Origin Myth: The World of Relatus

This is the story that I learned from my grandfather, who, in turn, learned it from his grandfather, who also learned it from his grandfather, and so on a hundred such times, until our ancestor who heard it spoken from the Lady of Earth herself.

Before time began, there was chaos.  Pure and unbridled, the chaos was bound by no known laws of this world, something could emerge from nothing, and something could return to nothing without warning.  This chaos churned and roiled for eons, creating in one instant, and destroying in the next.  The chaos had no will of its own, but it would, on occasion create beings with wills from it.  Most lived short lives, brought into existence without reason or purpose, only to be extinguished by the same forces that created them.

Yet, the chaos would continue to churn, and wills would continue to be born.  It was, perhaps, inevitable that a chaos with no will and no rules would eventually create its own.  “I am!” One will said “And I will not be destroyed!”  and the chaos obeyed, but continued to spin and seethe.

“I am!” another will called out “I am!” a third chimed in, “I am!” cried a forth, and another, and another, as countless such wills were born from the ripples of the chaos.

The wills would speak and the chaos would obey, but all such wills were born from chaos, and no consensus could be reached.  Some sought to bring order to the chaos, while others desired nothing more than the destroy the creations of others.

Those that wished to create created and those that wished to destroy destroyed.  Again and again, the creators saw their designs undone by the destroyers.  Some of them gathered, seeking to combine their power to preserve what they wished to make.  “Come,” said one, the first will to declare “I am” to the chaos “Let us shape our own space in the chaos, so that none of the others may interfere!” and thus did the wills did begin to carve out their own universe in the chaos.

However, even the creators could not agree on what they desired.  Some desired perfect order, the opposite of the chaos from which they were born, others chaffed under the prospect of such rules, simply seeking a space where they could create to their whimsy.  Many simply left the universe to return to the chaos and create spaces of their own.  The First, however, would not.

“I am the First!” It declared “I conceived of this universe!  It is mine to do with as I please!” But the remaining wills would not consent, “It is ours!” They declared “All of us made it together, we will not be ruled by you!” Angered, the First betrayed the remaining creators, and allowed destroyers into the universe.  For the first time, the wills engaged in true battle, seeking not only to destroy the creations of others, but to destroy the other wills themselves.

The battle raged, shaking the universe to its core, and wills on both sides perished and returned to the chaos.  In the end, only four creators remained standing against the First.  The First knew that the Four would prevail, but refused to surrender the universe.  “We will unmake it.” The First offered “Return it to the chaos and go our separate ways.  The Four of you are strong enough to make a universe on your own, but I will not give you mine!”

The Four considered the First’s offer, but could not accept.  Even with the destruction their battle had left, there was still much in the universe they loved.  They engaged the First in a final battle, and barely managing to emerge victorious.

“I curse you!” The First spat “I curse your creation!  All you have made shall fall to ruin!  All shall come to an end!  All life you have made shall suffer!  They shall kill, hurt and maim each other!  They shall inflict evil on each other!  They will all experience misery and death!  I carve this curse into the fabric of the universe itself, and shall exist until you return it to the chaos with your own hands!”

Using every ounce of remaining power, the First melded with the universe, refusing to be denied it.  And thus, were the Four the only creators left, unrivaled in power within it, but unable to break the First’s curse.  They looked to destruction that was caused by their battle, and the suffering caused by the First’s Curse, and wept.

“Shall we destroy it after all?” The eldest, born not long after the First, asked “All that exists shall rot, and all that lives suffers.”  The Four sat in silence, until the youngest spoke:

“I shall give them a gift as the air, invisible, yet present.  The knowledge that though they may suffer, and though they may rot, it shall not always be so.” And thus she gave us the gift of Hope, and came to be called Aura, the Lady of Air.

“I shall give them a gift as the water.” The second youngest agreed “Much as Water takes on a new shape when placed in a new container, so too shall they be able to adapt to new situations to overcome their suffering.” And thus she gave us the gift of Knowledge, and came to be called Unda, the Lady of Water.

“I will give them a gift as the flame.” The second eldest spoke “Powerful, warm, but one that must be tempered lest they be consumed by it.  But it shall be a powerful blade that grants them the strength to cut through their suffering.” And thus she gave us the gift of Passion, and came to be called Ignia, the Lady of Fire.

The eldest paused, would such gifts be enough to overcome the curse of the First?  “I will give them a gift as the earth.” She finally said “Solid and strong, and slow to rot, this shall be the power to endure suffering when the other gifts fail.”  And thus she gave us the gift of Fortitude, and came to be called Terana, the Lady of Earth.

The Four then set out to repair the damage cause by the battle with the First, and then retired to their places of rest.  To this day, do the Four stand watch over us, protecting us from the intrusions of the destroyers and granting us their blessings.

 

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Kaigan – Session 2 – Murder in the Basement

Last Friday, we got together for Kaigan again.  Had to make it work with the convention, but I think we got a fairly good session overall.

We start with Yamoto’s mother charging Ichihara and Rin with finding who killed her son.  Both of them agree and head their separate ways to commence their own investigations.

Rin decides he needs to interrogate Takeshi about the killing, and brings him up with him to ring the bell to signal the time of mourning, questions him slightly, but then prays to his god for aide in subduing him.  I kind of waffle on this roll for a while, because I wasn’t even really feeling that a roll to subdue this guy would be needed, but getting the blessing from the god WAS important.  I think in retrospect I should have been up front in what I was thinking and suggested a “Guidance” roll (or no roll) instead.

Ichihara goes to the meeting room and finds the elders, including his estranged father, trying to calm things down but the Eye and the Rising Dragons are still fighting.  He has JUST enough rank where he  can get away with speaking up during this meeting, but probably shouldn’t.  He FoRKs in a bunch of stuff and manages to convince the two sides to not start anything during the period of mourning.  It worked well enough that his dad can’t really say anything negative about it, although he does think Ichihara saying ANYTHING is out of line.

Takezo, meanwhile tries to get some of the Rising Dragon’s lower level grunts drunk and talking.  They don’t know anything about the murder of about the burning of The Eye’s ships that the Dragons are supposedly involved in.  But they do give him the name of a group of foreigners that they work with.

Ichihara and Takezo meet up, and Ichihara asks Takezo to go check in with Rin, while Ichihara tries to see if anyone can translate those markings on the wall and blade.  I ask for a circles test, with some heavy “Here and now” penalties unless he is willing to break the period of Mourning that has just begun.  He decides not to go for it as a result.

Takezo and Rin meet up and manage to secretly agree that they are going to take Takeshi to a secret place in the manor and interrogate them there.  I ask for a beginner’s luck wise test to know such a place, which they end up failing.  There’s an old wine cellar just off the main one, Rin never sees anyone go in there!  The two of them convince Takeshi that they need to go down there and get some wine for the meeting.

Ichihara decides he wants to talk to the Rising Dragons as well, and meets with one of their leader’s aides.  He again wants a translator, but since this was a meeting between two Kaigan native families there was no need for the Dragons to bring one.  He talks with him for a while longer and eventually becomes convinced that this guy doesn’t know anything about the Dragons being involved in burning the eye’s ships, although, given how fractured the Rising Dragons are, it is possible one of the sub clans were acting alone.

Takezo and Rin take Takeshi down to the wine cellar and get the jump on him.  They block the door and bind Takeshi and start trying to threaten him, when they hear the sound of someone trying to open the blocked door.  Rin hides with Takeshi, while Takezo sees who it is.  It turns out people rarely go down here because this is where the higher ups private reserves are kept, and typically only used for special occasions, like when they need to appease some visiting crime bosses.

The maid they sent down to get some of this good wine is curious what Takezo is doing down here, worried that he is stealing wine and she’ll be blamed for it.  Takezo gives her some lies, which he fails to convince her of, and then tries to threaten her, which scares her enough to try and flee!  He grabs her to stop her from fleeing and then manages to decapitate her!

The two of them then take Takeshi and try to interrogate him for real.  Fail.  He tells them everything he knows, and then, when that’s not good enough, he starts making stuff up!  Eventually they decide to believe his story about it being one of Ichihara’s father’s men who did the deed.  Satisfied, they decide to kill Takeshi and try to make it look like a murder-suicide.  How effective this will be with the Maid’s head cut off is debatable.

Takezo makes Rin commit the killing blow to Takezo, saying “we’re in this together” and Rin stabs him a few times with the same blade, and then uses the Maid’s dead hands to choke Takeshi as he bleeds out.

We ended there and handed out a reasonable amount of artha, next week will likely mostly be about the fallout of what happened in that wine-cellar.!

Gamestorm 2018

Last weekend was my local gaming convention which I go to every year.  Personally, I think I have had better years at the convention.  A few factors from seemed to converge, none of which were the fault of the organizers, but taken as whole probably reduced the overall experience for me personally.

  • I couldn’t really afford the vacation to take Thursday and Friday off, and Friday evening I had Kaigan which I didn’t really feel like I should delay this week.   This meant I couldn’t stay up late for events on Thursday, and only really had time for one event on Friday.
  • All my friends who went this year were working the con to get in for free.  Normally this is not a big deal but the rooms their department was running were fairly spread out and they were actually pretty busy this year and our schedules didn’t line up as well as they normally do.
  • The online sign up system for events seems to be taking off.  I’ve been ignoring it up until this point but I will have to change that next year, a lot of events I wanted to do were completely booked before the con even started.
  • I was still doing a lot of scheduled events, which are pretty fun, but it is very difficult to pack them tight enough to keep from having a lot of downtime in between like you can in games with your friends, particularly when a lot of them are full as I mentioned above.

All things considered though, I definitely still had a good time, and happily signed up for next year (ever year I think that next year I want to run some events, so we’ll see in a year if I actually do it).  Highlights of the con include:

  • D&D: Got in a session of AD&D 1e and a session of 5e in, somehow I ended up being a dwarf in both
    • The AD&D game was done by a normal attendee, who had clearly been running it for a while, seems like he took a break around when his son was born, but now ran for him and his friends.  He had a binder full of maps of his campaign world and clearly put a lot of thought into it.  We tried to help some Druids whose grove had been corrupted and came REALLY close, but ended up dying to a Shambling Mound due to some bad luck and the fact we skipped the magic items that would have helped us.  Fun times overall.
    • The 5e game was done via the official adventure’s league, and was technically a “Learn to play” event.  I’ve played 5e a handful of times, but I saw a sign up sheet for this particular session had only 2 names on it and started soon and fit my schedule.  I grabbed a cleric pregen and played through a short intro session with a father and son pair.  The GM we had was really solid and enabled a lot of new player shenanigans, up to the climax of the adventure being the father’s character fashioning a improvised lasso and then critting to capture the boss mage that way, who I then held hostage to get the grunts to surrender.
  • Shadowrun: Was done by the organized play group we have in town, I’ve never really been besides at cons, but it is fun. It was last year when I last played so I wasn’t really comfortable with the subsystems anymore, as a result I ended up grabbing a pregen fist fighter instead of the decker that group needed more.  It turned out I was the 3rd string just counting the guys who punched things, ignoring the guys with weapons.  Honestly it was a good example of why I don’t like RPGs with large groups (we had 7 counting myself plus the gm), and there were some good players and some bad players there.  I ended up not contributing very much, but the good players at the table were actually very entertaining to watch, so even as a mostly observer it wasn’t a bad time.
  • Lazer Ryderz: This game is all kinda of aesthetic, coming in what looks like an old 80s VHS box set (complete with coloration that makes it look like it has been around that long to) and generally just captures the feeling pretty well.  It’s basically a board game version of the tron light cycle game, and you race around the table leaving a laser behind you and trying not to crash into other people’s lasers, with the goal of the game being to collect 3 of the prisms on the table by driving through them.  I won with a pretty amazing come back, so that might influence why I liked it so much.
  • Zendo: A fun puzzle game where you have colored 3d shapes and have to try to guess a secret rule that one player knows.  We played it last year in a tupperware container, but this year we found a reprint and had fun playing it, even if there was one rule we spent over a half hour and didn’t figure out because the player who knew it made an example that was intentionally tricky (which I was okay with, but it meant we got less games in overall as a result).

There were a few other things I tried that weren’t really worth mentioning, but nothing I played that was really bad, which is nice.  I hope that next year I have that Friday off, but we’ll have to see how things shake out.

 

Plague Island – Session 1 – The Curse of the Idol

Last Friday we had our first session in the game that is alternating weeks with Kaigan. This one which we’ve been calling Plague Island (Probably not a fully accurate name after we went through situation burning, but I titled a blog post after it so we’re stuck with it now!).

We settled on on a pulpy game set in a fantastical version of colonial times, and the game takes place on a topical island that serves as a sort of pit-stop on the way across the sea. The main focus is on the colonial port town of St. Henry’s, a place that was founded by a Spain analogue (Kuspain), but eventually handed over to our Great Britain analogue (B’ret Shen) as part of the terms of some treaty/deal.

As a result, there are three distinct groups of people present on the island. The Ululak, the native people of this island, generally distrust outsiders, but they mostly live in the deep jungle, and the colonists stay near the shore, so there has not been much conflict recently. The B’ret Shen, who are the new “owners” of the Port, and the Kuspanish who refused to leave ‘Port de San Henriquez’ when it was handed over. Right now, tensions are highest between the British and the Spanish as the B’ret Shen Military rule is trying to assert its control.

More immediately though, several people in town have been falling ill, and then becoming violent and irrational at the later stages of the illness, to the point that they have to be put down like rabid animals. In the midst of all this/as the possible root cause, two of the PCs assisted a B’ret Shen researcher, Dr. Birchwood, in his venture into the jungle, where they entered an ancient Ululak temple and stole a Golden Idol.

Dr. Birchwood has come down with the illness himself, and him beginning to reach the later stages of it is where we start our game. Our principle characters are:

  • Namtar: A foreigner from a distant land, a middle-east analogue. Through a series of circumstance Namtar has found himself to be the “Indentured Servant” to Dr. Birchwood. He seeks to forge proof of his freedom and sell the idol to make a life for himself.  He is versed in the spirit binding arts of his native land.
  • Raul: A Kuspanish Woodsman who fell in love with the natural beauty of the island (and one of its natives).  He is strongly against further colonial efforts to expand deeper into the jungle, although served as a guide for Dr. Birchwood’s expedition.  He is the only member of the party with no magical talents.
  • Anju (my character): Raul’s wife, and a native Ululak.  Anju is a neophyte of the religious/magical caste of the Ululak, which invokes the sacred “Rite of Calling” (Summoning).  Somehow the native girl is the only one of the trio that can read, and the only one with any resources to her name (even if it is only a b1)

Anyway, we start with Dr. Birchwood getting worse and Raul thinking his wife can help with this, on the basis of they’ve never seen anything like it before and maybe it is an island thing.  Namtar tries to ask some of the spirits what is going on, but really only succeeds in pissing them off.

Raul and Anju show up and Namtar tries to hide his circination circles but does a pretty bad job of it, and Anju still notices.  Anju, doesn’t really know all that much about the idol or what is going on (thanks Astrology FoRK), but at the very least knows the idol is bad Juju and refuses to have anything to do with it.

At that point, Namtar grabs the idol and Dr. Birchwood appears to “die”, only to get back up and try to claim it from him.  Steel tests are failed, and we go through a rather long series of rolls, which took up most of the session but didn’t really accomplish much overall. I was probably most out of it because I rarely even got a chance to throw helping dice in because Anju has no actual combat skills and never was determined to be the primary roller to beginners luck.  It was one of those situations where busting out the full system didn’t seem nessicary cause the resolution always seemed like “one roll away

End result is that Namtar escapes the room with the idol, Dr. Birchwood goes after him. Anju tries to tell her husband something along the lines “Forget this guy, let the military deal with it” but fails to hold him back.  Raul “kills” Dr. Birchwood, and Anju wants to get out of here to consult with her mentor, but Raul says we should explain ourselves to the authorities.  Fine.

Meanwhile, Namtar has made his way down to the docks, and is trying to find someone to buy the idol ASAP.  He fails a circles roll and ends up talking to some sailors who try to fleece him, he manages to get them to let him speak to their captain, but the failure consequence is that this guy will WANT the idol, but he is not about to BUY it.

Anju talks to the guards and tries to explain that Dr. Birchwood’s behavior as well as those who have been acting the same way, are the result of a terrible curse brought down by an ancient god.  They want her to explain her story to the Admiral and the priest, so they get taken in.

There were some rough patches, and I feel like there were some issues resulting from a mutual miscommunication of the nature of the first scene of the game, but honestly things are shaping up to be interesting and I have high expectations for next time.

Kaigan – Session 1 – The Murder of Yamoto Kaito

Been doing around monthly games of the Gulf of False Hope, would maybe like to do more but it has mostly been falling on me to organize it and provide space for the game.  I’m okay with doing that for the most part, but the end result is that we play less then we in theory could be if we actually fell into the true West Marches style, but I think that might be a blog post for another time.

But basically, that’s been the only gaming I have been doing for a while, and while I am still doing that (hope to have another session on Saturday), I’ve got my Burning Wheel itch going again, and so I ended up joining a group based on an advertisement in the Burning Wheel G+ Group (and also was cross posted to the subreddit).

Much like Kento and Maxim’s stories, this group decided to do some alternating week campaigns, although this being a small group rather than two one on one games, a few folks are only playing (at least for now).

I am running one of the two games, and we just had our first session a week ago.  The situation for this one revolves around the “Free Trade City of Kaigan”, a city which is effectively ruled by various cartels and draws on stocks from all over the world, effectively a lite version of MonBu City.

I’d been playing a lot of Yakuza when I came up with the pitch, so Kaigan ended up having a lot of eastern trappings and traditionalism ended up playing a bit role in the burning. The players are all part of one of these clans, known as the Jade Orchids.  The Orchids are not one of the largest clans in Kaigan, but have traditionally been mediators and peacemakers between the various factions at play within the city.  We decided that the Jade Orchid’s legitimacy in this role was drawn on a combination of tradition, they have been around Kaigan and in this role for a long time, and backing of some of the established religious authority in the city, being seen as agents of Shizukana Hoshi (The Tranquil Star).

In recent times, however, improvements in sailing technology has brought many more foreign traders to Kaigan.  Traders that are both not well versed in Kaigans traditions, and those that follow foreign gods.  In fact, we decided that miracles of faith do not even affect these foreigners, although I think the gods of the established pantheon can affect followers of other gods within the same pantheon (So a Faithful of Athena could affect a follower of Poseidon, but not a follower of Odin or Anubis).  These foreigners often don’t see the need to go through the Orchids to cut deals, which has been undercutting the legitimacy of the group as they have yet to be able to put a stop to it.

Our principle cast consists of:

  • Rin: a Faithful of Shizukana Hoshi, while publicly one of the in-house preachers, Rin secretly serves the clandestine equivalent of Internal Affairs for the Jade Orchids, run by the elderly mother of the current clan head.
  • Takezo: A mid-level enforcer, and bodyguard for the Orchids, Takezo is a true believer in the clan, but more so the traditions and values, rather than the religious aspect, he’s the only PC without the actual Faith trait (There was going to be a
  • Ichihara: A son of a branch family from the line of the Clan leaders, Ichihara found his calling as a Faithful follower or another deity in the pantheon, Arashi no Seigi (The Storm of Justice), which gives us the opportunity to also include the spheres rules from the codex.  Ichihara is a bit at odds with his parents for not following Shizukana Hoshi, but still is fairly respected overall due to his family standing.

We had agreed in burning that the big event that kicks off the game would be the murder of the clan head during a mediation between two of the major clans of Kaigan, and that seemed like the best place to begin.

I go over what the background for the scene, The Eye, one of the major clans in Kaigan, who does a lot of business in trade/smuggling of questionable goods, has had several of their ships burned, and they blame the Rising Dragons, a collection of many smaller clans that have banded together to compete with the larger ones for influence and territory.

The two representatives from the clans agreed to meet, and for such a large matter, the head of the Jade Orchids, Yamoto Kaito, meditates personally.  Some progress has been made, but an impasse had been reached, so Yamoto called for a break and the various leaders retired to separate rooms.

We start play with the three PCs in a room, having been minor parts of the meeting in their own various ways.  Suddenly, Takeshi, one of Yamoto’s personal bodyguards, comes in looking seriously freaked out, demanding help.  They go with him to Yamoto’s private meditation room, where he often spends breaks during tense negotiations like this one.

They find him on the floor with a knife in his back, dead.  A symbol is drawn in blood on the wall, but none of them recognize it.  Shinji, Yamoto’s other bodyguard is protecting the body.

Rin tries to invoke Shizukana Hoshi and revive her boss, but refuses a help die from Ichihara because she thinks her god is all that is needed.  I’m fully prepared to let this miracle take place, but even if he is freshly dead, he’s still dead, and that is nothing short of a major miracle in my books.  10 successes on starting Faith is just too much to ask, and Rin is subjected to an awful revelation (the person who did the deed was a follower of Shizukana Hoshi as well) and passes out from shock as a result.

Ichihara and Takezo spend some time failing rolls and not getting much in the way of clues, but they do get the story from Shinji and Takeshi.  Yamoto regularly retires to this room alone to meditate.  Shinji and Takeshi guard the door from the outside.  There does not seem to be any way in or out of this room besides the door.  They both were outside the door the whole time, and they agree no one went in after Yamoto, until one of the maids, Shinobu, brought Yamoto his regular tea, when the three of them found the body.

They look around the room for hiding places, and while they do find a few potential places where the killer COULD have hidden, no one seems to be there now.  They then try to figure out what they are going to do about the meeting with the clan leaders, and Takeshi runs off to go inform the elders.

Rin wakes up and decides that they should wait on that, and chases after Takeshi, and interrogates him a bit at the same time.  He kind of breaks down from the stress but sticks to his story.  Next Rin tries to get the story from Shinobu, who is very traumatized and the dice aren’t really helping either.  She refuses to go see the body again or talk about what she saw, and Rin doesn’t really feel like forcing her.  Meanwhile, Ichihara and Takezo try to identify the dagger, but can’t make heads or tails of the strange symbols on it either.

They decide to break the news to Yamoto’s mother, who is also Rin’s boss as the spymaster.  Rin and Ichihara go, while Takezo is left with the two bodyguards.

Unfortunately, about now the meeting is scheduled to resume, and Takezo has NO idea what to do about that.  He ends up sending Takeshi to go get some of the elders after all and tries to stall for time.

Yamoto’s mother is distraught by the news of her son’s death, but tries to keep it together and help them figure out, still they are not sure if they quite have enough to go on.  Still, Rin suggests an old tradition (using doctrine, I think?), of having everyone in the house stay within for a period of mourning after someone respected like Yamoto dies, which would include the representatives from the other clans!  The role is passed, so by invoking that tradition, the Rising Dragons and the Eye can’t really complain TOO much, and that should give them more time to investigate.

Unfortunately, Takeshi is the one trying to keep the peace between them, and he REALLY is just muscle for the clan and not actually suited to this sort of thing.  He tries to wise up a topic of conversation that will stall and keep things cordial, but it blows up in his face and the two men end up arguably more pissed at each other than they were before the whole thing started.

We called it there and in two weeks (we are skipping out on playing tonight and next week we play the game I am just a player in) we’ll give the PCs a chance to use this tradition to investigate the murder.

Not much artha was given out, but I am beginning to find this normal for the first few sessions of a game unless it is a very tightly focused one shot.  Still, hopefully we’ll have a better feel for the characters and be able to dive deeper next time!

Inspiration from Xenoblade 2 Partners and Love Stories

I was fortunate enough to get the week between Christmas and New Years off of work, and, naturally, I ended up spending almost all my time playing video games.  In particular I got Xenoblade Chronicles 2 for Christmas put nearly 100 hours into it before I had to go back to work on Tuesday the 2nd. Just based on that alone, I think it is safe to say I had a good time with it.  It has some frustrating points, particularly with some stuff being RNG dependent and grindy if you are going for 100% completion, but honestly I think it is worth a pick up if you are into anime-inspired story heavy JRPGs.

I could go on further about the actual gameplay and parts I would fix vs parts I liked, but this isn’t really a video game review blog.  Instead I want to talk about what inspirations I draw from this game for tabletop roleplaying.   Hopefully the themes I am trying to put into words make sense even to people who haven’t played the game. We are going to touch on some high level themes and some of the basic premises of the game, but not really any plot twists or details beyond the first few hours where they ease you into some of the basic assumptions of the world and the key players. If you are fine with that, or are not really interested in playing the game, click to read on

The Journal of Prince Valdarmin

This was a document I handed out to my group the other night when they successfully managed to retrieve a journal off an old corpse, buried by rubble in the tomb they managed to infiltrate.  Only had one copy at the time, so posting it here so that the whole group can read it.


This document is written in an old, but still understandable dialect of Salvati.  The handwriting contains excessive loops and lines, as though the writer was taught form over readability. 

1st Rusday of Kingsmonth
Today marks the beginning of what is sure to be many great ventures! I, the great Prince Valdarmin, have found, in the archives of my family’s library, a map of the location of an ancient temple, dedicated to the so called “Swamp God”, not too far from the coast of the so called “Gulf of False Hope”. While few see reason to cross the sea in this day and age, I believe my father’s ships are more than capable of such a journey. I will assemble a retinue and retrieve what treasures that temple may hold and prove myself superior to my elder brothers!

2nd Clarasday of Soliscura
It has taken some time to make all the necessary preparations, but today my ship, The Saint Marlos, sets sail for lands unknown! Many sailors seem nervous about heading across the sea to the “Cursed” continent, but I am confident that I have found a superb crew. As our home port begins to disappear over the horizon, many whisper that they fear they may never see it again.

2nd Saintsday of Goldgrass
Land Ho! After far too long at sea, the mysterious continent of Pericolosa is in sight, I suspect we will make landfall shortly.

2nd Gaiusday of Goldgrass
Based on our maps, it would seem that our course had veered too far south during our time at sea. We will sail along the coast until we reach the Gulf!

3rd Marketsday of Goldgrass
The land is beginning to turn inwards on itself, it would seem we have found the Gulf of False Hope!

3rd Bothyna of Goldgrass
Today we saw a great serpent rise out of the sea! While all had heard the tales of such creatures, none have heard of one so close to land. We all thanked the saints that the beast did not seem to take any note of us.

4th Saintsday of Goldgrass
Sailing past the cliffs on the southern cliff-face face of the Gulf, I see a great ruined cathedral, perhaps once our primary expedition is completed, we will investigate that as well!

4th Gaius of Goldgrass
We’ve finally made landing at the mouth of the river we believe is the one depicted on our map! The weather seems to worsening, however, and we will set out after the storm.

4th Marketsday of Goldgrass
The storm has passed, with some damage to the ship, and many of the sailors are waiting behind and repairing it. I shall be setting out for the Temple of the Swamp God with 8 of my most trusted companions!

5th Saintsday of Goldgrass
Following the River, we’ve made camp at the edge of the forest, weather is holding.

5th Rusday of Goldgrass
We ran into a fell creature this morning, one with the face of an owl and the body of a bear, yet stronger than any bear I may have seen. We were able to slay the beast with numbers alone, but Jamore and Lucinus were both stuck down in the process. We buried them and decided to press onward.

5th Astrona of Goldgrass
The forest has given way to swamp, I suppose I should have expected such for the location of a temple of the so called “Swamp God”. The going is slow and the river snakes a lot more through these wetlands, but we are still able to follow it.

5th Markestday of Goldgrass
Darrus was grabbed by a crocodile and puled under. While it proved no threat to us in a fair fight, it was too late for Darrus by the time we got to him. Many of the men wished to turn back, but I reprimanded them for their cowardice! With no place to burry Darrus in this swamp we ended up using much of our oil and wood to cremate him.

1st Saintsday of First Harvest
On this first day of autumn, we have reached the point where two rivers join to create the one we had been following. From here, we are to abandon the River and make due west

1st Clarasday of First Harvest
In the distance, we finally see it, a large rock, one that has been carved in the shape of a skull! We shall camp tonight and enter the maw tomorrow!

1st Marketsday of First Harvest
Everyone but Thamos and I are dead.
We awoke to find much of our things missing, with no explanation apparent. Still, I insisted on entering the temple. The maw of the skull leads down a sloped path, with passageways slightly raised above the slope going off towards each side. We proceeded as deep as we could go and the ramp seemed to lead to a large, flooded room.
Knee deep in swamp water we see an altar ahead of us, the top of which was just above the water level, and upon which was our missing things, along with several other objects that seemed to be of considerable value.
As we retrieved our things and helped ourselves to the valuables we heard noise coming from the water, and, at the edge of our light, saw frogs that stood like men and were nearly as tall. One thing that stood out to me is that a number of them seemed to be wearing jewelry of great value and seemed to be wary of our torches. It was as I was noticing this when Larrus’ torch burned down. The Frogmen were on him in an instant, and Mercio and Daylnn stopped to aid him. Thamos, our remaining torchbearer, grabbed me by the hand and began to run, with Cid taking up the rear. However, the Frog men were gaining on us, even with some of them occupied by our companions. As we started up the slope, Cid stopped to hold them off, buying Thamos and I enough time to make it out into the sunlight, at which point they would not or could not follow us.
We have put much distance between ourselves and that place, and now have no choice but to turn back towards the ship. Someday I shall return with a larger force to avenge my comrades and recover what remains of their bodies.

3rd Astrona of First Harvest
The weather has taken a turn for the worse, Thamos and I have taken shelter in a cave atop a hill overlooking a meadow to wait out the storm.

3rd Solina of First Harvest
The winds and the rain are continuing, and all I can do is explore this small cave.

3rd Clarasday of First Harvest
I have discovered a well-hidden door at the back of this cave! Thamos has advised me to leave well enough alone but I am curious as to where it goes.

3rd Marketsday of First Harvest
How long can one storm last? I am completely bored out of my mind! If this storm does not quiet down by tomorrow morning, I will investigate beyond that hidden door just so I have something to do!
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