Dwarves of Bruinia

Introductions

1000 BC; After subterranean expansion through the Brau Empire is halted, the Grandfathers began toying with the idea of overland expansion after the followers of the “unseen evil”, the Drow, began to corrupt and pervert many intelligent beasts as well as Dwarves, into sedition.
In the Hall of Grandfathers, much debate was held over the topic, over three years worth. Until it was decided to form an Alliance Military consisting of three central Dwarven clans, Oakenshield, Strongaxe and O’Druin. Shortly thereafter, Alliance Military outposts began appearing in and around the Corliss Bay. Several hundred years later their new empire stretches along most of the northern expanse of the mountains. The proud Dwarves have named their new empire Drakonis Brau after the Dragons seen throughout the range.

Present day 500 BC; It is a dark and uncertain age in the empire of Dwarves. In the southern arc of the Draconis Brau lies the foul and cursed Rotsca Swamp, and to the chagrin of the Dwarves, the curse continues into the very mountain itself. Mining expedition members began to fall ill and then go completely mad after working the damp and malodorous rock. A dozen Shamans were sent to consecrate the area and failed in doing so. The Elder Shamans declared the evil too perverse for even the rituals of honorable Dwarves. The Grandfathers declared the southern mountains forbidden and to abandon all outlying settlements.

Assignment
You’ve all reached your 50th birthday and have surrendered to the call of duty. Training complete, skills acquired and ready for use in the service of the King, you’ve been given orders to report to Patrol Captain Viginti for your assignment.
You arrive at the patrol camp outside the storage mines near the Hall of Grandfathers, a holy place where only the most highly honored Dwarf is laid to rest. A place all Dwarves aspire to end up when they pass. The camp consists of six tents and a large training yard. You discover Viginti in the training yard watching two wolves play in the mud. He is a black haired dwarf of average build. He wears his beard in three long braids. When he turns to greet you you notice he is missing his right leg from the knee down, a wooden peg replaces it.
A group of soldiers is returning from their rounds as you finish saluting.
“Report.” Captain Viginti orders the harried patrol unit.
“Another break in Captain, this time they took a whole ton of iron ore!” Viginti only raises his eyebrow at this unbelievable report. The Patrol unit stares questioningly at the Captain.
“Relieved of post Red Unit!” He barks at them making all of them flinch.
In unison they all salute and back away three steps before turning around. Without turning around he address you.
“Cadets. You’ve been assigned to my command. This is Overland Patrol. You will be patrolling an area of the perimeter known among the Alliance as The Bottoms.”
This tidbit of information makes you a little uneasy. At the Alliance Academy the Bottoms are considered almost as dangerous as the Mountain Patrol. Although nobody could ever tell why it was so dangerous.
“ Your responsibility is to monitor the Supply Mines along the road to the east. There are two paths that access it. One is through a wooded area, the other is a hill path running above the mine shafts on the north side of the woods. Vanguardsmen are posted at both entry points.”
Captain Viginti motions to a large tent. “Barracks.”
He turns his gaze to a wooden building just left of the Barracks.”Armory.”
He motions toward a dark maroon tent marked ‘officers’.“Report to duty officer Akrohm to get your equipment, and bunks.”

Viginti looks you over and smirks. “I have designated you to Black Unit, the night shift in other words. I want you to set up an ambush at the Supply Mine Access to catch those thieving bastards when they try to steal from them again.”

After a week of training and patrol duty you are stationed, yet again, inside the Supply Mine Access. It is an hour till you will be relieved of duty when you think you hear voices coming from the entrance.

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Among the Manni
Among the Manni

You are able to find Joll without an issue, however the shaman explains the ritual takes days, and great preparation. The grandfathers are gathered and surprisingly they know of the Manni and fear their strange primal magic. They resist the Shamans coming to the City. Instead it is agreed you will take Prince Gundark to the Manni’s tree village of Cypress Ring under secret escort at the Crown Prince’s discretion.

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-The Way To Yosgnyk City
-The Way To Yosgnyk City

Brumm leads your party through the twisting tunnels in the Brau, being careful to avoid the main pass as you make your way to Yosgnyk City. More than a few times you are attacked, not by Drow, but the local Quaggoths, white Apemen, or small Yeti. The small yeti have retreated to the tunnels since the Drow have advanced into the mountains. This slows your progress and an alternative is proposed by Brumm. He suggests the party exit the tunnels south of the Kell, a giant dormant volcano. This places you about ten miles away from Drow occupied Dorr-Imn Crossing, both a supply hub and Alliance garrison. “At least this way…”, Brumm explains, “…we would be fighting the enemy, and not these goddamned apes!”

When you arrive at the Garrison at Dorr-Imn, almost fifty miles from the Karrath Ruins and Wellspring to Torag, you discover it abandoned, littered with remains of Alliance soldiers from all regiments. Brumm seems to think that this could mean the Drow have successfully cut the whole Dymmes Highway off, that makes sense seeing that the soldiers would be needed on the front line.

The next week you travel the Dymmes Highway. Once a wide and level pass cutting through the valley, now a burial ground. Hundreds of the dead lay strewn about the pass for seventy five miles, all the way to Four Corners, a massive junction of passes connecting just south of the Gnome settlement of Big Pine. Here the Alliance is holding off an army of Giant Spiders, all bearing a similar mark, each bears the Twelve Pointed Star in red paint.

Quickly you learn that the spiders were recently discovered out at an old abandoned slate quarry located north of Big Pine. The Watchers brigade reports that the Spiders were spotted assembling some type of structure, but were lured out to this pass to be slaughtered before they finished whatever they were building. You have arrived in said pass only moments before the Spiders will hopefully approach the entrance, where four hundred alliance soldiers, Gnome Dwarf and even a few wood elves alike, wait ready to pounce on the giant horrors.

Brumm tells you he would appreciate your assistance in this matter, but understands if you need to push forward as well.

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The Battle of Four Corner

The Battle of Four Corner was won with the blood and steel of the Alliance. The names of the 13 soldiers who fell there are forever memorialized on an obelisk erected in the entrance to Four Corner.

A feast is held at Yosgnyk City upon the Princes arrival and news of the latest victory. During the festivities a Watcher called Bingy appears and informs The Prince that Cultists have been gathering outside Sinklov, a mining village 30 miles north of Yosgnyk City, in alarming numbers, possibly in the thousands. Reports from the local informants confirm that the Cult has been active in two other major cities, Ghad and Grazzni, as well.

Two weeks prior to the Princes arrival at Yosgnyk City, Western Alliance General Baal Miir (former Illstan Emissary), assigned a unit of 4 Elite Vanguard, lead by Captain Garrik O’Druin, disguised as a Diplomatic Envoy north on a recon mission to Ghad City, and then onward to Grazzni City. Without Garrik’s knowledge General Baal ordered a unit of Watchers straight to Grazzni City via Rhovax and the treacherous Vuric Hills.

Meanwhile, the small crimson sparrows the Alliance has used as messenger birds for decades suddenly fly off in the direction of the Morinth Forest, seemingly all at the same time. This event is surrounded with mystery and a daunting sense of foreboding. Although tame and remarkably intelligent, little is known or understood about this bird species or its origins.

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The Corruption of Commander Mov

A feast is held and lasts long into the night, just before mid fall the feast is disturbed by a dead official. After an investigation the clergy determines the poison was a natural toxin produced by a sea creature. Prince Kurrack is informed that a group of loyal officials had collected information exposing the level of corruption in the official body, the dead dwarf was the last. It was then agreed that Baldrick but perform the ritual to speak to the dead and talk to the poisoned official.

The following morning a meeting is held in Prince Kurracks State Room. General Baal attends to discuss the current situation in the city, not long after that meeting begins Baal introduces the king himself, who then informs the party that he intends to make himself visible to the population with his health returned he wishes to repair the diplomatic negligence of his latest absence.

The ritual of speaking to the dead is performed at the meeting, led by Baldrick. They learned that the latest and final official loyal to the king had evidence (on his person) exposing corrupt members of the official body, as well as a number of high ranking officers of the Alliance.

Furthermore it would seem that the commander Mov, stationed at Vuric Hill, was the primary suspect for ordering the assassinations of 9 loyal officials, and most likely ordered the apprehension of said evidence as well as the poisoning.

It is agreed that our heroes will go to Vuric Hill and confront the corrupt Commander Mov.

To be continued…

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Vuric Hills Village, Autumn, 502BC.

Vuric Hills Village, Autumn, 502BC.

Our heroes discover the remains of Commander Movs betryal. The small empty lanes of the village are littered with the rotting corpses of hundreds of soldiers. The overgrown front courtyard of the old church is littered with the heads of Alliance soldiers atop poles, numbering somewhere close to 80.

An overwhelming sense of dread greets the heroes as they approach the church tower. A sickly green light, accompanied by a nauseating stench fills the tower and worship hall beyond.

On the entry level, our heroes discover the looted spell books and potions of dozens of Alliance healers. During the investigation a strange purple cloud descends the stairs leading to the next level. An attempt by the Prince the summon winds against it proved no effect on the strange cloud, however the change in pressure inside the tower forces open a hidden passage behind a bookcase.

The hidden passage reveals a laboratory occupied by three Drow Wizards engaged in a debate over Commander Mov and his mental faculties. Which have deteriorated considerably, according to their conversation. Our heroes cut the heathen cultists down, however in the process a table containing elixers and tinctures is bumped, resulting in a toxic chemical fire that quickly forces the heroes back into the entry level.

The second, third and fourth floors, dedicated to housing are unoccupied, however on the fifth floor the heroes encounter not one of the strange clouds, but two. Commander Mov appears on the stairs and begins to taunt our heroes as they confront his ‘experiments’. Attempts to attack it with magic prove fruitless. Only melee attacks have an effect on it, however a faint hue of the cloud remains on Ilka and Kurracks armor. When Dagrimm hits the cloud again the damage is reflected back to him and the hue begins to cunsume his arm and remains until the cloud is dispersed.

Soon after Mov is overtaken and defeated. At the top of the tower our heroes discover a glowing green dual tetrahedron of unknown material resting in a Drow skull on top of a work bench. A Dwarf lies on the floor beside the table, clutching an open steel box in his cold dead hand.

As they approach, a wave of fear and weakness washes over the heroes. After a few moments they are able to gather their wills and notice the steel box.

Dagrim makes it to the box with Baldric close behind, however Baldric is compelled to look at the dual tetrahedron and suddenly means to posses it. Before Baldric is able to grab it, Kurrack casts Magic Hand and carries it over and into the steel box. Dagrim slams it shut and immediately the dread and weakness fade away.

Kurrak discovers the scroll case with the evidence Mov stole from the poisoned official. Along with meticulous documentation of dozens of transactions between the Alliance and the Cult, the names of 42 Alliance traitors including 4 Generals and Prince Gundark himself.

After clearing and securing the tower our heroes take a well deserved rest.

To be continued….

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Ancient Ruin.

After careful examination, it is determined that the list of traitors found amongst the evidence may have been altered by Mov or a subordinate. In the following days The Watchers report the Dymmes Highway operational, and Yosgnyk City is secure once more after the 5th and 3rd armies push the enemy back into Morinth forest. However enemy attacks on Spetznaz City have increased. To further complicate matters, Watchers report the old Elven City of Elves, Zammirra overrun by Drow, whom are supposedly constructing a colossal gate.

Travel east brings our heroes to an ancient ruined set of towers, here an demon (Vrock) has thwarted troop advancement and has gathered cultists. The Red Sparrows also gather here as well, perching in the ruined tower. On approach, two badly wounded dwarven boys exit the ruins screaming. They explain that they became lost inside “the wash”, a drainage culvert that connects to the sewers under neath Spetznaz City. The boys claim to have seen dozens of dead alliance soldiers inside the tunnels, causing them to panic and lose there bearings. When questioned about thier injuries and escape, they tell Baldric a “hawk-man” had captured many children and was flaying the living flesh off them, he did not know to what end.

Our heroes then confront and vanquish the Vrock and seventeen cultists. It is decide that they will enter “the wash” and travel into Spetznaz, via sewer.

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The Wash, Spetnaz City
Dax, a Gnomish steam tech for hire, is jolted out of sleep by the steam foundry explosion only six blocks away. Taking a moment to observe his surroundings, Dax notices the merchant warehouse across the courtyard outside his window is being pillaged by Drow. As Dax begins to fire arrows into the warehouse window, he can hear Drow entering the building and decides to get out via the window in front of him. Grappling a corner of the building he is able to get down safely, only to be narrowly missed by crossbow bolts. Dodging behind some discarded crates and barrels, Dax jumps inside and uses it like a shield to get out of the line of fire and around the corner where he bumps into his downstairs elderly neighbor. She directs Dax through the crowd to an open sewer grate. Since the last few attacks on the city, residents had prepared for another one by outfitting a washout chamber into a bunker. Dax is able to see the camp is terribly vulnerable and decides to strike out on his own into the sewer.Moving through the sewers, Dax finds piles of dead bodies. In one he locates a lantern with some oil left in it. Dax follows the voices of Alliance soldiers into a chamber where he notices something in the water. Dax skirts the edge of the water and escapes down a very narrow outlet on the other side. Moving through the twisting tunnels, Dax stumbles upon a unit of Drow moving away from him and tracks them until the they begin to advance on an enemy ahead of them. He uses the distraction to assassinate two of the Drow. The rest of the Drow are engaged with a group of Dwarves in an adjacent chamber.

Previously…

Our heroes enter the “Wash” after resting up for the night. They too discover piles of fluid-less bodies along the way. Not to long after they encounter several Giant Black Widows. After a mile or so they come upon a unit of patrolling Drow. During battle they realize the enemy is being flanked from behind by a Gnome. When the conflict is over, they all return to the city and locate General V’Rek at the Citadel.
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Edo and The Underdark

Roti Peninsula; Zheng Harbor, home of the Soga Clan.

A few months ago, Vanaran engineers investigating the sudden disappearance of run off water from the mountains discovered an inactive fresh water spring entrance large enough to crawl into. The team is able to navigate through the narrow caves, and follow it deep under the foot hills of the Shangxi Mtns. Lost, the engineers wander the cave system only to eventually discover The Drow Underdark. The team miraculously return home safely, not injured at all, only dehydrated and profoundly disturbed.

Days later, The Soga Shogunate orders the “black hand”, an elite group of four ninja to infiltrate the the cave system for reconnaissance. They return with a detailed report on the Drow Underdark as well as the expansion into the sunken city of Oarasan. The Shogun then requests the shamanic order of The White Iris choose a representative, and send her to the Alliance Territories across Corliss Bay. Although not exactly diplomats, The White Iris shamans were responsible for negotiating the Trade Pact almost sixty years earlier, establishing the Vanaran Fleet as the main supply distributor for the entire Corliss Bay region.

Fadoo, leader of the White Iris shamanic order, chooses to send Edo the orders most respected member. She arrives In Berm Port, which is almost completed, and informs the Alliance General there of the Drow under the Bay and offers her assistance. She is quickly taken under Vanguard escort to Spetnaz City.

During this one week trip she is witness to the devastation left after Drow assualts. The constant fear of enemy ambush, the haunted look in the eyes of the people they pass on the road builds her compassion for them. Finally Edo and her Alliance escort are forced from the protection of their armored wagon just outside Spetznaz City and enter the sewer system. Again she is exposed to the horrors of the Drow Cult as they move through secured areas of the sewer. Before returning to the surface Edo meets a unit of soldiers collecting the bodies of their allies and storing them in a pit of hundreds, like an unearthed mass grave.

Edo and her escorts arrive at the Citadel just after midnight. After formalities are satisfied they are directed to the Meeting Hall. Edo is informed on the way up the stairs that the Prince of the Dwarven Empire is here at the Citadel. In fact he is sitting with the General.

Previously inside the Citadel…

Prince Kurrack calls a meeting with General Vrek. Concerned about the level of decadence being displayed by the General, Kurrack and Vrek come to an understanding after the Prince is able to enlighten the General of his misdeeds. Before said meeting, Kurrack stationed Baldric and Dagrimm to guard the two entrances of the Hall, in case things got personal. Dax is seldom seen in one place for very long, always doing this or that.

Consumed with polishing his beloved Ilka, Dagrimm fails to notice the female Vanaran shaman behind the Vanguard escort. He starts with suspicious alarm when he does However, alerting Baldric to the visitors presence. The Vanguard captain introduces Edo as Dax returns and all are well met.

The Heroes listen intently, only occasionally interrupting Edo for reiteration as she tells them her tale. The revelation of a Drow Underdark under the Corliss Bay is a humbling one for General Vrek and the heroes. Further more there are implications that the Drow have adapted Alliance steam tech. All of this is fantastic intelligence, but it is also terrible for the Alliance who have seventy percent of it’s forces on the other side of the Brau.

Edo offers to assist the Alliance in any way. She is asked by Prince Kurrack to join them as they travel through the battle zone toward Zammira where recent intelligence reports confirm the Cult is constructing a colossal gateway somewhere in the city. The heroes rest that evening and the next morning enter the occupied east Spetznaz City.

To be continued…

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Spetnaz City

Our heroes continue to seek out and eliminate the enemy as they move west through the war torn streets of Spetnaz City. In the public square our heroes join three units of Alliance Vanguard struggling with an elite squad of Drow. All three Alliance unit fall before the enemy can be defeated.

Only a few blocks away our heroes find a unit of Vanguard pinned down by snipers. Their commander Alucard, a Wood Elf, approaches them and explains the unit has been pinned down for a few hours sending Alliance units around before they get caught in the intersection ahead and slaughtered. Although Alucard fails to recognize the Prince, he sees that they are a highly skilled unit and suspects the heroes are Watchers (special operations).

Alucard gathers his unit and suggest that the heroes assist in a systematic assualt on the Drow Snipers.

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