Raven: History

   Raven is an older character, but has been carried forward through a variety of campaigns since first edition. One of these days, I’ll have to drag him out again. Regardless, here’s his History – and, as I get to it, some links to his friends, current character sheet, and other details.

 

   His earliest memories are of blood and fire and fury… A raid? A battle that swept past? Merely the confusion of some natural disaster? What does it matter to tiny, lost, and frightened child?

   Perhaps some kindly, fleeing, farmer found space in his wagon for one more small boy. Perhaps some spirit or creature watched over him. Whatever happened then, he remembers being on the city streets looking for his mother.

 

   He never found her.

 

   He has practically no memory of then. He eventually took the name “Raven” from a fugitive memory that they were “his birds”. (For the information of the GM, his original name was Brancenoc (“Ravenhill”). This may be of some significance – or it may not (GMO)).

   Raven was around 8 years old when he arrived in the city, the human equivalent of five or six. He doesn’t know how long it’s been since then, but quite a few of his human friends have grown up and some have grown old. It could have been nearly sixty years. While Raven was unusually skilled for a street urchin, no normal child could expect to survive so long unprotected. His doing so constitutes both a testimonial to natural abilities and a possibility that “something else” was watching out for him. He’s now roughly equivalent to an ten-year-old human child – or perhaps a badly underfed eleven-year- old. If he survives another seventy years or so he’ll be the equivalent of around fourteen – a young adult.

 

   He first encountered Aurcalon Llawendraig nearly 15 years ago, when the elderly man caught him picking his pocket. Rather then having the boy punished, Aurcalon fed him. Over the ensuing years, Raven sort of adopted the old man as a mentor, and actually learned some minor druidical magic. Apparently impressed with the child’s potential, Aurcalon spent some time teaching him. He even taught him to read – and arranged for him to be let into the sages guild library. That led to his “first adventure” – when peculiar digging sounds led him to a lost set of sub-basements, into which some orcish types were tunneling in search of some mystic tome. He got to it first. Filled with outrage over this intrusion, he fought a battle of tripwires, toppling shelves, and throwing blades until the fuss attracted a small party of adventurers. The ensuing chain of events put them up against the black mage who’d wanted the book. That was exciting. Raven decided that he was going to be an adventurer.

 

   He had a hard time persuading anyone to take him at all seriously. It didn’t help that his “starting cash” was limited to what he’d managed to lift from the orcs in the library. At least the few people who’d actually seen him in action respected his skill with darts.

 

   First Campaign, GM Todd Salzman: Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk. AD&D, First Edition. Thanks to a shortage of notes, at some point this blends into Craig’s brief campaign, but I’ve not entirely sure where. I think it was probably at the switch to Castle Greyhawk. We used the same characters anyway.

 

 

   Prequel – Origins: Todd felt that it was worth playing out at least a part of Raven’s background. This included his meeting with Aurcalon, a few quick vignettes about life on the streets, and a brief mini-scenario involving a slimy horror that was eating the street children.

 

   Conan The Librarian: A small party of adventurers, gathered to oppose the forces of Mengalith Ar Konn (an evil magus), discovered that he’d sent several parties of orcs and goblins under human leaders to steal the Albertius Log – an ancient tome which would greatly increase his power. The goblins got into the sub-basement first – but ran into Raven. Meanwhile, the adventurers fought in their way from above. Finding Raven, and the book, they scooped up both.

 

   Hit and Run: Attempting to weaken Mengalith’s army, the group began a guerilla campaign – wiping out minor outposts and sowing confusion. At least twice in this period they got assistance from Tirkan – an evil mage, but no friend of Mengalith’s.

 

   Avon Calling At The Dark Tower: Having lured away a notable portion of Mengalith’s garrison, and feeling that he’d soon catch on to the ploy, the group went on the offensive – “attacking” Mengalith’s tower. Using a variety of bizarre ruses (Pretending to be gypsies and tinkers, faking incompetence, selling chocolates – and a completely inane line of patter), the group managed to get by the remaining guardians – and into the dungeons beneath the Tower. Throughly convinced that he was up against a bunch of incompetent lunatics, Mengalith was unpleasantly surprised to discover that they were anything but incompetent. (No comment on the “lunatic” part).

 

   Into The Depths: Tracing back the source of some of Mengalith’s curious creatures and allies, the group eventually located the underground fortress of a small group of Drow – as well as some “interesting” volcanic activity. In their own curious fashion, they managed to throughly screw up the works, as well as to recruit Tembria.

 

   20,000 Leaks Under The Deck: A bit of relaxation by the seaside quickly led to encounters with pirates, smugglers, and various denizens of the deep. It also led to a lot of time aboard a captured pirate ship. In the ensuing weeks, they visited some very weird places (Courtesy of “Sam”), and got entangled in some bizarre supernatural problems (Courtesy of Gabriel). Luckily, Gwyntelyn was an ideal ocean companion – even if Raven and Tickle kept threatening to set the ship on fire with their pyrotechnic alchemical “experiments” (A HORRIBLE skill to teach a small child – but Tickle never really did seem to have much sense).

 

   A Royal Scavenger Hunt: Arriving at the “Isles Of The Moon”, the group got entangled in a scavenger-hunt contest, apparently some sort of yearly celebration of the king’s birthday.

 

   A Whopping Great Intermission: On behalf of their old “Ally”, Tirkan, (QV – Ed Gruberman and “Hit and Run”), the group did some investigating in an old city hidden in the wilderness. This got a bit complicated when the local giants got involved – but the group successfully recovered the NecronStaff anyway.

 

   A Midnights Dreaming: Bizarre and deadly dreams led the group to investigate the dreamtime. Gwyntelyn, a master at navigating the whale dream, guided everybody else into the depths of the universal memory, into the dreaming sea.

   And uncovered the apocalyptic schemes of a mad god.

   Unable to return and cut off from allies, the group came up with a desperate plan; They would seek through the layers of the past for knowledge, battle their way back across the ages until they found a nexus (If they must, to the beginning), and rouse the power of creation itself against Kalimacorth.

   They succeeded.

 

   Washed Ashore at Castle Greyhawk: Adrift in time and space, the group was “washed ashore” from the dreaming sea on a shoal at the fringes of imagination, where so many other bizarre and unlikely things have found refuge – Castle Greyhawk. The group spent some time exploring the castle’s peculiar depths.

   Finally, when confronted with “The Temple Of Really Bad Dead Things”, the group decided to go elsewhere.

 

   Trust Me; I’ve Been Lost Before – and This Is Exactly The Way It Looks: Lacking any idea of where they were (or where they were going) to begin with, not having a map didn’t seem so serious at first. After a variety of wilderness encounters it began to seem more serious somehow. Still, they eventually located some villages – and confirmed that they were on the wrong planet.

 

   The Tower Of Stars: Looking for a way to go home, the group tracked down some rumors about a tower which offered access to other worlds. It was hard to find – and guarded – but they managed.

 

   They even got the portals open.

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A Midnights Dreaming. Que; ****Dramatic Sidebar****

   In the depths of the dreaming sea spun Kalimacorth. The Unmaker. The Mad God. The great unbinding, the end of all that is. First the dreamtime, the memory of the world. The archetypes and foundations. Emptiness would spread – undermining everything – until reality itself fell into the void, the darkness before creation. Past and future unmade, a world that never was.

   Near-omniscient eyes scanned a million million lines of possibility. None held an obstacle.

   Unless some terribly unlikely group intervened.

   Within the the depths resounded a voice. Deep and resonant, intoning words of dread and eldritch import; Gabriel spoke; “Damn It Gwyntelyn! The Rest Of Us Need A Light!”.

   Ritual magic. The groups disparate powers hurled outside of time, a pinprick to harpoon a whale.

   And the wild magic woke. A hurricane of primordial power rose against Kalimacorth. Magic without pattern or discipline or form. All the power of all the life long gone and yet to be. Storm and earthquake and fire. No one “controls” the wild magic.

   It focused itself throough Raven.

   The powerstorm raged across a hundred million years of layered memory, raising echoes. The first light of creation shone again in all it’s celestial radiance. Galaxies were forged like sparks upon the anvil of the night. Space and time folded into oneness. Power blazed against ultimate power.

   And a small and frightened hand hurled a narrow blade into the eye of a mad god.

   Backlash turned annihilation back upon it’s maker.

   Worried voices offered aid to a fallen child. Hands gave support, and massaged air into spasming lungs. A worried chorus asked “if it had worked”. Wakefullness stirred, and with it speech;

   Whaa `appened?!

   I’m Hungry!!

   And there was much rejoicing.

 

   Third Campaign; GM Joseph, Full Multiverse Setting. Initial Location; Starport – a dimensional crossroads.

 

 

   Shadows In The Twilight, Walking: In a city beset by a plague of truly weird and unnatural creatures and events, a disparate group came together. Originally united simply by the desire to survive as the universe went mad around them, yet another bunch of absurd PC’s swiftly became a party of adventurers.

   They had trouble anyway.

 

   The Nillity Vortexes: Seeking the “center” of the disruptions, the party eventually reached the whirling Nillity Vortexes. Braving the storm, the group decided that something stable lay at the core of those blazing whirlpools of interdimensional energy – and set out to reach it.

   Cynosure; The Primal City: At the center lay “The” city – Cynosure. Amber. Tanelorn. Atlantis. Whatever the name, the first city. The template for the rest.

   Gathering there were creatures from across reality; Humans, Dragons, Elves, and Demons. Aliens and Godlings. The elder magi – and an explanation.

   “As you all know, the multiverse has pattern and law; the worlds obey rules. The pattern of those rules is embodied in the Cosmic Crystal. As the worlds diverge though, as “exceptions” accumulate, the strains on the structure of the crystal grow. Eventually it is torn asunder. The Eternity Shards are scattered across the worlds – and reality begins to slowly dissolve. The dimensional crossroad realms are the first to notice – but all will perish in time. If any of us are to live, the shards must be gathered – the crystal reforged, so that it’s new pattern can accommodate the changes. The few of you who have reached us here, are the only ones we can send to gather them.”

   The Gathering: There were enough entities gathered to make up several teams. Naturally enough, the PC’s were one of them. Another, “rival”, group consisted of some very nasty creatures and people under the command of a Balrog – Termangoth.

   Getting the shards proved complicated. Each allowed it’s bearer to ignore a particular law of nature – the necessity of pre-selecting spells, the need to roll to hit, and so on. They were regarded as powerful magic items – and the beings who had found them were reluctant to give them up. Several teams were lost.

   Unfortunately, Termangoth’s wasn’t.

   Still, out of the twenty-odd missions the party un- dertook, less then a dozen proved complicated (IE, got played out). Several times, it was because Termangoth tried to set them up.

 

   The Celestial Forge: Once the eternity shards had been gathered they had to be reforged in the Celestial Forge; a well of primordial, stellar, flame located in the heart of they Wildness – Primeva – the counterpart to Cynosure.

   The dinosaurs and such were an enormous pain, but the group got there. Despite Termangoth’s attempt to shape the universe according to his own, hellish, vision the Cosmic Crystal was reformed. The multiverse was trans- formed;

 

   To Second Edition AD&D rules.

 

   (This provoked a mass groan, even though the people who’d actually done the job were only affected insofar as they wanted to be. After all, they’d provided part of the template for the “new” multiverse. Still, it was a DREADFUL punch line for a campaign).

 

 

   Fangs Of The Midnight Sun: While there was no good way of telling where they’d emerged from Primeva, this particular city was definitely unfamiliar. It seemed to be based on technology, rather then magic. The only problem was that gathering enough magical power to get back home meant gathering it from the various horrific “creatures of the night” who’d used some mystic ritual to get a lock on it ages ago. This wasn’t easy – and avoiding the police and the FBI didn’t make it easier. At least they got the gateway open – even if it was in the middle of a firefight.

 

   Fourth Campaign; GM Phil. Krynn, Later Waterdeep.

 

 

   Strangers Meeting: Phil was using the Dragonlance Series as his basis for this campaign – albeit with an admixture of personal characters with the pregenerated ones. He started off in the Inn at Solace. At the GM’s request I kept more detailed notes on this campaign.

 

Prequel:

 

   Five years ago a modest group of companions set out in search of true priests, as there were of old. The search was fruitless.

 

   Hidden in darkness and distant corners of the land, a gathering was underway. The armies of evil had begun to march.

   Meanwhile, Riverwind, a poor ranger, loved Goldmoon – a local chieftan’s daughter. Sent out on a quest for magic, he returned with a blue crystalline staff. He was mocked and assaulted, but the staff teleported the pair away.

 

–   A Paid Advertisement: Do you dare face the Dark Queen TAKHASIS and her dread Dragonarmies? (No! Can’t we hide someplace?). Some experience or knowledge of the Dragonlance campaign setting is preferred, but not required. (Good! – I’m lost./My feet hurt!/Where’s the BEER?!?).

 

 

   Trust Me; You Really Don’t Want To Know What We’re Going To Do With That Dragonlance:

   Outside the city of Solace the companions (Caramon, Raistlin, Tasslehoff, Tanis, Sturm, and Flint), ran into Riverwind and Goldmoon, and accompanied them to the Inn. OK; It was healing magic. Maybe if they could find out where it had come from. Besides, Solace wasn’t very friendly anymore. The Seekers were shouting BLASPHEMY! and the goblins were on everyone’s tail. A mixed group of the people from the Inn went off together. At least until the next town they were stuck with each other.

   On the road, the group was attacked by “Draconians” – a group of lizard-things disguised as humans. This was bad. Being informed about oncoming armies of evil was worse. The fact that they seemed to be after that blue crystal staff was worst of all. With an army in hot pursuit, it seemed almost reasonable to follow the mystic white stag. After all, wasn’t a bit of divine intervention what they’d been looking for? Even if it was leading them through a pass, and into the ancient, mysterious, “Darken Wood”.

 

   Oops.

 

   Spectral Minions. Centaurs. Faerie. A Forestmaster- Unicorn. Things got extremely weird – but everyone got pointed on a great quest. They had to return the staff to where it had come from (some ancient ruined city in a swamp), and reclaim the power of the gods. In order to get there in time, the Forestmaster had some Pegasi give the group a lift. Meanwhile, Raistlin had noticed that the signs of the gods Takhasis and Palladine (Their constellations) had vanished from the heavens, showing that they once more walked Krynn. Well, that gave more credence to the idea that some truly great destruction was coming.

 

   The pegasi left everyone at the edge of their range near Que-Shu, Riverwind and Goldmoons home village. The place had been ravaged. Raven had to spend some time explaining to a puppy that his little boy was dead. Refugees, raiding parties, and columns of smoke, sort of made the point; Things were bad. Goldmoon and Riverwind were most upset; even slaughtering some raiders didn’t seem to help – and the guards on the old bridge they had to use didn’t cheer the rest of the group either. They didn’t put up much of a fight after Raistlin put slept them though. The way through the mountains was open – at least once they got Cordelia to join them instead of throwing her hammer at them in the belief that they were with the evil armies.

 

   That led them to a ruined city in a swamp. It was a mess. Draconians, a wicker figure of a dragon (They stuffed the draconian priest into it) and an old well, out of which a dragon popped and attacked. That led them to take refuge in the old temple of Mishakal, who made a rather pompous speech. (Raven got quite upset, and made one back). It seemed that they were here to pick up some old disks of instructions (CD-ROM or floppy?), and take them back to teach new clerics. Raven thought that that was just great. It was obvious where they’d be; under that bloody dragon.

 

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Raven, Crying: How To Leave A Goddess Speechless, In One Easy Lesson.

 

   “Mankind” doesn’t do things. Individuals do things. And as for you – you’re rotten. Good people don’t wait for people to beg properly before they help them. They don’t turn aside because somebody else offended them a long time ago. Where were you for Emil? He knew he was going to die next winter when his lungs never cleared after his first winter on the streets, but he had most of year to look forward to slowly choking to death and there was nothing we could do to help him!

 

   He was almost six when he finally couldn’t breathe enough to live any longer.

   An what about Sevrin?, an Tamil?, an Geoff, an Tor, Rafil, an Linda, an Madera, an.

 

   (Pause)

 

   I think I prefer the nasty goddess. At least she doesn’t pretend to be loving and helpful and kind, while she watches people suffer and does nothing.

   If you’re one of the “good” ones we were probably a lot better off without any gods at all.

 

   A quick descent into the ruins of an ancient buried city (and the quick slaying of some draconians) took the group to the dragons lair. The quickest route was down the “elevator’s” chain (bypassing most of the module), and straight in. Fortunately, the lair was very poorly chosen; it was far too small for the beast to maneuver properly, allowing the group to bash it fairly readily (mostly with burning oil and such). and retrieve the disks – along with a fair chunk of it’s horde.

   Now above ground again, the smoke of burning cities could be clearly seen rising beyond the hills. Fearing for the lives of friends and relatives – and determined to do what they could to aid them – the companions headed back towards Solace, and into the teeth of an army, over Raven’s frantic objections. Fortunately, the main body of the army seemed to have gone elsewhere.

   After minor difficulties the group reached Tantalon – a small, as yet unmolested, township. With everyone preparing to flee, the local economy was in chaos, and any form of transport was at a premium – but the group managed to buy mounts anyway (The gods are REALLY with us).

 

   Much of Solace had been burned, and the rest had been taken over by Draconians and Goblins. A bit of disguise and stealth got them to the inn, where they found that quite a few of their old friends had survived. Tanis’s adoptive brother, Prince Gilthanis of Qualinesti, then showed up and lost his temper. The Draconians “arrested” the entire group (Except for Raven, who hid and followed after them quietly), took away the weapons they didn’t manage to hide, locked them in a mobile wagon-cage – and sent them off with the reinforcements/resupply caravan to their leader (Lord Verminax, apparently leading the main attack on Qualinesti). This didn’t look good for anybody – or for the Prince’s mission to seek aid – so Raven crept up, and poisoned their dinner. A little lockpicking and a quick frostball on some Draconians who spotted him, and everybody was getting out – although an unexpected attack by the elven army helped. Of course, most of the bad guys were sick or dying anyway.

   The elves took the group – and one other prisoner the evil contingent had put in the cage with them (Fizbin, apparently some sort of elder mage) – off to see their leader. Meanwhile, Raistlin was keeping a close eye on Raven. He might not know what the kid was, but he was well worth “keeping an eye on” – at least until he got distracted by Fizzbin. Still, the group soon arrived at the tower of the sun.

   The elvenking wasn’t really pleased with the result of his son’s mission – but was desperate enough to ask even this oddly-assorted group to help out. Somebody had to take out the enemy leaders – or his lands would be overrun before he could put anything together. He didn’t think much of the fool Disks of Mishakal either (Hadn’t the stupid humans been responsible for all the trouble? How could they do anything about the current mess with their crummy track record?) – but saw little choice but to have them go (even if the greedy dwarves did promptly start demanding plenty of stuff in return for their services). Raven found some time to talk to Raistlin – and to give him copies of some nifty spells he’d found in his log – once Raistlin promised that he wouldn’t try to grab him. Raistlin was spending a lot of time talking with Fizbin anyway.

   The Elvenking even sent Gilthanis and his daughter, Lorina, along. The way things were going they might not be in much more danger – and their abilities might be useful. (Actually, Lorina had to argue this parti- cular point rather forcefully.). “Fizbin” came too. Nobody really knew why. On the other hand, they even scooped up a guy named Eben that they found lying on a battlefield, and a dozen elves from Qualinesti to fill out the group.

   Verminax had set up in an old dwarven citadel – but fortunately Gilthanis knew a back door. Unfortunately, it was guarded by a giant slug. It sizzled very nicely indeed, accompanied by salt and a discussion of escargo. We left the elves behind to cover the escape route and ventured on. As the smoke cleared, it became apparent that Fizbin, Tasslehoff, and Eben, had “wandered off”. Fizbin and Tasslehoff were expected – but why would an experienced Merc wander off alone into an elder crypt? It was pretty stupid – unless he already knew where he was going. (Hmmm.) Gilthanis got out a crumbly old map, turned wrong – and wound up in the ancient throne room of one “Kith-Kanan”, (Founder of Qualinesti), now his tomb. The old guy was still holding his enchanted swoed “WyrmSlayer”. Despite a general agreement not to go near the body, somehow Tanis wound up holding it. Maybe it was bored. Raven stayed well away from it. It kept on humming at him – and he got the distinct feeling it wasn’t very friendly.

   Meanwhile, Gilthanis had the map straightened out.

 

   Heading up, into the citadel, the group encountered a few people from Solace. They’d been brought in as slaves. Great. Not only did they have to deal with a dragonlord and two dragons they had to run a rescue at the same time. (So; “Flamestrike” is guarding the kids but won’t be any problem? Why not? She’s old and senile and thinks they’re hers? That’s not just senile, that’s completely crazy. Alright, maybe we can get round her, but we’ll still have to deal with Ember and Verminard).

   On the side, they dealt with a bunch of Draconian’s who’d come to see what was going on with the slaves. At least that provided a brief distraction from trying to figure out what to do with hundreds of hostages.

 

   Step one would have to be getting the kids. A long discussion on how the group could get by the Draconian guards got cut off as Raven simply wandered up to them and got thrown in with the other kids with a kick. The ensuing conversation with Flamestrike (and the children) kept her busy while the rest of the group “dealt with” the guards. Meanwhile Raven had an idea; Flamestrike wanted her children so. Perhaps – (Things got confused as the rest of the party burst in and WyrmSlayer burst into it’s full, incandescent, fury. Flamestrike was not pleased. Sadly, Tanis was too busy being heroic to listen to Raven telling him to get out. “Get out of here kid!”. Raven resorted to a charm spell. “Go away! Take that stupid sword, and GO AWAY!”). As the others took the children out Raven turned to Flamestrike.

 

   “Dracon. Elemental spirit bound in failing flesh. Let your fires burn. Transcend the spreading night. Go free of ancient bonds. Spread wings of flame across eternity. We stand outside of time. Call your children – they are young, and have no guide.”

 

 

   OW! OW! OW! (Raven blew on his hands frantically. Never lay hands on a greater elemental spirit. Where’d that come from? What’d I do?!?), and looked around at four blazing dragon-spirits. Uh-oh. I hope I’m/We’re not in trouble. Uhmmm. Hi?

   Autumnsfire, Sunspark, and Forgelight, were confused; They’d been dying – when they felt their mother and some other, elemental, power reaching out to them. Now they were here (wherever that was) and alive, if transformed, and. (Flamestrike was not. So small a child to channel such a power, to offer such a gift. Not to frighten him.) “We’ll just stay here for a few years – and get acquainted again and get used to this.” (Raven (edging for the door) “Uhmm. OK! Bye.” – and fled).

 

   Outside, the others had let the slaves out – and were trying to get them moving. It wasn’t working. Too many draconians in the passages. That left the courtyard as the only way out. Verminard and Ember were waiting. This wasn’t good. Even the usual, villainous, egotistical, speech didn’t give everyone enough time. Fortunately, Flamestrike was not about to permit the children she’d watched over die in Ember’s flames. She and her children rose to defend them. (Raistlin; Four? (Raised eyebrow) Raven? What did you do!?! Raven (timidly) Well – She wanted her children.). Ember never had a chance; the energy-flare shattered half the mountain. Meanwhile, in the courtyard, Verminard tried to fight everyone at once. This did not work. After a bit of looting, Raven shoved his body down into the solid rock just in case.

   Along the way a few of the others went chasing Eben (and some guy with a big green rock stuck in his chest). They “lost them” when a hundred tons of rock came down on them. Cordelia and the group made a quick visit to the elves to pick up their reward, but taking refugees into the war zone seemed a bit counterproductive. They took them to the dwarven kingdom of southgate instead. That left Pax Tharkas, and its “garrison” of elemental dragon spirits, to guard the pass behind them. Fizbin, however, had disappeared.

   The dwarves let them in. They’d seen the energy-flare. However they’d done it, this group had already blown up one mountian. Of course, food was short and the humans weren’t happy underground. The refugees came up with a plan; They’d go to Tarsis, and hire ships to sail away. They wanted the group to go to Tarsis and enquire, despite the fact that no one had heard from the Tarsis since the cacataclysm.

   Raven thought this was idiocy. He wanted to know a bit more before he set off to wade through a hundred miles of slush. He’d finally gotten the “scrying pool” spell figured out. Tarsis turned out to be landlocked. Still, it wasn’t under attack yet. They might be able to obtain some allies, supplies, or information. After delaying a bit for Goldmoon’s and Riverwind’s wedding (and a brief appearance by the guy with a rock stuck in his chest. Oh well – if he could survive having one stuck in his heart, a few on his head shouldn’t be much more difficult to manage), the selected scouts (Tasslehoff, Tanis, Caramon, Corker, Raistlin, Sturm and Raven (Who was tagging along after Raistlin) left for Tarsis.

   The trip was a mess. Slush, snow, and sleet. Freezing winds and bitter cold. Tanis scowling at Raven. Along the way they collected Taliff Starslayer, a black-robe Necromancer who was travelling to Tarsis to buy “Frost Flowers” (Some weird spell component). They might not have accepted a black-robe but by that time anyone was welcome. Besides, he was so good at blowing apart the pesky ice trolls. They also collected Talos Pendragon, a lost minotaur, while Lady Sitharil literaly fell out of an interdimensional portal that opened up overhead. (Raven demanded that Tasslehoff search his pouches for whatever people-attracting charm he was carrying – but nothing was found). Taliff and Talos fitted in readily (Travelling together was so much safer) – but Sitharil didn’t even know which planet this was (Which provoked an eager discussion among the mages, who hadn’t really known that there were any others.).

   Tarsis wasn’t worth much. The inn was shoddy (and the minotaur threw a fit) while everyone seemed to take an instant dislike to Sturm. Something about his being a knight. Talos, however, truly worked at making himself obnoxious – threatening the innkeeper until everything was on the house, and drinking up his private stock of wime. While the city guards showed up too soon, Raven had already stuffed himself and his pockets. He pulled the same trick as last time and just trailed after them. They hadn’t been able to find any up-to-date maps, but the city council probably had one – and they seemed to have every available guard keeping a watch on the rest of the group. It would be a good time to sneak into the city library with Tasslehoff.

   The rest of the group met with Citylord Diram, slew a Draconian who was manipulating the council, listened to Taliff engage in skillful oratory, watched Sturm go to the aid of a lady in distress (Knights <Sigh>), and got an up-to-date map (“That’s all you want?!). In the meantime Raven and Tasslehoff ran amuck through the city library and treasury – until Raven had to call a small earth elemental to help them carry all the stuff which they stole.

   Back at the “Inn”, Lady Alhana Starbreeze, Princess of Silvanesti, was trying to convince everyone to head for Silvanesti with her. With several hundred refugees to worry about, the group was not receptive. In fact, they pretty much ignored her while planning. Luckily, another traveler was in town. [Aerium was annoyed. It had seemed like such a good idea. He’d salvaged the log from that old wreck, and found directions to a world that had been forgotten for centuries. A lost trade route. Lists of thriving, busy, cities with appetites for rare and unique items. Potential for vast profits. He took the gamble and found nothing but ruins and hovels. Still, this group looked promising. From the sound of the conversation they needed some fast transportation. OK, so it probably wouldn’t pay very much – but it was better then nothing.] Aerium made his offer – and then had to spend several minutes explaining. The group was dubious until Raven showed up dragging a huge chest of gold (Tasslehoff had though it was pretty). Raven (a bit nervous) wanted to leave town fast – and this looked like a good chance to do so. Besides; they’d been sent to look for a boat, and they’d found one for hire in a landlocked city. (The gods were with them again). He voted to hire it, and get out and hold further discussions on board. Even if they decided to go with Lady Alhana afterwards they had an obligation to discharge first – despite Lady Alhana’s (repeated) offer to let them use her griffons.

   It sounded like a plan.

   Despite the scene at Southgate (“We found a boat!”) some trouble picking a continent, and buzzing the city full of minotaurs (“No No No! You’re missing the water again!”), they successfully found their refugees homes on Taladas.

   Afterwards there was some discussion. The war was on hold for the winter months, and Aerium gave the group a chance to visit other worlds until the war picked up again. Tasslehoff had found some magical glasses and a book about dragons, but the clues were very vague. He was excited about visiting other worlds anyway.

   Goldmoon and Riverwind were teaching the worship of the old gods. Flint was getting the dwarves organized. Laurana and Gilthanis were needed in Qualinesti. Tanis and Sturm decided to go with Alhana.

   Raistlin, Caramon, Tasslehoff and Taliff, found other worlds a lure impossible to resist. Talos and Cordelia were up for anything more profitable then “digging in” for the winter. Raven wasn’t sure (He still cherished hopes of finding his mother) until Aurcalon dropped by to tell him that she might not be on Krynn. Besides, it’d let him borrow those glasses Tasslehoff had found (Mr Raistlin? I found all this stuff, but I can’t tell what any of it does. Could you look at it for me?).

   Talos and Sitharil found a. private way to make the time pass in space, but Raven was disappointed because Aerium wouldn’t show him how to make the boat go. He got his chance when they got out of wildspace and into the flow. That was something he could feel. He’d push the boat his own way! (Aerium nearly had hysterics – and then started speculating. Raven’s talents induced a quickflow that got them to realmspace in about fifteen minutes, instead of two months. This kid would be well worth keeping an eye on and investigating). “How’d you do that kid? “Uhmm. Pushed?” (He doesn’t know. Damn. Can’t just grab him. Who knows what would happen if he got upset? Still, I could make such a profit.)

   Aerium took them to the city of Waterdeep. He had connections there – and, while the group had some cash left, he might be able to bail them out of something and get them in his debt.

   Talos provoked lots of comment in Waterdeep, as did most of the character’s general unfamiliarity with the world. Aerium decided to take them to the undercity.

    The Inn of the Drunken Dagger would do nicely. They were used to weirdness. It was a spelljammers hangout. Sort of a private facility. They’d take any kind of currency. They saw a lot of things. Leonine centaurs. Wandering black and red skeletons. Drow. Beholders (Kid? Don’t upset those things) and other strange creatures. The Drunken Dagger Inn looked like a dive from outside but the inside was pretty good. Raven ate a lot, Talos complained, and Cordelia tried all the local brands of beer. Taliff and Raistlin found some new robes. Their’s had faded once they’d passed beyond Krynn’s moons, but they were used to them.

 

   Morning was a shock; Skullport was the same but the Drunken Dagger Inn had definitely gone downhill. The bar – and the rooms – were a mess. Illusions. Still, that dimensional instability seemed to be partially to blame. Apparently the aspects only got maintence when they were “phased in”. Still, they could have handled that. What was worse was that three (Raistlin, Caramon and Sitharil) of their friends had disappeared. Aerium called Raven and Taliff over to the bar to explain that; a) the bar was a dimensional nexus and b) that the other three had been picked up by one Elminister, a powerful mage. They apparently had a destiny to fulfill back on Krynn. They’d left a few notes and Raistlin had left some copies of his spell books – although Raven had to make Taliff his own copies of the higher-level spells. (Raistlin hadn’t had the time). They were also warned that some doors “weren’t so good”. They should leave through the one behind the bar. Some of the others led to places like Ravenloft – or to “Planescape”.

 

   They decided to try another Inn.

 

   The Safehaven Inn in the adventurers quarter seemed to be a nice place, until a bard started singing about The Last Stand Of The Allies Of Azuredge (That sounded vaguely ominous), and a blue battleaxe materialized in a burst of blue magic and embedded itself in a beam. Raven groaned. Was this going to happen everywhere? First a song, then blue magic, then an artifact and then a great quest. He could see it coming now – especially since it was talking to him mentally. (Meanwhile, the elderly mage Alcedor Kolat frantically scribbled notes while the bard Arkiem Arren observed – with interest). Oh well. He poked it, and the thing promptly leapt into his hands – whereupon Arkiem proclaimed them to be the company of the blue axe. Talos and Lotus (A priest of Tempus, god of war) started a barroom brawl, and Alcedor took Raven and Taliff out to talk to them. He was all enthused. He wanted them to go and talk to Khelben Arunsun, the local mage-lord, and then to go and fight a Dracolich. Raven and Taliff objected – while Raven insisted that Azuredge was bonkers. Alcedor apparently revised his idea that he was speaking with a disguised adult, but felt that the blue axe had it’s own ways of testing – and that it must “See something great in the little one’s future”. (It must be that nasty “destiny” stuff again). Everyone decided to go back to Skullport and the Drunken Dagger Inn. Along the way they were attacked by some drow who wanted the Axe. Raven tried to hand it over, but it “zapped” them instead. Two got away – but not before everyone got a lot of drow junk. Sadly, they couldn’t leave through the bar. (Azuredge apparently blocked the nexus somehow). Talos went off chasing drow, Taliff began planning to rent a villa or house, Tasslehoff wandered off to explore, Raven burst into tears (I don’ wanna get eaten by a dragon!) – and Alcedor showed up to apologize for being over-hasty.

 

   Over the next few weeks; Taliff set up a lab, Raven got acquainted with the city (and the local urchins) – and Talos got lured into a building in Skullport, where he was “charmed” by a thing with lots of eyes. Meanwhile, the rest of the group settled into “Fairwinds Villa” and traded the drow gear for cash and more useful stuff. All too soon, some more drow, and Talos, and Wrath and his sister Soviah) showed up to make them go see Zanathar.

 

   They didn’t.

 

   All that drow gear gave them enough cash to buy the villa outright, and still have quite a treasury. Wrath and Soviah Darksinger got away again.

 

   But they managed to rescue Talos.

 

   Unfortunately – despite determined attempts to deny it – this “small confrontation” firmly established the group as The Company Of The Blue Axe. Taliff promptly told the servants to direct any and all such enquiries elsewhere, or to slam the door on them, as seemed most appropriate. Still, they had enough time to set up the mansion, help some of the street kids, hire a staff, and to try to keep the kitchen ahead of Raven (and the other street urchins). It also provided time for one Duran Blackthorn, an elven psiontist, to show up and attempt to join their (nonexistent) “company” – as well as for Talos to attempt to go into business as a carpenter.

 

   Meanwhile, Timmy had been sharing information about Waterdeep – places (and people) for urchins to stay away from. Raven got a bit outraged over some of the people and put an end to that. The Drow and Zombies wandering the city at night were quite another thing altogether – especially after they began snatching kids. Raven handed out some cash, and got the urchins off the street for a bit – but Timmy had already gone missing and Lord Piergeiron, The Open Lord Of Waterdeep, was here to see them. Apparently noble kids had been vanishing from their homes as well – and he wanted us to look into it (“Why us?!”). They had a drow-captian “Notrath” in a cell. The group got him to talk via horrible threats, courtesy of Raven. It seemed that the group was supposed to trot off into a booby-trap – courtesy of the Zanathar – at “Dagguera Castle”, some thirty miles to the east. The place was heavily fortified and crawling with monsters – as well as being an important stronghold of the Zanathar guild of thieves.

 

   The group got some healing supplies – and decided to jump straight into the trap and kick it apart from the inside.

 

   Everyone headed out on a lovely autumn day, blasted a pesky group of trolls, and bought the Trollsford Inn (Well, Taliff did, renaming it the Bottomless Goblet), and hired a priest and a heroic samurai – wherever he came from – to help out. At Dagguera Castle they were “met” by Timmy’s body on a stake. Taliff took him down and said that He’d been dead three days; well within range of the cleric’s “Speak WIth Dead”. It turned out that he’d been grabbed by a very tall dark elf and that the other kids were being turned into zombies – although a reversal spell existed. Hence the group needed to be careful with the zombies. Well – the group could still blast everything else. They did. Monsters died, snakes got D-Doored past, the samurai pulled a glowing golden sword out of a rock and a L1 illusionist drow tried to scare everyone off with an image of six (!) Tarrasques in a 10×8 corridor. Raven nearly laughed himself to death. The group captured and took him along just for the gag value. After bribing some Mind Flayers to go away, the group ran straight into thirty drow. Luckily for everyone, their tactics were awful. (Raven; “This is how species become extinct!”). They just lined up to get Webbed and massacred (Via a Ring Of Free Action). That let the group grab the “living being to zombie” – and vice-versa – spell formula.

   That still left getting the child-zombies to use it on. They were – of course – ordered to attack. Raven simply shoved the smaller ones into a “portable hole”, the evil cleric we’d hired commanded others and everyone else went after the drow who were in charge – Wrath, and his sister, Soviah, yet again. Sadly, they got away – yet again. Oh well, maybe next time.

   Turning back the zombies took awhile. They even got Timmy back, by having the evil priestess turn him into a zombie first.

 

   The return was a very large, and confused, parade.

 

   At least the nobles paid decently, both in cash and in gratitude. They would have missed their children.

 

   Back at Fairwinds, a tall dark mysterious gypsy had come knocking at the door. He wanted to join up with the Company Of The Blue Axe. Armond did as instructed – sending him across town on a wild goose chase.

   Meanwhile, Taliff had run out of the components for the “Living Being To Zombie” spell. That put an end to playing with it for the the moment. Just getting more of some of those components would be a major quest.

 

   Days later, everybody awoke in a most uncomfortable situation. It seemed that our nemesis “The Zanathar!” had paid a great deal to set everyone up. Some high- powered sleep spells on top of a drugged dinner, and a few other precautions. They still had trouble; Talos had bashed two to death in his sleep, Taliff’s wards and traps had gotten several of them, and Raven had proved unexpectedly difficult, asleep or not. (Zaaap! “Orders were to take their gear off of them!” “You do it! I’m not winding up like Zareel there! He’s crisped!” “Blue magic? He’s probably got that bedamned axe in there. Leave it alone. According to Armand he’s mostly got it packed full of sandwiches anyway, and Zanathar wants him to have it. We’ve got most of the stuff they bought. Anything else on him?” “How should I know? Look at the way he glows! The last pocket I looked into had a fire elemental in it!” (Sigh) “Just get the chains on him”.

   Everyone woke up locked into an underground room in (Mithril?) chains. Wrath and a couple of other drow were standing guard. There was complaint and argument, mostly about how incredibly rude this was – and how we’d have been willing to talk if Zanathar had just made an appointment. During this distraction Raven got out of his chains with a little elemental help, and took some stomach herbs. His was bothering him. He fed some to Duran as well (as a psiontist they’d drugged him), and stole the chains while he was at it. Mithril cost a LOT.

   Meanwhile, the discussion with Wrath was a failure, so Duran turned into a werebear, and threatened to crush him into jelly and/or gnaw his head off. Raven stole Taliff’s chains as well – and then The Zanathar arrived.

   That led to more negotiations. It turned out that The Zanathar simply wanted the “services” of Azuredges user for a few weeks. That was something Taliff could get his negotiating teeth into. The child would have power, true, but wasn’t he a bit young? He didn’t even seem to have any clear idea of what he could do – much less what the axe did. Surely the odds on getting this jub done would be far better if they waited for him to grow up first? This discussion went on for some time, but with Taliff on the job the outcome was never truly in doubt. Taliff and The Zanathar agreed that they’d see about this “job” when Raven grew up, and the group departed, blindfolded to conceal the exact location of The Zanathar’s secret hideout.

   Armond was extremely shocked to see them. That soon gave way to panicked begging – and then screaming. Duran was still in wereform, and Armond made a tasty meal. Taliff hung what was left on a post to make the point. Azuredge spoke up for once (Uhmmm. You really don’t want me do you?). Raven explained that he didn’t mind – but if she wanted something done, maybe she ought to explain a little? She did. 1) There was going to be an invasion in about two years – and 2) even if he didn’t know how to use a battleaxe, she could guide him if he needed it. If Raven wasn’t willing to carry her until then, she supposed she could get Khelben to put her in safekeeping till the invasion came along. Raven was willing to carry her – but he still doesn’t think he’s especially suited to using a battleaxe. Meanwhile, he had a werebear’s head to get straightened out.

   They’d barely gotten everything replaced and repaired when the Lady Sitharil (“Actually it’s Ariana; I don’t give out my real name to just anybody I meet”), showed up again. Someone had gotten a hold of a “Chaos Orb”, and the entire universe was in danger. Raven was a bit skeptical (It’s not another of those “eternity shards” again is it?), but managed to get Azuredge to agree to some dimension travel. (Look – if the whole universe gets destroyed Waterdeep will go too right? Lets go!). Thanks to Duran’s mastery of Probability Travel it was off the city of doors. A quick D-Door – augmented by the nature of the place – took them to “the spine” – and to somebody’s office. They’d equipped for the city at Aurora’s but (according to Ariana’s “friend”) they had to make a trip to the elemental plane of fire first. That meant protection – and that meant going shopping. Annoyingly, the shop had just been robbed, and nothing was available. They’d just have to trace the thieves and steal the stock back again. (“Hey! Howcom one of my pouches is fulla stars and stuff, instead of my chocolate eclairs?” “Hush Raven”).

   The group headed into the hive. It turned out that the Black Dagger Thieves Guild usually hung out in the “Drunken Dagger Inn” (Hence the name). The group hired a friend of Ariana’s (“The Rat” “Charming friends you have Ariana”) to get us there. The thieves confirmed that they’d burgled the shop, but even Taliff’s silver tongue and plentiful cash wouldn’t get them to give us the location of the guildmaster. Bored, Raven wandered off and started planting some notes (“Hi! Isn’t it about time you paid your protection fees to the Black Dagger Thieves Guild?”, and similar statements) in some wealthy pouches.

   The resulting crowd was easy to follow. Thinking that this’d be a fine diversion, Raven and Taliff went around the back to sneak in, and steal the stuff back. This got complicated when Talos and Duran began fighting in the street and the thieves ran back inside. They had to burn the place down to cover things up.

   Outside, the “Doom Guards” were arriving (“Ere Now! What’s All This Then?”), so Duran opened up one of his portals and jumped through, accompanied by Talos and Louie the gypsy (Seems it’s hard to get rid of a gypsy. He’d been following). (“Do we have to keep’em? Gypsies are bad! They’re really conspicuous and they make everybody watch their stuff real close!”)

   Lacking time, the group kept him. Duran was far too tired to open another dimensional portal, so they left thru the back door. No one would pay much attention to another group getting out of a burning building.

   (Confusion. A smoldering pit and no memory and a random selection of basic gear. Not enough to tell him much. He had a vague memory of being called “Slayer”. Slayer of what? Never mind, it would do for a name for now. A look around seemed called for. Hmmmm. Evidently he was a skilled climber – at least to judge from his current location. Now why were all those people so upset? It wasn’t like he was damaging anything. Now there was something. That guy seemed familiar. He’d follow. No he wouldn’t. That minotaur with him was trying to get him. Evasive action time).

   (What do you mean we “should take that fellow too”? You’re getting very talkative recently! So how do you suggest we catch him? You’ll send a messenger? A Neat trick. If I ever catch that nasty destiny person I’m gonna hit’im in the knees with you, Ms Azuredge!)

   The group headed back to the shop, sorting out what wasn’t on it’s inventory along the way. Ariana showed up with Caven, a warrior-henchperson, who’d apparently been on this little errand before. He wasn’t really much help. The last group hadn’t gotten very far, and had even less information. Oh well. The group returned the merchant’s stuff (You actually got it?), and got the fire resistance stuff they’d need. Ariana had to see her faction to get us a return-trip talisman – and Duran needed to rest until his strength came back. With a days delay, Raven called up some “micro-elementals” to get their view of the place. That got a map and a few notes on the defenses (At least those that were at all relevant to elementals. Sigh.)

   They arrived on the entryway steps. Going up them seemed like a bad idea. Castles were designed to stop that. The windows seemed like a much better bet. The hobgoblins were actually friendly and let Raven in (Of course they were dead drunk) so he just sprinkled some sleeping powder. That should keep them unconscious for quite a while. The keys wouldn’t be missed until they woke up, and the bars could be replaced. The next room contained a party – and a couple of guards they had to divert/disgust. Since the party had moved up the grand staircase, the group had to follow. There were giant two-headed trolls in the way. They dropped the ceiling on them – and broke up the party with a fire alarm. It seemed appropriate somehow. In the ensuing confusion, smoke and fire, it was fairly easy to snatch the orb and get out. (“But when do we get some treasure?!?” “Shhh! We’ll sell the orb, and you got a free fire resistance ring out of it. What do you want?”)

   Back in the “City of Doors” the group promptly used the hypnotic “side effect” of one of the most powerful artifacts in existence to confuse minor civil servants and to get free drinks and food from a bartender. (The Gods giggled madly). They left the bar for Toril, but were invited back for a spelljammers party that night, and sent a message to Elminister. Elminister opened a portal for them and enquired as to what they wanted as a reward (EG; “Sale Price”) for the chaos orb.

 

   Most of them had to think about that.

 

   Raven didn’t.

 

   “Where’re my parents? Why did they leave me alone?” Elminster winced. “I’ll see what I can find out child. It may take a while. Despite what they say, I don’t know everything”.

   “Later.” Raven had heard that many times before. It meant “Never”. He quietly turned away. Nobody’d help him. Gods an’ Wizards an’ EVERYONE just said that they didn’t know.

   (NOW what was wrong? Oh well. get to it in a bit. There were still the others to deal with);

   Taliff wanted a “letter of introduction” to the guy who owned the Drunken Dagger. Well, THAT was easy.

   Talos wanted a magic waraxe, so he could hit things even better. Also pretty easy.

   Ariana wanted some better armor. Still easy.

   Duran wanted armor that’d shapeshift with him. Now that might take some work, but it was reasonable.

   Louie was stealing the silverware. OK – he’d count that as his payment. A little silver was easy to come by, and the man would obviously cherish the thought that he’d gotten away with ripping off a master mage.

   As for “Slayer”; His memory and a trip home? OK.

 

   Now what was wrong with… Oh. Promises to a street urchin rarely meant very much. They were usually just a way to put them off. He spent a few minutes telling Raven that he took his promises extremely seriously. That he’d at least give him a definite spot to look in and that He could tell that his parents were still alive already.

   The links between a parent and a child made it easy to tell that much.

 

   Then he sent them back to the party.

 

   There were brawls, Drow (And Wrath, who finally got himself killed by a barbarian), a debate with the bars mage-owner, minotaur arm-wrestling, a few instructions on the use of the various worldgates, and a selection of quests up for grabs – and they weren’t due back on Krynn until it was time for the spring campaign. Given the gateways, that would be no trouble at all. They could do all kinds of things with that much time.

 

   Sadly, Phil closed down the game at this point.

 

 

   Pickup Game (Actually there have been lots of these – but few worth remembering).

 

 

   The Serpent’s Path: The kidnaping and imprisonment of an old ally (Evidently Soladon – we never got a lot of detail on who) led to his order calling in Raven, and an oddly assorted collection of old friends, to go and rescue him. This got complicated – as the ninja cult who’d taken him turned out to have major magical back- ing and to be in the service of a couple of dragons. It was a lengthy dungeon crawl.

   -OK, so the GM simply announced that the characters were old friends, and were going to rescue another old friend. It was an easy way to start things off.

 

 

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