Alternate Earth Campaign

To the Rescue!

It was a slightly chilly morning but that’s all gone now, thanks to the dragon. You were deep into your cups last night in anticipatory celebration of your “coming of age” ceremony next week. You and your classmates are the first of a new generation – far more vigorous and adventurous than your forebears. That has gotten some of your classmates (maybe even you) into some trouble in the past.

Sort of like your current predicament. You and your friends came on a dare to the ruins of Rath Kambalt, where the Sky King slew old King Atlas 50 millennia ago. The ruined cyclopean city has been declared strictly off-limits to the youngest generation. That means you. So of course you all wanted to come here. Last night Kharis said none of you had the nerve to enter the city and bring back an artefact.
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Aodh and Rorth decided to prove him wrong. They went into the city and all sorts of hell broke out. They had been gone for hours, circling the city to East. The sun rose higher in the sky – then flashes from the ancient court in the North half the city. Another flash, then another. Bursts of fire? That’s when you saw it. The great swooping shadow of the dragon coming down off the mountain. The searing light of its fire was intense. It was as if you could feel the heat of its breath even here, miles away.
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Were your friends still alive?

Patrols arrived. The dragon roared its defiance and launched into the sky. Some of the more intrepid souls determined to go find your friends while the dragon was occupied elsewhere. Darting from cover to cover as drake riders dashed overhead, you tracked your friends from Atlas’s Folly to a ruined building, half melted and smoldering from Dragon’s fire.

Digging through the rubble, you found an exit from a subbasement into some sort of caverns below. Thoroughly soaked by water chutes and the underground pool at the bottom, you emerged into a cavern teeming with phosphorescent life. But, the dreadful noise… Creatures, all manner of creatures: tentacled and writhing; skittering hard carapaced things; deformed giants; gaunt, stunted humanoids; all were slaughtering one another.
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Then, suddenly, a calm voice of amidst the hellish tableau.
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An ancient Ealiir, raggedly cloaked and blindfolded, yet bearing a strange, cracked sword, appeared and beckoned you to follow him to find your friends. He led you past the worst of the carnage to a steeply sloped tunnel. “Your friends await you below.”

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Into the Fomorian Ruins
Meropian Hijinks and a Dragon?!

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Aodh and Rorth decided to skirt the ruins to enter Rath Kambalt from the north. While moving across the main avenue to the East they discovered evidence of large pack animals entering the city within the last several hours. Somewhat forewarned they continued their circuit and then approached the large court known as Atlas’s Folly.
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The enormous fossilized skeleton of the giant King Atlas, it’s bones more metal than stone, dominated the arcade. On the far side of the court, they heard the sounds of picks and shovels working. Discovering that their fellow interlopers were in fact Meropians, they decided to try to handle them themselves.
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Rorth used his magic to pretend he was the spirit of Atlas – and also their God – but the soldiers he was talking to did not understand his language.

Still, it caused them great consternation particularly when all involved had to hide from the roving patrol of dragonriders.
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As the patrol moved to the south, Aodh heard the giant warriors approaching. Three of the giant warriors had approached invisibly but now they rushed to the attack. Rorth doused them in flames but the things were bred to resist Atlantean magic indicating that they were Meropian temple guards. Rorth and Aodh were both sorely pressed by the vicious iron weapons, but ultimately the prevailed and slew the three warriors.

Yet, the Meropian priest had dozens more. Aodh took the shape of a giant Elk and, with Rorth on his back, he led the Meropians on a merry chase, careening throughout the ruins of the city. Eventually cornered, Rorth and Aodh took to the upper-level ruins to hide and rest.

The Meropians began a more systematic search, after their priest’s magic failed to discover where the two were hiding.
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All of this ruckus apparently attract the attention of the great dragon who lived a top Mount Atlas, Just a few miles to the north.
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The Dragon burnt the scattering creatures before him shattering stone and causing a collapse that dumped Rorth down into an underground cave system. Aodh in the form of the fairy dragon followed his companion.

One Meropian, badly injured, followed after them, but he was quickly dispatched. Aodh, now in the form of a bronze dragon, was entangled by tendrils from two great stalactites. But since they were pulling in opposite directions, he was kept suspended in the air between them. Eventually Rorth’s and Aodh’s magic combined was enough to destroy the foul creatures.

Safe, they hunkered down a short time to rest. While they were resting, they were approached by an ancient Atlantean who bore a strange, black, cracked sword and a blindfold. The ancient one was clearly suffering from the fugue and kept muttering about his inability to change the fate of the island and it’s of inhabitants.
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The ancient one agreed to take Aodh and Rorth to a safe place to rest fully. They followed him through caverns suffused with the hyper-abundance of underground life. they also noticed faintly glowing crystals, some of which appeared to have been the type which were used to charge their thunder lances.

One, different from all the rest, pulsed with malevolent, purple hued energy. They gave it a wide berth. The ancient one guided them in a side passage that was dry and dusty and evidently devoid of any other life. He told them the way out would be appearing soon, and then hinted at chaos and slaughter would ensue because of the Meropians that were following them. Some hours later his prediction came to pass.

The inhabitants of the cave systems: giant centipedes; great beatles; blind ghothe; deformed giants – all began to converge on the dark Crystal at the center, killing everything that came near. Aodh and Rorth wisely held back, until a great purple worm burst from the ground, snapping a leg off one of the giants and driving further into the cavern to devour the puny creatures battling there.
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The ancient one told them to follow him closely for the worm’s tunnel was to be their escape. Gliding forward as if he could dance through raindrops the ancient one cut a path with his sword, slaughtering anything that came near and defending Rorth and Aodh until they could reach the tunnel.

They quickly slid down the chute and away from the underground Armageddon. Some distance on, they discovered a section of masonry wall that had crumbled in. They entered, seeking shelter. After scorching the bones of a half-dozen shambling humans they have decided to rest for a bit…

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Into the Ruins of Rath Kambalt

It is a slightly chilly morning and it is not making your head feel any better. You were deep into your cups last night in anticipatory celebration of your “coming of age” ceremony next week. You and your classmates are the first of a new generation – far more vigorous and adventurous than your forebears. That has gotten some of your classmates (maybe even you) into some trouble in the past.

Sort of like your current predicament. You and your friends have come, on a dare, to the ruins of Rath Kambalt, where the Sky King slew old King Atlas 50 millennia ago. The ruined cyclopean city has been declared strictly off-limits to the youngest generation. That means you. So of course you all want to come here. Last night Kharis said none of you had the nerve to enter the city and bring back an artefact.
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Now, you are here to prove him wrong – but you are also thinking this has been undertaken foolishly. Patrols are known to sweep this way early in the morning yet you don’t know if you can bear the ridicule of failing the challenge . . .

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The Destruction of the Temple of Elemental Evil

The Aftermath of the Temple of Elemental Evil:
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A sinister, dark robed figure in a red metal mask stalked amngst the soupy remains of Zuggtmoy. “Ah, I see you have destroyed their pet demon queen. These feckless incompetents.” The red mask turns towards Adriel “They have become too clever for their own good, bringing you here sister.”

It turned its gaze on Aerindor, sighing. Then, muttered almost too low to hear, “so far you have fallen.” It shakes its head, then pauses and raises it as if listening.

“Strange, I sense something… Like a confluence of some sort. But no matter. you will not be around to witness its occurrence. This has been dormant for too long I think.” The figure waived its hand and the skulls atop the pillars began to burn.

“Let’s give the Demon Queen one final purpose.” It waved his hand again and the fungus began to pulse and undulate. “And now I believe the local clergy has arranged welcoming party for you.”

The Red Masked One disappeared and the party saw a swarm of bugbears supported by demons charging down the stairs at them.
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Adriel rushed forward and unleashed a globe of radiant energy on the staircase that began burning through the first bugbears to cross. Sir Sebastian rushed forward with his shield ready to hold the line against the enemy’s charge.

The vulture demons swooped down upon him but could not pierce his defenses. Capt. Otis rushed to the top of the dais calling upon the stone itself to hamper and harm the enemy. Cruel stone spikes sprang from the floor in the path of the main body, making the floor slick with bugbear blood.

Spells and blades began flashing back-and-forth between the forces. Bugbears began to fall. The skull topped pillars began to smoke and flare and a huge, horned, bat-winged demon lord began to flicker into existence.
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Otis’s company turned on itself, the sell-swords cutting down Spugnoir from behind. Otis slew one and took the other prisoner.

Adriel, Aerindor and several others began smashing one of the skull-topped pillars to stop Orcus from materializing. Lykeus threw lightning at his foes, gravely wounding the enemy priest, who retaliated with lightning of his own.

Sir Sebastian carved a swath through the vrocks who proved to be no match for his holy wrath. The writhing, shuddering mass of fungus that was once Zuggtmoy lashed out, grabbing Titus about the face, drawing him into the putrid mess where he suffocated and was quickly digested. The inquisitor’s fire burned some of the mass back but it continued to grow at an alarming rate.

The bugbears launched a volley of javelins at the party but were rewarded for their efforts with holy fire, blasting them to the ground.
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Sister Adriel was revealed to be the Angel Adriel and her Holy Fire bathed the bugbears and the altar. The damaged pillar finally cracked and the Demon Lord shrieked his rage then faded from this world.

Suddenly, the battle was over. One bugbear had been captured, as well as one of the sell-swords. All the rest of the enemies had been killed. Titus was also lost. The newcomers, Thomas and Otis, introduced themselves to the party.

They determined that they had similar goals, including finding the lost elf lady, the captured viscount’s daughter, and the missing sword of power. They took a short while to rest, and Thomas used an artifact, a lamp he discovered in the Near East, to summon the Brass Merchant, a genie who sells magic.

The party summoned him with stolen cursed gems, then bartered with cursed magic pillars. As they begin discussing what to do next, they were suddenly ambushed by demonic apes leaping from above.
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The crushing arms and gnashing teeth seemed everywhere. Otis’s last companion, Furnok, was killed before the apes were destroyed. They were followed immediately by a troop of nine foot tall goat headed demons wielding giant pole arms.
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The new demons were thrashed by sword and spell so quickly that their master, a bone masked man wielding a crooked staff, turned and fled.

The party quickly resolved to stay in the throne room no longer. As they prepared to leave, a strange purplish glow came from a previously hidden hallway. They retrieved a crystal sphere that promised to give them the ability to glimpse into the future.

Thomas’s earlier reconnaissance let him lead the rest of the party to prison where a small group of elves were incarcerated. While, at first, they thought they had rescued the elf Lady, the prisoner was an imposter.

They learned that the elf lady at the taken less than six hours before deeper into the hellish temple. The obvious implication being that the white robed wizard intended to sacrifice her.

The party begin moving a bit more quickly, following Thomas’s divinations into the cold embrace of a Roper. The party moved further into the lower levels, searching for the lost sword Fragarach. Thomas’s magic lead the way and they discovered a mausoleum of darkness and illusion. This was the resting place of the Prince and the sword of power. The Prince was not awakened, though Aerindor received the sword.

Thomas used divinations to locate the Golden skull that he sought. Several further adventures look them into encounters with an ettin, a hill giant, 10 bugbears and four ogres. Most of them were brought low by spells of fire.

They finally discovered a secret room that was the lair of an ostentatious, high-strung wizard. The wizard created a magical wall of stone to block off the party. They were able to breach the barrier before the wizard could loot his secret sanctum. Within, they found a small trove of treasure, as well as the Golden Skull they sought. The wizard fled by means of his magic.

As they were completing their looting of the lizards lair, they heard a horrible sound – stone cracking and grating – to the north. They went quickly to investigate and discovered the remains of Zuggtmoy were spreading as a fungus throughout the bedrock.

The party quickly slid down the wizards escape tunnel surfacing in a ruined farmstead some distance from the temple.

From that vantage they were able to watch as the cathedral which it stood for centuries shattered and fell in upon itself as the evil rot ate away at its foundations.

They have no way of knowing what happened to the white robed wizard, the bone masks, the elf lady, the count’s daughter, Otis’s brother Elmo or anyone else who remained inside.

Lord Aerindor Hadurel: Aerindor found his lost family’s blade, Fragarach. He learned that his cousin, the Lady Tillahi, had been taken below at the behest of the white robe one. It is believed she was slated for sacrifice. The temple was destroyed before he could rescue her.

Though upset over her loss, he discovered a reaffirmed faith in old family legends and decided to take his new blade and go questing for the lost Ailarri Lords.

Inquisitus Secundus Lucius Amicus:

Sister Adriel:

Sir Bertran:

Sir Sebastian:

Lykeus:

Optio Titus Agarius:

Captain Otis:

Thomas Youngblood:

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The Dream
The Death of the Scholar

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You have all experienced the same waking vision:

A tall, slender man with fine features sits hunched over a massive wooden desk. Steady white light emanates from globes spaced around the room. In that light, his eyes are disconcertingly red. His skin seems to have an almost charcoal tinge.

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“Cat, Are you passing another hairball?” An unpleasant retching and twisting sound comes from somewhere behind him. “You know I don’t like it when you do that on the carpet”. A sharp yowl, suddenly followed by a popping and tearing sound.

“Unfortunately, it does look like I’ve made quite a mess.”

The scholars eyes widened. Shoulders stiffened, he raised his head but did not turn around. “I knew you would come, but I did not think it would be so soon.”

“Perhaps you have not learned as much as you thought you had.” A shadowy, robed form slowly drifted towards the scholar. Beneath its heavy cowl was a finely wrought mask of red metal. “The knowledge you have stolen is forbidden. We will always come.”

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“I know what you are doing. The lie…”

“You seek a knowledge even gods do not possess. Such knowledge as you do have is clearly imperfect, how can you pretend know what we are about?”

“I have been able to perceive the tapestry for only a short while, it is true. But that has been enough. The lie of fate…”

“And how is it that you have been able to perceive it at all? Powerful as your race once was, it is now fallen. And you are no God. How have you come to perceive the tapestry?” The scholar turned to face the red masked intruder. “I see. Red eyes. You follow the teachings of Druthgar. You injest it. What would your council say?”

“I tire of your baiting apparition. Be gone, I have work to do.”

“Again your newfound knowledge fails you. Your work is not yet complete and you presume I cannot reach you through your barriers. But I am no mere projection. I have come here bodily. I can Touch you.”

The scholar jerks to his feet and looks at the spreading dark stain seeping from under the table.

“There are two ways out of this, scholar . . . You could join us.”

“I will not”

“As we have foreseen.”

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Atop a tall tower on a cliff overlooking a city built of concentric rings… A window shatters. A form plummets through the air. The pale, dusk-edged face turns towards you, the red eyes fix you with their piercing stare.

The wind is howling past as the figure plummets to his doom but his whisper pierces your brain: “be ready.”
. . .
Darkness.

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Down the Dawn Way
Mind the bovines

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About a week passed in Brindenford allowing the party to get settled in the Bridgeman and work on paying off creditors. The final creditor showed, a guy who goes by the name Count Black, a late middle aged albino with alopecia who has a reputation for getting whatever you want when you need it. Essentially, he’s a distributor. The guys were speculating that he was black market, but I made it pretty clear that, since every establishment in town works with him, its a stretch to call it that.

Anyway, while they were paying their debt, Count Black mentioned that one of his suppliers, a man name Chester Phelps, hadn’t been heard from since about 3 weeks ago when he headed east down the Dawn Way to Drellin’s Ferry to pick up the latest load of Dawnbrew Mead. Drellin’s Ferry is about 80 miles away, but even so, he should be back by now. Black asks the guys, them being explorers and all, if they might be willing to scout out the road and find out what’s gone wrong with the delivery. When asked for compensation, Black offers to allow them to buy half of the delivery. Normally, he disperses the mead equally among all of the establishments in the city, keeps things fair with such an expensive and precious drink (and it is good for his rep). Allowing them to buy half of the delivery gives them the option to corner the market for at least a little while. They agreed that it was a good offer and accepted the mission.

They did a little asking around and it slowly became clear that no one had come trading from that way in about a month. Also, maybe half a dozen or so residences of Brindenford have friends or family who have gone missing down the Dawn Way within that time. They approached the sheriff about the missing folks, and he pretty bluntly explained that he has enough to worry about in regards to keeping the peace in his own town and that if they are worried about dangers on the roads, they should take it up with the queen since they are her roads. He was kind of a dick, but he doesn’t like them much anyway, especially Gaius.

Satisfied the mystery is worth their time, they headed out, expecting to make the trip in just over 3 days. First day was really hot and muggy. They were forced to rest the horses and take their time and also extend that ETA. Other than the heat, it was uneventful.

2nd day, it was hotter. Only event of note was a dead cow in the road. They got close enough to see the animal’s skin was stretched and something was moving beneath it. Fortuna threw a rock at it and the skin exploded into a roiling mass of centipedes. They wisely retreated about a mile and went the long way around through heavy brush.

A nature check revealed that the surrounding area was all abandoned farmland, anywhere from 60 years to a century fallow. Other than the road, it consists mostly of rolling hills (left by glacial deposits) with thick, high brush and little to no trees.

At this point, they aren’t expecting to get to Drellin’s Ferry until day 4.

Day 3, started uneventful, but dark clouds could be seen ready to roll in, and by the afternoon, they were drenched by the torrential downpour. They came across a ruined farmhouse with smoke coming from the chimney. Fortuna and Guy broke off and decided to explore it from two different directions. Based on the heavy rain and thick brush, I kicked everyone out of the room and only ran each scout individually until they either stopped scouting to wait (as in Fortuna’s case) or ran into the other (as in Guy’s case when he stumbled across Fortuna’s hiding spot).

Due to some noise from Fortuna’s wolf, one of the individuals inside investigated, and it became obvious that the party was dealing with someone armed and armored. The scouts weren’t spotted until Fortuna tried to climb up the wall of the farmhouse to look inside and slipped, falling noisily, and alerting everyone inside. They fought a pretty good battle against a bunch of hobgoblins with class levels. They found bodies in the house, a merchant, her guards, and a local farmer. They spent the night in the farmhouse, the rain cleared up, and they spent a good chunk of the next day cremating the humans and mutilating the hobgoblins. They remained another night at the house and finally arrived in Drellin’s Ferry on mid afternoon of day 5.

They settled in at a bustling inn called “The Old Bridge.” They made quite a scene being armed and armored, mud and blood spattered travelers when no one had arrived in town for weeks. They finally got to try Dawnbrew Mead, which was as good as reported. They learned that the hobgoblins had been ambushing travelers on the roads for several weeks. Their local guard would attempt to root them out, but either they were gone when they arrived to the ambush spots or, assuming they killed the hobgoblins, they were simply replaced by fresh raiders in a few days.

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Here There Be Dragons!
well, a 10 ton corpse anyway.

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Ghostly Boys and Horned Demons

laid the first to rest, killed the other.

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Hooks and Horrors in the Dark
Not to mention Brass Golems and Blood Chicks

Reynard was nearly killed by the horrors.

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Friendship Begins
with a punch in the face

Log of Gaius Icarius:

After finishing off Mr. fancy pants, we continued north towards the town of Brindenford. Along the way discovered an odd shrine cited that was haunted by some sort of irate specter. Yiki got in a good swing before drove the rest of my companions away. I channeled power into my blade and was able to destroy the creature. At least I think it is destroyed. Arielle told us that the shrine was dedicated to some young lad from her town was lost perhaps a decade ago.

After I found my companions sometime later he continued north to Brindenford. We met x, the halfling proprietor of the Tavern, x. He seemed rather helpful altogether but when we ventured out into town to meet with some officials the next morning we were accosted at every turn by disdain, indifference and insults.

This town makes little sense. Petty bureaucrats are easily inclined to offer thoughtless insults will are strangers without fear of reprisal. As I was beating some sense into one of these bureaucrats possible reason for this casual belligerence revealed itself. Apparently within seconds of my laying hands on bureaucrat, the local constable, his lieutenant and three additional armsmen materialized as if from the air to threaten me with drawn weapons.

It may well be this time town’s government needs an attitude adjustment.

In any event, and new was invited by one of the town Councilman to go on a quest for a supposedly heirloom of his family, a dagger that he believed lost in a cave of trolls to the south.

The Councilman told us they were to trolls in the cave, but in fact there were four. Now, there are none. We found no dagger in the cave but we did find the tunnel choked with rubble led to some old underground complex.

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