Monday, June 13, 2011

The Chronicles of the Seventh Moon, Session 4 (Part I)

Day 30, Month of the Festival, 757 years since the Fall of the Gods, end of spring

The adventurer companies of the Hammers of the Dawn, the Red Wolves and the Stonefists had reached Baer’s Tower. The town was located at the end of a sinuous road, atop a small rocky plateau, whose center was occupied by a massive tower, crowned by five turrets, with blue flags flaying the flaming hammer – symbol of the Road Marshal. The small city itself sprawled around the tower, filling the uplands. A heavy gate, after a dry hoist-bridge, linked the road’s end to the elevated town. At the other side of the plateau, a heavier and more fortified gate connected Baer’s Tower to the Road of the Mountain and the Dance of Flames, the perilous path atop the Mountains of Eternal Fire. A great portion of Baer’s Tower was abandoned, particularly the blocks closer to the walls that overlooked the plateau’s borders – a legacy from the War of the Dark Banners*. These new ruins were called Empty Town and constantly assailed by kobold gangs, hunted now and then by the Guard and even the city’s adolescents, but never fully eradicated.

Crossing Empty Town, the Hammers found immense wagons, pulled by buffalos, indicating the presence of a Halfling Caravan. The nomad Silent Folk, although reserved and close-lipped, were also known for their rules of hospitality, cheap services of good quality, and also for brewing the best tea of Aldar. Heian and Garet separated from the party to gather information and talk with the halflings. Hilguen, always worried about the more “unlawful” members of the Hammers, sent Nogard and Drícia after the pair.

The vanyr barbarians of the Red Wolves decided to camp outside the plateau, sending only the young brothers Beolrus and Beltia inside the walls. The dwarves of the Stonefists also camped outside, but closer to the road. Their leaders – Kazdum and Barani – followed Hilguen.

Drícia, Nogard, Garet e Heian enjoyed themselves at the Halfling Caravan. The first encounter was with the halflings twins Dorek and Ilard, which provided ample sample of the Silent Folk’s hospitality, serving the heroes with surprise-cheese and even find a diviner to read their fortune (something that didn’t pleased the maiden-priestess Drícia, who noted that the halfling diviner was an adept of the mad goddess Zerakin).

Meanwhile, Hilguen, Beolrus, Beltia, Kazdum e Barani were victims of a kobold ambush. The trap was set by a kobold sorcerer using illusions to pass himself as a young human child. The little pests were more a nuisance than a real threat and Hilguen succeed in capturing K’buk, the sorcerer. During the short battle, members of the another adventurer company came in to help. Calling themselves the Avengers of Gôteintor**, their leader was the cavalier Aramis D’Eris the Defender. The Avengers were in Baer’s Tower due to the summons to face the Goblinoid Uprising. Aramis was also interested in catechizing the local kobolds; in fact, tied to his horse there’s a line of the small wretched creatures. 

After leaving the Halfling Caravan, the other Hammers went looking for Hilguen. Hearing a sudden and strong rumble, they found a technomagic laboratory deep inside Empty Town – with the damaged sign “The Iron Tower” – run by the two brothers, exiles of the powerful Melkar Empire. The oldest, Raspar Vishrenko, sold some bombs to the party and charged them with a special assignment: recovering part of a technomagic machinery, lost in the mines north of Baer.

The Hammers regrouped in front of the Lonely Inn, at the fortified heart of Baer’s Tower. All the adventurer companies that heard the summons were stationed there, with the exception of the Erased Rune, a renegade dwarven mercenary company, and the Daughters of the Unicorn, a small amazon phalange, both camped out of town.

Inside the inn, the Hammers of the Dawn meet many other companies of adventurers, like the friendly Knights of the Mug, the fey Emerald Champions, the young Circle of El’dar and the weird Lunatics (a company composed of a masked half-elf of dubious sanity, a drunken half-orc brawler, a fugitive technomage and an axe-wielding duelist).

In short time, the Lovely Inn was the taken by a rowdy revelry, with duets of bards, drinking games, information (and spell) exchanges and even one marry proposal (to the total fright of Heltz, a fighter from the Knights of the Mug, who saw himself engaged to the barbarian wizard Beltia because of some obscure social rule of the vanyr). Things started to get rough when the amazons of the Daughters of the Unicorn entered the area. Hilguen quickly noted that a major tavern brawl was on the way and decided to withdraw his company. The Avengers (also leaded by a paladin) took the same action and followed the heroes.

Later, the Hammers ventured out of town to search for the lost technomagic device of the Vishrenko Brothers. Reaching and entering the mines (guided by a mechanical servitor), the party was constantly surprised by small but persistent tremors. Legends told that all earthquakes of the Mountains of Eternal Fire were generated by the nightmare-filled sleep of Gromunfang, the Red – the mythic dragon trapped below that range by a Luminar hero centuries ago. The party kept going down, without noticing that the tremors were not only getting stronger, but also following them. This important fact was only brought up when the company reached the technomagic device – a broken drill – and was instantly surrounded by a thoqqua swarm. The group succeeded in repelling the thoqquas (and also took rare organs from the one fiery worm brought down). Heavily wounded and drained of healing, the Hammers retreated to town. The technomage brothers were happy to pay the group with firearms, ammunition and small trinkets. The elf Heian was the only one against the deal, revealing his fey distrust of technomagic***.

After nightfall, the group slipt up again. Garet and his wardog went back to the Halfling Caravan; Heian spent the night talking with the fey of the Emerald Champions; and Drícia quickly became friend with the Daughters of the Unicorn.

*A little about Baer’s Tower: In older times, Baer was known as the Fire Gate, the only road through the Mountains of Eternal Fire to the west – specifically the riches of the Crimson Savannah, the Wild Lands and, finally, the golden hills of Cimeris, Realm of the Amazons. The War of the Dark Banners changed all that. Goblinoid migrations, kundravian demonic servants and curses, the giant serpents of the drasendór and other sinister weapons sealed the Mountain Road. The passage was protected from the Blaze’s heat and the mountain range’s volcanos by a series of warding pillars built by the wizards of Iktar. However, many of such structures were damage during the War, with great portions of the Road being taken by magma, earthquakes or the local salamander clans. With the closing of the Road, the merchant houses of Baer’s Tower disappeared. The Marshal of the Mountain Road, Garamus the Hawk, responsible for the protection of the east side of that region and of the city of Baer, decided to start mining to supplement the city’s now scant resources. He was able to found iron, copper, a little gold and even dragon-stone. Dragon-stones are elemental rocks attuned to fire, eagerly desired by artifices, blacksmiths, alchemists, arcanists and technomages. Once the Marshal found dragon-stone, he edited a Bill of Dominion, claiming property over the mines around Baer, in an attempt to restore the city. This didn’t stopped clandestine miners and diggers from exploring the region, but the local (hostile) elemental fauna dissuades most of such invaders.

**The Lion of Bronze, dead god of law, justice and perfection.

***A natural consequence of the fact that Technomagic devices are built with primordium or divine steel, an antimagic substance created by the Fall of Gods. Some believe that primordium actually is derived from the bones of the dead deities that fell over the Scar.