Punjar: Den of Iniquity

The Black Ship continued

We continued to fight to take the Black Ship. The Templars of Chains were incredibly tough. They attacked us. Crixus held one back and I kept one at bay with a Vistani Curse. Ardwen and Goodman finished off the remaining sailors on the foc’sle and Squidlarkin dominated the ship’s mate, who ran to climb the rigging. I used the Void Card on two who jumped from the rigging to attack, after their cohorts shot at me with crossbows in the crow’s nest. Fortunately for me, I was able to tap the energy of the sailors because one of the Templars pressed me back against the rail, while Crixus struggled to hold the other back.

Eventually Goodman joined the fight with the Templar attacking me and struck him. The fighting song I sung distracted the Templar long enough for Squidlarkin to make his move and attach. While I fear that I will never be happy to see Squidlarkin… in this case I was. The Templar did not manage to get free from Squidlarkin’s grasp and eventually had his brain sucked out. Unfortunately(?) this also rendered Squidlarkin unconscious.

Various priests of the Chained One arrived from below to attack. One flogged Ardwen with a scourge. I retreated to help the Drowned Man, who had been beset by many more sailors; the Void Card fell to the deck with a thud as I lost control of it. I used a Tempest Whetstone to kill groups of them. Oddly enough, the previously dominated ship’s mate attempted to leap upon me to take revenge for his sailors but he missed and fell flat on the deck, to his demise. Goodman joined Ardwen, fighting the priest, eventually dispatching him. Then he teleported again to join Crixus, who was fighting with the remaining Templar and the Jailer Captain.

To be continued…


The Black Ship

Ardwen came to us with a plan to attack the Black Ship, which had slavers and priests of a dark god that supported the Slavers’ Guild. They could sense my shadow when I sent it to scout. Mako was nowhere to be found, so we went with Ardwen and the Drowned Man, who provided an elixir that allowed us to breathe water… errr, it allowed us not to die when under the water. It was thoroughly unpleasant, though.

We planned some but ultimately we just lashed ourselves to the bottom of the ship, like large barnacles. Goodman was beat up by journey. Once it became apparent that the storm was upon us, I sent my Shadow up to scout the fo’csle. Quite by happenstance, I saw that the Storm Priest was there, arms stretched out in the sea spray.

Crixus and I climbed up, and started the fight. He attacked the Storm Priest and I followed, using my bow. The Storm Priest was difficult to hit, but when Crixus missed, I managed to shoot him with an arrow that knocked him off balance. We soon had him dispatched, while Goodman and Ardwen scaled the vessel to join the fray, and the Drowned Man fetched the Storm Priest’s corpse.

Meanwhile, we fought with several sailors. Goodman (and menagerie) and Ardwen started fighting some sailors, Crixus pursued one of the ship’s mates, while I played the Void card on another, who was slain by it. I’m not sure… that’s very dangerous. Coming up on the deck, however, were two large, armored figures in the regalia of champions of the dark god, Torog.

To be continued….


Crixus' Letter

The message sent to To Sparticus, Onemeus (Sorno), Gannicus (Jarg), Agron, and Lugo. Some insight into Crixus and his plans.

Addressed to each in kind.

When we last spoke you had

(For Jarg and Sorno) – just been given your freedom. Since that time as you may or may not have heard, Sparticus, Agron, and I led a revolt or escape attempt in which we were successful and left Carthage. I split from them to rescue Naevia from the mines, where she had been sent by Batiatus.

(For the rest) – decided to continue your raids on the roman forces while I went to rescue Naevia from the mines, where she had been sent by Batiatus.

She was lost to me during the escape.

I have now settled in the city of Pungar – The Tarnished Jewel, approximately 500 miles to the southwest (edit distance and direction as you see fit.) I have settled here and have established some significant financial resources. Enough to put you and any allies up for some time. I invite you to join me here as brothers.

For any who wish to continue to fight against the Romans, I am with you. My plan is to marshal our resources so our scattered fingers can come together and tighten into a fist is which to strike at the heart of Rome. I will be opening a Ludus. One in which men are free to chose to become a part of. I will train them. This Ludus will serve two primary purposes; both so the men can earn glory, wealth, and fame in the arena, but to train and develop more fighting men who if interest is of like mind as us, can join our cause.

This Ludus will be comprised of both free men, and likely slaves, as sadly yes slavery is alive here as well. But any slave who is here will be here by choice. In other words I do not plan to go to market and buy men for the Ludus as Batiatus would, but I will make it known to slave owners and their slaves that if they have ones who would want the opportunity, they will be able to earn their freedom though the glory of combat. I will not take anyone who does not wish to pursue glory, greatness and freedom. Lastly all men, free or slave will be treated as men and given the honor they earn, but not less than even the lowest free man deserves.

I want you and your men, if any to join me. If you wish to strike out against Rome then I will join you. If you will to earn wealth and fame in the arena, I will help you. If you wish to have a place to rest you head and have a meal without fear of persecution, I provide for you. Lastly, if you wish to help create a ludus of honor, and to train men with the same skill and honor as those who trained us I would be indebted to you.

While I believe I can and will accomplish this on my own. Nothing would make me happier than to have my brother by my side helping to make this ludus everything house Batiatus could have been had we been as free men. Even if all you wish to do is stay there. I would welcome my brothers company and be glad that I had friends living under my roof.

AT this point I am in the process of obtaining land and breaking ground. But I need to have an idea of how big of a roof I will need. Please think on this and respond within 12 hours so I can plan for your arrival. Please let me know about how many are with you and about how soon you would be here.

Once you get here we can discuss what you desire of this opportunity if anything. If you only desire to live out our life in peace then we can do that too. While the ludas will not be a hotel, you can pitch in to help in any way you wish for the good of the ludus, until you wish to move on.

I look forward to seeing you. I look forward to looking you in the eye and clasp your hand. I look forward to what we may accomplish.

- Crixus, The Beast of Carthage, The Undefeated Gaul!

At the Crossroads

I went outside the city. I had business, things to find, to trade. I sought the Crossing. It is never far, aways about a day away from wherever I am. I went on foot, alone, to the south. During the day I passed a caravan traveling with many chained, ragged humanity. A rough looking dwarf led them and they were guarded by several hobgoblins. I saw beggars, mercenaries, farmers, nobles born on palanquins, and others I did not know. In the distance I saw a wagon carrying one of my folk, the Vistani, but I did not approach them.

Eventually night fell. I was still not at the Crossing and so I continued, venturing off the main road and onto a side track going in the hills.

Fog rose from the ground, suffused with the light of the full moon. I could see the Inn of Blackwood Crossing in the distance. it was surrounded by hills, with a lone tree on the hill. Seated beneath the tree was the figure I knew would be there, Lord Nail. He was gaunt, seated in the lotus position of the ascetics, a good many of whom are in Punjar itself. All over his skin, on all the meridians of power, were nails. I waited for him, waited a long time. The moon rose fully before he spoke, like a great white skull grinning down from the heavens.

“My disciple, you have come.”

“Yes, Lord Nail.” I looked at him.

“I see you pursue the path of your father, the Damned Prince Feket.”

I nodded, for it was true. The Deck calls to me.

“There is a great Undoing in the Deck. It is not a thing of mine, or my path, but you are of his line and his task has been left undone. He has been imprisoned.”

He stared into my eyes for long. I was transfixed by his gaze. Finally he withdrew a nail from his flesh. Moving with a blinding speed, faster than I could track, he pinned my shadow to the ground with it. Then, drawing a curved dagger forth, cut it free.

“Your shadow stands apart. It may be left after the Deck consumes you, my disciple.” He looked at me again. “That is worth something.”

The Den of Thieves

I went to Smoke again. I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for… something.

So I found my way to Cire’s tavern. Cortabo the dwarf was there, out front, with a giant tarred leather mug of ale. He took a big swig, and blew the foam from his rather grandiose beard.

“Where’s your friend?” I asked, thinking of the half orc.

“He gpt buggered off,” grunted Cortabo. “Too much fooling around, not enough results. The master don’t like that.” He took another swig of ale. “This stuff is foul, but I like it anyway. Er, where was I? Oh, yeah, the master had him disappeared, permanent-like. I think some fishies is shitting him out now, hehehe. Never did like his kind, anyway.”

“Is Master Cire home? I would pay my respects,” I said.

“Yeah, he is. I was wondering when you’d be back. Heard you went out of the city for a while. No accounting for some people… go on in.”

I entered the tavern. Guttering oil lamps lit the place, lending it an air appropriate to its district. Cire himself was sitting at a table watching several of his crew. They were watching two large mantises fight, fervently betting on the outcome of the match. Cire himself was a dapper man with thinning hair, a neatly trimmed beard and a carefully waxed mustache, not really the sort you’d think would be Master of Smoke. He was drinking a blood-red wine from a fine crystal glass.

He looked at me, “Ah, the Nightlily returns to Smoke. Tell me, what brings you to my fine district?”

“I have business from time to time with Mother Zeb’oltha, as you doubtless know,” I replied. “She is often interested in the things I come across in my travels.”

“Ah, yes, of course,” he nodded. “Tell me, Lily, what is it that you do? I hear things, but in your wake there is death. I don’t like trouble here, not after what happened during the rule of my predecessor.”

“I assure you, Master, I am not seeking trouble here.”

“Yet it has its own way of finding you, leaving ruin in your wake, and you depart….” He eyed me.

Half of the crew started cheering. Obviously the bout between the mantises was over. I could see that one was headless on the ground, with the winner greedily masticating the loser’s head.

I shrugged, “I’m not sure what to say, truly.”

“Then don’t say anything. But I’ve got my eye on you.” He sipped the wine, “Before you go on about your business, tell that barbarian I’ve got some matches for him to fight.”



We traveled to the Pyramid of Zehir using Goodman’s conjured bird steeds, which could travel over the wretched jungle terrain. It was very, very old, dating to the time before the founding of the city. The folk who built it fought with the founders of Punjar and lost. But the jungle they dwelled in remains, with the ruins. 

We examined it and discovered a number of patrols. Rather than ambushing them, we decided to enter the pyramid. Inside we encountered some yuan ti, who were tough fighters. They had two archer yuan ti with them who were armed with poison arrows that also bore divine radiance. Most unusual. Crixus was beat up fairly badly by them, as is his wont. But we gave better than we got and they fell, though one of the archers escaped. 

In the next chamber there was an archer and a dragonborn gladiator who knew Crixus. Also there was an altar of Zehir and font of radiant fire. Goodman summoned a succubus servant during the fight. The altar dominated many of the party, particularly Goodman and Crixus, although control bounced back and forth between the altar and Goodman’s succubus. Despite the pleas of the succubus, we chose to free the souls bound there after destroying the physical wall with Mako’s lightning.

Eventually we ascended to the top level of the pyramid, where we found a gatetway to an astral realm. Inside was a couatl, a feathered astral serpent, which styled itself the Glorious Vengeance of Dawn. Such creatures are legendary servants of the the gods and usually believed to be servants of Good, but this one appeared to have become a rogue of some sort in its search for power. It had been trapping individuals in the realm for its own purposes. It had several dragonborn servants, many of them rogue gladiators known to Crixus. It was a hard fought battle all the way. The couatl attempted to revive its downed servants during the fight but we put them down again, and eventually destroyed it. I used the Death card on it and discovered another card from the Deck, the Void. 

We looted the place, quite lucratively, and freed the several individuals trapped in the couatl’s astral realm. Among them were several bandits from the local area, a group of individuals from a city known as Sigil, and the mysterious Scarlet Wizard. He and I traveled back to Punjar, where I took him to visit the Devil’s Thumb. Goodman returned to his ranch, Crixus to the estate of the Dragonne Captain Vultan, and Mako to his temple….


What Is It About Punjar's Sewers? They Stink!

Naga, dragonborn swordsmaster, and shadar kai assassin. I didn’t know it, but it turns out that nagas—holy critters of Zehir—like living in sewer pools. Who knew? 

Truth be told, I cannot say that it liked liiving there but it was. It did vomit on Crixus but he survived. Well we killed it and the two Zehir cult leaders anyway. It was a near-run thing.

But we have heard of a Temple of Zehir outside of the city…. 

I need a bath first. 


What Is It About Punjar's Sewers?

I don’t know how I keep ending up in the sewers of Punjar. I really don’t. I’m not made for it. I’m not a dwarf or some kind of aquatic thing. Sure I can see in the dark but who would want to see what’s down there? So why do I keep ending up there? It must be the spirit of this city. 

We continued our fight with the gelatinous cube interloper, the shadar kai witch and her minions. I got sucked into the cube. While Crixus can stand such a place, I can’t! Fortunately I’m squirmy and got free. Meanwhile Goodman and Mako kept up the pressure on the shadar kai, who were joined by a crazy old man. The witch fell to Goodman’s attacks, but the crazy old man breathed on all of us, and we started to fall asleep. We shook that off when I shot him in the chest with an arrow, and eventually we saw that he was an oni, one of the legendary magical ogres, who must be an ally of the shadar kai. He tried to escape by turning into a cloud and passing through a grating further into the sewers, but we finished him off before he could leave. Fortunately we could rest. 

Crixus and I, “guided” by Mako’s shouting exhortations, managed to pry open the sewer grating while Goodman changed his wardrobe. I clambered down the pipe and did some listening and watching from the shadows before the rest made their way down. It is clear there’s something big in the pool in the middle of the room, and I can hear talking from further down the pipe to the south…. 


On the Pursuit of the Zehir Cultists

The Cult of Zehir used to be just another snake cult. Now they are part of the up and coming guild of assassins making use of renegade shadar kai. I of course have nothing good to say of shadar kai, but these renegades are worse than the run of the mill shadar kai for they have betrayed the Raven Queen for Zehir.

We left Lord Toldara and went to the shop in the Devils Thumb where we had reason to believe they might be. Crixus and Goodman went into the shop to see if the proprietor was there. He was not and after bullying the shopkeeper, Crixus pushed past him to go downstairs, though not before alerting Mako and I. He went into the cellar and there were found many shadar kai led by a witch, who proceeded to attack. I followed them, while Mako and Goodman delayed, though they eventually moved in with Goodman’s menagerie in tow. Seeing the additional reinforcements, the shadar kai chose to retreat. 

The fight spread to the sewers when Crixus tore the sewer grate out of the floor and followed them down, pressing the attack as his Northern rage froze his heart and the hearts of his enemies. 

A lone shadar kai occupied the ladder. First Mako jumped down onto him, but he managed to deflect Mako into the sewer. Mako ended up on his back with his legs and arms in the air like a turtle, while the shadar kai stayed on the ladder. I decided that the ladder needed to be cleared and leapt onto the shadar kai still occupying it, knocking him to his death. Goodman, of course, elegantly teleported past. 

Meanwhile, Crixus ran into the sewer’s janitorial staff when he was enveloped by a gelatinous cube, as the remaining shadar kai ran for it. 

…To be continued. 


Shadow Assassins Attack Lord Toldara

As we walked to Lord Toldara’s ship, a group of assassins attacked us. Their clear target was Lord Toldara. I managed to see them, although they still attacked. I showed the miscreants their fate and they recoiled from it, although I did not fully perceive that Lord Toldara was their main target. Eventually the others—-Ardwen, Crixus, Mako, and Goodman—-recovered from their surprise and we finished the rest off, although one was left alive. 

Once we could examine the battlefield some interesting facts emerged. These fellows were shadar kai, although some were clearly local Punjari refuse who altered themselves to appear as shadar kai. I suspect some were former inhabitants of Smoke, and would not be surprised if this new guild has taken up residence in that benighted district, or in one of the defunct snake god towers… just another snake cult, indeed. They bore markings not of the Raven Queen but of Zehir, the poisoner god of serpents. We captured one and Lord Toldara’s Drowned Man put him to the question, but he did not survive to tells us much of use. Clearly something is afoot, and a new Guild of assassins has emerged in Punjar. 



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