The Ancient Aegean Campaign

Session 1
The Rescue

Vasylius and Anaxalitus joined forces to track down the thieves who dared to steal the offerings to Hecate in the sleepy port town of Ioclus. With only days to spare before the Festival to Hecate it was imperative that the offerings be found and returned.

The two traveled on horseback into the foothills at the base of Mt. Olympus. Anaxalitus’s sure thrown spear found it mark in the belly of a sow, upon which the two warriors feasted. Anaxalitus had to defend his prize from a fierce weasel, whom was unceremoniously smashed into a pork roast with a shield.

The two men reached the Peiran spring, where a ranger and four escaped slaves were attempting to set a trap for some large beast. Rather than be captured, the ranger clamped his teeth on a pellet, releasing a poison which killed him instantly. He had no identifying marks or documents.

The trap was dismantled in time for a magnificent Content Not Found: Pegasus to alight upon the ledge of the spring. The creature seemed to acknowledge the two adventures and enjoyed a leisurely drink.

Vasilius and Anaxalitus returned to Ioclus triumphant, bearing slaves and offerings, and the travelling story teller Thalamos took head and began composing an epic tale befitting the quest of the two heroes.

True to his word, Vasilius declared the slave, Jainas, who had helped the duo, to be a freed man, much to to the slave’s astonishment.

That night, the two both dreamed of a tall, regal woman approaching them at a mist-filled crossroads, raven perched on her shoulder. They received Hecate’s Blessing (1/day roll 2xd20 and take highest, or re-roll and take the second roll).

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Session 2
The First Disaster

After an unfortunate accident occured to Anaxalitus’ opponent in the combat ring, wealthy merchant, Content Not Found: Pamphilus, hired our heroes to be guards on his ship to Athens. Distrustful of such a coincidental arrangement, Anaxalitus checked out his mansions but could find no way in.

The voyage lasted two days – on the third day Vasilius noticed one of the rowers go to the shrine of Poseidon aboard the ship. He checked and found it had been sorely desecrated. A huge wave, caused by I know not what, broke the ship in twain. As Anaxalitus struggled to hold tight to the mast, Pegasus broke through the clouds, alighting close by and allowing him to mount. Anaxalitus threw a rope to his companion, and Perseus flew away from the wreckage, bearing both aloft.

They made land on a deserted beach, where the two exhausted men slept the night. Anaxalitus woke to see Pegasus fly off to the east. The men decided to head deeper into the island in search of civilization.

They made their way through a towering oak wood, where they spent another night. A half day’s journey found them near a stream, when they were suddenly surrounded by bow-wielding tawny skinned maidens, with clothes of leather and leaves and eyes of tiger yellow. No attempts at communication were answered, when the men dropped their weapons the bows lowered a fraction. The men were kept still until nightfall. As dusk fell the maiden’s eyes glowed white, their skins darkened to a midnight purple and their laughter and song rose to the stars. They gleefully accompanied the men to a place of food and shelter and explained their plight. A human girl from the settlement was always chosen to be their priestess for a period of time, then returned to the village to be blessed in womanhood. The current priestess, Content Not Found: Althea had vanished from their sanctuary, seemingly against her will, but the maids could not leave the forest.

The two men agreed to search for the priestess, and the maids accompanied them to the town, where they presented themselves as mere shipwrecked sailors.

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Session 3
The Harpy

After much investigation they discovered that there odd noises emanating from the mansion of Noxos, the brother of the ruler Patroclus. The two heroes sneakily managed to get themselves hired as guards for Noxos’ estate. That night they investigated the house and found to their dismay that the girl was trapped in a chest in the attic and that a fearsome harpy was being kept in the master bedroom. They freed the girl, and while the harpy was perched on the outside balcony they slipped into the bedroom, closed the door to the balcony, and Althea slit her uncle’s throat as he slept.

The three ran outside and the enraged harpy attacked. Together they slew the wretched creature. Althea thanks them profusely and granted them a shadowy cloak and a set of golden torques, kept by Anaxalitus, before running off into the forest.

Before raising the alarm they cleverly placed the body of the harpy in Noxos’ bedroom, then claimed victory for defeating the creature, but not before it had slain Noxos. In the confusion they were able to break into the basement office and steal a valuable ring, amulet, and an odd, faceless statue from a shrine.

Vasilius took the harpy’s skin and claws for his own. Anaxalitus walked through the woods the following day and found a pouchful of nuts and berries which seemed to have been left directly in his laugh, echoes of girlish laughter in his ears.

In thanks for defeating the harpy which slew his brother, and for news of his daughter, Patroclus bade the next ship which stayed in Oiklos to ferry the two heroes to Athens.

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Session 4
The Priestess of Aesclypius

Upon arriving in Athens our heroes scoured the city for information about the faceless idol they had found. Their search was hindered due to the unnatural plague sweeping the city. Upon reaching the temple of Aesclypius. packed with the sick, they met a rather harried priestess, Aspasia. She recalled having seen such a statue a long time ago, in the room of an older priest known only as the Phrygian. This plague, she knew, was like none other. Usually she could read the dreams of the sleeping, but these unconscious people slept as though dead, with no dreams, just a black oily mass where the dreams should have been.

Screams and crashes at the temple altar drew their attention. Rushing to the altar they beheld a striking and imperious priestess in red commanding two rough looking men to search for something amid the offerings and temple supplies. Diplomacy failed and Vasilius and Anaxalitus attacked the two men. During the fight the horse-headed golden torque on Anaxalitus’ forearm slithered into his hand and became a gleaming golden shortstaff, which paralyzed one of the men upon striking him. The two priestesses faced off, but Aspasia tossed down a clay snake which came to life and unnerved the red priestess. After seeing one of her companions locked in stasis and the other injured, she bid him escape, then bit a poison tablet and took her own life, falling in the sacred bath.

The man tried to flee over the rooftops, but Vasilius was relentless in his pursuit, using the power of the harpy’s wings, now his cloak, to glide safely to the ground and to speedily reach the criminal.

Back at the temple the wounded man was healed, and between him and his compatriot, Boulo and Gendarn their names, the story emerged of how they had been hired by Theramis, the priestess of Eris, to seek and destroy the temple’s incense. This incense had been newly imported and was so popular it was being used in all the temples… and this was what was making the people of Athens so ill.

Using her skill as a druggist Aspasia made a new blend of incense, sharp and medicinal, and spread the word that the old incense be disposed of, as it had displeased the gods, and that this new incense would heal the suffering of the sick. She also identified the poison as silverthread, a sweet-smelling exotic plant extremely difficult to prepare.

No priests or priestesses had fallen ill during the plague.

Further inquires at the docks found that the shipments of thanatosweed had been imported to Athens by Pamphilos.

Aspasia and her fellow priestesses laid out the body of Theramis, and found a brooch featuring a golden apple and three snakes eating each other’s tails. This was identified as an artifact of Eris. The priestess also wore a ravishing anklet of pure jade and jet, and as Aspasia held it, she just HAD to put it on. The compulsion was overwhelming. Once on, it looked so fine and fair that she hadn’t the heart to remove it. Her spells now seemed to be harder for others to resist though.

Both Vasilius and Anaxalitus had fine clasps made for their cloaks – of Hades’s helm and a crossed spear/chalice symbol respectively.

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Session 5
The Faceless Murder

With Vasilius busy managing the building of a custom ship, Anaxalitus and Aspasia decide to go in search of the identity of the faceless god and the whereabouts of the Phrygian.

Following a tip from an older priestess they begin their search at the temple of Dionysis, where a they are greeted by the undeniable sounds of a rather raucous ceremony.

An elderly priest, Remus, takes matters in hand, dismissing the nubile young priestesses and attempts to help the two. However, he is exceedingly distracted by the fine form and figure of Anaxalitus. Luckily Aspasia was able to bring him back to the matter at hand.

Remus is able to give them the Phrygian’s real name, Calymnos, and his address. In return, Aspasia crafts a magical salve with wonderous properties for the clergy of Dionysis.

As they cross the city, Anaxalitus is momentarily disturbed by a passing shadow overhead, but dismisses it. Upon reaching the agora nearest the address Aspasia is distracted by some finery for sale. Another roof-top shadow crosses their vision. They decide to go to a quieter neighborhood and then return.

When they arrive at the address a hubbub is ensuing. An older well-to-do lady, Biona, is charmed by Aspasia and bids her head the investigation. The pair search Calymnos’ dwelling, the first floor is slightly amiss, and the loft contains a huge collection of deity figurines from many cultures. There are six faceless god statues, one small jade one which emanates a strong aura. When Aspasia places it in her hand, it grows colder by the second as her anklet grows warmer. She dropped the figure into her bag and the sensation ceased.

Downstairs, Anaxalitus notices a strange, blue/gold iridescent feather and some blood drops. He races ahead to track the blood, Aspasia remaining behind to instruct the house to be closed off. She catches up with him in time to find the blood led to a large culvert in a city drainage way.

Anaxalitus plunged into the culvert only to hear an ominous hissing. He found himself face to face with an unknown monster, who reared and attacked. Behind him Aspasia summoned the strength of her god and shone with a divine splendor. The monster was cowed and attempted to flee, but was caught between the two. Spectators on a nearby bridge saw the priestess face down the raging beat and back it into the shadows of the culvert, where she was able to put it to sleep and read its dreams. Upon touching its brow, the anklet surged and she felt the creature’s nightmares cease.

It woke and listened intently to the discussion between Aspasia and Anaxalitus, as they hatched a plan to explain the happenings. Anaxalitus emerged first, victoriously working the crowd. Aspasia followed, with the beast licking her feet and cowering. The crowd lapped it up, and the glory of Aescylpius’ healing power, to tame a maddened, raging beast, was shouted throughout the city.

Further in the sewer was a body, face torn away. A long scar on his forearm identified the body as Calymnos. A satchel of hastily stuffed documents was kept by Anaxalitus. A tattoo of an omega on the corpse’s chest was noticed as well.

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Session 6
Followers of Hades

Following the clues from the notes in Calymnos the Phyrigian’s pouch, Anaxalitus and Aspasia headed to the main temple of Hades near the edge of the city, where they met Kharon, a priest there. Kharon lead them to Xalys’ quarters, where they frightened off a couple of bold acolytes. In his room Anaxalitus espied a crumpled map, which handily turns out to be of the adjoining catacombs. As the trio approached the entrance to the catacombs another group of Xalys’ followers impeded their progress, but scattered after Anaxalitus bull rushed the strongest of the group. Delving into the catacombs, the trio used the map to avoid the worst of the dangers. However, the aura of a dead initiate overcame Anaxalitus and he attempted to flee. Luckily, Aspasia calmed his fears and they continued to the exit, in a mausoleum on the outskirts of the huge cemetery complex behind the temple. Just down the road was a little village intersection, and one road led towards a shrine of Hermes. The party headed to the shrine, where they met the most poorly concealed hired killers that Greece has ever seen. One was intimidated and ran, but the other man threw down three small egg like vials. Nothing happened, and the man died cursing as Anaxlitus gently smashed the side of his skull with non-lethal damage. Three harpys then appeared, and the trio was joined in fighting by the monster Stavros, who took out a harpy on his own. After the harpies were vanquished, Anaxalitus collected some extra harpy claws for his friend Vasilius, and the trio asked around in the hamlet and discovered that a priest of Hermes had boarded a ship and sailed for Delphi the day before.

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Session 7
Deserted Islands Aren't

It took another day for their ship, the Helm of the Unseen, to be ready to sail. Vasilius hired Ormenos, a grizzled old smuggler captain, to pilot the ship and prepare a crew. Between Ormenos and his first mate, a dark-skinned foriegner nicknamed ‘the Atlantian’, a solid crew was formed. Kharon stepped aboard and was promptly seasick for the next two days, refusing help from Aspasia on grounds of principle. Aspasia found a bunch of gillyweed, and gave Molos the teen quartermaster an amulet of Aescylpius. Stavros perched on the tiller and regarded the crew’s reaction as highly entertaining. Once sailing, Pegasus appeared and the two winged monsters had a bit of a scrape before their respective favorite humans called them to reason. Pegasus perched on the prow for the remainder of the day’s voyage. On disembarking for the night he flew off. During the night on the uninhabited island the crew and adventurers were attacked by a pack of hyenas, whom were handily defeated mostly by Aspasia, as the two rogues had a bout of bad luck. In the morning Anaxalitus and Vasilius searched inland for fresh water and came upon an unconscious and somewhat poisoned warrior woman, whom they brought back to the ship for healing along with her possessions.

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Session 8
The Wreck at Port Delphi

Kalistala awoke to find herself aboard a strange ship, but the sight of a healing priestess of Aesclypius calmed her worries. She had still retained a large bag of the hallucinogenic mushrooms the Maenads had partied with the night before. Kharon finally accepted a tonic from Aspasia and feels markedly better. The first mate, the Atlantean, noted that this is a very odd bunch of people to be travelling together. The ship reached the entrance of the Port Delphi harbor, and those at the rails noted a recent looking shipwreck in the extraordinarily clear water. Upon reaching the dock, the adventurers notice that the dockworkers work woodenly, do not speak, and do not respond to any calls. They disembark, with the Atlantean looking for ship supplies and the rest venturing into town. All of the residents appear the same way – wooden, glassy eyed, and unresponsive. Aspasia and Kalistala find music coming from a tavern, inside they find a young man singing and playing a lute to a room full of afflicted citizens. Surprised to see active humans, he tells them that he’s been away, only recently returned, and that everyone is like this. His extended family is only marginally responsive. The tyrant of the city, Thyrumon, fled a few months ago when everyone was falling ill but his ship was sunk as it was leaving the harbor, for reasons unknown. Aspasia tried to heal a woman but found that the woman is actually completely asleep, though still walking and moving. Aspasia attempted to read her dreams but is sucked into the nightmare and falls to the floor convulsing. Kharon attempted to revive her by causing fear but only succeeded in making the nightmares worse. Kalistala wakes her up by sticking an anti-hangover root in Aspasia’s mouth. This remedy did not work for the other people though. They searched the city for a secret passage to Delphi proper but have no luck. They decided to investigate the wreck for clues.
The wreck was about 50ft underwater. The Atlantian stands on the rail and dove off, shimmering into a dolphins form. Aspasia handed out gillyweed to everyone except Kharon, who opted to stay on the ship and observe from above. The party was nearly attacked by dolphin guards, but the Atlantian was able to deter them from their mission bestowed by Dionysis. In the wreck they found corpses chained to oars, a load of valuable items, women and children who died in their quarters, and a swarm of jellyfish which were handily eaten by the dolphins. Kalistala sliced a finger on a rather sharp barnacle. In the captian’s quarters they found the corpse of the tyrant, who had a special key-like amulet. Just then a huge creature slammed into the side of the ship – a Megapolus Sharkipus Rex, attracted by the blood scent. The battle was intense – enraged Kalistala’s spear found a sensitive spot in the beast’s nose, Vasilius climbed inside the creature’s gills to cut into it’s blood rich gill rods, the Atlantean summoned a pod of dolphins to batter the shark ferociously, Aspasia’s blessing heartened the party and her clay snake seemed to deliver an attack, Anaxalitus missed but his spear returned to his hand, and Kharon doomed the creature from the ship above.
The captain Ormenos immediately began a salvage operation, which unearthed a surprising amount of rare and valuable items. Anaxalitus skinned the hide from the dead monster shark, for future use in a special armor. Vasilius took the jaws to be mounted on the prow of the ship. Some loose teeth were also gathered up. Kalistala made friends with the dolphin pod as well.

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Session 9
The Desecration of Delphi

Using the amulet from the deceased royalty on the sunken ship, the intrepid heroes Anaxalitus, Aspasia, Kharon, Vasilius, Kalistala, and Azenwal found a doorway marked with the royal symbol. Beyond the door they found a passage up into the hills though a sandstone cave system. Halfway to the temple complex they found a ladder, which lead to a small village, which was beset by man-sized, grotesque, crawling severed hands. They dispatched the threat, saw approaching reinforcements, and down back down into the cave system to trek up to Delphi. When they emerged from the palace they saw a vista of devastation: the priests had been nailed to the columns of their temples by their crossed arms – and were all missing their hands.

With an army of monstrous hands swiftly approaching from down the hillside, they raced to the Oracle, who was at the last of her strength and barely holding out against the corruption of Xylas. Aspasia tried to heal her, but was crippled by the corruption. Azenwal the Atlantean was able to shift the blockage holding back the blessed Delphic waters, and as it flowed free it cleansed the Oracle, Aspasia, and withered the hands in a vast flood.

Apollo blessed each hero with skilled performance for their valor.

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Session 10
The Journey to Knossos

Anaxalitus, Aspasia, Kharon, Kalistala and Azenwal all boarded the black ship, captained by Ormenos and set sail for Crete, leaving Vasilius in Delphi to manage the city. They had smooth sailing until they were five days out, when Kalistala and Anaxalitus had an entertaining sparring match. The lookout spied an approaching ship, which turned out to be captained by the brother of Ormenos. The two had a boisterous reunion, and the brother warned Ormenos about continuing to the harbor at Knossos and pressed him to find an alternate destination due to the turmoil in Crete. Anaxalitus was determined to press on, and Azenwal had to mediate and got the captain to agree to landing in a secure smuggler’s harbor outside of Knossos. Meanwhile, Kalistala arm-wrestled the unsuspecting crew of the other ship and Aspasia tended their wounds… for a fine profit.

Upon landing in the cove, the four non-sea-sick companions ventured inland with Molos the quartermaster, leaving Stavros to guard the ship (now trained to answer to Azenwal’s conch shell horn) and Kharon to acclimate to land once again. They discovered that the plant life was odd – though the soil was not dry, the plants looked as though they were in a deep drought. Strange purple-black vines were twining through the undergrowth as well, the party declined to investigate them further in the oncoming darkness. Birdsong and insects were noticably absent. As they trekked a main road toward the city the plant and animal life improved.

Upon reaching the nearest city gate, Anaxalitus and Aspasia convinced the gate guard Jakros that they were the saviors of Crete, allowing the others to slip inside unseen. Led by Azenwal, they headed to the Goat’s Hoof, a very clean and very innocuous inn run by Penelope, an elderly lady spinning by the fireplace. Azenwal paid her generously and she thanked him profusely. Aspasia also paid well, and also gave Penelope a heavenly rose and fig lotion, and was directed to a room with a marble tub and running hot water, which she had no trouble operating. Anaxalitus was less fortunate with the common showers, luckily Azenwal arrived in time to avoid an incident. Kalistala shared her wine flask and the two stayed up late, drinking and telling raunchy stories by the fire.

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