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October 1, 2008

Astrid's Bio

Astrid's Journal XPCs

When I was younger, I used to hide my ears. In our steading where at least seven people had lycanthropy, I worried about looking different. To be truthful, I didn’t look all that different from the other villagers— red hair, green eyes, and among the tall Ulfen, my elven heritage didn’t stand out much. I felt different though, and would pick fights with anyone that even looked my way for too long. My mother, an elf called Maeva, had disappeared when I was just a wee lass, most likely in a raid— those happened all too often. The only thing I remember of her is a beautiful voice and a few snippets of ballads she would sing when we were alone. I got my love of singing from Maeva; my passion for fighting from my father Asmund.

After my mother disappeared, Asmund did his best raising me alone. He began to teach me to swing a sword that was longer than I was tall, and I grew accustomed to wearing armor at all hours as well— we just never knew when the ice trolls or evil fey would attack our home. He also told me more of the lands beyond our steading so that I would know why we fight. For a long time, I had nightmares about the White Witches in the lands to the east of us. Actually, I still do. I stopped picking fights with others of my clan, and with quiet resolve, focused on keeping out creatures that would try to harm them instead.

Although life was hard, I had intended to stay with my father’s people, and even had a prospective mate who did not mind my pointed ears. Ulfhrafn was a fosterer to our steading from near Trollheim that went out on a hunt and never returned. Lest you think it had something to do with me, no one from that hunt returned, including my father. That was two years ago.

Weeks later, Asmund’s claymore was found several miles from the border of the neighboring kingdom of Irrisen. It was returned to me and I have carried it in battle since.

I learned during a raid of our own homestead by ice trolls, when our clan’s skald was slain, that I had a talent for singing and took up the cry. Suddenly, my years of silence fell away and I found my voice— recalling the ballads I’d heard as a wee thing and singing with a voice that scarcely sounded like my own. The results were enough to rally my clan and turn the tide of the battle.

I finally realized I had achieved the acceptance of my father’s people, and a great weight was lifted. Well, half of a great weight, at least. I could have stayed; I may go back, once I learn to accept myself.

Character sheet: Astrid Steelheart [Half-elf bard from the Lands of the Linnorm Kings]

Cause of Death: Sneaky troll.

Posted by Kristin at 17:14 | Astrid’s Journal | XPCs

October 2, 2008

Tythe's Bio

Tythe's Journal ~PC Bios~

So what happens next. Already it seems so long ago that Cutter, the ship’s first mate helped me jump ship. I remember standing just a moment to see what was to be my very last sunrise from the bow of the Nightshade, the ship that had been my home, its crew my family as long as I can remember. She’d been named for the half Drow wife of its captain, my Father on the day she’d died giving birth to my sister and I and left him to raise the two of us alone. He’d turned his back on the land that day and lived the rest of his life, a pirate the scourge of the inner sea.

My sister, Synn and I learned the ways of the sea before we could walk and sword play not long after that. Synn, was a natural the Captain had always said but there was something else, something of our Mother’s Drow tainted blood. There was a darkness in her eyes, those eyes that so closely mimicked my own, those eyes that were the only thing we carried from our Father. Many times I saw the concerned look on the Captain’s face as he’d watch Synn spar with one of the crew never giving an inch, nearly killing one of his best swordsman. It wasn’t long before not one able body would stand against her except Cutter and Father would always step in before things went too far as much for Synn’s benefit as Cutter’s. He knew Cutter would have no qualms about spilling Synn’s blood but he was more worried that Cutter would be the one to bleed. I learned to stay out of her way. I learned to be quick and to move like the cat that that was as much a part of the crew as any of the rest, prized for killing the rats that carried disease and ruined food and water.

I got together what money I had saved over the years and what equipment I thought I would need. I did this secretly whenever my Sister would be otherwise occupied, not even thinking about me. I did this at my father’s request. He was becoming sickly and I think he knew he was dying. Cutter would come each day to find me and bring me to him so he and I could talk and he warned me not to stay aboard ship in the event of his death. He knew something. This final day He told me to get ready to leave saying do not let the morning sun find you aboard this ship. We’d come to port in a small out of the way village. Cutter nearly had to carry me out of my Father’s quarters that night. I did not want to leave him in his last moments. As I was dragged from my father’s death bed I saw that my sister was standing outside waiting to go in, She had a look of satisfaction on her face.

Later in the darkness Cutter came for me with the news that my Father was dead. Her eyes filled with tears she helped me to make my way to a small boat that had been prepared. I looked one last time through my own tears to the small quarters that had been my home for so long. Then Cutter hurried me out on deck and we quietly made our way but she stopped for a moment fishing something out of her pocket as I looked to see the sun just beginning to rise above the horizon. The ship was silent as a grave as I made my way to the small craft that would take me to land. As I climbed down the ladder I heard my sister’s voice. Cutter dropped both my equipment and a final gift from my father. Before she turned to face my sister and buy me as much time as she could with her own blood if need be.

I never heard the exchange of words that followed. I never saw the dagger from out of the dark that took Cutter’s life. I never saw my sister’s face knowing I had escaped. I never saw my Father take his last breath as my sister watched him die, her face so close to his as she took that breath from him. I lay in the bottom of the small boat wondering why nobody came to retrieve me. Why my Sister didn’t just come to kill me. In the end I didn’t even care as I wandered for days after I landed in my small boat putting as much distance between me and my Sister as possible. This is how I came to be here in this tavern in a village I know nothing of. Some time ago I bought a pack horse that turned out to be little more than a nag but she has been good enough to carry my few belongings and I am at least comfortable. All I can ask of my life now is so what happens next?

Character sheet: Tythe [Elf rogue from the Sodden Lands]

Posted by Jon at 22:11 | Tythe’s Journal | ~PC Bios~

October 11, 2008

Salma's Bio

Salma's Journal ~PC Bios~

Just graduated from atanapratta school in Absalom, curious about the world. Think roughly Jane Eyre-ish.

Character sheet: Salma [Human cleric of Irori from Absalom]

Posted by Kate at 19:16 | Salma’s Journal | ~PC Bios~

Pick One

Adventures, DM's Notes & Maps

Kristin’s character art based on little more than the original descriptions of the PCs.

October 12, 2008

Astrid's Journey

Adventures, DM's Notes & Maps Astrid's Journal

Finding acceptance by others that do not know you is easy. Finding acceptance by the one that knows you the best is never easy. This is the one universal truth that I have learned in the months that I have traveled abroad.

To find that acceptance I traveled south past the Grungir Forest and over the Kodar Mountains until I came to the lands of the Gypsies. There I met an old fortune woman who claimed to be able to speak with those beyond the veil. There she claimed to have spoken with my father. His final words of wisdom were thus: “To begin to find self-acceptance you must start where all are accepted, the center of all things, the city on the sea.”

So I have traveled the land and sailed the sea until I have finally arrived at the center of all things, the city on the sea, Absalom.

Tythe's Journey

Adventures, DM's Notes & Maps Tythe's Journal

Some questions should not be asked, and some answers are better left undiscovered, as I have learned. When three unsavory-looking, well-armed men arrived in the tavern and began asking questions it was obvious that they were looking for someone. And from what I could overhear from the upstairs landing it was obvious that it would not be in my best interest to be found.

With a flip of the coin that my father had given me for luck, I slipped out through an upstairs window and disappeared into the night. In order to disappear I found myself going to the one place that anyone who does not wish to be found can go: Absalom.

Zandu's Journey

Adventures, DM's Notes & Maps Zandu's Journal

The answer to that question came to be in the form of an old man. We both took shelter from the approaching storm in an abandoned cabin along some nameless road. With a fire lit in the fireplace to fend off the cold we shared our rations and tales of our travels. He told me that he had once been an explorer seeking out old ruins and secrets for the Pathfinder Society based in Absalom— a society whose purpose is to learn the mysteries of the world and find answers to undiscovered questions.

We talked well into the night until I nodded off from the prior day’s travels. When I awoke the fire had burned itself low. The old man was no where in the cabin and there were no footsteps in the newly fallen snow around the cabin.

So, I found myself booking passage aboard a ship on route to the city of Absalom to see what mysteries and answers await me there.

Salma's Journey

Adventures, DM's Notes & Maps Salma's Journal

I awoke this morning to the sounds of the city preparing for the day’s festivities. It is the Second Moonday of Lamashan and the Harvest Feast. It should prove to be quite an interesting day.

October 15, 2008


Astrid's Journal

12 Lamashan 4709 AR

Shortly before debarking the ship in Absalom, I made acquaintance with two other travelers: a Gypsy called Zandu and an elven woman named Tythe. Someone had mentioned rooms were available at the Golden Griffin (for those that needed to sleep indoors, I suppose), but more importantly, this establishment had food and drink available, and Zandu had offered to buy a round. Assured that Zandu had no motive other than not wanting to drink alone, we started off in the general direction of the tavern, trying to wend our way through the Harvest Festival crowd, when I saw three men grab a fourth and drag him into an alley. I pointed this out to my new acquaintances as I turned to follow.

We confronted the muggers and, not wishing to escalate the incident, I began to sing a tune that tends to cause drowsiness— it worked on two of the assailants and the victim, but one continued to threaten Zandu (and apparently three more had appeared behind Tythe). I decided to go take the victim away from his attackers, intending to only frighten them away by pulling my father’s sword— it worked, and they backed off almost immediately.

I stopped singing and picked up the unconscious man, and turned to leave the alley with him. I found that I had missed some bloodshed— one man was dead on the ground, Zandu’s dog chewing on him, as a small Vudrani human woman was in turn healing injuries and providing my comrades with some righteous indignation— apparently we had picked a fight with the very powerful Toresco merchant family. However, we had saved the life of a member of the Radu family, and were thanked profusely by someone called Torin Radu. At no time did anyone of actual authority appear, though I was told that places such as these have town guards. Perhaps they felt we had the matter in hand.

We opted to take the healer, Salma, along with us to the tavern. The strongest drink available was Dwarven ale— I had several while Zandu made room arrangements for all of us. I already have a bedroll, but was assured that I’d prefer to sleep indoors. My new friends all seemed rather excited that a “bath” was offered with the room. I bathed before I left home though. Personally, I thought it would be better for us to just go stay with Salma, but she assured us this was not possible.

We got to talking about why we had all landed in Absalom. Salma had been here for years; her parents had dropped her in “girls’ school” and never returned. Tythe seems out of her element entirely and has been taking comfort with a bottle of rum. Zandu was just wandering (as I was) until a chance encounter with an old man gave him purpose. In fact, the purpose involved visiting the Pathfinder Society here in the city. We all opted to go with him; I believe I am not alone in looking for acceptance and this is where (I’m told) my father wanted me to start.

Salma led us to our destination, and Zandu asked them for help with identifying a map, though for some reason he could not show us the map. In exchange for this help, we agreed to go collect a book from Vargos Gill in the Puddles District. This did not sound difficult, but apparently the Puddles District is not nearly as pleasant as the area where the earlier mugging occurred. My friends got a bad feeling when we got to Gill’s house— it was obvious that no one was home and that some sort of mischief had recently occurred. I saw an old woman watching us, but she ducked into an alley before I could call out to her. Zandu and I ran and caught up with her, and after he bribed her with a few copper pieces, she told us some men (“Nessiam’s”) with snarling dog tattoos (War Hounds) had taken Gill mere minutes before we arrived. We got Salma and Tythe and took off in the direction the old woman had indicated.

Sure enough, we found the six War Hounds with Gill and three other elderly men chained together on the edge of a cliff, with the obvious intention of pushing them off the side into the water below. I tore past the thugs and managed to grab the chain just as the old men lost footing and tumbled over the edge, but I had to contend with being hit in the back by various weapons as I struggled to keep from losing my grip.

Apparently I got hit pretty hard and must have blacked out, but not before my friends were able to dispatch or scare off the enemy and pull the chained men to safety. I came to and found Zandu was holding my head up and pouring some sort of potion down my throat. I managed to refrain from breaking his arm.

Posted by Kristin at 14:38 | Astrid’s Journal

October 19, 2008

Arrival in Absalom

Zandu's Journal

Just before I left the ship that brought me to this marvelous city I made the acquaintance of two very capable females. Tythe is a very dark-skinned elf, tall, agile and as I found out likes rum, a lot. Astrid is a half-elf who seems to prefer carrying a very large sword and as I later discovered has a wonderful talent with music.

We were on our way to a nice inn called the Golden Griffin when I noticed three men drag a fourth off into an alley. It may not have been the best of ideas, but I lead my to new friends over to help this stranger. I was attempting to be discreet, but I guess Astrid doesn’t know what that is. Anyway after some talk with the one assailant, I told them simply that if they let the guy go I would let them live. His response was to have three more of his friends come at us from behind. We killed a few before they ran off. That’s when we met Salma. She just showed up and started to heal the wounded, and was berating us for fighting. I explained to her what happened and she seemed to reluctantly calm down. The victim, Torin Radu, thanked us and told us he would deal with the town guard, so I invited Salma to join us for a drink as well.

Within a few minutes we were all sitting at the bar enjoying a drink (Salma had water, her preference) and I asked the bartender how to find out information on a map. I was again told about the Pathfinder Society and was given directions on how to get there. I talked with my new companions as Salma led the way and Astrid tried to keep Tythe walking in a straight line. She really likes her rum. Fascinating group I have now I only hope my sisters grows up to have the same traits these three ladies have.

At the Pathfinder Society I was told I could get the info if I went to collect a book from a man named Gill. I agreed and again Salma lead us to something called the Puddles District. It’s a very rough part of town where only the poorest of people live. I felt for them as we made our way to our destination. Unfortunately, we could tell something was wrong when we reached Gill’s house. The door was open, and no one answered. Astrid saw someone watching us so I went after to see if this person saw what happened. For a few copper the nice old lady informed us that three men went in and took Gill from his house and dragged him off to some cliffs. She pointed the way and we were off as fast as we could go.

What I saw appalled me, these men had four old men shackles together and were about to push them off a cliff. I told them that if they let the old men go I would let them live. So the one kicked the first off and all of them started to go over. Astrid ran and caught the chain to pull them up. I was kind of low on spells from my last fight so I pulled my bow along with Tythe (she is an amazing shot) and we started to attack.

When all was said and done I had to give Astrid a healing potion and took one myself. Salma was tending to the old men and the attackers were either dead or had run off like the cowards they are.

Posted by Fred at 11:08 | Zandu’s Journal

October 22, 2008


Tythe's Journal

What a hangover. One thing I never dealt with too well was the transition from ship to dry land. It always makes me sick. A bottle of rum and some good company usually helps. Good company, I can’t believe I said that Here I am trying to stay out of sight and what happens my very first day in town. I end up hanging out with the one guy who will most likely draw allot of unwanted attention in my direction, Zandu. First he decides to help out some drunk getting the stuffing knocked out of him in an alley and then what do I do I follow him to yet another fight saving some old geezers from some ruff characters who looked like they were just thrown out of an orc charm school. Yeah, I know I didn’t have to follow him but what can I say I never could turn down a good fight.

Zandu has a way of getting people to follow him there’s no denying. He not only got me to follow him but two others as well. Astrid is a bit on the slow side. I suspect that’s just because of her upbringing. I would never think of her as stupid. She may not understand why anyone would sleep in a bed but I’m sure in her element she would far surpass any of the rest of us in knowing how to handle herself. Another who seems to have joined our little band if for no other reason than to try and keep Zandu under some sort of control is Salma. She is some sort of cleric or something like that. She’s good with a quick cure but as quick as she is it’s nothing compared with her temper. I have to admire her bravery the way she stomped into the middle of our little battle in the alley. Well that’s it for now. I’m probably making a big mistake but I think I’ll stick around for a while. If for no other reason than I find these characters entertaining.

Posted by Jon at 23:27 | Tythe’s Journal

October 25, 2008

Interesting Times

Salma's Journal

I am atanapratta, an unwanted daughter raised by the girls’ school in Absalom for the Vudrani who live here and follow traditional practices. I do not know my parents; I do not know my caste. Normally, I would have learned some useful trade and not questioned my role among my people, but, as some of the teachers lament, living among so many other cultures has had its effect on us. On me. I have prayed to Irori so many times to help me find my own path to enlightenment!

Perhaps as a result, Irori has blessed me with clerical abilities. We had classes in self-defense at school, but I must admit I would rather heal than fight. Since I have finished the education that the girls’ school offers, without wishing to take the employments they can give me, I have been somewhat at a loss for what to do next. This, then, was the state of mind I was in while wandering the city during one of the many holidays...

It’s not unusual to see various retainers for the Council families squaring off in the city; one is safest to stay out of the fray. It was obvious, therefore, that something out of the ordinary was happening when I saw people clustered at an alley to watch a fight! I saw that people were on the ground, bleeding, and worked my way through the crowd to help - such a public breach of the peace was bad enough without someone getting killed!

Once I reached the front of the group, however, I saw that it was worse than I first thought: not only were several House retainers in very serious shape, but three strangers were doing all the damage! I shouted at them, “What are you doing?!” while stabilizing the closest injured man. The male stranger was shouting, “Leave, or die!” while two women kept stabbing people. It was a chaotic mess, and then two retainers of an opposing House showed up - at least the original combatants had the sense to flee.

Except, of course, the three who had just gotten off the boat and wandered into Absalom. I checked the other wounded, horrified to realize that at least one was beyond saving. There was a man who had been beaten up, but he would be fine - yet the stranger was using this as justification for killing people!

The second House’s retainers thanked the strangers for interfering, and promised to “take care” of the mess. I was wishing myself invisible at this point; to be so publicly attached to both sides of a fight like this cannot be good. All I wanted to do was help.. and then, the strangers asked ME to guide them to the Golden Griffon Inn. Glad to be out of the immediate area, I agreed, on one condition: please don’t kill anyone else!

Once inside the Golden Griffon (including the man’s dog), I was invited to stay for a drink, and felt it unwise to refuse. I did decline the strong alcohols that the entire party ordered, apparently trying to outdo each other for exotic and potent effects! The man, Zandu, bought several rounds for the half-elf, Tythe and human woman, Astrid. They discussed many things, and I found myself interested in their plans despite myself. They nearly invited themselves to stay at the girls’ school with me, as well: impossible, but at least Astrid freely admits she hasn’t any idea what other cultures’ habits may be.

They’re all quite curious about Absalom, and had some rather impertinent questions about who I am... which is a sore spot, I must admit, as I do not know the answer myself. I’m also not sure they would understand or be interested in the quest for perfection that I have been raised to aspire to, and thought it better to leave the subject be. Meanwhile, it turned out that Zandu owns a mysterious map, and has come to the city to seek help from the Pathfinders’ Guild about it...

..which is how I ended up leading a half-sober party across the city by midmorning. I stood back while they parlayed with the Guild members, and eventually the Guild agreed to interpret Zandu’s map, if they would pick up a book from an old man living in the Puddles district. Blessed Irori, what message are you trying to give me?

The others talked freely as we set out across town a third time. Tythe is from an ocean-going family, while Astrid is from a cold northern land that does not approve of the use of magic. Zandu is following the advice of an old man with a Harrowed deck, which led him to the Pathfinders’ Guild. The neighborhoods slowly descended into poverty, and then we reached the Puddles, where the locals made some propositions that Astrid took quite literally (but no violence resulted).

We were knocking on the door of the dilapidated home when an old woman poked her head around the corner - then disappeared. Of course, Zandu and Astrid had to investigate while Tythe and I kept trying to get an answer from the house. Rather, I was knocking on the door, while Tythe was knocking back a bottle of rum she’d produced from somewhere on her person...

Zandu and Astrid returned with the news that the old man we wanted to talk to had actually been kidnapped half an hour before! We ran as fast as we could in the direction given by the old woman, catching up at the cliff’s edge to several tattooed men and not just one, but four old men, chained together. As we shouted to them, one of the tattoed men shoved the first old man off the cliff! Astrid made an amazing leap through the crowd, catching hold of the last man as he was pulled over the side. The rest of us had to fight.

I used my staff, but couldn’t blame the others for using lethal force. Arrows were flying, and swords swinging; Zandu’s dog was worrying at a tattooed man, while Astrid swore most creatively as she pulled the old men back up from the cliff’s edge. When she took one too many hits and went limp, I leaped forward to grab the chain instead! Thankfully, the last of the tattooed men were soon down, and Zandu was able to get Astrid on her feet while I checked on the old men.

Now to find out: what is going on?

Posted by Kate at 13:24 | Salma’s Journal