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Necromancing Xuun Pt.2: Squatters’ Rights

The dark trio of Jíen the necromancer (played by me), Trantox the assassin (played by Fate of the hoods as they vs. the squatter heroesJenn), and Dravor the blackguard (played by Gil) found themselves settling into their bedrolls in a barren room of a deserted adobe apartment building. A few piles of detritus and some debris from the crumbling wall-plaster the only décor. Each settled into their own corner to sleep.

Later, Jíen was shocked awake by Dranor’s shouts. The necromancer awoke to find his companions cornered on the opposite side of the room from him by four black-hooded dagger-wielding rogues. They had not stumbled onto the young necromancer since he had camped out by the entrance and they had apparently gained entry through one or both of the glassless shudder-less windows along the outside wall. Jíen’s skeletal minion was standing between him and the group of hoods.

The necromancer leapt to his feet and cast an empowered Wound spell on the nearest thief. The sudden twinge of the masked man’s body told Jíen his spell had been effective. His skeletal minion continued to guard its master against approach. Trantox ducked behind the larger Dravor to load his crossbow.

A hood stabbed Dranor and another jabbed Trantox hurting him badly with a lightning fast flash of the blade. Another turned and lashed out at the minion, which parried the clumsy blow easily with its boney claws. The thief who had felt the sting of the necromancer’s magic turned and stabbed Jíen wounding him while Dravor clinched a thief’s dagger on a parry. Jíen stepped back and cast Animate Necrosis on his attacker. The necromancer’s back mashed against the damp disintegrating plaster, but the resultant scabby tendril failed to take hold of the man’s throat.

Trantox stepped out to shoot a thief whom tried to parry the crossbow itself but failed miserably getting shot and badly wounded in the process. The thief clinched by Dravor’s axe wrenched his dagger free and his dagger stung at the black guard whom barley was able to knock the blade aside. Trantox pulled his silver dagger and slashed but the hood dodged his blow easily.

The hood on the minion stabbed it piercing the black robes but hit nothing as the blade slid easily between its bleached ribs. Jíen’s attacker stepped in for a kill shot but the gruesome tendril sticking out of his shirt found its grip around his throat and squeezed the last bit of life out of him. The strangled corpse fell at the necromancer’s feet.

Dravor hacked one of the hoods down with a mighty swing and the assassin put another quarrel into one that was hitherto untouched. The thief on Jíen’s minion stabbed the creature again to no effect then it retorted by clawing him. Dranor swung on the thief that had run up to Trantox as the assassin was still badly wounded but his blow was parried. Trantox then got another bolt off from his crossbow nailing his attacker seriously injuring him.

One of the hooded men tried to make a run for it as the battle turned but Dranor took the opportunity to cleave his yellow spine in two. The last hood prepared to defend himself as he looked for a way out of the gauntlet. Dranor’s axe missed its mark as it whistled in from the side but Trantox’s blade found its mark nearly killing the thief. The hood sidestepped and prepared to leap from the nearest window.

Jíen threw a spell in the wounded hood’s direction and as his body convulsed a torrent of blood forced from the petty thug’s body flew directly into the necromancer’s mouth and down his throat, Jíen’s wounds instantly healing. Even so, the last hood, the largest of the former four, was still able to make a desperate leap at the window the two bleeding halves of his body impacting into the wooden windowsill with a thud. Dranor had chopped him apart while he was still in midair.

It took only a few minutes for the trio to loot the bodies. Afterwards the necromancer immediately went to work on the corpses digging out a few long-bones for use as Bone Wands later. The three tried to recoup some sleep for the last few hours before dawn and then parted ways as soon as the purple moon was full against the golden morning horizon. They would meet back up later at the Whiskey Troll Tavern around midday.

Jíen with his disguised minion in tow found his way across town to the charnel house in the east end situated right next to the very crowded cemetery. After a few more minutes he had found the proprietor and mentioning Rantcor’s name introduced himself. The proprietor was a tall, skinny Ivoran fellow with a baldhead and sumptuous oiled brown beard named Exandnor. However, the only business the Ivoran crypt-keeper seemed to be interested in was the delivery of fresh intact corpses “no questions asked”.

Just when Jíen thought that the bard’s tip was turning out to be fruitless the Ivoran offered the necromancer an empty tomb to sleep in which slouched near the center of the cemetery. The name inscribed on the small sunken mausoleum was Ranor Long-Rider. The dead-lander thanked Exandnor for his kindness and after inspecting the new digs went on his way to the tavern.

On the way to tavern however he had to cut through the town bazaar which was already reeking with its hoards of tradesmen, merchants, rubes, thieves, and whores. He passed close by to where a gypsy clan was entertaining, juggling and the like. Their children were moving in and out of the small unwashed crowd that had gathered. “Thieving no doubt” Jíen thought.

So mostly for sh*ts and giggles as one of the earthy haired bumpy-headed urchins passed by him (they were a noticeable mating of faun, human, and naga) he quickly pat the boy on the head all the while subtly casting a Contagion spell, nothing serious only a fever possibly lethal still highly contagious though. After that, feeling wholly satisfied with himself the necromancer continued on his way to the Whiskey Troll his black draped skeletal minion following closely on his heels.

To Be Continued…

Necromancing Xuun Pt.1: Crackin’ Skulls

The bard, the group’s contact, had appeared as if from nowhere and sat conversing with Black Skulls Tattoohis other two companions (Dravor played by Gil and Trantox by Jenn) in their language, Poison-tongue. Jíen couldn’t understand as he only spoke, at the moment anyway, the Deadlands tongue an archaic Hyvalian dialect. He did however notice the bits of other numerous conversations, mostly in Ivoran (another dialect of Hyvalian) that floated upon the heady and noisome atmosphere like so much flotsam. He had pieced together something from the general murmur about a missing hill-giant captain of the guard. Nothing really interesting.

His shadow-drowned eyeballs rolled about the place. In the corner by the gaping doorway, an old portcullis no doubt, stood a perpetually empty table, its boards strangely dry and carved with a decorative image, which he could not presently make out but it looked like an expertly carved clown. Meanwhile a ruckus began near to their table as 2 groups of pirates began a drinking contest against each other. A few were speaking in the Deadlands tongue.

The necromancer’s patience was at an end as the bard and Trantox seemed to be gabbing. Jíen turned to the bard, Rantcor, and asked what they were talking about finishing with, “I’m here for a job not conversation!”

Rantcor briefly conversed with the necromancer in broken Hyvalian about his range of skills the bard ending the talk with mention of “possible extermination work”. The bard then turned to Trantox and gave him directions to someplace called “The Broken String” and to be there at midnight, from what the necromancer could make out anyway.

A group of rat-catchers tumbled in ready to pay for drinks in rat-tails loudly talking rumors and conjecturing on the fate of one Nezor. A short while after Rantcor departed Dravor got up from the table and began to preach to various bar patrons which attracted Jíen’s attention as it wasn’t about the Black Faith, the theosophy of the Deadlands.

So, the necromancer sauntered over to the pirates that he had heard chattering in his language and sat down. They had black-skulls tattooed on their chests and arms. He quickly got on their good sides after buying a round and then casually mentioned that the big ugly guy in black-painted bronze armor was a Blackguard who was bringing down bad luck and curses on the head of every sailor in the place. He went on to say what the guy was preaching was offensive to the goddess of the sea, Ranah the patroness of sailors and favorite deity of most sailors that port in Xuun.

It wasn’t long before the whole group, all 7 of them, stood up and surrounded Dravor who didn’t take them telling him to shut-up about his religion very well. Jíen just sat back and enjoyed the show.

The Black Skulls charged Dravor with their fists flying who then attempted to drive off his assailants by intimidating them which worked too well. All 7 of the pirates skidded to a halt on the ale-soaked floor and drew their cutlasses forcing Dravor to draw his massive zanbato. One hacked his mark into Dravor’s side with a cutlass, the Blackguard knocked aside another’s dagger blade, and then yet another’s cutlass clinched his zanbato when he responded.

Trantox seeing his companion in trouble prowled up behind one of the pirates and stuck him with his silver dagger badly wounding the Black Skull. Trantox barely dodged the reciprocal blow from the wounded pirate’s slat-scored dagger. Dravor easily broke the clinch on his weapon but then got nailed by the clinching pirate with a critical blow forcing him back and giving pause as he attempted to recover.

Dravor was able to shake off that savage blow completely. Observing that his companions weren’t as tough as they thought they were and realizing his little bit of fun may have gone a bit too far Jíen cast Animate Necrosis on the dagger-wounded pirate. His red dagger wound turned black and small tendrils tore out of his flesh and began strangling him. Trantox took the opportunity to stab the man again and again finally killing him.

Dravor parried more cutlass blows and Trantox took a lucky dagger jab to the ribs wounding him badly. Dravor then chopped into another Black Skull wounding him unto death. Seeing the fight was swinging to his companions’ favor Jíen grew bored and took his skeletal minion, still disguised in padded robes, out to look for The Broken String.

It wasn’t long before the Deadlands necromancer found the place which appeared only as placard swinging over an empty doorway between buildings that led to a spiral stone-step which wound down into a small dimly lit taproom with incense spiced air and an oddly and severely subdued atmosphere. “At least it doesn’t stink”, Jíen thought. There were curtained booths along the wall opposite the bar. At the bar there was an unconscious patron and tending a bored looking faun.

Jíen bought 3 glasses of “average” wine and waited at the bar for his companions. They arrived not long after looking worse for the wear. They slurped down their glasses in a single gulp and ordered more. Trantox after his second glass traded a Yellow Lotus blossom to the bartender for a full bottle of the stuff. Come midnight the dark trio’s contact showed up.

Rantcor passed a strangely struck coin to the faunic bartender whom nodded in the affirmative and gave him a bottle of dark wine. He then led the trio into one of the private booths. He had a job and as he told it to the other two he repeated every sentence again translating for Jíen.

Rantcor: “There’s a hemp merchant named Ranor, heard of him? No? Okay. Ranor needs to be killed. He’s staying at the Golden Feather Inn & Tavern. Bounty’s 500 gold pieces.”

The bard mentions during a period of translation to Jíen that he may have a special job coming up in a little while and to go to the charnel house on the north end of town and mention “ghoul-work”. After giving the trio the skinny the bard stays until his bottle is empty in the median trying to talk Poisonwood politics with the assassin and the blackguard. Before he left Rantcor mentioned that if the group needed a place to stay there was a squat in a two-story adobe apartment nearby which he was sure was fairly safe to sleep in.

To Be Continued…

Necromancing Xuun: Intro

Well, after the unintended (I hope) ending of the previous campaign A Giant in Xuun, Cris decided to give another go at GMing since he “had a lot more writing” left over that our characters never even touched on. So, Jenn, Gil, and I wrote up some new “evil” characters for further adventures in the coastal swamp City of Xuun. I decided on a necromancer from the Deadlands from the far side of the world of Eu.

Bozhívostró JielínvoNecromancer Jien

Also known as Jíen or Xinn, he is a native of the Deadlands born to poor but landed farmers. He took the surname of his step-father (Bozhívostró) whom officially adopted him shortly after marrying his mother not long after Jíen’s birth. His true father’s identity is unknown to him though he is very aware of his adoption.

His adoptive father and his mother survive on their poor farm growing herbs & vegetables in the poor soil of the Deadlands. Both are somewhat ineffectual towards Jielínvo favoring instead his two younger brothers, the true heirs of his adoptive father’s property. In a vain effort to please his parents Jíen thrust himself into books and learning diving straight into an academic life even having shown enough promise to be recruited and examined by the provincial temple where he was allowed to study the necromantic arts.

A few days after his final exam and as he contemplated a life of civil service, his step-father took him to the docks, tossed him a small coin purse, and pointed out a ship. “That’s your ship”, he said and left the young necromancer to his fate. He had been indentured by his step-father to the ship’s captain as an apprentice Zombie Master. This black vessel, the Silver Owl Mercantile, would be his home for the next 5 years.

The Silver Owl

The silver owl is a fair sized ship with a junk rigging, crimson sails with the white face of an owl painted on the main sail. The ship is equipped to haul trade-goods (mostly noxious alchemical raw materials, slaves, and zombies). It is outfitted to handle a small number of living slaves in the holds and what is called a ‘Bone-Castle’, a chamber in the fore-castle used to store corpses & skeletons.

Jíen’s duties included keeping the active and inactive zombie crew well-brined as well as assisting the ship’s Zombie Master in controlling and combating the undead and any unfriendly spirits that may endanger the ship.

During his 5 years of contractual service he served mainly as the ship’s Apprentice Zombie Master but was occasionally called upon to take on the duties of a regular crewman whenever the need arose. The ship hauled its cargo to trade under cover of darkness to privately owned Hyvalian ships while in the Solkang Ocean. It also acted as an officially licensed privateer vessel along the Chengorré Coast in the Dread Sound.

The ship skirted the Imperial Seas going southeast and harbored in Crescent Moon for a time. From there it sailed back west to such parts as Tower Town and then south to the Mere to act as a slaving vessel. The acquired slave-cargo was then sold off in cities along the Serpent Coast. From the Serpent Coast the ship transported a few strong boxes, guild-marked, to Ezmer along with a couple of mysterious passengers.

Costing an Arm

A failed attack on a smaller Creschan vessel resulted in significant losses among the regular crew, thusly Jíen had to serve out-of-capacity as a sailor during a particularly nasty thunderstorm. As a result Jíen’s right arm got tangled in a rope and tore from the shoulder by the flailing rigging. It was nearly a month before the Master Necromancer could fully repair the damage. The young necromancer’s arm however was lost to the warm waters of the Great Outer Ocean.

It was while the ship was ported in Ezmer that Jíen’s contract was up and even though he was offered a standard contract to remain as one of the crew he decided to part ways with the ship disembarking to seek his fortunes in the bustling streets of Ezmer. Here he was able to find various jobs and made a few contacts including knowledge of a powerful slaver named Korvo-Doom, a name he was already familiar with as the Silver Owl often did business with Korvo’s associates in the Golden Demon Company.

Traveling to Xuun

When things stagnated in Ezmer and the authorities began to take notice of him he decided to travel further north to Xuun on the first available trade caravan. He also heard of rumors among Ezmer’s mages of a powerful Naga mage known only as “Shadow-Scale” whom may be lurking in the city of Xuun as well as the contact for information about another well-connected mage named Korfin. He had hoped that his contacts might provide some kind of employment opportunities fit for one of his talents, if anything he was confident that he could find work in the charnel house.

Dress for Undeath

The emblem Jíen wears on the chest of his black robes, puts on his spell books, and uses as his maker’s mark he took from an engraving on a nameless tombstone. It is of an owl & raven back-to-back facing left & right respectively with a lidless eye balanced between them. Over his robes and in addition to a grey waist-sash he wears a high-quality magic rhino-hide belt studded with moonstones and a blue-steel buckle that he had come upon on a lucky trade. He still wears the seaman’s seal-skins over his legs tied above the knee and a dagger with a serrated blade and spiked pommel dangles at his side.

On his face he wears a carven leather face-mask fashioned after an owl’s stylized countenance with a lidless eye carved at the center of the forehead. That he wears mainly to disguise the fact that in place of his eyeballs are two pools of lifeless shadow due to his Eldritch Ability of Eyes of the Dead. This ability has its advantages for a necromancer but renders the world at large a misty, grey, lifeless, and lonely place. Following him is his skeletal minion hidden in an identical black robe and a grey cloak and cowl.

Enter the Necromancer

Not long after arriving in Xuun, Jíen found himself sitting at an ale-soaked table in a smoky dive called the Whiskey-Troll Tavern. The place was over-crowded with gladiators and their managers/owners among them adding overloud business-chatter to the drunken clatter. Across the damp board from the one-armed necromancer sat a couple of rough customers. A short red-haired guy in black studded leather armor with a bronze facemask fashioned after the likeness of a lamb named Trantox, an assassin (played by Jenn) and a bigger guy in bronze armor painted black with a disfigured face named Dravor, a black guard (played by Gil). Both were ruffians from Posionwood. All three dark candlelit and pipe-smoke-limned figures awaited their mutual contact to show while they soaked in the reeking ambience of the place. They were waiting for a bard named Rantcor (former secret contact of the late Cantra).

To Be Continued…