Overview of Weekend 2
After a week off, during which the adventuring party trained, studied, and learned more about Accord, Whiskey and Rick decided to see the Chosen King who they found out visits Accord once a day to provide food to the starving/impoverished city.
When they got into the feeding line that would eventually allow them near the King, they were engaged by a very talkative and unassuming man. During the talk Whiskey discussed his views of morality – mentioning how he did not believe in absolute good or evil as much as the actions behind them. The man latched onto these ideas and began twisting Whiskey’s words – pointing out how, in a world with no good and only actions, there is, essentially, only evil. Whiskey did not agree, but the man never took no for an answer.
Finally, they arrived at the front of the line and the man told Whiskey, “Let me show you about evil.” He proceeded to transform the food provided by the Chosen King via Heroes Feast into a plague that literally began tearing the men, women, and children of the starving city – who ate the food – into pieces, causing their guts to erupt in horrific abominations. Rick, meanwhile, was rendered useless and ill by some vile power of the man’s.
Ffolst, seeing this engaged the man and teleported him to a very isolated area on the continent (the Dwarven scar). The man, whose hand was on Whiskey, brought Whiskey along. Conflict ensued, during which the man continuously taunted Whiskey, revealing that his parents were still alive and being used horrifically by the undead. He seemed bent on proving to Whiskey that absolute evil did, in fact, exist and seemed to relish in tormenting the innocent Green Man with it. As Ffolst was delaying and sparring with the man, now revealed to be a member of the Shroud, Eralyn (contacted by Ffolst) brokered a deal with the Dulonians – a temporary truce to help Accord. Together, Eralyn and much of the Dulonian army managed to defeat the plague and save the civilians. Finally, Ffolst called in his Heroic allies and the Shroud retreated – though only after the Shroud forced Ffolst to be reborn in his safe realm, savagely murdering the powerful hero not once, but twice – pushing even Ffolst’s limits.
Back in Accord, the group began discussing their next plan. They decided to go investigate the oil shortage and, using Dur as a hasty means of travel, arrived in Trell in half a day – a truly amazing feat of transportation. Outside of Trell they noticed a sphere of light radiating from the south of the city. Upon investigation, they found a pit of sand with an Altar of stones in the center, upon which rested a blue glass needle. The group acquired the needle after a harrowing fight with Ankhegs who were somehow empowered by the sandy area – now revealed to be a powerful node of Altrichar. Whiskey, fascinated by the powers of the area, took a seat on the alter and began meditating while the party rested. This attracted the attention of a puppet – now known to be controlled by The Puppet Master. Somehow, Dur’s presence deterred the Puppet Master; however, the party realized that the sand area was growing new Ankhegs – and decided to leave.
Once back in Accord, Whiskey had an idea to use Elemental power to shift all the earth around Accord in exchange for the sand of Altrichar around Trell – some 400 miles away. Knowing that the party lacked the power to do this, they decided to engage Flameweaver to see if he might do so. Flameweaver explained that he could not, but that the source of power in the sand may do it and gave the party a means to burrow into a hill near the sandy area and told them that he expected the area investigated in 72 hours. He also took a drop of blood from Rick.
Almost immediately every Chosen on the world began suffering fire damage as Flameweaver used the blood of Rick in tandem with a hair he’d collected from Ffolst years ago to strike back at the Chosen. Realizing what they had done was harming the Chosen, Rick and company went to the Dreads guarding the Creation Stone. The Dreads were, of course, very upset and brought in a Spell Breaker. The Spell Breaker (Khagai) explained that he needed to entirely exchange Rick’s blood with someone else’s – that it would change the focus of the spell. Kimpo volunteered and the Spell Breaker managed to shift Flameweaver’s curse into Kimpo’s body, immediately obliterating him. After some pleading on Rick’s behalf – and arguing that Kimpo was innocent – and offering one of the very powerful spell gems the party had gotten from the demon summners to fuel the spell – they convinced the Khagai to Revivify Kimpo at 0 hit points. The Chosen, noticeably angry at the group, bade them leave and promised to never ever bring any of them back to life under any circumstances again.
A smoking, clearly also impacted Dur, angrily vented on Rick for some time before the group traveled back out to the hill to obey Flameweaver’s command. At the hill, near Trell, the group used a device of Flameweaver’s to burrow a hole down to a Hell Lord’s resurrection command center.
After much combat Whiskey fell, dead for all time.
Eventually, Kimpo came to a room with a mechanism that would allow him to awaken a clone of the Hell Lord Vecniroth. Just as he was about to do this, Rick had a realization – his true name provided him a prompt, allowing him to expend a tremendous asset in order to summon the attention of Sevarious. Sevarious, assessing the situation, Was. Not. Fucking. Happy.
He stopped Kimpo and brought Rick and Kimpo together, berating them abusively for some time. Sevarious proceeded to use the technology of Vecniroth’s throne room – now revealed to have traveled to the plane of Mechanus to assist in the assaults/war against the Jun (as long planned!), to gain access to the heart of the Mechanus war machine. After some trickery, Sevarious used the advantage of surprise to slow the war machine down – aiding the Chosen war effort, then (after more berating), teleported the party to Accord and used Vecniroth’s citadel to attack Flameweaver, killing him (forcing him to use one of his resurrections – he reappeared a few minutes later seeming confused about recent events and pissed). Sevarious then pushed the group through a portal, forcing them all to be good-aligned, gave them each a small splinter of his insight (3 times per day the group can call upon Sevarious-Wisdom), and brought into the party a new person who he saw fate deemed “most appropriate to help them not fuck more shit up”. He also provided Kimpo some form of healing ability (as the group had no healer any longer), before leaving.
The group, newly assembled, exhausted, passed out. The next day, they had a side adventure that amounted to very little.
Note: Nuanced details and notes that players should have taken during the events have been omitted (as players are responsible for keeping track of those).
Final Tally: One party member permanently killed.
New Party Level: Three
Reputation Adjustment: The Chosen now know the party as being infamous and responsible for the near genocide of an entire generation of their children. While the Chosen blame Flameweaver directly and the party indirectly, it is unlikely that any Chosen will aid the party again.
Sevarious, who announced himself as some kind of guardian, has stated that he placed a specific geas on each member of the current party: if any of them, at any time, attempts to do something that would “Piss him the fuck off”, they will die.
Flameweaver, brought back to life with no memory of the events of the previous few days, does not so far seem to remember interacting with the party at all. However, that may change as he rebuilds his newly destroyed castle and uses his substantial wealth and influence to piece events together again.
Bonus: A resurrection station of the Hell Lord Vecniroth has been removed from play. Forever.
Meta note: I do not normally allow characters below level 10 to be brought back to life barring other PC intervention. Kimpo’s death early on in this session was dealt with using Revivify for a few reasons: he has a natural 20 luck, the party had the resources to pay the cost to bring him back, and the scenario was so very challenging in terms of the plot and roleplay that I had to take into account Kimpo’s newness – this is his players’ third session playing Third Edition Dungeons and Dragons. While I will occasionally pull punches, NPC Revivifies – except under some extreme and unforeseen circumstance – are off the table entirely.
This was a challenging session and it took place on two very distinct levels VERY High and Medium-Low. Readers are encouraged to remember that one of the players – Whiskey – was running off no sleep for 24 hours, and that Rick was running on 4 or 5 hours of sleep total. In addition, many of the choices that led to extreme negative outcomes, although avoidable, were somewhat reasonable at the time. Kimpo’s absence at the beginning of the game and much of the interactions between the Shroud and Ffolst occurred while Kimpo’s player was running late, so he missed all of those events
Chosen Note Though no Chosen died as a result of Flameweaver’s powerful tinkering, the cost was extreme – massive resources were expended to cast the healing spells needed to keep children and warriors currently engaged in war alive (effectively balancing out any gains from a lull in the war with Mechanus). Ffolst and Eralyn burned all of the experience that they earned this session fighting the Shroud\negotiating with the Dulonians to save their people. In addition, the cultural cost behind the attack is unknown: the Chosen are not a forgiving people and a whole generation of children will bear the scars (at least mental) of being burned alive from the inside via the power of Flameweaver.
Sevarious Sidebar The actions of the Sevarious NPC appear to border dangerously on DM/God intervention, which I abhor. Earlier in the session, Rick’s player solved a very expansive riddle orientated around the Sevarious character – essentially enabling him “One free summon” of the incredibly powerful and mean-spirited NPC. Had Rick not solved the riddle and used his summon, Sevarious would not have intervened at all. Considering Rick expended what was, essentially, a “get out of jail free” card on a low-level situation (rather than when it might be even more useful at higher level), I opted to let it through. In addition, the abilities that Sevarious provided the characters were granted for specific reasons:
1: Without a healer the party would suffer. Kimpo’s new ability to heal will fill a vital gap and allow everyone to play what they want to play, rather than forcing someone to roll a healer.
2: Giving the party the ability to make a “common sense” check will aid the newer players in avoiding certain (extremely dire) pitfalls, particularly when tired or making choices that may not be fully informed. This “common sense” ability will be reduced as the party grows in power and experience (no one wants training wheels forever, right?).
3: Finally, using Sevarious to bring a new PC in to replace Whiskey allows me to let Whiskey’s player choose a level adjusted or templated race (up to an adjustment of 2) that I normally would forbid as a reward for being a good sport about dying.