Shattered Lands Broken Men

Game Session VIII

Returning via ferry from Ridgetown the companions are somber. Skylar is fuming, although he does not put words to it. His apprentice of 10 years, whom he has known since she was three years old is dead. Crogan continues his power meditation with Rhead. Upon return to the ferry dock, Jensen explains that they will be cutting through the mountains eastward.

After six days of traveling, following making camp and bed for the night, all the companions wake up in a foreign place, in a building of sorts. Rhead is not there. They have all their possessions. The structure is not of any make any of them had seen before. The walls are made of a smokey ice mixed with a solid substance. Crogan can best identify it as looking infused with bluish energy, almost like the manifestations he has accomplished with his own power. When he touches the walls the blue light reacts a bit, but not to any of his other companions touch. The room in a shape of a circle, does not contain an outside wall. The grade of the floor slopes in that direction. From the ledge it appears to be near 200 feet to the ground. Crogan sees blood stains on the floor and the exterior wall going down.

In the distance, there seems to be a huge camp. It is impossible to say for sure, but by the size of the sprawl it may be close to 25,000 strong. Crogan also noticed flashes of shadows in the sky. He is not able to make out any detail in the quickness of the moment.

The inner wall contains an unlocked door, that leads to a spiral staircase down to the another level. On that floor there is an identical “cell” this one locked. Jensen unlocks it unveiling three children age 10-14 near motionless. Physically they appear unharmed, they are pale and suffer from patchy balding. They are horrified, and respond to nothing that is said to them. Crogan offers food which they take, but no other response is given. The party leaves them with the door open. On the next level it is the same. Here Crogan attempts to push a child harder for a response. The child backs away even more fearful. Crogan uses “Missive” to calm the child, telling him he is his friend. The intrusion into the boys mind is to much for him. He jumps out of the tower opening to his death. The party leaves this room the same as the other. There are two such level as this until they reach the ground floor, that opens to a long hall to the rest of the fortress.

Embarr is distraught he fears this may be the fate of his two boys.

They come to a large room containing 18 benches and eight psions working on their subjects. The party positions itself for battle with out soliciting any reaction or notice of any kind. Jensen strikes first to which the Psions then defend themselves. In the heat of the battle Crogan does not notice to they are nearly victorious that the Psions themselves are merely adolescents themselves no older than 13 or 14 years old. Following the battle the 18 subjects remain unconscious. Embarr searches amongst the psions and the subjects for his sons to no no avail. Crogan unbinds them, then leaves them be, remembering the last encounter in the cell. During this, two armed people on patrol enter the room and exit out another way. Neither stopped or seemed to notice the companions intruding upon there space.

To be continued…

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Game Session VII

+111 Group reunites outside Rivmon. Crogan tells Skylar about the assassination attempt and his intention to go to Ridgetown to confront Shoo and Pestilence. Up in the mountains there are a dozen or so towns that operate boats going down river to deliver iron, copper, amd other precious ores and such. Skylar explains that Ridgetown was just like any other mining community, until a few years back it was overrun by brigands. He has never heard of Pestilence, but they could be those same brigands or what formed in the aftermath.

All the honest men left Ridgetown leaving only the thugs, thieves, and miners escaping broken contracts. They raid the boats coming up river from them, seizing anything for themselves. Those in the king’s service blame it on the revolution as they do most things. Rivmon and Higurd are charged with sheriffing these parts. And there have been some efforts to that effect, however to large a force can not pass through the mountain roads and to small a force end up in their graves.

It is also true that Rivmon and Higurd are on the take. All the profits from these mines go to Normarch and even all the way to Eberhold. Blacksmiths in the area have alternate supply lines with these thugs and there is little real local motivation to force any change. Irregardless, Skylar is concerned that Crogan has put them on a dangerous path that does not put them any closer to their real objective in Nom.

After deliberation Crogan decides to take ferry up river docking a days march outside Ridgetown. On the cliff road outside Ridgetown they are confronting by twelve outriders. The outriders demand their intentions or for them to turn around. Crogan offers a bribe, which they are willing to take a 100 gold per, to allow them to pass. Crogan then uses psionic missive to direct the leaders horse to trot to the ledge. The sudden movements work forcing the leader to slip from saddle and fall to his death. The remaining outriders are willing to take a more reasonable bribe to allow their passing.

Ridgetown

They arrive at Ridgetown late that night. No one at the inn is willing to even listen to them about any question about Shoo or Pestilence. The party settles in to a room and will continue the investigation in the morning.

In the morning the see a boy be harassed by an older bully at the well. Crogan steps in refilling the boys water pail. The boy does give some information about Shoo and his brother Scram but he is obviously too scared to say much, eventually he drops his pail and runs rather then risk more.

After that they find a drunken street beggar who offers his help for more drinks at the bar. At the inn he then insist on riddles with more drinks. He is delaying so that his “well” doesn’t dry up.

It occurs once in every minute
Twice in every moment
But never in one hundred thousand years

then

Voiceless it cries
Wingless it flutters
toothless bites
mouth less mutters

Eventually a waitress passes them a note to met her in room left open for them on the second floor. Once there she chides them for getting a loud drunken involved. He will have them made for what they are up to in no time. She offers to help, showing them a secret door from the room into Pestilence’s base in the mountain. She leads them in stating that she knows they way because many nights she has been taken back here, so men can have their way with her. Hanna leads them in, alerting them of a trap along the way. Eventually she take them to a room with a lift that is used to move goods from the hidden cave harbor below. Here she pronounces them dead as it is really is an ambush. The party defeats her and four others.

They continue down the path jumping into a close door after hearing footsteps running to them from the barracks. In the room they notice a flash of movement as they see someone run down a staircase. They pursue, the stairwell is long going down several hundred feet. Eventually as they exit into the underground harbor, they catch their prey. It is Shoo. A battle ensues. Shoo is formidable, he badly injuries Crogan. In the midst of the battle his brother Scram intervenes with his pet bear. The party eventually prevails, but with great loss. Raquel was slain.

They escape via raft out of the harbor, returning down river left to wonder if the losses suffered was worth it.

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Game Session VI

+88: Party is back on the road. Rhead unveils to Crogan that he believes Nom has been abducting children to “form” them as he did to himself. This is what has most likely happened to Embarr’s children at Wharveton. Rhead expresses that despite Crogan and the others prowess, it wont help if what he believes is true. How does one fight those that can manifest the mind. There is great risk, but Rhead offers to “form” Crogan. Crogan agrees, Rhead begins instructing Crogan in mind-bending (psionics).

There are three checks fr success:

Knowledge: To learn the concept. (INT)
Failure penalty: None, can never attempt that skill again.

Possession: To find the energy required from within oneself. (CHR)
Failure penalty: None, can never attempt that skill again.

Control: To find the willpower to control the power. (WIS)
Failure penalty: Results in one permanent loss of a HP. Three consecutive failures or five lifetime results in loss of a constitution point. The skill can be used, but with uncertain effects and penalties applied as previously outlined.

Crogan succeeds in learning knacks, Def Precog, minor metaphysical weapon. He failed in constriction and bite of the wolf.

+100: The party arrives at Rivmon. Skylar, Rhead, and Raquel make camp a couple of miles outside the city. Weric will gather supplies. Embarr will drink at the tavern. Jensen is going to meet contacts. The city is bustling with activity. A tournament begins in two days to commemorate the Joramon, lord of Rivmon’s wedding. The award to the victor is a sword sworn to be amongst the finest crafted. Crogan registers to compete. A young boy, Cassal, interjects to be his squire. Barding will be required for his horse as will arms panted on his shield. The squire will assist him. That night he is jumped by an assassin named Poppel, sent by Pestilence. Shoo is the leader of Pestilence that sent Poppel. He is in Ridgetown.
Letter
+102: First day of the tourney, Crogan has two matches. He defeats Serwin, unhorsing him on his first pass. He later defeats Warren, unhorsing him on his second pass.

+103: Second day of tourny, Crogan defeats Lorno. With Crogan up two lances to one, he unhorses the champion Lorno. Crogan utilized psionic power missive and Def Precog to gain a slight advantage. As champion, Crogan, is awarded the prize sword by Lady Ema, he names it Flame.

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Game Session V

+87: 14 days on the road east the party comes to the town of Spring. The name coming from the hot spring contained with in town. They decide to restock and rest here for a few days. Weric is excited, as he knows Spring is famous with wealthy travelers for its luxuries. Skylar will not enter the town with Rhead, as he knows the strain of too many people near him can have. He will set a camp with the wagon a couple of miles out of town. Raquel attends them to assist with set up and plans to join Crogan and the rest in town later that day.

Crogan and company enter through the town gates and head to the stables. Once there they are confronted with a vicious looking man who attacks them with huge great sword. Crogan and company defeat him. In the attached house they find the stable owner. He tells them that the man that attacked him was named Vilnin. Vilnin had been torturing him and is part of a group that raided the town a fortnight past. They have run amok taken whatever they wanted from the city. They slaughtered the guard and have tortured anyone who showed the courage to stop them. The gang was nearly 50 men strong in total but other are worse than the rest. Galyn is the leader. Pilanor, wears a green cloak, he spends most of the time in the church when he is not taking from the village. Burl spends most of his time in the tavern; he is biggest man he may have ever seen. The Jackal scares him the most; he has taken residence in a house where he sleeps with his pets.

The group head to the inn, there they find five henchmen. A fight breaks out when Crogan and company refuse to explain themselves. After it concludes the inn keeper tells the group much the same thing as the stable owner. He also mentions Pilanor’s piousness, and suggests that someone speak to the Priest at the church, Feldryk. The whores at the inn have small scratches all over there body, caused by the Jackal and all his animals. They offer Crogan all the gold they have left to kill him. Crogan agrees but first the group decides in needs to attempt to rest. They are lead to a hidden entry to the attic to do so.

Their rest is interrupted, when outside they hear a commotion from the street. The group runs out to see 10 men surrounding a woman. The woman is Raquel and she is trying to fight off her would be rapists. Battle breaks out, the party quickly taking out the thugs. They retreat back to the inn to attempt to mend more.

They are again interrupted with noise, this time from down stairs. The inn keeper has been murdered presumably for not giving up the location of Crogan and company. A party confronts the Jackal and his five pets, actual jackals.

After defeating the Jackal the group heads to the tavern to face Burl. There they are confronted by six more henchmen before Burl joins the fight. A naked man jumps into the fight later as well; presumably he was partaking in other activities upstairs.

Crogan then heads to the church. Leaving the church they see a man in a green cloak who. Inside they see a priest and a bodyguard. Raquel notices that the church is decorated in a multitude of different often contradicting religious themes. The priest leads them upstairs to Feldryk, whom asks the party to kill Galyn and retrieve a valuable necklace and ring to him. He tells them that Galyn is located in the former elder’s house not too far away. He is asked about the décor of the church and states that he welcomes all types here in celebration of religion and that it honors all of the guest that come to Spring.

At the elder’s house the party found six of Galyn’s men dead downstairs. Upstairs Galyn is dead with another four men, all seem to be poisoned.

Returning to the church, the priest instructs the party that Feldryk is unavailable. Crogan goes upstairs anyway. There they locate a hidden entry all the way down to the basement. In the basement Feldryk is there with Pilanor. Feldryk tells Crogan that he turned Pilanor from his path of misdeeds and Pilanor liberated Spring from its captives. He thanks Crogan and his group for their assistance with the others. Feldryk suggest that they see the town apothecary for medicine to help with their injuries.

Crogan and company head to the Apothecary. They are offered potions, when a thud is heard from the back. In the back the bodyguard from the church is seen tying up a man that seems like the apothecary. The man out front is now recognized as the priest from the church. A fight ensues, with Crogan and company killing both.

They head back to the church were they confront Feldryk and Pilanor just as they were about to depart. Feldryk confesses that while he nothing to do with Galyn and company, he was exploiting the town and the tithes received from the church. He was a con, no priest at all. Crogan and company defeat both of them.

The people of Spring are greatly appreciative to be liberated from their tormentors. The deceased inn keeper was building a residence on the south side of town. The town offers to use some of the money recover from Feldryk to complete the construction and giving the property to Crogan.

Spring

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Game Session IV

+71: At Weric’s suggestion they go to a tavern in the warehouse district to inquire about access to the tunnels. The warehouse district is commonly known to be occupied by some of the seedier citizens. Black market merchants specialize in moving stolen goods through their networks using a combination of underground burrows and false walls in many legitimate buildings. The tunnels start to this smuggling operation, the thieves that organize these efforts tend to partake in the same locale. Crogan and Weric enter the district tavern. They inquire with the barkeep, with no success. Eventually they socialize with a group at a table that is betting on arm wrestling. Crogan takes part, winning a match. They solicit for “work” to gain access to the tunnels. They agree after receiving a few rounds of drinks to meet Crogan a few blocks away. At the meeting there was an ambush with four against. Crogan and Weric is victorious, forcing one survivor to show them how to access the tunnels.

+72: The next day, they visit the apothecary to acquire strong sleeping herbs. That evening they treat the guards at the stockades to beers laced with the herbs. The two guards fall asleep within a half hour, allowing for Crogan to sneak out Embarr to the tunnel entryway at the armory. Jensen the AWOL rebel from Crogan’s home pleas to escape with them, Crogan allows it.

In the tunnels all was smooth until they came upon a smuggling operation in progress. Combat ensued with nine men. Crogan and company find exit, but dawn had come and the search for them had begun. Radim, Ulsen and Donerak’s other four guards came down on them to attack. Crogan’s company defeated them taking their horses in the process.

+73: Arriving at Elman’s estate, Crogan, meets Elman and Raquel there, with them is man named Skylar. It is explained that Skylar is a paladin of an old, long thought to be defunct order. The Herald predates Hacon the First. It was them that called forth prophecy that many believe that Neven’s conquest over the Gehan fulfilled. The prophets believed that one would come to usher in a new man. The establishment of the Nevenease theocracy satisfied that call. Many of the Heralds saw truth in that and reordered behind Hacon believing him to be the embodiment of the true god in the realm of men. However a small minority did not. They doubted that Hacon and the establishment of a new Eber Nation satisfied the true scripture. Skylar is a man of that following. Raquel, Elman’s niece, is his apprentice.

Elman is a scholar first and foremost. He has long studied the histories, through this pursuit Skylar was commissioned to recover old tomes. That was 25 years ago, and he has served the Magister since. The study of these tomes showed a different tale. They did not speak of a Man, or a family as was often told amongst the Neven followers. It spoke of a new kind. The writings went beyond Birthright and spirituality; it was a more tangible power. It was not righteous; there was darkness in the texts.

Elman’s interest in the old prophecies was largely academic until 15 years ago. At which point he proved the old scripture true.

Crogan is led down to a basement to meet Rhead. Rhead is tall but gaunt, even in his oversized robes. He is elderly or at least appears so. His skin is pale to the point it actually is missing pigment. He is wearing a thin metal helm. He takes it off, showing the unnatural patchiness of his hair. In spite his seemly disturbing appearance, he has pronounced presence about him. Moments go by in Rhead’s tale, when Crogan and the others realize that Rhead is not speaking at all; at least not audibly. His words simply manifest in the minds of Crogan and his men.

Rhead tells the story of his youth. When he was five his brother Nom was born. He was born hairless and white as a ghost. His eyes were of a red hue. His appearance unsettled the village. More so, it unsettled their father. He remembered overhearing his father arguing with his mother, wanting to kill what he called an abomination. He explained it was the only way, to rid the sickness. Rhead’s mother refused. His father continued to plea, he spoke of others in his family born so afflicted, it seems it happened in their line ever so often. Each time the babe would grow to be mad. Some murdered, others committed suicide themselves, others simply were driven crazy to point of indolence. His father stated that the lessons were learned and his family would dispose of such babes. Rhead’s mother still refused. That evening was the last Rhead ever saw his father.

Nom was still loved by his mother. Rhead, even though he looked odd, still looked out for him as a big brother would.

Four years later, Rhead returned home for the day following reading lessons with the town scribe. What he saw horrified him. His mother laid on the floor in the great room, her body stiffened, her hair falling out, her complexion had faded. The worst was the expression of her face, her eyes were locked open and in the pupils you could see tinges of pain. Her mouth was open in the shape of a soundless scream. Rhead, vomited at the sight. Then he realized. His brother was gone; he is the one that did this. He left out to look for him. He had to know how, and had to know why. He found him out by a creek outside the village, actually Nom found him. Rhead could not move, not from fear but physically could not move. Nom came to touch his frozen brother, the simple touch caused great pain, even so Rhead could not scream. He felt as if the reach of Nom’s finger extended beyond into the depths of him somehow. That was the last Rhead remembered.

Three days later Rhead was found, much the worse for wear. Nom was gone, never seen again. Rhead looked much like his mother did. His hair had fallen out in patches. His skin looked bleached. He body felt as if it had been beaten. Other things were different as well. But he lived. The village looked after him for a bit, but he knew despite their sympathy they would never be comfortable around him. He also could not be comfortable around them. It began a few weeks after he was saved. The headaches, the voices, would penetrate his mind. He could not stop it. He heard everyone’s secret, but knew no one’s as it was as a crashing wave against a wall. Other symptoms appeared. It was not to long after that he was found by Elman and Skylar. He has been in there care since.

After Rhead’s tale, Elman speaks of Nom. He believes that Nom is the one prophesied of. He also believes he is the one behind raid in Wharveton, he fears what may be afoot. He asked Crogan and Embarr to escort Rhead; they should seek out Nom. Skylar will go; he is Rhead’s sworn protector, Raquel as well.

Jensen suggests that if the raids are by sea, then the rebels may be able to help. There is hidden seaport that acts as their Headquarters on the eastern shore. It may be that their ships have come across these raiders.

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Game Session III

+35: They arrive at Crossing. Embarr and Jensen are jailed in the stockades. The conscripts are dispersed to settle throughout the tent city of nearly 2,000 soldiers in training.

+36: Training begins. Crogan is instructed from with the main training grounds. The men there are from all over. Evaluations take place as they run through drills. Crogan attempts to display his Archery skill as a test amongst his fellows in camp. He suffers a close defeat to the hands of a hunter conscripted out of Respo. Later, Master of Arms Jahndreal, speaks to the new arrivals. Crogan learns that in the spring he and his fellow conscripts will be shipped off to Eberhold. The winter will offer the best lee time, as the mountain passes in to Eberhold will be impossible even for the single traveler more less a legion of Gehan soldiers coming down from the continent. War is expected to breakout again with the Gehan, no one seems to put too much thought into the growing revolution, at least publicly.

+66: After a month of training Crogan makes quite the impression. Jahndreal the MAA of Crossing summons him to quarters. Jahndreal is a veteran of the Great War, a general actually. Jahndreal learns from Crogan that Crogan’s father is from Norfast and he served under the Ghost of the Mountain. Jahndreal marks that Crogan’s fighting style is more common with those of Eberhold, not from Norfast, were his father was raised. Jahndreal offers Crogan officer’s commission, then goes on to relate tales of the Great War. Including the tale of the Mountain pass, were Castor earned his name. Further, he repeats whispers, suggesting that the King murdered those that attended the Queen’s memorial service at the temple in Seasee near Seamarch. He opines that even though the revolution has run hot and cold since the war, he is more concerned about that then any effort of the Gehan to rebuild old fortifications.

+70: During training Crogan sees a robed figure speaking with Embarr at the stockades. That eve on liberty with Weric, they are approached by that same figure, whom turns out to be a woman named Raquel. Raquel requests that Crogan met her at another location to discuss a proposition. Crogan meets her, finding her uncle, Magister Elman, the lead advisor to Lord of Crossing, Jain. He has a task that requires great discretion. He wants Crogan and Weric to break out Embarr from the stockades and to deliver him to his personal estate 15 stones south of the city. Elman explains that he would request Lord Jain release him to his self, but he cannot risk him declining. Crogan and Weric agree to do so, Elman recommends seeking entrance to a tunnel system used by some of the thief gangs in Crossing.

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Game Session II

+6: Crogan and company depart. The Laketon farmers are just that, more adept at handling pitchforks and scythes, none had a real weapon amongst them, except Crogan. In journey most of Donerak’s men are stand offish with the conscripts from Laketon. Donerak does not seem to like Crogan, observing Crogan’s attempt at leadership amongst the villagers as reaching to far over his standing. Crogan does befriend Weric; one of Donerak’s trusted seven.

+9: Nearing Wharveton, smoke is seen on the horizon. Donerak does not care, writing of Wharveton as none of his concern. Finally after Crogan and others insistence persist, Donerak gives in. Investigating Crogan and Donerak learn that the town was raided from the sea. Everyone slaughtered, all children missing.Embarr Colger is discovered there setting funeral pyre to honor his town’s folk near 300 corpses. Embarr is drunken and enraged in grief, his wife is amongst the dead and his son’s, Josa and Bacom among the missing. He was traveling when the attack occurred, arriving at home only to discover what had happened. After he is disturbed from his drunken nightmare, he accuses Donerak and the others of being culpable. Embarr is subdued and taken captive, his grief and rage do not subside. He is bound for the rest of the journey. Crogan and Weric make a few to the wagon he is restrained in, only to find sober Embarr acting out as a rat in cage. His anger at its height he will not speak rationally to any of the caravan. He does request whiskey, when denied the fit of rage proceeds anew.

+ 21: While on the march to Crossing, the caravan is ambushed by 40 rebels. Donerak and Crogan prove formidable, too much for the revolutionaries. Only 10 men are lost despite the lack of training and proper weapons. The only rebel that survived is Jensen, the eldest Bella son, who wasn’t MIA it turns out. He was merely turncoat to the revolution. Jensen is taken captive and shares a wagon with Embarr.

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Game Session I

Crogan Longshank is the son of Craine and Ella Longshank. Craine is a veteran of the last great Gehan-Neven war, near 20 years ago, serving under Castor. Craine was awarded for his valor by grant of land ownership over the town of Laketon. The village is small, dependent on its own farming and fresh water fishing. Craine is of failing health.

Start: Day One
+ 0: Crogan is hunting with his friend, Loros the merchant’s son, when after tracking a white stag they are attacked by a brown bear. Loros is slain, before Crogan could react. Crogan skins the great bear’s hide to present with Loros’ body at Laketon.

+2: Crogan returns Loros body his father, only to learn that his own father is dead. Craine was well-respected, drawing a large crowd from the near 120 village populace.

+5: Following Craine’s funeral, Sir Donerak, Carnell, and his 7 (Weric, Branson, Delmon, Carter, Jaker, Radim, Ulsen) guardsmen visit to demand taxes or conscripts in its stead. Sir Donerak serves Crossing, the providence capitol and its lord, Jain. Crossing is calling its banners to support Eberhold and King Hacon, as the Gehan are attempting to rebuild its ruined keeps on the eastern front from the Great War. Tensions also remain high with a growing revolution. Crogan is commanded to enlist conscripts from his townspeople. He at great risks decides to limit it to one male per household between the ages of 14-40. At the Bella farm, the master of the house being too old, only had his 14 year old Jon to provide. Jon’s brother Jensen, was already a soldier, currently missing for two years. After listening to the pleas of the Bella elders, Crogan decided to spare Jon.

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