Reporters this issue: Andy Merritt (firstname.lastname@example.org) Leonard Scott (email@example.com) Mike Phillips (firstname.lastname@example.org) Richard J. Pugh, email@example.com Daniel Goncalves, firstname.lastname@example.org Chris Lauricella, chrl.faraday.chem.fsu.edu
The Vast: Tavilar: 37 KILLED, 18 WOUNDED IN MIDNIGHT INVASION
An army of bullywugs lead by a grotesque 11-foot tall Glib the Noxious has invaded the northern portion of Tavilar, causing widespread havoc and destruction. Adventuring bands have engaged in door-to-door battles with the amphibians and have even turned back some of the horde except where Glib has shown up in person. He evokes fear in both invader and defender alike by eating alive those that he captures--often while they are attacking him! He doesn't appear to take an active role in directing the battle, leaving that up to a group known as the Lieutenants lead by a small bullywug that the others call Bulev the Slippery.
The defense of Tavilar is made more difficult by the multitude of visitors to last month's Mushroom and Fungus Festival who were left stranded in the town by the bullywug uprising. Mayor Do'Elsinor is considering asking for assistance from the High Blade of Mulmaster if the free adventuring groups cannot drive out the invaders.
Western Heartlands: Elturel: UNDEAD KILLED IN HIGH DISTRICT
Late last night, the cleaning service at the Ruby Staterooms inn on Carpenter Way discovered the decapitated body of a female guest, Mrs. Vemuren. A detachment of Hell Riders was called in to investigate only to discover, by the light of day, that the victim was in fact a vampire. Along with the body--which showed signs of cutting wounds--were several vials that appeared to once have contained holy water consecrated to Lathander. The guards are looking through papers found in the room for leads, although this is no longer being considered a crime. "Whoever did this deserves a medal: From preliminary evidence, we think the vampire may have been involved in a plot to bring in more of its kind from the eastern realms."
This secluded inn in the high district is known for the privacy given to its guests. Innkeeper Mursheeb the Softspoken told the guards that Mrs. Vemuren checked in only last week, and left instructions not to be disturbed by day. Some are suggesting this killing may have been linked to another vampire "killing" in Waterdeep last month.
The Vilhon Reach: Surkh: GITHYANKI STRONGHOLD SIGHTED!
A team of adventurers lead by a skilled ranger discovered the stronghold of the reputed githyanki raiders that attacked the Solemn Sword Inn in Surkh last month, killing twelve. It is 13 days journey to the north of the city, beyond the local mountain range known as The Guardians. The team of 9 spotted the monolithic structure in a mountain valley, but felt it unwise to approach closer to determine the strength of the alien force. These githyanki are extremely war- like and are skilled in the tactics of small unit combat. City Elders are looking for a way to remove the threat without risking an all out war. Interested adventurers with the power and experience to deal with this kind of danger are invited to come to Surkh to work out suitable monetary arrangements.
Sembia: Ordulin: CONVENTION OF GNOMES PACKS TEMPLE OF GOND
For the last two weeks strange gnomes from lands far away have descended on the city of Ordulin and congregated at the temple of Gond, The Steady Hand. Although a small temple run by only 4 priests, the temple has been packed every day from morning to dusk with at least 200 chanting gnomes speaking a heavily accented form of Common. They ask for a "sign of perfect knowledge," but have refused to elaborate further. The local inns and shops are full of gnomes by nightfall, and merchants are unwilling to interfere "so long as the coins keep rolling in, and they don't start any trouble," said a local guildmaster. Most of the gnomes are masters at some form of craft or art and continuously converse with one another at high speeds, seemingly without end. Local gnomes just shrug their shoulders when asked about their knowledge of what is happening. "I can think of worse kinds of invasions," said gnome Wullimer Bildhanks, a local butcher.
Dragon Coast: Teziir: DEAD BANDIT SIGHTED!
The bandit leader, "Sir" Blackheart, who was killed last Spring during an ambush on a wagon train, has been seen by at least two different groups along a stretch of the Trader's Road known as the Bandit's Tollbooth. The first reported sighting occurred at night by a group of town militia as they headed back to the city from a watchtower 15 miles from the city gates. They reported a masked figure resembling Blackheart, who told them they "would surely die for despoiling the eternal rest of an innocent man." The Watch commanders assumed the report to be a fabrication by watch members as an excuse for their tardiness. More recently, a band of adventurers known as Spingalion, reported a man, "floating 12 feet in the air, wearing a mask, and shouting curses upon 'grave defilers, and other opportunists'." They shot several arrows into the man, but appeared not to have injured him in any way. The apparition did not otherwise interfere with the travelers. It has been assumed that Sir Blackheart left treasure behind that he would rather not be found, or that some unfinished business has compelled him to return to his place of death. Blackheart's body was recovered after the raid, and burned in an attempt to prevent just such a thing from occurring.
AMBASSADORS TO BE EXCHANGED BETWEEN CALIMSHAM AND TETHYRIAN HEIR
Our gracious Pasha has decreed that the Tethyrian heir apparent to the rulership of Tethyr, Kirov Sverdlovsk, is to be considered the new Ruler of Tethyr. In accordance with this ruling, an ambassador, Sabdul Moramin, and a retinue of officials have been sent to the Sverdlovsk lands in eastern Tethyr. Sverdlovsk has agreed to reciprocate with an ambassador in the near future. It is to be noted that the rulership of Tethyr is still contested by rival, Petya Zuyevo. House Zuyevo is a major family on the western coast, and currently rules from the ancient city of Myratma. A battle between forces of Sverdlovsk and Zuyevo last month ended with a victory by the House Sverdlovsk, but the war continues.
Vilhon Reach: Innarlith: NEWS OF THE RED TANKARD
I am Esmera Valdukin, the owner of the Red Tankard Tavern on Candle Street, and this is my Gossip and Rumors bulletin. Recently, the Mayor's daughter gave birth to a lovely 8 pound baby girl, named Meershaw. Two adventurers from different groups got into a tussle while at my pub, and are cooling their heels in the Town Cellars (they must have drunk too much of my premium brand ale: the Quencher!) And a new stranger came into town from away South. I offered him a free ale (the inexpensive Copper brand), if he would tell of some of his adventures. First off, he wasn't riding a horse, but rather a large bird! I reckon it was 10' tall and had a sharp beak. He said he was a ranger and had just come from across the Shaar from beyond the Great Rift! I almost didn't believe him until he ordered my strong Bitternip Whiskey--no one can drink that whiskey and still tell a lie! He insisted that he was conducting a treaty between various herding peoples and the Dwarves of the Rift for trade of wool and cheeses (speaking of cheeses, I just got a shipment of strong Dratleberry Cheese to go with my Spicey Liqueurs). He was quite tired--he claimed to have ridden directly from Eastern Shaar to Shaarmid--so I settled him into the Bath rooms for a hot, soapy bath with a glass of my Easy Whispers wine for a good nap. If any wish to hear more, they can come on in to the Red Tankard; this week's special is a FREE mug of spiced tea with a purchase of a tankard of Mintall Stout.
DM's note: the bird is a larger, heavier relative of the flightless bird (4HD, 1ATK @ 1d10 damage, MV=21') which lives in the Eastern Shaar preying on herds of small indigenous sheep, goats, and antelopes. They can carry as much as a riding horse.
Western Heartlands: Baldur's Gate: VAMPIRE KILLER STRIKES AGAIN!
Townwatch, alerted by Hell Riders from Elturel to a possible vampire "invasion," conducted a raid on a warehouse owned by Narlap Sixtawian but were hours too late. They discovered the remains of two vampires, recognized by locals as Narlap and his daughter, Ramena Sixtawian. Both were found chained to a marble support column near an exposed window. A makeshift fire pit containing papers was still smoldering, and fresh drops of blood lead to an alley outside where a Disc of Lathander was discovered. Watch leader, Mylthiz, has tried to reconstruct the past events: "I think whoever did this entered the building last night, overpowered both vampires while suffering some injury, chained them to the column and just waited until the morning sun finished 'em off." He speculates that the killers are probably more than one person and must include at least one priest of Lathander.
Investigators working with Riders from Elturel are just beginning to unravel a nefarious plot by a Vampire Lord from somewhere near Chessenta to infiltrate the Western Heartlands region in preparation for his own coming. They admit that their investigations are hampered by a lack of material since the killers seem to remove or destroy most of the papers found with the vampires. Why the killers haven't revealed themselves or why they are removing all evidence is still a mystery, since no one can even consider the "murders" to be illegal.
FORGOTTEN REALMS CLASSIFIEDS
The TEMPLE OF LATHANDER in Beregost would like to remind everyone that it provides low-cost healing lotions and salves for all good-aligned beings, and that any interested individuals may talk to High Priest Kelddath Ormlyr about becoming an acolyte of Lathander. "Isn't it time to start a new day with Lathander?" [Western Heartlands]
SMALL FRY RESTAURANT. Welcome to the Small Fry Restaurant, a restaurant just for the smaller sect: Halflings, Gnomes, and Dwarves! We offer the finest in Halfling cuisine, Dwarven drinks, and Gnomish entertainment. You'll feel right at home in our "Small Room" with two fireplaces, while our halfling chef and his team prepare specialties from Luiren and exotic meals from the Great Rift. Afterwards come join our Gnome musicians in the lounge overlooking the lights of the city while they soothe the cares of the world from you. Pretty maids serve any of 25 Dwarven, Halfling, and Gnomish beverages, and they can usually suggest just what you would like best. We also offer take-out for the industrious who can't seem to find the time to come in. Conveniently located near the Great Hall of the Council, there is no reason not to stop by! [Ordulin, Sembia]
THE RED TANKARD. This is the Red Tankard, the far-famed meeting place of wizards and swordswingers from around the world! Rub shoulders with important personages as you drink in the famous ales and beers that you have heard so much about. Relax in the splendid baths of warm scented waters as you swap tales with the bravest men and women of the last 50 years (and in some cases, even longer!). Sit in princely comfort in the smoking room and read tales of long ago exploits in wondrous lands to the East and South. All this, at such low prices as to make you believe it all to be a dream! This is no dream, it's the RED TANKARD in Innarlith! See you soon. [Vilhon Reach]
Leonard Scott: email@example.com
In what appeared to be a demonstration of their power, the
Imperial Elven Navy recently used a world destroying/teraforming
weapon on one of the six small worlds known as the Playards. Priod to
the use of the weapon, the regional commander of the Imperial Elven
Navy in Solaris, Admiral Falconbane, announced that all races in
Solaris were to submit to the will of the Elven Navy, no questions
asked. To prove that their threat could be met, the magic energy
weapon known as "Mosaic" was used on the small world.
According to inteligence reports, Mosaic works as a polymorph substance. The substance takes on the form of a slow moving wave that gradually transforms anything it encounters into a pulsing field of yellow matter. So long as the wave isn't blocked by a vacuum, the wave will continue to grow. When the wave has expended all available material, it begins to settle into a standard terresterial matrix. The Navy is reported to have developed Mosaic as a teraforming tool some forty years ago, but differences at the command level of the navy shifted its use from a tool to a weapon. This is the only confirmed use of the weapon, though there are records of a possible "accidental" use of the substance about thirty years ago on Five-Delta-Prime, a moon of Glyth in Realmspace.
In the process of teraforming Playard-IV into a forest world, all former life on the planet was destroyed. This included several gnome, human, and humanoid settlements. Total deaths are estimated in the hundreds of thousands.
About a week after the use of the weapon, patrol ships reported seeing a fleet of elven ships capturing the famous dreadnaught Eternal Wanderer, about six days short of the Playards. When the patrol ships arrived on the scene to give aid, the dreadnaught was found to have been destroyed, along with several of the elven ships. Also, a freak explosion was detected in the area about two days later. It turns out that the elves were using an abandoned dwarven citadel to produce the Mosaic substance, and that this citadel was destroyed by it.
While an investigation was impossible, it is assumed that the crew of the Eternal Wanderer was able to activate the Mosaic substance, thus destroying all of it. No elves are known to have survived the explosion, though a single armada was reported missing after the incident, so survivors are possible.
UNITED CARTANIAN FLEET BATTLED ELVES AND UNDEAD OVER CARTANIA
Official Press Release of the Spelljammer's Aid Society
In a display of unity not seen since the Vodani Wars, the
spelljamming nations of Cartania united together to battle the elven
navy over Solaris's main world, Cartania.
Specific details are still classified, but it is known that under the direction of Admiral Deliliah Ferrengal of the Muldravian Stellar Navy, a fleet of aproximately 300 Cartanian ships from eight different nations engaged three flotillas of the Imperial Elven Navy. There was fear that the elves were going to use the Mosaic matrix on the planet, but this turned out to be an unnecessary fear, once word arrived that all production of the substance had been halted, and the supply destroyed.
On several occasions, the elves attempted to strike primary ground targets on Cartania, but the opposing fleet was able to prevent this. Cartania's second moon, Irania, did see several of its cities attacked, but only one strike succeeded. By the time the elves were in position to attempt a second strike, their defence line had been penetrated, allowing the bulk of the Cartanian fleet to drive the elves back.
Shortly after the elves had been driven back, another attacking fleet, this one consisting entirely of undead, appeared and attempted to attack the planet. The Cartanian fleet fell back to the planet to re-group, and engaged the undead later that day. Again, details are classified, but several cases of boarding actions are reported to have happened, and numerous ships were grounded on Irania.
After the undead fleet was forced back, the Cartanians burned the undead ships using greek fire.
THE NIMAR RETURN TO SOLARIS! IMPERIAL ELVEN NAVY ASKS FOR PEACE
Official Press Release of the Muldravian Imperial Council
The Nimar, an order of powerful wizards and priests, missing from
Cartania for over eight centuries, have returned, apparently in
response to the recent actions of undead fleets in the sphere. One
arch-Nimar, the fabled Darran Koor, is among those who have returned.
Details are unavailable, but the arch-Nimar has reportedly found an
apprentice in the famous wizard Tiegorus of Maplegrove.
As a result of this, and two humiliating defeats by the Cartanians, the Imperial Elven Navy has requested a peace treaty with the nations of Cartania. Negotiations are still in progress at this writing, but the navy is expected to retreat to their bases on Playard-III, an maintain a minimal presence in Solaris.
Realmspace, Toril, Evermeet:
IMPERIAL ELVEN NAVY COLLAPSES!!!
Official Press Release from the Port of Waterdeep
The Imperial Elven Navy, the longest stable organization in space
for over a millenia, has descended into a state of civil war.
Explinations vary, but analysts are assuming that the recent use of
the Mosaic world-killer broke the navy into several different branches
along issues of foreign policy. The high commander of the navy,
Admiral Stardawn, has been known for being very intollerant of any
race outside the elves, treating them in fact as little more than
slaves. His chief rival has been the aged Admiral Leafblower, who has
advocated a much more moderate view.
At present, at least six major factions are developing along two basic lines. One line believes that the navy should be devoting itself to enforcing order by intimidation and brute force. The other advocated co-operation and dialog.
Many historians are baffled at the seeming abruptness of the schism, while those who have worked with the navy for several years have been expecting something like this for quite some time.
Richard J. Pugh: firstname.lastname@example.org
Esterhold: FOUL DARKNESS ENGULFS COUNTRYSIDE
For a few days, the inhabitants of the once Alphatian colonies of Esterhold have watched with dread as a strange darkness, slowly expanded over the land having stopped only a few miles from the sea (and, thus, most settlements).
Several expeditions were sent to investigate, but none returned. When the wind blowed from the darkness' direction, a foul stench made most sick. After a couple of days, when the estimated diameter of the dark area was about 20 miles, it suddenly disappeared without warning. When exploring that area, it was discovered that everything that once lived was now rotting or dead. Not a single plant remained alive, and all the animals seemed to be mummified, as if their life force had been literally sucked out of them violently! The remains of the early expeditions were also found, in the same pitiful state.
Walking towards the centre of the desolation, when they arrived at the place where nothing was but barren and sterile rocks and sand, having all the vestiges of vegetation disappeared, a small cave was found and, inside it, a strange crypt, completely in metal, whose door was open, such as the lid of a strange metallic sarcophagus inside.
This event will cause the survival of several villages to be very difficult for the next few years, as their agriculture and herding was completely compromised.
Kingdom of Karameikos: Threshold: UNDEAD ATTACK IN LARGE NUMBERS!
One of the worst undead attacks occurred at Threshold, in the north of the country. The undead numbers were very high. Some people claim there were more than two or three hundred. The losses were, however, minimal, since the undead seemed to be only in their way somewhere else. Actually, this was confirmed since, when following the trail left by the undeads, the army found them relentlessly attacking the tower of the mage that just "moved in" a month ago. Inside the tower, the mage and his friends were defending bravely, but would soon be overwhelmed by large numbers of the undead, if help hadn't arrived so timely.
After providing some magic help healing the party, the officer in charge of the military asked the mage and his friends to come to Threshold in order to question them on why were the undead so interested in them.
Rockhome: STRANGE GAS CAUSES EVEN STRANGER EFFECT
Several dwarves were seriously injured when, during the excavation of a new tunnel, one wall collapsed, releasing a gas bubble that caught several workers unprepared. Those that did not manage to avoid breathing the gas didn't die but, instead, entered a comatose state. All efforts to help them have been fruitless, and, as the time passes, the victims seem to be changing, mainly their faces, that appear to be acquiring new expressions. Due to the natural anti-magic nature of the dwarves, this is very strange indeed.
The Five Shires: Shireton: LAVISH WEDDING PARTY
A large party was held today at the wedding of the two very famous halfling adventurers. All the most important personalities of the city were present, as well as a lot of strangers, human elven and even dwarven, that came on purpose to congratulate the grooms. There was no lack of food, drink or merriment as it seems that a good part of their hard-earned fortune was put to good use. The party went without any incident, apart from a drunken human guest that made some damage to a marble sculpture offered by a dwarven sculptor to the grooms as a wedding gift, claiming it was alive. A pity, because the skill of the sculptor was so good that it really seemed to be so!
The Empire of Thyatis: Hattias: SKYSHIP CRASHES
While flying over the territories of Hattias, south of the continental part of the Empire, a Heldaanic skyship, due to some unknown reason, crash landed in the middle of a town, crushing several buildings and wounding several people. The town militia surrounded the ship immediately and gave orders for the survivors do surrender immediately. They did not and it was necessary to force them by more violent means. When questioned, they refused to say a word about their mission, and to explain the strange equipment found aboard the ship, such as airmasks and other gear only used at very high altitudes. They were taken away for more "dedicated" questioning, and their whereabouts and fate are, so far, unknown.
Daniel Goncalves: email@example.com
Ægypt: Keshi Oversight: ÆGYPT CLAIMS KESHI LANDS
With typical military and magickal might, Ægypt has engulfed and claimed the lands of Keshu. While protests have arisen from the various neighbors and bordering states, none have claimed that Ægypt, long bothered by raiding parties from the nomads of Keshu, had no reason for the action.
The Pharaoh has declared that Keshu become an Oversight, overseen by a military governor until an appropriate civilian lord may be appointed. In the meantime, the army has begun constructing a large number of forts, linking them across the plains in an effort to protect lines of command from the fearsome nomads that have escaped the collapsing (former) Keshi government.
Magickal advisors across Æropa, Afrik, and near Azir have happily advised the various rulers that none of the Items of Dread suspected to be in Ægyptian hands were used in the conquest, alleviating fears of heavy magickal contamination or other unforeseen side-effects that often accompany the use of such fearsome artifacts.
Mike Phillips: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Lauricella: chrl.faraday.chem.fsu.edu
Paddy and Eddie set up camp on the moor a few miles from the hidden valley, and took it in turns to keep watch. Mob came round in the night, and was fine by morning, and better still after a CLW. Arriving back at Greenmoor at midday, these three went to see Scauny to ask him to join them on a return trip to the hidden valley to find Melinda and the lost/dead party members. He had a private chat with Eddie about the trip to the witch's cottage to recover her belongings. Scauny had got a posse together on the evening Eddie spoje to him, but they had put off leaving until after work the following day, and by then the witch had returned to the cottage, having escaped from the party's custody. Eddie was annoyed with Scauny for not acting more quickly, and Scauny was annoyed with Eddie for not mentioning any urgency and for allowing the witch to escape, and so wasn't keen on coming along. However, he was persuaded to come along after being filled in with the details and after some stress on how pleased the Baron would be when Melinda was found.
In Greenmoor itself the party went to see Padur, who was still blind. He was filled in on what had happened in the last two days. He said that he'd spoken to a visiting cleric from Clearwater who said he could cure his blindness for a suitable donation to help improve the shrine. Padur had said he'd have to wait for the party to return before he could get the money together. The party hassled the cleric greatly about the already cut down price, but couldn't get it lowered any more, so they paid up the 500gp and Padur was cured (most of the fee was added to Padur's debt to the party). The cleric was asked to join the party in their attempt to rescue Melinda and the others, but he refused as he was very busy. However, his assistant, Parvil, was enthusiastic and was allowed to go. He was lent his master's magic mace and wand of illumination (which his master said might help against the undead). His master also agreed to send a message to the Baron giving up to date information.
The newly reinforced party (Eddie, Mob, Paddy, Padur, Scauny and Parvil) left as soon as they could and arrived at the gulley entrance shortly after dark. Deciding it would be best to reenter the tunnels in daylight they setup camp a little way away from the gulley and got a good night's sleep. During the night Paddy spotted a disturbance in some bushes, but it turned out only to be a small animal.
The party passed thru the gulley quickly, expecting to surprise attack. In the valley the horses were still in the broken down stables. Entering the tunnel in the open mound, the party returned to the room where they were previously defeated. There was no sign of the others, and the only equipment left around was a half burnt out torch. After some further exploration another 3 of the undead attacked. Parvil pressed the big red button on the wand of illumination - they definitely didn't like it. Scauny and Padur attacked and Mob attempted to turn one - it fled. Parvil joined the combat and Eddie prepared the vial containing oil of etherealness incase of emergency. Mob failed to turn the second creature, and so he attacked it with his magic mace. In the end one was slain and both of the others had fled. However, Parvil had been struck and had fallen unconscious. He was taken outside and left to recover while the rest continued their exploration. Paddy borrowed the wand of illumination, and Padur borrrowed the magic mace.
Continuing their exploration the party entered a vast chamber, which was occupied by 4 of the undead and one even nastier looking undead.
Andy Merritt: email@example.com