The Scales of War

Unleashed Wind

Karogg left a note declaring his leave of absence with a lengthy explanation: “Gone. Back later. Karogg.” He had been spending the last few months trying to find more information on his family or any of his bloodline. He could discern which of his race still followed Baphomet by the look in their eyes when they saw a white-furred minotaur. His blood had been persecuted for generations and left in the lower rungs of the minotaur society. Karogg had heard stories of his people once being slaves to the Baphomet clansmen, yet he wondered if the current situation was so different. He had worked hard to achieve his rank of Chief Executor of the Winterbreach Valley. However, it was a solitary position; no one would be his acquaintance. He could not tell if this had been a result of his occupation or that of his ancestry. It was not until later that he came to realize it was one and the same – some time after his village had been razed.

The culprit was obvious – the charred skull of a dead minotaur, a mark of the Baphomet clan. Ever since fleeing the area, Karogg had sought vengeance against them. Numerous opportunities had risen, but most recently they had resulted in failures. This is how he found himself in Overlook, aiding a new adventuring party led by Balasar and Joss. He needed time to recover and calm his rage, having realized that he was spiraling into self-destruction. Then, he had overheard some of the Baphomet clansmen in Overlook speaking about “white-rugs” they had captured. Karogg quickly scribbled his note and left it on Joss’ door, rushing out to track down those clansmen to their den.

Keeping his distance safely away from their notice, Karogg wound through hilly fields. Seeing a campsite up ahead, he readied his weapons. However, as he drew closer, there were no signs of any life. He noticed too late that it was a trap, and a dozen foes sprang up seemingly from nowhere. Slashes started to carve up his skin as he was being overwhelmingly attacked, although he had taken a handful down before he could feel that his strength was sapping away. As he was ready to fall to his knees, a dwarf leaped into the circle of villains that were surrounding Karogg. This dwarf was able to dispatch a few of them instantaneously, and his display reinvigorated Karogg to fight on. Together they were able to silence the Baphomet ambushers, and fled to safety.

The dwarf lead them to a monastery where Karogg spent several days recovering from his wounds. When Karogg had awakened, the dwarf revealed himself to be a monk by the name of Angvar who had been the leader of this monastery. He had been running late to return that day, when he heard clashing of steel. Angvar sensed a great ferocity in Karogg, which drew him closer. The monk proposed that Karogg should learn to tame his nature to become a greater warrior. Angvar offered his own broadsword to Karogg, and insisted that he should stay at the monastery to properly wield them. Karogg accepted that his fury was uncontrolled and wanted to rely on his prowess to achieve victory rather than his bestial nature. For months, he stayed with Angvar training all hours of daylight to hone his martial abilities. Eventually, Angvar conceded that his monastic technique of the unleashed wind had been mastered by Karogg. After giving his thanks, Karogg made his way back to Overlook.

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Arc 6: The Temple Between (Completed)

After only resting for a short time, the adventurers were indirectly asked to see the priestess of Erathis named Haelyn living in the old Ninebells District of Overlook. It turns another priestess of Erathis responsible for a shrine in the different part of the city has gone missing and replaced with a scruffy man named Grovald. Unsatisfied with the answer she was given that her friend was on a spiritual retreat, Haelyn questioned the priests of the other temples but received unusually cold responses from each of them.

The adventurers began their investigation to the ‘missing’ priestess and found several intriguing elements.

Although they seemed normal to the rest of the party, Joss sensed the minds of the priests were being remotely controlled through the use of psionic magic.

A broad daylight B&E into the house of the missing priestess yielded burnt parchment paper that indicated specific instructions and timetables and orders to remain as inconspicuous as possible until a certain event has occurred.

Now suspecting the new priest of Erathis for having a hand in the disappearance of Haeylyn’s friend, the party returned at night to investigate the plots and found the decaying body of a female wearing the garbs of Erathis’ followers. Concluding it was the person they were looking for, they did not leave the grounds soon enough as Grovald and a bunch of street thugs appear and confront the adventurers.

After successfully overturning the nighttime ambush and beating Grovald into submission, the impersonator reveals he was hired to act as a priest of Erathis until an event occurs within the city, though what event it is he doesn’t know but was told by his employer Zithuruun that he would know it when it happens. In exchange for this information, the party allows Grovald to escape Overlook and never to return.

Armed with this information, the adventurers informed the captain of the Overlook Watch about the events that has occurred and their suspicions about the religious leaders. Captain Aerun thanks the adventurers for their help and promised them that he will assign the necessary guards to investigate further when the time is right, as he does not have the resources to commit to it at that time. Though the adventurers were eager to follow up on it, the captain was insistent that they should rest.

Not quite ready to stop halfway, the adventurers attempted to track other leads that would provide additional clues revealing who was plotting against the city. Acting on information about a middleman, the party discover that Captain Aerun was actually a doppleganger and proceeded to chase him into a warehouse. The doppleganger noticing the party, quickly alerted a hostile group of ruffians and attempted to ambush the party.

After the fight concluded, the party found a secret underground hallway and room that had a lone prisoner in it, the High Father Durkik of Moradin’s church. After freeing him they learn that a sinister plot was being performed, replacing important politicians and religious figures in preparation for something big. Durkik was interrogated because the enemy wanted to find an easier entrance into a ancient temple of Moradin that lies deep within the Stonehome Mountains.

Durkik leads the party into the Moradin temple in Overlook and instructs them to enter a portal that would lead them into the ancient temple and asks them to find an artifact called the Inculabulum Primeval. The book would be an important tool for Durkik to use to turn the tides on whatever threats that will emerge.

The adventurers entered the portal and arrived within an ancient temple dedicated to Moradin and were just as quickly trapped within as the temple’s defense mechanisms activated to repel intruders and trap those who already infiltrated the complex. The adventurers fought their way through fey bandits who were looting the temple and vicious looking to wipe the temple of all living creatures, they even got caught in a three-way fight and had to retreat and recuperate before attempting to finish off the remaining forces.

The adventurers encountered a gaunt hooded figure whose left torso was covered in metal and leather straps that seemed to be the only outer layer the humanoid possessed. Although they did not see his face, the physical description of his height and equipment informed the group that he was most likely the mastermind behind what was happening in Overlook. Before the party could catch up to him, he escaped through a tunnel that led deeper into the mountains. And in the meantime he left his allies behind to deal with the party. Eventually the party triumphed over the mixed group of dragonborn, trolls, and stone constructs.

As the party was searching the room they find an Azer tied up in a corner room and eventually they cure him of whatever affliction was put on him. The Azer has no name, but was known simple as the Caretaker, the one in charge of maintaining the temple. However he was captured by the enemy and interrogated about several natural and constructed features of the temple, but the methods of interrogation clouded the Azer who was linked to the defense mechanisms within the temple, explaining why all the portals were not functioning and why a dwarven Eidolon depicting Moradin was aiding the trolls.

The Azer helped the party retrieve the Incunabulum Primeval from a different part of the temple and deactivated the defense mechanisms to allow the party to return back into Overlook’s Moradin temple safely. The party went to the Council of Elders and informed them of a plot to invade Overlook and helped the council prepare for war.

The battle started much sooner than anyone expected, but luckily sufficient preparation was made to hold off the outside forces of trolls, dragonborn, and other mercenaries looking to plunder the dwarven stronghold. Eventually the party encountered Zithuruun as he entered the fray on his undead dragon mount, Rathoraiax. Though it was a challenge, the party managed to kill Zithuruun in the battle, which demoralized the enemy army and caused them to scatter back into the wild.

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Asar-Xul: Rebirth of a Swordmage

Upon the death of a swordmage who perished in a stream of elemental chaos, his life essence was transported to the elemental plane. While still not aware of itself and no recollection of its past, a servant of the mighty Bashamgurda, Lord Efreet of the City of Brass, collected the soul as a meal for its master. When the great efreet plucked the semi-sentient spirit from his dish, ready to devour it, the soul bristled with fear, releasing jolts of pain to the efreet’s hand. Amused and finding this meal of his to be so peculiar, the efreet bestowed upon the soul a physical form, that of a stormsoul genasi, suitable for the shock he was able to produce. The efreet named him Asar-Xul and explained that he could keep his physical form in exchange for serving under him as a janissary, acting as a slave soldier in his army of elemental beings. Asar-Xul accepted his chance at rebirth, but found integration among the efreet’s various servants to be difficult.

Fortunately, Asar-Xul was given tasks to work on independently, seeking out enemies of the lord efreet, and found himself few times within his master’s domain. On one particular mission, he was sent to root out an insane psion who had been sowing nightmares among laborers while they slept. However, the psion, in an act of self-destruction, opened a rift into the Far Realm, which pulled both Asar-Xul and his foe into the distant reaches of existence. Finding himself flung away and utterly alone amid nothingness, Asar-Xul prayed for salvation, but for days there was no reply. In fact, his master had called out for him to return after having learned of his disappearance. Despite his efforts, Bashamgurda could not summon his janissary from such a distance, so that he presumed Asar-Xul to be dead. Instead, after several days, Asar-Xul found a glowing object appear out from nothing and whisper to him to follow. Having stayed in the same place for days, he thought this apparition to be some figment of his own madness, when in fact it was a divine spirit. Willing himself to press on, he surprisingly found himself to be drawn forward until he was brought before a portal of fiery, radiant energy. He obeyed the glowing apparition and threw himself into the portal, believing there to be no other option for himself.

To his astonishment, he was brought to a mortal world, but his strength suddenly failed and he fell into unconsciousness. A family of farmers cautiously took him into their home and let him rest there. While asleep, the lord efreet contacted him in his dreams, having felt his existence once more. Instead of summoning him back to Brass, Bashamgurda took the advantage of his location to order Asar-Xul in the task of finding something that belongs to him in the nearby city of Overlook. After giving thanks to the family, he departed in the direction of his goal. And upon reaching the city, he felt a spark of some old arcane energy that was strangely familiar, which he followed until he found an abandoned mask resting atop a magical sword. After cleaning it off, he recognized it as a warforged faceplate; however, it was deplete of any magic that could sustain it. The sword he took with him as well, feeling like it had some connection to him in the past.

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Chapter 5: Den of the Destroyer

A platinum sword recovered previously by the adventurers started talking. Asking them to help seal a portal that was on the verge of opening and letting out a primordial being that could destroy the Elsir Vale.

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Chapter 4: Lost Mines of Karak

Bram Ironfell, one of the richest dwarf nobles in Overlook, hired the adventurers out to find a long lost Ironfell mine in the desert to the south. What the adventurers found were troglodytes guarding the old mine, led by a Naga calling herself Queen Sheva.

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Chapter 3: Shadow Rift at Umbraforge

A black market weapons dealer named Sarshan was feeding finely crafted Shadar-kai weaponry for various armies in the Shadowfell. The potential threat these armies pose for the region, possibly the world would be deadly.

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Chapter 2: Siege at Bordrin's Watch

The adventurers cleared Rivenroar Crypt and rescued as many of the prisoners as they could. They were hailed as heroes of Brindol and festivities lasted several days.

But trouble was brewing in the west. The dwarven city of Overlook, the largest city in this region and last line of defense against savage tribes beyond the western mountains, was issuing an emergency call-to-arms from all able bodies in the Elsir Vale. Brindol isn’t fully recovered from the recent bandit raid , but they are obligated by treatise to offer whatever aid they can. The council members called upon the heroes to offer their services, with a suitable monetary reward.

And so the adventurers set out to aid the city of Overlook. They weren’t the only adventuring party there, a large mix of mercenaries and other fellow thrill-seekers were there waiting for their chance to claim some sort of recognition. Before long, this adventuring group was assigned the task to warn the dwarven monks at the Monastery of the Broken Chain located in the southern edge of the mountain range about an impending invasion comprised of orcs, trolls, and other savage beasts.

When they arrived at the Monastery, it was mostly too late as most were slaughtered and eaten by the occupying orcs. The adventurers fought their way inside to discover that the mountain range had a large tunnel network made by the dwarves of a previous era. The scope of the tunnels hint that the orcs might be using the tunnels to infiltrate the dwarven city and fort that guard against invaders.

Within the monastery, the group found a dwarf paladin named Kalad being interrogated by orc raiders. After rescuing him, they find that the horde might already be preparing to make a surprise raid on the entire Elsir Vale through these underground tunnels. In order to stop them, the adventurers have to find a central hub called the Nexus. Although old and nearly completely forgotten, the Nexus is the heart of the tunnel network and each tunnel has steam pipes connected to them. The point would be to flood all the tunnels with boiling water, essentially wiping out the would-be raiders.

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Session 2: Clearing the Crypt

The adventurers rested after a near-death encounter with spiral drake swarms, readjusted themselves to the situation they were faced with and proceeded onwards. Clearing out orcish bandits after orcish bandits. Along the way they found the kidnapped townspeople and the relics that were stolen from the town of Brindol.

During their exploration, they encountered various atypical elements that differentiates the crypt from typical ones. Statues of displacer beasts, cold-to-the-touch menhirs, back-and-forth fireball throwing braziers, etc. But the adventurers triumphed over all the obstacles and saved most of the villagers (the captain of the guard was killed while attempting to overpower his captors).

After completing their mission, the adventurers were paid their due and celebrated as heroes in the town of Brindol, but this was only the beginning.

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Session 1 - Brindol Under Fire

The trade town of Brindol in the Elsir Vale sent out notices over the past months, calling for adventurers and coin-seekers alike to help deal with the region’s increasingly active bandit raids. Many answered the call and settled themselves within the town until the local leaders formulate the plan of attack. Luckily for them, the bandits took the fight to them.

In the middle of the night, a bandit raiding party smashed through the town gates and began wreaking havoc, looting, and pillaging. Unfortunately for one particular band of orcs and goblins, they knocked down the wrong door to pillage…

After barging in and slaying a few of the villagers resting in the tavern, five adventurers who had little to no connection to one another fought the bandits and prevailed. But that victory was short lived as they witness an unusual sight and possibly the reason on how the bandits managed to penetrate the town’s defenses: an ogre pulling a wagon full of explosives and half-orc archers came rolling by causing mayhem.

The adventurers rallied to take down the ogre and raiders, and proceeded to provide help where it was needed in the rest of town. When the chaos was quelled, the adventurers were hired by Council member Eoffram Troyas to track down the bandits’ hideout. In addition to clearing the bandits out, several villagers were kidnapped along with several non-magical relics that were remnants of the Red Hand campaign waged in the region over a decade prior in the Elsir Vale.-

After having trouble traversing the mountainous landscape to the southeast of Brindol, running into dead-ends and fighting kruthiks, the adventurers arrived at an old ruins resting at the top of a plateau. Having followed the tracks with certainty, the adventurers began delving a side-entrance that saw frequent use.

The adventurers might not have been as prepared as they thought, because in addition to goblinoids and half-orcs, they found swarms of drakes that nearly killed half the party.

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Session 0 - The Setup

Empires rise and fall for whatever reasons only the fates can truly comprehend. Arkhosia and Bael’Turath wiped each other off the face of the world with only legends and myths left to tell their story. The dwarven empire of Stonehome wasn’t able to manage the threats that existed beyond their mountain range, despite overthrowing their giant slave-masters hundreds of years before. The human empire of Nerath was the last glorious entity that protected the continent including the Elsir Vale. After sitting in the dark ages for over a century, civilization has finally picked itself off its feet and started to rebuild, re-establishing old connections, and re-discovering the glory and vice their predecessors left behind.

The people who live in the Elsir Vale can be seen as frontiersmen or pioneers, settling in places most folks wouldn’t consider hospitable. To the east are conclaves of overprotective elves of Westdeep, beyond them the stalwart dwarves of Stonehome. The north and east are mysterious, but rumors tell of ancient civilizations dating back older than the Nerathians, but currently inhabited by various kinds of goblinoids. To the south of the vale lies deserts and wastelands that stretch for leagues. The Elsir Vale is a frontier isolated from most civilizations, and so the need for hardy adventurers and mercenaries arose.

Bandits have over the recent months began raiding trade caravans and villages in greater frequency and in more organized bands than what the local militia can cope with. And so the trade town of Brindol sent out a call for adventurers to help remove the threat in one fell swoop.

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