allows for more personal freedom.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 61

Back in Lao-Din Gamaral is preparing a teleportation spell to take Azela, Geb, Kael, Zantana, Valerian and Sikra to the castle under siege by Merga's forces. A moment later the surrounding have changed from the rather polished interior of the wizard house to a set of old and battered stone walls. Mages, accompanied by a number of servants, wander the walls and except for the closed portcullis the situation doesn't seem very threatening for the moment.

A guide which has accompanied them from Lao-Din show them inside the castle keep which appears to be in decent condition. While Valerian and Sikra are shown to their quarters and given time to rest the undead start learning their way around the castle. While the sun settles they later regroup to discuss tactics for the coming battle. As the castle is well warded from scrying Merga is assumed to have few options but to either assault the castle walls or teleport to the courtyard. Either way the group plan to face him as he tries to enter the keep. Besides the defending mages they distribute a number of barrels containing naphtha from the castle's supplies to be used against their enemies.

During the night Sikra experiences a strange dream and wakes up only to find a tall man standing next to her bed. The man introduces himself as Karachen and asks for her aid in returning to the castle, which he claims to be his. In return he offers to aid her in defeating the opponents now laying siege. Sikra is inquisitive, but more out of curiosity than suspicion, and manages to learn that the man can be returned with the aid of an artifact which is supposedly hidden somewhere within the castle. He also tells her of a locked room next to her quarters where the artifact must be used in order to summon him. While Sikra considers her options the man appears to fade away and awaking a second time she realize this too was part of the dream. Feeling rather rested she decides to investigare and head over to the castle library to try to learn more about the name 'Karachen'.

As most mages and servants are busy with the defenses the library is empty apart from one sleeping adept. Sikra ignores him and starts looking through the books, finding that many of them appears to be written by Karachen himself and given the contents he must have been quite the conjurer. Next to the sleeping adept she finds an inventory list over artifacts collected within the castle - one of the entries appears to match the item Karachen described in her dream. According to the list the artifact is now in the possession of archmage Zhovira who is managing the castle.

Unknown to Sikra as she searches the library a horde of zombies have begun assaulting the castle gate. The mages engage them with spells until Valerian appears, suggesting the naphtha to be a less tolling option. A moment later the gate bathes in flames as tall as five full-grown men and Valerian feels he has done his part in the defense so return inside for some breakfast. There he runs into Zantana who informs him that is parter has just wandered inside the archmage's quarters and is going through her things. As he goes to ask her about this Sikra has already found what she was looking for: an enchanted staff with strange runes and engravings. Accompanied by Valerian and Zantana she heads over to the locked room close to her quarters. Zantana agrees to open the lock but not without learning what's going on. As she isn't quite sure herself Sikra merely tells that she intends to call upon certain defenses hidden within the castle. Inside the room they find a summoning circle and after placing the staff in the center a circle of light appears. It blinds them temporarily and then subside to reveal a scarred and scrawny man. Sikra recognizes him from her dream and while he appears lost at first he quickly recovers and asks to be taken to his summoning chambers in the castle's left wing. They hurry over there but as they arrive Karachen declares he needs to be alone and not to be disturbed. Sikra agrees to keep guard while Valerian and Zantana head back to check on the battle.

Climbing the stairs to the walls Valerian arrive just in time to help beat back another attack against the gate. However, just as the last of the attackers fall down Merga and a group of robed mages teleport into the courtyard and begin killing off the exhausted defenders. Seeing where the battle is going both Valerian and Zantana decides not to get involved and soon all resistance is ended. The attackers then turn towards the keep and marches in through the open doors. But here they are charged by Kael and Geb who, supported by Azela and Gamaral is determined to stand firm.

Unaware of the danger to the keep Sikra can't keep herself back and takes a peak into the summoning room. She is quite shocked at the huge demon the conjurer has summoned and quickly close the door. While she thinks about how to react Karachen suddently emerges - no demon in sight - and says that it is time to act.

Closing in on the undead attackers from behind, Valerian and Sikra spots the emerging Karachen and joins up with Sikra. The four marches straight into the battle of the keep. As the old, thin man walks straight into the battle without a care the combatants are momentarily confused and the battle stops. Merga looks dismissively at the newcomer and sends a necromantic spell his way - a spell that has no apparent effect what so ever. Karachen counters by ripping the head off of one of Merga's lackeys after which the two mages grab each other in a firm grip. Both seems locked in the struggle and the battle around them briefly resumes until Karachen literally tares his opponent apart. A moment later the invaders are all dead.

Apparently unharmed but fatigued Karachen offers them all to stay for the night but expresses his wish that they leave his castle the following day. Having just seen the man destroy their most powerful enemy with his bare hands they all agree to be on the safe side and leave immediately. Thus, before the day is at an end they find themselves back in the city of Sunn.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 60

As night approaches in the cells, Charon attempts to persuade the guards to let him speak to lord Jorian but to no avail. Horacio decides a good nights sleep is the best while Thriatos and Charon works through the night, attempting to conjure up a plan to escape. In the morning an official from the Temple attempts to convince the mages to sign a confession but Horacio refuses out of pride and loyalty towards Acidus who would otherwise be branded as a traitor.

Realizing they do not have much time they hastily make an attempt to escape. Planning to summon demons to take their places and hide behind an illusion they make it out of their cells but gets detected by the guards. A large escort soon being moving the prisoners towards the public execution square outside the prison. While hope seems to be fading the three frantically set their minds to finding new ways to escape but none dare act before they find themselves standing in the bright light of day, before a large crowd gathered to witness the event.

Soldiers form a corridor for the convicts through the crowd to a raised platform where they are likely to be tortured and then burned alive. Refusing to accept such a fate Horacio finally has the will to act and manage to bypass the magical wards set up to unleashes a gust of wind and get free from his guards. Charon reacts fast to the confusion and tries to seek cover in the crowd while Thriatos finds himself lodged under a pile of stunned guards. As on queue a strange portal opens before them and they lunge themselves through, barely escaping a blast of magic and oncoming guards.

The men soon realize they are in the Realm of Unlife with no apparent means of escape. With no immediate danger Charon is thrilled by the opportunity to study the place in person and Thriatos is simply quite happy to be safe. Only Horacio expresses the opinion that he'd prefer to leave this place sooner rather than later. But as that doesn't seem to be a choice they can make they are stuck with exploring the Realm to the best of their abilities. Wandering among the misty shapes of long dead they notice their magical powers are considerably weakened and appart from the dark, polished ground there appears to be no features or objects with which to interact. It is impossible to know how much time has passed since they got here and they feel no hunger nor fatigue. A dim light in the distance eventually catches their attention and it proves to be a portal, placing them somewhere in the jungles of the island. Meeting them is Acidus together with a large gathering of natives who apparently performed some sort of ritual to allow their escape from Usdar. Acidus introduces them to sir Elmer, a seneschal to consul Callissios, who helped save their life by locating them in the Realm of Unlife, and also to the shaman of the local tribe who greets them to the tribe by assigning each a totem. Catching up on past events the mages learned they have been gone for three weeks during which the governor has moved his forces to lay siege to Neddam. Acidus has left the city to attempt to gather the natives into an army to lift the siege.

Given some time to recouperate the mages meet again after they've rested. Discussing how they can best contribute to bring down the governor Acidus believes they would be most suited to defend the walls of Neddam and to provoke the governor into wasting troops against its defenses.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 59

In Sunn a council meeting is held during which the mages and undead get to meet some of the city's most influential characters; there's pasha Karim who officially runs the city, grandmaster Fal-Adar of house Somari, magistratos Nero to represent the goverment in Miramasa and colonel Galeo who leads the pasha's men.

The council first and foremost wants to know who is attacking the city and why. Having agreed to tell as little as possible but still appearing helpful, Zantana explains that a powerful lich is behind the recent attack but that his purpose is unknown. They do add that regardless the people living in the city are not regarded as important and will likely be killed if possible to add to the undead host. Asked about the opposing foe Kael suggests they face an army of perhaps a thousand zombies, though Azela adds that numbers is not necessarily the creature's most dangerous asset. Several greater undead are likely to accompany the army who will influence a battle far more than any human commander would.

Nero attempts to scrutinize the group and their connection but gets overruled as Zantana suggests the matters at hand are most important and must be dealt with immediately. Colonel Galeo have received news that the undead have stopped outside a castle between Lao-Din and Javibara. Fal-Adar mentions that the castle is in the hands of the mages of Lao-Din, so should be safe for the moment. Asked about the best course of action the group suggests to the council that a strike against the leadership might prevent an all out battle if done before the undead army marches north. The council approves of such a plan, but Gamaral adds that no ordinary assassins will stand a chance against the lich. The council concludes that most battle mages are occupied in the war against the Empire and without them a direct assult is not likely to succeed. Gamaral then suggests a bait might be a possible option and when asked what could lure the lich in the Group narrowly escape having to tell the council about the hidden orb. As much time has passed the question as what to do is postponed to the following day.

While Valerian and Sikra are given rooms at the palace the undead head out into the city. As they no longer gain money from duing business with Merga, their true allegiences exposed, they hire some men to go on an expedition west to try to establish some new contacts. Also they receive a note from Rutgar Bloodaxe who wishes to see them as soon as possible. Hurrying to their set meeting spot at the old temple Rutgar appears and happily informs them that two of the city's crime lords have now been pushed out of business with one of them probably dead in the process. This gives him an excellent chance to make a grab for the city's underworld with Scintilla the Red Handed as his only opposition. He asks the undead to back him and after consideration they agree and offer him fifteen hundred gold - a very generous offer which Rutgar promises to repay over time.

Unaware of the struggle in the city's underworld the council meets again on the following day. Having had some time to discuss the matter the undead offers to lay an ambush for the lich - a plan which the council approves as it offers the group a chance to prove their loyalties without risking much for the defenders. A caravan is prepared to accompany them on their journey east.

As the caravan needs some time to assemble the group hurry to finish their current affairs in the city. As they prepare to leave they are contacted by Rutgar who informs them he has won the battle against Scintilla and will await their return to discuss the future.

It takes the companions three days to reach the city of Lao-Din. Greeted by pasha Jaccarin, grandmaster Kanadir and general-shah Malibudur it is a considerably less than hospitable reception. Initially treated more as servants than guests, grandmaster Kanadir eventually takes them aside and puts on a friendlier face. He is informed about their plan and appears quite willing to aid in any way he can if it means the besieged castle currently controlled by his men is not taken by the lich. Collecting as much information as possible, they all plan to leave on the following day. However, the night is also time well spent by the undead as Zantana manage to find/recover/steal an old recipe for holy water at the local temple.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 58

As lord Jorian leaves for the wine cellar Charon, Horacio and Thriatos are left with lord Caesar who, having become quite drunk, makes some quite rude remarks concerning mages and wizards. Not putting up with this, Horacio talks back and Caesar challenges him to a duel. Wobbling on to a nearby field Horacio follows, fully confident in his ability to show the superiority of magic against Caesar's sword. Indeed, the fight seems given as Horacio blows his opponent off the field and into the bushes. Caesar stubbornly refuses to surrender, but blown off again he doesn't return. The servants hurry to check on their master and return carrying him with a trail of blood being left behind. Thriatos begin to follow the trail of blood while Charon hurry to lend a hand but can only confirm the man is dead: a deep wound in the man's back has punctured a lung. He discreetely tries to inform Carius about this but the man appears to panick and guards arrive and seek to arrest the mages. Suspecting it was all part of a setup the mages agree to return to Usdar to settle the matter but requests to make the journey on their own accord. However, as Jorian returns he demands that Horacio - whom he accuses of assassinating lord Caesar - to be arrested and bound. When Horacio still refuses the guards draw their weapons and attack.

Two archers make life harder for Hoarcio and Charon while Thriatos stays hidden as the approaching night makes everything not close to a lantern hard to see. While Horacio is actively defending himself, Charon tries to stay out of the battle until the soldiers come for him. Pressed by their enemies the battle turn to the favour of the mages as Thriatos returns with a wave of flames followed by a battle demon who quickly routs the soldiers it does not kill. The soldiers flee into the estate with the demon on their tail and Horacio sets out to find some new clothes as a failed wind spell tore his robes apart.
Once dressed and recovered the mages head inside to look for the demon and lord Jorian, noting on their way the demon appears to have showed little mercy as it moved through the estate. Eventually they find the beast but note that Jorian appears to have fled on horseback and send the demon to hunt him down, preferring no witnesses to reach Usdar before they do. On that account they also check on the dead guards and notice one seems to have survived and fled into the bushland. It takes them an hour to track him down and kill him, but at least they manage to do so before he reaches the main road. Finding themselves in complete darkness, they decide to walk back to Usdar rather than head back to the estate.

As they can finally make out the city walls in the distance they are approached by the battle demon who informs Thriatos that Jorian managed to escape into the city. Finding it has outlived its usefullness Thriatos then banishes the demon and summons a succubi which he orders to go find Jorian within the city. They wait for a short while as it runs off and then head towards the city gate. The doors are locked but they manage to bribe their way in, but before they can reach the wizard house they run into a massive assembley of troops ready to arrest them as suspects for the murder of lord Caesar. This untimely event clearly support their conspiracy theory but they have little time to discuss this as the soldiers take them to some cells deep within the city palace.

Finding their best hope lies with the demon to assassinate lord Jorian, Thriatos tries to keep the summoning spell alive for as long as possible, but eventually falls asleep. After only a few hours they are all bought to the council hall where a short mockery of a trial is held, presidented by the governor, Jorian and grandmaster Marcia. The verdict for the henious act of killing lord Caesar and, as reports indicate, his entire estate is death by execution. The whole affair is given a political overtone as the judge mention the connection between Horacio and Acidus Lorcus and the governor prevents the accused from speaking in their own defense. The soldiers then take them back to their cells.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 57

In the city of Sunn seneschal Valerian has spent the last few days trying to learn more about the undead and their intentions in the city. Partly it is out of curiosity and partly it is because grandmaster Fal-Adar has left him responsible for their actions as he is leaving the city together with the mages of his house on an errand unknown.

The following night both the seneschals and the undead are rounded upby Gamaral who claims to have important business to discuss. The mood between them is not very good but Gamaral explains it is necessary that they cooperate as the legions of Merga - his master - is closing on the city. They have already used the mountain pass to reach Pantoria and while this is why the mages are leaving Sunn Gamaral knows that it is a diversion for a smaller force heading towards Sunn as they speak. As the undead do not want the orb to fall into the hands of Merga they agree to a temporary alliance with the humans, who have plenty of reasons to prevent an undead lich from conquering parts of the Empire. Being the best negotiator Zantana hurries off to the castle to persuade the guards that an attack is imminent while the others head over to the wizard house as Gamaral suggests there might be some artifacts there which might allow him to challenge Merga's control over his minions.

The wizard house looks abandoned at first, but as they enter they are quickly surrounded by mages left to guard the place. Valerian convincingly speaks about the upcoming attack and soon the mages have agreed to help them rather than stop them. With the added hands they begin to look for artifacts while Azela and Geb sneak off to the magic library.

Zantana successfully persuades the captain of the guard that the city really is in danger and then hurries back to meet the others at the docks as they suspect the undead will try to enter the city via the river. When she arrives she finds small bands of undead already attacking panicked citizens who frantically try to escape into the city. Realizing she could make this work to her advantage she sets fire to some warehouses to create a barricade, slowing the undead. It is a mere coincidence that the buildings happen to be run by some of their merchant competitors.

Having taken what they can in the form of artifacts and usefull spells from the library the others soon hurry to face the invading undead. They join up with the soldiers who defend the main streets leading north from the docks to keep the undead contained. Unannounced, Gamaral marches in and start taking command - achiving this through an unusual show of authority and an apparently excellent knowledge about tactics for combating undead. While he remains with the defensive lines he sends Valerian and Sikra with a force to push the attackers back, with Azela joining them as a scout. Soon they begin to encounter hordes of zombies, but the soldiers hold their ground with the aid of the mages and by exploiting their uncoherrent attacks manage to win ground. Eventually the city's defenders push the invaders far enough back towards the river for Zantana to rejoin them - she however has no lust for battle and stays back to observe.

An hour later most of the zombies have been destroyed and as more members of the wizard house return to the city the battle is soon won. Zantana desperately tries to convince Gamaral they should all sneak away but he refuses and soon they all, with the exception of Azela who sneaks away, face grand master Fal-Adar who demands and explaination concerning the attack. Gamaral offers to do so, contrary to Zantana's opinion. The others are free to return to their lodgings provided they do not attempt to leave the city.

The following morning they are summoned back to the wizard house. Having spoken at length, Gamaral and Fal-Adar seems to be getting along well and have some sort of plan together. Good or bad, Fal-Adar at least seems convinced the undead are not part of or helping the force which attacked the city and thus he requests they put their knowledge at the disposal of his country to help combat this enemy. He points out that not helping could raise great suspicions against them and that they would of course receive some sort of payment for their services. Realizing they really haven't much choice they all agree - and Gamaral seems strangely content concerning the development so far.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 56

Back in Usdar, Charon and Thriatos hears a rumor that the nobles of Leupthia is gathering for a meeting and so they decide to invite themselves. Together with Horacio they alsy decide a trustworthy spy might be helpful and, since they really don't trust people, they start searching the Abyss for one. A demon at least is perfectly honest about being dishonest.

As delegates from around the province start to arrive Charon and Thriatos intend to make a grand entrance. They are however stopped by a palace guard at the very stairs leading into the building and while they manage to talk their way through the guards inform them they will be closely watched. The guards take them to the ongoing meeting where Charon can finally conclude that lord Jorian - currently speaking to the Leupthian nobles - is the same man with whom he settled his gambling debt some time ago. Jorian is quite surprised to see Charon arrive but manage to hide it quite well with only a slight stutter in his speach.

As the meeting continues Horacio has received a letter from consul Quadrata herself. Apparently she sees it fit to reemploy him - although given her words it would appear he was never dismissed in the first place. This can however wait, as his research into the demonic arts have finally given result. He has found a succubus and decides to get to action. Summoning the demon it appears quite willing to perform the service in return for training in illusion magic. Horacio agrees and offer some clothes, money and instructions before he lets the succubus out into the city.

At the palace the delegates are enjoying a grand banquet and Charon and Thriatos split up to try to mingle with the other guests. Charon has some success in learning about the different sides of the debate while Thriatos get stuck with grandmaster Marcia who questions him about his presence and seems quite annoyed at finding the two in the palace. As the dinner finishes and the meeting resumes they both find themselves closely watched by both guards, servants and Marcia. While they stay and listed for the rest of the meeting this prevents them from doing any successful inquiries.

Back at the wizard house Horacio has successfully reacquainted himself with some of his old friends and gained some useful contacts. As his two colleagues return they share the news of the day and start to make new plans for how to proceed. A messenger then arrives with a letter for Charon. Apparently its an invitation by no other than lord Jorian to an estate outside the city on the following day. As Charon and Jorians history is not well known by Thriatos and Horacio he explains that he once had a gambling debt to the crime syndicate Zamatspire - a syndicate he knows to be controlled by no other than consul Savvas - and that Jorian is working for them. With this new information they decide to accept the invitation and also start to prepare themselves to deal with poisons and outright attacks.

Renting as grand a coach as can be found in Usdar they head out. While many of the nobles attending the earlier meeting are also on the road heading home their luxurous entourage attract many gazes.

Arriving several hours later they are shown to a dinner table. They are introduced to their host lord Caesar along with his guests lord Jorian and Carius and served food. Thriatos first action is to secretly try to detect any poison present using his magic skills, but finding none they hesitantly start eating. A few drinks (thoroughly checked) later the mood is quite pleasant. Eventually the drinks run out and while a servant is sent to fetch some more he doesn't return. Lord Jorian offers to check up on him and leaves...

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 55

In Sunn mage Sikra retire for some sleep while the undead continue their business throughout the night. Setting out to repair their damaged business relations and progress their plans they are eventually interrupted by Gamaral who carries a written note from Rutkar Bloodaxe who wants a meeting at the old ruins in the city center on the following day. Kael head out immediately to scout the grounds. As the meeting grows close Zantana is still away in business to Azela, Geb and Kael are forced to take care of it themselves.

Meeting up with the dwarf he offers to let them in on a deal where he settles a score with the crime lord Javaar by taking over his business, giving a fair share in return for some economical backing. Seeing a good opportunity to gain a better foothold in the city they agree to fund Rutkar's plan. He will attack Javaar's base at the Hungry Spire the night after tomorrow and they all decide to join him. As they return home Zantana is still missing - returning first late in the evening. While initially a bit worried when hearing about the meeting she finds their agreement to her liking. However, unlike the others she has no interest in any violent activities.

A day passes and as the attack draws near Kael, Azela and Geb joins up with Bloodaxe and his men. The well-equipped and trained fighters make short process of the tavern guards and joined by Kael and Geb they stomp out all resistance in the drinking hall. Meanwhile Azela climbs the wall to the upper floor and just manage to enter a window and hide as Kara arrive, trying to flee the battle below. As she opens a secret passage way Azela strikes from the shadows, stabbing her in the foot and then quickly overpowering and tying her up with a rope. As she finishes up Rutkar and Kael arrives up the stairs. Exploring the passage together they find a hidden room containing some valuables along with documents and ledgers apparently tied to Javaar's business. An open window leads to the city's roof tops and Azela spots a running man trying to make his escape. She stops him short with a throwing star and Kael quickly retrieves the wounded man back to the building. Revealed to be Javaar himself, Rutkar holds a short interrogation and then executes his former boss. Using the money collected on the scene he makes a first repayment of his debt to his new allies, informing them that he will have to go underground for a while after the night's fighting as the city guard will be looking for him. They decide to keep the old ruin in the city center as a meeting spot, should they require each others' services anytime soon.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 54

Back in Neddam, Charon, Horacio and Thriatos decides they'd better fresh themselves up before taking on the city. Aiming for one of the finer establishments they are not greeted with open arms - but as many times before gold is proven an efficient means of changing a first impression. After feeling quite a lot more civilized the three head off to the city's wizard house of Caeduis to meet Horacio's old friend grandmaster Acidus Lorcus. Acidus is not your typical wizard and receive them in his sparring room where he's exercising. He suggests they catch up over a bit of food and the mages quickly decide to keep the Necromancer's Legacy out of the discussion. Besides this they keep to the truth and do not lie about having to escape the Empire for a while. Acidus is still happy to have them there and gives them free access to the house as long as they are prepared to aid him should he need it. They agree on this and quarters are prepared for them along with their servants Jamal and Mergus.
As it is the first time in many weeks the three have free access to a library and with no one actively trying to harm or oppose them they enjoy a few quiet days just settling in at this new place. However, once it seems his guests are getting comfortable Acidus decides to share some of his plans. The province capital of Usdar has long been governor Rubaros stronghold and Acidus hasn't received news from the city's wizard house Lacerta for some time. As this is Horacio's house Acidus would have them travel there to bring back word on what goes on in the city. Finding this request very reasonable the mages agree but as they are unwilling to bring the Necromancer's Orb, fearing it might fall into the wrong hands, they decide to share the knowledge about it with Acidus. Acidus is familiar with the legend and does not blame them for keeping it a secret, even from him. He agrees to keep the orb safe in the warded cellars found beneath Caeduis.

With the orb taken off their minds for now the three prepare for their journey. They decide to leave Mergus and Jamal behind to avoid political trouble from having undead servants. After a full day's journey they reach the city and Horacio is joyfull to see his home city for the first time in many years. They decide to play it safe and check in to a hospice and wait until the following day to visit the wizard house of Lacerta. As they arrive Horacio does most of the talking and enjoys his local fame to the fullest. Eventually they gain a meeting with grandmaster Marcia who is quite unhelpful and short when Horacio asks her about the current politics. They still manage to get quarters at the wizard house after which they decide they'd better split up to try to gather some more worthwhile information. Horacio thus head off to speak to his old mentor by the name of Canus Mallus while Thriatos and Charon finds the local forum and try to blend with the city's nobility.
Horacio is well received by his old friend at the Canus residence. While it soon becomes clear the old man has willfully kept out of the politics this still confirms that there is a powerstruggle going on. The two spend the rest of the evening over a bottle of wine and once the old man falls asleep Horacio return to Lacerta.

No total surprise, Charon and Thriatos have some difficulties mixing with the nobles but eventually finds a lone guest at a nearby restaurant. The man introduces himself as lord Cuello, recently arriving to the city in the company of imperial diplomat lord Jorian. The name sounds familiar and Charon links it to a man to whom he paid a debt some time ago - a man possibly working for the crime syndicate of Zamatspire. Unsure if it is the same man they tread carefully and learns that lord Jorian is there to ensure the province stays loyal to the Empire in these difficult times. While Cuello grows a bit tired of discussing politics he tells them they've seen no sign of unrest or rebellion so far, but that the governor haven't been entierly convincing either. With this information Charon and Thriatos also return to the wizard house for the night.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 53

Back in Sunn, Gamaral takes seneschal Valerian to the side and asks him to contact the local wizard house as their help will be needed in the future. As Valerian has already spoken to them he plays along and agrees and he and Sikra leave the warehouse heading there. With the two mages gone Azela, Kael and Zantana places Gamaral against the wall, requiring him to explain the situation. Having dropped or surpressed his anti-social behavior, Gamaral explains that he is simply trying to serve the emperor of Zhengdi. His current master, Merga, is trying to claim the orb they now have in their possession along with two others similar to it. Together they make up a set of artifacts known as the Necromancer's Legacy - created at the height of the Kingdom of Zhengdi by the emperor with his people helping to fuel the powerful magic involved. Telling the story af if he was there, Gamaral eventually confesses that he was an Imperial prince who studied magic under the emperor of Zhengdi. It was he that one day took one of the orbs and bought it to his father, the emperor of Ankh in the city of Háomas. But his father set out to use the powers of the orb to transcend himself into a lich - a powerful undead being - but in a single outburst of necromantic energies the souls of the people of Zhengdi where sucked into the Realm of Unlife, with only those of great mental power able to resist. While his father succeeded with his ritual the surge had transformed Zhengdi with only a small fraction retaining their souls and finding themselves commaning a vast horde of undead. These undead now set out to reclaim the orb to undone what had been done and so invaded the Empire. Gamaral explains that "the rest is history" and that he is simply trying to return the orbs to their rightful owner, the emperor of Zhengdi, so that things can be put right. He has spent the last weeks creating protective wards all around the city to keep his master from dicerning the orb's location. Not knowing what to make of it all, Zantana and Kael head off to deal with the business of the day.

On their way to the store Zantana and Kael discover a huge caravan is assembling at the city's bazaar. Apparently the wizard house is massing an expedition heading east, but no one - not even many of the mages - seems to know where they're going or why. Valerian and Sikra is also at the scene but fail to get any satisfying answers.

The undead gather together later that evening only to find Sikra exploring their hideout. Apparently she was let in by Gamaral and was fascinated by the undead workforce, though the undead have their doubts about her motives. Zantana decides to involve her in their plans for the night to put her to the test. Gamaral's story has certainly put a different perspective on things, but they feel they must continue their mission and several trading partners have recently gone back on their deals and Zantana suspects this is due to blackmail from some other party. Having gained the address to one of the traders she's planning to find out more. The group don their adventuring gear and head out.

They have just left their hideout when they notice two suspiscious looking men in an nearby street corner. While the others make a distraction Azela sneaks up on them and finishes them off. This time it is Zantana who gets upset that there is no one to question but Sikra points out that one of them is actually alive. Using a healing spell they get the man in good enough shape to talk. Apparently they are working for a man named Javaar - one of the crime lords of Sunn - who'd paid them to keep an eye on Zantana's business. He doesn't know where Javaar is but a woman named Kara is waiting for a report at the Hungry Spire tavern in the docks. They decide to let the man live and employ him themselves and Kael takes him back to the hideout to heal his wound. Failing miserably the man perishes during the night.

Not knowing about this, Azela, Zantana and Sikra continue through the city. They sneak into the home of the merchant and his wife and begin to interrogate them. Unfortunately, they soon learn there has been no threats - and that it was Zantana's decision to try to expand into a new market which made him question if the current deal was as solid as he had first thought. The merchant explains that he is more than happy to resume business rather than risk his life and despite Zantana's assurance their visit have no direct link to his business dealings this is Pantoria and this is how business is concluded. They leave the pair alive and instead head towards the Hungry Spire in the docks.

The tavern turns out to be one of the worst drinking places they've visited in the city. Zantana and Sikra enter it first and must quite forcefully keep the male clientele off their backs. This however allows Azela to sneak in undetected and Geb, who as an undead is quite a large man, gets left alone. Having reached the bar, Sikra notes two men and a woman not engaged in the same level of drinking most others seem to be. She and Zantana walks over under the watchful eyes of Geb and Azela. The woman is indeed Kara and she doesn't seem surprised to see them. Zantana wants to do business and Kara agrees to take their proposal to Javaar. The four head back out into the night.

As they start to wander home they almost walk straight into Rutkar Bloodaxe who is accompanied by a large group of armed men, apparently heading towards the Hungry Spire. All but Geb manage to slip by unnoticed and he gets off with a few curses and threats as the men seems to have their target clear in sight...

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 52

Tired of not having a quiet night for quite some time, Charon, Horacio and Thriatos scoff at their assailant, who apparently is more interested in talking than attacking. This only increases their scornfullness and the man eventually present himself as Hartor, claiming to work for yet another stakeholder to the Necromancer's orb. Fed up with the constant politics the mages, rather truthfully, say that they no longer have it nor the means to recover it. Doubtful about this, Hartor offers to aid in bringing down Savvas in exchange for the orb, before disappearing into the night.

Finally managing a restful night's sleep, the three head out early on the next day together with Bocco's hastily assembled caravan. They travel for several days with the mages guiding the way and though questions are asked none are answered as it is made clear the men are there to do the job they've been paid for - not to ask questions. After three days of travel they reach the mountain pass to Menokh.

Waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of screams and flames the mages hurry up only to find the camp set on fire, the camels scattered and the men dead. The dragon, alongside a group of trolls, has decended upon the camp and spared none but them. Informing them the artifact they bought it are being sought after it instructs them to take it as far away as possible to the island of Leupthia in the south. They are told to establish their stronghold there instead of here in the mountains. Quite dishearted about their progress being tossed aside, Horacio tries to appeal for concluding their current business, but the dragon summons the soul of one of the dead to show them that spies has infiltrated their ranks. Their work in the North are no longer of any use. So yet again they must set out on an arduous journey across the Southlands.

Initially guided by the trolls, the wizards are left to their own device as they reach the arid coast north of Ossaria. Despite the dragon's unwillingness to let them conclude their business, they make sure the merchandise intended for the gremlins get delivered so not to fail their contract. They reason that apart from their initial delivery they actually didn't commit to any date for future deliveries...

After two Days journey along the coast they reach the town of Lhaf, one of the last strongholds of the Ossarian rebels. As they come from the north rather than the south they are welcomed into the city and briefed on the current situation. Apparently praetor Iullus holds the capital of Gathar and most of the southern parts of the province. Given this situation the rebels have a difficult time - which also applies to Charon, Horacio and Thriatos as this makes it very difficult for them to find a ship to take them to Leupthia. After asking around and spending some gold a helpful lieutenant among the rebel forces suggests they try at an inn in the city of Jamenbac further south. In Exchange he wants them to deliver a sealed document to a man staying at the inn. The mages agree and after a nights sleep continue south.

Arriving at Jamenbac the mages decides gold is a better option than answering any complicated questions so they bribe their way into the city. Finding the inn they deliver the sealed documents without any hassel and after speaking to the innkeeper they get directed to a captain Scaurus who might be able to help. Scaurus proves to be an accomodating man as his current enlistment with the Free Ossarian Fleet is not quite to his liking. At the price of a fair sum of gold he is more than willing to abandon the rather doomed enterprise of fighting the Imperial Navy and take them to Leupthia. As not to raise suspicions he suggests the mages are smuggled aboard during the night as the ship is scheduled for patrol duty in the following morning. While they agree to this, their well-developed sense of paranoia guides the mages to hiding Mergus among Scaurus' sailors, in case something goes wrong.

As night approaches a number of crates arrive to the inn, in which the mages - slightly reluctantly - place themselves. Carried through the city they are soon opened and they find themselves aboard the cargo hold of Scaurus' ship. As money switch owner the ship soon takes to sea and the seven day journey to Leupthia begins. It is a day with fine, if warm, weather and light winds that the ship finally anchors in the harbor of Neddam. For Charon and Thriatos it is the first visit on the Island in their lives. For Horacio it is home.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 51

In Sunn Zantana continues dealing with her business but cannot help but notice the absense of Kael and Azela. Asking Gamaral makes her none the wiser conserning their whereabouts, but at least nothing else was expected. But later in the evening they return - together with Geb - in their secret hideout, and while they appear fine now their clothes and armor bear signs of battle. Kael sets out to explain what has happened.

While the story is being told two strangers are making their way through the city. Seneschals Valerian and Sikra have arrived in the city on a quest for the very artifact which arrived just before them, but intending to travel further east on the following day. Picking up on the magical activity they decide to investigate and find their way to the safe house. As break and entry isn't quite their style they knock on the door. Zantana opens and manage to ward the curious mages off, asking them to come see them at their official address the following day. The seneschals leave to find lodging for the night while the undead gather to discuss this new turn of events. They do not want mages meddling but simply disposing of them might not be so easy.
As the two sides meet in the morning Valerian claims that they are there on behalf of their consul, Savvas, and wish to invest in their business - in fact, buy a majority of it. While Zantana claims the offer is intriguing she needs time to think it over. They agree to a second meeting the following day to further discuss the proposal. During their visit Sikra, herself a skilled necromancer, is quite assured that Azela, Kael and Zantana are all greater undead and sharing this information with Valerian they head off to the local wizard house Somari.

The undead also has preparations to make and apart from advancing their business they arrange to hide their lesser servants to, if necessary, launch an ambush against the two mages after their upcoming meeting. Kael also makes a valiant attempt to move Gamaral out of the way but it is unclear if he is successful.

While not aware that a possible trap is being set the natural paranoia that comes with wizardry have gained Valerian and Sikra a potential ally in grand master Fal-Adar. The news that a group of undead hiding within the city has gained his interest and in return for their capture he promises Valerian to lend aid to his quest and to open up his library. Thus both Valerian and Sikra spend the rest of the day browsing spells which might be useful in their upcoming encounter.

At dawn the following day the seneschals meet Zantana and Geb at the business hall. The conversation is quite relaxed and civil until Valerian let slip he knows about their true nature. Zantana and Geb thus decide to show the guests to their other facilitiy. Well at the site they lead the two to a small room where Kael and Azela await. As they corner the two seneschals Zantana begin to interrigate them on their motives. Not intimidated by the situation, Valerian admits there are more to spark their interest than the mere opportunity of business. The subject of the orb appears and then - to the great dismay of the undead - Gamaral decides to enter the room. However, he acts quite different from his usuall self giving a very composed appearance - not to mention showing signs of social competence. This complete change of personality chock the undead and they can only listen as Gamaral speaks openly about the situation with the two mages. He explains that rather than fight against each other the two groups should cooperate as the orb they currently have is only one out of three - known together as the Necromancer's Legacy. Fighting over a single orb would be futile while the others are still out there. Slightly confounded by the apparent confusion among the undead Valerian and Sikra agree as they figure Savvas - and themselves - would much rather hold three orbs than one.