Prologue: The Story So Far
Welcome to Bad Rolls, Worse Decisions, a Dungeons and Dragons live play podcast. Here you can listen to the current ongoing campaign, Ascension, along with the occasional one-shot, when it suits our fancy. This podcast contains swearing, sexual innuendos and general rowdiness that may not be appropriate for children. Listener discretion is advised.
I am Bree Smith, the Dungeon Master for the Ascension campaign, and each week I am joined virtually by Erin and Jon Wainwright, Josie K. and Amanda Lucas. You’ll hear from them in a bit, but first I’d like to introduce you to the game.
Ascension is a campaign that started in the Summer of 2020, which means you are being dropped into a story already in progress. But, fret not, I am here to fill you in on the story so far.
Amari is a world without magic, well, mostly. It was created by Amaranth who is represented by the three suns in the sky – The Warrior, the Queen and the dimmest, but largest of the three, the Mother.
Only once a year do all three suns set, marking a new year, but also sending the world into complete darkness, since no moon exists here. This is also the time when Amaranth’s brother, Azar the terrible, sends his cronies to wreak havoc upon the land.
This year, to the shock of the Amari population, the Mother sun set a day early, causing fear and rumors to ripple through the kingdoms. Is Amaranth dying?
Luckily, days before the setting sun, a group of chosen champions found their way to each other, meeting in the Gnome village of Virstock – Argrath, a Goliath barbarian, Dovie, a Gnome sorcerer and Samonari, a Kalashtar druid. They are also joined by Edith Spiderrage, a monk, and Troy Meadows, a Paladin of Amaranth and member of the Queen’s Guard. It was Troy who introduced the team to their destiny of saving the world from Azar’s growing darkness and finding out why Amaranth is losing her power.
Within the first few nights Virstock is attacked by hobgoblins, proving the world is about to become more dangerous. In the hopes of finding answers, the team one of the hobgoblins free, planning to follow him back to his lair. Unfortunately, the hobgoblin thought a quick death was better than facing Azar, and leaped from a cliff edge into the river bed below.
Feeling unsure of what to do, Troy suggests going to Sunspire, the capital city, and seeking answers from the temple of Amaranth. Surely the high priestess would know what was happening.
The next day, after giving the gnomes a quick lesson on how to defend themselves, Dovie, Argrath, Troy and Sam head toward Sunspire.
On the way, the group encounters an envoy of travellers, led by a dwarf named Elfric Emberheart, who are on their way to find a place to build a settlement where the lost, poor and sick can find sanctuary. Feeling the need to help, Troy uses his magic to heal those who can be saved, causing awe to ripple through the settlers. Seeing the good the party could do in their new settlement, Elfric tries to convince the five to join him, but the party only agree to accompany the envoy to the next town.
As night falls, camp is made, and the large group settles in for some rest. This is when Dovie, with her natural gift of spiritual sight, notices something unusual with Elfric. As he goes arounds the camp, checking in on his people, a beacon of light radiates from his chest, pulsing with unseen power. Dovie informs her friends of what she saw, but they brush it off since no one else can see it. Determined to get some answers, Dovie tracks down Elfric and asks if he has magic. He shakes his head, claiming if he was using magic, he was unaware he was doing so. Feeling defeated, Dovie head back to her tent and heads to bed with the rest of the camp.
But, that rest is interrupted as the camp is attacked by goblins wielding silencing spells and other magic, the first time another spellcaster has been seen outside the party. And though goblins are all eventually killed, the battle ends with 3 casualties among the civilians.
While they try to finish the night with some much needed rest, the champions each have a vision made up of moments in their life when they’ve used their powers, showing how the light in their hearts grows brighter each time. Each vision is unique, but they all end with the five surrounding a beacon of light, much dimmer than their own, then using their power to feed it, strengthen it.
They awaken in the morning, unsure of what the visions mean, and decide they need to hurry to Sunspire where they hope the Temple of Amaranth will have the answers.
The group eventually part ways with Elfric and his group in Bronpass, wishing them well on their journey to find a home. With a quick pitstop so Dovie can purchase a donkey, who they name Mule-nir, the group hurries on to Sunspire.
Upon entering Sunspire, named for the awe inspiring citadel that towers over the city, they notice preparations being made for a new year’s celebration. This brings back the worry whether the Mother sun will rise, since they don’t know why it set early. This quickens their need to get to Troy’s home – the Temple of Amaranth, which sits at the centre of the spire.
As they approach the citadel, Troy is quickly recognized and the group is ushered to the office of Lady Eva, high priestess of Amaranth. She is excited to meet those who Amaranth has gifted, especially since magic has only ever been the subject in children’s stories. In fact, the only reference to magic found in the temple library is in an old poem written centuries ago.
The party immediately examines the poem, and discovers it potentially refers to another champion who died a long time ago,whose remains and magic sword may still exist in the far north, a place called the White Wastes. They even find a map that indicates where in the Wastes they may find the tomb.
But, before heading out, the group decides to stay to celebrate the New Year, and hope that the Mother sun rises in the morning. However, the celebration is cut short when a portal opens above the city and two flying creatures, with leathery skin and golden accents, descend upon the city. In the city square, a voice bellows, “Bring me the champions of Amaranth, or watch your city fall.”.
Without a second thought, the group races toward the centre of the city, weapons ready for the battle ahead. In the square they are faced with four of the winged creatures, and a man in dark, flowing robes and a mask of gold – a user of dark magic. A battle erupts with little words shared between the two parties. Luckily for the heroes, they are joined by the city guard and make quick work of the winged demons. Unfortunately, the warlock manages to escape through another portal.
With Sunspire safe once more, the team head back to the Temple, but are intercepted by a messenger from the palace. They have been requested to dine with the royal family in reward for their heroism and in celebration of the coming sunrise.
As they arrive at the palace, they are ushered into the royal hall, where they meet King Ashspear, his Queen Phillipa, and his children, princess Kyra and prince Rhys. The King greets them with thanks, but also concerns that the champion’s presence is what brought the threat to the city. The group is taken aback by the blame placed on them, and Troy attempts to defend their actions. King Ashspear quickly reaffirms that he is grateful for their heroism, but his duty as king is to put his people’s safety first. He then announces that the party are made official champions of the kingdom and are given a chest of gold as a reward. The rest of the evening is spent in revelry. Then, to the relief of everyone, the sun rises again and the darkness fades.
After a good sleep, the party gather their things and make their way to the docks to begin their journey to the White Wastes. They manage to find a ship, the Soliel de la Reine, that will take them part of the way, to the city of Maj’jar’t, where they will need to find another ship to take them to the North.
As they are boarding the ship, a young messenger runs toward them with a letter for Edith. Her master is near his final breath, and as her monastic tradition states, she must attend the ceremony of passing. She tells the rest of the party she cannot join them for this part of the journey, but hopes, one day, that their paths will cross again.
And with that, the champions board the boat, now a team of four instead of five.
The journey to Maj’jar’t goes by relatively quickly, lasting only a few days, and soon the party finds themselves in a brand new kingdom. They say their goodbyes to the crew of the Soliel, and make their way to The Half-Full Spider, a small, seedy and raucous tavern in the dockyard.
In hopes to quickly find a new ship to take them to the north, Dovie and Troy inquire with the bartender of any shipments heading that way. She points toward two tables, identifying Captain Ameera el-Huda and Captain Ahmed, stating they are rivals, both on their way to the northern town of Wethyr to drop off supplies.
Immediately, the champions divide into two, making it a competition on who can get the best deal from their chosen Captain. Troy and Dovie move toward Ahmed, for his good natured demeanor and trustworthy face, while Argrath and Sam head toward Ameera for her smokey eyes and sex appeal.
A quick conversation later, and a little persuasion to work off some of the passage fee, Troy manages to get Ahmed to a lower price, beating Sam and Argrath. Troy also gets out of Ahmed a bit of background on the rivalry between the two captains, making note that Ameera is as likely to rob you as she is to sleep with you. That immediately puts the group at ease about their decision to go with Ahmed and his ship, Fortune’s Revenge.This doesn’t stop Sam from awkwardly flirting her way to Ameera’s bed on the Silent Cutlass.
After a fun night Sam meets up with the rest of the party boarding Fortune’s Revenge.
With the exception of Troy’s sea sickness, the first few days of the journey go by smoothly. Sam uses her skills as a sailor to help out where she can, and Dovie and Argrath attempt to help as well. They mostly get asked to mop the deck, but help is help.
During the final evening on the ship, just before dawn breaks, the party is awoken by the sounds of heavenly singing. The sound carries over the ship and most of the male sailors fall under the thrall of three sirens on the rocks ahead. Luckily, Dovie is unaffected by the sound, and both Troy and Argrath manage to shake off the effect. Sam, however, is completely hypnotized by the music and heads to the deck.
Running after her, the rest of the party soon finds a number of the crew at the ship’s railing about to jump into the water. Thinking quickly, Dovie casts shatter above the group, which now includes Samonari, causing a thunderous crack to momentarily cover the sounds of singing. Sam and a number of the crew manage to break free of the siren’s call. Shoving fabric in their ears, the four champions begin to fight. Troy mans a ballista, along with another member of the crew, doing some serious damage to the creatures, but Dovie’s spells have very little effect on them.
At this time, Sam notices a few of the crew jump over the edge of the ship, and uses her control water spell to carry them back onto the ship. Another group goes overboard and this time she jumps in after them, using wild shape to turn into an octopus, grabbing the men in her tentacles.
The battle continues for a while, but eventually the party is victorious, with zero casualties. The group finish their rest before arriving in Wethyr.
As the morning heads into afternoon, land comes into view on the horizon, white and barren. In that same moment the temperature immediately drops, as if the ship passed through a barrier, and the waters become patched with ice. They have entered the White Wastes.
Not long after, the town of Wethyr comes into view, and the ship makes dock. The town seems like a normal fishing and trapping village, but the gruffness and antisocial nature of the people have the party on edge.
As the group enter the local inn, The Barren Wastes, their attention immediately fall on a young woman sitting by herself in the corner. A sensation of familiarity comes over all of them, and an immediate sense of trust. They hurry over and introduce themselves, with very little tact, and they discover the stranger’s name is Nimue, and she is another of Amaranth’s chosen.
That evening, Dovie, Argrath, Troy and Nimue, become locked in strange dreams. At first they are pleasant dreams, of home and comfort, but Troy notices the sinister undertone in the dream and wakes with a start. In the other room,
Sam, who, as a Kalashtar, cannot dream, is jostled awake and both realize they are being carried by robed figures.
Sam and Troy immediately free themselves of their captures and discover Dovie and Argrath, along with their new friend Nimue, are still trapped in their dreams and are in the process of being kidnapped. Troy subdues his assailants and begins taking care of Argrath’s, killing them swiftly. In the hall, Samonari casts create water in an attempt to slow down Nimue and Dovie’s captures, and succeeds. But the water also hits Nimue who begins to drown. Luckily, the lack of air jars her system and she awakens.
After a quick fight, most of the enemies are either killed or captured, with only a couple managing to get away. Nimue and Sam finally manage to wake Dovie and Argrath using the same technique that worked on Nimue – suffocation.
Back in their room, Troy, with Argrath’s assistance, interrogates one of the assailants and learns that they were to be taken for a ritual.
They also learn most of the town has become infected by creatures known as the Quori. Sam informs that group that, as a Kalashtar, this is the same dream spirit that she has a symbiotic relationship with, but the townsfolk must be possessed by a corrupted version, sent by the dreaming dark.
One of the captives, Randall, agrees to help them, if they spare his life.
The group are led a short distance through the snowy plain to a hatch leading underground. They descend into the darkness and enter a hall with a large room at the end. There they find two more robed figures chanting and holding a portal open while 4 unearthly creatures with many eyes are looming toward two unconscious bodies on stone altars. Those two bodies also just happen to belong to the competitive captains, Ameera and Ahmed.
After killing the cultists holding open the portal, the team faces the four aberrations. Unfortunately, Argrath and Dovie become possessed by the creature and turn their attacks toward their friends. The group manage to knock Argrath out, forcing the possession to end, and then they focus their efforts on Dovie. Eventually, the party gets through the fight, battered, bloody, but free of all possession.
Grabbing the two captains, the party flee the underground temple and head back to the inn to gather their supplies. As the captains come to, the group explains what happened and suggests they immediately flee the town, debating whether to raze it.
Eventually, they decide to leave the town intact, but ask the captains to warn other travellers about the town, in hopes of preventing the infection from spreading.
Back safely on the ship, the party begins the final leg to Myvern. As the ship leaves the dock the group wonder if there is a way to prevent future possession. Samonari states that she can’t be possessed since she’s a Kalashtar and Argrath decides that having a lock of her hair might be the key. Out of any other ideas, Sam uses her boots of Spring to conjure flowers and weaves Argrath a flower crown with locks of her hair. No one else takes up the offer.
The remaining journey goes smoothly, giving the party rest. As they begin the approach to Myvern they notice the temperature begins to warm. Still cold, but not the frigid temperature of the rest of the white wastes. The town itself, though small, is bustling with life, relieving some of the tension from their previous encounters. Argrath, being the self-proclaimed, though not actual, leader of the group, begins to question the townsfolk using a checklist he created on the journey.
Finding the town to be acceptably not evil, the party begins asking questions about a champion and his tomb. Very quickly, they learn that the town was built by Di’dran, a previous champion of Amaranth, and his tomb is buried in the mountain to the north. They also learn that most of Di’dran’s descendants still live in the town and may be able to shed some light, starting with Eliza, the town healer.
Eliza, a soft spoken dwarf, welcomes the group into the local temple of Amaranth, and is joyful at the existence of new champions. The group questions her about Di’dran and his tomb and she informs them that all of the descendants have tried to enter the tomb, but it is guarded by a puzzle no one has yet to solve.
“No one has been gifted enough to even get past the first task.”
Eliza also informs them that the tomb itself is easily accessible, and to ask one of the miners to lead them into the mountain in the morning.
As they talk, Dovie notices a glow in Eliza’s chest, similar to what she saw in Elfric. Excited about her discovery, Dovie thanks Eliza and ushers her group out of the temple to discuss what to do next in private. As they debate whether they could truly gift their powers to another, Argrath heads toward the blacksmith.
Entering the blacksmith, Argrath is greeted by a younger female dwarf named Jasmine Nimblefingers, who confidently exclaims she’s the best blacksmith in all the kingdoms. Argrath, being easily convinced, agrees with her and purchases a brand-new great axe. She also offers a custom engraving for a little extra coin.
A little sad about needing to wait another day for his axe, Argrath exits the blacksmith and rejoins the group.
Still unsure of how to gift their power, and how exactly to approach Eliza about it, the group decide to head back to the inn and find someone to lead them to the mines in the morning. They would deal with all of it after a night of rest.
In the morning, they leave the inn bright and early and catch a group of miners heading toward the mountain. After a short hike, they are lead into the mines and directed to follow the path that goes to the tomb.
The group heads through a set of doors and find themselves in a room with a chest and 5 doors on the other side. Upon inspection of the chest they find a riddle written in Celestia and a number of stone tablets, each with a celestial letter chiseled into it. Together, they deciphered the riddle which reads:
I am a child of Amaranth
And home to her children
I am at once dry and warm and light
and wet and cold and dark
I am with you right now
Who am I?
After a few incorrect guesses, leading to Agrath and Troy being hit by spells, the group finally realizes the answer is “Amari”, their world.
After placing the correct letters into the doors, they unlock 5 new puzzles, each tailored to one of their gifts – Nimue’s wings, Troy’s shield, Dovie’s lightning and Argrath’s strength. One puzzle was suppose to use Sam’s ability to manipulate water, but instead, the group tried an alternate method of chipping away large chunks of the ceiling into the water and having Sam as an octopus, move them over the trigger.
Once all 5 puzzles are triggered, a stairwell opens back in the main room, leading them to Di’dran’s burial chamber. Once there, they are met by the dwarf champion’s spirit, who has been waiting for them for multiple centuries.
Before he is able to rest, Di’dran explains that Amaranth’s power as the mother is fading. With every person or creature born on Amari, Amaranth has to give a piece of herself, and she’s finding her powers are not limitless. This is why the mother sun does not burn as bright, and requires a longer rest. This also means her brother, Azar, knows she is growing weak, making him more confident in his scheming.
So she created her champions. Giving each of them more of her divine light, allowing them to unlock the potential for magic and other powerful gifts. Her hope is for them to not only help thwart the growing darkness, but also to make the people believe in them. Because belief is what powers divinity. And Amaranth is tired of being alone.
Di’dran also explains the ritual of gifting their powers to others. By giving a small amount of the champion’s divinity to another, they unlock that individual’s potential to become more attuned to their own gifts. He also reminds them that magic can corrupt, and to make sure they know a person’s character before choosing to share their divinity.
He points toward his sarcophagus and tells them to take the sword. “It’s power cannot be unlocked by anyone but myself, but it can be reforged. One day, when you least expect it, a door to the Isle of the First will appear. There you will meet the blacksmith called the Saytr, and she will know what to do.”
As they take the sword, Dovie also finds a hidden compartment with gems and Di’dran winks at her as she takes them. And with that, the ghostly visage fades and the party leaves.
Back on the surface, the group decide it is time to attempt the experiment of gifting their own power, and make their way back to the temple to see Eliza. After awkwardly asking if she’d be willing for them to increase her power, she cautiously agrees and the champions surround her, each touching a hand to Eliza’s shoulders.
As they draw up their powers, each push it down, through their arms and into Eliza. Dovie, with her spiritual sight, watches as their power merges with Eliza’s, making her own spirit brighten. After a moment, the ritual ceases, the experiment a success.
After many thanks from Eliza, the group leaves the temple deciding it is finally time to move forward in their adventure. After swingin by the blacksmith to pick up Argrath’s newly engraved axe, the party finds a ship and heads back toward Sunspire.
After a number of uneventful days on the sea, the champions finally land back in Sunspire. After deciding to check with Lady Eva in the temple, the group have a heated discussion about hiding the truth of Amaranth’s fading light from the general populace, feeling it would cause too much of a panic. They make their way to Lady Eva’s office, where she is excited to hear about their journey. However, before they can tell their tale, Dovie blurts out that Amaranth’s power is fading.
Shocked by the news, Lady Eva steps out of the room to fetch herself, and the rest of the group, a drink. While she is gone, Troy confronts Dovie, reprimanding her for blurting out the truth. To Dovie’s defence, she felt guilty for hiding the truth from the high priestess and chose to believe that Eva would know what to do. The two continue to butt heads until Lady Eva returns with a drink cart.
With a glass of wine to settle her nerves, the tale of the adventure is finally laid out before the high priestess. She listens intently at their story, fearful and in awe of their discoveries. The group tells of their plan to head south, in hopes of purging the rising evil, and the priestess shares her gratitude for their service.
When the question arises about what to do about the mother sun’s dimming, Eva agrees that the general public should be kept ignorant.
“The sun is up now, that’s all they need to know at this time. If things worsen, then we will decide what to do next.”
And with that, the party says their good-byes to Lady Eva and head out of the temple, toward the city.
Wanting to turn some of the gems they found into money, the group decide to head to the market square where they recall seeing a jeweler. The exchange is quick, so they take a moment to wander through the travelling stalls that are being set up.
Nimue and Sam immediately notice a vendor hauling cages out of a cart, seeing trapped, malnourished animals inside. Bringing this to the attention of the rest of the group, tempers immediately rise and Sam, Argrath and Troy prepare for a fight, with Sam even shifting into bear form.
Dovie, trying to prevent the oncoming violence, attempts a dialogue with the seller, asking about the price of the dog in one of the cages. Unfortunately, the vendor’s callousness toward the animals has him kicking the dog’s cage while quoting a cheap price for the mongrel. And with that, time slows down as Argrath begins to charge toward the man. But, before anyone can make their move, Troy brings his flail down on the man with all of his divine power surging, killing him instantly.
Taken aback by the murder, Dovie casts minor illusion in an attempt to hide the bloody scene, but the busy market had already bore witness. As the town guard approaches, Dovie dispels her illusion and they all brace for the consequences. After a quick conversation, the guards are unsure of what to do – Troy is a champion of Amaranth after all. Deciding this was a matter for the crown, the guards tell the party to stay put while they determine next steps.
The heroes immediately load the caged animals back into the vendor’s cart and flee the city.
While on the road, heading toward Elfric’s settlement in the south, the party begins to free the animals. First, they let the too skinny dog out of it’s cage, and Argrath casts speak with animals to learn more about him. The dog, who says his name is Shadow, tells his story of his old master being attacked and killed in the woods a while back, long before being captured by the vendor. Shadow also tells them he has the ability to teleport from one point to another, but this ability is limited so he wasn’t able to get away. He thanks the group for saving him and lets them know he is a good boy and would like to stay with them if he can. Argrath loves this idea and the two immediately become companions.
The other animals are let go at different times, mostly to prevent the predatory animals from eating the other ones, but after using Argrath’s ability to speak with animals to talk to a group of bats, Nimue also gains a new animal companion, Belle, a small, white, and very floofy bat.
After a night on the road, the troupe continues their journey south. As they make their way to Bronpass, they notice a wagon in ruins approaching. The group slows, and with keen eyes notice a number of bandits in hiding amongst the trees, ready for an ambush.
Dovie announces to the bandits that they are well aware of their presence and to surrender to prevent bloodshed. The bandit captain, Clairbold McLeod, steps out of hiding and asks why they should surrender. As a show of intimidation Dovie throws a fireball at the wagon which if followed by Clairbolds immediate surrender.
After a parlay, the party recognizes the bandits are thieves out of necessity and ask if they would join them on their journey to Elfric’s settlement. There the thieves have a chance of starting a new life, and using their skill to help the growing community instead of living on the road. After a quick sidebar with his companions, Clairbold agrees and joins the party.
After another day on the road, the group approaches the new settlement, not much more than a community of tents at this point, and find Elfric at a newly built communal hearth. The dwarf jumps up to greet them, and enquires about the new members of their group. They introduce him to Nimue, stating she is another of Amaranth’s champions, and then to Clairbold and his newly reformed bandit crew. Elfric greets each of them with the same enthusiasm and lets Clairbold know that his band will have a home here as long as they maintain the law of the settlement, and they will each make honest coin as part of the patrol. Clairbold and his crew agree to the terms, hopeful to have a place to call home.
After some courteous pleasantries, the champions request a private word with Elfric. He leads them to his private tent, and they proceed to tell him about their journey to Myvern and the success they had with gifting Eliza a piece of their divinity. And to the group’s surprise, he drops the bomb that Eliza is in fact his cousin, and he is originally from Myvern making him another descendant of Di’dran. Though surprised at learning the connection, Elfric’s natural magics suddenly make a lot of sense.
They ask if he’d like the ritual performed on him as well, and he answers with an very quick, yes.
They repeat the ritual as they did with Eliza, surrounding Elfric, and each placing a hand on his shoulders. Once again, Dovie sees the light that emanates from each of them, spiral down their arms and blend with Elfric’s own. The light is blinding for a flash and then it’s over, and Elfric is left staring in awe at his own hands. He thanks the party, tears in his eyes, and tells them he can feel that his magic has grown. Not sure what to do now, the group awkwardly says goodnight and tells him they’ll make camp at the edge of the settlement.
The next morning, the group awakens with one of their team missing. They check the wagon they took from Sunspire only to find the horse missing and a letter on the floor of the cart. Troy, being wracked with guilt due to his actions in Sunspire has decided to turn himself in. He cannot call himself a paladin of Amaranth while he is on the run from the law he swore to uphold. Hopefully, their paths will cross again one day.
Downtrodden, the remaining champions head to the hearth for breakfast, and look for Elfric to tell him the news. They overhear some of the other settlers speaking about how the goblin attacks in Bronpass have been happening more and more frequently. They decided to flee the town and come to this settlement in hopes of survival.
This news sparks the team into action, and they decide to head for Bronpass without delay. After finishing their food and saying a quick farewell to Elfric, and getting a blessing in return, they are once again back on the road.
Dovie, Argrath, Samonari and Nimue, the remaining four champions, take the day to walk to Bronpass, their steps light and easy after Elfric’s blessing of endurance. Since they don’t need to take as many breaks, the group makes good time and not long after the warrior sun sets, Bronpass can be seen on the horizon.
But as they get closer, they realize something is wrong. Up in the sky they notice two large winged creatures hovering over the town. Fearful for the townsfolk, the group picks up their speed and begin to run toward the town. With Dovie on Mulenir, she and Argrath out run the other two and make it to the edge of Bronpass first. But, upon seeing two shoddily built wooden towers flanking the town entrance, each stationed with a goblin, they quickly dash behind some trees before being seen.
As Nimue and Sam finally catch up, Argrath pulls them into the trees, and away from the goblin’s sight. In hopes of getting both goblins at once Dovie cast fireball between the two towers. The towers and goblins are engulfed in flame, and though the damage kills one outright, the other manages to jump off the tower and survive. It then reaches for a horn at it’s side and blows, alerting the two Eater’s of Hope flying above the town.
The party enters a fight with the Hope Eaters and the remaining goblin, and though the battle is quick, it is hard won with a number of the group taking severe damage. This doesn’t stop the champions from running straight to the centre of town where they find a familiar masked robed figure, and a group of goblins, escorting chained prisoners through a portal.
Once again, the party launch into battle, with Dovie, Nimue and Argrath focusing their attacks on the robed figures while Sam attempts to free the captives. The group overwhelms the masked enemy and he again flees through the portal, closing it behind him. Now without a leader, the goblins aren’t sure of what to do and begin to attack the party. They are clearly outmatched and all but one are killed. The surviving goblin is bound, and Dovie questions it while the rest of the party releases the captives.
Dovie learns that the masked figure, whose name is Roreth, is one of Azar’s lieutenant’s and the portal he uses takes him outside of town where another portal is waiting to take him back to Azar’s hellish plane. Other than that, the goblin has little information, claiming they are just told what they need to know and nothing else.
With the captives now free, the team is introduced to a few of the half-orcs who are part of the town’s militia. They escort the group back to their headquarters where they discover the other militia members waking up from being knocked out. They thank the party for helping out, and take the goblin to be locked up.
With exhaustion finally kicking in, the group head to the inn and retire for the evening.
The next morning, the group is awakened by the sound of people coming from the tavern below. When the group exit their rooms they see a crowd has gathered below and Ortegar the innkeeper is waving at them. He rushes up the stairs and tells them the townsfolk heard about them saving their people the night before and wanted a chance to meet the champions and give them gifts.
Reluctant at first, feeling a bit uncomfortable with the attention, the group eventually agree to meet with everyone and make their way to a couple of tables that have been set up outside. Ortegar gets the crowd under control and has them line up to meet each of the champions.
While some of the folks only want to shake the hand of a hero, a number of them also offer gifts to each of the champions. Samonari is gifted with fruit and fish, Argrath gets a large stash of ale and children give him carved bears and wooden swords, Dovie is gifted with local wine and flowers, while Nimue attracts the hunters of the town and is gifted with pelts and meat. With each gift given the champions feel a small exchange of power sparking between themselves and the gift bearer. The feeling is curious, and they aren’t sure what to think of it.
A hooded woman approaches Nimue and lays an old compass on the table. In a husky female voice she claims the compass was an heirloom and her most valued treasure. She would be honored if Nimue would accept it as an offering from one ranger to another. As Nimue accepts the compass, the same feeling of power exchanging between them happens, but this time it’s much more intense. Dovie, with her spirit sense, sees the hooded woman absorb a small drop of Nimue’s divine light and the glow pulses in the woman’s heart. Shocked at what she sees, she goes over to Nimue and explains what happens.
Unlike the others they saw today, the glow in the woman’s core doesn’t fade. It reminds the group of Elfric and Eliza, and the potential that glow presents. Nimue asks the woman, who reveals her name is Soveliss, to meet her in the inn later that day, leaving their reasoning a secret for now. Soveliss nods at the invitation and leaves, letting the group continue their meet and greet.
After the crowd finally clears out, the group looks at their stash and discusses what to do with all the gifts they’ve been given. They decide they will only keep what they can carry on Mulenir, and find a way to donate the rest. After a quick brainstorming session, the group decide to split the supplies and send one to Virstock since Dovie feels a responsibility for them, and the other to Elfric to help the settlement. After asking Ortegar if there is a service in town that could deliver the goods, he recommends they see Trym Stoutman, the owner of the general store, since she trades with Virstock regularly.
Heading toward the shops, Argrath decides to break off from the group in search of a butcher to find some good cuts of steak for a celebratory dinner. Feeling the group deserves it. As he enters the shop, the butcher, Conrad, can’t contain his excitement of meeting one of Amaranth’s champions and offers Argrath the best cuts of meat. After leaving with a number of steaks, fish and some goodies for Shadow, Argrath begins to head back to the group.
However, he is stopped by the siren call of someone hitting steel on an anvil. Walking down the road a bit, he discovers The Community Greatsword, a small shop with weapons and armor displayed in the window. Argrath walks to the covered area where he greets Randall the blacksmith, interrupting his work. Randall gestures for Argrath to meet him in the shop, and after a couple of minutes the two men are inside. Finding Randall’s goods fairly common, Argrath asks if he had anything that would make a good gift for one of his friends. Randall mentions that the town generally doesn’t require anything fancy, but he does like to work on more artistic pieces in his spare time. After popping into the back, the blacksmith returns with a dagger where the hilt has embellishments that look like branches of a tree. Argrath inquires if Randall would be willing to sell it, and he said he will once it’s finished.
“Give me one more day to add some final touches, and then I’d be happy to sell it to you.”
Happy with his purchases, Argrath heads back to the inn. There, he is updated that the others have made a deal with Trym to include their goods on their next delivery to Virstock, and that they’d also brokered a deal to start a new trade route with Elfric’s people. They just need to separate and prepare the shipments to be picked up later.
Nimue, noticing Soveliss’s return to the inn, asks the group to join her and head over to the woman. Moving away from the main road, Nimue explains to Soveliss the gifting of divine power, and asks if she would be willing to participate in the ritual, stating that Dovie can see she has the potential for such a gift. Removing her hood, revealing herself as an elf, she agrees, unable to hide the awe in her face.
Once again, the group begins the ritual they’ve done twice before, but this time something feels different. As Dovie, Argrath and Sam go to muster their power, they feel a resistance. They instead watch as Nimue, almost in a trance, takes both of Soveliss’s hands and the two are enveloped in light. After a moment, the light fades and the two women release each other’s hands.
Not sure how to react, Argrath announces he bought steaks and is going to ask Ortagar to make them. With the broken silence, the group shake off the intensity of the ritual and invite Soveliss to join them for dinner. She nods as she puts her hood back up, wanting to hide her race from the others in town.
Ortegar is happy to make the champions a fine meal, and offer to include some sides for them. Argrath as thanks, invites him and his wife to join them as well, stating there should be plenty to go around.
The group dines, enjoying the company of their new friends, but, just before the Warrior sun sets, Nimue’s senses are piqued, telling her a portal is near. She warns the group and they run outside, just in time to see a number of Eaters of Hope appear out of a portal, led by one that looks more intelligent. Gesturing for the creatures to spread to different parts of the town, the leader bellows, “Bring us the champions, or your town will perish.”
Not giving anyone the time to turn them in, the group run toward the voice, readying themselves for battle.
They are met at the center of town by the abhorrent lord and three eaters of hope and beyond the square they can hear screams where the other eaters have begun terrorizing the townspeople. Without a word, the champions launch their attack on the waiting fiends.
Argrath rages and rushes to the abhorrent lord, swinging his new axe with fervour, while Nimue supports him with her arrows. Dovie and Sam focus their attention on the Eaters, trying to take them one at a time. Though the group is outnumbered, they manage to clear out the lesser fiends, and then completely focus on the leader. And, just as the last sliver of light from the Warrior sun hits the horizon, Argrath swings his axe for the final blow on the abhorrent lord.
As the axe connects, time slows, and the world fills with golden light. A tall, beautiful, dark skinned woman, clad in golden armour, approaches them, her face solemn. “I have taken care of the other creatures. My brother is getting sloppy if he’s sending his creatures before my sun is fully set.”
The group stare at their goddess in awe, unsure of what to do. She smiles at each of them and holds out a hand.
“Come with me, I have something for you.”
And with a flash of golden light, the world disappears and they are standing in a throne room, with a golden seat at one end and a gilded mirror at the other. As they stand with Amaranth, she addresses them, one by one, granting them their gifts.
Sam’s body is wrapped in water which solidifies into armor and then is absorbed into her skin. Now, when anyone hits her at melee range, they will feel the force of a tidal wave in return.
Dovie, with her natural gift to see other’s divine light, receives the ability to muster her own radiance and breath it at her foes as crackling lightning.
Argrath is shown how when he rages, he can summon the spirit of the bear inside him to amplify his battle yell into rallying cry to inspire his allies.
And finally, Nimue is gifted with a bond between herself and her bat Belle. She can speak to Belle telepathically and gains the ability to shift her consciousness into her companion.
After giving her gifts to each of her champions, Amaranth kisses each of them a top their heads, wishes them well in their journey and sends them back to Bronpass.
And that is the story so far.