The 2000 Year Epic Campaign

Operation Zatha
4th Era - 23rd Session

Place holder for our next session

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Operation Dunbar Island
4th Era - 22nd Session

Four members of the newly created strike team, Corvus Septum, arrived in Chancellor Gavin’s office in the Ilthor Kingdom capital of Centum Treyopolis and had an opportunity met each other in the waiting room. Present at this time are:

Evaine (Blaine) Gnome Mystic – Communication Officer
Brodus Longhorn (Caleb) Minotaur Barbarian – Weapons Officer
Waverly (Brick) Elf Rogue – Engineer
Burpuller (MF) Bearfolk Cleric – Medic

Later this session the group met up with:

Rigel 108 (Jordan) Warforged Rogue – Team Leader
Brenna (Wil) Half-elf Warlock – Intelligence Officer

In the next session the group will hopefully find:

Ethne (Lou) Gnome Mystic – Operations Officer

After initial introductions were made, the four could overhear bits and pieces of an argument in the next room. Evaine pressed her ears against the wall to pick up bits and pieces of the conversation.

Someone of authority was upset, Chancellor Gavin mentioned “broken promises of funding for his project”, which the authority figure seemed dismissive about when he replied, “And you really think these seven misfits are going to quell the Aqium Invasion?” Evaine gathered the next part was a compromise of some sort, with Corvus Septum having a chance to prove themselves.

After that conversation was over, Corvus Septum was ushered into Chancellor Gavin’s office.

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This was the second time each person of Corvus Septum met Chancellor Gavin, the first time was when he initially recruited each member into this elite, strike force. The chancellor seemed disheartened, “It seems as through your group may already be doomed from the start, which is very troubling since I already have half of your team out on assignment.”

Chancellor smiled and did his best to pick up his spirits, “But we have an opportunity to turn this around, and that is all heroes of your kind need, just a chance.”

Gavin asked if everyone had heard of the King of the Hill Tournament, and assured them that it not a fight to the death any more.

“If you can survive two rounds, Corvus Septum is alive and well. Survive more thatn that, and we can be better provisioned.”

The newly formed group nodded and readied themselves for the tournament.

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Two days later Corvus Septum walked through the Warrior Gate and into the arena waiting area. There they found a satchel on a table with a note that read: “Corvus Septum beings today. Make me proud.” Inside the bag were four potions of healing. Two minutes later, Corvus was escorted out into the fighting arena. Circling the hill were a handful of medic and healers, prepared to pounce when a combatant falls in the fight. Atop the hill were three veteran guards, each with minor scrapes and bruises . One of them beats his shield as you approach.

“Defending the Hill are dedicated soldiers and defenders of the Ilthor Kingdom. They are…The Steadfast Guardians!” yelled the announcer to the over joyous crowd, who seemed eager to see the Steadfast Guardians fight again.

“Next up, are a band of misfits, both large and small. They are…Corvus Septum!”

Corvus Septum made short work of the three guards and barely caught their breath before the next wave which was bullywugs from the swamps near Anavio. Which they also put down fairly easily. Corvus Septum will exist!

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The third wave were gnolls from the Yennog Hills, and this was a much tougher match, but Corvus survived.

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The fourth wave were two giant spiders from the Ashilwynn Forest, and by this time, exhaustion and damage took their toll on the group. Only Evaine and Burpuller remained standing after the spiders were killed.

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Things aren’t looking good as the fifth round began with an ogre entering the arena.

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The round began and the gnome and bearfolk fought valiantly but succumbed to the large beast. The crowd went crazy with a standing ovation that this group far exceeded expectations by surviving four rounds in the King of the Hill Tournament.

You saw a general ( General Ott) say something to Chancellor Gavin in the stands and storm out of the arena. Gavin came down to the arena to congratulate you as healers tended to your wounds.

“You did it! I knew you would! Bards will sing of this day, the first of many accomplishments! Rest of relax tonight, for tomorrow you are off to Dunbar Island.”

Before Corvus Septum would head out, they were given 500 gp to buy healing supplies for their trip. Having no Operation Officer around, they had to pay full price, and got 10 potions of healing.

The following day they set sail in a small, but fast ship , sailing from Centum Treyopolis and into Alimlar Domain waters to the eastern edge of the Ashilwynn Forest. Here they met up with the warship that was used in the attack as it was here gathering more supplies for the occupation of the island. Just a few hours later they were docking in Dunbar Town.

Here they met Team Leader of Corvus Septum, Rigel 108 and the Intelligence Officer, Brenna. They were able to catch the rest of their team up to speed about what is going on.

The attack wasn’t much of an attack for the Alliance Forces. There were only six Aqium soldiers stationed here in the Mayor’s Manor, and they seemed to be drunk on rum most of the time. The villagers hardly even noticed them. Their defeat was swift. Centurion Arcavius has assumed control of the island and is pretty much full of himself.

The town boasts one tavern, called the Blue Gateway Inn. Fairly unremarkable except that it was built around a Blue Pillar that is without power.

An imprisoned gnome on the island has been asking to see her sisters for some time.

Last, Centurion Arcavius was recently approached by locals who spoke of a disturbance south of town near an old burial mound. He has asked Corvus Septum to look into it.

Evaine wanted to look into the strange gnome asking for her sisters. Upon entering the jail, the very confused guard pointed her out. Evaine new immediately it wasn’t Ethne. The confused guard referred to prisoner as Red Sister since she says that all the time. After stumbling through his story a few times, it was finally learned that this gnome ( Terribeth) was brought to the jail by a couple of her shipmates for murder.

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A strange looking dagger was confiscated from her possession when she was jailed. Brodus ended up taking the dagger.

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Terribeth stared at the opposite wall the entire time, never saying a word until the team started to leave. She whirled around to look Evaine dead in the eye. “I will drink upon your blood, this I swear to the Red Maiden.” No one knows anything about a person or organization called the Red Maiden.

Next, the officers went to work on gathering as much information about this mission as they could:. It is the burial mound of Gilliard Wolfclan, a barbarian from 20 years ago. He went mad and the townsfolk killed him and ran off the rest of his tribe. Presumably his tribe built this mound for their fallen leader and died within it themselves as they were never heard from again.

Corvus arrived at the location, an old oak tree, twisted and blackened lies atop a small hill. A stone well leads down into darkness.

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Voices could be heard in the next chamber, goblins according to Evaine. Waverly found a secret door but before she could open it, Brodus ducked out the exit of the room to get to them first and fell in a pit.

Corvus ended up fighting and winning a two-sided fight. Goblins led by a two-axe wielding leader on one side, and a goblin shaman and an elf wizard on the other side.

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Corvus cleared out the first level and descended through a trap door to the second level. Here, Brodus and Rigel 108 quickly took care of two giant centipedes that snuck in behind them.

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Corvus found a shrine of some sort to the Wolf Totem. Brodus seemed to know a barbaric ritual here and lit the candles, healing himself and two others completely with a blessing from the wolf.

The next room they found two dead goblins at a door and logically, that the door was trapped with a poisonous gas. The group got through the door and were standing in front of a handful of skeletons and the ghoul version of Gillard himself, wielding a magic greatsword.

The fight was difficult but Corvus Septum was victorious, Brodus acquired the magic sword for now.

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As they exited through the well they heard voices up top. Two minotaurs, known soldiers of the Aqium forces, talking to each other. It was difficult to hear but they were able to pick up a few key words:

  • Ambush
  • New orders
  • Docked
  • Timing of Events

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Brenna lets loose her raven who rose through the well and above their heads to listen in on the conversation. She saw that they were joined by a dark elf. who gave the minotaurs orders. “I will sneak back to the Stone Eagle for orders, you two will stick out in town. Get back to camp and await instructions.” the Stone Eagle sounded like a ship.

The three parted; the two minotaurs headed south (to where the Aqium ambush camp was) while the dark elf headed north towards Dunbar Town.

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Corvus Septum returned to town to inform Centurion Arcavius what they heard, the Legion of Aqium was planning an attack. Arcavius was outraged, this could jeopardize his victory! He gave orders to attack the Stone Eagle at once, but the level heads of Corvus Septum convinced him to wait while they go investigate first.

Corvus found the Stone Eagle in the docks and waited while remaining hidden. An hour later, the dark elf silently walks down the docks and enters the captain’s quarters of the ship.

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Evaine leaves the scene to inform Centurion Arcavius about what they saw, but while she was gone, the dark elf emerged and started to leave. Team Leader Rigel 108 ordered an immediate attack before they lost him. More soldiers from the Stone Eagle emerged when alerted to the fight and the dark elf made a daring escape off the ship and into the water, never to be seen again.

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Once the guards were defeated, Corvus Septum made a search of the merchant vessel. Brenna recognized this as being a refitted Parados Shipping Company vessel, most likely repurposed from the Dolaneg Kingdom for use for Aqium war efforts.

Below decks they found cannons hidden behind secret doors, most likely to be used in a surprise attack. The biggest find was not the plan for the attack (the dark elf had them) but a map that indicated how the attack would take place

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Evaine returned with Arcavius and everyone looked over the plans. The Centurion ordered his troops to the southern side of town to meet the oncoming Aqium forces, while Corvus Septum would be sent to the Blue Gateway Inn. Evaine made a quick note of the dark elf with a better description of him, and sent it back to command.

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By the time Corvus Septum arrived at the inn, the attack had already begun. Aqium wizards and soldiers poured out of the local tavern while citizens ran for their lives.

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The streets were on fire, wizards and soldiers pressed the attack in the center of town. Brodus moved up to the second floor to deal with a wizard on the balcony, but got dropped, out of sight from everyone on the ground. Burpuller got to him just in time. During the fight, Evaine ducked into house, and fires psychic energy from the window.

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The dark elf made a brief appearance in the streets before ducking back inside the inn. Members of Corvus Septum rushed in but found the dark elf gone, and the pillar unpowered.

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The team moved outside to conduct a quick search and Brodus found a guard sneaking away. With no time to call for help he took care of this himself, running him down and capturing him.

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The belief is that the dark elf escaped through the pillar and told the last guard to take the jewel so he couldn’t be followed. Through some intimidation, those thoughts proved correct as per the guard.

Results came in from the south gate, Centurion Arcavius survives but only with 6 Ilthorian soldiers left. After some healing for the wounded, 4 more soldiers pulled through.

The stories continues in Operation Zatha

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The Start of the Great War
Between Ages (3rd and 4th)

How the Great War Started

Agreements and arrangements between Aqium and Decius had run their course, and they came to a head when Emperor Gavenius turned his attentions away from The Scourge and attacked the Lich known as Astriminar (formerly the Arch Mage) in Holy Sanctuary of Ao.

It was an uneasy alliance to begin with. The Arch Mage provided Decius with arcane magics and agreed to help with the Emperor’s obsession with stopping the Scourge. As time went on Aqium wormed and wiggled its way into Decius politics. From advisor positions to the Emperor, to control of the dragon egg hatcheries, to the building of the Tower of the Elements in Centrum Treyopolis. Aqium was intertwined into Decius.

The opposite was not true. Aqium remained separate from Decius influence and while they initially provided Decius with assistance in the Emperor’s efforts to eradicate the Scourge, it gradually slipped away. The final straw was the Crown of Shadows.

Secretly, the Emperor assembled a task force to find the fabled artifact and Commander Graves was sent off to the Island of Minos to find it. It was brought back to The Citadel, where wizards loyal to the Emperor uncovered its secrets. The Emperor hoped that possessing this powerful item could tip their relationship with Aqium back in his favor.

The Crown was stolen and later ended up in the hands of the Arch Mage. What the Emperor hoped to turn into an advantage, now turned into a disadvantage. The Arch Mage had already absconded with the Snow Queen and absorbed her life force and elevated himself to a higher power as the Ur Mage for a brief period of time. The Arch Mage had become too powerful and he boldly proclaimed to the Emperor that he would open the gate to hell and welcome the Scourge into the world, a world that he would control.

Emperor Gavenius learned that the Arch Mage would need to get to the Sanctuary of Ao in Decius to begin the ritual to open a permanent portal for the Scourge to enter. The Emperor gathered his forces and laid in wait to ambush the Arch Mage.

Unknown to the Emperor the Arch Mage was now Astriminar the Undying, a lich of enormous power. He had foreseen the ambush because he caused it to happen, allowing the Emperor to learn about his actions, knowing that he would have no choice but to respond to the Scourge incursion threat.

Astriminar had no intention of opening the gates of hell for the Scourge that day. He wanted Last Rites, one of the Seven Artifacts, a fabled longsword belonging to the Emperor.

His plan went off without a hitch, although he was forced to summon Scourge reinforcements as the Righteous joined the battle for the Emperor. But the Lich got what he came for; Last Rites and the Emperor is now dead. Astriminar returned to Aqium while Decius awaited the invasion.

It didn’t come. Not right away at least. Some sages speculate that the Lich was preoccupied with other matters, perhaps communications with Asmodeus himself. Other think that the Lich simply waited to Decius to crumble to the ground on its own.

With no imminent invasion on the way, Decius was free to reassess its situation. The continent was being pulled in several different directions. Decius became known as the Fractured States of Decius as the continent broke up into five separate states.

The Fractured States of Decius

Ilthor Kingdom

General Ilthor fought beside the Emperor and managed to survive the encounter with Astriminar. The Ilthor kingdom is the western most lands of Decius and still adhere to the traditions set forth by the late Emperor; strength, might, and strong traditions. Mostly human, the Kingdom is now ruled by King Venantius II.

Alimlar Domain

A state of freed people that include the dragonborn, elves, and humans, Alimlar is squeezed in the middle of the continent, feeling pressure from all sides. The domain is still very chaotic and a great deal of turmoil exists in the land. Queen Seera, a dragonborn, recently came to power as she overthrew King Vicrik because of his corruption and incompetence.

Nosiriath Realm

If ever a realm was to be overlooked it would be this one. Nosiriath keeps a low profile when it comes to politics and enjoys a stable rulership that is run jointly by two individuals: King Karrig Thror is dwarven and leader of his people, the Dhirnamor Dwarves. Justicar Aneasar is the highest ranking person of the Faith of Ao. While the two leaders occasionally differ, neither does anything without being in complete agreement. While this is great for a united front, it also means that not a lot gets done around here. Geographically the realm is split up between Decius and Ramicus (formerly known as Northern Decius) with the dwarves predominantly in Ramicus and the humans in what was once northeast Decius.

The Free States of Ramicus

With the fall of the Decius Empire, Northern Decius returned to its original name, Ramicus. Although that name is still in the tradition of the Empire, seasons veterans of the cold northern lands only knew it by the original name. It came with a sense of liberty, from a time when they were free from Empire control. When the Kingdom of Dolaneg fell, the remaining kingdoms quickly agreed to recognize Ramicus if they promised to help in the war with Aqium, but they still have their hands full with the Goliaths known as the Mountain Kinsmen, who have joined Aqium in the war.

Kingdom of Dolaneg

As the invasion never came, some thought Dolaneg was on the cusp of greatness. King Parados was a progressive leader and utilized the great mineral resources of his land to engage in trade routes throughout the world, including Aqium. Merchants became rich here, and over time people flocked to the eastern portions of Decius for a better life. Then after years of profitable trade and growth, the invasion did happen. Those who thought Dolaneg would be spared because of their relationship with Aqium were dead wrong. The invasion was swift and ruthless and in less than three weeks, the entire Kingdom was under Aqium control.

The Current Situation

It has been 35 years since Astriminar slayed Emperor Gavenius and triggered the events that began the Great War. The invasion and conquering of Dolaneg was just nine years ago, but it gave Aqium a firm foothold on the continent. The remaining Kingdoms quickly united, as best they could, to defend their lands against the invaders but they are slowly losing. Aqium swept through the southern islands and are utilizing the rich resources of Dolaneg to further their efforts. Aqium forces are beginning to press into all of the remaining kingdoms and are gaining ground and resources by the day. Aqium grows stronger by the day as the Fractured States of Decius grow weaker.

Chancellor Gavin, a middle-aged high-ranking officer from Ilthor was a noted historian who combed the archives for anything that could help in the war. He found what he believes they are missing.

Heroes.

Each era had them. Whether it was The Righteous or the Soldiers of the Bull of the Third Age, the Champions of Elon or the Crescent Order of the Second Era or even as far back as the Three Feathers of the First Era. Each era had their champions, and this era certainly needs them now.

King Venantius II gave Chancellor Gavin permission to pursue this endeavor and he scoured the lands to find the best and the brightest that he could in the amount of time and formed Corvus Septum, an elite strike team that would operate in conjunction with the armies of the fractured states in hopes of turning the tides of the Great War.

You

Chancellor Gavin saw a spark in you, a glimmer of strength, a flicker of hope that you might be the type of hero he is looking for in Corvus Septum. You were in one of the Fracture States of Decius Kingdoms, as a rank-and-file solider in the war when Gavin selected you for this prestigious assignment. You have agreed and are traveling to the Ilthor Kindom capital of Centum Treyopolis to meet the others and get your first assignment.

The story enters the Fourth Era in Operation Dunbar Island.

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The End of the Third Era
3rd Era - 21st Session

The heroes picked up where they left off in the Fortress of the Ur Mage. In the next room they had to figure out a riddle to get to through the green glass door to a pile of magic items. They figure out they had to place items on the pedestals with double letters (book, scroll, battleaxe, apple, etc) to open the door and allow they to pick up an item.

From here they circled completely around the fortress to another room on the inner circle. In this room full of brass clocks, they were able to look into the past, present, and future. Un’Goro gazed into the past.

You see a vision of the Kainin Mountain on Brind-Amor. Flying overhead you see a warband of Doombringer Orcs crashing down the mountains, destroying everything in its path. A few hundred yards ahead of them you see a handful of tribesmen running from them. A few hundred yards ahead of them is the Treagir River. They will be pinned down and slaughtered there.

Un’Goro sacrificed two HD to provide the Red Hawk Tribesmen with two rafts to cross the river, as it happened so long ago.

Jaffe gazed into the visions of the present…

You see a vision of a massive end-of-times battle against the Scourge. One of the other party members falls in battle at the same time Emperor Gavenius falls. You can help one of them right now, who do you choose?

Jaffe chose to help his comrade and ignore the Emperor.

Last, Triton gazed into the future…

You stand at the gates of hell, weapon in hand, deliberating entering. You know if you enter, you will die, but you could save the world.

Triton entered the gates of hell to save the world.

After this, the group entered the vault and acquired more magic items. From here they proceeded to the final room.

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in the center of the giant cyclops skulls was a pile of magic items, atop them all was the fabled artifact known as the Wand of Death. A wraith descended from the ceiling and animated the pile of gold into the chassis of the Ur Mage. Tetsu-ko, used a cleverly worded historical “wish” he got from a recent magic item to, never allow the Ur Mage to come into existence. Instead, historically, another mage came to control, this one was called the All-Mage.

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The battle was heroic, and each round the fight would switch to another room. The last room was the one with the walls lined with clocks. Jaffe managed to shove the chassis of the All Mage into the vortex of arcane energies that quickly consumed and obliterated the chassis of the All Mage.

However, the disruption of the All Mage set a chain of explosions throughout the fortress. The Heroes scrambled toward the entrance, hoping that it would act as an exit at this point. As more of more of the fortress came toppling down on their heads, a familiar face appeared.

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Frantically, the Chronomancer ran over to Triton, Where is it?!? Tell me you still have the Crown of Shadows!!!

Triton searched through his possesions as more and more bricks crashed down, but he couldn’t find it. Wil the Bloody recalled a brief hiccup in time during the final battle when the All Mage presumably cast Time Stop and retrieved the Crown of Shadows from the heroes. Nevertheless, the Chronomancer whisked them away, out of the Fortress and back to and old familiar place.

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The heroes were taken back to the docks of Filbiklink, and they stood in front of The Sea Word which, once again, proudly displayed its Brind Amor colors. The exhausted Chronomancer retired for the rest of the day but introduced them to an old fiend, and now captain of the Sea Word, Abai Nanzold. She was able to fill them in on what happened in the three-and-a-half years since they entered the Fortress of the All Mage.

We were informed that you entered a portal to find the original Snow Queen by Nyth Whitestorm, the new Snow Queen. The Brind-Amor fleet waiting for weeks in the cold waters of Ice Maw Bay before giving up.
 We feared the worst and decided to return to Geargrind Island and figure out what to do.
 Soon after, war broke out between Decius and Aqium which seemed to accelerate our collective decision.
 Basically we came down to three options: Leave, Trade, and Wait. And we had three ships. So we sorted everything out and went in three separate directions.
 Captain Grildur Stonehands (Dwarf Fighter) took over the Quiet Fury and their ship left to explore the world. Kindroth Mithdaer (Elf Ranger) took over the Blacksail and they are very active in trade thanks to the war. I took over the Sea Word and the rest of us…never gave up hope. We stayed here in the Styrc Isles and help the gnomes however we can. Praying that you would return one day.
Decius and Aqium are locked in a war that threatens our entire world. The Ur Mage has consolidated there forces that include the Aqium Wizards, the Chromatic Dragons, the Minotaurs and…the undead…and they lay siege on the fracturing states of Decius.

The heroes had some questions about some of the Junior Officers they came to know, and Captain Nanzold filled them in. Clerk Amiel went from medic on the Sea Word to Quartermaster on the Sea Word. The Bearfolk had relocated to Prewth Island and acted as a police force for the Master Tinker there and had a great relationship with Kimerth. The Dragonborn kids were grown up no, and each went a separate direction. Two were Master Gunners on the Quiet Fury and the Blacksail, and the last was the Helmsmen on the Sea Word. Last, Carl the Monk was the Boatswain on the Quiet Fury and is now the Quartermaster on the Blacksail.

The following morning the Chronomancer had regained this strength, and layed out the next few actions of the heroes.

The end of days is upon us. In just a few hours, the Emperor will confront the All Mage in the Holy Sanctuary of Ao, that will determine the fate of the world for the next hundred years. A battle the All Mage, now a Lich, will invariably win.
But we aren’t ready to confront the All Mage yet, we need more allies and I have a plan for that.
I have found a number of key moments over the last 3 years that you can return to, where you have the opportunity to improve our situation. Maybe it’s helping an ally, or convincing someone to our side.
The downside is that we are limited. Three times you will need to choose between a set of two scenarios. When you are ready, I will present the first set of options.

The heroes readied themselves and gave the Chronomancer the signal to begin. He went through his incantations and two portals opened up for the heroes to select from.

On the left the Kavaard Bearfolk have responded to the cries of help from the injured bronze dragon Kimerth on the island of Prewth. Atop the dormant volcano of Mount Vraalt, the bearfolk square off against the deadly flame dragon, Camawrath and her son.
On the right, the Mountain Kinsmen, sworn servants of the Snow Queen, are up against the Kathaydus, the white dragon of the north, and her yeti followers as they attempt to stop this mad dragon’s rampage across Northern Decius.

The heroes deliberated for a minute before choosing to help the Bearfolk and Kimerth. Through the portal they went and there they had to fight two Flame dragons in the snowy top of Mount Vrault.

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At some point Jaffe thought it…daring to leap upon the back of Camawrath, which he successfully did. Also he managed to hold on while the flame dragon ascended into the air

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However, he did not hold on too much longer, and plunged headfirst into the snow. Soon after that, both dragons laid dead in the snow. The Chronomancer appeared again with two more options.

On the left the dark elves of Aqium are at a crossroad since the All Mage has discovered a cure for the One Tree. Some favor siding with him in the upcoming war while the others do not trust him.
On the right a similar situation unfolds. The Arethrion Elves, long sworn enemy of the Empire are in a debate to join the Aqium wizards.

The heroes decided to side with the Arethrion Elves and talk them out of joining Aqium. They met them in an ice cave in Northern Decius where they were in talks with The Arisen. This was the first time the heroes had actually met with the Arisen and it was a shock to learn that they were tieflings. They are a small, but determined race who has been persecuted heavily throughout time because of the chaos and destruction that the Scourge present in the world.

The Snow Elves were considering joining forces with Aqium since they had such a long an storied hatred of the Empire and how they tried to oppress them through subjugation and invasion. Jaffe made an impassionate plea, warning of the greater evil that is the All Mage and the Aqium Wizards as a whole. The new Snow Queen , Nyth Whitestorm decided that the Arethrion Elves would remain neutral in the upcoming war.

The Chronomancer whisked them away for their third and final choice.

• On the left the gnomes of Geargrind Island have traveled to the island known as Ao’ Well after the farmers pleaded for help. The undead terrors you found there years ago was just the tip of the iceberg and the gnomes are in serious trouble against a horde of undead.
• On the right the underground lair of the Bronzeshield Dwarves of Aqium have been compromised by denizens from the underdark that could utterly destroy them.

Considering their long standing relationship with the Gnomes of Geargrind Island, it was a fairly quick decision to help them out. It was a really quick battle against waves of undead but the heroes once again prevailed.

The time of reckoning was upon them, the final confrontation between Emperor Gavenius and the All Mage. The Chronomancer teleported them to the site of the final battle.

You appear in the Holy Sanctuary of Ao, frozen in time, in the center of the chamber, and in the middle of a battle. Galerius Brotherhood fighters square off against a handful of Bearded Devils. More Scourge scramble across the room, some appearing from the portals, and head towards the balcony above. On the balcony above the ultimate showdown is about to commence. On the left was two dragonborn fighters, two bearfolk warriors, General Ilthor, and Emperor Gavenius. Opposing them were three minotaurs, one dark elf, The Evoker, and the All Mage Lich.
The Chronomancer turns to you, This is it. The destiny of the world as we know it will be decided in the next few minutes, in this room. The All Mage Lich welcomes the Scourge into this world and has come to the Sanctuary of Ao because of its strong arcane and divine magics, a perfect place to summon the Scourge. The Emperor above wields a weapon that can defeat the All Mage Lich, a longsword called Last Rites. However, the summoned Scourge here will reach him before the can strike the final blow against the Ur Mage Lich. You need to prevent that from happening. Stop the Scourge while we try to destroy the All Mage Lich. I helped the All Mage long ago. I was an Arcane Master, like the Evoker and the Abjurer. But what was once determination by the Arch Mage, turned to power hunger in the All Mage. Good luck friends, the end of my line is here and now.

The Chronomancer smiles and floats up the balcony to assist the Emperor.

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The battle begun with the heroes defending the bottom floor while the powers of Decius attacked the All Mage on the balcony. More Scourge poured into the bottom floor through the portals, but eventually the heroes were able to slowly gain the upper hand and got things under control.

On the balcony a different story was being made. The All Mage was quickly dropping Decius fighters (thanks to Power Word Kill and Disrupt Life) and it wasn’t long before the Emperor, the last on his side, was stunned. The Lich approached the frozen body of the Emperor and removed Last Rites and killed him with his own weapon, cackling with delight.

The All-Mage, using the Crown of Shadows, raised the dragonborn and bearfolk as ghouls and ordered them to attack the heroes while he disappeared in a flash, having gotten what he came here for.

The portal stopped churning out Scourge and the heroes and the remaining Brotherhood Fighters were finally able to clear out the Sanctuary of Ao.

The threat of the All Mage and the Scourge were gone. But a new dark power was looming on the horizon. The continents of Deicus and Aqium were at war.

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Fortress of the Ur Mage
3rd Era - 20th Session

The group left the Fang Hills and traveled to The One Tree but found little there at first.

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Near the roots of the tree they found a cave that reached beneath the massive tree. Inside the cave was nothing but footprints. They were of elves and they traveled to and from the cave. Someone had the idea that this cave could be a meeting place, so they decided to watch and wait.

From the treeline, a few days later, they saw two elves cautiously approach and enter the cave. Following them, they finally found the secret entrance. Deep below ground they finally came to a guard tower where they met the Dark Elves for the first time.

Eventually they were put in contact with Zeria, leader of the dark elves. She told them their story about how the Arch Mage had poisoned their tree long ago and it is dying. The elves had moved underground and are slowly turning into drow elves. Zeria explains that the Arch Mage’s power grows as we speak and he must be dealt with before it spreads across the world. She asks that they try and wipe out the Aqium Wizards and she is doubtful that the One Tree can be saved at this point. Un’Goro used commune with nature and felt that the tree would need an epic level healing solution to save it.

As the heroes exited the One Tree they saw that the Obelisk of Seta-Re had illuminated, indicating the Arch Mage was present. They made a bee line for the monument set in the desert and magically a door appeared. They entered the structure and found themselves in the Fortress of the Ur Mage.

Later they would learn that the Arch Mage has ascended into the position of the Ur Mage, most likely after a sacrifice of the Snow Queen. Later, the Ur Mage would transform himself into a lich and instigate the Great War.

The first room of the fortress was dining hall, with warm food on the table and two leering gargoyle statues flanking the door.

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Ravenclaw shrugged his shoulders and took a bite of the food, transforming himself into the food itself. A moment later, a slightly transparent version of Ravenclaw appeared, having traveled to death’s door. Eventually those who die in here and swooped up by the Ur Mage before entering death’s realm and brought back to suffer more in the fortress.

The group saw the gargoyles animate and rattle off two rumors about the fortress before they proceeded to the room with the Ur Mage’s spellbook.

The spellbook was massive, 4′ × 3′ × 1 and bound in the scales of a tarrasque. Two undead, with their mouths stitched shut, hold up the table which the spellbook rests. The group tried and tried to open the spellbook with no luck.

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The next area was a hallway of paintings. Triton followed up on a rumor about looking through the eyes of the Ur Mage and felt a momentarily flash of madness but was able to pull away in time. Tetsu-ko looked at the blank door and Un’Goro opened it. A trail was beyond that led to Charon, ferryman of the River Styx. The group quickly returned to the hallway.

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Next Triton looked at the final painting and sees a wraith that would perfectly mimic his movements. Tetsu-ko noticed that around a corner, was a table with a thin layer of dust except for a spot where something rested on it. Triton mimicked walking around the corner to pick up the item and handed it to the mirror. Sure enough the wraith returned to the mirror and handed Triton and urn through the mirror. Inside the urn was the electrum dagger.

The next room was strange. Tiny, arcane black hands retrieved little odds and ends throughout the fortress and brought them back to a large crack in the wall here. Triton found a scroll of reverse transformation here. Further into the room was a tiny pyramid under a glass shell. Inside the shell were miniature slavers controlling slaves who are building the pyramid. Across from that is a pool of water with the bottom filled with gold sand. Un’Goro parted the water and scooped up a handful of miniature gold pieces.

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In this room the group saw a throne with statues of three adventurers. Before anyone triggered it, Tetsu-ko noticed a trap on the symbol of the Ur Mage in the center of the room. Ravenclaw disabled the trap with one of his arrows.

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Inside a secret compartment on the throne was a chime of liberation which the group used on the statue of the dwarf paladin to free his spirit.

The summoning chamber contained three arcane circles which confounded the group. the circle of protection gave them the impression that they could safely summon a demon from. Ravenclaw boldly walked into the next one and was immediately dragged into hell for eternity. However, the Ur Mage pulled him back into the fortress once again, this time a little weaker than before.

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Deciding to forgo the teleportation circle, they instead moved to another large room. Two great statues stood in the center of the room with an acidic substance dripping from the ceiling. Tetsu-ko was able to run along the walls and get down to the bottom to scoop up treasure off the floor. Everyone else used the rope of climbing and was able to retrieve a few items for themselves before taking too much acid damage.

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Here in another hallway they saw two statues; one of a golem and one of a medusa. Behidn both were secret doors, the medusa one is activated safely but using the electrum dagger across her throat.

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Beyond the golem was a room with a magical paintbrush painting a picture of a stone door with no handle. The group noticed that it was painting over something else, a portrait of a lich, which they believed to be beyond the real door in this room with no handle. Behind a curtain was a painting of the Ur Mage and Asmodeus playing chess together. The size and style of the painting is similar to those they found in the hallway before and this one could be the one that was missing from that area.

Un’Goro hung this painting up in that hallway and was presented with this chess situation and told it was his move:

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The half-orc stared at it for a moment before moving white rook to take black knight, putting black into checkmate. As he did this, they were immediately transported to a real life chessboard and witnessed the black knight piece crumble to the ground.

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The group all assumed roles of various chess pieces:

King – Tetsu-ko
Queen – Triton
Bishop – Un’Goro
Knight – Ravenclaw
Pawn – Quinvalur

And they had to battle the black pieces, but they were limited to melee attacks only. This put the wizard Quinvalur in a tough spot and he took a great deal of damage in this room. Triton pulled an alabaster mace off the wall and discovered it dealt maximum damage to the black pieces. The group defeats the black pieces and a portal that was behind the black knight lights up. The group entered and found themselves in the alchemical room.

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Various golems work in this room, some turn items to gold and back to its normal state, some retrieve ore from below them, and another creates more golems. A scroll rack in the back contains various unknown commands for the golems when they are fed them. The group manages to get a silver key they found turned into gold. Which is good because they do find a gold door in this room. Un’Goro manages to get them to return the miniature gold pieces to normal sized (10k). Last they feed a scroll that makes all the golems attack. They make a hasty retreat to the next room.

This room is mostly underwater and Tetsu-ko shows off by running across the surface back and forth, retrieving items along the way, and even catching a glimpse of the map of the fortress.

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Un’Goro uses water walk to get everyone to the next room. A round object embedded into the floor, under a layer of mucus is in this room but the group goes no further with it. Tetsu-ko mentioned that after she glimpsed the map, she realized that they forgot to check out the secret room behind the medusa.

A timer is set off and the group quickly makes it to their appropriate spot. A massive head of a djinn opens it mouth in scowl and Tetsu-ko jumps into the mouth and come up empty handed. But then throws up a magical lamp. Tetsu-ko is offered one wish: Wealth, Power, or Knowledge. She picks Knowledge and the Intelligence of everyone in the group goes up two points. Except Quinvalur who was already at 20.

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Also in this room the group finds a secret passage to the inner circle of this fortress. however their is river of souls between them and the inner circle and they couldn’t find a landing place on the other side.

Beyond the chessboard room they group came to another area and found a basin of water that gave visions of this fortress. Everyone looked in and saw a vision:

Un’Goro – spotted someone cutting open the mouths of a undead to open the spellbook
Quinvalur – saw someone rolling dice in this room into a turtle shell bowl
Ravenclaw – saw someone placing a giant eye in a cyclops who had none before
Triton – saw someone step on the “Bahl” letter and get killed.
Tetsu-ko – I’m sure saw something but I can’t remember what it was.

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The group pressed on and found an eye-less cyclops in the center of pillars. Someone had the idea that the round object covered in mucus might have been a giant eye so they returned to that room.

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Sure enough, it is an eye and when they uncovered it they noticed it looked in three spots on the cobweb ceiling. Removing the cobwebs revealed 26 paintings of people. They could tell it looked at:

Advisor
Sage
King

It spells out ASK. They group asked the question about where they could get the gold key. The answer was the cyclops.

The group returned to the room with the cyclops and Triton, empowered with resistance to lightning damage, entered the circle and gave the cyclops the eye. Lightning shot forward and encapsulated the doors, barring the exit. Un’Goro gouged out his own eye and they were allowed to leave the room.

In the next room in order to retrieve items, the group had to recreate how they had died so far in the fortress using dolls of themselves.

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The next room was deadly. A void wraith was summoned into this room and it controlled a sphere of annihilation. Ravenclaw was nearly killed in the first round, and another was badly injured as well. Tetsu-ko banished the void wraith for one minute while they came up with a plan. A hand of Asmodeus juts out of the wall, as if beckoning for something. Reluctantly the group gives it the wand Tetsu-ko just used. The void wraith and the sphere reappeared and the hand uses the wand to destroy both, but everyone took a fair amount of damage as well.

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Here a pool is filled with gems as the bottom and a large girallon sits at one end. Quinvalur dives in and grabs one and places it in the open hand of the girallon. The closed hand opens revealing five soul gems. Quinvalur tries to grab them all and earns the anger of the beast, killing the greedy wizard instantly. Triton retrieves equal gems for soul gems and gets them all, while the ghostly image of Quinvalur returns.

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The group returned to the alchemical room and used the gold key from the cyclops to enter the inner ring. They came to an room with spirits produced armor and they spotted a way to get to the center of the fortress but it required making a jump over the river of swirling arcane magics.

Here Triton was able to use his knowledge from the field journal and his previous vision to see some of the steps to make and some to avoid. Ravenclaw deciphered the pattern that spelled out Ur Mage using the first letter of each name.

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This room contained a chasm in the center with a magical rope hanging in mid air. The chasm is hundred of feet deep and you can hear choppy water far below. Tetsu-ko climbs down, nearly slips, but reaches the bottom. Her she see souls of the dead enter the gates of hell. Somehow she knows that a lever, just inside the gates, must be flipped for them to proceed further into the fortress. She gives an impassionate speech to the souls to flip the lever but to no avail. She decides to enter the gate of hell and do it herself. She dies.

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Sure enough, a ghostly image of Tetsu-ko returns to the others and the sounds of chains lowering a drawbridge can be heard nearby. The group can now enter the center room or continue exploring the fortress.

The story continues in End of the Third Era.

View
Central Aqium
3rd Era - 19th Session

The heroes delved deeper into the Temple of Apshai, chasing down the Arch Mage who had absconded with the Snow Queen.

The next room they entered contained peculiar statues that would magically appear in random places every few seconds. Also in this room were two Blemeyes; headless giants with eyes on their shoulders and a huge gapping mouth in the center of their chest.

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The heroes navigated the room mechanics as well as the monsters within it, then they thought about the Chort Devil they still had with them. Time was running out, they estimated they had less than 30 minutes of control over the Scourge. The debate went on and finally they decided to attempt to re-bottle the devil back into the Iron Flask now, rather than have him turn on the group in the middle of a fight.

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By the will of Ao, the heroes managed to capture the Scourge back into the Iron Flask. The heroes took a short rest before continuing.

The hallway contained a giant boulder tumbling down it right at the heroes. Someone saw a secret door appear before them and tried to lead everyone through it. The door was an illusion and the boulder hit everyone.

Next, the group encounter two large scorpions hunting some invisible creatures. As the heroes attack them, the invisible Domovoi’s appeared and also attacked them. Quinvalur got grabbed by one of the pinchers and was then blinded by its tail attack.

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The heroes succeeded and moved upstairs to the next level where they witnessed a corrupted ogre chieftain fight two humanoid crocodiles called Subeks. They heroes waited until just one subek was left and they quickly disposed of it.

The following room contained a stone golem, which was a formidable opponent, but even Quinvalur (still blind) was able to deal some damage.

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Surely at this point the heroes would have given some consideration towards what was happing. They were traversing through a pyramid, fighting strange and out-of-their-element creatures in every single room. Why was this? Is this the work of the Arch Mage?

The inhabitants of the next room were waiting for the heroes. Two large and evil fey Guardians stood before them with pikes drawn. Immediately they dropped to the ground revealing a third creature behind them. A Mind Flayer who almost seemed to smile when he saw them. He attacked them with Mind Blast, and managed to stun Wil the Bloody. Next the Illithid hit them with Lightning Bolt and since they had been unable to get out of the hallway yet, it hit everyone and dropped Wil the Bloody and Quinvalur.

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Ravenclaw saved the day when he his the Mind Flayer with a natural 20, killing it instantly. Bruised, battered, and bloody, the heroes prepared for the Guardians to attack, but they didn’t. They calmly walked over and stood beside their master, eyes down and weapons lowered. When the heroes would pass through this room again later, they guardians remained, but the body of the Mind Flayer was gone.

The next room, of course, contained more creatures, but these didn’t attack immediately. Two githyanki, one on guard, the other trying to decipher the hieroglyphics on the wall, readied weapons as the heroes entered.

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Communication was difficult, but it seemed like the Githyanki were trapped in this temple, specifically to this room, and they can’t get out. The gith accused the heroes of being behind this whole thing, but they noticed the cuts and scars from recent fights that might indicate the heroes were also trapped.

The heroes circled back around and went upstairs from the room where they killed the Illithid. Here they encountered the Arch Mage.

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You are a persistence bunch, or fool-hardy. Eagerly you walked into my trap in the Cave of the Ancient and find yourselves in Aqium. With no friends, no help, and your limited spells. Barely clinging to life as you stand before the Arch-Mage, and a handful of Scourge-inspired savages. You will die here. A long way from home.

Logically, the heroes focused their fire on the Arch Mage. He did have a Globe of Invulnerability up, but he didn’t seem to mind the physical attacks that much for some reason.

The battle raged on until, suddenly, the Arch Mage was replaced by a minotaur. the heroes quickly mopped up him and the two demon-orcs before Wil the Bloody was able to explain what he saw.

The Arch Mage cast Time Stop and calmly walked over to the heroes and looked each one in the eye. Then he snapped his fingers and the minotaur appeared out of thin air, carrying the Snow Queen. The two spoke for a moment and they only word he heard was Obelisk. The minotaur set the body on the ground and readied his weapon. The Arch Mage levitated the body of the Snow Queen off the ground and the two of them disappeared.

A trapdoor in the center was the pyramid ceiling was found and when the top was opened, the heroes got a good look at where they were. Central Aqium.

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They were able to see a handful of landmarks throughout the region, as well as a large Obelisk at the far end of their vision. The group carefully climbed down the edge of the pyramid known as the Temple of Apshai and headed for the town of Matasiris. Along the way, Quinvalur was able to pick up bits of a message from The Arisen:

…must help…dwarves…long forgotten…and the elves…very oppressive…only hope…

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They spent the night, bought some more healing potions and learned a handful of rumors throughout the evening:

  • A Mad hermit live in the Fang Hills
  • Brigands are holed up in the mountains to the north
  • Spire of the Rose is abandoned, people avoid it, bad thing things happen
  • The One Tree? Someone used to live there, long abandoned now, the tree looks bleaker and bleaker each year, might fall over before too long.
  • Constant storm over the stronghold? Who did they piss off? It’s not natural, no reason to go there, just a dismal place
  • The old temple in the southeast? No one knows who that belonged to, the Wizards cleared it out decades ago. It seems so far away
  • The Obelisk of Seta-Re? I heard that is the tower of the Arch Mage himself. There is not a single door on it, but you can tell when someone is home, a blue beam of light shoots straight to the stars when he is there.
  • Mysterious lights over the Nashir Ruins, some say the undead haunt the ground there. Some say ever worse!

Feeling that the Arch Mage was not in the Obelosk of Seta-Re, since the light wasn’t on, the heroes decided to look for the hermit in the Fang Hills. The found him living at a set of Stone Hedge-like ruins in the hills

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The Mad Hermit lived up to his name but he did mention that brigands, known as the Clan of the Wicked, have holed up in the Bronzeshield Caves to the north, and that they were a menace to the countryside and also the King wanted them out. The group had assumed that Aqium was ruled by the Arch Mage so when they asked the Mad Hermit about the King he produced a mouse out of his pocket. Aye, the King here wants them gone too!

The group shrugged their shoulders and went off to the cave to deal with the brigands, since both the Mad Hermit and the King were promising a reward. The cave was easy to find because of the partial dwarven statue that stood around the entrance.

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Inside they saw orcs, humans, and an ogre sitting around hundred of crates and boxes of stolen goods. Quinvalur and Jaffe decided to start this encounter of with both barrels of the fireball shotgun. This nearly wiped them out. The rest of the heroes entered to clean up and found a few more brigands who came forward from the back.

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It didn’t take long for them to clean up the rest, and poke around at the good they acquired. In the back of the room was a strange metal door. It wouldn’t budge, but with everyone working together, they finally got it unstuck and learned that it was propped shut from the other side.

The heroes moved in and discovered a long-lost dwarven fortress here inside the mountains. Deeper still they found the Bronzeshield Dwarves. and met Magni Thelgrimm, leader of the dwarves.

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The Magni was able to fill the heroes in on what happened. The Bronzeshield Dwarves had shut themselves off from Aqium hundreds of years ago (2nd Era) when the Aqium Wizards first started to take control. The memory of the dwarves faded from memory until no one knew they ever existed.

The Magni asked a lot of questions about the outside world and mentioned that there has been a growing sentiment from his community to venture back into Aqium. The heroes agreed to keep their existence a secret for now and wished them well. They returned to the Mad Hermit.

Both the King and the Mad Hermit were pleased with the news that the Clan of the Wicked was taken care of. He searched his shack of a house for a suitable reward, and after conferring with the King, he presented the heroes with a single coin.

At least it was a magical coin.

The story continues in Fortress of the Ur Mage.

View
Into Northern Decius
3rd Era - 18th Session

Tetsu-ko looked over all of the notes from Commander Graves desk and tried to put together an idea of what was the mission of the Quiet Fury.

The mission was called Operation Goliath and it came directly from Emperor Gavenius. It was a top secret mission that was to take place near the town of Mlyfenor in Northern Decius. It is not a direct assault on the Arethrion Elves but rather a mission to recover something before the Aqium Wizards do. If the wizards were met, they were to be eliminated with no witnesses, as this could lead to war between the two nations.

The Brind-Amor Fleet sail north through Ice Maw Bay, past the town of Stageton where they saw two Galerius Brotherhood ships dock, and as they reached their destination they saw to warships attacking the Arethrion Elves on land.

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The ships moved in to attack and the signaling system the Brind-Amor Fleet established worked out perfectly. They made quick work of the Red Warship before starting on the other.

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The White Warship took heavy damage and tried to make a run for it out of the bay. They slipped through for a moment, but were quickly sunk after that.

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The Fleet made sure there were no survivors.

Quickly the moved to shore to assist the Arethrion Elves that were under attack and outnumbered, from the Galerius Brotherhood.

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It did not take long for the heroes to gain the upper hand in this fight. After Un’Goro showed them the necklace he got from Nyth, they questioned the elves about what had happened.

They all said that this appears to be another attack by the Brotherhood and that their warships have been here many times. They added that their leader, Nythsaileath Whitestorm was looking into a recent sighting of non-brotherhood humans that were seen east of Mlyfenor recently. She left here just before these attacks took place.

Before they left the elves warned them about cells of Brotherhood soldiers all over these mountains.

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The heroes found tracks heading east and later came upon a fight between Nyth and her winter wolf and three Brotherhood soldiers. The heroes put them down before they could even turn around.

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Nyth thanked them for their help once again and was able to shed some more light on what had been going on here lately:

  • The Brotherhood has been launching attacks here for years now, and their only interest is to enslave or kill us.
  • Recently she had seen Aqium Wizards sneaking into Northern Decius and heading north into the mountains.
  • This is particularly strange as the elves have never seen the Aqium Wizards in their homeland nor have they seen foreigners who did not directly attack them.

Tetsu-ko brought up some of the information she learned from the special secret mission that Commander Graves was on. Between her and Nyth, they were able to piece together what is happening.

They believe the wizards are seeking out the Cave of the Ancients, a holy shrine for the Arethrion elves, where their spiritual leader and the Mountain Kinsmen are frozen. Legend tells that they will come back to life in our most dire time.

Apparently this Operation Goliath was issued with the understanding that the Brotherhood could not let this thing fall into the hands of the Aqium Wizards, and if it did, Commander Graves had to take it back and leave no witnesses to this war-provoking crime.

As the heroes and Nyth headed for the Cave of the Ancient they spotted three Brotherhood soldiers outside of a large cave. The heroes started to move into position to attack but Nyth held them back. Let’s see how this plays out first. she said with a smile. Minutes later they entered the cave, loud noises were heard, and a plume of freezing cold air burst out of the cave entrance.

That is Kathaydus the White, a dragon who is attended by several yeti. The heroes asked if they should deal with this dragon and Nyth shrugged her shoulders. We would be better off with her gone, being so close to our home, but the Brotherhood soldiers keep wandering into that cave.

Instead, the heroes pushed on to the Cave of the Ancients.

The temperature immediately dropped when they entered, and they discovered tracks in the thin layer of snow. Ravenclaw recognized boots, hooves, and some sort of giants had recently passed through here. Most disturbing was that one set of the hooves were much larger than the others.

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In the next room they discovered two of the three types of footprints. Three minotaurs and two Thursir Giants waited in here. Before attacking, the giants dropped massive backpacks of gear, equipment, and food that was all used for the expedition here.

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After a room with green-ish inchor warm springs the heroes entered the final cavern of the Cave of the Ancients. At the far end of the room, where an excavation had taken place, a minotaur carried the body of a young and beautiful elven woman over his shoulders. Nyth gasped, The Snow Queen!

The minotaur stepped into a portal and behind him was a person that the heroes would grow to despise, The Arch Mage.

The Arch Mage immediately spotted you and motioned to all of his henchmen to kill you before stepping through the portal himself. The Abjurer and two other Aqium Wizards, began casting defensive spells instead of closing the portal as the Arch Mage instructed.

In front of the heroes were two minotaurs and a third that was three-times the size of the others. They raised their weapons and stepped forward.

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Partially in a panic, and partially out of curiosity, Un’Goro unleashed the Iron Flask and brought forth the Scourge they were to fight in the King of the Hill Tournament back in Centum Treyopolis.

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The heroes pushed forward, battling through the minotaurs as well as the protective sphere around the Abjurer, finally slaying all of the Aqium personnel still in the Caves. Nyth was, once again, thankful for their help but was devastated to see her queen taken from this holy shrine. The heroes found several frozen bodies in large blocks of ice. They were al about 7 to 8-feet tall, 300+ pounds, with very pale skin and black tribal markings or tattoos. These must be the Mountain Kinsmen they heard of before.

Even stranger, the portal remained opened. Neither the Abjurer nor the other wizards managed to close it before they left.

Knowing the only had about 45 minutes left before the Scourge would no longer be under their control, the heroes decided to plunge into the portal to chase down the Arch Mage and save the Snow Queen while they still could.

Nyth wished them well and said she would inform their ships of their decision.

Much later, the heroes would learn that this portal led them into central Aqium to a place called the Temple of Apshai. It was an Egyptian style pyramid filled with strange creatures. The first were Imy-ut Ushabti who were filled with skittering scarabs that would attack when they were hit with slashing weapons, or as they vomited swarms of them on the heroes.

The heroes would prevail and they moved on to the next room. It was a trap, a cloud of darts filled the room hitting everyone.

The heroes caught their breath and leveled up to 9th. However, they are low on spells and they only have about 35 minutes left of control over the Scourge.

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The story continues in Central Aqium.

View
Into the Citadel
3rd Era - 17th Session

Anchored just outside of the Decius Islands, the senior officers of the Sea Word sat down to discuss a plan of action. The ship is badly in need of repair. Progress, albeit slowly, could be made while the ship is at sea, but with no friendly harbors nearby it might be their only choice. Tetsu-ko brought up the idea of sailing all the way back to Geargrind Island (2 weeks) and making repairs there. Some scoffed at his idea, saying by the time they reach the gnomish island the ship would be nearly repaired.

But Tetsu-ko had another idea. The Blacksail was recovered from the Sea Word’s victory at the Battle of Geargrind Island months ago. The lead ship of Kaithor Blacksail was commandeered by the Sea Word and given to the gnomes of Filbiklink. We could see about acquiring the former Tempest Swarm ship and double the size of out fleet.

Triton 714 brought up the idea that the Sea Word should make way for Basti, which was close by, to acquire the armor that the blacksmith Kel Keniz was working on for him.

During this time, Captain Ravenclaw, seeing the Jaffe was back to his normal self, returned command of the Sea Word back to the halfling bard. Before doing so, Ravenclaw also brought up something that had been bothering him, the missing arcane researcher named Tinesia, that still needs to be found.

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Quinvalur spoke up and mentioned the progress he has made on the side. The elf wizard, in his free time, had been working on a Ring of Sending, which he used to make contact with Dark Phoenix of the Arisen. They were trying to reach out to The Righteous in a great time of need. They had come across the knowledge that the Galerius Brotherhood had discovered an ancient artifact known as the Crown of Shadows, rumored to allow the wearer complete control over the undead. The Crown has been taken to The Citadel where it was going to be studied before turning it over to the Emperor himself.

Further complicating matters was the fact that Un’Goro experienced a spirit flight and found the location of the Vine Lord that eluded him before. A bearfolk, later to be learned to be a member of the Kavaard Bearfolk Clan, was captured by the Vine Lord.

Lastly, Ravenclaw read from the personal journal of Chancellor Cassius and fear grew that the entire Brotherhood might be on the lookout for them.

Captain Jaffe had a tough decision; the ship was in dire need to repair, and the best bet was to return to Geargrind Island to get the ship fixed and possibly take control of the Blacksail. But some of the matters here in Decius (Vine Lord and the Crown of Shadows) seemed to be time sensitive issues. Captain Jaffe decided that since Basti and Triton’s new armor was so close, he could duck over there and pick it up really quick.

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It did not go well. There was a strong Brotherhood presence in the small island town, and Kel Keniz had been replaced as the town blacksmith. Wanted posters for the traitor blacksmith were seen all over town. Jaffe did witness two guards talking to a captain about the search: There were no signs of Kel in the forest clearing with the anvil, all we found was this. The captain threw the armor scraps they found in the garbage and told them to start interrogating down at the docks again, before the Chancellor returns.

Jaffe correctly believed that he had to work on this armor project in secret, away from the Brotherhood. Either something happened to him in the forest clearing or he fled before he could get captured by the Brotherhood. Jaffe swiped the armor pieces and darted back to the Sea Word and soon they were on their way to Geargrind Island, despite protests from Triton with fears of the blacksmith’s safety.

Along the way back to Geargrind, the crew was able to make progress on repairs, getting up to about 75% of maximum. When they got here, the captain ordered three days of shore leave for the entire crew, while he and the other senior officers talked to the Master Tinker about the Blacksail. She was delighted to see them again and was happy to gift the galleon back to them. They had made full repairs to the ship and it will soon be loaded with supplies.

Next up, both Captain Jaffe and Captain Ravenclaw, who would be taking over the Blacksail, went on a recruiting mission around Filbiklink for sailors. Between here, Ston Cay, and Nightrock, they would find enough to set sail with a full compliment on both ships.

Tetsu-ko approached the bronze dragon, Kimerth and asked if she would like to relocate here in the Styrc Isles, and she agreed. She will take all of the metallic eggs with here to Prewth Island, while the chromatic eggs will say with the ships. The Dragonborn kids, however, will remain on the ships splitting time between their two dads, Triton and Un’Goro.

Quinvalur once again contacted Dark Phoenix who wondered where they were. The Arisen had learned that research had begun on the Crown and it wouldn’t be long before it was turned over to the Emperor.

With affairs settled in the Styrc Isles, the Sea Word and the Blacksail made way for the small town of Mevatay. All told, this detour back to Geargrind Island took 33 days.

The ships landed just outside the small town of Mevatay and met with Mayor Nik Netherford, who according to Dark Phoenix, is sympathetic to the cause of The Arisen.

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The heroes spoke the key phrase and Netherford escorted them up to the balcony of the local tavern where they could talk in private. There is a way in to the Citadel that they wouldn’t notice. During low tides a sea cave appear just west of the main docks at The Citadel. Inside this cave is a passageway to an area where they have clumsily covered up a hole into the heart of the fortress. Mayor Netherford suggests you get to that area and quickly unplug the hole and get into the Citadel undetected. The Crown should be close by, but be careful, there are thousands of Brotherhood guards in there.

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When asked about a way out, Mayor Netherford shook his head. Not that I know of. I doubt that your way in will still be a viable option whenever you are ready to leave. By Ao’s will, hopefully a path will be found.

After Quinvalur retrieved some stolen Brotherhood uniforms, the mayor took the heroes in a small boat to the sea cave as the tide receded later that night. Through the sea cave about thirty-feet back the heroes found the plugged up hole in the ceiling they needed to get through. Triton and Ravenclaw got to work on the hole as the sea water began to rush back into the cave. Un’Goro eased their fears with a readied water breathing spell.

Finally they broke through and entered the Citadel. Quickly they patched up the hole as best they could but a fair amount of sea water had splashed in and it was going to become noticeable shortly.

After a short excursion by Jaffe, Ravenclaw led the heroes out of the room and past two guards on the dock on one side, and a mess hall full of guards on the other. Beyond two locked doors and a bone-chilling cold corridor, laid a room they were looking for.

A set of strong double-doors were opened and the heroes found two guards on the ground floor and an Aqium Wizard on the top floor. He was examining a corpse on a table. We are not to be disturbed, leave immediately! The wizard shouted without looking up. Seconds later, the heroes had killed all three.

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The heroes ascended the platform to retrieve what they came here for. But the crown was more than just a magical item, it was an artifact with a sense of self preservation. It reanimated the corpse that once wielded it and soon the heroes were faced with a Masked Wight.

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The undead creature let out a wail that dealt thunder damage and deafened Tetsu-ko, Quinvalur, and Un’Goro, and nearly killed the wizard outright. It next rose the three humans in here as ghouls to help defend itself. Tetsu-ko was knocked down to 1 HP, and Triton was dropped completely. The Masked Wight hit both Tetsu-ko and Triton with the Khopesh of Oblivion that dealt a fair amount of slashing damage, along with some other effect.

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It would be years later before they discovered what happened when they encountered that Mask Wight that day. When Tetsu-ko went back to Brind-Amor and returned to her monastery, she sought out her personal room where she would first discover to hone her Ki powers. It was on the top floor on the monastery and closed to other students. But when she returned, there was no room on the top of the monastery. It was just gone as if it never existed, no one else had even heard about it. Tetsu-ko was the only person to know of it.

Triton’s was similar but on a larger scale. When the warforged returned after the encounter with The Scourge, he went back to the Holy City of Southwatch, the Temple of Ao was still the center of the religious community but the massive, 100-foot tall statue of Ao was gone. Again, just like Tetsu-ko, no one in the community ever had an knowledge of its existence. A frightening prospect for Triton as people who he personally worked on the statue with, had no idea what he was talking about.

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But thanks to his relentless radiant attacks, Triton slew the Masked Wight and retrieved the Crown of Shadows. They crew quickly bound wounds and began to prepare an escape from this fortress.

A knock at the door, Commander Graves? Are you in there? The heroes quickly hid the bodies just before the person at the door unlocked it and entered.

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A young clerk with glasses and a pile of papers entered and walked straight to Tetsu-ko. Commander Graves, I have some papers for you to sig-. The Clerk Amiel stopped as he looked up and saw what he thought was Commander Graves. You look…remarkable. Er, I mean, your disguise looks great, everyone does. Sorry.

Tetsu-ko played along with it.

The ship is stocked with winter gear as you asked, if I could just get you to sign here, and then the Quiet Fury will be ready to depart.

Tetsu-ko took the documents and scribbled a signature.

And when do you want to depart, Commander?

Tetsu-ko replied, Right away.

Clerk Amiel led the group back to Commander Graves quarters and unlocked them for his superior. Tetsu-ko gathered up some paperwork from the desk, including a map of Northern Decius and a layout of the Brotherhood ships currently deployed in the north.

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She also noted that the clothes here would fit her perfectly. Clerk Amiel asked if she had decided on which captain should be in charge of the Brotherhood soldiers on this mission. Tetsu-ko asked him to run down here options again.

Captain Addack is a season veteran of many campaigns, well respected, but tends to rush into battle. Captain Grellian has more sailing experience they anyone here, has traveled all over the known world, but lacks combat experience. Captain Novius is very young, he came up through the Emperor’s network of spies, excels at covert operations, but crew are somewhat nervous working with him.

Tetsu-ko gave it some thought and selected Captain Novius. Soon Clerk Amiel had ushered everyone past the guards and laborers fixing the hole they made upon entry, and to docking berth number six, where the Quiet Fury was stationed. Amiel found accomidations for Commander Grave’s assistents, except for the ‘boy’ named Jaffe. And before you know it, the Quiet Fury, under the command of Commander Graves, set sail from the Citadel.

Tetsu-ko informed the Quiet Fury that, as part of their secret mission, they were going to rendez-vous with two other merchant ships just outside of Mevatay before proceeding towards the Arethrion town of Falanore.

When she was finally able to reunited with the other heroes, Tetsu-ko hatched a brilliant plan to get rid of Captain Novius and his 20 Brotherhood soldiers.

A new course was set for the northern shores of Decius. Captain Novius and his men were tasked with ridding the forest of an evil corruption that plagued the land and threatened the Empire. They were dropped off from Quiet Fury and given directions to where this abomination resided.

And the heroes planned to be there when it happened.

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The Brotherhood soldier found the location of the Vine Lord and fought against tendril puppets, vine troll skeleton, and two treants. And when the time was right, the heroes entered the fray from the opposite side. Brotherhood solider began to drop left and right and four of them fled combat, but Captain Novius and the remainder of his men pushed on.

As one of the treants was thrashing away at the attackers, Captain Ravenclaw swooped in behind Captain Novius and “missed” his target of the treant. The arrow pierced the throat of former spy master, killing him instantly.

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Further up on the ridge, what you came for finally appeared. The Vine Lord moved in on Un’Goro. The evil fey creature tried to sink his tendrils into the orc druid, but Un’Goro fought him off, eventually slaying him for good.

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After the fight the group was able to rescue Ulrik, a bearfolk that Un’Goro saw in his vision weeks ago. He explained that he was from the Kavaard Bearfolk Clan. They were a part of a much larger clan that followed the Bear King, but they were ostracized from the group. They sailed here to Decius and settled down. The Vine Lord tried to force them to join him but they refused. Since they, the two sides have been at war with the Vine Lord gaining the upper hand.

A few days later, Un’Goro would meet with the rest of the Kavaard Clan and ask them to join them. All eight bearfolk join the crew.

As they headed back to their ships, only two members of the Galerius Brotherhood remained, Broban and Hilno. Tetsu-ko ordered them to chase after the four deserters from the battle, but they came up emptyhanded. Commander Graves incorporated them into the rest of the crew and she seems to have their complete compliance, thanks to a most effective intimidate check from Jaffe.

The fleet next sailed for the town of Basti on the southern side of Decius. They followed up on the news that the blacksmith Kel Keniz went missing after the Brotherhood was on the look for him.

They began their search in the forest and quickly found the outdoor anvil the guard mentioned. They did find a few more pieces of the armor he was modifying for Triton but the trail had long gone cold. With the storm building overhead they managed to find where Kel died, on a small island a few hundred yards from shore.

They found that Kel died at the hands of an Ala, who used him in an evil fey sacrifice.

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With the overhead storm at its height, the Ala and her fey minions ambushed the heroes. Lightning attacks from the fey dealt serious amounts of damage, but the heroes prevailed and recovered the final cuirass piece of armor for Triton.

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From here the fleet followed up on the strange compass they’ve had in their possession for some time. When it was first discovered in Brind-Amor during the 2nd Era, it pointed north and no one thought anything of it. When the United Pride and Sea Word finally reached Decius, the compass then pointed west. Pointing to something specific and not a direction.

As the ships approached the island the compass was pointing to, they found warning buoys. The message read: The Island known as The Rage is strictly off limits by order of Emperor Katus. Underneath that someone had scrawled, Death Awaits!.

Paying little heed to the warning, the heroes set foot on the lush, tropical island. They climbed onto a ridge to get a good view of the entire valley. Birds flew overhead, a herd of antelopes were seen in the distance, and rocky mountains lay in the center of the island.

Then everyone heard a pop from behind them, and a slightly older William the Bloody appeared, and frantically yelled at everyone:

No! You are making a horrible mistake! The new Wil the Bloody frantically waves everyone back to the boat, shaking his head, We tried this once already, it wiped nearly all of us out. I managed to escape and it took me years to find the Chronomancer again so I could come back here and stop us now. Quickly, back in the ship!

Before he disappeared, William told Triton to look at page 77 in the Field Journal. Just about at that point the heroes heard a tremor from across the island. Followed by another, and another.

The heroes caught a quick glance of the Tarrasque that was charging their way. An enormous beast that would certainly mean the end of all of their lives. Around it’s neck it wore a wooden chest, tied down with strong leather straps. Trition correctly believed that the compass was pointing to something specific within that chest.

The heroes sailed back to Decius and gave more thought about what to do about the Crown of Shadows. It is known that a high level cleric and paladin would be needed to destroy it but Triton was no where near that level. The only high level paladin he knew of was himself, Raveroth of Decius. Perhaps with some help from the Chronomancer, they could all go back in time to have Raverorth and his friend, Eldrick Brightblade, destroy it once and for all.

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At the end of this session, decisions were made as far as the breakdown of this ships. For the sole purpose of ship drills, it was decided that the six players would essentially roll for all three ships, using this format:

Captain Rolls – Caleb/Captain Jaffe
Quartermaster – Lou/Un’Goro
Helmsmen – Jordan/Triton 714
Master Gunner- Brick/Wil the Bloody or Quinvalur/MF
Boatswain – Blaine/Tetsu-ko
Medic – Wil/Ravenclaw

As far as who is on what ship during ship battles, here are the rosters:

Sea Word

Captain – Talsion Jaffe
Quartermaster – Un’Goro
Helmsman – Junior Officer Abai
Master Gunner – Junior Officer Xanzin
Boatswain – Random sailor
Medic – Junior Officer Rurik
Other – (8) Bearfolk
Crewmen – (20) Able

Blacksail

Captain – Ravenclaw
Quartermaster – Random sailor
Helmsman – Triton 714
Master Gunner – Wil the Bloody
Boatswain – Random sailor
Medic – Junior Officer Skolk
Other – (3) Dragonborn kids
Crewmen – (20) able

Quiet Fury

Captain – Tetsu-ko
Quartermaster – Junior Officer Grildur
Helmsman – Junior Officer Quozaren
Master Gunner – Quinvalur
Boatswain – Junior Officer Carl
Medic – Clerk Amiel
Other – (2) Ex-Brotherhood Fighters
Crewmen – (20) Able

The saga continues in Northern Decius.

View
Like Clockwork
3rd Era - 16th Session

The Senior Officers of the Sea Word return to Scalaycium to tell the townsfolk that the necrotic creatures that caused their nightmares, have been dealt with once and for all. But the town is not as receptive as you had hoped…

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Triton, Jaffe, and Wil the Bloody all noticed something was going on. Mothers ushered in children, shutters were slammed shut, and the townsfolk (thought to be grateful for the heroes recent help) kept a weary eye on them.

Jaffe pulled out his crossbow and attempted to fire on one of the guards perched atop a building, but Wil the Bloody was quick to stop that. After getting a lay of the land, seeing over a dozen guards, Captain Ravenclaw devised a plan. They had to pick the lock of the backdoor to the tavern and then force their way past those inside holding it shut. But from here Ravenclaw looked at his options. There was no way these Galerius Brotherhood men could have known about their liberation of the Cerioth Hatchery, so boldly, he stepped out into the street to announce himself.

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Chancellor Julius Cassius, a red dragonborn, stepped forward and announced the charges against them. They included aiding and abetting the Arethrion Elves in Savarius. And before negotiations could begin, Un’Goro had seen enough and cast lightning bolt in the center of the Brotherhood.

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The heroes spread out and began to work their way towards the Sea Word. Jaffe knocked a couple of archers out with stinking cloud, while Tetsu-ko dashed to the roof of a building to knock out another archer there.

At some point, Quinvalur, waking up late aboard the Sea Word, made a ridiculous roll of a natural 20 that somehow managed to stay on the table.

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Tetsu-ko made a phenominal, assassin’s creed-like leap from one building to the next to get the last of the guards. Soon after the crew was aboard the Sea Word once again.

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However they were not safe yet. Two Brotherhood warships were starting to close in on the Sea Word.

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The countless hours of training the crew had put in was starting to pay off as the Sea Word was able to fire their cannons at twice the rate of the two Brotherhood ships. Captain Ravenclaw ordered the dangerous yet effective maneuver of sailing between the ships and ordered a full broadside attack on both at the same time.

This left one of the warships disabled at sea, leaving this as a 1-on-1 fight, but the Sea Word was badly damaged. Tetsu-ko ducked down to the lower decks to see if their new friend might be able to lend a hand.

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Kimerth agreed and she quickly made for the last warships. Moments later the ship was also disabled. Captain Ravenclaw ordered the remaining ships to be scuttled after they raided them for supplies.

The Sea Word limped out to sea to put some distance between them and Scalaycium and get some well needed rest.

The next morning began with Admiral Jaffe rounding up the crew for exciting news. He had found a cure for his slave branding that has been plaguing him for months. He claimed he was met in his nightmares/sleep by someone referred to as The Chronomancer. He told him that he could help him with his situation if Jaffe and his friends could help him escape from his time loop/self-imposed prison. Jaffe asked Wil the Bloody if he remembered meeting this Chronomancer, but he said he hadn’t. Jaffe produced the magic hourglass, broke it, and a portal appeared on deck to the Clockwork Prison/Hiding spot and the senior officers stepped through to the Clockwork Maze.

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Wil the Bloody had a flashback to a time when he was a child. He met the Chronomancer and he gave him instructions to hide six keys in a prison/hideout so that (presumably) the Scourge could not find him. Young Wil would be able to vaguely figure out the relationship between traveling around this clockwork maze and manipulating time (past, present, future).

Fortunately, the first move the group made was literally in the right direction.

Starting in the 11 o’clock room and being in the past, the group was able to find notes that young Wil the Bloody left behind clues, in a carefully worded book, Wil the Bloody wrote a story that contained hints as to where and when the keys were hidden.

The heroes continued counter-clockwise to the 10 o’clock room, they also began to learn that any room in the ‘present’ would contain monsters to overcome, and treasure to be gained.

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Here the heroes fought four hyenas that were circling around a fountain in the middle of the room. As the neared the center, the statues of Ao turn around and revealed themselves as gargoyles. The group was victorious and found a magical set of bracelets in the fountain. They were given to Quinvalur and once she put them on, she discovered a frightening truth about them:

Slave Bracelets of Ulsa – This item is cursed, a fact that is revealed only when you attune to it. Slave Bracelets of Ulsa are always crafted with a third ring that is not chained to the bracelet usually called a “master ring”. While you wear the bracelets, you are always charmed by the wearer of the master ring.

Next the group continued counter-clockwise and found their first key in the 9 o’clock room floating in the bottom of a murky pool. They ducked down to the 7 o’clock room and fought a mage with two guard captains with an emblem on their shields that was from the Field Journal.

The swung back to 8 o’clock and picked up another key before taking the portal “across” the map to 4 o’clock.

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In a crypt of some sort the crew fought and defeated a guardian of some sort that formed through a swirl of dust in the room. Afterwards, the group saw four sarcophagi in the room labeled: Reshk, Vaddix, Lintheass, SaDordone.

Inside the Lintheass sarcophagi Jaffe found the_ boot of knocking_.

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Next they moved to the 3 o’clock room and quickly jumped to the central platform as the room began to fill with lava. Two dead neogi were also atop it and hundreds of cranium rats lie strewn about the room. They activated the pressure plates and slowly the lava seeped out of the room, allowing them to move on to the 2 o’clock room.

Eventually they would appear in this room in two time periods, first in the past where they saw the dead bodies, and once again later in the present where they had to defeat a Bahtu, a kobold alchemist, and two ghouls, and grabbing another key here in the process.

Somewhere around this time they were also able to swing down to the 5 o’clock fungus room to snag the key hidden in the past, and also down to the 6 o’clock room to get the key in the past.

With only one key remaining, the crew made their way back to the 11 o’clock room in the present. There they fought and killed a grey slaad and also retrieved the Capharran War Glaive in the process.

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A return to the 12 o’clock main room and inserted all six keys triggered a portal to another section. One by one they entered and found themselves in a completely new area.

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They all appeared, spread out in an Egyptian-like tomb. Each of the five sphinx gave them answers to a riddle that would open the final chamber. Once that was figured out, then entered hoping to find the Chronomancer.

Instead the discovered the last barrier. A half-dozen orcs lept out of secret rooms while a beholder-like Death Kiss floated in from the chamber beyond. This was a vicious fight and it took every bit of guile and determination for the group to succeed.

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Exhausted, yet exhilarated the group was met by the Chronomancer himself. His time with them was brief and they never got a chance to engage him or ask questions. But the things he did say would stick with the group for the rest of their lives:

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I feel like I’ve slept for a century! Or…maybe it was just a minute, Tick-Tock! (standing in front of the now dead defenders of this chamber). I hope they weren’t too much trouble for you, you know, I gotta stay protected.

The Chronomancer walked around the room to meet each person.

Captain Ravenclaw, leader of the Righteous! Tell me about the time you finally confronted Gavenius, not quite what you expected, eh?
-———————————-
Tetsu-ko, the longtime Quartermaster skips over being a captain, and now goes straight to commanding a fleet of ships. Congratulations on that, well done!
-———————————-
Un’Goro, there you are, slayer of the Vine Lord, finally), and binder of the…well, you know what you had in that Iron Flask, right? Wow, the look on your face when you let it out? Priceless.
-———————————-
Raveroth? Is that you? I almost didn’t recognize you in this contraption. Sheesh, you’ve seen the ending…what…twice now? Coming up on a third? Incredible!
-———————————-
Quinvalur, the on-again, off-again part time officer and wizard. Have you told the rest of them where you have been in your downtimes? You conduct some dangerous experiments my friend, especially with those bracelets on. But you had the best of intentions, right?
-———————————-
Young William, you did a great job hiding the keys. Have you been getting my messages? What am I saying, of course you have. Oh, did you stop the rest of your group here in time from that…sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself.
-———————————-
Jaffe! Congratulations on winning the Test of Reshk, you’ve really…hmm, what’s this marking on your arm…Oh wait, I said I would fix that, didn’t I….obviously I haven’t done it yet? Let’s see, you stand right here….take off your hat…do you still wear that hat you picked up? Anyways, stare directly into my eye, aaaaand your good. Oh well done everyone!
-———————————-

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Well, these must be desperate times to call upon the Chronomancer, so I better start to get to work!

And just like that, he was gone.

He did reappear seconds later to provide a portal for the group back to the Sea Word, but then he disappeared as quickly as he did the first time.

The journey continues in Into the Citadel.

View
Cerioth Pillar Hatchery Liberation
3rd Era - 15th Session

The senior officers of the Sea Word made the silent and sad trip back to the Sea Word after failing to kill the Vine Lord at the behest of the Lord of the Hunt. Un’Goro took this as a personal failure.

Heading back toward the troglodyte caverns, they continued their search for the missing silver dragon egg. The search came up empty but did discover some wagon tracks in the mud heading south. They followed the tracks for a couple of miles where they ended abruptly at the abandoned wagon. No other tracks could be found here.

Captain Ravenclaw turned the crew’s attention back towards his personal mission, the dragon hatcheries. Before they were imprisoned by the Galerius Brotherhood and forced to fight in the King of the Hill Tournament, they learned of a large facility high in the northwestern Decius. Captain Ravenclaw acted on this information and the crew began an exploration of the area.

They scouted the mountains for days. The location was correct, but nothing was to be found. Then someone stumbled upon a small cave, a vent from this long extinct volcano. The followed the cavern inwards and eventually came to a dead end. But perhaps other vents could be found.

Returning to the mountain, the crew scoured the terrain for more vents. finally they found one that lead into the hatchery.

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From here they could get a decent view of what was going on. Several Aqium Wizards watch over two separate vats of dragoneggs. One chromatic, the other metallic. A good deal of Galerius Brotherhood infantry was here as well, but most surprising to see was a Red Pillar.

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This proved to be their mode of transportation in and out of the hatchery, as a guard carried a egg through to an unknown destination. They were also able to see several vents that led to other parts of this large cavern. They decided to return with the Junior Officers and launch an assault.

By this time they had scouted out the other vents and through the various views they were also able to see areas on the floors and wall that emit poisonous gas anytime someone came near them. They also spotted a young bronze dragon, asleep on the far side of the cavern.

Preparations were made, the senior and junior officers split up, and the assault was launched.

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The crew of the Sea Word got off to a great start, Triton made a break for the Pillar and quickly removed the Jewel, rendering it inert. The others took out most of the wizards quickly. The bronze dragon awoke and immediately attacked, killing Turvin Strongrider, one of the junior officers.

More and more of the crew piled into the cavern and they slowly took control of the room. The bronze dragon leapt upon the pool of metallic eggs, protecting them and also refraining from attacking.

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One of the wizards retreated to their chamber, and was quickly run down by the swift feet of Quartermaster Yi.

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When the battle was over and the cavern was secured, they were able to speak to the dragon.

Her name is Kimerth, daughter of Cerioth, and she has been here for 50 years, serving the empire by producing eggs, just like her mother did. Then Kimerth got angry,

“You’ve sentenced me to death, the empire will return and kill me.”

The captain was able to ease her concerns, saying that she and her eggs can come with them, that they are the Righteous she may have heard of. She hadn’t, but having no other choice, she agreed.

A few dragonborn kids wandered into the room from a side chamber while the crew gathered up the remaining eggs (2 red, 2 green, 1 black, 2 bronze, 1 silver, 1 gold) to take as well. Kimerth was able to explain a little more about the operation here.

It is called the Cerioth Hatchery Facility and that Red Pillar leads directly to a place called The Citadel. I don’t know where it is or what happens there, but I am led to believe it is a massive fortress of the Brotherhood and a location for raising and training the dragonborn army. The metallic eggs here mature slower and these will still be born as dragons. The chromatic eggs I’m not sure about, probably too late. The dragonborn kids (look like 5-year old kids, are actually a year and a half) are sometimes kept here so they may understand their heritage and to have an appreciation of the tremendous efforts the Empire takes in bringing them to life.

Un’Goro asked to adopt the confused dragonborn kids, with some help from Triton 714. The captain urged everyone out of the cavern, and Un’Goro used the Beads of Prayer to get Kimerth out of the cavern.

Back aboard the Sea Word, Captain Ravenclaw decided to promote Carl from deckhand to Junior Officer with Quartermaster Yi providing monk training for him. As the Sea Word set sail for Scalycium, they finished up a round of training and the Sea Word now fights as Sea Dogs.

The captain wanted to follow up on the report he received from Dark Phoenix that some of his old crewmates had made their way to Scalaycium.

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They entered the coastal town and Triton had another flashback. When he came to, he said that he had been in this town before, long ago when it was known as Beckinsdale, where he boarded a ship for far off lands.

Scalaycium was a gloomy town. Everyone walked around in a stuper; a man comes running out of a back alley screaming,* “The bones!”* before darting away.

The crew headed towards the tavern. A man by the door wakes up as they enter, startled from a bad dream. The bartender explains why the town in on edge.

“Bad dreams. We’ve all been having them. Can’t sleep for weeks now, and when we do, they are just horrible, horrible dreams. Sometimes we see a swirl of bones. Other times we see the old temple in the swamp. We are desperate for sleep, can you help us?”

The crew asked about previous attempts, to which the bartender replied that yes, someone else offered to help. They referred to themselves as The Brindamorians. They were going to look into it, but it was assumed they failed. They have not returned and the nightmares continue.

The crew followed the road east out of town and eventually came to a swamp. The raised road cuts through the hazy swamp. Un’Goro starts to get a sense of necrotic energy as they spot ruins off in the distance. Nearby is a cabin off to the side of the road.

Here they found the former crewmembers of the United Pride, dead. Three of them, including a junior officer paladin named Layla, all dead from what looks like bite and slash marks from a wolf.

The crew headed towards the ruins; the ground was squishy but firm. The ruins was a former temple built when this land was lush. A plaque above the doorway reads: Temple of Ao, Cleric: Ravoroth of Decius. A howl was heard nearby. Three lich hounds phased in and attacked.

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After the lich hounds were taken care of, they found a plaque that read:

All Praise to Ao the Mighty, Ao the Guardian, Ao the Warrior. We dedicate this shrine in the name of his stoutest champion, Raveroth of Decius, who epitomizes all the qualities of a devote follower.

This immediately triggered Triton to another flashback. When he came to again, he told the story of when this temple was built and how he friend Endrick who told him a humbling story.

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In another section of the temple, the crew reassembled a puzzle designed for the orphans who once lived here. Once they did, they were bestowed with a bless spell that would help them in the final room.

The last room was private chambers of Ravoroth, where he would commune with Ao himself for guidance. A cold chill filled the room as the bones began to swirl around, and faint sounds of children singing grew louder and louder.

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Before the crew was a swarm of bones, and coming up through the floor were ghost of children, trying to drag the heroes into the ground.

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The heroes fought courageously and were victorious. Triton spent the rest of the day cleansing and sanctifying this once proud temple. Un’Goro sensed the necrotic spirits were gone for good.

The story continues in Like Clockwork.

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