Ethus

01 - Character Creation (Work Group)
An introduction to Noramar

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Noramar, the port city on the southern edge of Ethus’s main continent, is in the depths of the month known as the Rotting (late autumn and very early winter), a time where great rains smother the city, powered by the massive lakes on the other side of the Aelar Plains above. The city is awash with the energy of the great Crushjaw Whale Harvest as heroic young fishermen risk life and limb to bring in the powerful migrating species and reap their bounty.

The weather is turning cold and darker by the day. Urchins, not an uncommon site in Noramar’s alleyways and marketplaces, are becoming less commonly seen outside.

Lightning and thunder dance in the clouds above the city, yet never crash upon its crammed, steep rooftops thanks to the blessings of the city’s patron god Sarasoth, Lord of the Tides, and his sister goddess Alomia, the Greywing, Queen of the Winds.

While activity in Noramar never stops, you can sense a bit of worry as the winter advances and the weather turns foul. Sailors seek more favor from the gods to protect them against increasingly dangerous conditions, fights more frequently break out amongst the rowdier patrons at Noramar’s countless taverns, and sightings of desperate creatures outside the walls grow more frequent.

This worry has been compounded as, two days ago, Ilasha Lincrow, the oldest of Noramar’s six high council members, died. News spread rapidly between the tight streets of the city, across its expansive market squares and rattled throughout the docks and temples alike. Rumors abound of various mysterious causes but her family publicly confirmed she was quite ill with Chillbone, a disease that left her in great and increasing pain.

A grand funeral has been announced for two days from now with much of the city leadership to attend the massive procession that will visit each of Noramar’s city gates and ultimately end as her body is carried out to sea for a proper Noramaran water burial.

As the leader of the Lincrow Mercantile House (one of the major houses of the city), Ilasha was instrumental in reopening trade routes to distant lands and held the key to diplomacy with other major cities of Batterhill, Idosker and Silshiver by building a temple to Kantile called the Vault of the Wealthbringer set neatly in the dock area of Hemmar’s Reach which was renamed to Kantile Row. She was able to negotiate its construction despite Noramar being long dominated by and devoted to Sarasoth the Tideweaver, the God of The Terrible Depths who decides the fate of fisherman and ship merchant alike.

Known to be represented at the Funeral

  • King Agaston IV and his Queen, Lady Fryss. The four princes will be absent as they are off being tutored in faraway lands for various religious, martial and financial pursuits
  • Golamut Oth-Nor, the Half-Orc leader of the city guard and his right hand woman Terea Hark, the well known leader of the Ribbons, the region’s much feared and slightly legal secret police

Council Members

Other Notables

Ilasha’s body will be wrapped in fine white and blue silks and will be taken on the traditional caravan planned from the initial funeral service at the Vault of the Wealthbringer, crisscrossing the city to the five gates of Noramar (Crunngild, Norvurgild, Survongild, Ostergild and Estengild) and ending down at the docks where Ilasha’s two daughters will take body on a small rowboat out to sea to perform the final resting rituals. They will be escorted during the first mile by the royal guard of the Maersirri (sea elves). They will return two days later to begin rebuilding the LIncrow Mercantile House and a new Councilmember will be elected shortly thereafter.

Rumors

  • Ilasha was secretly a member of the Greythorns
  • Ilasha conspired with a cabal of merchants and thieves in Noramar (especially the Second Scale) to make some dealings with powers from abroad to increase trade there

What else?
A fortnight ago a plains elf covered in beautiful hides and ornate eagle’s feathers arrived at Crunngild, the main gate of the city, from what was supposed to be a lost civilization. He was bearing an ancient artifact, the Chalice of Yuro (Yuro was an old Maersirri king) that proved his heritage. The Ordsirri from the Aelar Plains above the city were rumored to be purged by an orc invasion a few generations ago. Not much is known other than that there were some surviving members. He has been in council with Krytth, the leader of the Maersirri in the Tideweaver’s Grotto since his arrival.

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Ultgroup - 02 - The Sallion Sea

Intro

With the overwhelming panic of possible discovery and subsequent punishment at the hands of Emlok Rubytongue and his dagger barreling through your thoughts, Makk‘s powerful arms finally swung his stone-shattering pick through the mountainside and sunlight streamed through the crumbling opening. Despite every fiber of your muscles straining to push you out of the damnable caverns of Tarin’s Furnace, you were momentarily stunned by the true squalor of the caves around you once light touched it for the first time. True freedom was somewhat bittersweet as your emergence into the bright air of a cold mountain plateau nearly blinded you all, but especially Makk and Medlan, who had known no other life than that beneath the earth and Crudamea thanks to her natural hatred of the land above the undermountains.

At that moment though the alarm cries of slaver guards shocked you back into the task at hand.

Unwilling to see her freedom slip from her grasp, Maeve began reciting the incantations she had studied in secret for months and a bolt of fire erupted from her hands to smash into the tunnel ceiling and causing a cave-in that blocked the guards from pursuit. Knowing though that there were other exits from the warlord’s fortress and that Emlok’s vicious hunting dogs would be soon released to hunt you down, you ran at breakneck speed as far and fast as you could endure.

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Your path led winding down from the plateau, across a lonely valley criss-crossed with freezing cold streams, and down further through a forest where an overwhelming feeling of dread permeated your week there and you never truly could feel at rest—even Lakis.

Emerging from the other side of the ominous woods you finally made your way—haggard, scared and freezing cold—to a small abandoned farmstead at the edge of a massive lake, with the cautious assumption that you, at least temporarily, had put enough distance between yourself and the pursuers you knew would hunt you as long as Emlok still had treasure to pay them for their sinister services—which would be a long time according to Medlan, who had once seen the massive stores of his “father’s” wealth.

Despite a few cobwebs and a rotted door, the farmstead’s earthen walls and well-engineered roof provided enough shelter for you to rest, gather your wits and argue about where to go from there. While scouting around the lake and gathering the last of what the surrounding land could provide for you in terms of food in a few sad fish, a sack-full of berries, a couple hares and some edible plants, Lakis was able to find a wide stream heading gradually downhill away from the other side of the lake—presumably towards some sort of civilization. After repairing the old fishing boat you found at the farmstead as best you could, you decided to take to the water. As the farmhouse drifted into the distance, you could see the twinkling of distant torches descending to the farmstead and you heard the haunting echoes of hungry dogs howling out of frustration.

You saw no signs of the trackers in the days to come and had growing faith that Lakis’ care in obscuring your tracks near the lake and boat mooring were successful. Adrift on the stream, you meandered between rolling hills and straight through a massive meadow filled with beautiful Thane Blossom flowers. Eventually you found your way to a small village of river elves, which translated to “”/wikis/elks-quench" class=“wiki-page-link”> Elk’s Quench" in the common tongue.

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Through some deft diplomacy you were able to explain your situation and found sympathy from the local priestess for a few days. She helped plot a route for you further downstream to the closest thing this region had to a major town— Lanketh.

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Once in Lanketh you were able to accumulate some wealth and equipment thanks to a few odd jobs here and there. More importantly you were able to get your bearings after consulting with a local scribe.

It turns out you are hundreds if not thousands of miles from your homes, which matched up well with your memory of the long and arduous journey that brought you to Emlok in the cramped quarters of your kidnapper’s boats, in the jostling bed of their wagons and lashed across their horsebacks. Notably, with the Blooddrag Mountains and the influence of Tarin’s Furnace and the dark dwarf kingdoms preventing the shortest route home, you will have to cross at least part of the Sallion Sea—a massive desert that has a reputation for magic, mystery and danger, Mostly the latter.

Driven to return to your homelands and desperate to put more distance between yourselves and Emlok until you gather strength for whatever revenge fantasies you each personally entertain, you have agreed to join a small caravan across the Sallion Sea which leaves in a week’s time.

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Gameplay Notes

In the intervening time before the expedition,
Medlan provided security for a local tavern
Maeve attempted to swindle people out of money in games of chance (particularly darts)
Makk created stone sculpture caricatures which were generally unappreciated until one rather wealthy merchant came along and ordered several for his nieces and nephews
Lakis drank her cares away, supping of the sweet Spireshadow Ale pretty much all week long
Crudamea kept a low profile, presumably still adjusting to the bright sun that blanketed Lanketh

Of note, Maeve tried to break up a domestic dispute in the bar, confronting a husband who stormed in and attacked his wife while she was carousing with a group of minstrels. One shocking grasp later and she was grabbed and her head cracked with the hilt of a dagger. Medlan, having none of this, drew his axe and caused the husband to flee.

The night before the expedition a great party was thrown by Ulwar the Measured, their caravan sponsor, at the Red Scarab Inn outside the city walls. Much inebriation was undertaken, and some budding friendships with Thola Fezim, a gorgeous young woman dressed in the blue colors of Grimwic (the god of knowledge) and Omed the Lesser, a mercenary who pounds the table with his warhammer for each drink he takes (which is a lot). Maeve breaks even in her cardplay and everyone retires for the evening.

The adventurers are awoken in the middle of the night by a scuffle from a neighboring building.

From the balcony outside their room, Medlan and Makk leap across the street and through an open window. Maeve, not as deftly, plummeted below into a pile of hay much to the surprise of a stableboy who was feeding the horses. Lakis eventually awoke from the haze of enebriation to command some desert vines to create a bridge to the fight.

Inside, the adventurers discover a very tall supernatural looking humanoid with bronze skin and even, unblinking eyes attacking a group of four necromantic cultists, who were using the empty house for soom sort of necromantic rituals and scrying magic. His fists, strong as metal, crushed the jaw off one of the cultists, while the adventurerers were able to dispatch of the other ones thanks to a well timed trip, some axe-cleaving and a magic missile. A fire, which had started at some manuscripts in the corner and eventually grew, was quelled by the silent meditation of Makk, who eventually shaped the force of the fire out WITH HIS VERY MIND!

Upon the defeat of the cultists, the “bronze man” folded in on himself into the shape of a large amethyst, which slowly dissolved into the floor when Medlan tried to pick it up.

The following day, the adventurers set out.

The days are uneventful, a harsh sun beats down upon the caravan and because of the flat landscape there is no escape but the inside of the carts, where the smell of spices and old wood mix with sweat. The camels are old and sturdy, eager to be free of their pens even if they bear much weight.

Nights are full of keeping large, aggressive nocturnal sand vultures away, which the adventurers do easily, and gathering around campfires to swap stories from far away civilizations.

All of a sudden the caravan is beset by a massive sandstorm, seemingly out of nowhere. The other members of the caravan’s cries and yells abate over time as the sound of the storm deafens all under its barrage.

The rocks that Ulwar gave the party keep them from being swept up, but visibility is near zero for over an hour. After the storm lessens the rocks seem to fade in their power, having protected the characters against the sandstorm

Most of caravan and road is blown away, with nothing to be seen except for Thola Fezim and Omed the Lesser

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Ultgroup - 01 - Concepting the Ethus Campaign

Crudamea wants to take down Emlok Rubytongue because she is resentful of an arranged political marriage with a dwarven prince she does not love. She manipulates Makk into helping Medlan, Emlok’s son and one of his favored gladiatorial champions, escape the slaver mines. Medlan agrees because he has found all the glory he can find in this arena and he insists Lakis, a druid captured and forced into gladiatorial combat, comes with him because she is one of the only people to have shown him care. Crudamea eventually falls in love with Makk because of his strength and the devotion he offers her. He is kind of oblivious to her advances. The group escapes from the slaver mines and has been traveling back to civilization since, having adventures along the way that have honed their combat skills and strengthened their social bonds.

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