Story so Far.   Posted by GM2.Group: public
 GM, 993 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2010
at 11:47
Story so Far
This thread summarizes the story so far, from the perspective of the group.

Things which have become generalized knowledge are in the main text.  Things known only to certain characters will be in PLs.

The following missions are known to all members of the group, whether or not they choose to follow them...
The False Jarl - since Ploh Monath 1st
Adonis, Brakkus and Beren witnessed Bjorn being accosted by an apparition claiming to be the ghost of Thorkel, son of the old Jarl, Helder.   The ghost claimed that the new Jarl, Siegfried is an impostor and somehow related to a vampiric witch, Fjonya, who had enamoured old Helder, but was slain by Thorkel, Bjorn and their companions who tracked her to her lair in the Downs.  Thorkel died in the confrontation and Bjorn was cursed such that his mighty physique was reduced to that of a wizened old man.  The group agreed to aid Bjorn to discover the truth behind the ghosts's claims.  Later, the witch Olga consulted with the spirits who gave a cryptic response (see msg #2 below).

You subsequently discovered that Siegfried was in fact a foreign necromancer and narrowly escaped being killed by the Zombies he raised.  You defeated his guards (one of whom escaped by some kind of magic) and wounded him severely, such that he now seems to be in some kind of coma.  You left his body with the Steward of Ely castle who has sent a messenger to the Thulish capital at Katorheim to discover whether or not Siegfried really did forge his letters of appointment.

You are now in the Downs near to the caves, one of which Bjorn claims is Ffonya's lair.

On Ploh-Monath 4th, the group fell in with Thane Hadrik, who requested their help in defending against the unexpected spate of crafty attacks, promising to later aid them in discovering the truth, if any, behind Bjorn's claims.


Warning the Jarl - since Ploh Monath 14th
Some days later, Hadrik had repelled several attacks on his command post at the inn, with the help of the group, and thus resolved to assault a village to the north which the party had discovered, seemed to be aiding his foes.  Unfortunately the village was harbouring a strong force of armed men, loyal to the Thane of Ettryck, hidden behind some kind of magical veil.   Hadrik was surrounded and taken prisoner, losing several of his men.  He charged the party to rush east and warn the Jarl (the same Jarl Siegfried, his liege-lord) of Ettryck's treachery as he believes the Ettryck mean to march on Castle Ely.
 OUTCOME: you did warn the Jarl and it seems to have given him just enough edge to hold off Ettryck's surprise attack.   Ettryck forces now seem to have retreated from Ely back to their base in the northwest.   Now that you know the Jarl WAS a sorceror, it seems that Ettryck may have had a point in their complaints about the Jarl - although Ettryck clearly was also using sorceror, and generally acting in a very sneaky and underhand fashion.

Rescuing Hadrik
After delivering the impostor Jarl's body to Ely castle, you agreed to try and rescue Hadrik from Ettryck territory.   You are heading west via the downs whereby you should be able to reach Ettryck lands via an unexpected route.

Some of you will find PLs below with private promises you have made at some point or other.

This message was last edited by the GM at 09:06, Fri 03 Jan 2014.

 GM, 994 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2010
at 13:22
Ploh-Monath 1st
Adonis, Arkemos, Beren, Brakkus and Kormak meet for the first time at the inn in Bryndle.

They are drawn together by an old story-teller, Bjorn, who tells them a fairly tall tale about the vampire-witch Ffonya, who tried to bring southern Thuland under her sway.

A few years ago, Bjorn (who claims to be a warrior in his prime) and the Jarl's son, Thorkel, tracked the witch to her lair and slew her.  In the battle Thorkel died and Bjorn was cursed by Ffonya as she died, reducing him to his current wizened state.

Shortly afterwards, the Jarl died of grief at the loss of his son.  After an interregnum when the southlands became an increasingly lawless place, a new Jarl (Siegfried) was sent from the Thulish capital at Katorheim, to return order.  However Bjorn claims that this Siegfried is an impostor.

Moments after finishing his tale, the teller's credibility is enhanced by a ghostly apparition of Thorkel, that appears at the door and claims that Siegfried is the heir of Ffonya, and demands that he seek vengeance.

Bjorn talks the group into aiding in his quest, with some promise of reward at the end.
 GM, 995 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2010
at 13:27
Ploh-Monath 2nd
The following morning, the group set off north-east from Bryndle, to a nearby forest where Bjorn claims they will find the wise-woman Olga, who can help them find a way to deal with Siegfried.

After fighting off an attack by wolves, they reach Olga's hut in a clearing deep in the forest.  Adonis runs somewhat afoul of the spirits who inhabit the forest but ends up unscathed.   Olga is not keen on Siegfried but is not willing to defy him openly - however she promises to consult the spirit world that very night about him.

Meanwhile, Kormak leaves the group as he does not like Olga's attitude, and it is strengthened by two new members: Eldor (adopted son of Olga), and Brejgun (one of the old Jarl's huscarls who has fallen on hard times since his death).
 GM, 996 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2010
at 13:44
Ploh-Monath 3rd
The group awake in Olga's clearing and the witch relays the cryptic message she learned from the spirits.

"This Jarl indeed of woman borne, his father he knew not.
Fey secrets of his power lie, where ancient thieves do rot."

After a discussion it seems that Siegfried is indeed a shady character, and that there are two places where, potentially, "ancient thieves do rot".
 - the village of Athelsham to the northwest, where there is a monastery of the True Faith, and people are buried rather than cremated (the normal Thulish custom)
 - the Old Downs further north and east, where the last reiver-kings where based.  These glorified brigands were the last of the traditional Thulish folk to resist the Mercanian incursion a few centuries ago.

To get to either of these places, the group must first journey north along the Beltayn road and Eldor leads them to it.  After a few leagues they are ambushed by crafties (the common speak for goblins) wielding slings.  Once they recover their wits the party slay some of their attackers and drive off the rest.  They cannot find a reason for this attack, and the only thing they recover from the ambushers are a few copper pennies, of a kind no longer in use, and very worn.

The group make their way north again and by nightfall reach a run-down inn on the crossroads with the road to Athelsham (west) and the track to the coastal plain (east).   The inn's sole occupant is an innkeeper who turns out to be more than he seems, for that very night he turns into a beast who savagely attacks the party, grievously wounding Arkenos.   The creature is driven off and the characters keep a shaky watch through till morning.

Meanwhile Brejgun and Eldor have been investigating the inn's outbuildings and from one of them they rescue a man who was drugged, robbed and bound by the innkeeper.  He turns about to be Sir Thomas Keith, an Albish knight.
 GM, 999 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2010
at 18:39
Ploh-Monath 4th
On the following day, Arkemos passes away from his wounds, without ever recovering consciousness.

The group spend the day recovering from their wounds and searching the house, and as night is falling narrowly a party of armed men arrive at the inn, narrowly avoid a skirmish.

Their leader identifies himself as Hadrik, Thane of the Southlands.  He is patrolling the roads of the Southlands, under instructions from Jarl Siegfried, in an attempt to free them of the brigandry and crafty activity which has plagued them of late.  He recognises Bjorn with some surprise, due to the latter's wasted condition.

Hadrik is accompanied by, among others...
 Karl - a slender lad, originally from Bryndle, who spent his last few years studying in Brymstone, before seeking service with the Thane
 Harou - a rangy, quietly spoken man whose features betray an origin far to the east of Legend - also sworn to service with the Thane.
 A crafty prisoner who he interrogates over the next few days

Hadrik has the innkeeper's body burnt, in case it is cursed, noting that the new Jarl's policy is that all criminals sentenced to death must be hanged in the grounds of Ely Castle - however he is prepared to make an exception given the hassle of carrying the stinking body across thirty leagues of forest.

Hadrik listens to Bjorn's story but explains that he has given his oath to Siegfried.  Nevertheless, if the party can help him secure the inn against crafties and bandits until his men have recovered their strength, he will in turn help them discover the truth of Bjorn's claims.

That night the inn is attack by a good handful of cloaked figures, who are beaten back only by the combined efforts of Hadrik and Adonis' men.   The attackers, when slain, turn to earth and crumble into nothing.  During the attack some kind of strange spirit appears to enter the inn and turn all food inside it rotten.
 GM, 1006 posts
Sat 13 Nov 2010
at 14:25
Ploh-Monath 5th
On the following day the party, along with Hadrik's men, fortify the inn.

One of the attackers was taken prisoner and turns out to be a crafty.  Hadrik interrogates him but the secrets the boggin eventually reveals are whispered only to Hadrik himself.

Brakkus feels that the prisoner is under some kind of enchantment, and Beren notes that he carries a few pennies - once again, very old and worn, long out of common use.

Wounds are recovered during the day and the night passes this time, without incident.

Hadrik enlists the party's help in journeying to the village of Athelsham to the west, to seek aid.
 GM, 1028 posts
Sun 19 Dec 2010
at 09:59
Ploh-Monath 6th
Firstly, some things I forgot to mention about the previous couple of days:
 - the attack on the night of the 4th did succeed in stealing or driving off most of the horses
 - in the innkeepers room a scroll was founding listing names of people who live in Bryndle (Karl's home village).  Some of these names had been crossed off.
  - regarding the coins, it would be handy to recollect Bjorn's words from msg #206 here: link to a message in this game

The inn is left in the charge of Brejgun, aided by Karl, Harou, Eldor and three footsoldiers.

Thomas rides noisily out on the Athelsham road with Hadrik and his two horsemen to act as a diversion, he returns after a few hours.  Then a hunting party is organized and takes a lot of small game.   It ends when a magnificent stag appears and defies any attempt to shoot it, its hooves almost taking a few lives.  Brejgun manages to shave off a lock of its coat and on Hadrik's advice, uses it to polish his sword.

Searching the house again, Thomas finds a large iron key beneath the floor of the innkeeper's room.  That night a perimiter of fires is established around the inn but before all can be lit, a pack of wolves attacks and is barely beaten off, leaving several with nasty wounds.  Hadrik suspects the wolves are somehow in league with the crafties.

South of the Athelsham track, Adonis leads Creldo, Brakkus, Bjorn and Beren on foot through the sparse trees west of the inn. After a few hours they cut north, hopefully escaping any foes watching the inn.  However at this point they surprise some kind of mercenary who is peeing by the side of the road, and take him prisoner.  His fellows give chase but with the aid of some diversion and a little magic the group escape capture.   Beren and Brakkus find a grotto in the middle of the forest with some kind of strong enchantment inside, but decide that it is a challenge for another day.

They manage to rejoin the road, prisoner in tow, and make camp for a peaceful night, not far from Athelsham.

Meanwhile the Monk and Adelbert are heading east...
 GM, 1127 posts
Thu 7 Apr 2011
at 11:05
Ploh-Monath 7th
At the inn, the crafty prisoner is offered freedom by Hadrik, as long as he swears to keep north of Hadrik's domain.  For some reason the boggin is terrified by this idea and pleads to be sent south to Albion instead.

A group of tough-looking men come from the west (Athelsham) towards the inn, but when they see that it is occupied by Hadrik, change their mind about staying there and insist that they answer to Ettryck's Thane and will press on north.  This suspicious behaviour leads Hadrik to send Thomas, Karl, Brejgun and Eldor north to track them.

Later in the afternoon, Hood (the Silent Monk) and Sir Adelbert arrive at the inn, exhausted, along with Rodryk of Athelsham and a young lad who they have picked up on the way.   Hadrik entrusts them to escort the crafty prisoner south to Bryndle, on the morn.

As night is falling, Thomas' party returns from its scouting mission and reports that sure enough, the party they were tracking, entered a village on the border between Hadrik's and Ettryck's territory, where they were welcomed by other armed men.

Meanwhile to the west, Adonis' party arrives in Athelsham without further ado.  The village is large and prosperous, but well-fortified and its men seem to be on edge.   The party are received by Thane Snurkel who realises that their prisoner is surely one of the brigands who attacked his village a few nights previous, in collusion with a band of crafties who sneaked over the wall and stole several young children from their cribs.  The wretched man is handed over to the Thane's justice.

Adonis relays Hadrik's request for military aid, and Snurkel offers four of his experienced men.  In return, he asks that Hadrik responds with the same number of men of his own, once he has dealt with his current troubles.   The group recover from their journey at the monastery, St. Grimna's, which stands within the village.
 GM, 1128 posts
Sun 10 Apr 2011
at 09:34
Ploh-Monath 8th
At the inn on the crossroads, Hadrik sends out three parties in different directions:
 - a group of men led by Eldor to patrol the eastern approach road from the coastal plain
 - Thomas, Adelbert and the Silent Monk to take the crafty prisoner and the rescued boy, south to Bryndle
 - Hadrik himself leads Brejgun and Karl to scour the western approaches, hoping to help Adonis' returning party.

He also sends a couple of his men east at a faster pace to request aid and supplies from the Jarl himself.

Eldor's patrol interrupts a group of men who seem at first to be bandits, but in fact are fearful villagers who seem to be living at a hidden settlement in the forest.  The patrol helps the villagers fight off a crafty ambush but even so, they refuse to reveal the location of their home and Eldor has little success in tracking them.

The southern expedition fights off an assault by a hairy, manlike beast which seemed to be trying to slay the crafty prisoner specifically.  Thomas then returns to the inn while Hood and Adelbert go on to Bryndle.

Hadrik's party, alerted by a swirl of Birds of Prey, discover the ghastly flying head, now wounded and unable to put up much of a fight.  They put it in a sack and head back to the inn.

Adonis' band, strengthened by the Athelstanes, make rapid progress back towards the inn, reaching it dusk.

At about this time a massive attack by a dozen or more wolves is sprung, led by a huge devil-eyed creature larger than all the others.  Surrounded by the returning patrols on all sides, the attack is beaten off but many are wounded.
 GM, 1129 posts
Sun 10 Apr 2011
at 09:42
Ploh-Monath 9th - 10th
The expanded group at the inn recover from their wounds, train in woodcraft and fighting in formation, and spend some time trying to interrogate the battered flying head.

The thing can speak and they eventually learn that:
 .the head only took over the inn a week or two before the adventurers first arrived by, killing the serving staff does not seem to know about the list of written names found hidden in the innkeeper's bedroom also does not seem to know about the recent escapades of wolves or goblins.  it seems to be very old and knows their species, but regards them as nuisances to be avoided. says that Thomas' armour was buried in the ground somewhere around the inn, so as not to attract suspicion from visitors.

Thomas starts digging up the grounds, seeking his armour and ancestral sword, to no avail.
 GM, 1370 posts
Sun 8 Jan 2012
at 12:35
Re: Ploh-Monath 10th - 12th
The group at the inn hear of reinforcements who have been attacked by a large wolfpack on the forest road which comes from Ely in the east.

They rush down the road and reach the already-wounded party, then make a fighting retreat between the crowding trees.   As they reach the clearing of the inn, Beren's magic cuts an illusory rift in the path and cuts the wolf pack off.  However their leader, a huge, hellish hound, leaps the gap and kills Brejgun, only to succumb to the warrior's dying blow.

[Eldor remembers: Fynach and Grynach were the hunting hounds of some old king or other.  It is said their master set them to hunt eternally from his deathbed.  They are supposed to stalk the land once every seven years at the coming of  spring. ]

Rael is one of those rescued and joins the group.

Hadrik sends them in two groups to approach the suspicious village to the north, by stealth.  He himself will march up openly once they are in position, to bait their trap.

The western group meet an enigmatic elderly couple who warn them to tip their blades with silver.  The next day they take up hiding in a hovel which overlooks the strange village, and note that some enchantment hides the centre of the settlement from being seen properly.  Realising that the village hides a lot more fighting men than it appears, they try to warn Thane Hadrik's party that he is walking into an ambush.

Hadrik is warned a little too late - but the group kill the archers who were supposed to kill him and he is taken prisoner instead.   Then, fearing reprisals, they sneak around the village to the eastern side and join up with Adonis' group.

The eastern group pass through boggy moors and have a close encounter with some crafty herdsmen.  They also investigate the village and manage to put paid to some of its scouts.  The commotion they cause allows Kjaelos to escape from the village and join the group.