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WotBS EmeraldBeacon's Burning Sky (online game)


After dispatching the troll, the party continue through the mountains to Lady Timor's lands. Camping in the western fields, they are awakened in the morning surrounded by green-clad scouts on horseback. Their initial wariness is quickly replaced with relief upon learning the party was NOT Steppengard's Talon Forces, as initially thought, but actually Duke Gallo's messengers, whom were expected. They receive a priority escort to Timorglade, the seat of the Lady's power.

Addressing the team at her tower, Timor is wary of the group (particularly after learning they were responsible for Innenotdar's fate), but cannot deny the importance of unity when facing the Ragesian threat. She pledges her troops to support her neighboring lord, then makes plans to hasten the heroes' return to Gallo's Fend.

Duke Gallo greets the heroes with promising news: Steppengard's forces were indeed delayed by their actions, and the expected number of heavy catapults had dropped significantly. Days later, the team meets on the eve of war, to plan out two possible clandestine missions... one, to stop a threatening mage among Steppengard's ranks; the other, to remove the remaining catapults from the equation entirely.

Along the way, they meet a new ally: a humble fellow with a skill for food preparation, who seems willing to help end this fighting as swiftly as possible...

SESSION NOTES: Unfortunately, I had to remove one player for continuously acting in a disruptive and disrespectful fashion... but in so doing, opened a spot for a promising new player. So far, his particular class remains a mystery to them. As a monk, his backstory is a bit like Daniel LaRusso from Karate Kid; his now-deceased master was actually once a teacher at the Temple of Echoed Souls.

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Planning for the night missions, the team decides to take on the catapults first. Their two stealthiest members sneak from the dwarf-dug tunnel under cover of invisibility, creeping across the snow on foot and by broom, and steadily dismantling key components of the siege weapons. It's a close thing, but ultimately, all three surviving catapults seem suitably sabotaged, and the pair slinks back to the tunnel. They return to camp and take a brief respite.

An hour later, they follow the tunnels under the Itneval Wood, arriving at the camp of Kelkin Thravanvost. The presence of a gynosphinx, playfully chasing a field mouse, gives them pause, but doesn't deter their planning. After a bit of deliberation, they decide to sneak around the back of the tent and take out the mage before anyone else can react... but a bit of blindsight and careful inspection reveals the Tiny Hut concealed within said tent. After a Shatterspell Vial is fumbled and lost, they revert to a shock-and-awe tactic: dispel the magic within, and assault quickly. As their new member proves his worth with a blinding flurry of unarmed strikes, the battle is joined... but the sphinx, outraged at the attack on her master, lunges into the fray herself...

SESSION NOTES: They managed to discover the tiny hut without alerting anyone, and never actually entered the tent, so they didn't trip the Alarm spell... then they proceeded to crit-fail the Shatterspell vial, losing it. Plan B involved a direct casting of Dispel Magic, largely eliminating their element of surprise.


The battle against the mage is frantic, but fast action by the crew limits his involvement. The Sphinx roars into action, and attempts to carry Kelkin out of danger, but a timely polymorph manages to put her out of action. In desperation, the team collects the wizard's body, then races back through the Itneval Wood, fleeing to the safety of the dwarven tunnel system. Leaving the transformed sphinx in the tunnel, they order it to be collapsed on top of her!

Back at camp, Duke Gallo is quite pleased at the party's success, though he regrets that so much death had to happen to achieve it. He asks the team to rest before it begins... while he is feeling comfortable that the clandestine operations will virtually guarantee his forces a decisive win, Steppengard could always have a few surprises in store...

SESSION NOTES: Like the live players, they were intent on quickly killing the wizard, then bringing his body back to prevent enemy resurrection. They also never bothered to find out about the sphinx, despite numerous hints that it was behaving very oddly... instead murdering it rather horrifically, by collapsing a tunnel onto it...!


(two sessions)

Planning is done. The lines are drawn, and the heroes prepare for all-out war. With a coalition of archers and healers from Duke Gallo, mages from Lady Timor, and knights from Lord Dashgoban, the battle for Otharil Vale rages on. A steady barrage of arrows from their own side helps thin the approaching forces, whittling down squads of soldiers from numerous other lords, along with their griffon allies. In time, many units surrender rather than face death, as squads from Lady Dené, Lord Iz, and Lord Megadon all abandon the King.

As a second wave approaches, this time comprised of trolls and Steppengard's own loyal knights, a terrifying roar echoes from overhead: an androsphinx soars above, aimed at breaking the resolve of Gallo's lines. Desperately rallying the afflicted, Hertiage and the heroes reform a stout defense, and steadily wear down the enemy before the survivors either flee or surrender.

Preparing for another clash, the heroes are abruptly relieved and replaced on the line, called back for their own safety. Duke Gallo congratulates and thanks them, assuring them that the fight was all but won... he only waits for the opposition forces to formally concede the field and fall back. The battle ends that afternoon, and two days of idle skirmishes and posturing follow.

Eventually, a courier from Steppengard arrives, requesting a formal armistice, and that all of Dassen's lords meet in Bresk. The Council of Nine has been summoned, to discuss new information that proves Ragesia's hostility. To help ease the recent tensions of a conflict that nearly became a new civil war, a Festival of Unity will be held.

Gallo knows it's suspicious, and suspects a trap, but explains that he must attend. He requests that you all join him, as bodyguards... and inducts you all as Knights of his lands.

SESSION NOTES: Not much to speak of here. I feel that the heroes had a bit of an unfair advantage, without any incoming threats - in thanks partially to the work they did the night before, in neutralizing Kelkin and the catapults.


With the Battle of Otharil Vale finished, and a meeting at Bresk imminent, the party begins the slow journey south. There are clear tensions between Gallo's contingent, and the battered armies of Steppengard taking the same basic route, but hostilities are few. Meeting up with Lord Dashgoban's group, they complete the journey, and begin preparations for an awkward parade into the city. Gallo is hailed as a hero, having (hopefully) ended Steppengard's witch hunts, while the beleaguered King offers a conciliatory tone, seeking to meet future threats rather than discuss past behavior.

The Festival of Unity, thankfully, provides a welcome respite from the constant fighting. While roaming the grounds of the celebration, they meet a few peculiar characters. An alchemist specializing in fireworks bemoans the poor availability of reagents, as all of the local alchemists are working on some project at the castle. Meanwhile, the castle's head chef has been summarily released from his duties, forced to work at the festival, instead of preparing a meal for the Council of Nine.

Meanwhile, the team barbarian is intercepted by a detachment of his family's soldiers. They are heading to the joust, and certainly, the long-missing family of their lord would be eager to joust, no? Practically enlisting him, he is brought before a military officer... his father, brother to Lord Dashgoban himself. Pressured into service by a demanding parent, he is dumped in armor and handed a horse and lance...

As the barbarian prepares, the team feeds information to Duke Gallo, whom has arrived for the main event. Concerned, he thanks them for their investigations, and suggests they speak again after the joust. During the first round, the barbarian is successful, advancing to the quarterfinals. At the same time, a mysterious figure in a hooded cloak approaches the heroes, claiming to carry dire news they need to hear...

SESSION NOTES: As we were running out of time, I decided to have the key informant arrive, mid-joust... but call the session before he actually shared any information. For player story details, the Barbarian's father (whom is Lord Dashgoban's brother) is not nearly as accepting of his son's "little adventure," and seems to expect him to return home after the Tournament. We'll see how that goes...


During the Joust, the barbarian ultimately falls to a knight of King Steppengard, who (perhaps surprisingly) regards his opponent with a surprising amount of respect, if perhaps a bit grudgingly. In the meantime, a dwarf emerges with information about guard reassignments at the castle, that could leave it alarmingly unprotected.

Consulting with Duke Gallo, the team agrees that rather than attend the banquet as guards, they should attempt to infiltrate the castle using the unguarded routes, with three main goals... find out what alchemical activities (perhaps poisoning?) are going on, ensure the safety of the Book of Eight Lands, and if possible, find his trusted proxy, Jinis, who remains in custody.

After a horrifying encounter with a ghostly being in the graveyard outside of the castle walls, the party mows through a swarm of zombies trapped in a frozen river of excrement, then cautiously enters the castle. They find a torture room, where, unfortunately, what seems to be Jinis' dead body is strapped to a table.

Creeping forwards, they discover a storeroom seemingly converted into a chemical brewhouse, and voices at the end of a hallway... voices belonging to the Ragesian ambassador and his Inquisitor companion. Their attempt to bluff their way past was met, very quickly, with a call to attack...!

SESSION NOTES: Nothing too special here. This crew, like my live game, immediately believed the plot was to destroy Steppengard Castle via explosives, like Guy Fawkes' Gunpowder Plot (I guess the fact that they got the alchemical news from Fizzbang, the fireworks artist, left that impression). Regardless, they were truly disturbed at the idea of zombies, half-buried in frozen poop, still lunging at them all... but they took their time and steadily crossed the brown river. Even managed to avoid opening Jutras' cell, too!


The battle in the prison staff room is short and quick, with both Ragesians quickly stunned, and the rest of the squad rushing in to silence them. A bit of further inspection reveals Randas, the castle's head chef, captured and tortured for talking too much at the faire. His explanation the Inquisitor's boast of a poisoning plot matches evidence found during further inspection of the storerooms... but shouldn't the Book of Eight Lands protect the nobility?

Rushing to the Royal Vault, the heroes discover surprisingly little resistance, with only a single, bored-looking guard standing in their way. Rather than approach him cordially, they decide to BEAT THE SNOT OUT OF HIM, only to find the Book of Eight Lands replaced with an illusion. A quick inspection of the room, though, finds another twist... a modified Rope Trick spell, hiding the priceless book within its own vault, yet outside of the material plane.

With the book secure, the team now hurries towards the banquet itself, knowing that the lords and ladies might be protected... but who knows what other contingencies may lay in wait?

SESSION NOTES: The poor vault guard got jumped and mauled, when all they had to do was ask to see the book! These guys are twitchy as heck right now... with the main poison plot spoiled, I might revert to having the bodyguards eat, if the heroes don't talk their way in quickly enough. That way, at least there's somebody going nuts in the room...


(recap covers two sessions)

After collecting the Book of Eight Lands, the team rush towards the banquet hall, desperate to stop any further plans or contingencies established by the Ragesians. But where castle security was lax elsewhere, here, a full squad of soldiers and priests stand in defense of the land's entire collection of nobility. Initial requests for access are dismissed outright, and continued pressure only causes one guard to follow up on their claims.

Tired of waiting, the team strikes, planning on pressing through the troops to confront Steppengard himself. The fight stalls, as waves of soldiers move in to block their path, until one team member finally produces the Book of Eight Lands, and explains the fear of a poison plot against the nobility. Shaken, the guards cannot dismiss such a claim, outlandish as it may be, and the heroes are escorted in to present their evidence.

Upon hearing it, King Steppengard is aghast, but filled with rage. Claiming that his own heart had been poisoned with the loss of his family, he swears to end the entire kingdom himself, and attacks! Startled, the guards are unsure whether to defend the lords, or their king... but the matter is quickly cast aside, as the king's advisor, Nina Glibglammer, cackles with glee, then begins to change into a terrifying snake creature!

The hall descends into chaos as Madness sows confusion and terror with her spells and poison, but in the end, the Trillith is vanquished, and a subdued Steppengard seems to rise from his stupor. Horrified at his actions, he promptly abdicates his throne, leaving the remaining lords to decide what course of action to take next. In time, the role of King Regent is granted to Lord Iz, to manage the nation during the Ragesian crisis, until a more formal line of succession can be established. The heroes are granted land holdings in Dassen for their courage and service, and are treated to a few days of peace and calm...

SESSION NOTES: The chaos gremlins continue to keep their cards close to their chest, trying to bluff and bargain their way past the guards, when simply showing the book of eight lands and pleading their case would be far more effective. They softened themselves up against the guards, making the fight against Madness bit more frightening, but having stopped the poison plot, they were never in much danger. Since they didn't have the song of forms on their side, no boons from Madness were granted.


Catching up on some recent adventures!

The heroes take some time for a much-deserved break, doing a bit of shopping and relaxation, before an urgent request arrives from Seaquen, requesting a return as soon as the heroes can. Sharing one last evening with their hosts in Dassen, they leave for their "home base" in the morning.

The (Dwarf) Barbarian takes a moment to formally introduce his family to the team's (elf) archer, whom he's been courting... an encounter that goes about as well as can be expected; while Lord Dashgoban is congratulatory but ultimately uninterested, the barbarian's father is dismissive and snide, calling her just another of his son's fads, implying that Bast is continuing to abandon his homeland. The next day, the crew is equipped and celebrated as they depart Bresk to go south. Several minor dignitaries see the heroes off, while they are attended by a number of civilians... one of whom, a young dwarven girl (likely in her early teens), seems oddly familiar to a party member.

In Seaquen, Headmaster Simeon Gohanach is eager to hear about the events in Dassen, but before sharing new developments, cautions the heroes about sharing too much information, as he fears Ragesian Spies are probably already in the Lyceum; he intends to compartmentalize missions to the extent he can. Once everyone arrives, including the pyromancer Katrina and a refugee monk named Three Weeping Ravens, he outlines the situation:

Ragesia seems to be covering far too much ground for them to hold, seemingly searching for something rather than just a war of conquest... perhaps the Torch of the Burning Sky. To that end, Castle Korstull, a fortress in Sindaire, is where Emperor Coaltongue died, and the likely site of The Torch (or at least information leading to its whereabouts). It is also under an unending firestorm, and thus completely inaccessible. A team was already sent to the weather-aligned Monastery of Two Winds in Ostalin, but the team has broken off communication after some strange comments.

Beating Ragesia to The Torch is paramount; to that end, the mission is clear: get to the Monastery as fast as possible, find out what happened to the other team, and solicit aid from the monks to gain access to Castle Korstull. The only wrinkle in that plan...?



Back in Seaquen, the squad learns of their next mission, and prepare to leave for Ostalin. Many of their trusted allies are doing well... Tiljann is performing with the Wayfarers, while Haddin is establishing himself in South Harbor. Katrina is now an important member of the Resistance leadership, while Crystin offers an unsettling vision she had of their next adventure, of a measuring scale teetering wildly, before collapsing under its own weight. The team persuades the Lyceum to provide a Fire Elemental, to awaken the Ring of Elemental Control.

As Wayfarer Guildmistress Sheena Larkins collects the needed protections for a long-range teleportation, the crew meets well outside the city to avoid the Teleportation Beacon still in effect. At midnight, with wards in place, the team travels to the Ostalin city of Yen-Ching... only to find themselves pulled into a trap! Another teleportation beacon draws them into a trap, under the watchful eye of Ostalin forces in the city. After a hasty surrender, the heroes are led to speak with the lord of this camp, a mysterious, imposing figure...


The Lord of Ostalin, Khagan Onamdammin, greets the crew after their teleportation misfortune in the city of Yen-Ching. He challenges their story of how and why they came to his lands, but seems to accept their claims as true. After explaining that he knows of Seaquen's plight, he admits considering providing aid, but as the heroes are already going to the village of Eresh, he requests that they meet with - and impress - his friend Pilus to earn his favor.

That night, in the harem of the Khagan, the team is mostly able to relax, while hearing stories of Onamdammin's great influence... and capacity for cruelty. It seems clear that his odd genetic heritage is likely artificial; biomancy has given him the body he sports today.

Departing for the Monastery of Two Winds the next morning, the team hastens to the foot of the mountains making up Ostalin's northern border. There, they begin the climb towards Eresh. Several hand-cut stairways aid the climb into the mountains, though the final stairs seem to be missing, somehow shattered and turned to rubble. Further, movement at the top of that ridge seems do indicate a protective crew watching.

Fearing an interruption, a hastily-laid plan is hatched with a portable hole and multiple castings of invisibility. A wall of fire briefly interrupts the situation, but in due time, the team silently flies over the Ragesian forces arrayed to intercept unwanted visitors. A half mile down the road, the crew can emerge with some degree of safety, looking over the distant valley of Eresh below... along with the Ragesian camp, parked right at the entrance to the city.


Cautiously regarding the Ragesian camp, the team eventually decides to do a brief scouting mission... but the one scout is suddenly hit by a wave of magic that leaves her disinterested and distracted. Making her way back to camp, everyone notes her odd behavior, and after some nervous testing, realizes that the magic is akin to Calm Emotions, and awakens her with a carefully measured slap to the face.

Deciding to circumvent the camp, they move along the perimeter wall of Eresh, discovering to their dismay that the general field of magical emotion suppression is much, much larger than just the camp, but that it extends well into the city itself.

Carefully finding their way to an inn that Three Weeping Ravens suggests, the crew seeks to gain rooms for the night, while avoiding the numerous Ragesians who seem to be lazing about, as if on shore leave, rather than an invading force. There, they speak to Thashalanos, the elven proprietor of the tavern, along with two monks whom seem trapped in the magical spell of calm. Escorting them out of the main dining room, they head upstairs for more clear answers as to what the hell is going on...

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