The War of the Green Heart

From the writings of Doric Silvertongue, travelling bard.


With a wrenching sensation the heroes find themselves back in a familiar realm, the cold air and rain enough to tell them they were no longer in the dry of Suran. Red and gold leaves fall from trees nearby, and the cool autumn of the Green Heart is a welcome relief to those returning after a year abroad. Barrett raises his holy symbol to find north, and the group starts moving westward towards the coast. As they pass through the forest the thoughts of the group turn to how the world might have changed while they were away…

Chapter I: Treason

Part I: Who's Coming to Dinner

[Temple of the Sky]

The smoke rose in grey wisps from the blackened remnants of the farmhouse, the rain sizzling as it hits the still warm embers of what was once a home. The field around is left to rot, and the animals malnourished or dead. Barrett grimaces as he approaches an old oak tree outside the ruined house.
Three bodies, hung by their necks in a branch and left to rot in the autumn rains. Nailed to the tree a sign for those who would come upon the bodies: 'Friends of Knife Ears'
Even the normally jovial Stevie J was ashen faced as they burned the bodies.

[The Gangs of Crydee]
Moving through the dense forest the group makes their way to a nearby group of rocky hills, eventually finding themselves coming upon a small village set atop a rocky outcrop. Greystone is an unremarkable village, wooden buildings set around a stone inn called the Stout Dragon. Many of the buildings in town are damaged, and one appears to have been almost entirely shattered. Upon entering the group are greeted by a man whose fine clothes strain over his belly as he introduces himself as Mayor Rumsfeld. He explains that the damage was done by a marauding giant and that while they already hired a hunter, they were in fear that the beast may return to claim their lives. With sense of purpose Barrett and Stevie move out to hunt the giant while Lorgar remains in Greystone to heal those wounded in the attack. The giant proves easy to track, the broken tree branches and massive footprints simple to see even on the broken rocky ground. Further into the hills, at the end of a small river, they find the hunter. Pierce is glad to see his old allies nearly two years had passed since their last meeting, and hugs are shared with the characteristically dirty ranger. He had been hired to hunt the giant as well and had tracked it to an old abandoned Temple of the Sky, an old pagan religion from before the Church of Light became prominent. Taking up positions above the temple they spot their prey, a grey skinned beast the size of a house, and drawing their arrows let loose at the beast.

Pin cushioned by arrows from Stevie and Pierce the giant retreats into the darkness of the temple. However, not before launching a piece of masonry at the group that shatters the trees they were using for cover and sends them diving in an explosion of rock shards. Moving tentatively into the ruin they find the giant in the corner, pulling the arrows from his flesh and weeping. They move forward tentatively and the creature turns to talk to them. With broken common he explains that he escaped from the village, he didn't attack it. The alchemist had captured him and was draining his blood for potions. Barrett heals the creature, and they agree to let it go. Marching back to town they discuss the idea of lying to the townsfolk about having slain the giant but agree to confront the mayor instead. Back in Greystone the blubbering mayor admits that he knew about the alchemist's prisoner, but that selling the giant's strength potions was making too much money for the town for him to stop it. He pays the group their gold for making the giant leave, and even throws in a new horse and wagon to keep them quiet. Barrett is furious but as the man had not technically broken any laws his hands our bound. Travelling along the packed earth road to Crydee Stevie and Pierce make a trip back to Greystone. That night that break into the mayor's house, threatening him and taking the ill gotten contents of his vault. Returning to the wagon the group marches for a few more days in the light rain before the salt air hits their faces and the stone walls of Crydee become visible in the morning mist.

Moving through the stone paved streets of Crydee the group find themselves walking through a city in the midst of autumn; golden and red leaves lining the floor and the townsfolk bustling between buildings in the chill air. Arriving at the Heroes Tankard they are surprised to find their favourite inn closed, the business having not recovered after the incident with the drow over a year ago. They instead take lodgings at an inn in the merchants district called the Minstrel and Cask, and Pierce arranges payment for their accommodation by given up a deer he hunted during the journey. In the city for the first time in some time each member of the Wyrmsbane company goes about their own business. Stevie is given some thieving jobs by his Cult of Shadows as they prepare for the winter solstice, their favourite time of year. Lorgar finds the city devoid of dwarves, and so travels to Clarence's plot of land outside of Crydee to start building a fortified stone tower. Pierce talks to his mercenary friends in the city and gets some casual work hunting ratmen and other mutants in the city sewers. Returning to the church Barrett finds himself being treated like a hero, stories of his exploits having returned with Roland Orville and spread as legend among the eager young acolytes. One even discusses becoming Barrett's apprentice, and after his wealthy noble family puts pressure on the Lector he is allocated to Barrett. Hearing his old allies are back in the city the Duke con Doin invites them to dine with him the following night in the keep. Eager to use the "plus one" he had been allocated for the dinner Stevie J visits many of the city's bars and taverns in search of a date. He finds one in Brenda, a halfling ex-adventurer turned innkeeper who owns the Emerald Chalice inn just outside of the nobles district.

The Duke puts on a fine feast for the group within his keep's main dining chamber and the group enjoys the first meal of its type they have indulged in for some time. Joining the party are the Duke, the Warlock Kulgan, and the Duke's eldest son Arneale, who seems reluctant to talk to the ragged adventurers. The conversation is as pleasant as the food and the Duke is very interested to hear about both Suran and the groups adventures with the portal almost a year ago. Soon Stevie and his new friend Brenda become bored with the conversation and sneak off to find somewhere more private, much to the amusement of the Duke. Finally the group retires to drinks beside the fireplace, before one final serving man comes into the room bearing an empty tray. The Duke waves the man away but the servant keeps walking, dropping his serving platter and drawing two dark wooden hand-crossbows from his robes. Before anyone can react he fires a bolt into the chests of the Duke and his son. Dropping the weapons and dashing across the room he draws a scroll from his pocket and reading aloud the stone wall of the keep collapses before him. Before the Duke's body even hits the floor the would-be assassin leaps through the newly made hole and out into the darkness.

After an instant of shock the room becomes a hive of activity. Barrett rushes forward to heal the Duke while Pierce attaches a grapnel and climbs down the palace walls to track the assassin below. As guards rush in from their posts outside and Kulgan rushes to the Duke's side Barrett does what he can, exhausting almost all his healing energy, but the Duke still looks deadly ill. Attended by the Duke's personal cleric his son looks worse, his skin starting to turn grey. Far below Pierce finds he can't find the tracks of the assassin, which he admits with reluctant admiration. Meanwhile Stevie has returned from his sojourn with Brenda and is slightly red faced at having missed all the fun. Standing at the Duke's bedside with his persona physicians and clerics Kulgan identifies the poison as a rare and exotic venom known as "the Quick Goodnight". Guards fan out through the city looking for the assassin and with the Duke now heavily guarded the party decides to find out for themselves who was behind the assassination attempt. Stevie checks in with his underworld contacts, finding out that only one assassin is known for using this poison. Meanwhile Pierce has the hand-crossbows analysed by a weaponsmith, finding that they are unique and obviously made for their user. Using the name Stevie procured Barrett checks in with the church about the assassin known as the 'Black Wind'. He speaks to the Questioners, the Witch Hunter element of the church who deal in information and knives in the dark. They tell him that two gangs in the city have claimed association with the Black Wind: The Peacock Boys and the Copper Street Gang. Now the early hours of the morning the group rushes to the Crydee Central Park, the home of the strangely named peacock boys. Barrett questions the boys, finding them to be little more than nobles led astray by ruffians from the lower districts. Locking the thugs up in the jails the group makes their way to the Copper Street Gang as the sun rises.

The Copper Street Gang operate out of a tavern called the Jester's Chariot in the brewing district of Crydee. Pierce and Stevie go in during the day, while Barrett hides in an abandoned warehouse nearby with a group of guards. Unfortunately, in their attempts at subtle diplomacy, they manage to alienate the thugs and ruffians within and eventually the gambling and conversation devolves into an all out brawl when Stevie smashes a jug of mead over the barkeep. The two brawl with the gangers within before the fight is broken up when Barrett and the guards literally smash down the door and start arresting the Copper Street members. As the gang members are shackled and carried away Pierce spots a secret door and the group moves down some steps into the gang hideout. Moving deeper into the basement more gang members appear, now fighting with actual weapons to protect their home. Weathering sword blows and crossbow bolts the party slay or capture all they come across. At one stage some gangers barricade themselves inside a room, but Stevie's web manages to trap almost all of them before they can even attack. Finally, behind a heavily locked and barricaded door, the group finds the leaders of the Copper Street Gang. Surrounded by heavily armed thugs a tall man in night black leather armour wields a pair of scimitars, by his side stands a man thoroughly out of place. The knight stands proud in glinting armour bearing a sigil of a mosquitoes, a cruel grimace dashing across his face as his conversation is interrupted. The group piles in, sword, fist and arrow smashing aside thug guards as they mob forward. The Knight swings his two handed sword with skill, but eventually after a tough fight only the Wyrmsbane Company are left standing.

Part II: Lords, Words, Sigils

[Fort Jonril]

The Duke looked deathly ill, the poison doing its foul work despite the healing magic that had been worked up him. His skin was greying, and his veins seem marred by black blood. But if the Duke looked like death his son was something else. His eyes had nearly glazed over, and his skin was hard and cold as rocks. Nearby the best clerics and physicians in the land worked to heal their liege-lord, but they knew his fate was out of their hands.

[Rebellion brewing]
Hunching against the squalling wind, the heroes make their way back through the muddy streets of Crydee. The Guard Tower and it's seagull banners loom against a stormy sky, and they are hurried indoors by guards squinting into rain. Scaling a winding staircase, they deposit the armoured corpse and their captive before the Captain of the Guard, who quickly recognises the mosquito sigil. He explains that the disgraced House of Favell once rebelled against the Con Doin kings, pointing out the black stripe that was placed on their heraldry to denote the betrayal. Though the criminal submits to interrogation, he knows nothing of his master's plans, and is summarily hung for banditry. Piecing together the attack on the Duke with rumours of instability across the Duchy, the heroes conclude that some plot is afoot, and resolve to travel to Fort Jonril, once the seat of House Favell.

Gathering supplies for the journey, the heroes make for the imaginatively titled landholding 'The Woods'. In his bone-strewn lair, they reunited with Punchcat and Clarence, recently returned from a foraging trip for spell components. They report that all across the Green Heart, burned out watchtowers and slain patrols have been discovered, and within a few days they arrive at Greenborough, the most recent hamlet to be targeted. The earth around the village is shredded by rough hoof-prints, and the lazy setting of fires points to barbarians. But they are struck by the lack of actual raiding, and with growing puzzlement, follow the tracks into the wilderness. After a day or so the tracks disperse and they lose the trail, but on returning, are drawn to the glow of fires in a roadside ruin. A gang of savage orcs caper and bicker around a cookfire, a human limb rotated between them on a spit. Festooned with feathers, trophies and warpaint, they are clearly remnants of Garool's failed army, and drawing their weapons without a word, the heroes silently follow Stevie into ambush positions.

Stampeding the Orcs off their feet, Punchcat wades into the fray, splintering and smashing skulls and roaring in blood-fuelled rage. He is battered in return by Orcish mauls, but in a brutal display, crumples the Chieftan's face-plate with a head-butt and rips it's sword-arm from it's torso. In panic, the Orcs unleash a captive Horntail Drake, which turns and savages it's cruel wrangler. Barrett strides through the chaos, his sword blazing with light, and lops the slavering head from it's neck before it can turn on his comrades. As Stevie spider-climbs the tower's exterior, one lone Orc flings javelins, knives and rocks upon him. Each of these he swats aside, mounting the crenelated lip and ending the fight with an expertly placed dart. Salvaging a sturdy wagon found amid the ruins, the heroes hitch up a pack-horse and return to the task at Fort Jonril.

The crumbling castle emerges from the gloom, strewn with wild vines and rotting overgrowth. Cautiously admitted across the drawbridge, the heroes are led to Corporal Rumford, acting commander since the death of the previous Captain. He is surprised to hear of Favells' crimes, pointing them to the fort medic as one of the late nobles' friends. The medic is abrupt and elusive about Commander Halverson's death, leaving Barrett and Clarence feeling deeply suspicious. Setting a double watch, the companions observe the coming and going of patrols, until the Medic tries to entice Clarence out of their shelter with the promise of a spiced ale. Unerringly spotting the closing ambush, the Warlock lashes out with his magic, but staggers back into the tent as an arrow strikes his shoulder. Shocked into action, the party leaps to the offensive.

Armoured figures are pouring up the causeway and out of the fortress, conspirators savagely cutting the throats and stabbing the backs of their erstwhile comrades. Barrett sprints into the mix, whirling and parrying in defence of the loyalists, while Stevie and Punchcat saw into the rebel ranks. The castle gates disintegrate in a blast of ash and charcoal, as more crimson-clad rebels appear. Brimming with black magic, their leader directs his fanatics into combat, but he is suddenly eclipsed by a greater and more terrible darkness. Moved to pure rage by his wounding, the once-frail Clarence has become a figure of terror. His expression a rictus of malice, he summons a nightmare landscape of black tentacles, bursting free from the sodden earth and snaring up men by the handful. Agonised screams echo across the courtyard as the rebels are gripped and squeezed, dying in droves with sickening, meaty bursts. With most combatants frozen on horror, the crimson cleric raises his staff to unleash a counter-curse. But with a shout to the heavens, Barrett leaps from atop the wall, and in a surge of radiant fury, brings his hammer down upon the the heathen's skull. In the numb aftermath, the companions eye Clarence warily as he tends to his shoulder without comment.

Amid the wreckage, shields were found bearing the crocodile sigil of Karse's House Hampton. Atop the black stripe of betrayal, a crown of royalty had been added. The rebellion now fully revealed, the Wyrmsbane Company abandon the fortress with the surviving guards, edging around Karse towards the fishing village of Harf. But as they began to hear the distant crash of waves, they also heard the thunder of hooves, and they found the road barred by a rebel cavalry group. Clad in glossy black armour, their lances and visors were lowered, and they shouted without ceremony for the group to surrender in the name of the rightful King. Hardly needing to exchange glances, the heroes squared their shoulders, grit their teeth and charged.

Part III: The Old Gods and New

[Blackheart's Tomb]

Striding through the marshalling yard, the new Lord-Commander struggled with the straps of his armour. It had been made-to-measure by the city's best blacksmith, but still felt heavy and alien compared to his old Guardsman's hauberk. Putting on a confident expression for the recruits, he shouted a few orders and the troops formed into something resembling a column. As he mounted his horse, the scoutmaster pointed out a small group of armed figures, faintly visible in the nearby hills.
"Nothing to worry about Sergeant," he said. "They're with us."
Upon reflection, he added: "Well, sort of."

[the Fallen Angel]
Knowing that a minor war was afoot, the Wyrmsbane Company picked through the dissident knights' remains for saleable equipment. A small crowd of peasants had gathered to the commotion, though seeing their oppressors slain seemed to bring them only fresh anxiety. In the small seaside village ahead, the heroes saw why. A number of salt-encrusted cages rocked in the easterly wind, containing the bodies of those who had resisted the separatist occupation. Chartering a fishing-boat to bear them up the coast, the heroes endured the belly-churning journey through restless seas and fitful rain. As dusk fell that evening, the adventurers spied Crydee Keep on the misty horizon, it's banners lowered to half-mast.

The Duke was still on his sickbed, too addled by poison to understand the heroes' warning, or the news of his son's tragic passing. As though to ward away the gloom, the companions launched into several nights of revelry, aware that it might be their last chance for levity before the coming battles. Their favoured inn, the Emerald Chalice had employed a strapping fiddler named Bill Dale, a Skald with whom Punchcat gleefully exchanged tales of heroism. The others engaged in an ever-escalating series of dares and wagers, culminating in Stevie waking up in possession of Pierce's entire fortune. Unable to remember whether it had been fairly won or burgled, he sheepishly returned the gold, dissuading Pierces' hunt for an imagined cut-purse. But the fun-and-games came to an abrupt end with the arrival of a package addressed to the Company. Bursting from the box, a hound-sized insect leapt out at Pierce, it's corrosive aura warping and fouling nearby metal and sending patrons running in alarm. With a few agile cuts of his shortsword, the Ranger killed the reddish creature, but was forced to discard the rust-marred blade thereafter. The Rust-Bug was a warning, a reminder from the self-styled King of Karse to keep out of his conflict with the Duke.

The following morning, the heroes awoke to the sound of marching boots. Barrett's order, white tabards aflutter, had assembled in response to the new Lord-Commander Kirk marshalling the Con Doin forces. Emerging from their shining ranks, the Paladin bid his comrades to visit the Duke's advisor Kulgan, who set them the task of disrupting suspected enemy scouting. As the Duchy army deployed south for the crossroads, the heroes and their new comrade Bill took the Mud Gate east, making for Midborough and the suspected separatist holdout. Though the village is abandoned, visible signs of scavenging parties lead the heroes into the forest, where they soon hear the clash and clamour of industry. Creeping towards the noise, they spy a small excavation site manned by Karsian scouts and irregulars, busy wheeling stone and equipment back and forth from an overgrown cave-mouth.

Shouts of panic spread through the camp, as blue-fletched arrows begin whistling out of the trees and scything soldiers down at their posts. As the archers scramble to reply, they send flights of arrows blindly into the dark, until blooms of eldritch lightning begin to savage their formation. As scarlet-robed cultists appear, the soldiers are breaking for the safety of the cave, pursued by hulking figures wielding iron-shod fists and a whirling flail. Though their necrotic spells scorch and slow the oncoming warriors, their blood and brains are dashed to the stone in brutal strokes. Screaming at her followers to rally, a masked priestess levels her staff at the pair, only to be hurled from her feet by the sudden impact of arrows. The last survivors - cowering in the freshly dug graves within - kill one another rather than face the attackers.

Surveying the scene of their ruthless ambush, the Company surmise that the cave is less an enemy staging ground than a dig-site. Finding boxes of plunder and graves full of fresh casualties, they locate the hidden entrance to a sunken dungeon it's corridors filled with ingenious traps and obstacles. Deciphering the temple's hieroglyphic carvings, Clarence warns they have discovered the tomb of Lord Aloran, avatar-prince of the Dark Lady cult. The heroes brave fire-breathing statues, vicious scythes and hidden pitfalls, employing their full arsenal of ropes, pulleys, ingenuity and magical aids. In one corner of the dungeon, a steam-belching Shield Guardian lurched toward them swinging anvil-like fists. Leaping to the rescue of his dazed and battered companions, Bill unleashes frenzied attacks with his flail, smashing the construct asunder and halting its' rampage. In another, the tale of Aloran's ascent to daemonhood enables Clarence to solve an arcane puzzle, unlocking the final door to the heart of the crypt.

Deep below the surface, the cavern echoed with every footstep and the constant drip of trickling water. A sepulchre of mirrored lakes and black marble lay forgotten in the embrace of the earth, a soaring catacomb glinting with the pale glow of magelight. Edging towards the immense sarcophagus, the Wyrmsbane Company felt the press of dread, grimly aware that the being within would be deadlier even that the monstrous Garool. As they approached, a bass note of grumbling earth shivered through their bodies, and the angelic statue towering overhead lurched to life. With a thunderous howl, it spread wings of midnight, filled the chamber with scarlet light, and soared towards the heroes. Stunned by it's immensity, several of their attacks went astray, splashing and skittering off it's stony skin. They scattered as the creature smote into their midst, shattering the stone and forcing them to shelter among the ruined columns. But with a ferocious roar, Punchcat leapt from a broken pillar, latching onto it's torso and slamming his fist repeatedly into it's face. It lurched blindly, savaging him with it's blade and trying to dislodge him, as Pierce and Stevie pulled themselves from the rubble and unleashed a flight of arrows to it's flank. Whipping the chain of his flail around it's leg, Bill heaved with all his strength, reviving the Company's spirits with a melodious shout of hope. As smoke poured from it's cracked visage, the avatar reeled and fell, smashing into the obsidian tomb. Broken open by it's fall, gold, jewels and magical artefacts spilled from the sarcophagus, pooling with Punchcat's blood and the monster's tar-like vitae at the heroes feet.

Part IV: The Isle of Mist

[Fellwinter Keep]

"Tis an a'cursed place that. Some say tis haunted by the wife of a king who lov'd gold more than she, and some say tis the lair of a mighty kraken. None who venture there ever return living. It is a place for the dead and doomed, not for the living."
[Overheard in the Haughty Mermaid Inn]

Bundling up Blackheart's many treasures, the heroes abandoned the tomb. Keen to put distance between themselves and the unnerving dungeon, they were pleased to encounter Barrett on the road. Having assisted the Duke's forces secure the roads between Harf and Greenborough, he and a few members of his Order had grown frustrated with the ensuing stand-off, ranging to ensure the safe conduct of refugees and merchants. Hearing of his companion's travails, Barrett once again lent his arm and resolute idealism to the Heroes of Fandolin. They were soon toasting their adventures in the Emerald Chalice attracting the attention of their sometime-companion Doric the Effusive. Much to the annoyance of Brunhilda the Innkeep, she lost the service of yet another Bard that night, swept up in merriment and camaraderie of the Wyrmsbane Company.

The next day, the heroes went to speak with a number of scholars about the magical playing card Bill had drawn from Blackheart's possessions. To their astonishment, it was associated with a long-vanished lordship, and by possessing it, he had become the title-holder to an ancient keep and waters. The keep, Fellwinter, was the holdings of the dark prince whose tomb they had recently raided. Reading widely, they unearthing the legend of Aloran prior to his descent into daemon-worship. Once known as Aloran the Crusader, he had been a zealous follower of the 'Sunlord' a brutal early incarnation of the Father of Light's church that had evolved over the years into the God 'Solaire'. After being deceived and mortally wounded by a Necromancer, he had forsaken his legendary weapon 'Crusader', and risen instead as the avatar of the dreadful pagan goddess Cimmeria. Disturbed by the reemergence of the 'Dark Lady' cult, the companions laid plans to sail for the Isle of Mist and reclaim it for the Duchy.

The assembly of heroes constituted Barrett and his squire, Clarence and his apprentice, the savagely hungover Punchcat and Bill, flamboyant Doric, grimy Pierce, Lorgar and his crew, shadowy Stevie and a substantial menagerie of hounds, mounts and a bear name Djumbo. Sailing for several days aboard the solid vessel Gnolvengryn, the companions awoke to see the island emerge from its' titular mists. Almost erased by time and the rising tide, the ancient port town of Telmarine was host to several trolls, whose squirming forms and severed limbs refused to die until put down by Stevie's burning arrows. With Punchcat haring off in search of more trolls in a region he names "The Troll Hills", the company ventured overland to Fellwinter Keep. It takes a whole day to travel across the rocky hills and forests of the isle of mist, scattered paths winding through the island as they make their way to the far side of the island.

With Doric hovering above the group to spot sources of light the party moves to the south of the island towards a strange shape. On an island off the coast they find a massive stone cube, some hundred feet across and without a single groove or sign of mortar. Finding a plaque atop the cube they realise that the cube was magically carved to imprison Nehezel, the necromancer who slew Aloran a millennia ago. Clarence scans the cube and seeing dozens of magical and clerical wards the group decides to leave the powerful necromancer to his prison. Up the coast lies a lighthouse, a tall flame burning in its top despite the crumbling structure holding it. Moving across a strange stone bridge to the island housing the lighthouse Pierce moves up alone, covered in his Elven cloak. Atop the tower he encounters a ghost, but is shocked when the spirit simply disappears before he could even speak to it. Shaken, the group moves back to the island proper to the location where they had spotted the keep.

The dark walls of Fellwinter Keep jut up against the ocean, watched over by skeletal archers that shuffle in a constant timeless patrol. Through portals constructed by Clarence and Doric the party blitzes onto the walls, smashing aside the dull-witted skeletons and shattering their bones down into the courtyard of the castle. Moving from room to room they explore the dilapidated keep, finding evidence of a current occupier. Destroying the undead occupying the castle, from skeletal minotaurs to a zombified beholder, they clear out William Dale's would-be home. Eventually they come across the necromancer who had made the creatures, a shrivelled and ancient man who screams and attacks on sight. Although William tries to talk to him, the crazed man throws beams of dark energy and walls of ice at the party and eventually he falls beneath the golden sword of Barrett. Pulling apart the necromancer's possessions the group finds a small journal detailing the necromancer's time in the keep. He had come here almost a century ago to learn from the "master of the keep" a creature he describes with some fear.

With the necromancer's death a previously sealed area of the keep opens and the group moves downwards into Aloran's secret basement. Passing through his armoury Barrett takes from a dusty case the hammer Crusader, locked here long ago when its old master abandoned it. Clarence uses a spear looted from the corpse of Aloran to open a secret doorway at the back of the armoury into the library, where the so-called master of the keep has remained for hundreds of years. The beholder floats above the ground, its dozens of eyes reading ten books at once as they levitate around its bulbous spherical body. It turns as the group enters and even as Barrett draws his blade it begins to speak to William. The two chat for some minutes, while an increasingly impatient Barrett slowly eases towards the creature. Eventually he reaches it and lashes out with Crusader. The beast screams in response, sending beams from its eyes that burn nearby bookcases to ash. Lashed with energy Clarence and Pierce join in, and even the reluctant William begins to attack the creature. Blast after blast of petrification and disintegration beams bounce off Barrett's shield, while his friends attack the creature from behind. Eventually with a sickening squelch the beholder's skull is cracked and it explodes in a fireball of multi-coloured light.

Chapter II: The War of the Green Heart

Part V: Laicisation

[The Siege of Karse]

The smell of death permeates the air, even overpowering the normally putrid smell of the swamps around the city of Karse. A massive encampment encircles the city, men wearing the pale blue of House Con Doin or the colours of dozens of other minor lords. They shiver beneath makeshift huts or within dirty tents, holding their hands above fire pits and gazing off towards the city that had taken everything they had thrown at it. The ancient stone bridges to Karse had been long since cast down, the river blocked by destroyed ships and the swamps filled with the dead and dying.
Outside of the camp dozens of captured Karse loyalists hang on tree branches, makeshift gallows or anywhere a rope could be hoisted. Their bodies rot in the wet warm air, picked at by ravens and infested with maggots and flies. Within the camp the nobles of Crydee share mulled wine in their insulated tents, signing the orders that would send another hundred men across the swamp towards their deaths.

[Entering the war]
Packs heavy with the treasure hoard of Fellwinter the group travels back across the isle of mist and meets with the dwarven ship. Pushed onwards by the autumn winds the Gnolvengryn makes good time back to Crydee, and fond farewells are given to Lorgar as his ship departs for the dwarven colonies of the north. Back in the city the heroes find a cold and desolate place, conscription and the pessimism of war making the faces and fires of the city alike in their chill. Pierce endeavours to track down the assassin known as 'Black Wind', and finds that the man had been busy in the city in his absence. Following the known assassinations of the Wind Pierce finds his work growing sloppier and sloppier, beginning to suspect a copycat at play. This fear is realised when in the common room of the Emerald Chalice the false Black Wind attacks and is easily slain by the group. Questioning the dying man Pierce discovers the real Black Wind has gone south to take up a permanent contract, and with disappointment the fake is given to the Church of Light Questioners for further interrogation.

In the market one day Clarence discovers a strange brown skinned man from the far east selling a powder he claims to have the power of dragons. Unsure but curious he purchases two barrels. Their business in the city concluded the group packs up the wagon and makes their way south to Karse along the coastal road. The roads are quiet but for the wind off the ocean, and the group makes good time through the swamp town of Middenhop and down towards the site of the battle of the crossroads some weeks previously. Hundreds of dead still lie at the site of the battle, the bodies of the men of Karse left to rot after their deaths at the hands of the Con Doin troops. Crows still pick at the bodies and Barrett is dark faced as he views the needless death he witnessed first hand. Matters only grow more grim as the group arrives at the army encampment besieging Karse. Spirits are poor in the massive army camp, and the execution of captured Karse soldiers makes the whole sombre affair even less pleasant. Even the camps makeshift taverns are grim situations, and the group are relieved to leave the camp once again on work from the now Lord-Commander Kirk. Kirk had informed them that the Baroness of the town of Tulan was yet to send men, and requested they go south to make a formal request on his behalf for more soldiers.

Stopping at the Jonril outpost for the night the group is set upon by a group of barbarians riding on strong black steeds. Led by brother and sister druids the group were occupying the outpost in the name of the King of Karse, having been pulled away from their normal lives in the forests of the Green Heart with promise of battle and rewards. Eager to attack, the barbarians are talked down by William Dale, whose silver tongue eases the minds of the warriors. The barbarians agree to leave the castle, and even say they will sail to the Isle of Mist and take up a life there as a reward for Dale's friendship. Slightly confused the group stays the night in the ruins of Jonril before riding south once again to Tulan. Approaching the fortified town the group are stopped by the soldiers of the Baroness, their red and white tabards dirty from days of constant patrolling. They are allowed through, and eventually reach the edges of the river on which Tulan resides.

The town is brimming with people, refugees from the war in the north having created a makeshift camp on the far side of the river from the town proper. The inns are full to capacity, but the group manages to pay their way into the Shepard's Rest. While Barrett and William Dale go to meet with the baroness the others settle in for a day of heavy drinking, enjoying the relative cheer of the town compared with their recent locations. Pierce hears talk of Drow outside the town and investigating a strange cave finds what he realises with shock is an entrance to the Underdark. Knowing of the foul rumours of this place he brings Clarence back to the cave and using his newly acquired blackpowder seal the tunnel with an outrageous "boom" that nearly deafens those present. The baroness is absent her estate, and so Barrett finds himself walking among the refugees looking for the leader of the town. He finds her in the heart of the camp handing out coins to those wretched souls contained within. Her two red tabarded knights watch him with caution, but Barrett finds himself admiring the charitable spirit of the young lady of house Tolbert. The Baroness walks with Barrett for a while, doling out and Alms and clerical healing where he could spare it. They talk of the duty of one to protect their people, and Barrett begins to realise that Baroness Tolbert reason for not sending troops is a just one. Nevertheless he makes a request of her, and the following day William Dale and himself set up a recruiting post for any volunteers who wish to join the war in the north.

Days later the Wyrmsbane company ride back of Tulan at the head of over two hundred volunteers wearing the colours of House Tolbert. The going is slow heading north, the vast supply train of the volunteers slowing down the company's normally brisk pace. Arriving at the camp around Karse they find it smaller than their last visit, discovering upon inquiry that the Bishop had ordered the clerical contingent of the troops away. Barrett meets with the Bishop, discovering that he had decided it was no longer a holy war and therefore the Lord of Light's forces had no place here. The group are suspicious and later that night an inquisitive Stevie J finds a carriage filled with boxes of gems and gold in the Bishop's camp. Investigating he discovers this gold arrived from the King of Karse some hours before the Bishop decided to remove his troops. Incensed Barrett confronts the Bishop, only to be told that his place in the Clergy could be removed if he did not tow the party line and accept the Bishop's decision. Barrett is outraged as the Bishop explains that the clergy should be rewarded for their duties, and it is only right that they are given donations by wayward lords to help the lord become more holy. When Barrett refuses his offer the Bishop attempts to have him arrested, the Bishop's silver speared guards chasing Barrett out of the tent as the paladin mounts his horse and gallops off into the army camp. Gathering the rest of the company they leave the camp even as the bishop's guards begin to fan out to look for them.

Fleeing into the forest the group is hounded by the Bishop's silver spear wielding guards, the white cloaked men chasing them far away from the camp as the group tries to evade them in the dark woods. Eventually they turn and fight, swords clashing with spears beneath the boughs of the ancient trees as the white robes of the bishop's guards is stained red. The guards fight like true zealots, lashing out with silver spears with expert precision and gifting the party near-mortal wounds before dying to the last man. The last man spits as he tells them the Bishop would have their heads, and Barrett's mind is set. Some days later to the north the Bishop rides with his remaining half a dozen guards to rejoin the clerical forces in Crydee. In a flash the carriage is flipped, the guards thrown off their horses as the blackpowder barrel buried on the road erupts with light and fire. As the guards try to rise they are hit with arrows from both sides, Stevie and Pierce making sure the figure walking towards the carriage would have no interruptions. Barrett is a glow of light as he smashes the door of the carriage off with his hammer Crusader. Pulling the bloodied bishop out by his stained robes Barrett rises up to his full height and begins to recite the litany of the heretic. Finishing his judgement he brings his holy hammer down upon the bishop's skull.

Barrett Bray, child of the Light, journeying East to cleanse the heart of the Church.

Part VI: By Another Road

[the Underdark]

They heard it first as a whisper rushing through the caverns of the underdark. A whisper heard far away, echoing through the tunnels and past the dark ruins and abandoned roads. It rounded the corner like a wave crashing on the shore and swifty flowed towards the party.
The cloud moved as if pushed by wind, but it was no mundane weather. A vast broiling wave of darkness moved through the cavern, pushing through rocky outcrops and mushroom forests alike and engulfing all with darkness. The five solitary figures braced as the wave of darkness reached them…

Knowing he could never return to the clergy while corruption remained, Barrett prepared for a long journey. Assured that only a profound matter of conscience would draw the Paladin to leave their company, the Heroes shared a jocular camp-side feast to farewell their long-time leader. His final charge to them was to seek a swift end to the civil-war; indeed as they travelled the wooded roads back to Tulan, they were faced with evidence of it's many horrors. Though certainty about the righteousness of their side had dwindled, the Heroes did not doubt that the common folk were suffering worst of all, and agreed to use the recently discovered Drow tunnels to strike at and finish the pretender.

Watchful for the return of their militiamen, the guards of Tulan greet the Heroes with courtesy. Crossing the familiar river-bridge through the refugee camp, the Heroes were quizzed about the wars' progress. The heroes enlist the aid of House Tolbert to stable mounts, provide supplies and to safekeep various items. But an ancient tree still barring the entrance to the the dark elves realm, so the party sought out the barbarian horsemen they had met near Jonril. Bearing gifts of fresh game and whiskey to their encampment, the companions ask the Shaman leader Cuthbeorn to use his totem-magic to open a way through the roots. While Punchcat engages in a loud contest of bravado with one of the barbarians, William offers items from the party's stockpile of weapons in exchange for the Shaman's services. Eager to arm themselves for the journey to the 'promised land' on a 'wooden horse', the tribesmen agree.

The familiar boom of surf against the coast receded as the companions returned to the wilderness. After a handful of days travel, the road trailed off into a hunting track, with the tribesfolk growing frustrated by the adventurers slow pace. But the seasoned woodsmen easily located the tree-mound, and with a juddering prayer, Cuthbeorn parted the heavy roots and stone to reopen the passage underground. With the barbarians bound for the Isle of Mists, the Heroes of Fandolin tightly secured their weapons, torches, packs and ropes, and ventured into the gloomy cavern. The warren of fractures in the stone spiralled ever downwards, echoing with the dripping of water and the eerie shrieks of distant creatures. Descending the chasm left by the dragon-powder, the Company's increasingly expert routine for negotiating obstacles saw them lowered, floated, webbed or simply carried into the heart of the earth. Huddled around their torches, they set out to capture an elf to guide them.

Heading vaguely towards Karse, the companions were rewarded by stumbling upon a camp beside an underground lake. Blinded by the sorcerous fireball blooming suddenly among their tents, Drow staggered to be scythed down by a volley of Stevie and Pierces' arrows. Though their blades burned with poison, they were routed before they could land meaningful blows, and in exchange for his own life, their leader divulged the signposts towards Karse. Letting him go with some hesitation, the companions navigated poisonous mushroom forests and braved storms of angry, clawing darkness as the delved outwards towards their goal. Beguiled by the cloying musk of a carnivorous plant, Punchcat was only pulled from danger at the last moment by fellow wanderer Pierce, and rockfalls claimed the lives of both pack-mules and severely injured several adventurers. And by narrow chance, the battered party avoided a confrontation with a mind-flayer, the bones of it's many victims crunching underfoot as they limped away.

Following the Drow's instructions, the heroes forged into the Underdark. Time began to lose it's meaning, with days counted only in the expenditure of precious fuel and torches. Pre-ancient roadways, carved by unknown hands, stretched into the vanishing distance, only to fragment again into maddening corridors and awful, echoing gulfs. The companions spoke little, save to point out perils amid the uncertain terrain, and collapsed into the dreamless sleep of exhaustion at the end of each untimed march. One day - whether morning or night none could tell - the intrepid Pierce did not return from his scouting trip. Roused from their sleep to search, the heroes discovered a stinking hollow in the stone, carpeted with old, charred skeletons. Fearing for their friend and gripping weapons tight, they were drawn to a flickering light in the depth of the cavern.

A colossal wyrm, milky-eyed, pale blue and fleshy, languished in a volcanic pool before them. It's shifting bulk sent shudders through the earth, toxic fumes blurring the lamplight as the Lehir gulped and rasped as though trying to swallow a troublesome morsel. With dawning horror, the Heroes rushed into the creature's lair, to either free the Ranger from the monster's gullet, or avenge the death of their friend. Bill and Punchcat bore the brunt of it's caustic breath, raising blisters on their flesh and filling the chamber with the stink of burnt hair. Smouldering and bellowing, they smashed into it's flanks, raining blows onto it's soft but impervious scales. As the Lehir lurched around, goring with upswept, goat-like horns, Stevie sent stinging arrows into it's eyes, driving it to rage. It's coiling body crushed Punchcat to the floor, looping and constricting him, while the flailsman was seized in it's jaws and shaken like a terrier. Irked by the bite of conjured tentacles, the creature hurled Bill aside and reared up over Clarence, gathering another spout of toxic breath. But hurling with all his might, the overlooked halfling flung a crystal orb into its open maw. Erupting in it's throat with a flash of red smoke, a panicking Hellhound clawed free, and the group was hosed with sulphuric blood and fluids. Exsanguinating through it's ruined larynx, the Lehir warbled piteously and died, enabling the warriors reach down and pull Pierce from it's scalding, digestive cauldron.

Part VII: The Trickster's Stair

[The Dwarven Roads]

They had been on the stair for some days now, a steady ascension across a distance none could even try to predict. The stairs were chipped here and there and but for these markings one might think they were walking in circles, so precise and replicated was the dwarven brickwork. Like clockwork the light gems pressed into the walls lit as they passed and dimmed upon their climbing past them. Gem after gem, step after step. Clarence would fly from time to time or levitate, his old bones not made for such lengthy exercise. Even the boisterous Billy Dale began to tire after a few days on constant climbing.
And the steps continued…

[Lost Cities]
Moving out of the lair of the Lehir the group moves downwards once again into what was once a dwarven underground highway. Paved stones and dwarven structures litter their path as they move through the underdark along the long paved road. At one junction they find a dwarven tower guarded by a pair of ancient stone golems, but with Clarence's ingenuity and Punchcat's ability to take an almighty beating they manage to destroy the constructs and reap the bountiful treasure held within. Eventually the group reached a fork in the road and making a bet with a laugh parted ways. Down one path went Stevie and Punchcat, the other Clarence, Billy and Pierce. As they walk Billy pulls from his pouch a potion taken from the hoard and laughing swigs down the strange liquid. Before the others eyes he begins to grow younger, the potion returning him to a tender boy of fourteen years. After an admonishing about his behaviour the group continues along the dwarven road, coming to a point where an ancient dwarven city had been all but destroyed by a massive flow of magma. Carefully climbing across the ruins as the orange molted rock bubbles below them the group are set upon by magma spiders, fearfully fighting off the beasts while they cling to the rubbled with frantic hands.

Exhausted from their ordeal atop the magma the group rests for the night, the end of what they estimate to be their eighth day underground. The dwarven highway continues for some days hence, at times narrowing to ruined settlements and at others a massive paved road. In one such settlement the group comes upon a strange dwarf in black robes who pokes through the ruins with a long pole. The white bearded dwarf introduces himself as Kurgan Oathbreaker, a dwarven outcast forced to wander the "deep roads" after being cast out by his brethren. He produces a chest from his back and offers to sell the group the items he had found in the ruins during his time wandering, but despite the wonders packed within the party are unwilling to split from their hard earned gold and magical items. Speaking for a while the group realises Kurgan is a vampire, and has been wandering the deep roads for hundreds of years. They say their farewells, with Billy Dale obviously intrigued by the concept of having a vampire as part of his growing community at Fellwinter Keep.

Aided by Kurgan's instruction the group makes their way across a massive underground lake and arrive at the 'Tricker's Stair', a massive stone staircase apparently built by the Dwarven trickster god Urgo in ages past. The first door is sealed, and only upon passing a riddle written upon the walls in dwarven script are the heroes allowed access. Passing the first riddle the group are allowed access to the stairs and after many hours of walking upwards realise that these stairs pass for dozens and dozens of miles. They continue upwards for a number of days, legs aching and rests spent trying to find comfort on the never ending steps. Pierce, Clarence and Billy pass riddle after riddle, walking miles between each door as the days blend into one. They move pieces into places, solve word puzzles and in some cases literally wait politely for the door to open. One after another they solve Urgo the Trickster's puzzles, and eventually after days of walking reach the top of the stairs. In a final chamber a small dwarf sits by a bubbling fountain of clear water. He is an avatar of Urgo and offers the group a final reward for passing his masters puzzles. Billy drinks eagerly of the fountain, feeling his life force growing as the dwarven god grants him greater constitution. Clarence also drinks, his mind being sharpened by the enchanted fountain. Pierce drinks last and finds his skill with a bow slightly diminished. No great set back, the Trickster god had gotten the last laugh.

As the stair finally ends the group emerges into an area where the air does not smell so foul, and familiar lichen and moss grows on the stone walls. Passing through the tunnels they spot what appears to be an elven ruin, far below a winding pathway that leads upwards. Having finally found the ruins of the city of Faethron they are surprised to find the ruin milling with Drow. Carefully avoiding the Drow the group makes their way through a massive mushroom forest that juts against Faethron, carefully weaving between hulking fungi in green and red hues. As they moved Billy feels a vibrating from deep below and only just manages to cast himself aside as hulking grey skinned worms burst forth from the ground! Clarence is mauled in the jaws of one and cast aside, while Billy and Pierce fight a desperate defence side by side against the creatures. Although bitten and slammed by the massive worms they eventually slay the last of the beasts. But the noise of the battle had not gone unnoticed.

Rushing upwards pursued by the horns of the pursuing Drow the group walks for several more hours up the winding incline before reaching a dead end. The wall, clearly a human construction, is reinforced and centuries old. Billy Dale pulls out a drum from his pack and blasts the rocks aside with a burst of sonic power. The basement beyond is part of a long abandoned nobles manor within what Pierce identifies as the Mud District of Karse. However the echoing boom of the wall being destroyed had not gone unnoticed and a man wearing the colours of a Karse militiaman makes his way hesitantly into the building. Pierce catches the man without making a sound, recognising him as Old Yella, an urchin from the city. Yella tells the group all they want to know, deceived into thinking Clarence is a priest of the Dark Lady. He tells them of how the entire population of Karse were conscripted into the army, with those that refused being killed by the new King of Karse. He tells of how the Dark Lady religion ruled the city, and the death and torment of the common folk under "King" Hampton. Hearing what Yella has to say the group are more resolved than ever to throw down this tyrant.

Still waiting on Punchcat and Stevie to catch up with them the others sit in the abandoned manor and a plan begins to form. Pierce argues strongly for splitting the group, using the secret tunnels he knows in the city to attack on two fronts. While Stevie and he would infiltrate the palace and attempt to assassinate the King the less subtle members of the party would charge the gate not far from their location and open it. This would allow the encircling Crydee forces to enter the city, and hopefully give enough of a distraction for the assassins to kill the false King. In order to move around the city the group would need disguises, and so at the nearby Lazy Cat inn the plan begins. Billy drinks and makes a ruckus in the abandoned inn, drawing guards from a nearby patrol to investigate. Upon arrival the guards are blitzed by a combined attack by Pierce and Clarence. Stripped of their uniforms the bodies are put back in the Lazy Cat, which is promptly burned down to cover their tracks. Back in the abandoned noble manor with their disguises the group meets back with Stevie and Punchcat, the two having fought their way through the drow forces to reach them.

Part VIII: Legacy

[The Palace District of Karse]

"When there is evil in this world that justice cannot defeat, would you taint your hands with evil to defeat evil? Or would you remain steadfast and righteous even if it means surrendering to evil?" Clarence the Wizened to Billy Dale before their assault on the gates of Karse

[A Company Sundered]
The banners of House Con Doin hung limply over the camp, and fat-bodied dragonflies thundered back and forth through the swampy air. Commander Kirk of the Duchy forces sweltered in his open-sided tent, staring glassy-eyed at his maps of the Karse region. The defences were dotted with red marks, indicating where probing assaults had failed to find weakness and been repelled. Scraps of paper with half-formed strategies littered the table. Bored and exhausted, he looked up at the sound of wingbeats, jumping when he saw a snowy white owl alight on a nearby chair. It spoke with a rich, clear man’s voice. “Kirk – Wrymsbane Company will open the Western Gate before dawn. Ready your troops and look for the green flash.”

The previous night, Billy has grown overconfident in his newfound powers of persuasion. Sporting Blackheart’s midnight robes, he had sought to convince the gate troops that he was a member of Cimmera’s clergy. Though walked to the gatehouse by unsuspecting guards, suspicion broke out when a Dark Lady priestess passed him in the opposite direction. Immediately spotting the impostor, her screams and bolts of liquid darkness sent Billy hurtling back into the alleyways of Karse, losing his prize flail in the pursuit. Returning to abandoned inn, he agreed with his comrades that a coordinated effort was needed to cut the heart from the rebellion and break the stalemate between the siege forces.

Shortly after midnight, the Wyrmsbane Company split into two forces, parting ways with slapped backs, clasped forearms and promises to share in the revels of victory. Wrapped in their elven cloaks and veiled by shadow-magic, Stevie and Peirce infiltrated the outer boundary of Karse’s palace. They slipped unseen through the shallow canals that fed into the palace moat, hugged the walls and entered the grounds by scaling the side of a disused bridge. Easily avoiding the clanking patrols, they swept across the garden-courtyard, and opened a servant’s entrance with the expert twist of a lock-pick. The candle-lit halls were quiet as the castle slept, but on coming face-to-face with unfortunate household staff, the pair spilled blood to preserve the secrecy of their mission. Hastily mopping up with fine velvet curtains, the pair edged closer to the Kings quarters, with Stevie briefly posing as a newly recruited watchman. At last, only one Kingsguard stood between them and their mark, and plunging a dagger into his neck, they pressed on into the bedchamber. Within they caught the merest glimpse of a cloaked figure - the legendary assassin Black Wind - before darkness closed in on them.

Across town, the strike team charged the guardhouse. Bandoleers clinking with exotic potions, Billy and Punchcat charged across the cobbled square, ready to set a terror among the guardsmen’s ranks. But the notorious heroes’ descriptions had been passed among the rebels, and special tactics had been prepared to deal with them. Though carving through shields and armoured skulls with furious swings of his unfamiliar sword, Flailsman Bill weathered repeated cuts from unguarded quarters and was gradually encircled by the enemy. Deftly parrying the heavy blade of a Knight, he pressed a telling attack but was finally hamstrung and cast to the ground. Punchcat’s rampage was swamped with sheer numbers, the weight of pulverised flesh and bone miring him, and enabling him to be fenced in by a wall of spear-points. Alarmed to see his comrade fall, he struggled to raise his weapon of last resort, the Golden Horn of the Sphinx. But as spear after spear plunged into his hulking torso, the tangle of clattering poles knocked the horn from his grasp. Only the sudden burst of magic by Clarence – the now-familiar midnight tentacles erupting through the enemy formations – cleared enough air for the horn to be snatched from the stone and sounded.

At first, the Heroes wavered in despair, the horn’s note tinny and seemingly without effect. Preparing to sell their lives dearly, they were blasted from their feet by the blast of golden light searing through the outer battlements and showering the area with molten rock. Resolving at the heart of the eruption, the pure white form of the Sphinx, restored to its full glory, blazed and roared, sending the surviving rebels fleeing in all directions. Awed by this show of cat-based destruction, Punchcat held out his most prized token as tribute to what he mistook for his totem spirit. Somewhat bemused, the Sphinx’s laugh sent waves of magic washing out across the heroes, and satisfied, it departed again on shining wings.

Through the haze of poison from his wounds, Stevie had watched in horror as Pierce loosed arrow after arrow at the Black Wind. The assassin contemptuously whipped each shaft out of the air with his quicksword, encroaching slowly on the archer as he backed down the darkened corridor. Offered the choice between death and becoming the killers lackey, both had spent their last strength in defiance of the evil creature, finally struck down with weapons still gripped in hand. Gripped by the bleeding corruption of Blackheart, Clarence had long desired the sorcerous playing card drawn by Billy. Irked by it’s insistent magical tug, the Warlock had seized his opportunity when Billy sat alone at dinner following the battle. Plunging his spear into the boy’s unsuspecting back, he had seized the card and been instantly slain. The irreconcilable clash of magic between the Spear of Evil and the Card of Balance snuffed his life from his body, leaving a perplexing scene for the returning Punchcat. Pawing uncomprehendingly though the pile of artefacts, Punchcat lingered in the cursed city for hours that turned into days. Confused and saddened, he finally vanished into the forest, leaving the Wyrmsbane Company’s mixed legacy unresolved.

The Sack of Karse

Surging in through the ruined wall, the forces of Crydee sacked the rebellious city and put it’s defenders to the sword. The victorious soldiers guzzled it’s stocks of ale, smashed and burned freely and took their leisure among the vanquished city’s women. Even for a civil war, the display of savagery and frenzy that followed the Fall of Karse would be remarked upon in future years by scholars of history. Many would wonder what had become of the war’s true heroes - the members of the Wyrmsbane Company – who seemingly vanished during the battle. A curse would seem to settle upon the region with their disappearance, and Karse never recovered from the carnage the followed. The honours would go instead to Commander Kirk, who though victorious, was widely held to blame for the lapse of discipline that rendered the once-prosperous region a burned-out den of miscreants for many generations.

Campaign Appendixes

Dramatis Persona


  • Barrett Bray: Golden haired and fair skinned half-elf Paladin. Worships the Father with utter devotion, and is disdainful of any who breaks his convents. Wanders the land bringing justice to those who have fallen into darkness. Believes himself chosen by the Lord of Light, after an encounter with a Unicorn and his unlikely survival despite the horrors thrown against him.
  • Clarence the Wizened: Clarence stands with years of experience swindling and manipulating his betters. A simple forger and con artist Clarence found his true calling through a magical oath to one of the Old Gods. From this Old God he gains powers to defend himself and destroy those who oppose him. As time passes he seems to become more physically able, his youth returned by his dark patron.
  • Stevie Jayleaf: A halfling thief who follows a strict code to keep his body and mind in perfect shape. His training allows him to perform acts beyond others, even those twice his height and bulk. A good hearted trickster by nature, he sometimes gets himself into trouble with pranks and hi-jinx.
  • Punchcat: Unique barbarian warrior who fights with armoured fists. Occasionally joins the Heroes as they roam the land. Despite his playful demeanour, he is fierce in defence of his friends.
  • Pierce: An urchin from the streets of Karse, who was expelled from the city and made a living as a ranger in the Elven forests surrounding Elvandar. Joined the group as a guide in the forests and has joined them again after their return from Suran
  • William Dale: Travelling flail-salesman who pays his way through some bardic prowess. After saving the city of Lector's Hollow from the forces of Karse, has teamed up with the group in search of adventure. Goes into battle armed with a flail.

Notable figures & NPCs:

  • Lorgar Thunderheart: Dwarven Cleric of the Stormlord who met the party while investigating the corrupted weather patterns in Elvandar. Joined the group to close the Surani Rift, and upon returning to the realm is determined to apply his skills to build the party a fortress.
  • Doric: Named the effusive, silvertongue or "the handsome", Doric is a bard and storyteller. He is an enigma, dropping in and out of lives just long enough to compose a tale or inspire others to greatness. Has been tailing the party for some time, and now follows them south.
  • Duke con Doin: Ruler of Crydee and cousin to the king. Has a blonde bearded and pleasant face, and is beloved by his subjects, who he gives a fine life in his port city. His day to day life is run by his Seneschal, Harold Dent.
  • Alaric: Master of the Cult of Shadows in Crydee. Some say he is an ancient shadow wizard, some a jumped up thief.
  • Sir Bodrick: Current Champion of Crydee as of the last Summer Solstice tournament.
  • Cimmeria: Pagan goddess known as the 'Dark Lady', notable for her sorcery and the cruelty of her followers.
  • Lord Hampton: Ruler of Karse. Troubled in recent times, having long held disdain towards the Duke and the people of Crydee whom he sees as interlopers in his lands.
  • Baroness Tolbert: Ruler of the town of Tulan, a young plain faced woman with a kind heart.


  • Greystone: Village in the hills north-east of Crydee. So named for the stoney plateau on which it sits.
  • Crydee: Trading hub of the Green Heart, set upon the river that runs to the sea. A large city ruled by the King's cousin Duke con Doin.
  • Greenborough: Productive farming town south-east of Crydee.
  • Fort Jonril: Southern most holding of the Duke con Doin, once familial keep of House Favell. More accurately a ruin than a fortress.
  • Karse: Swamp city of Lord Hampton. Split into 8 parts by rivers and canals. An ancient city riddled with warrens and criminal hollows.
  • Harf: Fishing village on the coast of the Green Heart, it serves mainly as a stopping point for traders from Karse or Crydee.
  • Lector's Hollow: Small village of farmers and craftsmen. Famously held off an attack by the forces of Karse with the help of William Dale.
  • Fellwinter Keep: A mysterious castle on the lost island of mist, once the keep of Aloran Blackheart.
  • Middenhop: Swamp town just south of Crydee, home of Kalar the Druid.
  • Tulan: Southern fortified town in the Green Heart, ruled by House Tolbert.
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