Recap: After being lost within the Laekenala Jungles for weeks without end, a young elven ranger named Elfee finally found signs of civilization. Instead of finding aid, she found burning ruins and a seemingly infatigueable human with a massive axe. Elfee tracked the man for nearly a day, before he turned right around and returned to the burned out ruins. After lining up the skulls of eight individuals, the man with the axe returned to his original route travelling west -- sometimes along the bottom of a river.
Elfee cautiously followed, until he was spotted by a shallow barge travelling along the river. The crew of the barge were a motley bunch of outcasts and magic radicals, and they were hostile both to the man with the axe, and to Elfee. 'Hostile' is a mild description of what nearly happened, when Faeradd lifted the man out of the water with his powers, and Phoenix and Sam nearly tried to kill him and Elfee.
The man with the axe was undead.
The party tried to question Elfee, but she escaped into the jungles as quickly as she could. Phoenix found her, but the elven ranger was more too frightened of the raw power the druidess displayed. Sam set out to lure Elfee into the party, after talking with the undead man.
His name was Richard, and he had not even been aware he was undead. Phoenix hated the creature, Faeradd experimented with him, and Sam felt more pity for him than anything else.
The date is Lan the 12th, 1328 Avard.
The Dreneb at this point opens up into Lake Tuvoi, a massive lake some eighty miles across...
The Black Stars -- an elite group of mercenaries -- were ousted out of Vridara by shame and disgrace. They took up to running with the bandits and smugglers of the Laekenala Jungle, and even made fair to ties some of the more powerful undead lords and pirate princes. In the ruins of Terezcotta -- where Vessiss acquired some of her magic, and her power -- the Black Stars wait for the party. To lure them to the ruins, they will steal, kill, and harass the party into acting. They have with them a small tribe of rather tribesmen known as the Hyukyur. The Hyukyur will aid the Black Stars because of their shared lust for evil, and an eagerness for gold and power.
Opposing the Black Stars and the Hyukyur is a small group of ex-slave dwarves trying to get by in the ruins of Terezcotta. Fiercely defiant of the undead, and the magic the Black Stars and Vessiss use, they will resist anything and anyone attached to magic. As allies, they could prove formidable against the Black Stars, but as enemies, they could prove the undoing of both the party and the Black Stars.
The Black Stars
Daniel: male Slate Rog5/Sor5 (demonic): CR 10; Size M (5'8", 130lbs); HD 5d6+5 + 5d4+5; hp 43; Init +4 (+4 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 26/17/19 (+4 Dex, +5 expertise, +4 leather armor of darkness +2, +3 ring of protection); Attack +1 (dagger, 1d4+1, crit19-20x2) melee, or +4 (dagger, 1d4+1, 10ft, crit19-20x2) ranged; SV Fort +3, Ref +9, Will +6; AL NE; Str 12, Dex 19, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 13, Cha 18. SA/Q: Sneak Attack +3d6, Uncanny Dodge. Languages Spoken: Vridaran, Demonic. Skills and feats: Appraise +7, Balance +12, Bluff +10, Concentration +7, Decipher script +6, Disable device +9, Hide +11, Intuit direction +9, Knowledge (arcana) +10, Listen +1, Move silently +4, Open lock +6, Read lips +8, Spellcraft +10, Spot +1, Swim +7, Tumble +12, Use magic device +9.5, Use rope +12; Craft magic arms and armor, Expertise, Heighten spell, Improved unarmed strike, Point blank shot, [Alertness], [Empathic Link]. Sorcerer Spells Known (6/7/5): 0th -- Detect Magic, Ghost Sounds, Mage Hand, Open/Close, Prestidigitation, Read Magic. 1st -- Mage Armor, Charm Person, Spider Climb, Magic Missile (4d4+4 each). 2nd -- Rope Trick, Web. Possessions: +4 leather armor of darkness +2, ring of protection +3 (18,000 gp), diamond earrings (450gp), rations, waterskin.
Daniel's Familiar, Sthiss: snake, tiny viper; CR 3; HD 21 (1hp); Init +3 (Dex); Spd 15ft, climb 15ft, swim 15ft; AC 20 (+2 size, +3 Dex, +5 natural); Attack bite +5 melee (poi DC 15 -2d4/2d4 Con); F/R 2.5x2.5/0ft; SA Poison; SQ Scent; SV Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +1; Str 6, Dex 17, Con 11, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 2. Skills and Feats: Balance +11, Climb +12, Hide +18, Listen +8, Spot +8, Weapon Finesse (Bite), [Improved Evasion], [Empathic Link], [Touch Spells]. Languages: Demonic.
Gamille: male Sholin Rog5/Clr5 (Samis): CR 10; Size M (5'4", 134lbs); HD 5d6+5 + 5d8+5; hp 43; Init +4 (+4 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 22/18/14 (+4 Dex, +3 bracers of armor, +5 leather scale armor of darkness +2); Attack +8/+3 (shortsword + poi DC 15 -2d4/2d4 Con, 1d6+2, crit19-20x2) melee, or +10/+5 (dagger, 1d4+2, 10ft, crit19-20x2) ranged; SV Fort +6, Ref +9, Will +9; AL NE; Str 14, Dex 18, Con 13, Int 18, Wis 19, Cha 12. SA/Q: Sneak Attack +3d6, Uncanny Dodge. Languages Spoken: Demonic, Common, Goblin, Vridaran, Sholin Variant. Skills and feats: Appraise +13.5, Diplomacy +9, Disable device +12, Disguise +9, Escape artist +7, Forgery +9, Gather information +8, Hide +19, Intimidate +8, Jump +7, Knowledge (arcana) +12, Knowledge (religion) +12, Listen +4, Move silently +10, Perform +1.5, Profession (poisons) +11, Read lips +12, Search +11.5, Spellcraft +12, Spot +4, Swim +7, Use rope +10; Blind-fight, Combat casting, Dodge, Extra turning, Weapon focus (shortsword). Cleric Domains: Trickery, Knowledge. Cleric Spells Per Day: 5/4+1/3+1/2+1 (0th - detect magic, detect poison, mending, 1st - obscuring mist, sanctuary, entropic shield, command, cure light wounds, 2nd - darkness, hold person, silence, zone of truth, delay poison). Possessions: holy symbol in onyx and platinum (500gp), prayerbook, ring of minor elemental resistance (electricity) (16,000 gp), bracers of armor (+3) (9,000 gp), sapphire and silver necklace (1,500gp), rations, waterskin.
Theyra: female Slate Rog10; CR 10; Size M (5'6", 105lbs); HD 10d6+10; hp 41; Init +7 (+3 Dex, +4 Improved initiative); Spd 30 ft.; AC 19/19/13 (+3 Dex, +4 leather armor of darkness +2, cloak of resistance +2); Attack +8/+3 (+7 Base, +1 Str) melee, or +10/+5 (+7 Base, +3 Dex) ranged; SV Fort +4, Ref +10, Will +7; AL NE; Str 13, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 18, Wis 18, Cha 15. SQ/A: Uncanny Dodge, Sneak Attack +5d6, Improved Evasion. Languages Spoken: Common, Draconic, Goblin, Halfling, Infernal. Skills and feats: Appraise +14, Balance +13, Bluff +14, Decipher script +17, Diplomacy +15, Disable device +17, Forgery +11, Heal +6.5, Hide +23, Innuendo +15, Intimidate +13, Intuit direction +15, Jump +14, Listen +4, Move silently +9, Open lock +16, Profession +16, Spot +4; Dodge, Improved initiative, Mobility, Quick draw, Weapon focus (dagger). Possessions: cloak of resistance +2 (18,000 gp) [Int: 11, Wis: 10, Cha: 15, Ego: 3, Communication: semiempathy, Alignment: neutral, see invisible at will], ruby and silver bracelet (1,500gp), rations, waterskin.