The Overthrow

20 - After The Music Stops
  • The party gathered their strength and reflected on their achievements (as they levelled up):
    • Daechir: Brought someone back from the dead, and failed to bring someone else back – discussed it with Eremos, who reaffirmed his suspicions that there was more to Daechir’s power than he had previously though
    • Jacek: He died and there was no shining tunnel to the afterlife, just nothingness, and then he came back (and is apparently some sort of prophesied figure and he doesn’t want to do it)
    • Koldar: Killing Kerwin and then the destruction of New Port
    • Lital: Being with the others has made her realise that not only is she good at hitting stuff, but she could do that and somehow raise an army and attack the Empress
    • Vallessa: Since meeting this lot, she’s realised that she’s not as incompetent as she thought she was following the Terrible Thing That Happened. Discovering the Diadem’s presence, and meeting allies, has reinvigorated her.
  • The bodies of the weird creatures vanished into nothing – it was clear that whatever they were, they weren’t demons
  • Jacek interrogated a gnome musician who was on the scene, having been unable to flee
    • He revealed that there was a tunnel under the Organ, and that the Organ was there to conceal it
    • He mentioned that Koldar’s bureaucrat doppelganger was called Konrad and gave the permit to build the Organ
  • You headed into the tunnels, happening upon a group of hobgoblins (who had a large bag of cash with the Underhammers’ symbol on it). They consisted of a captain, five warriors and a warmage, and were supported by a flesh golem (marked with the Mother of Liches’ symbol) and a bugbear.
    • In the course of the battle, Daechir called on Styyja, the Baroness of Bodies and Elanus, the Scribe of the Buried
    • Having killed all the other hobgoblins, you captured their badly-wounded captain
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19 - Immediate Short Term Goals
  • You discussed further what to do and what your goals were
  • You met with Kathkar Bitter River, green dragonic sorcerer and expert on The Green, and agreed to kill a blue dragonic sorcerer called Eleni for him as a sign of your respect
    • He talked about the way to rescue/restore the Green being to kill the Empress and/or the Archmage and/or the Elf King
    • When asked, he explained that he couldn’t ever have done this himself, as he was sworn to the Blue (although the fact he’d scraped most of the blue paint off his scales indicates he didn’t consider himself still an asset for the Blue) and to do so would have threatened the Blue’s alliance with the Empress.
    • He also mentioned that he thought Koldar looked familiar – specifically like a clerk in the Tower District who had denied him planning permission (before Kathkar had just gone back another day, asked a different bureaucrat, and got a different answer)
    • He asked to keep Greenscale’s diary/journal when you left, to which Lital agreed.
  • Vallessa set up a meeting with a dark elf contact who hates dwarves, named Bregolien, in a dark elf bar called the Silverspike
    • Jacek drank some fermented arrak milk, which remains poisonous to non-dark elves
    • Bregolien explained that the Diadem of Lava and Splendour used to be the crown worn by the Queens Under The Mountain to show their sovereignty, but that it was lost or stolen a very long time ago.
    • It has apparently come into possession of the Blue. The Queen Under The Mountain can’t just demand it back because both the Blue and the Queen are the Empress’ allies.
    • It seems likely that the Underhammers were planning to steal it from the Blue in order to give the Queen Under The Mountain some plausible deniability
  • On your way to the Tower District, where the Diadem is supposedly kept, you encountered a bizarre contraption built by dwarves and staffed by gnomes. It wasn’t finished, but was producing peculiar mechanical music, using bellows and ratchets and drums and all sorts.
  • All of a sudden, some of the gnomes and dwarves revealed themselves to have been in a disguise, instead becoming two human-sized giant lumps of skin, seven faintly shapeless creatures of flesh and blood (that slowly developed vaguely elf-like features) and a single red cat-sized creature with large claws, bat wings, a large tail and exaggerated feline features which mostly attacked using highly personal invective.
    • In the course of the fight, Daechir called on Abraxas, Senseschal of the Pyre.
    • the vast majority of the gnomes and dwarves panicked, ran in circles and were generally not much use in context
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18 - The Chosen One is revealed
  • Lital looted an Underhammer sigil from the dead dwarves
  • Daechir found some references to “deep thunder” magic and a “kraken swimming in the deeps” in the dwarf sage’s notes, albeit that they weren’t entirely cogent
  • Vallessa found some notes (in dwarven) indicating that the Underhammers were in the city to find something called The Diadem Of Lava And Splendour for the Queen Under The Mountain. Then she took the beards of the dwarves who had them.
  • Jacek found a (trapped) trap door, and after he’d disarmed the trap, she jumped down into the 10’ deep pit. So did everyone else, before Jacek set fire to the building
  • You encountered Master Engineer Angharad (and her fellow kobolds) and agreed to share the credit for the attack on the Underhammers in exchange for being allowed to use their tunnels
    • Jacek used Smooth Talk and developed a relationship with The Three
  • When you got back to the Rat King, Daechir met Eremos, the (vampire) proprietor, who explained that the job you’d just done was payment for storing Greenscale’s corpse.
  • You then went to your meeting with friends of Akrazael, Whose Crown Branches Out, who offered their full support to you in exchange for you using his destiny, given to him by his father, to kill the Mother of Liches. They were clear that his coming had been foretold since the “hated gold wyrm” settled herself in the “source of his power”. They later implied that Jacek’s father was an icon, but didn’t want to say who “at this stage in the Chosen One’s journey”
  • Drow attack!
    • Daechir called on Mylene the Duchess of Widows and Longing
    • Lital used the Helm of Infamy on one of the drow soldiers
    • Found evidence that they were hired by the Mother of Liches to kill the Chosen One or the cultists
  • You then listed things you’d like to do:
    • Lital: resurrect Greenscale, go to Glitterhagen and Concord per her letter, plus going back to the mountains to raise an army to destroy the Empress
    • Jacek: looking for some people but doesn’t think they came through Drakkenhall (he thinks they’re in Axis), supports resurrecting Greenscale
    • Daechir: mostly academic work, wants to “resolve that whole death thing”, perhaps the issue with his shadow too, and the “necrotic essence in his matrix” – wants a book on proper warding techniques, plus some of the Mother of Liches’ other works too
    • Vallessa: has a list of names of people upon whom she wants to visit her “unholy vengeance”, then go home and raise an army (again) against the Queen Under The Mountain
  • Plan for Drakkenhall is gaining resources, telling the Blue about why the dwarves were here, and seeking out the green-scaled sorcerer
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17 - Monsters Among Monsters
  • Started at the Rat King tavern, where there were also a group of gnolls eating breakfast, and a group of kobolds of various colours doing likewise (and bullying a runty white kobold), as well as a surly dwarf in the corner taking various meetings with runners coming in and out
  • Daechir spoke to a member of barstaff (a strange two-headed lizard creature) who referred him onto Mechtild, who spoke on behalf of her “boss” who would look after Greenscale’s body
  • Jacek agreed to take on Greenscale’s Ring of Honeyed Words, which Koldar disapproved of strongly
  • Despite the dislike between them, Vallessa asked Mechtild for some work; the dwarf suggested killing some mercenary companies, but needed confirmation from her boss
    • Eventually she decided that she wasn’t interested in waiting, and told you that the job was to kill the command group of a dwarf mercenary company called the Underhammers
  • Jacek picked up a note left by the bullied white kobold for him, inviting you to a meeting as a friend of Akrazael, Whose Crown Branches Out
  • Vallessa also mentioned that she knew about a green dragonic sorcerer who lives in a tower in a very dangerous area of the Rubble
  • You decided to take out the command group of the Underhammers first, and so travelled there via a few awkward moments and misadventures
  • While scoping the place out, Lital was spotted by the Underhammer guards but you were able to talk them into bringing you into the mercenary unit’s ramshackle base to look for work.
  • Pretty much as soon as you were in there, it erupted into violence against the all-dwarf command group: one mage, two soldier-types and two berserker-types. It was a pretty bloody fight that you eventually won.
    • While casting Ghoul Form on Vallessa, Daechir called on Zalboz, Earl of Darkness and Things That Live Beneath The Ground
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16 - Burial At Sea
  • Started dealing with Greenscale’s death; Lital in particular refused to believe she was dead.
  • Daechir used ritual magic to preserve the corpse, in the hopes of finding a suitable cleric in Drakkenhall to resurrect her
  • Davis saw your creepy sea gold and was clearly unimpressed; it’s sahuagin gold, from their lost city of Sahua under the waves, where the ancient icon The Leviathan (not seen for many an age) apparently sleeps. And it’s cursed…
  • You all got drunk, both to cope with the grief and to handle this sudden explanation of Jacek’s enthusiasm for diving and swimming. Koldar thought the best way to break the curse would be either to head to Santa Cora to seek help from The Hierophant, or to head to First Triumph to seek help from The Crusader.
  • In Drakkenhall, you encountered a group of orcs, who Lital asked for directions to a high cleric. They directed you to the tower of the Great Silver Wyrm, where a half-orc cleric works who can save anyone.
  • En route to the tower, you encountered a group of angry dwarves. In the course of the ensuing fight, a mysterious stranger helped out.
    • Daechir called on Damien, Baron of Retribution in the course of the battle
  • After getting to know each other a bit, you went to the tower of the Great Silver Wyrm and met Ulia, the cleric; Jacek, Koldar and Lital saw her as human, whereas Daechir and Vallessa saw her as a dark elf
  • She explained, after some sort of communion with the Great Silver Wyrm, that iconic magic from The Green (rumoured to have been trapped by the Elf King ages ago) might be able to resurrect Greenscale, but otherwise there was no hope.
  • Ulia also offered you salvation (at the cost of great toil), but Koldar in particular was resistant to the idea. She invited you to make an offering at the shrine at the bottom of the Great Silver Wyrm’s tower, which some of you did.
    • Lital gave Ulia 40GP, some Oil, and some talismans off her axe
    • Jacek gave Ulia 25GP and the keys belonging to the New Port harbourmaster
  • You decided to head to the Rat King tavern, a place run by someone that Daechir believed could store Greenscale’s body safely until such time as she could be resurrected
  • On the way, you encountered some Kobolds wearing a strange livery – half that of the Three, and half that of the Empress. Lital attacked them (based on her hatred of the Empress) and in the ensuing battle, Daechir called on Susannah, Duchess of Storms
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15 - Return to New Port
  • After enjoying the villagers’ hospitality (and post-vampire gratitude) you all got a full heal-up
  • You hired a fishing boat and went to the New Port docks. There was nearly a set-to with the harbourmaster after you jumped onto a pier but Greenscale talked her down.
  • The city of New Port appeared to be suffering from riots, disorder and arson so you found your ship (the Blue Lamb) quickly and made your exit
  • The captain of the Blue Lamb, Davis, is a dwarf pirate with a massive hat, a cutlass, her middle and ring fingers on her right hand missing, with braided red hair, and a small fluffy dog called Mr Snappy (he’s also the First Mate) on her shoulder. She charged 200 gold for passage for all of you.
  • Before setting off, a long conversation about Sulaco went on but you ultimately decided to go to Drakkenhall instead
  • Davis told you that there was some kind of armed uprising in New Port, explaining the fires and unrest. Mostly led by half-orcs, though not helped by the fact that loads of guards had deserted their posts as they hadn’t been paid and the Imperial Treasurer had been killed
  • Jacek seemed somewhat fascinated by the seawater and took any opportunity to go diving
  • The ship was attacked by sahuagin and their allies, jumping razor sharks
  • Greenscale accidentally killed Jacek with a Lightning Fork spell; she was then bitten in half by a razor shark that Koldar punched to death
  • Daechir had the power to “resurrect” one of the dead ones. As Jacek had died more unjustly, Daechir brought him back. Daechir was cloaked in shadow and darkness fell all about, while his eye and hand glowed bright red.
  • Jacek started back to life, his hair having turned white (and his relationship with the Mother of Liches having become positive)
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Koldar's Journal - Day... Today
One day since leaving New Port

It has been some time since my last journal entry. Suffice to say, a lot has happened since. In non-chronological order:

  • We fought DEMONS. Indeed, a Despoiler, and two paltry Imp servitors. We tracked down a vile, chameleonic Infernalist and proceeded to destroy him. With his last, vicious breath he summoned forth the foul beasts, but in glorious battle we rent them asunder. With a single, powerful strike I brutally split the Despoiler in two, from sack to scalp, disdainfully casting his shattered body to the ground. The Imps were dispatched by my companions, people of questionable judgement but whom I am increasingly inclined to trust, and who many times I have come to rely on. It was indeed such an outstanding service we did the world that day, that I feel certain this is the work we were born to, even the halfling and the thief.
  • Kerwin has been dealt with. The matter is resolved.
  • We have since left New Port after fighting some other entities.

Our path takes us back to New Port docks. We are currently a couple of days relaxed march from Sulaco. I am struck with indecision on the matter of visiting my former home, and the site of my own near destruction. I feel as though answer lay buried within the ruins; I feel also that such answers were left buried with good reason. Should we not return, I would feel no regret, and yet…

- KM

Note – New Port will be less welcoming than our previous visits. We should be vigilant upon our return.
Note – The halfling possesses a ring of questionable origins. I fear its corruption may spread.
Note – The giant mountain-dweller is exceptionally useful in a fight, but far too single-minded on the matter of the halfling. It is a shame she cannot manage a more balanced world view.

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One Last Job
Writing for The New Epoch until I get a better offer.

I’m writing this from the bottom of a bottle of very hard, very strong, very RURAL liquor. It’s probably mostly apples. I’m in an inn somewhere outside of New Port, pondering the horror of having to go back because the boat we’re “booked” in on (bribing is booking) leaves from there. I’m drinking to get drunk and before I pass out I have a deadline. Because I am a responsible journalist who is very aware of the long arm of the editor and his armed guards masquerading as PAs.

Why am I drinking, I hear you ask, gentle and constant reader? And you may well ask, because you, oh soft-handed one, with your fragrant collars and fine haircuts have not had to fight your way out of a not-nearly-derelict-enough sewer pipe, battling against animate fungus which are a lot cuter (and smaller) in Miss Hyacinths Book of Flower Fairies. Just one part of my day that you, pure soul, have not had to sample and so retain your innocence.

Well let me spoil it for you. In fact, for all of you fucks. Because I’m here to spoil everyone’s innocence. With the truth. The horrific, unvarnished, torn from a tree truth.

The world will live in is fucked. It’s a fa├žade of bucolic delights where bonny faced children scamper prettily through the streets of shining cities and everyone calls each other “citizen” and the guards helmets gleam brightly in the dawn of a new age.

Let me tell you about the world. Gather round, children and I will edu-fucking-cate you. Everything you have been told is a lie. These metallic dragons, that soar above us are our masters. There is no freedom from their reach. We live only as long and only as well as they deem it necessary to fulfil their aeons long campaign of hate against their sisters, the Chromatic. It’s a battle of dragons and we are just the pawns in between. Everyone.

Here is a story, a story in which I don’t come out too well, but neither does anyone else. Because we’re humanoid and we’ve got the short end of the stick.

Under the city, in New Port, a solitary White Dragon is pretty much all the stands between the endless death of the One Eyed Queen and the unknowing citizens. Whilst above, the cronies of the great and good (peppered with demon worshippers) party the nights away and do nothing about the overpaid, corrupt jackbooted guards who accost anyone who “matches a profile” hastily drawn on paper. The paladins of the Wyrm train for a fight that will never come, because they only leave their forecourts to arrest innocent bystanders for crimes that can never be proven.

The only way to live a good life is to live in ignorance and seclusion. And that is what these “good” people do. With their nice houses, and jolly, crackling fireplaces for roasting chestnuts. They brush everything under the carpet and pretend it does not exist.

But I have seen it. I have seen the half orcs stopped in the street for the “crime” of looking green. I have seen the raids on the bars where the people who don’t look human enough go for a bit of warmth and company. And I have seen the blood on the floor in the aftermath of these raids. It is only good fortune that myself and my companions were able to stop one of these insults to hospitality. No doubt saving many lives.

Yes. city guards have died by our hands. But these city guards protected a wealth of gold for a bloated bureaucracy that buoyed up demon worshippers and allowed evil necromancers to raise almost an army of undead under their very noses. That’s what happens when guards spend their time chasing a falsely accused group of five people rather than do their fucking job.

Yes, we murdered a city official. And not just because he looked like a copy of our very own paladin and was probably birthed from a demonic infestation in the town he thinks was his home. But because he represented all that is wrong with this world. A smiling face. That sits atop a lie.

And yes, we stole all the money from the vaults to give to our contact in the underworld because we believe that those the people in power call “gangs” are actually better placed to make this city a home for everyone. Not just those born into the right families who went to the right schools.

And this is where the moral comes in, my darlings. This is my fucking epiphany, even though my hands are shaking and the drink is spilling over the crappy paper as I write. Because it was horrific. Everything that we have done. All the blood. All the death. The screams of those guards as the giant spiders took them away, alive, but bound in sticky webs. They will stay with me forever. The way the dopplegangers face looked, even though I know him to be a demonic shell, not really a person, yet so much like a person. Lifeless. Body hanging strangely.

But I must stay strong. Because I know that we are doing the right thing. Some will die. More will die. But we are doing the right thing. Even just tonight, we saved the farming village where we are staying from a raiding party of merfolk and still found the fucking time to save some idiot thrall from the predations of a creepy vampire.

I’ve spent my life campaigning against this sort of thing. At every protest. Using my words and my influence to try and make change. And nothing, nothing has been even partly as effective as the tip of my sword or the true magical power of my bardic voice. I will keep using the pen. But I must also use the sword.

There is only one way to rid the world of this stain. Only one way to ensure that the next age, the 14th, will be free of the arrogant corruption of the metallic dragons. And that is to wipe it all clean, which means getting very, very dirty first.

We have done terrible things. We will keep doing terrible things. The present may judge us villains, as those in power must do in order to call themselves “heroes”.

I have seen the work of the so-called Heroic Icons.

The Elf King, gloating over the captured, tormented form of Our Mother the Green, given as a toy, a plaything in to cover up the bargains made with the Dwarf Queen, to silence the Dark Elves forever, to hide the truth about She Who Is War and the nature of the Half Orcs.

Can’t you hear the Great Gold Snake hissing down on her puppet, The Empress who waves, eyes glassy, from a high turret that you will never, ever reach because you are poor and born in the wrong place and your will die as you have lived. Hated. Weak. Branded a thief, a liar, a monster because you are different.

But we are here for you. The villains. Your heroes.

You are welcome.

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14 - Let's Get Fungal
  • You defeated the fungaloids you were fighting last time. Jacek kicked the “corpse” of the largest one, and it puffed out a load of spores. He developed a tickly cough…
  • During a conversation about where to go, you decided on heading north to the sea, when you were attacked by creepy green-scaled fish-people with coral spears and hooked nets. In the course of the fight, Daechir called on Minos, the Lord of Drowned Dead, Eloqueth, the Queen of Desiccation and Helspeth the Flayed Duke for help with his spells.
  • You collected 500 GP in “creepy sea gold” from their bodies, and Lital got a Helm of Infamy as well!
  • You visited an inn and intimidated the farmers there, mostly for your own entertainment
  • Greenscale discovered that the innkeeper had some goods going on a ship to Drakkenhall (from the docks in New Port) in the next couple of days, and he told Greenscale that the captain, Davis, would likely be able to help.
  • You noticed a creepy old man having a quiet drink with a younger dude in the pub. Although not demonic, you were clear that something unwelcome and supernatural was going on. After some attempts to dissuade the younger man from going home with the older guy (including a failed attempt by Greenscale to use her Ring of Honeyed Words) you chased them outside, whereupon it turned out that they were in fact a vampire and his human thrall!
  • You attacked them, with Daechir calling on Lord Wilhelm von Schleck, the Vampire Duke. Eventually you killed the vampire (or at least, it turned to dust when Koldar struck it for the last time) and let the thrall live.
  • Daechir got a pair of Dead Man’s Boots off the vampire
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13 - Killing Kerwin
  • You emerged from the secret tunnel into a library or study in the palace, and went from there to Kerwin’s offices.
  • Kerwin was meeting Lady Arianna Morrell, who seemed confused by there being “two Kerwins”. Greenscale used the Ring of Honeyed Words to get her away
  • After a short period of discussion in Greenscale’s absence, Lital killed Kerwin with her bare hands and then Koldar stripped him almost-naked and dressed up as him. He kept saying “I am Kerwin” which bizarrely seemed to work. You took the key and headed to the vaults.
  • You weren’t able to trick the vault guards into letting you in outside of the normal schedule, but bribed them to turn a blind eye, for 120GP and killing their supervisor and some of his goons to improve their promotion prospects.
  • Lital called on some of the giant spiders from under the basement, who attacked suddenly and cocooned the guards and dragged them away, still alive.
  • In the vault, while feeding gold to the magic walking chest (“Stampy”), there was a discussion about if and how much to keep back – you decided to give all of the stuff to Goldtooth
  • “Stampy” stomped off, presumably to Goldtooth
  • You gave the key and Kerwin’s clothes to Agrak’s minion as proof that Kerwin was dead; you then went to the effluent-filled tunnel out of the city that you’d been promised.
  • Inside, every single surface was crusted in a mixture of humanoid waste, and fungus of various sorts. The amount of fungus increased, until you happened upon some humanoid fungus-creatures, who attacked you.
    • During the fight, Daechir called on Horace de Winter, Lord of Frost for a Negative Energy Shield
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