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Some Info We Have All Been Waiting For!

Hello everyone!

We have a few bits of exciting info to release to you all in regards to new weapons allowances and the audio files from the event.

Packet Bows

We would like to announce that Shards of Massagon will now allow packet bows! We recommend, as well as pass as legal without question, the models of bows by B3 Imagination Studio. All of B3's models will all be legal within Shards of Massagon, and we encourage our players to support B3's wonderful concept and design, as they had graciously donated one of their bows for us to test and approve for the game. As for homebrew models, we will reserve the right to reject any weapon based on safety (no more than 8-9lb draw), form, materials, and effort made to look in-character. Both padded and unpadded will be permitted, however we ask that in the very least that the ends of the bows be padded for protection against pokes to the face, and this padding be made to look in-character. Thus, we recommend the padded version of the B3 bow, but it is not required. (There's a pretty sweet DIY kit in there too, where you can make your own!)

'Packet Bows' will only be legal as physical representations of a projectile weapon (bows) in-character. They will not be permitted in any form for casting. More info will be released as the new system is completed.

So, if you want to know for sure your packet bow will pass, we highly recommend that they be purchased from B3. Also, we stress to our players that they not copy B3's design, should the homebrew route be taken. This is plagiarism. They do take commissions for personalized bows (there's a sweet skeleton one on there!) So consider all these options if you are interested in archery at Shard in the next Era!

Audio Files

After many requests, our own GM Kyle McCray has uploaded onto YouTube the 'Message from the Future' that was played and deciphered during our Era Finale Event. Enjoy! And keep watch for more updates as we enter the Epilogue phase of our New Era!

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A Message from Our GM

With a little more distance from the event (Shards of Massagon LARP Era Finale Event RE Shards of Massagon LLC) I think I can now speak to my thoughts on what has transpired in the end of the Era.

The story ultimately was about some deep concepts, that if they weren't observed they certainly were felt. They are two fold:

The first, Yin and Yang. Nevlothion represented Destruction and Chaos, and the players were siding with it, along with the orb of life - literal embodiment of metaphorical Yin. While Al'nezoth represented Preservation, a halt to all things, existence eternal, never ending and Yang. The representation of these elements within the story pushed and pulled players across the entire game, as was the intent. Destroy or create? Chaos or order? When given free will and god-like powers and endless opportunity, what would you choose to do?

This was the experiment run by the entirety of the game's run, and the truly unique challenge of our game, keep rolling even if they made a "wrong choice" to eschew moral constructs by prohibiting the guise of good or evil to be used in our storytelling elements, and just let the players decide how they would wield unlimited potential.

A second rule was to roll with the punches: To allow failure and sub-optimal choice. We were entirely ready to evaporate the world in ball of existential destruction, or allow all the players to join the side of Al'nezoth, or further back, become vampires under the thrall of Lord Vatric. 100% willing (and sometimes hopeful). We couldn't countermand it because it would taint the experiment, the experience. Player choice was, and is sacred.

And through the course of the game some chose preservation, others chose destruction and the moralistic conflicts that arose even though neither were intrinsically good or evil, and in fact both were good and evil in their own rights, gave rise to a final choice, wherein the only bad option was to not choose - the theme from day one.

The second element, wabi-sabi. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it means, essentially, to find beauty in the flawed. The practice originated (and I'm being very simplistic to a great and fascinating tradition) with Japanese monks repairing broken bowls with gold, rather than trying to make the flaw invisible, thus drawing attention to it. The world is broken, shattered to pieces, but held suspended by a beautiful network of glowing light beautiful in it's own destruction

And that's what I feel really has hit home here for the players. It's not perfect but every characters end is beautiful in it's imperfection. Their powers are not immortal pillars that will exist ever-more, but will slowly wain in time fizzle into the inevitability of entropy. And yet that juxtaposition of power versus fragility is what makes their stories so great, so worth telling.

And this is what most people are telling me. They feel the story was amazing, the setting was great, and there is a bittersweet not of ending and ending knowing, no. It's not OK. It's not happily ever after, but it's the story, and that's whats important.

-----------------------

A lot of people helped with this particular shard story, this slice of the ongoing epic. In no particular order, thank you to my staff, past and present. 
Kyle McCray, Kelly McCray, Anne McCray, Steve Allen, John Roberts, Brian J Rippe, Audrey Fields, Lindsey Poyner, Brittany Thrall, Greg Blough, Charles Elbridge Howe IV, Sebastian Cullear, Dominic Gonzaga, Kyle Pittleman Kenny Simms, Martin Marshall Meenehan, Dan Fischetti, Daniel McArthur, Michael Strange (even for the one event :) ) and of course Renée Olson, who deeply inspired a lot of my own creative elements, and reinvigorated my love of LARP.

Thank you to some particularly hard-working PC's that helped us on more than one occasion, many are listed above with their continued dedication to the game, but I'd like to also mention:
Roy Follendore, William Henry Hatchell III and John Schider. and Stephen Sackett. They sacrificed a lot of time and effort and money for us, pinch-hitting on low-staff events and the like - as did many many others on the 2.6 team and beyond. If i missed your name, take it as no slight, simply the after-event mind reviewing a nearly 9 year (November 2008!) Campaign.

And then, of course the PC's. Many who were no less dedicated in their time and efforts for the game. It's seemingly contrived but I promise you the opposite. The game could not have happened with you, your time NPCing, your willingness to fail, and your creativity.

The whole point was to see what story you came up with.

In the end, Its gold paint holding together a shattered bowl.

-Niklas Olson

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Myrtle Bigpockets' Log Red 11th 2008 AS, year 3 of the Age of Heroes

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My Dear Readers,

 

As you have probably heard from your local governments, there is disturbing work afoot.  A great ritual has begun aggravating the Flow and has alerted us to its future action... And so, forgive me that if in my writings, I lean towards how the Nations are reacting to this cause, be it for good or for ill, and things seem to be tending towards the latter.

 

This is a great shame, because even in this time of uncertainty, there is goodness and light in the world.  The elves have finally completed their election in a close run-off between An'Darian Sasil and Gilrael Fa’lin. An'Darian has pulled ahead in an overnight victory after a rousing speech about his influence over the apparent unification of the Seoban lands, with the last hold-out being Lord Jeniar Dy'naer casting his vote.  This by right of election gives An'darian Sasil the title of Emperor of Ayre and the allegiance of the empire.  The people are still healing, but under Sasil's close guidance, they stand to forge forward in repairing their sins of the past.  An'Darian has promised that the strength and unity of the elven kind will be a hallmark of the next era, and has begun issuing aid to the turbulent Segav Federation

 

As you might have supposed, two major announcements following this one, in this whirlwind since my last entry are critical to mention.  Kore of the Seoban has overcome Former-Doyen Maern Errthexis in a stunning Pa'an of Forgiveness.  In this ancient ritual the two displayed the utmost of their craft, Errthexis brought to bear his mastery of Mercilessness, and slayed both his mother, the former and beloved Doyen of Rom'ho'harel, and his sister, Odette.  Kore in turn forgave him for his crimes and freed him from the clutch of the influence of the Ulsum.  Maern is in recovery as Doyen Kore has swiftly and decisively gathered allegiances in a coalition government with Joshiro, Lord of Fire, and the Water Council tribes.    All indications point to the Doyen making overtures to the dynasty of Muurgnitive,  but I have no further information on these goings about. In the wake of Anarian, the former Terthexis’ murder by the so called ‘Dragonhunter’, the Doyen has also declared a time of mourning for the highborn, seoban, and other peoples of the isles, not not just for those of his noble family, in her words, “for all who have lost something in this dark chapter of our history- for we all have lost something:  Loved ones, amity, repose, and our innocence.” In addition, the gates, ports, and borders of Harel seem to be now under heavy guard and embargo with the ‘Dragonhunter’ still at large, both through physical and oddly incorporeal means. Also tight fleets of Terthexian Knights, along with a few ships flying the banner of the new Seoban Concatenate have been seen leaving port, thought to be on the search for Ogtharatryx, now the heir of the Terthexian line.

 

As mentioned previously,  the Segavian Federation, absent of the steady hand of Grand Marquis Manif De’sau, and the exodus of the overwhelming workforce of the Sopheratu people, coupled with the… and I mean this in the kindest way… utter incompetent leadership of the new Marquis Zane White, has lead to the complete and total disillusionment of the state.   Shortly thereafter, Zane was brutally eviscerated by some strange beast glowing with a silver-white power and magma like appearance.  
 

As of this time, mob rule runs the former greatest city in Massagon, but not in the orderly structure that Manif De’sau had instituted, but in utter anarchy.  Even the much-valued Havenrock Institute has wholly vanished from the Bay of Segav (I must note, even though it is such a minor thing… for one day the entire sky was black with crows as they all were returning to the Great Aerie - I’ll remember it forever) Much of the city is ablaze and regional governors and lesser marquis are asking for whatever assistance could be provided.  As mentioned before,  Emperor An’Darian Sasil and his political Rival Gilrael Fa’lin have promised aid in the form of troops and governance until a new Grand Marquis can be chosen.  

 

The former Grand Marquis Manif Desau, now King of the Black spires (formerly the Kingdom of Blood, try and keep up please), has annexed the kingdom, and claimed it for his fellow Children of the Night.  When I requested a comment from King De’sau,  he only gave me the following recital of the prophecy that was dictated long ago by Paladin Carolyne the Bold:

“In the Eternal Day, a man shall be cursed to the night, and from that curse shall power come forth. His kind shall consume not of food nor drink of water, but be filled by the work of those who toil the land. The first will test his will and be left empty, the second shall intervene and make the man whole. The third shall take from the man and leave him behind. From thrice the gods intervene shall the cornerstones of a new nation be carved.The kingdom of blood shall rise and the children of the night shall inherit the day. And once more shall the man feel the warmth of sunlight upon his skin and the first shall know his herald was redeemed.”

 

What is more is that the Kingdom was taken without conflict from the local powers.

Good on them,  I guess they fooled the vamps after all.   I bet the Crowlords follow them wherever they go next.

 

Seemingly reacting to the collapse of the state of Segav and in perhaps a startling move considering their past animosity,  the Valish Kingdom has also pulled its borders closed and released many of it’s privateer army.  Official statements from Lord Krelnh Harthrow have indicated that with no further animosity from Segav, there was no further need of the privateer armada, though for their service many have been offered a position within the lauded Valish navy.  The mighty flagship Aurora’s Shadow has returned to Frostvale along with much of the extraditionary forces of the Vale.  Within the kindgom proper the Deathkeepers have announced that a day of remembrance of the dead and their honored sister Draycarys who has auspiciously returned to her crypt.  The date of celebration should be held in 2 days time on the 14th day of Red, in alignment with the auspicious signs and portents.

 

And yet still, more changes afoot from a far-flung corner of the world. A great fleet of ships has joined the blockade surrounding the Stonehaven nation.  And have finally provided me with this small tidbit of information, after nearly two years of utter silence.

“We await his arrival and side loyally with him.”   Your guess is as good as mine.  Well... probably not,  but still it’s too damn cryptic to be definitive.

 

And now finally, to the crux of the dread we’ve all felt.   Something brews near the isle of the Maw.  Nearly every ritualist of merit, tower of magic, and esoteric order points to some “great happening” on the Maw and, if I’m to make an educated guess, on the Town of New Haven.  Even now the Gattan Confederacy, the local protector-governor-wrangler of the citystate has issued general evacuation orders for the Maw, and its surrounding vicinity given that a warning of a “ritual of terrible power and unknown and potentially destructive qualities should it go wild” is centered on the area.   Fleets of ships, largely coordinated by an organization known as the Order of the Open Hand have made the evacuations a steady and solid progress giving countless hours and effort into doing what they have done in their mission statement since their inception to protect those less fortunate than them.  I attempted to contact several members during their efforts and was able to take the following statement from a most charming strongsoul gnome named Thock Aeblepopper: “Oh hey, yeah I can spare a minute. I am shocked how quickly everything's proceeding. Sanctuary has been a second home to many of us, both in the Order and in New Haven. We have had hardly a moment to breathe since this all began, let alone digest it. I hope that our friends and neighbors will be able to return to us soon once the danger has passed."  Thock shook my hand then with a cheery attitude and set to work helping a family pull a wagon with his gnomecrafted arm of his...

 

And that, dear readers, is where I leave you this pensive eve.  Now I stand overlooking the evacuation of thousands by the hands of a brave few.  A river of small lights streaming towards the coast to make to the skies.   Noble in cause without understanding, they go now to encounter the unknown.  My log has long chronicled the happenings of Massagon, and this may be the last entry I have for this era.  What we do, our choices we make are what really shape the world.  Not the Gods, not the might of Strongsouls,  but in the everyday kindness of decent folk.


 

And from what I’ve seen today...

 


I have hope.

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A Sincere Apology

To My Loyal Patrons,

 

I apologize greatly for this misinformation given in regards to the meals which will be served at ‘The Broken Ritual Tavern’ this weekend. I am unsure of their source or of the reasoning behind their maliciousness, but mark my words, as the most honorable demi-god of Cooking, there will never be a ‘passable’ meal taken from beyond my Stove.

 

I am deeply sorry for any feelings of distrust or confusion you may have had when reading this odd itinerary. Without further ado, here is the official Menu for the ‘Broken Ritual Tavern’, 13th-15 Red.

 

Glavni Kuhar

 

~~~

From his great Mawvian temple, The Broken Ritual Tavern, Glavni Kuhar, famed demi-god of Cooking, will be conjuring some fantastic dishes to be served this weekend of the 13th of Red, inspired by the many cultures throughout Massagon. All are invited to attend this delicious opportunity of worship upon the wilds of the Maw.

~~~

13th of Red

 

Dinner Hour

Lagan Hunter’s Stew: A classic savory iron pot stew of a red wine and momo stock base, with potato and root vegetables, topped with crisped mashed potatoes and shaved momo cheese. Served with fresh baked bread, a Chef Glavni specialty.



 

14th of Red

Breaking of the Fast

Barrens Banquet: Crispy momomilk biscuits with sausage gravy. Served with choice of pasture raised cocatrice eggs, wild caught Mawvian boar bacon, and hot oatmeal, Croplund grown.

 

Tropic and Arctic Tier Whole Fruits.

 

Midday

Segavian Street Sandwiches with locally sourced Momo shaved steak and zesty momo milk cheese. Served on a toasted bun with a side of crispy shaved potatoes and pickle.

 

Tropic and Arctic Tier Fruit Medley.

 

Mawvian Greens Salad, freshly picked from Marconius Farms.

 

Dinner Hour

Ruluumian Noodles, a tropic tier savory Roth bone broth and rice noodle soup, served with bean sprouts, cilantro, basil, lime, and young green onions, topped with thinly shaved Roth steak. Spicy and sweet sauces available ala cart.

 

Valish Soldier’s Plate, A serving of spiced wurst sausage with tack bread and aged momo cheese.

 

15th of Red

Break the Fast

 

Gattan Hashbrown Bake, served with bagel bread.


 

Snacks, sweets, and munchables will be available throughout running hours.

~~~

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From the Kitchen of Glavni Kuhar: Red 13th-15th Weekend Menu

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From his great Mawvian temple, The Broken Ritual Tavern, Glavni Kuhar, famed demi-god of Cooking, will be conjuring some fantastic dishes to be served this weekend of the 13th of Red, inspired by the many cultures throughout Massagon. All are invited to attend this delicious opportunity of worship upon the wilds of the Maw.

~~~

13th of Red


Dinner Hour

Lagan Peasant Stew: A passable stew of cheap wine and Bonnacon sweat, with potato hunks and dirty root vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes and unshaven cheese. Served with fresh teleport bread, a Chef Glavni specialty. May contain Strongsouls. 

 

14th of Red

Breaking of the Fast

Sandy Crack Banquet: Yesterday’s biscuits that dropped on the floor with questionable ‘gravy’. Served with choice of raw egg, wereboar bacon, and lukewarm milky oats. May contain traces of Mordant from processing.

Some fruits.

 

Midday

Segavian Hangover Sandwiches: Oily oily Momo shavings and nasty momo milk cheese. Served between some hot buns with a slather of stinky pickle and chips.

Bruised fruits.

Some green stuff people never eat from some Stongsoul's Farm.

 

Dinner Hour

Ruluum Noods: A tropic tier slutty bones and day old rice slurry, served with bean youths, cilantro, basil, lime, and onion youths, topped with newly shaven Roth cheeks. Spicy and sweet sauces are just in there, you have no choice.


Valish Soldiers Hate This: A serving of maggoty sausage with stale bread and stale-er cheese.

15th of Red

Break the Fast

All the left overs mixed together in a huge mass.

Various snacks available throughout the weekend if you first kiss the feet of the Spiritual Manifestation of Glavni Kuhar.

~~~

 

 

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A Well Worn Letter Arrives

To the Peoples of New Haven,

The foundations of my city groan as the shard upon which it sits is at unrest. Something is coming. Something big, dark, far worse than anything that we’ve faced- and we have faced many, mighty foes that were it not for us would have broken our already shattered world.

Many things are outside the scope of my purview. But my city and I...we know this: Soon we need to move. Prophecies be damned about here being where the Kingdom of Black Spires rests, but the Kingdom must persist, and to do so we cannot stay here.

Many in the number of New Haven are unknown to me and I to them, but enough of you know my fangs and crimson lips and know that despite my multitude of sins, I do not lie. And here now in the seat of my protectorate I implore you- stand tall and be ready, fellow Strongsouls. I will help when I can, as I am bound by and to the city except in certain circumstances.


But stand steadfast and do not abandon the hope and tasks set before you. You have a mighty mantle to carry and now is not the time to shirk.

I am watching.

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Swan Song

In the back alley of some no-name dock town, where every rickety wooden building seemed ready to tumble down the steep hills they were built on, Sonata was busily emptying the contents of his stomach.


“Sonata,” he slurred between heaves. “Some bleedin’ name...when did it become mine, again?” He couldn’t remember, not now, and not in those inconvenient hours he was sober. It was a name he’d picked up somewhere in his fifty---sixty?---odd years, long after he’d left his own behind in a tavern with his first set of pan pipes. It felt like a waste, sometimes: playing for his supper, which was---without fail--- as much cheap wine as he could muster, which---also without fail---ended up in the town’s mud every time.

 

“No-family, no-talent hack! Haaaaack,” he spewed, slamming his fist down in the slurry for emphasis. “Ready to die any bleedin’ day, now. Start all bleedin’ over.”

 

In that moment, it seemed the air drew itself in around him, the colours of the back alley with it, leaving behind a stark relief of black and white. The sounds and smells of the town faded, replaced with a quiet hum and stale air, like that of a mausoleum. Breathable, sure, but---

 

“MINSTREL.”

 

The voice came from everywhere at once, as if it breathed with the world around him.Sonata scrabbled backwards, hitting his head against the wall of the tavern and groaning into his hands. He studied them with the slack-jawed awe of the inebriated, their every line and shade replicated perfectly, just in black and white, like an ink drawing. “Uh...ye...yes?”

 

“Do you truly wish to die? To cease? To take that road out, to leave your story and all those within you behind?” Were those footsteps? He swung his dizzy head about, trying to see who had spoken. This was one hell of a hallucination, almost as bad as that time in Segav when---

 

“DO YOU?”

 

He whimpered, silencing his thoughts that scattered like rabbits before a footstep. “I uh, sir...lord...um...I do, I mean, I’m worthless, dead already, maybe...” His stomach, oddly enough, had fully ceased its anger mid-turn. He felt as though it pushed against his lungs, like it had stopped when...when...”What is this, sir? Lord?”

 

A laugh came, like wind through the brittle midwinter branches of a tree, clattering and breathy. “This is peace, Minstrel. This is the sickness and disease of chaos brought to order.” A hand closed around Sonata’s arm, bony and cold as iron; he jumped and turned to see sunken red eyes regarding them, the only spots of color in this place. The figure’s robes pooled around him as he knelt, their folds falling unnaturally, as if the very air in this place arranged them just-so.

 

Time passed; Sonata was lost in those eyes, just like every story he’d crooned about some pining lover. “Sir...Lord...What...what d’you want from me?”

 

The figure grew in height---maybe just stood up? Gods, how drunk was he?---until those eyes were looking down at him, the gnarled hand now grasping a staff just as crooked. “I want to ask you, Minstrel. Do you really wish death? I can give that to you, if you do. To lose all you have, in the hope of an ever-after.” The eyes suddenly seemed almost friendly; a calm, setting sun in a world rife with struggles, overdue bills, vomit as a bedtime routine.

 

“I...” Sonata bowed his head, finally breaking that gaze. “I don’t want no death, Sir. Too bleedin’ afraid to accept it, and instead hoped that one day, it’d find me, maybe while blitzed somethin’ fierce.”

 

The figure was suddenly behind him---he was standing? When---and laid his hand on Sonata’s shoulder, the spare flesh feeling comforting and familiar. “Fortunate that I found you first, then. What I offer you is beyond death, Minstrel. I would have you walk with me, instead, and keep what little peace this world has to offer.” The words sang sweet and secret, a song that would wake him in the middle of the night to write the melody before it faded. “There will be wine, but not in excess. Stories, all yours. All I ask, Minstrel, is that you join me, and leave your wishes for death behind.”

 

Sonata turned to meet that garnet gaze once again, and raised his chin.


The next morning, the tavernmaster poked his head into the alley, and raised an eyebrow at the pair of boots and weathered pan pipes laying frozen in the mud.

~Audrey Fields

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The Fortuneteller's Vision

Brooding about New Haven, you find the fortuneteller, Clairissant. When asked to give you your fortune, she weaves the following exhortation in reply...

 

"Strongsouls, friends-

 

I’ve not been among your numbers as long as some, but I’ve grown closer to you than any others in the many places I’ve wandered and stayed. Heed my words- the Witches...Fates from several moons ago still linger nigh, portents for world changing events. Please, for I wish I had more to stay other than a vague verse, but the visions and words I hear are a chaotic swarm from which there is no understanding...

Except a quick, bright vision.


Of you, all of you...fading. I see shards moving away, unable to converse, other than uncertain signals, the outlines of peoples and beings that we see and know- are empty. Gone. Footprints leading on a path that continues onward into a blurry horizon, blank, save for a glowing and gleaming crowd, whose faces I cannot see, but I know are not you.

Please, be wary- stay strong, lest you be lost utterly."

-Brittany Thrall

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An Honored Mourning

From Doyen Kore’s Address to the city of Rom'Ho'Harel and the Concatenate Seoban Nations, 26th of White, Year 3 of Heroes


 

“Children of the Elements, and to those whose souls reside as deep within these lands as the Motherfetters themselves.


 

I speak today with a laden heart in the wake of this senseless seizure of life from an already tormented family in its first glimpse of peace.  Anarian, the former Terthexis, who with his followers has lived and fostered a family amongst us for many a decade.  The kindness and protection of the Highborn peoples in our lands have long been an adamant gift. Let us remember him and all that was sacrificed in the destruction of our vile enemy.

 

But in these dark times, notice the brightness of a fire’s spark.

 

Let it be known that this abhorrent act by the one known as the ‘Dragonhunter’ is not one quickly doused by tears or obstructed by the looming hand of fear. From henceforth, until more information be known or this murderer be brought before Judgment, I close the gates and ports of Harel propper. With the aid of those newly born of the Void, may the passage through the Etherial also be as barred, lest one more drop of blood, beeth of any and all of my Children, be spilt upon these Shards. May aid be freely offered to the Terthexian Knights in the uncovering of the whereabouts of Ogthar Ogtharatryx, now the heir of the Terthexian line, to reinstate the stability of the family that has been a bulwark to the stability of Massagon.  And let us give freely of love and peace for Our Lady Ismet, the Errthexian family, and the most honored return of the Silver soul to the ever changing Flow.  May his passing guide other lost souls back to the warmth of the Cycle.
 

Yes, I beseech You, demurely. Hear my orison, that this day be held in the highest of honor. May it be a time of mourning, not just for those of this noble family, but for all who have lost something in this dark chapter of our history- for we all have lost something:  Loved ones, amity, repose, and our innocence.  

No longer can we stand by - we flow ever onward, not dammed in the wake of this tragedy. Let it be known that in the shadow of Oda’s fall from power, we move forward to bring the light of peace to the peoples of Muurgnative. We shall wither the blight of the oppressive Ulsuma, to return the Earth fortresses to being in the ever-loving embrace of Seoba, that they may join us in peace as The Body once more. Just as our brethren of Ruluum have broken from their bondage of this vile entity with Our aid, reunited in clear, unclouded waters. To this end, Lord Jushiro of Brinna has pledged a covenant with myself as Vassal for the time being, just as Ruluum’s Circle of Elders has supplicated to the Void for the good of all Seoban.

 

Know my Pa’an of Forgiveness: I have sheathed the Infinite Blade.

 

Hoshiro is bound in oath and honor, born now into the Void, he serves a penance for his crimes, in duty and service to his fellow Seoban. May he too now learn to See, but by the penitence of the darkness in his perversions and malevolence.



Balance, peace eternal. May the fairest of the Twelve Winds, the light of the purest Flame, the strength of the swiftest of Currents, the stability of the surest of Rock, and the grace of Clarity: the allowance of Void be with you this day, and Always."

 

By Renee Olson

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Of Cards and Claws

“Well, thank you sir. It’s nice to be appreciated by someone of your obvious stature and…” I glanced at the pile of coins he’d haphazardly tossed on the bill tray, swallowed, continued, “...Social bearing. Did you know, I’m not actually a waiter, I’m just working a case. Yes, normally I’m rubbing elbows with Zane, he’s the Grand Marquis of Segav you know, and oh also the other Crowlords, you know I am one. But this particular case required me to investigate this particular bistro, up-scale as it may be. If you ever need something, say, looked in-to, don’t hesitate to call fine sir!”

I presented the bedazzled gentleman with a card in the best flourish I could muster, and slid a piddly amount of sir’s change into my own pocket. Without so much as a grumble, a feat I was surely proud of myself for, I collected the abused dishware onto my similarly over-used tray and wandered in the direction of the kitchen’s door, managing to present each esteemed guest on the way with another one of my fine cards. Francois DelRoe, the owner of DelRoe Bistro, would have my legs broken in a Segavian back alley if he ever found out about my business fraternization, but I wasn’t worried. It wasn’t likely he’d catch me...he never had before.

Back in the lowly worker’s realm, I dumped the pile of dishes into their proper place-ish, a growing pile of un-washed dishes that was threatening  hostile take-over of the processing area due to gross negligence. I put the tray back on a rack that obviously hadn’t been built to proper, else my tray wouldn’t have rolled away.

    In the backroom, one of the darkest and dingiest I’d ever laid card to table in, there was a small group of waiters and bussers thumbing well-stained and well-thumbed cards around a slightly smaller table. For some reason, they were all seven of them looking grumpily at me.
    “Been waiting a long time, Feist. Doesn’t take that long to bus a damn table,” Grumbled a particularly unwashed and grumpy one. Another one, a horned gentleman currently leaning against an improvised mop-pillow hanging off the wall, mumbled a dissatisfied “Mm-hmm.”

    “Gentlemen, gentlemen,” I started, retaking my seat and picking my cards back up, “It is only because I hold the utmost faith in your class of persons that I was away for so long, why, if I didn’t trust you fine gentlemen so much I would not have let Zane, the Grand Marquis of Segav, pull me into conversation. But I allowed him to do so, knowing you gentlemen are the classy kind of men who would never look at an absent man’s cards, or,” I looked at my noticeably smaller coin pile, “Take from an absent man’s pile” I finished flatly. Now it was my turn to look grumpy.

I played through another round with my cards, in which I lost hopelessly, as if every other man at the table knew what cards I was holding. Thanks to this in no way unfair defeat, I was feeling rather sour when the new hand was dealt. Not bothering to look at my cards, I tossed the ante into the pot then excused myself to make another bus run. Wisely, however, I first made a show of counting my coins and pocketing my playing cards.

Outside, I had ample opportunity to pass out a few more business cards, though some of the tables I bussed clean of appetizers turned up the ones I’d passed out previously in the tables’ trash. The people at the tables looked for all the world as surprised as they could be at my finding the cards in the rubble. Ah well. I shrugged to myself, straightened them out as best I could, wiped off any grime, and replaced them in my satchel.

As I was trying to use a fingernail to scratch a particularly sticky bit of I-don’t-know-what off of one of my recycled business cards, I saw the most beautiful women I’d ever laid eyes on, and the man whose arm she was led by, who’s obvious wealth outshined even her beauty. She had gorgeous chocolate brown waves of hair, cascading from her head alongside locks of golden honey, he had a custom-tailored silk lounging shirt, shining in the light with silver thread embroidery. She had big, blue eyes that gleamed in the setting sun’s rays that poured in through the window, set under thick curling lashes, while he wore a sapphire brooch to hold up his cloak that cast blue sparkles when those same rays hit it. She was dressed in a flowing satin number, so barely-there that with every step or movement of her arms, you were left guessing if you’d scored a peep at hidden flesh, but he wore boots of the finest leather, so soft and buttery it was as if he’d been melted down and poured into them, and the weapon on his hip had obviously never known battle, because that baby was covered in every gem and precious metal I had ever heard of, in a delicate hand-crafted swirling pattern from pommel to tip.

After a minor stroke, and a great effort to pry my jaw off the floor, my eyes finally decided to focus on the muck on my shoe. Grabbing at my right arm, which had grown a mind of its own and had tried to appropriate a loose gem from the sword at its owner walked by, I kept my eye on the muck and toddled off back to the backroom before more of my limbs decided to fix my debt problems the fast way. In the background, I heard the maitre’d telling the Marquis of Tuin that appetizers had already been served, but sir and ma’am were welcome to be seated for the main course.

Ignoring the apparently contagious grumpiness that had taken hold of the card table since my last exit, I once again resumed my place in the game. Amazingly, it was already my turn. I counted my coins, ensuring no more had been appropriated to the table, and pulled the cards out of my pocket, finally deciding to have a glance at them. Divine Zanil, things were looking up! I saw a 3,4, and a 9 smiling up at me. I glanced at the two cards lying face up on the table, then tried to contain my grin. This hand could - I swallowed - this hand could erase a good chunk of my debt. The table held a surprisingly large pot, and these fellas played with a steel buy-in for each round, minimum. Waiters and bussers the lot of them, but I supposed it was easy to save up money when you spent your every waking hour slaving over an open volcano pit. Some of these poor saps slept here, evidenced by the hastily balled up bed rolls that had occupied the floor before the table was set up. Yes sir, their misery was my gain. With this pot, I might actually be able to keep some of the profit on my next case...provided I had a next case any time soon. I couldn’t remember the last time I was so deep in debt… well, I could, but not the last time I was so deep in debt and so out of work. This little hand could solve my problem.

The boss stuck his head in the crack in the door, and while my fellow players all looked mildly surprised, they put up only a token attempt at hiding the card game from his view.

“All the tables are done with their appetizers, so we’ve pulled the snack and refreshment trays and have started setting up for the main course. Get the Rabbear on plates, pronto!” His head vanished the second he uttered the last syllable, and there was a sudden flourish of movement as the hirelings jumped to comply. I moved a tad more sluggishly, mourning over the pause in the cards hand that would surely provide me a windfall. I was surprised when my compatriots bulldozed past me with serving trays topped with what I assumed was Rabbear. I was impressed with the haste with which everything had been accomplished, surely the speed with which the food was raised from the lava, cut, and served had everything to do with the bistro’s efficiency and nothing to do with the negligibly short amount of time I’d spent sitting in the back room. When I emerged to fulfill my duties, I was astonished to find there was naught for me to do. Chalking it up to good planning, because of course it wasn’t down to the miniscule amount of time I spent brooding over the cards, I proceeded to lean against the far wall of the kitchen and liberate some hard cheese from underneath my thumbnail.

Entranced in this endeavor, I didn’t notice anything amiss until I heard a scream from one of the door tenders. Perhaps the silly woman had accidentally broken a fingernail, or found a split end. Tedious of course, but I decided - so long as it was the redhead and not the ghastly blonde - to provide myself as an owner of a shoulder to cry on. I tossed my gaze in that direction for a quick check and found my legs carrying myself in the opposite direction. Leaping back into the card room, I processed my thoughts for a moment. The giant steel doors, which the door tenders would open in order to lower uncooked food closer to the magma pit, had fist-shaped dents in them punched in from the other side. I had only just recovered my thoughts and peeked out from behind the door when a massive skeleton covered in lava ran by, leaving puddles of magma behind to burn through the floor and fall down back into the bowels of the volcano. It was man-sized, but the bones were thick and long, as if a few choice bones had been stolen from giant animals to make a vaguely human shape, but for the love of Zanil why?

Before I realized it was chasing the rest of the kitchen staff, the whole group burst through the double doors into the dining room. I grabbed a steak knife from a piece of meat, and did my best to hold my lunch when the crust came off with the knife and the piece of meat revealed itself to be the head chef’s face. I mostly succeeded. I shook the knife a little bit and definitely did not scream ‘eew,’ then rushed off into the dining room. While I was scanning the room for Mr. Bone Man, I realized that Zane, the Grand Marquis of Segav, was actually in attendance. In fact, it appeared he was the only one who wasn’t actively running in fear from the flaming, lava-covered skeleton that beat its way in from the volcano. No, he was sitting serenely, munching on a bit of leftover appetizer and looking at what I assumed to be his bodyguard. He tossed a careless hand toward the monster, then immediately seemed to stop caring.

His bodyguard stood, and I realized he’d been hiding in the shadow his - head? - cast. When he stood, the top of his body brushed the cavernously tall ceilings, a mass of branches and leaves. Most of his gigantic body consisted a thick, sturdy tree trunk, and instead of legs he had countless roots moving independently to somehow propel the entire thing forward.

“Do hurry up, Zook.” Zane called lazily over a kebab. The tree(?) looked - pleased? - and seemed to nod(?) then rushed over to the bone creature. Half way, he was intercepted with the massive pillar that held up the center of the bistro’s roof. Made of stone and thicker around than the tree-thing, it seemed to give him pause. I could almost see the rusty, unused gears in its head moving, as if it couldn’t figure out how to move around it. Then, a dim light lit behind Zook’s eyes, and with all the effort of picking up a quill pen, he tore it from its moorings and tossed it haphazardly over one shoulder. On its way over, it tore a deep gash in Zooks neck(?) but by the time it flew out of contact, the wound’s other side was already healing up. When he neared me, I allowed my jaw to swing free and stepped away so he wouldn’t feel the need to eliminate the problem of me being in his way.

I looked back at the bone monster. It seemed to have somehow noticed Zook’s very subtle and quiet approach. As Zook approached melee range, and began to draw a hand back for a blow, the skeleton seemed to sigh, raised a hand, and flicked at some of the lava on its shoulder.

The glob flew towards Zook, and the bark that made up the tree-thing’s midsection immediately caught flame, and with a “FIRE BAD” he fled the bistro.

This seemed to alarm the rest of the terrified guests into action...running like mad at the door in a mass escape attempt. The bone monster lept into the center of the fray, and gazed intently at somone...not the Grand Marquis of Segav, he was sitting at his table still, looking stunned. No, it was - I jumped to see above the mass of heads - it was the owner of the delicious looking sword (and woman)! The Tuin Marquis stood firm and apeared to be readying to fight -I think. Hard to tell with the swarming bodies between us - but the skeleton was on him faster than I’d ever seen anything move. The marquis had barely drawn his cane sword in defense when the skeleton groped at his back, wrenched a bone dagger free, and plunged it into the marquis’s chest. As the marquis stepped back, gaping and stunned, the bonehead shoved a second dagger in his chest, and finally he pulled a boney sword from gods-know-where and plunged it into and through him.

I thought that would be the end of it, that the skeleton would jump from guest to guest happily murdering whoever he may, but he didn’t. He stood there, waiting. He waited until the Marquis of Tuin fell to his knees, then grabbed his shoulders. The marquis screamed, so piercing and awful it was as if the building shook. I clapped my hands over my ears and realized everything was rattling - the building was shaking! I watched in horror as the bone creature shoved its thick boney arm down the marquis’s throat, and saw the marquis tense up even in his stupor as the creature grabbed something. Green light began spilling out of the marquis’s throat as the skeleton retracted its arm. When its hand pulled free, it was clenched hard around the source of the green light, a blinding bright something. This was carelessly tossed aside, and the skeleton finally turned away from the dead marquis who, grotesquely, remained in a kneeling position slumped though he was.

I looked around helplessly and realized even the Grand Marquis had gone now, the only ones left in the bistro were myself, the marquis of tuin’s date, and the lava-covered skeleton who had just crazy-murdered a marquis. It began walking toward me and my hand tightened on the knife. I was already armed, I didn’t have to reach for anything, and I was a Crowlord damnit, I would fare better than the tree-thing or the marquis. I ignored the warm feeling on the inside of my right leg. As the skeleton approached, I tried to shift into a fighting stance, but it backhanded me across the room as easily as Zook had removed the stone pillar. As I flew through the air, I wondered vaguely if I had a colorful glowing something inside me, or if it was just a rich-people thing. I crashed against the wall and crumpled into a heap.

I was surprised to breath a sigh of relief however, when splinter exploded upwards from the very spot I’d been standing upon. Up came a bushy crown of branches and leaves, followed by an angry(?) looking Zook face(?). He appeared to have completely forgotten his previous burns, and handily picked up the skeleton and swung him around by his feet until the globs of now-hardening lava flew off him and began setting small fires here and there on the bistro floor. With all the magma gone, I realized the bone creature, the terrifying thing that had beaten the tar out of a marquis and a crowlord - no easy feat - was just a man in a suit of armor. I gaped at the sight. Zook pulled the man back in and began to crush him in a vise-like grip between his two hands. The man in the bone armor’s face began to turn red, and his mouth fell open, as the doors into the bistro were thrown open and dozens of Blue Robe templars spilled in. At their fore was the famous Kailen Larroc, most recent Blue Robe leader to not die. The late marquis’s mistress took that splendid opportunity to dash out of the bistro -faster than any gal in six-inch heels had any business dashing- and I did not begrudge her the view she provided me on her way out. Very thoughtful of her to tear her already mostly non-existent skirt.

Kailen shouted to Zook.

“When I say go, drop him!” he instructed him. He stared at Kailen with vacant eyes for a moment, then dropped the man, and revealed that the pressure of the squeezing hold had cracked his armor into pieces.. Kailen seemed to look grieved for a moment, but when the man hit the floor, safely away from Zook’s body, he dropped his hand. As one, the Blue Robes began throwing spells, spells I’d never had the pleasure of hearing cast in real life, spells that belonged to the upper cortexes. And every single one of them hit home. Each spell crashed against the armor clad man and broke like a wave against his flesh.  Brilliant flashes of color, gouts of flame, streams of acid, and bolts of lightning    Mouth still open, it had not found a reason to shut yet, I looked at the bone armored man to see what that many upper cortex spells all hitting at once did to a man. My mouth remained open when my eyes found the answer; Nothing.

The man ran forward at the Blue Templars, who were frantically throwing more and more upper cortex spells at him, and seemed to ignore them entirely as he jumped neatly over them and dashed away. I glanced back to Zook to see what he was going to do about it, but he seemed to be futilely attempting to clean up. As the Blue Robes rushed after our uninvited guest, I decided to see what could be seen from the body of the marquis. Other than his mouth and throat being stretched grotesquely beyond the normal limit, there didn’t appear to be anything wrong with him. His purse held no coin either, he appeared to have simply been out on the town with his mistress. As I debated with myself the value of his sword and sapphires vs the fact they were very recognizable and the theft would almost assuredly land me in jail, I noticed something was...off. The body remained, but it’s shadow began stretching and pulling, doing nothing for the nightmares I was already promised. It grew and grew, until it seemed to take up the whole room, cavernous as it was. As I jumped back to view the thing in its entirety, I realized. Our dearly departed Marquis of Tuin...was a Dragon.

Unfortunately, the poorly treated building, with its exploded floor, missing support pillar, and various inflamed sections, realized this fact at the same moment I did. Zook and I shared a look, then bolted for the exit.

From the safety of a nearby cliff, we watched as the bistro pulled off its moorings and fell away into the volcano.

-Dan Fischetti

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Portents: Beginning of the End

The sun was stretching just above the dark line of the skycove, the fresh light of a new day illuminating the Bay of Segav. A coral and gold glow danced on the cliffs above the fishing vessels returning to harbor, the sounds of bells  mingling with the cries of lungers and skyfishwives; their ancient repartee of who the day’s catch truly belonged to. A brisk wind accompanied the gentle dawn, finding its way to the seamed, narrow face of a Crow Lord squinting into the elements from the window of his cramped room.

    “At least several decades of service warrants a port view,” Corwin Dace thought to himself, cracking his swollen knuckles and smiling wryly. Like many of his colleagues, he’d spent much of his life outside of Haven Rock Institute, patiently combing the shards for bits of lore and information long disregarded by others. He famously gloated--to himself mostly, but to others whenever he had the chance--that he could glean more from a housewife’s market receipts than a prince could from a fine volume.

    Not that it would do him much good, now. Corwin turned on his heel; for all his ninety years, he was still lithely muscled, his posture upright, his movements swift. Not that that would do him much good, either; not for much longer.

    He moved through the narrow room to the sturdy ashwood desk. It was built with scholars in mind, of course, but even so, he felt mildly sorry for the groaning furnishing as he took in the heaps of books, scrolls, mirrors, skulls, and other bits of arcanamia that his work required. Paging slowly through the topmost volume, he couldn’t help but hold his breath in hope; perhaps, this time, the writings on the page would change, this indelible work of historical fact that he knew by heart rewritten by a time traveller while he watched the sun rise.

    It was not so. It never was. His lifelong passion had been seeking true journeys through time; he had sat in with those who scryed, who viewed the past but found it became hostile once they tried to affect it. He had seen the cost that the vampires paid when they looked into the future, and still dearly wished that he could choose to pay that cost himself. Lately, with the reports trickling in from colleagues, especially those few who journeyed to the Maw, he wished more than ever that something could be done to change things.

    A few bits of tattered parchment lost their place in the carefully-balanced chaos, tumbling to the floor. Corwin bent with a grunt--aged well, but still aged, he was--and picked it up in his left hand, the large knot of the writer’s cramp on his middle finger propping the paper up. A simple bill of lading, but one special to him; it had been signed in a tavern in Segav, and he had spent three whole cycles attempting to travel back in time to when it was signed, simply to add his signature to the paper as a working man. Forbidden incantations, deep trances, Barrens distillery---and still there, next to “Received By” was the pitiable X of the illiterate lad who’d signed for it, instead of Corwin’s own looping scrawl.

    Pitiable, indeed. He scowled, catching sight of the familiar expression in the etched scrying mirror. If the Gods were just, he’d die with that very look on his face.

    The Gods, however, seemed to have Their hands full, even removed as They currently were. Omens, portents, whispers; a partial sunrise in the Shadow Realm, corpses that should not be corpses, a rumored weakening among the dragons, agitated Fae, both apathetic and hostile, a rising of the stomach-souring power of the Fel Druids.  Speak nothing of the abdication of Grand Marquis De’sau and his sopheratu ilk to a “kingdom of blood.”  The death of gods and elder creatures such as Vatric... No this seems more than happenstance - it seems providence.

    “Perhaps the Gods can travel as I cannot, and saw fit to escape before any of us,” he muttered, his seldom-used voice barely audible above the noises of the bay. “Worthy of worship, then.”

    As the sun rose fully, he shook his head and went through his careful motions of charting the sun in the sky, as he had every day for decades. Scowling at the results, he was not surprised, but even he was still capable of worry---a feeling that seemed to chew from stomach to spine, quietly, persistently. The sun was half a degree too far off the flow-line, at precisely the same rate it had been erring for the past cycle or so.

    Massagon itself was out of balance; all evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, pointed to that truth. Many were the scholars who were convinced they lived in the End of Times; there was the Umzermost to consider, and the death and chaos that followed that most sacred of holdings. Corwin thought on these things, but still felt he actually might be part of the end. A great shift, perhaps; something akin to the Shattering, certainly.

    He folded his journal of observations into his sleeve, breathing deeply and preparing himself to deliver the results to the Headmaster. He, too, wished Corwin’s results were in error, but facts were facts, and they had no care for the affairs of folk. He turned a last, fond look on his chamber, dust motes dancing in the sun’s full glory, and said a rather vague prayer as he turned and shut the door on his way out.

    “In knowledge, acceptance. In acceptance, peace. In peace, oblivion.”

-Audrey Fields

 

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MYRTLE BIGPOCKET'S LOG, 18 BRONZE, YEAR 3 OF THE AGE OF HEROES - REDRAWING THE BORDERLINES

Now, from the silence of the past few moons, I Myrtle Big Pockets am here to recount to you the goings on from around our shattered plane. I have not been remiss in capturing and noting these events, indeed, many have been of enough note that it is absolutely worth the wait. A solemn gnome promise, I can give you that.

 

The war in the tropics has reached an all-time high and came to a momentary climax with a long, hard fought battle on a small Tropic shard of Thierry. There, despite the rigorous and nigh unto constant action as seen by the Brinna Military - barely gained any amount of advantage against the Harel People’s Defense Force fortifications, as built in collaboration by the Muurgnitive War-masons. The Seige was levied, day and night, for 13 days. Many thousands died each day, as a series of bad luck seem to befall the Brinna Army - disease and faulty equipment, and the Navy suffered greatly due to an errant troid belt passing through.   Even still, Lord Jushiro’s General, General Iaho Minamoto of sul Dar’hue The sunrise steel servant, Fist of the ever burning flame, won the skirmish with his tactical genius.  Both sides are now each retreat back to their fortifications to lick their wounds and plot their next attacks.

Meanwhile in Airye, the seat of the Emperor is soon to be filled, and so the major houses have begun their vies for power and influence, each putting forth their favored candidates in an effort to get closer to the seat of power. How far reaching will this dramatic upheaval be, will it stem the infighting among the great houses of Elfkind? None can see, but many speculate that the results will be a positive for the world if the Elves restore their place as stewards of Massagon.  I for one am hopeful for their return to the world at large.  Yes they have much to answer for, but there is only one way they can make good on the pain they’ve caused - and that is as a unified force.

 

There have been several lowborn nobles who have gone missing from several towns in Segav, Muurgnitive, and the Vale.  This is only noteworthy due to timing as it seems to have been a simultaneous disappearance. I was in the Segav Federation at the time, and I saw a young lord hastening towards a ship at the docks, ladened with chests, the man was pale, and shaking, a slight sheen of sweat across his brow - at the time I took this as nothing more than the results of a bad night at the gambling dens.

Political maneuverings aside, other rumblings ripple across Massagon as the recent ascension of Hospitaler to Demi-god hood appears to have caused an unprecedented rash of miracle healings, and illnesses are at an all time low. Hospitallers by the hundreds now pilgrimage to the grief stricken town of Sanctuary as a holy site to the Hospitaler- the site of his greatest miracle. Because of this Sanctuary is now the location to the head Hospitaler Hall, and construction to improve the current hall is underway. Amidst all of this, the populace of the town can be seen mourning- placing tablets with epithets at sites where loved ones fell, others erecting small altars and memorials, 200 bodies unaccounted for, presumed dead, though causing some pause for consideration as Hospitaler had raised all others.

 

Near Lagaan strange Maelstroms have been appearing, seemingly coming from nowhere. A roiling mass of black clouds with blinding lightning and shattering thunder is reported. Ships in the area of these storms have been disappearing, sometimes the only thing seen being a black tentacle darting out of the clouds before claiming the ship and dragging it into the mass and crushing it.

 

Among the other shiftings of the world, the former assassin, Ysabrylla, has risen to protectorship and demi-godhood over the Kingdom of Blood. The Kingdom of Blood has been welcoming sopheratu from all over Massagon, slowly turning into a bustling town as things get settled and normalcy is developed.

 

Amongst all these comings and goings, a whispered phrase can be heard “It should be safe here” heard as if whispered just behind you, softly- repeatedly, urgently.

Continuing the story from Talos,  the Highborn Enclave Refugees have made great strides in improving their quality of life, with a large amount of help from the Strongsouls of New Haven, Lead Chiefly by a Seoban named Kore, and closely assisted by a scarred elf named Nimene who is becoming somewhat of a local heros.  They have been seen in the presence of Crell Garasevix, the Tattooed blue highborn representative.  Though not much has been heard of the previous leader of Rom’ho’harel in exile - Ismet Errthexis, or her husband, the Terrthexis, it appears that social structure has been maintained, and the displaced citizens retain their desire to return to their homelands.

 

The Segav federation, long the beacon of prosperity amongst the world, has suffered what appears to be a political and financial collapse as  Grand Arbiter Zane White has unartfully managed the power vacuum left behind by the Legendarily Apt Marquis Manif De’sau after his sudden abdication to the Kingdom of Blood.  The resulting political fiasco has lead to the restoration of gang-rule that remains a historical norm for the states.  We should expect that someone will appear at the top of the chaos within the year.  The suffering caused for the lowest in the citizenry is usually massively understated in these situations,  however due to Manif De’sau’s philanthropy, he purchased passage, and the rights to every slave Sopheratu in the city.  This has left the nobility reeling from the workforce loss and has furthered the infighting situation.

 

Continuing on the story of the Sopheratu,  a great exodus has occurred from all across the Shards of Massagon as thousands of sopheratu strive to claim their long-promised homeland,  the Kingdom of Blood.  Strange noises, lights,  and figures have been seen for the past few months before the arrival of the cities new inhabitants.  Several groups have attempted to claim the seemingly empty Kingdom of Blood, only to be repulsed by a hooded figure wielding great and terrible magic,  or felled by blackened arrows before even reaching the city's walls.   The Sopheratu lead by Manif De’sau seem to have had no problems moving in and occupying the new Nation-state on the maw.   I have been given some special accord to visit them by Mr. De’sau, and will provide a more detailed write up in a future report.

 

The Dreg’atar emperor Eran Oriax continues to face his trial after his self-imposed exile.  Though many question whether he remains fit to lead due to his absence, he still has great loyalty in Xyx'Syx on the Maw.  Predominantly the Grand Arbiter Aran’dir Arc’Amnel has advocated for giving the emperor more time, remaining cryptic as to his reasons.

 

The kingdom of the Vale seems to be holding steady as usual, with only the ongoing political liaison between the Gattan Confederacy and the Kings of the nation to note.  Rumor has it that the Godking Albion Torvald XIV is preparing to meet with Gattan Emperor Amit in the near future.  This is startling news since the Godking has largely remained out of foreign affiars for quite some time, allowing His dynastic lineage to mange the affairs while He watches and protects from on high.

 

The search for the tower of the White Sword continues.  Through communication with the Blue Robe archmage, Archmage Kellan Larroc, we have come to learn that there is little hope that anyone still remains alive after the tower’s mysterious disappearance last year,  though investigations indicate that Demonic activity may be at play into the cause.  The Havenrock institute’s Crowlords have been working closely with the Mage towers in an attempt to puzzle out the disappearance and possible future ramifications.

 

The normally silent region of the Barrens has been beset by a strange upsurge of storms.  Many can swear they see a figure walking in the deadly black-glass gales, heedless of the pain it must cause.   

 

That my dear readers, is the log of current events from the Shards of Massagon.  Much continues to move in the Age of Heros and more I fear is yet to come.  Throughout our years, the relative number of strongsouls in our world has been scarce and while still rare, their number are increasing.  With the rising tide of power, also grows the magnitude of their deeds.

 

Remember friends stay safe and Explore, Explore, Explore!

 

Myrtle Bigpockets Explorer Extraordinare

 

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Event Date Changes

Greetings,

Last week, we made a request to you, our players, about moving the current dates within our seasonal schedule for the summer.

As of this moment, Shards of Massagon is currently set to run events in June, August, and October. We heard from several of you that June wasn't looking like an opportune month, with graduations, vacations, weddings, moves into new houses, and fledgling LARPs like Holurheim that you would like to support in their debut events.

With your feedback and the availability of everyone as a whole, we have made the decision to move the remainder of the 2016 dates to:

July 15-17th, September 23-25th, and November 11-13th.

There is talk about a New Years Feast event, stay tuned!

Thank you everyone for your continued support, it's everyone's effort together that makes the game the amazing experience that it is! 

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April Event Updates: Changes

Greetings Shardians!

As we gear up for our April Event, we have some important game updates for all to be aware of, as they will go into effect at this Event. Please read them over, as well as make sure fellow players are aware. Thanks for your continued diligence and if you have any questions, feel free to email us at: info@shardsofmassagon.com.

Effects Changes


Toxin: No longer Poison or Disease  

Disease and Poison have been removed from the game.  The following single effect has replaced them: Toxin: Indefinite Effect. Under Toxin, you may no longer use any Trigger ability (Brutality, First Strike, Finesse, etc.) nor are you affected by any Remove or Restore ability with the exception of Remove Toxin.

As your character, when under Toxin you are 'gravely ill' and are given permission to RP the ailment to its severity.


All spells, skills, and racial abilities that dealt with Poison and Disease have been reworked to compensate.  Please check the skills on the website for changes to your specific class and race.

 

Break: No longer Sever

Sever has been renamed to Break in all skills of the game-book. Sever is no longer an effect in game.  Regardless of how your limb has been broken or removed, all Remove Break skills can restore an injured limb.  

You are given permission to RP the injury to its severity, and as a healer RP however your character would restore a limb in order to use the effect.  

No class requires one to recover a limb in order to Remove Break.

 

Class Changes

Hospitaller

Adrenaline Rush has been removed from the game due to being unbalanced.

Channeler

The spell Plague Winds has been removed from the game.
The spell Vaporize has been renamed to Wither and is now an Undead spell.
Teleport is no longer a Universal spell and is now a Dragon spell.

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The return of spirit wraith: a sample of what is to come

The 2.6 team has been hard at work re-developing one of the core Quintessial Arts we worked on years ago.  We're proud to display to you the resurrection of the long-thought-dead Quintessial Art

Enacting Warsob  

Spirit wraith

It is said there are powers in the world abhorrent to all existence.  Some strongsouls take on the spooky burden of fighting that abhorrent power, with that self-same power, turning the weapon of the Enemy upon itself.   

The Spirit Wraith takes upon this Vastness energy and begins spewing it forth into the world with it's unrelenting Warsob, and Indomitable haunt, becoming titans of terror on the battlefield, and unending sources of spoopy power. 

Woe be to you if you meet one on the battlefield,  woe to you even more if you challenge one alone...

... in the dark.

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||IC|| World Whispers: "Madness, in the skies, it stirs..."

 

Across the shards of Massagon, the nearly moonless sky twinkles with starlight. Nighttime creatures chirped and called in the woods.

 

 

The wind shifts, the sky brightens with the silver glow of moonlight, radiating out from the waxing sliver in the sky. A laugh, maddened and feminine, driven by celebratory urgency and backed by the rattling of broken bones and grinding chains, echoes throughout the shattered world, in dark woodlands, in arid plains, on the decks of ships and in the bustle of towns. Silver mist arcs through the sky twisting its way around the elusive reflection of a great mountain, towards the moon, curling over it like a protective caress.

 

A woodmouse scurries and shudders in it's hole - Even the smallest of things knows. A deal has been struck, a bargain made, power shifted.

With a sudden unearthly uproar, four howls, terrible and ferocious, echo through the night; sounds that could only come from creatures of immense power. Old things left over - not of this world. You do not see them, but you can feel their malevolent presence.

Take it back!” you can hear them shouting, bellowing through your mind, its meaning expressed, if not in word. “We forbid it!”

One can feel the pounding of tremendous paws and smell the blood on their breath, sense the rumble of the hunger of primordial creatures. The offence was great, but they knew their anger greater. But a fifth dissenting roar, rattling your very bones, silences them all, equal to any one of the four. “No! It is struck.”

 

A false peace soothes the wilds, the calm before the storm. The wind dies down, the baying ceases. The woods sway in the dark night, almost as if the trees whispered to each other, soft secret words.



The Mad Queen rises…

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Myrtle Bigpocket's Log, 30 Red, 2 BLACK, YEAR 2 OF THE AGE OF HEROES - Change in the wind

Myrtle Bigpocket's Log, 30 Red, 2 BLACK, YEAR 2 OF THE AGE OF HEROES - Change in the wind

With the rise of the Dragon God Krogroth, many of his followers spent the last month rejoicing. However, not all are excited about this world-changing event. Most notably, a group calling themselves the “True-believers of Erratryx” have made a declaration that it is their belief that, and I quote, “the complacent and indulgent attitude towards the numbers of undead in the world is what led the Diseased One to wake. We will be a cleansing force to enact the Will of Erratryx and rid the world of that which is unclean. We will not tolerate these cycle-breakers pretending to be people to walk.” A High Priestess for the Covenant of Erratryx on Talos has stated that this fringe group is in no way an official part of their Order. She refused to comment further however, stating “I really don’t have time for this. I have real work to do.”

The shard of Ashmarsh, located on the Temperate Tier, has been bustling with activity as of recent. Known for its population of Krogroth-worshiping Krog, Ashmarsh was the location of the opening of one of the four Infernal portals of the world. Since this event, and with the awakening of Krogroth, Ashmarsh has become a pilgrimage location, and a settling down point, for Krogrothians and Demons alike. Rumors are the shard has been fortifying and expanding, grafting troids to itself with odd demonic magics. No one is sure for what purpose.  

News from the Barrens! The Great Hero Mordecai the Magnificent saved yet another town from destruction when he fended off a giant elemental of fire last week! According to my records, that was the second-largest monster he has ever faced in the line of heroic duty to his home shard. (The biggest being, of course, the Great Sandworm of 1973s.) Local bards are already working on new verses of his ongoing ballad to commemorate the event!

A massive cloud of miasma which has plagued the Barrens for millennia, taking up hundreds of miles of land, has suddenly cleared leaving behind a toxic, twisted landscape.  Mining towns braving the area have scattered around the borders of the toxic area, and have begun to quickly set up camps inside, looking for fertile veins of metal and unexplored ruins. To their surprise, they found a strange sight deep towards the interior of the zone, there was already a strange city of black stone and metal surrounded by strange massive golems, coruscating with barely contained supernatural energies. None have made it inside the massive ebon wall of the city as all attempts to enter have been gently rebuked by a soft voice emanating from the wall.  Many of the explorers in the area do not seem to be able to stay long due to mysterious ailments that seem to clear up after a few days of rest.

More on heroic deeds, this time from the shard of Aiyre. The Demonologist, Naomi Abaddon, was spotted routing a horde of demons out of the momentarily overrun town of Shil’nar on the outskirts of Aiyre’s Druidic lands. Her act was made possible by her own technique of simply summoning demons, which she commanded as well as fought beside. After finishing her work and dismissing her demons back into the Infernal Plane, she reportedly took a trip around Aiyre, visiting various shops and vendors. Her controversial method of assisting the people of Aiyre yet again is a hotly debated topic, though as of yet, no one has attempted to apprehend the young woman.

A group of smiths in the Vale christened their forge the Brighthearth Temple, dedicating the building and their work to the god Aniston. Not three days later, a group of bowmakers in The Barrens also dedicated their craft hall to said god of the Positive Plane. Both groups are looking for Paladins and Hierophants to help maintain the proper spiritual aspects of the infant temples. In related news, the famous Casino, The Starbright Diamond, located in the heart of Segav proper, has converted part of itself into a temple to the now seated god Zanil. The owner and now Head Paladin of the Diamond Temple would like to assure the public that the casino will still function as it always had and non-denominational patrons are still perfectly welcome and encouraged. None of the celebrations of the new gods compare, however, to the massive festival that lasted for an entire week on the shard of Lagan to welcome their favored deity, S’vaxore, now God of Ice, called the Icefather by locals, to his seat. It is even rumored to have drawn the attention of the new Demigod of Revelry, who is said to have attended and given the party her blessing.

Speaking of Lagan, stories abound of an odd increase in the size, lethality, and hostility of their monsters. These monster attacks have strained the capacity of local hunters and their League of the Ivory Heart (the local healing guild) is working doubly hard to fix what injuries are done. In this chaos, it seems the head of their order, Mira Brynefist, was blessed by the rise of S’vaxore and used this blessing to revive a field of dead taken down by a strange new otter-like beast with curved sickle-like wooden claws. The efforts seem to have exhausted Lady Mira however, and she collapsed soon after, needing to be taken to the safety of the League’s headquarters to rest and recover. The collapse is of no surprise to local scholars however as one quoted, “mortal bodies aren’t meant to channel that much divine energy.”

Rom’Ho’Harel was the center of much turmoil this past month, when Maern Errthexis, son of the Lady Izmet, took charge of the shard and banished all the highborn that had been living there. Before the former residents could flee, a battle broke out, with Maern and his strange seoban attacking the highborn still on the shard. All of this culminated in a small group of heroes, (amongst them the names of Ogthar - the Silent Shield, Maverdax - the Golden Rider, Artorius Oriax - the Reaver of Flame, Vale not of Vale - a Grandmaster of the Reavers, Razga Euthanuk - Chancellor of New Haven, Cross of the White Frost, Isiri West - Benevolent Priestess of Krogroth, Shaylin Kitrik - Mother of Mordent, and Mairon Nae’sil - an elf) through extraordinary strength and ability, breaking off a large portion of the shard that held the enclave that was there and floating it away from the rest of the shard, thereby rescuing the land, and many highborn homes, from the onslaught. After this initial act, Maern of the air seoban has stated his declaration of war on the nation of Brinna.

Word has spread throughout the shards, however, that the displaced land and highborns with it are attempting to organize into a single highborn nation. Many have been abuzz with the prospect of such and want to see just where such an idea might go.

There has been some spreading worry through the Gattan Confederacy about one of their colonies. Vaken, up in the Arctic Tier, has fallen very quiet. The shard had been sending out many intrepid scholars and explorers when it was finally set up as one of the colonies in its excitement at being reintroduced to the outside world after being isolated in The Shattering. But after their momentary panic over the release of some monster on their shard, they have since shut themselves away once again. Their Mayor, Mallory Holden, upon being contacted, assures Gattan representatives that everything is, I quote, “just fine. The storms just make it harder to get out.”  

Still no confirmed word on the missing natural scholars from around Massagon. However, one woman, whose husband was among the missing, reported catching a glimpse of him out during her morning prayers to Miyusha and Teemok. She quotes: “He was at the bottom of the hill where we built the shrine together. He looked up at me and his face was all covered in these black veins. But I know what he looks like! I waved and shouted his name and he looks into my eyes and smirked and… I… it didn’t feel like he was the same. He started moving up towards me but then the wind picked up and it was like he heard something and he turned and left.” She has not reported seeing him since.

More strange stories from all over, as sailors and those that travel the airs of the world report a strange ship seen prowling the skies of Massagon. According to one sailor, “The hull of the ship appears to be a massively thick ribcage with raw bloody muscle stretched between the individual ribs. The mast is an enormous spine as thick as a redwood, with sheets of skin stretched to make sails. The skin sails are strung and affixed with a pinkish rope that upon closer inspection is actually composed of entrails. The ship is large enough that, if there were any passengers, it could easily hold several hundred. But there are none. It flies itself. I hear it even consumes other ships and the people aboard them.” No confirmation yet on how much of this is true, but it has been spotted all over, though most often near the skies around The Maw.

News from the Vale today! Princess Jocelyn Anabellin Torvald, daughter of Prince Cadren Torvald of the Vale, is building a new Manor retreat in the town of Opportunity on The Maw. There is only one Valish outpost on this wild and dangerous shard, but rumors are the princess has been insistent about building there. This decision is in spite of her head of security, Sir Edvin Kalinthar, advising against such actions. The knight himself refused to give a statement. The construction is scheduled to be finished within the next few weeks.

An Outlying Shard in the Earth Seoban Kingdom has had a gigantic tree grow out of the ground. From out of the tree emerged the almost extinct race known as the Rootlords. No new Rootlords had been born for millennia and it seems as though the new God of Nature, Erlawyel, has taken them up as a race. There are reports also that the shard that the tree emerged from is starting to float upward and making its way to the temperate tier.

It seems that the school established in Sanctuary, Skyside Institute, has finally finished construction on a their first building and is beginning to properly flourish. Many of the youth of the town have already been under the instruction of kind volunteers, such as the brother & sister pair, Sylvia and Peter Partrige, citizens of Sanctuary, or Solace Cormac Dela-Rose, one of the Strong-Souls of New Haven. One hopes that with a proper center of learning, made possible by the generous donations of the towns of Opportunity, Sanctuary, and New Haven, the school can encourage the young minds of The Maw to blossom into great scholars!

Reports have come from in from across the shards. People everywhere have claimed to see an oddity within mirrors as of late. Occasionally, while gazing into a mirror, some see an indistinct figure, tall and shadowy, standing several feet behind the viewer and watching them intently. Upon glancing back, no one is there. Some children in Sanctuary and the Vale have begun to spread rumors that the Man in the Mirror is an entity that will grab you and pull you into his world forever if you make eye contact with it. This theory has yet to be confirmed.

 

It’s a dangerous world, my readers.  Stay safe in the world.

Myrtle Bigpockets - Explorer and chronicler extraordinaire.

 

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Throw back Thursday: Parlay with a Vampire

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Throw back Thursday: Parlay with a Vampire

Way, way back, we had the occasional event at a site by a river down in Radford, VA. At one of these events the PCs met with a "love him or hate him" vampire named Julian. Here we have some old faces that we haven't seen in a while, and some that are still around. What character from the past do you miss the most? Let us know in the comments! 

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