Masters of Illuria

The Lost Hunt

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A monstrous creature attacking the elven settlement of Ethana turns out to be one of the members of a lost hunting party from seven years ago!

With help of the rescued hunter, Graeme must track down this ancient gate the hunting party found and seal off whatever dangers are escaping into Illuria!

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Hounds of the Huntmaster

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Two weeks later, after the incident at the Elemental Gate and the ARPA Ruins, a strange light shot across the evening sky. It plowed through the clouds, turning them a green-purple hue, before vanishing beyond the trees with a dull rumble of thunder.

Explorers, adventurers, bounty hunters, and more have set out on occasional expeditions looking for the ‘Star Fall’ as its been called. Some returned with strange tales of glowing lights, ghosts, and other mind-bending sights. In other cases, the expedition did not return at all.

But, along the Old Highland Road and Blackstone Road trade route, rumors have been circulating. Caravans have been greeted by mysterious travelers who join them for a time, only to leave in the middle of nowhere and vanish. Large packs of Old World Sentry Hounds have become common. And in the village of Boughedge, people have started vanishing without a trace.

Marshal Elias Evenstar has been sent by the Council of Peers in Shildamere City to round up able-bodied help to look into the last rumor, as Boughedge is along the trading route between Tavil, Ethana and Shildamere City.

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Double Trouble

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In the three weeks since Boughedge, stories have filtered down the Old Highland Road trade route of strange events far to the west. All the talk is about glowing rocks, mutated creatures, and other odd sights near where the Star Fall came to ground a month ago.

Meanwhile, trade wagons have suffered attacks while on the Old Highland Road south of the ARPA ruins. Concerned for the trade route, Elias Galford of the Galford Merchant’s Guild hires Richard “Rick” Van Helsing to look into the matter. Galford wants to know if it is more trouble with the Old World Sentry hound packs, or thieves.

While to the Southeast, Idris Griderstalk has asked Aonara for help with a curious find. Identify the source of a strange new plant growing along the South side of the Old Highland Road. Plants, that when cut, dissolve into a dusty smoke, before fading from view. Plants that are not connected to the “green” of Druidic influence.

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Wrath of the Jailer

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After capturing the synthroid bounty hunter, Kalas, he delivered a dire warning: The Jailer was done with Aonara and Rick’s interference, and would enact retribution starting with the town of Ethana.

With the speed of a master craftsman, Rick re-coded the tech-golems and released them to hunt their creator. But that left little time to contact the Marshal’s Guild to collect Kalas. Taking the synthroid along, Rick and Aonara hurry to Ethana as fast as wagon and cungha lizard could move.

They arrive to find the town in ruins. Idris Griderstalk, the town druid, greets them as they arrive. From her they learn many townsfolk are wounded, several people are missing. Including the marshal, Elias Evenstar. Idris describes horrific creatures with red scaly skin. They were directed by a large human in Old World armor. Armor bearing the symbol of the Dark Horde.

But before she can describe more, the air tears open with a green flash of energy in the town square! Through the dome of energy, twisted creates with red scaly skin and black claws leap through and attack!

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Secret of the ARPA Ruins

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The Battle for Ethana was over and the mana drain devices dismantled. But no one was willing to celebrate yet. Ethana was still decimated. Gathering anyone able enough, Idris Griderstalk began the hard task of planning how to rebuild the town. This time Ethana would be better able to defend against threats that might return.

Rick, Aonara and Kalas leave the circuit components with the cyphermonks Tomas and Alarin, the rest of the device components they salvage for themselves. To combat the threat of the jailer, the trio plans to free the cyphermonks from their temple.

Before they try, they head for the ARPA ruins north of the Old Highland Road. The same ruins where Aonara sealed the ancient gate to the Dark Horde prison. They hope to salvage some technology from the old military ruins. How much use they will get from five-hundred-year-old technology remains to be seen. Aonara knows the ARPA ruins had been set up to study the gate and devise means to combat the Dark Horde. That research may still be there.

But as they travel close to the ruins, they realize that the ARPA location might have new owners. Tendrils of smoke curl up from the thick canopy of the northern Trollway forest during the day. At night, a purple-green aura hovers above the trees. In the distance, there is the sound of forgefires working non-stop.

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Secret of the ARPA Ruins, Part 2
Divide and Conquer

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Aonara, Rick and Kalas entered the ruins and learned the glow was due to the dwarven team from the Ironshod Mercenaries. Durgin Mars had been sent with a small group to complete a construction contract for a client. Part of this involved specialized enchantments. They needed powerful magic of a type that had only been found in and around the gate Aonara sealed some time before.

Aonara met with Durgin and discussed what they could. Durgin could not reveal the identity of his employer or the nature of the contract. But when offered a better, more efficient way to charge their constructions, Durgin agreed. But that was when Aonara learned that the dwarves, a people renowned for their record keeping, had lost the knowledge of how to safely tap a ley line for magical energy. Horrified, Aonara set to work, offering to instruct Durgin and any apprentice of his choosing to re-learn this lost knowledge.

Meanwhile, Rick – as any Rust Harvester would – searched the ruins for any parts, items or components that they could use in their efforts to free the kidnapped cyphermonks from their temple outside the ruins of Threshold. Most of his searching uncovered a small supply of the rare Old World cerametal alloy, it also uncovered a forgotten experiment and weathered tracks of a Titan that had attacked the ARPA ruins.

The Titan, a two story tall walking tank, had rampaged through the location, and roamed further into the Trollwood. What tracks remained after five hundred years suggested it traveled north to the Ice Needle Spires mountains.

As for the forgotten experiment, it had been created by the famous inventor, Dr. Peter DuMosque. Notes suggested it had been used against the Dark Horde and the KILLJOY at the end of the Final War as a means to bypass the magical wards defending the KILLJOY. Once used, the device had not been turned on again.

Leaving the experiment to be studied later, Rick set out after the Titan in hopes that the device – or some part – could be salvaged.

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The Floating Catacombs of the Cyphermonks
At the edge of the abyss

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After leaving Aonaran at the DARPA ruins, Rick followed the faint trail north. It was many hours later before he tracked down the remains of the Titan. Age and the end of the war had buried the giant war machine beneath rock. Nature took care of the rest. But the Titan, while real, was bait for a trap. While Rick was busy, Gemini Zhan ambushed him with Metal Jack golems.

At the ruin, the Ironshod mercenaries put Aonaran’s teachings into practice. The first attempt results in an explosion! An explosion as a result of sabotage. The dwarf responsible is soon caught by the others. The saboteur was a member of the Society of the Purple Hand. Angry, he rants at the other dwarves for dabbling in forbidden knowledge. Then he turns his ire on Aonaran, calling her a “First One” and “Firstborn” like it was a curse. That was followed by an ambush by Janala, looking to capture Aonaran. But Janala was fought off and escaped.

Back at the Titan, Rick barely survived the attack by Gemini Zhan. But the Titan did not. Used as a source of Gemini’s sorcery, the ancient machine rotted and collapsed in minutes. Rick built a fire and tended to his broken bones and wounds while Kalas arrived with the Ironshod dwarves and a cart for the wounded tinker.

Taking him to Boughedge, they left him in the care of the local healers. Returning to the ruins, Kalas met back with Aonaran and continued on to the Temple of the Inner Oracle to free the cyphermonks from their imprisonment.

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The Floating Catacombs of the Cyphermonks, part 2
Journey of a Thousand Worlds ...

As Rick remained in Boughedge to recover from his fight with Gemini Zhan, Aonaran and Kalas headed north to the Temple of the Inner Oracle to free the cyphermonks.

They make sure they have the key to the back entrance and follow the directions to the door. But instead of a door, they find a cliff face. Feeling that time was of the essence, they scale the cliff to the temple grounds above. The watchtowers were empty and nothing moved outside.

Slipping in through a window, Aonaran locates a guard – a metal jack – wearing the same rune armor being crafted by the Ironshod dwarves! Quickly using enspelling the guard with a song, he leads her and Kalas into the heart of the chamber. There they found more guards and the monks trapped and forced to magically create parts in an assembly line fashion.

Aonaran and Kalas race by the guards and hide among the trapped monks. They discover each monk is wearing a circlet with a specific color gemstone. A gemstone whose mate is in a glass-like enchanted cube in the middle of the room. After a moment’s thought, they set about freeing the monks from the trap. One by one, they disable each circlet by removing a corresponding stone from the cube. Until Aonaran removes a red and blue stone at the same time.

The two stones shatter on the marble floor and Aonaran vanishes along with the three metal jacks in the temple room. Only to appear a second later in a strange metal arena that is covered in a chalk-like dust. There she is eventually met by three people who welcome her to someplace called Astrid Station. A place that Aonaran suspects may not be anywhere on Illuria!

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The Floating Catacombs of the Cyphermonks, part 3
Fate and Destiny

While freeing the cyphermonks from possession, Aonaran discovered the trap was powered by a long lost Tesseract Drive! Accidentally activating it, Aonaran found herself transported to Asterid Station, one of the colonies in the Centauri Belt.

She was met by Marshall James Hardin, Cleric Keljin Maris and the Engineer mage Titus Perkins. Surprised, but happy to meet her, they enlist her aid to help them with an emergency: to save their dying sun … or in other words, their primary reactor core. But before she can discover too much, Aonaran finds herself caught up in the middle of a pirate attack!

On helping to drive the pirates off, she discovers she was not alone in being transported from the cyphermonk temple. A metal jack golem, still wearing its dwarven runic armor, survived the trip to protect her from debris that would have crushed her. In addition, she learns that Keljin is one of the legendary swanmay … one of the people Aonaran claims to be!

Meanwhile, Rick and Kalas followed Aonaran but arrived on Evermist after a trip across Illuria’s red moon of Morid, then to the mage enclave orbiting the far world of Mandrake. There, they survived an attack by a cadre of undead horrors from skeletons to fifteen foot tall flesh golems, only to wind up captured by the Nighthunter Coris Oaken.

Coris, not sure of Rick and Kalas are ‘Grendels’, the locals term for twisted, rabid monstrous creatures, marches them south from the Tannisheim ruins towards Corvisheim to be examined by a surgeon.

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