Fancy Bastard Scales of War

Chapter 8: Haven of the Bitter Glass

In a previous quest to the Den of the Destroyer, the Fancy Bastards freed the mysterious deva Amyria from her imprisonment in the form of a platinum sword. They had not heard from her since she parted ways with the adventurers in Overlook.

The heroes had just finished a momentous adventure Beyond the Mottled Tower, chasing down and destroying Sarshan in his tower within the Elemental Chaos. They had returned to Overlook, having had a couple weeks to rest and recover after returning from their battle with Sarshan. They were summoned to the walls of Overlook’s western gates where a mysterious flying ship was sighted heading for the city.

This ship, the githyanki war galleon Conqueror, had crashed near the southwestern wall by the time the Fancy Bastards arrived. The only person on board was an injured githzerai scout named Tokk’it. He announced that his race is the sworn enemy of the githyanki and that their last fortress in the area is under attack from githyanki forces; he stole the githyanki ship to try and summon help from the Heroes of Elsir Vale before the fortress of Akma’ad falls.

The ship was able to manage one more trip back to the site of the battle, and Tokk’it started the trip back immediately with the Fancy Bastards on board. During the journey, Tokk’it admits that an important meeting of githzerai leaders was occurring at Akma’ad, and that their lives are at grave risk. Somehow the githyanki learned of the gathering and communicated it to a group of nearby mercenaries with lightning speed, and the leaders were ambushed almost as soon as they all arrived.

After fighting a githyanki recovery team sent to reclaim the Conqueror, the heroes reached the besieged fortress, where their swift actions secured a favorable outcome for the remaining githzerai survivors. Succeeding in routing the githyanki, the heroes learned that several of the githzerai leaders were slain during the battle and the remaining leader, Odos was hostile toward humans. The surviving githzerai planned to go to the nearby city of Sayre, so far untouched by war, and they invited the party to accompany them if they wished to play a part in the upcoming war council called, unknown to the party, by their friend Amyria. En route, a surviving githyanki assassin attacked them.

In Sayre, the Fancy Bastards met a local githyanki celebrity named Telicanthus, who lauded them as the Heroes of Elsir Vale and invited them to tea. The githzerai accompanying the heroes didn’t fare as well, since locals considered them, oddly, evil and thieving undesirables. They were initially refused entry to the city until the heroes intervened and vouched for them. In the abandoned warehouse where the githzerai in Sayre were forced to stay, the heroes met Amyria once again, and she asked for their help in organizing the fractious githzerai. In doing so, the heroes discovered a major githyanki plot in the city involving Telicanthus. A divination spell pointed them toward a long-forgotten library beneath a ruined temple of Ioun. The heroes were attacked by a band of “beggars” en route, and they found out the hard way that the temple of Ioun was now a temple of Tiamat instead.

With clues and information that Telicanthus was maintaining a magical communication network for the githyanki armies, the Fancy Bastards had the opportunity to infiltrate his mansion and look for proof when they were invited to formal tea. Before attending that event, they helped to establish the Seven Shields Coalition, an organization that was united to oppose the growing githyanki threat.

Secretly searching Telicanthus’s mansion revealed roughly dug tunnels that led to the ruin of a tower, and the Bitter Glass itself. With proof of hidden githyanki troops and traitorous activities, the Fancy Bastards publicly confronted Telicanthus with their evidence and finished him once and for all.

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Chapter 7: Beyond the Mottled Tower

Overlook’s Council of Elders received a missive from Megan Swiftblade, begging their aid in the light of repeated assassination attempts against her and her group — the Freeriders. The letter also included an intriguing note indicating that Megan had discovered who was behind General Zithiruun’s recent attack on the city. Megan was in hiding for her life, but asked that a courier be sent to the Green Dragon tavern in the village of Talar. The council summoned the Fancy Bastards, asking them to meet with Megan and assess the truth and value of her information.

The party reached Talar without incident, but as they rested in the tavern waiting for Megan to make contact, an earthquake hit the area. However, before they fled the collapsing tavern, the party rushed to aid other trapped patrons (including Thurann). When they finally reached the street, the screams of the fleeing populace heralded the sight of an unearthly ooze — blood chaos — inundating and destroying nearby buildings.

The Fancy Bastards faced off against several creatures lurking within the blood chaos. However, even as they determined that this deadly flow was emanating from a tunnel blasted out through the side of a nearby hill, the heroes saw the tower atop the hill shudder and sink into the earth. In the aftermath, the heroes battled their way down through the tower, defeating a number of beasts freed by the earthquake, and rescuing the sage Falrinth, his servant, and Megan.

In a cavern deep beneath the tower, the Fancy Bastards discovered that servants of Sarshan were behind the attack on the town, and were set to flee by way of a teleportation circle. After defeating them, the heroes gleaned enough information from Falrinth and Megan to determine that this attack was just the first of many, and that Sarshan must be stopped for good.

After activating the portal, the party arrived at the Ever-Tree — a living tower growing in the midst of a lake tainted with blood chaos. Immediately beset by a pair of green dragons, the heroes fought their way into the tunnels beneath the tree, catching their first glimpse of Sarshan as he fled. After defeating Sarshan’s guards, the heroes followed the shadar-kai through another portal to the Elemental Chaos.

Arriving atop an earthberg drifting on the Sea of Fire, the Fancy Bastards discovered the monolithic tower that served as Sarshan’s lair. Inside, the shadar-kai had configured a portal network leading through the tower to pass through a series of guarded and trapped chambers. When they finally reached the roof, the heroes and Sarshan faced each other in a final showdown. Sarshan was thrown off of the top of the tower, but somehow managed to survive and crawl his way to a portal, attempting to escape. However, Sirkana Embersight beat him to the punch and opened a portal that transported the party to precisely the location where Sarshan was trying to leave. The Fancy Bastards struck fast, and Sarshan was incinerated in the Sea of Fire.

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Chapter 6: The Temple Between

The Fancy Bastards had just completed an adventure of obvious importance (the freeing of Amyria from her imprisonment in the form of a platinum sword). It appeared as though nothing of consequence would immediately follow — at least until the next night, when the heroes received hints that all was not well back in Overlook.

Returning to their home away from home, the heroes initially found nothing amiss. Slowly, however, they discovered — through the prodding of Lavinya, priestess of Erathis, that several of the city’s priests are acting peculiarly and, perhaps more importantly, Haelyn, keeper of Erathis’s shrine, has vanished. Following up on these minor discrepancies, the party swiftly found hints leading to a conspiracy worming its way into the city’s hierarchy. Several of the conspiracy’s members were possessed (though the heroes do not learn by whom), while others — including High Priest Durkik Forgeheart of the Stone Anvil — had been replaced by doppelganger mercenaries.

The party traced the conspirators back to their headquarters in a large warehouse, where they slayed the possessed watch captain and rescued the real Durkik. The party then learned of the Mountainroot Temple and found out that one of its mystical portals is located in a hidden sepulcher beneath the Stone Anvil. Using it, the heroes went to the abandoned ancient temple, where they confronted both a cadre of fey and a band of mercenaries employed by General Zithiruun. This cadre included members of Rhogar’s former clan, Medrash Redbane and Balasar Redbane. They also found, unfortunately, that they couldn’t leave! Here they made the following discoveries:

  • The Caretaker of the temple was being tortured, and the pain and madness inflicted upon him have thrown the temple’s defenses into chaos. This is why, among other things, nobody can leave.
  • The fey were seeking an ancient tome of great power. They were sent by Cachlain, the Stone-Skinned King, a fomorian noble who — along with his new advisor, Sovacles — would play an important role in the quest for the Throne of the Stone-Skinned King.
  • The mercenaries serve someone called General Zithiruun, who sought the temple — and indeed, the entire region! — for access to the various planar portals. The conspiracy in Overlook was only the first step, and the city would soon be facing a full-scale military invasion!

Finally, once the Caretaker allowed them to leave, the Fancy Bastards quickly returned to the Council of Elders with a warning of the forthcoming siege. Here, they finally cemented their place as heroes to this military city, as their help proved instrumental in Overlook’s survival — and as they finally came face to face with General Zithiruun, and learn of the githyanki involvement in all that had come before.

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Chapter 5: Den of the Destroyer

In the aftermath of the Rescue at Rivenroar, the Fancy Bastards recovered not only the kidnapped inhabitants of Brindol but also several relics of great historical value to the inhabitants of Elsir Vale. Among these was a ceremonial platinum sword. Though the folk of the vale had no knowledge of the sword being magic, it contained a primal essence that had been reawakened by Fangren’s powerful rituals.

The heroes were in the city of Overlook, returning and resting up from their adventures in the Lost Mines of Karak. Duron Flamebeard was called away for other responsibilities to his church, but the Fancy Bastards were fortunate to find a new cleric of Moradin: Berechek Athabasca. The new party learned that a messenger had recently arrived from Brindol, desperately seeking them.

On further investigation, they discovered that this messenger had been captured by a band of Lost Ones, the powerful thieving guild the Fancy Bastards faced off against in Shadow Rift of Umbraforge. After rescuing the messenger, the players were beseeched to return to Brindol.

Arriving in the town, the heroes headed to the Hall of Great Valor and spoke with the curator Sertanian, then with the sword itself. Identifying itself as Amyria, the sword charged the party with a mission: travel to an abandoned githzerai fortress now occupied by savage gnoll mercenaries, then perform a ritual to transform the sword into its true form. Even as the heroes were weighing their next move, bounty hunters from Overlook attacked the museum, wrecking the place as they targeted the party on behalf of an unknown patron.

With the sword in their possession, the Fancy Bastards traveled to the githzerai fortress. However, the arduous journey was made more dangerous by another bounty hunter — the elf Gilgathorn, who knew that Sarshan was the one who had put a price on the heroes’ heads. They arrived at the monastery and fought their way through its gnoll defenders, with Gilgathorn waiting for an opportune moment to take revenge on Karch Silvertongue, his former associate.

In the end, the Fancy Bastards found the ritual chamber and faced off against Fangren. The energy conduit to the Elemental Chaos had been opened, the shaman channeling the power of Yeenoghu against the heroes. After defeating Fangren, the heroes performed the ritual that transformed the spirit of Amyria into its true form — a mysterious young woman who comes to play a central role in the events the Fancy Bastards are caught up in.

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Chapter 4: The Lost Mines of Karak

After their successes in the Siege of Bordrin’s Watch and the Shadow Rift of Umbraforge, the Fancy Bastards had established something of a reputation for themselves within Overlook. The party was introduced to a wealthy dwarf named Bram Ironfell, a member of the Elsir Consortium and scion of Clan Ironfell.

Bram took the heroes into his confidence as he told them of the recent discovery of a parchment connected to the shadar-kai arms dealer Sarshan. Bram believed that the parchment detailed the location of the Karak Lode — a mine belonging to his clan that had been lost for generations. Bram hoped that if the mine was found, its wealth could be used to defend Overlook and the Elsir Vale against the brewing conflict that the heroes saw hints of in the Shadowfell. Following the directions on the ancient scroll, the party headed south past the Westdeep and into the dry lands known as the Thornwaste. There, they were beset by dwarf warriors from a rival clan who had caught wind of Bram’s discovery. They also encountered a wanderer named Mag Blackthorn, from whom they sought guidance through the treacherous wastes. Beyond the Thornwaste, the heroes came to Dunesend — a small village at the edge of the desert, controlled by a cruel gnoll called the Warden. After defeating the Warden and his allies, the heroes learned that the village was held in thrall by a mysterious desert despot calling herself Shephatiah, Queen of the Drylands.

The Warden’s path through the desert follows a forgotten track to Shephatiah’s lair in a lost mine — the Karak Lode. Along the way the party encountered Markas, who was also seeking the Karak Lode in the hopes that it would fund his master’s research. However, they found the ancient dwarven ruins occupied and defended by desert raiders and foul subterranean creatures led by an evil dryad. The party made short work of the queen and her followers, but they could find no trace of the mines. They did, however, encounter an odd and mysterious old person that they called The Birdman.

As they waited out a sandstorm (and the Birdman disappeared), the Fancy Bastards found themselves beset by a band of cavern choker assassins led by a troglodyte curse chanter. Only by retracing the steps of these marauders did the characters locate the previously hidden entrance to the mines. There, the true Queen Shephatiah held court.

Exploring the ancient dwarven caverns, the heroes battled Shephatiah’s followers before confronting the real Queen of the Drylands — a powerful naga. Having discovered a rift linking the mines with the Elemental Chaos, Shephatiah had made the Karak Lode her lair. However, after defeating the naga and her servants, the heroes uncovered evidence that Karak’s wealth was now controlled by an unknown group from another plane.

The Fancy Bastards returned to Overlook and recounted their findings to Bram Ironfell, who told them he would leave the mine sealed. However, the forces responsible for shipping the mine’s wealth through the Elemental Chaos have a long reach and dark plans…

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Chapter 3: Shadow Rift of Umbraforge

Back in Overlook after the events of the Siege of Bordrin’s Watch, the Fancy Bastards were devastated by the loss of half of their party in the Vents. They mourned their fallen friends, but were able to recruit two new heroes: Sirkana Embersight and Duron Flamebeard. And the timing couldn’t have been better.

The Fancy Bastards found themselves targeted by a group of street toughs seeking the mysterious brass key they obtained from a dark creeper in the Vents. Through their would-be assailants, the heroes obtained the name of the one who ordered the assault — Modra.

Pursuing leads that took them into the darkest corners of the city, the heroes learned that Modra is a dark creeper with connections to an arms-running operation and a poorhouse known as the Happy Beggar. They also discovered an ally in Reniss, the sister to a deceased member of the Farstriders. In a network of secret caverns beneath the Beggar, they discovered that the weapons-running operation extended from the Shadowfell to Overlook by way of a pair of ancient magic portals. When the dark creeper fled to the Shadowfell, our heroes gave chase.

Transported to the Shadowfell, the Fancy Bastards found themselves in Umbraforge — an isolated military enclave that was growing ever larger in its preparations for war. Foundries, forges, mercenary camps, and slave pens stood between a dark tower and a volcanic rift venting a river of lava and shadow. As they infiltrated by stealth and sword, the heroes discovered that Modra was an underling to the shadar-kai Sarshan, master of Umbraforge. In addition to arms running, Sarshan sold mercenaries and creatures bred for war—horrid mutants created in an arcane foundry fueled by the raw power of the magma shadow rift.

Within the foundry, the Fancy Bastards eliminated Modra and his followers, then used a secret tunnel to gain access to the tower. As they infiltrated Sarshan’s inner sanctum, they faced off against his house guards and allies before being brought before the shadar-kai and given a chance to join him. Then a massive tremor generated by the magma shadow rift shook the tower, and this combined with a masterful bluff by Karch Silvertongue allowed the heroes to flee back to the Shadowfell gate. As Sarshan’s foundry was leveled by the destructive forces of shadow and fire, the heroes escaped back to the world, followed by savage specters bent on destruction.

With that battle done, Sarshan’s Shadowfell gate was destroyed and Overlook saved. However, the Fancy Bastards uncovered information indicating that the apparently isolated conflicts that led them first to Rivenroar, then to Bordrin’s Watch, touched on secret plots that threaten the end the world.

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Chapter 2: Siege of Bordrin's Watch

The dwarves have been successful in containing the orc hordes in the past, but this time it’s different and the dwarves of Overlook are concerned that the walls of Bordrin’s Watch might not be enough to staunch the flood. All their misgivings stem from the reports brought back by their own scouts, who mention endless ranks of orcs, trolls, and worse marching inexorably to the Stonehome Mountains. To shore up the thin number of defenders to man the Watch, Overlook dispatched a call to arms, beseeching able-bodied men and women across the Elsir Vale to mobilize at Overlook and then join forces with the defenders in the mountains. With the memory of the last war that ravaged the Vale, militias formed up and adventurers from as far away as Brindol answered the call.

Our heroes were among those who go to aid the dwarves. Being seasoned adventurers and with some notoriety for their success in Rivenroar, it was clear from the locals and fellow adventurers – the Freeriders – that joining the dwarves was the right thing to do.

Along the way, the heroes encountered a patrol of orcs, which suggested that the orcs had somehow crossed the mountains. Armed with this information, the characters approached the Council of Elders. The Council believed they had been compromised and the tunnels beneath the mountains breached. Even though this development poses great danger to their defenses, the orc horde was still far enough away that there was time to seal the tunnels and prevent the orcs from coming through the tunnels. Thus, it fell to the Fancy Bastards, the Freeriders and the Farstriders to secure the tunnels and seal the Nexus to prevent the orcs from breaching the defenses.

The Council of Elders assigned the task of securing the tunnels beneath the Monastery of the Sundered Chain to the Fancy Bastards, and they dispatched other groups to the other weak points in their defenses. When the characters arrived at the old monastery, it was clear the other locations might have been compromised and the other adventuring groups overmatched. The heroes found one lone survivor – Kalad – and learned the dwarf paladin already secured the tunnel to Bordrin’s Watch, but discovered the Vents were likely not secure. So, they travelled down to the lower tunnels (during which Darin Longbow made a fatal misstep), made their way past the orc invaders, and located the ancient Nexus to complete their mission just as the orc hordes began to arrive. In a climactic battle that claimed the life of Quiro (and possibly Mindhartha), the heroes finally found themselves victorious.

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Chapter 1: Rescue at Rivenroar

Rhogar, Karch Silvertongue, Mindhartha, and Darin Longbow met, as adventurers do, in a tavern. They were all there for different reasons, but came together when the bar was attacked by a horde of hobgoblins. This was part of a coordinated attack by a hobgoblin named Sinruth. Part of Sinruth’s rise to power was due to his evangelizing to his fellow goblinoids and other vile creatures that he would overthrow local bastions of civilization. He reserved special loathing, however, for Brindol, scene of the Red Hand’s defeat. His forces orchestrated a number of kidnappings of various Brindolites.

The recent attack had the locals unnerved, and the group witnessed firsthand that the kidnappings were not an isolated incident. To sow more fear and uncertainty, more of Sinruth’s Hand continued raids on the town. Our heroes foiled a pair of such attacks and were approached by Councilmember Eoffram Troyas, a member of Brindol’s ruling town council, to recover the missing citizens.

They travelled to Sinruth’s lair — a sprawling underground complex that had formed the burial chambers of the Rivenroar family. There they were joined by the paladin Rhyd’ley and the cleric Quiro. Together they faced Sinruth’s Hand and freed the lost citizens of Brindol (Jalissa, Sertanian, Thurann, Mirtala, Zerriksa, and Adronsius). They recovered several priceless artifact’s from the battle with the Red Hand, including a platinum sword. Finally they faced Sinruth himself, defeating him and discovering some uncomfortable information about the nature of Sinruth in Elsir Vale. (See Sinruth’s Note)

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