The Story So Far….
Created By: Monte Cook / Malhovic Press
Summary of Adventure By: Mike Haas, RPGA-Herald Level
Ptolus. A city of roughly 150,000 souls of all types, makes and models. So diverse and different they are that most of the population has no idea the dangers that exist both in the Spire, below the city in the Dungeons, and right next to them in the Necropolis District. In either case, there are some calamities that are known and here is where are heroes enter.
Things started simply enough. A band of unemployed adventurers show up at a well-known inn and drinking hole called the Ghostly Minstrel looking for fun and…well work.
A series of missions began it all. From rescuing a woman in an ally nearby from thugs, to thwarting a half-orc gang leader’s attempt to steal a demon possessed watch, to avoiding a very early confrontation with the Covenant Blood Vampires.
It didn’t take long for the band to discover the real threat lurking all around them. It seems there are some very nasty Elder Evils sleeping underneath the city and wouldn’t you know it…there are some citizens in Ptolus that worship these Lords of Chaos and very much want them back among the living.
But you deal a hefty blow to the Venom Pack and the Brotherhood as well as several other groups after you infiltrate Pythoness House, a former brothel now semi-headquarters to several Chaos Cults. Effectively destroying the denizens of the fortress, freeing a ghost that was a former paladin and destroying the chaostech hydra in the permanently frozen basement of the place.
For a time, you all converted Pythoness as a base of operations, though you were not there very long.
As word of your successes increased, so did your notoriety. A missive from the Lord and Lady of Castle Shard began taking interest in your earlier exploits and began revealing more about the world around you. They told of you of a plot to bring about the Night of Dissolution. A ritual that when brought to fruition, could separate the Chains of Valor from the Valis Moon holding the infamous Galchutt here.
Bravely, and sometimes foolishly, the company delved deep underneath Ptolus underneath a temple to where the ritual was taking place. Finding out that the leader of the Chaos Cults, one named Wutad, a fiend and sorcerer, was presiding over stolen children bearing the mark of the Souless and thus foretelling of the right time to perform the ritual.
A pitched battle ensued over a multi-tiered platform as the group fought adepts, unholy priests, warriors and tried to save the children in glass containers feeding Wutad’s altar and making him stronger.
One among you acted out of haste, destroying the feeding apparatus and all of the enemies along with it. Unfortunately, the blast killed the children as well. The battle with Wutad killed one member of your party but his death was nonetheless welcome. You had stopped literally, the end of the world.
The Commissar of Ptolus rewarded your efforts by giving you Rosegate House. A modest mansion in the Noble Quarter of the City and it was well earned. Breathing a sigh of relief, you all finally came home for a respite. Though the rest didn’t last long…
Some months later, a summoning from Castle Shard once again beckoned. This time they feared something horrible had been released upon the city and indeed the entire world. Someone had opened the Banewarrens. A ghastly series of murders had begun the night before performed by a psychotic cursed dark elf. Someone that had been in stasis inside the Banewarrens for good reason.
After some research, you find out that long ago, the great Sorcerer Danar (who later became Malkith) created the underground vaults to keep the most evil artifacts, items, monsters, etc from being loose on the world. Danar surmised that simply destroying these items would only release the evil they possess – so in his mind it was much better to gather them all and lock them away. This of course proved fatal, as the evil proximity of the Galchutt and the Banes themselves eventually began to corrupt Danar.
Even his friends, an Astal Deva and Solar, could do nothing to stop the evil from corrupting him – eventually he sealed himself inside the Inner Vault – creating tunnels leading to the Spire and later to his new fortress Jabel Shamaar at the top.
It was decided that Banewarrens must be re-sealed properly. But to do this you would need the Banewarrens Key and something called the Sealing Rod.
Turns out one of the noble families of Ptolus, a scourge to be reckoned with to be sure, the Valadaam Family; had the key located somewhere at their estate.
Disguised as guests of a dinner party, are daring band hopped the wall, avoided werewolves, vampires, and even a pair of Tieflings, gaining entry to the underground vaults and running away with the key…a mummified hand.
Subsequently they also managed to steal the entire Valadaam fortune – but that endeavor ultimately failed. After 48 hours – a mass return objects spell sent all the tagged loot back to their vaults… much to the dismay of our bard.
Consequently both he and his friend, a witch were lynched, captured then tortured horribly for nearly a year before having their throats ripped out by Hell Hounds. They have since been raised as undead servants and now clean the vaults they once coveted. The bard now only makes discordant sounds, much to the dismay of Norkayea – the youngest Tiefling daughter of the house.
A great peril all of you entered the Banewarrens, eventually repaired several generators meant to keep the place from deteriorating, and re-sealed the place.
As luck would have it – before leaving you also discovered a massive key that had working gears along its edge. So following your noses, you discovered a secret passage way that led you to another sealed dungeon. That belonging to the long lost dwarven city of Dwarvenhearth.
Dwarvenhearth had been sealed and abandoned by those calling themselves, the Stone-Lost Dwarves nearly 450 years ago during the Ghul sieges. (Ghul was this other asshole that wanted to be like Malkith and had a horde of evil monsters and shit that laid waste to the world before finally being beaten back by the forces of Good.)
Dealing with undead dwarves and guardians, you all eventually discover the King Stardelve himself – his tomb anyway, and take it with you back to the surface once you had gleaned what you could of the place. Telling another dwarf that the place had been taken over by drow and other denizens, and handing over King Stardelve’s corpse to priests, you leave hopeful that this may re-unite the dwarven nations and allow them to finally re-take their home. This moment was huge on the grand scale of things.
Castle Shard was pleased. Not only had you resealed the Banewarrens, but you prevented the Inverted Pyramid and the Church of Lothian from using their agents to gain access to the place. Indeed, one fiery red-headed wizard/fighter named Shivera though a member of the Inverted Pyramid – was impressed by everyone’s performance in keeping the place sealed – though her original goal was to seal everyone in – the party, the priests – the baddies…. Everyone.
The Defenders of Ptolus, as you all had become known as, had finally won the respect not only of the reclusive leaders of the city but also the general citizenry as well. The Defenders even stopped a Barbarian War from happening when elements of the Chaos Cults failed to sacrifice their king. It seemed all there was to do now was retire…
Through a series of dreams that seemed unending, the party learned of a fabled elven city trapped underground. Known as Dreata Phantas, the Dreaming City, you learn that the only way to stop the rising power of Chaos that will eventually free the Galchutt and destroy the world., is to return Draeta Phantas back to its rightful place in the Moonsilver Mountains.
Long ago, drow and their goddess Lloth, stole the city and their king, simply known as the Dreaming King, in the hopes of learning everything there is to know of the world. For the Dreaming City literally contains an artifact that stores the dreams of all of the world’s inhabitants.
Though they have the city trapped underground, the drow do not have the means to enter the city. But the Defenders do. Learning of a powerful gateway made of chaos energies called the Entropy Sphere, the party figures out that they must return to Goth Gulgamel (the fortress in-between Jabel Shamaar and the Sphere) with something called the Cask of Frozen dreams and then they can enter the city.
After surviving the Utterdark of Goth Gulgamel, the company returns home to contemplate and recover what they experienced. They are not home long before being visited by a demon – who delivers a message that Raguel, the leader of the Fallen (an organization of humanoids and denizens that worship the undead and worse) wishes a meeting.
Raguel is nothing at all what the Defenders expected…he is a demi-god. The son of the Elder Gods themselves, placed into the universe to watch over Hell as no one there could be trusted. Said to wield more power than Orcus himself, Raguel did the best he could with this task for eons.
Not being evil himself, he grew tired of watching all things depraved, and came to Pramael two hundred years ago in search of his parents. So far nothing. But through an artifact he obtained called the Mirror of Parnaith, he hopes one that is pure of heart, can communicate to his parents and thus free him from the prison he now is in.
Of course coming to Pramael by himself would be for naught – so a host of demons came with him. The demons of course, attracted to the evil of the Galchutt chose the location of the Necropolis to wait. The undead and demons built a massive structure, known as the Dark Reliquary. It home to Raguel, his succubus lover Lillith and his humanoid and demon allies.
According to dreams given to the party, someone named Callista is in the Dark Reliquary also. A woman that was given information about the true nature of the world, the Galchutt and the Elder Gods’ plans to rid the world of evil once and for all. And placed under a spell so powerful – that she forgot who she is and was, and is now Lillith’s pet somewhere in the forbidding mansion.
The party must rescue both her and others in a place called the Cruciform Prison within the Dark Reliquary, return to the Entropy Sphere and travel to the Jewels of Parnaith to defeat a demon, return to Callista, then head back to Jabel Shamaar before finally heading to Draeta Phantas to conclude the campaign and restore the Dreaming City back to its former glory.