Dominium

In Dominium City
Session 16: Streetfall!

The party is traveling through the Hammers district, to Hammerfast Cross, the most likely place for shelter for the night. The area is made up of forges, carpentry shops, glassworks, and other “industrial” storefronts. Wagons laden with raw ore, wood and charcoal for the forges and kilns, sand for the glaziers, and other materials abound. The din and reek of the area is impressive.

“Oh, by Vulcan’s arse, it’s ‘nother street fall! Third this past ten-day! Who’ll fetch ol’ Quim from the pit?”

Suddenly the party’s progress is interrupted by a great crowd gathered about a sinkhole, known locally as a street fall. A fair portion of the street has subsided, pulling an unfortunate driver, wagon, and valuable cargo into the collapsed sewers and tunnels below. Naturally, the party sees an opportunity for profit and agrees to “rescue” the cargo (oh, and the driver too) for a fee.

A goblin “reporter” named Mazzy (Saffron’s character) pitches in on the effort. Steam elementals and some kind of clockwork repair creatures buzz about the pit, making it hazardous work. To make matters worse, the facade of the foundry looks like it’s about to pitch into the pit, atop the rescuers and the trapped driver. Fortunately the heroic efforts of the party see the job done before the facade topples. Quim is rescued, and the day is saved.

“Come down here. I’m outdoors, you know. Help me out? Spare coin for some pipeweed? I need ta get loose, you know? All I got to my name is my gravestone. Already planted at the Hammers’ cemetery. I don’t mind dyin’.”

Further along, the party (now joined by the curious Mazzy) is met by Goodman Thoreau, a vagabond in a long, battered leather duster, snakeskin boots and holding a pipe in his teeth. He smells of alcohol, sweat, and devilweed. He talks them out of a drink, and some company. Slide does his level best to reform the man.

Finally, as evening approaches, the party make their way to Hammerfast Cross, a muddy crossroads dominated by a pair of stone and half-timbered inns, The Diligent Prole and The Slovenly Imp. Here they find a place to rest, and learn that a famous assassin by the name of “Romulus” has been hired to deal with them…

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In the Faewild
Session 33: The Wrath of Autumn

The party elects to trek westwards, avoiding the threatening stony canyons to the south. The eladrin refugees from House Darány they are escorting (6 male, 4 female) are clad in simple, unadorned travel clothing. A few of the refugees are burned or wounded, and none of them has a very substantial kit of supplies or weapons.

The refugees are:
Bálványos (bail-vain-yos; M) Eladrin with braided white hair and arm in a rough sling. House Steward and spokesman for the group.

Bélavár (bull-uh-vair; M) Young eladrin with singed-blonde hair. His burned sword hand is wrapped in a crude bandage and salved against infection.

Ecseny (eshu-nee; F) Maid to Várda. Singed-blonde hair and blistered hands and forearms.

Kánya (kain-yah; F) Black-haired and black-garbed Nurse to the infant, Shadow. Fiercely protective.

Mernye (F) Eladrin white-haired witch in the employ of House Darány. Suffered a sword wound to her abdomen, which is bound, but pains her greatly.

Nikla (M) Young white-haired son of Mernye. Stays close by her side, holding her arm protectively.

Őrtilos (oer-ti-losh; M) Young eladrin with black hair. Well armed with a collection of elaborate (ornamental) weapons that were found to be uselessly dull or fragile.

Somodor (M) Young eladrin child with black hair. Son of Kánya. Frightened, but determined to protect his mother.

Taszár (ta-zhair; M) Young eladrin with dark hair bound with copper dragon clasp. Twin to Várda. Haughty and quiet. Meaningful, commanding glances often directed at Bálványos.

Várda (vair-da; F) Young eladrin with dark hair bound with silver dragon clasp. Twin to Taszár. Burned cheek and arm, with some salve applied. Limping.

They enter a region of wilder groves and unsettled lands. The refugees know this to be wilderness, but also know the forest hates the wild hunt, and may provide some shelter from the Witch Queen’s army.

As the party passes through this wilderness they hear whispers and feel the presence of the sentient forest. The whispers urge them to follow certain paths, and they see that these paths appear to be clearer, and more well-traveled. While others appear to be blocked by tangles of briars and vines.

When asked about it, Bálványos, the house steward and apparent spokesman for the refugees, shrugs and says, “The wood watches over it’s own.” Mernye, the white-haired witch offers that the humans are perhaps hearing the voice of the Autumn Nymph, which is “Best left unheeded.”

As the party sought a campsite for the night, the menacing forest spirits turned actively hostile, and the party was forced to fight off several towering cyclones of sticks, leaves, rocks and dirt that whispered charms at the defenders and lured them into painful traps. The battle with the sentinels of the Faewild was brief and bloody, but none of the refugees were harmed.

In the distance, the howling of hounds could be heard. Perhaps the fight had been overheard by the distant hunters in the employ of the Witch Queen?

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In Dominium City
Session 15: Aberrations, Politicians, and Innkeepers, oh my!

Cordroy, Slide, Randoon and Shadow busy themselves gathering the last of the unearthly crystals that Elysia requested. Escaping from the Inverted Tower of the Order of the Starry Night means confronting a final gantlet of carrion crawlers, lobster-faced tentacle-armed “halflings”, and flying “kites” of undead flesh.

In the battle of the columned hall, Slide stumbles and is carried off, howling his defiance, by a carrion crawler. Cordroy disrupts the aberrant lobsterlings’ attempts to ensnare him by smashing them bodily against the caryatid columns until they burst. Randoon is knocked down by the fleeing carrion crawler, but scrambles into a dark corner and unleashes a salvo of icy blasts at the skin kites. Slide’s shouts abruptly cease. The crawler scrambles back into the room and snatches Shadow this time. The eladrin is tucked into a crevice in the crawler’s lair and battered unconscious.

Randoon and Cordroy finish off the lobsterlings and skin kites and race to the rescue of their comrades. Fortunately for the duo Shadow had gotten in a few vicious blows on the crawler before succumbing to the beast, softening it up for the goliath and the warlock. They kill the beast and kneel beside their fallen friends, frantically plying them with healing potions. Once they are revived enough to stand, the heroes flee the Inverted Tower to deliver the much-needed crystals to the Shrine of Ioun above.

Elysia and Barnabas synthesize an antidote to the amber fever that has infected the disciples of Ioun and the Protectorate soldiers sent to secure the shrine. Elysia confesses to the party that she is overmatched by the threat from the Far Realm that the Inverted Tower seems to represent, yet she wishes to avoid the Protectorate’s threatened usurpation of the Shrine. Staying independent of church politics is almost as important to her as the saving her flock from the emerging aberrations. She begs the party to seek help from the scholar Claudius Ptolemaeus of the Akademeia Zau-Sais in the northwestern quarter of the city. Shadow recognizes the name from an earlier encounter on the Embankment Bridge that involved an attempted mugging by the Shades of Typhon agent named Edge. Ptolemaeus was the victim, and the book he carried was used by Alekto Kerameikos to help the party find the Blackfriar’s hidden crypt beneath the Goblin Market.

The party agrees to seek out Ptolemaeus in return for a supply of healing potions to be delivered to the Jaundiced Jellyfish.

Father Darius of the Erathian Cathedral asks the party for details of the aberrant threat in the Inverted Tower. He provides some background information on the Order of the Starry Night, the Far Realm, and the potential threat, in particular about a “vaeyen” called the Green Moon. He refers to an inscription seen in the Inverted Tower, and in the writings of the Order of the Starry Night:

The Sleeper is the herald. His dreams call to That Which Waits Beyond the Stars. When the Sleeper is awoken, He will dream again.

Father Darius offers to perform a “simple” and “harmless” ritual on Shadow and Randoon to draw out further details on their experiences that they may have perceived, but have trouble recalling due to the trauma of their experience. The two respectfully decline.

On the journey back to the Jellyfish, Shadow spots Cookie, a former employee of his Blackbird master, the Dodger. Cookie appears to be inexpertly shadowing the party. Back at the Jellyfish they are met by Demetrios, a courier from the House of Kerameikos. He acknowledges the receipt of Shadow’s persuasive letter, and says the Lady Alekto has agreed to meet with the party in the morning at the Sands End Gasworks Tavern.

Ciro, the halfling maid at the Jellyfish speaks to Slide about some private matter. He keeps the business to himself. The next morning, somewhat refreshed, the party sets off for Daylain’s shop, the Wonders of the Fae. On the way they chat with Cubit, the ferryman, who passes along the rumor that the Blackbirds are in disarray, and eagerly seeking Slide and Shadow as scapegoats. Shadow plies him with coins to communicate to the guild that the two rogues don’t intend to oppose the guild, and are willing to work with them, if not for them.

At Daylain’s shop the party sells a few of the items they acquired in the Inverted Tower. The eladrin provides some background information on the Order of the Starry Night and the “vaeyen” called the Green Moon. It is, apparently, a phylactery or repository for the soul of a powerful mage. Such a phylactery grants the mage’s material form a kind of immortality, but at great cost. He explains a bit about the “Sleeper” reference, and that the “Sleeper” may refer to the vaeyen, the Green Moon.

On the road westwards through the city, the party again encounters Cookie. This time he appears to be working with Grint Venitari, once an ally of Slide. Slide and Shadow ambush the two “shadows” and wring confessions and promises from them. They agree to pass the word up to Hilt, the head of the Blackbirds, that Slide and Shadow’s plans are intended to complement those of the Blackbirds rather than compete with them. The party rogues offer vague promises of tribute to their former guild.

The party then meets with Lady Alekto Kerameikos at the Sands End Gasworks. She acknowledges the party’s virtue based on their past service to her House, but is reluctant to take sides in the struggle between the Terminus thieves’ guilds: the Vandals, the Shades of Typhon, and the Blackbirds. She agrees to present the party’s proposal that House Kerameikos invest in some Dockside warehouses in support of their efforts to wrest control of the neighborhood from the corruption of the Shades of Typhon.

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In the Faewild
Session 32: Anga Under Siege

The party emerges from the elven crypt to find a very different world from the one they left. The sky is more blue, the grass more pungent, and the trees of the forest reach unprecedented heights. Fireballs lace the blue vault of heaven, and detonations rock the forest. The white towers of the elven city of Anga are no longer ruins, but they are threatened with destruction it seems.

Anga is built in the middle of a great forest, seeming to spring up from the ground just like the trees throughout the city. In fact, many tall, broad trees are larger than several of the city’s eladrin-built towers, giving the impression that the towers are merely natural growths within the forest. The city of Anga has no walls, meaning that entering the city is a matter of walking wherever a gap can be found between the buildings and great trees. Hundreds of streets, loosely paved with an extremely smooth sandy yellow stone, wind their way through the city in a rather haphazard fashion, radiating outward from the city center.

Across the glade, two eladrin are arguing. An officer of the Anga militia, and a vizier to the Green Court, one of the ruling courts of the Faewild. The vizier is trying to secure the officer’s assistance in helping a group of refugees escape the siege. The officer insists he must defend the Rainbow Tower to prevent the All-Seeing Eye from falling into the hands of the rebels, who are led by Samdhya the Witchqueen. The party is quickly drawn into the debate. The officer, Marshal Sysvani, commands them to assist him. He notes that the party bears the mark of “Iolar”, a phoenix tattoo that he shares, and so they are duty-bound by the goddess to assist. But the vizier, Acharya, pleads with them to assist the noble refugees (including an infant) in their escape. Clearly the humans in the party passed through the Henge Gate, and can escort the refugees back there?

Gunga Din and Väinämöinen slink into the besieged city to scout the situation at the Rainbow Tower. The Rainbow Tower (Tuar Ceatha) stands atop a hill called the Mountain of the Stars (Menydh na Reultan). A spiral road of flagstones shaped like dragon scales, and a ring of white-barked trees adorn the hill which is topped by a thin white tower of polished marble blocks inlaid with gold and silver sigils denoting the various constellations and the nine worlds. A flickering rainbow radiance dances across its surface.

A battle is raging in front of the tower. A squad of eladrin guards still holds the hill, but a savage giant and a pack of massive wolf-like beasts are threatening. Back at the Tower of the Day, Marshal Sysvani suggests that if they can hold the door for a bit longer, the empire of Bael Turath may come to their aid. However, when he describes the imperials as once-humans, who have forged pacts with demonic powers, the party begins to question whether or not they are choosing the proper side in this conflict. Bob the Bold points out that, in their world at least, Samdhya the Wichqueen has won this conflict. Her name appears on the ruined marker-posts that line the roads leading into the lost city of Anga.

In the end, the party decides to escort the refugees to the Henge Gate, some 13 miles southwest of their current location, through the tangled forests of the Faewild. Marshal Sysvani is left to defend the tower on his own.

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In Dominium City
Session 14: Return to the Inverted Tower

Elysia, priestess of Ioun, confesses to the party that she was overconfident in her own ability to deal with the Rod of the Hidden Star, the Revelation of Melech, and the secrets of the Order of the Starry Night that dwelt below in the Inverted Tower of Falco Aesalon.

She takes responsibility for the plague that now threatens the shrine, and the city. And she warns the party not to underestimate Father Darius’s resolve to destroy the shrine and its inhabitants if they prove to be a threat. Elysia called on Cordroy, Slide, Shadow and Randoon because they had braved the Inverted Tower before, and given the time limit Darius had imposed, she felt that only they could recover the crystals needed to synthesize a potion to halt the spreading plague.

And so the party descends. Past the roiling mass of glowing protoplasm, whose sickening pseudopods exude gray vapors that seem a likely source of the amber fever that infected the Protectorate soldiers. Past the flying sheets of undead flesh that strive to blind the party, and the lobster-headed mutants that crawl from the slime of the sewers to assault them. Past the scuttling carrion crawler that darts back and forth between them, while attempting to snare a distracted victim to carry back to its cavern lair. And, finally, to the heart of the ruined machine that Aesalon and his brothers from the Order of the Starry Night constructed to open a gateway to another star.

Past the whirring blades they find the glowing otherworldly crystals that Elysia is convinced she can use to concoct a cure. But there they also find a terrible guardian. A Beholder. Perhaps the aberration passed through a gateway opened by the Order’s device, or perhaps it lurked here all the while, waiting. Either way, the party must gather the crystals as they fend off the terrible creature and its legendary multi-eyed gaze.

A desperate battle follows. Cordroy falls unconscious in the fight, but is aided by Shadow. Randoon blinds the thing temporarily with a well-crafted spell. Slide suffers terribly, but delivers the killing blow.

Now the party must gather the remaining crystals and escape this place of horror and death to avert the plague and fire that threaten the shrine above.

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In Kajaan
Session 31: Beneath the Tower of the Day

The horns of the hunt — giants of the Fae Wastes — are sounding. Gunga Din estimates they are less than a mile to the south of the party, and closing. The elves of Anga-past tell the party what they know of the ruins. The ring was once the Tower of the Day. Next to it stood a temple, and beneath that, a crypt. In Anga-past, the ruined appearance of the place was an illusion used to fool the giant hunters. Here and now, it seems the illusion is a reality.

The party faces a choice: Flee further into the wastes, in hope of eluding the hunt. Stand and defend the ruin. Or, hide in the crypt below the temple. The crypt door is secured by a password, hinted at by the fragments of inscriptions found in the ruins. Akron and Bob the Bold determine that what “begins and ends in darkness” must be the day, and that the “heart” is “like a drum”. They decide the “heart of the day” is “noon”, which turns out to be the key that opens the great stone door of the crypt. It looks like a safe place to hide, and the party decides to do so. Of the elves of Anga-past, only the drow, Ancasta, is willing to join them underground. The other two decide to take their chances eluding the hunt. The party hides the traces of their passage, enters the crypt, and closes the stone doors behind them.

Within they find a finely-wrought grove of stone trees that form a pillared hall, reliquaries of some silvery metal designed to hold the ashes of the departed, and a statue standing over the inscription:

With reverence are their remains contain’d
Lest by the curse of undeath our kin be stained

Unfortunately, some of the departed were not so reverently contained, and the crypts are haunted by the undead. A race ensues to slaughter the undead, find empty reliquaries in which to contain them, and loot the crypt, all before the waves of the undead overwhelm the party.

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In Dominium City
Session 13: Parley and Plague

Randoon, Slide and Shadow go about the business of securing the Jaundiced Jellyfish and establishing connections in the neighborhood. Randoon invests his energies looking into the power structures of the city, learning of the Great Houses and the many guilds, corporations, associations and militias that they employ.

The Dominium is ruled by the Dominex Timaeus, whose palace — the Pillar of Atlas, constructed of red, white and black marble, towers over the Citadel quarter of Dominium City. The Hall of Hermocrates, houses the “The Heart of Atlantis”, the city council.

The halls of government are occupied by the Silentiarios — a group of courtiers responsible for the maintenance of order in the palace.

There are twelve great houses in the hierarchy of the Dominium:

  • The House of Aerides — alchemists, artificers, and magewrights of great skill
  • The House of Eleftherios — bodyguards, scouts, sentries, and seers
  • The House of Ellinikos — protection and mercenary services
  • The House of Gvinardon — innkeepers, chefs and restaurateurs (Their coat of arms, three black swans on a gold band across a black field)
  • The House of Kerameikos — bankers, moneylenders, and security. (Their coat of arms, a crossed gold key and silver sword on a blue field)
  • The House of Lykavittos — weather magic, shipping, and transportation
  • The House of Meletios — alchemists and healers
  • The House of Monastiraki — entertainers and artisans, diviners and illusionists
  • The House of Patisias — couriers and transportation
  • The House of Spyridon — communication, mediation and advocacy
  • The House of Thission — prospectors, detectives, and bounty hunters
  • The House of Votanikos — teamsters, trainers, and stablekeepers

In addition to the great houses, there is the Legion (the militia), the Protectorate (the church militia), and the Watch.

Shadow visits his friend Daylain, owner of the Wonders of the Fey shop, in order to send some communication to their former patron, the Lady Alekto Kerameiko. He outlines their plans to “clean up” Dockside, and solicits her help in avoiding entanglements with the city watch, who have been shown to contain corrupt elements. The party hopes to arrange a meeting with the Lady to discuss further arrangements. Shadow’s letter is eloquent and persuasive.

Daylain examines the cloak the party recovered from the Shades of Typhon thugs they fought on the Dockside rooftops, and reveals it to be a Gloaming Shroud, a powerful item. But he also discovers that it is “signed” by the Shades’ “eyes and arms” sigils embroidered on the hem.

Slide meanwhile gathers his young halfling “irregulars” and instructs them on security and defense. He urges them to be self-sufficient, while assuring them that he will reimburse them for information discretely gathered. The party rents a nearby warehouse as a refuge for those of the small gang who live on the streets.

Back at the Jellyfish, the trio are visited by one Pericles D’sdayne, of the “House of Monastiraki”, and alleged “landlord” or service-provider of some sort for the Jellyfish. The party assures the eladrin fop and his two associates that until they see evidence of D’sdayne’s markeing efforts, they have no intention of paying him. D’sdayne negotiates a two-month moratorium, and promises to return to collect his fee after such evidence is provided.

Finally, Barnabus, a disciple of Ioun and associate of the priestess Elysia (with whom the party had previous business) arrives at the inn obviously distraught. Elysia has been infected by some plague that she was exposed to while investigating the catacombs below the shrine. And now the Protectorate and the Church of Erathis are threatening to kill the exposed disciples to prevent the “amber fever” from spreading. Protectorate soldiers have been dispatched to deal with the source of the plague, but have gone missing in the catacombs. The party has been called upon because of their previous experience with the labyrinthine tunnels, and Elysia hoped to enlist their aid based on the goodwill generated by their previous association.

At the Shrine, Father Darius Eleftherio has imperiously ordered the deaths of the infected, and that the shrine be shut down and sealed. However, he is attacked by a squad of his own soldiers who have been so infected by the plague that their “amber fever” has accelerated to an “amber rage”, a murderous zombie-like frenzy. The priest flees, locking himself into a side room, and leaves the party, Friar Cappa, and a pair of Protectorate soldiers to face the frenzied plague-bearers. The ragers break into one of the sick rooms, killing the infected there and generating still more ragers. One of the soldiers falls, and the party is nearly overwhelmed, but they fight off multiple waves of ragers, and free Elysia.

Elysia informs them she can brew a cure to the fever, but only with the crystals gathered from the catacombs below, which appear to be the source of the disease. Some force has been unleashed there and she fears it. Time is short for the sick disciples and the priestess. If the party is to help, they must do so quickly!

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In Kajaan
Session 30: Ghosts of Anga

The party ventures off the road, heading east into the forest surrounding the Fae Wastes. Amidst the undergrowth they find traces of an ancient road running northeast, and follow it. Along the way they encounter an obelisk, a road marker, with moss-filled elvish runes spelling out the name “Anga”.

Akron’s acute sense of the arcane allows him to detect a powerful source of the energy nearby. The party investigates and discovers the ruins of a tower and an intact archway leading into a ring of stones on the hillside. The party hears the baying of hounds in the distance, and for a moment they are treated to a hallucinatory glimpse of a beautiful white tower, impossibly narrow, standing on the hill. They pass through the archway, and the illusion is banished, but not the sounds of the baying hounds.

Soon a frantic party of three elves emerges from the undergrowth, fleeing some pursuit. They talk in the ancient dialect of elvish that the party has come to associate with the elves of the Fae Wastes, but their gear is beautiful to look at, and seemingly new. Whereas, up till now, the elves they have encountered have been shoddily attired, bearing scavenged or makeshift weapons. The mystery deepens as the elves insist they are from Anga, and this cannot be the great city they know. They say “the Hunt” is near.

Proving their claim, a pack of dog-men (gnolls), attacks the party. After a brave fight, the gnolls are slaughtered. The pack has been dispersed, but what of the hunters?

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In Dominium City
Session 12: Captain Flint's End

Farmer Barris gets his wagon and chickens back. Sergeant Nicodemus of the Firegate Station of the watch investigates the death of Johnn the Uncouth, but is uncharacteristically cavalier about it, as he apparently knows some of the details of Johnn’s activities, and is therefore none-too-surprised at the man’s fate. At the corner of Lampblack Alley and Triumphside, the party finds a lurking gang of Shades of Typhon thugs monitoring the Dive Inn. They dispatch the thugs in a rooftop battle. Down at street level, Mr. White meets Privy, a halfling server at the Dive Inn. The halfling urinates on the addict’s leg, but he hardly notices due to the siren song of the illicit substances offered by the inn. Inside, the party orchestrates a careful ambush of the notorious Captain Flint, and an angry Slide violently dispatches the orc with a pair of strokes from the heavy blade he liberated from beneath the Bastion.

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In Kajaan
Session 29: Eastward

The party makes use of the raider’s boat, traveling east. Downriver, they notice they are being watched, and put to shore in pursuit of the watchers. Braving daggerthorn briars and razor spores, they trek the wilderness until they arrive at the ancient, but still-used trade-road that runs from the village of Rauma in the south, to the kingdom of Ivatan in the north, and eventually to Port Lyric on the coast. They turn south, heading towards the edges of the Fae Wastes, where rumor has it, Ajatar is lurking. They intend to finish their business with the usurper. They are greeted at a great stone bridge by a pair of elf-scouts, from the Fae Wastes. The elves attempt to deceive the party, but Gunga Din detects their deception. Akron recognizes the vista of the wastes as the end of the gateway through which Ajatar fled when he eluded them, and the hunt is on!

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