Campaign report - updated as the game progresses

Ah, OK. I live in Vantaa, so I can't say that we are actually neighbors :)

Maybe we can arrange something at the 'Con if I can make it there...
Spectator said:
Yoo hoo, Majestic, all of us are eagelry awaiting to hear your updated Campaign stories!

Heh, sorry, my forum activity is sporadic at best. I'll put Session Eleven here today.
Session Eleven: Curse of the Golden Lord

The Stygian galley slid through the waves like a black serpent. The ominous pounding of its drums echoed far and wide, making fishermen on the shores shudder with fear in their sleep.Grim Stygian sailors gone about their duties on the deck, silent and avoiding the Nemedians. They kept eyeing Dionysos warily, afraid of his pale visage. As the men were tending their wounds, Thothmekri appeared on the deck, now wearing garments of a priest of Set.New air of confidence and authority around him, the sorcerer proceeded to explain that the galley would proceed straight to Messantia. There they would stay in port for a few days, letting the rescued prisoners on the shore and resupplying for the journey to Khemi. The former prisoners were staying in the fore hold and the Nemedians could sleep there with them or on the deck. However, they'd have no business going anywhere else on the ship. With that, Thothmekri left to the captain's cabin, promising that he would introduce the men to Stygian customs closer to Khemi.

The following days slid onwards slowly, as the galley followed the Zingaran coastline towards Argos. All other ships they saw circumvented the black galley from afar, fearful of the ominous pounding of its drums and the serpentine decorations of her decks. Barathus and Noam spent time with their compatriots, whose group was lead by a grizzled Adventurer veteran Brocas. He had plans to take the rest of the men to Nemedia through the Road of the Kings or possibly by following the Red River if Aquilonia proved to be too dangerous to travel. Dionysos and Tyrus concentrated on investigating the books of Vathelos, though they were frustrated by their eccentric structure. Alcemides merely enjoyed the rest, recovering from his injuries. Breaking open the two chests taken from Castante, the Nemedians found the Acheronian gold they sold the baron, as well as precious stones from the south. In the other chest was placed twelve vials full of translucent liquid, an ancient, crumbling map of an oval city and encrypted letters.

Days dragged on, uneventfully, turning in to weeks. As the group did not trust their Stygian patrons, they continued to keep night watch. To their distress they noticed that Dionysos had taken a habit of sleepwalking - not just aimlessly, but always towards where the golden mask was hidden. Unless shaken awake, he shambled every night towards the mask, trying in vain to get it on his face. Worried, the men started to wander if the mask was indeed cursed or worse. Noam demanded that they should throw it overboard or tell about it to Thothmekri, but the others insisted on keeping it. They argued that the mask could not do them harm on sea and they would get a fortune by selling it in Messantia. It was solid gold after all and the precious metal alone was worth hundreds of gold coins.

Nothing short of tying him down with ropes seemed to stop Dionysos from sleepwalking. His nights were filled with strange dreams of ruined and destroyed cities underneath a blood red sky with a single bright star shining on it like a baleful eye of some nameless god. He could see generations of men and women passing by with the mask on their faces - but instead of wearing the mask, the mask wore the skin of their faces. Formless monsters hunted him on desolate plains under an alien sky. Discussing the matter with the other men, Dionysos found out that Noam had been plagued by nightmares as well. His had been different however - he had always seen the same city, ruined and rebuilt again and again with the baleful star glowing on a blood red sky, but nothing else. A wordless call came to him from the city, urging him to come to it. Dionysos speculated that his dreams were caused by the mask while Noam might have captured some eldtrich essence of Baron Castante as the sorcerer died through his arrow.

Time flowed slowly as Barathus, Noam and Alcemides had little to do onboard. The crew avoided the foreigners and the Nemedians had to entertain themselves through various small games. Bad luck seemed to plague Noam, as he was always losing in games of chance. Slowly the ravaged orchards, manors and farmlands of Zingara were turning in to a dark and foreboding forest. The men had heard rumors in Kordova that beneath its shadows hunted manlike beasts known as corpse-eaters or ghouls. It was said that somewhere deep in the forest was an ancient city built before the fall of Acheron, where the ghouls prowled, worshipping their dark, nameless gods. The two sorcerers hardly noticed the changing landscape, as their interest in the scrolls of Vathelos the Blind was slowly turning in to obsession. Tyrus was struck especially hard by the desire to find rest of the scrolls. He could feel that by combining together all six books of Vathelos he would find power undreamt of. Investigations of the two did not go in vain - in the weeks spent onboard they had learnt secrets of the Upas Tree and how its juice could be distilled in to potent poison against sorcerers.

As the ship was passing the forest, all wind suddenly died for several days, slowing down speed of the galley considerably. A few days later a ship was spotted approaching the galley - a black ship much like the Stygian vessel, but thinner and longer in its structure, a ship of the Black Corsairs. Having no time to wonder what a such craft was doing so far north, the crew and the Nemedians quickly started preparing for battle. Armed with khopesh's and massive Stygian bows, the crewmembers set themselves ready. Thothmekri appeared on the deck, explaining the Nemedians that they should join the combat if the ships would lock in to boarding action. The five Hyborians almost greeted the approaching corsair ship with joy, as a moment of mortal danger would surely drive away the boredom.

The two black ships approached each other, the pounding of their drums echoing on the empty seas. Suddenly the still air started to move, as a strong wind appeared out of nowhere, blowing against the Stygian galley and propelling the corsair ship towards them at a ramming speed. Spitting foul curses, the Stygian captain barked orders from the aft castle. Ships kept closing, soon coming to a firing range for archers on the both ships. Remembering the glass globes found from the Acheronian chest they had received in the mountains, Dionysos scrambled to get the large black orb that he had claimed as his. He had a feeling that it was a weapon of some sort, that might turn the tide of the battle to their advantage. He handed it over to Thothmekri, who had before shown his talent at launching projectiles through his sorcery, instructing him to lob it on the other ship. The Stygian agreed, saying that he would wait for a certain hit. Hopefully, the contents of the black orb were flammable or worse.

Closing fast, drums of the both ships started pounding in a manic speed, sending the black hulls almost flying above the waves at ramming speed. Arrows were left loose from both ships. Black shapes fell of the crowded deck of the approaching corsair ship, while their shots did little harm on the black galley. As the ships were so close on each that the Nemedians could see white eyes of the corsairs, the Stygian captain barked new orders. Oars on the port side of the ship were swiftly pulled inside the galley and the black ship started to turn towards side of the approaching corsair. Captain of the pirate ship was either incompetent or taken by surprise and did not react swiftly enough. With a mighty crash of breaking wood, the Stygian galley smashed apart all oars on one side of the corsair ship, passing it very close. Thothmekri sent the large glass globe flying onboard the enemy ship with an arcane gesture. The orb crashed on the deck of the ship with little apparent effect.The few grappling hooks thrown from the corsair ship were quickly dispatched and distance between the ships grew again. Archers on the both ships fired as fast as they could, filling the air with whistling arrows.

Gaining more distance to the corsair ship, the Stygian galley started to turn around, now taking advantage of the wind that had almost allowed the corsair ship to destroy it. The corsair ship was obviously in distress, trying to turn in vain with just one bank of oars intact. Thothmekri explained to the Nemedians that the captain would try to ram the corsair ship now that it had lost much of its agility. If the ramming hit would not cause enough damage, a boarding combat would most likely ensure. Indeed, the black galley started to surge towards the corsair ship, now powered both by oars and the strong wind.A few arrows were fired again, but most of the men aboard both ships soon started to brace themselves for impact rather than shoot at their enemies. As the galley neared the corsair vessel, mast of the enemy ship suddenly fell without any apparent reason. The Nemedians had no time to trouble cause of the event, as the Stygian galley rammed the corsair ship with all force, with a huge crash that deafened ears and sent splinter of wood flying high in the air. Yet hull of the corsair ship did not break from the hit and a close combat ensued.

As the Nemedians had been in the fore of the galley, they were the ones to meet the onslaught of black pirates head on. They dispatched the first few corsairs with ease, but following them were massive black men with ritual scars on their faces and dreadlocks in their hair - cannibalistic black tribesmen from the continental south. Disturbingly, some of the ritual scars formed the same spiral-like symbol as on the golden mask. The men had no time to discuss geography as the black giants were on them, blades clashing on theirs. Behind them came torrent of black corsairs. As the fight ebbed and flowed, short breaks allowed the Nemedians to catch glimpses of the corsair vessel. It appeared that some kind of mold was rapidly eating away hull of the ship. It seemed that the glass globe they had thrown on the vessel had indeed contained potent sorcerous weapon.

The black corsairs boarded the Stygian galley as one rolling black wave of human flesh, fighting with savage ferocity brewing from desperation. As Dionysos and Alcemides were brought down by the savage blows of the black giants, Brocas lead the most experienced former prisoners in to the fight. Heavy arrows of the Stygian bows ripped holes in the corsairs further back on the deck. Thothmekri fought savagely, a cruel smile on his face and an aura of unexplainable terror around him. Soon enough no ordinary corsair dared to step close to the priest of Set, going as far as throwing themselves overboard to avoid his vicinity. Stepping near the most dangerous of the black giants, the Stygian sorcerer brought him down with a single sweep of his hand. As he smacked the giant with his palm, the tattoeed snake on his arm seemed to come to alive and the Darfar fell clutching on his neck that had bitemark of a viper on it.

The fighting could not last more than a few minutes, but each moment seemed to drag on to an eternity, where time slowed down in to a macabre dance of spilt blood and cracking skulls. Finally the Nemedians brought down last of the black giants, sending a wave of panic among the remaining corsairs. Instead of facing blades of their enemies, they now jumped to the waves, swimming desperately towards the shore. Barathus noticed that the strange mold eating away the corsair ship had reached ram of the Stygian galley, stuck deep inside the other vessel. He ran towards the Stygian captain, yelling at him to get their ship away from the corsair hulk at whatever means necessary. At the same time, Tyrus and Brocas jumped down on the ram, trying to cut it off before the mold would reach their ship through it. Their final blow cut it off just as it was about to reach hull of the ship, allowing rowers of the Galley to pull it off the sinking hulk. Fierce determination frozen on his face, Thothmekri cut open throats of few wounded, but living corsairs lying onboard the Stygian ship. Shouting at unknown language, he then pulled from his belt an ivory amulet in the shape of a shark. Soon enough, fins could be seen approaching the swimming black corsairs on the waves.

As the fight died down, the Stygian galley kept rowing away from the corsair ship, that was slowly crumbling in a mass of rotting wood, slowly sinking in the depths. Those with the necessary skills moved among the wounded, sewing close gaping wounds and bandaging scratches. Alcimedes and Dionysos were both bandaged and bought back on their feet. Corpses were thrown overboard for the sharks to feast on. The captain decided to give his crew a chance to rest and the ship was anchored in to a nearby cove. Speaking to the Nemedians for the first time, the Stygian thanked them for his help and sent them bottles of Shemite wine from his private storage. Resting on the deck, the five Nemedian veterans speculated on the implications of the battle. All of them had their share of wounds and bruises, although Alcemides and Dionysos had taken a such beating that they could barely walk. They agreed that the attack was not merely a coincidence. Dionysos and Tyrus speculated that a sorcerer or devil of some sort was spying on them through the mask. As long as they had the golden mask, they would face more trouble. Noam repeated that they should just throw the cursed thing overboard, but others were overcome by greed. Alcemides came up with idea of melting the mask in to a lump of gold - even if it did not destroy its magic, it would be unrecognizable when sold at Messantia.

Despite objections of the other men, Barathus decided that he would tell Thothmekri of the mask and their beliefs concerning the attack. The former Adventurer found the sorcerer standing on the deck, staring on the sea with a contemplating look on his dark face. Upon hearing what Barathus had to tell, the Stygian gritted his teeth and his features turned in to a mask of barely contained fury. Approaching rest of the Stygians, he demanded to see the mask. As Tyrus presented it to Thothmekri, the sorcerer carefully avoided touching it while savouring every little detail with his eyes. Turning back to the men, he stated that they had two options - either leaving to ashore with the mask on the very moment or throw it away and continue journey aboard.

Despite his obvious anger, Tyrus and Dionysos managed to convince the Stygian of a third option, destroying the mask. Thothmekri told that they were free to try to melt the mask - if they did it on the shore. The Nemedians would take a boat to the shore and do whatever they wanted to with the mask. If something unexpected and dangerous would happen, the ship would simply leave without them rather than take any risks for their foolishness. If they managed to destroy the mask and return to the ship, the galley would continue. The Stygian ship would wait for them only for one full day. Having no chance but to agree, the tired Nemedians started gathering their equipment to leave to the shore at once. Noam decided to stay on board the galley. He proclaimed that the mask had been nothing but trouble to begin with and would do nothing but harm if they tried to destroy it. Trying to turns its gold in to coin would not be that easy. Shrugging off his proclamation, the four men started rowing to the beach leaving Noam to look after them from the deck.

The four Nemedians proceeded to build a firepit in the shadow of the ancient forest. While looking for wood, Alcemides spotted tracks that were left by beings walking on two legs, but were not those of men. Perhaps there were ghouls lurking in the woods, observing them even at that very moment. Putting haste to their efforts, the men had soon built a bonfire, upon which they left the mask to melt in a cauldron. None of them had any experience from metalworks, but they presumed that it would at least a few hours for the gold melt. Thus the Nemedians set up a little picnic, resting and sipping the Shemite wines on the beach. After two hours Alcemides went to check on the mask - noticing to his alarm that it was completely uneffected by the heat. Touching it carefully, he realized that the mask was still cool, despite the heat from the fire.

Discussing the matter among themselves, the Nemedians speculated that the cursed item could not be harmed by fire. Frustrated, Alcimedes announced that he would just bash the damned thing apart with a rock. Afraid of the consequences, the three other men agreed, but only if they could first walk a hundred or two feet away, just in case. Whacking the mask with a large stone, Alcemides noticed that the item was much resistant to blows than any gold should have been. Yet it was slowly bending, one blow at the time. Suddenly the mask bent on its own and the half-pict could feel a surge of power around him, like thousand invisible eyes watching him nearby.

Smiling madly, he struck the mask one more time, splitting it in two halves. A wave of invisible force struck him like a mallet, sending him on his back on the beach and striking down the other men further away. The world seemed to fade and twist, then turn in to a thousand worlds at the same time, like watching the world through shards of a broken mirror. All four men fell in to a realm of insane nightmares, beset by visions their minds could and would not comprehend or save in their memories. After lying on the sand for over an hour, hallucinating, they reginaed a part of their senses, but not all. Giggling madly, they stumbled to their boat, recovering two halves of the mask on the way. All features on it had simply faded away, leaving only two lumps of pure gold. Somehow, the four men managed to row their way to the galley, even though they had been robbed most of their sanity for a time.

GM note - It would have been kind of cool if the corsairs had managed to sink the Stygian ship in this encounter. It would have been a very Conan-like scene - the five guys and maybe Thothmekri and Brocas with them drifting on the beach clinging to some junk, wearing nothing but loincloths. They realize that they are middle of nowhere with no supplies or equipment and to get anywhere they have to travel through the forest of ghouls on foot. Someone notices a glittering object in the sand, digs it up hoping for a weapon - and it is the cursed golden mask that has mysteriously ended up there. That would have been a rather dramatic end for the session. Too bad I play fair.
Thanks Majestic, you really have a great way as a story teller!
Tell me more about the orbs and their powers was that something you came up when they found several sessions or was it something you invented when they encountered the ship from the South Corsairs?

Did you use the Pirate supplement or basically do the naval combat on your own?
Yes, yet another exciting piece of story, Majestic7! I agree that it would have been very Conanesque if their ship would have sunk and all that but playing by the rules doesn't always give results like that but it doesn't make the story less entertaining, either.

BTW is Thotmekri totally statted NPC or do you just wing it when you have to decide what he is capable of?
Spectator said:
Tell me more about the orbs and their powers was that something you came up when they found several sessions or was it something you invented when they encountered the ship from the South Corsairs?

I decided what the black orbs were when they found them in the mountains. They were basically just lucky to use the largest one in that battle. It was a pimped up version (larger orb) of the Stygian Mould from the Pirate Isles.

Spectator said:
Did you use the Pirate supplement or basically do the naval combat on your own?

I used Pirate Isles, though I slimmed down the combat a bit since the player character were not that actively part of it before the boarding action. The corsair captain rolled 1 from his sailing die, allowing the Stygian captain to destroy the oars. Likewise, attempts with grappling hooks were decided by bad dice rolls. If the corsair ship had managed to board the galley side on side, it would been a really bloody fight as they had superior numbers on their side.

SnowDog said:
BTW is Thotmekri totally statted NPC or do you just wing it when you have to decide what he is capable of?

He is statted, though by the time they reached Stygia, he had gained two levels compared to the starting point. He is is Stygian Thief / Scholar. Being statted means that yes, he could have been killed in the fights where he was present. I like keeping the game surprising even to myself.
Yeah, I like to keep my games surprising to me as well. That's why it sometimes happens that the best possible outcome (story-wise) don't appear. Still, it is quite entertaining to see how things start to roll from the starting point that I set.

When you have time, please write another chapter :wink:
Session Twelve: The City of Coin

As the Stygian galley slid day after day towards Messantia, the coastline turned from the dark forest in to cultivated land of farms and orchards. The men who had taken part in destruction of the mask suffered from terrible nightmares, but were slowly recovering from the blow to their sanity. Yet it seemed that Alcemides and Tyrus had been affected by the forces from beyond more seriously than the others. A creeping terror seized Tyrus whenever he saw golden items, while Alcemides had been convinced that he was, in fact, invincible. Dark dreams of the ruined sit devoured by sand and a baleful star glowing over it like eye of a great beast invaded Noam's dreams again and again. His bad luck in games of chance and combat alike seemed carry on with no end, finally leading the Nemedians to believe that he was, in fact, cursed because of killing the Zingaran sorcerer. Stygian sorcerers might be able to remove the curse - for a heavy price - once they reached soil of that dark, ancient nation.

As the golden glitter of the City of Coin become to be seen at the horizon, Thothmekri visited the Nemedians again. He informed the men that the galley would dock at Messantia for a few days, receive replacements for crewmembers fallen in the battle and then continue off to Stygia. The enigmatic priest offered Barathus and Dionysos a chance to attend to a business meeting with him, that might offer them interesting opportunities. The two men agreed and decided to bring the other two with them. As the black galley approached harbor of the great city, the Nemedians were gaping at its splendors with open awe. Messantia, one of the richest cities in the entirely world, was there within their grasp to explore and enjoy with all its vices. Leaving the ship, they wished the liberated prisoners good luck on their long journey back home. Barathus spent more of his gold to buy Brocas and his companions supplies for their travels.

The Nemedians set themselves up at a magnificent inn, enjoying well deserved rest. Dionysos went shopping for new, exquisite clothing, then joining the others in spending much coin in song, wine and women. The following day the men strolled streets of the city, filling up their supplies for the rest of the journey. Alcemides bough himself a finely crafted Akibatan shortsword, decorated with onyx and opals. There was still matter of the golden chunks left from the mask to handle. Asking around from the local goldsmiths, the Nemedians were directed to an alley of goldsmiths. Entering one of the largest stores, they presented their golden problem to the guildsmen. Examining the chunks, the goldsmith offered a sizable sum of coin for the gold - but explained that he would not be able to pay it before next evening, after examining the precious metal in detail. Trusting that the guild would not cheat them, the Nemedians accepted a receipt for the gold and went off to enjoy vices of the city some more.

Rested and relaxed, the five comrades headed towards the guild in the evening, walking unknowingly towards an ambush. As they were walking down the alley, the men noticed too late that something was amiss - the reinforced oak door in to the goldsmiths store was hanging open on its hinges. Wagons came crashing at both ends of the alley and shadowy shapes sprung up from the roofs around them, the explosive clacking of arbalests soon showering the Nemedians with bolts. A single, piercing hit brought Tyrus down on the street, seemingly lifeless. Barathus covered Dionysos with his shield as they rushed inside the store. Inside was a mess of broken glass and jewelry spread on the floor, the goldsmith slumped dead behind his counter. Noam followed, releasing arrows at the assassins on the roof. Feeling certain of his invincibility, Alcemides did not bother with cover but charged towards other end of the alley, climbing on top of the wagon and starting to pull himself on roof of the building. Luck was with him, as a dozen bolts just whizzed by him, striking deep in walls around the half-pict.

Inside, Dionysos and Barathus raced upstairs, guessing that there should be some way to access the roof from the building. On the way they came upon more carnage, as the whole family of the goldsmith had been killed. Even his youngest children had not been spared. Noam exchanged fire with the assassins on the opposite roof from the doorway. They were obviously well prepared with a few loaded arbalests ready at their side to fire upon the Nemedians. At the end of the valley, Alcemides struggled to climb on the roof, his grip constantly coming loose. As he finally managed to pull himself up on the roof, two disguised assassins attacked him with jagged scimitars. They had covered their bodies in wide, flowing capes and pulled scarves on their faces. Moving with speed of a striking serpent, Alcemides dodged their blows, feinted them to freeze on their tracks and slashed open their throats, his new Akibatan blade feasting on blood for the first time.

Just as Dionysos and Barathus were about to reach the roof, Alcemides spotted another shadowy figure rise from roof of a building few blocks away. He waved a yellow flag a few times around his head before disappearing. The assassins immediately withdrew from combat, tumbling down on carts full of hay placed underneath both roofs. They dropped their weapons, scarves and capes, having ordinary clothes underneath them and disappeared among the townspeople. Alcemides ran after them in a fruitless pursuit, leaving the others behind. Investigating their fallen comrade, Barathus and Dionysos found that Tyrus was still barely alive. Luck had turned the bolt that had brought him down so that it had narrowly missed his heart. While they tended his wounds, Noam noticed that unit of Argosian guardsmen was approaching the alley. Barathus convinced the others that he could talk them out of the situation.

The patrolmen quickly removed the wagons from both ends of the valley and investigated the situation. A polite young lieutenant discussed the situation with Barathus, but insisted that the Nemedians would need to come with him to the nearest station to sort out the situation and where a doctor could be called for wounded Tyrus. Soldiers entering the goldsmith's were horrified to find corpses of his family strewn around the building. The four companions muttered grimly among themselves - it was obvious that the assassins had been merely delaying them for a set-up. After Dionysos and Barathus insisted on it, the lieutenant sent some of his soldiers to search the roofs for corpses. They returned empty handed, increasing suspicions of the Nemedians. The three standing men were lead towards the nearest guardhouse with Tyrus carried behind them. Alcemides returned from his chase just in time to see the patrol and shadowed the group to the fortified building.

Inside, the four men were lead in to a sparsely furnished dining room inside the guardpost. They were told that they would need to wait for hour or two, before a senior officer could be reached to come discuss the matter with them. Two armed guards stayed to stand by the only door, while there was probably over two dozen soldiers more inside the building. Tyrus was revived back to his feet and the others explained him what had happened. Hour and then two passed in uncomfortable anticipation. Dionysos and Barathus speculated if the cult that had obviously framed them controlled the city guard as well. It seemed strange that they had found the Nemedians so quickly. Meanwhile, Alcemides stalked outside the guardhouse, wondering what to do. Not someone used to idleness, the half-pict decided to get his companions out. Walking casually among the crowd, he scouted a good position among the cobbled roads, clenching a flamepowder bomb inside his fist. Waiting for a group of nobility pass by horseback, he threw the bomb middle of their mounts, causing instant mayhem as the horses panicked from the sparkling boom.

A wholesome pandemonium broke out in the streets, as the panicking horses caused fear in other animals. Merchants and commoners ran for their lives, while the riders struggled to stay on their mounts. Soldiers rushed out of the guardhouse to investigate the racket and while they were pacifying the area, Alcemides slipped inside. He quickly knocked the lone guard in the entry hall unconscious and proceeded inside, finding the other Nemedians with pure luck. Quickly subduing the soldiers in the room, all five slipped out of the guardpost and ran. They spent a few silver to disguise themselves as peasants and sneaked to the black galley moored in the harbor. As the companions explained the situation to Thothmekri, the Stygian agreed that the whole mess was creation of followers of the Golden Lord. He reminded the Nemedians that they had chosen to keep the golden mask, that obviously brought misery even after being destroyed. At least now remains of the mask had been lost.

Alcemides went to investigate aftermath of their escape the next day, while the others stayed hidden in the ship. It became obvious that the Nemedians were now wanted men in Messantia - not only for muder of a whole family, but as well causing chaos in the streets. The goldsmith's guild had promised a considerable amount of silver for their capture. As the half-pict returned onboard, Thothmekri was preparing to leave. He explained that Niccolo, the man he would meet, was one of the most prominent information dealers in the whole city. Reaching him was very hard and without Thothmekri, the Nemedians would have had no chance to ever meet him. They could come with him disguised at their own peril. Tyrus was first to say that he would come, as he wanted to ask the broker about scrolls of Vathelos the Blind. Mere thought of finding more parts of the book made his eyes gleam and hands shake. Other reluctantly agreed to accompany him.

A few hours later, the Nemedians were following Thothmekri disguised as servants. After reaching the large house of the information broker, they were taken in a richly decorated lounge by polite servants. Shedding their disguises, the Nemedians sat down to enjoy fresh fruit and expensive wines. A Vendhyan girl less than ten years of age sat in the corner, playing ektara for their enjoyment. Thothmekri was lead in to inner chambers of the house - the Stygian said that he had business to conduct with their host before their presence would be requested. Sipping wine, the men discussed idly their situation. It was obvious that followers of the Golden Lord used Messantia as some sort of power base. Yet it seemed likely that they would never need to return to the City of Coin. They would merely go to Stygia, take a load of exotic goods to Nemedia and build glittering palaces with their wealth.

More than hour passed, before the oriental girl left the room and then returned, motioning the five men to follow. They were taken to a huge study, richly decorated with mats from Iranistan and silk curtains from Khitai. Thothmekri was sitting in a beautifully engraved chair. On other side of a massive table sat Niccolo, a pale Ophirian man with handsome face and dead, cold eyes. The Stygian introduced the men to the information broker, who greeted them politely. As they had been offered seats, he went straight in to business, asking if there was something he could do for them.

Shaking Tyrus could barely contain himself as Dionysos and Barathus discussed with Niccolo about followers of the Golden Lord. Their host evaded most questions, smiling wryly, but told that the cult had indeed a major network inside Messantia. Their influence had arrived in the city through eastern trade routs a decade or so ago, seducing young noblemen and idle rich to its grasp. They promised power and riches to those who already had a plenty and used them to their own purposes. Finally, Tyrus could not contain himself anymore and blurted out if Niccolo knew something about the scrolls of Vathelos the Blind. Smiling, the information broker said that he had heard about scribblings of the blind sage. In fact, for a right price, he could tell locations of two parts of the book. Frustrated, Tyrus was not in a mood to negotiate. As Niccolo named his price - a bag of gold and a favor in the southern lands - he agreed, tossing a heavy sack full of coin on the table. Chuckling lightly, Niccolo told that a small temple of Ishar in Ophir, located in a border town near Aquilonia, had one set of scrolls in their library. The priests there did not realize what they had and stealing or buying it should be an easy task. Then he pulled a small, skillfulyl made wood carving from his pocket and threw it on the table.

The carving portrayed face of a woman, obviously beautiful, but with passing features of cruel, disturbing effect. It was obvious even from the carving that she had Acheronian blood flowing in her veins. Still smiling, Niccolo explained that the woman in the carving was Nefertari, an old friend he wanted to locate. He had heard that the Nemedians were going to Stygia and had a reason to believe that she was there as well. Sipping dark red wine from jewelled goblet, Niccolo mentioned that he had a feeling the Nemedians would come across the woman in their travels. They only needed to find her and tell him were she was. He would then give them location of the second set of scrolls in return.

As Barathus asked why Niccolo did not request such service from Thothmekri instead, both men just shrugged and smiled. Dionysos and Niccolo kept eyeing each other in a way that was starting to disturb the other men. Discussion faded slowly in to a small talk. As Thothmekri and the Nemedians prepared to leave, Dionysos announced his intention to stay behind for a few sips of wine with their host. Shrugging and already used to lecherousness of their companion, the four others returned to the harbor with the Stygian sorcerer.

Dionysos returned in the morning as the ship was being prepared for departure. He was pale and drawn, as if his very life had been sucked out of his body. The young Acherion just went to sleep without a word. The others did not ask anything, presuming his weakness to be result of some forbidden perversion. As the ship was readied for departure, Thothmekri paced restlessly on the deck, obviously waiting for something. Finally, a heavy carriage approached. Burly black slaves carried a large bulk covered with cloth from it, taking it to the cargo hold of the galley. As they were taking it below the deck, a breeze from the sea raised the cover for a moment. Underneath was a sarcophagus made of bright green jade, decorated with cryptic hieroglyphs and carvings of snakes.

Characters reached level six at this point.

EDIT - A late disclaimer, just in case. Mention of the deeds of Dionysos as perverted is not a statement against homosexuality, but rather an attempt to portray opinions of the other characters... who are, after all, products of a pseudo-medieval society. Heh, don't want anyone to get offended.
I want more!
You really have a great flair for writing!!!
I'm glad you revived this thread.
BTW Just curious, are you going to 2nd edition after this campaign?
Spectator said:
I want more!
You really have a great flair for writing!!!
I'm glad you revived this thread.

Thanks. Umm, it seems that I either messed up somehow or the board swallowed most of the last report. It should have been much longer. I'll add the rest to it later today.

BTW Just curious, are you going to 2nd edition after this campaign?

I don't know yet. That depends on what has changed. I'll decide when I read enough reviews and have browsed a copy in a local gaming store. I think that we will change to 2nd Edition middle of this campaign if I decide to buy it.
I feel an almost envious admiration of your ability to describe a sea battle so well--I could almost hear the clash of the ships and the roaring of the people in it, gave me the shivers. I really like your stories of your campaign. I can only imagine what it's like to actually play in it.
Aholibamah said:
I feel an almost envious admiration of your ability to describe a sea battle so well--I could almost hear the clash of the ships and the roaring of the people in it, gave me the shivers. I really like your stories of your campaign. I can only imagine what it's like to actually play in it.

Heh, thank you, but I think my stories must make my game appear better than it really is.
Wow, Majestic!
I don't usually read campaign reports, but I started yours yesterday and got as far as Session 10.
I have to say that it is a very good write up of what sounds like a great campaign. I may have to steal parts of it if that's ok with you.

I particularly like the way you deal with High Cost of Living. XP for silvers spent on luxuries works much better than arbitrarily removing items, especially in a linear campaign.
Do you find that the players ever spend enough to rise a level? They do get pretty rich a few times it seems.

Please don't stop while the campaign is still playing, it's a great read.