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ZEITGEIST Tizbiz Zeitgeist Campaign

His final technologist incarnation in pathfinder has
Subrail Strike (Su) Once per day as a standard action, the technologist incarnation can
activate a small contraption that quickly grows and disgorges a full-sized locomotive
engine made of force. The engine is 10 feet wide and 30 feet long, and it moves 50
feet in a straight line before vanishing. It passes through physical obstructions harm-
lessly, but all creatures in its path must take 10d6 points of force damage (DC 20
Reflex for half). Creatures who fail their save are pushed 5 feet along the train’s path
and knocked prone. Creatures who succeed immediately leap 5 feet to a space out of
the train’s path.
yep, the technologist incarnation in the 5e pdf has the same thing. the DC is lower (16 instead of 20) and i think they accidentally forgot to include the "creatures who succeed immediately leap 5 feet out of the train's path" bit because the sentence describing what happens to a creature that succeeds simply says they take half damage and then doesn't have a period.

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Session 57
Raging Storm

As the storm over Flint threatens to reach alarming proportions, Auryn insists that both she and Gabriel must act quickly in order to protect their city. Especially as harming Flint was the last thing that Old Stag would have wanted. Carlyle however is not entirely sure how, and if they should even reach the storm with magic, including flight, being out of reach.

“And even if we could fly up there... how would we defend ourselves. We barely made it out alive and I... don't know if I want to risk even more by heading straight into a hurricane. Maybe we should regroup and regain out strengths.”, he says, even though his expression is full of regret.

“No. I cannot do that. Unless we act, the storm will continue to grow. There must be a way!”, Auryn returns, her eyes fixed on the sky.

“Umm... maybe there is a way. We are all linked to the magic of the Land and Mr. Carlyle here bears the mark of the King...”, Margit muses while approaching us slowly. She explains that due to her connection to nature, she managed to get a feeling for the ley lines and the magic of Risur. And as she, Delft and Flying Spark were sufficient to act as both anchor and catalyst for Stanfield's ritual, the lingering magic of the Land might just be enough to pull off one last spell.

Delft and our dear Faerie Dragon agree, and it appears as if this would be enough of a plan to convince Gabriel to give it a try. So we all link up, giving Gabriel enough magic to cast a flight spell on both him and Auryn.

Thus we can approach the core of the storm, which turns out to be a dark, undead, twisted image of Morris Dawkins. All the while, lightning cracks around us and we have to fight the increasing gale winds to advance even a bit closer. Auryn first tries to remind him of his true self, calling to his true nature as a guardian of both the Fey and Flint and its citizens, but she fails to overcome his madness. The storm spirit, in turn, recognizes a familiar connection to Auryn, but instead of calming, he focuses his lightning towards her, hitting her directly and hurling her back in the process.

Still she refuses to give up on her friend, so she turns around to approach the storm's core once more. Getting close enough this time, Auryn then focuses on her connection and shared memories with Morris, while Carlyle uses his ability to communicate with spirits to somewhat appease the spirit through this connection.

“I know you're angry... you did stop She who Writhes, but you couldn't stop Stanfield. You couldn't stop the Obs, who did this to you. But we can. And we will restore the balance. So please... let go. Let your anger pass. Let us guard Flint for you.”

Thereupon Auryn closes her eyes, lets herself be guided by both her intuition and the Humble Hook, ignores the danger and embraces the spirit of her friend. At first there is a violent discharge between the two, but gradually the anger dissipates, leaving only a small lightning-shaped burn mark on Auryn's Mask of the Unseen.

“It's alright. Let go and find peace, my friend”, she whispers, shaking all over her body.

Since Auryn is quite devastated, Carlyle takes her in his arms, connects with her spirit and looks for whatever might still remain of the spirit of Dawkins. And to his surprise, his mental call is enough to make Dawkins' spirit manifest for one last time.

Both Morris and Auryn explain to each other that they are terribly sorry for what happened, and Morris promises to return to her one day. Auryn, in turn, vows to do everything she can to bring back the dream and restore the threshold between their two worlds. As she mentions the threshold however, Morris' gaze turns east, looking at Auryn with sorrow.

“Tearing away the Dreaming has destroyed so much... the enclaves... oh Auryn, I'm so sorry. I wish I could be there for you in the days to come...”

Fear swells up in her heart briefly, but she then returns to this very moment. Ultimately, the two say a long goodbye to each other, with Morris' presence seeming unusually real before it fades into the still dark night sky.

After all the tragedies, we land, still in a tight embrace, on the ruins of the Governor's Palace as the sky gradually clears. Carlyle tries to stand by Auryn in her grief and shock, but also urges her not to let grief get the better of her, as he and the world will need her now more than ever. And ultimately Morris did lose his life solely because of Obs's machinations, and would certainly not want Auryn to give up now.

(That was one heavy scene. Originally, Tiz had prepared a huge storm elemental creature for us to combat, but Auryn just tried and tried and tried different ways of getting through to him. And yes, Carlyle's Spirit Medium power did help a lot! Having the two say goodbye was really touching...

Also, one unusual NPC death for the count. At least I think that Old Stag seldom dies in the usual ZG campaign ;) )

When the storm has finally dissipated and we look up into the sky, we see that there are still only four stars left. At the same time there appears to be a kind of dark spiral galaxy in the heavens, a phenomenon never seen before. Then loud ringings of bells and whistles announce the arrival of trains at Flint Main Station.

We hurry back to Central where we almost bump into King Aodhan and his relief troops.
He is a bit surprised to hear that the Danorans seem to be no longer a problem, so we take some time to we tell him and Lee what had happened in Flint. The King is particularly appalled by the destruction of nearly all the ships (except the Coaltongue, the Impossible, and isolated smaller ships) in the dock by both the Kraken Titan and Stanfield's treachery.

Carlyle also enlightens King and Advisor that the strange phenomena the two had perceived during their voyage were a sign that the Obs' ritual had been performed, but that also something must have gone wrong in the process. We suspect that perhaps agents of the Voice of Rot (who had indeed found shelter with the Obs) or some other third party (maybe Gradiax, maybe someone else) had their share in it. We stress out that our RHC teams certainly did not, even though we suggested that Team 1 might just try a last minute infiltration of Axis Island. We suspect that with the disappearance of the magic perhaps the plane of Vona could have been removed as well, which would in turn mean that we'd have no sun anymore...

Auryn then turns to King Aodhan and points out that the Danoran soldiers involved in the attack on Flint are now stranded in Risur, and that it would be easy to capture them and make an example of them. However, they, too, are ultimately just victims of centuries of Ob machinations as all of Danor had been a pawn in the grand plan of Nicodemus and the Jierre dynasty. Therefore, she suggests offering refuge and asylum in Risur to those who wish to renounce the Danoran system, in an effort to break the cycle of hatred.

(a short recap this time, but I wanted to give the parting with Dawkins the weight it deserved. Adventure 10 and the whacky Titan Chase will start in the next one. Also, leaving this one here which fits the mood quite well: )


Brave New World

King Aodhan is quite surprised to see that he and his army are no longer needed to free Flint and in the end, the troops are now being tasked with securing the city and searching for survivors after the events of Starfall and the Kraken attack. We also join in the effort and take care of the harbor area. There, we find that some people who were thoght to have died shortly after the Fall miraculously survived. What's even more exceptional is the fact that whole families are found merely injured under heavy rubble, as their wounds seem to heal exceptionally fast. Word of this “miracle” spreads quickly, but both Auryn and Carlyle put the pieces together and conclude that this healing effect may be linked to a planar effect and that this would most likely mean that the plane of Ostea was successfully connected to our world.

Unfortunately, our assumption about the missing sun turns out to be true, and instead of the usual brightly glowing ball of fire, only a faintly glowing "gear" rises above the horizon. In addition, we see other, isolated stars in the sky and suspect that these could be the new (or perhaps some of the old?) planes.

We understand that gaining more precise knowledge about the new planar constellation would be among the top priorities,as they may also hold the key to regaining access to our magic. So we meet with Harkover Lee and a few scholars at Pardwright to find out more about the new planar effects, especially as we have to assume that something must have gone wrong on Axis Island and the Brave New World plan has not been properly implemented. Carlyle asks Lee and some mages to go out and search for “wild talents” who may have only gained access to magic recently, so that the other magic users may learn to work magic again more quickly.

Since the shift in the magical continuum also affected a lot of magic items, many people in Flint also no longer have magical lanterns and what makes matters worse is that there seems to be no simple way to magically produce light anymore. Adding this fact to the missing sun, we fear that a good portion of the populace may soon either succumb to fear or fall into depression. In order to prevent that from happening, Shealis is asked to work with other engineering students on technical methods to secure a reliable source of light.

(And we sneered at the Danoran gas lights for being too dangerous back then...)

After some time, it becomes undeniably clear that the so-called "Miracle of Flint" must indeed be a new planar effect that prevents people from succumbing to more serious injuries. Likewise, Lee reports the discovery of a wild talent, a man named Golly Foyle, who was found teleporting through Flint uncontrollably. Carlyle offers Foyle a bottle of a wine to help him focus his talent a little better and asks him to help the magicians with their research.

(As I forgot to talk about this in my previous entries, I'd like to point out that I applaud Zeitgeist for daring to “do the Kefka” and implement a major world-shaking event mid-campaign. Most adventure paths that do not resolve around such an event – like the Time of Troubles AP for example – reserve such events for the very end and do not give the players the opportunity to explore and shape the new world. It really feels like “everything is possible now”, which is exactly what I love about TTRPGs.

But what would have been the cherry on the cake would be the possibility to allow the events of the ObsCon to have an impact on the planar configuration. Yeah I know, Nic changes his mind after the Blue Banquet yadda yadda and there was some sabotage, and it would be quite hard to implement it, but it would have made the event even more perfect. Should I ever DM ZG, I'd try to do that should my players mix up stuff at the Con...)

Knowing that she would not be able to get to Elfaivar in time to help her people right now, Auryn decides to do her best to help the inhabitants of Flint and Risur. Even if not going there herself breaks her heart. So she curses their current inability to access teleportation magic and instead sends off the Wild Hunt in the direction of Sawyer to make contact and gather information about the situation there. She also tasks Riffian to inform both colonists and Elfaivarans that Risur survived and remained free from any influence of the Obs' ritual.

After that, she decides to honor the promise she gave to Morris Dawkins earlier and pays a visit to Milena Dawkins. With deep regret, she finally confirms dear Milena's assumption that her husband had died during the danoran attack on the fleet in Elba . In addition, she mentions that it had been Stanfield who had delivered Morris to the knife and that in the end, he had had to pay dearly for his betrayal. Milena thanks Auryn for giving her clarity and takes the news with almost stoic composure. Once she hears about her boss' betrayal however, fury rises up in the Governor's Master of Ceremonies as she curses herself.

“How could I have been so stupid? I trusted Stanfield! We've been working together for so many years, and yet I had no idea! Had I been more aware, maybe...”

“No one would have seen that. Not King Aodhan, not Harkover Lee or anyone who came before them... he's been seemingly loyal to Flint for decades, he even died for our city. It is not your fault, Milena...” Auryn says, wrapping her arms around Milena while biting her tongue as both she and Gabriel did suspect Stanfield to be an Ob, but were never able to find concrete proof.

While the liberators help secure the city and calm the population, Gale, who is still among the Docker part, is the first to notice that Eladrin can now physically interact with the spirits. This, in turn, means that the Dreaming, wherever it may be, must now somehow be linked to the place of the plane of spirits and death. Auryn freaks out quite a bit when she learns this, as she had always been very close to the Dreaming in her enclave, and the Dreaming had always been a place of life. In addition, ghosts now show up in the mirrors and they seem to be drawn to the Cauldron Hill on a regular basis.

We spend the next few days with more helping and more research, and Carlyle does his best to keep both him and Auryn busy as he fears what might happen should his partner lose focus.

After a few days, we are contacted by a professor of Pardwright and he informs us about the current state of the research on the planes: He and his colleagues were surprised to learn that the absence of a sun seems to affect the plants less than first thought, and he describes the phenomenon as a "black light" that is invisible to us.

(Thank goodness. We really feared that all plant life would simply wither and die due to a lack of sunlight...)

Foyle's wild talent turned out to be an effect of the Fourmyle plane, which allows skilled "jumpers" to teleport. An effect we remember from the planar displays of the Obscuparty. Thanks to Urim's absence, this teleportation is no longer blocked by gold, but by claiming ownership of an area. He confirms our suspicions with Ostea, the plane of healing, and explains that Av has been raptured from its original place now and takes the place of the plane of death. Something we had also suspected after speaking with Gale. Avilona has been replaced by a plane called Baden, which should make flying easier. Also, logical arguments should carry more weight, which is triggered by the Ratio plane. Something we deem quite positive after all that chaos. We are a bit afraid of Illocus though, which stands for the rapid escalation of consequences.

(insert “that escalated quickly” meme)

Likewise, we are happy to learn early on from the link to Mojang, which was once part of the Arboretum's plan to make nature easier to control. So we encourage researchers to explore ways to nurture plants, and point out that without such driving forces, nature might well wither away. (Could be something for Nymeia?). Finally, there is Perlocus, which opens up peoples' minds to easy influence.

We decide to spend the next time practicing the new magic while working on an explanation of the “New World” for all of Risur. Since we come to the conclusion that the Obs have already provided enough secrecy to drown the world in mist, and that logical explanations will be accepted more readily under the new planar configuration, we decide to reveal the truth to the public: That the present circumstances are the result of an international conspiracy, not simply the work of the Danorans, and that Danor itself has become a victim of the Obs' machinations in the end. The King and the officials of Risur are making a sincere effort to gather more information on the current state. But what is most important is that they will and can survive, and that brave Risuri are already working feverishly to reverse the tragedy.

Internally, we also send out envoys and scholars to search our neighboring regions for differences in the rest of the world from Risur, since to our knowledge only we had stopped Stanfield's ritual. After a few days, we receive the news that most of the world may be under some kind of mind control by the Obs... which will not please the Berans in particular, should this turn out to be true and come to light.

We also send an official message to Ber, warning of the Kraken that still roams the inner sea and informing the Bruse that the conspirators we reported to them seem to have achieved their goal. Since we still have to assume that the Obs are hostile to us (and the ring of Nicodemus also reveals that Han Jierre and he are about to convene a conference), we naturally try to gain sympathy from our immediate neighbor here.

Sometime after Starfall, we are joined by Amielle Latimer, who had tried to warn us about the attack on Risur back in Slate, right before she was destroyed by the dracolich. Amielle explains that she re-manifested in Slate and then tried to reach us. She makes it clear that she is not thrilled with the current developments in the Obs, that she feared re-manifesting right next to the rest of the Ghost Council and being held accountable by Nicodemus for her betrayal. We, in turn, tell her about Lya and what happened in Flint. Then we explain that the Obs' ritual failed and that we will try to fix it, since we don't expect Nicodemus to take care of the current problems.

Amielle also tells us that Borne was supposed to set the seals during the ritual and that the Colossus should still be on Axis Island.

We consult with her a bit and come to the conclusion that we also want to look out for Obscurati who might know more about the plan, but are not yet deluded enough to see the current conditions as an improvement. Luc Jierre comes to mind first and foremost, who we believe was only naive, had a good heart, and hopefully survived the explosion on Axis Island. We ask Amielle to find the young Jierre and convince him that all this so far has been one big mistake and that we are still not his enemy.

We also receive an enthusiastic message from Shealis, who has secretly tested flying and succeeded. We hope that this does not mean that the Danorans will attack us with airships soon, and we pass the news on to the military academy to defend themselves accordingly. Especially Carlyle appears to be quite terrified by the thought of having airships and aerial warfare in the not too far future.

(he is eerily prescient ;) )

Meanwhile, the young dragoness is very enthusiastic about “all the possibilities” and we ask her to keep a low profile. We also hope to hear from her father soon, as he is a member of the Danoran War Council and hopefully still loyal to the Pact of Boyle.

And since we suspect that the Voice of Rot might have something to do with the failed ritual or is already planning his next action, we send Flying Spark to High Bayou to see what's going on there.

(Lots of delegating work and setting up threads so far. We tried to have everything covered and not miss something important.)


Life, death and sugar cake
Shortly thereafter, we receive word from the police that some bakers from the Flint Bakers' Guild have gone berserk, breaking into shops and occupying the training bakery. We investigate and find that the bakers seem to be obsessed with the idea of making the Green Saturday Bethmännchen together on a piece-work basis. Only they're doing it like a collective, with more baking on their minds. We try to stop them, and ask them what this is all about, but they all appear to be baking in trance.

Carlyle interrupts their madness with a threat to blow up all their Bethmännchen, with a grenade. As soon as he has their attention, he turns to the group of bakers and asks them one single question:

“Would you please tell me your secret ingredient for cinnamon stars?”

Just as he had anticipated, all attendees are all of a sudden throwing the names of a variety of spices towards him, before starting an argument on who has the better recipe. This breaks up the mental collective for good and paints a huge grin on Carlyle's face. We hope that there won't be too many people making the same plan in the near future and we advise the police to report similar phenomena directly to us. We find the phenomenon utterly haunting and quite frightening as the people almost mind-controlled themselves.

(Regarding Green Saturday Bethmännchen... Pretty sure this is Tiz' idea of a holiday sweets conglomerate, so let me elaborate:
We have “Gründonnerstag” (Green Thursday), which is Maundy Thursday, right before Good Friday. It is a local tradition to eat Grüne Soße (Green Sauce, a super special seven herbs mayonnaise/sour cream sauce) on that day. Bethmännchen on the other hand is another local specialty, a traditional advent/christmas market sweet made of marzipan, almonds and rose water. They are epic and Carlyle's player loves them)

Regarding Cauldron Hill, there are also news from Captain Dale, as the spirits of the dead (felt by Eladrin) seem to gather atop the hill and then simply disappear at night. He thinks it would be safer to evacuate the hill for good now, and we agree with him.

This is also the time of the memorial service for Morris Dawkins and those lost at Elba, and of course both of us attend the ceremony. Auryn still seems to be deeply affected by the death of her friend, as she is dressed in pure white and recites a touching lament.

(Pure white is in her culture only worn by the deceased at their own funeral while accented white is worn by attendees)

After the ceremony, Gabriel approaches her, trying to give her both comfort and hope.

He tells her Auryn will definitely find her friend again in his next life, and that they both just have to work to make it happen, she looks at him with tears running down her face.

“I... I know that. And still, it hurts so much. As if a part of myself was ripped out and died with him. Ever since that day, that pain has been my companion... and even if I know I have to move on, to keep on living... he's been my first friend in Risur... even though we've only had eight years, he's been like a father for me... and I don't know how to move on while it hurts so much”

Gabriel nods, and the embraces Auryn, trying to dry the tears and to encourage her.

“You are Kasvarina's descendant. Remember what happened to her. She had lost everything that was dear to her. Her heart was torn asunder. And then she managed to accept the loss despite all this, left grief behind and helped her people rebuild Elfaivar.”

He then takes a deep breath before he continues.

“And you are not alone. I know your pain, I know how it feels to lose someone dear. Every Vantrys who has died during my time with the family has ultimately taken a bit of me with them. But after every loss, each new child, every new generation also added something new.”

Auryn nods slowly, and thanks Gabriel for his comfort and kindness. She adds that she is also plagued by the uncertainty of whether her people and family are still alive, though she knows that she is needed in Flint at this time.

“Don't worry, I am here if the Risuri need me. Especially if you... need me.”, she adds.

However, she fears that her people, the Eladrin, may be cursed without reason, as Elfaivar may be on the brink of destruction yet again thanks to the Obs' failure.

The two talk for a while about their future, which now seems much more uncertain, but still not impossible to reach. During their talk, Garbiel turns to the matter of finality once again and grows increasingly silent.

“You know, I also have one unthinkable burden to bear: I do not grow old and die. And one day, I will be the one grieving and I wonder if I'd ever be able to get over losing you to old age. Or whether maybe, there might be another form of salvation for me...”

“No matter what, I promise that I will share this long journey through life with you. And I do believe that your destiny, your fate will probably be fulfilled soon. You will be a good King for the people of Risur, the leader that they need right now.”

Gabriel is thankful for Auryn's encouragement, but he also states the he believes that it would be both of their tasks to save the world.

("Leave Grief behind" has of course a double meaning, as Carlyle also hints at Kasvarina prolonging her youth by abandoning grief. And yes, he absolutely dreads the thought of being left alone again.)

Carlyle is now sure that he is ready for the crown and consults with King Aodhan about possible means of transition. The two men also discuss the future of Flint, which now desperately needs a new Governor, with Carlyle strongly favoring Macbannin as a candidate for the post, though it may take some getting used to a Ghost running the office. After all, Macbannin has given his life to protect Flint, has always listened to the people, and has remained loyal to Risur to the point of sacrificing his own existence for his beliefs, Carlyle argues.

(Macbannin as Governor - who else had him on this list? ;) )

Still, we all realize that perhaps the Governor should not rule so unchecked this time around (after all, we know that Stanfield was very much loyal to Flint during the time of the Witches), so we suggest an active advisory council representing all walks of life in Flint. Both King and Successor ask for Auryn's opinion as well, so the trio talks about possible candidates, starting with Thames Grimsley (good heart, much influence among the dockers, but little political and social experience) to Hana Soliogn (better diplomacy than Thames, balanced character, but notorious as a terrorist), Sechim (good candidate, but definitely will not say yes), Vantrys (moderate industrialist, but very reformist and young), Cippiano (honest man who has done much for Flint, but ultimately loyal to a Crisillyiri crime organization) to some guild masters.

In the end, we settle on Gale and Vantrys, as well as one of the guild masters, and decide to award Cippiano a medal on behalf of his community for his services to Flint. As we're quite close to them, we take on the job to inform the two advisors in waiting.

Gale seems to see only few obstacles to her appointment, even though she knows she has some reputation to make up for and would rather give up the name "Gale". We agree and prepare the upcoming official appointment according to her wishes.

Lord Vantrys is honored, but initially fears that he might be accused of too much political influence and too close ties to the future monarch, but Carlyle is able to convince him that, as a co-founder of the Humanist Industrialist Society, he might be the best and most philanthropic candidate among the industrialists.

(Especially as the only true alternative would perhaps rather lock himself up in the lab than enter the political sphere)

In addition, we suggest that Vantrys could give Flint's industry a clear direction. Carlyle also asks Lord Vantrys to work toward good relations and a more positive view towards the Fey, just as we promised both Fey courts. Even though the Dreaming is still cut off from the Waking right now.

When all this is settled, Aodhan solemnly declares his resignation and transfers the kingship to Baron Carlyle, whose upcoming coronation ceremony will fully complete the succession. Carlyle appoints Macbannin as the new Governor of Flint and names Hana Soliogn and Lord Nathaniel Vantrys the official advisors, so that all parts of Flint's populace can be involved in the government in the future. He then calls for Chief Inspector Stover Delft and knights him for his loyalty and good work as Chief Inspector of the Flint RHC. Then Morgan Cippiano receives the medal for his service to the city, especially during the Danoran attack.

During a private moment, Vantrys also reports that he knows of a hardliner industrialist named Jay Isfeld, and that he will keep an eye on her. We thank him for the info, but advise him to keep an overall low, observant profile.

Since we were able to convince Aodhan that Risur urgently needs allies in the current situation (as only She Who Writhes currently spares us from yet another invasion by Danor and their bewitched Obs allies), he sends us to Elfaivar to see what's going on there as he will be conducting all necessary preparations for the coronation.

Before we leave Flint, Aodhan calls for Auryn specifically as he wishes to have a private conversation with her as well. He looks at the Eladrin with his usual calm demeanor, and then declares that he wished to save his final act as King of Risur for her. As a parting gift, he then brings forth a document declaring the Risuri colony of Kellandia a protectorate and inviting all surviving Eladrin to join the new territory. Aodhan explains that he is ultimately seeking a future for the Eladrin in which they can live a self-determined life, even if it means incurring the wrath of the other great powers. He also understands that Auryn wants to take care of her people in this uncertain situation and hopes that their two peoples can come together.

Auryn is of course very surprised and touched by his gesture.

“I don't know what to say but thank you, on the behalf of all my kin in Kellandia and the rest of Elfaivar. There is nothing I desire more than peace and friendship for both Risur and Elfaivar.”

“I know, my dear”, Aodhan responds with a warm smile.

“Always my Matriarch”, Auryn says with a wink.

“For you, 'Aodhan' will be enough.”

Auryn then returns his invitation to a more informal state with a heartfelt hug, to which Aodhan does not object at all.

(this was both very touching and clever of Aodhan. First, he knows Auryn very well and shows his respect for her in the light that he has just chosen her partner as his successor. Second, he takes the weight of making such strong decisions towards Elfaivar from Gabriel, who would seem to be biased by his relationship with Auryn in the eye of the public. And lastly, Aodhan has shown his fondness of the Enclaves ever since our first return from Elfaivar)

Auryn then returns to Gabriel and tells him about the news regarding the protectorate. He is just as sueprised as Auryn, but welcomes the gesture towards the devastated nation. Knowing that Kasvarina would also be in Elfaivar, we first try to look for Asrabey to reunite him with his matriarch. Unfortunately, all we find in his room are abandoned books lent to him by Auryn, while his trail leads east.

So we use our newly acquired and trained teleportation skills to get to Seobriga and find out that Asrabey and the Wild Hunt must have passed through there as well. We finally book passage from Seobriga to Sawyer to discuss the current situation with Governor Roderick.

The Governor is astonished by Aodhan's generous gesture, but acknowledges it graciously. She reports that, right now, they are under pressure from all sides, especially with the recent influx of refugees seeking shelter in Kellandia. She explains that the Covenant Enclave is unharmed, but that the enclave of Matriarch Eshaya has suffered heavy losses. The situation of the local deva, however, has been the most irritating, as they seem to be reincarnating in other, seemingly random forms, such as orcs and humans. Gabriel is unsettled by this news, but neither he nor Roderick can pinpoint whether this is a local or a more general effect. After all, the deva of Kellandia had been subject to some harsh reprogramming by the Feladrin.

We also learn that Asrabey came through Sawyer some time ago, and that he has moved on. Also, there has been no official word from Macdam, which tells us that Gradiax likely hasn't returned there since Starfall.

We deliver the message that the King has not forgotten the colony or Elfaivar, and ask Roderick to take care of any refugees that may arrive.

Next, we go searching for Kasvarina, as our communication magic is still unavailable. From a group of survivors from Ushanti, we learn that Kas has "disempowered" Ajit and his minions, and we point the way to Kellandia for the group. On our way through the jungle, we also discover that there seems to be a tentative alliance between the forces of Rationalis and King Vardanis in the Eternal City, though we're still not sure what exactly could be so interesting about that place (other than its fascinating history).
We finally reach Sentosa, which was saved thanks to the efforts of Matriarch Athryalla. The Matriarch explains that she was able to “land” her enclave safely thanks to our warning in advance. We also tell her about what happened in Risur and the rest of the world, and that it was ultimately the Obscurati Ritual that led to what appears to be the second fall of Elfaivar. Athryalla mentions that she has been informed about everything else by Kasvarina and that she is happy about King Aodhan's generous offer regarding Kellandia. After all, she is currently surrounded by enemies and has no Dreaming to bring her people to safety.

We tell Athryalla about the possibility of teleporting to Kellandia, but she explains that not all of her people can teleport yet. So we offer to use our Absurdist Web as a transport route for those who would be stuck. However, she wants to talk to the neighboring tribes first, as they may not want to leave their sacred sites even if there could be imminent danger from Vardanis. She can also tell us that no one but the Mad King has received an invitation to a meeting from the Obscurati. As absurd as it may seem, but we appear to be threatened with official recognition of the "King of Elfaivar". And of course no one is happy about that prospect.

(Yeah, Auryn was pretty pissed and added another point to her “signs that Nicodemus has completely lost his mind” list)

So we continue to follow Kasvarina's and Asrabey's tracks and eventually find her in battle with Vardanis' troops and raptors, while Asrabey's tracks are lost somewhere in the jungle. We help Kas fight them off and are extremely happy that she managed to survive all the chaos and mayhem unharmed. Then we bring her up to date as well. Kasvarina returns the favor, but states that she wasn't too worried given our abilities. She tells us that she will stay in Elfaivar and continue to search for survivors, which she will direct to either Sentosa or Sawyer. She also hopes to have significantly decimated the Obs' presence in this region of Elfaivar, at least in the former enclaves.

When we ask her about the Crown of Reida, Kasvarina tells us that she had given the Artifact to a confidant in Kellandia and that we are welcome to receive it. In the end, part again, with Kasvarina continuing on her quest and a promise to return to Kellandia safely when her work is done.

So all that remains is Pallita and the enclaves in its neighborhood while keeping an eye open for signs of Asrabey. When we reach the site, Auryn is shocked to find only ruins in the place that once was her home. Fortunately, we also find a large number of tracks leading west, which indicate that there must be some survivors left. Following them for a while, we find Auryn's family and a good part of the enclave's population on their way towards Sentosa. Fortunately, Matriarch Galadin as well as Estelar and Thorandil and tigress Rajh are alive and in good health. Still, there is cause for mourning, as her youngest husband Kalaren fell while trying to save as many as possible. Auryn is heartbroken when she hears the news as Kalaren had been her weapon master ever since she was very young. She and her mother try to comfort each other in their grief, but they agree that, right now, they have to bring their people to safety.
We spread the news of Kellandia as well and Galadin seems willing to check out Kellandia as well, looking for other survivors along the way.

With heavy hearts, we return to Kellandia, where we are greeted by the vanguard of the Sentosa survivors. News has also arrived from Macdam, and they, too, have been invited to the Obs' conference. Pemberton (one or the other) himself is probably on his way to Ber, so all we have to do is pick up the Crown of Reida and make our way back to Risur.

And no, I don't think anyone had Macbannin become governor. Neat!

I really wish I'd thought of what you had Aodhan do with Kellandia. The world needs more decolonizing narratives.


And no, I don't think anyone had Macbannin become governor. Neat!

I really wish I'd thought of what you had Aodhan do with Kellandia. The world needs more decolonizing narratives.
That was really one great plot development, true. But honestly, you'd only think of stuff like Kellandia's local politics when you have characters who are invested in it.
Not sure whether I'd narratively make the "alliance" of Rationalis and Vardanis/the Feladrin a consequence of Risur's act towards the Eladrin survivors or just a coincidence. It definitely made sense this way as we had this one time when we visited Elfaivar directly after Starfall and Tiz wanted to make sure we got all the hooks and hints for the future in that one go.

and...I just saw that I forgot to include a lot of "Auryn thoughts" that I'd shared every now and then with Tiz. During a lot of adventures 8 and onward they were very much in line with what she'd shared with Gabriel, but there was a small "secret rift" during the first part of the "World of Ruin" Arc that started its tiny growth with the loss of Reida. So here's a bit of inner thoughts in condensed form:

Regarding the death of Morris: Auryn was glad and deeply grateful that with Gabriel's help she had been able to give peace to Morris' spirit. His death had thrown her into a deep abyss, even though she had been able to say goodbye to him. After all, he had been like a father to her, and Auryn had loved him like few others.

Still, there was this growing confidence that, if she could undo the damage to the world, she would see him again. Her feelings in this regard were a clash of deep grief over the loss of her friend and the knowledge that he had given her a great responsibility for his very own future.

(Auryn also contacted the Vekeshi during her time in Flint and asked them to help rebuild and secure the city.)

Starfall and the Enclaves: The disaster in Elfaivar had once again brought her to the brink of the abyss, just after she thought she'd somehow managed to deal with the loss of Morris; and for a moment she wondered if there was any point to her efforts, if the Eladrin people had been all but wiped out once again. She wondered if she herself had not played a part in the catastrophe, for she had been so intent on severing the threads of fate that she had ended her own destiny in the process.

On the other hand, Gabriel seemed to be able to outgrow himself despite all the tragedies. And yes, Kasvarina had gone through something similar, or even worse, and still had not given up. To live, not to give up, to find hope, all this was a hard fight. A fight against her own pain and the attacks of hopelessness.
Auryn had chosen to fight. For life. And Gabriel had helped her. Yes, she was the descendant of Kasvarina. And she would find the power to change the world, to save it and to heal it.

Gabriel... she understood what he wanted. What he felt. He wanted to prevent what had happened to him after all these tragedies from happening to her as well. To prevent letting pain take control of her. That she only existed. She cursed him for a moment for knowing her well enough to stab her in all the right places. But in the end, he didn't want to lose her any more than she wanted to lose him. In the end, he, too, could only believe in the future if it was a future with Auryn.

Besides, she could never thank him enough for what he had done for her and Morris.

She had been surprised that he almost appeared to consider his future office a lesser task. After all, it was necessary that the remaining free minds of the world rallied behind Risur. Even if she feared a war that might involve all of Lanjyr.

Regarding Aodhan and Elfaivar: Auryn was deeply grateful for King Aodhan's gift to the Eladrin. Perhaps it was possible that their peoples could come together sooner than she had thought. It would be difficult to defend Kellandia, but how likely was it that the Danorans would be interested in the small former colony? If there was one pattern in the Obs' and the Danorans' tactics, it would be to underestimate Elfaivar again and again. And if a "King Vardanis" were to join them in their hubris, it might just give them the advantage they so desperately needed. And who knows, perhaps Vardanis' infernal ally Acheral
(oh my, forgot to mention him in the write-up as well...) had plans of his own that could throw the Obs into chaos? Though, of course, this "hope" of hers was basically playing with fire.


Session 58
A prelude to the Crown

In Sawyer, we pick up the Crown of Reida from a woman named Rion, who had received it from Kasvarina.

„Seems like you got your crown before the actual coronation“, Auryn jokes. After sharing a quick laugh, Gabriel stores the Crown away safely though and makes sure that it doesn't come near his head.

(He really didn't wish to induce any kind of memory, even tough it would be unlikely to happen in this part of Elfaivar. Also, he is pretty strict regarding putting his private investigation aside when there's any sort of mission that needs handling first)

Afterwards, we take the ship back to Seobriga and find that some news seems to be highly speculative and some magazines seem to have taken the Obs position.

In order to prevent a possible public change of mood against Risur, we first talk to the local Dockers, who obviously think very little of the Danorans or war. We learn that there are tensions on the border, and that troops from the Beran side have been drawn to the border, as the Berans fear Risur's rearmament due to their ongoing conflict with Danor. Auryn sings a duet with one of the Dockers and then explains to him and the others that it is not the Risuri who are responsible for the current situation, but rather a worldwide conspiracy. And that Risur is quite busy with the situation with Danor, so it would be ludicrous to even think about opening up a second front.

(we saw no reason to keep the Obs story a secret any more)

We decide to strengthen our local position and look for Melissa Amarie, who now works for a medium-sized newspaper. We talk to her about the fact that the group that originally sponsored Tinker Oddcog, the Obscurati, are responsible for the changes in the world and that they are probably also spreading some kind of subtle mind influence in Ber to make the inhabitants more receptive to the arguments of the conspiracy. We explain to Melissa that she can try the effect with "logical arguments" on a truly stubborn person, and invite her to look at the evidence we have compiled in Slate (and Flint, if necessary). We also point out that the Bruse was at least aware of the history of the Colossus and the broad outlines of the conspiracy.

(Yeah, that whole „Ber influenced by the Obs“ is something that has bothered both of us players, especially given their stance on mental influence and charm spells. But more on that later)

When Carlyle issues Melissa Amarie a visa signed by the "Prince of Slate" (his intermediary title), she gets suspicious for a moment as she has never even heard of someone with that title, lest an agent or Risur. So we take the time and tell her about the planned succession and the attempted assassination of the King during the Danoran invasion. She appears to be properly impressed and congratulates the King-in-waiting before asking Carlyle for an official interview should she arrive in Slate in time. As Carlyle is keen on keeping good ties to Ber, he promises to answer all of her questions on top of giving her access to our evidence.

Since we also pass Bole on the way back, we stop at Auryn's new barony (she was named Baroness of Bole by Aodhan once the dust had settled) so that she can officially introduce herself. She meets up with the mayor of Bole and explains that she will personally take care of the town's needs. She adds that she knows this means defending Bole first and foremost, as the mayor appears to have all the usual processes in check. A task she will take on personally. And since Auryn has noticed some mysterious earthquakes as well as heard rumors about problems regarding the mines, she asks the mayor about her honest assessment of the situation. At first, the mayor is evasive, as she seems to be in over her head with the problems and doesn't wish to make a bad first impression on the new Baroness. However, Carlyle reminds her that it is not wise to deceive both her and the future king, and so the mayor explains that she already sent a message to Slate some time ago.

All in all, she summarizes that Bole is currently under pressure from all sides: Workers are fleeing the mines because of the earthquakes, while some of the refugees are staying in Bole, which is why supplies are running low. At the same time, there is hardly any meat coming in from the pastures in the west because the herds have disappeared, leaving only chicken as food. And she doesn't even like chicken. On top of that, the region can not meet the demand for wood from Shale because the loggers are busy fighting devastating forest fires. We put one and one together and get a hunch that this all could point to several wake Titans roaming the area. Which is why we tell the mayor that we'd want to get to Slate as soon as possible as we need to talk to some expert on Titans. And to possibly check up on more Titan lore in the Book of Kelland. But we promise to return as soon as we know more.

So we teleport to Slate and deliver the news from Bole directly and unfiltered. We also suggest that, while communication magic is not really available yet, they'd expand the old carrier pigeon network and set up Semaphors along the most important links. We also report on Nicodemus's invitation to King Vardanis, sarcastically noting that he might get rather bogged down with this conference, as the Clergy will probably not prefer going to war with Risur over fighting with those dealing with literal devils and demons right next to them. Ultimately, however, a (hoped-for) failure of the conference could also be dangerous, as this would only in turn drive Nicodemus to even more extreme means.

(Well, we know the man quite well at this point...)

Both Aodhan and Harkover Lee agree with our assessment that roaming Titans might be responsible for the troubles of Bole. So Carlyle promises to make dealing with the Titans his first task as King of Risur. He then asks Aodhan and Harkover Lee to help him plan the coronation ceremony as he wishes to follow the traditions closely to give the people of Risur a sign of stability and continuity while also adding in symbolism for the challenges that lie ahead.

We also ask for access to the royal archives, as we need all the information we can find about the Titans. This way, we learn that the Ashen Wolf is usually a peaceful fellow who only becomes enraged when his offspring are in danger. The Father of Thunder, on the other hand, is always ready to riot, drink, and party, which is why we can't help but compare him to Rock Rackus.

“Speaking of that one time where having Rock around could come in handy and then he's stranded in the Dreaming...”, Auryn jokes while Carlyle is quite glad that he doesn't have to endure that double-trouble.

Granny Allswell, on the other hand, is quite the witch, with an interest in mines and children, and we learn that she was usually just locked away in an abandoned mine shaft whenever she woke up. This was done most recently by the halfling Queen Ziri, who had summoned three earth elementals to help her on this task. But, as we also learn, never since the time of Kelland has a King or Queen of Risur ever had to deal with more than one Titan during their reign. Carlyle doesn't seem to be bothered too much however, as he accepts this first task of his upcoming Kingship.

When the two have one quiet moment together, Auryn takes a moment to thank Gabriel for his support and perseverance in rescuing her from the morass of grief. Even though some of it felt like the sting of several tiny needles.

“Though it still hurts whenever my thoughts wander off to those who perished”, she adds, her voice filled with sorrow.

“But I know that none of them, neither Morris, nor Kalaren, nor any other Eladrin would want me to shatter on my grief.”, she adds and Gabriel seems to be very relieved hearing that.

Auryn eventually explains that she also wants to finish fighting their "battles" as well, as they were so suddenly torn from the lives they had.

But Gabriel takes her hands and shakes his head slowly.
“Don't do that. You are your own person. And as such, you owe no one anything. If you choose to fight a battle, let it be yours first and foremost, even if I am sure that your ideals will overlap with those of others”

Auryn is touched by this effort to relieve her of the weight she so often places on her shoulders, but is unsure whether she can so easily shake off those thoughts that helped her keep on going for quite a while.

(She sees the current situation as part of her own fault, first kind of inciting Nicodemus and then failing to stop the ritual)

Afterwards, they two of them talk a bit about their future. Auryn explains that, with Gabriel being a crowned Monarch very soon, there is no job for her left to return to. Gabriel isn't really sure he'd understand what she'd mean with that statement, so he inquires further.

“Honestly, I don't know where to go and what to do. All I know is that I definitely won't return to the RHC in Flint to lead Team 3 and continue to work for Chief Delft. Not while you are busy defending the interests and safety of all of Risur under wholly different circumstances.”, she declares quite boldly, with a tiny hint of anger joining her voice.

“I see. What do you suggest instead?”, he replies, being both curious and surprised that Auryn had come onto this very specific track of thoughts.

“Make me your agent. I want to save both Risur and the world, and for this I need freedom, not the restrictions of a regular office. I do not wish to follow anyone but the orders of the King, as Risur and my Matriarch, the King, are where my loyalties lie”

Gabriel takes a deep breath before he claims that he understands where she's coming from. He notes that they will probably be each other's advisors from now on. Auryn is relieved to hear that, even though she initially finds it strange to be advised by a king.

“Don't put too much thought in that. Without you, I wouldn't be where I am now. In the end, I was made successor due to both our merits, and Aodhan could have easily chosen you instead. But alas, there is only one Monarch of Risur. And as you might know, I have no interest in a forming hierarchy between you and me, and I definitely don't want our relationship to change or be damaged.”

Auryn smiles faintly, being honestly grateful for Gabriel's stance. She appears to not be so sure on whether Aodhan wold have chosen her as well as she is basically still a foreigner and deeply involved with Elfaivar.

“What we need to do, however, is to play both our appropriate roles to the outside world. But putting on a performance it nothing I worry about when it comes to you.”, he adds. Gabriel then falls silent for a moment, as he's going through several thoughts, unsure about the right answer for now.

“Regarding your request, I am sure to find a solution in time.”

(Basically, Auryn feared a growing distance between them, both in rank – Delft being in an intermediary position between them was a truly off-putting thought – and location as Gabriel would most likely spend a lot of time in Slate. As for the solution... we will see what the future brings)


Just stumbled across an old discussion/dissection thread we had when it came to the question on who should be Risur's next successor. Tiz originally had planned to name Auryn as the fitting candidate, but I actually argued against it :D
Also considering the fact that she had much more connections to several powerful NPC than Carlyle, so it would be more balanced from a pure player's perspective. But from our point of view it also made more sense in-universe. And yes, keeping the noble title of "duchess" as planned in the original source material would have been better for the initial dynamic.

For those who are interested in the background stuff, here's my argument from back then:

The question is which of the two would make the best candidate. Basically, Auryn and Carlyle are quite different on the "what's in it" side.

Auryn has the right upbringing, is well-connected, diplomatic, and popular with a wide range of society. She also has the charisma and self-image to fit the office. Her mantra of solidarity and synergy fits well with the source of power of the King of Risur, and she has the empathy to care for the Risuri. She also has a clear vision for the future and has learned to listen to the advice of others and to admit when she has made mistakes.

Carlyle is well versed in Risuri society and would probably not put his foot in it. He has learned to serve others and would likely view his regency from a similar perspective: Serving Risuri and protecting his country. In the end, after 500 years, he is a true, traditional Risuri, more than devoted to his country and absolutely loyal to the Crown and the nation. He is also diplomatic, though much cooler and more detached. He has great organizational skills and could probably run the place very efficiently.

In terms of combat power, neither is inferior to the other.

All in all, one might come to the conclusion (as you did) that Auryn might be the more interesting choice. The big sticking point is what ultimately speaks against it.

In Auryn's case, it's primarily her loyalty to Elfaivar and her efforts to build a bridge and alliance between Risur and her homeland. If Auryn were queen of Risur, she would have to keep her distance from all this, or at least tread very carefully. After all, she has only been in Risur for 8/9 years and is still a "foreigner" so to speak. As the reigning queen, she is only obligated to Risur, so she could not come to Elfaivar's aid, just as she could not take care of the Mad Kings (it would be a bit strange if the queen started a war for personal reasons). She would also have to distance herself from the Vekeshi in the end, since she would be taking on the role of supreme guardian. There is definitely a lot of potential for conflict here, and if something were to make Elfaivar "burn," it could break a Queen Auryn's heart.

(note: this was a discussion we had before the events of Starfall)

With Carlyle, it's harder to find hard reasons against his Kingship. He doesn't have a personal vision (yet), has little experience with so much responsibility, as well as with listening to the advice of others, and has a hard time admitting personal mistakes or bad decisions. And he's just not someone who can inspire the masses.

So much for the IC pros and cons. Where I would now see Carlyle in the lead just because of the matters of Elfaivar.

But then there is the question of how a coronation affects the relationship between the two characters. I think it would be more natural to have a Queen Auryn and an "advisor" Carlyle. Even though there would be a risk that Carlyle would fall back into old patterns as a "shadow servant". Auryn would definitely get along with a King Carlyle, even though it would be a completely unfamiliar situation for her. But I think she has reached a point where she has enough respect for the office itself that she would want to help Carlyle in his new role.

Of course, it must be taken into account that there will probably be a royal wedding soon after the enthronement, which of course simplifies things, as it balances the power imbalance a bit. Auryn could take on a bit of Lya Jierre's role there, with a King Carlyle (hmm, wouldn't that have to be King Gabriel?) and promote Elfaivar-Risur relations, just as Lya intended to do with Danor and Risur. She would have to step out of her role as Eladrin less than as Regent. And in the end, she could make up for her husband's weaknesses with her openness and empathy.
In the other version, a King Consort Carlyle would merely be a more influential advisor, perhaps taking on the socially and ecologically justifiable implementation of industrialization as his personal agenda. But in the end, this would be no more than a Harkover Lee, except that the Queen would share a bed with Carlyle.

Last but not least, some OOC thoughts. I guess the "powers" of the king are not a deciding factor for either of us. In the end, it would only be pivotal for the two of us that "the other one" can play an equal role in the story and in terms of importance.
Since I wrote the text here and therefore can hardly speak about an option for Carlyle, it would not be too difficult for me with a King Carlyle: Auryn has a clear vision for cooperation with Elfaivar, the future of her homeland ("Light of Elfaivar") and her enclave, and hopefully the support of the Risuri people. And if we are already in a setting where power grows out of loyalty and faith (at least in Risur), then there will most likely be a creative solution.

In my own retrospect, this is a very interesting read as it touched upon several threads, struggles and individual developments that happened later on. But we will see what the future brings ;)

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