Might of the Inquisition

Sigil on Two Astral Diamonds a Day
Adventure 46

In attendance: Bael Phoebus, Mielka, Raiden, Light, Zigfried, Reschard

After stopping Dyson and Ragnarok, the business of organizing post-Giant War Sarta begins. The new Sartan government decides that since the Empire did not officially help them in the war, they did not need the Empire. Instead, they would become an independent, allied group of small nation-states… the League of Sarta.

Dyson, now missing both legs and one hand, is interrogated from his cell. By Reschard agreeing to rescue Elana and protecting him from Vecna’s wrath, Dyson acquiesces to all their demands, and names Reschard as the new King of Tamhold. All the party questions the deposed tyrant about Paldemar and the Chained God. Among other tidbits, the party learns that Paldemar’s phylactery is stored in a transplanted legendary tomb known as the Tomb of Horrors.

After the interrogation and some final business in setting up the government in Reschard’s absence, the entire party heads out in their new airship, dubbed The Legacy. The ship heads for the small town of Portalis, passing briefly over the ruined capital Alexandren. Upon getting near the well at portalis, dark energy shoots up, passing through the ship and taking with it several party members.

The rest land and investigate the well, only to be confronted by Istarmani, who has the Prophecy Scrolls, and says he’s banished much of the party to the Far Realm. He then uses his supernatural reflexes to change the well’s portal and dive in, with Bael, Reschard, and Mielka following closely after him.

They find themselves on the streets of the strange city of Sigil, chasing down the Drow Wizard. Reschard calls the guards, Mielka prays to Moridin (which is heard by several nearby Dwarves), and Bael attempts to cut him off (only to hit a deadend.) The chase goes on, and several more join in when it is insinuated that Istarmani has lots of wealth on him. One dogpile later, the prophecy scroll is recovered, but Istarmani escapes using a teleportation spell once he has a hand free.

The Sons of Mercy, the local guards, bring the three of them in for questioning, while the Far Realm escapees are lead around by a Bariaur guide. Using a sending ritual, the 6 of them meet up. After some discussion, the party decides to meet with Shemeska the Marauder, a local well-connected businesscreature.

Shemeska makes an offer that she needs a certain House of Ill Repute taken care of as it has thus far refused her efforts to take care of protection in that area. In exchange, she’ll provide the party with a modest amount of currency (in Astral Diamonds, since gold is nearly worthless) and hook them up with Ramander the Wise who knows the location of many portals in the city.

The brothel isn’t what the party expects: it is a fairly small, two-story house in the Hive Ward of Sigil. It is guarded by some Tanarukks, who are subservient to the strikingly beautiful Mistress of the House. She introduces her girls, which include a Nymph, a Medusa, a Demon, and more. Light sneaks away during introductions and negotiations and find Glandrin’s been possessed by the Ghost Beholder and is enjoying the company of a Marlinth demon. A stop is put to that- but it works out for the best, as the Beholder agrees to stay and help protect the house, while the Mistress agrees to the PC’s offer of sponsorship and lets them stay in the upstairs while they are in the city.

The party returns to Shemeska with news that they have managed a better financial arrangement. The party receives two Astral Diamonds, as well as a consultation with Ramander. Ramander even provides the location of a portal back to Einland.

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The Long Night of Shen One-Eye
Adventure 45

In attendance: Glandrin Sunbeam, Light, Raiden, Shen One-Eyed, Zigfried von Schattenwerk

The party awoke to find itself in cells, missing their equipment, with no memory of how they got there. Shen is the only one who can access his powers, so he uses them to escape and start freeing the others. They spot some treasure chests, which they quickly discover that not only do they contain the party’s equipment, they also are a strange mimicing ooze that comes to life and attacks. Meanwhile, a crazed Gurias-like creature, a feral Darian, and a mirror Raiden attack.

In the midst of it all, Light and Shen begin to fight, and everyone experiences paranoid feelings towards everyone else. Shen slips out, and discovers, thanks to an “Echo Bael” that they have thrown into the Far Realm somehow. The Eye of Vecna is the only thing that has a chance of leading them out.

Far Realm Fight

The battle inflicts horrendous injuries of everyone involved, but after the infighting dies down, the party is able to overcome the challenges. Some discussion follows, and the Eye leads the way out into the bizarre Far Realm towards an exit.

The path goes to a portal, which the PCs enter one at a time. Shen is brought back to when he assassinated Nohrik and offered a chance to change things, as the Elf tries to negotiate with Echo Bael Corvus to make things turn out for the better. Light encounters a Catoblepas, which at first seems to be doing the work of the Raven Queen and questions Light’s continued existence, who then turns out to have gone mad and turned on the Goddess of Death. Zigfried emerges in a Mind Flayer breeding area, encountering a Mind Flayer that insists that Zigfried is actually a Mind Flayer in disguise named ZiVonSch. Glandrin finds the ghost of the Beholder they have been forced to kill twice, who wants to be freed from this existence. Raiden finds himself in the Elemental Chaos, and the rest is shrouded in mystery.

Something seems to snap, and all these realities combine. Shen spots an exit portal, which everyone heads towards. Raiden tries to hold the creatures off, and quickly finds himself outmatched… and yet, somehow escapes.

The party emerges in the fabled city of Sigil, the City of Doors, barely intact from their experience.

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War Against the Giants: The Finale
Adventure 44

In attendance: Reschard Tam, Light, Zigfried von Schattenwerk, Raiden, Bael Phoebus, Gurias Stormborn

The party busts through enemy lines using a small fleet of airships in an Air War to reach Tamhold. As they get close, Colonel Crackmar informs them that “It’s a trap!” and the Dwarves on the various ships are starting to get controlled by proximity to the Maul. The party teleports into the ancestral home of Tam.

Stately Tam Manor

A group of giants and elements guards stately Tam manor, where they have been using some of the people of Tam as slaves. Among them, Reschard’s lost love Elana. They make eye contact, renewing the Warlord’s will to fight and free his people.

After the creatures inside are defeated, Reschard and Elana see each other for the first time in years, and passionately embrace. She tells them that she and Dyson had been childhood friends, and when Mydas took her from him, he swore revenge. Even now, he was working on the ritual to bring back the primordial Ragnarok, freeing him from a nearby mountain. Unfortunately, many giants stood in the way.

With little time to lose, the party steps outside to prepare for a major fight. Reschard sees Tamhold as in his vision from so long ago, and as before, is visited by the spirit of his brother… but this time, he has good news. Mydas forgives Reschard, and has been working as his “Twin Soul” to aid him all this time. He also called in a favor from some other astral allies. With that, a trope of Astral Giants arrive to clear the path up to the mountain.

At the top, the mountain has begun to resemble a portion of the Elemental Chaos where Dyson works to awaken Ragnarok. Reschard tells him:

Dyson! Lay down your arms! We will no longer allow you to endanger the peoples of Einland and the citizens of Sarta. Know that this day will be the last that we allow your machinations continue. You have betrayed the people of Tam, murdered my brother, and stolen my love. I will not let this stand. We know of the dark god you truly serve and we will stop you. Beware of what you face Dyson. We who stand against you have walked the paths across time itself, fought and defeated demon and celestial alike, many have even met and returned from death itself. We have reclaimed the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords and raised an army to cease your tyranny, and we will stop to no end other than that. You may think you face mere mortals, but I tell you, before you stands legend incarnate. We forge the path of prophecy as a dragons breath burns through a forest glade. Your fall would be yet another line in scrolls the history. Spare yourself the bitter end and forsake your bond to the Maul of Titans. Free the giants and people of Sarta alike. Remember the loyal servant of the people you once were and perhaps you will find mercy. Or know end without peace, your head upon the ground at my feet.

Dyson and Ragnarok

A diminished primordial took on the party, using mighty leaps, and command over intense heat and cold to attempt to destroy them. Gurias took to the air to fly around attempting to disable the seals that had been opened to channel the power of the Elemental Chaos, limiting the Primordial’s ability to animate pieces of it. Meanwhile, the titanic battle between the wielders of the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords and the Maul of the Titans commenced in earnest.

The Axe warned Reschard that Dyson should be left alive, and that the only way to stop him would be to cut off the Hand of Vecna. Bael plunged into the elemental soup, barreling into pools of lava to push Dyson through the deadly mix. With a mighty heft, Reschard’s severed the Hand of Vecna from Dyson’s burnt form, ending the threat of him and the primordial, who discorporates back into energy.

Victorious, they drag Dyson’s body back to Tamhold. Upon arriving, they discover that Paledmar has been busy while they were occupied, taking Elana’s soul, and promising to return it if they bring him the Eye and Hand of Vecna in exchange. Some words go back and forth, but the villainous Lich will not accept any other terms.

Treasure:
  • Hero’s Armor (Chain) +5
  • Belt of Vim
  • Frost Gauntlets
  • Guardian’s Cape +4
  • Champion’s Ring
  • Defender’s Armor (Scale) +4
  • Striker’s Weapon (Dagger) +4
  • Controller’s Implement (Staff) +4
  • Leader’s Helm
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Highway to Helstef
Adventure 43

In attendance: Bael Phoebus, Raiden, Light, Zigfried von Schattenwerk, Darian Shadowheart

Nicco Sandro the Electrum Dragon comes to the front lines with a proposal: investigate what has happened to his mother, a silver dragon named Sandronia, who used to live on Frost Spire Island. Report back with news, and he’ll see how many metallic dragons he can rally to the cause. While they won’t be as numerous as the chromatic dragons, he promises each one will be worth their weight in gold (or whatever metal they’re named after.)

The party teleports to Hammerfast, and are escorted by a member of resistance to the town of Flotsam on the coast. There, they are introduced to captain Kaseem who will take them to the island on his boat in exchange for helping repair some of the huts of the townspeople. While Beal and Raiden appear to be especially adapt at hut repair, the rest of the party comes across villagers arguing over a golden statue they had found while fishing. After intense examination, the statue is determined to be merely a crude representation of an octopus. Darian makes off with it briefly, before Bael spots him. The Avenger cleaves the statue in twain, and gives it to the two, who then get back to work on the repairs.

Kaseem takes the party to the island, until grounded by a terrible storm. Kaseem stays behind with the ship, as the party ventures out into Frost Spire Island. They first investigate a column of smoke and melted depression in the ice, leading to a hastily built stone forge. Darian sneaks in, and spots two fire giants discussing something in their strange language. The impulsive halfling leaps out and attacks the giants, surprising them as they grab weapons and try to smash him. Darian manages to take out one of the giants as the rest of the party approaches the sounds of commotion. The remaining fire giant hits an alarm by hitting an anvil with his hammer, before Bael realizes he can communicate with the giant. The giant realizes that he’s outmatched, and surrenders.

Negotiations with the giant are complicated, but eventually, he agrees to accompany the party to fix the wrecked ship. The party moves quickly into the snow, spotting some incoming aerial patrols.

The ship is fixed up, and the party continues to question the fire giant known as Helfstef. He reveals that he and his friend were brought in to work the forges from the results of the frost giant expedition. They are working to find components for use in the ritual to bring back the Primordial known as Ragnarok, who will trigger the Final Winter. The giant lore says that Ragnarok’s return means the world will be plunged into ice for the frost giants, and the astral sea will burn as the new home for the fire giants. Helstef additionally reveals that there are teleportation circles in the frost spire, leading to Fire Island and Tamhold, where the ritual will take place.

The party presses on through the night despite the bitter cold. In the early morning, they arrive at an ice bridge to the Island of Tombs. Darian takes point, placing pitons and rope every 20 feet to provide an easy way to cross. While doing so, however, he is ambushed by Brevan Foss astride a black dragon, as well as two Rimefire Griffons. The party focuses fire on Brevan, who flees on his dragon and says “we’ll let the Titan deal with them.”

After driving them off and continuing on the ice bridge, the party comes across a group of frost giants (including one riding a mammoth), as well as an ice titan performing a ritual on a silver dragon heart. The ritual turns the heart into pure crystals while the party deals with the frost giant guards. Brevan returns and takes the crystals from the titan, and Bael overhears him say “Dyson will be pleased. We’ll see you in a week.” The titan then also strides into battle.

Though the bitter cold makes the fight difficult, almost freezing Raiden to death, the party emerges victorious. After scooping up some remnants, they hurry to the frost spire to teleport back to the front lines: both to inform them that it is only one week until Ragnarok, and to get warm again.

Treasure recovered from the island
  • Gold and gems totalling 60,000 gp
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Glandrin Hates Hags
Adventure 42

In attendance: Glandrin Sunbeam, Gurias Stormborn, Raiden, Darian Shadowheart, Mielka Dawnhammer, Shen One-Eyed

Glandrin opens negotiations with Prince Gargin about the war. In exchange for some of the recovered Etherium from the conquered towns, and helping to build fortifications for a new Elven capital, Glandrin will negotiate for the Elven tribes to lend their military might in the war against the giants. He also agrees to press them to have their allies to also join them to assist the Sartan resistance.

Gurias whips up some phantom steeds (spectral bears) to cross the gulf into the Beastlands, which disappear just a few miles from Glandrin’s village. As the party makes their way into village, Glandrin experiences a dread sense of deja vu… which then hits him full force as he spies the members of his village cut down, lying in the streets, dead.

The party fans out to investigate, and catches the tracks of some soldiers leading towards Glandrin’s homestead. More signs of death lead to a group of Eladrin soldiers, including one Bralani that shouts “This is the price for your revolution!” and attacks.

The cadre of soldiers falls before the party’s attacks, knocking out one of the Feychargers for interrogation. Glandrin looks for signs of survivors in his house, and finds his father dying from injuries inflicted by the soldiers. With his dying breath, he says “They’re going after Ithaca… stop them…” before passing.

There’s no time for sentiment- quick interrogation of the captured guard reveals that Lady Shandria ordered the execution of the Elven tribes, as they had been told that the Elves planned to overthrow the Eladrin monarchy. Gurias uses a ritual to contact the Lady, who reveals she had been captured by hags in the coves near Arborea.

Rushing to the city of Ithaca, the party talks their way into the city despite a lockdown. Ithaca Ravorvine is meeting in secret with a contingent from Arborea- leading to a manhunt to find him before it’s too late. Shen and Darian hit up the underworld to find out where he’s gone.

Moving quickly, the PCs find where the meeting is being held, and find the place guarded by soldiers… and soon thereafter, a Green Dragon. While some battle the dragon outside, a rescue team moves into the house to rescue Razorvine from the hands of a vicious hag.

The hag is blown out the front door to be dealt with, and quickly cut down. The dragon, upon being injured, takes to the air and flees.

The plot is unraveled: the hags wanted to disrupt the ties between Arborea and the Beastlands, and stop them from allying with the Sartan Resistance.

Unfortunately, the irrevocable damage had been done. Glandrin’s village, including most of his family, are gone. While it looks as though Glandrin will get his dream of a powerful Elven nation, it won’t be his village at the center of it.

Standing on the wall of Ithaca as the sun goes down, Glandrin’s cloak flaps in the breeze as he stares into the distance. Perhaps if you were to look closely as the Elf’s face, you might see a single tear. But there is little time for sentiment, for this Fighter still has a war to win.

Treasure (recovered from the Eladrin soldiers)
  • Mithral Shield (Level 18)
  • +4 Cold Iron Longspear
  • Dimensional Gauntlets (Level 20)
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The War Room: An Interlude

Background

Dysonand his giants have conquered all of mainland Sarta. The front lines have been pushed back to the far edge of the Gulf of Arcadia (between Beastlands and Sarta).

With the Alexandren Empire primarily focusing on internal struggles (between a divided Council and aberration outbreak), the might of the Empire’s Army can not be brought to bear against Sarta. Hans Ziegfried, Councilman of the Empire, has brought a combined force of what Alexandren soldiers (those who did not wish to fight the aberrations) he could muster away, as well as Tarturian forces. A few prototype airships have been brought from Tarturia, though they are mainly being used for troop transport and scouting at the moment. Prince Gargin has assembled a force of what Sartan people and soldiers he could pull out of Sarta before Dyson began to enforce Imperial rule. Devoux Demorte leads a cadre of Paladins. Various mercenaries.

Life in Sarta is brutal. The Giants are creatures of inherently creatures of Chaos- though Dyson’s hold over them gives them some semblance of order, they still wreak some havoc wherever they go, and are not the kindest of overseers. The people toil away in mines or foundries to power the war effort, though there are rumors of even darker deeds being forced upon the people. Not even the weather is kind to them.

The Northern-most area, stretching to Frost Spire Island, is controlled by Frost Giants, and has become bitterly cold. The Frost Giants appear in the top of the pecking order for Giants, in as much as there is one.

The middle of Sarta is controlled by the Fire Giants, as they burn away the forests to power their forges, the sky becomes choked with smoke, and the air becomes unbearably hot. They also control Fior Island, which the local have unfortunately renamed “Fire Island.”

The eastern-most edge is the smallest territory, occupied by the Storm Giants, along with their cloud castles.

Finally, the south is controlled by the Stone and Hill Giants, including the Kingdom of Tam. It is the most heavily barricaded between the mountain ranges and extra fortifications, leading us to believe that Dyson is still there, though we have no way to be sure, as he has not been seen in person in some time. We think his paranoid nature has caused himself to become secluded for most of the time, communicating orders through top lieutenants, including a magus by the name of Brevan Foss.

Giants and slaves are not the only combatants either. They have recruited a fair number of chromatic dragons to their service, who patrol the skies and conduct deadly raids from above. They also seem capable of summoning vast hordes of elemental allies, possibly through stable portals. We have also spotted a Slaad or two on occasion, but such occasions are, of course, random.

Our options are becoming thin. In our current position, we can do nothing more than hold the line. The Giants have yet to mount a successful attack since they are so undisciplined, but we fear it is only a matter of time before someone high up turns their attention on us. Then we will fall like the rest of Sarta.

Mission Briefings

  • Behind Enemy Lines: Establish contact with the resistance in the giant-controlled town of Hammerfast, and setup a teleportation circle. This way, troops can be moved in and out, and intelligence gathering capabilities are increased considerably. [COMPLETE]
  • Recruit Allies: Complex political alliances rest on the involvement of the Elven Tribes of the Beastlands, who have closed off their borders suddenly and refuse to meet with anyone who is not a Tribal Leader. Glandrin Sunbeam may be needed to intervene.
  • Strike at the Heart: The south is the most fortified, but the PCs may be able to make something happen in the Forest of Bael Turath, Ruins of Arkhosia, and the surrounding jungles.
  • Gather Intelligence: Investigate Frost Spire Island, Fire Island, and Storm Giant Cove to figure out what the giants are up to.
  • Something else: Make your own mission plan to defeat Dyson and the Giants.
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They Might Be Giants, But We're Certainly Dwarves
Adventure 41

In attendance: Gurias Stormborn, Reschard Tam, Zigfried von Schattenwerk, Light, Raiden, Darian Shadowheart

Dragons Attack the Airship

Regrouping in the Chamber of Eyes, the party is rejoined by Darian, who reveals that he was waylaid by some relatives who were convinced that he had stolen from them.

Reschard reveals that he was visited by Paldemar in the night, who offered up secrets from Vecna in exchange for the return of the Eye of Vecna. Paldemar reveals that Dyson has changed the laws of Sarta so that if he is killed, Elana will remain married to him forever. If Elana is killed, however, the marriage is broken. The other two secrets offered about Dyson were refused by Reschard, who felt that giving up power to Vecna could be just as bad.

Another knock at the door revealed one of the Dwarven pirates, who said that the airship was parked outside to take the party to Sarta. As the discussion continues about what to do about Dyson and Sarta, Captain Long Tall McSwiggen takes everyone aboard. The trip by air takes 5 days, during which the party is given some instructions on how to operate the ship.

Arriving in Sarta, Prince Gargin reveals all the information from the war room.

The party embarks on their first mission, to establish a teleportation circle with the resistance in Sarta in the town of Hammerfast. Captain McSwiggen is bribed heavily to fly into the infested territory to deliver the party.

The ship comes into a mist bank, which reveals the normally invisible ship to the airborne patrols. Soon, 4 dragons (two green, one black, and one blue) attack, alternating their destruction between the party and the ship itself.

A long battle rages on, as the dragons try to remove the party from the ship, and the party tries to lose the dragons. The devious black dragon, finding itself unable to defeat the Swordmage by himself, changes targets and pulls out the steering section of the ship, causing it to go out of control.

The spellcasters try to channel more power into the engines to lose the dragons, which works but leads them to go hurtling towards the ground. Reschard and Darian work with the crew to set up parachutes, as the arcane characters use their magic to try and reverse the engines to slow the fall. Ultimately it saves the lives of everyone on board (minus some barrels of rum) but the ship is ruined. Captain McSwiggen sends the party on their way as he and the crew try to salvage what they can.

The PCs arrive in Hammerfast, avoiding the frost giant patrols to find the Inn of the Frozen Pony. There they meet Rayant Mixalot, famous entertainer and leader of the local resistance. Gurias establishes the teleportation circle in the basement, and everyone returns to the front lines to discuss future mission possibilities to stop Dyson and the reign of the giants.

QUEST MILESTONE: Everyone levels to 16.

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The Dream-Quest of Unknown Corvus
Adventure 40

In attendance: Bael Corvus, Light, Mielka Dawnhammer, Glandrin Sunbeam, Shen One-Eyed, Zigfried von Schattenwerk

With the death of Bael Corvus, and orders from the Raven Queen to find his reincarnated Deva form, the party hit a dead end… after all, he could be anywhere. After investigating yet another dead end in a small town, the party stops at a nice inn to rest before moving on, only to encounter a mysterious purple-skinned figure by the fire.

The unidentified, robed figure knew plenty about the party, and offered to send them where Bael was being held: a realm of dreams where the Far Realm and Astral Sea overlap, the domain of Caiphon, the Purple Star, the Dream-Whisperer. Why help the party? He owed Bael a favor and would consider this payment in full.

Using an improvised ritual based on Detect Lies and a bored barmaid looking for cash, Zigfried creates a psychic link back to the real world to be able to make their way back. Accommodations are also made to send Light, since as a Revenant, he no longer sleeps or dreams.

Plunged into the dream world version of the Inn, the players look around, and despite a bit of sensory feedback, don’t initially find anything to worry about… but realize they have no idea where to begin. Outside, they find a number of strange farmers tending to sparkling vines rising like sand geysers out of the ground. Some quick questioning of one of them reveals that they are Quori, who sent emissaries to the mortal plane to become the Kalashtar. They also point the way to “The Questioners” who should know where to find Bael.

The Questioners live in a large tower, consisting of a Sphinx, a Lich, a strange outsider, and a fey creature. They are constantly locked in debate, but stop to converse with the party. They issue the “Test of Questions” which says that if the party can injure two of them before they injure three of the PCs, they’ll answer the question of where Bael is. Otherwise, the party dies. It’s close, especially with Glandrin valiantly protecting the rest of the party and Light being harassed by an invisible foe, but they manage to pull it off. The Questioners direct the party to a prison… and issue a dire warning that Caiphon will not be pleased if they take his prize.

Shadow FightA singular prison hall, unguarded and untrapped, sits in gloomy shadow. A quick exploration reveals 8 stone doors, each leading to a long hall. A door is picked at random, and Bael is found at the end. Some quick talk is exchanged and they move to escape… until blocked by a massive form reaching out from the shdaows. Many other creatures of dream, nightmare, and darkness come begin to strike out to block the party’s egress. Complicating matters is that the figure they thought was Bael turns on the party, and more copies of Bael join the fight on all sides. One Bael finally turns to face the others, and cuts through them, absorbing their essences back into him. Satisfied that this is the correct Corvus, the party flees from the rest of the shadow creatures.

Unfortunately, they have tarried too long, and the Purple Star has been alerted. Caiphon is indeed enraged, and begins to disintegrate the dream realm as he chases the party as they follow their dream tether back to the real world. The imaginary line leads to the inn where their bodies are, but Hounds of Tindiculous and a Nightmare attempt to block their way. The dream forms of stragglers like Shen begin to be dissolved by the power of Caiphon, and the Hounds toss the PCs back towards the zone of unreality. Bael is pushed to the ground at a pivotal moment but Glandrin manages to heft the Deva’s form closer. Zigfried almost finds himself devoured, but leaps aboard Glandrin’s back to cross the threshold back to reality. As the dream realm crumbles, the party emerges back into the real world, returning their Deva companion to life so that they can all continue their quest.

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The Emperor Must Die
Adventure 39

In attendance: Bael Corvus, Raiden, Reschard Tam, Gurias Stormborn,Zimon

Bael is assembling a kill team to destroy Azazel Caelum. He ominously warns ‘great changes are afoot’ and is heading to Tartarus to forge an Executioner’s Axe the likes of which hasn’t been seen in centuries. Bael warns that those with alliances to either the Far Realm or the Raven Queen should adventure with them at their own peril…

Bael drinks the memory potion brewed for him by Aramath Teldorm for clues to where the Rakshasa Emperor, Azazel Caelum, had reincarnated since the last fight. Images flash in his mind of the doomed vessel Legacy, where he and Azazel piloted the ship on an ill-fated quest to take the fight to the Chained God, which collapsed due to a stowaway breaking the prison prematurely. The ship was sent adrift, and crash-landed on Einland… and Bael knew where.

After taking a set of blessed crossbow bolts, the PCs hire a Githerzerai Monk as a guide to find the area named Zimon, who seemed knowledgeable of the exploits of the party. After some time exploring, the party comes across a small keep set into the side of a mountain, surrounded by a moat. While Gurias and Bael work on a “Tenser’s Lift” ritual to cross, Zimon stealthily scouts, spotting a Couatl floating near the top level of the keep. While making his way back to share the news, the ground begins to rumble… and a Shadow Hulk riding a Dire Bulette emerges from the ground to taste Githerzai.

The battle commences, with two Couatls raining lightning down from the keep as the SH/DB team-up rampages through the party. Gurias on his lift works on the Coutals by summoning a storm, pushing them forward with a wall of fire, then using icy rains to drop them into the poisonous moat. Bael splinters the formation, separating the rider and mount momentarily, allowing the rest of the party time to regroup. It’s not long before the Dire Bulette returns to its master (by burrowing) and the Shadow Hulk re-mounts.

Zimon uses a Monk technique to leap aboard, making a Githerzai Monk riding a Shadow Hulk riding a Dire Bulette. The Bulette bounds into the air to engage other targets while the Monk hangs on. Reschard brings the power of the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords to bear against the titanic Hulk, felling it. The Dire Bulette retreated under the ground at losing its master.

The party proceeds into the keep, knocking on the door, surprising the inhabitants. A contingent of Paladins waits at the door and lets them in, many of whom have bows drawn, with flaming pitch nearby. The party asks questions of the Paladin’s leader who says merely that the Emperor wishes to speak to them and that they are to proceed into the tunnel. There are a few tenses moments, and they proceed into the tunnel with the lead Paladin showing the way, until he stops and gives the order to set off a series of explosions that collapse the mountainside. The party dispatches the Paladin, and manages to get inside the tunnel before all the collapses happen, and the remaining Paladins are crushed.

Awaiting their arrival in a small valley surrounded by mountains is the Emperor himself. The valley sits almost as a crater, with pieces of an ancient spelljammer scattered around. The Rakshasa stands in front of a strange blue monolith, and conducts some banter with Bael and the rest. He admits that he didn’t expect to be found so quickly, but he always knew it would end with a battle against Bael. The party asks about his empire and his guards, who he dismisses as just being tools in the greater goal of working for the Chained God.

After some discussion, the Emperor manages to let slip that he plans to overload the spelljamming power core, killing everyone trapped in the valley. While he and Bael will reincarnate elsewhere, the rest of the party would be killed.

Hearing this, the party surges forth, only to be blocked by angelic protectors who appeared during the last conflict. Energy cascades around the monolith, burning the Emperor as well as anyone else who dares get close.

The fight is vicious, with several party members taking injuries and being knocked out as the warlord tries valiantly to keep them standing and Raiden passes out a few of his infusions to keep everyone in the fight. While the members of the party trained in the arcane arts attempt to diffuse some of the energy, others try to move the Emperor away from the monolith.

Most of his angels defeated, the Emperor moves closer to the power source, his body being burned by arcane energy. His form begins to blur and change, making him near impossible to hit. It seems as though no one is going to be able to plunge the crossbow bolt into his heart to finish him permanently, and allowing the energies to destroy his body and let him reincarnate elsewhere.

Then… Gurias determines that Thunderwave pierces his defenses. With only a few seconds left before the Emperor’s body is destroyed once again, the Wizard unleashes a wave of power, sending the Rakshasa toppling backward, and knocks him out. The bolt is plunged into the black heart, and his form begins to crumble away. The Emperor, who has lived since near the beginning of time, feels death begin to take him for the first time ever, and laments what will happen to him when he meets the Raven Queen. As a last act of defiance, he looks at Bael and says “Any words for your wife?” to which the Deva can only sputter in confusion before he is gone.

Jasper, the body inhabited by the Raven Queen, makes itself known near the tunnel entrance. With the Emperor’s soul given to her, she will release the body that will finally give them the location of the Pelorite Prophecy scrolls once and for all. Bael reminds her that he only has 1 task left to be free from her service. She gives him his final one: to kill himself.

The party protests, but Bael tosses his Executioner’s Axe to her and says that it needs to happen, but he will remember this. The Deva’s head is removed, and his body disintegrates. Raiden rushes to grab his equipment, but the Raven Queen cautions that his items need to be returned to Bael, or there will be consequences.

She then disappears, leaving Jasper behind, who is understandably confused. After some interrogation, he reveals that the Prophecy scrolls were hidden in a small town named Portalis, close to an old well…

Gurias makes a new teleportation circle in order to escape, and the party leaves the blocked valley, armed with new information but having, at least temporarily, lost access to one of their most powerful team members.

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Down and Out in Ancient Nerath
Adventure 38

AKA: “Terror of the Time Toads”, “Nasty in the Pasty”, “Yet Another Groundhog Day Adventure”

In attendance: Mielka Dawnhammer, Raiden, Light, Zigfried von Schattenwerk, Vondal

Recap

After a quick jaunt to the present to let out some travelers and take on some new passengers, the party hears the news: Mielka has chosen Reschard Tam to wield the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords, and in its original form: a Greataxe. Triumphantly, he raises it above his head, before the expedition to the past continues.

Jeq, the operator of Istarya’s Traveling Machine, drops the party off in the year 319 at 6:00 am in ancient Nerath. Soon after arriving, there is a knock on the door by Lieutenant Smith, a member of the Nerathi Guard. By bribing the guard with a steel crossbow bolt, they are able to pass into the city and the Great Library. After this happens, Mielka hears a faint “croak” sound but can’t pinpoint it.

While the party can communicate with the populace, none of them can read the ancient Nerathi language, making finding the tome on the Chained God difficult.

One plan involves Zigfried using his mental abilities to take the language from one of the residents of the time period, so he and Light go off into the ancient city to do so. Everyone else talks to the librarians and grabs a few religious books that may help.

Light and Zigfried find someone to take thoughts from, but are stopped when a number of Slaadi (black, white, and gray) emerge from a spacial rift and attack. Their mere touch dispatches the two.

The other four bump into Istarmani on his way to speak with Istarkoi, and manage to draw the attention of the “Time Toads” as well.

Soon, the party finds themselves repeating the same day over and over- as they trip up the timeline, the Slaadi send them right on back, the party’s bodies drained each time. After a while, they figure out how to get on Istarkoi’s trusting side quickly, and also manage to speak to past (present) version of Istarya, attending a rally being put on by Emperor Alexander the First

After an encounter with an Iron Golem and a Mind Flayer in a room with the tome they seek, the party accidentally lets the Mind Flayer slip away with the book, only to return when the day repeats and deactive the golem and surprise the Flayer in order to get the book. Upon returning to the machine with the book, however, they discover that the machine is out of fuel.

They quickly find the current Istarya and convince him to repower the machine in exchange for helping defend Alexander’s Glen from the onrushing gnoll and demon horde. They agree, and fight against a few waves of gnolls effortlessly enough, but then come face to face with a minor Balor, a feared demon. The fight ends up mostly in hand (thanks to the Standard of the Fiery Legion protecting against many of the demon’s attacks), so after being wounded, the demon retreats, vowing to remember the party’s faces “for all eternity.”

The machine is repowered, and the PCs discover what they suspected: Istarmani, after having an argument with Istarkoi about seizing Nerath for themselves, punishes the seer by burning down her library in the chaos of the attack. She blames Istarya for not coming to her aid, so in a way, the party was responsible for burning down the library after all.

However, the party is able to return to the present with the prize they sought: The Tharizdunomicon.

Rewards:

Tartarus, the Great Maker, is ready to move on from this world, having accomplished his last important task. Before he goes, he offers to construct any magic item (of 18th level of less- or upgrade any item to an 18th level or less version) to the following characters who have not already received a gift from the Forge:

  • Mielka
  • Shen
  • Bael
  • Zigfried
  • Gurias
  • Glandrin
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