Ashes of the Empire

The Hidden Shrine (Part 2)
Session 23 Recap

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  • Deeper into the subterranean complex the heroes delve. They are beset by a trap that boxes them in with timber walls and attempts to crush them by pouring sand on top of them. Thanks to some quick thinking that delays the sand and a concerted effort to break out, the party saves themselves and confronts the will-o-wisp that lured them down the corridor in the first place.

  • The party then makes their way through a beetle-infested room, careful not to disturb them or their nests, and finds a stairway leading up and out of the poisonous air. Unfortunately, the way is not so easy, and a large millstone comes bounding down the stairs in an effort to crush them. They manage to (mostly) avoid the heavy thing, and finally climb up and out of the foul atmosphere.

  • As soon as they are free of the lower levels, the party runs into danger nearly right away as they come to a chamber inhabited by an ancient beholder trapped here long ago. Rather than fight, the party offers to help free it if it does not kill them. The creature agrees to the bargain and the party attempts to locate what is holding the beast here.

  • Unfortunately for the beholder, the party is not successful in finding what holds it in the room, and decides the renege on their end of the bargain and flee the room, leaving the beholder howling in impotent rage.

  • Pressing on, the party negotiates a few more traps and comes to a large chamber dedicated to cats. Unfortunately the builders of this shrine left a guardian and the heroes face off against a were-jaguar. They manage to defeat it, but not before Neighl is infected with it’s disease.

  • After the creature dies, the party makes camp for a while, taking a much-needed and much-deserved rest. Afterwards, they feel a bit more refreshed and restored, and head into a secret passage they discovered in the room earlier. It would seem that the shrine’s builders would have another laugh at the party’s expense though, as they wander into a one-way teleportation trap which lands them right back into the lower levels they left earlier.

  • Taking a slightly different route back, the heroes fight their way past some guardian zombies, and into what appears to be the final resting place of a man and woman, preserved underneath shrouds and lying in repose on stone slabs. Unfortunately for the heroes, they disturb them, and the pair rise from their slumber and demand an apology. The heroes do not seem to understand and the pair grow impatient and decide to punish the interlopers instead.

  • The two fight well, using amazing fast flurries of kicks and punches. However, the party is much too savvy in combat to be so easily defeated, and thus kill the female. Deciding that his life is also in danger, the male asks for quarter and promises to mx them a potion if they spare his life.

  • The party agrees and the monk begins to mix a potion from the decanter found between the two stone slabs. Instead of giving it to them, however, he quickly downs it and falls into a deep slumber. In a rather uncharacteristic act of kindness, the party places him atop the stone bed again and places his dead woman beside him.

  • Once past the monks, the party finds themselves at the beetle room again and it is a just a short hop over the parked millstone at the bottom of the stairs before they are again out of the poisonous air. Unfortunately, they are also at the beholder’s room once again. A beholder who is probably eager to exact some revenge.
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The Hidden Shrine (Part 1)
Session 22 Recap

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  • As the next morning dawned, the heroes awoke to find the hags awaiting them. Cautiously, they started the negotiations. The hags, being primal spirits of the Shadowfell, are interested in all things related to primal spirits. They explain that many long years ago a hidden shrine from an unknown people was found deep in the swamp to the north. The people who used to own the large shrine were able to trap primal spirits and tap them for their power.

  • The hags propose to the party that if they are able to penetrate the shrine and discover the secret to these ancient people’s ability to master the primal spirits, that they will reward the party. Specifically, they will craft a powerful amulet that allows Geigan to survive in the Shadowfell.

  • As a token of their good faith, the hags provide the party with a smaller, less powerful version of the fetish they promise to craft for Geigan, which allows him to at least operate for a few days. They also give the party a map, some potions and a ritual scroll to aid them in penetrating the shrine.

  • The heroes agree and depart the hag’s commune, following the map. After the better part of a day, they happen upon old ruins sticking out of the soft, muddy ground. The shrine was near. Pushing on, they finally catch sight of the shrine itself, a large pyramid shaped stone structure rising above the swamp.

  • After a few more minutes of moving towards their goal, the party starts to hear rustling in the bushes nearby. As they move along the noises get more and more frequent and seem to be steering them towards something. Finally, the heroes come upon a large standing stone in a small clearing surrounded by muddy, moist ground. The strange runes appear to be in some language related to Supernal, but Lu is able to make out a single name: Tamoachan.

  • No sooner does Lu say the name, does the soft ground give way in a torrent of mud, vegetation, and stone. Tumbling down, the party falls and slides several stories and ends up at the bottom of a pile of rubble and mud in some strange subterranean chamber. It would seem that the shrine found them before they found it.

  • Taking stock of their situation, the party discovers that not all of them fell into the room, and that Larissa, Mr. Burke, and Tavon managed to escape it and stay on the surface. As if being split from their charges wasn’t bad enough, they also discover that the air in this chamber is foul and poisonous – lingering for too long in these lower chambers would be very detrimental. The party sets out to find a way out or at least a place where they can reach fresh air.

  • The heroes set out to explore the lower chambers and discover that the primal spirits that these people trapped so very long ago are still very much alive in this place. They manage to avoid conflict with some of the denizens, using their negotiating skills and Lu’s knack for trying to guess the language’s meaning, but in some cases diplomacy simply is not the best course, and they have to resort to violence.

  • If the guardians of the shrine weren’t bad enough, they also have to contend with traps, some deadly, and others simply damaging. In total it works to slowly wear the party down, and leaves them wondering if they will make it out before the poison gas kills them.
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Lost in the Swamp
Session 21 Recap

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  • The party arrives in a dark swamp. The air is oppressive and heavy. Shadows lurk everywhere and things seem to hide in every dark place, watching and waiting for their opportunity to strike. There is no doubt that this shadowy realm is the Shadowfell.

  • The party turns their attention to Luna, no longer a small girl but a young eladrin lady instead. Somehow the trip to the Shadowfell, her home, has returned her to her former self. She calls Lu “My Queen” and notes that she is actually her sister. The party listens intently as she explains how Lu went away about a year ago, leaving her people and sisters behind, on some mission.

  • After Lu did not return, her sisters Lu’Nianna and Lu’Niandra made their way to the material plane to find her. It did not end well for Lu’Nianna – the little girl blone-haired girl Lu remembers as Luna before she met the party. Now, Lu’Niandra has brought her sister, her queen, home.

  • While Luna explains all this, the adventurers notice that Geigan seems ill. After a few moments, he collapses. It seems, because of his origin as a primal spirit of the material plane, being in this strange place is deadly for him.

  • Thinking that they can locate help for Geigan as well as make their way to Lu’s homeland, The Vale of Long Night, the party heads out towards where they think the shoreline will be. It isn’t long, though, before the residents of the swamp rise up to attack them.

  • After being attacked a few times and finding themselves unable to navigate in the strange swamp, the heroes run across a wary village girl who tentatively offers to lead them to her small village. The party agrees and set out with the local girl. After some time, they come to a small collection of swamp huts along the shore of a small lake or large pond.

  • After crossing the water on a small boat, the girl walks to the center of the island where another woman stands on the edge of a large trash pit. They then make their intentions clear – they have lured the adventurers here to take them captive and eat them.

  • The heroes manage to overcome the women, now revealed as swamp hags, as well as their pet otyugh. They then begin to rifle through the huts, looking for valuables and a place to rest for the night.

  • A mere hour later, the remaining hags of the commune return and note the absence of their fellow hags and the otyugh. They locate the party and call them out, looking for vengeance.

  • Lacking a good escape route and having no desire to fight the hags in a weakened state, the party convinces them that they might be useful to the hags. The hags confer, and decide that they can indeed use the party to further their goals. They allow them to rest unmolested, and agree to discuss terms in the morning.

  • The party rests in the dead hag’s hut, wondering what challenge the hags will put before them in the morning.
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The Fens
Session 20 Recap

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  • The party, aboard the ship Lady Rose finally arrive near a river delta leading deeper into the fens. They drop anchor and make preparations to go ashore. While loading supplies on the landing boats, the ship lurches as giant tentacles latch onto the deck and a large head rises out of the waves near the bow. The heroes leap into action to try and save the ship.

  • The beats, now recognized as some sort of giant squid, attempts to crush the ship with its tentacles, but the party is able to beat it off and make it seek easier prey elsewhere.

  • The adventurers bid farewell to Captain Sevenson, board the landing boats, and head for one of the branches of the river delta.

  • Making their way up the river, the party eventually reaches a point where the boats will not be able to continue, so they row to the shore and portage across to another branch of the delta. Before they go to far, though, an ambush is sprung and lizardfolk leap from a blind of reeds and attack.

  • Even though the lizardfolk set up some traps at the ambush site, the party makes short work of them and kill all but one of the creatures, the last one escaping into the swamp.

  • The party continues their trek west, now on a better branch of the river. As they break to make camp for the night, they notice they are being watched. Three frog-like creatures, standing perhaps 4 feet high at most, emerge from the underbrush and seem to want to communicate. The party is eventually led through away west and to a small village of the creatures near the peak of the river delta.

  • Once in the creatures’ village an elder comes out and bows to Geigan recognizing him as a primal guardian of The Fens. The elder speaks some Common and communicates to the party that his people, bullywugs, are impressed at their skills defeating the lizardfolk.

  • The elder tells the party that the blight has pushed the lizardfolk south into their lands, which itself was bad enough. Even more disturbing is that a hag, who has lived in the swamp for ages, decided to take advantage of the situation and gather the lizardfolk to her banner and use them to gather a veritable army. The elder asks the heroes for their help, and they agree – especially when they hear that the hag seems to have a way to move through the blighted area without ill effect.

  • With the directions given by the bullywugs, the party made their way towards the lake at the center of the fen, aiming for the hag’s hut along the northern shore.

  • On the night of the second day, the party made their way along the shore towards the hag’s hut under cover of darkness. Once the lizardfolk camp seemed to settle down for the evening, the party made their way to to the hut. The stilted hut, about 50 yards offshore, was isolated enough so that they remained unseen from the shore.

  • The heroes were detected by the hag, and she attempted to talk them into a trap, but the party detected it and attacked first. The battle was tough, but they won in the end.

  • Once they had her defeated, the party recovered a primitive fetish from the hag, her way of entering the blight without ill effect. The party then slipped quietly into their boats, lit the hut afire, and made their way to the shore to head into the blight.

  • Reaching the blighted area, the party made their way towards the center as quickly as possible, using the fetish to protect Geigan from the worst of its effects. Finally, once they reached the center, they saw the planar rift and set about finding a way to enlarge so they could go through.

  • Oolmo and Lu channeled their arcane energies and widened the gap enough for the entire party to make their way through.

  • On the other side, a gloomy version of the fens awaited them. The place seemed oppressive and dark; they were definitely not in the same place. Even more disturbing, the party turned to Luna and noticed she was not a little girl anymore, but instead a grown eladrin woman.
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Sailing North
Session 19 Recap

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  • Heading to the extreme north part of the docks, the party looks to locate a ship to charter to take them to the Northern Fens. They meet with Captain Brek Sevenson on his ship Lady Rose. Although the ship appears to be in rough shape, something tells the party that it is more capable than it appears, so they negotiate passage north.

  • Later that evening, the party heads for the White Feather to meet with Larissa, leaving the mysterious little girl Luna and Oolmo behind at the inn room.

  • At the White Feather, the party discovers that Mr. Burke had once worked for the brothel as security years ago, hence why he and Larissa came here to remain safe.

  • After some convincing, the heroes get the two to agree to stop hiding and accompany them and Tavon. they agree to meet the following night after the ship is ready.

  • The heroes exit the White Feather and are suddenly accosted by spirits of the slain dragonborn they previously defeated. Along with the ghosts are swarms of worms, animated by some foul power both ancient and unknown. The party is able to defeat the unholy foes, and the worms creep back into the ground and sewer grates.

  • The next night the heroes, Luna, Burke, Tavon, and Larissa board Lady Rose and head north towards The Northern Fens.

  • After a day of sailing, the heroes find themselves deep in a fog bank and without wind to propel the ship. As Oolmo begins the incantation to summon winds into the sails, the crew catches sight of a ship off the starboard side. It appears derelict, and the crew becomes spooked. Even worse, as Oolmo’s summoned winds fill the sails and the ship lurches forward, the derelict ship seems to keep pace without any wind seemingly moving it. the crew becomes spooked.

  • The party guides The Lady Rose through several maneuvers in an attempt to lose the derelict ship, but it keeps up by making maneuvers it should not be able to make, even with a crew (which it does not seem to have). Meanwhile, Captain Sevenson’s crew murmurs about a curse and the Sable Drake, some cursed ship that haunt the northern waters near here.

  • Tensions on the ship become worse over the hours, with the crew threatening mutiny and thinking to throw the strangers overboard as a sacrifice. Eventually one crew member steps out of line and Neighl runs him through and sends him overboard. The Sable Drake seems to respond, and turns away deciding that it’s presence will not be able to incite the mutiny that it wants to.

  • Things go back to normal, and the ship resumes it’s northern trek.
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Showdown in Renfall
Session 18 Recap

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  • Deciding it best to face the problem head-on, the heroes made their way back to the road from the barn and made their way as quickly as possible towards the inn to face the tiefling Archidius.

  • The journey to the inn, quiet initially, turns out to be the calm before the storm as the party soon spots the flying creatures returning. With them, moving along the ground at a frantic pace, is some red-furred creature that resembles a huge ape. Soon it is upon them and battle ensues. The party handily defeats the creature and it’s flying companions and keeps Tavon Webb safe yet again.

  • As the sun hangs low in the sky, the party pulls into the roadside inn, The Silver Chalice. They make their way to the taproom and scout out any tieflings in residence. Only one is present, a female drinking by herself. The party makes conversation and soon discovers her name is Redemption, a paladin of Pelor who had infiltrated the Scions of the Horned Empire, specifically Archidius’ group.

  • Redemption tells the party that Archidius seemed to beat a hasty retreat earlier this morning and she hasn’t seen him since; she fears that he never quite trusted her. She offers to lead the party to his safe-house in Renfall in the hopes that he went there.

  • The party continues the next morning on their way to Renfall, this time with Redemption along. Once at the city, they make their way immediately to the local Pelorite temple and ask them to keep Tavon safe while they check out the safe-house.

  • The heroes arrive at Archidius’ safe-house but discover no one had been there in quite some time. Lacking any other information go on, the party decides that they should continue on with their true objective and part ways from Redemption, heading t back to the temple to collect Tavon.

  • After collecting Tavon, the adventurers decide to scout the White Feather (which they have since discovered is a brothel) where their meeting with Larissa is to take place. However, it would seem that their arrival in Renfall did not go unnoticed, as they are beset by Night’s Hand mercenaries in the streets. The heroes defeat them relatively easily, and disappear into the streets before the city watch can arrive and complicate matters.

  • Since there is still time until they are to meet Larissa, the heroes decide to look into hiring a ship to take them north towards the Northern Fens. As they get to the docks, they are ambushed by the group of dragonborn who were looking for Larissa since Tethy’s Tower. They tell the party that they consider them enemies now and have been ordered by their leader, Kira Bloodbane, to kill them on sight.

  • The party is outnumbered and the dragonborn fight fiercely without regard to innocent bystanders nearby, but the heroes manage to use a small warehouse building to gain a tactical advantage, and eventually defeat all of the dragonborn.

  • After the battle subsides, the watch arrive and take stock of the situation. They let the party go after the locals who witnessed the ambush corroborate their story of self-defense.

  • Now, the party is free to seek out a ship and crew to hire, and head for the end of the docks where the watch tends to be thin and inattentive.
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Country Roads
Session 17 Recap

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  • Once the heroes arrive at the town of Woodsedge, they make their way to the local temple dedicated to Pelor where they re-supply, change their horses, and swap wagons.

  • Day Zero


  • Although the priests of the small temple offer to put the party up for the night, they decline and decide to make use of the 2 or so hours left of daylight and make their way east towards Renfall. After a few hours, they find a small copse of trees, pull off the road, and make camp for the night – away from any who might be travelling the road.

  • That night, while on watch, Lu notices flying shapes far above making regular passes across the sky. Oolmo, with the assistance of a tracking ritual, confirms what Lu suspects when he sees light traces tracking across the night sky in what appears to be an organized search pattern. It appears that Lady Najala and her agents are desperately searching for the PCs.

  • Day One


  • The next morning the PCs make their way back to the road and try to keep exposure of the more notable members of the party, to a minimum. That afternoon they run into a merchant caravan heading west towards Woodsedge but although they seem nervous and guarded, they end up being no threat.

  • As the day ends, the party comes upon a roadside inn called The Shining Flute which caters to travellers. in order to appear more like other “normal” travellers and remain inconspicuous, the heroes pull into the inn and rent a room for the night.

  • Day Two


  • As morning comes, the adventurers pull out of the inn and resume their trek eastward towards Woodsedge. A few hours out of the inn they encounter what appears to be a small group of human mercenary-types walking along the road ahead towards them.

  • Once within earshot, the humans identify themselves as guards patrolling the road to Renfall keeping an eye out for smugglers and slavers. The party convinces them that they are merely pilgrims making their way to the temple in Renfall, however once they look in the wagon, they see the wilden and eladrin and attack

  • The heroes, make quick work of the mercenaries, but leave their leader alive for questioning. He reveals that he and his men were hired by a tiefling named Archidius at the next roadside inn. They were given descriptions of the party and instructed to check out this wagon to see if they were hiding inside. Having gotten all the useful information they could from him, the party leaves him tied to a roadside tree with his dead companions.

  • It isn’t long, however, before their enemies locate them and come in force. Oolmo notices that the traces in the sky, revealed to him from the tracking ritual, are converging on their location.

  • The heroes turn the wagon off of the road and head across a field for a barn, thinking to take cover from the aerial attack. They race across the field, blast a hole in the barn door to open it, and pull in just as the vulture-like creatures arrive, swooping around the building and cawing noisily.

  • Knowing that there is no easy way out and that it is only a matter of time before reinforcements arrive, Neighl steps outside to draw the creatures down. The creatures oblige him, but use their longspears to do fly by attacks while staying out of the reach of the heroes’ blades.

  • The party fights hard and finally defeats the flying creatures, but not before they notice that not only did 1 of their enemies leave before they came out of the barn, but one managed to flee once the battle’s outcome was obviously in favor of the PCs.

  • Now the party is faced with a choice: Continue on the road and risk being found by an even large enemy force, or find some other way to get to Renfall in time to meet Larissa.
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Pelor's Light
Session 16 Recap

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Summary:



  • The party, having defeated a group of Duergar hunting them through the sewers, decide to make a stand and fight the devils off. So, they set up some caltrops and ball bearings in both sewer tunnels and wait for the enemy to arrive.

  • As expected, more Duergar show up and surround the party in the sewers. Their leader, some half-breed devil-like man, call out for a parley and the adventurers agree. The man extends an offer for to the heroes for them to join, rather than oppose, Najala and promises a position of power and prestige for them in the new empire.

  • As expected, the party refuses and ends up fighting the duergar, but are quickly overwhelmed by superior numbers when the devil-kin use a portal device to bring in more of their number. The party flees up a ladder, through a trapdoor, into a dockside warehouse to escape.

  • The adventurers decide to flee the docks area and seek refuge within the temple of Pelor to catch their collective breaths.

  • Once at the temple, the party is faced with a moral decision, as one of the high priests, Sel, wishes to eliminate the threat posed from Najala by killing Tavon and, later, Larissa. The heroes, of course, refuse and the head of the temple, Dawnlord Hallan, agrees to help them get to Woodsedge and then to the elven homeland in the Wyrmwood; once there the heroes hope to convince the elves to hide Tavon.

  • The Pelorites provide the party with a wagon, provisions, and disguises (as pilgrims) and they leave immediately for Woodsedge.
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O, Brother Where Art Thou?
Session 15 Recap

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Summary:



  • Knowing that the only way they can beat Lady Najala’s forces to Tavon Webb is to use the teleportation circle, the heroes decide to petition The Coyote to use his circle.

  • Thinking they might need help getting an audience, the party asks for the assistance of the White Lantern Consortium, a merchant organization with an outpost inside the Refuge.

  • The White Lantern leader, Lord Kelevan, agrees to assist the party, but claims that the only ones of their number who have been granted audience with The Coyote is Ovena Greystone and her brother Tristan and they are not yet back from their journey – the heroes would have to wait.

  • The next day Ovena and Tristan arrive back at the Refuge and agree to get The Coyote to grant the adventurers an audience.

  • The heroes are led into the square tower to find it’s interior to be well-decorated and comfortable. Their host, The Coyote, seems pleasant and welcoming on the surface, though everyone agrees that there is some sort of intangible sense of power that he emanates.

  • The party is treated to a fine meal, courtesy of their host. After, the party tells The Coyote what they need and why they need it. The Coyote admits he is no friend of Lady Najala’s, so he agrees that he is willing to help.

  • The Coyote asks Neighl to speak with him privately, so a deal can be made. After a few minutes, they return to the dinner table and announce that a deal is made.

  • The Coyote agrees to let the party use his teleportation circle as well as to provide other assistance to the party should they decide to face Najala directly. The heroes are shown the the circle, and make ready for the teleportation back to Tethys’ old tower.

  • When the party arrives at the tower, they are surprised to find that Larissa and Mr. Burke are nowhere to be found. The agents that Kira Bloodbane sent to look after them, however, were there and none too happy to find the tower empty.

  • The heroes manage to head off an armed conflict with the dragonborn agents and convince them that they knew nothing about Larissa and Burke heading off.

  • Desperate to get to Tengara before Najala’s minions do, the heroes set off and leave Larissa and Mr. Burke to the dragonborn.

  • The party makes their way on foot to the small village of Brightwater to reclaim their ship. They manage to get the villagers to crew the vessel and head off to Tengara.

  • Arriving dockside in Tengara, they heroes leave the crew on the ship and make haste towards Tavon Webb’s offices. The party arrives at the building in time and tell Tavon why they’ve come. Although he is skeptical at first, the sounds of fighting a few streets over convinces him – it appears that Lady Najala opted for overwhelming force rather than being sneaky.

  • Quickly evacuating from the buildings and taking to the streets, the heroes lead Tavon towards the northern exit of the city. The enemy pursues them through the streets, while the city’s militia tries to organize at least some resistance. Deciding that they need to get off the streets, the party takes to a side-street and down into the city’s sewer system.

  • Now below ground, the party and Tavon move through the subterranean tunnels and head towards their ship at the docks. When they arrive, they are surprised to hear that the ship is on fire. Apparently, Najala is done toying with them.

  • As the party decides what move to make next, the sounds of pursuit within the sewers reach their ears. A moment later, infernal creatures round the corner of the tunnel and attack.

  • The heroes defeat the creatures, but realize that they are outnumbered and surrounded. They contemplate what to do next.

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Slave Markets
Session 14 Recap

Recap 14

Summary:



  • The heroes questioned the beholder about the city, having accepted the its surrender. The beast provided little in the way of information, but the party was feeling magnanimous and let the beast go n the condition that they never see it again. The creature agreed, but the party wisely made camp in a building nearby instead. Sure enough, after dark, shadowy shapes attempted an ambush only to find the building empty.

  • The next morning the heroes awoke and set off to the slave markets. Run by the Bloodspear Clan of orcs, the nearly 5 block square area appeared very well-guarded which left trying to bluff their way past the front gate their best option. Sidling up to the front gate, full of bluster, the heroes acted as slavers looking to make a purchase. The orcs, eager to collect a 25gp per person entry fee, bought the act and let them pass inside.
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