19 August 2016

Earthdawn: Adventure Log 43 - Little Bear Went Over the Mountain

This is the forty-third Adventure Log in an ongoing series about Earthdawn. Introduction and Index.






Adventure Log – 043 Little Bear Went Over the Mountains

Written By: Honeysuckle of Glenwood Deep

Date:  03 Doddul - 02 Doddul, 1508 TH
Group Name: Mismatched Steel

Group Members
Bongani the Scout
Elmod the Nethermancer
Honeysuckle Sunspray the Warrior
Ting the Swordmaster


Beware the sandstorms! Believe it or not, the Badlands can actually get worse(1). The sandstorm rages on without an end in sight. It's almost like the sandstorm is alive and starts to speak to you(2). About seven days into this part of our journey, we managed to make our way out of the storm to overlook a glistening lake with a large mountain rising above it(3). In this ever worsening wasteland, you wonder if it's a mirage.

Making our way off the cliff's edge so we can investigate this mountain is going to be a challenge. Elmod has summoned an earth elemental that takes the shape of a sandstorm, fitting for this place. Elmod successfully negotiates with the elemental for it to take us to the bottom of the cliff. We continue toward the mountain and the Badlands keeps putting obstacles in our way. Tonight there was no twilight. Just a change from the blistering heat to darkness(4).

Three days walking toward the mountain and we encounter large bones lain into the ground. Bongani seems to think they are cave troll bones. Elmod claims the bones are part of a spell pattern. Elmod says this is not just the largest bone circle he's ever heard of, but this is also a Named spell. We have stumbled on something of legend(5).

The bones begin to shift and come together. We send Elmod forward in the hopes of speaking the spirit of this bone circle(6). This plan does not seem to be going our way as five cave trolls made of bone come up from the ground to attack.

Skeletal cave trolls proved to be no match for Ting and I as we disposed of them.

Taking stock of our options and resting a bit leaves us with the question of going around the circle, or through it.

Going around the circle, it takes three days and looking ahead, it appears we will be walking into the sandstorm again.

We have decided to leave the investigation at this place for another time and continue looking for the keys to the disappearing city.

It takes another seven days to clear the other half of the sandstorm.

You wouldn't think that the scrub of the Badlands would be a welcome sight, but it was after the time in the desert.

Looking for the keys to the city takes us to this odd shape on the map. Even stranger is the physical features of the land match the shape on the map. We head to the center and find a giant that isn't a rock. It's the entrance to a kaer(7)!

We descend into the first outer room. The pillars are massive stone warriors and the room is huge - so large that Ting starts great leaping around and lands on the shoulders of a stone warrior who then turns to look at Ting. The other warriors turn to look at Ting...(8)

*     *     *
(1) I believe it. Things can always get worse. They usually do.
(2) That's a bad sign no matter where you are. In the Badlands, it's even worse. Basically, it's a miracle this log ever made it back to me.
(3) What? I think there are some other accounts that make mention of something like this. If this is what I think it might be, this could change the political landscape of Barsaive. The Eye needs to know about it. 
(4) That's not a good sign. I think I'm right.
(5) My knowledge of Nethermancy is only cursory, but this could be a Named spell withing a Named bone circle, using it to power the nether breach... thing. They "keys" the group is chasing are probably the pattern items to at least one of these Named spells and can be used to dispel it, them, whatever. This needs to be run by some people who know more about such things. Just cannot let Fastoon or Mestoph get wind of it.
(6) Of all the stupid-!
(7) This could either be the first unbreached kaer from the Badlands, or very, very bad things.
(8) Received and reluctantly edited by Ela Pono

In many ways, this was a payoff session. Not a payoff in the sense of treasure, but the pieces of their adventure starting to come together. A glimpse at the larger pattern at work and how to progress. While the woods are lovely, dark and deep, they still have promises to keep, and miles to go before they sleep.

Since I'm not inclined to reveal much more about the events of the session, instead I'll give the stats for what they fought (which kinda makes this like a bonus Anatomy of a Creature). The petrified cave trolls were made by combining cave trolls with one of the skeletal templates (clearly, the petrified template). I have to admit, these templates make creating custom and varied encounters so much easier.

Petrified Cave Trolls

Challenge: Journeyman (Seventh Circle)
DEX: 8       Initiative:                7       Unconsciousness:    NA
STR: 14     Physical Defense: 16     Death Rating:             75
TOU: 10    Mystic Defense:    16      Wound Threshold:  15
PER: 5        Social Defense:     9       Knockdown:                16
WIL: 6       Physical Armor:   8       Recovery Tests:          2
CHA: 2       Mystic Armor:       5
Movement: 14
Actions: 2; Cave Axe: 18 (24)
Powers:
Enhanced Sense [Sight]: Heat Sight
Fury (2)
Resist Pain (4)
Special Maneuvers:
Brittle (Opponent, Blunt Weapon): Opponents attacking the gaunt ape with a blunt weapon gain an additional success on a successful Attack test.
Provoke (Opponent, Close Combat)

26 July 2016

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 02 - Poison Ivy

This is the second 4E Anatomy of a Thread Item, an ongoing series about Earthdawn Fourth Edition. Introduction and Index.

Everything contained here is the work of a fan and not associated with FASA Games.

This is a thread item from my home game made specifically for one character; he knows who he is and can continue read to spoil the surprises if he wants.

With no threads attached, Poison Ivy is in the form of a large, arcane and ornate looking seed. Like a big, fancy walnut. Once a thread is attached, it cocoons the owner in vegetation. After a time, the excess plant life withers and dies, leaving only the perfectly fitted fernweave armor behind.

The plants that compose the armor change each morning with the rising sun based on the prevailing flora of the area. In urban areas, it aligns itself with the nearest rural environment, underground it appears as lichens and fungi, while in desolate areas, it takes the form of whatever plant life could possibly survive.

Once a thread is attached, it draws all sustenance from the magical connection and long longer requires any additional enchantment renewal. As the thread rank increases, the armor becomes more reactive to the surroundings and the moods of its wearer, even growing and adapting to help intercept attacks.

Maximum Threads: 1
Spell Defense: 18
Legend Point Cost: Warden

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The wielder must learn the Name of the armor.
Effect: The armor is Physical and Mystic Armor 3.


Improving the Physical Armor rating. It's appropriate and useful, but nothing interesting.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The armor is now Mystic Armor 4.

More of the same. With light armor like this, I always like to bump it up a little first. Other effects are where the fun is at, but if it cannot function as good armor first and foremost, everything else is lost.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The wielder must learn the Name of the armor's creator.
Effect: The armor is now Physical Armor 4.


It's now as effective as crystal ringlet, probably the burliest of what would be considered light armor. At this point, I feel good about the basic defensive properties. The character it was designed for doesn't need extensive protection since he is a ranged character and utterly paranoid of anything getting near him.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The wearer gains +1 rank to Stealthy Stride.

Here is where the armor begins to actively react and adapt to the surroundings.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn where the materials used to create the armor were gathered.
Effect: The wearer gains +1 rank to Danger Sense.

This continues with the trend of the armor gaining a life of its own, and perceiving and reacting to the environment. At this point it's symbiotic nature should start to become more clear, in addition to the growing sense it's not just magic armor.


Thread Rank Six
Effect: For 1 Strain, the armor takes on a slick, oily sheen. The wearer may wipe a weapon on the armor as a Simple action to poison it for the next attack that round. This poison is debilitating [Onset: 1 round, Interval 5/1 round] with a Step equal to the Thread Rank.

This is the first interesting effect. It's not a particularly powerful poison, unlikely to heavily impact the game, but it isn't intended for that purpose. This is a new tool for a character that isn't really a combat character. The poison may change to be paralytic and it may need to be more powerful to have some real effect at this level of play.


Thread Rank Seven
Deed: The wearer must visit the location where the materials were gathered and enchantment performed in Poison Wood.
Effect: The armor is now Physical and Mystic Armor 5.

Normally I don't like to specify a key knowledge so others are more easily adapt it for their own use, but the fact this came from Poison Wood was clearly telegraphed long ago. This effect isn't terribly interesting, but this is still armor at the end of the day and I always like to leverage at least one of the 7+ ranks to give two bonuses. It tends to just feel good.


Thread Rank Eight
Effect: For 1 Strain, the armor grows thorns in reaction to an attack. The wearer may inflict poison from the Rank Six effect on any successful unarmed attack (this includes bite, claw, etc. attacks from creatures). For 1 Strain, the wearer may increase the Step of the poison by +3, whether applied to a weapon or in reaction to an attack.

I like this capstone a lot and I really hope it is useful. The key is for it to build off the Rank Six effect by improving it and creating a new use, without really making an entirely new effect. When (if) it comes into play and it doesn't work, that will just mean sitting down and figuring out a different effect that does work while still building off of the Rank Six effect.

07 June 2016

Earthdawn: Adventure Log 42 - The Key to Happiness

This is the forty-second Adventure Log in an ongoing series about Earthdawn. Introduction and Index.







Adventure Log – 042 The Key to Happiness

Written By: Elmod from the Other Side of the Well of Glenwood Deep

Date:  03 Borrum - 02 Doddul, 1508 TH
Group Name: Mismatched Steel

Group Members
Bongani the Scout
Elmod the Nethermancer
Honeysuckle Sunspray the Warrior
Ting the Swordmaster


I revived Ting at the last moment of opportunity, saving her from certain death.

We on to a glowing room of three white stone depictions of a Passion: arms extended, crossed, and offering(1). This is also the home of the spiders, a small bounty within their bolus of spider stash. A few fine gems, oddly minted coinage(2), and a fine gem that is a pattern item for a Named spell(3). Also, a fair bit of fernweave and thorny weapons(4). And a wand. We leave for Sanctuary after establishing the rest of the kaer is vacant.

We return to Sanctuary and revive ourselves and meditate on our talents. Also spending some time with many of the items in our previous stash. I wandered outside of town to find materials for blood charms. I found a fine vein one day and promptly got to work on an absorb blow charm, but on the fourth day, the makeshift cauldron I had made collapsed and the charm was lost(5). We dare not stay any longer(6).

We follow the river downstream until it goes off the map we have, Bongani reckoning the river continues and completes and connects to other rivers south on our current map(7).

Desiring to be on the other side of the river, I decided to summon a water elemental to aid in spreading the water of the river for us. We selected a narrow section of river, though the task of summoning such a powerful enough elemental seemed quite difficult(8).

As such, first I summoned an ally spirit to aid my elemental summoning(9).

The muse spirit I summoned was quite beautiful, prismatic and scintillating. I bought its services with, after deft negotiation, only a small portion of blood(10) and a song and dance routine done with a wooden carving I lavishly costumed. The spirit liked our Badlands theater - it was quaint and lovely(11).

With the spirit's help, I summoned a delightful and belligerent(12) water elemental that did as we requested for the negotiated price of a kernel of true water from our party treasury.

The Badlands continue to stretch before us as we make our way to the moated pyramid(13) and the symbol of the Polaris beyond(14). I am trepidatious about the latter(15).(16)


*     *     *
(1) This sounds like it is probably Garlen portraying helper and protector. I wish there was more detail to determine some ideas of this kaer's customs. Any details beyond white, female, has arms and knows how to use them.
(2) How is it odd? There is so much you can tell from a minting, it's almost never "odd". Clueless or deliberately obtuse?
(3) Very interesting. Also: MORE DETAILS. 
(4) This just sounds like blood elves with their own coinage who got messed up with a Horror. Which means there is a Horror around. Is there something along these lines that isn't being shared in these logs?
(5) Make. Shift. Cauldron? Is there anyway this could have gone right?
(6) Did something happen? Is this a scenario that ends with them leaving or someone getting married? Was it because of the makeshift cauldron's predictable end? Details!
(7) How many maps are we talking about in this scenario and how many rivers? It sounds like there is some kind of river valley hiding in the Badlands we have never heard about. This is entirely possible, given we haven't heard of this Sanctuary before either.
(8) This is so boring. And I listened to Zamrica tell a story today.
(9) And here we have all the unwanted details about something about which no one cares.
(10) Yeah, real deft. It only took your blood.
(11) I feel like half of this log is about crossing a river. Incredible details on how a river was crossed. The only logical conclusion is they are screwing with me. Me personally. No one can be this blindly self-involved.
(12) This may be the first time I have ever seen those two adjectives together without a trace of irony. Delightful and belligerent.
(13) WHAT IS THIS!?! This is the first anything of this kind has ever been mentioned? Is this the thrice-damned city for which they are searching?
(14) AND AGAIN! What is this? What is he talking about?
(15) WHY? Explain yourself, Nethermancer!
(16) Received and reluctantly edited by Ela Pono

After big sessions, such as the previous one, I generally like to dial things back and have something a bit more low key. Normally there would be lots of social interactions, but Uriel's player was absent. Things were starting to go sideways and were aborted before they actually started going completely out of control and the only answer was to burn everything to the ground. Which has happened before.

The major pieces going on in the background of this session continue to move various plot elements forward. Some have been going for a very long time, others introduced more recently to begin connecting them together. In all: everything is falling into place.

As an editorial aside: there is a lot missing from the log. At times I feel like I should write a companion log to go with the in-character log, but that would ruin a lot of the fun. In part, it would almost certainly give away some details and connections given the perspective. I know some omissions are deliberate, while others are highly dependent on who is writing the log. Each player and character takes different notes based on what they feel is most important.

In all, it was a good session to have when down one player and started to provide a greater context for some disparate pieces. Others are still building.

24 May 2016

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Creature 17 - Befouled Spider Adepts

This is the seventeenth 4E Anatomy of a Creature, an ongoing series about Earthdawn Fourth Edition. Introduction and Index.

Everything contained here is the work of a fan and not associated with FASA Games.

As promised, here are the Horror constructs featured in sessions 040 and 041 of my ongoing Earthdawn campaign, Mismatched Steel. There is nothing mechanical about them that is specific to Horror constructs - they can be used as normal creatures if so desired.


They were designed to function as a group and targeted as a seventh circle challenge, though this may not be quite right for all groups. The various abilities each of the four befouled spiders possesses complements the others and allows them to slowly cripple their opposition. Between poison, webbing, dispelling, armor reduction, etc., there are a lot of different ways they make life difficult.

The weakest for direct damage is the archer, who is best served by taking a supporting role and focusing on the high accuracy to generate extra successes for special maneuvers. Each of the other three has strategies to use, such as the beastmaster overwhelming an opponent with numbers and taking advantage of Surprise Strike, the warrior's very direct approach, or the spellcaster enhancing their action to an area attack that can possibly affect mystic armor.

From a design perspective, there are a lot of new things I tried out. Including a number of the special maneuvers and the enhanced attack the spellcaster is sporting. I'm looking at ways to offer more and different options without making things too complicated to track. The idea of a bigger attack that is less commonly used is appealing, but balancing something like that without an artificial limit can be tricky. This is one attempt at a work around.


Spider, Befouled Archer

Challenge: Journeyman (Seventh Circle)
DEX: 12        Initiative:                  14       Unconsciousness:      65
STR: 10         Physical Defense:  15       Death Rating:               75
TOU: 10        Mystic Defense:      14       Wound Threshold:    15
PER: 11         Social Defense:       11        Knockdown:                  18
WIL: 11         Physical Armor:      6        Recovery Tests:            3
CHA: 7          Mystic Armor:         8
Movement: 16 (Climb 16)
Actions: 2; Long Bow: 22 (16)
Powers:
Ambush (5)
Poison (10): The victim must resist the effects of a paralytic poison (Gamemaster's Guide, p. 171). The poison is Step 10 [Onset: 1 round, Interval: 4/1, Duration: 15 minutes].
Stealthy Stride (20): As the skill, Player's Guide, p. 170.
WebbingThe victim is wrapped in webs and Harried until freed. To escape, the victim must succeed at a Strength (12) test. If they are holding a small weapon (e.g. Size 1 or 2 for most characters), they may add the weapon's Damage Step to the Strength test. If the victim takes damage from fire, the damage is increased by +6 and the webbing is incinerated in a flash.
Special Maneuvers:
Dispelling Strike (Befouled Archer Spider): The befouled archer spider may spend an additional success from an Attack test to make a Dispel Magic test against one spell affecting the target. The Attack test result is used as the Dispel Magic result. This special maneuver may be used once per round.
Poisoned Soul (Befouled Archer Spider): The befouled archer spider may spend an additional success from an Attack test to inflict Poison on the target. This may not be used with Web Slinger and may only be used once per attack.
Web Slinger (Befouled Archer Spider): The befouled archer spider may spend two additional successes from an Attack test to inflict the Webbing power on the target instead of making a Damage test.

Spider, Befouled Beastmaster

Challenge: Journeyman (Seventh Circle)
DEX: 11        Initiative:                  13        Unconsciousness:      67
STR: 11         Physical Defense:   13       Death Rating:               79
TOU: 11        Mystic Defense:       11        Wound Threshold:    16
PER: 10        Social Defense:        13       Knockdown:                  19
WIL: 8         Physical Armor:       9        Recovery Tests:            4
CHA: 9         Mystic Armor:          6
Movement: 16 (Climb 16)
Actions: 3; Claws: 18 (17)
Powers:
Ambush (5)
Fury (2)
Poison (10): The victim must resist the effects of a paralytic poison (Gamemaster's Guide, p. 171). The poison is Step 10 [Onset: 1 round, Interval: 4/1, Duration: 15 minutes].
Stealthy Stride (19): As the skill, Player's Guide, p. 170.
Surprise Strike (5): As the skill, Player's Guide, p. 172.
WebbingThe victim is wrapped in webs and Harried until freed. To escape, the victim must succeed at a Strength (12) test. If they are holding a small weapon (e.g. Size 1 or 2 for most characters), they may add the weapon's Damage Step to the Strength test. If the victim takes damage from fire, the damage is increased by +6 and the webbing is incinerated in a flash.
Special Maneuvers:
Lead the Attack (Befouled Beastmaster Spider): The befouled beastmaster spider may spend additional successes from an Attack test to give all pack hunter spider allies +1 to Attack tests per success against the opponent until the end of the round. If the opponent is Harried by Webbing or affected by Poison, the bonus lasts until the end of the next round.
Poisoned Soul (Befouled Beastmaster Spider): The befouled beastmaster spider may spend an additional success from an Attack test to inflict Poison on the target. This may not be used with Web Slinger and may only be used once per attack.

Web Slinger (Befouled Beastmaster Spider): The befouled beastmaster spider may spend two additional successes from an Attack test to inflict the Webbing power on the target instead of making a Damage test.

Spider, Befouled Spellcaster

Challenge: Journeyman (Seventh Circle)
DEX: 9           Initiative:                  11       Unconsciousness:      62
STR: 8           Physical Defense:   11       Death Rating:               71
TOU: 9           Mystic Defense:      14       Wound Threshold:    13
PER: 12         Social Defense:        12       Knockdown:                 16
WIL: 12         Physical Armor:      5        Recovery Tests:            3
CHA: 8          Mystic Armor:          10
Movement: 16 (Climb 16)
Actions: 2; Ranged 20: 18 (15)
Powers:
Ambush (5)
Astral Attack: Attacks can target Mystic Defense instead of Physical Defense.
Astral Interference (20): As the talent, Player's Guide, p. 179. Treat as Rank 8.
Enhance Attack [Area] (Standard): The next Attack test the befouled spellcaster spider makes affects a 4-yard area instead of a single target. Any special maneuvers are applied to all affected targets.
Enhanced Sense [Other] (20): Astral Sight, as the talent, Player's Guide, p. 129.
Poison (10): The victim must resist the effects of a paralytic poison (Gamemaster's Guide, p. 171). The poison is Step 10 [Onset: 1 round, Interval: 4/1, Duration: 15 minutes].
Stealthy Stride (217): As the skill, Player's Guide, p. 170.
WebbingThe victim is wrapped in webs and Harried until freed. To escape, the victim must succeed at a Strength (12) test. If they are holding a small weapon (e.g. Size 1 or 2 for most characters), they may add the weapon's Damage Step to the Strength test. If the victim takes damage from fire, the damage is increased by +6 and the webbing is incinerated in a flash.
Special Maneuvers:
Dispelling Strike (Befouled Spellcaster Spider): The befouled spellcaster spider may spend an additional success from an Attack test to make a Dispel Magic test against one spell affecting the target. The Attack test result is used as the Dispel Magic result. This special maneuver may be used once per round.
Ethereal Attack (Befouled Spellcaster Spider): The befouled spellcaster spider may spend an additional success from an Attack test to affect Mystic Armor instead of Physical Armor.
Poisoned Soul (Befouled Spellcaster Spider): The befouled spellcaster spider may spend an additional success from an Attack test to inflict Poison on the target. This may not be used with Web Slinger and may only be used once per attack.

Web Slinger (Befouled Spellcaster Spider): The befouled spellcaster spider may spend two additional successes from an Attack test to inflict the Webbing power on the target instead of making a Damage test.

Spider, Befouled Warrior

Challenge: Journeyman (Seventh Circle)
DEX: 10        Initiative:                  14        Unconsciousness:      71
STR: 12         Physical Defense:   14        Death Rating:               83
TOU: 12        Mystic Defense:       12        Wound Threshold:    18
PER: 8          Social Defense:        10        Knockdown:                 20
WIL: 9          Physical Armor:      10        Recovery Tests:           4
CHA: 6         Mystic Armor:          8
Movement: 16 (Climb 16)
Actions: 2; Sword: 19 (20)
Powers:
Ambush (5)
Hardened Armor
Poison (10): The victim must resist the effects of a paralytic poison (Gamemaster's Guide, p. 171). The poison is Step 10 [Onset: 1 round, Interval: 4/1, Duration: 15 minutes].
Resist Pain (2)
Stealthy Stride (19): As the skill, Player's Guide, p. 170.
WebbingThe victim is wrapped in webs and Harried until freed. To escape, the victim must succeed at a Strength (12) test. If they are holding a small weapon (e.g. Size 1 or 2 for most characters), they may add the weapon's Damage Step to the Strength test. If the victim takes damage from fire, the damage is increased by +6 and the webbing is incinerated in a flash.
Special Maneuvers:
Armor Cutter (Befouled Warrior Spider): The befouled warrior spider may spend additional successes from an Attack test to reduce the target's Physical Armor by 1 per success after damage is dealt. This may not destroy thread armor. This may not be used with Web Slinger.
Poisoned Soul (Befouled Warrior Spider): The befouled warrior spider may spend an additional success from an Attack test to inflict Poison on the target. This may not be used with Web Slinger and may only be used once per attack.


Web Slinger (Befouled Warrior Spider): The befouled warrior spider may spend two additional successes from an Attack test to inflict the Webbing power on the target instead of making a Damage test.

Spider, Pack Hunter

Challenge: Novice (Third Circle)
DEX: 7        Initiative:                   11       Unconsciousness:      33
STR: 4         Physical Defense:   11       Death Rating:               39
TOU: 6        Mystic Defense:       8        Wound Threshold:    9
PER: 6         Social Defense:       10       Knockdown:                 14
WIL: 8        Physical Armor:       5        Recovery Tests:           2
CHA: 4        Mystic Armor:          3
Movement: 16 (Climb 16)
Actions: 1; Bite: 11 (12)
Powers:
Ambush (5)
Poison (10): If the spider's bite causes damage, the victim must resist the effects of a paralytic poison (Gamemaster's Guide, p. 171). The poison is Step 10 [Onset: 1 round, Interval: 4/1, Duration: 15 minutes].
Stealthy Stride (11): As the skill, Player's Guide, p. 170.
Surprise Strike (5): As the skill, Player's Guide, p. 172.
WebbingThe victim is wrapped in webs and Harried until freed. To escape, the victim must succeed at a Strength (12) test. If they are holding a small weapon (e.g. Size 1 or 2 for most characters), they may add the weapon's Damage Step to the Strength test. If the victim takes damage from fire, the damage is increased by +6 and the webbing is incinerated in a flash.
Special Maneuvers:
Web Slinger (Befouled Warrior Spider): The befouled warrior spider may spend two additional successes from an Attack test to inflict the Webbing power on the target instead of making a Damage test.

19 May 2016

Earthdawn: Adventure Log 37 - Something Old, Something New

This is the thirty-seventh Adventure Log in an ongoing series about Earthdawn. Introduction and Index.






Adventure Log – 037 Something Old, Something New

Written By: Bogani Kreskas

Date:  11 Riag - 18 Riag, 1508 TH
Group Name: Mismatched Steel

Group Members
Bongani the Scout
Elmod the Nethermancer
Honeysuckle Sunspray the Warrior
Ting the Swordmaster

Uriel the Illusionist

(1)The letters we found in the antlion's stomach are intriguing - they speak of a doomed expedition seeking the disappearing city. What a find! Our first task is to track down these mysterious adepts - Forest Fire, Tamlin, Jesser, Krassa, Jenneth, and the unnamed author of the letter.

Ting discovered, by careful questioning, that Krassa, the ork Swordmaster, was found dead in an alley. We discovered the name of the last member was Lyra, the sad contents of the antlion's stomach. Forest Fire died in the Badlands from the poison of a terrible beast. That leaves Tamlin, Jesser, and Jenneth possibly still alive, but if they are they are likely still in the Badlands. That is not an encouraging state of affairs! Perhaps we should ask some equipment merchants to find out if the Ancient Blades stocked up for their fated journey.

While working in the forge, Honeysuckle was approached by a violet-haired elf with something to sell. How mysterious(2)! She asked him to visit us that evening at our inn, the Gilded Toad.

He is a pleasant, purple-haired elf, a well-appointed man. Honeysuckle was able to read the coin's history, but the specifics of its bloody history(3). We made arrangements to research the object the next day. Perhaps it will illuminate this mystery!

During the night, a mysterious visitor carved a cryptic symbol(4) into the wall above his bed. I was able to determine that the carver used a blade not suited to the purpose, but I could find no evidence of how the artist managed to make his mark without disturbing the elf(5).

Elmod attempted to find a lead on our mysterious coin, progress was slow. Uriel, however, was able to find Shilpi the Dwarf(6), a collector of rare antiquities. His shop was pile high with doodads and knickknacks of all varieties. Uriel took the lead, proving his worth by making friends with the collector(7). he told a tale of a forgotten empire from before the Scourge, hidden from the world(8). The dwarfs knew of the way to return the empire to this world, but they are understandably secretive. Shilpi mentioned Kaelgrose, the clan of Baere, as well as Kussin. Baere is in the northwest of the Badlands - mines containing true earth and rich farmlands. The Ancient Blades often returned to Kratas, as one member was a blood elf(9).

Shilpi was very helpful, and eventually we returned to the Gilded Toad to discuss our next move. Elmod requests that we watch over him in the night. Uriel offered to guard him with his magic, while I listened from the next room.

In the midst of the night, a creature crawled into Elmod's window. Uriel watched it with his astral sight, finding the pattern unlike anything he had seen before(10). How strange! The creature became spooked and dashed from the room, but we will surely meet him again.

Honeysuckle spoke to her people and found that Forest Fire was a windling trickster Thief that had a weakness for arson(11). Honeysuckle had an enjoyable time while Elmod returned to the library, but alas made no additional progress. Where are the remaining Ancient Blades? Where are the keys?(12) The disappearing city eludes me, but I feel compelled to find it. In that way it has a sort of power over me.

We set a trap for Elmod's nightly visitor. Uriel cloaked the others in shadow as I waited outside in the street. Alas, the creature did not appear. We prepared for our journey to the Badlands, but in the process discovered that the clever Lyra had hidden a gem, some sort of spell pattern(13), in the bottle with her notes! A wonderful find!

Alas, we discovered that Shilpi had been murdered! Uriel was able to avoid the guards and enter the shop, but the authorities were in the process of investigating the crime. He took a jungle t'skrang mask to remember him by, then investigated the body. How unfortunate that I was not there to uncover the mystery.

We quickly went to see our friend on the Travar Council, who we brought up to speed.

And then we ventured into the Badlands. We do not have a lot to go on, but it might be enough for me to find the glorious dragon city. On the third day of our trip, we find a crisis in the desert - 12 desert espagra devour what is left of a poor woman. We leap into action!

We reached the poor woman, too late, but not too late. The wretch turned out to be Jenneth, who has been surviving (barely) for days. She spoke of a terrible black mantis with a poisonous bite. She spoke of a Horror-domain, a land of darkness and madness. She is hurt and disoriented, so we return to deliver her to safety.

Then she gave us a magic sword(14)!(15)

*     *     *
(1) This log got lost, then misfiled during the submission process. It was recovered when a junior librarian attempted to file it, became confused and disoriented, then Zamrica was kind enough to direct the junior librarian to me.
(2) This seems like an understatement. Only this group would react so nonchalantly to this information.
(3) I take whatever was done to the back half of this sentence as a personal affront. What about the specifics of its bloody history? What is bloody about its history? This is important information that needs to be preserved because adepts always die with this rattling around in their head and not written down! We are also treated to a rendering of the coin. It features a dragon on one side, and a marketplace (?) on the other.
(4) In a bizarre twist, this symbol was actually drawn on the log. At least, what is claimed to be the symbol. It is to parallel, vertical lines with space between them. Seven lines are array from the top at increasing angles and five similarly from the bottom. It looks a little like a stylized tree.
(5) I have read enough of these to know it's probably not a notable accomplishment to escape the notice of that elf. Especially if he's sleeping. Also, my guess is magic. It was probably magic. Because it's always magic.
(6) Shilpi was actually somewhat famous. Also, no one ever called him "the Dwarf" as a title. No one.
(7) I was hoping this log would provide some clue as to where this guy came from. No, he just suddenly shows up one sentence. Did he use an illusion to make them think he had always been traveling with them?
(8) I have read a lot of logs about this topic. They always end up with the adepts either dead or insane. There is definitely something out there, but I don't know if it is actually a disappearing city. It seems more like an elaborate lure for a Horror.
(9) Based on the Ancient Blades logs, that would be Tamlin. This is by process of elimination because virtually nothing is written about her.
(10) Details!
(11) I guess that technically counts as a trick.
(12) Now you know my pain.
(13) What sort of spell pattern? By my count, every major spellcasting discipline is represented. Someone should be able to give me more information!
(14) Of course she did.
(15) Received and edited by Ela Pono

Confession time: I lost this adventure log for a while, to the point where I thought it didn't exist. There was also an extremely long gap between sessions in real time.

Most of this session was continuing the thread of the lost city the group has decided to find. Building up the mystery, providing some hints and leads, also evidence something exists out there. The other parts were to introduce some new plots in the background and have call outs to previous events. One of the latter is the black mantis. There were quite a few more details that did not get recorded, but immediately after it was discussed, everyone at the table immediately knew where from where it came. The culprit is still taunted about there part in introducing that particular black mantis into the world.

This session would have benefited a great deal from having the subsequent session follow much sooner. Much, much sooner. There was over half a year between them. Just way too long. I think I'm honestly pretty lucky my players are still interested with such a large gap. Many games have perished over less.