Mooncrash

Interlude - City of the Crevasse
A Lover Lost, A Companion Gained

Game Date: Autumn 89 – 90, 339 F.I.
Starting Point: Myto
Player Characters Present: Leviathan, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa

Vaca arrives in Myto during a seasonal blizzard and immediately, following a quick meal at Mordenkaiden’s Magical Café, heads off in search of Culas of House Topaz, his missing lover. Discovering her apartment untouched, devoid of records and with only one lead – a single piece of misplaced amethyst – the shifter correctly ascertains the connection between this clue and the dwarven religious sect, House Amethyst.

No sooner has he arrived at the city’s local Stead, however, than he’s promptly asked to leave. It seems the Steadmistress, one Obuqa of House Amethyst, is very reticent to discuss the matter of Culas on official House property and implores, in none-too-subtle terms, for the fighter to meet her at a more discreet location; an antique shop on the Slope, the district that perilously overlooks the Crevasse.

Hobnobbing with a morose fool in a tavern for several hours, Vaca eventually heads towards her rendezvous and, to his surprise, encounters a particularly strange specimen – a warforged with the mind and soul of a young boy. Blessed by the power of someone he calls “Mother,” Vaca has only just made this strange specimen’s acquaintance than a carrion crawler – a repulsive beast from the depths of the Kazalhan – slithers out of the crevasse to attack!

During the conflict, both Vaca and Leviathan prove their mettle, the warforged protecting the shifter while the crawler’s paralytic poison renders him helpless and the shifter leaping into the fray to slay the beast once the paralysis wears off. Deciding to work together –more to keep Levi from trouble than anything else – they set off together to meet Steadmistress Obuqa.

In the back room of the antique shop, Vaca learns from the astral projection of the Steadmistress that Culas of House Topaz was dispatched to find Jebebror, a holy site supremely sacred to the dwarven people and lost for hundreds of years. A member of the sixth such dispatch sent in pursuit of such a rumor, all the previous expeditions were met with disaster, madness and eventually silence.

Resolving to set off after his lost love, Vaca – with Levi in tow – head to Tunneltown, deep within the Crevasse to hire a guide. After a disconcertingly poor attempt to steal a gold coin from their eventual guide, the heroes hire two delvers – Lusty Lanakhiz, the bodyguard and Ûma of House Cinnabar, the academic – to accompany them on their fool’s errand into the Kazalhan.

All that remains now is to provision and depart into the twisting, lightless terminals that stretch on infinitely beneath Eregia’s earth.

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Episode 95 - The Light of Civilization
War Looms

Game Date: Autumn 85-88, 339 F.I.
Starting Point: Overlook
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Zanna

Sailing south from Overlook aboard The Nightowl, three members of The Nameless Company – Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk and Zanna – awaken to discover a new illness spreading through their body. To Zencaré and Zanna, the symptoms are wholly new but Chogaruk recognizes his symptoms as the beginning stages of whitesight, the goliath variant of scale rot that afflicted him all those months ago. Uncertain how to treat the gnomish and eladrin variants thereof, they resolve to reach the Crimson Atoll and confer with the Ra’kee’zo’é healers, to see if a cure could be made.

To this end, they briefly visit their hometown of Belltower, to collect a blood sample from some of the immune members of the Hkoaz dragonborn, currently lairing in Gorzibadd. While there, they establish a new permanent teleportation circle in the shed around back of the Lunepome Home for Wayward Children.

Back aboard The NIghtowl, Captain Dawndive informs them of a sending that’s just arrived from Txomin the Locust, Zanna’s father, asking to meet in the Arkhosian city of Xoban in two days, to discover the terms of the contract. Reluctant about spreading scale rot to another city, they nonetheless agree to meet and, in disguise, warp to the Prismatic Guildhall in Xoban.

After purchasing some more linked portal coordinates, they head out into the streets, searching for The Slumbering Dragon, their arranged rendezvous with Txomin. Upon arriving and meeting the Field General and his aide-de-camp, Captain Serqolaine, they learn some startling news from the warfront.

Txomin suspects that Ptolomos may have aligned his forces with one of the Imaldi regencies, namely Hamessu, based on the position of his forces and the occasional eladrin he’s seen, moving about the camps. Txomin confirms that Ûbolya’s committed at least hundred thousand warforged to the cause, bringing the Truarkh’s total forces to at least two hundred thousand soldiers. Thirdly, he’s heard rumors that Ptolomos has a pair of “secret weapons”, which the Arkhosians seem very confident will pave the way for their conquest of Imald.

What’s more, Txomin wants to wield the Standard of Eternal Battle. Unconvinced of his daughter’s prowess, the gnomish warlord thinks himself the most seasoned battle commander in the current coalition and refuses to sign a contract unless he can wield the Standard. After a tense negotiation, in which Zanna’s very life was eventually used as a bargaining chip, The Nameless Company consents to his wielding the Standard – only on the field of battle.

Before they leave, Chogaruk – and eventually Vaca – make a specific point to ride the mechanical dragon, the goliath eventually winning first prize. Finally, with the coordinates to Myto, Vaca departs for the distant city, off to investigate Culas’ disappearance into the Kazalhan.

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Episode 94 - Dread, Part X: Nuuthii Akar
A Challenge Accepted, An Artifact Won

Game Date: Autumn 85, 339 F.I.
Starting Point: Nuuthii Akar
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Zanna

Once they’d convinced the guards at the gate that they meant no harm to the remote colony, The Nameless Company were permitted to enter Nuuthii Akar and treat with its ruler, the mighty King Dmete. As soon as they arrived at the beleaguered settlement – and the dragonborn tyrant discovered who they were – they were immediately tasked with delivering the writings of Legate Aros Xyarkh, the Mad Legate, back to the King of Arkhosia, detailing the third moon and all the wonders and horrors the Legion had witnessed. The adventurers agreed readily enough but, when they too asked for the Standard, the Hkoaz laughed in their face.

The Standard of Eternal Battle was all that kept the forces of madness and savagery away, they claimed. It was by the grace of the Standard they even made it this far and it was by the grace of the Standard that they would hold out until Arkhosia sent a true army, to establish a true colony here. They would not relinquish the Standard without battle, specifically Pentakhar, and the adventurers were forced to take them up on their offer. Unexpectedly, it was little Zanna who stepped forward and volunteered to battle King Dmete.

The initial contest was slated as “to-the-dishonor,” meaning the first to land a blow would be the victor. Handily defeated by Dmete’s superior swordsmanship, Zanna accepted his offer to battle to the death and, with the aid of her comrades cheering her on, eventually defeated the great dragonborn tyrant and claimed the Standard, plus a substantial portion of the Hkoaz, swearing fealty to her banner.

Casting linked portal, The Nameless Company, with their small legion of followers in tow, returned to the civilized world, to see what had elapsed since their departure into the dark continent, all those weeks ago.

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Episode 93 - Dread, Part IX: Ocean of Blood
A Companion Fallen Behind

Game Date: Autumn 83-84, 339 F.I.
Starting Point: Dread Salarza
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Nakhiti “Thistle” Sati, Zanna

Touching down upon the alien surface of the land beyond the Ukuta, The Nameless Company debates their next move. Deciding to head towards one of the great plateaus that arise in the distance, they start their featureless trek through the endless fields of waving red dzhate grass. As they traverse this distance, they overhear the sounds of great swarms of predators, devouring hapless in huge numbers, getting closer and closer to their impromptu camps every night.

The following day, they happen upon a swarming pack of the creatures – strange, bipedal hyena men that crawl on all fours like beasts and share one horrifying hive mind. Giving battle to the creatures, The Nameless Company are quickly overwhelmed and attempt to flee. In so doing, however, Thistle is accidentally left behind and, completely surrounded by the ravenous creatures, she’s devoured by anyone can rush back to her rescue.

Recovering what they can of their ally’s remains and mourning her passing, the companions are forced to press onward, to continue seeking any clue as to the Standard’s whereabouts. Fortunately for them, as they march further north, they eventually come upon the settlement of Nuuthi Akar, a ramshackle palisade fort, constructed by the Hkoaz, descendants of the Mad Legion. Flying above their fortress walls, Zanna is the first to spy the much coveted Standard of Eternal Battle, waving subtly in the wind.

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Episode 92 - Dread, Part VIII: Shadow of the Ukuta
Between the Dragon's Teeth

Game Date: Autumn 81–83, 339 F.I.
Starting Point: Ukuta
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Nakhiti “Thistle” Sati, Zanna

Reunited with Vaca in the shadow of the thousand-foot wall, The Nameless Company spends several hours catching up with this missing friend and learning of his solo adventures; of his inadvertent rescue from Calexzar’s clutches by Xandromox, of his capture and imprisonment by the Vrusvrunga, of his escape and the following of human breeding chattel that trail in his wake. Questioning the captives, they learn of their miserable lives in the orcish breeding pits and resolve, via the use of a linked portal ritual, to send the two score of them to Belltower, where they might be cared for at Vaca’s family orphanage.

While foraging for food, The Nameless Company accidentally alerts and summons an orcish warband, complete with thunderfoot behemoth, that comes bearing down on their position. To their good fortune, the behemoth’s rider carries his stolen shield, though his saber is no where to be found. In an ill-advised maneuver, the adventurers briefly separate, Vaca attempting to lead the beast away, Thistle teleporting onto its back to attempt to steal the shield and Chogaruk rushing up to engage the beast. After a wacky and embarrassing rout, the heroes manage to loose the behemoth and hide amid the Ukuta’s thick foliage, slipping away while the orcs are distracted.

Happening upon the idea of disguising themselves as orcs, the Company heads east along the wall, towards the dragon-like waterfall they passed a day earlier on their phantom steeds. Upon arriving, they discover, after a taxing and difficult climb into the mouth of the waterfall, a narrow tunnel that carves its way into the mountainside that forms the natural barrier of the Ukuta.

For hours and hours, without food or rest, they struggle against the river’s rushing current, slowly succumbing to fatigue and exhaustion. Eventually, an alternate route is discovered – a much more cramped space, devoid of rushing water but forcing them to crawl on hands and knees. They trudge on like this for many more hours until the company discovers an opening, a patch of sunlight and the smell of fresh dzhate grass.

Emerging a hundred feet upwards on the opposite cliff face, The Nameless Company look down upon a veritable “ocean of blood” – a grassland of nothing but waving, red dzhate grass that stretches past the horizon. Broken up by the occasional plateau, they more over see a domed shape, just cresting the farthest horizon, that takes their very breath away.

A third moon.

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Episode 91 - Dread, Part VII: Fresh Meat
Capture, Bargain and Escape

Game Date: Autumn 79 – 81, 339 F.I.
Starting Point: Dread Salarza
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Nakhiti “Thistle” Sati, Zanna

Nakhiti “Thistle” Sati creeps through the Dread Salarzan jungle, following the host of Vrusvrunga orcs that have captured her companions. Arriving at their fortified camp and realizing that the other adventurers are soon to be ritualistically devoured, she quickly formulates a plan – teleport in, teleport Zanna out, free the others as best she can before an alarm is raised.

Vaca L’oy Dakursa awakens in a wet pit, filled with emmaciated humans and guarded by orcish sentries. With his enormous strength, he makes quick work of the pit’s wooden bars and dispatches the orc guards with ease. The humans, weak and fearful, rally to his side and, with forty of them in tow, he makes for the north and the looming shadow of the Ukuta.

Unfortunately for Thistle, her plan goes terribly awry. Ending up captured herself and nearly made a meal of, it falls to Zencaré to save the heroes’ hide, offering a challenge of single combat between the warband’s greatest warrior – an ogre named Mtumbwe – and the Company’s – Chogaruk. The orcish chieftain, intrigued, accepts this deal.

Vaca and her charges continue to move stealthily north, passing by monsters and orc patrols both wholly unseen, until they arrive at a flatland, miles and miles of treeless expanse that stretches before the indomitable Ukuta, rising one thousand feet into the sky. He pulls his crowd of uncomprehending followers into the wall’s shadow and hides as best he can, until he can devise any method to contact or reconnect with his allies.

At dawn, Chogaruk faces his challenge. The orcish warband gathers around to watch the two champions battle, jeering Chogaruk and cheering Mtumbwe. Similarly, the rest of the Nameless Company lends vocal support to Chogaruk and vocal derision to Mtumbwe. During the battle, the fortunes sway this way and that, sometimes one looking the victor over the other but, in the end, there is no doubt that Chogaruk shall emerge victorious, slaying the ogre Mtumbwe in a fountain of gore.

Freed from the clutches of the Vrusvrunga, The Nameless Company casts phantom steeds and gallops away northward, in the direction of the Ukuta and where they postulate their ally Vaca to be. After many fruitless hours of search – including a glimpse at a tantalizing dragon-like cave – they finally locate the band of strange refugees and their unlikely leader – Vaca L’oy Dakursa.

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Episode 90 - Dread, Part VI: Against The Clock
Never Split the Party

Game Date: Autumn 79, 339 F.I.
Starting Point: Dread Salarza
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Nakhiti “Thistle” Sati, Nakhiti “Thistle” Sati

Escaped from Calexzar’s clutches but hopeless lost, Vaca L’oy Dakursa goes plunging through the jungle underbrush, searching for a suitable campsite.

His companions, cornered high on a pinnacle of rock by a warband of Vrusvrunga orcs, prepare to cast the phantom steeds ritual that will, with any luck, rescue them. Down below, ogres toss stones and Death’s-Head braves scale the cliff face, giving battle to the weary heroes. One wave defeated, Zencaré’s ritual is unsuccessful and they must, bloodied and beaten, weather another wave.

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In his search for somewhere to rest his head, Vaca contests with both a wounded wild boar and a party of orcish hunters, eventually losing his pursuit by fleeing heedlessly into the thick jungle. He eventually beds down for the night amid some ferns, poor protection indeed from the dark continent’s many dangers.

As another wave of Vrusvrunga assault the Nameless Company, the adventurers, one by one, fall prey to the axes, spears and stones of the orcish onslaught. Zencaré, Chogaruk and Zanna are all taken prisoner and, only by some cunning deception is Thistle spared a similar fate. As the orcish warband moves back towards its camp, their new captives in tow, the stealthy eladrin warlock follows along behind, formulating a daring and improbable rescue.

Meanwhile, Vaca is awoken by his selfsame orcish pursuers who, after a brief skirmish, drug the shifter and drag him too into captivity.

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Episode 89 - Dread, Part V: Fancy Meeting You Here
Enemies Reunited, Friends Separated

Game Date: Autumn 79, 339 F.I.
Starting Point: Green-Highway
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Nakhiti “Thistle” Sati, Zanna

Calexzar the Vitriolic, Firebrand, the Unquenchable Flame descended upon the arboreal campsite of The Nameless Company, setting the tree ablaze and knocking it all the way to the ground. Crawling from the smote wreckage, the adventurers sought what cover they could as the dragon swooped past again and again, burning away the enveloping forest with gouts of furious flame. Within minutes, all their cover was destroyed, in favor of a blasted and blackened wasteland of soot and smoke and, after trapping the company within a ring of fire, into this desolation did Calexzar touch down, swearing oaths of vengeance against the adventurers.

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For many long minutes did the company do battle with the ancient red dragon upon the blackened ground. With fangs, claws and flames, Calexzar menaced his foes but, with teamwork and coordination – plus some extra savagery from Chogaruk – they managed to beat the wyrm back. Taking once again to the wing, the red dragon fled away into the sky, more enraged than ever.

Their victory was short-lived, however, as the weary adventurers heard the pounding drums of approaching orcs – many dozens of them, coming from all directions. Heading off into the forest, The Nameless Company sought to put as much distance between themselves and the site of their destructive battle with the dragon. After tramping through the jungle for a few hours, they came upon a secluded cave, where they might rest and regain their strength.

This reprieve, too, would prove short-lived for, a few precious hours into their rest, the trees shook like a hurricane, the ground quivered like an earthquake and Calexzar the Vitriolic descended upon them again. With a mighty breath, he flooded the entire cave with flame, catching the Company unawares and quickly on fire.

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When battle was joined again, parley too was attempted, both Thistle and Zencaré attempting to reason with the incensed beast. In their brief Draconic exchanges with the creature, they quickly learned that it was Vaca, he who had so greivously wounded the dragon during their last encounter, that Calexzar wanted revenge on, above all others. When he was once again driven back, Calexzar took his chance, chomping Vaca in his bite and taking to the wing.

All attempts to catch the wyrm proven eventually futile, The Nameless Company watched, stunned, as the ancient red dragon carried off their stoutest member in his fiery jaws. With no guide and no defender, the adventurers were further dismayed to hear the sounds of orcish war drums start up again, quickly closing in. After a frantic search for a campsite turned up fruitless, they clambered as far up the nearby cliff face as they could, hoping to devise a plan before the orcish warband that discovered them could scale the cliff and devour their flesh.

Vaca’s whereabouts or current status remain unknown.

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Episode 88 - Dread, Part IV: Fang-Mountain
The Company Strikes Out On Their Own

Game Date: Autumn 76-78, 339 F.I.
Starting Point: Fang-Mountain
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Zanna

After a tense encounter with the alpha female dire lion of Mlimajimo, the wild woman informs The Nameless Company that they are permitted to stay atop Fang-Mountain only for one single night. Agreeing to these terms, rather than face the wrath of the massive dire lion, the adventurers follow their guide through the plateau’s idyllic paradise towards the clusters of caves the sabre-toothed cats call their own.

Inside the wild woman’s cave, they meet her mate and her litter – three deformed cubs the woman adopted as her own. Over a meal of raw and roast boar, the adventurers discuss their next move, where they should head. With the help of a map made by the woman, they agree to strike out across the Green-Highway, a strange road made from the intertwining branches of thousands of hundred-foot tall trees.

The next morning, they say their farewells to the woman and depart, making their way through the strange and beautiful path they’ve chosen. For much of the day, they travel relatively unmolested – save for itchy plants and adhesive tree sap – until Vaca and Zencaré’s keen eyes notice that something large and numerous is following them. Before the rest of the group can react, a cluster of massive nursery spiders attacks, leaping down on the unsuspecting adventurers.

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Very quickly into the battle, both Vaca and Zencaré fall down between gaps in the branches and become entangled in a spider’s web, some forty feet below. While Chogaruk and Zanna struggle from above, the fighter and the wizard scramble to free themselves from their deadly trap, a labor Zencaré succeeds at and Vaca does not. Finally, with a little help of Chogaruk’s impressive forty-foot leap, the heroes defeat the spiders and continue on their way.

The following morning, The Nameless Company is awakened from their peaceful slumber by a familiar roar, a blast of fire and their campsite, a hollowed-out tree, crashing to the ground. It seems Calexzar, their old nemesis, has found them again!

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Episode 87 - Dread, Part III: Valley of Bones
Through Territory Uncharted

Game Date: Autumn 74–75, 339 F.I.
Starting Point: Dread Salarza
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Nakhiti “Thistle” Sati, Zanna

Now in the company of this unnamed wild woman, The Nameless Company plunged ever onward, though terrain more treacherous and lands uncharted by even the bravest explorers. Through thick and benighted jungle they journeyed, eventually coming into violent contact with a trio of shambling mounds, horrific parasitic vines that fed on the flesh and animated the corpses of their prey. Making quick work of these plant monsters, the adventurers laired for the evening in the destroyed remnants of a too-ambitious hunting cabin and there, they sought to learn something of their strange and mysterious guide.

In conversation with the woman, they learned that she was possibly an orphan of the Order of the Undiminished Star, the secretive brotherhood of Hromite monks that hunt down and exterminate those who have risen from the dead. In conversation with the woman, they learned that she was raised by dire lions, sabre-toothed hunting cats of enormous size, on the slopes of Mlimajimo, or “Fang-Mountain”, in Common. In conversation with the woman, they learned that she would take them there, but they must cross through the Valley of Bones, a behemoth graveyard that no orc tribe would willingly enter, for superstitious fear of the unhallowed place.

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While crossing the barren and bizarre Valley of Bones, The Nameless Company was assailed by a predatory flight of skinwing behemoths, winged reptiles that prey on whatever they can lift n their sharp talons and drop back down to the earth. During the encounter, the party was briefly separated, both Thistle and Chogaruk made somewhat successful attempts to tame and ride the beasts and, in the end, the behemoths were driven off and defeated. The woman congratulated their fighting prowess and on they ventured.

On the other side of the valley, they saw the green slopes of Fang-Mountain, in fact a massive plateau, rise up before them. With great difficulty, the entire company managed to climb its hundred foot cliffs and reach the verdant paradise on the plateau’s surface – only to be confronted with the woman’s snarling family, a pride of hungry sabre-toothed cats.

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