Destiny's Road

The fork

Though they may not realize it the group has stumbled upon long buried truths concerning the forgotten history of the world. Weighing the arcane information in The temple of two promises Lumiere pushes to consult his fellow elves but does not reveal to them the tablet. Watcher, concerned more with the Giant’s Wood then the elves she makes his own way to protect what he holds dear.

The elves express a possibility to recreate the miasma but do not seem confident. They are grateful nonetheless for the group finding out what had happened and clearing a way so they can come to a decision about what to do. They explain that the orcs are the Burntclaw Horde and war has plagued Whitecrown for centuries which provoked their creation of the miasma in the first place. Not sure what to do they scatter to the trees leaving to group to move on.

Supplies are needed and Lumiere wants to show Cyril the tablet. The town is tense after the development that occurred while the group was away. The Wizard spends a few days with it and divines its nature. It is a compass of sorts which leads to a cache of lost history relating to the temple they visited and the history of the world. He explains that the contact with tablet has allowed him to see hidden things beyond the world they know. That it points to long hidden truths. With Lumiere’s assistance they decipher a compass function which holds the inscription, ""Two answers lie within, one a promise, the second begins, the world asunder, the world laid whole, one the price, the other old.". Parts of the phrase are buttons in two different colors.

The development with Whitefield and Ten Hills causes jubilation and concern among the townfolk and party. The prisoners sent by Graysprout are given the choice to serve under the clergy to find their penance. All of which agree rather then facing the wrath of Garyson. And shortly after that resolution a rider pierces the Giant’s wood into Whitefield.

The man is slumped over a regal war steed, adorned in armor and religious,if not somewhat risque iconography. He is awoken after medical aid and introduces himself as Zachariah, Paladin of the churn of Shelyn. Handsome and a little dumb the knight is pleased to meet the group, who hides him momentarily. He is unsure how he got here having been wounded by orcs while investigating one of the destroyed towns nearest to the Horde. As the group ponders a direction to take Zachariah is happy to help until he meets back up with Whitecrown’s forces.

The path travels next to the Giant’s Wood and a half day north of Ten Hills at its closest to the town. The second night travelling is interrupted just after midnight. An assassin aligned with the Burntclaw Horde!

The rolling hills seem hide whispers of danger as they follow the direction of the tablet. Its possible anyone but Zachariah might have heard rumors of the Cyclops tribe that lives near the border of the Vast Despair. If not it is a startling encounter when they stumble into a pair of the settlements hunters stalking for food. It in the battle the group is grievously injured and Lumiere is slain beneath the blade of a Cyclopean axe-head.

The group lacking any other option brings the body back to Whitefield. Here Shepard Gerner is able to Raise Lumiere from the Dead. But his recovery will take weeks. While he begs his party to go on without them they refuse reassuring that without his mystical prowess they would not even know where to look.

While Lumiere recovers the group visits Ten Hills and the newly elected Mayor, Graysprout. Their reception is cool but unobstructed. They are given the run of High hill manor and the town. The Halflings give up some wealth and help rehabilitate the graves overgrown with time.

When the group returns to the place where they faced the Cyclops hunters they come across swathes of web with various desiccated animals hanging just above the corpses. From a hidden corner of the web a Giant Black Widow hurls her web at the potential meals.

it begins to rain. At first pleasant mid spring showers. Its makes it harder to build a fire but offers no other downside to the travelers. As the rolling hills begin to flatten before black soil the rain falls harder. A blanket of storm clouds blot out the sun making it hard for those without expanded senses to see in the increasingly dreary weather. Exploding from a field of dug up stumps is a huge boar with spear like tusks foaming at the mouth thundering toward the group.

The terrain is increasingly damp as the soil starts to turn to thick mud. The rain continues without any sign of letting up. The Giant’s Wood shrinks and disappears marking their passing the border from one land into the next. Boggy stench crawls toward the party and parts of the horizon are swallowed by pools of fetid water. The tablet holds a steady bearing clearly visible even in the wet. The person who named this place did an accurate job. Hearts sink as they endure the sight.

Shortly after entering the Vast Despair the group is greeting by some of the horrid native denizens. A flock of decomposed birds. Songs birds, sea birds, other types varying size and species descend on the group in a ravenous swarm. Hungrily pecking and biting as they hover.

The place seems treacherous to the living. Food is harder to forage here perhaps because of the large undead presence. Although it does not actively effect the party even cursory magical knowledge alerts one that the land here radiates underlying Negative energy influence. It is nearly a weeks travel from the border before they come across anything other then muck. City walls and dim torch lights call out from the rain. An inviting thing after all the trudging around they have endured.

The city is Coffinborne, the home of the Necropolitans. While they are surprised by the visitors they are not a hostile people. A copper penny a head is asked for as they enter and they are directed to a ramshackle inn, called Haign’s. Its small lacking many amenities but the owner seems happy for the new faces. The accommodations are really nothing more then some blankets near the hearth but Haign doesn’t charge more then a silver a night.

During the first night at Haign’s the group is visited by a Necropolitan named Cornelius. He introduces himself at the Lord of Coffinborne and is curious about the groups reason for travelling to their town. He is a grandfatherly figure whose easy nature sometimes makes it hard to remember his undead nature. He is happy to answer any questions the party has.

The tablet urges that the group makes its way north west from the settlement. Cordial warnings from the town are given. Almost as if to slow the group the town comes to offer wares and services it is easy to tell that they are worried about their living visitors. Nonetheless cobblers, scribes and merchants all take the time to come to Haign’s.

Outside the city walls the group feels eyes watching from the mist. The rain seems to have subsided and a thick fog has taken its place. Just before they make camp on the first night a band of feral undead charge out of the mist hungry for living flesh! Even after the enemies are struck down the shadows cast by their fire make nerve wracking shapes throughout the mist.
The tablet glows brighter as they approach until the blinding purple light fades away into the dull stone once a thatched tomb peeks out from the fog around the third day. Standing motionless next to the entrance door is an undead figure, leathery flesh barely clinging to dusty bones. Its moans in common so thick with some unknown accent that it makes it a task to understand it. “Entrance here is forbidden.”.

The guard and other security imply a greater desire to keep the resting dead sealed in then usual. The floor inside is slimy from the swamp seeping in bit by bit over the years. Five hall ways stretch out like spokes on a wheel. From one of the hall ways children’s laughter echoes.

The tomb is filled with cunning and dangerous undead not least of which is Belarius himself. All which seem to be guarding a manuscript penned by the scribe, the Eulogy Archive. Through their telepathic link Lumiere’s sheath comments at the book, “The chronicle of my birth…”.

The temple of two promises

The miasma that haunts the Giant’s Wood and protects it from outsiders as it divides Whitecrown was spawned from a temple older then memory and a mystery to the wisest aware of it. Business in town keeps Garyson from joining the group but the elf called Watcher temporarily joins the group to see them to success. It is obvious that Watcher’s only loyalty is to the forest appearing indifferent even to its own people. The Tree Singer only wants to restore the miasma to its previous strength and makes no illusions otherwise.

The temple lies north west of the meeting with the Elves which with Watchers aid will only take three days travel. Watcher employs magic to make sure everyone is fed without having to disrupt the forest’s denizens or use rations. At the first night of camp the group meets some of those denizens. A pack of hungry wolves!

The next few days are quiet as the group traces deer paths through the ancient red woods. Mist hides the canopy for the majority of the time producing a light but constant trickle from the accumulated condensation. Watcher intones that they are within hours from their target when a group can be seen ahead cutting through the brush.

p.The Orcs seemed to be searching for something and the canny observer might assume they were headed to the same place as the party. For people who have not seen fulls Orcs before these monsters strike a fearsome figure. They wear the same insignia as the previous Orcish encounter.

The temple is rough hewn stone covered in ivy and moss. Its design is ancient and it seems to be centuries without suffering a disturbance. Watcher has the key to the temple door which hisses and spews dust after the lock is turned. When the group moves forward through the wide, twisting halls the way is lit by patch of bio-luminescent moss growing inside. Carvings one the walls and words fade from a life time spanning centuries or more. Patches of words in Elvish, Draconic and something that resembles a dialect of Halfling survive in various sections of the temple. As they wander through the dimly lit maze something slides around a corner. Bits of metal flicker in the moss light as the cube of garbage filled ooze lurches toward the group.

Much of the temple is filled with roots and mud or bare stone long looted or abandoned. The murals are carved in and some seem preserved through persistent magical effects. One path illustrates varying breeds of dragons vibrant and strong but as you progress the pictures display the great beasts dying. One corner has an intricate etching of a Halfling Druid willing a great tree to sprout up and grow. The group might be impressed that is animated with Illusion magic. Another is a grotesque list of unnameable monsters no one here has ever seen. Possibly the most lifelike of the murals…which makes it all the worse when one of the pictures peels itself from the wall to attack!

The monster is an ancient thing. From another world and another time. A skitters on six legs with twisted face of a spider and a whip like tail ending in a fanged maw. To those who understand Abyssal it repeats a single word again and again. When it is slain tendrils of palpable magic wisp away and trail further into the temple as if drawn in.

The temple seems to have long sunk into the earth making the floor shift at odd angles. Puddles of foul smelling stagnant water breech the stone from where the floor has cracked. Energy can be felt all around even to those without magical training or senses. A scent like brimstone and ozone drowns the bog stench. Muffled singing echoes from some unknown direction. The puddle begin to bubble suddenly as small creatures with leather wings crawl out of the muck.

Alot of rooms and hallways dead end making the route a process of elimination. Even though stripped bare the walls seem to reverberate with memory. The dust and dull glow reach out to the adventurers posing a question at the edge of their lips with each opened door which lingers half formed and unanswered as they leave. One of these doors opens with a screech inhabited not only by more of the Ooze Mephits but also a locked chest just behind them.

As the group continues the invisible mystic force pushes against them like a stiff wind. The walls crackle with static electricity and the animals are becoming uneasy but not so much that they cannot be managed by their masters. Some pattering sound echoes louder and louder until finally the group finds another Ooze Mephit dancing clumsily cradling some gem in its arms. As soon as they see each other the Mephit crushes the gem in its hands and melts into nothing. A rumbling erupts from behind them and a waves of water rushes forth roughly hurling the adventurers deeper into the temple.

The smooth stone floor thirstily drinks the water leaving the group disoriented and damp. The singing that some of the group may have heard earlier is clearer and louder down here but still some ways away. Handfuls of rooms lie open in the small web around them suggesting one last opportunity for sanctuary before closing in on the mystery they were sent to unravel.

Rested or weary the group finds an altar room at the end of the maze of bare rooms and hallways. Here is the source of ancient power permeating through the site. A sprawling statue depicting a swarm of all dragonkind with etchings of halfings barely perceptible from the passage of time. Strange things lie littered around the large room and the floors has about half an inch of fetid water. Sitting on the altar below the statue is a creature of sublime beauty dripping wet and singing some sad song. The fey creature is violently insane and has no intention of letting anyone leave alive.

As the Lampad dies and withers away strange fittings around the statue glow softly with pale green light. A slab of stone worked with ancient writings seems to be the focus of the illumination and is easy enough to free. The writing seems some advanced form of wizardly code.

An afternoon aflame
the journey back home

We begin again in Rivvihuas on the way back to Whitefield and home. Phoebe has business with the House of Maps and so the party seeks refuge in the arms of Gnomish Hospitality once again. The air seems tense and city guard can be seen on nearly every corner. As the group looks for rest and respite one of the guards calls out. Its Klaus from their last visit. He had decided after the madness before that he would abandon his merchant career to help guard his people.

He explains that some of the most dangerous criminals in Under Country have been seem in public for the first time in years. So the city is on high alert. He offers to buy them a drink when his shift is over and wishes them a fond farewell before returning his attention to his duties. Klaus is happy to see the adventurers who he regards as friends. The sight of the hats help calm a great many of the troubled citizenry.

The group becomes targets of the nefarious element as a clutch of thieves tries to steal their hats. Phoebe is sadly robbed but insists on returning home before justice is found.

Leaving the Gnomish city onto the bridge invites the first real conflict the group has faced in weeks. Goblin saboteurs swarm on the bridge interrupted by whatever chaos they are planning by the group. A cadre of goblin warriors and a sixth goblin twisted by foul magic. They also have a large explosive device strapped to the bridge. They want or wanted to destroy the bridge for whatever reason.

Once the bridge issue is resolved one way or the other the group travels north on the old road home. The trek takes a day shy of week before Whitefield is within view. One of the first things the group spots is their developed land. People work the land paid by Cyril. They seem surprised to see the group. “Ghost-eye said ye’d return but I din’t believe ’im.” one of the farm hands mutters.

A mysterious figure rides into astride a massive Elk, an elf from the Giant’s Wood seeking Lumiere and his friends. The figure, obviously an Elf ignores the staring townsfolk and excited chatter. It waits dispassionately until the group comes into view addressing Lumiere in Elvish, “You are later the expected. Come, you are summoned.”. The figure does not wait for them but heads back into the Giant’s Wood.

Regardless of how long it takes the group to organize and follow the summons the Elf is waiting just inside the forest. “This land is in danger.” the figure intones without looking back at the group. The towering forest looms over the party as they wander down the old road northward, something no one from Whitefield has done in generations. Light strains to pierce the canopy and animals undisturbed by travelers for so long scatter into the brush. The figure grunts conveying mild annoyance as voices echo ahead. It is a group of Orcs speaking their brutal tongue.

Once the conflict resolves the party is led to a section of Forest a few miles off the road. A handful of elves wait in a grove. They all wear serious tones and the trappings of various mystical and religious occupations. A white haired female leaning on a gnarled staff. “You are the first outsiders to be invited in this place in many years. But so many less then we had hoped. Your help is now required. Some of you.” she gestures at Lumiere." May help for love of his people but also to learn the truth of his unique companion." now at the sheath. She looks at the Hobbits, “You may help because what threatens us will surely consumed all you hold dear once the Giant’s Wood is naught but ash consumed by their war machines.”. She looks again to Lumiere, “The mist dissipates and we cannot stop it. A war not our own will spill through here and many will suffer for it. Make your choice now. Help us protect this place or return to Whitefield and prepare to be sparred no longer from the horror that infests your lands.”.

On the shoulders of Our Lord of Iron
Saving Garyson

Emerging from the ruins of Kret into a deafening wind on the edge of a narrow peak. Frozen clouds hang just below the adventurers threatening to swallow them whole. Above them is a beautiful blanket of starlight in the strangely clear night’s sky. A narrow path carves into mountain sloping down. The sight is a comforting thing to the weary travelers.

.The group decides to doubles back and finish exploring the ruins. So they return to the passage to the temple which is decorated with surprisingly well preserved paintings of surreal scenes giving a dream like impression. The arch ways into the temple are once beautifully carved visages of the Goddess ruined by damage that appears to be intentional over the centuries. They open to a domed temple reeking of decay and rot. Scrapping noises start to echo as the denizens look to greet the new arrivals. The undead who dwell here exist as an affront to the goddess laid here to guard the temples treasure and to insult its memory. On the altar is a book bearing a glyph against evil undisturbed for as long as the temple has fallen. “Necromancer Fruu I have seen through the grace of Desna a foul presence reached through the void between stars and into Councilman Daedalon. Something calls to him and he answers. Already I feel a ripple of evil taking root in the city. A first step in many which will ruin all we hold dear. I seek to you as I know of no other who would hear me in good will. If we do not stop Daedalon and his masters our world will be torn asunder. Please consider my words.”.

The site nearest to the exit from Kret is safe from weather and wandering monsters. The path along the peak a precarious at best. Hours into the Journey the path opens up a ice slick plateau. Light gathers under the frozen ground and glows softly. A song wafts down from the peak captivating as it is deadly. A Harpy is nearby and starving.

After the Harpy is over come the party can traverse the plateau and make way back to the path. As they take the first turn around the mountain they can make out something in the distance. A tower curling up into the horizon like an elk’s horn. A thousand fires glow bright enough to illuminate the high walls at the edge of even the keenest eyes among the adventurers. “There it is.” Argyle mutters causing the snow in beard to shower down to his boots. “Your friend is there.”.

The days ahead are rough travels Phoebe is put to the test guiding the party down. The paths that twist and intertwine are treacherous. Chunks of the mountain routinely break away and crumble to the ground below. The weather is severe and unpleasant. Food is scarce even for the wiliest forager. It takes time but the group navigates it way off the mountain and onward to the tower.

Waiting for the group below is a canny pack of Worgs who watched much of the groups descent. They ambush the group in a pincers but are cut down and skinned.

The group bleeds and harvests the Worg which attracts horrifying attention. A young white dragon flies through the frozen mist and helps its self to one of the bloody carcasses. As it seems prepared to fight for its meal it is caught off guard by the Elf’s diplomatic attempts and decides to fly await with its fresh meat. No one acted with hostility and it saved the group a devastating battle.

Once the group is within a few days travel from Pxnkhuut Ziggurat they are intercepted by a group of tribal men on dog drawn sled. The men speak Old Px and shout angrily at the adventurers. The dogs pulling the sled look poorly treated and somewhat familiar. The group immediately recognizes the dogs and attacks. After they dispatch the raiders they decide to seek out Drogo’s body. They find him after nine days of searching and take his body with them. It is another six days before they make it back.

The group faces no other obstacles on their way to the Ziggurat. The gate await them and the last part of their search for the missing Half Orc. What waits beyond the gates is a blood thirsty and primal society who all but worship the arena in the center of the Ziggurat. The group will have to navigate the labyrinthine politics that bind those who gamble with blood.

The group is split between seeking a proper burial for Drogo and finding Garyson. They find the blood pits and learn about the strange culture they are surrounded by. As they investigate the arena Drogo is absconded, taken by some mysterious persons.

Word spreads that a native woman named Aiega is looking for the party. She is a potent druidess who feels indebted for the group having saved the body of her brother Drogo. She tells Phoebe that she will help them if she can.

Pishposh Mcgoosh, a bookie for the blood pits displays a proficiency with Common and an endurance for the groups shenanigans. He aids the group finding lodging and direction. Eventually he reveals himself as the agent of a Prince. Leading them to the means of Garyson’s liberation.

One of the Princes has taken special notice of Garyson. He has shielded the Half Orc from outright slaughter and is instrumental in freeing the Cleric. Quoren the Sorcerer knows both the War Sheath and the touch of Garyson’s lord in iron. He explains he cannot help but implies that the damage wrought left gaps in the cities security. Taking the hint the group frees Garyson who does not seem overly inclined to leave.

Aiega keeps her word and wield impressive magics to not only help the group escape but make it back to Under Country. Herein Sprejasfin the messenger Yakom rushes to group explaining that he has delivered their message but was paid to wait for their return. To the steam cars they return to Rivvihuas.

A cold wind blows
The quest to save Garyson
The city of Sprejasfin is a vast forest of mechanical oddities. It is here that the world’s technology is advanced. It is expressed by many that this is the capital of Gnomeland. A strange sentiment considering all that the party has been exposed to. The group has as much time to explore, gather intelligence and prepare as they want but Argyle Dulkracken is pretty pushy about getting the group going.

The mysteries of the Artifact Wheel are something the Gnomes tight lipped about even with the contributions of the group. They have the thanks of the House of Gears but are not welcomed in their doors. This is brushed off as city business investigating all that has happened. One might overhear messengers being dispatched through the tunnels to Vishinihienhuas to rally the House of Hooks. Gossip might be hunted down but no official statement is given to the non Gnome folk.

Few Gnomes have plumbed south and returned safely so little hard information is available. Some rumors exist that a ziggurat lies somewhere south but no maps have been etched. Some guides might be hired at the shanty tents just outside the city where Gnomes trade with the savage folk who dwell in the cold or the group can tough it out alone. Either way the path to save Garyson is marked with danger in the frozen wastes of the Forgotten Fields.

It is only a couple of days before the vast mountains that make up Under Country are out of sight, cloaking by whipping winds, fog and snow. It here that first resistance is met, a strange ooze creature hungry and cruel.

The first monster encountered is an omen to unforgiving nature of this land. The cold is a constant danger as are storms and the land being hard to navigate. A guide can help but even then only so much. Blizzards, freezing winds and sleet can all be expected to be endured. The chaotic nature of the Forgotten Fields immediately tells the group why so few Gnomes have knowledge of these unforgiving lands.

After enjoying the environment the group becomes victim of one of the mysterious denizens of the cold. The Yeti. The group is not way layed at random but stalked by an intelligent predator. Among the treasure from this encounter is a strange medallion that is slightly warm to the touch even when plucked from the snow. What becomes evident is that the Yeti was not hunting the group so much as pushing them in a certain direction. One of the guide’s dog, Jangles the Alpha was slain by the Yeti.

A trench opens up underfoot swallowing the group and heaps of snow. Awareness only marks how much damage the group takes on their tumble down. The snow and chunks of ice, rock and soil clump behind them pushing them forward into the halls. They can explore or set to weeks if not months of excavation if they even have the tools. The pitch black ruins behind them beckon. The Keen eyes of Phoebe saved the dog train from tumbling in. The guide and his dogs wait while the adventurers explore.

Regardless if a decision is made right away the group is greeted by some of the ruins inhabitants. Frozen creatures infected by the Negative energy surging through the ruined city. Four frozen skeletons moving with less speed normal skeletons do but with no less wicked intent as normal for the undead.

Narrow hall ways whip around to dead ends or caved in passages. Artwork is frozen to the walls in aged outlines. The stone bears on occasional scar from a blade or maybe in some cases claws. As the group reaches a fork they might see a pale flicker almost like candlelight in the distance to the right and maybe from the left they hear some thing heavy and slick being dragged on the ground in short bursts.

One way or the other the group ventures to the left stumbling upon a frozen Ghast dragging the freshly dead body of one of the savage folk who migrate around the Forgotten Fields. It seems focused on the corpse but charges as soon as the adventurers come into view. When the battle ends they find themselves before three closed doors and a sign in an archaic form of Common. Once the rumble of a cave in echoes back to them they decide to investigate upon their return they choose to explore the path not ventured.

The long hall to the right ends at a large market center with stone and some enchanted wood stalls swallowed by the caved in roof. Time has ground most of the wares to dust but some valuables survived in the ice. As the group approaches six of the frozen Skeletons rise with spears in hand and lurch into battle.

The door leading to the laboratory opens to a garden long dead. Pots filled with dust, the roof top collapsed where once light came in and to those aware beset with powerful Abjuration runes designed to ward off the evil and incorporeal. The door to the lab itself is locked but can be open opened with hammer if no other option exists. The tools of a specialist wizard are laid out in rigid order. Books on the treatise of the art of necromancy and the undead lay on shelves mostly unharmed. Beakers and vials are aligned in an orderly fashioned by size filled with ruined components and long inert potions. Half finished magical items lay haphazardly around the lab. Secrets lay in wait too for the perceptive.

The center door leads down a hallway with freshly lit candles in the candelabrum and clean chairs lining the walls notated for petitioners awaiting meetings. The chamber room is likewise clean and well ordered unlike the rest of the ruins. A cloaked figure sits at the head chair over looking the entrance from a good two hundred feet away. “You! More rebels? Have I not crushed your movement! Does the peace of Kret not inspire you to yet lay down your arms? I have done what was besought of me and I will not have my reward stripped so soon! Guards!” and the figure leaps up and flees as a Shadow rises from the center of the chamber. Once the combat is over the group may find books with their writing mostly faded. In one however, “Councilman Daedalon is hereby stripped of title and property by the city of Kret for high treason and conspiring with extra dimensional forces.”.

The only door out leads into a hallway the opens for ten feet before being filled with cave in rubble. When penetrated the illusion fades and reveals a large section of a residential portion of the city beset by ruin. Days can be spent exploring the area but aside from make shift shelter nothing of value exists.

Opposite the chambers is a door that leads to a large room with a translucent roof. Alien markings are etched into the wall glowing a sickly yellow. Stairs leading up into what appears to the the snowy landscape stretch upward at the far end. Cackling madly between the door and the stairs is Daedalon, lesser worm of the cursed cosmos.

The Wheel turns
Under Country adventure

The Great turning has begun and our adventurers have opted to stay and see what destiny has in store for them. Gnomes move the people staying behind to the shell housing and essential buildings, such as the House of Maps moves to the shell as well via a mechanized route. The bulk of the city moves leaving comfort and commerce within reach of the adventurers.

A sign reveals itself within those two days as Lumiere’s sheath begins to drip blood. Some point to this as a blessing from Gorrum. This may not be something noticed or given significance by most people. The bleeding stops after about forty eight hours and never bleeds more then a small puddle at a time.

On the third day of the turning, which up to this point is a surprisingly smooth ride starts to become rough. The Gnomes are immediately concerned citing that this isn’t something that happens on their joyous holiday. Engineers, Clerics of Desna and Abadar and Wizardly citizens scramble to investigate. As the Gnomes rush to address their transient city strange things the size of large house cats start falling from the ceiling. Screams erupt as Fungal Crawlers start to attack.

As the fight winds down one of the merchants who lead the group to Rivvihuas beckons from a stair well leading up. “Heroes! Your help is needed! Please!”. Something is attacking those seeking to repair whatever is going wrong. In case the importance is lost on anyone the city begins to rattle violently sending people tumbling to the ground. As they ascend they eventually reach one of the housings where several Gnomes were working, and now several are severely wounded on the ground. A larger version of the Fungal Crawlers is the culprit.

When the monster is slain or driven away one of the Engineers speaks to the group in a weak rasp. " Something is swarming from the cracks between the cities…the tunnels…can’t be safe. Somehow they creatures know…they know which parts of the Great Machine to attack.". He reaches into his coveralls and removes a gem glowing with a pale blue light. “Take this, take it to the main housing in the over head chamber…go now..quickly!” he stresses before falling unconscious. Klaus, one of their escort merchants offers to guide them.

The stair ways and tunnels are maze like twisting around at angles that boggle the non-Gnome mind. Fungal Crawler husks litter the way as do the occasional Gnome guard, most wounded but a few dead. Klaus chokes back his obvious terror and takes one of the hook hammers from one of the dead after offering him a short prayer. The shaking continues as the temperature starts to drop drastically. Klaus can be heard muttering, “Should it be this cold?” just before a harmonic thrumming fills the hallway making it hard to communicate verbally.

The journey ends in a domed room whose walls are gears twice as large as Garyson and as small enough to barely be seen by the naked eye. Here the cold is most severe emanating from a huge blue orb glowing a few shades darker then the stone they were given. The application of which requires some mystic finesse to place correctly as far as anyone knows. Klaus is shivering and exclaims in relief seeing three mole skin cloaks hanging on a wall.

After the conflict with the Cloaker resolves a young looking Gnome runs into the room. She looks around in horror and the blue lights both flicker an unnerving shade of violet. “Oh no.” She cries, “The dimensional pinions came loose!”. She removes Sorcerous trappings and prepares some unknown Abjuration spells. “You have to warn the others! The orb is resetting! Our cities are risking a core rift!.”. Magical energy surges around the room filling it with a blinding light making it impossible for the adventurers to do other then flee. Yet before the group escapes Garyson is enveloped and disappears into the light. They are urged to make way while some sense is made of all the chaos.

The shaking has stopped which may be a relief to some. When the group returns to the city proper and finds someone to report to the look on the poor Gnome’s face may indicate otherwise. The smell of ozone lingers in the air and pale lights with no visible sources pulsate. Tears in the fabric of reality displaying events occurring elsewhere. In one scene there is a dense jungle where hundreds of savage Hobbits bow praying before a gore stained altar of some strange many eyed beast. Another shows a young Dwarf couple leaning against the bow of a sea faring ship that glides impossibly fast across the waves, their fingers intertwined. Yet another shows Garyson ferociously fighting back a cadre of guards in some decadently adorned room, behind him is a window displaying a frozen tundra.The last shows a horrific landscape of pulsating green flesh, black veins and glowing red blood stitched across the alien land. Fire belches into the ash choked sky and demonic moaning assaults the group like a harsh wind. From this tear a group of hideous malformed shapes are urged by a small flying creature lashing at them with a tiny but wicked looking whip. The tears flicker and the demons rush forward to wreak havoc on the Gnomish city.
A few rounds into combat a Dwarf in exquisitely crafts arms wades into combat to the aid of the party. When the battle dies down he introduces himself as Argyle Dulkracken Cleric of Torag. His God had bade him come higher into the mountain many months ago to wait for the events to unfold as they have. Now he is duty bound to help the group recover their friend.

Those tears seem to be the only ones provoked by the sabotage which may come as cold comfort to the weary citizens who have endured over the straining hours. Word spreads that the situation is stable but only just. Frayed nerves seem pretty common as folks shuffle off to try to get some rest at least those not on active repair duty. The group is offered respite at the merchant house Klaus brought them to. The beds are a little small for the medium sized folk but they are insanely soft. While they rest or whatever they choose to do one of the Gnomes leaves to find a representative from the House of Maps if they can to help the group plan to retrieve their half-Orc.

Underground makes it hard to tell time but hours into the slumbering time is interrupted by wandering monsters drawn from the still city as it is replaced on its journey. The alien monsters who dwell in the deepest parts of the tunnels breed close to the cracks and nooks between the cities. A rare clutch of Decapus newly hatched seeks out meals in this rare chance. This is something Gnomes feared may happen but could not anticipate what would emerge. Few traverse the tunnels except by dire need and those who do are specialists in that regard.

A few days dreading some other invasion of misshapen monsters ends without event as the city hums again, the wheel having been repaired once again. Guards are doubled which is something any observer can note, MOST observers that is.Gnomish Paladins astride dire moles patrol the streets. The turning brings the city past the shell of Jintihuas and the view of the valley stretching seemingly without end into the east. The lights from the mirrors flash and flicker in a celestial dance from the Sun, moon and stars as the city moves past. It is a stunning vision.

It is loudly mentioned by some of the common folk in the city that it is disturbingly quick how fast, especially with the delay they passed the first shell. It is around the time this sentiment spreads through the city that a elderly Gnome by the name of Jeberink knocks at the door of the merchants looking for the group. The merchants seem awe struck and honored by this Gnome’s presence. He introduces himself as one of the Guild of Four, the ruling council of the four Gnome cities. He has come to offer a small token of thanks for the help the group has rendered. Hats to mark their valor in the eyes of the Gnome people. They look like crazy ass musketeer hats with feathers and buckles nearly as large as the hat portion itself.

Shortly after being honored an assembly is called to address the city. The damage inflicted was stabilized but some of the sabotage was more in depth then initially believed. Protocols to reset the Wheel need to be undertaken for the first time in centuries. Calm is advised as they begin this potentially dangerous process. Guards will be posted but it is asked of the populace that they remain inside. The group is of course allowed to undertake whatever risk they desire. It can be discerned that the Gnome officials believe something crazy is about to happen.

The nature of the magical artifact that rotates the cities plumbs planar energies for a purpose unknown by most. The raw power is displayed in an awe inspiring fashion as the realignment protocols are engaged. Crazy shit ensues through the various phases. The first display of which is the gravity of the city acting strangely as a Devil’s band appears to compel the people into painful dancing. Then as that fades a landslide appears from nowhere! Where rock does not crush the unwary the air is choked with flies spreading foul disease. Quicksand then appears underfoot beholden to a strange creature radiating enlightenment to those able to endure his aura. Once people scramble to the surface of the sand arrows from some battle out of space and time rain into the Gnome city and some strange lobster like aberration appears to pilfer scraps and garbage. This scene trades with a strange overgrowth of plants and two teams of Lizardfolk playing some archaic ball game. Though bruises are endured from interference this too shifts into a hurricane! At the center of which is a mysterious blue box which seems unaffected by the extreme weather. A gentle rain begins to fall and a cadre of shit faced Goblins run rampant doing property damage as they piss, puke and steal. They and a group of elite Kobold soldiers are swept away b a tidal wave! When the water stops flowing it appears finished. The wheel has finished turning. The city reincorporating with Sprejasfin.

South on the Old Road
Undercountry Job
The arrival of the Gnomish merchant convoy is the mark for the harvest festival. With all the good news the adventurers have wrought it is an especially raucous event. The Gnomes are regaled by tales of heroics and applaud the victories of Whitefield. The Gnomes mention that this trip was wrought with more danger then they are used and too and would be willing to pay the party to safely escort them back to Rivvihuas in their Under Country. With their need for money, time waiting for construction and lack of work around town this seems to be advantageous for everyone.

The old road south is abutted by rolling waves of hill and plain. Autumn leaves and flowers wafting in the breeze shimmer softly like flames. This beauty is interrupted by a strange droning that comes from the blue sky a few days into the trip. One of the Gnome merchants cries and points as a Slicer Beetles descends on the convoy.

As the hills dominate for a few days a blanket of shadows is thrown over the group making it harder for those without at least low light vision to see without aid. This ominous shift offers no surprise when a group of Goblins run wildly into the center of the convoy. The Gnomes welcome the party to the loot naming it a bonus. One of the Gnomes can translate the word etched on their armor.

Soon after something else attacks but it is more methodical then the gang of Goblins. Some strange mutated Bugbear with an iron collar around its neck, a few rings of broken chain dangling down. It waddles clumsily with a swollen gut barely able to wear its armor.

The final party to the chain of gobliny events makes itself known last.almost as if it was chasing one or two of the groups previously encountered by the group. Gnomes pale the night the Owl Bear attacks.

The days between that last fight and the bridge to Under Country are peaceful. The harvest seasons weather has a bit of a chill at night but is pleasant otherwise. The Gnomes are happy for such unique company and therefore are very hospitable to their contracted guards. The vast canyons that separate the brown dirt and gray stone from the ruddy red rock of the many mountains that house Under Country look like different worlds.

The craftsmanship of the bridge is mind boggling to the simpler designs they would be used to. As they enter the mountains glowing mushrooms light the way to the bustling city of Rivvihuas. Steam blown instruments fill the tunnels with ethereal music. A sea of funny hats moves around the fore gates. The convoy is welcomed in by the guard ushered in past the bustling chaos. The party is invited to one last meal as their pay is gathered before they go back on their way.

Gnome merchants tabulate the wage on abacuses and scattered notes over wine and honey roasted song birds. Just in the middle of the meal the building starts to rumble. Louder music pipes in from the streets preceded by thunderous sounds of huge gears grinding. The wheel turns and the adventurers are stuck in the midst of one of the defining Gnome traditions. The party has two choices, to try to make it into the lowers tunnels to Kruunhaag before the turning begins and return to Rivvihuas when it sets again. Or ride the wheel and see which city sets at the end of this great holiday.

When the great turning begins the party has opted to ride the Wheel and see where fate lands them.

A better half of danger
Whitefield job
The chaos the drove the inhabitants from Ten Hills left many questions unanswered by those who remained. It was assumed by many that scores of lives were lost all those years ago and while not incorrect not entirely true. A half starved Halfling named Graysprout weakly arrives at the gates of Whitefield with dire news and a plea.

Though the bandits has tried to ply the camp Ten Hills has become into some shanty market town none of their respectable neighbors have dared venture to investigate. Graysprout explains he, like many hobbit folk were kept as slaves. Some did not have the will or desire to leave their homes even if it meant in bondage and some were just captured.. He goes on to explain a group has escaped but is trapped between the bandits and a roaming group of Gnolls. He begs for aid in bringing them home. The mayor ofcourse wishes to help.

The adventurers have gained a small amount of hero worship from the populace which draws the mayor to ask them for their help. She offers them gold if that is what they desire. Or if they are so inclined a deed to a parcel of land south of the barley farms.

The group lies about two days west of Whitefield and so maybe half a day west of Ten Hills. Across the river north of the bandit camp, across a wide swath of meadow nestled in the hills a hobbit hole hides.

The Gnolls are a huunting band from the West within what some locals call the “rolling walls”. A barrier between these lands and the dark lands beyond. They are fierce and familiar with the land but a little dumb. In the end they lean toward brute force especially underestimating a party of Halflings and a Elf. The Half-Orc is feared at least initially.

Once the Gnolls are dealt with the Hobbits meet the adventurers. That is ofcourse unless the hidden home is located first by the keen eyes of the group. The hole is well stocked and comfortable even for larger then hobbit sized people. The escapees number eight, some villagers and three Stoutleaf hobbits. They are keen to leave confident that the group can safely escort them to Whitefield. Grandmother Stoutleaf has smuggled out some treasures for Heather and Phoebe, their respective family rings.

A palpable aura of dread wafts behind the group, stalking them back to Whitefield but not one threat makes itself known. With the return of the long lost Halfings a festival is announced. The town rejoices.

Restless evil!
Whitefield job
In a corner north west of Whitefield between the orchards and the Giant’s Wood is a grove of oak trees where the graveyard and tombs for the town lay. The tombs are a few hours walk from town and because of this they are rarely visited. But a sickness is creeping out from that direction infecting the fruit trees and Shepard Gerner suspects dark magic.

The priest explains that his leg is crippled or he would inspect it himself. He cannot offer a monetary reward on behalf of the church but promises to speak with the mayor to secure some form of thanks.

The location is well known and straight ward in terms of travel. As it is the beginning of harvest season the air is mild and full of the sweet scent of fruit. When party starts to note black veins in the wood and rotten fruit the hear shuffling ahead and a low, “Urrrrrhh”. The zombies rotten stench is perfumed by the scent of wine.

The party can hear drunken singing ahead from where the cemetery is. Beyond the head stones sitting in front of the largest tomb are two men drinking and laughing in front of a small feast and three skeletons breathlessly laugh along, toasting them with wine filled cups. When alerted or engaged they attack and the drunken men confusedly scramble toward hiding places. With cracked swords and armor with an unfamiliar heraldry the skeletons fight.

The men offer no resistance. They claim to be starving wanderers found by a “dark drow priestess” and offered all the food and wine they could stomach. Lost as they were they saw no other choice. They can direct the party into the tomb where the priestess is depending on how their fates are decided.

Inside the tomb it is decorated wit feasting tables and candles. At the center of each table is a small statue to Urgathoa. Sitting at the table waiting for the party are three zombies.

Wandering the tomb halls shows fading pictures and carvings. Some offerings to their ancestors are set out undisturbed. At one dead end, brighter torch light flickers and voices can be overheard. “You cheating bastard! Where are you even hiding those cards?!” a female voice demands in Common. “Uhhhhhrrrrrgh.” seems to be the response followed by raspy laughter. Upon inspection the party witnesses a half drow priestess, a zombie and a skeleton playing cards.

When the matter of the Priestess of Urgathoa is resolved the town rejoices. Shepard Gerner presents them with a cache of healing potions as thanks.

Goblin Infestation!
Whitefield job

A goblin horde surges in hidden enclaves all around the area surrounding Whitefield. Their numbers have swelled so much they are compelled to consume the town. Under the guidance of their chief, an Alchemist named Vax.

Cyril Ghost-Eye is seeking to hire adventurers to help stem the tide of monsters. Quite recently some of his stock was stolen by the greedy creatures but the event that prompted direct recruitment would be the injury of a young boy who caught one of them in the act. The contract for this job pays five hundred gold pieces.

The people around town don’t have much to contribute in terms of gossip or information. The mystery of the infestation is what frightens the townsfolk the most. Cyril believes they are coming from the south in the tall hills maybe a days ride away. Tracking confirms this suspicion but even if that isn’t employed the party encounters a gang of goblins half a days walk on the old road.

After the ambush attempt a clear path to the lair is discovered. It is guarded by riders and two snipers. These cowardly beasts only stand as long as they believe to be winning. If any manage to flee the lair is alerted to the parties intrusion.

The tunnels into the shallow caves are just large enough for medium creatures to walk without difficulty. They smell awful and possesses no lighting. Small totems are carved from stone and litter the caves as much as the layers of filth. The party risks attacks at every turn.

Eventually they reach a large cavern room that smells strange. Goblins dance and chant something in Goblin before their chief and a pile of loot they have stolen from Whitefield. They do not hesitate to surge unto the adventurers. As the battle progresses the alchemist starts to hurl torchs and explosive potions causing a large flame which threatens to consume all regardless of the victorious party. The choice to stay invites a fiery death.

If the party survives it can be assumed that the goblins have been stopped for the moment and earn them their promised reward.


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