Friday, 18 December 2015
The Chronicles of Cidri has now been running for two years, which is definitely something of a record for the Tuesday Knights.
You can read about our first year of adventuring, in my take on the old Fantasy Trip default world of Cidri, here.
Unfortunately my health was more down than up this year, which resulted in an unforeseen break in gaming over the summer. After a busy April we didn't sit back down at the table until August, even though we'd left things mid-scenario.
As with last year, the games were initially drawn from the work of the industrious Tim Shorts (either from his fanzine The Manor or his Patreon campaign to produce micro-adventures), but then I changed things up by rewriting a very old adventure from an early issue of Different Worlds for the haunted house games, and the current 'dungeon' the characters are exploring is actually an Into The Odd scenario (which would explain why things are a bit... er... odd!).
LINKS TO CAMPAIGN CHAPTERS:
CHAPTER ELEVEN: Marigold Is Cursed: a one-shot ghost-busting adventure that set the direction for the rest of the campaign.
CHAPTER TWELVE: If You Go Down To The Woods Today and CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Lost In The Nexus Of All Realitity: In their quest to remove Marigold's curse, the group seeks out the legendary 'Witch Of The Woods' and ends up lost in the Realm Of Fairie.
CHAPTER FOURTEEN: I Ain't Afraid Of No Ghost, CHAPTER FIFTEEN: The Hunting Of The Snark, CHAPTER SIXTEEN: Return To The Haunted Manse and CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: Manse Raiders Of The Lost Art: after rescuing a lost child from a haunted house, our heroes return for loot and unleash a great evil on the world.
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: Into The Badlands: The party get a lead on a lost repository of Mnoren treasure and hope to find artifacts powerful enough to take down a tarrasque.
THE TUESDAY KNIGHTS:
Meredith left us this year to start a new life with her husband Richard in New Zealand, but didn't want to kill off her rogue, Imogen, leaving the character 'in play' should she wish to continue the campaign via email.
After Meredith left we had a gap at the table and Erica (a work colleague of Rachel's) joined us in March as the young scholar Holly.
Clare's trainee wizard Marigold Weaver has become the unexpected focus of much of the 'story' element of the campaign after she was cursed by a ghost, which led to the whole 'Witch Of The Woods' adventure, and now the revelation of her unexplained pregnancy.
My wizard (Marigold's master), Peter Entwhistle, got bumped off during the exploration of the haunted manse (as a key element of the thread that brought the potentially world-destroying tarrasque into the game), and at the end of the year was replaced by the Robin Hood-esque Dirkin as either a GMPC for me or a replacement character for anyone who gets killed.
Pete's Kirchin has become the de-facto leader of the group.
Kevin is playing the group's tank, a beefy dwarven weaponsmith called Davian Battlebeard.
Simon is the group's moral support, morale officer and amoral thief, halfling bard Harry Cobblethwaite.
Wednesday, 2 December 2015
|The Western Badlands...|
It would be fair to say the members of Cobblethwaite's Companions didn't trust the man claiming to Dirkin, Kirchin's brother, one hundred per cent.
While young Kahl was adamant it was 'Uncle Dirkin', and both Harry and Davian remembered Kirchin talking about his brother, sharing anecdotes of their time fighting shoulder-to-shoulder in the Secession Wars, when the healer had first arrived in Bendwyn, he hadn't mentioned Dirkin since the party explored The Vault Of Viktor Volkov about four months ago.
They were, however, all intrigued by Dirkin's claims to know the location of a lost Mnoren treasure house (a store abandoned by the "gods" when they left Cidri 1,500 to 2,000 year ago). He'd visited it once with three accomplices, but while he stood guard outside all but one of them died inside and the third managed to crawl out of the tunnels, horribly burned, and die at Dirkin's feet.
Drawn by the tales of his older brother's exploits, Dirkin had come to Bendwyn to seek Kirchin out and enlist his aid in a return adventure to the "treasure house of the gods".
The party prepared itself, loaded up their wagon and headed off to the blasted wastelands that lay to the west of Elyntia. The scenery reminded Kirchin of the war-ravaged land around Winterhome, razed during one of the most brutal and protracted engagements of the Secession Wars.
It took the group the better part of three weeks to get to the cave entrance, not encountering a living soul for the last ten or so days as they wove their way through the Western Badlands to the Distant Mountains and the cave that Dirkin claimed was the way in to the 'treasure house'.
On the journey, Marigold - still very clearly traumatised by the grisly death of her mentor - dropped the bombshell that she was pregnant. And yet she was still a woman of virtue and was afraid that she might actually be infected by tarrasque larvae. It was pointed out to her, rather matter-of-factly, that if that was the case they probably would have 'hatched' by now, but she was not wholly convinced.
The party found the cave and saw that the passage into the mountain would require them to crawl, so Harry led the way and the rest followed in the narrow, claustrophobic tunnels.
Crawling slowly through the maze of passageway they found a cave with a strange humming metallic device in, a box with a funnel-like trumpet attached, that was constructed of eternium (much to Davian's delight).
|One of the halfling-sized electrical creatures|
But at least they could stand up in these tunnels and had more room to move about.
Very cautious about the walls and metal doors, as they sparked occasionally, the adventurers finally found themselves in a long tunnel which led - through a concealed door - into a room that was the bottom of a well.
Prior to this they had found rooms with pools of oil, a large cyclopean lizard skull, and one hung with owl-shaped lanterns where the floor was covered in scraps of paper scribbled in an unknown language.
Worried about touching the metal doors and being unable to open them, the party turned to Holly and her 'magical doorknob of opening' (acquired in Jerol of Jirrey's haunted manse), which proved to be their saviour as it allowed them access to otherwise impenetrable barriers.
Looking up in the 'well room', through the circular hole in the ceiling, the explorers could see the sky a hundred feet or so above.
Using a copper key-rod they had found in the rubble on the floor, they opened a door from this room and met a number of strange, small, electrical beings that appeared more curious than aggressive.
Fearing they wouldn't be able to take these creatures in a fight, the party managed to negotiate with them - mainly using sign language - and eventually gave the critters Davian's eternium skull ring, which pleased them no end and they headed off further into the 'dungeon', leaving the party to explore where the beasts had come from.
Finding a room with a pile of skeletons in, the party warily avoided that and opened a door in a room bisected by a glowing stream.
To be continued...
- Davian (Kevin)
- Harry (Simon)
- Holly (Erica)
- Kirchin (Pete)
- Marigold (Clare)
Saturday, 28 November 2015
|Betty Entwhistle Blamed The Death Of Her Husband On His Former Student, Marigold Weaver|
Peter Entwhistle's funeral was a beautiful, traditional Mnorean affair, conducted by Father Caleb, ending with the congregation chanting "your name will live on" as Peter's coffin was lowered into the ground, dappled by beams of midsummer sun lancing through the trees that dotted the graveyard of the Temple Of The Lady Of Healing.
It gave Marigold a degree of peace knowing that Peter's reputation as a great wizard had earned him his room in Ündain.
The past week had not been an easy one. Unsurprisingly when Marigold, Kirchin, Holly, and Harry had gone to Betty Entwhistle to break the news of her husband's death, she had not taken it well... and had to be restrained from attacking Marigold who she blamed for, well, pretty much everything.
This further compounded Marigold's growing doubt about her calling.
"It's going to be hard finding another mentor in this backwater," she had confided in Holly, "But if I cannot I may have to quit magic entirely as practicing without hope of progress would break my heart."
Except for a message from Tarik, telling Kirchin that he was heading to Dranning to alert the Duke to the coming of "the world-breaker", and the increased sightings of forest wights in the woods around the village, a strange solemnity had fallen over Bendwyn in the wake of Peter Entwhistle's death.
Davian locked himself away in virtual seclusion, working on some "project" in his forge, only appearing - with his trademark gruffness - when customers needed new horseshoes, tool repairs etc
|Marigold working at Kirchin's|
House Of Healing
They made every effort of keep Marigold out of the main village as whenever Betty Entwhistle - or her two children - saw Marigold they would pull out their Mnorean World Tree symbols and thrust them at her violently, as though driving out The Great God T'Ao himself.
After a few weeks, Holly started to notice something was a bit different about Marigold, who had become increasing introspective since the death of her mentor, but she couldn't quite put her finger on it.
One afternoon, with Kahl out running errands, just when it looked as though Marigold had plucked up the courage to confide in Kirchin whatever it was that was still bothering her, Harry came racing in to the house of healing.
"Kirchin, come quick, there's a man at The Golden Axe asking for you by name!" the halfling blurted out.
Interest piqued, Kirchin and the two women joined Harry, heading back towards the tavern.
Harry pushed open the doors to the tavern as his comrades strode in. Kirchin saw the back of a blonde-haired archer (his bow and quiver were on the table in front of him), dressed in green leathers, sat chatting with Kahl - who should have been fetching honey from Gwendolyn the wise woman.
Kahl jumped up, beaming from ear-to-ear, as the man turned to face Kirchin and the others.
"Look," blurted out Kahl. "It's Uncle Dirkin! Your brother, father!"
"It's so good to see you again, Kirchin," the man that Kahl had called Dirkin (why did that name seem so familiar to Kirchin?) proclaimed. "I have need of your sword-arm and bravery to help me loot the treasure-house of the gods..."
|Kirchin's Brother Dirkin - Can You See The Family Resemblance?|
Tuesday, 24 November 2015
|Heart-Broken Marigold Blames Herself For Peter's Death..|
After a night of consoling Marigold, Cobblethwaite's Companions sat in silence in the main room of The Merry Riot as Darly, Dayla, and Dayl mopped the blood-stained floor around them.
Kirchin took control of the situation, realising that 'busy work' might help to keep the mind of traumatised Marigold off the gruesome death of her mentor.
Davian and Harry he tasked with the job of moving Peter's body as best they could into the back of the wagon, then covering it, for the journey back to Bendwyn.
As he trudged off, Davian muttered something about a bucket, but luckily Marigold didn't hear anything over her sobbing.
"I'm going to see if I can follow any of these trails," Kirchin said, gesturing at the blood, "Holly, why don't you take Marigold and..."
"See what I can find out about these creatures," the enthusiastic young scholar finished.
After a quick word with Bothwell, and learning that this was not the scheduled time for a visit from the druid, Holly knew exactly where she wanted to go first.
She guided Marigold south of the village and across the dried riverbed towards a hut on the outskirts of the village. Outside the hut she could see the fearsome, one-armed and ancient, warrior Tarik chopping wood.
They exchanged pleasantries and Tarik invited the young women into his hut for a drink. Holly immediately noticed a rack of a old books over the old soldier's bed and knew she had come to the right place.
As she explained, as tactfully as she could with Marigold by her side, what had occurred, she could read in the lines of Tarik's face that the adventurer had an idea of what these creatures were.
He reached up to his shelf and pulled down a couple of books, silently thumbing through them until he found what he was looking for in a large tome that Marigold recognised as the Monstrous Monstorum. "Peter has that book..." she started to say and dissolved into tears.
Tarik set the volume down on his crude table, open to a page dominated by a large etching...
|The World-Breaker In The Monstrous Monstorum|
"What you describe," he growled, "is the larval stage of a tarrasque... a world-breaker... a god-slayer. The most fearsome beast on all of Cidri. They are spoken of only in legend; one has not been seen in 500 years."
He ran his finger down the text that accompanied the picture and quoted: "The larvae are believed to combine into an entity known as an alitnil, a terrifying warrior in its own right, which then grows into its ultimate manifestation: the tarrasque. These beasts cannot be killed by the hand of mortal man."
Slamming the book shut dramatically, he shook his head: "I cannot believe that fool Jerol was keeping a tarrasque egg. What was he thinking? He has brought doom to Elyntia!"
Marigold was rocking to and fro, muttering something about "don't disturb the snark" as Holly decided it was probably time for them to leave.
Back in the forecourt of The Merry Riot, Harry and Davian stood by the cart, which had been secured to Kirchin's mule, Charles. In the back of the cart, covered by an unfortunately bloody sheet, lay the roughly human shape of Peter's remains.
Kirchin came back, shaking his head, and explaining that the blood trails had thinned out and become impossible to follow.
Bothwell, his sons, and the barmaids of The Merry Riot gathered for a somber farewell as the party set out towards Bendwyn like a funeral cortege, transporting Peter to his final resting place in the graveyard beside the Temple Of The Lady Of Healing.
To be continued...
Tuesday, 3 November 2015
|Part of the vandalised artwork, a portrait of Jerol of Jirrey, retrieved from the 'haunted' manse|
After resting in the crypt of Jerol of Jirrey, our heroes opted to pry open his tomb - and those of his four favourite hounds that had been placed around him to guard him in the afterlife. They found little of any interest (just a ring and an amulet on Jerol's rotten corpse).
After that they continued their methodical exploration of the rundown, near derelict manse and its subterranean servants' quarters.
Lots of packing crates, ruined food, and odd bits of equipment were discovered.
In one room they disturbed a nest of giant rats and Kirchin got quite badly bitten, and now suspects he may have the shaking disease known as 'filth fever' (which he has heard about, but lacks the knowledge to treat).
Back on the ground floor, the party discovered the skeletons they had destroyed previously had reformed and were waiting in ambush for them.
Marigold employed her magical tentacled wand which destroyed one most spectacularly, by pulling it apart, and consulting with Holly afterwards, the young scholar recalled hearing an old legend of a wand in the possession of an evil necromancer with similar abilities. It was known as the Wand Of The Marrow Squid.
The fight with the skeletons also saw Davian taking what might possibly be his first (albeit minor) wound in his recent career as an adventurer.
After that the main item of interest they found was a giant communal hall with a portrait of Jerol's adventuring party (The Most Excellent Brethren) and a couple of vandalised portraits of just Jerol.
Marigold was keen to remove the main picture from its frame and take it back to Peter Entwhistle, her mentor, as his father, Oblidah, was one of Jerol's team.
Eventually, the group suspected that they had cleared out the location of anything worth their attention, loaded the giant book of poetry, the painting, and the suit of plate armour from the treasure room onto their cart and headed back towards Dundraville.
As they near the village they hear screams from The Merry Riot. Bothwell meets them outside in a state of dismay and shows them in. There are trails of blood everywhere, leading back to Peter's room.
The wizard appears to have exploded when a half-a-dozen worms erupted from inside him. The worms had rapidly raced up walls, out the window, and out through the tavern, and away into the darkness.
|One of the half-dozen worms that burst out of Peter Entwhistle (killing him)|
- Davian (Kevin)
- Harry (Simon)
- Holly (played by committee)
- Kirchin (Pete)
- Marigold (Clare)
Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Tuesday, 8 September 2015
|Forest Wights: An Omen Of Ill Fortune ('They Feed On Schadenfreude')|
The latest chapter in the adventures of Cobblethwaite's Companions began with Kirchin and Holly sparring in the courtyard of The Merry Riot in Dundraville, while Davian was inside running 'tests' (ie hitting with a hammer) on the magical skull ring he had found the day before.
Marigold cleaned herself up from her sudden bout of sickness as Harry took a test shot with his onyx bow... and promptly broke it!
Kirchin became obsessed with the idea that leather wristband Harry had claimed from the treasure chamber was to blame for this disaster.
But that was only the beginning of Harry's bad luck.
With Kirchin pushing the wheelbarrow he'd borrowed from Bothwell, the group headed back into the hills outside the village, past the old ogre cave and deeper into the woods. As the canopy closed above them and it got darker, they began to see dark shadows - with bright, burning eyes - darting back and forth between the trees.
Holly explained that these were "forest wights", generally harmless, insubstantial ghost-creatures whose presence was a portent of bad things to come.
Arriving at the walled manse, buried deep in the woods, and overgrown after decades of neglect, the party opted to head through the main gates and try the front door.
Unfortunately, as they trooped in, the ground gave way beneath Harry and he crashed down into a subterranean room, that turned out to be the derelict remains of an old laboratory.
The party carefully climbed down and Kirchin went to practice his physicker's art on the wounded bard... and ended up making the problem even worse. Harry's scream of pain was probably audible back in Dundraville.
Looking into the next room, a water-soaked old library, Davian saw there were five of these "ceiling monkeys" as he called them.
The creatures retreated when the adventurers entered the library and didn't appear to be much of a threat.
Heading through the library, the party found themselves in Jerol's underground study and realised they were now in areas they had explored before.
They explored the passageway where Kirchin deduced - with Holly's input - that the 'snark' had lured Peter Entwhistle away and attacked him, but couldn't figure out how Peter has escaped. Marigold - his student - did point out that he was a mighty wizard!
Beyond this area, in an overgrown gallery, they found what they presumed was the snark's egg, but - as far as they could tell - they had killed the only snark down here.
After some discussion, they decided to make for the staircase back up to the ground floor, where there was a door they hadn't tried.
Breezing through the corridor, they wandered into a ghoulish ambush and once battle was engaged at the bottom of the staircase, more ghouls poured out the kitchen behind them and trapped the party in bloody battle.
It was a protracted fight but, boosted by Harry's singing and occasional bursts of magic from Marigold, Davian managed to overpower the ghouls.
After this fight, the adventurers rested for an hour in the wine cellar, then headed back to Jerol's bedroom, through the secret doors and into the crypt where they had found Kennet the other day.
It turned out the crypt contained Jerol's tomb. Not wishing to desecrate it, they paused to think where they would head next.
To be continued...
- Davian (Kevin)
- Harry (Simon)
- Holly (Erica)
- Kirchin (Pete)
- Marigold (Clare)
Wednesday, 2 September 2015
|Bothwell and J'Homme were delighted to have Kennet back safe and sound|
Marigold groaned and rolled over in her bed. She could hear the clatter of sword-on-sword as Kirchin and Holly sparred below the window of her room in the courtyard of The Merry Riot Inn.
It wasn't just the celebratory drinking from the previous night that was making her feel ill. She was still disturbed by what had happened when she snuck away to the tavern's cellar to try out her newly-found 'tentacled wand'.
The ale had been flowing freely - as landlord Bothwell refused to take coin from anyone, so pleased was he at the return of his errant son - but Marigold was twitchy and wanted to know more about her new possession.
|Peter Entwhistle still didn't feel like his old self|
She pointed the wand, pressing down on the tentacle as she did and promptly vomited when the rat stopped in its tracks, spasmed and then folded flat into a thin envelope of flesh.
The creature's bones had somehow been pulled outside its body and lay in a rat-shaped pile next to the furry skin sack.
Covering her mouth, she ran back upstairs, past her partying colleagues - who were too in their cups to notice - and up to her room.
Well, at least now she had an idea of what the wand did!
Marigold's mentor, Peter Entwhistle, had spent the evening stuffing his face with food. Probably due to his extensive wounds, he still didn't feel quite right - despite the miraculous effect the 'joy juice' had had on him.
Although his colleagues had decided to return to the abandoned house to retrieve what treasures they could, Peter had declared that he would be returning to bed, and for them to wake him when they got back.
|Berk wants the Joy Juice|
His rather slimy persona persuaded her not to reveal the fact that she already had a couple of extra vials of the mead-like liquid in her pack.
Nursing a thick head, Kirchin had risen early - having promised to work with Holly on some basic fencing techniques to hone both their skills.
Chatting with Bothwell, the ebullient publican had agreed to loan him a wheelbarrow, which was what Kirchin had wanted to retrieve the suit of platemail from Jerol's manse.
Holly had spent a great deal of the night before, and this morning, talking to the locals about Jerol of Jirrey. Piecing it all together with her own knowledge of the region's lore, she now had a better understanding of the legendary adventurer and his comrades in The Most Excellent Brethren (Jerol's very successful adventuring and trading company).
After she had sparred with Kirchin for a bit, she was going to visit the druid's circle outside the village and harvest some herbs to make healing balm for the party's return trip to Jerol's haunted mansion.
Davian was regretting agreeing to sample the Berkclay Brothers 'fire ale' during the boisterous celebrations for the return of young Kennet, but despite the heartburn he was now suffering, he was determined to find out more about the eternium 'skull ring'. Despite its very basic design, the ring seemed resistant to all damage.
Dwarvish tradition associated the mysterious metal with 'good fortune' and Davian scratched at his beard as he wondered if this ring would somehow grant him luck.
Having spent most of the last night gargling honey mead, poured for him by the tavern's three serving maids (the sisters Darly, Dayla, and Dayl), Harry was delighted to discover that come the morning his voice had returned.
With a song on his lips, and confidence in his heart, he was just about to try out his onyx bow at a target he had set up on the far side of the courtyard, when Marigold threw open the window of her room, stuck her head out and proceeded to be violently sick... breaking his concentration!
|Darly, Dayla, and Dayl|
Tuesday, 1 September 2015
|Bloody Bandage Tied Round A Pole Outside The Temple Of The Lady Of Healing |
Indicating That This Is A Place For The Treatment Of Ailments And Wounds...
|A selection of Kirchin's tools and charts for his physicking work...|
|A selection of salves, herbs and simples that Kirchin has labelled up, on a table outside the temple,|
as part of his teaching for Holly and Kahl...
|A key chart in Kirchin's work: showing the various shades of urine |
and what they can tell him about his patient's state of being...
Wednesday, 12 August 2015
|Magically animated skeletons guarded the treasure...|
Although only moments had passed since the puzzle had been solved and the secret door revealed in the subterranean store room, it felt like months by the time the members of Cobblethwaite's Companions took their next breath.
A treasure room was revealed and the nest of skeletons within were quickly dispatched before the party could inspect the shelf of strange objects.
Kirchin (Pete's character) took the fancy-looking sword hilt; Harry (Simon's character) the wristband with a target painted on, which shrank to fit his arm when he tried it on; Holly (Erica's character) the doorknob (which was later discovered to have the power to unlock any locked door); Davian (Kevin's character) the gaudy skull ring of mysterious metal; and Marigold (Clare's character), the bird beak whistle and the copper rod with a live tentacle wrapped around it.
|The Copper Rod|
The suit of fine plate mail that stood in the centre of the room they agreed to return for later.
Around this time, they realised that their team mage, Peter Entwhistle, had disappeared and he was found a short ways away, lying face-down in a pool of his own blood and covered in bite marks.
Magical healing didn't do much and he drifted in and out of consciousness. Marigold then gave his a draught of the 'Joy Juice' she had found earlier in the wine cellar. This had the effect of getting the old mage drunk so suddenly he could barely crawl.
Thankfully the next room they explored contained a rough cot and the party let Entwhsitle rest there, while they continued their hunt for the missing boy, Kennet (son of Dundraville's publican Bothwell).
Once again, the dusty environs played merry havoc with Harry's vocal chords and after a while he found he could no longer belt out his morale-boosting tunes.
After a short scuffle with a pair of ghouls found scavenging in the old kitchen - and blocking the 'ghoul hole' in the wall with an overturned table - our heroes came upon a large study room, with a desk, broken chair and shelves.
Some philosophy books (a couple written by the building's former owner Jerol of Jirrey) were found, along with an enormous (four foot cubed) book of poetry and, locked away in the desk drawer, a pornographic novel with magically animated illustrations and sound effects! Marigold pocketed that ("To keep it out of the hands of children!")
Beyond this was a lavish, fur-strewn bedroom, where Harry spotted a secret doorway slightly ajar.
|The 'snark' |
- artwork by Jerry Boucher
It easily broke through the magical web Marigold cast at him, but Davian had heard her cries and come running.
The beast - which Holly would later tell them reminded her of a "snark", a bogeyman creature from children's fairy tales - then found itself trapped between the armoured dwarf and the staff-wielding sorcerer's apprentice.
Everyone stood their ground and eventually the 'snark' was felled.
With the monster dead, the party resumed their investigation of the secret tunnel beyond the bedroom.
It turned out that it led down to a crypt, where they found the terrified Kennet hiding. The party were rather suspicious that he might be some kind of shapeshifter or otherwise unknown monster, but the story he told of his coming into the house on a dare, then getting lost, tallied with what they knew.
Mission accomplished, the party decided to take Kennet back to his father, rest up in Dundraville, then return to the 'haunted house' on a more loot-driven exploration.
- Davian (Kevin)
- Harry (Simon)
- Holly (Erica)
- Kirchin (Pete)
- Marigold (Clare)
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
|King Keeg Ridend (45)|
|Queen Elisota The White (36)|
Keeg Ridend "The Bloody" came to the throne of Elyntia in 2004 at the age of 35, succeeding his uncle, Ater III, whose death by poisoning remains a mystery.
He is a harsh, but he believes fair, taskmaster - demanding the best from his military commanders, advisers etc and not suffering fools gladly.
Keeg's credo - from his reading of the Mnoren sacred texts - is "might is right" and he maintains that as long as the army of Elyntia remains strong, he has the mandate to rule and will earn his room in Ündain when he walks the "Glorified Way After".
A truly martial family, from the dominant House Ridend, Keeg has insisted his children - the twins Castor and Mirabella and his youngest, Ysabella - all received the best combat training available.
In the closing months of The Secession Wars both Castor and Mirabella led units into battle - scoring decisive victories each time and earning the respect of their troops.
While Keeg's children have all taken to the way of the warrior, they all know that their father is constantly looking to make worthwhile matches for them, marriages that can secure important alliances for him.
Queen Elisota is rarely seen at court. Rumours of her mental instability have long circulated, even before her husband became king.
More often than not she can be found in her private garden in the grounds of the, appropriately named, White Tower which has been planted, at her orders, entirely with flowers that bear white blooms.
She believes white is the colour of royalty and her "connection" to the colour is the Mnoren gods telling her that she is their holy champion.
Unsurprisingly, there are also rumours that the king has taken a number of lovers.
|Prince Castor (21)|
|Princess Mirabella (21)|
|Princess Ysabella (16)|
Saturday, 18 April 2015
The Secession Wars (also known as The Dukes' Rebellion and The Elyntian Civil War) was an intense 30-month conflict centred primarily around the winter capital of Elyntia, Winterhome, although smaller skirmishes spread across large swathes of Northern Elyntia.
Almost exactly 150 years after the end of The Thousand Year War, the Dukes of Kanon and Spartax in the North-West of Elyntia rose up in open rebellion against the King Keeg The Bloody.
|Keeg The Bloody|
Neither foolish nor naive enough to strike directly at the capital, Kaerater, the dukes and their barons lay siege to the King's estates in Winterhome, the second city of Elyntia.
Through dark magics and remorseless assaults, throwing wave after wave of troops at Winterhome, the city was razed to the ground with its population reduced to a tenth of its original size, eeking out an existence in the ruins of the once great city.
One of the ironic things about this conflict, given the racial tension that helped spark the war, is that both sides freely used orc and goblin mercenaries in their armies.
Smaller pockets of rebellion popped up across Northern Elyntia during this time, mostly barons sensing that change might be in the air, trying to seize a slice of the pie for themselves or settle personal grudges.
|Princess Mirabella riding into battle|
Eventually, the Dukes of Kanon and Spartax were slain (rumour has it some of their barons were bribed to change allegiance back to the king) and their rebellion was crushed along with their dreams of their own independent state.
The dukes' heads were paraded through Kaerater on pikes, then left to rot over the entrance gate of Túr Hwit (The White Tower) .
The barons who had stood with the rebellious dukes were called to the capital and forced to march into the palace under the severed heads of the dukes.
There they had to bend the knee to the king and swear new oaths of fealty - with the added threat that should they entertain traitorous thoughts again, not only would they meet the same fate as the dukes, so would every member of their extended families.
|The remains of Winterhome today - a barren desert of ruins|
Wednesday, 15 April 2015
|The overgrown trackway to Jerol's Manse - the "haunted house" the party are exploring...|
After their mind-boggling adventure in the insanity of the Realm Of The Faerie, Kirchin, Davian and Harry were plagued by strange dreams.
Kirchin was walking the battlefields of his youth, searching for the wounded; Harry realised the man he thought was his father was in fact a cruel slavemaster running an illicit 'cobbling mill', that Harry had torched when making his escape; and Davian remembered a guard dog he had been fond of his youth that had given its life to alert his tribe of an impending orc raid.
Kirchin awoke to himself in the town's chapel, collapsed over the altar with no recollection of how he got there from his bed in the healing house!
Later that day, when the three heroes were dining at The Golden Axe, a young woman burst in and headed straight towards Kirchin.
It was Dayl, a barmaid at The Merry Riot in Dundraville, one of the women the group had rescued from the ogre a month or so earlier.
She explained that one of the sons of Bothwell, the landlord and her emploer, had disappeared and she feared that the ogre had returned.
And soon the six-strong party were on the way to Dundraville.
By the time they got there, Bothwell's other son had admitted that he had 'double dared' his older brother to visit the haunted house in the hills beyond the Skulltop Hillock (where the ogre's lair had been).
The house had once belonged to a famous adventurer, Jerol Of Jirrey, but had fallen into disrepair after he died 40 years ago and no-one had been brave enough to venture there since as - as well as the ogre - they all believed it was haunted.
Guided to the bottom of the trail by the frightened villagers, by the time Cobblethwaite's Companions reached the house it was pitch dark, but they managed to find a trail through the overgrown grass between the manse and its curtain wall.
They followed the trail round to the back of the house, coming to a broken window where a small spot of blood was seen - the boy, Kennet, had cut himself on the glass getting in, making his trail inside easier to follow.
In the manor house's tower, the group found a collection of old maps, some of which they thought might be worth something, so they pocketed those, but were generally pretty single-minded in their desire to track down the missing child.
A staircase in the tower led into the basement, and there the group found their first clues that Kennet wasn't the only creature in this building - there were a mixture of non-human (possibly monstrous) footprints before the trail disappeared completely.
In a wine cellar, Marigold siphoned off some mead-like substance from one vat labelled "Joy Juice" with the idea that she would study it later and then the party came into a looted armoury, where their attention was drawn to three precious stones embedded in the wall, with a cryptic verse underneath.
Cracking the code, they pressed the stones in the correct order. There was a click and the outline of a concealed door appeared.
To be continued...
- Davian (Kevin)
- Harry (Simon)
- Holly (Erica)
- Kirchin (Pete)
- Marigold (Clare)
Monday, 13 April 2015
|Cobblethwaite's Companions (l to r): Charles The Mule, Davian Battlebeard, Kirchin, Harry Cobblethwaite, |
Peter Enwhistle (back), Marigold Weaver, Holly (foreground) and Kahl.
Davian wiped the sweat from his brow. He was tired, but satisfied. During the recent cross-river tension with the orcs, the populace of Bendwyn had suddenly decided they needed swords, lots of swords.
As he made his way there, he noticed a throng of townsfolk around the Great Tree and recognised a voice addressing them he hadn't heard in a while.
It was Marius. The Miser, folks called him, although not to his disfigured face. As he drew neared, Davian could make out the hunched, cloaked figure of Marius, flanked by his two servants (or were they slaves?).
He was telling the assembled crowd that after much thought he had decided to shoulder the burden of paying the orc king the monthly blood money that had been agreed.
Davian scowled, his short-lived good mood was at an end. He spat on the road, muttered something about "kowtowing to those no-good green skins" and sped up his pace towards his first pint of the day.
A naturally suspicious character, Davian was sure the usually reclusive Marius had an ulterior motive to his uncharacteristic generosity, but at the moment all the dwarf wanted was a drink.
Wednesday, 8 April 2015
These pictures show the underground workings beneath The Temple Of Healing at the time when Kirchin and his adventuring company, Cobblethwaite's Companions, cleared out the foul necromancer who had set up shop there.
Since then, the villagers of Bendwyn have bandied together to help remove any items of "treasure", as well as all the corpses (who received proper Mnoren burials, officiated by Father Caleb), leaving the rooms and furniture for Kirchin to re-purpose for his re-opened healing centre.
This is where Kirchin and his apprentice Kahl live and part-time nurse Holly comes to work.
Monday, 6 April 2015
The Chronicles Of Cidri began with the arrival of the healer Kirchin (and his young apprentice Kahl) in Bendwyn, seeking to reclaim and reopen the temple of healing on the outskirts of the small town.
Here is an artist's impression of the state of the derelict house of healing at that time; you can just make out the old town crypt beneath the temple's floor.
A series of rooms had been constructed off the crypt by a necronmancer who had taken over the temple for his own nefarious ends, and now Kirchin has re-purposed them as accomodation for himself, and his apprentice, as well as additional workspace.
Sunday, 29 March 2015
The Wöden, descendants of the minority human tribes that existed originally on the continent of Tekralh alongside the orcs and goblins, are now a transient people, found in small communities and brightly-coloured caravans, across Tekralh and other neighbouring continents (such as Sevled).
They are masters of the horse and caravan. Hardened survivors, they relish life and are renowned for their wild dancing and drinking as their martial cunning and sly wits.
It is not unknown for Wöden caravans to be welcomed into isolated, cold, southern towns in exchange for displays of salacious dancing and magic tricks.
However, their exotic nature also makes them prey for unscrupulous slavers and so the Wöden are often as suspicious of civilized folks as they are of the Wöden.
In more romantic cultures they are called: “The People of The Wheel”, because they are always on the move and have no permanent homes – except their caravans – or cities.
However, according to Elyntian lore the Wöden refused to convert to the Mnoren faith when the invaders from Sevled conquered their lands, instead opting to celebrate the carnal ways of The Great God T'Ao. For this Jen Mnoren and Mother Issus cursed them never to have a homeland again and so they began their long journey to redemption.
More level-headed scholars suspect that this legend was created to demonise The Wöden, who are known to worship strange gods - unfamiliar to the Mnoren Pantheon - and practice fortune telling and prophesy outside of the confines of "normal" religion.
Because they are always on the move, the Wöden are also a good source of news, folklore and stories from across the enormous region they traverse (whether this is reliable or not is another matter and probably depends on how much you paid for the information).
Some Wöden have even banded together and purchased small, hardy ships. With a crew consisting almost entirely of a single tribe, these vessels then become either merchant ships or pirate ships - the Wöden excel in both nautical fields!
While most Wöden Clans act quite independently of the whole, they all tend to gather every three or four years for a large festival (often in the small, mountainous region known as Wöda, in north-eastern Elyntia), where the Ducja ('Leader of All Clans') sits in judgement over any disputes. The current Ducja is called Alba, and he has held that title for 12 years.
"Always watch your purse when trading with a Wöden"
– old Elyntian proverb.
WöDEN AS PLAYER-CHARACTERS
At creation, Wöden characters gain +1 DX, -1ST but are otherwise created like any other human characters.
Other nationalities instinctively don't trust them - no non-Wöden will take orders from a Wöden.
Their hair colour is predominantly black.
Most Wöden have, at least, a basic understanding of animal husbandry, horse-riding and cold weather survival. Many are also proficient in matters of business (e.g. haggling, accounting etc) or entertainment (playing musical instruments, storytelling, singing and/or dancing).
Tuesday, 24 March 2015
The arrival of Kirchin, earlier in the year, and the reopening of The Temple Of The Lady Of Healing prompted her to take a part-time job there as a nurse.
A small, quiet woman, 21-year-old Holly is often mistaken for someone much younger than her real age, and most of her friends in Bendwyn are teenagers (including Imogen and Marigold).
Although she comes from an uneducated background, Holly is driven by a thirst for knowledge.
The recent departure of Imogen from the town has emboldened her to step out of the shadows and join Kirchin and his colleagues on their adventures, with the aim of broadening her education and putting her skills to good use.
Wednesday, 18 March 2015
|Captain Dexter Hammerhand|
Kirchin and Harry had been at the fort, having answered the summons of Captain Hammerhand, while Marigold had returned home to prepare her parents for the worst - or possible evacuation (as Kirchin had suggested).
Imogen had run away, leaving her father heart-broken, and Davian had locked himself away in his forge, trying to get his business up-and-running again.
Before heading to the fort, Kirchin and Marigold had discussed their hopes that the orcs would soon fall back on their old ways, turn on each other and their shaky alliance would collapse, but neither was wholly convinced that this would necessarily happen any time soon.
"Humans, eh?" Harry had scoffed, earning himself twin glares from both Captain Dexter Hammerhand and Kirchin, but before anyone could speak again a thunderous sound rent the air as a bright light lit the sky.
The trio made for one of the watch towers and Kirchin soon wished he had possession of Davian's "spyglass" to get a better view of what was occurring on the far side of the Bright.
Some time passed, then a flock of black birds arose from the midst of the orc horde and headed north (this, Peter would explain, was a traveling spell of Revoreesh's own devising).
Harry, Hammerhand and Kirchin were all equally puzzled as to what was going on until it became clear that the orcs were breaking camp and heading back into Tanander.
Peter Entwhistle was left on the bank of The Bright River for the ferryman to collect and transport back to civilization.
Entwhistle was grinning from ear-to-ear when he was met on the nearside of the river by Harry, Hammerhand and Kirchin, as if he had negotaited the peace treaty himself.
He hadn't, he quickly revealed. Revoreesh had struck a deal with King Hoknath that Bendwyn would pay 100 silver dollars a month - for a year - to Hoknath as blood money for the orcs slain by "whoever". In return the orcs would continue to respect the boundary agreed at the end of The Thousand Year War.
On the first of each month, the $100 would be handed to Aberswyth The Merchant, who would meet a representative of the town at the ferry crossing, and he would deliver the money to Hoknath.
However, if a payment was missed, the orcs would return and extract the money in blood and flesh from the inhabitants of Fort Bright and Bendwyn.
Later, in the warmth of The Golden Axe, Peter explained that he had been attending the annual Wizards Conclave at The Tower of Revoreesh, which lies in the foothills of the Gargoyle Mountains.
|The Yellow King|
The Yellow King, Peter explained, was believed to be a dark avatar of Sateb (the god of the afterlife who judges a soul's worthiness), that ancient, near-forgotten, legends said was imprisoned in a shadow of Purgatory called Croatoa.
The legends stated that the impossibly strong magical forces restraining The Yellow King prevented him from setting foot on Cidri, and so Entwhistle wasn't particularly bothered by the prophecies of his return... except for one detail.
A single quatrain in Ja'rodidymus's text spoke of a "conjoined maiden, hag and mother creating a vessel" that would carry The Yellow King from the shores of Croatoa to the realm of men.