Tales of the Crescent Sea

Session One
Trouble on the High Seas

During the first session, a party of six adventurers found themselves aboard the Orcish Wind, a passenger vessel crossing the Crescent Sea.

After passing through a portion of the sea seemingly devoid of life, the ship was attacked by a pack of water elementals, and the ship’s magical astrolabe went haywire, leading the ship off course.

Thanks to the insight of the party, the ship was able to chart a course to land, and arrived in the Uchai Islands. Once there, the party discovered that the other merchant ships were also experiencing problems with their astrolabes. Some haggling by the warlock Beliel resulted in the captains promising great rewards if the party managed to solve the astrolabe problem.

An apprentice priest informed the party that his master might be able to help, but he was currently on a pilgrimage, and had yet to return.

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Session Two
Pilgrimage of Blood

The party meets with Rajah Kamal, the ruler of the island. He explains that his brother, Nazir, has risen in rebellion against him, using sorcery and mercenaries to nearly overwhelm the Rajah’s garrison. He then fled into the jungle, and Kamal believes that Nazir is perhaps behind the trouble afflicting the astrolabes.

Also causing concern is the disappearance of the elder priest of the port town’s shrine, who had gone on a pilgrimage into the island, and has not returned.

The party agrees to aid the Rajah in exchange for compensation, and set out by rowboat to skirt the coast of the island, to investigate the various holy sites that the elder priest or Nazir could be located at.

They encounter Aelar, a human mercenary from the Crimson Company, who is on the run from his former comrades. After scaring off his pursuers, the party tends the mercenary’s wounds and learns a great deal of information.

They learn that Nazir hired the Crimson Company to help search the island for a fabled holy site known as the ‘Second Eye.’ Aelar also reveals that Nazir has been using brutal methods and blood magic to summon and bind the local nature spirits to further his cause. Aelar had deserted due to the barbarity of those tactics.

After a bit of pressing, Aelar divulges that a hooded woman named Kinrasha is serving as Nazir’s aide, and it seems she is the one behind the blood rituals and the more savage tactics. Aelar then goes on his way, to get word to Captain Madish and the Rajah about what has transpired.

The party advances up the coast, heading towards a location known as the Eye: an ancient diamond and crystal mine that is now a holy site, dedicated to the nature spirits of the island. They spot the ship of the Crimson Company, docked upon the beach. In a daring night-time raid, they seize the ship, and with the aid of Madish’s sailors and the gruff dwarfess Vana, they sail the ship away from the beach, befuddling the mercenaries still on land.

Aboard, they discovered a deck full of empty beast-cages, along with two drunk mercenaries that are tricked into divulging more information about Nazir and his plans.

The party then returns to shore, a little ways south on the coast from the sacred mine. They travel northwards by land, encountering an abandoned fishing village. There, they find the grisly marks of twisted magical rituals to bind and drain the power of the local nature spirits. They also encounter a pack of jungle cats that seem tainted by the dark magic. After a short fight, they manage to defeat the beasts and liberate them from their torment.

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Session Three
Strife at the Eye

The party leaves behind the fishing village and heads north towards the Eye.

They encounter flocks of eyeless, magical crows that are serving as scouts for Nazir and his mercenaries. After defeating the crows, they continue their advance, avoiding the patrols of the Crimson Company.

They make it to the sacred diamond deposit of the Eye, and find that the Crimson Company and a mysterious druid have kidnapped local Uchai villagers to pillage the holy site. They launch an attack that frees the miners and defeats the mercenaries. The druid is revealed to be Kinrasha: she is defeated and captured while trying to escape.

Kinrasha is interrogated, but speaks cryptically. She is revealed to be a member of the Thornwalkers: an extremist druidic cult dedicated to defending the wild by any means necessary. She reveals that she has been using Nazir as a pawn for her own ends, which remain a mystery.

The party learns from Kinrasha and the freed villagers that Nazir is out hunting for the adventurers, and that the missing senior priest is most likely at the Heart, a sacred dormant volcano, with many other missing villagers.

The party heads to the Heart, and finds a few of Kinrasha’s comrades as well as elite members of the Crimson Company guarding dozens of captured villagers and the senior priest. It seems that the blood of the villagers is being used as part of a ritual of dark magic.

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Session Four
The Cleansing of the Isles

The party launches a desperate assault at the holy volcanic crater of the Heart, seeking to defeat Kinrasha’s fellow Thornwalkers.

The Thornwalkers resort to blood magic, summoning horrific abominations from the bodies of their dying hostages. Despite their barbaric tactics, the druids are defeated, and the captives are freed.

With the captives freed, a being that is an embodiment of the spirits of the Isles appears, to thank the party for aiding its people. It informs them that Kinrasha and her comrades were using blood magic in an attempt to bind the island spirits, to demand answers of them regarding the Second Eye.

The spirit reveals that the Second Eye is not a place on the island, rather it is a strange, black gem, that was taken from the Isles by ancient dwarven raiders. Loderr reveals that this gem appears to match the description of the gem kept within The Hammer of Tordek. The spirit also reveals that Nazir is en route to the capital, but agrees to heal the party and warn the Rajah of the usurper’s coming attack.

The party then returns to their boat, to find a scene of slaughter. All of the sailors, save the dwarf Vana, have been slain, and Kinrasha has escaped.

The party sails back to the capital, to find it under attack. Nazir and his men were at the gates, attacking with the aid of a corrupted dragoncat. Loderr deals the killing blow to the great beast, while Wil’s holy vengeance smites and destroys Nazir.

With the battle won, the dead are mourned and buried, and a celebration breaks out. The party is granted rewards from the Rajah and his advisers, and the party then agrees to continue on to Soratos, both to sell off their gains from their adventures, and to investigate tales that Kinrasha had hired the Crimson Company for another job in the city.

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Session Five
The Eldritch Streets

While en route to Soratos, the convoy is stopped by a frigate of The Blessed Talons, a knightly order searching for artifacts of dark magic. Under the command of Commander Ayla, the Talons search the ship, confiscating a few baubles and trinkets. At the urging of Wil and Vintari, the Talons cut their search short, and part ways, but not before warning them about the dangers of Soratos.

Upon arriving in the city, the party again questions Aelar about the The Crimson Company’s operations in the city. He tells them that their base of operations in the city was at the Broken Cathedral: an old temple converted into a tavern.

Once there, Loderr engages in a few wrestling matches to prove his worth and earn a few coin, and the party investigates, noting the presence of an elderly elf and a young, smooth-faced mercenary, watching.

Garryk runs into Fenn, an old comrade from his mercenary days. After a brief, half-hearted drunken struggle, Fenn sleeps it off, then gives the party more information: the two curious figures are Crimson Company recruiters, looking for mercenary mages for an upcoming job.

Belial approaches and asks for work. The young man offers a test job: to go to the shop of Vondal, reclaim a down payment made for work, and to reclaim a set of custom crossbows that the Company had commissioned. The team agrees, in order to find out what the Company is up to.

They find Vondal in a panic, and packing up to leave. The frightened dwarf tells the adventurers that the Company commissioned him to build great grappling crossbows. Upon researching a bit, Vondal found out that the crossbows could be used to breach the floating sphere-palaces of the Eldritch Princes. Frightened, he refused to give back the crossbows and was preparing to flee the city.

The party keeps up the ruse, and takes the money and knocks out Vondal to take him to their ship. They then take the crossbows back to the Broken Cathedral, where the young mercenary guides them into a shack near the tavern. Once inside, the party is barred in. Lightning magic courses through the shack, and a fight ensues as the Company tries to clear up loose ends. All but two of the mercenaries are killed, who then divulge more information.

The mercenaries claim that the Company is operating out of an old fortress in the Prophets’ Grave.

After resting up at their ship, the party returns to the Broken Cathedral, where word has spread of the Company’s defeat in that back alley battle. With rumors, comes more information. Fenn and a local drunk inform the party that several people have been roughing up librarians, knowledge priests and bookstore owners, in search of some sort of knowledge. Details are scarce, but the town drunk says he saw a knowledge temple get roughed up in another part of town.

The party heads there, to find the holy library ransacked, and the priest dead with a Thornwalker dagger in his neck. Looking over the body is a well-dressed young boy, whose soul is rife with infernal energy.

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Session Six
Chaos in the Streets

The party discovers that the strange boy at the library-temple is one of the Eldritch Princes: a member of the ruling council of warlocks that governs Soratos.

After easing his suspicions, the party learns that the Thornwalkers and their Crimson Company allies have been causing a stir in his city, much to his concern. He offers to help the party by hiring other sellswords to mount an expedition to the Prophets’ Grave, where the Crimson Company has their base camp. He also offers the party an adventuring charter if they drive out the Thornwalkers and their mercenaries. Such a document would allow the party to incorporate their own mercenary company.

The party heads for the market to look for supplies. There, they meet Katharn, the mother of Loddur and a skilled smith and artisan. Vintari asks for her to add an Uchai diamond to his instrument, and she requires drakes’ blood in order to mold the diamond. She tells the party that drake’s blood is a valuable commodity for the smiths of the city. Fetching drake’s blood would likely net them a large price.

The party heads for the sewers in search of a sewer drake. There, they encounter several adult drakes, as well as swarms of younger ones, and a mad gnome who rides a larger drake. They defeat the drakes, the swarms and the strange ‘sewer king,’ and collect the blood.

While recuperating in a tavern near the sewer entrance, they are ambushed by three Thornwalkers, who kill many bystanders and tavern patrons in the process. The party is badly bloodied, but manage to kill the Thornwalkers.

After recovering, they decide to head back to the ship to the regroup. They are intercepted by three knights of the Blessed Talon, one of whom is wounded by Belial. The knights reveal that they were there to warn them, and help the party foil another assassination plot.

The knights of the Blessed Talon reveal that the Thornwalkers are their common enemy, and agree to help the party assault the camp within the Prophets’ Grave. They part ways, but the party is tailed by raven familiars of the Thornwalkers. After turning the tables and ambushing and killing most of the bards, the party moves on.

They spot another impending ambush in a large city square. The mercenaries who ambushed them are members of the Armored Prayer, another mercenary group. It seems that they have come to collect a bounty on the party’s heads. The mercenaries are defeated, but an innocent noblewoman is nearly killed by Belial after she was used as a human shield.

The last surviving mercenary abandoned his human shield, then attempted to flee.

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Session Seven
The Grave of the Prophets

The surviving mercenary of the band that ambushed the party escaped into the teeming streets of the city. The party then returned to the ship, where they recuperated. A messenger from the Eldritch Prince informed them of what he had learned: the Crimson Company was operating under the command of Tazdorim: a dragonborn mercenary mage infamous for his arcane experiments. He and his men had set up camp at one of the many forts within the blighted battlefields of the Prophets’ Grave.

The party met up with mercenaries hired by the Prince, along with a small band of Blessed Talons. They began the march towards the Grave, stopping for the night in the village of Shieldrest. There, they began to feel the effects of the Grave: lingering fear and dread, that worsened the closer they got to the old battlefields.

The party camped out within the Grave. During the night, the camp was bombarded from afar by bolts of lightning that killed many of the mercenaries. Armored lightning elementals soon attacked as well, cutting down many more mercenaries and knights before the creatures were defeated. Vintari managed to convince most of the surviving mercenaries not to abandon the quest, and the band moved on.

The company took shelter within the bones of long-dead giants. Belial’s imp kept watch, and spotted a hunting pack of Bloodfauns. The band neared the camp and issued a challenge to combat. The party accepted, and sent out champions to face the wild warriors.

After a short battle, the leader and several other Bloodfauns were slain. Will managed to convince the beasts to back down as a matter of honor. The new leader of the pack, impressed by the honor and ferocity of the party, reveals that the Crimson Company was heading north to Caer Yosh, a fort within Prophets’ Grave. He also agreed to summon the other hunting packs, to form an army to fight the hated ‘Red Men’ of the Crimson Company.

With their new allies, the party headed north, coming across the heavily guarded Caer Yosh. Belial’s imp scouted ahead, and opened the gates so the Bloodfauns and the party could storm in. Many Bloodfauns were killed by Tazdorim’s magic, but the others engaged the mercenaries in a bloody battle.

The party, meanwhile, engaged Tazdorim and his bodyguards. His guards were easily slain, and Tazdorim withdrew to a great well of electrical energy, drawing on it for a dark ritual. The energy appeared to rip cracks in reality itself, giving the party a glimpse to the horrific moments of the legendary death of the Dead God. The magic begins to reanimate many of the fallen Bloodfauns and mercenaries.

Tazdorim is killed when he loses control of the ritual. Through a combination of magic and ‘feeding’ the energy well with objects and enemies, the party manages to end the ritual. But before the energy fades, they get a brief glimpse of the Dead God himself, who says only the words: ‘End this.’

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Session Eight
Out of the Grave, Into the Fire

In the aftermath of the party’s victory over Tazdorim, they searched and looted the camp. They found a letter that Tazdorim was writing, to his unnamed brother, who apparently was serving as a courtier in the capital of the nation of Gower.

The letter revealed that Tazdorim had been hired by Kinrasha to watch over the essence crystal she had found: it was the distilled and concentrated fragment of the Dead God’s Soul, flung across time and space. The sorcerer, however, had other plans, and conducted research to further his own ambitions, and also his brother’s. Tazdorim’s letter implied that his brother was involved in a cult that worshiped the Dead God.

With this information in hand, the party made the return march to Soratos. They encountered ankhegs that harried the party, slaying several allied mercenaries. The twisted nature of the Prophet’s Grave seemed to resurrect the beasts, recreating their essence in a repeated hunt. The party continued to flee south.

After encamping at an old fort filled with ancient but unrotted bodies, they awoke to find themselves in the midst of a great battle: an echo of a great conflict from eons past. After Belial taunted the leader of one of the armies, Garryk intervened and negotiated safe passage. The party continued to flee, escaping the echo of that ancient battle.

They made it back to Shieldrest, the trading town south of the Grave. Upon returning to Soratos, the Eldritch Prince they had met before intercepted them, thanking them for their service and rewarding them.

After recuperating and trading, the party set sail for the dwarven Clanlands, in pursuit of Kinrasha.

They headed for a port of Clan Gorrun, a dwarven trading clan along the coast. There, they learned that Kinrasha had indeed been through the port, recruiting mercenaries and investigating the local embassy of Clan Norvar. Belial devised a ruse in which he took Kinrasha’s appearance and marched through the city, attracting attention. Four dwarves of Clan Norvar attempted to attack, before being intercepted by Wil.

The leader of the band, named Eberk, revealed that Kinrasha had come to the embassy for a cordial meeting, and had tea with the ambassador, Vistra, and her daughter, Finnerel. Kinrasha poisoned and cursed Finnerel’s tea, sending her into a comatose state. Kinrasha blackmailed Vistra into giving her a writ of passage and a letter giving Kinrasha an invitation into Clan Norvar’s royal court.

The party headed for the embassy, where they met the beleaguered Vistra and her comatose daughter. Wil’s holy magic healed the poison, but young Finnerel’s body was used as a channel for Kinrasha herself, who taunted the party. She then left the girl’s body, and Finnerel was saved.

Vistra enlisted the party’s aid in tracking down Kinrasha and stopping her, before Vistra’s involvement with the drow was revealed. If Vistra’s aid to Kinrasha was discovered, then she and her family could risk death or exile. She agreed to help arrange for a dwarven airship to speed them along to the Norvar capital so they could beat Kinrasha there.

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Session Nine
Madness in High Norvak

The party boards an airship manned by Clan Goruun, courtesy of Lady Vistra. They set sail on the rickety vessel, making for High Norvak, the capital of the Norvar.

On the way, they are attacked by clanless sky pirates. Although the pirates were defeated, the airship’s engines could not handle the strain of the added weight from the battle. The ship’s engines failed, and it was crash landed in the midst of Clan Norvar farmland.

They made their way north, to a small farming town, where they learned that Kinrasha had recently passed through, heading for the capital.

The party pursued, arriving in the great underground city of High Norvak. They headed for the royal court, intent on using the writ given to them by Lady Vistra, to turn the royal court against Kinrasha.

They found the drow at court, mingling with the dwarven nobles and priests.

The party immediately set about to enacting a scheme to replace Kinrasha’s official writ with a forged one, framing her for a grave crime.

To do so, Garryk and Loddur distracted most of Kinrasha’s guards, while Belial and Vintari used magic to assume the guises of other Norvar priests. They attempted to raise the priests’ suspicions about Kinrasha’s writ and her motives. The priests saw through the ruse and attempted to arrest them, but the pair caused a great distraction in court when they assumed Kinrasha’s face and raced across the grand hall.

Belial rushed Kinrasha in an attempt to shove her down to swap the writ; Wil managed to knock her down, and in the ensuing chaos, Belial was able to swap the forged writ for Kinrasha’s legitimate one.

Kinrasha demanded that her attackers be arrested, displaying what she believed to be an official writ as a means of defense. When the priests examined her writ and found it to be a forgery, she was placed under arrest for attempting to defraud the king.

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Session Ten
The Justice of the Dead Kings

The party returns to the royal court, where they learn that Kinrasha has demanded a trial by combat.

Will, Garryk and Loddur volunteer to stand against her, and the party and a great crowd heads to the Proving Grounds: a large arena built into the side of the mountain itself.

The king of Norvar, bearing the Hammer of Tordek, oversees the fight.

After a bloody battle, Kinrasha is slain by Will, but Thornwalkers in the crowd enact a spell that breaches the king’s defensive wards and activates the gem within the Hammer of Tordek.

The power of the Dead God is unleashed, slaying the king and causing an explosion that triggers the collapse of the arena. Many Norvar nobles and priests are slain, but the party manages to escape, taking with them the Hammer and several other trophies.

The party escapes the city and heads south, towards the lands of Clan Emdor. On the way, Belial investigates the Hammer and catches a glimpse of the hellish moment of the Dead God’s defeat. In draconic, the dying god tells Belial to seek the ‘Fulcrums,’ which Vintari knows are important, key notes of the Song of Creation. They are fabled, legendary pieces of musical magic and power.

While they camp, another Thornwalker comes to visit them. He names himself Soveliss, and explains that he is Kinrasha’s brother, and a moderate Thornwalker. He thanks the party for bringing an end to his sister’s extremism, and informs them of Hadarai, the last remaining member of Kinrasha’s sect within the druidic order. Hadarai has fled to Gower, in pursuit of Tazdorim’s unknown brother, who is also researching the Dead God.

Upon arriving in the lands of Clan Emdor and revealing the reclaimed Hammer of Tordek, Loddur’s honor is redeemed and the party is welcomed with a grand feast.

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