Campaign Alphabet - B


Sir Balthasar of Moorhulden

Balthasar could very well be the last of his kind, self-identified as a Firbolg, this powerful warrior looks like a giant of a man made into a giant, standing fully 11 feet tall, with broad shoulders and arms and legs the size of tree trunks. Though ponderously massive, Balthasar showed grace in battle and was accepted as a companion of the High Lord Denain when he set forth to reclaim Makalus and restore it to its former glory.

Though showing clever wit and intelligence, Balthasar conducted himself primarily as a bodyguard to the Ogre, Denain, and their Halfling companion, Serafina, eventually earning his knighthood from the High Lord after years of service. An honor which he cherishes as a true act of friendship and trust by his Ogrish friend, and enacts to the best of his ability, serving as the General of the Reaches, a position giving him control over all military personnel and engagements beyond the borders of his liege's realm.

However, the giant-kin's loyalty and friendship may stem from the fact that no other firbolg has been seen in centuries, perhaps hinting to the fact that Balthasar is the sole survivor of some tragedy or natural decline of his kind. Balthasar says little of his past or of his people, and though he has mentioned it a few times, he has never been known to use the natural illusions his people can manifest.

These days, the wizened knight serves in the capacity of his duties to the realm, but has become exceedingly more distant, and even the High Lord is lucky to be in his General's presence, but forgives the warrior's eccentricities out of friendship.


Bugbear Falls

On the Eastern Reaches of the territory held by the World Emperor of Viridistan, amid near-constant skirmishes and contests to claim the region by Viridistan and the City-State (of the Invincible Overlord), sits an ancient, moderately-sized keep that houses some of the most resilient people the Wilderlands know.

Reclaimed a couple of centuries ago after years of fierce engagements between men and goblinoid, Dunkiel was founded by the warlord Efilon on his press to claim more territory for the City-State. He and his army succeeded, executing the bugbear chieftain that had held the keep, and his retinue, by sending them over the cliffs. This act would stick fast in the minds of subsequent generations and earn the keep its current popular name, "Dunkiel" all but forgotten as time wears on.

Seventy seven years ago, however, the forces of the World Emperor took the ill-defended keep and began to garrison it, tenuously holding it for the first few decades, then asserting more control on the outpost in more recent years. A decade ago, the old Vuzughar (landed noble, like a duke) was recalled to the city of Viridistan, and appointed Dal Lago, a trusted officer under his command, as his replacement.

Since Dal Lago took over, banditry, plague, famine, and a number of other maladies have struck the region, as well as increased hostility from the City-State and a number of other disasters and threats have cropped up. The Vuzughar has called for the aid of adventurers in the past, but recently stopped directly recruiting them after a failed coup a year and a half ago. Drastic social changes such as the adoption of the faith of The Black Rider as the city's patron, as well as recent changes in politics and law with Lago's marriage to another noble has only added to some of the unrest that has begun to slowly boil.

To make matters worse, the Emperor and his advisors have instituted an initiative where they send petty criminals and vagrants to the outer holdings of the "Empire" and encourage them to claim the wild territories and the disputed borderlands between the holdings of Viridistan and its neighbors. This initiative has brought many to the region, either in hopes of striking it rich as bandits or adventurers, or to provide services or goods to those who have come to make their own lives. This has made crime rise in the area, but has, conveniently, given Viridistan a buffer zone of rough peoples for which the City-State must contend before they can gain footholds into the Empire proper.

Bihye the Bull

In the cave system to the east of Bugbear Falls, in one of the harder-to-access caverns, resides a mystic and shaman that holds unparalleled knowledge of and power over life.

The minotaur known as Bihye has lived in the region since before Dal Lago began his reign as Vuzughar, and some say before Lago's predecessor, and has weathered every malady and mishap that has plagued the region, all the while fending off raids by other monstrous creatures as well as adventurers, though he has been rumored to give aid and advice to the latter to as many groups as he has ended the careers of.

The Bull, as he sometimes introduces himself as (variably Bihye or Bihye the Bull), while being as fearsome as the others of his race, may well be the greatest treasure of the lands surrounding Bugbear Falls, as some say that he actually knows the rites and spells required to bring someone back from the dead, an art that has been lost for generations.

If Bihye can or will perform these rites is unknown for certain, but it is known that if one should seek his council on any matters, especially topics as dire as death, then they should be prepared to bring a king's ransom worth of gems and jewelry, as its the only thing the minotaur will trade his services for.


The Brotherhood of the Seven

This mysterious organization has been in operation for hundreds of years, and has something to do with the slaying of Aldern Foxglove and his subsequent transformation into a ghast, as well as the killings he perpetrated. Aldern's mysterious references to "the pack" could point to this group.

The Brotherhood is known to own Seven's Sawmill on , and due to their financing of Foxglove Manor, seem to have considerable, if not vast, stores of wealth. In addition, the Brotherhood may have ties to/be the patron(s) of cults, one of which was discovered operating at the sawmill, under the direction of a known High Justice of Magnimar.

A letter referencing "Xanesha, Mistress of the Brotherhood" was found amongst Lord Foxglove's belongings, but who, exactly, she is and, perhaps more importantly, what exactly the Brotherhood is, is anyone's guess at this moment, but a search for this shadowy matron has been mounted.


Let's Meet My Fifth Character for The Age of Worms

And so, here we are again. As stated in my last post and the one before, I lost both my main character and my cohort in a near TPK in Angela's Age of Worms campaign. Able, the Healer, managed to escape and is putting together a new band to continue the quest to stop the coming "Age of Worms" that has been foretold, according to some madman prophet in the Free City.

And thus, I introduce Rill Meadowhisper, Halfling Druid of the Cairn Hills.
1. What do you look like?
Lithe and feral, with shaggy hair and darker, almost ashen, skin tone. Rill's eyes are a bright golden, much like a large cat's, and he might be handsome by halfling standards if it weren't for the constant snarl he seems to wear.
2. Where is your family, if any?
Rill's family resides in and around Elmshire, in the Cairn Hills, northeast of Diamond Lake, where they do trade in all manner of foodstuffs, doing the harvesting themselves.

3. For whom or what would you make sacrifices for?
The young halfling has developed a true love for Oerth and all the natural (be they good, evil, or otherwise) flora and fauna of the planet. These things are most important to him, and he would do anything to keep terrible things from befalling his planet.

4. What is your greatest regret?
Rill's only regret is not having more worldly experience than he already does. Even though he had progressed far in the Druidic ways, he has spent most of his time tending to the Cairn Hills, and would like to expand his reach to do more for Oerth.

5. What are your greatest dislikes?
Those who choose to stay complacent. Creatures who will not fight to protect what they hold dear, be they animals, people, etc.. Artificial forms of life, such as undead or constructs.

6. What topics or activities fascinate you?
Predators and predatory evolution fascinate , and he constantly strives to further his own shapeshifting abilities.

7. What habits do you possess?
Rill will constantly draw in the sand or flex specific parts of his body, watching intently to more fully understand muscle control. He also has an awkward habit of just walking away when he is done talking, or shifting forms and flying away.

8. What secrets do you harbor?
Though he has surpassed the shapeshifting abilities of his Circle and uses the ability with abandon, Rill feels ashamed and unnerved by the ability at times, wondering if he has become an aberrant piece of Oerth's natural puzzle.

9. Are you rational or passionate about your feelings?
Tempering one's emotions has been an important part of Rill's grasp of nature, yet he realizes that without passion, the civilized races cannot fully understand instinct, and more often gives in to passion than rational thought.

10. Are you superstitious or sophisticated beyond superstition?
The Druidic traditions are steeped in ancient superstitions, which Rill holds sacred, and would never abandon.

11. How strong is your faith in your patron deity?
The Circle that Rill was a part of primarily considered Beory, as the goddess of Oerth, their patron, but he holds close connections with Brekka, as a god of beasts, and Sheela Peryroyl as the goddess of nature among his people.

12. How self-confident are you?
Rill sees himself as approaching a crossroads that will lead to his being able to serve Oerth in a greater capacity. This gives him supreme confidence in the coming months, but this may be tested sooner than he expects.

13. What drives you to adventure?
 Rill has spent the years since his early childhood in the harsh, scrubby terrain of the Cairn Hills under the watchful tutelage of a Circle of Druids there dedicated to protecting Oerth from the depredations of all manner of unnatural beings. Hearing tell of a new zombie type in the region, and a band of locals that have traveled forth from Diamond Lake to find out more, he has followed the word of Allustan and traced the party to the Free City of Greyhawk. 

None of this has been put in front of Angela, but hopefully none of it is a stretch, and if so, it can be ignored, as I don't expect backstory to come into play much.

As an aside, I would like to point out that Angela now holds a record in my 17 year rpg gaming career with the death of Cameron. I have lost more characters in this campaign than I have in any other campaign. The previous run was 3, with a Savage Tide campaign that Paul ran.

Age of Worms, Session 24

This session saw us with David out of town on a business trip, so I subbed in with his character since mine had died the session previous. The game resumed with the remains of the party still locked in combat with unseen air elemental assailants.

The fight went slowly and granted neither side advantage, with terrible die rolls dictating much of the action early on. Then, everything went quiet. This is kinda when things went south. Mullins threw up a web that let us use it to help navigate the room, and he and Able made it through to the others with next to no problems, intending to recover the bodies of their friends, and were subsequently attacked. Dairon joined them a few moments later and began helping in the combat effort, but Caine was still trapped on the other side, caught fast in webs.

In short order, Dairon fell to the airy assailants, mercilessly killed before Mullins also fell, with the air creatures using alchemists fire from his pack to catch the webs and slow the progress of those close to or in the webs. Able got Mullins back up and they at first checked a room beyond, but found no egress beyond, then began to stand their ground. Caine fell next, unable to reach the others because of one of the creatures blocking the path and slipping into the spike-filled water below, being shredded to death.

Mullins and Able pulled back into the room they had found and suddenly, the gnome turned on the healer! Able cast Sanctuary and made his way out of the building as swiftly as he could and toward Eligos' manor, on the wings of the Celestial Aspect spell, failing to notice that another Mullins had come into the room and begun to fight, as well. That Mullins fell in battle shortly after.

Though I had no clue, Paul and Angela revealed that the Mullins that had been with us had been a doppelganger and apparently was in league with some of the bad guys we were facing or about to face. Treachery! I know many players who might get angry at this duplicitous gameplay and betrayal by a fellow gamer when they work with the DM, but I love it, and I've used it more than a few times, with even helping me out with it before. The guy plays it so naturally.

Though a majority of the party died, David confirmed via text that he would be willing to continue after we all agreed that it should be his call on if he would pursue the mission further, and so our Healer will be putting together a new team to rid Oerth of the horrible menace of the green worms.

I have no clue as to if Tami will be rejoining us, since she didn't show up this last session (I assume because she didn't have a character), but Paul said she had been thinking about a Thief-Acrobat type. Paul, himself, has begun construction of a Psion/Thrallherd, and I raised the level of a Druid I was going to bring in when I decided to bring Sagt in, instead. I assume David will also be working on a new cohort, since Caine bit the dust.

Dairon val Eite, Human Bard 5 - Me (cohort) (deceased)
Mullins, Gnome Rogue 3/Wizard 3/Mirror Master 1 - Paul (deceased)
Able Nightengale, Human Healer 7 - David
Caine Smithe, Human Marshal 5 - David (cohort) (deceased)