Earthdawn: Twilight

Come with me if you want (your friend) to live...

After feeling as though they’d worn their welcome out in the tavern, the group reconvenes in the barn, meeting up with Armiger to hear what he discovered. They all trade information on Iopos.

Among the more important things learned:
  • The Demeristas are the ruling family, but they are still governed by Therons
  • Uhl is the head of the Demerista family, is a human, and has been ruling for over 300 years (eww…)
  • Many of the former guild leaders, who would be great allies in the resistance, are currently being held in the prison.
  • The prison is located directly above the kaer.
  • Adepts are rounded up and arrested
  • The secret police are called Holders of Trust

2 hours later, Louvin has still not returned and the group grows concerned. They decide to go to the market district in search of blacksmiths, assuming this is where Louvin was headed. They split up into less noticeable groups and stagger their exits into the street. Chert and Daksa leave first and almost immediately notice the namegiver Daksa was plying with drinks earlier. He sees them and makes a B-line right for them, holding some sort of concealed weapon and looking considerably more sober than he should. Hoping to make him reconsider an attack, Daksa calls out cheerily to him, at which point he becomes very conspiratorial and pleas with Daksa to keep quiet. As he passes them, he whispers under his breath, “Your friend has been arrested. If you want him alive, follow me.” Naturally, they follow, while tipping the others off to this event. Armiger and Nova blend into the shadows while Beasly, Dule, and Kylin follow at an appropriate distance. They wind through some alleys until the mysterious stranger enters a side door to a tavern. Daksa and Chert wait for the others to catch up and enter once Armiger and Nova go around to enter through the front. A large troll (?) waiting inside the side door motions for them to go to the dark corridor to the left. Instead, they decide to all meet up at the bar and when Daksa and Chert finally go back to the troll, he says they are too late and the man they were following has already left. Daksa then successfully distracts him and Armiger, Beasly and Kylin (who has been unceremoniously stuffed into Beasly’s inside coat pocket) sneak past him into the shadows of the corridor to follow the stranger.

Meanwhile, Daksa bribes the troll with a healing potion and he tips her off to an imminent raid. They immediately exit through the side door, only to find Chert the target of a crossbow. Chert is surprisingly frozen by this for an instant while Daksa takes the opportunity to hide behind some crates. Chert recovers and runs off, but suddenly disappears into the rock wall down the alley. Nova and Dule then run out and Nova is also shocked by the crossbow, frozen where she stands. Dule is forced to the ground, but makes short work of the 3 Holders of Trust as they are suddenly distracted and looking around, say things such as “Look at the pretty colors!” and “Ooh…shiny!” Nova finally comes out of her trance and promptly robs the one that pointed the crossbow at her. The 4 run off when they hear horses approaching and stealthily head back to the barn, hoping their comrades inside the tavern are still okay. They arrive just in time to see the pale T’skrang being rounded up and taken off by the Holders of Trust. Dule impersonates one of the Holders and confirms the tavern owner as the informant.

Beasly’s skills as a theif are put to the test as she disarms many traps and picks many locks to finally get to the back room, where they hear muffled voices. They sneak into the room just as the namegivers are opening a secret passage. By some miracle, they are able to leap in behind them before the door closes and without being noticed. Our heroes pursue them unnoticed until they end up in the sewers and cannot pursue them any longer without being spotted. Beasly cries out, “Hello!” and the the 3 Iopans freeze, confused and frightened. After a few tense moments, Armiger is able to convince them they come in peace and are looking for the stranger they followed. They surrender their weapons and are blindfolded and taken to the him. The resistance fighters explain that some prisoners are turned into zombies and they have some help on the inside, but only at the lowest levels. They discuss the resistance and their former guild leaders being held in prison. They believe the Therons and Demeristas are working with/for one or more horrors in the kaer. They agree to help the heroes break their friend out of the prison. Beasly, Armiger and Kylin truthfully tell them about the Evenfall kaer and how they escaped. The heroes decide to find the rest of their friends before attempting a breakout. Luckily Kylin can track all of them down!

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Here we go again on our own...

Under an open, empty sky, Louvin sits on the deck of the barge he finds himself whittling a series of runes into a chunk of wood. The calm, organic feel of finished moulding always felt good to him after a day and a night of stress. Running the fingers of his gauntleted hand along the smooth edges he could find every spot of imperfection and remove it with a light flick of a knife. If only life was more like whittling, a calm removal of imperfections while you sat watching the rise and fall of the rivers water. Unfortunately, as any Weaponsmith will tell you, life is forged; it is hot and it is hard. With a grunt at that thought he rearranged the bundle on his lap that contained his tools and the strange artifact that his new companions had given him. Slowly it was whispering its story to him, the sense of his understanding with it was only just beginning, but so was his understanding with the rest of this crew.

The runes depicted the events of that day:

A group entered the safe-lodge clearly out of place. A first it was thought they could be Therans given that they had two spellcasters, one of whom was an elf clearly not from Wyrmwood. In an attempt to seem inconspicuous they made the rounds talking with as many members of the bar as they could and excitedly interacting with the Theran bulletins as if they had never seen them before. I’ve seen young children do the same.

However, despite this windling-like wonder at the world there was an edge to them that spoke of experiences that most Name-givers understand. Wherever they had come from they were prepared/ing for the worst at every turn. I kept my head down and my hand hidden.

A local made to call for the authority and the strangers seemed to understand this. A beast burst in the doors, a horrific thing that set upon the occupants of the safe-lodge. At the same time a band of Therans were calmly approaching. Typical, a horror-construct or other such thing is about and they come for the people they are supposed to protect. Of course, maybe they don’t need to protect the strangers they were so obviously after, but the beast wasn’t attacking them… only the soldiers in the bar…

In the brief struggle outside some blows were traded and the strangers handily defeated the Theran band. It was surprising to see the strangers show mercy. The could have eliminated the whole troop but only the Theran nethermancer died… and who can blame you for killing a nethermancer?

During the struggle I slipped on board their boat. Though I did nothing to stow myself away I wasn’t noticed until the barge was sliding away from the burning docks. The discussion was brief and to the point. Some of them had seen the bulletin branding me an outlaw. They knew I wasn’t with the Therans. They needed someone who knows about the world because their Kaer only just cracked.

An alliance of mutual necessity was formed. They have typical Kaer-Cracked notions of striking back at the Therans which I like so I shared my knowledge of the local region and we set about to make for Iopos. From there we are trusting a nethermancer (what did I say about them?) to make use of some kind of portal that will take us to the Trolls I was running with until our recent failed weapons run.

Traveling again.

:

Louvis moved the fingers of his gauntlet watching the beautiful interlocking plates mesh and slide noiselessly. He smiled and took a deep breath of the river air. It was fishy and smelled brown, not like the air up high on an airship. It was alive and moving.

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Leaving the Mountain, Riverboat Style
Musings by Nova

As Nova tosses back a beer while sitting at the table of uniformed Orks in the small trading village along the Serpent River, her mind wanders inward for a moment to reflect upon the dramatic voyage out of the mountains on the river boat.

When the blind leader of the pale T’skrang was killed and all her previous gear returned to her, Nova’s mood greatly improved. There was some debate and conversing among her companions and the pale T’skrang, but as long as the eventual plans put her on that boat and out of the mountains, she didn’t care much for the details. Having never been on a river boat before, Nova was interested mostly in observing and helping out the 30 T’skrang crew members that decided to leave their village to sail along the river. The pale T’skrang had built a barricade inside the mountain along the river, but quickly enough the debris was moved and boat sailed ahead. It was slow going for a time and a sense of surrealism befell Nova. It is one thing to spend a life dedicated to learning the art of a sky raider and to dream of life outside of the kaer, it is another thing completely to actually be on the “outside” and sailing upon boats.

Still sailing within the mountain, the river boat came upon an island in the middle of the current, as well as another stone barricade blocking the path. On the island was some sort of green crystal structure, which got Armiger and Kylin all stirred up. The ship came to a halt and right when Nova started mocking them for their curiosity about simple rocks, a shape pulled itself from the crystals. An obsidiman emerged much to Nova’s surprise and began speaking with them casually. . . apparently it was more than 400 years old! Nova simply did not know what to think about the situation, and instead went back to assisting the boat crew, confident that the rest of her party was going to make a wise decision on whether to bring the fascinating namegiver with them. In exchange for joining the boat for a time, the obsidiman offered to have elementals remove the stones blocking the path.

Emerging from under the mountain, Nova spent as much time as she could above deck, trying to take in any and all new sights, sounds, and sensations, while a couple of her more wounded companions attempted to rest below deck. A strange disturbing mist covered everything, leaving an oily residue on all it encompassed. Over time the “creep factor” of the mist became overwhelming and a bit frightening. Then suddenly, Kylin flew down from the nest at the top of the boat with a flying worm-like creature attacking him. That is when Nova noticed the sound… the mild whooshing sound of potentially hundreds of flying things. Nova downed two of them quickly, but everyone on the top deck of the boat soon had half a dozen trying to munch on each of them. Frantically, everyone (except Armiger who created some sort of protective circle around him) ran below deck to hide from them. Nova took up the duties of smashing the ones that kept trying to squeeze in under the doors. Eventually, after eating a few T’skrang crew members, the swarm of flying foot-long worm creatures flew away.

The mist began to fade and a safe spot for rest was found along the river’s shores. The crew noticed that the places were the oily residue from the mist had been heaviest, something was starting to grow. Everything, including all the namegivers on the boat, were scrubbed clean.

The next day, while sailing south down the river, a morbid scene was stumbled upon. Humans and orks were crucified on the four corners of a bridge, with two cages dangled from it. The persons in the cages had died previously from exposure and their zombie-selves attacked Armiger when he got to close, so he mercifully destroyed them. Uncertain what to make of the communities that could potentially live out in the Twilight of the world, Nova discussed the option of posing as slavers with Beasley, while also agreeing with Daksa that a “simple” fight with some namegiver races would feel refreshing after the slug-like horror, its constructs, and evil flying mist worms from hell.

Kylin noticed that another huge mist bank was starting to roll in, right at the same time that the river boat was approaching a small village. A man was on the dock and hurried them into a protective shelter with other people, though about half the T’srang crew chose to remain onboard the ship. The man who greeted them realized that they were not the boat he was expecting, after everyone had gotten safely inside the shelter and the doors locked.

Nova, wanting to share company with other orks, sauntered over to a table of four local orks dressed in some sort of military garb. One of them asked her why the elf, Dule, had no thorns on him. She gave him a steely stare and told him it was really none of his business what the elf in her company did or did not look like. He dropped the inquiry and Nova sat down to join them in merriment and shameless flirting.

Currently, the sound of flying things fill the air outside the village shelter. The tension in the air inside the “safe house” is getting thicker.

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110 Angry Cultists, dozens of insane constructs, a crispy dead Horror, and our Party
Now what?

Following this post: Dialogue between Daksa and a guard while trapped in the cage

Tobias Armiger calmly brushes dirt off his prison clothes and speaks to the group,”That thing left us exhausted and wounded. That makes our situation… interesting. We probably cannot take on the T’skrang tribe in a direct fight, so we’ll need to try something a bit more sneaky.”

Tobias looks up from his clothes, takes a deep breath and addresses the Windling spirit, “Would you please see if anyone is approaching us from outside this cave. Take note on how armed and angry they may be. And try not to be seen.”

Back to the group, “We need to find Kylin, our effects, and the items in our charge. I could summon spirits to try to get them for us, but it may take time we do not have. Who knows what the T’skrang will do now that the Bloatform is dead. So the big question which lies before us is now what?”

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Dialogue between Daksa and a guard while trapped in the cage

Daksa relates (in great detail, complete with voice imitation) the conversation she had with a guard while trapped in the cage before the horror materialized.

Daksa: “There must be some mistake! This is not the way to treat your brethren!”

Guard: “Tell that to your people. They were supposed to wait for us before the kaer closed. But they left our clan out here to rot and be eaten by the horrors. You’re getting what’s coming to you.”

Daksa: “My people are being made slaves as we speak. Let me make things right by my T’skrang ancestors. Let me kill these horrors for you!”

Guard: “Then the Passions have cursed them as they should be. You’ll appease the horror for us. We’ve survived this way for centuries.”

Daksa: “We’ll see how long you survive when i come for you, fiend!”

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>>>>OOC: Health After Terror (slug guy)

OOC: What are people’s current health at? Nova has some recovery tests to make and can also absorb some people’s physical damage… in a way, I can kinda do a limited sort of healing. How close are you to unconciousness? – M

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The Story So Far
first three sessions

A quick and dirty summary of what has occurred so far. Feel free to add to and embellish.

As civil order in the kaer began to rapidly erode, with “Openers” pressuring the Elders to open the kaer and rallying at the gates and “Closers” raiding storerooms and armories and barricading parts of the kaer off against an anticipated attack, the Elders called forth several of the adepts that had trained and prepared for moments like this: Armiger, Beasly, Daksa, Dule, and Kylin. The Elders planned to open the Inner Gate of the kaer and send you out, giving you one hour to navigate the traps and access a secret side entrance that would allow you to scout the outside world and report back, before they opened the Outer Gate.

When the Inner Gate was opened to let the adepts out, several Openers managed to break past the guards. The adepts stopped most, with two getting past only to immediately fall victim to a deadly trap just steps beyond. As the guards were nearly overwhelmed, Dule incapacitated the crowd (and guards) with a spell of noxious fumes, clearing the area.

On the way out, while working through a magical trap known as the maze, deliberately designed to lure in and trap horrors, you found a monstrous creature hanging partly out of the shadow world, its mind entranced. Judging by the stagmites its drool had created, it had been trapped there for over a century. Squeezing by, you accessed the secret side door, and went outside.

You were immediately disappointed to find no sign of the Sun Dragon or Moon Dragon in the sky. The sky was lit, but dimly, and seemed to be in a state of perpetual twilight. You could only guess that the world was caught in that period of Twilight between the Long Night and when the Sun and Moon Dragons return. The land down below was hard to make out, much of it covered in thick fog.

Scouting outside the kaer, you spotted a small contingent of Namegivers. The spirit Armiger sent to investigate them did not return. With time running short, you made a decision to approach them directly.

A lavishly-dressed dwarf among the Namegivers identified them as emissaries from Thera and OverGovernor Zebulon who had come “to negotiate the terms of Evenfall’s surrender.” This dwarf made it clear that the Therans had occupied the pre-Scourge ruins of the city of Evenfall over twenty years ago, and that it had taken them this long to find the kaer’s secret location. They claimed Evenfall as a subject/conquered city, and instructed the adepts to return inside and convey this message to Evenfall’s Elders. Many of the Therans exhibited signs of Taint.

Returning inside, the adepts found the kaer in even further disarray. The Elders themselves had split into factions, with some of them already abdicating the Council. They took the news from the adepts poorly, but clearly were unable to act decisively. In the midst of this chaos and disturbing accounts of strife elsewhere in the kaer, news came that guards had been unable to close the Inner Gate after the adepts’ return.

Running back, Armiger discovered two great form elementals were holding the gates opened and engaged them. The others rushed past, investigating loud noises ahead. They found the Therans breaking in the Outer Gates with the help of several massive spirits. The Therans were also far more numerous, and a stone airship hovered outside the gates as well. A full frontal assault was underway.

The adepts retreated back inside, finding Armiger unconscious, incapacitated by the spirits. Falling back, they sought out the Elders, coming across a harried Elder Zinn first. Zinn accepted the grim news, and proclaimed that the kaer was doomed. He urged the adepts to take on an urgent task: collect the relics of the Star Shields from the Hall of the Ancestors and meet him in a back side tunnel near the Garden Caves.

The adepts broke through a barricade of Closers and raced to the Hall of the Ancestors. There they recruited another adept, Nova, who had been stationed to protect this area. Breaking into the tombs, they grabbed the various Star Shield relics, leaving the other treasures and library untouched.

On their way to meet Zinn, they encountered the effects of (presumably Theran) air elementals within the kaer, poisoning the air and leeching away the air to incapacitate the kaer’s defenders. Reaching a balcony area overseeing a main hall, they had another glimpse of the kaer’s invaders, this time noting that many of the attackers did not look like any type of Namegiver they had ever seen before.

Reaching the back tunnel, they found a wounded Zinn, who opened a secret escape tunnel known only to a few Elders. Noting that this route was too impractical to organize a mass escape, he urged the adepts to flee, keep the Star Shield relics from capture, find out why the Twilight still lasts, and do what they could to return and liberate or avenge Evenfall.

The adepts fled through a small, cramped, winding tunnel that often had them crawling on all fours and barely squeezing through tight areas. Beasly found and disabled several traps, though several members of the party nearly fell victim to a collapsing floor that would have dropped them down a chute and into a freezing, swift-moving underground river. Another trap caused the tunnel they were in to fill with freezing water, but they managed to get ahead of it and escape to higher ground.

Eventually the adepts found their way to a much larger tunnel deep within the mountain. Sending a windling ally spirit to scout about, the party was soon set upon by a trio of horror constructs: pale t’skrang melded together into abominable forms. Using nethermantic magic to prevent a large number of these constructs from reaching and attacking them, the group retreated another direction, coming across a group of barricaded tunnels home to a group of strange, pale T’skrang who had become adapted to living underground. As it turned out, these Pale T’skrang protected a riverboat on an underground lake. According to their Clan leader, they had traveled here centuries ago to seek refuge in Kaer Evenfall, but had arrived too late. The T’skrang were very excited to learn that the adepts were from Evenfall, but dispapointed to hear that it had fallen. They refused the adept’s request to take the old riverboat through the underground channels and into the outside world, saying it was far too dangerous. They related their own tale of being stalked by a horror in these tunnels for centuries. If the adepts could defeat this horror, they would prove themselves to the T’skrang, who would then feel more assured about venturing to the outside world.

The adepts retired for the night, feasting on fish and water from their Pale T’skrang hosts. Unfortunately, they had walked into a trap. Their meal was poisoned, and the party captured.

Daksa awoke naked, sealed in a metal cage hung outside one of the T’skrang tunnel barricades. It wasn’t long before a horror construct came to investigate her, and soon after that the horror itself stepped sideways from the Shadow Realms.

The others awoke in pairs, shackled and stripped of their possessions, in underwater T’skrang settlements. The primitive T’skrang, long bereft of adepts in their tribe, had underestimated the adepts’ abilities. Beasly soon freed herself and Dule, and the illusionist ensnared the minds of their guards with a spell, so that they were quickly escorted to shore with their personal goods restored to them. Armiger summoned aid from spirits to free himself and Nova, overcoming their guards and escaping to the lake shore. There, hidden in shadows, Nova and Armiger looted several huts, set them ablaze, and launched an assault on the riverboat guards.

Daksa, watching the slug-like horror approach, managed to swing her cage with such force as to snap the old chain, knocking it to the ground. Rolling away from the horror, her screams of help were mixed in with the chants of a group of Pale T’skrang who watched from beyond the barricade.

Dule and Beasly, alerted by this racket, ran to investigate. Spotting them, Nova and Armiger followed. The calls of alarm from near the riverboat drew the Pale T’skrang watching Daksa back to the cavern, however, and the groups collided in the tunnel. Beasly deftly slipped past, rushing to Daksa’s aid, leaving the others to engage and quickly defeat the T’skrang.

Beasly raced ahead to find Daksa, still in the cage, being mentally tortured by the horror. Bravely facing off against the horror and its construct, he held them off long enough to get Daksa freed. Armiger and Dule soon arrived to help, as did Nova after she finished beheading the dead T’skrang to keep them from rising again. In a long, drawn-out battle, the horror and its construct were defeated, though Beasly was also slain. A last chance salve restored the troll to life, however.

This is the current status of the party. Battered and weakened by the horror, many suffering from wounds and mental trauma, and most of them still missing their gear—including many of the Star Shield relics. The windling Kyrin remains missing and unaccounted for. The tortured cries of numerous horror constructs sound in the nearby tunnels one way, and the Pale T’skrang village remains the other.

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