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The story so far (my D&D game, level 1-10)



Okay, so the D&D game is now officially on hold for probably four months. Here's what the PCs have dealt with in their first 10 levels, or the "heroic" stage of the campaign.

Much of the campaign took place in Melora's Cauldron, a huge, ring-shaped series of islands, very much like a massive crater. It's always a swirling sea, with strange things bubbling up from the center.

The PCs began life as the higher-ranking crew of the good ship, King Johan's Pride, the last privateer vessel of the doomed kingdom of Karruth, under a long-term war with their neighboring Roman imperial theocracy neighbors, Troial. Their captain, Captain Evadre Plath, sent them after rumors of the young prince fleeing Karruth. Apparently, ships flying the flag of Orcus swooped in, protecting the prince's boat from a Troial warship as sea-gypsies carried him to freedom.

Following the story of the prince's escape, the PCs went to war-plagued Karruth. Apparently, the invading forces of Troial had been largely held back by invading forces of gnolls, which is NOT an improvement--Troial at least takes prisoners. In desparation--or seeing an opportunity--the Eladrin court sorcerer sacrificed himself in a ritual that linked the capital of Karruth with the Feywild--in the ensuing magical chaos, the prince and some of the court was able to escape, and the gnolls were mostly held back by vines and fey creatures.

The PCs rescued a couple of artifacts from Plath's estates--a ship's steering wheel that, when fed enough gems to buy a small island, can shuffle an entire ship between planes (the source of some of Plath's legends), and her swashbuckler's rapier. With some effort, they carved a gap in the gnolls, and helped the 30 or so people that was all that was left of the capital of Karruth escape to some safe islands.

After that mess, some time off seemed deserved, so they went to Paraquay, the lawless island off the coast of Zhen Rhou. A local figure known only as The Leper (because he was, well, a leper) asked them to retrieve a lost magic item from the crypts nearby--a golden suit of armor with a long history, possibly linking it to the birth of the god Pelor, one of a set of artifacts. They were successful, but when their rogue brought the taint of the shadowfell with him (and became a wraith), the densely-populated heart of the island became a haunted death trap.

The Leper began a ritual to bind some of the dead souls, revealing himself to be a lich and a vestige-pact warlock in the service of Tenebrous, a dead god somehow related to Orcus. The PCs protected him as he fed the soul of the party rogue to Tenebrous (the GM did not inform them that this was coming), and the spread of the wraiths was contained--even if the wraiths themselves still roamed the streets of the slums.

The Leper dropped some clues of a conspiracy of Orcus supporters--the order of the red skull--which seemed to be the group that liberated the young prince of Karruth.

Captain Plath, not the sanest individual ever since the death knell of her homeland, attempts to organize the various captains of Paraquay to protect the remnants of Karruth and fight Troial's tyrrany...and she's set up. At the same time, the aristocracy of Paraquay--all of whom wear masks of illusion, and at least one of whom is a succubus in service to the demon prince Grazzt--invite the more diplomatic members of the party (and their barbarian gnoll) over for dinner.

A black dragonborn, using a strange mixture of shadow-magic and traditional swordmagery, flees into the night with Captain Plath to his ship. In the party's attempt to liberate her, Plath takes an arrow to the chest (thanks to the dragonborn's corrupted arcana). He dives into the water with Plath's body.

The party decided to get off the island for a time, looking into some recent drying up of the trade routes between Zhen Rhou and Paraquay. A pair of Aurinoculum dragons (I can't remember the exact name) had taken residence, under orders of their father to keep spell-casters away--difficult in an area infested with sorcerers serving Zhen Rhou's jade dragon. Something happened to form the cauldron some 300 years ago, and the dragon was snooping to find out what.

Meanwhile, in the heart of the Cauldron, agents of Zhen Rhou were digging something from the bottom of the ocean, at massive cost to themselves. When they found their prize, the waters of the cauldron stopped moving, and it began to rain.

Weeks later, it's still raining, and prison riots have broken out across Zhen Rhou. Whatever Zhen Rhou liberated, it seemed to be part of a prison binding a water primordial, an ancient power of flood and storm bound by Torog, the god of prisons and torture. Some 300 years ago the Cauldron was created in a terrible cataclysm--at the same time, far across the world, an astral city got yanked into the physical world, creating a planar port town, and a dwarven citidel collapsed utterly.

Somehow, the Jade Dragon of Zhen Rhou is interested in this, and has acquired a part of this ancient prison. The party journeys to the Underdark city of Malbraethyr, largest temple of Torog on this plane, to puzzle out the rest of the story of this ancient prison, now unlocked. After a long journey through cities destroyed by mad tinkers, gnoll-dominating plots by Grazzt, Shadowdark cities of bound souls and drow sorcery, they enter the city gates triumphantly, slaying the guardian dragon as an audience of Torog worshippers cheer. Seth, the swordmage, notices a black dragonborn skulk out of the audience, into the city beyond the gates.

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