The Sphere

And so it begins...
Welcome to The Sphere!

It has been decades since Principal Danseuse Umbrae Khalazza of House Hardegin has performed publicly.

The House Hardegin matriarch has performed during that time, but only for the other houses of The Six, making her upcoming dance celebrating 300 years of Winterfest at The Fair Maiden in Out Town such a monumental event. A monumental and sold out event that is…

Lucky for you, the proprietor of The Bloody Bucket (and good friend) Haakon The Barkeep has miraculously come into tickets to attend the dance. He has decided to invite his best customers and friends to the notorious tavern this evening for a chance to win the tickets. 

 

 

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The Curious Case of The Sharvers of Deren

I suppose it isn't that odd for a family of halflings to spontaneously up and trot off on an adventure. By nature, the little folk have a bit of wanderlust about them. It isn't necessarily odd that the Sharver family of Deren (Deren being a small farming village on the southeastern edge of Wickham Thicket, composed almost entirely of halflings) just up and vanished one day, it is the conditions surrounding their disappearance that make it odd. 

Surely even the most impulsive of halflings wouldn't leave until he had finished his dinner. When it was discovered that the Sharvers were unaccounted for, their dinning table was still full of uneaten food. The goblets were full of wine. The plates had been heaped full of food, but not consumed. On the stove, a  pan of potatoes was still keeping warm and pot of porridge was bubbling over. The idea of the Sharvers leaving this deliciousness was downright uncanny! 

"Deren business is Deren business" as the locals like to say. Deren is famous for an incredibly fertile soil. There is little explanation as to why the soil is so rich, but it can yield up to three times the crop when compared to similar sized farming communities in Homestead. Throughout history, many have tried to annex or lay claim to parts of Deren causing the community to become quite introverted and very leery of strangers.

Because "Deren business is Deren business" they turned to their budding investigator Fenrick Dale. If Litias half-elven boy couldn't solve The Curios Case of The Sharvers of Deren…who could?

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The Meeting

He had the goods. He was making the drop. As instructed. Always as instructed.

He didn't care for the night or the dark. He cared less for it in cities where lurking shadows and singing drunkards could pose a threat or inconvenience. He preferred the light. He preferred conducting his business in plain sight.

He entered the alley off of Cross Street and followed it as it worked its way between two businesses that were clearly closed and probably well past their hours of operation for the day.

He removed his dagger and struck the stone wall of one of the buildings with the pommel three times. The sound rang out sharply in the night. He waited quietly.

A voice emerged from the darkness, "Which way does the sparrow fly?"

As previously directed, he responded "The sparrow flies northwest".

Upon providing the correct answer, a sturdy humanoid shaped shadow came forth from the darkness. Eventually the moonlight provided enough illumination to discern a human male. Not as large as the lighting initially made him appear, the middle aged, balding, extremely plain looking man extended his hand, "Do you have the list?"

"Do you have the gold?" was his retort. 

The exchange was so fast and smooth the coin bag didn't even rattle or clink. Quick as a whisper. 

"This is complete? This is all of them?" inquired the plain man, unrolling the scroll or "list" he had just exchanged a healthy sum of gold for.

"This is all of them in Wickham. Only Wickham. Minus the girl. We had specific instructions not to include the girl on this list or in any of our notes." was his reply.

"When will the others be ready?" asked the plain man.

"Homestead and The Crown should be ready within the next few months…God only knows when we will have The Isles ready." he replied.

"Good…keep up the good work. Send message when you have the next list ready." said the plain man.

"Will do." he replied as they began to exit the alley via separate ends.

"One last question." the plain man hastily interjected before he got too far away.

"Yes?" he asked, now curiously waiting for the question.

"The girl…Do you even know her name?" asked the plain man.

"Aye. It's Vega…Vega Antaeus." he answered as he slipped back out on to Cross Street and out of the goddamn dark city. 

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The Good Stuff

"Did you get some?" asked the wiry man as he peered over his spectacles at the half-orc who had just entered his laboratory. 

"Haakon won't part with none…says he barely has nuff' to cover his demand at da Bucket." replied the huge,  lumbering half-orc.

"A shame," the wiry man began organizing his workbench, full of flasks, burners and a scattering of documents "if Haakon can't spare any we will need to secure our own sample…what of the delivery man?"

"Looks like simple folk. My people say he brings it all da way from da Fens…must be some dumb swamp rat-hillbilly. Same goon every time." the large half-orc snickered. 

"Swamp rat or hillbilly matters little.  He represents the best opportunity to secure a sample," the wiry mans face began to change, a mixture of madness and determination "…follow him. Put your very best people on this. If we can't secure a decent sample from Haakon, we may be able to get it right from the source."

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The Stories They Tell Children...

Parents tell their children fairytales to entertain and oftentimes convey morals.

Parents of The Burning Isles are no different; however, due to the populace the tales are considered a tad too scary and violent for those who make their homes on the mainland. Still, the best stories can travel an infinite distance.  

One of the most popular tales is that of Yataka. Yataka - Overlord of The Fire Mountain is an evil and terrifying oni.

Once he was a great Jinushigami, a Volcano Kami charged to protect Mount Reysalon. Estimated to have been three times its current size millennia ago Mount Reysalon was almost completely destroyed in the largest recorded planar incursion in the history of The Sphere. The same planar incursion that historians say created The Obsidian Sea.

Having failed to protect the mountain, the Jinushigami was punished, stripped of its ability to form a physical body and cast into the void, creating a spirit oni. Eventually, the spirit oni manifested itself on the material plane in a physical body. Yataka was born.

Filled with a vile hatred and an insatiable need to punish what remained of The Isles, Yataka began a centuries long, horror filled rampage of torture, murder and rape forever twisting existence in the kingdom. 

The lore states several ideas;

  • Oni can shape shift, and the fire yai Yataka is no exception. Yataka - Overlord of The Fire Mountain still lives somewhere on Dagon's Teeth and that he changes his form to get close to and then ultimately eat, kidnap or murder insolent children.  
  • Yatakas century long pillage spawned hundreds of thousands of offspring. Yataka reclaims his children who misbehave or show signs of "evil" such as bullying, stealing, etc. He kidnaps them in the night and takes them to live in the volcano. Some versions also have these children being forced to fight alongside Yataka in an evil army versus the current Kami charged with protecting what is left of Mount Reysalon
  • Yataka's spirit can infiltrate your body. If children are insolent, there are common sayings that elude to this such as; "the boy is filled with Yataka", "you have the fire yai in you!", etc.
  • There is a common story told that involves a group of children tricking the very impulsive fire yai and then accessing his fortress and stealing from his riches. Eventually, Yataka catches up with the children and their families. As the thieving children watch he beheads their fathers, eats their siblings and rapes their mothers…thus teaching the children not to take what doesn't belong to them.

Obviously, much of this story must be myth; however, scholars do confirm the large incursion of the plane of water forming The Obsidian Sea and drowning much of The Devils Crown and a large percentage of Sangra and Magia Guerra natives have clear ancestral ties to fiery outsiders.

   

 

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9-14-2017 Session Notes

Date: 9-14-2017

Total Party XP: 2300 (575 each) 

  • You have officially met one another and I sense an adventuring party may be forming!
  • You helped Haakon and Laelia by clearing out the store room of some rather nasty vermin. The level of trust they both have for your party increased from skeptical to reliable (mechanic/score increased from 2 to 3). 
  • You attended the ticket giveaway at the Bloody Bucket and (as was expected) a tavern brawl broke out! Two drunk men were killed in the altercation and one (seemingly their leader) was critically injured. Two others were taken into custody as you were able to prove to Constable Mowbray and the city watch that your role in the altercation was strictly self defense. 
  • Mowbray assured you that he would be keeping a close eye on the party moving forward. 
  • You ended up being awarded the tickets because you were the only four people remaining at the end of the night…after Mowbray and his watch cleared the joint out.  
  • Vega received a strange package containing two, soul bound dolls. They were both wearing lockets with names engraved on them; Marcy (with emerald eyes) and Darcy (with ruby eyes). 
  • You were all present when Haakon advised Wilbur Cooper that a large half-orc known as Skrag was trying to buy a large amount of moonshine and was asking a lot of questions about Wilbur, his family, his travels, etc.
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The Letter
The scroll that accompanied Vega's gift

Dear Vega,

Please take care of these. It would be a shame for them to go "outside of the family".

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9-28-17
SessionNotes

9-28-17

XP Awarded 2400 (600 xp each), 2 honor points & 1 prestige point

  • The party had discussed returning a jade necklace to Haakon, but had yet to return it by the end of the session. 
  • At the end of Umbrae's dance, an assassination attempt was made.

    • Vasha and Wilbur followed the suspected assailant into the sewers and then below, into an underground cavern complex. They were attacked by a horrid looking creature. Part insect, part hairy humanoid, part crab, etc. It nearly killed Vasha.

      • They discovered crude cave carvings that appeared to be a re-imagining of the symbols of The 6. They also discovered an eaten corpse. 
    • Vega assisted with healing and directing Umbrae's team to a local temple of Iomedae. Umbrae was saved and Vega was rewarded with an embossed platinum coin that would grant her entrance into House Hardegin the following night for dinner. 
    • Fenrick gathered two pieces of evidence. An empty phial that he discerned had contained a potion of true strike and another dart that had presumably missed its mark.

      • He presented the empty phial to Quottle who quickly denied knowing anything about it. As he peered over his spectacles, Fenrick thought Quottle got a little nervous when the phial was presented. 
      • The dart was definitely poisoned but, the exact type was not identified.
    • Both pieces of evidence were handed over to the House Armand, Kasatha mercenaries.
    • Fenrick was rewarded with a similar coin and offer as what was rewarded to Vega.
  • Later in the evening, Vega was enjoying a glass of wine after being gone all day when seemingly out of nowhere she was attacked by negative energy. It would have killed her had she not possessed such a strong will for her age.  
  • Haakon informed the party that Ashling had not been back in several days. He was worried and asked that the party look for her in one of the ranger outposts in the Devils Crown. 
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Tempests Reach Chronicle, Issue # 138
Akatay Atajin Named New Warden of The Institution!

Long time judge Akatay Atajin has been named successor to the current warden of The Institution, Ardis Sigin. Akatay Atajin has the reputation of being firm and honest and has sent more criminals to "The Plank" than any other judge in the history of Dagons Teeth. No doubt he will serve the famous prison well. 

For nearly three decades Ardis Sigin has acted as chief warden of The Institution. In recent months his suddenly failing health has become a concern for his family and colleagues. Under recent pressure from the governing bodies of The Burning Isles, lead by Akatay Atajin, Warden Sigin has agreed to step down.  

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10/12/2017

10/12/2017

2000 XP Awarded (500 each), 1 Prestige Point and 1 Honor Point.

  • You returned the jade necklace you had found clearing vermin from the store room in The Bloody Bucket to Haakon. Although grateful for the return, Haakon seemed annoyed that you have yet to assist with locating Ashling. 
  • Wilbur learned the name of the huge half orc that had been interrogating Haakon about the Cooper family business. His name is Hrusk. Haakon also placed an order of 15 jugs of spirits with Wilbur and inquired upon when he would actually receive the order. 
  • A strange Tiefling named Kyril entered the Bloody Bucket and requested assistance locating an empty Ring of Counterspells entrusted to him by his master Asmund the Great. Asmund is a notoriously powerful (and cruel) mage. Kyril paid you a non-refundable 500 gold to begin investigating the location of the ring. He will pay an additional 3500 gold for its safe and secret return. (Skills challenge is currently at 8 successes and 2 failures). He gave you a simple glass bauble to break/smash/crush when you have the ring so he can meet you to reclaim it. 
  • At House Hardegin, Vega and Fenrick received their rewards for saving Umbrae's life. Vasha and Wilbur earned a purse of 2300 gold, dispatching the champion of the House Hardegin fighting pits…a large Choker named "Squeeze". Prior to the confrontation, you stood buy as Squeeze destroyed a helpless young halfling female. The halfling was wearing a strange necklace with miniature elk horns acting as the pendant. Vega was given another embossed coin, this time platinum. House Hardegin seems to be steeped in strange, taboo customs and birth defects.    
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