The Ravaillac Revolution

Hoarders

The group reaches Remparenon, where they exorcise Qadmon of the Thanadaemon inhabiting him. In the middle of this, the scion of the Kardunia, who had escaped from jail, tries to assassinate Kisasi. Both the daemon and the assassins are taken out in short order. Qadmon thanks them and says he will help the best he can.

They head cross The Expanse and manage to avoid sandworms, then enter the dragon’s cave. They find footprints of other people and eventually track them down. They’re three terrified humans from Menneren who were sent here by the Exultant to find a path so Menneren can take the treasure it so desperately needs. The heroes slay the Dragon Disciples that had terrified the Mennerenians and discover that according to Draconic prophecy, Ancalagon will return. They reach the dragon’s treasure.

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Interrogations

The heroes capture Qadmon and Onnahan and bind them, then take them south. They interrogate Onnahan and find out that there are at least eight of him, and that he is doing this to protect Terund from the chaotic incursions of demons and daemons plotting against it. Palio executes him.

They have a discussion about Cathexis, and what it means for him to be truly free. When they discuss what caused him to break from his chrysalis in the first place, they notice Eldairen looking visibly anxious. When questioned, he reiterates that Prince Regent Amaranth was asking for information on Cathexis’s past lives, and Eldairen was not certain why.

Qadmon awakes, and is also questioned. They find out he is a daemon named Thanatos, a servant of the horseman of Death. Just as Onnahan had said, they created the rift to fight back against Terund’s wards, specifically to weaken Asmodeus.

On the way south, they pass by the ruins of Empok, which had been a mining town. When the ore dried up, rather than waste their time transporting the slaves, they simply tossed them into a pit and sealed it up and let them die of starvation. Now, horrible undead patrol the land and prevent the people of Taurinorum from leaving. The heroes face off against the undead.

The orcs now want to be free to go north to their brethren in the northern wastes on the road to Severeign. The dwarves want to remain in the mines. Kordic Brand was trying to convince them to help them out. Palio speaks of survival, Slim of freedom, and Cathexis of fate, and the dwarves agree to become an engineering corps for Ravaillac while the orcs become their scouts. They head towards Crossroads to defend against a possible Mordantian onslaught. The heroes also send messages to the other people they have met along the way in the hopes that their combined forces can keep Ravaillac strong.

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The Rift

The party regroups and discusses what happened in the Keep of the Seal and the Neocognomina. They then head to Solacium. The topography shifts and they walk into night, with constellations none of them recognize. Bombik realizes the Plane of Shadow itself is making an intrusion into their plane. A wall of dead bards tries to ensorcel them, but those who resist it bring the others back to their senses.

They follow tracks to a small cul de sac where Tartellagio, the Lord Commander of the Keep of the Seal, has hidden his men. They have been fighting back hordes of daemons, demons, and aberrations. Only fifty remain, and they are wounded and exhausted. Palio confronts Tartellagio, who had been convinced by a demon that Iomedae had told him to break the wardstones and enter Solacium. Palio relieves him and sends them all back home.

They then head towards the rift itself. Onnahan is performing his ritual to bring the Prince in Chains into the mortal realm, and is surrounded by kytons, minotaurs, a forgefiend, a pale stranger, and an iron golem. The heroes go in to face them down. Behind them, they hear Ancalagon the Black crow out a challenge to Onnahan. He is furious that Onnahan is trying to summon the Prince in Chains, or as he calls him, grandfather.

Kisasi hurls the iron golem into the rift. Rift energy starts to lash out in different directions. Ancalagon flies down and tries to attack Cathexis. Cathexis darts out of the way and stabs Ancalagon’s other eye, then manipulates the moirae and the rift energies to grab Ancalagon. Both are being dragged towards the rift. The Prince in Chains arrives long enough to get hit by a dragon and knocked back in. Ancalagon’s acid attack burns Cathexis and his Nemesis staff, with its assorted manacles, is burned off and falls into the rift while Cathexis himself slides free.

Then, as if a gift, the rift spits out Qadmon.

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Don't Split The Party

The party splits to cover more objectives quickly. Bombik and Slim head to the Neocognomina, where they undergo blood tests and a zone of truth to make sure they are who they say they are. Bombik goes into a psychoscope which shows him the truth of what he did those many months ago. He knew Qadmon was lying to some extent, and followed along anyhow, out of fear and curiosity.

While Bombik recuperates, Eldairen sneaks down to Bombik’s old laboratory in order to find what he can about Bombik’s theoarcana converter. Slim tails him and calls him out, ultimately making him give up his goods.

Bombik’s recollection of the events and the information he had accumulated building the first one makes him realize just what he will need to undo it. As the theoarcana converter had a sphere of annihilation—a magical artifact of pure destruction—to undo it they will need an artifact of pure creation. The best option is The First Light, which was the only light to exist in the universe before Rovagug’s destruction and binding. It is the key to freeing Rovagug, and it is currently owned by Asmodeus, in Hell.

Meanwhile, at the Keep of the Seal, Palio and Kisasi realize something has gone wrong as the people all treat Kisasi as if he is a paladin, and do not recognize Palio. Kisasi is given the honorific of First Blade. Cassamyr is in charge of the building and completely coherent, and does not recognize that his holy sword is the exact same wooden toy sword he had given Palio over a decade earlier. Even the books have all gone blank. As they investigate further, they find out that the wardstones that keep out the energies of the Rift have been destroyed. They enter the basement and face down demons that have taken root there. One of the demons mocks Palio and claims that the paladin order’s own leader has fallen prey to them.

After the wardstones are in the process of being repaired, things start heading back to normal. Palio learns about the real leader of this building, Tartellagio, taking five hundred men into Solacium and vanishing. He and Kisasi leave with ten low-ranking paladins at their side.

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Crossroads

The group teleports from Onnahan’s mansion in Arete to an empty barn near Crossroads. They head off towards Solacium, and run into Vilkas Arcantell, who tells them he rescued Cassamyr from a fort nearby, but he found both draconic and elven tracks there. Slim notices copious tracks in formation heading west.

In Crossroads, they learn that Kyran D’Allaire and his men took off to try to reclaim Vollein. They pick up extra horses. Palio teaches tactics to Roland Wynthorpe’s men. Bombik sells a steam-powered shovel.

They head to the fort nearby, and find an elf in the middle of a fight with a drake, and worshippers of Ancalagon. They kill the drake and dragon disciple, but not after the dragon disciple feebleminds Cathexis. Cathexis, under such influence, shifts quickly between several of his avatars. He is cured by Palio, but still quite out of it.

The elf, Eldairen, says he was tasked by his Prince Regent to study all three of Cathexis’s avatars without realizing how they were linked. He also tells Bombik about Qadmon, and how Qadmon had been mind-wiped by a device and though they managed to cure most others it had been done to, he traveled too far and was taken into the rift before he could be saved. He is more victim than villain. He believes all of these convergences are because of the weakening of Pharasma.

The group has a decision to make: Go to Solacium and stop Onnahan, go to the Vivus Well and prevent more Onnahan clones, or go to the rescue of Kyran D’Allaire and Vollein and keep Ravaillac stable. They head off towards Solacium.

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The Fall of the House of Onnahan

Aboard the Smerdyakov, they cross into Terund, and are beset upon by various devils and an escaping water elemental. While Palio, Slim, and Cathexis face off against the devils, Bombik uses his glider to catch and eliminate the water elemental.

The heroes smuggle themselves into Arete. Palio contacts Rasken Harsk, a cleric of Iomedae who has been pretending to be a cleric of Zon-Kuthon for years and has a face covered in scars. They infiltrate the Galete Thermae, where Onnahan spends much of his time. He’s not there, and some people believe he’s went north while others think he’s at his manor house. They examine the books he’s been using for research, and find that he’s especially interested in the Vivus Well.

They spy on his manor house. When Bombik sends Codsworth in to spy, Onnahan merely waves and beckons them in. Clockwork servants open the door. Immediately, Odd whips spice into his eyes and mouth. Onnahan collapses and soon, his heart seizes.

Slim notices tons of secret passages all throughout the house. When Kisasi goes to grab at Onnahan’s body, Kisasi disappears. Odd and Bombik follow suit, while Slim guides Cathexis through the secret passages to arrive in Onnahan’s workshop.

The workshop is a two-story sub-basement with kytons, clockwork soldiers, and a forgefiend. The heroes fight their way through it, separated by one another. The forgefiend destroys the ceiling above Odd, and Odd leaps into another pit to escape. Below, Odd encounters a Zebub, a spy-devil, which he convinces to show him secrets:

Onnahan has been scrying on the party the entire time. He has also been using the Vivus Well to create copies of himself. The version that was killed was an intentional piece of dangling bait who had taken poison before they had even arrived. Another version of Onnahan has headed north towards the Rift to summon the Redeemer of the Dark, the Prince of Chains. And obviously, a third is at the Vivus Well, to be manipulated as Cassamyr is.

Palio and Bastion burst in, telling the others the dragon is here. Ancalagon has destroyed the docks and is heading towards Onnahan’s Manor House. As he destroys it, he continues to ask why he can still smell Welkin.

Cathexis grabs one of Kisasi’s immovable rod arrows and flies up towards the dragon. He hurls it into the dragon’s mouth and escapes back downwards. Bombik, meanwhile, sees a glyph with four holes and manipulates lasers into it, which creates a teleportation glyph. As Onnahan’s manor house crashes around them, they all dive onto the glyph and are teleported away.

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Alliance

The entire crew works together to face down the wickerman. Pendulum is nearly burned to death inside its ovens, but Palio shatters it open and rescues the injured warforged.

After everyone is rested and recovered, they talk to Grand Petitioner Belkzin to get him to put a few new petitions out. Palio talks to priests and later, mercenaries in order to drum up support. Slim talks to the sailors and captains. Cathexis gets on a soapbox. Bombik meets with the still-injured Pendulum, who introduces him to Bastion, another member of the Neocognomina who has been sent to protect Bombik. Odd tells Palio and Slim that a merchant would like to speak with both of them; while she’s unwilling to commit to the creation of Ravaillac’s navy, she is glad for her child’s safety, who was rescued by them on Naming Day. Palio talks to her child about Iomedae and gives him a small pin and some advice.

Cathexis has a discussion with the group about what is going on with Pharasma and fate itself. He talks about the Psychopomp he spoke to that came to take Ignatius’s soul away.

The entire city of Stygia turns out for the vote. An orc bard argues vehemently against the navy, believing it will tie Stygia to Ravaillac which will want to install a puppet government, but the arguments of Cathexis, Slim, Palio, and Bombik win out at 72%.

The group has a funeral for Ignatius, sending him to the sea in a burning pyre.

Captain Ivan and the Smerdyakov, along with eight other ships, take the heroes towards Arete, where Onnahan awaits. But Slim notices, in the distance, the enormous wings of Ancalagon the Black.

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Naming Day

The group arrives in Stygia on Naming Day. In Mordant, Naming Day is the day the revolution that created their country started. In Terund, Naming Day is the day that their children become adults and are conscripted into the military. In Stygia, it’s an excuse to party.

Cathexis immediately went to get a few very strong drinks. Kisasi was being avoided by most orcs for reasons he couldn’t fathom, though one ran into him and gave him a chest bump. Ignatius and Odd tried selling spices to the people in the strong ale tent. Slim met up with an orc friend named Hrothgar and traded tales. Palio went to check out the strongman competition—turning a giant water wheel. Bombik went to Modern Engineering, where he met Pendulum, an old friend turned enemy who promptly threw him out. Palio and Bombik then checked out the Hall of Mirrors and the House of Wonders (being run by an alchemist named Damiel). Meanwhile, children were being placed into casks and going down a canal before being pulled up.

In the ale tent, Hrothgar suddenly cast Burning Hands on the orc whiskey and made the tent catch fire. While they put it out, the entire floating city changed course. At the same time, people started acting oddly. The people in the tent didn’t seem to notice the flame, and people outside laughed too hard at nothing at all.

Palio and Slim ran off to change the city’s course. Bombik tried to locate the source of what was causing the strange reaction. Cathexis and Ignatius watched them burn a Naming Day wicker man.

Palio and Slim fought two coral golems and a mind-controlled wereshark. They destroyed the golems and knocked the wereshark out. Then Slim changed course for the entire city, steering them away from shoals.

Bombik located the source to find a Nuckelavee, a pollution-based fey creature that knocked Bombik unconscious very quickly. Bombik was bleeding out when Palio arrived, healed Bombik, and the two of them fought it off. There was a small orb called the Eye of Rapture that was causing the mind-fugue, and with the Nuckelavee’s death, its affect would only last two more hours.

Ignatius jumped into the canal to find the children in the casks being taken away by water elementals. They were tossed into the water wheel while a muscled orc kept spinning it, which would crush the children. Cathexis flew at the man and breathed fire on him, killing him instantly but saving the children.

Fireworks went off in the sky. The commoners claimed it was hearts and constellations, but the heroes saw arcane markings that Bombik identified as an Arcane Mark, showing that this was done as a sign of power by Onnahan Lore.

At the same time, with the Nuckalavee’s death, a few people managed to break their trance. Parents called that their children were being taken by creatures in the Hall of Mirrors. Damiel, the alchemist from the House of Wonders, was being devoured by homonculii. And Pendulum fled the Modern Engineering with half his arm gone, as gearghosts were formed by the machines.

Bombik went to work with Pendulum in Modern Engineering and destroyed the gearghosts. Palio and Slim fought Soulslivers in the Hall of Mirrors. Ignatius and Cathexis went after the homonculii. One crushed Damiel’s ribcage, and he wheezed out that there was a bomb underneath him. Cathexis canceled the bomb, but Ignatius was killed by the homonculii. Palio and Slim came in and helped kill the homonculii while Cathexis spoke Ignatius’s True Name and turned into a beacon of flame as a last gesture of respect for his fallen comrade.

(To be continued)

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Sailing to Stygia

Palio, Kisasi, Cathexis, Slim, and Bombik infiltrate a ball being held by the Exultant. Bombik talks to a woman excited to meet another gnome, who tells him all about her flirtations with Onnahan and how he told her he enjoys spending time at the Galete Thermae. Slim had an odd encounter with the Exultant, who simultaneously asked Slim to deliver a message to the Grand Petitioner of Stygia and chatted with a jumbo shrimp. Kisasi and Palio found out that Terund is trying to pressure Menneren economically into legalizing slavery, and Marion Karst tried to pressure Kisasi into taking the Kardunia back to Mordant. Ultimately, they sent the Kardunia to Carceri while telling everyone they were heading to the Castillion.

The next day, they set sail on the Smerdyakov and headed towards Stygia. They fought off merrow. During the attack, a sailor who had been paid by the Kardunia released a shadow demon to attack the heroes.

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Mean Streets of Menneren

Slim, Kisasi, Cathexis, and Bombik remain at Temenos Shrine for the night with Cassamyr. Gemyelt, the High Druid, gives each of them words of advice.

To Slim, she gives words of unity. To Bombik, words of redemption. To Cathexis, words of enigma. Kisasi, however, she claims is anathema to her for reasons she cannot understand.

She also reaches into Cassamyr, and sees something odd, then calls Slim over so he can also see it. She glimpses Cassamyr’s body hanging over a giant well of green liquid. Slim talks to Cathexis about it. Cathexis reads Cassamyr’s Moirae and realizes that the strand that was Cassamyr was severed and re-stitched. Each Cassamyr they see is essentially a projection of the real, captive Cassamyr, and each one has separate aspects of his personality. No one had noticed until now, and assumed he had simply gone mad.

By meditating on the problem, Cathexis realizes that a past incarnation knows exactly where Cassamyr is being held. He is in a mountain near Grailwarden and Severeign, the westernmost mountain of the Northern Crown. Within the mountain is the Vivus Well, the same place Aeschere found to create the Aeschenreia.

Bombik asked Vilkas Arcantell, the druid he’d rescued, to see what happened to the other Cassamyrs to the north.

Palio returned from the Keep of the Seal with information on the Redeemer of the Dark, one of the threats uttered by Onnahan’s illusions. He meets up with Odd and Ignatius in Crossroads and heads to Menneren. Odd has a meeting with the Seneschal of the Exultant, a man named Javier, in an attempt to create a presence for a merchant shop. She gets invited to a fancy ball the next night. Palio, meanwhile, talks to the Exultant’s daughter Septa, a paladin of Sarenrae. She tells him of the heavy corruption in the city and how her ill father is not providing proper leadership but no one can understand how to rid his mind of the disease.

The heroes reunite in the South Skein Inn in Menneren. KIsasi engages Palio’s help in trying to rescue his friend Vito from the grips of the Kardunia, the local mafia. Palio and Kisasi head down to a tavern near the docks. Slim goes down to the docks with them and gets a ship to Stygia, the Smerdyakov, led by an obitu named Ivan.

Meanwhile, Kisasi intimidates two Kardunia members into providing the location of a Kardunia safehouse. As they leave the tavern they’re jumped by three members of the Kardunia. Kisasi is knocked down, and has a brief flash of his body being covered in thick iron before knocking one of the foes prone.

They gather the other members of the group and head to the safehouse mentioned, where VIto and another Kardunia member are looking over paperwork. When Vito sees Kisasi, he’s stabbed by the other one, who is then knocked out and taken to the Brotherhood of Burden.

At the Brotherhood of Burden, he’s incarcerated. Bombik speaks about redemption with the Most Humble, Groth Tri-Tusk. Vito is spirited to Ignatius’s family manor and bribed to keep him safe.

They find out there will be a slave-trade going down in the Drowned Lands, a series of caverns that flood at high tide and empty out at low tide. This is especially strange as the slaves are being smuggled from Terund, where it’s legal, to Ravaillac, where it’s not. They sneak in early, kill the aboleths, and then hide most of the day.

When night comes and the tide goes low again, Bombik realizes the ones purchasing the slaves are Denizens of Leng, planar slave-merchants who use the slaves in their never-ending war against Leng Spiders. The pacts of Hell in Terund prevent planar outsiders who are not from Hell from interfering in Terundi affairs, so it took place as close to Terund as possible. The Denizens of Leng were paying the Kardunia money, but were going to provide alien magic to Derleth Dannibarr. Cathexis takes the scroll instead.

Two Denizens of Leng are slain, and one plane-shifts back to Leng. The slaves are rescued and one of the slavers is taken alive, to testify against the Kardunia at the ball.

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