I'm missing details from the first few sessions, but here's what I remember:
The the party from Kirti met up with the others from Aujjvalyan while following a map into the mountains. Together they stormed an Ogre Magi's fortress and freed some dwarven slaves, but they failed to find whatever the map was leading them to. After a celebration in Aujjvalyan, the party was sent back to Kirti as an escort for princess Sarit and to open trade negotiations between the two cities.
Upon arriving in Kirti, all hell broke lose. A new star appeared in the sky and the entire city was devastated by earthquakes, hurricane level storms, hail, fire, and tsunami. The party brought Sarit to safety in the temple of Brihaspati in Prasada, and there learned what needed to be done to stop the destruction. Following the priests' instructions they broke into the wizards' college, Edrajala, and stole back the Eye of Ratri. Once the Eye was returned to its proper place on the Isle of Ratri, the storms quieted and the crisis was over.
The following list contains excerpts from email sent mostly by me and some by players in the Hell and Glory campaign. They chronicle the progress of the adventure so far.
You brought Sarit to safety and rescued the city of Kirti from certain destruction. In the aftermath, some of you were awarded noble titles, lands, and responsibilities. Now is the time to consolidate your position and negotiate relief for Aujjvalyan, the city in the desert. Hopefully nothing else will interfere with this vital mission.
The plot thickens. You presented Sarit and the Aujjvalyan treasure to Raja Shamidar, with a wedding expected in the next couple weeks. Lord Kvin has started preaching his new religion of the god Agni. And Count Pathik Rakshaka's mansion is badly damaged, but repairs will soon be underway. In the midst of these activities Ronak (the merchant) is maneuvering for power at court, Lord General Agrima is planning to take the army away to attack neighboring cities, and the wizards' fortress Edrajala has offered to police the poorer districts, which are still in unrest.
Last time we played you cleared out the evil creatures under Count Rakshaka's mansion. As a result, Pathik Rakshaka now leads a score of demonic monsters, and Sulam has taken his soldiers away to safer lodgings. Soon Lord Kvin must defend his new cult from the priests of Indra and their followers among the Prasada Guard. Afterwards, it may be time to explore Pathik's lands in the North for ways to help feed the people of Kirti.
Last time we played, the game moved slowly. We spent time creating three new characters. Kvin defended the rights of his cult to worship in Prasada by speaking at a public sermon. Then many of you explored the strange developments on the isle (strange plants & oversized insects).
The coming game will be much more exciting. I cannot reveal exactly where the most action will occur, but here are a few of the directions I have prepared: You are contemplating joining the hunt with Raja Shamidar (King of Kirti), and/or traveling to Pathik's (Chuck's character) new property in the North, looking for aid to the food crisis. You have also noticed the Stupa (a conical outcropping of stone on a small island off the coast) and may explore that as well. Needless to say, there will likely be a few extra surprises.
Last Saturday you got caught up in two unexpected situations. Sarad (Alan's character) was possessed by Count Shailendra Rakshaka's haunt, and led the attack to recover the count's body from a dungeon under Ronak's mansion. The party faced over 40 mid-level warriors and various other threats. In the end, Pathik (Chuck's character) summoned his Baatezu army to secure the area, and the Baatezu proceeded to burn the place to the ground.
The next evening, after a warning received in a dream, the party stood vigil at the temple of Agni to protect it from attack. The temple was attacked by demonic creatures that looked suspiciously similar to Pathik's Baatezu. Most of the party successfully took the battle to the enemy, and killed several of the creatures. But after the creatures started summoning more of their own kind for aid, the party escaped through a dimension door. In the mean time, Kvin (Adam's priest of Agni) discovered a gate to the elemental plane of fire hidden deep within the temple. Using magical aids found near the gate, Kvin summoned several fire elementals and routed the rest of the attacking creatures from the temple.
As a result of these adventures, Kvin is now the highest level surviving priest of Agni in Kirti, and is likely to become high priest of the main temple of Agni in the city. At the same time, forces unknown torched Kvin's smaller temple in Prasada, while the party was occupied. Sarad has become heir to a lifetime of memories of the former Count Rakshaka. And Pathik has come under suspicion for his role in the attack.
Last time we played you explored the Stupa, a conical outcropping of rock rising over a hundred feet on a small island just off shore. There, amid the ruins of ancient shrines and and other structures, you found an entrance to the otherwise unbroken gray stone Stupa. Inside you found signs of ancient architectural additions to an even more ancient complex of rooms. You also found some monsters: Giant intelligent bats had recently moved into the top level, and shadows haunted a grand hall and prison cells below. A stone golem and a creature from the Abyss were guarding a wizard's treasure on yet a lower level.
At the deepest level was a sealed metal door inset with a glass plate. Beyond this door was an underwater cave and a greenish light visible through the dirty glass pane. You opened the door and rode out the flood, which quickly rose to fill most of the complex. Using water breathing and resist cold spells a few of you then explored beyond the opened metal door. Beyond was a great chamber with a crack in one wall leading to more underwater caves (still unexplored). The green light at the far side of this chamber illuminated a gruesome alter. This was all you discovered before being attacked by a giant squid, a kraken that nearly killed you all. After seriously wounding the kraken it retreated and you escaped back through the Stupa to the surface.
Last time we played, you journeyed up to the Northern Waste. There you tracked down and killed the monster worms that were terrorizing the peasants, freeing up more grain to be harvested to sent back to the city. Next, you found the Rakshasa Temple and entered it, being then transported to another plane to meet with a rakshasa rajah. You returned with one rakshasa warrior, but Sarad is uncertain if he can tolerate the rakshasa's inherent evil or the obscene rituals necessary to summon more of them.
You have explored the Northern Waste, and more food is now on its way to the city. But it was too late to prevent food riots there. On your return to Kirti you learned that several of Kvin's worshippers had been kidnapped. With Agni's help, you stormed the kidnapper's hideout and rescued all of the victims. Now you know Atman was behind the kidnapping. You also know that Edrajala's forces have doubled in number, giant insects and other monsters roam the tunnels under the North Shore district, and the isle of Vaniym is covered with a tropical rain forest.
> Perhaps it would be best to _not_ tell anyone about the devils until > Pathik's meeting. Not enough information yet.You decide. People may or may not believe you if you tell them. You may give away how much you know to a bad guy, who you don't know is a bad guy yet. Whether you tell anyone or not, events will continue to approach the crisis point.
> And Agrima is starting to give me the creeps. Something about his magical > whip doesn't seem right. Pathik doesn't even know what they are, but > Chuck smells a Pit Fiend. But don't quote me on that.Maybe you should test your various suspects. Try talking with them and using spells like detect lie, know alignment, and augury.
> And something about Yamaduta the CE seems wierd. But that should reveal > itself in just a couple days. I'm waiting for a non-LE plane to manifest > itself in your game. Perhaps Pathik needs to take a little Astral jaunt > to one of the upper planes for help. ;-)If the powers of the upper planes want to help, I'm sure they will make themselves available. Pathik doesn't know enough about plane travel to succeed in finding help on his own.
> Factions seem to be aligning...it smells like Ademis VS the Rebels, but I > still don't know the various lower planes factions well enough, nor do I > know what the unknowns are.Good guess.
> (A chaotic gateway in a ruined fortress at the end of a map? An invasion > from parts unknown? A pair of crashed powers, and the attention of > several more? So many loose ends in the cosmology.)Your party is involved in an important, but off the main stream, battle between Ademis and the Rebels. But even though this conflict plays a major part in the campaign, it is not the whole purpose of this adventure. Don't be surprised if events move beyond the simple Ademis vs. Inos conflict.
Last time... You heard reports of attacks by giant insects in the North Shore district and rumors of Edrajala being responsible for the proliferation of giant insects and plants on the island. Because of these reports, and an enigmatic dream by Chandura the Ascetic, you entered the catacombs under Kirti's North Shore district to seek their source.
While you were unsuccessful at finding either the source of the insects or Chandura's missing family, you did discover a dragon in its lair -- the one time master of the psionicists' school -- and you killed many baatezu (for lots of experience).
Your searching ended at one possible entrance to the baatezu lair, where strangely warped humans were encased in cocoons. You torched all the cocoons you could see, but were forced to retreat by a rising tide of baatezu defenders.
Next time we play... You still need to find a way into Edrajala (probably underground, through the catacombs) to discover the source and meaning of the giant insects. Kvin has also received a dream instructing the party to return to the Stupa, to the alter in the deepest flooded chamber.
Last time the adventure turned fantastic. After helping defend Kirti from attack by sea, you returned to the Stupa to fulfill Kvin's dream. You passed unchallenged through the Stupa to to find the underwater alter. Gathered around this gruesome alter you invoked the name of Ratri to open a portal in the wall, and were sucked in. While your magic deserted you, you shot far deeper into the Stupa and lost consciousness.
You woke in an arctic mountain valley, where you faced an army of pale, blond haired warriors and three challenges. First, an ambush by a dozen ice trolls. Second, a white dragon on the wing. And last, a battle with the leader of the army and his 20 body guards.
You survived it all, and made it to a cave in the valley wall. There you met a pale skinned woman in a white robe. She said you had passed her tests and gave cryptic instructions for a future time when you entered a place of wishing. She then transformed into a large female shadow (the true form of Ratri) and departed. You also departed through another tunnel and awoke back in the Stupa.
Next time, we will start with your trek to exit from the Stupa. Then you must fulfill Saeed and Agrima's request and find the source of the giant insects on the island. Edrajala is involved in this; It appears your best chance is to enter Edrajala through an as yet unexplored path through the catacombs.
Last time we played... You were led out of the Stupa through strange tilted passages and an immense cavern. You rested for a couple days, then went back underground, into the catacombs under the North Shore district. A divination cast by Kvin has finally led, after hours of wandering, to the edge of Necropolis (a complex of tunnels where the dead are interred). Next time, you will attempt to complete the divined path, find the source of the giant insects, and rescue Chandura's family.
Last time we played... You entered the Necropolis. After some random exploring, Omar cast Find the Path and led you to Edrajala. Your first attempt to enter the wizard's college failed and Omar went over to the enemy. He gave away your position, forcing you to retreat further back into the catacombs.
You entered Naidhana, a city of the dead ruled by a coven of vampires. In return for your silence, the vampires showed you another path past the wizards and baatezu, who are at war with Naidhana. The way was lightly guarded, and you snuck by the sleeping sentries.
Finally you came to a subterranean part of Aoshadhi, the small forest within Edrajala's walls. These cave like chambers were walled with the root system of gargantuan trees and lit by a sickly green glow. There you met Madhulekha, a witch, who claimed be waiting for you at the command of Ratri, goddess of night. Madhulekha told Chandura to take a large emerald, that she called a Pralavan, a flake of Srijupala, the Plague Stone. She then led you to the shore of an underground river that she called the Styx and told you pay the boatmen there and flee.
Next time we play you must decide whether to ride upstream to promised safety, or cross the Styx to where you believe Chandura's family is imprisoned. Time is running out. Open rebellion by Edrajala cannot be far in the future, and all forces on your side need to be prepared for the upcoming battle.
Last time we played... You crossed a subterranean river called the Styx, and walked deep into the baatezu's cavernous camp. At the far end of this giant cavern you discovered thick stone towers and rows of cocoons in iron frames just like in Chandura's dream. With a little searching, you found Chandura's wife and daughter, each encased in their own cocoon.
In the panicked flight that followed, you were all injured by fireballs and confused by illusions. Pathik and Roshan lost their memories to the river Styx, and later Roshan was killed by a fireball. You escaped with Chandura's daughter, but his wife was to far gone to save. Back in Prasada you were all healed in the temple of Brihaspati, and Roshan was reincarnated as an Orc (specifics to be determined later).
The next day, Edrajala declared war on Prasada.
That afternoon you were sent to Kirti's South shore district -- Naukashay -- to investigate the sudden disappearance of its >10000 inhabitants. All the signs indicate that they just packed up and left, but so far there is no clue where they could have gone. After some searching you found something different: A burning structure built into a low hill and spewing greasy black smoke from vents in the hill and from an entrance on its West side. Perhaps the answer can be found inside this burning building.
Last time we played... You entered the burning temple in Naukashay. Inside you were attacked by illusions and the party separated. Sarad and Sulam were cut off and fell through a trap to a lower level. There they broke out of their cage and confronted an Amnizu (a powerful variety of baatezu). After a couple close calls and several rounds of swords vs. illusions and magic, the party fighters prevailed.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party penetrated the various illusions remaining on the first level and discovered dozens of worshipers, priests, and guards all slain and set ablaze. Omar found a trapped elevator and descended on his own. The rest of the party also descended to the lower level through the same trap triggered by the fighters. They found a magically protected cavern containing more corpses, a Viking longboat, and some treasure. Omar was there first though, and took a large book of holy scripture, only giving it back to the party after he could read it first.
Back in Prasada at night, you were told of the score of black towers that appeared around the North shore district at dusk and the many enemy soldiers that now roam the streets below Prasada. You decided to speak with Kvin, so you snuck out of Prasada to the temple of Agni. There Pathik stirred up trouble among the enemy soldiers and Kvin provided you with a divination:
You returned to Prasada. At dawn, Edrajala blanketed much of the North shore district with illusion. The first wave of attack is about to begin.
You are victorious! Your party was instrumental in ending the war between Edrajala and Prasada, and banishing Bael and his minions from the face of the Earth.
The war started with a mostly conventional attack by Edrajala's 10000 of soldiers. They stormed the cliffs of Prasada, aided by illusion and enchantment; And nearly overwhelmed your side's force of 1500 Prasada Guardsmen despite loosing ten of their men for every one of yours. So ended the first day.
The second day started quietly. Around midday, the second wave began: 6000 giant ants and 3000 giant bees from the isle of Vanium -- each the size of ponies -- swept across Prasada. They attacked and easily killed anyone caught out in the open. As they approached, Raja Shamidar offered the services of the gold dragon -- Iridia -- summoned by his rod to carry Chandura against the insects. Chandura and the dragon made several passes over Prasada, and with the power of the emerald Pralavan they subdued all the giant insects, who then slowly dispersed.
The final wave began at dusk: 500 black abishai and 20 amnizu, led by Bael (a 20+ tall golden skinned devil with bovine features), marched through the streets to the base of Prasada, then leaped forward in an almost undefeatable wave of evil. As the baatezu approached, Saeed cast all the protections he had on Omar (your chosen champion) and other party members. As the abishai swept upward you raced, hasted, to meet Bael where he waited below. The party held off Bael's abishai guardians long enough for Omar to approach and challenge Bael, until finally becoming charmed by the abishai not killed in the first round of combat.
Omar faced off against Bael. Using the Book With No End, Omar disjoined Bael's current enchantments and removed the magic from his only weapon, a large morning star. Bael struck anyway, and even though his weapon bounced off Omar's stoneskin, a new evil enchantment (cause serious wounds) did damage. Next, Bael and Omar fought each other with shapechange, becoming a variety of ancient dragons and other monsters, until Omar (as a gold dragon) defeated Bael with a chlorine gas attack. With Bael's demise, all the baatezu disappeared, sent back to Hell. But Omar, under the power of the Book, continued his attack against Edrajala, wanting to make himself their leader. After damaging Edrajala's central tower, Omar was subdued.
The war is over. You may now rest, recuperate, and research your next move. Next time we play, your characters will receive the rewards they have earned for their valiant aid.
It's not over yet....
Last time, after resting for a few weeks in Kirti, the party traveled to Aujjvalyan to share the news of a successful trade agreement between the two cities. You then left to follow the map and enact the ritual learned from the Naukashayn book. The ritual opened a massive (magical) path in the cliff, and you followed it down into a black and white land filled with fog.
You encountered a family of giants. After killing the parents you sent the traumatized child giant away to find help on his own. You then fled the scene.
The night was spent in a deserted (yet strangely preserved) longhouse. The next day you descended into a city and discovered a great open hall atop a huge stone spire in the heart of the city. When we left off, you were exploring the chambers inside this stone spire.
Deep under the spire you found a tarnished metal throne on a low metal platform. Mud covered the floor. A giant worm attacked the party from out of a passage in the room's far side, but was quickly dispatched. The throne has no special power of wishing. The passage extends for miles.
You investigated the 8 canals that pierce the spire. All reach the edge of the city, just a few hundred yards from the lake shore. It appears that if the lake were 50' higher, water would flow along the canals toward the spire. Within the spire, water would spill down to the room with the metal throne.
The next day you traveled through the deserted city to a dam at the West side of the valley. You discovered this dam was built to keep water in the valley, so it must be open now, letting all the water flow down the canyon to the West. The control tower at the dam's South end was guarded by demonic creatures; After a fierce battle you won, but Shami was badly wounded and Pathik was dead.
Kvin brought Pathik back from the dead! You then rested for the rest of the day, and the night. Meanwhile, in the city, a night hag and her guards were using one of the deserted taverns. Pathik and Yamaduta investigated; And Yamaduta stole one of their nightmares. Later you fought the Night Hag as she tried to steal Sulam, who was on guard duty.
The next day you turned the two valves to close the dam's floodgates, and then rested out the remainder of the day. By the next morning, the lake had risen slightly but it became apparent that this place was affecting you: Pathik was already severely depressed, and by the morning so were Chandura and Yamaduta. Keeping busy seemed best, so you set out to explore the rest of the valley.
You found a door in the cliff. Inside were trapped halls owned by a copper dragon, who you shortly met. The dragon played with you, asking you riddles and wanting riddles and poetry in return. Sulam told a couple haiku. After answering one of Gata's -- the dragon's -- riddles, she asked you to recover a copper bladed sword for her from a fire giant fortress. Next time we play, you storm the giant's fortress.
Pathik scouted the giant's fortress, then the party retired for the day to plan. The next day Pathik and Omar attacked the fortress from the air, while the rest of the party demolished the East wall and stormed in to attack giant's on the ground. You killed 8 fire giant warriors and 4 hell hounds before gaining entrance to the central tower.
In chambers beneath the tower was discovered the few remaining giants, but they escaped through a concealed passage before they could be killed. The party then discovered a huge natural chamber dominated by a pool of burning oil. In the center of this pool was the giant's treasure and the copper sword you were sent to find. Protected from the flames by magic, Chandura crossed the pool and retrieved the sword, but in so doing he triggered a trap. The ceiling of the entire chamber collapsed, dropping tons of rock in the party and burying the treasure, although the sword was saved. With powerful magic the chest of treasure was salvaged from beneath the stone.
You chose to delay before returning the sword to the dragon; You never got the chance. Before dawn Pathik noticed some activity across the lake: Flashes of light emanating from the spire there. Before he could warn the party, everyone was teleported to the open chamber atop the spire and pinned to the floor with chains and staples of iron. One cloud giant sat on a glowing throne nearby, and another giant stood nearby. The giant on the throne tried to wish for your destruction, but was destroyed instead. The second giant attacked. With heroic strength, Sulam and Sarad freed themselves from their bonds, while Pathik and Chandura attacked psionically, and Omar (with one hand free) cast spells. You defeated the giant, free the rest of the party, and proceeded to make wishes with the throne:
After all these wishes, Loki and Odin and Thor appeared, and Odin thanked the party for their role in removing the curse and saving his people. The party remained in this city of Valaskalf (now returned to Asguard) for a couple weeks before being guided home by Heimdal.
Chandura delivered the Ring of Gaxx to the Stupa, and now works to fulfill Ratri's latest command. He is to excavate around the stupa to free it from the mud and stone that covers it. He will become a force to be reckoned with in the decades it will take to accomplish this task.
Kvin returned to his position as high priest of what is now the most powerful temple in Kirti.
Omar returned to study and teach at Edrajala. His new undead state may lead him to an unholy alliance with the rulers of the underground Necropolis.
Pathik now wanders Nifelheim. But he is not dead, and has a Valkyrie as a companion. For him the adventure continues.
Sarad returned to his wife in Kirti. He is acclaimed as a hero and as a respected lord and judge of Prasada.
Shami remained in Asguard to continue his adventures there.
Sulam returned to Aujjvalyan and Kirti as a hero, and is now an ambassador between these two cities.
Yamaduta escaped into Asguard before the gods arrived at the spire. His fate is unknown.