Eberron - The Age of Worms

The Story So Far, Part 1

The party at the time (Siegfried, Lookout, Gin, Hohenheim, and Clara) was hired by Lady Elaydren d’Cannith to recover a lost schema from an abandoned House Cannith forge in the depths of Sharn. After delivering the schema and being paid, Clara departed and the remainder of the party was hired again by Elaydren to recover another schema; this time, from a forge in the Mournland. On the way to the Mournland, in the ruins of the Cyran town of Lyrenton, the party ran afoul of the Emerald Claw. Though they put up a good fight, the Emerald Claw had the upper hand. Before they could be killed, however, they all began to hear a ticking sound. One by one, they succumbed to their wounds and fell unconscious. All except Gin, that is. He was the only one still conscious when everything went white.

His vision cleared and he found himself standing not in the ruins of a town, but in a fully populated and thriving frontier town. Unfortunately, he was standing with his bloodied dagger over the unconscious forms of his three companions. He was arrested and the party as a whole was placed in jail. It soon became apparent that they had somehow been transported into the past to Olarune 20, 993 YK, exactly one year before the Day of Mourning. The town’s sheriff believed the party to be Brelish spies with an absolutely attrocious cover story. They were to be tried for espionage. Instead of waiting around to be convicted of a crime they didn’t commit, they instead broke out of jail and fled. They returned shortly in an attempt to put things right, but the Sheriff wouldn’t relent. A fight started when he tried to recapture them, which resulted in the deaths of all of Lyrenton’s law enforcement officers. Hohenheim faked being a villainous wizard and threatened to unleash a magical plague on the townfolk if they did not provide horses and milk for the party. The townsfolk, fearing for their lives, acquiesced.

The party headed for the nearby town of Gathering Stone, in Darguun, to avoid Cyran law enforcement. There, they met a gnome by the name of Midian Mit Davandi, a scholar and adventurer. He offered them a job working for him and said to meet him in a week in Rhukaan Draal if they were interested. In the meantime, they decided to look for work in Gathering Stone. They contracted with House Deneith, working with the two sister Sentinel Marshals Tasra and Lalia d’Deneith to track and capture a Brelish citizen that murdered an ambassador. The chase led them into abandoned mines beneath the town. Unfortunately, Lookout fell to his death as he leapt down a chasm into a river in a final attempt to capture the woman before she escaped. The party did capture the woman, but she briefly escaped, only to be killed by the Sentinel Marshals.

After the job was done, they returned to their inn where Lookout’s body drew the attention of a band of rogue Warforged who claimed to be able to repair him, but would not bring the party along. Hohenheim attempted to persuade the Warforged named Hydra by revealing his Warforged arm. He brought the party to his superior, Indigo, would decided to take Hohenheim to their leader. Unbeknownst to the party, two individual had been searching for them: a House Tharashk bounty hunter named Rohagar and a kobold named Ixen. Both had located the party by this point and began following. The party realized the danger they had placed themselves in and tried to escape, but only provoked the Warforged. Rohagar and Ixen joined in the battle to protect the party, which resulted in the death of Rohagar’s animal companion at the hands of Indigo. The party riled up a tavern full of goblins and set them upon the Warforged, who were all destroyed except for Indigo, who fled.

The following day, Rohagar and Ixen joined the party. They used their connections with House Deneith to get forged Cyran identification papers from a prisoner. In a moment of carelessness, they left Lookout’s body alone, and return to find it had been stolen by a Warforged. Not knowing what else to do, they set out for Rhukaan Draal. A day into their journey, they awoke to find their packs had vanished, and discovered a group of goblin bandits that were using an underground cave system. They killed the goblins and recovered their goods. Having heard tales of a wizard in the caves, they began to explore further, but ultimately turned back after Hohenheim caused two strangers to fall to their deaths.

After a couple days of travel, they made it to Rhukaan Draal. They spent some time in the city attending and, in Hohenheim’s case, accidentally participating in, a gladiatorial match. Requiring more vials of his medicine, Hoheheim sent a package to an individual in Sharn. To do so with the utmost expedience, he required the aid of Pater d’Orien, head of the House Orien enclave in Rhukaan Draal, who possessed a Greater Mark of Passage, which would allow him to teleport to and from Sharn. Hohenheim gave a lavish retelling of their tale and plight in the hopes of convincing the man. Much to everyone’s astonishment, it appeared to work, as Pater teleported away with the package. Shortly thereafter, Hohenheim caused some damage and injury at the local House Deneith enclave.

Midian met with the party and explained that he is testing a number of adventuring parties to see who was most qualified to work with him. They were tasked with recovering the spellbook of a wizard from a set of ruins outside the city. They made their way to the ruins, arriving at night, and discovered there was a ghost prowling around. In the morning, they cautiously made their way into the tower, and then down a hidden pathway beneath. Dodging traps and drinking unknown alchemical substances, the party made their way through the caves. Along the way, they found a child’s bedroom that had been kept unnaturally pristine for the environment it was in. They also found an orc and a goblin that appeared to be prisoners.

The orc explained that he was a druid sent to investigate an abomination here. He was caught by the ghost of the wizard that had lived there. He asked the party to destroy the spellbook if they found it as it contained dark knowledge, but the party refused. Ixen also stole the druid’s amulet. Both the orc and the goblin confirmed that the wizard was using something called the Grieving Tree to sap the life from them. He seemed to be using it to keep his child, who was dying from an unknown disease, alive indefinitely, until he found a cure. Battling past a monstrous plant creature, the party assaulted the wizard, attempting to steal the spellbook, but were rebuffed. Gin was taken during the conflict and used as the goblin and orc had been. The party regrouped and returned the following day to rescue their companion from his torture.

They attempted a second attack, this time better prepared. Rohagar and Hohenheim made their way to the spellbook. Gin provided a distraction, provoking the wizard to keep his attention away from the book. After Gin insulted the wizard’s daughter, the ghost concentrated on stealing Gin’s lifeforce, leaving him catatonic. Siegfried managed to turn the wizard, keeping him at bay while Hohenheim miraculously dug through his memories and found a way to shut the Grieving Tree off. They freed Gin and took the goblin girl with them, destroying the ghost as he reappeared. The druid tried to prevent them from leaving until he had made certain the spellbook was destroyed, but the party tricked their way past him and left for the city again.

At Rhukaan Draal, they gave the girl to Praadu, a cleric of the Dark Six that resided in the royal tower. They deposited the book with Midian, though Hohenheim soon realized he had neglected to look through the spellbook. So he attempted to steal it. He didn’t make it far into his plot before he was discovered and hauled off to the royal dungeons. Siegfried tried to plead his case with Lhesh Haruuc himself, but to no avail. The party tried to think of a way to revive Gin and was told that if anyone would know how to reverse the effects of the Grieving Tree, it would be the Kech Volaar, the keepers of knowledge and tradition among the goblin tribes. They readied themselves to leave, first picking up Hohenheim’s package at House Orien, when they discovered Hohenheim had broken out of the royal jail and was being pursued. He fled the city a fugitive and the others departed by a different gate.

Hohenheim traveled through the night, dodging patrols and following the river toward the mountains. The rest of the party headed toward Volaar Draal. On Hohenheim’s journey, he rescued a goblin named Kaziim from the clutches of the Emerald Claw. Owing Hohenheim a blood dept, Kaziim followed Hohenheim, guiding him to Volaar Draal. While disguised as Hung the Barbarian, he met up with the party and together they were admitted into the city and were given an audience with Tuura Dhakaan, Mother of the Dirge, and leader of the Kech Volaar. They were escorted by a dirge singer named Ekhaas. Unfortunately, Hohenheim’s disguise faltered while they were in Tuura’s presence and his act of deception led Ekhaas to label him gath’atcha, meaning “one without honor”. Despite Hohenheim, the party and Tuura came to an agreement. There was one item they believed would be able to help Gin: an artifact known as the Ashen Crown. If the party helped recover the four pieces of it, Tuura would do what she could to use the Crown to restore Gin.

The Story So Far, Part 2
The Forge of Fury

The one piece of the Ashen Crown in their possession acted as a map to the other pieces. The four remaining parts were located in Sharn, Graywall, the Icewood, and Taer Valaestas. Leaving Gin in the care of the Kech Volaar, they started their journey to Sharn with Ekhaas representing the Kech Volaar and Kaziim fulfilling his blood dept. They found their passage through the Seawall Mountains blocked by a cave-in. They attempted to explore the abandoned mines in the passageway and were attacked by hobgoblins that had taken up residence in the mines. They rescued two captive goblin children, but one fell to his death off a rickety rope bridge while he fled.

Returning the children to the city, they met with Dekor d’Kundarak, a representative of his House and the Deep Mine project. He told them that the cave-in was caused by the hobgoblins in the old mines that attacked workers at the Deep Mine on the other side of the mountain tunnel. They stole their blast disks, one of which must have gone off in the conflict, causing the cave in and trapping some of their men. Only three are on this side of the collapse. He tells the party that he’ll not only pay them if they help recover the disks, but he’s owed a favor with someone at House Jorasco and can get them to use an Altar of Resurrection on Gin. The party agrees to find the disks, make their way through the abandoned mines, and use the old mine shaft on the other side of the collapse to deliver the disks. He sends one of his dwarves along with the party at their request.

Once more, they return to the mines and head in. They locate a secret passageway and slip inside, killing some sleeping hobgoblins along the way. Eventually, they stumble across the living quarters of some of the hobgoblins. Hohenheim spots an oddly large slug-like creature that’s attaching itself to one of the hobgoblins. He lights this hobgoblin on fire and chaos ensues. The rest of the party bursts in, killing the warriors. It became apparent that the hobgoblin Hohenheim had lit on fire was a pregnant woman. So was the one he shot with a crossbow. They defeated the Great Ulfe, the chieftain, and Hohenheim disguised himself as the chieftain to trick the remaining hobgoblins into following his commands. This, of course, led to their near-immediate deaths as they were killed by large, flying insects soon after.

Ekhaas identified some of the hobgoblin marks as that of the Kech Sharaat, a militant tribe of hobgoblins in Darguun. Some papers in the Great Ulfe’s possession confirmed this, but also seemed to indicate that the hobgoblins had been here for some time and had slowly slipped into insanity. The party descended further into the mines, passing through a sealed door warning others not to let out what lay behind the doors. Past the doors, they found the remains of hobgoblins from the Daelkyr Wars thousands of years ago and records indicating that, like the newer hobgoblins above, had slowly gone mad. After fighting off a number of aberrations in the caves, their dwarf companion fled back the way they had come, sealing the door behind him out of cowardice.

The party, with no recourse back, continued on. While exploring down a large hole, they came across a tentacled creature disguised as a stalagmite. It sapped Ixen’s strength, sending him into the underground river, but he was rescued before he could drown. Siegfried, meanwhile, had darted past the creature and found a key on the skeleton of a long-dead dwarf. After a long rest, the party made their way to a sealed door, indicating the entrance to the Glitterhame, the mines proper. The recently discovered key unlocked this door and they continued on, though they triggered an alarm that alerted the duergar now living in the mines to their presence. After a brief fight, the two groups made a truce. The party would be allowed to pass through if they turned over a sword they had recovered in the caves that belonged to the original dwarven owner of the mines.

After they had done so, the duergar led them to the exit to an underground lake. There, they fought and killed a young black dragon that had abnormal growths. They also found a book buried beneath the dragon’s hoard that seemed to contain strange, prophetic passages and information about what had been happening in the mines. The dragon also had the blast disks in its hoard. Further in, they located the mine shaft that would take them to the surface. They also found the remains of a much larger black dragon that had been buried beneath a collapsed ceiling. Hohenheim, wanting to inspect the corpse, set off a blast disk at this location. The resulting explosion shook the caves, dislodging more rubble and causing its own cave in.

After digging their way back into the chamber where the dragon’s corpse had been, the found that the blast disk had damaged something beneath the dragon’s corpse: a large magical seal. The party began having strange visual and auditory hallucinations that briefly raised suspicions amidst the party. An eerie glow grew from the crack in the seal, slowly assaulting the senses and thoughts of the party until they fled a safe distance away, back to the duergar. They sheltered the party until Dekor came down himself to make up for his companion’s cowardice. Along with Dekor, they found an alternate entrance to the mine shaft and left the mines behind. Back on the surface, they gave all but one of the blast disks to the Deep Mine workers and warned the Zilargo official of the danger down below. Dekor thanked them again and gave them a letter for Jode d’Jorasco, his contact at the Sharn Jorasco enclave. The party grabbed a ride on the lightning rail and headed for Korranberg.

See The Glitterhame Documents for information on the snippets of text uncovered in the mines.

The Story So Far, Part 3
Lightning Rail Attack and Aftermath

The party had little time to relax on the lightning rail as it was attacked in the night by an Emerald Claw cell. They took crew and passengers hostage while preparing the theft of precious cargo being transported from the Deep Mine. With the aid of Josephine, a seamstress-turned-Sovereign-Sword, the party fought against the Emerald Claw. At one point, Hohenheim attempted to disguise himself as one of the Emerald Claw, but was quickly found out and thrown from the train. In true wild west fashion, he dusted himself off, conjured up a horse, and proceeded to chase down the train all while blasting away with a wand of magic missile to the sounds of the William Tell Overture. Hohenheim found himself unable to stop the forward progress of the rapidly accelerating lightning rail and disconnected the front engine from the rest of the train while he searched the attached crew cart for Gin’s unconscious body. The two of them narrowly avoided death as the engine rounded a bend too quickly, derailed, and rolled over the cliff.

While he dealt with that, Siegfried and Josephine climbed to the train top and headed to the rear of the lightning rail where they confronted the captain in charge, his warforged artificer companion, two air skiffs, and the rest of the Emerald Claw detail. The two were hopelessly outnumbered, but refused to give up. Siegfried attempted to leap off the train and grab ahold of a rope connected to one of the skiffs, but missed his mark. No one expected him to land on Hohenheim’s abandoned horse. Josephine, too, leapt onto the horse, but the captain ordered his crossbowmen to take down the horse, preventing the party members from chasing them down. The Emerald Claw departed, having obtained the cargo they came for.

Meanwhile, Kaziim had been instructed to locate another dragonmarked House Orien member on the train. Once located, the Orien member ran to the rear engine and activated it, forcibly decelerating the lightning rail before it could follow the front engine cart to the bottom of a canyon. The party regrouped and discovered that Hohenheim and Gin were missing. Kaziim last saw Hohenheim on the front engine cart and, as the party could find neither Hohenheim nor Gin, believed they had gone over the cliff. House Orien and Zilargo officials arrived to clear the wreckage and take everyone back to Zolanberg, where the party spent the night. The following day, they continued on to Korranberg on a new lightning rail.

While in Korranberg, the party searched for a way into Sharn. Most of the party required travel papers to cross the border into Breland. Leads at House Tharashk and House Sivis fell through and the party decided to tackle the Library of Korranberg and the Temple of Aureon separately. At the library, Ekhaas, Kaziim, Ixen, and Rohagar tried to find a job that would give them entrance into Breland. They petitioned to join their quest for the Ashen Crown with the Library of Korranberg’s interest in the study of the Dhakaani Empire. A professor contacted the department head via a Sivis Speaking Stone and connected the party members with him. Much to their chagrin, they discovered the department head was Midian Mit Davandi. Ekhaas, being one that Midian hadn’t met before, spoke for the group and made their case. She and Midian came into contention, however, when it was indicated that the Library of Korranberg had a deal with the Darguun government to turn over any Dhakaani artifacts to Lhesh Haruuc. Ekhaas refused this deal, as the Kech Volaar had tasked her with retreiving the Ashen Crown for them.

Siegfried and Josephine had moderately better luck, but only in that their meditations at the temple led them to their only remaining option: speaking with a contact Josephine had at the Zilargo/Breland border. As the party prepared to leave, they stumbled across a man named Jack who claimed to be from the House Orien rescue party that was sent to the train wreckage. He was carting around Gin, who was still alive but unconscious. Jack, feeling somewhat responsible for Gin’s well-being, decided to follow the party as they headed to Sharn. They purchased horses and supplies and set out across Zilargo to the western border.

The Story So Far, Part 4
Encounter at Blackwall Keep

After many days of travel, the party arrived at Blackwall Keep… only to find it under siege by a contingent of lizardfolk. They fought off some of the lizardfolk while an apparition looking like Hohenheim distracted and tricked others. In short order, they routed the lizardfolk and drove them back into the jungle. At the keep, they were welcomed and thanked for their timely arrival. They discovered that the lizardfolk had attacked the keep for the first time in months just a couple weeks ago. One of their men left on an unauthorized mission to the lizardfolk lair to bargain for peace, but returned mad and unstable, attacking his compatriots. Shortly after he had returned, the lizardfolk mounted another attack, this time during the night. They snuck a couple into the keep, killed some of the commanding officers, and captured a handful of others (including Marzena). The ensuing attack injured and killed a number of others stationed at the keep, leaving the keep in disarray. A messenger was sent to call for reinforcements from Sharn, but wasn’t expected back for days.

During the party’s battle with the lizardfolk, they managed to capture one alive. He told them how the humans were responsible for the black worms that had infested their last generation of eggs. The great lizard Ilthane is the one that informed them of the humans’ guilt. The soldiers had no idea what he was talking about. The party, having recently come from the Glitterhame, was quick to recognize the similarities between these black worms and the slug-like creatures they found in the abandoned mines. They thought it best to speak with the unhinged soldier that had returned to the keep, who was now being held in a cell in the keep’s basement.

Down at the cell, they found the soldier in a nearly-catatonic state. He looked pale and sickly, sitting on the ground, rocking back and forth unresponsively. When they attempted to question him, he gave no response, save for vomitting on the floor and keeling over dead. In his vomit, the party and the soldiers found some black worms, the sight of which sent the lizardfolk prisoner into a panic. He was quickly knocked unconscious and left in another cell. Uncertain what to do, the dead soldier was left in the basement to be dealt with shortly. Siegfried spent time organizing the soldiers and, effectively, taking command. Once they had been given their duties, the party readied for a journey into the jungle to rescue Marzena and the rest from the lizardfolk.

Before they could depart, however, Siegfried heard the captive lizardfolk screaming from his cell. Going down the investigate, he came face to face with the newly reanimated corpse of the dead soldier, now infested with black worms that it vomited all over Siegfried. Two managed to wriggle their way under his armor and chewed their way beneath his skin. Luckily, Ixen managed to dig one out with his dagger. The other, unfortunately, began working its way up Siegfried’s spine, toward his skull. Jack produced a bottle of liquid he claimed was his wife Sal’s homemade panacea that should help. Siegfried guzzled it down and immediately stopped feeling the symptoms. In the meantime, the rest of the party prevented the undead creature from leaving the stairwell, destroying it in the process. What they didn’t realize was that the creature had already infected the captive lizardfolk, who proceeded to infect two additional soldiers. The party saved one of the soldiers, but Ixen was forced to kill the other. The lizardfolk, now undead itself, was set ablaze to destroy its body and prevent any further infections.

As the party cleaned up the mess and prepared to depart the keep, Jack broached the topic of the party’s deceased friend, Hohenheim. A heated argument between Jack and Siegfried ensued in which Jack criticized Siegfried for not being a good friend to Hohenheim. His insistance and stubbornness on the subject was rather odd. The conversation would have continued had Josephine not stepped in and sternly reminded the two that there were a number of more pressing concerns at the moment, including an infection of undeath, an unconscious party member to resurrect, and kidnapped soldiers to rescue. Temporarily putting their differences aside, Siegfried and Jack parted. The party gave Gin to the keep’s medic to look after while they were gone and trekked off into the jungle as Rohagar followed the lizardfolk’s tracks.

The Story So Far, Part 5
Into the Mistmarsh

It took just over a day to track them back to their lair, which was situated inside and beneath the exposed roots of a large grove of mangaroo trees. The party arrived, keeping their distance at first, and splitting into two scouting parties. Kaziim and Fenn circled the lair to the left while Rohagar, Ixen, and Jack circled to the right. Siegfried, Josephine, and Ekhaas remained behind. The lizardfolk on patrol around the lair managed to spot Rohagar and Jack. They blew a horn to announce this to the tribe. Rohagar attempted to yield, but was merely stabbed and captured in a net for her troubles. Jack attempted to magically disguise himself as a lizardfolk, claiming to be the one captured back at the keep. He tried to persuade the lieutenant that Rohagar was helpful, but only succeeded in angering the lieutenant. His disguise failed to fool the lizardfolk when he was struck, further enraging the lieutenant. Jack fled back into the trees as Rohagar was bound by rope, dragged into the lair, relieved of her possessions, and dumped into a shallow pit. Also in the pit were four other prisoners: Marzena, the keep’s battle mage and Josephine’s contact, two human officers, and the keep’s House Sivis gnome. Marzena’s jaw and fingers had been broken to prevent her from casting spells while the two officers looked like they had been tortured.

When the remainder of the party regrouped, they ambushed three lizardfolk that had entered the jungle to search for Jack and any of his comrades. Two of the lizardfolk were killed while Ekhaas charmed the remaining one into being helpful. Believing that the lizardfolk would not cooperate, the party devised a plan to send the charmed reptile back into the lair and asked him to inform the others of the party’s location and their “intention to be diplomatic”. The charmed creature departed for the lair while the rest of the party snuck around to the other side of the grove. They expected the lizardfolk to send out extra search parties that would leave their lair somewhat undefended, allowing them to infiltrate it easier and rescue Rohagar. As it turned out, the charmed lizardfolk exited the lair with a single, elderly lizardfolk accompanying him.

Returning to their former location, they met with the lizardfolk who they learned was the tribe’s head shaman, Hishka. He did not approve of the lieutenant or the lizard king’s war-mongering ways. His only concern was the safety of the tribe as a whole and the eggs. Primarily, he was concerned with the infection of worms that the human from the keep brought with him when he visited the lair a few days prior. This caught the group off-guard as they had believed the soldier had become infected at the lair. Hishka explained that it was a black dragon named Ilthane who had told the tribe the humans were responsible for the infestation of worms in the last generation of lizardfolk eggs. There was some confusion and some suspicion thrown around, but with little time to spare, they struck a deal: the shaman would send lizardfolk out on a wild goose chase in the jungle, making it easier to rescue Rohagar, and in return, the party would kill the lizard king and his lieutenant. This would put Hishka in charge of the tribe.

Soon after he left and the party was ready, a large number of lizardfolk exited the lair and spread out into the trees away from the group. They took the opportunity to sneak Kaziim, Fenn, and Ixen into the roots to scout ahead. The three encounters little resistance at first, but once they pushed further in, they found a sizable number of lizardfolk still inside and were spotted. They fought a few before Ixen breathed fire at them and ran away. Outside, having heard nothing from the scouts, the others decided to make their way in. They took out the guards outside, but not before one managed to sound his horn. Knowing their was little time to spare, they all pushed into the lair. Although many of the lizardfolk were hostile, some confusion arose when those that had witnessed Ixen breathe fire seemed to revere him as a dragon. As a whole, the lizardfolk decided to bring the intruders to the lieutenant.

Meanwhile, Hishka returned to the lair and dropped a dagger into the prisoners’ pit for Rohagar. The more nimble gnome managed to cut himself free and then freed the others. Rohagar climbed out of the pit and considered her situation. There were two guards outside the room who she tricked into opening the door. With little effort, she killed the first one. The second quickly fled. Despite the gnome’s protests, Rohagar left the prisoners in the room while she searched the tunnels. It wasn’t long before she came face-to-face with the lieutenant. Enraged at her escape, he attacked, and the two fought until Rohagar realized she was losing. She made a tactical retreat; the lieutenant pursuing quickly behind. Not knowing what had transpired with the rest of the group, her flight ran Rohagar straight into the mass of lizardfolk escorting the remainder of the party. One of the lizardfolk attacked her, the lieutenant arrived, and all hell broke loose.

A battle began with most of the party surrounded. Siegfried and Rohagar concentrated on the lieutenant while the others defended against the horde. Ekhaas succumbed to a number of wounds, but survived. Once the lieutenant was dead and a number of the lizardfolk were killed, the others scattered into the tunnels to inform Shukak, the king. This gave the party time to heal and return to the prisoners… who had all been killed except Marzena, who was now missing. They searched on, eventually locating the lizard king’s chambers. He had taken Marzena and was using her as a bargaining chip. At her throat, he held a sharp trident, threatening to skewer her if the party advanced any further. Siegfried offered a trade: a life for a life. If the lizard king handed Marzena over, he could live. After a moment of thought, he agreed, shoving Marzena toward the group. Ekhaas worked on healing her as the two began to return to the keep, escorted by Fenn.

Outside, there was some commotion. Josephine and Ixen went to investigate and saw some of the lizardfolk running in fear from perceived monsters in the egg chamber. One of them pleaded with Ixen, still believing him to be a dragon, to save the eggs. He and Josephine swam through an underwater tunnel to the egg chamber where they discovered eight lizardfolk with various grotesque growths blocking their way. The lizardfolk moved with halting motions and their eyes curcled back up into their heads. By the looks of it, they had little control over their own bodies. They did not initially attack, only doing so when Ixen attempted to breach their line. Some possessed a whip-like tentacle that protruded from an arm, other grew crystalline shard from large beetles that had dug their way into the skin, while another had a third eye on a stalk that produced an electric charge. There was one lizardfolk that did nothing nor showed any obvious aberrant growth. Ixen and Josephine began their struggle.

Back with the lizard king, Siegfried thought about the promises he’d made. While he had told Shukak that his life would be spared if he handed over Marzena, he had already promised Hishka that he would get rid of the lieutenant and the king. They were the instigators of the attacks on the keep, after all. So he made up his mind to finish the job. Sensing the imminent betrayal, Shukak took the initiative and threw the trident at Sigfried, striking true. The weapon then pulled itself from Sigfried and returned to the king’s hand. Siegfried, Rohagar, and Kaziim charged in. Hishka arrived in time and aided the party by restraining the king with what magic he could conjure. The fight was bloody, but eventually they overcame their enemy, striking down Shukak. His corpse showed signs of the worm infestation. During the confrontation, the king had let slip that he was working alongside Ilthane and that they “would have an army”. What exactly he meant by that or why he was infested with the worms, the party did not know. The shaman thanked them and took Rohagar to get her items from the lieutenant’s chambers while Kaziim and Siegfried went to help Ixen and Josephine.

Meanwhile, Jack, disguised again as a lizardfolk, had also been exploring the lair in search of Rohagar’s belongings. He found the blast disk discarded in a garbage heap. When he sent a furtive filcher to investigate, it caught the attention of the otyugh nestled in the garbage. The attack destroyed the filcher and shocked the otyugh into rampaging about the room full of garbage. Jack struck it with a crossbow bolt and then lit the creature on fire, dodging past it while it flailed about in agony. He grabbed the blast disk and exited on the other side of the garbage room into a very large room with numerous trees. Jack noticed the considerable amound of bird dropping on the floor and moved in with caution. Having deduced the room’s inhabitants to be harpies, he plugged his ears and pressed forward. The harpies, however, saw their meal approaching and swooped down to grab him. Though he fought, they managed to snatch him in their talons and lift him up to their nest to feast on him. At this point, Jack doused himself and the harpies and the nest with oil and lit them all on fire. He leapt out of the nest, using feather fall to slow his descent. With haste, he found his way out of the trees and continued on.

Covered in mud and bird feces, Jack stumbled into the next room, which happened to be the lieutenant’s chambers. Rohagar was appropriately startled by this. Jack reverted from his lizardfolk features, but neglected to keep up his full disguise. That is, his voice gave him away and revealed to Rohagar that Jack was, in fact, Hohenheim the entire time. After reclaiming her gear and some of the lieutenant’s items, Rohagar was given an amulet by Hishka that he said would “make her closer to nature”. She then proceeded to drag Hohenheim to the egg chamber where the others had dispatched all but one of the guards. The last guard ran, dashing through the hundreds of eggs floating in the shallow water. He made his way to the center where a larger, black leather egg resided. He lifted it into the air with an otherwordly screech. Unsure of what was coming, but certain it couldn’t be good, Rohagar, Ixen, Josephine, and Kaziim charged the lizardfolk. Siegfried, slower, got as close as he could. Hohenheim remained outside the water.

Unfortunately, those that had made their way to the lizardfolk proved unable to stop him in time. He flung the egg down at his feet. It cracked and exploded as hundreds or thousands of worms scattered through the air and water, working their way into eggs and flesh alike. Rohagar managed to kill the lizardfolk swiftly. Other lizardfolk had arrived and began removing what eggs they could from the chamber before the worms could infect them. Josephine electrified patches of water, destroying worms and infected eggs. Kaziim, though, had been infected. Multiple worms were chewing their way beneath his skin and he soon felt them wriggling inside his skull, eating away at his brain. Hohenheim produced a potion to help him in time, but not before he’d been hurt quite a bit. When Josephine had exhausted all her magic, she moved to help Kaziim.

The infected eggs that remained were hatching. The small, shriveled forms of undead baby lizardfolk crawled forth from their eggs, dripping new worms into the water. They began a slow, steady progression toward the shore. Siegfried charged back into the water and made his way to the center of the chamber. He called upon Dol Arrah to give him the strength he needed to cleanse the room and rid the lizardfolk of the undead creatures now plaguing them. There came a flash that filled the room as surely as if the enclosed space was explosed fully to daylight. Every last undead creature in the room crumbled to dust. Exhausted, he returned to the shore. The party retrieved a chest that Ilthane had left and Hohenheim captured a worm from the water to study. In doing so, he managed to infect himself, but this was soon remedied.

Once more, Hishka thanked them. He did not know why the worms were there and he found it difficult to believe that Ilthane was responsible, despite the evidence. Ilthane had left the leather egg as a sign of trust, claiming it was his mate’s own egg. He had also gifted the eight guards with abilities to better protect the eggs. Hishka was worried, but assured the party that he would lead the lizardfolk to a new home elsewhere in the Mistmarsh and destroy the worms here so that they would not be trouble again. Afterwards, the group returned to the keep where they found Marzena fully healed of her injuries. She offered to return with the party to Sharn to file the papers necessary to grant them special dispensation. She wrote up temporary papers for them and began their journey to Sharn soon after.

The Adventure Continues
Good Times with Old Friends

Zol, Eyre 17, 993 YK

As they journeyed through the King’s Forest, Rohagar took the time to search out a new animal companion. She explored the forest until she saw a bluish-white creature dart between the trees. Approaching it, she discovered tracks, but was unable to locate the creature. As she followed the trail it left, it always seemed to be just out of sight. Rohagar managed to catch only glimpses between the trees. The tracks ended at the mouth of a cave from which she could hear whimpering. Inside was an injured wolf that she made a splint for and carried back to camp where it could be healed. When she left the cave, she noticed that the tracks she had followed there had vanished.

Back at the camp, Ixen attempted to bind a vestige, but something interrupted the binding. The image of a humanoid figure clad in a white cloak appeared before him, but flickered out as his vestige’s normal manifestation began. Once Rohagar returned, Siegfried, Hohenheim, and Ixen began discussing their current situation. Much of what they said made Marzena question whether or not helping them was the right thing to do. In particular, they let slip that they may be from the future. Finding out that the people who saved her may believe such a ludicrous idea was even more disconcerting, but she resolved to honor her deal.

The party arrived at Sharn’s eastern entrance of Wroann’s Gate around noon. They first found a standard Ghallanda inn and procured rooms for the night. After that, they wasted no time in locating the House Jorasco enclave in Dragon Towers and delivering the note from the dwarf Dekor to Jode d’Jorasco. The halfling was happy to help and chatted with the party before setting Gin up on the Altar of Resurrection. He spent some minutes in concentration controlling the magical device. Nearing the end, a few of the party members began to notice some light whisps of smoke that seemed to be coming off of Gin. Rohagar even thought she saw him catch on fire before she blinked and the image vanished. Moments later, the device did burst into flames. Gin was pulled off the altar and magewrights came in to take a look at it once Jode had powered it down. Smoke clouded the air and the faint smell of sulfur left its mark.

Fortunately, the altar had worked its magic before they had been forced to remove Gin. Slowly, but surely, he woke up. Introductions were made and stories retold for his benefit. They decided to get some food before starting to work on finding the piece of the Ashen Crown. Hohenheim, though, had another idea. He made his way to the Sivis station, accompanied by one of Ixen’s summoned birds. There, Hohenheim attempted to contact the Arcane Congress in Aundair, with the intention of speaking to his younger self. The gnome attendant informed him that he would require the appropriate forms to contact a foreign government facility during the war. Returning to the group, he attempted to convince Marzena to give him permission. She promised to consider it and would let him make his argument over dinner.

The group dined at one of Sharn’s many restaurants, eating their fill of steak and relaxing for the first time in quite a while. Gin heard the rest of their exploits and Marzena decided to help Hohenheim. They returned to the Sivis station but were again told that, even with Marzena’s permission, they would require the forms that could only be acquired through the King’s Citadel. Siegfried remembered that Gin worked there and brought this up, but Gin refused to aid Hohenheim in his scheme, assuming it would cause nothing but trouble. Hohenheim also checked one of his dead drop locations and discovered a note for him from Dr. Jones, giving a time and place to meet the following day. Ready to continue their quest for the Ashen Crown pieces, the party went to sleep, awaiting the next day’s adventures.

Raising the Stakes

Wir, Eyre 18, 993 YK

Hohenheim vanished into the city to meet with Dr. Jones while Kaziim and Fenn set out to follow him. The remainder of the party searched the city for any clue that might lead them to a piece of the Ashen Crown.

Gin, Ixen, Josephine, and Ekhaas all found their way to a surprisingly intelligent and civilized ogre named Karg at Morgrave University. They conversed with him for a little bit and asked if he knew anything about where the artifact may be located. He searched through some of his texts, finally locating the information they sought in A History of Durasharn by Tasker d’Sivis. The book indicated that archaeologists had discovered it within the High Citadel, an old Dhakaani royal palace that had been sealed off in the Depths along with most of Duur’sharaat by Galifar I when Sharn was built on top. Initially, he was reluctant to give this information to the party, as he knew the citadel was in Daask territory and he owed them a considerable dept. Should the party fall on Daask’s bad side and Karg’s part in their quest be discovered, Daask may not be forgiving. They promised to not divulge his complicity to Daask and Karg then gave them the information.

Meanwhile, Rohagar searched for leads with her House. The Tharashk enclave hadn’t heard any rumors about the Ashen Crown, but given its description, they directed her to the Gatehouse in Carosten Park, where a small sect of Gatekeepers were said to live. Before she departed, Rohagar received a message from one of her House Phiarlan contacts: an old escaped bounty of hers, a Shifter named Xanth, that was recently spotted in the Depths. Tucking that information away, she made her way to the Gatehouse. There, she met an orc druid that she recognized as Orchok, the druid the party had freed in Darguun and later tricked. He didn’t appear to recognize her at first, answering what questions he could. Orchok knew a bit about the Ashen Crown.

He explained that Jazaal Dhakaan had built the artifact as a repository of knowledge for both the Dhakaani Empire and the Gatekeeper druids near the end of the Daelkyr Wars. The Gatekeepers wanted a way to preserve their traditions for future generations in a better way than their oral stories. Jazaal’s artifact let both allied groups store large amounts of knowledge about the Daelkyr and their invasion, but the Ashen Crown was lost when Jazaal died. His great artifacts were taken by others who were far less careful than he had been and their exact whereabouts were lost to time. Orchok hadn’t heard anything else about it, but suggested that Rohagar find an ogre name Karg at Morgrave University. She thanked him and began to depart when he politely asked that she please return his amulet if she ever sees it again, indicating he knew exactly with whom he had been speaking. Rohagar then met up with the others who had just spoken with Karg and everyone exchanged information. They all returned to the inn and slept.

Zor, Eyre 19, 993 YK

With no sign of Hohenheim, Kaziim, or Fenn in the morning, they readied themselves for a journey down to Khyber’s Gate to look for information. Gin advised them that it would be best to look capable and strong, but not to go overboard, as many of the inhabitants below would take that as a challenge. He also suggested that they refrain from taking any valuables with them that they weren’t okay with being stolen. After storing some of their goods with Rohagar’s House, they followed Gin beneath the city and down to Khyber’s Gate.

The city beneath the city filled a massive underground cavern. The buildings were built into the cavern walls, with networks of side tunnels extending outward with other shops and homes further into the walls. The city was tiered, with the top level being the largest in diameter, progressing down with each tier, until the bottom level consisted of buildings on the cavern floor, connected by streets and a system of catwalks spreading from roof to roof. The air was laden with dust and smoke. Most of the inhabitants were what the topside city would call “monstrous”. There were goblinoids, trolls, ogres, shifters, changelings, kobolds, and plenty of others down in Khyber’s Gate. Humans, Dwarves, and other standard humanoid races were the minority.

Uncertain where to begin, the party found the first tavern they could and tried to eavesdrop on conversations, listening for anything that might be of interest. Gin and Siegfried coaxed two shifters into telling them about some individuals that had gone missing recently. They were all members that had recently joined Daask. Rumor had it that one of Daask’s rival organizations was doing it to dissuade new members from joining. The missing members had been recruited at a Daask-owned tavern known as Shamukaar. With this newfound information, the party figured that Shamukaar would be the best place to learn more about Daask or find a way through their territory.

Shamukaar was a much nicer establishment than they expected to find. It was well-lit, clean, large, and even peaceful. At the entrance was a sign written in multiple languages indicating that violence and theft within the tavern would not be tolerated by Daask. The minotaur wielding a mighty warhammer standing inside was a good deterrent. They asked the friendly changeling bartender if he knew of anyone that might be able to lead them into the Depths. He remembered one individual that usually hung out with the “winners”. When asked what he meant, the bartender was surprised to find that the party hadn’t come to place a bet on the game. Every few nights, the tavern holds a game of Six Stones that anyone can place bets on. Hoping to meet the guide, the party went to speak with the bookie.

The bookie explained the nature of the game to them: seven participants enter the arena. They are not allowed to have any weapons or equipment aside from standard clothing. No magic may be used during the competition or in preparation beforehand. In this arena is placed a cockatrice that is set loose to attack the participants. No one is allowed to harm the cockatrice or to physically harm each other. Tripping and grappling is allowed. From time to time, other objects may be placed in the arena to add complications or provide assistance. The game continues until the cockatrice has turned six of the seven participants to stone. The last man standing is the winner. Ixen immediately placed two platinum pieces on an elven woman with 10:1 odds.

The party considered trying their hand at the game to get to meet the guide, but didn’t know what happened to the losers. The bookie explained that participants can purchase an oil of Stone to Flesh that will be used to revive them afterward or they can agree upon a “second” as collateral. A second individual agrees to be collateral. Should the participant fail, he will be revived after the game, but the second will be turned to stone in his place. In either event, anyone who remains stone after the game becomes property of Daask. After purchasing an oil of Stone to Flesh from the bookie at a “First Timer’s price” of only 200gp, Siegfried entered the competition.

The Arena
Or, We Will Rock You

Zor, Eyre 19, 993 YK

While the majority of the party was exploring Khyber’s Gate, Hohenheim was meeting with his colleague, Dr. Jones. After speaking at length regarding various topics, the two parted ways. Hohenheim then decided to try to make some quick money at a casino in the Dragoneyes district known as Chance. He prepared an infusion in the bathroom to help him cheat, downed a considerable amount of martini, and played a few games of Shifting Sands. At a particularly inopportune moment, his stomach gave way and Hohenheim vomited all over the gaming table. He attempted to flee from the casino without paying his debts and was dragged into a back room where he was beaten until he met with the casino’s owner, also known as Chance. Hohenheim was beaten unconscious, stripped of all his belongings, and then sold to Daask to pay a dept that the Tyrants owed.

And so it was that Hohenheim found himself the seventh participant in the Six Stones game being held by Daask in Khyber’s Gate, fighting for his freedom from servitude. Siegfried, not having seen Hohenheim recently, was surprised to find him in the arena. The two participants fought hard and cleverly against the other participants and the ever-changing battlefield conditions. In the end, though, Siegfried was turned to stone and Hohenheim managed to come out on top. His victory set him free and allowed him entrance into the Winner’s Circle, an exclusive meeting room for former Six Stones champions, community VIPs, and Daask members. Once Siegfried was returned to flesh, the party explained the situation to Hohenheim.

Once in the Winner’s Circle, Hohenheim met the shifter explorer named Shan, who often guides individuals down into The Depths. After some haggling, they agreed on a price: 60gp up front, 5gp per day, and 5% of any findings. He asked Daask to write up a contract and told Hohenheim to meet him back at Shamukaar the following day to sign it. He did indicate that if it wasn’t signed the next day, he considered himself free to take any other contracts that may come up. The party then returned to the surface.

Up In Flames
Death of a Salesman

Zor, Eyre 19, 993 YK

Josephine, Siegfried, and Gin headed to Chance to see if they could find out where Hohenheim’s items were taken and if they could get them back. They spoke with a night manager who, while clearly lying, indicated that Hohenheim had been arrested by the city watch and his items confiscated by them. He suggested any further inquiries be directed to the district’s watch captain: Jeremiah Vick. As a final effort, they insinuated that they would be willing to make a bet to have his items returned and they asked the night manager to pass their request along to Chance.

Hohenheim, Ixen, and Rohagar first made their way to the House Cannith enclave in the Dragon Towers district. There, Hohenheim attempted to get another set of House identification papers, but was caught in a set of lies and turned away by the orders of Baron Merrix d’Cannith. Unable to get his House papers, and thus unable to requisition items from the House, Hohenheim headed to a local magic shop and discovered that the items he wished to purchase were illegal in Sharn. Finding himself out of options, he returned to the Dragoneyes district to search out a black market dealer. There, he and Rohagar ran into Siegfried, Josephine, and Gin. Ixen had gone off on his own to locate an elven fletcher. After quite some time, he managed to find a shop that was closed for the night. Ixen then returned to the inn.

Hohenheim and the others found a black market dealer, but he was unable to provide Hohenheim with the magic items he needed in as short of a timeframe as he wanted. Rohagar prevented Hohenheim from purchasing the illegal drug Dreamlily, but on their way back to the inn, Hohenheim ditched the party and returned to the dealer from whom he purchased two vials of Dreamlily.

Far, Eyre 20, 993 YK

The rest of the party awoke to find that Hohenheim hadn’t returned. They were fairly unconcerned about his anticts, but Ekhaas was worried about Kaziim’s continued absence. Splitting up, they tried a couple different avenues of locating him. Josephine, Ekhaas, and Gin went to check with the city watch and filed a missing persons report with a rather disorganized and bored officer. He had little information for them, but said that if they wanted, they could check with Captain Jeremiah Vick for more information. He could be found patrolling in Dragoneyes. Rohagar, Ixen, and Siegfried went to House Tharashk and hired a tracker/Inquisitive to search the city for any sign of Kaziim and Fenn.

During the night, Hohenheim also asked around and found a member of the Tyrants that seemed to be able to locate his lost goods. While the others were out, Hohenheim met with the individual at the inn. The fence found the majority of his items and told Hohenheim to have payment ready in three hours and they’d meet at the inn. During his wait, the others returned. Together, they waited the remainder of the time. Most sat at a bar across the street, drinking, and waiting for what would likely be an entertaining show. Ixen and Josephine stayed near Hohenheim.

At the agreed-upon time, the fence returned with three bodyguards and four city watch officers. Hohenheim tried to charm the fence, but the man was prepared and did not succumb to the spell. He called the city watch over, mentioning that coercive spells are illegal. The officers asked to see Hohenheim’s identification, which he was unable to produce. As they were about to arrest him, Hohenheim set the fence ablaze, burning him to death. The four watch officers tackled Hohenheim, beat him unconscious, handcuffed him, and dragged him off, leaving the rest of the party in the street, stunned at the events they had just witnessed.

Out With a Bang

Zor, Eyre 19, 993 YK

Hohenheim, still unconscious, was taken into custody and the remainder of the group followed the officers to the city watch headquarters. On the way, Siegfried discovered a note that had been slipped into his pocket. The note was from Chance and read: “Find my missing man, Ril, and return him to me. You have one week.” It seemed that their plea to Chance hadn’t fallen on deaf ears after all. When they arrived at the watch tower, they spoke with captain Vick and convinced him to let them speak to Hohenheim in his cell. Hohenheim told them to speak with Dr. Jones at House Cannith in the hopes that he could do something to get Hohenheim out of jail.

The party left Hohenheim, but before leaving, decided to speak with Vick about his “dealings” with Chance and the Tyrants. After some urging, he admitted that the watch sometimes looks the other way when the Tyrants ask them to. They are specifically turning a blind eye to the abduction of a changeling known as Ril because the Tyrants wish to deal with it themselves. Also while in the tower, Rohagar was approached by a woman seeking help. She recognized that Rohagar was in House Tharask and asked her to help find her missing husband, Nayan d’Cannith. He’d last been seen at the park in Dragon Towers when the two were having lunch. Rohagar told the woman that she’d look into it. The party deduced that kidnappings were becoming an issue and that they may all be related. So far they’d heard about two shifters from Daask, Kaziim and Fenn, Ril, and now Nayan d’Cannith.

They made their way out of the tower and headed to House Cannith to meet with Dr. Jones. There, they told him of Hohenheim’s plight, while leaving out the specifics of his arrest. Jones apologized, stating that the House’s policy was not to interfere in the duties of local law enforcement. If a member of the House breaks the law, they are dealt with like any other criminal. The party also asked him about Nayan d’Cannith, but he didn’t really know the individual well and had only vaguely heard about the situation. He also mentioned that he wasn’t surprised the Houses weren’t doing more about it, as he feels they don’t do enough for their members.

On the way out, they were stopped by Dalen d’Cannith, who apologized for Merrix’s behavior the last time they’d met. He didn’t know why Merrix had refused to help Hohenheim, but he wasn’t about to let a House member be turned away so quickly. He gave them a copy of Hohenheim’s House credentials and told them to come to him if they needed any help. He asked if he was going to regret helping Hohenheim. “Probably” was the answer they gave him. Meanwhile, Hohenheim was busy breaking out of jail. He spent time prying a bar off of the cell door and had begun squeezing his way through the newly-created gap.

The party returned to the city watch tower. While they attempted to bargain with Vick for Hohenheim’s release, he extricated himself from the jail cell. Also, as the party made to depart, a hooded shifter entered the city watch tower and pulled forth an Eberron dragonshard from his cloak. With stilted speech, he said “Now you will see what House Tarkanan can do.” At which point, his partially-concealed aberrant dragonmark began to glow hotly and the dragonshard flickered. A brief moment later, the man exploded. Fire and arcane energy erupted forth from him, tearing his body apart, and causing a great amount of damage to the nearby area, reaulting in a number of injuries and deaths of city watch officers and civilians.

Hohenheim, seeing this as an opportunity, decided to reveal his escape to the remaining city watch. Not only that, but he took credit for the attack that had just taken place. They attempted to recapture him, but during their attack, Hohenheim cast a spell to disguise himself as a changeling while out of sight, and then feigned death after he was injured. Believing him to be dead, the House Jorasco medics bagged him and tagged him and took him with the other victims to the local morgue. There, Hohenheim regained consciousness, disguised himself as a halfling, stole a lab coat, and departed the Jorasco facility, meeting back up with the party after they gave statements to the city watch testifying that they didn’t realize Hohenheim was a changeling.


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