Ptolus: The Campaign Continues

Inserting the Key
Into Dwarvenhearth

The Gear Key

Having used a secret passage discovered near the Banewarrens Inner Entrance, the party decended some 200 meters to a cavarn that was just outside the Grand Entrance of Dwarvenhearth. Immense pillars and perfectly woven stone and mithral cunnery line the walls and floor tiles in the plaza. The sheer size and near perfect shape of the place truly amazed everyone as they made their way to the Great Gear Gate.

As they approached, the Key floated out of the hands of one enthusiastic delver and slid itself into the grand gear mechanism that effectively was the magical lock of this door. Hard to call it a door – it’s more of a wall that hasn’t been slid open for centuries.

The large golden gear lock rumbled and turned – as gears, tumblers and knocks filled and echo the hall then sliding the large stone walls apart revealing the opening into the Great Plaza.

The wonderment ended however with a party of Drow and their leader, a Vampire Sorceror who was insistant that their lives and their equipment now belonged to him. And that wasn’t ego as he had over a dozen soldiers with him – and oh yea – one Beholder floating behind him.

Dodging spells and Disintergrates the Defenders toil and ultimately destroy the raiding party -but not before losing one of their own…

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The Day King

The Gauntlet

It never ceases to amaze people in Ptolus when delvers come back up with exploits of heroism and feats of daring. Certainly the fact they risk their lives on uncertaintly makes for great stories and conversation in all the taverns and watering holes in the City By the Spire. But ask about a small group of nobles called The Defenders of Ptolus, an egotistical group of adventures that somehow have conquered evils and chaos cults everywhere. Not to mention the favor of the Lords of Castle Shard. And now its rumored they have gained entry to fabled Dwarvenhearth!

Though I hate braggers and those that exagerate without proper fluff, once cannot deny the proof and the results this young and bold group has produced. Though I sometimes grow tired of their fans and cheers while I drink my favorite tankard, I have to admit that I too am looking forward to hearing about their latest exploits. It’s better than all the gossip among the Houses, and cheaper than a game of Dragon Dice.

Hopefully they won’t be swallowed whole between now and then. There are stories to be heard!


Danilo Harpschord Retired Herald of Emerald Isle
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Ok and now Day King

False Tombs

Battling Dark Elves was bad enough – but a black dragon coupled with wicked traps was enough put some real fear into Lincoln and the rest of his friends. And he is usually the upbeat one. After the battle with the dragon, the party carefully headed down the hall, having to beat back gorgons made of metal and defeating a fireblast trap.

Probably the one thing that really got Vey worried was a lone coffin in the center of a lackluster room. It was dark except for a small eerie glow emanating from the casket. Believing the party had finally found King Stardelve’s tomb, they gathered near the door while he went to examine it. A skeleton of sorts appeared above the casket, but did nothing. As our rogue carefully pulled tools out to search – he knew as soon as heard a soft hiss of wind that he had made an unalterable mistake.

The casket exploded with amazing force obliterating everything in the room and the doorway. Gunpowder laced with sorceroy shattered the walls and blackened the faces of a stunned group of adventurers. But they survived nonetheless.

The next room carried the real treasure. A lone bronze coffin that sat open with a preserved Stardelve laying in it. On his right arm, was the fabled Platinum Cestus, an artifact the King used to his death that helped defend Dwarvenhearth during its fight with Ghul more than three hundred years ago.

Altair wasted no time recognizing the artifact and promptly putting its epic happiness all up his arm…. and hoping the party won’t suffer for it…. despite wasting even more dark elves later. One can only hope.

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A Surprise Exit

A Gift of Insight

As it happens, our heroes weren’t quite done with the darkness of Dwarvenhearth, but seeing an exit and recovering one of the fabled Swords of Ptolus; one might ask: Why press your luck? Indeed they had to fight three petrified Chimeras surrounding the Night King’s tomb (of which nothing was there but a fabled trapped treasure trove). Vey lept to action with arrows while Xi-Fa slammed the Chimera’s with magic missle fury, leaving the sarcastic fighter to do some heavy hitting of his own.

Though it was touch and go for a short while as one Chimera breath a carbon smelling bolt of lightning right through Vey! But that is as bold as they were allowed to get as the party decimated the enemy, defeated a well placed trap then found the secret exit to Dwarvenhearth – which rose through a Dimension Door portal straight to the Bull & Bear Armory- or rather the back broom closet of this well known establishment.

Needless to say the owner, who is well acquainted with some of the party, was stunned to see them falling over each other as the door opened and they were behind the counter! Even more surprising was the Stonelost Dwarf standing there arguing over weather or not a cape would be worth his coin. He could not have predicted that today, the enticement of a cape would lead him to rejoining with his bretheren and retake their proud home. He took the news with concern but haste as he quickly paid the owner and ran off to locate some of his tribe’s leadership.

Meanwhile, the Defenders hastily went home to Rosegate House. It had been too long since they slept in their own beds and had hotmeals… to say nothing of seeing the sun again.

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Goth Gulgamel

They really should just name this the fortress of solitude but in any case; after the party discovered a mage that could teleport them there hopefully locate the Entrophy Sphere, the PCs proceeded into the forbidden dungeon. And at this point, it is not at all clear what their objective is now!

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Souls & Fire Giants

Goth Gulgamel Continued

“Why are we up here again?” asks Xi-Fa as she straightens out her tunic and cloak. “You wanna stop the Lords of Chaos don’t ya? You want fortune and glory right?” smirks Vae as he walks and cleans his longbow.

The chamber they were leaving from was ancient and cold. Grey stones and opaque granite lined the walls and then seemed to fade into the surrounding darkness. Something called the Utterdark. Something so alien and mysterious that if one were to let curiousity get the best of them, one would simply vanish into the void. Never to be heard from again.

The company continued down a wide path that opened up into an archway. Strange as the archway depicted horrific vistages of demons and devils, unholy rites and sacrifice. All manor of evils were depicted here. However, those details didn’t hold long, as just beyond the arch, one could see a vast chamber lit in flames. Pools of hot magma oozing here and there, and potholes that seem to carry actual Souls of the damned – trapped trying to get out.

The souls were guarded by fiery salamanders and beyond, fire giants as old as Praemel itself. Vae quickly began looking for another way around this living hell. Only there wasn’t one. This was the only way forward. His own Righteousness put to the test as this appeared to be a suicide confrontation in front of him and his companions.

His tepid nature was calmed by Xi-Fa’s devastating spell attacks along with Altair’s blades and his faithful drunken friend Wong. As Lincoln sang ballads of glory and strength to keep up everyone’s morales, one by one they slew their enemies. Fate was strangely on their side even in this foreboding place. (Actually the DM can’t make attack rolls to save his ass!).

Defeating the giants and resting while they could – they continued until they found a strange narrow path of bones that led to floating marble platforms. The bones and the platforms were suspended in the Utterdark itself. Visability was impossible. One wrong step and the reverse gravity would take hold and woosh someone to the Abyss forever. Fortunately, some quick thinking saved everyone from that consequence… Vae had tied rope to everyone before proceeding.

Battle ensued at one of the platforms but it yielded results…Lenses…that could actually see insite the Darkness…but only if it was dark around the wearer. With a small path before them and entangled dreams befuddling our heroes, they will be lucky indeed if they should ever see their own beds again…

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The Story So Far...

The Story So Far….
Created By: Monte Cook / Malhovic Press
Summary of Adventure By: Mike Haas, RPGA-Herald Level

THEN
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…

NOW

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.

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New Heroes, Dark Places....

It seems it is no surprise that the Defenders have come across two unlikely people stuck in a sewer below the Dark Reliquary. Finding a Wizard and Oracle seemed nearly to convenient. But after a bit of small chat and some exploding skeletons in nearby rooms, it was as if they had always been there.

Adam is positive that he is here for a Good reason – one that probably doesn’t involve the bounty on Rat Tails from ratmen. But he also dragged someone else into this and the truth is – they may not be at all ready for the horrors they will be witness to. Assuming they survive the hunt for Callista (among others), their greatest peril is yet before all of them…

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Angels Fear to Tread...

Rescuing Callista and an Astral Diva seemed simple by comparison to the folly decision to actually have to enter Jabal Shammar. Using an artifact given to the group by the son of the Elder Gods, Raguel, the Defenders pierced through the Entropy Sphere once again and are now at the world’s pinnacle of all evil.

And for all the Good they have accomplished to get here, it may be their own undoing that corrupts as the halls and portals of this forsaken place, as they may add to the very evil they are trying to destroy.

If they can just get past a couple of Stone Golems and a fiery dragon’s head… this should a cake walk!

FINAL SESSION SUNDAY JUNE 10th

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The Trial of the Book / End Game

The Dread One’s Path

And so after releasing a Planetar frozen in time inside Alabaster’s Sanctuary, our courageous yet foolhardy adventurers set out to conquer and defeat once and for all the Dread One. Of course stocking up on potions is always a grand idea – and applying enchancement enchants on yourself proved crucial as you entered the housing of the Dread One’s suite. Cold it was, various dark items spread about.

On a chest in the far corner of the room, with strangely no key, sat a journal. The journal seemed empty except for one dark velvet page in the center. The Planatar had mentioned a secret access – this maybe the key.

Xi-Fa examined it carefully, and then spoke the magic of the page – instanteously being wisked to a dark crimson red place. She was by herself. Hearing whispers all around her. A dark robed figured stood ominously above her. He spoke:
“Did you really think your power could hope to equal mine? How comtempable! You are nothing.”

An hour passed and she couldn’t break his will.

“The longer you stay the more you become my servant. My very will. Your efforts are laughable.”

Xi-Fa tried to cast spells into the darkness – but nothing worked. Exhausted and slowly losing her mind – she began to concentrate. Inside her mind she told herself – this isn’t real. I am in control. I know in this universe, I am unique, and I will NOT BE DEFEATED!"

A burst of light, and she found herself among her friends and allies, all exhausted but breathing a sigh of relief. They too had gone through something similar, yet separate.

Tendrils like black molasses began attacking the party. The dark robed figure had been replaced with a floating large book – nine feet in the air. The Planatar worried – she tried to re-cast holy auras but ultimately failed. The Book of Inverted Darkness was protected by an incredible energy field. It was impervious to physical attacks.

It took some trial an error, but a fast thinking disintergrate spell destroyed the force field for a few second, long enough for the Defenders to unleash everything they had at the book. Vae fired a series of arrows, Lincoln through a bead of force, Adam unleashed an onslaught of bullets piercing the binding of the book; Altair slowly grabbed with both hands his greatsword swingly it in a powerful swing towards the book.

At the same time, Tally-Wa had fallen, she had suffered her fourth attack by the Tendrils of the Malignancy, her heart became dark and foreboding, in her darkness rage, she ensorcelled Carine and Lincoln in a powerful flamestrike nearly killing them.

Altair’s swing fell onto the weakened Book. He split it in half! From behind the Book, Xi-Fa cracked her Staff of Power into the half-split book!

Around the party, darkness and crimson light began to fold in on itself, as if the book itself and opened up a hole in space – sucking the Malignancy and everything around it, with a large thunderous crack- the book and the darkness were gone.

Tally-Wa fell to the ground, the darkness now gone – her eyes were normal. She looked up at you all from the stone gravel floor. “I’m okay.” she smiled. “I think we made a difference.,” then suddenly, as if exhausted. She died.

A few seconds later in a blast of brilliant light – her body disappeared.

In shock, and beyond words, you began to gather yourselves. Now inside the Throne Room of Jabel Shammaar, the dark shadows gone. You begin to wonder if everything was worth it. Was this really the end?

Just then in front of you; a silver-green circle began to form in the open space. Beyond it showed a space filled with a silver brilliant light. The light began to speak.

“We are the Elder Gods. You have done what we could not. And now it is time for your final task to be rid of the Evil we so long ago inprisoned here.”

To your right anchored to the wall itself was a large golden chain…it seemed to stretch out to the Heavens themselves. The chain reached deep into the fortress – and beneath the Spire itself. A Silvery Red Axe appeared next to the chain.

“You must now destroy these chains, so that you’re world will be free of Ancient Evil forever. If you do not do so now, the world will be torn asunder. No one will survive.”

Altair never did wait to make a decision – throwing down his greatsword. He grabbed the axe with both hands and swung with everything he had. The chain broke into a million golden shards everywhere.

Suddenly the ground began to shake – sharply. Outside the Tower of Malice window – it was night time in Ptolus – a silvery large moon appeared out of no where.

In this distance, a large tower that sat in Oldtown appeared on a corner where none had been before.

Then as you looked over the window, a large shadow krept above the city, it was dark and alive, it was pulled, dragged across the night sky – then disappeared in a point of light.

“It is done. The Jewels of Parnaith are destroyed. Raguel has fulfilled his purpose, and is back among us. As your world is now back among the stars themselves. You and those below can now write Praemal’s destiny. We grant each of you one wish, before departing your world forever”.

Vae, Adam, Lincoln, Altair, Xi-Fa, Chloe stood in silence. Though they spoke their wishes allowed – they couldnt hear it from each other.

Only time would tell. And only they could write the story from here….

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