Atlea and Beyond

Session One: Ornsdaine Cavern
The Beginning

28th September 2010 (real life date)
Here begins the story of Oizo Hapshetsutsen, Isis, Seven, Trolol Olol and Zola (Additional player characters enter the story later).

At the start of our adventures, the group all met whilst travelling on a caravan, both for the company it provided and for a few gold pieces in exchange for protection. After arriving in Bladeforge, the group heard that the Stablemaster’s son had been kidnapped by goblins. Following them into the forest, the group rescued the young boy and brought him back to the stables. Growing weary after a long day’s travel, the group headed to the local inn/tavern to rest, and headed upstairs. Suddenly, they heard a loud crash and ran back downstairs to investigate. Before them lay the scattered bodies of townsfolk, and a single humanoid stood over the carnage, protected by hounds. The group fought against the creatures and eventually slew the beastmaster, finding a slip of paper on him that had written on it: ‘ Greencourt.’

Travelling through the forest towards Greencourt, the group encountered more strange creatures, this time riding atop large canine beasts. The group defeated them and continued, wondering what to expect on the road ahead. In Greencourt, the party met an elderly woman named Krisoya Silverkin, who asked them to help the town. Recently the town had been under attack from the Ma’al Kurik (who they learned where the strange creatures they had met with), a group of artificers that had the strange power to create twisted forms of life to do their bidding, and could enhance their own bodies by adding the parts of other living creatures to them. The blacksmith of the town, Glenda Brazenblade, agreed to create powerful items for the group if they helped the town. Krisoya told them that the Ma’al Kurik seemed to be coming from Ornsdaine Cavern, and that loud rumblings and quakes had been coming from below the town.

In Ornsdaine Cavern, the group reached a fork in the caves, and chose to go right, leading to a room of glowing runic design. Therein they found a trapped chest that held inside it a ruby. Inscribed on this ruby was “Throw this to the ground to summon an ally to aid your cause.” Continuing on past a large stone door, the group came to a room made entirely of metal. There they met a Ma’al Kurik Metallomancer and some of his servants, humanoids with large hooks for fingers. During their combat they were also ambushed by large bats that attacked from the ceiling, high above in darkness. After defeating them, the group found that the room had become unstable, and the floor began to fall. They did their best to endure, and survived the fall. Once the dust settled, they found that here was a long hallway with artwork carved into the walls. It told of an ancient battle between a demon and the ancient Aalreonic civilisation. One woman finally sacrificed herself in a desperate attempt to take down the demon, which was successful. The demon was sealed away. Continuing through the cavern, the group came to a puzzling statue. They continued past it and encountered yet another. They found that this section of the hallway repeated itself continuously, each time revealing more of a puzzle. The group realised that they needed to destroy the statue, and continued on. They met a young man who claimed to be lost in this cave. They allowed him to travel with them, but once he had reached a dangerous room which was littered with deep holes, he transformed into a gigantic snake made from bone.
Snake

The snake nearly knocked several members of the group into the crevasses with its psychic powers, but the heroes prevailed and defeated the foe.

The heroes came across a Ma’al Kurik dragonrider in the next area, and after defeating him and his minions, used a strange glyph on the floor to rest for a few minutes.
After this, the group solved a riddle and managed to talk their way past a large animated guardian statue. Finally, the group entered a large chamber filled with rivulets of blood. Here, they discovered the demon Im’Ahzral, and fought against him. He also had two large guardians to protect him.
Guard
Im'Ahzral
After a long battle, the demon appeared to be weakening, and consumed his guardians to increase his power. In his second form, he fought even stronger against the party, searing the very chamber with increasing heat. The group used their ruby crystal and threw it to the ground, summoning a golem made from earth to aid them in battle. The group was finally successful and defeated Im’Ahzral, the demon. They began to make their way back to the metal floor that fell, and found that the town guard and Krisoya had come to help them. They threw them down a rope, and the heroes climbed back up, and went back to town. They were rewarded handsomely by Glenda Brazenblade for saving the town.

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Session Two: The Sphere
Travel

In the town of Greencourt, the party met a merchant named Brandis Thornshadow. He requested their assistance because he needed protection for his goods while they were being transported to Erun. On the road, the party met some bandits, and quickly defeated them to protect the caravan. Upon reaching Erun, the merchant rewarded the group with gold and a mysterious item. It appeared to be a wooden puzzle, made from many different pieces. Then the group headed to a local tavern to ask for information about Oizo’s missing sister. Isis also asked about her husband in secret, who had run off on her with Oizo’s sister. They found that they had passed through this town recently, but discovered little else.

Representatives of the Empress of Khosh came into the tavern and announced to everyone that the empress was seeking heroes that could help find out who was behind the recent assassination attempts on her. The party was intrigued and asked about helping. They then headed towards the city of Ghalem’Ka, the capital of Khosh to meet with the Empress. On their way there, they travelled across desert plains and encountered a Kenku, a bird-warrior. The Kenku seemed to be hiding something, and they found an injured person behind a rock nearby. The Kenku then turned on them, and attacked, along with some grub creatures he had nearby. In the battle, sand-sharks known as Bulettes attacked them as well, and the group struggled against them. Oizo, particularly, was caught in the jaws of a bulette and dragged along the surface of the sand. The party eventually convinced the Kenku to give in to them, and he used his imitative powers to scare the other creatures away.
The group made their way to Ghalem’Ka and found that there was a long line of adventurers trying to get into the palace. Exhausted and in need of rest, the group went to a large warehouse being used as a temporary tavern and place to sleep.

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Session Three: The Empress
Ghalem'Ka

In the large warehouse, the group encountered an elf named Rolan(do(mando)), who had come here searching for answers about who destroyed his home in the north. They told him that they were going to seek an audience with the Empress, and he asked if he could join their group. He said that he was a skilled archer and had a strong affinity with the creatures of nature.

The group noticed that a band of drow had been going from table to table, offering help getting in to seeing the empress. They were turned away with accusations of being criminals multiple times, until they came to the group’s table. The group heard them out and decided to give their method a try. They said that they would “arrange” to have another group’s appointment “replaced” with their own, and that they could break into the palace from underground. One of the drow led them to a sewage pipe underground, and led them through a cave. In the cave they encountered aberrant creatures: Grick and Grell, as well as several tentacled Darkmantle that fell on them from the roof. Making their way through the caves, they eventually came to a broken entrance into the palace from underground. Making their way through the palace, they came to the throne room in time for their appointment.

Attempting to impress the Empress with shows of acrobatic skill, the group made their way into the throne room. The Empress revealed to them a great deal about the history of the world. She spoke of the Primordials that were said to create the world, and of their war with the gods, who gave life to the world. She also spoke of the betrayer of the gods, one who was sealed away because he fought alongside the primordials. She spoke of a great war between the Dragonborn Empire of Arkhosia and the Tiefling Empire of Bael Turath. She said that a woman named Najala was responsible for opening the demonic portal in Bael Turath brought demons into the world and destroyed many of the ancient empires, such as the Aalreoni. The royal families of the empires sealed away the demons and closed the portal, swearing on their family line that it would never be reopened. Najala now seeks to destroy the descendants of the royal families, including the Empress, in order to reopen the portal. It is unknown, at least to the Empress, how many still live.
Suddenly, strangely dressed magi appeared in a blink, and began casting a ritual. They also summoned small spider swarms that exploded and killed the Empress’ guards. The ritual the magi were casting seemed to be opening a large demonic portal at the entrance to the room. Acting quickly, the group took out the magi and ceased the ritual, preventing the large demons behind the portals veil from getting into the world. The Empress thanked them for saving her, and granted them a ship to travel across the sea to Bael Turath to hunt down Najala. The group then learnt to sail from the shipwright and his sailors over the next few weeks.

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Session Four: The Kraken
Street Chase and Seabound

The group finally solved the puzzle of the sphere, and found that a spirit was trapped inside. Her name was Alandra Eldarkin, and she claimed to be the spirit of the warrior who defeated Im’Ahzral all those years ago. The group travelled through the city towards the docks and noticed a familiar face. Oizo immediately recognised his sister, and Isis recognised her husband. They raced after them, and the pair ran into an alley. They climbed a tall fence and continued running through the city. The group failed the jump the fence quickly or knock it over, and it took a short while for them to proceed. Meanwhile Seven, the rogue, climbed onto the roof of a building and tried to catch up to the pair. The wizard Trolol used fey step to blink through the fence and continued his chase, attempting to catch up to Oizo’s sister. Rolan eventually managed to climb onto the roof and jumped down onto a horse to try to ride and catch up. After the rest of the group got through the fence, they tried various tactics to try to slow down Isis’ husband and Oizo’s sister. Eventually Isis and Seven caught up to the pair, and Isis hit her husband with her mace in an attempt to send him to sleep. Unfortunately, the pair were quick and managed to escape via a horse of their own. They continued running until they reached a cliff, and jumped off the horse, leaving it on the top of the cliff. After a few seconds, the forms of the two could be seen rising quickly on the back of a large red dragon. The group cursed their luck as they watched them fly away across the sea.

Heading to the docks, the group set sail away from Ghalem’Ka and out to sea. They sailed for several days with no trouble, but eventually encountered a Kraken at sea. The group struggled to attack it as its various tentacles threw them across the deck and pulled some of them underwater.
Krocken
Eventually, the party forced it into submission, and it quickly retreated away from the ship with its life. The group sailed on.

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Session Five: The Library
Party member death?

The group sailed until they noticed a nearby island and heard Alandra speak to them. She told them that somehow she could hear Nine and Albi, Oizo’s sister and Isis’ husband respectively. She tried to attune herself better and made it audible to the whole party. They immediately recognised the voices. Alandra told them that it seemed to be coming from the island close by, but she could not tell why she could hear them. The group went ashore and encountered a mechanical humanoid named Tuln, who asked them what brought them here. When they told him about the Empress, he seemed shocked, and told them that there was no Empress in Ghalem’Ka. He said he was a librarian who kept tomes of historical significance and that her line was supposed to have ended hundreds of years ago. He took them to the library and showed them the tome that said so. The library was home to dwarves as well, who had created the mechanical man to help tend the library. Suddenly, a loud crash ushered in a large green dragon who entered through the side wall. Tuln told them that he was a dragon that they had bought to help transport large numbers of tomes between here and the capital. He said that they had had no luck in keeping the dragon until control though. The dragon attacked the group, and in the ensuing battle, sprayed the party in its acidic breath. Unfortunately, it sprayed another acidic blast at Oizo and he died, leaving only bones. After a tough battle, the group made the dragon submit. Tuln suggested that they keep it, since they protected the library and it seemed to be willing to let them ride it. Tuln told them that in the city to the north, Ikvegn, they could seek out the mage who knew how to get to the shadowfell, where they could rescue Oizo’s soul before it passed to the other side. They began to head north on the back of the dragon.

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Session Six: The Castle
Ikvegn

On the way to Ikvegn, the party encountered Nine and Albi again, this time far below, resting with their dragon. Upon seeing the party, they attempted to fly away, but the red dragon could not outrun their green dragon, who they had named Twelve. They managed to get Nine to notice that Oizo was gone, and she asked Albi to stop the dragon. They landed, and the group told them about how Oizo had died, and about their travels. Albi showed them a strange cube he possessed, which he claimed had the spirit of the Empressthey thought they met in Ghalem’Ka within it. Seven revealed that she was the daughter of Nine, and asked her if she remembered her. Isis hit her husband, demanding an explanation as to why he left with Nine. He told them that he was given this cube by a strange merchant months ago, and upon solving it, the spirit of the empress awakened. She told him about the demon portal and that Nine was one of the descendants of the royal families who sealed the demon portal those years ago. She told him to seek her out because Najala was bent on killing her. They had been on the run, even from the party, because they wanted to stay separated for safety’s sake. If Najala caught them all together, they would be in big trouble.

After talking, the groups decided to stick together until they got to rescue Oizo. They headed north to Ikvegn and discovered through asking around that the powers that be in the town resided in Castle Harkenwold. The group went to the castle and attempted different methods of getting into the castle. Albi used a disguise kit to convince the guards to let him through the front door by doing an admirable impression of a woman seeking shelter. Meanwhile the rest of the group scaled the walls using their ropes, taking the guards out one by one. Eventually, they all got into the castle keep to discover that the ruler here was Lady Najala! A battle ensued, and midway through, Najala showed her true form. She was a lich! Upon defeat, Najala collapsed into dust. The dust flew out the window and across the sea. The group knew that was not the last they would see of her. They checked the castle and found a prisoner in the dungeon named Eiswin, who claimed to be a mage. They told him they were seeking a way to the shadowfell, and he told them he was the mage who could transport them there. They made their way back to his tower.

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Session Seven: The Shadow
Shadowfell

The group reached a graveyard, and the mage spoke strange words, raising an invisible tower from the ground. He told that that here, the veil between the world and the shadowfell was weaker, and that here they could make a portal more easily. He introduced to them a woman named Fern, who revealed herself to be Rolan’s friend. She said she barely escaped as their village was burned to the ground. The group then opened the portal to the shadowfell. Fern and Nine stayed behind to ensure that the portal was kept open, and the rest stepped through.

There in the shadowfell, each of them began to feel strange. Various afflictions ranging from mania to depression affected them and weighed heavily upon their minds. In the distance, they could see a gigantic creature moving across the endless grey plains, and eventually after a long walk, came to a group of Shadar-kai. They revealed that they were servants of the Raven Queen, and that they kept souls safe until they could pass to the other side. They told them that they would not be able to retrieve their friend, but they should go to the city of Gloomwrought nonetheless.
In town they approached a temple to the Raven Queen and speaking to the priest there, they affirmed that they could not simply ask for Oizo’s soul. Suddenly, huge soul-eating creatures burst into the city, and while the Shadar-kai could deal with a few of them, the priest beseeched them to help defend the city. The undead giant spewed out demonic creatures, which Eiswin thought unusual. After a long-fought battle, they finally defeated the titantic undead creature and the demons, but unfortunately, lost Isis in the battle. The priest told them that she could not be brought back, as her soul would not pass through the shadowfell as she died here. It would simply pass straight through to the other side. In exchange for helping defend the city, he gave them Oizo’s soul and commended their service to the Raven Queen, protecting the souls of the dead from the titantic soul-eating creatures.

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Session Eight: The White Dragon
To Norjal!

After returning from the Shadowfell, Albi got to work on creating a suit of armour for Oizo‘s soul to use. After completion of the suit, Eiswin spent the next few hours fusing Oizo’s soul with the new armor so that he could have a physical body. During this magical infusion, Oizo saw visions. He saw a battlefield sided with elves and eladrin, and on the other side, small demons and a horrific-looking human figure.
The demons attacked, and the Eladrin and Elves did their best to meet them in battle. Shortly, the human figure on the demon’s side opened a huge portal behind her, spilling out of it various demonic creatures.
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She soon changed her form as well, taking on the form of a demon with a flaming whip and a lightning sword. The Elves and Eladrin were slaughtered by the demonic forces, and his vision ended. He awakened to find himself in his new metal body, unsure of what to think. He told the others about his vision, and they recognised the horrific woman from his descriptions…it was Najala!
As the group gathered around Oizo, a grey mist began to cluster in the corner of the room. Out of the mist materialised the form of Najala, and she angrily greeted Oizo, “How good to see you again.” She pulled her hands toward her and suddenly Nine, Seven, Trolol, and Albi began to slide towards her. As if being pulled into a rift, they blinked into thin air in front of her and disappeared. “If you want to see your friends again,” she cackled, “meet me north, in Norjal.” She blinked out of the room and disappeared.

“So you met her too,” Eiswin said. He told them that when in the shadowfell he brought back a small piece of one of the small demons they defeated, and had been experimenting on it. He told them that when he scried using it, he found a huge power of seemingly demonic origin emanating from Norjal. Eiswin told them, “quickly, find your friends, hasten to Norjal!”
So the group set off on the backs of their red and green dragons north to Norjal. Upon arriving at Norjal, they encountered a village covered in snow near the edge of a wood. Here they saw Najala, along with several demons. Najala said to them “welcome!” and from behind her, a huge white dragon arose from the snow. They began combat, and soon the group found that small demons were coming from the houses in the village. Upon further inspection, it was seen that the elves that had lived here were slaughtered and their bodies were used as a means to spawn more demons. Najala used her shapeshifting abilities to change into a beholder, and she created havoc with her powerful eye rays. The red and green dragons they had used to fly here then fought the white dragon.
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The group slowly took down each of the demons, lighting the houses on fire to destroy the demons as they were being born. They killed the last of the demons, and destroyed Najala in her beholder form. The white dragon knocked both of their dragons unconscious and turned to face the party. It used its powers to create a blizzard, sending each of the party unconscious, except for Oizo. Oizo spoke with the dragon, asking it who it served. It told him that it served the Elder Elemental Eye, and that it is rumoured that the entity created the demons. Oizo asked the dragon what he could do to let it spare he and his friend’s lives. It told him that it must come with him. Oizo agreed, and the dragon scooped him and the rest of the party up, flying them to some unknown destination. It is unknown what has happened to Trolol, Seven, Albi and Nine.
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Session Nine A: The Portal
Coyote's Refuge

The white dragon flew Oizo, Rolan, Fern and Zola across the sea and towards the sandy deserts of Vor Rukoth. Overhead glowed a green light from the sky, becoming brighter and brighter, and as the light came closer, it was revealed to be a huge rock emanating a green glow. It zoomed down and struck the white dragon in the back, causing it to drop the party to the sands below. They saw a green mist pass over the land as they fell into unconsciousness.
Upon awakening, the party found that they were in the care of three strangers, a halfing named Coyote, a dwarf named Terris and a tiefling named Inferna. Coyote told them that he was gathering a group of like-minded warriors so that they could take back the city of Vor Rukoth from Najala, who presided over it.

The group went to Coyote’s Refuge, a small town made mostly of tents and only a few buildings. They slept overnight at the Dancing Lizard, an inn and tavern run by Terris.
In the dead of night, Oizo, having only needed a few hours sleep, heard a strange noise coming from down the hall, and decided to investigate. He found the entrance to a cavern that seemed not to be a part of the inn. Upon exploring the cavern, he discovered some strange creatures that crawled upon the ground with many legs. Another of the creatures had a terrible great maw. He called for the others, and they investigated as well. The largest of the creatures spat a black goo upon the floor of the cavern, slick and moist. The creatures charged at the party, and after a long battle, the group was victorious.

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The goo, however, did not disappear. From the centre of the substance, a small rift appeared, and began to expand rapidly. It stretched to the edge of the goo, then ceased expansion. The others decided to get some sleep, while Oizo kept watch, in case another of the creatures appeared or something happened.
In the midst of the goo, Oizo observed strange outlines of spiderlike creatures with heads that ended in spiked tails, and others horrific visions.
Upon awakening in the morning, the group questioned Ulben, the man who tended to beds, about if he knew anything of the strange vortex. He seemed interested in it, and then answered that he knew nothing of it. Oizo deduced that he wasn’t lying, even though he seemed suspicious.
The group told Terris about the happenings of the evening, and he told them it was probably linked to the mists that visited them when the green tinted rock fell to the ground.

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Session Nine B: The Captives
Slavers

Albi, Trolol and Seven woke up to find that they had been stripped of their weapons and thrown into a cell by slavers. The half-orc slavers were sold them by Najala, after she teleported them from Eiswin’s Tower. In the cell with them was a dwarf from Turak-Tol. Using guile and stealth, the group managed to steal the guard’s key and break the necks of many of the other guards. Seven found a shard of glass and some leather gloves to use as protection, and utilised the shard as a makeshift dagger. The group found a chest and upon opening it, discovered the pieces of a strange wooden puzzle. Deciding to inspect it later, they made their way through the underground cavern, taking out guards as they went using a construct that Trolol imbued with his arcane magic. The group spotted a Grell with some Troglodytes near the exit from the area, and used the spider-like construct to distract them and the half orcs while they snuck away.

Upon reaching the open air, they found a group of ruined buildings. They heard a group of half orc slavers coming their way and hid, waiting for their chance. The slavers carried with them a chest of the group’s belongings. After coming out into the open, Seven tricked them into believing she was sent by Najala to retrieve the chest, and they continued marching past the group without the chest. The party then opened the chest and got their belongings back. The dwarf told them that the safest place to head was outside the city of Vor Rukoth, only a few miles away, to Coyote’s Refuge.

Upon reaching the refuge, the group went into the local inn/tavern, the Dancing Lizard, to discover that their friends had been through here. Upon mentioning their friends to the innkeeper, Ferris showed them the strange portal that was the result of their friend’s stay. They experimented with it, to find that they were unable to enter it, floating above it instead.
They sat down and solved the puzzle, forming a small pyramid shape, and it began to glow with a red light. They heard the voice of a dragonborn, who told them he was Dralmar Wyrmskin. He said that he was trapped inside the puzzle when he was fighting the demons. Then he began to feel strange, saying that he could sense something. He asked if there were any like him in the world, trapped in puzzles. The party told him yes, and he said he could sense their presence, not so far away. The group asked him to lead them to the source of the sensations, and they went to look for their friends.

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