World Wide Game Day Sound Off

October 23rd is the Gamma World release event for World Wide Game Day. As I am currently the only one looking to run a table at Misty Mountain for the event and I am thinking that I might have a full table just with my normal gaming group I am looking to get a head count for the event. In short, I would like to know how many to expect so that we can be ready with people to run events for you or plan out multiple time slots.

Please comment below if you are planning on attending. For right now my plan is to start around 10:30. If it is a 4 hour event like the last couple, I will only be able to run a single session myself. If there is enough call for a 3:00 or 4:00 start time, I will either arrange to get someone to run it, or forward on the list of players if Ben is going to handle it.

If there are any questions on the event, you can either ask them below or email me directly.

Nexus: The Pilgrimage of Pelor

The party sat ready to enter the underground to underwater lair of the lizardmen that had been taken over by the draconic legions that are attempting to enslave the entire dead world with their dragon zombies and the zombified minions. In the path towards the back entrance to the lair, the group finds evidence of a holy site that is a pilgrimage for the faithful of Pelor. The cleric convinces the group to check it out.

The highlights of this adventure to date include:

  • A fight along the bridge/top of the “tower” (worked stalagmite) with an undead beholder (gauth), 2 wereboars, 2 zombies and 2 corruption corpses.
    • The cleric and warden both are thrown from the bridge, putting them temporarily out of the fight. The battlerager contracts Moontusk Fever from the wereboars.
  • An extended rest sleeping among the mushroom “forests” on the ground around the tower.
  • A fight in an arena-like room against a group of mushroom men (4 guards and 2 “priests”) as well as a few sporlings and a zombie ogre the priests controlled through the use of mushrooms on/in him.
    • The group attempted to take another extended rest in this room as the fight took a lot out of them. They awoke not feeling well. The battlerager still had Moontusk Fever and all of the party awoke down 2 healing surges.
  • The thief failed in his attempt to pick open the mechanism to open the portcullis and the group had to strongarm it up to being half-raised so they could all get through.
  • The group steps into a portal and are transported into a room. Once they enter runes circle the room telling of the Test on the Path of Three. The Path of Three being the tenants to the Church of Pelor.
  • On the Trial of Protection, the group enters a room where a pair of infected ogres with giant clubs stand in a room with a pair of glowing motes. Corner rooms also have motes. As the fight enters a pair of infected goblinoid archers (gnolls actually) and a pair of infected tigers join in on the fight. The creatures start using the motes to travel from portal to portal flanking the group.
    • During the fight the battlerager becomes infected with the zombie rot as well as the moontusk fever. The group attempts another extended rest in the room before leaving it. They manage it, but while the dwarf recovers from the Moontusk Fever, the Zombie Rot worsens.
  • The Trial of Light is the second test they are given. In this test all six of the enemies they previously faced appear in the room and the motes are now glowing pillars of light. The cleric informs the group that standing within them will allow them to grant radiant damage.
    • The warden also figures out in shoving one of the tigers into the pillar of light that it will destroy the infected creatures.
  • The Trial of Healing is the final test in which the 6 motes are replaced with fallen villagers. They are unconscious but alive, and there are two zombies chewing on each of them. The party rushes to heal them before they are killed and eaten by the zombies.
    • They manage to save all of the “villagers” from the attack.
  • They are then met by a spirit guardian of Pelor in a room where they are provided with beds, food and a chance to heal. They are informed there is one more test, but it may be more difficult than the tests that were normally set up for the pilgrimage. There is another that has led an assault on the holy place and is in the final temple attempting to get access to some artifact that’s safety was entrusted to this temple long ago.

Next game is Sunday June 20th, unless people inform me that they cannot make it by 5:00 that night.

Nexus at 5th Level

With a new player starting and the adventure logs I started back at the beginning taking a back seat to the manuscript, here is a brief overview to what the party has discovered/accomplished as to the point just before Level 5.

  • Investigated the ruined church just along the path leading out of Nexus through the Shield. (Defeated the goblins that were posted there.)
  • Cleared the crypt behind the church of the zombies that were contained within. (Bound the crypt back up until it could be cleansed and took the remains of a Dragonborn Paladin to be put to rest at his family’s holdings.)
  • Peformed the ritual to seal and shield the church. Symbol of Bahamut (HS of Life +1) is the key for entrance.
  • Searched out Scalegaurd Manor to put Kryssh to rest.
  • Saved Poosh (hatchling pseudodragon) from a group of undead performing some ritual on him. His mother was killed so he has traveled with the party for now.
  • Brellan was captured by a zombie dragon that flew off with him while a young white dragon kept the party occupied. (Brellan was infected at the time.)
  • Located Scaleguard Manor, clearing it of the kobolds that had taken up residence there and the graveyard that was brimming with zombies.
  • Set up Scaleguard Manor as a fortified safe house with Skraak the kobold wizard who is a follower of Bahamut there as their oracle.
  • Rescued a group of kobolds that were hiding in a farmhouse and beset by a full-on zombie horde. Returned to the Manor with all of them in tow, losing none of them in the escape.
  • Fought their way through a stronghold that was taken over by a young dragon who was enslaving a tribe of kobolds. Many were used to swell the horde of zombies the zombie dragon controlled. Party came back with another group of kobolds who were loyal to Bahamut.
  • Using the ritual gathered from the stronghold, the party cleansed the crypt by the church just outside of Nexus as well as the graveyard behind the Manor.
  • Fences have been erected around the graveyard and the Manor. Reconstruction on the servants quarters building has begun as well.
  • Marcus took ill and decided to stay at the Manor to help set up defenses as they built the walls.
  • A new adventurer, an archer, came upon the Manor and was looking for a safe place to rest. In exchange for entrance into the Manor he has offered to accompany the group in Marcus’ absence.
  • The group decides to head north and attempt to sway or destroy any of the dragon minions that the zombie dragon is attempting to bring up and infect for his armies. There is a dragon in the swamps to the north.
  • A group of lizardfolk are found leaving the swamp area. They offer a scout to lead them to the underground lair they were driven from when the dragon looked to expand his area.
  • Most of the lizardfolk went to the Manor for refuge while the scout took the group on to the lair.

At the above water entrance to the lair at the edge of the swamp (the lair is partially submerged) is where the group is at currently.

Heard at the Game Table

This is right up the lines of “Gamers Say the Darnedest Things” but more about a single line heard last night. Seriously this is a quality over quantity thing. Well, that and the sheets I have been keeping for the last month did not travel to the coffee shop with me this morning.

Last night we were leveling everyone’s character’s up to 4th level. Encounters have been going quickly for the most part and we are well into the search of the areas directly outside of Nexus and are “setting up shop.” Call it the RPG equivalent of the first waypoint. The players were discussing their characters and the general feel for the session even though it took a while to set up the plans for the escape. (Picture Night of the Living Dead, except they were leading families of kobolds out of the farmhouse and towards the manor they were setting up.)

Van, the only player to switch characters yet was discussing his happiness with the new one. He was not feeling the fit of an invoker in the group (a divine controller class) but said that he thought the character would have worked better in a different setting.

The line of the night came from Frank. “What part of Zombie Joe is running a campaign did you not get?”

Yes, the world outside of Nexus fell to a zombie outbreak. We spent a bit joking about how Frank should have been outfitted with a snakeskin jacket and a tarp hat before they all left for the night.

For the record, the time spent planning the escape was worth it as they managed to escape the farmhouse without a single casualty. Although the zombies tried really hard with Van’s dwarf. In addition to having the largest number of zombies surrounding him, they seemed to be rolling the best against him. I think I had 3 or 4 critical hits on him during the course of the encounter. That stumpy fighter can take a beating!

Nexus Log: The Way of the Dragon

Adventure Log #1

Jareth pushed through the pressure that was the Shield. A thousand little pins poked at him, chilling his skin as he made his way through to the Wilderlands. From the other side of the shield the sky took on an entirely different look. It had a bright blue that would peek out occasionally from the dull gray that were the clouds that hung overhead. Even the air had a different smell to it. All of that did not matter as the trail that had once led out of Nexus – now overgrown with weeds and grass – beckoned down the winding decent out of the valley.

The six young heroes walked along the path in quiet wonderment. The sights and smells of the world outside of the shielded city of Nexus were something new and alien to them all even if they stood a couple dozen feet outside of the city walls. Sure the council had tried to stop them – had even threatened them with being put in stocks. The reality of it that not even the council could deny was that they had all developed powers, magic that had been unseen in Nexus for many generations. They were given this power for a reason, and the need in Nexus was on the rise. Resources were low and the population was not reducing at all.

Making their way down the trail, Jareth’s mind began to wander. He was starting in on a rather deep dream of soaring among the clouds when the building off in a clearing below came into view. From this far back, there was not much that they could identify about it other than the fact that it was in a serious state of disrepair. Vines were growing up the sides of the buildings and not many of the stained glass windows were in one piece. The closer the party of adventurers approached to the ruins, the more details began to stand out.

“What is that?” Marcus said, pointing towards the image that was carved into the stone above the doors to the structure.

Ufgard stared at it from the distance, trying to make out where he might have seen it from the books back at the temple. “Well, it is obviously a holy symbol of some sort. Between that, the windows and the design of the structure this must have been some kind of pre-war temple.”

The image seemed to have a slight aura about it. The glow surrounding it looked like the embers in a fire that was beginning to burn itself out. The lines of the image popped out in relief through the glow. “That is the symbol of the draconic god Bahamut. He was once the god of nobility and honor in these lands. I get the feeling he wants to be once again.”

The entire group of friends did not know what to expect as they walked further away from the safety of Nexus and further into the ancient past of their people. Each of them held their own reasons and motivations for making their way out into the world. At least two different minions of the old gods held sway over members of the group. No matter how close their connection to these dieties of old, nor the wonders that they seem to be able to control – wonders lost to the people of Nexus for many generations – they were not prepared for what they found inside the temple.

From behind stacked piles of pews rotting and mildewed with age they could see the skittering movements of small creatures. Not small as in the rats or small mammals they would expect, but short gaunt shapes of humanoid creatures with a grayish green skin. They looked feral, hungry and none too friendly. Ufgard looked at them intently and thought back to the tomes on mythology that were kept in them temple’s cellar.

“I thought the goblin armies were just a myth,” he called out, “A metaphor for the corruption in man. By Pelor’s Light, they are real?”

The more aggressive members of the party made their way forward to deal with the threat while Ufgard pulled out some parchment to start jotting down notes. A swarm of the grubby creatures came from around the ends of the walls of pews they had erected to wash over the group. Just as they were getting surrounded Jareth swung his staff towards the wave of goblinoid creatures calling out in some language none of his companions understood. They did understand his next words as half a dozen goblins were blasted back wreathed in fire to fall dead on the floor. “They burn,” he said, “Mark that down, they are not immune to fire.”

The flow of the fight staggered a bit for the would-be heroes as they got used to each others’ style of fighting. The goblins seemed to have a more solid flow, the sure sign of a group that has worked together before. Lucky for the humans, they were not very powerful foes which made up for the differing skill levels between the combatants. By the end of the fight all but one of the archers lay dead on the floor and the final goblin dropped his weapon and ran towards the woods. While the druid shifted into her wolf form and ran after him, she proved unable to track it in the unfamiliar woods.

With the discovery of a ritual under the altar in the temple, Ufgard attempted to use it and the strange dragon-god holy symbol to seal the temple against any further intrusion from beasts or monsters – or anyone not in possession of the holy symbol. To their shock and surprise upon completing the ritual chants a purple light flashed around the temple sealing it in a shield similar to the one covering Nexus. The ritual also restored the temple, repairing the windows, dropping the ivy that had grown to cover the outside walls, and repaired damaged stonework.

Finding that they also held a missive scrawled in a language that was somewhat alien to the adventurers, they deciphered it as orders to keep an eye on the crypt behind the temple. Watching Nexus was a secondary order as they thought everyone in Nexus was dead and gone. After a quick investigation of the back section of the temple, they did in fact find a crypt back there with the heavy iron doors locked with rusty chains about them. They considered leaving it well enough alone, but the ritual for sealing the temple gave instructions on sealing the crypt and cleansing the temple – both of which required a rod that could be found in the lowest level of the crypt.

Gamers Say the Darnedest Things

I have touched on the infamous case of incredible things that my gaming friends have said during our gaming sessions. Tonight was no exception. In fact, tonight was a pretty strong showing. I present them more for our game blog, but also for your entertainment.

  • Who wants to be touched? (Cleric asking for people who needed healing and sounding like a creepy uncle.)
  • Sorry, I forgot to grease up today. (Cleric failing a stealth check.)
  • I’m a minion popper!
  • Why don’t you go and blow the one in front of me. (Our druid telling our invoker to attack the minion blocking her charge.)
  • He’s got the taint magic in him. (Our invoker is infected with the zombie sickness.)
  • There’s not enough stiffness to them. (Said while trying to throw a quest card to another player.)
  • As long as we don’t squeeze him and soap comes out.
  • You can’t DO things you’re trying to DO… goddammit! (She realized to late the way she said it sounded dirty.)
  • Rawr, bite that nasty thing! (Said to the druid attacking a zombie in her wolf form.)
  • Van: My tongue and mouth are not working for me tonight. Frank: Wow! You should just shut up!
  • I don’t want you blasting over me.
  • You can suck on this one, Van. It’s okay.

Yeah. There were a few more, but this was all I could fit on my note sheet.

Nexus Character Profile: Ufgard

Ufgard was normally not worried about the various festivals and rituals that the Church of the Ever Rising Sun performed for the people of Nexus. From time to time he would wonder if that was really what their job was – to entertain the common folk of Nexus. He knew that there had to be more to serving Pelor and the church than this.

He had read the tomes that sat collecting dust in the cellars of the temple. Tales of grand heroes and minions of the church. Men and women that would travel out among the people of the land, bringing them the word of Pelor. They would wield the power of Pelor to aid and protect his followers. The healing powers that he himself had only heard of in myth and legend were said to once be the staple of every member of the church.

Ufgard sat in the cellars reading the books and performing various experiments, hoping for the return of the Golden Age of the Church. It was written in the journals that in the time before the Shield that the Church was a mighty power in the lands. When the war came that brought them to the point of erecting the Shield, people swarmed the town looking for the protection of the church and their minions.

But that was many generations ago. That was then and this was not that time. This was the time of the rituals and parties that the Church would plan for the people. Even the mass that they ran every week was more about the show than about the content.

Discontent welled within him for the lack of faith that he was finding within his own church – the place he had lived since he was a child left on the doorstep of the main temple doors. He could feel Pelor’s presence in the building, but he wanted to hear his words ringing in his ears as the priests of old used to.

From a small window at the top of the cellar wall Ufgard saw the light streaming in. It did not seem to possess the bluish purple tint of the light that normally strewn through the Shield. It was the bright orange light of the sun not filtering through the Shield – the sun from the Golden Age of the Church. It was the pure sunlight of Pelor.

“You wish for more, young cleric?” he heard from within the walls of his own mind.

“Don’t we all?” he answered, looking more for the prankster hiding among the stacks of papers than the divine presence that he was seemingly faced with. He wanted to believe, but his instinct was also to attempt to disprove the obvious. Once he had eliminated the possibility of a rational answer, whatever was left was the supernatural, the divine.

“The only thing I wish for is to bring those outside of my protection back into it, Ufgard.”

The young priest stood and walked around the cellar. The library he had set up his experiments in was closed off from the common areas of the cellar. He preferred his privacy when doing his work. He was determined to prove the rituals of old did, in fact, hold power to them. That meant there were no hidden pranksters throwing their voice.

Looking out the small window, standing on a small stool to peer out, he watched as solid rays of sunlight pierced through the Shield directly down to the side of the Church where he was. Directly into the window from where he looked out.

“Will you act as my minion, young Ufgard?” he heard in his mind, “Will you go out into the Wilder and act as a focus for my power? Will you heal using the light and love of my power and bring our family back into our fold?”

The reality of what he was seeing and hearing was a bit much for his logical mind to accept. He could not believe what it was he was experiencing. So much was he thrown off, he stumbled off of the stool. He fell down and twisted his ankle at an awkward angle, causing him to cry out in pain.

“That is really you my Father?” he said through the tears that formed in his eyes. It was less the pain of the injury and more the realization that his god was really with him than just the faith that he was working his plans in the world without a direct line to him.

“It is, my son. Can you accept my power and my love?”

“I can, my Father,” he said, grabbing down to his ankle and feeling the injured bones, “I will walk wherever you ask me to. I will do your work and bring the family back.”

The light from the window washed down at an awkward angle to flow over the fallen priest. He could feel the warmth unlike any sunlight he had ever felt before. “Then open yourself to my power and focus it down to your foot.”

Reaching down to his leg, he felt the warmth spreading out towards his hand. He watched as the light streamed from his fingertips and covered the foot. He felt as the bones knit back into place and the muscles healed. He felt the healing touch of his god for the first time. He had also finally witnessed that the power of the Church was not simply a myth – it was just something that they had fallen out of need for.

The truth came to him in the cellar of the church. In six or seven generations they had become complacent. They had grown lazy, but now Pelor wanted his faithful to travel out and return his people to his protection. He wanted to collect his lost followers.

“This is only the most minor of your new abilities young cleric,” he heard in the cellar, “With your logical mind you will find more information out there than you ever could have imagined. Rituals lost to time that allow you to focus my power for greater effect than most of the powers you will learn to wield through your faith and closeness to me.”

“I will do as you ask, my Father,” he called out.

“There are others out there with a similar calling. Some are people of Pelor, some are not. All are good people. Collect them to you and head out into the Wilder. Find them, heal them, protect them from our enemies. Make our family whole.”

Nexus Character Profile: Marcus

Marcus grew up on the streets of Nexus. That isn’t nearly as rough as one might think. It was not like the town of Nexus had a large ghetto, or a high crime rate with numerous thieves guilds fighting for dominance on the streets. It was more of a case of not having any real place he had to be.

Marcus never knew his parents. His name was something that he was given by the girl that had raised him from childhood. In reality she was little more than a child herself, barely being a teen when she found him outside of one of the inns in town. But from that point on she was a mother.

Having not much of a life or place to be as well, she took towards odd jobs to make the money she needed to keep them alive. Scullery maid was her usual job, but Marcus never paid much attention. Whenever he did she would tell him to go out and watch the streets. She used to say that he could learn more about observing the world around him than she could teach him.

When he did come back at night though, she would tell him tales of heroes. Grand men that would live life with the sharpness of their swords as well as their wits. The tales were ones that she would collect while working the various jobs she would get at the inns. The tales that would pass from father to sun and then back from around the campfire or in the inns over an ale or two.

He was so driven by these tales that he took to playing Knights of the Rose in the streets with whomever would show any interest. He even went so far as to make himself a thin sword whittled from wood. None of the other kids showed as much interest in the game as he did, nor as much skill at it. In this aspect he was truly king of the hill.

It wasn’t until he came to the end of his teen years that he found the long thin blade that his “mother” kept hidden beneath her bed in a small chest. It was wrapped in a tunic embroidered with a symbol he didn’t recognize. He could also tell it was incredibly old. Probably from before the time of the Shield.

He found this as he was cleaning out the room where they would hole up after the day was done. He was cleaning it up after his mother didn’t come back one night. From what he heard she had disappeared after spending a night at one of the local inns covering a shift for a server who was out ill. She was not seen after that night.

The town guard was not too involved in finding the truth of what happened. There was not a lot of crime in the town of Nexus. With a lack of crime came a sense of complacency in their investigations of anything the least bit foul. She was never seen again, but neither was a body ever found. It was as if she simply disappeared.

The closest Marcus had to any information on her disappearance was a rumor that she had been traveling outside of the Shield. She had been going out in search of the treasures that were said to have been left behind during the time of the War. Treasures that would have been able to afford them a level of comfort that they had never known.

With only the rumor of a roguish lifestyle of taking trips outside of the Shield to ruins and ghost towns within a day worth of travel there and back to act as a scavenger, Marcus made his decision. Not being a stupid young man, he knew that if she had been taking trips out to scavenge goods in the dangerous Wilderlands, she would have surely taken the solid rapier that he had found hidden under her bed, if not the leather armor that was on top of the pile with the sword.

Either way, the guard had no concern for the well being of the woman that had helped to serve their needs for nearly fifteen years. They were more concerned with their comfort and the protection of the Shield that anything else. His concern was finding that level of comfort she had always wanted. If he was lucky he might find her – or at least what happened to her. If not, he would have the means to live that life of comfort she had been trying to provide for him.

He would find that level of comfort for himself, and maybe for the next child looking for someone to take care of them, as he had all those years ago. And he would do it taking the path that many of the good people of Nexus would snub their noses at her for. He would find it out in the Wilderlands making his way from ruin to ruin, ghost town to ghost town.

He would make his fortune by picking apart the ruins of the history that everyone in Nexus was too afraid to face. No matter if that past killed everyone on the planet outside of Nexus or not, he would find what he could out there to make him more rich and powerful than anyone within Nexus – if for nothing else than to see the looks on their faces when he returns doing what they could not.

Seeing how he had thrived in the world that they feared, and to finally erect a memorial for the woman that raised him when none of the others wanted anything to do with him.

Nexus Character Profile: Garret

Garret pounded his hammer against the rock wall of the mine. The low ring of the metal on the rock was like a lullaby to him. His father was a miner, his grandfather was a miner and likely his great-grandfather was one as well. The mine was not only started by his family, it was like it was part of his family. He had never known a time when he was not at home within the darkened confines of the mine.

Of course the longer his family worked the mine, the deeper into the mountain he had to go. The needs for raw ore in Nexus had not alleviated much, which meant that he would need to dig further into the mountain to meet those needs. Hopefully he would not run into the underground borders of the Shield that was rumored to protect the town from below as well as above.

He continued with his pick on the wall, breaking the stone away from the veins of precious ore that would mean more tools and a better life for the people of Nexus. The song of pick and hammer rang out and echoed back at him through the walls of the tunnel. He listened to the sound of it as the tone and tempo of the song changed.

No longer was he hearing the gentle rhythmic tone of the hammer strikes. Under the rings of their tools, he heard an undertone of a dangerous sort working into their song. The cracks expanded faster than he could call out to his coworkers until the walls began to crumble around the ones working the entrance to the shaft they had dug out from the main one that month.

He watched as over half of his friends in the tunnel were buried beneath stone, wooden supports and the ore they worked and risked their lives for. The sounds of their screams were buried along with their broken bodies beneath the tons of rock that feel down on them from above.

The darkness and weight of miles of stone and ore pressed in on them from all sides. Dust and rock and smoke surrounded them and choked in their mouths and noses. As the sounds of the rumbling earth and stone calmed, he could hear the sounds of coughs and choking coming from around him. Not everyone else had been buried. That meant that there would be help in finding any survivors and working their way through the cave in to get back to base camp – back to safety.

As the team foreman, Garret quickly took stock of who was missing. Of the twenty men on his team, only eight remained. That left him eleven men missing under the debris – as he was the ninth surviving man on the team. They checked out the edges of the cave in and looked for any men who were injured, but not completely covered or passed on.

Under a support beam, one of his legs horribly broken, Garret found Willem – a childhood friend of his. Their families had grown up together, and they had played as children in the entrance tunnels of the very mine they were now buried in. Without even calling for help, Garret began to toss rocks aside so that he could get his hands around the support beam that lay across Willem’s chest.

He was already pulling the beam out of the rubble when the others found him. With their help, he was able to extract Willem from the debris without dealing any further damage to his badly broken leg. The truth of the situation was apparent, but still one of his other men felt the need to explain it.

“We gots to get Wil to the church,” he said with a somber look on his face, “And fast. Else Pelor himself will not be able to do nuthin’.”

Garret pushed him towards the cave in. He silently motioned for the rest of them to follow. His orders were clear to them. Start clearing him a path.

Garret looked down at his unconscious friend. He knew that he was his only hope now. He was the last person he had left to protect him. It was up to him to get his friend out of the tunnel and to the healers at the Church so that he could live.

“Keep them safe,” he heard the words of his father reach out to him through time and space, “Keep them safe. It is the way of our family. We keep them safe and keep the mine providing for the town. They are your men now.”

The oppressiveness of it now weighed upon Garret’s chest more than the tons of rock and earth the rest of his men were digging through. More than the twisted bodies of his men he had failed to protect under the rock his team was digging through. This was not just another of his men, but this was his best friend. He would not fail to protect him. Not that day.

“Call us to you,” he heard in the back of his mind.

Garret looked around. His men were all busily moving rocks and piles from the sliding wall of debris. None of them where whispering anything. They were following his lead and silently working.

“Call us to you,” he heard again, this time definitely from deeper within than his ear, “Call us to you and we can help you protect them.”

His father had warned him how cave ins had been known to entice madness out of men. Especially in the case of a cave in where a man lost his brother or father. He began to wonder if this was what his father had warned him of as a young boy. Was the madness beginning to take him?

“We are of earth and sky, rock and thunder. We have the strength to grant you freedom. We have the power to grant you the strength Garret. Call us to you and protect your men. Call us to you and save your friend.”

Garret stood and stared at the cave in. He became aware of all of the life over down that tunnel. He could sense that the rest of the men that had been working the front of the tunnel were dead, crushed by the rock they worked.

He also could feel the strength of the stone that now stood in their way. The amount of rock that they would have to dig and work through was too great. Much more than Willem, there was no way this team could dig through that pile before them without running out of the stale air that now filled the tunnel. His entire team would die down here, and the last of them would die fighting for their lives and digging their fingers to the bone.

“Stop your digging!” he called out to them. His voice sounded like thunder bouncing off the rock walls and ending in a ringing hum.

He motioned them all back with his hands. His rough, calloused hands that had never really known a day without work now motioned them with gentle resolve to get behind him. Motioned for them to go back and stand with the injured Willem.

After the last of them worked their way back, Garret stood before the rockslide and felt for that presence he had felt before. He could feel it within him, just out of reach. At the heart of it, he knew they were there though.

“You have worked your whole life with us,” he heard the voices within him speaking in harmony, “Now call us to you.”

Garret reached out and picked up a hammer in one hand and a pick in the other. He held one out in each hand and went down to a single knee as if he were in the church getting ready to pray.

“I call you to me spirits of the stone and thunder!”

The ringing of his voice was drowned out as he struck both pick and hammer to the ground, rolling thunder flowing from both of them causing the workers to steady themselves from falling. When they looked again, Garret stood before them, but not the same Garret they had entered the tunnels with that morning.

This man was a creature of stone and earth. He stood nearly a head taller than he once had, and the strength in him was frightening as he approached the cave in and swung both weapons over his head to strike at the rock before him.

A flash of lightning and the stone of splitting stone was greater than the initial cave in that started that day. What was left was an open tunnel. The sides of the walls seemed to be composed of glass, the tools and helmets of the workers lost displayed for all to see. Thankfully none of the bodies were visible in the glassy rock left behind.

“Get a cot ready,” the restore Garret said to them from the tunnel entrance, “We need to get Willem to the church. Now.”

Nexus Character Portrait: Brellen

Brellen walked across the hill just outside of town. The old stone wall was almost visible over the tops of the buildings on this side of town. His father served his entire life on that old, crumbling wall watching for the danger that would never come.

Ever since he was born he was told that the shield itself was a gift from Pelor. It was his love and protection that was keeping them all safe from the dangers of the Wilder outside of their valley. The final battle had come so many generations ago that nobody could really remember what it was or who the enemy at the gates were. All they know is that the Church of the Ever Rising Sun erected the shield through their faith in Pelor and protected the people of Nexus from the evil that threatened to overtake them.

For his entire life he was taught that the purplish glimmer blocking their view of the sky was proof that their god was watching, loved them and would always protect them. Even the ranking priests no longer displayed much in the way of power from beyond. The supernatural had practically disappeared as they were limited to the tomes and scrolls within their own walls and there was not much call for the use of rituals and spells beyond the seasonal ones that held no real power to them.

It was his father’s wish that Brellen would be entered into the schools at the Church of the Ever Rising Sun. He did not want him to grow up to be an impotent man at arms guarding a wall that would never see an enemy. Even the town guard had no real duties to perform as crime was almost non-existent in Nexus.

He figured within the walls of the church that he would never know hunger or have to worry about a roof over his head. He would likely never know any real, personal wealth, but he would never know hunger or want. For the most part, he was right.

What his father had not counted on was Brellen reading the old tomes from before the time of The Shield. How could he know that he would read those stories of the heroes that would travel out in the world to make a difference. The holy men of Pelor that would travel the countryside protecting those that needed His help.

How could life in the church lighting candles and providing incense and herbs to the high priest each mass compare to going out and doing good in the world as a focus of their god’s true power? How could he remain content with food, shelter and clothing when there were likely those faithful to Pelor out there needing his guidance and protection? Those out there that need to know that their god does still exist and that he does still love them.

Above him, through the violet shimmer of the Shield, he could rarely tell when dawn had arrived. This morning though, he knew exactly when dawn had broken as he could see the orange rays of the sun burning through the Shield to fall about him. Their warmth and glow was something he had heard of in the tomes, but had not felt until this point.

“You look for more out of your life, young one?” the sun said to him, the words flowing along the rays of sun stabbing their way through the Shield and onto the hillside about Brellen’s feet.

“Your people cannot have all been within the Shield,” he replied, “Do not they also need your protection? Do they not need your healing? Do they not need to know your love?”

“Truth flows through your words young minion,” the sun responded with a flare, “But the road to my faithful outside of the Shield is fraught with danger. I cannot see into the darkness of the Wilder. I could not tell you what awaits you out there. I cannot even tell you how many of my children are still alive out there.”

The thought of the faithful of the church out there – dying without the proper rites of burial or their final blessings to send them to Pelor’s side in the Everfields brought heaviness to Brellen’s chest. Nobody should die that way. Everyone should have a chance for peace in the afterlife. And those that would prevent the faithful from finding that peace should know His Wrath.

“You have served my church well your entire life,” the sun echoed down from above, “Would you choose to serve me again, knowing that your serve to your church and your people could very well cost you your life?”

“I would,” he replied with his head held high, basking in the warmth of the sun.

“Would you travel the Wilder looking for them, protecting them, healing them?”

“I would,” he replied again.

“Would you bring my wrath to any and all who would bring harm to our family?”

“I would,” he again replied as a mantra.

“Would you die for them?” the final question came out and echoed in his ear. The enormity of it was held in those final words, his final call.

“Would that it was your will,” he replied, a single tear running down from the corner of his eye to dry in the sun, “I would my Father.”

With a small flash of light a small figure stood in front of him. He looked as if he were a human, just about a third of the size of a normal man. It was not until he focused his attention on it that he saw the small glowing wings that seemed to form out of the light around his back and shoulders.

“Follow his lead,” the sunlight said down to Brellen, “This is Arris, one of my faithful. He knows the ways of my power. He will teach you to become an invoker, one of my weapons on your world. Arris will show you to focus my power through you. Once you have learned all that he has to teach you, travel out from the wall and through the Shield. Find them, heal them, protect them from our enemies. Bring them home, Brellen. Bring them home.”

Update on Brellen

The invoker was infected by numerous attacks from the living dead that are swarming the lands outside of Nexus. The infection was beginning to overtake him when the party was set upon by a pair of dragons. A young dragon was sent to attack them as the larger dragon (of the zombie variety) scooped him up and carried him off. At least that is what the dwarf that helped the party fend off the ice dragon told them – none of the party noticed what swooped in on them.