Family Business

21 Oct

Family Business

Caeth leaned up against the polished granite pillar, listening to Kir finish his tale. He truly was worthless, peddling half-truths and gross exaggerations and for what, a few coins and maybe a night of pleasure? She wanted nothing more than to grab the bard by the scruff and throw him off the nearest balcony, but she had more important business to attend to.

As the crowd cheered and laughed, she sank into the shadows and made her way to the servant’s entrance. Dressed as a plain scullery maid, the gathered nobles treated her as if she were invisible. Or rather, they would have if they could have possibly spotted her as she flitted from shadow to shadow.
The door creaked as it opened, but no one seemed to notice, enthralled as they were with the bard’s performance. Behind it was a staircase that led down to the kitchens and up to the Duchess’ private chambers. Caeth slowly began climbing the stairs, listening carefully for any other servants that might be about. Her ears picked up heavy footsteps, descending from above, giving her only seconds to prepare. She quickly dropped her shoulders, tussled her hair, and shortened her steps.
The burly man, dressed in the livery of the town guard, rounded the corner of the stairs nearly running into Caeth. She was lucky. He was not one of the house guards who would have immediately recognized her as an intruder, but instead one of the town guards brought in for extra security during the performance tonight.
“Beg pardon ser,” she said, laying on a thick tumble-alley accent as she stepped to the side to let him pass.
He looked at her suspiciously. “And where are you off to in such a rush?”
“The Lady’s chamber, mus’ be arranged for the… errm… g-guests.” She said with a meek stutter. A leer crossed his face as it suddenly became clear to him what she meant.
“Heh, off ya go then,” he chuckled as he walked past. The meek expression melted away as she continued her way up the stairs.
As she ascended, she stripped off her maid’s outfit to reveal a stitched leather doublet and matching pants. Despite their ordinary appearance, there was a magic woven into them, causing her to blend into the shadows of the staircase. With each step, she became less visible, looking more like a faint shimmer in the air.
At the top was a small landing with a pair of doors leading into the private residence. Caeth kneeled next to the door on the right and placed her ear up against the smooth wood. Faint whistling came from the other side, likely from a bored guard or servant. Moving to the other door she heard nothing. After two slow, even breaths, she turned the latch and let herself into the dinning hall.
As she suspected, it was completely empty. Avoiding the long table, set with valuable finery, she slipped along the inside wall away from the windows, toward a door on the far side. It was open just a crack, allowing her to peak down the hall. She knew that her goal would be easily found in the Lady’s bedchambers, which were at the far end. Unfortunately, there was a guard pacing the hall, looking anxious with a folded letter held tightly in his hands.
“Every job is one part luck and nine parts preparation,” she whispered. Those were her mother’s words. She said them almost absent-mindedly. Fortunately she was prepared.
She drew a tiny dart from her belt, the needle like tip of which was coated in a blue ichor. Anyone stung by it would fall into a fitful slumber and wake remembering nothing. It was the perfect tool for Caeth’s assignment tonight. The nightmare oil was expensive, but her client agreed to pay the price. He did not want anyone to know that she was ever even there.
She waited until the guard drew close and turned to pace back down the hall before flicking the dart at his exposed neck. He reached up to slap it, as if stung by a bee, but he was slumping to the ground by the time his hand found the source of the wound. A few seconds later he was face down on the floor.
Caeth went to the sideboard next to the door and grabbed a bottle of brandy before approaching the unconscious guard. With some effort, she lifted him to a sitting position, splashed him with brandy and tucked the bottle into the crook of his arm. She then picked up the dart and the letter he had been carrying.
She was worried it had something to do with her employer, but instead it was merely a report of strange happenings going on in the sewers beneath the city. Ominous news and disappearances, but they were not her concern. No one was paying her to care about that. She dropped the missive and continued on to her objective.
Reaching the Duchess’ bed chamber, Caeth found herself surrounded by luxuries. Plush carpets, embroidered draperies, a desk made from rich darkwood, and much more. There were valuables here worth far more than she was being paid, but that did not matter. She was a professional and this was not a simple burglary.
She quickly made her way over to the desk, set against the wall with a polished silver mirror behind it. Opening the drawers she found what she was looking for: an ivory comb. She quickly removed a number of hairs from the comb and tucked them away inside a pouch on her belt, before returning the comb to the desk.
She then looked around the room to make sure all was in order before making her way to the balcony. It was cold out. An autumn wind was blowing in from the mountains carrying with it the promise of rain. The lights of Silverspear twinkled at her from over fifty feet below as she climbed up onto the ledge. She muttered “nine parts preparation” and stepped off the ledge. Not a second later, the magic from her mother’s ring flared to life, allowing her to gently glide to safety below.
Hours later, Caeth finally made it back to her lair above an apothecary in tumble-alley, the slums of the great city. She dropped her payment into the chest at the foot of her bed without bothering to count it. She knew it would all be there. No one ever dared to short her.
Stripping off the rest of her gear, she made her way to the study and sat down to finish the letter she had started that morning. It was a letter to her mother. A letter to tell her that Caeth was coming home.

Help Create the Edge of Eventide!

18 Oct

Six flawed heroes set out to complete a quest started long ago. A quest that they failed. A quest that cost them the life of a dear friend. That dreadful day ended their fellowship, scattering their number. While some left to find their fortune, others ran to forget their past. Only the pact remained. A pact to reunite to make amends for their failure. A pact to meet again at the Edge of Eventide.


The Edge of Eventide Patreon is now LIVE!

Minotaur Games is excited to announce the launch of Edge of Eventide, a Dramatic Campaign built for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game!

Funded via Patreon, this epic gaming event tells the tale of six heroes, gathering together to put an end to a great evil and avenge a fallen friend. You and your friends will guide them. Your choices will decide their fate. You will journey with them as they face the Edge of Eventide!

As a supporter of this Patreon project, you will receive the adventures and the characters before anyone else! Backers also get an inside look at the process of creating a Dramatic Campaign and are invited to give feedback and thoughts on the adventure itself!

Click HERE to learn more about the Edge of Eventide, or go straight to the Patreon page to give your support!


Fortune’s Favored Fool

14 Oct
Fortune's Favored Fool

Admit One

“Gather round my lords and ladies, for I have a tale to tell! A tale of adventure, daring, and deadly consequences! Gather round for another tale from Faulkir, Fortune’s Favored Fool!”

Polite applause rose from the assembled court as the garish halfling took to the raised stage in the center of the audience chamber of Duchess Halvar, ruler of Silverspear. While most were delighted to get a chance to hear him perform one of his legendary tales, the Duchess herself seemed rather bored of the spectacle.
“Now this story is from my younger days, when I was perhaps a bit more brash,” he finished that with a sly wink toward the Duchess, “if such a thing is possible.” Laughs from the crowd, but the Duchess did not seem amused.
“While passing through the tiny town of Aubenglade, I met a simple farm girl of a singular beauty, like a spring lily that had just come to bloom. Walking through the market, she sang a hymn to the Mother as she shopped. I was smitten by her golden locks and cherub smile.” The bard expression seemed lost in remembrance, like trying to recall a pleasant dream.
“For days I did woo her. I sent her flowers. I read her the sweetest poetry. I even sang to her! I sang every song that I know.” And then in a hushed tone “Well except for the bawdy ones. Alas she quickly became bored at hearing the same three songs over an over again.”
As the laughter subsided, Faulkir pulled am exquisite mandolin from his back, playing a faint tune to accompany his tale. As the notes carried through the audience, the magic of the instrument took hold. It was a subtle spell, one designed to ensnare the sense.
“Alas, she would not have me. I was too fat, she said. I was too foolish, she said. Why, I do believe she even said that I was too short! Can you believe it?” He said with a defiant tone. At that, even the Duchess let out a snort. The magic had her as well.
“I could not let such a slight go unanswered! I might not be tall in stature, but I make up for it in bravery and guile, and I decided that I would prove her wrong. So, after hiring a few local guides, we set off to prove that I was in fact the tallest man in all the land. I would prove it by summiting the nearby Teventas mountain! None could be taller than that!” There was much chatter in the audience. That peak was known to be deadly to climbers for its height and the terrifying beasts that live on its slopes.
“Five days we traveled into the mountains, making our way toward the peak. Alas, we would never reach its heights, for during our journey, we found something far more dangerous.” His voice had gone suddenly cold as the story took a turn. “A fane, made from the blackest basalt, carved with sinister symbols of the darkest intent. A shrine to the shadows of the mountain.”
“Now, I could have ignored it, continued on my trek to prove my stature and win the heart of my farm girl, but NO! For I may be a fool, and I may be a cad, but one thing I am not is a coward!” The crowd had grown silent, listening to his heroic choice. They were all consumed by his tale, and his magic.
“This foul place could not be allowed to be, not so close to the sleepy community of simple peasants and bumbling woodsmen. Bravely onward we ventured, me and my brave guides, but inside we found that the place was far from abandoned. Vile cultists roamed the halls, intent upon casting the mountain’s shadow across the entire world!”
The tale carried on with the brave bard and his bumbling guides venturing further and further into the shadow shrine. No matter how grim things seemed to get, Faulkir would find some way to win out in the end, if not by wit then through the cunning use of magic or sword play. By the end, the gathered crowd of nobles hung upon his every word.
“Finally we found our way into the heart of the foul place and there stood an obelisk of the blackest stone, floating above an unholy altar. No light would shine upon it. Indeed it seemed that the shadows from within were reaching out to ensnare our light and our very souls!” His strumming had taken on an ominous tone. “The terror of it left the mage I had hired in a state of babbling terror. The hunters I brought with me to guide me up mountain tried to fight the tendrils of darkness, but it tossed them about like mere twigs, killing one and driving the other to madness. Fortunately, I kept my wits.” It was silent in the room. Everyone was waiting to hear how he would come out victorious once again.
“My keen eyes noticed a series of runes on the altar, below the hovering menace. I could just barely make out the words of a summoning ritual and in that moment I knew what I had to do… for only I could do it!” The diminutive bard strode around the stage as he talked, more like a giant than a halfling.
“Ducking the nearest tentacle, I rolled up to the altar and climbed atop it.” Faulkir danced around the stage, dodging imagined foes. “None of my companions, being big folk such as yourselves, could ever have hoped to squeeze into that space, tucked beneath the floating obelisk. It was my small stature that allowed me to crawl underneath. Using my trusty blade, I scratched out the runes, ruining the ritual and breaking its unholy power. In an instant it was over. The obelisk tumbled to the ground and the remaining cultist fled. They knew I had beaten them.”
“After that, there was no point in climbing the mountain. I had proven my courage once again. This time, being the shortest was a virtue, and fortunately for this fool, the fair maiden did favor me with a kiss.” Faulkir ended his story by blowing kisses to the crowd, who returned the gesture before letting loose a thunderous round of applause. The magic had worked once again. Faulkir’s purse would be fat with coins tonight. Almost everyone seemed delighted, even the Duchess.
In the back, leaning against a pillar, one figure was not at all amused.
She was trying to decide whether or not to kill the halfling. She knew his tale was nothing but lies. Caeth had been there and she knew that the danger was far from over. It was about to happen all over again.

Four Simple Polls

12 Oct

Minotaur FB LogoThe poor lost souls, trapped forever in the Minotaur’s maze, sure to appreciate the answers you have been giving to our polls. We promise, it is going to allow us to scrawl better games on the walls of our infernal prison. To that end, we have come up with a series of quick, easy to answer polls about your group and the campaigns you play.

The screaming echos in here tell me that if we hit 200 responses to these, I can share a secret with you…

Including the GM, how many players are in your most recent game group?

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How long have you been playing your most recent campaign?

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Of the following categories, which best describes your most recent campaign?

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Have you ever played an adventure with the characters provided?

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Last Call

7 Oct
Last Call

Last Call at the Slagpit

Dropping a few coins on the soot-stained bar, the last of the regulars got up to leave the Slagpit, a small, smoky tavern in the forge district of Silverspear. It was late, even for the pit, and Weltan just wanted to go home.

“Last call.” He said with a quiet urgency to the only patron left sitting at the bar.
The dwarf woman looked up from her empty cup and with a slightly puzzled look on her face, before tapping the rim of the glass a few times. Weltan topped her off with the good whisky that came from across the sea. He knew she had the coin. Her type always did.
She smiled as the cup slid back to her grasp, her ruddy cheeks reaching back toward her ears in a huge smile. She looked up at Weltan, pushing back the blond hair that was falling in a mess across her face. When she grinned that way, the scars about her became very pronounced, some ragged, some clean. She had seen a lot of fighting, against beasts and blades alike.
“I ever tell you about the time me and my friends fought against the darkest death?” She was loud. She was clearly drunk and Weltan had heard this tale before.
“Sure have, twice now tonight.” He hoped there would not be a third as he finished wiping down the bar. Heedless to his response, she continued.
“Four days we marched… or was it five. No matter. It was past the wood, up the maw, right down its gullet!” The bartender sighed as she rambled on. “That old path led to the deeper parts of the mountains, the forgotten parts where none did tread. None but us lucky seven, the seven from Aubenglade. The company of the glade.”
She said it with a certain pride, puffing out her chest, but the moment quickly passed. She took another sip from her glass.
“That’s where we found it. The fane, at least that is what that little bastard Kir kept calling it. You ever heard his tale about it? I heard he still tells it, leaving out the rest of us as if he were the biggest hero in the whole damn world! Earning coin off our tale.” She spat and took another pull.
“Where was I?”
“The fane.” Weltan replied, hoping she would hurry it up.
“Ah yeah, the fane. Darkest damned place I ever saw. Nothin’ but creeping darkness that even I could not see through. There were more of them ragged bastards there. I tell you about them?”
“Three times now.”
“Good. They were everywhere, worshipping that black stone, chanting in their cursed tongue”. As she spoke, her hand slipped down the haft of her axe on which was a dull, black stone.
“I chopped ‘em down, me and the Mother, fighting as one. This was back when she was still with me ye see.” He did not. She was making less sense with each retelling of her tale. He kept cleaning the glasses.
“But we were too late. They had opened the stone and the darkest death was pouring out. We had to hold it off while the mage tried his magic to close it. Its tendrils, they were everywhere.” That last word was but a whisper as she lifted her cup again.
“That weren’t the worst of it. No. That was the voices, the things it said. The truths it told. They made me afraid for the first time in years. I still hear them. They never went away.” Her voice trailed off for a moment.
“Valtirus, he broke. His magic failed him. In the panic, poor Eadmar was grabbed by the thing. It squeezed and squeezed until blood was pouring out of him. It tossed his broken body at the feet of his brother. I’ve never seen Ren so angry. He lost it then. Picked up Ead’s blade and charged right at it. We all followed. If Ead was going to die, then we were going to make sure that thing paid.” She lifted up her cup, closing her eyes in painful remembrance. She downed the last of the amber liquid and set the cup upon the bar.
“But I’ve told ya this tale before.” She said, with a note of sadness. “And I got ta travel home in the morning.”
She looked at the bartender, waiting for him to ask what happened next, waiting for him to care, but there was only silence.
Dropping a pouch of coins on the bar, Karwyn got up to leave.