Fate Comes to Call

Growth through loss

The ritual is finally complete. It required sacrificing a strong magical item of death that we found. When the ritual was complete Thanifex sat there silent, the handle completely burnt away and a spectral Smokey outline left in its place. As of now he remains silent but hopefully that ends soon so I can work on figuring out the new powers it gained.

As the universe knows, power cannot be gained without sacrifice. It appears that this was continued by the loss of my new champion. It saddens be greatly as it requires a huge amount of resources and effort to create, but the work was rewarded by raising my most powerful minion to date, and he was taken so soon.

Hopefully the power gained through the ritual is worth it.

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Fear no evil

Gentle reader, this missive comes to you from the bottom of a dark pit somewhere in Barovia. We quested here on behalf of our undertaker friend who needed to complete a ritual of power that has left me concerned for the generations that follow ours. Apparently it is no longer enough to endanger our present, now we must become the catalyst of future doom as well.

The ritual required freeing an elder being. Not completely mind you, but the largest of avalanches begin with the smallest of footfalls. We obtained what we wanted, but I believe that the long term cost will be higher than we can imagine.

Of course we still have not dealt with the master of the castle yet, I fear the godchild is growing completely overconfident in regards to facing him. We did get a taste of what it will be like to face off against Raiden recently and it wasn’t pleasant. Fortunately my “alternative plans” for dealing with him are still on the table and unknown to the others.

Lying here staring up at the elder power we have begun to free, I can’t help but wonder what the future price will be in our quest for power.

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2 Years and We're Still Not Dead
A Recap of the Adventure So Far

Hey guys, instead of doing a character post today, I would like to take the time of the adventure that all of us went through so far. So to top it off, the original adventuring party arrived to Siendart. Although, the captain threw the party overboard as their welcoming gift. Our original crew was comprised of Hogthorpe, a noble from a land forgotten; Jolias, a Priest of the Austere Lady; Juliana, Jolia’s brother and Paladin of the Austere Lady; Dakras, a necromancer; Antonio, an adventurer; and Mallard “The Duck,” an alchemist and “healer.” Together, this group set out to make their living in the new world, trying to help explore the new world and make a name for themselves. Within the first session, mayhem struck the city of Fiveport as the docks were being attacked by some gang. Juliana and Jolias charged ahead to help fight while the others helped the villagers controlled the fire. The encounter almost proved to be fatal as Jolias almost dies from the first swing of one of the gang members. The next day, the enigmatic Red offered the crew a job with one of the guilds within Fiveport, The mission bestowed onto to them was one of great importance. Retrieve a signet ring from a thief hiding out in Gonost. However, the signet belonged to Lord Eirwright, one of the most important nobles of Fiveport. The misuse of the signet ring can lead to the falsfication of documents or even the starting of wars.
The group travels to Gonost, but everything was not smooth sailing. The group trespasses into the territory of The Three Sisters, sea hags who attack any poor person that trespass into their territory using malignant magic and horrible monsters. The party brave through the obstacles of the Sisters and arrive at Gonost to find the thief. The group makes their way into the TImberway Forest, not without some casualties. Dakras was the first to fall to Timberway Lions but was the first to discover the power that lies in all of the heroes. The group finds the thief in an abandoned cabin but finds morphed into some hideous monster: the Wendigo. Everyone but Hogthorpe and Antonio is bitten and is overcome by the course of the Wendigo, craving flesh to feast. But alas, fortune is met at the crossroads as a gypsy caravan is there and helps the group get cured of the curse, not without a price to pay. The next day Hogthorpe disappears in a brilliant flash of lighting, leaving nothing behind. However, the group does not mind and continues with their adventure. During the time we met Axe, a earnest and brave warrior. Jolias bought a wagon of rocks and died from drugs of “The Duck.” The group’s ties with the alchemist was strained enough with previous events. However, the group cast aside “The Duck” and he was ex-communicated from the party. With their mission in Gonost complete, they return back to Fiveport. However, an accursed beast sits on top of the mast, with two heads and an aura of mishap. The Devil Eagle causes those on the ship to go through catastrophic mishaps. Examples of such was the spoiling of food and the attraction of the ghost ship. With enough appeasement and a full belly, the Devil Eagle left. But, one more misadventure happened. The ship crashed and the party comes across a Demilich’s Labyrinth. With all sort of evil machinations and inventions, the group made it into the inner sanctum of the lair, to find that Duck has betrayed the party and has made a pact with the demon Pazuzu. After a bloody battle, Duck retreats with the demon, for now. The group eventually makes it to Fiveport and return the ring to Lord Eirwright and holds a feast for the party. At the party, the party meets Maximilian McCloud, an weaponsmith and lightning mage with a short temper. After the party, another raid was struck onto a temple of Soldral and find that a map was stolen by some thieves with the a faint silhouette of an alchemist. The thieves were dressed as the night watch to sneak into the church.

Thus, Book 2 starts. The party is tasked by the Church of Soldral to retrieve the map because the map hides a sinister secret to the location of the BOOK OF VILE DARKNESS. The group travels to a forest near the city of Gonost, where legends say that people enter the forest do not come back. The group rests at a village nearby and seeks a hunter who knows their way around Mith Taure, the forest. The hunter agrees to guide the group through the forest and eventually comes to the Ancient Archives. In the archives, the group goes through all sorts of ancient traps in order to get to the Book before the thieves do. At the last trap, Max accidentally set off an trap that blended Axe. After Axe’s resurrection, the group encounters the thieves but fail to catch them. The group believes that their job in the forest is done. However, during the night, the group gets transported into the plane of Ravenloft, a land plagued by undead, ruled by the Lord of the Lands, Baron Strahd von Zaronvich, a ruthless vampire. Now the party embarks on an epic quest to figure out where the map is within the land of Barovia before it gets into the hands of the Baron himself.

So that’s the recap so far because we all can remember what happened up to this point. But the point of the post is to look back, laugh, and reminisce on the funny, serious, or just really special moments in the campaign. So here’s to two years. So with that I say “Thanks Andrew for making the campaign really fun. The group and I appreciate the monsters, traps, and other horrible stuff that you’ve thrown at us. It really makes for some interesting but memorable encounters. Thank you and here to the group’s demise. May rocks fall and everyone die.”

Let’s have a feast!

turkey.jpg

Oh wait, sorry. That’s a paladin you’re eating, not turkey. Oh well!

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Hope is found Down in the Damp Dark Below
Stormlord

While we delve deeper into the caverns underneath the castle we discover the area neede for Dakras and his Scythe. Once again we encounter more traps, and again they are designed to separate us via teleportation. Strahds main tactics seem to be inclined towards dividing us both literally and figuratively, now more than ever we need to remain united. At last I saw some cooperation from Dakras in assisting Axe’s paralysis, perhaps there is hope of regaining his trust. We discovered a captive down here after being teleported into his jail cell. I let him know that we are not here to harm him and that we will get him out of here. He seems to fear Dakras, but I openly assure him that Dakras is a good man and does not wield his power over death with malicious intent. Secretly I hope that Dakras can hear this, but I still speak this truly regardless. Perhaps I can instill new hope in this captive in this dark place. This man, should we rescue him from this place I will ask him to spread my story of what happened here, spread his new hope and perhaps he will be the first of many to follow, for now I am but a mortal, but I will forge the path ahead towards the Harpoon and then through the Leviathan to my destiny. First though, Strahd must fall.

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A New Perspective

Ever since my conversion from the Austere Lady to Lord Tyrenyt, I feel some tension between the majority of the group, especially my sister. Since we were children, the Austere Lady was basically our family. However, we were forced into the religion by the mercenary group. I was only a devout follower because I needed something to cling onto to alleviate the grief of losing our family. But in recent days, I came to the conclusion that the past was holding me back. The Austere Lady is a reminder of that grief and how some wounds cannot be healed by magic. It is time to shed my skin and be a new person. It is no time to stand in the back and cower in fear. It is no time to be afraid of the dark. It’s time for battle.

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Return to the castle

We have only just returned to the castle and already encountered multiple issues.

The first problem is that we drew the attention of doppelgangers in the crypt. I cannot speak much of what happened as I was removed rather quickly. What I do know is that axe was the first to be replaced and then I was soon after.

Once this resolved we learned Cyprus had found axe and was dragging him up the stairs. Luckily he was found almost exactly where we expected. After some talking we learned he has seen the other half of our key but the senile old man could not remember where he had seen it. This was a small tip until we heard metal scraping in the cauldron. I convinced him to let me stir while jolias distracted him. We found a few odd magical items and most amusingly an animated zombie head. Eventually we found the last bit of magic in the pot, unfourtanetly we could not tell what it was due to it being coated in endless grime.

Following this we took the path to the oasis of power. Upon arriving we heard light screams for help, this naturally brought thoughts of traps. We freed him and as others whispered I moved to the next room. Me and axe were hit by tentacles of bone. Due to the speed of the hits and surprise I was unable to properly identify the creature

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Report 20th of the Harvester
Gotta do some back tracking

There is never a dull moment in Barovia, apparently. If its not an undead horde, it’s Strahd; if its not Strahd its werewolves. Its never ending here.

I greatly admire the people still standing here. After such calamities and disaster some still manage to keep their heads up, spirits unbroken.

We went to meet with the caravan, only to immediately meet with a large band of wolves right after. After seeing their numbers and abilities I called for a retreat. We did what we came here for: get the caravan to safety. We held the line for them. No use dying when we could close the town gate and get reinforcements from there.

But my pig-headed party members wanted to keep fighting. I dont know if it was for glory or what. Jolias was with me. But I could not in good conscious leave them to die.

After taking a couple of icicles in the gut and having a few ballistas land dangerously close to my face, something rather unsettling happened. Antonio echoed my call for retreat and collapsed, not before the bridge collapsed and every werewolf still standing fell to its own shadow, a stone paver from the bridge magically landing on their skulls.

Axe dove into the water to retrieve Antonio while I pulled him back in with the rope. Everyone else pulled back, and we eventually made it back to town.

There was a panic about the ballista bolts and the draconoid that Dakras and Antonio saw, but luckily nothing came of it. Ismark shut himself in the bar and Irina was left to treat with the Madame Eva.

The couple more days we spent there resting proved to be useful. I poured over my maps and past reports to prepare for the infiltration of the castle. The gypsies brought much needed trade. Jolias began worshiping Lord Tyrent, which in all honesty is a wise thing to do in these times.

We leave for Castle Ravenloft in the morning. Unlike before, I feel retreat is not an option. I just hope we are all prepared for what lies there waiting for us.

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The Brotherhood of Storms

Its been months since I joined the Brotherhood of Storms. I emulated those bat-shit fuckers for weeks now, and for what? Gathering evidence? Proving any wrongdoing? Or perhaps the boys in blue up in HQ just hated me that much.

No matter. Their hate and skepticism doesn’t matter now. I’ve seen it. I feel its pull on my mind, when I blink I see flashes of light and hear a low grumbling of thunder…

This assignment seemed simple to HQ. Join the Brotherhood, wear a wire, prove these psychos were responsible for the break ins, and radio it in. But really, join a cult? Old me was more terrified of taking a filth-coated knife to the gut over any all-seeing “Herald of the Storm” but boy was I proven wrong.

The Brotherhood was rumored to be more than just an excuse for dying old men and sickly lads to get together and discuss weather. Sources say that they were looking to harness the power of the heavens itself, and if the local legend was true, they somehow released some great thundering being, the embodiment of lightning itself. Regardless, HQ got a tip that this Brotherhood was the ones responsible for stealing valuables and artifacts from the University museum. HQ figured only I could bring these sickly men living their retirements on the beach to justice. My assignment: find the items, find out who is the leader.

I still remember trying to get in. All the weather crap I had to memorize. The people I had to schmooze. But once I was allowed into their little weather club, the strangest feeling came over me. It was like I was on edge, like that moment just before you know you’ll get shocked. The brothers all whispered how my initiation ceremony would be the first proper one for as long as they could remember, all thanks to their newest acquisition. I sure as hell didn’t want to be initiated, but I had orders to find the missing relics and by golly I was going to find them.

The air seemed static as I entered their meeting area that night, a rooftop of an old beach home, dilapidated with salt air and time. As night fell the wind whipped about, threatening to blow this building down. Yet as if by magic, it held. The brothers joined hands and pushed me to the center, chanting in a language that sounded rough and rage-filled. I walked towards the center of this circle to a make-shift platform with a rusted chest, no larger than a jewelry box. The hinges protested as I delicately lifted the lid. Nestled inside the darkness was a small golden figure – a bronze dragon figurine, exquisitely polished and detailed – exactly like the one missing from the museum. I reached to lift the figure and as soon as I touched it I felt a spark – and my new brothers must have felt it too as one by one they jerked as if they were electrocuted, falling to the ground. “Brontes… Zeus… Perun…” Just a few of many names that my cultist brothers cried out in worship.

The clouds parted as if torn asunder from a great blade of wind. The cultists all around me threw up their hands and fell to their knees in worship, screaming yet more names into the storm.

I cast an uneasy gaze up towards the sky. Through the sudden bursts of lightning I swore I saw a great face twisted with rage, but when my eyes adjusted after the flash naught but a storm cloud remained where the visage of a man once was.

I stared incredulously at the angry skies until I heard a sick thud behind me. I whipped around just fast enough to see a shadowy figure dart as fast as the wind just out of sight. A cultist groaned as he clutched at the sudden spear jutting out of his chest. All around me the cultists – my brothers – began falling. Some with great spears through them, others cleaved in two as if the wind was a sword, yet more singed and burning to ash before me.

Mission be damned, I took out my gun. I scanned the perimeter, and paled when I saw him. My gun clattered to the ground as a sudden knowledge came to me. I passed out at the mere sight of his great image. It was indescribable – the fear, the golden scales, the lightning in his eyes…

The official police reports say the dozen members of the Brotherhood of Storms passed away from the building coming down on them. “Must have been the lightning from the storm that did it. The building was half demolished already.”

But I know the truth. I – the skeptic, who faced the storm and lived, knew what happened that night. It was him. He killed my brothers. It wasn’t Brontes or Ukko or even Set. None of those are his name, not his true name.

His name was Max

TLDR: Max the storm god, frustrated his own followers can’t get his name right, punished the pious and rewarded the skeptic just to prove a point.

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Musings of a Thunder God
Mortals Beware

Day 1 as a deity: Wow this new power is amazing! Think of all the good I could do, all those I could protect, never again will we have to live in fear.

Day 17: The people of my seaside town are prospering without the fear of monsters, but some pirates have become foolhardy in claiming that they do not believe in me and have continued to attack us. I think I see a fleet on the horizon.

Day 18: So the entirety of the pirate armada has been decimated but it appears I was too enthusiastic in my destruction of them, the minor hurricane I willed into existence has seemed to cause some collateral damage.

Day 25: It seems the people were quite angry with me when I explained that I could not undo the damage caused by my hurricane. I tried to explain that Creation and Artfice are not among the domains that I offer or even in my portfolio. The conversation got a little heated and I lost my temper and one thunderclap later I had accidentally smited the poor bastards. At least it’s quiet now…

Day 57: There is an annoying new trend of “Godslayers” showing up to avenge the fallen etc. I tried to tell the first one that what happened was an accident but I sneezed and blew the poor guy across the continent. After his death, I don’t see any end of this trend in sight.

Day 79: I’ve gotten real sick of these assholes, there like cockroaches, you annihalate one town of theirs and they just build a new one in 5 years. So I’ve decided to hire some help, with promise of divine boons and what not they seem sufficiently happy. They are a bit too enthusiastic though…oh well, I have God things to do, I’ve still gotta get the gray lady back for her snide comment about me needing to believe in myself more when I asked for tips on this whole god thing.

Day 123: I turn my back for one minute and they start a god damned CRUSADE! ! I just wanted them off my back not a complete FUCKING genocide! That’s FUCKING IT! Screw this pantheon, after I wipe those jerks from existence, I’m fucking out of here.

Day 458: This new pantheon is Great! No more bullshit godslayers beating down my door, no more peasants getting in the way of my wrath, it’s nice. I’m kinda digging the new name too, Lord Raiden has a nice ring to it. I’m really looking forward to this tournament every one keeps talking about.

Day 790: Everyone is dead, and this pantheon is fucked. I hate being a god.

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The Cult of Max
A Vision of the Horrible Future

Long after the current group of adventurers, saviors, fools, or whatever else you wish to call them disbanded a horrible event occurred. Without others of similar power to keep him in check he madness within Max grew even deeper. He was determined to achieve godhood, or if he could not he would attack the gods themselves, tearing them from their divine thrones.

As time passed he sought after more power and spells to cause larger explosions. Eventually he did it… After landing the final blow on the leviathan, blowing the remaining pieces of its head from its neck-like body a light burst from the creatures body and shot into Max’s. The divine spark that granted the beast its great power and immortality had been transferred to its new host.

Following this event there was nothing be found of either combatants. Despite taking shelter far away from the battle the cities residents were all temporarily blinded by the flashes of light at the end of the fight. With no evidence to suggest otherwise it was widely believed that the would be lord of the land vaporized not only the monster of legend but also himself with the final blast of energy.

The true events were a little more strange however, Max was both sealed from time and thrown through it. He would randomly appear in time periods with the inability to do anything but observe. While he waited and watched the god mused to himself, he needed a new name Max was a simple mortal and he was now a god, but for a long time he was unsure what name to take. As Max’s body finished adapting to the new power it absorbed the imprisonment ended but the madness did not leave once his goal was achieved, it instead simply changed directions. A few remnants of the original Max was still present, his affinity towards lightning and the resounding thunder, and curiously his affection towards what he felt was the arms of the common people.

During his time spent in time he witnessed a curious metal tube used by nearly every combatant in the, what one could assume to be, future. It was similar to a wand or magic item but was far to prevalent for it to be that. The common use of the item along with the large noise, smoke emitted from the item after use, and damage it inflicted upon the targets caused it to be taken up by the new deity.

You may be saying, but this was supposed to be a story about the cult of Max not how he achieved godhood! Yes that is true but unfortunately there is little to mention of any worshipers of the minor divine being. Despite this limit a story needed to be told and the padding be added. If you truly wish to hear of the depressing cult of followers continue reading.

Some time after Max came back to time he found himself in another world, far different from Telduin. Only a small group of travelers payed him any attention, and even then only one of them actually payed any reverence to him. The one lone worshiper was an oddly shaped goblin, multi armed and with familiar scales on his skin periodically which affectionately referred to the deity as The Biggest Boom. The rest of the group however generally, jokingly, referred to the “god” that their companion babbled about as Gun Satan.

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