The Faultless Arrow started out as a ragtag group of adventurers answering the call for help from the village of Silverhill. We have come a long way since then, here is a short summary of our accomplishments:
The Massacre at Silverhill Edit
We exposed Lord Lionmark’s conspiracy to frame the gnolls for the attacks around Silverhill. It seems he wanted a pretext to break the peace treaty between the gnolls and the locals so that he can seize the gold under the gnoll’s land. During this adventure the party saved the life of Duke Sewell, who (in return) gave us further assignments (main quest in The Dragons of Feyburn).
The Darkened Estate Edit
The party received word that Aewan Hartward is looking for adventurers to help reclaim his ancestral home near Silent Cliff.
First, the Faultless Arrow opened up the passage to the manor by helping the Rockcrusher orc tribe get out of their deal so they no longer needed to protect the estate from intruders (we also helped their priestess Lagash gain control over the tribe). The party discovered later that the evil presence in the Hartward Manor was caused by Aewan's great uncle who opened a portal to the realm of Vecna, god of secrets. In the end we have managed to close the portal by collapsing the manor on top of it, destroying the source of corruption in the lands. Aewan Hartward took control of the estate, determined to turn Silent Cliff into a flourishing trading port.
The Dragons of Feyburn Edit
Grateful to the party for saving his life at Silverhill, Duke Sewell offered us an easy and lucrative assignment: we were to escort a Rubian trade envoy south to the free city of Feyburn.
As we arrived we found the city besieged by the great red dragon Zoralth. The dragon had been attacking anyone who tried to leave the city for the past two months, leading to starvation and unrest (half of the city was occupied by the rebel militia). After much investigation we uncovered that the siege was just an elaborate ruse on Zoralth's part to put his followers in power without alerting his rival Rhaegos, the great gold dragon. After warning Rhaegos we chose to resolve the conflicts in the city in favor of the nobles by betraying the rebel militia and helping the guards retake the city. In the end Rhaegos became the champion of the city and gained a large number of followers, while our party was gifted a house.
After these events Chad Trump decided to remain in Feyburn and use his newfound popularity as a hero to start a political carrier. In retrospect this was not a good idea.
Terror on the High Seas Edit
We heard that the Two Sisters colony is a land of opportunity for adventurers like us. On our way there we stirred up some trouble in Gormouth by botching a weapon heist but we managed to slip away to the colonies. During one of our first adventures there we acquired a ship, the Lusty Duchess.
Later we found the city of Bournemouth in North Sister to be enthralled by a mind flayer. We managed to free their minds, but not before bombarding them with cannon fire causing countless casualties.
We also discovered a brewing revolt of orc slaves on South Sister and decided to arm them. This (predictably) led to the massacre of the entire human population of the island. In the meantime we were busy saving the entire region from the kraken threat which we managed by setting off an enormous bag of holding in their underwater lair.
The Beast of Dewport Edit
We heard that the city of Dewport is being terrorized by a vampire and the local count enlisted our aid in finding the beast. But as we proceeded with the investigation a lot of details did not seem to add up. After a while we found out the truth: the city has a vampire sanctuary in the elven ruins underground which is run by the count himself. The Beast is actually a doppelganger who has been betrayed by the city’s elite so he decided to take revenge in a way that ensures the destruction of the sanctuary and the count.
During our investigation we discovered that our involvement in the South Sister massacre is not as secret as we had hoped: smugglers have been visiting the island and the orcs were pretty open about the role a certain adventurer party. The punishment for this crime would be death in Rubia, Cascadia and even in the Minthras Imperium.
While the investigation was ongoing the party embarked on a number of lucrative sidequests. During one of these we encountered a mind flayer masquerading as woman by the name Aria Illithmoor. She hired us to protect her kobold workers which we did, but as soon as her true nature was revealed Gruntz decided to attack her. The resulting fight ended in our defeat as Aria threatened to consume the brain of Damos unless we surrendered. In the end she got away and we did not get paid.
As tensions were rising in the city between the count and the Knights of the Holy Flame, our party decided to support the plan of a pair of doppelgangers who wanted to replace Count Ruxwin and the Grandmaster Glailwich. So (after gaining their trust) we betrayed both organizations and helped the dopplers defuse the crisis after killing the Beast.
Hell-bent EditPengoldir 30 years ago as part of the experiment (children of the Inner City and the brass dragon, Nisab, whose gratitude we’ve earned by reuniting her with one of her stolen eggs), illusions of people created by the pure magic of the wizards Alaldir and Kari (mostly everyone in that plane), as well as the wizard Kari, the only other person who came from the outside world. Kari and Alaldir were lovers 30 years ago, until Alaldir returned from an expedition to Cascadia, cursed, killed their friend Pengoldir and pushed Kari into the pocket dimension by accident. Alaldir had the curse lifted by the “knowledgeable ones” of the Western continent, and we helped him clear up his relationship with Kari. Alaldir and Kari moved to Oringrad, to the relief of Vilgefortz. We’ve earnt both Alaldir’s and Vilgefortz’s goodwill which might lead to further commissions.
The Lost Kingdom of Durnas Mynyd Edit
We were summoned to the town of Bilberg by Hurrim, son of Tharin, a dwarf archaeologist. Hurrim found an entrance to Durnas Mynyd, an ancient kingdom deep under the Dragon Mountains that had been lost for more than a thousand years. He enlisted our help in exploring this forgotten kingdom.
Upon arriving at Bilberg, we were lured to a cave where we were confronted by a rival party calling themselves the Blades of Justice. We fought them to the very end, slaying all except their sorcerer, but the battle cost Haereldor and Calenor their lives: Haereldor was hacked to ribbons by a great half-orc brute, and Calenor was disintegrated by his spell-slinging counterpart. At great expense, they were revived by Gaynor, a high priest of Pelor on vacation in Bilberg.
The next day, we hiked up a mountain and descended into a glacial crevasse leading to the entrance to Durnas Mynyd. We got past the un-cooperative stone doors, defeated two stone golems, narrowly survived a cave-in, and descended many miles down an elevator shaft to the kingdom. Inside, nobody was home except for some dungeon dwelling creatures, and a bounty of treasure was looted. Eventually, we descended into the great central chamber built around a golden palace, and it was revealed that Hurrim was led here by the dwarf god Moradin to slay the withered, undying King Barus who sat alone for eons on his throne of gold. This angered the powerful mind flayer who was holding him as a trophy, who we were able to defeat while Hurrim overloaded the central reactor beneath the palace, obliterating Durnas Mynyd forever. We were well-rewarded by Moradin for our service, and parted ways with Hurrim on friendly terms.
Upon returning to Bilberg, we heard the news that Chad Trump had been ousted from Feyburn in a coup and the status quo had been restored.
The Price of a Kingdom Edit
War broke out between the Kingdom of Rubia and the Minthras Imperium. The Imperial Army quickly routed the Rubian forces and advanced deep into the kingdom laying siege to Oringrad. At this point Duke Sewell tasked The Faultless Arrow with slipping through the enemy lines and extracting Queen Merilda from the besieged city. The task looked quite suspicious from the beginning (don't they have mages and their own special forces to do that?) but since our party never turns down well-paying jobs they accepted.
After a few mishaps they managed to sneak into the Royal Palace where they learned that this task was just an elaborate test (which they passed). Then came the actual contract which was far more dangerous and lucrative: Rubia desperately needed allies to survive the imperial onslaught and they were willing to turn to their old enemies for help. As the relationship with these factions was rather strained (not to mention they were all extremely evil beings) the court needed envoys who are are capable negotiators, can handle themselves in a fight and are completely expendable. The Faultless Arrow fit that description perfectly.
First the party visited the Dragon Mountains hoping to recruit the great golden dragon Rhaegos for the fight but they arrived too late as he had already been slain by an Edict. Still, they managed to salvage the situation by recruiting the great red dragon Zoralth, albeit he insisted on accompanying the party (he found the party's inept maneuvers at diplomacy hilarious).
The second stop was the Cleaver Orcs who had taken refuge in the Cascadian Mountains. They agreed to help in exchange for the return of their abducted brethren from South Sister, human slaves and a small favor from the party (assassination of the troll king). The final two stops were the necromancer Tredran at Urum-dor and the Illithids at Ys. Both agreed to help Rubia in exchange for corpses to be raised/slaves.
With their mission completed the party returned to Oringrad where they learned that the Emperor had sent an Edict to the Orin Valley and the only ways to avoid the city's destruction is either surrender or driving back the imperial forces before the scroll arrives.
The Faultless Arrow played an essential role in the coming Battle of Oringrad. Everything seemed to go according to plan and victory was within grasp when an imperial dragon rider arrived with the Edict. The party was at a crossroads: should they go after general Hardalio and help the Rubian forces achieve victory or go after the Edict? In the end they decided the latter.
After a tough fight they slew the dragon and its rider and captured the Edict. Unfortunately by that time the Rubian offensive had collapsed and the Crimson Tide had entered the city. At this point The Faultless Arrow decided that Rubia must survive even at the cost of sacrificing the city of Oringrad so they cast the Edict of Fire on the Orin Valley. The kingdom survived and for the first time in history the Imperium has failed to conquer one of its neighbors.
In recognition for their great service to the kingdom Queen Merilda granted the party the barony of Aerlcliff and knighted them all.
After the war, the party decided to unwind. Since they had made a considerable profit, they were taking a little break from adventuring to fulfill a lifelong dream. The party traveled to the city of Surujabâzar to attend the Alefest of Zallûna. It is an event that the party had always wanted to attend. Haereldor had been called to a druid gathering and was disappointed that he didn’t get to go and show the rest of the party around his apothecary store, but the druids were eager to hear his findings on Boccob’s wort.
The party arrived in Surujabâzar the evening before the opening ceremonies. After a few disappointing experiences with overpriced touristy taverns, they finally found place where the locals hang out: The Dwarf's Beard in the Forge District. They stabled their horses with the dwarven farrier Hurdam and got the last available room at The Happy Axe. Room 0 turned out to be a dark, dank room in the basement. Ravagella installed her mobile hut in the basement to improve the experience. The next morning, the party was warned by Elmendar, the inn-keeper of the The Happy Axe, that weapons are prohibited at the fairgrounds and pickpockets roamed around looking for easy marks. The party stashed their weapons and their valuables in bags of holding and deposited them in the inn's safe deposit box.
The party went to see the opening ceremonies of the Alefest. They followed the parade to the Meadow of Zallûna southwest of the city. Chad tried to sneak in a woodaxe, but was caught by the security guards. After Gruntz unsuccessfully tried his luck at arm-wrestling, the party got into the Garg Aletent and immediately started a fight while looking for a place to sit. While the fight was going on, the party heard screams from outside the tent and patrons on the other side of the tent were falling unconscious. The party tried to investigate, but all they heard were some orcish voices before they became unconscious one by one.
The awoke in a container inside a dungeon, naked and without any possessions as well as covered in barbecue sauce. After breaking out of the cage, they fought several orc guards and took their weapons. Some members made loincloths out of fabric they took from the dead orcs, but Chad decided to go commando, wearing nothing but leather armor. Calenor discovered that a strong magical aura emanating from below prevents any teleportation out of this area. The party also slew an owlbear, who was nesting in of the caves. They found enough useful things in it's nest for Calenor to cast rope trick. The exited the cave and rested in the pocket dimension.
Calenor, Ravagella, and Virginia woke up in the pocket dimension. Chad and Gruntz were gone. They went south and scouted out the orc camp. The camp was spread out and did not have any tents that stood out. They listened to a conversation between two orc guards. They were looking forward to "the games" and to betting on different athletes. Since there were too many orcs to fight, the party went north to the river, where they encountered Gruntz, who had hunted down a deer for them to eat.
The party built a makeshift raft and floated down the river. They entered a lake, which had a strong maelstrom current draining into the center of the lake. They managed to fight against the current and make it to shore. They followed a mysterious voice into the forest, which seemed to emanate from a rock. The magical effect was caused by grigs, who pestered the party and told them about the Queen of Light. The party followed the grigs into the forest, where they were told to sit down at a banquet table and wait for the queen. The banquet table disappeared suddenly and a huge oak tree shop up. Ravagella couldn't get out of the way and was taken to the top of the tree. As she airwalked down from the tree, five pixies came out of the woods and were laughing at the party. After suffering through their high jinks and their detestably good mood, the party managed to talk to the pixies. With the help of a particularly fine song, Ravagella convinced the pixies to take the party to the Queen of Light.
The pixies returned in the evening and brought clothes for the party to make them presentable for the Seelie Court. The clothes were made in the latest fey fashion, vibrant colors, pointed hats, and curly-tipped shoes with bells. Virginia sculpted a small figurine and imbued it with a shining flame to dazzle the queen. The party made a dashing entrance to the court and Ravagella sang the best song of her life. The Queen was so taken by the performance that she permitted them to approach her. The Queen told the party about dwarven tunnels surrounding the valley that were abandoned long ago. They might be a way out of this valley. An entrance to the tunnels lies beneath The Beacon, a ridge on the mountain range to the north that shines in the evening light. She told the party to avoid the Unseelie Court to the north and to take a detour through the Darkest Forest instead. The Queen of Light also gave the party some whimsical gifts that might help them on their journey. Ravagella managed to steal a much-needed lodestone for Calenor, who also received a piece of parchment to start a new spellbook.
The party went back to the dungeon and tried to free the rest of the "meat". After a brief skirmish with a group of orcs, the party entered the dungeon to find the lone survivor - a half-dwarf. They healed him, fed him, and then sent him on his way in the direction of the Seelie Court. The party crossed the river and headed northeast towards The Beacon. They encountered a nymph bathing in a lake, who tried to charm them. The party defeated the nymph and the nixies she called and decided to rest before entering the Darkest Forest.
After the nymph was defeated, Chad stumbled out of the forest surrounding the lake. He was covered in hickeys and had no memory of what happened since he left the party several days before. The party entered the Darkest Forest. They slashed their way through the undergrowth until they were surrounded by treants. They convinced the treants that they were not orcs by using an acorn from their treefriend pouch to grow an oak tree. As treefriends, they were embraced by the treants, who carried the party through the Darkest Forest to the base of the Northern Range. The party went on on foot to the base of the mountain range. They teleported up to the top of The Beacon. At the base of The Beacon they found a magic door that looked like regular rock. It had dwarven runes inscribed in it that read “While it is bound, it chooses dwarrow’s kings and peasants. When it is freed, it tumbles, falls, and fades. While it is bound, life will often thrive. When it is freed, death will often follow.” The party figured out that this referred to dwarven blood. Chad opened the door with a drop of this own blood.
As the party made their way through the dungeon, they found signs of a fight between dwarves and orcs. All of the remnants were decayed, indicating that this struggle was many hundreds of years in the past. The party discovered useful potions, weapons, and armor. They also found a library containing books on the history of the dwarves that used to live in this dungeon. The dwarrows used to live in the tunnels in this valley, mining coal, gold, and crystals. They traded with the surrounding elves, orcs, and humans. When the dwarrows discovered adamantium ore, the orcs became jealous of the riches that they amassed. They attacked the dwarrows and tried to take over their operation. The humans and elves betrayed their treaties with the dwarrows and did not come to help when they were attacked. There ended the chronicles of the dwarrows. Pressing on, the party found the former quarters of a wizard. They took damage because they failed to detect the glyphs of warding guarding this place. However, this was worth it, because Calenor found a metamagic rod and a spellbook. While the party went to sleep in Ravagella’s hut, Calenor stayed up all night going through the wizard’s tomes looking for spells to copy into his new spellbook.
The party continued to explore the dungeon, fighting a Gelatinous Cube and a band of kobolds. They found a cask of ancient dwarven scotch and a collection of racy paintings. They also found a crack in the cave that was exuding knockout gas, which was used for ritual purposes at some point. The party then explored the old mines. They dug through a collapsed mine face and broke through into an active mine.
There they encountered a group of dwarves that spoke and ancient dwarven language. They turned out to be the last descendants of the dwarrow, the ancestors of the modern dwarves. The dwarrows seemed to be mortified at the sight of the party. They arrested the party and took them to the Council of Elders. A young Elder, Grilmir, befriended the party and took them to his hearth. He explained to them that the dwarrows have been living in the Dwarrowhome ('Khizadîn) for centuries. They fled there after they were defeated by invading orcs. They walled themselves in and taught their children that the outside ('Urrel) is inhabited entirely be monsters and is to be feared. The dwarrows have been living a well-structured, sheltered life for so long, that they have lost all sense of history. They believe that they are the only non-monsters in the universe.
Since leather and wood are extremely valuable in this underground civilization, the party exchanged their leather armors for ones made out of adamantium. This was seen as an unbelievably good deal on both sides. Grilmir admitted to the party that he frequently sneaks out of the Dwarrowhome to explore the Valley. He had seen a cloaked figure skulk around the orc camp. He looked like he was from the Imperium and had a glowing scroll on his belt. Grilmir also overheard the orcs talk about a dragon that was slain and one of the orc leaders was wearing a dragonskin armor. He said that he went looking for the empty cave that holds the dragon's hoard, but he could never find it.
The party decided to look for the strange hooded man in the orc camp. They were observing an aura moving around in the camp, when they heard a strange noise behind them. They managed to magically bind a weasel that looked like a familiar that was spying on them. The party tied up the weasel and tried to hide in the trees. After a few minutes, a cloaked figure appeared. He was shocked, because he recognized Calenor. This was Quintis Fulvianus, a mage at the Arcane Directorium and one of Calenor's teachers. He tried to deflect and lie to the party about why he was here. After walking away, he tried to wipe the party's memory. When some party members managed to resist, he locked them in a force cage. The party managed to break free and mortally wound Quintis. Ravagella charmed Quintis and the party was able to get him to confess what he was doing here.
Quintis was a stellar student and quickly rose through the ranks of the Directorium during his early career, but he has been largely ignored and his ideas have been ridiculed by the upper echelon of the Directorium. He was planning on conquering this part of the continent for the Imperium to curry favor with the Emperor directly. He thought he is better than anyone else in the Directorium and he doesn’t need them. He wanted to become a general and command his own Crimson Tide forces. Using a mind control edict that he made himself, he wanted to take control over the orcs when they congregate for the Gruumsh Games. He wanted to find and eradicate the dwarrows and take over the adamantium mining operations. This would have allowed him to provide adamantium gear for the entire Imperial Army (by default only the elite legionaries have it as its production in Dorahl is limited). making them nigh unstoppable. Quintis did not have the backing of the Emperor and was working entirely on his own. After extracting this information from him, the party killed Quintis. They also took the edict from him.
They went back to the Dwarrowhome and asked Grilmir for the way out of the Valley. He said that there was one passageway that was blocked by a door that he never managed to open. The party saw a large stone disk with dwarven runes inscribed in it. Above the door were carvings of a dragon and a manticore. The party consulted Shebtar, the chronicler. He pointed out an old fairy tale that featured a dragon and a manticore. Using clues from this story, the party opened the stone door, which led to a long tunnel. Grilmir decided to follow the party, abandoning the Dwarrowhome and his family in order to explore the world. The party exited the tunnel on the southern end of the ˈErdâr Balbîth mountains. They teleported back to the Happy Axe in Surujabâzar. They retrieved the stuff they had deposited in the safe deposit box. Unfortunately, the Alefest was already over, but they came back just in time for the annual Wine Fest.
The Flames of Oringrad Edit
After returning to Aerlcliff and spending a couple of well-deserved weeks there, the Faultless Arrow got word from Duke Sewell that their services are needed once again. In fact, the courier was a long-lost member of the party, Damos.
Their task was simple: venture into the City of Flames, and rescue Hierarch Hammelfarn from the Cathedral of Pelor. The Arrow received protective dragonhide cloaks to be able to resist the flames, then teleported to Harthill, a small village in the Orin Valley. From there they followed the duke's instructions and made their way to the Dimensional Lock in order to deactivate it. However, even after succeeding with this task, teleportation wasn't predictable: the party teleported to the Cathedral, only to find themselves in front of the Black Unicorn tavern. This was where they were lured into a trap by the Blades of Justice, and only escaped because the Blades weren't prepared for the mighty strength of Chad. Finally, the party made it to the Cathedral of Pelor, and has seen the Hierarch and a handful of his followers off.
They then crossed the remains of the Orin river and entered the Royal Palace. Here, first, they acquired some questionable magical boots, bags of holding and a flying broom from the otherwise empty treasury, then went to Vilgefortz's office and passed through the portal, leading to Port Umana.
Secrets of the West Edit
The Faultless Arrow was asked to go to the Protectorate of Sol, a place of wisdom and equality on the Western Continent, in order to acquire information on the Edicts, and find a way to protect Rubia against them. They were also asked by Duke Sewell -- in confidence -- to find his half-orc sister, Malia, who has been living in the Protectorate for the last 15 years, but who has gone missing around the time of the Battle of Oringrad.
The shortest route to the Protectorate was through a portal in Vilgefortz's office in the Royal Palace, and the party passed through exactly that. They found themselves in the entry city of the Protectorate: Port Umana. They quickly found out that all possible information on the Edicts must be in the Greater Temple of Libros, a pyramid-like building in the middle of the desert called The Frying Pan.
While the Arrow was waiting for the next caravan to traverse the desert with, they occupied themselves by taking on small jobs in the city. They helped the conch vendors get rid of murderous water nagas living in one of the city's wells, found and convinced the wizard Neleus to return to his previous occupation of desalinating water for Lord Dragonsbane, as well as kept peace at the tavern called Astral Crab. The owner of the latter establishment, Martom, was incidentally the person who employed Malia before she disappeared. He could only tell the party that she was never seen after the fateful day when Imperial soldiers in white cloaks suddenly appeared and caused a commotion on the marketplace. The party later could piece it together that those soldiers were Phoenix Guard, the most elite of the Imperial Legion, who were originally on a mission to find something in the Royal Palace in Oringrad, and who must have passed through the portal in Vilgefortz's office by pure accident. Some of them were killed, others captured, but they have all surely been freed and resurrected by now.
This the Arrow was sure of, as they themselves have seen Imperial sailors and officials in Port Umana. It turned out the emperor himself was trying to gain access to some information, and he brought various riches on his galleon "The Enigma" to achieve his goal. One night the party attempted to raid the galleon to get some of this gold, but the only thing they achieved is making the (somewhat unfortunate) acquaintance of Princess Septima. She demanded the Arrow -- in exchange for keeping their heads -- goes on a mission for her, which later turned out to be two missions (for now...)
Finally, on the day of the caravan traversing the desert, the Arrow went with them to protect their route. Their reward was to be invited to the evening feast at the Library, in honor of the Protectorate's guest, Emperor Marius II. After spending the afternoon browsing books, the Arrow did just that. During the feast they received their mission from the wizard Minerva, courier of Princess Septima: to venture into the Forest of the Dishonored, and bring back the notes of Alchemist Ipharis. To the dismay of everyone, The Arrow included, the feast was cut short by five horsemen riding in and shoving all of the food into a bag of holding. What was curious, though, was that one of them demonstrated impressive time-altering magic, seemingly by accident...
Curious to find out more about these bandits, "The Hoods of Robin", the party followed their tracks to the foot of the Southern Mountain Range. Next morning, while making their way to the Hoods' camp, their path was cut off by a unique dragon, with whom they couldn't communicate. In the ensuing battle the party killed the dragon, Damos dealing the final blow while flying over the dragon, and impaling its head unto his lance. The only casualty was a couple of years every member of the Arrow lost of their life, when the dragon used his Breath of Aging. Little did the party know after their victory, that they just killed the last (?) time dragon, and also doomed an innocent half-dragon child, Santia to be born and raised in The Wench Dreaming, a house of ill-repute in Port Umana. Soon enough the party met with Santia herself, and the rest of The Hoods of Robin: five young adults who took upon themselves to help the poor of Port Umana. Amongst them was Malia, the half-sister of Duke Sewell they were looking for. It turned out she has been dreaming about being legitimized her whole life, and it didn't take much convincing for her to agree to return to Rubia.
The same afternoon, the party hurried to the Forest of the Dishonored, but was still scooped by the Golden Compact, who were evidently after the same information. By a miracle, however, the Arrow still found some useful notes, and after defeating a lich -- likely Ipharis himself -- they met with Minerva in Port Umana. There she told the party she still needs them to steal a translating device from the Library. However, this heist wasn't without reward for the Arrow, as they could enter levels of the Library they couldn't before, and find information on enhanced anti-magic orbs that could serve as protection against the Edicts. As if by chance, the only rare ingredient to make those was blood of a time dragon, which they already had!
With some mishaps, but the party managed to steal the translating device for Minerva: they only had to kill a couple of shadows and a poor doppler who came to investigate the alarm the party set off. Tempting fate, the Arrow decided to use the death of the doppler to gain access to the higher levels of the Library (the doppler was in charge of giving out access, using a special device). However, they were bolder than they should have been, and immediately attempted to access the highest level ("Divine level"), of which the angel Gadriel was alerted; thus the party was greeted by him after emerging on that level. Tha Arrow -- wisely -- decided to follow his instructions, and quickly left the Protectorate.
When reporting back to Ingford, Duke Sewell was beyond happy to be reunited with his half-sister. Vilgefortz was equally pleased -- partially because he didn't know about him and all officials of Rubia being banned from the Protectorate for the foreseeable future -- and surely he will put the information and the acquired time dragon blood to good use. Meanwhile, the party started to suspect that the shadows of the Library might not have been that easy to get rid of...
The Angel of Entropy Edit
A new threat has arisen in the South which the Imperium countered by deploying an Edict within a week. While the news of potential allies is always welcome, the fact that the Imperium could deploy its magical superweapon in less then a week is troubling for Rubia, to say the least. That is why Archmage Vilgefortz tasked the party to break into the hidden laboratory of Archmage Zykora of the Arcane Directorium and find out as much as possible (and maybe cause a bit of trouble along the way).
The Faultless Arrow breached the defenses of Zykora's laboratory but in doing so they have unleashed the Angel of Entropy (a.k.a. The Sorrow) a being of extraordinary power. What followed was a harrowing chase, during which the party encountered many strange things from a wizard under a suicide curse to a green dragon who wanted to take revenge on his torturers. The party also learned that the Sorrow is from a hidden plane of existence to which the Imperium sent several expeditions to. Their goal was to gather "divine amber", strange crystals that contain enough magical energy to even power Edicts without the use of souls. They did not know that this plane was also the home (prison?) of the Sorrow.
In the end the party teamed up with Zykora to create an Edict that could drive the Sorrow back to her original plane. But to their shock the creature proved powerful enough to resist the immense magic of the spell and killed Zykora. The party escaped through the only remaining portal in the laboratory but they also ensured that the Sorrow could not follow them. Still, they did not return unscathed as the Sorrow cast a curse on them.
The Godhammer Edit
In the days following their encounter with the Sorrow, the party started experiencing a strange sensation of emptiness. No drink could quite quench their thirst and no food could fully satisfy their hunger. Ravagella’s spirit was no longer lifted by music, Haereldor was no longer comforted by gold, Damos no longer heard the words of Pelor, Virginia's meditations no longer provdied answers, and, worst of all, Chad no longer enjoyed the taste of dwarven mead. They regrouped at Aerlcliff and spent weeks researching ancient curses and trying potions and poultices. But they made little progress while the feeling of emptiness became more and more intense.
Their search for a cure was interrupted by Vilgefortz. He told them that whatever problem the Imperium was having at the eastern border did not go away when they cast the Edict. Every member of the Arcane Directorium has been summoned to the Imperial City to assist in making a new Edict (due to recent events they can no longer produce them quickly). Also the Imperium has sent the II. Legion to Eremus Minor and begun aggressively recruiting in neighboring regions. According to rumors all previous forces (including the entire VI. Legion) had been wiped out. Whatever they were fighting it got them scared. They even reached out (in secret of course) to some neighboring realms for help. The dwarves of Btharmaz, sworn enemies of the Imperium because of the subjugation of their kin in Dorahl, had already started shipping them artillery pieces. The most recent sign of desperation is the call the Emperor sent out to all adventurers and mercenary companies, promising fame and riches if they help. At the behest of Vilgefortz the Arrow accepted the mission.
On the way to the Imperial City the party had a minor scuffle with some orc bandits. As it happens in such cases a few orcs lost their lives which allowed the party to discover that the curse made them crave the souls of the recently departed. It took extreme effort to resist this urge so some (e.g. Chad) gave in to the curse and consumed the souls of the orcs, dooming them to non-existence. More pious members of the Arrow realized what a great sin they had just committed and tried to suppress their hunger with prayer and meditation.
In the Imperial City the party received their instructions from Legatus Decius Verginius and proceeded to Fort Deadwater in Eremus Minor. Once they arrived at the fort they realized in horror that the horizon is covered by a red fog just like the one they had seen in Zykora's lab. The Sorrow had found her way to the Prime Material Plane and now she plans to conquer it.
The Sorrow was invulnerable to both physical force and magic, the Imperium could only delay her expansion with Edicts. Yet there was still one hope: Directorium scholars had learned of an ancient artifact, the Godhammer, made by legendary artificer Isdalf. This weapon could kill a divine being so the Gods punished Isdalf for making the weapon, but they hid it instead of destroying it. The party (along with hundreds of other adventurers) was tasked with finding one of the two pieces of this weapon, while the II. Legion (led by Prince Gregor) looked for the other.
The journey through the wasteland of Eremus Minor was perilous. The Arrow mostly fought the Corrupted servants of the Sorrow but they also made a detour to plunder the hoard of the red dragon Zytophar. Meanwhile the Curse of the Sorrow grew ever stronger in them. At first it seemed more like a blessing as the curse was so strong that their soul could not leave their body, essentially granting them immortality. But the hunger for the souls of others grew as well.
During their journey the party experienced strange dreams in which the both the Gods and the Sorrow addressed them. In the first dream the Gods tasked them with finding the Burned Man who will help them find the Godhammer. In the second dream Vecna told the party to visit his temple where it was revealed to the party that the Sorrow is actually the forgotten Goddess of Life, doomed to wither and die in a prison her brothers and sisters made for her. In their lust for power the Imperium used an Edict to open the Sorrow's prison, but they did not expect to find a vengeful goddess there. During her imprisonment the Goddess of Life lost much of what she once was, even her name. Just her Sorrow remained, a last piece of a Mad God. Vecna also revealed that the Gods interfere with the perception of mortals that is why the Sorrow looks so horrifying, that is why her servants look threatening. The Gods also try to erase her memory so it is impossible to tell anyone the truth about the Sorrow (the party tested it). The only reason the party can know is because Vecna allows them (he enjoys the torture such knowledge causes). It was also revealed to the party that the Overgod Ao prohibits the other Gods from harming the Sorrow (any more) that is why it falls to mortals to defeat her. During the final dream the Sorrow reached out to the party to tell them of the Gods' deceit and to shed some light on her plans. She wanted to remake the world, to erase the influence of the other Gods. She claimed it was for the sake of mortals, but the party suspected vengeance as the real motivation.
The party finally reached the Tower of Idalf where the portal to Isdalf's laboratory lied. They were, however, ambushed by the Golden Compact who also sought to retrieve the ancient weapon, but they needed the Burned Man to get through the barrier (turns out the Gods were hedging their bets and gave other adventurers the same task). After the Arrow defeated them (unfortunately they all escaped) the Burned Man's sacrifice opened the portal and allowed the party to retrieve a chest containing half of the Godhammer.
The Faultless Arrow was given a hero's welcome in Fort Deadwater, Prince Gregor personally congratulated the party for retrieving the last piece of the weapon. The party learned that the Godhammer was actually a bomb and Gregor came up with a daring plan to lure the Sorrow to it using the Imperium's remaining Divine Amber (Sorrow's Tears). The Arrow joined him for the final battle during which the Sorrow managed to break her shackles thus Gregor had to use the Sword of Corellon Larethian to pin her in place. While the party managed to escape before detonation, Gregor had to stay behind.
When the Godhammer detonated the wind stopped all around the Old Continent and even the stars went out for a moment. it vaporized everything with miles of Fort Deadwater, leaving behind an enormous crater. At the same time a weight was lifted off the hearts of the party, the curse was lifted. The Sorrow has been destroyed, her quest for a new world has been stopped. Yet, the party was left to wonder: when they burned the Sorrow of the face of the world, was something vital lost as well?
Prince Gregor perished during the final battle, sacrificing his life to save the people of this world. To honor his sacrifice Emperor Marius orders one month of mourning and festivities in the Imperium. There wee modest celebrations even in countries hostile to the Imperium, like Rubia. Even Queen Merilda wept for “the only honorable Augustus”.
The survivors of the battle were invited to the Imperial City for a military parade. The Faultless Arrow accepted the invitation (if for no other reason than to get paid) and were given a prominent position in the procession as they passed through the newly constructed Arch of Gregor. Yet when they went to see Legatus Verginius he offered only a meager reward (no honors or titles, just gold). For his frugality he blamed the enormous cost of the festivities and the political situation (“The People won’t stand for us honoring foreigners when their own sons sacrificed their lives”). Seeing that Chad was getting upset and the rest of the party had no intention of restraining him, the Legatus gave The Faultless Arrow an imperial writ that allows them to freely travel within the Imperium and take on contracts.
Mind over matter Edit
Chad spent some time in Aercliff. So far K had been renovating it, so it has that halfling cozyness. It could really use a few ballistae here and there, he thought. Weird bathtubs with tubes and valves, Chad never really got how they work. He preferred the room where the suits of armor are standing. The estate servants would bring Chad booze and meals, so he’d been essentially leaving piles of dirty dishes and empty bottles around the estate.
The party’s next rally point would be nearby Oakvale. Chad was bored, so he headed there early and positioned himself in one of the taverns. While drinking with local hunters, Chad heard one of them, Fred, tell a story of how he was almost impaled by a wooden spike that fell from the sky, crashing into the ground with terrible force. Next day Chad met up with the party and they decided to investigate. After Fred the hunter guided the party towards the spot through the woods to the north, they faced off with an artifact from the Battle at Kaedwen Crossing - a war golem operating two ballistae. Chad plans to move the ballistae to Aercliff with the help of the serfs.
As the sun was setting in the mountains, a magnificent view opened from the top of the waterfall. K made this moment even more memorable by sliding down "Wheee!" only to be captured by displacer beasts. She was soon freed and the felines driven out of their waterfall lair. The night found our party soaking wet, in the middle of the woods, with a captive displacer kitten. The trails marked by priests of Fahrlaghnh helped the party navigate the back to town. Haereldor remembered the rumor he heard of how the local temple obtained the legendary drug ayahuyasca. The party still had some business in town: Calenor was concerned that astrologers proclaimed the month of the Badger and he will have to restock on material components, while K was planning a heist at the Major Guild of Silk. But the Guild was busy during the day, and there were no news from astrologers, so both of them let themselves be convinced by Chad and Haereldor to hike the woods again and ask about ayahuyasca at the Temple of Fharlaghnh.
Like good pilgrims, they hiked the hard trail marked with black circle, and Chad had to climb the waterfall, while Calenor levitating next to him gave him a free lesson in climbing. At the temple, which was just a cabin in the woods with a few bedrolls and an altar inside, they found the priest Jason and an adventurer Rupert who procured the ayahuyasca. The party was apprehensive of them at first, but with the help of recommendation letter from Virginia that Jason had and some explanations about the ceremony, all Faultless Arrow members decided to join.
They honestly let go of their worries in town, changed into clean simple clothes, took off their adventuring gear and started, if only for a day, living a simple life cooking their own healthy food, not touching alcohol or drugs, and meditating. Chad was really into that, and it almost cured his addiction, but then the final ceremony of taking ayahuyasca was interrupted by an extraplanar being in a form that was not possible to see. After waiting out and hoping it's just a hallucination that will go away, which almost cost Rupert his life, the party decided to fight the outsider. With the only remaining disintegrate spell, Calenor touched one of its tentacles and the creature was no more. The tentacles resembled those gods used for their fabricated image of Sorrow, so they must have borrowed it from something that really exists beyond planes. Haereldor recognized the sounds made by the outsider as that of a normal natural badger, from which the party and Jason concluded that it must have been the Badger, the constellation the astrologers saw in the sky earlier. Calenor checked that the stars rearranged themselves, so any spellcaster who restocked for month of Badger will end up with a bunch of material components that are not working. The thought that somewhere out there Golden Compact is completely screwed over by a spell mishap warms his heart.
Upon return to Oakvale, the party found out that several days have passed, the displacer kitten was accidentally released and ran away to the city streets, and the Major Guild of Silk has declared bankruptcy. The party decided to help the lawyer Sharmaine investigate a mysterious magical device that was left in otherwise cleared from anything of value Guild building. Cassiopeia was introduced by Sharmaine and joined Calenor in operating the device, which turned out to be a teleporter. It is an old and poorly designed device, so operating it requires several people who are spinning different parts of it. The Bhtarmaz headquarters had a watch that interrupted teleportation on the other side. But the Ylsa Dorel office was not notified of the possible security breach, so the party successfully barged into a high-end elvish fashion store and retrieved several expensive magical dresses. After the incident, the guild will likely replace parts of the device in its offices, and change the codes, so the device in Oakvale will be disconnected.
Big Game Hunters Edit
About 6 months have passed since the defeat of the Sorrow, in which the party played a crucial role. They spent these six months without any major adventure, instead they each concentrated on achieving their personal goals. For example, Calenor has left for Sylnerion to lobby the court to give him a position on the Council of Mages. One day, as they were all minding their business, Aerlcliff received a visitor. It was Virginia, their former comrade who left The Faultless Arrow after suffering a crisis of faith following the events related to the Godhammer.
Virginia revealed that she spent the past months trying to uncover the secrets of the Gods.But what she was seeking was forbidden knowledge, but instead of smiting her for her insolence, the Gods decided to task her and the party with a divine mission: to find and eliminate the Godwoken. These were the most dangerous creatures on the Old Continent, they drew their power from the divine essence of the Sorrow, which they absorbed after the Goddess of Life was destroyed by the Godhammer. Their power grew every day and soon they would become unstoppable and even pose a threat to the Gods.
Realizing the threat the Godwoken posed the party set out to Provincia Eremus Minor to track them down. Virginia accompanied the party as she was the one charged with carrying the phylacteries that could hold the divine essence of the Sorrow that they need to retrieve from the Godwoken. As they arrived to Eremus Minor they soon realized why the Gods asked them to do their dirty work instead of taking care of it themselves: the Godhammer not only destroyed the Sorrow but it also critically weakened them. In the vicinity of Eremus Minor they were essentially powerless, it was a land without gods.
Through diplomacy cunning and the effective use of violence the party managed to track down all of the Godwoken:
- The first one was Mulag, the Revenant, a goblin bandit chief who absorbed the Sorrow's essence which made him immortal. He used his newfound ability to terrorize the region and to develop a cult of personality. But the Arrow figured out that he draws power from his followers, so they flooded their dwelling with Death Fog, depriving Mulag from his ability to resurrect himself. (It should be noted that such indiscriminate use of deadly magic is considered a mortal sin, but the Gods granted the party absolution, easing their conscience)
- The party attempted to take out the Songbird, who used to be a teenage girl but the essence granted her voice the ability to command absolute devotion from anyone who heard it. The Arrow joined forces with Shotag, an extremely shady half-orc, whose plan allowed them to sneak into the temple the Songbird's followers built. But the Arrow was soon captured and led to the Songbird, meanwhile Shotag was nowhere to be found. As the Songbird interrogated the party imperial forces mounted an assault of the encampment. While the followers left the temple to defend the compound, agents of the Phoenix Guard attacked the throne room, aiming to capture the Songbird. In the ensuing fight the party managed to defeat both the Godwoken and the attacking imperials.
- The party traveled to Alikar's End, the only sizable town in the area to find Anders, the Comedian. He was a renowned duelist, who gained the ability to create illusions that allowed him to win duels against virtually anyone without them ever laying a finger on him. Fortunately the party figured out how to disarm his tricks and defeated him in a grand duel on Grashopper Island.
- The fourth Godwoken the party tracked down was the Guardian. It was originally thought to be the giant who guards the heart of the Weald, but it turned out to be the giant tree that controls the entire forest. With the help of the Imperial Legion (who had no idea that they were fighting a Godwoken) the party managed to slay the beast before the forest could devour them.
- The Arrow also visited the Oasis of the Lost, where they tracked down the Changeling. It used to be some form of fey (nymph maybe?) but the Sorrow's essence gave it the ability to adapt and change at will. It ferociously guarded the swamp it took as its home, attacking anyone who dared venture deep. The fight that started out easy (the creature was bird sized) but the Changeling became more dangerous by the minute, and in the end the party was fighting a dragon-like monstrosity whose very gaze turned people to stone. It took all their strength but the Arrow triumphed.
- The final Godwoken was someone the party has met before. When Prince Gregor sacrificed himself to pin the Sorrow down so that the Godhammer could destroy her, his soul was shredded beyond repair. But a piece survived and merged with a fragment of the Sorrow's essence, forming the Punisher, a being obsessed with justice (Gregor was a paragon of knightly virtues) and retribution (main drive of the Sorrow). The situation was complicated by the fact that the Imperium discovered the Punisher and hoped to use it for their own purposes. That is why they were hunting for the other Godwoken, so that they can use their divine essence to empower the Punisher so that the Imperium will have its own deity (and in some form Emperor Marius gets his son back). With the intervention of the Gods the party inflirtated the lab he was kept. The Punisher tried to turn the party's own guilt against them (which is quite plentiful) but in the end they managed to defeat him.
Although their original mission was to collect the divine essence and then to distribute it among all deities equally, the party received secret messages from their patron deities trying to convince them to favor them in the distribution. The party learned that the Sorrow's divine essence is especially valuable because she was banished before the Overgod Ao changed the nature of divinity. This meant that deities with the Sorrow's essence don't derive their power from their followers.
When the party finally had the essence from all the Godwoken, Virginia revealed her true colors and (after distracting the party) absorbed the essence in an attempt to ascend to divinity. She thanked the party for their help in acquiring the essence, then told them of her plan to carry out the Sorrow's original plan and rid the world of the Gods. The Arrow attempted to stop her, but wWith her new powers she easily defeated them. In the end she chose to spare their life, a sentimental mistake that ultimately led to her downfall. With the help of the Gods the party returned to the imperial lab and retrieved the Edict that Archmage Travenus had hidden in case the Punisher would get out of control. Using the Edict they managed to weaken Virginia long enough that they could deprive her from divine essence, allowing the Edict to annihilate her.
There stood The Faultless Arrow with all 6 phylacteries full of the divine essence of the Sorrow. There was no mortal or god to stop them from doing what they want with it. But instead of giving in to their dark impulses they decided to be selfless and distribute it among the gods, but not equally: only the good and neutral gods would receive the essence, thus upending eons long the balance between Good and Evil. But their plan was thwarted by Cassiopeia who diverted a large portion of the essence to Erathis, empowering her goddess.
The actions of The Faultless Arrow not only restored the good and neutral gods to their pre-Godhammer strength, but made them even stronger. In the coming decades the evil deities were watching enviously how their brothers and sisters eclipsing them. The precarious balance of the Eternal War slowly broke down, and for a short time Evil seemed to be outmatched. The Good deities decided to seize this opportunity to destroy Evil once and for all. This sparked bloody conflicts throughout the planes, as the angelic legions of the heavenly realms started a massive assault of the Abyss and the Nine Hells.
In their desperation, Evil deities turned to brutal tactics to bolster their strength. Demons were set loose upon the Prime Material Plane to kidnap mortals for sacrifice. Their mortal followers were instructed to seek out artifacts of great power and use them against the churches of good deities, to sow discontent and doubt among their followers. But even such drastic measures were insufficient to stop the angelic hordes.
At last, final victory was at hand, but in the last moment the Neutral Gods intervened on behalf of their Evil brethren, to restore the balance of the Universe. Once the dust settled, a new world order arose, with the Good and Neutral Gods dominating all but the hellish planes, and the Evil deities constantly plotting to overthrow their good brethren. On the Prime Material Plane the Good and Neutral Gods consolidated their power in the civilized realms, the power of the clergy greatly increased. Meanwhile the Evil deities formed underground cults and churches, promising power and riches to all who would serve them.
I'm the captain now Edit
On the way to bail Jared (see The Princess Bride campaign) Faultless Arrow teleported to Ylsa, returning to the crime scene as any criminal does. They walked away from the shop of the Major Guild of Silk they robbed without looking back.
K and Chad were captivated by the blimp in the sky. Cassiopeia learned that blimp is operated by the Guild of Magical Trifles. They proceeded towards the tower of that Guild (the one with bat wings). It has multiple halls and alcoves for noble people to conduct business, with help of the servants. The low-class enters through a back entrance where the reception desk is located and the licenses are signed, but the party never went there. Instead they talked to the adventurer-looking dudes. Those adventurers are sworn guards of the Guild. The party decided to meet the master of proceedings in the cherry tree alcove. While they were waiting for him, druid and others were watching them, although they claimed they’re just here for casual punch-in. Another party of four appeared. When approached, one of them, the bard, made up that they are Impeccable Projectile, an adventuring party that just completed a quest. Bard then jumped on the pedestal and performed a song about Chad's valor. The song was actually about how he robbed the Guild of Silk, but Chad didn’t realize it. When the song was over, the master of proceedings (a male elf, shark with a true grit and dressed in purple robe with green arrows) appeared, and he already knew the party is Faultless Arrow. When they asked about a ride on the blimp, he named the price 2000gp (200 platinum “dollars” he said) per person, and the party realized he’s intentionally making it too high so the party doesn’t want to go. He also said that Chad and K need to resolve their feud with the fashion guilds first, and the Impeccable Projectile is here to duel. “Our fees are paid in blood”. He also hinted that the guards of his own guild may join the fight. The party walked away ignoring the call for duel (though Chad wanted to fight, the other party members convinced him not to).
They decided to capture the blimp and fly away into the sunset. They noticed the dimensional lock on it and teleported right outside next to the blimp. They were seen from the inside, and after Chad broke the window, the siren went off. The dirty workers inside laid down on the floor, covering their heads. K went in invisible and approached two guys next to the hatch lever. She distracted them, opened the hatch, kicked one of them in balls and kept the hatch open until the other guy lifted the lever up together with her. This gave Hareldor, his bear, and Chad a chance to get in. Cassiopeia was left outside. Helmsman Jason Eane showed himself, addressed the party with a loudspeaker spell, got some “I’m the captain now” from Chad, after which he pulled the emergency lever (the blimp started descending faster after this). From the tail, a wizard Cruamros appeared, cast disintegrate, missed (hit the worker on the floor) and closed the door hiding behind it. A showdown of magic and Chad's axe left Cruamros and his pet mummy in pieces. The remaining spellcaster, the helmsman successfully landed the blimp.
After the emergency landing, the druid introduced himself to Cassiopeia ("You don't look like you want to be here. The door is right there" as he pointed at the hole in the blimp) and addressed the party: "I have just cast a spell that makes the blimp impossible to fly until the guild's elite guard arrives. I can easily cut the fabric so it takes days to sew back. You fought well, but we don't need to fight till the last drop of blood. The tales of this battle in the sky will benefit both of us I'm sure. I think even the Guild can turn it into its benefit and consider the blood debt of Faultless arrow to be paid." (Suddenly he knew who you are) "Just accept that this honorable duel was won by me, and you can walk away with your heads held high." He adresses Haereldor, a fellow druid. "And yes, if you can just leave me a bottle of those oils to bring back poor Cruamros. It really wasn't his day".
As the party exited the airship into the gloomy streets of the lower city, they saw a figure in the distance with a few horses. It turned out to be the druid from the Guild guards. He offered those horses for a reasonable price (looks like this time the guild wanted the party to buy). He pointed at a a crowd gathering a few blocks away: they were watching the crash and wanted to hunt down the illegal immigrants that caused it. Apparently the magical schoolkids were the only faction in this city that the party did not piss off. The druid offered to escort the party out of the city to avoid the crowd. Things could have been much worse, so the party followed him to the outpost on the other side of the high bridge. They saw the magnificent wizarding towers of Ylsa for the last time and set out on their journey through the woods.