The Broken Crown

Jorg's Story: Roleplay

Jorg’s brow furrowed, he was finding it more and more difficult to maintain his boorish persona around his new companions. His infiltration of The Broken Crown had been easy, keeping up the act in the company of orcs and goblins required him to simply mirror their crass behaviour back at them. The Heroes of Woodcrest were less easy to fool.

At times he wanted to drop the act entirely, having a normal conversation for the first time in months would lift a huge weight. At other times he knew he couldn’t allow himself that luxury, not until this business with the cult was over. Then Jorg Grønnfjell could be put to rest and he could go back to his old life, his old name, and his family.

As the group trudged through the mountain landscape Jorg’s mind snapped back to the task at hand. Aligning himself with Fo’zek didn’t sit well, but it was a necessary compromise of his values – a greater evil must be vanquished and the favour of an ancient dragon would be useful. Killing a red dragon, while a slight detour, would at least bring him closer to Kord.

They must be getting close now. Jorg cast his more worldly thoughts aside and smoothed his brow. As he walked he began to commune with his god, he’d need all of the strength that Kord could offer in the coming battle.

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The Anatomy of a Dragon -- no, a Blood Hawk
journal of Dread Admiral, Za'kir Stormcaller

This one is not pleased with the idea of having met a dragon, but the ease of which it murdered hundreds of Blood Hawks was … awe inspiring.

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The Anatomy of a Rust Monster
journal of Dread Admiral, Za'kir Stormcaller

This one does not wish to write his own journal entries, but it seems that this is unavoidable for the time being.
Let us speak of the monsters that rust metal. Through our time underground, we have seen these creatures come from above with intent to devour large patches of ferrous metal. Ferrous. That is a funny word, no?

Hmmm, yes. It has been observed that when a bladed weapon strikes the creatures, they corrode the object. These creatures would be horrible to find upon a ship as they might damage the boom chain or metal ribbing – such things are difficult to destroy, but these monsters would find it easy.

Furthermore, my companions have suffered much loss to their armour because of the two large antennae atop the creature’s insectoid head. On contact, the hairy fins leave destruction in their wake, and even the Stormcaller’s shield is falling apart at the bindings.

Much more caution should be directed by this one’s friends, and perhaps they should take the time to repair their weapons and armour before continuing on.

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Two Dozen Shadows
from the journal of Salzar

Wrenn has proven once again that he is smarter than the others.

We had been heading east to the Arcane Institute in Ponterin to investigate this gauntlet and yesterday we parted ways with his ally.
To the south the raven was sent after we discovered plumes of smoke.

The raven reported back that he had spied several figures moving around a farmland. Wrenn insisted that we investigate, and we snuck closer. It took quite some time before we could get close enough to see, but we did see something worrying – two dozen shadows, undead husks of the former villagers. On suggestion of Wrenn, we fell back.

We arrived back in Erinport in order to inform others, spread the knowledge, warn all. Xara, our old ‘friend’, was there to tell us about the Profit of the Raven Queen, and offered us quite the proposition… perhaps I should talk with Wrenn some more.

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A New Adventure
from Salzar's journal

Today, I set out on my journey with both Wrenn and Wrenn.
Odd, I never realised their names were so similar until I wrote them down.

I am looking forward to all of the time I can spend reading with my gnomish associate, and I intend to get the most out of this.

We have made it to the forest. I sense that Wrenn is annoyed by my presence, but there is something hidden away there – I know that he is glad I’ve come with him. We were pouring over the Sealing of Nerull, attempting to make sense of these mysteries and what exactly is going to happen. Perhaps in time we will discover the truth, and maybe even before it’s too late.

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Harboured in Harboured
journal of Dread Admiral, Za'kir Stormcaller

You have started now, yes?

Journal of Dread Captain — no, Dread Admiral Za’kir Stormcaller, First of Wine. What is the year again? Ah yes — write that down, boy. This Tabaxi has brought the former Captain Isabella to shore, to find her warm road of resting sands. This place is not nice, and this one will not stay here long, no.
Tomorrow we will take our first contract on the seas again. The merchant’s wife gave this Tabaxi quite an eye. Maybe we should be more careful. No, on second thought, cross that out. We do not need a memory of the merchant’s wife.
This jacket does not fit us as well as it did Captain Skyes. What does the urchin think? Hmm, yes. Maybe we should get it refitted. Does the urchin know of a tailor? Perhaps not, no.
Maybe an artist. You? Please, draw us.

The_Perfect_Portrait.png

That is very impressive — this Tabaxi is pleased with your artistry.
Ten gold? That is extortionate! Wait, this one will check our pouch…

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"Survival was my only hope, death to all my only revenge."

After been arrested and questioned for a week, the sentence was pronounced. Lady Emeline Galanodel was found guilty of fraternisation with false messengers. She looked at the circus around her, this judgment was a true farce. Emeline was stripped of her Councillor privilege and asked by the High Priest of the Unbroken Circle to repent by becoming a priest or go to jail for heresy. She took the frock as the less worst-case scenario and showed a feigned obedience, keeping her true feelings in check.

Emeline was praying at the Moradin God shrine with intensity. She has worshipped Moradin for many years, finding guidance whenever she needed it.

“How dare they! How dare they arrest me while I am grieving the death of my husband. What do I care about a Raven queen usurper or not? Now I have also lost the only contact with Enna. Enna, my dear impetuous daughter, how do I miss you. This is an outrage! Please God, help me.”

And then she heard it, the Voice…. “O my Child, I see your soul is deeply troubled. Your pain is my pain. Take comfort in these troubled times. Bring chaos to these who cause us harm. Join me and defeat our enemies. Let those who cross the Black Hand meet their dooms”

Her heart and body were filled with warmth and all became clear. She felt so good but also, she knew that Moradin was not the one who spoke. Bane… Bane answered!

“Dear Lord, I will follow the path you lay before me but first I have to show obedience to get my freedom. Give me strength to serve you well and prepare our future battles.”

“So be it, my Child. Submit to me and spread the dark fear among our enemies.”

“I take the oath to serve you my Lord and to be your obedient servant.”

Emeline looked around, her eyes were in fire. She will get out of the Cathedral, find Enna and then, work out her revenge.”

And day after day, she worked hard on her false repent, gaining trust back from her fellow priests, devoting herself during the day to Moradin and at night to Bane, her true god. None suspected a thing. A lifetime spent as a politician served her well.

And then, the opportunity came…at last. Brother Kevroar Trannyth was mandated to investigate a burial ground by Heatherrock, on which worrying reports reached the Cathedral. Kevroar needed someone to accompany him and she was asked. She humbly accepted, but at night she prayed with deep fervour for what was coming ahead, putting her plans into motion.

When arriving near Heatherrock, a couple of goblins attacked their camp at night. Kevroar was slained but they spared her when in the action, she took out the Black Hand amulet to cast a spell. They just ran away. She reached the burial ground , slightly injured but alive…”

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Aarnekas: A Bestiary for the Curious Traveller (A-G)
A Guide by Wrenn Eldon Uptree Frogbother Prickleback

During my travels across Aarnekas, my companions and I have met a wealth of different creatures. The majority of those listed herein were intent on sending us to the Raven Queen – in Aarnekas it’s best to stay on the beaten track, though even that isn’t a guarantee of safety.

I’ve outlined everything we’ve encountered as of the 19th of Wine, 317 Age of Nine Kings. It’s important to note that I’ve not listed many of the humanoid races who have also tried to kill us during our travels, don’t always assume that you’re safe with folk you meet. Bandits, cultists, corrupt guards, and even innocent-looking priests can be deadly threats.

This first volume covers creatures alphabetically from A to G.

Aboleth

The Aboleth is an enormous creature of the deep, and while we encountered one we never got a proper look. My previous reading tells me that they’re huge and tentacled with a gaping maw full of sharp teeth.

You may find an Aboleth in the Inner Reft, making sea travel rather perilous – however you should be safer if you charter a vessel that hugs the shore. At the time of reading there may not even be an Aboleth any more, as the last Black Dragon we met vowed to hunt and kill the aberration.

Escape from an Aboleth is difficult if you’re on a ship. Advice on encounter: run away, or enlist the help of a dragon.

Beholder

The regular Beholder is a large pinkish blob which floats above the ground. You’d never tell this to its face, but it vaguely resembles a private part of the male anatomy; or it would were it not for the eye which occupies a large portion of the body. Above this central eye are several smaller eyes on stalks.

Beholders normally occupy large caves and dungeons, sometimes beneath cities. By avoiding these kinds of places, you can probably avoid ever meeting one. We encountered a beholder in the catacombs of Reynford, it may still be there so definitely be wary of that place.

Beholders are generally intelligent, but that doesn’t mean they can always be bartered with. In fact it’s nearly always best to avoid. Advice on encounter: run away.

Death Tyrant

The Death Tyrant looks like a giant Beholder skull with a glowing red eye, and is even more dangerous than a regular Beholder. I’ve had the misfortune of encountering one of these, but in the realm known as the Underdark.

Advice on encounter: run away fast, get somewhere that it can’t reach you. Even better advice is to never go to the Underdark.

Spectator

Spectators are like baby beholders, smaller and with a green tinge to their skin (though this doesn’t make them any less dangerous). They occupy similar environments to Beholders and thus are generally avoidable.

Advice on encounter: generally run away, unless you’re very tough. If you were intending on encountering a full Beholder then a Spectator may provide a good practise fight.

Black Pudding

The only Black Pudding we encountered was monsterous in size, but I’m told that isn’t normal. We discovered the ooze on Islæ Nægis where it had grown large enough to overcome its captors; while strictly in Igægi it merits including in this guide to Aarnekas due to proximity. Black Puddings resemble large black mounds of slime and may be difficult to spot in a dark place.

It’s important when fighting a Black Pudding not to use your standard metal weapons, as the monster is immune to their effects and can corrode them with its acidic body. We found fire to be effective enough, though if you have lime or another alkaline substance to hand then this will be much more damaging.

Advice on encounter: if you have magic, fire, or lime, stand your ground. If you only have weapons, it’s best to get out of the ooze’s way.

Bulette

A Bulette (or Land Shark as they’re commonly known) is a dangerous monster with the capability to flatten a town, it leaves destruction behind it and views almost anything that moves as food. The Bulette is shark-like in appearance, with a huge gaping maw and armour plating covering it’s hide.

We encountered a Bulette beneath Reynford and managed to disable it before it caused too much havoc. We did this through less conventional means, by poisoning the creature – a front-on attack was likely to leave one of our party dead. Advice on encounter: disable before it causes too much damage, or attempt to escape.

Cockatrice

The Cockatrice is an ugly beast, looking like a cross between a chicken and a lizard. Individually they’re not a huge threat but if you encounter a nest then it’s best to leave immediately. Cockatrice have the ability to turn a person to stone with even just a small scratch, my companion Jason spent the best part of the day as an impressive statue.

Advice on encounter: if there’s only one then you may be able to disable it, any more and you should take up a heroic pose – you’ll be holding it for a while.

Dog

Everybody knows what a dog looks like, but unless you’ve come face to face with a pack of hunting dogs then you may not know how dangerous they can be.

Advice on encounter: if one of your group has the ability to speak to animals, use it to confuse or befriend the dogs.

Dragon

Dragons are more enormous and magnificent creatures than a book can possibly get across. They are huge winged beasts with impenetrable scales and fearsome teeth and claws, the sharpness of which is only matched by a Dragon’s intelligence and wit.

In Aarnekas I’ve had the pleasure of meeting three Dragons. In all cases my curiosity has outweighed my sense of self-preservation, but only one of the three has promised to kill me.

Black Dragon

Black Dragons are one of the more dangerous of the chromatic dragons, known for their foul temper and burning acidic breath. Black Dragons are recognisable for their jet black scales and almost skull-like heads.

My companions and I were lucky – when we encountered a Black Dragon we quickly made it into its favour. We killed a giant Black Pudding that had taken over the Dragon’s lair, and we were rewarded with large diamons for our efforts.

I imagine in different circumstances we would have been killed immediately for trespassing on the Dragon’s island. Advice on encounter: don’t approach, if you must then show deference and offer your services.

Blue Dragon

Blue Dragons are recognisable by their deep azure scales and large frilled ears. These Dragons are considered vain by others, and the only one we met promised to kill us in a months time rather than immediately as a reward for rescuing it from a sinking ship.

It’s best to stay away from Blue Dragons, time will tell whether my companions and I survive our second encounter. Advice on encounter: don’t approach, if you have no choice then play to the Dragon’s inflated sense of self worth.

Bronze Dragon

Unlike the other two dragons documented here, Bronze Dragons are pleasant and amiable. They have beautiful bronze and green scales and once can be seen flying or swimming around the Inner Reft.

Advice on encounter: be respectful, but also enjoy the opportunity to speak to such a magnificent creature in relative safety.

Drow

Drow, or dark elves, are native to the Underdark and we found that they attack on sight. Although uncommon in Aarnekas, there’s every chance that a band of Drow could find their way here.

Advice on encounter: if you outnumber them then you may stand a chance, though if they have a mage it may be best to escape.

Dust Mephit

I’ve had the misfortune of being blinded by a Dust Mephit and so don’t have a first-hand account of what they look like. my companion, Salzar, described them as imp-like creatures shrouded in a cloud of dust.

Advice on encounter: cover your eyes before they have chance to blind you. As long as you have your wits about you then you should be able to make short work of them with all your senses intact.

Gelatinous Cube

Like a Black Pudding, a Gelatinous Cube will try to absorb a creature into its large transparent cube-like mass. Here it uses acid to slowly digest its prey. These oozes are difficult to see – beware floating items when traversing underground corridors.

Advice on encounter: do not approach alone, as nobody will be able to rescue you. If you’re in a group of strong adventurers, then you should be able to defeat a Gelatinous Cube.

Ghost

A Ghost is the soul of creature that is bound to a place or object from its live. They normally take the form of a translucent humanoid, and strike fear into even the hardiest of travellers. Ghosts also have the ability to possess the body of one of your companions, be wary of getting too close. As if this wasn’t enough, regular weapons have less of an effect on the Ghost’s incorporeal form.

When encountering a ghost, you can aid it by discovering its unfinished business – this will allow it to pass on to the afterlife. Advice on encounter: help the Ghost, if it’s aggressive then escape or use magic to defeat it.

Giant Rat

Giant Rats have a descriptive name, and not a lot needs to be said about them. Although their bite is painful, they’re fairly easy to dispatch or scare away.

Advice on encounter: attack unless you’re being swarmed.

Gnoll

Gnolls are hideous monsters who crave flesh of any kind, they have the face of a hyena and large teeth and claws which they use to tear into people. My group has encountered Gnolls several times, and we’d rather not meet any more.

Advice on encounter: be on your guard – if a pack of Gnolls get a taste for your blood then their attacks become frenzied.

Goblin

Goblins are smaller than most folk with green or grey skin and pointy ears. Goblins are abundant across a most of Odreïn, while not very dangerous individually their sheer numbers can make them a worthy foe – raining down arrows on a group of unwary travellers.

If the tide of battle sways out of a Goblin band’s favour, then they’re quick to turn heel and run. Advice on encounter: don’t let them surround you, if they only outnumber your group 2:1 then fight them off. Be aware that a band of Goblins may be acting as scouts for a more dangerous group of Orcs, Hobgoblins, or Bugbears.

Grick

Grick are worm-like creatures with barbed tentacles around its sharp beak. We had the misfortune to encounter a couple of Grick in our travels, both in dark caves and dungeons – you are likely able to avoid meeting one by avoiding these places.

It can be nearly impossible to spot a Grick in a rocky environment as they blend very well with the stone. Advice on encounter: be on your guard in caves and dungeons, if forced to fight then take out the Grick’s tentacles.

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An Old Man's Rhymes
from Salzar's Journal

Death of a King to open the way,
Bastion’s fall at break of day,
A call that mortal folk must heed,
The scythe that comes to cull the weed,
The moon will cover the sun in full,
… and Underdark release…

The Reaper must rise.

Pelor and Sehanine,
They spin and they spin and she waxes and he wanes.
The Depths,
Beware the Depths! Beware the Depths, one slip and you’re gone, and you’re gone.
Beware the ides of gathering,
Midnight at noon.

I think I know what I need to do when the time comes.

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The Ghost of the Mimic Ship
from Salzar's Journal

“Salzar, if this thing kills me I will haunt you.”

Today I tried to bring a ghost to its final resting spot without bringing harm to it. Whatever was on the ship was bringing emotional torment to it, and when it possessed Dhom, we were worried.
And then the ship attacked. A mimic! But then I summoned a thundering ball of power, tossed it at the ship… and a unicorn appeared.

And then we ended up in a bubble in the middle of the sea with a unicorn. I do not understand the nature of the magic I now wield, but sometimes I think my life is better for it.

Also, Serran aged a little after the ghost showed up.
Salzar sent Wrenn out to the City of Westreach to recover a Greater Restoration scroll, but gave up his secret to acquire this scroll. Now all will know that Jesh is a false prophet, all from the machinations of Salzar. I suppose that’s as good a tie as any.

We will leave Wrenn with Agatha for some time, invisible, to ensure she doesn’t steal the ship.

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