Call Forth Darkness (Inactive)

Game Master Aku Warashi

You hear in his dying breath whisper “The shining sun has seen the wickedness you hide in hearts. And thus it will be the son who brings your doom.” then he dies.

Loot; Dramatis Personae; Battle Map

Evil Lair. Modifications


Organization: Witch Coven

House Rules:

Rolls:
Many rolls will be handled by the GM in secret.(don't worry, I don't fudge.)
Any result that can influence the character behavior will not be rolled open.
Ex: A Rogue try's a perception check to hear if there's anything on the other side of the door, he rolls 3 and add his bonus (+7), you got a 10 result. The char is not aware he was bad at listening, to him, he did not heard anything because there's nothing o the other side(he trust his skills, there is no "ops, I was bad at this listening attempt."), but the player will know that there is a high chance of something on the other side. And let's be fair, it's really hard not to change your character actions because of your bad roll.
Rolls that will be handled by the GM:
Perception(all of then).
Bluff.
Sense Motive.
Appraise.
Stealth.

Test results:
If there is something to be seen, a bluff to catch, a enchantment to notice, I will not put that info inside a spoiler with the test DC. Only when someone beat that DC it will be avaliable in a spoiler for those who passed the test.

Combat rules:
I'm a fair GM, I dont roll combat in secret, I don't change results, I don't ignore bad calls from the characters.
Sometimes, character dies, but I'm not a player killer, if I think that an encounter will be easy handled, when it should be more challenging, I will make it a more challenging, if the party it's not prepared to face something, I will drop hints, if they insist... well killing one or two players never made me lack sleep...

Actions:
I'm a GM that do not punish the character for trying something new or cool, or even strange. Visual appealing actions are encouraged, the dc will of course depend on what are you trying, but you can try! If what you want to do is wicked cool, I can even bend the game mechanics to allow it! The most importat part is: You are villains. Villains are smart, resourceful and have style! Have you ever seen a memorable villain that could just swing his sword and do nothing more?

Posting Rate
If it could be done, I expect 1/day posting, if you can post more, it will really good.
During weekend, this rule does not apply. If you are able to post, great! But dont stress over this, everyone need some time to rest (In my case, I need time to play and DM :D on my tabletop games).

Level up
Aside from character creation, when you level up, if you want something not from core rulebook, you'll need to search it inside the game. basicly what you need to do is just show in game your character is searching for that knowledge. This rule is not meant to prohibit anything, I just don't like something like this: "Character always as a full caster, never picked up a sword in his entire life, and then he gain a new level and says: Master, I'll level up as a fighter now..."

Discussion Thread
Information about Rules

Talingard:
Integration into Pathfinder Setting

Deities All the deities from the Pathfinder setting all exist here with the addition of Mitra, a Lawful Good deity of Sun and Healing. Mitra is the primary deity in Talingarde with most chaotic and/or evil cults being driven into hiding or eliminated. Cults of Asmodeus, Norgorber, Urgathoa and Zon-Kuthon are especially rare, being driven almost to extinction.
Deities such as Torag (mostly worshiped by dwarves), nature deities such as Erastil & Gozreh (inhabitants of the Caer Bryr) and Abadar all have some limited followings.
Warlike deities (such as Gorum) are popular with the bugbear tribes north of the Watch Wall, although piety is rarely a noted quality of the goblinoids.
Mitra and Asmodeus are represented most prominently in the campaign however.

Location in Golarion For simplicity, Talingard (the isle) is located just north of the shattered isles of Azlant, west of northern Varisia.

Story of the Kingdom of Talingarde

Rise of House Darius Talingarde may be a peaceful and prosperous kingdom at the start of the campaign, but the nation has certainly had a troubled past. Only eighty years ago, the kingdom weathered a bitter war of succession fought between the largely half-elven nobility of House Barca and the human dynasty of House Darius. House Barca was infested by vampire-tainted bloodline, some of the eldest members being full vampires while their lesser progeny haunted the countryside. Asmodeus was their chosen god and power their only objective.
House Darius, on the other hand, were staunch supporters of the sun god, Mitra, and had fostered the rebellion to bring the undead menace to an end and bring the cult of Asmodeus down.
On the Plains of Tamberlyn just north of the capital city, two great armies met and decided the future of this dominion. One army was commanded by King Jaraad of House Barca, a great half-elven hero mounted on a griffon, the symbol of his house. The other was led by Markadian of House Darius, a young upstart paladin who would not bow before all the gods of the Talirean pantheon (in particular Asmodeus).
The Battle of Tamberlyn remains the most famous conflict in all of Talingarde’s history. House Darius was gravely outnumbered but far more fiercely committed to their holy cause. Much of House Barca’s army was paid mercenaries fighting for nothing more than gold (and some with the promise of immortality). The Battle was fought between two large stone spires (the so-called Lords of Tamberlyn) that rise from otherwise level ground. A small brook splits the spires crossed only in one place by an ancient stone bridge. The brook is not deep but still would be difficult for men in armor to cross.
Markadian took to the field first, seizing the bridge with his knights and positioning infantry on both his right and left flank. The famed archers of Barrington and Embryl, with their mighty longbows of yew, were positioned behind the infantry. Outnumbering his foe many times, King Jaraad hoped for a quick victory and sent his mercenary crossbowmen forward to bombard the knights on the bridge. The hope was that a few volleys of crossbow shot would kill many of the knights and paladins of House Darius. Deprived of their leadership, the rest of the soldiery would likely flee from the battlefield when the king moved the bulk of Barca’s army forward.
However, the crossbowmen advanced too close and the infantry on Darius’ right flank performed a surprise charge. The charge caught the mercenaries off guard and they fled with hardly a shot fired. So disgusted was the knight commander of Barca behind the mercenaries that he ordered his knights to charge forward through the “cowardly retreating rabble” to attack the relatively exposed Darian infantry.
The result was a chaotic muddle of panicked mercenary and tangled knights. It was then that the Darian archers begin to fire their volleys. The arrows rained down on the knights and took a princely toll on the Barcan force. King Jaraad saw the muddle that his left had become and ordered the other pincer of his army forward. They moved swiftly at first along the banks of the brook but soon found themselves equally bogged down in mud. They too began to receive a hail of arrows.
Finally the Barcan left pushed through the mercenaries and charged the bridge. It was here that the heaviest fighting of the battle took place. On the bridge of Tamberlyn the knights of Darius met the full might of the Barcan army and held the line. The Barcan army was packed in so tight trying to cross the bridge that there rear ranks were at the mercy of the Embryllian archers.
King Jaraad could watch the slaughter no longer. He flew his elite personal command – a dozen knights on griffons to the other side of the bridge hoping to flank the defenders and break their line. What he encountered instead was the young Lord Markadian and his personal guard. The battle between Markadian’s knights and the griffon riders has been immortalized in several songs and plays. Suffice to say that after a great battle, a dozen dead griffons littered the field and only Markadian of Darius and King Jaraad of Barca remained combatant. They fought fiercely and in the end, Markadian slew Jaraad upon the banks of the Tamberlyn brook and claimed the throne of Talingarde.
At the end of the day, the battle had proved to be a slaughter. The military might of House Barca was broken and House Darius came to power. It would have been easy then for House Darius to seek revenge against their former enemies but instead King Markadian I called the Victorious showed mercy. He allowed the nobles of House Barca to keep their lands if they would only swear loyalty to the new king and bow before the great god Mitra. Only those discovered to be undead were put to the sword. The surviving members of House Barca accepted and peace once more came to Talingarde. The crisis of succession was over and the religion of the isle was decided.
Mitra the Shining Lord became head of the Talirean pantheon.

The Victor Upon the Throne The Victor upon the Throne When Markadian I came to power there was great uncertainty of how capable a king he would prove. While he was a great warrior, he had never ruled and there was reason to doubt this young paladin could control this divided land. He soon put those doubts to rest.
Markadian I called the Victorious (usually simply The Victor these days) was the sort of ruler that only comes once every thousand years. His first move was uncovering the hidden covens of vampires that plagued the lands. He was remarkably successful in this regard, with dozens of undead being destroyed throughout Talingarde. At the battle of Farholde he dealt the bugbears of the north a savage defeat and scattered them for a generation. He confronted the pirates who had made the western coast of Talingarde their stronghold and burnt them out. It seemed that the Victor was undefeatable upon the field of battle.
So fearsome was his reputation that by the later years of his reign, he merely sent a letter to a rebellious warlord in the west that read, “Must we meet on the fields on war?” The warlord relented and became a loyal subject. By the end of the Victor’s reign, almost all of the island south of the Watch Wall was firmly a part of Talingarde. Only a few parts of the great and trackless forest, the Caer Bryr, remained wild and unmapped.
More than a soldier, he also proved a great builder and statesman. He raised the capital Matharyn from a small city into a great metropolis. He reinforced the watch wall, commissioning three new fortresses. He eased tariffs bringing merchants from the mainland to the oft-isolated isle once more. He personally visited the Lands of the Yutak tribesmen in the north and made peace with their great chiefs. And though the paladin spread the religion of Mitra and discouraged devotion to other deities he tolerated temples to “lesser” gods as long as they were discrete. For forty six years the Victor sat upon the throne bringing a golden age to Talingarde. Today, his statues are to be found in almost every town and hamlet throughout the kingdom. He did have his faults though. Like so many great rulers – he was a great soldier and king but a poor father.

The Scholar and the Monster After the death of the Victor, his oldest son Martius ascended to the throne as King Markadian II called the Learned. More a scholar than a king, Martius proved largely disinterested in affairs of state. He commissioned the great library at Matharyn and began renovation of an old family castle into the great palace known as the Adarium. As the first wing of the Adarium was completed, he retreated there and was rarely seen in public.
The other son, Prince Hallen, was not so reserved. Though he had no official power, he often ruled in the king’s absence and commanded great loyalty from the knights of the realm. This might have been an acceptable arrangement. After all, Prince Hallen was a soldier and an heir of the Victor. He could have become the de facto ruler while the official king sat in his distant pleasure palace and library. Alas, that Prince Hallen was also mad.
Prince Hallen became convinced that his mother (who had died in childbirth) was not the queen but an angel of Mitra. He believed himself a demigod and incapable of wrong. At first the Prince’s madness was subtle. He often dressed all in white and even had a magic set of wings made for himself that allowed him to soar over the capital.
But in time the visions began. He communed with these so-called angels and they whispered that he should replace his brother and become the true and immortal master of Talingarde. The king received disturbing reports of the prince’s madness and plots but refused to believe them. “My brother but jests,” is famously what Markadian II replied to the reports. Finally the “angel” prince would wait no longer. He flew to the Adarium and with a flaming sword slew his own brother amidst his books and proclaimed himself Markadian III called the Immortal. His brother’s six year reign was at an end.
For a brief time, it was possible that Markadian III’s claim of kingship might have been acknowledged. His brother after all was little loved and tongues wagged that getting rid of the absent king was a blessing. Maybe the new king was a divine messenger of Mitra’s will. But within days the mad decrees began from the Adarium. The king decreed that Mitra’s high holy day would no longer be the summer solstice but instead would become his own birthday. He ordered the military to prepare to invade Hell and commanded his wizards to research opening a great gate. First, he explained to his flabbergasted advisors, the army would go through the gate to the shining realm of Mitra himself to call forth an army of angels. Then he personally would lead the host to invade the nine hells and overthrow Asmodeus himself.
Finally the people had enough of this madness. Officially, the histories record that after only five months in power Markadian III called the Mad tried to fly from the highest spire of the Adarium without his magic wings. More likely, he was thrown from the spire by paladins who would tolerate no more of this madman’s blasphemies. Whatever the truth, his reign was over.

Blame the Devil Fortunately for Talingarde, Martius (Markadian II) had a son — Marcus. The grandson of the Victor was neither mad nor a recluse. He had been clever enough to avoid the Adarium and the capital during Prince Hallen’s angelic rampage. Marcus was a handsome knight twenty nine years of age and closely resembled his grandfather the Victor. Thus was Talingarde spared another disastrous war of succession. Marcus returned to the capital and was crowned Markadian IV called the Zealous. The new king quickly realized that he needed to solidify his power and explain away the difficulties of the last six and a half years. In short, he needed an enemy to unify this fractured Talirean nation. He found one – in the vampires of legend. King Markadian IV blamed hidden vampiric covens and cults to Asmodeus for using their black magic to summon an evil spirit to possess the former king thus driving him mad. It was a brilliant political solution (though an utter fiction). It removed blame from the royal house of Darius and instead placed guilt squarely upon a semi-mythical bogeyman. This was the beginning of the Great Purges. The Knights of the Alerion took the lead in destroying and burning people believed to have any connections to vampires or infernal powers. A good number of dhampirs and tieflings were burned alive while mages and priests with even the faintest interest in necromancy were tortured and executed. Although the death of countless innocents occurred, sentient undead (especially vampires) were hunted almost to the point of extinction.
Markadian IV died comparatively young, only 41 years old of a mysterious illness. There were rumors that a strange curse had placed a curse upon the king by vengeful necromancers. These rumors only fueled the purges further.

A Brave New King Markadian IV was followed by Markadian V, his son. Twenty-two when he took the throne (the same age as the Victor), he has ruled for sixteen years as a capable, energetic king who has done much to put bad memories in the past. Beloved by his people, he has proven again and again he is the true heir of the Victor. Early in his reign, he personally led the army to relieve the Watch Wall after another bugbear incursion. It was on the watchtower walls that he earned himself the title The Brave Markadian V has continued the prohibition against the undead menace, but does not pursue the purges with the same vigor as his father. After all, that battle is largely won. No one has heard of a vampire in Talingarde for years. Instead, he turns his attention to the west and the north hoping to be the king who brings the entire island of Talingarde under his dynasty’s dominion. He has failed in one duty however. He has failed to yet produce a son. Instead, he has only one child — a beautiful, brilliant young princess named Bellinda. Twenty years of age, she is already a prodigy of arcane magic. If her father produces no heir it is an open question whether the men of Talingarde will follow a queen instead of a king. Her story is yet to be written.

Organizations of Talingarde

The Knights of Alerion This venerable brotherhood of knights dedicated to Mitra’s service was once a minor order. However, during the war of succession, they were the only order to side with House Darius. All the rest sided with House Barca. With Markadian’s victory and the elevation of House Darius to royalty, this order has risen to become the greatest and most prestigious order throughout the land. To “fly with eagles” (the heraldric symbol of the Alerion is the eagle) is used as a synonym for joining this order.
Fiercely religious, all its members must swear oaths of service to Mitra and support the Mitran Church. Oaths of chastity and poverty are not uncommon among the more devout members of this order but are not required.
Uniquely, this order of knights does not require noble blood. Any commoner who can pass the rigorous tests of membership can become a member. Of course, the overwhelming majority of its members are highborn. How often do farmers train with the horse and sword? Still, some of the most prestigious members are common heroes who have answered the call of the Shining Lord.
Nowadays one could be forgiven for thinking this the only knightly order in the land. This is untrue of course (see below) but what is undeniable is that the Order is the most influential military organization in Talingarde.
This Order is led by no less august a personage than the King himself. Markvadian V called the Brave is the highest ranking member of the Knights of the Alerion.

Sacred Brotherhood of the Gryphon The other major order of knights in Talingarde, the Brothers of the Gryphon are actually a coalition of older orders that banded together after their membership numbers were shattered eighty years ago in the war of succession. Largely secular, their order requires no divine oaths to join. They do however require noble blood.
Since the war of succession and their pardon by the Victor, the Brothers have proven their loyalty to Talingarde again and again. Numberous Brothers have served as commanders on the Watch Wall. They have held every possible military position of any prestige.
Still today, there is no doubt this is an order in decline. Led by Lord Vastenus of Barca, the king’s most trusted commander, there remains some jealousy amongst the Brothers of the great prestige the Knights of the Alerion now enjoy.

The Church of Mitra If there is any organization that may rival the royal house in power in Talingarde today, it is the Church of Mitra. There is no community of any size that does not have at least a church house and a single priest of this religion. There are involved in the daily lives of the peasants like no other group. Every birth, every death, every marriage, and every festival is presided over by a priest of Mitra.
Overwhelming, the Church is a force for benevolence throughout the kingdom. Has there ever in history been an organization with such power and influence and yet so untroubled by corruption? This is not to say the Church has not had its scandals. Priests who indulge their vices; bishops who misappropriate funds for personal gain; cardinals who use their office for power instead of holy work -- these happen. But what makes the Church of Mitra so remarkable is how rarely they happen. The servants of the Shining Lord are trusted by the people of Talingarde and for good reason.
Led by the High Cardinal Vitalian of Estyllis, the Church is experiencing a zenith of influence and culture. In Matharyn, the kingdom’s capital, the great Cathedral of the Sanctum Solaris has just been completed. Its soaring frescoes and magnificent statuary are without equal on the isle.

The Blessed Order of St.Macarius This monastic order has dedicated itself to healing the sick and relieving the suffering of the people, thus following in the footsteps of the founder St. Macarius the Mendicant. They do this without charge or any expectation of repayment. This has earned them the gratitude and love of people throughout the domain.
Further, in times of war, the brothers of this order accompany the army into battle. Healing both sides, they do their best to minimize the loss of life. There are even tales of these monks healing bugbears who attacked the Watch Wall in hopes that these acts of kindness will eventually lead the shaggy invaders to reconsider their violent lives.
This order has another claim to fame. Most of the clergy who follow Mitra will never cast a single divine spell. Most priests though they worship Mitra are not direct channels for his will. Of the rare priests who can actually use divine magic, the overwhelming majority are members of this order.
The leader of this order prefers to remain anonymous but is doubtless located at the Monastery of St. Macarius, the order’s central base of operation and founding site.

Artephius, Alchemical Golem CR 9:

Artephius, Alchemical Golem CR 9

XP 6,400
N Large construct
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +0

DEFENSE

AC 23, touch 13, flat-footed 19 (+4 Dex, +10 natural, –1 size)
hp 96 (12d10+30)
Fort +4, Ref +8, Will +4
DR 10/adamantine or bludgeoning; Immune construct traits, magic

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 slams +19 (2d8+8 plus alchemy)
Ranged bomb +15 (8d6 energy damage)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks alchemy, bombs, splash

TACTICS

During Combat When facing one opponent, Artephius prefers his powerful slam attacks. Against groups, Artephius will use his bombs to spread the damage amongst all his enemies. Artephius is a heartless combatant and has no problem splashing allies with his bombs.
Morale Artephius is a fearless combatant and fights to the death to fulfull his master’s commands.

STATISTICS

Str 27, Dex 18, Con —, Int —, Wis 11, Cha 1
Base Atk +12; CMB +21; CMD 35

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Alchemy (Ex) When an alchemical golem strikes a foe, the attack has an additional random effect, chosen from the options below. The attack can deal 1d6 points of acid, cold, electricity, or fire damage, cause the target to become sickened (Fortitude DC 16 negates) for 1d4 rounds, or cause the target to become entangled (Reflex DC 16 negates) for 1d4 rounds. These save DCs are Constitution-based.

Bombs (Ex) As a standard action, an alchemical golem can throw a bomb as a ranged touch attack to a distance of 60 feet (no range increment). If the attack misses, treat it as a thrown splash weapon to determine where it lands. Anyone struck by an alchemical golem’s bomb takes 8d6 points of acid, cold, electricity, or fire damage (determine type randomly). All creatures adjacent to the location where the bomb hits take 1d6 points of energy damage of the same type.

Immunity to Magic (Ex) An alchemical golem is immune to spells or spell-like abilities that allow spell resistance, save for spells with the sonic descriptor. Shatter damages an alchemical golem as if it were a crystalline creature.

Splash (Ex) Any strike on an alchemical golem with a non-reach melee weapon deals 1 point of acid, cold, electricity, or fire damage (determine type randomly) to the attacker. This amount increases to 1d6 points of damage if the attack is a critical hit.

Allies:

Grumblejack
Male Ogre Warpriest 1
LE Large outsider (native)
Init +0; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +7
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Defense
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AC 24, touch 8, flat-footed 24 (+9 armor, +6 natural, –1 size)
hp 59 (5d8+20+5+1)
Fort +10, Ref +1, Will +7
Defensive Abilities: DR 5/magic ; Immune: poison; resist: acid 10, cold 10, electricity 10, fire 10; SR 16
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Offense
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Speed 30 ft. (40 ft. base), Fly 60ft (80ft base) (Good)
Melee Large Earthbreaker+11 (3d6+10)
. . greatclub +10 (2d8+10)
..bite +10 (1d8+3)
..claw +10 (1d6+3)
Ranged javelin +4 (1d8+5)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
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Statistics
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Str 25, Dex 10, Con 19, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 11
Base Atk +3; CMB +11; CMD 22
Feats Iron Will, Toughness, Weapon Focus(Earthbreaker)
Skills Climb +1, Intimidate+3, Perception +2, Knowledge (religion) +4, Spellcraft +4, and Survival +4.
Languages Common, Giant
Combat Gear --; Other Gear Fullplate, javelins (6),earthbreaker, greatclub, Asmodeus symbol, backpack, 0 GP
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Special Abilities
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Spell-like Abilities (CL 5th)
3/day – darkness
1/day – desecrate, unholy blight

Smite Good (Su): Once per day, as a swift action, the half-fiend can smite good as the smite evil ability of a paladin of the same level as the half-fiend’s Hit Dice, except affecting a good target. The smite persists until target is dead or the half-fiend rests.
Aura (Ex): A warpriest of a chaotic, evil, good, or lawful deity has a particularly powerful aura (as a cleric) corresponding to the deity’s alignment (see the detect evil spell for details).
Blessings (Su): A warpriest’s deity influences his alignment, what magic he can perform, his values, and how others see him.
Hand of the Acolyte (Su): You can cause your melee weapon to fly from your grasp and strike a foe before instantly returning. As a standard action, you can make a single attack using a melee weapon at a range of 30 feet. This attack is treated as a ranged attack with a thrown weapon, except that you add your Wisdom modifier to the attack roll instead of your Dexterity modifier (damage still relies onStrength). This ability cannot be used to perform a combat maneuver. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier.
Fire Bolt (Sp): As a standard action, you can unleash a scorching bolt of divine fire from your outstretched hand. You can target any single foe within 30 feet as a ranged touch attack with this bolt of fire. If you hit the foe, the fire bolt deals 1d6 points of fire damage + 1 point for every two cleric levels you possess. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdommodifier.
Focus Weapon: At 1st level, a warpriest receives Weapon Focus as a bonus feat (choosing any weapon, not just his deity’s favored weapon). If his deity’s favored weapon is unarmed strike, he can instead select Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat.
Sacred Weapon (Su): Weapons wielded by a warpriest are charged with the power of his faith. In addition to the favored weapon of his deity, the warpriest can designate a...
Orisons – Warpriests can prepare a number of orisons, or 0-level spells, each day as noted on Table Warpriest. These spells are cast as any other spell, but aren't expended when cast and can be used again.

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Spells
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Orisons:
Detect Magic, Spark, Bleed

1st Level:
Murderous Command, Inflict Light Wounds

Farhold:

Farholde is the northernmost colony of Talingarde. This small city is a backwater, largely isolated from its parent nation by distance and danger. No King of Talingarde has visited Farholde since the Victor sat upon the throne. And yet, Farholde is a keystone of the realm’s defense. Without control of the delta that feeds into Lake Scardynn there would be no credible defense of the Borderlands.

Of course, today that matters little. The Watch Wall is already broken far to the east and war burns bright across the Borderlands. The bugbear horde relentlessly presses south towards the city of Daveryn far away from distant Farholde. Castle Hamorhall, Farholde’s great bastion, is almost empty. Its commander and garrison have left to join the war effort leaving behind only a skeleton defense. Farholde seems now more isolated than ever.

And yet, here in this backwater, the fate of tens of thousands of Talireans will be decided. This could be Farholde’s moment of triumph, where alone it met a great evil and brought it low. Or, this could be its darkest hour, where less than a day’s ride from its walls, the city did nothing as a monster was born.

==//==

A City of Floods

The key to understanding Farholde is water. Almost every structure in the city of Farholde is built on one of nine hills. In fact, its old Iraen name is actually Cannoch Naoi which means literally Nine Hills. The reason for this arrangement is simple – Farholde floods.

Almost every year in the spring, Lake Scardynn, brimming with mountain runoff, overflows its banks and floods Farholde. These floods are usually predictable and brief. They have never in memory crested any of the nine hills.

floods are a boon for Farholde. They deposit rich lake sediment all over the delta plane and create rich arable land for the growing season. No one in Farholde worries about leaving fields fallow or fortifying their soil.

The mighty Scardynn handles all such labor. But these floods also mean if you build a structure beneath the floodline, you had better be prepared for it to be underwater for at least two weeks a year.

Besides agriculture and the garrison, Farholde has another important industry – fishing. Though the sea is rough and dangerous and few bother to fish its open waters, Lake Scardynn is deep and densely populated with salmon, sea cat and amberscale. Even the occasional sturgeon is caught and both their meat and caviar are prized delicacies. The prize every captain dreams of catching though is the rare giant crayfish. No one knows why these monsters sometimes appear or why they grow gigantic, but specimens longer than seven feet have been captured in Lake Scardynn. The creatures are dangerous and more than one overambitious young fisherman has lost an arm to the beasts.

But when one is brought back to town, buyers pay premium coin for delicious giant cray-steaks that barely fit on dinner plates. Grilled and served with melted butter there is no greater delicacy. The quays where the fishing boats dock are stout stone affairs designed to survive weeks underwater. They jut out in to the delta all along the southern bank.

The northern bank has only one – a broad military quay where soldiers and supplies are unloaded to provision the Castle Hamorhall. Usually the quay is home to dozens of war galleys and supply barges, but now they are all gone transporting their troops to the eastern front.

A Conquered City

Farholde did not always belong to Talingarde. Less than three hundred years ago, it was a small hill fort controlled by a barbaric Iraen chieftain. How long the Iraen lived and ruled there, scholars can only guess but a farmer tilling a field still might find a crude iron arrowhead or a broken bit of pottery that shows the march of countless centuries.

The half-elven king Accarius IV called the Architect personally led the army that besieged the Iraen hill fort Casrhalla and through might of arms took control of Farholde. Though he burned down the original fort, he rebuilt a castle upon its foundations. This was the first establishment of the Hamarhall, named for its distinctive shape.It became one of the first nine watchtowers of the Watch Wall which guarded the frontier.

Accarius’ troops made permanent camp atop the nine hills and it is this camp that is direct descendant of Farholde today. Some of the oldest street names like ‘Quartermarch’ and ‘Kingscamp’ hint at this origin.

The Iraen tribesmen are not memories. They inhabit the Caer Bryr in great numbers and even a few still make Farholde their home. Some worry that the forest-dwellers merely wait for a chance when Talingarde is weak enough that these barbarian may take back what was once theirs.

The City in the Jaws

With a little imagination, you can see that the delta is actually a great monster closing its jaws upon Farholde. The town seems like little more than a morsel this great beast will soon devour. Though simply a coincidence of geography, this is an apt analogy.

North is the savage frozen frontier – the land beyond the Watch Wall. It is the domain of the bugbear tribes, the mighty Naatanuk and the enigmatic ice elves. More than once, Hamarhall has been besieged by these barbarous neighbors. Every time the Talireans have fought them off. If the invaders tried to bypass Hamarhall, the fortress deployed its war galleys armed with batteries of ballistae and battering rams. These warships made quick work of any crude flotilla the bugbears could cobble together.

To the south is the Caer Bryr (usually simply called the Briar by locals), an endless and alien jungle. The forest teems with barbaric tribes with different religions and tongues, weird ruins of inestimable antiquity and vicious super-predators that do not distinguish between men and prey. There are a thousand stories told of the dangers that lurk in the Briar and the terrifying truth is that a great percentage of them relate something close to fact.

In the middle of these wild perils lies Farholde – a thin strand of Talirean civilization. The people of Farholde do not decry their place or their fate. Instead, they take pride in their resilience. Farholde is just shy of three centuries old. For three centuries, bugbear hordes and Briar-born beasts have done their best to wipe it from the map.

Farholde remains.

Notable Landmarks of Farholde

  • 1. Hamarhall : his grim castle of grey stone overlooks the Scardynn delta from high Hamarhill and remains the most obvious sign of royal might.

  • 2. The Accarian Beacon: Where Lake Scardynn meets the sea rises King Accarius’ other less famous building project. The lighthouse guides ships into the port through the jagged, rockstrewn breakwaters. It is also anchors one point of the great sea-chain that can be raised to block access to the Scardynn in times of war.

  • 3. Calliver Green: This gently sloping hill is amongst the highest points south of the Scardynn delta and has become home to the wealthiest residents of Farholde. Access to the Green is blocked by a small private guard post. Without a pass granted by a residents, access is not allowed.

  • 4. Abbey of Saint Cynthia-Celeste: Usually called simply the Abbey by locals, this large walled manor house is home to a devout order of Mitran nuns. The nuns are a common sight about town dressed in their dark blue and white habits. These “brides of light” are a chaste and cloistered order, but still must frequently leave their abbey to conduct their business. They are a relatively young order, their founder having been martyred only a hundred and fifty years ago.

  • 5. The Vandermir Orphanage: Baron Arkov Vandermir established this orphanage obstensibly to help the most needy of Farholde’s children.The Orphanage itself is an imposing structure teeming with children of all ages.

  • 6. Bryrwatch (“The Trident”): This small watchtower just outside of Farholde rises on the highest promintory south of the Scardynn delta. It over looks both the edge of the Caer Bryr and the lake.

  • 7. Auld’Irey: Built upon the largest of the nine hills, this is the oldest section of Farholde and the only part of the town surrounded by a wall. When the hill fort that became Hamorhall fell, there was across the river a small Iraen town. The town surrendered without battle and was captured intact. Auld’Irey , a corruption of “Old Iraen”, is the rebuilt remains of that settlement.

  • 8. Templeton Rise: Located at the highest point in Auld’Irey is the center of all trade in Farholde -- the Templeton Rise. Originally, a pagan Iraen temple, a temple to all the Talirean gods (including both Asmodeus and Mitra) supplanted it. When the Darian dynasty overthrew the Barcan kings, that temple was abandoned and sold to the Marsten family, rich merchants.

  • 9. Newchurch: Newchurch is the name of the neighborhood, the hill it sits on and the common title given to the Mitran church at its center. The church was commissioned by the Victor during his visit to Farholde (the same visit during which he raided the Horn). It was this commission that caused the old temple (now the Templeton Rise) to be abandoned and later sold to the Marstens.

  • 10. Drownington: This is the low-lying middle between Auld’Irey, New church, Estell and Jasperhill. Being one of the lowest areas around the delta, no one sane would live here and yet it is crowded with temporary structures, water-logged shanties and traveller’s tents. This transient community is definitely the bad part of town.

  • 11. Lord Drownington’s Manor: here is only one permanent structure in Drownington built on a slab of rock that is mostly above the floodline (by almost four inches!). There stands a stout stone bunker that has barely survived a hundred floods. A crudely made sign in front reads “Lord Drownington’s Manor”. Equal parts bar, brothel, fight club, black market and thieves’ guild, this is without a doubt the most dangerous place in Farholde.

  • 12. Wrecker Isle: This large accumulation of pebbles and debris in the river delta is largely seen as navigation hazard these days.

  • 13. Westell: his low hill has a small rural community that marks the beginning of a collection of loosely affiliated farms that stretch south towards the Caer Bryr’s edge.

  • 14. Corgan’s Landing: his is a large slab of stone built on the banks of the Scardynn almost two centuries ago. Though it has settled some, it remains comfortably above the flood line. Thus, it is completely filled with warehouses, businesses and offices of all sorts. It is also the home of the Harbormaster’sHouse.

Farhold Map