Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Inactive Let's Play: Way of the Wicked - CURRENTLY ON SESSION #19, Book 4: Of Dragons and Princesses

Discussion in 'Codex Playground' started by Grunker, Jul 17, 2014.

  1. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Parrots:
    19,585
    Location:
    Copenhagen
    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera
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    Q: There's a ton of shit in this LP dude! What's mandatory reading if I just want to follow the LP?

    A: Basically, you only need to read the summaries of each session (see the second post). Otherwise, everything's pretty much optional. I would recommend reading the 'Player Characters' section, and perhaps the first entry in the 'Backgrounds' section (that introduces the adventure path). Not even that's really strictly necessary, though.

    Now, let's get this show on the road...

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    Hi everybody!

    In this LP, we follow Grunker and his P&P playgroup attempt to finally do what no one has done before: conquer the land of Rashemen! You may remember that realm from Obsidian's Neverwinter Nights II: Mask of the Betrayer expansion.

    Basically, I am game mastering Fire Mountain Games' Way of the Wicked adventure path. Way of the Wicked is an adventure path for evil Pathfinder characters that takes the players from level 1 all the way through the highest levels. The players begin the game as lowly prisoners (who are more than guilty of the crimes for which they are charged) and in time, if they succeed, become dark lords and start wars in their name.

    I have no idea whether this is something the Playground is interested in, but since I already have all the resources involved in making this LP, the amount of work I have to do to bring it to you is minimal. So I'll probably finish it regardless of the amount of followers. My own players follow this thread for some of its resources and summaries as well.

    Besides this little intro piece, everything will be in spoilertags for your ease of perusal.

    The LP will consist of this OP, which will contain tons of resources and general information. Besides this, I'll upload summaries of each and every session, and those summaries will make up the LP itself.

    That said, let's get started!

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    (click for larger version)
    BACKGROUND INFORMATION
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    FAQ
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    Q: There's a ton of shit in this LP dude! What's mandatory reading if I just want to follow the LP?

    A: Basically, you only need to read the summaries of each session (see the second post). Otherwise, everything's pretty much optional. I would recommend reading the 'Player Characters' and 'Player Guides' sections, but even that isn't necessary to follow the session summaries.


    Adventure Path Info AKA "So... WTF is Way of the Wicked?"
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    From the introduction of Book I:

    How many times have you saved the world? I’m serious. In all interactive entertainment – computer games, roleplaying games, maybe also live action games and choose your own adventure games -- how many times have you personally saved the world? I suspect that the answer is “too many times to count.” I know that’s my answer. Welcome to “Way of the Wicked”. Here, the PCs are not trying to save the world. If anything, the world needs saving from them. In short, you have before you an evil campaign.

    It is common wisdom in certain circles that evil campaigns never work out. It may sound like fun to be the bad guys but inevitably, the old saw goes, such games always turn into brutal player versus player vengeance fests. If the players do not simply assassinate one another, then they likely wander the world murdering everything unlucky enough to encounter them. If, miracle of miracles, they manage a motivation beyond repetitive carnage, the campaign is still likely to fall apart in the face of just how hard it can be to come up with an inspiring wicked scheme. Evil games, the naysayers contend, suck.

    They have a point.

    Evil campaigns face a raft of problems that conventional ‘good guy’ campaigns never have to wrestle with. If you are playing a pack of noble warriors, devout clerics and loveable scoundrels with a heart of gold – you may squabble, but there is little chance of such squabbles coming to blows. And while your game still has plenty of carnage, you do occasionally meet someone else who is inarguably also a good guy and roleplaying will break up the monotony of murder. And who needs a complex plan as a good guy? You have a simple plan – smite evil! How liberating! You work together, defeat monsters, accumulate treasure and levels and maybe by the end of the game save the world. Again. It sounds wonderful.

    And it is. That’s a fine formula for a campaign. It’s such a great formula that I’m sure that if you have been playing RPGs for more than a year or two that you’ve explored that road probably more than once. In “Way of the Wicked” we are going to travel a darker road. We are going to put together an evil campaign that works. This entire endeavor is dedicated to the proposition that evil games don’t have to suck. Yes, they take a little more thought and preparation than a typical campaign. But when done well, they are immensely satisfying. Towards the back of this book, you will find an essay dedicated to helping you, the Game Master, overcome the well-known pitfalls that seem to plague the typical evil campaign. Read it. Take it to heart. Hopefully, it will help you overcome the usual points of failure.

    Why bother? Why not always play good guys? The short answer – it is fun to be the bad guy! It’s fun to menace the populace in black spiky armor and to call forth the powers of hell to do your bidding. Bad guys get all the best lines. Bad guys have style. Bad guys get to laugh maniacally as they plot the downfall of those fools who dared oppose them!

    Take a moment to look at the cover of this book. The cover (painted by the talented Mike Clarke) doesn’t show someone the PCs get to meet in this campaign. The cover shows what by this adventure’s end a PC in your party could become.

    In this campaign, we try our best to put the pitfalls behind us. Here, the forces of evil have a reason to work together. Here, the forces of evil have a purpose beyond simply murdering everything they meet. Here, we provide you with what we hope you agree is a pretty neat wicked scheme. This book is the first of six “evil campaign” toolkits that together will show you how to be the best bad guy that you can be.

    So take a break from saving the world. Take a break from restless farm boys and loveable scoundrels who unite to fight an ancient evil. Put on your best black hat and get ready to walk the Way of the Wicked. By the time we’re done, the world will tremble in your wake.


    MY MODIFICATIONS
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    So, Way of the Wicked is an evil campaign. But it also couldn't use a licensed setting. For all the other strengths of this campaign, the setting is boring and way too run-of-the-mill.

    That's why I chose to set the campaign in Rashemen in the Forgotten Realms. I've loved this land since I first read AD&D's "Spellbound" and it was brought to life by Obsidian in Mask of the Betrayer. I know you guys love it as well. Now I'm going to make my party of awesome dudes attempt to do what the Red Wizards haven't been able to for centuries: conquer the shit out of Finland-Turned-Spiritual-In-The-Forgotten-Realms.

    Now, if any of you are FR-fanatics who can suffer no rewrites and homebrewing of a setting, you should look elsewhere. To make WotW and Rashemen fit, I'll do some retconning whenever it fits me.

    That said, the campaign has run awesome so far, and my party seems to have enjoyed atempting to fuck up the Rashemi tribes.

    An important thing to emphasize for me is that I'm trying to strike a balance between the interesting Rashemi culture and mysteries, while still allowing the players to be completely clichéed, maniacally laughing villains. Players never get to play that stuff, and that's the whole point of the adventure. So many things - like handouts, characters and so forth - will be played completely straight for lulz. The more clichéed evil we get away with, the better!


    MAIN SOURCEBOOKS
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    We are playing Pathfinder in the Forgotten Realms. We started in 1371 and have moved ahead more than a year. It will be many years before the end of the campaign. We're using a mix of OD&D's excellent FR source material and 3rd edition's cool supplements.

    For rules, we use:
    - www.d20pfsrd.com
    - the above is supplemented by some select 3.5 stuff and a lot of homebrewing (see the "Homebrew & Houserules" header)

    For setting material, we use:
    - Book of Vile Darkness (main sourcebook on The Nine Hells)
    - Spellbound (main sourcebook on Rashemen and Thay)
    - Unapproachable East (secondary sourcebook on Rashemen and Thay)
    - Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, 3rd edition (main sourcebook on the setting in general)
    - Faiths & Pantheons (main sourcebook on deities)

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    We use a variety of maps as well (see calendar & maps header).


    THE PLAYER CHARACTERS
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    Should you prefer an easy-to-read .pdf file with player character summaries, you can get such a thing RIGHT HERE.

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    I have six players: Jonas, Kenneth, Martin, Jakob, Jeppe and Mikkel.

    EDIT: The roster has since been expanded to include a seventh player character! Say hello, therefore, to: Amstrup, who is playing the character 'Slavoj Zizek'.

    Jonas' character - Jandar of Kumar:

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    Kenneth's character - Tareth of Saradush:

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    Martin's character - Viktor Silvertongue:

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    Jakob's character - Halvard of Dis (formerly: Worm/Irkko):

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    Jeppe's character - Solomon Crowe:

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    Mikkel's character - Durlar Windtooth:

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    Amstrup's character - Slavoj Zizek:

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    PLAYER RESOURCES
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    PLAYER'S GUIDES
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    Everything the players needed to know before they started playing was confined within these two volumes: one was the general player's guide written by Fire Mountain Games. The other was an addendum written by me to inform the players of the changes we would make to the core Fire Mountain Game setup.

    CLICK ME FOR WAY OF THE WICKED - PLAYER'S GUIDE

    CLICK ME FOR WAY OF THE WICKED - PLAYER'S GUIDE ADDENDUM


    CHARACTER GALLERY
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    These files contain a gallery and a short descriptions of all characters relevant to the campaign. Note that this gallery is fully up to date with the Session that we have reached (Session #11), while the LP itself is a bit behind that.

    CLICK ME FOR A GALLERY OF ALL LIVING CHARACTERS

    CLICK ME FOR A GALLERY OF ALL DECEASED CHARACTERS

    CLICK ME FOR A GALLERY OF RELEVANT POWERS

    CLICK ME FOR A LISTING OF THE NINE KNOTS


    LEADERSHIP AND THE EVIL ORGANIZATION
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    Way of the Wicked uses special rules for the Leadership feat. With this feat, the players can either build their own evil organization or everybody with Leadership can pool their resources to create one massive network. My players have chosen the latter.

    All players have the Leadership feat except Worm. While the players gave him a seat in the Council of their evil organization, Worm has no Cohort and no official power in the organization.

    CLICK ME FOR THE SPECIAL LEADERSHIP RULES

    Currently, their Evil Organization looks like this:

    CLICK ME FOR EVIL ORGANIZATION SHEET

    Full descriptions of the Cohorts can be found here. Cohort information is currently up to date with Session #17.

    CYRUS STEEL - Cohort of Viktor Silvertongue

    ELISE ZADARIA - Cohort of Halvard of Dis

    GRUMBLEJACK - Cohort of Tareth of Saradush

    NONE - Solomon Crowe currently has no cohort

    RAIJU THE EXILE - Cohort of Durlar Windtooth

    TOR'GAL - Cohort of Slavoj Zizek

    WHITE TUSK - Cohort of Jandar of Kumar


    HOUSERULES & HOMEBREW
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    As any P&P group, we use an assortment of house rules that get updated constantly as we agree what the group likes best and finds fair. Don't hesistate to look at them and chime in with your own:

    CLICK ME FOR THE HOUSE RULES

    In addition, we also use a bunch of homebrew. Most of it is simply conversions of 3.5 stuff that we would like to use for the campaign and which doesn't have Pathfinder-conversions already, but a bit of it is also homemade. Here's what we're using now:

    Races:

    CLICK ME FOR CHANGELING (BHEUR) (homebrew)

    Feats n' shit:

    CLICK ME FOR BERSERKER LODGE FEATS (converted from Unapproachable East)

    CLICK ME FOR RUNESCARRED RAGE TOTEM (homebrew)

    CLICK ME FOR SWARM ANIMAL COMPANION (homebrew)

    Spells:

    CLICK ME FOR EEEEEEEEVUUUUUL SPELLS (mostly converted from Book of Vile Darkness, some homebrew)

    CLICK ME FOR RASHEMI SPELLS (mostly converted from Unapproachable East, some homebrew)

    CLICK ME FOR RED WIZARD SPELLS (some converted from Spellbound, some homebrew)

    Prestige Classes:

    CLICK ME FOR DURTHAN (converted from Unapproabable East)

    CLICK ME FOR RED WIZARD (converted from Dungeon Master's Guide 3.5)

    CLICK ME FOR THAYAN KNIGHT (converted from Complete Warrior)

    If shit doesn't work for you, right-click and choose "save as..."


    HANDOUTS


    ARTWORK
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    THE TRIAD
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    Bhalla and her symbol
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    Khelliara and her symbol
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    The Hidden One and her symbol
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    ASSORTED ARTWORK
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    Durthan
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    Excommunicated Hathran
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    Gann, Walker of Dreams
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    Wychlaran & Berserkers
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    Red Wizard
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    Red Wizard
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    Safiya, Red Wizard
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    Szass Tam, Red Wizard
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    Nature Spirit
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    Okku, Great Spirit Bear
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    Berserker
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    Berserker
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    Berserker
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    Snow Tiger Berserker
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    Runescarred Berserker
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    Hathran
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    Hathran
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    Telthor Drawing
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    Telthor Spirit
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    Rashemi Nobles
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    WAY OF THE WICKED ARTWORK
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    Ravenscar Prison
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    Tiadora, Handmaiden of Cardinal Thorn
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    Tiadora's Veil
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    Grumblejack in his Cell
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    Thorn's Mansion
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    The Seventh Knot
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    Cardinal Adrastus Thorn
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    Frosthamaren
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    White Tusk, Chieftain of the Yutak-tribe
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    Joseph Calls-Fire-From-Water, shaman of the Yutak-tribe
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    Sakkarot Fire-Axe, brilliant bugbear field marshal
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    Balentyne, Imaskari fortress
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    Balentyne burning
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    Tiadora on her pleasure barge
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    Baron Vandermir
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    Jurak the Eldest
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    Calliastae
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    Grumblejack, now with armor!
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    The Horn of Abaddon, overgrown
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    Kumanda Slays-Nine-Men, chieftain of the Banewog-tribe
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    Zikomo Hears-the-Father, shaman of the Banewog-tribe
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    Hexor/Vexor
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    Statue of Vetra-Kali Eats-the-Eyes
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    The Horn is alight!
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    Raimon
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    Onni
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    Skull
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    CALENDAR & MAPS

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    Calendar:
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    Maps:

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    Rashemen
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    Rashemen
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    Thay
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    Immilmar
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    Farholde
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    The Caer Bryr
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    Faerûn - WARNING: FUCK-HUEG
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    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015
    • Brofist Brofist x 17
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  2. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Parrots:
    19,585
    Location:
    Copenhagen
    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera
    THE ACTUAL LP - SUMMARIES OF EACH SESSION

    NOTE: To set the stage for the various key plot points throughout the campaign, I read aloud the story of the "ninth knot", the PC's group, narrated by an old grandma, telling the story as she experienced it, to her son. The "Mamuska" entries contain this narration, which breaks up ordinary play with some of the aforementioned stage-setting. Again, the goal here was to be as corny/cliché as possible, to make sure there is a constant classic bad-guy feel to it all.

    Book 1 - Knot of Thorns
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    Introduction - Mamuska Narration #1
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    It was nearly night in what once was called Rashemen. The grandmother had followed the child to his bed and sent him a warm smile, and the last of the fading fall sun was mixed up with light from the burning candles. Twilight would come soon. The boy cried out before the grandmother could leave his bed rest: "Mamuska, mamuska! Tell me a story!"

    The grandmother turned around. "Which story, babu? I have told you all the stories that I know."

    "No mamuska, no. The one about the war. The one about the time where everything changed. You said, when I was old enough. I am old enough."

    The grandmother let out a friendly laughter. "Oh, babu, so you are old enough for that story, are you?" Suddenly, her face turned serious. An old pain rippled through her hip.

    "But that is no ordinary story, babu. Ordinary stories are about extraordinary deeds, about people who change our world for the better. Ordinary stories are about the extraordinary people who have the courage and the heart to lead us into a better tomorrow. Ordinary stories are about heroes. The story you want to hear now, is not."

    The boy's eyes turned huge. He could feel his grandmother's sadness. "What is it a story about, mamuska?"

    "It is a story about what happens, when the heroes lose..."


    Summary of Session #1
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    On the road leading away from Thasunta in Rashemen, a small boy was tied to a rope-caravan led by gruesome-looking berserkers. Five other individuals were bound in these ropes, on their way to Ravenscar Prison:

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    Here, they have about 48 hours ahead of them before they will be die. The young boy is Durlar Windtooth, condemned for attempted murder. He is to die by hanging. Next up is Tareth of Tethyr, a tiefling who fought a duel until he killed his opponent. He too will be hung by the neck until death. After him walks a giant man with a grim look about him. This is Jandar of Kumar, a berserker who deserted his Hathran on their Dajemma. The rope will also find this man's neck. Right behind him walks a small man, who looks like a foreigner. He has an odd smile on his lips. This man is Viktor, and his head will be cut off, for during a spying mission for the dreaded Zhentarim, he attempted to seduce an entire village of Rashemi into rebellion against their Fyrra (the Rashemi word for chieftain). Past Viktor walks the largest wizard you ever saw. "The Mountain" they called him in Thay. This red wizard is on trial for high treason. His destiny is cruel; ropes will be bound to his hands and feet, after which he will be drawn and quartered, all the while being strangled, castrated, have his belly cut open, decapitated and cut into four pieces.

    There is one, last man in the caravan, who is also of huge size, but he walks like a hunchback which makes him look smaller. "Worm", as he is called, has desecrated a holy shrine for the Triad, Rashemen's deities: Bhalla (Chauntea), The Hidden One (Mystra) amd Khelliara (Mielikki). For this, he will burn at the stake.

    Tortured and beaten by guards who are drunken and certainly don't seem like Rashemen's otherwise honest berserkers, the six men are brought into their cells. During their stay, the are contacted by the beautiful Tiadora:

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    This westerner gives them what looks like an ordinary scarf:

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    and suggests they use it to get out of the prison and meet her at a mansion not far from this place. After some tinkering, the six find that the scarf is magical, and they use the remedies it contains to secure their flight from the well-guarded prison. In their wake, they leave the staff of the prison dead, including the warden (a Hathran), and they burn the tower of Ravenscar to the ground. They also befriend one of the local cellmates, an ogre called Grumblejack, who helps them in their escape:

    [​IMG]

    Fun note: My players, used to playing good guys as they were, debated for almost half an hour what to do with a couple of servants they found in the prison. "Bind them and gag them," one suggested. "No, too risky, we have to take them with us!" another chimed in. "Hmm, won't that leave us open to being caught if they make noise?" a third voluntereered. And so it went on. Finally, after much discussion, Viktor ventured: "wait... why don't we just kill them?" There was a long silence. Then they murdered the servants and went on their merry way.


    Summary of Session #2
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    Our heroes lost both their prisoners and the tower of their greatest prison, and they hunted the villains as swiftly as they could. Meanwhile, said villains were freezing and starving to death in the swamps outside Ravenscar. They assaulted a group of guards and ate their dogs to stay alive. Fatigue gripped them, and while Durlar collapsed, Rashemen's infamous Wood Man - the most powerful spirit in all of Rashemen - appeared to find out who they are. They sunk into madness and nearly died, as they were attacked by a giant toad spirit. They barely defeated it with Grumblejack's help, and when they finally fell unconscious with exhaustion, they had nearly reached the mansion they were seeking:

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    After a short while, they were picked up by Tiadora and her servants.

    They regained consciousness in the gigantic mansion, on the outskirts of the swamp. Here, they were presented to Cardinal Adrastus Thorn:

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    and his plan to send special cells of Asmodeus' agents - called 'Knots' - to locations around Rashemen to undermine the nation from within, and ready it for invasion. The player characters - the six prisoners from Ravenscar - would make up The Ninth Knot, the final knot, called The Nessian Knot, named for the ninth layer of hell which Asmodeus calls home. The players were also introduced to The Seventh Knot - The Hibernal Knot:

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    The Seventh Knot consists of:

    Elise Zadaria: A soft-spoken woman in a white dress with long, black hair.

    Dostan Alfson: A gigantic half-elven barbarian.

    Tallus "Trak" Rackburn: A silent tracker, the identical twin of Trik.

    Titus "Trik" Rackburn: A good-willed and loud-mouthed fellow, with an Asmodeus symbol hung around his neck.

    Cardinal Adrastus Thorn took them all under oath, and made them swear fealty to Asmodeus. He bound them to a PACT (click for details).

    Following this, he sent them through nine trials, during which they, among other things, took captive a berserker called Balin and the young boy that followed him, called Timeon.

    After passing the nine tests, they were taken through a month of extremely hard training under the harsh supervision of Tiadora and Thorn. From this, they received many beneficial traits.

    After the training, Thorn revealed to them that their first job would be to infiltrate the northern-most outpost in Rashemen. This outpost was not turned towards the hordes of Thay like most other defensive structures in the cold lands, but instead faced the monster races on the north side of Rashemen, in the Icerim Mountains. Outside the northern-most village in Rashemen - Aldencross - was the old Immaskari fortress of Balentyne. Balentyne and its tower and walls was all that stood in the way of a now strangely coordinated horde of bugbears and other riff-raff, led by the frothing Sakkaroth Fire-Axe, and Rashemen itself.

    The task of The Ninth Knot was simple: with the help of captain Kargeld Odenkirk and his ship Frosthamaren:

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    the group would smuggle a shipment of weapons up the river Ashane and deliver them to Fire-Axe on the other side of the Watch Wall that separates Rashemen from the savage country around the Icerim Mountains (see the maps if all this geography-talk is confusing you). After this, they were to sail back to Rashemen, and travel to Balentyne, the fortress on the Watch Wall. Adrastus commanded them to kill captain Odenkirk and the crew of Frosthamaren. Then infiltrate Balentyne and make sure the fortress and the city would be as as weak as possible. When they were ready, they would give the signal to Fire-Axe and his hordes for the final attack.

    The weaker the garrison, the higher the odds of success.

    Simple enough.

    The Ninth Knot set sail and travelled up the first part of the Ashane. Here, they were first met by Captain Sambryl and his patrol boat. By using magic to pretend that they were the berserker Balin, they barely escaped a thorough search of their boat.

    Further up the river they were attacked by the triton oracle Nerianus and his men.

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    The oracle himself escaped while they butchered his men, though a few of The Ninth Knot's members almost drowned in the icy Ashane when Nerianus summoned waves to scuttle Frosthamaren.


    Summary of Session #3, Part I
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    Our villains moved further up the waters of the Ashane. Captain Kargeld Odenkirk approached them with a suggestion: with a few days of leave from their mission, he could bring them riches in the form of seal skins on a nearby island.

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    The group, however, declined, and prioritized the mission above personal wealth. Travelling further up the Ashane, they met the young chieftain White Tusk and his medicine man Joseph Calls-Fire-From-Water.

    [​IMG] <--- White Tusk [​IMG] <--- Joseph Calls-Fire-From-Water

    The young, savage barbarians were from the Yutak-tribe, one of the raiding tribes of wildlings in the northern parts of Rashemen. The two attempted to sell The Ninth Knot their "magic tusk", a great narwhale horn. While the group declined, they shared a drink with the Yutak-tribe and promised them that they would be back to arm the Yutak-tribe to the teeth with weapons of steel.

    After sailing further up the Rashemi river, they were attacked by The-Storm-That-Laughs, a malevolent Telthor-spirit, and its cadre of ice elementals. The Storm attempted to do what Nerianus could not; stop this evil influence before it would be too late. For once in its existance, the Storm listened to The Wood Man and his whispers to all the spirits of Rashemen. The Storm failed however, and The Ninth Knot continued up-stream.

    Having dealt with The-Storm-That-Laughs, the group finally arrived in the camp of Sakkarot Fire-Axe. After dealing with some troublesome bugbears at the pier, Sakkarot arrived and saw the arms that the group had with them. With a great bellow, Sakkarot declared them heroes and threw them a huge party. During the festivities, Jandar ran into strange, clear-eyed polar bears, who growled at the curious berserker. At the time, Jandar did not realize that these were the Naatanuks, sentient polar bears that made up a considerable part of the reason why Sakkarot Fire-Axe's horde was so strong. The party also saw a few orcs, goblins and even the odd hill giant or two. The bugbear warlord got the Ninth Knot drunk on Jhuild (incredibly potent Rashemi alcohol called 'firewine' in the rest of Faerûn) and traded stories with the party. Being drunk and easy to get talking, Sakkarot revealed to them that he and his horde made up The First Knot - The Avernian Knot.

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    Sakkarot then told them of their mission: the Immaskari fortress of Balentyne would have to fall in less than thirty days - three tendays (the Faerûnian week is 10 days). Then he gave the ninth a signal rocket, that would alert Sakkarot and his hordes. Once alerted, the hordes would swarm Balentyne and the war would have begun.

    In the camp, the group learned many things - chief among them, Jandar learns not to fuck with the Naatanuks.

    The Ninth Knot arm Sakkarot and his horde to the teeth, set sail to Balentyne, and then burn and kill Captain Odenkirk and his crew. During the battle, Worm was contacted by a mysterious entity of female whispers (The Slumbering Coven), promising him aid in return for his servitude. Worm agreed.


    Interlude - Mamuska Narration #2
    Show Spoiler
    The eyes of the boy were growing large now, and the night had crept closer. He looked at the grandmother:

    "What happened then mamuska? Where did these terrible people go?"

    The grim look that had gripped the grandmother's face since she begun the tale still hung over her like a shadow. "They were close now. Only a few miles, behind the Watch Wall, lay the small town of Aldencross. Less than a mile from that town was the watchtower Balentyne - their goal. The hordes of Sakkarot Fire-Axe gathered and prepared to move. Within few weeks they would arrive to a small vale north of the river Ashane to wait for the Ninth Knot's signal. A signal to be given at the exact right moment, after which the six members of the knot would have taken their first step on the road to vengeance against Rashemen."

    A shiver went through the boy.

    "The victims of the war deny it now, babu, but it was destiny that brought these villains to that place. Destiny had given them a mission. There was no doubt that the future of Rashemen was in their hands now. They could have gone to Aldencross without delay and warned them about Cardinal Thorn's dark conspiracy. They could have turned themselves in and let justice be done. They could have turned away from the horrors and the butchery that they were going to cause for the peaceful citizens of Rashemen. But this was the point of no return, babu. This was the moment where The Ninth Knot went from being regular scoundrels to being a terrible evil. After this, there was no way back."

    The boy's eyes became large with fear.

    "That night, babu, they were all visited Bhalla, and Khelliara, and The Wood Man, and they were promised mercy and salvation. And they thought to themselves: "If I do this, I am beyond redemption. If I do this, it is a path that I must follow forever."

    "Did anyone accept salvation, mamuska?" the boy asked, his voice tiny and shaking.

    The grandmother's answer came swiftly: "No, babu. They only thought of one thing. The six would do what no foreign army had been able to do in the history of Faerûn. They were going to burn Balentyne."


    Summary of Session #3, Part II
    Show Spoiler
    After having killed Odenkirk and his crew, the Ninth Knot went to Aldencross where they passed themselves off as merchants.

    They gathered information from the locals, and found a number of important tasks that they considered essential to do in Balentyne, before Sakkarot could be given the signal.

    The final thing they carried out during this session was making one of Balentyne's three leading berserkers - Mott - challenge another berserker - Eddarly - to a duel. The Ninth Knot had revealed to Mott that Eddarly had been seeing his woman. Eddarly died to Mott's axe, and Mott was sentenced to death by hanging.


    Summary of Session #4
    Show Spoiler
    The Ninth Knot inflitrated the citizens of Aldencross. They discussed - at length (as in, throughout 6 or 7 hours of play), which of their options would be the correct way to approach infiltrating the watchtower itself.

    Finally, they disguised themselves as a Hathran and her company (using magic circlets of disguise granted to them by Cardinal Thorn), and infiltrated the watchtower.

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    After long, drawn out debate with careful planning, they suddenly chose to improvise almost all their following actions:

    After getting the travelling dwarven engineer Barnabus Eisenbauch and his fellow dwarves drunk, they killed them all, thus stopping the dwarves from doing repairs on Balentyne's siege engines (the Rashemi people has no knowledge on how to operate Immaskari hardware). The Ninth Knot were almost discovered in this brutal slaying.

    Another creatively executed plan was when Worm sunk himself into the shit-filled privy of the watchtower, where he lay waiting with a spear. Once the last of the leading berserker's of Balentyne went to do nature's bidding, Worm assaulted the man and barely killed him before he escaped from the privy, with the aid of Jandar. At this point, the two creative assassins were a single combat round from having their entire scharade revealed.

    Amusingly enough, we found out after this session that their plan wasn't actually without precedence:

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    They also succeeded in sabotaging some of the tower's weapons supply, some still-functioning siege engines, sending a few soldiers to their death and killing Mad Raynard, the master of ravens at Balentyne, cutting off Balentyne's communications.


    Summary of Session #5
    Show Spoiler
    During this session, our villains effectuated almost all of their carefully laid plans for the overtaking of Balentyne.

    First, they killed the mighty Vreymonni sorcerer Tacitus silently in his chambers. Then, they took the fight to the fyrra, Risched Havelyn:

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    The fight with Havelyn was another plan that almost went awry, as one of his chief berserkers - Varning - interrupted them and attempted to call for help. By virtue of Solomon's controlling spells, Varning was defeated before this happened, however.

    The Ninth Knot also sabotaged "The Oven" - a special Imaskari defence mechanism meant to boil intruders alive.

    With all these things done, the Knot attended a nightly service to the Triad deities of Rashemen, trying to figure out if any malignant spirits were about. Although they identified such telthors, they were unable to find a way to deal with them.

    Finally, the group waited for the center-piece of their plan to unfold. When the famous 'Bard of Barrington' from Cormyr arrived in Aldencross, scheduled to relieve the steadfast berserkers with some foreign entertainment, the group struck. They poisoned the vast majority of the guards via a special serving of extra-delicious dinner. Durlar had infiltrated the kitchen for weeks attempting to identify its routines, and it payed off. They then attended the bard's show with the rest of the reduced strength of guards, posing as the fyrra and saying to the men: "PRECISELY because we have had so many accidents, relief is important. I order you all to attend the bard's show!" Even though this would eventually be exposed as an obvious hoax, the Knot only needed the time it took for the berserkers to discuss their way to that conclusion.

    On their way to give the signal to Sakkarot, Jandar met the Bard of Barrington. The Bard annoyingly obstructed the barbarian, doing magic tricks and pulling out a coin from behind Jandar's ears with the words: "What's this, mate, you have something behind your ear?" An angry Jandar stampeded past the bard who took the stage and began the show.

    Mechanically, I was keeping tabs of the Knot's sabotage in Balentyne, tallying up their deeds by way of a victory point system. When the Knot finally launched the signal to Sakkarot and opened the gates of Balentyne, here is how that tally looked:

    Mott is dead: 2VP
    Eddarly is dead: 2VP
    Varning is dead: 2VP
    Barhold is dead: 2VP
    Risched Havelyn is dead: 5VP
    Eisenbach and his dwarves are dead: 2VP
    Sabotaged catapults: 2VP
    Tacitus dead: 2VP
    "Oven" sabotaged: 2VP
    Rookery destroyed: 3VP
    Resident priest of the triad, Donnagin, dead: 3VP
    Assorted sabotage and other deeds: 4VP
    Getting rid of the arrow stores: 1VP
    Guards dead or sick due to illness: 10VP

    Total score: 42 Victory Points

    The result? Sakkarot's horde swarmed the castle and utterly crushed it. However, they did meet some resistance:

    First and foremost, the Knot failed to open the drawbridge for the attackers, who met a tiny bit of resistance from berserkers with throwing axes, their bows and arrows sabotaged by the Knot.

    A few berserkers were still alive and unfettered, and they took the fight to the great hall of Balentyne. During this fight, Jandar killed the Bard of Barrington by ripping the mans face off by the ears with the comment "What's this, mate, you have something behind your ear?", much to the glee of the rest of the Ninth Knot.

    In the hall, the Great Seal of Balentyne fell from its secret hiding-place in the ceiling, crushing many bugbears. The knot did not take care of this problem. The berserkers retreated to the murderholes of Balentyne, attempting to stop the remaining horde outside the watchtower. They succeeded at crushing a few monsters before being killed. The biggest obstacle for the horde was the living telthor spirits of Balentyne which succeeded at killing many bugbears before the battle was finally over.

    Here are the results as given in Way of the Wicked Book 1 - Knot of Thorns:

    20 victory points or less: Premature Attack – the Bugbears attack much too early and are dealt a savage defeat. Sakkarot Fire-Axe is killed in the assault and the PCs must execute a desperate escape or face being killed or worse captured and returned to Ravenscar Prison (which now has more competent guards). The first phase of Cardinal Thorn’s plan is in ruins. Fortunately there is a plan B. (see Way of the Wicked Book II: Call Forth Darkness). Award 0 XP.

    21-30 victory points: Repulsed – the Bugbears attack and are repulsed. Still Sakkarot survives and manages to rally his army. They will attack again when given another signal but a second repulse spells doom for Sakkarot’s already shaken horde. Award 0 XP for now but the PCs get another chance.

    31-40 victory points: Hard Fought Victory – Balentyne falls but only at great cost to the bugbears. Sakkarot is wounded in the intense fighting and loses an eye. Still, the way to the south is opened up and Sakkarot’s tribes begin pouring into Rashemen. It does take them a few days to regroup and reorganize and so the people of the nearby village of Aldencross flee spreading word of the savage invasion. The war has begun. Award 1,600 XP for the destruction of Balentyne.

    41-50 victory points: Victory – Balentyne falls though there is still some resistance. The bugbears losses could have been much worse. Sakkarot is unwounded and much heartened by this success. Still, it takes a day to get the whole body of the horde moved up and through the Watchtower gates. The citizenry of Aldencross flee in terror spreading word of the invasion led by the monster who wields an axe of flame. The war has begun and Rashemen has lost the first battle. Award 2,400 XP for the destruction of Balentyne.

    51 or more victory points: Slaughter – Balentyne falls with barely a bugbear slain. The hairy beasts immediately attack Aldencross and feast on human flesh in an orgy of death and slaughter. There are few survivors and little warning as the Fire-Axe’s horde sweeps down into the Heartland of Rashmen. The war has begun with a crushing defeat for Rashemen. Award 3,200 XP for this impressive feat.

    Overall, the Knot did very well and I was pretty impressed by the resourcefulness of my players. As a standard feature of the way I master games, I do not extend tips or helping hands to my players, believing them to be adults who can fail or succeed by their own measures. So I was quite surprised to see the group take down Balentyne so effectively.

    In the end, the Knot succeeded in doing what had never been done before, tearing down the mighty Immaskari fortress of Balentyne:

    [​IMG]

    Among fyrra Havenlyn's things, the Knot found a record of his family tree. One name was mysteriously torn out of the pages...

    When Cardinal Thorn's handmaiden Tiadora (see the character gallery) finally arrived, she was very pleased with the group. She gave them a gift of 10 pounds of platinum and a small hand-written note from Thorn:

    "Our lord smiles upon your success. Here is a token of my esteem. Use it to rest, recover and strengthen yourselves. Other commands will come when the Knot is needed. Your work has just begun.– A."

    She also brought them each two slaves, and told them they would need to lay low for a while, while the horde took the fight to Rashemen. Thorn could not afford revealing Asmodeus' hand in this, and thus the group was given one year's leave before their service is again required.




    Book 2 - Call Forth Darkness
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    Show Spoiler
    Summary of Session #6
    Show Spoiler
    The year's leave was used for "downtime" where the characters pursued individual goals. The players spent their time quite differently:

    Worm was lost in the wilderness of Rashemen, searching for his mother. He was then cursed by Asmodeus for an inappropriate sacrifice. However, he did learn the name "Arcturia" after searching for a way to become one with the worms.

    Jandar and Viktor visited the Yutak-tribe, led by the young chieftain White Tusk that they had met sailing up the Ashane. Hunting and feasting with the tribe, the two brought them weapons and luxuries, and slowly inflitrated the tribe.

    Solomon found, through his search, more of the secrets that would make him lich. In effect, he got 3/4 of the way to obtaining all rituals needed for the process. He also found out that the transmutation would be quite expensive.

    Tareth went to Thesk to search for a suitable base of operations, but returned empty-handed. However, in Rashemen he heard of the forsaken Citadel Rashemaar, and decided to use the next period of leave for investigations of that fortress.

    Durlar returned to Thay and through political machinations succeeded in becoming lieutenant in the Black Flame Zealots.

    When the group gathered again, they were approached by Tiadora and given this document, detailing their mission for Book 2:

    [​IMG]
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    Having read the document, the group sailed with Tiadora to the small town of Farholde. On the way, Tiadora ravaged many smaller towns.

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    After a run-in with Elise Zadaria and The Seventh Knot, the group charmed the local Thayan baron, Baron Vandermir.

    [​IMG]

    Farholde is a small town situated on the border between Thay and Rashemen. The Rashemi part of the area is led by a fyrra and his hathrans. However they maintain a somewhat neutral relationsship with Vandermir and his enclave of Thayans.

    Vandermir was not happy with the group's arrival. An old Asmodeus-worshipper himself, he knew that the group's arrival was a way for Thorn to pressure him into compliance. Vandermir showed the Ninth Knot 'The Black Exchange', a black market in the Underdark situated not far from his mansion. Here, the group made dealings with drow and illithid. After this, they found the room of the old elvish Pathfinder named in the message from Thorn. They also found his map detailing the Caer Bryar.

    [​IMG]

    They went to The Horn of Abaddon where they were met by a treant by the name of Jurak, who attempted to fend off the intruders.

    Once defeated, the group entered the caves of the Horn and took control over a resident Boggard-tribe named the Banewogs, led by chieftain Kumanda Slays-Nine-Men and their shaman Zikomo Hears-the-Father.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The Banewogs worshipped Dagon, and The Ninth Knot convinced the critters that this demon's ressurection was the reason the group arrived to the Horn.

    In the Horn's caves, they found the corpse of one R. Kappelbrenner - an old priest of Talona. By his side lay a ritual called The Dirges of Apollyon, a ritual which postulated that 666 prayers spread out over 222 days would call back Vetra-Kali Eats-The-Eyes from the Void.

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    Conducting further search, the group was assaulted by the lillend Calliastae and her cadre of fey elf worshippers. The group defeated Calliastae after an extremely taxing battle, but the lillend herself managed to flee.

    [​IMG]

    Now, The Ninth Knot prepared to build up the fortifications of the Horn heavily. They still needed to explore the upper levels, and after that their plan was to fortify the Horn with traps, wild beasts, monsters and guards. Then they would start the Dirges of Apollyon and wake Vetra-Kali Eats-the-Eyes.


    Summary of Session #7
    Show Spoiler
    The most uneventful session yet. The group funished their new location - The Horn of Abaddon - and killed a lightning elemental. At first they whined and almost panicked ("This thing is insane, Grunker, we'll never beat it!"), but sure enough, they took it down without a single loss. Pussies. Also, Solomon learned quite a few rituals for the summoning of otherworldly entities to protect the horn.

    During the next session they must finish the fortification of the horn, before they start the ritual to summon Vetra-Kali Eats-The-Eyes.


    Summary of Session #8, Part I
    Show Spoiler
    This time, the group finished a strong fortification of the Horn. They set guard-posts up, manifested traps, fixed an alchemical golem, charmed a dire tiger for protection, enslaved and bound demons to their service and much more. In a manner of months, the Horn of Abaddon was a bona-fide, well-guarded dungeon with a functioning inn, acolytes' chambers, a drow high priestess with a small shrine to Lolth and other stuff.

    Then, the group sacrificed the priest and started the summoning...


    Interlude: Mamuska Narration #3
    Show Spoiler
    The boy's eyes turned as large as millstones. "What happened then, mamuska? What happened when they sacrificed the priest?"

    The grandmother's face was carved in stone, deadly serious. She drew a large breath, and when the air left her mouth it came out in the form of foreboding words:

    "The Horn burned, babu. Throughout the entirety of Caer Bryr, a frozen voice sounded from The Abyss: "KAZARA VO!" - - "I HEAR". Like a giant, unholy, guiding star, ghostly green shades flamed up towards the sky from the Horn, and a beam of dark-green energy struck the firmament from the tip of the Horn. All the overgrowth that had hidden the Horn from plain sight was burned away in but a glimpse of murky illumination. The Horn was revealed in all its demonic glory. Sinister runes carved in the stonework began to glow furiously. Malicious spirits and dark telthors danced outside the Horn - laughing in delight. The earth shook and even in Farholde they could feel the shock."

    The boy almost forgot to inhale in sheer excitement. The grandmother continued: "After a while, the flamedance was over. The Horn glowed with a continuing, green fire. Everyone in Farholde saw the eruption. Everyone could point strangers towards the Horn."

    The boy gulped. The grandmother finished: "And the next morning, these words sounded from all lips in Farholde: "As sure a my Grandfather's death I say: evil has awakened in the Caer Bryr."


    Summary of Session #8, Part II
    Show Spoiler
    This session, the clock officially started ticking. The group was gathered for three rituals a day in the sancitity of the Horn of Abaddon's Inner Sanctum, preparing for the return of an archdemon. Here are some highlights from the first weeks:

    Week 1: The group finished the first prayer and awoke the Horn of Abaddon.

    Week 2: The first adventuring party came to Farholde. The poor newbies were slaughtered at the hands of minions and traps, much to the delight of our villains. Here's how they looked pre-flaming-death:

    [​IMG]

    Except switch out the Western-looking nun with a young Ethran (an apprentice Hathran).

    Week 3: Farholde wisened up to the fact that they were missing their last remaining Hathran who was supposed to stay behind and lead in the absence of the town's Fyrra and elder Hathran, who were off to war with Sakkarot Fire-Axe.

    Week 4: The Seventh Knot (now also known as The White Ravens) slaughtered an adventuring party before it reached the Horn.

    Week 5: Bethaniel and Darius Dandra - two moonbrothers (werewolf priests of the lunar godesss Selûne) - attacked the Horn. They managed to take a decent bite out of it before being slaughtered by the alchemical golem's blasts of acid and lightning.

    Week 6: The Ninth Knot, with the assistance of their druid Worm, managed to force a couple of Assassin Vines into their service, which they promptly assigned to the caves.

    Week 7: Baron Vandermir held a ball. Durlar and Jandar were in attendance. Durlar spent most of his time talking to a Calishite merchant from the Mulhorandi capital of Skuld, by the name of Khalili:

    [​IMG]

    while Jandar talked to a representative from The Red Wizards about doing dealings with The Ninth Knot in the future.

    Week 8: Traya DeMarco and her well-trained adventuring party "Traya's Raiders" arrived to the Horn. The group had tightened their security since the attack of the moondogs, and the raiders did not stand a chance.

    Week 9: Sakkarot Fire-Axe raged through Rashemen and tore down another fort. Much to the Rashemi population's surprise, a mighty Hathran ritual failed to stop the raging horde. Eye-witnesses told tales of mysterious polar bears raised on their hind legs, chanting on the mounting tops. These reports could not be confirmed, but the Hathrans report that something indeed did interfere with their castings... the red wizards, perhaps?

    Week 9 (still): In Farholde, The Seventh Knot frightened a party of adventurers by telling lies (well, half-truths...) about the dangers of the Horn.

    Week 10: During this week, the adventure had slated One-Eye - the mighty dire tiger - to eat a bunch of boggards. However, Worm and Jandar had already charmed the gruesome animal and made it part of the Horn's protection.

    Week 11: Elise Zadaria, leader of The Seventh Knot, sent a message to the Horn, warning them that rumors of a Silver Dragon had spread in Farholde.

    Week 12: An inquisitor from Mulhorand's church of Osiris:

    [​IMG]

    was joined by a cadre of other priests from Mulhorand and this group fought their way throughout the Horn. As an experienced party with walking, breathing Gods on their side, the party managed to do much damage. They dismantled traps and killed many minions, before they were finally slain by the Horn's two Ceustodaemons: Hexor and Vexor.

    Throughout these proceedings, the group managed to have one of their Black Flame Zealot lieutenants infiltrate an adventuring party led by fyrra Valin Darian - fyrra of Farholde and one of The Victor's heirs. They tried to gather information about whether he was about to attack the Horn.


    Summary of Session #9
    Show Spoiler
    We continue where we left off, with highlights from each week. During the most of this session, Grumblejack and his band of robbers spread terror throughout the road systems of Farholde.

    Week 13: A messenger disappeared, and The Ninth Knot suspected The Seventh Knot of withholding information on purpose. They did not seek out this messenger and failed to find out that the reasons their minions and messengers kept disappaearing was because of a Hanged Man's Tree which was eating and killing people in the Caer Bryr.

    Week 14: Ezekiel, a steadfast priest of the Triad, started inflaming the population of Farholde to gather in battle against the Horn. The Ninth Knot sent White Tusk, disguised as Ezekiel, to the orphanage of Farholde where he killed some children and ate their hearts. Ezekiel was driven out of town in the following lynching.

    Week 15: On the 111th day, The Ninth Knot conducted the second sacrifice - a true believer of the Triad. Her chest was ripped open by Solomon Crow. An icy voice was heard throughout the Horn: "TEZATHRA VO -- I SEE."

    Week 16: The many horrors in the Horn awoke a nightmare of ashe and cinders. The group's cohorts killed the aberration with the help of Worm and Ezra.

    Week 17: A gang war erupted between Thatcher's Boys, the local gang of thugs in Farholde, and the orphanage. The group lost Joseph Calls-Fire-From-Water when they sent the lone shaman to attempt to enact diplomacy to calm the tensions.

    Week 18: The Verdant Banner - an extremely well-prepared group of adventurers - attacked the Horn. They killed many guards and destroyed many traps. They almost managed to steal The Eyes of Vetra-Kali, but while four members of The Ninth Knot kept the ritual going, the last two succeeded in killing the adventurers with the help of some cohorts. On the bodies of The Verdant Banner, the Ninth Knot finds the diary of their leader, Fineas, which contained evidence that The Seventh Knot had betrayed Asmodeus to Levistus - Lord of the Seventh layer of Hell. The ninth decide that Elise and her white ravens must die. Get the diary here or in the OP (under 'handouts').

    Week 19. A boggard by the name of Juko Five-Croaks sought out the leaders of the Horn and asked for piles of money for weapons and food. The Ninth Knot partly give in and give him some weapons and some better food. Rumours start spreading that the leaders are getting soft.

    Other exciting happenings during this session include Jandar defeating the berserker Tragolf the Unhappy:

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    Tragolf was the current husband of Jandar's old woman Urillen, who had sought out Jandar to settle a debt which eluded Jandar.

    Also, Semmemon - one of the heads of the Zhentarim - sought out Viktor (who works for the Zhentarim) to hear how his task was coming along. In the process, Semmemon was insulted by Solomon.

    Worm was contacted by The Slumbering Coven who demanded that he should travel to Coveya Kurg'Annis as soon as possible to be informed of the debt he owes them.


    Summary of Session #10
    Show Spoiler
    We start where we left of, during Week 19 of the ritual in The Horn of Abaddon.

    Week 19, later in the day: The group sent a falsified letter to fyrra Valin Darian, the heir to the Victor - and his berserkers from Alerion. The letter stated that the cause of the evils in the Horn was a group called "The White Ravens" which could be found in Farholde's inn. Valin and his men sought out the seventh knot and attempted to discover the truth. In the middle of the conversation between Valin Darian and Elise Zadaria, an agent of The Ninth Knot entered the inn and shouted "FOR ELISE ZADARIA AND THE WHITE RAVENS!" The agent then proceeded to attack Valin. Battle ensued. Valin killed the agent, lost two of his own men, and withdrew, so as to not lose more resources for the upcoming battle against the Horn. In the same moment, Solomon Crowe was unknowingly teleported directly into the Inn by an unknown mage. Battle broke out between him and The Seventh Knot. While this was happening, Semmemon teleported into the Horn and met with The Ninth Knot:

    [​IMG]

    The zhentarim officer explained that Solomon was currently being punished for his transgression against Semmemon the last time the two met. Semmemon is not without mercy, however, and he offered the group a chance to save their comrade, if they accept responsibility for Viktor's due to the Zhentarim. The group accepted and was teleported to The Auld Briarhall - Farholde's inn. Here, they fought an epic battle with The Seventh Knot and emerged victorious - barely. They took Dostan Alfson and Elise Zadaria prisoner, killing the rest of the Knot's members. Elise promised to sign a pact if they let her live. Onni - the leader of the child gang running the orphanage - suggested that the group hire him and the kids. For payment, he demanded that the group deliver Thatcher from 'Thatcher's Thugs.' The group accepted, and Thatcher was killed.

    Week 20: One of the mighties Wychlaran in the land - Sheva Whitefeather of Mulsantir - sent spies to the Horn because she was suspicious of what is going on, but wanted her fears confirmed before acting. The Ninth Knot intercepted this info through a warning sent by Baron Vandermir. They then sent their minions to take care of the spies. The minions succeed.

    Week 21: Crime in Farholde was on the rise after the local fyrra was killed in the Battle of Lorringsgate against Sakkarot Fire-Axe's horde. The thayan population, sensing that the Rashemi government of the town is weakening, took advantage of this. Grumblejack and his band of robbers thrived as a result.

    Week 22: Khalili, an influential calishite merchant from a guild in the Mulhorandi capital of Skuld, contacted The Ninth Knot and asked for their assistance to eliminate a couple of competitors. Over the next few weeks, the minions of The Ninth Knot assassinated different merchant leaders around The Golden Way from Thesk to Rashemen.

    Week 23: The silver dragon that The Ninth Knot has heard rumors of, attacked Vandermir's mansion. The knot managed to save the baron, though he lost all that he owns (including his men) to the beast.

    Week 24: A bittersweet fair came to Farholde. The population was unable to really enjoy it. Solomon Crowe was sought out by a Thayan Knight by the name of 'Skull'. Skull claimed to be sent from Szass Tam himself to assist the young wizard.

    Week 25: Fyrra Valin Darian and his men had finally had enough. They gathered a small army of 50 berserkers and assorted riff-raff and rode against the Horn. The Ninth Knot was prepared, however, due to their spy in Darian's ranks. 70 minions were lying in waiting in an ambush and attacked the army from behind, while a small force clashed with their front. Darian and his army were defeated in what was to be called 'The Battle of the Horn'. The fyrra himself was taken prisoner. Raimon the Wise - one of the Ninth Knots cohorts - dies in the battle.

    Week 26: Four Will O' Wisps were drawn to the Horn due to its malicious energies. They ate and killed every last boggard in the Horn, before Viktor talked them into taking residence in the meditation chamber. The Ninth Knot also agreed to provide them with weekly sacrifices.

    Week 27: Trithraxus, a gigantic Gorgimera, attacked the Horn. Solomon talked it into guarding the caves instead. There, it drove out worm, who in his anger seized Solomon's room and... well... "desecrated" it (yep, he literally took a dump in Solomon's bed). Viktor talked Trithraxus into letting Worm stay in his cave.

    Week 28: Grumblejack was brought to the Horn's inner sanctum to guard the ritual. Here, he got dizzy, fainted, and his horns grew out. It became apparant that he had fiendish blood, and the inner sanctum drew out his powers.

    Week 29: It was quiet... too quiet.

    Week 30: It was quiet... too quiet.

    Week 31: It was quiet... too quiet.

    Day 217, at the evening ritual: The Horn shook. The seal that bound Vetra-Kali became weaker, and planar energies smashed into every corner of the Horn. The following rooms were affected (see the map of the Horn):

    1-9: Half of "The Death's Head", the room that The Ninth Knot has refurbished into an inn, collapsed. Many minions were flung into the open air and spiraled into their deaths.

    1-16: The fountain blew up in a cascade of energy-infused water and buried the entire first floor in water reaching to a regular-sized man's knees.

    1-23: The floor between 2-1 and 1-23 collapsed and killed several guards.

    2-2: The walls in the room exploded and killed several mercenaries.

    2-5: Metal bars twisted and bent, and five donkeys were let loose and stormed through the Horn.

    2-15: A giant stone rained down from the ceiling and crushed one of the orphanage kids.

    2-20: The pillar marked 'B' collapsed into the dobbelt-doors. The guards were crushed.

    3-1: The archway to the sanctum collapsed and created a giant, gabing hole in the side of the Horn.

    3-2: The bended, north-western wall collapsed and opened a new entrance into 3-13.

    3-7: The room was completely destroyed and killed a large gathering of mercenaries.

    3-10: All cell-doors in the prison popped open. Eight imprisoned peasants died during their escape, while a row of berserkers and other peasants managed to escape from the Horn. Others are caught. In an act of blind luck or brilliant foresight, Jandar of Kumar had chained fyrra Valin Darian to the wall, and the open cell-door remained useless to him.

    3-11: The northern wall melted away and fell into the valley under the Horn, creating a new entrance into the Horn.

    S-1: The wall that seperated S-1 from B split down the middle.

    After these catastrophies, The Ninth Knot only had 25 minions left in its employ.

    Day 217, during the midnight ritual: An avoral used the planar connection that The Ninth Knot was creating into the prison of Vetra-Kali to free-ride into the Horn and attack the group. Four of the group's members handled the ritual while two others helped the cohorts win the fight. Worm summoned an owlbear that grappled the Avoral and managed to keep it from fetching its allies - 8 giant owls - to assist it. Onni lost his life, but was reincarnated by Worm.

    Day 218, during the afternoon: The colossal mass of energy that was gathered in the Horn awoke the ground itself. The mud in the caverns beneath the horn came to life as a giant elemental. The Ninth Knot managed to dispatch it.

    Day 219, right as the midnight ritual is about to start: A terrible Leng spider used the portal that the knot was opening to send 6 Tindalos hounds in to exterminate the group:

    The Leng spider planned to use the Horn as its own lair. Once again, the group had to leave 4 members to conduct the ritual while two and a group of cohorts killed the hounds. Onni lost his life a second time, this time remaining dead.


    Summary of Session #11
    Show Spoiler
    Day 220, right after sunrise: Argossarian, the silver dragon, attacked the Horn:

    [​IMG]

    Argossarian ate and killed almost every last minion in the Horn of Abaddon, and then confronted the group. The group was well-prepared for the assault however, and fiery spells combined with oil-drenched ballistas spelled death for mighty Argossarian. The dragon managed to eat into The Ninth Knot's resources, however.

    Day 221: The group was attacked by the hungering Wytchlights - the Will O' Wisps betrayed them to feast at the energies in the Sanctum. After defeating them, the group was once again betrayed, this time by Ezra Thrice-Damned and her army of wraiths. Ezra was also defeated. Finally, Trithraxus also betrayed the group, but was swiftly dealt with. The Ninth Knot was pressured to its breaking point by the continued attacks.

    Day 222, sunrise: without the group being fully healed and prepared, they were attacked by the adventuring party 'The Sons of Balentyne.' This incredibly well-pepared party consisted of Rischedsson Havelyn - the son of Risched Havelyn (whom you'll recall was the fyrra at Balentyne) and his allies. Among these were his scout Erika "The Falconeer" Varning, the daughter of Captain Varning from Balentyne, Meinhard "Mad Meinhard" Mott, a violent berserker and Carthus Donnagin, a shaman from Aldencross. In a battle of epic proportions, the group almost fell. During the battle, Solomon's cohort 'Skull' betrayed his master with a greeting from 'Arkos' - Solomon's former master. The well-prepared group killed two members of The Ninth Knot and turned a third into stone. Durlar and Worm died, while Solomon was petrified. In the battle's most desperate seconds where everything seemed in the balance, Jandar of Kumar managed to force Rischedsson Havelyn onto one of the massive ballistas in the Horn's innermost chambers. Jandar did hesitate, but granted Rischedsson a first class ticket to eternity. This became the turning point which allowed the remaining members of The Ninth Knot to conquer The Sons of Balentyne. The group quickly procured a scroll to save Solomon Crowe from his stony prison.

    Day 222, twilight: Solomon Crowe led the last sacrifice - that of fyrra Valin Darian, the last heir of the victor, Markadian V. When Solomon ripped the still-beating heart from the chest of Darian and sacrificed it to Vetra-Kali, the silver seal in the Inner Sanctum exploded into bits and pieces with a furious blast. The 4 living members of The Ninth Knot are blown to the ground - Durlar was killed by the massive quake while the remaining three members barely survived. From a hole beyond the darkness, the last cry of Vetra-Kali was heard: "ZA'VO!" --- "I AM!" The demon emerged and The Ninth Knot took care to proceed as the ritualastic scriptures demanded. First, they gave Vetra-Kali the first eye and asked for safety and mercy. Then, they asked for The Tears of Achlys. Their third and final wish was to have the dead members of the group ressurected. The demonic lord accepted the wishes of the group and disappeared into Rashemen's night, to spread evil and chaos...

    After the deed was done, the group contacted Tiadora and reported their success. She delivered them the next task: go to Thesk, to the city of Ghastenhall. Meet a man named Barnabus Thrane. Help him, and then gather an army stronger than they've ever had. Use it to invade the Valley of Valtaerna - a vale where a large number of Cormyrian Lathander-worshippers are waiting to assist Rashemen in the war.

    Finally, Tiadora handed them a letter from Thorn and rewarded them greatly. The letter describes their next task in detail:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Small epilogue on Book 2: like with the infiltration of Balentyne, there was a subtle point system monitoring the success of the PCs in defending the Horn. When they did things to improve the security of the Horn, or when they dealt with security threats, they earned "Security Points" (SP). Here are the possible outcomes:

    0-9 SPs: Ineffctual Security
    10-19 SPs: Flawed Security
    20-29 SPs: Adequate Security
    30-39 SPs: Effctive Security
    40+ SPs: Amazing Security

    The team managed to gather 41 SPs, which was pretty impressive. Along with their results in Balentyne, you might be concerned that The Ninth Knot are handling things a bit too well... but don't worry. Things are going to get worse...


    Book 3 - Tears of the Blessed
    [​IMG]

    Show Spoiler
    Summary of Session #12
    Show Spoiler
    The group read Thorn's letter and traveled towards Thesk to the free city of Ghastenhall. Ghastenhall is a small duchy in Thesk, and a city free from monarchic reign. The group soon moved under the radar of the local authorities. Here, they spent some leisure time to take in the city's renaissance-like civilization. Out of the group's members, those who had never been outside of Rashemen awere the most surprised and intriguied by what the city had to offer. The group tried spicy fish and cooked exotics, weird markets with all sorts of mysteries, fresh vegetables and... more "cultural" experiences such as "The Golden Palace", Ghastenhall's largest casino and whore-house, located within the city's red district.

    The Ninth Knot also got down to business and met with Barnabus Thrane - The Third Knot:

    [​IMG]

    Barnabus gladly received The Tears of Achlys and promised to deliver them to agents who would spread the disease in Immilmar - the capital of Rashemen.

    The war so far has gone well for the nine knots, and Barnabus had news of Sakkarot's victories. The list of these grew long: Balentyne, Aldencross, Ambryl, Tarrington Fields, Lorringsgate and other small Rashemi villages. Rashemen's berskerkers and hathrans had, so far, displayed some measure of overconfidence as they still believed the attacks to be an abnormally coordinated monster group. Some, however, were suspecting Thayan foul play. Tiadora had done her best to make sure that the Fire-Axe had a constant stream of new mercenaries and monsters at his disposal. The efforts of the hathrans were furthermore thwarted by the mysterious Naatanuks (those sentient polar bears serving under Sakkarot) and the magics of Thorn and his cabal of Asmodeus-worshippers, who had so far managed to remain hidden from the hathrans, who in turn blamed Thayan agents for their magic failures.

    The Ninth Knot moved into their new base in Ghastenhall - the Crowley Mansion. Here, they made no efforts to decorate the place except that they set up a somewhat functional War Room.

    After this, they each spent their downtime for different things:

    - Jandar went to the capital of Immilmar under cover, to find his former love Urillen. In Immilmar, he discovered that Urillen had left to the far north-east of Rashemen, and that she seemed tight-lipped and determined when she did so.

    - Worm traveled to Coveya Kurg'Annis and was allowed before The Slumbering Coven. They gave him a dreamcatcher and orders to gather special dreams.

    - Viktor and Tareth traveled far to the South of Rashemen, to Citadel Rashemaar. They found that it housed a throng of goblinoids as well as a striking, black-haired orcish woman and the citadel's current "lord": Chaul. A gigantic, fat monsterwoman of some type. They made a deal with her to return with weapons in return for her aid.

    The orcish woman, Durakh Hann:

    [​IMG]

    The monsterwoman, Chaul:

    [​IMG]

    - Solomon got permission to construct a Thayan enclave in Farholde. The citizens had lost patience with Rashemi rule anyway. He also "forgave" Skull in return for the drow's devotion to Solomon.

    - Durlar found out that the 'Ordo Purgatorio' that he had sought could be found in The High Forest of the West.

    After their downtime they were sought out by Tiadora, who teleported them to Lorringsgate, where they met with a happy Fire-Axe. He thanked them for the visit and for their help at Balentyne, shouting out their names to his horde and announcing them as equals.

    His humour was quickly worsened when Tiadora revealed that the group had need of a part of his army for their own endeavours. Unwillingly, Sakkarot agreed. In Lorringsgate, the group picked up more officers: the first, an Oni by the name of Raiju the Exile. The second a former field marshal and bodyguard for the Iron Lord of Rashemen himself: Thydrim Yvargg. A man by the name of Cyrus Steel.

    [​IMG]


    Summary of Session #13
    Show Spoiler
    This session was relatively short and quiet. The Ninth Knot went to work gathering an army.

    During the course of this session, the group met a so-called 'harrower', a special form of seer, who used her magic deck of cards to give them a reading.

    (In the actual game, we used a special set of Harrow Cards from Paizo, which I got for almost nothing, to do the Harrowing. The cards are pretty nice as are the rules governing them (they have ingame effects), and we're going to use the deck much more.)

    She gave this reading to each player:

    - The harrower told Durlar that "love from an enemy will set him free or make him fall."

    - The harrower told Solomon that Skull's resistance to mind control would be the killing blow or the saving grace for the young wizard.

    - The harrower told Viktor that someone close to him would betray him.

    - The harrower told Tareth that his powers have the potential to kill himself as well as his enemies.

    - The harrower told Worm that his body and mind was not his own, and to watch out for motherly love.

    - The harrower gave Jandar the most dire reading of all: the probability that he would remembered by history is frighteningly small. If he wishes to be remembered, he must rule over a large area, and the final test will be on his mental capacity and not his physical abilities.

    The harrower also tasked them to find a set of especially powerful Harrow cards within the Vale of Valtaerna. With those, much more powerful readings could be given.

    After this, the group met Dessiter, a contract devil from the Iron City of Dis, the second layer of Hell:

    [​IMG]

    Dessiter explained to them that he had taken an interest in their work for Asmodeus, and he offered them a couple of gigantic Nessian Warhounds, if they would sign a pact to kill the leader of Valtaerna. The group accepted.

    The group spent the rest of the session looking for soldiers. Tareth and Viktor went to Chaul in Citadel Rashemaar:

    [​IMG]

    and hired some of them for the battle. Chaul sent Durakh Hann:

    [​IMG]

    her orcish consort, to lead a small amount of troops. As payment, Chaul received weapons and food.

    The group also sent word to their troops at the Yutak-tribe.

    Durlar met with the prince of Ghastenhall's underworld, a vampire named Gaius Vestromo:

    [​IMG]

    He provided the group with a number of vampire spawn. In return, the group agreed to find the Chalice of Aurelius Vestromo, a powerful artifact, and return it to Gaius.

    The group also spent a large amount of time searching for an infamous entrace to The Underdark. They had little time left before they must attack Valtaerna... and they still needed to send scouts to the place to take a look at the valley, as well as its entrace: a watchtower called Saintsbridge.


    Summary of Session #14
    Show Spoiler
    This session began with Worm's mother attempting to wrest control over Worm's body. During a meditation in a magic chamber of the Horn of Abaddon, Worm had allowed his mother a backdoor into his mind, which he now paid the price for. To assist the group with Worm's troubles, Dessiter offered three options:

    1) Attempt to heal Worm with group's own abilities.

    2) Kill Worm.

    3) Let Dessiter help by inserting a third, more forceful entity in Worm, to ensure stability between Worm and his mother.

    The group chose the last option and was visited by Halvvard, a diabolist which now uses Worm's body as a vasal to conduct the affairs of Asmodeus. Both Worm and Worm's mother are still within Worm, contained by Halvvards mental energy. As long as it holds, the group can breathe easy.

    Furthermore, the ninth knot finally found the entrance to the Underdark that they had been searching for. Beneath it they found Zhanson Kryr, a duergar city. Here they convinced a duergar king to send his sixth son and 100 warriors to help take the vale of Valtaerna.

    After this, the group gave their army the orders to march on Saintsbridge - the wall between Valtaerna and Thesk:

    [​IMG]

    FINALLY my group started failing. The Ninth Knot completely forgot to approach stealthily and shroud their alignment, which got the Saintsbridge's guardians (chief among them two Lammasu guardians) to deny them access. Later, the group attempted a more direct plan: a battle-focused infiltration of Saintsbridge. This also failed, and only the timely arrival of Raiju and Grumblejack protected the ninth knot from total defeat.

    Now, the group faced a terrible battle. With three members dead and Tareth badly hurt, Durlar, Jandar, Raiju and Grumblejack must attempt to kill the remaning Lammasu, a watch captain and two clay golems. Otherwise, the entire campaign against Rashemen will meet a dire end...


    Summary of Session #15, Part I
    Show Spoiler
    By a blend of sheer luck, well-executed spells and a lot of hardwork from Grumblejack and Raiju, the group emerged victorious, just barely. Three members dead, the group's overtaking of Valtaerna was hanging by a thread even before it began. To procede, they implored Tiadora to assist them. With a snide comment on how the group was supposed to be self-sufficient, she accepted and called in some favors with a few devils, on the terms that had to offer a powerful, willing soul in return. The group deliberated for a few minutes and finally offered up Skull, Solomon's cohort. Skull had no chance but to willingly submit due to his pledge to Solomon. Solomon lost his cohort. In return for Skull's soul, Tiadora called in the devil favors and ressurected the group's dead members. She warned them, however, that it wouldn't be so easy the next time...

    When their minions arrived, the group employed their duergar wizards to cloak Saintsbridge in a field of illusion. Enough to hide the defeat of Saintsbridge from the rest of Valtaerna for long enough that the group could get some needed rest. After their rest, the group proceeded to their largest battle yet: the fight to take Valtaerna.


    Interlude - Mamuska Narration #4
    Show Spoiler
    "You still haven't told me anything about Valtaerna, mamuska", the young boy said.

    The grandmother smiled. "The day before the battle, Valtaerna was the very picture of peace. It was the first day of winter. A light blanket of new-fallen snow could not hide the wild nature of the vale. Most of the vale was forest. Not the mighty spruce and ferns of Rashemen, but broadleafed oak and beech. Perfect and giant trees unlike any found elsewhere on Faerûn stood in that valley. They swallowed the light of Valtaerna and cast a golden shade over everything."

    Squirrels and small deer patroled the clearings of the vale, and lived like they always had. Birds flew in formation throughout the isolated dale, and many species could be found there, which existed nowhere else. A small paradise. Most citizens in the vale had no time for hunting and the like, so nature was primal and the animals acted as Lathander willed it: true to their nature."

    The grandmother wiped a single tear from the face of the boy. "There there, babu. Death is natural, and the dead that fell in Valtaerna do not seek sorrow. They have had enough of such."

    She sighed and continued.

    "Most of the citizens of Valtaerna were priests and their assistants, with no time to hunt. What food they could not pluk from the trees was brought in by trade caravans from Ghastenhall. The vale and the priesthood was not - as civilization and nature is in so many places today - in opposition. There was a harmonic symbionce in the vale.

    In the center of Valtaerna one could see the beautiful river Parynthus, which was fed with mountain-melted water and was chock-full of fish. At the northern end of the vale, large waterfalls flowed from Mount Lanthadius. They charged into the valley and nutured the life there. Fish and water meant birds of all species - hawks, eagles and even aarakockra. But also Valtaernian birds of prey - mountainous birds with feathers of vibrating red."

    The boy's smile was returning.

    "All in all, Valtaerna was a jewel, babu. It was an oasis of piece and piety near Rashemen. When one felt weighed down by the greed of Ghastenhall or the trials of The Golden Way, one could arrange a pilgrimage to Valtaerna. Settle there for a while. Wash the uncleaniness from one's soul. With the presence of the purple dragons of Cormyr, one was guaranteed protection from the greedy eyes of other nations.

    In the shadow of the Mountain of the Phoenix, there was safety in the fact that Lathander loved all of creation."

    The grandmother's words trailed off, as her eyes turned sad.

    "So it was in the Vale of Valtaerna for many, many years... and so it is no more.


    Summary of Session #15, Part II
    Show Spoiler
    The battle was to be brutal and last nearly 1½ days. The group had prepared well in terms of their army, but was less prepared in terms of tactical decisions. That paradox of preparation meant a gruesome and terrible battle. The following highlights took place during the excrutiating hours during which Valtaerna was under siege:

    1: In the middle of the first fights, the ninth knot's goblins were mowed down by a heavy cavalry of Purple Dragons (elite forces in the Cormyrian army). To solve the problem, the ninth knot sent Raiju and a small group of vampire spawn. These solved the problem effectively, flying around the cavalry and killing their horses.

    2: On a small hill, the army was hit by multiple explosions from Cormyrian war wizards (specially trained magicians from Cormyr). With a small group, the ninth knot itself attacked the position and killed the wizards, who nearly killed a member of the knot. During the battle they managed to capture the Cormyrian field marshal, who turned out to be Caladnei, the right hand of Queen Alusair Obarskyr (see the character gallery (EDIT: well, the character gallery of deceased characters, SPOILER ALERT):

    [​IMG]


    3: The group's army was scattered by a row of catapult stones.

    4: The army was attacked in the back by the ninth knot's small division of mercenaries. During their efforts to gather their army, the group errounesly believed a rumor that the duke of Ghastenhall wanted to take Valtaerna, and they contacted him for help. He promptly gave the group a division of mercenaries and instructed them to attack the army during the fighting. His efforts to warn Valtaerna failed, however, as it was intercepted by Tiadora. The small group of mercenaries managed to take a chunk out of the army before they were defeated.

    5: The army was halted by a platoon of dwarfs. The ninth knot threw a division of bugbears at the dwarves, led by Grumblejack. The dwarfs were ultimately conquered, but managed to kill many bugbears.

    6: The ninth knot clashed with a barricade which blocked them and their army for half a night, with sporadic fighting around it. At the barricade the group also fought a division of Lathander's athletes in hand-to-hand combat. The athletes escaped through a portal, but were later sought out and killed.

    7: The ninth knot managed to remove the barricade and avoided the traps on the other side. They crushed the remaining part of the Valternian army on the other side.

    8: On their way to the city of Sanctuary within Valtaerna - the ultimate goal of the group - the army fought its last major battle while the knot itself killed the guardians of the bridge into Sanctuary: two ironclad angels. After a hard-fought battle the group defeated them and takes the city. Solomon animates the two angelic corpses as skeletons.

    Sporadic battles continued far into the morning light and the next day, while the Ninth Knot's army hunted, killed and captured the last fugitives. All in all, the knot fought its way to 47 out of 55 possible victory points. As a GM, I felt they should have been awared less for their efforts due to some tactical failures, but like I said, I'm not one for tinkering much with the fundamental mechanics of the game, as I believe it to be an arbitrary judge. The final result of the battle was as follows:

    "Victory! But at a small cost. Nearly 75% of the bugbears are still alive, and your army rampages into Sanctum and burn the town to the ground. Your forces, bloodied and furious at the resistance they encountered, stampede to commit countless atrocities upon the citizens of Sanctum. However, due to solid leadership, the ninth knot rallies them quickly, and there are a fair number of survivors to use as the party sees fit. The rest of the army spreads terror throughout the vale, though some of its more unique locations apparantly remain hostile, as injured bugbears return with dead friends. Finally, the ninth knot regains control and takes stock. A few vampires are still alive, and also some of the other allied forces. All cohorts remain alive, though they have sustained griveous wounds. The Burning Tower (the ninth's knots Evil Organization) suffers a -1 penalty to Survival."


    Interlude - Mamuska Narration #5
    Show Spoiler
    The grandmother continued:

    "Yes, babu, so the vale looked, many years ago. Not today.

    That day, everything was changed. That day, Valtaerna belonged to The Knot of Thorns. That day, murderous monster tribes reigned in the woods, where they hunted the last remaining survivors from what would be called "The Slaughter at Saintsbridge." That day, vampires and dark dwarfs patrolled the night, hungry for blood and vengeance. That day, all was shadow and death.

    The day after the victory, winter came to Valtaerna. The snow fell thick and soon everything was white and grey. The roads into the vale became impossible to pass through. The winter cut off the vale from the world and in a season the vale was the playground of the knot. The sky darkened after the snowstorm, and even at noon the days were never brighter than summer evenings. The duergar could move freely around the vale. Even the vampires who had to avoid the absolute zenith could move about as they pleased for the rest of the day.

    Maybe it wasn't the hand of a dark God or the shadow play of a prince of hell which made it thus. Maybe it was simply the early signs of the coming of winter.

    Or maybe, just maybe, it was a sign that Asmodeus - for the first time in the game being played for Rashemen - revealed a tiny tooth in the corner of his mouth to let a slight smile play over his lips. A smile which would broaden much more before the war was over..."


    Summary of Session #16
    Show Spoiler
    Our villains settled in, in their newly acquired (and ruined, and burning) township of Sanctum, the town in the vale of Valtaerna. What was left of their monster army was on a bloodthirsty rampage through the town and the surrounding fields. Our villains had themselves a well-earned rest.

    One of the two remaining bugbear chieftains - Hekkarth Headtaker - suggested that the Knot should slay their enemies immediately and construct a bloody pyramid out of their skulls.

    [​IMG]

    The other surviving bugbear-chieftain, Shagoroth Nightmane, implored the villains to remain calm and interrogate the prisoners frist.

    [​IMG]

    The Ninth Knot accepted Nightmane's suggestion, much to the dismay of Headtaker. Nightmane spent the following days flaying, scaring and murdering the citizens of Sanctum in an attempt to squeeze all possible information out of them.

    Subsequently, the Ninth Knot set out to end the lives of every last survivor in Valtaerna. To begin with, they attempted to scale the Mountain of the Phoenix.

    The knot set sail to the mountain, but their attempts to scale it via magic were blocked by an anti-flight ward that sent them tumbling to the ground. When they finally dealt with the problem, they were engaged in combat with The-Flame-That-Sings, a peri angel.

    [​IMG]

    The knots won their battle with the angry angel, but had to return to Sanctum to rest. Their field-marshall Cyrus Steel showed them to the former residence of the mayor. Not extravagant luxury, but suitable. The next day, the group traveled back to the Mountain of the Phoenix to quench the first of three divine fires in the vale - the Guardian Flame - via the Desecration spell and a lot of unholy water. The day after that, they received information from Nightmane. He told them that the citizens of the township were all certain that an entity by the name of Ara Mathra would stop the knot. He also told them that Caladnei broke under his torture, and informed him that Cormyr suspects darker forces at work in Rashemen, though most still think the Red Wizards are to blame.

    In addition, Solomon Crowe used a necromantic spell to capture the soul of the Flame-That-Sings in a talismen and question it. Through this, the knot found out that a real phoenix lived on the top of the mountain. They prepared extensively for such a fight and left to kill the creature.

    [​IMG]

    On the top of the Mountain of the Phoenix, the Ninth Knot suffered their most desperate defeat so far. They barely scratched the might fire-bird before it killed to of them. The knot threw themselves over the side of the mountain to get away, and fled in all haste.

    They managed to escape with the corpse of Jandar of Kumar and raised him by paying handsomely for a scroll, as well as some healing for the negative consequences of the spell. Their resources were beginning to strain because of the lack of a divine spellcaster. The corpse of Durlar was burned to ashes by the phoenix, and the Ninth Knot deemed it necessary to broker another deal with the devil Dessiter. For this reason, the knot agreed to sell 130 souls from Sanctum to Desitter - among them the valuable soul of Caladnei. As a result, Durlar was returned to them.

    Subsequently, the Ninth Knot put aside the Phoenix for a while and instead journeyed down the river Aiden to attack the Cathedral of Lathander-Made-Manifest. On their way, the knot found the corpses of bugbears sent to scout earlier.

    In front of the Cathedral the knot found a labyrinth, and in front of this, they found a portal to The Happy Happy Hunting Grounds, one of the celestial planes. Here, they killed an angelic huntress by the name of Lea, and then proceeded into the labyrinth. The labyrinth was sprawling and huge, and it took the ninth's cunning to navigate through it. They killed a pack of hunting Blink Dogs and solved three riddles, after which they proceeded to the courtyard of the cathedral. Here, Jandar killed Halvard by releasing a trap, which cost the group another Raise Dead scroll and a few teleportation trips to Thay. They managed to quench the second sacred flame of Valtaerna - The Flame Beneficient.

    On the steps in front of the cathedral the knot killed three angels and then proceeded to the cathedral itself. Here, they opened the door to the Lord-Abbot's chambers and fought a lieutenant angel sent by the demigod Crysalis. They sent this emissary - Taranea of the Ghaele - back to the Seven Heavens.

    As you can see, Tears of the Blessed is our "dungeon crawl" book. The cathedral itself is a dungeon and there are many other fights throughout the vale awaiting our villains.


    Summary of Session #17
    Show Spoiler
    The session began as the group met Tiadora again, who had teleported into the Cathedral of Lathander-Made-Manifest, which the Ninth Knot was now delving through. Tiadora introduced the ninth to Slavoj Zizek, a luskanite merchant of ill repute, who would be the knot's newest member.

    After having added Slavoj to the party, the knot began delving further into the cathedral and its catacombs. Here, they found a bunch of tombs hiding oceans of secrets. They found magical objects, an artifact Harrow deck that they promised to find for the Harrower of Thesk, as well as records of the cathedral's history and more.

    Having done this amount of dungeon delving, the Ninth Knot finally found out that the cathedral's lord-abbot, Earnan MacCathlain, is planning to ressurect all good-aligned creatures that have ever died in the valley of Valtaerna. With this army of souls at his command, he would be unstoppable. Pressured by this new knowledge, the Ninth Knot resisted the urge to get some rest and pressed on through the catacombs. Earnan MacCathlain was not the only headache the ninth had to deal with, however, as many of the secrets they found in the catacombs mentioned a being named 'Ara Mathra' as someone with the capability to slay all evil.

    Further into the catacombs, the knot found a steel door with a lock the like of which Durlar had never seen. The knot decided to visit again later. The knot also defeated She-Who-Is-Forever-Silent, a high ranking deva child. Viktor ate her brain and cast the spell 'Absorb Mind' to recall the angel's memories. This partially succeeded, and among other things, Viktor found out that:

    - The phoenix ressurects when it dies, unless the knot can figure out the ritual to making it stay dead.
    - Earnan MacCathlain is praying further into the catacombs.
    - She-Who-Is-Forever-Silent was apparantly convinced that the knot would ultimately fall to the being known as 'Ara Mathra'.
    - The key to the locked steel door can be found in the catacombs.

    At this point, we must take a break from the trials of the Ninth Knot, as the city of Sanctum came under attack! The storm giant Anteus along with two Rocs and a horde of hippogriffs charged into the town to take it back from the clutches of evil. The Ninth Knot's cohorts:

    [​IMG]
    (click for larger version)

    had to fight for their lives along with Shagoroth Nightmane. The battle was hard and bestial, and the lieutenants had to expend nearly all of their resouces to fight the invaders. They finally manage to fend off Anteus and his army after they succesfully Charm one of the Rocs, but not without Shagoroth spending his 3 scrolls of Raise Dead with accompanying components of ridiculous worth. After this expenditure, the cohorts barely killed Anetus before he permanently slew Grumblejack, Raiju and the others.

    Back in the cathedral, the knot was met by three trials, which members of the cathedral's priesthood had to complete in order to become full members of the clergy. These trials now stopped the knot from progression further. The knot found the following clues to progressing:

    1: “Give not into greed for it rots the soul and withers the vine. Amongst the humble shall ye find the worthy.”

    2: “Despair ye mighty! For by your power and arrogance have ye fallen into darkness. Not amongst the lords of the earth but amongst the servants shall ye find the worthy.”

    3: “Beware thy enemy for he stalks you like a wicked serpent ready to consume ye with fire. The worthy knows his foe – his ways and tongues. Amongst those unafraid to speak the enemy’s name shall ye find the worthy.”

    After this, the knot faced each trial:

    I) First Trial of the Worthy. The knot entered a room with murals of everything from peasants to kings. Tempting the knot was an amulet of high value, which Jandar reached for without consideration. Nearly dying from having his soul sucked out by the amulent, Jandar staggered to his feet. The force of the spell in the amulet would have killed any other member of the party. After a LONG time, Halvard finally solved the first trial by using the records of the cathedral to track down the bones of some apprentice carpenters and bringing them to the room. A hidden door opened as a result.

    II) Second Trial of the Worthy. A painting of a grand king stood in this room, underneath which this text was written: "Attend my servants! Who is a greater lord than I?" The knot stated 'Lathander' in the Celestial tongue, and a hidden door opened.

    III) Third Trial of the Worthy. In this dark room, white letters were written upon the walls: "Who is thy enemy? Who is the lord of the nine? Know him as he knows himself or be consumed with fire." The knot knew the answer: Asmodeus. Before anyone stated this name, however, Halvard rushed and shouted 'Asmodai' - Asmodeus' name in Infernal. Having answered the riddle correctly, Halvard saved the knot from the fiery death that would have resulted from naming Asmodeus in the wrong tongue.

    Following this, the knot moved deeper into the catacombs and found a great ritual room. Here, they finally faced the lord-abbot of the Cathedral of Lathander-Made-Manifest: Earnan MacCathlain. Looking as though he had been expecting the ninth, Earnan readied himself for combat.

    [​IMG]

    And that's how the next session will begin!


    Summary of Session #18
    Show Spoiler
    MacCathlain was bathed in light, and in the blink of an eye the lord-abbot was blessed with divine force, granting him the benefit of many spells...

    ...specifically: greater spell immunity, freedom of movement, protection from energy, frightful aspect, true seeing, blade barrier, aid, align weapon (good), holy aura, divine power, righteous might, shield of dawn and dispel evil

    The Ninth Knot hurried to get up close and personal with the priest. Slavoj got in a lucky dispel magic, which peeled away one of MacCathlain's more important spells, the spell immunity. This made it possible for the group's casters to harm the priest. In the next couple of rounds, MacCathlain blinded and deafened most of the ninth via holy word, and used hymn of peace to make it difficult to attack him. However, after a few more rounds of combat the priest was heavily damaged. As he was about to heal himself, a few good saving throws and a couple of critical hits slew the lord-abbot before he managed to get the spell off.

    After this, the Ninth Knot desecrated MacCathlains corpse and stole his headband:

    [​IMG]

    In an atypical moment of impulsiveness, Durlar then hurried to a colossal vault door behind the dead priest. He was promptly attacked by the protectors of this vault: two iron golems, who killed the arcane trickster youth.

    The rest of the ninth could barely scrath the golems with their exhausted powers. Viktor Silvertongue, however, used a couple of his special skills to wear the golems down after many, many rounds of combat. Inside the vault, the Ninth Knot found a lot of general loot, as well as three unholy artifacts, locked away by Lathander's priesthood. These included:

    - The Stygian Mirror, a mirror imprisoning two bone devils, who can be bound to the service of whoever frees them.

    - The Chalice of Aurelius Vestromo, the chalice demanded by the vampire prince Gaius of Ghastenhall as payment for allying himself with the ninth.

    - The blade from the unholy avenger Helbrand. Currently the legendary sword is missing its hilt and pommel gem, but is still a powerful weapon:

    [​IMG]

    Having stopped MacCathlain's attempt to summon the martyrs, the Ninth Knot took a well-derserved rest and returned to Ghastenhall. Here, they sold a bunch of valuables and raised Durlar from the dead. Then, they visited the Harrower to deliver the deck they found in the catacombs of the Cathedral-of-Lathander-Made-Manifest.

    First, the harrower gave Slavoj an ordinary harrowing. He was told that power would surely come to him, but that neither political craftmanship or power would be instrumental in his ability to keep it. Instead, his skill in staying ahead of the opposition in terms of information would be key. The harrower also told him that all subjects he would ever gain would suffer under his rule.

    Then, the harrower gave the ninth their reward for having found the special harrow deck: a unique reading with these cards. The deck turned out to be a Harrow Deck of Many Things, and it had a couple of interesting effects:

    Solomon decided to draw four cards. Among other things, he spawned a set of clones within a 20-mile radius, who now haunt the red wizard.

    Durlar also chose to draw four cards. His clothes were made into a power magic item.

    Tareth drew four cards as well. He was infected with lycanthropy, becoming a werebear, and was permanently deafened.

    Viktor, a bit more conservative, drew only three cards. One of those was The Juggler, which allowed him to switch to attributes, gaining a +2 bonus to both.

    Slavoj drew four cards and was pretty lucky. He became a nobleman, received a ton of gold and gained a following of 9 extremely clumsy peasant slaves.

    Halvard was the most daring of the players, drawing five cards. He was reincarnated as a half-orc and contracted uncurable leprosy, turning the body of Worm even more twisted.

    Finally, the Ninth Knot prepared themselves for the fight with the phoenix Suchandra, which they are planning to get done first thing next session.


    Summary of Session #19, Part I
    Show Spoiler
    After a long period of preparation, the Ninth Knot initiated the final showdowns. The first was to seek out the phoenix Suchandra, who was dispatched fairly easily this time by a well-prepared knot. Protection against flames, cold-based attacks and well-planned tactics soon meant the Ninth Knot were victorious. A few of the group's members were bruised a bit, but none were near death. After this murder, the knot found a number of small and valuable firebird eggs, as well as one true phoenix egg. An invaluable artifact which the Ninth is now planning on selling to outlandish entities such as the genies in the City of Brass or a similar exotic market place.

    Following this victory, the Ninth Knot acquired the bones of Saint Macarius and used them to remove the Wall of Holy Fire seperating them from the inner sanctum of Valtaerna's cathedral. Here, they found the last living hero in the vale: the archangel Ara Mathra.

    Ara Mathra shed a single tear for the villains who were now beyond all redemption. Then began the ultimate in anticlimatic battles. Ara Mathra was a fairly weak fight compared to many the knot had faced so far, and beyond a few problematic Holy Words, he was cut down with ease.

    (I presume the writer's of Way of the Wicked were afraid of putting a full-fledged deva against a team of level 11s, but went overboard with the nerfs.)


    Interlude - Mamuska Narration #6
    Show Spoiler
    The grandmother threw a glance out of the window. The snow was blowing strongly and the wind howled in the dark night.

    "When the last of the valley's inhabitants lost its life," she began, "the temperature in the vale dropped even further. The minions of Asmodai had been victorious, and none were left to shed tears over the dead. The Order of St. Macarius of Lathander's Most Holy was finished. It died with MacCathlain and Ara Mathra. An eternal creature in the form of the immortal Suchandra was gone from the world forever."

    In the mean-time, The Stygian Knot, under supervision of Barnabus Thrane, spread The Tears of Achlys in Rashemen. When spring came, Barnabus planted the disease on a few villing worshippers of Talona and sent them to all corners of Rashemen. He sent them with ship to Immilmar and Mulsantir, with caravan to the mountains and on horse to Thasunta. The tears spread themselves with the speed of lightning. Every time the Wychlaran sent hathrans to cure the ill, they miraculously recovered just before the arrival of wise women. It was as if the disease had its own will, for when the sick were alone again and without aid, The Tears of Achlys returned to haunt their victims. Soon, the wagons of medicine men brimming with the dying became a common sight on the roads of Rashemen.

    The pilgrim's followed shortly thereafter. Berserkers lead caravans with hundreds of sick Rashemi through The Golden Way to Thesk. The promise of salvation at the hands of Cormyrian priests in Valtaerna drew Rashemi from near and far.

    For a short moment, the boy was filled with innocent hope and forgot the story he had just heard. "Were they saved, mamuska?" he asked.

    The sorrowful grandmother shuttered, as if the cold from outside had entered the otherwise warm hut. "No, babu. In Valtaerna they found only ashes and death. The light of Lathander had abandoned them."


    Book 4 - Of Dragons and Princesses
    [​IMG]

    Show Spoiler
    Summary of Session #19, Part II
    Show Spoiler
    The Ninth Knot soon began preparations to leave Valtaerna. As they came back to the city of Sanctum, they were informed by their minions of grave troubles. The duke of Ghastenhall had assembled an army counting several hundred men and was preparing to root out the evil in Valtaerna. The Ninth Knot decided to vacate the valley as fast as possible. The Knot packed their things and their minions on board The Vulture's Friend (Slavoj's ship), and ran for it.

    In the coming years, Cormyr will react extremely harshly to Caladnei's murder, and they will hunt down the culprits with extreme prejudice. This resulted in the Ninth Knot's members having to use tactics, diversions and cunning to divert attention away from their evil organization. In game terms, this still ended up taking a fairly large toll on the organization's attributes.

    After fleeing Valtaerna, the Ninth Knot met up with Tiadora, who rewarded them greatly. She also told them that they would receive further orders in a couple of months. In the mean time, they were to travel to Mulsantir - the largest trade metropolis of Rashemen - and assist Sakkarot Fireaxe in sacking the city.

    As the Knot arrived, Sakkarot had already started without them. In fact, the city was completely subdued. The Ninth Knot held an audience with the Fireaxe at the palace of Mulsantir's Fyrra. Here, Sakkarot told them that he was sad to have completed the best part without the knot, but that they were welcome to spend some of their spare time sacking and pillaging what was left of Mulsantir.

    [​IMG]

    Despite his victory, the knot sensed that the great bugbear was ill at ease, and started questioning the chieftain's mood. As they did so, the Fireaxe nearly turned desperate. He told them that Thydrim Yvarrg - Iron Lord of all of Rashemen - was coming to Mulsantir with an army numbering nearly 10.000 men - including berserkers and more hathrans than any bugbear can count. This army seemed to the bugbear lord so insanely strong that he could in no way defeat it. As the group drilled further into Sakkarot's concerns, he revealed that the original plan of Adrastus Thorn was that after Sakkarot and his horde won the final battle, he would come to the Rashemi offering a way out. As Cardinal of Asmodeus took control of the lands, he would cure the Tears of Achlys and defeat the Fireaxe and his army in a major battle in which Sakkarot would willingly sacrifice his troops. Thus, Adrastus would seem the saviour and solidify his position as new ruler of Rashemen.

    But now... now Sakkarot wasn't so sure anymore. How would they be able to follow such a plan with 10.000 berserkers coming his way to slaughter what remains of his rag-tag band of marauding monsters?

    The Ninth Knot gave this conversation a lot of thought and exchanged a few more words with Sakkarot. Following this, they went into the city to plunder. In a few days, they accomplished the following:

    In the farming district of Alsuntir, they found Baroness Vandermir, the sister of Baron Vandermir, and her following of thayan knights. On the promise that she would be helped out of the city unharmed, she accepted to serve under Solomon Crowe:

    [​IMG]

    With her, they also gained access to clan Vandermir's age-old altar of sacrifice:

    [​IMG]

    In the district of Khelliara's Horn, the knot exploded a gathering of berserkers in Mulsantir's lodge using fireballs and other volatile spells.

    In the district of Ethranit, the knot entered the local hathran enclave, long vacated by its inhabitants, to steal some extremely valuable relics.

    In the district of Bhallahome the knot raided Mulsantir's jail and released Irfan Ahmenat. The mulhorandi Irfan claimed to be a member of the Third Knot - The Erebian Knot - a gathering of extremely competent and deadly assassins from Unther, Thay, Mulhorand, Thesk and Narfell. Their mission was to assassinate the huhrong, Thydrim Yvarrg, in his chambers. Unfortunately they were betrayed by their own and Thydrim and his honor guard was ready. The iron lord personally crushed the skull of all members of the Third Knot, with the exception of Irfan, a mulhorandi ex-Hajî-Jin, who was sent to Ravenscar for interrogation.

    Irfan is eager for redemption in the eyes of Asmodeus, and agrees to serve under Slavoj as cohort:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Show Spoiler
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015
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  3. Excidium P. banal

    Self-Ejected
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    I like Jakob's character concept, only non-lawful too :M

    I find "evil" campaigns p. cool but generally in predominantly evil settings, interested to see how this plays out in FR of all places
     
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  4. Ulminati Kamelåså! Patron

    Self-Ejected
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    I've read the WotW material. It's pretty decent. I'll probably end up running it at some point. I paticularly like the second adventure in the campaigns Dungeon Keeper aspect. :3
     
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  5. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
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    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera
    We're playing through that right now. Man is it a bitch to manage. But it's pretty fucking fun!
     
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  6. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
    Joined:
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    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera
    Alright, here we are with the first summaries. This is a summary of our first two sessions, where the group first met up in Ravenscar and started plotting their escape from the Rashemi prison. It also chronicles what happens to them after this.

    But first, a little intro. To set the stage for the various key plot points throughout the campaign, I read aloud the story of the "ninth knot", the name of the groups the player characters join, narrated by an old grandma, telling the story as she experienced it, to her son.

    Introduction - Mamuska Narration #1
    Show Spoiler
    It was nearly night in what once was called Rashemen. The grandmother had laid the boy in his bed with a warm smile, and the last of the fading fall sun was mixed up with light from the burning candles. Twilight would come soon. The boy cried out before the grandmother could leave his bed rest: "Mamuska, mamuska! Tell me a story!"

    The grandmother turned around. "Which story, babu? I have told you all the stories that I know."

    "No mamuska, no. The one about the war. The one about the time where everything changed. You said, when I was old enough. I am old enough."

    The grandmother let out a friendly laughter. "Oh, babu, so you are old enough for that story, are you? Suddenly, her face turned serious. An old pain rippled through her hip. Not a physical pain, but a pain that cast a shadow over her face and infused her gaze with severity.

    "But that is no ordinary story, babu. Ordinary stories are about extraordinary deeds, about people who change our world for the better. Ordinary stories are about the extraordinary people who have the courage and the hearth to lead us into a better tomorrow. Ordinary stories are about heroes. The story you want to hear now, is not.

    The boy's eyes turned huge. He could feel his grandmother's sadness. "What is it a story about, mamuska?"

    "It is a story about what happens, when the good guys lose..."

    Then the grandmother started telling. "It all started with a boy on your age..."


    Summary of Session #1
    Show Spoiler
    On the road leading away from Thasunta in Rashemen, a small boy was lead in a rope-caravan by gruesomely-looking berserkers. Five other individuals were bound in these ropes, on their way to Ravenscar Prison:

    [​IMG]

    Here, they have about 48 hours ahead of them before they will be die. The young boy is Durlar Windtooth, condemned for attempted murder. He is to die by hanging. Next up is Tareth of Tethyr, a tiefling who fought a duel until he killed his opponent. He too will be hung by the neck until death. After him walks a giant man with a grim look about him. This is Jandar of Kumar, a berserker who deserted his Hathran on their Dajemma. The rope will also find this man's neck. Right behind walks a small man, who looks like a foreigner. He has an odd smile on his lips. This man is Viktor, and his head will be caught off, for during a spying mission for the dreaded Zhentarim, he attempted to seduce an entire village of Rashemi into rebellion against their Fyrra (a Rashemi chieftain). Past Viktor walks the largest wizard you ever saw. "The Mountain" they called him in Thay, this red wizard on trial for high treason. His destiny is cruel; ropes will be bound to his hands and feet, after which he will be drawn and quartered, all the while he will be strangled, castrated, have his belly cut open, be decapitated and cut into four pieces.

    The last man is also of huge size, but he walks like a hunchback which makes him look smaller. "Worm", as he is called, has desecrated a holy shrine for the Triad, Rashemen's deities: Bhalla (Chauntea), The Hidden One (Mystra) amd Khelliara (Mielikki). For this, he will burn at the stake.

    Tortured and beaten by guards who are drunken and certainly don't seem like Rashemen's so honest berserkers, the six men are out into their cells. During their stay, the are contacted by the beautiful Tiadora:

    [​IMG]

    This westerner gives them what looks like an ordinary scarf:

    [​IMG]

    and she suggests they use it to get out of the prison and meet her at a mansion not far from this place. After some tinkering, the six find that the scarf is magical, and they use the remedies it contains to secure their flight from the well-guarded prison. In their wake, the leave dead servants, the warden (a Hathran) and they burn the tower of Ravenscar from the ground. They also befriend one of the local cellmates, an ogre called Grumblejack, who helps them in their escape:

    [​IMG]

    Fun note: My players, used to playing good guys as they were, debated for almost half an hour what to do with the servants. "Bind them and gag them," one suggested. "No, too risky, we have to take them with us!" another chimed in. "Hmm, won't that leave us open to being caught if they make noise?" a third voluntereered. And so it went on. Finally, after much discussion, Viktor ventured: "wait... why don't we just kill them?" Their was a long silence. Then they murdered the servants and went on their merry way ;)


    Summary of Session #2
    Show Spoiler
    Our heroes lost both their prisoners and the tower of their greatest prison, and they hunt the bad guys as swiftly as they can. Meanwhile, these bad guys are freezing and starving to death in the swamps outside Ravenscar. They assault a group of guards and eat their dogs to keep alive. Fatigue grips them, and while Durlar collapses, Rashemen's infamous Wood Man - the most powerful spirit in all of Rashemen - appears to find out who they are. They sink into madness and nearly die, and are attacked by a giant toad spirit. They barely defeat it with Grumblejack's help, and when they finally collapse they are so close to the mansion they are seeking:


    [​IMG]

    that they are picked up by Tiadora and her servants.

    The regain consciousness in a gigantic mansion, on the outskirts of the swamp. Here, they are presented to Cardinal Thorn:

    [​IMG]

    and his plan to send special cells of Asmodeus' agents - cells called 'Knots' - to locations around Rashemen to undermine the nation from within, and ready it for invasion. These six prisoners from Ravenscar will make up The Ninth Knot, the final knot, called The Nessian Knot, named for the ninth layer of hell which Asmodeus calls home. The group is also introduced to The Seventh Knot - The Hibernal Knot:

    [​IMG]

    The Seventh Knot consists of:

    Elise Zadaria: A soft-spoken woman i white dress with long, black hair.

    Dostan Alfson: A gigantic half-elven barbarian.

    Tallus "Trak" Rackburn: A silent tracker, the identical twin of Trik.

    Titus "Trik" Rackburn: A good-willed and loud-mouthed fellow, with an Asmodeus symbol hung around his neck.

    Cardinal Adrastus Thorn takes them all under oath, and make them swear fealty to Asmodeus. He binds them to PACT.

    Following this, he sends them through nine trials, during which they, among other things, take captive a berserker called Balin and the young boy that followed him, called Timeon.

    After passing the nine tests, they are taken through a month of extremely hard training under the harsh supervision of Tiadora and Thorn. From this, they receive many beneficial traits.

    After the training, Thorn reveals to them that their first job will be to infiltrate the northern-most outpost in Rashemen. This outpost is not turned towards the hordes of Thay like most others, but instead against the monster races on the north side of Rashemen in the Icerim Mountains. Outside the northern-most village in Rashemen - Aldencross - lies the old Immaskari fortress of Balentyne. Balentyne and its tower and walls is all that stands in the way of a now strangely coordinated horde of bugbears and other riff-raff, led by the frothing Sakkaroth Fire-Axe, and Rashemen itself.

    The task of The Ninth Knot is simple: with the help of captain Kargeld Odenkirk and his ship Frosthamaren:

    [​IMG]

    smuggle a shipment of weapons of the river Ashane and deliver them to Fire-Axe on the other side of the Watch Wall that separates Rashemen from the savage country around the Icerim Mountains (see the maps if all this geography-talk is confusing you). After this, sail back to Rashemen, and travel to Balentyne. Kill captain Odenkirk and the crew of Frosthamaren. Then infiltrate Balentyne and make sure the fortress and the city are as weak as possible. When you're ready, give the signal to Fire-Axe and his hordes, so they can attack.

    The weaker the garrison is, when it is attacked, the better.

    Simple enough.

    The Ninth Knot set sail and travelled up the first part of the Ashane. Here, they were first met by Captain Sambryl and his patrol boat. By using magic to pretend that they were the berserker Balin, they barely escaped a thorough search of their boat.

    Further up the river they were attacked by the trion oracle Nerianus and his men. The oracle himself escaped while they butchered his men, though a few of The Ninth Knot's members almost drowned in the icy Ashane when Nerianus summoned waves to scuttle Frosthamaren.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
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  7. Shannow Waster of Time

    Shannow
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    So will you keep updating this, or is it dead?
     
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  8. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
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    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera
    Oh, I'll update it :)

    Most actual work is moving files from one folder to another and translating some stuff into English, so while it costs time, there's probably zero chance of me dropping this. Unless we somehow stop playing even though we're already through almost two books. Don't think that'll happen. However it looks like the interest in the Gazebo is close to zero, so I think I'll move this to the Playground next update. Right now we just finished session #9 and #10, so I'm updating the cohorts (shit happened during those sessions). Once those are updated I'm uploading Session #3 and #4, moving to Playground, and maybe some people will be interested. Regardless of what happens, I'll finish the LP!

    Also the plan is to let you guys in on some choices down the line when this LP catches up to the sessions, if it works and people are following at that point (aka it isn't stone-dead like now). We'll see!

    EDIT: I was able to actually mirror the thread, so it should now be appearing both in The Gazebo and in the Playground.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
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  9. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
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    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera
    UPDATE!

    Session #3 and #4 for your viewing pleasure. Also note: I've updated the OP with a Character Gallery. It holds information and artwork about the relevant characters so far throughout the campaign!

    Summary of Session #3, Part I:
    Show Spoiler
    Our villains move further up the waters of the Ashane. Captain Kargeld Odenkirk approaches them with a suggestion: with a few days of leave from their mission, he can bring them riches in the form of seal skins on a nearby island.

    [​IMG]

    The group, however, declines, and prioritize the mission above personal wealth. Travelling further up the Ashane, they meet the young chieftain White Tusk and his medicine man Joseph Calls-Fire-From-Water.

    [​IMG] <--- White Tusk [​IMG] <--- Joseph Calls-Fire-From-Water

    The young savage barbarians are from the Yutak-tribe, one of the raiding tribes of wildlings in the northern parts of Rashemen. The two attempt to sell The Ninth Knot their "magic tusk", a great narwhale horn. While the group declines, they share a drink with the Yutak-tribe and promises them that they will be back to arm the Yutak-tribe to the teeth with weapons of steel.

    After sailing further up the Rashemi river, they are attacked by The-Storm-That-Laughs, a malevolent Telthor-spirit, and its cadre of ice elementals. The Storm attempts to do what Nerianus could not; stop this evil influence before it is too late. For once in its existance, the Storm listens to The Wood Man and his whispers to all the spirits of Rashemen. The Storm fails however, and The Ninth Knot continue up-stream.

    Having dealt with The-Storm-That-Laughs, the group finally arrives in the camp of Sakkarot Fire-Axe. After dealing with some troublesome bugbears at the pier, Sakkarot arrives and sees the arms that the group brings. With a great bellow, Sakkarot declares them heroes and throws them a gigantic party. During the party, Jandar runs into strange, clear-eyed polar bears, who growl at the curious berserker. He does not realize that these are the Naatanuks, sentient polar bears that make up a considerable part of the reason why Sakkarot Fire-Axe's horde is so strong. The party also see a few orcs, goblins and even the odd hill giant or two. The bugbear warlord gets them drunk on Jhuild (incredibly potent Rashemi alcohol called 'firewine' in the rest of Faerûn) and trades stories with the party. Being drunk and easy to get talking, Sakkarot reveals to them that he alone makes up The First Knot - The Avernian Knot.

    [​IMG]

    He then tells them of their mission: they must bring the Immaskari fortress of Balentyne to its knees in less than thirty days - three tendays (the Faerûnian week is 10 days). Once done, a signal rocket will alert Sakkarot and his hordes. Then they will come and bring down the Watch Wall, and the war will have begun.

    In the camp, the group learns many things - chief among them, Jandar learns not to fuck with the Naatanuks.

    The Ninth Knot arm Sakkarot and his horde to the teeth, set sail to Balentyne, and then burn and kill Captain Odenkirk and his crew. During the battle, Worm is contacted by a mysterious entity of female whispers, promising him aid in return for his servitude. Worm agrees.


    Interlude - Mamuska Narration #2
    Show Spoiler
    The eyes of the boy were growing large now, and the night had crept closer. He looked at the grandmother:

    "What happened then mamuska? Where did these terrible people go?"

    The grim look that had gripped the grandmother's face since she begun the tale still hung over her like a shadow. "They were close now. Only a few miles, behind the Watch Wall, lay the small town of Aldencross. Less than a mile from that town was the watchtower Balentyne - their goal. The hordes of Sakkarot Fire-Axe gathered and prepared to move. Within few weeks they would arrive to a small vale north of the river Ashane to wait for the Ninth Knot's signal. A signal to be given at the exact right moment, after which the six members of the knot would have taken their first step on the road to vengeance against Rashemen."

    A shiver ran through the boy's body.

    "The victims of the war deny it now, babu, but it was destiny that brought them to that place. Destiny had given them a mission. There was no doubt that the future of Rashemen was in their hands now. They could have gone to Aldencross without delay and warned them about Cardinal Thorn's dark conspiracy. They could have turned themselves in and let justice be done. They could have turned away from the horrors and the butchery that they were going to cause for the peaceful citizens of Rashemen. But this is the point of no return, babu. This was the moment where The Ninth Knot went from being regular scoundrels to being a terrible evil. This was the turning point. After this, there was no way back."

    The boy's eyes became large with fear.

    "That night, babu, they were all visited Bhalla, and Khelliara, and The Wood Man, and they were promised mercy and salvation. And they thought to themselves: "If I do this, I am beyond redemption. If I do this, it is a path that I must follow forever."

    "Did anyone accept salvation, mamuska?" the boy asked, his voice tiny and shivering.

    The grandmother's answer came swiftly: "No, babu. They only thought of one thing. The six would do what no foreign army had been able to do in the history of Faerûn. They were going to burn Balentyne."


    Summary of Session #3, Part II:
    Show Spoiler
    After having killed Odenkirk and his crew, the Ninth Knot went to Aldencross where they passed themselves off as merchants.

    They gathered information from the locals, and found a number of important tasks that they considered essential to do in Balentyne, before Sakkarot could be given the signal.

    The final thing they carried out during this session was making one of Balentyne's three leading berserkers - Mott - challenge another berserker - Eddarly - to a duel. The Ninth Knot had revealed to Mott that Eddarly had been seeing his woman. Eddarly died to Mott's axe, and Mott was sentenced to death by hanging.


    Summary of Session #4:
    Show Spoiler
    The Ninth Knot inflitrated the citizens in Aldencross. They discussed - at length (as in, throughout 6 or 7 hours of play), which of their options would be the correct way to approach infiltrating the watchtower itself.

    Finally, they disguised themselves as a Hathran and her company (using magic circlets of disguise granted to them by Cardinal Thorn), and infiltrated the watchtower.

    [​IMG]

    After long, drawn out debate with careful planning, they suddenly chose to improvise almost all their following actions:

    After getting the travelling dwarven engineer Barnabus Eisenbauch and his fellow dwarves drunk, they killed them all, thus stopping the dwarves from doing repairs on Balentyne's siege engines (the Rashemi people has no knowledge on how to operate Immaskari hardware). The Ninth Knot were almost discovered in this brutal slaying.

    Another creatively executed plan was when Jandar of Kumar sunk himself into the shit-filled privy of the watchtower, where he lay waiting with a spear. Once the last of the leading berserker's of Balentyne went to do nature's bidding, Jandar assaulted the man and barely killed him before he escaped from the privy, with the aid of Worm. At this point, the two creative assassins were a single combat round from having their entire scharade revealed.

    Amusingly enough, we found out after this session that their plan wasn't actually without precedence:

    [​IMG]

    They also succeeding in sabotaging some of the tower's weapons supply, some still-functioning siege engines, sending a few soldiers to their death and killing the Mad Rayard, the master of ravens at Balentyne, cutting off Balentyne's communications.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
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  10. Kåldolmen Novice

    Kåldolmen
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    My nipples explode with delight! Also: Hang on for the episode wherein Worm takes a huge steamy shit in Solomon's Bed. Wholesome fun for the entire family!
     
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  11. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
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    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera
    Wow, this thread looks completely fucked up on tapatalk. Just a heads up for those who use that. Anyway update coming tomorrow-ish!

    DarkUnderlord do you think you can fix easy? :M
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
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  12. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
    Joined:
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    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera
    UPDATE!

    This time the Ninth Knot tackles the watchtower of Balentyne and journeys to The Horn of Abaddon, starting Book 2.

    (handouts can be found in the OP as well as in the summaries... you can also find a character gallery in the OP to remind you who is who)

    Summary of Session #5:

    Show Spoiler
    During this session, our villains effectuated almost all of their carefully laid plans for the overtaking of Balentyne.

    First, they killed the mighty Vreymonni sorcerer Tacitus silently in his chambers. Then, they took the fight to the fyrra, Risched Havelyn:

    [​IMG]

    The fight with Havelyn was another plan that almost went awry, as one of his chief berserkers - Varning - interrupted them and attempted to call for help. By virtue of Solomon's controlling spells, Varning was defeated before this happened, however.

    The Ninth Knot also sabotaged "The Oven" - a special Imaskari defence mechanism meant to boil intruders alive.

    With all these things done, the Knot attended a nightly service to the Triad deities of Rashemen, trying to figure out if any malignant spirits were about. Although they identified such telthors, they were unable to find a way to deal with them.

    Finally, the group waited for the center-piece of their plan to unfold. When the famous 'Bard of Barrington' from Cormyr arrived in Aldencross, scheduled to relieve the steadfast berserkers with some foreign entertainment, the group struck. They poisoned the vast majority of the guards via a special serving of extra-delicious dinner. Durlar had infiltrated the kitchen for weeks attempting to identify its routines, and it payed off. They then attended the bard's show with the rest of the reduced strength of guards, posing as the fyrra and saying to the men: "PRECISELY because we have had so many accidents, relief is important. I order you all to attend the bard's show!" Even though this would eventually be exposed as an obvious hoax, the Knot only needed the time it took for the berserkers to discuss their way to that conclusion.

    On their way to give the signal to Sakkarot, Jandar met the Bard of Barrington. The Bard annoyingly obstructed the barbarian, doing magic tricks and pulling out a coin from behind Jandar's ears with the words: "What's this, mate, you have something behind your ear?" An angry Jandar stampeded past the bard who took the stage and began the show.

    Mechanically, I was keeping tabs of the Knot's sabotage in Balentyne, tallying up their deeds by way of a victory point system. When the Knot finally launched the signal to Sakkarot and opened the gates of Balentyne, here is how that tally looked:

    Mott is dead: 2VP
    Eddarly is dead: 2VP
    Varning is dead: 2VP
    Barhold is dead: 2VP
    Risched Havelyn is dead: 5VP
    Eisenbach and his dwarves are dead: 2VP
    Sabotaged catapults: 2VP
    Tacitus dead: 2VP
    "Oven" sabotaged: 2VP
    Rookery destroyed: 3VP
    Resident priest of the triad, Donnagin, dead: 3VP
    Assorted sabotage and other deeds: 4VP
    Getting rid of the arrow stores: 1VP
    Guards dead or sick due to illness: 10VP

    Total score: 42 Victory Points

    The result? Sakkarot's horde swarmed the castle and utterly crushed it. However, they did meet some resistance:

    First and foremost, the Knot failed to open the drawbridge for the attackers, who met a tiny bit of resistance from berserkers with throwing axes, their bows and arrows sabotaged by the Knot.

    A few berserkers were still alive and unfettered, and they took the fight to the great hall of Balentyne. During this fight, Jandar killed the Bard of Barrington by ripping off the mans face by the ears with the comment "What's this, mate, you have something behind your ear?", much to the glee of the rest of the Knot. In the hall, the Great Seal of Balentyne fell from its secret hiding-place in the ceiling, crushing many bugbears. The knot did not take care of this problem. The berserkers retreated to the murderholes of Balentyne, attempting to stop the remaining horde outside the watchtower. They succeeded at crushing a few monsters before being killed. The biggest obstacle for the horde was the living telthor spirits of Balentyne which succeeded at killing many bugbears before the battle was finally over.

    Here are the results as given in Way of the Wicked Book 1 - Knot of Thorns:

    20 victory points or less: Premature Attack – the Bugbears attack much too early and are dealt a savage defeat. Sakkarot Fire-Axe is killed in the assault and the PCs must execute a desperate escape or face being killed or worse captured and returned to Ravenscar Prison (which now has more competent guards). The first phase of Cardinal Thorn’s plan is in ruins. Fortunately there is a plan B. (see Way of the Wicked Book II: Call Forth Darkness). Award 0 XP.

    21-30 victory points: Repulsed – the Bugbears attack and are repulsed. Still Sakkarot survives and manages to rally his army. They will attack again when given another signal but a second repulse spells doom for Sakkarot’s already shaken horde. Award 0 XP for now but the PCs get another chance.

    31-40 victory points: Hard Fought Victory – Balentyne falls but only at great cost to the bugbears. Sakkarot is wounded in the intense fighting and loses an eye. Still, the way to the south is opened up and Sakkarot’s tribes begin pouring into Rashemen. It does take them a few days to regroup and reorganize and so the people of the nearby village of Aldencross flee spreading word of the savage invasion. The war has begun. Award 1,600 XP for the destruction of Balentyne.

    41-50 victory points: Victory – Balentyne falls though there is still some resistance. The bugbears losses could have been much worse. Sakkarot is unwounded and much heartened by this success. Still, it takes a day to get the whole body of the horde moved up and through the Watchtower gates. The citizenry of Aldencross flee in terror spreading word of the invasion led by the monster who wields an axe of flame. The war has begun and Rashemen has lost the first battle. Award 2,400 XP for the destruction of Balentyne.

    51 or more victory points: Slaughter – Balentyne falls with barely a bugbear slain. The hairy beasts immediately attack Aldencross and feast on human flesh in an orgy of death and slaughter. There are few survivors and little warning as the Fire-Axe’s horde sweeps down into the Heartland of Rashmen. The war has begun with a crushing defeat for Rashemen. Award 3,200 XP for this impressive feat.

    Overall, the Knot did very well and I was pretty impressed by the resourcefulness of my players. As a standard feature of the way I master games, I do not extend tips or helping hands to my players, believing them to be adults who can fail or succeed by their own measures. So I was quite surprised to see the group take down Balentyne so effectively.

    In the end, the Knot succeeded at doing what had never been done before, tearing down the mighty Immaskari fortress of Balentyne:

    [​IMG]

    Among fyrra Havenlyn's things, the Knot found a record of his family tree. One name was mysteriously torn out of the pages...

    When Cardinal Thorn's handmaiden Tiadora (see the character gallery) finally arrived, she was very pleased with the group. She gave them a gift of 10 pounds of platinum and a small hand-written note from Thorn:

    "Our lord smiles upon your success. Here is a token of my esteem. Use it to rest, recover and strengthen yourselves. Other commands will come when the Knot is needed. Your work has just begun.– A."

    She also brought them each two slaves, and told them they would need to lay low for a while, while the horde takes the fight to Rashemen. Thorn could not afford revealing oAsmodeus' hand in this, and thus the group was given one year's leave before their service is again required.


    Summary of Session #6:
    Show Spoiler
    The year's leave was used for "downtime" where the characters can pursue individual goals. The players spent their time quite differently:

    Worm was lost in the wilderness of Rashemen, searching for his mother. He was then cursed by Asmodeus for an inappropriate sacrifice. However, he did learn the name "Arcturia" after searching for a way to become one with the worms.

    Jandar and Viktor visited the Yutak-tribe, led by the young chieftain White Tusk that they had met sailing up the Ashane. Hunting and feasting with the tribe, the two brought them weapons and luxuries, and slowly inflitrated the tribe.

    Solomon found, through his search, more of the secrets that would make him lich. In effect, he got 3/4 of the way to obtaining all rituals needed for the process. He also found out that the transmutation would be quite expensive.

    Tareth went to Thesk to search for a suitable base of operations, but returned empty-handed. However, in Rashemen he heard of the forsaken Citadel Rashemaar, and decided to use the next period of leave for investigations of that fortress.

    Durlar returned to Thay and through political machinations succeeded in becoming lieutenant in the Black Flame Zealots.

    When the group gathered again, the were approached by Tiadora and given this document, detailing their mission for Book 2:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]




    Having read the document, the group sailed with Tiadora to the little town of Farholde. On the way, Tiadora ravaged many smaller towns.

    [​IMG]

    After a run-in with Elise Zadaria and The Seventh Knot, the group charmed the local Thayan baron, Baron Vandermir.

    [​IMG]

    Farholde is a small town situated on the border between Thay and Rashemen. Farholde - the Rashemi part of town - is led by a fyrra and his hathrans. However they maintain a somewhat neutral relationsship with Vandermir and his enclave of Thayans.

    Vandermir was not happy with the group's arrival. An old Asmodeus-worshipper himself, he knew that the group's arrival was a way for Thorn to pressure him into compliance. Vandermir showed the Ninth Knot 'The Black Exchange', a black market in the Underdark situated not far from his mansion. Here, the group made dealings with drow and illithid. After this, they found the room of the old elvish Pathfinder named in the message from Thorn. They also found his map detailing the Caer Bryar.

    [​IMG]

    They went to The Horn of Abaddon where they were met by a treant by the name of Jurak, who attempted to fend off the intruders.

    [​IMG]

    Once defeated, the group entered the caves of the Horn and took control over a resident Boggard-tribe named the Banewogs, led by chieftain Kumanda Slays-Nine-Men and their shaman Zikomo Hears-the-Father.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The Banewogs worshipped Dagon, and The Ninth Knot convinced the critters that this demon's ressurection was the reason the group arrived to the Horn.

    In the Horn's caves, they found the corpse of one R. Kappelbrenner - an old priest of Talona. By his side lay a ritual called The Dirges of Apollyon, a ritual which postulated that 666 prayers spread out over 222 days would call back Vetra-Kali Eats-The-Eyes from the Void.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Conducting further search, the group was assaulted by the lillend Calliastae and her cadre of fey elf worshippers. The group defeated Calliastae after an extremely taxing battle, but the lillend herself managed to flee.

    [​IMG]

    Now, The Ninth Knot is preparing to build up the fortifications of the Horn heavily. They still need to explore the upper levels, and after that their plan is to fortify the Horn with traps, wild beasts, monsters and guards. Then they will start the Dirges of Apollyon and wake Vetra-Kali Eats-the-Eyes.


    EDIT: Fixed for awful spelling.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
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  13. Gentlemanic Barely Literate

    Gentlemanic
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    Solomon Crowe checking in. I will take my revenge once I figure out what would upset the yuckiest guy in Forgotten Realms.
     
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  14. Mrowak Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Mrowak
    Joined:
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    Project: Eternity
    So, has this been abandoned? I must say this is a mighty entertaining read.
     
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  15. Make America Great Again ERYFKRAD Arcane Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    A bath?
     
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  16. Gentlemanic Barely Literate

    Gentlemanic
    Joined:
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    That's actually a really good idea. I'll let you know how it goes.
     
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  17. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
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    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera
    I didn't get updates for some reason. Actually, I've just finished the write-ups for the last three sessions (was a bit behind), and so can now dedicate time for the translations of the next couple of sessions. Expect more very soon(tm).
     
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  18. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
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    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera
    UPDATE!

    Summary of Session #7

    Show Spoiler
    The most uneventful session yet. The group funished their new location - The Horn of Abaddon - and killed a lightning elemental. At first they whined and almost panicked ("This thing is insane, Grunker, we'll never beat it!"), but sure enough, they took it down without a single loss. Pussies. Also, Solomon learned quite a few rituals for the summoning of otherworldly entities to protect the horn.

    The next time they must finish the fortification of the horn, before they start the ritual to summon Vetra-Kali Eats-The-Eyes.


    Summary of Session #8, Part I
    Show Spoiler
    This time, the group finished a strong fortification of the Horn. They set guard-posts up, manifested traps, fixed an alchemical golem, charmed a dire tiger for protection, enslaved and bound demons to their service and much else. In a manner of months, the Horn of Abaddon was a bona-fide, well-guarded dungeon with a functioning inn, acolytes' chambers, a drow high priestess with a small shrine to Lolth and much more.

    Then, the group sacrificed the priest and started the summoning...


    Interlude: Mamuska Narration #3
    Show Spoiler
    The boy's eyes turned as large as millstones. "What happened then, mamuska? What happened, when they sacrificed the priest?"

    The grandmother's face was carved in stone, deadly serious. She drew a large breath, and when the air left her mouth again it came out in the form off foreboding words:

    "The Horn burned, babu. Throughout the entirety of Caer Bryr, a frozen voice sounded from The Abyss: "KAZARA VO!" - - "I HEAR". Like a giant, unholy guiding star, ghostly green shades flamed up towards the sky from the Horn, and a beam of dark-green energy struck the firmament from the tip of the Horn. All that overgrowth which before had hidden the Horn from plain sight was burned away in but a glimpse of murky illumination. The Horn was revealed in all its demonic glory. Sinister runes carved in the stonework began to glow furiously. Malicious spirits and dark telthors danced outside the Horn - laughing in delight. The earth shook and even in Farholde they could feel the shock."

    The boy almost forgot to inhale in sheer excitement. The grandmother continued: "After a while, the flamedance was over. The Horn glowed with a continuing, green fire. Everyone in Farholde saw the eruption. All could they point strangers towards the Horn."

    The boy gulped. The grandmother finished: "And the next morning, these words sounded from all lips in Farholde: "As sure a my Grandfather's death I say: evil has awakened in the Caer Bryr."


    Summary of Session #8, Part II
    Show Spoiler
    This session, the clock officially started ticking. The group was gathered for three rituals a day in the sancitity of the Horn of Abaddon's Inner Sanctum, preparing for the return of an archdemon. Here are some highlights from the first weeks:

    Week 1: The group finished the first prayer and awoke the Horn of Abaddon.

    Week 2: The first adventuring party came to Farholde. The poor newbies were slaughtered at the hands of minions and traps, much to the delight of our villains. Here's how they looked pre-flaming-death:

    [​IMG]

    Except switch out the Western-looking nun with a young Ethran (an apprentice Hathran).

    Week 3: Farholde wisens up to the fact that they're missing their last remaining Hathran who was supposed to stay behind and lead in the absence of the town's Fyrra and elder Hathran, who are off to war with Sakkarot Fire-Axe.

    Week 4: The Seventh Knot (now also known as The White Ravens) slaughter an adventuring party before it reaches the Horn.

    Week 5: Bethaniel and Darius Dandra - two moonbrothers (werewolf priest of the lunar godesss Selûne) - attack the Horn. They manage to take a decent bite out of it before being slaughteren by the alchemical golem's blasts of acid and lightning.

    Week 6: The Ninth Knot, with the assistance of their druid Worm, manages to force a couple of Assassin Vines into their service, which they promptly assign to the caves.

    Week 7: Baron Vandermir holds a ball. Durlar and Jandar are in attendance. Durlar spends most of his time talking to a Calishitian merchant from the Mulhorandi capital of Skuld, by the name of Khalili:

    [​IMG]

    while Jandar talks to a representative from The Red Wizards about doing dealings with The Ninth Knot in the future.

    Week 8: Traya DeMarco and her well-trained adventuring party "Traya's Raiders" arrive to the Horn. The group has since the moondogs tightened their security, and the raiders do not stand a chance.

    Week 9: Sakkarot Fire-Axe rages through Rashemen and tears down another fort. Much to the Rashemi population's surprise, a mighty Hathran ritual fails to stop the raging horde. Eye-witnesses tell tales of mysterious polar bears raised on their hind legs, chanting on the mounting tops. These reports cannot be confirmed, but the Hathrans report that something indeed did interfere with their castings...

    Week 9 (still): In Farholde, The Seventh Knot frighten a party of adventurers by telling lies (well, half-truths...) about the dangers of the Horn.

    Week 10: During this week, the adventure had slated One-Eye - the mighty dire tiger - to eat a bunch of boggards if Worm and Jandar hadn't already charmed the gruesome animal.

    Week 11: Elise Zadaria, leader of The Seventh Knot, sends a message to the Horn, warning them that rumors of a Silver Dragon has spread in Farholde.

    Week 12: An inquisitor from Mulhorand's church of Osiris:

    [​IMG]

    is joined by a cadre of other priests from Mulhorand and this group fights their way throughout the Horn. As an experienced party with walking, breathing Gods on their side, the party manages to to much damage. They dismantle traps and kill many minions, before they are finally slain by the Horn's two Ceustodemons: Hexor and Vexor.

    Throughout these proceedings, the group manages to have one of their Black Flame Zealot lieutenants infiltrate an adventuring party led by fyrra Valin Darian - fyrra of Farholde and one of The Victor's heirs. They try to gather information about whether he will attack the Horn.


    We have currently finished Session #13, so there's still a way before this LP catches up to the group. But we're getting there.
     
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  19. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
    Joined:
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    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera
    new update:

    Summary of Session #9
    Show Spoiler
    We continue where we left off, with highlights from each week. During the most of this session, Grumblejack and his band of robbers spread terror throughout the road systems of Farholde.

    Week 13: A messenger disappears, and The Ninth Knot suspects The Seventh Knot of withholding information on purpose. They do not seek out this messenger and fail to find out that the reasons their minions and messengers keep disappaearing is because of a Hanged Man's Tree which eats and kills people in the Caer Bryr.

    Week 14: Ezekiel, a steadfast priest of the Triad, starts inflaming the population of Farholde to gather in battle against the Horn. The Ninth Knot sends White Tusk, disguised as Ezekiel, to the orphanage of Farholde where he kills some children and eats their hearts. Ezekiel is driven out of town in the following lynching.

    Week 15: On the 111th day, The Ninth Knot conducts the second sacrifice - a true believer of the Triad. Her chest is ripped open by Solomon Crow. An icy voice can be heard throughout the Horn: "Tezathra Vo -- I see."

    Week 16: The many horrors in the Horn awake a nightmare of ashe and cinders. The group's cohorts kill the aberration with the help of Worm and Ezra.

    Week 17: A gang war erupts between Thatcher's Boys, the local gang of thugs in Farholde, and the orphanage. The group loses Joseph Calls-Fire-From-Water in the attempt to enact diplomacy to calm the tensions.

    Week 18: The Verdant Banner - an extremely well-prepared group of adventurers - attack the Horn. They kill many guards and destroy many traps. They almost manage to steal The Eyes of Vetra-Kali, but while four members of The Ninth Knot keep the ritual going, the last to succeed in killing the adventurers with the help of some cohorts. On their bodies they find the diary of their leader, Fineas, which contains evidence that The Seventh Knot has betrayed them. They decide that Elise and her white ravens must die. Get the diary here or in the OP (under 'handouts').

    Week 19. A boggard by the name of Juko Five-Croaks seek out the leaders of the Horn and asks for piles of money for weapons and food. The Ninth Knot partly give in and give him some weapons and some better food. Rumours start spreading that the leaders are getting weak and goodly.

    Other exciting things from this session are that Jandar defeat the berserker Tragolf the Unhappy:

    [​IMG]

    Tragolf is the current husband of Jandar's old woman Urillen, who had sought out Jandar to settle a debt which eluded Jandar.

    Also, Semmemon - one of the heads of the Zhentarim - seeks out Viktor (who works for the Zhentarim) to hear how his taks is coming along. In the process, Semmemon is insulted by Solomon.

    Worm is contacted by The Slumbering Coven who demands that he travel to Coveya Kurg'Annis as soon as possible to be informed of the debt he owes them.

    I've also added a little overview of the currently known 'Knots' (Adrastus Thorn's covert agent cells) to the OP. Get it here. Or in the OP.

    We're now just 4 sessions short of having caught up to the actual group :)

    We're playing Session #14 on Friday.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
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  20. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Parrots:
    19,585
    Location:
    Copenhagen
    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera
    I'm back updating this LP for all my faithful readers:*

    This time you get to meet the crew (click for larger images):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Here's a .pdf version of that. It's got much bigger pictures. (and all of this is also in the OP)

    Update soon!




















    *A grand total of what, 8?, counting my 6 players who follow this thread because they have to to find the resources they need :M
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014
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  21. Corporate_Jew_Master Arcane

    Corporate_Jew_Master
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
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    6,555
    Location:
    Rape
  22. Make America Great Again ERYFKRAD Arcane Patron

    ERYFKRAD
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2012
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    How come everyone's lawful evil though?
     
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  23. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Parrots:
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    Location:
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    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera
    Check out the Player's Guide and the Player's Guide addendum.

    Almost all of them are Asmodeus worshippers, and those who aren't are close (Durlar is a Black Flame Zealot, i.e. Lawful Kossuth worship). Lawful Evil being the majority alignment (players are allowed Neutral Evil and a single player can be Chaotic Evil) is the way the adventure keeps an evil group sticking together and keeps everything from devolving into bickering :)
     
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  24. Make America Great Again ERYFKRAD Arcane Patron

    ERYFKRAD
    Joined:
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Ah so.
     
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