Victus

Episode 8
Beyond the Bloody Seal or Fishes Be Crazy

The party made their way towards the mine. While on their way a terrible storm blew up making navigation difficult. After several miles of climbing up into the mountains, they came upon a gruesome sight. The snow was thick with red stains and body parts lay strewn about the area. Relwin set about investigating the tracks and while there appeared to be many handprints, very few footprints were seen. The snow was driving, however, making tracking next to impossible. Even so, the skills of the Gallows Boys were not to be doubted and they tracked the group all the way to the mouth of a mine.

While heading towards the mine, they kept noticing strange pieces of paper. Evidently the journal of one of the crew, the journal excerpts detailed the mine’s operation and strange occurrences which had occurred down in the deep, dark recesses of the mine. The excerpts of the journal revealed three strange things to the party. First, while the mine was operational, the miners had found an unusual passage which appeared to be a large hexagonal road running for miles uninterrupted under the ground. The author believed it to belong to the dwarves, a race no one had seen since before the Dragonfall when they had been wiped out by the ‘Green-eyed Plague’. Second, the miners had discovered a strange area along the road. It appeared to be sealed with a tremendous amount of effort. Initially the miners seemed to have been convinced that it must mean that more treasure was behind, however as time went on the writing changed to almost fanatical and the foreman seemed unfazed by the claim of a gold vein in the original mine. In the end, the author had been hurt and removed from the mine, however the miners stationed there had attacked the troops and refused to leave the seal. This strange behaviour seemed more disturbing then anything and the party began wondering what sinister forces were at work which could control and dominate the minds of so many.

As they entered the mine, they found some strange monstrous creatures. They had seen their like before—they were beasts created by tainted Red Magic. As the party made their way through the mine they finally came to the passageway. The characters used the notes and headed towards the seal. They were attacked by a few taint monsters and finally discovered the seal. It had been breached and bodies laid strewn about the passage. After fighting nightmarish taint beasts they made their way to a giant eye set against the far wall. Piercing the eye, it dissolved giving way to an organic tube the size of a hallway. As they moved through they realized the entire structure was an ancient living chamber. Their minds couldn’t help but compare it to the strange ribbed stone cavern they had encountered years ago underneath the Necromancer citadel. This, was very different and full of violent abominations. The most disturbing feature was The Eye. The Eye seemed to follow them and direct the monsters marching against them. Although easily dispatched with arrows, the Eye continued to taunt them and seemed to change the terrain as they moved through. After one particularly grueling fight, the party seemed to find themselves transported.

Ozereth found himself in his former home in the elven forests. His dead wife and child greeting him on a beautiful night telling him to relax. Daewoo, Relwin and Gorin found themselves in a cantina in War Machine where everything their hearts could desire awaited. Gorin realized the illusion for what it was and after pulling the party out of it, they were able to converse with the Crafter.

The Crafter was an ancient being of a race which predated the other races. The being had helped the ‘First of Life’ establish mastery over the world. They had taken the stock life and changed it, twisting it to fulfil the needs of the First to conduct wars against the other planets. Mighty edifices were erected all over the world. Unknown magic was channeled to unleash terrifying creatures to destroy their astral enemies. At some point, their race had suddenly been betrayed by the other races of Victus. They had somehow tainted the magic which twisted and destroyed those creatures using the Words of Creation. His people had gone quiet and now slept until their magic was cleansed. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the Gallows Boys snapped out of the Illusion by killing their illusory selves. Freed from their waking dream they fought their way to the upper brain region of the complex.

Exhausted and bewildered from their ordeal at the hands of the Crafter, they elected stealth rather than brute force. Relwin the elf began to make his way through the complex and past the birthing and tainted mutations of the Fleshcrafting Chambers. Relwin discovered strange nodes that seemed to destabilise a membrane and also a huge trove of ancient artifacts and magic from the ages this chamber had worked its dread purposes. Relwin knew he could only select a few and found a few items of particular import. After this they dispatched the remaining nodes and made their way against the Crafter himself.

The Crafter seemed to swim inside a large elevated aquarium lined with grey, brain-like matter. Several human warriors and creatures went up against the Boys. The battle-hardened warriors dispatch but soon realize something new has joined them. The Crafter, a huge fish-like monstrosity has moved itself into what appears to be a huge crayfish-like beast. Where its head would be, instead is a bubble containing the Crafter. The Crafter ‘drives’ the monster and begins to cast, drive, and manipulate the will of the creature. After an epic battle, the beast and the Crafter were dead. As soon as this occurred, the party rallied to Ozereth who teleported them out of the chamber.

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Interlude 3
The Council of War or A Family Reunited

The war was not going as well as they had hoped. The Archmages, for all of their decadence and corruption proved to be potent adversaries. States would fall, revolt, and then fall again. As many territories would fall as were gained. The Dragon Slayers’ Society needed something to put them over the top and make a decisive victory which would encourage the border troops fighting against the undead and the Eastern Legion manning the citadels which kept back the Scarlet Tyrannies from joining the Archmages. They approached Daewoo and asked him to go to War Machine. There he was to seek an official alliance with the roving armoured city and invite them to send aid.

They flew the city close to War Machine and then teleported once they were within sight of the location. They were immediately confronted by the 3rd Mechanical Cavalry. The cavalry were heavily armoured warriors whose steeds were not flesh and blood but rather brass, metal and clockwork. Their steeds never tired and never reared at pain. As long as they were wound they were the perfect patrol tools. Daewoo declared himself and invoked his right to board War Machine with his unit. The party boarded and Daewoo soon remembered what it was like to be home. Where Mapleton was a place of drinking, feasting, and frivolity, War Machine was a well oiled society. Everyone knew their place, their duty and saw to it. Relwin, intrigued by the steeds began inquiring into the finer points of the operation of the clockworks to an attractive young officer. She invited him to join her in the cantina while she enjoyed her R&R.

After the party had enjoyed exploring the mobile, steel city, they met with Major Colonel Aleksand Daewoo. Daewoo the Elder had been given a promotion since the last time his son had seen him and was now part of the Council of War. Lord General Daewoo had continued to hear of his son’s exploits. The Lord General held a dinner and agreed that having an ally would allow them to carve a path and destroy the Scarlet Tyrannies and would be able to acquire enough power to create a second War Machine in the West. In order to convince the Council of War, however, he would likely need the party to prove themselves. He invited them to attend the public briefing in the morning.

The Council of War met the next day and explained to the Gallows Boys that one of their mines had not been heard from in some time. There was some concern by the Alchemical Corp. of Engineers that they may need to send in elite forces. If the Gallows Boys would travel and investigate the mine and return with a full report, they would consider this a commitment to the good of the Unconquered.

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Episode 7
The Hags of Snowmelt Swamp or A Disturbing Dalliance

With Daelin left to go kinging he made sure to get his nephew, Ozereth, out of the capital Archopolis. He sent him to the Gallow’s to assist in his absence and make sure that one of his few remaining relatives wouldn’t be used as a hostage against him during the war. While Daelin was off being king and bringing the Confederation to heel, Daewoo and the rest were running things in Mapleton and outfitting the flying city.

While this was ongoing, a maid named Sheila who grew up on a farm on the outskirts of Mapleton was noticed by and began spending time with Daewoo. Apparently, she thought this was true love and that she soon would be marrying the lord and that her and her family’s dreams could soon come true. Eventually, her dreams began coming true:she realized she was pregnant with her lord’s first-born. She was elated and came to her lord to tell her the news. She was spurned and fled in humiliation. She was not seen again in the city. Most assumed she had gone back to the farm her parents lived on.

A couple weeks later, Sheila’s mother barged her way into the great hall where Daewoo, Relwin, Gorin, and Ozereth were boozing and wenching. She shrieked at Daewoo telling him he should be ashamed of himself and spitted and sputtered more mean things that the Gallows Boys were really too in the tank to listen. She was dragged out of the hall and thrown into the mud in front of the hall. A few weeks later the town was abuzz with a rumour that children were missing on the outskirts of town. Several of the townsfolk were grumbling and some even suggesting they should go look for the children rather than tending the Alcoholly Carboys. There were whispers that the Gallow’s Boys were thought to be more interested in chasing tail than keeping the manor safe.
Appalled by the idea of disloyalty, the party headed out to stomp the dissent. Shortly after arriving, they saw what appeared to be a posse ready to look for the children. A rousing bout of intimidation brought them into line and the party mollified them by promising to look for the children. The party soon set of and began to realize what had happened. The spurned whore had been so incensed at her rejection by Daewoo. As the party began to search they found a woman on the road, Ozereth soon realized that she was not what she seemed and after an intense but brief battle, the hag laid dead. It became apparent that there was something more sinister than simply some runaway kids and a crazy bitch. As the group progressed through Snowmelt Swamp, more and more hags began attacking, finally, they found what appeared to be a hut protected by various hags and strange Fey-like undead wreathed in a green mist. These were stronger adversaries but finally they made it into the inside where they saw what had occurred.

The woman had been approached by a fox shortly after returning home. The fox had told her that she could have her revenge and hurt Daewoo if she would come and talk to the ladies of the swamp. Filled with hate and anguish she listened to them and joined their coven. They fed her potions and performed dread rituals. She could feel her womb stirring and it began to take on a strange green glow. She began to change her hatred distorting her features and her mind bent to pure rage.

As the party came in, they dispatched the creature into which Sheila had transformed. After the hags and her were dead they suddenly realized there was one last adversary. The fight ended with the whole party disturbed. They decided it was better to focus on the war effort and perhaps lay off the wenching for a week…probably.

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Interlude 2
The Accession of Daelin I or Hail to the King Baby

Life was good for the Gallows Boys. Two Dragons were dead and mounted in a flying city which was undergoing renovation thanks to the free labour provided by the slaves from The city of Crakston across the border. Their alchemical product called Alchoholly (a miraculous product that acted as had become a premium product and wss being purchased in droves by the Mages throughout the Confederation. But then politics had to throw a wrench into the works.

The Gallows Boys prosperity caused jealousy and suspicion top run rampant among the magnates and powerful mages in Archopolis. The dragon slayer society was solidifying more influence and with the sudden increase in the amount of local nobility affiliated with the society (as now every member of the Boys had at least one manor), the Mages saw a threat. The Dragon Slayer Society had been established at the beginning of the Confederation to focus attention against the evils of the dragons, rather than the evils of the mages replacing those dragons. Their structure was essentially a meritocracy. Those heroes who killed dragons were elevated. However, the Confederation worked entirely by nepotism, those students who performed great magic were elevated in the confederation only as long as they had the right connections. Essentially, just learning a few spells and having the right connections was all it took to be suddenly elevated to the upper echelons of the power structure. Some great magic users were able to be elevated but more often than not they did so with pawns and used magnates like chess pieces to effect their schemes.

The jealous mages requested the flying city be turned over for study. Any passing spy with detect magic was able to see that this was a different form of magic than what the rest of the magic being used. Some rumors had begun to spread (probably leaked by the secret society studying Red Magic and the source of so many Taint outbreaks) that Red Magic was dangerous and likely was a plot by the dragons to wipe out the Confederation. Soon after this rumor, it was spread that the new flying city controlled by the Gallows Boys, now official Founding Members of the Dragon Slayer Society, was controlled using Red Magic. The jealous mages further politicked that clearly the Gallows Boys claim to be against the dragons was a lie. When it was revealed that the white dragon they killed the previous year was actually a renegade and sought by the Scarlet Tyrannies, it became easier for people to believe that the Gallows Boys’ exploits may have been fabricated than that they were really that good.

The Dragon Slayer Society had had enough and began making preparations for a fundemental constitutional change to the Confederation. They saw the ambitions of the Archmages (the faction wanting only magic rule throughout the Confederation) as leading to defeat by the dragons as the corruption at the top would lead to infighting and a loss of focus against the draconic invaders. They proposed, therefore, that another house made of elected representatives of the Society from each chapter be elected. They would represent the interests on the ground and not by the mages. Further, a monarchy be established, limited in actual power, he would act as a intermediary between both houses of government. Being elected for life and having this power enumerated, he would be spurned in his quest for greater power and have a long-term interest in the betterment of the entire Confederation. As such he should be both a magic user, not affiliated with a specific college of magic (as the colleges themselves were fiercely competitive), and a member of the Dragon Slayer’s Society who had proven himself with deeds. These overtures seemed to gain resonance with many both in the Magocracy and the common people. The Archmages claimed that to allow the common rabble to have a say in how they were ruled, however would be a sure lesson in weaker focus on crafting the magical solutions needed to defeat the dragons and would mean less money for the army.

This philosophical debate came to a head when two events occurred. The Archmages sent a writ of seizure to the Gallows Boys for the flying city. The mesenger presenting this demand that the city be turned over died from a collection of arrows in the chest, he had been talking a long time. Things came to a greater head when an elf was elected top leaf the dragon slayer society. That elf was Daelin. The Society began talking him up as the ideal person to meet their constitutional requirements, however, the Archmages balked at an elf to rule over them. The Society rebutted that even though he was an elf, he had proven himself time and again as a hero of the Confederation.

Daelin met with several magnates of the various mage states and several agreed after several concessions and liberal application of alcoholly to back his claim to the new throne. A proclamation was sent out that Daelin was now king. The Archmages of Archopolis cried treason and disbanded the Dragon Slayer’s Society. All loyal members could join the new Society: The Knights of the Confederation. Civil war erupted with various magnates declaring one another illegitimate and moving to declare a siege. The border states attempted to remain neutral as they were embattled with foreign enemies and did not want to take sides in this sudden conflict. This was not to last as the various soldiers were eventually pulled into the wider conflict but we’ll address this later…

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Episode 6
The Gallow's Boys Revenge or Red, White, and Dead

Returning to the mainland with an ancient floating city was something of a shock for the local populace. The Lords soon began to order their people to excavate and create a landing zone for their city. They had big plans. This flying city which once held thousands of lives and acted as a mobile trading center would now have a new purpose, a giant casino and brothel complex. The Boys envisioned countless game halls and brothels all equipped to make them rich.

The Dragonslayers Society also saw this as a great resource and challenged the group to open a chapter house of the society on the new city. Realizing that such an alliance would prove highly profitable and never saying no to a chance to kill a dragon, the group agreed.

In order to not draw attention to themselves, the group made a plan. First, they would sneak across the pass near Mapleton. Then they attacked a nearby mining town. Once they attacked the town they enslaved the survivors and shipped them back to Mapleton where they work on the flying city. The team used an additional agent, a skilled fighter from the militia and together they strategised how to take on the town. Once in, they discovered that there is a rogue white dragon in the area whom the Scarlet Tyranny authorities want eliminated. The regional dragon lord was also nearby in an outpost which acted as a regional controlling area. The group headed in and begin clearing out the guards in the keep. Soon, they had reached the top and the dragon was there hiding intimidatingly within a room filled with smoke. A fight ensued which tested the powers of the Gallows Boys but they prevailed and were able to get he carcass back across the pass. After finding the renegade dragon and making even shorter work of that they hauled back their loot and wowed he entire Dragonslayer society by ensconcing not one huge dragon, but two in their newly minted Game Hall!

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Episode 5
The Crashed City

The compass they had found proved intriguing to the party and they commissioned a ship to sail them to the place the compass appeared to be pointing. Soon they found themselves sailing between huge bergs of ice. The location of where the compass was pointing soon became evident, it was an island. Strangely, although the outside of the island was freezing, the interior seemed warm, even tropical.

Investigating the island was itself an adventure, but it was soon clear where the compass pointed to, a huge towering city which appeared to be In ruins and leaning slightly as it’s entire foundation was made of a strange golden-coloured metal. As they made their way to the city they fought some strange giant lizards, as well as wiped out a town of lizard folk, the Boys moved to explore the city.

The city was strange and seemingly plagued with odd phenomena. As the party explored the city, they realized this city was millions of years old and had used an Untainted Red Magic Device called the Aeromantic Infandibulator to lift the entire city into the sky and fly the city. After finding a magical staff, they soon discovered undead wizards, mad from age and twisted by the curse of the city, they lived in an uneasy stalemate. The party braved all and they were soon attacked by giant hornets, and other horrific monsters. None of these, however, were as terrifying as the colossal Shoggoth. A beast of smoke, chaos,and gnashing teeth it was clear it could tear apart the party with ease. They discovered that the beast, the crashed city and the chaos curse which seemed to grip the city was the result of an item called the Chaos Stone. It’s magic had consumed the city and released the fearsome Shoggoth. Using a staff charged with magic aligned towards order and law. They destroyed the stone and with it the Shoggoth.

They set to work attempting to loot the city and realized that some of the ancient citizens were alive. The royal family and some of the rich people had been captured and placed in a timeless prison tied to the power of the chaos stone. With it destroyed, the spell could not be replenished and ended. The king thanked the Boys but did not realize that these were no do-gooder heroes, they were the Gallows Boys! He informed them that if certain key magic items could be located in the city and the island, the city could once again float above the clouds. With greed in their heart, they listened to the king and set to work fixing the city. Without sails, the city would not fly but they realized they could tow it back to Victus by affixing the city to the ship they had taken to the island. Once the city was fixed and Relwin, the self-proclaimed Sky Captain knew how to fly the ship, the king was of no further use and represented a possible threat. He didn’t make the crossing.

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Episode 4
The Trial and The Tainted Tower

The Gallows boys spent the next year enjoying the fruits of their hard fought treasure, feasting, wenching, and drinking to their hearts content but their new found glory was not going unnoticed. Other ambitious people were growing envious of the power, prestige, and wealth the Gallows Boys were accumulating. One of these was Lord Pompinn, a man who wished to become a Magnate of the Mage State in which the party lived. He accused the party of being agents of the Scarlet Tyrannies, the neighboring kingdom over the mountains and on the other side of the pass. A Mage Court, a flying Mage tower holding the tribunal of Mage Iudexes (judges) soon appeared in the sky and he party was brought before them. Their representative was none other than the sorcerer with some Asian name or something who had helped them win Mapleton and who took care of the town to ensure the lords could party without interruption. He gave a stirring defense echoing the Gallows Boys accomplishments including the slaying of a fierce dragon in less than 6 seconds. The Gallows Boys were exonerated. Ned Pompinn was executed and his charming wife remarried…Relwin. Now in control of his own small manor he and the party returned to their lands.

After some time had passed, the party decided it was time to go to the Mage State capital of Archopolis. The city was a sprawling metropolis filled with enormous towers all supporting each other through myriad arch bridges. The city had everything and several powerful magic items were commissioned.

While these were made a man approached them. He asked if they would clear out a secret lair which had become infested with monsters. Soon, the party found themselves face to face with a new cadre of Taint beasts sporting enormous antler like claws, firey spit, and an overall poor disposition. They sought to find the source of the taint and remove it, what they found was a strange demiplane. In it several wizards were corrupting and transforming their victims into Taint Beasts. The wizards were powerful but eventually were overcome by the Boys. They also dispatched a huge flower like monster, which soon destabilized the plane, the party escaped, but only just. On the body of a wizard they found a strange item, an impossibly old compass that seemed to point to the West, towards the Endless Ocean. The compass intrigued them and they began to feel that itch for adventure and treasure.

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Episode 3
The Deathly Pass or Raiders, Dungeons, Dragon, and 6 Seconds

Approximately a month later, the town of Mapleton was attacked by bandits and they began looting and setting fire to the town. Outraged the half-drunk the Boys rushed into action where they dispatched the raiders and began extinguishing the burning buildings.

One of the buildings, the Inn and alchemist shop was also on fire and fearing for Relwin’s woman inside the group rushed in, ready to look like badass-awesome-firemen-heroes. Relwin used his boots of levitation and was able to find his woman trapped on the other side of burning debris. Picking her up and levitating out the balcony like superman, he rescued her. The others also rushed in and saved several other very grateful female Inn guests. Apparently it must have been ‘Ladies’ Night’ because they didn’t even encounter a single man. One of the ladies, however, was not so lucky and after being told to walk down the burning staircase in front of Gorin, she fell causing permanent, irreparable, brain damage.

Furious at the attack the Gallows Boys tortured some of their prisoners and discovered that the bandits had a hidden base in the nearby mountains. Raiding the base, the party discovered a capable band of mercenaries and bounty contracts to kill the Gallows Boys issued by the Scarlet Tyrannies. Shortly after fighting the bandits, they soon learned of a new threat, a hidden Necromancer stronghold hidden deep in the pass. Still angry and bloodthirsty, the group discovered the hidden lair but what they found weren’t Necromancers at all. Rather, strange hideous monsters attacking the Necromancers and their servile constructs. Realizing that an entire stronghold of Necromancers would mean an entire stronghold of treasure, magic, and loot, the gallows boys moved through the area facing hideous creatures which they slowly learned were transformed mages and creatures that had become Tainted by some unknown foul source.

As they moved through the stronghold they learned that a strange magical energy had been discovered by the Necromancers radiating from Victus, but it came with a fearful cost: themselves. The magic appeared to be a native magical source never before seen by any alive and the implications were enough to drive men mad. Magic had always been thought to have come to the world by the invading dragons. Now they knew that Victus had an ancient magic all of its own—and to use it was to become Tainted. A group of Necromancers had been experimenting with the old magic dubbed ‘Red Magic’ and had attacked the other Necromancers as the Red Magic’s taint took hold of them and they sought to eradicate anything touched by the Blue magic from the Dragon Moon, Vertus.

Finally, after rescuing a few necromancers (female ones, of course), the party discovered a strange cave that according to the Necromancers studying it was millions of years old and seemed to even predate the mountains themselves. It appeared to hold a large lake but its shape was not that of a natural cavern but instead that of huge beast’s ribcage. The ceiling took on the shape of a huge spine and great rib like pylons made of the same black rock supported the cave ceiling. Strange whispers seemed to echo off the walls. Soon the party began to hallucinate and as they left the chamber, they heard a strange splashing sound behind them, coming from the lake. Beyond everything they had witnessed in that stronghold, it has been that splash which has haunted them more than anything else. It wouldn’t be until years later when they finally realized the source of that dread noise.

They left the chamber, realizing the only way to save their town and protect their interests would be to seal the stronghold forever. Working with the lead necromancer, they initiated a powerful spell to create the Lithosphere. Once the spell completed, an enormous globe of pure elemental stone would be summoned, encasing the entire area in pure granite. As soon as the party set off the spell, they had only moments to avoid being encased themselves.

The party killed the Necromancers except one, they ordered her to create a brothel next to the site of their castle and to never speak of what had transpired. To this day, she never has spoken to the Johns that visit her. Ostensibly, she has put away her study of necromancy. The party still has concerns and will often use her as a magic resource who isn’t connected with the mage states.

As they rode back to the town, they suddenly saw a great shadow fall over the pass. Looking up, they saw a fearsome foe in the form of a black Dragon called Ni’gerreth. Relwin, Gorin, Daelin, and Daewoo readied their weapons and before the angry black dragon could reach them, it was dead. It was dead within 6 seconds. Pretty fucking epic. Daelin said something about doing it left-handed.

The group returned with the carcass of the dragon as proof that they were indeed Dragonslayers. Soon they were elevated to a high elite status with the Dragonslayers Society. It was then that Lord Pompinn and his lovely wife came to town…

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Interlude
Decks are Dangerous Things

Prelude to Finkle-Con 4:

After coming to power in Mapleton, the Gallows Boys did not sit quietly by. They were men of action, verve, gumption, and other manly adjectives. Here is a description of what our (anti-?) heroes did between the events of Finkle-Con 3 and 4. (Author’s Note: I have taken a few liberties with these stories and if the actual players disagree or wish to comment with the what I have presented here, feel free to comment below.)

Lord Daewoo:

Daewoo, lord of Mapleton, had received a note shortly after his investiture as lord from his father. His father, Major Colonel Aleksand Daewoo, was requesting to see him at a supply depot which he was currently supervising. Daewoo set out shortly after putting the Steward in charge of the manor in his stead. His father had heard of his exploits and wished to congratulate him. His deeds were being recorded and would, one day, be used to champion his cause of obtaining a fabled Commission from the Inexorable Council of War. His father suggested that further conquest and the sending of tribute back to War Machine would be a good indication of his continued commitment to the Unconquered People (aka War Machiners). As a token of his continued affection, his father presented to him a grand suit of armour which had been in his family for two generations. It was constructed of the exceptionally dense and absorbing material adamantine. It also carried with it an enchantment which would allow it to appear as nothing but a simple set of clothing if the bearer wished it. Daewoo stayed with his father for about a week until setting off once again back to his manor. Not wanting to attract bandits, he disguised himself as a sell-sword and was able to earn passage with a travelling merchant into the Scarlet Tyrannies. Using the assumed name of Ahnold the Bandit-hunter, he was able to protect the merchant caravan from raiders and once he found their hideout, dispatched the remaining bandits. Taking the bandit leader’s head, he thrust it on a spike and carried it over a sign which read ‘Bandits, ye be warned.’ discouraging further attacks. The final trek of the journey included hiking cross-country to find an unwatched path back into the Confederation without being taken as a spy or scout. Luckily, luck was with Daewoo and he returned back from his trek enriched and elevated.

Daelin the Magus:

Daelin was in a unique position in Mapleton, not having obtained the rank of Captain, as his fellow elf Relwin had done, he was a man who was both near the lord of mapleton without having any direct responsibilities. He understood the so-called optics of the situation and realized he may be approached to influence or perhaps spy on Daewoo and Relwin. After Relwin and Gorin left on their trip, Daelin was approached by Lord Oakbrook (the manor to the south of Mapleton) in somewhat subtler language, the lord proposed Daelin would send him periodic updates of the actions of Lord Daewoo in exchange for monetary compensation equal to the value of the information. Daelin understood the potential for gain here and readily agreed. Although one would never regard Daelin as charitable towards others, he certainly has a streak of loyalty for Daewoo (one might even call it brotherly concern) and informed him of Oakbrook’s overtures. The two hatched a plan.

Daelin informed Lord Oakbrook that Mapleton was solidifying its position and that the keep whose construction had begun at the close of Finkle-Con 3 was being hurriedly completed. He further informed him that the militia was drilling and he believed Daewoo was readying an attack on a neighbouring manor. Oakbrook was shocked and gave Daelin a sizeable purse of gold in exchange for the informaiton. Daelin suggested this was not good enough and proceeded to convince Oakbrook that if he wanted him to convince Daewoo too look north (towards Pineton Manor) rather than south (towards Oakbrook) he would require a nice house in Oakbrook where he could entertain some of his elven relations. Oakbrook realized that although his militia could probably resist Daewoo, the price would be high. The house Daelin requested, unfortunately, was occupied by one of the richest families in Oakbrook, the Argensmiths. This family had lived in the home for several generations, was popular, had really nice kids and had a silver smithy in the market circle in town.

The Lord Oakbrook had been jealous of these and saw a way to spurn an enemy while satisfying an ally and staving off conflict. Lord Oakbrook seized the house as his own personal guest home. Daelin sent for his cousin, Faelthin, to meet him in Oakbrook and earn some coin. The elf set out at once, along with a dozen of his closest friends and relatives. Daelin set about creating a giant ass of himself and would throw the lord lavish parties which always turned rowdy due to the astounding amounts drank by the partiers. During the revelry, however, a fire was set and began to burn down the whole building. Faelthin left the next day with the elven retinue and Daelin made sure that before they left they were seen in the tavern appalled at what they called “the unbridled drunken rage” Lord Oakbrook had gotten into and how he had cursed the name of Argensmith as he threw hot coals onto the fire. In fact, it was said that the elves, who are a passive and moderate people had each time recoiled from the behaviour of the lord and thought it strange the people had selected him to rule over their manor. This story by these otherwise supposedly neutral strangers enraged the Argensmiths and their allies who had been growing resentful of Lord Oakbrook began to talk of perhaps doing away with the ruler.

It was during this commotion that Daelin entered the room. His appearance at first angered the Argensmiths who rightly saw him as the catalyst which had brought so much misery into their lives. Faelthin quickly brought Daelin up to speed on what had transpired. Appearing struck with remorse and injury, Daelin mounted the bar and began to speak to the crowd about how since he had come to live among the humans, he had come to see the nobility in many of them and that when properly led by a far-seeing leader how their capacity for greatness was… well pretty great. He also promised that he would send for builders from Mapleton and personally construct another home for the Argensmiths, from whose plight he had so ‘unwittingly’ benefitted. This speech quickly allowed the Argensmith faction to come around to his line of thinking. Daelin left the tavern and went to speak to the lord. He told him that the house’s loss was very sad and that he hoped he wouldn’t have to seek another one in Pineton Manor. Understanding he was being extorted but without any recourse. If he killed Daelin, Daewoo would certainly attack him and with the Argensmiths already angered, it was likely a sizeable portion of the militia would refuse his call, he agreed and demanded another Argensmith faction home. Oakbrook was furious but when he heard about construction crews heading towards Oakbrook from Mapleton and widening the roads along their way, he assumed this was a provocation and a prelude to an army equipped with one or two siege engines. He agreed and Daelin suggested the crews be allowed to finish their journey and to rebuild the house which had burned down. In the mean time, he would live in a new house. The construction and his living all being paid for by Oakbrook in exchange for Daelin’s continued support in encouraging Daewoo to look northward for his expansionary endeavours.

The construction crew arrived (along with several militia to protect them as well as several kegs of beer sent by the Steward as a show of friendship) and proceeded to construct an enormous home on the ashes of the previous Argensmith Estate. The town greeted the construction workers, as well as the beer, with open arms and Daelin began spending lavishly of festivals and parades he was even invited to join in meetings of the town elders who advised the Lord Oakbrook. Daelin finally was in a position where his power was solidified. He suggested a new lord be appointed by the elders. A lord who would be able to form an alliance with Mapleton and ensure stability and peace between the two manors. The elders quickly acceded to this request and…surprise, surprise, appointed Daelin as the lord. Lord Oakbrook was outraged and rallied the militia to kill Daelin and drive out the Argensmiths once and for all. He was not expecting the construction crew and militia to be more than prepared and militia raised by the Argensmiths combined with Mapleton troops and hidden elven magi quickly destroyed the militia and executed the lord. Daelin was installed as the new Lord Oakbrook and donated his former home back to the Argensmiths and took his personal residence in the Lord’s keep. It was as if fate had intervened and played a card which allowed him to possess both a keep and to develop a sudden skill in diplomacy. This skill would serve him well in adventures to come…

Gorin the Cleric and Relwin the Fighter/Rogue:

After the events of FinkleCon 3, Payssa, goddess of peace and sleeping children saw the darkness in Gorin’s soul. Gorin had committed a vile atrocity and sacrilege in hopes of raising the ire of the people of Mapleton and causing the hue and cry to be raised against the bandits. Now as we saw these were not bandits at all but disguised Scarlet Soldiers. The goddess placed upon him a powerful enchantment his mind was opened to peace and quiet refection of the beauty the world posseses and the obligations the thinking creatures have to one another to not harm or destroy each other.

The God of War, Gorin’s patron, saw his soul no longer receptive to the tenants of Strength through Struggle and Gorin’s spells were not replenished. Relwin, seeing that their field medic was no longer able to fulfil his duties, set off with him to Ft. Riverport to seek the intervention of one of the War God’s high priests. Along the way, Relwin and Gorin became wanted fugtives and later prisoners after Relwin disgraced a man who later was revealed to be a Magnate’s son. This man tortured the two but they were able to escape thanks to the roguish talents of Relwin. They burned down the palace and disguised themselves the rest of the way to Riverport. They were fortunate that they had never named themselves and so when the hue and cry went out for a human and elf travelling together on the road, they were able to evade detection through the simple means of Relwin disguising himself. At Riverport, the high priest met with them and told them that the Peace Curse would be lifted if they would deliver a message to a commander of a blue dragon army in Mid-Victus. It was here that Relwin and Gorin parted ways.

Relwin went north to the famed capital of the Mage State Confederation Archopolis. There he commissioned some exquisitely expensive pieces of equipment and then returned back to Mapleton. Gorin was able to book passage on a smuggler’s boat as a half-way capable healer and sell-sword and so didn’t have to actually pay for his voyage. Halfway to the Azure Despots, the smugglers lowered flag of the mage states (Eight White Rhombuses arranged to approximate an eight-sided star on a field per bend sinister, red and blue) and put up the colours of the Despots (Three Golden Dragon Claws on a Blue Field) it sailed into Port Triumph without so much as a hail from the patrol boats. Gorin immediately made his way to the citadel and explaining he had a message for the commander was escorted in to the commander’s private office. As the message left the hand of Gorin a great weight seemed to settle back onto his shoulders. The commander examined the message and said to Gorin, ‘Your dedication to the cause is commendable’. As these words were spoken, Gorin felt as the War God breathed into him an new urgency for conflict and an ability to command those around him. He left immediately and finding the smuggler still loading up new contraband for the return trip commanded him to set sail immediately. The smuggler looked around askance seeing who it was who would dare speak to him this way but upon seeing the demanding glare and confident demeanour of this man whom he had thought a somewhat useless passenger changed his mind and commanded his men to weigh anchor and get underway. The men looked at him questioningly but when he drew his whip and cut the cheek of one of his crew, they set about their tasks without question. Gorin’s return trip to Mapleton was uneventful, though he did manage to gain a few followers who were intrigued by his description of the tenants of the War God.

And so after a year’s scheming, adventuring, atoning, and travelling. The party found themselves in the partially constructed Great Hall of Mapleton Keep enjoying a rich meal…

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Finkle-con 2 or The Gallow Boys win a town.

The company takes a job to harrass a nearby town of Mapleton by an ousted Societyman. While on their way they find a group of dragon army harrassing a farm. They kill the dragon army and all of the farmers. They burn down the farm. The war priest desecrates the corpses of the farmers.

The sorcerer meets with the mayor of Mapleton and is commissioned to take care of the local bandit problem. The sorcerer meets up with the rest of the party and start to investigate the local relationships between the mayor, the Societyman, their wives, and the innkeeper, an apparent alchemist. After sampling some of the local fare, they meet with the mayor where the ranger gets impatient and in an apparent spell of homocidal mania, shot the mayor with an arrow. Suddenly, they had to search the area and get out before the guards could be called.

After an interval of this, the company was called up to answer for the murder of the mayor. They were ready to be hung when someone discovered the desecration at the farm. Things were looking sketchy until they convinced the entire town that they were being set up by an evil cult using black magic. This getting off of the gallows with their knecks unstretched earned them their nickname: the Gallows Boys.

Later, the alchemist convinces the company to stay in town and run the town as the Lord Mayor. This shift from elected leader to landed ruler would help the town stay more stable and limit the amount of corruption. If they wanted to leave, he argued, they could always simply appoint a reeve to make sure their will was obeyed. Of course he would make a great candidate for such a position and would be someone the people would trust. They agreed and after a bit of gambling, it was decided that Daewoo of War-Machine would be the lord.

While they reviewed and started to oversee their new domain, a few of the company went to the neighboring town to collect their reward. After receiving their reward, however, they rewarded their employer by exposing his role in the plot and taking him captive they went to the larger town of Oakbridge to commission some special items with Society smiths and turn in their benefactor. There was an unfortunate incident involving the war priest running his mouth in a Chamber of Truth, but other than that, there were no problems.

While all of this was going on, they were piecing together what was really going on in the town. Apparently, the Societyman and the Mayor had been contacted by someone from the nearby Scarlet Tyrannies. It appears that they had found a way to bypass the main pass through the mountains and were establishing a way to sneak small groups of soldiers into otherwise undefended Mage State area. They had bribed the Societyman to close the chapterhouse ensuring that adventurers wouldn’t find the secret trail. They had destroyed the farms near the route and kidnapped the farmers to sell into slavery. This would also help convince people that this was the work of bandits and not part of a larger move against the Mage States.

With the Gallows Boys now set up with a headquarters and people to rule, the question going forward is will they try to make Mapleton grow? Will the Mage States take an interest in their doings? Find out next time on FINKLE-CON!!

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