Land of Dark Dreams

Skeledi: Overlord Summit

Skeledi, having sold his soul to the demon Nnairefaezar in exchange for his life, is forced to follow the demon’s orders. He joins 5th Company of Marshlands Battalion and marches to reinforce Overlord Summit, which is expected to be subject to invasion from the orcs soon.

Skeledi becomes honored as a hero when he defeats an orcish ambush segment stationed at a mountain pass called the Gauntlet – it was the only route to Overlord Summit from the rest of the island. Skeledi and a handful of companions survived; however, the entire remainder of 5th Company was wiped out. Skeledi earns a promotion to Sergeant in the Windhammer General Military.

The Unfael fleet intercepts the orcish armada. However, a mysterious weapon slays Shogras, the Champion of Unfael, consuming him in a flash of light. His death was so demoralizing to the reinforcements that they immediately carry out a full retreat. The Overlord Summit dwarves, knowing that those reinforcements were their only chance at survival, lose all hope.

Meanwhile, the demonic influence on Skeledi gets out of hand. Dreams torment him night after night, and they present trials to him. The failure of these trials meant physical exhaustion during the day, and eventually, a physical manifestation became apparent – the beginning growths of fiendish horns. After several failures, he finally solves his first task, but the dreams took a severe toll of the mind – waiting out a dream state for four years is not something any man could survive with their sanity left intact.

The dwarves commission Skeledi to solve a mystery, which needed to be solved before the orcish invasion arrived. A dwarf had robbed the royal vault of a “portal key”, whose significance was lost on Skeledi. With torture facilities at hand (which Skeledi makes generous use of), Skeledi solves the case with only a day remaining on the clock.

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Skeledi: Ruins of Windhammer City

Skeledi, having acquired the key, traveled to the ruins of Windhammer City to access the mysterious vault which supposedly contained the Stone of the Crushing Depths. He traveled with a light party consisting of the infamous hero Fury Shadowblade, a mysterious old man assumed to be a spellsword, Romus Windhammer, a useless girl with a sling, a scout, Lieutenant Colonel Nerando, and a demon huntress named Qhaenorre. Notably, as the heroes approached the city, they saw a colossal, obviously magic, rainbow-hued wall miles in length east of the city.

Varrun, an illithid spellcaster, was waiting for the adventurers at the ruins. Without provocation, it cast chain lightning which instantly disintegrated Nerando and the girl with the sling. The remaining party members, knowing they were no match for the creature, fled. With Romus’ direction, they found and entered the vault before Varrun could stop them.

The walls of the vault were rife with blade traps, which were well-hidden and impossible to spot even by the scout’s keen eyes. The adventurers encountered various creatures which they dispatched without too much effort. At length they came to a strange puzzle, which Skeledi was called upon to solve. With some difficulty he solved it eventually.

Skeledi and his associates came across a room with stone coffins built into every possible space in the walls, ceiling, and floor; in the center of this room was a long-dead dwarf with a treasure chest resting on his lap. Old writing indicated that the heroes should pay no heed to the treasure and proceed directly to the next room, but Romus, thinking of his dwarf heritage, could not leave it behind. Skeledi decided that the best course of action would be to allow Romus to collect the treasure while everyone else stood behind the safety of the door from the previous hallway. Taking the treasure caused the coffins to open up, allowing a huge amount of dwarf skeletons to pour out. Skeledi, realizing that Romus was somewhat important to their enterprises, opened the door for him and closed it behind him. However, the skeletons soon broke through the door. Skeledi, fearing for his life, quickly quaffed an potion of invisibility and stepped freely though the undead mob. The spellsword cast evard’s black tentacles so that at least some of the party members could have a chance at survival. Only Skeledi, the old man, and the scout made it. With as much fearful haste as possible, the scout unlocked the next three doors, and the three pulled a lever after each door to close it behind them.

The trio came across an abnormally tall, male witch named Kalanak. Skeledi decided to take him along.

The final room was guarded by a fearsome-looking construct, a Zelekhut, with the Stone of the Crushing Depths embedded in its chest. It was difficult to fell, but with the old man’s suspiciously powerful lightning bolt, victory was had.

It was suspicious indeed. For when the Inevitable was slain, the old man revealed his true form – the evil evoker Zayre, who gloated over her triumph before seizing the artifact and using teleport to get away before the heroes could react. However, a magic ladder appeared, which was the obvious exit out of the vault and back into the ruins. But as soon as the scout showed his face aboveground, one of Varrun’s vicious spells exploded the scout’s head into a hundred pieces. Skeledi, not knowing what else to do, drank another potion of invisiblity in order to retrieve Romus’ corpse from the clutches of the dwarf skeletons, and also to get the treasure which so many of his former party members had died for.

The remaining adventurers were in what seemed to be the worst possible of situations – Romus, who was probably the key to continuing their search, had died; the illithid Varrun was waiting outside the vault, itching to slaughter the heroes like sheep, and Zayre had possession of the artifact they had suffered so many pains to obtain.

To make things worse, Skeledi, suffering his demonic dreams as usual, was convinced by an apparition of Shogras in such a dream to repeatedly commit suicide while in the dream world, which Skeledi was previously advised against doing. Having followed this advice, Skeledi has taken on the outsider subtype and has become a half-fiend. Whether this change is temporary or permanent remains to be seen.

Finding himself with no way out, Skeledi sent his cancerous tumor companion to request aid from Vyrndae, the cloud giant sage. Considering the huge distance the tumor had to cover, Skeledi and Kalanak were forced to wait close to a year for a response…

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Tiegel: Resurrection

Tiegel rises from the grave. He is confused as to why anyone would expend such effort and expense in restoring his life, but regardless, he is met by a mysterious hooded man and Qhaenorra, who was thought to be dead. The man casts quest on Tiegel – the objective: gather a set of four artifacts known as the “Cosmic Stones” and return them to him on a location to be disclosed later – and failure to do so would mean death by the quest. Not wishing to die at Tiegel’s hand, since it is not explicitly stated in the quest that such an act is not allowed, the hooded man and Qhaenorra leave before Noodle Nighthawk could arrive.

In short order, Tiegel is reunited with Noodle. They go about their business, heading for Marshton, when the timely arrival of Skeledi’s tumor companion interrupts them as Noodle’s hawk companion spots it and brings it to them. The tumor explains the story of Skeledi and Kalanak, which Tiegel is uninterested in – until a Cosmic Stone is mentioned, at which point Tiegel asks more. The tumor relates that more information will be given at such a time when Skeledi and Kalanak are returned to saftey. After uneventfully collecting his armor from Marshton Museum and stealing two horses, the two make their way towards the Windhammer City ruins.

The many guards at Windhammer Ruins fall quickly to Noodle’s arrows. Noodle’s hawk reports several riders on the horizon about three miles away. With haste, Tiegel summons Skeledi and Kalanak from their hiding place, and with two of the guards’ horses, they begin their travel to Port Newstark, in the hopes of finding a way off Windhammer Isle and the advancing orc army with the ultimate goal of sailing to Dhun to consult the cloud giant sage Vyrndae.

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Tiegel: Port Newstark

Tiegel, Noodle, Kalanak, and Skeledi reach Marshton in short order. Tiegel, realizing that he has no desire whatsoever to keep the two newcomers in his company, slaps around Skeledi until the artificer tells him about Zayre, the Stone of the Crushing Depths, and Vyrndae, all the while Kalanak watches silently. Tiegel takes Vyrndae’s future payment, the +4 greataxe, and with Noodle travels around Marshton and heads towards Port Newstark. Meanwhile, the Collectors are ever hot on their tail.

Tiegel and Noodle arrive at Port Newstark to find it overrun by refugees, who are fleeing the island in face of the tidings that the orc invasion is moving its way west and north. Tiegel notes a small, one-masted ship coming towards Port Newstark.

The owners of the three docked mercantile ships are auctioning off spots for refugees, and one of them sets sail. However, when Tiegel joins the crowd, the refugees panic and those who do not run away all try to pile on to the ships despite the protests of the owners. Six guards hold fast in the face of Tiegel. Their leader is unafraid and says that his family has served in the guards for generations, and there’s no way he will disappoint them by letting a serial killer on these boats. With that, he runs away, leaving five guards to stall Tiegel, and the man lights the first of two remaining boats on fire, forcing the hundred or so refugees there to abandon ship. Noodle shoots him before he makes it to the second boat.

The final boat begins to leave but Noodle sticks the anchor operators full of arrows. Tiegel runs to try and get on the boat, and Noodle kills the remaining guards, who after witnessing the brave death of their superior, try also to set the final boat afire. Noodle keeps an eye on the anchor while Tiegel runs up the boarding plank. Tiegel makes it to the deck, but the huge mob aboard the ship wrestle furiously with Tiegel and manage to push him into the water.

Meanwhile, someone on the incoming ship Tiegel saw earlier does an interesting thing. He fires lighted arrows into the sails of the remaining ship in the harbor, burning it and forcing the refugees aboard to jump into the water. The person is recognized as Taemaris, one of the Eleven Legendary Heroes. He fires off many arrows at Tiegel, but most of the arrows bounce off his armor, and he hides behind a rock. In short-lived shock, Noodle proclaims that Taemaris Nighthawk is his father, but also says that Taemaris is an inferior archer. He has no qualms about harming his father and so shoots four arrows which all hit Taemaris, forcing him to hide in his ship.

Taemaris’ ship reaches the pier, and the elf and his companion, a shifter named Tarok, step off the ship. With Noodle and Tiegel standing at the other end of the pier, Taemaris explains his actions. He says that Noodle’s actions have shamed him both as a member of the Nighthawk clan and as a member of the Eleven. With that, Tarok transforms into a fierce raging tiger-man and charges at Tiegel. Noodle anticlimactically kills his father with another quick round of arrows. The two defeat Tarok, and he kneels in defeat. Tarok says that this is the second time he has ever been defeated in combat, and he requests that Tiegel either mercy-kill him or let him serve Tiegel. Tiegel decides to let him serve.

The victory is short-lived as the party’s diversions gave the Collectors a chance to catch up. The four are revealed: the evil cleric Thriton, the enchantress Nyss, the chain-master Osaya, and the sadist tracker-rogue Ashmos. Tiegel points out that there is no longer a bounty on his head, because he already died. Thriton says that they were hired to capture Tiegel for interrogation purposes. Tiegel’s party flees, but Thriton stops Noodle and Tarok in their tracks with greater command and Tiegel becomes trapped in Nyss’s Otiluke’s resilient sphere. After the sphere ends, Thriton attempts to cast another spell to trap Tiegel and fails. However, Tiegel, recognizing that there is really no way out with both of his party members still trapped, surrenders. The Collectors place the party in powerful magic manacles and lead them to a hidden cove. Inside, a private Collector ship is docked.

On the sea, Tarok and Noodle are strapped to a mast and Tiegel on another. There are two Collectors on guard at all times. Tiegel claims that he will die before being able to be interrogated if Osaya doesn’t get him some food. Osaya obliges and goes below decks. Tiegel, having already tried to break the manacles and failing, whispers a plan to Tarok while the other guard, Thriton, is distracted.

Thriton rolls a 1 on his Sense Motive and is convinced that Tarok’s throat is itchy and that he needs to punch it to relieve it. Tarok Tiger Rages, breaks through the manacles and chains, and bull rushes Thriton off the boat. After multiple attempts, Tarok pulls Tiegel’s manacles off, though Noodle is still shackled. The three run down into the crew quarters, and Noodle and Tiegel hold the two doors while Tarok fights Osaya, who had been down there to get food, with his bare hands. After suffering many wounds, Tarok knocks Osaya unconscious. Tiegel sends Noodle into the adjacent storage room to find their weapons while Tarok replaces Noodle at the pounding door.

After a few seconds, a huge line of blade barrier springs up, chopping up the ship’s deck and destroying Tiegel’s door. Nyss’s hold monster threatens to trap Tiegel inside the blades, but Tarok yanks Tiegel out. Noodle appears with the party’s weapons, but Nyss’s hold person traps him as well. Thriton runs to the other door and summons several locust swarms, and Tarok is forced to take his two frozen companions by the arm and retreat to the storage room.

After a couple of rounds, Nyss and Thriton break through the door with their weapons, but Tarok knocks Nyss out with his fists in a single round. However, hope is lost when Thriton’s flame strike turns Tarok into a charred corpse and nearly kills Tiegel.

Freshly shackled with magic manacles, Tiegel and Noodle are once again strapped to the masts of the ship, awaiting whatever lies in wait for them at Port Bellwyn in Unfael.

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Tiegel: Port Bellwyn

The Collectors arrive at Port Bellwyn and bring their prisoners, Tiegel and Noodle, to Guild Hold, a multiguild building donated by the larger Collector organization. It houses many different guilds but the dungeon wing is reserved. Tiegel and Noodle are taken to one such dungeon and locked up after being stripped of all items.

One Collector guard is left on duty at all times. The imprisonment is uneventful except for a few exchanges of blows between Osaya-Ashmos and Tiegel-Noodle.

Eventually, Nyss walks in and takes Ashmos, the guard at the time, with her, as there is some trouble brewing outside. Soon after, four men with burned scalps and black leather armor walk in. They explain that they are part of a cult known as Tiegel’s Believers, which formed in recognition of Tiegel’s infamous exploits on Windhammer – now including the defeat of the Legendary Hero, Taemaris. The cultists inform Tiegel and Noodle that the Collectors are in the middle of a heated discourse with Red Pommel, a mercenary guild – it seems that Red Pommel is trying to bully the Collectors into sharing Tiegel’s reinstated bounty, to which the Collectors are replying that Tiegel is not here for the bounty. Additionally, they inform Tiegel that the party’s gear is being held somewhere in Bellwyn Keep, which is very near their present position. Anyway, at Tiegel’s request, two of the cultists srip naked, giving Noodle and Tiegel their armor and daggers, and replace the heroes in their cells.

Tiegel, Noodle, and the two cultists, unhindered by the other bystanders sharing the main guild hall, peek outside and confirm that the Collectors are indeed preoccupied with Red Pommel. There are about 15-20 Red Pommels, all well-armed with red splashes of their red-sword-hilt insignia decorating their armor, arguing with the Collectors. Suddenly, battle is joined between the two parties. Tiegel and party walk out the door, but Nyss notices them; however, she is unable to acquire the attention of her comrades, so she leaves the fight and chases after the four herself, unafraid at the sight of Noodle and Tiegel so lightly armed. She blocks their path to Castle Bellwyn with an ice wall. The two cultists charge her, but she dispatches them both with just magic missile. Noodle and Tiegel flee, but Tiegel becomes caught in her hold monster and Noodle in her Otiluke’s resilient sphere. She tells them that she will be back shortly, and that they will suffer greatly as soon as Red Pommel is dealt with – and with that she leaves to rejoin her friends.

After a minute or so, hold monster ends without Nyss returning. However, the duration on the sphere is much longer and Noodle is still trapped. Pledging to return for Noodle, Tiegel reluctantly runs. He cannot take the normal route to the Keep because of the continued presence of the ice wall, so he is forced to swim around. He encounters the outer castle walls along the coast, and after a frustrating ten minutes of falling into the water eventually manages to span it. Once inside, he then attempts to climb the inner wall but after falling and injuring himself on solid ground once, decides to charge the entrance.

Tiegel dispatches the first two guards easily, and takes a shield and longsword from one of them. However, the team of eight royal guards inside become alerted at the noisy exchange outside, and these particular guards are extremely well-trained and -armed. They encircle Tiegel, and after a long and bloody fight, Tiegel finally succumbs, unable to contest them without his usual powerful items. The Collectors, who at length see victory over the band of Red Pommels, are notified, but when they arrive at Bellwyn Keep they are too late to save their valuable prisoner. Tiegel is dead.

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Agnor: Gronge Flats

Agnor and party travelled across Windhammer Isle in order to reach the port city on the island’s eastern coast. On his way, he met a company of Demon Chasers led by Commander Iato. On the grounds that Iato needed a powerful guerilla force and his company was currently at low strength, he decided to temporarily recruit Agnor and party into his ranks in order to complete some Demon Chaser business in Gronge Flats, a magocratic city-state. In return for Agnor’s assistance, they were to be rewarded handsomely and given passage off the besieged island.

Agnor and party were to enter a transdimensional vault and retrieve a relic known as the Stone of the Starry Sky. The Demon Chasers were to infilitrate the Gronge Flats Council chambers and contact Ren Willbender, a former member of the Eleven Legendary Heroes.

Agnor and party found and entered the Vault, which was an otherworldly, crystalline place filled with strange creatures with mirrored bodies. Eventually they spoke with a golem at the end of the vault, and it pleaded with the PCs to not remove the stone, as doing so could lead to disaster for Ni’yos as a whole.

Just after hearing the golem’s plea, a floating magic user appeared, who had a dagger-pierced eyeball tatooed on his forehead. He called himself Elmodan and claimed that the Demon Chasers were not to be trusted with the Stone and that Iato and his ilk were driven by ulterior motives. He claimed that only his organization could safeguard the relic properly and asked that Agnor and party betray the Demon Chasers and hand over the relic to him.

Party member Dolieo appeared to be in agreement, but the remaining party members were not and attacked Elmodan, who fled.

Agnor and party exited the vault, and immediately upon doing so, the entire city of Gronge Flats became transparent and then eventually disappeared completely. They met back up with Commander Iato, who provided them with the promised gold reward in return for the relic. Iato noted that they were unable to recruit Ren willbender, who was by his account “seeming to be under the influence of magic-based coercion.”

Dolieo became suspicious of Iato and began to ask him questions regarding the Stone of the Starry Sky. Iato became curt with the brash young paladin and declined to answer his questions.

As promised, Agnor and party went with the Demon Chasers on their ship, and Iato transported them to the nearby island of Dhun in order to address Vyrndae, the cloud giant sage.

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Agnor: Unfael in Chaos

Vyrndae advised the heroes that the object was an extraplanar artifact, and that she would have paid them a hundred times the amount the Demon Chaser Iato paid them for it. The party asked how to cure Bright Favor addiction, and she said that a certain High Priest in Unfael is familiar with the effects and would be able to help.

The party made their way to Highgate, the capital of Thaerynd. The guards were not letting anyone in the city gates. Dolieo attempted to diguise himself as a Thaerynd soldier, but he was caught by the guards when he couldn’t answer simple questions. He was arrested and sent to prison.

The rest of the party managed to sneak in over the wall. They attempted to rescue Dolieo but were unsuccessful. Dolieo was caught and hung. It was also discovered that Agnor had a bounty on his head for a large amount of gold.

During the party’s stay, Bright Favor sickness kicked in, and sickened guards began attacking people. Many fled the city, including the party.

In time, the party made their way past the border of Thaerynd into Oran, but eventually, some Will-o’-the-Wisps lured Agnor into a trap, and then Agnor died.

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