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Unread 8th of October, 2005, 20:33
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This topic provides a summary of the storyline in the Jiangu campaign

Last edited by crueldespot; 28th of March, 2007 at 08:05.
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Unread 4th of May, 2006, 19:39
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Summary of the story

Chapters 1-4

Once upon a time, the imperial capital was plunged into chaos. Undead spirits appeared suddenly, killing many of the residents and driving the rest away. Noone knows the fate of the emperor. The spirits disappear during the day and roam the capital province at night. They do not harm evil people. This has allowed the capital province to become a refuge for bandits and scoundrels.

At the same time that the undead struck the capital, the tower of Mikon the Evoker was destroyed by a summoning that went awry. His apprentice Termix was able to escape. Termix went searching for his grandfather, the wizard Golock.

Golock is a mighty wizard who lives in the town of Ichiba, across the river from the capital province. Termix discovered that Golock is hiring henchmen to help him discover the fate of the emperor and run other odd jobs for him. Golock enlisted his grandson Termix as one of his new henchmen.

There were many other henchmen, most of whom are dead now. The only other survivor is the elf Kierna.

For their first task, the henchmen were sent into the capital province at dawn to rescue a group of refugees that had taken refuge in a cathedral. The spells of hallowing and forbiddance on the cathedral had saved them thus far. The henchmen were able to lead them to safety across the river before sundown.

Next, the henchmen were sent to accompany one of the rescued refugees as she went to join the School of the Four Academies. Along the way, the henchmen discovered that the warlord of Aikou province was taking advantage of the chaos to conquer surrounding territories, and he was being resisted by the Four Academies.

The Aikou army arrested the henchmen since they were bound for the Four Academies. They were questioned by the warlord's second in command, who suspected them of spying or carrying messages. The henchmen overcame their guards, took the officer captive, and escaped the Aikou fortress through a secret passage.

The henchmen evaded the Aikou forces overland. They were pursued by hunters and aerial scouts, and suffered casualties before they arrived at the Four Academies. As they arrived, the scholars mounted a surprise attack against the beseiging forces, routing them.

At the Four Academies, Fugen and Linus joined the henchmen. The leaders of the four academies thanked the henchmen by teleporting them back to Golock, saving them the return trip. Back at Golock's dreaded tower, Flarrgj the barbarian arrived to sign up as a henchmen. Fugen and Linus also were hired. Termix and two other henchmen were not teleported. They set off for Mikon's tower on foot.

For their next mission, the henchmen (minus those accompanying Termix) were sent back into the haunted imperial capital to retrieve some books from the imperial library. They were forced to contend with the evil manager of the library. In addition, they killed henchmen of the lich Nakigara, who were also there to fetch books.

Immediately on their return, they were sent to rendezvous with Termix's group to explore Mikon's tower. Unfortunately, Termix lost one fellow henchman to battle and another deserted. He had a tough time travelling on by himself to the rendezvous. The main group of henchmen discovered enroute that Flarrgj is wanted for a crime he (supposedly) didn't commit.

Termix and the other henchmen finally caught up with each other in the village below Mikon's tower. The villagers told them that the tower was infested by a gang of goblinoids. On their way up the mountain, they encountered and slew one squad of goblinoids. They massacred the rest of the goblinoid platoon at the tower. They took some captives, who they tied up in the outbuildings. They discovered that the goblinoids were a mercenary platoon of Lord Aikou's army, preparing for an impending invasion. One goblin escaped, and they chased after him but were not able to catch him.

They rested overnight and entered the tower itself. Kierna stayed outside on sentry duty. Climbing to the top floor was difficults, since most of the two intervening floors were destroyed in the fire. As they ascended, members of the group fell and suffered injuries several times. They realized that the entrance to the top level had multiple magical traps. They avoided these by breaking through the ceiling to bypass the entrance through the attic. The noise caused by this destruction attracted two phoera from the dungeon. These fire birds had escaped from cages where Golock kept them. They attacked the henchmen out of hunger. Kierna raced into the tower to help them. Both phoera were destoyed.

In the attic they discovered a locked chest and a trapdoor down into the top level. They explored the top level and found Mikon's journal. They then descended into the dungeon where they discovered Mikon's body and the summoning circle. From the journal and their exploration they pieced together the events that led to the destruction of the Tower:

Mikon had sensed that evil forces were gaining power on the plane of fire. To gather more information, he intended to summon a powerful being from the plane of fire. An apprentice of Mikon's from clan Aikou arranged to draw the chore of constructing the summoning circle. He intentionally left gaps which he covered with grease so that the summoning circle would fail.

Having learned what they sought and salvaged the valuables of the tower, the henchmen returned to the house of Termix' parents in the village. The next morning they carefully opened the chest that had been found in Mikon's attic. Within they found a trapped homonculous. While attempting to escape, it revealed that it belonged to the Lich Nakigara. The henchmen were able to destroy it as it fled up the chimney.

They split up as the returned. The loot was loaded into a cart which needed to travel on the highway. Flarrgj, Gizerak, and Kierna took back roads so that Flarrgj could avoid Shen village. When they returned to the dreaded tower, they learned that the Chieftain of Shen had been petrified by Golock several days earlier and was still a statue in Golock's audience chamber. He had come to complain about Flarrgj and his tone displeased Golock.

On their way back to the dreaded tower, Flarrgj's half of the group encounted Nimdor, a new prospective henchman. Nimdor is a halfling thief from the ghettos of Haigang. When he reached the tower, Nimdor was challenged to sneak in to prove his skills. He reached the courtyard before he was discovered and defeated, but Golock was impressed with his intrepid attitude. During the questioning phase of the interview, Golock discovered that Nimdor had considered earning the bounty offered by the Shen Clan. This motivated Golock to un-petrify the Chieftain from Shen and demand that he rescind the bounty and bother them no more. The terrified Chieftain agreed and fled.

Linus the henchmen continued to suffer from cackle fever contracted from a trap they encountered at Mikon's tower. Once they reach Ichiba, Linus is completely incapacitated. It requires a considerable effort of divine healing to restore him.

Once Golock debriefs them, he informs them about current political events in the empire.

“It has been almost a month since the emperor disappeared when the palace became haunted. This has created a power vacuum, and several factions have formed to contend for the fate of the empire.”

“The first faction maintains that the emperor might still be alive. It is composed of the surviving government ministers of the current regime. They intend to continue governing in his name. They have created a committee of senior ministers to make executive decisions and appoint replacements for the ministers that didn’t survive. This faction is known as the ‘Interim Government’. The leaders are located here in Ichiba and in Dujing.”

“Their main rivals are relatives of the emperor who argue that he is dead and who hope to replace him. The current emperor did not yet have any male heirs, so there is some room to argue about who has the best claim to the throne. A few imperial uncles and cousins have staked their claims and are marshalling support. I call these the ‘Bloodline factions’.”

“Qa’id Aikou is another case. As Termix and Kierna discovered when they were prisoners in his fortress, he has invaded neighboring territories, supposedly 'restoring order' in the name of the emperor."

"The Zauchan clan is affiliated with Aikou, though the nature of their alliance is unclear. According to your report, they are providing him with some veterans to lead goblin mercenaries. What other work are they doing for Aikou? And what do they gain in return? This remains to be seen."

"Aikou controls all the land beyond the mountains from Merak Hoi to Anmi and then along the coastal plain as far south as his Zauchan allies. On this side of the mountains he has a foothold in YanFan territory right across the Swift River from us."

"The Traditional Pantheonist Church supports the Interim government, but some of the priests are backing other factions anyway."

Looking at the military picture, the imperial army has, or had, six regiments. The first regiment was garrisoned in Dian province, so it was wiped out by the haunting. The second regiment was located in Aikou, and had some sort of pre-arranged deal to join forces with Qa'id Aikou. The third regiment guarded the lower Bronze river valley." Golock indicates the area around FanRong province. It's commander is one of those imperial uncles who claims the throne, so the third regiment belongs to a bloodline faction. The fifth regiment is loyal to the interim government, but they are in distant Shamaal." He points to the far northwest. "Hmm. The fourth and sixth regiments are stationed in Shajaraat and Sokhoor. Their loyalty is not yet decided. Each faction is also supported by the militias of various clans, and they are all building their forces. The refugees crisis provides a lot of prospective recruits."

"The message you intercepted is an important clue. Good work! I draw the opposite conclusion than you did. This confirms for me that Aikou was involved in the haunting. Aikou could never have invaded other provinces while the emperor was in power, so his preparations prove that he had forknowledge."

"So that is the situation. Keep an eye out for spies from the other factions. I'm not telling you my plans or everything I know in case one of the other factions gets a chance to read your mind."

Last edited by crueldespot; 28th of March, 2007 at 09:16.
  #3  
Unread 16th of August, 2006, 05:32
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Fugen's Journal


Editor's Note: This is not a actual journal in the sense that it does not have any real in game existance. It does, however, contain Fugen's perspective on the events of the campaign. The start is a bit aprupt because it picks up on his character history as if it were an on going story.

Chapter 3
Unfortunately, while, at the Four Academies, a siege from an opportunistic governor trapped Fugen within its walls. Unable to leave, he busied himself as best he could researching his problem. Things changed, however, one night when he happened to notice an intruder on the grounds. Though a bit of luck and help from the guards, Fugen was able to foil an assassination attempt on the Grand Master of the Academies, an event which triggered a final confrontation between the Academies and the besieging army. The Four Academies prevailed in that battle, during which Fugen noticed several figures approaching the Academies. Riding out to meet them, Fugen discovered them to be henchmen of the wizard Golock who were escorting a couple of Academy students to the Four Academies.

Once every one was inside and the Four Academies army had returned, Fugen was advised to return with Golock’s henchmen to his tower and seek employ with the wizard, as it seemed that Golock was working towards much the same goals as Fugen, namely the restoration of the emperor. After a teleportation journey to Golock’s tower that forced him to leave behind his trusted steed Fig, Fugen entered Golock’s employ.

The first mission Fugen was sent on with the other henchmen was to retrieve some books from the Imperial Library in Dian province. Armed with an official request, and mounted on mounts borrowed from Golock, Fugen and the others made their way cross country to the library, which had apparently been converted into a bookstore by the librarians. There they were confronted with a party sent by one of Golock’s rivals, Nagikara the lich. Although they managed to avoid the initial confrontation, they later engaged this group when they dispatched a library attendant in an attempt to steal the books they had come for. The henchmen emerged victorious, though Fugen was nearly killed during this confrontation. The party was then confronted by the head librarian, who apparently had no love for Fugen’s new employer. While the librarian agreed to let them take the books without paying for them, he felt that only one of the henchmen was needed to return them to Golock. A very brief battle ensued, during which the librarian attempted to restrain Fugen and order his skeletal minions to kill the others. By the power of Sha-gaat, however, Gizerak destroyed the skeletal minions and the librarian fled, leaving the way open for the henchmen to leave not only with the books that Golock has sent them for, but also with the books that the group sent by Nagikara the Lich had come for. Other than a near encounter with a small group of bandits on the way back, the trip back to Ichiba and Golock’s tower was uneventful.

Chapter 4
It wasn’t long, however, before Golock was sending Fugen and the others back out again. Still interested in what had happened to Mikon, Golock instructs the henchmen to hit the road to Mikon’s tower and meet up with Termix. Once there, they were to investigate the ruins and return with their findings. To make the journey faster, Golock even goes so far as to buy the henchmen some mounts so that they can ride rather than walk, but he is unwilling to spend any resources retrieving Fig from the Four Academies, so even Fugen must borrow a mount.

Realizing that Termix had a head start, but a detour and a longer way to go, Fugen takes the opportunity presented by the fact that Golock’s assignment had been made in the evening to study some maps and determine the fastest route to Yi, the village where Termix’s parents lived, and the most likely spot where they’d be able to meet up with him, other than the tower itself.

Setting out the next morning via the Imperial Highway, the group’s travel is uneventful until they reach the Village of Shen, where it seems that Flarrgj, the newest henchmen in Golock’s employ, had stirred up some trouble on his way to Ichiba. He stands accused of kidnaping and murder, as a wanted poster in the middle of the village boldly declares. Flarrgj then further compounds the problem trying to clear his name by suggesting that the girl ran away. Attempting to remain neutral in the matter, Fugen goes to find the town guard, but has been beaten to the punch by one of the towns folk. During the course of the next few minutes, Fugen, Gizerak, and Linus try to talk to the town guard to find out more information and possibly settle the issue, but Linus manages to trip over his own words and if anything, makes the situation worse, not better. Fugen does, however, manage to finally find out exactly why Flarrgj is accused of the things the poster said he did and comes to the conclusion that at the very least, Flarrgj had behaved in a very ungracious manner. Fugen, deciding he would provide no further assistance to the barbarian in the matter, headed back out onto the highway with most of the rest of the henchmen. They did, after all, have a job to do.

Kierna and Flarrgj, however, were a bit brasher, as Fugen found out when he caught up with them on the highway. Flarrgj was sporting some new injuries, and Kierna was short a few arrows. Clearly they had tangled with the authorities directly and then fled the scene, and while Fugen might disapprove, there was little he could do about it at this point, and both were fellow henchmen in Golock’s employ. This matter would have to wait until they returned to Ichiba to be resolved.

The remainder of the journey to Yi was uneventful, and when they arrived there, they discovered that they had managed to get there before Termix, who doesn’t arrive until the next day. To Fugen’s surprise, delight, and slight annoyance, Termix has Fig with him, and the courier immediately sets to properly caring for his horse now that they are back together again.

After giving Termix a night to recover, the henchmen set out for Mikon’s tower early the next morning so that they can approach under the cover of darkness. Their caution is brought on by the report of goblin raiders holed up in the tower that they had heard from a halfling trader along the road. Once they reach the point where the road to Mikon’s tower splits from the main highway, Kierna and Linus go forward on foot to scout things out before the rest of the party joins them. While they are gone, however, a group of goblinoid comes from the tower down the trail. Fugen and the rest, however, are prepared for them, having taken up defensive positions in case of just such an eventuality based on the halfling trader’s warning. Kierna and Linus, were also able to avoid detection and follow the goblinoids back down the trail, so the entire goblinoid squad, save one goblin who surrenders, is quickly put to the sword.

After interrogating the surviving goblin to find out the disposition of those in the tower, Flarrgj kills him out of hand, another mark against the barbarian in Fugen’s book, but again one which he can do little about for the moment. Setting out, the entire party heads up to the tower where they essentially rush the place, killing most of its goblinoid occupiers.

After clearing the goblinoid occupiers, using up a fair bit of luck in the process, Fugen and the rest are left with a few nearly dead hobgoblins and one unconscious goblin, whom they tie up for later questioning. However, as the group searches through the possessions of the hobgoblins, Fugen discovers Zauchan clan medallions. Interested in finding out more about why hobgoblins from his birth clan were acting as brigands, Fugen convinces Gizerak to cast a minor healing spell on one of the hobgoblins so that he can be questioned later.

In the meantime, the sole goblin to escape from the fight has slipped away, stealing Linus’ pony in the process. When Fugen discovers this, he, Linus, and Kierna mount up and give chase, splitting up when they reach the highway without catching the goblin. Luck is with Fugen and Linus, who in short order find the missing pony, abandoned on the road, but with no sign of the escaped goblin.

Returning to the tower, Fugen, Linus, and Kierna find that while they were gone, the others had finished searching the outer buildings of Mikon’s tower and found some things of value along with the goblinoids’ equipment. The unconscious goblin had also recovered, and so the party questioned him about his group’s activities. As it turns out, the goblinoids were something of an advance force for an invasion from Marek Hoi, a province which had recently been conquered itself by the forces of Akiou.

Upset when he finds out how the goblins treated the people of his home province, Linus knocks the goblin back out again, thus ending the interrogation. The group then spends the rest of the day resting after a preliminary foray into the tower to get an idea of what they are up against.

The next day the exploration of the tower proper begins in earnest. During the course of that exploration, the henchmen are first forced to kill the two pheora, or fire birds, which Mikon had kept, and then kill the last remaining fire toad out of mercy because it is slowly starving to death. At the top of the tower in Mikon’s chambers (which they access through the attic, rather than through the spell warded front door) the group finds and recovers several of Mikon’s processions, including his journal, which reveals that the apprentice that drew the summoning diagram for the fatal summoning was a member of the Akiou clan. In the caverns below, they find a hole in said summoning diagram which seemed to have been drawn with grease paint which was destroyed by the fire, rather than the proper materials, thus sabotaging the summoning attempt.

Their curiosity sated, and their mission apparently complete, the henchmen head back outside to find two magma mephits have burned their prisoners to death. After dispatching the mephits, the group gathers up all the materials that they were able to salvage from Mikon’s tower along with the goblinoid equipment and, using a make shift sledge, transport it back to Yi. Here they spend the night and obtain a wagon to haul the stuff back to Golock’s tower.

In the morning, the henchmen decide to open the one remaining chest which they hadn’t opened at the tower before heading out to find out what is inside. What’s inside turns out to be a homonuculus in the service of Nagikara the Lich, which the henchmen manage to destroy before it can get away.

After a scolding from Termix’s mother for releasing the homonuculus inside her house, the henchmen head back for Ichiba: Fugen, Linus, and Termix by way of the highway with the cart of recovered stuff and Kierna, Gizerak, and Flarrgj via the back roads in order to avoid passing through Shen again. With the cart slowing them down, Fugen, Linus, and Termix arrive at Golock’s tower after the others, where they unload and report back to their wizard employer.
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  #4  
Unread 28th of March, 2007, 09:13
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Summary of Chapter 5

Summary of Chapter 5

Golock has built a golem, and the henchmen are assigned to deliver it to the customer.

The golem was commissioned by the Interim government of the empire, which is the faction that Golock supports. It must be delivered to the 5th Imperial Regiment, which is preparing to attack the forces of Lord Aikou.

Golock instructs Termix on how to control the Golem and transfers control of it to him. The henchmen are given a receipt that the regiment's commander must sign so that Golock can receive payment from the treasury.

The henchmen study the map and decide that they cannot cross the mountains by the shortest route, since it goes through Aikou-controlled territory. They decide to travel further west to the lesser pass in Deng Province.

Not long after the set out, they are overtaken by a group of fighters affliated with a rival faction. It is led by Captain Renge and Canzan, members of the imperial clan who support one of the rival heirs to the throne. They try to trick the henchmen into giving them the golem, claiming that they have a legitimate claim. When their ruse fails, Canzan attempts to cast a charm spell. The henchmen respond with violence and a battle erupts. The henchmen kill all of the enemy group except for Brother Cobra the monk, who escapes.

Golock sends them a message warning them about the enemy, but it arrives too late.

The henchmen continue, mindful that there may be further pursuit led by Brother Cobra.

In Miao Province, they come across the shrine of the five martyrs. This is a memorial to a group of heroes who died protecting the empire from invading barbarians. The spirits of the Five Martyrs appear to the henchmen and challenge them to a battle to prove themselves. The henchmen defeat their own doubles. Afterwards, the Five Martyrs place a permanent protection vs evil on the henchmen. This blessing will allow the heroes to resist the evil spirits from hell that haunt the Imperial Capital. The local villagers who revere the five martyrs are impressed, and offer the henchmen their hospitality.

When they reach a village in Zhi Yi Province, the local chieftain assumes that Fugen the messenger must be bringing him a message that he has been expecting. The henchmen are invited to his estate and discover that he anticipates a message naming him as the next Governor of the Province. The chieftain is angry that Fugen doesn't have the message he wanted. He is suspicious that Fugen must be taking the message to his rival for the governorship. In order to intercept the message, he sends a group of thugs in disguise to attack the henchmen. They defeat this assault and continue into the wilderness. Fugen decides to wear a disguise so that his imperial messenger garb will not draw further attention.

In the wilderness of Zhi Yi they encounter a group of tengu, who challenge the henchmen to a test of skill. Fugen suggests a footrace, realizing that he has an advantage. He is able to defeat the tengu easily, and they are allowed to continue.

They discover that the pass through Deng province is guarded by a basilisk. The local chieftain has set a blockade to prevent anyone from entering the pass. The henchmen acquire a special pass from the chieftain once they convince him that they have a plan to defeat the basilisk.

At the old Imperial guardpost, they send the golem to find the basilisk. The basilisk attacks the golem, activating its self-defense programming. The golem smashes the basilisk.

At the far end of the pass, the henchmen encounter soldiers loyal to the colonel they are seeking. The soldiers escort them across two provinces to their headquarters. The army is camped near the border of Merak Hoi Province, preparing to invade it. The colonel signs the papers to acknowledge receipt of the golem, and Termix gives the colonel control of it.

As the henchmen discuss strategy for the upcoming invasion, they learn that the most powerful asset of the enemy Aikou forces is a white dragon. The heroes offer to eliminate it. With considerable help from some allies, and some resources donated by the army, the henchmen lay an ambush for the dragon and kill it. This ruins the morale of the enemy force and greatly contributes to the victory the next day.

In Merak Hoi, the heroes join in the victory celebration. Merak Hoi is the home province of Gizerak, so he takes the opportunity to visit his parents. He learns that his old rival in the church of Sha-gaat has cruelly oppressed the church during the Aikou occupation. Linus discovers his father among the enemy prisoners of war. He is surprised to learn that his father has been serving under the enemy Aikou faction.

Last edited by crueldespot; 28th of March, 2007 at 13:04.
 

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