The World of Weirth is a setting much like a Hyborian Age, with danger at every turn, Swords & Sorcery magic, demons and mad prophets.
Tribes Of Gnolls And Nomads roam the savanna, while peasants and hedge wizards hide behind the walls of even the meanest thorp. A powerful Ley Line crosses the land, creating transient Gateways to the Faerie Realm.
Meanwhile the influence of Demons And the Belowdark waxes, threatening to cover the world in darkness, a suffocating nightmare that wells up from horror-filled dungeons underground.
Check the World of Weirth tab above for more info, including a draft of the Player’s Guide.
Episodes 24-25: The Monastery of Samm-Puul
Today’s Date: 30 Zazel
The group met with Lord Zan and his advisors, were briefed on how to approach the Fortress-Monastery and what to do when they got there. The Cavalry troops from the night before were there as well, four of them would be leading the expedition.
Zan and Patriarch Zorod gave instructions. The party failed to ask any follow-up questions. Luckily, when they were met outside of town by the Gnome Dimble, he knew a bit about the Beekepers.
Lord Zan gives you a warm welcome, with much gracious talk and introductions to some of his Council of Advisors [His son – Aleskro Zan and his new bride, Shazinivan. It’s hard to tell if she’s as pretty as they said in town, as she is bundled up in the garb of a Lady and veiled, here attendants are likewise robed in fine cloth and wearing veils that obscure their features, they look to be Saringa]; his magician and alchemist – Arbor Kivet (the older Saringa gentleman from last night at the Inn); and the four Cavalry troopers you also saw at the Inn last night – Captain of the Ride (Red & Purple Ribbons on his blade) – Knight Korenth Suroth (Xythian); Gallan Pase (Yellow & Red Ribbon on his blade) – Sgt of the Ride – who will be accompanying you with a squad of cavalry (Xythian); Mistress Sill Dorin – Horseman and cartographer (Xythian), Xorimal, Horseman (Telantean) (both with black ribbons); and Glasian Zorod (Telantean) – High Priest of the Temple of Mayyartu].
Lord Zan explains that he asked all of you to come to Zan’s Forge as friends and allies against the forces of Chaos in the Jotun Mountains. There was sure to be trouble in the next few years and he wanted to have assistance from a group of like-minded people with a variety of talents and experiences.
He goes further, saying that Mayyarthu and Ekalwyn have brought you to him, and your first task comes more quickly than he had planned. He instructs you to join an expedition to find the fallen star and discover what has happened to the “Beekeepers”, a monastic order of Tallorba, who maintain a small Fortress-Monastery some miles north and west. They have been an important source of honey and mead, not to mention, um, other exotic products (he begins to fidget and clear his throat) like flowers and herbs and incense and such.
Mystic Kivet steps forward and says that he had ordered some fresh honeycomb from the monks and it has not arrived. Since the other happenings he is very concerned. He also tells you to beware of Magic-Users or creatures of black magic, as the current astronomical alignment favors black magic over white.
Knight Captain Suroth lays out what has happened while Lord Zan was traveling, namely, that a Ride patrol found evidence of an owlbear attack nearby, and some of the victims were monks of the brotherhood of bees (no one corrects him, but all know it’s the Order of Tallorba). The remains were some days or even weeks old.
There were Guardians with the monks, and evidently they managed to slay the owlbear, as its carcass was found nearby. Unfortunately scavengers had got to the bodies. The dead monk did have a map case in his possession. It contained a map of the area, showing a path to Zan’s Forge going up Dratha Creek toward the Attloi village, then through a mountain pass and the northern edge of Stonewood. Which explains why they encountered the owlbear. Why they didn’t take the road, who knows?
However, as interesting as this route may be, you will take the road. It will be faster and less dangerous. There will be time for Mistress Dorin and her band to explore the pass in the spring. There was also a note to Patriarch Zorod, which he will share with you.
Patriarch Zorod looks at you with all of the seriousness of a man facing a duel. He tells you the missive contained much that concerned him, about the goings on at the fortress-monastery, but the most important thing would be for you to take possession of three metal castings, two swords and a hammer. He gives you a scroll, a Warrant for the items, signed by Lord Zan. Explore and record what has happened at the fortress-monastery, visit the site where the star fell to Weirth if you can. But, above all, bring those castings back to the Castle!
With that Lord Zan bids you all good luck and God’s speed.
The party will discover that Lord Zan has stocked the wagon with plenty of food, water, firewood, etc. There are also two small chests which each contain four glass phials (8 four-ounce potions) of transformed Mother’s Milk.
The journey will take about a day and a half, Gallan Pase (Xythian M – Sgt of the Ride – L2 Fighter) will be leading the squad of Patrol Cavalry. Sill Dorin (Xythian F – Patrol Cavalry – L1 Ranger/Cartographer), Xorimal, Horseman (Telantean) and Shakerica Deelyn (Telantean F – L ¼ Squire to Sgt Pase [track 1 – Physical, track 2 – Academic]) will be accompanying the expedition as observers.
Dimble the Gnome knows this about the Rhontine Order:
The first adherents of Tallorba, after the Cataclysm, carried out Tallorba’s plan for the cultivation and dissemination of bees all around the world. (Some of the Rhontines sailed across the sea [The Voyage of the Apocalypse] to carry bees to other lands. On the shores of the fallen Empire of Xongu they became much more formal and philosophical (Zen-like).
The foundation of the cult’s activities is the propagation of bees – Tallorba teaches that without them all life on Weirth will die. They also study the hexagrammatic nature of the honeycomb.
There are many uses and derivatives of the honey/honeycomb:
Sympathetic Wax Magic
In addition to bee-keeping, the Rhontines have become experts in Cartography, Landscape Painting, Botany, Viniculture, Oenology, Gardening, Bonsai, and Poetry.
Day One (Zazel 30) Travel Encounters
• 10-2: Line of dark clouds blow up, light rain for about 30 minutes.
• 2-6: Scout discovers body of disemboweled wild dog, signs of struggle, lots of blood. Tracks lead off to the west for 200 yards then peter out. The party declined to investigate!
• 6-10: Just after sunset wolves start howling to each other, carry on for an hour or so.
• 10-2: While on Watch, Adora hears lute music (Dimble and Shadoravan do not hear it…) from somewhere out in the dark, very soft and melancholy. It reminds Adora of the songs her grandfathers used to sing back home. Investigation turns up no clues, as music simply fades away.
Day Two (Zazel 31) Travel Encounters
• 2am-6am: Kosas awakes to discover a handful of harmless beetles in his bedroll
• 6am-10am: Flock of dark-colored birds fly over as PCs begin to travel (direction of travel: East)
Around 11am the party can see three hills, rising in the distance. They appear to be about 4-5 miles away, depending on how tall they might be. The hills are surrounded by light woods and bounded by Dratha Creek on the north and west.
The creek flows into the spaces between the hills from the NW, this is what forms the peat bog in the central valley.
In the southeast portion of the bog are a handful of islands, one of which is built up and fortified, housing the fortress-monastery of the Rhontine Order. The others are covered with Cypress trees, shrubs and flowering vines.
The party discovered the site of the ritual, picked up the scrap of parchment with the incantation, but left the obsidian knife where it was.
The recognized the Head of the Dragon rune as being part of the design of the Horned Rat sketch in the caves under the Tower of Zenopus.
…companion…thou who rejoicest in the baying of dogs and spilt blood, who wander…who longest for blood and bring terror to mor…ousand faced…vorably on our sacrif…
After passing the rune they felt the buzzing. It led them to the least-damaged tower, where they found a dead body, burned and trapped between timbers.
They then moved on to the forge, discovered the clay molds of the two swords, two daggers and three holy symbols. Aziagos did most of the digging, gets some Shine-burn.
They started going toward the ruined Scriptorium, the dogs started barking and someone was shouting at them from the gate. They split their attention, Kalder powered a Clean cantrip with a spellcraft to blast the mud off the surviving Guardians, who are now utterly mystified and awed by the party. Pathetic scum.
The dogs started barking at something by the ruined pile, so the party met up with the Guardians and moved into the SW tower to take cover.
Dimble snuck back to the causeway and made his way back to the wagons where the cavalry waited. He stayed with the wagons while the Cav thundered up the causeway to join the battle.
They shot a few arrows/bolts at the Skarn, took down the two with crossbows, the rest took cover in the Scriptorium south wall ruin. The party continued to take pot shots, while reinforcements came from the island to the west. Several rounds went by, finally Lieres climbed the wall to look around, tossed his vial of poison gas at the hiding Skarn, but it fell short. He then spotted the Skarn reinforcements just as they attacked the ruined tower. A fierce battle took place, two Skarn were cut down quickly, but they passed their Morale check. The cavalry rode into the advancing Skarn from the Scriptorium, with two in the center meeting the Skarn in the midst of the cloud of poison gas!!! All four combatants and the two horses failed Saves! Went down dead, blackened tongues lolling out.
The Skarn in the tower lost two more, failed their morale check, and attempted to flee. Aziagos took a maneuver and smashed one of them in the knee, causing him to fall. Arnbjorg shot him with a crossbow, taking him to 1 HP.
The second scrambled over the wall and back to the longboat. He struggled but managed to get it back to the small island while the party jerked around with last two Skarn killed by the cav.
All of the dead Skarn are found to have weeping sores all over their exposed skin.
The one that Aziagos felled was trussed and Shavanoxil attempted to bind his wounds. Kalder performed a Clean cantrip on him, and goop splashed all over. Aziagos and Kosas managed to avoid it, but it got on Shavanoxil. She is now infected with shine-poisoned fleas and lice.
Madeus and Crowan (the rescued Guardians) are cowering and eating in the ruined tower. They definitely are suffering from Fortitude loss.
Take a break, do some healing/first aid. Madeus tells the party of a sacred artifact that may still be in the ashes. They find an oblong clay bowl, 6”x9”, 3” deep, roughly make, lots of fingermarks on it, and 4 handprints. Aziagos and Kosas hold the bowl by the handprints, the bowl begins to glow with a soft, warm yellow light.
They put some brandy in, channeled some spellcraft, and apparently turned the brandy to water.
Then they fooled around by the big cypress tree, that apparently one can walk around twice, inside the circle of cypress knees.
As darkness comes, they set up watches, camping in the SW tower. It does get cooler after the sun goes down. Madeus and Crowan are clearly in a bad state, extremely paranoid.
Shadorivan – 1st watch – pretty uneventful, the insects become less aggressive as the air cools, though the buzzing of the cicadas and frogs is as loud as ever. In fact, it seems to resonate in your bones…
Aziagos – 2nd watch – Shortly after midnight a shooting star blazes across the sky, heading west, then it explodes in a burst of sparks and shimmers. There is no sound…
Lieres – 3rd watch – Lieres awakens as the sun is rising above the trees around the bog. It is foggy, visibility is only about 10 yards. Gah, you fell asleep! Looking around you see that the two cavalry troopers are missing from their bedrolls, as is Madeus the Guardian. Crowan the Guardian lies still on his bedroll, a large circle of darkness on the blanket around his head.
LFG Playtest Campaign 1 – The Shadow of Evil Chaos is an experiment with a new (to me) game system, Low Fantasy Gaming, and a new magic hack designed to bring the atmosphere of danger from the pulp novels of Swords & Sorcery. We are playing fully online over a Discord Voice server, using some home-brew maps, art and characters designed on the HeroForge 3D printing site.
Follow all of the posts here: LFG Playtest Campaign 1.