Rise of the Dreamer

Episode 07: Water is the Essence of Wetness, and Wetness is the Essence of a Wizard's Hate
or, All Our Dicks

This is Scarpa Lela with the evening report and a warning to all citizens: it is strongly advised that all non-residents stay out of Alam’s Noble Quarter until further notice. This afternoon alone we received several reports of looting and attacks on Alam’s nobility, though it’s not clear yet who or what may be perpetrating the attacks. Upward of a dozen Heads of Houses – along with many of their staff and family – have been admitted to Heka’s Hands, the city’s most distinguished hospital. It is not clear what condition they are in. There have also been reports of some kind of bomb, or what may have been unrecognized works of magic.

While the weather and the volcano seem to have settled down since the Queen’s birthday, the mood hanging over the city is still grim: there’s been not a word from Her Majesty for nearly a week now, and word around the palace is that the villain-turned-hero of the day, B’heist warrior Majd, hasn’t yet awakened. Earlier today, three of her companions, along with the meek local scholar, Bahkenkons, were spotted at the docks, where they all-but-commandeered The Dolphin’s Ear, an oddly-named but well-known fishing vessel.

An anonymous sailor was eager to share his account of their voyage: after a battle with a pack of sahuagan that left nearly half the crew injured or dead, the foursome briefly borrowed a longboat, rowed away and dove underwater… only to resurface before The Dolphin’s Ear could even come about. While it’s unclear why the group would pay to visit an unremarkable stretch of sea leagues away from Alam, it’s safe to say that this time, they have nothing to do with the city’s plight.

This is Scarpa Lela with a reminder that citizens should keep their distance from the Noble Quarter.

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Episode 06: It's My Party
or, This is a Tapestry Moment

We’re on? We’re on!

Good evening, viewers! This is Scarpa Lela, reporting live from the Noble Quarter, where countless well-wishers have come to cast their eyes upon Queen Hippatia – the birthday girl! Thanks for tuning in, folks; tonight’s broadcast is made possible thanks to the patience and talents of Alam’s picture-box wizard, Araxie Ashwaghosha.

As you can see behind me, the mood here isn’t exactly ecstasy; the weather, the ash cloud and the sinister recent events have a lot of people worried – but not worried enough to skip the event altogether. From the looks of things, security has been stepped up a notch from previous years, and the nearby noble houses are putting on a show of force – look at all these guards! Given the magicker presence around the bridge, we’ve still got some concerns about an attempted murder too; honestly though I’d like to see anyone threaten her Majesty – that’d be news worth reporting!

Despite the weather we’ve got plenty of celebrity presence: already the ambassadors from the Countless Clans have filled their allotted space – it’s standing room only, folks! – and the King of the North is hard to miss given his strange beasts – I’m informed their called “moose” though I’ve yet to receive confirmation. The B’heist, too, have made an appearance – they look a little uncomfortable in the city, but leader Shalomir is putting on a bold face. We’ve even got representatives from the Shipwright’s Warren! The only missing ambassador appears to be the Cahokian leader – we’ll keep an eye out as the procession begins! Look at all these colours!

Anyone else see that human girl walking with the Countless Clans? Is she their translator or what? What in the world have they brought? Are those skins? Thanks, Durga War, we’ll see how the her Majesty likes that!

Ah, here’s Cahokia – even without their leader, a lovely gift!

The King of the North and his representatives – I can’t speak from experience but they must be sweating in all those layers. The only people saltier are -

- ah, yes, the pirates of Shipwright’s Warren, with a load of treasure for the Queen, as always. It’s hard to tell scale from here, folks, but some of those gems look bigger than my head!

Hmm, no appearance from any Paxu ambassadors this year – too bad! I’m going to miss filling my face with their fabulous Paxu papusas!

Last but not least, the B’heistians! They do not look thrilled to be here, folks, but maybe that’s just how they always look? And it looks like they’ve brought a sacrifice this year – a young man – very calm considering his immediate fate. I’m told the name of the woman carrying out the sacrifice today is Majd, cousin of the tribe leader, Shalomir.

And now for the Queen’s —

Sweet Montu – are you getting this?! Are you getting this?! An enormous one-eyed giant has just appeared in the square – it’s pandemonium as civilians and guards alike flee the scene! The Queen’s fallen! And – Renenet and Bes – there’s something with tentacles – is that an aberration?! And there are cultists all over! Keep rolling keep rolling!!

Shit, that girl from the Countless Clans contingent just summoned some lions! Where do you get a power like that is what I wanna know! Some kinda druid magic? And Majd flies into action with the B’heistians, lopping off a tentacle – ah, almost! Local wizard Argamemnon is flying now – ow – damn – that was bright – anyone see what happened to him?! Let’s move!

Sweet Ra, things are not looking good out here, folks. The aberration’s disappeared – thanks, Kind Man – but the giant doesn’t seem to be going anywhere – and he’s punching and kicking his way towards the Queen! Our translator-druid-girl is there on the dais but the Queen’s still not up – no idea what’s wrong with her!

Not only do we have a giant, folks, but the cultists seem to be using some kind of magic to clear the path of any obstructing wizards, including both Argamemnon and the B’heist wizard, Kind Man! It’s times like these I’m glad my only power is fantastic reporting!

And the giant’s headed for the bridge – did you see that lightning?! Even the buildings are falling down – no idea where that’s coming from but it’s hard to find cover when your cover turns to mud! And the giant’s yelling at Majd – didn’t catch it – something about being the first in a wave of pain?

AND SHE JUST STABBED HIM DEADDID YOU GET THAT?!

No idea what kind of death makes lightning shoot everywhere, but – ah – and I’ve been informed that our visual feed’s out. But if you can still hear me, things have slowed down a bit – just a handful of fleeing cultists remain in the giant’s wake. The Queen’s guards have managed to get her back over the bridge – and it looks like she’s conscious, folks!

Holy Selqet – Majd, apparently high on power, just kissed her Majesty Hippatia!

Ah, and she’s down. No surprises there; every local’s heard at least four stories about Queen Hippatia’s Kiss, amirite?

Hard to make out from here, but the Queen’s promised to hunt down traitors within the city and without – she believes these attacks originated from inside, folks. No hints as to whether that includes the B’heistians, who technically completed the summoning ritual. There’s a rough political situation if I’ve ever seen one!

Looks like things are calming down, folks, but I’d advise to stay away from the Palace and Noble Quarters for a while! Let’s move to higher ground and see if we can’t get this visual feed back up and running, shall we? In the meantime, keep safe, Alam!

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Episode 05: The Battle of the Beer Cave
or, Zany Action and a Crazy Contraption

This is Scarpa Lela reporting in – I bet you’re all wondering about the crazy weather we’re having! While I’m assured by those in the know that Khorva’s Peak isn’t ready to blow just yet, anyone with one good eye can see that there’s been some action around the volcano today, and it’s left quite a cloud hanging over the Queen’s Birthday – delayed until tomorrow on account of the weather.

Earlier today, a group of B’heist warriors were spotted entering the volcano via some caves at its base. While it’s not clear exactly what happened inside, statements from a Red Dragon rebel injured in the eruption have confirmed the destruction of a curious machine hidden in the Khorva’s caldera. While a mysterious leader – presumably dragonkin – has escaped unscathed and unquestioned, the mindflayer believed to be a major player in the Cult of the Dreamer has been confirmed dead. Repeat: Zlahar the illithid is dead.

Sources indicate that the B’heist wizard, now known to us as Kind Man, sent the mindflayer along with his soul-powered machine to a fiery end in pit of the volcano. While it is heartening to know that the souls harnessed by the Cult have been released, it remains to be seen how the volcano will react to the recent disturbance.

With the Queen’s birthday delayed until tomorrow, this reporter can only wonder if the situation will be any safer then? As promised, we’ll be live tomorrow with full coverage of the event.

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Episode 04: Of Robbers and Rebels
or, Do They Have Almond Milk?

Mayhem in the city today as buildings burn and tunnels topple – and this reporter can’t help but think it’s all connected!

This is Scarpa Lela with your daily dose of drama! Those in the Commercial District, however, may have already heard the news: a gnomish bank known to locals for their high interest rates and to guardsmen for their generous bribes was lit up today, causing a mild disruption in consumer traffic. While many of the bank’s employees fled unharmed following an explosion and subsequent fire, a number of the bank’s rooftop guards were gravely injured in what they claim was a B’heist attack. No B’heistians, however, were found at the scene, and the bank’s eager new owner has not requested any investigation. This will come as no surprise to anyone who knew the bank’s previous owner, suspected crime kingpin Wesley Ten-Toes, who was found dead at the scene.

While city guards above ground dealt with the fire, Alam’s Eldritch Knights were busy searching for the creature released yesterday from a damaged underground altar. The creature, now believed to be a juvenile aspect of a giant deity known as the Dreamer, has slipped the attention of its hunters and is now believed to be hiding out somewhere in the flooded ruins of the old Royal Quarter. No news yet on what this means for anyone who crosses the horror’s path.

Also outside the city proper, it’s been reported that three tunnels said to lead between Alam’s sewers and Khorva’s Peak have been magically sealed shut. The tunnels were known to have been previously exploited by the ruthless and well-supported rebel group known as the Red Dragon, but there’s no indication that their closure has anything to do with upcoming rebellion activity. Climbing from the sewers this afternoon, a pair of B’heistians and two locals were spotted leading a group of bound Dreamer Cultists: this reporter can only conclude that the cultists have been making use of the tunnels as well.

With any luck, the rebels and cultists will be problems that take care of each other, leaving Alam to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday in peace. While some of our listeners may be worried about the escaped Dreamer Horror, most will be busy deciding what to wear to the big event tomorrow! Remember: turquoise pectorals are in, but the colour clashes with this year’s popular green, so be sure to pick out neutral fabrics! The news team will be on site early and we hope to see everyone looking fabulous!

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Episode 03: Murder in the Mausoleum
or, Tin Foil Hats

This is Scarpa Lela reporting on rumours that an undefined horror has been released into the city. While residents are urged not to panic, a contingent of the city’s Eldritch Knights have been posted at an undisclosed area of Alam’s sewers. We’ve received unconfirmed reports that the destruction of an altar may be to blame for the beast’s presence. Damage to the altar may have been caused by the same party involved in High Priest Hatim’s death – which should come as no surprise for most of our listeners.

A city guard who wished to remain anonymous confirmed that three members of the party – two B’heistians and a piebald local – met with Alam Magical Authority the wizard Argamemnon shortly after the encounter with the sewer creature. It was Argamemnon who rallied the Eldritch Knights, and who summoned a local expert on the topic of Old Ones, warlock Bahkenkons – known by many around the city for his unusual familiar, Squiddly. It was also thanks to Argamemnon that these strangers met with Queen Hippatia; as usual, of course, no information is available about the meeting, which occurred inside the palace.

While progress on the hunt for the horror has been kept quiet, the three civilians with inspected involvement have not been so: early yesterday afternoon, many Common District residents heard and felt an explosion later revealed to have occurred underground, in an ancient mausoleum where Dreamer Cultists were said to have been gathering. While the mausoleum was utterly destroyed in the explosion and no evidence remains of the cultist’s work, the word on the street is that one cultist was taken in for questioning by Argamemnon – a fate this reporter doesn’t envy.

With the Queen’s birthday celebration unmoved, only two days remain to determine any threat to her personal safety, how to neutralize it. Rumour has it that the party’s next move may be into Khorva’s Peak – but it remains to be seen whether the horror or some other distraction will move them from their quest.

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Episode 02: Action So Hot It Should Be Illithid
or, The Popped Waterbed

This is Scarpa Lela with the latest on the five individuals seen fleeing the scene of High Priest Hatim’s murder: it’s now rumoured that four of them are working to seek out the High Priest’s killer, while the fifth remains at large.

According to a member of the city guard, the group was meant to meet with one of Alam’s wizards regarding the ritual murders that have been taking place around the city, but they failed to arrive at the rendezvous. Instead, it’s reported that they’re on the trail of a B’heist priest, who they suspect may be linked to the murders.

Correspondents inside the B’heist camp reported that three of the party – two locals working with a nomad known only as the “Kind Man” – discovered a passage under one of the B’heist tents. The passage is said to connect to part of Alam’s various undercity systems – to the sewers as well as previously-abandoned and ancient parts of the city. There, an anonymous contact confirmed that the party met with a master thief known as Seraphine – one of the many Common District thieves vying for the position of guildmaster following the disappearance of the Masked King.

After being reunited with their second B’heist companion – wounded while gaining entry to the undercity elsewhere – the party left in search of the catacombs where the suspected B’heist priest – along with the High Priest’s assassin – had fled. Unfortunately, they were unable to reach the catacombs due to an unexpected illithid attack. The mindflayer – allegedly named Zlahar – drove the group back to his lair, and it was only there that the party was finally able to fight the creature off.

The public should be aware that the mindflayer remains at large and should be considered very dangerous.

While the party was unavailable for comment, a prisoner from within Zlahar’s lair reported that they went on to discover an underground altar – possibly of giant origin – adjacent to the lair, as well as a pool of what was reportedly “brain-like soup”. This reporter is happy to hear that the place has been abandoned and the “soup” destroyed.

While the party seems to have done some good, their missed meeting with the city wizard has resulted in putting the Common District guards on high alert. With only three days remaining until the Queen’s birthday celebration, the party is under heavy scrutiny as they move about the city in search of various items: the two locals have split up to inquire about underground maps and local knowledge, while the two B’heist remain in their secretive encampment, working some medical magic: rumour has it that the wounded B’heist warrior may have spilled blood on the underground altar.

With the guard breathing down their necks, will the party be successful in gathering the supplies they need to delve into the catacombs and solve the city’s high-profile murders? Or will their antics result in their arrest? And what, then, of the Queen’s birthday and the expected ritual finale? Who are these mysterious vigilantes and do they intend harm or heroics for the city? This reporter will keep a close eye on the action!

[[Madi’s back! We’d left off with everyone splitting up again: Razner’s looking at underground maps; Kind Man and Majd are with the B’heist and Mahshid’s heading to the pub. Chisisi’s gone dark. If you have solo adventures you’d like to work on before next session, feel free to email August and let him know! Otherwise, don’t forget to level up to level 6 before our next session, on September 13th! As always, if you think I’ve missed anything important in the above report, let me know!]]

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Episode 01: Dial 'R' for Ritual Murder
or, Just Move Her Birthday

This is Scarpa Lela, reporting live from the People’s Square of Alam, where city workers and volunteers have only just stopped the fires that resulted after a riot earlier today. What started as a peaceful demonstration quickly turned into a riot, amidst chants of ‘The Dreamer is rising,’ and accusations that the temple has been withholding medication, food and healing services.

The Cult of the Dreamer is believed to be responsible for the riot; however, several individuals not discernibly linked to the cult were allowed into the temple, and may have been involved in the untimely death of High Priest Hatim.

Several witnesses report hearing gunfire, and an anonymous source reports that six people fought inside the temple; one of these individuals – reportedly, Hatim’s assailant – fled the scene alone, while the remaining five were seen leaving the temple with two bodies just as the riot peaked. Running amok despite the patrols of half-orc Guard Captain Minos, the party made its way to the B’heist Encampment just outside the city walls, where B’heist priests looked into Hatim’s death.

The murder is only the latest in a rash of unsolved deaths, including those of Stateira Piruz, Herman Fizzlebottom and a yet unnamed B’heist visitor. Reports from inside the B’heist camp have been few, but it’s been indicated that these murders may culminate in an attempt on the life of Queen Hippatia – as well as some unknown magical effect. With only four days until her birthday, the Queen’s officials won’t have much more time to solve these crimes before the celebration puts our Queen’s life in danger.

Will we have to rely instead on the talents of five mysterious do-gooders? And, if so, what’s to be their next move? Will they attempt to hunt down Hatim’s attacker, or to determine the nature of all these unexplained deaths? Can anyone discover what effect the ritual murders may have – before it’s too late? This reporter aims to find out!

[Hey all! Madi here. Let me know if I spelled anything wrong (e.g. not sure about your mentor’s name Dmitri?) or if there were any details I left out that you thought were important. Great first session everyone! :)]

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The First Adventure
Preparations for an Epic

We have not yet begun our adventures, but here are some points of intrigue you might use for your character’s background:

  • An entourage has arrived from the monstrous kingdom of the Countless Clans, a relatively new republic to the south formed of orcs and other goblinoid races. They have come to honour the Queen’s birthday, but many suggest their reasons may be more sinister
  • Scouts of the White North have been spotted on the northern coast, spreading rumours of a seaborne invasion. The Queen denies the King of the North has any such intentions.
  • The Cult of the Dreamer calls out to those who feel blind and lost in times of such avarice and greed. Their prophets claim that this world is a dream soon to end, and that only those who truly waken to the nightmares coming to our world will survive the impending apocalypse.
  • The Masked King is dead — after many long years, the criminal master of the underworld is rumoured to be dead, leading many to speculate as to who will fill the power vacuum. Sights of vampires have many saying the Masked King is not dead, but _un_dead, and soon to be more powerful than ever.
  • A creature has been hunting the common district, tearing people to shreds and leaving their bits scattered about. So far the Queen’s guard have no clues, but the killings only happen at night during clear skies.
  • Khorva’s peak, the volcano that shadows Alam, has been rumbling a little more loudly than usual. The baths scald rather than sooth, and gasses from the misty canyon boil up with the screams of beasts less natural than more.

Many rumours circulate throughout the city — Alam is a metropolis home to nearly a million people, and a centre of trade. Anything can happen, to almost anyone.

pompeii-volcano.jpg

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