Rise of the Twilight Empire

The First Enchanter's Lament
Season 4 Begins!

I hate peace. It’s terrible for business.

And oh, we have had a lot of peace these last 20 years since the Devil’s Teeth drove the demons from Hammerfall and put the traitor Thoren Brighthammer to the sword. Hammerfall has flourished, expanding its influence all through the Nentir Vale. Even the goblins of Gorizbadd and we here in Thunderspire rely on Hammerfall soldiers when the monsters come to our gates. The Vale is safer than it has been in a hundred and fifty years. Oh sure, there’s still the occasional beastman pack from the Ashwood, or band of brigands looking for an easy mark, and we’ll never be fully rid of the displacer beasts and owlbears. But that should tell you how bad the last one hundred and fifty years have been. I should know, I was there for most of it.

It’s the worst. How is an honest weaponsmith like me to make a living?

There is a silver lining in all this. Hammerfall has become powerful. And power makes enemies. The Iron Hold to the south did not receive Hammerfall’s envoys with friendship. They must have given some insult to the Iron Prince, for he sent their heads back with a warning: “We are coming for you.”

So strike up the Hellforges! Relight the Flames of Spite! We shall weave magic and hate into steel once more! The Council of Three has commissioned a grand weapon, and I intend to deliver!

We may have a war just yet.

-Oberith Mishann, First Enchanter of the Architects of Victory to his daughter, Rosabeth

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Sessions 8-12
Shit hits the fan

In the Ashwood, the party found a ruined tower containing a half-burned tree, home of Adrastea, a dryad nearly driven mad from the pain of her home. She claimed to have information about Brighthammer, but first the party would have to do a favor for her: kill the beastmen defiling the sacred pool at the heart of the old elven citadel. The party dispatched the brutes, and Adrastea revealed that she knew the location of Brighthammer’s Pact Stone: the ancient contract that he would have had to swear upon to gain his power. It lay at the heart of the Sword Barrow.

Julevive chose to stay with Adrastea to aid in the healing of the Ashwood, which was already showing signs of new growth. On the way to the Sword Barrow, however, the group came upon a halfling gambler named Forsythia being set upon by Iron Circle thugs trying to collect their debts. In gratitude, she chose to join the Teeth and offer her services as a scout and thief.

The party evaded or cut their way through the copious undead milling about the Sword Barrow, and found the tomb beneath the ruin where the Pact Stone lay. Brighthammer had wards surrounding the stone to alert him of intruders, however, and arrived astride the reanimated corpse of the dragon that killed Sgt. Maximillian with Phalagar in tow. A desperate battle ensued, and the tide was turned only when Cog shattered the Pact Stone by toppling it onto the dragon. Brighthammer’s power was instantly broken, and Phalagar whisked him away with an emergency teleport.

The stone destroyed, the group rendezvoused with the rest of the Devil’s Teeth in Thunderspire. They brought news that Brighthammer’s arcane power was broken, but he himself escaped their grasp. Asking around town to see if Brighthammer had made any stops in Thunderspire, the party learned that he’d met with the local chapterhouse of the Architects of Victory. After being casually dismissed by him, the party chose to beat the information they wanted out of Oberith Mishann. He revealed that Brighthammer had commissioned the construction of a focusing circle for a Slaying Stone. The party realized that he was planning on retrieving the stone from the vaults of Hammerfall and using it to obliterate the goblins of Gorizbadd. The party sent out a group of smugglers with letters to both Elder Varthanas and Elder Avery, warning them not to allow Brighthammer access to the stone.

The party learned that Brighthammer had also visited the Brotherhood of the Red Scales, an assassin’s guild. There, they learned that Brighthammer had hired two assassins on retainer. The party tried to convince the Red Scales to cancel their contract, but an arrow, once loosed, cannot be stopped in flight. The Red Scales always see the job through. So the party tried to hire them to assassinate Brighthammer themselves, but lacked the funds. On the way back to request the funds from the company coffers, the party was ambushed by a group of warforged sent by the Architects of Victory, who were understandably upset that the party had beat up their Chief Magister. They spared their leader, Gear, and Cog convinced him to join the Devil’s Teeth.

Upon returning to camp, the party found that Captain Bell was missing. They tracked him, and found that he had been taken captive by a group of elves, led by Jossi Clearwater. She had been sent by Elder Varthanas to learn the truth of the situation. The party talked the elves down by telling them about the restored Ashwood. The elves left to investigate and conferred a message: that Elder Avery wanted to meet at the Five-League House. The party got the authorization to use company money to hire the Red Scales, and set out for the meeting.

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Session 7
Fate is averted, and a plan is hatched

The party received one more boon from Ljota, the Last Frost Before Spring, a counter-charm against scrying, so that their hunter could no longer send demons after them from afar. The party set forth and got to know their strange new companion, Kuanu the minotaur, a little better. They were ambushed in a mountain pass by a pair of bulettes, which nearly chewed Cog to pieces and surely would have killed the remaining pair of Devil’s Teeth, were it not for their beastman companion.

They met up with the main host of the Teeth, camped near the host of the Bone Spear Tribe, nearly 100 strong. After much deliberation with Captain Bell, they decided to share their findings with the goblins, including the information that it was one of the Council of Elders who murdered their kin. Jareth Irontooth, leader of the Bone Spears, managed to barely keep his men in check when they learned this. A hair’s breadth away from war, the Teeth hatched a plan with the goblins: they would split up and search the nearby ruined Nerathi watchtowers in an attempt to catch Brighthammer the next time he left Hammerfall. Their squad was assigned to search the two towers located in the burned elven forest, with Kuanu as their escort.

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Session 6
Death and Destiny

The group emerged from the Bowels of Hammerfall into an icy cold night with no provisions and little in the way of cold weather gear. They agreed that the wisest course of action was to send Julevive ahead of them as a wolf, since she could run over the snowy landscape so much faster than they, and she could warn the Devil’s Teeth of Thoren Brighthammer’s betrayal. With a forlorn look, she left her squad mates behind and raced off under the pale moonlight. The rest of the squad spent a frigid night out of doors, though due to their tough constitutions, they could all handle it.

The morning brought success with their hunting, as Sgt. Maximillian bagged a large deer that would keep them fed and warm for the rest of the trip. Their elation at his success was soon cut short, however, by the heavy beat of dragon wings on the horizon. The white dragon whose hoard the squad had plundered only nights before, brought forth by a tip whispered upon the wind, landed before them. It gave them one last chance to keep their lives: strip naked and walk back to their heathen city. Cog chose to taunt the dragon instead.

A fatal mistake.

The battle was brutal, and the dragon by far the most fearsome opponent the squad had yet faced. It killed Sgt. Maximillian with its icy breath, and crushed Grimdark the Frostbitten in its mighty jaws and left him bleeding upon the ground. Cog himself was mere inches away from destruction, but he buried his axe in the dragon’s onrushing jaws, and the beast lay still.

Cog and Grimdark mourned for their fallen sergeant as they stripped the dragon of its parts. They promised to craft arms and armor from the great beast worthy of honoring their comrade’s life. They traveled a ways across the winter landscape, and bedded down using the roots of a fallen tree for shelter, confident they would rendezvous with the main host of the company on the morrow. A bone-chilling howl interrupted their dinner, however, and Cog and Grimdark soon found themselves facing a pair of yeti. One rough brawl later, and the yeti lay dead, and the pair went off in search of their lair in hopes of finding better shelter than a rotting log.

The yeti’s path was easy to backtrack to a cave, but it was not at all what they were expecting. As Cog and Grimdark descended into the cave, they found it got colder and brighter and more dreamlike. They eventually emerged into a chamber of hewn ice, with delicately decorated frozen pillars lining the hall. A fur covered throne sat at the back of the hall, upon which sat Ljota, the Last Frost Before Spring, a Snow Nymph. She was flanked by her menagerie of strange creatures, which included a tamed beastman minotaur named Kuonu.

She first asked her guests for a taste of dragon’s blood, since it had been so long since she had tasted it. She then explained that a battle was coming, and she was not talking about the one in Hammerfall, but the one that heralded the end of the world. She explained that if the Devil’s Teeth are present at the final battle, it could tip the scales back in creation’s favor, but for them to be present at that battle, they would have to not be annihilated in the next month, which would surely happen if Cog and Grimdark were to die tomorrow, which surely would happen without her help. But it is no simple thing for a mortal to ask a duchess of the Winter Court for help – they had to demonstrate their worthiness to survive. Namely, by being interesting. They regaled Ljota with stories of their past and boasts of their deeds, and in the end convinced her that the world was interesting enough to be worth saving after all.

So she sent with them Kuanu, her pet beastman, to ensure that they would live to see another sunset. She also ordered her gnomes to craft the dragon’s bones into a hammer for Grimdark, and the dragon’s hide into armor for Cog.

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Session 5
An Enemy Revealed

The group decided that the information that the warlock was in Hammerfall was too crucial to waste any time meeting up with the rest of the company and explaining things to the goblins, so they decided to rush back to Hammerfall to inform the council and to hunt the warlock. Sgt. Gaunt’s squad had been left behind to look after Julevive, who the party returned to find awake. While the rest of the party scoured the dwarven quarter, trying to sense any trace of dark magics, Grimdark went to consult with Elder Brighthammer, to explain in private what was going on so as not to embarrass the dwarven community. Brighthammer offered Grimdark a deal: lie, cover up the evidence that it was a dwarf, perhaps even implicating the goblins, and Brighthammer would see about getting his clan reinstated. When Grimdark balked, Brighthammer laughed it off and tried to pass the whole deal as a test of honor.

Meanwhile, a search of one of Hammerfall’s apothecaries revealed that a dwarven manservant had purchased reagents that possibly could be used in summoning rituals. Grimdark rejoined the party, and their search brought them to a brothel in the noble quarter. Grimdark got the madam boasting of her clientele, which included Elder Brighthammer, who had been out of town of late, but had just returned. Alarmed by this information, the Teeth were about to set out to investigate Brighthammer’s estate, but a group of Iron Circle thugs entered the brothel, demanding the arrest of the Teeth on suspicion of treason and collusion with goblins.

Of course the group handed the Circle their asses again, and tried to make their way back to the barracks. However, they found a large contingent of Iron Circle mercenaries taking Sgt. Gaunt’s squad into custody. The group decided it would be wisest to escape the city through the Bowels of Hammerfall so that they might warn the rest of the Teeth before they walked into a trap. Navigating through the Bowels is always tricky, of course, and this time the group felt a distinct feeling of being watched, followed by an Abyssal hit squad being summoned right in front of them. The Veil was rent asunder, and a pair of Abyssal Scavengers and a Beholder Gauth appeared. A desperate battle ensued, but the demons were eventually defeated and the party escaped into the cold winter’s night.

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Session 4
It seemed like a good idea at the time

With the antidote administered, Julevive recovered, but was not well enough to join the company as they set off to rendezvous with the goblins. Captain Bell sent Sgt. Maximillian’s squad to examine the shattered bridge where they were ambushed by the figure in black. Examining the scene, Maximillian tasted the foul stench of demonic magic, similar to what he experienced back at the ambush site. They also found a torn bit of black velvet and tracks leading back toward Hammerfall.

Following the tracks, they came upon an old Nerathi watchtower that was partially collapsed. In the watchtower, they encountered several undead, led by a ghoul. The stench of demonic magic was almost overpowering to Maximillian, which led him to a trap door beneath the tower.

In the cellar, they found a bowl full of black ice that had been used as a scrying device, and a summoning circle that had been half scuffed out. Something about the circle jogged a rusted bit of Cog’s memory banks, and he identified the ritual as one that had been used by warlocks pledged to the Abyss, whose like had not been seen since the fall of the White City. He also knew enough about the ritual that they could reconstruct the circle if they so chose, and recall the last creature to have been summoned to it.

After much deliberation, the group decided that the potential information gained outweighed the risks that summoning the demon would entail. With the help of a bit of Grimdark’s blood, the circle was completed, and Phalagar was summoned. The little imp taunted the group, trying to magically stoke their rage so they would break the circle, which Cog eventually did. Before that happened, however, the group learned a few crucial pieces of information:

  • The demon’s summoner was a dwarf
  • The dwarf’s home base was in Hammerfall
  • The dwarf hated the goblins for occupying the city back when it was Hammerfast and forcing the dwarves to rely on the humans and elves for defense
  • The warlock had been granted powers of necromancy and summoning in return for sowing chaos and bloodshed

After a battle in which the demon put up much more of a fight than its size would have suggested, the creature exploded into ichor and seeped back into the earth.

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Session 3
The Hangover

The recon group under Sgt. Maximillian visited the Dragon’s Teat tavern to celebrate their return to Hammerfall with all their limbs miraculously intact, and to drink to their fallen comrades. Julevive, being an elf, did not hold her liquor well and passed out early. Several thugs of the Iron Circle tried to take advantage of her unconscious state, when her brothers in arms stepped in and a massive brawl ensued.

The toughs of the Iron Circle thoroughly routed, Cog, Grimdark, and Maximillian brought Julevive back to the barracks and turned in for the night. In the morning, they were brought before the Council of Elders to present their case for allowing the Devil’s Teeth to march out in force to scour the countryside for their brothers’ murderer. The elven councilman, Teristel Varthanas, opposed sending the company out, worried that it might provoke a war with the goblins. Tristan Avery, the human councilman, was also opposed to sending out the company, but for different reasons – he was worried that there is a larger game afoot. Dwarven councilman Thoren Brighthammer was for sending the Teeth out in force, as he was more concerned with matters of justice and honor than anything else. Eventually the PCs swayed Avery to their side, and the company was sent out in a 2-1 vote.

There was another problem back at the barracks, however. Julevive had still not awoken from the night before, and upon closer examination, showed signs of having been poisoned. She was near death, but in an act of quick thinking, Maximillian placed his Periapt of Proof Against Poison around her neck, halting the advance of the poison. She still required an antidote, however, and since it was the dead of winter, the only place nearby that it could feasibly be found was in the Bowels of Hammerfall.

So the company descended into the tunnels beneath the city, where the Veil is thin. They found the bluecap mushroom they needed for the antidote near the lair of an Id Fiend. The heroes faced their nightmares, slew the beast, and returned with their prize.

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Season 3 Story so far

It is winter, and a patrol of the Devil’s Teeth has gone missing. The PCs squad, led by Sgt. Maximillian, also consists of Grimdark the Frostbitten (a dwarf stripped of his clan), Julevive LeFae (an elven druid and scout), and Cog (a warforged soldier the company found in a ruin, with serious gaps in his memory). They were sent out to discover what happened to the missing patrol before the next big blizzard hit.

The group found the missing patrol dead in the forest, surrounded by goblin bodies, but something was amiss. Namely, the goblins were zombies! And once their ruse was seen through, the zombies rose to try to silence the group. The creatures were dispatched, and the bodies burned. The annals of the company were recovered, and on their way back to Hammerfall, the group encountered a goblin warband led by a hobgoblin named Jareth of the Bone Spears. He had been sent to find a patrol of theirs that had gone missing from Gorizbadd. Conflict was averted on the condition that the Teeth return in a weeks time so that the goblins and the humans could investigate who killed their brethren together.

The trip back to Hammerfall was eventful, though. As the group was crossing a bridge over a partly frozen river, a squat figure clutching a black sword summoned a group of elementals that fell from the sky and smashed the bridge. The PCs fought the elementals while balancing on ice floes and pieces of bridge rushing down the river.

The PCs took refuge in a cave to recuperate and dry off their clothing. As luck would have it, the cave contained a small treasure horde, with no owner in sight. During the night, however, the heavy beat of dragon wings could be heard outside the cave, and the PCs high-tailed it out of there, narrowly avoiding a very pissed off dragon.

They arrived back in town, and made their report to Captain Bell. He announced that the entire company would be mobilizing, because no one kills a Devil’s Tooth unanswered.

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Season 2 Recap
The Slaying Stone

Twenty years later…

Hammerfast has been rechristened Hammerfall, and the PCs are a pair of dwarven half-brothers Baern and Baren, their goliath bodyguard Blargg, and Brandis, a wizard who trained under a much-changed Eric Evergreen. They had been summoned by Allia Markelhay, an aging sorceress of little power, and widow of Faren Markelhay, the last Lord Warden of Fallcrest. She told the group of a vision she had of a dark seed in the ruins of Fallcrest… the Slaying Stone, a piece of crystalized murder used to fuel the defense system that destroyed the goblins and beastmen 20 years ago. Her vision also included a group of beastmen searching for it as well.

The group traveled to Fallcrest, where they found the town had been resettled by goblins and kobolds. They infiltrated the town and made their way to the abandoned tower of Nimrozan the Green. There, they met Rort, a goblin nerd who helped them research the stone. They discovered that the stone and the defense system had been engineered by an order of tieflings known as the Architects of Victory.

In their search for the stone, the PCs also discovered that the Severed Eyes, a group of orcish beastmen, were killing and torturing their way through the town as well. They encountered one of their champions, Krayd the Butcher, and ended her life. In the Temple of Sehanine, they met Hoyt Markelhay, a wererat, and abandoned son of Allia Markelhay. He told them that the Slaying Stone was in the hands of Tyristis, a brass dragon. During their search, the group was also aided by Julevive LeFae, an elven druid who had been brought to Fallcrest by a similar vision to Allia’s.

Brandis the wizard was captured by the goblins and brought to the ruins of the keep. There, he was interrogated by Hu Jat, the hobgoblin commander, and Fang the Grey, his lieutenant. Fang, who had ridden with Tanguz the Black 20 years ago, was weary of war, and when Hu Jat proposed slicing off Brandis’s head and sending it back to Hammerfall as a declaration of war, he decided to break Brandis out instead. Hu Jat was killed, and the PCs constructed a ruse using Krayd’s brand to trick the goblins into thinking the beastmen did it. It worked, and the beastmen were driven from the ruins of Fallcrest, or Gorizbadd as the goblins now called it.

Finally, the group met with Tyristis, who agreed to turn over the Slaying Stone to them, on two conditions. 1) It must not fall into goblin hands, for she did not trust them. 2) They must not return the stone to Allia Markelhay, for any mother who would abandon her own child cannot be trusted. The stone must be returned to Hammerfall and placed in the vaults for safe keeping. The group agreed, and the Slaying Stone was theirs.

On the way out of town, the group was ambushed by the remains of the Severed Eyes, who demanded the Slaying Stone. Instead, a battle ensued, and the Severed Eyes were destroyed. The Slaying Stone was returned to Hammerfall, where it lurks to this day.

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Season 1 Recap
Embers

The story began outside the town of Fallcrest, and an unlikely meeting between four people. Arcturus Pyresmoke, a Shadar’kai warrior, and Adan Oreshaper, a guardsman with a strange ancestry, accompanied Eric Evergreen, a wizard’s apprentice out on a patrol to investigate the disappearance of his master, Nimrozan the Green. On that patrol, they encountered Zelar, an exiled dragonborn prince from the southwestern wastes, and rescued him from a raiding party of goblins.

On the return trip to Fallcrest, the group found a party of refugees that had been butchered by beastmen, and rescued a young dwarf girl, Kaia Hearthwarden, from the marauding orcs. From Kaia, they learned of a disturbing development: the dwarven fortress city of Hammerfast had fallen to a brilliant hobgoblin general, Tanguz the Black.

The group decided to scout out the situation at Hammerfast, and discovered that the bulk of the goblin army had moved on, but a sizable garrison was left to fortify the city and put its people to work. After a successful guerrilla campaign, the party organized an uprising that cast out the goblin oppressors… just in time for the vanguard of a beastman horde to arrive. The battle was fierce and bloody, but at the end of the day, the goblins and beastmen both retreated, and the dwarves held the battered walls of Hammerfast.

The night of their victory, each PC received a dream, a vision of a staff called the Splinter of the Night, forged from the gates of hell in the days of Bael Turath. They ventured into a ruined outpost in the Witchlight Fens, where they fought a band of Shadar’kai who also had been sent to get the staff. The band was led by Alara Nightseeker, Arcturus’s old love, who turned on her band at Arcturus’s kiss. They found the staff, which was guarded by a pair of douche-y angels who were about to kill the PCs, when the bulk of the beastman horde arrived. The angels died holding off the beastmen, while the PCs and Alara took the staff and escaped through the Shadowfell.

In the Shadowfell, they traded the staff to a devil named Beleth for the return of Nimrozan the Green. Upon returning to Fallcrest, the group hatched a plan to destroy both the beastman horde and the goblin army that were converging on the town. They would evacuate Fallcrest and all its people and make for Hammerfast. Meanwhile, Nimrozan would activate an ancient defense system that guarded the town. As the refugees made their way north, they watched their town engulfed in black lightning, and heard the howls of pain and surprise from miles away.

Of course it’s never that easy. Neither army was fully destroyed, and the goblins were on the run from the beastmen. They followed the refugees north, through the Grey Woods of the elves. The beastmen set fire to the forest, and it was only through the intervention of the elves that everything was not lost. The elves joined the refugees and arrived in Hammerfast with them. An uneasy alliance was forged.

Tanguz arrived at the gates of Hammerfast ahead of the beastmen, and the two sides decided to join together to fight off the horde. The beastmen were destroyed at great cost, including the lives of Tanguz the Black and Adan Oreshaper. Arcturus, Zelar, and Eric Evergreen disappeared through a portal to the Abyss, where they broke the demon general of the beastman army’s power, and they have not been seen since that day.

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