The Dying Age

To Rule in Hell

The heroes soon learned ruling a hellhole is no easy task. They were soon beset by requests from both demonic and mortal parties to allow trade to flow between the two realms, leading to contingents of mortal burghers and demonic servitors to fill the Fortress Inevitable’s court. The players decided to allow trade with certain restrictions (no children, no weapons, no souls), and allow demons to immigrate to the Fortress in return for the fealty serving Hellduke Bjorn Greyhand.

Rasp, the party wizard, was also confronted by a burgher of his own. A corpulent man named Gluttony appeared at his quarters, claiming to serve the same creature that gave Rasp his power: the Wyrm. Gluttony said Rasp was failing the Wyrm for not giving himself fully to it, allowing it to sense the world through him much as Gluttony had fed it as much as he could. Rasp invited Gluttony to a nearby lake to discuss the matter, only to have the barbarian Blind ambush him and drown him in the lake.

The party decided it was time they left the Fortress for a while, and followed a petition from a farmer who lived nearby to rid his land of ogres terrorizing them. The heroes arrived in time to find the ogres tearing the farm to pieces, and dispatched them; the farmer’s family, however, was long dead. The duke gave him compensation to move to Santa Cora and live out his days there,
while the duchess purchased his lands from him to be worked by others for the good of the realm.

The party’s attention turned south, as they traveled to a nearby town beset by a curse from a long-dead crusader’s disturbed tomb. On the way they strayed into owlbear territory, and elected to hunt the dangerous predator down. They found the owlbear wasn’t alone, though: it had two cubs. The large predator was killed (and sent to be stuffed as a trophy for the Fortress), while the cubs were captured to be trained as pets for the sorceress and cleric.

When they arrived at the town, the paladin was shocked to discover the disturbed tomb belonged to August Magnus, the previous Crusader and only one to live long enough to retire from the position. His protege, Pale, became the current Crusader. The party destroyed a group of demons guarding the entrance to the tomb, surmising that the Diabolist was behind whatever had befallen the tomb, and delved inside to confront the horrors within.

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The Clockwork Plague

After returning to town, the heroes are greeted by a demonic contingent bearing the sigils of a minor duke of hell, Cogwheel Jack. They are told to bring human sacrifices to the Greenstand Ruins which he has infested, or else. Bjorn Greyhand steps in to lead the contingent, while the barbarian hunts down wild hogs to serve as replacement sacrifices.

The area around the ruins has begun transforming into a hellhole: the plants and animals have become twisted mecho-organic mockeries of themselves, and the taint is spreading. Once they arrive at the ruins Greyhand challenges Cogwheel Jack for his position, using ancient demonic language to do so. The demon names the location of the fight, his throne room. The paladin chooses weapons: bare hands. Jack howls in delight, showing his blades and saws built onto his frame, but soon shrieks in terror when shown Greyhand’s angelic fist.

The party makes their was in for the showdown, and discovers Jack’s throne also powers the gate connecting the hellhole to the demonic realm. When the fight begins, Greyhand tackles Jack while the party fights through to the throne and destroys it. Once the demon lord is put down, the wizard takes its heart and consumes it to fuel his power.

The paladin assumes lordship of the hellhole, much as the Crusader did at First Triumph, and orders the ruins turned into a combination forge and fortress to begin creating the army that will march on the Fire Islands hellhole. Thus was forged the Fortress Inevitable.

While the paladin became a hellduke commanding the fortress, the sorceress Pyre assumed the title of duchess of the Red Wastes using the Writ they had found with Eradras’ Flame. The pair sent out heralds to nearby settlements announcing the change, and the company began preparing for war.

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A Faerie Story

The party’s cleric was told by the elves she had seven days to find a mortal woman whom a high fae lord had fallen madly in love with. After some digging the players heard about strange goings-on in a nearby town, and set out to investigate.

What they stumbled upon was a series of “faerie tales” that were coming true. A young woman’s grandmother was swallowed by a wolf (which the paladin extracted with an axe). A noble girl named Rapunzel was trapped at the top of a high tower and told she cold only be rescued by someone who could climb her hair (the barbarian climbed the bare stones, and discovered she was ACTUALLY the duchess of the Fire Islands whose lands were taken when the hellhole appeared).

Finally, the heroes found a town which had been hosting ball after ball every night for weeks, and whose prince was smitten with a local woman who kept appearing at these balls. The players attended and discovered the woman was… “homely” at best. The heroes abducted her (for her own good) and killed her retinue of surcoat-wearing mice (IT WAS SELF-DEFENSE) before retreating to her house to meet her “faerie godmother”.

Turns out the faerie godmother was the actual mother of a woman taken by the same fae lord the players were working for. Her daughter died after reveling with the fae for weeks without stop, and the fae didn’t even notice. The mother used her arcane powers to enchant the lord so he would fall in love with this… “special”… girl, and be mocked as a fool in the process. The party stopped her, knocked her unconscious, and brought her to the rendezvous point to meet with the other fae.

They were shocked to learn of the plot, and relieved the players foiled it.

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Erdaras's Flame and a Curious Writ

The party travels to a nearby city to rest and recover after the ordeal at the ruins. There they find work tracking down a stolen amulet purchased from a merchant, who has since learned the couriers who claimed it have been murdered.

The party tracks the couriers down and finds their bodies, apparently killed by marauding monsters.
The barbarian is able to hunt down the monsters and the heroes dispatch them. Among their possessions are the amulet, Erdaras’s Flame, as well as a Writ of Crusade from the Crusader himself. It says the bearer of the amulet will lead a crusade to the Fire Islands hellhole, and calls for any and all rulers to give them whatever aid they can. The sorceror claims the amulet for herself, drawn to its fiery nature.

Before returning to town the party wizard leads them to investigate a nearby barrow where a former arcanist lies. The Lich King has sent minions to disturb the site, and the party destroys them while their wizard claims both the arcanist’s broken staff and his remaining power for himself.

They are preparing to leave when suddenly confronted with a pavilion full of elves, demanding the cleric meet her obligations to them.

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Fires on the River

A random attack and kidnapping of a paladin’s squire leads a group of adventurers to band together and escort that paladin to claim a sword being held in safety by an Archmage’s associate. When they arrive, the facility quickly falls under attack and the heroes fail to stop the sword Glazentorg from being stolen by a traitorous mage and a gigantic blue dragon. The damage to the facility is so extensive that instead of giving chase, the players are forced to stop the magical wards from exploding and destroying the countryside for miles around.

After seeing to the damage, the heroes strike out to chase down the thief, who has fled to ruins in the Red Wastes.

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To Seize Glaezentorg

On their way to track down the sword-thief, the heroes are ambushed by wolves with a large hellhound as their packleader. After destroying the demon and tracking it back to a now-ruined summoning circle, the paladin Bjorn Greyhand reveals the boy he’s squiring is being sought by the Diabolist for some unknown purpose, and he took him under his wing to protect him and train him to defend himself.

The search resumes, with the party’s cleric contacting elves of the nearby forest for aid. After agreeing to be beholden to them for a boon to be named later, the elves show the searchers the fastest way through their forests and into the Red Waste. The party’s sorceror, a strange woman wreathed in fire, literally blazes the trail forward, leaving nothing but ash in their wake.

Once they arrive at the Greenstand Ruins, the party charges into battle against skeletons raised by the mage-thief and kobolds sworn to serve him. When they find the thief, Vercingetorix, they discover he has used dragon’s blood to enhance his own abilities and transform into a half-dragon monstrosity. They defeat him despite this power, and claim Glazentorg for the paladin.

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