Friday, August 22, 2014

Jacob's Tower, Level 11: Mansion

Jacob’s Tower Level 11: Mansion
(220,000xp, 77,156gp)

Level 11 takes place inside a gaudy, Victorian style mansion. Given that your heroes are likely from a medieval inspired world, this change in tone should somewhat feel strange. However, it should be no more shocking than, for example, being transported to the plane of fire or into the stomach of a dead god.

The rooms of the Mansion are wooden and ornate, with black paneling, gold trim, artwork, chandeliers, silver chalices, and lots and lots of books. Candles shed flickering light on the decorated walls and marble floors. The air is heavy with perfume and cologne. The Mansion has absolutely no windows, skylights, nor doors to the outside, and the walls are magically protected from any sort of attack or incursion. Our heroes should feel vaguely claustrophobic and unwelcome, as if they are uninvited guests in a place beyond their comprehension. Which, of course, they are.

Note that the map describes two levels, one on top of the other. They are connected by the stairway in the entryway.

Our heroes will move about the map by finding silver keys to various rooms. These keys are clearly labeled and impossible to destroy. Take measures to ensure they are not lost, and don’t be afraid to resort to magic to bring them back. Each room is labeled in complex calligraphy above the doorframe, making it easy to determine where to go next.

Level 11 is designed for 3 – 4 level 11 adventurers, though it is easily adapted for more players or fewer. It rewards 220,000xp and provides up to 77,156gp upon completion.

1: Entryway

The entryway should set the stage for the rest of Mansion, and feel free to read parts of the introduction to your players.

The floor in the entryway is white marble, and large mirrors, painting, and china cabinets adorn every wall. A massive marble staircase with golden railings leads up to the next level, where a balcony looks down over the room. A crystal chandelier hangs over the stairs, refracting light in every direction.

Our heroes start on 1a.

A tall, intimidating grandfather clock stands against the wall at 1b. It is impossible to destroy, but may be stopped with a DC 35 Disable Device check. Every hour, starting one hour after our heroes arrive, the grandfather clock tolls midnight (it appears to be stuck at that time). This cacophony is unbearable to listen to, and the vibrations affect even the deaf. Whenever the grandfather clock tolls, all heroes, animal companions and other compatriots in the level are dealt 5d6 sonic damage and deafened for 2d6 rounds (Fortitude DC 20 save halves damage and negates deafness). Sleep is impossible to achieve.

All doors upstairs and downstairs are locked and impenetrable, except for the doors to the den. The door to the dining room is slightly ajar.

2: Dining Room

A looming sense of dread and stifled panic invades the heads of our heroes as they enter the dining room. Broken chairs, plates, and glassware are strewn around the area, and the toppled table (2a) is covered in massive scratch marks.

As they investigate the room, our heroes notice that there is not a single scrap of food. For whatever reason, this increasing unnerves our heroes until they finally discover a single, shriveled grape amidst the wreckage.

When our heroes first spot the grape, a rising cacophony of voices seem to catch in their throats – voices that scream “No food!”, “We are all going to starve!” and “I don’t want to die!”

As a panicked, ravenous hunger grips our party, each character, animal companion and eidolon should make a DC 25 Will save. For any that fail the save, the change over the next six seconds is gruesome. The character’s jaw grows and elongates, painfully sprouting thin, razor sharp teeth. Eyes fill with jet black liquid and focus hungrily on whatever flesh is closest. Any who have the rage ability enter a rage.

Roll initiative.

Each character that failed the save is afflicted with d6 non-lethal damage at the start of each of his turns as his ravenous hunger grows. This non-lethal damage increases by d6 for every round that has passed (up to 6d6 on the 6th round).

Each character that failed his save gains a bite attack (2d6 + strength modifier). Each turn he moves to and attacks the nearest target (player’s choice in case of a tie) with only his bite attack, healing himself for the damage dealt. On each successful hit his jaw grows, and the bite damage increases by d6. He does nothing else with his turn.

On each successful bite, the character inflicts an fast moving disease:
    Ravenous Wasting    Bite—injury; save Fort DC 16
    onset 1 minute; frequency 1/minute
    effect 1d3 Con and d6 non-lethal damage; cure 2 consecutive saves.

At the end of the 6th round, the ravenous hunger subsides and the jaws and attitudes return to normal.

The key to the Den may be found near the grape.

3: Den

The den is lavish Victorian, with padded seats, tall bookcases, and a roaring fireplace (3g). Among these elegant trapping move thirteen well-dressed ghosts. Clearly elite in their time, these spirits seem not to notice their incorporeal state, gossiping, playing cards, and drinking fine liquors.

Questioning these ghosts is something like talking to a broken record. They do not provide any additional information beyond what is presented below and, if asked an irrelevant question, will simply repeat a previous explanation after a brief expression of puzzlement.

Destroy the ghosts and they return within 10 minutes, lacking any memory of the event and no worse for the wear. The ghosts disappear permanently as various tasks are undertaken, leaving an empty room if all quests are completed.

3a: As soon as our heroes enter the room, a stern ghost dressed in a butler’s outfit hastily approaches our heroes. “You are late,” he whispers angrily, “and our guests are parched. Run down to the wine cellar and fetch some drinks.” He hands the heroes the key to the wine cellar and a small roll of parchment, and angrily refuses to answer any questions until the drinks are brought.

The parchment contains a list of wines to bring for various guests. There is no need to go into detail until the heroes have reached the wine cellar. For the contents of this parchment and the remainder of this task, take a look at the wine cellar room.

Note that the five guests mentioned on the parchment meander around the den, but ignore any stimuli.

3b: Three stately ghosts sit around a small table playing cards. Although the game is unfamiliar to our heroes, the rules are simple enough – it is a game of bluffing and deception. The ghosts welcome one additional player.

Before any game, our heroes should wager up to 5,000gp. He may play three games, and after each game one of the three ghosts fades away. After the three ghosts are gone, no more games can be played.

When playing a game, a character has three options. First, he may pass a DC 18 Profession (gambler) check to win. Second, he may pass both a DC 22 Bluff and Sense Motive Check to win. Third, he may attempt to cheat by passing a DC 25 Sleight of Hand check.

If he loses the game, he loses his bet. If he wins the game, he doubles his money.

However, if he is discovered cheating, the gambling ghosts shriek and lash out. Each remaining gambler makes a +7 incorporeal touch against our hero’s flat footed AC for d6 strength damage, and then disappears. If he is discovered cheating, the character also loses his money.

3c: A thin and anxious looking ghost hails our characters as they pass by. He nervously explains that he is trying to woo his second cousin, the lovely lady sitting in the corner reading a book (3d). If our heroes could act like thugs and intimidate her, then the anxious ghost could step in and save the day.

A DC 25 Intimidate check on the lovely specter is needed, or she laughs in our heroes' faces and then disappears along with the anxious ghost. If our heroes make the check, then the ghost steps in between our heroes and his second cousin. As he and the lady disappear into mist, the ghost winks and drop a +2 Merciful Sap.

If the lady is told of the nervous ghost’s plan, then she angrily storms out of the room, and both she and the nervous ghost dissolve into mist.

3e: An extremely well dressed ghost stands looking at his reflection in a mirror. He is obsessively tying and re-tying his bowtie, and is sweating profusely. If approached, he explains that he is off to meet the lady of the house, whom he hears is beautiful beyond words. However, he fears that he lacks the confidence to make a good impression.

A DC 25 Diplomacy check is needed to boost this ghost’s confidence. Success means the ghost gratefully hands over an incandescent blue sphere Ioun stone (+2 Wisdom). Failure means the ghost disappears into mist with a sigh. Only one attempt may be made.

3f: The final ghost is significantly less well dressed than the others. This ethereal Halfling wears a shabby, ill-fitting brown suit over his hunched form. He grabs at the heroes as they pass by, explaining that he has two incredibly valuable items to sell: A dragon’s egg and a mythril compass. He will sell each of these items for 5,000gp.

A DC 25 Appraise check is needed for each of the items to determine their true worth. Each character may only attempt this check once, and you should make these rolls in secret. Failure reveal that the dragon’s egg is worth 15,000gp and the mythril compass is worth 10,000gp. Success reveals that they are both replicas, and worth a handful of copper each. After the sale or refusal, the Halfling ghost disappears.

4: Wine Cellar

Long, dark stairs lead into a dank and foul ceiling wine cellar. The air is chill and damp here, and the ground is thick wet dirt. Over five hundred bottles of wine line the walls in cubby holes.

Hanging from a hook in the corner of the room is a key labeled “Servant’s Quarters” (4a).

The parchment from the butler has five items on it. If the correct check is made, a wine may be chosen to fit the appropriate description. If the check is failed, the wrong wine is chosen. Each check may be made only once by each character.

The Prince of Ettinburg fancies the type wine that his father used to serve, but can’t remember exactly what is was.” A DC 25 Knowledge (Nobility) check reveals that the royals of Ettinburg fancy wine spiced ground dragon bone.

Bethany Trotter requested a bottle from the Corik region, so any town in the area will do.” Unfortunately the regions are not listed on the wine bottles, so our heroes need a DC 25 Knowledge (Geography) check to find a town within Corik.

Father Josiah, a priest of Mirth, has requested wine for a ceremony of some kind.” A DC 25 Knowledge (Religion) check picks out the highly alcoholic wines from the Linnorm lands as ideal for Cayden Cailean.

Zazeasal Zalean, a diplomat from the 6th layer of hell, requires something from his home plane.” A DC 25 Knowledge (Planes) check picks some wine crafted in hell.

Gertrude Gilmoroy is from the small island of Malloy. Malloy has fought nearly everybody at one time or another, so make sure you don’t pick a wine from an old enemy.” A DC 25 Knowledge (History) check successfully avoids picking a wine that might offend Gertrude.

When our heroes return to the butler, he takes the wine bottles one by one. For each correct bottle, he tips the heroes 5,000gp. Then he and the five guests disappear into mist.

5: Servant’s Quarters

Four bunk beds (5a) line the northern wall of this small, dark room. Beside each bunk bed is a locked chest requiring a DC 20 disable device check. The two chests on the ends (5b) have a dozen gold each within them. The chest at 5c is trapped with a Harm Trap (Perception DC 31, Disable Device DC 31), but contains nothing. The chest at 5d contains a small +3 Glamered Padded Armor.

The door to the kitchen is unlocked.

6: Kitchen

The walls of this cramped room are lined with ovens, cooking equipment, and cutlery, forming difficult terrain.

A human sorcerer in purple robes (6a) slaves over a large boiling pot with a human leg hanging over the side. In the opposite corners, two Wyrmling Umbral Dragons perch on the countertop (6b), waiting for their dinner. As soon as any of these enemies see the heroes, they attack.

When the sorcerer dies, all of his equipment becomes non-magical and worthless. However, the stick that he was using to stir the boiling pot is a Maximize Metamagic Rod (lesser) and retains its power.

The key to the guest rooms may be found on the sorcerer. Note that the key opens the door to both guest rooms.

7: Upper Thoroughfare

When the first character steps onto any of the squares at 7a, the massive chandelier hanging from the ceiling disconnects and come plummeting down. It deals 4d6 +25 bludgeoning damage within the squares of 7a or 7b, though a DC 18 Reflex save halves. The pressure plate trap may be detected with a DC 30 Perception check and disarmed with a DC 25 Disable Device check.

8: Guest Rooms

The two guest rooms are a complete mess. The beds have been torn up, the walls are covered in claw marks, and shattered glass and china line the floor. More than that, the divider separating the two rooms has been smashed to smithereens, creating a wide swath of difficult terrain.

The cause of this destruction is immediately obvious. A Gug (8a) and a Tentacled Horror (8b) stare blankly at one another in the rooms. When they see our heroes, they immediately attack.

This fight can get cramped quickly. Either monster may forgo a single attack roll to automatically destroy a 5 foot chunk of wall within reach, creating difficult terrain on either side.

One of the cabinents in the room has been torn open, and a magically glowing cloak sits on the floor (8c). A DC 27 Spellcraft check determines that it is a + Cloak of Resistance, but a DC 37 Spellcraft check reveals that it is actually a Cloak of Immolation.

The key to the drawing room may be found undisturbed on a night stand in the south east corner (8d). Note that this key will open either door to the drawing room.

9: Drawing Room

The Drawing Room contains a single, immense grand piano (9a). The unnerving shine to of the piano’s black lacquer fills our heroes with unnatural dread as they approach.

When the first hero enters the room, the piano begins to play a ghastly, horrific, and altogether too loud melody. All characters who are within 30 feet of the piano, even through walls and floors, must make a DC 21 Will save. If a character is deaf or cannot hear the music, then he gains a +4 bonus on these checks. If a character is blind or cannot see the piano, he gains a +4 bonus on these checks. These bonuses stack, but a blind and deaf person can still feel the vibrations

The consequences for failure depend on the creature’s state of mind. A creature who is not shaken, frightened or panicked becomes shaken, takes 1 Wisdom damage and is pushed 10 feet directly away from the piano. A creature who is shaken, frightened, or panicked is dealt 2 Wisdom damage, and is pushed 30 feet directly away from the piano.

When characters are being pushed away from the piano, it is entirely possible that they will wind up in corners where no direction will take them away from the piano. If this happens, they are dealt 2d6 bludgeoning damage for every 5 feet of movement that is wasted.

A shaken, frightened, or panicked character finds himself unable to leave the room, the doorways acting as solid walls. He may only pass through a doorway with a DC 18 Will save.

Go into rounds at this point, and give the piano an initiative modifier of +10. Ever round in its turn, the piano imposes another Will save.

To stop this onslaught, the piano must be destroyed. The Piano has an AC of 4 and 120 Hit Points. It also has resist 10 for all energy types except for fire and immunity to sonic and piercing damage. It is vulnerable to fire damage. Remember that all ranged attacks deal half damage against objects. Alternatively, the magic surrounding the piano may be dispelled, assuming a Caster Level of 16 for the piano.

In the wreckage of the piano our heroes can easily find the key to the library.

10: Library

The library is an immense three story room. Each level is 10 feet tall, meaning the room is 30 from floor to ceiling. The bookshelves are lined with massive old tomes on topics from Aasimar to Zuvembie. Four Ladder can be scaled with a DC 5 climb check, and the bookshelves can be climbed with a DC 20 climb check. Falling from a bookshelf results in an additional d6 damage from loose books.

The room is filled with constructs that immediately attack. Two Brass Men stand at the bottom of the library (10a), and half a dozen Aballonians guard the upper floors. Note that the Aballonians do not have any of the listed rebuild options, instead dealing an additional 2d6 electricity damage with each ranged touch attack for 4d6 total.

The key to the Master’s Suite is on a pedestal on the top level of the library (10c). While the pedestal is visible from the entrance, the angle blocks the key. If the heroes can, they should feel free to grab the key and run out without dealing with all the enemies. The constructs do not pursue enemies outside the library.

If our heroes peruse the bookcases with either detect magic or a DC 25 Perception check, they can find a Scroll of True Seeing, Scroll of Wall of Force, and Scroll of Hero’s feast, all CL 11 hidden among the books.

11: Master’s Suite

This dark and musty room clearly belongs to the master of the house. It is the only room in the mansion that shows signs of age, sporting rust, cobwebs, and a thick layer of dust. A few objects around the room block movement, such as the bed, cabinets, and an armoire. There is a large wooden door in the wall at 11b.

There are five separate DC 23 permanent images of tied up figures with gags in their mouths – a man (11c) , a woman (1d), a young boy (11e), a young girl (11f), and a dog (11e). These illusions are human and well-dressed (except for the dog), but obviously malnourished and poorly treated. They are here to distract our heroes, make them waste actions, and worry about getting civilians caught in area attacks, and they serve no other purpose.

A hideous woman in a torn wedding dress hunches by the bed (11a).  Her neck is several feet long, and black eyes rest above a dislocated jaw filled with hundreds of razor sharp teeth. She is a Rokurokubi, and she immediately attacks.

The Rokurokubi drops her nightfall aura on her turn. If she can ever catch more than one target with confusion, then she will.  If she can identify a spellcaster, she will use feebleminded. If she can identify an enemy with a poor Will save, she will cast charm monster. Note her 20 foot reach with bite and combat reflexes.

Change the frequency of the Rokurokubi's curse to once per round.

The key to “Level 12” may be found on the Rokurokubi's body. It will open the door at 11b, and lead our heroes to the next level.

If you are just playing Jacob's Tower and leveling up after Mansion, distribute 27,000gp amoung characters evenly.

You may purchase printable PDFs of the entire dungeon here, including the secret final level not available online and an expanded foreword.

Jacob's Tower, Levels 1 - 13 ($9.99)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Now Accepting Submissions

Interested in getting your ideas hosted somewhere?  Have a great creature, item, or tool that you want to see the light of day?  Able to write compelling advice, or have a fantastic home rule that you think others should implement?

If you would like to appear on this blog, then send your material or proposal to  Once a final version is reached, you will be fully credited and a link to your personal page will be added.

Monday, August 18, 2014

5th Edition Guide to the Guides

Looking for a fun module? Check out
Play as Dragons in this Wild On-Shot

Bookmark this Page and Send it to your Players and Co-Adventurers!


     The (Un)complete Warlock Multiclassing Guide

     Arrive on Time: A General Guide to Wizardry
     Treantmonk's Guide to the Wizard, Part II
     The Master of the Arcane: A Guide to the Wizard
     A Blast from the Past: Wizarding 101

Other Guides

Class Abilities and Spells
     5th Edition Spells Spreadsheet (wizards link)
     Annual Cantrip Review
     Conjurer of Cheap Tricks: A Conjuration Handbook
     A Compilation of Useful Spell Lists 
     Know Your Rites: A Guide to Ritual Casting


General Tips

Character Building

     Basic Char-Op (wizards link)
     Handbook to Guide Writing (wizards link)
     The Comprehensive Compendium of Considerable and Compelling Curious: A Magic Item Guide (wizards link)
     Magic Item Math of 5e (wizards link)
     The Mystic Warrior - A Guide to Creating Warrior/Mages (wizards link)
     5e Content Index

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Martyr King 29: The Second Cataclysm

The twenty ninth and final session in the "Legacy of the Martyr King" campaign.

After a few more questions, our heroes grab Nut and jump through the Jumpgate the Adriane's Copper Minaret. They immediately realize that the sorcerer is in trouble, and jonesing badly. Castor is compelled to retrieve some stashed Kishii, and they go to investigate.

Cainan has capture Adrianne, and has him tied up. Unfortunately, the cleric proves as inept as ever, and this time he is killed. Adrianne's thirst for Kishii is satiated, and our heroes continue on the three and a half week journey to the Charcoal Minaret.

They decide the best way to enter the Minaret will be from above. Our heroes take the back roads up the cliff, so they are about 900 feel above the minaret. Then they shrink Maven and Aymeric, tie ropes to each other, cast fly and invisibility, and fly down, hitting every goddamn rock on the way. They land, take out some guards, do some infomation gathering with speak with dead, and make their way down to the jumpgate. Thinking this all seems too easy, they activate it with a dark soulstone, and the Reclaimer Army pours through.

The Reclaimers immediately start massacring the unprepared Dorian forces.

Our heroes decide to look for the Avatar of the one as the Dorians are being destroyed. They head down to the subbasement, where the find the Angel in chains. He is significantly larger than Demphiel or Azriel, maybe by two feet, and he is chained to the wall. He does not speak when they come in. His attention seems to be elsewhere.

Our heroes release him, and the first thing he says is “Move.” He pushes the heroes aside and creates a wall of force as the Avatar of Light materializes and swings his sword. A fight commences. The Avatar of the One (for that is what he is) is bigger but he is weak. It appears that his attention is elsewhere. Azriel cuts off one of the White Angel’s wings, disarms him, then forces him to his knees. There is a pause.

Azriel (he seems torn): “I … you know I will not kill you. You know what will happen if I do …

The Avatar of the One. “Yes. but I can kill you” And with this, he forces his hands forward, and the heroes are blinded by the light. The white light burns through Azriel, who lifts his faceless hood to through sky and screams.

Much to our heroes’ surprise, when they can see again, a man lies in Azriel’s place. He dead, cut in half and badly burned, and his blood is spread out over the floor.

The Avatar of the One is breathing heavily. He says this when they approach him.

You fools! Have you ever, even once, questioned what you are doing, and who you are working for? The God of Light desires the slavery of the human race, but do you really think that any other God has the best interests of humanity in mind?

“The Fall was a pact between all the Gods to take man back a step in societal evolution. The soulstones man had created were sucking power from the planes of existence and, although the God of Light was the most weakened, every God was losing something to the race of man. Every God except the God of Darkness, whose soulstones were considered useless and discarded, if created at all. So why did the God of Darkness go along with the plan?

“The souls of creatures on this planet fuel the plane of light. Whenever anything on Cain dies, its soul burns in the great furnaces of the God of Light. So what did the God of Darkness want?

“Cain was a losing battle. The God of Light was too entrenched, and the God of Darkness could never hope to gain as much power in his strong hold.

“15 soulstones were detonated at the Fall, yet only 14 are observable to the eyes of man. The 15th was a secret, revealed only to the other Gods after it was too late.

“The 15th soulstone was detonated at the heart of this planet. It has been there for two thousand years, eating away at the molten core until there was nothing left, freezing the tectonic plates in place and shrinking the size of the planet.

“Only my power has eased this planet’s death throes. Even now it is where my attention lies and must remain. This is how Azriel was able to captured me. The God of Light knew that I would keep the cradle of the human race alive at all costs, and he caught me and chained me to this place, allowing me only enough energy to quell the titanic forces raging inside the planet.

“But for the past few months you fools have been aiding the God of Darkness. You have been activating Jumpgates in his name and allowing him to turn his growing power and influence to destroying the world. The God of Light is distracted, his armies spread too thin, and his influence waning.

“But while I live, there is still time. The only way to end this is to kill the Gods. We must travel to the Root of the World…
” And suddenly his voice is caught in his throat. The Avatar of the One jerks his head up in sudden terror. “No… The Jumpgate upstairs… you didn’t…

And then Demphiel appears. Before the Avatar of the one has a chance to react, Demphiel’s sword is through the Avatar’s Chest.

Demphiel speaks as he lowers the Avatar of the One to the Ground.

Oh, but they did. We have been waiting a thousand years for this moment, building up our energy and planning, but, thanks to your progeny, it is finally upon us. You going to die now Richard. You can no longer influence this world, and without you, it will crumble into dust in a matter of days.

“One hour ago, these young, innocent, stupid heroes thought it was about to be over. They thought that they could end the war, defeat the Dorians, and rule the Reclaimers and then the human race.

“It was never about that. It was never about any of that. Who cares about this petty war, when the cradle of the human race is about to crumble into itself?

“And the God of Light won’t be able to gather up the strength to stop us, now that Doria is fallen and his Avatar is destroyed. The Reclaimers work for me now, and they will continue to do so until the end of the world. Oh, it was sad indeed, when the Men and Women of Breya learned that their chosen heroes, their long absent Kings were actually traitor, liars, and servants of the God of Light. I told them just before I came down here. These five heroes will die alone, hated by every side, without a friend in the world to mourn them. Not that it matters. The world hasn’t long anyway.”

Demphiel pulls his sword out of the dying Avatar and strides towards the heroes. He looks incredibly powerful, black and purple flames burning off of him and his sword. “Good work. I couldn’t have done it without you. And goodbye.

He swings his sword – but time suddenly slows to a crawl. Our heroes can see the Avatar of the One lifting his hand in the background. However, he has shrunk to the size of a man.

The voice of the Avatar of the One echoes in the heads of our heroes. “Go to the Throne Room of the King, at the Root of the World. I cannot take you there, but I can take you close. Demphiel will no doubt be waiting for you, but this should give you time to prepare. Hurry. The planet hasn’t long.

Our heroes see the sword swing, but it never reaches them. They suddenly feel the intense sensation of crushing, and then they feel cold air, and are in complete blackness. The next moment the ground shakes violently. They can hear the crashing of rocks all around them, and dust fills the air. It shakes for a good 2 minutes with increasing agony and noise, then dies down. When the dust settles and light is created, our heroes find themselves in the ancient ruins of an underground city.

Our heroes also find a map of Cain before the fall. Evidently it used to be called Earth. In those days the water levels were higher and they oriented the map differently, but the resemblance is there.

Our heroes have landed near what appears to be a subterranean hub of carts and tracks. One leads to the Throne Room of the King which, according to a map, is at Earth's South Pole, Antarctica. They hop of the tram and go for a day.

After about 24 hours of sporadic earthquakes, our heroes arrive at the Root of the World. It is a large, complex structure with, gothic architecture and dark shiny walls. Small white globes dot the walls, illuminating the massive hallways.

They walk for about 20 minutes, before Demphiel's voice comes on some sort of loudspeakers. "One of the wonderful parts about working for the God of Darkness is you get choice pick among a few particularly twisted souls." With this, each one of the heroes' rivals suddenly materializes and attacks.

This should have have been a fair fight, but our heroes are extremely quick to initiate combat. Nearly every hero goes before nearly every rival. Emut is killed before he can do anything, Cainan is glued in place, and Maven is able to buff everybody immensely (well, everybody except Nut). The only loose end is Hervey, who cannot be killed and possesses Nut.

After the fight, Nut insists he is fine, but Hervey is shouting in his head. "What will happen when this is all over? You must kill them all! Only you can sit the throne!"

Finally, our heroes reach the throne room. The room is a large 270 degree semi-circle with a radius of about three hundred feet. There is a large throne on a raised section in the center. 13 huge jumpgates, none-active, line the walls. What is more, there is no visible slot for a soulstone. 13 of these gates are faced by the throne. One final jumpgate, normal sized, also no soulstone slot, is directly behind the throne.

The floor is flat, and there are grooves extending radially from the center to each of the Jumpgates. The room is made out of the same shiny black stone, and there are a bunch of gothic arches. There are points and pointed arches along the walls, and the ceiling is dimly visibly in the darkness. There are white lanterns all around, and a strange white light illuminates the whole area.

Demphiel lounges on the throne. One leg is propped over the arm of the throne, and he looks as if he is comfortable here – as if he has sat here before. Demphiel looks immensely powerful, more powerful than ever before, and he causally holds a long black sword, glowing black with dark purple fire. His wings are slowly beating. He doesn’t seem like he’s in to much of a rush.

“I was starting to worry that you wouldn’t show up. In a few hours, the world will be destroyed one way or another, but, as I was once human, it would give me a nice sense of closure to finish you five off.” You can sense that he is smiling. “So lets finish this.” With that he rises from the throne, and begins to slowly move towards our heroes.

When I was king, the god of Darkness showed me a vision of terror. He showed me the future, if mankind was allow to continue on its path. The teeming trillions of Mankind had spread to every corner of ever plane, and, after burning out all available resources, had dwindled and then died in starvation. The multi-verse was left a smoking ruin and all that the gods and humans had struggled to achieve was wasted. I saw this, and I was afraid. But I also knew that I was in a unique position to stop it. So I betrayed the human race, left 15 soulstones vulnerable to attack and shut down the jumpgates to the other world.

Our heroes suddenly realize that they are speaking to the Martyr King.

I’m not sure exactly why Richard sent you here, but he did, and that is incentive enough for me to stop you.

Our heroes attack! Avaryn gets off a full round shot before Aymeric teleports to his god, smacks him with some crits, and disarms him. Nut goes invisible and crazy, and starts attacking his former allies! Demphiel reclaims his weapon, tries to attack, but crit fumbles and drops him weapon. Instead, he decides to teleports to the middle of the rest of the heroes and Unholy Word them - blinding everybody for at least 4 rounds.

When the other heroes are stumbling around, Aymeric teleports back and again double crits Demphiel. Demphiel again crit fumbles his weapon away. Truely, fate in on Aymeric's side here.

As Castor removes blindness from himself, and gives himself the ability to see invisibility, Aymeric deals a mighty crit to Demphiel, slicing the Avatar in half. From Demphiel's torso emerges thick black smoke, which begins to congeal in a massive pool.

While this is happening, Nut gets a small handful of sneak attacks off on Aymeric. Castor dispels Nut's invisibility twice, and Aymeric twice tries and fails to cast Forced Repentance on Nut.

Soon, however, the pool is congealed. It is misses a few attacks, however, but when it crits Maven it crits hard, dealing upwards of 50 damage, some Con damage, hitting Aymeric, and grabbing them both. Emut bombs Nut into negative hit points. Luckily, Avaryn, blind though she still is, shoots the blob one to many times, and it begins the change.

The blob solidifies into the shape of a man in black robes - the Martyr King. His chain lightning proves devastating, but, after his acid fog is dispelled, he is brought down as well. Demphiel, the Martyr King, falls.

Demphiel’s blood, the blood of the Martyr King, spills down the rivulets in the floor and touches each one of the jumpgates. Worlds appear behind these gates – some abandoned, some teaming with human life. They each open onto a council room, and, while some are broken and decrepit, others are currently in session. The faces of men from far flung planes and lands glaze over in amazement as the link to the cradle of humanity opens after 2000 years.

The smaller jumpgate behind the throne also opens. Through it is the white plain that Maven so often saw in his dreams. A small house, with a clear pool of water and a palm tree are off in the distance.

Our heroes make their way through the Gate, dragging the unconscious Nut.

A short, balding man awaits them there. He explains everything. He is the one true God. He was happy for a time, dancing in the void, but eventually felt the pangs of loneliness. The One True God decided to create a mate, but he could not love something that he had created. So, he created the six Gods, and tasked them with creating a system that would eventually produce the perfect mate. That system was the multi-verse, and, eventually, the system came to fruition. The One True God plucked a single female human, the product of all creation, from the Earth. He created a plane, to bring his power down to her level, such that they could love each other as equals. He filled this plane with an infinite amount of Opal – once he entered it he would become something near mortal.

The pair loved each other and produced a son who returned to Earth. This son became Richard James, the first in the line of Kings

Eventually the woman died, and the One True God found himself trapped, alone in a world of his own creation. He was content, having loved, and he remained to council Richard James and his line.

Creation, having run its course, was now in uncharted territory and the line of Kings tried to shape it to the benefit of mankind. They used the opal, charged with the power of the planes, to enter a new golden age. The Gods, devoid of any further purpose, sought power and saw that mankind was taking it from them. Thus, they seduced the Martyr King and sought to destroy mankind in the fall.

The One True God smiles sadly. “If you killed the God of Darkness, a new one would only take his place. The answer is far more simple. The Gods draw their power from me. You have God killing weapons. If you kill me, the Gods – all of them – will die.

Earth will be free from their tyranny. The jumpgate eating away at the center of the Earth will spew its contents back into your plane. The result will certainly be a second fall, but cataclysm is far better than complete destruction. As for you, and this place… this plane is so saturated with my power that you five, given that you posses my blood, will be able to manipulate it as you wish. Whoever stayed would become Gods, but would be unable to ever return to the mortal plane. Whoever left, would become the kings (and queen) of humanity, but would be mortal, and die in his or her due time."

After much discussion, our heroes decide what to do. Maven will return to Earth, and lead humanity as the rightful king. Avaryn, Castor, and Aymeric will stay, becoming the Gods of Chaos, Order, and Balance.

But what to do with Nut? "Don't kill me! Just put me on a remote island off the coast of Karindora. Give me a fishing pole and a line, and I will be content!"

"Alright," says Maven, "but only if you agree to fail your next will save." Nut agrees, Aymeric casts Forced Repentance on him, and the insane ninja falls to his knees and begins professing his crimes.

"It is time" says the Old Man. Maven nods and ends his diety's life with a spike through the head. Then, as the plane twists and contorts, Maven, with Nut in tow, flees through the Arch. The Jumpgate closes behind him, and Maven get one last look at Aymeric, Castor, and Avaryn as they ascend to Godhood.

The world is in chaos. For two days it shakes, and the many civilizations of the surface are all but destroyed: Dorians, Reclaimers, Narset, Pruhan, Tessia – every vestige of civilization on the planet is gone. Hundreds of thousands die, but millions remain.

After the second Cataclysm, Maven gains the allegiance on which other world as he can, and marks the rest for conquest: peaceful, or otherwise. He drops Nut off on his island, and finds and raises Patrick up to Grand Admiral. Then, leading the armies of those worlds not restart by either Cataclysm, he sets about uniting his empire.

And of Avaryn, Castor, and Aymeric? They were never seen again, though their presence is still felt. Their Avatars walk the planes, giving advice and assistance where needed. And, perhaps, when humanity has need of new saviors, they will help them on their way.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Martyr King Character Chat 28

This is the character chat after session 28 of The Legacy of the Martyr King campaign.  It happened on the game wiki after the campaign session.  The GM wrote the dialogue of Emily and Carmine Gray, and the players wrote dialogue for their own characters.

- Castor -

"An interesting story, indeed. What have you learned about the soulstones? Have you recreated the process of creating them? Do you know how they were once made? What is the source of their power, and what accounts for their different flavors?"

- Emily Gray -
"What we view as reality is a tapestry of minute jumpgates leading to the six different elemental dimensions. The combination and type of jumpgate defines the object. Fire in our world is just a cluster of mini-portals to the Dimension of Flame. The ocean is a vast swath of portals to the Dimension of Water. In the Golden Age humans discovered they could use opal to force one of these jumpgates open. A soulstone is thus simply a mini-jumpgate to a elemental plane that has been forced open and enlarged - contained safely, and made harvestable. It is, of course, far more complex than that, but that is the basic gist.

"Although I have heard that the Narset peoples have recreated the formula for making Soulstones, we have not. And now, with the collapse of their civilization due to the earthquakes and the fact that they have been conquered by the Dorians, I'm afraid it is lost forever. However, we have gathered a reasonably large number of soulstones, over a thousand, for our own use."

- (Nut is unconscious) -
Nut rides hard, pushing Emre faster than an any emu should be able to maintain. He has to escape his unseen pursuer. He heels Johnny Bravo, king amongst horses, and the rider and mount leap out of the jungles of Karindora. "The plains of Breya," Nut thought- "now there's somewhere I can lose him." He pops another soulstone in the cart and shifts into high gear. The rearview mirror gives him a glimpse of the inevitable, and he can finally tell his stalker- Hervey, astride the Rock. And gaining quickly. Hervey draws his calamitous wand and begins to fire, shots that become Dwarven hands that seek to grab Nut. Nut leans low over Rihanna's reins- afraid, confused, helpless. Off to his left he can see a glowing throne, and knows that if only he could divert to it, he'd be safe- his mount swerves to avoid a small, lifeless body and carries Nut away from it forever. Hervey is within arm's length. Nut turns invisible, and leaps off Emre just as Hervey fires again.

Nut awakes, hands bound and invisible, on the floor of a prison cell.

- Castor -
The Reclaimer's explanation of the world was reasonable, if incomplete. It failed to account for the existence of Azriel and Demphiel. Or for the so-called gods who left their guardians to protect the opal weapons, and who struck down the earlier champions who'd won them.

"And in humanity's quest throughout the other planes of the 'multiverse', did it not meet other intelligent beings? All these planes, were they all empty?"

- Emily Gray -
Emily smiles sadly. "Contrary to all logic and reasoning, it appears that we were alone in the multiverse. We searched far and wide (the multi-verse is a large place), but found nothing that could begin to approximate intelligent life. Yes, we came across spores, bacteria, strange lifeforms in the abyss. But nothing that had evolved even to have a spine."

"This upset the ancients, as it upsets our theologians now. Why are we alone? Why did nobody else make it? Why are we so special? Perhaps once you reconnect the worlds, the other colonies of man will have answers."

- Castor -
"I see."

Regardless, there was some kind of powerful entity acting on behalf of a God of Light. Motivated by vengeance for a alleged usurpation of his power (the 16th king?). Fixated on killing the 'false martyrs', or -- apparently -- the descendants of Richard James.

"You said fifteen soulstones failed during the Cataclysm. I know of fourteen sites on Cain where such thinks likely occurred. Do you know all the sites?"

"And what do you know about the earthquakes?"

- Emily Gray -
Emily flushes slightly, a bit taken aback. "Fourteen? No, well ... I mean that's the number we have, but I thought...? Because you've actually traveled the world...?" She looks at Carmine, then back at Castor. "Well, I can only assume that your knowledge is as incomplete as ours. We know that 15 soulstones detonated, so there must be 15 splinter zones, or perhaps two splinter zones on top of one another."

"About the earthquakes, we can only assume they are of the Dorian's doings. And they have been growing in frequency and power for the past few months. We must stop the Dorians before they are able to complete whatever twisted plan they are concocting."

- Castor -
"Tell me about the descendants of Richard James. I assume each one didn't have a single male heir. What happened to the offspring that didn't become kings?"

- Emily Gray -
"They grew and prospered, and spread. James' line was not prolific, but they did have the occasional second or third child. Each contributed in his own way to humanity's rise. However, the Dorians have been systematically eliminating this line since about one thousand years ago. We believe that you four, in addition to Saffron and Remi, and the only Kings left."

- Castor -
"The Narset believe that each elemental plane has its own god. In fact, they attribute the actions of the Dorians and their growing power to the machinations of a God of Light. What do you know about these entities?"

- Emily Gray -
Emily laughs. "Oh, you don't believe those old wives' tales, do you? The God of Light? Azriel, Avatar of Light? He's nothing more than a story the Dorians have drummed up to scare the peasants. Oh sure, maybe there is some man who they dress up in phosphorescent clothes and stick fake wings to, but Angel? Don't make me laugh. There's no such thing!"

- Castor -
"Yes, of course."

"These other worlds, that we've been disconnected from. There's been no contact at all with them? All the portals are closed?"

- Emily Gray -
"Nothing that's quantifiable or sustained. There are rumors of course, of people slipping through the cracks every once in a while. We strongly believe that Martin Bard, the Elf who corrupted Remi, was from a separate plane. But we are unable to re-open any of the jumpgates without the blood of Richard James - your blood."

"Although, to be honest, every offworld jumpgate that we have found was destroyed - something during the Cataclysm must have cause that. However, there must be offworld jumpgates around still - we just haven't found them yet. Do you know of any?

- Castor -
Castor had come to similar conclusions about Martin Bard. He'd wanted to reconnect the worlds, using Remi and that red plant. Saffron had spoken once of a dream she'd had, of a world full of elves and red trees. Presumably Martin's homeworld, perhaps the homeworld of all the elves. Castor wondered where Bard was now. Perhaps Remi could tell them more about what he'd planned.

Castor was drawing other conclusions as well, but he still did not have the whole picture. He needed more information.

"I don't. The Orcs seem to have their own, smaller jumpgate network. But that one leads to Breya, and surely you're already aware of it."

"How many of these kings were there? You said the 16th discovered how to make soulstones. How many more generations were there before the Cataclysm? And what do you know about that last king?"

- Emily Gray -
Emily waves a hand. "The Orc jump-network, just like the Minaret jump-network are self contained. We do not believe they lead offworld. No, the Jumpgates we are looking for would likely be far larger than a door, as they would need to be able to account for inter-world trade and commerce."

"How many kings were there before the fall? Given the approximately 1900 year time frame, We speculate about 60. Only the first 20 or so are heavily chronicled. Of the so-called 'Martyr King,' we know very little. It appears he did little in his time to distinguish him, other than be witness to the collapse of his empire."

"Your group is something on the order of the 130th generation of kings. Which means that approximately 2 to the power of 130 of you is Richard James." She smiles sweetly. "Luckily we believe that the blood is impossible to dilute with baser men or even baser races, such as orcs and elves."

- Castor -
The Root of the World.
Where the ancient kings ruled from a grand fortress, with jumpgates to their many domains. Castor had learned that much from scraps of ancient documents he'd studied. Aymeric had seen such a place once, in a dream. While they were in Karindora.

"Tell me about yourselves. How long have the Reclaimers been here? How did this civilization start, and where does your information come from?"

- Emily Gray -
"Breya was lucky. There were a few cities that suffered the Catacylsm less than the others. For a hundred years or so we tried to live in the old ways, but it proved impossible. Eventually we moved out of the cities, away from flickering lights, faulty defense systems, and incomprehensible texts, and into the wilds."

"For a little over 800 years we thrived in the wilds, rebuilding our strength. Then, slowly, our ancestors rediscovered the cities. They began to relearn what had been lost. For the past eleven hundred years we have be reclaiming the cities, reclaiming our culture, and reclaiming our world. But it is ... difficult without a King to lead the way. Some of this "magic" only responds to his touch and the attempts without him are frustrating."

"We actually had a King about 600 years ago. We called him and his line the Silver Blood, for the Silver Age to echo the Golden one. But his line was murdered by the tribals. I believe you met them on the way. Those of us who refuse to move out of the wild. We don't believe the tribals had anything specific against the Kings - they just wanted to move on."

Emily smiles dreamily. "600 years without a King. And now we have four."

- Castor -
"Thank you for your answers, Emily Gray. They were very helpful. I'll have to think on where we learned here."

"I have two requests. One, do you have supplies and magical gear we could use or buy? We'll need all the help we can get."

"Second, I need to ask you to bring Nut back in. These discussions are too important for him not to be involved. He may one day be the only one of us left."

"I assure you he's not dangerous to you. He just.. does not like to be seen. And.. has issues. We're working on it. Keep him bound if you feel it necessary."

- Carmine Gray -
At the mention of Nut, Carmine speaks, and even Emily's brow darkens. "The King's blood has spoiled in the veins before, but it is disappointing to see it in person, and in our time. No, I do not believe that I will hazard to let that psychopath into the throne room again. You underestimate the depths of his depravity. And I dare say you will live to regret it."

Emily smiles meekly to soften Carmine's words, but it is clear she feels the same way.

Carmine continues. "Regarding supplies and magical items, I dare say I will not ransom my kingdom to guild the heroes of old. I see you've plundered the orc's empire, and you will not plunder my own. Whatever you want, you must buy." Emily shoots Carmine an angry glance, and the King rolls his eyes. "However, my darling wife insists that you not leave without some token from us. You may each have one soulstone of any color you like. Emily seems to think that they will be better used in your hands than powering our city or war machines. I disagree, but at least this I don't have to deal with the constant badgering."

"So, what soulstones would you each like? Speak up quickly, or I shall change my mind."

Emily, bright red at this point, does her best to smile.

- Castor -
Castor turns to look at the king.

"Tell me about the Kings with the spoiled blood."

- Carmine Gray -
Emily opens her mouth to speak, but Carmine continues. "Blood does not make a good ruler. Power can corrupt and confuse, and especially when that Power is unearned. Imagine a child raised knowing that they are special, knowing that they will one day lead humanity, in one way or another. That they have powers nobody else even dreams of. It is rare, but sometimes Kings are not all they should be."

"Certainly, these men and women are always great. But are they good? Are they kind? Are they just? Richard's blood is power, but it is up to the man how to use it."

- Avaryn -
In a way, it seems like Avaryn has just joined up with this strange band of travellers. Although they've come a long way since her initial meetings with the party, their mission and her role in it still seemed somewhat shrouded in mystery.

Avaryn was not one typically interested in politics. From her youth in Mildan, Avaryn had really learned little of gods, including this Martyr King that was the subject of so much talk. While there had existed myths and fables about some deities or other...she barely even remembered hearing them, let alone of their content. Being in a port city, perhaps she had a bit of an idea that different groups seemed to have ranging interest in all of this...Dorians had said the name "martyr King,' before, she thought. That was the strongest mental association she had.

But overall, she didn't care much. She could have asked her companions for sure, but they interested her little, in the be honest, she had hoped that her role and purpose in being sent alongside them would have been made much more evident by this point. Instead, she had witnessed some heroic fighting, family feuding, and seemingly random, delerious actions by her ninja companion, who she was more than certain was completely insane.

This young Jesse Prayer guy seemed to have some detailed worldview she had somewhat feigned interest least, when things got weird. He seemed to think that his version of this god, this Martyr King, had been connected to the creation of soulstones and jumpgates. Moderately interesting history, at best, until Jesse went to sample everyone's blood to activate the jumpgate. Everyone's blood...except Avaryn's. The soulstone was dark, just like her own energy, and so, had it not needed her blood?

Did this explain something about her otherworldly origins, Avaryn had to wonder. Was this somehow...relevant to her? Not only to her quest, but to her...existance? She wanted to shrug off such concerns as irrelevant, but she couldn't help but be haunted by her dreams of Cainan. He had taunted her, saying that she could not pass over into the light.

Avaryn couldn't let it go, try as she may. What was she? Were these jumpgates, soulstones, and the line of Richard James somehow part of her shrouded story? Her interest was no longer feigned. As sure as her and her unicorn's spirits pulsed with dark energy, this mythology was an integral piece in Avaryn's otherworldly nature, she was certain. These Reclaimers suddenly became invaluable to her, and she was desperate to learn more.

- Castor -
Castor's first inclination was to defy this king. To spit his disdain for them back in his face. He knew nothing of them. Of what they had been through.

But some of Carmine's words cut into him, in a way he had not expected. He realized something then. Something important.

"If you'll excuse me a moment, I need to discuss this with Nut. He deserves to hear what we've learned."

"And I've monopolized your attention anyway. I'm sure my companions have their own questions." He eyes Avaryn, who had been shifting nervously in his peripheral vision.

He turns and walks toward the door they led Nut through.

"Oh, and I'll take a dark soulstone."

- Emily Gray -
Emily motions to a guard, who brings over a dark soulstone and hands it to Castor. "Make good use of it."

"Would anybody else like a soulstone?"

- Castor -
Castor sips a brew that will let him see Nut when he's hiding before walking in the room. He needs to look him in his eyes.

Nut is face down on the floor, tied up. Castor takes a seat next to him.

"I knew a man once. Not the easiest man to like. Violent. Dangerous. But reliable. He lived by a code. You could trust him with your life. And I did."

"That man was my friend. And, more than either of us knew, my brother."

"I learned a lot today, Nut. And I understand some things that I didn't before. I don't know what's going to happen, but I know that everything hinges on us. On what we do. This will be our legacy."

"And so I need to know. Are you still that man? Because I could use his help right now. And if you're not, I need to know that too."

- Nut -
Nut looks up when Castor walks in. He connects eyes with his long time friend, and tries to evaluate whether he's currently invisible. The vanishing power seems to have stopped responding on command, instead responding more to feeling and emotion- most of the time Nut was unclear whether he could be seen. He sees a small pool of blood, sprouting from emptiness, and consciously probes himself to deduce that his wrists are cut from struggling with the manacles. When had the bleeding started? Why hadn't he tried the lockpick stashed in his belt? No matter, he'd remove them in due time. He realizes that Castor has been putting words into the air, catches "violent... dangerous... friend... brother... legacy" and infers that Castor must be giving a rousing battlespeech. "Hear hear!" Nut chimes, confident that his spirit must have been lifted by Castor's words.

Information was conveyed, about history, life, the world as we know it, and the future. Nut tries to wrap his head around the scientific miracle of magic. This, at least, seemed to sit well on his psyche- machines and devices had always been more palatable than mysticism. Nut wraps the Martyr King and the Dorians, the gods and the angels, souls and faith, all up in one neat bundle, categorized as "Antiquated". A king of old that saw his mechanical empire fall rung truer than a king of old who should be worshipped. Gods remain non-existent, angels become soulstone super-users. Soulstones become the pinnacle of a highly advanced society, a mere battery of great power and variety. This conclusion sat well with Nut, his fragile mind quite easily accepting and adapting to a new world view. He could remember first learning of the gods, but he'd never believed it... right? Probably. He could still not understand why the Dorians worshiped an obviously inferior king, but nothing had changed there.

The two converse at length, then Castor stands to leave, assuring Nut he's doing everything he can to ensure his release. Castor had obviously been holding something back, some bit of information that contains the key. Why were we so important? Why were we the false martyrs? Nut voices his concerns. Castor, hesitating, reveals the line of royal succession. "That explains our compatibility with the gates." Nut nods his head in understanding. "Royal blood, the right to rule over humanity, I should have guessed. But," he postulates, "who sits the throne when this is all over?"

Nut extricates the lockpick and begins removing his manacles. He whistles a few low notes, plans for a robe worthy of a king floating through his mind. He is no longer aware of Castor.

- Avaryn -
Avaryn nudged forward, seeing that everyone was eyeing her.

"Could I maybe ask for....a dark soulstone?"

Eyebrows were raised. Avaryn stared fixatedly at the ground, not one used to overt attention. She willed herself to speak at no one in particular, questions still nagging at her.

"You all seem to know a lot about soulstones and jumpgates and...all that. Have you ever heard of anyone being...affected by their use? Animals even...or people?"

- Emily Gray -
Emily motions to a guard, who brings over a dark soulstone and hands it to Avaryn. "Make good use of it."

"Regarding your condition ... it is unusual. Yes, animals are sometimes tainted by the splinter zones, but humans only rarely." Emily motions to a man, who brings over a small glass vial with a needle in the end. "We'd like to run some tests, if you don't mind."

- Avaryn -
Avaryn looked around at her companions anxiously. Were these people to be trusted?

She wanted to know, though. That desire for information overpowered her usual instincts for self-preservation. She had half a mind to offer up her unicorn for testing instead, no. This was the kind of opportunity she had been waiting for.
Swallowing deeply, she rolled up her armor to the elbow and presented her forearm to the hulking man. She looked away in silence.

- Emily Gray -
The man draws some blood, then leaves. "This may take a few days," admits Emily. "Do you have any other questions?"

The Inquisitor listened to Castor and Avaryn. Castor's questions had uncovered a lot, but Aymeric had questions of his own.

Nothing seemed right. He felt more confused about the world, his purpose, and the purpose of his comrades. His recent dream of seeing his parents staring over him in a flaming tent, then being brutally murdered by Chamberlain Forrest, the High Priest of the Order of the Inquisition, was a shock. It all seemed so...real. Aymeric felt that this was a deeply rooted memory. Aymeric began to try and work things out. If the Dorians wanted the line of Richard James dead, then why did High Priest Forrest change his mind and save Aymeric after slaying his parents? It was Forrest after all who hand picked Aymeric from the monastery to join the Order of the Inquisition.

One scenario played out in his head. Forrest, the High Priest of the Order, who was sent by the High Council of the Dorians to destroy the line of King James had discovered Aymeric's parents were part of the line. Following his orders, he killed them. But a higher power (perhaps the Reclaimers) sent a sign or some sort of message to Forrest that killing this infant would be disastrous to his faith and the world. So Forrest saved the child, brought him to the Cocori Islands and put him in the care of the monastery where one day Forrest returned and plucked Aymeric for the Order of the Inquisition.

Still, there were other scenarios. Perhaps Forrest was a Reclaimer Agent who infiltrated the Dorian Empire so that one day Aymeric would end up in this very spot. How did the Dorians find out that Aymeric and his comrades were of the line in the first place?

But it was time to speak up. "As you may know, I.....up until last year.....served the Dorian Empire as an Inquisitor. I sought those who would use Soulstones for evil purposes. What can you tell me about the Dorian Empire and how they fit into your story? What is their goal in all this? Also, do you know of one named Forrest Chamberlain?"

"And to answer your question, I wish for a Fire Soulstone."

And as he waited for the answer, Aymeric focused his uncanny ability to sense the motive of Emily and Carmine. Things were not always what they seemed.

- Emily Gray -
Emily nods to a guard, who brings Aymeric a red Soulstone. "The Dorias are just another power-hungry empire, like the Narset before them. They will fall in time, but it would be best if we hastened their demise and did not allow them to reach our shores. We have plans, involving you five, which may end the threat for good. As to you, young inquisitor, they are masters of deception and propaganda. I am sorry that you fell under their sway."

Aymeric carefully studies her speach, eyes, skin - there seems to be nothing amiss. She is holding nothing back, it seems.

"I am not sure who this Forrest Chamberlain is, though the name sounds familiar."

"If I may," Jesse Prayer jumps in "your highnesses. I believe Forrest Chaimberlain was a High Inquisitor a few years back. He's moved onto more bureaucratic pastimes of late however, and my spies tell me he is currently stationed in Kathmar. If I may be so bold, why do you ask?"

- Castor -
"I too would like to hear what you know of the Dorians." Castor says upon returning to the throne room.

He pulls out the multi-colored glass cube they'd found long ago. "As well as what you know about this."

- Emily Gray -
Emily almost squeals in delight. "A Seeing Cube! Oh Carmine, how wonderful! Our last one broke in a round of experiments when I was a child, and we have not located a new one since. These Cubes, which belonged to some minor cult in the Golden Age, allow the viewer to see the elemental threads in objects. They are fascinating things, and fun besides!" Emily clears her throat, and tries to regain her composure. "We'd love to borrow it, if we may?"

- Castor -
"Ah, so you've seen such things before. Maybe you can tell me why the descendants of Richard James contain white elemental threads, and what that means. See for yourself."

Castor hands over the cube, as well as the seventh side.

- Emily Gray -
"Unfortunately, we don't know why you appear to contain white threads. There is no 'white' element as far as we can tell, but we do know that only 'Kings' have these threads."

- Castor -
This 'white' element source -- what Maven would call the Old Man -- the Reclaimers have no knowledge of it. I wonder why.

"How will you oppose the Dorians if they reach your shores? Do you know of their soulstone-driven war machines? Do you have such things to match? Do you know what kind of capabilities they have?"

- Emily Gray -
"If the Dorians reach our shores, or cross the Breya-Krass tundra, then we are lost. We could never hope to meet their army in open battle. Our forces are strong, but not one hundredth of the size of the Dorian's."

Emily smiles and leans forward. "No, we have a much more devious plan. Kathdoria may be the religious center of Doria, but Kathmar is the political and military head of the snake. If we were to destroy or occupy Kathmar, the vast Dorian Empire would fall to pieces. The rebel factions, including the Kaimai, Narset, Mildan, and even Madran and Cocori, would quickly overwhelm the empire."

"And how do we propose to send our small army into Kathmar?" Emily's smile broadens. "You have three guesses."

- Maven -
Quite rudely, Maven has only been half-listening as he considers which soulstone to request. At long length, he nods and taps twice upon the red stone already in his Orcish crown.

"By boat?" he guesses tentatively.

- Emily Gray -
A guard brings Maven a red soulstone, while Emily shakes her head and lifts one finger, to signify the number of guesses. "No, our method is far more direct. Would you like a clue? We can only do it with your help - that is, the help of Kings."

- Castor -
Castor chuckles. "Clearly she's talking about a flying ship. One piloted by Patrick, which he crashes immediately. He'll probably be really excited about that. He's never destroyed a flying ship before."

"But that seems unnecessarily complicated. Let's just use the jumpgates."

- Emily Gray -
Emily points at Castor. "Bingo. We need you to sneak into the Charcoal Minaret, and activate the jumpgate to let our army through. Once through, our army will have no trouble occupying and holding the currently under guarded capital - as well as killing everybody in charge. It will mean the end of the war. Funny nations can fall if a handful of people die, and a different handful takes their place."

"Sound easy? It won't be. The Charcoal Minaret complex is one of the most heavily guarded installations in the world. You will need a good plan."

Friday, August 15, 2014

Martyr King 28.5: The White Dreams

The the dreams after the twenty eighth session in the "Legacy of the Martyr King" campaign.

It has been an exhausting and illuminating day. As our heroes drift off to sleep, white threads course to and fro like the tides. They weave a complex tapestry, going back to the start of time. And when our heroes close their eyes, they start to see the patterns...

Castor's dreams are scattered. It is too much to contain, all this knowledge. There are pictures, images, sounds, shapes, lights - the martyr king, kneeling - the 15th soulstone eating away - 13 gigantic jumpgates, and one that leads to somewhere bright - are these memories? Are they facts? Are they imagined? Yet beyond all these other questions, upon whose answers rests the fate of humanity, one question emerges burning like alchemists' fire in Castor's mind. It is more important to Castor than any other truth: Can Nut be saved?

Maven sees a White Angel. This Angel is more majestic, more perfect, more beautiful than anything Maven has ever seen, and the paladin breaks down crying. Yet the Angel is chained by links of light. And the Angel is distracted by some great burden. How can I free you? Asks Maven, tears streaking down his face. Where are you? Where are you? Then Maven knows: The Charcoal Minaret. The Avatar of the One True God is the in Charcoal Minaret.

Aymeric sees his parents for the first time. The inquisitor is mere months old, and there is flame all around him. The sound of fighting outside. His tent is on fire. Screams, and his parents die in agony. In runs the head of his Inquisitor school. There is blood on his sword. Aymeric's teacher raises his sword to strike the baby down ... then a look of regret crosses his face. The Teacher drops his sword, picks up Aymeric and covers him in a blanket, and leaves the tent.

Avaryn is in a ring of black candles. There is darkness all around her. Two people, a man and a woman, stand outside the ring. They are crying, but they are chanting through their tears. There is a loud noise, and Avaryn realizes that she has lost something, and it has been replaced with darkness. The woman goes to scoop up the child. Now you are safe. They cannot find you now.

Nut does not see visions in his sleep anymore, because Nut does not sleep anymore. He prefers to dream while awake.