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RE: Questions
Adric Wymarc
Robin,
I have some questions after the last session;

1. I want Matalure to join me as a Demi god.
2. What happened to the army, the arc, our ship?
3. What was Skoulous doing there?
4. Does Ixion stay loyal? How many undead remain?
5. Study arc before returning it in one year.
6. Does the rain and magic issues end with the end of BBBB?
7. I shall name Chelicer as my successor.
8. Chelicer will use Ixion, undead and arc for further conquest. Mostly against other evil races that pose a threat. He will not break the deal with the dwarves or our daughters.
9. Clive and Jack return head to Oyanen?
10. I Guide the Delvo through my cult and Chelicer.
11. Have our Grand daughters colonize the valley.
12. What powers am I allowed to have as a demi god. Do I need weapons and armor anymore? Can I have an avatar? etc.


1) She will have to earn her way there. You are not powerful enough to grant that yet. You may still visit her though, in a way.

2) The army remains with the Delvo realm though the allies return home. The undead remain as a gift though the arc returns.

3) He was freed by agents of Bobugbubiltz to create uncertainty in the allied army via you. Ojanen is quite displeased when she learns this.

4) Yes, roughly half.

5) Done.

6) Yes.

7) OK.

8) Ok. Roll d20

9) Yes.

10) Ok.

11) OK. This is time consuming. Roll d20.

12) These are based on your followers. Right now not much more than visions (vague) and the like. You have to save up energy to effect the realm.

Weapons and armor are helpful as other demigods test you and they utilize them. Pecking order and all. Highlander style ish. Defeat thy enemy and gain a portion of their power. Difficult to be destroyed completely but easy to loose power/influence.

You can have an avatar as you gain power. More powerful gods have more powerful avatar(s). Worshipers is the key.
Session: This is it. - Wednesday, Nov 20 2013 from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
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Aftermath


As the time approached I debated what to do. Would I stay aboard the ark, or even the ship, or would I accompany the rest to the ground? I saw little purpose with all of the troops. Each of my companions seemed to have far more behind them than the splinter of the man that remained within.

The Ark made me very uneasy. If Zome had not designed it what would it be but another abomination of the corrupt one. Zome the one eyed still lived, something few men would even know to doubt. Grandmother never mentioned the name until after her first falling, when she almost ready for the Mother's final gift. But she like I had unfinished business.

I was that business. I had yet to see my tenth summer. During the next three years before she finally let go some of the most important lessons to be learned were taught. She had eluded to the boy named Jack I often played with. He had I had been drifting apart for some time and never reconnected until that fateful night.

Now only Jack and I remain beneath the same stars. The ones of the tower seem to have enamored him. That concerns me but if things transpire as my heart feels only he will assure the bargain with Ojanen will hold.

Perhaps with the brief time together I will ask of him how he will avoid making some of the same mistakes. I'd hate to see these dark ones with so much power. It would not be long before one of their own would fall from the Mother's grace. For now I will let the tower stand, the Mother will claim it in her own time.

The instincts of the farmer in me called for a simple solution. Allow the cleansing fire of the Mother's wraith to reclaim our former home. Leave nothing, only the seeds of first plants could claim anything in time. But what has happened will be better in the long run. The Mother's wisdom is unbounded.

The spirit of the boy is still strong within but the farmer is gone save for who he was by my grandmother's passing. Clive is no more, only "Newon," remains. Grandmother had always told me it had been my name in the language of her people. What passed in the instants as the others passed to immortality finally told me what it truly meant.

I did not wish to remain with Adric and Thorgar. In the moments I stole a glance at the Mother, Mara and Miranda in the chamber around me I knew it was not yet time to join the great hunt. My work was still unfinished.

I passed into the moonlit forest, my form now no longer a shadow of Nymar but likely his equal. My instincts were still the same as his mighty white figure leap to the rocks before me. I cowered and tucked my tail until he spoke.

"Rise Newon, as I was the guardian of the past ages you now stand as the guardian of the ages to come."

In the next moment I was the boy, who I had been when grandmother slipped a simple leather pouch into my hand. I sat by the fire with the human manifest of Mara, a scarred white haired warrior, Nymar and a third younger woman I had never met before, Miranda. She smiled at me and her eyes met mine, my human loins stirred at her attention.

In the voice that had seduced gods and men alike she spoke.

"Clive, or as you will be called among men, Newon, the time ahead will be full of trials. Men are curious creatures. There power lies not within a single quality but in their ability to adapt and learn. For the next millennium my Mother calls on you to guide the men of the world back into her reverence, know my sister's light and to seek the nourishment suckling at my own and my daughter's teats and to know the council of my many sons."

The boy in me found the literal idea of Miranda's teat in my mouth enthralling. She smiled at me with a knowing glance and then I found myself again with four legs. Nymar, Mara and I stood on top of a great mountain looking over what must be the entire world.

"Go to your daughters Newon," Nymar began,"teach them well and send them into the world."

Mara continued, "through them the blood of the first guardians continues into the coming age. As Mother first made the watchers to walk among and watch the curious race of men so might they become. But to do so will require a trial. One that you must watch over. Choose the ones you give this gift well, for those who do not understand are doomed to fall into the sway of the unspeakable one."

"How I judge their worthiness I will seek the Mother's guidance, but of the nature of the trial?" I asked.

Mara continued, "the gift is imparted as it always has, with a bite. You will taste the blood of your daughters and lead them through the transformation. The pain of the change is great, to fight it leads to madness. Kill any that cannot accept the gift as the Mother intended no matter how your heart may plead with you. Those who accept the gift must do the same. The gift will enable your daughters to travel swiftly with four legs, to call the packs of the true to their side while being able to walk among men when they need.

Make them understand that anytime they walk on all their legs and the blood of a man is drawn the means of the gift will be given. To leave one alive or unguided will give the unnamed one a new servant. When guided, they will have the strength of the pack with them and with this strength will do the Mother's will.

You must understand this is true of you as well, even though you will never take the form of the man you once were. Only the boy remains, only the boy can walk among men, ever young, as you were on the day you received your grandmother's talisman. So Newon go now and gather your daughters. Teach them first the lessons of your grandmother. Bring them all to know the many gifts the Mother offers so none fear her final gift. Then take them to the world."

I then found myself besides my friend Jack's side. Whether he understood that the next age had just begun I could not be sure. With his familiarity with the creatures of the tower I would be cautious in what I told him. But I knew it was up to me to council him so the new age did not begin as the last had ended.

Session: This is it. - Wednesday, Nov 20 2013 from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
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Immortal Thorgar
Thorgar appears as a grizzled old dwarf wearing a fine suit of dragonscale mithril plate mail (scales embossed with a 'medusa' image). He has a face on both sides of his head, and his helmet has a stylized face-plate on both sides as well. He typically covers his finery with a patched and worn sergeant's uniform... preferring not to draw too much attention.

When aroused, blue lightning crackles over his skin (often unleashed upon his foes). In addition, he is able to conjure a variety of weapons from thin air which fly true on his command. Finally, any who touch him unbidden turn immediately to stone.

Upon leaving behind the mortal world, he also left behind the mighty short sword Gwydain, and his Heavy Bronze Shield of Drunor. His first act as an immortal was to manipulate Gwydain to draw the attention of Sgt. Grimtooth of the dwarven army. To him he gifted the sword and shield, and the responsibility of watching his new followers over the years ahead.

Thorgar doesn't require worship in the traditional sense (ie: fine temples), but he has a special interest in the craftsmen and watchmen among his people. Priests and Paladins wear a necklace or armor-ornament of a bronze heart with a hammer and sword crossed over it (though they are ultimately loyal to the Great Shaper over all). Craftsmen show their reverence by tithing of their time to craft something useful for those in need. Many take to sprinkling fine pipeweed over their forge-fires during the process.

Finally, Thorgar begins influencing his people to go out into the world... to explore, trade, and normalize relations with other people's (particularly the Delvo, and their new immortal patron). He encourages them to use their skills to build more than just armaments... but also roads, bridges, mechanical devices, and art. While remaining vigilant against aggression, their main goals should be to become indispensable partners to neighboring states, and to improve the world around them for all goodly peoples.

On a minor note: he visits a respected elder sculptor in his dreams, and inspires him to build three statues in the dwarven mausoleum. One is a human warrior-woman bearing a mace & long sword; the next is a human knight wielding a spear & shield; the final one is a tall, stocky halfling armed with a short sword and dagger.
Session: This is it. - Wednesday, Nov 20 2013 from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
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Smells and other sign...


Should this place had been the first I encountered since beginning to walk on all fours it might have driven me mad. The odors of human societies are for the most part quite familiar, or at least fairly easy to put into context. The cloak and now my form simply augment the sensations I knew as a man. Sensations that are now far more complex and vivid, while these eyes may not see the colors I once knew as well my world is richer in many ways.

This place makes it difficult to relax completely. I never really was completely comfortable on the ship but even now the upper berth I claimed is the most familiar place in all of this difference. I have stole away on several occasions to curl up completely when the need for a deeper sleep calls. Otherwise stretched out on whatever floor of in front of whatever hearth I never completely sleep. Too many things that were strange, voices, smells, sights and sounds that have kept me on nearly perpetual edge. Now that the palace is in possession and as its many hallways and rooms become familiar I do find myself becoming less restless in its confines.

I cannot say I loathe this place as much as it becomes more familiar. It is every bit the nightmare of the best and scariest childhood "morality tale," more vivid in every detail although I have yet to discover the "newly captured child soup" that seemed to be the dish de jour of all of my mother's tales. I would not be surprised to find it but men have a value slightly beyond live stock. I sense a great deal more respect as Adric's "dog" than Jack truly receives. Men are known quantities to these dark ones, even ones with Jack's power. He would be better suited as a fox man in this company.

As we inherited the staff of the palace I have paid some attention to their speech and mannerisms. Some are familiar but I have yet to encounter a man slave who would be old enough to be one of our contemporaries as of yet. It is clear when a slave looses his or her utility they are "used" for other purposes.

Some were clearly born here. The youngest of the man slaves I have seen has maybe lived six or seven summers. They seem to be learning the tasks that will be expected of them in the near future. I can smell younger ones in their quarters but I never hear them. Perhaps they are too used to other "wolves" in their midst that they have learned that silence is life.

Since Adric has accorded some authority to the men of the staff they do seem more chatty. More speech gives me more time to listen. There are some from what used to be our village, or at least from where the toads now roam. I can't help but think that this existence is preferable to the alternative that home has become.

The slaves form the lowest caste of this society. The "common" folk of the city above them with a ruling elite apparently above all. Wedged between are a race of beings that must be one of Zome's more proud creations.

The lower castes of common folk seem to have but one ambition, rise to the elite. Ambitions that for most will never come to be. What power a commoner holds seems to be proportional to what they have to offer their overseer. For most this value ends with a violent death. Grandmother was right about many things.

The elite are cunning enough and individually strong enough to remain in the upper castes for others to notice that they are there. The failure of assent a constant reminder of the risks of power and privilege in this society. The females of the race have an upper hand. Many of the males seem to have too little of the qualities that make a husband useful to his wife in the societies of men and too many of the qualities that too often lead to a premature demise.

Proof of this lies with the fate of those caste off as the collateral damage in the struggle for power. The "dark", supposedly infallibly loyal guardians of the upper tiers are nearly exclusively female. Such an imbalance implies much in this society where guile and might make what is "right." It seems that the value of most males in this society is to die in the most useful way, presumably taking as many others opposed with you as possible.

Adric, or what Adric has become, clearly has thrown this society into a buzz. The new "queen" has taken the hive. Although I cannot help but think that Adric may be more akin to a mantis than a bee. While the elite of the society clearly procreate I suspect it is in this breeding, and the investments made, that truly make for shifts in the balance of power. One does not see, nor do I smell, many females with child in this society.

As the surprise and shock of our arrival wear off Adric is beginning to navigate the more treacherous pathways of politics. He has acquired an adviser who has counseled his to court the "princess" of one of the houses.

He invited her to the ship for a dinner and a brief cruise. Her smell was complex and initially enamoring, at least for me. The feelings of the basal instincts of a man mixed with that of my body were odd. Adric's head has not been bitten off at least as of now. His adviser says there is great power in winning this one, but a fat score of others heads have rolled trying.

Something is different about the smell of her. Something is not quite right. That something is likely the greatest danger. She simply does not pass the "smell test". Her odor is literally distinct in a manner I cannot quite describe. What is it?


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Hammer, Anvil, Forge...
To state that I loathe being here barely begins to describe it. The man in me still remembers the tales of the "dark ones" of the forests to the south. I imagine in some societies tales are told to scare children with shadows of fables. Not so at home, the shadows of our cautionary tales were all around me.

The existence of our two people so close together was always tense. Perhaps the power that some fool sought from the toad was meant as a check of sorts. Peace was always best kept by vigilance and being a little more trouble that the reward that might be had. A simple "don't go there sufficed for most" at least between my immediate kin.

Adric, from what I remember of him as a child was the type that personified the lesson of mother's tales. His charmed life to the point of the portal seems a little clearer now. Its not that all woodsmen fell prey to the dark ones, but it was far more likely with the chance growing with the more chances one was willing to take. Adric was someone my mother told me to avoid but my grandmother always encouraged me to "watch with a wise heart, for there is much to be learned."

Few spoke openly of the dark ones. Grandmother was a quite exception. She had a strong respect for their ways. They used the Mother's gifts well in many ways. The scope of their lives were very different than our own.

We counted on the "complexity" of their society as the best defense of our way of life. To keep a pulse on their nation a few from Adric's kin became our peoples eyes. Adric had many of the talents but always was too easily seen. He was never one who was good at fading into the background. Being seen is something the eyes of the people avoid. Now in this place its clear Adric has always been in the vision of the people of the dark wood.

Our land was consumed by the toads. Our land must be cleansed. The Mother has ways of dealing with those who flaunt her gifts. Where there is wet their is dry. Where their is fire their is ice. Every day of life is another's final gift. Balance is the Mother's way. The toads have disturbed the balance.

Wet places are important but cannot be where they have no purpose in the Mother's way. There is much drying to be done in the land. Impurities in metal are brought out by the heat of the forge. The hammer sparks as the weakness flees its blows against the wall of the anvil. The dark ones seem to be a suitable hammer. Without a forge and an anvil a hammer has little use in purifying.



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General Malphigian watche...
General Malphigian watched as “he” stood in the center of the white spider silk altar, in the center of the great open air temple of the Mother, “his” hands raised to the sky, invoking the Mother’s grace upon the Delvo. At that exact moment General Malphigian felt a tug on his face as if an unseen web had settled on his cheek. He started and wiped his face. General Malphigian continued to watch the ceremony as it reach a crescendo. As “he” spoke the final words of the spell “he” implored the Mother to give her blessing for “him” to lead the Delvo to victory against the toad cult of Bobugbubilz. “Disgusting” thought the General. As the last words were spoken, spiders swarmed in from all directions and gathered around “him” crawling on, around or under “him” in their thousands. General Malphigian looked around at the crowd, they were enraptured. “Bah” thought General Malphigian, “nothing but a wizard’s mummery, the fools”. In the crowd, soldiers began to slide their armored forearms together to signal their approval. Being that Delvo armor was made of spider chitin, it made a distinctive low screech. The rest of the crowd quietly, but persistently shuffled their feet, the sound it made, like an arachnid rushing upon its prey. General Malphigian rolled his eyes and shifted weight from side to side while hitching up his sword belt. “A month of these useless ceremonies, will this never end” he thought. The ceremony over, the spiders wandered around the altar while “he” seemed entranced with something in his hand. It was too small to see from General Malphigian’s vantage. To one side stood “his” companions; a Devlo, a human, a dwarf and a wolf. General Malphigian turned to his aid, Chelicer, who looked at the ground and did not meet the General’s gaze “Now that the circus sideshow is over, we can do something useful”. “Yes, General” said Chelicer averting his eyes. Both turned and made their way out of the crowd, with General Malphigian’s Audax guard pushing the crowd aside to make room for the General to pass.

Soldier’s snapped to attention as General Malphigian arrived at his headquarters a short time later. He stormed through the staff offices and into his office, turned abruptly and shouted “Chelicer, summon my colony commanders at once”. “Yes, General” shouted Chelicer from the staff offices. General Malphigian removed his black spider silk cloak, hung it on a peg in his office. As he hung it on the peg he paused for moment in thought. That had been his father’s cloak. He had taken it from the body of his nemesis, whom he had killed in battle with his bare hands. His family had held sway in this kingdom for over 1000 years. He would make sure they ruled 1000 more. With a last look at the cloak General Malphigian turned and left his office. He headed back into the staff offices and then into the war room. The room was without occupants. A massive ironwood table dominated the middle of the room, surrounded with chairs and covered with maps of the Delvo Kingdom of Tetragnatha. Cob webs drifted from the ceiling in wisps. He studied the maps, lost in his own thoughts for a long while, as his commanders filed into the room and quietly took their seat without disturbing the General. Chelicer entered the room and hesitantly cleared his throat, averted his eyes and said “they’re all here General”. “Good, we have no time to waste” said General Malphigian, looking up from his maps. “The time has come to put our plan into action”. His commanders lean forward in their chairs. “We cannot wait one more day while this imposter weaves his spells over this kingdom. We must take action. We must save our people. You have all been part of the planning for this operation. You know the stakes. Let us go over the plan one last time…”

Several hours later General Malphigian leaned back in his chair “That is the plan, are there any questions? None? Good. You know what to do. To your colonies”, he rose and gestured for them to leave. As the commanders filed out of the war room, Chelicer approached carrying the General’s helmet. It was a glistening adamantine dome, sculpted with a swarm of spiders scuttling around his head, neck and his cheeks. Chelicer handed the General his helmet while averting his eyes “your helmet, General”. The general shook his head as he admired the helmet. Each spider was cleverly sculpted and was unique. If you stared at it long enough the spiders almost seemed to move. “The next few days will be hard days for our people, but I will not allow an outsider to destroy my family or my position” he said more to himself than Chelicer. “He must die” said General Malphigian as he raised his helmet with both hands to slide it on his head. As he slid the helmet on his head he felt a tug on his face as if an unseen web had settled on his cheek. General Malphigian started and said “Curse you Chelicer you have not…”. “I’m sorry general” interrupted Chelicer, meeting the general’s gaze with his. General Malphigian felt a tiny bite on the back of his neck. Instantly, his entire body burned and he lost his breath. Futilely, General Malphigian gasped for breath once, twice, three times. “I’ll be taking command now, general…” said Chelicer.
Session: Ath Halloween Special I - Wednesday, Oct 23 2013 from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
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Epic!
Isle of Dread.
Cool map here! Isle of Dread. Enjoy the memories....
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Epic!
Prowling the Night


My grandmother’s guidance always had made the night a friend. Her favorite mushrooms and other delicacies were best gathered at night. While the other boys stayed behind I would accompany her into the night. She taught me to see by the light of the moon alone, or the light of the stars. Torchlight only carries so far. As she grew older she would send me out alone or with a braver cousin.

My younger brother Dirk, the favored one, was very afraid of the dark, my one edge over him. When he would grow to bold for his own good I would simply blow out the candle he would insist be burning while he went to sleep. Mother never bothered to relight it once it was out. My elder brothers would never tolerate his whining but often had to bring in fresh straw for him. I am glad I always contented myself with the cramped upper loft. Neither of my elder brothers found it comfortable and it did stay notably dryer once Dirk left his crib.

I mourn all three of them with a mournful howl for each. By the time the last of my breath is exhausted I find myself again reveling in the wonder of the Mother’s gift to me. Dreams are one thing, but to feel the cool ground truly on four feet is another. Still I needed practice being a wolf. It occurred to me that a distant reply to my howls was not an echo.

Was I ready to meet my other kin? A brief flush of uncertainty curbed my enthusiasm for seeking them out. With the destroyers gone the land around the citadel would hold game again, but territories are meant to be defended against strangers. Doubly true if the stranger is calling from the destroyed landscape around me. I would not be the interloper.

The land around the citadel still reeked of the siege. Much of what they had carried with them was left behind in their haste to depart. I am sure the citadel would take what they could use and leave the rest to the course of the Mother. I moved down the mount of the citadel, on the far side from the return of my soliloquy.

The remains of camps, far less organized than those of men, dotted the hillside. Smells abounded, none pleasant, until I came upon a scent mark. It took me a moment to tease the smell from the background, a fairly fresh mark, I knew it was a male, not a dog or a wolf, similar, but what?

I picked up the trail with ease; three other animals accompanied the male. When I came to some muddied ground the tracks were clear in sight and smell I knew what I was following. At home we called them brush jackals; the reason a shepherd needed a good herding dog. Jackals pose little threat to a healthy goat or sheep but a real threat during lambing.

True wolves kept their distance from the lairs and herds of men most of the time. Jackals are creatures of opportunity and readily test boundaries of both wolves and men; tolerated by neither. Where men hold them in check with sling stones or arrows wolves use their teeth. It was time to practice a somewhat familiar skill with the tools of my new body.

I entered a stalking mode as I tracked the small pack of jackals. Why they were here was not hard to understand, the dead of the siege and the abandoned camps were the opportunities jackals reveled in.

Certainly this quartet had lived on the edges of the camps for some time now. The man in me had no quarrel with them but something in my core being began to lust for blood. With each new scent mark I could feel a different type of anger grow; instinctive anger different than the anger of men.

When I came across a quartet of jackals they were feeding on the corpse of one of the smaller creatures of the siege. The four together may have barely matched my mass but I was not concerned with a fair fight. The male briefly tried to make a stand before their claimed prize, all retreated with their lives.

My new tools needed more practice. Not a mortal victory but a victory none the less. I marked their meal with urine. But even the wolf in me found the claimed meal completely unappealing. The man in me found the pained gruesome face with glassed over eyes too close to human, the wolf in me felt insufficient hunger to settle for what remained. Perhaps if the liver had remained I might have claimed it.

Satisfied with my foray for the night I made for the citadel. The smells from the ship caught my attention and I briefly considered joining my friends. I remembered what they had set to doing and that I wanted little to do with it, so I continued on my path back to the peak of the citadel.

I passed a guard post and entered the citadel making my way to the temple. I found a spot on the floor near a fire pit and slept the balance of the night with full dreams some from the man in me and other of the growing wolf inside. When I stirred in the morning I arose with a satisfying stretch.
Session: Gloom - Wednesday, Sep 11 2013 from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
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Curing the Blight


The witches minion's hand was guided well. I feel free of a burden long ago acquired. A burden hindering me from fulfilling the will of the Mother.

The blight has been cured. At least here, there is more to be purged elsewhere before it will be my time to join the great pack.

After some questioning and contemplation we discovered the source of the transformation. We, at least three of us, had seen something similar before. A curse in the water.

As the people of the citadel changed it was a gradual affliction. At first nothing more than what a child's rash might be. Then like the stiffness that comes with age, then to stone, then to living crystal. We had seen the final result in the place beyond the portal under the stars. And we had seen its cause without knowing it.

Sure enough deep in the well of the citadel was a crystal pool. Before we could deal with that a breach was made at a gate. The citadel and the answers and potential allies within were in jeopardy. The hoard became another blight needing to be purged, the pool had been slow to act, the hoard would not be so patient.

The hoard consisted of goblins and orcs. Grandmother told stories but until now we had never seen them in numbers. Certainly we have never seen them so well organized either. The larger orcs formed loose berserker mobs while the goblins used crude bows to lob poisoned arrows. There leaders were an orc mage and a shaman.

I tore through a number of the hoard. Faster than any mortal could see my teeth did their work, to the others some of the orcs seemed to simply vaporize.* Jack and Adric took there share as well, Thorgar took the worst of the mage, the hoard was mostly gone by the time he shook off the worst of the lightning the orc mage summoned upon us. All of us had taken a jolt.

As I charged, Thorgar was able to call upon the Mother's strength to bring the others back from the brink. Half way home the mage struck me from my feet. Adric finished the mage in a manner he had dropped so many foes, with arrows. While he no longer holds the Duskwood Bow his arrows with the Mother's blessing did their task well.

Jack and I moved to the gate while Adric and Thorgar were distracted with the possessions of the orc mage. The bulk of the hoard laying siege to the main gate while some sought to exploit the breach. I stepped into the light and let loose a mighty howl that said "flee" to all who heard it. The hoard broke leaving their siege machines and camps in their hurry to escape.

Part of me wanted to pursue, but there were other matters to attend to. With the hoard dispatched Thorgar used the citadel's hottest forge to destroy the crystals in the water. The water that had been the corrupting influence, the cause of the blight. When the crystals melted the people of the citadel were released from the blight. The people of the citadel, and more importantly their soldiers, pledged to our cause.

The others returned to the ship to use the crystal ball. I wanted nothing to do with this. Instead I went the peak of the citadel's mountain and looked to the mountains to north as they arced to the west to the horizon. As the Sun set the mountains turned a thousand colors before Mara's rising turned them to a deep ocher.

I could not tell reds from greens but saw many other colors more vividly than I had through the eyes of the cloak. The air was still thick with the stench of the hoard but a freshening wind from the north brought other distant smells. Trees, soil, game, the land would recover from the hoard.


Session: Gloom - Wednesday, Sep 11 2013 from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
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An audience with Gloom...
Luck Jack Nealton stands at the orb of scrying onboard a flying mosquito ship in the workshop of a long dead wizard. He concentrates and an image of a cave appears, in it an alter made of stone, wood and bone.

Adric & Thorgar watch as Jack calls out to Gloom and eventually he answers!

"Nice to see you again Jack."

"You have a question for me? I have a small favor I would ask to answer it for you."


Session: Gloom - Wednesday, Sep 11 2013 from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
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The tale of Drunor (re:Thorgar's shield)
A tale is told among my people of the hero Drunor. He was an ordinary soldier of no great renown, stationed in the deepest, furthest outpost under the his city. Drunor's duty was to stand at the last checkpoint, and guard the retreating miners in the event of an attack. His post was in a long, narrow tunnel, designed to allow a small phalanx formation to hold off a much larger force until reinforcements arrived.

The latest dig-sites were encroaching on territory once used by goblin-kin, and traces of their presence were too recent for comfort. The usual comforting tedium gave way to weeks of nervous tension, and when the assault finally came it was overwhelming.

Fully half of the miners were lost before the survivors scrambled back through the checkpoint... the guards forming up quickly behind them. The oncoming hordes were bolstered by witches and shamen, who cunningly used their magic not to attack the dwarves directly, but rather to undermine them with illusion. Brunor saw all around him creatures such as he had only heard of in tales: serpant-folk, ravening beast-men, and worse. It seemed that all around him, his breathren were consumed by flames, swallowed up by rents in the earth, or simply fleeing for their lives.

Nearly mad with despair, and driven back to the end of the tunnel, he did the only thing he could think of: He triggered a device set up in advance to partially collapse the tunnel. He planted himself firmly in the gap, bellowed out his favorite warsong in a quavering voice, and tuned out everything but the foe currently in front of him. Methodically he swung his hammer for what seemed like an eternity. His strength finally gave out and he fell... drifting off into oblivion.

He was woken later by the medics of the reserve force... fresh fighters had arrived just in time, and turned the tide. He looked around the battlefield in astonishment. His comrades killed in the initial assault were all done in by the weapons of goblin-kin... not by the illusionary specters raised by their spellcasters. Many of them had died of wounds to their backs, as they broke formation and fled.

Drunor's legend was formed that day... the fearless, immovable dwarf of stone! He went on to have a long and glorious career, and inspired many young dwarves to follow his example.
Session: It's a trick......Get an axe! - Wednesday, Aug 28 2013 from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
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Epic!
Curing the Blight...


The witches minion offered a little useful information, enough to suggest a direction and perhaps invest our companion Thorgar more fully. Perhaps add another wall to the crucible that will be the fiends end on this world as well. If the Mother wills it.

I saw little use on prolonging the banter about the obvious. The balance must be restored. The journey has begun.

Our first way point was an ancient citadel of Thorgar's people. A citadel under the siege of their ancient enemy. Like Thorgar's people seek to build the hoard seeks to destroy. The people of the citadel afflicted with a transformation that was turning them into what they sought to shape. Creating a weakness in their labor that the hoard sought to exploit. A weakness created by the one who disturbs the balance. A disturbance that has awakened the Mother and all of her children.

Their presence confirmed as much. A small scouting band. Dealt with swiftly but also emphasizing the urgency of action if by nothing more than demonstrating the extent of the blight upon the land. The blight of men who sought the power they did not understand.

Power that placed yokes upon them. Men who have forgotten what they are, part of the whole and not its entirety. Men who dared disturb the balance for coins.

We knew them once as men. Men who abused the soil and then sought power from sources promising solutions apart from the wisdom of the Mother. Sources promising even to evade the Mother's ultimate mercy. Something we cannot restore to them as they will pass to the torment of their masters instead. So be it. May their masters enjoy them as playthings in the places where they dwell.

What is left of the man in me mourns the change in my friend Adric. His melding completed the transformation that was building . May he find the strength to lead the people of the dark wood. As I must find the strength to lead the people of my ancestors and the hoards of the Mother. This much has been clear to me for some time.

Does Jack represent the men of the valley that might still be saved? Or do Thorgar and he represent broader societies beyond the valley whose existence is threatened by the blight that began so near the place of our births? A blight that must be checked to restore the balance.

We no longer seek to hold the line of the achievement of our nearest kin. To nurture the land to bring forth the next generations is a dream for others in the future and the past. Instead we must remove the blight and corruption of men who do not understand.
Session: Gloom - Wednesday, Sep 11 2013 from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
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Old Acquaintances


We had passed into our present, and somewhat beyond, during my time in my berth. Two or three generations had come and gone during our absence. But we were moving closer to home. What needed to be reclaimed to restore the balance still posed a question, a question the hag might answer.

As Jack filled the bracer with water I saw my new reflection for the first time, at least fully registering what I was seeing. I was a vision of Nymar, certainly not as big but a fitting whelp by any measure. My eyes now were held at the level between where my breast and my loins would be in my man form. From the measures of the boat there was a full rod between the tip of my nose and the base of my tail.

The words of the old crone raised my hackles. She requested we visit her in “Punjar.” Not one to trifle with puzzles we turned the ship towards the city where we had last seen her or her minions. Pulu came to mind, what had become of her?

We landed some distance from the city and left the ship and its guardians. I bounded down the gangplank to feel real life beneath my feet, smell real life in the air and other things.

As the others traveled on the road I kept to either side. I found it easy to sweep back and forth while keeping up with their progress and then some.

A few would be highway men and other creatures thought better than to trifle with us. Evidently the thought of a great white wolf ripping out their throats while a man, a delvo and a dwarf did their worst cowed the best among them. The smell of urine trailed from clothing would make some of them easy to track if need be.

When the city came into sight the disorganized visual cacophony that was Punjar wasn’t there. In its place a well ordered city with polished marble walls shone in the sun. A single neat harbor, as large or larger than the old, was hewn from the surrounding forest which in itself was replaced with neatly terraced gardens, pastures and farms.

The place smelled of men but with a reverence for the gifts of the Mother. I padded on a few steps ahead of my companions.
We came to the city gates where neatly dressed soldiers greeted us with “Welcome to Vindel.” More than our forms had changed in the time of our absence. When I spoke the guards were perplexed when I agreed to “walk myself” after allowing Thorgar to place a rope around my neck for a lead.

The soldiers returned with a surprise of their own on top of the name of the city, the woman we had rescued, the one I had talked to through the glass, ruled the city, and had for millennia. I very much liked her but there are only so many ways one can “live” for as long as she. I am not eager for a reunion.

Following the well ordered streets we found a building very much out of place. The hut of the hag, her warm cookies beckoned us with their smell. Something I was aware of far before the others. I had a hint of their scent at the gate.

Now here we sit, or as in my case lay. To hear more of the tidings of our home, and the ill that has befallen it. I sense I could stand as a man again but for the time being I prefer not to.

Clive's alternate ego....


Session: It's a trick......Get an axe! - Wednesday, Aug 28 2013 from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
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First Steps Home


For once I decided to enjoy the cool air of altitude. I had no more that established my footing and began to enjoy the ride when it hit. The mother of the wyrms we had slew some weeks ago. Or at least that is what I have been told. My memory of the whole event is at best hazy.

When it attacked the ship it landed on me. I remember being pinned to the deck, the agony of my bones cracking augmented the chorus of the wooden members of the ship breaking from the assault. Recalling a moment of release, an instant of pain and then bliss is all I remember.

The smell of the hind was strong, fresh and inviting. I led the pack in the pursuit, strong, never tiring. As the hind bound up the hill I knew its slowing would be its end. Then the worm broke what had been absolute concentration, not more than a movement on the edge of my sight, but enough to disrupt the dream that wasn’t.

The hind stumbled at the base of a hill and regained her footing. The kill would be easy, or at least relatively so. The wyrm nearly filled the sky to my right, the hind inviting chase to my left, the Mother in between. She spoke in an echoing tone, a wolf, then my grandmother at her side.

“Clive my servant, the chase will be yours when you are ready. Join now, in a day or when you are ready. You attend to my business well, and some is left unfinished in this life but there is the next waiting.”

The Mother gave the slightest regard to the wyrm. I gave a glance to the nearest trail and bade her to finish the hind. I took after the wyrm, my friends needed me for the time being. The Mother and the spirit of my grandmother both smiled as I turned to pursue bigger prey than a she elk. Her blood filled my nostrils and for a moment beckoned me back.

The wyrm evaded me like a cloud or a sunbeam. Strange symbols filled the sky. I sensed the hunter was becoming the hunted, but much like her children she fell from the sky.

In the next moment an instant agony, the agony of a breath that felt like fire, and a second. My body collapsed to the wooden deck. Perhaps I had chosen wrongly but the beckoning of my companions had been too strong to resist.

I summoned enough strength to take my feet. Each breath still an absolute agony, so cold. Thorgar may have offered to assist me but I bade him to deal with the navigator Blind Jake and anyone else first. Adric soon proved to be a distraction.

Through the pain I may have helped, I do not recall. I somehow mustered the strength, or was helped to the top bunk I had claimed. Wrapping the Cloak of Taldia around me everything went dark, for an instant, for a day, perhaps more I do not know.

When my eyes opened again the eyes of the clock seemed particularly clear. The smell of the female that had occupied this berth before I was again evident, something I had not noted for several weeks even with the cloaks aide. There was another fresh “spice” of delvo in the air as well, mixed with a more familiar scent, Adric's.

The pain was gone, a little stiffness from a long slumber in its place. Perhaps Thorgar had called upon the Mother to heal me, but something felt different, yet familiar. If Thorgar had done something it was some time ago.

The difference was apparent when I stretched. Where my hands should have been were massive white paws. The body of my dreams seemed so out of place here. Was I dreaming?

As I flipped to my belly and attempted to rise the “thunk” of my head on the ceiling suggested I was not. All four legs were under me, like in my dreams, so familiar in some ways but so out of place. As I moved my tail pressed uncomfortably into the cabin wall, I was at least startled to feel it there. I grappled for my balance, gained it, and then leaped to the cabin floor.

The sound of my paws reaching the deck was a strange loud silence. I could feel my mass but the pads of my feet muffled the sound of my landing to a great degree. The thought of dressing and the latch to the door both perplexed me for an instant. I padded into the hallway and moved towards the scents of my companions.

The scent of Adric’s companion was fading. Jack’s scent had changed, something missing. He was the first I found, he was the Jack I knew from the village again. The Mother’s gift had passed to me. He was purely a man again, I was not. The look of horror on his face passed as I managed to growl “its me” as best I could. Speech was not easy in this form. But it was not the only change.

Why Adric’s companion had left became apparent. The spirit of the bow had melded with him, he was now a delvo. At my appearance he nearly reacted as he would but Jack’s intervention saved me an arrow or him the continued presence of his throat. Seeing his transformation seemed to put a piece of the “how” into place regarding the task at hand. Perhaps mine did too.

Adric and I were not quite used to our new forms, then again all of us were somehow changed. Blind Jake was no longer blind. If Thorgar was changed it was not evident, aside we were now in our stream of passing, not his. The air filling my nose told me so much.



Session: Right Turn Clive. - Wednesday, Aug 14 2013 from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
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The Start of the Leg Home?
Clive sensed that there was something unusual about the dream the night he awoke from when the ship returned to the mountain top. But what? The starry night and the drifted snows of the hunt seemed to be the place where the Mother and her children most often spoke to him. Here he was a disembodied observer, the wisp of a spirit, if any of the beings in the dream noticed his passing they gave no indication.

The symbolism of hunter and hunted were present but far more abstract. Masks, masks that hid the true nature of the wearer, not the true skins of the bearer. Clive sensed that the Mother herself was an observer, perhaps using him as her eyes.

Many more beings both allied and adverse to her ways filled the dream. Spirits, beings and vex all parlaying for advantage while the masks held at least part of their secrets safely. Many vex seemed to be so melded with other beings that the true essence of their being was corrupting them with a different taint. Even the "purity" of the vex seemed diluted.

Some of the whispers that the Mother seemed to be almost drumming into his mind were clear, others far more mysterious. Still they held the key to the Mother's will. The others held to some degree connections to the dream. Clive knew he must be very careful before probing beneath the masks of even his closest companions as doing so would in turn lift his own mask.

Session: Right Turn Clive. - Wednesday, Aug 14 2013 from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
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