Voyage of the Waverider
The Tomb of Frozen Souls
After pulled together into an unlikely adventuring group by the Paladin Marc to defeat the dark warlock Evard outside the town of Oak Ridge – the group celebrated their good fortune at a tavern, only to get sucked into a drinking game with Torin Silverfern in order to avoid a fight. Sadly, the pompous paladin and wild druid held their ale with far less skill than they did their weapons – and after a marathon of drinking (during which the druid drank a substantial portion of his weight in ale) the two spun out into an alcohol induced rampage – utterly trashing the tavern and several nearby shops. The dragonborn warlock apprentice of Evard and the wizard grifter Brandis were unable to restrain Marc or Apollo in their drunken revels.
Upon waking at last, Brandis informed Marc and Apollo that the village constable was quite clear in their desire that the four adventurers leave Oak Ridge immediately. Hiring themselves on as caravan guards for a gruff human merchant named Adelbern with an impeccable service record – they soon realized they’d walked into far more than they’d bargained for. As a magical winter descended upon their mountain trail, the druid Apollo was the first to sense something amiss – his years of experience in the wild enough to inform him that there shouldn’t be snow in spring.
But barely had the druid shared this invaluable insight with the rest of the group than a swarm of ice and snow elementals attacked. Once they realized the party would not fall easily they turned their weapons directly upon the cargo carried by Adelbern. The party shattered the elemental assailants, but not before they succeeded in destroying several of the dozen boxes of cargo, shattering the trinkets within. Seeing this, Adelbern let out a shriek of purest horror, one soon explained by the appearance of a grinning imp. Cackling, the imp informed the merchant Adelbern that he had failed in the safe transport of the goods – and that his soul and caravan were thus forfeit as promised collateral. Realizing that this wager going through would leave them stranded without food or shelter in a treacherous mountain range made more-so with the magical winter descending on it – the party bargained the imp to a counter-offer. The imp offered to leave them the caravan in exchange for one of the adventurer’s souls. When this suggestion met with little interest, the imp offered a wager. If the adventurers could banish the imp’s master from the plane by dawn – it would leave the caravan. If they failed, it would claim three of their souls.
After discussing the wager for a time the Paladin Marc upped the ante. All the party’s souls as wager in return for the caravan and the return of Adelbern’s soul if they can banish the imp’s master within a week. Clapping his hands, the imp agreed to this altered wager… Provided he take the caravan in the mean while so that the adventurers would have no way to return to civilization and seek external aid in their quest during the duration of the challenge. The adventurers agreed.
Climbing through a frozen barrage of snow and sleet, the paladin taking by far the worst of the beating, the party at last reached the source of the magical storm – a sizable cave at the mountain’s peak. Inside was a young but formidable white dragon, sound asleep and with a magical collar on its neck… Chained to the wall like a guard dog. Though at first the party focused on how best to kill it, the sympathetic druid Apollo suggested that such a proud creature may not be enamored of being forced into servitude. After some heated discussion, the party decided to wake the dragon and reason with it. A tense discussion later, the proud dragon agreed to let the party attempt to free it. Using his skills at Arcana, the wizard Brandis attempted to dispel the magic making the collar and chain around the dragon’s neck nigh-unbreakable. With the assistance of his friends, most notably the conniving warlock, collar’s magic was undone and the white dragon let out a roar of triumph.
Shattering an icy wall, the dragon led the charge into a room housing an ice devil, a dwarven warlock and many of the dragon’s former kobold followers. Even more notable than these monstrous presences though was the presence of massive teeth glowing with infernal power – surrounding a magical pool of ice laced with shadows in the outline of humanoid profiles. The dwarven warlock gleefully revealed that these were the teeth of Meranzan – a dead god entombed in the mountain – and by filling the pool with one hundred souls the god would have the strength to feast on them and awake once more. Before he could say anymore though, the dragon charged – crossing the ice with ease and slashing at the warlock with its claws. After a ferocious battle, during which a blast from the dwarven warlock’s staff turned the party’s own warlock against his companions – the adventurers were eventually triumphant. Taking a third of the treasure, leaving the rest with the dragon Glaziel, the adventurers returned to Adelbern – whereupon they found the caravan returned. Grateful beyond words, Adelbern gave the party seven of the remaining nine boxes of treasure he had been shipping for the ice devil and then joined them in a toast. Though the treasure proved upon inspection to be nowhere near as valuable as the imp claimed (enchanted with a magical aura meant to radiate the illusion of mighty magics) it was still worth a sizable amount of gold. The adventurer’s left the road in the town of Winter’s End – where they rested from their journey.
The Bloody Grove
However, the Sivlerferns took exception to the humiliation of Torrin – and soon the party received a demand for a humiliating apology as well as a fine of a hundred gold apiece. The heroes refused, a decision that brought assassins to them in the night. After driving them off with some help from a dwarven cleric and human weaponsmaster asleep in the room next door – the heroes discovered that the weapons wielded by their assailants bore the unmistakable marks dryadic origins. The Sivlerferns had been butchering the local dryads and using their flesh as lumber. Tracking down the camp site, the party laid waste to the many orcs and humans running the operation – with only a lone, ridiculously dressed wizard escaping. With this victory the druid Apollo entered the forest to protect the dryads from further harm while the warlock left with the dwarven cleric and human fighter.
Blacklisted [Epic Clear]
After the battle emerged a human from the brushes. A warlord of brilliant tactical mind, he had been observing the camp site in preparation to launch an attack… But the arrival of Chimera left him observing needlessly. He decided to join the party after the fact though, and the remaining members agreed to take him on. Pockets deep with treasure, they set sail to Mercencia – a merchant paradise where nearly anything legal from the continent of Turenevad and several others can be bought or sold. Upon arriving there though, the group found no one willing to trade with them in the slightest degree. They had been blacklisted by the Silverferns, furious at the group’s continued insults and destruction of their dryad-harvesting operation. Offered a deal to be ferried off the island and out of Silverfern territory in exchange for 500 gold each – which would eat up nearly all the treasure they had earned thus far – the heroes bargained the agent down and grudgingly accepted.
Ferried on the glorious Silverfern vessel Waverider – an elemental ship with no equal in the Silverfern’s fleet – the heroes began to wonder if they might be able to exact revenge on the corrupt merchant family and steal their flagship vessel. However, they were stymied by the presence of the honorable Captain Winslow – a veteran pirate hunter of indisputable character. Slowly working their way into his favor, the group’s negotiations were interrupted by sailing into a magical storm that demanded they seek repairs at a nearby lizardfolk town. After introducing the gold standard of currency to the lizardfolk’s economy the heroes earned the right to trade for exceptional goods in a battle with their chieftain. Purchasing some magical items and rituals at sharp discounts the group then returned to the ship and set sail once more. However, they soon found themselves not where the Silverferns had promised to let them off of (the port of Gythanki in Elyssa) but instead in Athas… The desert wasteland ruled by the Sorcerer Kings. Worse yet, they had been sold into slavery by the Silverferns. Captain Winslow was outraged by this turn and the heroes were able to escape the slavers to return to the ship. After gaining Winslow’s favor – this latest treachery of the Silverferns was the final straw for the noble captain. He swore a debt of loyalty to them in exchange for saving his own life in the Maelstrom and commandeered the ship, asking them where they’d like to set sail.
Dead by Dawn [Epic Clear]
The party chose Elyssa. After using a scrying mirror found in the trade hold to locate their Warlock friend – they rescued him from pursuers and brought him on board. Deciding to sell their cargo in Caile, the paladin kingdom on the coast of Elyssa, the party set off. However, upon their arrival it became clear that the kingdom was in dire straits – and the party was able to sell their trade goods for double normal market price. Afterwards they were led to King Callaway himself, a platinum dragonborn paladin of Bahamut and legendary hero. Callaway revealed that an army of undead marched at their gates – tying the army down – while a magical fog inhibited magical communication across the kingdom (especially divine-based). He asked the members of Chimera to strike out and find the source of why this is occurring so many decades after the fall of Zhengyi the Lich King.
The heroes set out to the town of Eastdown, the first town to lose communication with the rest of the kingdom. On their way out of town, a guard handed the warlock a statuette in the shape of a black skeleton – saying he’d been told to destroy it but he’d rather see it used against the undead. The warlock pocketed it. It soon became clear that while this statuette could control undead around it – it also drew them like flies to a trash heap. After defending the warlock from the onslaught of zombies all seemingly attracted to the statuette – the heroes made their way to Eastdown. There they found a community beleaguered from the constant attempts to repel undead, a group of children that admitted to having found a strange library and opened a book just a little while before the whole nightmare started and an aged fighter called Old Man Winthrop who claimed to have marched right beside Callaway in the destruction of the Lich King. The heroes gathered the support of the able-bodied fighters of the town, including Winthrop who certainly lived up to his reputation, and drove off the undead from the town. Victorious, without a single casualty, they rested through the night.
Promise of the Archlich
The next morning came early with the clash of steel and shouts from outside. Upon investigating, these sounds proved to be the performance of a talented bard. He claimed to have been sent by King Callaway to aid in the investigation and the party accepted him. They struck out to the site mentioned by the children, discovering a tremendous castle where once there was just a secret library… And the castle appeared to be a perfect replica of Castle Perilous, the Lich King’s own citadel. Upon entering it the party found nothing to be as it appeared; causing a host of docile skeletons to attack them, walking through a circle of trapped secret doors and throwing themselves into pits of fire to avoid an illusory boulder. Finally they were ushered in to see Allan – a boy of about 14, his skin gaunt and stretched. They learned of his connection to the book and acceptance of the Raven Queen’s aid in controlling the connection in exchange for ownership of his soul.
Further, they met an ancient Archlich known as Belial – revealed to be Zhengyi’s master. Zhengyi had betrayed him and stolen his phylactery – using it to gain control over Belial and lock the lich in stasis within his own library, drawing on Belial’s power to do the many terrible things Zhengyi became famous for. With the library reopened, the seal was broken and Belial was freed once more. The statuette the characters had been carrying was his phylactery. As Belial explained this and the situation with Allan, an emissary of the Raven Queen flew in through the window – offering to trade the child’s soul for a future favor from the Paladin. Marc agreed and his neck turned icy cold as the black figure of a raven was seared onto his neck. But that was a worry for another day. Belial revealed that the controller of the undead army was not he or Allan but a great demon that came to the Zhengyian Wastes in order to claim his phylactery and control his power the way Zhengyi did. The skeletal army was intended to be a distraction to blaze the region with necromantic power enough to mask the beacon of the library and replica of castle perilous – as well as occupying the epic heroes of the realm so they would be unable to strike at it. To slay the demon, the heroes needed to acquire a special blade in which the Raven Queen bound a greater demon… One currently protected by a guardian called Urshula, whom Belial admitted to having a relationship with prior to his death.
The heroes agreed to go to Urshula, and attempt to retrieve the demon sword. Their resolve was weakened once they learned what Urshula was… An ancient dracolich, famous and feared for her destruction. Urshula the Black. The heroes managed to steal the blade and escape, with the wizard nearly losing his life in a blast of acid. However, the wicked intelligence of the blade dominated the warlord and sent him out towards the demon citadel on his own. After managing to convince him to drop the sword – the bard snatched it up and attacked the party with it. Despite the blade’s astonishing power he succumbed to the weight of the other four members of the party… Before rising again as a fiery skeleton – a Dreadknight. With his added power he slew the warlord and nearly the warlock as well before he finally met his end at the hands of the Paladin. Returning with the blade and the burned corpse of the warlord Pieter – the heroes must now seek a form of resurrection. Normally this would be simple enough, if expensive, but Belial hinted that the circumstances of this death might make things more complicated than usual. The heroes retired to their chambers to rest from their battle with the treacherous bard and awaiti the results of the Archlich’s study of how their fallen friend may be returned to the living.
Hellbound [Perfect Clear]
After a quick role-call in the morning to see who was still alive, the remaining members of Chimera went to see Belial. He informed them that their fallen friend’s soul had been devoured by the greater demon inside the steel – seared with the flames of the abyss and thus sent to the hellish planes. It had been claimed by an infernal power and was somewhere in an interplanar city called, “Char”… A city of ruled over by the Infernal Lady – a being of immense power halfway between devil and demon.
The city houses many members of the lesser races touched by devilish or demonic power (such as tieflings and duergar) as well as many of the hellish entities. The city exists for trade between the dark entities – with souls the common currency. While Pieter’s soul is in the clutches of such entities, even Belial is unable to resurrect him. If the heroes want their friend back, they will have to journey to Char and find a way to liberate their friend from the hellscape. After prolonged debate, the heroes reluctantly agreed. They journeyed to Char in the company of a necrotic ooze named Gurgle and after prolonged danger and bargaining discovered that Pieter’s soul was chained in Purgatory, the soul prison of Char. With the entrance guarded by a mighty fire titan, a jailbreak seemed clearly impossible.
However, after evaluating their other options (most notably making a deal with an infernal power or purchasing a cell block and dragging an innocent, terrified soul into Purgatory) and tracking down a disgruntled duergar who was once a guard in Purgatory – the group decided to do something radical… Kill themselves and venture into Purgatory as souls in the hope of freeing Pieter and then all being resurrected. After initial reluctance from the wizard Brandis, they finally overcame his objections and put the plan into action.
Venturing into Purgatory as the dead, leaving Gurgle outside with the gatekeeper, they slipped through the many horrors of the soul prison to find their friend. Pieter had been horribly tortured, undergoing a devil’s training regimen meant to destroy his identity and develop his soul’s potential. Despite his many torments, Pieter had thus far managed to hold onto his sanity. The party put their plan into action, using the demon blade to destroy the mighty seal that trapped all the souls in purgatory – setting every one of the thousands and thousands free.
Pieter seized his chance, rallying the startled souls with a glorious shout of, “CHARGE!” Spurred on, they broke over their infernal captors like a tidal wave – overwhelming the guards before finally breaking towards the entrance. The paladin killed a Glabrezu on his way out – destroying it for all eternity as it had died in its home dominion – and the heroes charged for the gates… Whereupon they learned that Gurgle had made friends with the Fire Titan, and they were thus able to convince him that he might want to seek a new job considering the tidal wave of souls about to execute a mass-breakout. The fire titan ran for it, not wanting to endure the punishment the infernal lady would surely levy on his shoulders. Triumphant, the heroes called to Belial to resurrect them and they were shortly within Castle Perilous once more.
However, while they returned triumphant their victory was not without costs. Pieter had been transformed by his time in Purgatory, his soul having drawn the flavor of the abyss into his very essence, and he now sported devilish horns on his head. Furthermore, the training had taken a toll on his mind, deadening his intelligence. The experience though galvanized his spirit, and he is now more charismatic than ever. Pieter has thrown his once pure tactical approach to the winds in favor of a bolder, inspiring leadership style. He has learned that tactics textbooks are not the sole or truest determiner of victory in battle.
The Paladin changed even more. Marc had died before fulfilling the Raven Queen’s favor – and when he was resurrected he returned as a revenant – a part undead, part living creature sent back by the Raven Queen to conduct unfinished business. In the light of his new undead nature Kelemvor rejected him – offering only one chance at redemption… To slay the dracolich Urshula. His world having been shaken by recent events, the discovery of a good undead in the Archlich Belial and his continued travel with his companions – Marc turned his devotion to the Raven Queen and his very alignment shifted grayer in the process. But these were worries for another time.
The party decided to confront the demon controlling the undead armies in his fortress. As they passed through the portal, Gurgle let out a mewling cry. It was soon answered by the coming of a very familiar fire titan. The Gatekeeper had come to aid his amorphous friend. With the ooze’s and fire titan’s help – as well as the tremendous might of the demon blade who now rejected any but Pieter as a wielder – the heroes made short work of the demon and his followers, banishing it to the elemental chaos from whence it came. The fortress crumbled and the heroes made it out alive – meeting a bewildered company of knights sent from Caile who all but fell over themselves in respectful awe.
The heroes were doubly victorious, having rescued their friend and many others from Char as well as destroying the great demon bringing misery to so very many. Exhausted but exhilarated – they accepted the hospitality offered them and rode triumphantly back to Caile, having grown leagues in both wisdom and ability due to their many exalted deeds.
After a night of celebration and glorious rewards from the treasury of Caile – the triumphant heroes were called back to King Calleway’s private study. The dragonborn king informed them that an orc and goblin threat was endangering the Isles of Caile – pilliaging many farming and mining settlements and attacking any merchant ship bearing trade-goods not flying the Silverfern flag. The heroes agreed to help, interrogating several captured orcs to learn the location of the monstrous base of operations. After giving one of their hand mirrors that allowed scrying to King Calleway (which prompted an aide named dePuee to think that Brandis was smitten with the king, triggering Brandis’ desperate ‘memory to mist’ spell to erase the impression from the fellow’s mind), the heroes set sail.
Their journey to the island was eventful not because of fending off orc and goblin ships (the Silverfern flag they flew seemed to discourage attacks) but because of their restraint and interrogation of Captain Winslow due to the fact something seemed a bit different about him. After tying him down, interrogating him and wiping his memory of the experience they learned a new magical aura about him was an illusion – which prompted the casting of a ritual to allow seeing through such illusions (costing 750 gold). Once the illusion had been seen through, the heroes realized that Captain Winslow looked markedly less handsome beneath it. The entire thing had been a magical cosmetics treatment.
The Waverider soon neared Caile Rock – the base of operations behind the orc and goblin fleet – and the members of Chimera slaughtered every orc, goblin and hill giant on the island with ease. Hiding in a small cabin they found a familiar wizard, Thelonius the red and blue and green and purple and magenta… (etc). They had confronted this same multicolored mage in their battle against the dryad harvesting operations, and he was thus known to them as an agent of the Silverferns. This time however, he claimed to be working for Galifar – the territory that had stolen Pieter’s family’s holdings and robbed him of his place as a high lord. Under pressure, Thelonius explained that Galifar had instigated the orc and goblin tribes’ attacks against the Isles of Caile in order to put additional pressure on their beleagured neighbor… Making them ripe for conquering. The Silverferns, very friendly with Galifar, were granted safe passage through the monstrous blockade as a favor – allowing them to gain a monopoly of war-time trade with Caile. Furious, Pieter barely restrained himself from killing the mage then and there in order to bring him back to Calleway. With just a quick stop to find and befriend a baby phoenix, the former pet of the now-dead hill giant, the party returned to the ship and sailed back to Caile.
After an interrogation session with Thelonius, Calleway became convinced of the heroes’ account of things. He requested their representation of him as Heroes of Caile before the Council of Lords in Syvax… With his most irritating aide to serve as the (hopefully) silent symbol of Caile. The heroes accepted and with only a slight delay as both Hurt and Pieter purchased the same illusion as Winslow to improve their sexual appeal (and hide Pieter’s new devilish horns) sped across the sea in their exceptional ship, learning along the way through conferring with Pieter’s blade Demonsbane that their potent scrying mirror housed the spirit of a sleeping Couatl. Though Brandis was intrigued by the possibilities, he decided to let the matter rest for now.
The High Council was not welcoming and dePuee proved absolutely unmanageable. After causing several incidents in the Chamber of Lords – he became drunk at the behest of the warlock Hurt and eventually passed out in a ditch. The absence of dePuee was not enough to guarantee success though – and the High Council did not find sufficient evidence to impose sanctions on Galifar. The judgment was postponed for the duration of a week at the behest of High Lord Tevinter, who suggested the heroes search for more evidence with the greatest of haste.
They visited an information broker by the name of Estra. A succubus of immense skill and knowledge in her chosen crafts, she proved to be worthy of the title of Syvax’s finest information broker. In return for the evidence to Galifar’s treachery, she asked only for an informal alliance with the warlord Pieter and a single blanket favor that would not impact his soul and not request he specifically murder anyone he did not wish to. He agreed and the pact was sealed by the forces of the universe. She named her favor and his eyes went wide… That he must take an infernal consort who would appear in his bed in the coming days and protect her with his life.
Unable to find a way out of the deal, Pieter returned to the High Council and presented them with the evidence to prove Galifar’s treachery. After prolonged study, the High Lord of Galifar was clapped in chains. Pieter was also promised the return of his land given time and the immediate return of the Ravenwold Mansion in Syvax. However, these triumphs were bittersweet – as the thoughts of his bargain weighed heavily on the young warlord’s mind. His trials were just beginning.
But those were worries for another day, and the party retired to the mansion to celebrate their triumphs – with nonalcoholic beverages of course.
Flock of Crows [Perfect Clear]
After an evening of celebration, with only Pieter in subdued spirits as he furiously tried to figure out a way around his end of the succubus’ bargain, Chimera received an invitation to a banquet thrown by a baron of Caile. They accepted and soon met a man at the giant party full of hundreds of guest – a dashing and irritatingly friendly man named Drevan. After learning that Drevan had been hired to guard the Ambassador dePuee, the assembled members of Chimera let out a long groan. However, things soon took a turn for the worse when a huge hill giant barreled through the chamber doors and left a contingent of guards in the room before taking off. The assembled heroes, including the enthusiastic Drevan, shredded the enemies like wheat (including the reinforcements that were desperately called in) in under a minute.
The party then learned that the lord of the manor, their host the Baron of a province in Caile, had been abducted. Going to the grounds with one of the dancers from the party in tow who knew the way – the heroes met the hill giant guarding the bridge. Noting the giant didn’t seem to be going out of his way to kill anyone (with the thankful exception of dePuee who charged him alone at the encouraged prompting of Pieter) the party decided to engage him in conversation. After questioning his motivations – the heroes were able to convince the giant to call in his superior and reveal the motive behind the attack. After prolonged discussion it became apparent that the group was attempting to gain vengeance for one of their members against the baron… Who turned out to not be a very nice guy. In fact, corruption and rape of women in his province on their wedding days seemed to be his favorite hobbies. The ‘dancer’ that had tagged along with them was the victim in question they were determined to avenge.
After prolonged discussion, the party decided to contact King Calleway, gaining permission to investigate under the full authority of Caile. They interrogated the baron using the Warlock’s skill at magical interrogation, forcing him to admit his crimes and give them copious details about where to locate sufficient evidence to convict him for them. After tangling with a half-dragon in the grounds, the heroes were able to convict the baron and let the wronged woman Beatrice carry out the deed herself – as well as taking the baron’s vacant estate and title to rectify his wrongs in addition to gaining the title of ambassador extraordinaire to Syvax (filling the vacant dePuee’s shoes as well).
However, while en route the wizard Brandis had intentionally awoken the spirit of the sleeping couatl in their scrying mirror. When he did its eyes glowed from green to silver and its spirit fulsed out of the mirror, plunging through Brandis’ mouth before a presence filled him from within… A shining silver tatto-like mark of a couatl spiraling the wizard’s arm. After some discussion, Brandis learned that the couatl was a noble presence within him – a former exarch of He With No Name who had loved the Raven Queen when she was a mortal woman. This became awkward considering that Marc’s patron goddess was the Raven Queen – leading to a frosty kiss from the goddess herself being planted on Brandis’ cheek. Furthermore, the former conman wizard realized he was now incapable of lying… And Marc recieved a request from the Raven Queen to locate a time traveling talisman to perform a service for her in the past. However, these were worries for another time and the group retired in the interim of Caile to rest and let Brandis come to terms with the new presence dwelling inside him… One that was already whispering secrets of power into his ear.
It’s About Time
The heroes gathered their gold and set out to Aurixan in search of an amulet of time travel in order to fulfill the Raven Queen’s favor and perhaps extract Pieter from his infernal contract… The product of which arrived the night before docking in Aurixan within his bedchamber. A tiefling-seeming woman curled in his bed introduced herself as Tyranny, his infernal consort. After a night of sultry passion and a following morning of careful instructions of who she was not allowed to bed – the group took to shore in Aurixan.
Some brief browsing at a shop entitled, “Everything You Need Magic is Awesome and Here” and the near-murder of its patron – the heroes decided to set about the acquisition of a Dragon’s Pass: a gold plate in the shape of a dragon that would allow the party permission to maintain an audience with Aurix himself. Upon doing so via the slaughter of the Silverferns stationed in Aurixan, the heroes met with the dragon and learned of two such amulets that might fulfill their demand. The first had been traded from Aurix’s own hoard fifty-six hours prior by Torrin Silverfern. The second was in the tomb of a gnomish archmage from the feywild who had reportedly inherited the vast wealth of his family.
The heroes decided to go after the Silverferns, meaning to murder as many of them as possible along the way. This hunger for vengeance only became more pronounced as they returned to the docks and realized that their ship was no longer there. Thankfully, a quick-thinking Tyranny had managed to save the body of Captain Winslow and it was possible for him to be resurrected. A further communication with the Silverferns via the mirror once belonging to Winslow showed Torrin laughing and arrogant – gloating in the party’s misfortunes.
The heroes wasted no time in spending much of their treasure trove of gold on a series of teleportation spells to transport Winslow to the court of King Calleway and the rest of them to the isle holding Silverfern Manor – which Brandis had seen before. The teleportation spell went through and the people were whisked away, leaving Tyranny outside while they entered the manor. However, no sooner had they been trapped inside than they began to realize something was wrong… This manor had been constructed as bait to draw teleportation spells like theirs – nothing more or less than a deathtrap.
After tangling with the hit and run tactics of a wizard along with his devilish enchantments and allies, the heroes finally chased him out of the dungeon and activated the wizard’s own teleportation gate to follow him back to the true Silverfern Manor. Once there they wasted no time tearing through each and every Silverfern in sight – even slaying the patriarch and head of of the Silverfern family himself – Harkin.
But the victory was short-lived. No sooner did Harkin fall than did the panicked wizard begin to reach for an amulet around his neck. The heroes realized what was happening and did their best to slay him before he could activate its magic… But it was not enough. The red-robed wizard’s fingers clasped around the amulet’s cold metal and the world around them seemed to warp.
The wizard had altered the past.
When the world seemed normal again, the heroes realized that they were on the island of the fake mansion once more with no teleportation circle to the true manor in sight and no wizard there with them. Upon exiting the fake mansion, they found another sight… The once-proud Waverider a smoldering ruined, burned by wizard’s fire.
They had lost their ship, their savings, their enemies were alive once more and they were stranded on a fake island constructed to be a Silverfern death trap. While they were not slain, their venture into the jaws of a waiting lion had not left them unscathed. With a hatred for their enemies smoldering more strongly than ever, the heroes set their minds on the one thing that could rectify their situation… The second amulet of time travel in the tomb of the gnomish mage.
Journey to Space-Whale Island [Epic Clear]
Bitter and broken from their defeat, the heroes rested on the island as their ship burned throughout the night. When morning came, one of them had gone missing – the Warlock was not there. Unable to locate him, the heroes began to devise a scheme to get themselves off the island. After determining that their current location placed them somewhere in the Dragon Sea – the wizard Brandis consulted with Azrael to begin casting a flight ritual, one that required a great deal of blood or arcane essence to function. Unwilling to spill such a drastic amount of their blood, the heroes began gathering the essence from the enchanted decoy manor in order to power the spell.
However, before they could complete the casting a great many-colored dragon streaked through the sky – Marc, Brandis and Tyranny hiding themselves while Pieter stood to face it head on. The dragon informed them that it had come for the amulet, and the heroes suddenly realized that they were in dire straights indeed. Not only had they inadvertently caused the amulet’s destruction, but they were now to be held responsible for its delivery by an incredibly powerful dragon.]
With some coaching from Azrael, the heroes were able to calm the beast and offer their own aid in finding another amulet – the location of which they already knew. In exchange for this, the dragon teleported them to the city of Sargasso, where the heroes consulted one of the theoretically brilliant but practically challenged diviners there – an Eladrin woman named Lorelei. Gaining the location of the gnomish archmage’s flying island – the pair used Azrael’s flight ritual to soar off in pursuit.
Upon reaching it, they learned just why Lorelei had possessed so much difficulty explaining what they might face there. The island was absolutely insane. First, it was in the shape of a giant whale flying through the sky – which caused the adventurers to name it, “Space Whale Island”. Second, the oddly constructed tower was filled with a ridiculous dungeon set up by the long-dead gnomish archmage… Filled with dance battles, flying books and exploding pink flamingos. After making their way through the dungeon with the use of a Rod of Wonder (which resulted in the summoning and subsequent mutilation of an archfae of winter) the party ran across a beholder wearing a birthday hat. After entertaining it with a dance-off and worsting it in a pun-contest, the party suggested they all play, “Pin the Eye-Ray on the Illusory Donkey”. The beholder agreed to this and fired one of its eye-stalks of wonder at Brandis’ conjured illusion – summoning a massive acid elemental that desperately wanted a hug. The Paladin Marc leaped into action here, shouting, “Hug the Birthday Beholder!” His earnestness convinced the acid elemental and the beholder and conjured creature subsequently destroyed each-other – the beholder’s final eye-ray burying them both under a massive pile of fish.
With the path clear to the gnome’s treasure hoard even Pieter being crushed underneath an elephant was hardly enough to dampen their spirits. The fact that Pieter had become immaterial at one point in the dungeon, releasing the demon within his sword in the process, was more unsettling – but as it certainly wasn’t manifesting and trying to kill them they were able to put the beast out of their minds for the time being and focus on their well-won treasure… Including an immensely powerful time travel amulet, exactly what they had been seeking.
Déjà Vu [Perfect Clear]
A black raven appeared before the party, informing them that the Raven Queen was prepared to call in her favor – requesting that they sail into the Demonmaw, a great vortex within the dragon sea that drags all within its pull to their doom. Feeling they should certainly have their prize ship to brave such waters, the heroes decided to activate their time travel amulet after an intense planning session. During their journey back through time they were able to amend the contract offered by Estra to take Pieter’s soul off the line if he did fail to protect Tyranny despite his very best efforts and prevent the Sivlerferns from ever stealing their ship… By stealing it from their past dopplegangers themselves. They executed their plan perfectly and with the Waverider in their grasp they sailed through the Dragon Sea – still in the past and conveniently before they had earned the ire of the many-colored dragon by using the amulet they promised to procure for her and her Sorcerer King master.
Once within the vortex of the Demonmaw, the party found themselves spun down into the depths of the earth – appearing in a vast expanse that they were told was called, “The Nexus”… The core of the world where the Primevals, the first races, dwelled before being driven to extinction by the death of their creator – He Who Was. However, the heroes had other issues to consider than the fate of a long-dead race… Namely the fact that a giant demon was materializing in front of them. Ostregoth had remained with the party, hidden, waiting for them to take it to The Nexus. After a brief but furious battle, Ostregoth left the party baffled – their minds having swapped places in each others’ bodies.
The Raven Queen, able only to project the image of her presence into the Nexus as the place was barred to the greater beings of the divine realms, instructed the heroes to thwart Ostregoth’s plans to possess the body of the dead god Merranzan – the resurrection of which the heroes had prevented in their very first adventure together. Merranzan’s identity was revealed to be Nurell, the former god of death before the Raven Queen usurped his throne and slew him in battle. With only a short stop to obtain the aid of the crystal dragon guarding Merranzan’s tomb – the heroes charged in and with the Raven Queen’s blessings slew Ostregoth and shattered Merranzan’s corpse for all eternity… Though the explosion of energy nearly overpowered the heroes – threatening to destroy half the world. But Marc’s faith held back the wave of energy and the world remained safe.
As the time travel spell wore off, the heroes found themselves returned to the surface – standing on the docks of Sargasso with Pieter’s sword Demonsbane once more intact and their ship rising before them… Only now it was pure black, with a raven figurine on the front and a new name etched where Waverider had once been.
The Constellation of Madness
After noticing an unfamiliar star in the sky, the heroes set off to locate their lost warlock companion. Recruiting several surprisingly capable battle mages from the ranks of the mages of Sargasso, including a new favorite of theirs named Joaquin Kristo, the heroes set out to Turenevad – where the got the idea that Hurt might be lurking. However, they were not entirely sure of his location, being unable to get a distinct image of him for some reason.
As they sailed in their ship, now faster than ever due to the blessings of the Raven Queen, they noticed two more stars rising into the sky. However, they were unable to make much of it – with only the hints of old seaman’s tales provided by Tyranny and Captain Winslow that such a sight could foretell the ‘twisting of the oceans’.
Landing in Turenevad, the heroes soon realized that something utterly strange was at hand. Generous Silverferns populated the land, and their friend Hurt was now known as the Dark Lord of Turenevad – which he had apparently spent the last several months conquering… Something that seemed impossible given that he had been with them during that time. A call to Calleway showed that the Paladin King had changed as well – now wearing a vicious scar through one eye and serving as a Blackguard of Tiamat… Recent conqueror of Galifar.
Something strange was certainly afoot, and after working out several theories the heroes contacted Hurt – rather surprised by his sudden thick accent – and secured his agreement to aid them in their endeavors. Learning from his adviser, the familiar dePuee, that the source of the new stars likely originated from Athas the heroes set out there to learn what they might.
Homing in on the general source of the celestial summoning, the assorted members of Chimera raced in to Lord Tenseian’s province – Hurt’s father and a mighty Sorcerer King. After following the lead to speak to a hermit in the desert, former master of lore in the court of Lord Tenseian, the heroes learned that the ever-growing constellation represented the thirteen spirits of great dragon archmages to come before near the dawn at the world… Whose summoning would conjure a constellation with the power to warp reality. The heroes deduced that with the time amulets gone – Lord Tensian could be turning to a more desperate avenue in order to undo the barrier trapping him within the confines of Athas, one that even he could barely control. The warping of reality affected even the gods themselves, as the Raven Queen no longer had any memory of Chimera’s descent into the Nexus – perhaps the one place in existence that could protect one from the constellation’s affects. This then might have been her true reason for requesting they sail to the Demonmaw – to ensure one group of heroes, allied with her, would be able to recognize the changes occurring and work to reverse them.
However, it is not easy to unspin a constellation. Unwilling to confront Lord Tensian directly, the heroes realized that only a truly great power could work to reverse the changes wrought by the Constellation of Madness. They sought any way they could find to summon He Who Was – and a consultation with Azrael determined that he in fact knew the name of the deity… A name that merely being spoken aloud would resurrect the greatest of all divine powers. However, while the demons were unable to erase the name from Azrael’s memory, he was bound from communicating it. Still, all was not lost. Azrael informed them of He Who Was’ greatest temple – where his name was etched in impermeable stone, stone he doubted even the Greater Demons and Devils would be able to wipe clean. However, while they might not have been able to wipe away the name from the stone within the temple, the hellish entities had stolen the temple instead… Hiding it somewhere in the realms beyond.
To learn the location of the temple, the heroes decided to confront one of those that had committed the act – Ostregoth. Venturing into the sword Demonsbane itslef, the heroes confronted him in his prison. However, within his own Mindscape the demon proved stronger than ever – nearly slaying them the instant he confronted them and leading them through a chase in the halls of its deadly labyrinth. Brandis’ Rod of Wonder put many of these traps to shame, even summoning a cow that charged through one of the demon’s traps and barreled into Ostregoth himself.
And thus the battle was joined in earnest.
Deus Ex Machina [Perfect Clear]
After a fierce battle with Ostregoth where the heroes came within an inch of death they finally managed to subdue the might demon. Forcing him with the Warlock’s power to answer three questions truthfully, they wrung from him both the location of the great temple of He Who Was – the final place in reality his name was still written. It was in a space between planes, between spaces, a nether-region of existence where few travel willingly. With their final questions the wrung the name of a treasure of great power that could aid them in their quest to resurrect the god – a blessed chalice that was kept in a cave beneath the frozen wastes.
Setting off to the destination the heroes, at the suggestion of Pieter, protected themselves from the cold, the current and predators – shedding their armor into their briefcase of holding and diving under the waves in search of the cavern under the ice. However, no sooner had the Paladin Marc crept ahead than he realized the hoard was guarded by a very familiar Dracolich. Urshula was there. However, in this altered reality the heroes knew that Urshula would have no quarrel with them – and Marc moved ahead to offer Pieter’s unique “Dancing Blade” (the treasure he retrieved from Space-Whale Island in his dance-battle for passage with the mezzodemon) to the dracolich as barter in an attempt to gain an excuse to get close enough to the chalice to grab it. Once in range he activated his armor’s phasing properties and made a mad dash for the chalice through the dracolich, running for the entrance. The dracolich roared and chased after the heroes and the wizard Brandis in desperation fired his rod of wonder at the mighty undead beast.
The ray lanced out…
And the dracolich turned to a golden fluid.
The yellow liquid splashed out – turning all it touched to gold. Marc, Pieter and Brandis were able to escape the flow but the warlock was turned into a golden statue. However, their alarm soon faded as they realized that they had a briefcase of holding with them and an entire dracolich’s temporarily unguarded hoard before them.
It was looting time.
After finding a host of incredible artifacts the remaining heroes returned to their ship, carrying the golden statue of their comrade in the briefcase of holding along with the rest of their loot. They managed to put him back to rights on their ship Shadow’s Wake and each drank from the chalice they’d sought – gaining astounding new abilities. They used their new-found arsenal of ancient magic to find the temple of He Who Was within a tremendous cloud of acid. A magical wind-controlling fan from within the dracolich’s lair allowed them to blow the acid away and a ritual from Brandis allowed them t find an entrance letting them bypass nearly all the elaborate traps and guardians set to protect the temple from any who would dare enter it without the god’s express blessing.
At last the heroes did battle with a Godslayer before the tablet where He Who Was’ name was written. In the heat of battle Brandis was able to teleport past the beast and read the words set down in the marble with the help of Azrael.
He spoke the name…
And the light lifted.
A simple, seemingly middle-aged man in brown robes stood before the Godslayer and caught the creature’s downward-swinging blade in his bare hand. Then he shattered the sword with a flick of his fingers and banished the Godslayer from his sight.
The ancient god thanked the heroes for their aid in resurrecting him and offered to grant them blessings. The first of which proved to be the dismantling of the Constellation of Madness and the destruction of the Sorcerer Kings. The second was to return reality to the way it had been before the Constellation had wrought its work. The third was unrequested by the heroes but would be discovered by them when they returned to their ship.
It was no longer pure black. Now pure white marble gleamed on its edges and glowing white text shone on its black hull, the name once more having changed.
And so did one adventure end. But, as we all know, the ending of one adventure is but another’s beginning.