Nehwon

Lankhmar, cold-claw'd, third session
Winter heroes converge on Khahkht!

Day of the Parrot (11th), Seed Moon, Year of the Burning Mountain

Shivering Shore-leave for the Shark

dockside.pngChristian of the High Passes and Cunelas stepped off the Shark to an unexpectedly chilly, desolate Lankhmar oppressed by a sorcerous winter. The first thing they saw was white-robed Aranduil chatting to skittish seagulls.

Drinks at the Double-Dome

Aranduil invited the seafarers to the nearby Double Dome, in the Street of the Thinkers. At least it was warm. Cunelas was impressed with Aranduil’s past performance on the stage. Ockasiola and Yucta arrived and they discussed the situation. Christian and Cunelas agreed to help out with the city’s persistent ice-sorcerer problem.

The Astrologer’s Agonizing Arboreation

They walked down empty Silver Street towards the Park of Pleasure, seeking the astrologer Droov. When they arrived at his third-floor tenement they found it ransacked. On the roof was Droov’s corpse, grotesquely pierced by a five-foot pine-like tree of unknown origin. It looked like the tree had grown up through the astrologer’s body. The tree was growing in an oily, ill-smelling dirt.

Droov’s neighbour had seen two hooded figures and pulsating colours, and heard sounds of struggle.

Gardener’s Guidance to Gallows Ground

The strange pine seemed vaguely familiar to Yucta, but Aranduil knew of a retired gardener of the Overlord who might know more. Kalla Green-Tresses was mournfully tending her roof garden when they arrived. She identified the tree as an avak pine, which grows only in darkness in the frozen north. She thought the ill-smelling soil was gallows ground, a sorcerous fertiliser, and suggested Borlu of the Plaza of Dark Delights as the merchant.

Borlu wasn’t hard to find. He sold expensive night-flowers to Yucta and told them he had sold a cartload of gallows ground to a number of small pale-eyed fellows — Ice Gnomes! — who took it away in a gaudy cart. Cunelas recognised the cart description as like those used in Lankhmar’s festivals, and stored away at the end of Festival Street.

Furtive Fight at the Frigid Festival Facade

Aranduil squatted in an alleyway, talking to the rats. They told him of a building nearby with pulsating colours. As they approached the warehouse, a snowstorm engulfed the city.

The warehouse was an ugly clump of three buildings with a water tower on top. They opened up a set of barn doors to reveal the gaudy wagon and a couple of ponies. Ockasiola found traces of gallows ground in the cart. This was the place! Christian thought flame might cure Lankhmar of this problem, but his torches spluttered and went out. Sorcery!

They proceeded upstairs cautiously. Ockasiola kicked open a door to reveal four Ice Gnomes trying on bits of actors’ costumes. Those gnomes were not long for the world. The adventurers continued upstairs to a dilapidated room with an old statue. They found a few bags of gallows ground and 12 avak pine seeds in a box. Aranduil carefully separated the seeds from the gallows ground. He climbed the next set of stairs, which ended at a door. Pulsing red green and yellow light was visible through the cracks, and he heard soft whispers.

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Lankhmar, ice-cursed, second session

Day of the Hornet (10th), Seed Moon, Year of the Burning Mountain

The Great Library

Dressed in furs they made their way to the Great Library. Starving scribes in filthy grey robes surrounded them, waving their purple-sealed scrolls of office, jostling to offer their research skills. When Yucta announced the topic however — the sorcerer Anothep-Soth — most of the crowd melted away. One scholar remained who pocketed his fee and led them past the well-fed Head Librarian, through the dilapidated stacks to a small cold room. While the scribe pored over old documents, Ockasiola grew bored; he and Yucta found another scribe to teach them the fundamentals of reading Low Lankhmarese.

The scribe’s findings

  • Anothep-Soth belonged to an order of wizards called the Li’Tan.
  • The Li’Tan sought to move freely between Nehwon, the Dreamlands and the land of Death
  • The order had been destroyed long ago

The scribe also mentioned a link to the Dreamlands available right in the Library, “for those who know the way.”

Beyond the Blue Room

In exchange for a rilk, the scribe unlocked the Blue Room: a small cold room lined with tattered blue tapestries containing a divan and an unlit brazier. Yucta and Aranduil knew of herbs which could free one’s consciousness; Yucta had some with him. He burned some on the brazier, filling the room with sweet smoke.

Yucta, Aranduil and Ockasiola found themselves walking down steep stairs to the Cavern of Flame; each entered alone to confront the Two Priests. Aranduil was tempted by a tunnel which led upward from which he heard the keening of the 13 perfect eagles; but he chose another way and found himself in the Great Library of the Dreamlands — a library within a library.

The reading dome

Beneath the great coloured dome, this library was in much better condition than its sibling in Lankhmar. Yucta asked a scribe more questions about the Li’Tan.

  • Anothep-Soth had visited the Dreamlands on many occasions
  • He had evacuated the people of Olathoe to avoid their massacre by the Inutos, maybe ancestors of the Mingols
  • The Inutos were led at that time by the Sorcerer Khaakht (the scribe did not want to utter the name), an evil being whose tools were ice and snow
  • Khaakht travelled the worlds in a mysterious globe
  • He was associated with Mingols and Spiders of Leng
  • Anothep-Soth was a sorcerer and his skull was a focus of power even after his death

Freedom of the skies

Aranduil craved the fresh air. He made his way outside and leapt into the air, transforming into an eagle. He could sense the 13 perfect eagles soaring with him. He flew for many miles over sea and land, and perched for the night in a tall tree.

The Sorcerers’ Guild

They woke, stiff and cold in the tatty Blue Room in the bowels of the Great Library of Lankhmar. The scribe awoke too, and urged them to visit the astrologer Droov (also his brother-in-law) who worked near the Park of Pleasure. Evening had descended; barely different from the dim light of day under the perpetual clouds. Yucta and Ockasiola investigated a strange reflected light in the sky and came across the pyramidal Sorcerer’s Guild, wreathed in blue-green fire and surrounded in a ring by shuffling Lankhmarts. Yucta didn’t trust sorcerers with the knowledge of Khaakht or the skull of Anothep-Soth. They turned away from the unnatural fiery tower.

Wisdom of the birds

Aranduil sought a different wisdom. He made his way to the windy docks. There he used his power to speak with some seagulls. They confirmed that they had seen a sphere “Fear!” descend from the sky to the southern part of the city, but they were too afraid of it to show where exactly. Icy Khaakht was here in Lankhmar!

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Lankhmar, black-iced, first session

Day of the Frog (9th), Seed Moon, Year of the Burning Mountain

The long winter

An unusually cold winter batters the City of Sevenscore Thousand Smokes. Leaden clouds have hung over the city for months, bring perpetual gloom. It is Seed Moon, the second month of Spring but the chill and gloom has only intensified. The prices of food, wood and furs have skyrocketed. The merchants of the north have profited, but many Lankhmarts are starving and cold.

Yucta, self-exiled

Yucta got into trouble with Basharat the church extortioner, who managed to get him convicted of some religious crime. Yucta managed to avoid prison in exchange for one of his gems. He got work with an ambassador from Jurate, a settlement near Klesh. His work caused him to clash with a historian and later a major noble of Lankhmar. This misunderstanding was of such magnitude that Yucta was forced to self-exile outside of the city to avoid jail or forfeiture of assets.

Aranduil, Protector of the Park of Pleasure

The Park of Pleasure is threatened by those who would chop down the trees for firewood during the cold extended winter. Aranduil has opposed this, with the help of a steadfast Woods Girl who has become his servant/apprentice, and a Cold Waste barbarian called Ubar Redpatch. The three have kept watch over the park. Two weeks ago they fended off a major attack on the park by looters. But Aranduil attracted the ire of the powerful Lumber Merchants’ Guild, who tried to have him convicted of unlawful brawling.

Ockasiola, winter Adventurer

Ockasiola the Zebran has taken on various jobs; for a gambler, a torturer and a linguist. He’s undertaken two dangerous missions, one of which cost the life of a barbarian friend. A month ago he had a prophetic dream about approaching a house in the city surrounded by trees. He declined a proposal of marriage. Finally the icy weather got to him and he was sick with a racking cough alone in the house on Silver Street for two weeks.

Of Priests and Pumpkins

The storm bird

Yucta was awakened in his humpy outside of Lankhmar by a dream of Tech-na-Chuk-Chuk-Wakae-Hazar and the sudden arrival of a large grey-feathered bird in his tent, along with a blast of freezing air. It turned its head and he saw its empty eyesocket and skull visible. He shooed it out.

A quixotry of priests

Ockasiola the Zebran was also woken by a banging on the door of the house on Silver Street. A strange collection of priests awaited him.

  • A bald Priestess of the Rat God
  • 2 Priests of Votishal the Silent
  • Priest of Mog the Spider God with his elaborate headwear
  • Priest of Storm Bull
  • Priest of Aarth with acolytes in attendance
    They wished for Yucta to remove the wintry curse from Lankhmar. A little reluctantly they each placed a bag of coins on he table and left.

Twitching for Yucta

Twitching :: the pursuit of a previously located rare bird

Ockasiola sought out Aranduil in the Park of Pleasure. He was there with his new companions. Ockasiola persuaded him to seek Yucta and to end the threat to the gardens. In fact Aranduil had spied Yucta’s humpy when in eagle form above the piled dark clouds above Lankhmar. They set out from End Gate into the fields.

Skull-in-a-box

They found Yucta inhaling some powerful herbs which both kept him warm and allowed time to pass quickly. Aranduil interrogated the shaman about the bird he had seen: a Northern Storm Petrel. Yucta realised the bird had landed on the box containing the sorcerer’s skull, and he believed there might be a connection between the skull and the creepy weather.

To Lankhmar, by pumpkin

Yucta was in exile; he was still wanted in Lankhmar. His Kleshite looks could not be disguised. They found a pumpkin merchant on the road and paid him to smuggle Yucta into the city among his pumpkins. It was a bumpy and uncomfortable ride but without incident. Ockasiola, who had gone on ahead, met Yucta at the market square.

Runes and plans in the house on Silver Street

Cradling a pumpkin under his arm, Yucta returned with Ockasiola and Aranduil to his house on Silver Street. While he cooked up some spicy pumpkin soup, Aranduil transcribed the runes on the Skull of Anothep-Soth. The Great Library of Lankhmar might have some answers; they would seek them tomorrow.

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Violence for Votishal, second session

Night of the Mouse (19th), Lovers’ Moon, Year of the Burning Mountain

Midnight in the chapel of Votishal

The Eagle Has Landed

Aranduil of Waylorn circled disconsolately in eagle form through the smoggy skies of Lankhmar. He spied his associates Yucta Axotylata and Ockasiola the Zebran creeping towards the gaudy Temple of Votishal in the dusk. He observed them climb in through the upper window. Presently two dark clad figures emerged from the roof — but they weren’t his friends! They jumped onto neighbouring roofs and headed towards the docks. Aranduil landed on the roof to investigate.

Killer ghost

Aranduil, Yucta and Ockasiola were reunited upstairs in the temple. They found a dead priest with a note about a bronze skeleton somewhere in the sewers. They explored downstairs. They found a chapel tended by an angry ghost with a necklace of severed toes and a flaming sword. Yucta and Ockasiola aimed some blows at the thing but their weapons passed straight through. Aranduil managed to grab a vial of oil from the altar but got blasted by a black weakening miasma from the ghost which robbed him of his voice.

Yucta and Aranduil recognised the oil as one which might have special properties to harm ghosts. They coated their weapons and charged back to confront the ghost. This time, it seemed to work; after a few heavy blows the ghost vanished, leaving its gruesome necklace behind. The chapel was dominated by a huge spine topped with a bejeweled skull. Ockasiola was tempted to destroy it, but when purple beams lanced out of its eyes, Yucta dragged him out of the room

Downstairs were more corpses. Each had burns and sword wounds and a missing big toe. It seemed the killer was the ghost. One of the dead priests had a pair of bronze skeletal feet under his bed, which Yucta picked up. Aranduil calmed and fed the grey jaguar (called Otaz) and they pondered the well outside.

The sewers, again

Climbing down the rope from the well, they arrived at a pool chamber. Stairs led into the catacombs Ockasiola had explored earlier. Delving into the tunnels eventually led them to the sewers.

The rat bargain

A swarm of rats surrounded them. A giant rat walking on two legs shot crossbow bolt with a message ‘Bring us the toes’. A life-size rat-woman grew in front of them. She offered shrinking and growing potions in exchange for the toes of the recently murdered. Yucta declined the offer.

Crypt of the ghost

Near the rat embassy was a secret passage to a mass grave pit surrounded by narrow walkways. In the centre of the pit, accessible by equally small bridges was an open coffin. The ghost appeared, with its flaming sword. Ockasiola and Aranduil approached it from either side. Yucta tried, but the bridge at his feet fell apart, forcing him to jump back. With their specially oiled weapons, Ockasiola and Aranduil smashed the ghost, causing it to billow like smoke into the bronzed skeleton in the coffin. Yucta touched the skeleton feet to the rest and they fused together, trapping the spirit in its body. The killer had been put to rest.

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Violence for Votishal, first session

Day of the Mouse (19th), Lovers’ Moon, Year of the Burning Mountain

Plea from the Silent Priests

Time passed in Lankhmar. Yucta bought a small but well-appointed house on Silver Street. Kee-Ree Nigh Ran-ax departed, still hunting his demons. Blundar Oddly sought to banish his own demons in the Tenderloin district, night after night. One of these evenings (the Butterfly) Yucta was approached in the Plaza of Dark Delights by a silent, gagged priest of Votishal. The priest handed Yucta a note, requesting his presence at midday at the temple.

Sun zenith at the Temple of Votishal

Ockasiola and Yucta went to the temple at midday as requested. The temple was far up in the most excellent part of the Street of the Gods, indeed almost at the top. A restless crowd had gathered because the temple had been closed for days now. When the door opened at noon, Yucta and Ockasiola spotted a gang of toughs fixing to cause trouble. Yucta killed one and Ockasiola punched two more, sending them sprawling. The last one admitted they had been sent by Basharat, the local religious extortionist (or ‘provider of earthly insurance against divine calamities’ as he would put it).

The high priest of Votishal beckoned to the two. He removed his gag, turned over a sand-timer, and spoke quickly. The former high priest had been murdered by Basharat, and five more priests had been mysteriously murdered; one per night for five nights. The Votishites needed Yucta and Ockasiola to break in to the temple and find the murderer. Why break in? asked Yucta. Because the Votishites were a paranoid bunch

The hours till dusk

Ockasiola explored the sewers beneath the temple. He found a catacomb, a corpse and a space beneath the temple, but no way up. In the house on Silver Street, Yucta brewed a ‘spider oil’ which would allow people to climb vertical surfaces.

Nightfall on the Street of the Gods

As dusk fell on Lankhmar, Yucta and Ockasiola approached the temple. They found a side garden, but noticed before entering that it contained a hungry Grey Kleshite Jaguar. They climbed the wall to a second-storey window using Yucta’s spider oil.

They found themselves in a dormitory. Exploring the upper level they disturbed some bottles, which had been set as an alert by two Guild (?) thieves. There was a stand-off, but Yucta persuaded the thieves to depart without bloodshed. Later he wondered how they could be Guild-affiliated if one was a woman.

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High Priest of the Ape Cult

Day of the Hare (1st) Black Witches’ Moon, Year of the Titan

The secret room

Exploring the temple in search of the High Priest, the adventurers discovered his secret inner sanctum and a trapped chest filled with temple silver. But no Sog-Sodhi.

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A Conflagration of Adepts

While inside the priests room they heard shouts and noises. Following their ears they returned to the dining room where the Adepts of the Yellow Mountain had almost killed Ockasiola. More adepts were there, but Yucta dealt with them with Fire Powder. Flaming priests fell hither and yon.

Sog-Sodhi

The adventurers returned to the main temple. Ockasiola and the others pulled the huge jade statue of the Ape God to the ground with a crash. Behind was a secret door, a corridor and another secret room — with Sog-Sodhi and his enormous bodyguards, turbaned and armed with double-handed scimitars! Sog-Sodhi cast a wracking spell on Ockasiola, who was first through the door. But the adventurers were undeterred; they charged the high priest and his brutes and overwhelmed them after a sharp battle. The ape-cult had been defeated.

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Adepts of the Ape Cult

Day of the Hare (1st), Black Witches’ Moon, Year of the Titan

The Temple Steps

After dealing with the guards outside, they swaggered up the temple steps and flung open the doors. Greenish fumes wafted out from huge braziers within, where could be seen the indistinct forms of robed priests. Ockasiola loosed a few arrows and the figures scattered. Yucta sniffed the air and recognised the narcotic smell of a potent hallucinogen. He nevertheless charged inside. Immediately he felt light-headed and strange. Odd shadows loomed up at him in the murk. Kee-Ree helped him back to the fresh air.

Let’s split up!

Ockasiola set off at a jog around the south side of the temple. After making sure Yucta was conscious, Blundar followed him. Aranduil and Dorf headed back to the guardroom on the north side. When Yucta recovered from the poison only Kee-Ree was visible; they ran after Dorf and Aranduil.

North: wild baboons

Entering the northern rear guardroom, Aranduil heard a ruckus through one of the archways. He and Dorf piled up furniture against the door to prevent enemy entrance. They located a concealed door nearby and were immediately attacked by a mob of crazed apes in the corridor beyond! An ape bit Dorf in the groin and he fell back.

South: Adepts of the Yellow Mountain

Ockasiola strode into the temple dining room. The far door opened and eight yellow-robed Adepts of the Yellow Mountain entered. They immediately charged the Zebran warrior, who jumped up on the long dining table. Despite his broadsword, the adepts soon surrounded and grappled Ockasiola. They were disturbingly strong. One broke his finger and started to strangle him. He was close to death when Blundar arrived in the doorway with his arquebus ready. One adept fell writhing, but the others mobbed Blundar just as they had Ockasiola.

Reinforcements

At last Yucta and Kee-Ree arrived at the guardrooms. Kee-Ree danced north to help Aranduil, slicing the rabid apes left and right. Yucta charged to help Blundar and Ockasiola. He almost suffered the same fate as them; several surrounded him and grabbed him with their Fists of the Ape. But Yucta was almost as strong as them, and he broke free of their grasp. He sent some to their doom with his mace, and then Blundar escaped and rejoined the fight. They were wounded and shaken but victorious.

The baboons and the Adepts of the Yellow Mountain lay dead. But there was the sound of more of them to the north, behind the blocked door. And where was the High Priest, Sog-Sodhi?

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Guardians of the Ape Cult

Day of the Hare (1st), Black Witches’ Moon, Year of the Titan

Prisoners of the Ape Cult

One of the prisoners of the Ape Cult was braver than the others. He was a sailor named Dorf who had been shanghaied by the cultists. Ockasiola welcomed him to the fight against the Ape Cult, and urged the other prisoners to pay their respects to Storm Bull.

Aranduil led the other prisoners through the sewers to the entrance, where he released them.

A merciful kindness

The savage ape of the cultists had been driven mad by cruelty. Aranduil used his powers to put it to sleep, and then he ended its sad life.

After some further investigation they found Dorf’s confiscated gear. A cultist came down the stairs to investigate, but Blundar shot and killed him. The group climbed the stairs.

Guards of the Upper Level

Late afternoon sunshine streamed through high windows. They found themselves near twin guard rooms, where off-duty guards gambled. The adventurers attacked them, causing them to flee outside. Ockasiola pursued them into a walled compound around the hidden temple. More guards from the gate ran to intercept — this time armed and armoured. Ockasiola fought them, and his friends caught up to help. Aranduil meanwhile (somewhat disgusted by the violence), circled above in eagle form, observing the melee below.

The guards were no match for the adventurers, though Dorf took a nasty wound in the side. Blundar and Dorf stabbed several through the heart, and Kee-Ree and Ockasiola’s arrows finished off the ones at the gate. One guard surrendered but Ockasiola killed him in anger when he admitted to worshipping the Ape God.

A silence descended on the bloody courtyard and the adventurers mounted the wide steps of the Temple of the Ape God.

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Against the Ape Cult

Day of the Hare (1st), Black Witches’ Moon, Year of the Titan

A mission for Storm Bull

Ockasiola convinced the other members of his party to fight the ape cultists. They made their way to the temple of Storm Bull, and from there to the sewer entrance, guided by a young initiate (formerly a street urchin) called Kregen

The ape cult temple – lower level

Blundar spotted a secret entrance just near the main one, and Aranduil showed a surprising ability to pick the lock. Kee-Ree crept down the quiet corridor, lit by smokeless torches dipped in a glowing green substance.

Poisoned doors

Kee-ree entered a chamber with four doors. His armour saved him from death as two poisoned darts shot out at him.

The ape lair

Through one of the doors a giant ape roared behind bars. Though he could speak with animals, Aranduil could see that this one would not be reasoned with.

The chambers of the Strangler

They continued to explore and found bedchambers, a laboratory, and stairs upwards. Yucta picked up some Fire Dust. Along one corridor were prison rooms, filled with ordinary Lankhmarts. ‘Help us,’ they implored. Ockasiola was determined to do so!

The Inner Sanctum

The Strangler and several of his white-robed cultists were performing a ceremony. They were fanatics and leaped to attack. Yucta flung his Fire Dust and several were consumed with flames. Aranduil swooped on the Strangler in eagle form. Kee-ree, Ockasiola, Blundar took care of the rest. Ockasiola toppled the ape-idol and released the prisoners with the Strangler’s keys.

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The Stars Are Right

Night of the Beaver (29th) and Day of the Crab (30th), Harvest Moon, Year of the Titan

Stars and Sky

Ockasiola followed Jengo’s man Reynold at midnight through the Park of Pleasure to the tower of an astrologer. Nesting in the park, Aranduil returned to human form after communing with the thirteen perfect eagles. Jengo told of his customer: a sorcerer called Ooorn the Red-Eyed, who had frightened away other bidders with his dark reputation. The meet would take place at the conjunction of Astorian and Ranstar.

Scrolls and Smoke

A trip to the Great Library was called for, to find out the significance of these stars (they enhance bargaining). On the way back through the Street of the Gods Aranduil and Ockasiola met the priest of Storm Bull, who urged them to sack the temple of the Ape God. Ockasiola agreed.

Sorcery and Sale

On the night of the conjunction, Yucta demanded to be present. Aranduil observed from the rooftops while Ockasiola, Blundar and Kee-Ree guarded the gate. Tall, gaunt Erei arrived in a cart pulled by black horses, and clutching what looks like a bloody bandage. Aranduil observed the scrap of cloth was ornamented with stylised eyes. When Erei departed Aranduil interrogated the frightened horses. In the warehouse with Jengo and Yucta, Erei donned the red blindfold of eyes. Ooorn saw through them and all felt his presence. Jengo and Ooorn sealed a bargain and Erei departed, exhausted, promising later payment.

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