Jockra

Part I, Targus’ First Mission

Targus completes training as a swordsman in the Arasan Infantry. His first mission is to escort Frandris, a Palamonian engineer, to Marn Keep, and to assist the forces stationed there.

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Part II, Defending Marn Keep

Targus has successfully delivered the message from Lord Stagenon that the Arasan forces will be joining the war and coming to the aid of besieged Scolia. The blockade around Marn Keep remains however, and Targus must assist the defenders in holding out until Admiral Goran Lalas can return with the Palamonian fleet to break the blockade and make way for the Arasan troop transports. The defenders are successful after a furious battle at the docks.

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Part III, City of the Sea Devils

Marn Keep is safe, the blockade is broken, but several transports from Aras are missing. Sir Keltus leads a mission to investigate, Targus accompanies. The floating wreckage of the transports is found off the coast and sahuagin attack! Targus swims beneath the waves in pursuit with the aid of a magic ring and helm. Deep below, he discovers a city of the sea devils surrounding a mysterious stone on the ocean floor, but is captured! In an air-filled cell he meets Brother Okfaust, Frankron, and Ando. Frankron is slain when they are forced to fight against all manner of sea creatures in an underwater arena for the amusement of their captors. Through a feat of strength they make a daring escape to the surface.

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Part IV, Taking Backbreaker Keep

With the death of Sir Keltus, Targus is given a charter and funding to assemble a team of adventurers to investigate the mysterious force behind the alliance of evil races threatening the Midlands. At the recommendation of Sir Hinton, Targus and his companions begin to retrace the path of the goblynoid army to Backbreaker Keep.

This small castle is built on a bluff overlooking the Nodamyr River and was overrun when hill giants accompanying the goblynoid army smashed a hole in the outer wall. Targus discovers the army left behind a contingent of gnolls to occupy the keep, lead by a flind named Fazough. Gaining entry through guile, Targus, Ando, and Okfaust pose as a band of mercenaries. Their cover is blown when they disturb one of Fazough’s lieutenants, a fearsome troll. After discovering clues in the castle library and a map they deem important to their mission, they storm through the fort and slay Fazough and his guards. Presenting the head of their dead leader to the remainder of the tribe frightens them off, all except the troll’s mate who stays and fights to the death. Okfaust frees a winter wolf held captive by the gnolls. The wolf agrees to help them slay the troll in return for its freedom.

The party secures the keep and examines the map, which has notations in a language they cannot read. It does however appear to indicate the army came to Backbreaker Keep from a logging village in the north named Cozynook. The party decides this will be the next place to look for the answers they seek. After being injured by a magical tome while examining the library; Ando decides to part company in order to deliver the map to Marn Keep and update Sir Rabe on what they have found.

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Part V, Cozynook

Ando departs to deliver a report to Marn Keep while Targus and Okfaust prepare for their trip to Cozynook when the north is hit with a savage early-season blizzard. Fearing for the safety of their friend alone and in his weakened state, Targus and Okfaust set out in search of Ando. They find him in the company of Sylvani, a beautiful elf maiden who rescued him from the storm. She asks the party for their help in rescuing her family, held captive in Cozynook by the evil lich, Scar. Sylvani presents the party with some gifts to aid them on their quest, including the magical blade Bar-N’adir.

They return to Backbreaker Keep where Sylvani uncovers a door hidden behind the collapsed tunnel in the Keep. It leads to vast underground caverns that she says will take them north towards Cozynook. The party journeys underground for many days to avoid the blizzard. They have several harrowing encounters with undead and a tribe of hobgoblins. Sylvani must reveal her shape-changing powers when Okfaust falls into a swift underground river and is almost lost. Wet, nearly frozen, and depleted of fuel; the party comes to the surface at Mulch Hill, not far from Cozynook. They build a fire and Targus regretfully slays a hibernating bear to procure some furs for a hypothermic Okfaust. Sensing the presence of living creatures near its lair, a banshee attacks them at night and Ando and Okfaust are slain by its unearthly wail. Sylvani resurrects Okfaust with the powers of a magical rod, but Ando is beyond her help. The party buries Ando and heads towards Cozynook, intent on exacting revenge.

Cozynook, once a peaceful logging village, is situated in a valley at the base of the Barrier Mountains. It was the first victim of Scar’s army. Now it serves as his base of operations and is a dark place infested with undead and shrouded in dark mist. Through the mist the party finds the ruined village and an impenetrable dome of negative energy surrounding a dry lake bed. They battle many undead, including some wights that drain Okfaust. Targus is able to pierce the dome using the positive energy of Bar-N’adir, and the party gains access to the interior. They are horrified by what they find. Scar’s zombie minions are constructing a 100’ tall undead colossus from the corpses slain in the war. Luckily, it is unfinished and currently inert. An undead man-dragon hybrid creature guards the area. It sends Okfaust fleeing in terror and brings Targus close to death. Sylvani reveals her true form, that of a silver dragon, and takes wing with Targus riding on her back. Together they defeat the guardian and fight past more of Scar’s minions up to a hidden sanctum where Sylvani recovers her “family” – two dragon eggs.

They escape to the safety of the forest near Ando’s grave. Sylvani thanks them and bestows upon them one last gift – a magic ring of wishes. Targus uses the ring to bring Ando back from the dead and restore Okfaust’s lost life-essence. Sylvani departs to take her eggs to safety, but returns for the party the next day.

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Part VI, Slaying the Colossus

The danger of Scar and the colossus remains. Sylvani informs the party that she has consulted with a reliable source of information regarding Scar, his plans, the colossus, and what they found in Cozynook. It is suspected that the dome of negative energy is actually the lich’s life force and that he may attempt to transfer himself into the colossus once it is complete, becoming a 150’ tall unstoppable machine of destruction. Sylvani suggests a dangerous plan: that the party watches and waits until the animation is complete, because only then will Scar be susceptible to the effects of Targus’ Arrow of Undead Slaying. They all agree to Sylvani’s plan and return to Backbreaker Keep. Okfaust sends a falcon messenger to Marn Keep bearing the map and a letter detailing their findings.

A month passes, during which time Sylvani keeps watch on Cozynook. Knowing he will only have one shot at slaying the colossus, Targus trains tirelessly using the new techniques found in the manual from the keep’s library – especially in the use of his bow. The engineer Frandris arrives from Marn Keep along with a contingent of men-at-arms and workers to repair and fortify the reclaimed castle. He bears a letter from Sir Rabe Hinton appointing Targus the Steward of Backbreaker Keep and the surrounding lands of the Harrenshire until such a time as can be found to replace the castle’s missing lord.

Sylvani returns to the keep to inform Targus that the colossus is animated and on the move – the time has come! Targus flies north on dragon-back to find the monstrous undead behemoth lumbering towards Scole with a carpet of zombies surrounding it. Sylvani flies in dangerously close and Targus lets fly with the arrow. Success! The colossus collapses into a heap of gore and body parts. A massive explosion follows, leaving nothing but a smoking crater in the snow covered plains of northern Scolia.

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Part VII, Brokenspire Bandits

Summer arrives in the midlands. Six months have passed since Scar’s defeat. The siege of Scolia has been broken as the lich’s charms and alliances are dissolved. The goblynoid army has fragmented into individual tribes and clans which now infest the countryside. A large part of Scolia’s resources go towards securing and rebuilding the ruined forts, towns, and villages of the north, including Backbreaker Keep.

Targus is widely recognized for his heroics and a celebratory feast is held on his birthday. Regretfully, Sylvani must watch over her clutch and can not attend; but she sends the elf D’lar in her stead to deliver her best wishes and a birthday gift. Her first egg hatches on Targus’ birthday; she names the male hatchling Targandolar in honor of both Targus and her fallen mate.

Targus must now shoulder the responsibilities of stewardship in overseeing reconstruction and assuring the safety of the refugees returning to the area. A young priest named Polonus arrives at the castle and requests permission to found a temple to Agan to see to the spiritual needs of the growing village of New Harrenshire.

Okfaust plants a druid grove nearby and expects a group of Green Brotherhood acolytes to attend the consecration ceremony while on pilgrimage. They are overdue and Okfaust postpones the ceremony when a patrol discovers two of them dead in the foothills to the west. Targus, Okfaust, Ando, and D’lar investigate and suspect several more of the acolytes have been taken captive. Okfaust tracks them deep into the Thornwood where they find a group of bandits holed-up in the ruins of an old keep. Storming the ruins, they defeat the bandits and their leader Ranchefus; an evil priest of Emptietine. Something more seems to be afoot as they uncover potions of mind-domination and evidence of an alliance between the bandits and a tribe of orcs called the Bloodskulls to which the captive acolytes have apparently been traded…

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Part VIII, Assault on the Bloodskulls

Targus and company explore a network of caverns beneath the ruins that stretches for miles under the surrounding countryside. Eventually they find the Bloodskull clanhold; whose entry is protected by a magically warded door that requires two keys. The first key was in the possession of evil priest Ranchefus. The second they find on an orc emissary traveling in the caverns accompanied by an illithid! They certainly think something strange is going on here now. Gaining entry into the Bloodskull clanhold with the two keys, they battle with many orcs but are forced to retreat and regroup.

Upon returning to his castle, Targus is informed that Frandis’ work crew has accidentally broken through into a tunnel while mining stone in the nearby quarry. The engineer’s apprentice Jelenneth suspected the tunnel may connect to the caverns beneath Castle Targus. She took a group of guards and workers below to map the area and has not returned. Targus fears the kidnapped acolytes and missing cartography crew may be related. The group decides to examine the quarry and while exploring the tunnels, discover that it connects with the caverns of the Bloodkulls. They force their way back into the stronghold, fighting wave after wave of orcs in a bloody second battle. After defeating the clan’s mighty champion Garundzer, they free two prisoners; a dwarf named Snagger, and a shepherd boy who witnessed the kidnapping of the acolytes. Snagger remembers Jelenneth and several other prisoners passing through the orc caverns before they were handed off to illithids.

Wounded, and dangerously low on spells and supplies, the party decides to escort the shepherd boy to safety. After returning the boy home, and a brief rest at Castle Targus, the party makes a third foray into Bloodskull territory. This time they employ stealth and D’lar learns more of the bandit-orc-illithid alliance before they dispatch the remainder of the depleted orc forces, including the clan chieftain, a priest of Gruumsh, and two illithid visitors. The mind flayers wear brooches with markings similar to those on the potions of domination. A passage in the orc caves leads further down into the depths. While exploring it, the party meets a group of svirfneblin and their leader, Carmeneren. She warns the party of greater evils in the depths and tells them to go home to re-supply and meet the deep gnomes back at this spot in a week’s time to learn more.

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Part IX, Troll Kill

Carmeneren tells the party some of the nature of the threat beneath the earth, but before revealing more she must be convinced that they have the strength to withstand the evils that potentially threaten her people. She tasks them with destroying two nearby clans of trolls.

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Part X, Interlude with Morin

A long awaited treasury caravan bearing gold from Scolia arrives at Castle Targus under the guard of Morin and a group of men-at-arms. While having a drink at the inn, Morin notes a group of suspicious looking travelers. In the middle of the night he shadows the group only to be incapacitated and robbed before they kidnap Polonus and another cleric from the temple of Agan. Morin tracks them to Brokenspire Keep accompanied by Captain of the Guard (Bart) and two men-at-arms (Skodris and Reginold). They slay several Bloodskull orcs and surmise that the kidnappers went into the caverns below.

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