Sunday, December 7, 2008

Calen's Combat Report

1st Combat Report in Fey Wild:

Executive Summary
Party encountered 1 lamiar, 4 prismatic drakes, 1 dire bear. Encounter was a trap laid by Lamiar. Party defeated the ambush although 1 party member nearly died. Expanded 25% resources during encounter.

Long Summary
Party entered fey wild at 1200 hour. Followed magic flow towards town of Mith using magic goggles. Heard cry of distress from .25 miles away from flow, decided to investigate. Upon investigation, discovered single Eladrin male perched on top of tree under assault from 4 prismatic drakes and 1 dire bear. Decided to engage creatures at 1230 hour.

Upon combat engagement, eladrin male unveiled itself to be a Lamair. Had stunning attack that disabled half the party for 1/3 of combat duration. During this time, one ranger striker was near death due to concentration of attacks upon him. Survived due to timely rescue by health potion and aid by non-stunned party members.

Note: Combat surface (grass) was also actively hindering party progress.

Successfully eliminated all creatures but lamiar escaped despite concentration of firepower upon it. Tree cover too thick to consider pursuit. Decided to continue upon main quest. Revenge not recommended due to hostile environment.

Engagement terminated at 100 hour.

Zaeris as usual was superb, single-handedly dispatching 3 enemies over the course of encounter. Rendered ineffective 3 creatures during critical period by using his storm of daggers technique. Recommend for additional combat pay.

Neither Meritous nor Demeritous:

Muhan was solid as ice as usual, while neither doing spectacular, was not actively hindering party.

Chimala was also solid, doing her job by actively harrying enemies at range and doing sufficient damage to drive the lamiar off almost singlehandedly.

Terran was actively engaged in melee and like Muhan, was neither spectacular nor hinderful.

Thamores continually stayed under fire in spite of direct orders to get to safety. Caused active hinderment of party actions due to over-extension of self. Recommend for more squad combat training when back on base. Still useful for single target attacks

Self, poor decision to enter into combat without further scouting. Probability of avoiding combat was about 50% if some scouting and observation could have been done. Recommend for disciplinary action due to poor squad command.

Additonal Notes
Recommend squad for more combat practice as a squad. Clearly the last break was too long and the squad performed poorly as a result, resulting in too many 1:1 situations rather than the 3:1 as favored by combat protocol.

Lamiar disabling 1/2 the party was cause of squad breakdown, recommend retraining in skills to prevent such breakdowns.

Overall combat was a success due to severe critical successes by Zaeris, thus only 25% of resources was expanded. That was pure luck and cannot be counted upon. Estimated resource expansion without critical successes would be closer to 50% and perhaps loss of Thamores.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Personnel File for Zaeris

(Filed in the Iron Sun headquarters)

Classification: Confidential; for senior commanders only
Zaeris (Last name unknown, but possibly from a noble household in the Underdark)
Sex: Male
Race: Drow
Age: Unknown; estimated to be between 80-120
Rank: Specialist First Class
Role: Recon/Assassination
Joined: January, 1474 DR (5 years, 8 months)
Missions: 18; 14 successes, 3 partial successes, 1 failure
Kills: 94 confirmed; 34 unconfirmed

Zaeris joined the Iron Sun despite objections from several senior members. He was mainly accepted due to his natural aptitude for stealth, his skills with weapons, and general ability to survive dangerous situations. He has not been forthcoming with much of his history, saying only that he had escaped the Underdark after one day offending a cleric in his home city of (a crime punishable by torture followed by death in Drow society). However, what little intelligence we've received from the underdark suggest that his crime may have been far greater.

Sarcastic, ruthless, and potentially reckless. While he seems to work well enough in a team, he carries from Underdark the general disregard for life, and scorn for those he views as his lessers. His attitude often lands him in trouble, though he appears to have a knack for extricating himself out of such situations. However, he does take his tasks seriously, and can be counted on when the situation requires it.

A loose cannon who should not be trusted with delicate missions unless his skills are absolutely necessary. He is extremely careful about covering his tracks, as he knows that he would be hunted here on the surface world if he was ever suspected of a crime.

Merits and honors: 14
  • The Shield of Dawn - For defending Pelor's followers from Shar worshippers
  • Order of the Sun Citation - Upon completion of 10th successful mission
  • Iron Dagger Medal x9 - Upon every 10 confirmed kills
  • Badge of Radiance x3 - For valorous actions while under extreme danger

Demerits and reprimands: 9
  • Insubordination (minor) x3 - Disrespect of a superior officer
  • Insubordination (moderate) - Disobeying the direct order of a superior officer (extenuating circumstance: actions may have saved the mission)
  • Excessive use of deadly force x2 - Killed target when capture was requested; claimed in both instances targets refused surrender; accounts questionable.
  • Willful disregard for innocent life - Detonated a cask of Alchemist's Fire to wipe out Hobgoblin command tent, despite knowing that there were 4 captives inside; claimed that the Hobgoblins had already killed the captives; account highly questionable.
  • Assault on fellow squad mate - Severely injured Borland Keene, though he claims he acted in self defense. Further discipline not taken because investigation could not prove otherwise, and Borland was a well-known drow-hater.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thunderspire Aftermath

With his dying breath Paldemar utters a single syllable filled with power. The air hums with arcane energies as the floating obsidian-colored orb upon the platform activates, plunging the room into utter darkness. Octane conjures light but it is only a dim light at best.

The air shimmers around the edges of the of the orb, creating a halo of wisping shadows. The orb draws power from the the last two crystalline pillars expanding the halo. Octane and Paelis are at a loss to what the orb's purpose is, but it is clear that it is drawing energy from the surrounding area and that it is wise to leave the complex before the orb draws power from the teleporation runes, leaving you stranded in the Tower of Mysteries.

You search the southeast room and find various notes and books. You quickly round them up along with the crystal orb and move retreat to the second level. You quickly search the library on this level and find that every book you open has blank pages. You search the northwest room with the container with the Bronze Warder. You collect the notes from this room and exit the Tower of Mysteries.

You return to the Seven-Pillared Hall and inform Orontor of what had transpired in the Tower of Mysteries. He is very gracious that you defeated his former colleague, saving both the Seven-Pillared Hall and the Mages of Saruun. He asks for the notes and crystal orb to determine what Paldemar was up to.

Octane, Orontor, and Paelis scour the notes of Paldmar trying to determine what was the purpose of the orb. A cursory pass over Paldamar's notes reveal that contraption that contained the Bronze Warder head was an Infernal machine designed to steal control over the other Bronze Warders, giving Paldemar uncontested control of Thunderspire Mountain. The notes referred to the floating orb on the third level as a Shadow Engine. It was suppose to be the power source for the Infernal machine by drawing arcane energies from the Shadowfell.

From what you can tell from the notes, the Shadow Engine was not fully complete. You surmise, and a quick visit back to the Tower of Mysteries confirms, that when Paldemar activated it, the portal it opened to the Shadowfell was not fully contained within the Shadow Engine. Orontor believes that it is weakening the veil between the worlds as it is drawing energies from both. The Shadow Engine was not designed to store the amount of arcane energy that is being drawn from both realms and will eventually explode shattering the veil between the worlds plunging all of Thunderspire Mountain, and possibly a large part of Nentir Vale, into the Shadowfell. Unfortunately neither you nor Orontor can figure out how to shutdown the Shadow Engine.

Paldemar's notes contained parts of an ancient scroll that the Shadow Engine was based off of. Orontor believes that the scroll was from the Tyrenil Empire, a civilization that predated even Arkhosia and Bael Turath. He suggests that finding more information about these scrolls is the only way to stop the Shadow Engine from destroying Nentir Vale.

Orontor says, "I will recall the Mages of Saruun and we shall try to contain the rift and find a way to shutdown the Shadow Engine. I ask that you find any information you can about the scrolls. What remains of the last great empire, Nerath, lies to the east of the Dawnforge Mountains. The captial city, Astoria, contains the Great Library of Nerath. That is a likely place as any to start trying to find out about the origin of the scrolls. I warn you though, do not speak of what is happening here in the Thunderspire to any you do not trust. This was a temple of Shar and if her agents or spies learn what transpired in the Tower of Mysteries, they may try to hasten the Shadow Engine tearing apart Nentir Vale."

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mithrendain Beauty: Fort Dolor Area Map

Fort Dolor is in the northwest corner of the Kingdom of Nerath, the last remnant of the once-great human Nerath Empire. Trade with Hammerfast is the lifeblood of this small border keep. X marks the approximate location of the fey grove.

Mithrendain Beauty: The Briefing

    Captain Revince stomped into the room, his usual frown hiding greater worries. He scanned the familiar faces of Mongoose Squad.  "You're all here. Good. I have a job for you.
    "No, it's not the wyvern nest. I sent Brandil's crew on that one this morning, for reasons which should become clear. This is something far more serious, which is why I need you. It involves the Lady."
    Revince glared, daring anyone to raise a dubious eyebrow. If anyone took issue with the Captain's autumnal romance with the Lady Saffrenia Movrymm, noble Eladrin of Mithrendain, they kept it to themselves. He had to admit, they were an unlikely pair, and the strain she was trying to hide now threatened the harmony of their relationship. She'd refused to address Mongoose Squad directly, appearing inexplicably ambivalent about this mission, so he was here alone, translating her evasive answers into plain soldier-speak.
    "The Lady's symbol of office has been stolen, more or less.  To be precise, its power has been stolen, most likely captured in some ritual duplicate. This is the dormant original; take a good look, make sure you can recognize it on sight."  He produced a gleaming gold signet ring from his pocket and passed it around; it was the ring she always wore, one of her few adornments.  Up close, the design carved into the lucent green stone popped into hyper-real focus: the Ourobouros, a snake devouring its own tail, encircling an oak tree. Seven diamonds sparkled along the body of the snake, one of them tinged subtly with red.
    Revince continued, "Don't ask me what the symbol means, or what the ring does. The Lady won't tell me, except that it's vital to the security of Mithrendain and to her responsibilities as  Councillor.  And no, I still don't know exactly why she has requested our hospitality these past two years. She has assured me repeatedly that it was a family matter, unrelated to her political position.
    "The theft happened the night before last, while you were out on the hill giant job and I was on temple duty. As she tells it, Lady Saffrenia was wracked by unusual dreams, and awoke with the knowledge that her ring had been drained of power."  He shrugged, admitting "It sounds crazy, but then again, you and I know shove-all about magic."
    "The Lady is convinced that a rarely-attempted ritual connected her dreams to another dreamer in the Feywild, and through that connection drew the essence of the ring into a duplicate. It's all draconic to me, so I asked Vesper to give me a second opinion. The hedge wizard made a good show of examining the ring, but in the end could only say 'maybe so, maybe so.'"
    Revince paused for breath and to assess his audience, finding an even mix of skeptical and impenetrable expressions. "It's not just a bad dream. Would that it were. There's more.
    "The old man's auguries went wild that same night. He was scheduled to ask about crop timing, and instead Pelor's angel visited on him a prophecy of our fiery doom. From the look on the acolytes faces, it was loud one. The old man's still in hospice recovering, but he's lucid enough, and last night's sortilage confirmed it. He's never been wrong on anything this big before, and the theft fits the prophecy perfectly Reduced to the basics, we either get this ring back, or Fort Dolor is reduced to smoldering rubble by a remorseless army of Eladrin from the Feywild. 'The army red and gold, our blood and flames foretold,' I'm sure you get the idea. The priests don't know when, how, or why, but they're clear enough that it's do or die.
    The Captain stared at each of them in turn, leaned forward, and barked, "So you're going to DO. So nobody has to die. Except your foes, who will fall like chaff from the harvest. Am I clear?" A resounding "Yes, Captain!" brought an uncommon smile to his lips.
    After a brief review of squad roles, Revince handed out the special equipment requisitioned for the mission, then continued with the briefing.
    "You are to enter the Feywild approximately a days ride southeast of here, in the deep forest. The Lady has provided instructions and waypoints which will lead you to a grove where the barrier between worlds grows thin.  After locating the grove, camp at least five hundred paces away, and enter the glade just before dawn; as the sun rises, you should be able to exit into the Feywild. Time your entry carefully to avoid spending too much time in the glade or missing the conjunction entirely, keep your face to the full moon, lest you travel to the dark place instead. A pox on these mysteries, Sehanine forgive me, I wish I could be more specific. Just be careful.
    "Once in the Feywild, you may attempt to follow the flow of arcane energy, which tends to spiral inwards towards Mithrendain. As you are untrained in Arcana, you will find the goggles and dust essential. Or, you can navigate normally. Mithrendain lies to the east, and the Sun follows its course in the Feywild just as it does here, Pelor be praised. Mithrendain dominates a wide, low hill west of a great river, and south of the plains. Stay in the forest until you reach Mithrendain.
    "The Lady believes that it would be unwise for her to vouch for you, so you will have to find your own way into the city and past any checks or guards you may find. Remember that the Eladrin are not our enemies, at least not yet. As far as we know, Mithrendain admits travellers of all civilized races." He carefully avoided glancing at the Drow. "But I wouldn't expect a warm welcome. You are armed and you are visibly foreign, and it will be difficult to avoid attention. Choose your allies and antagonists carefully, for all our sakes. I know some of you are friends with Brandil and other Eladrin in the company, but don't expect the native Fey to be so easygoing; Brandil's been in this World for over a century and has had a long time to get used to worldly norms.
    "As you come closer to the target ring, it should begin calling to the original ring. The power which was stolen has an affinity for its original vessel, or so the Lady says. What that means in practice, I'm not sure; you may feel a tug, or a hunch, or see a thread when using the goggles. You'll just have to try it and see. Failing that, you must rely on your basic investigative training, and look for events coinciding with the time of the theft. Finally, Lady Saffrenia has reluctantly provided me with the name of the other Councillor who she most trusts. Vyndra Sysvani, she said, is more open-minded than many, and might be able to help you if the thief has already moved against the Council. However my Lady would greatly prefer that you find the ring and return without revealing the ring's loss, or any of the details of her situation."
    Revince took a deep breath. "Let me be frank with you, since it's your skin on the line. Your first duty is to the Iron Sun, and then by contract to Fort Dolor and the Kingdom of Nerath. Therefore your mission is to retrieve the ring and return home safely, preserving your lives, this keep, and the lands around. If, in addition, you can perform your mission with discretion, preserving the honor and privacy of the Lady Saffrenia, then you will have our profound gratitude. I hope the distinction is clear.
    "Once you have retrieved the ring, you may use the scroll of Planar Portal and provided reagents to return directly to Hammerfast. It was sent here from Hammerfast by fast horse yesterday, at great expense, to make sure you could get out safely and reliably. The Defenders of Hammerfast are expecting you, but remember to respect portal protocol as you come through to avoid misunderstanding. Again, do not disclose details of your mission to Hammerfast.  Horses are posted for you there, so you may return here immediately for debriefing.
    "Now for the part you've been waiting for: this is double pay plus hazard, plus recovered assets after tithing. No grumbling, you know as well as I do that we're stretched thin out here. And if I paid you any more you'd think this was some kind of suicide mission."
    There was a long pause. Somebody kicked their boots lightly against a chair. Finally, Muhan cleared his throat frostily and drawled, "Let me see if I've got this straight.
    "One, we are to enter the Feywild and retrieve a ring. This ring here, to be precise.
    "Two, we may or may not be able to track down that ring, using this ring.
    "Three, we are to avoid starting an inter-planar war, except in self-defense.  That about right?"
    Revince scowled, averted his eyes for a moment, then straightened and answered, "Yeah, that's right.  You have your assignments, you have your gear, you know what to do.  Just remember that you are representing the Iron Sun out there, so don't frog it up.  Now get going, get it done, and get your backsides back here."
    He paused, then half-turned away, lowering his voice.
    "One last thing, soldiers. Remember the beauty of our world, and don't get too seduced by what you find on the far side. Pelor's light shine upon you."  The irony was lost on no-one.