Island in the Mist

Spiders and Explosions

In a foul patch of forest we came upon the wind spiders menacing the villager’s children. I quickly reacted and ran to hide behind a tree. When the spiders charged I was able to catch them off guard and attack from behind. I gutted one with my blades while the mages blasted missiles through the other. We met Marin and Fergus and collected a pitiful reward, but the children are safe and that’s what matters right?

At camp Fergus showed us some explosive substance (a wild one that Dwarf) which I proceeded to borrow from the drunk and drowsy’s satchel. I left the party through the mists to put the explosives to good use. For the betterment of Simon’s Rest!

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Riots
Simon's Rest begins the descent into anarchy

Days after the loss of the pocket’s young men, Simon’s Rest enters a stage of sorrowful turmoil. After scanning the city for hazards and problems, Slen, Girdus, CESIUM 13T, Valandil and Tarare are forced to break up a lynching of Cassians. After killing a few angry mob members, Tarare discovers that one of the rescued Cassians is his cousin, Aurelie.

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The Stench of Goblins
And I thought they smelled bad... on the outside!

Children have been disappearing in Simon’s Rest. Roland, Valandil, Tarare, Slen, and Cesium 13T investigate rumors of goblins. When they enter the sewers in the Walkup District, they discover a captured Mechanical, Rustless 42. Delving further into the sewers, they discover the lair of dominated Cassian Luc-Armond, who is responsible for the summoning of the goblins. Together, they kill the goblins and capture Luc-Armond.

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William Farstride's Trove
A Fistful of Platinum

When a strange golem from The Mists invades his hideout, William Farstride, notorious master thief, is forced to ask Sage Marin’s riders for help.

XP Earned: 1800
Total Party XP: 14,800
Current ECL: 5

The party is called to Sage Marin’s to discuss some of the immediate needs of Simon’s Rest. After introducing Slen, Tarare, Valandil and Rustless 42 to Noriam, Ezra discusses the city’s primary needs. There is a long list: the need for a standing military, the need for a jail, the need to make contact with the Mechanicals, the need to make contact with Camp Blacksnarl and the need for some money.

The discussion is interrupted by the appearance of William Farstride, master thief. His hideout has been taken over by a Drill Golem, and he wants someone to clear it out so he can get his worldly possessions back. He offers a reward, and although Slen knows that Farstride will ultimately betray the group, everyone decides that the worst that can happen is that they end up right where they started.

The group sets out and, after a brief visit to Stables in Simon’s Rest, heads North Unean Mountain Range towards William Farstride’s Hideout. On the way, Valandil and Slen discover that Farstride owns (and frequently takes advantage of) a magical ring that grants him invisibility.

The party makes their way into Farstride’s lair, where they avoid traps and ultimately engage in combat with a Drill Golem. When the golem is dispatched, a large portion of Farstride’s wealth becomes the property of Sage Marin’s riders.

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The Teardrop of Oldmoor
Oh, the things we do for the logical opposite of marriage...

When Tarare’s cousin Aurelie asks the party for help in conducting the Cassian Courtship Ritual, they discover that she is to marry Sergeant Lucien Oldmoor.

XP Earned: 1900 — LEVEL UP!
Total Party XP: 16,700
Current ECL: 6

Random Encounter: Garumbak the Slaver, a gigantic beast with hundreds of snakes in place of his head, brings five dozen slaves into Simon’s Rest. After negotiations, the party purchases seven of them for 450 of Marin’s gold and 25 of their own. The slaves wear Garumbak’s Slave Collar, which controls their actions; the party demands that the collars be removed, and the slaves are immediately set free. Garumbak leaves Simon’s Rest.

When Tarare’s cousin Aurelie asks the party for help in conducting the Cassian Courtship Ritual, they discover that she is to marry Sergeant Lucien Oldmoor. Neither Aurelie nor Oldmoor are interested in going through with the marriage, so a bargain is struck: if Tarare can recover the Teardrop of Oldmoor within 8 days, Lucien’s honor will be restored, and there will be no courtship.

The party is forced to first recover Gertrude’s Knot at the Cassian University of Magical Studies at Simon’s Rest. The campus is being controlled by Ambassador Felix Woode and his cronies. During the day, the towers are guarded by dozens of armed soldiers. During the evening, a beast known as The Shadow Puma patrols the grounds. Valandil distracts the beast while Tarare, Rustless and Noriam recover the Knot.

Next, the party is off to Redmarsh, where they face the trolls who originally stole the Teardrop. When Noriam scares away most of the trolls, a close battle ensues. The party kills the troll with the teardrop and returns to Simon’s Rest.

Oldmoor softens his earlier promise, and says he only agrees that he will do his best to hold up his end of the bargain.

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Brotherhood of Ravens
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

When a prostitute attempts to murder Valandil, it becomes clear that his life — and the lives of his friends — are in danger.

XP Earned: 1300
Party XP Level: 18,000
Current ECL: 6

Random Encounter: Arrival of the Blood Beetles

A half dozen gigantic beetles appear, flying about amidst the snowy peaks of the North Unean Mountain Range. Sage Marin recognizes them as Blood Beetles: a harmless species of insects that lays its eggs in snowy mountaintops.

The party decides to ignore the beetles.

Random Encounter: Helios the Wanderer

A strange dog man by the name of Helios The Wnaderer arrives at Sage Marin’s door. He is a traveler of The Mists, and he demands to know why after three attempts to leave this pocket he continually ends up right back here.

After some discussion with Cesium 13T, Sage Marin (scholar of magic) concludes that the closure of the portals in the Cassian Underground has created some portal magic abnormalities. The closing has “oriented” The Mists towards Simon’s Rest. That is, the increased traffic from the Mists has been caused — and will continue to be caused — by the closure of the portals.

Sage Marin puts Helios up in a local inn.

The Brotherhood of Ravens

When he takes her home to bed her, a prostitute attempts to assassinate Valandil. She fails to surprise him, and he decapitates her.

Sage Marin introduces the party to Furio, a soldier from another Mist Pocket.

Fergus takes Noriam aside and demonstrates an alternative use of explosive: firing it as a projectile through a pipe. In so doing, he inadvertently fires off into the Walkup District, nearly starting a gigantic fire. At the last minute, Noriam jumps onto the roof of an about-to-be-engulfed-in-flames building, pulls himself on top of the fire, hurls the explosive into the air, and saves an entire city block (if not the entire impoverished district) from a great deal of damage.

When Valandil shows the assassin’s strange knives to Sage Marin, the scholar immediately recognizes them as the tools of an elite guild of assassins known as The Brotherhood of Ravens. They are widely regarded to be the most dangerous killers within The Mists.

Sage Marin suggests that if the assassins are after Valandil, then none of Valandil’s friends are safe either. In Marin’s experience, he claims, the assassins will go after even innocents who could potentially be a threat.

The moment Sage Marin suggests the possibility, the assassins make a coordinated attack on the party within Sage Marin’s home. While Sage Marin and Fergus cower in the corner, the party does battle with the assassins. The assassins appear to move as ripples within shadow; they are difficult to see and react to. Nonetheless, the party disposes of all but one of them, who Valandil chases off into the night.

The next day, the party attempts to gather information regarding the whereabouts of the assassins. Valandil tells Sage Marin and Fergus to hide in the basement until it is certain that everyone is safe. Valandil reveals to the party that he was successful in his pursuit of the assassin, and leads everyone to the current hideout of the assassins.

The dozen assassins are hiding in a building that serves as an entrance into the sewers. The party dispatches of the assassins with relative ease, capturing a sole survivor. To Valandil’s dismay, there are no apparent clues as to why the assassins were after him.

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Jailbreak
In Which the Metaphorical Unsustainability of the Prison System is Made Literal

When the Cassians introduce their new, brutal enforcers, Sage Marin’s riders are forced to stage a jailbreak.

XP Earned: 1700
Party XP Level: 19,700
Current ECL: 6

Simon’s Rest
Coffers: 7200 gp
Guards: 270
Citizens: 12,105
11432 humans
504 orcs
107 mechanicals
35 Cassians
22 dwarves
5 elves
1 nezumi

The Arrival of Camp Blacksnarl

Furio, Valandil, Rustless 42, Tarare and Noriam are sent to the southern gates of Simon’s Rest to help some farmers whose wagon has become stuck in the mud. As the two farmers argue with one another, the party spots what appears to be an approaching army.

Shortly thereafter, the army arrives in the foothills. It is Dakkan Blacksnarl and the orcish and the soldiers and citizens of Camp Blacksnarl. He wishes to make a non-violent demonstration of the city’s defenselessness, as well as the aptitude of his scouts.

30 of Blacksnarl’s soldiers then make their way into the city through the various gaps in the outer wall. Furio rushes back to the town square on horseback, but is impeded by muddy streets in the Walkup District and occasional obstacles and crowded streets. When he arrives at the Cassian University of Magical Studies, the rest of the party arrives back at the meeting point along with Blacksnarl’s army and people. Sage Marin arrives shortly thereafter.

Blacksnarl reveals that he believes his people to be in serious danger from the bandit threat to the southeast. It seems he has done some reconnaissance of the area, as he is able to estimate the bandits’ numbers: nearly 10,000.

Marin, the party and Blacksnarl strike a deal: the orcish soldiers — 250 in number — will live and work in the barracks. The remainder of the orcs will set up a tent city in the foothills outside the outer gate.

Slen’s Final Duel

On the heels of the arrival of the new orcish military force, the Cassians have hired a small group of mercenaries to represent their own military force. These enforcers, reportedly from Avaria, are 12 in number, though apparently great warriors. Their leader is a maoren by the name of Nogiyana.

Nogiyana arrives at Sage Marin’s home to clarify that the city of Simon’s Rest us ruled by Cassian law. He informs the party of a dueling tournament that will take place the following day. The duels are to be to the death.

Sage Marin suggests that only one of his riders be involved. If Nogiyana is an excellent swordsman or enjoying the benefits of Cassian enchantments, it makes sense to lose only one rider. The party decides upon Slen as Marin’s representative in the tournament.

Slen is the only one to sign up for the tournament. Within seconds of the duel starting, Nogiyana decapitates Slen. He mocks elven swordsmanship, then announces that there will be another demonstration of Cassian might at the University the next day.

A Show of Cassian Force

A crowd has gathered around an impromptu gallows. The cassians Gavin Orn, a bound prisoner, onto the platform. Nogiyana announces that Orn has refused to swear loyalty to Cassia. His punishment is death. Lightning erupts from Cassian magi at the base of the platform, and Orn is incinerated.

Nogiyana announces that one criminal who has refused to swear loyalty will be executed every day until no more remain.

Back at Sage Marin’s, Marin suggests that the party put into action an old jailbreak plan that Slen put together. Sage Marin also emphasizes the importance of not killing any citizens of Simon’s Rest, even if they are serving as prison guards.

Jailbreak

The party approaches the jail. It is dwarven-built and in ill repair. It is in the snowy mountaintops, a mile outside of Simon’s Rest. A tower rests atop a peak; the inside of the mountain is a hollowed out spiral, lined with prison cells.

With the help of Fergus, the party locates what Slen previously identified as a weak wall on the mountainside. Everyone places a large bag of explosive on the mountainside, blasting a hole into the lowest cell.

Immediately, the guards at the top level rush into the prison and begin pushing back the party. As the party is fighting its way to the top, the hole they blasted into the mountainside collapses, and the entire prison shakes violently. There is now only one escape: the drawbridge at the top of the prison.

On the top floor of the collapsing prison tower, Nogiyana and some guards protect the winch that holds the drawbridge shut. When the party makes their way into the chamber and engages the guards, the floor begins to collapse between their feet. Nogiyana fends off the party until the floor can no longer support the weight of the battle. Nogiyana falls into the prison, and the remaining guards drop their weapons.

The party lowers the drawbridge, and the prisoners escape into Simon’s Rest.

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An Almost Fistful of Rustlesses
In Which We Pluralize "Killing Machine"

When a disturbed young man accuses Rustless of murder, Sage Marin’s riders must solve the crime.

XP Earned: 1700
Party XP Level: 21,400
Current ECL: 7 (level up!)

Simon’s Rest
Coffers: 7200 gp
Guards: 270
Citizens: 12,096 (-9)
11427 humans (-5)
502 orcs (-2)
104 mechanicals (-3)
35 Cassians
22 dwarves
5 elves
1 nezumi

Special: Discovery of the Circle of Chevari

Sage Marin and Dalton discovered the Circle of Chevari. With an incantation in an old spellbook, Marin was able to activate

Random Encounter: Charles Holder Returns From Minoc Heart Intelligence
Charles Holder, one of Sage Marin’s Riders, returned from a visit to the entry point of the Mechanicals. There, he was guided by some mechanicals to Minoc Heart Intelligence, deep underground.

While there, he struck a deal with Minoc, the central “thinking entity” from which all mechanicals are born. The contract stated that Minoc would be willing to provide 50 empty bodies (mechanicals without souls) to protect Simon’s Rest if the natives of Simon’s Rest would eliminate the problem of Subterranean Species 236. After some research, Rustless 42 and Cesium 13T reveales that Subterranean Species 236 was more commonly known as the Terraquines.

Sage Marin suggested that with city improvements in progress and the Cassians vying for power within the city, an away team to help Minoc should be postponed.

Liam the Eyewitness

On a snowy evening, an angry mob arrives at Sage Marin’s home. When Sage Marin steps outside to greet them, someone throws a bottle at his head and he is knocked unconscious. Furio calms the mob and asks for an explanation.

Liam Westridge and his mother step forward. With prompting from his mother, Liam explains the presence of the mob. Earlier that day, Liam witnessed Rustless committing a murder in an abandoned tavern. Liam is so disturbed by what he has witnessed that he vomits at his mother’s feet.

Liam’s mother tells the party that they have 24 hours to provide an explanation. If they cannot Rustless and all of Sage Marin’s riders will forfeit their lives to the mob.

Investigation

Noriam is not convinced that Liam’s claims are accurate. He an Esh head to the Walkup District to investigate.

Noriam creates a few notices and places them in the vicinity of the Westridge home:

Bertrand Vizolio XIV SEEKS A MANSERVANT

For casual employ at the rate of 10 gold pieces a year.

The ideal applicant should be a reasonably young, healthy youth of perhaps of slightly diminished mental abilities (for the protection of our lord’s personal details and as demonstration of the charity of this great man).

Furthermore let it be known that any family of a man such employed shall draw an additional 5 gold stipend as thanks for his service, provided that such a young man be uninvolved in any criminal investigations.

Noriam and Esh then visit the Westridge home in disguise. Mother Westridge immediately recognizes Noriam from Sage Marin’s earlier that evening. Noriam and Esh’s attempts to bribe do not sway her, and she sends them on their way.

Meanwhile, Valandil, Rustless, Cesium and Furio investigate the crime scene. They arrive at the site of the abandoned tavern to find two men cleaning out the corpse of a man who is covered in slashes and missing the lower half of his body. All of the evidence — footprints, a smashed crate, and a path to the sewers — further damns Rustless.

Within the sewers, the runoff from the snow has washed away the tracks.

Puriel Brings Clues from the Villages

Puriel, one of Sage Marin’s elven riders, arrives with news from the village of a farmhouse outside of Roundwood. A man and his wife were kidnapped by a mechanical matching Rustless’ description. The man was forced to watch as the mechanical tortured his wife to death.

Mystery Solved

Another body is discovered in the Merchant’s Quarter in the afternoon. From the crime scene, the party successfully follows the tracks through the Dastelle Estate, back down into the Walkup District and into the sewers. There, they discover the hideout of three mechanicals who appear identical to Rustless 42. They have kidnapped a young girl and are about to do to her the same thing they did to the other bodies.

When the party arrives, the mechanicals introduce themselves — Rustless 47, Rustless 12, and Rustless Alpha Gold. Rustless Alpha Gold explains: “Our mission is to understand empathy and pain. Whereas we can gather a great deal of data by flaying a human, the empathy quotient is greatly increased when there are observers. You have arrived just in time to help us realize our mission.”

The party engages the murderers in combat, kills them, and saves the young girl. They drag the bodies to the surface, where they place them on the side of Sage Marin’s home, proving that Rustless was not the murderer.

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Horses and Bandits

When entire farming communities surrounding the village of Oliver go missing, the bandit threat can no longer be ignored.

XP Earned: 1500
Party XP Level: 22,900
Current ECL: 7

Simon’s Rest
Coffers: 7200 gp
Guards: 270
Citizens: 12,097 (1)
11427 humans (
1)
502 orcs
104 mechanicals
35 Cassians
22 dwarves
5 elves
1 nezumi
1 omari

Between Gaddol and Oliver

When investigating an abandoned (and apparently recently-attacked) farming community, the party is ambushed by a dozen mounted riders and six foot soldiers. The party cunningly prevents any of the bandits from escaping.

Bandit Caravan

After hours of tracking, the party crests a hill and discovers a bandit caravan headed southeast. The bandits see the party and send out 20 riders to kill them. The party disposes of the bandits.

Another group of riders approaches from the caravan, this time with a central, heavily-armored rider bearing white flag. He introduces himself as Erik Valthjof, a lieutenant in Piraxis’ army. He negotiates with the party: he will free the captured villagers if the party leaves the caravan alone. He also asks the party, for their own sake, to leave the Pocket at Simon’s Rest as soon as they can.

As the party leaves with the captured villagers, in the distance, they spot something large and black flying across the horizon: a dragon.

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Meet Piraxis

Lucien Oldmoore’s father Lawrence Oldmoore comes to town, fostering a new era of cooperation in Simon’s Rest… or so he would have the citizenry believe. He is accompanied by a number of Cassian Knights, the dread battlemages of Cassia whose opening attack is always chain lightning. Lawrence Oldmoore calls a town meeting at the Cassian University where he has erected a large platform. Sage Marin’s riders observe from the crowd with growing apprehension. Lawrence Oldmoore brings one of the possessed Cassians (the leader of the Cassians in Simon’s Rest) to the block and has him summarily executed by multiple lightning bolt.

Lucien Oldmoore warns Tarare (with great show to indicate it’s against his father’s knowledge) that he should check on Sage Marin (who decided to not make an appearance at the Cassian show). Upon returning to Sage Marin’s house, the riders find it in disarray, dead bodies strewn about, parts of the roof blasted away and shit everywhere. Sage Marin is nowhere in evidence, but there is a Cassian soldier pinned to a wall in Sage Marin’s bedroom. The riders interrogate him as best they can, discovering Sage Marin was kidnapped by a rogue Cassian Knight.

Tarare detects traces of teleportation magic. There would be no way to catch up in time, but it comes to mind that some wizards at the Cassian University were attempting to open a portal. Even though it uses other threads of magic, Tarare, with the assistance of Esh, were able to subvert the portal and transport themselves many miles in the direction of the bandit camp. Whilst wandering the swamps, they encountered an ogre in need of a good husband, and it fell on Esh to fulfill that duty, with great reluctance. In the end a deal was struck, and Esh was betrothed to an ogre in exchange for their guidance to the kidnappers.

Nearly upon the kidnappers, the riders were waylaid by a mage dropping fireballs and lightning bolts to great effect. The riders subdued this menace and came upon a Cassian knight who had chained Sage Marin to a rock. His hope was to end the conflict in Simon’s Rest with the bandits in one fell swoop by serving up Sage Marin and all his riders to the bandit leader.

The bandit leader arrived, on wings as black as midnight and as large as many towns. Rather than fulfilling the Cassian Knight’s wishes for peace, the Great Wyrm Black Dragon (Tarare’s suspicions) Piraxis consumed him and his horse anon. Then he gave warning to the riders and Sage Marin: the bandits are coming with the spring thaws. He wants Simon’s Rest to be in turmoil and so will grant no peace.

XP Earned: 2000
Party XP Level: 24,900
Current ECL: 7

Simon’s Rest
Coffers: 6900 gp (-2250[elves], -500[wall])
Guards: 270
Citizens: 12,097
11427 humans
502 orcs
104 mechanicals
35 Cassians (13, -7)
22 dwarves
5 elves (
28)
1 nezumi
1 omari

City Fortification: 1/100 (@500gp)
Food:

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