The Overthrow

01 - Introduction

In New Port, as a decent place to lie low, look for work, just by chance, and because the boat to Drakkenhall got lost in a storm.

You’ve also all been arrested. Lital and Greenscale were in a bar fight, which Koldar tried (unsuccessfully) to calm down. Daechir was arrested for unlicensed medical practice. Jacek was arrested in a case of mistaken identity with an entirely unrelated con job.

You staged a fake fight in order to get the keys, which worked pretty well. One of the other prisoners, a silver-skinned dark elf called Daramar with a pet giant spider, was released as well, whereas the drunk dwarf cleric was asleep. After acquiring all the confiscated equipment from the evidence locker, one of the guards noticed all the movement, and the party weren’t able to subdue him before he alerted the other five guards. Despite early attempts to minimise casualties and keep it murder-free, Daechir’s necromancy and the others’ enthusiasm eventually led to all of the guards being dead. Daramar and his giant spider companion also “helped”.

You looted the guard outpost/police station, and found a map of New Port thieves guilds and such. The cleric (in service to Sol Invictus, a god entirely opposed to undead and the Mother of Liches) gave directions to his shrine in the city, and offered a favour. Daramar eventually left for his grove, also offering the party a favour for freeing him. In the meantime, he said he would go back to harassing the city’s high elves.

En route to a shady pub, the party encountered Agrak, a half-orc, being beaten up by guards, who the party scared off. Over drinks, she offered you a job (and 250 gold!) to intercept an Imperial caravan on its way into New Port. You agreed.

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02 - The Caravan Raid
  • The scene opened in the same pub as last time, but with more hangovers
  • Daechir’s shadow started to behave oddly, before returning to normal
  • Using a map, Koldar identified an ideal location for an ambush on the road from Santa Cora to New Port, which is the road the Hierophant-related caravan is travelling along
  • A human (or perhaps half-elf) with a gold tooth, offered help with finding the optimal places to hide in the area Koldar identified in exchange for a future favour given to his organisation
  • You learnt that there might be a poorly guard who knows your faces from the murder last night
  • You headed out of New Port, and found the location which was exactly as expected/described. Lital started making a barrier while the others scouted out their hiding places.
  • While waiting, an Imperial Messenger’s horse got killed on the barrier, and in her distress asked you to take her letter to Santa Cora for her. You agreed…
  • When the caravan turned up, Koldar spotted that it had been taken over already by a group of Cambion assassins, and Jacek noticed there were a load of corpses in the back that might be brought back to existence by the close proximity of a necromancer.
  • You overcame the Cambions in a fight
  • The murdered Hierophant-loyal guards in the back had a letter of instruction from the Hierophant to deliver a small chest to the head of the Golden Order in New Port
  • In the chest was a Dragon’s Claw Gauntlet, a magic gauntlet that Koldar wrapped in rags and stuffed in a backpack
  • Upon reading the letter from the messenger, it turned out to be from the head of the Golden Order in New Port to the Hierophant, outlining the presence of demon cults in the city, and them possibly being in league with some other force to undermine the city
  • When Daechir investigated the dead bodies in the caravan, they reanimated and some other skeleton archers appeared out of nowhere. After the fight, Jacek discovered a talisman of the Mother of Liches on one of the Hierophant soldiers, which is presumably why they reanimated when approached by a necromancer
  • On the way back, you were attacked by wolves and made camp for your first full heal-up
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New Port Nights
Writing for The New Epoch until I get a better offer.

The ex Gladiator and I were following a trail that led to Drakkenhall, so far so nasty, but all in the name of getting some answers and giving you fucks something interesting to talk about with your friends at whatever dinner parties we’re not getting invites to. You want the background, buy some back issues and send me the royalties. I’m not running a charity
here.

All is going as well as can be expected of a boat ride on the middle sea. Omen looms darkly, an eyesore on the landscape. I admire it a bit though. A physical fuck you to the powers that-be.

This world is too great, too gorgeous and too full of life to be pressed under the manicured fingers of the Archmage and her puppets. Plus the lack of undead means that nasty little island also flips the bird to the one eyed Queen. I’ve got some love for that place.

Not enough to go there though.

I’m just finishing what passes for “food” on board the Green Lady (I will pay you to burn the ship and its shitheel captain) when we hear the news. Stopover at Newport. No reason given.

Orders of the Empress long may she whatever.

Kicked off and into Newport.

Fuck Newport. It’s a non-story. Been a non-story for hundreds of years. Yeah, a place so dull that in 300 years it’s STILL called “new” port because those are the only interesting things to note. It’s new and it has a port. Eurch.

We do what any sane individual would do. We hit the bars. And when you’ve got a Bard and Barbarian combo we do mean hit. Boys. Beers. Barrels. And then it all got a bit hazy. I think there was a point where Lytal was lifting up a Paladin with one hand and singing a song whose lyrics are so blue they are basically magical. But who knows?

Hangovers. They were mighty. And not helped by the less than salubrious accommodation. Still, we didn’t stay there long and we won’t be going back and no, I’m not naming names. You can go get drunk in Newport yourself and find out. As it happens, all the guests decided to fuck off en masse so we heading to, yes, another bar.

In case you were wondering if Newport really is the melting pot it claims to be the melting seems to have caused burn damage. Met a half orc kid suffering from institutionalised racism and a dark elf on the wrong side of racial profiling plus a side order of having his companion spider take away. So much for sensitivities to subculture.

That said, we were helpfully assisted by some local guards who kindly provided us with a map of the city and so despite being out-of-pocket and in need to get another ticket to Drakkenhall (already my editor is shouting about my expense account) I guess things could be worse.

What it does mean is I need to look for a bit of work on the side. Which is more grist to the mill of giving you fuckos something to read in the morning because journalism is not for the weak of will or those slacking off. What I do to let you lot pretend you have a life.

Rumour has it that there’s something gone a bit awry round Newport way which should perhaps be cause for a parade to celebrate the quadrupling of Local Interest. There will be Tourist Infomation points (if there were any) hanging up bunting. Turns out some escaped prisoners killed a load of guards then burned down the Watchhouse. Plus there seems to be all kinds of strange strangers suddenly taking an interest in the new kids in town.

Thus far I’ve got a lead on a bunch of supposed Heirophant followers, one of whom had a Mother of Liches necklace and were not as dead as you’d have liked from your standard corpse. Turns out that someone has been very naughty and hired Cambion Assassins to fuck up an offering from the Great Gold Wyrm whose mighty buttness alas can’t be with us due to being in the Abyss. Super sad.

Might have worked out a bit better if that someone had enough gold to pay for Assassins with slightly longer daggers. I’ll let you add your own jokes about length and girth. I’m too pro to cater for your tastes.

Seems like there might be a story here after all. On it like a fashionable Axis bonnet.

Final note – don’t leave Newport at night, however much you might want to. You will be chased by fucking wolves. I can’t even. Fucking Wolves. Fucksakes.

GREENSCALE

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Koldar's Journal
Third day since arrival in New Port

First three days in New Port tumultuous. Awoke on fourth morning in a cell, alongside a halfling propagandist, a mountainous mountainwoman, a thief, and the most obvious Necromancer since the Scourge of Whitebridge, who wore a hat made of skulls.

Escape attempt resulted in a burning guardhouse full of bodies. Fellow prisoners proved useful, if disorganised. Guards stood little chance. Spared no clemency for their lack of caution. Sealed their own fates by allowing such a clearly antagonistic band of misanthropes opportunity to escape.

Life on wrong side of the law is confusing. Chances of mission success small. Chances of survival smaller. Seems likely that if daemons are not my end, then any of the highly suspect individuals encountered so far may become so.

Note – Daramir – owes us a favour. Perfectly happy never to call on that debt.
Note – Dwarf Cleric – has offered us assistance. Seems mostly sound, if impetuous.
Note – Agrak – offered us work. Objective of destroying caravan on way to city. Should be easily accomplished given my prior experience.
Note – “Us” – refers to fellow inmates. Unsure yet as to their motives. Provide adequate assistance for now. Further allegiance to be reviewed.

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Daechir's Research Notes
Aesthetics, Dragons and Leakage

Ritual Plan

Intent: Provide an individual with decreased lividity, increased profusion, a more flush and hydrated dermis and other signs of mortal ‘life’ physiology.

Base: Channel Life of course, though with a more distributed targeting matrix and output forma other than VonBlack’s Target Psyche Bodily Integrity Schema.

Perhaps Verdamme’s Breath of Shadows can offer a sufficiently vague approach to draw from a crowd equally? Though it would require a Black Ice Obelisk to focus. Very pricey.
Alifer’s Chain of Eyes ? All I’d require would be a few mirrors but they would be quite conspicuous once they started glowing with Unlight.
Bite of Barristen ? Subtle enough but where does one find that many human incisors in this city?

Forma is easy. Lilia Hespex’s magnificent In Vitae covers it easily. Virgin’s blood must be in easy supply. Readily available from any pediatrician.

#####

IMPORTANT NOTE: Black Dragons; Shadow tells me their blood will be important to my work. The Scribe informs me that the black dragons claim to have sprung spontaneously into life from the shadows themselves. This would seem to disobey The One Eye’d Queen’s Law of Conservation of Essence but it does play into my theory of Potential Essence Debt!! Very exciting! If such a thing were true their blood would certainly hold an interesting balance of Essence and Void. Perhaps through necrotic inversion…

#####

It happened again.

I was too late attending to the corpses in the back of the caravan and they were enervated before I could hobble them or sever their Black Nexi. A symbol of the Mother of Liches was present. Perhaps it in some way enriched or focused the necrotic energies present in my Aura Vulgaris . If not I may simply have failed to complete full containment of my Essence when I cobbled together Dakkenford’s Animus Null and Shadow’s theories on Void crystal lattices.

Either way it needs to be corrected. I cannot abide the undead and such a… ‘leak’ could be harmful to myself and others. I need access to an occcularum or other thaumascope so I can better assess the situation.

This needs prompt resolution.

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Letter to Errys #1
[Burnt offering in cyphered script]

Dear Errys,

I arrived in New Port safely enough, although I am rather sure that one more game of cards aboard the Pinched Cheek would have had the crew using me for an anchor. Sailors have shallow pockets and no sense of humour so, by contrast, I was quite emboldened by the shit hole that is New Port.

I thought sure that I could pick up the trail here after Tibor had been reportedly seen last winter. The talk was just that though and either it was mistaken identity or he had moved on with some haste. Not a trace of that shit or his crew, which indicates he was never in New Port since they are so sloppy they always leave a commotion. However, I suppose I have been known to upset the odd apple cart myself so I had best avoid becoming the pot.

Well, the people here are all terrible misers. I spent two days working the market square to get a feel for the place and whilst the city watch are generally a corrupt and lazy lot the citizenry seem like suspicious little shits, no doubt a consequence of having to watch your own purses while Mr Pie-eater-with-truncheon does a bit of bird watching. It is not all a loss though as I also discovered one of the better bakeries outside of Axis. They do these wonderful little pastries with a butter almond crust which you would adore.

It was outside the very same bakery that some arsehole came complaining about some Imperial bonds I had apparently sold him that had turned out to fakes. Now my dear Errys, you know as well as I that I have never had much patience for forgery when there is plenty more exciting to turn ones wits to, so imagine my disgust at this merchant accusing me of such a thing. I shall admit to some quarrel and a little flight, since who wants to explain to a city official that no sir that particular ploy is not one I am currently engaged in but I do have these dozen purses stowed upon my person. Unfortunately, I ran straight into some flailing crone so rather than dash her to the ground I hurled myself past her for which she repaid me by kicking me in the plums. A lesson in good intentions.

So whilst it rains outside I am snug and warm in this cosy little cell. They appear to have just brought some companions for me so I believe I shall socialise a little and perhaps when it ceases to piss from the sky I will let myself out.

Yours always,

J

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03 - Back to New Port
  • Spent some time outside the city talking things through
  • While queuing to get back into the city, approached by two gnome fruitsellers who were probably working with the guards (of which there were plenty more than normal)
  • A half-orc called Jimmy working with Agrak interrupted you in the queue and took you to a secret entrance, also telling you that the guards were specifically looking for a group matching your description
  • Jacek was approached by a white-scaled kobold representing a mysterious mistress called Akrazael, Whose Crown Branches Out, offering him sanctuary in the catacombs beneath the city from the Seekers of the Lost (a cult identified by Daechir as being servants of the Mother of Liches)
  • After an encounter with Daramar, Lital received a +1 Greataxe of Thunderbolts (and a dessicated half-orc corpse in a spider-silk cocoon, which the staff of the Many-Pointed Star disposed of)
  • Koldar met Irena, a person very enthusiastic about interrogation, especially where demons are concerned. She offered to interrogate Agrak for him.
  • After getting paid by Agrak, and being given healing potions as a bonus, Koldar lured her upstairs where Irena started beating the hell out of her, eventually knocking her out before a ruckus ensued within the party about whether this was legit.
  • Irena eventually agreed to release Agrak into Koldar’s custody, on the proviso that she expects a full report into the extent of her links to the Diabolist
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Koldar's Journal - Day 2
Fourth Day since arrival in New Port

Forgive poor nandmriting, adding tnis entry by light os campsire.

Today saw glorious battle against champions of the Daemonic horde. After careful strategic planning on my part, and some innovative trapping techniques by Littal, the barbarian, we snared the caravan and prosecuted a successful ambush.

The wagon was guarded not by mortals but by Daemons; Cambion assassins of wicked cruelty. Valiantly we assaulted them, hewing their wretched forms into pieces and sending their essence back to their own domain. These horn-headed beasts proved little match for the fury of Littal, who dispatched two of them with ease, nor were they a match for the cunning of Jacek and his ruthless efficiency. Daechir and Greenscale, initially the bait for the trap, also contributed more than their fair share to the dispatch of our foes.

The Daemons could not stand against our combined abilities. Inside the caravan we discovered the cruelly murdered guards, servants of the Hierophant, protecting a chest which contained a gleaming golden gauntlet. Evidently this artefact is a weapon against the Daemonic, based upon letters both kept by the guards and dispatched via Imperial Messenger. It is my intention that we put this weapon to the purpose for which it was made; the eradication of Infernalism from the fragile mortal realm.

We also fought some undead and wolves.

- KM.

Note – The Cambion all had diminutive daggers, suggesting that they were amongst the lowest-ranked of their Order of Assassins.
Note – The wagon was ignited and sent off a cliff. Nothing now remains of it or its occupants.
Note – If my companions continue to fight diabolic foes with such fervour and single-mindedness, I shall feel much more comfortable in their company.

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04 - The Intervention
  • The scene opened in a different room in the Many-Pointed Star (an inn in the Commons), with Agrak unconscious on the bed while the group argued out their differences. Daechir’s shadow behaved weirdly again, and he spoke to it briefly.
  • Agrak eventually woke up and Koldar apologised to her (albeit while lying somewhat) and started the discussion
  • Agrak initially demanded Irena‘s head as reparations, the blame for the incident having fallen squarely on her, but was talked down from this on the basis of Lital’s good reputation among those who follow She Who Is War
  • Agrak instead outlined the local situation, wherein her organisation occasionally worked with demonic cultists in the Docks to mutual benefit, with an end goal of destabilising the city away from Imperial control, as the first step in allowing She Who Is War to invade the Dragon Empire and topple it. Every single member of the group seemed to like the principle of that.
  • She agreed to hand over information about her cultist contacts (so they could be killed) in exchange for the group agreeing to kill the Imperial Treasurer in the city and return to her with the key to the Treasury, preventing the guards from being paid. Agrak said she was indifferent to what happened to the money in the Treasury, but seemed sceptical that it would be easy to rob.
  • With the party agreeing to her offer, she explained that the cult’s leaders were based out of a cotton warehouse in the Docks
  • On the way, a kobold from Akrazael, Whose Crown Branches Out offered Jacek five doses of oil/dragon’s tears in exchange for him going to visit the Mistress afterwards. He accepted.
  • After checking out the warehouse and watching a few cultists head in and through a secret door behind a bookcase, the party broke in relatively stealthily.
  • They were, however, ambushed by a demonic creature the size of a donkey, with a spiky carapace/shell, and two snarling heads. They were able to kill it in relatively short order.
  • Jacek and Daechir disguised themselves as cultists and headed into the secret passage. They were affected by a trap that caused them to run into the middle of a circle of eight cult initiates and two cult elders and bow down before their idols. The room/cave was lit by torchlight and there were human (probably) body parts hanging from hooks dangling on chains from the ceiling
  • The same trap affected Lital and Koldar, but thankfully they were all just about able to shake it off. It was a very hard fight, with Greenscale staying at range and using her crossbow rather than getting affected by the traps.
  • Eventually the party overcame both the trap and the cultists and just about won the day, taking a quick rest ahead of having to face the three ritual-performing cult elders in the next room…
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05 - In The Belly Of The Beast

The action started where it left off in 04 – The Intervention. You took a quick breather before Jacek checked the door for traps, cutting his finger in the process and feeding blood to the altar in the next room. Two cult elders and the cult leader were there, performing a ritual over a chained-up guy with sailor’s tattoos.

You burst into the room and attacked the cultists, but weren’t able to stop their leader from completing the sacrifice and summoning up a (lesser) Frenzy Demon called Fargtu. In the ensuing melee, both Koldar and Lital were rendered unconscious but the rest of the party were just about able to kill the demon (the cultists having already been dispatched).

Searching the room gave you some loot (pocketed by Jacek), a few songbooks and the cult leader’s journal (which Greenscale took), and numerous books and prophecies about demonology, infernalism and suchlike which Koldar claimed along with the cult leader’s evil-looking sword.

You then decamped to the Many-Pointed Star where you various ate lots of food, slept and recovered. Koldar was interrupted by Irena who demanded a report. She seemed satisfied with what he told her, and gave him a couple of healing potions before leaving with the cult leader’s sword. Jacek took the opportunity to go shopping, returning with a large stack of healing potions. And Daechir used the time to write up a new ritual, which Jacek claimed would allow him to turn a white dragon into an undead servitor. This caused a bit of a row within the group, given the party’s imminent meeting with Akrazael, Whose Crown Branches Out, but this was eventually semi-resolved by Jacek stealing Daechir’s Dark Tome Of Darkness and hiding it.

On the way to the meeting, Jacek delivered the cult leader’s journal to the New Port Tribune, a state-allied newspaper. Greenscale had learnt that the cult had been planning to betray Agrak, as Kerwin, the Imperial Treasurer of the city, was actually a cult member. Thanks to Jacek’s plausible mien as an Imperial Messenger, the journal went to the editor of the Tribune. The journal also revealed that the cult had been buying corpses off the Seekers of the Lost to use in their rituals, taken from the Catacombs beneath the city.

The party met with one of the white-scaled kobolds who serve Akrazael, Whose Crown Branches Out and refer to Jacek as “Master”, who led you underground, firstly into the sewers and then through a secret door into the Catacombs. It was apparent that the servants of the Hierophant in the Temple District had done their jobs well, properly guarding and warding the resting places of so many bodies to prevent the Mother of Liches from controlling them.

The kobold instructed everyone to anoint themselves with water from a font, and wash their hands, faces and feet, before meeting his Mistress. Everyone did so, even though Daechir found the water steaming off his sorta-dead flesh. Once everyone had done so, the kobold ushered them into the large cavern housing Akrazael, Whose Crown Branches Out

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