tag

Necromancing Xuun Pt.11: Funny Little Death Games Pt.2

Game day, the morning the pit-games were to begin. The pit-games functioned as an amateur Weapons fit for a fighterfighter-league apart from the formal and in some respects over regulated official gladiatorial circuit. The fighters matched according to general size and weight with some attention paid to their respective physical prowess and strength. Armor restricted to the arms, legs, and the center of the chest. Other bits legal if both opponents are equipped similarly. Weapons were similarly regulated and rigorously inspected more so than the fighters.

Just before dawn Jíen got his fighter to the arena. It was a large stone building with coliseum seating covered by an awning-like ceiling under which lay the vault-ceilinged galleries. The wounded tended to and fighters vetted and equipped within. Also under the stone step-seats was the entry gallery where vendors sold their wares and bets tendered. The ring was a dirt floor surrounded by a shallow moat meant for the handlers, referees, and judges. On opposite sides of the arena were the gates through which the fighters would enter the ring.

Jíen’s fighter Bludbaer was to face off against one Zurat, a Westlander savage armed with a double-sword. The place was bristling with flags, banners, and ribbons of every color imaginable. The fight doctor cleared Zurat, his face painted with evil blue designs. The doctor moved over to Bludbaer as Zurat jaunted out of sight to await the match behind his assigned gate. The doctor cleared Bludbaer after a cursory glance. Jíen let out a relieved breath.

The Swampers’ Guild was backing Zurat and Jíen couldn’t resist making a gentleman’s bet that his fighter would win. Pit fights continued until one of the competitors couldn’t. They were almost always a death-match. The bookies gave Bludbaer 2-to-1-odds in his favor. Jíen took that bet.

It wasn’t long before Jíen collected 290 gp from the swampers but Bludbaer had taken a fair amount of damage (a whopping 20 Hit Points). Fortunately the wine-blood gambit had proven believable to all onlookers. So much so that White Star healers kept approaching and offering their services for a small charge. So the necromancer quickly shuffled his fighter into a quiet corner of the hospital gallery and repaired the undead thing’s damage the best he could using his Necrology (and spell slots).

The next match and the last of the day for Jíen’s creature would be against a double-axe wielding fighter named Scarnor but the odds were again on Bludbaer’s side. Again, it was a short bout and the necromancer took 2,075 gp in winnings. At the end of a very bloody day the fighters left in competition were Baenox Blood-Axe, Zarcar the faun (Rantcor’s “guy”), Skull-Smasher a half-hill-giant, and Bludbaer. After some of the officials began making off-hand comments that Bludbaer had an uncanny resemblance to another fighter, one who had come in second place last year Jíen took that as a sign to get out of there quick. He was long gone when they remembered the second place fighter’s name, Baercor.

Later at the Troll packed and noisy with fight fans, Jíen fed Bludbaer red wine which several fans were also sending over to the table. It was soon crowded with bottles, tin goblets, and wood cups by the time the necromancer retreated with his fighter back to the tomb.

The next day at midday, Bludbaer was again in the arena facing off with Zarcor the Rockhollow faun armed with a trident and gladius. The odds were 10 to 1 in favor of Zarcor. Jíen bet 2,000 gp on Bludbaer. Emboldened by his observation of the pit doctor, Jíen had cast Invigoration of Unlife into his creation just before leaving the tomb that morning heightening his fighter’s abilities a few notches.

The fight was a desperate one nonetheless. Bludbaer fell quickly and Jíen mentally controlling the undead fighter from the sidelines put his charisma to use. He howled and pulled at his hair and actually got the crowd to begin chanting Bludbaer’s name. That’s when he allowed the creature to rise again to wild cheers from the bloodthirsty throng. Though as a result it’s Negative Aura (the animating force behind the undead and their abilities) diminished (permanent -1).

The second round was brief. Bludbaer chopped down the unbelieving faunic warrior. The arena was erupting with chants of Bludbaer! Jíen’s take on that fight was a respectable 18,000 gp. Only 8,000 of it was given in coinage however, the rest was in a Writ. The matches concluded with Skull-Smash wining his match in quite the messy fashion. The other fighters were either dead or too wounded to continue progressing through the ranks. It would be Bludbaer versus Skull-Smash the next day with 5 to 1 odds in Skull-Smash’s favor. Jíen was hoping for a massive payday as he had a plan forming in his wicked little brain.

Jíen with his bandaged fighter in tow (just to keep the healers away) went straight to the betting tables to make a 10,000 gp wager. A grizzled faun introducing himself as Skull-Smash’s manager approached the young necromancer and the two began a bragging contest which the faun won. After a little more verbal sparring the young necromancer became flustered and ended the conversation with “oh yeah”! He then went on to place the 10,000 gp on Bludbaer to win on the morrow because “that’s how unsure” he was about his own fighter. The young necromancer walked hurriedly away back towards the tavern eager to leave the arena behind when he stopped suddenly in his tracks as a sudden realization smashed into his brain.

Me (Jíen’s Player): “$#!*”

Cris (the GM): “Ahahah! That’s right! You were supposed to bet AGAINST yer guy! Nope! You already made the bet! Ah-hahaha!”

Later at the Troll the necromancer again found himself talking to the faunic manager of Skull-Smash. After a few rounds, on the faun of course, they decided to wager a little side bet; 2,000 gp each winner take all. After that Jíen sat back, drank, and ate a little more.

Later in the night, the necromancer saw some Scael Nagas surround a peasant in a dark corner of the tavern as they harassed the poor man with questions about the theft of a certain star metal dagger. He also spotted the mark of the Shakai tattooed on their arms. After they dealt with the peasant he approached the one that appeared to be the leader and was paid 150 gp in exchange for some information about Rantcor and the Broken String. The necromancer was disappointed as he thought that the information provided was worth more but he shrugged and left the Troll with Bludbaer following.

Instead of retreating to his familiar old tomb this night though, Jíen decided to crash at the haunted villa instead for safety’s sake. He simply had the resident wraiths open the locked gates to him. During the night before going to sleep the necromancer had a conversation of sorts with the “boss” wraith. At least as much, a conversation a mindless undead creature can provide. Wraiths only retain a few negative emotions and the thoughts tied to what they used to be both of which replay like broken records in random combinations.

They do harbor some of the knowledge and secrets they knew in life though that can be brought out through careful and clever manipulation granted the thing isn’t trying to kill its interrogator. The withered-horror revealed to the necromancer a long undisturbed cubbyhole, unfortunately empty, in the bedroom wall. So Jíen used it to stash a small horde of 8,520 gp.

To Be Concluded…

Necromancing Xuun Pt.3: Back Alley Rumble

Early evening in the taproom of the Whiskey Troll Tavern and it was jumping. There were crowds of heavily salted and slightly pickled pirates, small groups of cloaked figures plotting who knows what, and large huddles of fight fans. These gladiator groupies had faces smeared with paint the colors of their favorite fighter. Jíen sat at a small table near the ever gaping entrance of the place, his cloaked and cowled skeletal minion behind him posed as a servant.

Through the pungent haze of pipe-smoke the young necromancer observed a hemp merchant a gold necklace dangling on his leather-clad chest and a porter hauling a small locked chest on his shoulder following. Following them attempting to be inconspicuous were Jíen’s companions, Trantox the assassin (played by Jenn), and Dravor the blackguard (played by Gil). The dark pair ducked over to and sat down at the necromancer’s table. The conspicuous pair kept an eye on the porter and merchant whom disappeared into the backroom of the place guided by one whom Jíen assumed to be the owner.

Trantox and Dravor were babbling something about the merchant to Jíen but he was unable to understand the Westlander tongue especially through their thick Poisonwood accents. It was about a half an hour before the merchant and his porter came from the back and sat for a few jacks of ale & whiskey. After about another half an hour the porter and merchant took their leave of the tavern. Jíen’s companions patted the necromancer on the shoulder to follow as they crept up from their seats to follow the seemingly clueless merchant.

Outside the purple moon and its ring were already beginning to appear in the golden horizon as the hemp merchant rejoined his men, 6 porters in total and 3 armed bodyguards. This group proceeded to a caravan of wagons gathered near a wide pavement at the end of the street. Each wagon on their sides had a green hemp leaf painted on a brown field bounded by a loop of twisted yellow rope. The Ivoran caravan had a group of 8 armed guards in chain mail, steel caps on their heads, armed with short spears. The caravan master was a broad fellow with a long peppered mustache and a longsword and bowie knife as sidearms.

As Jíen and his companions observed from afar the merchant paid his porters and they left the company no doubt heading towards less notorious taverns than the Troll. The merchant proceeded to talk to the heavyset caravan master for several minutes then the merchant and his 3 bodyguards walked away back down a wide and busy side avenue as the sky darkened. The hemp merchant and his men were heading to the north end of town. Dravor told the necromancer that they were going to the Golden Feather Inn.

By this time Jíen had learned that the hemp merchant’s name was Ranor. In addition, blackguard Dravor had wordlessly communicated to the necromancer that they were to kill the merchant by dragging his finger across his own throat then rubbing his thumb and forefinger together.

As the dark trio followed them through the bustling crowd the merchant and his guards suddenly turned into an alley as if by some strange fortune two large overturned wagons completely blocked the street. The merchant kept rapidly rounding the turns through the maze of narrowing filth choked alleyways of Ezmer until the only people that could be seen traversing the back-ways were the dark trio and the merchant and his men.

So of course caught at this impasse the merchant, who unfortunately was no fool, turned his men shuffled around him and the blackguard immediately threw a spell at the largest and foremost bodyguard.

The large man was engulfed in blood red flames which burst from his body scorching the other 2 guards. Trantox the assassin dipped his dagger into a vial marked with the Hyvalian characters for black-lotus. So, Jíen cast a Wound spell quickly at their target just a second before Ranor and his guards pulled their weapons. Unfortunately the merchant was able to shake off most of the spell-effect.

The Deadlands necromancer with his minion at his left side stood behind the assassin with his golden poison-dipped dagger and the bronze-armored blackguard. The merchant and his scorched guard were equipped with copper studded soft leather cuirasses with chain mail patches about the shoulders and over their bellies as well as bronze studded leather bracers and bronze leg guards over their knee-high blacked leather boots. The big burnt guard pulled his great axe from his back after having smashed himself into a full gutter-barrel extinguishing the evil flames in the filthy blackwater. The second guard pulled his great sword, and the third aimed his crossbow. Merchant Ranor pulled a shortsword and stepped over to the guard with the crossbow.

The guard armed with the great sword charged Dravor the blackguard whom failed to parry in time with his own massive weapon, a horse-cutter zanbato, and felt the bite of the more standard heavy bladed weapon. A crossbow bolt flew at Trantox putting a nick into the assassin’s ear. The Poisonwood assassin immediately dashed further into the alley towards the guard armed with the crossbow and his intended prey.

Jíen took a step forward to touch the great sword wielding guard with a Crippling Touch spell but missed. Dravor swung his zanbato at the same guard hacking into his cuirass and drawing some blood. The still smoking head guard with his great axe moved back 10 ft. towards his master. The guard with the crossbow moved up and readied to load his weapon. The guard dueling with Dravor took a swing with his massive weapon and getting through the blackguard’s defenses wounded him horribly.

Me (Jíen’s Player): “Trantox WTF! Get in there and stab the dude with yer dagger so we can get outta here!”

Jenn (Trantox’s Player)(having just seen the damage dealt to Dravor): “No way I’m getting close to those guys! I’m out numbered!”

Trantox deftly switched up his weapons and used his already loaded crossbow to fire a bolt into the back of the great sword wielding guard. Jíen tried to grasp the same guard again but again was too slow to land his spell. Dravor in a desperate move tried to disarm the guard of his great sword but failed miserably. Trantox using his unequaled skills with his weapon put another bolt into the back of the same guard. As the guard winced when the arrow nailed his flesh, Dravor swung with all his might opening a hideous wound in the man’s chest but the guard was still standing.

Dravor clumsily struck again at the guard, both men equally wounded and both very near death, but the guard knocked it aside easily. The guard with the great axe and Ranor the hemp merchant both moved in the opposite direction of their attackers out of the alley and into the street.  A crossbow bolt flew and imbedded itself in a graffiti decorated adobe wall near Jíen. The shooter-guard then proceeded to reload. Seeing that the battle was a bit too evenly matched for his comfort the necromancer decided to flee.

Jíen and his minion flew through the twists and turns of the dreary maze of alleys and streets until the young Deadlander was positive of no pursuit. If his companions survived, he was certain they wouldn’t, he was pretty sure he could smooth over any ill-feelings brought about by his strategic withdrawal.

In the meantime he tried to hook up with a contact, one Korvo-Doom, in the slavers’ quarter but found the slaver’s place locked up tight, it was night after all. So the disappointed mage slunk back to his crypt and before settling in to sleep he spent the last of his spells by infusing them into some of the thieves’ bones he had acquired. After he added 3 bone-wands to his gear, 2 charged with the Wound spell and 1 with Exsanguination he reclined to enjoy a well-earned rest.

As he lay down however, he thought that he might want to start formulating a plan.

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…