Shieldbashers

Gendar and the Sink Hole

Gendar loved to watch Lola practice. She was a monster, no pun intended, when the crowds flooded the Three Wishes and howled as the succubus danced, the music hammering hard enough to send drinks off of tables. Those were good nights, and they were back now that Azonia had made her deal with the Sigil consortium of merchants.

But when she was alone, when the bar was closed for cleaning and Lola practiced alone, that was when Gendar liked to watch her the most. The music still hammered and the lamps were still down, but it was just he and the succubus in the room.

He watched her twist and writhe, her body moving in a quick succession of movement too fast for any mortal to mimic, or even truely see, and then she would slow, her black eyes taking him in and her body moving smooth. The dim light shined off of her ivory skin and her wings sent shadows across the entire bar.

Gendar smiled, his soft leather boots up on the table and arms crossed across his chest. It was a good day, a relaxing day, and such days were hard to find these days. Unfortunately today’s respite would not last.

The door opened, sending light in across the bar. Broog’s huge form left a massive silhouette in the door way.

“Uncle,” said the Ogre. Though Gendar was only uncle to Masjo, the name had seemed to stick. “There is something you must see.”

There were few things that shook the ogre’s voice like that. The attack of the Ghoul King being the only other times Gendar had heard a quiver in Broog’s voice. Gendar prided himself on not getting excited even when those around him were, but he still felt his heart start.

He took a last look at Lola. She smiled at him and the light shined in her black eyes. For a moment he forgot everything else around him. Then that feeling in his heart came back and he was out the door with Broog following closely behind.

A gathering had formed in the southern streets of the Hive. As they approached, Gendar noticed that the light fell strangely on the streets. When he got closer and slid past the huge crowd that had formed, he saw why. Some of the buildings in Sigil’s skyline appeared to be missing.

He came out in front of the crowd and jerked back as his feet approached the edge of a massive hole that stretched hundreds of feet across the streets. A brick from the street fell under his foot and into the blackness of the hole. It disappeared from sight and no sound returned.

“What is it?” someone next to him asked. Other questions followed. “How can it even be?”, “Where does it go?”, “What does it mean?”.

To that last, at least, Gendar had an answer.

It meant that time grew short. Their fate rested in the hands of the Shieldbashers. May the Raven Queen look over them and guide them lest all be lost, forever.

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The Ghoulspire

You step carefully onto the platform that leads into the spire. Looking out you witness the full extent of the White Kingdom the Kingdom of the Ghouls.

As you watch, packs of ghouls, some with as many as two or three hundred, race across the bone-dust ground chasing the fleeing figures of displaced souls. They rip and tear them apart, pulling strings of flesh and sinew through their razor sharp teeth. Higher up you see thick clouds of giant bats. Looking closer you realize these are not only bats but terrible winged ghouls.

Further out, past the Mountain of Mouths, you see the¬†mausoleum¬†of Doresain sitting in a lake of black blood. All that stands between you and it are a hundred thousand ghouls…

Throughout the spire you find a network of passageways carved with what appear to be humanoid claws. The dust of bone turns your boots white as you walk through the passageways. Sinkholes lead much deeper into the bowels of the spire.

You could easily become lost in these narrow passages and deep sinkholes and you can hear the rapid shuffling of claws on stone. You must find your way through the spire and seek an exit.


Your journey through the spire takes you to an ancient chamber of finely carved rock. Blue torchlight illuminates this chamber. Horrible demonic heads flank a passageway leading down deeper into the spire. Platforms sit up high on the walls. The ceiling is nearly fifty feet high and vaulted. All along the walls and ceiling you see terrible carved reliefs of beasts devouring mortals. Four pillars sit within the center of the hall surrounding an ancient and unpowered arcane circle. The pillars are carved into the twisted shapes of bodies mashed together, some screaming in horror and some writhing in pleasure. A twisted fountain shaped like a beautiful woman with the head of a goat pours blood into a large basin.

As you further enter the room, a burst of blue flame reveals a beautiful woman in black robes. She pulls the hood of her robe back to reveal her ghoulish nature. Her full black lips pull back to reveal razor-sharp teeth. Her black eyes widen.

“The Shieldbashers. My master has spoken of you. He will reward me well for bringing him your heads. As for the rest of you, that is for my pleasure.”


You continue to travel deep within the spire. Looking at the strange twisted rock you soon see thick organic veins woven in through the stonework. The sight brings bile up into your throat. The cold chill of the air above soon departs, leaving a thick humid air that brings sweat down across your brows.

You enter a large room. Some of it has been carved out of stone, some is built of hardened bone meal, and some pulses with a dark organic life. A massive, slathering, toothfilled maw sits on the far wall. Two braziers of fire burn hot. Flanking each side of the massive maw are two brass gongs.

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Exploring the Pirate Chaos Ships

As you step onto the deck of the Grasalog, you know immediately that something terrible happened here. Blood is splashed across the deck and the smell of burned flesh hangs thick. Traveling down into the hull of the massive chaos ship, you find the arcane shells that once contained the two powerful elementals whose eternal struggles fueled the ship. The shells are cracked and empty.

Moving over to the Imirith you find much of the same sight. It would appear both ships were attacked simultaneously. Dozens of ghoul corpses in various states of dismemberment litter the decks and the internal holds. Whatever primordial gems fueled the Imirith are now gone.

Returning back to the Sheviathon, Vlaxx takes you to the docks of the massive stone spire. You step carefully onto the platform that leads into the spire. Looking out you witness the full extent of the White Kingdom – the Kingdom of the Ghouls.

As you watch, packs of ghouls, some as large as two or three hundred, race across the bone-dust ground chasing the fleeing figures of displaced souls. They rip and tear them apart, pulling strings of flesh and sinew through their razor sharp teeth. Higher up you see thick clouds of giant bats. Looking closer you realize these are not only bats but terrible winged ghouls.

Further out, past the Mountain of Mouths, you see the mausoleum of Doresain sitting in a lake of black blood. All that stands between you and it are a hundred thousand ghouls…

Perhaps you can another way within the Spire, you hope, as you enter it’s dark maw.

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The Meeting of the Lords of Sigil

As the Shieldbashers begin to explore the vessels of the two other smuggler captains, a meeting takes place in an ancient hall in the city of Sigil. The uncrowned lords of Sigil, the rulers of trade in raw materials, crafts, weapons, antiques, botany, jewels, and forced labor sit around a massive oak table, as they had for many years. The fate of the entire city hung on the words spoken in this room. It hung on their words now.

“We want peace,” speaks Azonia. She stands at the table in a dress of silver. Gold and black jewels adorn her hair. Her steely eyes take in each of the attendants at the gathering.

“You should have thought of that before letting your murderous bandits into Zovelle’s ball,” says Lady Hovel. The jewel mistress would not be consoled, it would appear, though Azonia. It was time to speak plainly.

“Your nephew was not murdered by my friends,” says Azonia, staring into the jewel mistress’s own dark eyes. The old withered woman turns away. The other members of the council looked from one woman to the other.

“You are their mouthpiece now, we all know this,” Lady Hovel shouts back. “You might have held him yourself as they ran him through.”

“I can prove we had no part in it,” says Azonia. A hush fills the hall along with an icy chill as a figure steps silently forward. General Weston, Zovelle’s master-at-arms.

“The Shieldbashers did not kill your nephew, lady Hovel,” speaks Weston. His voice is low and without emotion.

“How can you prove this?” speaks Hovel, her voice shaking.

“Because I did.”

A hush once again filled the hall. Lord Ironmug, the weapons dealer, reached for his axe sitting next to his chair.

“Your nephew was no angel,” says Weston. “He brought dozens of women, maybe hundreds, to Zovelle. He kept my master well fed over the years. It wasn’t until your nephew had brought the Shieldbashers right to his door that Zovelle ordered me to run him through. And I did so.”

Azonia stands again and speaks.

“None of us are without compliance in Zovelle’s actions. We all fed him what he wanted in return for what he gave us. He was the lubricant for all of our trade and so we kept him sated. But he betrayed us. He betrayed Sigil when he allied with the forces of the Prince of Undeath. He took part in a plot that would destroy everything we know.”

Azonia throws down the letter between Zovelle and his neogi smuggler-turned-Shieldbasher-accountant.

“He was dealt with, and our businesses will return in time. There is one among the Shieldbashers who can fill his place, who can keep the channels of our businesses operational. He is a Keybearer, and he does not have Zovelle’s apatite. We can be thankful for that.”

“And what of my brother, Mastersmith Blackhand?,” shouted Lord Ironmug. “What happened to him?”

“I do not know,” says Azonia. “He was not at Zovelle’s ball. Whatever happened to your most talented brother was not within our sight.” Indeed, Azonia and her spies had heard nothing of the disappearance of the dwarven armor-smith. His armor took the highest prices and held the greatest quality of any armor ever seen in Sigil. Now it was as though he fell off the face of the city.

“Are we agreed, then?” speaks Azonia, every air of authority she could muster into her voice. “The war ends here, before any further blood is spilled. Our businesses return to normal the moment my partners return. Fair deals will be struck and profits will flow to all of us.”

Every pair of eyes looked to one another and then to Lord Reston, the eldest, quietest, and most powerful member of the gathering. What his voice spoke, others followed.

“We are agreed.”

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Through Chaos to the White Kingdom

A crack of thunder sends you to the deck of the Sheviathon. Above you sits the underside of a massive earthmote. The ship rests within a deep crack that nearly severs the earthmote into two. “Welcome back,” says Captain Vlax. She floats in a full lotus, eyes closed, on the upper deck of the ship. Slowly, she brings her legs down and steps onto the deck. You get the feeling she does it merely to put you at ease.

“This is about as good a place as we could ask for to hide the ship. I’ll show you why.

The ship shifts underfoot, a massive construct of black steel and ancient wood. It slides out of the crevasse and into the open space of Chaos. Below you you see more earthmotes, some as massive as continents. Thousand-mile-high waterfalls flow from one to the next. Massive balls of fire roll through, leaving huge trails of smoke. Normally this view alone would take your breath away but it is the storm above that gets your attention.

A typhoon of crushed rock, clouds of black ash, and water roars in a storm nearly a thousand miles wide. The sheer volume of the material is staggering but the speed at which it rolls is beyond reality. Lightning rakes through it again and again, shattering rock and leaving massive patches of smoky glass.

“That is all caused by a single tiny rift, a hole in chaos no larger than the head of a pin. It is a tiny rip leading to the Far Realm,” Vlax stares at the massive storm. “I believe you have seen such rifts before, but none of them led to closely to the void of the Far Realm itself. Mages and wizards have been able to touch it from time to time, from wormholes that might go on for a million miles, distilling the emptiness that resides beyond. But this one is close.”

“One day it will likely swallow up all of the Elemental Chaos. But that day is may years ahead, enough for some wizard or God to figure out a way to plug it. In the mean time, it serves us well. No magic can escape that storm. Any attempt to scry here will fail. They cannot find this ship as long as it rests here in this earthmote. The mote itself will probably only last another thousand years or so, but that is long enough for our purposes.”

“Now, where are we headed?”


The Sheviathon roars through chaos like the shaft of one of Rosa’s arrows. Every sight you pass is more majestic than the previous. You watch worlds collide. You shiver as the Sheviathon roars around a ball of plasma and poison gas that seems to reach for you as you pass. You watch a massive ship of rock with a crew of storm giants at war with a huge creature of rock and molten iron. All around you the skies seem filled with rolling fire and smoke, but occasionally you see blue skies only to realize you look at a rolling ocean above you.

“We have trouble,” says Vlax, her eyes never opening. “Something follows us.”

You hear a roar as a huge dragon of grey charred scales slams into the deck of the ship. Behind you, you hear a similar roar as another dragon, this one scaled in black stone, sweeps past. Atop it you see a rider in red robes brandishing a staff.

“For the Ghoul King!” he shouts as his first bolt of chaos roars in and slams into the ship.


There are no days and nights in Chaos. The magnitude of the plane around you wearies your soul. You rest aboard the ship, taking turns at the watch. The sites never seem to cease.

“There,” says Vlax, pointing starboard. “The Abyss.”

You see a twisting vortex of horror swirling like a whirpool of damnation. It seems to swirl ever downward into infinite worlds. You realize you stare into the pits where each of the demon princes and dark demigods rules a plane. Lolth, Orcus, Demogorgon, Graz’zt, they all own one or more of the infinite layers in the swirling abyss below.

With not a small bit of horror, you feel Vlax steer the ship into its center.

You cannot exactly say what you saw next. You felt as though you tore through bedsheets, each one more horrific than the next. You saw infinite armies of the Abyssal dretches, each one of them once a human dark of heart. You see beasts swirling above deserts of ash and skeletons of titans. You see fortresses as large as cities forged from a single block of iron.

The ship slows.You find yourself in a sky of dark blue. A bloated white moon hangs overhead. Below, you see ragged mountains jutting from a land of white dust. You soon come to understand what gives the White Kingdom it’s name. It is the dust of bone. Crawling all throughout the ocean of white dust, mindless ghouls rip into whatever shreds of meat still cling to the bone. As you watch in horror, a small rift opens up sending a stream of screaming naked people into the dust. As they land, they are set upon by thousands of the grey-skinned ghouls who rip into their bodies with ragged claws and sharp rotted teeth.

Two other chaos ships sit near a spire of rock. A few leagues away sits a cliff. Atop the cliff is a round mausoleum – the crypt of the Ghoul King. Clouds of bats, some as large as griffins, swirl high above the mausoleum.

“I cannot rest the ship there. I presume there is a reason these other ships chose that spire. Vlax draws a brass tube from her belt and stares through it at the other ships. I see not a single soul aboard either of those two ships. Shall we have a look?”

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The Fate of the Pirate Captains

A bloated moon hangs over the blasted lands of the White Kingdom. Atop a bluff overseeing a sea of the crawling dead sits Doresain’s mausoleum. While the screams of the eternally damned fill the night air of this abyssal world, a low chanting from within a deep chamber of the mausoleum speaks to a far more sinister future.

“You have done well, Captains,” whispers the ghoul king. He crawls over a mound of black dust and ragged blood-lined stone. “You are to be commended.”

A being of stone and metal stands on one side of the chamber’s entryway. On the other stands a battle-scarred earth.

“You two have sailed chaos and the Astral Sea longer than most others ever have. You have survived battles against countless beasts and marauders who would see your ships crushed and your crews enslaved. You have taken part in a plan greater than any other ever conceived.”

The crawling Ghoul King looks up, affixing the two pirate captains with his dead eyes as he smiles.

“And your part is not over.”

A twisting line of fire wraps around the orc captain. He screams as it burns through his body. The Marut reaches for the wide-bladed axe on his side but a slash of white light sears past. His head falls from his body. Doresain catches his body as he falls, steering the oily black substance that pours out of his body into the carved grooves of a huge dark scripted circle that surrounds the mounds of black dust and blood-lined rock. Doresain stands with alarming speed and slashes open the burning orc captain’s throat. Soon his blood too fills the grooves of the enchanted circle.

The flow of blood begins to mix with the black dust and rock. It begins to coagulate and solidify into something else. It begins to form into a featureless humanoid form, massive in size.

“I will need more,” says Doresain. “Collect the crews.”

A huge red shape moves past the ghoul king as smiles again, drawing one clawed finger through the black sludge of a dead god.

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Meeting of Blood and Diplomacy

You sit around an ancient table of oiled wood polished to a fine shine over the centuries. In the main room outside, you hear the thump of music as business tries to return to normal in the Three Wishes, but business is far from normal.

You sit with Azonia, Gendar, and Kylie. Weston hovers like a shadow near the door, peeking outside to see if any trouble brews.

“The Mutual Trade Association is a very powerful band of merchants and commodity dealers running out of Sigil and into many of the known worlds,” speaks Azonia. “They are both politically powerful and very wealthy.”

“And two days ago you killed one of their own,” says Weston, his eyes not leaving the bar’s floor.

“This city is run by the Lady of Pain and her servants but they care very little for political squabblings of the people in the city. She cares about invasion or massive upheaval.”

Gendar clears his throat.

“This may seem important to you,” says the dark elf. “But not when compared to your primary quest. If Orcus’s plan takes place, the empty coffers of your bar will not matter one bit.”

“He’s right,” says Azonia. “We can help solve your problems in Sigil while you’re away. You must get to the Sheviathon and head to the White Kingdom where Doresain recovers the pieces of Timesus the Black Star.”

“You need only tell us how you want us to handle the situation,” says Azonia, her eyes flashing silver. “I have danced the political dance of the Trade Association for centuries. I might be able to divert some of the pressure. Kylie might be able to work the streets, find blackmail against those who know the truth and get them to speak it. Our new friend Weston might be valuable in this as well. He could…take care of…some of the more troublesome members of the Mutual Trade Association”

“Just tell us how you want us to handle it and then take care of your bigger problem.”

“Stop Doresain.”

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The Pirate Captains and the Ghoul King

A bloated moon hangs over the blasted lands of the White Kingdom. Atop a bluff overseeing a sea of the crawling dead sits Doresain’s mausoleum. While the screams of the eternally damned fill the night air of this abyssal world, a low chanting from within a deep chamber of the mausoleum speaks to a far more sinister future.

“You have done well, Captains,” whispers the ghoul king. He crawls over a mound of black dust and ragged blood-lined stone. “You are to be commended.”

A being of stone and metal stands on one side of the chamber’s entryway. On the other stands a battle-scarred earth.

“You two have sailed chaos and the Astral Sea longer than most others ever have. You have survived battles against countless beasts and marauders who would see your ships crushed and your crews enslaved. You have taken part in a plan greater than any other ever conceived.”

The crawling Ghoul King looks up, affixing the two pirate captains with his dead eyes as he smiles.

“And your part is not over.”

A twisting line of fire wraps around the orc captain. He screams as it burns through his body. The Marut reaches for the wide-bladed axe on his side but a slash of white light sears past. His head falls from his body. Doresain catches his body as he falls, steering the oily black substance that pours out of his body into the carved grooves of a huge dark scripted circle that surrounds the mounds of black dust and blood-lined rock. Doresain stands with alarming speed and slashes open the burning orc captain’s throat. Soon his blood too fills the grooves of the enchanted circle.

The flow of blood begins to mix with the black dust and rock. It begins to coagulate and solidify into something else. It begins to form into a featureless humanoid form, massive in size.

“I will need more,” says Doresain. “Collect the crews.”

A huge red shape moves past the ghoul king as smiles again, drawing one clawed finger through the black sludge of a dead god.

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Murder in Sigil

Murder in sigil

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Imix

Imix wept.

Rivers of molten rock fell from his massive eyes. They rolled into the endless ocean below, an entire sphere of water floating in chaos. Upon his earthmote, he sat, head bowed low as his massive chest heaved in sobs.

He had waited so long for her. For so long he had imagined her return. She would return to him, a being of living fire, and they would embrace, encircle one another, and merge into one. They would rule over the remaining beings of the multi-verse, sealing off the Abyss, crushing the worlds of the planes above, and command every being in all mortal worlds to serve them.

For three hundred thousand years they had loved each other. For seven hundred thousand more, Ixis had waited to feel that love again. But when she returned. He felt it not. Instead, he felt something else. Something that made his heart burn ever hotter.

He could not deny it. He had seen the way she looked at the other insect- the golden-armored one who barked orders and ran from his Grue. Imix saw how she looked at him and knew how she felt. She loved him. Or she thought she might.

How could one as powerful as she care at all for a mortal? The thought made Imix sick.

Still, she had asked Imix to let her go and he did. She looked at him with that fire in her, a fire he had felt burning within him for just shy a million years. She had asked him to let her go and finish her quest. What could she mean? What quest did she have besides returning to him?

He would investigate this further. Though never the strongest mind in the pantheon of the Primordials, Imix was not without resources. He would find what she sought. He would seek what she sought.

And he would find a way to win her back.

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