Monday, May 18, 2009

Recap: 5/6

Last time, Windfall were concerned about the massive army surrounding their Tower. And about the magickal seal leaking necrotic energy that reanimated the dead for miles around. The adventurers separated and headed into the city of Briarton to engage in some old-fashioned information gathering.

Rangrim hit the bars. He found that Dwarven miners had been brought in from various mountain towns to install a loch at the river and carve a channel to the Tower. The channel deadends at the shaft dug down to the seal. If the loch is opened, millions of gallons of water will flood through the seal room. Also, some Dwarves were looking for Orzul, hoping to hold her accountable for an accidental death she caused as an adolescent.

Mokshel reported in at her temple. She found that the entire community of faith--every temple and order--had been mobilized to fight the undead that were arising all around Briarton. The temple was full of the wounded. She reported to the elders who heard the story Mokshel told and brought her to see the commander of the Duke's army, Baron Amintor. The baron, a foppish man, was astounded at Mokshel's story and instructed his men to gather the rest of Windfall.

Taru hit the bars near the military academy. She found that the army was worn out from fighting undead and that nosy bards were snooping about looking for stories. Taru overheard the bards talking of the riots out in ArcAngel having been caused by an attack of the Emperor's men, which was a lie and curious.

Didion returned to the magic university where she grew up. The whole school was abuzz with the discovery of the Seal. Students were discussing disertations while all of the experts on otherdimensional seals has been called away by Baron Amintor. The chief expert was Grace Thimbleberry. All reports said he was at the seal. A colleague had seen the seal and said it was too complicated to be merely a containment device.

Guy attempted to find a seal expert amongst the merchants, but all he could find was that the military had bought up many supplies.

The Windfallies met at their dusty, derelict offices to discuss what they'd learned. Their janitor/caretaker, Scrappy, was also on hand to lend his opinion. As they were comparing notes, Mokshel arrived with the Baron's men and everyone was taken to the camp outsode the Tower.

The camp spread far and wide around the Tower. Tents housed thousands of soldiers, craftsmen, minders and workers. At the heart of it, near the shft leading down to the portal was the Baron's war tent. He met the heroes and told them his plan: the Baron planned to open the seal, remove the old seal, and replace it with a newly crafted one. This would happen at 8 am. Windfall would be expected to be on hand at the opening, in case of complications.

The adventurers camped in the disused spider caves next to the seal. They argued for hours over a course of action: should they fight their way out? Should they hide in the tower? Should they wait patiently and break the replacement seal, buying more time? Mokshel grew impatient and ran through a flame wall, only to find the Seal heavily guarded. Mokshel had to run *back* through the flame afterwards.

Around 4 am, Windfall decided to get a few hours shut eye. And then the dream came . . .

Monday, May 11, 2009

Chapter 2: Windfall, lost in the wilderness

Chapter 2: Windfall, lost in the wilderness

Windfall llc. left the cursed town of Surebrook with the pirate Gorebag. His armada took on supplies from the slowly-reforming-from-a-life-of-murder townspeople and set sail on the Midnight Sea. The adventurers were on board the living ship Bountiful Harvest, captained by the mad Dryad Verbena.

The heroes were at sea for weeks, locked in their cabins. The ships sailed in the absolute blackness of the Underdark, feeling their way through narrow passages between rock and stalagmite. No lights were permitted outside the ship for fear of attracting the horrors that dwelt in the underneath.

The armada stopped at the Necropolis of Vaash to take on fresh supplies and to deliver goods and mail. The Vaash were an old people who lived above ground before the Empire came. They were amazed to meet Elves and Dwarves and were consumed with jealousy at their long lifespans. The Vaash retreated underground and formed a monastery on the Midnight Sea. They hollowed out stalactites 13-stories tall and filled them with libraries, laboratories, research teams. They discovered the path of Undeath and accepted it freely.

After hundreds of years, the Vaash's city of the undead spreads across dozens of stalactites, linked by rope bridges. Every building researches something different and new. Petitioners find their way to the Necropolis every day seeking answers. But the price is steep: one year of labor for every answer given. The question is asked, the contract is signed and the work begins. The seeker may quit at any time, but to do so is to forfeit all the time spent.

As the Bountiful Harvest approached, Windfall saw a thief cast from the upper tiers of the stalactite building plunge into icy, shark infested waters. The Windfall group took an opportunity to stretch their collective legs on the dock of the necropolis and questioned the skeletal clerk supervising the intake. Would the Vaash be able to help with the leaking seal below their tower? Perhaps, but could they afford to wait a year? Guy attempted to broker the service of the town of Surebrook, but the clerk was uninterested.

On the dock, Geon spied a familiar face--or rather, head--in Didion Greytongue. Didion cursed at the Windfallers for wrecking her plans and attacked. The Clerk--who forbids violence of any non-research sort--cast her into the water. Windfall had a quick conference and decided to save her from the numerous sharks. Orzul pelted them with a hail of arrows. Taru walked amongst them with her water-walking boots and stabbed with her lightning glaive and Rangrim used his practiced seamanship skills to rope Didion and drag her on board the boat.

Didion told Rangrim and Guy and Mokshel her story: her father had been taken from her at a young age by the Duke for political reasons and imprisoned in The Pin--an island fortress prison far off the coast. She had working to secure Stonecutter to bust him out, but when Windfall stopped that plan she had pledged herself to the Vaash in exchange for answers regarding the prison's security systems. But that was all ruined now. Guy pledged that Windfall would help her, after they fixed the seal.

The Raven Queen came to our heroes in a dream. She said that the Windfallers were in danger of being catspaws of the Gods. There was a game afoot. She also implied that she would look after them; that the Duke was her enemy.

After another week at sea, the armada arrived at the secret underground port at ArcAngel.

* * *

ArcAngel was for many years a prosperous, Dwarven mining town--formerly named CragHang. It was conquered by the previous Duke for the Empire and the city became integrated. A minority human population built up on the Eastern side of ArcAngel, running the usual merchant concerns.

At the secret port Gorebag introduced the adventurers to Khel Moonsong, a morose half-elf who managed a bar in town. Khel lead the heroes through a winding rock passage up to the bar where he worked. The bar was occupied with cranky, mutinous Dwarves who did not warm up to Orzul's advances.

Windfall did not like ArcAngel. Desperate to find a way back across the hundreds of miles of snow-covered mountains to their home, their tower, and their leaking seal, our heroes resisted getting sucked into the treacherous politics in the town.

They were approached by a leader of the Dwarves, Madbeard Barleycorn, who wanted them to cause a distraction at the mines to lure away the guards from City Hall. While the leader of the Blue Temple, High Priest Vilkata wanted them to pacify striking miners.

What they didn't know was this: The Blue Temple, a predatory banking institution, had set up shop in ArcAngel. They moved against Dwarven interests raising taxes, raising prices, and fixing an election. Deep within the Blue Temple the God of conquest, Bane, was pushing for an all out war between the Dwarves and the Duke, with the Blue Temple secretly pushing both sides. The Duke's army didn't know what they were getting into, thinking it was a minor labor dispute. And the Dwarves had been chafing for decades, ever since their loss.

The Dwarves had made deals with Duergar and Giants who dwelt under the mountain. The Duergar would provide spies, assassins, muscle in a war in exchange for Dwarven women to breed with. The Giants prepared the mountains themselves as weapons.

Windfall stumbled into the middle of this and tried to play both sides by going to the mines. It was an ambush. Elite soldiers of the Temple attacked them. Windfall collapsed the entire mine upon their heads.

* * *

The Windfall group fled from the cave in and were spotted by some air guards. Windfall killed the guards--one escaped--and Orzul managed to tame a hippogriff. The Windfallers worked out that there was a ledger somewhere with the names of the mounts. Perhaps in the headquarters of the Duke's guards?

The entire regiment was drawn away by massive rioting and fires down in ArcAngel, so the Windies crept in unnoticed. They killed several guards and witnessed a band of peons be dissolved in a gout of acid. A dragon was nearby! At the end of the day, our ragtag band of rebels found themselves in a dusty alcove, covered in blood, staring at a scribe surrounded by piles of books.

* * *

Our heroes fought off Madbeard and his Duergar guards, but the mayor died in the process. Mokshel wielded Stonecutter against the Duergar with lethal effectiveness. Afterwards they caught more Hippogriffs and fled.

* * *
Fleeing the riots in ArcAngel (where Bane the God of Coquest had made his presence known) on the backs of stolen military hippogriffs. They passed the Shrike--the Duke's go-to guy for wetworks--and decided not to get involved. The Shrike was a short, thin, blonde one-armed man carrying only a longsword on his back.

The Windfallers followed a river that would lead them back to Briarton, back to their tower and back to the leaky seal. Those who were attuned to the tower could feel a distant unpleasant sensation, like centipedes in their trousers.

Atop a snowy mountain the adventurers came upon a band of drunken and bewildered men standing outside a hunting lodge. They explained that one of their conquests hadn't been as dead as they'd thought. Grudgingly the Windfall group entered the lodge to investigate. Inside they found the bodies of a few hunters and an enormous, injured Bulette. The armored land shark attacked. Rangrim taunted it as only a Dwarven sailor could and provoked the beast to focus on him while the rest of the adventurers unloaded everything they had on the beast. Orzul fumbled while trying to throw alchemical fire on the beast and set herself on fire, for the second time in as many months. Windfall succeeded. The beast was slain. The hunters happily carved it up for dinner while Mokshel searched it's stomach for treasure.

Many miles on our heroes came across a merchant caravan being devoured by an enormous Purple Worm. Windfall distracted the beast and saved the merchants and guards, leaving the horses as worm food. They deposited the civilians at a dusty roadhouse not far away and camped outside. Taru used a new ritual she had learned to summon the spirits of internet memes to craft the perfect campsite. The spirits spent far too little time on campsite creation and far too much time singing the Peanut Butter Jelly Time song.

In the morning the team mounted their stolen military vehicles and flew to the crater where Surebrook once had been. Tears were shed. Everyone stared at the scenic outlook. Guy poured a 40 out for his homies. And then it was on to Briarton!

(End of Chapter 2)

At Briarton our heroes found their tower surrounded by a military encampment. More of the Duke's army. They had invaded the tower and dug deep into the earthbeside it with the help of sub-contracted Dwarves. Windfall hid their mounts on a local farm (owned by their old landlady, Susan) and gathered for a good think.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Gods & Goddesses of Import

Gods of "Good"

* Avandra - Good Goddess of Change, Luck, Commerce and Travel, Patron of Halflings
* Bahamut - Lawful Good God of Justice Protection and Nobility. Patron of Dragonborn
* Corellon - Unaligned God of Beauty, Art, Magic and the Fey. Seasonal God of the Spring and Patron of Eladrin
* Erathis - Unaligned Goddess of Civilization, Inventions and Law
* Ioun - Unaligned Goddess of Knowledge, Skill and Prophecy
* Kord - Unaligned God of Storms, Battle and Strength
* Melora - Unaligned Goddess of Wilderness, Nature and the Sea
* Moradin - Lawful Good God of Family, Community and Creation (As in smithing). Patron of Dwarves
* Pelor - Good God of Sun, Agriculture and Time. Seasonal God of Summer

Neutral Gods

* Raven Queen - Unaligned Goddess of Death, Fate and Doom. Seasonal Goddess of Winter.
* Sehanine - Unaligned Goddess of Illusion, Love and the Moon. Seasonal God of Autumn and Patron of Elves

"Evil" Gods

* Asmodeus - Evil God of Tyranny and Domination. Lord of Devils
* Bane - Evil God of War and Conquest. Revered by Goblins
* Gruumsh - Chaotic Evil God of Slaughter and Destruction. Patron of Orcs
* Lolth - Chaotic Evil Goddess of Shadow and Lies. Patron of Drow and their inseparable companions, the spiders
* Tharizdun - The Elder Elemental Eye, creator of the Abyss
* Tiamat - Evil Goddess of Greed and Envy. Patron of the Chromatic Dragons
* Torog - Evil God of the Underdark. Patron of Jailors and Torturers
* Vecna - Evil God of the Undead and Necromancy. Lord of Secrets
* Zehir - Evil God of Darkness and Poison. Favoured Deity of the Yuan-Ti and Patron of Assassins

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Windfall's notable associates

Sheriff Bounder and his deputies: the Halfling and his staff of humans were responsible for sending Windfall to explore the kobold thieves in the ruins of Briar's Tower.

Didion Greytongue: A strange sorceress who enslaved a tribe of kobold's in the tower ruins. Her army of tiny thieves stole magickal items and alchemical ingredients so that she could create the mercurial solution that offered protection against the Mindsword. When Windfall attacked her, she vanished. [Now a member of Windfall]

Nahks the kobold foreman: Leader of the kobolds under the mountain and servant of a black dragon. Nahks guided Windfall through the ruins but abandoned them when his people were freed.

Traitor priest of Vecna. Ex-leader of Windfall (elected). Served the Master under the Mountain due to the Mindsword's influence.

Volstagg the Voluminous: Also known as "disposable Steve," was a wizard of the Red Temple chained with Mokshel in the torture pits of the Master's temple. The Red Temple has no branches in the province of Thule. It tends to operate in highly-dense population centers and specializes in the legal satisfaction of all vices. Volstagg was killed by giant spiders.

Dana Briar: Settler of Thule. The Civilizing Light. Her of the North. 500 years ago Dana and her associates fought back armies of evil and plugged the shadowrift with her tower. One of her colleagues tricked her and trapped her spirit in the rift's seal. She remained there, watching and waiting, until freed by Windfall.

The Speaker of the Drow: A strange hooded figure who shadow-walked into a locked room to warn Windfall away from the Drow's attack on the Master.

The Seven Civilians: Freed by Windfall from the giant spiders along with Guy. They are a thief, a farmer's daughter, two pilgrims, and three merchants.

The cursed town of Surebrook: sent to the depths by a vengeful Goddess they are damned to turn into plates of irresistible food for preying upon travelers. They were Guy's home town and were world-renowned for their magical devices and weapons. A town of artisans they also have a tavern, a temple, a school, a bazaar and a murderbarn.

Admiral Torniq Gorebag: Pirate lord of a fleet of ships of which the flagship is Justice. An ex-slave, Gorebag sails the midnight seas under the world and preys upon pirates and slavers. His crew is a mishmash of every race and creed and are all freed slaves. He runs a tight ship but shares the profits equally.

Dark Corners Conceal Many Things Including Both Danger And Succor: The Warforged barbarian. Part-robot and part-badass. Loyal to Gorebag.

The Necropolis of Vaash: A city of undead researchers who trade answers for labor. Their stalactite towers hang in the Midnight Sea.

Khel Moonsong: A contact of Gorebag's. Khel manages a tavern in ArcAngel.

Brann "Madbeard" Barleycorn: A devious dwarf who owns half of ArcAngel. He made deals with unholy powers for the strength to fight the Duke's army.

High Priest Vilkata: Slimy, sour leader of the Blue Temple in ArcAngel.

Mayor Paul Fargoh: Former scribe, illegally elected mayor of ArcAngel. [Deceased]

Susan: Windfall's landlord.

Sam Buttmunch of the Briarton Buttmunches: The tool who broke the seal.

Baron Amintor: Leader of the Duke's army. A foppish, clever man. He is enormously fat and dislikes travel immensely.

Duke Yoldi the 13th: The 13th Yoldi to hold the office. The Duke rules the province of Thule strictly but remotely. He spends nearly all his time wrapped in intrigue at the Emperor's court. He taxes harshly but provides for the common defense. He only comes to Briarton every few years.

Windfall -- Who are they?

A series of brief bios on the people who make up Windfall.

Taru Cleveland

Human fighter

Mother: Suvi Cleveland
Father: unknown
Siblings: unknown

Taru is tall (almost 6 ft.) and lithe. She has a round face and dark almond-shaped eyes; she wears her blond hair in braids bound with ribbons. Her face is decorated in blue tattoos.

Taru was raised by her mother Suvi, a retired mercenary warrior, in a city in the far north. Her mother trained her to fight, and it's her glaive Taru carries.

When Suvi was killed in an unseasonal blizzard, Taru left home. She is angry over her mother's death and the fact that she can't take revenge for it. For that reason and because she wants to test her skills, she throws herself into any fight.

Taru knows very little about her father, but hopes to find him. She is also fascinated by magic and eager to learn more of the wider world. Like Orzul, she is 18.

Ragnor Grimmson Oreclasper, the Dwarven Fighter

General Motivations:
Making or 'liberating' money, spending money on booze in attempt to forget the loss of his family in a mining accident 15 years ago, for which Ragnor blames himself. This self-blame also manifests as a willingness to enter into battle both due to a subconscious desire to prove his worth and as a form of self-destructive behavior.
Long-Term Goal(s):
Subconsciously seeking a form of redemption for the aforementioned accident - though he claims to lust for glory and wealth without specifying any final goal.
Body Language: Gruff and morose.

Mokshel daughter of Ulmok, priestess of Avandra

General Motivations: Mokshel is disgusted and saddened by the senseless barbarity of her people. From her study of a few ancient orcish artifacts, she believes that the orcs were once an honorable and productive people. She blames the worship of Gruumsh for the orcs' fall into savagery.

Mokshel seeks to learn the wisdom of the ancients. Though surviving physical and oral histories are scarce in orc lands, she hopes more insight about her ancestors can be gleaned from the historical records of the dwarves, elves, and humans.

Mokshel is also dedicated to the study of warfare; one must be able to back words with force to have influence with orcs.

Long-Term Goal(s): Mokshel hopes to return to her people and lead them to a new age of goodness and prosperity.

Body Language: Loud, vigorous, optimistic.

Orzul Dunn, ranger from the city of Quartzkiln
Mother: Rileen Dunn
Father: Forgon Dunn
Sisters, 2, Brothers 4


Orzul is blessed with flame red hair, usually in several braids tied together under her helm. Her helm in the angular style of a piece of ore. A family heirloom, to be sure. Oddly for a dward she has white skin and is extremely freckly. Sort of like Annie, but not lame and ugly. Stands 3'5", tall for her kind.


Orzul left home due to participation in the accidental death of child of a
rival family of her city. She escaped to avoid punishment, and made
out on her own at age 14, already a skilled axe-wielder -- a valued
skill to any dwarf, but especially in her family -- she quickly picked
up archery living in the Mereen Forest where she made her home, hiding
from any dwarf. There she would camp for various lengths of time with
friendly nomad groups of humans and elves and halflings, or in small
towns as safety permitted. Eventually, she had a few strong
friendships with many different forest clans and factions, and grew a
reputation for rangery by carrying out tasks for the forest peoples.

At 18, she had just slain a rabid dire ursa that was terrorizing a
friendly clan. She found herself a tavern close to the edge of the
forest at a minor crossroads to quench her thirst and hunger after the
long, perilous hunt. She sat down at a small empty table and signaled
for a flagon of mead. She nodded at the warrior settled at the next
table, who then introduced herself as Taru...


Long term Goals
Orzul longs to somehow rid herself of the heavy burden of guilt she carries for her
part in the death of her childhood friend, and for forsaking her realm
to save herself.

She yearns to earn salvation of her soul from the Stone God of her home mountain and
Melora so that when she dies she can dwell forever in the Quartz
Cavern of Eternal Light.

Earn as much money as she can to anonymously send back to her family.

Learn to keep and train an animal companion to aid in her adventures.


Though Orzul bears a great burden of guilt for her part in her
childhood trauma, she is lighthearted and gregarious. She cracks jokes
and likes to wrestle with her friends for fun and camaraderie. She
likes a drink, but too much makes her pensive and grumpy, drawing out
the pain of her past. She usually stands guard more than her fair
share while her friends sleep off their wine, but she does not
begrudge them their fun. She has a strong ethical code, and resists
cheating and lying even to an enemy if she can. She likes to cheer and
roar, but her voice is unusually high for a dwarf, so it's never as
menacing as she'd like. Her beard is very beautiful even by dwarven
standards: an extremely fine, downy covering of short, shimmering,
red-gold hairs from her lower lip to her neck, and over her rosy
cheeks. Humans, after balking, usually fall in love with her.