Apotheosis

The Siege Of Absalom

With Raels true identity and objective revealed the aberrant hordes emerging from the Dark Tapestry descend on the city at the center of the world. With worlds literally colliding, the Champions of Absalom are forced to make decisions about just what is important to them, and how far they are willing to go to protect that. With everything on the line, do the legendary heroes have what it will take to save Golarion from an existence it should have never been able to comprehend?

As the hordes of mind warping horrors begin their slow approach to Absalom, the Champions quickly transport themselves back and begin to prepare for the unavoidable assault. All too aware that they have only days at best, the heroes desperately try to figure out a plan of attack or a way to stop Rael and the merging Golarion and the Farplane. As they attempt to get control of their situation, Albert approaches Imrizade and encourages her to flee Golarion, offering her sanctuary in Sigil until he can get control of their situation. Despite being touched by his concern, Imrizade states that her place in by Albert’s side, and whatever they must face she would rather they do it together. Reluctantly, Albert accepts his wife’s request and strikes out to research a solution. Meanwhile, Malias and Set begin rallying their troops and trying to prepare for whatever is to come. Following dealing with his church, Behnam returns home to find Rael in his guise as Albert awaiting him. Rael informs Behnam that he know’s about where the priests wife is and that he will be able to get the cleric access to her, on the condition that Behnam must remove himself from the siege. Rael continues to advise that should Behnam choose not to save his wife, he will never forgive himself, and her suffering will be endless. Behnam reluctantly agrees.

As Alberts research proves less than fruitful, the archmage grows more desperate for a solution, eventually consigning himself to accessing the truly dark texts sealed within the deepest vaults of the Arcanamirium. As the young noble strips away the wards he feels his hand grappled and the familiar figure of Alexis Dashwood preventing him from going any further. After his initial surprise, Albert joins his former mentor in his old room of the Arcanamirium to discuss the situation. Alexis advise Albert that he and the other former agents have lost their way, acting too much as individuals, turning to dark solutions and failing to work together. While Alexis admits that the heroes have achieved far more than he could have imagined or foreseen, now more than ever they need to be a team and address the situation together. The former Varlokker senior admits that he only returned now because his divination abilities allowed him to predict the questionable decision being made by Albert and Behnam alike. The diviner suggests that the Champions muster and meet him at his home and their former briefing point.

At Alexis request the Champions do meet up and draw up a plan together, concluding that they will take control of the defense of Absalom and coordinate the forces of the city in the best ways they know possible. With their former mentors blessing, the heroes join the Primarch and the council of Absalom in their defense summit and propose a plan of defense, making use of all of the resources at the availability of the Champions and the city. The Primarch offers his blessing, despite being alittle put out, and places the Champions in command of large forces of the military for the duration of the siege. With their plans moving into place, the Champions can do nothing but wait for the inevitable storm to hit.

9558efb14355bab19a0a9c24ebfd3156.jpg

As the aberrant horde approaches the city, the Champions stand together in defence of the city, dealing with the threats that the more common military stand little chance against. The heroes withstand relentless assaults and aerial assaults, and while their efforts save thousands, some of those close to them fall to the corruption besieging the city, amongst them is Balenar Forsend, bard of the Pathfinder Society and the heroes longtime ally. Nevertheless, the efforts of the Champions afford them a chance to take the fight to their enemy, with Kurgan Duminsson showing up with the Skysentinel at just the right time.

While his allies prepare to depart, Behnam is approached by an innocent street urchin who hands him a token and tells him it is time. With a simple goodbye, the priest plane shifts away, leaving the rest of the Champions to complete the defence of Absalom and take the fight to Rael without him. Completing his shift, the ‘Shining Light’ appears on Caina, one of the levels of Hell. Behnam moves quickly to find his beloved, but soon realises that his appearance within Hell has not unnoticed. Nevertheless, the cleric pushes on, eventually locating his wife imprisoned and guarded by her devil tainted brother. As Behnam demands her release, his brother in law advises that he made a pact for power, and his sister’s soul must remain damned. As hordes of devils surround him, Behnam refuses to relent. Before the devilish army can overwhelm the exemplar, a divine host of angels led by Ybdiel appear around the servant of Sarenrae, beseeching him to rejoin his allies, lest they fail to protect Golarion. Torn between his duty and his soulmate, Behnam chooses the latter. Mournfully, Ybdiel removes the priests mythic spark, sending it to assist the Champions and apologises that he cannot help his ally further. Without further conversation, the angels leave the Light of the Dawnflower to his fate in hell. With neither his mythic spark, or divine abilities, the lone warrior turns to face an endless army of devils to rescue his beloved.

Meanwhile, aboard the Skysentinel, the remaining heroes fly head first into the twisted horde emerging from the planar tear in the Cairnlands. Albert, Set and Malius valiantly defend the airship as it is subjected to an aerial bombardment by the monstrous host. Despite their commendable efforts, the attacks on the vessel critically damage it, fire and smoke engulfing it. Before they are able to react, Ybdiel and the angelic force appear around the shipping, forcing back the aberrant onslaught and protecting the Champions from harm as the Skysentinel crash lands in the heart of Rael’s domain. The herald of Sarenrae informs the trio of Behnam’s decision, bestowing them with the priest’s mythic power to assist them in their final battle. Promising to hold the twisted creatures surrounding them at bay, Ybdiel and his army vow to buy the group time to confront their mindflayer nemesis undisturbed. With nothing standing between them and the monster responsible for the tear in realities, the heroes race into the nightmare stronghold.

Tower.jpg

Within the warped tower Rael awaits the trio, stating that he has known this moment would come, and that the outcome has already been decided. Undeterred by the illithids comments and promising to undo the damage he has caused, the Champions launch a prepared assault on the him. Despite Rael’s considerable power and the absence of Behnam, the Champions confidence and divinely bolstered abilities eventually overcome their foe. A combination of Set’s relentless barrage, Malius’ powerful blows and Albert’s magical support overwhelm the mindflayer. As Rael physical form is overcome, the stolen arcane energy stolen from countless artifacts begins to leak through the creatures skin, and as he finally dies, he explodes in a radiant burst of consumed power. Seeking a host, the overload of arcane power floods into the heroes, merging with their divine spark and further strengthening their already considerable power.

As the dust settles and the tear slowly begins to heal, Albert digs through the loose remains of his future self’s belonging and retrieves the alternate version of ’Izryen’s Hourglass’. Intrigued to see what will happen when two of the same item from different points in time come together, Albert forces his hourglass alongside Rael’s. As the two items collide they shatter, the sand within both whipping around the trio in a supernatural sandstorm. Engulfed within the temporal storm, the heroes see’s brief flashes of their own past, present and future appear around them in the sands of time. Within the vortex the Champions witness the celebration of the defence of Absalom, an award ceremony in their honour and the beginning of the rebuild process. As time moves faster around them they see themselves move onto the next stages of their lives, new opportunities, new allies and a child born to one of them. Soon the maelstrom becomes too chaotic and the images to brief to understand, but as that happens the storm suddenly stops.

The trio find themselves back in reality, sat at a table in the passenger compartment of what appears to be a sailing vessel. Slightly more weathered by age and differently attired, the Champions settle into what they can assume is a future version of their bodies. As they take a breath they look across the table and see Behnam sitting with them…

View
Sanity's Edge

Something very wrong is happening to the people of Absalom. What started as simple nightmares plaguing the fringes of the city has quickly escalated into something far more… otherworldly. As various organisations scramble for answers about their unknowable assailant, the citizens of the city desperately turn to the Champions of Absalom to defend them. But can the legendary heroes defeat a force they cannot hope, or want, to understand?

Following their swift departure from the Astral Plane via Sigil, the Champions return to Absalom to discover the Primarch’s workforce planning the excavation of a passage way beneath the Blakros museum. Glad of a chance to rest, the heroes part ways with the intention of taking a well deserved break. However, it soon becomes apparent that something is amiss in their home city when they learn of strange nightmares plaguing the Copperwood district just outside the metropolis walls. Malias is the first to get involved in the investigation, taking command of the assigned agents of the Varlokkur in an attempt to find out what the source of the malady is. Meanwhile, Albert uses a combination of divination and research to learn more of the recovered ‘Fedifensor’, growing concerned that such a weapon for good has been so brutally destroyed.

Despite being tasked by the church with looking into the nightmares, Behnam first carries out further searches for his wife, using his increasing magical aptitude to locate her again. Rather than locating his bride in the usual cell, the cleric instead finds her being escorted through a horror realm that he soon learns is Cania, one of the levels of Hell. Enraged and frustrated he approaches Albert to launch an expedition into Hell. Despite being eager to help his friend, Albert attempts to suggestion caution, but the group are soon pulled along in Behnams wake as he approaches the head of the church of Asmodeus to retrieve the focus needed to travel to Cania. While the ‘Shining Light’s’ request is granted at no additional cost, he is advised it will take several days for the required items to be retrieved.

As the days pass the group begin to learn more about the affliction that plagues Copperwood. Firstly, it is quickly apparent that the condition is spreading further into the city with each passing night. Secondly, Albert notices that the Imrizade is displaying some odd behaviour, staring out towards Copperwood in a trance like state during her resting hours. As the Champions come under more pressure to resolve the nightmares from external sources, they make the decision to enter Copperwood and experience the nightmares themselves. Taking up residence in a local inn, Malias, Albert and Behnam allow themselves to experience the nightmare multiple times, seeing themselves flying limbless through a howling, maddening void, screaming as the hurtle deeper into it. Shaken by the experience the group decide to regroup and look for any solutions, but before they leave they are advised by a Varlokkur agent that a group of Pathfinder have struck out into the Cairnlands to try to locate the source of the nightmares. Learning that their ally, Balenar Forsend, now a veteran of the recent Worldwound crusades is leading the expedition, they quickly teleport themselves after the group in the hope of preventing anything from happening to them. Unfortunately, they are too late. By the time they locate the Pathfinders they are already fleeing back to Absalom after Balenar encountered some sort of twisted rift. The bard now gibbers manically as his flesh writhes from some unknown infection. The Pathfinders urge the heroes to turn back, advising they found nothing but a warped box they discovered on Balenar. Albert commands the remaining Pathfinder to escort Balenar back to their Grand Lodge while the Champions explore further, which the agents quickly do.

Despite searching the area further, the adventurers find nothing specific, but all comment on a strange ‘wrongness’ and something unnatural that seems to lurk out the corner of their eyes. Admitting defeat for the moment, the heroes return to Absalom and recall A’hymhu from his archery academy in Diobel. Albert calls a conclave of his peers at the Arcanimirium, including Lady Darchana, Archdean of the Arcanimirium and Second Spell Lord, suggesting that the best way to learn more of the nightmare would be for he and his fellow Champions to physically enter it through the ‘Dimension of Dreams’. While Lady Darchana is reluctant to support such a risky idea, she does confess that some fringe magic would allow such an journey, but that only a few secretive individuals have such power. Albert and the Champions accept the risk and follow the Lady’s recommendation to an unimposing home in Westgate to meet Corvias Neorin. While Corvias appears to be little more than a venerable halfling stage magician, the group soon learn that he was once a powerful mesmerist and occultist. Despite some trepidation, the halfling eventually agrees to transport the Champions into the nightmare, but advises that he will need to go with them, and they will need a willing subject. That night the group are able to break into the box they discovers on Balenar with set overcoming a powerful magical trap upon it, within they discover a strange, slick glove that appears to have grown from human flesh.

The following day the Champions, Corvias and a willing Varlokkor agent travel to Copperwood to enter the dream. It is clear on the heroes arrival that thing are getting worse in Copperwood and the communal fear and panic is only increasing. Within the inn Corvias conducts the ritual and all present are cast into the nightmare and find themselves floating in the maddening void. The screaming twilight abyss immediately attacks the groups sanity and only their well tessed mental reserves and divine mythic potential allows them to stave it off. As they survey the churning void of nothingness that engulfs them and try to ignore the primal instability they quickly realise that this dream is representative of what madman have referred to as the ‘Dark Tapestry’ or the ‘Farplane’. As strange, twisting and warped shapes begin to loom towards them, Albert commands Corvia to get them out, and mercifully the halfling is able to hold his composure long enough to do so.

chaos-beast.jpg

Upon their return to the material plane and the inn in Copperwood the group begin to theorise about what is happening. Eventually they come to the conclusion that the nightmares are likely a symptom of some sort of planar merging between that of Golarion and the Dark Tapestry. Albert posits that such an act would require an almost ineffable amount of power to set in motion, but that the more contact the material plane has with the Tapestry the more the Tapestry will consume them all. Given theories about the illithids relation with the Farplane, the group begin to suspect that Rael T’dobel may play a part in what is happening. Unable to reach a final conclusion, Behnam calls upon his powers to beseech the divine for answers. While several questions go unanswered, he is able to learn that Rael does indeed have his hand in what is happening, but that his goals are not as clear as they may appear.

Shortly after their return, the group are summoned by the Primarch to discuss their findings. Following a candid discussion Lord Gyr warns that his forward scouts have noticed more and more twisted horrors appearing in and warping the Cairnlands and beginning to move towards Absalom. Believing the Cairnlands to be the source of the merging, Albert suggests the group strike out into it and call Rael out. While Behnam initially disagrees, he eventually relents as he see’s no other choice.

After a nights rest, the group prepare for their journey out into the Cairnlands, taking every precaution they can think of. Albert conjures them a team of phantom horses and the group ride out of the city. Over the course of the day the heroes ride deeper and deeper into the Cairnlands, observing a gradual change in the landscape and more. The natural terrain twists and warps into a nightmare realm the further the Champions travel, with the ground shifting into fleshless maws, the rocks and trees adopting twitching eyes and fleshy textures and the sky itself plunging into a sunless, pitch void. Additionally, mindless, pseudo-natural creatures begin to dot the sides of the road, shifting and moaning aimlessly. What starts as only a dozen soon grows into several hundreds as the group move on with only their light sources to guide them in the sanity blasting void.

Despite being conflicted about pressing further into the planar merging, the heroes travel for the better part of the day before being greeted by the voice of Rael in their mind. The ullitharid taunts the Champions and encourages them to turn back, but ignoring him they progress onwards, periodically questioning the illithid about his motives. Rael gladly answers their questions, stating that he has a vested interest in some of the group and admitting that he tore open the rift between his realm and Golarion using the power from the artifacts he has been draining to both bolster his own strength and create the rift. As the interrogation continues the group learn that Rael is from both the future and the past, joining his race when they cast themselves back in time, but that he originally encountered the Champions in what will be their future. The heroes grow more frustrated and confused as they question Rael as his answers become more cryptic and foreboding.

Malias drifts in and out of the conversation, focusing instead on the Champions safety as they push on, but as he does he suddenly realises from the information that Rael is alluding to that the ullitharid’s name is an anagram of Albert Doel. As the inquisitor mentions his suddenly understanding Rael steps from the darkness in a form not unlike Albert, gloating that while the archmage will achieve great things, he will eventually fall to the illithid empire and become Rael. Albert refuses to accept the revelation, insisting that he would never commit the atrocities that Rael has, but the mind flayer points out that the young lord has already deceived, manipulated and kept secrets from those closest to him. Enraged and unsure the group engage Rael with Albert frantically assuming that by stealing their foes version of Izryen’s Hourglass and killing Albert in the present that they will be able to stop the ullitharids existence. The desperate combat doesn’t last long as the group struggle desperately in the nightmarish realm against a much more prepared and powerful foe. Albert is able to grap Rael’s hourglass, but loses his own to the ullitharid in the process. Lamenting that this isn’t the right time for this battle, Rael escapes, but as he does so the hordes of mindless horrors surrounding the group begin to move on Absalom.

View
Interlopers Of Ruun-Khazai

Over a century ago, the extraplanar outpost of Ruun-Khazai disappeared, and with it the magical weapon known as ‘Fedifensor’. However, following the dispersal of an astral storm, magical divinations on both have proven more fruitful. Utilizing their mythic potential and the portals of Sigil, the Champions of Absalom have little difficulty reaching the fortification, but will their newfound abilities be enough to contend with the resident of Ruun-Khazai and the unknown factions that covet the same prize?

githyanki.jpg

Brig.jpg

View
Initial Forays

In the teeming metropolis of Sigil there stands a church that has been there for longer than anyone can remember. Up until recently, nobody has given the nondescript building a second thought. However, when the workmen tasked with tearing down the old structure all disappear, the residents of the ‘Cage’ quickly take note. Soon drawn into the investigations, the Champions of Absalom find themselves dealing with far more than a simple case of missing persons.

View
The Deva Spark

The deva is a celestial champion who serves the cause of ultimate good. The bebilith is a nightmarish monster whose every deed reeks of utter evil. What terrible secrets connects these two beings and what does it all have to do with the legendary deva spark? Can the Champions of Absalom can learn the truth of this epic conflict before time runs out?

Bebilith.jpg

View
The Mantis's Prey

The Red Mantis have a contract to assassinate Grandmaster Torch, and the famed former Absalom information broker calls in a favor from the Champions of Absalom to prevent his untimely demise. Racing against the clock, the heroes must locate and defeat a cell of the legendary assassins and uncover unlikely secrets in the process.

Two weeks after their return to Absalom from the horrors they faced at Nightfang Spire, the Champions of Absalom find themselves each with a summons to Crescent Manor within the Petal District. Believing they have had an audience requested of them by the local nobility the group travel to the appointment. Unbeknownst to the heroes, their ally and former agent of the Varlokkur, Julian Ormontagne has also received such an invitation and meets up with them at the manor. It quickly becomes clear that the summons is not simply a polite social gathering as they spot familiar bodyguards outside the residence and become aware of heavy magical wardings. Within the manor they are greeted by their former associate and rival, Grandmaster Torch. After the initial shock of being summoned by a man they thought had long since abandoned their home city, the champions query why Torch has summoned them. Before he will give them an answer, the Grandmaster requests that they first prove they are up to the high standards he expects of them by inspecting a number of ‘artifacts’ he has come into possession of. Reluctantly, Albert, Behnam and Julian investigate the items, quickly proving that each is clearly a fake, frustrating Torch’s own expert in the process.

Satisfied that they are still up to the standards he expects of them, Grandmaster Torch explains that he has become aware of a contract on his head, taking out by one of his own enemies with the infamous Red Mantis assassins. The conniving information broker explains that he wishes for the champions to deal with his assailants on his behalf before any ill can befall both himself or the innocents of Absalom. While most of the group are reluctant to take any action to support Torch, Julian exclaims interest in ‘just one more adventure’, citing that it will be ‘just like old times’. Unwillingly to disappoint their friend, or place the populace of the city in harm’s way, the heroes agree to investigate. Torch identifies the assassins base of operations within an abandoned cloistered bardic college, Allegro College.

After retrieving their adventuring equipment, Julian and the champions travel to the mountains north of Absalom and locate the college hidden behind Frothripper waterfall. Upon their arrival they are set upon by a handful of Red Mantis and their enforcers. Despite the assassins deadly reputation, the group are soon victorious and locate the entrance to the college. However, the entrance is built into a trapped music puzzle, which Albert recklessly activates. In response to the failsafe triggering, a gigantic elder water elemental emerges from the waterfall behind the group, delivering a punishing blow to Set’nah. The group scattered, with the elven archer distancing himself from his allies while Nazuk disappears. Realising the power of the elemental, Albert dimension door’s the others to safety. Alone and exposed, Set’nah comes under attack from the elemental again, his flesh and bones breaking under the immense torrential fists. Overwhelmed and unprepared, Set’nah perishes brutally, witnessed by a powerless Nazuk. The slyph shadowdancer manages to sneak away and locate the others, relaying the news of their friends demise. Realising the elementals summoning won’t have lasted long, the champions recover the archer’s body and return to Absalom somberly. Within the Temple of the Shining Star, Behnam invokes the divine powers of his goddess Sarenrae and miraculously heals the elfs body and returns his soul to his shell. Despite being drained and both mentally and emotionally in shock from his temporary death, Set’nah agrees to resume their task.

Mantis.png

With their physical wounds healed, the group return to the college and carefully manage to overcome the trapped entryway. Within they encounter a number of Red Mantis and their apparent prisoners. To the heroes surprise, the assassins surrender, but when Behnam unmasks the “assassins” he realises they are medusa. Another trap is sprung, as the prisoners reveal themselves to be more disguised Red Mantis and a fearsome melee breaks out. The champions are victorious, capturing one of the medusa, however in the chaos both Nazuk and Malias have succumbed to the medusa’s stony gaze. Thankfully, the medusa trades her freedom for a number of salves that will return the pair to normal. Unfortunately, Nazuks body proves too fragile to survive the transition back from stone, with the shock causing her to almost expire. Thankfully, once again Behnam is able to use his powerful healing magics to return her from the brink of death.

Following a quick search of the college, the champions fail to locate any additional assassins and prepare to set off back to Absalom. As they leave, they are ambushed by the alchemically quickened Red Mantis cell leader, Vashian the Needle. However, she proves unable to match the combined abilities of the heroes and their bardic ally. Satisfied that the assassins are defeated, the group head back to Absalom, with Set’nah and Julian using the Mantis’s air glissades to fly part of the way.

When the group report their success to Torch he seemed genuinely impressed with their efforts and commends them. In exchange for their service he offers a handsome payment and some additonal information, including revealing his identity as a former Pathfinder. Torch explains that he was targetted for his recent alliance with the Pathfinder Society, by those who once sought to usurp him. The Grandmaster goes on to explain that he has since elimated the offending individual and his alliance with the Society has come to an end. Nazuk queries if he intends to remain in Absalom again, but the Grandmaster expalins that he has more pressing concerns overseas. Before the group departs, Torch offers Behnam one final piece of information. He simply exposits that the person the priest seeks recently passed through Absalom, but refuses to expand any further.

With their harrowing task completed and several brutal experiences and new information to take stock of, the celebrity and the champions retire to the Saucy Wench and raise a bittersweet mug of ale to “another adventure”.

View
Heart Of Nightfang Spire

Nightfang Spire has long brooded in lonely silence, shadowed within the walls of a steep defile. A tall stone column, it resembles nothing so much as an enormous fang of some vanished mythical beast. Once, a fervent religious order thrived here – before its god was slain. Embracing that death, Nightfang Spire was transformed into a massive, hollow mortuary filled with the restless dead. When an old ally goes missing investigating the Spire, fate brings the Champions of Absalom back together to learn the true about this ancient monolith.

After over five years of following their own paths, the five Champions of Absalom find themselves summoned back to Absalom’s busy Coins district by a letter from a mysterious ally. The five heroes reunite in the hub of trade just in time to witness the descent of a giant, flying airship of clearly dwarven design. The group are summoned on board the vessel by the familiar venerable face of Kurgan Duminsson, former alchemist and engineer of ‘The Freedom Phalanx’. Kurgan apologises for the nature of his summoning, but continues to explain that since the construction of his airship, ‘The Skysentinel’, he has been working with Eloranta Naslun (who also assisted in the Skysentinels construction) in helping her locate sites of arcane importance for her continued research into practical applications of magic. Kurgan explains that their journeys had been going to plan, until they traveled to northern Ustalav to study the recent discovery of a previously hidden underground spire. Eloranta left to explore the location, but failed to return. The dwarves own investigations led him to believe others have gone missing around the spire and out of concern for one of his business partners, he decided that the Champions of Absalom were his best chance of discovering what is going on.

Happy to assist an old friend and a woman they rescued five years ago, the adventurers quickly make preparations and leave with Kurgan aboard the Skysentinel. Despite the incredibly speed of their mode of transportation, the group find themselves with plenty of time to catch up on the last few years of their lives. Only Behnam remains strangely absent from most of the conversations, nursing his air sickness in his quarters. During the journey, Nazuk has a strange dream about a several monstrous creatures attacking a woman, not unlike herself, at the side of a river. She brings the dream to Alberts attention, who notices that the shadow dancer now seems to possess a spark of divination magic she did not previously have. The slyph explains further that prior to the group reuniting, she received a note about a prophecy that someone believed she plays a part in. Initially Albert suggests that the prophecy has no foundation in fact, but later comments that they will need to keep an eye on things.

At the journeys end, the group arrive at a nearby settlement in Ustalav where Kurgan promises to remain with the airship. Albert summons a host of spectral steeds for the heroes to ride to ensure they arrive at the site as quickly as possible. The heroes ride swiftly towards Nightfang Spire, but their journey is interrupted when they come upon a woman being attacked by a group of flame-red, four armed insect like humanoids at the rivers edge. The champions make short work of the creatures, which they identify as Xill. Nazuk quickly realises that the woman bares a stong resemblance to her, and that the events that have just played out are very similar to her dream. The woman identifies herself as Mertha and explains that she was on route to meet a man named Viggor Fehr, a warrior associated with the powers of air. Intrigued by the woman, but desperate to reach the spire, Albert offers her his card and advises that they may look her up at a later date. Despite being thrown by the encounter and evidence that Nazuks dream was a sign of something to come, the heroes continue to Nightfang Spire.

Arriving at the tower, the group are greeted by a three hundred foot structure of solid stone, housed in a foreboding canyon. The spire is decorated with stone gargoyles, haunting faces, porticos, ledges and baleful texture, with the only entrances seeming to be the black vertical mouth at it’s crown and an opening into a small ossuary abutting the towers western side. Deciding to check the smaller entrance first, they enter the dry mortared building. Within they discover over a dozen humanoid bodies and numerous animal corpses, including Eloranta Naslun. All the bodies have been lulled to sleep and fed upon by an insidious plant growth called blightvine. The blightvine starts to ‘sing’ to the heroes to sleep, but they are able to resist it’s lure, recover the bodies and destroy the growths, sadly finding no other exits from the small structure. While the remains of those killed here hold little of note, the group are able to retrieve a few minor trinkets. However, Albert notices that Eloranta has been stripped of most of her trappings, including her spell book. One of the womans remaining journals notes her concerns about the spires interior and prompts the former agents to investigate in her stead. Albert uses his magic to fly the champions up and into the spire, while Nazuk scales the side with ninja-like grace.

Vampires.jpg

As the five adventurers drop into the spires hollow top, they notice the stench of rotting meat and discover the remains of a half-eaten black dragon. Their arrival disturbs the residents of the entrance and a handful of wights and a strange beast known as a mooncalf attack them both in the air and on land. The champions manage to overcome the creatures, and drop down into Nightfang Spire proper through a revealed hole. While the structure appears sound, the group discern it is clearly ancient in both design and age, having sustained heavy damage from the now deceased dragon above. Early exploration of the top level is greeted by attacks from half a dozen vampire spawn, resulting in some hard fought battles. As the heroes explore the top level further they uncover several profane crypts and alters, facing several traps and undead in the process but also locating several ancient magical treasures, including Nazuk locating a dagger designed to kill ghosts referred to as ‘Pale Piercer’. The final room of the top floor reveals a chamber of long dead and deflated humanoid bodies, in various stages of decay. One victim, Yesha Faulkin, is discovered by the champions to still be alive. A local sage of little renown, Yesha reveals she was out researching the location when she was caught by the vampire spawn. Behnam advises that the woman’s time is short, and she is beyond his ability to save. The group decide to keep the sage company in her final hours, before peacefully ending her suffering, but before they do, Yesha tells her she has heard the spawn talk of their master, an ancient vampire named Gulthias, who was supposedly slain long ago. She advises that Gulthias was said to worship a dragon myth named Ashardalon. According to legend, Ashardalon was driven off this plane by someone called Dydd, but Gulthias is a fanatic who believes he can bring his ‘master’ back using a necromantic power source deep in the spire’s core. With more information on the spire’s master, the five venture down into the next level of tower.

While the next level of the spire is in much better repair, it is equally infested with undead and deadly traps. Malius triggers one such trap and finds himself ejected out of the spire through a razor-lined chute, luckily feather falling to safety. The rest of the group discover a massive tapestry depicting large, horned, red-skinned humanoids in the foreground and brass towers in the background suggesting a massive city in an inferno. High above them an incredibly large red dragon is depicted flying through the fiery sky. The center of this level is dedicated to a hall of honor, containing over a dozen ornate sarcophagi. The champions catalogue the various different types and decorations of the sarcophagi, but as they attempt to enter the next chamber, several undead are released upon them. The heroes fight valiantly against a mummy with a jackal headed mask and three nightmarish spectres. While the five adventurers are victorious, the combat leaves them literally drained of their life force by the spectres. Albert advises they seek out a cleric to remove the effects of the combat before the result are permanent. After a brief discussion, Albert agrees to teleport the group to the city of Whitethrone in Irrisen so they can lick their wounds before they continue through the spire.

Spectre.png

After Albert casts his spell, the heroes appear in the frozen city of Whitethrone, immediately struck by the bitter cold. The five seek refuge in the same safe house that Albert used when he last visited, before setting back out to secure the resources they need for Behnam to restore them. They are able to retrieve what they need, but as they return to the safehouse they are ambushed by an ulfen bounty hunter and his snow leopard. Weakened and in an unfamiliar land, the champions are outclassed, defeated and captured, with the exclusion of Albert who evade capture using his magic. The rest of the group are carried to the home of one of the Jadwiga by a patrol of ice trolls, with their wizard ally persuing through the skies. As the rest of the group are drugged and imprisoned, Albert approaches the owner of the house, a cruel winter witch and requests she releases his allies. The witch refuses the request, stating she has use for such individuals, but agrees to let Albert leave out of ‘recognition’ of his position. Albert conjures an extra dimensional space and retreats inside to prepare to help his fellow champions. The next day the group awake in their cells along with another prisoner, the brother of the Jadwiga they are imprisoned by. The brother of the witch explains that he is a political prisoner for not agreeing with his sister and her cause, but before he explains further they are joined by Albert, once again using his transportation magic. With all of the group together, they break out of their prison and make short work of the icy constructs guarding them. As they breach the house above, the champions are set upon by the witch and her bloodthirsty bodyguard, but having been able to use their newly gained resources to regain their strength, they make short work of the pair. Leaving the unconscious bodies to the brothers, the adventurers agree to leave Whitethrone immediately and use Alberts magic to once again return to Nightfang Spire.

Following their return to the Spire, the heroes continue their descent through it’s cursed chambers. As they do so, they encounter a group of resident girallons. Thanks to Behnam’s diplomatic approach, the group are able to pass through the gorilla like creature’s residence without incident, even finding themselves accompanied by one of the girallons. Within the lower levels of the Spire, the champions are able to locate the key parts required to access the heart of the tower. However, in the process Malias is torn to shreds by a pack of mohrgs. It is only thanks to Behnam’s miraculous divine power which is able to bring Malias back from the brink before his soul departs.

With the key parts in hand, the group in able to breach the inner sanctum. Their arrival is heralded by an ambush as several undead assassins assault them. The profane assailants prove little match for the heroes and are soon put down. Finally within the center, the group are greeted by the sight of the profane, necrotic dragon heart that powers the entire construct. The vampire Gulthias greets their arrival, but curses them for their meddling. The vampire viciously engages them, but Albert counters with a powerful polymorph spell, twisting the once powerful vampires body into that of a humble sheep. In it’s weakened form, the necromancer is trivially put down. With the lord of the necropolis defeated, the heart quickly begins to crumble and Nightfang Spire with it. Albert transports the group to safety, and from their they are able to rejoin Kurgan and ‘The Skysentinel’ for the journey back to Absalom. Their return is bittersweet following the news of Eloranta’s demise, nevertheless, their recent reforming and success only increases the champions legacy.

View
Champions Of Absalom Prologue

Over half a decade ago five individuals serving as Agents of the Varlokkur combined their strengths to defend the City at the Center of the World against a terrifying serial killer threatening all that Absalom stood for. The group were victorious and were proclaimed the ‘Champions of Absalom’ for their efforts and sacrifices. While they are beholden to no man, the group represent some of the finest talent in the Inner Sea, bringing it to the defense of their city in its hour of need.

Since the time of those fateful ‘Tempest Murders’, many of the heroes have struck out on their own adventures, or sought a quieter life. Only a handful remain in the city should their skills be once again required.

Providence seeks to bring these five heroes back together, once again their city must call upon its champions to defend it and it’s citizens. However, as the threats they face grow more powerful, the group find themselves not only called upon to defend their home, but the whole world and potentially, the multi-verse!

A darkness looms on the distant horizon, but from the darkness, comes light…

View
Tempus Fugit

The city of Absalom sits on the edge of a knife as the ‘Tempest Murders’ come to a head. With their superiors pushing for more and more extreme measures, the Agents of the Varlokkur must decide how far they are willing to go and which of the allies they have accumulated to trust, as a final showdown with the anti-theist serial killer looms. But all is not as it seems with the murders. With their loyalty to the organisation they have so tirelessly served on the line, will the heroes have the resolve to finally end this threat once and for all?

With only a few days to catch their breath after the rescue of Eloranta Naslun, the agents spend what little time they have catching up with their own affairs. In a brief moment of celebration, former agent Julian and his new wife, Brenna, return from their honeymoon is Osirion.

Their reprieve ended, the five heroes are summoned by Alexis to view his secret project in person. After teleporting through a magic circle, the full scope of the diviners operation is made apparent to the agents. Within his hidden halls, Alexis has dozens of junior arcane magic users installing and preparing enough scrying focus to monitor the entire city for Tempest. Alexis advises the group that all he needs before the undertaking begins is the official sanction of Lord Gyr, the primarch of Absalom. Albert expresses some concerns over the project, and seems unwilling to take steps as drastic as spying on the entire city, with the other agents opinions split on either side of the fence. Nevertheless, the agents agree to follow orders, use the influence they have gathered in the city and appeal to the primarch to authorise the project.

The agents seperate across Absalom to approach various personalities and organisations they have managed to gain favor with. Almost everyone the heroes approach agrees to offer their support, but several do so in exchange for further favors. Behnam secures the support of the Chelish embassy, but not without letting information about their investigation slip. Nazuk convinces Grandmaster Torch to exert his influence in their favor, but promises him access to the scrying network upon completion of the investigation. Albert convinces his mother and the Blakros family to offer their vote, but finds himself betrothed to Imrizade Blakros as a result. However, it is while Albert is visiting the Arcanimirium professor, Artore Sadailis, that he notices the lecturers interest in the names of local clergy from a list on his desk.

Whilst the others collect support, A’hymhu instead decides to investigate recent Tempest sightings in the Puddles district of Absalom. The elves initial sweep doesn’t seem to turn up any evidence of the presence of the serial killer, but when he ventures into an alleyway mentioned in a few of the accounts he triggers a strange vision. As the skys darken around A’hymhu he witnesses a young woman fleeing a storm of lightning. Arcs of electricity lance down into the stranger, killing her before A’hymhu, much like many of Tempests victims. With the womans last word, she pleas for ‘Alexis’, apparently unaware of the rangers presence, suddenly the images fade and the elf in once again alone in the alleyway. On his way back to the agents headquarters, Behnam is summoned by his temple to his own dwelling. Within, the cleric finds his own parents murdered, again with the circumstances matching those of Tempest. A magical warning indicates for the agents to cease their investigation, or more will die. Behnam advises the temple to leave things untouched for the time being, with the promise that he will sort arrangements in due course.

Lord_Gyr.jpg

With almost a dozen favors in their pockets, the agents attend the meeting with the primarch of Absalom, Lord Gyr of House Gixx. The primarch takes a vested interest in the group, having heard tales of their adventures and finding himself intrigued with the undertaking, having grown increasingly desperate to see ‘Tempest’ brought to justice. Following their well presented reasoning and the documentation voicing support, the primarch agrees to the plan, but advises he wants the network dismantled immediately upon completion.

The agents take their leave of the Lord Gyr, discussing how best to approach the next steps en route back to Alexis. However, the group find themselves waylaid by an agent of House Thrune and her armored Hellknight retainers. The Chelish operatives demand the information the group have about Tempest and access to their scrying network, tipped off due to the information Behnam let slip. The heroes quickly decide not to comply and a skirmish erupts between the two factions. Albert gives the agents an advantage by cutting the agent of House Thrune and the Hellknight signifier from the melee, allowing the rest of the group to overpower the Hellknight combatants. Deciding to take advantage of their success, the group flee whilst the agent and signifier finally overcome the magical stinking cloud used by Lord Doel.

Painfully aware that the Chelaxians are now looking for them, the group decide to use the sewer tunnels to return to Alexis, briefly recalling their earlier adventures in the same sewers. While Alexis is surprised to see them, he is glad to hear that the primarch has given his permission. The diviner confirms the remainder of the plan to the agents. Advising that once they have the network active, clergy will again take to the street in an effort to lure Tempest out. Albert immediately balks at the plan, concerned about the prospect of putting innocents in harms way, but when Alexis asks for an alternative all the young wizard can reply is that there are other routes of investigation. Alexis dismisses the agents, but Albert suggests that they quickly check out Artore’s office, mentioning the documentation he saw earlier that day.

Despite the early hour of the morning and the worsening weather, the agents quickly travel to the Arcanimirium, with Nazuk tracking behind them. Thanks to Albert dispelling the wards and A’hymhu picking the lock, the group quickly gain access to the office and begin to explore. Unbeknown to them, A’hymhu triggers another hidden alarm while investigating a magical chest and Artore becomes aware of their presence. Originally believing students are searching his office for test answers, Artore teleports into the room and confronts the assembled agents. With Albert taking the lead, the group accuse the professor of involvement in the Tempest killings. Artore denies the accusations at first, but eventually relents and confesses to tracking his brother whom he believes to be the killer. However, Malius see’s through the sorcerers ruse and reveals the whole thing as a lie. Infuriated, Artore reveals himself as Tempest, the victim of abuse at the hands of the clerics of Asmodeus as a child. Before the agents can act, Tempest transforms himself into a twenty-five foot elemental storm, destroying the exterior of his office in the process.

Air_Elemental.jpg

Following the transformation a climactic battle spills onto the grounds and spires of the Arcanimirum. Behnam and Albert desperately attempt to dispel the sorcerers wards and enhancements, but the spells prove too powerful despite them both giving it everything they have. Malius and Nazuk find themselves unable to engage the arcane lightning storm, instead dedicating themselves to supporting and attending to their allies. A’hymhu proves the agents trump card again, assailing the sorcerers elemental form with a hail of arrows. Quickly realising the threat, Tempest magically paralyzes the elf and launches a barrage of lightning spells at the group. Mercifully, Alberts protection magics absorb the majority of the damage, however, Tempests assaults begin to wear them down regardless. A’hymhu regains mobility in time to launch another torrent of arrows at the murderer, but is repaid with a targeted lighntning blast, both immolating the elf and leaving Behnam unconcious on the floor. Malius and Nazuk quickly bring Behnam round and the cleric calls upon his divine powers to prevent A’hymhu’s soul from departing his body and repairs the worst of the damage done to his ally. As the rangers breath returns to him, he leaps to his feet in a burst of heroic energy, unleashing another stream of arrows into their arcane opponent. As if guided by the hand of fate, each arrow strikes true, tearing Tempest from the sky and sending the lecturer tumbling to the earth as he resumes his normal form. Riddled with arrows from A’hymhu and broken from the fall, the heroes approach to see the murderer and their greatest enemy to date both defeated and dead. As the dust settles and the smoke disperses the group realises they have been watched by locals beyond the gate of the Arcanimirum and by numerous students and professors from the University. Quickly collecting the body of their slain foe, the agents make their way back to Alexis, ignoring their still tender wounds and storm drenched attire.

Surprised to see the group again, Alexis beckons the them inside and enquires as to what has happened. After being brought up to speed, the diviner seems conflicted, unsure how he feels about the death of the man he spent his adult life hunting. Nevertheless, the Varlokkur judge suggests they see the primarch immediately. After allowing the group time to catch their breath and tidy themselves up, Alexis teleports them all to another meeting with Lord Gyr. While Gyr seems taken aback by the situation, he commends the agents on their success and advises that he will see that his men take over from here and try to get the matter under control. The heroes agree and return to their homes to rest, before they do, Alexis assures them that he too is proud of them and will see the scrying network dismantled.

While the rest of the agents return home, Behnam collects his parents body and takes them to his temple. There he and a select few initiates prepare the bodies for the funeral overnight. The following dawn, the priest performs his parents funeral in a quiet ceremony within the temple, before finally retiring himself.

Over the next few days, it quickly becomes clear that news of the groups deeds have not stayed out of the public eye. Infact, the agents are commended on the street and cheered for their success. Lord Gyr personally visits them to advise that he has announced the group as heroes, having acted on behalf of the city to bring Tempest down. Furthermore, he has appeased the House of Thrune by agreeing to turn the body of the killer over to them once the authorities have finished with it. The primarch requests for the group to attend an award ceremony where their heroics can be publicly acknowledged, which they accept. After Gyr departs, Alexis informs the group that in line with Gyrs wishes they can no longer act as agents for the Varlokkur, given their new public profile. However, new positions should not be hard for them to come by. Furthermore, he advises that he himself is stepping down from the Varlokkur. Now that Tempest is no longer a threat, the diviner feels his sister deserves another chance to live, as such he has decided to dedicate himself and his resources to locating a way to return her to life. While some of the groups seem concerned, Alexis assures them he has learned from his mistakes and will be cautious.

Within a matter of days, the five former agents are brought before the city in a well attended function in the Petal District. Under the eyes of some of the most influential individuals in the Inner Sea. During the ceremony, the group are named as ‘Champions of Absalom’ with each awarded a badge depicting their service and position within the city. With a fanfare from the band and a roar of applause from the attending masses, the cities heroes enjoy the culmination of their efforts, allowed a moment to rest on their laurels before they begin a whole new chapter…

View
Practical Magic

An investigation into a wizard’s disappearance leads the Agents of the Varlokkur into tangles with an unusual mermaid soothsayer and her obedient servitors, a tattoo-covered magical ghoul, and the deadliest necromancer the city of Absalom may have ever known.

Practical_Magic.jpg

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.