1991-2 Academic Year
Eleint 30, 1506, Ambushes on Arrival: In a world known as Mersia, the powerful being Janus damaged the very essence of truth, stopped from completing his mission only by the intervention of a band of adventurers known as the Miscreants. However, the damage to truth caused the “Discontinuity” in which alternate time lines were jumped, and truth was reformed. It is as if the Miscreants’ distant world of Mersia never existed, while Arik's history seems to all to have existed forever. In short, Mersia is no more, Arik has supplanted it, for reality and time itself have changed to this. The disoriented band ended up in a forest between the rivers Greyflood and Sirion. Black Arrow the werewolf-hunting ranger and Stonne the elven wizard headed north to their homes, the elf bound for the Galathiene and the ranger bound for Logan's Way. The rest of them--Hernando the Southron rogue, Greywolf the dwarven cleric of Tyr, Agrippa the Videssian wizard, Kliff the Thonian barbarian, and Araselle the Southron paladin--traveled south to the Crown City of the Kingdom of Southold, Dunthrane--a city they never even remember existing, for it is where Tampellias once stood. The band soon accepted the seeming inconsistencies, for while they recall what happened in distant Mersia, they also have more vivid memories of past exploits in Arik, with many of the memories being the same.
Marpenoth 28, 1506: The Dunthrane Watch greeted Greywolf with some familiarity, and imparted that a strange individual was inquiring about the Miscreants’ whereabouts, a person with black robes and yellow eyes. After going to their old apartments above the shop of spice merchant Dori Goodmark, the party noticed they were being shadowed. They pursued their follower and used mind-reading magicks on him. He was trying to lead them to his master “Varsh,” which the band conceded to. Suddenly, arrows and spells rained down from the roofs of the houses, while weretiger warriors charged into the street. The situation looked desperate for a time, but soon the balance tipped in the party's favor. Araselle engaged the leader Varsh, who said he was attacking the Miscreants in retaliation for slaying two of his brothers at Liveoak, a full year earlier when the band was just embarking on their quest against the werewolf prince Garth. The weretigers were dispatched as a watchman arrived on the scene. Araselle and Greywolf tried to state their case to the hard-nosed constable, but he insisted on taking them in, as a fire raged from the battle magic used. Sir Balto, Captain of the Guard in Dunthrane, found no grounds to keep them imprisoned, and released them.
Marpenoth 29, 1506: The Miscreants spend the night at Dori's. The next morning, two demi-humans knocked at their door. The first was a mute halfling merchant, Fharo, the second an elven warrior, Yolan. Fharo informed the party by writing on a chalkboard that an ancient red dragon, Flagratius by name, was terrorizing his latest home, Urml, at the foot of the infamous Wyrmsteeth Mountains. Yolan met the halfling on the road to Dunthrane and vowed to assist in his quest. The pair had heard of the Miscreants’ reputation, and asked for their aid in dispatching the dragon.
Feast of the Moon, 1506: As it happens, the Miscreants were still walking around with a very powerful artifact taken from their previous nemesis Garth--the Orb of Golden Death--and believed dragonfire might be a way to destroy it. They remembered being told by Truth that it required a great fire, a great wind, and a strike from a granite hammer to destroy. Just in case, however, the Miscreants took the Orb outside the city and tried using a normal granite hammer, a fire elemental, and a gust of wind spell. This failed. The party soon received a summons from Lord High Wizard Bigby of the Fist over the artifact. In an audience at his White Tower, he informed them that numerous evil groups were after the Orb, and would no doubt try to ambush the Miscreants. Before setting out to deal with the dragon, the band decided to explore their new home of Dunthrane for a month, as they still had confusing memories from before the Discontinuity and mistake many streets and people with those who have subtly changed since. After celebrating the Feast of the Moon, the party--now eight members strong with Fharo and Yolan--headed north for Urml.
Nightal 8, 1506: After a week, they arrived at a small village. Hernando went ahead invisibly to scout, and found nothing but curious tread marks on the ground, as if many carts had recently passed by. As the party knocked on the door of the inn to request a room, a giant tongue stuck out of the door, wrapping around Kliff, while huge eyes flicked open in the windows. The entire village of over a dozen buildings came to life and attacked the Miscreants! Most fearsome of all these edifices was the Church, which cornered and battered Hernando into unconsciousness, while the little Outhouse nipped at him. Yet the party managed to prevail. They immediately set to work carving up the blubbery creatures and found a good amount of coin. However, before they could gather it all, they spied a merchant caravan approaching, and paranoid of another ambush to get the Golden Orb, they hid. The merchants, seeing the gold, claimed it as their own. Naturally, the Miscreants emerged and complained, as the two groups agreed to travel to the northern city of Bywater for official arbitration on the matter, though the Miscreants would make a minor stopover in Urml to deal with a certain red dragon.
Nightal 29, 1506, Flagratius's Lair: Fharo led the band into Urml, site of the great College of Arms, and into the nearby mountains, where Flagratius laired. The mountain cave was obvious, but well defended with traps. After Hernando and Fharo disarmed these, they decided to take a smaller cave route into the mountain, rather than following the main cave which the dragon evidently used. There they saw the red dragon sleeping, amid a vast hoard of gold and loot. As they ran in to attack, the dragon came to life, breathing terrible gouts of flame, and aided by an iron golem who sprung from the treasure. The dragon slapped his tail, raked his claws, and bit at the attackers, but they overwhelmed him after a bitter fight, amazingly with no casualties. The band gleefully set about counting the treasure, and after great debate, decided that by stacking the coins in the portable hole, they could maximize their take; it was then that Flagratius’ smaller, but no less dangerous mate returned to the lair, breathing and slaying the wounded Hernando and Fharo in a single stroke. Kliff leapt into the fray with Imringdranq, and Yolan rashly tried to restrain the still-berserk warrior from slashing the valuable dragonhide; instead the barbarian cut the elf down in a blow, before proceeding to cut the smaller dragon to ribbons. The party continued the treasure counting in a glum mood, mourning their three dead and cursing their failure to post a guard at the cave mouth.
Hammer 29, 1506: The party continued on the road to Bywater, soon reaching the holy city of Nuada, god of just war, and currently under the power of the so-called Anorien Inquisition. All were asked if they believe in Nuada, and were allowed to pass, soon turning to the Nudans to Raise their dead. After they entered, the matter of the Living Houses’ gold was adjudicated by a magistrate and split between the Miscreants and the merchant caravan. The local archmage, Gondal, invited the band to his College of War Wizradry, where he offered to destroy the Orb of Golden Death, lest its presence attract attacks upon Bywater. The Miscreants happily agreed. They decided to spend some time recovering in Bywater.
Tarsakh 14, 1507, Murder and the Magister: After several days of staying in the Blade and Stars Inn, which caters to upscale mercenaries, Agrippa sent Yolan out to find him a prostitute. This the amoral elf did, but as she was taken into his room, the crazed Videssian mage used his ring of shocking grasp to kill her. The woman's screams, and Yolan's cries for help, alerted the many Flaming Fist mercenaries frequenting the barroom, who scrambled up the stairs. Hernando turned invisible and Agrippa dimension doored out into the street. Gunter, noted adventurer of the Bywater Six, saw the Videssian appear outside, and at the insistence of the mercenaries peering out the window, threw his net at him. Agrippa, however, polymorphed into a fly and escaped. Gunter later discovered that this was Agrippa of the Miscreants, several of whom approach him and ask for his aid, proclaiming Agrippa's innocence in the strongest terms. They traveled together to the Bywater Six’s apartments at Blaskor’s Retreat. Agrippa borrowed Sir Elrich's amulet of proof against detection and location, claiming he was unjustly accused and hunted by the Watch. Meanwhile, the archmage Gondal, head of the School of War Wizardry, decided he would personally apprehend the Videssian criminal given the level of sorcery used in the escape from the senseless crime.
Tarsakh 15, 1507: Agrippa, Hernando, and Yolan stayed at Blaskor's Retreat for the night. On the morrow, Gunter, in talking with Gondal, obtained a mission. Gondal wanted Gunter and his companions to find an errant pupil of his, Lashan, who had entered the abandoned Academy of Abjuration Magicks north off the Greyflood Pike. It was rumored that an evil presence dwelled there, but Gunter was charged only with finding Lashan's fate. The three aforementioned members of the Miscreants accompanyied him, as Agrippa wanted to get out of Bywater with the Watch and Gondal looking for him.
Mirtul 17, 1507: The party of four entered the abandoned academy, which was built in the early Videssian style that predated Southold's independence from the Empire. After a run-in with a pesky demonic larva and several fights with minor guardians, the party was confronted by a multi-tentacled grell. After it was slain, the band gleefully discovered three magical ioun stones, in addition to a spell-book. They soon encountered the owner of the building, an ancient Videssian lich called the Magister. He apparently lost his sanity, as he referred to Gunter and Agrippa as his pupils. What followed was a clever scene of delusion and deception, until Gunter, panicking, struck at the lich with Deepchill. He and Yolan landed several blows before the creature disappeared.
Time then stopped for the four due to a powerful spell; Yolan was Imprisoned in the center of Grund, Hernando was Repulsed into a bone-chilling subterranean river, and Gunter was frozen in a block of ice and floated in the river. Only Agrippa, who stood by and suggested various tortures for his comrades, was left alone. The lich then retired, admonishing “Lucius” (Agrippa) to study his spell books. Agrippa freed Hernando and dragged Gunter out. Back in Bywater, Gondal cast a wish to release Yolan, at great cost.
After returning to Bywater, Agrippa returned the Amulet of Proof Against Detection and Location to Elrich. Soon after, he was surprised to see the archmage Gondal the Great peering over his shoulder. The Videssian mage surrendered quietly and was imprisoned while awaiting his trial. Meanwhile, the other Miscreants sampled some of Bywater's culture and nightlife.
Tarsakh 30, 1507, The Bane: Bywater Six members Gunter and Elsinor, while drinking at the Three Old Kegs, met Greywolf (simply Wolf to the drunk Gunter) and Kliff of the Miscreants. They traveled back to Blaskor's Retreat, where they were joined by the dragonmage Liet. The seldom seen elven owner of the inn, Blaskor himself, told the adventurers they were in danger, for a murderous creature called “the Bane” was stalking the streets. Their courage swelled by drink, the band vowed to slay this creature, and separate into patrols looking for it. Nothing happened for the first two nights of their vigil.
Mirtul 1, 1507: However, on the third night, the band located the creature, which fled for Bywater’s sewers with the adventurers in hot pursuit. They were led past several creatures, and soon attacked a vampiress guarding a door. After dispatching her, several charmed merchants attacked, swiftly webbed by Liet. In the main room was a sarcophagus, and an elf very similar in appearance to the barkeep Blaskor. A battle ensued, and the party soon found that this vampire was an accomplished spellcaster as the ground beneath them turned to mud. Greywolf bounded after the vampire-turned-bat and Liet joined the chase by polymorphing into a bird; Gunter, Elsinor, and Kliff (who, in the throes of the berserkergang started attacking the vampire's sarcophagus) began to sink in the mud. Then the vampire changed the mud back to stone, trapping the three stout warriors knee or waist deep in solid rock. Liet was dismayed to find his attack spells cast at the elven wizard/vampire bounce back at him, so stayed in the background for the rest of the chase. Meanwhile, Greywolf hucked his hammer at the vampire, who would fight or cast for a moment, then change to a bat and flew away. This cycle was repeated several times before the cleric finally slew the fiend. Greywolf cast gust of wind off a scroll at the vampire’s gaseous essence, destroying the creature known as the Bane. The band then freed their trapped comrades and confronted Blaskor about his resemblance to the vampire. He replied that they were once brothers, sucking the life-blood of hundreds across Arik, until he acquired a Helm of Alignment Changing. The changed Blaskor, really Jonathan Morningmist, settled down here in Bywater, wishing to forget the slaughter of his past. But his evil brother, Jeremiah Morningmist, tracked him here; in hopes of destroying Jonathan's new found security and perhaps having him take the blame for the crimes of the Bane. Jonathan asked the adventurers not to reveal his identity, and bid them farewell.
Mirtul 3, 1507: Agrippa was tried for the murder of the innocent woman in the Blade and Stars, and convicted. Pleading he was temporarily unbalanced given his adventuring experiences in the drow undercities and such, the court gave him a lenient sentence; paying 3,000 nobles to the family, casting protective magicks on the city for a year, and submitting to wearing a magical tracking bracelet for a year of parole, during which he would be obliterated if he committed a crime. After this incident, the Bywater Six adventurers appeared leery of associating with the Miscreants, particularly Agrippa.
Kythorn 5, 1507, Back to the Magister: After some more time getting acclimated to Bywater, the Miscreants decided to head back to the Academy of Abjuration Magicks for a showdown with the Videssian lich known as the Magister. Fharo scouted the way ahead to the antechamber, as far as the adventurers had gotten last time. However, this time, they continued inward, entering a maze of passageways, libraries, and student quarters. They slew several undead minions, and soon heard the cackling voice of the Magister himself. He no longer believed they were lost students, but accused them of attacking his academy and killing some of the students. Soon fireballs and lightning bolts started raining into the corridors, with no clue as to where they were coming from. The party would advance to a new area, be struck by a spell, then frantically search. Finally, Hernando discovered a series of arrow slits throughout the complex, covered over by permanent illusions to appear solid.
Now they knew to look for a secret passage, and Greywolf’s innate dwarven sense of stonework soon ferreted it out, gaining entrance into an access corridor which ran along the perimeter of the entire complex. As soon as they entered, the lich cast Drakov’s Horrible Wilting on them, sucking the moisture from their bodies and nearly shriveling Fharo to death. However, with no guardians, the crazed lich soon fell to Yolan and Kliff’s blows, as the rest traded spell for spell with him. In the library, the band found a tome detailing how to become a lich, which Agrippa took, explaining it was for his general arcane interest. From a diary, they discovered the Academy had been abandoned when the Videssian occupiers were driven from Southold five hundred years ago, however, the Magister refused to leave, and transformed himself into a lich so he could defeat the many waves of Southron soldiers who attacked the complex. The slain students he raised as undead, and continued to teach them, in vain, over the centuries until he lost his mind.
The band also found all manner of other magic items, including ioun stones and other enchanted books. Most importantly, at Agrippa’s urging they searched for an entire day for the lich’s phylactery, or spirit bottle. Once Hernando discovered the secret room in which it was kept, they destroyed it, utterly destroying the Magister’s spirit and preventing him from returning to life.
Eleasias 12, 1507, Visit to Videssos: While the other adventurers spent some of the Magister’s loot and enjoyed a rest in Bywater, Agrippa, Hernando, and Yolan clamored for more adventure. The Videssian Invoker decided to head home for a time, crossing into the Videssian Empire and visiting Magistania, the blasted province of the cabalist mages where many an enchanted beast or demon roams. The trio booked passage on a Taran boat heading up the Greyflood. They disembarked in Alesia, the Videssian client state on the Empire’s southern border, populated mostly by ethnic Southrons. The secret border crossing went fine, as did the trip through Magistania, only running into a pair of barbed devils.
Agrippa visited the seat of the 7th Cabal, of the Demonlord Goap, seeking his old tutor, Ahenobarbus, but careful to avoid the Magus Ippissimus, who might ask questions about why he had been gone for so long. The tutor had softened in his old age, and said he had regrets for the many evils done in his name, claiming he would leave the Cabal and admonishing Agrippa to take the path of good as well. They parted on good terms, but Agrippa had no intention of heeding the advice. On the way back across the border, the trio ran into a Videssian patrol, and soon an enemy wizard was raining fireballs down on them. After an initial fight, the band decided to flee when they saw a far-off guard tower dispatching reinforcements. Their close getaway sated their desire for adventure for a couple months, until the rest of the party reassembled one night in the Yawning Portal Inn.
Marpenoth 5, 1507, Undermountain: Gunter of the Bywater Six had told them about the Yawning Portal Inn, and its strange, covered well which led down into a large dungeon complex known as Undermountain. No one knew why it existed—possibly the creation of a legendary wizard called Halaster—though its passages reputedly went for miles, right into the Underdark. People even joked about a city of evil right under their feet, though few believed that tale, told to frighten children. Gunter knew nothing about that, but claimed there were many monstrous denizens and no small amount of treasure to be found in Undermountain, so the Miscreants went.
Indeed, they fought all manner of beasts, notably a band of a dozen trolls who seriously weakened them. They also came upon a room laid out like a Lanceboard, and worked out the various ways of moving across it without triggering magical traps. Another room filled with water, and a mighty aboleth and retinue of sahuagin swam out to fight. It seemed like a menagerie, a dungeon kept stocked for someone’s sport, perhaps the legendary Halaster who allegedly built the place.
Finally, they rounded a corner to see a rust monster, which set most of the band running in terror as it sniffed hungrily at their magic armor and weapons. The exception was Yolan, who dropped his blade and bravely charged forward to grapple the beast, safe in his leather armor. However, at the same instant, Wildcard prepared a lightning bolt, which caught and killed both beast and ally.
This was the third time the elf had died, and the Miscreants bore his body to the House of the Silver Hand for Raising, which Grand Marshal Anaximander did himself, curious to speak with the new adventurers and gauge their support for Nuada. However, the elf’s spirit did not survive the Raise Dead spell, and Yolan died his final death. The band followed his will and shipped the body home for burial in the Galathiene.
Marpenoth 25, 1507: After considerable recruiting, the band settled on Inquisitor-Captain Greylin Lofalkin as the newest member of the Miscreants. He was a member of the ascendant Anorien Inquisition, a zealous devotee of Nuada, pleased at the chance to leave his clerical duties behind and adventure in the wider world. Meanwhile, the band traveled to Dunthrane for a time, back to their old apartments at Dori’s Spice Merchant, to settle various business matters. Some members performed minor, and uneventful guard duty and investigation missions during this time.
Yuletide, 1507, Ship of Horror: After splurging on a Yuletide feast at the upmarket Lancers Inn, the band began to feel the pinch for money and adventure again. They answered an enigmatic poster calling for able bodied warriors and casters to serve as marine guards for a short voyage on the carrack Endurance, property of one Captain Garvyn. The Captain was a likeable old sea dog, though they had some disagreements with First Mate, the hulking Brummet over performing ship duties. After getting their sea legs, a great mist descended on the ship, and it was becalmed. The rigging became tattered and the wood rotted before their eyes; the nameplate on the ship changed from Endurance to “Ship of Horrors” in blood-red letters. At that point, a ghost vessel, Eternal Torture, came from out of nowhere, and its undead crew attacked. The crew would have been hard pressed on their own, but the Miscreants tipped the balance. Captain Garvyn regretfully told the Miscreants that the Endurance was cursed, every voyage to endure this transformation and the attack of the ghost ship. Every voyage they hoped the change would not occur, but it always did, hence he had hired them to fight the undead off.
Naturally, the band set about trying to remove the curse, suspecting it was because the crew had dropped overboard a coffin with a young girl, in order to save time, rather than burying her at her birthplace as they had been commissioned. The saw the unearthly child, Charlotte’s apparition several times, and soon discerned where her coffin had been buried. Using enchantments to breath, Kliff and Khoresh descended into the waves, fighting off hungry sharks, then vodyanoi, before retrieving the coffin. However, they would have to sail to the Iron League, weeks of sailing halfway around Arik, and on the way encountered several perils of the sea, from men washed overboard to a giant starfish.
At one point, Greywolf and Hernando had a heated argument over sparing an enemy who had surrendered, and the cleric of Tyr’s usual affability snapped. He yelled he was tired of putting up with Hernando’s questionable, bordering on evil ways, and challenged him to a duel. The crew cleared the main deck and gathered to watch as the pair clashed, hammers and swords clashing. After the better part of an hour, the pair decided to call it a draw, as neither appeared likely to win outright—with Hernando sneaking up invisibly for backstab attempts, followed by Greywolf landing the odd strike and the healing himself. Hernando did agree to take the cleric’s morality into greater consideration in future.
Alturiak 16, 1508: They disembarked at Graben Island, in much colder, northern waters. The party wanted to simply drop the coffin off there, on finding Charlotte had been a member of the island’s Graben family, but were told that she needed to be interred in the family mausoleum, on nearby Todstein Island. However, the Miscreants soon discovered that the Grabens had their own secret, they stole bodies from the local cemetery and converted them into undead of a strange type called Lebendtod, able to detach their limbs at will. Their leader, Ezekial Graben, answered to a mysterious necromancer who dwelled at the family Mausoleum on Todstein, so after a running battle in the streets to cleanse the island of undead, the Endurance set sail for Todstein Isle.
It was an unnaturally icy, barren place. The mausoleum was guarded by Snow Golems, which were swiftly dispatched. They interred Charlotte’s coffin within, and the crew of the Endurance cheered as they felt the albatross of the curse lifted from around their necks. However, Fharo discovered a secret door, and the band continued into an underground complex, wary for the necromancer who had created the Lebendtod. They were soon assaulted by a fearsome elven vampire, Armon Leafbane, whose deadly skill with a bow matched their old comrade Black Arrow’s. Likewise, a dwarven vampire, Mendarius, used his abilities to morph in and out of the stone to claw at their feet.
Coming out into a large open hall, the “necromancer” emerged on a balcony and announced himself—none other than Count Victor von Drakov, an ancient Cortal and now the Patriarch of Vampires. A running duel of spell and sword commenced, with the vampire using the trademark spell he had invented, Drakov’s Horrible Wilting, to great effect. Yet the trio of vampires eventually relented, with Drakov complaining that he would gain revenge on the band and their pitiful country of Southold for disrupting his “winter escape.” Alas, he escaped with Agrippa, who he had charmed, claiming he would turn the wizard into a vampire. Saddened, the Miscreants took the spoils, many items and potions, as well as a library devoted to the creation of undead which they burned, before sealing the entrance to the complex entirely.
Flamerule 1, 1508: After nearly six months at sea, with several visits to the Iron League cities, Irrudia, and Minos for profit and adventure, the group made landfall back in Dunthrane, bidding a fond farewell to Captain Garvyn and the Endurance. They had only a few days to settle their affairs and get used to life on land again before receiving a summons from the Patriarch of Tyr, Stephen Menote.
Flamerule 3, 1508, Artifact Theft: Stephen Menote was distinguished by his long, wispy white beard and his doddering, old voice, yet he retained a quick wit. He had consulted with Seneschal Hollend, and decided to contact the Miscreants for a mission—the first such official commission the band had received from the Southold authorities. They had intelligence claiming that Count Drakov, angry at his defeat at the Miscreants’ hands at Todstein Island, wanted to gain revenge by stealing the Holy Artifacts of Tyr, the royal symbols of Southold. These items, the Crown, Sword, and Orb of Athelstan, were bequeathed by Tyr to Athelstan, the founder of Southold in 1066 (who many suspect may have been an avatar of Tyr.). King Edmund III displayed them at all public audiences.
The items were kept in a sealed vault under the Royal Citadel, guarded by Lord High Wizard Bigby’ magical wards. The band made defensive preparations, and waited. They were attacked by a band of Gargoyle Golems (golems being a favorite of Drakov’s they perceived, recalling he had also used Snow Golems at Todstein). When these fearsome constructs landed two fist strikes, they turned their victim to stone, which befell both Hernando and Fharo. However, the halfling had the misfortune of being struck again, and his statue shattered. The Miscreants eventually prevailed, and had Hernando turned back to flesh, but nothing could be done for Fharo, who was Resurrected by Patriarch Menote at no cost.
However, the next morning, when the vault was opened, the artifacts were gone! During the confusion and din of battle, a tunnel had been excavated from underneath, bearing the hallmark of the dwarven vampire Mendarius, and no doubt Drakov, an archmage in his own right, had managed to dispel Bigby’s wards.
Seneschal Hollend discussed the matter with the band, and considered calling Thingol & Company, the realm’s most noted and politically active adventuring group back from the battle lines in the ongoing Civil War. Yet when Greywolf volunteered the Miscreants’ services in regaining the items, the Seneschal was convinced; he would give them the chance to get the items back. He arranged for a quick sloop to bear them to the Sylvanian coast to make a secret foray into the Cortalish Empire, as Bigby’s divination determined that the artifacts had been taken back to Drakov’s castle, Ravenloft.
Eleint 2, 1508, Castle Ravenloft: The band infiltrated the Empire and made their way to Barovia, in Sylvania’s deepest forests, without incident. It was as if this was a realm apart, shrouded in fog. The superstitious Sylvanian peasantry were fearful of foreigners, and of their own land after nightfall. After stopping at the nondescript Blood of the Vine tavern (the “of” ominously changed to “on” with red paint), the adventurers stopped at a Vistani encampment, and had their fortune told by Madam Eva. As they discussed matters, a dark carriage drawn by black horses arrived, and the band entered and rode into Castle Ravenloft. A cold rain fell, as a storm brewed in the heavens.
The band disembarked in the castle’s courtyard, where they heard Drakov challenging them for their folly in coming to his lair. With that he unleashed a series of spells and allowed the first of many undead minions and Gargoyle Golems to attack, leaving the band to their fate. Yet the Miscreants endured, and began systematically exploring the castle. On knocking at the main door, an old human servant answered and politely let the band in; Hernando promptly backstabbed him without warning, provoking quite a debate on morality with Greywolf. This murder was the turning point in what many would later call Hernando’s slide from simple amorality into evil.
There were all manner of vampire maidens, witches, shadow fiends, and other abominations within, requiring the Miscreants to hole up and sleep twice to heal and regain spells. At one point, Hernando knocked on the door to the great hall in which Drakov was playing the organ. The vampire threatened to kill him if he entered, but Hernando cheekily replied that he should try charming him through the door (a power only vampire patriarchs possess, not requiring eye contact). Drakov was amused, and did just that, turning Hernando against the party for a time until the charm could be broken. However, while charmed the thief did manage to convince the dwarven vampire Mendarius to become a free agent and leave Drakov’s employ, aiding the odds somewhat.
Throughout, Drakov harassed them with spells and hit-and-run physical attacks. When they reached the crypt, the party was dispersed through a teleport trap. Fharo appeared alone in a crypt with a Greater Wolfwere, and gave it a mighty backstab, the most powerful he could hope to deliver. But such is the nature of these beasts, that they heal all wounds in an instant, and the blow was not quite enough to slay it. Realizing he stood no chance, the halfling fled, luckily managing to rejoin his companions who slew the beast.
They finally cornered the Patriarch of Vampires at his coffin, where this time he stood and fought. The fiend perished, and Greywolf drove a stake through its heart. The body turned to dust, and—unique among dead vampires—the band seemed to see its translucent spirit drift away. The Count’s lieutenant, elven vampire Armon Leafbane escaped, and they were saddened not to find any trace of their old comrade Agrippa, reputedly kidnapped and turned into a vampire by Drakov. Nonetheless, their mood improved markedly after looting the overflowing treasury and recovering the artifacts of Athelstan and many other magic items besides.
There Fharo found a Deck of Many Things which allowed three picks before disappearing; he first had the poor luck to draw the “lose all your items card," followed by the “fight a Minor Death card,” but redeemed himself with the “gain three wishes card.” However, he had to use the first Wish to get his items back, the second Wish to slay the magic resistant Death by having the ceiling fall on its head, and only was able to use the third Wish to good effect. He asked for a Barony of his own, and lo, on his return, he was singled out by King Edmund, created the Baron Ryan Hamfast, and awarded the small, seaside barony of Abberwyvern.
Eleint 25, 1508: The Miscreants returned to Dunthrane heroes of Southold, albeit secret ones known only to the senior nobles, as they did not want to divulge the loss of the artifacts. Indeed, the King had been forced to cancel his public appearances without the artifacts, and the Rebel forces in the Civil War had spread propaganda that he had been slain. Yet the rebel fortunes were fading, as Count Thingol’s forces had taken Montinelle, and Baron Elrich’s Third Bywater Expeditionary Army had marched across Andeaver to seize Wraithstone Castle. All the Miscreants were awarded the Canary Cross for their valour.
Eleint 29, 1508, Halaster's Great Game: A few days after their return from Sylvania, the entire band disappeared en masse while sitting down for a dinner at the Bleeding Orc. They appeared in Undermountain, guests of the crazed archmage Halaster, who had created the complex. He had heard of their destruction of the Count Drakov, and was amused at the internal rift between good, and the more amoral tendencies among the group. He divided them up into a good team of Greywolf, Greylin, Fharo, and Wildcard, and an amoral team of Hernando, Kliff, Agrippa, and guest Cameron Gaunt. They would fight in this arena, though no one would actually be wounded, and then they would be returned to Dunthrane unharmed.
After a sumptuous dinner provided by the mad mage, they proceeded to a series of 8 portals, tasked to choose one at random, then all walk through them at once. Instantly they were teleported to various places throughout the complex; the good team were scattered on one wing, the amoral side on the other. The evil team bypassed many of the monsters and puzzles littering the maze, making it to the central chamber first and preparing for the good team. With this advantage, they were able to strike the good Miscreants hard when they emerged into the main chamber, in a punishing fight. In the end it was Hernando against Greywolf, but this time, Hernando managed to prevail, winning a prodigious magical prize for his efforts. With that, the Miscreants were again teleported back, unharmed, to Dunthrane.
Highharvestide, 1508, Skullport: The Miscreants had been intrigued by this foray into Undermountain, and wanted to return to seek the legendary city of Skullport said to be part of the complex. They booked passage north on the River Greyflood. On the way, their ship was waylaid by Magooan the Pirate, a slightly crazed idealist who plied the Greyflood attacking only official ships, in the name of a free Anorien. They soon got to talking, and Magooan told the band how they could enter Skullport. Apparently, there was a magical Gate at a certain part of the Greyflood, near the shore where a ship would normally not travel, which transported a vessel to the Sargauth, the river flowing through the second level of Undermountain where Skullport lay. Magooan’s Liberator dropped the band off in a rowboat by the Gate, and they instantly appeared underground.
They saw serpentine creatures in the foul, black water, but luckily none attacked. After mooring the boat, they surveyed the amazing scene; rickety docks, catwalks, and ladders were everywhere. The streets were uneven ribbons of bare stone or hard beaten earth. Bats clustered under every cave, and everything was always damp. It was a place where vampires and mind flayers openly walked the dark streets, luminous fungi oozed and inched along until booted out of the way, and drow walked about openly in large bands. It was a realm of outlaws, fugitives, and mongrelmen from the world above, reinforced by half-orcs, goblins, hags, and other beings not tolerated in the city of Bywater above.
Greywolf, his holy symbols of Tyr well-covered, noticed a human slave picked from the docks by a tentacled arm from the deep, and swiftly tried to save the man. He even used a powerful Rod of Resurrection when it was apparent he had died, to the astonishment of his comrades. The band explored and spoke to several denizens of that strange city, making the odd deal for potions with the wizard Shradin, drinking at the Black Tankard, which Hernando soon discovered had a Temple of Mask underneath it. They even ran into Drake, the human warrior in the red dragon Brazzamal’s employ, who was escorting his mistress, the mind flayer Halzunthra.
With no specific mission in mind, Greywolf and Greylin wanted to leave at once, nervous they would be discovered. Hernando and Kliff decided they would return one day, even plonking down an exorbitant sum at the Skullport Island Registry Office to be put on the waiting list for the next apartment to come open. For now, the Miscreants piled into their rowboat and back out the Gate to the world above.
Marpenoth 4, 1508: Several days later, Hernando, Greylin, and Kliff decided to make another, brief foray into Undermountain, entering through the Yawning Portal tavern this time. They fought the typical menagerie of beasts, even running across a Deepspawn, an immensely powerful creature which actually created various dungeon monsters. However, the thing was well-protected and resistant to magic—perhaps made so by Halaster himself—and so the trio skirted around the amorphous creature, just as a flight of stirges began to form at the edge of its body.
Further down on the second level, the band encountered an area where few had tread in many years, given the dust. There Hernando picked a well-nigh impossible lock on a magical door, and entered an opulent lady’s bedroom. They feared an illusion, but the boudoir was real, though everything was covered with dust except for a beautiful woman laying on the bed. Greylin removed the woman’s veil, and her eyes snapped open. She called herself Jhaniloth Dree (which on later research Hernando found was the name of a high-class courtesan and sorceress of no small power), and instantly took a liking to her saviour, Greylin. The band escorted her to the surface, where she seemed surprised at all the changes that had taken place since her time. The Miscreants saw little of Greylin in the days that followed, as he seemed infatuated with the woman and rarely out of her presence. His comrades were concerned, but could detect no enchantment upon him.
Marpenoth 10, 1508, The Eye: As the Miscreants enjoyed their stay in Bywater, the Bywater Six teleported in, fresh from their victorious campaign march against the Rebels in the Civil War. That night, Gunter joined up with Kliff of the Miscreants--two (at least part) Thonians on a pub crawl. Kliff was attracted by the feminine wiles of a certain Avareene on the city street, who soon struck along with several other fighters, including the Banite cleric Colstan Rhuul. This "snatch band" paralyzed the two, and took them through means unknown down into Undermountain.
When the Miscreants and Bywater Six asked about their disappearance, Gondal was able to divine that they had been taken to the lair of the Eye, and ancient beholder and the chief slaver of Skullport. He counseled simply buying them and their magic items back, as the Eye had at least a dozen beholders and many mercenaries under his employ, at a large slave complex a half miles across the winding caverns outside Skullport. Instead, the two groups decided to join forces and launch a rescue mission to recover their comrades. Elrich had some misgivings, even suspecting the more amoral members of the Miscreants might turn on them, but they went along.
Marpenoth 11, 1508: The force, eleven adventurers strong (as Cameron Gaunt of the Flaming Fist had accompanied them itching for a fight), headed in through the river Gate to Skullport after their two missing comrades. Nonetheless, it felt very much like it could be the end for both groups, so fearsome and organized was their foe. After asking about the Eye's defenses, they were referred to Misker, the Pirate Tyrant, and ancient beholder who hated the Eye, and was willing to give a rough layout of the slave complex and defenses.
The two adventuring parties advanced through the winding maze of caverns outside Skullport, following Misker's directions. They soon reached the vast cavern, hundreds of feet long, where the Eye's lair stood. There was a great steeped pyramid in one area, a loading dock where the underground River Sargauth flowed, a series of guard buildings, and the holding pens. Hernando, Fharo, and Calvin, three exceptional rogues working together for the first time, hid in the shadows and sneaked into the slave holding pens, dispatching the guards with a series of backstabs. They soon found Gunter and Kliff in good health, though without their gear, and freed them. The two Thonians were given minor enchantment blades and armor, and told they would try to get their gear back from the Eye's treasury, in the great pyramid. However, as they conferred, a roaming beholder spotted them trying to sneak out of the prison pen area, and all hell broke loose.
The other adventurers, waiting at the edge of the complex, attacked. Agrippa and Liet laid down fireball after fireball, while Elsinor started firing arrows with darkness spells on them, to make it difficult for the beholders to aim their eye rays. The tactic certainly helped greatly, but the beholders' antimagic rays from their main eye still posed a major problem. They laid low enemy after enemy, and finally, his spells exhausted, Agrippa unleashed the powerful Videssian cabalist power, which could be used but once per lifetime, transforming himself into a four-armed Vrock demon. He threw himself at the beholders, tearing one to pieces with his claws, but was soon turned into stone by the eye rays of another. Kliff too was hit with a Death eye beam (to which he was immune while berserk), then was also petrified. Gunter and Elrich also went down, but were bandaged, as the Miscreants and Bywater Six began to falter. Then Misker, the Pirate Tyrant came floating up the Sargauth, attacking the Eye's beholders as he came.
In another surge, the adventurers fought their way step-by-step up the pyramid, to the very summit, where they looked down into the Eye's personal chambers. The fight may well have continued, and they may well have slain the Eye at the cost of several deaths, but the adventurers accepted the Eye's offer to parley. The ancient beholder had no wish to enter combat personally, and noted that he was willing to release Gunter and Kliff's magic items and possessions, and whatever treasure the band could glean from his dead minions, if they would halt their attack. Luckily (in this case) Elrich was not around to push his Nuadan fight to the end philosophy, and Greylin didn't object as the truce achieved their goals. So the adventurers gathered their loot, dragged their two stone comrades, and left.
Back in Bywater, they carefully had Kliff first unstoned, then undeathed, and finally unberserked, saving his life. Agrippa was also returned to normal form, and that night the combined bands celebrated their good fortune. They resolved to adventure together more in future, and then both bands set off on a swift ship, just in time to reach the Victory Tournament in Dunthrane, celebrating the end to the Civil War.
Marpenoth 14, 1508: A few days later the some welcome joyous news reached the Bywater Six; King Edmund had pushed for a swift assault on Edrin’s last citadel of Harbury. The breach was enlarged by the brave 12th Royal Foot, and soon Flaming Fist and Silver Legion mercenaries plunged through and fought the last ditch battle with Lord Edrin’s housecarls at his inner tower. Fist leader Eltan himself cornered and subdued the pretender, who was clapped in irons and sent to Dunthrane.
While looting and lawlessness continued for weeks until order was restored, the Civil War was for all intents and purposes over, as celebrations swept across Southold. The Miscreants heard a great victory tourney to be held in Dunthrane, with magic items as rewards, and they were attracted as moths to the flame…
Marpenoth 27 , 1508: After a couple weeks travel by ship, over a Southold ravaged by years of civil war, the Miscreants arrived in Dunthrane just as the Victory Tournament of 1508 began. Before the events began, there was much magical haggling. Lord High Wizard Bigby had so tired of discussing magical trades given this great assembly of adventurers and nobles that he appointed Timmotain, a powerful mage known for his ridiculous illusions, to barter for him, a policy he has generally kept to ever since. Unfortunately for all adventurers, Bigby chose well, for Timmotain was as good a haggler as the Lord Wizard, if not better. Hernando was the first of the band to visit Timmotain, and was surprised to have entered the fiery wastes of the Abyss upon seeking an audience with the mage. As his flesh melted from the bone, he was likewise surprised to see thousands of pickles heading towards him, coalescing into a single, large pickle. Then the pickle turned into Timmotain, and the fires disappeared. Such illusions would soon become the norm when dealing with Timmotain, as the trading began…
Marpenoth 28, 1508: The day for the duel of honor had come. Thousands packed the tourney field outside Dunthrane to see the long-awaited combat. The King’s Champion Count Thingol--promoted from Baron by the King the night before because of his victory at Montinelle--took the field in shining plate armor. On the other side stood the usurper, Lord Edrin, brought here in chains after his capture after the rebel last stand at the isle of Balar, but now free and in blackened plate armor. As magic is outlawed in contests of honor, both combatants were magically searched for such items. Then, the King gave the signal, the trumpets blared, and the horses sprang at each other. Several passes were made, and Lord Edrin was faring the worse, when the Rebel noble drew forth a shimmering black sword and galloped at Thingol. The Phantom Archer, anticipating treachery, had had his mage Fingon prepare for such an eventuality. He ripped the pennant of Southold from his lance, spoke a word, and lo!, before him was a plain longbow and a single arrow. With time for but a single good shot, he took aim and let fly. The arrow sped toward Edrin and to the awe of the assemblage, magically multiplied into five arrows, four of which found their mark. Severely wounded, Edrin continued onward, cursing the Count. Thingol soon felled him with several well placed sword thrusts. He then dismounted, hacked off the Rebel's head, and held it aloft to the cheers of the crowd. The Lord High Wizard was seen over the body, teleporting in and out to retrieve Edrin's fell sword. Then, the crowd burst onto the field, hacking the body to pieces and many grabbing souvenirs such as teeth, hair, etc. The thief of the Miscreants, Hernando was prominent among these souvenir seekers. With Lord Edrin's death, the last pockets of Rebel resistance ceased, as Southold again knew peace. It was a time for celebration.
Marpenoth 31, 1508, Victory Tournament: The Victory Tournament of 1508 lasted for three days, ending on Saint Uther’s Day, honoring the famous Nuadan patriot from Southold’s War of Independence. The tournament honored the long-awaited triumph of the Loyalist armies of Southold over the usurper, Lord Edrin. The tournament was the greatest in living memory, with all manner of tests of strength. Famed adventurers from across the country took part; Elrich took first prize in the religious debate contest, winning three incense of meditation, Hernando won the Riding competition, winning a brooch of riding, while Elsinor came in third, winning a potion of invulnerability. In archery Calvin managed a surprise win taking 12 +3 arrows, and the barbarian Kliff won swimming and boxing, taking potions of Fire and Frost Giant Strength. Three days of feasting went on, an amazing party still talked of fondly.
At the final ceremony, King Edmund gave his great Victory Address of 1508. All expected him to hail the armies and people for their victory, which he did. What they did not expect, was his declaration of war on the Cortalish Empire, stating that Southold would attack come spring after a mass levy to swell the army’s ranks. It would be a preventative war against an evil foe who had already seized some Southron territory while Dunthrane was distracted with its own Civil War, and the priests of Tyr affirmed there was a legitimate causus belli. Southold would yet know war.
Uktar 1, 1508: The Miscreants split up for three months to pursue independent projects. They planned to reunite at Baron Elrich's housewarming at Castle Wraithstone at Midsummer celebration, when the repairs and refurbishment should have been completed.
Go to Part III of the Miscreant Log