The Rise of Felskein [Completed]

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
If this isn't a big heaping batch of "awesome", I don't know what is!

Can Keeper annihilate that bitch that Harold's trying to get with those towers? lol.

Sorry if that's spoiling or foreshadowing or whatever. But WOW this is friggin' awesome.

Burn baby burn, Keeper infernooooo. Burn baby burn. Burn that muthuh down...

Love the update. Thanks!
--SD
 

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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 31, Part 18

“That's the last of them,” Keeper said as the room dimmed again.

“He makes the extinction of a race of robots it sound like he's just found a pretty rock,” Kormak said.

Bail walked over to the light-image of Felskein and squinted at a little pillar of rock with a tower on it to the “north” of the Crystal Towers. “Is this the Ashen Tower?”

Suniel nodded. "That's it, from there Thessalock terrorizes the whole-”

They watched as Keeper traced his finger from the Crystal Towers the the Ashen Tower and a second later, what had been a towering pinnacle of rock with a black tower atop it was no more than a little nub of stone jutting from the Endless Sands.

Bail, Kormak, and Suniel stared and blinked at the spot for half a minute. “I guess that solves that,” Kormak said. “Harold will be thrilled – wherever he is right now...”

***

Harold stepped to the rooftop, wondering what the tumult outside was about. He appeared just as the sky flashed and he was nearly blinded. What in the hells was that? he thought. He looked around, seeing if lightning had struck somewhere nearby.

Not lightning, far too powerful and nothing nearby seems to be ruined... His thoughts were interrupted by a rumbling boom from the east that shook the roof tiles of the building he stood on. Down in the streets, the commoners were rioting and there were muffled cracks, booms, and rumbles echoing through the dense smog that filled the streets of Gleam. Maybe Hadral is out fighting an uprising or something, that might explain... It wouldn't explain what Harold saw next.

The largest dragon Harold had ever seen passed overhead, a silver that seemed to blot out half the sky as it swooped past and nearly blew him off the roof with the blast of wind generated by a single wing-beat. It was pursued by two-dozen dragons of various shapes and sizes, hurling spells and unleashing torrents of lightning, clouds of acidic vapor, and detonating blasts of fire all around it.

The immense dragon landed heavily on the roof of Hadral's palace, collapsing a several floors with its weight, then tearing up a whole wing of the place as it launched back into the air, roaring and blasting a small white dragon into a rapidly-dissolving swirl of dust.

Minutes later, the dragons had disappeared into the skies, leaving several sections of Gleam afire, not the least of which was Hadral's estate. It's time to get out of here, he thought and stepped rapidly across Gleam, not stopping until he stood packed onto a fleeing ship with a tall soot-covered pipe coming out of the center that belched smoke as the boat churned through the water.

As he struggled to get comfortable amidst the stifling-hot press of refugees crammed on the boat, fleeing the total anarchy that had engulfed Gleam, he stared over the gunwales at what seemed to be a small island in the center of the lake. In the center of the island was a tower that glowed red like a hot poker, barely visible through the clouds of steam that swirled around it from where the waters touched the island's shore.

Steam? He thought. He looked out across the rest of the Radianus Sink and saw steam swirling from its surface in every direction. Someone in the ship screamed and jerked their finger from the lake. The whole lake was boiling hot...
 
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 31, Part 19

The plain-robed elf stared levelly at Pirate Lord Derkaran Pyresail. The half-orc was slouched in his metal throne, his cronies cowering at the edges of the rusted metal platform upon which they stood, overlooking the rusting metal sprawl of Gantry. Even this high up, the wind was hot, blasting in howling gusts from the Endless Sands far below.

Derkaran placed his hand on the True Stone of Fire and looked at Suniel evenly. “So you came here alone, elf, scared some of the cutthroats down in the Rust with a bit of magic, and thought you could just walk up here and take the Charstone from me? Think you're some kind of wizard, think you can stand against a True Stone? Others have tried, dozens have died. I've been the Lord of Gantry for six years, I've killed better than you for less than that. What makes you think I'll just turn it over to you?”

The elf looked off to the side as Derkaran shouted the last sentence, closed his eyes, and mouthed something Derkaran couldn't hear. Something about a Keeper?

“What was that, elfling? Saying your prayers? Courage failed you and expecting some divine being to keep you safe? What do you think you're going to do-”

The elf pointed at a massive gantry tower jutting out of the cliffs on the far side of Gantry, a huge, iron-latticed monstrosity towering over even the one upon which Pyresail kept his court. There was a blinding flash of light and a wash of heat and the gantry tower exploded in a deafening boom followed immediately by the shriek of tortured metal and a rain of rusty iron amidst which girders the size of trees fell from hundreds of feet in the air.

Debris was still falling, a near-deafening chain of scrapes and thundering clangs as metal collapsed on metal echoing across Gantry, yet somehow everyone on the platform could hear the elf's whisper.

“That.”

***

“Suniel is back,” Bail shouted out to Kormak. The dwarf cast a worried look at the steaming waters of the Radianus Sink and a glance at the red-hot exterior walls of the Spire of Direction as he entered.

The elf tossed a smoking ruby the size of his head to Bail. “Take it to the last Henge, you know how to do it on your own now?”

Bail nodded and walked to the barely visible glyph in the center of the lower floor of the Spire. The half-dragon closed his eyes and vanished. “Can travel from here to the Henges?” Kormak said. “That's good to know.”

Suniel nodded as they walked up the ramp to the room where Keeper still stood at the pedestal, overlooking the light-image of Felskein and the Thousand Skylands.

“He's there and he's placed it... now,” Keeper said, gesturing towards the volcano at the northeastern tip of Felskein, not too far from Northmand. “Felskein now coming to full power. I've already announced that the other Skylands are to meet us at full speed – speed that we can augment now that all nine True Stones are placed. They should all be at the rendezvous point within two days. Except that there are a few that are refusing.”

Keeper looked to Suniel. “We need almost all of them together if we want any hope of stopping the Grimwythe and restoring the world as Bahamut asked; there are too many dissenting for us to get anywhere close to that number and we need to make haste before those dragons finish off Bahamut.”

Bail glared at Keeper and Kormak said, “how do you know he is still alive?”

“Because Gileralin isn't here doing this instead of us,” Suniel said softly. “The Undercouncil wants Felskein for themselves and right now Bahamut is all that's keeping them from us.”

All that's keeping them from us? What about that?” Kormak pointed at the light-image of the Crystal Towers.

Suniel turned to Keeper. “Could you hit a dragon with that? Say, if it was flying towards us over the Radianus Sink?”

Keeper shrugged, a motion Kormak never knew he could perform. “I could, but I doubt we would survive it. It would be unfortunate to miss as well, a slight misdirection of the beam from the Crystal Towers and-”

Kormak raised his hands. “All right, I get it, I get it. Fine, so how do we get all of the Skylands to comply?”

“They saw us use the Crystal Towers Defenses on Iron Sky, shouldn't that be enough?” Bail said.

Suniel shook his head. “It seems not. I think we have little choice.”

“Wait, what?” Kormak said. It slowly dawned on him. “You're not going to do what-”

“Keeper, which ones of these are refusing?” Suniel said. The construct did something on the pedestal and several dozen of the Skylands seemed to grow appreciably in size.

“You're just going to-”

“Destroy three of them and send the rest a message. Tell them: 'Felskein has Risen and you are to join us at the location specified. There will be no more equivocation. Comply or be destroyed.'”

Kormak stared at Suniel with his mouth agape. He turned to Bail, but the half-dragon was nodding his head grimly.

“Keeper, to the skies.”

They all turned and looked at the light image. There was a slight shifting feeling and a faint vibration in the Spire that slowly faded. On the light image, the continent of Felskein lifted slowly from the Endless Sands and, for the first time in Millennium, rose into the Skies.
 
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 31, Part 20

Kormak awoke and rubbed his eyes, glancing over at the light-image in the center of the room. Bail was curled up in a pile of coins against the opposite wall. Suniel was nowhere to be seen.

With a yawn and a long series of stretches he walked over to Keeper, the construct still as a statue at the pedestal where he'd stood for the last couple days as the wayward Skylands obediently merged with the mainland. The many and varied people of the Skylands hadn't needed additional examples after Keeper had vaporized three of them.

“How's it going Keeper?”

Keeper nodded to him. “We are almost complete. I have also completed my analysis of the True Stone energies required to fly the new, Risen Felskein.”

“Risen Felskein?”

“An arbitrary moniker I devised to refer to the united landmass that will be formed when all the Skylands have finished merging with Felskein itself.”

“Gotcha, so what's your analysis?”

“Once merged, we should only require one-hundred of the nearly one-thousand True Stones to stay aerial. Once we set down again, we can reduce that to the nine that power Felskein itself to keep the Grimwythe at bay for a while longer, then the last nine may be quickly collected and... disposed of.”

“How do you dispose of one-thousand artifacts?” Kormak said, trying to wrap his brain around the scale of events that had been going on for the last couple days. “Get really big rock hammers and-”

“Don't worry about that,” Suniel said softly, seeming to appear out of nowhere. The elf's eyes were black and distant.

“And... complete,” Keeper said, gesturing to the light-image. “We are now ready to begin collecting the True Stones.”

“Isn't there the risk of being ambushed when we go for the Stones? There's plenty of people that didn't want to go along with us.”

Suniel shook his head. “As soon as they merged, Keeper put up the Wards around the Henges. No one can get to them but us.”

Kormak nudged Bail awake and dodged back as the half-dragon instinctively clawed at the dwarf as he awakened. “C'mon lizard, time to go round up a pile of artifacts.”

Bail growled as he scooped up his coins.

A few minutes later they were at the base of the Spire and one-by-one winking out, off to claim a thousand True Stones from a thousand henges...
 
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Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
Now I need to wait like everybody else :(

Just so you know, you slowed my posting rate on the Worlds and my work is suffering.

Now to get back to it...
 

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Glad you enjoyed it Neurotic. I seem to have settled into a 1/week Monday night posting schedule somehow. A few more weeks to go.
 

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 31, Part 21

Time became a blur, an endless sequence of stepping into a henge surrounded by a nearly-opaque shimmering gray bubble, grabbing the artifact sitting in the center, then stepping back, handing the True Stone to Keeper so he could stow it in the Black Carriage, and stepping back again.

It might have been hours or days later that they had the last of them, so many that they were in loosely organized piles in the lower floor of the Spire, the Carriage's interior literally packed to the roof.

Kormak wiped his brow and glanced outside. The island was scorched and blackened, all the plants burned away by the immense heat radiating off the outside of the Spire. Through the heat-shimmer, he could see the Radianus Sink bubbling and boiling. It seemed strange that it could be so cool inside the Spire while it looked like that outside.

“The Machinery of the Continent is extremely efficient, but the power required to fly a continent is... almost inexpressible,” Keeper said, following Kormak's glance. “If we take too long, the Sink – which was created just for this purpose – could boil away entirely.”

Kormak shook his head and looked at the Carriage. “So what are we going to do with the rest of these?”

Just then, Suniel and Bail stepped back from somewhere, carrying heaping armloads of fishing nets. “Never mind,” Keeper said.

An hour later, the Carriage was the most powerful, ridiculous looking thing Kormak had ever seen, the outside completely covered with nets absolutely bulging with artifacts, hanging off the side like so many potatoes in a sack.

“Now what?”

Keeper walked down the ramp from the upper level. “The Risen Felskein should be settling back in the Sands soon. The Grimwythe is loose – there's a wall of black energy nearly miles tall closing in on us from all directions. The moment we land, we need to get the last nine True Stones and get them away from Felskein as soon as possible.”

“Away from Felskein?” Bail said. “Now that the last of the Skylands have merged with the continent, there's nothing else out there.”

“Keeper and I will take them to the far side of the world and wait for the Grimwythe to take them,” Suniel said softly. “That way we can be sure that the job is done correctly.”

Kormak and Bail stared at the elf for a moment. “And what happens when the Grimwythe reaches you?”

The floor shook and they reached for wall or nets to steady themselves. As the shaking subsided, Keeper nodded. “It is done.”

Suniel smiled. “Time to go.”

Kormak glanced outside and saw, through the rippling heat and haze of the water, a distant shimmering black wall that seemed to grow even as he watched. A momentary flashback to the vision pool on Velea's Skyland left him shaken. He shook his head and began to turn, but something in the distance caught his attention. He turned back and squinted, making out two massive dragons, one silver, one gold, locked together in mortal combat in the distant sky. As he watched, the silver's wing was torn from its body and it plummeted, but not before grabbing onto to gold's tail. Together they plummeted for several seconds before the advancing energy of the Grimwythe consumed them.

“That's that I guess,” Kormak said.

“What?” Bail said, glancing over from where he and Suniel were discussing the collection of the last True Stones.

“Nothing, I'll tell you later.” Kormak joined them and together they stepped to their designated henges.
 
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 31, Part 22

Felskein landed heavily, violent tremors shaking the Spire of Direction and sending boiling hot-waves crashing against it. Fortunately, a shimmering field similar to the ones that protected the Henges still shielded the tower door and they watched the water boiling away against the invisible barrier as they reloaded the Black Carriage's nets with the artifacts that had fallen out during the quake.

“Quickly now,” Suniel said. They all glanced at Keeper as the construct slumped against the carriage suddenly. “Keeper?”

The construct shook his head. “The Nexus is... it is nothing, go.”

Suniel hesitated, then turned to the others. “Everyone know where they are going?”

Everyone nodded and stepped out. A few minutes later, they were back, loading the last nine True Stones into the carriage. With the Stones removed, the shield on the door had vanished and scalding waves from the aftershocks came within feet of spilling through the doorway. The temperature began to increase rapidly, the walls already glowing shades of pink.

With everything in readiness, Suniel looked at his companions. The taciturn half-dragon stood with his feet braced, his expression grim. Kormak was shaking his head. “Why don't you just go to the other side and leave the carriage there?”

“I have a feeling... this is what I must do. To be sure.”

“And I as well,” Keeper said. His eyes no longer sparked, only the barest flickers visible in their depths.

Suniel looked like he was going to deny the construct, but he looked at Keeper for a long moment and nodded. “I would appreciate the company.”

Bail stepped up and gripped Suniel's forearm and gave it a single strong shake. Kormak surprised Suniel by giving him a hug, then stepped away, wiping his eyes. “Getting hot in here, have sweat in my eyes.”

Suniel looked out the door and saw the churning black energy of the Grimwythe in the distance. It had to be close to the edge of the continent by now.

He turned back to his companions a final time. “Perhaps we will meet again.”

One hand on one of the nets, one on Keepers arm, he spoke the words to a spell and seconds later they stood atop a massive, forbidding sand dune, looking over a seemingly endless waste of blowing sand. The weight of the carriage sank it up to its axles and Keeper pitched forward into the sand. Suniel grabbed him to try and keep him up, but the construct was too heavy and they both fell, sliding several feet down the side of the dune.

Suniel knelt over the construct when they came to a stop, glancing up as what had been an almost-imperceptible rumble became a distant roar. The Grimwythe was visible on every horizon, rapidly growing louder and taller.

He looked down at Keeper. The last spark in the construct's eyes was almost gone. “Keeper.”

Keeper reached up for Suniel and Suniel took the construct's rough hand in his own. “Master... it has been an honor... an honor to know and serve you...”

Suniel nodded, blinking back tears. “You as well Keeper. Who would have thought when we found you that I would ever have a companion more loyal.”

Keeper struggled for a moment and the faintest hint of a smile formed on his lips. He squeezed Suniel's hand gently then released, his eyes flickering a final time and going dark. Suniel lowered the construct's hand to the sand. “It was an honor for me as well, Keeper.”

Suniel stood and turned to face the Grimwythe, now towering into the heavens in all directions, walls rushing in like waves into a hole in the ocean's waters.

He spread his arms and closed his eyes, unafraid as the hurricane roar of the Grimwythe flooded over him.
 
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Ryltar

First Post
Just discovered this gem of a story hour. This far, I've only managed to read up to Session 4, but it is a captivating read! I especially like the little behind the screen insights you give, especially as your DM'ing style has some parallels to my own. Please keep up the good work!

[edit]Finished with Session 7 a few minutes ago. Great work! I was sad to see that
Ming died off so early - she had the makings of a great character.
On this note - you said in one of the first posts in this thread that you required each player to come up with a list of flaws and secrets. Would you mind sharing these
for the characters that have already fallen, especially for Ming
? I'm sure this would make for insightful reading.
 
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Glad you're enjoying it Ryltar. When I finish up the story hour (another post or two), I'll start putting up the characters. I still have most of their sheets around somewhere and Xyque has Harold's.
 

Ryltar

First Post
And I'm up to speed. Looking forward to those final posts.

One thing I have wondered about - is there any specific reason you chose to convert to 4e in mid-campaign? E.g., did you feel that 4e mechanics would suit your playing style / the story better, or did the change happen for another reason?
 


Ryltar

First Post
Ah, then I was mistaken - I took your post saying 'Bumping to say our first 4e session ever kicked ass' as an indicator for a mid-campaign switch. My bad :).
 

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 31, Part 23

The world turned upside down and inside out. At least, that was what it felt like to Bail. One second he and Kormak were standing on the upper level of the Spire of Direction watching the walls melt and run down into the water around them, the next, the whole world seemed to turn white, then black, then colors beyond his capability to describe or understand.

He was sure he was roaring with rage, shouting with joy, and weeping, all at the same time. Gravity reversed and he clung to the floor to avoid plummeting up into the sky and then suddenly it was over, and he found himself sprawled on the floor next to Kormak, the world slowly reorienting and returning to its natural state.

Except, it seemed almost more natural than it had before. He felt more alive, the sky seemed more blue and the clouds drifting through it more white, the touch of the silversteel on his palms more vibrant. It had felt like an instant and an eternity that the world had been ending, but it must have been closer to the instant than the infinite. The walls of the Spire had finished running down and had cooled, while beyond, the Radianus Sink was no longer boiling.

Silently, he and Kormak walked and slide down the slagged sides of the Spire until they were standing on the scorched earth of the island.

“Now what?” Kormak said. “We swim back to... where are we going next anyway?”

Bail squinted at a faint plume of black smoke to the north. “I guess we ride on that boat over there.”

They stood and watched it approach until figures were visible packed in on its deck.

“Of all the... is that Harold on that ship?” Kormak said.

Bail growled then shook his head. “Doesn't matter.”

Kormak glanced at him with a quizzical expression but Bail ignored him. “We'll just have to boat take us to the eastern edge of the Sink, drop us off at the southern end of the Freeholds.”

“And then what?”

“And then we see what sort of world we've remade.”

***

Epilogue

The Endless Sands were replaced by an endless sea, waters rushing in against the towering walls of the new Greater Felskein. There was tension and war as the peoples of the Skylands, hither-to separated by vast stretches of sky, found themselves immediate neighbors – but there were also new alliances and friendships, instant trade networks springing up and fortunes made and lost in weeks.
Harold returned to the Crystal Towers to find that the dead had turned on each other, the liches once under Thessalock's heel withdrawing with as many of the dead as they could to underground, dark kingdoms where they battled each other, the peoples of the Freeholds, and the rapidly rebuilding Crystal Towers. Harold was soon a Magister – most of the others having fallen to the onslaught of the Rerisen Tower. He was not the same Harold that had left the Crystal Towers so many months before, but no one could doubt his dedication to the Crystal Towers.

He became the Magister of the Navy, bringing in gnomish shipwrights from the slowly rebuilding Steamport and constructing a navy to dominate the vast sea that now surrounded the Crystal Towers on all sides.

Bail, joined by Hundred-scales the Shining and the handful of dragons that remained of the fallen Bahamut's Overcouncil, united the squabbling peoples of the Freeholds, creating a powerful empire that formed the beating heart of Greater Felskien, a locus of trade and learning, ruled with a fair though sometimes draconian government. Kormak and his order kept the peace, removing dissenters and rebels who would threaten Bail's rule and battling the dead of the Lich Barons that lurked beneath the Freeholds.

Two True Stones were never reclaimed – those held by Thessalock and Lady Hadral. They found massive craters not far from the Span and just north of Gleam as Thessalock fled the Crystal Towers upon the destruction of the Ashen Tower and as Hadral fled the uprisings in Gleam. The Grimwythe had not allowed any of the True Stones to survive beyond their reach.

Suniel and Keeper were never seen or heard from again, though Bail and Kormak always wondered.

Near the end of their long years of governance and feeling their age, Bail and Kormak gave up their positions and sought out Harold. Though half-mad and gnarled with age, Harold agreed to their plan. Together, the three of them gathered together in a steamship to sail to the far side of the world, a final adventure to find their long-lost companions.

That was the world's final sight of them, sailing out into unknown waters, the ancient human at the helm, bow leaning against the gunwale, his thoughts still on the beloved Crystal Towers he left behind, the grizzled dwarf leaning against the railing and complaining about this and that while patting Dog's great-great grandson on the head, and the half-dragon, massive adamantine sword slung across his back, standing at the prow, gazing into the horizon.

Here ends:
The Rise of Felskein
.
 
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Author's note:

I started writing this story hour two-and-a-half years ago, about a game we started a year before that. Though my inspiration varied, sometimes sitting down to type with an air of resignation, other times my hands literally shaking as I typed, so excited was I to tell the next piece of the story, it is done.

It's happy and sad both to see my time working on it coming to a close - until this point it was still a living, breathing thing, the energy of the story drifting around in my head waiting to be engraved in digital stone. It has been a constant, fulfilling part of my life for these years I've been working on it, a stable source of quiet contentment amidst the ups-and-downs of daily life.

I'm grateful to everyone who commented as I was writing - there were times when I might have stopped if it weren't for someone dropping in for a moment. I wrote this for me, but I also wrote it for all of you and so knowing that others were out there sharing in on my brief view into the lives and adventures of Ming, Ilsa, Suniel and his rag-tag band of followers, Harold, Grok'nar, Kezzek, Bail, Kormak, and all the others that make up this tale - it's been an honor.

My time working on it isn't over yet, there's still the rogue's gallery to post and I'll probably go back through, edit, and compile the whole thing into a .pdf over the upcoming months, but the main work is done. I'll work on it a bit every week until it is entirely completed to my satisfaction and before relegating it to the dusty ENWorld archives, drifting slowly through the back pages into a quiet oblivion.

This too shall pass.

And such is life.
 
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steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
Bravo, Iron Sky.

I am truly honored, pleased and lucky to have been able to find your Story Hour and catch up on it all soon close to the end.

Reading the campaign as a whole has been quite an inspiration. Not only helping to spark my drawing in recent months but for campaigns and plots of my own toiling around in my brain.

You and your players have much to be proud of and we readers/ENworlders have much to be grateful for.

I'll look forward to the "official" edits/rewrites/pdf and the rogue's gallery will be awesome! (...and can't wait til you guys start up a new game & Story Hour. hint. hint. :D)

I raise my goblet to you. :)
Well done.
--Steel Dragons
 

Ryltar

First Post
Pardon me for just echoing what has already been said multiple times ;). This was a great read, and I'm very thankful that you actually saw writing this story hour through to the end. I can't tell you how often I started reading a promising SH, only to find that it petered out in the middle of the campaign due to lack of time or interest or whatever. I've even been guilty of that myself. So: 'mad props' to you :).

That being said, some rambling thoughts, in no particular order:

I must say that I liked the beginning of the story hour the most (which, no doubt, is as much a product of your writing as it is of me favoring low to mid-level play). I thought that the characters there had a more ... how shall I put it ... more of a connection, good chemistry, and mixed really well. The atmosphere appeared, for lack of a better word, friendlier.

In the latter stages, the relationships were quite often strained (and if this had been my party, knowing my players, Harold would not have survived his turning on Bail. Heck, they might have killed him just for constantly nagging them with his Crystal Towers :D). Aside from Kormak's bickering, I kind of missed Ming's sarcastic remarks (and butt-grabbing ;)).

I must admit that I sometimes got lost once the story became truly 'epic' (I think this started after they reached Port), and had to go back and reread earlier parts several times. For some reason, I also kept mixing up Kezzek and Kormak ;). Still, what I liked very much is how you continued to slowly open up the vista to encompass the wider world, from the humble beginnings to the party travelling downriver. The thing that took me by surprise was the Fae forest episode - I hadn't expected them to be in any way relevant to the resolution of the story.

Also, I would have liked to see a resolution (read: big fight :D) between Suniel and Thessalock. Pity, that.

For me, the standout moments from the story were:
- The beginning. From the party meeting up to them leaving town, every word was pure brilliance. But I have to single out the first Iron Sky confrontation, the devious Hobgoblin trap, and the 'Suniel'/Altar revelation cliffhanger.
- The downriver trip and fight versus the Treant.
- Suniel's confrontation with his son and the accompanying roleplay. Heartbreaking.
- The Corpse Ramp! Devious stuff.
- The Grimwythe - the way you foreshadowed the threat was excellent.
- Harold's rampage through the castle when he tried to retrieve his bow.

In closing, let me say that I am really looking forward to the PDF compilation (which I'd definitely print, bind and put into my Story Hour Shelf of Really Excellent Reading (tm) :)). Also, I'm hoping that once your current campaign wraps up, you'll DM another (and grace us with another great story).

I know I'll be reading it.

Cheers,
Ryltar
 

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Thanks for the comments Ryltar. To address some of them:

The beginning of the story hour(the first page at least) has the advantage of me going back through and editing it last summer. Most of the rest of the posts I've given them a quick look over for basic grammatical stuff but haven't done an actual novel-style edit.

As for atmosphere, it was friendlier, part due to the mood I was trying to create and part because of PC chemistry. It took everything the party had to keep Harold from killing Bail (and visa-versa) and the atmosphere within the party was strained in-and-out of game far more than I let on in the narrative.

I hadn't ruled out an epic final confrontation between the party and Thessalock early in the campaign, but things quickly escalated beyond the scale where Thessalock was really relevant. I really had no idea exactly where or how this campaign was going to end, it just progressed organically as I presented what was going on in the world and they (mostly) picked what seemed to be the most important stuff to get involved in.

The session where Suniel has the "big reveal" about him and Thessalock and his son was one of the best roleplaying sessions I've had in a decade-and-a-half of roleplaying. I was shaking with excitement and nervousness for most of it.

Since this game occurred, I ran a 4e game from level 3 to 16. I had only a fraction of the inspiration this one had and far less developed characters. I recorded all of them when we were playing in case I was going to turn them into a story hour, but I'm not sure. It had some (IMO) awesomely cool world elements, neat encounters and some sweet combats, but it wasn't nearly as inspired(especially paragon tier which was mostly combat-after-combat).

I'm not sure if we'll return to that game or if I'll start up a new one with a bit more time spent on world and character development before the game starts.

We'll probably be playing Sanzuo's Dark Sun game for a while yet, so it'll be a while before I produce another story hour... unless I get really inspired to write up the awesome d20 campaign that I ran that is mentioned in the first thread. That was like 5 years ago though and lots of the details are fuzzy, but we still talk about some of the coolest parts of it.
 

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