The 12 Spheres

Letter to Thad

Dear Professor Thad:

We have a moment now, and I wished to pause and write to you to further explain my previous note, which was written with more haste than I would have preferred, because I wished to enclose it with the bottles which we discovered. I hope that you will write back soon and tell me that you have had the good common sense to follow it and refrain from drinking the contents of those bottles, particularly if they turn out to be the “partial polymorph potions” we discussed earlier! I am deeply concerned about the implications of the discovery, for reasons which I will detail below.

First, however, let me give you a brief summary of our progress to date. I have previously included an inventory listing of items which we discovered in our trip to the armory. Further exploration of the building proved to be impossible given the large number of clockwork golems occupying the premises. It seems that these golems are made by a series of magical devices which assemble the required pieces without the need for any sort of flesh-and-blood supervision. Though many of these devices appear to be broken beyond hope of repair, others appear to be fully operational. It seems that these devices have been patiently building golems without significant interruption for many years, perhaps since the fall of Freeport itself, and there are now so many golems that there is scarcely room for them to stand. We discovered at least one room where they were waiting, shoulder-to-shoulder and toe-to-toe in neat rows, in an area the size of the university campus.

I hope you find that statement as alarming to read as I find it to write.

We have blocked what I hope is the only passageway out with a large stone, but this is unlikely to hold forever. Fortunately the golems lack direction, but they are numerous and extremely strong, and if it ever happens to occur to one of them to move the obstruction, they would certainly be able to do so. (On a more positive note, if we were so fortunate as to be able to gain control of them, we might have an army of sufficient size and ferocity to give the King of Blood a run for his money if he should ever decide to invade.) That, however, is a judgement for the future.

Although we camped after a long and exhausting day, we left the armory in the morning, and proceeded to the Tower of the Wizard Xavier, at which we arrived safely. We were bothered en route by a pack of goblins who attacked us; luckily my companions are skilled with their blades, and they were dispatched with no casualties taken on our side. We made some effort to hide them, but I feel certain that the minions of the King of Blood will locate them eventually.

Nevertheless, we are here.

We have made an ally of sorts, of a certain shambling mound who had taken up residence in the foyer. If you recall, shambling mounds are golems which are made up primarily of masses of plants and flowers (this specific golem seems to be constructed mainly of grasses, ivy, and a large patch of wildflowers.) As you can imagine, this one has taken quite the shine to River, our mud elemental.

The rest of the inhabitants of the tower have proved to be more problematic. In one of the former classrooms, we discovered a gibbering mouther, and it is this creature which has caused me such alarm. I enclose a sketch.

This was neither a natural nor constructed being, and its encounter has caused me considerable alarm, though I am happy to say that it is long since dispatched. Simply put, I am certain that this creature came into being because it had been polymorphed too often. My suspicion is that, at some point in the past, it was some sort of natural creature, who came upon the very potions we seek, and drank too many of them.

I am deeply disturbed at this thought. I had originally envisioned the partial polymorph potions as something similiar to potions which are available today, which heal or which can cause some short-term effects, (allowing crops to grow overnight, for example,) but whose powers dissipate in a day or so at the longest. It is true that drinking too much of certain potions can cause a number of undesirable repercussions, but there is no currently known potion which is capable of creating such a monster – or there wasn’t, before today.

Discovering this thing, and imagining what it might have been in the past, has frightened me. When I was a child, I was taught that the Words of Life were written in minute lettering upon sacred spirals, and that these spirals were reserved for the writing of the gods. No Eladrin, no matter how old, wise, or studied, might attempt to change these sacred spirals, or to try to write spirals of his own. To do so would be to invite ruin. The creature we encountered was the exact sort of thing which I was warned about during my school years upon the Misty Isles: formless and void, neither living nor unliving, a thing of such misshapen horror that all who encountered it would flee in terror.

If these are the partial polymorph potions, I beg you not to drink them! I realize that it is not my decision to make, but at this point, I would just as happily see them destroyed.

Your servant, Miasaki

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Ceilidh, 4/26/09
2 parts confusion, 1 part angst, shake with ice and serve.
NOTE: This event takes place when the party is next able to take an extended rest after the 4/26/09 session. Depending on how things go over the next session or two, it may be a while before the game actually catches up to this. I may come back to this post and modify it to reflect stuff that happens in-game between now and then. ~ FemmeLegion
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Stuff about Ceilidh

I was eight years old. It was three days after my birthday, and in two days we’d be able to rest and have something like a celebration. It’s how it goes when you’re born during harvest time.

I’d never heard the horn before, but the look on my father’s face told me right away it wasn’t good. The riders tore through the orchards shouting at us to grab what we could carry that we might need, and to make for Kellwood – on horse or wagon if possible. Orchard was about to be attacked.

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Note back to Thad

Honourable Professor Thad:

Understood. Take courage. It is the smallest of waves that marks the onset of the changing of the tides.

Your Servant, Miasaki

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To Miasaki

To Honorable Miasaki

I realize that it might be considered dishonorable to run from a battle when ones comrades are in dire need. Please follow my line of thought. In a battle that is being rapidly lost there are two outcomes. One that the battle is lost or it will turn around and the battle will be won. In the case of the former I wish to be informed so that I may do what needs to be done to make things as right as I may with the families of the fallen. If the latter then your compatriots will still be alive and the knowledge that you possess, IE the map and the locations on it, will only lead to their further harm. In either case the most prudent course is for you to do your utmost NOT to be captured at any cost. INcluding running from battle.

Can you see my point?

As to your pursuer…

I have hesitated to inform you for your own sake. It is easy to have your imagination run away with conjecture. No doubt there is ample conjecture now however. There are numerous layers between the pinnacle of evil and those that pursue you. But I know for a fact that it is none other than the King of Blood himself that has targeted this expedition. (ooc this is the equivilant of saying that an undead Hitler is after you and having it be plausible) I say this not to frighten you but to impress upon you the seriousness I take my admonishment for you to keep yourself safe. As of right now all the enemy knows is that I have a old map and that I MAY be heading toward something they wish me not to find. This will keep them guessing as to our path. With the map, OR your knowledge of it, they will know precisely where and what our targets are.

So I must repeat. Keep your head down and yourselves convieniantly “lost” within the ruins. If the worst happens. RUN.

Trusting in your understanding.

T.

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Miasaki to the wizard Thad

ProfessorThad -

To fully understand the difficult position in which you place me, it becomes necessary to discuss philosophy. My father and brothers would never do it: and if they were ever to find out I was discussing such things, it would be an outrage and a scandal. Nevertheless there comes a time when polite recalcitrance does not serve the common interest, and this seems to be such a time. There is more involved in the study of language than vocabulary or sentence structure. The culture and customs of the local population have an enormous effect in the proper use of languange. Without context, misunderstandings can still arise, even though the use of grammar may be perfect.

The mindset of the Inner Spheres is simple and direct and asks immediate questions with the desire to obtain immediate answers. “Yes or no?” “Here or there?” There is often a desire, verbally speaking, to get from point A (the question) to point B (the answer to the question.) The focus is to “get there.”

In the lands of the Misty Isles where my family and I dwell, it is not so. Such direct questions are rare, to the point of being considered mildly confrontational. The “get there” focus can appear in times of stress, such as in battles, but under normal circumstances, the indirect statement is considered to be more appropriate.

Many things are considered when conversing via the indirect statement, such as the position or rank of the speaker, relationship between the speaker and listener, and conditions relative to the statement. The proper layering of the indirect statement is considered to be an art form; it is said that a correctly-formulated statement will convey at least three levels of meaning. Such statements are sometimes considered for years, for we are immortal, and have time. In other words, the being is more important than the going. Allow me to present an example.

Do you know how it is that I was allowed to come to university? Obaa-san, my grandmother, said the following statement to my father: “The University of Tejas wishes to expand its student membership to include many races. They have included Eladrin in their request.” That was the complete extent of the conversation, from beginning to end.

You must understand that my father is the head of the entire clan. He is a fierce and proud warrior, with many men serving under him. We do a vigorous business trading silk, teas, and bamboo, and large profits always attract thieves. It is his job to protect the clan from raiders and bandits, and he is very good at it. Both because of his position and because of his lineage, he expects and receives immediate obediance, and takes advice from few men. Yet, when Obaa-san made her statement, he swung into immediate action.

Why? First is the consideration of Obaa-san’s age. She is a very old Eladrin, one of the oldest on the Isles. Age brings wisdom, and Honour demands respect for one’s elders. Second, she is his mother, and thus Honour doubly requires his attention and respect. On Obaa-san’s part, she does not lead the clan.

But the making of such a statement in private (rest assured I was not supposed to overhear it) is a mark of her respect for him, for in theory, he might do anything he likes, without losing face in front of his men. (In practice, however, her age trumps his stature, and requires his obediance.) A question in such a context would have been considered a lack of confidence in his leadership, and thus would have been terribly offensive. Given an indirect statement, though, he was expected to divine her intent and act accordingly, and he did so.

As a second example, consider the note left with the ninjas that attacked us. Though written in the Common tongue, it was an indirect statement: “Succeed in your task and you shall be granted the gift of life.” Yes, it sounds direct. It is not. The importance of the statement lies in its implication, which might be summed up as, “Fail in your task and you shall lose the gift of life.” I leave you with the following statements:

.....The character of a man will determine his actions, as the type of seed planted determines the sort of tree which will be produced. As with men, so it should be with Vampires, for they share a common seed. If only we knew someone who was familiar with this particular vampire, we could seek the wisdom of their guidance to learn the nature of his character.

.....It is dishonourable to abandon one’s compatriots in the heat of battle. Only the most extreme circumstances could justify such an action.

I remain, Your Servant, Miasaki

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Miasaki's list

+++Often-Forgotten-but-necessary-list:

Bag of Flour-like dusty substance (Flour?)

Sticks of Chalk

Sticks of Charcoal

Bag-o-Marbles

Small case of assorted tools (Hammer, screwdriver, pliers, etc ) Sewing Kit (Scissors, needles, thread, etc – suitable to repair clothes, tents, leather)

Bag-o-Nails

Hand Mirror

Torches

Safety Matches, coated with wax so they will light when wet (are they available?)

String and Twine

A small bell

Scroll Tubes

Small Bag of Pebbles

Small Glass Vials (waterproof and sealable – will hold samples of liquids)

Pencil/paper or Quill/ink/scrolls etc

Flash Powder

Tinderbox

Extra empty sacks

++++++Standard List Rations and Utensils

Backpack or carying case

Tallow Candles

Wax Candles

Lantern (Candles will fit inside)

Clothing:++++++ Outfit including boots, pants, skirt, top, cloak, hat/hood

Spare Outfit

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Note to Miasaki

To Miasaki,

Thank you for your concern. Your insight does you credit. Let me tell you that indeed my home and offices have been targets of an attack. All of which were repulsed. And some of the assailants were captured. Most are unfortunately deceased now, perhaps I should say currently. I will advise you to be careful as well as I concur with your estimation of the enemy’s next logical course. Given what I know of there travel capabilities I can assure you that you will reach Freeport with no further trouble from them. However, they will arrive shortly after you do, perhaps two days at most. In your favor, they will have as difficult a time finding you in the ruins as you will finding the areas of interest that you seek. Freeport is a morass of rubble, very easy to get lost in and very easy to hide in. My advice is to hide from the enemy as well as possible.

As to the whys and wherefores. I believe the goal is not to find something in Freeport. Indeed, as you have surmised, our enemy knows the town well and could no doubt wander by memory through the streets. As you suggested, he is indeed that old.

I believe rather that the enemy’s goal is to stop US from finding something. Something hidden long ago that is precious and /or dangerous to the enemy’s long vampiric existence.

The enemy will no doubt be aware that you will have succeeded in reaching Freeport. The target therefore will be squarely upon you. The enemy will make another attempt upon my domicile , I am sure. But my main concern is for your safety. As I have said before. Hide. “Burrow” deep into the ruins, “lose” yourselves within them. Lay low. Find me those white candles and I will join you. Find yourselves some weapons in the armory. Arm yourselves with the secret knowledge in the hospital. Do NOT get captured. Specifically you. If that means running when the others are in peril then I expect that from you. Whatever this creature is going to such trouble to keep hidden is worth the cost of finding it. Not for just the lost knowledge, But for the chance of destroying or at least de-fanging a great evil.

My charge to you is be safe and be successful. And bring me to you.

Thad

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Note to the Wizard Thad

Dear Professor Thad: First, thank you for your kind concern. I feel no ill effects beyond simple embarrassment at a foolish mistake I know my brothers would not have made: this is burdensome, but I am certain I shall overcome it in time. I shall speak to our cleric to ensure there are no unexpected problems.

However, I am afraid there are some additional questions I must ask you. I am troubled by the encounter with the Ninjas, and particularly the enchantment placed upon the ghoul finger, which you yourself have had the opportunity to examine. The enchantment might loosely be translated to, “Point to the map which Thad copied.” In considering the construction of this enchantment, the following implications may logically be inferred:

1) The magician who cast the spell either:... a) personally knew Professor Thad or … b) had a personal item from Professor Thad, such as a hair, nail, etc., to use to construct the enchantment. In addition, they:... c) knew that copies of the map were being produced by Professor Thad, which further implies that:... d) they know of the existence of the original, or have at least deduced its presence.

2) The Ninjas do not currently have a map of Freeport which displays the information that is present on our map. (Yes, I realize that it is theoretically possible to craft such an enchantment while not personally knowing the target, or not having a personal item to use. However, the quality of the enchantment in question seems to suggest that this is not the case.) Continued meditation upon these points leads to many questions, but few answers.

I have included some of these questions below:

1) If the Ninjas know of the existence of the copies, and are prepared to send troops to recover them… why do they not go after the original? (I find this question to be somewhat alarming. One presumes that your household is suitably guarded against Ninja attacks, but this does raise concerns for your safety – please be doubly certain that you take suitable precautions!)

2) The ninjas knew we were coming (undoubtedly via use of one or more ghoul fingers.) However, the fact that such items were left here in wait for us, and not sent over the sea to University with additional Ninjas, is a clear indication that the Ninjas were either aware that an expedition was being formed, or expected that one would be. The most logical distribution of ghoul fingers would involve splitting the Ninjas into two parties, sending some across the ocean to University to try and obtain the original map, and leaving the other on the mainland to try to obtain copies, in case the first group was to fail. Did I mention that you should be particularly cautious?

3) The aftermath of the attack leaves me with the impression that we put up considerably more resistance than the ninjas anticipated. If the copies of the map were important, why send a low number of relatively inexperienced ninja trainees to retrieve them? Again, this implies that either this operation was either not important enough to allocate greater forces, or possibly that the more experienced ninjas were off doing something else – yet another indication that an attempt may be made to obtain the original map.

4) Why do the Ninjas want the map? We have established the presence of Ninjas and undead – at the very least, Vampires and Ghouls.

We have further uncovered the indications of a hierarchy in which it appears that the undead, perhaps the vampires, are commanding the Ninja forces – who, by the way, appear to be legitimately alive beings, and not undead ones (at least, the ones that attacked us did not appear to be undead.) On the surface, the only logical reason for the Ninjas to want the map is for the same basic reason we want the map – they wish to go to a specific destination within Freeport. This also raises more questions than it answers. If I was, say, a vampire, leading a clan of Ninja warriors… why would I want to go to Freeport? Presumably, food is not an issue (Ninja snacks) and one also presumes the item (?) within Freeport would be one which could not be found elsewhere.

Let’s review the main points of interest on our map:

A) Sunken ship with treasure! .....Gold is always fun but one presumes that when one is running an organization of ninjas, one has a solid money supply. Furthermore, there are surely easier ways to obtain any necessary funding?

B) Armory!.....What sort of weapons might Ninja-vampires want that they don’t already have? While it is possible that I am overlooking something here, nothing springs immediately to mind.

C) Hospital!.....What happens if a vampire drinks a raise-the-dead potion? Might the head vampire of the ninja-vampire clan want to become alive again? Does he crave warm ale instead of blood, or does he want to lie on the beach and work on his tan? I find this thought amusing, but unlikely.

D) Library!.....What tome might a ninja-vampire be interested in reading? (Or, is it possible that his library books are just really, really, REALLY overdue?)

E) Non-magic gate!.....Now this is a possibility. Perhaps he wants to go somewhere? Where might a ninja-vampire want to travel that could only be reached by a non-magic gate?

F) Mansion of the Wizard Xavier!.....Somehow, I envision candlelight as a painful way to travel for a ninja-vampire, but even so, but this seems like a strong contender.

This leads me to a brief bout of sheer speculation: how old is this ninja-vampire-leader anyway? Might he have known the wizard Xavier? Perhaps they were enemies – or friends? Is it possible that the original undead attack which laid Freeport low involved ninja-vampires? Could they have tried, at the time, to get something… and missed? Could they be trying again to obtain whatever it was they didn’t get the first time around?

Forgive me for saying so, Professor, but it can be difficult to adequately explain the effect of Immortality upon those who have not been gifted with it. (Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but upon our meeting, I did not have the impression that you were Immortal.)

Time is something like the tide. The tide comes in, and wars are won and grand empires rise to prominence, each thinking themselves the apex of all that has gone before. Eventually the tide goes out again, and wars are lost and the empires fall and crumble to nothing. New empires rise in their place, and shine proudly until the tide comes back in, and washes them all away.

So it was with the fall of Freeport, whose destruction was widely considered to mark the changing of the tides. Obaa-san (my grandmother) was a young girl at the time, and remembers well the effects upon the Misty Isles where my people dwell.

If this Ninja-clan is led by a vampire, one must not discount the possibility that this vampire may also remember the fall of Freeport. Vampirism is a cheap and sneaking form of Immortality, but it is Immortality nonetheless. Given a bit of luck and a steady food supply, there is no reason that a Vampire who was involved with Freeport at the time of its fall might not rise to prominence in the ages afterward, and be around to have a hand in the re-discovery of its ruins.

This question – of whether or not the head of the Vampire clan is immortal and/or remembers Freeport from before the Fall – is of critical importance. Is our Vampire-Ninja chasing a legend? Some facet of song or tale which has captured his imagination? Or is he pursuing a real thing that he actually remembers? The former scenario is more likely to be business, while the latter could potentially be personal – and the “game” changes completely depending upon the answer.

In this context, I believe that your actions so far have been perfectly logical and admirable. You are well set up in University, and could easily take the position of distracting (I almost said “The enemy forces,” here. I wonder if Father and my brothers would be proud?) the vampire-ninjas with the tempting bait of the original map, while your expedition sneaks unnoticed into Freeport, at which point we could summon you as we discussed and… what? Move on to Phase II?

Unfortunately at least one part of the plan, if it is something like what I have outlined, appears not to have worked. The vampire-ninjas definitely know we are here. Furthermore, I have every reason to believe that they will be back.

It is too much to hope that the vampire-ninja organization will not employ a cartographer, and any cartographer worth his salt will immediately realize that the false map I planted on the ninja is worthless. If they subsequently fail to retrieve your map, they would be likely to make another attempt at ours. With luck, there will be some time before they realize they have been duped, but I am reluctant to depend on luck too heavily. Having taken our measure the first time around, I would expect them to be much better prepared in a second attempt. Furthermore, they now know that at least some of the maps which we are carrying are deliberate deceptions. I believe that their two most likely goals in a second attack would probably be 1) kill everyone, take all maps, and let the experts in the vampire-ninja organization sort out which ones are accurate or 2) take the map-maker alive along with all maps and let them explain which one is real. Needless to say, I am not fond of either of these options.

Professor Thad, I don’t wish to pry, but there is ample evidence which suggests you may have had encounters with this vampire-ninja organization in the past. One the one hand, I don’t want to jeopardize your plans by requesting information which is dangerous, or to which I am not entitled. On the other, our decisions as a party during the expedition phase can only be as good as the information which we have available to us. It is obvious that there is a larger picture here.

What are you able to tell us about it? What do you know about this vampire-ninja organization? Are there any pertinent facts relating to vampires, ninjas, or ghouls which might be useful to us in our probable upcoming interactions with them? Any tips or guidance which you are able to provide would be greatly welcomed.

I remain as ever,

Your Servant, Miasaki

( Thad, The Wizard )

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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