World in Flames

Session 1
Welcome to Sanctum

As our campaign begins, our party is doing mercenary work guarding a merchant on his way up the Mountain. Stopping for the night in the relatively peaceful village of Tor Phagos, they are awakened by sounds of screaming from outside. As they rush downstairs, the merchant comes in from the street. He tells them that the town is under attack right before three unknown creatures come in and kill him. A fight ensues, during which Denzai discovers that the creatures are Wyrmborn Goblins – non-sentient creatures created by the five remaining Wyrms prior to their discovery of gnome- and orc-ification. The Wyrmborn haven’t been seen since the end of the war, and if they’re here, then something is very, very wrong.

Exiting the inn, the party finds the town in ruins. The sole survivor is a little girl, who tells them that the beacons at the Temple of the White Wyrm have been lit for the first time since the banishment that ended the war took place there. Fires in the distance confirm this, and Goblin footprints lead towards the flames. Gerard offers to take the girl with him to protect her as they set off for the temple.

Upon reaching the temple, they are confronted by its guardian – a fire elemental who tells them that another has already entered. Despite constant aggravation by Creig, Shamus is able to convince the elemental to let them enter and attempt to stop the threat posed by whoever else is in there. They leave the girl under the elemental’s protection.

Inside the dungeon, the party splits up. Creig, Amusel, and Gerard locate and frighten off a Kobold, while Shamus and Denzai manage to lock themselves in a room with a pair of hungry wolves. As the trio realizes their mistake and rushes back to assist their companions, Shamus is able to cow one of the wolves into submission. Gerard arrives just in time for the other wolf to bullrush him and shove him into a fire, which almost kills him. In retaliation for the damage done to his friend, Denzai summons a shadow halberd and decapitates the wolf. As they recover, they notice that the other wolf seems to have disappeared. They all solemnly swear never, ever to split the party again.

The Cast

  • Exelixi: Aisling
  • Neuman: Amusel
  • EviIPaladin: Creig Cornswaggle
  • Envyus: Denzai
  • Xiphoniii: Gerard Hennerson
  • PresentPresence: Shamus Shimmershield

Creatures Killed:

  • Lv. 2 Goblin Grunt
  • Lv. 2 Goblin Grunt
  • Lv. 2 Goblin Striker
  • Lv. 1 Wolf
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Session 2
The Room

When we last left our party, they were resting in a small room in the dungeon. Upon waking, they decided to continue exploring and looking for the intruder in the temple. They located the wolf that Shamus had previously tamed as well as a chest full of healing potions. Unfortunately, that hallway turned out to be a dead end.

As they returned to the room they’d started in, an elf sage and a dwarf barbarian came by on a patrol. They spotted Aisling through the doorway and charged into battle. The barbarian cornered the party in the hallway preventing their exit while the sage rained arcane doom on them from the safety of the rear.

The party members began to bullrush the barbarian, to no avail. However, they did manage to wear him down, and eventually succeeded in positioning him to allow the party to exit the hallway. A disabled Creig injured himself further while dealing massive damage to the barbarian, and Aisling was able to push him into a fire, finally killing him. Meanwhile, Gerard managed to knock the sage into the flames, but Denzai pulled him out and got him to surrender.

While Cornswaggle looted the body of the barbarian, the rest of the party began to interrogate the sage, who initially put on a flawless act. He pretended to be just another money-hungry goon so well that he even fooled the paladin for a time. However, when the idea of defeating his master was brought up, his personality completely reversed, revealing him for the psychopath that he was. He spoke of his desire to see justice done to the world through the workings of his master, a notorious paladin named Jutha Krall with connections to a necromantic cult called the Order of the Black.

At this revelation, he began cackling madly as his own necklace lit up. A strange energy began to come out from it that absorbed the elf alive. All the while, he never stopped laughing. Only the necklace itself remained after it was all over. Gerard and Denzai were instantly able to notice that the thing was imbued with some extremely powerful black magic.

After all of this was said and done, Cornswaggle began to dismember the dwarf’s corpse for reasons that remain a mystery to everyone.

The Cast

  • Exelixi: Aisling
  • Neuman: Amusel
  • EviIPaladin: Creig Cornswaggle
  • Envyus: Denzai
  • Xiphoniii: Gerard Hennerson
  • Yours Truly: GM, Shamus Shimmershield

Creatures Killed

  • Lvl. 4 Dwarf Barbarian
  • Lvl. 3 Elf Sage
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Session 3
Rule of Cool

We were down to four players for this session, as nobody could seem to get in touch with Present Presence. I did, however, manage to use my voice for this session, which made things much easier than they otherwise might have ended up.

When we last left our party, they were recovering from a brutal fight with the sage and the barbarian. During the night, Gerard noticed that Aisling and Creig had disappeared along with one of the necklaces. He woke Denzai and Amusel, but was unable to rouse Shamus from his heavy slumber. They met up with Creig, who had just reentered the temple after spending time outside for some unknown reason. A discussion about how best to proceed almost came to blows between Creig and Gerard, but Denzai and Amusel managed to calm them down. After the stairs leading out of the temple mysteriously melted, Creig finally agreed to go with the group.

After some exploration, the party encountered a goblin and a kobold. After effortlessly dispatching the kobold, the party turned their attentions to the goblin. Denzai spontaneously decided to name their enemy Gregory, an idea that the goblin seemed extremely hostile towards. While the rest of the party began to wear Gregory down, Gerard realized that he had a straight line to the goblin. After building up a running start, he vaulted off the dead kobold’s head, sailed over a lit fire pit, and ran across Denzai and Amusel to kick the goblin so hard it was embedded in the nearest wall.

Not to be outdone, Creig slid between Gerard’s legs and wall jumped off of Gerard’s and Denzai’s much taller bodies, finally launching himself into the air before bringing his sword down onto the goblin from above.

At this point, the goblin attempted to heal itself. This proved to be a mistake. As soon as the goblin was distracted, Creig slashed its throat open. Denzai and Gerard stepped up to finish their foe off, and punched it so hard that they separated its head from its body. The latter bounced off a wall before the former had hit the ground.

Their next challenge was a room full of spiders too weak to be worth mentioning. After killing them, Gerard noted that their meat was a valuable commodity on the Mountain. The group took a break for a few minutes to butcher their kills, and took the opportunity to eat their first fresh cooked meal in days.

Finally, they came to a large, empty room. As soon as they all got inside, the door slammed shut behind them and an ice elemental materialized out of the walls. During the ensuing fight, Gerard and Creig had another brilliant idea. Creig lit Gerard’s fists on fire while Gerard maneuvered into position. When the moment of action finally arrived, he charged forward with a battle cry never before known to Sanctum outside of books brought back from other planes: “Faaalcooon PUUUNCH!”

After this, Denzai attempted to lasso the elemental and drag it towards the fire in the center of the room. He failed, but the elemental’s struggle against the rope caused it to strangle itself. As the elemental lay choking on the ground, Creig stepped up to deliver the final blow, shattering it into millions of tiny shards that scattered across the floor and began to melt into nothing.

The party congratulated each other on a good day’s work and lay down to rest for the night.

The Cast

  • Neuman: Amusel
  • EviIPaladin: Creig Cornswaggle
  • Envyus: Denzai
  • Xiphoniii: Gerard Hennerson

Creatures Killed

  • Lv. 2 Goblin Grunt
  • Lv. 2 Kobold Grunt
  • Lv. 1 Giant Spider (x3)
  • Lv. 3 Ice Elemental

Items Acquired
Spider Meat
Goblin Head

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Session 4
Meat Grinder

Xiphonii had to call in sick this week, and I still haven’t heard anything from PP. As a result, I gave control of Shamus to Evii (Creig) for the night, and took over playing Gerard myself. This wasn’t the best possible situation that I’d scheduled an intentionally grueling boss fight for the evening. We also decided to experiment with having everyone use voice chat instead of just me, with what were in my opinion somewhat mixed results.

When we last left our party, they were en route to the temple’s lower levels. After an argument between Creig and everyone else about continuing downwards, searching for Jutha Krall, and following the spirit of the fire elemental’s orders versus declaring their work done and fulfilling the letter, they made their way downstairs.

They emerged into an enormous chamber with a row of braziers on each side of a colossal carving on the floor. At the far end of the room, an extremely pale elf in jet-black robes stood at an altar over the blood-drenched body of a young woman. Charred corpses littered the ground. Upon noticing the players, the elf turned around, revealing himself to be Krall. “Damn it,” he snarled, “You just had to interrupt me, didn’t you? I guess there’s no helping it, then. Unfortunately, I won’t get to deal with you personally. But don’t worry – you’ll still face justice, whether I hand it out myself or not. Rise, my servants! Rise, and annihilate the wicked!”

Right on cue, the charred corpses began to move. They attacked the players while Krall returned to whatever he was doing. Gerard and Shamus grouped together to hold off three of the zombies, Creig simply jumped into the fray, Amusel cast Sanctuary to shield himself and act as the healer, and Denzai opted to simply attack Krall. Three zombies immediately chased after Denzai, and a blast of energy from around Krall pushed him back once he got too close. At this point, Amusel decided that he’d had enough ambiguity for one day and attempted to determine what kind of ritual Krall was casting.

As it turned out, he was attempting to summon the Wyrms so he could help them finish what they started centuries ago: wiping out all sentient life on Sanctum.

This got the party’s undivided attention. Creig managed to shut up, Amusel went on the offensive, and Gerard dropped his book. United by rage and their desire to preserve the world, they went to work on the zombies. Creig and Denzai charged in and went to town on half of them, while Shamus and Gerard took on the other group. Amusel hung back to provide healing and ranged support. Eventually, the last zombie was pushed into a fire and the party stood together, ready to take on Krall himself.

Krall began to shriek curses at the group, but suddenly stopped and began to laugh hysterically. “Yes, perfect! Thank you, masters! Come forth,” he shouted, “come to me, children of the Great Wyrms!” The carvings on the floor began to give off an eerie blue glow, and four Goblin Shocktroops formed out of the light. At the same time, the fires in the braziers dimmed and the party was restored to full health.

The goblins immediately went on the offensive, charging straight at the players. Fortunately, they were incapable of doing any serious damage, and their recklessness enabled the players to strike back easily, killing two goblins almost immediately. Then Amusel had another bright idea: make another attempt to bring Krall into the fight.

Krall was able to pull enough of his concentration away from the ritual to realize that he’d need to deal with the party, and immediately formed a greatsword out of shadow before teleporting into the midst of the party and attacking Gerard. Suddenly outgunned, the party concentrated their efforts on Krall while he teleported around the room throwing knives at them. Gerard charged towards Krall, who dodged the subsequent flurry of blows, but stood his ground while Krall attempted to retaliate. Denzai was able to land a curse. Krall took the opportunity to physically eject Denzai from the fight, using Mental Thrust to force Denzai backwards through the flames before pinning him to the wall with two thrown knives. Isolated from the party and mortally wounded, Denzai began to bleed out.

From here, Amusel attempted to stabilize Denzai, but Krall teleported behind him and stabbed him in the back for another mortal blow. At this, Gerard suddenly entered a tranquil rage. He calmly walked away from the last goblin, easily dodging the attack to his back, and slowly approached Krall. He readied his fist for a mighty blow, but Krall pushed a small wave of force at the last moment that caused his arm to shatter. Despite his best efforts, Gerard blacked out from the pain.

After dealing with the last goblin, Shamus sprinted to the fallen healer and monk and made a desperate effort to stabilize them. The fires dimmed to embers as if on cue, and Denzai and Gerard were both somehow restored to full health and ability. Amusel stepped back to try and keep the party in good health while the two warriors began raining blows on Krall. Finally, Creig charged into the fray as fast as his small legs could carry him, slashing like a demon at Krall.

Krall staggered backwards in a state of shock. The blue glow on the floor intensified, and his body began to dissolve into the light. “No,” he whispered, “this can’t be happening! I have done as you wished! I have served you faithfully! So why – No! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

With that, the glow died, and Krall was gone. As the party took a moment to process what had just occurred, the fires in the braziers died completely. A warm light began to emanate from the center of the room. As the party looked on, the light formed itself into flames, and the flames formed a shape of their own. The players realized what was happening, and fell to their knees before the Phoenix, their god.

And on that note, we stopped for the night.

Creatures Killed:

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Session 5
Hello Mudda...

Xiph had a last minute family conflict and didn’t show up until right after the party arrived at the monastery. Fortunately, he showed up just in time for the roleplaying to kick in, and as you may be able to tell from the sheer length of this entry, it was more than worth the wait.

When we last left our party, they were in the lower chamber of the Temple of the White Wyrm standing face-to-face with the Phoenix. After various reactions that ranged from awe to panic, the Phoenix restored the party to full health, thanked them for defeating Krall by giving them a power boost, and informed them that she needed to find a host body quickly before disappearing. Amusel and Denzai investigated the Avatar’s corpse, and were able to determine that the ritual used to open the portal to the Emptiness ended up cutting off this particular ember of the Phoenix from the main entity, forcing it to find a new avatar or die permanently.

As they exited the temple, they saw the little Dwarf girl they’d brought with them from Tor Phagos sitting with her back against the wall, rocking back and forth muttering to herself “I wasn’t strong enough… I wasn’t strong enough…” over and over again. As they watched, a tendril of flame extended towards her from one of the braziers and enveloped her in a warm glow, then faded into nothingness. When the party looked at her, they realized that her eyes seemed as though there was a fire inside them. The girl, still confused and terrified, introduced herself as Mara Sabel, and informed the party that the Phoenix was now speaking to her and had turned her into an Avatar.

Reactions were, again, mixed. Creig made a tasteless crack about the possibility of selling Mara for profit, while Denzai mentioned that an Avatar’s endorsement of his work would do wonders for his desire to legitimize necromancy as a field of magical study. Gerard, Shamus, and Amusel promptly shut down both of those ideas, and the group eventually decided that the best course of action would be to take Mara to Tel Phonen to meet with the other Avatars and brief them on the Wyrmborn situation. Gerard mentioned that since it was on the way, he’d like to stop by his monastery in order to get some much-needed rest and look for books related to Avatars, the Phoenix, and the Wyrmborn. The others agreed, and they set off for the monastery.

On the way there, the group was caught in a snowstorm. As the wind intensified, they began to hear a howl off in the distance. The howl was joined by another, and then yet another. Soon enough, fourteen wolf pups came striding in out of the gloom. The party readied for a fight, and Mara seemed to relish the opportunity to kill something. After easily dispatching a few of the wolves, the Phoenix took direct control of Mara and began to throw fireballs at the pack. Meanwhile, Denzai got cut off from the party and was mauled by one of the wolves, forcing Amusel to bring him back to consciousness. Finally, the party had done enough damage that the remaining wolves fled in terror.

When they arrived, Gerard knocked several times. Nobody answered. Denzai immediately suggested that the monastery had been attacked and that everyone inside was likely dead, a comment which annoyed Gerard to no end. However, suspicion that an attack had in fact occurred grew when the group went around to a back entrance and found it covered by a pile of rubble. Soon after discovering this, the party heard noises coming from the monastery’s main courtyard. Denzai created a ladder out of shadow, which Gerard climbed as quickly as he could. The party followed him up and scampered across the roof to peer into the courtyard.

In the center of the courtyard, a gigantic pile of books was burning brightly while warriors clustered around it, drinking and merrymaking. The monks were chained together and kept under guard near the back walls, while two of them were apparently being made to fight each other. A hulking, heavily armored man watched all of this with a goblet in hand.

Gerard, furious, leapt from the roof into the courtyard and began pulling books out of the fire with his bare hands. The huge man began to laugh. “Well, look who’s here!” he said. “Where were ye, lad? Up on the roof, reading? I can’t say I’m surprised that my pathetic excuse for a-”

SHUT. UP. DAD.”

Gerard’s outburst stunned the party into silence for a moment. “Holy shit,” Denzai muttered. As they regained their senses, the rest of the party followed Gerard off the roof and spread out through the courtyard.

Gerard continued to pull books out of the fire, ignoring the heat and pain. His father walked up to him menacingly. “Ye will look at me when I’m talking to ye, boy,” he growled. As he tried to pull Gerard away from the bonfire, Gerard swung around and punched him in the face, snapping Henner’s head to the side.

Dead silence descended over the courtyard. Henner stood still for a moment, then slowly brought his head around to face his son. “Ye’ve insulted me in front of me clan,” he said in a quiet voice that seemed to be a moment away from exploding into rage. “I hope in yer time away from me ye haven’t forgotten what that means.”

Gerard practically spit out his words. “I remember. We fight. You and me. For control of the clan.”

Henner smirked. “Good to see I’ve taught ye somethin’ that stuck. No weapons, no armor. Fist to fist, man to man. It’s time to see if yer worthy of the name Hennerson.”

Gerard turned to Amusel and quickly said, "Do me a favor? If you can, keep pulling books off the pile. Keep an eye open for one called “The Lord Of The Rings.” Amusel nodded and began to pull out tome after tome, though many were too charred to be legible.

The two combatants slowly strode towards the center of the courtyard and stripped off their armor. Henner turned to face his son and bellowed, “Come at me!”

Father and son charged towards each other. Henner got in the first punch directly to Gerard’s face, then followed it up with a powerful kick to the spleen. Gerard leapt into the air and brought his fists down on Henner’s head, then launched a kick from the ground. Henner jumped over Gerard’s leg, but the dodge gave Gerard time to run around to the other side of the bonfire.

“Yer always runnin’ away!” Henner shouted as he advanced on his son. “Away from yer family! Away from yer clan! Away from yer tradition!”

“And towards enlightenment,” screamed Gerard, “towards the path of knowledge! Towards the Phoenix!”

“I raised ye to fight!” yelled Henner as he kicked his son in the head, knocking him to the ground. “Not ta spend yer time sittin’ around readin’ books! Where’s yer killer instinct?!”

Gerard managed to bring himself up on one knee and grinned. “My killer instinct’s right here, ya bastard,” he said. “Cornswaggle! NOW!”

Creig, who had been hanging around the edges of the fight, finally chimed in. “Tempting,” he said, “but watching you get the snot beaten out of you is just too damn hilarious for me to step in. Besides, this is between you and your old man.”

Henner froze for a moment, and then began shaking with rage. “Callin’ on yer friends to help ye in a duel? THAT’S COWARDLY EVEN FOR YE!” he shouted, viciously kicking his son in the gut on the ground.

Gerard coughed up blood and went limp. Henner circled him and said, “Come on, get up! No son of Henner would go down that easy!”

Gerard struggled on to one knee again. “That’s the difference,” he said through gritted teeth, “I’m not. I’m no… son… of yours.”

“Finally, somethin’ we agree on,” murmered Henner. After a moment, he turned his back on his fallen son and began to walk away. “Ye’re not even worth finishin’ off.”

“Worth… finishing off,” said Gerard, as he strained to stand. “I’d… I’d like to see you try. You… don’t tell me… what to do… anymore… you bastard!” With that, Gerard lurched towards his father and grabbed him by the head. In one fluid motion, he spun around and brought Henner’s face down on to his knee with a sickening crunch.

Henner lurched backwards, blood gushing from his broken nose. He recovered and stood still for a moment. Then, a wide grin came over his face and he began to laugh. “Now that’s more like it!” he said. He tossed Gerard a healing potion and said, “So, you really think you’ve got what it takes to beat me? Time to find out. Come at me, son!”

Gerard stared at the potion in his hand for a moment, then threw it into the snow behind him. “No. You’ve beaten me… but I will challenge you again one day. And I will beat you. Henner Gunnmarson… I am no longer of your clan. From today my name is Gerard Phoenixson. I follow not you, but the Phoenix.”

Henner’s grin faded. “I can see this is gettin’ nowhere. Ye’ve certainly got me determination, if nothin’ else. If ye hate me that much, come find me in a few years when ye’re ready to face me like a man. Still, yer willin’ to protect what ye’ve got. I can respect that.” He turned to his men and shouted, “Boys! Pack up yer things. We’re moving on to Tor Phagos.”

At this, Denzai stepped in and addressed the clan leader. “That place is gone,” he said.

Henner turned to him. “What do ye mean, gone?”

“Destroyed.”

“By what, ye sorry lot?”

“This sorry lot tried to save it,” growled Gerard.

“It was attacked by goblins under the command of a paladin named Jutha Krall,” said Denzai.

Henner’s eyes widened. “Come again? I’m sorry, it sounded like ye just said goblins.”

“I did,” said Denzai.

Henner stood in shock for a moment, then began to laugh. “Goblins? Truly?” Turning to his men again, he shouted, “Ye hear that, lads? Goblins are comin’ back!” The courtyard was filled with laughter and jeers. Denzai waited a moment, then calmly produced the head of Gregory the goblin and threw it on the ground in front of Henner. The laughter died instantly as all eyes were riveted to the head. Henner stepped back and looked at it in horror. “Where in Sanctum did ye get that?” he asked.

“We killed it,” growled Gerard. “In a temple near Tor Phagos. The sage isn’t lying, Henner. That girl there was the only survivor.”

Mara stepped forward, her eerie, multilayered voice indicating that the Phoenix was in full control. “LAIRD HENNER,” she said, “WE STAND BEHIND EVERYTHING THESE MEN HAVE SAID.”

Henner looked at Mara in shock. “Ye… yer an Avatar? Never heard of one so young before… and yer sayin’ these men killed a Wyrmborn?”

THESE MEN KILLED MANY OF OUR FOES AND HAVE PROVEN A GREAT ASSET TO OUR CONTINUED SURVIVAL. THEY PREVENTED A MORTAL FROM SUMMONING THE GREATEST OF OUR ENEMIES FROM SUMMONING THE GREATEST OF OUR ENEMIES IN A RITUAL AS AGES OLD AS WE. THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR CONTINUED SURVIVAL, GUNNMARSON, AS WELL AS THE SURVIVAL OF THIS WORLD.”

“Ye don’t mean…”

THEY HAVE PREVENTED, THIS EARLY IN THEIR FATED JOURNEY, THE RETURN OF THE WYRMS.”

Henner bowed his head. “Yer sayin’ me son killed wyrmborn? This… this changes things. If the Wyrmborn are comin’ back, ye’ll need all the help ye can get. What’s yer name, Avatar?”

The glow in Mara’s eyes dimmed, and her voice returned to normal. “Mara,” she said. “Mara Sabel. Gerard saved me before the Phoenix found me.” She paused for a moment, then added, “She says to tell you that ‘these men are capable of much, and will be capable of much more by their journey’s end’ or something.”

“Clearly,” Henner responded. “Thank ye, Mara.” He turned to his troops once again. “Men,” he bellowed, all traces of his earlier joviality gone. “New orders. We move for Tor Phagos to search for Wyrmborn stragglers and pick ‘em off. Free the prisoners, we can’t afford the baggage. Leave the monks here with me son – he deserves that much.” He turned again, and softly said, “Gerard. I still canna agree with the path yer on.”

“Nor I yours,” Gerard responded.

Henner continued. “But if ye were able to take down Wyrmborn, not to mention a man strong enough to summon ‘em… maybe yer doin’ somethin’ right after all.” He paused for a moment, then, speaking loudly enough to ensure that the whole clan heard, said, “May we meet again on the battlefield, as friends or as enemies.”

The clan began to whisper among themselves – this was the traditional parting given to an equal.

Gerard stood straight and responded clearly. “And when we do, may the strongest be the victor.”

Henner smiled. “Farewell, son,” he said. “Men, move out!”

With that, the clan left the monastery. As the fire burned out, the monastery’s abbot approached Gerard. “Gerard,” he said, producing a heavy leatherbound volume from inside his robes, “I don’t know how I can begin to repay you, but… I believe this is yours.” He presented Gerard with the monastery’s copy of the Lord Of The Rings, taken from another dimension by the founder of the monastery centuries ago.

“You saved it?”

“You aren’t the only one here with an appreciation for this ‘J.R.R. Tolkien’ fellow, after all. You are, however, the one who best maintains this text. It’s yours now.”

“I…I thank you, Abbot,” Gerard replied. “Today was but small repayment for taking me in when I fled home. Thank you. I am still in your debt.”

“No, Gerard,” replied the abbot, “We are in yours.”

Enemies Killed:

  • Direwolf Cub Pack x2
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Session 6
Kiss Me I'm S***faced

Neuman was out, but Evii made his triumphant return. I have to say, it was nice having Creig in full form again this time.

After a somewhat long night of finishing off whatever booze was left in the monastery, the party woke up bright and early to set off for Tel Phonen. After a two week journey, the colossal walls of the city finally came into view. As they approached the north gate, they were stopped by an extremely surly guard. He informed them that the city is on lockdown due to a recent assassination and a gang war, and that nobody was allowed in or out. Shamus tried to convince him that the party was either a group of circus clowns or a private detective agency, but he didn’t bite. Finally, Denzai displayed Gregory the goblin’s severed head. This had the desired effect – the guard let the group in and got them a platform direct to the central tower of Phoenicae.

The platform rose up near the top of an incredibly tall shaft before rotating outwards and beginning to move horizontally along the northern divider. The city flashed by, shining brightly in the daylight. The party was treated to the sight of dozens of platforms, bridges, and walkways dotted by gardens, shops, and houses. Rich and beautiful people walked along this utopian landscape. Everyone was quite impressed by the sight.

As they passed through the fourth wall from the center, the platform sputtered to a halt. A few moments later, the platform began to plummet downwards through the levels as the party held on for dear life. The platform stopped at level 2. When the party got their bearings and managed to look out, they were momentarily stunned by the change. There was almost no natural light, and anything still standing was dilapidated and disgusting. After a few moments, the platform lurched to life and began to climb back to the upper levels, where it made the rest of its journey to the tower undisturbed.

Upon arrival, the party was greeted by an Avatar. The Phoenix spoke through Mara, startling everyone present. The woman recovered and brought the group to the upper chamber, where dozens of avatars were gathered. After discussing what had happened, the party was ushered out while the Phoenix briefed the avatars. Shamus tried to listen in on the proceedings and overheard two pieces of valuable information. First, a group called the Order of Oblivion might be returning after centuries of lying dormant. Second, there was a possibility that Jutha Krall was somehow still alive.

Before the party could properly discuss this development, an avatar opened the doors and led them back in. They were just in time to hear the Phoenix end her briefing by saying, “… AND FINALLY, IN RECOGNITION OF THEIR SERVICES, I RECOMMEND THAT THESE MEN BE GRANTED ADMISSION INTO THE GUARDIANS SHOULD THEY DESIRE IT.” When asked to explain, the avatars informed the group that the Guardians had been their footsoldiers during the Wyrm war. Whereas Avatars were granted an entirely new power by their connection to the Phoenix, Guardians had their existing physical capacity augmented. Gerard, Shamus, and Amusel agreed to join, while Denzai and Creig held off. Mara decided to stay with the Avatars to train and research ways to reconnect her ember with the rest of the Phoenix, and the party was given a temporary apartment in a reasonably nice section of town.

With that out of the way, the party decided to go to a bar to look for information concerning the ongoing gang war. They found themselves in the Dancing Serpent Inn, located on the rather dingy 5th level. Gerard and Shamus immediately went to go get plastered while Denzai, Creig, and Amusel began to ask around for information. Sure enough, a fight eventually broke out in the bar. Highlights from the brawl included Denzai casting Grease on the floor, Gerard taking the opportunity to slide between someone’s legs and punch them in the balls, and Shamus accidentally knocking a torch off the wall and into the puddle of magically generated grease.

After everyone had evactuated from the now-burning bar, a group of Orcs showed up to inspect the damage. They informed the party that they’d need to take them in to see Canson Okerzale, the mobster who owned the bar. The party miraculously agreed, but just then a few more orcs arrived from a rival gang under the control of Cax Dankleburg. A fight broke out, and the party was able to take out most of Dankleburg’s men. The last survivor had just pushed Okerzale’s fighter off the edge of the platform when he saw the party surrounded by corpses and covered in blood. He wisely turned tail and ran. Gerard attempted to pursue, but tripped and fell over due to his heavy intoxication. They eventually managed to collect themselves enough to make it back to their apartment, where everyone passed out from a variety of exhaustion and drunken stupor.

In the middle of the night, a few city guardsmen came banging on the door asking if any guardians were inside. Gerard answered, very hung over. He was, however, barely able to process what the guards were telling him: Mara Sabel had been kidnapped.

And that was pretty much it for the night.

Enemies Killed:

  • Dankleburg Mob Grunt x3
  • Dankleburg Mob Operative x1
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Session 7
The Hangover

Short, but sweet. No combat, but some nice roleplaying.

The party scrambled to get themselves together and made their way to Mara’s apartment. They found no signs of a struggle or forced entry, leading Creig to suggest that maybe she’d just gone out for a walk. That theory went out the window when someone found a note saying that Mara had not been harmed and instructing the party to find and meet with Canson Okerzale.

After storming into a low-level bar and terrifying everyone in it, they managed to find someone willing to tell them a little bit about Okerzale. They were told that there was a lot of conflicting information floating around, and that the only constants were that he’s incredibly ruthless, still has a sense of honor, and is generally seen in the company of a young girl.

After Denzai accidentally knocked the poor guy out cold, Amusel revived him and he ran like hell. The party reentered the bar, and the rest of the patrons followed suit. A very well-dressed orc walked in against the tide of bodies and presented himself to the party, informing them that Okerzale wished to speak to them and confirming that Mara was completely unharmed.

Upon arriving at Okerzale’s manor, the party was ordered to part with their weapons. Everyone except Creig complied, and after some debate, the orc grudgingly allowed everyone up to see Okerzale. Okerzele himself immediately presented Mara, completely unharmed and playing with another young girl. Mara confirmed that she was completely fine, and Okerzale took the party aside and told them what was going on. He’d needed a way to get their attention, and hadn’t thought simply asking nicely would be effective. He explained that the little girl was his daughter, Elsa, and that he was trying to get out of the criminal underworld so he could build her a better life.

According to Okerzale, he was being framed for the assassination of Lord Borafont’s brother that had put the city on lockdown. With the rival gangs and the city guard bringing down pressure on him, going legit would be impossible. He asked the party to help clear his name so that he could make sure Elsa didn’t grow up to follow in his footsteps. They agreed, and brought Mara with them as they took a platform to the top level. On the way up, they decided that the best course of action would be to investigate Lady Borafont, the one with the real power in the region.

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Session 8
The Taking of Platform 1-2-3

Before we like to start, I would like to point out two things: First, I needed to reintroduce Aisling to the campaign so we could give Exelixi something to do next time, and second, during sessions 6 and 7 I was specifically asked to give more direction.

Denzai and Shamus went back to the apartment to get some much-needed sleep, Mara went back home, and Gerard, Creig, and Amusel made their way to the upper levels to investigate Lady Borafont. After unsuccessfully asking the guards for information, they learned from a particularly stuck-up news vendor that Lady Borafont would be hosting a gala that night. While they searched around for more information, they entered an item shop. As is typical of the upper and innermost circle of Tel Phonen, the store’s wares were so expensive that the party’s combined resources might be able to purchase a few square inches of the material the price list was printed on.

Inside the store, they saw none other than Lady Borafont herself. She personally invited them to the gala, stating that having the unlikely heroes who saved Sanctum there would be excellent publicity. After she left, a halfling approached the party and told them that Okerzale wanted to see them at their apartment.

On the way back home, a man jumped off the wall and landed on the party’s platform. He was clad in pitch black armor with a blue glow visible through the seams and slits. Without a word, the mysterious assailant drew an enormous greatsword and began to take the party apart. Gerard was brought to the brink of death, and only survived thanks to quick intervention from Amusel. Still, they gave as good as they got, and eventually did enough damage that the man in black armor had to teleport to a platform heading the opposite direction to escape.

As his platform receded into the distance, the man’s helmet dissolved into shadow as he downed a health potion. Unfortunately, the party was too far away to get a good look at his face.

When they got back to their apartment, they found Okerzale sitting at their kitchen table sharing a very expensive bottle of wine with Denzai and Shamus. Okerzale informed them that he’d found out they were invited to the gala and had prepped formalwear with armor built in.

“My coat is the height of pirate fashion,” protested Creig.

“Yes, because clearly people at a well-to-do high society gala are going to welcome a pirate with open arms.” replied Okerzale.

“Well to doers can shove it,” snapped Creig.

Okerzale glared at the pirate for a moment before gesturing slightly. An instant later, Creig slammed against the ceiling and was pinned there. Okerzale walked underneath him and calmly said,

“That tongue of yours is going to get you killed one of these days. I’d be more than happy to preempt that by cutting it out for you. Look, I understand that I asked for your help. But I know how this city works, and it’s painfully obvious that in that specific area you have no idea what the fuck you’re doing. You want to do anything in this city, you’ve got to play by the rules, and I’m the only one in this room that knows what they are. So, we clear?”

Creig actually shut up for a moment before grudingly responding, “Yeah, we’re clear.”

Okerzale returned to his usual friendly demeanor as he let Creig down slowly and left the apartment. The party all got changed, with the exception of Shamus, who protested the focus on superficiality and appearance that galas like this promoted.

Now that they’d suited up, the party made their way to the gala. They were treated to an awe-inspiring display of wealth that bordered on decadence. After several minutes of attempting to schmooze with guests, they noticed Lady Borafont quietly duck through an out-of-the-way door. Once it had closed, a guard stepped directly in front of it. The party decided to ignore this and continue chatting up guests, and soon found a young elf named Sigurt Mairsu.

Despite an imperfect command of the Common tongue, Sigurt was extremely amiable and quickly bonded with the group. He explained that the purpose of the gala was to celebrate the arrival of a group of diplomats from Mornbar that Lady Borafont had known growing up as a political hostage, and that he didn’t trust Lady Borafont any further than he could throw her. He recommended that they investigate whatever was going on behind that door, which the party promptly decided to do.

Gerard first managed to bribe the guard to throw a certain object behind the door. This object turned out to be a floating eye, which Gerard maneuvered around until he found a skylight looking over a secret chamber. Inside, Lady Borafont was speaking with a group of people including a hooded figure, two of the diplomats from the Mornbarian delegation, and a mysterious bald man who appeared to be from the desert.

The table in the center of the room displayed a particularly complex illusion spell – a three-dimensional map of Sanctum, focused on something in the Marshland. The group in the chamber was having a conversation, but because Gerard hadn’t thought to send back a floating ear along with the eye, they couldn’t make any of it out.

The party decided that they’d need to get to the skylight themselves. They approached the guard again. Denzai, Creig, and Amusel formed a barrier around Gerard while he attacked the guard and covered his mouth so he wouldn’t scream. They quickly slipped though the door. Once on the other side, Creig used a strip of the guard’s uniform to hogtie him and keep him gagged. Denzai stayed at the entrance to keep watch while the other three moved forward.

Once the three got to the skylight, they saw that a panel on it was slightly ajar. If they got close enough to it, they could barely hear what was being said. Unfortunately, they found that the group below was rotating languages. They were starting to get discouraged when they heard Lady Borafont switch to Common and say,

“No, we’re not doing that again. I know that’s the blueprint he laid out, but look how well it worked for him! We can’t focus on active destruction; that hasn’t worked and it’s not going to. I don’t see why we should bother when we can just keep doing what we’ve been doing and watch things play right into our hands.”

The party looked at each other, confused. Gerard leaned in closer to the skylight to hear better when disaster struck.

The glass cracked.

Everyone in the room immediately looked up at the party. Lady Borafont recovered first and smiled. “Speak of the Wyrms,” she muttered as she raised her hand. The party was pulled through the skylight and landed amidst a group of glass shards on the table. Amusel hit at a bad angle and landed on his back, but was able to roll out of the way as one of the hooded figures brought a knife down right where his head had just been. Lady Borafont and the bald man fled, while everyone else readied weapons for battle.

Guards quickly poured into the room. Gerard saw this and, thinking quickly, grabbed one of the diplomats and held a knife to his throat, threatening that if a diplomat under Lady Borafont’s care was killed, it could spark a war. Both the guards and the diplomat called his bluff, with the latter stating that Lady Borafont’s plans were more important than his life and that they both viewed him as expendable. Upon hearing this, Gerard slit the man’s throat.

As the battle went on, more and more knights swarmed into the room. After killing six or seven of them and blinding the remaining diplomat, the party was finally overrun and knocked out.

When they woke up, they were in a strange set of catacombs beneath the city. Bodies and bones littered the room, and corpses in various states of decomposition were chained on the wall. Denzai and Shamus had also been caught and thrown in. Their weapons had been confiscated, but Denzai was nice enough to make replicas for everyone.

As they were discussing their next move, they noticed that one of the chained up bodies was still alive. As they went over to investigate, the man on the wall raised his head and gasped.

“Ger…ard? That you?”

Suddenly, everyone came to a realization. Gerard moved in on the man and cautiously asked,

“…Aisling?”

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Session 9
Out of the frying pan...

We had perfect attendance this session, for the first time since the campaign began. Woohoo!

The party awoke to find themselves in a cell at the bottom of a large pit. Through the gloom, they were able to make out Aisling tied up in a corner. He looked incredibly ragged, and his once-blue tattoos had now turned jet black. After they untied him, he explained that he had no memory of anything that happened to him between falling asleep in the Temple of the White Wyrm and waking up in this cell.

After looking around for a bit and letting his eyes get accustomed to the darkness, Gerard found a weak point in the wall of the cell. After failing to break it, he beckoned Aisling over to smash his way through. The barbarian obliged.

When the dust settled, the party found themselves staring out at the ancient catacombs beneath Tel Phonen. After walking around for a while, they hard some shuffling and crunching noises coming from a room to the side. They looked in and saw an enormous pile of flesh, skin, blood, and tissue. It looked fresh. While trying to sneak in, one of Gerard’s knives fell out of his coat and hit the ground.

The munching stopped.

As the party began to back away, two creatures walked around from the back of the pile to face them. The creatures were vaguely humanoid, but were emaciated husks with bestial proportions. Amusel confirmed that they had been human once, but had been mutated and corrupted by something. The vermin shrieked and charged at the players, but were no match for the party.

After dispatching the vermin, Denzai reanimated one and asked it for information on the dungeon. Between a bunch of inarticulate shrieking, the vermin was able to communicate that it had been collecting flesh for its master before it dissolved into another pile of gore.

After exploring the floor some more and finding a massive cache of items to replace the ones that had been taken when they were thrown into the dungeon, Shamus discovered a secret entrance that led to a staircase descending downwards.

As the party exited the stairwell, they found 2 vermin and a gnoll. During the ensuing battle, Denzai and Creig got severely scared by the gnoll and fled to the safety of a previous room. Fortunately, the others managed to dispatch the gnoll without too much trouble. This caused the vermin to panic and attempt to flee. While the party took down one of them easily, Gerard decided to show off a bit. He bullrushed the remaining vermin, pushed it through a door, and shoved it screaming into the depths below.

Afterwards, the party found a few crazed adventurers who had clearly been running around for a while. These new adventurers attacked the party almost on sight, causing . One was disabled, while the others were killed. Temporary reanimation of a paladin revealed no useful information. At present, the party is arguing over what to do with the remaining archer.

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Session 10
Dragons and Dungeons

Exelixi, Xiph, and PP were absent, the latter two without leave. I am currently plotting revenge for this. As for the session itself, it was mostly hack and slash, so this entry will be considerably shorter than usual.

After deciding to bring the disabled archer back to the stairs leading upwards, the party continued to fight their way through the catacombs. After easily dispatching a hydra-like creature made out of what can only be described as flesh worms, the party was swarmed by giant spiders. The spiders didn’t pose much trouble either, and were soon dealt with. Aisling fried the last one with a lightning burst, causing it to explode rather messily.

Inside the spider’s remains, they found a set of bones and several pages of a journal. Inside, they found a century-old account of someone else’s time in the catacombs. The unknown writer had witnessed the birth of a dragon made from scraps of flesh, and the arrival of a man who was presumably named Krall.

All things considered, the party took this revelation rather well.

Afterwards, they killed a few fleshy tentacle things and we called it a night.

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