Here you can find the latest posts in this game.
Here is where you'll find the current combat maps, images or documents that relate to this game.
Click the links for the story through January 2008, and then intermittently thereafter....
A brief summary of recent events was passed from Larien to Y'lara when the latter first joined the Shadow Guardians:
"...[T]he Shadow Guardians were instrumental in rediscovering It'lal, clearing out the undead there, and freeing the children of House Mylyl (who were in a type of suspended animation for roughly 2,000 years). After that they hunted the renegade drow Atrea Bralfah (sister of the Bralfah Matriarch), only to have her discover an evil artifact of some sort and escape. Atrea later attacked It'lal through the Dradah Delmah gate, and when the attack failed, Atrea took the key, rendering the gate useless. On the Council's orders, the Shadow Guardians were instructed to search for potential trade routes and allies in the region, since It'lal was now isolated.
From there, the Guardians traveled into the Crying Woods, discovering a tribe of reptilians -- distant offspring of the old Reptilian Empire (old allies, and later enemies, of the drow). The reptilians were virtual slaves to the Crying Woods, their Awakened, and a family of green dragons referred to as "the Green". The Shadow Guardians agreed to help, and defeated three juvenile green dragons and some Awakened creatures. They then met a reptilian wise-woman, Hoary Belinda, who hinted that events in the Crying Woods (past and present) were coming to a head, and that the drow's return had been foretold. The group then narrowly escaped attack by an adult green dragon, fleeing to the Floating City and securing the aid of The Crimson Shields of Hope adventuring group.
Once at Floating City (the Float), the group learned a few things of note. First, Crying Lake, upon which the Float resides, has been experiencing mysterious intrusions of salt water and deep sea monsters (like Kraken). In addition, the Crying Woods are also home to the Elvenguard -- a community of elves who seem to have avoided the tyranny of the Green. Periodically a member of the Elvenguard is chosen to merge with the Crying Woods, thereafter acting as a controlling/moderating force on the Woods. However, the last "Entwining" was interrupted by a group of Dark Druids, and the Crimson Shield hero Florin merged/sacrificed himself instead. Finally, a messenger from It'lal appeared, carrying news that the city had been attacked by kobolds via one of the teleportation gates. The attack was repulsed, and a counter-attack succeeded in breeching kobold territory. Since then an uneasy truce has been established. But the Shadow Guardian's mission remained unchanged.
After paving the way for Lady Firbral Bralfah to assume the position of It'lal Ambassador to the Float, the Guardians were met by a reptilian and informed that Hoary Belinda's home had been destroyed and that she was missing. With Firbral's blessing to aid the reptilians (within reason), the group chartered a boat and quickly traveled back into the Woods. An investigation of the ruined shack indicated an acid attack (maybe a green dragon), and the words "The Serpent's Maw is Forbidden!" carved into a nearby rock, possibly by a dragon talon. In addition, there were some scraps of paper from a shredded book, including a reference to "Serpent's Maw", and signs that reptilians had searched the area before the Shadow Guardians.
The next day, the Shadow Guardians leave for the village of their reptilian messenger. Along the way, Sesha joins the group, having teleported from It'lal. Close to nightfall, they arrive at the well-hidden village, which includes the reptilian Elder they befriended before, and several other types of reptilians. The Elder takes them to the village leader, Mathir, and they get a general lead on where the Serpent's Maw might be. Sesha attempts to communicate with Hoary Belinda, but Belinda sends a single word, "Danger", in reply, before cutting off the link. Unsure what to do with this vague warning, the group sets a watch for the night, only to be awakened a few hours later with the village under attack by hostile reptilians.
The villagers flee via the escape tunnels and start to collapse them, bringing down the buildings as well. Five attackers are spotted, and the Guardians quickly gain the advantage, but an unknown enemy spellcaster strikes invisibly several times. Just as he's spotted and attacked, an Imp appears holding Gilin's familiar Sonja, threatening to kill her if the reptilian spellcaster isn't freed. The group opts to attack, but somehow their efforts fail, and Sonja is killed. Oddly, the remaining reptilians slump to the ground and one or two inch runners of white plant fibers start to sprout out and crawl around like worms. As more and more little plants crawl out, the bodies collapse in on themselves as if decaying in a matter of seconds. The Guardians are at a loss to explain the reptilian's deaths.
Sesha uses her magic to restore Sonia to life. The group heals up and searches the area, but no reptilians -- either enemies or allies -- can be found. Later, Giovanni thinks he's discovered a description of where the Serpent Maw is in the torn scraps of the book from Hoary Belinda's. Belinda didn't know what was there, only that the Crying Woods keeps it guarded. Deciding to investigate this new lead, the Shadow Guardians head southeast through the forest and into the hills. About six hours into the journey, the group encounters a large magically silenced valley (about two miles across). With night approaching, they opt to make camp and venture forth in the morning.
Come dawn, the party heads in, discovering a clearing and a pond more-or-less at the center of the silence. The pond is fed by a stream, but the outlet is a tunnel at the bottom, which somehow feeds back to the stream in an endless loop. A suit of magical armor (with a human skeleton) is stuck to a piece of stone near the underwater tunnel. Magic also radiates from the stone, and inside the tunnel. After further explorations, the group discovers recent reptilian tracks and a seemingly old firepit. In addition, the area is not only silenced, but protected from the oppressive power of the Woods as well. The Shadow Guardians narrowly avoid a confrontation with some dinosaurs (a pack of deinonychus and three tyrannosaurs that are hunting them) who happen to approach the pond. They eventually manage to free the suit of full plate armor (using Dispel Magic), but the purpose of the pond remains a mystery.
As the group prepares to leave the pond, they spot a drow in the direction they're heading, beyond the edge of the valley. It turns out to be Y'lara Bancurpi, a former resident of It'lal who has been living in the Crying Woods of late. She agrees to accompany the Guardians for a time. An hour or so before nightfall, the group approaches a clearing against the base of a cliff wall. Awakened creatures seem to be guarding a cave entrance. T'Shalla and Gio attempt to sneak up while invisible, but they're spotted, and a battle ensures. The Guardians quickly dispatch the treants and plant-apes, and enter the cave. The walls are smoothed over and painted in red ochre. It feels like being inside a snake. Beginning around 15' from the cave mouth (which is fashioned to the likeness of a fanged snake's open mouth) is a mural, carefully painted across the ceiling and walls. It details the Green's arrival in the forest, as a pair of dragons who flew into the area, then fought against the Crying Woods. The agreement between the dragons and the power of the Woods is depicted as the dragons meeting with the trees. Further down is the drow/reptilian war, and this familiar event is depicted clearly and accurately.
T'Shalla scouts ahead while Invisible again, and is around 100' along when a Large Snake spots her. Among other things it says, "Hello, dark-skin. 'Tis long since wee have seen one of yoou.... Wee are many, indeeed, but wee meeen yoou noo harm. Yoou are the dark-skinss of the prophessiess. The oppresssion of the Furiouss Foresst will ssoon end, will ssoon end with the ressurrection of the sshadow elvsies. Wee are fighting against it too, and wee are now ready to sscuffle.... Ssoon, very ssoon, a great host of my sspeciess will emerge.... I came to warn you. You, and your friends, pressently sstand in their way.... You should flee."
The Shadow Guardians are finally convinced to flee the cave, and the snake fades away as though it was merely an illusion. And none too soon it seems, as a huge number of snakes are right on their heals. When the group emerges outside, they're met by the huge green dragon who chased them to the Float some weeks back, and the beast sprays most of the party with acid. Artan and Gilin, with help from Gio and Eclip, kill the dragon. But Sesha and T'Shalla are cut off from the group by Awakened plant-apes and treants, and Sesha is killed. With the snakes emerging from the cave and two juvenile dragons flying above, the group makes a run for it.
Having escaped from the battle without being followed, they find an imprisoned but unguarded Hoary Belinda clinging to life nearby. Once freed from her cage-cart and healed, Belinda offers to ask Gargul's aid in bringing Sesha back to life. Gargul unexpectedly arrives in person, and he complements the drow – past and present - for what they have accomplished to reclaim their lost honor. Gargul ultimately brings Sesha back abruptly (and painfully) into the land of the living. It seems Gargul does not like witches. The group decides to return to It'lal that night using their teleportation items/scrolls.
Appearing in the gateway plaza, the Guardians are immediately challenged by guards wearing the insignia of House Mylyl, before being recognized as returning heroes. After reporting to the Council, the group is rewarded with some extended time off (at least 37 days), during which they rest, craft, train, and catch up with life in It'lal.
The full history of game posts can be found here.
In an ongoing attempt to track all the missions, encounters and so forth that went unresolved, they are listed here for future use:
Atrea Bralfah - A thorn in the side of the Shadow Guardians and It'lal, her whereabouts are unknown and she needs to be brought to justice. Recently she has been linked to evil drow Houses Torrae (Driders) and Maeurden (Assassins), which had been thought destroyed in the fall of the underground drow city. Even more recently, Atrea apparently hired the White Rose guild to help assassinate Larvanya Bralfah, and (unsuccessfully) Firbral Bralfah and the Shadow Guardians.
Isilme Bralfah - Captured by Atrea, his whereabouts are unknown.
The Green, The Woods and Lizardfolk within the Crying Woods - Last we knew, the Serpents of the Maw were on the hunt for the Green. I'm not sure why, it's reason eludes me, but safe to say that the Crying Woods is not a safe place to be. The Green run the forest under an agreement with the spirit of the Woods. The lizardfolk that live within the Crying Woods have suffered greatly and are either on the run or fighting back as best they can. Unfortunately the Shadow Guardians are not helping in their plight anymore.
Kobolds and Hobgolblins - Go to the It-lal section for details.
Tyrin, Drow Wizard
A list of group items can be found here
Sub-Page with marching order and Party SOP.
Corwin, Dane Bralfah, E'lonika (Nika) Bralfah, Loreel Solar'An, Talzar, Xiean, and Yersinia Bralfah.
Isilme Bralfah, Drow Fighter/Cleric (Captured/Missing)
Xesor Bralfah, Drow Wizard (brother of Fintarian)
Lady Larvanya Bralfah - Matriarch of House Bralfah.
Lady Athena Bancurpi - Matriarch and priestess of House Bancurpi; aunt to Larien Bancurpi.
Lady Yasume Mylyl - Matriarch of House Mylyl. All members of Mylyl are drow youths/young adults from before the fall of It'lal.
Other Current or Former House Bralfah members
Lady Firbral Bralfah - Younger sister and heir presumptive to Matriarch Larvanya. Ambassador to Floating City.
General Kahlag - Military leader of House Bralfah, and supervisor/adviser to the Shadow Guardians.
Atrea Bralfah - Older sister and traitor to Matriarch Larvanya. Appears to be in league with evil drow Houses Torrae (Driders) and Maeurden (Assassins).
Other House Mylyl members
Dis'ulder, Drow Wizard or Sorcerer (or possibly a variant such as Weapon Mage / Blade Singer) of House Mylyl.
E'sco Selio, A former Junior Minister of Trade for It'lal from House Mylyl, who was part of a group of "independent government contractors" on loan from the Council Houses, working for the benefit of It'lal. He was tasked with managing the flow of goods to and from some of the settlements outside It'lal to make sure they survived and provided food to the city. Glory River is one of those settlements and his family was part of the initial group to establish the hamlet. E'sco also proved to be a member of an evil Guild, and he attacked the Shadow Guardians before ultimately agreeing to help them. Subsequent background here and here.
Nizana Sileo - E'sco's wife, a resident of Glory River along with their daughters (Shael, and five others; 3 train w/ local clergy, 1 trains w/ a minor hedge wizard, & the other 2 work w/ hunters). Their house sits on a hill a half mile out of town with woods behind it and a field in front. Glory River is a small farming community recently established by It'lal settlers to support the city. In addition to staple food stuffs, the farmers have branched out into various aromatic plants used for cooking and incense. It has maybe a dozen farming families and a handful of other craftsman. The Sileo family, including E'sco, have been secretly relocated to a little-known Gnomish mine/temple until the Guild E'sco belonged to (and betrayed) has been dealt with.
Other It'lal residents
Kunsan - A drunk, often singing drow being held in the main It'lal Guard House. His name apparently means "Big Mountain" in dwarvish, and he uses magic to conjure drinks when the guards aren't looking. Confessed to murder and asked to be locked up, but in fact the man he claimed to have killed was "off galavanting with this fellow's lady in Floating City or someplace." When confronted, Kunsan said that if he got out he'd do something awful to someone, so the guards kept him locked up for a few weeks. The Shadow Guardians initially thought he might have been a Guild spy until his story panned out. See: DM post for Friday July 8th, 2011 12:30:08 AM & Sunday July 10th, 2011 9:56:56 PM.
Puff - Curious and treasure happy Pseudodragon that can be found about It'lal.
Unganizzt - A guardsman of It'lal who thinks highly of the Shadow Guardians. See: DM post for Sunday April 24th, 2011 10:18:45 PM.
Aroark - A Reptilian elder, and leader of the first small group of Reptilians the Shadow Guardians met.
Greycloak - Possibly a leader of the Railway League (typically operates outside of major cities, specializing in extortion, "protection" services for traveling merchants, and some banditry), or perhaps the more dangerous criminal Guild that attacked the Shadow Guardians and tried to infiltrate It'lal. See: DM post for Wednesday November 9th, 2011 7:20:29 PM.
Lonar - Probably a leader of the evil Guild ("Wxxxxx") that has sought to kill the Shadow Guardians and It'lal's leaders. His name was revealed by the assassin that tried to kill E'sco's family. See DM post for Tuesday September 6th, 2011 10:33:12 AM.
(See "Forest home of Hoary Belinda" post, 11/20/09, for more details.)
Dradah Delmah, It-lal, the Crying Woods, and Floating City are all located in the southeast corner of the Yrth (northern) continent. The upper part of the southeast region is referred to as The Eastern Wilderlands; see map.
Dradah Delmah is the former home of House Bralfah, a tribe of Surface Drow. It is located in the Blackheart Woods, part of the Monster Preserve on the Second Plateau in New Elenna.
It-lal is the Surface Drow "first home". It sits on the peak of a mountain, near the westernmost edge of a range of mountains, east of the Cruesa Sea and northeast of the New Elennian Peninsula. Abandoned about 1,400 years ago due to a war with reptilians and the Crying Woods, It'lal was only rediscovered about a year ago by the Shadow Guardians, and resettled by three drow Houses. The Matriarchs of these Houses make up the It'lal Council (see the Tuesday April 26th, 2011 11:07:39 PM player post for some recent examples of Council/Shadow Guardian interactions). The population is primary surface drow, and the standard language is Under-common/Woldian Below. Only about 20% of the drow in It'lal speak Common. [Andy note: although one might expect that this % has increased given the amount of interactions with local human/elf tribes, and the Floating City.] The mountaintop is surrounded to the north and east by a mountain range and to the south and west by the Crying Woods. The city has contact and trade with the Floating City (mainly via teleportation), and with a few reptilian tribes in the Crying Woods. There are also a few nearby mountain valleys with human hunters/villages and drow farmers that trade with It'lal.
In addition, there is a subterranean kobold city far beneath It'lal. For reasons unknown, the kobolds launched a failed attack on It'lal a few months ago, which has been followed by an uneasy truce. Diplomatic efforts are apparently ongoing. It's possible that these same kobolds are at war with a hobgoblin tribe in the area. The Shadow Guardians were told something of the hobgoblin chief, Kuureken, who was tortured to death by the minions of the Crying Woods, although his body was brought back to It'lal and preserved with some of his belongings: a crude map which seems to roughly indicate the areas his tribe has explored, a scarab of office, and a few personal items of nominal value (including a lock of hair, and a nice set of dice). (See: ADM Andy's posts - Hoary's Story (Part II & III), Monday June 21st, 2010 8:26:35 PM through Wednesday June 23rd, 2010 4:20:18 AM).
At least three criminal guilds operate in or around It'lal -- the Wiggly Dagger guild (run by Guffbiff), The Railroad League (run by Forest Greycloak), and the White Rose guild (run by the late Lonar) -- and enemies of the Shadow Guardians seem to have hired one or more of them to capture or kill the group and possibly others in It'lal. According to Esco, "Your enemy is drow and lives within this city... of that I am sure. He or she is also rich, powerful and connected enough to work an agreement with powerful guild houses that are not of this city. Powerful enough to bring fear into the eyes and actions of men that I thought were unshakable." (see DM Post_Jeff, Monday May 2nd, 2011 11:23:55 AM).
The Crying Woods is a sentient magical forest that lies west of It'lal at the base of a mountain range. The Woods can detect most creatures who pass thorough its confines, and intelligent creatures feel an oppressive presence while in the Woods, although this can be blocked by special crystal pendants and other devices. Via the main trade road from It'lal, it's about a days journey to the edge of the Crying Woods. Between the eastern edge of the Woods and Floating City are a number of Reptilian tribes, remnants of the Reptilian Empire of the Second Age (called "the Al Mathir"). These tribes have been subjugated for many centuries by a large family of Green Dragons (the Green), who enforce order and bleed the tribes of food and valuables with the assistance of the awakened animals of the Woods. In the distant past, there were swamps to the north, but whether this is still true is unknown. Also in the Crying Woods are the Elvenguard -- a community of elves who seem to have avoided the tyranny of the Green. Periodically a member of the Elvenguard is chosen to merge with the Crying Woods, thereafter acting as a controlling/moderating force on the Woods. However, the last "Entwining" was interrupted by Dark Druids, and the Crimson Shield hero Florin sacrificed himself instead.
Floating City (The Float) lies west of It'lal on a very large lake surrounded by the Crying Woods. It is roughly a five day hike to the lake from It'lal, plus several more hours (at least) by boat. The Float used to reside on Turtle Lake in the New Elennian Peninsula until it was mysteriously transported to its new location several years ago. Confusingly, the new lake is still sometimes referred to as "Turtle Lake", but it's proper name is Crying Lake. The lake is near the Creusa Sea, probably 350 to 400 miles northeast of the New Elennian Peninsula as the crow flies. Legend has it that part of Crying Lake used to be the reptilian capital of Al Mathir, before the city was ripped from the ground and flew away, thanks to the sacrifice of their god.
The lake's waters are known to harbor some very dangerous creatures, including Kraken. "The Float has a shortage of fishermen as few boats were at dock when the Float moved to this location. A couple of rivers to the north are the only passage into the lake via water, so some of the foreign vessels must have come through one of those passages. It is assumed that these rivers connect to some larger body of water, even an ocean perhaps." At least one ships captain (Tender Farfoot of Dirt City) has apparently found a navigable river from Crying Lake to either the Creusa Sea or the Lotophagi Ocean (probably the latter). The Float is home to The Crimson Shields of Hope adventuring group.
(See "The Calm before the Storm...", Monday January 25th, 2010 10:30:04 PM, on the Ust Delmah list.)
House Bralfah is a drow family with deep roots and average standing. While pretty much intact from when the drow’s underground city was destroyed, even house Bralfah, who remained neutral during the power struggles was fairly significantly damaged. Prior to the fall of the city, Bralfah was a fairly insignificant house. Now that the mighty have fallen, House Bralfah has become the pre-eminent house, if not the only remaining one, of the drow.
This group of Drow has fought their way upward away from their subterranean cousins and into the light. They have broken with tradition and been blessed by Alemi. These Drow have broken with the Matriarchal traditions and now worship any god they wish.
The tale of how the dark elves came to be.