In the Shadow of Princes

Encounter at Farport
The Forbidden City of the Phoenix: Chapter IV

Dates: January 24th to 31st 1000 PCE.

Player Characters:
William Benjamin
Edmond Andrew
Matthaeus “Math” Mannheim
Everest Bell

Adelle Mirodar (Jayne’s companion)
Captain Zachary Thorpe
Lilith Johnson (First Mate)
Herschel Dupree (insurance banker)
Orphea Chastain
Freeman Skinner (Quartermaster)
Thaddeus “Tad” Tillerson (Bosun)
Jaun Silva (Master Carpenter)
Forbidden Zone Raiders

The Silent Sea aboard the SS Hawke, Farport Outpost

Campaign: The North America Campaign
Previous Adventure: The Final Fate of the Vendetta

Experience Points Awarded:
Awards not yet disbursed for this adventure.

“The situation has changed.”
After a night of rest alternately fitful and placid, Orphea and her guard Tashtego came on board the Hawke for a meeting of the expedition crew. She shared quiet words with Captain Thorpe before addressing the crew, and anyone witnessing their exchange could plainly see the tenderness that passed between them.

Orphea proceeded to explain to the crew that the strange crystal orb recovered from the Vendetta was actually an ancient artifact of immense power. Originally known as the Lifebringer, the artifact had been brought to Merika from the Forbidden Zone by the original progenitors of the Vidal family. According to Noirlan lore, the Vidals used the orb’s powers to purify the fouled lands and waters of Norland and render the region habitable for the first time since the Cataclysm. As a result of this miraculous intervention, the city of Noirlan was soon thereafter founded upon what had before been an unlivable wasteland. Following the edict of an ancient directive, the Vidals carried the Lifebringer across the Skylands of the western continent and used its powers to reclaim new homelands for the rapidly growing population of survivors.

Later in history, during an invasion of Norland by the Hidden Empire of the Princes, the descendants of the Vidal family discovered a way to use the Lifebringer as a weapon and successfully deployed the artifact against XHAN and his Steel Legions.

In the aftermath of victory, however, the Vidals and their Larada allies discovered that the Lifebringer had been permanently tainted by the dark powers they had unleashed. Its power to heal, renew, and even transfigure living matter had been lost, replaced now with a malevolent and uncontrollable deathforce that sought to corrupt and putrefy life in all its forms. Living things that came into contact with the artifact were at constant risk of suffering spontaneous mutations that would warp flesh and fiber into grotesque parodies of nature. The victims of these aberrant transformations were invariably driven to uncontrollable rages of murderous insanity ended only by the cruel mercy of a miserable death.

Realizing that the artifact’s destructive effects could be triggered by negative emotional impulses and thus could never be controlled, the Vidals resolved to keep it locked away for safe keeping and repurposed an ancient Precursor vault beneath Noirlan for just this purpose. Renaming the orb “Deathbringer,” they kept it safely hidden for over three hundred years.

This situation changed in the last year when Orphea’s delinquent brother Oliver successfully breached the Vidal Vault and stole the Deathbringer. Seeking to stop him, Orphea recruited a band of mercenary adventurers to counter Oliver’s schemes. After a series of investigations and encounters, Marsala and his companions eventually recovered the artifact and apprehended many of Oliver Chastain’s associates. Oliver himself, employing his chosen nom de guerre, “Marius,” managed to evade capture.

Finding herself blamed for the inexplicable horrors unleashed by the Deathbringer, Orphea Chastain determined to find an end to the horror. Under Orphea’s direction, some of Marsala’s Men took the Deathbringer Orb to Megiddo, sorcerer’s island, in search of a way to end the corruption of the Deathbringer and neutralize its threat. Oliver ambushed the party, however, and in the process unleashed the orb’s mutating effects. With Orphea’s party all either dead or driven mad by the deathforce, Oliver seized the Deathbringer and slipped away.

After relating these events, Orphea at last revealed her hidden motivation for assembling the Thorpe expedition to the Forbidden Zone. The survivors of the Megiddo ambush, though physically crippled and driven hopelessly mad by exposure to the Deathbringer’s powers, yet lived. Rather than end their lives, Orphea vowed instead to save them. The current scion of the Vidal family legacy, Armand Vidal, told Orphea a family legend concerning the purported source of the Lifebringer artifact: a golden citadel, the fabled jungle city of Eldorado. Confessing her true purpose, Orphea declared that she ventures to the Zone not for gold or riches but seeking the original source of the Lifebringer’s power, a power she hopes will reverse the deathforce and undo the evil her brother has unleashed. To this end she quits any claim to whatever fortunes the party recovers during the expedition and seeks only the knowledge necessary to save her friends.

“I’m out.”
The realization that Oliver Chastain is also seeking Eldorado is a definite complication for the expedition. According to Oliver’s journal notes he seeks to use the Deathbringer for truly horrific ends, perhaps even to bring about an apocalyptic genocide. Alerting the party to this emerging threat, Orphea implored them to help her not only find Eldorado but to do so with haste lest Oliver find it first and use its secrets to fulfill his own demented will. Edmund Andrews objected to Orphea’s deceptive lack of full disclosure and declared he wanted no more part in the expedition. He moreover expressed a mistrust of Juan Silva and twice accused Chastain of being a liar. Orphea struggled to justify her methods and agreed that Edmund was well within his rights to quit the journey once the party reached the western shores of the Zone.

“I’m not sure how to say this.”
Orphea appealed to the altruism of the other crew members. She insisted that whether they knew it or not they were already within the grip of a power far greater than themselves and further claimed that if Oliver goes unchallenged now it may be impossible to stop him later. At this point William Benjamin spoke up and related a dream he had had the night before about a hidden vault in the jungle accompanied by a vision of Oliver Chastain’s dead body lying in William’s own cabin bunk aboard the Hawke. William added that he had a score to settle with Oliver Chastain but declined to say anything more about it. Thorpe and Orphea exchanged knowing glances and Jayne proceeded to report a similar dream involving a cabin in the jungle and a young girl running through an open valley before a sudden shroud of darkness ended the vision. The men realized that their visions shared similar details and Orphea claimed it was the pull of Eldorado drawing them forward on an unseen path.

“It showed me what I wanted to see.”
Hearing this, Everest Bell announced that he too had experienced a similar dream, though he refused to trust it because he believed the vision had merely shown him what he wanted to see. Everest clarified this opinion by saying he was a seeker of Precursor knowledge and that his vision had shown him images of what he most wished to find: a golden city replete with technological wonders. This observation cast a palpable moment of reflection upon the party and seemed to subdue some of Orphea’s renewed enthusiasm. By the conclusion of the meeting, however, she was visibly relieved that none of the other crew members expressed any desire to leave the expedition.

“Think whatever you like, but right now I need you on this crew.”
After the meeting Captain Thorpe set about continuing the voyage. Bosun Tillerson, bunking down in the cargo hold, had fallen ill and was rendered unable to perform his duties. Realizing that Edmund was the only party member with any seamanship to speak of, Thorpe approached him and asked him to take over for Tillerson. Edmund accepted duty as acting bosun and went to assist Freeman Skinner in plotting the next leg of the voyage.

“I know a thing or two.”
Later in the day Skinner asked Everest about his interest in Precursor artifacts. After revealing that he was something of a gearhead himself, Skinner asked to see the metal rod Everest had recovered from the glass pyramid back in the sargasso. Upon examining it, Skinner explained that it was called an “antenna” and used for receiving modulated transmissions of invisible waves passing through diaphanous air. He called them “radio waves” and claimed that the Precursors used these waves to transmit information across long distances. Skinner then loaned him a book on mechanical engineering along with an offer to explicate the text if necessary.

“Let’s do some shootin!”
Edmund made good on his pledge to run Herschel through firearms drills and every day the air redounded with white smoke, powder bursts, and the scent of sulfur. Skinner inspected Herschel’s kegs of black powder and closely monitored every session. By the end of the week, the banker demonstrated a much greater confidence in his weapons and in his ability to use them.

“Something’s missing!”
Meanwhile Matthaeus made a discovery in the galley: certain provisions had gone missing from the larder and he couldn’t recall where he’d put them. After a brief sit and a ponderous think, the cook went to Captain Thorpe to report the missing vittles. The captain being preoccupied with other matters paid little heed to Math’s concerns and seemed simply relieved to have done with the conversation when the cook wandered off to search the ship which he did to no avail.

“This man isn’t what he says he is.”
Edmund had a further objective in mind. Perhaps discomfited by some of his shipmate’s behaviours, he harboured a suspicion regarding Juan Silva. He decided to keep a close eye on Silva for the remainder of the voyage and tried to casually observe Silva’s comings and goings without being spotted. This being done, Edmund noticed nothing out of the ordinary.

“How do you tie ropes again?”
The next morning brought ill tidings. A rising gale prompted Captain Thorpe to prepare the Hawke for a storm. When worsening weather necessitated a trimming of sail, the captain called the crew to action while Edmund took the helm. Shouting instructions and obscenities, Thorpe called his inexperienced crew to climb the rigging and secure the sails lest heavy winds strain and heel the ship. Buffeted by the violence of the seas, the crew rose to the challenge. Amid the peril Rob, Marsala, and Everest were all thrown from the masts, the latter nearly falling off the edge of the ship and into the open sea. Matthaeus too was nearly swept overboard by waves breaching over the deck.

“One hand for yourself! One hand for the ship!”
Scudding swiftly before the gale the Hawke fell upon a rising wave, washing the deck with a big sea. The surging water sent Skinner and Johnson flailing across the deck and only Skinner managed to hang on to a rail and prevent himself from sliding into the ocean. Lilith on the other hand was now swimming. Seeing Johnson go overboard, Edmund made a snap decision to immediately begin tacking the Hawke back against the gale in an attempt to keep Johnson within view. He realized that a man overboard under these conditions would be as good as dead once the ship had passed beyond sight. With the beam of the vessel now dangerously exposed to the tempest, however, another surge of green water immediately crashed athwart midships and caused the Hawke to heel perilously under the raging current. As the crew held on against the impact, few had the wherewithal to track Johnson’s position. The mighty Matthaeus hauled Skinner back on board but scanned the churning waters in vain looking for a sign of Johnson.

“I’m diving in!”
Jayne, still perched midway up the mainmast, managed to spot Lilith struggling in the water at the edge of lamplight. He took hold of his coiled rope and dropped a loose end down to Matthaeus. Without hesitation Jayne wound the other end of the rope around his forearm between hand and elbow and dashed across the narrow sail spar in a running jump from the edge of the yardarm. After moments hung in the arc of a prodigious leap, Jayne came to land over thirty feat away from the ship and nearly directly on top of Lilith’s thrashing figure. Having nearly lost sight of the ship and about to lose all hope of rescue, Lilith grabbed hold of Jayne and held on for dear life.

Dragging full sore upon the helm, Edmund maneuvered the vessel out of a close haul and completed a 360 degree turn across the wind to put the Hawke roughly back on its original downwind heading. The rest of the crew hoisted Jayne and Lilith back on board, finished securing the deck, and made for safety down below. Captain Thorpe unable to spot the Arcadia nonetheless stayed and kept watch on the quarterdeck with Edmund until the storm abated.

“We go onward.”
In the aftermath of the storm, Thorpe and Silva began to assess the damage while Skinner and Edmund attempted to determine the Hawke’s current position. The Arcadia was nowhere to be seen. Whether it was also driven off course or wrecked, there was no way to know and the thought of it her fate clearly weighed upon the captain. Since the Hawke was herself already driven a day off course Thorpe saw no use in trying to search for the Arcadia and declared that he would instead make for Farport and hope to rendezvous with Orphea and her crew there. Thorpe made it a point to shake the hand of every crewman and offer a sincere thank you for their efforts to save the ship. He extended a particular commendation to Edmund, whose work at the helm was surely critical in the crew’s survival.

Lilith Johnson, visibly shaken by her near-fatal mishap, relaxed her tomboyish mien and expressed her own particular gratitude for Jayne’s daring rescue. Something in Lilith’s smile suggested a desire to express more than gratitude, but, before conversation could linger on the subject, Adelle, visibly jealous, interceded and distracted Jayne’s attention. If possible, Captain Thorpe seemed even less impressed than Adelle by these developments but said nothing.

Before beginning a new course, Thorpe decided to consult with the Hawke’s resident houngan about their new heading. Marsala responded absentmindedly, as if already in the middle of a conversation with unseen interlocutors. After a brief pause to confer with a concealed coterie of spirits, Marsala responded with a single word: “Weal,” a word meaning “well-being,” “happiness,” or “prosperity.” Thorpe understood that Marsala was only indicating if the proposed course would lead them to Farport, but he wanted to believe that Marsala’s “weal” signified more good fortune than this.

The Hawke found the coast of the Forbidden Zone on the morning of January 31st, 1000 PCE in the 13th Year of Union. It marked the first time in fourteen years that a Merikan ship had successfully traversed the Silent Sea and reached Farport Outpost.

The crew sighted the lighthouse of Farport but the Arcadia was nowhere to be found. Thorpe gave orders to make ready for port.

The party noticed the lighthouse beacon ignite during their approach but were puzzled that no one came out to greet them. As Tillerson and Silva tied off at the pier, the port, small but well constructed and seemingly well maintained, remained void of any signs of habitation. Herschel Debrun remained busy down below getting dressed in his finest clothes in order to introduce himself to the inhabitants of the settlement. At this point Jayne noticed a faint purple aura emanating from the beacon light. Moments later the light became utterly extinguished. Looking around, the PCs realized that the other crew members on deck were staring at the beacon and frozen lifelessly in place. Unable to rouse their comrades, the PCs stowed them below deck and told Herschel to keep guard over them and Adelle, who cowered behind Herschel on the stairs.

As the PCs approached a small outbuilding on the edge of the wharf, a trio of archers emerged from the windows of the lighthouse tower and started firing down at the party. Most of the group was taken by surprise, but Jayne realized what was happening and responded first. Rather than take up his bow and skirmish with the attackers, he drew out his blades and dashed up a loading ramp towards the lighthouse. Charging headlong, he threw his weight against the door of the lighthouse which didn’t break open under his momentum. Seeing their ally run in alone, Edmund and Matthaeus followed close behind Jayne in support. They were swiftly intercepted by a mob of axe-wielding thugs wearing animal skins and imposing iron masks. Within moments the attackers had charged out from behind the lighthouse and started surrounding the forward party.

The masked men were led by an imposing pale skinned warrior wearing a blackened breastplate and carrying a curved sword. He growled guttural commands at his followers in an unfamiliar tongue and swaggered forward with a confident gait. His skin bore tribal markings and he was garbed in black feather jewelry and an assortment of decorative baubles. The PCs observed a subtle miasma of shimmering distortion warp and weave around him as he muttered incantations and made obscure gestures. Seemingly bolstered by the presence of their leader, the axe men viciously hacked at the forward party and tried to cut them off from their allies. Taking the worst of the enemy action, Edmund suffered a gruesome chop to his flank and fell dying under the blow.

“How much experience do we get for this ramp?”
The rest of the party tried to follow behind the vanguard, but the ramp proved a formidable opponent, toppling Marsala during his first attempt to scale it. Undeterred, William scrambled up and loosed a critical shot to the neck of one of the axe men. Everest took a look inside the wharf house before following up the ramp and firing a skirmishing shot of his own that felled a second opponent. Rob successfully took aim at one of the axe men but soon found himself engaged in melee and trying to edge himself away from danger.

“My Voodoo Stick”
Taking fire from the tower, Marsala engaged the archers with a spiritual weapon. Having finally made it up the cliff he proceeded to offer healing support to his allies and a hexing evil eye to his foes. In the meantime, the houngan’s ghostly morningstar emerged from the aether and struck with metaphysical force knocking one of the archers dead from the tower.

Noticing Marsala’s display of mystical prowess, the enemy leader prepared to join the fray…


The Final Fate of the Vendetta
The Forbidden City of the Phoenix: Chapter III

Dates: January 22nd to 23rd 1000 PCE.

Player Characters:
William Benjamin
Edmond Andrew
Cole Hills
Matthaeus “Math” Mannheim
Everest Bell

Adelle Mirodar (Jayne’s companion)
Captain Zachary Thorpe
Lilith Johnson (First Mate)
Herschel Dupree (insurance banker)
Orphea Chastain
Freeman Skinner (Quartermaster)
Thaddeus “Tad” Tillerson (Bosun)
Jaun Silva (Master Carpenter)

The Hive Vine Sargasso, inside the wrecks of ships Gannet and Vendetta, aboard the Hawke

Campaign: The North America Campaign
Previous Adventure: Sargasso Rising

Experience Points Awarded: 1850 XP

“I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!”
As the Gannet began to rock and sink, the party started scrambling for top deck, but in the greasy hold of the vine-tangled ship, the more heavily armoured adventurers couldn’t help but slip and flounder in their efforts to escape. Though the more nimble-footed managed to get their bearings and climb for top side, they quickly realized that the mighty Mattheus, encumbered by the mass of his own girth and war gear, was still trapped down below. Cole, having just freed both himself and the barely conscious Rob from a watery fate, was first to dive back into the hatch in an effort to save their hapless companion from certain death. Accompanied by William and Edmond, Cole led the effort to hoist Mattheus’s massive 600 pound frame up and out of the sinking vessel before all was subsumed in the onrushing current of water.

“It’s running now? Oh…”
Even as the party struggled down below to save Math’s life, those out of the sinking ship found no safety in the sunlight. Two more vine-formed figures, hideous parodies of human life garbed in green made to resemble flesh, could be seen slowly stalking across the sargasso toward the party. The destruction of the animate Vine Horror that had ambushed them within the Gannet, an encounter that had triggered the sudden sinking of that ship, had roused these horrors to life and to attack. Jayne loosed an arrow at one from a distance of 60 feet and struck it a blow. In response, the creature hastened its pace and began closing in more quickly. Soon the party was locked in a grueling battle of attrition against these new Vine Horrors, which seemed resistant to simple blows and utterly tireless in their pursuit of blood.

“Come to me, Rob.”
Unable to create effective lines of fire, the lightly armed archers in the party found firing into the inescapable melee situation a hopeless proposition. (See this link for rules information on overcoming all-too-common melee impediments to ranged combat). The battle dragged into a protracted affair, the stakes of which were further punctuated by the distant report of gunfire echoing from the party’s safe haven to the south.

Further complicating matters were the sudden convulsions of Rob, who, though now fully conscious and cognizant, nonetheless began suffering after effects from his earlier communion with the sargasso Hive Vine. Rob felt his mind begin to burn with an overwhelming pain. Spectral white flames began sparking and crackling around his field of vision, and he could feel the awareness of an alien intelligence beyond his own mind lurking at the edges of consciousness. Suddenly experiencing the embodied sensation of the miles and miles of vines and fronds sprawled around in every direction, Rob wondered if he was sensing what the Hive Vine felt, thoughts and feelings without human intelligence, without the structural frame of human language, an intelligence aware of itself but not yet able to fully articulate itself. As his mind groped for the words to describe what he was experiencing, he realized that the vine itself was probing his thoughts and trying to extract those very words from him for its own as yet unformed lexicon. Rob felt his thoughts rejoining and repeating as the Hive began assimilating the newfound language enfolding his fleeting ideas.

Suddenly an image cut through the mental fire: a golden city hidden within a vast jungle, which opened up to Rob’s mental eye and revealed itself under a pillar of flame rising into the heavens. Emerging from this hallucination, Rob felt his own thoughts probing beyond the precincts of the mind, of even flesh itself. He felt a force emanating from those thoughts and, remembering how it felt to sense what the vine sensed, Rob reached out and felt the vines of the shambling Vine Horrors move in response to his own will. Psychokinetic force, directed by Rob’s own will: this was psychic awakening.

Detecting this event through psionic probing but not realizing the precise nature of it, Cole viewed Rob with suspicion and expected at any moment for his comrade to once more become thrall to the Hive Vine. The tension distracted the party and divided their efforts sufficiently to derail any attempts to coordinate effectively against the present threat posed by the Vine Horrors. Perhaps realizing that he was moments away from being considered a threat himself, Rob remained passive as Cole proceeded to check his every movement.

“I expect a Kale Salad.”
Only after aggressively flanking and attacking the Vine Horrors en masse with overwhelming numbers did the party manage to successfully overcome the encounter and gain access to the SS Vendetta. Upon the defeat of the first vine creature, a terrible roar erupted from within the Vendetta. Jayne thought to rush headlong towards the new challenge but relented after his comrades indicated their desire to have done with the immediate threat first. That much finally accomplished, the party had to wonder how many more of these beings lurked within the miles and miles of sargasso yet to be explored.

“Burn in Hell with Marius!”
The Vendetta, not yet sunk as deeply as the Gannet had been before it had finally plunged into the abyss, rested high on the Sargasso mat. A large pile of wooden fragments lay heaped beside the hull, making for an easy climb to the top deck. Beside that pile, the blackened embers of a makeshift fire pit were visible. The party left this area unexplored as they hastened to climb up onto the ship.

The deck was a scene of battle carnage. Weapons and bodies, both human and Sahuagin (fish man/sea devil), lay scattered everywhere. Rob took the moment to arm himself with a spare bow and blade. The scent of rot mixed with the general odour of the drying sargasso mat was nearly overpowering. Edmund was first to overcome the stench and examine the bodies more closely. Though most of the dead were obviously felled in some kind of fight, many of the bodies were deformed and contorted in a manner altogether unnatural. It appeared as though the flesh of these unfortunate victims had grown inside out and burst their bodies open with eruptions of mutated vestigial limbs, hair, and teeth. Looking on, Marsala assumed a grave mien. Scenes of such unholy carnage had been witnessed before in the streets of Noirlan. He had seen these effects with his own eyes and he feared he knew the cause all too well.

Atop the poop deck, the party found the rotting body of a young woman lashed to the ship’s helm and bearing a note, which read, "A reward for loyalty. Burn in hell with Marius.” Marsala recognized the body as that of Salome Reynard, a woman born into the wealth and privilege of Noirlan high society but fallen into vice and criminality. This woman had been the lover of one Oliver Chastain, a notorious crime lord in the Noirlan underworld. The name “Marius” had been Oliver’s nom de guerre during his self-imposed exile from polite society, from every acquaintance he had ever known, indeed from his family: none else than his very own twin sister, Orphea Chastain. Marsala resolved to report these findings to Orphea whenever the party could finally get back to the Hawke and Arcadia.

Within the Vendetta, the party found “Marius’s” captain’s quarters, a well appointed cabin fitted with fine bed sheets and a quality writing desk containing fragments of a personal journal. In the center of this chamber, the party found a large seven pointed star, a heptagram, scrawled in black powder. Dried black leaves lay scattered about the scene and though the walls of the captain’s quarters were braced with thick sargasso fronds, not a single strand of vine breached the circular perimeter of the heptagram. Moreover, each of the seven star points bore a uniquely inscribed symbol. At the center of the Heptagram, the party found a blackened crystal orb, six inches in diameter, sitting atop an ivory pedestal, and draped in a white samite cloth. Upon seeing the dark globe, William felt an inexplicable twinge of recognition and experienced an involuntary impulse to reach forth and grasp the strange object. Before he could react, Marsala, his worst fears regarding the horror above decks now confirmed and taking care not to touch the surface of the ball with his bare flesh, secured the artifact for safe keeping.

“My brother was on this ship. I need to find out what happened to him.”
Edmund, recognizing the name of the Vendetta, sought out the ship’s manifest and verified his hope and fear at a single stroke: his brother Antony Andrew had embarked on this voyage from Memphis a few weeks before. If Antony had met his fate here, Edmund would at least confirm the worst and put his conscience to rest. But he could find no trace of his brother’s remains, and a search of Antony’s footlocker revealed that his possessions had been removed. The personal effects of a further three sailors were likewise missing raising the possibility that they had absconded from the wreck and somehow escaped whatever terrible doom had befallen this place.

“n33d… m0r3 vv0rd5…”
The sound of groaning wood and rushing air finally led the party to explore the Vendetta’s cargo hold. In the darkness a quivering nest of rustling vines could be seen extruding from a huge maw carved under the keel of the hull and through the platform of the bottom deck. Rushing blasts of air periodically blew from the maw in a manner indicating some kind of respiration. The party explored the other end of the cargo deck and found a pair of locked chests showing some signs of tampering. Incredibly, a single strand of vine grew forth from the maw and traced a path across the deck floor until coming to rest beside one of the chest locks. The vine seemed to point at the lock as if pleading for it to be opened. At that moment a voice, halting and rasped, emanated from the maw of the Hive, saying, “Open. Need more words.”

As Jayne and Everest, dulling their weapons in the process, proceeded to smash the chests open, none of the party held any expectation that they would willingly hand over their contents to the Hive Vine. The Hive tried to communicate with its crude and childlike patter and pledged to spare the lives of the party if they would simply recover a certain book contained within one of the chests and read its pages aloud to it. Sure enough, a book was found along with three sets of fine gentlemen’s clothing, a map, and something which appeared to be a broken timepiece. A quick scan of the book’s pages revealed it to be a spell book detailing the arcane research of Oliver Chastain, including his attempts to master the psychic energy of the Phoenix Order, his discovery of Leymen mystic lore, and his apparent communion with an extra-dimensional entity known as Lukan, whom the text referred to as the Black Fire Demon. When asked what had happened to Oliver Chastain, the Hive said Chastain had been hiding and fled when the party came near to the Vendetta.

Seeming to improve its speech with every passing moment of conversation, the Hive then indicated a desire to achieve its own communion with the Black Fire, thus revealing the nature of its interest in the book. Whereas Oliver Chastain had failed to master the power of Lukan, the Hive would succeed. It had glimpsed the power of Black Fire in its dreams, had seen that power hidden within an unknown jungle, and felt chosen by Lukan to seek it, harness it, and ultimately master it. Finally, the Hive predicted the fate of the party: eventually they would all perish, succumbing to thirst, starvation, or exposure on the sargasso mat but not before having their minds stripped of all thought by the probing tendrils of the Hive, which would extract knowledge enough to read the book on its own and thus summon the emanation of Black Fire.

“I think we can beat it.”
The party considered the grim prospect laid forth by the Hive, and stalled for time. They wondered how their companions fared on the Hawke and Arcadia and doubted their own chances if they dared to oppose the unknown power lurking within the gasping maw of the Hive. Little did they know that they were as microscopic fleas on the surface of a superorganism only barely aware of their presence let alone capable of directly interdicting them. Yes, the sargasso mat and the Hive controlling it had power enough to sieze a mighty ship and hold it firmly in grasp, power enough to wrestle a kraken or cleave the sea bottom. But what is such strength to a mite clinging to a single unfeeling strand of hair? What is physical might before the infinitesimal threat of an unseen germ? The party could not comprehend their relative position in this struggle. They had arrived here from their vessel like a colony of bacteria introduced to a new host. Before now they had skittered harmlessly across the surface of the great Hive Vine. Only within the Gannet when they had attacked and disabled one of the beast’s “limbs” did the Hive even begin to take notice of them and respond with crude and clumsy gestures like an embattled host organism producing antibodies to fight a heretofore unknown infection.

And so the scene was set for the final encounter. The Hive, caught with none of its ersatz human Vine Horror animates near at hand to attack and surely not daring to submerge the ship and thus ruin the yearned for spell book, began animating lifeless vegetation in order to create cruder, less threatening sentinels than before. Greater in number than the horrors already encountered, these animates proved to be far less hardy foes and the party scrambled in response to defend themselves and get free from the Vendetta. When the Hive finally sent its avatar presence forth from the maw to attack, the party feared the worst, but were heartened by Cole, who stepped forth with a psychokinetic stomp which laid the avatar and his twig animates prone during a decisive morale-boosting action. Once more, the party fell into an encircling formation and overwhelmed their quarry with superior numbers.

“There’s a fire pit up here?”
The party made off with the loot already mentioned as well as with the remaining chest, bearing a treasury of 500 silver coins (Merikan Stars: worth the equivalent of a DnD silver piece back home in good ol’ Merika but not guaranteed to be accepted at face value or even treated as legal tender at all outside those regions.).

Top side, they realized the sargasso was now slowly sinking back into the sea. Edmund took a final look around and even climbed the crow’s nest of the Vendetta to get a better vantage. At this point he realized that the life boat of the Vendetta was missing, as were the sails of the ship, which appeared to have been carefully removed from the ship’s rigging. Jayne, Everest, and William looked around for signs of tracks and saw that a single set of human footprints led north away from the Vendetta. The tracks were human and fresh: laid within the last few hours, an observation that seemed to verify what the Hive had said about Oliver Chastain’s presence earlier in the adventure.

The waters rising at their feet, the party debated whether it would be wise to follow the tracks heading north or safer to simply make haste south before the sargasso became fully submerged. With some regret, Edmund, wondering if knowledge of his brother’s fate was to be found north, nonetheless relented and headed south with the party. This proved a wise decision since in the three hours it took to return to the Hawke the party found themselves wading through thigh deep waters. Any further detour would have surely left the party swimming in the open ocean.

“It’s over.”
Captain Thorpe welcomed the party back to the Hawke and informed them that the ship had been attacked by Vine Horrors. Laid out beneath a white shroud on the top deck, the lifeless body of Herschel Dupree’s manservant Bob served as a grisly casualty report. Soon thereafter, Orphea came aboard accompanied by her Laradan bodyguard, Tashtego. She told the crew she would address new developments after hearing an account of events from Marsala. She and Thorpe acceded to Edmund’s request to sail north in search of any sign of whoever was leaving tracks near the Vendetta, but no trace of any survivors was to be found.

Meanwhile, Rob conferred with Herschel and came to a new understanding of their association in light of Bob’s recent demise.

The rest of the crew was curious about the party’s exploits and looked with envy upon their cask of silver booty. Perhaps taking after the scholarly inquisitiveness of her grandfather, Adelle expressed interest in the recovered spell book. Jayne thought little of it. Jaun Silva asked to see the timepiece, a golden disc that upon closer inspection had no manipulable parts and made no discernible sound like other mechanical timepieces. The hands of the clock face were permanently fixed at the time 2:14. Most interestingly, Marsala claimed that the timepiece emanated a moderate magical aura indicating divination properties.

“I couldn’t save him.”
Tillerson and Thorpe took a final cross bearing and quickly put the Hawke back on course for the Zone Coast. As the day waned, the vessel made good time chasing the fall of sunlight in the west. Facing the bow, Freeman Skinner struck up a somber tune on his guitar and watched the sun sink below the horizon.

Marsala went to confer with Orphea and Edmund spoke with Herschel, who was still in shock after the death of Bob. Clutching his pistol, Herschel sat in his cabin muttering that he was too afraid to fight back when the Horrors came. According to Herschel, Bob lay dead because of his hesitation. Edmund proposed weapons training and firing drills and promised Herschel he’d be ready for combat should the need rise again. Herschel accepted the offer and confided that he’d come on the journey to represent the assurance company for personal reasons. His uncle Abner had been serving as governor of the Farport Colony since before the close of the Silent Sea route, which had left Abner stranded in the jungle for over twenty years. Herschel’s mother Marie had long missed her dear brother and sent Herschel with a letter for him. Herschel asked Edmund to pledge an oath: if Herschel couldn’t make it to Farport alive, Edmund would deliver the letter to Abner. Edmund accepted the pact and, heartened by the oath, Herschel took to the mess hall with a couple bottles of Reynard Distillery Absinthe. In an uncommonly magnanimous gesture, Herschel began sharing the bottles around the table with all the crew. Glad to be alive and back underway, the party made merry with Herschel and damned the darkness with laughter.

Sargasso Rising
The Forbidden City of the Phoenix: Chapter II

Dates: January 20th to 22nd 1000 PCE.

Player Characters:
William Benjamin
Edmond Andrew
Matthias “Math” Mannheim
Everest Bell

Adelle Mirodar (Jayne’s companion)
Captain Zachary Thorpe
Lilith Johnson (First Mate)
Herschel Dupree (insurance banker)
Hershel’s two servants: Bob and Rob
Orphea Chastain
Freeman Skinner (Quartermaster)
Thaddeus “Tad” Tillerson (Bosun)
Jaun Silva (Master Carpenter)

The Frost Bank Tower, the Hive Vine Sargasso

Campaign: The North America Campaign
Previous Adventure: Setting Sail on a Silent Sea

Experience Points Awarded: 1110 XP (constituting experience gained during chapters one and two of the present campaign)

“Wait-You didn’t wear your armour? Oh…”
Sure enough, mere moments after the party fished Cole out of the water, a band of seven more sea devil mutants burst from the depths and attacked. Hurling spears and inscrutably gargled curses, the monsters surrounded the party’s rowboats and blocked their path back to the Hawke and Arcadia. As the battle was joined in earnest, the combatants, man and beast alike, felt a nauseating wave of sickness pulse through their bodies. Suppressing the urge to wretch, the party pressed on. At this point, however, the party realized the sea devils were wearing decorative collars crafted in the same manner as their own crude necklaces. The necklaces seemed to emit a dull purple glow until the nauseating wave subsided.

Certainly this detail was something the adventurers would have liked to investigate further with the luxury of relative safety, however, the danger of the sea devil encounter postponed any such plans. The party, lightly equipped for their scout mission to the glass pyramid and literally out of their element, fought bravely, but as first Marsala and then William fell under the vicious tooth and nail onslaught of the sea devils’ fury, those still in the fight began to contemplate a dire fate and could give no heed to necklaces, glowing or otherwise.

“Give me back my arrow.”
Jayne, spyglass in hand, watched from the bow of the Arcadia and called for Orphea to raise sail and bring the ship closer to the fight. Taking aim with his longbow, the woodland slayer began firing on the sea devils. In spite of the urgency at hand, Jayne felt his mind drifting to dimly recalled thoughts of places and things of which he held no certain memory. Figments of mountains and woods and a hunt he had never known crowded his imagination. In his mind’s eye he could see the great hart of the forest, the broad mantle of his antlers, the mist snorting from his nostrils. Taking aim, Jayne loosed an arrow at the phantasm. Suddenly snapping back to reality from the reverie of errant memory, Jayne realized his aim was indeed true. One then two and finally a third arrow all had found their targets and Jayne felt himself bolstered by an untapped wellspring of hidden prowess. All the while, Adelle stood at Jayne’s elbow and whispered into his ear with words of encouragement and more.

“How soon until the boat gets here?”
Meanwhile the leader of the sea devils had swum under one of the dinghies to avoid Jayne’s fire and begun slashing under the keel in an attempt to breach the hull and sink the boat. The other mutants closed in and started pressing their advantage. Matthias stood at the fore in defence of Marsala and challenged the sea devils to test his improvised cookware-armour, but he was eventually dropped by the fell swipe of a claw. Soon after that the lead monster emerged from under the keel and felled the hapless Everest with a single harpoon stroke. With over half the party brought low and three monsters still set upon them, Cole and Edmond steeled themselves for a grisly end.

“I can run on this?”
Amidst the chaos of the fight few realized and fewer cared to note the gradual rising of seaweed in the vicinity of the glass tower. Within a minute the weeds had grown so thick that in places one could climb up and walk upon the surface of the vegetative mat. As the leader of the sea devil warband finally noticed the emerging field of sargasso, a look of panic twisted across his grotesque face. Wide watery eyes stretched wider and he called for his companions to retreat from the glass spire and the rapidly spreading field of green muck surrounding it.

Meanwhile the Arcadia and Hawke became mired in the same tangled morass of weeds and vines. His progress stayed by the sudden sargasso, Jayne took up his healing kit, leaped down from the prow of the Arcadia, and started running across the mats towards his fallen comrades. Edmond did his best to improvise a bandage to stanch William’s bleeding wound. By luck and leech craft the crew survived their wounds and lived to fight another day.

“No one is going alone into the darkness.”
Soon thereafter the growth of the sargasso stabilized leaving the Hawke and Arcadia effectively bottomed upon the surface of the slimy mat of weeds, a mat that by now stretched for miles to the north. The risen sargasso had brought with it a veritable graveyard of ships from the deep. The party looked across the expanse of sargasso and saw the remnants of dozens of ships that had met their end in the grip of the green weeds.

As the fallen wounded regained consciousness, Orphea convened a council on the deck of the Arcadia. The sea crews had spent the day hacking at the sargasso fronds in an attempt to free the ships but to no avail. Any progress they made was undone by the continual rising of more plant mass from the depths below.

Edmond suggested that the crews should fasten lines from the ships to the tower in case the Sargasso sinks again and drags the ship down with it. Orphea and Captain Thorpe consented and a party of the still-able was assembled to run ropes to the tower. With nightfall descending the party intended to keep careful watch and Cole was first to spot dark figures moving among the shadows. Dismayed by the looming darkness, the group determined to head back and wait for light, though Jaun Silva, the ship’s carpenter, grumbled about disobeying orders from Captain Thorpe. Cole decided to leave the rope length where progress halted. During the evening the men on watch reported tugging at the rope but nothing more alarming than that.

Late that night ship quartermaster Freeman Skinner entertained the crew with a guitar and vocal rendition of “Machine’s Last Stand”, a Merikan folk song about the defence and destruction of Machine City. The song tells of the wandering hero Janov Seldon, who led the Merikan militia in their fatal last stand against the forces of the Phoenix Order.

“These sailors are fops!”
The next morning early scouts reported that the rope left on the sargasso had been cut where it lay. Captain Thorpe arranged a new party from the sail crew and said he’d have them secure a new line during daylight.

Matthias prepared a hearty breakfast and the party set out onto the sargasso to explore. As the night before, the party spotted movement in the distance though no certain figures or forms could be discerned. Travelling eastward, the party came to the wreck of the Zodiac. After inspection the party deemed the wreck impenetrable due to the thick vines and fronds grown into and indeed filling the hull. Jayne consulted his Fieldbook of Merikan Flora and Fauna and determined that the sargasso could be a massive Hive Vine like the kinds found in lakes and wetlands near Larada. Backtracking north and taking a different fork south the party found the wreckage of the Victorious and the Ascot under the same circumstances as the Zodiac. All ships had filled with vines which had grown into and spread within the hulls. Likewise all three ships had subsequently become pulled further down into the mat of sargasso. Edmond had identified the Ascot as a more recent victim of the sargasso and it proved to be the only wreck of the three at which identifiable human remains, skeletal fragments, could be found. The bones were hollow, supple, and pliant and bore hairline seams through which their contents seem to have burst forth.

The party also ventured a mile or so north of the Victorious and found the terrain took a notably darker hue with reddish brown leaves and vines growing alongside the familiar green foliage comprising the rest of the sargasso. In addition to this, the darker area of the sargasso sprouted an abundance of lavender blossoms. Jayne and Everest inspected the blooms and surmised that the bulbous stem of these flowers was likely some kind of spore or seed sac. The group promptly prepared makeshift mouth and nose coverings to prevent inhaling such particles. With nightfall approaching the party decided to head back to the Hawke for the evening. Before leaving, Matthias left one of his pans on the sargasso mat near the edge of the flowered area.

“This is not a man to play cards with.”
During the evening, the crew heard a commotion in the mess. Jaun Silva and Herschel Dupree were having a poker game that had become quite tense. The pile of coins in front of Silva indicated how the game was going and Dupree was out of his mind with frustration and accusing Silva of being a cheat. Dupree anted Edmond into the game from his own purse and the trio played a hand. Dupree dealt Edmond a straight flush and Edmond, keeping a close eye on Silva’s hands and cards, rode it to a win. During the game, he could detect no sign of foul play and told Dupree that Silva was nonetheless an impressive opponent.

What’s his name again? Rod? Todd?
The party passed another uneasy night trapped in the sargasso and looked to the dawn for familiar comfort. But this morning was different. One of Dupree’s servants, Rob, had gone missing during the night. He had a habit of strolling the top deck before taking his sleep and had done so the night before, but the man on watch, bosun Thaddeus Tillerson, reported seeing Rob head below deck afterwards.

The next morning Jayne identified traces of the man’s footfalls and tracked a northerly path into the sargasso mat. Jayne detected Rob’s tracks were eventually joined by two more sets of humanoid tracks and ended at the edge of the bloom field where the party found Rob lying on the ground near where Matthias had left his pan the day before (which was now covered in new growth). Rob was unconscious; his breath shallow; his pulse faint. Rob also had vines growing into his ears. As the party deliberated about a course of action, William was overcome by an impulse for self-preservation and cut the vine running into the left ear with a swift chop of his hand axe. Rob instantly gasped and his eyes opened wide revealing that his formerly brown irises now glowed a verdant shade of green. More alarmingly, his body proceeded to shudder in violent convulsions. In response Cole cut more vine from the left ear in order to claim a sample of the intrusive plant. Seeking to put Rob out of his misery and protect the party from infection, William prepared to deal a killing blow against Rob’s helpless body but was deterred by Matthias, who deflected the attack which landed a non fatal strike against Rob’s arm.

At this point Marsala pushed forward to conjure a healing hex. The party looked on in amazement as the warrior shaman muttered prayers to the Loa spirits, prayers that were answered when Rob’s arm wound mended; his convulsions ceased; and his unnatural emerald eyes regained their former hue. After the remaining vine slipped out of Rob’s right ear, Matthias carefully hoisted his still-lifeless body and the party resolved to venture still deeper into the dark heart of the sargasso.

“Hey! Everest hit something!”
After another hour’s trek, the party came upon two ships closely spaced in the sargasso mat: the Gannett and the Vendetta. Edmond recognized the Gannett as a ship that had set out on an evangelical mission led by a zealous churchman known as Phineas Whitelock. Hoping to convert the pagan tribes of the Forbidden Zone to their own brand of apocalyptic Christianity, Whitelock and his evangelical brothers had set out from Noirlan two years ago. Their journey had evidently ended here upon the sargasso of the Silent Sea.

The party decided to approach the Gannett and explore its hold, which proved far more accessible than those of the older, more thoroughly decayed vessels they had encountered the previous day. Marsala invoked the Loas to illuminate his shield and the party fell in behind him as he led the way into the darkened bowels of the rotting vessel. Inside the crew quarters they saw an intact passage leading to the captain’s quarters and midway down the corridor a bureau upon which a leather bound journal perched precariously above a conspicuous mound of weeds.

Marsala stepped forward and the rotted floor shifted knocking the book into a shallow pool of stagnant sea water and sargasso fronds. Hoping to recover the book before the muck could destroy its contents, William sprang forward to retrieve it from the slimy sinkhole. He could not have seen that the clump of vines within the pool was actually an animate plant, which sprung to life and violently slammed him in the chest as soon as he crossed into the fetid water. William instantly fell unconscious and sunk down into the weeds as his assailant rose upward, his enervated vines wrapping and curling to assume an imitative humanoid form. Marsala stooped to drag William onto relatively drier land while the rest of the party arrayed for battle. This time Matthias’s crockpot cuirasse held fast and the hulking chef successfully warded off the assassin vine’s doughtiest blows. While the party struggled to find a weakness in the creature’s own formidable defences, Everest Bell, watching for an opening, strafed the perimeter of the melee. Finally seeing the opportunity he was waiting for, Everest fired an arrow from his short bow and pierced the heart of the green beast. The party promptly recovered the journal, but, before they could regroup, the hull of the Gannett began to quake violently as if buffeted by some unseen force…

Setting Sail on a Silent Sea
The Forbidden City of the Phoenix: Chapter I

Dates: January 15th to 20th in the year 1000 PCE.

Player Characters:
William Benjamin
Edmond Andrew
Matthias “Math” Mannheim
Everest Bell

Adelle Mirodar (Jayne’s companion)
Captain Zachary Thorpe
Lilith Johnson (First Mate)
Herschel Dupree (insurance banker)
Hershel’s two servants: Bob and Rob
Orphea Chastain
Freeman Skinner (Quartermaster)
Thaddeus “Tad” Tillerson (Bosun)
Jaun Silva (Master Carpenter)

Port of Noirlan, the Silent Sea, and the Frost Bank Tower

Campaign: The North America Campaign

“I need to find my grandfather.”
Meeting at the Noirlan pier at the break of dawn, the party meets and begins preparations to raise sail and get the expedition underway. Everyone besides Captain Thorpe is surprised to see Jayne bring a young companion, Adelle Mirodar, aboard ship for the journey. She meekly explains that she’s coming on the expedition to investigate the whereabouts of her grandfather, Manfred Klinnsman, whom she believes has been lost in the Forbidden Zone.

“I always bring my horse on sea voyages.”
The party is introduced to Herschel Dupree, a haughty Noirlan gentlemen and representative of the Noirlan Assurance Company. He makes a scene about being permitted to bring his horse and servants on the voyage and eventually relents and agrees to leave the horse (but keep the servants) only after Edmond Andrew shames him with a sarcastic demonstration of wit.

Edmond, the only able sea hand among the PCs to join the crew begins inspecting the rigging and notices some dangerously poor knot work. After bringing his concerns to Captain Thorpe’s attention, the Captain mutters about sabotage and posts Jayne and Everest as wharf sentries.

“There is fire where you are going…”
Preparations are briefly delayed with the arrival of three religious leaders: Father Joe of the Universal Church, Brother Herbert of the Devotion of the Deep Ones, and Father Pete of the Church of the Exploding Eye. Each priest gives every crewman a brief blessing. During Brother Herbert’s blessing he also gives every PC a strange necklace made of hair cord wound with bones, teeth, and shells. Captain Thorpe stresses to everyone that receiving the blessings and wearing the ward charm are mandatory for all crew. All comply, though William Benjamin refuses to let Brother Herbert loosen his scarf to put the charm under it.

“Don’t you realize who I am?”
The voyage finally gets underway and Herschel Dupree is soon making trouble again. When the number of bunks on board the Hawke comes up short, Dupree is incensed at the notion that he’ll have to share a room with any of the common crew members. Matthias is eager to please, however, and defuses the situation by agreeing to sleep in the galley.

“I already thawed out the duck…”
The SS Hawke soon makes an unscheduled rendezvous with the SS Arcadia, the personal vessel of Lady Orphea Chastain. After the ships are chained together for boarding, Orphea introduces herself and reveals that she is the party’s true employer and the mastermind of the Eldorado Expedition. She invites the party to come aboard the Arcadia and, during dinner in her wardroom, she explains more about herself, her family, and her motivations for undertaking the expedition. While her concern for improving the community of Noirlan seems sincere, the party gets the impression she’s very concerned about some undisclosed threat. As an apology for her secrecy, Orphea promises to double the PCs’ guaranteed profit from the mission from 500 to 1000 gp. Beyond the guaranteed pay, the take from the Eldorado treasure horde is to be divided evenly among all crew members.

Edmond takes this opportunity to ask about Herschel Dupree’s involvement in the voyage. Apparently Dupree has no claim to any of the Eldorado treasure. Explaining his actual financial stake in the expedition, Dupree declares that, while the mission is Orphea’s, the money to fund it comes from his family’s bank. In fact everything from the ship, to provisions, to the crew’s wages is all being paid for through credit issued by the Noirlan Assurance Company. In order to secure this loan, Orphea has agreed to sell the Duprees her family’s claim to the lucrative plantations of the Zone Coast. Once the western trade route is restored, the old Chastain claim should return a fortune in profit on Dupree’s investment in the Eldorado Expedition.

It is clear that Orphea is sacrificing much to make this mission happen. When Edmond asks to be cut in on the Chastain/Dupree land deal, Dupree says he’s always open to side offers and hints that his family will need men of ambition and talent to help administer the recovered territories once the expedition has reached a successful conclusion.

“Sinking five feet definitely doesn’t count as moving ten.”
On the fifth day of the voyage, while Jayne and Estelle are being hosted by Orphea on the Arcadia, the Hawke party encounters a pyramidal structure rising out of the middle of the sea. Captain Thorpe instructs Edmond and Marsala to muster the landing party into rowboats and investigate.

After maneuvering closer to the object, the party explores the structure and realizes it’s a tower made of steel and blue-green glass. Cole climbs the superstructure inside the outer panels of the pyramid and discovers scratch and claw marks on the support girders. He also finds markings on some of the beams: one identifying an address, “Austin Texas,” the other reading, “Frost Bank Building.” Lastly, Cole sees a pillar of smoke rising from the western horizon.

Meanwhile, Edmond notices that the tower extends beyond sight into the sea’s depths and is entirely flooded with sea water. Everest does his own investigation and finds an old flexible metal rod that appears to be a Precursor relic. Neither of them notice a humanoid shape lurking in the waters below.

When Cole dives into the water from the top of the tower, he is attacked from under the water line by a monstrous assailant. The attacker is medium sized and appears to be part fish, part man, with two legs, fins, gills, and glossy dark green scales covering his entire body. Cole eventually breaks free after Matthias and William dive in to help drive his assailant away.

During the struggle, however, the fish-man sounded a loud call under the water. As the party scrambles back to ship in their rowboats, Cole can still hear the beast’s terrible warbling cry echoing in his ears. With no opportunity to delight in his fortunate escape he turns to the party and simply says the plain truth: “There are more coming.”

Next Adventure: Sargasso Rising

Aftermath of the Battle of Rome

After surviving the basilica cave-in…

Rome on the Brink and the Death of a God
Conclusion of the Roman Campaign

As the year 999 draws to an end, the world stands on the brink of destruction. After days of fighting and revolt in the Eternal City, the Golden Empire of Rome has all but fallen. First, a desperate ploy by William Marshall in the Roman Coliseum led to the incapacitation of Emperor Golan Trevize. During yet another degrading spectacle of arena combat, Marshall summoned a burning wicker man golem. The golem rose out of the arena sand to engulf Trevize in a blaze of cleansing sacred flame. At that moment a series of explosive charges detonated in the arena stands, stirring the Roman mob into a teeming frenzy. As the dust and smoke settled, Tobias, Salvor, and the other gladiator slaves assembled into a united fighting force bent on attaining freedom at all costs. With no sign left of either Marshall or the Emperor, the party forced its way through the arena catacombs and onto the streets of Rome.

During their run through the catacombs the party encountered a strange envoy: young Jean-Claude Delong, the twelve year-old celestial phenom, born of angelic parents (Lady Lisette and Lord Jean-Claude Delong of Timberley). J.C. was apparently sent as a part of a rescue mission organized by the notorious and ever-vigilant Britannian super-spy, Queen’s Special Service (QSS) operative, Julian Beech. The explosions in the arena? Also courtesy of Sir Julian. Apparently, Aran Lynch, a confidant of Lord Salvor, who recognized the Britannian Battle Lord during a gladiatorial match, was able to not only get close to the once (and future?) Lord Protector but managed to leave Latia (Italy) bearing a communiqué from Salvor for the Exiled Britannian Government to relay to the marshal of Rome’s northern legions, a disaffected Roman general known as Belisarius. Salvor’s message amounted to a warning of impending worldwide disaster. Belisarius has responded favorably to Salvor’s entreaty and turned rogue against his government’s Phoenix Order masters. Young J.C. imparted all of this news and more.

And more is where it got interesting. With Emperor Golan Trevize apparently neutralized by William Marshall’s mystic assault, an invisible, impenetrable sphere of force manifested around the city. With the party unable to leave, eventual capture appeared inevitable. The Emperor’s psyche was temporarily suppressed, but he was slowly regaining cognizance. When he awoke, it would be too late; there would be no chance for escape or survival.

The force sphere had been a safeguard measure meant to ensure the Phoenix Order’s safety while Golan recovered. Its psionic triggers were encoded deep within Golan’s subconscious mind and set to unconsciously trigger in a catastrophic eventuality. Moreover, in order to direct the conscious willpower necessary to raise and sustain the sphere, Golan tethered his subconsciously encoded imperatives to the material life of Rome itself, to the living citizens of the Eternal City. The belief and faith that sustains the spiritual life of Rome’s citizens provides the raw psychic energy that powers the sphere. Short of instantaneous and near-universal apostasy, there was no way to extinguish the source of the sphere’s power.

But Julian deduced a means by which the failsafe could be overridden. In order to harness the spiritual-directed, psychic power of the city, Golan constructed mental portals at each of Rome’s seven greatest temples and shrines. These places of worship, located near each of Rome’s fabled seven hills, each functioned as psychic collectors, literally drawing in the psychic energy required to power the sphere. Julian learned that the collecting portals located at these sites could be materially traversed, meaning that they permitted a person to actually enter the Emperor’s mind. Julian was certain of the possibility to use these portals to enter Golan’s mindscape and dismantle the sphere’s psychic imperatives.

He believed this because the imperatives actually manifested symbolically in Golan’s pseudo-material mindscape. To ensure that the failsafe protocols would endure for an extended period in his subconscious, the Emperor laced the necessary psychic imperatives to his most intimate neural pathways. Thus the failsafe imperatives were mapped upon Golan Trevize’s subconscious dream-life and manifested in his memories and dreams as vital components of his living body: eye, heart, hand, arm, rib, thigh, tongue. These seven manifestations of Trevize’s vital persona (Vitaes) were each keyed to distinct and significant memories or themes in Golan’s life. In turn, each of these seven Vitaes and meme-themes mapped upon Rome’s physical geography and coincided with a distinct temple or shrine at each of Rome’s seven hills. By entering each of the seven shrines and navigating each of the seven associated meme-themes, it would be possible to disrupt each of Golan’s imperative-programmed Vitaes and thus defeat the failsafe screen.

After their escape from the Coliseum, the party split ways: Salvor and Ahmed would take the surviving gladiators to each of Rome’s seven hills and work to lower the force sphere. Claiming that Golan’s vindictive bio-machinest, Vento Parmezzius, had obtained an item of doomsday proportions, the Strider Tobias, accompanied by Sebastien Gauge and pursuing a vendetta against Parmezzius, opted to follow his own, undisclosed agenda. Both groups hoped to follow separate paths and ultimately achieve mutually equitable goals.

But things never go so smoothly. Salvor’s initial attack upon the Temple of Apollo led first to a wasteful skirmish with Phoenix Archon Delora Delarmi and subsequently to a near-fatal (but narrowly avoided) clash with Rome’s sentinel Colossus. Obviously potent artifacts, gleaned from a raid on Golan’s home palace, had to be jettisoned into the Apollo-gate before the Colossus could force a surely devastating confrontation. Fortunately, the party managed to secure the Eye of Trevize from the Emperor’s subconscious Tower of Brass despite the chaos. The party briefly encountered a group of six-armed alien creatures known as “The Destroyers.” Chalk-white and clothed in darkness, these six-armed creatures instilled obvious fear in the Tower’s reptilian denizens and promptly disintegrated the Tower just as the party escaped.

Subsequent parlay with Archon Delarmi revealed that the Emperor’s sudden disappearance had led to a power struggle in the capital, as certain urban religious leaders now vied to overthrow the Phoenix Order’s Imperium. Unable to commit to an all-out struggle with Salvor’s band (or overcome by the absurdity of negotiating with a twelve year-old boy, as J.C. used his telepathic powers to relay the tongue-less and voiceless Lord Protector’s thoughts), Delora temporarily withdrew her forces.

Salvor and Ahmed, seeing to their wounded and beginning to realize the difficulty they now faced in a city at war with itself, likewise withdrew and advanced to the Temple of Mars in search of the next Vitae. Bitter street battles withered their force, but the party managed to make the trek in a stolen air skiff. After entering the second portal, Ahmed and Salvor became lost in a frozen, snow-swept dreamscape. Initially following a set of giant sleigh-tracks, the inexperienced and disoriented trackers eventually stumbled upon a mountain chalet, occupied by none other than Phillipe Depardieu, the storied rebel Psion who defied Trevize’s will. Apparently, Phillipe had fallen into a mental trap while following a lead against Phoenix forces in Southern Capetia (France). The trap had literally subsumed Phillipe into Golan’s mind, in which the hapless Psion was forced to unwittingly live a false life: predictably, all for a girl: the roguish Parisien beauty Cassandra. Ahmed and Salvor trashed the psychic parasite that had posed as Phillipe’s lady-friend and revealed the truth of his predicament. They subsequently joined forces and trekked together into Trevize’s mental storm.

A strange journey led them across a broad swathe of Golan’s subconscious mindscape. After a brief jaunt over rough seas, the party arrived in a meme-theme resembling the Latian town of Florence circa 558 P.C.E. Here, they glimpsed three centuries into Trevize’s past and encountered him as a young boy. Upon learning that the young Golan had been mysteriously orphaned, the party encountered a mysterious spectacled noble, calling himself Kalix, who promised to take the boy and care for him. They refused to leave Golan to the care of the gaunt stranger and pledged to support Golan. With this promise, the party secured the Tongue of Trevize and emerged from a portal in the twin Temple of Honour and Virtue near Mt. Aventus.

At this point quite cut off from their men at the Temple of Mars, Salvor, Ahmed, and Phillipe crept overland through the streets of Rome. Upon rendezvousing with the gladiator forces, the party likewise crossed paths with Aran Lynch and a few other Special Servicemen under Julian’s command. Apparently Julian had made contact with the other party (consisting of Sebastien and Strider) near the city’s main Sky-Port Tower. Sebastien and Strider had obtained a lead on Parmezzius while infiltrating the Sky-Port. A search of the city’s travel logs indicated that Parmezzius had used a transport and gone to the Forum of Trevize (formerly the Forum of Rome). Following up on this contact, Julian’s agents soon learned that Sebastien and Strider had been apprehended in their assault on the Forum.
Lynch relayed this information to Ahmed, Phillipe, and Salvor, who promptly set out to rescue their captive allies. More vicious street fighting, followed by some impressive psionic pyrotechnics from Phillipe scattered an entire Praetorian squad and dispatched a number of bio-mechanical “War Dogs,” which now roamed the streets in force, dispensing indiscriminate death: apparently, Rome was now under an indefinite curfew. With night falling, Salvor et. al. went to work in earnest, storming the Forum of Trevize and overpowering the flight of Sky Centurions assigned to guard it. Swearing vengeance, Centurion Gaiseric withdrew from the field for a second time with an outmatched and severely demoralized cadre of followers.

Once freed, Sebastien and Strider proved invaluable in securing control of the Forum, as the now-combined party faced off against a horde of animated caryatid columns and a fearsome Crystal Golem (Psion-killer). In the wake of the battle, Strider took up the adamantine mace of the Roman Senate, a ceremonial weapon gifted to the Republic by none other than the heroic Lord Fredrick Brasden of old. The party also found a new ally in Senator Francesca Giotto’s faction of rebellious senators, a group of disaffected representatives of the old Republic, hostile to Golan’s Imperium. The political situation had apparently grown increasingly dire in only a matter of hours, as the party’s continued victories continued to undermine Phoenix authority and thus embolden the Imperium’s opponents. Redoubling his resolve to capture Parmezzius, who once again fled the scene, Strider prepared to set out for Parmezzius’ personal palace and research centre, The Baths of Trajan, which Senator Giotto now claimed to be Parmezzius’ current hideout.

An air of dissent overcame the reunited-yet-fractious party. Salvor would not trust Strider’s motives and Strider would not reveal the object of his quest to find Parmezzius. Unable to come to an agreement, Salvor flatly pledged to follow at Strider’s side until Parmezzius was found; the late Lord Protector would know Strider’s secret one way or another. Strider, threatening bloodshed in case his self-appointed chaperone should dare to offer opposition, relented and allowed Salvor to accompany him.

Morale low, tensions worn thin, the party proceeded to Trajan’s Forum, a bath house pleasure palace. A brief but bloody battle overcame Parmezzius’ Storm Sentinels and secured the unmanned palace gate. Perhaps fatigued from the fighting of the previous hour or perhaps frustrated by their own mutual mistrust, the party was subsequently unable to understand the riddle of Parmezzius’ Baths of Transference, a fact which only compounded their general dissatisfaction. After fighting through the courtyard, they came within the central manor of the sprawling bath complex to find it dark, dank, and seemingly abandoned. Passing by the unnaturally roiling waters of the palace’s central pool, the party approached a stairwell leading downward, below the complex.

Fate intervened to separate the party as a pit trap divided Salvor and Phillipe from Sebastien and the Strider. The separated parties independently completed the Battle of New York and AshramTemple Vitae quests. Then, subsequently, they rendezvoused in a mindscape of Trevize’s memory of his last moments spent aboard the God’s Hammer satellite. Golan joined his expanding thoughts to a machine known as the Worldmind which stretched his own mind outward across the world in search of more psions like himself with whom to converse and share a new dawn of human cooperation and understanding. Instead he found himself howling in pain on the floor and gasping the name “Bishop!”, all the while declaring: “He’s in the machine!” In a matter of moments Golan`s writhing body disappeared from view, psionically teleported away from the orbiting vessel. After witnessing this, the very moment of Golan’s corruption, the party realized the satellite had been damaged in the Worldmind`s malfunction and that its orbit was quickly decaying. On cue with the departure of Golan, even amidst this chaos, 3 Psy Weavers and 4 Cerebriliths emerged from the emperor’s tortured mind to attack the party.

After the battle, with catastrophic orbital decay seeming imminent, Archon Mako Kobayashi materialized within the mindscape to help save the PCs. He brought them back to his personal residence in Rome, where he’s secured the body of Trevize. Kobayashi went on to relate the worsening chaos of Rome’s civil war. He himself had now broken off from Caesara Morella and his fellow Archon Delora Delarmi, who had by this time countered the rising unrest and insurrection in Rome by declaring themselves emergency custodians of the Imperium and joint executive trustees of the Phoenix Order. For his own part, Kobayashi had come to the slow realization that for these past two decades of Empire and slaughter his master had been suffering a psychosis of some kind. Without the express will of Trevize to guide him, Kobayashi refused to follow the leadership of Morella and Delora, a duo unquestioningly devoted to the lowest directives of Golan`s perverted vision of global order.

The PCs proceeded to make e a truce with Kobayashi, who allowed the party to recover in his healing tanks and then teleported them to the Temple of Mars the Avenger for the final Vitae quest. The party had chosen not to pursue Parmezzius and instead elected to bring down the impenetrable shield surrounding the city and make a play for escape. After completing the quest, the party found itself beset by three centuries of roman soldiers backed by a coordinated complement of phoenix adepts. But with the shield now lowered, the party had a surprise of its own in the works as Denille Olivaw and Simon Lebeau teleported themselves into the action all the way from their hidden base in Ireland. Denille had been scrying the whereabouts of his allies and learned of their predicament days earlier. With the moment to strike at hand, he and Simon traversed the intervening miles using Olivaw`s vaunted Leyman magick and caught the Romans entirely off guard.

A final sky centurion helmet relayed communiqué from Julian Beech now revealed the location of Parmezzius and the rest of the Phoenix leadership. Now acting in direct mutiny against the will and authority of a newly revived Golan Trevize, Delora, Morella and their followers had absconded to Parmezzius`s secret Vatican laboratories beneath St. Peter`s Basilica. This was apparently the main research base of the nearly completed Flagullum project, the doomsday weapon that Salvor had warned of.

Each for his own reasons, the members of the party now converged upon the Vatican for a final showdown with Parmezzius and the Phoenix Order. After battling Archon Numa and a few scattered bands of roman soldiers, the party arrived at St. Peter`s square to face a mob of animated caryatids. Once within the basilica a deadly dragon engine threatened the party with fang and fire. Now as the party descended into the Vatican grottoes, they came upon a climactic battle as Trevize and Kobayashi pitted themselves against the rest of their erstwhile Phoenix Order allies. Incredibly, Golan Trevize stood before his foes powerless, void of all his once god-like psychokinetic prowess. The rending of his psychic Vitaes had left his mind something of a tabula rasa and so he faced the greatest battle of his life as nothing more than a man. But he was not alone. Along with Kobayashi and a handful of Praetorians loyal to the fatal end, the party counted themselves among the allies of Golan Trevize.

It seems the loss of his psionic capabilities triggered a change in Trevize’s psyche. After awakening from a stasis chamber in the inner sanctum of Kobayashi, his last faithful Archon, Trevize renounced the Phoenix Order and all the works he had wrought during his reign as emperor. Backed by Kobayashi’s personal cadre of loyal praetorians, Trevize marched on the mutineers’s hideout on Vatican hill in a doomed attempt to retake control of the Phoenix Order.

And yet the spectre of the once god-like scourge of Trevize loomed over the battle still, as an entity known to the Phoenix mutineers as the `Demi-Urge` gathered consciousness within the Vatican crypt chamber as a swirling anthropomorphic vortex of shadow casting darkness. This Demi-Urge represented the cast off leavings of Trevize`s corrupted and corrupting power. Whatever had tainted his mind on board God`s Hammer so many years ago lingered still and now haunted these very stones as a nightmare made real with all the vaunted powers of Golan Trevize at its disposal. The spectral Demi-Urge now sought a suitable host in which to fully manifest itself and continue the terror Trevize had so unwittingly set in motion and so it hid in the shadows of war as titanic forces struggled for dominance.

William Marshall re-emerged here as a twisted Blackguard, corrupted by the psychic domination of Archon Delora. He spurred his mutant war-charger into the party`s ranks slaying Simon Lebeau with a horrifying charge. The party countered in kind as Phillipe Depardieu unleashed his psychical fury against Archon Zozimus in a killing blow of shocking violence. Bodies dropped on all sides and the Phoenix forces readied themselves for retreat unwilling to risk further losses. All the while Parmezzius lurked in the background using his Phoenix masters in order to enact his own escape plan. For an instant, the party caught a glimpse of this shadow play as Face emerged briefly to bizarrely taunt the party with the sight of Jimmy Nails`s teleportation device. Sideshows aside, the climax of the battle came with the Demi-Urge`s sudden assault on Phillipe Depardieu. After the death of Zozimus, the Demi-Urge responded to Phillipe`s anger with the promise of limitless power. At the penultimate moment of contact, Golan Trevize hurled himself in the way of the onrushing Demi-Urge in an act of selfless courage. Devoid of psionic power, Golan`s form was rejected by the Demi-Urge and consumed in a maelstrom of psychokinetic fury. This fury shook the very foundations of the basilica and led to a massive cave-in. The party barely made it out alive with the assistance of Denille’s teleportation magic. Shortly thereafter the party revived the fast fading life of of Simon throught a potent miracle channeled through a reliquary fragment of the True Cross, a relic recovered during the party’s search of the Basilica.

Thus the Demi-Urge was hurled back into formless chaos unable to reform sentience by its own volition. And yet certainly it is only a matter of time before someone seeks a way to summon its dark power once more and offer it yet another chance to manifest. For now the raw power of the Demi-Urge has been channelled to the Roman sentinel colossus, which even now bears down upon the Britannian Expeditionary Force.

Now the Divine Emperor, Golan Trevize, is dead, perished in a fight against his own mutinous followers. His last lieutenant, Kobayashi, breathed his last here as well, fighting to the end until the loss of Trevize prompted him to simply wink out of existence, as the psychoportive nomad finally found freedom beyond the cumbersome shell of his mortal body.

During all of this another battle was being waged in the necropolis below. A separate party comprised of Jimmy Nails, Francois Belmont, Dah Moe, Hud vanDoren, and Nigel Seldon attempted to capture Parmezzius but failed to slip past the technomancer`s defenses. They had arrived at the Vatican under orders from Sir Julian just prior to the Phoenix`s first battle with Trevize`s forces and attempted to navigate the Phoenix base through stealth. Operational successes achieved in their earlier deactivation of the Milan Flagullum installation were not to be duplicated in Rome as Phoenix Arcani espionage agents thwarted their assault and repulsed them even as the other party`s defeat of the Demi-Urge in the grottoes above set off a series of earthquakes that ultimately cratered the basilica and its surrounding environs, thus forcing an emergency retreat.

The two parties are now about to converge at the BEF field camp north of Rome on the eve of what is sure to be a decisive battle for the future of Europa. But beyond hope for a military victory here and an end to the European War, the threat of the remaining Flagullum installations looms large to those who realize the truly global stakes at risk in the coming weeks and months. Even with Golan Trevize gone, his legacy remains in the twisted minds of his followers and his plans are thus still very much operational. Jimmy Nails turns attention to cracking the Phoenix data encryption protocols in order to glean where the Phoenix has built the remaining Flagullum devices, the true engines of destruction in the current struggle. And yet he must help ensure the survival of his allies in the inevitable Battle of Rome in order to ensure himself the manpower to actually engage the Phoenix Order in the coming battles abroad. Careful balancing of time and resources is required, especially with the Golden Empire nearly brought to its knees and the momentum of the war seeming ready to shift.

Rise of the Death Bringer
Savagery unleashed!

March 11th, 999 PCE

After the Savage Clan attack on Chastain Manor during Mardis Gras, the party sets out into the Louisiana Marshes in search of Tashtego and Angelica, kidnapped members of Gareth Rose’s ill-fated “White Rose” mercenary company, who had been hired by Lady Orphea Chastain as personal bodyguards.

March 15th, 999 PCE
After a deadly ambush, the party stops in Mill Creek to lick its wounds and learns that the Savage Clan has been blamed for a series of recent caravan attacks in the marshes and forests north of Noirlan. Cassander, the young nephew of local potentate, Baron Lyon Aubin, has also gone missing while conducting a failed investigation of the recent crimes. The party’s own investigation soon reveals the town miller, Simkyn, to be complicit in the Savage Clan’s activities. After subduing the shape shifting miller, the party pushes north to the Savage Clan’s hideout in the Silver Hills. A short but violent battle in the ravine facing the cave entrances forces the Savage Clan to abandon their base, and the party rescues their hostages from cages lashed to poles on the beach.

Cassander and Tashtego join the party but inform the PCs that the Savage Clan has taken Angelica further north. Remy Colbert tracks the fleeing Savage Clan to a vacant wood cabin near to the coast, where Angelica has been left locked in a steamer trunk. She had apparently been left as a prize for Marius. After setting a failed ambush for Marius, the party begins the journey home.

March 17th, 999 PCE
Before the trek back to Noirlan, the party befriends a Larada shaman known as Ezeki. Ezeki, in search of his people’s sacred Isotope Relics, joins the party upon realizing that they share a common enemy: Marius, who appears to be responsible for the theft of the Larada Isotopes.

March 24th, 999 PCE
Upon returning to the city, the party learns of strange, violent attacks that have been occuring since Mardis Gras. Lady Chastain informs the PCs of three mass killings: at the Drunken Eagle, at the Neo-Catholic Church of the Merikan Martyrs in the French District, and on the docked mafia pleasure ship, The Epicure. Hideous cannibalistic mutants have been running wild in the aftermath of these incidents only to be identified later as deformed citizens, altered by some sinister power and made into bestial murderers. These occurences are identical to the madness encountered by the party during Mardis Gras at Sunfall Cove. As the incidents worsen, the city teeters on the brink of panic. Orphea then mentions the visit of Armand Vidal and tells the party that with the city militia unable to solve the crimes and beset by increasing citizen unrest, the mayor wants [[Marsala’s Men]] to investigate the killings and bring the murderers to justice. Vidal himself issues the PCs badges of deputization and grants them authority to exercise the rights of the law.

After fighting off a fourth outbreak (this time at Saint Cyril’s Asylum for the Infirm and Insane) the party rescues Briseis Rosetti, a former paramour of Oliver Chastain and the apparent target of the most recent attack. During her deformation, she lashed out at her attackers and killed one of them. The party retrieves one of the lost Isotope rods, which is now partially decayed.

The PCs bring Briseis to Chastain Manor and she reveals the instrument and purpose behind her forced mutilation and attempted murder. She describes the Death Bringer artefact, the murky orb the party originally procured after the first savage outbreak at Sunfall Cove. According to Briseis, Marius, who had been her lover, had attempted to steal the Death Bringer orb from the Free Sails pirate fleet at Sunfall Cove but deployed its mutating powers prematurely and was forced to flee from the madness he had unleashed. Briseis herself had been caught in the artefact’s corruption wave and become rendered partially insane by the trauma. Oliver’s lack of regard for Briseis was galling: he fled from the ensuing carnage alone and abandoned her in the bush to die. But she survived and clawed her way through the Louisiana swamps back to Noirlan. She tried to tell the horrible tale of Sunfall Cove, but, in her own maddened state, Briseis was taken for a lunatic and sent to the asylum.

But the subsequent attack on the asylum came not so much as an attempt to silence a madwoman but as a strike to end the life of a rival. Salome Reynard, known felon and the lover of Oliver Chastain, apparently considered Briseis’s affection for Marius to be a jilting affront too insulting to be forgiven. It was Salome who had sent goons armed with the Death Bringer to kill Briseis, and she did it as the act of a jealous lover. Thus two matters were proven: Oliver Chastain, the brother of Orphea, hitherto believed to be an ally of Marius, actually was Marius all along. Additionally, the party now knew that the Reynard family was responsible for the recent Death Bringer attacks.

After her escape from the party and justice at “Dead Dog Alley”, Salome was widely believed to be hiding out at the manor of her powerful family with her mother, Lyris Reynard. Privileges of nobility rendered Reynard Manor a safe haven for Salome against the just excercise of Noirlan’s laws, and her mother was not known for scruples in matters of law and justice where personal interests are concerned. The party camped out on Ancestor Island on a promonotory overlooking Longview Island, the nexus of Reynard political and business interests, to observe the comings and goings at Reynard Manor.

March 25th, 999 PCE
After spotting a lone figure leaving the manor and then the island by boat, the party hailed a charter vessel and gave pursuit. After a brief encounter beyond Noirlan Harbour, the party identified and captured the lone agent: Salome herself. She informed them of Marius‘s new residence at Sunfall Cove and of plans for an impending attack on the party themselves at the Grifter’s Inn.

The party brought Salome back to Noirlan to face justice and prepared a trap for their would-be killers. A street battle in front of Grifter’s ended in victory for the party. In epilogue, Armand Vidal revealed the truth behind the Death Bringer artefact and his family’s ancient ties to it.

The Final Pillar

The Rome party has nearly escaped the eternal city. Only one Mindscape pillar remains to be seized before the impenetrable force screen surrounding the city is deactivated. The PCs, having been rescued from their latest Mindscape mission by Phoenix Archon Mako Kobayashi, have moved to assault the final temple and enter the Mindscape one last time. But upon entering the temple of Mars the Avenger, the party is attacked by a band of allies under the mental domination of Archon Delora Delarmi.

According to Kobayashi, Delora and Morella, the Caesara of Europa and the Emperor’s second in command, have joined forces in a coup to take control of the Golden Empire during Golan’s absence. In response to this coup, the ever-loyal Kobayashi assists the PCs as a destabilizing counterbalance to the traitors’s rising power. He’s trying to buy time for Golan to return and reassert control of the Imperium. It remains to be seen how far he is willing to trust the party.

After the final pillar is deactivated, the party will be locked in a foot race to the finish in a mad dash to escape Rome while fending off the combined might of the Phoenix Order and the Praetorian Legion. But what of the captured gladiators and Britannian spies, those who made this escape possible? And what of the elusive Vento Parmezzius? Apparently Parmezzius has constructed a powerful weapon for Morella and clearly sided with her traitorous forces. How long can the party linger to tie up these loose ends?

Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.


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