On the Shoulders of Giants

The prequel
The start of something beautiful

The adventurers are hired by Morgrave University to catalogue some recently uncovered buildings in the district of Broken Arch. Good times were had by all, with spiders ambushing them, the noble families pet octopuses descendants scaring them away from their horde of cutlery, and the party making a small fortune by selling some bags of salt they uncovered during their exploration.

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A familiar problem...

The party have been hired by an Aerenal Elf to help investigate some murders and a theft. They meet a clumsy but well meaning apprentice wizard who animates a broom, which knocks over some cages containing familiars. The characters madly run around trying to collect the animals. Hilarity ensues.

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The Blood of the Martyrs.
Why are all the hearts missing?

The adventurers head to the Arenal embassy to look for clues, where they learn about soarwood and find unexpected Dwarven footprints on the landing dock. They attend an auction of illegally acquired antiquities in a temple crypt and make a new and mysterious friend. A journey to the Citadel of the Sun in Hope’s Peak reveals another set of murders (and mutilated zombies), and further evidence that the Blood of Vol are behind the murders, but evidence also indicates where the Blood of Vol may be hiding…

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The burning church
rotten wood burns faster...

The party go back to Pinnacle to continue their investigations. They bump into Frances de’Vere outside the temple, and Jesse follows him and finds he’s got a dwarven friend with 8 copper rings on his hands. The party investigates the temple and finds ample evidence of the church’s corruption, but nothing further to do with the Blood of Vol.

While they investigate the temple catches on fire, they evacuate the building by smashing out a window and using a makeshift tapestry-rope to get the parishioners to safety. The fire was started by an “elemental grenade” – a fire elemental trapped in a glass sphere. They defeat the fire elemental and continue with their investigations.

After a short rest they head towards the district of Firelight but are ambushed by a gang of thugs. After a hard-won battle they emerge victorious, but decide to call it a night and head back to the guild to rest up.

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Ultimate Firelight Cagematch.
The Jesse Toot memorial post.

The party heads to Firelight to follow up on the Blood of Vol. They go to the Lucky Nines casino and meet a shady fellow who directs them to some more ‘physical’ entertainment over at Savia’s Bordello. They meet a young prostitute called Tahnee who leads them to the Burning Ring, an illegal underground gladiator arena. Axel and Lady both participate in the arena, and Jesse steps up to fight only to be tragically killed when Lady gets carried away in the moment. Amaril finds the old prostitute mentioned in Brother Matthias’ journal, only to find the cult has long since gone.

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Welcome to Godsgate.
We'd love to have you for dinner...

The Party head to Fallen to continue their investigations into the missing Pithos. A squad of city guardsman are guarding the bridge (including Jerika d’Deneith, a member of the defenders guild and a cleric of the Silver Flame), who warn the party about the dangers of Fallen – viscous gangs of Ravers have resorted to cannibalism to survive, but Blackstone Church may provide travellers respite form the violence of this district. The party are ambushed by a gang of emaciated Ravers, but heroically fight them off and hide in a ruined shop.

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Reaching for Faith
Amongst the jumbled ruins...

The adventurers have an uneasy rest in the abandoned shop while the ravers prowl outside. They are given the option to leave, but instead choose to push towards Blackstone Church. Displaying all the stealth of an intoxicated buffalo they are ambushed by ravers, who take Amaril hostage. Axel rescues him in a dashing display of physical prowess, but feeling overwhelmed, the party decide to return to the relative safety of the guardhouse just outside Fallen.

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Fallen from grace

The Party regroup and head back into Fallen. They battle their way into the plaza which is surrounded by old temples. The going is difficult until they discover the Ravers are actually Ghouls, then Elatha’s clerical abilities help them overcome the mobs that attack them.

The Party encounter Faela (a young priestess of the Silver Flame) at Blackstone Church, the only bastion of peace left in the overrun slums of Fallen. She advises The Party that she saw two figures that resemble Lord Frances de’Vere and Robust Dwarfman entering the old temple of the Sovereign Host. They also seemed to have some kind of power over the ravers, and may be behind the recent riots.

The Party enter the Temple of the Sovereign Host and decend towards the catacombs, where they encounter a grim sight: At the head of the church, on the desecrated altar to the Sovereign Host lies the corpse of Lord Frances de’Vere, the Pithos of Anesidora at his feet, and his body draped in the defiled tapestries from the temple at Pinnacle. Around the altar is a circle of the hearts of the zombies the Party encountered in the Aerenal Embassy and at the Citadel of the Sun. Of to the side an area has been cleared for a summoning circle, and a daemon lies in the circle, his heart cut out and placed at de’Vere’s head. An open book lies on a lectern nearby – the book of the dead from Brother Matthias Hopkins rooms in the Citadel of the Sun. The Party is too late, the ritual has been completed and Lord de’Vere’s transformation into a Liche is theoretically complete.

Unbeknownst to the Party Robust Dwarfman is nearby. Upset at his lord’s rest being disturbed he attacks the party, raising the skeletons of six former heroes of the church to cover his escape from the temple. The Party manage at great length to defeat both the skeletons and to kill Dwarfman before he can escape.

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The aftermath...

In the aftermath of the events that lead the Party to Fallen:

1: On the way out of Fallen Jerika d’Denneith (who was blockading the bridge to Fallen with a squad of city guard) intercepts the party. “I am impressed you managed to get out alive,” she says “Your presence here has made a world of difference to the people of Fallen, the city watch should be able to clean up the remainder of the ravers and restore some semblance of order to this district. Amaril Brand d’Deneith, I will report your efforts here back to the house in a most favorable light.

2: The Party return the body of Lord Frances de’Vere and the Pithos of Anesidora to the Gates of Passage (the Areneal Embassy) in the district of Shae Lias. Mayne Jhaelian (the elderly priest of the Undying Court) is overjoyed to have the Pithos back, but is deeply troubled by it being turned into a Liche’s Phylactery. “It is unusual that an artifact like this should even be able to be turned into a Phylactery.” He muses to the party. “It was designed as a trap for a spirit, which may go some way to explaining what’s going on. This is bad, this is very bad. What we don’t know is why they would go to such lengths to get so specific a Phylactery. Maybe it was because he knew we can’t just destroy it, because that would release the Daemon. Maybe it was for some other reason. I’ll find out what I can from our records, you’ll need to do the same. Seek what allies you can and report back to me with your findings. Make haste though, the Liche has not risen yet but I suspect we only have a scent few days before he awakens, replete in his fell power.

3: The Party return the heart of Bother Matthias Hopkins to the Citadel of the Sun in the district of Hope’s Peak. In a beautiful and solemn ritual Aerela Tal activated the Celestial Gateway (an Eldritch Machine housed in the Citadel of the Sun that can return the dead to life when both Irian and Dolurrh are coterminous), returning him to life to the cheers of the gathered crowd. It’s several days before he recovers enough to speak with the Party. “Yes, the dwarf came in through the window, his viscous knife glinting in the light of the setting sun. He slew my acolytes before I even got out of my chair, and I didn’t stand a chance against the blighter. In my younger days I would have given that foul wizard a sound thrashing – necromancers and the undead were my forte, but now I’m too old for this adventuring business. Still, you have my thanks, and should you need any advice or assistance I will give what aid I can.” In gratitude for their work the church give each member of the party 1000 gold pieces, along with a beautiful gem-encrusted golden holy symbol of the Sovereign Host in a nice little wooden display box (worth 500gp). The Citadel of the Sun undergoes a resurgence in popularity, much to the joy of both Aerela Tal and Brother Matthias.

4: The occurrences in the Firelight that resulted in Jesse’s death are reported to the city watch. Although the watch are unable to locate the location of the Burning Ring, Lady Lark and several other competitors are arrested on the charges of murder and sentenced to 6-12 years hard labour in the cogs, with a minimum sentence of no less than 4 years. Fenton Axel Smythe is fined 50gp for competing in an illegal cage match and has been issued with a misdemeanour on his criminal record. A memorial is set up in Jesse’s name “The Jesse Toot Memorial Fund for Displaced and Hard-done-by Halflings”, with an annual cake drive planned.

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