The report for the discerning adventurer
Outsiders Among Us
It’s no secret that since the summoning of the Ebon Praetor, planar breaches have become an increasingly common occurrence. Fortunately, the worst of these planar incursions are behind us now, and our researchers predict we’ll see breach occurrence completely exponentially decrease back to normal rates within the next year. Unfortunately, the long-lasting effects of these breaches may prove to be a greater problem than originally anticipating. Complete breaches to the planes were far more common than originally predicted, resulting in areas that were inundated with material from other planes. These areas often experienced serious disruption if not outright devastation, and will be more likely to experience additional breaching up through the next decade. More importantly, however, are the numerous creatures that have migrated to Creed through these breaches. While many of these outsiders have already died or departed, some of the nastier of our visitors have decided to make an extended stay. Today, we’re going to talk about Creed’s most threatening new houseguests.
(The section occupies over three pages, discussing the handful of major outsiders that have been spotted on Creed since the coming of the Ebon Praetor. Some mean nothing to the party, and some even indicate they may be of no concern. Among the many, the following jump out…
Mention is made of a monstrous djinn has been seen moving through the Great Forest, causing rampant growth wherever it goes. It’s believed the djinn originated just north of Starfork, though rumor says that research being performed by the Burning Thorn is to blame for its birth…
Scattered reports have come in of faeries or at least of creatures that resemble faeries seen roaming away from the faewoods on normal calendar days. Some descriptions claim they look more humanoid than insect, interestingly matching some archaic descriptions of sprites and faeries. It’s possible the creatures spotted were Lyrakien or other celestial beings, though this seems unlikely as no breaches to the Lands of Light have been found as of yet. Of somewhat more extreme concern, it’s also possible that a planar breach ripped a temporary hole into the Faewoods. Either way, no agent or other credible source has come forward with a definitive sighting or proof, but the volume of similar reports certainly merits interest…
Of some concern, a major demon has established his own cult in the Dentyr Wastes, calling themselves the Disciples of Gix. Supposedly he offers respite from the Wastes for any traveler and has convinced more than a few to join his numbers. The cultists apparently spend much of their time hunting the wastes for ancient artifice, many having replaced one or more limbs with complex artifice replacements…
Among them all, the most benign seems to be a plant elemental that’s been seen traveling down in the Ashridge. Numerous agents have heard rumor about him, the strange outsider having made waves aiding travelers and making friends with the local barbarian tribes. We nearly didn’t include him on this list, as plant elementals are very often native, but rumors hold he has a decidedly otherworldly wisdom and he seems to have appeared around the same time the rifts first started appearing.)
It’s a wild time out there, Keepers. Fortunately, we’ve got the info you need to stay informed and stay safe.
Tracking the Trackless with Researcher Malkuda
Long ago, the peoples of Creed were forced to hunt to survive. While some may still cling to these old traditions, many of us prefer the comforts offered by our local butchers, bakers, and botanicas. However, for the adventurers of our world, the hunt is very much so alive, whether it be for an ancient artifact or for more dangerous game. With the recent incursion of outsiders onto Creed, it seems wise to discuss ways you might better track your more elusive opponents – or learn to escape such pursuit, if you find yourself the prey.
(This section discusses useful tips, tricks, and tools both alchemical and mundane that can aid in a hunt, along with spells such as Scent, Locate Creature, and Discern Location for the powerful and impatient. The section ends with a discussion of how best to avoid a tracker if necessary, touching on basic evasion techniques and alchemical tools useful to fool pursuers with a keen sense of smell, along with the ups and downs of spells like Pass without Trace, Negate Aroma, Nondetection, or, for the druids and other shapeshifting-inclined individuals, polymorph spells such as Animal Shape.)
Hot off the Forge with Dweomersmith Slagston
Ever since the viashino storyteller Sherza wrote of Aladdin and his adventures in the Cave of Wonder, the booby-trapped dungeon has been trapped in our cultural mythos. Unfortunately, for those among us who plumb ancient tombs and ruined keeps, traps are less grand fantasy and more often a painful reality. Today, we’re going to look at some classic tools along with some true marvels created by modern delvers.
(This section discusses tried and true dungeon delver tips and tricks, touching on the unique skills a well-verse rogue, bard, or even a berserker can bring to a dive. A good amount of space is spent discussing classic dungeoneering tools along with some modern adaptations, such as the longspoon thieves tools, rust monster wands, and the Rod of Ropes.)
As for our discount hauls this season, we’ve got a handful of reclaimed treasure treasures 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. Apparently we’ve had a windfall of income this season, and the senior partners have decided to show their appreciation over the coming seasons – everything this round’s at a minimum of 13% below standard market rates, and I’ve been informed the next few seasons should be similarly reduced as well.
- 1x Impervious Spirit Silver Sectioned Plate (roughly 134,000 gp market value). An incredibly rare suit of spirit silver full plate, design dating back easily over 1000 years, originally designed for a thick-shouldered male 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). Origin confidential.
- 1x Gauntlets of the Weaponmaster (roughly 110,000 gp market value). An exotic piece, these spiked steel gauntlets were forged from the fragments of numerous weapons. Be warned, this is a Crafter item, believed to have been originally created by Durzon the Blademaster. Because of the cultural significance, orcish agents will be given priority in the case of simultaneous requests. Retrieved by mercenaries from Rhyza Varis.
- 1x Staff of Toxins (roughly 34,000 gp market value). A simple mangrove staff topped with a unique piece of bismuth carved to resemble a tree frog. Retrieved by Keeper agents from Klurikon, origin otherwise confidential.
- 1x Armor of Fragmenting Stone (roughly 18,000 gp market value). Beautiful suit of mithral full plate, inlaid with large slabs of green and white marble, designed for a female kitsune frame. 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). Retrieved from debt collection.
- 3x Lesser Poisoner’s Jacket (roughly 12,000 gp market value). Well-tailored crocodile hide trench coats, made for a slimmer humanoid frame. Purchase comes with a free resizing. Retrieved by Keeper agents from Klurikon, origin otherwise confidential.
- 1x Wand of Locate Object with 27 charges left (roughly 2,450 gp market value). A simple mangrove wand ornamented with a number of small etchings. Retrieved by Keeper agents from Klurikon, origin otherwise confidential.
- 1x Wand of Resist Energy with 45 charges left (roughly 4,050 gp market value). A rare full-spectrum Resist Energy, contained in a hand carved stone oak wand. Retrieved from anti-Empire anarchists in Ikari by Keeper agents.
- 1x Lesser Rod of Brilliant Spell (3,000 gp market value). Simple steel rod. Research leftovers.
- 7x Hushing Arrows (roughly 550 gp market value, or roughly 3500 gp if bought as a single lot). Handmade Ikari Beech arrows, good steel tips and parea feather fletching. Retrieved from anti-Empire anarchists in Ikari by Keeper agents.
- Large stock steel and wooden weaponry, mostly shortbows, steelclaws, spears, machetes, steel arrows, and wooden bucklers. Retrieved from anti-Empire anarchists in Ikari by Keeper agents. Anticipate modest additional discounts.
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.
- Mechanical manticore? An agent traveling in the wild north heard rumor from a group of nishoba that some sort of mechanical wingless manticore had been spotted in the north-eastern Twilights. To the artifice-inclined, that description probably sounds an awful lot like a masticore. Unless there’s an artificer letting his pet run around, taking that thing down would be a pretty payday for a powerful mercenary or an amazing haul for any artificer with the brass ball bearings to tame that beast.
- Deep sea expedition? Reports say that Keldon warship has been seen sitting anchored about 50 miles off the south-eastern coast of Keld. Eerily, rumor holds that no one who’s gone to investigate the vessel have been heard from since. We shot a message to the Doyen Council asking about this and they sent us the following, “The waters around Keld can be treacherous this time of year. We advise travelers straying from major trade routes to take caution, or you might find yourself below the waves.” Eeeeyikes! To the sane among you, consider this a “Stay away” PSA. To the insatiably curious among you…uh, good luck?
- A light workload? Reports have come in that Radiant Elementals have appeared in the ruins of Millton. Reports highlighted that efforts were starting to rebuild the city, but these elementals just seem to be aggressively claiming it as their own. While it’s easy to assume that these elementals flashed in through a planar breach, these Radiant Elementals are acting so strangely it’s got more than a few of us questioning that. If there’re any planar savants or elemental shamans near the area, this might be a great job to brighten up your Fall. Just make sure you don’t take the job too lightly, and be sure to illuminate us on anything you find.
- A new disease? A strange and festering rot afflicting plant life has been sighted in southern Erathell. Apparently centered in a middle-of-nowhere area about 70 miles almost straight north of Erius, the diseased plants were spotted by group of elven hunters. They described it as something that sounds a lot like fire blight, but fire blight normally only oozes and festers during particularly warm and humid weather. Maybe not the most exciting rumor, but if anyone ends up looking into this definitely let us know what you find.
- Wetland woes. Word’s coming out of the Marshlands that the populations of weaker undead there have been continually dropping for about two months now – apparently, this is a bad thing. The undead in the wetlands are such a vital part of the local biome that this sudeen change could threaten a total breakdown of the ecosystem if allowed to go on long enough. Worse yet, many of the more dangerous undead have already started expanding their territory because of this. While it seems likely that the druids of the marsh will figure this out given time, this might be an excellent opportunity for a younger group of mercenaries to cut their teeth on a real mystery. Save the undead, save the Marsh!
- Forbidden fog? A group of adventurers returning from a run into the Forbidden Peninsula claimed they saw an eerie fog rolling around the southern edge of the peninsula. They reported what seemed to be dark shapes moving within it, and, while it smelled an awful lot like a cloud of smoke, it clearly looked and moved like a fog bank. Unfortunately, they gave it such a wide berth that we don’t have anything more to go on and (unsurprisingly) no handler’s going to order an agent into the Forbidden Peninsula on such a weak report (or, you know, period). Any mercs “comfortable” with the Forbidden Peninsula, this might be a great starting point for your next hunt.
- Alright, this is going to be a touchy one. As you all may or may not be not be aware, the Deep Jukai and the catfolk native to it haven’t always been a part of the Ikari Empire. Many catfolk claim they prefer the arrangement they have now – their religious and cultural freedoms are held to be intact, they find it a preferable position regarding international politics, etc. Unsurprisingly, there are many catfolk that disagree, claiming Ikari is overharvesting from the Deep Jukai and that they use their position for an unfair trade advantage, among numerous other complaints. Unfortunately, there are some catfolk that disagree violently. Ever since the 1,000th anniversary of the tribes’ entry into Ikari took place about 20 years back, an anarchist group known as JFF (the Jukai Freedom Fighters) has been making increasingly aggressive attacks against the Ikari government. While the Keepers are generally neutral on internal disputes list this, a recent bombing that hit an Ikari military base and one of our outposts in Kaeson met with a violent response from local agents. About a week later, we hear that the JFF is claiming that they aren’t responsible for the attack on the Keepers, though do take responsibility for the military base. There are definitely some strong reasons why the JFF would lie about something this, but there’re more than a few theorizing that the attack might have been a frame just to drag the Keepers into the conflict, and now accusations are fly. We’ve already got a mess of agents hunting for the truth, but this feels like an “all hands on deck” situation to me – the faster we figure this out, the better. Any mercs or free agents interesting in joining, talk to your handlers about putting you on this one.
- A tree with no name. Reports from a group of agents that recently infiltrated Rhyza Varis claim they saw a large tree or tree-like object in growing near the cliffs in in the south east of the Great Desert. Unfortunately, the object was spotted from some distance as they were exiting the war zone and didn’t have time to investigate further. A tree growing in the desert could be nothing, or it could be sign that a Century Plant is growing nearby, or any number of things in the middle. If any anyone heads through that area in the near future, keep your eyes peeled, don’t let any ogres peel your eyes, and let us know what you find!
- Political suicide? Good word has it that a high ranking member of the Order is heading deep into Ogre territory to meet with a leader among the orcs. I’ll be the first to admit that that I’m about as far from a militant strategist as a chicken is from a roc, but that seems like an insanely bad idea to me. As is well known, the Keepers have officially kept a neutral position regarding the Oni Wars, but without better knowledge of what’s going on we’ve refrained from sending an official query. I’ve heard a couple of you out there have earned passage through Rhyza Varis in the past, and I know a handful of you still run missions in the deserts – any of you have any insights here?
- Sleepy sickness? Word has it that a strange affliction has been passing through nezumi warrens on the south eastern coast of the Takenuma. The adults seem to be unaffected, but their afflicted young are apparently falling into deep slumbers and their afflicted “elderly” seem to be aggressively sleepwalking, lashing out at anyone they come across. In either case, many of the afflicted seem to simply stop breathing and quickly pass, or get completely better. Given the nezumi’s natural resilience to disease, I’m guessing something far more sinister than a virus is at work here. Given it’s happening it Klurikon, they might call it “A normal Thursday”. But still, this one has me curious. If any of our medically inclined end up checking this out, drop us a note if a figure out what’s going on.
- Turtle hooooo! I’m sure some of you caught the swimming moon last month ago, and we all know what that means! Unfortunately, we didn’t have a sighting this time, though rumor says it might have been seen off the eastern coast of Dentyr. A deep sea fisherman claims he saw something miles out that resembled a mountainous turtle surfacing. Maybe it was a dragon turtle, maybe it was Antillia. Either way, it’s too late now. But! This marks the first time in nearly 200 years that we’ve had three surfacings so close together. Eyes open everyone, this might be our year!
- Breaking breakthrough? Word’s circulating that Grand Acolyte Thatia of the Earthen Courts has seen promising results with an experimental treatment for the Jade Contagion. She’s looking for individuals partially touched Elemental Earth (Earth-touched, Half-Elementals, etc) to test treatment on before progressing to testing full elementals. Apparently previous efforts went…well, “erosively bad” just doesn’t sound as good as “explosively bad”, does it? As a ranking member of the Earthen Court, the Keepers cannot officially fund or assist in her research. However, if some of our contract mercenaries were to choose to sign up – well, what could we do, am I right?
- Well this is an odd one. A handful of druids across Creed have reported that the Faewoods seem to be clustering in strange ways. We first got reports of this about 8 months back, but until recently it was merely a statistical oddity – historical records have shown this “clustering” behavior numerous times before, but it’s never shown to be important. However, as of the most recent Faerie Day, this marks the greatest occurrence of these clusters happening within such a short period by a substantial margin, and our analysts are concerned a pattern may be slowly emerging. Agents from Celanthiral have discussed this oddity with “friendly” fae and faerie cliques, but according to all reports even the cliques seem to be uncertain of why it might be happening. We’ve already got people on this, but if anyone can discover a lead I can guarantee you’ll see a nice bonus in your future.
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. This season we’d like to honor the special efforts and sacrifices made by the Thunder Riders these past few months. Two among their group fell while they undertook a mission to eradicate a sect of the Ebon Hand. Stationed in the Dentyr Wastes, the Thunder Riders discovered that the sect was one of three directly responsible for conjuring the Ebon Praetor. The destruction of this sect, along with the subsequent recovery of a substantial amount of research materials, was a huge victory for both us Keepers and for Creed as a whole.
(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 work The Strange Company did hunting down a wild mutated Rage Nimbus with a group of pyromancers in the Ashridge gets a mention. Special note is also made of House Duvain’s comment that the adventurers were vital in the organization of local recovery efforts. 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.