Greyhawk CY576

Some Character Information

Start Date: 6th of Planting, 576
Birthplace: Anywhere in the County of Ulek, Duchy of Ulek or Principality of Ulek

Starting Gold & Equipment: Take max. gold for your class at 1st level and add an additional 200gp.
Starting XP: 750 total

All of your character know each other from a short stint in military service for your home country in some skirmishes against the humanoids of the Pomarj. All of this occurred about 9 months ago, and as soon as your service was done you went back to your (somewhat) normal lives. You served for about three months, mostly along the Pomarj/Principality of Ulek border fighting orcs and goblins.

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The Letter
13th of Planting, 576

You stare at the sign of the Green Griffon Inn through the misty, early Summer air and chuckle to yourself as you recall the events that brought you here to the town of Stonesend in the high hills that lay before the ancient peaks of the Lortmils.

Just days ago you were going about your normal job when a dust covered courier approached. You were surprised, to say the least, that the message he delivered was for you. Who in Boccob’s name would need to send you a letter by courier? Everyone you knew was here in town and had no need to pay a courier the hefty sum they charge. The courier hands you the letter, you toss him a silver and he rides off the way he came, kicking up dust in his wake.

You unroll the letter and begin to read the angular script when you realize after two words exactly who this letter is from.

Well lads (he calls everyone lad) I found it! I found the mines of Azaz-Gwarnes! After I retired from service I found myself in Courwood and while having a few drinks at a tavern realized I was talking to the sage in Courwood who is in charge of land transaction records. So after buying him a few more rounds, and getting him good and drunk by the way, I convinced him to show me where he worked. Well, after nearly half a day of sifting through old pages I found a suspicious, old land deed for an unnamed mine about 60 miles Northwest of where the town of Stonesend now stands. I quickly made a note on my map of where the mine should be, packed up my things and headed for where I thought the mine would be. Well lads, once I got to the area it took me a few days but I found the entrance of the mines covered by rubble and years of over-growth. Before I uncovered the entrance I went back into Stonesend, hired a few strong backs to move some rocks, got some other supplies and decided to send my old squad-mates an invitation to join me in the bounty we find buried in these mines.

So, here is what I am asking and inviting you to do. Pack up your things and head to Stonesend as soon as you can, should take each of you no more than a week or so. Meet at the Green Griffon Inn, I will make some arrangements and leave further instructions there with the innkeeper, he is an old friend. Then head to the mines and help me uncover the riches buried there, we will split everything in even shares, so you should walk away rich.

I know you will not let me down, you never have (even you gnome),

Grimnar Stonejaw

PS Keep a bit of restraint in who you talk to so we don’t have to fight off any wrongful claims.
*********************************************************************************************

You roll the letter back up and begin to pack your things all the while laughing to yourself, “He did it! The hairy little bastard did it.” You figure a few days to put things in order and get some traveling supplies together and you will be on the road. “Damn”, you think to yourself, “won’t be bad to see the old squad again either, wonder how they have all been?” Guess only time will tell, and not much time at that.

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What's Next?
18th of Planting, 576

“So first it’s orcs, then it’s more orcs, then Grimnar and the other 3 dwarves are missing, then some skeletons and now zombies! What is next?”, you ask yourselves.

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Gruesome Discovery
18th of Planting, 576

As you all stagger back down the long, stone passageway you all are still horrified by the evil that men can commit. Was this done in the name of some evil God? Was it done out of some twisted notion of pleasure? Or both? The tortures that were carried out on Grimnar were probably more than most others could even hope to handle, thank the gods for the dwarf being as tough as nails, but the other dwarves were not so lucky. The only solace is the idea that they are now in a better place and better they are dead then alive while the ghoul was chewing on their flesh.

You continue down the passage carrying the broken body of Grimnar as he passes from consciousness to unconsciousness, knowing that you have little time to get to a much safer place. The healing that Filvan and Garrett were able to preform will keep the old dwarf alive long enough for you to make it to Axegrind, but then what? You all assume that there are more cultists, if that is what they are, hidden in the passageways and rooms of this buried and hidden sanctum, will they pursue you? Part of you hopes they will so you can wipe any semblance of this group from the face of Oerth.

AS you make it back to the large cave room where you had set up your living quarters you quickly pull all of our possessions together and prepare the wagon and hitch the mules to it so Grimnar can have a more comfortable ride to Axegrind. You figure if you push it you can make it there in the next 6 hours or so.

Time to move.

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The Return
23rd of Planting, 576

After a quick trip to Axgrind and back over the last day you now stand at the face of the entrance to the cave where the horrors begun just a few days ago.

You all quickly move into the entrance to the mines and the portion that you are more familiar with since it had been your makeshift living quarters when you were here with Grimnar those first few days.

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Shivers
25th of Planting, 576

It has only been a few hours since you saw it, but the image of the object is burnt into your mind and pulsing, amorphous orb of blackness sends shivers down your spine.

Images

At least tonight you can sleep in a soft, warm bed at the Axegrind Inn.

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Symbol
25th of Planting, 576

Here is an image of the symbol you saw represented all over the hall of the temple within the art of the tapestries.

Tharizdun symbol

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A New Beginning
26th of Planting, 576

A great sense of relief and accomplishment settles over all of you after the events of the last few days have come to a close.

You defeated the evil cult, drove the leader away and once he was gone, had an easy time dispatching of the few remaining cultists. After searching through the remaining portions of the underground temple you head back through the mines and decide to set up camp in the living quarters area of Grimnar’s mine before you head back to Axegrind to check on Grimnar and how his recovery is going.

But what is next? What is this cult and who is their leader? What evil power do they represent? Where did their leader flee to?

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Of Evil Yet to Come
8th Flocktime, 576

The smells of food from the kitchen, ale pouring from the tap (and spilling on the tables and floor) and the wood burning in the huge stone fireplace is a welcome comfort to you all. The past few days in Stonesend have been a wonderful reprieve and rest, and honestly, none of you want it to end right now. Maybe that is why you have all been a bit quiet when the question, “What should we do next?”, comes up… and it always comes up. Unfortunately, so is the nut brown ale from Keoland you all have been drinking.

“Ugh, time to switch to whiskey anyway.”, sighs Nana Moob, as you all agree with a smirk and a nod just as the bard on the small stage kicks into a roaring rendition of “Teldarn the Drunk”.

Several minutes later the song finishes up just as you finish your third round of whiskey shots, when you all hear a commotion coming from outside the Inn. As you exit the warm confines of your temporary home you notice that the street outside the Inn is filled with people milling about, muttering to themselves or the person standing near them staring up into the early evening sky. You all look up to see what everyone is looking at and you see it…

Black_Comet.jpg

A massive, black object streaking across the heavens that seems to pulsate with a dark and evil energy as it moves. As you stand there in the middle of the street, captivated by the heartbeat like pulse you all suddenly are all overwhelmed by a brain-splitting shriek that brings tears to your eyes and knocks you to the ground as you all tightly wrap your hands over your ears, hoping to block this horrible sound from your wavering minds. As the sound continues for what seems like an eternity you are able to look up for long enough to see that no other person in the street seems to be on the ground and clutching their heads as you all are. What is this terrible thing you think, why is it doing this to me?

Suddenly all goes black…

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Awakening
15th of Harvester, 576

Within the swimming black you see faint images and hear distant sounds but nothing seems real and always at a distance of your senses. Only flashes of dreams or nightmares or other actions that transcend your own will and spirit. There are sounds of faint laughter in the echoing darkness, these sounds are interrupted by screams that seem even closer. But are they your sounds or are they being made by something or someone else? Then the sounds of metal on metal, more screams, but this time of pain and death, then a pause and a blurred vision of mountains and valleys and battlements, but none that you have ever seen. This state of shadowy, unfeeling non-reality seems to continue on and on… but even within this “world” time is of no meaning.

And then it hits you like a hammer to the stomach…LIGHT! EMOTIONS! LIFE!! Cool, dry air burns your throats as you take heaving gasps of air in and out, in and out. Tears stream from your eyes, from the coughing caused by the dryness in your throats, caused by the stinging light burning your eyes and making it almost painful to keep them open and caused by joy, the joy of knowing you are alive.

As the tears subside and your breathing becomes more normal you see that you are in some sort of large tent with five cots in it and a small brazier giving off heat in the center of the temporary structure. The lantern that hangs from a hook on the tent pole in the center of the room sheds enough light to show that you are surrounded by your friends, all together still, but also standing there is a hunched and grey bearded old man, wizened by countless years, dressed in a deep blue robe of very high quality and holding a gnarled and knotted staff in his left hand. The old man looks tired and worn, like all of the weight of the world has been on his shoulders for a very long time.

wizard_by_gerezon-d5d1i0h.jpg

Suddenly you hear a high-pitching squeak come from Half-Pint as you try to recollect some memory of this old man, and as you look over to the smiling face of Filvan, words trying to come out of his mouth over the squeaking giggles, the old man cuts him off with a stern look, “Not a peep out of that gnome mouth of your Filvan!” the old man states curtly, “I will hopefully answer your questions, my old student, as well as the questions your new friends may have for me soon enough, but for now you must all keep your traps shut and listen very carefully.”

The old man clears his throat and continues, “I am Onoculus and if you couldn’t already guess I am Filvan’s former mentor, and NO, I am not dead! Now…it has been over four months since you saw that pitch black comet streak across the evening sky and you are no longer in Stonesend. The comet was an evil portent of things to come, and those things have and are coming, but I believe it was more than that, I believe it was a vile, evil being returning in some form here to Oerth. This evil is known by many names but the true name, the proper name is Tharazdun.” The old wizard pauses a moment to take off his hat and light a short stemmed pipe he just pulled from a pocket in his robe, “I am aware of what you five did, I have maintained a close eye on my short apprentice; actually I have done more than that, I have been able to see what you all have seen ever since you first set your eyes on that oily, amoeba-like form and it seemed to you all as if the black tendrils pierced deep into your minds. That corruption of the Evil One now knows who you are, where you are and much, much more. As soon as the form made it’s attack on your minds I was able to shield your minds from the most harsh affects of the corruption and to cause enough interference to make it harder to know where you are and what you are doing.”

The wizard pauses again, takes a drag off the pipe, “Then came the night that the comet crossed the sky…because of the shrieking pain you were all attacked with, yes it was an attack on your minds and spirits by the Evil One, and the link that I had created I too was paralyzed, but for a brief moment, but then I had to act!” Another short drag off the pipe, “So when your minds went black and it seemed as if you were in a shadowy, unreal world, it was me. I was able to, with some help, create a link between myself and each of you and in that time you were simply put, only functioning beings on the most basic of levels. Since that night that I took control you have all been soldiers in a series of battles against the evil creatures that awoke and became almost frenzied with the passing of the comet. The first battle was a large attack on Stonesend itself, which was easily repelled due to the chaos of all of the evil forces that came together is too much haste. But now you march in an army of forces from the Ulek States and beyond on the largest encampment of evil humanoids that is left in the region, that is where we stand now.”

“Now,” the wizard snaps, “do you have any questions?” Your minds all flow with every thought that comes to your mind, the wizard attempting to answer each quick fired question as fast as he can when finally he yells, “ENOUGH!”

“I must leave now, but one last thing before I go I need each of you to take one of these amulets and where it at all times. This amulet will protect you from the continue mental attacks and probing that the Evil One will continue with until he has killed you all. I have also been able to get similar amulets to all of your loved ones whose lives are also in danger from the Evil One due to their relationship with you. For now you must complete the job in front of you, but it is nearing an end, and when it is over I will be in contact again, but only when the time is right.” The old wizard looks less old and hunched now, as if years of wear and worry have been shed in a matter of moments. He looks at each of you and smirks before saying, “You all see each other as you truly are, but others will see you differently. Not to worry it is a simple charm that can easily be removed, but for the time being I must keep all of you as well hidden as I can to keep you all alive. Stay safe and be well. And once you have ended this threat I urge you all to join me in Greyhawk City.” And with that he disappears in a flash.

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