Dawn Shatter

Chapter 1: Dawn Over Stormwall
Part 1: The Feast of Pannir

Date: 3rd of Cantol

Our tale begins on a crisp spring day in the Wyrshann Mountains, in the small village of Stormwall. As is customary in Stormwall, after the cold winter months of Moir the village gathers to use up what is left of the food reserves to usher in the new spring and the new year. It is also a day to celebrate the anniversary of the towns founding by the legendary knight: Lady Pannir.

Matisse Veroux, an eladrin cleric of Corellon and the son of the village’s wealthiest elder, had only recently found himself cut off from his families wealth. In a somewhat moping state, he spent the festival day scoffing at the people in the town square. During his time there, he was met by the town’s priest, Elder Urdan Solemntone, who began by giving him some friendly albeit sarcastic advice but Solemnstone also told him that things weren’t all that bad without money. He still had more than some people, like the folks in Tent Town to the south who have nothing but the tents over their heads and whatever they can scrape by with. Matisse was mildly comforted with this, which was quickly soured as Solemnstone told him that Matisse’s father was expecting him at the feast. Matisse sulked and wandered in early finding a good seat for the feast.

The nervous and shy human swordmage, ‘Rusty’, spent the day wandering around the edges of town. He bumped into a female dragonborn hunter from the village named Thendryx and her young halfling friend Lethe. Thendryx was concerned about the strange lack of kobolds in the area, noting that they are usually competition for the early spring hunting. She asks Rusty if he knows anything about the missing kobolds to a bashful “no” and some bashful mentions of that’s more or less a good thing that they’ve gone away. Accepting this answer, Thendryx then teases Lethe about her on Rusty, getting a good laugh at the awkward situation she’s created, she and Lethe head on into the woods to get some hunting done before the feast. Lethe is heard cursing Thendryx’s ancestors as they march out in the woods. Afterwards, Rusty wanders about a bit more until it is time for the feast when he wanders in and finds a unobtrusive place in the corner.

Malcolm Trinnian, a human thief, spent the day losing all his money in a dice game with the infamous Bal Coldran twins (Themas and Teemas), however in a final game betting his last silver piece, he wins. Netting him a total of 3 silver pieces in which he procures a flagon of watered down ale from the Bartender’s “special” keg labeled as just for Malcolm. Since Malcolm owes the barkeep, Golgrin, a good amount of money, he never serves anything remotely decent. Malcolm then procedures to drink himself into a stupor by charming everyone and everything he can in the tavern to get him another drink. The good times are brought to a halt by a drunken doomsayer proclaiming that the rot was coming and coming fast. To which Malcolm decided to strike up a conversation with the bartender about. The barkeep proclaimed that he would never see the Rot reach Stormwall in his lifetime and Malcolm bet him it would. Seeing as Malcolm would probably die a few decades before the dwarf, he accepted whole heartedly and shoved Malcolm out the door and to the feast. Malcolm, being the last to arrive, finds himself seated between two large and not entirely aesthetically pleasing dwarf women. Quickly looking for another seat, he spots one with some old timers. Figuring they’d have more coin to pocket or at least be able to swindle his way into their wills, he moves there instead.

The fairly bountiful feast then begins as everyone begins to dig in. The roast venison and fine elvish wines are delicious, the fruits and vegetables from last year’s harvest still succulent even after the cold winter. As things get into full swing, the mayor – Elder Evaz Brimtoll – stands to address the town as a whole. He praises them for their devotion to the town as exemplified by the large feast, he reminds them that despite the rumors of The Rot expanding at an ever quickening pace, that Lady Pannir swore that darkness would never touch this village and that for four hundred and sixty three years that promise has been kept.

Suddenly, the doors to the town hall are thrown open as an old man in robes, carrying a satchel, bursts into the room. He screams for help as several strange looking kobolds wander into the room. The kobolds are unlike anything anyone has seen before. They are white, with glowing blue eyes, and breath that can be seen dangling in the air regardless of the immense warmth of the room generated by 250 or so warm bodies in it. They immediately attack the old man screaming, “Master want Old Man! Master want Book!” They begin to tear at the old man’s satchel as Malcolm, Rusty and Matisse step up to kill the strange creatures.

After a quick battle shattering their brittle skin and spilling the kobold’s strange freezing blood on the ground, Elder Evaz asks the heroes to help the old man upstairs. The old man revealed that he was on the run from those strange creatures, who serve a man in a white coat who belong to the Dawn, a strange cult that has begun to sprung in towns and cities closer to The Rot. The reason being is that he had stolen an ancient tome that they had been using deep within The Black City of Koren’kal.

The book contained strange arcane diagrams and text written entirely in what he called ‘The black tongue’ or Abyssal. Rusty feared that they possibly using this to conduct demon worship and the old man agreed as that was also his fear. He explained that he was attempting to flee to the port city of Solshann and flee on a ship and when that proved to be difficult (He did not explain as to why he was unable to find a ship in Solshann) he decided to take it to Mortekan the Wizard.

He hoped that the unnaturally long lived wizard would be able to assist him in either deciphering the purpose to the tome in hopes of finding someway to stop or undo what evil had been done, and possibly a way to destroy the book. However, he was only able to make it as far north as Stormwall before the kobolds that serve the Man in White caught up to him. Realizing that he was in no shape to continue the journey, he asked if the heroes could do it for him. Rusty immediately pledged himself to this task, and after a few moments of contemplation, so did Matisse. Malcolm, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with it and decided to head back downstairs to finish what he could of the elven wines. However, he was immediately stopped by the sound of a scream coming from downstairs. It was Lethe.

The heroes rushed downstairs to see what had happened. They found Lethe screaming and wide eyed, looking at a young human teen who had been turned into ice. Not encased and frozen in ice, but clothes, flesh, and all turned into solid ice. Beyond him stood the Man in White that the old man had mentioned, his long white hooded coat was designed light blue patterns of ocean waves. “I’ve come for the book.” the Man in White spoke in a cold and emotionless tone, “And the old man who carries it.” Matisse, Rusty and Malcolm drew their weapons and proclaimed that they would not allow it. “Very well. It would be easier if I killed you all first anyway.” the Man spoke and launched a large wave of white that cut through the town hall and froze all in its path like it had the young man. Dozens of the village’s residents now stood frozen in horror, but strangely the heroes stood unaffected.

“Hmmm… My master told me there may have be complications. Perhaps this will be able to produce the desired effect.” The Man in White produced a small crystal which he flung into the cobblestone of the town square. The crystal expanded and grew and slowly took form of a large dragon made of ice crystals and it gave a terrifying scream that filled the air of the small mountain village…

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Chapter 1: Dawn Over Stormwall
Part 2: The Fall of Stormwall
  • The Heroes engaged in battle with the fierce Ice Dragon that the strange man in white had summoned. They handled the fight well, shattering the beasts crystal hide and exposing the ice underneath in only a few rounds. The Dragon then smashed the frozen ground below them and sent them falling into the darkness below.
  • At the bottom of the hole the Heroes found a cavern that led into an old tomb beneath Stormwall’s temple. It is here they find the tomb of Lady Pannir, and a medallion that bears the symbol of the Knights of Oeryn. They discover that the medallion has some powerful magical properties and glows slightly in their hands.
  • However just as they begin to examine the medallion, the Ice Dragon, now shattered, reappears! Jumping down from above and launching an all out assault that ends with both Matisse and Rusty bloodied and Malcolm falling unconscious twice, however they ultimately destroyed the dragon and found a turquoise gem (market value: 100gp).
  • The heroes bolted upstairs in an attempt to stop the man in white, but found not one but three awaiting outside the temple. The heroes decided to hang back and listen to their conversation where they learned that the old man who gave them the book had escaped, that the village was destroyed with the exceptions of the heroes and an eladrin woman, and that they believe the heroes destroyed or something close to it.
  • The three mysterious men in white were identified as Ataqir (the original man in white with blue wave designs on his coat), Baern (Tallest of the three with red flame patterns around his coat), and Zevris (elderly sounding, has green wind patterns on his coat). Also the heroes found out that Ataqir was headed to the Black City, Baern was headed to Camnir, and Zevris was going to Dor Kal. They also made mention of another person known as Narees that resided currently in the far south.
  • After the three departed, the heroes spread out to find out what they could in the village. Other than the icy remains of the villagers and some of their mediocre belongings. They decided to investigate the eladrin angle and see what could be found in Matisse’s parent’s home. There they found a hidden compartment containing letters from Matisse’s ancestors regarding concern over things happening in the capital before the Veston Empire’s fall, as well as a old brittle short sword with the symbol of the Knights of Oeryn.
  • Faced with the decision of where to travel next – either Tent Town to see what is happening in Solshann and maybe finding a ship, travel to Falston to get more information, go north to Dor Kal to see what can be done in terms of getting across the mountains toward Magekeep Tower or head south to find Narees and see if she may be a good ally (or hot, in the case of Malcolm). The group ultimately decided on Tent Town and slept in the Veroux Manor for the evening.

Date: 4th of Cantol

  • The next morning, the heroes prepared to head south to Tent Town, the group saw something strange. A ghostly apparition standing in the town square. They find that this is the ghost of Lady Pannir who is happy to see someone survived. She explains that for hundreds of years her wards protected Stormwall from attack, and that the only way something like this could have occurred is if it were in good intent, though she cannot comprehend how. She also explains that the heroes are all descendants of the Knights of Oeryn, which combined with her wards, may have made them immune to some of the effects that the strange man in white was using the previous night. The PCs thank her for the information and head to Tent Town.

Date: 6th of Cantol

  • 2.5 Days later, the heroes find Tent Town. It is everything you imagine a town by that name would be called. Miles and miles of tents, shacks and various domiciles made of random things from the surrounding areas. They find a trader and begin to ask him what the situation is around here in exchange for information about a frozen bear they found up the hill that he might be able to turn into a profitable trade. He explains that pirates invaded and took over Solshann, destroyed all the ships, and have been holding the city since. The people of Tent Town are those who either escaped Solshann or found that they couldn’t make it to the coast.
  • The tiefling trader’s daughter then approached the heroes, explaining that her mother was kidnapped by the pirates of Solshann and she didn’t have high hopes for her return (No one ever comes back, she notes) but she was wondering if the heroes were going to find her a new home. In response, the heroes not only decided to go to Solshann to investigate the kidnappings, but also directed many of the Tent Town denizens to the now abandoned Stormwall, which met with some doubt with the mention of ghosts and attacks, but some people seemed interested.
  • The heroes then headed west-ward towards the coast and the Pirate City of Solshann.
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Chapter 2: Plundering the Pirate City
Part 1: Into the Shadows of Solshann

Date: 6th of Cantol

  • The Heroes slowly made their way into the Wyrshann Pass towards Solshann in the dark of night. They eventually reached the large gates into the city where they found some goblins and orcs patrolling the gates. Using what they had, Malcolm was able to fashion adequate orc disguises that would be able to fool the guards in the darkness. Matisse then used his linguistic skills to convince the orcs to let them into the city under the agreement that they would leave within the hour.
  • Upon entering the city the group encountered a massive military build up in what once was the market squares of Solshann. From soldiers to weapons to vehicles, it appeared that the orcs that had recently captured Solshann were preparing to expand their reign further into Anduris.
  • The group hurried off into the Shop Roads, a district of old shopfronts now turned into housing and brothels till they found a bar known as the Tooth and Claw Tavern. As they passed a bar they found a half orc being tossed out from the window. He introduces himself as Melcol, an unemployed drunkard who has a rough life in Solshann due to his nature as a half-breed.
  • The heroes took the half orc to another bar, The Slaughtered Boar. Here they ordered him copious amounts of “expensive” swill, since the average orc drink tends to fall below the quality of the cheapest dwarven ales or elvish wines, it still wasn’t that pricey.
  • As Melcol consimed his many drinks and explained the situation here in Solshann – Captain Gal’task attacked the city with his crew, The Bloodtooth Clan, they successfully seized Solshann and took over, and to cement his victory the Captain burned his boats. Locking on to the phrase “HE destroyed the boats,” Rusty seemed to push the conversation in that direction to found out exactly how one orc could do such a thing. Melcol explained that it was Lady Ashol, an ‘ascended’ who runs the Temple of the Dawn in the Temple district, who imbued the powers of an ascendant onto the Captain, giving him amazing powers.
  • Over the course of the evening’s conversation a few other revelations were made, including that Melcol had a taste for gambling in the Arena district but lousy luck with it. The party noted that they might be able to help change Melcol’s luck in that regard.
  • The heroes then purchased a room for the night at the Slaughtered Boar and ended up having a conversation with the slaves that were preparing their rooms: a mute halfling, a male elf, and an angry human woman. They explained they are kept slaves by tattooing raw residuum into their flesh which is tuned to a control rod. Slaves are either kept in the city to work or sometimes sold off to slavers from the western continent who come to the city once a month for three or so hours to resupply and put the slaves on the ship before leaving again. Matisse formulates a plan to free these slaves and procure a safe haven until the slave ships come in 15 days.

Date: 7th of Cantol

  • The next day the heroes met some tieflings downstairs in the Slaughtered Boar. The tieflings were quick to see through the group’s orc disguises. They promised an exchange of information for some Erthainian wine. They explained that there is a rumor that the captain does keep one boat: The Grey Flame, hidden in an underground cove below his mansion. When asked if they knew how to get to the boat, they answered that they don’t other than the entrance to the cove is beyond a hidden door in the Captain’s mansion. The tieflings also make mention of their cousin, Millen Silvereye, who deals in a drug known as Arkoshian Black Sand, which also happens to be the favorite drug of Captain Gal’task. Millen is gladly willing to do business with anyone who has the gold, but the two tielfings refuse to give out their cousin’s whereabouts to the party within some assurance of wealth first.
  • As the conversation with the tielfings drew to a close, the party began to discuss what their next move would be. Debating between trying to hide out in the hostile city for 14 more days before trying to capture the slave ship, going to see Lady Ashol in the Temple District or fighting their right to possibly see the Captain in the Arena. The group ultimately settled on the Arena and headed off.
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Chapter 2: Plundering the Pirate City
Part 2: The Champions of the Arena
  • We began with the heroes preparing to go with to the Solshann arena. Malcolm expressed interest in a plan where they would use their “best friend” Melcol to place a large bet on them, ensuring that if they won they would have the bankroll to operate in the city. Matisse and Rusty discussed their concerns with the initial plan, but they soon hammered out the details.
  • Melcol would be dressed as a noble half Orc (or as noble as they could make him) while also feeding him “gunk fruit”, an Arkoshian fruit usually used as a sweetening thickener in recipes, so that Melcol couldn’t talk and let slip any unwanted secrets. They would use Melcol to act as both slave owner and gambling partner, offering him a share of the winnings if he did. Melcol, wanting to help his new found best friends, agreed.
  • Matisse was tasked with located some gunk fruit which he was told by the bar mistress in the tavern could be procured at a diner up the street. Matisse gathered his Orc disguise and trudged out, doing his best to avoid suspicion by imitating the other orcs. He made it to the diner in one piece and was able to get some gunk fruit from the goblin waitress. His slow orcish trod back to the tavern however was not as successful, as he rushed back he drew the attention of some guards. They didn’t strike but they did seem suspicious of him, comparing him to the crudely drawn WANTED poster of the party.
  • Upon returning Matisse and Malcolm began whipping together disguises and fake tattoos to get them into the arena. They decided that Malcolm should take point to lead them through the streets to get to the arena.
  • The group made their way to the arena district where they found several gambling houses including the Kobold Koin and the Golden Horn. The group gave Melcol a sack of coins telling him it was only 5 gold and to bet it all on them specifically at the Golden Horn, which appeared to be a mid range gambling house compared to the cheap Kobold Koin.
  • The heroes then made their way to the grand arena. They spoke for Melcol claiming to be his slaves and entered for a deathmatch against the current arena champion: The Hand of Torog. They were escorted to the locker room where they had to swap into arena sanctioned clothing, but were allowed to keep their weapons. After changing they were led to a small cage along the arena walls to watch the matches until there turn. After a few amusing matches, they were called by the arena name they had given: ‘Weak Human Losers.’
  • They entered the arena to face off against The Hand, a nasty large gnoll with a battle axe embedded into the stump where it’s hand used to be, a dolgaunt flesh beast, and a grave hound named Skippy. However the battle went well with Rusty quickly grabbing control of the fight early and Matisse igniting the foes by striking their weaknesses. The ‘Weak Human Losers’ claimed victory and gained the adoration of the fans (party has become non-hostile in all districts but markets and harbor)
  • After their victory the heroes are met on the arena floor by Captain Gal’task who presents them with a new magical short sword for their victory, a +1 Gambler’s Short Sword (given to Malcolm) and Lady Ashol then invites the three champions to dinner The captains manor that evening.
  • The party then meets back up with Melcol who delivers their hefty winnings and celebrates their victory as he gets his share and runs off to buy more booze. The heroes then discuss their options – they have the money now to address Milen Silvereye, the black sand dealer, and propose some kind of arrangement or possibly just go directly to the dinner at the captain’s manor. After weighing the pros and cons of creating a new alliance with a drug dealer, they settle on just taking the captain up for dinner.
  • Three hours later, the heroes arrive to the Captain’s Manor at the top of the residential district. They are invited in and set down to dinner with a number of other prestigious looking orcs and goblins. They begin to question the heroes, who let slip that their ‘master’ was Melcol. Flags go up amongst the table as the orcs begin laughing about how the half breed child of a slave-lover could actually own slaves. While the discussion goes on, it becomes increasingly clear to Matisse that this is going bad.
  • Captain Gal’task finally arrives to dinner and begins to discuss things with the heroes. He too notices some suspicious leaps in logic in the party’s story. Finally he invites them to the throne room were he confesses that he knows that they are lying to him. He offers them an opportunity to be his gladiators to test new recruits. The party tries to convince the Captain that they would be better suited to be his soldiers and sneak out to weaken the enemy forces. The captain counters with an offer for them to become his heralds. They are to prove their loyalties by going to Tent Town and bringing them the hands of those who live their. The group asks for a moment to think it over.
  • The group discusses the offer and decides to try to buy for more time by asking to stay for a few days to plan their attack and to stock up on supplies. During this time they can either escape or find their way the Captain’s ship: The Grey Flame. They propose this idea to Gal’task who immediately counters with the fact that they may stay in the dungeons (as so they don’t run off) and that his slaves shall fetch anything he might for them, no exceptions. The group, realizing this may be their only chance to get to the ship they need, accepts and are led into the dungeons were the Captain prepares lavish accommodations for them (nice beds, large tables and maps of the peninsula).
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Chapter 2: Plundering the Pirate City
An Excerpt from Malcolm Trinnian's Journal

Great! There we were all stuck in a dungeon thanks to pretty boy Matisse’s big mouth. Granted, it was dressed with accommodations, of an orc, but, even with bedding, it’s a dungeon with 2 guards posted by our door. I still don’t think going strait to Captain Gal’task was the smartest plan in the first place. It’s not always a good idea to go straight to the top of command. It’s better to establish the building blocks and foundation first. In this case, when you’re trying to remove the tower, take the foundation away.

In my opinion there was a lot more to gain financially with the black sand dealers. Matisse reminded me that they would have tried to slit our throats, but it’s better than knowing Captain Gal’task was going to have our heads and Lady Ashol was going to burn us alive.

Plan B: find the boat, take out guards, and put together a distraction for escape. I wanted to burn the place down; what better distraction than fire to clear our path? Rusty didn’t like that idea because we didn’t know where the boat was yet, and we would probably end with ourselves in the fire that we started.

Rusty went through with his plan of finding the boat by having our help assigned to us, bring parts from boats. This didn’t pan out so well because well, there are many boats in the city, and only one that works. And only the captain and the Lady were privy to the ship’s whereabouts. With a lot of rope and net in front of us, we still had no idea where the “Gray Flame” was hidden.

I started talking to the Guards with a bit of cleaver pieces of mistrust and misinformation. I put the idea in there heads that Lady Ashol was really the enemy and we had to protect Gal’task by bring him to his ship. We found out a bit more where the ship might be hidden, and told the guards that there wasn’t much time because Ashol was making her move. They took off in a hurry leaving us with plenty of time to find the ship, but we couldn’t get the hell out of there yet. Matisse wanted to talk to Lady Ashol first. Great idea, lets talk to the woman that’s already suspicious and wants to turn us into charcoal! Outvoted 2 to1, Matisse and Rusty talked to Lady Ashol convincing her to get us magical supplies. Surprisingly she did, but, now I feared she was even more suspicious and now we had even less time.

We did not hesitate to escape…until we stumbled across 3 orcs in a dining area; one of them being one of the guards we that was by our cell. Start a distraction big enough to cause a revolt that would disrupt Gal’tasks war effort, and would toss the city in enough turmoil to make for an easy take over later. This was my one chance. I snuck in under the tables to notify our orc “comrade” that it was time. I admit, my plan wasn’t perfect and some hands don’t always win the game. The other two orcs caught my bluff and blades started swinging. We defeated the 2 orcs. The orc guard was stunned but agreed to assist us. Fortunately, his head became useful for something and he ran full force into two large steal doors opening them and knocking him out. We hid him in the broom closet. Unfortunately my idea of creating a distraction tripped the alarm. We only had a short time to figure out the puzzle that the room offered. Matisse and Rusty are better than I give them credit; they solved the puzzle with ease. The doors to the lower catacombs opened and they yelled for me to come. So that we would not have the whole castle barring down on us, I quickly made a few traps to slow down our pursuers.

We entered the lower levels to find The Gray Flame, a fantastic metal ship without masts. I had a hard time figuring out how such a ship could even float. It was nothing I had ever seen before. It was a trap of course. Some traps have to triggered to get move on. So we entered the ship to find Captain Gal’task along with Lady Ashol and an entourage of soldiers. There was no bluffing this time, there was no weaseling, there was only us 3 vs. a magic user, an orc captain made of fire, and his men. Some hands you have to play all out when the odds are against you.

“Well, you suspected correctly, truth is I don’t like you. We are going to take your ship, and were going to kill you” I said upfront.

“We’ll see about that!” yelled Captain Gal’task.

I turned to Matisse and Rusty. “Well boys, it’s been fun.”

Gal’task charged and I wasn’t able to get away in time. He hit me full force with his hammer knocking me out cold and setting me ablaze. I don’t want to tell him but I’m grateful for Matisse’s healing word. Now it’s 3 I owe him. Hopefully, no one’s keeping tabs. I was able to get up minus the incredible headache that was worse than 3 hangovers put together.

Rusty swung his magical sword, Matisse cast his healing spells, and I maneuvered quickly with my short blades, making mince meat of the soldiers. Lady Ashol tried to light me on fire a couple of times which just made me angry. I took my bow out and took out the ranged attackers she had next to her landing my arrows in their necks. Unfortunately my arrows failed to hit her.

Now it was Gal’task’s turn. And with our combined efforts we brought him down to a smoldering pool of ash and cinders. Furious we succeeded, Lady Ashol screamed, “This is not over!” and disappeared in flame. Our hand won this time. The Gray Flame is ours.

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Chapter 3: The Wizard's Tower
Part 1: Excerpts from the Diary of Rusty

Dear Diary,

Finally, land again! After two days at sea, we came across the very thing we were after: A small peninsula jutting from the mountains near Dor Kal – and we could even see a tower inland a bit! Perfect!

Obviously, my dear diary, you know me well enough by now to understand my special brand of written sarcasm. (Note to self: Learn to use sarcasm vocally, too.) As we neared land, we spotted a dock where a dwarf waved a flare, a beacon of welcome. He introduced himself as Iccar, a paladin of Ioun who guards the tower with several others.

Seems this tower is actually a prison. And Mortekan is its prisoner. Good gravy.

Iccar took us to the rest of his clan, which is lead by an especially zealous dwarven gentleman named Cpt Coslow Venafury. They were all really welcoming, though weary that we sought an audience with Mortekan. Seems that they’ve been guarding this tower for generations. Whatever aberrant research the wizard has been doing threatens the natural world, and they’re sworn by duty to Ioun to contain him. Noble.

Anyway, the Captain agreed to let us in to see Mortekan, but on one condition: We lead a squadron in to kill him. Not wanting confrontation, we agreed to his terms. We will enter the tower first thing tomorrow. Hopefully, we’ll get the information we’re after before things get ugly.

As a side note: I know that Malcolm will find a way to mess things up. He’s always looking for an angle… a way to make a profit on the situation. Sometimes to the point that he loses sight of our goals. I warned him early not to make the dwarves mad; they’re good guys, too, and we don’t want to fight them. He scoffed at me. Scoffed!

Your best friend,
Rusty


Dear Diary,

Everything went nice a perfect today. Woo hoo!

More sarcasm.

The dwarves let us in the tower. It was quite the sight: Dozens of specters ambled about the first chamber, minding their ghostly business. An illusion of Mortekan appeared and challenged us to solve his riddles; doing so would grant us access to see him. We accepted graciously. The first riddle was a logic puzzle variant of the liars paradox. By assessing the logical validity of all cases, we easily solved the problem, earning us a silver key.

Further up the tower, the second chamber (with many fewer ghosts) held the second puzzle. A set of figures described the values of various runes in relation to one another. The task was to find the relative values of two of the runes. By applying single algebraic principles, the answer quickly became apparent, and we acquired a golden key, which would allow us to ascend the rest of the tower.

(An aside: Though I was quite certain of our responses to the puzzles, I convinced Malcolm of the possibility that we calculated incorrectly. Matisse and I quite enjoyed the look of unknown terror on Malcolm’s quivering brow as he reached his hand deep into the chests relating to our answers. I believe this is what practical japery must feel like!)

At the tower’s top, we finally met Mortekan – the REAL Mortekan. His body has not been treated well by the magicks he studies. He more closely resembles the creatures of the Far Realm than he does his original human form. Though a bit self-sure and conceited, he was willing to hear us out. He agreed to help us, but we would have to help him. Seems being cooped up in the prison of a tower is keeping him from fully realizing the potential of his research. While he originally wished to be free of the paladins’ barrier, we were able to reason him down in a bargain: If we could get the dwarves to agree to bring him animals and plants to use as test subjects, he would help us.

Tall order, I know.

Back outside the tower, we spoke to the Captain. I tried to bend the truth a bit, claiming that bringing creatures from the Natural realms would help cleanse the effects of the Far Realm from the tower, which would weaken and kill Mortekan. Basically, quoting Tressor’s Arcane Equilibrium Theorem, which I know (but was betting that the paladins wouldn’t) behaves erratically in the presence of aberrant energies. While the Captain was starting to buy it, Matisse starts opening his big mouth about how Ioun was speaking to him and he was seeing visions of her. Venafury wasn’t buying it. Finally, the icing on the cake was when Malcolm got all up in his face about it! So much for all that scoffing yesterday. It’s bad enough attacking a paladin’s religious beliefs, but if that paladin is also a dwarf, that’s a good way to become intimately introduced to the broad end of a war axe.

We avoided physical blows and retreated to the Gray Flame. We’re not leaving just yet. Maybe time will dampen the Captain’s fury. We’ll see.

Your best friend,
Rusty


Dear Diary,

Well, a night of cooling off did the trick. Iccar came to us today and told us the Captain had calmed down a bit and was presently drunk: a window of second opportunity! We went again to see the dwarves and apologize for our quarrel. In the process, a more focused Malcolm tried to convince the inebriated Captain that our claims were true. Matisse and I continued our additive prodding that it was what was best in the end. The other dwarves warmed to the idea much more slowly, but eventually, through carefully chosen words of reassurance and humility, they finally bought our story. Success!

So that’s where we are now. The paladins have given us a month to bring flora and fauna to Mortekan, but they expect to see improvements or else they’ll have our heads. The wizard promised us he can back up our claims with powerful illusions that will convince them of the veracity of our claims. In the mean time, he has begun deciphering our tome, the Dawn Codex, for clues about why it’s so desired by the Dawn. In the end, everything worked out, and nobody had to get hurt!

It might not be as obvious, but that’s more sarcasm. We’re on the razor’s edge here. I hope we’re not wrong to trust Mortekan, and I hope that the dwarven paladins will be forgiving should they find out we’ve deceived them. I don’t know what our exit strategy is just yet, but it’s likely to end in bloodshed. Luck, don’t fail me now.

Your best friend,
Rusty

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Chapter 3: The Wizard's Tower
Part 2: The Secrets of the Dawn

The heroes had struck a deal with the Dwarves of the Eyes of Ioun and the wizard Mortekan of Magekeep Tower. The Dwarves would provide elements of the natural world: plants, trees, and animals, and deliver them to the Tower in order to “purge” the Far Realm taint. Mortekan the Wizard was tasked with providing an illusion to make it appear as though the contamination of the Far Realm was receding along with translating the tome the adventurers had received from the Old Man back in Stormwall – The Codex of the Dawn. The deadline set for both the translation and the illusion to satisfy the dwarves was three months.

However, the heroes found themselves with an abundant amount of free time in these three months. Often perusing Mortekan’s vast libraries and striking up conversations with the various ghosts that inhabit the tower, they attempted to find information regarding the Elder Elemental Eye and any possible connection. Sadly, there was little information to be found other than the Elder Elemental Eye was a powerful primordial that rallied the forces of the Elemental Chaos against the Gods of the Astral Pantheon and the Black Council. The creature was thought to have been defeated towards the end of the Dawn War, struck down by the Rod of Law.

On the ghost end of things, the group found a ghost that was actually quite hospitable to them. His apathy to the ongoing battle between the Eyes of Ioun and the Wizard may have decreased over time because it seemed like the ghost wore a very old and antiquated type of plate armor. He told them that he was well aware of what was going on, and that they may risk danger by attempting to fool the Dwarven paladins as their honor is tied to their duty and their honor means everything (hey, they’re dwarves). They asked about Captain Venifiri’s ancestors and the dwarf explained that the elder Venifiri also wasn’t right in the head, often muttering about the Shadow Man that wanders the halls of the tower.

As time past, the PCs became curious about the nearby city of Dor Kal, especially Matisse, who upon hearing that an agent of the Dawn had passed through there recently, was curious about his mother’s whereabouts. Asking the paladins for aid, they were escorted through the Tomb Roads to the city where they found the underground slums of the city waiting for them. Iccar was quickly swept away by adoring fans of the Eyes of Ioun, leaving the group in a dwarven city with no guide. They took about the task of attempting to find a bar in hopes of getting information. When they eventually found something that appeared to be a bar underneath the heavy layers of dust, Matisse attempted to bribe his way to information by purchasing an old dwarf an ale – technically another ale as the dwarf already had one. Sadly, this dwarf was not very helpful, muttering things and blabbing on about politics. The group decided to instead go find a guard, which led them to the upper level of Dor Kal.

The Upper Level was the antithesis of the lower level, a clean and bustling town divided into three districts: The Lore District (home to the scholars and record keepers), the Craftsman’s District (Home to the workers and crafters of the city), and the Trade District (where wealthy dwarves dwell and hock their wares). They find some guards and begin to strike up a conversation about what the Dawn wanted. They find out that it appears that the visitor was Zevris, the elderly green Dawn knight. That he came both alone and seeking to bring Dor Kal in to the Dawn’s ever growing fold of worshippers and supporters, however since the Council of Dor Kal – the ruling body of the dwarves made up from the leaders of each districts’ guild – is without a High Counselor at the moment (similar to the dwarf president), nothing can be decided. The dwarves are at a complete stand still in terms of decision making until the matter of who will be the new High Counselor is settled.

The Heroes set off the find Iccar so they could return to the Tower, but they found him drunk and being forced to chug massive amounts of ale in a tavern. The PCs ‘rescued’ Iccar and took him to the closest place to rest – Iccar’s parents house. Iccar’s father is a wealthy trader who made his fortune dealing in mining equipment with the surface world. He collects all sorts of memorabilia from the surface. His wife is a subservient house wife. They talk with the PCs for a while, discussing their disappoint in their son who “can’t even hold his ale.” They welcome the heroes to stay the night in their mansion.

During the night, the heroes are woken up by the sense that something is watching. After looking around they find a man who seems to be absorbed into the shadows. He introduces himself as Void, the Voice of The One in Darkness. He informs them that he has important information for them as was expecting them to be at Magekeep Tower and that he awaits their return there. He vanishes just before exposing Iccar’s father attempting to sneak in to cut off a lock of the Heroes’ hair for his ‘collection’.

The heroes set off the next day back to the tower, where they found Mortekan and Void awaiting them. Void explained to them that they need to be extremely wary of the Dawn, as they have spent years culling or converting the remaining members of the bloodline of The Knights of Oeryn and that the Dawn Knights themselves were once powerful members of the Knights of Oreyn that were converted into extremely powerful Ascended. Mortekan then explains that the book appears to contain a number of rituals that pertain to the summoning of the Elder Elemental Eye and other powerful primordials, as well as select passages referring to the “Army of Three-Hundred-and-Thirty-Three”. In regards to destroying the book, Mortekan explains that it is bound to the life force of the one who created it, like a reverse phylactery. Mortekan then leaves to finish translating the book.

The remaining few months pass quickly, with the heroes hunting in the woods, feasting with dwarves, and researching in the library. Finally, the day has come. The dwarves demand to see the results of all their efforts. Rusty is nervous that the illusion may not be ready yet, but when they all approach the tower and see that the plants surround the massive building appear healed. The dwarves, now pleased, thank the heroes and head back to their camp with a promise of continuing to provide natural materials to heal the tower. Inside, Mortekan has prepared a thesis on how to stop the Dawn from opening a portal to summon the Elder Elemental Eye.

After discussing the first step on their quest, the Heroes decided to start by diving into the depths of the Ramacor Monastery to find a map to the lost temples of the gods.

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Chapter 4: The Lost Monastery
Contemplations to Corellon

The following is a contemplation to Corellon from cleric Matisse Veroux.

Corellon Larethian, hear my prayers. You are the wise leader of the Eladrin pantheon, god of magic, and of everything beautiful in this world.

My mind is troubled. This beautiful world is being destroyed by the rot and I beseech your wisdom and guidance as I have recently seen the frightening power of the rot with my very eyes.

We arrived just a few days ago on our pirate ship “The ”/campaign/dawn-shatter/wikis/Grey%20Flame/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Grey Flame," to the northern reaches of this continent. I am continually amazed by how strange the world outside of Stormwall seems to me. Nothing I have studied has prepared me for these horrors.

After traveling awhile we made it to the edges of the rot where everything is so strange and wicked. I feel uneasy here. The barren ground is sponge-like and the very air is as sour as stale mead. My companions (Although brought together through common cause, I do not yet call them friends, especially that untrustworthy Malcolm) found the ancient monastery Ramacor at the edge of the wastes. It looked abandoned for some time, besieged by demonic forces.

Yet in the distance, we saw a camp that looks recently used. Curious, we sent Malcolm to scout it for us and met a dwarf named Haffston Smeltvor who said he was doing an archeological dig of the monastery. He said he was looking for a book, the Tome of Duty, and that he would pay us for finding it for him (Apparently those he sent in before have not returned after several days).

I do not feel that Smeltvor will respect the religious tome for the sacred object that it is. So I am not sure if I will allow him to have the book if we do find it (Although I may have to contend with Malcom’s avarice on this front).

So we journeyed into the underground monastery. The tunnels were covered in a gooey moss that I will have to ask Mortekan about later (Although initially untrusting of the primal magician, he has earned my respect as a scholar). As we got deeper into the tunnels, I felt the psychic pain of this place, screams of good clerics who were consumed by great evil. Though my companions apparently were not bothered by this psychic evil, I shuddered at what lies within.

We found out soon enough as the entrance to the actual monastery appeared to be blockaded, not from within but as if to prevent what was inside from leaving. Interestingly, the artwork at the entrance indicated that all gods were worshiped at the monastery including those finding their guidance from you Corellon.

After we overcame the hastily erected barriers, we found more tunnels and more of that strange sludge. We easily defeated some beetles and zombies (Who were damaged by your radiant power my lord).

Then we came upon some absolute horrors in what I can only imagine was once a beautiful place of contemplation and worship. As in the next room we saw a window into the wastes itself. It is almost too horrific to describe and I just prayed that your wisdom can get us through this place.

In the room with the horrible, horrible view was also a strange puzzle clearly devised by some demonic beings. The bumbling Malcom did the puzzle incorrectly and we had to fight a fire imp and a magma runner who caused me significant damage and hardship, even spoiling my nice vestments (I know how important beauty is to you my lord, so I will cast a ritual to ensure they will look good as new).

When we finally defeated the imp, we were able to open the door through the puzzle. On the other side of the door we heard some voices of what sounded like some kind of evil demons. We only caught part of a conversation. Something about how these three people cannot let us (I assume) to have an object in the monastery (what? The tome perhaps. Now I am sure I will not let Smeltvor’s slimy hands have it).

I am not sure what else lies upon our path. I just pray to receive your guidance and wisdom in this place of worship. Although you seem further away than you ever have from me, I still feel your strength and radiant energy within me even here.

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Chapter 4: The Lost Monastery
An Excerpt from Malcolm Trinnian's Journal

This is going to be a troubling tale for me. I have made a grave mistake that will catch up to me soon. Dreams have plagued me since the Monestary. The pit in my stomach keeps twisting tighter. Hopefully writing will sooth my thoughts and make for sweeter dreams and better sleep…

We unlocked a large decorated door. And here is where my troubles begin. There was a conversation between three high pitched screechy voices and a fourth ambient voice. Matisse wanted to just barge in, but I decided take a closer look. I counted one big 3-headed skeleton who I concluded was the 3 voices I heard, a spell casting skeleton and 6 skeletons cronies. “Well,” answered Rusty. “Maybe Matisse’s barging in idea might have a place after all.” Taking front, Rusty and Matisse burst through the door as a distraction giving me ample time to use my stealth. We entered to discover an attractive but dirty, eladrin girl. She was dirty; I don’t think she’ll be Matisse’s type.

The distraction worked, giving us a round to ambush our foes. We quickly dismantled a few skeletons. Unfortunately, one of the heads on the 3-headed boss kept resurrecting them. I made a quick mental note to take that one out as soon as possible, but, just then visions scoured my brain with images of things I feared, fear so powerful, I found myself quivering in the corner. I regained my thoughts and returned to the action.

Rusty helped free the eladrin girl. The Eladrin girl finished freeing herself and hurled several magic missiles into enemies turning them into dust. Awesome, we have a mage!

Two skeletons tried to get the jump on me, but you don’t fool a fool. I dodged right and nailed one of them hard, making it dead again. I shot past the second, unable to avoid a jab to my stomach. I pulled out my bow and shot an arrow right into one of the 3-headed skeleton’s heads, turning the resurrecting head into crumpled bone. Ignoring the spell caster, I made my talents useful to Rusty who was surrounded by the 3-headed baddy and several skeletons. Together, Rusty, the Mage girl, I, and Matisse’s healing of rusty, made mince meat of the band of skeletons. But, just before the 3-headed one was defeated, he called out, “It is done! They have succeeded in our plans master” and exploded leaving a red crystal with a strange red liquid locked inside.

Matisse’s curiosity got the better of him and he touched the crystal. We all watched as he went into a trance as if transported off somewhere. Afterwards he wasn’t making sense and tried to keep the crystal saying, we need it and no one else can have it. I suspect many things about Matisse, his feminine side for instance, but greed is not like him. “It is the only way to keep my mother alive!” he called out as rusty tried to grab him. Seeing my opening I picked it from him with ease.

But, as soon as I touched it, I was transported to a room with an old man, The White King. I could see the trap Matisse walked into. I could only see one option and that was to see where this went. I had no choice. I was curious. What every got Matisse spooked, I had to see what the White King offered.

His words still echo in my head and it’s been a week at sail since that day.
“I have a task for you. You see, Matisse can not be trusted. His delusions of his god would get in the way. You understand. You on the other hand, I have a special proposition for you.” I stroked my chin trying to ignore the bad feeling about dealing with this guy. If only Rusty’s judgment was here as a guide. No. I am a lone with someone who seams to have power over Matisse’s mother, and already knows a lot about us.

“Don’t destroy the book. Instead, bury it, throw it in a lake, but keep it away from, any volcanoes or thing of that nature if you catch my drift. In return I present you with this new body…” I was again transported, but to the entrance of the black city. There was my body but with silver skin that glistened like armor. “Unlimited power, and who knows, maybe you can kill me and take the black city for yourself. All I ask is that you don’t destroy the book. If you disobey, there is fate worse than death that awaits you. The book and I are linked.” He reached out his hand. A cold sweat dripped from my forehead as I felt shivers in my spine. I felt pulled, unable to resist even though everything in my body told me no. “Ok, I’ll do it.” And we shook hands. And a deal was sealed.

Rusty smacked me hard knocking me out. I still think that was unnecessary, but I can see their hesitancy for trusting me especially at this point. I awoke with a splitting head ache seeing the ruby being held up by one of Alethia’s spells. I guess she introduced herself while I was out. Its ok I’m sure Ill get to know her better later. The party interrogated Matisse and me. He explained that his mother was in danger and the White King offered to release her in return for Matisse’s help. I explained that Matisse was telling the truth, and that Rusty’s decision to knock me unconscious was understandable. I explained that I too saw the White King. I divulged in deal I made with the him.

“At least my reasons were noble,” Matisse interjected.
“Don’t question me on morals and humility. I have my reason’s I did what I did. When a friend enters a dark whole, you have to follow to pull them out.” I looked at Rusty and Alethia. “At this point you can’t trust either of us. And no this is not one of those you can only trust one person by not trusting both tricks. Both Matisse and I have made a deal with the White King. We have made a packed with a devil. The White King mentioned that the book and he are connected,” I said.

“So in other words we have to figure out how to sever that connection,” Rusty finished.

“So, how do you guys know each other?” Alethia interrupted.

We told her the story about being connected to the whole Knights of Oeryn.
“Alethia, I need to see something” Rusty pulled out his pendant, and gave it to her. It shined as she held it. What do you know, another fortunate coincidence. We now have another “relative” amongst us.

We all sat there for a moment and started to leave.

I pulled Rusty aside, “If I start to act strange, end me.”

“Gladly,” he said enthusiastically. A little bit of hesitancy would have been nice.

We now have two more crew members Blank, a man who was a monk in the monestary who ended up incidentally sinking it by taking the map we now possess. We freed him from his curse that the other monks had place on him for his crime.

Haffston Smeltvor owes us a debt. So he is now our new bartender, a bad one at that, but a bartender none the less.

Now we are off to Camnir. This keeps getting worse and worse for me. I was hoping we wouldn’t have to visit that place again. Oh boy, I hope no one recognizes me, but after the dreams I’ve been having of the black city and the White King, there will be no way avoiding his spies.

I could take the ship for myself and run. Steal the book and go. That was strange. That was a thought but I didn’t mean to write it.

Running can’t be an option. I made an oath to Matisse and Rusty. Alethia has not made the oath yet but I am sure she will be fore we land. I plan on keeping this oath. Rusty and Matisse are the closest family I have had. I had abandoned friends before. No! They abandoned me! Who says Matisse and Rusty won’t abandon me? I must have fallen asleep for a bit there. That’s it I’m getting a drink maybe Haffston will be up at this hour.

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Chapter 5: Welcome to Camnir

Through with ancient ruins for a while, the gang heads to Camnir.


  • Malcolm tells everyone why he’s not looking forward to returning to his homeland: He was a key member of a resistance movement a few years back. One of the others was a double agent, and his betrayal led to the extermination of all of his fellow rebels. Malcolm made it out alive, but he’s still a wanted man.

  • The Camnir guards let the gang into the harbor. A fleet will be arriving in 5 days, so the Gray Flame is welcome until then.

  • In the city, the Gold Palaces are celebrating a great festival in honor of the knight who infiltrated the resistance and brought them down.

  • The gang heads into the Copper Slums. Some local children point them in the direction of the toymaker, Qiton the Gearshaper who might be able to help them unlock some of the secrets of the Gray Flame. They appeal to his honor and curiosity by telling him about the Gray Flame. A little later, back in the harbor, one touch is all he needs to be certain of its ancient history. He agrees to inspect the ship and help.

  • With two goals in Camnir (the Scepter of Oeryn and getting military support), the gang decides to make a day trip to the near by location of Malcolm’s old stash; many wealthy nobles were robbed back in the day, so its possible that Malcolm already has the scepter… and all that gold wouldn’t hurt either. With a cart and some horses, the gang travels to the forest just north of town.

    With little trouble Malcolm finds the entrance to the underground caverns where he lefts all the loot. Deep inside, the gang stumbles upon a loud, angry voice. It asks if they’re Hortho or Joroth. The gang lies and says they they’ve been sent by them to get some things, but the voice tells them to leave. They lie again, saying the two men have been captured by the Dawn. This makes the voice laugh and attack – it’s a dragon!

    After a fierce battle, the gang defeats the beast. All that’s left of Malcolm’s loot is a few hundred gold, but the Scepter of Oeryn is actually there! The gang packs up and heads back to the Gray Flame to rest for the night.

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