Realm Of Light

Session 2 - Cultist Chase Over Crafted Cliff Canyon

Completing their journey to Esteron, the group set about finding the location of the hero registrations, a task easily completed by asking for directions. While waiting in line, they met a group of aspiring adventurers, Rogan and Simon having a conversation with a wizard named [wizard] who was excited to meet others who spoke abyssal. At the time Rogan was attempting to convince Simon to help trick the adventurers into giving up their place in line, as both spoke the demonic tongue (Ironically for opposite reasons), but luckily [wizard] only heard Simon’s half of the exchange, commenting that the novices seemed under equipped but were allowed to be here. While the linguists conversed, the less lingual Ugg challenged the group to sparring, which was quickly accepted by a dwarf named [dwarf]. The two fought valiantly and eventually the dwarf surrendered (not aware that Ugg was mere moments away from having to surrender himself).

Upon entering Esteron’s throne room the team introduced themselves to Jean Paul, the leader of the Order of Light and registered as “The Darkhide Raiders”. Jean Paul revealed concerns about the group, as others who had traveled through the Door of Aeons were drastically changed. However, the need for more heroes had jean Paul wave these concerns, and so he tasked them with finding and dealing with a group of cultists that had been attacking the surrounding villages. While in the throne room the group discovered a shrine to Apollen, the god of light, in a small back room. As he was the only team member of enough moral standing to receive the god’s blessing, Apollen spoke to Lee and offered him the power of his alumni. Lee declined his offer, wanting to evaluate his options, and so our adventurers set off.

Faced with the prospect of danger, the raiders needed to reach a decision concerning the fate of Trent, who had been sheepishly following them awaiting a rendezvous with Finrod that would not come. Discussion with the cursed man revealed that Trent required regular portions of a potion from Finrod to live. Hearing talk that he may not reunite with Finrod had Trent quite upset, and his whimpering inspired Mazura to lie to the man-child and convince him that Finrod was actually dead. This deceit was quickly ceased by the others, as they were unsure of his motives and unnerved by the perverse joy he was taking in tormenting the poor soul. Ultimately it was determined that they would leave Trent in the care of the nearby Temple of Light and inform them of his unique situation, hoping that the priests would be able to find the means to salvage the boy or at the very least that Finrod would find him and administer his potion.

After resting up and preparing they set out to the location of the most recent cultist attack, a small village close to the Great Wall of Esteron. Arriving at the scene, the group discovered that every home had been burned to the ground. Beneath the rubble of one such home they found a farmer quite close to death. Lee attempted to tend the man’s wounds, but in doing so accidentally caused him to begin bleeding to death. With a man’s life in danger Mazura sprung into action and pulled out the Staff of Healing, but rather than attempt to activate it’s healing powers he proceeded to bludgeon the wounded man with the magical stick. With him now on the brink of death Lee felt obligated to use the only magical healing spell he could cast for the day to fix the damage of Mazura’s poorly feigned ignorance. Once he awoke the farmer informed his rescuers and also Mazura that the cultists were a band of Ethanos worshiping tieflings who had kidnapped the women from the village and set off to the west. Simon located the Cultist’s tracks and the heroes set off westward.

Simon followed the tiefling tracks all the way to the Wall of Esteron, where they promptly disappeared. The crew searched for some secret passageway through the wall, but found nothing of the sort. Their searching caught the attention of one of the Wall Guards, who called down to them. After alleviating his suspicions of the men curiously tampering with the wall, he agreed to lowering down one of the emergency ladders so that the intrepid investigators could climb up and attempt to relocate the cultist’s tracks on the other side. This seeming simple task proved to be quite hazardous as several warriors nearly fell to their deaths – especially Simon Tars, whose wizard-induced axe wound was aggravated by the strenuous activity, causing violent spasms that threw him from the ladder. Thankfully Lee rescued him by summoning a hippogriff to catch and carry him the rest of the way up. Once at the top, they scanned the ground below for signs of further tracks but there were none to be found.

As there were no ladders attached to the outer side of the great wall, the elevated entrepreneurs decided to travel along the top of the wall and regroup in the town of Irongate, as they were tired and had hippogriff claw marks to clean. On the way they were questioned by some of the passing wall guard, but were allowed through. Mazura let the party journey on without him as he met up with some associates and began drinking heavily. The rest of the team located an inn and negotiated prices for rooms. Rather than paying for three or four rooms with a single bed in each, they decided to get one room for Ugg and then book the honeymoon suite; The large two-person bed in that room could easily fit Rogan and Lee, the two half-sized party members, and have the relatively thin Simon Tars sleep along the bottom of the bed without any discomfort. The innkeeper didn’t seem to grasp the frugal intentions of the adventurers and gave an odd look when the angry looking man booked a romantic suite for himself and two midgets.

With a quick bit of research the location of the nearby Temple of Ethanos was discovered and the cultist hunters began their trek. Mazura was especially exhausted that morning, as he had chosen to stay up all night drinking. Seeing that Mazura was in a weakened state, Ugg decided to take the Staff of Healing from him to prevent another near-death situation like the one with the farmer. Once it was in his hands he was greeted by the staff’s inhabitant, Gerald, but Ugg promptly and perhaps wisely chose to ignore the strange voice. The team arrived at the temple to find it destroyed and clearly unable to be entered. Inspired by a theory Simon Tars searched for a nearby cavern, finding one in the form of an abandoned mine, and sure enough he found the telltale tracks of the cultists littering the entrance.

Prepping up and venturing into the cave, Simon Tars was immediately distracted by a small alcove filled with water and set about expertly and efficiently searching the pond – There was nothing of value to be found, but Simon pocketed several cool looking mundane rocks he had found. While this occurred the still exhausted and hungover Mazura decided that the Staff of Healing that had been taken from him was his “Precious”, despite his unwillingness to even attempt either using the staff’s magic or conversing with the powerful soul inhabiting it. Ignoring his compromised physical condition and several several potential witnesses Mazura attempted to steal the staff back from Ugg – an attempt which proved to be a resounding success despite the staggering improbability.

Further into the cave some strange writing was discovered on a wall. Recognizing it as Infernal, the language of devils, Simon Tars read the single word aloud: “Barghast”, a kind of devil that disguises itself as a small humanoid and eats the flesh of it’s victims to increase in size. Observing the light of a campfire coming from a small cavern, the group approached to find two suspicious goblins feasting on strange-looking meat. Rogan spotted a chest behind the goblins, and so walked around them and immediately started rummaging for treasure. Mazura felt no need for caution and approached the goblins attempting to make friendly contact. The goblins were quite welcoming to his approach and once Mazura moved to shake their hands the Barghasts dropped their goblin disguise and attacked. This trick completely caught Mazura by surprise despite the earlier warning and the Barghast quickly brought him to the brink of death. Seeing their comrade fall to these critters, the rest of the raiders charged forth to interrupt the Barghasts attempts to devour the helpless man. In the throws of battle Mazura regained consciousness and clutching his prescious staff of healing, once again ignored the staff’s magical abilities in lieu of using it to lightly club his attackers. This light clubbing, coupled with Rogan’s eldritch power and Ugg’s significantly heavier clubbing brought down the Barghasts. Searching the treasure chest they found a small amount of diamonds, some potions, a crossbow intended for use by those of goblin size and a chain mail shirt made from mithril, which Simon Tars chose to put on while Lee tended to Mazura’s wounds.
Heading further into the cave our slightly chewed-on warriors reached a very unsuspicious bridge in a wide tunnel. Despite it’s unsuspiciousness, Rogan noticed that the latter half of the bridge was actually an illusion, thanks to his use of the “detect magic” spell while assessing the Barghast’s treasure. After Rogan informed the others, Simon Tars decided to jump the gap to assess any dangers on the other side while the others traversed the gap. Rogan decided to be more cautious, as he was much worse at jumping due to his short limbs and lesser running speed, so he instead slowly sidled along the tunnel wall. Too impatient to follow Rogan, Mazura chose to leap the gap after Simon, but wasn’t quite as successful, having to catch himself on the ledge. With no discernible danger and with Mazura to watch his back, Simon set about assessing a goblin mining equipment room he had found, where he noticed a small locked chest. Deciding to work together to cross the half-bridge, Lee and Ugg devised a plan in which Ugg would throw Lee across before attempting the jump himself – In the course of events this resulted in both the gnome and the half-giant falling to the bottom of the pit, where they discovered that it was filled with bones. Mazura and Simon pulled up Ugg with Mazura’s trusty chain, Lee climbed up the pit, taking a femur with him to give to Simon as a “friendship femur”. Once Rogan finished crossing the pit, he used his warlock power of darkvision, and saw a large creature in the darkness watching them.
A quick assessment of their surveyor had them quickly deduce that this goblin-looking monstrosity thrice the size of a regular goblin was actually yet another Barghast, bloated from presumably having fed on the goblins miners that had been occupying this cave. He sat upon a throne much too small for him, and next to that throne stood a pike with the mounted head of a goblin king. Taking advantage of the behemoth’s patience, the team enchanted their weapons and moved forward. Ugg lead the charge with Mazura immediately behind him, Rogan circled around while throwing out blasts of warlock power, and Simon and Lee hung back to magically hinder their opponent. In the throws of combat, the Barghast made an attempt to charge past his attackers to focus on the men using magic. This proved to be fatal mistake, as his failed bypass allowed the Raiders to inflict heavy damage upon the devil and easily surround him. Beneath the belligerent blows of battle the beast burst asunder with a baleful bellow, a pile of corpse meat even larger than the barghast itself exploding out of it’s stomach.

Searching the goblin throne cavern revealed a secret door in the cave wall marked by a small inscription in Infernal, clearly the entrance to the Cultist’s domain. In addition, Rogan claimed a small crown from the severed head of the goblin king, as the crown had the remarkable ability to turn the negative effects of disease into positive effects. Mazura used skills gained in his time as an entirely honorable guardsman to pick the lock to the chest they had found in the equipment storage, within the chest there was a magical amulet called the Phylactery of the Faithful (which was, upon Simon’s determined inspection, not an actual phylactery) which gave it’s wearer vague feelings of whether their chosen deity would approve or disapprove of any action they take. Lee chose to wear it for a time to test it out. The team decided return to the first barghast camp to rest and prepare for their attack on the cultists.

Will the Darkhide Raiders become famous heroes of Esteron? Will they defeat the Cultists and rescue the damsels? Will Mazura attempt to learn how to use his precious staff? Find out next week on “Session Log”.

Session 1 - Meet the chosen ones.
I guess all the good-hearted people were busy.

While going about their business, five men with nothing better to do than get swept up by destiny find themselves unconscious in a mysterious dungeon; Ugg, a Half-giant brute of immense strength. Mazura Chainer, an Irongate guard with a vendetta against Queen Artemis. Lee, a guardian of the balance in all walks of life. Simon Tars, self proclaimed “Wizard Hunter”. And Rogan, who had been chained to an anvil.

Upon awakening, they are greeted by a mysterious man in a mysterious hooded cloak with mysterious machinations for our intrepid band. Tasking them with drinking from three magical basins throughout the dungeon, the mystery man lead the team to a room filled with incredible magical equipment to clothe and arm them. This equipment proved invaluable, as the dungeon was filled with demonic creatures, including but not limited to demonic centipedes, flying orcs, a vampire and a terrifying quill-shooting beast called a Howler. Lee grew particularly fond of a pile of wooden stakes we found and used against the vampire and his spawn, dubbing them “Friendship sticks”.

While exploring the dungeon the team found several strange things;

  • A demonic message circle containing a note from a mysterious “L.G.” admitting his betrayal to an unknown party.
  • Several books on the art of demon summoning and the torture of humanoids marked as “Property of Yesville, return to Greymane”, whom the group assumed to be a very evil man indeed.
  • The corpse of a Copper Dragonborn by the name of Ssarthulo, next to another note from “L.G.” stating that Ssarthulo was the only one of “the group” he could find – Our adventurers concluded that this “group” must obviously have some important relevance to their presence here.
  • A Bag of Holding containing a broken trumpet, a bent metal staff and a small box with some powerful magic inside.
  • Several wall paintings depicting the legend of the Great Demon War, and more specifically, four magical keys used to seal and unseal the gateway to the domain of Mal’rek the demon king.

As coincidence would have it they also discovered those very keys being used by a powerful looking dwarf to prevent a portal from opening. The mysterious cloaked man reappeared to tell them that this man was Hankar, founder of the Order of Light, who had sacrificed his free will to keep Mal’rek’s portal closed. He also informed them that, having successfully drunken from the three basins, their minds now contained the secret locations of several “Old Gods” who must be awakened to “save the world”. Having learned all that they needed to, the cloaked man bade them return to their starting position, where a door made of ghostly hands stood ready to accept their entrance.

Stepping through the door’s forceful embrace showed that the hands had no regard for safety, as the wanderers awoke unarmed and naked (save for the bag of holding and the objects inside) in front of a large number of elite guards and the sage Queen Artemis. The Queen quickly cast a sleep spell to return the party to unconsciousness , succeeding against all except Mazura, drawing on his loathing of Artemis to resist and charge at her. While impressive it wasn’t particularly wise, as there were dozens of guards between him and his target who promptly beat him unconscious.

Rousing once more, this time in a prison transport carriage the prisoners used their newfound waking-up-in-random-places skills and immediately set about plotting an escape. Before the team had a chance to form a plan, a half-elf with more time to prepare began enacting his own escape plan; knocking a guard unconscious, unshackling the captive heroes, tossing them some spare knives and introducing himself as Finrod. Immediately upon being freed, Rogan chose to slay the unconscious guard.

Bursting out to fight the transport guards, the team dove into action; Rogan set about eviscerating whoever he could. Unwilling to use the knives Finrod offered, Ugg took to attempting to use corpses as weapons. Mazura attempted to conceal his freed state to ambush any guard who entered the carriage. Simon willed some magical protection into being and attempted to engage as many guards as possible to act as a distraction. Lee remained in the carriage due to the fact that his manacles were stuck, but he summoned an octopus to guard himself in the meantime. Once Mazura realised no guards would be checking on him, he climbed out of and hid underneath the carriage to ambush any guards who walked by. Ugg attempted to charge the guard’s commander, but his floppy weapon of choice proved ineffective against the well armoured combatant. Simon and Rogan managed to strike down the all the remaining guards save for one, who surrendered – Simon chose to spare him and went to assist Ugg, while Rogan continued to attack the now helpless man. Once Mazura realised no guards would be walking by the carriage he climbed out and joined the fray, stabbing the guard who had just surrendered. With only the guard captain remaining, Finrod struck down the Guard commander’s horse and Simon immobilised him with a web spell. Ugg then punched him unconscious, and in celebration tossed his corpse around like a ragdoll until he too died.

After looting the guards for all they could carry, the team followed Finrod to his safehouse, though a competitive drive between Simon and Finrod had the team travelling at a fatiguing speed. Once they arrived Finrod gave them a cryptic warning to not pay much heed to his man-servant, Trent. Because of this, they immediately began paying heed to his manservant, observing Finrod being quite absusive towards the aged manchild and hearing him talk of times when Finrod had forced him to kill children and begging the heroes for rescue.

Determined to free the poor soul Simon challenged Finrod to a drinking contest using one of Finrod’s poisons, wagering ownership of Lee against ownership of Trent. Though he drunk admirably, Simon passed out mere moments before Finrod did. The second Finrod was unconscious Rogan pulled out a knife and stabbed him, at which point Finrod rose from unconsciousness suspiciously quickly and drank from a hidden bottle identical to the one with the poison in it. Seeing Finrod drink this potion to immediately recover from the poison had the conscious crusading collective to conclude that this charlatan had cheated the contest. Enraged at this deceit, Ugg joined in with Rogan’s attempts to end Finrod, but unfortunately for them he managed to escape out a window. Doing a small amount of opportunistic looting, the team claimed a Magical Compound Bow, a bag containing 500 gold and they decided to take Trent with them. With nothing better to do they decided to journey to Esteron, as Finrod had told them that he had rescued them specifically because the City of Heroes needed more heroes (how wise it was to decide this after making an enemy of their envoy is up for consideration).

Having to carry the weight of the still-unconscious Simon, Ugg had to unload some of the equipment taken from the guards, and so the team noticed that the guard commander’s gear was marked with the insignia of Queen Artemis’ royal knights. As having that such armour would attract the attention of law enforcement and it was too damaged to sell anyway, they left the armour in Finrod’s house.

Travelling to the nearest town, the lawman-filled Westsilver, the team sent Mazura Chainer to discreetly inform the guards of the location of Finrod’s hideout in the hopes that they’d ambush their new enemy if he returned for supplies. Unfortunately Mazura was immediately recognized by the first guard he encountered, and promptly taken to prison. Mazura used his status as an Irongate guard to negotiate his return to his town’s service in exchange for the location to Finrod’s house, containing evidence that he was responsible for the death of the Queen’s knight. While this was going on Rogan walked into town and used his small stature to pose as a child to get a set of leather armour refitted to his size and Lee crafted some new friendship sticks.

The member of the collective who weren’t on a prisoner convoy traveled to meet up with Mazura at the town of Irongate. Once they reunited, Mazura used his connections with the shadier members of the particularly shady Irongate guardsmen to get supplies and equipment and sell off the masterwork sword of the Queen’s elite. Lee got a quaterstaff, Simon got a buckler, Mazura got a few extra knives and Ugg got an anvil strapped to a pole that we call a hammer.

While on their way to Esteron they bumped into a travelling item salesman named Barnabas, who seemed to be a quite powerful wizard. Barnabas sold magical items to aspiring heroes, but had come upon hard times due to the recent development that all magical objects were developing negative side effects. Despite this they purchased a shirt or magical resistance that attracted nonmagical attacks, and had it re-sized to fit Ugg, though he was quite unwilling to wear a shirt.

Barnabas seemed to recognize the objects that had been found in the bag of holding during the mystery dungeon, and even repaired them for no charge. The magical box was actually a soul container, housing the spirit of a man named Wilhelm. The bent staff was repaired into a staff of healing, apparantly containing the soul of a being named Gerald. Finally the trumpet was revealed to be the Flocking Flugelhorn, an instrument that summoned beautiful birds when it was sounded (whether or not this object also had a soul in it was not yet revealed). The horn seemed to be different now, as this time it summoned an infant dragon instead of a bird. Though the dragon seemed intent to kill it’s summoner, Lee calmed it’s rage and attempted to befriend it.

Over the course of their interactions, Barnabas grew fearful of our protagonists, finding them to be violent and possibly evil (especially Rogan). He did not take the news that they had gotten violent with Finrod well, as he supposedly knew him and his apparently cursed manservant. Barnabas quickly fled to his caravan and seemed very unwilling to have any business with the group in future.

Will our heroes finish their journey to Esteron? Or will Finrod the Hunter get his revenge? Will Mazura’s incarceration reveal his identity to Queen Artemis? And what will our heroes do about the growing number of cursed and soul-trapped tagalongs in need of rescue? Tune in next week to find out.

Story so far
What happened after brave heroes faced their demons

Getting up to date

The Realm Of Light is once again threatened by the forces of evil. After a team of mighty heroes bravely entered the land of Tamarr to put a stop to the wicked plans of The Hand, a gathering of five liches that together control sections of Tamarr. Primarily they were there to find clues on how to prevent the return of Mal’rek, the demon god, who had previously brought over 200 years of darkness to the Realm. After defeating three of the five liches: Vols Mktar, Kartos Vek and Vamal, the heroes hurried back to the Realm to confront the Door of Eons where they would face Mal’rek before he reached full power. Opening the door with a mystical key, it sealed behind the heroes and neither they nor the demon have been seen since.

Although the return of Mal’rek was stopped, there was little to celebrate. The loss of such mighty heroes would be sorely missed for the years to come. Not long after the victory a high cleric of the Order Of Light foretold the coming of a great evil, the Trolich. He prophesied that the land would fall into darkness and the young would die and soon after all life would cease to be. Artimus the sage of Yesvill denied the cleric’s words and forbade the Order from conducting its ceremonies, eventually outlawing them altogether. There was great unrest as cities loyal to the Order were forced to chose between their economic and political standings with the superpower Yesvill or the wisdom and charity of the Order. Sadly only the great city of Esteron supported the Order and for that there was an embargo placed on the city of heroes. But alas Artimus did not stop there.

After the disappearance of the steward of Yesvill, Jean Pall, Artimus took up the role herself. She used her new power to close the borders between The Realm of light and Tamarr to stop potential cultists coming though. Soon after an incident known as the ‘immigrant tower massacre’ occurred where hundreds of refugees attempting to enter the Realm were killed by the tower. The same tower that had previously been used to guard against evil legions of undead. Artimus improved her standings with the capital Newcrest with a long lasting treaty supplying trade, technological advances and military alliance between the two cities. She sealed the alliance by renaming the city Talrith in honour of the King. This alliance would soon be known as the Kingdom of Unity which would encompass everything south of Irongate. One year after the treaty was signed Artimus and the King Talrith were married in Newcrest.

The Order of Light and the Kingdom of Unity enjoyed 3 years of peace. However worrying signs appeared that suggested some truth to what the cleric had said. Most new born animals would die or have strange defects. The days had become several minutes shorter. It was when abnormal amounts of human pregnancies started failing that the Kingdom blamed the Order for bringing the omens. As the accusations were absurd, the ruler of Esteron, Maxwell Lumniess, went to the capital to protest their innocence. On the day of the arbitration, while alone with the king, Maxwell assassinated him. He was captured whilst trying to escape and is currently held under heavy guard in the city prisons. With a heavy heart Artimus accepted the position Queen Sage, of the Kingdom of Unity.

Now declared rebels, the people of Esteron and the Order of Light, fight a war on two sides; one with the never ending armies of undead to the east of Lockmarsh and another with the forces of the Kingdom of Unity to the south. For a land filled with heroes, Esteron is truly in need of them now.