Curse of the Crimson Throne

Down With Tyrants!
In Which We Stop a Wicked Queen and the Resurrection of Kazavon

After the defeat of the Erinyes and Boggard Champions, the party quickly moves to the next floor in search of Ileosa. They find her temporary living space, the living quarters of her Erinyes, as well as a carefully laid trap for Gidion, which he resists.

They then buff up and move to the final floor at the top of the pyramid, where the Queen and her last minions await the party. Here they find her in her attunement process with the Everdawn Pool, a 30 foot diameter blob of blood floating in the middle of the large space.

As they enter, the Queen has only fury for them, and releases her wrath and the wrath of her minions. They fight quite strongly against the heroes in what is likely their most difficult battle yet. Unfortunately for the wicked Queen, the group had a few tricks up their sleeve courtesy of the Deck of Many Things and forced her out of hiding. Her response was to send several of them very close to death before they were able to get the best of her defenses.

As Gidion struck the final blow with Serithtial, the Fangs of Kazavon made it’s attempt to take over the Everdawn Pool’s power in an effort to resurrect itself as the great wyrm Kazavon. The room erupts in lightning and chains as the skeletal frame of the dragon begins to burst forth from the pool. Only a very lucky prayer to Desna saves the day and Gidion plunges Serithtial into the forming beast, ending it’s process abruptly and covering them with goo.

Having defeated the evil of Ileosa and again Kazavon, they return to Korvosa as Cressidia and Neolandus have successfuly led their rebellion against any remaining forces of the Queen. Despite the several months of running down the city, the citizens have enough morale left to rally a celebration in honor of the heroes that delivered them from certain doom.

Yet their work is not quite done. Political maneuverings are already underway in the power vacuum and nobles are making their plays at the throne. Who will be King or Queen? House Arkona has been making a strong bid for the seat. Alianna and Andrezi find out that their Chelaxian relatives on their mother’s side are desperate for heirs and offer them noble titles, which begins to complicate their lives moreso than they originally thought. Ivan’s doppleganers have already begun to sully his good name with wicked deeds and he finds his estranged father is finally ready to recognize him as his half-breed son. Katarina finds her newly intelligent glaive is more of a handful than she initially realized, and that her flat refusal of her genie husband has brought the ire of his family. Gidion inherits a castle which he placed nearby Korvosa, only to find that he is now in a land dispute with the original owners of the lands, who also wish to claim his castle as their own!

….but perhaps these chronicles of our heroes are for another time….

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The Sunken Queen
In Which the Party Approaches Endgame

The approach to the Sunken Queen was easy enough for a high level adventuring party using wind walk. When they arrive, Andi and Ivan admire the naked woman on the side of the leaning pyramidal structure, while pretending to look for an entrance.

Ivan sends his new minion down to see if there is an entrance under the water, and finds one. The party then casts water breathing and makes their way down to enter the Sunken Queen. Upon entry, they meet their first guardian, an enormous Devilfish who fights quite well to the death. In an adjacent room they find a fascinating crystalline structure holding all sorts of treasure, but inaccessible to them at this time.

Heading up to the next floor, they find some dry spots, as well as the next group of guardians, a small contingent of Boggards and four strong Erinyes.

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Castle Assault, Part Deux
Where the Party Acquires a Deck of Many Things

After briefly catching their breaths, the party decides to head for the Queen’s chambers, in the hope of finding her in the bath. They do not find her naked nor bathing, and instead fight a refreshed Togomor and his puppet master, Sermignatto. After the defeat of Sermignatto, the party discovers that Togomor was actually being controlled by the Devil, and is charmed into confessing his complicity to the crimes against Korvosa after revealing what he knows of the Queen’s whereabouts.

On Togomor’s suggestion, the group heads to the entrance to a secret tower used by Queen Domina during her reign. Inside, they find an infernal contract binding Queen Ileosa’s soul to an Erinyes and other infernal help in exchange for….well, the party is unsure as none of them speak Infernal and aren’t very good at Legaleze. A quick perusal of Ileosa’s new favorite Tome however, reveal she was very interested in a Thassilonian spellcaster who seemed to have perfected a way to make herself eternally young by sacrificing thousands of her minions at once. Shocked by the implications to the citizens of Korvosa, the heroes quickly search for other clues as to where this ritual may be taking place.

They find a map made by Togomor that quite easily shows them how to find the Sunken Queen, an ancient Thassilonian monument to one of the mysterious Runelords, and the focal spot for Queen Ileosa’s plans. They make haste out of the castle and into the Mushfens, but before they do decide to give the dungeons just one more look, as they hadn’t yet discovered where their friend Ishani was being held.

They head down towards the dungeon levels, and along the way find an evil and horrific construct called an Akaruzug, which is powered by the soul of the now deceased Ishani. They defeat the construct and rescue Ishani’s body so they may resurrect him when they leave.

In the dungeon, they find very little treasure, a strange pillar extending into the floor quite a ways, and a recently bricked up wall, behind which are the twisted remains of a tiefling corpse. They get a sense that they must take them upstairs, and bring them to Venster Arabasti’s room, where inside they reunite them with his tortured ghost. As payment for helping him, he offers to meld his energy with Zellara’s Harrow Deck, in order to create a powerful Deck of Many Things.

The party then takes a side-trek as they pull cards from the deck, gaining great boons and narrowly avoiding great curses. Their draws complete, Zellara appears one last time to thank them before moving to her final rest.

Having had that load of fun, and with a Large sized Paladin, the party sets off to the Mushfens to confront the Queen, hopefully in time to stop her from the destruction of Korvosa and her citizens.

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Castle Assault
Where the Party Fights Lots of Grey Maidens

After consulting their resident ‘experts’ on the layout of the castle, and much deliberation on the best way to infiltrate, the party decides to enter the upper levels via wind walk and invisibility through Zarmongarof’s nesting area.

They don’t encounter much within the attic space, and avoid exploring in lieu of finding the Queen quickly. The next level down, they are able to catch several red mantis by surprise while sleeping, and then feeblemind Mistress Kayltanya after a brief fisticuffs.

As they sneak down to the next floor however, Andi fails his stealth check and announces their presence to several invisible imps nearby, who quickly alert the castle guard. The ensuing melee did not go well for the army of Grey Maidens, or their Erinyes allies. Even the bloatmage Togomor had to flee from the combined might of the party.

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The Rebel Movement
Where we fight an Ifrit and a Dragon

Checking one task off their list from Cressidia, the party sets out to find the new ‘hero’ of Korvosa, Trifaccia. It seems a group of ‘rebels’ beat the crap out of residents until they’re run off by the masked man who then saves the resident and gives them a bag of gold.

The party gets cornered by the rebels, they throw insults, some of which seem to try to affect the group magically. Then Trifaccia shows up. He challenges the party to a duel, with the loser taking his friends and leaving town. Andi accepts the challenge and they are in a fierce duel until Ali realizes that Trifaccia isn’t all he appears to be. She calls him out as not human, and his entire city plan is blown. He transforms into an Ifrit and the party defeats him.

Word spreads of the Heroes of Korvosa’s return, and they search for a place to rest. As they go into their resting hole, word reaches them that a black dragon has taken to the skies over Castle Korvosa, with a Grey Maiden rider. They rest up, and make their way to a town square, where Ali creates the illusion of a large gold dragon being ridden by Gidion. The black dragon arrives and lands with the grey maiden commander, Sabina Merrin, astride. The battle is fierce, but the dragon does not seem to be using his full advantage in the battle. As a result the fight is surprisingly short, and Sabina surrenders to the Paladin immediately.

Sabina then reveals to them that she knew of the Queen’s cruelty but figured that if she was close to her she could temper that cruelty. She lets them know that she wishes to help free the women from Longacre building, while the party storms the castle to confront Ileosa.

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Aftermath
In which a demiplane is breached

The heroes, finding no more good loot within the demiplane, decide to use the teleportation circle in an attempt to escape. The portal leads them back to the Material Plane, and Kat is named the second victor of the breaching festival in its history. The celebrations are quickly put on hold however as their exit from the demiplane seems to have released all of its infernal denizens onto the Academae grounds. Students and Heroes alike work quickly to dispatch as many as possible before the city’s citizens are again significantly reduced in number.

In the aftermath, many questions arise as to what has happened and who may be responsible. The Headmaster does not get cast in a positive light with his ignorance of the truth behind the Breaching, as well as his mismanagement of the funds for the winner.

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The Breaching
In Which the Party Fights Devils.

The party fights the handmaiden devil, who cryptically tells the party that “His contracts are his strength.” before disappearing. They explore the room she was in and find to their surprise Terentius’ spell book! They go over to give it to him and, fulfilling his contract, dimensions away to be released from the demiplane. The invisible stalkers in the library immediately begin attacking the party.

The next room has a barbed devil and a devourer, the tortured face of Maganrad appearing in his chest. They are in the middle of arguing in Infernal about who owns the wizard’s soul, turning to attack the party for interrupting.

After dispatching them, they enter a very large circular room that is obviously the main chamber of the demiplane. A large domed ceiling covered in frescoes depicts the founder of the Academae, Volshyenek Ornelos, and an Infernal Duke entering some sort of contract, and then scenes of past breaching festivals and contestants being sent to this demiplane and their doom.

They enter an intense battle with a contract devil, Chyvvom, and his minions. Upon his defeat, the large summoning circle in the center of the first floor begins to glow with magic. The party stops to consider how to proceed.

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Return to Korvosa
Where the Heroes agree to join the Breaching

Sneaking back into Korvosa without being discovered by the Queen’s Grey Maidens was fairly easy. The heroes land themselves in the Grey District to look for their friends, and are quickly noticed and escorted into the catacombs below the Cathedral of Pharasma. Here they find out that many of their friends and even family are hiding here as part of the Korvosan resistance.

They are served some dinner while describing their troubles and triumphs in the Cinderlands and Hold of Belkzen. Cressidia then relates to the party what has been going on since they left. She then lets them know that she is close to revealing that Neolandus still lives, and helping lead an uprising against the monarchy, but that she still needs help from the PCs. She has a small list of things she wishes them to accomplish/information to ferret out before she feels the majority of the people will rise to their aid, including meeting with Toff Ornelos, the Headmaster of the Academae.

An invitation to meet with the Headmaster had made it into her hands through a series of others, intending to find the Heroes of Korvosa. The party decides to make their way in the morning to the Academae, and are ushered to him quickly. He tells the heroes that the Breaching Festival, to take place the following morning, has too long been without a winner, and that he hand-picked them to win it while he is still Headmaster. Of course, he doesn’t expect them to do it for free – the incentive for winning is quite lucrative.

Having agreed, the party stays the night within the grounds, and wakes early the following morning to participate. The few other contestants set out to find keys that will provide them each entry into the Hall of Wards, the destination of the contest. One fails miserably, but the other two make it inside shortly before the heroes find their own key lights. Once properly armed, the party enters the door to the Hall of Wards…..

After a slight disorientation, they find themselves on a hellish demiplane without a clue of what is going on. They begin exploring rooms only to discover that perhaps the Breaching Festival is some kind of sham, and contestants who make it into the Hall of Wards are transported and trapped here. The previous year’s only contestant is still alive and trapped in a library, having made a deal with a devil for terms of his release that he can’t seem to complete. One of the other contestants for this year was brutally murdered and the second to enter seems to have been tortured and broken.

We leave our heroes at a room with a handmaiden devil, who tested the party’s might before agreeing to help them should they help her destroy her current ‘master’, the devil who makes the contracts.

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The Final Harrowing

The time for the final harrowing begins with Zellara shuffling her deck with practiced ease. She then deals the first three cards, representative of the past.

She reveals The Snakebite, The Empty Throne and The Marriage.
You have come a long way from the death of your enemy Gaedren Lamm, and the death of our King. You united as a team to defeat the wrongs being committed in our city, and it has changed you as well as taught important lessons. You then undertook a perilous journey where you gained new friends and allies, made new discoveries of the lands’ history, and recovered a god-forged weapon in order to bring peace back to Korvosa.

For the present, she reveals The Sickness, The Uprising, and The Courtesan.
Korvosa is now caught in the clutches of a corrupting power of overwhelming strength, and she is suffering greatly for it. Her people are on the brink of an uprising, but they cannot win against this corruption without added strength, both physical and mental. The Courtesan represents a woman of power that can help you shape certain events. You may yet have an ally among your enemies.

For the future, Zellara reveals The Keep, The Tyrant, and The Theater.
The realization of your destinies grow near. You may not see your audience as you play out your part, but that does not mean your roles are not recognized for what they are. The people of Korvosa will look to you to help them, and how you react will shape many futures. You must be unshakable in the face of hardship. The dangers moving forward are more perilous than before. It is soon that you will reveal and dispose of the tyrant behind our city’s sorrow.

Force of personality will be an important part of your immediate futures. Embrace your status as Heroes of Korvosa, and become figures to follow in battle.

Charisma Re-rolls: Spend a Harrow Point to re-roll any one Charisma-based skill check or channel attempt. You must abide by the new result (although if you have additional Harrow Points remaining, you can use them to attempt additional re-rolls).

Inner Strength: Spend a Harrow Point to draw a card from a Harrow Deck. You gain a +4 bonus to the card’s associated ability score for the duration of the current encounter (the GM decides when an encounter is officially over). If the card you draw matches your alignment, the bonus increases to +6.

Destiny Shall Not Be Denied: Spend a Harrow Point to force any one d20 die roll by the GM to be re-rolled. You must abide by the new result (although if you have additional Harrow Points remaining, you can use them to force additional re-rolls).

The Chosen
In addition, the card a PC draws during the choosing has special qualities during this adventure. Each of these cards is tied to a specific encounter in “Crown of Fangs,” and when a PC who drew that card reaches that encounter, he gains a +2 bonus on all rolls modified by Charisma and all spell-like abilities and channel energy checks (including spell-like abilities of creatures he has summoned) manifest at +1 caster level. These bonuses last for the encounter’s duration.

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Serithtial
In Which We Find a God-Forged Artifact

The group decides to head for the main hall to confront the castle’s castellan and spirit anchor, Mithrodar. Being aware of all that happens in the castle, Mithrodar knows the threat the heroes pose to him and therefore he gathers as many undead minions to him as possible. The party, not expecting as much resistance, still have little issue in taking everything out in the room. As the Spirit Anchor falls the undead of the castle fall to the ground and the heavy blanket of evil covering the castle seems to lift.

The heroes rest up and head for the hexagonal tower, where they find several Nessian Warhounds and a ‘dead’ juju zombie. Continuing into the ‘guest wing’, the group finds there was at least one powerful undead that did not die with the curse, a Danse Macabre. While Ivan and Laori were stuck in an irresistible dance, Gidion got to go toe to scythe with the incorporeal menace.

Clearing the castle proper, the group decides to head back into the castle donjon to look for an entrance into the Startower. After much searching and frustration, the group finally finds a secret locked entrance into the tower, and several more secret doors later find a stairwell leading down into darkness.

In this next, visually disturbing room, a voice in the darkness asks who in the group would like to be the next Curate of the Startower, in service to the Midnight Lord. Ali identifies it as a Nightwing hanging out near the ceiling. At this point, Laori and Sial begin arguing about who should ‘volunteer’ for the position. The argument quickly comes to blows, and Laori shows Sial who’s the bigger bitch. The Nightwing then accepts Sial, and also offers Laori a trip to the Shadowrealm to speak of Sial’s transgressions to the Night Lord. The three of them disappear, leaving the party alone in the disturbing, dark room, with a hole in the floor emitting blue light.

Stepping into the blue mist, the party emerges below-ground in a series of caverns. They encounter the area’s natural denziens – Gugs – before attempting to cross a dark and silent lake to a light on the far side. The light is being emitted by a bastard sword. As they cross, a grossly obese and terribly ugly beast emerges from the lake to try to prevent the heroes from reaching the sword. Gidion slips past and takes hold of the weapon, which transforms into the longsword he favors. The group then hacks at the creature until he dies before exiting to the surface again.

End of Chapter 5

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