Ax's Friday Night 4E Campaign

Final Battle with Urishtar

After resting the party starts crossing the bridge to attack the Nightwyrm Fortress proper. They are met on the bridge by Urishtar herself who seems more interested in finding out who the adventurers are. A brief and violent battle erupts with Urishtar barely escaping back to the top of the spire.
The party then enters the tower, battling the alerted forces of the shadow dragon. Though the defenders throw themselves in waves at the party, our adventurers are victorious. They then begin the climb to the spire of the tower.
During their climb, they enter a supernatural chamber where the Spire itself seems to speak to them:
“Welcome mortals. You have done well to journey so far into my current inhabitant’s realm. Perhaps you mean to lay claim to me? I hold no allegiance but to the one who built me. However, I do have my standards. You must be deemed worthy to walk my halls and with power granted by my creator, I will determine that worth!”
The adventurers are then submitted to a test of combat and wits…and they succeed. The tower seems satisfied, letting them pass. There seems to be a hint of excitement in the voice that speaks to them, almost like it is anticipating the upcoming battle.
The adventurers then climb to the very spire of the fortress where they meet Urishtar and swarms of draconic soulreavers. There is a swirling black vortex at the top of the Spire that seems to feed the dragon’s power. Occasionally soulreavers would fly by dropping stolen souls into the vortex which would heal the mighty dragon.
After an epic fight, the dragon finally succumbs to the party. When the dragon dies, the power containing the vortex weakens. The vortex explodes in a burst of necrotic energy. When the dust settles a dark figure stands where the vortex was; a black-robed skeleton, with a rust-red body and green, ropy hair carrying a scythe. He laughs at the party and flies off into the Shadowfell with incredible speed.
With the ominous laughter still ringing in their ears, the weary party travels back out of the fortress to return to Vaester.

Assault on the Nightwyrm Fortress

The Nightwyrm Fortress
The party travels once again to Sartine’s Tomb to take a portal from there to the Nightwyrm Fortress. They are met there by the avatar of Sartine who opens the portal for them. She also pledges that the Raven Queens forces would attack Urishtar’s territory in order to create a distraction.
In order to win their way into the Fortress proper, the party must go through Magrathar’s Teeth, a huge wall/maze that surrounds the fortress. It is here that they do battle with the mercenaries that Urishtar has brought under his rule: a renegade nightwalker called “Porapherah”, an ice archon called “Vorst”, an azer mercenary called “Dedanum”, and a rather vicious slaad called “Zry”. This menagerie of thieves is led by Urishtar’s general, a larva mage named “Magrathar”.
The party battles its way through the complex, first defeating the undead commanded by the nightwalker Porapherah and take his soul ring. They then journey to an icy part of the Teeth ruled by the ice archon Vorst. While battling their way through Vorst’s area, they free a captured fire archon who swears vegenance against the ice archon king. The fire archon gains some allies for the party by sneaking them through less traveled passages of Magrathar’s Teeth into Dedanum’s realm. A squad of fire archons and fire demons helps the party assault Vorst’s throne room. After the ice archon king is defeated, the fire archons immediately turn on the party, but our adventurers dispatch the betrayers with a vengence.
With Dedanum’s numbers now thinned, the party brings the fight to the fire archon leader’s area. It turns out that there is another source of devastation to Dedanum’s forces as minions of the Raven Queen are also raiding Dedanum’s territory. The party swiftly gains entrance to Dedanum’s throne room and slays him, gaining their third soul ring.
While searching Dedanum’s lair, the party has an odd encounter with two ghostly scholars who are locked in a library doing research for Urishtar. They are argumentative brothers named Jakrob and Willum Vrin who were abducted and trapped in this room to research a way to penetrate the Raven Queen’s defenses. The party frees the ghosts who are greatly appreciative. If the party ever needs their services, they can be found in the Great Library of Nefelus.
Finally, the party gains access to the bridges leading to the Nightwyrm Fortress by defeating the forces of the black slaad Zry. Unfortunatley, Larae succumbs to the slaadi attack, but luckily the party fights off the Draconic Soulreaver coming to take her soul to Urishtar and she is restored to life.
After defeating Zry, the last of the soulrings is recovered. At this point Magrathar launches a surprise attack on the battlements, portalling in with a cadre of minotaurs and soul reavers. After a tough fight the larva mage is defeated and the party gains his soul ring. The party uses Magrathar’s soul ring to attune the other four allowing them to gain entrance to the Keep. They retreat into Magrathar’s Teeth to gain strength for their final assault against Urishtar.

The Tomb of Sartine

The heroes travel southwest to Vaester and witness a final attempt at raising Amyria. During the Raise Dead ritual malevolent wind rises within the stone crypt, and a dark mist swirls wildly. “This one is mine!” screams an otherworldly voice as the dark mist erupts from the open mausoleum and knocks back the priest and scatters the crowd. For just a moment, the mist seems to take the shape of a dragon, and then it disappears as quickly as it arrived.
The adventurers help console Duke Ironspell, Amryia’s father, who is obviously grief-stricken. Worse than the failure of the ritual, it seems that Amyria’s soul has been trapped and will not have a chance at reincarnation.
The adventurers talk with Amyria’s friend Moyshanna, a priestess of The Raven Queen. She has been relentlessly researching the creature that she believes is interfering with the natural order of life and death. Unfortunately, this “creature’s” interference is also disrupting her connection to the Raven Queen and thus her investigation. She believes that with the aid of a powerful artifact, she can contact her mistress, and she knows just where to obtain one. Moyshanna asks that the party recover The Skull of Sartine in a cavern complex called the Gloomdeeps nearby. She is still wounded from the battle at Sayre or she would go herself.
Moyshanna explains:
“The Gloomdeeps caverns are shadowy and supernaturally dim, even in lamplight, because they connect to the Shadowfell. In the Gloomdeeps, lies the entrance to the Tomb of Sartine. I know because I’ve been there. I can direct you to an entrance to the Gloomdeeps that bypasses the upper tunnels and connects directly to the caverns that hold the tomb. The entrance lies only about five miles from here.”
“Sartine was a master of shadow and illusion magic. Legend speaks of her passage into service to the Raven Queen when she died, becoming one of the mighty sorrowsworn. Before her death, however, she built a tomb—a place that exists simultaneously in the natural world and the world of shadow—to house her mortal remains. Sartine left her greatest treasure in her tomb: her own skull, which holds knowledge and power accessible to those loyal to the god of death and fate. It is with this artifact that I hope to find the source of this affront to the Raven Queen and restore the natural order of things.”
The party agrees and heads to the Gloomdeeps. As Moyshanna said, the entrance they take bypasses much of the cavern complex and after defeating the aberrations that populate the caverns, came upon the tomb. The Tomb was filled with traps, undead and demonic guardians but they finally won through to the central chamber. After solving the riddle of Sartine’s murderer, they gained access to the Skull.
After they return the Skull to Moyshanna, she is able to use the Skull to summon the avatar of Sartine. They learn the following things:

  • An upstart shadow dragon called Urishtar is responsible for the recent problems with the Dead.
  • The dragon operates in the ancient Nightwyrm Fortress.
  • The dragon has gathered a collection of brigands to help protect the Fortress: a renegade nightwalker called “Porapherah”, an ice archon called “Vorst”, an azer mercenary called “Dedanum”, and a rather vicious slaad called “Zry”. This menagerie of thieves is led by an admittedly cunning larva mage named “Magrathar”.
  • The dragon has somehow stumbled upon a way to intercept departed souls and devour them for all time. This has been a vexing development for the Raven Queen.
  • Magrathar has been scouting the border of the Raven Queen’s realm. The larva mage has been able to elude us so far, but we have captured several of his scouts.
  • Information gained from these intruders has told us that Magrathar commands the dragon’s “generals” and has them bound by “soul rings”.
  • Apparently, you can only gain entry to the Nightwyrm Fortress with the use of these “soul rings”.
  • Because of Sartine’s Tomb’ proximity to the Shadowfell, a portal can be opened there that leads directly outside the Nightwyrm Fortress.
  • If the party is willing to help the Raven Queen’s cause, they will have her undying gratitude.
  • As a token of her sincerity, Sartine offers the party a Shadowfell Blade
    After a quick rest, the party heads to Sartine’s Tomb so that they may travel to the Shadowfell…
Back in Sayre

The party is met by Dergen Stormhammer and Lord Torrance’s personal secretary. There is a mixture of relief and anger when the party arrives. What has happened?

  1. No one knew where the party went off to. Caliandra, while respected, likes to operate independently and apparently told no one of the party’s mission.
  2. 5 days ago, Sayre was besieged by a large host of demons and undead. The city was taken completely by surprise, and it looked as if the city would fall. Amid the confusion, Amyria was able to rally the city’s garrison and Coalition forces in the area and mount an effective defense. Amyria herself led the climactic charge that broke the demon horde and saved the city… sadly, she fell in battle.
  3. More disturbing… attempts to use Raise Dead rituals have failed on Amyria and other fallen heroes.
  4. The Coalition leaders, spooked by the attack and the sudden “permanency” of death have fled back to their homelands.
  5. Lord Divian Torrance has sequestered himself in a hidden location until the dust settles, leaving Dergen and the Secretary to run things.
  6. As for Amyria, her body has been taken to her father’s estate in the town of Vaester. Vaester is a day ride to the southwest of Sayre.

Dergen pleads with the party to investigate the ritual failures and suggests starting with Amyria.

Destruction of the Spiral Gate

After returning from Nefelus, Caliandra pulls the party aside and makes an impassioned personal plea.

“I am aware of a portal network that would spell doom for my people, Fairhaven, and the Elsir Vale. This “Coalition” doesn’t believe in its existence, but agents of evil in my lands seek it. Ancient scrolls speak of the Spiral Gateway; a network of portals created by ancient wizards seeking to encourage trade between all the nations of Tellyr. Knowledge of these ancient gateways was lost during the Age of Chains, when giants and orcs roamed The Blasted Lands enslaving the people of western Tellyr. If the sinister forces of Lankhmar and Erona find and reactivate these magical pathways, they could transport an army anywhere, at anytime in Tellyr. Time is short, as my agents tell me that the enemy has uncovered several of the nexus points that could be used to reactivate the portal network. Come to the Blighted Lands and help us secure or destroy this network. We can leave via a portal that our Wise Ones created to allow travel between my lands and Sayre."

Though the Coalition hasn’t agreed to it, the party enters the portal bound for The Blasted Lands:

Using the ancient scrolls Caliandra spoke of and guided by scouts of the Stagrunners and Sand King tribes, the heroes find agents of Lankhmar at each gateway nexus. Fighting alongside warriors of the Stagrunner tribe, the party is able to defeat the enemy forces and destroy the portal network.

Over the subsequent weeks, our heroes help the local tribes hunt down the remaining spies from Lankhmar. During this time the party becomes acquainted with a very competent warrior named Barpholomew. Barph is not from the Blasted Lands, but he has been helping the Stagrunners hunt down the orcs massing in the Barrier Peaks. When party prepares to go back to Sayre, Barph offers to join the party and they readily accept.

Caliandra is grateful and designates the party as “Daenar Solarae”, or “those that run with the dawn”. Daenar Solarea are legendary warriors prophesied to bring light to a dark world. She performs a ritual officially marking the party with that designation before they leave for Sayre. Thus marked, the party can find aid or share water with any tribe within the Blasted Lands.

Alliance at Nefelus

Chillreaver Attacks

So it was agreed that Amyria Ironspell and the heroes would go to Nefelus and attempt to break the unnatural environmental blockade threatening the island. Hopefully breaking the blockade would also bring Nefelus’ considerable arcane skill into the Coalition.

Traveling to the island on Brindol’s Pride, a ship equipped with a magical ice-breaking ram, the party managed to break through the ice formations and frost giant soldiers surrounding the island. After arriving and meeting with Amyria’s contact Bejam, the island’s plight was worse than expected. Nefelus had about a day before their ritualists could no longer sustain the magic holding back the freezing weather. If the ritual gave way, the island’s climate would be forever altered, killing many creatures and permanently altering their way of life.

Through the Thraxinium’s research, the heart of the problem seemed to bear the mark of an artifact known as the Seed of Winter. When properly harnessed by a creature attuned to it, the artifact can cause drastic localized climate changes and can even alter creatures that come in contact with it or are near it. It appeared that the emanations came from an iceberg that had risen from the sea at the start of the crisis.

Our heroes agreed to investigate the iceberg, travelling there using Apparatus of Kwalish provided by Bejam. The party managed to navigate the icy waters, avoiding squadrons of sahuagin that patrolled the waters beneath the massive iceberg.

The party gained entrance to the iceberg through a submerged cave in the bottom. The iceberg was an amazing floating fortress with three levels of defensible positions. The party quickly fought their way through the complex, defeating arctic sahuagins, frost giants and other foul spawn of the frozen wastes.

Soon they came upon the source of the problem: a two headed white dragon named Chillreaver controlled the power of the Seed of Winter. The party managed to ambush the beast as it concentrated on the Seed of Winter and a fierce skirmish resulted. Despite Roland being dominated by the Seed of Winter and raining arrows on his own allies, the party was eventually victorious by cornering Chillreaver and negating her superior vertical mobility.

Chillreaver’s control over the Seed of Winter broken, her icy home started to crumble apart. The party hastily scooped up the artifact and the dragon’s horde and escaped through a tunnel in the top of the iceberg. The group used a skiff that had grounded on the ice to return to Nefelus. By the time they arrived at the harbor, the weather was noticeably warmer and the ice surrounding the island was breaking up.

With victory against Chillreaver, the group gained a Coalition ally in Nefelus who appointed Bejam to be a representative in Sayre. When leaving Amyria receives a sending from Fariex telling her that trouble is erupting all over Tellyr and the Coalition is deadlocked in debate deciding what to do.

Our heroes needed to return quickly…

Meet the Coalition

The Coalition

A coalition of the eastern nations of Tellyr have formed in response to the aggression of Lankhmar, Erona and Athas. Merith pleads with the party to take part in the meeting and introduces the party to Amyria Ironspell, a paladin of Bahamut who is adamant about opposing Western aggression. Amyria champions our heroes in the first meeting of The Coalition.
Major points of the first meeting:

  • The island nation of Nefelus is threatened by a supernatural threat. A ring of ice is forming around the tropical island and the temperature of the island has been deceasing, threatening a way of life that spans a millenia. Amryia has been in contact with her friend Bejam and makes an impassioned plea on befalf of the island nation. Nefelus would make a powerful ally to the Coalition and with a favor owed…the council asks our party of heroes to investigate.
  • The First Chancellor of Erona has used the threat of Azan-zog’s attacks to solidify power and to return the nation to it’s more aggressive nature. They have massed troops on the Northeastern border facing Fairhaven, and have launched a military campaign against Saldaea and Tyrinthol with the aid of Lankhmar and Athas.
  • (Reported by Caliandra) Orcs, giants and fouler creatures have been massing in the Barrier Peaks. Caliandra moves for decisive action along that front, but the rest of the Coalition doesn’t see that there’s resources to devote to the problem.
  • (Reported by Caliandra) Suspicious Shadar-kai (obviously outlanders) have been poking around the Sand Kings’ tribal territory in the Blasted Lands. They seem intent on ancient ruins and archeological finds in the area.
  • (Reported by Dergen Stormhammer) An army of orcs and giants has made a coordinated attack against the passes of Stonehome Mountains. For the first time in its existence, Overlook was besieged. The siege has been lifted thanks to the elvish and human settlements in Fairhaven.
  • (Reported by Inogo Dravitch): The Canaughlin Bog has expanded alarmingly, disrupting trade between Cairhein, Altara and Sherrbyr. Traditional trade routes have become too perilous.
    This supernatural bog originally sprung up centuries ago and was merely an annoyance to be avoided. Like a parasite, it has steadily engulfed thousands of acres of land. The hag that has menaced the bog has attracted a growing cult which has seemed to increase its growth with each follower. Inigo suspects an invasion upon the land by the forces of Chaos.
  • The nation of Lormyr declined invitation to the Coalition. They are reeling from the loss of both Ashenport and Wellspring. While they acknowledge that these events were not the fault of our heroes, they will forceably remove any party member caught within their borders.
  • Lankhmar has shut its borders and refuses trade from foreign countries.

Conclusion: It is decided that our heroes will sail for Nefelus to both relieve the supernatural siege of the island and seek an ally.

The Maze of Shattered Souls

Maze of Shattered Souls

The Demon Wastes of the Shadowfell: a blasted land cursed for countless ages by the taint of ancient evil. A land of ash and rock, harsh and unforgiving, and its few mortal residents are equally harsh. The Ghaash’kala are charged by gods and primordials alike to guard the Labyrinthine center of the Wastes, preventing anyone from entering or leaving the Maze lest the taint of evil spread to the world beyond …

The party starts out on their quest to investigate the Maze of Shattered Souls. Even with the speed of their phantom steeds, it takes the party several days to cross the Demon Wastes and arrive at the only town known to exist this far in the wasteland: Festering Holt. While in the town, they gather information about Abernathy’s agents who had entered the Labyrinth and how best to survive those broken canyons. Their inquiries attract the attention of servants of Abernathy who unsuccessfully ambush the party.

The group then makes for the labyrinth. The labyrinth is a perilous network of canyons and caverns where volcanic eruptions, avalanches, earthquakes and mudslides happen with great frequency. Despite these dangers, the party successfully navigates to the center while avoiding the Ghaash’kala tribe who protect the Maze.

The Maze of Shattered Souls itself is an ancient structure in the center of the labyrinth. While entering, the group is ambushed by rakshasa’s that can only be members of Abernathy’s team. The rakshasas underestimate the ability of the heroes and are swiftly dealt with.

Entering the maze, the group deals with the temple’s own defenses and some “surprises” left for them by Abernathy’s team. After some tough fighting, they make it to the central chamber called the “Well of Souls”. It speaks to the ingenuity of Abernathy’s agent; a rakshasa sorcerer called Zathasram; that he was able to smuggle a Goristro demon into the heart of the Well. The gods and primordials themselves had forbidden such an action.

The resulting battle is fierce with the Goristro tearing into the party and Zathasram channeling the power of the Well to send endless waves of trapped souls to attack. Eventually, the trickery of Marketu enables Gorlock to get adjacent to Zathasram and the Goristro was felled by the spellcraft of Larae and the deadly arrows of Roland…the battle ends soon after.

Using their knowledge of the arcane arts, Larae and Marketu are able to find and retrieve the trapped soul of Raven. They take their leave and start back out of the labyrinth. Unfortunately, they run into a war band of the noble Ghaash’kala, protectors of the Maze. Despite doing their best to avoid combat, the party is forced to incapcitate the Ghaash’kala in order to leave the labyrinth. After a quick stop in Festering Holt for supplies, the party travels hard back to Regnum Inferi.

While resting from their journey, Merith puts the freed soul of the Raven into a new body. Since the Raven’s body was completely destroyed by Abernathy, this step is neccessary to bring him back into the mortal world.

Astron joins the Party

While preparing for their journey through the Demon Wastes to the Maze of Shattered Souls, the party is introduced to one of Merith’s generals: a spear wielding Minotaur Seeker named Astron.

Now realizing the importance of the group’s destiny, Merith offers to release Astron from his duties to help in the party’s quest. After a quick meeting it is decided to allow Astron to join.

Revenge and a meeting with Merith

With the aid of magical steeds brought forth by Marketu, the heroes quickly set out to follow the rampaging army that destroyed Wellspring. Their trail led to a Shadowfell portal in the foothills to the southwest. The party made short work of a rear guard of giants left to guard the portal and they proceeded through.

The Shadowfell end of the portal opened on a cliff face overlooking a desolate valley. The bowl of the valley was littered with the remains of the army that the heroes had been following. The decimated army’s attackers were busy destroying every living creature remaining. A group of demons, fire giants and azers from the defeated army were retreating up the cliff face to the portal which the party had just come through. The party exacted their revenge on the survivors, slaying the creatures to a man and granting no mercy.

The party parleyed with scouts from the attacking force, which was led by none other than the legendary arcanist Merith of the Flame. Both groups quickly realized that their goals were the same and together they slew the last of the primordial army, leaving them to rot on the valley floor.

Our heroes followed Merith’s force back to her citadel Regnum Inferi, the Kingdom of Hellfire.

The group obtained an audience with Merith and her generals, during which the following was discussed:

  1. Merith had been tracking the large group of giants and demons, but didn’t catch up to them before they entered the portal. Instead of following through they laid an ambush for them on their return. Merith was saddened by the news of Wellspring, but with steely resolve announced that “the chaos-spawn in the Shadowfell would suffer 100 times the death of Wellspring”! She also decided to spin an arcane web over the portal that would prevent giantkind, primordials, or demon-spawn from ever using it again.

  2. Merith had heard of the heroes from Raven. She says that she had doubted Raven’s pronouncement that the group was the “Hope of Tellyr”, but after seeing their prowess in battle, she now sees the Raven’s wisdom.

  3. Regarding the Raven, it seems that Abernathy suspected Raven’s patronage of the party and decided to deal with the Raven himself. The two wizards would historically be evenly matched, but Abernathy has grown strong. Raven has not shown himself in a month and Merith’s spies have discovered that a group of Abernathy’s henchmen traveled to the Maze of Shattered Souls. Merith has been unable to find Raven through her own considerable efforts or even asking for higher forms of help. The Maze of Shattered Souls would deny all efforts at divination and restoration of life.

  4. Through pacts made between gods and primordials as far back as the Dawn War, areas like The Maze of Shattered souls will not allow entry to individuals of significant power. The party is well placed to enter the Maze and investigate, and they agree.

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