The report for the discerning adventurer
The Ebon Praetor: Fiction Made Fact
Most among the Keepers are familiar with the Order of the Ebon Hand – dark mystics who lead a cabal of vile knights, responsible for enough atrocities to fill a tome (three, actually – request The History of the Ebon Hand, Volumes 1-3 from your handler for more information). Little known, the Ebon Hand worships a strange being known as the Ebon Praetor. What do we know about this cult’s deity? Not much, though texts claim it did exist at one point in history and may have been closely tied to the Lord of the Wastes.
Unfortunately, we’re about to get a new lesson.
On the 1st of Highsummer, the Order of the Ebon Hand managed to summon forth the Ebon Praetor. Reports vary on how they accomplished this – we’re uncertain yet if this was some form of resurrection, if this being is some kind of Avatar, or perhaps even just an incredibly advanced ritual creation – but what we do know is that the being was first seen in the rifts between Limbo and the Dark Lands and it’s believed they lead to his creation. Unfortunately, this act created considerable instability in an already unstable region. Limbo and the Dark Lands are currently experiencing major planar breaching, and this friction has already broken its way into Creed. The Nine Guardians have informed us that there’s no risk of a planar collapse, but planar travelers should rethink any planned trips to Limbo or the Dark Lands and Creed should be on the lookout for out of place creatures and materials from Limbo or the Dark Lands.
It’s a hell of a time to be on Creed, Keepers. Fortunately, we’ve got the info you need to stay informed and stay safe.
(The section occupies nearly two full pages, discussing what little is of the Ebon Praetor, the bloody battle that ultimately banished him to places unknown from Limbo by local forces, and the unstable rifts sweeping across Limbo, Creed, and the Dark lands since his arrival. Information is presented on how to predict and identify a planar breach, and what to do in case one is found.)
A few Keepers have already reported in their pursuit of the Ebon Praetor, but, unfortunately, none have reported any solid leads yet. The Keepers’ current stance regarding the Ebon Praetor is a most unusual “Report on Sight, Kill if Able”, until information changes. Mercenaries are encouraged to capture members of the Ebon Hand if spotted, but we remind you that the Ebon Hand is a protected organization in Klurikon and Keld. Fortunately, the Ebon Hand is wanted for crimes against basically everything by the Twin Kingdoms, Akrekik, Ikari, and Celanthiral, and you should find support from local law officials in any of those nations if they’re presented with sufficient evidence.
Binding your Time with Researcher Malkuda
Calling upon the forces out the outer planes has long been a staple fallback for many adventurers – an outsider brings unique perspective and unique power. The Planar Binding and Planar Ally spells have always been the two most popular options for such pursuits, though many exist. With the recent successes of the Order of the Ebon Hand, it seems wise to discuss how you too might tap into this versatile power – or learn to destroy such magics, if wielded against you.
(This section discusses the particular ins and outs of binding or treating with outsiders – what sacrifices, offerings, or shows of force or contrition can help push an outsider to perform whatever task you desire. The section ends with a discussion of Dark Banishing, Damnation, and, for the most advanced among us, Disjunction – looking at how these three spells uniquely interact with bound outsiders vs allied outsider.)
Hot off the Forge with Dweomersmith Slagston
Alchemy has always been a vital tool for heroes and housekeepers alike. Predating most known magics and a vital aspect of nearly all modern professions, alchemy is one of Creeds most advanced and diversified sciences. However, I feel our adventurers too often neglect this once-essential tool. Today, we’re going to look at some fundamental alchemical innovations
(This section discusses old alchemical staples and their myriad uses for the modern adventurer, such as disappearing ink, alchemical grease, and powdered water. A sizable chunk of time is spent discussing the art of alchemy, how best to brew large batches of more volatile concoctions, and a few uses for otherwise ruined ingredients.)
As for our discount hauls this season, we’ve got a pretty good treasure trove to dish out, so be sure to contact your handler if anything we’ve got raises your interest. As always, resales are prohibited and discounts of course vary by department and contract, but everything this round’s at a minimum of 9% below standard market rates.
- 1x Dark Luck Dire Flail with 2 remaining Black wishes (roughly 100,000 gp market value). A unique and powerful item, to be sure. If desired, a Crafter on-staff can transfer the magics to a different non-magical weapon in your possession for a 1,000 gp fee, though such a buyer must of course be sufficiently skilled with using magical devices (testing for such is available)
- 1x Daystar Fullplate (~96,000 gp market value). A fantastic set of adamantine fullplate, originally built for a somewhat-shorter female humanoid. Purchase comes with a free resizing. If desired, a Crafter on-staff can transfer the magics to a different suit of non-magical armor in your possession for a 1,000 gp fee, though such a buyer must of course be sufficiently skilled with using magical devices (testing for such is available). Reclaimed from an inactive account.
- 1x Amulet of Natural Armor +5 (50,000 gp market value). An exotic piece with a chain made of carved amber and set with a grouping of petrified chronatog scales. Be warned, this is a Crafter item and once possessed Chronomantic abilities (since stripped under the supervision of the Nine Guardians). The origin of the necklace, beyond what’s stated, is otherwise confidential. Standard humanoid fitting.
- 3x Rods of Cancellation (11,000 gp market value). Standard humanoid sizing. Research leftovers.
- 4x Mind Sentinel Medallions (3,500 gp market value). Retrieved from a cecaelia’s lair north of Laquaran. Standard humanoid fitting.
- 9x Potions of Protection from Energy (Cold) (750 gp market value). Retrieved from marauders in the Wild North.
- 14x Potions of Endure Elements (50 gp market value). Retrieved from marauders in the Wild North.
While your handlers are of course doing their damnedest to keep food on your plate, we always have rumors come in that fall outside of department purview. If any of these rumors turn out to be appropriate for Keeper involvement, all rumors listed below have been approved for due compensation according to sections 32.A of the on-staff field researcher’s contract or 8.B of the mercenary field researcher’s contract. See your handler soon about any interests – first come, first serve.Alabastra
- Mass hallucinations? Rumor says the Golden Argosy – the legendary Keldon longship perched atop the Necropolis – was recently seen flying (yes, that’s right, flying)over Necropolis City, supposedly heading North by North-East. We’ve got a few sources with similar stories, but far too few sightings were reported in a city that massive. We have little data on these sources, but a social butterfly might be able to hunt them down and fight out just what’s going on.
- Nature fighting back? A small number of pockets of rampant and intense plant growth has been spotted in western Erathell. Initially found only a few miles away from Illania, other pockets have been found roughly 10 miles north-east of Alora and word has come in of more found deeper into the woods, often “protected” by massively overgrown wildlife. No word on exactly what’s causing it, though we may be looking at the footsteps of a Greater Elemental or possibly a major kami. Word has it that local adventurers have already begun pursuing the matter, but we’d love to have some Keeper agents comfortable in the Great Forest take a look.
- Fire in the Fields. A group of salamanders (the Outsiders, not the animals) have been seen in and around Chirbury. So far it looks like these visitors have been playing nice, no clue why they’re there though and salamanders are well-known firestarters – creating massive bonfires (occasionally out of towns) as a tribute to the Burning Courts. Any somewhat more-experienced recruits in the area might want to check in on these guys – maybe take some burn ointment, just in case.
- Questionable stories? An attack on Anasari just over a week past has left locals shaken, claiming the attack was lead by a monstrous troll who appeared “half-plant” by local accounts. Fortunately, few lives were lost, largely thanks to local Heroes, The Silver Sabers, and a contingent of House Caerwyn’s most senior rangers that were “conveniently” on-site before the attack started , but the Trails of the Elven Lords “miraculously” keeping out the wild majority of the attackers certainly played an important role as well. Official word from Celanthiral says the situation is in-hand, but we say there’s more to this story than they’re letting on. Experienced investigators, report for duty!
- Dragon down! An intense fight between a younger dragon and a flock of stormkites was spotted just around two months back off the northern coast of Coricona, close to Branist. Locals claim the dragon was a teal-ish white, and that it disappeared below the waves after a massive blast of lightning caught it in the wing, no more than 10 miles off the coast. While I’d be amazed if no one’s gone out to search for the body, we haven’t heard anything about it actually being found yet. Ocean-ready adventurers, this might be a major haul just waiting for you.
- Growing steel? A well-recognized smith (and retired adventurer), Steel-Eyes, of the Blacksmith’s Guild claims he’s found a new metal, one you can grow. While growing metals aren’t exactly unheard of, they’re extremely rare and so far haven’t been reproduced by modern metallurgists. Steel-Eyes is hard to miss – half-kitsune, half-catfolk – and is currently stationed in Olmova and is looking for assistants and investors. Disprove him or sign on, we don’t care – just tell us what you find!
- Speaking of planar breaches…. A major demon, seemingly pulled through a planar breach, has begun making a home for itself in Dentyr Wastes. Operating at the mouth of the Empty Channel (North of the Greyflame Keep, for our less geographically-inclined). We don’t know much about this guy/gal/thing, except it’s apparently opening up his doors to worshippers. Great, another religion to keep track of. Rumors hold it’s offering seductive luxury to those who join rank. In a place where even water can be scarce? Yeah, shockingly a number of goblins, kobolds, and apparently even a few disillusioned treasure-hunters have joined up after just a few days. Something tells me this religion isn’t going to be all it’s cracked up to be. Someone go kill this guy before the Oni find a new party guest, yeah?
- I’m not going to flower this one – rumor holds that the Lich’s Mirror has been found, and is currently being held by a covenant of necromancers down in the Dregs (south-eastern isle of Klurikon). If you’re unfamiliar, the Lich’s Mirror is a hand mirror that was once used as a central focus for the necromantic rituals of the Acolytes of Lim-Dul (big bad old-timey necromancer), and over time absorbed their powerful magics – today, merely showing someone their face in the mirror will begin necrotizing their body, much as if they’d been exposed to the vapors of the Dregs itself. The Keeper’s official stance is that no Keeper will ever be ordered to the Dregs, after our catastrophic losses there nearly half a millennium back. Unofficially – while I’m not technically allowed to use the word “obligated”, I say anyone who thinks they can stand up to the horrors of the Dregs should very seriously consider reporting for this one. Benson, I’m “unofficially” looking at you here buddy – maybe see if the Burning Thorn wants to join up?
- The Firelord of the Burning Courts is currently looking for a new Grand Acolyte. The Burning Courts have been without a proper ambassador to Creed since Flamewaker Revla and her apprentice went missing nearly a half-century ago. Apparently, the Pyroclasm has opened for new challengers and the Firelord is anxious to find a replacement. Remember, a mastery of incendiary magics and a desire to serve the good of the Elemental Planes are both a must, and failure will result in your total annihilation! Tell your friends! Warning: Keeper health insurance does not cover death by total annihilation.
Keepers in the World
Every season we like to end our newsletter with the accomplishments of our many field researchers, and take time to mention those we’ve lost.
(The report carries on talking about the scattered accomplishments of a number of individuals over the last few months and a few names that sound like adventuring groups, none of which you recognize. The section ends with a handful of mortuaries for the field researchers and mercenaries that died since the last quarterly report.)
Until next time, my friends – stay sharp, stay safe