Chapter 3: Of Prayers and Miracles
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional connection to a goddess through deliberate practice. A Miracle is thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature.
The question then becomes, when that prayer is to the Raven Queen, neutral goddess of death, will that Miracle bring salvation to her worshippers as life still lived, or is the Miracle the loss of life in mass numbers…
Of Prayers and Miracles
“Yes my Queen, I have felt it as well”. The words sounded curt but if The Raven Queen sensed it she did not show, to those that knew their relationship, knew that it was more akin to a “matter of fact – no nonsense approach” regarding such matters and not a sign of disrespect. “One would have thought that those times are behind us, however the people of Fallcrest have not been able to shake the shackles of the war and only now face their most desperate hour”.
The Raven Queen stood from her seat and strode within the shadows of the dark meeting room, deep in thought. After a moment she spoke “The time is now to make haste and prepare the seeds we have planted in Fallcrest. We must put into motion the design so long ago we created. I have heard the prayers from one of The Favored and the last of the Cycle of Seven has begun.”
“Yes…Lheeland has proven very useful in the past” the Raven Queen’s companion considered, “but this time I alone cannot control their fate or that of Fallcrest, for the weight of destiny is now falling into the hands of the Favored. I have watched Namib, Voltoor, Hurm, Petronella and Lheeland prepare themselves, persuaded by the events that unfold wittingly and unwittingly before them. The trials that face them now, they must succeed or Fallcrest and its people, will be destroyed.”
“Their prayers will be answered” exclaimed the Raven Queen, “Go at dawn to the House of Ravenkind and give audience, begin the preparations.”
Abruptly, the Raven Queen disappeared, no further instruction or guidance was given, and none was required. A moment later so too did the Raven Queens emissary disappear, only to manifest at the steps of the House of Ravenkind. A whisper seemed to envelope the entire town of Fallcrest. Moments later a figure stepped from behind the great doors of the temple. One word escaped his lips “Sariel?” The Exarch of the Raven Queen “Come Lheeland, it has been only 7 years since we last met, how has your ageless memory became so short?…”
DM Commentary Episode 108 – Sariel
The town of Fallcrest is visited by an Exarch of the Raven Queen named Sariel. Times are dire and with the threat of a massive gnoll horde marching on Fallcrest, Sariel offers a potential problem to the situation. However, the cost is not free. Sariel requests that in exchange for the Queen’s services, a Rift needs to be explored as all agents of the Queen are prohibited from entering the Rift. The PCs agree and undertake the challenge.
I’d have to say this session was pretty terrible – at least from my POV. We had multiple players show up late, then some had to leave and come back and others were sick. The group just didn’t seem to be “in to it” and it was a session where we probably should have just called it. Overall, with all the recaps the session felt very disjointed. To make matters worse, the adventure was in exploration mode and I have found this type of session really suffers when the group dynamics aren’t up to par. This session may have gone a lot better if there were more combats, and I had planned for several in a row, but it took longer to get to them than anticipated.
Lastly, the final encounter was a short combat, followed by a puzzle that the players had to solve. Essentially, the players were locked in a room with 10 doors and a giant face moszic on the floor sporting an open mouth in the centre of the room. All 10 doors were fake and the players had to discover that the correct way out of the room was through the mouth; once they deactivated the trap that lay within. These types of rooms go over really well for some groups who enjoy this type of challenge, while other groups tend to dislike this sort of thing. My group, I think, falls into the latter category. Knowing this before running the encounter, I made sure that they could solve the entire room by using skills to get clues that would eventually lead them to the correct solution. BUT, due to the circumstances stated above, and that it was the last encounter of the evening on a worknight, interest died and some players took the trial and error way which resulted in some frustration. Ultimately, after they escaped the room, we briefly talked about what they could have done differently to solve the puzzle. Hopefully, they will think to use their skills next session as there are several more puzzle rooms forthcoming – and unfortunately for the trial and error PCs, that method has left the group in a weakened state for the next several encounters.
One good thing about this session however, is that the next one can only be better!
In terms of story, I moved a few plots along. The group met the purple robed figure, and have learned a few new things about him. The group has also met Sariel, the Exarch of the Raven Queen and they are left wondering if her coming is really all that beneficial. While she has provided a solution to the oncoming gnoll horde, the method will bring about some suffering to the people of Fallcrest. The question now becomes, just what does an Unaligned god, as the Raven Queen is, really want from her people. The answer to that question may very well have a significant impact on the campaign.
DM Commentary Episode 109 – The Rift
The PCs continue to explore the tomb of a powerful entity after entering the rift.
DM Commentary Episode 110 – Mydianchlarus
It’s been some time since we played…Since then, Chris Perkins, a fantastic DM who works for WotC, started a fantastic article called the Dungeon Master Experience. I have used some of his advice and will now be naming each session with a title. In addition, I will provide a quick recap of the session prior to going into my personal thoughts.
It has been a few months since we last played – work has kept me quite busy and so this session was mainly to get everyone back into the swing of things. The players needed to remind themselves about the mechanics and the stories of their characters, while I had to remind myself how the group fought as a whole. Since there are no leaders in the party, I had to be very careful with the lethality of fights until I remembered what the players could and could not take. The session was mostly combat related with a couple of interesting environments (bone bridge & Gravity Room where each wall had its own gravity) which spiced things up. Overall, it was a good session to get the campaign going again.
The PCs continue to explore the Tomb of Mydianchlarus while continuing to suffer from multiple debilitating conditions that hamper their ability to survive this “traptastic” tomb. Finally, the PCs enter the tomb proper and defeat its guardian – a large feral, 4 armed gargoyle that was charged with defending the Tomb of Mydianchlarus. After investigating the tomb, the PCs discover three interesting things. The first, is an intricately designed, broken long sword, all the pieces intact, sized for a large being. The second is that Mydianchlarus, seemed to be a powerful entity. Scriptures on the inside of the tomb sung praises to his ability to defeat powerful beings in combat; that many beings across the planes swore fealty to him; and that he once ruled a tower known as Kin-Oin. What type of person or creature Mydianchlarus is or was has not been determined so far nor was his intentions ever discovered. Lastly, instead of a body or a skeleton within the tomb, dried blood and gore was discovered. Through research, it was determined that a foul irreversible ritual was used to dissolve the body leaving blood and gore remains behind. The ritual appeared to have been done a long time ago.
Finally, the PCs left the tomb of Mydianchlarus, left the rift and reported the information to Sariel who stated she would take the information back to her Queen. Sariel transported the PCs back to Fallcrest where the looming assualt from the gnoll horde awaits.
DM Commentary Episode 111 – Damnation: The Defense of Fallcrest Part I
Our heroes return to Fallcrest to prepare for war! Leaving no stone unturned, the heroes look for help from unlikely sources. The first was a statue known as the Guardian, the other was the Ritual known as Hand of Fate.
The Guardian, an exquisitely carved statue that has been in Fallcrest for as long as anyone can remember yielded an interesting clue – it radiated an aura of divination around it. Petronella siezed upon the idea that it could grant a sign and asked the Guardian for one. A sign was indeed given, but it wasn’t what she expected, instead a troubling vision of Petronella, exhausted, alone and in the dead of night, surrounded by figures that seem to be hunting her but only ever seen at the peripheral of her vision, left Petronella shaken. No further clues were yielded.
The Heroes decided to use a Hand of Fate ritual that determined that, Caedan – Voltoor’s grandfathers friend who was recently rescued from the gnolls was indeed a Kryshtantel. They arrested him only to discover he had been feeding information to the gnolls on Fallcrests defensive measures.
Finally, Lord Markelhay sought volunteers to lead the fight against the gnolls. The heroes accepted the responsiblity and were tasked with protecting the North Gate.
The gnoll horde arrived, and set about constructing massive seige breaking weapons – battering rams made of wood and metal in the likeness of Yeenoghu designed to break the city walls. After an initial volley of flame arrows that threatened to burn the town down, the heroes dispatched living demonic flame elementals that came out of the buildings burning conflagurations.
This was a fantastic session. It started with a lot of roleplaying – including a few hooks planted for the future. After that, it had an interesting skill challenge. The skill challenge was designed with failure events that triggered at certain points. Essentially the players were tasked with putting out fire in 3 areas – the gates, some boiling barrels of pitch that had caught fire and some buildings nearby. In total the players needed 8 successes, but I broke the successes down into several sections. The gates and the pitch required 2 successes to put out while the buildings required 4. Each section also had an event that triggered after a certain number of failures that would complicate things – so if there was 1 failure at the gates or the pitch something would happen and if there were 2 failures at the buildings something else would happen. As it turns out, there were 2 failures with the burning building. I described how the building had fireworks inside and the failures caused a massive boom that made everyone deafened. While this was nearly useless based on mechanical penalties of being deafened, I was able to turn it into a roleplaying disadvantage. First, if a fight happened, players could not verbally communicate. Second, since they couldn’t hear they had a penalty to perception and thus were automatically surprised when the flame elementals came out of the building. It worked out well! In the end, the session ended with a fight with the fire elementals which was a nice way to end and it made for a pretty balanced session all the way around.
Oh, one last thing. The entire town has pinned there hopes on Sariel, the Exarch of the Raven Queen. I described how people were losing faith and morale was low. Several players went to confront Sariel about the supposed Miracle she was going to perform. The only answer, infuriating as it was, that they received is that Miracles just can’t be rushed. It will happen when it happens. Meanwhile, the material that Sariel asked to be collected – cabbage, wood, and straw sits in rotting piles throughout Fallcrest.
DM Commentary Episode 112 – Destruction: The Defense of Fallcrest Part 2
The War Continues! The massive gnoll horde continues to soften up the defenders, testing Fallcrests resolve and probing for weak points. Our heroes fend off multiple assaults at the northern gate, including batterming rams, and hordes of gnolls. As the day grows long, the gnolls send a secret strike force that manages to penetrate the outer wall. Our heroes engage and realize that the gnoll strike force only to discover they are using human prisoners as sheilds. In the end, as several gnolls get inside the town, the heroes are stunned to learn that the prisoners are suddenly released from their bonds, only to flee deeper into the town and shake off their pursuers. They aren’t prisoners at all. They are Krystantels! And they are now loose in the city!
This session had 3 encounters, and not much in the way of roleplaying. Each enecounter had hidden goals that the PCs had to discern which made for more interesting encounters than just straight up fights.
The first encounter involved 2 battering rams that were attempting to break down the town walls. The gnolls carrying the battering rams were minions but they were escorted by three very tough gnolls capable of dealing a lot of damage (especially since the party does not have a Leader for healing). The challenge for this fight was – do the heroes focus on the rams, split attacks on the rams and the escorts or take out the escorts first. The heroes chose to obliterate the rams which was very effective, but the tactics were perilous as several memebers stayed on the town walls while the melee oriented characters went over the wall to take them down one by one. This resulted in the escorts pounding the melee players and several dropped and could have died. In the end, the heroes rescued their comrades, but required help from other towns guardsmen to drive the gnolls away. Ultimately, the heroes stopped the major threat but morale wise, some defenders of Fallcrest suffered due to the gnolls ability to punish the local heroes.
The second (and third) encounters were linked so that the group would not get a short rest between fights. The heroes did not know this of course. The first fight involved 5 brutes and the heroes tactics were much the same – attack (mostly) from the wall and rain down death from a range. The heroes mopped them up pretty quick, but their position on the wall left them at a disadvantage for the second fight. As the first group died down, they saw a group of witherlings make their way towards the river, near the town wall. The PCs pursued but the witherlings summoned spiritual hyena’s to slow them up. In the end, the PCs brought down one member of the witherlings – one that had a magically enchanted horn that was to be used as some sort of signal. The other two witherlings (with supposed human prisoners) found a gap in the city wall and entered the city and released their “prisoners”. As the prisoners escaped the witherlings were laid low by the heroes.
DM Commentary Episode 113 – Salvation: The Defense of Fallcrest Part 3
“Watching Voltoor enter the portals makes me wish I was Oedipus…” overheard by Lheeland whilst trapped in the Chamber of the Lost Expedition.
The prayers have been answered…but at what price. Sariel, the Exarch of the Raven Quenn, has provided some answers to help with the Gnoll horde. “bring me cabbage, bring me grass and bring me wood”. No doubt without these provisions there will be hardships ahead for the townsfolk of Fallcrest, but such is the way for survival during these times. (Personal note: we may want to look for other alternatives if rationing looks likely, which it does). The other provision for the assistance of our Deathly Queen, is the completion of a quest, one that has not seen resolve in 35 seasons, to investigate the Rift. The Raven Queen had sent a group of seasoned explorers to determine the secrets it kept hidden from her, only never to return to the surface of it’s black depths. Knowing the Townsfolk were more that capable to collect the goods that were requested (for the time being), we accepted the risks that the Rift held. A short trip to buy provisions and an unsuccessful attempt to talk with Thevius in Lowtown, we gathered forth to meet our next adventure.
Things only get more interesting…Sariel has teleported us to the Rift and will wait for a short period of time, if we are not back in a couple of weeks, we are to meet her back in Fallcrest…but where are we? And how do we get back? Guess we will slay those trolls when we get to that bridge.
The Rift was beyond comparison to anything we have seen around FallCrest. At least a full days travel just to reach the bottom, thankful to my time climbing around in the Catacombs, I was able to assist the descent from the rim. About halfway to the floor, the temperature drops dramatically, and a mist develos, making it more difficult the descend and reduces visibility, however we do see a blood red river winding it’s was on the bench below. Looking up there seems to be no end in the walls above. As if had we started back up it would take an eternity to escape…perhaps this is the trap the group encountered 35 years earlier. Perhaps we can not leave even if we tried. Regardless we must venture on.
Once down on the Rift floor Herm inspects the red River, it appears to be colored so from minerals that the water flows through, for the river comes to surface in the wall of the Rift.
As we proceed downstream, the mist becomes thicker still, reducing visibility even more. We travel the rest of the day without incident and camp. Our first obstacle is at a waterfall, where the Rift floor drops considerably, to which was pass easily again using my knowledge of underground terrain. However a large unnatural bridge spans the gorge when we reach the bottom of this level, personally I had to rely on my companions at this point. It was then that Petronella’s “apparition” appeared on the ledge above us, somewhat in better condition than before. She was able to communicate with him and he indicates that he is imprisoned below, he also shows us arcane sigils on the walls of the rift…that begin to glow. Could this be why the Raven Queen was unable to determine the secrets of the rift? Is this the reason the rim of the Rift looks unattainable? Before tose questions are asked, the Purple Robe figure dives from the ledge to the depths below.
A few more obstacles (figuring our terrain and fatigue from our decent and the cold) and we reach a passageway with a marker sigil, different from the others, upside-down triangle with an eye in the middle. When we enter the passageway we are teleported into a great round chamber. In the center of the chamber is a nondescript sculpted figure with the inscription “DEVOURER”. Ten Archways surround the room, mist swirling in each, obstructing the view to the other side. A number of humanoid corpses suspend from the ceiling, dripping a black ichor. Suddenly we are attacked by Wraiths! These creatures seem to heal themselves unless hit by god given powers. However, this vulnerability make me a target, necessitating my Hurm, Voltoor, Namib and Patronella trying to protect me. To make matters worse, our attacks were make not as effective if were were hit and when we hit them, our weapons seem to pass through them. Down to one, we were able to lock it down and finish it off.
Searching the room, a journal was found on one of the bodies suspended from the ceiling, indicating this was the lost exhibition from 35 seasons prior and it indicated that the Rift had a ward preventing the Raven Queen or Sariel from entering.
When we were looking for the proper exit, Namib notices tracks lead more to certain exits. During combat, Hurm had been retrieving the bodies suspended from the ceiling and placing them in the mouth of the Devourer, the bodied are turned to dust, thinking that our escape would be forthwith. However this did not seem to yield the results one would hope. Hurm then enters a portal and reappears older, and more feeble Namib throws a rusty sword through the portal and hears sounds on the other side, Voltoor and throws a siver coin through the same portal, same result. Namib goes into a different portal and appears back with no visable side effects. Voltoor proceeds to go through the portals and became small,, then loses items, than appears naked, loses health and is inflicted damage by the Devourer and then ages and becomes feeble. Lheeland casts lightning revelation on the face shattering the eye lids, and opening the portal. We enter and transport to a large feast hall. Elaborate tapestries of battle line the walls.
The (7) large tapestries that hang from floor to ceilings, depict images from different time, it appears to be the past, present and future. As we move into the room, Namib releases undead from out of the smoke from fire that is in the center of the room. As he shifts to safety, he passes by one of the tapestries, it attacks him but misses. Petronella moves in to attack the undead and moves adjacent to the tapestry, it attacks and misses. Although the undead are uncannily swift and elude her attack. A large black one fly’s and attacks Petronella, with a terrifying vision but she is able to resist. Then it hurls a black void “Night Haunt” at Lheeland and he is enveloped in blackness. Voltoor made week from his portal exertion, moves in attacks and scratches the undead (insubstantial and weekend). Seeing the (in)effect that Voltoor had on the creature, Harm moves and attacks the tapestry and destroys a 5 foot section, freeing up the area for combat. The less frightening undead moves in to attack Petronella and she is his hits with a “Nightfell Kiss”, where she is grabbed and attacked again (misses on secondary attack). Another undead creature moves to attack Namib, it misses and goes invisible. Another moves to attacks Namib, it also misses and goes invisible. In pain from the Night Haunt, Lheeland moves out of the black sphere and is able to identify them as Nighthaunts, he rebukes undead, only hit the big guy. Namib attacks and misses summons up his reserves (use action point) and misses. Patronella tries to break free from her kiss and succeeds. She then moves in to an attack position and tapestry attacks, hits but her armor begins to regenerate her health. Their leaded moves the sphere and attacks but misses. Voltoor changes his tactics to control versus damage, hits and immobilizes one of the Nighthaunts. Hurm attacks the tapestry with a “fury of blows”, freeing up more space on the battlefield. One of the Nighthaunts attacks Petronella hurting her. The immobilized Nighthaunt turns on an aura, while the other moves to attack Hurm, he moves out of harms way; unable to attack he also turns on aura. Lheeland attack, hit 2 of 3 with radiant damage. Namib summons wolf that misses with it’s attack. Namib swarms into beetles and moves a safer distance away. Petonella is pissed at the Nighthaunt leader, then she blows a daily, throwing her blade at it, it hits and returns to her. However she is still adjacent to the tapestry that attacks and hits her (ongoing 5 and slowed). Nighthaunt leader moves sphere to Lheeland, attacks and misses. Voltoor pulls them in, allowing his companions to have combat advantage, he then attacks and hits everything and destroys part of tapestry. Nighthaunts moves in to attack Voltoor (misses) and Petronella (hits). Petronella falls conscience. Lheeland moves and reigns down fire on his foes “fire of judgment”, and hit the most bloodied. Namib moves in to attack and misses, allowing a trap to attack him attacks Hurm (hits). Nighthaunt leader moves into position and directs the orb towards me. Voltoor attacks but misses. Hurm pulls Petronella to safety and heals her(check). Nighthaunts attacks and hits Namib’s wolf, which is hit by the other one and kills it. The other Nighthaunts attacks voltoor and hits him. Lheeland attack and kill the first Nighthaunts. Namib, attacks and hits, moves and calls out to come for healing. Petronella stands and shakes off her bleeding wounds (make save). Nighthaunt leader moves sphere and moves in to attack Namib with a terrifying gaze, hits him and he drops unconscious. Voltoor pushes the Nighthaunt leader away and hits it, it is slowed can’t shift. Hurm rushes to the aid of Namib. Nighthaunt’s go after Hurm and bloody him. Voltoor hits and pushes them away. Lheeland hits all three remaining undead. Petronellas hits. Nighthaunt leader hits me with a stare, knocks me over allowing a tapestry attacks me but it is not effective. Voltoor moves away from tapastry. Hurm does something, Nighthaunt leader attacks Petonella, I get up and move unprovoked, attack and finish off another undead. We are finally able to lock down and finish off the remainder in short order.
Searching the tapastries we find strange depictions including Bullywug’s fighting along side Allies. They are fighting shadow creatures. Old antique as well as contemporary people. There are many different groups’ symbols including the Bloody fist. Another symbol, burning white flame set among the ramparts of a palace, much akin to the bloody fist. Some look like the futuristic, and another depicts a figure in the armour of the Golden General.
The Party leaves and enters a chamber that has cracked onyx alters and statues with yellow monstrosities grub. Look edible – yummm. Nabob investigates and keeps one for investigation. It appears the alters are to no particular deity.
The Party leaves and enter a room with black sludge falling down of like narcotic rain, below is an area of 7 faces of “the Devoured” some 70 feet down (whats with 7’s?). Faces are trap doors. 1st Outcropping is 30 feet down, we enter room. Go down to the first ledge, lower Petronella down set down on lower ledge, gives way and tentacle reach up to grab her. We pull her up. Hurm fly’s down and drops taking minor damage. The rest of us get down and we stand beside a door. Hurm tries the green one and sets off poison. Lheeland notices a weird echo in the chamber so we look for the source. We attempt to get to other ledge, three pass and namib falls in and is hurt substantially. We are all then able to gain the ledge. Voltoor, uses tent to shield and gets past the curtain and tentacles, Lheeland is hit for some minor narcotic damage. As we get further along each of us are ably to read the glyphs, a written form as supernal. We are in a tomb…..mydianchlarus….
Once the group is through the sludge tunnel they are greeted by the enterance to the tomb of Mydianchlarus. It’s a large room with the floor 20 feet below the ledge they enter the room on. The floor is covered in bones and flesh and looks rather unstable. From the ledge the heroes stand upon their is a bridge made of bone and flesh that is held together by sinew, tendons and ligaments. It is about 3 feet wide and quite solid. The group starts across and get not quite half way across before they are attacked by at least a dozen ghosts. The battle is hard fought as Hurm and Voltoor are still weakened from the first room they entered.
Fortunately most of the ghosts die quite easily, unfortunately only Petronella seems able to hit anything. It took some time for the group to destroy all the ghosts and before it was over both Lheeland and Voltoor find themselves struggling on the floor to reach a bridge pillar to climb back up. Lheeland was knocked off by one of the tougher ghosts while Voltoor jumped down to save him as Lheeland was knocked unconscience from the fall. All in all it was a very tough fight for the heroes.
The next room was small and round with walls covered in both magical and non-magical runes. They speak of one named Mydianchlarus and the great deeds he had accomplished. He was the one that destroyed 5 powerful entities named Zimimar, Rimmon, Bune, Anarazel and Socothbenoth. When this took place is either not in the runes or cannot be decifered by those in the group. It does also tell of a tower of great power that was ruled by Mydianchlarus. It was such a center of power that beings from other planes would travel great distances just to seek an audience with its ruler. Some were even said to have sworn fealty to him. Very little else can be learned from the runes but it is enough for the heroes to realize they are dealing with a being of great power. The room contains only one exit and it is 50 feet off the ground. It was easy to climb until half way at which Runes of Pain wracked the PCs with spasms of pain as poison coursed through there veins. Petronella was able to counter the effects of the poison with some ability her magical armor had. The rest of the group had to suffer through it until they reached the top. Voltoor and Hurm suffered some but it was Lheeland and Namib that almost died. Voltoor had to assist them both when they reached the top to counter the poison. After the climb they are stunned by what lay before them. It is a hallway made of solid gold. The walls and ceiling are covered with it depicting intricate patterns. They just stood and stared for a time before setting off down the hall, careful not to brush against the walls for fear of scratching it.
At the end of the hall they come to a set of stairs leading up to a room with a large 4 armed gargolye in the center and numerous pedestals attached to the walls at different levels scattered throughout the room. Hurm and Voltoors keen eyes notice that one of the pedastles near the ceiling contains a sarcophagus covered in coins with a large sword sticking in it. While Petronella is examining the gargoyle, Namib throws a torch up to try and knock some of the coins off the sarcofogus. Coins are indeed knocked loose yet they don’t fall down to the ground, they are only knocked aside. Suddenly, the gargoyle awakens and attacks the group. It’s long arms are able to hit Petronella, Hurm and Voltoor before anyone knows what’s happening. The group focuses quickly on this single creature when it suddenly flies into the air. Hurm is able to knock it prone and it falls, but not down to the ground. It lands on the ceiling, right beside Petronella who had correctly deduced that each surface in the room had its own gravity. She was already on the ceiling and when the gargoyle landed beside her she let loose with a mighty blow. It was not much longer before the gargoyle was destroyed and the group found that this room is the tomb of Mydianchlarus. The sarcophagus was covered in blood and small fragments of a body. It also contained a sword and some copper coins. Some runes in the room added to the information gained in the last room about the tower. It gave the name of it, Kin-Oin. Through arcana and heal skills, the groups was able to determine that a foul ritual was performed in this room that completely destroyed the body of Mydianchlarus. It left the group with questions as why would you destroy the body of such a great man, unless that is the only way he can be reborn in the future. After further exploration turned up nothing further, the group heads back.
The group leaves the rift to meet the Raven Queens exarch to be returned to their home, just in time for the battle with Ripfang and his gnoll army to begin………
Episode 111 – Damnation: The Defense of Fallcrest Part I
With so many unanswered questions, Hurm suggests that we visit the Guardian to see if the mysteries that surround her can yield answers. No easy task we knew from our days of youngsters exploring the city during quieter times. Not only did we have to navigate the river but we had to rappel down to her from the top of the cliffs, the moisture from the falls made it that much more treacherous. Once down, we notice that the entire statue is covered in intricate designs, the same designs that appear on the leaders of Fallcrest, and presently adorn the arms of Faren Markelhay, the Lord Warden of Fallcrest. Lheeland and Petronella notice a faint divination aura that emanates from the giant statue. At this time, both Namib and Hurm appeal to the Guardian, hoping to garnish wisdom from such a plea. It is then Hurm notices a flash of recognition in the eyes of the statue. Thinking that their efforts are in vain, Lheeland searches for hidden passages near the base and other parts of the island. Petronella is given a vision; she is in complete darkness, save the moonlight, in flight towards a town. She is being chased by some creature. Seeing that not much was gained from this venture, Lheeland casts a ritual to ask the Raven Queen for guidance. Knowing that Caeden is not to be trusted, we are giving guidance to arrest him immediately. Given quick council with Petronella’s father we move with haste to easily apprehend him. In fact so easily he was aprhended that the thought had been that we had made a mistake, however it seem to be the depth of the deception that made Caeden so at ease. After some interogation and intimdation, Caeden finally caves into some madness and admits to his crimes, somehow he has provided key information to the oncoming Gnoll army, as if it needed any other advantages than it’s sure size, outnumbering the town hundreds, even thousands, to one. Perhaps we can use this information to our advantage…
The next morning we are summoned to a briefing on the oncoming onslaught. We are given the task of providing leadership at the north gate of the city. We are to support the troops and provide direction to fortify the gate to the oncoming hordes. Seeing the provisions that were collected at the request of the Raven Queen, spoil, Petronella become frustrated and goes to confront Sariel. Her frustration boils over, as it commonly does, and questions both Sariel as well as the Raven Queen. Lheeland follow to ensure the meeting does not get out of hand. Sariel advises Petronella that if she continues down her present path that she “will be the first to visit the Raven Queen on this day”. Sariel continued on to say the he life or death that followed will not be unforsaken “For every death the raven queen will relish, for every life saved the raven queen will also relish”. The miracle cannot be rushed (and as Miracle Max said “You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles”) and we (the townsfolk) must make preparation to limit the casualties. Petronella believes that we are a petri dish being experimented on by the gods. Lheeland explains to Petronella that Sariel has always help in times of need and did the bidding of the wishes of the Raven Queen. Sariel says we must make haste back to the city walls because arrows shall be cast. Knowing that his services will be needed, we bring Bishop Elion Tamar, who was restoring the House of Ravenkind while the city made preparations.
The battle begins. The horde and the townsfolk trade arrow volleys. However the fire arrows that cross over the walls have a devastating effect on the buildiing inside. Ulam Trading House begins to burn and then there were explosions, apperently there are fireworks in the building, we must put out the fires or the city will burn. Lheeland leads a number of townsfolk to aid in putting out the fire at the Farmers Market, Petronella tackles Ulam’s, while Hurm and Namib attent to the fire on the wooden gates. Hurm and Namib make quick work of putting out the fire on the gate using amazing feats of acrobatics and intimidation and guile. Lheeland makes fairly quick work of the Farmers market by leading by example and enduring the heat and the heavy workload, as well as utilizing pack animals and alternate sources of water (as fate would have it(x2), he finds it in the sewers!). However Petronella struggles to gain control at Ulam’s trading House. After an initial attempt to get the crowd organized, she gets irate and begins to order them around in an attempt to intimidate, however she is forced to physically place than in positions that would be of benefit to supply water. But her efforts are too little too late and a grand explosion deafens all those in the square. With the fire under control, we are surprised by the presence of elementals that arise from the smolding flames of the buildings. Being surprised and separated by great distances, we struggle to gain an upper hand. Once defeated, I find a curious little artifact, the Rod of Seven Parts (1 Part). The Rod beckons to a place nearby…
Episode 112 – Destruction: The Defense of Fallcrest Part 2
“This battle is like the constant assault of waves on rocky shores, turning it into sand.” Lheeland during the Defence of Fallcrest
The Battle of Fallcrest is becoming a marathon of endurance, battle begets battle, blurring into one long arduous mêlée. The Gnolls fashion battering rams made of wood and metal in the likeness of Yeenoghu. They try to breach the wall but we are able to easily take them out. However, the Gnoll leaders in charge of the rams are no pushovers, and from our positions, manage to inflict heavy damages before they were able to recede back into their ranks. Both Petronella and Hurm go down during the attack but were able to continue with some well timed healing. The next wave we easily took them out from this vantage point. Staying on the wall worked well, probably too well because from our loft we were unable to prevent the third wave from gaining access into the city. Our sense of security blinded us to the true reason behind the attack, which was to release “human slaves” into the city. What is the purpose? Most likely to cause chaos and doubt in the minds of the citizens, making the defense of Fallcrest that much more difficult. We shall find out soon enough and pray for the Miracle, whether through the Raven Queen or through the sheer determination and will to survive of the people of Fallcrest or within ourselves.