Fancy Bastard Scales of War

Chapter 18: Last Breath of the Dragon Queen

The adventurers meet Bahamut in his Birdman guise. Bahamut explains that Tiamat’s dragon allies are deserting her, driven by cowardice, fear of Tiamat’s temper, and greed for the treasures in Tiamat’s domain. While Bahamut’s army has achieved a great victory, it is in no shape to march on Tytherion itself. The characters are, Bahamut explains, capable of killing Tiamat once and for all if they can get to her lair before she has a chance to regroup and gather her allies around her. Furthermore, Bahamut gives them instructions for meeting Berath, the ghost of a paladin who once sought to slay Tiamat. And a mysterious agent of Zehir meets the characters and gives them a password that a spy near Tiamat’s lair will ask for.

Bahamut gives the heroes a powerful gift and transports them to Tytherion. There the characters see Tiamat’s forces fleeing, fighting among each other, and looting their own fortress. After a brief battle, they meet Berath, who guides them through the Caverns of Fiery Splendor. Just before they enter, they meet Theel, one of Zehir’s spies in the Caverns. Theel takes the characters to the Fountain Chamber, where they can see Tiamat’s shadow far above them. They learn she’s sequestered herself on the floating platform and is using scrying rituals to threaten and cajole her far-flung supporters. The characters quickly discover that a potent array of disintegrator beams and warding magic prevents intruders from simply flying or teleporting up to the Dragon Queen. Each of the five disintegrators, Theel explains, is linked to an ancient dragon in a nearby cavern. Five caverns, five dragons — defeat them and the heroes don’t need to worry about the five disintegrators.

As the characters enter the five dragons’ chambers, they learn that each of the ancient dragons is a brood mother carrying Tiamat’s eggs in a forced breeding effort that has so far failed. For all her power, Tiamat is unique among dragonkind and cannot lay eggs herself. The characters defeat each brood mother in turn, rendering the disintegrators useless.

Then, it’s a battle royale with Tiamat: a no-holds-barred battle with a full-fledged deity. The Fancy Bastards win, and Bahamut arrives and shows them the world utterly transformed by their actions: a world free from the greed and envy that Tiamat upheld. At that point, the heroes move on to their individual epic destinies. Markas went on to become a master and teacher of arcane learnings, his very intelligence eventually infusing the Magic Missile spell. Zakiti Songsinger expanded his telepathic abilities until he was able to contact all shardminds across all planes of existence, uniting them to reform the Living Gate. Sirkana Embersight made final arrangements for her sister’s well-being, eventually burning brightly from within until she became a red star in the sky. Karch Silvertongue, as both disciple and master of the Sword of Kas, began to turn his eye upon all those who would take too much power for themselves – including his former allies. They would be celebrated in song and tale throughout perpetuity.

Chapter 17: Test of Fire

Bahamut has been restored to life by the sacrifice of Amyria, and Tiamat’s plans to break the power of the fallen god have been dealt a crippling blow.

The characters had returned to Sayre to rest, recuperate, and mourn Amyria’s sacrifice. From there, they were summoned to Bahamut’s side in the Crystal Tear, an astral dominion from which Bahamut directs his reenergized forces. The Platinum Dragon lays out the scope of Tiamat’s failure and her dark hope to turn this near-defeat into victory.

The City of Brass is Tiamat’s last stronghold in the planes. It is held by arrangement with Bashumgarda, Lord of Efreets. Bahamut’s force has the city surrounded but cannot break in. Tiamat’s remaining legions are attempting to return to the Elemental Chaos to attack Bahamut’s force. The full brunt of Tiamat’s armies, energized with elemental power, will be too much for Bahamut’s army to withstand.

Bahamut enlists the Fancy Bastards to infiltrate the City of Brass by way of a secret portal hidden deep in the Keening Delve. This legendary and deadly warren of caverns and ruined chambers is set within the basalt plate on which the City of Brass is built.

After entering the city, the heroes meet with Estumishu, an efreet noble who represents factions seeking to overthrow Bashumgarda because of his foul alliance with the Dragon Queen. Estumishu offers his allegiance only if the characters find and kill Bashumgarda — a deadly quest that requires the heroes to undertake a dangerous pilgrimage across a city under siege.

Using their might and strength of wit, the Fancy Bastards cleverly navigated the city and laid waste to the Lord of Efreets. After slaying Bashumgarda, the adventurers dropped the magical wards which protected the city and prevented Bahamut’s forces from attacking. They learned they needed to continue to the Eternal Flame Pavilion and face off against the protectors of the shrine of the Fire Lord Imix, which has been corrupted by Tiamat’s foul rituals so as to grant power to the Dragon Queen’s servants.

Then the unthinkable happens. The reborn Bahamut, fighting Tiamat’s blue exarch Namissi, is struck down in a titanic battle that shatters the great Charcoal Palace. Only the heroes stand against the blue exarch in the end, emerging victorious and driving Tiamat’s forces from the City of Brass.

Chapter 16: Those Once Loyal

The Arrow of Fate recovered while investigating the Legacy of Io points to Celestia as the place to restore Bahamut to life. The visions assailing Amyria are beginning to weaken her, however, and if not stopped, may very well kill her. Using her spelljammer, the adventurers travel to Empyron to seek clues about how they might resurrect the fallen god and also to cure the deva. Once there, Dakranad’s agents strike the city of healing. While battling the dragons and angels, infernal assassins slip behind the characters to kidnap Amyria and bring her back to their master. They were thwarted by the heroic efforts of the Fancy Bastards, who fought both enemies in an epic two-fronted battle.

The heroes learned Amyria is in fact the vessel and key to Bahamut’s recovery. An old ally, Kalad, whose soul was spared and transformed into an exalted, pointed to Torzak-Belgirn to find answers to their questions. The dragon attack pointed to Dakranad, the mithral dragon who has decreed himself heir to Bahamut’s throne and most likely lairs there. The heroes had two choices. They could go to the Platinum Dragon’s redoubt or they could push on to Moradin’s Forge via Torzak-Belgirn.

Turning to Moradin’s Forge, the heroes found only enemies. With the god’s forces arrayed against them, the adventurers pushed their way through the defenders to reach the Soulforge, where they hoped to secure a creation spark. The aspect of Moradin awaited them there, and the heroes learned the divine avatar was turned against them by their enemy. They convinced him of their righteous purpose and secured the creation spark, learning the mithral dragon was ahead of them again and racing to the Bridge of al-Sihal to complete his own apotheosis.

Meanwhile, at Bahamut’s Palace, a githzerai warrior known as Adaka found the stronghold empty and the Halls of Reflection overrun by devils. Battling through the defenders, he learned more of Dakranad’s plot, Dispater’s agenda, and how Bahamut planned for his death all along. He raced to the Bridge of al-Sihal to try and prevent Dakranad from taking action.

The adventure concluded with a race across Celestia, the heroes working to cut off the dragon before he could cross into the golden radiance at the bridge’s end and claim Bahamut’s power for himself. The final scene saw the adventurers embroiled in battles against Dakranad and the archangel guardian who protected the holy bridge. The Fancy Bastards – now six strong again with the addition of Adaka – proved successful. Amyria, who deep down had known the truth all along, found the courage to carry the creation spark into the light and assumed the mantle thrust upon her.

Chapter 15: Legacy of Io

Amyria, driven by the visions that began shortly after Bahamut’s destruction, approached the Fancy Bastards and begged their assistance in recovering an artifact. At her urging, they traveled to the astral city of Hestavar to seek out whatever knowledge of the artifact’s location they could discover. Upon arriving in the domain, however, the heroes come under attack by draconic forces seemingly loyal to Bahamut.

After fending off the assault, the heroes made their way to the great libraries of the Swan Tower, home to the goddess of knowledge, Ioun. At possibly the greatest collection of divine lore and scholarship that exists, they searched for information on the bizarre visions tormenting Amyria. They discovered that the artifact they sought is known as the Arrow of Fate and that it was hidden within Hestavar. Four mystical seals conceal the artifact; each is guarded in turn by forces loyal to the gods and dedicated to preventing anyone and anything from tampering with their ward.

Before the heroes could neutralize the seal dedicated to Ioun, they were forced to scour the city for the entrance to its hidden resting place in the Sealed Library. Once they gained entry to the Sealed Library, they had to fight their way through the scholarly defenders to undo the seal.

To open the seal dedicated to Pelor, the heroes needed to fight their way through the angelic guardians of the Dawnbell Bastion to sunder the bell in which the seal had been bound and that gave the small fortification its name. The selfless defenders seemed unaware of the nature of the bell (and would not be moved even if they knew), and they resisted violently any attempts to trespass or tamper with the rightful property of their master. Resting after the battle, a mysterious package was discovered at their safe house by Zakiti Songsinger with the instructions to take great care upon opening it. Zakiti opted to carry the package for the time.

When the heroes make their way onto Methion, the mercantile district where Erathis’s seal is located, they are ambushed by a band of celestial dragonkin, this time augmented by forces from the Nine Hells. After dealing with the seemingly random attack, the characters head to the spacious market square where the goddess placed her seal. Before destroying it, the heroes must overcome Erathis’s faithful who patrol the square and the guardians summoned by the disturbance of the seal itself.

To open the final seal and claim the Arrow of Fate, the characters must head into the eye of the storm that rages over the rough and tumble island district known as the Salts. There they faced not another servant of the gods but a powerful titan. With its destruction, the final seal is undone and the Arrow is revealed. Unfortunately for the heroes, the titan’s passing also removes the force holding the churning sea at bay and it comes crashing back to fill the void.

After narrowly flying their way out of the collapsing vortex, Zakiti found the mysterious package in his possession buzzing with energy. He opened it to discover that it is a phylactery – only moments before it absorbed him, Markas, and Rhyd’ley inside of it. Fighting their way through the phylactery’s guards, the heroes ultimately faced a showdown with its owner: Irfelujhar. They succeeded at overcoming the phylactery’s magical defenses and destroyed the portion of Irfelujhar that remained inside, killing him once and for all.

When the heroes finally return to shore, they find themselves betrayed by an ally and forced into a desperate battle to retain possession of the prize on which so much depends. They succeed and make preparations to return to Sayre, only to find that Fate has something else in mind.

Chapter 14: Grasp of the Mantled Citadel

At the end of the Betrayal at Monadhan, the Fancy Bastards used the Sword of Kas to reach Vaerothim. Arriving on a bleak, high hill in the Forest of Twisted Souls, they saw the gaunt spire of the Mantled Citadel struggling above the warped, skeletal trees of the forest. The tower was at least 10 miles distant, and the heroes needed to travel through the intervening forest to reach it.

While traveling through the skeletal forest, the characters encountered several groups of creatures. The first was the remnants of a hunting party of Vecna’s followers sent here to exact their lord’s revenge upon Irfelujhar. Careful scouting by Karch Silvertongue allowed the Fancy Bastards to avoid a confrontation with them.

In the depths of a shadow-mantled valley, they encountered a dryad forced into lichdom by the energy that consumes the forest. Handling the encounter carefully, they resolved the situation without violence and gained access to two rituals carved onto the dryad’s tree.

On reaching the environ of the Mantled Citadel, they had but one way to proceed—up a steep, tree-flanked path. Ghosts, specters and the very trees of the forest protected the path and needed to be destroyed before the citadel could be reached.

Upon reaching the citadel, the heroes were forced to fight their way through the inhabitants. It was only a short time before they encountered a mysterious enemy: a twisted doppelganger of Sirkana Embersight that was bound to serve Tiamat’s whims.

In a series of subterranean chambers beneath the citadel, the heroes discover a prison holding one of Bahamut’s servants brought here by Mornujhar, the Black Exarch of Tiamat. The angel survived the ensuing fight and provided useful information for the characters. The heroes encountered a great number of undead, constructs, magical creatures, and fearsome traps as they fought their way upward to Irfelujhar’s personal chambers.

In the upper levels of the citadel, the Fancy Bastards discovered myriad other chambers and areas. Eventually, they came upon a natural cavern high up in the rock traversable by walkways built of magically-fused bones, guarded by a Tiamat-bound version of Karch. The area was a trap, and terrible monsters and long falls awaited the unwary. Having also faced-off against a ritual-bound facsimile of Zakiti Songsinger, no further guardians laid between the heroes and Irfelujhar’s personal chambers. There, in the citadel’s highest reaches, under a ceiling of magically hardened crystal, the characters trapped and slew the lich. After defeating Vaerothim’s architect, the heroes found evidence of what the ancient lich was up to. They attempted to uncover Irfelujhar’s phylactery, facing off against powerful Tiamat-bound versions of Rhyd’ley and Markas, but were unsuccessful. Finally they returned with information to the Coalition Council, where they received the terrible news that Bahamut had been slain.

Chapter 13: Betrayal at Monadhan

Upon discovering their epic destinies, the Fancy Bastards find themselves under the Seven Shields Coalition’s protection in Sayre where they meet an angel of secrets who calls herself Rachaela. Rachaela tells them the tale of Mornujhar and impresses upon them the importance of finding out what his ritualist is up to and stopping it. Rachaela pays the adventurers to travel to Monadhan, use the portal leading to the shadowed demiplane of Vaerothim, and confront the ritualist once and for all.

The heroes’ trip to Monadhan is complicated by the difficulty of willingly leaving Monadhan, a supernatural prison for traitors and betrayers. To use the portal, the heroes must find Monadhan’s key: whatever object in the realm is the most potent symbol of betrayal. They must also defeat Arantor, the dark lord of Monadhan—an undead dragon which guards the portal itself.

Once in Monadhan, the Fancy Bastards travel through the jungle and reach the shantytown where most of Monadhan’s denizens—a sorry mix of betrayers from all realms and times—live their lives in squalor. They speak to a seer named Sarissa, who reveals that the current key to Monadhan is the Sword of Kas, the artifact that cut off the hand of the god Vecna. Their inquiries put them into conflict with vampires skulking around the shantytown. After several battles,
the heroes learn that the vampires are working for Kas himself.

Kas confronts the Fancy Bastards and offers them a bargain: he will tell them how to defeat the dark lord that guards the portal if they recover the Sword of Kas and turn it over to him. The Bastards realize that Kas doesn’t know that the sword is also the ticket out of the domain of Monadhan. Kas keeps his part of the bargain and tells the adventurers how Arantor’s grief and shame over his own horrible crime — the slaughter of a village and the murder of his daughter centuries ago — takes tangible form in the lower cavern of Arantor’s lair. Making Arantor’s victims come to life may distract and weaken the dark lord enough that the Bastards can win the day, recover the sword, and use the portal.

After fighting their way through magical caverns that rearrange themselves, the heroes reach a final showdown with Arantor. Using their tactical acumen, the power they’ve acquired thus far, and Kas’s advice, they defeated the dark lord. Then they decided to betray Kas and keep the sword for themselves so they could use the portal to reach the demiplane of Vaerothim.

Chapter 12: A Tyranny of Souls

A few days before the Fancy Bastards’ showdown with Kada’ne, a githyanki envoy representing the Separatists presented himself before the Seven Shields Coalition to gauge their interests in forming a short-term alliance. The representative explained that not all githyanki are so eager to die for Tiamat, and many see their service to the dark goddess as slavery. The envoy invited the Coalition to send representatives to Citadel Mercane, where they can bargain on neutral ground, free from Tiamat’s ever-present eyes. Although the Coalition suspects a trap, the opportunity to weaken Tiamat’s armies is too good to pass up. The adventurers, who have proved capable allies, are chosen to serve as ambassadors and negotiate the terms on the Coalition’s behalf.

The heroes make the journey to Citadel Mercane, but they soon discover their contacts are missing or dead. Meeting up with a possible ally, a disguised raavasta, to help navigate the trade center, they learn the Separatists are active in Tu’narath and that they must travel there and contact them if they would get them to withdraw from the war.

In the githyanki city, the party learns the emperor is wise to their intent and has moved to capture and kill many Separatist leaders, plus he has traps in place for the adventurers. They eventually encounter a Separatist agent who informs them that Vlaakith CLVIII, their leader, was taken prisoner and is held at the Fortress of Three Sorrows. By freeing her, the Fancy Bastards can demonstrate their goodwill and also give the rebel faction renewed hope and drive to fight against Tiamat’s agents.

The heroes travel to the floating fortress, evade its defenses through the subtle application of deception, and finally fight their way to Vlaakith’s “cell.” There, they learn from an aspect of Dispater, who has come to steal back the soul inhabiting her body, that the legendary warrior Gith apparently possesses the young githyanki woman.

Once the party has freed her and restored Vlaakith to the Separatists, they engage in the negotiations for which they were sent. The Separatists agree to withdraw the githyanki from Tiamat’s war, but admit their promises are worthless as long as Zetch’r’r is in power. The githyanki ask the Bastards to infiltrate his palace (the Chromatic Bastion) defeat the usurper, and recover the Scepter of Ephelomon. Meanwhile, the Separatists will attack Tiamat’s garrisons and retake the city. During their preparations for the battle, however, Berechek Athabasca mysteriously disappeared while picking up last-minute supplies – a dark portent of things to come.

Early in their explorations of Zetch’r’r‘s fortress, the Bastards encountered the reanimated spine of Lich Queen Vlaakith CLVII. Hellbent on the destruction of a follower of Bahamut, the creature relentlessly attacked Rhogar until it was ultimately successful in entrapping his soul. When the party finally disposed of the spine, it destroyed Rhogar’s soul with its last burst of energy. Unaware of this, the party attempted to raise him from the dead only to find Zakiti Songsinger, an associate of the Separatists, in his place. Zakiti joined with the Fancy Bastards and helped lead them through the palace’s dangers.

Their adventure concluded in a deadly battle against the emperor and associate Vraxanault in his personal chambers, while battles raged in the skies above and in the city streets. The Bastards succeeded at freeing Tu’narath from Tiamat. The githyanki once more followed their own destinies, allying with the Coalition and making amends with the githzerai.

Chapter 11: Garaitha's Anvil

The invasion of the world is in full swing, but the Fancy Bastards’ actions in their previous adventures have earned the Seven Shields Coalition critical information regarding the githyanki, their plans, and their allies. The Coalition had received word of githyanki troops seen in a remote mountain pass north of Elsir Vale — close to one of the githyanki outposts whose existence was only learned of in the course of Throne of the Stone-Skinned King.

The adventurers (along with the Freeriders) investigate, fearful that this outpost might be the vanguard of a larger assault. Instead, however, the heroes discover a hidden githyanki temple called the Fane of Chanhiir — a monastery whose faithful have rejected the leadership of Zetch’r’r, and who have paid a terrible price for their refusal to bend to the emperor’s will.

After routing the invading githyanki and their fomorian servants, the heroes treated with the faithful of Chanhiir, uncovering more of the githyanki’s secrets. From the insurgents, the characters heard more of Tiamat’s role in the githyanki invasion — and of plots that extend to the ancient war between Tiamat and Bahamut. Additionally, they discovered that Chanhiir’s central hall is built around a unique portal that feeds planar energy to a githyanki site called the Well of Worlds.

The Well of Worlds is a planar nexus warded by powerful magic that normally allows only githyanki to enter it. However, with the aid and knowledge of their Nefelus allies — particularly the deva mage Bejam — the Fancy Bastards adopted a powerful eldritch sigil seen on the githyanki’s fomorian allies. The Whitefire Mark granted the party access to the Well of Worlds, where they undertook a stealth strike-team mission to investigate and neutralize the site.

By freeing the eldritch giant Haryssus — an unwilling servant of the githyanki whose knowledge of planar magic is unsurpassed — the heroes discover that the power of the Well of Worlds fuels the vast network of githyanki portals through which the invasion of the world is being waged.

At the center of that network is the Sovereign Gate — a permanent true portal that can send creatures to any location in the Astral Sea, the world, or the planes. However, more devastating to the Coalition are Zetch’r’r’s plans to extend the capability of the Sovereign Gate throughout the entire githyanki portal network. If successful, the githyanki can send troops by the thousands to any location in the world, and the Coalition will be powerless to stop them.

Control of the Well of Worlds is maintained by a set of eldritch keys held by the highest-ranking githyanki war leaders. The githyanki have no fear of these keys falling into the wrong hands, knowing that they can be used only by full-blooded githyanki who themselves have been attuned to the keys with unique rituals. However, with the aid and knowledge of Haryssus, Bejam of Nefelus believes that he can reconfigure a key, potentially giving the Coalition the ability to control the githyanki portal network.

One of the keys is held by Admiral Kada’ne, leader of the githyanki’s airship and astral-craft navy. From information gleaned from the rout of the Well of Worlds, the heroes know Kada’ne’s current location: the githyanki shipyards known as Garaitha’s Anvil. One of Zetch’r’r’s most important military sites, the shipyard is a planar mote within which the githyanki and their giant servants craft and repair airships and astral craft in preparation for the final assault on the world.

The Fancy Bastards determine the location of Kada’ne’s flagship, the astral man-of-war Cev’ren, but time is of the essence. If the githyanki become aware that the Well of Worlds has been taken, they will launch a counteroffensive that will overwhelm the Coalition’s forces. However, when a Coalition war council refuses to authorize the decisive strike against Garaitha’s Anvil, it is left to the party to take charge.

The Coalition must capture Kada’ne and deliver a knockout punch against Garaitha’s Anvil all at once. Under the heroes’ leadership, the forces of the Coalition are arrayed in the form of the Hundred — five score of the greatest heroes of the mortal world assembled at the Fane of Chanhiir, and set to undertake a desperate assault at the heart of the githyanki war machine.

The assault is launched — a hundred heroes throwing themselves against a githyanki force ten times their number. However, the Fancy Bastards have an even more important mission — breaking into one of the shipyard’s many repair docks where Kada’ne’s flagship Cev’ren is moored. The Bastards fight their way through the guards and wards of the dock before cutting their way through Kada’ne’s defenders. However, when the cowardly admiral takes to the air in Cev’ren, the party must follow in the commandeered githyanki strike ship Iliyoru.

In the sky above the shipyard, an immense astral gate flares — the portal through which githyanki ships are launched against the world. Against that storm of white light, a pitched ship-to-ship battle ensues, and the party pursues Cev’ren above the hundred fighting for control of the shipyard below. In the end, both ships lock together, out of control and spinning toward the astral gate as the adventurers and Kada’ne’s forces face off in a final showdown. The Fancy Bastards proved victorious, seizing the Crystal Key and gaining ultimate control over the Well of Worlds.

Chapter 10: Throne of the Stone-Skinned King

The Fancy Bastards returned to Sayre from Nefelus, bearing the Seed of Winter. The Seven Shields Coalition had been devastated by the deaths of Divian Torrance and Kalad and sought a leader to head a new war council that will oversee all the armies involved in the war. The heroes actively engaged in the campaign, where they nominated their preferred candidate, Amyria, and saw her appointed to the position of leader. Then, the council discussed the fomorian king Cachlain. For some time, the evil forces’ troops had been traveling through the Feywild and to the world using the natural gates within his dark domain, and spies discovered that the Seed of Winter was given to Nefelus’s enemies by the fomorian. The party was sent to the court to find out what he’s getting for his help and to try to make him leave the conflict, or even switch sides. They carried the Seed of Winter as a bargaining chip.

After following Cachlain’s slavers to find a portal to the Feywild, and obtaining the fomorian’s seal from those slavers, the Fancy Bastards entered the Feywild. They were soon attacked by firbolgs, who wanted to return the heroes and the Seed of Winter to followers of Inzira, the Daughter of Frostwhite Forest, who claimed to be the proper owner of the artifact. Unfortunately, the heroes slaughtered all the firbolgs and were forced to resort to rituals to find their way to the encampment. The eladrin sought an alliance with Cachlain, fearing the machinations of Sangwyr — a fomorian upstart and their mutual enemy. Inzira allowed the party to borrow the Seed of Winter and go to Cachlain’s court, hoping they can form an alliance one way or another.

When they reached Cachlain’s realm, they met with the king and his advisor Sovacles, and they discovered that Sovacles nearly controled the king. Rebuffed for the time being, the Fancy Bastards were forced to await another audience with the king. As they explored the court, they discovered the sheer number of troops traveling through the domain, and that the forces of evil have promised to spy on Cachlain’s enemies in exchange for his help.

Bram Ironfell, from the Lost Mines of Karak, reappeared as an ambassador to the court from the githyanki. An assault that happened soon after, as the fomorian rival attempted to seize Cachlain’s domain. As the heroes helped fight them off, Bram Ironfell’s moment of truth approached, and by showing Bram a little kindness they were able to convince him to rejoin the forces of the world. The heroes also met a cyclops oracle who formerly advised Cachlain, but lay imprisoned in a hidden jail. Cachlain’s rival sent assassins to slaughter the Fancy Bastards.

The heroes learned that Sovacles had something to do with the invasion, and they confronted the advisor. However, the advisor still had Cachlain under control and had convinced him that the adventurers were responsible for the attacks. As they battled Sovacles and Cachlain, the advisor revealed that he worked for Tiamat. Enraged at this news, Cachlain dropped the heroes and Sovacles into a gladiatorial arena below the throne room. Sovacles revealed his true form as a powerful shapeshifter and exarch of Tiamat.

Successful, the Fancy Bastards convinced Cachlain to form an unlikely alliance with the eladrin, who received the Seed of Winter as a token of the agreement. The heroes also found hints that the githyanki’s efforts on their world had suffered serious setbacks in recent weeks, and their forces were preparing to consolidate at their largest stronghold.

Chapter 9: Alliance at Nefelus

The Fancy Bastards began this quest aboard Brindol’s Pride, a warship flying under the colors of the Seven Shields Coalition. There, they were briefed by Amyria, a longtime and staunch ally of the heroes. Recently she was named special envoy to Nefelus, the island nation magocracy led by a council of devas. On board the ship, they were briefed of the mission ahead — Nefelus was blockaded by an unknown antagonist, who had conjured a massive ice floe around the island and was assaulting the tropical land with the bitter cold of a northern winter.

The first task ahead of the party was to enter Nefelus. The ship was equipped with a specially designed ramming bow and a reinforced hull to break through the ice. The fog coming off the ice mixing with the hot tropical weather made it particularly difficult to see the ice ring until the heroes were right on it, at which point they noticed that they had company — a frost giant contingent patrolling the ice to ensure that none broke through from either side. After dealing with the frost giants and breaking through the ice, the ship continued on to Nefelus.

Once the Fancy Bastards arrived in Nefelus, they were taken to quarters to rest while Amyria met with the Thraxinium. After a short while, Amyria asked the characters to accompany her to be introduced to Bejam, a member of the Thraxinium. Bejam explained what they knew about the icy ring, the climate changes, the Seed of Winter, and the sightings of unusual sahuagin creatures. The heroes were asked to journey to the ice floe and put a stop to the punishing cold and blockade that imperiled Nefelus. In exchange, the Thraxinium rewarded the heroes for their efforts and considered aiding the Coalition. However, time was running short for Nefelus; the cold assault was growing and the containment ritual ending soon.

The Fancy Bastards needed to head back through the icy ring, but to arrive at Icehome with little chance of detection, they traveled underwater. They were given three apparatuses of Kwalish to use to make it to the ice floe. Amyria stayed behind to negotiate an alliance with Nefelus.

The characters dodged sahuagin patrols and made their way to the ice floe, discovering the underground entrance to Icehome. They ran into arctic sahuagin and fought their way farther into Icehome.

Inside Icehome, the adventurers found a network of caverns occupied by creatures that were apparently subservient to or allied with Chillreaver, a doubleheaded white dragon. In addition, they were able to learn information from a githzerai that became allied with Chillreaver after journeying with the last landing party from Nefelus.

As they ascended to the upper levels of Icehome, they dealt with Chillreaver’s personal guards and, finally, the white dragon himself. He was engaged in a ritual to bring the full power of the Seed of Winter to bear on Nefelus, attempting to shatter the containment ritual the Nefelese have in place. The characters fought Chillreaver to stop the Seed of Winter from generating the unnatural cold. Once the ritual was broken and Chillreaver defeated, Icehome began to collapse and the characters were forced to flee before they were crushed in the crumbling ice floe.

Successfully returning to Nefelus after defeating Chillreaver and retrieving the Seed of Winter, they helped Amyria convince Bejam to join the Coalition and fight alongside the forces of good against the githyanki invaders.


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