Shieldbashers

Recap from KOTS to Trollhaunt

Part 1: Keep on the Shadowfell

Kalarel

Before becoming known as the Shieldbashers, the party first met while investigating a disappearance of a young woman in the town of Fallcrest. The party consisted of Rosa, Wes, Fausto, Envy, Ninebreaker (a Warlord watch commander) and a wizard who later left for his own adventures. The investigation led within a chamber under an abandoned watch tower where the girl had been killed in a terrible ritual.

Returning to the local Fallcrest inn, the party learned of more disappearances that led them to the town of Winterhaven north east. On their way to the town, the party was ambushed by Kobolds on the road. Tracking the Kobolds and discussions with the local townsfolk of Winterhaven led the party to another murder and eventually the Keep on the Shadowfell where the murderer, a priest of Orcus named Kalarel, had taken more young women.

The party battled all manner of goblins, hobgoblins, and terrible undead creations spawned from Kalarel’s tainted wells. Eventually the party battled Kalarel in a large chamber deep under the Keep where a black portal to the Shadowfell swirled and sputtered. In his last breaths, bloated black tendrils from the portal drew him screaming, into the black world.

Notable NPCs:

Lord Padriac of Winterhaven: A fair and just lord of Winterhaven who hired the party to hunt down the source of the kidnappings.

Valthroon the Prescient: Mage of Winterhaven.

Kalarel: Murdering blood priest of Orcus. Now believed to be trapped in the Shadowfell and tortured for his failures under the Keep.

Part 2: Thunderspire Labyrinth

Seven Pillared Hall

After a well-deserved rest, the party discovered that the Hobgoblins who worked for Kalarel also kidnapped slaves for mysterious groups in the Thunderspire – an ancient minotaur labyrinth carved into the rock below the mountains to the east. The party traveled through the large caverns of the mountain to the Seven Pillared Hall – a ragtag town ruled by the mysterious Mages of Saruun, a cabal of wizards represented by their only employee, the ogre Bruug.

The party soon tracked the slaves a a hobgoblin holdout built within one of the ancient minotaur keeps dated ten thousand years old. The party killed the hobgoblins but found the slaves already sold to a clan of Duergar dwarves. The party found a small shop of these Duergar in the Seven Pillared hall and killed the occupants. Taking the store over for themselves, they then hunted the Duergar to a fortified fortress of three large structures bridged over a huge chasm. The party killed the Duergar and their commander and rescued many of the slaves but two young women who the Duergar sold to Gnoll demon worshippers who were attempting their own horrific ritual in a Minotaur testing chamber known as the Well of Demons.

The party put the slaves to work, giving them paying jobs within their new shop, taken over from the Duergar provisioning store. Then the party headed to the Well of Demons to rescue the last of the slaves.

Within the Well, the party faced the minotaur trials including trapped mirrored pillars, huge minotaur statues, and a room full of portals vomiting forth carnage demons. A final devious trap released a green dragon. Only the heroic effort of Ninebreaker kept Rosa from falling into a bottomless pit.

Facing a powerful demonic Gnoll priest, the party managed to prevent the ritual from full success but, in rescuing the two young women, Ninebreaker was lost into the Gnoll’s terrible portal. Two of the party members, Envy and Fausto(?) saw a page from the gnoll priest’s terrible tome which planted a curse within their minds, twisting them and guiding them.

Commissioning a statue to their fallen comrade, the party then discovered that a local rogue mage of Saruun, Paldemar, who broke his order and began worshipping Vecna. The party met an aspect of Vecna on the way in to the tower who tested them to see if they were worthy of testing his vessel. They passed and entered Paldemar’s tower before facing the wizard and defeating him.

Notable NPCs:

Gendar: Drow proprieter of “Gendar’s Curios and Relics”. A business man with many dealings above and below the surface. Deals in strange and wonderful magical items.

Bruug: Ogre strong-arm representative of the Mages of Saruun. Hero of recent War of the Cleansing.

Cabus DiVon: Chief storemaster of the Shieldbashers venture in the Seven Pillared hall.

Oruntor: Mage of Saruun who informed the party of the betrayal of Paldemar.

Rendil Halfmoon: Innkeeper of the Halfmoon inn along with his aunt. First to welcome the Shieldbashers to the Seven Pillared Hall.

Ninebreaker: Previous companion of the Shieldbashers. Now believed to be trapped in the Shadowfell.

Paldemar: Mage worshipper of Vecna. Now dead.

Part 3: Pyramid of Shadows

Karavakos

Their business growing, the party had to address the pulling curse of the gnoll’s book which led them far out into the deep woods where they found a black pyramid. Outside of the pyramid the party battled some bandits who had seemed to lose their leader into the pyramid. After the battle the party entered the pyramid itself, falling through the pitch black wall and into the world within.

Inside the pyramid, the party found themselves in the carrion pits at the mercy of an Etten headsman who wanted to decorate his pikes with the party’s heads, right next to the heads of many others he had taken who became trapped by the pyramid. The party cut him down and discovered that one of the heads, a grinning black-haired skull, could speak and called herself “Vyrellis”.

With Vyrellis’s guidance the party traveled through the pyramid, finding small pocket-worlds where other beasts trapped by the pyramid made their homes. They soon found that the pyramid itself shifted and changed to fit the creatures within. For a powerful necrotic Otyugh known as the Charnal Lord, the pyramid built a devious floor-dropping trap. For plant creatures, the pyramid built an entire outdoor environment, completely sterile.

The party soon learned that the pyramid was a trap, a prison built to hold a powerful sorcerer king known as Karavakos, who used his magic to lure creatures within the pyramid in order to help him escape.

In the library of the Pyramid, the party discovered strange tomes that told stories of other worlds and even stories of themselves. Some read as though many years had passed. One of these notes seemed to describe Ninebreaker’s trek across the Shadowfell while another spoke of Kalarel’s torture under the hands of his masters for his failure in the Keep near Winterhaven.

The party traversed the pyramid and soon faced Karavakos in his upper sanctum. There they cut him down and the skull of Vyrellis, his eladrin wife once long ago, tore his soul from his body and became a demi-lich. Vyrellis, the demi-lich, released the party from the pyramid and across the planes of existence where the winds of chaos dropped them four years ahead from the time they left.

Vyrellis’s skull still sits within the black pyramid floating in the Far Realm while her astral projection explores all the worlds of gods and men.

Notable NPCs:

Garish Vren: Brigand Lord trapped within the Pyramid of Shadows. Location now unknown.

Vyrellis: Eladrin bride of Karavakos. Now a demi-lich residing in the Pyramid of Shadows in the Far Realm while her mental projection explores the known worlds.

Karavakos: An old Tiefling Sorcerer King whose dealings with devils led to his imprisonment in the Pyramid of Shadows. Now dead and soul stolen by Vyrellis.

Part 4: The Trollhaunt Warrens

Skalmad the troll King

The party returned to an entirely new Seven Pillared Hall. Some friends died, some became married, business boomed and busted over the years. Blood had spilled and beauty had emerged. Yet not all was right. While the party learned of business opportunities in the far village of Moonstair, Wes the rogue learned of a debt owed that threatened his life and of his friends.

The party soon headed to Moonstair, the rogue Wes taking on the name Dusk and covering his face with a skull mask acquired from the dark-elf curio and relic seller, Gendar. Along the road, the party faced an Oni mage and his troll escort who rummaged through the ruins of a carriage. Routing the mage and defeating the trolls, the party learned of a message being sent from Moonstair of great desperation. A noble prince and his adventuring companions had fallen in the Trollhaunt Warrens fighting a terrible growing troll king known as Skalmad.

Reaching Moonstair, the town’s mayor, Kelana Dhoram, asked the party for help battling this troll threat and recovering the princes heirloom sword.

Fighting across the Trollhaunt swamp, the party reached the warrens, nestled between the torn crags of stone. The party battled armies of troglodytes and trolls, seeing that the creatures were far from passive. Finding a different route, the party defeated the black dragon Nightwing. Ambushing the Troll King at the doors to his inner sanctum, the party learned that Moonstair was already under attack. Armies of the Troll King already marched west to the town and would destroy her. The party killed the Troll King, Skalmad, who roared with his dying breath:

“Death is but a doorway. I will return!”

A bounty hunter named Roy confirmed the troll’s threat against Moonstair and confessed his own agenda to bring the rogue Wes back to his employer, the gang lord Barstonnem in Fallcrest. An even more dangerous bounty hunter also tracked Wes, said Roy, and would surely kill people Wes cared about if he did not return to Fallcrest. Wes agreed and left with Roy as the party rushed to save Moonstair.

On the way back to Moonstair, the party found a roadside alehouse known as the Troll’s Tooth. There the “Blood Battle of the Troll’s Tooth” as it would soon be known, took place with over a dozen people torn to pieces by wolves as the party attempted to defeat the wolves and kill the troll. There they met the traveling warlock, Sygmund who joined them to save the Moonstair.

At the gates of Moonstair, the party held back wave after wave of troglodytes and other more terrible creatures sent by the Troll King. Only after the “Battle of the Second Gate” as it would one day be remembered did the party learn that murder had found itself within the walls of the town.

Notable NPCs:

Roy: A bounty hunter sent to collect Wes and bring him to Barstonnem, the gang lord of Fallcrest for a debt unpaid.

Mayor Kelana Dhoram: a half-elf mayor of the town of Moonstair.

Cham: a local gnome merchant and trade negotiator, seen as the primary business dealer of Moonstair.

Skalmad: The Troll King. A powerful troll who united the tribes of the Trollhaunt and seeks to restore the ancient Troll empire of Vardar.

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Trollhaunt Conclusion

*h2. Trollhaunt Conclusion

After saving Moonstair’s mayor and slaying the Oni mage, the party travels back to the Trollhaunt where they face and defeat Skalmad only to discover he stands resurrected in the Feywild.

During this time, a bounty hunter convinces Wes to join him and face his old crime boss in the city of Fallcrest.

The party travels to the Feywild battling all manner of strange Feywildian beasts to face the resurrected ancient troll king, Vard. They face him and defeat him at a powerful soul well. During the battle, their companion, the warlock X, was sucked into the well disappearing from this world forever. The party discovers notes on dark elves that their master, in partnership with Kalarel, has already sacrificed a captured Ninebreaker, once friend and party member of the Shieldbashers, and plans to sacrifice Wes.

Returning back to Moonstair, the party faces firey demonic minions of a seemingly resurrected Kalarel. The priest of Orcus himself leaves a calling card in the sewers below the city.

The Bloody Battle of the Black Leaf Brothel

The party travels back to a much-changed Fallcrest. There they face Barstonum and his large gang in the Black Leaf Brothel. In a bloody battle that takes the lives of over forty of Barstonum’s crew, they learn that Kalarel killed Wes, beheaded him, and threw him in the river. The crime boss then blew his own head off with an explosive-tipped crossbow bolt of dark-elven design.

The Demon Queen’s Enclave

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After briefly returning to the Seven Pillared Hall to find an improved business and rumors of a shadowy darkness twisting the souls of the dead, the party begins to travel to the dark elven city of Pharvorul where they expect to hunt down Kalarel. They learn of an undead invasion of the city led by the dark elf vampire lord, Zirithian.

After cutting down the ghoulish undead within the dark elven city, the party meets Matron Urlvrain and her remaining loyal soldiers. Urlvrain hires the party to kill two of Zirithian’s lieutenants. The party kills both of them, realizing that one of them was unlikely to be an ally of Zirithian and more likely just an enemy of Urlvrain.

Using the magic of Urlvrain’s companion, the elusive and beautiful Chi, the party travels to a segment micro-world of the Shadowfell known as Deadhold. There they faced all manner of horror including a moat filled with terrifying ghouls and an undead lich that turned out to be Sygmund, the previous warlock of the party lost in the depths of the Feywild.

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In the inner sanctum of Deadhold, the party faced the vampire lord Zirithian, the priest Kalarel, and a twisted ghoulish version of the rogue Wes. After a bloody battle, the party was victorious.

Nightwyrm Fortress

Returning once again to the Seven Pillared Hall, the party meets the wife of Ninebreaker, a shadar-kai, who has come to the mortal world from the Shadowfell to ask the party to rescue the soul of her mate now twisted in the broken Soul Stream from where Orcus diverts the souls of the dead. She explains that the main conduit for the soulstream resides in a fortress known as Nightwyrm, deep within the Shadowfell.

The party travels deep into the underdark to the ancient tomb of the Shadar-kai warlock, Sartine. There they face all manner of traps and undead beasts to confront the twisted demi-lich of Sartine himself. In this terrible battle, the diva invoker, Daveed, is killed and his soul twisted and permanently lost due to the corruption of the soul stream.

Traveling through a gateway within the tomb, the party finds itself at a small Shadar-kai outpost three days from Nightwyrm Fortress. There they learn that a powerful failed lich, Magrathar, rules the fortress along with a powerful beast known as Urishtar. Three of Magrathar’s lieutenants possess rings that enable them to enter the central tower of Nightwyrm surrounded by the fortress known as Magrathar’s Teeth.

The party travels across the Shadowfell facing all manner of terrors before entering Magrathar’s Teeth. Within the fortress wall they battle terrible undead including a powerful dracolich, beings of ice, and beings of fire. In an epic battle, the party faced a firemage and his summoned Glabrezou.

After these battles were complete, the party had only two rings remaining – one held by the high priest of the Temple of the Emerald Skull and one by Magrathar himself.

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Chaos Maw Part 1

Our band of heroic adventurers entered the Temple of the Emerald Skull – a temple to the demon prince Orcus. Unfortunately for everyone, the priests of the temple opened a portal to the Elemental Chaos and lost control of it. Now Slaads of all sizes and colors have ripped apart the priests of the temple and only the party can defeat them and close the Chaos Maw while recovering the third ring of Nightwyrm so they may enter the fortress itself and face Urishtar, guardian of the twisted Soulstream.

Slaads!

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Chaos Maw Part 2

Continuing through the ruins of the Emerald Skull temple, the party found a partially completed flesh golem infused with the power of Orcus manifested by a blue burning symbol on its chest. It was released by a pack of small Slaad spawns, rampaged through the party, and was soon cut down.

The party traveled in further, finding the preparation room for sacrifices and the high priests quarters. Within they found a note:

Though my faith is strong, there are days where I question our actions. For five hundred years we have fed the Beast. We have trained it as we were told in the ancient tomes. We sacrificed hundreds a year to feed its endless appetite.

I do not know which I fear worse – the Beast itself or the Chaos Maw that feeds it with eternal madness and a hunger for ruin.

I have read the old texts. I know the prophecy. They will come. It has been foreseen. But can we not battle these “Shieldbashers” ourselves? Can we not murder them in their sleep? Must we build such a beast to defeat them?

What is the cost for so much power?

I fear dark days ahead should the Chaos Maw’s bonds unravel.

The party continued on to the sacrificial pit itself where they met a great host of Slaads including a powerful Void Slaad.

Throughout the world there are many temples to the Demon Prince. Today, however, you stand in one of his oldest and most powerful temples in all the worlds. Hundreds of thousands have been sacrificed here to the Prince of Undeath. Today, however, the sacrificers find themselves, the sacrificed.

A large blue slaad holds aloft the high priest of the Emerald Skull. The high priest screams until his throat tears. With a single slash, the blue slaad opens him up and spills his innards down into a large dark pit below. Disgusted at the loss of his fun, the Slaad tosses the remains below as well.

The room is covered in splashes of blood and the broken bodies of a dozen cultists. On a platform to the south, green slaads see your presence and grin. Red slaads at the base of the stairs begin a terrible howling while the blue slaads roar and attack.

After defeating the host, the party dropped into the pit itself where they battled the Heroslayer, a five-headed hydra:

Deep below the sacrificial chamber, you stand in the chamber of the Chaos Maw. This chamber appears as old as the mountain itself, as old as the war between the gods and primordials. On the ground, the cultists have carved a large pentagram. The gaping grin of a million-year-old carved beast opens to a swirling vortex that stands between the Shadowfell and the depths of the Elemental Chaos.

As you step further into the chamber, the pentagram begins to glow. Black wisps of smoke turn and swirl. A roar echoes across the cavern, a roar of five voices. As the smoke clears, a beast of your worst nightmare stands in front of you. Five heads behold you, eyes blazing with madness and fury. It is the one whispered by the cultists for a thousand years, the creature bred and fueled for a millennia for a single purpose – to kill the Shieldbashers. 
bq). It is the Heroslayer.

The party defeated the beast, though the sorceress, Mika, was crushed in the jaws of the powerful beast. The party then faced the Maw itself:

chaos maw

Though the maw itself attempted to tear the party asunder with terrible magical force, the party closed the gateway to chaos and the slaad threat ended.

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Magrathar

Atop Magrathar’s Teeth, the party battled a fierce contingent of eight draconic wraiths. Through her knowledge of the arcane, Mika understood that these were young dragons, each once powerful in their lives, that had been slaughtered and sacrificed into these wraiths, now used to protect the twisted Soulstream.

During the battle against the draconic wraiths, the party saw a large teleportation circle begin to glow. Angry tendrils of energy threatened the party unless they harnassed them into powerful arcane blasts against the drakes.

After the drakes fell the party prepared for Magrathar’s assault.

The powerful mage came in protected with a prismatic sphere while the party battled two huge Hezrou demons and three abyssal hurlers.

Magrathar

The party began to crack each of the prismatic shells surrounding Magrathar. One by one, they used fire, ice, poison, steel, and radiant power to break through his protections. With each one down, Magrathar showed his true form. Pulling his steel mask from his face, he revealed his true origin – a Larva Mage.

It would seem that Magrathar’s attempt to become a lich had failed. Instead of empowering his old corpse with his arcane might, he instead empowered the worms and maggots that fed upon it.

That was not his only surprise. With a single command, Magrathar revealed his darkest secret: Thrash, the Shadar-kai bard that had joined the party in the Shadowfell, was actually an agent of Orcus! Thrash, tearing open his shirt, revealed the blue burning sigil of Orcus on his chest and began to sing his horrible song of pain.

The battle raged furious. Thrash cut into Rosa and Mika before Fausto blasted him into a deep pit. Climbing out, he soon took two of Rosa’s deadly arrows before falling.

Powerful blasts of arcane magic tore into Magrathar, as did the blade of the blademaster, Masjo. Soon, the larva mage, third lieutenant of Orcus, fell on the battlements.

As quiet fell upon the battlements, the party looked to the great spire ahead – Nightwyrm Fortress awaited.

Nightwyrm Fortress

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Urishtar on the Bridge

_You cross the narrow 20’ walkway that hangs suspended between the fortress wall of Magrathar’s Teeth and Nightwyrm Fortress itself, the spire beaming the light of twisted souls into the sky above. The walkway is ancient stone, edges cracked and eroded from tens of thousands of years of howling cold wind. Off each edge you see the deep chasm thousands of feet below. The vast height and delicate condition of the walkway make your knees weak and bring your heart into your throat with each delicate step.

As you get close to the middle of the walkway, near a section split into two by a huge crack in the center, it is as though the shadowfell itself crashes in front of you.

Urishtar

Urishtar the shadow dragon, once ancient protector of the Raven Queen’s interests and now Orcus’s guardian of the twisted soulstream, towers over you, wings expanded thrice the width of the narrow walkway upon which you sit.

http://bit.ly/3FKZwQ

“So you are the mortals who have Magrathar and his flock scurrying so.” Urishtar’s voice is deep and booming, a voice that seems to resonate in your skull and shakes the precarious stone under your feet.

“So small you are, for so much trouble.” The lithe dragon shifts and his head swings back on forth as he gazes upon you. “I have heard the whispers of the priests below. So long they had waited for you only to be ripped apart by the Slaads of chaos. How ironic.”

“I have heard of you, but I must say. I am not impressed.”

“Who are you? Why have you come? And why should I not send you to the rocks below?”_

_“Is that it from the mighty Shieldbashers? You all stare at me with mouths agape? I grow tired of this interruption.”

Act fast or Urishtar’s wrath might be swift indeed._

Mika bravely walks up and makes a feeble attempt to speak with Urishtar. She employs her diplomacy skills for 37 (a roll of 15 and a modifier of 22). She asks Urishtar what he wants from us. Perhaps we can resolve our differences with words instead of war.

As someone who appreciates deception; Masjo asks Urishtar why he would side with Orcus after being the protector of the Raven Queen? What has changed in the Shadowfell to sway someone so powerful? What is your dealings with this soulwell as it would seem that such a Shadow Dragon would not really have a need for it.

Rosa:

First, I use my keen elven eyes to determine where the safer spots on the bridge are. (Perception roll = 33) Assuming I succeed, I quickly warn those in front where not to stand.

Then I address the dragon…

You and I have met before, I believe (pointing at the spot where my arrow stuck him.)

I am Rosa Moonshadow of the Dalelands. I have come to put things back to rights. As one once sworn to the Raven Queen, you must know the dangers of messing with death. The souls must flow.

_Urishtar laughs, a sickening sound of steel ground against stone.

“Such a civil tongue you have for a door-kicker sparkmage.”

“What do I want? I want to be left alone. I am rid of Magrathar’s whispers, now I wish to be rid of you.”_

_“You’re arrow bit deep, ranger. I will soon not forget it.”

“You will, however, never speak of the Raven Queen again in my presence.”

The dragon rises, spreading its wings wide. Only mere moments remain._

The bridge is sturdy but very old. It is not at risk of collapse. Whatever strange godly magic built this place, it is built to last – It is hundreds of thousands of years old.

The dragon is free of control. No arcane power controls his mind. He is troubled, clearly, but that trouble is buried deep within him. It is not a problem to be solved in a mere moment of conversation.

The shadow dragon is a being of both physical and shadow power. Unlike spectres or wraiths, he has no clear weaknesses to exploit, though radiant light annoys him. This is not a beast of direct force, he is a beast that slides between shadows. His breath, however, steals the very life out of those upon which he inflicts it.

Masjo: Diplomacy 1d20 (rolled 13) +16 = 29

_A great sense of loss fills the eyes of the beast.

“Times change, thief. You cannot know how things can change over thousands of years. Like water tearing down a mountain, breaking it into a barren desert. I couldn’t even begin to explain to you how such things can come to be.”_

Successes: Mika – diplomacy 1d20 (15) + 22 = 37 Masjo – diplomacy 1d20 (13) + 16 = 29

Failures: Rosa – Intimidate 1d20 (9) + 10 = 19

Knowledge Checks: The dragon is note a brute – he is lithe and shifts into and out of the shadow The bridge is very old but sturdy. It would take a powerful force to break it. Urishtar is acting of his own accord. He is not under any sort of mind control.

“Surely a dragon of your age and wisdom can see that the Shieldbashers are merely following the path that destiny has provided us. We have no quarrel with you, unless you have allegiance to Orcus. We would be happy to take him a message for you…”

_“My alliance is to the beam. Do not take me for a fool, I know your intent. I have known it longer than you have lived.”

You sense the dragon has no alliance to either Orcus or the Raven Queen at this point. He guards the Soulstream, twisted as it is. He guarded it tens of thousands of years before when it was pure and he guards it now when it is corrupt._

Envy:

In a display of fury and grace Enye – for the delay cause by the dragon – shows her frustration in being delayed. With great force she slams the butt of the glaive named mercy – onto the bridge not caring if it shatters the structure plummeting herself to her doom and proclaims – Why are we being delayed by you! Either attack us or leave. Athletism -35

_The screeching sound, like the sound of stone screaming fills your head. At first you think the walkway is coming apart, but soon you realize it is Urishtar…laughing.

“I had no expected such boldness from mere mortals. You do not know that which you face, do you. Still. I am intrigued. Perhaps death to the rocks below is not the proper end for you.”_

With that, the Dragon flys to the top of the tower above and awaits your confrontation at the Soulwell.

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Urishtar and Sigil

You climb out of the stone chute to the open platform on the peak of Nightwyrm Fortress. Gusts of cold wind threaten to throw you from the reaches to the jagged rocks seven thousand feet below. Four battlements rise on four corners of the platform. In the center of the circular platform the Soul Well burns white. Within its reaches you see thousands of souls twisting and screaming as they are drawn from the Shadowfell sky down into the dark depths below.

You don’t see the guardian, Urishtar, at first. It isn’t until he shifts that you realize how close he is. He stands off the edge of the platform on a forty-foot square overhang that acts as the shadow-dragon’s perch. He waits for all of you to rise up from the chute.

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All around you swirl draconic wraiths. They glare at you with burning green eyes but keep their distance. Every so often one of them picks a white gleaming mote out of the sky and drops it back into the soulstream. You realize these are souls of the dead who escaped or fell away from the beam.

“Your words on the bridge below disturbed me. I haven’t thought about the old days for a long time. I had forgotten them.”

“Yet I am a being of destiny, as are you. We could wax philosophy for an age and it would make little progress. Let me simplify it for you.

“If you defeat me, you were right. If you fail and die here, than we know which way the winds of destiny blow. Frankly, I hope you are right, but I will not let this steer my wrath for a single moment. Prepare, Shieldbashers. Your future awaits.”

The party battles the mighty shadow dragon. After a powerful battle including the death of the dwarven wizard Oswald, Mika, the party’s sorceress, burns down the shadow dragon with a powerful blast of magical fire.

In a final furious roar, Urishtar, Guardian of the Soulstream, crashes to the ancient stonework of Nightwyrm Fortress. Ahead of you, the twisted soulstream flashes bright.

Using the scroll of the Shadar-kai witch, you draw out a circle in crushed ruby. Each of the sigils seems both completely foreign to you and strangely familiar. With the circle complete, you begin your ritual. There is no struggle here, no challenge of might or the mind. Only one thing will close the soulstream and restore the proper paths of the dead – a soul. One imbued with the proper magics of the Raven Queen and then fed into the soulstream will corrupt Orcus’s corruption and defeat the great power that twists it.

Whose soul will it be?

Fausto throws Nightbringer, his magical intelligent sword, into the soulstream. The effect is powerful and immediate, the soulstream collapses forever and the streams of the dead are restored. Another figure, however, lays on the battlement of Nightwyrm Fortress – the Warlord, Ninebreaker.

The party used the Rakshasa scroll after a rest in the Shadar-Kai village. Ninebreaker takes his equipment from his Shadar-kai wife before leaving. Using the scroll results in the following:

Blackness surrounds you and panic stabs deep. For a few moments that feel like eternity, you imagine life lost in void of the far realm. Yet you can’t imagine the far-realm would smell so much like beer and vomit. A heavy push spills light upon you and you realize where you ended up – among rotted boxes in an alley of a city completely alien to you.

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The smell of oil and rain on stone fills your lungs as you breathe air from a different world. Yellow light illuminates the wet cobblestone streets. The sounds of laughter and a crash of metal rise above the ambient sounds of the city streets. Staring up reveals the true strangeness of this destination. You stare up into a street very similar to your own. The world in which you find yourself is not flat, but tubular, as though you stand on the inside surface of a massive stone dough-bread treat of your youth.

“Well, look at the cutters who just fell out of the blitz.”

A young tiefling woman dressed in brown leather clothes and soft-soled slippers smiles at you as she leans on the alley wall.

“Don’t get all jangled up, I’m not here to honey-peel you. Just looking for a mert or two to show you the cage. Come on, let’s not map the planes here. Some bridle-cull or crow-feeder’s likely to find you gawking like that and get you Lost. Let me take you to a hole I know – the Golden Sprout. No metal cups there.”

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Sigil Part 1

The party meets Kylie, a guide and liaison to Sigil. She takes them to the Golden Spout, a fine tavern and inn in Sigil’s market district. The party recovers from their battle with Urishtar the Shadow Dragon and begins to hunt down the Iron Claw Rakshasa clan.

Their hunt leads them to an Azonia Shandryx, a noble woman who owns and operates out of an entertainment parlor known as the Three Wishes outside of the Hive, the lower nastier area of Sigil.

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The party heads to the Hive and through stealth, silent arrows, and sharp daggers, infiltrates the bar. Inside they find a den of prostitution, narcotics, and exotic dancing. They soon engage with the Iron Claw Rakshasa who appeared as other races throughout the bar. As the battle raged, Azonia escaped into the back offices and storage areas.

The party defeated the Rakshasa and followed Azonia down a secret stairwell that actually traversed through a portal into the center of a large ice-rock mote floating within the Elemental Chaos – Azonia’s safehouse.

There they engaged in a duel with Azonia. Should they bloody her before she bloodies three of the PCs, she will give them the Three Wishes and whatever information they seek. Should they lose, all debts are paid and they will leave her and her operation.

At that point, Azonia showed her true form, a huge silver dragon.

Though she managed to bloody the Harbinger of Doom, Envy, Azonia was quickly bloodied herself and the PCs found themselves the victor.

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Sigil Part 2

Though Azonia had hoped for retirement, the Shieldbashers had other plans. She was to resume her current position as the operator of the Three Wishes and continue to operate the entertainment parlor as she had. She was also to seek out information on behalf of the Shieldbashers. She did, however, deliver the Writ of Ownership of the Three Wishes to the Shieldbashers, which they signed.

In the shadows, however, another evil lurked.

The Shieldbashers brought over Masjo’s uncle, Uncle Gendar, to help operate their interests in Sigil on their behalf. He would use the portal located in Azonia’s safehouse to transport spiced meats and bring back relics and artifacts from Sigil back to the Seven Pillared Hall.

Azonia invited the Shieldbashers to the grand reopening of the Three Wishes, which no longer engaged in race trafficking, but continued to operate as a den of prostitution (as long as they’re well treated, narcotics (as long as its only recreational), and exotic dancing.

Gendar brought news to the Shieldbashers, however. It would seem that the elite forces of Orcus, a powerful cult known as the Ashen Covenant, was attacking the goddess’s temple of Lethernia located on the mountain of Zvomarana, the Temple of Temples.

At the grand reopening of the Three Wishes, they were told a stranger was outside with a young girl asking for them. When they stepped outside, they saw a cloaked figure holding an unsteady Kylie. As they watched in horror, the cloaked figure stabbed the girl and dropped her to the ground. The party rushed forward and crushed the figure’s skull, only then realizing it was another ruse.

127543 cn gl

All around the party, the shadows came alive. Knights of the Ashen Covenant, assassins, and a lich all attacked the party. The master asseassin, Drakrethar, a mercenary that the demon princes hired to slay gods, attacked as well.

A bloody battle ensued yet the Shieldbashers were victorious. The lich fled before the party could stop him.

As they recovered, they prepared to enter Zvomarana. It would seem Masjo, the Key Bearer, knew the proper rituals simply by memory to draw the party into the Shadowfell once again, to the Temple of Temples.

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The Last Meeting of the Seven

Seven stood around the circle of blood twisted into a shape that would permanently warp the minds of mortals unlucky enough to view it.

It took the tiefling, Uganan, a long time to prepare it, his arm still tired from all the cutting. His yellow eyes shifted under the hood of his mottled robes to Shonvurru. She flashed her beautiful smile at him, opening her red lips to reveal her razor-sharp teeth. She raised herself up on her serpentine body and lifted her six arms. Black energy flowed from the palms of her hand and from her open mouth, spilling across the dark circle. The ground broke away under the energy, forming a deep pit into another world.

“It is done,” spoke the Marilith, turning to the demon-skull helmed priest who stood at the front of the seven. He tucked his hands into the sleeves of his violet robes and beheld them. This is the last time all seven of them would be united, thought Arantham, but none of them had gotten into the Covenant on sentiment and no words spoke of the matter.

“Uganan, Hertrud, Mauglurien, Thax; enter Zvormarana. Perform Uganan’s rituals, find the skull, and pierce the walls of Letherna,” said Arantham. He looked to each of them, each one an elite agent of the Prince of Undeath.

“Visit the raven-haired bitch-queen and show her our lord’s knife.”

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