The Game of Many Things

The Story Begins...

The continent of Taalenar became a little bit bigger for Edel, Finnick, Nalqah and Dawn Mists when, abducted in their dreams, a woman calling herself The Lady set them on a rather vague and abrupt quest. 

The Deck of Many Things, a chaotic and extremely dangerous magical artifact, is loose across Taalenar and its inherent intelligence means that powerful beings – even the gods themselves – cannot interfere too much without the Deck noticing. Taking things into her own hands, The Lady has chosen four marked adventurers to shoulder the task of locating and collecting the Deck once again. She promised them knowledge, goods, and a boat in return for completing the job.
Under duress, the motley group joined forces on an expeditionary trip through the castle of the crazed wizard Rixis Olyanna, who seemed to have a thing for unwholesome experiments and trashy romance novels.  Adventurer corpses, flying snakes, and an unusual fey crossing aside, they managed to scale Rixis's tower. At its top they found Skitters, a vegetarian spider about the size of a small dog. Edel took to the creature immediately and adores her new pet. 
Also at its top, they found the ghost of Rixis herself. Though in her phantasmal madness she initially struck out at the party, Finnick took some clues from her novel collection and a few personal journals and letters he found to put on perhaps his best performance to date. Convincing Rixis that she was confronted by her long lost lover Ardon, Finnick declared his undying love and devotion and at last the wizard's spirit was laid to rest. 

Afterward, Nalqah decided to sate his hunger and managed to hunt down a small deer. As he built a fire and began to char it, Edel took Skitters and Dawn for a walk. The trio came across a stable, the inside of which was unfortunately the final resting place of many of Rixis's beloved experiments. Only one seemed to have got away, leaving claw marks and a shattered stall door as evidence of its bid for freedom. Meanwhile, Finnick perused one of the books he took from Rixis's colletion. Fantastic Fey Fun: A Tourist's Guide to the Feywild informed him that the strange, tinkling silver tree they had discovered in the greenhouse was known to be desireable to pseudodragons. With that knowledge in hand, Finnick began collecting pieces of the tree and in the process found a scrap of shed pseudodragon skin. 
The hunt was on.
Not far outside the castle walls, the party did indeed discover the pseudodragon and even though much bribery and persuasion were employed, it seemed fairly happy to keep a keep on the group while also remaining a safe distance away. Following the trail of the escaped creature south the party came to the town of Colewyn Mill, where they received report of absolutely no trouble whatsoever. 
Declining to tell the townsfolk that Rixis, their beloved wizard, was long dead, the party set about resting for the night: Finnick tending carefully to the still hesistant pseudodragon and taking first watch, Nalqah sleeping off his alcohol next to the hearth, Dawn telling stories of some of her travels, and Edel entertaining a crowd of children with the complacent Skitters and then splitting the watch with Finnick. As they each fell into slumber, The Lady visited them one final time, thanking each for their work and giving them a "gift" to show her gratitude. Though what that gift is and what it has to do with strange, now very vibrant birthmarks, she did not reveal.

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Sally Forth

With dawn on the horizon, Edel finished her watch atop the inn as a man rode into Colewyn Mill in an apparent hurry. Assuming her to be a stablehand, he passed Edel the reigns of his horse, which was his first mistake. 
Edel quickly went about making her new horse unrecognizeable. 

Inside, the man was in the midst of an urgent conversation with Beval as Nalqah awoke and attempted to ease his terrible hangover. Edel made her way back into her room via the window, and she and Dawn headed downstairs to obtain breakfast and see what the fuss was about. Below, they found that the man—Arskel—was a messenger who had just arrived from the northern town of Kanali. He brought with him the news that the armies of the Amber Wastes were departing the city of Gil Dorei and appeared to be heading south and west, towards the border with Migduar. Beval explained the hard times in Bala'Straal after an especially difficult winter left much of the population with illness and low supplies.
Meanwhile, Edel was busy negotiating a potential trading deal with the Blum Family in return for giving Arskel the horse she happened to have to replace the one belonging to him, which was obviously stolen. Deciding to follow the potential for a skirmish between Migduar and the Wastes, the party decides to head west in the hopes of finding one of the cards they had been sent to recover. Irina gave them three days' worth of rations as payment for the favor of checking up on a sick woman named Zilka, who lived by herself on the edge of the town. 
Finding Zilka asleep and feverish, Dawn mixed up an herbal tea while Edel helped the sick woman clean herself up a bit. Finnick convinced her that he was a priest of Pelor and the others his apostles, and with the help of a minor illusion and Dawn's very effective medicine, Zilka began to feel better. They left a parcel of food for her and continued west. 

On the road, the party was nearly ambushed by a small pack of wolves, which managed to do some damage before they were put down. Finnick's study of the dead wolves proved thought-provoking, as they were severely undersized and starved compared to normal. With the chance of another wild ambush hanging over their heads, the party continued on into the night, stopping only when a large fallen tree seemed to block their path. Magic on his side, Finnick quickly identified the blockage as a previously unknown form of enchantment. Before anyone could quite figure out what it was. the tree rippled and disappeared, leaving behind a single card. 

Balance

Recognizing that the card seemed to seek someone of more clearly defined morals than himself, Finnick gave the card to Dawn, who instantly received a vision of a blink dog and the urgent feeling that she needed to bring the creature down. 

Strange quests and unusual cards aside, the party camped for the night. With no visitation from the Lady to clarify the meaning of the card, everyone set out the next day, making for the border of the Wastes. 

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