Kingmaker

Annals of Arboria: First Battle for Ostnend
The opening moves in the Pitax Campaign

I, Grumsfilt, scribe of the First Arborian Legion, do hereby record for posterity the following military engagement:

Arborian Units: Ostnend Home Guard

Opposing Forces: Pitax Regiment, supported by wyverns

Location: Ostnend and the open lands immediately to its west

The scheming Pitaxan forces wore no insignia and beset Ostnend at dawn, with the Arborian First still two days march away. Following brief but ineffectual exchanges of arrows, the Pitaxan forces began a ground assault, accompanied by the wyverns in the air. The brave Ostnenders held fast and dealt grave damage to the flying beasts. After the ground forces also failed to gain purchase, it is said that the brave inner cadre of Gelros himself found and drove off the Pitaxan general, after which the invaders withdrew. Ostnend victorious in the face of overwhelming foes! Glory be to Gorum!

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Drums of War
A belated attempt to record history

In the haste of war, I have long neglected this journal. Let me now go back and record some of the key events. But I must be brief…

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 6, Month 3

Rushlight Tournament

After I had lost the archery competition so miserably and Gelros won the boasting contest hands-down with his mostly-true tale of our trip into Abaddon, we prepared for the final event of the tournament: the joust. Kris rode Windchaser. Or, rather, Windchaser carried Kris around. As was tradition, Kris drank a full draught of ale immediately prior. Windchaser still won easily, despite the Pitaxian combatant cheating and striking with sharpened lances. I would say it was an upset, but not really to us. We knew Windchaser would carry the day.

But it turns out it was all a pretext. Upon returning to the airship, several things happened in quick succession.

  1. The Lady Quintessa Moray requested a private audience with Gelros, who granted it on the condition that his senior council could also attend. She then warned us of impending doom at the hands of Pitax, after confessing she was originally in the employ of Daggermark. (Surprise! She did implore us to not tell her husband, as she's all converted to Arboria now.)
  2. Baern appeared via the mirror, complaining of armies on the march. Gelros asks whose armies; Baern doesn't know. Gelros says "Find out."
  3. The Pitax honor guard had left the area. (Suspicious!)

So yes, you guessed it: Pitax had mobilized against us while we attended the festival. Although the troopers bore no isignia, I confirmed their origins personally with Haiku when we hunted and captured a grunt and brought him back to Ostnend for questioning.

At this point, Gelros told Baern and Shella to mobilize the First Arborian. Shella personally left to take charge of the army. (We're still hovering at the Rushlight Festival at this point.) On our way out from the festival, Gelros had the airship swing about so he could denounce Pitax (whose entire military presence had apparently already left the festival) to the remaining festival goers.

And then we flew back to Ostnend and defend it against the oncoming assault.

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The Winners!
Arboria!

Day 4 Evening Announcement.

Well today ladies and gentlemen was the Boasting Competition.  The bold and dashing competitors from the various nations had quite the tales to tell.  As always, Annamede Belavarah had a hilarious tale, this time telling of how she had spent the last few years in Arboria doing all sorts of crazy hijinks and stirring up humors trouble for the locals.  Her recounting of the sad history of the Gnomeracists was particularly funny.  But the true star of the day was none other then King Gelros of Arboria!  Taking the stage HIMSELF, a thing no ruler has sought fit to do before, he told of his adventures in the Teryfing plane of Abbadon.  Truly his story was grand, and despite the impossibility of it all the crowds believed in the tale with all their being.  Thus Arboria Won the day!

Day 6:  Closing Ceremonies

Well my fair companions, last nights jousting contest was truly a thing of wonder.  The winner of the day was Brave Sir Kris of Arboria!  In a huge upset, he managed to take down Vilamor Koth, the Reigning Champion.  But not to be discounted was the fact that Kris rode none other then the Fabled Windchaser, a horse that could talk!  There has even been some discussion of giving brave windchaser a reward for winning as well!   This win cements Arboria as the Clear winner of the Contest!  

Thus it is with great honor that we award Arboria with both the Staff of Healing, rumored to be made by the Mad wizard of Glendale, and with a brand new Rod of Rulership!  Lets all give them a round of aplause, and look forward to next years competition!!!

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A tournament of Champions
Who will Win!

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 6, Month 3

Day 1. Evening Announcements

Well ladies and Gentlemen, this is Nunzio Arpaia, and im glad you all could join us for a wonderful festival this year.  AS you all know, the Rushlight Tournament takes place every year, and this year looks to be one of the most interesting years by far.  In a shocking turn, Brevoy decided not to attend this year.  BUT worry not, For our new neighbor and expansion powerhouse ARBORIA has join the fabled competition.  Will its competitors stand tall among all the other contestants? Find out tomorrow, when the first completion commences!  They sure have turned a few heads with their fancy flying boat, but will their magical prowess translate to physical perfection?  We shall See!

Day 2: Evening Announcements

Well i was truly a great spectacle at the Aiming at the Target Event.  Arboria was the first to go, and while the brave archer Nithlara of Arboria was a good shot, a few of her shots at the red target missed, netting her a total of 26 points.  Ilraith Valadhkani of Daggermark had better luck, scoring a total of 30 points.    Florante Mayank of Gralton played it safe, but sadly her carful aim wasn't enough, and she only scored 14 points.  Navarathna of Mivon showed great flair, cartwheeling up to the line and firing all 6 of her arrows in a blaze of wood and feathers.  She finished in 2 rounds, scoring a bulls eye and 5 hits on the green target, and scoring a total of 32 points!  Villamor Koth, our noble son and champion, was able to score a glorious 30 points, putting him in a tie for 2nd.   But strong Damanjot of Tymon was not to be forgotten, and he also scored a total of 30 points.  A 3 way sudden death round took place, with Ilraith being eliminated first.  Koth and Damanjot fired shot after shot, but an unlucky arrow took Koth down, and Damanjot of Tymon took second place.

Mivon: 1 win, Tymon: 2nd place

Day 3: Evening Announcements

Well today was a truly exciting day.  I don't think we have ever seen a Log competition that was so.. unique.  Small Yegina Varudu of Daggermark was the first to go.  While the crowd laughed as she struggled to drag the massive axe to the starting line, they soon fell silent as the bell rang.  She quickly cast a blurry of spells, growing in height to 12 feet and causing her arms to bulge with muscles.  She then proceeded to smash the logs in front of her to splinters.  as the bell rang, she finished destroying 2 logs and managed to make a good dent in a third, Earning 12 points.   Up next was Kilbaskian Ord of Gralton.  He chose to use a pair of axes, and soon a flurry of wood chips flew into the air.  he managed to destroy two logs and was working on a third, but just as the buzzer rang, Kilbaskian threw his hand axes, hitting logs 4 and 5, and TECHNICALLY earning total of 16 points.  there was great uproar from the crows, but our benevolent ruler King Irovetti ruled in his favor.  Up next was the Arborian Contestant.  AND WHAT a contestant he WAS!  For those of you who were not lucky enough to see it, Arborian sent none other then a TREANT of the FOREST to the LOG competition!  While the rest of us might not view our Fey neighbors in the best light, Arboria has embraced them as allies, and some how got a Treant to compete! AND COULD HE COMPETE!  He managed to destroy a total of 5 Logs and damage a 6th!  We almost ran out of LOGS!  Scoring an impressive 27 points.   Dizon Marmada of Mivon had a Solid Showing, destroying 4 logs and earning 20 points.  Once again our loyal son Villlamor Koth took to the plate, and with the help of his drinking horn of speed, he decimated 4 logs and managed to ALMOST destroy a 5th, but alas, he ran out of time.  He still scored an astonishing 22 points.  Last to go was Timsina Siraj of Tymon.  Sporting her heraldry of Gorum,  She used her divine might to power through 4 logs, scoring 20 points as well.  But Arboria took the day, and what a day it was.  See you All tomorrow as the Tournament Continues!

Mivon: 1 win, Tymon: 2nd place, Arboria: 1 Win, Pitax: 2nd Place

 

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Good news
Lets get married!

It has been an eventful year in Arboria.  A local ruffian known as Knuckles the Ruffian managed a set up a pretty spectacular drug ring, evading patrols and investigators, staying ahead of the law for a few months.  he controlled a good portion of the crime in bandits rest, and was spreading to the other cities, but alas, he was eventually cornered in a bakery and laid low for his crimes.  His minions turns to Lawless banditry for a while, but eventually life returned to normal.

King Gelros established embassies with the Elves of Kyonin, and through wits and political maneuvers, managed to secure Alliances with Both the Elves of Kyonin, as well as with Rostland, the souther half of Brevoy that served as Arborias Paymasters at the beginning.

King Gelros continued wooing Airiel Avaularas, and after a year of courting, the two were wed in a glorious ceremony that brought joy to the hearts of the kingdom.  Also brining much joy and honor was the birth of Magister Narzeths child, though some say she bears a strange aura.  Just as things couldn't get any better, Akiros, Warden of Arboria, announced his marriage to Lady Quintessa Moray, a surprise to some who had not heard of the whirlwind romance the two had had the previous year.

Thus Arboria marches into the bold future.  General Shella has retired from adventuring, settling down to the daily business of leading the new armies of Arboria.  Gorums battle heralds can be seen leading squads of troops in daily drillsa and marches.  Arbora has commissioned 3 new armies, and placed them in defensive positions around the land.  With its now allies and a populace ready for the glory of battle, neighbors fear it is only a matter of time before the land that Arboria claims begins to expand… dramatically.

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On the Structural Properties of Damned Souls
A treatise on contemporary daemonic architecture

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 5, Month 9

Candlekeep

After the dust storm, we retreated back to Candlekeep. Gelros had devised this ingenious cross-planar communication system: a scroll and a charcoal crayon, upon which he wrote "Bring Us Home." Which Baern did, thankfully.

Everyone looked the worse for wear. Jaric banished the voices from within my head. He then attempted again to heal Narzeth, who doubled over with a wracking cough and then collapsed on the floor. (Oops.) As Shella and Gelros were also looking feverish and wasted, Baern went out for some antiplague, Jaric went out for some healing supplies, and I scrounged up some cots. We camped out right there in the mirror room for a few days to rest, and strategize.

That was nearly a week ago. We're all much better now. In addition, after purchasing some very expensive scroll, chanting, and muttering for an hour while caressing Narzeth's eye socket, Gelros has announced that the place we are looking for is called the Temple of the Eye and he's fairly confident that Jaric can use some strong magic to point us there. So, tomorrow, back through we go again.

Abaddon: It's a Trap!

We stepped through the mirror into this now-familiar hellscape only to notice something a bit odd: all of us were standing a few inches off the ground, as if hovering in midair. Gelros tapped at the ground a few times with his spear, which was enough to dispel the illusion. Instead of where we wanted to be… well, wanted is a strong word. Instead of where we intended to be, we were on a stone platform, facing three guant figures with scythes. One spoke:

Thanadaemon: "My master sends his greetings, and bids you to stay."
Gelros: "Who is your master?"
Thanadaemon: "Well, you shall meet him soon!"

If you've been keeping up with the story thus far, the next few seconds went about as you might expect: the daemons summoned more daemons (fangy, froglike ones this time), we killed some daemons, fireballs EVERYWHERE. But then, one of the most surreal experiences of my life happened. For maybe 10 seconds, the ground shook violently. Then, a deep voice seemed to come from everyone at once: "STAY." It wasn't an invitation, but rather a command.

After the voice, things were a little different: the thanadaemons we had been facing attempted some summoning magic (even I can recognize it by this time), but no new monstrosities appeared. Then, a thanadaemon tried to teleport away; that also failed. Within a minute, we had mopped up the rest.

That was maybe 5 minutes ago. In those five minutes, we've deduced a few things:

  1. Planar travel, and indeed teleportation of any sort, has been barred.
  2. This is highly unusual. Gelros speculates intervention by a deific entity, and further speculates that it is likely temporary, as permanent banning of teleportation would have adverse side effects. (In other words, it seems likely to start a civil war.)
  3. Narzeth has consulted with his eyeball and believes the focus cannot be far off.

So, we're stuck here. Might as well find this temple.

Hand of Gorum

I'm no poet or bard, so I fear my account of the end of our adventure in Abaddon will hardly do it justice. Nevertheless, here it is. After the ambush, which we handily turned into a rout, Jaric imbued me with route-finding magic I've never experienced. Somehow, I knew where the Temple of the Eye was and how to get there, despite the landscape before me being totally unfamiliar. Let me skip over the flaming hills (fire resistance for the win), exploding bodies (no one got sick this time), and the soundless valley and get straight to the main attraction: the Temple of the Eye.

We found them template after several hours of fast marching. At first glance, it looked like a standard temple, not far removed from the one Jaric built to Iomede. (Indeed, Narzeth and Gelros speculate that once it may have been in the material plane. How it got to Abaddon is anyone's guess.) However, the normalcy is dispelled as soon as you realize that the mortar is made of crushed and broken people, moaning in perpetual agony. Quelling the urge to flee, or vomit, we moved through the doors, which whimpered as they swung open before us. Beyond, in the antechamber, we saw burning piles of bones and four daemons standing at attention, clicking their their single mandibles at us.  

As happens so often when we meet daemons, they started a fight. The opening moments of the combat saw some more (failed) summoning magic, a lot of reeking gray-green fog, and Shella slicing a daemon's arm off at the elbow. A couple of our chittering spider friends appeared. (You know, the ones from Armag's tomb? That place seems so tame in comparison.) Avariel threw up a blade barrier to block their path, but they seemed not to notice it. Narzeth's spells weren't landing well either; this place is full of antimagic resistances. Fortunately, Shella unleashed a radiant burst that (I came to realize later) reduced the daemons' defenses against magic.

For a moment, we were in danger of being overwhelmed. Kris found himself covered in army ants, and Avariel temporarily succumbed to the mind-numbing fear unleashed from the chittering spiders. However, I took out said spider, Jaric burned off the army ants with a flamestrike, and Gelros rescued Avariel from her mind prison. Right about then, a new daemon appeared: this one made of chains and blades and bidding us "Welcome!"

I've think I've finally learned something about Kris, which is that he feels a need to always be standing in front of the biggest, meanest thing in the room, whether or not getting to said thing is advisable. In this case, Kris voluntarily sprinted through two blade barriers to go stand in front of our new lady-friend. He also took one of her chains to the face. I do have to admit, though, whether or not he's bright he's at least brave and stoic. Jaric, looking somewhat confused at this turn of events, shook himself into action and channeled a beam of healing energy through both Shella and Kris.

Kris distracted the chain-lady for at least one exchange of blows. Meanwhile, the remaining psychodaemons kept attacking and messed up Avariel and Shella a good bit. After chanting some spells, Shella, looking particularly battle-crazed, dropped two more psychodaemons with three deft swings. Avariel felled hers as well (it was the one with a missing forearm), which left us all staring through a ring of blades with Kris and the chain-daemon beyond.

Getting nowhere with Kris, the Lady of Chains cast something and disappeared from sight. This was mildly concerning, but not more so than Narzeth's incoherent babblings, which cut clearly through the sudden silence. A moment later Gelros had pulled out a scroll (I learned it was of True Seeing) and was casting a spell on Shella. This in turn led to a rapid sequence of events, ending in the daemon's demise:

  1. Gelros casts True Seeing on Shella
  2. Shella, pivoting her head, rushes forward, flinches to the side very slightly as wounds open on her cheek, and engages what appears to be the air with several mighty and loudly clanging swings.
  3. I, judging from Shella's swordwork, place an arrow designed to trip up an opponent. To my amazement, we hear a crashing sound.
  4. Gelros, following the path traced by my arrow, casts Glitterdust, outlining a prone, chain-covered figure in golden sparkles.
  5. Narzeth scorches her with multiple rays of fire, then disintegrates her. Or tries: she's still twitching.
  6. Kris and Shella (mostly Shella) chop her apart.

As her head was severed from her torso, the daemon-lady cried, "Master will be displeased…" And so, just about a minute after it began, it was over, and we were back to the quite crackle of the bone fires. The people-mortar had stopped screaming, which was welcome but somehow terrifying all of itself.

I've never robbed a temple before, but maybe there's a first time for everything. We hastily plundered anything valuable looking from the side chambers, while Narzeth moved with purpose into the inner sanctum. On the pedestal was a skull. Narzeth reached out to pick it up, but stopped suddenly, as if stunned. So, naturally, Shella came up behind him, plucked it off the pedestal, and turned it over to examine it. Narzeth then shook off his torpor, only to find that the Eye was nonfunctional.

We tried a low-level summoning spell; but it still fails: still stuck in Abaddon. So we began walking out the old-fashing way. At about this time, the walls started murmuring. Gelros started singing to drown them out, but I distinctly heard someone shout "Run!"

"Um, Gelros? The walls said 'Run'."

"Ok, run!"

We ran.

As we exited the front doors, the temple imploded behind us. I looked back and saw that a giant daemon-thingy had appeared behind us. To which I said, "A giant daemon-thing has appeared behind us! Maybe we can leave now?"

It didn't take long for Gelros to catch on: after testing teleportation with a quick dimension door spell, he pulled out another scroll and opened a gate back to Arboria. "There is a horseman primarch chasing us! We should leave!"

We left.

As we stepped through the gate, we found ourselves interrupted a bout in the middle of the Hand of Gorum's primary arena. As Gelros closed the gate behind us, it sliced off a tentacle of the olethrodaemon that we had just escaped. I bet they don't see that in the arena every day. Jaric and Kris calmly walked over, bagged the smoking tentacle, and took it off to dispose of it.

Narzeth took his new skull off to find it a new "place of power." He tried his tower; apparently no good. So he brought it back to the war room, where I happened to be studying maps. Shella walked in too just about then: good timing, coincidence, or (if Shella is to be believed), the guidance of her deity. Shella spent the next half an hour expounding the glories of Gorum and attempting to convince Narzeth that he should give the eye to Gorum. "You may not be Gorum's usual material, but you're just as vigorous in battle as Avariel in your own way. Join Gorum in battle!" Lots of fervor, blah blah.

Well, I'm not sure if Narzeth would have bought it, except for the following: he set the skull down on the table (I guess he was tired of holding it?) and it pulsed with power. Strong power; we could all feel it. So Narzeth slowly took his hand away. The Eye shifted from black to red. Something changed, for sure. Shella says that Gorum has claimed it as his own. And perhaps he has. In any case, Gelros now says we can worry somewhat less about the effect it is having on Narzeth. I wonder. But we've bolstered the defenses around our war room, which now doubles as the treasure chamber for an artifact of great power.

That's done, and everyone's off. Gelros has kingdom business to attend to and most everyone else has something going on. Me? I'm going on vacation.

XP

  • Surviving the thanadaemons (76,800 XP)
  • Surviving the temple (115,200 XP)

Loot

  • 50 PP, 757 GP, 430 SP, and 3,000 CP
  • Gems (2097 GP)
  • Gold Figurine (7300 GP)
  • Greater Caster's Shield
  • Pirates Eye Patch
  • 2 soul gems
  • 20 PP, 5,187 GP, 2,180 SP, and 13,800 CP
  • Gems worth 4,575 GP
  • Art objects worth 8,798 GP
  • Bracers of Sworn Vengeance
  • Soulbound Eye
  • Tyrant's collar
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Death in the Perpetual Twilight
Because this plane has no real concept of "afternoon"

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 5, Month 9

Abaddon: The Rotting Corpse Expanse

After a rest, we came back through the mirror and have begun to explore Abaddon on foot. I've only brief time to write during our infrequent rests, so these entries must be short. We set off westward from the ruins, threading our way past lava pools, and found ourselves here. "Here" is a vast plain covered in piles of rotting corpses which explode if one comes too close. I've dubbed it the Rotting Corpse Expanse.

Narzeth has contracted some kind of demon fever, no doubt from the miasma in the air. I dried to delay it, but apparently Abaddonian diseases don't react well to humble nature magic: Narzeth fell over retching, and is now weakened and sweating. As we continued, Shella and Gelros also became feverish. We've now paused so that Avariel can treat the three of them with more conventional methods: water, herbal compresses, and such. But we must be moving on; I see some type of weather approaching from… by fiat, the direction it is approaching from is East. There, now we have a frame of reference, if only temporarily.

Abaddon: The Lost Lover

We found that tavern. Good thing too, because we were caught in a soul-storm. That's right; it was raining the souls of the damned. They're so cold they burn when they touch you. So we ducked inside "The Lost Lover."

I've parked myself at a window to watch for the weather to abate. I'm taking notes while I wait. This place is exceedingly odd. You might think the weirdest bit would be the lady-daemons (same type as Narzeth summoned; Gelros told me they are "erodaemons"), or possibly their soul-eater assistants just floating about, or maybe the fact that we recognize two of the three patrons: the fallen souls of Imekus Stroon and some rabble-rousing bard who we killed a long while ago. But, no, all of that seems par for the course here in Abaddon. The weird bit is that the hostesses say everything is free, we just have to stay. Suspicious.

Oh dear, Imekus Stroon has noticed us and is making a ruckus. His erodaemon waitress/mistress is trying to calm him down. The bard is just playing very loudly on his lute. Awfully noisy for a transparent stringed instrument.

And now Kris has sat down and asked for a drink. That seems… unwise. Another erodaemon dropped it off with him and gave him the slightest brush with her lips. He seems pretty smitten. That seems… not great.

Gelros has gone to the bar to question the barmaid. Narzeth, shivering, is joining him. I can't quite hear; repositioning… Huh. They're asking her about the Occulus point blank. I think I saw a flicker of alarm before she recovered her composure. Sounds like she might have info, for a price?

Souls. The price is souls, or more specifically soul gems. Five of them.

Narzeth counter-offered three. (Three? We don't have any.) She's not having it. Upped her price to six. I hate this place.

I just noticed something: none of these erodaemons are moving their lips when they talk. That means they are speaking telepathically. I wonder what they are hearing telepathically?

Ah, the bard's erodaemon just ate him, and now it's quiet. I think I know what the price of dinner is now. Look, the rain is done. Let's go! We're going! Going to, ah, collect some souls! Oh, Kris's erodaemon is coming too. Lovely!

Abaddon: The Dusty Plain

Good news: I'm alive to write this! Also good news: nobody else died either, but we managed to lose the erodaemonbitch. We've got a few moments to catch our breath, and I'm trying to get the voices out of my head. (No, really. Hang on. They'll tell you, I mean I'll tell you about it.)

From the tavern, we first explored "south", through some pools of magma and lava jets that seemed to not like us. We ran away, to this dusty plain. The dust and wind on this plain interfere with magic. This got us into a pickle: we ran into a cloud of some little beasties Gelros called cacodaemons, and had some trouble carving through them. Spells kept failing, and my magical quiver sealed itself off: no arrows. Gelros had to loan me his quiver. The combat was relatively horrible: lots of swatting down daemons, while they were biting at us. One bit my shoulder, and that's when the voices started. We'll get you! You're done for! More souls for us!

Without magical enhancement, our weapons were somewhat underwhelming, but we still cut through the swarm eventually. Jaric summoned an air elemental, which kept winking in and out of existence but was quite effective during the "in" phases. Narzeth used a lot of fire. He burned our erodaemon friend in the process, who complained to Kris. Kris said something to the effect of "Not now, dear! I'm a little busy!" and she left in a huff. Good to know it's that easy. Although I'm worried about Kris's reaction. So far, he hasn't done anything stupid. I mean, no stupider than normal.

After the daemonswarm came rock trolls. Shella and Kris worked their way through these. Die mortal! Ugh, this brain fever is getting distracting. Then came some flying daemons with large bows. These proved not so bad: I shot one up and Gelros reduced a second to vomiting. At this point they cut and run. So did we.

You can flee but you can't escape us! SHUT. UP.

XP

  • Driving off the daemonswarm (60,600 XP)

Loot

  • TBD
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Abaddon Survey Corporation
Naming the flora and fauna of Abaddon since... yesterday

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 5, Month 9

Candlekeep

A lot has happened in the past year: we enlarged Arborian borders westward to Fort Drelev, Shella consolidated the army, I expanded the reach of the postal service, and Jaric spent considerable time resettling refugees from the west. Kris did, well, Kris keeps what he does to himself, so I don't really know. Oh, yes, and the populace crowned Gelros king. Frankly, I'm surprised it took them this long. With his new position, Gelros has acquired a new charisma and discipline. He's almost the same, but in place of his old carefree adventuring attitude is a subtlety different sense of self-assured purpose. I guess that's what becoming a monarch does for you.

However, this journal entry is about the activities of Narzeth. Still intent on redeeming the eye, Narzeth has spent much of the past year locked in his tower in study or abroad on information-gathering missions. Gelros and Jaric have been strongly supportive, I suspect each for reasons linked to their own deities. Gelros and Narzeth have acquired a ludicrously expensive artifact from earth-knows-where: a mirror that allows magical scrying and the creation of teleportation gates across any distance and indeed even into other planes of reality. Ostensibly, it is to assist the Kingdom. (And, in fairness, we have used it to gather intelligence that allowed us to fend off two barbarian incursions and a hill giant raid. In the latter case, we just dropped Shella through the portal; it was the easiest method.) However, the mirror also, conveniently, is our ticket to Abaddon.

Abaddon. I used to doubt the existence of heaven, hell, and all that, but now I know better. (Deities, well, I'll believe when I see one. Religion be damned.) Narzeth believes the focus of his eye is somewhere in the plane of Abaddon, land of death and daemons. So, naturally, we're going to retrieve it. In preparation, Gelros transcribed for us some of his research:

Abaddon is a plane that is inhabited by neutral evil daemons who are mostly interested in destruction of the world and causing misery in Golarion. Abaddon does have a pretty healthy amount of people who regularly plane shift to/from it. Spells that rely on the aid of the more good aligned gods (good descriptor) are harder to cast and may fail entirely. The terrain of the plane is not something that remains constant. It's not a swirling mass of confusion, but powerful entities may alter the landscape if it falls under their domain. Most daemons have resistance that can be overcome with good or silver weapons; some require both. Almost everything has spell resistance and resistance to elemental damages. Most are resistant at least a bit to all the base elemental damages: fire, electricity, cold.

Cheery place.

Today, we began the process of figuring out how to get there. I learned something new today: to scry magically, you apparently must know something, or someone, at the location you wish to scry. Enter: foul sorcery. This afternoon, at Narzeth's request we convened in Candlekeep in the Chamber of Gazing, as we've taken to calling the location of the mirror. Narzeth announced what we had known for several days, that we are now ready to tackle Abaddon. At which point he asked Jaric to go gather provisions. An odd request, but the reason became apparent quickly.

Shortly after Jaric left, Narzeth traced a magical circle on the floor, then summoned and trapped a daemon. She had a strange elven beauty but was simultaneously scarred, burned, and repulsive. At first, she was all coy and flirty with Narzeth and Gelros. However, at this point, it became evident that Gelros and Narzeth didn't have a plan as to what to ask her, and the two of them and Shella got in a bit of a debate (in front of this daemon) as to just how forthright the questions should be. Our friendly daemonette was now looking confused and a bit impatient.

Abruptly, Narzeth turned to her and pointed to his eye: "Do you know what this is?" "Oh. Oh my." She panicked and tried to cast a spell. I shot her in the leg and told her to cool it; we weren't done questioning her. Gelros then changed his mind and requested a dismissal. Avariel tried, but failed. The daemon-lady then tried to cast another spell, but Narzeth disintegrated her first. So now we have daemon-dust. And, according to Gelros, the effect is roughly the same: a summoned daemon can't be killed here on the material plane.

Around this point, Jaric returned with two servants and all our stocked provisions. He slowly looked at the magical circle, Narzeth, and the pile of dust. "What. Happened." Shella told him. He looked at me for confirmation, and, having no reason to lie, I nodded affirmative. (More specifically, I had every reason not to lie.) Jaric looked upset and left, muttering something about consulting with his deity. Narzeth gathered the dust into a vial, verified he could scry our daemon friend back in her home (Abaddon), and then left to take a nap.

Candlekeep

We've now gathered a rough plan of attack. Gelros has handed out some gear, and we've started a remote survey of Abaddon. This began with scrying our daemon friend, followed by clairvoyance magic from the mirror. Abaddon is a hellish place. (Though it is not actually hell, Gelros keeps reminding me.) Then, the survey proceeds roughly as follows:

  1. Scry a patch of Abaddon
  2. Observe through mirror
  3. Create a portal
  4. Narzeth and a few others step through
  5. Narzeth draws a bead on the direction his eye seems to want to go
  6. We take quick notes and sketch up a map
  7. Daemons spot us and move over to attack
  8. We retreat through the portal.

Rinse, repeat.

After a good bit of this, we found an ordinary looking tavern called "The Lost Lover," but were unable to open a portal near it. After a bit more, we found a ruin where the Eye's directional preference is indeterminate. Here, we decided to make our entry.

Let's just say it was a learning experience. Within minutes of all stepping into Abaddon, we were beset by three colossal oozing hulks of blood, gristle, and bone. I've dubbed them Abaddonian Blood Oozes. Because someone has to discovery and name the fauna, right? The beginning of the fight was… interesting. I shot one, which split in half. I stopped shooting. Narzeth disintegrated one. Twice. It was still twitching forward afterward. Shella then exchanged blows with the third; the return blow hit quite hard and Shella looked sickly. A large chunk of an ooze split off in retaliation.

But, as a mentor of mine used to say, "brute force and ignorance often succeed where finesse fails." It turns out that even though they split when you chop them, if you chop them (or shoot them) long enough all the bits eventually die. Die? Might not be the right word. Disperse anyway. Soak back into the blood-drenched earth. Whatever. So this is what we did, and then we retreated back to Candlekeep to take stock and heal.

XP

  • Kill the Abaddonian blood oozes (76,800 XP)

Loot

  • Well, we escaped Abaddon alive. That's worth something, right?
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The Crowning of a King
handing out moistened swords is no basis for a goverment

Arboria has grown to be an economic powerhouse.  In the nations surrounding Arboria, merchants speak of the wealth of the young kingdom.  Every day, new farms are built, new families come to the land to seek a better life, and more and more gold fills the royal coffers.  Soldiers in surrounding lands speak in hushed voices about the famed militias of Arboria, and try and plan for the possible aggressions of a land with few troops, but with a populace that worships Gorum the god of war with a somewhat worrisome fervor.  Scholars flock in unprecedented numbers to the famed libraries of Bandits Rest, delving into the ever expanding storehouses of knowledge.   And the people of Arboria love it.  No kingdom around can compete for the love an adoration that the common citizen of Arboria shows to their leadership. 

The streets of Bandits Rest ring out with cheers.  A procession is winding it way through the heart of the city, flocked on the sides by cheering citizens.  Streamers and brightly colored flags flutter in the breeze.  A small child sits upon his father shoulders, and watches with wide eyes as the procession winds past.

"Father, Father, where are they?" he asked.  His eyes scanned the ranks of soldiers and artisans walking past.

"They will be here soon.  This is in honor of them after all." laughed his father.  "Just stay patient for a little while longer."

The young boy could barely contain himself.  He wasn't 100% sure what the parade was FOR, but he didn't care.  All he knew was the Heroes would be walking by soon, and he couldn't wait to see them!

The first sign that his wait was over was the sound of the approaching trumpets.  The sound of their melody rang out through the streets.  Soon the trumpeters could be seen, marching in front of a group of great lords and ladies. 

"Father there they are!" cried the small boy.  There was the Iron Lady,  standing tall with her massive sword strung to her back.  The Postmaster general was astride her great warhorse, looking a bit uncomfortable with all the show but very impressive with her great bow and mount.  "It's Spike!' cried the boy, as the great dinosaur rumbled by, accompanied by his handler and companion.  They boy wished ever so badly to ride the great beast, but knew that spike would only really follow the great Kris into battle, and the boy was super jealous.   Following spike was the radiant Jaric, Warden of Arboria and High Priest of Iomedea.  Iomeda wasn't nearly as cool as Gorum in his humble opinion, but she did like to smash bad guys, so she was okay in his book.   Next came the Dark one, as the other kids called him.  Floating along a good 10 feet off the ground, dark cowell raised and red eye gleaming, Narzeth was surrounded by a nimbus of dark swirls and flashing sparks.  The other kids whispered that the dark one was evil, but the boy knew that whatever he might be he was a protector of the realm, and man was that glowing eye SUPER cool.  There was a slight gap in the procession, and the cheers of the crowd grew even larger, if that were possible.  Casually walking down the street, hands raised in greeting, was Gelros Zhevons the First, Newly crowned King of Arboria.  The small boy cheered and shouted with the rest of the crowd, proud Arborians celebrating the crowning of their new king.  No longer would they worry about where they had come from or what nations they were beholden to.   They were ARBORIANS, and with their new King leading them, lands far and wide would come to know them, and wish they were Arborians to!

As the crowds followed behind the procession, heading towards the grand palace that they had built on the shores of the lake, a murmuring in the crowd turning into a chant.  As it grew and swelled and reverberated off the buildings, for miles around "ARBORIA, ARBORIA, ARBORIA!" was the only sound that could be heard.

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Oh Oh It's a Snake
Ok, I suppose technically, a naga is NOT a snake

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 4, Month 7

Bandit's Rest

I have just returned from an extended tour of the outlands. My compatriots have been busy while I was away: apparently they overthrew a minor boggard monarchy. The former king, now much disgraced, is atoning for his sins by converting to Gelros' deity. I will never understand this religion stuff. What I do understand, though, is that he was under the influence of a naga, who we've now taken it upon ourselves to track down and eliminate.

Also, apparently Gelros and Baern have invented a ship that flies in the air. An airship, if you will. Fascinating. Somewhat terrifying. But definitely convenient. I hear we are using it as our primary mode of transportation now.

South End of Hooktongue Slough

The swamp is thick here—nearly a jungle. I've picked up the trail of a large snakelike creature, which is probably our naga. Tonight we rest, and I'll prepare some magic to deal with this undergrowth.

South End of Hooktongue Slough (Following Day)

Our spirit naga turned out to be a tough quarry. Not because she herself was tough; she wasn't. (When we finally caught up to her, Shella dispatched her in a few blows.) Rather, it was the fact of fighting an accomplished spellcaster on her own turf. Or mud, in this case.

We tracked her to her cave, but found she had multiple underwater entrances. She was adept at using invisibility and hiding in the undergrowth. The game of cat-and-mouse went on for nearly a minute. She hit several of us with a cone of cold, and at one point briefly had Kris under mental domination. Gelros eventually nailed her with a spell that left her weak and retching into the swamp. At that point it was over.

We recovered a few knick-knacks and some valuables from the cave, but mostly, the reward was knowing the creature was no longer lurking on the edge of our borders.

East of Hooktongue Slough

Fought some chuuls yesterday. I still have occasional nightmares from the first time. This time Narzeth turned one to dust and I turned another into a pincushion before they could close. Shella knocked a third back, and Gelros finished it with a piercing scream. How he directs sound like that I have no idea, but it is effective.

Eastern Plains

Much more eventful day today. Following the tips of some of Fort Drelev's adventurers and scouts, we tracked down a herd of wild horses on the upland plains east of the lake. We had heard that the black stallion Windchaser leads the herd, and his offspring are prized as warhorses. What we had not heard was that Windchaser is no ordinary horse.

When we found the herd, I rode out ahead with Bessie to befriend them and take stock of the, well, stock. As I was feeding apples to a couple of the foals, a huge black stallion rode over warily. I offered him an apple as well, to which he replied in accented but clearly understandable common, "Thank you, but I am not hungry just now." I about fell off Bessie. He then proceeded to inquire about our business with his herd.

I had heard of awakened animals, but never encountered one. When I had sufficiently recovered my composure, I politely introduced myself and then Gelros. (Hey, Gelros deals with talky things; I generally deal with non-talky things.) Turns out this was Windchaser, who had been granted his intelligence by a great druid that he served for many years. Asked about the druid, Windchaser said he had "returned to the cycle." Windchaser was touched by our kindness and impressed with Gelros' manner, such that he offered to come with us and serve as a mount. The plains have been good to him, but I think he misses the thrill of the hunt.

Well. Here is an opportunity I couldn't pass up: the famous Windchaser, willing to be our companion. After some discussion, we decided I should ride him. But what about Bessie, faithful companion? I slept on it, and in the morning talked it over with her and the other horses. (Even from friends, you get funny looks when speaking horse.) Bessie was willing to settle down here with the herd, even though she said she would miss our adventures. A little. When pressed on it, she sounded content to run and eat the wild grass. So that was that. On top of this, Gelros surprised me by personally teleporting himself and Narzeth back to Candlekeep to track down a scroll of awaken. So they did for Bessie what the druid had done for Windchaser long ago, and now she will lead the herd. I had a long talk with her, as did Windchaser, before we left.

As I said, Windchaser is no ordinary horse, and I don't know how long he will want to stay with me. I've resolved to teach him what I know, or perhaps he will choose to learn from another of us. I am lucky to have his companionship for now, but I expect he will eventually want to return to his herd or otherwise strike out on his own.

Oh, yes, and I almost forgot: Windchaser and the other horses spoke of a band of "twolegs" to the south that sound like they may need some help. So, off that way next.

Eastern Plains

We found the "twolegs": a band of religious refugees from Pitiax on their way to Arboria to escape oppression and persecution. They were hungry and desperate, having been cut off from progress by a "many-headed water beast" to the west. A hydra of some kind, by the sound of it. We fed the refugees and boarded them onto our airship. The plan is to track down the hydra and destroy it, then escort the rest of them to within Arborian borders.

Eastern Plains

Shella jumped into the water and stabbed the hydra to death. Didn't even bother with it's heads. And that was that.

XP

  • Defeat Nagara, the spirit naga (28,800 XP)
  • Revenge of the King of the Boggards (19,200 XP)
  • Explore swamp hex (6,-2) (150 XP)
  • Defeat the chuuls (9,600 XP)
  • Explore swamp hex (7,-4) (150 XP)
  • Explore swamp hex (7,-5) (150 XP)
  • Explore plains hex (7,-6) (150 XP)
  • Explore plains hex (7,-7) (150 XP)
  • Explore plains hex (9,-6) (150 XP)
  • Murder hydra (19,200 XP)
  • Explore swamp hex (9,-5) (150 XP)
  • Escort refugees to safety (19,200 XP + 9,600 XP)
  • Quest: Chasing the Wind (19,200 XP)

Loot

  • Headband of mental prowess +2 (CHA, WIS)
  • MW quarterstaff shod with silver at either end and decorated with carvings of predatory birds, worth 900 GP
  • Wide leather belt of mighty constitution +2
  • Silver ring of jumping
  • Coral holy symbol of Gozreh worth 250 GP
  • Stylized mithral brooch in the shape of a gilded leaf worth 500 GP
  • Uncompleted, leather-bound spellbook in a waterproof case containing…

    • All 0-level spells
    • Control water
    • Fabricate
    • Move earth
    • Stone shape
    • Transmute mud to rock
  • +2 Loyalty for Arboria
  • 12,000 GP
  • 341 PP, 1881 GP, 260 SP, 800 CP
  • +2 Throwing Warhammer
  • Bracers of the Avenging Knight
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