Shadows of Acheron

1 - The Legend of Woodfall
  • Our party first arrived in Woodfall as guards for Ellsworth, a prospector hoping to strike it rich in the gold mines. They were put up in the inn by him, and asked to wait around in town in case he needed their services further. Later, they helped Ellsworth when Jack Langrishe attempted to cheat him on a land deal, and discovered a rich deposit of residium on the land, much more valuable than gold.

  • They soon turned their attentions to the road back to Lookshy, as reports were coming in of attacks along the way. They found a maddened forest dryad who was manipulating animals to attack travelers and killed her, freeing up the trade routes from Woodfall to The Five Kingdoms.

  • Ellsworth’s mine was continuously vandalized, tools broken, and signs left warning him to shut the mine down. The party blamed Langrishe and got in a huge bar fight with his goons, but were mistaken. The true culprits were a group of Drow, who attacked the town after Ellsworth re-opened the mines. Our heroes defended the town alongside Langrishe’s men, their previous enemies.

  • A small group of peaceful Drow, led by what turned out to be two of our heroes’ long-lost father, befriended Woodfall and promised to help defend it agains the other Drow. They sent our heroes to the Tomb of Squee to obtain an old relic, the Goblin Tri-Crystal, to aid in the town’s defense.

  • Outside the tomb, they first met the mysterious and powerful Azerus. They delivered the magical scroll to him they had found by chance, and he made note of the unmistakable air of destiny and fate that surrounds them.

  • They were successful in proving themselves, and obtained the Goblin Tri-Crystal, capable of creating a powerful magical shield.

  • Upon their return, they set up a magical shield to block the exit from the deep caves the Drow dwell in. They find Fireface Metalbeard using the residium from Ellsworth’s mine to craft magical weapons for the town’s guards. He seems stressed out, and later actually starts burning the town down. Our heroes stop him, and find out the residium is cursed and makes users of it go insane.

  • Our heroes find out the Drow are coming to attack the town in full force in one day. They also discover the true reason for the attack… to prevent the use of the residium from the mine, as it contains the essence of an ancient demon. The “helpful” Drow turn out to be a crazed cult hoping to free the demon.

  • In a glorious final battle, the town’s defenses are set up as our heroes venture into the mine to destroy the cult. Using barrels of explosives, they power their way down into the lair of the demon, where the last rituals are being performed to release it. After a hard-fought battle, they destroy the demon, causing the entire mine to explode and form a huge crater. They are saved by their new friend Azerus, who tells them they have a destiny elsewhere.
2 - The Rise and Fall of Wilhelm Maelstrom
  • Anna explains that she and the A.L.E. members were about to head out into the wild to explore Rhyxis, the town where Warren and Anna are from, to find out what happened there when they were kids, and what the fate of their father was.
  • Upon reaching Rhyxis, the party discovers that it has become inhabited by goblins, who fire arrows at them. They use the Goblin Tri-Crystal to shield themselves from the arrow fire. The goblins stop firing when they recognize the artifact. The party is welcomed into the town.
  • The goblins apologize, saying they have had a large number of attacks recently by undead warriors.
  • After a shaky initial meeting, the town elder invites the group into his abode and offers them a pipe to smoke. As the group partakes, they are shown a vision of the past events which occurred in Rhyxis, including Wilhelm Maelstrom’s sacrifice in order to save the town, only to become an undead general in the process.
  • Warren decides that they must take the fight to Wilhelm himself, storming his castle and putting him to rest once and for all.
  • They crafted and applied a special mixture ointment to their skin, making them smell just like undead. With this “disguise”, they were able to sneak into the castle itself.
  • Once inside, they fought past all the guards and eventually reached Wilhelm’s main chambers. After an epic battle, Wilhelm was defeated. Warren picked up his spear and vowed to use it in his father’s stead to honor his sacrifice.
3 - Azerus Explains It All
  • After helping the goblins fight the undead, Warren gives them back the Goblin Tri-Crystal, which was a cultural artifact of the goblin people. The other party members were not so keen on this idea, but the goblins were happy.
  • The members of the A.L.E. decide to stick with the party a bit longer since they were heading even deeper into the wilderness. They wanted to map the area out.
  • The party and guests headed north, toward the beacon marker that Azerus gave them. After many days / weeks in the wild, they finally reached Azerus’s Tower.
  • After admiring the many things on display in Azerus’s museum, they accidentally set off the alarms when Izzy poked something valuable. They had to fight various constructs and magical sentries. Azerus comes into the room just as they finish fighting, and apologizes for not deactivating the wards sooner.
  • Azerus also explains that recently, magical energies resembling the Nightmare have been detected all over the globe. Something is happening, and it is feared that the Nighmare is going to return.
  • The Sword of Yusha has dwindled in power, and is a shell of its former glory. Azerus entrusts the blade to Tamar, feeling that Zyne will be expecting Azerus to bring the sword out into the open himself. The party must keep the sword safe and secret, and make their way to the great island city of Arkadia.
  • After all was said and done, Azerus sent them on their way. However, he sends Gary and Ozymandias on two different missions. Gary was to investigate shadow energy coming from his Gnoll brethren in the north, while Ozymandias was to travel east in order to try to find a way across the great magical rift in the center of the continent.
4 - Rumble in the Jungle
  • The party set off from Azerus’s Tower with a new understanding of the world around them. Gods are real, the world was once nearly destroyed, and it is now their turn to play a part in saving the world again.
  • The group trekked many miles over many weeks, traveling through rivers, over plains, and finally reaching a thicker jungle area.
  • As they made their way, the group had the distinct feeling they were being followed. Finally, Izzy sent a well-placed arrow through the trees, hitting a troll scout.
  • The party chased the scout through the jungle, and saw a large pyramid structure through the trees. They were running so fast, they accidentally ran right into an ambush. Troll witchdoctors and warriors fought them with such ferocity that the ground beneath them caved in, sending the party and trolls tumbling through some underground chambers.
  • The group found itself deep inside troll catacombs underneath the pyramid. It seemed that the trolls had tapped into some sort of dark energy, and were using it to resurrect some ancient dragon that they had worshiped as a deity.
  • Battling through the pyramid, the group eventually found its way to the very apex of the structure. Above the jungle trees on the top of the stone pyramid, they faced down the resurrected dragon, and were able to defeat it with the help of the Sword of Yusha.
  • The group realized that even now, someone was watching them battle the beast. While unsuccessful in tracking down their spy, they decided to move on towards Arkadia.
5 - Betrayed... Zyne Style!
  • After the events of the troll temple, the party made its way further north. They traveled for a few days / weeks with little interruption. Occasionally they feel like they are being watched, but can never find anyone out there.
  • Eventually, they find themselves on a rolling plain and see the smoke of a campfire in the distance. When they reach the campsite, they find a man who calls himself Lucius. More importantly, they see that Lucius is taking care of a near-mortally-wounded Gary, who they had last seen at Azerus’s Tower.
  • Tamar used the Sword of Yusha to cast a ritual in order to heal Gary. The party doesn’t notice, but this catches Lucius’s attention. He offers to stay with the group and tend to Gary, as well as be their guide the rest of the way into Arkadia.
  • Gary regains consciousness and says he was investigating the gnolls’ experiments with the shadow energy, as Azerus instructed. However, they far outnumbered him, and he was nearly killed. The group decides to help Gary finish his mission, and they head deep into a forest to track the gnolls.
  • After killing a few scouts, they force one of them to take them to the main gnoll camp. Upon reaching the camp, they see a full sacrificial ritual underway. A huge battle ensues, and the group is able to kill the gnoll warriors and priests in the area. However, the priests completed the ritual just before they died…
  • The gnoll who was being sacrificed began to be infused with dark shadow energy, and stood up off the alter, growing to twice his normal size. The party struggled, but were able to defeat this new threat as well.
  • Seeing the opportunity to strike while the party was tired, Lucius revealed that he was a cleric of Zyne, and that he would be stealing the Sword from them. They of course disagreed, and so another fight began. To the party’s surprise, Lucius had a whole squadron of Zyne’s agents with him, and they appeared from the trees to attack.
  • In the fray, the party focused on Lucius, and were able to force him to surrender. However, his entourage refused to give up and kept attacking. Fearing death, Tamar got a feeling that the Sword could help in this situation. With it, he was able to create a portal quickly, although he had no idea where it led.
  • The party jumped through the portal, carrying their hostage Lucius with them.
6 - Not in Portland
  • The party arrived on the other side of the portal, and found themselves in a large marble building. This is a transportation hub for the city of Portland, allowing residents of Arkadia or Portland to teleport back to civilization while they are out exploring in the wilderness. However, the party members are not in fact authorized to teleport into this circle, and they are also holding a hostage.
  • The guards yell for them to release Lucius, who was claiming to be kidnapped by barbarian ruffians. Eventually, the party yields and is forced to let Lucius go. The guards say not to cause any problems in Portland.
  • The group sets about trying to trade goods they have in order to get Arkadian currency. After some trading, they are able to buy clothing more suited to Arkadian styles so they don’t stand out so much. They decide to rest at an inn for the night.
  • During the night, a doppelganger who was an agent of Zyne attempted to steal the sword by posing as Faren. Tamar saw through the ruse, and a fight broke out in the hotel room. The assassin was defeated.
  • The next morning, the party brought the dead body of the assassin to the doorstep of the Church of Zyne which was in town. Lucius was watching them from the window of the church, sipping his morning brew. He gave an impressed head nod to the group as they walked away.
  • They decided to get to Arkadia as fast as possible, and so they purchased transport on a ship heading there. To their great surprise, the ship took off into the air over the ocean. This was the first airship they had ever seen.
  • As they saw the skyline of Arkadia fade into view, the party noticed a dark shape emerging from a nearby cloud. It was another airship, helmed by none other than Lucius the Black, hellbent on taking one last chance to steal the Sword.
7 - Battle in the Upper Stratus
  • The enemy airship approached, and Diego shouted something like, ‘Everyone focus fire on Lucius! Kill that bastard!’ The response was unexpected. All of the enemies drank potions, and suddenly all of them looked like Lucius! As the ship came close, some of them swung over on ropes, others stayed back and fired shots off at the party.
  • Faren, Diego, and Warren met the enemy melee units on the boat, trying to prevent them from damaging the ship or its passengers (oops too late, a few stray arrows started mowing down the crowd). Izzegio sprang into action, climbing up some ropes and swinging around, trying to knock the invaders off the side of the ship. Darius took a different approach. Being a fire-crazed bastard, he felt the only appropriate solution was to summon a flaming sphere at the base of their mast, and slowly make it travel up and onto the “blimp” itself, catching it on fire.
  • As the battle continued, some of the Lucius’s on the ship found their way below deck, clearly on the way to disable the ship. Warren ran down to stop them. Izzy continued swinging like he had never swung before, and Darius continued laughing like a madman as the enemy ship became pretty fully engulfed in flames. The laughter didn’t continue for long however, as enemy arrows focused fire and killed the captain of the transport ship the party was on! His lifeless body fell forward onto the large steering wheel, causing the ship to veer over to the right, colliding with the enemy airship!
  • Meanwhile, below deck, the passengers of the boat had all gathered here to avoid the chaos above. Unfortunately for them, this made them easy targets as the fake Lucius’s pulled out tiny glass balls and threw them down into the crowd, where they exploded into giant fireballs which killed everyone. As the fight raged on above deck with Faren, Diego, and Izzy, Darius acted fast in the wake of the captain’s death. The captain’s death meant one thing – this ship needed a new captain! Darius quickly took the nice cloak off of the dead man and assumed his rightful place at the helm! His first order as captain was to slow down the transport ship, allowing the enemy ship to rocket on forward to its fiery fate!
  • Diego, Farren, and Izzy continued cleaning up on the deck, kicking their vanquished foes off the side to fall into the ocean below. Below deck, Warren convinced the invaders not to blow up the ship entirely. In response, they knew it was a good time to make their break. They ran back above deck.
  • Meanwhile, both airships were fast approaching Arkadia itself. In fact, the flaming enemy airship was on a collision course with one of the skyscrapers along the beach! Two more airships were seen taking off from rooftops in the city, and were coming towards the party. One of them shot harpoons into the wrecking ship and steered it, causing it to crash on the beach instead of the side of the building. The other one was approaching the party’s ship.
  • One of the enemies on your ship was revealed to be the REAL Lucius, and he was climbing up the side of your blimp to make his escape! Diego, housing a deep and justified hatred for the man, quickly followed him by teleporting right next to him. Lucius took a moment to put on a parachute, gleefully look at Diego, and say, ‘Well, it’s been fun!’ He jumped off the ship.
  • Fueled by pure hatred, Diego promptly threw his sword down, attempting to slice the strings of the parachute. When this failed, he spent an action point and teleported down, grabbing onto Lucius himself as they fell. After a struggle, Diego cut the strings of the parachute, and they both plummeted toward certain death to the ocean below!
  • As they fell, Lucius mused, ‘Well at least I know I’m taking you down with me!’ Diego, being a water-based Gensai, smugly replied, ‘You clearly haven’t been paying attention to anything. Do you know who I am?’ As Diego’s solid form became liquid, Lucious’s expression turned sour. With a single word, ‘…Shit’, he hit the surface of the water. Diego flowed onward, now comprised of water. After he reformed a solid shape, he finished Lucious off, who was now unconscious in the water.
  • The Arkadian ship assisted in collecting Diego from the ocean, but insisted that everyone come in for questioning. Amongst the survivors was ONE of the agents of Zyne, who also had parachuted to safety. Also surviving was the mage in your airship whose job it was to maintain the fire elemental which powered the ship. Darius managed to have a heart-to-heart with the mage (cough BRIBE cough), convincing him that Darius was always the captain of the ship, and was just acting in self defense.
8 - Lawyers... am I right?
  • You were all brought in for questioning to the Arkadian police, sent to separate holding cells, and of course had to hand over all of your possessions.
  • One by one they asked for your side of the story, and each character explained things from their point of view. Darius of course kept up his charade, posing as the airship’s rightful owner, Captain Charlatan.
  • After some time, you were brought together again, and told to sit tight. After a long waiting period, the door BURST open, and fire and shadow came into the room. A door-darkening frame appeared and moved in. To your horror, a mighty Balor (incredibly powerful demon) appeared before you, and unfurled its giant leather wings! You were all horrified and confused!
  • As your fear settled and your head cleared, you realized the demon was wearing a full business suit, and sat down and started taking papers out of his briefcase. ‘I am called Balthazar, and I am your lawyer… but my close friends call me Ballsy.’ Izzegio chimed in with, ‘Oh well good thing you’re here Ballsy…’ He was interrupted with, ‘Woah woah… my CLOSE friends call me Ballsy.’
  • As you negotiated with Balthazar, he said, ‘Now… I am a city servant, so my services are free for the ’basic’ defense package… but if you want to pay for it, I can upgrade you to my ‘GOLD’ package.’ Darius, err… Captain Charlatan… immediately responded with, ‘I can offer my airship as payment for whatever defense you can give us.’ And so, Balthazar drafted up a contract for you guys to sign. ‘Standard procedure… standard stuff.’
  • You all took turns carefully looking over the document… after all, he’s a DEMON. Darius saw through the document with his Arcana skills, and noticed a few “extra” legal clauses in the document, hidden from view. Things like, failure to pay back the debt on an exponential curve of interest accrual would result in payment in the form of body parts, being forced to go on quests, and of course paying him your mortal soul… standard stuff. Darius, without telling anyone about this, negotiated Balthazar down to the “SILVER” package, which had similar clauses, but they were less severe… and you all signed the contract with drops of blood… have fun later when I decide to make him collect his dues…
  • So the rest of the time was spent planning your defense. Ultimately the church of Zyne is claiming that you are outsiders and terrorists, and they heroically tried to stop you from carrying out your deeds. You are being charged with a litany of charges, including Murder, Arson, Reckless Endangerment, Negligent Homicide, Terrorism, Kidnapping, Vandalism, Disturbing the Peace, etc… along with one very minor charge… THEFT. They claim you stole several “items of religious importance” from their church, including a Holy Symbol, gold, personal affects of a clergy member, and of course a ceremonial magical sword.
  • That’s right… the church of Zyne is planning on using the legal system to LEGALLY steal the sword away from you in court.
9 - Objection!!!
  • The party was on trial for a litany of charges, the most minor of which was theft of a certain magical sword. You were being defended by Balthazar, a demon lawyer of questionable morals, but unquestionable results.
  • The charges state that the party accosted the man Lucius when he was out in the wilderness. They nearly killed him and then took him as a prisoner. Lucius learned that they were plotting a massive terrorist attack on Arkadia itself! They forced him to reveal the runic coordinates of the teleportation circle in Portland.
  • Guard testimony from the Portland teleportation circle confirms that Lucius was their prisoner at this time, but the party let Lucius go at the guard’s direction.
  • The charges continue that the party then retaliated for letting Lucius go by slaughtering a random clergyman of Zyne in Portland as a message, and delivered the dead body to the doorstep of the church. The group then headed off to steal an airship and fly it over to Arkadia to carry out their plot.
  • The charges continue that the church of Zyne decided the only heroic thing to do was to stop this awful attack from occurring. They got in an airship of their own and gave chase and attacked their ship, trying to thwart the evil plot.
  • The party combats these charges, stating that the whole thing was a misunderstanding. The attacks are simply hearsay, one testimony is not valid over another without witnesses. The misunderstandings escalated to the point where they had to defend themselves on the airship. Lastly, they weren’t stealing, they were simply trying to return some goods to the rightful owners.
  • Balthazar was able to negotiate the charges, and the church of Zyne predictably dropped every single charge except for one… the theft charge which would give them the Sword. Balthazar gave in on this charge, and was able to talk the church into dropping the charge if the items were returned. The church agreed… but they didn’t know Balthazar had secretly replaced the real sword with a fake one.
  • One final charge remained… Grand Theft Airship. Darius claimed that he was the rightful owner of the ship. However, previous testimony from the party stated that they were all passengers on the transport ship. The charge remained, and the judge pronounced Darius GUILTY!!!
  • Just when Darius thought he would be thrown in jail for a very long time, Zyne himself appeared. ‘Well played, little mortals. I especially like the part where you switched the sword for a fake. I see you have some potential for trickery.’
  • Zyne offered Darius a deal… Zyne wanted full access to Darius’s mind, two way communication with Zyne at all times. Darius would become Zyne’s eyes and ears, and would report back to him about the location and status of the sword. In return, Zyne could make this pesky jail time go away.
  • Darius agreed. Zyne disappeared in shadows, and the courtroom returned to a time just before the pronouncement of Darius’s verdict… NOT GUILTY!!!
  • All charges dropped, the party was released from the courtroom. They received a note telling them to meet up with Azerus in a pub nearby.
10 - You Gotta Know When to Hold Em...
  • Azerus met up with the group at a pub and explained that he could not get directly involved in the courtroom or he would tip his hand and draw attention to himself and the party. The public does not yet know about the looming darkness that threatens the world, and he intends to keep it that way for now to avoid mass panic.
  • As an apology, Azerus put the party up in a 4 star hotel and outfit them with nice clothing from Arkadia.
  • Azerus informed the party that if they were to succeed in their upcoming plans, they would need a lot of luck on their side. To secure that luck, they need to gain the favor of Murza, the God of Luck. To that end, Azerus fronted the funds for the party and enrolled them in Murza’s celebrity poker tournament, which takes place in his airship casino named “Fate’s Fortune”.
  • You had 3 goals in going to the big “Fate’s Fortune 30th Annual Celebrity Poker Tournament – Sponsored by Life Water” (Life Water is a brand of healing potions):
    1) Win the tournament for your charity cause! Darius, Izzy, and Warren were playing for the victims of your dramatic fiery entrance to Arkadia. A majestic statue would be put on the beach (a statue of Darius in white clothing giving a kitten to a small child). Tamar, Diego, and Faren were playing for the Southern Kingdoms Fund. This is for the establishment of trade routes and for the betterment of the Southern Kingdoms as a whole (exporting Arkadian tech and culture to improve the Southern Kingdoms).
    2) Improve your reputation. Wipe away the bad press brought on by the huge airship crash and the ensuing criminal trial.
    3) Gain the attention and respect of Murza, the god of luck. You need a lot of luck going forward in your quest to save the world.
  • The tourney was such that you could play awhile, and then get up and walk around and talk at your leisure. At the end of the night, they would recall all players and force the end of the games. Farren and Diego, the main players, set about playing Poker like men possessed. The others split their time between playing and “schmoozing”.
  • SCHMOOZING – Everyone did a fine job of making new friends, spreading information about the history, culture, challenges, and economic potential of the Southern Kingdoms. Seeing as a lot of influential people were at the tourney, this will go a long way toward improving your reputation.
    Some of the NPC’s you made the acquaintance of:
    1) Cynthia Greenwall – A blond actress in her 30’s with a southern belle accent. She was playing for the charity M.E.O.W (Mending Egos Of Wildlife – a charity concerned with helping forest creatures with low self esteem.)
    2) Bane Brisbee – Mid-40’s CEO of the mega corporation Synergistics, a technology and magic research and development company. They design much of the magic items and tech that are prevalent in Arkadian society. He was playing for an organization that provides financial aid and training for poor children with magical potential. Of course, these children must sign an agreement to work for Synergistics for a few years afterwards.
    3) Rajah – Young hot pop star who dresses in a very eccentric way. She was dressed as a swan. Izzy, of course, hit on her extensively despite her bodyguards’ protests. She was playing for preservation of historic musical artifacts and recordings.
  • THE HEIST – During the party, Izzy noticed a party-goer entering the restricted area. He decided to investigate and discovered a full-fledged Ocean’s Eleven situation developing. Thieves were using magic items and ninja skills to break into the casino vault. He was
    able to avoid detection, and fired some flaming arrows into the vault room and set off the alarms before running back into the main party room. Crisis averted, and the casino guard would take care of the rest.
  • THE GAMES – Employing a variety of tactics, 4 of the party actually had great success in the games. Tamar used his gravitas and intuition to read his opponents, gain their trust, and then crush them. Diego baited his opponents into making small bets, then raised the stakes quickly to bully them out of their money. Farren waited his opponents out, not taking risks. His was an Endurance game. Darius made wild bets all night, but they paid off due to the outside aid of Warren, who gathered intel from the crowd and fed it to Darius.
  • At the end of the night, Farren’s slow rolling won the day. He won the tournament for the Southern Kingdoms Fund. Murza took a picture with him for the newspapers, handing him a giant check while Farren smiled awkwardly, for smiling is not something he is used to.
  • MURZA – In the end, Murza was very impressed with the group. He saw you working the crowd, winning the games, and even personally thanked Izzy for stopping the robbery. YOU WILL NEVER LIVE THIS DOWN, as Izzy now feels that he is Murza’s BFF.

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