The dragon who assaults Burning Man is a hideous deep sea abomination. Equal parts white and translucent, he is spiny and covered entirely in a thick layer of mucus. Black and purple organs beat through a clear exoskeleton. He head looks like an angler fish: huge black eyes bulge from gooey flesh and hundreds of massive, needle thin fangs protrude from his mouth.
From his perch atop Gallowhall, he vomits a glob of millions of tiny while squirming creatures held together by a mass of mucus. These creatures, something between worms and sand crabs, burrow into the flesh of Rache and Jephthah.
Layric, using his new climb speed, hurries up the wall of Gallowhall, while Rache and Jephthah pull out bows and begin to shoot. Aislyn shoots a few freezing rays at the enemy and Jepthah takes another shot, then runs into the prison to seek a way up top.
The Dragon leaps down to Rache and bites him with fangs, pumping the inquisitor full of venom. Melee weapons are drawn, another freezing ray is loosed, and Jeph pulls off a successful trip! Downed, the dragon lops another spitball at Layric and Aislyn (both of whom are nauseated by the goop), then falls to both magic and sword. Layric collects some poison from the dragon.
Joe thanks the heroes for slaying the dragon, who had been terrorizing the town for years. Evidently Dragons were created (or found?) during the golden age, but went underground during the fall. The Cataclysm has freed them, along with many other horrible beasts.
In celebration of the death of the dragon, our heroes extend Burning Man by one day and night. After the next night's festivities, they make their way towards Ironclad, where their clue to the Apocolytes awaits. The trip is uneventful, and takes two weeks.
Ironclad is a major port city on the border of what was once Auger (the naval city) and Drafern. After Coras' Keep, it represents the next Major City to the West. It houses a massive, ironclad fortress protecting a bay and surrounded by high mountains and cliffs. It is a place which used to produce massive frigates and warships. Though large portions of the city were destroyed by falling rocks during the cataclysm, the city is still powerful, housing 25,000 people.
The waters around Ironclad are still, but fog and rock spires make the approach impossible for the whole of Gallowhall. Instead our heroes go in on one of the half dozen small sailboats attached to Gallowhall. They are searching for Borgun, a Apocolyte higher up living in the docks area.
After some poking around in a tavern on the docks, they discover that Borgun is dead, killed by the "One-Handed Inquisitor." After Borgun was killed, the One-Handed Inquisitor took off, assumably for the Apocolyte's "Charismatic Leader"'s compound. However, a halfling named Felix took over for Borgun, and he would be the person to ask.
When Felix enters the tavern, he is questioned by Rache. Though he tried and largely succeeds at appearing an ally, Rache eventually spooks Felix by mentioning the One-Handed Inquisitor. A wild chase ensues over rooftops, through taverns, and down alleyways. Jephtha and Aislyn fall behind, but Layric and Rache corner the halfling. He tells them the coordinates of the compound, and gives them his daggers. Felix has only seen the Charismatic Leader once. He went to a sermon, but the Charismatic Leader's head was shrouded and Felix could not see his face. The Leader extended one arm and cut a gash, bleeding into a bowl of wine. When Felix drank the wine, his eyes were opened.
Our heroes decide to let Felix go after taking his weapons and gold.
The best way to get to the compound is to ride horses - perhaps a three week ride through the chaos of inner Mildan. They sell their dragon's venom, then buy some horses, a pony and a wand of healing. They also notice a wanted sign for Aver Shipmaker, a prisoner on Gallowhall, reward of 1,000.
Our heroes return to Gallowhall, determine that Aver is nothing more than a rich kid who killed some sailors, and decide not to turn him him. They get some sleep and instruct Thur'khan to pilot Gallowhall to the old capital of Auger.
The next morning they return to Ironclad, mount their horses and ride into Mildan.
The land of Mildan is in ruins, death and chaos is everywhere. There are thousands of corpses, mostly emaciated from hunger. Abandoned villages, nearly abandoned cities, roving bands of bandits, beggars, thieves - its all here. Our heroes kill some bandits and Layric robs a traveling merchant, resulting in a scuffle which leaves our heroes bruised (but richer).
Around nightfall at the end of the first week, our heroes approach a town which appears to be bustling with life. This is extremely unusual, so they take it slow, wait for nightfall, and scout it out. The "townsfolk" are docile zombies, slowly and poorly performing daily tasks. After much deliberation, our heroes make their way to the town center where they find a dirty teenage girl sitting on wooden chair on a large raised wooden platform. She is flanked by two Gargoyles and sits in front of a gallows with four twitching zombies.
Conversation proceeds more or less as creepily as expected. The girl, who's name is Kindred Kazel, believes that nothing is amiss with the town. She even offers them the inn. But when conversation drags on, she gets more annoyed. When Layric moves forward to examine the Gargoyles, the stone creatures attack. A short fight commences, but the gargoyles and witch are neatly taken down.
It is January 31st, 15 A.C. Our heroes played this at level 5, Ascension level 2.