Fury of the Immortals

The Story so Far...
Fury of the Immortals

The party has become embroiled in a world and dimension-spanning competition for a dangerous artifact that could cause the destruction of the world of Mystara.  Below is a synopsis of what they have learned so far.  Of course, they could always throw in the towel and sail across the Sea of Dread in search of treasure.

The Radiance A source of dangerous power that has the ability to bend space, time and magic.  The glowing, many-legged creatures of Corran Keep and withered limbs of members of the Brotherhood of the Radiance suggests it also can cause mutations in living creatures.  It seems to cause repeated space-time rifts and portals and its presence can cause spells to go awry with bizarre consequences – Arcanists have come to refer to these side effects of the Radiance as "the Wyrd."  Experienced Arcanists can manipulate it to empower their castings.  However, Rheddrian warns using its power as such actually drains magic from the fabric of Mystara and, if abused on a large enough scale, could drain magic almost entirely from Mystara killing its many magical races and causing unknown havoc.  Its use could also unbalance the Spheres of Power causing untold destruction.  The party witnessed both of these dangers in Stephen d' Amberville's mausoleum – Niko successfully manipulated the Radiance via the Mirror Shield to drain magical life force from Rathanos and the unleashed forces of the Spheres of Power violently tore the tomb and its pocket dimension apart.

To date, the party has not located the Radiance, but, in ancient Blackmoor, they discovered that is presence was associated with the black, twinkling stone scattered across that land.  They learned those stones were most concentrated near ruined, elvin Uvaeren and the Valley of the Ancients – home to the City of the Gods.  A falling star both destroyed Uvaeren and carved out the Valley of the Ancients centuries before the founding of Blackmoor.  Four thousand years later, in their own time, the party first encountered the Wyrd in The Broken Lands (in Corran Keep and when a wild magic storm wrecked their ship) and experienced it in Amon-Gorlath's tomb (though that was a result of the effects of the presence of the inter-dimensional being Amon-Gorlath).   

Rheddrian has asked the party to find out whatever they can about the Radiance and its location and has expressed that he fears the growing global war on Mystara may be a result of Immortal competition to obtain it.

Rheddrian – A benefactor of the party, they originally discovered Rheddrian in Corran Keep trapped in the Mirror Shield – an effect caused by the Radiance.  Upon being released, he grew large, green and disappeared.  They then encountered him again in Blackmoor (normal-sized, but with a slightly greenish tint), a captive in the Temple of the Frog (a place filled with strange technological magics).  Returning to their own time, Rheddrian sought out their aid with Mystara's growing troubles.

His memory fuzzy from his thousands of years trapped in the Mirror Shield, Rheddrian and the party pieced together that he arrived to Mystara from across the stars.  His ship malfunctioned and crashed into the planet. He was awoken from a long sleep by mutineers and ended up their prisoner in the Temple of the Frog.  The mutineers were intent on using the Frog cult to build an army to capture further magics from the City of the Gods before the party disrupted their plans and rescued Rheddrian and his shipmate Rafiel.  When he learned of this, King Uther of Blackmoor offered the party great reward to lead an expedition to the City of the Gods, but they turned him down in favor of returning to their own time.

In a bid to gain their loyalty, Rathanos told the party that the "man in the shield" had been made immortal by his sojourn there and his exposure to the Radiance.

Immortal Conflict – Rheddrian is deeply concerned that the world war breaking out across Mystara runs deeper than typical political turmoil and reflects a war being fought amongst the Immortals, particularly because of the suspicious way in which it started.  Adding credence to this theory, whilst in the tent city of Sayr Ulan on the hunt for The Master, the party encountered his Vizier Ikol – whom they later realized was in fact Loki – an Immortal of the Entropic Sphere!  They learned from Loki that three factions of Immortals are warring amongst themselves – Star, Fire and Shadow.  So far, they know that Shadow, a collection of Entropic Immortals seeks only to prolong and exacerbate the burgeoning world war for the benefit of their own sphere (hence, the Second War of the Desert Nomads).  It appears to be led by some demonic face that appeared to the party out of a whirling sandstorm and who is making trouble in Norwold.  Loki seemed satisfied with simply causing trouble for each of these factions.

Having the tracked the Mirror Shield to the hidden tomb of Stephen d'Amberville, the party learned that the Fellowship of the Star is led by the Immortal Rad and its members include Rathanos, whom they fought for control of the Shield, a "lion woman" and the "man wearing spectacles."  According to Rathanos, the Fellowship seeks to use the Radiance and sensitive objects to create Immortals and overturn the existing Immortal hierarchy.

Rathanos charged the Ring of Fire and its leader Ixion with seeking to enforce old fashioned traditions and hierarchy, which ultimately enslaves mortals to the wills of the gods.  It appeared that Ilsundal, patron of elves and Alfheim, is also a member of the Ring of Fire. 

The party must also wonder whether the strange, blue elf The Rahib encountered in the Temple of the Gray Mountain and the vengeance he promised on behalf of the sons and daughters of Rafiel has anything to do with this conflict.

ChaosIn addition to the battling gods of Mystara, it appears the cultists of malevolent extra-planar interstellar beings are also seeking the Radiance.  Rheddrian surmises they seek to use it open an inter-dimensional rift that would allow them to land an unstoppable, horrific invasion force that would consume all of Mystara.  Currently, their warbands appear to be gathering atop a large plateau in The Broken Lands.

The forces of Chaos, called by many names, such as Warp Demons, the Elder Gods, the Great Old Ones or the Other Gods, are always lurking at the edges of civilization.  They seduce vulnerable minds prone to evil and corrupt them with offers of power.  Ultimately, however, few mortal minds can handle the aberrant horror of these beings and their sanity and bodies succumb to madness and deformity.  Typically, such cults pop up only to come to an end in orgiastic bloodshed. What makes corruption most dangerous is that, once its taint takes hold in a civilization, it can spread through it like wildfire.  Therefore, the taint of chaos must be stamped out at all costs.

The Elder Gods themselves exist apart from the structure of the universe and the Spheres of Power, but are often associated with the corruption of a specific sphere.  For example, the Nithian followers of Amon-Gorlath became fire worshipping fanatics, as that being is connected to the Sphere of Energy, the sphere associated with magic and fire.

Followers of the forces of chaos can often be spotted by the signs of corruption their bodies bear or their lack of sanity.  Devoted cultists often also sport a blackened sun as a symbol of their allegiance.

Brotherhood of the Radiance - A secretive group of wizards seeking after objects associated with the Radiance, such as the fabled Mirror Shield, which they stole from under the party's nose.  Rheddrian is concerned what they might learn from it and hopes for its return.  In pursuit of the Shield the party traveled to Glantri City (where some of the initiates of the Brotherhood attend the Great School of Magic).  Little was known of the Brotherhood before the party ventured to Glantri City, except that some of it members wear a particular Pendant

However, the party ultimately learned a number of startling facts about the Brotherhood in Glantri, an alternate reality Averoigne and the hidden pocket dimension of Stephen d'Amberville's tomb.  Most surprising, they learned that not only was Stephen d' Amberville, Prince of Glantri and Grandmaster of the Great School, the head of the Brotherhood of the Radiance, but he was also the mortal disguise of the Immortal Rad.  Rad had been using this mortal disguise to manipulate the Brotherhood and the Shepherds of Rad to further the aims of the Fellowship of the Star.  Before his demise, Pennar revealed to the party that the Brotherhood hoped to learn how to use the Radiance as a weapon in Glantri's war against Alphatia.

Naturally, these revelations delighted Prince Malapietra – Prince Amberville's chief political rival – who encouraged the party to carry on their investigation and campaign of murder and intimidation against the Brotherhood.

Now the party must decide what to do next…

Other potential leads the party has are:

  • Some malevolent force sickening the Trees of Life of Alfheim
  • Their demonic nemesis of the Shadow faction poisoning Norwold
  • A mad duke in Vestland whose madness may be a sign of the corruption of Chaos
  • The forces of Chaos mustering in The Broken Lands
  • A map to an unknown shore that promises treasure
  • A deep pit and tunnel under the ruined Chateau d'Amberville leading who knows where

 

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The Tree of Life
Fury of the Immortals

Campaign Journal – Nuwmont 24 1007AC

Soaring far above the high mountains that separated Rovaeren from a vast wilderness, the Raven’s Companions were thankful for the thick furs the reawakened elves of that land had gifted them.  Aloft the vast wilderness dividing that sylvan realm and the Known World, the party could now rightly count themselves heroes of four realms – Blackmoor, Darokin, Rovaeren and Alfheim.

Thus, it was fitting their long trip home astride the backs of massive Rocs was as epic as the party’s arrival in Rovaeren by way of an enchanted rainbow – a bridge to those who mastered its secrets and a trap to others.  A misunderstanding of the rainbow’s prism led the party to a dangerous encounter with a red dragon in a red land.  Fortunately, they escape the dragon's fiery breath and managed to unlock the rainbow’s chromatic mysteries.

Rovaeren itself was only a shade removed from the Feywild and home to various guardians of its secrets – some whimsical and some deadly.  In their search for the twelve keys to open Rovaeren’s ruined vault, the party reunited the Narwhal and the Nymph, wrestled with a tiny, but fearsome, fairy, toppled a living iron statue, weighed coins, deceived a clutch of manticores, and, of course, befriended the Roc.

Holding to their Star Map tightly, the party was not deterred by Shadow Elves, otherworldly wails and howls, lonely oaks that had their hearts gouged out, nor an ambush of Unseelie Fey and their terrifying hound.  It was only the original Tree of Life’s undead guardians – the Banshee of its former Treekeeper and ghastly elven warriors – that nearly kept them from their task. 

Reviving those Companions felled by the Banshee’s mournful cry, the party was able to decipher and perform a millennia old elven ritual that woke the ancient tribe sequestered within the trees of the forest.  Suspicious and disoriented at first, the elves soon understood the party had saved them from the Shadow Elves who had been using Radiance-impregnated “soul crystals” to warp the Tree of Life hidden under Rovaeren’s ruins.

The Tree, carrier of the essence of Ilsundal and mother to the Trees of Life of Alfheim, could now be nursed to health by its ancient caretakers, consequently restoring the daughter Trees of Alfheim.  In gratitude, the Tree healed Arwan and Caelnach and the Rovaerish elves presented the party with gems, enough food to get home, and a diplomatic missive to their descendants in the Canolbarth.  They also presented the party with a vial of oil of sunlight – a relic of ancient elven air magic – with hope that the art of building legendary flying “lightships” might be restored in cooperation with Alfheim.

Perhaps it was the bitter cold, the memory of the Banshee’s mournful cry, or the story of the destruction of Blackmoor, but some of the Companions could not avoid a melancholic introspection of the cost of their victories.  As relayed by the Rovaerish elder, it appeared the antics of the “Far Travelers” both inspired Blackmoor to greatness and led to its destruction in the terror of the Great Rain of Fire. The Great Rain also indirectly led to Rovaeren’s original destruction and the flight of the Feadiel clan when corrupted survivors of Blackmoor sought to conquer the sylvan realm. The party’s victory over The Master led to untold loss of life when a meteor was hurled by an angry nemesis into Glantri and Darokin.  Possibly the vengeful hand of Rad and the Fellowship of the Star had a role in the events that took Sylvana’s life after the party's thwarting of their plans.  Would it be that the saving of Alfheim, presumably a boon to the Ring of Fire, could lead to other unintended consequences?

Not even the unusual places and peoples overflown on their return to the Known World could distract the thoughts of some of the party.  Enormous coniferous forests, an empty cold desert, nomadic tribes of humans and humanoids, a temple on a remote peak circled by shining Gold Dragons, and what appeared to be a moving, floating city peeking out from behind pillowy clouds were just some of the spectacular sites.

Mayhap such worries were wiped away when the Companions landed to fanfare in Alfheim Town.  They were greeted enthusiastically by affable King Doriath, “By Ilsundal’s grace we are so glad for your return!  When the Trees of Life started to revive, we took it as a sign of your success, though we had no news of you.  After interrogating the Shadow Elf you captured, it was clear they meant to replace us on the surface world.  A portal of sorts was found in the “Dark Watcher’s” cave that led into a vast warrant of tunnels and caverns.  Many brave warriors fell to traps, twisted creatures, wild magic and the swords and arrows of the Shadow Elves.  Still…we blunted their invasion.” 

Looking uncharacteristically grave, the fair-haired King continued “It appears their underground realm is vast.  It might stretch as far as Glantri and The Broken Lands.  A captured shaman told how the Shadow Elves once lived on the surface and were pursued from Rovaeren relentlessly across the wilderness by corrupted men – along with the Feadiels. In a desperate attempt to save themselves they exploded some terrible weapon of a lost empire.  It drove them underground for some 2000 years and created The Broken Lands we think.  Their 'City of the Stars' apparently rests under The Broken Lands.  They believe their god Rafiel … a keeper of ancient wisdom and strange relics … wants them to find some ‘Nucleus of the Spheres.’  It powers their ‘Soul Crystals,’ which powers their magic in turn.  It seems the richest reserves of these stones may be somewhere under Glantri.  A cruel race, they leave deformed babies in empty caverns to die from exposure or beasts.  No matter…you saved us from their hands!”

Leading the Companions to his private quarters in the Clan Palace he admitted it was uncomfortable to reside in a building, but he suffers it for foreign guests. “Now, my favorite part! Arwan, clan Feadiel has seen fit to grant you membership in their tribe.  Eaeros, you have my invitation to attend and perform for me at any time, for which you will be well compensated of course.  Niko, Clan Mealidil will allow you access to their venerable Library Tree – an honor not bestowed upon a human in 200 years.  Caelnach…I daresay, I do not know what would make your wanderer’s heart happy, but you are granted the freedom of our woods.  And, as final reward to all of you, please accept this example of our craftsmanship – a Cloak of Elvenkind.”

“So, where will you all next? Ach…I miss my days adventuring.  King is nice, but it feels a bit like prison.  Please don’t spare me any tales!  While you were gone, the conflict between the Ethengars and Heldanners has certainly heated up.  Some say driven by hunger caused by the ash cloud and some say driven by the Heldanner’s cruel raids, the Ethengar took to their horses and have besieged Freiburg and Vanya’s temple fortress. I hear there are thousands of horse warriors at their walls.  Some of them have even raided into Soderfjord and Vestland.  I’m sure this news of this war in their backyard makes the ‘Empire of the Sun’ nervous.  The Thyatians have enough to worry about with the Isle of Dawn slipping into Alphatian hands and I’m certain they would prefer the Heldanners free to protect their backsides. I wish I could make more sense of this?”

42th, 43rd and 44th sessions – XP 12,120 (total all sessions: 105,000)

 

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Grave Matters
Fury of the Immortals

Campaign Journal – 12 Klarmont 1006AC

Likely few mortals can claim to have faced the fury of an Immortal and have survived.  Lying amidst the ruins of Chateau d'Amberville recovering from their confrontation with Rathanos, the party had time to contemplate what they had experienced.  They had simply thought they were pursuing some secretive Glantrian wizards who had filched the Mirror Shield.  What they discovered was that they were further enmeshed in the power struggle between competing factions of Immortals.

Even though the party was offered riches, power and immortality, they steadfastly refused to side with the Fellowship of the Star.  Instead they leapt into battle against its immortal agent Rathanos deep within the tomb of Prince Stephen d'Amberville as whorling elemental forces tore it apart.

The journey to that confrontation was filled with strange and epic moments:  Caelnach hurtling through the air to land on a moving gondola and drowning a would be wizardly assassin in a Glantri City canal. The party's embrace of Glantri City's underworld and planned robbery of the d'Malapietras ending with Niko's poisoning and a bargain struck with Prince Malapietra.  Few guests at that party will soon forget the top hatted Sir Damon Clooney. The party's discovery in the Great School that Prince Stephen d'Amberville was leading the Brotherhood and masquerading as Rad.  And, of course the party's cold-blooded killing of Pennar and Demarra.

Beyond Glantri City, in Prince Amberville's ancestral chateau, the party discovered a mystical arboretum home to a troll under a bridge, a wafish woman with golden hair and her unicorn and a Wild Hunt led by a goat-headed man that burst upon them with lances leveled.  Not to mention their old friend Eaeros and a new friend Varis.  Also, Arwan shot a tree.

With the help of Amberville's brother Charles, the party captured a silver key from some forgotten, undead guardians.  With the golden-haired maiden Breganic in tow they entered the dungeon below the chateau's chapel.  There Niko calmed an angry Minotaur and the party exercised its discretion in avoiding any deals with devils.  The key led through a Silver Gate to the d'Amberville's secret origins in an alternate Averoigne.

In old Averoigne at the ruins of the d'Amberville's original chateau, Arwan ignited a barrel of gunpowder with a well-aimed pistol shot to drive off the Inquisition; thereby saving a family of heretics.  Caelnach composed an ancient love poem while Niko and Eaeros delivered an epic recitation summoning the ghost of Prince Amberville's long departed love Sephora.  She gained them entrance to the Prince's extraplanar mausoleum.  The party may have struggled to find the ruined chateau and extraplanar gateway if the best fish Niko ever fried had not convinced a chance met stranger to sketch them a map.

Amberville's last and most potent secret was buried in his mausoleum – his skeleton.  Having cast off the mortal coil, Amberville had become the Immortal Rad – and continued to use his former mortal identity as a disguise!  It was in that hidden dimensional tomb that Rathanos also revealed the Fellowship of the Star intended to use the Radiance and the Mirror Shield to create legions of Immortals to upend the hierarchy of the gods.  He charged the Ring of Fire and its leader Ixion with fearing change and paternalistically enslaving mortals. 

As the tomb ruptured under the weight of the diverging Spheres of Power during the final moments of the party's battle with Rathanos, it severed the Glantri Chateau's connection to Averoigne.  Its age caught up to it and it crumbled to dust as the party lay scattered amongst the ruins.

The party awoke to the sounds of Breganic, once again a golden-haired maiden and no longer a Gold Dragon, laughing for the joy of having found Ladriel her unicorn companion alive.  She commended the party, "You have done well to restore balance to the Spheres.  The Fellowship of the Star threatens us all with their rebellion.  It gladdens me to know that you intend to travel to  Alfheim to help the sons and daughters of Ilsundal."

With words that eerily echoed those of Inquisitor Azvanou she bade the party to "Heed the Immortals and tradition.  They guide and protect."

38th Session – 4600XP

39th Session – 4200XP

40th Session – 4250XP

41st Session – 4600XP
(total all sessions 92,880XP)

 
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Tomb of Horrors
Fury of the Immortals

Campaign Journal – Vatermont 5 1006AC

Te’Sarkal was relieved when the bosses emerged from the wrecked pyramid. This place, The Dead Place, and the unmoving skeletal rowers raised the hairs on the back of his neck and he’d be glad to be moving on.  He spotted the bosses outlines moving near the pyramid’s entrance in the weak starlight – a talent he had sharpened in his native Tangor.  It had served him well patrolling with various mercenary companies. 

He had not doubted they would eventually return, though as day turned into night, he began to wonder.  He had seen Colonel Arwan (he usually told people to just call him Captain) practice with his twin blades and the elf woman moved without making a sound.  On the other hand, something about Colonel Cedricson (which no one called him) made him nervous and, though he did not doubt the strength of the big northerner, among mercenaries, his reputation was that his men were as likely to end up dead as rich. 

When they arrived at the ship, they were clearly wounded, exhausted and he could see from the faraway stares on their faces, that they would not soon be sharing the details with the crew.  He had to admit he was curious why the Captain was naked.  The next morning, as the crew prepped the ship to fly, he picked up tidbits here and there. 

A few shared smiles told him some great treasures had been rescued.  He noted Caelnach sporting a new, large-bladed, bronze sword and Cedricson had a new twinkling, black stone rod tucked into his belt.  Absent though were the Captain’s twin sharp rapiers. 

He gathered from some of the whispered jests that there had been several brushes with death and many dangerous traps, ranging from spiked pits, living stone statues, a corridor full of crossbows, giant skeletons, a huge, rolling stone rhino and many other dangers. He was not sure he had heard correctly, but he thought he had heard the Captain thanking Cedricson for bringing him back from the dead.  He didn’t look any worse for it. 

Cedricson seemed even stranger than usual.  Always a bit odd, even though kind, he had taken to constantly tugging at his white forelock.  Before lifting off, he sat at the rail of the ship staring forlornly at the pyramid.  Filandriel seemed to try to comfort him and Te’Sarkal heard her say “Your mom and dad loved you…at least you do not have to wonder any longer.” 

He did not need anyone to tell him that some great evil had dwelt within the stone structure resting in the bottom of the bowl of the The Dead Place.  He could see the relief in the bosses' faces as the ship lifted off and pulled away toward Darokin City.  Te’Sarkal was glad to be away as well.  He wondered whether the next place the bosses took him and the crew would hold danger for them?  In the meantime, the pay was good.

35th, 36th and 37th sessions – XP 11,2000 (total all sessions: 75,230)

 

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Dream On
Fury of the Immortals

Campaign Journal – Nuwmont 6 1006AC

"Well, I guess winter is here…" said Arwan to no one in particular as a light dusting of snowflakes landed on the stone sill of the infirmary window.  The ever present twilight resulting from the ash cloud and the fact he hadn't been outside since he arrived there made it hard to tell just what time of year it was.  Still, the cold breeze coming through the open stone window had the feel of midwinter.  "How long have I been here?" 

"Five weeks" replied the plain-faced, elderly priestess of Valerias that was carefully removing the linen bandages covering what had been a deep, puss-filled, gash along his right torso.  Surely, the great, steaming construct's deadly axes had carried the taint of corruption along its blades.

The woman was not ugly, but, after the stories Arwan had heard in Specularum's jail about a certain priestess of Valerias who ran a "healing" establishment in that capital, he was hoping for a little more "comforting" from these servants of the love goddess.  Before the Second War of the Desert Nomads, most of them had only dealt in charms and potions for the lovesick sons and daughters of well-to-do Daro merchants.  Only recently had some turned to truly reverencing Valerias and few could be counted as true healers.  All told he was grateful they managed to nurse him back to health and stop the black filth weeping from his painful wound.

Truthfully, before the War, hardly any Daros had paid the gods credence save a few coppers tossed to Asterius from time to time.  But, now, a few could be heard to talk of Vanya or Ixion, or at least blame The Master's invasion on their anger. Even Arwan, who had not given much thought to the Immortals, recalled a few fevered dreams of a mighty white oak standing in a glade slowly shedding it leaves while he convalesced.  He was sure it was brought on by his illness, but the words of King Doriath of Alfheim, that he had been touched by Ilsundal, still nagged at him.  He was keen to return there an delve into the mystery of the Trees of Life.

"Looks like you are healed.  How do you feel?"  asked the priestess.

"Bed sore, stiff…ready for a drink."

"Well, you have a visitor Colonel."

Arwan thought he would not get used to that honorific, but it did get him one step closer to the legitimacy he so craved – that he felt as warden of Three Crowns.  "Lets see that shit Varis arrest a Colonel of the Darokin Legions," he thought.

"Niko!  'Bout time you showed up!"

"Uh, sorry, I've been really busy" blurted out Niko as he glanced around the room sheepishly taking in the rows of wounded legionnaires on their filthy cots.

"Books again? Fil?" Arwan leered and pushed himself up on his elbows.

"Yes! No, I mean, yes, sort of.  I've been trying to figure out whats going on with me…with this  turmoil in the world, but not with books actually.  I know…  Long story short…there's a place in Ylaruam…The Dead Place.  I think if we can find it, we can figure out what's going on.  Or, maybe why.  There was an old empire…its gone now. There's a storyteller in Surra Man Ra…he knows of it and The Dead Place.  What do you think?"

Arwan grinned, "Can we fly there?"

Of course, nothing for the Companions is ever so simple as listening to a story.  First, against all odds, they run into an old friend of Arwan in the desert – a nomadic Norwolder who had spent time reaving the same seas as Arwan.  He says his name is Caelnach, but little else. Then, finding the ramshackle, mud brick town of Surra-Man-Raa, the travelers discovered they would need to enter the dreams of wizened Wakim the Storyteller to unlock his memories of The Dead Place hidden behind wards placed by the Immortals who demolished it.

After gathering the requisite mushrooms for the tea that would give them entrance to Wakim's mind, the party found the local Sheik Ismail riding roughshod through the town searching out infidels.   His men cornered the party in a hot, dusty alley.  When Wakim prevailed upon the Sheik to honor Wakim's hospitality and treat his guests as under his protection, the Sheik sentenced him to death for sorcery. 

In short time Caelnach's greatsword was drawn, several of the Sheik's men dead and the Sheik wounded and fleeing.  It will be unlikely Sheik Ismail will forget  this insult.  And that was not the strangest part of their journey.

Safely aboard their skyship once again, they found themselves drinking Wakim's tea and entering a surreal dreamworld.  From the snippets of Wakim's memories they could uncover, it appeared he had been part of an expedition to The Dead Place decades earlier – an expedition led by famous Ylari treasure hunters – Niko's parents!  Faisal and Indera delved into a deadly and trap laden ruin in search of the tomb of Acererak – the high wizard-priest of Nithia's hidden god Amon-Gorlath – who was believed to reside beneath the temple.  From the screams seared into Wakim's mind, it appears Faisel and Indera may have met horrible fates.

34th session – XP 3,350 (total all sessions: 64,030)

 

 

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Time to Ramble On
Fury of the Immortals

Campaign Journal – Eirmont 8 1005AC

Once again underneath the Temple of the Gray Mountain, the party has a few idle days in which to contemplate the twists of fate that robbed them of any sense of victory following their defeat of The Master.

Besting the hulking, black-armored warlord and his stone giant henchman in combat erased some of the sadness felt by the party when The Seneschal gave his life to cover their retreat to The Master's skyship.  Their daring nighttime flight from the sprawling tent city of Sayr Ulan through a blinding sandstorm while fighting off an enemy skyship was cause for further elation.  Eaeros' death-defying rescue of Niko as he plummeted over the ship's rail during one of Arwan's more risky combat maneuvers highlighted the brotherhood that bound the Companions.  Not even a poisonous man scorpion or the undead soldiers of the Darokin legions could shake their confidence as they flew away.

However, their sense of invulnerability began to fade when the red sands of the dwindling storm took shape into an enormous, floating, featureless, horned head to taunt them.    In a deep voice that boomed like thunder and rattled the timbers of the skyship, it told them "The Master was mine!"  The demonic apparition warned the party its vengeance would be terrible.  Surely, Ikol/Loki's warning that the party would make a powerful enemy very angry came to mind. Almost as quickly as it had formed, the enraged vision evaporated along with the storm leaving the party with only a chilling memory of the vision.

The party's spirits further sank as they sailed east over the wastes of Sind and the Black Mountains towards Akesoli when Eaeros revealed he intended to leave the adventuring life.  That the death and suffering Eaeros had witnessed weighed on him heavily could be seen in his recent turn to reverencing the Immortals.  He explained to the party his plan to say farewell after more than three years together by returning to Blackmoor via The Comeback Inn.  So many thousands of years is indeed a great distance to run to put one's troubles behind oneself.

With heavy heart Arwan turned the skyship north along Lake Amsorak and towards The Broken Lands, but nothing could have prepared the party for the next tragedy that was about befall Mystara.

Somewhere east of Akesoli, still occupied by The Master's forces, the party sited a bright comet in the sky.  Taken as a good omen it was anything but.  By the next morning it had grown in size and brightness.  Then it slammed into the ground on the Darokin/Glantri border.  A blinding light, thunderous boom, trembling earth and vast mushroom cloud of ash and dust followed.  Even 80 miles away the skyship was rocked and Eaeros and Niko knocked off their feet.

As the ship passed over the Silver Sierras into Glantri (and then on to The Broken Lands) they skirted the site of the comet's impact – a gaping crater 60 miles in diameter.  Much of the Principalities of Blackhill and Caurenze had been obliterated…thousands must have perished immediately.  Thousands more might die from crop failures caused by the spreading dust cloud and forest fires caused by airborne molten rock and cinders.  If death and destruction had weighed on the party's conscious before, now it was as heavy as the Gray Mountain crushing down on Elyas' tower.

Surveying the scene with the spyglasses purloined from the Frog cultists, Arwan quickly realized a fire was raging towards the forests of Erewan, the home of the elven village of Kota-Hutan and his betrothed.  With all haste he turned the skyship there.  Just as quickly, Eaeros tried to talk him out of it….even feeding him strong wine which nearly knocked Arwan out.  Eaeros, apparently, sought to spare Arwan the pain of learning of the demise of Sylvana. 

However, touching down in KotaHutan, the party discovered the village intact, but in grave danger from fire.  An argument nearly as hot as the encroaching blaze raged amongst the elven villagers.  Some blamed the Alphatians for the destruction, some themselves for straying from Ilsundal's teachings, and others a reoccurrence of the Great Rain of Fire.

The party suspecting full well who had caused the destruction did not share knowledge of their newfound enemy.  Rather, they tried to calm the tensions.  Adding to the confusion, a carriage arrived bearing the party's former rivals from beneath Corran Keep, the wizarding students Pennar and Demara – once again guided by Fil!  Seeming older, more mature, but no less arrogant, Pennar ordered all of villagers to march north to "safety" while Demara stared coldly at the party.  Fil, though still smarting from the revelation of Niko's former girlfriend, told him in confidence that Pennar cared not one whit for the villagers' safety and only sought to remove them and the Siswa so he could freely plunder Elyas' tower.  She suggested the only safe place from the fast moving fire was inside that very tower.

Over Pennar's protests the party sprung into action leading the villagers to the Temple clearing.  Arriving, they noticed white smoke emanating from behind the walls of the Temple courtyard and the sound of banging.   Fil and Arwarn crept across the open ground between the Temple and forest edge.  Upon pushing through the Temple doors to the courtyard, Fil was immediately ambushed and gravely wounded by an orcish assassin.   Arwan leapt to her defense and saw a cohort of orcs trying to break into the Temple – all bearing the blackened sun symbol of Chaos on their hide shields.  They were supported by a 10 foot tall iron construct shaped something like a stove on legs with huge deadly axes for arms – a fire burned in its furnace belly causing the dreadnought to gush stream.  

A desperate battle to get into the Temple compound ensued as the raging fire caught up to the fleeing villagers.  The Siswa monks burst forth from the Temple to engage the Orcs.  The dreadnought's deadly axes nearly sheared Arwan in half and its loud steam whistles broke the concentration and drowned out the arcane speech of spell casters. Still, the concerted actions of the party and a super-sized Eaeros brought the walking weapon down and not a moment too soon as the forest fire raged ever closer.

With their adrenalin expended and breath caught, the Companions naturally began to consider whether their the defeat of The Master could be called a victory when the powerful, pronged being they angered in doing so snuffed out the lives of thousands in revenge.

Perhaps it was this melancholy clouding Eaeros' mind that permitted Pennar to slip away from the Temple with the Mirror Shield – stepping through a portal opened by a wave of his manicured hand.  Pennar did not seem at all perturbed by leaving Demara behind to be captured and ensure his escape.  She saw it differently:  "That arrogant bastard…getting the Shield and eliminating a rival in the Brotherhood at the same time.  I'm sure he's very pleased with himself."

All of these events must raise many questions for the Companions:

- Will they trust the words of Loki and travel to Norwold to further interfere in their newfound nemesis' plans and risk further catastrophic revenge?  Do they dare insert themselves in a conflict apparently brewing amongst  Immortal factions calling themselves Shadow, Star and Fire?

- Will they pursue Pennar into Glantri in an attempt to recover the Mirror Shield and discover the secrets of this mysterious Brotherhood of wizards and their super weapon?  Can Fil be trusted now that she has returned to their employ?

- Or do they consider the growing army of Chaos forming in The Broken Lands a greater threat?  According to an orcish captive interrogated in the Temple, the raiders encountered were only advance scouts of an immense host of the warlord Thar.

- Or, in effort to stem further destruction of the environment, will they travel to Alfheim to figure out what is sickening the Trees of Life?  As the King Doriath considers Arwan to be touched by Ilsuandal, they will surely find a welcome there.

- Perhaps they will seek after the mad duke of Vestland and forget about the troubles of the western Known World?

- Or elsewhere? Perhaps to help Niko with his research?

A chill winter wind creeps down from the mountains and gently brushes Arwan and Niko's faces as the skyship lifts away from what was once Kota-Hutan.  As they steal one last glance at Eaeros, they fly to their next destination knowing that the Raven's Companions are no more and not knowing whether the once lighthearted bard will travel towards a past where he once knew joy with his friends and amongst the children of Three Crowns or whether he will travel towards a future where he can find solace helping the survivors of Kota-Hutan and others suffering from the war.

32nd and 33rd session – XP 11,250 (total all sessions: 60,680)

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Almost Famous
Fury of the Immortals

 

Campaign Journal – Sviftmont 28 1005AC

Word of the Companions' glorious deeds have begun to spread throughout the Known World as fast as The Master's agents.  Called "Dragonslayers" and "Giantslayers," the common people have begun to whisper that maybe these heroes are the ones to send The Master scurrying back to The Great Hule and save the Republic.

It is said that one is a whirlwind of bladed death, one so powerful in magic that he once blew an entire navy out of the water, one so lost to this world that his armor is filled only with a vengeful shade, and the last, a giant man with flaming orange hair, so righteous that he metes justice to tawdry women in every land.

While some of these stories may be exaggerations, the Companions have gathered allies for the beleaguered Republic of Darokin with much personal risk to life and limb.  In spite of the poisoning death of Counselor Omor, they carried on his mission while constantly threatened by The Master's soldiers and spies. 

At times a mysterious red wolf, hardly more than an apparition, appeared to lead the Companions to safety – first hiding the party from a troop of The Master's cavalry and then leading them through the shifting, snowy passes of Rockhome.  It is unknown what this wolf may be, though The Seer of the Lake of Lost Dreams did confirm it was not one of his fey companions.

In an act of selfless generosity, Nike returned the Fire Opal Eye to people of Free Traldara by way of their spiritual leader The Seer.  The Seer would be able to use the Eye in combination with its sister to trap the Black Eagle Baron in the Feywild long enough to permit Free Traldara's militias to march to the relief of Darokin.  Further, after the party frolicked for a few days in The Seer's enchawnted glade, he gifted the Companions with a dagger crafted from shards of a red gem that was formerly the prison of the fey Silver Princess.  The Seer told the party the weapon could be used to trap The Master's soul putting an end to his reign of terror. 

After traveling on to defeat Rockhome's Frost Giant menace, the party was urgently called back to Darokin.  There they learned from General Winter that Bozdogan's war had ground to a stalemate – thanks to the assistance of their elven, Traldaran and dwarven allies.  Thinking that their Crystal Dagger might be a means to change this the party has considered traveling to Sayr Ulan to force a final confrontation with The Master.

30th and 31st session – 4000 XP (total all sessions: 49,430)

 

 

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The Master Strikes Back!
Fury of the Immortals

Campaign Journal – Felmont 21 1005AC

It appears the reports of The Master's death have been greatly exaggerated.  His forces occupying the desert nation of Sind crashed into Akesoli like a howling sandstorm.  Actually, their attack on Darokin's westernmost city was in fact preceded by a dark, red swirling sandstorm that concealed their advance.

The party was caught in this maelstrom while following up a lead with the "ill" Jeddarin Corran.  The illness he was suffering from turned out to be a burgeoning paranoia that he apparently developed spending time in Corran Keep and with his ancestor's diary.

Given the unholy blood altar discovered in the Keep, it may not have been surprising for the party to learn that the Keep's original occupant and owner of the Mirror Shield, Balthac the Dragonslayer, turned to worshipping the elder gods of Chaos and descended into madness in the Keep.   It is said just a glimpse of the true nature of these Old Ones can drive one out of one's mind in an instant.  Still it added a further evidence that The Broken Lands and its environs are fast becoming a hot bed of activity for those serving such "deities."

Resisting the urge to panic, the party fought through The Master's monstrous skirmishers to Akesoli's wharves.  Exhausted, wounded and pursued by cavalry, they managed to find a small rowboat that had not already been commandeered by desperate, fleeing civilians.

Rowing into Lake Amsorak, their last sight of Akesoli's walls was of the unfurling of The Master's black banners embroidered with drinking horns overflowing with burbling blood.  This now third war and The Master's encroaching forces will surely impact the party's mission from Rheddrian to uncover the source or sources of Mystara's deepening turmoil.

29th session – 4525 XP (total all sessions: 45,430)

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Back to the Future
Fury of the Immortals

Campaign Journal – Felmont 11 1005AC

While the party only sought Rissa Alford in the Frog Temple’s lower dungeon, they stumbled upon the first of many surprises.  Amongst the bedraggled prisoners mumbling their thanks in one deep cell, they found a familiar figure with a slight greenish tint to his skin – Rheddrian!

The freed prisoner was unmistakably the man who had been trapped in the Mirror Shield.   Shockingly, the party’s previous encounter with him was some number of miles and 5000 years distant.  But, the many questions for Rheddrian and his cellmate Rafiel would have to wait until the Companions were clear of the Temple and the Swamp.

Their escape held several more shocks: Baik cowing a squad of Temple guards by sheer force of will, Ruda, Veslo and Miklos arriving at the compound dock with several swamp barges to ferry escapees, and a Saint blasting away at them with a magical cannon.  Only Eaeros heroically diving in front of one the barrages of radiant energy saved Rissa’s life.

Also unexpected were the numerous offers the party received for the Saint’s magics they pilfered from the Temple.  To Arwan's credit, he turned down thousands in gold from Miklos’ mysterious friends and The Fetch only to turn a few of the unusual items over to Rheddrian for safekeeping.

Rheddrian’s most astonishing revelation was that he arrived from across the stars – some accident bringing his ship crashing to Mystara’s surface.   Sometime he was awoken by St. Stephen and his mutineers.  They murdered many of Rheddrian’s crewmates, took him captive and disappeared into the Great Dismal Swamp.  According to Rissa, it appears St. Stephen was building an army to raid the City of the Gods.

Not surprising was the heroes’ welcome the Raven’s Companions received upon their return to Blackmoor. The King was grateful for the immense service he did them and offered them great rewards.  He also tried to convince them to join an expedition to the City of the Gods where the reward might be incalculable.  This time it was the Companion’s opportunity to amaze all when they remained firm on returning to their own time.

Jalapiere, who was to return the party through the Comeback Inn’s misty portal, was startled to find that Eaeros wore his stolen Brooch of Shielding.  Only after great cajoling did Eaeros agree to return the purloined item to its rightful owner.  Upon returning to the future, Jal was devastated to find that, at least 5000 years in the future, Blackmoor was indeed no more.  It was the only time the monkish diviner had displayed emotion in front of the Companions.

The final wonder for the Companions was learning that their world (well, their world a handful of years further in the future than when they left) was at war.  A timely intervention by an armed and armored stranger saved Filandriel’s life when a trio of Wyverns dove upon them as they stopped to assist a stranded Traveler.  Apparently, the summoning of such beasts may be a stratagem employed by Alphatian wizards seeking to inflict long range harm on Glantri in the war's opening gambit.

As a side note, before leaving Blackmoor, the Companions did travel to the dead wizard’s tower to see if  any trace of Alywn Morland could be found.   In fact, she was found whole if not exhausted and wounded hiding in the tower.  Apparently, playing her lute, charmed the beast that emerged from the tunnel wall, possessed Marfeldt's body and carried her own prostrate form out of the trap.  She had since been trapped trying to find a way out…until the Companions appeared and saved her!

28th session –3250 XP (total all sessions: 40,905)

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Heart of Darkness
Fury of the Immortals

Campaign Journal – Spring, 11th year of the reign of Uther Andahar

Almost as soon as the party landed in the Outer Bailey of the City of the Frog they made their way to one of Frog Town’s cleaner and classier brothels.  Earos seemed content to only chat with the establishment’s matron Madame Egraine, while Arwan got an eyeful peeping through the velvet curtained rear windows.

Not solely seeking titillation, Arwan was able to snatch the red robes of a preoccupied Inner Circle Monk with the assistance of a sleeping draught applied by Old Sly Boots.   Armed with this disguise, and the knowledge that high-value prisoners were kept on the highest levels of the Temple, Arwan and an invisible Earos made their way into the Temple of the Frog.   

Bluffing his way past gatehouse guards, Arwan opened the main doors to the Temple using a magic ring found in one of the pockets of his purloined robes.  The Temple, which does really look like a 130 foot tall frog, contained a number of strange features: carvings and friezes depicting the destruction of the world by frog-like humanoids, softly glowing stones lighting its interior, and a temperature less humid and cooler than the swamp outside.

Finding the stairs, Arwan and Earos made their way towards the top of the Temple.  Finally reaching the “mouth’’ of the “frog” – a balcony that turned out to be home to giant swamp-dwelling lizards.  After a short fight, Arwan and Earos decided it might be sensible to get their friends.

Returning to the Temple the same night with Niko and Baik, the Companions again made their way upstairs.  This time, the party decided to accost the guards blocking the stairs on the third floor to see what lay beyond.  What they found were the quarters of a sleeping woman and her Displacer Beast.  Killing her pet and eventually knocking her out, the party found a Saint’s gold robes and a variety of strange magics. 

Interrogating the foul-mouthed woman, she gave them a plan to reach the Lower Dungeon and Rissa – apparently the intelligence gathered in Frog Town about the location of prisoners was bad.  Moving quickly and either bluffing or beating into unconsciousness any priests encountered along the way, the Companions eventually found themselves in the lower dungeon in a barracks.

Their final deception failing, the party found themselves in close quarters combat with a dozen guards.  Victory was won with each Companion giving their all.  Moving onward into the rough-hewn lower dungeon, the Raven’s Companions have located cells where they expect to find Rissa and her men-at-arms.  Surely, all that remains is to rescue the prisoners and flee into the Great Dismal Swamp.

26th and 27th session –3050 XP (total all sessions: 37, 655)

 

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