Reporters this issue: Andy Merritt (email@example.com) Leonard Scott (firstname.lastname@example.org) Michael R. Smith (email@example.com) Matt Brooks (firstname.lastname@example.org) Mike Phillips (email@example.com) Sandy Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org) The Reaper (email@example.com) Vincent Gray (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Vast: The Grey Forest:
A band of Pilgrims on their way through the Grey Forest to Lyrabar claim to have seen 20 foot tall, humanoid "crab people" lumber past them. The three crab people were dark grey, with huge claws approximately 5 feet long and 3 feet across. The Pilgrims tried to defend themselves with rocks, but the crab people took no notice of them and finally flew off north over the pilgrims. They also claim that bright lights came out of the crab people's feet and "propelled" them into the sky. Town Watch members of Lyrabar, who first came into contact with the pilgrims noted the smell of alcohol of the breath of the pilgrims, but the pilgrims say that the alcohol had no effect on their observations. One adventuring band stated that they would like to take a look in the forest, "just to make sure it was nothing."
RED KNIGHT SHRINE, PALADIN CONSECRATED.
A shrine devoted to the Red Knight, vassal of Tempus, was opened in Neverwinter last week. Built in the shape of 12 foot chess piece of red marble and steel, the ceremony was attended by 34 followers of the Red Knight of the organization known as Warriors of the Red Knight. Included was the initiation of a beginning paladin, Maudlin Stardottir of Tantras by a reformed Helm priest, Granf of Silverymoon. This is the first such shrine to the Red Knight, a lawful and war-like goddess, and followers say there will be many more.
Moonsea Reaches: Hillsfar:
LOCAL BOY CRIES WOLF ONE TOO MANY TIMES
Local shepherd boy, Wonty "the Skunk," was found dead by a group of sheep ranchers just outside of Hillsfar this morning. "The lad had a mean streak that finally caught up with him," said one witness to the incident referring to the numerous times that he falsely sounded a trump to signal a predator among the sheep. "He was always calling on that blasted horn, and each time we came out to help him, we found nothing wrong. After a while, we just stopped coming and let him blow." He blew his last horn just before his fourteenth birthday. Funeral services are to be held this afternoon after ranchers kill the creature which ate Wonty and 7 sheep.
Dragon Coast: Westgate:
DECREASE IN RATE OF PIRATE ATTACKS
Merchant guilds report that in the last month, attacks on merchant ships, by pirates from the Pirate Isles has decreased almost 50%. Two merchant ships were attacked but got away without loss of merchandise. The captain of one of these ships, the Clearwater Blue, reports that the pirates he sees are grouped in twos or threes rather than single ships and are more cautious in approaching. Informants among the pirates themselves have rumored that someone is hunting down and destroying pirate ships that leave the major island of Earthspur. In one case, a merchant ship was rescued by a slender ship that fired upon the pirates and lead them away from the shipping lanes.
Amn: City of Riatavin:
SKIRMISH BETWEEN RIVALS TO THE TETHYRIAN THRONE
Last week an armed battle between forces allied to Noble house Sverdlovsk and forces allied to noble house Zuyevo erupted last week in the Silversmith District. Included among warriors were two mages on the side of Sverdlovsk. When the battle was over, 23 men on the side of Sverdlovsk were dead including both mages, and all 37 retainers from Zuyevo were killed. The Sverdlovsk faction is proclaiming victory over the Zuyevo family after signing a treaty with another family, Orekhovo-Zuyevo, three days ago.
Vilhon Reach: Sespech:
TREATY SIGNED BETWEEN BARON FOESMASHER AND HLONDETH.
Heralds of Baron Foesmasher have declared a "non-aggression" treaty between Sespech and Hlondeth across the Vilhon Reach. In recent months, tensions between these two countries have run to an all time high as Baron Foesmasher continues to fight a war of independence against Chondath and his daughter, Glisena, is being courted by an ambassador from Hlondeth. Baron Foesmasher wishes to reassure his people that this does not effect his desire to protect Sespech, and that his ship-building program continues unabated.
The Vast: The Flooded Forest:
BULLYWUG UPRISING THREATENS TAVILAR FESTIVAL
A bullywug from the Flooded Forest has joined the various bands of barbaric bullywugs into a horde of rampaging amphibians. Various adventuring groups from Raven's Bluff and elsewhere have been called in by the town leader, Anargil Do'Elsinor, to help contain them to the swamp. Early next month, a traveling circus, The Padded Buffoons, is due to come to Tavilar to kick off the annual Mushroom and Fungus Festival which brings in tourists --and tourist coins -- from around the realms. Miss Do'Elsinor offers a reward of 7 bushels of the locally prized Amaldot mushrooms to the group which brings in the head of the bullywug leader, Glib the Noxious.
The Vast: Raven's Bluff:
WELCOME, SIEUR REGNIER!
Local wonder, Sieur Jacques Regnier, has recently started a new business, "the Rescuers," to help find lost or kidnapped loved ones. He has decided to take on the case of Marlene, the lovely amnesiac currently living in Tsurlagol. She was recently found with no memory of her past, and no belongings which could help lead investigators. Sieur Regnier has his own "lost" past to speak of: he was a native of another dimension, AErth. Sieur Regnier arrived in the Forgotten Realms near Raven's Bluff along with his squire, Roderic Du J'oire. He was trying to rescue the mistress of a well-known Bishop from bandits when a vision of greater glory and a future of brave deeds recounted came to him. It said, "depart from this land and seek the Forgotten Realm." After several days, he arrived outside Raven's Bluff. Surprised by the variety of Powers, he was smitten by tales of Sune, in particular tales of silent beauties held in bondage by evil giants. He is intrigued with the woman, Marlene, who was found in Tsurlagol (but was never reported missing), and wishes to meet her.
DM's note: Sieur Regnier was the Instant NPC (by Mike Phillips) from FNN v2 n8, for the Mythus Prime system. For AD&D purposes, he is a Fighter(mage): a new class which has the attributes of a fighter, plus access to the mage schools, Abjuration and Lesser Divination. Spells start at level three as a first level mage. Experience points required are as for a fighter plus 3X the Base Exp. as noted on table 21, page 23 of DMG 2nd Ed.
FORGOTTEN REALMS CLASSIFIEDS
NEEDED. Willing and able-bodied persons to help the town of Tavilar in preventing bloodshed by a minor infestation of bullywugs. Wages are from 2 gold per week and up (more for experience). Inquire with Anargil Do'Elsinor in Tavilar. [The Vast]
*** The Rescuers ***
We specialize in finding lost loved ones, and returning victims of kidnapping unharmed. I am Sieur Jacques Regnier, with 13 years experience in the business of protecting the innocent and the weak, and am willing to discuss terms and conditions with anyone needing my help. Aided both by might of arms and magick, as well as my assistant Roderic Du'Joire, I have successfully rescued 3 women and 2 men in a far off land called AErth. I am willing to use my skills here for the benefit of the needy. [Raven's Bluff, The Vast]
Desperately Seeking Suzail...
Single Elven male seeks single Elven female with taste for adventure to share travel, excitement, and the Great Outdoors. Interested parties may leave word with innkeeper Selavar at Selavar's Inn on Dockyard Way one block south of the Promenade in Suzail [Cormyr].
*** RED KNIGHT SEEKS FOLLOWERS ***
The Warriors of the Red Knight seeks brave, willing persons of either sex who wish to explore the world righting wrongs and rescuing victims of evil. The Warriors is an organization devoted to the woship of the Red Knight, the Mentor of Strategy, Diviner of Tactics. The Organization will provide maps, and worthy quests for qualified applicants who revoke their old faiths to follow the Red Knight. We especially invite worshippers of Tempus who feel that he is too unpredictable, and worshippers of Helm who feel that his time for action has passed him by. Of course women are especially welcome, as the Red Knight is an equal opportuniy diety [Neverwinter].
Leonard Scott: email@example.com
Matt Brooks: firstname.lastname@example.org
FRAUDULENT MAGE LET OFF HOOK
Further to reports about a group of mages being employed by the watch to set continual lights around the city, and the recent rumours that some were being sabotaged by the mages themselves in order to extend their own contract with the watch, our source revealed that one of these mages, named Tor was let off the hook at a recent Magisters hearing, despite significant evidence against him. Our own reporter has revealed that a friend of the thief who spoke out against Tor has recently disappeared - the watch, however, refused to comment on any of this. We will keep you informed even if the City Watch won't.
DAGGERFORD MILITIAMEN TELLS OF UNDERGROUND WORLD
Our reporter spoke at great length over a barrel of ale to a member of the Daggerford Militia, who prefers to remain unnamed, about his last assignment, which is believed to have been the "Suicide Mission" mentioned in previous articles.
Our source spoke of strange monsters of many varieties, including undead of many sorts, strange phantom monsters, demonic creatures and even a fabled Beholder. He spoke of an enormous underground Citadel now almost empty, an underground slave town run by gnomes, and a huge city in a single chamber several miles across run by clerics of some fire god and strange clans of elves.
Despite the ale, we believe it likely that much of what he said does exist, and he swore that these places are not more than 150 miles from Waterdeep itself! Our source would not discuss what his mission had been, or specify in more detail where the entrance to this underground realm could be found, although he insisted it was not through the Undermountain complex accessible via the Yawning Portal.
Andy Merritt: email@example.com
Michael R. Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vincent Gray: VINCE@vaxi.sscl.uwo.ca
Mike Phillips: email@example.com
FISHERMAN FINDS HEAD OF ZEUS!
A local fisherman hauled up what turned out to be a bronze head of what the priests in the nearby town of (fill in the blank) identified as the head of Zeus, which had been torn from the statue, many years ago. A larger temple (in a major city) has possession of the statue and a large troop of guards are transporting the head there now.
It is common knowledge that there is a prophecy regarding the reappearance of the head of Zeus - it is a sign that a savior will come, during time of great trouble, but only when it seems too late. Oddly, though, there has been peace and prosperity for many years now. (What isn't common knowledge, though it is well known to priests of the Olympians and many learned people, is that the prophecy also says that if the statue is found during time of great prosperity, it will be an omen of imminent woes to come - possibly because of divine wrath. One would have to go to an oracle to learn more about this ...)
Sandy Murphy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reapharven: CIVIL WAR IN REAPHARVEN
In the small country of Reapharven, until recently a hub of trade between the Leonan Empire and the countries of the east, has been torn by civil war. The royal family, bereaved by the death of venerable King Jarden, is now led by his daughter, Queen Jesdana, and the rebel alliance has sworn that they will not allow her to rule.
It is now common knowledge that Queen Jesdana was involved in the exposed conspiracy to discredit the LeGrange family and blame it on the Ambassador from Ravensmere:
Lord LeGrange was executed early last year for the crime of criminal cowardice in that he stood by doing nothing while a man was killed on the streets of Oathhaven, capital of Reapharven. It was later revealed that Lord LeGrange had been held in the thrall of a mage's spell and *could* do nothing, that the trial had been rushed to a swift conclusion, and that the Queen herself had influenced the judge of the case through her own arcane magics.
The motive? LeGrange had hired an alchemist to discover an antidote for Fossewater and Reaperdust addicition. As Fossewater and Reaperdust were the sole unique exports of Reapharven, the Queen naturally had an interest in keeping that trade alive. For the good of the country.
Private investigators hired by the family in exile uncovered the twisted plot and distributed the hidden formula for the cure to the general populace, thus destroying any chance of the Queen covering the whole incident up.
The military still supports the royal family and Queen Jesdana appears determined to hold the throne no matter the cost. Against her are the allied noble families of Reapharven, each fearing that the Queen might someday do to them what she did to the LeGranges. The rebel standard is held by the new Lord LeGrange, eldest son of the old lord. He is as yet unmarried and rumors are that there are negotiations between his family and the ruling family of the Ohne Islands for an alliance of sorts.
Queen Jesdana has appealed for and received aid from the Mage of Ravensmoke Valley, in the north of Reapharven. This mysterious mage is known only for his unfriendliness to any who enter his valley and for his rumored dealings with extra-planar creatures. Since the rumor of their alliance spread, reports of demonic interference have come in from the sites of several skirmishes.
Throughout this whole dispute, Scarshold, arguably the most powerful city in Reapharven and considered by most to be an independent city-state, has remained open to refugees but closed to negotiations with either side. Scarson, the Ranger Lord of the walled fortress in the Devil's Spine mountains, has refused to comment on the situation except to state the neutrality of his domain.
It is acknowledged as fact that, should Scarson join the fray on either side, the battle will already be won.
The reaper: email@example.com
Country of Amdosia: Island of Cetar:
DISASTER ON CETAR ISLAND RETURNS CADETS VICTORIOUS!
21 cadets and 23 crewmembers of the crystal powered ship, the Barracuda, returned to Seaholm yesterday aboard a commandeered pirate ship, the Nightshade just two days later than expected. They report that just after the cadets were dropped off on the northern end of Cetar island to begin their four day survival test, the Barracuda was attacked by two pirate ships commanded by the dread pirates DelCid and Kidwell. The Barracuda was scuttled to prevent the crystal engine from falling into the hands of the pirates and most of the crewmembers escaped onto the island. Some of the cadets, who were mostly ignorant of the fate of the Barracuda, grouped and attacked the pirates signal tower on the western peak of the island (the rest were captured by the pirates, reportedly to be sold in the slave trade or labor camps). The disastrous battle resulted in 10 cadets dead! It was later retaken six days later as a most fortuitous event happened: the pirate maid, Gisu of the Kaiser happened upon the island and engaged the evil pirate lords in catapult fire. This allowed the wily cadets to capture the pirates' stockade filled with their ill-gotten loot and to rescue their captured fellows. Gisu, having overcome the remnant of the pirates, traded one of the captured pirate ships for the riches, allowing the cadets to return home.
Dean-Commander Lazard congratulated the survivors for their courage and bravery and awarded everyone medals of commendation (posthumously for those who died in battle.)
Leonard Scott: firstname.lastname@example.org
I and my companions had traveled 80 miles East along the Leaf- Flow, a tributary of the river Arran, into the Chondalwood. We last ended at a small glade at the beginning of the Leaf-Flow after an encounter with trolls, and were presently recuperating. Just before we set out, Nygellis, my sword and magic using Elven companion, set a small wooden figurine of a harp in dedication to Milil near the eastern end of the glade. The forest was thick, and we could only make about 3 miles per day, in a generally eastward direction.
Day 2- Although we had crossed several game trails, it wasn't until just before midday that we found a trail headed in the direction we wanted. Along this trail we made good time: about 6 miles per day, considering the time needed to detour around blockages that often covered the trail.
Day 4- We were still hungry, but Jander (a brave fighter), known as BIG Jander to her friends and foes alike, showed us how to prepare some moss, that was growing on almost every tree, into a tasty, if somewhat dry, snack. Shortly after noonfeast, we entered a shady clearing. Phan, the roguish gnome, was walking point when something dropped down and covered him. I wanted to help him, but a spindly humanoid dropped down out of the trees and attacked the rest of us. It was definitely spider-like and Big Jander warned us not to let it bite us. We managed to kill it and helped Phan out from under a blanket- like web. We left as soon as possible, following the trail eastward.
Day 5- The trail opened up considerably, and we entered a small village inside the Chondalwood. They spoke a very accented form of Common, but were illiterate. it turned out that their priest (of Eldath) had recently been killed by a pack of vicious reptiles which they called "ranmocks." I convinced my friends to stay long enough to teach one of the children the rudiments of spelling, and to help an elder with arthritis (I had a salve which relieved the pain). We stayed two days, and erected a signpost with the Deneir glyph "requesting a spelling instructor."
Day 8- The village elders told us of an abandoned ruin that had a library filled with books. A trail, one days journey North, headed East, would lead right by it. I wished to very much see this library, and since it was in the direction we wished to go, there was little more to discuss. The people kindly set us up with food and some equipment, and we set out early in the morning and found the eastward trail that evening.
Day 9- This trail was wider than the previous one, and we made good time. As evening approached, we heard high pitched whining noises in the underbrush nearby, but saw nothing. As we were setting up camp, several bipedal reptiles jumped out of the surroundings and attacked. They were about 3 foot tall, and twice as long, including the tail. They leaped to attack, but were wary in battle. We quickly killed 4 of the ranmocks, and the rest stayed out of the range of firelight. They did not leave until early morning, and we decided they were probably nocturnal.
Day 10- Just before stopping for noonfeast, we discovered the ruins. It had once been a grand library-keep. In our searches we had found 3 books on early Chondathan history that were in reasonably good condition. When we got out it was already night, and as we left the compound we were beset upon by several large spiders that were quite fast runners. We knew that there was nothing we could do except to run. We ran all night until early the next morning.
Day 11- It was just before daybreak that we stopped, only to discover that Phan must have dropped two of the books as he ran. I felt like sending him back to get them, but it really wasn't his fault. Nygellis climbed a tall tree and said the edge of the forest wasn't much farther East, and so we continued on.
Day 12- The forest gradually thinned leaving us in a small valley running North-South. Beyond the forest to the East a large mountain range rose up almost immediately. We stopped to rest and decide our next course. Jander, who had served time on a ship in the Inner Sea, thought we should head North to reach it. Phan thought we should head East and go over the mountains. Nygellis wanted to go South, around the base of the mountains. So it was up to me: I didn't know what the Mountain range was called or what could be found there, so of course that was the only option. We would travel due East OVER the primordial mountains, giving us an assured page in the Annals of Deneir....
DM's note: Ranmocks are pack dinosaurs on the model of Deinonychus. They have the same stats as wild dogs but with damage 1d6.
Leonard Scott: email@example.com
The next day Mairenne didn't want to get up, and she'd locked her door, so Eddie opened it! Paddy put his head round the door to see if she was ok, and she was furious.
Visiting Scauny in his office the party was told that he had realised that during the orc raid on the office and stores if anyone able to read had been with the orcs they might have discovered about the gem shipment on the barge - so the gems were quite likely stolen by the Claw tribe. Scauny was asked about other quarry workers, in particular the foremen, Jamie Brown and Bill Overhand, but he had nothing to say against them.
Next, most of the party asked some of the guards on the wall about people's movements into and out of the village recently. Malcolm had passed thru several weeks before, and the grocer and butcher both left the village quite frequently, but there was nothing unusual.
Padur strolled around the village for a while, and was approached by a woman who he recognised but couldn't place (!) She turned out to be Jerez's wife, Annie Sorter, wanting to talk to Finbar about the ring he was gathering information about. Padur passed the message on, and Finbar was told that Jerez had taken the ring a couple of months back to be tightened, but that the attempt had obviously failed as it was just as loose - presumably something to do with the ring's magic properties?
Most of the party spent the afternoon looking around the quarry under Scauny's supervision. They were shown the gem seams and a cave which wasn't currently being used, which the party thought suspicious - it turned out to be entirely empty.
Meanwhile Paddy and Eddie cased the grocer's for a midnight raid, as they were suspicious about Jerez going off with the ring -possibly to see the witch. Although unlikely, it was possible that Melinda, or sign of her, might be found in the Sorter's house, after all Jerez had a motive to want the wedding to be disrupted -his hatred of Malcolm Mowbray.
During the night Paddy and Eddie raided the house, taking great care not to be seen by the guards on the wall. They searched all the rooms except the bedroom, and looked thru several drawers at documents. However they found out nothing significant, but managed to wake the baby in the process.
The next day the party left at first light for the witch's house, and found it unoccupied. Eddie unlocked the door, but immediately the door spoke "Leave now, or be forever cursed" ! Mob wrote a note saying he'd like another love potion, and left the Baron's address. Meanwhile Eddie decided he didn't want to enter the cottage, and Mob agreed, so after putting the note on the doorstep they moved away from the cottage. However, Padur, Finbar, Paddy and Mairenne were not put off and went inside. They looked over the place finding it much as before - a typical witch's cottage. Finbar took a couple of jars containing liquid and Padur found a step ladder into the loft and pushed open the loft door - he was immediately blinded by a flash. His eyes hurt alot, so he sat on the floor, and Mairenne put a bandage around his eyes. Paddy and Finbar now went up into the loft and looked around, finding boxes of books, and assorted other equipment, but most significantly a scarf which looked like it could be Melinda's!
Meanwhile downstairs Mairenne started trashing the main room, pulling bottles off shelves and smashing them on the floor. She wrote "orc lover" on one wall with charcoal. All the while Caljuin stood outside the door, not entirely sure what to do, as he didn't like the sound of being forever cursed.
Andy Merritt: firstname.lastname@example.org