Shadows and Fire

La rincoquista di Vorae

La riconquista di Vorae

Parte 1 : la vendetta di Callisto

Dopo esser riusciti a tornare al quartier generale della resistenza, Rengard, Arxes e Will raccontano ciò che è successo ai compagni. Dopo un lungo dibattito sul farsi e riprese le energie, il gruppo decide di ritornare verso la cattedrale per capire se l’evocatore di demoni è ancora all’interno e cercare di trovarlo. Nel frattempo il gruppo di elfi inviati dall’arcivescovo Paendras ha iniziato ad attaccare le mura della città creando un diversivo, come era stato concordato. Mentre il gruppo si muove sui tetti per raggiungere la cattedrale del Meriggio, una guardia delle Belve Rosse percepisce dei rumori sul tetto sopra di lui, vede gli eroi e lancia un segnale di allarme.
La guardia viene prontamente fatta fuori. Dopo qualche momento tuttavia la situazione precipita : nella piazza antistante la cattedrale sopra la quale si trova il gruppo, si presentano Drakan e i suoi due più fidati luogotenenti, il tiefling albino e un nano berserker. Lo scontro è inevitabile e Callisto finalmente ha l’occasione per saldare il suo debito di vendetta col passato. La battaglia è molto impegnativa, il nano è un combattente molto esperto e resistente che non teme la grande quantità di colpi ricevuti, mentre Drakan e il tiefling si tengono in seconda linea. Dopo molti colpi dati e e ricevuti gli eroi eliminano il nano e finalmente Callisto può affrontare Drakan faccia a faccia : la rabbia e la forza con cui sferra i colpi con il suo mazzafrusto è tale che nel giro di pochi attimi dell’atavico avversario rimane solamente un cadavere quasi irriconoscibile. Vendetta è compiuta finalmente.
Vedendo soccombere i propri compagni il tiefling si arrende. La battaglia è conclusa.

Parte 2 : testimonianze

Concluso lo scontro, il tiefling viene fatto prigioniero dagli eroi i quali decidono subito di fargli qualche domanda. Le principali informazioni ottenute sono che Drakan aveva deciso di prendere il controllo di Vorae per volontà della Lamia (la creatura che aveva distrutto il sigillo che imprigionava l’immolith) con la quale aveva stipulato un accordo. L’evocatore di demoni invece è giunto in città dopo che le Bestie Rosse ne avevano già preso il controllo, il tiefling quindi presume che anche lui avesse contatti con la Lamia, ma i dettagli di questi accordi li conosceva solo Drakan. Infine il tiefling chiede il permesso di dare un segnale (magico) per dire ai suoi compagni sparsi per la città di arrendersi/ritirarsi.
Gli eroi a questo punto decidono di recuperare i due bambini/apprendisti stregoni nella cattedrale e portarli via con loro. Li trovano ancora dormienti e febbricitanti ma sembrano comunque in ripresa; i PG decidono quindi di dirigersi verso le porte della città per verificare la situazione. In effetti la maggior parte delle Belve Rosse si sta arrendendo ai membri della resistenza e le porte della città vengono aperte. Gli elfi combattenti molto stupiti entrano in città e riferiscono ai PG di aver inviato un messaggero a chiamare il vescovo Paendras. La situazione sembra abbastanza sotto controllo e gli eroi decidono di andare a riposare.
La mattina seguente una guardia della resistenza viene ad avvisare dell’arrivo volante di due tizi davanti alla cattedrale che chiedono dei PG : dopo un botta e risposta per “messaggio rituale” si chiarisce che sono gli stregoni del regno di Innikkal che sono i maestri dei due bimbi. I PG allora decidono di parlare con i bimbi prima di riportarli dai loro maestri. Non riescono ad ottenere informazioni molto precise su quello che facevano nella cattedrale insieme al demonista, semplicemente lo aiutavano talvolta durante le cerimonie a portare qualcosa, ma per il resto non sapevano bene chi fosse o cosa facesse durante la notte quando era da solo. Lui li ha sempre trattati bene e anche se ammettono che li inquietava il fatto di sapere che fosse un necromante malvagio. La bimba, una volta divisa dal compagnetto, diventa più loquace e rivela qualcosina sul suo addestramento e sul fatto che il potere degli stregoni suoi maestri sono legati all’aria, alla terra e al fuoco. Non esiste, che lei sappia, uno stregone legato all’acqua. Gli eroi decidono quindi di riportare i bimbi dai maestri, l’incontro si svolge in una taverna. I chiarimenti che ne seguono rivelano che i due erano stati assoldati da Drakan per uccidere delle specifiche Lamie, cioè l’oracolo della terra del sud (la compagna del condottiero fatato) e quella chiamata “signora della foresta”, salvata in un primo tempo dai PG e poi però eliminata dagli stregoni successivamente mentre gli eroi erano giunti a Vorae. Erano stati contattati da Drakan quando gli eroi erano a Inikkal (di fatti l’attacco da loro affrontato quando hanno protetto l’oracolo era stato causato proprio da questi stregoni). Quindi non hanno nulla contro gli eroi i quali a questo punto chiedono loro se conoscessero l’evocatore di demoni, ma loro non ne sanno praticamente nulla. Rimasti senza datore di lavoro vorrebbero solo andarsene. I PG propongono loro invece di continuare la ricerca della Lamia per individuarla (lo stregone dell’aria se la cava con la divinazione), naturalmente il lavoro sarebbe ricompensato (da Paendras). L’unica informazione veramente interessante che gli stregoni danno agli eroi (una volta che questi hanno riferito loro la storia dell’immolith) è che esiste una leggenda che parla di un potente demone imprigionato sulla terra e di un desiderio/ricompensa che il suo liberatore potrebbe esprimere e vedere esaudito grazie a un accordo con un principe demone. Dato che le storie sembrano collimare e data la potenza del demone, secondo gli stregoni il principe demone in questo caso potrebbe esser solo Orcus in persona. Tutto questo collimerebbe anche con i rituali eseguiti dal demonista nella cattedrale che sembravano rimandare proprio a Orcus.

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The implementation of the plan

The implementation of the plan

The heroes try to kill the misterious summoner

During the nights after their arrival in Vorae, the heroes plan their actions in detail. Arxes and Will decide to spy the summoner movements over the night after the cerimonies. They discover that he keeps repeating the same actions: it remains in a trance in front of the altar for a few minutes, then he retires to his room and immediately he comes up with his golem. What he does during the night is a mystery.
Instead Callisto has the opportunity to participate in a nocturnal ceremony in the cathedral, disguised as a commoner she attends the ceremony without problems. Inside, besides the caster, there are about 16 Red Beasts guards; she has not seen any sacrifice or act of violence, they are recited only litanies dedicated to a mysterious divinity of darkness, probably Orcus. Two children (one male and one female) officiate the ceremony with caster : their dark skin and the incomplete symbols of air and fire on their face indicate their origin (apprentice magicians of the Inikkal kingdom).
In the following days, Callisto decides to infiltrate into the kitchens of Red Beasts mingling among other servants; her goal is to poison the food that is prepared for the summoner and she can accomplish the plan without problems.
Meanwhile Rengard and Rayne contact Paendras through a ritual, asking him to arrange an attack from the outside during the same night of the attempted poisoning (at 12 pm) . He responds positively.
Around 11 pm, suddenly came the news that the caster has summoned healers, not for himself but for the children. Rengard decides to disguise himself thanks to his magical powers and pretend to be a healer to enter the cathedral, saving children and gaining the confidence of the caster. Meanwhile Arxes and Will decide to spy on the situation from the outside through the windows of the cathedral. Rengard is able to administer the antidote to children without getting caught by the summoner and acting well the part of the healer. Unfortunately Arxes and Will are surprised by 3 demons who attack them, causing them to fall inside the cathedral, just a few steps from the summoner (which was going to procure other healing herbs for children). So they decide to attack him without hesitation counting on the element of surprise. The thief and the monk attack him in melee, leading to sign all their shots wounding him in a serious way before he has time to get away. The demons (controlled by the caster) react by attacking them from distance allowing the caster to get out of the fray and call his golem. At that moment Rengard arrives on the battle line drawn by the sounds of battle. Then his allies hope on a Rengard surprise attack to fight off the caster definitely but he, struck by an inexplicable fear, decide to not to take part in the fighting and continue to pretend to be the healer. His companions (without words..), still continue to fight; Arxes defeats demons through the heart of Xarsat but in the meantime comes the golem which involves the thief and the monk hardly in the combat. Taking advantage of the situation, the summoner escapes in his room. Rengard try to follow him but, arrived in the room, he can not find anyone. Also the golem follows the path of his master, he attack Rengard to open the road so knock out the wizard (so he learn to don’t escape the next time..). Taking advantage of the distraction of the golem, Will and Arxes flee dragging Renagard (which is still unconscious).

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The Resistance

The Resistance

The group made contact with insurgents

After getting rid of the Incubus, the heroes decide to move away from the well fearing that the sounds of the battle had attracted the attention of the guards. However, before moving they contact the Resistance (in the person of Leonen Featherlight)trough a Send ritual. Leonen responds immediately by giving them precise instructions: “after the celebration of 2 o’clock, head to the second house after the town hall on the right. Knock 3 times, wait 5 seconds then knock other 4 times”. The heroes plunge back into the sewers and head towards the area of the town hall, appearing in another well, same as above. After few hours of rest, at 2 pm they perceive some noise coming from the outside : some guards are knoking on doors to rally the population to the cathedral. The heroes realize that this is the time to act : they expect that the crown has moved away and then they out in the open. Following the suggestion of Leonen the heroes reach the hideout of the Resistance. They are greeted by 6-7 people including Leonen and Darlenas. The group is immediately updated on the situation : Drakan and the Red Beast control Vorae with the help of a misterious character who controls a dozen demons evoked by human sacrifices. There is not any precise information about this shady person, he spends his days always in the cathedral, a mercenary brings him the meals and it seems that a construct made of corpses is on guard inside the cathedral. Drakan instead lives in the town hall protected by his many Red Beasts. Leonen and Darlenas say that they have thought about plannig a muder of one of the two leaders. They also say that the summoner seems to be the easiest target to hit. After some reflection, the heroes propose to operate in the shadows to create havoc among the Red Beast (some of them are unhappy about the foced cohabitation with demons) and at the same time put the summoner against Drakan and his mercenaries. The plan is to get rid some men of the Red Beasts that guard the cathedral (to grow the dissatisfation among the mercenaries) and then try to poison the summoner (to induce him to think that Drakan want to kill him). “Divide et impera” is often a good tactic say Arxes and Callisto.

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Back to Vorae...again...

Back to Vorae…again…

The Heroes try to infiltrate the city…

After resting in Phaendras’ camp, the heroes set off for Vorae with the aim to give a hand to the reistance. Their plan is to infitrate the city through the sewers, so they decide to plunge into the river that crosses Vorae few kilometers before the city. Thanks to a ritual (obtained by the Bishop) which allows them to breath under water for some hours, the heroes proceed smootly on the river bed. Near the city, a strage phonomenon attracted their attention : two luminescent creatures pass near them, but the heroes can’t identify them because of their high speed.
Finally arrived under the walls of the city, a third shinig creature comes on the heroes path but in this case it seems to be steady in the river. Having the opportunity to closely observe the creature, they understand that it is a ghost of a Vorae dead citizen. Making use of his skills (and thanks to very high dice rolls) , Rengard understands that it is retained by a magical force, so the wizard decide to release him with his dispel magic power.
Now under the city, the heroes meet an other immobile spectrum. Speaking with him they discover that he was a soldier of the city guard recently killed by the Red Beasts. Then they decide to follow the direction of the magical force to discover its origin and free the desperate ghost (unfortunately dispel magic is a daily power…) .
Then the heroes emerge within a huge well where they are greeted by an old enemy : an Incubus (a demon which they faced in the past, but that this time seems to be also a few undead…). The demon controls about ten ghost with its magical skills and so the heroes start a combat with them. Thanks to the power of the Xarsat heart and to a Rengard’s incredible COLPO DI C…, the heroes defeat the demon in just two rounds and free the ghosts.
It’s still night, the heroes decide to remain hidden in the well and to wait for the dawn. This seems an ideal time to contact the resistance throught a ritual…

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The Tower of Hunger
Back to Vorae, new problems await the PCs...

The Tower of Hunger

Summary

Back to Vorae, the PCs arrive while a funeral procession is going through the city. Apparently another distant relative of the priest was killed, along with all her house guards. The bodies, however, come back to life during the funeral! Surprise and happiness are short-lived, because they have actually been transformed into undead creatures, and they start attacking the crowd. The PCs save the day.

The priest thanks the PCs for their help; he gets a report on the Immolith’s release, and while he looks for information in the library, he asks the PCs to investigate on the murder/reanimation of his distant relative.

The PCs uncover a twisted history of rivalry between families Paendras (that of the priest) and Dekunn, that culminated into imprisonment for the Dekunns when they were found culprit of dealing with devils; the cultist who allegedly corrupted them, however, escaped capture. The whole family was executed in a terrible way: sealed inside their tower, they died of starvation. For this terrible retaliation, the priest lost his divine powers and a lightning stroke the tower, making it collapse.

PCs discover that a weird mixture of demons (not devils!) and undeads is behind the killing spree. The diabolist contacts them, bargaining his help for the opportunity to flee the city.

In the end, the Dekunn family apparently raised from their graves as Ghouls; and they found someone which gave them the help of demons. The PCs fight their way through the sewers of the city up to ruins of the collapsed tower where the Dekunns saw their demise, slaying Baron Dekunn himself in the end.

PCs

NPCs

Darlenas La Maille
Vendrosai Paendras
Todo…

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The Dragon's Tomb
First adventure, where the PCs unwillingly take part in the release of a powerful Demon

The Dragon’s Tomb

Summary

The PCs are hired by the priest of the city of Vorae to investigate the disappearance of his cousin, a noble with a passion for history and archaeology. He’s been kidnapped near the alleged location of the tomb of a white dragon.

The PCs travel to the location, and on their way there they meet:
- forest-dwelling elves
- a lizardfolk outcast
- a group of aggressive shadar-kai, that tries to discourage them from reaching the tomb
- aggressive lizardfolks, probably instigated by the shadar-kai

The PCs discover that the priest’s cousin is held prisoner by the lizardfolk, and they free him. But they are also concerned with the objective of the shadar-kai, that clearly befriended the lizardfol only to gain access to the Dragon’s Tomb. So, the PC decide to follow the shadar-kai inside the tomb, helped by the outcast.

When they arrive inside the tomb, they realize from the carvings that the dragon was an extremely old White Dragon, and that he died fighting a mysterious creature made of fire, probably summoned by the Tieflings of Bael Turath at the time of the war between their empire and Arkhosia.

Inside the tomb, they meet again with the shadar-kai, that accuse the PCs of trying to unseal the demon. The PCs had no idea there was a demon sealed here, but the shadar-kai are positive that someone tried to mess with the seal a while ago, and they attacked the expedition of the priest’s cousin believing he was the culprit.

In that moment, however, a lamia reveals herself: she was posing as a female lizardfolk. She unseals the demon, a powerful Immolith, and both PCs and shadar-kai are forced to flee the tomb, that starts to melt, with rock quickly turning to lava.

Only one of the shadar-kai, Rayne, survives the flight. Still bitter at the PCs, she grudgingly agrees to return to the city, in order to recover more information on the demon.

PCs

Todo…

NPCs

Vendrosai Paendras
Todo…

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