Ascendancy

First Post!
(I'll actually make this useful at some point.)

At some point, I’ll make this post include some of the background info, and make posts for each of the sessions we’ve had.

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Plot Summary
The story so far...

A brief summary of the story so far.

Starting out is the marketplace of a small town, the party defended themselves against a gnoll assault, and were recruited shortly thereafter to rescue the captured villagers. They left that evening to attack the gnolls at their hideout, and were able to save all but one of the captives. They spent the next couple days getting some much-needed rest and recuperation at the town’s inn. Theodore renegotiated with the town’s baron, and Ileain helped out at the temple to aid the wounded. The party then received an anonymous message from the nearby city of Durnholme, being invited to the city for a job, with lodging paid for.

Upon arriving at the city, they took a few minutes to settle in before Ileain discovered their mysterious benefactor in her room, obviously disguised through magic. Introducing herself as an Imperial Investigator, she laid out the terms of the job – the party was to neutralize a thieves’ guild operating within the city by any means necessary, violent or not. In return, they would be paid with gold, a minor magic item, and a good word with the city’s viscount. She also introduced Elsweyr, a rogue, to the party. After doing some research, they discovered that they had a hideout beneath an old church in a poor district of town. While getting Elsweyr inducted into the guild, they discovered upon his initiation that the thieves stole from the rich and not the poor, and to benefit not only themselves but also the poor and downtrodden. They offered to disperse for a while if the party were willing to lie to the investigator. Conflicted, Theodore went back to the investigator to warn her of the rest of the party’s plans to possibly betray her. After a brief discussion, he led her back to the old church.

There, they met the rest of the party, where the investigator revealed her true form – an elf woman, Iriel Amari – and described her reasons for leading the party astray. She was being blackmailed by the viscount, who was holding her brother captive, into taking care of the thieves, but they knew who she was – hence the need for outside help. She appeared to be ready to kill the party, but only reluctantly, and Marsala was able to talk her down. The party, believing that Iriel had been wronged, decided to try to break her brother free, but first needed to find out a way to destroy a cursed amulet that Iriel was forced to wear: it granted her protection and some measure of power, but tracked her movements against her will.

Their plan was quickly upended when the investigator was arrested. The party quickly scrambled to get in contact with the thieves once again, explaining the situation and asking for their help. They agreed reluctantly, and broke into the castle’s basement with the party through a hidden escape tunnel. Before they could find the investigator, however, the group stumbled upon something they did not expect: a ritual in a sub-basement, of which the viscount was a part. After Theodore interrupted the ritual, they were caught in a magical explosion and felt as if they were falling into blackness.

Waking up in the castle basement, they found that it was starting to collapse. Believing that this was due to the explosion, they quickly tried to make their way out, but stumbled upon Iriel, who was obviously subjected to some form of corruption. She revealed that two years had passed and the world was in shambles, having been invaded by a corrupted army, first led by the viscount and then by a pit fiend who had killed him and taken his place. After freeing her from the cell, she helped the party escape, but not before they fought off a powerful demon. As the party jumped through the portal, the future form of Iriel was killed, barely closing off the portal in time before more demons could come through.

Back in the ritual chamber in their own time, the party killed the viscount, who was revealed to be a barbed devil. After dispatching it, they quickly made their way to the prison to free Iriel, though they could not help her brother as he had been killed during the ritual. With Iriel in tow, the party escaped the city aboard a train.

Having gone south as far as they could aboard the train, the party disembarked and made their way east on a seven day’s journey on foot. On the fifth day, they were forced into a cave due to adverse weather, immediately finding the the cave was already inhabited. Theodore and Elsweyr went further into the cave, while Marsala and Ileain were reluctant to do so, and Iriel was keeping watch over the camp. Inside the cave, the two men found an ancient temple of some kind, which they quickly decided to explore.

Inside the temple, they found Eryn Silvershield, a mysterious historian investigating the ruined temple. The party delved deeper into the ruins, with Iriel remaining behind to stand guard. After a brief encounter with a mimic, the party faced off against a banshee before entering a large chamber with four braziers. A magical item of some sort was keeping elementals sealed in the braziers, two of which had already been freed when wards in the temple were dispelled. Removing the magical item, which turned out to be a cloak of elvenkind, freed the remaining elementals, and the party returned to the surface.

Eryn expressed her thanks and asked to accompany the party to the sanctuary where, upon arrival, she would part from them. However, upon learning their story, she revealed that she was a warlock of several hundred years’ age, having dedicated her life to the pursuit of knowledge and the protection of all from evil. Discussing this, the party soon decided to dedicate themselves to preventing the terrible future they had seen from coming to pass, and vowed to form an organization for this purpose, as well as providing any member of any faith safe haven to worship in peace. They set out to the elven sanctuary, intent on building a base of operations to start the long journey ahead of them…

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Monthly Plot Summary, Pt. II
In which I chronicle the party's shenanigans...

I’ve decided to start making a post like this every month, to sum up the party’s adventures so far. So, without further ado…

Several months after where we left off, the party had completed construction of a fort to call their own – Havenhold. Their organization, Haven, was founded as a place for any faithful worshipper of any deity to come and pray in peace, free from persecution. The four adventurers were named Councillors of Haven, with Iriel and Eryn as spymaster and diplomat, respectively. After some deliberation, they settled on a democratic method of leadership, naming Ileain as the figurehead of the organization.

However, the peaceful few months were soon shattered by a telegram for Theodore, reporting of a disaster back home. With Eryn in tow, the adventurers set out for the Republic, a young, upstart nation already deemed bastion of technological progress, intellectual freedom, and racial equality.

Upon arriving in the Republic, Thedore learned from his company’s president that the elven orphanage that they’d helped finance had been burned to the ground, the latest in a series of racially-motivated hate crimes sweeping throughout the Republic. Fortunately, none of the orphans perished, but several caretakers were grievously wounded. With little information to go upon and less help from the woefully overworked police force, the adventurers set out with their ears to the ground.

After asking the police commissioner, Theodore and Eryn learned of a certain Thomas Saler, the only identified perpetrator of one of the crimes. He had disappeared without a trace several months ago, but had apparently returned with a vengeance and a deep racial hatred. They also learned that the perpetrators were seen wearing red, the only identifiable piece of uniform. They then made their way to the scene of the crime, where Theodore found that the sprinkler system had been sabotaged – indicating help from the inside.

In a seedy bar in the low-wealth district, Marsala and Elsweyr blended into the crowd – that is to say, Elsweyr blended in while Marsala participated in a bar-fight tournament, handily claiming first place. Shortly thereafter, Elsweyr spotted a few men wearing red leaving the bar in a rush, and the two pursued them. However, they were accosted by a few thugs, and despite easily fending them off, they lost track of the men wearing red in the process.

At the hospital, Ileain did what she could to help the injured caretakers, and was able to speak to one of them. She confirmed that the perpetrators were wearing red and that Thomas Saler was among them. However, the caretaker was able to remember little else about the event, so Ileain opted to wait until the rest of the party reconvened to discuss their findings.

However, disaster struck once again.

While returning from the crime scene, Theodore and Eryn were attacked by a mysterious assassin. After quickly dispatching Eryn, the assassin attacked Theodore, but found himself outmatched. Theodore chased the assassin, who was able to turn invisible but not hide the trail of blood he was leaving, and shot him dead before he was able to escape. However, the assassin’s body burst into green flames, destroying all evidence save for a bloodstained parchment that had fallen out of his pocket when he had died. While Theodore was able to fight off the poison the assassin had used, Eryn was not so lucky.

Reconvening in the hospital, Ileain quickly used her magic to purge the poison from Eryn’s system, soon enough to save her life but too late to prevent permanent damage. When she awoke, Eryn found herself blind.

While deliberating what to do next, Elsweyr realized that the parchment was written in thieves’ cant. However, even when translated, it still made very little sense. Eryn quickly recognized the text as Old Common, the language used many centuries ago in the Old World, and was able to translate it. It was a contract for assassination from the Ordo Necromunda, an ancient, shadowy organization with unknown motivations or goals.

After a short time of rest, the adventurers left Eryn to recuperate and started pursuing their only remaining lead – Thomas Saler. They started at his former place of employment, where they were able to gain some information about his character as well as his last known residence: a tenement building in one of the lower-wealth areas. While investigating, they noticed a man in a red mask passing by outside, and pursued him to an empty warehouse, where he met with seven other men. One of them was Thomas Saler, and he appeared to be corrupted exactly like the assassin.

After quietly barricading the doors, Theodore went to alert the police of what was going on. He was approached by an elf, a member of a resistance group that had been fighting this Purity Brigade since their inception. Back at the warehouse, Ileain noticed an elf on a catwalk above Saler and his men. Intending to avoid bloodshed, she used her magic to amplify her voice, requesting that they surrender. This alerted everyone in the building and startled the elf, who barely managed to avoid falling but dropping her bow in the process. Saler noticed this, and prepared to shoot her.

Acting quickly, the party overwhelmed the men, quickly dispatching Saler and two of his men and causing the rest to surrender. They also retrieved a piece of parchment from Saler before his body burst into flames as well. This parchment detailed the remaining Purity Brigade cells, and the resistance group asked for it to aid them in their quest to eliminate the rest of the group. After some debate, the party elected to give them the parchment on the condition that they only kill if absolutely necessary. The elves agreed, and pledged to support Haven after they had completed their mission.

With Saler dead and the other perpetrators arrested, the party returned to the commissioner, receiving much gratitude as well as a small amount of gold bullion and a pledge to help rebuild the orphanage in return for their assistance. As soon as Eryn was healthy enough to travel, they returned to Havenhold.

Soon after returning to Havenhold, a telegram addressed to a Baroness Silvershield arrived. Unaware that she was a noble, Eryn found that the telegram contained an invitation to the Grand Tournament in the Princedoms at the end of the year. Wishing to go to curry favor with the nobles and find out why she was suddenly a noble, she convinced the party to accompany her. The tournament would not be for the next month and a half, however, and a more pressing issue had revealed itself in the meantime.

One of Iriel’s had discovered a ruin to the north of Havenhold, and had reason to believe that a fairly powerful magic artifact was contained within. The party decided to investigate this ruin, finding a magical contraption keeping something trapped within a barrier. After deactivating this contraption and fending off undead, they soon found themselves face-to-face with a Spectator. Dispatching this fiend, they found a valuable flawless diamond as well as a sword driven into a stone pillar, having served as the main power source for the contraption. Theodore discovered the true nature of the sword, able to animate itself at the wielder’s command. The rest of the party chose to let him keep the sword, and they returned to Havenhold with their newfound treasures.

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