Summary of Original Curabel Campaign (Short Version)

From RPG Campaign Wiki
Revision as of 13:14, 11 June 2020 by Craddoke (talk | contribs) (Imperial Agents and Dragon Empire)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Devil Fish and Lysander

  • Lysander was one of the original dragons who came to Curabel from a different dimension with Azrael (the Dragon Emperor); she kept to herself in the oceans, where several aquatic races worshipped her.
  • When the Ancient Dwarves arrived on Meidia, they dropped chucks of rock from orbit to soften the defenses of the kingdoms below; Lysander was crushed under one such rock that became Lonely Isle where the Crystal Tower would be built.
  • According to the Devil Fish, intelligent and evil manta ray creatures, they are literally the scales of Lysander that sloughed off the dead god’s body; those who claim to be from her head became the de facto leaders of this new race and called themselves the Night Court. Serithaz, who now resides in Nash’s skull cap, was a member of this ruling group.
  • Eventually, the Devil Fish allied with the dragons, humans, elves, and other resisters against the Ancient Dwarves and fought in the rebellion. Afterwards, though, they became estranged from the surface dwellers and began working to drown the surface lands of the world.
  • During the rebellion against the ancient dwarves, Serithaz and several other members of the Night Court were captured and imprisoned in an underwater research facility near an island that would become known as Agmar’s Folly. He would remain trapped there until the party intervened.
  • Cultists of Lysander, working secretly in civilized areas, do the bidding of these Devil Fish; however, there are other worshippers of Lysander, like those among the pirates, who don’t believe the Devil Fish are related to Lysander nor hold with the idea that the surface world must be destroyed.
  • About a generation ago, the Devil Fish involved themselves in the politics of the merman nation in Curmidden Bay: the old merman king had three sons, an heir and younger twins. The imperials killed the heir and one of the twins (Masculus) appealed to the Devil Fish to avenge the death; the Devil Fish did so, killing all the imperial agents in a secret base in Kaligan (near Vargen), leaving them to eternal undeath torture at the hands of a Devil Fish ancestor named Araquiel (a spirit contained in a statue that could animate the dead)
  • Masculus vengeance drove a wedge between him and his brother (Narusth), eventually leading to a civil war amongst the mermen with Masculus’s faction attacking surface dwellers and Narusth’s remaining friendly with them – this was likely the goal of the Devil Fish’s involvement in the vengeance plot all along.
  • Just before the campaign began, Devil Fish started attacking ships around the Tarwater (Midmark’s harbor); it was bad enough that the Midmark Navy started offering bounties on Devil Fish tails.
  • The party’s first contact with Devil Fish was encountering a recently sunk ship as they entered Midmark’s harbor, saving some of the sailors and passengers who were in the water.
  • While exploring a ruined ancient dwarven bathhouse under the sewers of Midmark, the party found a Devil Fish named Drayz who had brought Bullywug servants through underground waterways into that location to use as a base to attack citizens of Midmark.
  • The party rescued some prisoners from the bathhouse (including Em) and drove the Bullywugs away; they cut a deal with Drayz, though, helping him take a statue containing the spirit of a Devil Fish ancestor with him in exchange for a gemstone set in the statue (this turned out to be a stone from the crown of Baldric Evenkeel)
  • Later, the party made a deal with Drayz to destroy a manuscript in the Cathedral of Evenkeel’s library describing a sonic weapon that could be used against sea creatures in exchange for recovering the skull of Baran (widower of a bathhouse prisoner killed during the rescue and mind-controlled assassin of Midmark’s Lord Mayor; the party swapped manuscripts instead because of the machinations of Lord Thornton, who had the real manuscript hidden at the Temple of Merendur)
  • After traveling to Vargen, the party met another Devil Fish named Gronsk in its harbor; eventually, Gronsk convinced a Bargemen Guild member named Barnier Brockett to take the Orb of Dragon Control he had stolen from the party after they looted in from kobolds (and which Rotho Waterman had used to blackmail some river dragons into giving up their horde to the Bargemen’s Guild to fund their takeover of Vargen’s government) and defect to the Devil Fish cause.
  • With the Orb of Dragon Control, the Devil Fish pushed out the river dragons and became effective rulers of Vargen harbor and the Khelwater river heading inland from there.
  • While investigating the slavery ring in Vargen, the party decides to travel to a small town named Kaligan where slave-trading pirates are stationed. Under the old fortress there, they find a secret imperial base where the Devil Fish ancestor named Araquiel is reanimating the undead to torture those imperials that assassinated the heir to the merman kingdom.
  • The party makes a deal with Araquiel, whose spirit is trapped in a statue, taking him with them; however, one player’s attempt to destroy the statue leads to Araquiel transferring his spirit into the body of the party’s hireling named Kottar; he continues traveling with the group after that, though (eventually leaving after the PC named Chuq kills Prixithalma, the Dragon Emperor’s Consort and hero of the rebellion against the ancient dwarves).
  • Later still, in exchange for information about the location of the disgraced Alaine Grell and his pirate fleet, the party agreed to steal back the manuscript from the Temple of Merendur (which Drayz had found out about in the meantime) and use it to find the sonic weapon to use as leverage in the peace negotiations between the two merman factions in Curmidden Bay.
  • The party recovered the sonic weapon, rescuing Serithaz who was imprisoned in the same research facility by transferring his consciousness into a skull cap with ESP powers created by the ancient dwarves (found in the ruins of Xen’Khel)
  • The party delivered the sonic weapon to agents of the Merman prince Narusth at the behest of Drayz and then worked with both him and Gronsk in Vargen to arrange a meeting between the merman factions to discuss peace. Drayz claimed that the weapon would give him a leg-up on Gronsk, his rival and a supporter of Prince Masculus of the Mermen.
  • The party discovered that cultists of Lysander were leaving the Midmark Bay area to meet with the Devil Fish somewhere to the south; this coincided with the cessation of attacks on ships using Midmark harbor.
  • This meeting to negotiate peace between the rival merman factions was scheduled to occur at an underwater location called the Fields of Fire near Vargen with Prince Narusth using the sonic weapon as leverage against Prince Masculus; this meeting would have been going on around the same time as the cataclysmic explosion and tsunami that wiped out most of Vargen and part of Midmark. Ultimately, the party concluded they were duped by the Devil Fish into providing them with a weapon of mass destruction
  • Nash Bura, the half-orc fighter/cleric, joined the party after being sent to Curmidden to evangelize for Lysander on behalf of the pirate fleets located east of Curabel
  • Nash’s belief system has been severely challenged both by Serithaz’s spirit and the appearance of a vision claiming to be Lysander herself after the party removed the barrier preventing the “gods” in the orbital palace from communicating with their worshippers on Meidia.
  • Upon arrival at Lonely Isle, the former foundation for the ancient dwarves' orbital elevator to XenoTel (i.e., the Crystal Tower), the party found the skeletal remains of the dragon Lysander partially crushed under the island. Based on rumors they had heard previously, they surmise that Lysander was crushed under a rock thrown from orbit during the dwarves initial conquest of the planet.
  • Evidence in the ruins of the Crystal Tower's foundation is also discovered that indicates project to excavate the remains of Lysander during the heyday of the ancient dwarven empire. Remnants of Lysander's body were recovered, catalogued, and preserved for research. Among these items is the living eyeball of Lysander.
  • Prior to traveling to XenoTel for the final confrontation with its AI master, Nash Bura removes his own eyeball and replaces it with Lysander's; this piece of the dead dragon gives him both strange powers and a connection to the consciousness of the long-dead creature. After Nash's death in space, his henchman Alys Sharppe follows Nash's example and replaces one of her eyes with the artifact before leaving on her own to proselytize on behalf of Lysander in distant lands.

New Town Slums, the Grells, Bargemen Guild, and Slave Trade

  • Just before the campaign begins, Judge Arden Grell is driven from his mansion by some kind of haunting; he blames the spirit of his islander maid, who apparently strangled his wife; that maid was the mother of one of the cultists of Lysander serving Drayz the Devil Fish.
  • After rescuing the prisoners from the Bullywugs in the ruined bathhouse under Midmark, the party comes into contact with the native islander underclass who are mostly living in the ghetto of New Town.
  • The main feature of New Town are the canals, which the locals use for fishing and cleaning and which are where the sewers from High Town empty; those kidnapped by the Bullywugs were taken from the canal area (the bathhouse ruins were connected to the High Town sewers)
  • The locals took up a collection to pay the party for their work, mentioning how useless the prejudiced (and mostly colonial) watch force was in finding their loved ones. The widower of the killed prisoner, a man named Baran, was particularly irate.
  • Having returned one of the gems from Baldric Evenkeel’s crown to the Cathedral of the Ark (the Evenkeel church; given to the group by Drayz the Devil Fish), the party was feted as heroes. Besides a ceremony at the cathedral, there was a ball in their honor at the mansion of Lord Ardwine Thornton. Thornton was serving as the head of the city’s secret police (the Grey Cloaks) at the time. The Grey Cloaks were especially interested in uncovering Imperial Spies and disrupting efforts by the native islander underclass to organize themselves into an effective political coalition to challenge the ruling colonials.
  • During the ball, the party suggests to the Lord Mayor that the city guard stationed in New Town are wildly ineffective and discriminate; he promises to look into that charge personally. After the party leaves the ball, the young woman named Em rescued from the Bullywugs disappears on her way home to New Town.
  • While the party is further exploring the Bathhouse and tombs underneath Midmark, the Lord Mayor travels to New Town to inspect the guards; while there, he is assassinated by Baran, widower of a Bullywug victim; oddly, this longshoreman shows off amazing swordsman skills in the attack, escapes from the guards, then somehow dies near the canal in New Town leaving behind a headless corpse.
  • Riots break out throughout the city, with colonials attacking native islanders in retaliation for the Lord Mayor’s death; during the riots, the party meets Alaine Grell; Alaine is the nephew of a powerful magistrate, a student at the university, and the leader of a gang raping and pillaging islanders during the riots. The party stops him, rescues the islander his group has kidnapped, and humiliates him using magic.
  • Judge Arden Grell, Alaine’s uncle, announces his candidacy for Lord Mayor and is considered the most likely to prevail in the elections slated for the beginning of the new year.
  • Meanwhile, the party travels overland to Vargen; on the way, they encounter a group of gnolls under the command of one Grimtooth who are capturing travels to sell into slavery (they apparently have some contact with rogue elements of the Midmark militia). The party’s hireling Talon (a former militia captain who had a history with Grimtooth) gives himself up to the monster in exchange for the prisoners.
  • The party also hears from the gnolls about someone called the Dark King; he is expanding his influence and driving other groups (like the gnolls) out of their traditional home territory. The party also spreads discord among the united gnoll packs by revealing Grimtooth’s planned betrayal of a weaker pack to throw off pursuit by the authorities.
  • Closer to Vargen, the party first encounters representatives of the Bargemen’s Guild. They run the ancient dwarven ferry crossing the Vargwater river; currently, that is the only safe crossing because the ford further upriver is threatened by a tribe of kobolds.
  • In Vargen, the party is hired by a rival guild to free the ford from the kobolds and break the Bargemen’s monopoly on the Vargwater river crossing; they also hear rumors that at least one faction in the Bargemen’s Guild may be running a slavery ring, working with the gnolls and pirates operating out of a village called Kaligan a bit down the coast.
  • The party runs off the kobolds, including their self-styled king (Feldenminxus), finding out in the process that the kobolds worship dragons (tapestries in their caves show dragons beating ancient dwarves in battle); the party also recovers an orb with the mark of the Crystal Tower (an ancient dwarven structure). This is stolen, though, by Barnier Brocket; Brockett is visiting the kobolds to collect slaves for the Bargemen; he was also there to steal the orb to further the guild’s plans for financial dominance
  • Barnier flees back to Vargen, gives the orb to Rotho Waterman (treasurer of the Bargemen’s Guild); Rotho plans to use the orb to blackmail the river dragons upriver from the city into turning over their treasure to fund the guild’s takeover of the city government.
  • The party pursues Barnier/Rotho, but fails to stop them; instead, they kidnap one of the key figures in organizing the Bargemen Guild’s slave trade (Renauldus).
  • The party turns Renauldus over to their contact in Midmark’s secret police (Perrette, who adventured with the group in the tomb under that city), who tortures the man and learns that Judge Arden Grell, candidate for Lord Mayor of Midmark, is diverting native islanders from the jails of Midmark and into the slave trade.
  • The party also learns that Em was shipped to Vargen through Kaligan as part of this trade; when a Bargeman Guild member named Aubrey Grotecop fell in love with her, though, they were both sent upriver to a mining camp to work as slave labor.
  • Perrette returns to Midmark to let Lord Thornton know of Arden’s crimes; Arden Grell commits suicide before being apprehended, but his nephew (Alaine Grell) escapes the city; when Midmark forces raid the upriver mining camp, they find the slaves have been executed and the deaths of Aubrey and Em are assumed.
  • Meanwhile, the party informs the Guild Master of the Bargemen (Peter Thorel) that Rotho Waterman and others are running a slavery ring; Rotho is apprehended when he returns with the dragon horde from upriver; Barnier Brocket, though, escapes into the water after being recruited by Gronsk the Devil Fish.
  • Thorel approves the party’s plan to head to Kaligan to route the slave-trading pirates there; however, he sends word ahead and those pirates leave before the party arrives; some slaves are locked up in the old fortress there with a booby-trap (Phoenix Egg) intended to kill them and the party.
  • The party disarms the trap, takes the Phoenix Egg (later used in Xen’Khel), frees the slaves, and then discovers a secret underground imperial base filled with undead being animated by Araquiel, the Devil Fish ancestor.
  • Much later, the party learns that the Bargemen’s Guild was also sending slaves up the Vargwater River for a gnome illusionist named Jaegger to experiment on using ancient dwarven technology; some of these slaves are later still traded onward to the mines at Glavnone where Fire Giants are working on re-inventing some ancient technology. Aubrey Grotecop didn’t die in the mining camp, but found himself traded to Jaegger and then the Giants, finally ending up in the Necropolis where the Dark King is based; he escaped from there and joined forces with the Silence (a mind flayer group) to conduct guerilla raids on the Necropolis.
  • Em escaped the mining camp during the slaughter, wandering in the jungle until found by Talon (the hireling who gave himself up to the gnoll Grimtooth); Talon had also escaped and together they worked their way to Midmark.
  • Talon went on to rejoin the group and die in Xen’Khel; Em was pregnant (probably by Alaine Grell, who had a penchant for abusing islanders just like his uncle)
  • Alaine Grell becomes a very successful pirate after fleeing Midmark; he taunts the party, but they eventually track him down and allow Em herself to behead him after his capture.
  • Although suspecting Peter Thorel’s complicity in the slave trade, the party continues to work with his Bargemen’s Guild on occasion; eventually, Thorel is assassinated by imperial spies working to help the Harbor Triad (another guild alliance seeking political power in Vargen)
  • Much later, the party is given the chance to take possession of Arden Grell’s mansion if they can take care of the haunting; during that mission, they discover Grell’s torture chamber and uncover the fact that he killed both his wife and the islander maid (who told the wife about Grell’s proclivities when the judge’s attention turned to her daughter, the woman who joins the Cult of Lysander)
  • Em was one of the people in Midmark driven mad by Serithaz after he was brought back to civilization by the party; in her madness, she foretells the devastation that is eventually wrought by the sonic device the party gives to the Devil fish. Unfortunately, no one heeds or even understands her warnings.
  • Eventually, the party compels Serithaz to cure Em's madness; the party last saw her in Feldmark, when she was leaving with Aldus Runnelbrook and other refugees for the dwarven settlement of Dun’Khel; she has almost certainly given birth by the time XenoTel is defeated
  • Em’s last request of the party was that they find and bring Aubrey Grotecop back to her if they succeed in saving the world from XenoTel

Ancient Dwarves, Xen’Khel, Silver Throne, XenoTel/Xen’Teler

  • 5K years prior to the campaign, the Ancient Dwarves seeded the planet of Meidia in preparation for their invasion (this partly involved launching chunks of Nano-carbon through space and down the gravity well).
  • 4.5K years ago, the ancient dwarves arrived in their survey ship; the ship and its AI were both named XenoTel2 (Xeno Telerobotics/Xeno Telergy – remote-control automata and mind-control technology); this invasion prompted the first Dragon War
  • After centuries of rule by the Ancient Dwarves, an alliance of dragons, men, Devil Fish, elves, and other races rebelled against their masters; they sabotaged the Crystal Tower (space elevator), severing it from XenoTel and causing it to crash into the planet shortly after uploading a virus designed by Prixithalma (the consort of Azrael, Dragon Emperor) that maimed the orbital’s controlling AI
  • Specifically, the virus allowed anyone to access the trans-spatial energy matrix (magic), eliminating the dwarves great advantage; it also corrupted the orbital defense grid so it would shoot down any ships attempting to reach the orbital to repair the AI.
  • The virus should have destroyed XenoTel completely over time, but the Dragon Emperor betrayed his consort to the dwarves; Prixithalma was taken prisoner (with the dwarves hoping to extract an anti-virus from her mind) while XenoTel was able to preserve itself just barely so that magic continued to function on Meidia (the Dragon Emperor’s goal)
  • The circumstances of the rebellion drifted into legend, except among particularly long-lived races (e.g., dragons and Devil Fish). However, about a year before the campaign begins, many pieces of ancient dwarven technology suddenly start working again.
  • The party’s first job in the campaign was to investigate a wizard named Talessin who had been experimenting with ancient technology; his rival in the Tinkerer’s Guild, the dwarf Desric Threehorn, suspected he was being careless and the party confirms this in the process of disabling some kind of Overseer automaton that had wrested control of a group of monkey-like robots from the wizard (Talessin would eventually be revealed as working with the Dragon Empire, selling them information and technology).
  • The party’s next mission, also given to them by Desric, involved exploring the sewers underneath Midmark University in search of an ancient dwarven tomb; Desric’s research suggested there would be a key there to a secret area of the massive dwarven ruins of Xen’Khel (located across the bay near Vargen); this would be the second such key since he had given another group one, but they disappeared after leaving Midmark.
  • The party discovered an ancient dwarven bathhouse beneath the city; this had previously been the home of a tribe of goblins, but was now contested by Bullywugs under the direction of Drayz the Devil Fish.
  • The party sided with the goblins, who told stories of being former slaves of the ancient dwarves (originally humans changed by those dwarves so that they could dig their underground fortresses); after dealing with the Bullywug invaders, the goblins let the party use a tunnel connecting the bathhouse to the tomb Desric’s research had uncovered.
  • In the tomb, the party fought many types of automata and found tapestries and carvings depicting the ancient dwarven empire; they also fought another overseer, whose diary talked about the rebellion (the destruction of the Crystal Tower, etc.).
  • Among the treasures recovered in the tomb were the key (as Desric predicted) and something the party named the Probability Sword; this weapon was powered by some kind of battery on a belt and turn one attack into twenty, duplicating the attacker (the party would eventually learn that it was collapsing multiple dimensions and those copies were the attacker in those dimensions); the weapon was in the sarcophagus of a warrior whose title was Lord Marshal, a protector of something called the Conclave (apparently the governing body of the ancient dwarves).
  • After various side quests, the party eventually made it to the ruins of Xen’Khel with this key from the tomb (a circular stone disc with a square hole in the center and ancient dwarven letters at points around the edge)
  • The party found tensions running high in Xen’Khel: the only entrance to the underground tunnels of Xen’Khel was guarded by three Naga sisters, who would only allow those inside who they deemed to not be a threat; over the centuries, this included many groups who had looted the ruins. Recently, though, dwarven archaeologists and clerics from the nearby settlement of Xenilum’Khel had arrived to catalogue the ruin’s contents. The dwarves resented the nagas controlling access and allowing looters inside.
  • The dwarven expedition was being funded by a trading company called the Silver Throne
  • The party was allowed into Xen’Khel by the Nagas, but ran into a group of dwarven archaeologists that were not happy to see more looters; one of the party’s NPC followers, a dwarven cleric named Brice Hissel (a secret agent of Silver Throne), gives these dwarves the Phoenix Egg from the Kaligan fortress to use against the Nagas without the party’s permission or knowledge.
  • The party finds a throne made of the same strange stone as the disk in Xen’Khel (nano-carbon) and figures out that the disc can be used with the throne to open a portal; the disk key turns, allowing the portal to access several different secret areas of Xen’Khel: the BioForge (biological experiments), Pathogen Labs (study of weaponized diseases), Botanical Research (research on native plant forms), and Engineering (generation of power and automata building/repair)
    • BioForge: The party learns here that the ancient dwarves altered life forms to suite their purposes on a fundamental level; goblins and orcs were there creation (one to build underground structures for them, the other to fight against rebels); the party also recovered the ESP skullcap here (used to interrogate the researchers’ specimens)
    • Pathogen Labs: The party found that the dwarves were researching infectious diseases to use against the rebels; there was a containment accident, though, and this area was full of a variety of powerful zombie-like monsters who were very contagious
    • Engineering: The party found schematics to many automata here as well as wondrous techno-magical items; they also found evidence of a hidden research area that could only be accessed with keys recovered from each area’s lead researcher; the party also recovered an intelligent sword containing the spirit of Kalgunn the Elder, a prominent Ancient Dwarven engineer.
    • Botanical Research: Not really explored – instead, the party traded with forces of the Dark King for the lead researcher’s key (see below)
  • The party found another portal in the BioForge area opening onto a clearing deep in the island interior (locals worshipped the large lizards – dinosaurs – in the lab); eventually, forces loyal to the Dark King entered through this portal and the party retreated, locking them inside by closing the portal.
  • The Dark King’s forces found a way to travel via tunnel to the Botanical Research area, though; the party did manage to recover the lead researcher of that area’s key from them, but a PC was taken prisoner and presumed lost as well.
  • Using the keys from the lead researchers, the party entered the most well-hidden facility; this is where the dwarves were working during the rebellion to create an anti-virus to fix XenoTel. The party found the finished anti-virus (completed too late to help) and the sleeping Prixithalma, Consort of the Dragon Emperor (in human form).
  • The party killed Prixithalma in her sleep, fearing the knowledge she had could be used by those working to help the ancient dwarves (this drove a wedge into the party, with the Devil Fish ancestor Araquiel choosing to leave via the jungle portal in the BioForge and taking the body of Prixithalma with him).
  • The party also took the anti-virus sphere to the Pathogen Labs and then used the Engineering Facility to overload the power in that area, exploding the portal and (hopefully) destroying the infected and the antivirus.
  • In the secret lab, the party also confirmed their suspicions about XenoTel: that the constant star was an orbital space station (once connected to the planet by the Crystal Tower) and that XenoTel was an evil entity trapped there.
  • While this exploring was going on underground, the dwarves used the Phoenix Egg to kill two of the Nagas and drive off the third (whom the party helped hide afterward); a high-ranking representative of Silver Throne then arrived to take control of the location – this was Marchmain Sivis.
  • The party agreed to explore the ruins of Xen’Khel on behalf of Sivis, but secretly worked with the remaining Naga to impede the company’s work after discovering the betrayal by the henchman Brice Hissel (see above), who they killed.
  • During this time, the party also found a community of independent monkey automata in the tunnels of Xen’Khel who were repairing the giant colossi statues that served as bridge supports in Xen’Khel’s upper city (massive automata like the Colossus of Rhodes); accessing the brains of these colossi, the party learned that Marchmain was somehow the reincarnation of an Ancient Dwarf known as the architect who designed the Crystal Tower.
  • An attempt to mind read Sivis using the skullcap backfired somewhat, but did reveal the nature of the orbital palace (think the drum-ships from Rama); it also seems that the spirits of all the deceased ancient dwarves are stored on XenoTel in information reliquaries (cubes of nano-carbon that function like books)
  • The party did learn that Sivis had power-armored mercenaries of his own who could access the hidden labs of Xen’Khel (Brice having previously betrayed the other party sent by Desric and given their key to the Silver Throne Company); these explorers died in the Pathogen Labs, though.
  • After destroying the Pathogen Lab, the party fled Xen’Khel to avoid Marchmain Sivis; Sivis has since been considered an enemy. He has apparently excavated down to the Pathogen Lab, recovering the Anti-Virus sphere but also releasing a plague of infected (that made its way to Vargen downriver)
  • Marchmain Sivis has taken the anti-virus to Lonely Isle, one-time location of the base of the Crystal Tower and now headquarters of the Silver Throne Company.
  • Sometime after leaving Xen’Khel, the constant star flared as bright as day and then disappeared; after this, all spell-casters’ powers were augmented (the party suspects this has to do with XenoTel ramping up power to open the portal – see below).
  • Much later, while pursuing Alaine Grell’s pirate fleet and searching for the sonic weapon on behalf of Drayz the Devil Fish, the party discovered an underwater research facility belonging to the ancient dwarves.
  • In this location, the ancient dwarves had imprisoned Serithaz (a Devil Fish ancestor housed in a statue and one of that race’s ruling Night Court) along with other Devil Fish to study how to defeat them during the rebellion. This research led to the invention of the sonic weapon.
  • Imperial agents had found this location previously, but accidentally lowered the protections that prevented Serithaz from possessing/reanimating other sentients; this led to the deaths of all imperials exploring the location.
  • The party, upon arrival, chose to work with Sahaugin who worship Dagon (another dragon deity) to clear the reanimating undead sea creatures. The party made its way to Serithaz’s prison and made a deal with him – transferring him to the skullcap so he could finally leave the facility.
  • Shortly after that, the PC captured by the Dark King in Xen’Khel (Axel) made his way back to the party after an escape in the jungles. He brought word of a prophecy: the ancient dwarves were returning soon via the orbital’s gate and only with the help of the Liar (Kalgunn, ancient dwarven engineer in an intelligent sword), the Consort (Prixithalma, killed by the party and taken by Araquiel when he left the party), and the Mad King (Serithaz, who enjoys entering the minds of others and making them insane) could this be stopped.
  • The party set out to find Araquiel and Prixithalma corpse at that point, learning eventually of a ceremony to resurrect dragons that requires the blood of three other dragons and a sacrifice of twenty intelligent beings.
  • The party also learns that magic is something the ancient dwarves called trans-spatial energy; XenoTel allowed them to manipulate this energy by compelling inter-dimensional servants called DVLs (i.e., casting spells); Prixithalma’s virus corrupted some of these DVLs into chaotic entities named Daemons, allowing all races access to trans-spatial energy manipulation
  • During their quest to resurrect Prixithalma, the party visited Glavnone in the Mikhel Peaks. This was a mine first occupied by Fire Giants and then taken over by the Dark King; it was an Ancient Dwarven mine with many automated smiths, etc. The imprisoned Fire Giant leader, Suttung, turned out to be a skilled inventor who re-created many ancient dwarven weapons and items (first for Silver Throne, then for the Dark King).
  • From Suttung, the party learned that Marchmain Sivis had a ship capable of reaching the orbital palace on Lonely Isle with minimal repairs.
  • Not too long after that, the party also found a crashed spaceship near Curmidden’s western coast with a cloning automaton onboard that created doppleganger-like creatures; this ship was destroyed, though, when dragons in the service of the Dragon Emperor attacked (seeking to kill the resurrected Prixithalma before she could reveal the Emperor’s betrayal during the rebellion)
  • Around this time is when the countdown timer appeared in the peripheral vision of living things (the party had stumbled across the clock indicating the same information previously)
  • Making their way back to Glavnone, the party used a portal there to enter the nerve-center of the Necropolis (the Dark King’s underground headquarters and location of the ancient dwarven conclave’s hiding place since the rebellion – the Dark King being the Last Lord Marshal of that empire)
  • Once there, the party found the controls to the orbital defense grid, hacked into them with Prixithalma and Suttung’s help, and altered it so that the party could pass through once they have a spaceship (while also allowing the various AI deities created by Prixithalma’s virus to contact their followers on the planet surface directly); this was a costly victory, though, with many party members losing their lives in the effort
  • With the orbital defenses hacked, the party now needed to find a means of transportation to XenoTel in orbit above Meidia. Resurfacing from the Necropolis to find the Curmidden suffering from the detonation of the sonic weapon by the Devil Fish and invasion of infected from Xen’Khel (see above), they head towards the western coast of the island in hopes of finding transport to Lonely Isle and Marchmain Sivis’s functioning spaceship
  • On their way west, they stumble across the Caverns of the Dead – a tomb from prehistoric times were four matriarch warrior-queens who fought against the dragons when they first arrived from their home dimension were interred
  • An earthquake had killed most of the ascetics living in the Caverns of the Dead, but those that survived help the party and point them towards the labyrinthine test of worthiness left by the matriarchs. The party survives this test and recovers a shard of pure anti-magic that dispels all trans-spatial energy
  • After recovering the shard (and a chest full of infinite spiders), the party leaves the Caverns of the Dead and finds their way to a village where local tribes are debating whether to band together and fight the Dark Lord. The party sides with the village of Amazonian warriors called Montoa that want to fight, thwarting the opposing sides plan to scuttle the negotiations and rescuing the captain of a nearby ship in the process
  • Taking the rescued captain’s ship, the Bronze Wizard, the party leaves Curmidden behind and sails to Cresent Isle, hoping to avoid imperial forces and resupply in the city of Feldmark before tackling Lonely Isle
  • Shortly after arriving, though, the party uncovers imperial agents masquerading as city officials; they uncover these imposters and then lead a large force of soldiers and clerics against a huge number of infected who arrive on a ghost ship pulled by a zombie whale; through superior tactics, they stop the infected from reaching Feldmark
  • While in Feldmark, high-profile refugees arrive from Midmark who escaped using the party’s submersible from Weland’Khel (which was left behind in that city); this proves to be the final piece of the puzzle needed to infiltrate Lonely Isle
  • Taking the submersible aboard the Bronze Wizard, the party sails to Lonely Isle and enters the foundations of the Crystal Towers ruins via an underwater tunnel which turns out to be the excavated remains of the dragon Lysander
  • The party explores what remains of the Crystal Tower, discovering artifacts from Lysander, a powerful duo of twin archmages named Jax, and clear evidence that the Silver Thrones forces on the island have been overrun by infected
  • Eventually, the party discovers the spaceship in what was once the central chamber of the Crystal Tower’s base; Marchmain Sivis, cornered by infected, has uploaded his consciousness to the ship and helps the party finish the final repairs to the vehicle
  • Defeating a number of infected in order to open the launch bay doors, the party blasts themselves up to XenoTel; just as they arrive, though, Marchmain betrays them and sets out to replace the station’s AI on his own using a monkey automaton to carry his consciousness
  • The party rushes after Marchmain to reach the AI’s central core first; along the way they fight many type of automata and encounter strange new technologies and weapons. In the central drum of the station, they also find allies – anthropomorphic animals and centaurs serving holographic manifestations of the gods of Meidia (who are really fragments of Prixithalma’s virus code from the original fall of the dwarven empire). Sylvanus, the leader of the gods, provides a refuge and other help to the party
  • When XenoTel attacks Sylvanus’s refuge, the party escapes and makes its way through the Library of the Dead and to the central core of the AI known as XenoTel; using the Probability Sword, the party defeats XenoTel and prevents the dwarven invasion
  • However, the Probability Sword was powered by the Lord of the DVLs, Asmodeus; he transfers himself into the station’s core to open the portal to the inter-dimensional space where his people rule. This also puts an end to all trans-spatial magic, freeing the DVLs who powered spells and enchanted items. With that, devils begin pouring out of the portal and raining down on the planet below

Imperial Agents and Dragon Empire

  • Sometime long before the dwarven empire, a group of creatures calling themselves Dragons somehow punched through the fabric of reality from another dimension and became trapped on Meidia; their leader was Azrael, who would become the Dragon Emperor.
  • After centuries of fruitless attempts to find a way back home, these dragons established their own kingdoms on Meidia, with Azrael taking on his title as Emperor (among these dragons were Dagon, Lysander, Prixithalma, and Myrientaxus)
  • Native resisters, including human warrior queens known as the Matriarchs, fought against this conquest for a time, but were eventually defeated and forgotten by most
  • 5K years ago, however, the domination of the dragons came to an end abruptly with the arrival of XenoTel and the ancient dwarven expeditionary force
  • Some dragons were killed (Lysander), others imprisoned (Prixithalma), and others hid (Azrael) from the advanced techno-magic and trans-spatial energy of the dwarves; during the long centuries of the dwarven empire, though, the dragons who survived watched and plotted
  • 2.5K years ago, the Dragon Emperor and his Consort led the rebellion against the dwarves; Prixithalma’s virus gave trans-spatial energy to all races; the Dragon Emperor, however, betrayed her and the virus did not kill XenoTel completely (XenoTel has suggested Azrael wanted trans-spatial energy to continue existing so he could continue trying to get home)
  • Shortly after the victory of the rebels against the dwarven empire, the being known as the Dragon Emperor (Azrael) led a large contingent of his followers (human and otherwise) to the mainland continent for unknown reasons.
  • After centuries of growth and somewhat peaceful coexistence with the elven tribes who inhabited that land, the Dragon Emperor’s kingdom rapidly expanded; during this time, the elven tribes were conquered.
  • 900 years ago, the Dragon Empire reconquered Curabel from its native inhabitants; a colonial administration was setup and elven political prisoners were forcibly resettled to the northern isles of the archipelago.
  • 525 years ago, the admiral of the Dragon Emperor’s fleet (Baldric Evenkeel), rebelled against the mainland government and declared the isles’ independence; he sailed those ships loyal to him to meet the emperor’s armada and both fleets were destroyed. The party eventually discovers that Baldric was a dragon himself, oldest son of the Emperor and his missing consort (Prixithalma).
  • Prior to that battle, Baldric started wearing a crown of ancient dwarven design (the party suspects this may have taken over his mind) given to him by his native islander wife; he also imprisoned a group of imperial dervishes (elite warriors with supernatural powers) who eventually renounce their allegiance to the empire and become the basis of the Order of the Celestial Dragon monastic order (headquartered on Lonely Isle, former location of the base of the Crystal Tower)
  • After the battle, a new religion was founded in Curabel venerating Baldric Evenkeel as a deity (a very popular church in the city-state of Midmark, former seat of the colonial government and the island’s greatest naval power thanks to the imperial captains who remained loyal to Baldric)
  • During the centuries between that rebellion and the campaign, the empire has tried to undermine the independence of Curabel indirectly; primary examples of this would be the assassination of the Merman kingdom’s heir and the attempt to repurpose the underwater research facility at Agmar’s Folly where Serithaz was imprisoned.
  • The party’s first entanglement with the imperials was via Midmark’s secret police, the Grey Cloaks. Their primary mission was to root out imperial spies, although it seemed like this mandate was being used to excuse efforts to suppress native islander political clout.
  • When the Lord Mayor was assassinated, though, the party found out imperial spies were real: Baran, widower of a hostage rescued by the party from Bullywugs (see above), was lobotomized and fitted with a dwarven device in his head that allowed others to control his actions.
  • The party had sold this technology to Talessin, an ambitious mage and member of the tinkerers guild, who also sold information and artifacts to the imperials. He gave the circlet to control Baran to an imperial dervish (elite warrior), who used it to kill the Lord Mayor and hide the evidence of the mind control.
  • With help from Drayz, the Devil Fish, the party recovered evidence of this (Baran’s skull) and defeated the imperial dervish; another imperial agent, though, who masqueraded as Talessin’s apprentice (Jardin) escaped the city after murdering the mage so he couldn’t reveal anything else
  • After leaving Midmark, the party uncovered the secret imperial base under the fort in Kaligan being used by the Bargemen slavers; this place had been overrun by undead controlled by a Devil Fish ancestor (Araquiel) in retaliation for the assassination of the merman kingdom’s heir.
  • In that secret base, the party’s monk recovered an imperial dervish training text that allowed him to do something called Shadow Stepping (instantaneous teleporting from one shadow to another); this Shadow Stepping used an interdimensional space which turned out to be the same one DVLs and Daemons move within to manipulate trans-spatial energy
  • The imperials also figured into the saga of Alaine Grell: after he fled Midmark when the slavery ring was discovered, he met up with the pirate captains who ran slaves for his uncle (Arden Grell) and stole the schematics and prototype of a new kind of ship (something similar to a hydro-plane) based on plans recovered from the dwarven tomb the party found under Midmark.
  • Grell then used his pirate fleet and terrorize the ships of Curabel, taunting the party and turning the populace against them as much as he could
  • Lord Ardwine Thornton, head of the Midmark secret police and descendant of a prominent elven rebel (still alive and running a bookstore in the city), tasked the party with hunting Grell down and they followed his trail to Agmar’s Folly.
  • The party arrived at Agmar’s Folly only to discover that Grell had betrayed his pirates to the empire, giving them the plans and prototype for the new ship in exchange for a promise that he would be exonerated in Midmark.
  • While at Agmar’s Folly, the party found and explored an underwater ancient dwarven research facility that had focused on ways to combat Devil Fish; imperial agents had found the place and attempted to steal its technology, but a mistake on their part allowed Serithaz (Devil Fish ancestor) to destroy them and unleash regenerating undead throughout the area.
  • The party worked with a group of Dagon-worshipping Sahaugin to put down these undead, eventually reaching an agreement with Serithaz: in exchange for taking him with the party, he would surrender; the party placed him within their ESP skullcap
  • The party also collected a sonic weapon being held by the Sahaugin to give to the Devil Fish
  • Returning to Midmark after that, the party soon discovered that Lord Thornton, de facto leader of the city, had been replaced by the imperial agent Jardin (as an imperial inquisitor, he had access to a type of mask that could mimic the appearance of any individual)
  • After some violent confrontations, the party and Thornton/Jardin came to an understanding: he didn’t want the world to end either, so he would help the party as much as he could in exchange for their silence regarding his coopting of the government; additionally, instead of pardoning Alaine Grell, he told them his location and sent word ahead for his imperial minders to stand down (the party captured Alaine Grell and allowed Em to execute him)
  • The party also traveled with Thornton/Jardin via teleporting mirror around this time to one of the port cities of the mainland empire; there they learned that the empire was using the technology given to them by Alaine Grell to create a massive flying fortress
  • Admiral Sarkandur, leader of the imperial navy, indicated the plan was to fly this fortress up to XenoTel once the orbital defense grid was neutralized; it would wait near the gate for the dwarven armada and then boarding parties would commandeer the ships of that armada and use them to fly back through the gates and strike at the dwarven empire beyond the stars (the party is convinced that this is an insane plan that can’t work)
  • Around this time the party also returned to Vargen, where Peter Thorel asked them to help his Bargemen Guild stand against the Harbor Triad (a guild alliance getting secret aide from the empire); the party refused to help and Thorel was assassinated by an imperial dervish
  • The party also had dealings with an illusionist gnome around this time named Jaegger, whose tower was north of Vargen; he was originally from the mainland empire, where he helped them in their expansionist wars (recovering in the process an ancient dwarven device that allowed him to BioForge – i.e., augment – people)
  • Jaegger had a domain similar to the island of Doctor Moreau, where his abominable creations wandering the jungle near his tower; the party got along okay with him, though, and even took advantage of his augmentation machine
  • It was at Jaegger’s that the party first learned of other dimensions; a rip in reality at the top of Jaegger’s tower apparently led to another world much like the party’s Meidia but where dwarves never arrived (the group has considered using this as an escape route)
  • Jaegger, though, is not a hero by any means: most recently, the party has learned that he has dealt with the Dark King (turning over a captured party member) in exchange for being allowed to pass through to the other dimension
  • The party also met another dragon around this time, Myrientaxus. This dragon was a hermit living on top of a mountain where he has been carving the history of the world since the rebellion against the dwarves (he seemed capable of knowing everything that has happened); the party found Araquiel and Prixithalma’s body there (which they resurrected)
  • When the party left Midmark most recently, though, Thornton/Grell apparently replaced a hireling with a dervish wearing an inquisitor’s mask (the same dervish who assassinated Peter Thorel in Vargen)
  • After the party found Prixithalma and resurrected her, this agent contacted the imperials (apparently an Admiral Sarkandur rather than Jardin); this information made it to the emperor who sent a flight of dragons to kill the party and her before the secret of his betrayal during the rebellion against the dwarves could come to light
  • The dervish spy escaped, but the dragons failed in their mission (although they did kill Myrientaxus and Prixithalma died shortly afterwards during the raid on the Dark King’s Necropolis)
  • Recently, the party was found by a green dragon named Auriol; via a mirror he brought (imperials have special mirrors for teleporting and communication), the party learned that Jardin was not the one who sent the dragons
  • It turned out that Auriol was not loyal to Jardin, though, but rather Admiral Sarkandur and the party was forced to kill the green dragon
  • The party also learned that the sky fortress, commanded by Admiral Sarkandur, was sent Midmark; ostensibly, this is to provide aide in the wake of the tsunami/cataclysm; it also means that the largest city-state of Curabel, whose navy has been destroyed, is occupied by the empire
  • However, just prior to the party’s ascent to XenoTel on Marchmain Sivis’s spaceship, XenoTel uses its repaired weapons system to destroy the airship along with Midmark’s castle. This explosion also kills Admiral Sarkandur

Dark King and the Conclave in Exile

  • During their first journey between Midmark and Vargen, the party heard rumors via Grimtooth the gnoll of someone called the Dark King terrorizing creatures and tribes in the interior jungles of Curmidden
  • Later, while exploring the BioForge facility in Xen’Khel, the party came under attack by warriors and zombie automata who entered via the jungle gate (see above) and claimed to be part of the Dark King’s army; based on their technology and goals, the party suspected this Dark King was another reincarnated ancient dwarf like Marchmain Sivis
  • Eventually, scattered clues would confirm this: the Dark King was the reincarnated last Lord Marshal of the ancient dwarven empire; he had been tasked with protecting the Conclave in Exile (the ruling body of the dwarves after the Crystal Tower fell during the rebellion)
  • Both the Conclave in Exile and last Lord Marshal disappeared towards the end of the rebellion; however, the party determined that they were in an underground fortress called the Necropolis, which was also the location of the command center controlling the corrupted orbital defense grid that prevents anyone from flying up to XenoTel
  • The party tracked rumors of the Dark King to Glavnone, the ancient dwarven mines where a brilliant fire giant inventor named Suttung was re-creating the artifacts of the dwarves; Suttung’s people had been conquered by the Dark King and the inventor was now designing portable portals so that the Dark King could launch surprise attacks on the major cities of Curmidden in preparation for the dwarven fleet’s arrival
  • The party wrecked Glavnone, though, and then later passed through a portal there to the Necropolis where they destroyed the Dark King’s stockpile of weapons and portals; they also fought their way to the orbital defense grid command center (suffering heavy losses) and hacked into that system
  • They altered the orbital defenses to allow themselves through, along with messages that were being beamed down by the AIs spun-off of Prixithalma’s virus (entities who had taken on the forms of deities like Lysander and Baldric Evenkeel); in the process, though, Prixithalma died
  • The party then fled the Necropolis via portal, leaving the Dark King with a severely damaged fighting force and lots of anger
  • While in the Necropolis, the party also determined that Marchmain Sivis was an exiled member of the Conclave in Exile (alternately known as the Lords of the Silver Thrones); while both Sivis’s Silver Throne Company and the Dark King’s army both work to restore XenoTel and help the returning ancient dwarves, there seem to be violent disagreements between these factions about how to do this