War of the Burning Sky

Session 5
Dominating the Indomitable

Last we left, the party had just met Timbre the Dryad, caretaker of the flaming forest. She expressed concerns that either freeing or slaying the Stag would result in the forest collapsing into ash; however, in discussion with the party, they discovered that Anyariel’s great sword, currently pinning the Stag to the bottom of the lake, is in truth the Living Blade. The Living Blade was originally taken from Timbre’s tree and gifted to her love Anyariel to become an instrument of justice for the warrior elf. While every other part of the forest was engulfed by never-ending flames, the Living Blade still thrived. Possibly, in a new hero taking up the Living Blade, the forest could be saved and start to regrow.

Renewed by this hope, the party returned to the Seela village. Lahspar spent time learning to express himself in Sylvan and learning the Song of Forms, while Vic scouted the lake and Mel pressed local Seela for more information about the potential consequences of slaying or freeing the Stag. The party rested in the village that night.

After careful preparation the next day, the party decided to move forward by pulling the Living Blade from the Stag and preventing as much harm as possible. Vic swam to the bottom of the lake and with a mighty tug, the Blade leaped free in his hands. Instantly the Stag scrambled to its feet and charged the shore line. At the same time, the Blade bonded itself to Vic, shifting form to his native trident. The Blade found its new owner!

As the Stag reached the beach, the party unleashed spells and attacks hoping to contain it, but it proved too strong to be slowed. Weapons barely pierced its flesh as it charged the tower on which the Seela were singing the Song of Forms, shattering it and slaying one unfortunate bard. Seeing the desperate nature of the situation, Lahspar burst out into the Song as well, joining with many in the village using the song to hold the Stag in corporeal form as the party rained blows upon it. Fortunately, the Stag proved much less resistant to the arcane powers of Chaucer, and with only some injury to Mel, the beast was felled, and its boon transferred to the party.

Immediately upon the death of the Stag, the roaring flames of the forest burst out as a snuffed candle, and the vegetation began collapsing into coal and ash. As the Song swelled in the hearts and lips of the Seela, though, the Living Blade began to respond, and ever so small amounts of growth pushed in and around the forest life, bringing promise of restoration one day, possibly decades in the future. As the body of the Stag hit the forest floor, wisps of spirit fled it and struck each of the party members, endowing them with Indomitability’s Boon. This Boon promises to provide defense against the elements and some of the sustaining power demonstrated by Indomitability in the forest.

The Seela rejoiced, even those who had given themselves up to Vuhl’s fatalistic guidance. However, Vuhl himself was nowhere to be seen, and the party’s only indication as to his destiny was from a bizarre utterance from Crystin’s lips, regarding the day when they’d meet him again. The party then turned their sights south toward Seaquen, and began planning their continued mission to join with the magic users at Lyceam.

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Session 4
A Fiery Shrine

The party began this session with a trap laid by a force that identified itself by declaring “I am indomitability; I am the fire.” Immediately after a sudden warning by Crystin Ja-Nafeel, a fiery lance shot from the heavens and speared Mel and his horse. Immediately thereafter, a fiery wall sprang up along the path behind the heroes and the flames on the threes exploded in increased flames and cinders. As the smoke cleared, four burning stags with antlers of pure fire charged the party. Lahspar reacted immediately by striking one with his fists, only to realize too late the pain caused as he struck their burning bodies. Working together, the party dispatched these stags swiftly, after which the party found a massive voice in their heads, urging them to “follow the river” and free him. The being offered great power and reward for its freedom. After this short exchange, the blockade on the road was lifted and the party continued forward.

Very soon thereafter, the party came to a river crossed by a stoneworked bridge with a tower at the center of it. After making use of Haddin’s knock spell, the party explored the tower to find the remnants of a couple guards, starved to death, as well as the writings of a priest who was undergoing a trial of faith. The priest lamented his life worshiping the Elvish God of Sunsets and now wished instead to follow Austere, God of Life and Healing. His journal suggests he attempted to save as much of the nearby village as he could, but found many cursing Anyariel under a shrine built to his name. The priest alludes to a power he hid away that could be accessed by those seeking to defend the forest from the curse on it.

Upon exploring the nearby village, the party found the Shrine of Anyariel, along with a pair of ghasts hiding in the trees. The undead were quickly dealt with, but not before Mel was bitten deeply by one of the creatures. While attempting to heal himself, Mel uncovered a lair under the shrine. The party found a translucent being guarding the underground sanctuary, and, on questioning, learned that the Shahalesti originally set the Innonentdar forest aflame in hopes of blaming the Ragesians and garnering the support of the elves in the forest. The flames flew out of control, and haven’t ended since. The party also found the bodies of a Shahalesti soldier and the old priest, eerily preserved in comatose near-death. The guardian also indicated a lock of hair was stolen from the cave during an altercation in which the old priest was mortally wounded.

With more questions than answers, the party returned to the surface and decided to follow the voice in their heads and move downstream. On the way, they encountered a young Seela, Tiljann, singing quietly by the side of the river. She told a mournful story of a people divided. Most of her town gives heed to Vuhl and seeks to end the Song of Forms, while the rest hold to tradition, which demands the Song be continued at all costs. Tiljann seeks to find a way to move forward, but is perturbed by Vuhl’s drastic plans.

Shortly after meeting Tiljann, the party is assaulted by a band of angst-filled Seela, who ineptly try to use hunting spears to drive the party away. They clearly disparage outsiders and will hear no argument from the party otherwise, despite some impressive giant-screaming-girl illusions by Chaucer. Lahspar and Vicven quickly drove off the ruffians, and the party ended walking into the Seela lakeside village.

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Session 3: From Farmhouse to Fire Forest
End of Adventure 1 and on to Adventure 2

This week the party met Haddin and Crystin in their farmhouse home outside Gate Pass on the way to the Fire Forest of Innenotdar. They quickly discovered that Crystin wasn’t all she seemed, as she muttered visionary tidbits and was overly subservient to her father Haddin. Haddin was gruff with the party and wanted little to do with them, but careful persuasion by Chaucer brought him to agree to leave his home with the party.

As they went to leave, however, the Inquisitor Boreas assaulted the farmhouse, finding more than he expected as he followed orders to capture Haddin. Despite Lahspar one-shotting Torrent at the very opening of the fight, the party quickly dispatched their foes while managing to burn down Haddin’s barn. After briefly interrogating the Inquisitor and learning the names of his peers in Gate Pass, Vic cut down Boreas and the party departed for the Fire Forest of Innenotdar.

After a brief scouting foray by Lahspar and Chaucer, the party combined Torrent’s 8 potions of Stand the Heat with Chaucer’s 6 castings of the same spell to protect the horses and party while traveling. Chaucer mended a dangerously-degraded stone bridge in passing, and the party was confronted by a bearded devil, who demanded their case of military secrets. While the Content Not Found: kazyk summoned some weak allies to harass the party, at the first sign of injury he teleported away from the scene with the suggestion that all was not over yet!

In the mean time, Vicven suddenly took a strong liking to Haddin, and both Chaucer and Mel suspect that he’s been affected by enchantment magic of some kind, possibly like Crystin might be. Mel has been working to gain Haddin’s good graces and has started to build an understanding with the crotchety old man.

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Session 1 & 2: Scourging of Gate Pass
Starting Adventure 1

In the first two sessions of this campaign, our characters were introduced into the city of Gate Pass.

Poison Apple Pub

Chaucer, Lahspar, Mel, and Vicven for various reasons met with Torrent at the Poison Apple Pub in Gate Pass to learn how they could either serve the Resistance, or at least escape the city.

Torrent informed them of an important task that needed to be performed first: acquiring a case of stolen Ragesian military information, then sneaking it out of town. Torrent also informed the party of a possible safe haven in Lyceum, in the southern part of the kingdom of Dressen.

Masked by the explosions of bombs setting off outside, Black Horse Mercenaries assaulted the pub, hoping to round up Resistance members or spellcasters to turn in for bounties. When the party proved they could defend themselves, the mercenaries turned tail and ran.

Acquiring the Case

Torrent led the party to a depository tower where she was supposed to meet the gnome Badger Rivereye. Instead, the party met Larion Prevarieth instead, a Shahalesti agent disguised as Rivereye in order to obtain the case for his nation. Rivereye was being held nearby, and had convinced Larion that the case was rigged to explode if it was forcibly opened without using the proper passphrase, which only resistance member Peppin knew.

When the party arrived, Larion mistakenly thought one of them must be Peppin and gave his disguise away. He attempted to flee while his bodyguards dealt with the party, and, after being captured once and interrogated, forsook the case and leaped off the fourth story, chugging down a potion on his way down. He apparently landed without injury and disappeared into the city.

Accompanying Larion was a lantern archon, a Celestial creature that later Diogenes would recognize as belonging to another of Gabal’s instructors, an Eladrin with obvious ties to Shahalesti.

Leaving the City

After acquiring the case, and after an imp-like devil sent from Inquisitor Guthwulf failed to steal away the case, the party was tasked with finding a way out of the city. Vic and Lahspar went with Torrent to a nearby Resistance holdout, a Temple of the Aqualine Heart, while Chaucer and Mel left for Gabal’s Wizard school to collect some of Chaucer’s things and report back to Diogenes. While the latter had some ideas for escaping the city, the party met back up to visit politician Erdan Menash to explore his connections to flee the city.

After indulging Erdan in some stories and complaints about the Gate Pass City Council, Erdan agreed to help the party, and also offered up some arms from his personal connection to equip the party. Erdan provided a means to leave the city, through joining a militia patrol and disappearing on the job.

While leaving the city, the party was accosted by Black Horse Mercenaries twice, once subtly while disguised as city militia and once outside the city in a canyon pass. The party had few difficulties in turning away both these encounters, and continued on toward the farming settlements outside the city on the way to the Fire Forest, which Torrent claims is the fastest way to get south without being followed.

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The World of Gate Pass
Campaign Background

RegionMap.jpg

The world of Gate Pass is divided into 5 significant regions, although only 2 play significantly into the state of Gate Pass: Ragesia, Shahelesti, Dassen, Ostalin, and Sindaire. Most significant among these is Rageisa and Shahalesti.

As the campaign begins, Emperor Coaltongue of Ragesia has been killed, and his Second, Leska, has engaged in an empire-expanding campaign to bring all magic users under control of the Empire. Colloquially, this effort by Leska’s Inquisitors has become known as the Scourge, and has found its way as far as the neutral city-state Gate Pass.

Gate Pass itself is an oddity, surrounded on one side by the Ragesian Empire and on the other by the Shining Lands of Shahalesti. While one side or another has controlled Gate Pass in the past, decades ago citizens drove out the most-recent occupiers from Ragesia and declared independence. Emperor Coaltongue attempted to take the city, but decided the cost was too large to subdue the easily-defended mountain pass city.

More information can be obtained by referencing the Player Handbook for this campaign, available here.

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