Wrath of the Righteous

Session 4 - The Tower of Estrod
Or, Mesmerists are Fucking Amazing

Upon defeating the Vrocks Percival insisted on forcing one to die slowly and painfully, as they didn’t deserve a swift or (relatively) painless death. Although uneasy nobody outright disagreed, and during this time Magni noticed that something seemed strange about him. After activating his Detect Evil ability he realized that Percival was giving off an evil aura, prompting him to become distrustful and wary of his ally. He demanded an explanation, to which Percival replied that he’d get his answers later over a drink.

As the group made their way back to the Defender’s Heart they realized that people were cheering and that there weren’t any demons in sight. After returning they were informed that whatever they had done to the Wardstone had caused it to pulse, pushing the demons in the city back. The group was congratulated on their victory over the cultists and informed that Queen Galfrey would be arriving in a day or two. Volrik informed them that judging by the cultist’s movements from the papers they brought back it could be confirmed that the final remaining stronghold of the cultists in the city was the Tower of Estrod, a library that had recently been converted for use as a laboratory. Apparently the men he had sent out to scout the place never returned, and they had intended to send out a raiding party later on. However, with the city’s defenders rallying after the Wardstone shard’s final destruction, he was worried that sending too many men to the Tower would give the city’s remaining cultists an opening to flee. The group immediately volunteered to go back into the city to clear out the Tower.

Before leaving they all sat down for drinks and Percival recounted pieces of his past in Ustalav. He clarified that he believed himself to be under some type of curse which had started affecting him when he was in his teens – a voice in his head which attempted to convince him to take matters into his own hands, deal with his problems brutally and efficiently, and show no mercy. He said he could allow the voice a measure of control over his actions in exchange for power, but that he had control over when and how it exerted itself. He also believed that the curse was demonic in nature and that the Blackwing Library would have answers, but shortly after he arrived it was destroyed in the attack. Helping the crusaders would eventually lead him to a way to remove the curse’s power over him for good. Upon hearing that he wished to rid himself of the evil within himself Magni seemed to relax and accepted him as an ally, offering his aid in purifying him.

Upon entering the Tower they were faced with a number of strong cultists wielding crossbows, scythes, and glaives. Ranes had difficulty against their superior numbers, especially on the front lines, and the enemy proved resilient enough to shake off his holy magic time and time again. In addition they had a number of illusory tricks to throw off the group, concealing arrow positions and creating false enemies to draw the group’s attention. Nevertheless the party pressed on, getting to the bottom floor and bursting in to find a tiefling (Faxon) and his guards. The battle began anew, Ranes and Magni both taking on one of his guards as Percival and Guinevere moved into position. Faxon responded to these attacks by mentally controlling Percival, forcing him to use his spells to disable Guinevere. The fight slowed considerably after that with Percival using his spells to grant the guards positioning advantages and attempting to shut down Magni and Ranes. Both managed to hold their own though, and Magni soon defeated his enemy and came after Faxon. It took some time to pin him down, but with his attention on keeping Percival under control he didn’t last long. After that the three remaining party members took down the final guard swiftly.

With all immediate threats taken care of and most of their resources drained the group returned to the Defender’s Heart one final time to celebrate their victories. That night Ranes and Brady did it in the butt had a pleasant chat which led to her saying she wasn’t so angry about him starting a fight in her bar back in the prologue now that she knew what kind of person he was. After Magni had a chat with her she (drunkenly) revealed that she thought Ranes was cute. This is now known to be the spark that lit the powder keg that was Pre WW1 Europe Magni, who dragged her ass to bed before going on a literal warpath to find Ranes. Guinevere attempted to convince him not to murder Ranes even though he’s a huge racist towards elves and she had every reason to just let it happen. Magni eventually found Ranes at his place of worship (the bar) and had a mostly civil chat about their burgeoning relationship, to which Ranes mostly just reacted with confusion. Upon realizing that the next World War wouldn’t be coming Guinevere decided to leave the two to bond.

That night the four of them were each visited in their dreams by a mysterious entity – Magni by a hardened older dwarven smith, Ranes by a beautiful female doctor, Guinevere by an elven woman who was orbited by numerous crystals and gemstones, and Percival by a woman he walked with down the road on a starry night. By the end of the dream Magni and Guinevere realized they had been visited by Torag and Yuelral respectively, but although they had ideas Ranes and Percival couldn’t tell who their visitors were.

The following day Queen Galfrey arrived with her troops and sought out the so-called “Heroes of Kenabres”. She found them at the Defender’s Heart and gave a rousing speech for the soldiers stationed there, saying that her men would assist with the rebuilding and the removal of any remaining cultists in the city. Ranes noticed that she seemed pretty tired, and when she sat down to talk to the group he realized she greatly disliked official matters. The Queen asked everyone for a report on what happened and how they managed to push the demons out – after being told that the group destroyed a shard of the Wardstone she confirmed that the entire relay was down and that the pulsing they witnessed pushed the demons back everywhere, not just in Kenabres. She commended the group on their achievements and started getting down to business to defeat demons. You now have Make a Man Out of You stuck in your head.

Galfrey told the group that even as they spoke the demons were amassing near the southern border and that Kenabres was as far north as she could afford to go if she was to return to Nerosyan to meet them in battle. She told them of a bold plan to send an army of paladins up the Sellen river to assault the old crusade outpost Drezen while its commander Aponavicius was away. Her scouts had informed her that the citadel was held by a skeleton crew compared to its usual defenses and that the traitor Staunton Vhane was stationed there. In addition, an ancient artifact known as the Sword of Valor (a banner carried by Iomedae during her time as Aroden’s Herald) which was known to be a powerful barrier against demons was suspected of being somewhere within the citadel, and its retrieval would mark a turning point in the crusade. Upon hearing their tales of heroism and confirming the stories for herself Galfrey said she believed the group was granted immeasurable power by the Wardstones and could think of no better people to lead this army to a decisive victory.

Galfrey then explained that in order to command the army and receive medals for their achievements they would need to be Knighted. Ranes in particular objected to this, but seeing no other way forward to avenge his brother he resigned himself to it. Galfrey told them that she would be delaying any official recognition until a more appropriate time and place. She then took them to the north of the city to the paladins she had chosen as soldiers for the expedition and introduced the group to her three specialists: Sosiel Vanaec, a cleric of Shelyn with a talent for keeping up morale; Aron Kir, an experienced scout and siege expert; and Nurah, a halfling historian who knew more about Drezen than anyone. Magni recognized Sosiel and Aron as the two crusaders who defended his family in his dream and thanked them profusely to their initial confusion.

Once introductions were finished Galfrey told them they ought to leave the following day, and that if they had any other people in mind for the expedition they were free to ask them to join. Galfrey then left to go do a number of house calls. Ranes asked Lysander to come along with him to which Lysander replied “Ready, Ser!”.

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Session 3, Part 2 - Assault on the Gray Garrison

After waking up Magni met back up with Quednys, Irabeth, and Volrik to discuss strategies. Quednys informed him that the garrison was usually heavily guarded, and that a frontal assault would just cause their soldiers at outposts to fall back into defensive positions and wait out the attack. He and Volrik agreed that the best possible method of ensuring a victory was to assault their outposts across the city in force, leaving the Defender’s Heart with a skeleton crew. This would prompt the cultists to do one of two things – defend their outposts, or amass for a full-scale attack on the inn. Either way there would be less enemies remaining at the garrison, and a small team of soldiers could sneak behind enemy lines and strike a decisive blow for the crusaders. And who better to do that than Magni and the other three survivors who’d been performing so admirably thus far? Irabeth then spoke up, offering her sword and shield to the attack – she’d been waiting for an opportunity to strike back and wasn’t about to miss it.

After preparations and various roleplay scenarios that I don’t remember at this point the group set out for the Gray Garrison. Upon arrival they fought a couple demons wearing the bodies of Hulrun and a man named Kandro Nyserian (a rich noble who’d purchased Irabeth’s sword with a loan from Horgus). The group quickly cut them down and at Percival’s recommendation to use stealth to catch the enemy by surprise they kicked down the door and started screaming like a rabid soccer fan in the UK. They were quickly swarmed by all manner of Tieflings, Dretches, Abrikandlu, and other demons. The fight took almost an entire minute, but they eventually slayed each foe. During their room searches they located a desecrated shrine to Iomedae, a hidden stash of weapons and armor, and a labora- BOOM.

The party then made their way upstairs where they were ambushed by a number of crusaders wielding glaives, scythes, and crossbows, a Tiefling alchemist, a Schir, three Fiendish Flies, and a flying Stantler ([url=http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Stantler_(Pok%C3%A9mon)]see here[/url]. The party initially encountered the melee-weapon cultists who positioned themselves by the door to prevent an easy entry while tossing blast after blast of negative energy their way. The noise alerted the remaining residents of the floor, who opened their rooms and charged to surround the party. Irabeth and Raines managed to hold the front line while Guinevere pulled back to avoid certain death. Magni entered the death trap room and started clearing it out while Percival used his mental manipulation to turn the flies against the rest of their enemies. Once everyone was in a more defensible position the tide turned against the cultists, and it wasn’t long before the alchemist attempted to flee from a secret exit. Magni wasn’t having that shit though, and pincushioned him with his reserve longbow.

They searched the floor and located maps of the cultist movements which would later prove vital to the location of their final safehouse – only one unopened door remained. Magni was able to determine that a number of weak evil-aligned beings resided inside, so the group readied their weapons and opened the door. What they saw was nothing the week’s prior events could prepare them for – a scrying pool filled with blood and organs, surrounded by zombified corpses of crusaders, civilians, and most shockingly Ranes’ brother Dworis. Ranes channeled to injure the zombies but couldn’t face his brother. Magni did him in with a couple hits from his warhammer (surprisingly it took more than one), then turned to comfort his fellow dwarf.

After getting a grip on things once more the group continued moving onto the third floor, immediately coming across and slaughtering a half-fiend minotaur as if it were nothing when similar adventurers in different universes would have trembled at its awesome might (I would know, I was there). Upon opening the door the group was surprised by an oracle of Deskari named Jeslyn who attempted to nauseate the group with her magic but was swiftly put on the defensive by Magni. Meanwhile Guinevere teleported to the other side of the Wardstone fragment and started trying to activate the Rod of Absorption to destroy it, but failed on her initial attempt. Before she could try again Jeslyn managed to press some kind of dark crystal up to it, and as the Rod started draining the Wardstone’s magic something seeped into the fragment from her crystal-BOOM (yes, again).

The Wardstone started rapidly seeping energy which stunned everyone save for Irabeth, granting them visions of the Wardstone’s creation, Hulrun’s first Witch Hunt, Korramzadeh’s failed attempt to destroy it, Irabeth and Magni’s confrontation with the traitor Staunton Vhane, and finally a future where it had successfully been corrupted, culminating in a pulse of energy which immediately transformed the crusaders along the barrier into demons and fiendish beings. After this they awoke to Irabeth’s worried questions, but no sooner than they awoke did the witch Areelu Vorlesh appear, threatening to right the wrongs of her useless subordinates. Irabeth charged her but with a wave she was lifted into the air and started suffocating. The other four weren’t affected by her spell, much to her confusion, before she realized that the Wardstone’s power was still protecting them from her. But it wouldn’t protect them from her soldiers.

Vorlesh opened a rift and three Vrocks came through before the Wardstone pulsed once more, tearing her projected image to pieces and slamming the portal shut. Irabeth fell to the ground unconscious as the group was filled with holy power, and with this power they slew the vrocks easily.

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Session 3, Part 1 - Assault on the Gray Garrison

After taking a much-needed break the party regrouped and started debating the merits of moving to support the survivors at Horgus’ Manor with either a small group with just enough horses to arrive before the enemy and set up a defense or a larger group which wouldn’t arrive fast enough to intercept the enemy but would be more of a match for the expected enemy numbers. Soon enough the party decided to go with a larger group consisting of Magni, Ranes, Percival, Guinevere, Lysander, Jorvic (or was it Barvil? Idk), Etrigg, Braghad, Symont, and one squire.

When the group arrived the enemy had already laid siege to Horgus’ Manor but had not yet found a way into the safe where the survivors (Horgus, Anevia, Aravashniel, Finghal, and Sigrid) were holed up. The battle began when they were spotted rounding the block by a woman commanding a makeshift archer’s nest. She managed to place a totem spell down before the archers opened fire, dealing minor damage to the party’s front line. The group didn’t waste time moving forward to deal with the immediate threat though. Despite Braghad going unconscious almost immediately Magni was able to go toe-to-toe with the glaive-wielding leader and between Etrigg and himself she was forced to retreat into the manor. Once she was nearly to the building the cultists’ demons sprung into action – a babau demon teleported into the middle of the party’s back line (Lysander, Percival, and the Squire) to cause havoc while a pair of dretches dropped stinking clouds to divide the two groups. At about this time the group heard an explosion from inside the manor.

Ranes fell back to take down the babau while Magni, Jorvic/Barvil (dang dwarven fathers mixing up my memory), and Etrigg pushed forward. Magni and Etrigg took down one of the cultists’ commanders within seconds while navigating the ruined wall’s rubble. Percival took a few arrows from archers inside the manor and went down, but Lysander covered him by blinding the archers with a Light spell. Ranes buffed his scimitar and waded into melee with the babau but was having a hard time until Symont and Guinevere started landing hits and flanking.

During this time a half-orc cultist of Xoveron named Vagorg had utilized an alchemist’s bomb to blast open the door and started using his superior reach to attack his target, Anevia. Sigrid, Horgus, and Anevia were unable to slow him down and he managed to knock her unconscious – ironically it was the fall from the rafters that killed her. At the same time a pair of cultists managed to land lucky shots on Finghal who died from his wounds. What Vagorg didn’t know was that Horgus dabbled in healing magic, but unfortunately he was only able to reach one of them in time – forced to choose between a pair of dead thieves he decided to revive Anevia (he hasn’t explained his reasoning as nobody has asked). After this Sigrid landed a lucky blow on the half-orc, killing him immediately, then stepped into the doorway to block any arrows from killing the revived Anevia before throwing her greatsword at a cultist and impaling him through the chest. The rest decided it was high time to say “Fuck the Kingsguard. Fuck the city. Fuck the king.” and ran away.

After cleaning up the rest of the cultists and demons Magni and Etrigg captured the cultist Hosilla, deciding to bring her in for questioning (so of course Etrigg punched her out). After binding her and waking her back up she told them about her job commanding cultist spies within the city while working for Staunton Vhane (-Magni gets a hateboner-) but refused to diverge the full extent of her knowledge until she was brought back to Defender’s Heart. The group managed to return without any incidents.

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Session 2 - Ruins of Kenabres
Through the Fire and Flames

After glimpsing the horrible results of the ruined city above the group quickly decided they needed to gather supplies, find a safe spot to drop off their injured, and locate whatever resistance they can. Horgus, in a display of kindness nobody would’ve expected days before, offered his assistance – his manor had an apocalypse bunker safe house with enough food, water, supplies, and weapons to last himself, Anevia, and Aravashniel days. The group fought through hordes of demonic flies, rats, and cultists before coming across Magni’s nephew Finghal (spelling?) robbing searching a destroyed shop for valuables serviceable weapons.

While Magni attempted to reason with his nephew Raines asked Percival to try to conceal a casting of Suggestion to prevent conflict – however, one of the tiefling cultists noticed the spell and shouted out a warning. Percival’s spell still did the trick, and Finghal was forced to hide behind a counter as his entire entourage was slain or “convinced” to flee. Magni then had Finghal find a proper scabbard for Raines’ scimitar and dragged him along to Horgus’s manor, which was miraculously untouched save for missing valuables (a fact he attributes to the lack of civilians to slaughter). The group resupplied and traded their worn weapons for high-quality cold iron before moving on to find Magni’s family keep and Raines’ home. Along the way they encountered a group of crusaders surrounding a sobbing woman and Etrigg, tower shield in hand and staring tired and defiant at the misguided soldiers. The group swiftly defeated the cultists and greeted Etrigg, who informed them that the bulk of the city’s living crusaders were holed up in the Defender’s Heart.

They arrived at Raines’ home first to discover Symont and Barvil (but mostly Barvil) hoisting up Lysander from the rift their home’s rubble laid in. Barvil recounted how Lysander had found him and Symont shortly after the initial attack and held off cultists with his light magic. Raines was thankful but nobody is allowed to know that. Lysander had retrieved Raines’ first creation, a flawed scimitar, and offered it to Raines. Raines did not seem very happy about this, claiming it was cursed and that he didn’t want it. Lysander merely shrugged and put it in a sheath on his belt while asking about the nature of its curse as the group moved on.

Magni’s keep wasn’t what it was. During the attack some beast had opened a rift in the ground beneath it, destroying everything. After doing a hero landing reaching the rubble he found the charred remains of a dwarf with Brom’s hammer lying next to an outstretched arm. He also found Mildred, unconscious and bleeding out, who he managed to save before being lifted back up. Mildred recounted how the keep had been attacked prior to its destruction, and the group set out for Defender’s Heart.

After making it to the building they were stopped at the gates by crossbowmen who insisted on the incoming group being checked by divinations to ensure they weren’t demons in disguise come to breach their meager defenses and slaughter all the women, children, and injured inside while simultaneously dealing a death blow to the resistance. Which was apparently totally unreasonable and worth arguing about for ten minutes. Magni and Raines had a particularly nasty argument with a guard who claimed to be a captain and was not at all happy about these random strangers coming to their doors, bitching about Kenabres’s standard operating procedure for checking for demons, then talking shit as if they owned the place. He is now the most uppity jackass in the world for doing his job and talking back to a bunch of assholes.

Magni was directed to Irabeth and Quednys in the war room where he gave a status update on the situation and was informed that Horgus’ manor would be attacked soon, although nobody was quite sure of the reason at the time. He then had a tearful reunion with his extended family.

End Session 2

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Session 1 - The Fall of Kenabres
Or, Kenabres Gets Fucked Up

Raines was working the counter one day because his brother “had business in town” when Donovan walks in to inspect the merchandise. At that time two thugs came in and start raising trouble, but Raines noticed Donovan stealing and told him to stop as the thief ran out of the store. Upon giving chase he saw Etrigg clothesline Donovan and start dragging him to his HQ for questioning. Raines offered to meet Etrigg for a drink, which Etrigg accepted before leaving with his new prisoner. When they met later Etrigg brought up his past in Molthune and his reason for coming to Kenabres. The two seemed to bond over their drinks.

Raines was accosted by a stalker admirer named Lysander who claims to know of his heroism in Taldor, and presented a holy symbol of Sarenrae bragging that he too was a follower. Raines did not seem to care much for him, a fact which Lysander either ignored or didn’t even notice. He left shortly after mentioning that his father says he was Raines’ buddy in the army.

Magni is informed that his younger sister Brady’s tavern is on fire, and on the way Etrigg and Donovan split off to try and catch the perpetrators. Upon arriving they see Brady screaming at some low-life scum before throwing him to the ground, whereupon Magni picked him back up (not helpfully) and intimidated the criminal into telling him where his fellow crooks went. Around this time Terendelev showed up disguised as a human, put out the fire, and after taking a good long whiff of Magni’s clothes (ew) she inquired about his identity and position before teleporting him to head off the others. Magni was knocked unconscious during the fight but his interference allowed Etrigg to catch up and take down the criminals. Donovan also helped.

Raines also has a run-in with Terendelev in a bar. She informs him that the plot demands his presence at the ceremony or the AP won’t work it’s the one day of the year everyone can relax and be merry and she’d be delighted if he’d come have a drink with her. He begrudgingly agrees, probably to get her to leave more quickly.

In the same bar Raines later runs into Percival who sits down next to him but otherwise minds his own business (something Raines appreciates) but is then accosted by a couple thugs (which interrupt Raines’ good time, something he does not appreciate). Before they can escalate the issue a half-elf walks in behind them and cuts them down with teeth and claws, then leaves. When the crusaders arrive they want to take Percival in for questioning, but after Percival uses his puppy-dog eyes Raines backs him up. The crusaders leave, Percival pays for Raines’ next drink (which he takes full advantage of), then he leaves.

Magni discussed having the family leave Kenabres as a result of growing anti-dwarf sentiments in the city, and while she wasn’t happy about it Bridget agreed to take the children and flee. At a family meeting the next day many of his other family members decided to leave as well.

On the first day of Armasse a large portion of the city’s populace gathered outside Saint Clydeswell to hear Lord Prelate Hulrun’s speech, but as soon as he began his speech the Kite exploded. The city came under attack from an army of demons led by Khorramzadeh the Storm King. During the fight Chromie and Donovan died at the hand of cultists and a rift opened in the ground, causing Magni, Donovan, Percival, Guinevere, Anevia, Horgus, and Aravashniel to fall. In her final moments Terendelev slowed their fall, and as the rift closed above them they watched Khorramzadeh cut off Terendelev’s head.

They managed to land safely among the writhing swarms of vermin beneath the city using torches and realized that not only had Aravashniel been blinded by the Storm King’s whip but Anevia’s leg had been crushed by a boulder. Raines made the decision to amputate, and after stabilizing her the group left her unconscious for the journey.

Horgus had numerous doubts about Magni’s ability to lead throughout their trip back to the surface, which were put to rest by Raines repeatedly. Aravashniel mostly kept to himself and was lead by his angelic companion Sigrid. Guinivere and Percival mostly kept to themselves during the first day underground, and after walking for a few hours the group came across an old abandoned temple of Torag. Upon clearing the temple the group worked together to consecrate it, receiving a blessing from Torag afterwards. Magni took this opportunity to bury his squadmates and was joined by Guinevere who told him about Chromie’s kindness towards her.

After resting the group moved on, finding evidence of “mole people” as Aravashniel so eloquently put it. Shortly after this the group was assaulted by a dwarvish illusionist who ran away before anyone could prevent his escape. After another long walk the party ran into mongrelmen – people tainted by the Worldwound’s demonic energy and born with horrific deformities – and managed to save one of their group’s members who was trapped under a fallen pillar. Lann offered to bring them back to the city where they could rest and replenish supplies, which the group readily accepted.

Along the way they came across a pair of dead cultists wearing Iomedaen crusader armor, implying that the crusades had been heavily infiltrated, reinforcing their desire to return to the surface and protect Kenabres. After entering the city they met with Chief Sull who offered them supplies and directions to the surface along with a warning – cultists and traitorous mongrelmen were set up between the city and the surface. Sull was willing to gather his forces to aid in the city’s liberation but he would need to send his men into the tunnels, and in the meantime he couldn’t mount an assault against the cultists. He asked for the group to clear out the outpost on their way up and to inform their leaders of the mongrelmen’s desire to return to their crusading roots.

After resting for the day the party marched on, reaching the outpost and cutting a path straight to the surface through rooms of cultists, dire rats, and a maze guarded by a pair of dretches. When they finally climbed out of the tunnels and into Kenabres they saw something they could never forget – the city was overtaken by the worldwound’s features, with Saint Clydeswell Cathedral and various other landmarks completely demolished as demons freely roamed the city.

End Session 1.

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