Tuesday, September 28, 2010


From the greatest cities of Tyrell, from the scorching desert of Ezayr, and from the snowy peaks of the Cravith Heights, five strangers were gathered in a room. They had been summoned without explanation to the royal castle of Tyrell. Guarding them was the former prince Philip Daelon. Taciturn he stood, until the time came to meet the king himself. The party surrendered their weapons, putting their trust in the hospitality of the castle.

Here they found the King in his black scale armor. Archibald studied the party, flanked by Cormac, the royal battlemage, and Ander, the leader of the Agents. "You don't have to do this" whispered Ander to the King.

"Why did you bring us here?!" demanded the foreign dwarf Yurgrim. The royal advisors were stunned at such disregard for royal authority, but Archibald answered calmly nonetheless. "I require your service," he said, and went on to ask how he might reward the party in exchange for joining his Agents. Each hero demanded a price, and each was promised what they asked.

Archibald then told the party their mission: they were to help prepare Arena for war. They were to go to each land of Arena and gather whatever alliances they could. To help in this task he gave the party the Daelon Mark, a large golden coin that served to identify high-ranking officials of Tyrell. When asked why he chose the party, he seemed almost embarrassed, but replied that it was due to "a divine vision". He offered few details, and with that, he left the party in Ander's care.

If the King seemed skeptical about the party's abilities, Ander was downright incredulous, but he kept his discussion to the business at hand: deciding the party's first destination. A map was laid out, and each land explained. A long discussion ensued. At various times Cravith, Artha, and Rakhosa were championed. But after a suggestion from Cormac, the party decided upon the mysterious and misty land of Ashara, which seemed to be everybody's second choice. Ander gifted the party with a Basket of Everlasting Provisions, a Bag of Holding, and +1 magic weapons. Cormac then drew a circle around the party and cast a ritual, opening a portal beneath them to Highrock, which they all promptly fell through.

They did not land in Highrock, however. Instead, they landed on an infinite plane of swirling red and purple smoke. Before they could examine their surroundings, smoke swirled and the forms of skeletons took shape, rising from the ground.

The party fended off a horde of skeletons, but more kept coming. Soon, they were surrounded by powerful skeleton warriors and burning skeletons that threw orbs of fire. At this point, the party also noticed a bright light from above, centered on a dot that seemed to be plummeting to the ground. But they could not investigate, and fought on. Dela Amori welcomed the fire attacks of the skeletons, protected by her Tiefling heritage. Yurgrim did his best to heal the party and fight off the undead with his holy powers. Alfred defended the party as best he could, while Addy fired dozens of arrows at the skeletons and Winter snuck behind them to deal devestating blows with her katar.

As the battle raged, Winter, Yurgrim, and Alfred fell to the skeleton hordes, but the last burning skeleton was vanquished and the dying heroes saved before they succumbed to death. It was then that the plummeting object above them arrived, revealing itself to be an angel. It struck the earth with a pulse of holy energy, but no skeletons remained to be affected. Puzzled, the angel disappeared.

It was replaced by four figures: a dwarf in plate armor with a warhammer, a dragonborn in scale armor with a greatsword, a young woman in leather armor, and an old man in white and yellow robes, all radiating immense power. They approached the party, talking amongst themselves about being "found out". The dwarf sized up Yurgrim and announced "You'll do fine". When the old man smiled at them, the whole party felt healed and uplifted. The party attempted to ask questions to the figures, but only the dragonborn would answer. Soon the other three figures disappeared. It was only as the dragonborn began to speak that the party realized that these figures were none other than Moradin, Avandra, Pelor, and Bahamut.

The Platinum Dragon spoke to them, explaining that gods rarely intervened in mortal worlds, for doing so sapped their strength and made their actions visible to other gods. One year ago, he explained, Asmodeus intervened, which caught Bahamut's attention, leading him to inspire Archibald to travel to Tyrell and thwart the plans of the prince of devils.

Since then, the gods of Good had noticed many subtler interventions of the Evil gods in the other lands of Arena. It seems likely that they will try to disrupt the other lands as Asmodeus tried to attack Tyrell, eventually leading Arena to be as unstable and monster-ridden as most other mortal worlds. Bahamut had a divine premonition that the party, if brought together, had some hope of stopping these plans, though success was far from guaranteed. It was he who inspired Archibald to bring them together and send them on their mission.

Unfortunately, Vecna, the Evil god of the undead, had noticed Bahamut's action and sent his undead forces to slay the party during their teleportation. He only sent his lesser minions, however, so Bahamut suspected that Vecna did not realize the party's importance to him, and hopefully just presumed that they perished.

Bahamut left the party with one warning: the unaligned gods could play a deciding part in the coming conflict over Arena. He implored the party to avoid angering them, and to curry their favor if possible. With that, the party abruptly vanished from the plane and reappeared suddenly and unceremoniously in a dark, crowded room full of barrels.

After determining that the barrels were full of ale and not gunpowder, Dela used her Everburning Torch to light the place, and they reached for the door. The door swung open before they could open it, though, revealing an eladrin who immediately cursed and fell on his back. Winter sprung upon the eladrin and covered his mouth, but released him at the urging of the other party members.

The eladrin recognized the name of Ander and mentioned that he never quite got used to finding Agents in the closet like that. He introduced himself as Gosling and offered free ale (wine for Dela) and food for the party. They were seated amongst the sailors, merchants, and captains, and given plenty to eat and drink. Gosling joined the table and asked how he could help. The party explained that they were on their way to Ashara. Gosling was intrigued and mentioned his own "adventures" of seeing the docks of Silverport, but asked no questions and soon left the inn. Winter followed him stealthily, but saw nothing out of place and soon returned to the inn. After some time, the party took to their rooms and slept.

Gosling woke them up the next morning to a breakfast of eggs and a ticket for five on a merchanter to Silverport. They found the captain, boarded the ship, and set sail at noon. The journey featured good winds and weather, and the seasoned crew paid them scant attention beyond a few curious glances at the shifter. After about a week of sailing, the ship finally reached Silverport. The clean, bustling dockside district stood before them, and beyond that, flanked by steep cliffsides, a massive silver gate stretching up to the sky...


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