The heroes found their way into Dr. Arkenward’s laboratory where they found a gruesome ménagerie of creatures. Here are the doctor’s notes on them.
The lowest ranked of the lesser infernal outsiders, though it will claim it still outranks the Lemure. There is quite a bit of writing which has survived the Age of Fear on imps; impervious to fire and all poisons, and incredibly resistant against attacks from non-silver weapons. Like all infernal outsiders, very resistant against cold-based attacks.
Quite a significant number of them survived through the Great Waning as they got stuck on the material plane. Through my interrogations I have concluded that this imp is not old and wise enough to have survived on this side of the seal since the Age of Fear. It is possible that it managed to be sent through the seal due to its limited strength.
It claims its name is “Ludwig”, but that name has not granted me the control over the imp that I had expected and I have therefore concluded that the name is false.
The dretch is the first form that abyssal animus congeals into, and while it hardly poses more threat to a trained mage than a goblin or a vodnik, leave it for long enough and it will grow to evolve into a far more loathsome and powerful demon as its animus hardens and matures. Immune to poison, able to emit a noxious vapour and very resistant to elemental attacks, and it has a remarkable aptitude for telepathy. Unlike its more evolved brethren, it has a normal susceptibility to attacks with mundane weapons.
I pulled this one from an abandoned house just outside of Blue Harbour. There were several others but this is the only one that managed to survive long enough to heal from the burn wounds it sustained. The others dissolved into black slag. I would have been worried about someone noticing a pack of missing dretches and coming to look for them had they been infernals, but no such loyalty can be expected from the tanar’ri.
Through the “experiments” I conducted on the dretch I have learned that it calls itself “Grok”, it hails from Pazunia, where it was fighting alongside manes and rutterkins for a demon lord named Baltazo. It does not quite understand how it came to be in Blue Harbour, but from the bits I have been able to compile, it seems that Baltazo has been experimenting with sending over low ranking demons and psuedo-demons.
Vetch, as the skaven likes to call itself, is a sly one. It speaks the common tongue, albeit in a broken way. Duplicity, stealth and subterfuge seem to be its tools and trade. As a result, I’ve been having a very hard time getting information out of him that I can trust. I will have to independently verify each bit that Vetch shares.
It seems to have no great love for the rat ogre and considers its brutishness antithetical. It claims to be part of clan Eshin, which is a clan I’ve heard of, but not much is written about. I’ve got to be cautious with this one.
Vetch has shown some interest in my dissection of the tentacle-faced mind flayer and it has remarked that certain organs I’ve extracted can be used to create poisonous substances.
The skaven refer to this creature as a rat ogre, but it does not seem to have a particularly strong sense of self-awareness, beyond the primal rage what we see in some of the more monstrous humanoids. It does not have an ability to speak and does not seem to recognise words, names or a reference to it species.
My working theory is that the rat ogre is an engineered subspecies of the skaven, so for the purposes of categorisation I will consider it one of the servitor races.
Interestingly, not all of the skaven clans have turned to creating these abominations. There is a clan, clan Moulder, which specialises in creating not just these abominations, but others as well. The rat ogres are, however, the pinnacle of their achievement.
Smuggled to Kingsport from Farcorner, this khazra warrior is named Buras Blighthorn and he’s been given to me in order to interrogate him. The usual threats did not seem to appear effective, and applying force elicited a resigned response. To my surprise Buras was perfectly capable of speaking the common tongue and has turned out to be a rather pleasant conversationalist, intelligent and eloquent.
He’s explained to me many things, including his mission in Farcorner. I’ve reached a point with him that I think I’ll try a different approach and see if I can simply continue my conversations in order to understand the tensions and conflicts between the servitor races better, since there seems to be some animosity towards Enyalius from Buras and Vetch, and vice versa.
It has confirmed what the Circle already suspected, which is that the khazra hail from the Grey Waste of Hades.
What a strange creature the minotaur turns out to be. I have to be careful not to generalise, but from what I’ve learned by speaking to Enyalius, as it calls itself, is that it is a prideful and stoic creature whose only interest is duty. Not surprisingly, I have learned that its rank is that of “legionnaire”, a type of high ranking infantry and reports to Preclo, his “centurion.”
For all the effort I had to make in order to smuggle Enyalius out of the empire, he’s proven to be a bad source of information. It speaks both the abyssal and infernal tongue, but prefers infernal. This one will require more time.
Retrieved from among some of the most northern orc, demon worshipping tribes, we have a strange, transformed orc. Blessed, the shamans would say, with the strength of their demonic overlords. They call them “tanarukks”, which seems to be an abyssal bastardisation of the orc word for “fury.”
It is completely useless to me. I have had to keep it unfed in order to deplete it of its destructive tendencies. I know its highly resistant to fire and poison as well as most magics, but its too aggressive to learn anything from as it has no interest in negotiations.
I have one or two more experiments to run on it, and then Rogash, as it calls itself, is bound for the incinerator.
When it became clear to me that some of the threats moved around the ancient waterways I charged some colleagues to investigate the rumours. They found a fair many problematic elements in those tunnels, none were more baffling than these tentacle-faced humanoids. When I went down myself I was eventually confronted by this one. It was tough; taunting me throughout with telepathy and flaying my mind with strange attacks. The source of its “magic”, if I can call it that, was alien to me.
I have yet to be able to dedicate time to understanding the nature of this creature, and a cursory scan of Tobin’s Planar Guide has yielded little of use, except that it vaguely resembled the aberrant denizens of the far realm. If true, it is completely unclear to me whether there are more of them, what they are doing here, what their designs are, and whether they make the waterways their home.
My investigation must continue and I must come up with a proper defence against their psychic attacks. If this creature is an example of the time to come, then we must expand our arsenal of attacks and defences.
Yesterday I went for a walk along the Tottiford Reservoir, which is about 20 minutes away from Exeter. It was a grey day, but practically wind still. It was lightly wooded all around the lake. It was also nearly empty of people. During our one hour walk, we only saw four people (and about eight dogs.) And besides that, it was completely calm and quiet. The only thing you could hear were birds and the crunching of your own footsteps.
“Did you know that my French colleagues call me Madame le Doyen?”
“What does that mean?”
“Madam dean, I guess.”
“What would the Germans call you, Frau*..?”
This weekend Joasia and I went to London in order to stuff our faces with food (Exeter is a bit of a wasteland) and to see Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios show, which has just recently premiered in Europe. I had seen one of their shows in Amsterdam once, but the venue was significantly smaller than the Royal Albert Hall this weekend, which made a big difference in the grandeur of the show they could put on.
The show was spectacular, with amazing set designs and incredible performances. All of it was woven together in such a way that you were given lots of things to feast your eyes on in between the main performances. So while the sets were being changed in preparation for the next act, there were several smaller acts to entertain you and to drive the over-arching story forward.
One of the acts made me think. It certainly was not the most impressive act, but it reminded me of something that happened at least fifteen years ago. My father, who was still alive then had seen that a travelling circus had pitched their tent not far from where I lived. He said he wanted to go, and offered to take my sister, my brother and myself. It turned out to be an old-fashioned circus, with old-fashioned acts, which, when you compare them to Cirque du Soleil, were a little stale. I remember I enjoyed the show because there was something romantic about the simplicity of the performances. My sister, on the other hand, did not appreciate it, and was actively hating the whole experience. She thought it was a waste of her time and I remember finding it difficult to respect her in that moment.
Fortunately for me, my sister has changed quite a bit since then and I have a lot better understanding of where she’s coming from. I also think that she would be able to enjoy a old-timey circus show like the one we saw fifteen years ago. And if not, then I think she might just enjoy a Cirque du Soleil one.