Justicar's Bastion - Eagle Elf [Updated 5th Dec 06]




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    Justicar's Bastion - Eagle Elf [Updated 5th Dec 06]

    Convicted of crimes committed by others and sentenced to death or worse, this group of fugitives escaped during a rescue attempt for another, more important prisoner. Now they flee from the Bastion of the Justicars, looking for enough power to avoid the fate which is promised them.

    This is my second story hour after Legend of the Monkey Mage, which was completed in June. Bastion of the Justicars is set in a different world, a D&D homebrew based on the Core Rules and whatever I allow from other WoTC books.

    Most of the adventures are from Dungeon, so beware spoilers.

    Following is a little background on the gods and regions of the world.

    The Powers

    The Elder Powers, creators of the world.

    Air, Power of Air, Mischief, Spring and Travel (CN)
    One of the creators of the world, depicted as male or female. Often tricks mortals and deities alike. The symbol of Air is a flock of geese.

    Earth, Power of Earth, Death and Autumn (LN)
    One of the creators of the world, depicted as male or female. The most silent of the Powers. Followers renowned for building elaborate tombs and temples. The symbol of Earth is a tombstone.

    Fire, Power Fire, War and Summer (TN)
    One of the creators of the world, depicted as male or female. The most martial among the Elder Powers and the Shining Ones. The symbol of Fire is a flaming sword.

    Water, Power of Water, Strength and Winter (TN)
    One of the creators of the world, depicted as male or female. Seen as the most powerful of the Elder Powers. The symbol of Water is three snowflakes.

    The Shining Ones, children of the Elder Powers

    Moon, Power of Birth, Fate, Guardians, Night and Wisdom (CG)
    Daughter of Water and Air. Often seen as the most powerful of the Powers alongside Sun. Female-dominated priesthood. Her symbol is a crescent moon.

    Stars, Power of Youth, Magic and Ambition (NG)
    Daughter of Moon and Sun, the most active of the Powers. Said to swing both ways. Many prophets claim to be one of her children. Her symbol is a hat with stars.

    Sun, Power of Life, Renewal, Sun and Day (LG)
    Son of Fire and Earth, seen as the most powerful of the Powers alongside Moon. Male-dominated priesthood. Sworn enemy of the undead and Nemis. His symbol is a shining sun.

    The Dark Lords, foes of the Shining Ones

    Bagyk, Power of Ruin (CE)
    A former demon, destroyer of the elven city of Fa-Terendis. Many dark creatures flock to his legions. Allied with several slaadi lords. Also worshipped as Ahmon-Ibor, the Savage Beast, power of primeval menaces and hateful legacies from savage times. His symbol is a spiral chain.

    Baresh, Power of Betrayal (CE)
    A power of unknown origin. Her alliances last for as long as they are convenient. Her symbol is a beckoning hand.

    Candark, Power of Bargains (NE)
    Said to be a former goblin cleric of Mirakiln, this weak power is desperate for allies and further power. Followers often work as mercenaries. His symbol is a grinning sickle.

    Hesak, Power of Murder (NE)
    Possibly the most feared of the Powers, said to be a former dark elf. Followers often hired by the other powers and sometimes form assassin cults with many spies. Said to have spawned many children. His symbol is two severed, bloody, fingers.

    Keshas, Power of Greed (NE)
    Despised by Moon for stealing her first magical halberd, the oldest known of the Dark Lords. His symbol is an empty chest.

    Mirakiln, Power of Conquest (LE)
    A former hobgoblin servant of Fire, with the largest armies of the Dark Lords. Followers often battle those of Orjuul. He seeks to dominate the entire world. His followers are key to the strength of the Yeteker Empire and the Beholder Empire. His symbol is a bloodied axe.

    Mirasa, Power of Pestilence (LE)
    The cruellest of the Dark Lords. A former human monk, ravaged by disease. Her followers often work alongside Nemis, and they are known for using mercenaries, fear and plague as a weapon. Although few in number, her followers are well organised and often have access to the deeps and other resources. Her symbol is a grinning, starved rat.

    Nemis, Power of Undeath (LE)
    Once a devil worshipped by the ogre-magi, now a close ally of Mirasa, their priests and followers often working together, crusading against the living. His followers seek to found an ordered kingdom of the undead. Their most hated foes are the followers of Sun. His symbol is a skull with flaming eyes.

    Orjuul, Power of Slaughter (CE)
    Ruler of the northern wastes, his followers descend each year, raiding their neighbours. Followers often battle those of Mirakiln. A cold north wind is said to signal the coming of his followers. This Dark Lord is rumoured to have a buried temple where much of his power is based. His symbol is a burning corpse.

    Throlt, Power of Oblivion (NE)
    A quiet power, seeking unknown ends. Worshipped mostly in the Deeps. Its symbol is a black, five-pointed star.

    Realms of the Middle Kingdoms

    Aloreas: Ruled over by the royal house of Jorat, this proud human nation holds back the orcish hordes of the Frozen Wastes from the fortifications of the Alorean Wall. Many dwarves from ruined Lundhek holds have made their homes here in recent decades.

    Beholder Lands: Ruins litter the landscape of this realm, torn apart by the beholders who claim lordship here. The peoples of Aloreas, Yandaris and the Free Cities await the next incursion by the many-eyed and their duergar slaves.

    Biavor: Allied to the high elves of Yandaris, this feudal kingdom of the humans spawls between the Forest of the Lakes to the north and the Redcloud Peaks to the south. Many of its nobles are of elven blood and many warriors from this nation are respected for their archery skills.

    Burning Peaks: Home to several fire giant clans and kingdoms, these mountains are often covered in a layer of fine ash from the volcanoes that name this range. The giants of the Burning Peaks often serve in the armies of the Yeteker Empire under the banner of Mirakiln.

    Eastern Sea: A vast stretch of water which is said to lead to the fable lands of the East. Few have made the journey across this sea, and fewer still return.

    Endless Steppes: These arid plains are home to few creatures. Nomadic halfling tribes are the most commonly seen, guarding their herds from the other denizens of this sparse land.

    Forest of the Lakes: A vast area of lush woodlands and enchanted lakes, the fey make this forest their home.

    Free Cities of the Enjant League: Granted independence from the Channeq Empire centuries ago, the Free Cities are a collection of powerful states which compete with one-another for trade and land. Humans, gnomes, halflings, half-orcs and other races call these lands home. Much of the land around them is wild and untamed, or reclaimed by the savage beasts. Many races are tolerated here and a variety of religions flourish among these lands.

    Frozen Wastes: As well as the constant chill of winter, these lands hold hordes of bloodthirsty orchish tribes, looking to cause devastation in the name of Orjuul.

    The Hundred Isles: A large group of islands on the Inner Sea, the Yeteker Empire claims these lands, but the reality is that of rebel slaves, pirates, independent warlords, rampaging creatures and outcast cults.

    The Inner Sea: Area of treacherous inlets, small islands and mysterious tides, it is sailed by merchants of the Free Cities, pirates of the Hundred Isles, galleys of the Yeteker Empire and the occasional warship from Lundhek.

    Jomanka: The northernmost of the settled lands, home to humans and several gnomish clans, Jomanka pays tribute to several orcish tribes of the Frozen Wastes. They have a long history of conflict with the giants of the Tallheart Mountains, who come looking for slaves and riches to plunder year upon year. They are a hardy and independent people, who respect martial prowess and inner strength. They are said to have links with the lands across the Eastern Sea.

    Kijarholm: A young land founded by gnome and human refugees from another world, the people here revere Earth and until recently were ruled over by a priest claiming to be a ressurected god given mortal form. They have an alliance with Jomanka and another with cloud giants of the Tallheart Mountains.

    Lundhek The homeland of the dwarves and once a glorious realm ruled over by the High Council of the Sun. Now much of it lies in ruins, shattered by the might of the Yeteker Empire to the south. The surviving kingdoms and settlements desperately seek a way to stem the tide of hobgoblin conquests, living in fear of raiding parties or pestilence on every day.

    Najas Desert: A harsh and deadly land, littered with dead civilisations. A few human nomad tribes make this their home, moving from oasis to oasis with their camel herds. Suspicious of outsider but loyal to kin, those few who these skilled desert warriors call friend are lucky indeed.

    Redcloud Peaks: Also known as the Sunset Mountains, this range is home to orcs, cloud giants and worse, which often spill over into Biavor, the Free Cities and the Yeteker Empire.

    Redtide Sea: Said to house the ruins of an ancient aquatic civilisation once blessed by Moon. Now ships from the Wild Coast, Yeteker Empire, Kijarholm or Jammerlak are all that disturb the waves.

    Southern Jungles: Lying across the Topaz Sea, legends tell of crumbled empires and dark magics from these ancient and wild lands.

    Tallheart Mountains: Bordering the top of the Forest of the Lakes, these freezing peaks are home to hardy creatures used to a tough life. A few independent souls make their homes here, among the cloud and frost giants.

    Topaz Sea: This ocean is home to the occasional ship and many a sea beast.

    Yandaris: The forests of Yandaris are home to the elves, unmatched in their magics, but looking to keep the Beholder Empire from destroying any more of their lands. They are allied to Biavor to the south and two of the Free Cities to the west.

    Yeteker Empire: Ruled over by the hobgoblins and dominated by the priesthood of Mirakiln, no nation can match Yeteker in terms of troops and wealth. The discipline of the hobgoblins is complemented by hordes of goblin, bugbear and mixed-race battle slaves, orders of fierce warrior-monks, fire-giant mercenaries and the occasional blue dragon from the Najas Desert. Their Emperor seeks to rule alll lands around the Inner Sea and as yet few have managed to stand before his armies.
    Last edited by detomo; Tuesday, 5th December, 2006 at 11:52 PM.

 

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    The starting characters were:

    Bjorn Abba, Human Barbarian 1 from the Southern Jungles, Chaotic Neutral
    Cade Thorngage, Halfling Ninja 1 from beyond the Eastern Sea, Chaotic Neutral
    Derris De Marco, Half-elf Swashbuckler 1 of Biavor, Chaotic Good
    Krunk of Redshore, Halforc Duskblade 1 from the Free Cities, Chaotic Neutral
    Layla, Human Beguiler 1 of Biavor, Chaotic Good
    Ra of Etrial, Human Cleric of Sun 1 of Aloreas, Lawful Good
    Samson ôSamö Tisiphone, Human Fighter of the Najas Desert, Chaotic Neutral

    Four of my players so far are Enworlders. They are Deng, playing Krunk, DeGlove, playing Ra, Mikkle, playing Sam Tisiphone and Treguard, playing Derris De Marco

    Here are character backgrounds, as written by the players, and edited by me

    Current Characters

    Burc Bugrit

    Burc grew up at Hammerdell Hold, with an axe in one hand and a forge-hammer in the other. Like many of his clan he learnt how to fight from a young age, although his later years were spent patrolling the edge of Kinsblood Rift, haunted by spirits and home to animated corpses. The young dwarf learnt to track such foes, and many ways to deal with them.

    In many ways Burc is not a typical dwarf. Where others would spend the night carousing away, the young tracker would be in bed with hot cocoa and a book on herbs or fungi. He didn't exactly hate orcs or goblins, though obviously he would stand against the hobgoblin scourge which had shattered the dwarf kingdoms of Lundhek. He had tempered his anger, spending long hours in deep meditation like a priest or warrior-monk and had learned to deal with issues with words when the situation allowed it. He even washed his beard more than once a year, trimming it nearly every week!

    Burc could see the judgement in others eyes. The look of the humans at his axe, the grin at the sound of his chain, the surprise when he handed over gold, the knowing looks when he admired sound craftsmanship. So now rather than buying a flash chariot and spending time with other young dwarfs, Burc was out to see the world, to make sure of his eternal conundrum, was it ok to be a dwarf?

    If he found some way to turn back the thousands upon thousands of hobgoblins intent on slaying his family, that would be good too.

    Derris De Marco

    Derris grew up in luxury in the De Marco household, given the education due a the eldest son of an old and powerful household. His elven mother was always distant, spending much of her time in the vast gardens and vinyards on the estate. When Derris started acting the fool, it was Baron Oswald who curbed his son's excesses with enforced and sometimes brutal lessons. As Derris grew into a young man, living for fashions and court started to lack its luster. Everything he wanted was there for him and no achievement was truly his own.

    His mother was tried to help but could not understand her son's concerns. Relations between father and son deteriorated, with Oswald insistent his son start to take on more duties and Derris unwilling to do so yet. Instead he turned to others on the estate, breaking down barriers of class to befriend servants, gamekeepers and vintners alike. His greatest friend was the Swordmaster of the estate, Master Pierez, a duelist and adventurer of much renown in his own youth. As they dueled together, Derris heard many tales of daring and learnt many nuggets of wisdom. The young noble felt closer to the swordmaster than ever he had to his father.

    He encountered Amelie on a trip to the local town of Tarmswell, beguiled by her presence and beauty. That she was sergeant of the King's Guard bothered him little, as the two quickly became besotted lovers. Knowing of his father's likely displeasure, they were married in secret within a few weeks of meeting. Baron Oswald banished his son when he found out, showing his displeasure by stripping him of rank and privileges formerly his due. Things grew worse when his beloved was called back into service. Master Pierez was the only one to advise him, setting him on the course of an adventurer. Maybe on the path to glory and riches he could prove his honour and worth to his father.

    Layla

    Layla is a quiet but attractive mistress of subtle magics, able to get what she wants with a softly spoken word or a suggestive smile. She hails from rural lands of Biavor.

    Ra of Etrial

    Ra is in his mid 20s- a tall man of average build. He wears his armour uncomfortably, annoyed at the necessities that make him use it and preferring to be in less restricting garb. As a general rule he tries to avoid violence against fellow creatures, as there will always be a chance to discuss many problems, and even evil people can be given a chance to redeem themselves, before their death is unavoidable.

    Having grown up in a family of priests of Sun, Ra has developed a burning hatred of the corrupted powers of undeath and, if he is able, will gladly aid in the destruction of such abominations. He has chosen a different path to that of his elder brother Juna (who nearly always won any fights he was in) and, since becoming a cleric of Sun, his talent at healing has become evident. Making the most of this ability he has spent much of his time in Aloreas helping to tend the injured and sick.

    After receiving a letter suggesting from a priest in the Free Cities of Junnis who was interested in helping him further his healing talents. Ra asked for his father's blessing to make the journey there. Things have not turned out as well as he hoped fate has thrown him in with interesting companions. He has yet to fathom the majority of the group he is with, but can see already that they have a different approach to scenarios than the ones he would think best, and will have to think long and hard how best to serve Sun in this new situation.

    Samson ôSamö Tisiphone.

    Sam is a tall, well-built son of the desert. He stands near six foot tall, with heavily tanned skin and long dark hair tied back. Born and raised as a nomad, his primary duties growing up were those of a hunter and guard for the tribe's caravans. He has little experience in the ways of a warrior, but thanks to the training received from his Father and elder Brother, he is exceptionally capable at defensive fighting, using his shield as an extension of his own body in combat.

    He left his tribe with old, battered scale mail given by an elderly relative, together with his sword and shield were practically all he had to call his own. He has always stood in the shadow of his brother, who being eldest had received many more oppurtunities and
    significantly more attention. Sam seeks to prove he is his brother's equal or better, and a mysterious letter bidding him to a far off city is was all too tempting for the young warrior.

    When travelling with the group of adventurers he has been thrown in with, Sam silently accepts his role as a front-line defender, yet it is sometimes apparent that he is operating under a private code of conduct. He has yet to deviate from the group's plans and tactics, but his strong sense of honour may prove to be a problem in trickier situations.

    Snarf

    A companion of Benin, Snarf joined what became the Company of Rifter to hide from the many-eyed masters. Now he serves as their mightiest warrior, slaying foes with his claws or sword, using the power of the beast within. There are few of his race in the world, attuned to aspects of various beasts, results of experiments by the beholders.

    The rest of his pack are still in Junnis, although they are dwindling in number as they are captured or refuges further from the dreaded gazes of their masters.

    By The Wayside

    Bjorn Abba
    A human from the southern jungles of the Olman, Bjorn traveled north with his twin before being captured by the Wardens of the Tarnished Ones in Junnis.
    A reckless warrior who cared little for his own safety in battle, he barely started his adventuring career before his throat was slit whilst unconscious in a gang's stronghold in Junnis.

    Cade Thorngage

    Cade grew up in the village of Akan, far across the Eastern Sea in the realm of Lun-Kuang. His parents came from the Free Cities, traveling far to start a new life. Sadly they were slain by gnome killers who had followed from Jomanka, executing them for alleged crimes against the temple of Earth. He was separated from his twin sister when both were found adopted families, and has not seen her since.

    As a youth he stumbled upon the secret dojo where his adopted mother was sensei. Cade was interrogated and then initiated into a new Family. Here he followed a strict path of training and discipline, practicing the arts of stealth and learning to use many unusual weapons. He was told that the needs of the family came before all else, with loyalty the most important trait of all.

    Recently he followed his parent's trail back across the Eastern Sea, reaching Jomanka with his Family's blessing. After weeks of scouring records in Sterin and Joman, he received a strange letter inviting him to Junnis. He consulted with one agent of the Family and decided to follow up the lead. With his remaining funds the halfling took ship to the Free Cities, only to be taken prisoner by a group of gnomes when he arrived at his destination.

    After escaping from a planar prison, Cade journeyed on one adventure with his fellow escapees. His brief career ended in two foot of blood, body pierced by the blades of animated skeletons in an underground tomb.

    Benin

    An escapee prisoner from the Beholder Lands, Benin and his pack fled their many-eyed masters to seek out a new life in the free cities. Gifted with natural ferocity, attuned to the aspect of the tiger, Benin was a ferocious combatant in close combat. He fell on his first adventure, alongside Cade in the Tomb of Blood Everflowing, cut down by a skeleton's rusted scimitar.

    Zorbaka

    The tiefling wielded eldritch power from his infernal heritage. Although unwelcome in many places, he found a home among the Company of Rifter for a short time.
    His longspear and eldritch blasts were not enough to save him from the onslaught of two dire badgers however, and he was buried among the woodland glade where he fell.

    Krunk of Redshore

    Krunk was born to a prostitute in the port city of Redshore, no doubt the son of an orcish sailor who frequented the brothel Krunk grew up in. His mother chose an orchish name for him in the hope of gaining him acceptance in the mostly-human lands. His first few years were comfortable, but as he grew older he developed a violent temper attributed to his orcish heritage. He spent much time with the live-in guard of the brother, performing the same exercises and toughening himself up.

    From the age of 10 Krunk was apprenticed to a duskblade named Angrall Grimhaft, a regular client of his mother's who took on the halforc in return for her many favours. The years under Angrall's tutelage were much harsher than his former life, with a strict schedule and barely enough food to subsist on. Krunk grew used to this in time, learning to channel his aggression into destructive combat magics. As Krunk neared the end of his training, his master would leave him for weeks at a time on various expeditions. During these times Krunk would focus much of his spare time reading on his favourite subjects. Dragons.

    During his last eighteen months with Angrall, contact with the outside world ceased and his time was spent in rigorous training in a variety of weapons, often spent out in the wilds hunting with his master. The halforc had the feeling he was being trained for something specific, but could never find out more from Angrall. On his master's last trip, Krunk was left on his own for over six weeks. When he received a letter inviting him to Junnis, he took the opportunity, hoping to find his mentor and the task which was his destiny.

    The treasurer of the unnamed band for their first few adventures, then for a short while when they were the Company of Rifter, Krunk would attack in short rapid bursts with his scythe, his magic guiding his weapon of death to its target. He fell whilst fighting giant badgers during a hunt in Chalsem Wood of Biavor. Although brought back to life as a gnome, Krunk felt it was time to seek a different path and find the master who was in hiding somewhere in the Free Cities.
    Last edited by detomo; Saturday, 2nd December, 2006 at 01:36 PM.

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    In the Bastion

    Each of them had received a letter. It contained a invite to the Dancing Tiger Inn in Junnis, the richest city of the Inner Sea. The invitation was from a Megrim Holz, a name none had heard. Each journeyed separately to Junnis, where a nasty surprise awaited.

    Now seven prisoners await their fate in the Bastion of the Justicars, with little knowledge of where they are or what lies ahead. The guards are mostly shambling corpses, forboding extraplanars or priests of Earth. Other inmates are kept in the cells nearby, under heavier guard and more powerful wards. Occasionally they speak from one cell to the next, the guardians caring little what they do.

    Ra had been here the longest. He came from a human family which had long served Sun, a noble and just Power. His brothers served Sun, the elder as a paladin and the younger as a monstic novice. His father and uncle were both priests of the Radiant One, with great faith but little power. Sun was now testing his young priest, imprisoned as he was in a place of little light where pleas for justice fell on deaf ears.

    Derris arrived soon after the cleric of Sun. A noble's son of Biavor, where elven blood ran strong in the aristocracy. His frequent protests over his treatment went unanswered, the corpses who guarded them staring without compassion. Their lips had been sewn together, and they were unlikely to speak anytime soon. His heart yearned to be free, to travel to new lands as his mentor had instructed, to meet interesting people and drink in a thousand taverns. He hoped to see his beloved again. They had married in secret, promising to meet again in Highsun when the new year was upon them. As things stood, she looked to be dissapointed.

    The halfling Cade usually sat in one of the corners of the cell, watching and waiting for the time to act. He had journeyed from across the Eastern Sea, the lands of his birth. Both his parents had been born in the Free Cities, sailing from Jomanka as visitors to the Lands of the East. Cade had few memories of his parent, adopted at a young age by another family. A good family. He was loyal to the family, and they had rewarded him by sending him to the land of his ancestors. After landing at the Outpost of the Shogun in Jomanka Cade journeyed as instructed to the Free Cities of the Enjant League. There his troubles had begun. There he received a letter from a stranger and now he was trapped. But he must be patient. The family would see to him. In time.

    A month ago Layla had joined the cell, or at least she reckoned it to be a month. Time was hard to judge in this place. She was a child of Shar, a city in Biavor where her mother passed secret magics to her daughter. Many had listened Layla in her city, hanging on her every word. Here few heard her lyrical voice, many not being alive, and others made of metal with little emotion. From the few who did talk, she knew they were being held for trial on another plane, where the power of Law was strong and order reigned. Judgement in the Bastion of the Justicars was always harsh and brutal.

    Sam was one of the newer ones. Here only a fortnight, the despair had yet to get to him as it had the others. He was unusually cheerful for a desert nomad, seeing a lighter side in all things. The Tisiphone worked as mercenaries, fighting in the wars of the Middle Kingdoms and Sam was no different. He had donned is armour, strapped on his blade and journeyed alongside clansmen to the Free Cities, expecting to fight for his fortune. Then the letter had arrived, and his dreams of retiring with a herd of two hundred camels looked far away.

    Krunk was uneasy here. His master was somehow responsible for the halforc being imprisoned. His upbringing had never been an easy one and Angrall of Redshore was not a forgiving patron. Yet his master had taken Krunk in at a young age, providing for him even during the lean years. Angrall had paid for his charge's education as a warrior-wizard, had provided armour and weapons, and there was certainly a debt between them. It had been unlike his master to be gone for so long. A month or two was usual, but half a year was a cause for concern. And then the letter had arrived, and things had gone from bad to worse.

    The newest arrival was Bjorn. He had barely arroved at the Inner Sea after a long journey from the jungles of the south, when strange events overtook him. His twin had vanished one night, and a letter delivered to Bjorn shortly after. A friendly priest of Water had read it to him, but it had lead to no good. The young beserker dreamed of finding great wealth and power in the north. Off returning south to forge a new pride among the Olmec. That dream now seemed far away. In fact, this was about as bad a start as he could have made.

    The seven waited for someone to consider their cases. There was little hope for escape and boredom was a constant companion. Eyes often scanned the few murals adorning the walls. Most were tombstones of Earth or skulls with flaming eyes, winged celestials and leering devils. Little to occupy them but much to dwell on. Time moved slowly in the Bastion of the Justicars.
    Last edited by detomo; Saturday, 14th October, 2006 at 01:56 PM.

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    Judgement

    The seven were quiet as they escorted through tall hallways. Walking corpses guarded them, shrunken and disfigured with layers of filth and dirt blurring their features. Like the jail guards, their lips were sewn shut and no sound escaped them. If it were just these then the prisoners may have attempted some kind of resistance. But above the procession floated a spectral figure, its twisted visage watching the mortals with undisguised hatred.

    During the long days in confinement, Ra had studied many of the unliving creatures of this place. The church of Sun had taught him to watch for such as these. Their shambling guards were entombers, strong creatures capable of crushing skulls with bare hands, with enough spirit bound to their bodies to maintain some sentience. The watching figure was a spectre, an abomination which feared the light of Sun and drained mortals of their life.

    The young cleric watched for a sign from his divine patron, but found nothing. Maybe the power of Sun had little power in such a place. His companions had little cause for hope and they were still silent as they passed into a vast hall.

    Stone arches supported a domed ceiling lit with a thousand fires. At the far end of the hall, in a towering throne, sat the lord of the hall. Blue skinned and over ten feet in height, ivory horns jutted from an ogre-like face. Metal plates covered much of its torso and legs, while a sizable blade rested against the throne. Ringing the room was the rest of the mismatched court. Leering undead touched shoulders with metal-clockwork golems, robed and hooded priests mingled with floating lights and scuttling gnomes. The grinning skull of Nemis, lord of undead, and the tombstone of Earth were both evident among those gathered.

    Flanking the throne were three who stood apart. The first was a giant wolf with long claws and a goblin-like visage. Looming over the wolf was a sinister figure, shrouded in long black robes more than twice the height of a man. Torchlight flickered from the scythe in its hands and the chains hanging from the robes. The third figure was almost the opposite of the robed thing. Nearly reaching ten feet in height, great black and white feathered wings sprouted from its back, shining armour covered a human-like body and a silvery greatsword was clutched in gauntleted hands. The gazes of all three were fixed on the figure being addressed by the judge.

    "Once again you are given a chance to renounce your sins and abandon your master". Chained before the throne in the blackest metal stood a bloodied dwarf in torn rags. A once proud beard had clumps missing and his body showed signs of recent tortures. The symbol of the sun was just visible beneath blood and grime. His eyes were closed and no answer was given as the judge continued on. "So be it, mortal. The Council of Justicars will continue to consider your case. Your ultimate punishment had yet to be decided, although your guilt is in no doubt. Return this one to his cell, we have one more matter this session."

    As a collection of undead and golems hauled the prisoner away, Ra realised who it must be. He had heard rumours of a high priest of Sun held in the most secure cells, interrogated hourly by the wardens here. His thoughts were cut short as entombers shoved the seven erstwhile companions forward and the booming voice addressed them.

    "You are the accused, and I am Gulgon, the judge of this session. Each of you has been accused of grave crimes, breaking laws of the planar order. We are the Wardens of the Tarnished Ones, and it is our duty to judge such as you.
    "Choose one from among yourselves to plead first"

    As the others watched one another, Ra stood forward, for he knew of no crime committed by his hand. "Of what I am accused?"
    Gulgon regarded him with a level gaze. "Your elder brother, the paladin of Sun known as Juna, slew a maker of magic artifacts employed by nobles of Aloreas. Furthermore, he destroyed the holy relic which kept the blessed being in its second life. Divinations have been unable to locate Juna and so you are here in his stead.
    "How do plead to the murder of the lich and artificier Nadurnus?"

    Ra was almost too stunned to answer such a ridiculous charge. It was the given duty of the followers of the Sun to hunt down undead. How could the destruction of such an abomination be a crime? He gave his answer in a steady tone. "If you deem such a deed as a crime, then I am indeed guilty" The judge paused for a few moments before his gaze moved on. "Your plea has been noted. I will consider my judgment. Who wishes to plead next?"

    Derris was the second to be judged. He claimed not to be guilty of a deed his lover had performed. The one he had married in secret had broken an oath of service and deserted the Biavoran army on the eve of battle. Somehow she had avoided a planar enforcer known as a kolyarut and the half-elf had been found for the crime of his spouse. The father of Layla apparently died in great debt to the Temple of Earth. After recalling the many times he was obsessed with the smallest amount of coin, she pleaded her guilt. She wept soon after when Gulgon informed her that her siblings had already received judgment.

    The next two both denied thier charges. Cade suffered for a crime of his ancestors. A stooped gnome from those watching had been a child when halflings brought ruin to a temple of Earth. Their divinations had found Cade as the nearest living descendent of the main perpetrator. Bjorn was accused of stealing relics of Nemis from a priest in Junnis. His twin was more than likely guilty of such acts and it wouldn't be the first time he has suffered the punishment due his brother.

    Krunk almost laughed at his crime. The slaughter of eight-five gnomes in a village of the Free Cities was not a pleasant thing. But Angrall, the man who raised him was easily capable of such a deed. The apparently mighty divinations of the Wardens could not find him and so the halforc suffered in his place. The last to plead was Sam, accused of the release of a fell creature. His older brother had lead dwarves to a tomb in the Old Hills and the undead king was no longer in his prison. Once again scrying magic was not enough, but Sam would never claim such an act as his own.

    From his throne, the Judge took little time to consider his verdicts. "The laws of the multi-verse have been consulted, and the judgement of the Council of Justicars is this." There was a short pause as all attention focused on the horned ogre.

    "Guilty on all counts. Those who pleaded as such have been granted the lesser punishments." He turned his gaze first to the priest of Sun. "Ra, you are to be executed and turned into a fetch to work in the mines. The human Sam is to be fed to the barghest and his soul removed from existence. The halfling Cade will be entombed in earth and starved until death. Layla will be kept alive, although drained of all presence by a visilight of the court."

    Faces lost all semblance of hope as the sentence were delivered and turned to despair as they continued. "Derris De Marco faces trial by combat with the justicator Niang", a clawed hand indicated the shining figure with black and white wings all had noted earlier. "Krunk is to be place in stasis and his ultimate fate determined at a later time." The halforc looked bewildered at his fate, and the last sentence was delivered. The human Bjorn, from the lands of the Olmec, is to be turned to stone, the statue smashed into a hundred sections and scattered to the Prime Material, the Elemental Plane of Earth and the Clockwork Nivarna of Mechanus."
    "Let all hear the will of the Wardens of the Tarnished Ones, and know that Order has prevailed once more"

    Ra sank into full despair as he realised how harsh the fates were. He made no final request as the others wished for decent food and dwarven ale. In three-quarters of a day thier sentences were to be carried out. There was little he could do now but make desperate prayers to Sun for his final hours.
    Last edited by detomo; Monday, 9th October, 2006 at 11:06 PM.

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    Inadvertant Rescue

    Bjorn felt bad. Thrown up by a troll bad. Dwarven ale did that to you if you drank it in large quantities. With only a few hours to live, what more was a good Olmec warrior expected to do? Most of them drank maybe one or two flagons, with Krunk joining him in finishing the rest. Ra prayed in the corner to his Sun god and had declined any strong drink. What good would praying ever get you in a place like this? And what sort of name was Ra? Apparently some ancient god from another world. Likely tale!

    The food had still been bad. Not grey mush bad like they had every day. Bjorn had vague memories of discussions about where the everyday gruel came from. Layla maintained they came from magic spoons! Nice girl. Strange in the head, but nice. He was sure he had challenged some one to a wrestling match. Maybe one of their undead guards? He had been dreaming of the verdant jungles of home. And strangling his twin if he ever found him. Something had woken him. And now someone was poking him. Apparently with a shard of wood.

    "Can't you hear it" Cade shouted in his ear. As the halfling was due to be entombed in earth and starved, Bjorn felt little need to pummel him as he normally would. Then he too made out distinct noises through the haze of strong drink. Fighting! The clash of metal on metal! Maybe they could escape! Their silent guards had gone! It was time to try something with the door. A few minutes later Cade had failed several times at picking the lock and berserker and halforc were bruised from trying to force the barred iron door.

    A burst of light flared into the corridor beyond them, Cade calling out that he had seen an entomber destroyed by the searing ray. Then there were dwarves and humans rushing past their cell, all wearing the distinct shining symbol of Sun. Bjorn slapped himself to make sure this wasn't another drunken vision as the others cried out to be released. Maybe these were answering the prayers of Ra. Maybe these were their saviours.

    A human priest in golden chainmail paused to scan those in Bjorn's cell, seeking for something in particular. More invaders rushed past, large yellow-brown dogs, armoured centaurs, some elves and humans bearing the symbols of Stars and Moon among the warriors of Sun. "Release these, I sense the Sun among them", their saviour directed a plated human, clutching a burning sword to Bjorn's cell.

    A few minutes later, sacks had been found with their belongings and distributed among them. Bjorn had strapped on his leather armour and had his sword in his hands once more. It felt good to clutch steel and better to know that foes were near. He could feel a drunken rage coming on, ready to release the pent anger from many days imprisoned. The warrior with the flaming sword was Masym, a powerful priest who had broken the magical wards protecting their cell. Covered head to toe in metal plates, Bjorn was glad to have him as an ally. Masym's tabard bore a flaming sword too, the symbol of Fire to those of the northern lands.

    Bjorn paid little attention to what the others were saying as they moved through the passages of the prison, toward freedom. Something about a rescue attempt for a priest of Sun. It mattered little to the Olmec why they were here, it was enough that he was free.
    Following the light of Masym's sword and Ra's glowing shield, time started to blur for Bjorn as a red mist masked his vision. There was a warning of foes nearby and the priest of Fire left them for a time.

    In a blur of bones, blood, steel and war-cries, Bjorn fought alongside his six companions for the first time. At the end of it they were victorious, two skeletal fiends lay broken among the flagstones and the clockwork remains of several small flying beasts were scattered throughout the corridor. Layla and Cade staggered a little, poisoned by the stingers of the golems, but hale nonetheless. Ra paused to tend to the wounds of the injured before Masym called for them to follow once more.

    While they ran Bjorn took stock of his companions. Sam wore the heaviest armour, carrying longsword and shield at the ready. Krunk and Derris also stood out as warriors, the former toting a wicked scythe and the latter a thin, stabbing sword. Layla was a witch of some sort, her magics of little use to those beyond death. The halfling wore no armour, moving stealthily with a bow at the ready, and Ra was their saviour, whose prayers had brought Sun to their aid. For the moment, these were his allies, and he was proud to stand among them.

    More twists and turns brought them to a large courtyard, covered in bones and ash of the fallen. A great bronze-scaled winged lizard regarded them, speaking briefly to Masym and indicating the twisted front gates of the Bastion. Once outside Bjorn was bewildered by a landscape of giant cogs, wheels and axles. He had little time to consider the vision as the priest of Fire bade them join hands, Masym's chanting ringing in his ears as the world faded into grey. They had escaped from the Bastion of the Justicars. And they were alive to tell the tale.
    Last edited by detomo; Tuesday, 10th October, 2006 at 06:01 PM.

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    ° Ignore Mikkle
    Samson "Sam" Tisiphone
    Human Fighter, Chaotic Neutral.
    STR 14 DEX 13 CON 16 WIS 12 INT 12 CHA 9
    HP 13 AC 19 BAB +1 Melee AB +4 Ranged AB +2
    Fort +5 Ref +1 Will +1 Initiative +1
    Feats: Dodge, Power Attack, Shield Specialization (Large)
    Skill ranks: Swim 4(6), Climb 4(6), Jump 4(6), Spot 2(3)
    Languages: Common, Orc
    Equipment
    Masterwork Longsword
    Masterwork Large Wooden Shield
    Scale Mail
    Sling (20 bullets)
    (Note, Masterwork Equipment looted from the end of that night's adventure)

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    Jewel of the Inner Sea

    Layla regarded Junnis with a mixture of apprehension and relief. Although it was good to be back among in normal surroundings, this city was where her troubles had begun, with a mysterious letter. The Jewel of the Inner Sea spanned the river Selinta, street after street laid out beyond it's mighty waters. Traders came here from dwarven principalities of Lundhek, the hobgoblin Yeteker Empire, other Free Cities of the Enjant League, the elven forest of Yandaris and many from further afield. Many regarded it as the centre of civilisation on Ascorre. Layla was not so sure.

    Masym's spell had brought them to the Prime Material plane, a few miles inland and a day's travel down the coast from Junnis. Apart from a night in the wilds and a brief stop at a fishing village, their journey had gone smoothly. All seemed in good spirits and Masym made for an interesting travelling companion. A mercenary who worshipped Fire in his own way, gold was his main motivation. They had even been fed, as Grunk found several bushes of berries and crushed a rabbit with his hands to provide a main course.

    Layla had taken an hour that night to mourn for her lost ones. She presumed them gone, judged by the Justicars to an unearned doom. Some when she would make sure. But for now it cost her enough just to pray for their souls, wherever they were in the cosmos.

    And now they were back in civilisation. Much of Layla's magic was only of use when other people were around. She had trained for years, learning how to influence others with a glance here or a smile there. During the walk today the seven former inmates had made a pact to stay with one another for the time being. Masym would see them to Mercenary's Square in Junnis, where contracts for adventuring and mercenary work could be found or sold. It was only a matter of time before the Wardens of the Tarnished Ones sent agents to find them once more. Better they stood together than be picked off one at a time. No doubt they would concentrate on the dwarven high priest before turning to minor beings such as them.

    The warrior of Fire lead his charges through back streets of the Jewel of the Inner Sea, avoiding the main streets. Layla tried to avoid the mud of the alleyways, always a problem during the Autumn months in places such as this. She also noted the yawning chasm between the wealthy and the desperately poor here. Fat wizards in sedan chairs were followed by mobs of hollow-cheeked urchins, pleading for scraps of food or a copper coin. One footed peddlers of indeterminable goods crouched in the shadow of opulent temples dedicated to the Elder Powers.

    And then ahead was Mercenary's Square, a crowded place full of the strangest of characters. It was time for her to work her charm and earn her place.
    Last edited by detomo; Tuesday, 10th October, 2006 at 09:56 PM.

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    ° Ignore DeGlove
    That long list of CN, CN, CG, CN... keeps gives me the feeling that I'm going to have a challenge rping this cleric and keeping to the description I've given him for his background (post #2, currently middle description), especially when a lot of my previous chars have had a chaotic bent, but we'll see what happens

    Anyway, it certainly was a worrying start to the campaign - but the prayers must have worked!
    Last edited by DeGlove; Thursday, 12th October, 2006 at 04:22 PM.

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    Locksmith in Need

    Cade kept to the edges of the crowd, watching for trouble or unwanted attention. Layla and the half-elf had been working the factors and others looking for adventurers. They had avoided the really dangerous stuff, like dragon-slaying in the Greydon Marsh or retrieving loved ones from the Elemental Plane of Fire. They were looking at the lower end of the scale where the risk and reward were far smaller. Tasks such as delivering a waraxe for a mad old dwarf to Lundhek, or delivering a box to Athlakat only a hundred miles away. Most likely they were going to be helping out a local locksmith, once they paid off a go-between to lead them there.

    Mercenary's Square was packed with those hunting work, those offering work and the vermin which fed off both. Informants, spies, hired killers, beggars, con-artists, pickpockets, buskers, fences, drug-pushers, whores, pimps, drunks, palm-readers, prophets and other scum. All had a place here and he recognised many for what they were. It was little different the other side of the Bitter Ocean. But there he had had the Family. Here he had few allies, and no reliable one as yet.

    One of the agents here was working for the Enjant Adventurer's Guild, offering membership for over a little over a hundred pieces of gold. There were a couple other adventuring groups in the Square, one already belonging to the Guild. Called themselves the Black Talon and they were looking for the same kinds of job as Cade and his companions. The halfling disliked competition, as it always added complications. They had talked of joining the Guild, but were putting it off until they had some work under their belts.

    The halfling watched as Derris gave over some gold and his companions started to follow a ragged-looking human into the backstreets of Junnis. Looked like they were finding out the troubles of the locksmith. A short walk later and they were into a quiet street where their guide pointed out the shop of the locksmith. Cade could see two thugs inside, who seemed to be ransacking the place.

    Losing no time, the thugs found themselves the target of seven novice adventurers. One dozed into a slumber as Layla worked her magic and the second fell soon after, beaten unconscious by De Marco and the Olman brute Bjorn. The group quickly determined that the locksmith was not around and bound their captives securely. Cade was fairly impressed, not expected efficiency from his companions.

    The locksmith, a portly coppery-skinned man with a long moustache, turned up shortly after, looking aghast at the damage caused by the thugs and desperately searching for something among the wreckage of his shop. "My thanks for defending my shop strangers, but do these thugs have a key upon their person? It is rather valuable to me a a family heirloom", the locksmith watched hopefully as the thugs were searched and no key forthcoming. Cade noted approvingly as Krunk too custody of the few valuables of their prisoners.

    "I am Theldrat" the locksmith spoke hurriedly, "and I need that key for I am lost without it. Please help me".
    "What's in it for us?" spoke up Krunk, echoing Cade's thoughts and those of others too.
    "Please, I have nothing to offer you but my everlasting thanks" Theldrat pleaded.
    "Not good enough" answered Krunk, as heads shook among those gathered.
    The locksmith sighed and bowed his head. "The key is more than it seems, for it is magical and vital to my business"
    Cade tried not to laugh.

    After a couple minutes of wrangling, with arguments from all gathered, the party came to an agreement with the locksmith, helping him for as long as their profit outweighed the danger involved. Theldrat still refused to tell them more of the key and so they turned to their captives.

    Some not so gentle prodding later by Bjorn and the thugs were speaking. A halforc by the name of Irontusk hired them in Barge End, a shanty town of Junnis, to ransack the place of valuables, as he had already taken what he wanted. There was more but Cade was only paying a little attention to him. The rest was watching for unwanted attention. He spied the watch in enough time to hunker down between some boxes, out of sight.

    But there was no trouble as the watch sergeant took custody of the looters. They questioned Cade's allies and Theldrat briefly, accepting their version of events. The sergeant did ask one question out of the ether, wanting to know if anyone present had been near the Great Library the night before as there had been a robbery there. No one had so they ask no more questions, leaving quickly and without fuss. Cade was almost impressed that no one had needed to be bribed.

    A short while later and they were off to Barge End, with the description of the key and looking for a halforc named Irontusk. Sounded easy!
    Last edited by detomo; Friday, 13th October, 2006 at 09:43 AM.

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    ° Ignore Deng
    Quote Originally Posted by DeGlove
    That long list of CN, CN, CG, CN... keeps gives me the feeling that I'm going to have a challenge rping this cleric and keeping to the description I've given him for his background

    Anyway, it certainly was a worrying start to the campaign - but the prayers must have worked!
    We haven't been too bad. How many of our foes have we either turned over to the authorities or just let go so far? 6 or 7 isn't it?

    Anyway, you're too important to us so we'll probably end up doing anything you say

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