Ashwood Vale

The Crystal Ball


Amidst chanting; a crystal ball on a purple satin cloth fills with mist. Soon the chanting stops and the mist clears and an image forms…

… Six figures, five humans and a dwarf, stand in a roughly triangular cavern that is dimly lit by glowing fungus. The only visible entrance is located in the right hand corner. A deep chute that opens in the floor by one of the two walls which are covered by the glowing fungus. The third wall straight ahead is made of large stones mortared together centuries ago. Across the floor chains that once held children lie as empty and forgotten as the ruins of two mechanical spiders and the dead body they were guarding.

One of the six figures, a remarkably young dwarf with a pole axe strapped to his back, makes his way over to an excavated section of the stone wall and pries two of the stone blocks apart enough to allow entry into the room beyond. As the rest of the figures cautiously follow the dwarf the image in the crystal pursues the group into the next room.

The room used to be circular, however the has been marked by neglect and the passage of time. Stairs leading up around the outer wall lead only to collapsed stone. In the center of the room the ceiling has collapsed in to a pile of stone and dirt. Around the room empty crates and barrels seem haphazardly placed. A girl with purple hair and a bow in scale armor peers into the opened crates and barrels, as a priestess climbs the outer stair and a very large man holding two shields prods the rubble in the center of the room. A man in robes produces a ball of light and follows a lithely woman as she makes her way after the impetuous dwarf. Who having levered himself out of a create, has walked over to a chest the is sitting by a trap door.

Without hesitation the dwarf opens the strong box and peers inside. He pulls out a dagger which he gives to the women following him and divides half a dozen or so scrolls between the priestess and the man in robes. Next he divides four flasks between himself and the others, then stuffs a moderately sized pouch into his pack.

The trap door is quickly opened and the dwarf disappears the short stair into the darkness of the of the corridor. Quickly the girl with the bow lights a torch and the rest follow….

Slowly mist obscures the image and fills the crystal ball once more. When it dissipates nothing remains except the clear crystal and the purple satin cloth.

The Goblin Kidnappers and the Tower of Puzniac written by Darskur....

…as written by Darskur…

After an investigation into a fraudulent case of Ogreidophilus (merely a case of benign localized gigantism. It has lots of the same symptoms) and a successful job as an interior decorator (redecorating the interior of some bandits) we found ourselves investigating the mysterious disappearance of some local children. After following goblin tracks for several leagues from the sight of the disappearance we found ourselves deep in the forest. Here we were accosted by numerous enemies, including very large steam powered spiders that smoked (la da da da da).

Having easily vanquished any enemy in our way, our moral was sailing higher than my crazy uncles model hot air balloons. We located the cave in which the scoundrels had taken the progeny. A hearty battle ensued, and we were cut off from our monk (I later found out that she had been rather horizontal at the time) and I, protecting the archer in a manner highly tactical, was smashed across the face and lost consciousness.

When I awoke I was being cared for by one of those tall hairless human types. He identified himself as Fletcher the Colonel (military background apparently) and that he was here to help us. From there, we recovered (we had all taken quite a bruising) and continued our assault. Fortunately, we found little resistance from a man who forgot his armor at home (he had some arrows sprout suddenly from his back) and some mechanical spiders (again) that were forcing the children to excavate a lost tower.

Now at this point, I would like to make it clear that there were no dwarven children in the group which was fortunate for them, as a single dwarven youth would have excavated the entire tower and even done some repair work to the structure in the time that it would have taken those poor human children just to see the first piece of worked stone, and with the work done so quickly, I am sure they would have done away with all the wee brats.

Anyway, we took the children back to the city, restocked, hired some henchmen to act as bait, and went back out to see this tower for ourselves….


The Return

Long ago a terrible thing happened, the end of the world…


This unfortunate event happened when dragons, demons, angels and devils returned to the world. Necromancers summoned hoards of undead servants. Cities and castles were destroyed and the world degenerated into chaos.

Decades of war passed before small hamlets of safety were established and small communities could once again hold out against onslaught. Still more decades passed before these communities could grow and prosper under the protection of brave heroes. Eventually the ever raging wars settled into a simmering peace. Leaving the world a dangerous place where death is an everyday concern.

It is in this atmosphere that the Kingdom of Ashwood Vale struggles to assert itself and assure the well-being of its people. The kingdom sits on the knife’s edge of disaster with an ever growing population needing more room to expand and the constant dangers from an untamed wilderness.


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