Chronicles of the Blades

Act 1, Chapter 1

On a brilliant spring morning, Temper’s Blades were lined up for duty assignment as any other morning. But rather than the usual drab and boring guard duty and garrison detail, there was finally something to do. Events were afoot! The goblinoid forces of Darguun had, for reasons unknown, began mobilizing in small units and invading Brelish territories. The majority of the army was sent in this direction, hoping to turn them back before any problems could arise as a result.

However, a small squad was selected by Temper for a much more important mission. For months, King Boranel had been discussing in secret with his closest aides, and had come to the conclusion that it was both politically and strategically sound to offer a Non-Aggression pact to the nation of Droaam. Despite it being a haven for creatures thought of as monsters and killers, their nation had survived and flourished under the rule of the Daughters of Sora Kell. A Non-Aggression pact would benefit both nations, and cause an end to the actions of warlords within Droaam looking to prove the strengths of their clans against human armies.

To bring this treaty to Droaam, the King selected a rather eccentric noble from his most trusted friends. Deman Tahl has had dealings with Droaam before, and has good relations with the Daughters there. He was a natural choice. Five of Temper’s Blades were assigned to protect him, at all costs.

The first wing of their mission was to meet with Deman Tahl, and board a great elemental airship known as the Pearl Savior, the only Luxury class airship thus far constructed. After learning of Deman’s security concerns (and dealing with his rather unusual behavior and fashion sense), specifically those related to rival Nobles who had a personal stake in preventing this treaty from coming to pass, the squad made their plans to foil the assassins.

Thankfully for them, the assassins were cocky and assumed that security was less than it was, thanks to a clever ploy by the squad. Rhino acted as “sole” bodyguard at Deman’s side, while Winston took on the appearance of a travelling priest and friend to Deman. This allowed the rest of the squad to blend into the crowd and keep a close eye on the proceedings. Thanks to their experience, they were able to spot several of the killers outright.

The first and least experienced of the group was tricked into going below-decks, where he was questioned. Learning the total number of assassins on board (6), Rhino ensured he would no longer be a problem by simply pushing him out a porthole to fall to his demise. That left five more to deal with. Rhino also made sure to “test” the food presented to Deman for “poisons”. It never hurts to be certain, after all.

Back upstairs in the grand ballroom, the squad went about the business of finding the rest. With one of their number vanished, the assassins were a little less sure of themselves. They hastily arranged a new plan. While they scrambled to set it up, the main course meal was brought out to the crowd. While they began their deliciously expensive meals, the squad located the final members they could not locate. One was hiding in plain sight atop a chandelier, using the shadows of the room to his advantage.

With all the assassins located, Tank opted for a less subtle display of skill. Rather than eliminate the assassins one at a time, he called them out publically. By staging a “magic show” and appearing to be the entertainment, the assassins were none the wiser. Until part of his show happened to include “turning the assassin on the chandelier into a man-cicle and smashing him like glass on the floor”. Their surprise trap sprung, our heroes moved on the hired killers.

Making short work of their quarry, they kept one to question for any other information they could not obtain before. Among that information was a “name”, scrawled on a tattered note. The note informed the killers that the rest of their pay would be sent on completion of the hit. The only hint of the name was a single “K”. When questioned, the assassin captive speculated that it may have been Korfin Roola that hired them, though they did not actually know who was in charge. They had dealt with agents of whoever it was pulling the reigns, rather than the client directly. With no other information to give, the assassin was killed (can’t have him causing problems later on, after all!).

Deman stated that Korfin Roola is a Noble in Breland with connections to House Cannith, and has largely been “off the grid” for quite some time.

With Deman safe, and Droaam just a few hours away by air, what could be waiting for our heroes ?

Loot of Note:

  • Note from “K”
  • Assassins each wore a necklace, shaped as a claw,carved from green jade.
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Act 1 , Chapter 2

The PCs landed in Graywall, and learned firsthand that monstrous beings are not necessarily evil. Graywall was an industrious and prosperous town, quite large for the mere 30 years it had been in place.

The majority of the town had been built by Ogre and Goblin work squads, although swathes of the city were composed of ancient Dahkaani ruins, painstakingly restored to their former glory through hard labor and magic.

There, they were met by a medusa emissary and 2 gnoll guards. These beings escorted them to a High Magus by the name of Vrik…a singularly unpleasant little bastard of a goblin. Through him, they were transported to the private Demense of Sora Katra.

Sora Katra was pleased to see Deman again, and was also pleased by the presence of the PCs, for she was able to strike a deal using them as a driving force: She would sign the Non-aggression pact…if they travelled to a town called Tinshire and determined what happened to scouts she had sent out that way.

Winston, not one to take such a request lightly, questioned her motives. She revealed that a dark power had been felt there…one she was not familiar with. And if she had no idea what it was, it must be strange indeed. The party decided that if they found whatever power was located there it would not be given to the Daughters of Sora Kell, no matter what the cost.

Requisitioning an airship would take time, but Sora Katra agreed to the request. It would, after all, speed things up substantially compared to horseback travel.

Before the PCs left, she gave each of them a Black Feather Charm of Recall to speed their return home, as well as letting her subjects known at a single glance that the PCs were under her protection and should not be harmed.

Once in Tinshire, the PCs felt a malign force as something whispered to their minds. It was not definable….something eating slowly at the back of their thoughts that vanished when focused on. But it was enough to make focusing harder (thus they took a -2 penalty to all Perception rolls while this force was still in effect).

They investigated the empty town and found:

1: A knife thrust through a map and note, showing the entire town. The church was circled in red, and the note stated that something evil was afoot with the church and it was responsible for whatever had caused the town to vanish.

2: A freaky scene was found in the provisioners’ shoppe. Tied to a chair within, a body of one of the orc scouts sat. It had been run through, vertically, with a large brass pipe with fluting punctured into it….something had changed this being into a sickening musical instrument. The rotting entrails and body had made the stench almost unbearable within. The blood on the floor was recognized as some form of cult symbol, likely one of the Dragon Below. They copied this symbol down. A cursory check of the corpse revealed that it had been relieved of its innards, filled with something else, and healed back up. When carved open, the body spilled Bloodworms all over the floor. , and used the scouts own black feather charm to return the terribly disfigured body to Sora Katra, along with the copied symbol on paper.

3: A second body was found partially hidden in refuse in an alley. It had been killed by a single well placed dagger strike. The knife itself was carved in the likeness of various unknowable monstrosities, and eyes carved into the handle appeared to follow wherever the watcher went. Beside this corpse was another cult symbol.

4: Tracks were scattered in the dirt in town, several back-heavy, indicating that whoever had placed the tracks had walked backwards…likely to misdirect others.

5: The church had been desecrated. The PCs fixed this by eradicating the altar. Winston then said a prayer to bless the church. Behind the church, the plants and hedge maze seemed to be warped and mutated, and a path was found leading to a higher plateau upon the mountains.

6: With his keen magical senses, Tank located a dragonmark upon a boulder in town. Making a rubbing of the symbol, they continued on. They will have to translate it later.

The Pcs followed the trail behind the church, and after some time came across a temple nestle into the mountain. It was made of a strange black rock, carved in bizarre geometric angles that constantly produced optical illusions of depth, making the building appear to move in subtle ways constantly. There, they were attacked by the guards outside the temple, and a small force of lesser cultists. These peons were hardly a threat for the experienced Breland soldiers!

However, once inside the temple, the greater muscle of the cult was seen in action: Terrible dark magics that nearly cost the party dearly. However, they triumphed and sent the cultists to an early grave.

Total cultists killed: 20 Giant Mutant Wolves killed: 3

next session: Deeper into the Temple

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Act 1, Chapter 3

Descending into the depths of the temple, Temper’s Blades soon learned that things were much more dark than they at first appeared. As if the dead bodies in the village weren’t enough, or the sinister hints of cult activity…They now found themselves in the deep dark below the surface of the world.

A staircase awaited them after clearing out the cultists in the upper chambers of the Temple. One that descended far deeper than imagined. Three thousand steps or more, with nary a hint of light, and the bottom was at last reached. There, an eerie red glow greeted them. When approached, the glow was revealed to be coming from strange runic text, a language with which none of them were familiar. However, through inspection, they learned the potential purpose of the letters. While they slowly crawled along the floors, walls and ceilings, they also revealed that they were names. And within each name, a soul was bound for some dark, unknown purpose.

Onward they continued into the caverns, impossible angles and black stone encompassing every surface. They walked until they found themselves waist deep in brackish water, under which the passage continued into a vast cave filled with this same water. An elevated passage awaited them on the other side, though it required a rope to ascend. Before they could do so, a hideous beast sprang from the dark water, vast tentacles striking at the heroic adventurers. Their tenacity, however, won them the day, and the creatures terrible arms retreated back into the depths from whence they came.

Still onward they pressed, until they were forced to overcome a ward blocking their progress. Even it’s potent magic was no match, despite overcoming them momentarily, forcing them to attack one another through domination magic. Thanks to Gash and Tank, the ward was dispelled, and they were able to continue. Faced with a choice of east or south through the caverns, they wisely chose south…avoiding the dark horror that awaited them to the east that waited to devour their very souls.

A brief respite was gained at a subterranean waterfall, the flowing waters of which were strangely pure amid the wretched evil all around them. Restoring their health and fortitude, this water gave them the strength to continue. And this is most fortunate, for their trials were far from over.

The stumbled next into a long, narrow corridor lined with horribly detailed statues that resembled no creature they had ever before heard of, nor seen. But most important in this hall was what stood at its very entrance, protected from influencing the Temple around it through a ward set there by the cult themselves. Upon a pedestal in this ward, a suit of armor lay. Made of what looked like carapace, bone, and muscle, this coat bore dozens of eyes…live eyes that peered at them with longing…wanting. The common sense in them bade them to ignore it…but the temptation was too great, along with the desire to investigate what the cult wanted to keep it contained for. Gash bravely donned the Coat of Eyes, despite not knowing what it might do. Momentary discomforted coursed through him as the coat attached itself to his torso. At that very moment, the statues in the hallway came to life, attacking those that violated the ward.

After the statues were defeated, they found another dead orc scout laying against a wall in the corridor. He looked as if he had fought valiantly, but alas, his skill was far from sufficient. Like the others, his black feather sent him back…but not before the PCs wrote a letter describing all they had uncovered.

The Blades carried on further, and found another room of worship. This one, however, bore no cultists. Instead, Dolgrim, Dolgaunts and a Blue Slaad stood guard and devoted themselves to whatever black god their foul forms gave worship to. Despite brutal attacks and overwhelming magical attacks, the Blades slew them to a man, but for one foolish Dolgrim that bolted in fear into the black hall at the end of the chamber. Seconds later, he could be heard dying, painfully, by unseen forces ahead.

What lies in wait for Temper’s Blades? What manner of thing could possibly lurk in this unfathomable depth? They will soon find out…and perhaps wish they never had.

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Act 1, Chapter 4

(Read the comments to the upper right for a breakdown of all magic items obtained on this first adventure)

Deeper onward they pressed, into the stygian depths beneath the earth into which they had bravely wandered.

Almost tripping over the corpse of the Dolgrim that escaped them, they were quite curious how he had died. Yet no clues were immediately forthcoming. And so they continued deeper still, coming to a long hallway.

Once they had established some light, they saw that the angles here were all wrong. Clearly someone had built this chamber, like the rest of the putrid temple within which they had found so many abominations. But whoever it was had no capacity for sane construction. Every surface appeared to curve both towards and away simultaneously, creating a bizarre sensation of depth that threatened to dizzy the careless onlooker. But the walls were less interesting than what was carved upon them, or the massive door that loomed at the halls end.

The newly donned Coat of Eyes allowed Gash to translate the carvings on the walls in a limited capacity, making sense to the pictograms that accompanied them. Some form of dark worship was going on in all three pictograms. In each, a single eye dominated the image, with dark sacrifices and bizarre monstrosities filling up the rest of the images….apart from the last. It clearly showed Sharn being grasped from below by massive tendrils, causing the buildings to curve towards one another. Thousands of beings knelt and gave praise to whatever entity the eye belonged to, as it watched on from above.

The problem was, the carvings pre-dated Sharns current incarnation by at least several thousand years. But the similarity to modern Sharn was virtually unmistakable.

After discerning a way to open the fifty-foot doors at the corridors end, our intrepid crew wandered into a room filled with complete darkness…save for a small circle of light cast by 4 braziers. Sunrods nor magical light aided in piercing the darkness. Natural light, however, seemed to work just fine. With that in mind, they explored the massive cavern in which they now found themselves.

Upon an altar within the circle of torchlight lay the last of the Orc scout bodies, neatly vivisected, his organs totally removed. Beside this corpse lay a tome of unknown origin. Tank quickly discerned that it should probably not be tampered with. The bones decorating its cover helped with that decision. The dark aura permeating its’ form helped too. But when he attempted to destroy the book, the door to the chamber slammed shut…and a deep grinding sound was heard at the far end in the darkness they had not yet explored.

They soon learned what it was. Red and Winston opted to investigate….and before them stood a massive carving, larger than any statue either of them had seen. It was a multitude of mouths and grasping tendrils, several of which were as thick as tree trunks and long enough to extend out of sight towards the unseen cavern ceiling. And whatever this thing was supposed to represent, they didn’t like it one bit.

Soon after the discovery, the thing began to move….They stood against the horrid abomination that was the monstrous living statue despite grievous wounds, and though it proved a great challenge, they were triumphant.

As the statue shattered into pieces, a prophecy mark manifested within the torchlight circle. Staring at it for a few moments, Tank found he was somehow able to make sense of it to a limited degree…as if it was translating itself for him.

(more about the prophecies later, in a separate section)

Their task complete, they investigated the rest of the issues that concerned them, next. Were the townsfolks souls freed from the writing on the walls, near their initial descent? It seemed not. The souls were still bound, and none of them could discern how to save them. They opted to seek greater powers to do this for them.

The town itself was cleared of the malign aura now, and they were now willing to leave.

Soon they found themselves back at the feet of Sora Katra , who had apparently been “entertaining” Deman Tahl for quite some time. Both seemed in good enough spirits, though Sora Katra was quite annoyed that the party had teleported the Orc scout bodies directly to her private Demense. She also noticed a strange “odor” about Gash…likely sensing his Coat of Eyes, which he was disguising using it’s own power.

She was a woman of her word, and signed the non-aggression pact. She also agreed to send her most powerful shaman to cleanse the souls from the trap on the wall…if it was possible at all.

The party, task completed, headed out. But this was not the end.

Deman Tahl and Ricker had many questions (and some answers)

Deman Tahl revealed that he was more than an eccentric diplomat. He was the King’s Aide and Advisor! He was sent on this mission primarily due to good relations with the Daughters of Sora Kell due to events in the past.

He and Ricker were quite curious about the Prophecy Marks, and seemed to be able to translate the one they had found in the village. Ricker, specifically, took a few moments to decode what he could. After he read it aloud, the party was quite disturbed. It told of a dark power rising from some sort of depths, and it certainly did not sound good.

When they asked about the Artifact the PCs had aquired, Gash revealed the Coat of Eyes by removing its disguise. Ricker instantly went sheet white, and bolted from the room without a moments pause.

What did he know of this coat that scared him so much? And what will happen when the PCs arrive back in Wroat?

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Act 1, Chapter 5

On the way back to Wroat, Tank and Gash talked with Ricker about his reaction to the coat…and its’ reaction to him. He wasn’t fully forthcoming with answers, though he did inform them of the Coat of Eyes creator and approximate age. He stated that such a powerful artifact being warded such as it had been was possible only by demons, daelkyr, or gods. Regardless of who, they are extremely powerful and not likely to be pleased at the Coat being free from its’ containment.

Once in Wroat, a lovely young knight named Blinds met with them at the docks, and led them to the castle. She seemed to have a thing for Winston, and invited him for a more “private” get together at a later date. She had heard of Winstons actions during the war, and found him attractive for his willingness to aid others against the odds.

The PCs talked to King Boranel, informing him of their most recent mission and all the events that transpired. Pleased with their success and defense of the nation, he saw fit to Knight them all. In addition to being knighted, he also asked them to join the Dark Lanterns. They are a secret group within the military of the Citadel Army. Their purpose: to do whatever it takes to protect the country and crown, any cost.

They were also introduced to the Courtesan, Bard and Royal Ward named Maya.

Their first mission is to locate and eliminate the threat that Korfin Roola represents. He has committed treason through an assassination attempt against the King’s Adviser, Deman Tahl, and is smuggling artifacts into Breland for purposes unknown. He is believed to be looking for the Obsidian City in Xendrik.

To get there, the PCs had to first find a captain crazy enough to take them across on a route that would ensure secrecy…but be ripe with danger. The Thunder Sea is a harsh mistress, and harsher still at its’ center. They found this captain at Nancy’s Harbor Cafe in Sharn. Captain Shazarak wasn’t too tough to find, once you got through the drunken crowds and knew what whore he was with at the time. Through a little intimidation and an attention to detail, the Lanterns located said captain.

While they did this, Gash had vulgar, dirty sex with the half-orc whore Rosalita. His performance has become legend among the girls at Nancy’s Harbor Cafe.

Shazaraks obsession with the bard, Maya, was their bargaining chip. While his standard rates were ludicrous at best, in exchange for her accompanying them on the journey Shazarak offered to sail them where they needed to go for a relatively cheap rate. They would leave the next day at noon.

Their first week at sea was relatively uneventful, but on the seventh day the winds picked up. Without warning, a monstrous storm was upon them. Risking life and limb, the party aided the captain and crew to the best of their ability. The brutal storm made itself known, but thanks to timely actions, serious damage to the vessel as well as the loss of crew was seriously minimized. Despite waves of astounding magnitude, lightning striking the deck and taking in water they survived!

In the end, the vessel lost 1 crewman and took only a few minor scrapes.

They now sail the high seas, heading swiftly for Xendrik. What awaits them next?

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