Football of Purple
alternatively Flying Fira Football
Amelia "Worldbreaker" Pendragon, Hobbit, Warrior, Ranger (Party Leader)
Gerrard "Surfie", Human, Illusionist, Spy
Drovar "The Herb, Man", Human/Merfolk, Earthmage
Eric "Father of the Race", (formerly "the Orc"), Dwarf, Fighter/Namer
TDP "Drow Friend" Roberts, Human, Enchanter, Navigator
Darien "Blondie", Human, Celestial Shadow Mage, Thief, Acolyte of The Church of the One-horned God
The Orcs of Purple, specifically the Dryads of Broadford.
Return an escaped Dwarven Prince to the Orcs, in suitable condition for use in a (fatal to him) religious ceremony by the end of Fruit (preferably earlier). The employer hid the true nature of the mission until after they had used a Geas to enforce the party's side of the contract. If the ceremony does not take place, there is a high probability of Orcish invasion of neighbouring lands.
Purple; Orc; Dwarf; Fira; Jungle; Ranger; Undead
Refer to scribe notes for other Purple missions. Note that the Humans, Drow and Dwarves of this plane are friends of several senior active and retired guild members (not always the same ones.)
Several months ago, the Orc capital (Highcastle) was attacked and looted by dwarves, who were looking for items taken from the recently discovered Sky Dwarf city. In the battle, the orc war-leader (Oliver Orcwell) was killed, and the orc's plans for invasion of the human lands severely delayed. The Dwarven prince (who had been captured some time earlier by Orcwell's forces) was transferred to Broadford during the sacking of Highcastle.
1st - 4th Meadow - After researching Purple and the mission, the party was Summoned to the stadium at Broadford. Amelia conducted negotiations with the Dryads (who considered the party demons), payment for return of the Dwarven Prince (or a suitable alternative) in time for the ‘Grand Jubilee’ including a non-aggression agreement between the Orcs and the Humans.
Investigations were made, and the Prince’s trail discovered.
4th - 23rd Meadow -The Prince’s trail is followed south, mainly through jungle, to the ‘Palace’ entrance to the Fira Dwarves’ maze. A detour was made to the human lands to the north.
24th -28th Meadow - Contact is made with the Fira Dwarves. The party establish good relations with the Guard Commander. Things are tense with the political hierarchy, who include the recently-returned Prince who the party tracked. The party decide to re-enter the maze to attempt to meet the Titan. The intention is to find a way to fulfil the contract without resorting to kidnapping Dwarven royalty.
29th Meadow - 6th Heat - The party travel around the maze, encountering several traps, resting to heal as required. Contact with dwarves is kept to a minimum, as the political situation is unknown. Some magical items are acquired in the course of these activities.
Finally the party enter a prepared ambush set by Prince Athol, and are captured.
7th Heat - The party are tried for treason, acquitted (as there was no intent to harm a Prince of the Royal Blood), and granted a pardon by the King for any non-treasonable acts. The King then resigns in favour of Prince James so he can be 'handed over' to the Orcs, and prevent an Orcish religious crisis.
8th Heat - 15th Breeze - . The party facilitate the transport of Fira ambassadors north. The ex-King and an honour Guard of 600 travel to the Amalfi dwarves, and then on to Broadford for the ceremony. The ceremony goes ahead, but before it ends, there is a huge explosion. Broadford effectively becomes uninhabitable, two of the Dryads are killed, and Orc deaths number several hundred thousand. None of the Dwarven leadership present survive, and only around 80 dwarves get out of the stadium. The party, who were about two miles away at the time of the explosion, help the dwarves travel north of Broadford, then to the Amalfi town of Newtown.
16th - 23rd Breeze - The party flies north, and ultimately return to the Fira Dwarves. Gifts are exchanged with the King. The Party are banished back to Alusia.
Important Entities :
James of the Fira Dwarves, formally 'The Young Prince', now King.
Fres ('Of the Fire') is the family name. Great Grandson of King Robert. Is a high-ranked fire mage.
He left the Fira some years ago (when the magic stopped) on a ancient sky sled, on a quest for "The Horn". His attitude towards the party and the Guild is at least neutral, as the party assisted him in a power struggle with Athol.
After ruling the Fira Dwarves for 547 years, he resigned (in favour of James) to be the ‘Ball’ in the Orcs’ Grand Jubilee. Prior to this, he pardoned the Guild party of non-treasonable crimes. It is almost certain he did not survive the explosion which ended the ceremony. His death was possibly the trigger for the explosion.
Second son of James’ grandfather. Held office equivalent to ‘Constable’ (a political post) and had previously been Guard Commander. Felt very threatened by the party’s presence, attempted to have them killed in battle, then had them tried for treason. The acquittal badly damaged his power base (very important in Fira society). Possible source of future trouble.
Lord Fleetfoot, Guard Commander
Governor of Metisopolis. Friendly to the Party, and withstood Athol’s political pressure for some days. Likes rum.
Holds office equivalent to ‘Marshal’, field commander who was able to ignore Athol’s ‘orders’ to kill the party after they had surrendered. Very honourable.
Dryads of Broadford
Three powerful Earth Mages. Each was able to summon a Rk30 Earth Elemental to enlarge the stadium. At least two where killed in the Grand Explosion, including the one which had transformed into a giant tree. While they negotiated as a group, one was the speaker, and they has disagreements among themselves.
The Orcs of Purple:
The Dryad's grove for Broadford is next to the city, with a stadium about 1/3 mile outside the city walls. Mana levels were normal. The grove for Highcastle was destroyed by the dwarves, so the city will not be rebuilt. The stadium is a large open area (more than an acre), surrounded by trees and mist. Sound appeared to bounce back from the surrounds.
This is vaguely similar to football as played in the Baronies, with some very important differences. It is a form of ritualised warfare, and helps channel the tensions that are present between the cities. Mock-combats vary in importance from weekly 3rd division games to major religious events like the Grand Jubilee. The ball used also varies with the importance of the mock-combat. A major skill for the players is doing things to the opposition without the 'watchful God' (umpire) seeing it (sometimes with the god's selective vision). The 'playing time' is around 90 minutes.
This was (and will be) held on the conjunction of several of the orc's dating cycles. The actual date is subject to some interpretation of omens etc, but there was an optimum time for the ceremony (which was not attained). A special mock-combat is held, symbolising the eternal battle between the forces of the underworld and the forces of order. A great warrior of the Dwarven royalty is required to act as ball ("a mere warleader is not sufficient'). The ceremony must be completed, with the forces of order triumphing, "for time to go on." The ball will be healthy (or at least well-fed for the week previously) at the start of the mock-combat, and literally become a bloody ball during the course of the 'game'. The losing side (who are volunteers) will all die (hopefully well), and some casualties are to be expected among the 'winners'. The ball will be butchered on the field immediately after the mock-combat, with the head going to the Dryad Triad, and the rest of the body being shared between the winning side's survivors.
Miscellaneous Orc facts:
The hundreds of orc warriors at the Grove, and seen since, have only a little metal. Armour tends to be a patchwork (on each orc) of cloth and leather, with some metal. Weapons are generally spears (often with slightly bent shafts) with metal heads, short blades, or stone maces.
The Orc cities are connected by 'roads', made by the 'Road Builder'. These are 50' high, in 3 distinct terraces (the highest is in the middle), and 50' wide in total. It is reasonably easy to fly between the top of the road and the jungle canopy, landing on the top terrace as required. Getting caught on the top terrace would be unwise as it is reserved for king's messengers and VIPs. A branch of the road network is currently being built north, towards the Human lands. The roads north and west of Broadford where damaged by the Jubilee Explosion.
A orc courier who was killed had the following equipment - Black orchid (in pot), a good knife, a club or spear, cloth leather armour, a light cloak, water, a little food, and no boots (like most orcs.)
Non-couriers who disappear on the road do not cause comment. There are occasional fights between mock-combat team supporters (part of the reason for three sections of the road).
The Prince was held in an artificial cave under the normal living level of the city. The entrance was blocked by a slab of stone and rusty metal (with a small hole in it to pass food through), which came from the Dwarven city. Small rat-sized 'cavies' (rodents) occupied it.
The royal ‘ball’ was heavily chained in cold iron. The chain was clearly a major religious artefact for the orcs
Broadford - large (c. 1 million) Orc city which had been the Orc capital since the sacking of Highcastle (Arsenal)
Highcastle (a.k.a. Arsenal) - former Orc Capital, now abandoned by the Theocracy after sacking by the Dwarves in Harvest 800WK. It was still a low mana area, which suggests that something other than mere presence of sentients has been draining large amounts of mana. Some bands of orc malcontents lurk there.
Wolftown - Orc city immediately east of Highcastle
The Fira dwarves live in a valley within the Ice Mountains on the southern part of the continent. They are (recently) allied with the Amalfi Dwarves, and enemies of the Orcs and Undead Drow. Their exact location is secret, but known to the Party members. Contact would normally be made via their ambassador to Amalfi. For more details, see the attached summary.
Other Items of Interest
Undead Drow City:
Working name 'City of Ultimate Death'. In the centre of a plateau (approx. height 4000') West of the ice mountains is a Undead city. It is around 300 yards across, with brick walls 40' high and very deep. The walls are breached in several places. There are various tattered banners flying. There are organised patrols of skeletons (with skin still on, thrusting weapons should harm them) moving around the city. The mist stops just below the city walls.
The Fira dwarves tell us that this was a Drow city in the time of the Titans. They were the Eagle clan (warriors, Air mages), who seceded from the main Drow civilisation. Apparently they used some very powerful necromantic magic (to help defend against the Orcs? Or other Drow?), but then lost control of it.
The Undead utilised some kind of portable shadow umbrella, mounted on a litter, to move about during the day (we saw a large crow smoking after flying above the mist at dawn). They seemed to search for us during the day, but fortunately we were well clear of them.
While flying to the 'palace' entrance from Metisopolis, Eric and Amelia saw Drow towers about 100 miles to the north.
The plateau around the city is fairly barren, with some grass, cacti and shrubs. The only water we saw was the mist which covers the plateau. There are nets (for catching birds?) in the mist. Foothills rise behind the plateau, starting about where the curse runs out. There is ice on the hills, with mountains (including a gently smoking volcano) beyond.
The ground is subject to a very old 'Curse of Ultimate Death', which drains life. Those that don't resist the curse lose Endurance at one per hour while touching the cursed ground. If an entity that fails to resist the curse leaves the cursed ground, if they resist on re-entering then there is no effect for the first hour.
Volcano and Eruptions:
While TDP scouted around in the mist after we crossed the plateau, the rest of the party investigated the layers of ash on the ground for information relating to eruptions from the volcano. The top layer of unpacked ash was about 4 1/2 years old, while there was a large eruption some 15 years ago. This was the time when the humans started playing around with the demon shield, presumably disrupting whatever magic the dwarves were using to control the volcano.
Flora and Fauna
This can include both Flora and Fauna in one entry, for extra excitement!
Stick Tick - This looks like a log, but has a long sting, and can make occasional leaps of 20 feet. It has a venom which acts as a paralysing poison. It smelt very bad when Eric got large amounts all over him (yes, much worse than Eric even), but washed off. Eric extracted some doses, which should act as a breathable sedative. Fyres caught several of these in one Web of Fire, and appeared to hold them in it for some time (lots of minutes, like webs are good at).
Cougar - The Prince had killed a local version of a cougar or mountain lion.
Snakes - unsurprisingly, the forest and jungle are full of snakes.
Exploding Tree - something which lived in a large tree apparently blew its own tree up, instead of letting the carnivore which left big claw marks in the tree's trunk eat it for dinner.
Ugly Sheep - Herbivore, the size of a large goat, which looks like a scraggly sheep with long hanging ears. The mountain version is slightly smaller, and hardier. Good eating. There is at least one variety with large horns (males only?)
Plateau Cacti - growing in the mist is tall, spindly cactus, which we managed to avoid flying into. The cactus got healthier the further from the curse it was.
Giant Bear - our quarters in Metisopolis contain a Giant Bear rug. Obviously, a very big bear, white in colour. Clearly tough, as the Young Prince's father was killed by one.
Birds - there are very few birds in most areas. Small bats fill some of the 'normal' bird niches. The ice mountains and their foothills have a lots of eagles, and a lot of ground life for them to hunt.
Thermal pools - there are small pools of warm-to-hot water scattered around the ice mountains. There is no life in the pools, but some plants and insects immediately around them.
Appendix A - Astrology Readings
Non, rien de rien, non, je ne regrette rien.
Ni le bien qu'on m'a fait, ni le mal,
Tout ça m'est bien égal.
Non, rien de rien, non, je ne regrette rien.
C'est payé, balayé, oublié,
Je me fous du passé.
Avec mes souvenirs j'ai allumé le feu;
Mes chagrins, mes plaisirs,
Je n'ai plus besoin des yeux.
Balayé pour toujours, je repars a zéro.
[Not, nothing of nothing, not, I regret anything. Neither it although one
made me, nor the evil, All that is quite equal for me. Not, nothing of
nothing, not, I regret anything. It is paid, swept, forgotten, I insane of
the past. With my keepsakes I lit fire; My sorrows, my pleasures, I do not
need more them. Swept for always, I set out again has zero.]
Where is the Prince going?
God Save the Prince
1 God save our gallant Prince!
2 Hail to our noble Prince!
3 Happy and blest!
4 Fresh from the welcomings,
5 Whereof the echo rings,
6 Whereof the echo rings,
7 Still in the West.
8 Heaven, through all jeopardy,
9 Over the misty sea,
10 Watch'd thy return!
11 Welcome home, welcome here!
12 Now more than ever dear,
13 Kingdom's true Prince and heir,
14 Come to sojourn
15 Hard by the ancient seat,
16 Where all the Muses met
17 Long ages since;
18 Science and lore be thine,
19 Wisdom and Truth divine,
20 Through all thy learning shine!
21 God teach our Prince!
22 And when the parting day
23 Sends thee far hence away,
24 Far away hence!
25 Still in our memory,
26 Fresh shall thine image be,
27 As when we sang to thee,
28 God bless our Prence!
What are the dangers in pursuing the Prince?
Metamorphoses of the Moon
1 Cold moons withdraw, refusing to come to terms
2 with the pilot who dares all heaven's harms
3 to raid the zone where fate begins,
4 flings silver gauntlet of his plane at space,
5 demanding satisfaction; no duel takes place:
6 the mute air merely thins and thins.
7 Sky won't be drawn closer: absolute,
8 it holds aloof, a shrouded parachute
9 always the same distance from
10 the falling man who never will abstain
11 from asking, but inventive, hopes; in vain
12 challenges the silent dome —
13 the choice between the mica mystery
14 of moonlight or the pockmarked face we see
15 in telescopic lenses,
16 for most exquisite truths are artifice
17 framed in disciplines of fire and ice
18 that purges as it cleanses.
19 What prince has ever seized the shining grail
20 but that it turned into a milking pail?
21 (flying from such sophistry).
22 But yet the perverse imp within will probe
23 beneath the fringes of forbidden robe,
24 seduced by curiosity.
What could be offered to Prince What's-his-name for his willing
co-operation in the Orcish ceremonial games?
Appendix B -Fira Summary
Reconstructed ancient history
A century or two after the founding of the Drow Empire, two [Great] Titans, Japetos (the Hurrier) & Metis (Counsel) attack the Necromancer. Japetos is killed; Metis is perhaps severely wounded. Thereupon:
The Dwarves - situation when the party first encountered them.
The rulers of the Fira are philosopher-kings of the House Fŷres, supposedly elected by the acclamation of the people, but in effect the line of kingship has passed directly down through the male line — a line with few branches since no more that 1 royal generation in 5 has more than 1 son; and no more than 1 in 20 has a daughter. The current King, Robert, has been reigning for 547 years. His acknowledged heir is Young Prince James (s. of Robert, s. of James, s. of King Robert). Technically Prince Athol (late prince Robert’s younger brother) could become king but it will, or should, never happen. Athol is about 195 years old & has two bastards (1 s., 1 d.); at one stage, years ago, he was Garrison Commander.
All princes are taught directly by the Titan — which limits their Rank8 or above skills to Healer, Mechanician, Weaponsmith, Armourer, MilSci, Ranger & their College to Fire magic. Indeed the direct line are particularly "favoured" by the titaness. Commoners are taught wider skills & have more normal lifespans.
The Valley (some 50m by 120m) has two walled cities, Metisopolis which is governed by the Garrison Commander (Lord Fleetfoot — not Lord Flatfoot as he has been called by some of the castle servants) & the Capital 12 miles to the south & slightly smaller. The capital is a on a hill top built about a gilded obelisk erect to the memory of Japetos. Little hamlets are scattered about the valley, which is subject to limited amounts of climate magic. There are many fields, & orchards, but most of the land is pasturage for the sheep. The traditional diet —even for the poor, i.e. most of the population — is a variety of beers, roast vegetables, & sheep. Wool is only worn by the very poorest; most clothing is linen-like, sometimes trimmed with bear.
The valley can be reached by flying through the Ice Mountains, but there are no known passes that avoid the dwarves’ protection magics against ‘tall’ sentients. The other method of reaching the valley is via a magical musical maze (which has powerful protection magics). The main entrance is south of the ‘City of Ultimate Death’.
They use steam technology for various purposes (heating, cooking, transport). We were given a 'bound steam' hamper, which kept lunch (half a sheep) hot (not just warm) for 12 hours. We saw some kind of carriage with steam-driven horses.
There is a sacrosanct 'Ancient Holy One' at Capital.
There are tokens that protect non-dwarf items taken through the cleansing chambers in the maze. If utilised, they cause some burns to the bearer, in proportion to the items protected.