Rust of Coming Ages

GM Report [Session 5]

Close the door
Can you hear the crowd is waiting?
For a last encore
Screaming out for my attention
-Ghost Opera, Kamelot

Like a crescendo of gratitude

Orhayen, 1 Orhan 2, 6047 TE

Many things can happen over a dinner table, especially if that dinner table is situated in the Cold Barley Soup Kitchen. Especially if the diners have as many options unfolding before them, an embarrassment of wealth in a city where that’s a contradiction in terms. A return to Zinvar to exploit the relatively private knowledge that a visit now means probable rather than certain death? The mystery of the stairway held within the sarcophagus in a Bodlean barrow? Something new from the Cold Barley Soup Kitchen’s murderhobo job board?

Or none of the above and instead ruminating over riveting rumors rummaged from behind Red Doors? Ravasz thought the discussions he overheard worth sharing. The options were competitive enough that the party welcomed the advice of Ingvar the Odd, a grizzled Northman whose continuing survival is about the only thing that recommends him as a source of counsel. He suggested – between glasses of wine Ravasz poured for him – that when deciding between potentially hazardous courses of action, the truly heroic murderhobo move is to do them all. Ultimately, the group found the rumors so intriguing and immediate that they put together several more Orlin to allow Ravasz to return to the scene and try to flesh out the skeleton of what seems to be a sizable plot.

2 Orhan2, 6047 TE

The effort saw Ravasz returned with names now attached to faces and voices: Tanvir del Placis, a Kaitaini merchant and Torgren Velnerek of less clear provenance, though the name is broadly Stroani. Thog felt that general principles required he share them with some likely targets, though discretely.

Nor was the rest of the group idle during this time. Atiena availed herself of some armorers, notably the [[Notched Shield] ], where a search for enchanted armor became a crash course in Sel Kai economics, specifically that while beer and meals are reckoned in Gilbar, equipment such as armor and weapons are traded in Selin and magically enhanced gear in Orlin.

Can you hear the crowd is waiting?

All errands run, the party later decided to pay a visit to Theodoric to see if rumors that he was hinting at employment were true. It turns out that they are, and he gave them a location in the Canal Maze with instructions to go in, kill every living thing they found, and return a certain to him, retaining anything else they find for their compensation. With suitable clarification that this meant vermin of the two-legged sort only, the group agreed.

GM Report [Session 5] INTRODUCTION
Chapter 2
Sometimes I’m the moon shining along the river
Sometimes I’m the river carrying all away
If I walk among the stars, I see the loneliness
These are useless days of heedless and hidden men
- Walk In Darkness, Walk Like Heroes

You and Rylec Qateris have the same 15 days…


Artha is a big city – a national capital in fact. Sel Kai isn’t much larger than Artha, but so very different. Artha boasts a degree of wealth: white marble architecture that includes a 50-foot tall marble statue of Shaal overlooking the sea. But Sel Kai has hundred foot tall statues made of marble and bronze, and that’s without even considering Eidolon!

And then there’s the Canal Maze, where you’re crashing on Emerald’s couch. That Canal Maze… you could seriously argue that the thing in the barrow in Bodlea had a higher standard of living than many you see here. Living in those conditions with no prospect of escape, in view of the skyships overhead and those same statues rising over the rooftops – again not even thinking about Eidolon – seems beyond cruel. It is probably just as well that Thog sees you to and from Emerald’s doorstep, and that Divad the Barkeep is willing to store your money in a strongbox at the Kitchen while you figure your situation out.

On the advice of Xarna the Barmaid, you went to the Great Market of Sel Kai because “everyone should see it at least once.” Kim was friendly enough to allow you to time your visit to coincide with one of his daily supply runs. A marble ring built into the water rising into a central marble island – which features one of those great marble statues – provides a waterway larger than Artha’s harbor. You could only tell it’s a waterway because it is packed hull-to-hull with boats, barely leaving room for skiffs to pole between, each offering wares more exotic from the last. You’re positive you didn’t catch the smallest fraction of the full offering as Kim skipped purposefully from boat to boat selecting fish and vegetables, some of which he took back. But he also stopped on some boats and ensured some number of barrels of a foreign beer or wine would make its way to the Kitchen with a signature on paper and a shaking of hands.

Murderhobos are, perhaps surprisingly so, very respectful of interpersonal boundaries, at least at the CBSK. Between the Changramai Kim having no patience for misbehavior, Guild Courtesans frowning on non-licensed work, Guild Enforcers frowning on poor treatment of the Guild Courtesans, the occasional Sarnaki Amazons with even less patience for rude men than the Guild Enforcers; and a somewhat less patriarchal base society in Sel Kai than some other places a proper respect has been learned. Even Moralis, the God of Love and Pain, teaches of the vitality of consent. It took a few days for you to trust this entirely, so at first your core group of drinking buddies were also women who seem to enjoy the Kitchen as a place to take their drinks: A tailar named Delvig and Big Morganne, a woman you’d place in her thirties who seems to watch after the teenish skiff polers.

The people at the Kitchen are a friendly lot, especially with how many drink you’ve been buying people. Even so, the adventurers have a good general consensus on what gear is worth having and happy to share that advice as they down their beers.

In all this time, you’ve also had time to get familiar with the items noted on the Job Board.


You spend the time working very closely with [[:ruven Ruven]] , the final stages of cure and prevention providing ample learning instances to accommodate your leveling. The Clinic has published the treatment in exchange for an ongoing stipend from the Ministry of the Interior, which ensures that the treatment will be affordable to all, even though rumor has it that Minister Valmarana had to explain why the city – and therefore the Barons – would provide for the many who couldn’t afford it, even in the Canal Maze.

Ruven’s relief is tempered, though.

“With diseases like this, you expect to see an origin point. Patient Zero, if you will, the first person to be infected. Someone who recently traveled, for example. I don’t have a patient Zero, though. I have five, all succumbed I fear. Nothing seems to connect them. Any of them make sense as Patient One, but not Zero. Possibly they had someone who contacted all five of them and moved on, but I’ve heard of no outbreaks elsewhere.

We may simply be missing something about their lives, but I can’t rule out a set of deliberate infections. Nor do I have proof of that, though, so nothing to take to the government.


Professor Mavlinol has prevailed upon some translators to begin work on the medical texts you’ve presented. You have also been spending the bulk of the week and a half since your return, studying both on and off campus, and the Professor seems even more delighted with your progress than you are.

All this has left you with barely enough time to pursue your business studies, and some sleep deprivation has you feeling as slow as your public persona.

You have begun receiving correspondence:

  • The Chancellor of the Olvasdani School talking up the good work the University does, and gently seeking a donative. The “pucker,” as your mother would put it, is for 1,000 Gilbars.
  • The Chair of the sociology department of Nalender college wants to involve you in an expedition back into Zinvar to “execute a large scale recovery of unpublished research from Zinvar University and Relten College for the good of the University and Posterity before untrained recovery specialists, colloquially termed ‘murderhobos’ inadvertently damage them irretrievably.” The letter hints that such favors for the various faculty can weigh heavily in considerations when one defends a thesis or seeks academic appointment.


The Cold Barley Soup Kitchen hosts several skill levels of card players. The upper echelons don’t take long to spot, and some of the older players are truly terrifying. But other, younger talent is clearly focused very diligently on swinging swords and casting spells, and you find your sweet spots. You suspect that some of them go out of their way to bet poorly because taking the long shots are so very exciting. You don’t anticipate those becoming older players.

Booker Nully, Nully the Mentalist, Nully no Andasai, Nully No House, Greater Nullymental, you didn’t even have to lose money to this guy to realize you never want to be his counterparty. He doesn’t even cheat, he’s just a terror at oddsmaking. But he’ll chat with anyone, rather like how a shark is always swimming.

All told, you’ve cleared the equivalent of 12 Orlin cleaning out the adrenaline junkies, and you’ve heard that the Red Door is one of the finest Guild brothels in the city, boasting it can accommodate any taste. A bold statement, that, especially in a city whose Avenue of the Gods hosts sizable and well-attended temples of both Moralis and Inis. But, you figure, 6 Orlin may be risked to learn the truth of the matter; and several evenings later you have reached several conclusions. First, that the women and men of the Courtesan’s Guild take a very different approach to their profession than the sex workers of the much more sternly patriarchal Stroane. Second, that the Red Door does not boast idly. Third, that 6 Orlin isn’t as impressive an outlay of cash in this town as you had first thought. Fourth, that it’s hard to decide how badly you want to know what the Diamond Notes you saw tendered by some customers that night purchase at the Red Door.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the more explicit services are provided with significant discretion, but there is a remarkably luxurious lounge where patrons wait, and you overheard a conversation as you waited your turn over a superlative Oriani (ancestral pride makes it difficult to call this Stroani) Imperial Sweet Essence in which one said to another, “Two marriages brings us three baronies, and Alaxatan falls under its own hubris. None of the others can match such a consolidate bloc. But only if we can get these timbers away from Maledaar.” You were, alas, called to your business before you could hear more.

When The Birds Begin To Sing

Returning sun in the sky
Melting souls as she fades to die
- Allen & Lande – Lady of Winter

It is now 1 Orhan 2, 6047. Spring has begun. You’ve had a taste of excitement and it’s brought you a good bit of wealth as well as opportunity. Other whispers are crossing your awareness. Chill rains give way more rains. Life in the delta, that is, but you have options if you don’t want to stick around and wait for the world to come to you here.

Personal fortunes stand as follows:

AtieneSel Kai
9,547 Gilbar
4 Bits
KurimudalSel Kai
19,219 Gilbar
2 Clips
8 Bits
ThogSel Kai
19,219 Gilbar
2 Clips
8 Bits
RavaszSel Kai
9,457 Gilbar
4 Bits

Chapter 1 Epilogue:
Auntie Battleaxe's Bite

Auntie Battleaxe had a vibrant laugh for a woman so old. Therril was surprised that she could go on for quite so long. Her heart might give out in the next few years, but little worry it would be hear lungs. Little worry it’d be her heart, either, Thog reflected. Grandpa probable has that in a vat someplace.
Once she recovered, the Merchant Barroness glanced aside at her son, Thog’s cousin Denys. “Always lead with praise, Den.” As heir designate to the Great House Marai-Tasaka, Baroness Dasai was pleased to keep him in her confidence. Returning her attention to Thog, she continued, “This is a well-prepared document, Therril. It reflects a keen nose for opportunity. A focused eye for how to exploit it. And an eog pair for how to structure the partnership that will bring it to life. To say nothing of the bravery to set foot on the Lost Horizon”
She continued, “You’ve put in blood and sweat to get this far. All credit for that. But now you want family gold to back this partnership? On a preferred stock basis? Offering up a promise that you, a pair of junior partners in a healing clinic, and two Murlog of all things can bring this home? And I have more faith in those Murlogi more than I do the tragicomedy that is Irnal Kleason. Nothing personal against the man, mind you, it’s just that he bleeds coin as if he were a wizard who perfected a family of Wealth Turning spells for the Deflections list. Giving him a cut without a vote is even smarter than the idea of the partnership itself, which is again a smart idea.”
“Set up a facility on Zinvar to extract wealth from adventurers extracting wealth from the city, we can do this. We will even want to execute an operation to recover investments your great grandfather – and namesake, I might add – Ogram lost to the city’s fall before letting the great unwashed in. But the operation you describe is going to require family gold far in excess of the equity you’ve put in so far.
“The House won’t invest, but the House will join your partnership. Ten Diamond for a voting seat. I think you’d prefer something along those lines, after all you don’t want to tie yourself down building this business do you? This gives the partnership some liquidity to hire experts for this beachhead.
Or have you developed a taste for the excitement of operations? We’ll even buy out any of your friends who’d prefer Orlin now to Orlin later. Ten Diamond to each of them. I know you’re in for the risk and the reward, Illisti raised you with that much sense.


  • Accept a buy-out: 100,000 Gilbars cash.
  • Admit House Marai Tasaka to the Partnership: By the above offer, the Baroness has suggested a value for each share in the Partnership of 100,000 Gilbars with the speculation that it will grow in value.
  • Find a different backer.
GM Report [Session 4]


Ordyan, 35 Orhan 1, 6045

The party

A week of sea has the Lost Horizon coming into Gravesdale under the light of a full Orhan, though the ship keeps out to see thanks to Captain Kleason’s fear of hidden water hazards. Rowboats bring you to a dockside not built up to support more than their own fishing industry, and whatever they do with that they are unlikely to send it out by sea. When you put to, Vandir tells you that the Erlandi Tap is your best bet for getting your bearings and finding a local who can point you in the right direction. He also reminds you that the Talath of the Dales simple folk, rustic, salt of the earth types. You know, smarter than they let on and with strong opinions about strangers looking at their daughters funny. Oh, and Mr. Half Lugrok? That’s half a Lurok more than any of these people have seen. They don’t care if their clothes don’t make a statement, Bartholomew. They do make a statement. The statement is “Underestimate me. I can find my way home through the swamps at night.”


Do this job, they said. It will pay well and you need to be far away, they said. It’ll help your reputation. You know coming to a Dale would mean crossing swamp. But they didn’t quite nail down just how much swamp that would be. It’s nearly enough to make a fellow wish the River god had risen up and thrown you back south.

But the swamps do have their points of interest, even if most of it is out to serve you with mud scones and bark tea. Even if there are a thousand pretty plants, each deadlier than the last. At least there’s cranberries. In everything.

But you trudged and trudged, arrived in Gravesdale – really someone named this place for the cemetery? You’ve been paid, paid someone to clean your leathers, and with a final meal and drink at the Erlandi Tap you’re going to quit the fine Talath hospitality of Farmer Yebecha and head back to Tovor where people can give you reasons to be gone again. Wait, new plan. A group of four just walked in, and you start to wonder if you could get a pool going if it’s the Half-Lugrok, either Murlog, or the fucking Blue Guy who freaking out the locals…


The road that connects Artha to the Bodlean Dales is long, bespeckled with farms, and largely civilized. Bibi has tales of past trips when she had to find a caravan with for fear of bandits and Lugrok, but that was years ago. The King and Senate have held to an agreement for some time that internal security from internal threats was worth maintaining taxation, though the rest of the aristocrats carry on as if they were paying in blood rather than gold.

Bodlea itself is new, which is itself exciting, you having never seen a swamp before. It took control to heed Bbii’s admonition not to stray from her side, let alone the path. Not even to investigate the lights at night. Especially not to investigate the lights at night. Days turned into weeks, but soon enough the walk was ended with your arrival in Gravesdale. “Food and drink first, our work comes in the morning.” Just as your order came in, the strangest group of people entered…

Revealing Each Star While The Moon Plays The Fool

As the Bodleans barflies stare openly, Kurimudal mindspeaks to the room as Bartholomew zips to Ravasz to shriek, “Hey! Nice hat!” The bulks of the newcomers flock to the Stroani’s table, Anieta watching until her Bibi tells her, “Ignore every rule. Join them.” Shocked at this new attitude from her grandmother, Atiena does not pass up the opportunity.

The party soon establishes that they need to go into the Bodlean swamps to find Malak, a not uncommon mold with basic herbal qualities. Further discussion reveals they need a particular cultivar, as well as Anieta’s need for some other herbs. The group agrees to travel together, and Bibi decides to remain in the Dale and conduct business while the rest of them travel. A local, Stiller Felvris, offers to give the group through the swamp. Ravasz sees value in a path that observes his religion’s stricture against being eaten, nor does the party dispute him.

The group agrees to set out at first light. The Bodlean hospitality industry proves to be very hospitable, but not even a little bit industrialized. Separately, the group find space in the barns and bedrooms of cranberry farmers. Ravasz finds warmer accommodation still in the attentions of Mareschen, one of the bolder daughters of the Dale.

How Can We Cherish Our Inner Demons

The first day was largely uneventful, though the evening camp was marred by a run-in with a small handful of Zombies. On the second day, though, 37 Orhan 1, Atiena’s training allowed her to notice subtle differences in a patch of Malak that turned out to be a sizable find. Further inspection revealed that the mold was growing on a Barrow, the door cracked open by the elements. The group’s initial reflex was to take what was on the outside and go, but deliberation soon led to the conclusion that there might not be enough of the mold to make enough cure. Ultimately, they decided it was worth the risk to enter the Barrow.

Inside, the Barrow was a shadow of its initial splendor. The swamp had entered in the form of roots and water. The water in turn must have carried in Malak spores that found hospitality on many tapestries that once hung about the place in honor of whomever was buried in the granite and marble sarcophagus in the room’s center. At the foot of that was a chest with a holy symbol of Zanar carved on it.

The group began harvesting as much Malak as they could carry. Mere minutes into the operation, though, a shadow rose from the grave and attacked faster than the could track! Ravasz, the two Murlog, and the guide seemed fixated on the being as it struck the swordsman and tried to lodge teeth into flesh. The party was fortunate in that the creature was affected by non-magical weapons (but not the Zanarian holy symbol). But it was Atiena who saved the day, laying on spell after spell to force the Unliving spirit into quiescence long enough to destroy it utterly.

The chest, smashed open during the fight, contained a gold-seeming holy symbol of Zanar that turned out to be painted iron, ancient Priestly Vestments, and a book in a language not recognized by any in the group. The party returned to their task, but astonishment from Felvris convinced them to open the sarcophagus and see if additional treasure lay within. No additional wealth was found, but there was a false bottom spotted, and under that a stairway leading down. The party decided this could wait for another day, for there was a city to save.

Returning to Gravesdale, Bibi told Atiena she had a choice: to return with her, or to go with the strangers. She asked her mentor to divine for it. The counsel of the bones was that stability lay in Artha, but possibility lay in Sel Kai. Atiena chose possibility. The party soon returned to the Lost Horison, which got back under weigh for Sel Kai.

The Games Still Go On With A Warning To The Bishop From The Pawn

En route, Thog presented Kurimudal and Captain Kleason with his plans for Zinvar. They agreed it was ambitious, and would require backing from major powers, such as the Merchant Baroness Dasai Marai-Tasaka, or as Thog likes to call her “Auntie.”

On returning to Sel-Kai, the party saw signs that the plague had begun to make itself known. There was less travel about, but enough of the city’s diverse population to form a sharp contrast with Tovor, Orian, or even Artha. Several lives had been claimed, as evidence by the heavy business the South Commons Clinic was providing the Sel Kai Undertakers. (Motto: “We Don’t Want To Know”).

The cure proved an effective treatment as well as inoculation. Ravasz discovered the Cold Barley Soup Kitchen and fit himself right in. This chapter in the party’s life concluded on 55 Orhan 1 at a dinner of one of the Kitchen’s private rooms. Over that dinner, the group regaled Ruven Keleneor with a full account of their doings, bringing the newcomers into their confidence regarding Zinvar.

There were also partings at this time. Emerald announced that this was far more excitement that any self-respecting Murlog would want in their life. It was also a bit much for Bartholomew. Henceforth, they would stay in the city and partake of Pokings Day at the clinic.


GM Report [Session 3]
Laws dissolve to reveal wonder
As they open up to pull me under
And I will put my terms to the test
To put the ghost to rest

- Delain, A Day for Ghosts


Ordyen, 25 Orhan 1, 6047

There are many deserts to be sampled in Sel Kai if one knows where to seek. Danbelar the candy maker says that some his most popular candies pair sweetness with bitterness. Kim, that Nuyani who cooks and bounces at the Cold Barley Soup Kitchen says that sweets are popularly paired with sour tastes in the rare moments he talks about the land of his youth. The rare Lankan delicacy sampled when refugees from that empire set up as desert merchants seem to match sweetness with more sweetness, and nobody seems to mind.

This first foray into adventuring seems to be like a Lankan desert at first. The more literate of the party has barely gotten enough sleep for the excitement of reading through the recovered texts of the Zinvarian medical library. The realization that you will have to get home by way of Bodlean swamps to collect a unique and necessary ingredient, though, seems more suited to a Lankan or Sel Kaian palate. And that not until the Lost Horizon returns. But surely Sherren will brook no change in plans on the part of that Captain.

In the meantime, there is a beach to get to, some days to get to it, and a city that did not quite die acts as both barrier and lure.

Once More Out of the Breach

After deliberation over breakfast, the party decides return to the beach, set up camp and then decide if it would be feasable to make a second foray into the city. Carefully retracing their steps to avoid whatever it was that killed the Lugroki warriors the party spotted another two Lugroki, one inspecting the bodies and the second sniffing the air. Detouring from their detour, the group found an intact cellar door adjacent to a wrecked building. Picking the weak and rusted lock, the party entered a basement in which two children had been secured during the fall of Zinvar, only to die when no one came to let them out afterwards. At the back of the room, a second door stood with a stronger lock. This one required main force to break through, opening an air-tight room in which three paintings and several art supplies were stored.

When the party emerged from the sad scene, they saw that the Lugroki had moved on, taking the bodies with them. Continuing on their way, they came back to the zombies they had trapped and incapacitated but not been able to kill, slowly recovering from the damage. Skirting around and still unable to finish them, the party came to an office they had previously passed by. From this angle, a floor safe was visible. Keeping to their discipline, they made a note to make it their first point of investigation in the morning.

At Thog’s request, the group stopped at the building in which they had taken shelter after the encounter with the spiderbats. Daring greatly, Thog rushed in, grabbed a hotel guest leger, and ran back out.

The group got back to the beach to find that the Lost Horizon had not yet returned. Making camp and securing the haul from the first foray, they set watches and rested.

You’re the Ocean that I Have to Drain

Maryen, 26 Orhan 1

On Emerald’s orders, Bartholomew threw a rock at it, creating a loud noise that disturbed a number of largish rats. An increasing number. An ever increasing number. Thog worked through his entire Essence supply bringing quite a few to sleep, yet the rats continued out. The group elected to retreat until they found the perimeter the rats would defend, and left it to them.

Choosing to keep to the periphery of the city, the party soon came upon an mostly intact home, of a size to suggest a wealthy former inhabitant. The family and servants, or rather their skeletal remains, fought to repel them, but the party prevailed, collecting a silver and emerald necklace from one. The upper floor revealed a study, in which was a desk, in which was a key that fit no locks in the house. The master bedroom held clothing, jewelry, and a wall safe in which were an assortment of documents including a set of correspondence that Uinder was able to determine are written in the Lysian dialect of Linaeri. Bartholomew and Emerald also found some wooden dolls in the a children’s bedroom irresistible.

Noticing that they were losing the day, the party returned to the beach, collecting herbs on the way, to find the Lost Horizon in the bay and a boat being loaded with their first flight of treasure. Boarding, the party became the first to land on Zinvar since it’s fall and live to think better of telling the tale.

Our secret’s safe for one more night

Safely bound for Bodlea, the party speaks with Captain Kleason about the treasures recovered. At Thog’s suggestion, Kurimudal emphasizes that the treasure to which the Captain is entitled a share will be worth more if they survive to sell it to buyers who understand its true worth. The Captain points out that if they sell certain of the treasures, it will give away the fact that Zinvar’s survivable, which will bring the murderhobos running. During the trip to Bodlea, the party begins to consider the haul and the safety of disposing it…

Collected Treasure

Safe to sell

Sel-kai coin: 24 Orlin, 15 Selin, 200 Gilbars, 55 Kaitaini Seldags – all minted a century ago
A pouch with 10 Black Opals, each 1 tal in size (unappraised)
A pouch with 5 diamonds (unappraised)
Silverware set (unappraised)
Silver and emerald necklace (unappraised)
Jewelry box, laquered wood (unappraised)
5 gold rings (unappraised)
10 pair earrings (unappraised)
3 bracelets (unappraised)
2 Rewk nodules (heal 2d10 when brewed and drank. Base value 9 Selin)
1 Kalfen root (restores damaged hearing. Base value 9 Orlin)
10 Prallin bark (analgesic, heals 1d0 when chewed. Base value 4 Selin)

Could Raise Eyebrows

108 Tills – Zinvari coin, might get away with it if you have a good story about where you found it.
Antique Namarian Pocket watch (unappraised)

Gives Away the Game, doesn’t it?

Surgical tools
Misc. medical tools & oils
50 medical texts (Scrolls, books, etc.)
4 pigment jars
5 bottles of Zinvari wine
2 finished and 1 unfinished paintings
Bank pass for Granite Bank
Deed to Velaj Turvel’s home in Zinvar
Correspondance written in Lysian Iylari
Hotel guest ledger


Key from home of Velaj Turvel

THOG LOG (Session 2).

ZInvar is never going to be a popular tourist destination.
No, wait, I take that back. I can see an excellent opportunity for Extreme Weight Loss tours. I probably lost half a stone in the last three days. Granted, a lot of that was blood loss, and some of the rest was… well… let’s just say the Extreme Weight Loss tours would have to stock lots of spare pants.
But, let’s take things in order.

The official Zinvar Welcoming Committee popped up shortly after we disembarked. I had previously only seen things like the Welcoming Committee in my nightmares after a full belly of Jonnar’s Special Stew. The Murlogi identified the Welcoming Committee as demons. This only reinforces my suspicions about the Special Stew. We dispatched the Welcoming Committee with dispatch, spent the night on the beach, and moved into the city in the morning.

The buildings in Zinvar are surprisingly well-preserved, what with the city being abandoned for a hundred years. The streets are littered with old corpses. We did not have enough time for a thorough physical examination, but it looked like the inhabitants for the most part attacked each other. The city tore itself apart from the inside… the demons, zombies, and spider-bats only moved in later.
Zombies weren’t a problem — we ran into a pair and dropped a statue on them. I believe that the statue was of Randae Terisonen — the nose is fairly distinctive — but the weathering made it hard to obtain a definitive identification.
The spider-bats were more of a problem. That is, I am told they were a problem, since I never actually saw a spider-bat — just a flash of movement and the pavement rushing up towards my face. As a side note, my nose temporarily rivals Randae Terisonen’s in size.

The spider-bats (so I am told) almost did for us. The only ones left standing were Uinder and the two Murlogi. They dragged us into a building to fort up and recuperate, at which point Bartholomew went temporarily mad, shanked Emerald, and had to be restrained. (Yes, a boy Murlog attacked a girl Murlog. Yes, really. Zinvar’s that kind of place.)

Once we woke up — and thank your deity-of-choice for Uinder, because without the Danarchan we would all have been dead — we figured out that Bartholomew going mad was due to a spell/curse on the building. (Note to self — if I can get away with it on the way back, take another look at how that spell is anchored.) Bringing us into the building may have triggered it. Taking Bartholomew out of the building allowed him to recover from thinking we were all out to steal his stuff.

The building was also the first place we saw non-ancient corpses: apparently, a group of looters. Not clear whether something else killed them and dragged them in, or if they came in and fell prey to the curse.

The next two days were more of the same: sneaking around between ruined buildings, avoiding any sort of movement, backtracking, going around. Interestingly, the three buildings where we saw movement were all shops of some kind. More on what that may possibly mean later.
We were ambushed by feral humans, then again by demons; encountered evidence of a Lugrok looting party slaughtered by demons, and gave that area a wide berth; and eventually arrived at the hospital. So far there seems to be nothing inimical at the hospital, but the inscriptions are deeply weird.

In the emergency ward, scribbled in blood:
“It’s his face in the mirror
Shunned by his unhallowed blood
Leaves me never to love never to feel anything”

In the stairwell, written in chalk over and over:
“We had so much time to understand”

In the library, etched into the side of the card catalog:
“While a million creatures
See their soil turning to dust
Hrimata Eleison”
- Telpar den Skeldrate, scholar of Linsdell University, Scribe to the Nameless One.

“Hrimata Eleison” means “money have mercy” in Enris-Sokal. At first I thought it meaningless. Upon reflection I find it to have two meanings, both disturbingly ironic.
First of all, wealth has no mercy, the two concepts are almost antithetical. Secondly, “Eleison” is most often used in the context of prayer: is the writing referring to worship of money?

Uinder and Kurimudal have located the research we need. It uses a plant cultivar that was — 100 years ago — only found in one place in Bodlea. Seems we’ll be making a stop on the way home. We’re hunkered down for the night before the trip back to shore. So I’m sitting here — warming my hands on the fire that the Murlog have built with priceless ancient manuscripts — and thinking.

The building with the spell was an inn — and an inn near the town entrance, which means it catered to wealthy clientele. (The hospital, the only other building we entered, did not have a spell on it.) The spell made Bartholomew attack us because he thought we coveted his wealth. We saw movement — someone watching us — from within three buildings. All three were shops, aka repositories of wealth. And then there is that line about “Hrimata Eleison”, and its dual meanings.

The tentative conclusion is that wealth, or more precisely greed and love of wealth, played some part in the downfall of Zinvar. Not quite certain what the implications are for us at present, except for one, which I will have to mention to the others in the morning. It may be a bad idea to feel greed in this place, and an even worse one to act on it.

I don’t think that extends to a greed for knowledge, though: unlike wealth, knowledge acquisition isn’t a zero-sum game. But this is all wild supposition anyway.

Deceitful friend of mine
Lift the veil and reveal all this time

- Phantasma, Let It Die

Cut scene

Buryen, 12 Orhan 1, 6047 TE

Well outside the city, the fires rose, consuming the body.

“Thanks for the use of your land, and your discretion,” Ruven said to his colleague. “For a moment, I thought this would be the moment word got out and panic began.”

“Ruven, you have to alert the authorities. How many patients do you have now?”

“Only two more. A dock worker and a fruitmonger. I’m trying to find out if there was some sort of taint amongst a shipment of apples.”

Deep within the woods surrounding the place, brows furrowed. “Fuck,” thought their owner.


Buryen, 22 Orhan 1, 6047 TE

The Lost Horizon put out on the evening tide, leaving you with as many supplies as they dared. Their plan is to put into Port of Izar, resupply, and return as quickly as possible, perhaps a week, perhaps two depending on tide and storm. As they grow more distant, perhaps you reflect that you did not hire them for their reliability, but their desperation. Hopefully, the Rhiani woman who has remained among them will both keep them and their resuppliers honest. In any case, the die is cast.

You stand upon a beach, the sun has gone down. Old roads are overgrown but discernible, the ruin of Zinvar rising amidst encroaching greenery. Should a forest have reclaimed more, or does some power hold the trees at bay?

The Zinvar Tourism Board

Such thoughts were quickly back-burnered with the observations of two forms moving in the underbrush. As they came forward, the two Murlogi had memories of warnings from their Mothers about such things, Demons of the Void. The party was able to dispatch them with little difficulty, though, and the party was able to sleep through the night.

Usivyen, 23 Orhan 1, 6047 TE

After a quick breakfast, the party headed from the beach to the remnant of the city proper. The party decided quickly to bypass buildings and the wealth that might be contained therein until they found the library, leaving for later the question of looting as a way of killing time until the return of the Lost Horizon.

Some Zombies were clearly offended at the loss of an immediate opportunity to provide hospitality, and they came out to register their dissatisfaction. Thog and Kurimudal instantly leapt to a damaged statue and prepared to push it while the Murlogi posed as bait before the statue in a plan worthy of Uncle Erasmus. Fortune was with the team, though, and neither Zombie “survived” having the structure collapsed upon them. Even better, they got out of the way in time.

That shit flies, yo.

The party continued its way in, only to be rushed by what Bartholomew described as “Medium sized spiders… only they fly.” That mobility very nearly proved disasterous for Sel Kai, though, as Thog, Kurimudal, quickly succumbed to their venomous bites. The Murlogi were able to drag them into a building, and Uinder was able to stabilize them while continuing to marvel at the interplay between Bartholomew and Emerald.

Things turned darker, though, when Bartholomew began to suspect that Emerald and Uinder had designs on his hat. Emerald tried to talk him down, but blows were struck before Uinder was able to incapacitate him with a sleep-poison covered dart.

Uinder and Emerald then had a quiet evening, perhaps their first, while Uinder tended his patients and Emerald found an assortment of coins and a pouch with 10 black opals.

Melyen, 24 Orhan 1, 6047 TE

Morning saw the party recovered. Except for Bartholomew, now bound, who was still suspicious of the party. Thog suspected enchantment and urged the party to leave the building, shortly after which Bartholomew came to his senses. Thog made a note to examine this building later, while Bartholomew threw the hat from his head in shame at having suspected ill of, let alone actually struck, a woman.

As the party continued its way, as signaled by Thog’s map, they were swept by five more of the strange, even weak, Demons of the Void. The party triumphed, but not before Bartholomew took a wound to the muscle and cartilage of his left arm.

The party grew nearer to the hospital and came across fresh corpses! Lugroki! Thog noted that their markings indicated their fellows regarded their martial prowess significant, yet here they lay thoroughly dispatched. The party chose an alternate route forward.

The detour brought them to the remains of a villa, out of which 8 humans barely above the demons and zombies encountered attacked. Three were dispatched very quickly, and the others fled.

[See Thog’s account for what transpired at the library]

The party has collected the following treasure:

  • Pouch with 10 Black opals, 1 tal in size. (Not assessed)
  • 108 Bronze Tills (Zinvari coin)
  • 4 Orlin (Sel-Kai coin)
  • 15 Selini (Sel-Kai coin)
  • 200 Gilbars (Sel-Kai coin)
  • 55 Silver Seldags (Kaitain coin)
  • Surgical tool set (Not assessed)
  • Misc medical tools and oils (Not assessed)
  • Assorted books: Herbals, “recent” unpublished documents (Not assessed)

Orhyan, 25 Orhan 1 6047 TE Twenty two days have passed since patient zero was identified.

GM Report: Session 1
And this judgment day is drawing near
And this confession is killing me again

– In This Moment, Beautiful Tragedy

Usivyen (Water Day) 3 Orhan 1, 6047 TE

Blood Roses


The man said there was a pea under one of the shells. And there was when he showed them to you. He was even pretty good at fetching it away before inviting you to select one. Had this fool never heard of a Rhiani? He learned, briefly, before realizing that want of a larynx was extremely inconvenient. You hadn’t reckoned on his associate, though. He joined his compatriot in a journey to ambient temperature, though he injured you in the process. Luckily, there’s a Lay Healer nearby whose rates are reasonable for the skill they display.


Usivyen. You never could get the hang of Usivyens. Maybe that’s why you pulled the floater out of Black Heron Canal. You thought you saw him move, but usually that’s a bad sign – they say something can actually live in that soup they call canal water, and that it gets hungry. But pull him up you did. And he looked bad even for a floater. Something about his cough set your hair on edge. Your reflex was to unload him on Kurimudal and Ruven at the South Commons Clinic. They’re about the only folk who’ll fix someone up and then ask how they can pay, and damn sure it’s not coming out of your purse.

Kurimudal & Uinder

It’s the 3rd day of the New Year, your hangover has almost faded and that’s more than you can say for half the patients you’ve seen so far this year.

Today is different, though: Ruven has called you into a private space away from your patients, and nothing is happening to warrant that privacy. Closing the door, Ruven lowers his voice. “We’re about to have a problem if we don’t do something. Thog brought someone in this morning. At first glance, it looked like Canal poison, another floater he fished out for some reason. But I looked closer. Fellow had the start of blood roses in his armpits. It’s a sign of incipient Kadaena’s Revenge, and that’s a city killer. If one has signs, in a week or a month three will. I know a cure, but it involves ingredients we can’t afford in the amounts we’ll need. But if we move fast enough… When I was a student, I read about a Lay Healer name of Tulgendiril who had a preventative that involved a much less expensive preparation, so more to go around. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he was a senior Lay Healer at Zinvar Ducal Hospital, and that’s where his notes and ingredients will be. It’s not in Nomikos, I looked for it years ago.” From just outside the door, a gasp of “Oh, noes” comes clearly and distinctly.

Emerald and Bartholomew

Well, it’s pokings day again. You’ve gotten the hang of pokings day: The nice healers stab you and swab you just like they do every week. Then they write. Sometimes they frown. Sometimes they say “Huh.” You’re not sure which is worse. Today is different. They just got up and walked out of the room. They never do that. Emerald gives Bartholomew a glance, and he moves to the door they just closed because maybe they’re doing something interesting. After listening for a moment, he exclaims, “Oh, noes!” the door opens, the healers peering out at him in consternation.

Ruven sends the group to the Prince Chanik to find a captain desperate enough for this. He will stay behind to keep the doors open and gather early patients to avoid a panic.

Panic! At the Chanik

Thog skiffed the group to the bar Ruven recommended, the Prince Chanik. Sherren and Uinder tried to glide cool, but Bartholomew went directly to Captain Kleason of the Lost Horizon with an urgent need to declaim his patched (in shades that don’t match) red outfit. Emerald was able to diffuse the situation by taking Bartholomew out of the bar and showing him sailcloth. Meanwhile, when Uinder revealed the party is going to Zinvar all the sailors edged away from them and badtender wished the luck finding a captain that desperate.

Uinder, Kurimudal, and Sherren engaged the Captain, who after some discussion agreed to bear them to Zinvar that very night in exchange for a share of any treasures recovered from the place. Thog went to Byron’s Bicycles (what in the Six Pales is a bicycle?), and was able to secure a map. (Maybe a bicycle is a kind of map?) The group presented themselves at the Lost Horizon in time for the evening tide, and made way.

Not Exactly Sailors on the Seas of Fate

One day out, they spotted a Lankan slaver, but were able to outrun it. The second day found them aiding a downed Skyship whose pilot had been poisoned. Kurimudal and Uinder managed to come up with an antidote in time to prevent the poison from running it’s full course. A grateful Captain Ansus gave his name to Kurimudal and offered to sponsor him should he stand for admission to the Guild of Skysailors. The ship also gave the Lost Horizon 3 weeks worth of supplies, and the Captain’s spare hat to Bartholomew.

Several days later, the Xooban pirate ship Cry Sun spotted them and began chasing – and from this angle it seemed likely they’d engage. Worse, one of the deck hands had a personal issue with the enemy Captain over which there’d been a price placed on his head — surrender or terms would necessarily go poorly for him. Uinder and the Horizon’s crew was able to buy time through clever sailing, though it was inevitable that they’d come into missile range. Once that happened, Uinder was able to poison the enemy pilot with a very well placed shot and Thog – shocking everyone – put the enemy Captain to sleep with some sort of Essence spell! Between these, the Horizon was able to escape.

The additional supplies allowed them to avoid making port in Artha, though this proved little help because Essence-driven weather utterly becalmed them for a day before kicking up as a storm that propelled them far faster than any water-going vessel should be able to. When the storm ended, the ship was in sight of Zinvar, with some of the crew muttering about portals and many thanks being given to Neela despite the ruined sails and fouled lines. As repairs began, sacrificing most of Bartholomew’s beloved sailcloth, Seagulls(?!?) attacked from Zinvar’s shores, again only causing minor damage before being driven off -though Bartholomew lost his hat for a time and had some difficulty recovering it.

The Captain put the party ashore, assuring them that they would finish repairs and make for Port of Izar, expecting to return in a week’s time.

It is now Buryen, 22 Orhan 1, 6047 TE Nineteen days have passed since patient zero was identified.

Our Story so far
Starting status

The Party knows one another, loosely speaking.

Kurimudal is a junior partner at South Commons Clinic, where Uinder Darogan also works as a physicker. The senior partner is Ruven Keleneor.

Bartholomew T. Murlog is an occasional patient at the clinic, receiving treatment at a discount from the staff in exchange for being a research subject, Murlogi patients being a rarity to say the least.

THOG knows Bartholomew T. Murlog and Emerald T. Murlog loosely because they travel in similar circles in the Canal Maze.


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