Little 'n' Large
Adventure Log Summary
The party set about making a name for themselves first by investigating the disappearance of a family of wheelwrights who had been relocating to Gosfair. The family was discovered as captives of a local kobold tribe, but further investigation suggested that the kobolds had been set up to cover up a plot by Asmodeus-worshiping cultists to kidnap and sacrifice innocent victims. Interrogation of prisoners lead to the PCs locating the hiding place of this cult and eliminating most of their number, including their leader Pavel.
Fresh from this victory, the group were hired on a trial basis by local ‘fixer’ Cezar to purge a nearby copper mine of undead infestation. This turned out to be the result of the owner’s attempt to use necromancy as a means of cheap labour, which had unfortunately turned on her and the residents of her village. Despite some tough battles, the mine was cleared and order restored.
However, the party was not happy with the commission taken by Cezar and conditions on future work. So instead, they accepted two further jobs from alternative sources. The first was from Thena, a scholar, who wanted someone to clear out an abandoned, hidden laboratory of any dangers so she could renovate it for further use. The second job was from Bryseus, a dealer in magical items, who claimed she had inadvertently acquired part of a dragon’s hoard and wanted someone to slay the dragon before his minions could track down and kill her.
Purging Mayhew’s Laboratory of insects, oozes and gelatinous cubes was done quickly, to allow enough time to travel south and locate the lair of Korax, the dragon. Finding it took some investigative work and favours for a local shifter tribe who had been ousted from their ancestral homes to make way for the lair, but once it was located the PCs worked their way through the underground tunnels and caverns and brought down the green dragon Korax.
Returning to claim their prizes, one of the PCs who had stayed behind heard of an annual competition nearby called Goblinfest, organised to cull tribes of goblins that otherwise pillaged the village too frequently. Teams of adventurers compete to be the group that collects the most sacrificial implements from various of four tribes of goblins. The party entered, and broke the previous record in their victory, narrowly beating a group of paladins of Bahamut.
These paladins were not happy, as they had been intending to use the prizes from the competition to fund an expedition to retake a lost temple holy to their order. This temple had been twisted by invading demonic influence. The PCs agreed to undertake this task on their behalf, and travelled south to locate the underground village hiding The Temple of Clear Springs.
The temple had indeed become corrupted, and the party fought their way through many minor demons in the upper levels. Progressing through the temple elemental foes are found in more abundance, as well as a large number of genasi. Some of these appear to be corrupted but a large number of them are prisoners waiting for sacrifice or induction. Freeing a large contingent of them, the PCs and their new allies assault a room containing a portal to the elemental chaos to bring through new sacrifices and enemies. This is successful, but at the cost of all of the genasi allies falling in battle save one child.
This victory allows a short respite, before the party descends to the lowest levels of the temple and battles a corrupted angel of Bahamut that seems to be guarding a portal to those responsible for the invasion and corruption of the temple. Steeling themselves, the PCs then enter the portal and go through a series of battles and challenges before facing a Vrok servant of Pazuzu. Defeating him, the group returns through the portal to the temple, which is now purified and good once more.
The party then departs to travel back to the Order of the Hammer to claim their reward. Along the way an ally gets a message to them to inform them that Cezar has put a bounty on their heads for spurning his offers of work, and an ambush is being prepared. Forewarned, they are able to overcome this obstacle and make their way to Gosfair, where they extract promises from the paladins to raise the genasi allies while occupying the now safe temple.
Then, tiring of his threats, the PCs ride to Ravensburgh and force a showdown with Cezar and his allies, defeating him in the town square for all to see. Cezar negotiates for clemency, but reveals that he is operating in the area as an agent of another power, with regular payments and inspections from a representative, a dragonborn named Rakanx. He is terrified of this person and hands over everything in return for being set free but with a cover story of his death, as the next payment is due very soon.
With the power vacuum in the town, the party attempts to set up a council of the influential residents. Whilst doing so, Pennyworth learns that Brysias’ brother Fyodor is having financial difficulties and is seeking to sell items urgently. Seeing a bargain to be had, as well as helping out, the PCs arrange to meet him in a nearby village to see his wares. This turns out to be an ambush, and the group is forced to battle Fyodor and his allies.
Afterwards they learn that Fyodor also has links to Rakanx, and owes him vast debts via gambling debts with intermediaries. This is no coincidence. Rakanx was seeking leverage over Brysias, as the power he acts on behalf of is a black dragon from far to the south named Shivastri who wishes to move in to the local area and has thus been meddling in local affairs to gain control of key aspects.
The PCs learn that Rakanx has been tying up loose ends in the area and will be travelling south-east to procure a gryphon for speedy travel back south, to report back to Shivastri. They decide to ride him down, and chase down his trail to a mountain-top, where they interrupt a ritual he is performing to take control of a handful of gryphons.
more to come
Some time passes…
A very abbreviated summary, undoubtedly involving many misspellings and skipping over/forgetting important plot or character information that others can fill in. Thus, what follows is:
‘A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF RECENT EVENTS INVOLVING THE HEROIC INDIVIDUALS COMPRISING THE SOCIETY OF THE LITTLE AND THE LARGE’
We last visited the Little and the Large in the city of Mausolus in Necrosha, where the party had defeated the Pope of Corruption and incited full-fledged revolt against the rule of the Necrocount. Having secured alliances with the various power-brokers in the city the party immediately headed towards Wiedersburg where the dread Necrocount held his field head-quarters.
Near the town the party connected with the armed forces of their allies from Wissen and observed that the Necrocount was all but unassailable in the fortified castle of Wiedersburg. Deception was required carry to day… First, the Dracolich, a general of the Necrocount that patrolled the skies above Wiedersburg needed to be dealt with. Riding to within a sight of the town the party challenged the undead dragon, naming it a coward should it refuse. No wyrm could allow such insult to its pride go unchallenged, of course, and the Dracolich soon swooped down – to its doom. Brandishing its severed skull the party further mocked the Necrocount and dared him to come and face them himself on the field of battle.
There was no reply, but as the night fell the castle gates burst open and the dark legions sallied forth under the cover of darkness. This too was part of the plan, for a trap had been prepared for them – a empty mock camp had been set up with the real army hiding in ambush nearby. But this was not a battle the party would participate in, for their task was to enter the emptied castle by stealth and attempt an assassination upon the person of the Necrocount himself.
Many a bard has sungs songs of the bravery of the Little and Large as they fought their way from the spectre-haunted parapets down to the bowels of the castle where they faced the terrible Dead Man, the Best Striker in the Game, and finally confronted the Necrocount himself in his sanctum sanctorum. There did that dark prince fall, and there did Max claim his crown and title: the Necrocount is dead, long unlive the Necrocount!
Various mopping up and post-coup regional restabilisation operations ensued, including extreme prejudice in dealing with certain treacherous allies (Viscount von Braun), convincing certain movers and shakers in Necrosha that backing Max as Necrocount was in everyone’s interests (the orc-lich Butan) and striking valuable alliances with the neighbours (diplomatic ties with Wissen and in particular deals with the dwarven clan down south-west).
But most intriguingly, rummaging through the Necrocount’s personal files, the party learned of his correspondence with a mysterious individual known only as the ‘Hawk’. It appears this ‘Hawk’ is the leader of a secret organisation with operations in a wide-spread area through and beyond the Hundred Kingdoms. The ’Hawk’s’ main interest appears to be the study, discovery and exploitation of the mysterious towers once belonging to the near-mythical Nine, the group of legendary heroes from ages long past. For example, of the Nine the Starchild was intimately associated with the Temple of Clear Waters in the Borderlands. The ‘Hawk’ and the Necrocount were cooperating over the study of the Tower of Ivory that is either located in Necrosha or on a separate plane that can be accessed through Necrosha. [Editor’s note: little rusty here, I can’t remember the info on all the towers. Was it ‘Ivory’, is it in Shadowfell, and have the Hawk’s agents already gained access to it?]
The connection between the ‘Hawk’ and the Band of Five, and the disconcerting energy that empowered the Band and which so strangely resembles that animating Pennyworth, was confirmed by a skirmish en route to Wissen with the remaining members of the Band of Formerly Five. An interrogation of the surviving members revealed that another tower, that of the Ruby standing in the vast Yuan-ti-infested deserts of the north-west, had been discovered by the Band previous to the great tournament. The ’Hawk’s’ agents had then supposedly ransacked it. [Ed: But could not gain access to all of it?] It now bears remembering that the party has in its possession the Crown of Swords, won at the great tournament at Bad Taubersheim and once thought to belong a member of the Nine. The Band of X’s sponsor is known to be after this item… why are they so interested in the legacy of the Nine?
As part of the post-Wiedersburg settlements Max had struck a bargain with the dwarves whose holdings border Necrosha and Wiedersburg. Part of this was a promise to destroy a great Bullette, a land-shark mutated far beyond the bounds allowed by nature and which preyed upon the dwarven folk. In the tunnels beneath the mountains the party hunted down this monstrousity – and, to their shock, learned that it was controlled by an agent of Shivastri herself! It appears that the ’Hawk’s’ machinations extended even to the Borderlands, where the conspiracy’s agents are collaborating with Shivastri and her beholder consort Kagil in the exploration of the Tower of Flesh. The name suggests that this tower is the source of the knowledge enabling Kagil to construct his hybrid monstrosities… The party realised that it was now time to head back south and take care of unfinished business, for the shadow Shivastri was casting over the Borderlands was looming darker and darker.
But before the party embarked on the next leg of their quest Theorn was called to the aid of his people in the Feywild. Accepting his destiny the noble Shifter departed to the lands of ever-summer. In his place stepped the dwarf Eli who, upon orders from his clan-matriarch and under secretive directions from the dwarven secret service, added his axe into the party’s cause.
On their way south the party had a pit-stop in the cloud-city of Gordon in the kingdom of Voltan. This stop proved more interesting that might have been thought, for they were contacted by Merrick, who once again sought the aid of the party for his patron Duke Erron Banster: to this effect he promised various inducements; Pennyworth, for instance, would be given a small contingent of Warforged from the Duke’s personal armoury. Owing to the more imminent threat of Shivastri the party would not immediately fly to Merrick’s cause but swore to meet up again with him after a set period of time.
Further, the party was set upon by the astral assassins lead by one of Shivastri’s and Kagil’s unwholesome progeny. A pitched battle on the field of dreams saw them off, but the party now know that they were anticipated.
After a variety of other shenanigans involving evil Easter Island statues, the world’s richest civil servant, Pennyworth’s death and a mocktail (*), the party hopped back on their trusty griffons and headed directly to Laketown, a large town south of Ravensburg that was anticipated as the next target of Shivastri’s wrath. The great dragon had been rapidly consolidating her power in the Slough of Despond at the southern reaches of the Borderlands, destroying all who would stand before her. Should Laketown fall, then all of the Borderlands would be ripe for her picking.
Yet more ballads are sung of the desperate heroism of that took place at the Battle of Laketown, where the free people of the Borderlands rallied around the Little and the Large and, far outnumbered, nevertheless withstood the might of Shivastri’s legions. In rebuffing the assault upon Laketown, scattering her army, killing several of Shivastri’s dragon generals and finally bringing down the dragon-beholder hybrid Illiot, one of her own children, the ancient dragon truly tasted bitter defeat. But any celebrations would be tempered by the knowledge that though Shivastri’s forces were bloodied at least two more armies still stand ready in her service. And that a dragon enraged is a dragon more terrible still…
In the lull after the battle Max took the opportunity travel to Necrosha through a sorcerous portal and, sensing a renewed connection with the arcane energies of that land, cast a necromantic ritual most intricate and portentous. Its full implications are not for this telling, but the first step on Max’s apotheosis as the immortal Lichgrave of Necrosha had been taken. And also, Theorn had appeared from Feywild, but much changed…
Gathering their counsel, the Little and the Large realised that defeating Shivastri was not something that even they could not hope to achieve alone; it was the responsibility of all the free people’s of the Borderlands to rally together. They found aid in many unexpected sources, as adventurers, refugees and locals alike struck against their oppressor. These varied and intrepid actors included Bullywugs and elves carrying the fight deep into the dragon’s marshes, the notorious adventuring group Double-Fuckers freeing a Bullywug shaman with crucial insight on the dragon’s plans, and a party arriving from the Feywild to liberate Shifters from a prison camp. It appears (as Theorn confirmed) that in addition to menacing the Borderlands, Shivastri had sent raiding parties to the Feywild to kidnap and bring vast numbers of prisoners to feed her consort’s mutagenic experiments. What unnatural creations were Kagil and Shivastri attempting to bring to life?
[Ed: These latter are the alt-parties undertaking ‘side-quests’ that tie into the overall plot. There are two more planned: the Double-Fuckers going after Shivatri’s armoury, and a party of composed of Warforged (that Pennyworth liberated/stole at Laketown and gave self-awareness through the Green Flame) and buddies whose mission is to raid Kagil’s menagerie. The success of these side-quests will influence the set-up of the final confrontation with Shivastri – they better not fail! So far we have been successful…]
The smoke had barely had the time to drift away from the skies above the half-destroyed Laketown when the Little and the Large received an urgent missive from none other than Napoleon: they were invited to attend to him at a location near Ravensburg at the greatest haste. Suspecting a trap but unable to turn down a request from their dear friend the party departed via a portal to the Temple of Clear Waters, and then struck onwards to the assigned meeting-place, the very kobold cave where the party had been first bloodied.
And it was a trap, indeed: glowering menacingly through a portal Shivastri herself appeared, with Napoleon in her claws. The party fought desperately against an ambush led by the twins Zaiden and Braiden, yet another set of noxious dragon-beholder hybrids, but could not reach their erstwhile leader in time. As two more of her children departed from this world Shivastri swore terrible vengeance. The Little and Large could only watch in horror through the fading portal as she consumed Napoleon. But if Shivastri thought this would break our heroes’ resolve she would have cause to regret the depth of her error.
Now, it was personal.