Voice of Brightshore, Duolus 24

Those Are Big Owls

Frightened citizens reported witnessing horror ensue in the crossroads district at the beginning of this Duolus. Not one, but two enormous owls dove out of the sky into Brightshore. Experts estimated their wingspans were around 90 ft. across. But as they landed, both were observed shapeshifting.

The first owl — a large white owl, reported as injured — carried something with it. We have received mixed reports of what that item was, but what was consistent is that the owl appeared to have turned into a wood elf. Citizens pealed backwards as the wood elf screamed nonsense just before the second owl arrived.

The second owl was black, with a trail of billowing, dark smoke and red eyes. The black owl descended upon the wood elf. Some say there was a horde of creatures that came with them; others say a natural tornado suddenly appeared as the black owl turned into something horrible, like what you’d describe living in the woods to scare your children.
Thankfully, both owls left Brightshore without causing harm to anyone, a fate we hope continues as we fear for our safety with such beasts — or whatever they are — still out there and clearly aware of our city.

 

Catra Manor Infestation: Oh Rats

Disturbing reports have been streaming in regarding a recent disaster at the Cleo Catra Manor, a shelter to help those in need of warm food, a warm bed, and new opportunities. Guards and citizens reported an innumerous amount of rats pouring from below, into the kitchens! Just before all hope was lost, the notable Mrs. Morgan Bradford and a group of brave, rat-fighting adventurers arrived. The adventurers volunteered to lock themselves inside the kitchen and the town waited in angst, safe beyond the barricade. Alas, our heroes survived and snuffed out the beginnings of the epidemic! Thank ye heroes.

 

The Nicked Rock Reopens

The final days of the month saw the grand reopening of the Nicked Rock. Now owned by local legend Errol Twice-Blessed, it appears to have been built to exacting specifications to look and feel exactly like the old Nicked Rock. Somehow, they’ve even managed to mostly recreate the smell of the place, which has led to rumors of Arcanum involvement.
The Twice-Blessed had this to say, “I am thrilled that the Nicked Rock has been returned to us after its tragic destruction. Many of us in Brightshore have had memorable moments here, so it’s only right that it be restored to its former glory. The Gods willing we will all have many years to enjoy its unique environment.”

 

Dragon Statue in Park Now Features Real Dragon!

An unusual, tiny dragon that calls itself Fancyscale has made a home out of the smoking dragon statue in the park.

While investigating, I found several of my missing quills in its so-called “Lost and Found,” but Fancyscale also made sure to let me know about an upcoming contest to win free item enchantments. Fancyscale refused to elaborate, but I will keep trying to uncover how this contest works–and maybe find more of my missing items!

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Hector’s Heckler, Duolus 24

Hector’s Heckler, Duolus 24
Did you miss me you beautiful beaming belligerent bubbly Brits?! I know, I know, I’m late this month but wait until you hear what I have in store for you! The truth! The lies! The danger! The scandal! This month I got down and dirty in the milky moist machiavellian trenches of marry meritorious mystery! I interviewed with the pleasant poor peasantry and the proper people of plenty!

Following the popularity of Drax’s wise words in our first issue, the Heckler was deluged with readers asking for the sage tortle’s advice. Without further adieu, here are:

Drax’s Words of Wisdom
Q: Dear Drax, oozes and slimes keep eating my armor! I’m spending more money fixing it after each dungeon dive than I make. What should I do?

A: Quit your bellyaching you soft-skinned snowflake! Armor is for insecure weaklings who are too afraid to take on the perils of the world just wearing what they cracked out of their shell in. You don’t see old Drax crying for a metal momma before he goes and cracks some skulls, do you?

Q: My adventuring companions and I found a dead end in a dungeon that has a scary green face statue on it. There’s a pit of utter blackness in the statue’s mouth. What should we do?

A: Do I look like your momma, you little whippersnappers? Buck up and dive head-first into the darkness like a real adventurer! There’s no gold and glory to be had standing around whining about how “it might be a trap” or “darkness is scary!”. By the gods do I have to do everything around here?

Haha! Another titillating, tantalizing, and trendy talk with our most tenacious and tolerant tortle trailblazer. We thank you our distinguished dino daddy! Next up, an icy irreconcilable ironic interview with an idealist former member of the our illustrious city’s guard. For the purposes of this interview we’ll call her G and I’ll go by my casual collegiate codename, Preparation H. G and I met one evening at a romantic venue.

G: “Hector, right? You do reports on happenings, I hear.”

H: “Ah, that I do my scaly compadre, that I do! Have anything juicy? A tale of heroes and adventure? Dastardly villains? Helpless maidens? Forbidden romance? The end or beginning of an Era? Sorry, why do you ask?”

G: “You of course know of the Hall of Hunters as it is controlled in somewhat by your patron, Lord Gost. But, do you know of the things that its members have witnessed? The things that they have fought and killed?”

H: “I think my lord asked them to find some adorable little teddy bears from his oversized scribbly picture book. Is that what you mean?”

G: “Not exactly. Both their wood elf captain Glanodel and myself were the ones who chased the escaped prisoner in the clutch of the demon to his lair. Care to hear more? Enailis and I, currently members of the Hall of Hunters, tracked said person when a devil helped him escape the Graystone.”

H: “Oooooooooh I seeeeeeeee. And then what happened?”

G: “The devil flew out across the river Olteus, but Enailis and I confidently lead the small party we recruited after them, throwing open the gate to get past the Guard there. We had to rescue – or recapture – such a prominent member of Brightshore society. Once across the river, we were faced with the ruins of ancient Cathorn, full of dangers and mysteries, but on we tracked them with Enailis unerring sense of direction. In time, we came across a wall full curious. Around it, the ground was clear and not a speck of snow could stay, even though it was winter. Enailis scented brimstone, but we found on it a door that lead down, down, deep under the ground. Is this the kind of story you like to heckle? Shall I continue or are you bored?”

H: “Continue madame, continue!”

G: “Enailis lead us more than a hundred yards into the depths of the earth, the stench of demonic forces growing stronger in our noses with every step. Then we came to a chamber, like unto the size of the mess-hall in Veil’s Mur. In it was a strange stone altar, covered in the blood of innocent sacrifices. In the chamber was a hidden door that we wrenched open, finding a passageway beyond. Not much further, our brave wood elf leader found a trap and guided us through it. This lead to a strange, wide, spiral staircase where we descended even further into the earth, ever closer to the opening to Hell. Now there lay before us a strange stone door with two large pillars beside it. We pushed through and found ourselves surrounded by a mob of formless, strange creatures. They were roughly human sized, but made of flesh that was only half-baked, as if Unre had brought them out of her oven a few years early. We fought our way past them and that is when I opened up my divine sight, granted to me by my Oath as a paladin, letting me see fiends, celestials, undead and their influence. The evil in that place was so strong that I was knocked unconscious for several minutes, while Enailis and the rest bravely protected me. We pushed ever further into the dark chambers, finding old prisons, old barracks, a strange spring lit by magical stones, more stone doors. We fought impish devils that caused the very armor we wore to burn our flesh, although the powers granted to my forebears by Menran protected me. We found a door written in all languages we knew but the Common speech of Brightshore warning of a great evil if it was to be unsealed. We found a ritual chamber where a dozen cultists had murdered themselves for some foul ritual. And, then … we found him – the man we had been chasing all this time…”

H: “Who!?”

That’s the terrible tale that the tattling turncoat templar told. She wouldn’t say the nebulous noteworthy name aloud, but I have my strong scathing suspicions as to the suspect. What do the poignant people think? What is the scandalous secret? Who could it possibly be? What name is too terrible to utter for fear of ruthless recalcitrant retribution? What would make this guard resign? Perhaps, we’ll know next month in Hector’s Heckler!

In the meantime, a novel and new efficacious establishment has opened in the Tower District! Stop by the Citadel Lounge and meet the Knights of the Black Veil! Listen to yours truly on the piano and enjoy the elegant exotic dancing of the attractive Miss Maevis Alanyr! If you play your cards right you may even get a meet and greet with the gallant Galvan Gost or laudable laureled Lancelot! Bring your most extravagant evening attire, enjoy a generous glass of wine, and gossip with our gorgeous gregarious guests! Treat yourself, you deserve a night on the town!

Know that when you dine and delight at the Gost Citadel, you are supporting people of the people! Just listen to the these tender testimonies:

“I can’t tell you how grateful I am to the men of the citadel. I will never forget their names; Sir Lancelot the Brave, Zren the Zealous and Wise, Revan the Revered, Flint the Fearless, and Stopp the Unstoppable. They traveled a week and fought to save my husband when no one else would. What’s more, they did it for free out of the kindness of their hearts. We offered to pay them, but they refused to touch a coin!” – Vanessa Stormsleet

“Aye, these men fought back nightmares on my behalf. I’ll never be able to repay the lifes debt that I owe them. I tell you this though, there are no nobler men in Brightshore” – Arman Stormsleet

“The Pulio family will live on. My name shall not be lost to history, and I have these adventurers to thank for it. I… I offered everything I had, my life’s savings, my years’ harvest. They needed only my thanks. These are good men I tell ye! They don’t make them like this anymore!” – Greg Pulio Senior Senior

“Stopp could stop my heart if I were not a married woman.” – Sarah Jameson

Oh my! Careful now Stopp, I hear Card Jameson is no push over! Well that’s it folks, I’ll see you next month. Be sure to stop on by the citadel to see my fancy new feathered hats. I received more than I knew what to do with after last months’ paper. Some of you nefarious nobles out there have clearly been naughty! Tune in next time to hear the gauche gossip of my Lord Gost’s gratuitous gamble with a real ghost of a girl. Tata for now. Pray I live to tell the tale!

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State of the Game

As we mark the three-month anniversary of Brightshore, I find myself simultaneously proud and nostalgic. If you’ll pardon some indulgence on my part, I’ll reflect on where we started, what has been happening, and where the game might yet go.

On June 2nd, I made the first roll of the first session ever ran in Brightshore. Marty was DMing the first adventure in Brightshore through what was to become the Fog. It was a perception roll, a nat 20. It seemed like a good omen.

The DMs that would become what we now know as World Weavers had met up a handful of times: first to discuss this crazy idea of a multi-store persistent campaign with multiple DMs, then to flesh out the backstory of the world, and then finally for that first session. I wasn’t sure any of this would actually work.

At the outset, what would become Brightshore started off as a game built around the West Marches campaign model. It was originally going to be a simple roam around the wilderness, find neat things, go back to a static town sort of setup. Then, slowly, it began to evolve.

Rebecca created and named the town. Marty made the wiki and built the first full district, and started adding locations and NPCs. Then Rebecca built out the entire council and added more NPCs. James built an entire pantheon single-handedly. Jude made the maps, built the cosmology, and started placing lore.  Shaun created a stack of the history. Ben ran our worldbuilding session. It was (and remains) the most incredible collaborative project I’ve ever worked on with anyone in any context, the World Weavers are an incredible group of people.

Our first public game happened on June 9th. I was the only DM, and after waiting around for about ten minutes, I experienced that feeling that all DMs dread, the letdown of being ready to run a game and having no players. I stuck around for a bit and then drove home, all the while fervently hoping that our efforts weren’t going to be for nothing.

Our first public session with players happened three days later. In Middleton, I had a grand total of two players, Errol and Ezra, who against all odds survived the Fog and brought back an ancient, cursed Dwarven ship that was later cleansed and eventually featured prominently in the Battle of Brightshore. Jude had a near full table (our table max back in those days was 7) in Sun Prairie. Eshel, Galvan, Irato, Maevis, Sir Maximillian von Tibblesworth, and Zren also braved the Fog, and harpies and a feral elf on Lookout Island as well.

At that point, I settled in a bit and figured we had plenty of time to get things in order, and that this might just be a small side project for RPGs at I’m Board. I figured if we only had one table a week at each store, I’d be happy.

And then it just blew up, and I’ve been holding on for the ride ever since. Instead of a small, leisurely, side project of a persistent world, I started getting demands for more DMs and more tables. Players starting asking for rules, rulings, and expansions into other areas of worldbuilding that didn’t yet exist. Players started wanting to own property, run businesses, make items. We spun up a Slack instance so players and DMs could talk. Downtime activities proliferated. We very quickly moved from me being happy to get one full table a week to the uncharted territory of running a high-demand game that is made in a game style that no one has ever attempted anywhere.

I give this background as context for just how far this campaign has come in only three months. Our first session had zero players. This past Sunday, we had 29 players playing in our weird homebrew store setting that’s never been advertised.

Because no one has ever made a campaign like this, we have constantly had to make new rules, tweak existing rules, and as Rebecca put it, lay down the tracks as we’re driving the train. This has definitely at times given players whiplash or caused confusion. I’ve tried to communicate as much as I can about changes and the rationale behind them, but quite a bit slips through the cracks. This means that what you as players are seeing now is very much an unfinished product.

As Brightshore has grown, we’ve also started to run into practical considerations of DM time. All the DMs save myself are volunteers. They run the world, but they do have a life outside of it. As more players became more engaged with the world — a good thing! — we’ve started to look at ways to streamline rules and rulings and otherwise deal with the practical reality of a campaign world as complicated as this that also has well over 50 active players. What you’re starting to see now with recent rule changes (like limiting characters and the new guild rules) is a compromise for things we want to keep available to help expand on the story of your character and help place your character in the world, and the recognition that DMs do not have infinite time to handle everything that was being asked of them.

Which is where we are at now, trying to streamline things and then use time leftover to build out business rules, magical crafting rules, and future plot lines (there’s some good ones!), all while running regular sessions at both locations. We are trying to add as much as we can to the world, but it will take time to get there, and the Brightshore you see now isn’t the Brightshore that will exist in six months’ time.

I appreciate your continued patience as we figure out mechanics and continue to tell the story of this fantastic world. The harrowing adventure, the narrow escapes from death, the heroism, and the antics — all of it has been incredible. I’m thankful to all of you, DMs and players, for making Brightshore what it is today. It is truly humbling, and I can’t wait to see what will happen next!

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Voice of Brightshore, Unicus 24

Archon to Make First Public Appearance Since Son’s Disappearance

According to a source at the Temple of Olteus, Archon Jacinta is scheduled to resume teaching her midwifery and reproductive health classes at the Temple of Ava this month. This will be the Archon’s first appearance since her son, Marco Savedra, escaped from the Graystone two months ago after being accused of fraternizing with devils. While several of her students stated that they are happy about their teacher’s return, many Brightshore residents remain concerned about the well-being of the Archon and her husband, Chancellor Orrin.

“I can’t imagine the shock she must have had, that they both must have had,” said Wisteria Palyu, who sells vegetables from her cart in the Market District with her 16-year-old son, Abel. “If it were my son accused of doing all those horrid things…well, I would just simply die of it.”

Abel, for his part, expressed disappointment in Marco, who was well-liked up until the accusations made by Malcolm Bradford and several other Brightshore residents. “He didn’t seem the type to ever make a deal with a devil,” said Abel. “He was always telling me to keep my nose clean and do what Ma told me. I used to kind of admire him.”

Illuminator Ignatius, administrator of the Temple of Ava, states that while the midwifery class will return to its normal schedule and is open to anyone interested in learning to birth babies, the Temples have not yet determined a date for the Archon to resume the rest of her duties. He further states that the Archon will not be fielding any questions regarding her son during the class and requests that persons who do have questions on that topic wait for a more appropriate time. He refused to comment on Marco’s possible guilt.

 

Lightning-Struck Brightshorians Bring Back a Surprise!

Just earlier this month, reports were received about a group of adventurers who sat in a strange metallic array to willingly take on the blast from a lightning strike – crazy! Everyone lived, thank the Gods, and the group – who was easily identifiable with frizzy hair and burns – was seen leaving into the ruins. Their faces were remembered, but rumor has it that another face returned with them. She has been the talk of the town since, and for good reason too! Who knew that the Indomitable Lord Malcolm Bradford had a wife?

 

Expedition Departs for Far Off Lands

The middle of the month saw the departure of the newly commissioned Defender warship, the Albatross. Its first mission was to undertake a daring expedition, led by Ezra, to a far-off land. Little is known about the expedition’s goals or what they hope to achieve, but this represents the first serious attempt at exploring the wider areas around Brightshore since the disastrous expeditions of year 4, year 7, and year 15.

 

Being a Brief Account of a Meeting with Giantfolk

My fellow citizens: In order to dispel the rumors and gossip about the recent experience of myself and several other Brightshore residents, you will find below my first-hand account of the initial meeting between us and the giantfolk. Should you desire a more complete and detailed account, a record of the incident can be found within the library in the Temple of Unre. Respectfully, Guard Captain Redford Bolt.

On the 8th of Unicus, during my recent vacation, I was approached by Enkeh Nere, Kujo Funabashi, and a tabaxi named Storm, who requested I accompany them on a journey two days south, to retrieve the annual Red Springflower on behalf of the Temple of Olteus. On the third morning after leaving Brightshore, our party observed two dragons locked in combat. Their age was indeterminable due to distance, but it was clear that one was red and one copper. They flew away before we could examine them further.

We then observed the astoundingly rapid approach of a floating city upon a cloud, from which descended a giant who introduced himself as Count Sarzus. This Count Sarzus indicated we were “fated” to resolve a dispute among him and his fellow giants, making it clear that he would not accept a refusal.

Count Sarzus then took us upon his floating cloud city, where he informed us that we would resolve the dispute by facing various trials. These trials each had a basis upon one of the four elements, though notably due to the giants’ attention being required elsewhere, we were spared the trial of fire.

After the completion of these trials, an assembly of giants asked us which of the four elements was the most powerful. We deliberated, and Enkeh felt strongly that magic was above all the most powerful. The giants were pleased with this answer, then stated they would grant us the highest reward they could give. They asked us which of the four elements we favored, and being a follower of Unre, I answered “earth”. The giants then teleported our party to a cavern, deep underground. Whether this place was indeed the Elemental Plane of Earth, as speculated by some, remains unclear.

We set about trying to determine the best course of action, and encountered a golem-type creature holding a spear, of which Storm relieved it, giving it his spear as a trade. Another creature, ostensibly an earth djinn, found us and, pleased that we, or rather I, had chosen his realm as my preferred, returned us to the location from where Count Sarzus had initially kidnapped us. This same Count Sarzus then appeared again and gifted us a bouquet of the red springflowers for which we had been searching before his floating cloud city retreated to the far south.

At this point, we returned to town.

 

Notice of Bridge Closure

Witnesses report that a man named Finder Sinclair blew up the North Bridge with mighty blasts of lightning.

Repairs are already underway.

 

Kobold Raiders

Residents to the east of the city are requesting help as several farms and camps have been attacked by kobolds in recent days. Before a group of adventurers drove off their “god”, a large blue dragon, the kobolds had not adventured so close to the city, but have been since stirred up and have been raiding settlements closer to Brightshore.

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Hector’s Heckler, Unicus 24

Good Morning to you, the beautiful and illustrious peoples of Brightshore. Brightshorians? Brighties? Brits? Ah yes! Brits! Good morning Brits! ‘Tis I, Hector the Bard, your musically inclined entertainer and sayer of sooths. Please enjoy this very special first edition, limited edition, signed and hand written, autographed and monogrammed, exclusive and extraordinary copy of my witty banter. Hence forth to be known as, Hector’s Heckler. Thank you everyone, thank you. Please hold the applause for when you see my face in person. I WILL be doing signings and I WILL pose for your self portrait artist.

First and foremost, here at Hector’s Heckler, we recognize where we came from. So with that in mind, it is our greatest pleasure to present to you our first monthly column as dictated by Brightshore’s oldest resident. At least the oldest resident who counts or so he says. Without further adieu, here are:

 

Drax’s Words of Wisdom

“Alright you tadpoles, sit your butts down and let old Grandpa Drax tell you what’s what. I haven’t hauled this heavy shell around on my back for fourscore years learning the ways of the world just for you young idjits to go mucking it all up with your tomfoolery while I’m trying to relax in my golden years. And don’t you elves get all high and mighty about how old you are, you don’t count! Dancing around all nimbly-bimbly in the trees making silly elf music while the rest of us do the real work. Back in my day, we walked to our adventures uphill both ways with nothing but onions for rations! You ever beat down a pack of slathering orcs with nothing but a bag of onions on your belt? No, of course you haven’t, youths these days, you’d probably invite the orcs to brunch so you can talk about your feelings. Bah! No wonder everything is going to the Nine Hells these days! You all could stand to have Grandpa Drax wallop some sense into you with his beatin’ stick. Go throw another log on the fire, it’s getting cold in here. Now, what was I explaining to you again?”

Isn’t he something? Fantastic ol’ fellow I think. I hear rumor from a bard that definitely isn’t me that he considers me as his fourth son.

What is that you say? You want more? You want to hear a tale of adventure? Terror? Romance? Something to strike fear into the hearts of the kiddies just before there ‘bout ready to settle down for the night? Say no more! Hear the tantalizing titillating tall tale of the most wizzy wangest wizard in all wisdom. I bring you Zren, and his personal account of his besting the Duke of Shadow!

 

Zren’s Tail Tale

In the month of Unicus, me and my companions: Borivik, Atwood, Zerck and Gypsum went to explore the ancient city of Min Lue in search for clues about the ancient mage named Kalad. We were accompanied by Kujō and the remaining member of the Kraken Cult. When we neared the city we noticed that bones where spreading out from the city and choking the surrounding landscape. We approached with stealth with the aid of Gypsum’s powerful stealth magic, and attempted to ambush one of the guards after climbing the walls. The guards were seemingly mounted knights in beautifully crafted but old full plate, but when we entered combat the knight it revealed itself as the undead creature known as a Flameskull on top of a corpse. It the combat was challenging with the skull flying above us and our arrows doing very little damage. The skull also cast spells including: Magic Missile and Fireball. Near the end of our engagement two more Flameskulls approached from along the wall, at that point we fled into the center of the city where a strange pulsing light was emanating. We ran through the city the flameskulls in hot pursuit, they downed our Genasi companion but thankfully our druid Atwood carried her till I could use a healing potion on her. When we arrived at the center and towards the light we found a giant dome had been made by a powerful artifact, in which the duke of shadows was a casting a ritual at many times the speed of what he should have been, with days passing in mere seconds. Watched over by an elven man with pale skin and pearly white teeth, he seemed to mind us little even when we attacked him, and attempted to burn the artifact. We learned a lot of lore about what happened from him, and our companion Kujō. We learned that The Duke of Shadows and Kalad had been allied against the city they were now in, in an ancient war. The city was protected by an artifact that repelled undead but together the got passed it. The Duke of Shadows was nearing the end of his ritual and the elf told us to leave at that point else we be killed so we left.
Zren

By the Four! Can you believe this!? Oh me oh my how happy I am that my bravest of brainy boys Zren lived to pass on the tale. It seems he was instrumental in this party’s survival. Oh how glad I am to have such a powerful pinnacle of masculine might in our citadel! What will our council do with this knowledge? How will they reward their city’s best mage? How will I ever tell Zren how much I…

Oh, I seem to have built up a sweat. Let’s cool ourselves down a bit with a less stimulating interview. Read now the local gossip from an interview with our very own city guard, Dorkus Belch! What say you, Dorkus?

 

Sir Belch’s Account

Oy, Whats that? This be for what now, The Voice? I ain’t gon’ be caught dead splainin meself to that publishin. I heard they gave her a right talkin to they did. I’m not fin to be no part of that. Oh? Its not for the tielfing? Aight then I spose I could oblige. Always wanted to be famous. Can I get a copy for me mum? Well O’right then! I’ll tell ye the tale I did hear it with my own two ears, I did!

These miscreants were bout the river see on that there west bridge. The way I hear it, some wut powerful wizard showed there. See them there thousands of hound sized rat corpses? Tell ya wut, brightshore best hope they not be catchin a west wind or we be likely to catch the plague. Who gonna clean all them bodies up? Smell right awful they do, burned to a crisp.

Oy right, the mage. Wut ya mean how I know hes a wizard? Course hes a bloody wizard. He be calling lightning down from the heavens and blowin up right bridges. Anyway from what I gathered the slimy sucker be named Finder. He’s some kinda terrorist, known to the council I reckon. Heard him arguin with Selene and Zdenko, quite disrespectful. Threw gold right their face like they be commoners. Told them to shutup bout the bridge and go build themselves two more before he sauntered off like he be king o’ the city or some such. Whoo whee, I expect to see the man in the Graystone soon. Glad I ain’t be workin that patrol I don’ need dealin with no lightning.

We questioned them miscreants too. Said sumtin bout telling vasha a something or other skipping light up coins in the river. Also heard sumtin bout dwarven brain eaters. Dun’ want mah brains cooked no sir. T’be honest I weren’t much payin attention or doin the talkin. Was tryna stand tall and look right pretty for the council. Oh? Yeah that be it. Oh, that right kind of ye sir, din’t have to tip. Right then, yeah me mum’s address be 22 Wes… HEY DON’T BE WRITIN THAT IN THE PAPER!

Egads, what a loud guard! Say what you will, the man can project! Being the magnificent man of my word that I am, I was sure to stop by mommy Kendra Belch’s house in person with the rough draft. She had a few key edits to make. I respected her wishes. It is her son after all. I didn’t see a Mr. Belch around anywhere. More on that later. Until then, have you heard of the Knights of the Black Veil?

I said…

You there sir! Yes you! The strapping gentle(wo)man in the front!

Have you heard of…

 

THE ORDER OF THE BLACK VEIL

The Gost Citadel is now recruiting future members and providing training in the ways of their Knightly Order. Establish yourself with the Gost Citadel, the largest lot of private land in all the Tower District. Enjoy free room and board, access to a 24/7 bar lounge, and access to our private stables.

Full-fledged members of the house can enjoy the services of the Citadel Staff and entertainment. Entertainment includes such acts as ‘The Ballad of the Battle of the Black Sun’ as performed by Hector the Bard, The tantalizing desert sword dance of Lady Maevis Alanyr, and if you are especially persuasive perhaps the great wizard Zren will show you his special party trick.

It is important to note that we are dog friendly, and that the large black mastiffs you will see on site are considered family. Please be nice to Max. He is fluffy, he is adorable, and he shall always be a lap dog!

If interested, please come prepared with a resume of skills and/or proficiencies. We are always interested in new talent. Interested Fighters of Knightly class will be given a plethora of favor and compensation. Have an idea for another role you could fulfill in the citadel? Come prepared with your position pitch! Your talents are sure to be appreciated!

Well, that’s all folks. Tune in next month to hear which well known local is having a secret love affair! You know who you are! And no I don’t accept bribes! The people WILL know your dirty secret! (unless I receive a new feather hat in the mail).

Hector Out

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Voice of Brightshore, Docembrus 23

A Note From the Editor

Fellow People of Brightshore,

I have let you down.

When I wrote the first hundred copies of the Voice by hand and stood at the Crossroads passing them out from dawn to dusk, I promised you I’d do everything in my power to bring you the truth of what was happening inside our walls. You put your trust in me. And I betrayed that trust.

As more and more adventure-seekers stepped onto our docks, it seemed each new day brought a new expedition, disaster, or scandal. I could tell you that, as the days grew too short to pen all the stories and deliver them to The Creased Page in time to print, it became necessary to rely on the contributions of other writers, and to pass those contributions on unchecked and unedited.

But that would be an excuse. And there is no excusing the skewed, derogatory, and inflammatory letters I have blindly accepted, printed, and distributed alongside the real news of our town.

I regret that this comes perhaps too late, but I ask that you put your trust in me once more as I renew my original promise. This is not the Voice of the Elite or the Voice of the Agitators. This is the Voice of Brightshore.

And if there are others like me out there who seek the truth and wish to share it, perhaps it’s also time I admit that this job is turning out to be more than one tiefling can handle.

You know where to find me—standing at the Crossroads.

 

A Response to a Very Concerned Citizen

There are factual matters that are incorrect in the article “Council Overreach at the Citadel!” that must be corrected.

First, the workers were not dismissed due to Arbiter Zdenko’s manner. A dwarf foreman got the wrong idea about the techniques being used to close passages to the Drow regions and foolishly sent the workers home without verifying the techniques would be dangerous. Sir Gost did indeed pay them for the rest of the workday.

Second, the work was able to resume the very next day as Arbiter Zdenko confirmed that there was no danger to the workers. The schedule for the Citadel’s completion should not be adversely affected. This is important to note.

Third, a reason for the actions were given by the Arbiter. There was no instruction that they not be made public. The actions were twofold – to seal the Drow away from the Citadel and seal the Citadel away from the Drow. Certain events over the past months had lead to the impression of provocation on either side and the Arbiter’s decision was to limit interaction.

-A Witness to the Events

 

Tower Lights Up The Sky In Unprecedented Lightshow

Late at night on the 3rd of the month, the Kintsugi Tower lit up the sky and shook the foundations of the town with thunderous peals. The entire tower was encompassed by a white, glowing nimbus, and the jeweled scar was lit with a rainbow of oscillating colors. Periodic booms from deep inside the tower shook windows throughout the city, and as onlookers gathered outside to watch the spectacle, a beam of light shot from the top of the tower into the heavens. After several minutes, the incredible light show stopped.

The council has made no explanation as to what happened, or what might have caused the Tower to behave in this way.

 

A Miracle from a Tragedy

All of Brightshore was shaken by the eldritch explosion that leveled the beloved Nicked Rock tavern recently. Eye-witness accounts vary, but the general consensus is that the proprietors were again engaging in the time-honored tradition of encouraging patrons to strike at the mysterious namesake rock the tavern was built around with their mightiest blows, when Galvan Gost unleashed a magical smite which caused a resonate shockwave. The bar was completely leveled, and many patrons were maimed, while seven were outright slain in the incident.

Many ran away, but a few brave heroes ran towards the explosion and sounds of calamity. Among them was Harriet Dartan, daughter of the Dartan noble family and apprentice priestess in the temple of Olteus. Although she had never manifested any magical potential previously, the young woman claims she felt the spirit of her god flowing through her that night, and thus she miraculously was able to restore all of the deceased bar patrons to life, and heal the many grievous injuries of those present. No one has been able to explain this miracle, but this hasn’t stopped Harriet from throwing herself into aiding the community, as citizens suffering from injuries and maladies that have long resisted both mundane and magical healing are flocking to be touched by her curative hands at the temple of Olteus.

As for the Nicked Rock, it has been sold to the local hero and well regarded patron, Errol Twice-Blessed. Reconstruction work is already underway, and the Twice-Blessed has promised to restore it just as it was.

Though many citizens are clamoring for the perpetrator to pay damages and distribute money to the victims of the incident, those affected found some satisfaction when Galvan was jailed for his crimes.

Galvan has announced plans to open a “safer, friendlier” competing establishment in the near future, but the famous rock that survived the disaster remains at what is now a crater of rubble, still unscathed as construction begins around it once more.

 

River District Rises from the Ruins

The River District, once stomped to rubble by a giant construct, is again a bustling hub of activity. Due to wise management decisions from the council, many faces new and old have set up their homes in the district, and rebuilding efforts are either underway or completed.

This offers some much needed relief to Brightshore’s growing housing shortage. As more people continue to arrive in town, citizens have increasingly begun to request permission to clear out the western ruins and secure the rest of the ancient city.

 

Tower District Terror

The murderer truly responsible for the series of murders around town has finally been brought to justice. Lady Luna Drumlin, an aged and respected member of Brightshore’s upper class was found to be the mastermind behind a halfling assassin. Guards brought on to protect her discovered a hidden basement where Lady Drumlin was illegally imprisoning innocents, encasing them in stone, and then killing them. The adventurers rescued several, and Lady Drumlin was killed when the adventurers confronted her about her misdeeds, but her halfling catspaw escaped.

Further investigation determined that Lord Drumlin had also been murdered by his Lady, as was the husband of their daughter, Leslie Drumlin. After extensive investigation, Leslie was cleared of all wrongdoing, and is now the sole inheritor of the massive Drumlin fortune and estate, and rumors are that some uncouth suitors are ignoring mourning protocols and already knocking on her door.

 

Galvin Gost Arrested

Galvan Gost, who has had increasingly common run-ins with town authorities, was arrested late in the month for defying council orders to hand over an evil flesh eating manticore. He was apparently trying to raise the foul creature on his property. During the arrest, Gost attempted to smuggle the beast out of the city, but the Rangers told townsfolk they had nothing to fear and that the problem had been taken care of, and assured citizens that the events of two decades ago would not be repeated.

Abigail Farnsworth was not convinced, and had this to say, “I told everyone these adventurer types were no good. Only thing worse than an eccentric rich fool is an eccentric rich fool that regularly seeks their own death for a few more coins they don’t even need! Look at me, I just sell my oysters and I get by, don’t see me wanting to raise evil beasts do you?”

 

Cult Defeated But Kraken Remains a Mystery

It was a busy month for captains Marxa and Gombold.

Mere days after returning from her voyage to bring to Brightshore a literal boatload of dwarves, Gombold’s Tide Dancer was stolen, and a force of strange creatures invaded the docks. They seemed to be the corpses of people lost at sea, reanimated and covered in brime-frost. With the assistance of a few adventurers who luckily happened to be close at hand, the guards defeated the creatures and apprehended their apparent leader. She later turned out to be a member of the insidious kraken cult that recently killed the actor Benvedere and the warrior Victorio. Four of Brightshore’s brave guards were killed in the invasion, adding to the brave souls claimed by the cult.

Gombold and the adventurers boarded Marxa’s Eel, which had also just returned from a voyage, to speed through the frigid water after the Tide Dancer. They returned five days later with Gombold’s ship in tow. According to the captains, adventurers, and crew, the kraken cult was responsible for the theft of the ship, and they have been dealt with. They should no longer be a threat to our city.

As for what happened out at sea, the crew reported that they pursued the Tide Dancer into the outer reaches of the Fog. A fierce battle between the two vessels was waged there. Aat the end of it, they say they heard a terrible, booming voice resounding in their minds. Some swear that it was the dreaded kraken himself.

The Council could not be reached for an official comment, but Veil Silvershield saw fit to remind us that the kraken is only an old sailor’s legend, and no sign of anything of the sort has been seen during 23 years of ships coming and going through the Fog. Still, this writer wonders if it’s only a coincidence that the same creature appeared in that ancient play recovered not far from our shores.

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Voice of Brightshore, Oncemas 23

Jailbreak, Orrin’s Son Marco Escapes!

The sturdy stone walls of the Graystone were ripped asunder as a giant flying devil clawed its way into Marco’s cell and then immediately flew off with him. Marco, Chancellor Orrin’s son, had been imprisoned since last month on accusations of devil summoning, and the investigation had been ongoing.

Guards and adventurers gave chase and followed the devil into the ruins across the river. Upon their return, rumors spread like wildfire, and worst of all, the most shocking of the rumors seem to be true. Sources at the Guard, the Shine of Ava, and the city council all affirm that Marco was indeed seen stepping through a portal to the burning lands of devils, and that he issued a warning to his father as his last words before he sealed the portal shut behind him.

Chancellor Orrin has not been seen since the incident, nor has his wife, Archon Jacinta.

 

Council Overreach at the Citadel!

This month, Sir Galvan Gost, Lord Commander of the Order of the Black Veil received an aggressive, unexpected visit from an armed Arbiter Zdenko, allegedly the neutral scion of law. As many are aware, Sir Gost has spent much of his gains from his heroic deeds employing everyday crafters, laborers, and other laypeople to work on the Gost Citadel, a bastion of hope for Brightshore’s overlooked citizens.

Recently, Sir Gost – who prefers to go by Galvan – was working to secure entry points from potentially powerful enemies at his own cost. However, the self-appointed Council of Brightshore marched onto the Citadel’s work in progress with an army of nearly two dozen guards and powerful clerics and demanded entry. Galvan allowed them into the Citadel after they refused his kind offer to allow him to prepare to receive such guests. Due to the aggressive nature of Arbiter Zdenko and the Council, Galvan dismissed the laborers on his estate, still paying them for the day, for their own safety.

Unfortunately, the Council has yet to provide a public reason for entering the Citadel. It was observed that several priests of Unre were swarming, looking in every doorway, cellar, and even moving rocks for something. After several days of investigation and noted failures, the clergy left the Citadel, and Galvan was able to resume work.

It is obvious that the Council is afraid of the power of the people. If the choice were given to the citizens of Brightshore, they would no doubt have Galvan, a noted benevolent leader and man of the people, lead Brightshore to a great new future. A future where goblins would not raid us, where we could expand into the ruins of a former great empire, and where an everyman’s opinion is as welcome as that of an absent father of a devil worshipper. A future not determined by someone who builds a tower to his own hubris alongside our blessed temples and spent years manipulating the aging Council, but rather someone who set foot on our shores with the goal of making Brightshore a place for everyone, powerful or weak, crusader or craftsman, rich or poor, checkered past or pristine examples of greatness.

It is up to us to make sure that the Council does not step over those they are afraid of. Do not let this trespass against such a noble person go amiss!

Signed,
A Very Concerned Citizen

 

Kobold Raiding Party Captured

In an unusual first for Brightshore, a group of hostile kobold were spotted to the northeast and were captured by a group of adventurers. The kobolds intentions are unknown at this time, but Abigail Farnsworth had this to say, “Can’t never trust a kobold. Slimy little things, having one in town already is bad enough.”

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Voice of Brightshore, Decimus 24

Chancellor Orrin’s Son Marco Arrested for Summoning Devils!

Shockwaves rippled through the Council Chamber as Indomitable Bradford and six witnesses charged Marco with summoning devils within Brightshore. Later, Indomitable Bradford submitted hellish weaponry into evidence, and other scholars have confirmed that such weapons and armor could only have come from hellfire fueled forges.

Marco, who has been placed in the Graystone while an investigation takes place, has continued to maintain his innocence. Chancellor Orrin has refused to comment and has been seen little since the accusation on the floors of the Council Chamber. Rumors say that he has been spending ever more time in the tower, but no one knows for sure.
Arbiter Zdenko Ryll has promised a full and fair investigation, which he cautions could take months.

Abigail Farnsworth said, “I always knew there was something off about that Marco kid. Too nice, too laid back. It’s always the quiet ones you have to watch out for you know?”

 

Bell Salvaged from City Ruins

An ancient bell was salvaged from the ruins of the city across the river. The bell reportedly weighs nearly 70,000 pounds and is nearly sixteen feet in diameter. The bell was hauled into town, where it was turned over to be melted down for metal.

The band of adventurers that accompanied the bell also brought back a goblin wizard named Zrogeh’ziz from the ruins. Bystanders said that the adventurers claimed the goblin helped them and was willing to help the town.

Zrogeh’ziz was escorted to the Arcanum to join the other wizards of the newly founded wizard’s guild of Brightshore. Rumors persist that Zrogeh’ziz is obsessed with the power of lightning, and longtime locals have insisted that the frequency of lightning and storms this winter has been exceptionally unusual, as is the apparent concentration of storm clouds over the Arcanum.

 

Nicked Rock Invaded by Lightning Flinging Slime

Normal business activities were interrupted at the Nicked Rock when a lightning flinging slime that was chasing Sephilia Everglory burst up from the basement. Eleven patrons were killed before the slime could be subdued, and the tavern itself suffered some minor damage.

The famed rock of the Nicked Rock was, of course, unharmed.

 

Adventurer’s Ashes Returned to Brightshore

A band of adventurers once again made the trek back to the Hellion’s Mouth cave. They returned with the ashes of Binval, who was killed in the cave, and also with the hulking form of what a specialist identified as a vrock. This anonymous specialist also noted how unusual it was for a demon not to immediately turn to dust upon being killed, and said it was an “ill-omen” that the corpse has persisted. He urges whoever is in custody of the vrock body to incinerate it and douse the ashes in holy water before dispersing them on the four winds.

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Voice of Brightshore, Nonagon 23

Official Exchange of Ambassadors Between Brightshore and Stalwart Shield

Sources on the council have confirmed that a council-sanctioned Ambassador was sent to the Stalwart Shield hobgoblin and orc tribe in an effort to further build relations. The council has also announced that they hand-picked Ambassador Maximilian von Tibblesworth to represent our fair city, and welcome Ambassador Duka within our walls.
The council has confirmed that all hostilities are to cease with the hobgoblin and orc tribe, and that our western border is to be considered set until further notice. Travel westward into Stalwart Shield territory at your own risk. We have pledged not to violate their borders just as they will not violate ours. Additionally, the council has confirmed that the Stalwart Shield will view any “atrocities” as a treaty violation as well, and that such actions would likely hurt any attempts at future neighborly relations. They declined to define what was meant by “atrocities.”

A source that I will keep anonymous has also ensured the delivery of this letter from our new Ambassador:

“Dear friends in Brightshore, we stand today on the edge of a new continent, and on the edge of history. Before us lies an opportunity unlike any our peoples have had in generations. We all know what we’ve fled, the oppressive empires forged in fire and blood that lie behind us. Now we have a chance to build something new, to be a city on a hill, a beacon of peace and hope to the world. We’ve already baptized this land in battle with our goblin neighbors, but we need not drown it in war. We have in our hands the seeds of a peace treaty that can bind all our races together in a common prosperity. We need only do the hard work of planting and nurturing it. I implore you, friends, do not throw away this shot at a new beginning, and a new era defined by hope and friendship rather than hate and the sword. Ambassador Tibblesworth, out.”

Strong words, it’s easy to see why the council chose him!

 

Ancient Play Performed

Ever since a group of adventurers unearthed an ancient play from nearby ruins, local thespians have been dying to get a chance to perform it. Unfortunately, the first performance saw this taken all too literally.

The much-anticipated debut performance of Latoro’s epic Oefelion was well attended by citizens eager to learn more about the history of the surrounding area and to see the promised “visual extravaganza” that would accompany the climactic final battle.
However, the performance was interrupted when one of the kraken puppeteers stabbed Benvedere, who was playing the star role of Oefelion, in the eye with a dagger. It was later revealed that the puppeteer was a secret member of a cult of kraken worshipers and that this act was some sort of terrorism.

The town guard and three adventurers chased down the murderer and went to their headquarters to investigate. They found an overwhelming number of cultists. Although they fought valiantly and killed many of the dark cultists, one of the adventurers was slain and the others were forced to retreat.

Captain Redford promises to send another, stronger expedition to stamp out the cultists as soon as possible. Until then, he warns citizens to stay out of the ruins and to avoid walking alone at night or dealing with suspicious characters.

The council assures the townsfolk that there is no evidence of a kraken, despite what the cultists seem to believe. The play, while possibly rooted in historical fact, almost certainly contains a great deal of fictional embellishment. Until we find more documents and artifacts from the era, it will be impossible to be certain.

Benvedere’s funeral was held in the Temple District. The play was performed again ten days later, and was dedicated to the memory of Benvedere and the fallen adventurer, Victorio. Benvedere’s understudy did the best under the circumstances, but unfortunately wasn’t able to replace the raw talent of Benvedere.

 

Lightning Never Strikes the Same Place Twice Theory Disproved in Brightshore!

Just last week, many citizens reported a consistently striking lightning storm. Columns of lightning deafened Brightshorians every thirty seconds or so, with maintained touch down somewhere in the ruins of Brightshore. Very few storm clouds were reported that day and thus the question must be discussed: What of the source; was this truly a natural phenomenon?

Multiple groups of adventurers were seen hightailing into the ruins. Some were sighted upon return drenched, with strange electrical burns and frizzy hair. Additionally, guards reported a renowned thief voluntarily turned herself in, only to immediately pay her own bail.

Perhaps she was struck by lightning herself! The frequency of storms in Brightshore has only increased since the lightning occurrence. As winter approaches, the Voice of Brightshore reminds you to stay low to the ground should any lightning storms occur; stay dry; and purchase warm socks.

 

Snail Flails Through Market Square

An unusual giant snail made a wreck of the market district, leaving merchants and bystanders alike perplexed. Luckily, some adventurers happened to be in the area, and put a quick end to the slimy threat.

The scintillating shell drew onlookers from around the city before Defenders arrived to carry the shell off to Indomitable Bradford’s mansion. When asked if he was going to put it on display, he had little to say other than “The matter will be taken care of, no further comment.”

 

Jorpot’s Shop of Wonders Closes Temporarily

“Jorpot’s Shop of Wonders is temporarily closed while the proprietor recovers from injuries. In the meantime, the city guard will maintain security on the shop.

Anyone attempting to break in will be considered an action against both Jorpot and the City.

Notice: All Admittance to the Gost Citadel, under Galvan Gost, must be approved. Trespassers will be ejected with prejudice.”

-Arbiter Zdenko

 

Saltrock Quarry Opens

The Temples of the Four is seeking laborers and masons for the newly opened Saltrock Quarry. Applicants should speak to Illuminator Ignatius of the Temple of Ava.

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Voice of Brightshore, Octolus 23

Unlike the past two months, this edition of the Voice of Brightshore is well printed on sturdy paper.

Goblin Encampments Raided

Indomitable Bradford authorized retaliatory strikes against the goblins that recently attempted to invade Brightshore. Military targets were chosen in order to maximize the forces available for the mission, and a special strike force was assembled by one of Bradford’s top civilian military advisors, Ezra.

When asked for comment on the counterattacks, Ezra said, “We showed those primitives what happens to those who stand against Brightshore!” He characterized the mission as a success, and said, “We struck back against the goblins and showed that we can’t be pushed around, yet showed mercy by giving the inhabitants time to evacuate if they chose.”

When this reporter asked about who inhabitants referred to, and if this was in fact a military target, Ezra said, “We did not intentionally kill non-combatants, but in the chaos of battle these things are not always easy to determine,” and that “In a war for survival, every target is a military target.”

When asked if he had any final words, Ezra had this to say, “We have won two great victories; we are manifestly destined to prevail.”

There have been rumors of other small bands of adventurers hunting down stray goblins as well, perhaps in part influenced by the new bounty being offered by the Defenders. The Defenders will pay 2 sp for the right ear of any goblin brought to the central guard station.

 

Murderous Priest Defrocked, To Be Executed

Beauregard Durnquist, a once retired priest of Olteus of much renown, has been officially defrocked by the temple and will be executed publicly for unspeakable crimes that have just been brought to light.

Durnquist was hailed as a hero four years ago when he miraculously cured the plague that was beginning to take hold and which no other priest had been able to treat. But he has now, in the twilight of his years, confessed that he in fact murdered the victims prematurely in order to halt the spread of the disease. He turned himself into the council.

His sudden change of heart came just after a party of adventurers visited his manor, responding to pleas for help from his estate. Apparently the priest had been suffering from terrible nightmares.

The same adventurers solved the mystery of the murder of Priest Ullman who had died a few nights prior during an attempt to exorcise the source of Durnquist’s nightmares. They say a hag named Myrtle Mousedipper had come to take Durnquist’s wicked soul and carry it to the underworld. Fortunately, the adventurers disposed of the hag permanently. Citizens of Brightshore can rest assured that Myrtle won’t be visiting them in their dreams.

 

Western Ruins Remain Dangerous

Due to a string of deaths in the ruins of the city to the west, the city guard wishes to remind us that the ruins across the river are still quite dangerous. Though passage is not barred from those seeking entrance, it is recommended that only large, well-equipped groups venture over the bridges, and then only during daylight hours and for no longer than necessary.

If you must venture to the ruins, it is also suggested that you make prudent arrangements with your next of kin.

 

Creased Page Under New Ownership

The Creased Page has reopened for the first time since the murder of Orfilin. Nelicano, Orfilin’s son, will be taking over operations of the shop.

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