Deities

Session 9 - The Play

osmadth bancur slums by nurkhular
by nurkhular

Being a spell of limited distance, Laurian’s summoning on the water elemental quickly expired once the party exited the courtyard. With a wet pop, they were sent cascading to the cobblestone streets just outside Tower Progenerate. Looking behind, they saw a pitched battle between the evokers and a group of monks bearing tabards emblazoned with a sphinx – Leantha’s new mercenary order in Paravahl.

Fighting down a straggler evoker who managed to pursue them, the party made good their escape from the ambush by following Therese, de facto leader of Sphinx Paravahl. Therese told the party the story of the Sphinx order:

The Umbral Soul monk order in Paravahl could never be officially chartered, largely because many in the city see their focus on physical and spiritual perfection through connection with the shadow to be a misunderstanding of Shadrathir’s teachings. When the Order of the Sphinx was formed and chartered through the Cathedral of Bureaucracy, the monks saw that the order’s tenants were largely in line with their own and volunteered to become part of the organization, effectively disbanding their former order. Therese currently holds the position of Talon Leader within the organization.

bayon temple cambodia by elementality
by elementality

After a brief trek the party arrived at the headquarters of Sphinx Paravahl, where they found Eunice. Eunice explained that she hired the order in haste to engage and distract the evokers in order to allow the party to escape. Eunice had connected the dots with her spies – the members of the Intrigue Indexing Institute’s steering committee, after listening to Graver’s rants, were personally visited by Adelaide herself. One in particular made haste to Tower Progenerate, very likely to deliver the knowledge of the party’s plans to lower the restriction on violence in the streets at just the right time.

It was only seconds later that a delivery Imp arrived, bearing the following message:

To my “Key” associates – I hope this letter finds you whole and well. It is with deep regret that I must inform you of a terrible misstep on my part. Shamefully, I must admit to being out-maneuvered by the Cathedral of Bureaucracy.

I came to an urgent summons from a member of the Intrigue Indexing Institution. He expressed grave concern for the seditious speech from a group of kayal striking down the pretender gods infesting our city. In my attempt to assuage his concerns, I fear I may have revealed too much, and placed you in danger.

Please accept these gems as a token of my contrition. I wish I could present these to you in person, but the situation within the city has grown ever more dire with each passing day and all my efforts must be bent towards the restoration of our prosperity.

I urge you to act with caution in the days ahead as the edict of marshal law winds down – the situation within the city is more volatile than ever and I fear you may be caught between my efforts to restore order and the Cathedral’s grab for power. Please be cautious, eschew conflict if you can, and avail yourselves of the services I’ve offered.

In this time of strife, I take comfort in knowing that the generous Priesthood of Shadrathir and the innovative minds of the Apothecary Society are working hard to obliterate the plague that scourges the halflings. It is my fear that they will not be able to withstand the trials the kayal must endure in the years ahead; it is better that they be freed altogether. As such, I have identified a location for their resettlement – Eldoreem Valley. Even when their health returns however, I would fear for their safety during the trek.

Should your path take you from the city, I offer you thrice as many gems that are with this letter to accompany the halflings over the Pass of Kettoras and to their new home. Already arrangements are being made to assemble the items necessary to relocate our esteemed neighbors. Such haste is an unfortunate necessity as I cannot guarantee the continued will of Paravahl in this matter should I be unable to restore the index.

May the shadows conceal you from your enemies,

Adelaide Omenra, Supreme Potentress of Paravahl and Headmistress of the College of Divination

Eunice was obviously flummoxed, but could prove nothing. So the party took action to make their way out of Paravahl once and for all. Loose ends reared their ugly heads however when the party was invited to Tower Requiem at the behest of Shadrathir. On their journey it became evident that the city was in chaos – riots wracked the streets, the stability index had tanked and the collection was nigh, and many had not the means to pay it.

abandoned gothic cathedral by i-netgrafx
by i-netgrafx

Meeting with Shadrathir, the party learned that there were Praetorian Guards stationed about Tower Prescience and the Cathedral of Bureaucracy. The shadow goddess shared what she knew:

”The wizardess (Adelaide) has gathered her most trusted lieutenants and stormed the Cathedral of Bureaucracy. Rumors abound that she’s taken the halls of Enchantment Maintenance. It’s unlike her to attempt the futile – no mortal magic can make more than minor adjustments to the energies that bathe the city. Its power is sealed within a vault crafted by Dumathoin himself at the height of his power. Tell me, what do you know?

After some discussion, the party realized that Adelaide was using Perfections Key to gain access to the enchantment of the city. They also made the connection that the rumors of efforts to kidnap the reborn Scarceno were connected to the entire operation – she planned to somehow use Scarceno to impact the city’s enchantment. Just as the final connection was made, Shadrathir imploded, consumed by a hungry power and nearly swallowing the party as well. The party fought off the terrible creatures of the void that stepped through the rift and in the end Requiem collapsed. Shadrathir was now the sole source of power for the city’s enchantment.

Adelaide wasted little time, making the following declaration via massive magic illusions wreathing Tower Prescience:

Citizens of Paravahl, hear my words. I release you from the burden of intrigue. The oppression of the Bureaucracy is ended, and a new era of freedom begins today – the tax is no more. With solemn determination, I claim the mantle of wizard queen of the new Paravahlian Empire. The season of our isolation is ended – it is time to turn our gaze outward to the threats that have plagued our sovereignty. It is time to claim our rightful inheritance as bold leaders of a vast new civilization where progress, wealth, and prosperity are abundant. It is time we band together with the blessing of the Shadrathir and prove to the world that no force can tame the shadow we will cast across the land. It is time that the cities of old rise again to restore what the other races have squandered. It is time for the glory of the Kayal to return and woe be to any who oppose us.

It was the dawn of a new age for the city and all about them the party saw the abundance of power in the enchantment bring the city back to life.

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Session 8 - Par for the Course

Following the previous night of debauchery, the party set out to lend assistance to the halflings of Paravahl, isolated as they were in the hastily-constructed plague camp outside of the city. While there, they encountered Figgery, and set about coordinating various ways to lend aid to the plague-stricken population. Cyrus, using his skills at healing, moved about the population assisting the doctors which could in turn aid their fellows. Caelynn with her affinity with death, set about easing the transition into the afterlife of those too far gone to help. Leantha lent assistance to Cyrus, working on the isolation protocols between the healthy and the sick. Lastly Graver set about giving a speech to inspire those halfings that would survive to strive for an independent existence.

Trouble brewed at the camp in several forms however. First, there were rumors of a many-horned, red-skinned, polite creature moving about the populace. That, coupled with stories of miraculous recoveries and sudden disappearances, led the party to conclude that Dantalion was moving about the sick and offering them wishes in exchange for their souls. Secondly, Graver’s speech was rudely interrupted by marauding trolls. Thier heroic defense of the helpless halflings was greatly appreciated, and evidence in the form of an uruk axe embedded into the back of one of the trolls suggested that the creatures were driven out of the nearby hills.

After the battle with the trolls, the party wrapped up their efforts at the halfling camp and returned to Eunice’s apartment. There, they met with Orrin who had some interesting news to report from the Fetchling Board in the Lost Shepard Tavern. He explained that the board is where job announcements for mercenary fetchlings are posted – recently, “Harvester,” the best fetchling band in the city, took a high-profile job posted by the College of Divination. He explained it was a kidnapping – and the client was paying through the nose to make sure its done right and the target a was kept a secret. Orrin seemed convinced that the news was important and had an idea about how to get the identity of the name of the target – many of the highly-placed professors in the College of Divination frequent a brothel named Notion – if they worked together one of them is bound to find a professor in a vulnerable state that would be willing to share the details of the operation.

brothel by dhattura
by dhattura

The party agreed to set out to Notion, some eagerly, some reluctantly. Once there, it became quickly apparent that Orrin was a regular and his story, though true, was simply an excuse to visit the establishment. The party was there already however, and each member was treated to a customized experience and substance, as recommended by Ophidior, the maitre d’:

sulyya springs by bloodlineV
by bloodlineV

  • Graver – plied with Elven Absinthe and escorted to the soaking pools where he encountered Kaetoridax, a wyrmling magma dragon who offered to join him on his adventures.

throne room by lafemmedart218
by lafemmedart218

  • Caelynn – plied with Aether and escorted to “the throne” – an attraction where one takes a seat in a royal’s chair and waited on hand and foot by an army of servants. Later she realized that the ‘servants’ are other Kayal that get titillated by groveling and serving others.
  • Leantha – plied with Feyleaf and taken to the meditation halls – a peaceful attraction where privacy, veils, and pillows are accompanied by soothing music. She later realized the hall was more of an opium den than anything else.
  • Cyrus – plied with Dwarven Fire Ale and taken to the wrestling vats – an attraction consisting of pits filled with various substances where competitors wrestle physically. Orrin was there as well and the two had a grand time pitting their strength against one another.

Finally, at the end of a long and interesting evening, the party inadvertently stumbled upon the information they sought – the College of Divination had hired Harvester to kidnap a Samsaran named Scarceno.

The party spent the following day recovering from their experience and lying in wait for Adeliade’s plan to come to fruition – lowering the restriction on violence in the streets after luring the last pretender god Hextor out of the College of Evocation. At dusk they were ready, and approached the college’s tower, Tower Progenerate, to face the false god.

The entire encounter proved to be a cunningly devised trap for nearly everyone involved however, as once the party lured the Raksasha out of the tower, several evokers revealed themselves and stripped away the illusion that wreathed the party in Kayal guises. The evokers proved duplicitous, and betrayed Hextor to the party, who cut him down readily.

During the battle with Hextor, Caelynn received a message from Laurian through his communication stone. Through happenstance, he had been conscripted with the evokers into laying the trap for the party. He revealed that the intent of the evokers was to burn the party with fireballs once Hextor was cut down and advised them to take cover in the fountain that lay in the center of the courtyard that was their battlefield. The party complied, and Laurian surreptitiously conjured a water elemental to carry them from the courtyard before they were cut down. He continued to provide magical interference as they made their escape.

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Session 7 - Faith and Factions

observatory by pavellkid
by pavellkid

Bursting in past the threshold of the door to the observatory, the party confronts Dumathoin, nearly finished with work on a suit of armor. Graver openly challenges the pretender god and is nearly struck unconscious in the battle. The party is triumphant, but not before the old god of crafting escapes in lesser form.

The party then wastes little time, following a lead on the location of the old goddess of Civilization Erathis. A note from her in Dumathoin’s lab speaks of a plan which requires her to operate out of the Cathedral of Bureaucracy – a temple to the systems which keep Paravahlian society in check and functioning smoothly.

At the Cathedral, the party is met with bureaucratic resistance in the lobby, but cut through the red tape by simply ignoring it. With the assistance of Eunice, they manage to locate the pretender goddess, but the rapid transit system for the Cathedral doesn’t function for them (as they are not citizens of Paravahl). Hoofing it on foot, the party encounters a pair of morlocks, which Eunice derogatorily calls “natives.” After cutting down the creatures, the party finishes it’s hour-long trek through the halls of the Cathedral to the meeting hall where Erathis waits.

courtroom by M-Wojtala
by M-Wojtala

Entering the hall, they find a disused senate-style meeting room, the center of which is occupied by Erathis and a Praetorian Guard. Erathis, shaped into a new form as an ice golem, gloats about her protection – she’s declared the meeting hall as public protest area which is banned from violence under the decree of the Potentress during marshal law. Eunice, regulatory master that she is, quickly identifies a way to supersede the goddess’ maneuver and sets to work at a plan while Graver assaults her with words.

As Eunice’s plan comes together, the party sees that she has called together the lead committee of the Institute of Intrigue Indexing – to which she is head. As they near a quorum, Graver lays on this philosophy thick, spouting words that could easily be seen as seditious; even still, the words seem to have an effect on a few of the committee members. Finally, the members are gathered and the meeting is called, negating the protection Erathis enjoyed. The party then easily strikes her down – even still, her soul gem is recovered by Dumathoin’s lesser form and the make good their escape.

Leaving the Cathedral, the party makes their way back to Eunice’s apartment, but not before following the noise of construction to Requiem, the Temple to Shadrathir. There they find Bartholomaus and eventually the reformed and potent Shadrathir inhabiting the form of a shae. They entreat her to send her clerics to help the halflings and she agrees. They also ask her to back Adelaide for leadership of Paravahl instead of her own hierophant Illarion. She doesn’t commit on that point though. In a different line of conversation, Shadrathir inquires about Scarceno, pointing out that he contains a fragment of her power.

Wrapping up the busy day, the party retires to Eunice’s apartment, meeting with Adelaide to tell her of their exploits. They formulate a plan to openly challenge the last pretender god Hextor in the streets, timed exactly with when the Potentress will lower the restriction on violence in public. The diviner tells the party however that she will need a full day to make arrangements for such precise timing.

That night, Graver, Caelynn, and Orrin head out to get drinks at the Oculus, a bar in Paravahl – but not before witnessing the rather bitter relationship the fetchling has with his parents. Despondent, Orrin hits the drinks hard along with Graver and eventually they stumble their way home. Graver ends up spending the night with Eunice, the evening’s activities a haze at best.

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Session 6 - Keys, Wishes, and Consequences

the round door by anderius
by Anderius

At the behest of two wishes, the door of the vault which held the Pefection’s Key opened. Within, the party found three sarcophagi – two buried and one open. From the one open coffin emerged a mummy which attacked them immediately. They easily struck it down however, and acquired the key with ease from there.

At that point, what was left was the remaining wishes for the party – they went as follows:

  • A wish by Cyrus to set Dantalion free of the magic circle.
  • A wish by Cyrus to have Dantalion appear to them in a moment of need. Dantalion in turn gave a Bracelet of Friends to Cyrus with a single charm for himself.
  • A wish by Caelynn to have Genoa unburied. Dantalion in turn used the magic circle to complete a planar binding spell, summoning Fwaeef, an elder air elemental, and binding her to the task.
  • A wish by Graver, to free from slavery all the halflings in the City of Paravahl.

At that point the entire group made their way outside of the city, and Dantalion inquired to Caelynn about the innocent souls that she had in her possession. Caelynn declined to trade them, and the devil took his leave.

The party then set out to exit the Genoan crater. But, in the canyon-path through the crystal ring, they encountered Harkir, who demanded the soul gems they carry. The party swiftly trounced him, despite a charm spell which had been laid over Caelynn. In response to Harkir’s failure, an Accuser Devil appeared from invisibility and tried to seize the gems itself, but it failed. The party interrogated the creature and discovered many things:

  • Dantalion had been trapped by the circle for hundreds of years.
  • After being summoned by the fetchling expedition party earlier, Dantalion made contact with the Accuser Devil, sending it to scout the nearby area and begin learning about the nearby Ganesh tribe of Vishkanya.
  • Dantalion eventually devised a plan to use the Accuser Devil’s bite to sicken the young boy of Harkir, and demand that the shaman sign his soul away to free him and cure the child.
  • Rohini interfered with the plan however when she realized the boy was dying as an innocent and took him to the ritual tent to beg for Keb-etchet’s mercy.
  • Furious, Dantalion was at a loss as to what to do until the party arrived. He then instructed the accuser devil to tell Harkir to let them through to Genoa, even though it was forbidden. The devil threatened Rohini’s life to secure the shaman’s compliance.
  • After the party freed Dantalion, he once again instructed the accuser devil to threaten Rohini’s life, instructing Harkir to take the soul gems from Caelynn.

Having patched things up with Harkir and bid goodbye to Rohini, the party called upon Laurian who appeared through teleportation. The party then showed the Kayal the city of Genoa being unburied by the Fwaeef, and they together deduced that the crater somehow still counted as a planar boundary. They exited the crater and teleported to the Expedition Camp, at the edge of the Kalahari. There, Laurian made contact with Adelaide, who advised that she would prepare the spells to appear the next day.
The following day, Adelaide appeared, secured the key, and advised the party of her precarious position as head of the city:

  • The stability index was on a knife’s edge, an election for Potentate was almost inevitable.
  • Shadrathir has returned and began granting her cleric divine power again and re-appointed her hierophant, Lord Scarn.
  • As hierophant, Lord Scarn has enough influence to compete for Potentate should an election be called. In reaction, the other archmages have thrown in with several other supposed old gods that have suddenly cropped up within the city.
  • Because of the damage to the economy from Graver’s actions, the poor and desperate kayal of Paravahl have flocked to these new faiths and are fueling a cold war to generate intrigue.
  • The bubonic plague has erupted among the halflings of the city, sparked by Graver’s wish (though Adelaide doesn’t know how it started). Soon, she will have to evacuate the halflings from the city. Again, the recent damage to the economy has been enough that the city’s enchantment is too weak to cure the halflings.

In facing these challenges, the party agrees to accompany Adelaide back to the city to help her stabilize the situation. In response to returning the key, they ask for the following favors:

  • Leantha asked that an independent protector’s guild be formed within the city and granted to sigil of a sphinx. The guild is to follow the laws of the city, and entry is available to all that have no criminal record.
  • Caelynn asked for crafting services from the city and that all Kayal be barred from the Kalahari desert forever unless given specific permission.
  • Graver asked that assistance be granted to the plagued halflings of the city.
  • Cyrus asked for crafting services and for the services of Orrin.

The party then traveled to Paravahl by teleportation, arriving at Eunice’s flat where they watched Adelaide coordinate a swift response to the situation:

  • She had the party wreathed in a powerful illusion, making them look like Kayal.
  • She declared a state of emergency, suspending the stability index and making open battle in the streets punishable by death.
  • She ordered the entire halfling population of Paravahl evacuated to below the city.
  • She ordered the city lowered to its lowest point and the stairs extended to the surface.
  • She mobilized the resources of the wizard’s college to assemble the halfling camp and coordinate the evacuation.

As her responsed wrapped up, Adelaide recommended that the party seek out and eliminate Dumathoin so that they could compel the Apothecary Guild to begin fashioning cures for the halflings. The party complied, using their contact with Dr. Tribideux to arrange a meeting with the nascent “deity.” On their way, the party learned that the full resources of the guild were likely insufficient to address the plague afflicting the halflings.

The session wrapped up with the party opening the door to the chamber where Dumathoin was said to be working…

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Session 5 - Crystals, sand, and Riddles

In the wake of the party’s encounter with Keb-echet and the attic whisperer, Rohini is mostly silent – probably in mild shock at the death of her brother. After helping her disassemble the ritual tent, she offers her aid in whatever endeavor the party pursues in the Kalahari. When the party reveals that they are in search for the city of Genoa, Rohini informs them that her tribe, the Ganesh, are charged with guarding the entrance into the crater that contains the city. She offers to guide them to her people – reflecting her new found respect and reverence for Caelynn who treated with Keb-echet.

The trek to the Ganesh encampment is non-eventful, save that the party notes the stone wall ring that circles the Genoan crater is actually glass – incredibly sharp and able to focus the heat of the day to a deadly degree. Rohini does share along the way the story of Genoa:

“Long ago, Death took the city of Genoa to a place of decay and sand rather than let it face a siege by its enemies. Once there, Death claimed the life of all the humans of the city and set them to slave at the menial tasks of his station. He commanded my people, the Vishkanya, people to attend to the physical needs of the city while his new race of the dead attended to spiritual matters.
One day, Keb-etchet came to the shamans of my people, and told them that their service was at an end. He led us out of the city and into the Kalahari – commanding my tribe, the Ganesh, to guard the path to the city. The rest he told to leave and never return, lest we stir the slumbering dead.”

She also shared the recent events that have impacted her tribe:

“Three weeks ago, a group of yellow-eyed shadow men came to our camp. They sought passage into the Genoan crater, but we refused them. They fought past us and mortally wounded Inone. She was one of our best hunters and a close friend. When she passed, my father Harkir told Keb-etchet of the men and, after the reaping, he went into the crater himself.”

At the Ganesh encampment, the party converses first with Harkir, Rohini’s father and shaman of the tribe. Cyrus suspected something strange was going on with Harkir because he heard some buzzing, but found nothing of great import save some tokens of infernal origin. After a time of discussion with Rohini and meditation, Harkir grants the party passage into the crater, but bids them to rest for the night first.

As the party availed themselves of the generosity of the Ganesh tribe, Leatha was approached by Saeros, an elf ranger and part of the oasis guard with protects Shinael’s western flank. Saeros told Leantha of the impending change in power in Shinael to the spring court, which tends to take a more active stance in world affairs. He suggests that, should the party travel east towards Shinael, that Leantha consider taking Graver to the city so he may offer cultural insight into the uruk nation and possibly calm frayed nerves. Also, Saeros recently sabotaged an uruk raiding party crossing the Kalahari (probably to Shinael) and fears the reaction of the new court should the warriors make it to the isle. Lastly, Saeros warned Leantha that the God of Death was not in control of the city in its last days – that something darker took over and something mysterious silenced the entire city sometime after the raising of the skysea.

The next morning, the party ventured into the Genoan crater. There, they learned the fate of part of the Fetchling party that ventured there before them – Keb-etchet bound them into spirits of the sand to guard the city for all eternity. They battled and dispersed both spirits, but the city was not to be found.

After a time of searching, the party was approached by the Sphinx Khepera. Uninterested in riddles as her kind usually is, Khepera threatened to eat the party unless they gave her a good reason not to. After a time of talking with the exasperated sphinx, the party stuck a deal – the sphinx would become the totem animal of the domain of protection in exchange for passage. Khepera left the party to their sand dune, under which the city of Genoa rested.

dungeon concept by bpsola
by bpsola

To unearth the city, the party returned to the Ganesh encampment and acquired a camel. They took it back to the dune and slaughtered it to summon Keb-etchet. Caelynn commanded the entity to unearth the city and he obeyed. The trek through the mostly buried city revealed the path of destruction the first Fetchling party forged to make their way to the vault which held the key. The party trekked past giant flies and maggots in a dungeon and shocker lizards in a sand-choked ballroom before finally reaching the vault.

At the entrance to the vault the party found Dantalion, a contract devil bound to a summoning circle. Dantalion informed the party that the door to the vault required two wishes to unlock – wishes that he could provide in an infernal contract in exchange for souls. The party, with some protesting, decided to capture the already-damned souls of the sandmen guarding the Geoan crater. They exchanged two souls for six wishes, everyone (including the NPC Orrin) signing the contract but Leantha. With the contract signed the party used two wishes and the vault door began to open…

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Session 4 - Death and the Desert

Immediately after cutting down the scorpion, the party noticed a figure lurking just outside the light of their campfire. It was the Vishkanya woman Rohini of the Ganesh tribe, guided to the site of the scorpion’s death by magical message from her tribe’s shaman.

Rohini, exhibiting none of the violent barbarism that Laurian claimed the native people of the Kalahari possess, proved to be very inquisitive and curious about the party. In a very old form of common, she inquired about the nature of the party – what were they? In so doing, she forgot her task to put the scorpion to rest and the nature of the land reanimated it as a zombie. When the party promptly cut it down yet again, Rohini explained that anything the size of a person or larger walks again after death if the proper ritual is not done to it. It is a sacred duty of her tribe to try to ease a creatures passage so this does not happen.

In talking further to Rohini, the party learned that she and her little brother were alone in this part of the desert. The finery she is garbed in was to be part of an effort to offer herself to someone called Keb-echet, as he has made it a habit of trapping the souls of dying children who have not yet completed their first hunt rather than let them pass onto the great beyond. Graver, rather smitten by Rohini, offered the party’s help in making her case to spare her little brother’s soul. Together, they ventured to Rohini’s camp where an elaborate tent wreathed in finery awaited the arrival of this mysterious figure.

The next day, as Rohini‘s little brother neared death from some sort of poisioning, Keb-echet, a Shinigami, arrived. Looking like a specter of death he entered the tent, but stopped short when Caelynn confronted him. The two spoke in front of the others, Keb-echet describing that he is trapping the souls of the truly innocent because he does not know where the souls go when they pass beyond the briny veil. It was clear though that Caelynn possessed some sort of authority over the Shinigami – her command to trap the soul of the dying boy and hand over all his trapped souls was immediately obeyed despite Keb-echet’s pet names for her such as “Fledgling End”, “Green Grave”, “Tenderfoot Grim”, “Budding Reaper”, and “Little Death.” As the death herald left, he said that such an act always has consequences, and because Caelynn possesses the gems he cannot himself put down the Attic Whisperer that manifested. The party however, was able to cut down the creature and avoid burning anything more than a small portion of the ritual tent.

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Session 3 - The Kalahari calls

Scene 0 – Reuniting the Party

In just a towel with vengeance in his heart, Graver made way for Paravahl’s market, intent on damaging the City of Paravahl as much as possible by revealing all he knows about the opening of Tower Requiem. Caelynn, in just her underwear, was simply seeking a way to get out of the city; but she ran into Graver as he finished his rant in the City Bazaar.

Cyrus, having, survived his time with Dr. Tribideaux, found a halfling to guide him to Tower Requiem, only to find a rather ragged Figgery in an alley near the city Bazaar. Figgery was very appreciative of Cyrus’ help and it wasn’t long before they caught the words of Graver’s rant on the wind. They too, made their way to the City Bazaar.

As Graver’s rant ended, he was confronted by Ms. Eunice Baumgartner, a functionary of the Intrigue Indexing Institution. She accused Graver and his companions of intentional currency destruction without reinvestment intent and instructed them to follow her to a formal hearing. The party made their escape however, pursued by Ms. Baumgartner and the Praetorian guard.

Leantha, resting in the comfort of Tower Prescience, was roused by Supreme Potentress Adeliade Omenra who paired her with a professional fetchling Orrin and tasked her to find her companions who were rumored to be stirring trouble within the city and lowering stability index. Taking the magic carpet, they joined the chase for the rest of the party.

After brief stint outside of the city, Ms. Baumgartner managed to convince the party to return for a formal hearing rather than be pursued by the Praetorian guard. They made way to Eunice’s home where she had them rest and turned them in to the College of Divination.

Scene 1 – Getting to the Kalahari

After getting the party back together, Adelaide shared that she’d like to hire the party for a retrieval task outside of the city because of their penchant for “getting into places they shouldn’t be able to get into.” She instructs them to gather for free what supplies they can from the armory and tower supply room. She gives them sparse details however, saying only that they must carry no more than a light load, they must prepare to travel in a hot desert environment, and they must store water-damageable items in a watertight container.

The following day, Adeliade teleports the party an expedition camp outside of the Kalahari Desert, giving a brief lecture (she is a professor after all) on the mechanics of teleportation using the skysea. During the trip, the party discovers that contact with the skysea blocks their ability to access their divine powers until they rinse it off.

At the expedition camp, the party encounters the expedition leader Laurian, an accredited folklore preservation expert at the Paravahlian College of Wizardy’s Archival Department. Laurian describes the process by which he come to discover that the lost sister-city of Paravahl – Genoa – is likely somewhere within the Kalarhari desert. Adelaide is interested in an artifact located in the principal tower of Genoa – Perfection’s Key. The key is rumored to be able to open any lock.

Laurian then explains that ground-based expeditions have been unsuccessful and introduces them to Roygel who shadow-conjures an ornothopter for the party to glide into the desert on. Armed with a potion of feather fall for each of them, the party sets off from the mile-high expedition camp and glides into the Kalahari.

Scene 2 – Riding the Kalahari Winds

After six hours, Orrin – the ornothopter’s pilot, is struggling to find an updraft to ride on to gain altitude. As such, they are passing between pillars of stone rising up from the desert – atop which gremlins make their homes.

When the Ornothopter passed too close to a gremlin camp, two teleported onto it. Caelynn first discovered their mischief and the party promptly engaged them, but it was ultimately the effort of the party itself which brought the glider down. Falling fast, the party drank their potions and came to a skipping, skidding halt on the desert floor.

in the shade by wildweasel339
by wildweasel339
Gathering up their scattered supplies, they began their trek towards the the center of the Kalahari, making camp as the sun fell below the horizon. Their night wasn’t peaceful however, and they had to cut down a massive scorpion who recklessly attacked them.

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Session 2 - The Return

In the lower cathedral of Requiem, the party turns their attention to Scarceno’s earlier statements grilling him on the ritual he mentioned. After striking a deal for his release in exchange for an explanation of what was going on, Scarceno gives the party the following details:

  • The ritual he spoke of will return divine magic to the world, as it has been locked up in the skysea for the past 600 years.
  • The skysea no longer needs diving magic to hold it up – the god of death and the goodess of the sea explained that to them before raising the deities banded together to raise it. Scarceno is not sure how it will stay intact.
  • Five people are required to complete the ritual. The motley band, +1 that Scarceno can’t remember, were selected to perform the ritual after 300 years – but they couldn’t because they were missing a fifth.
  • As time neared for the ritual to complete, Scarceno was selected to ‘die’ in order to escape the confines of the temple and find a way to get a fifth back inside. His attempts failed, and eventually he grew tired of dying over and over again to try again, so he started trying to infiltrate the temple to steal what he could of his remaining divine essence.
  • No sentient sacrifice is needed to complete the ritual – that’s just barbaric. The only thing that needs to be sacrificed is a small portion of divine essence, which kickstarts the whole process. [Lie – no sacrifice is needed at all]
  • When Scarceno was first freed, he tried to recruit help from his former high priest Illarion, but the Kayal didn’t believe that Scarceno was a fragment of his deity and cast him out of the city.
  • In this latest incarnation, hundreds of years later, Scarceno went to work for Illarion’s organization, posing as a Kayal and hoping that the efforts of his former high priest to open Requiem would allow him to regain entry into the temple.

Grudgingly keeping their word, the party released Scarceno to join them and they proceeded to the next floor of the temple, encountering two Huecuvas – former saints of Shadrathir raised by the motley band. Angry, Scarceno tried to release them from their torment and with the aid of Caelynn managed to do so while Leantha held them back and Cyrus & Graver assailed them with holy power and fire. After defeating the Huecuvas, the party explored and plundered the private rooms of the motley band, picking up a item and a potion from each room.

Ascending another couple levels, the party reaches a room designed for a ritual:

This room stands in stark contrast to the rest of the tower – all trappings of any deity have been completely removed. Well-lit from the ever-burning torches, the central part of this room is dominated by a permanent arcane sigil built directly into the floor. A smattering of discarded magic paraphernalia litters the ground and a levitating capstone hovers above a hole filled with a clear, glowing liquid. An ambient charge seems to electrify the air itself and your heart swells with the feeling that anything is possible here.

round room by sidxartxa
by sidxartxa

Guided by Scarceno chanting in draconic, the party took their places within the arcane sigil and completed the ritual. However, Caelynn managed to figure out that Scarceno was up to something odd, and prompted the party to resist. The ritual was still completed, but the dissonance caused it to backfire against Scarceno, killing him. The party entombed Scarceno’s body in the crypts of Requiem and proceeded to climb out of the tower.

Outside of the tower, some members of the party spotted a sparking golden bug fly quickly out of the courtyard to emerged into. Shortly after that Figgery, the halfing surgeon from house Scarn approached the party from behind an arch and invited the party to meet with Bartholomaus for congratulations and reward for opening tower Requiem.

Before the party could respond to the offer, a managerie of other noteable figures in Paravahl arrived in the courtyard outside of Requiem, each offering the party something in exchange for going with them to describe what happened within the temple:

  • Adeliade Omenra, Supreme Potentress of Paravhal and Headmaster of the School of Divination offered a favor from the City of Paravahl in exchange for going with her.
  • Dr. Tribideux, scientist and member of the Apothecary Society offered gold in exchange for going with him and providing samples.
  • Illarion Scarn, former High Priest of the Church of Shadrathir, head of house Scarn and member of the School of Illusion, offered the full support of his house and organization and answers as well.

Foolishly, each member of the party opted to accept a different offer. Leantha opted to travel with Adeliade, Cyrus with Dr. Tribideux, Graver with Illarion, and Caelynn declined each offer and opted to go it alone.

Leathna, traveling with Adeliade, answered several of her questions about what happened within the Temple, but managed to keep several important details about the ritual out of her story. Later, the elf was ambushed by a Kyton which somehow managed to pentrate the defenses of Tower Prescience.

Cyrus, traveling with Dr. Tribideux, spoke very little about what happened in the temple but stirred up trouble with the unstable doctor when he unknowingly distrupted one of his experiments. Talking his way out of a more serious situation, Cyrus left with some gold, but little knowledge of the location of his companions.

Graver, traveling with Illarion, remained suspicous and elusive about the details of what occured in Temple Requiem. Later, an imp delivered a trap into his hands in the guise of a package – when opened, it exploded into a swarm of snakes that nearly killed him. Graver managed to escape from the snakes and Scarn Manor, but left all of his gear, taking only a towel with him.

Caelynn was accompanied by Figgery at the command of Illarion. The halfing obeyed, and guided Caelynn to the nearest inn – The Occulous. There, an unnamed Bartender served the tiefling some exotic drinks and gave guidance to the nearest inn with available rooms. Unfortunately, Caelynn was intercepted in an alley and mugged. When she came too, Figgery was missing, and so where all of her worldly possessions.

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Session 1 - Trouble at the Temple
The Players have been asked to clear the old Temple of Shadrithir of an infestation of rats.

Cyrus awakes in a hospital ward to find Figgery attending him. Figgery tells him a story, where the parties’ caravan was raided by a band of uruks. Bartholomaus speaks to the caravan survivors, telling them they must leave the city due to a recent terrorist attack on a group of prominent citizens; all are to leave but the party, who must stay to repay the debt owed by their rescue. Cyrus channels holy energy to heal the departing caravansary.

The party’s assignment is to camp outside Requiem, the long-sealed temple to Shadrathir in Paravahl. They are to clean out the rat infestation that has been soiling the temple grounds. Scarceno is assigned to lead them to the temple, and tells them about the city.

floating city by ecsian
by ecsian

Upon reaching Requiem, Scarceno takes his leave and the party is soon assaulted by dire rats. As they are defeated it becomes clear the rats have been conjured. Cyrus channels holy energy to heal the party, which appears to trigger the opening of Requiem.

door in the deep by roseandthorn
by roseandthorn

Almost immediately after the temple is opened, the party hears Scarceno tripping over an invisible wizard. The caster reveals himself when he hurls Scarceno into the temple with a telekinesis spell. Though Graver hits the conjurer with a crossbow bolt, the party quickly realizes they are outmatched and retreats into the temple.

Inside Requiem, the party finds itself in a room that sports a trap based on light, color, multiple trigger pedals, and the summoning of dark ones. In the next room, they discover another trap, with statues that move when not looked upon and a complex locking mechanism on the door.

After their trials, the party encounters a motley band of creatures claiming to be various gods (Erathis, Dumathoin, and Hextor). The gods argue about Scarceno’s intentions for bringing the party to Requiem, and argue about which will be their chosen. Eventually, battle ensues and the motley band is defeated – feigning death or retreating.

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Party Wish Lists

Caelynn

Mount: Lunar Dragon (the outer Dragon type, it’s on the SRD and in bestiary 4)

Magic Items:

  • Staff of Necromancy
  • Gong of Death

Locations:
I’m hoping to get control of a small set of islands and set up my base of operations there. Me and my demigods Will live there handling souls and setting them in their proper spot in the afterlife.

Cyrus

Low level

  • MW Full plate
  • Wand CLW
  • Cleric scrolls

Low mid

  • Adamantine greatsword
  • Belt of strength
  • Halo of wisdom

Middle

  • Boots of striding
  • Periapt of health
  • Ring of spell storing
  • Lesser rod of quicken spell

High mid

  • Ring of regeneration
  • Belt of physical might, (con/strength)
  • Halo of mental perfection
  • +5 adamantine full plate

High

  • Staff of life (if this could look like a chalice, but behave as a staff, that’d be swell.)
  • Greater rod of quicken spell
  • Greater rod of maximize spell
  • Some item that gives me a permanent consecrate centered on me?

Epic

  • Dawnbringer (+5, holy, flaming burst, adamantine greatsword; Mass heal once per day)
  • Make my chalice of life regain charges per day?

Graver

  • Cloak of Immolation
  • A Phoenix mentor
  • A Dragon Hatchling
  • Story Arc: Players fight a war
  • Story Arc: Players steal something, but only because they want it, not for some greater quest.
  • Story Arc: An ordered lawful thing that obviously needs destruction; a society, an ideal, a tyrant.
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