Alright gentlemen, I’m going to recap what we’ve been through so far, starting with Karaad, and I’ll make the earlier stuff later:
We started in the city of Karaad, in the tavern The Hanged Goat. Doctor Aldrathas waited patiently alone after being contacted by the Church of the Radiant King for work. He was waiting for his fellow employees, Dreth and Vance. Vance Algaroth was carted in by carriage, in shackles. Eventually Dreth shows up, as well. Last time Vance and Dreth saw each other they were trying to kill one another, so this reunion is less than joyful.
Soon, after Dreth and Vance’s confrontation, Jarkus introduced them all. Vance was there not of his own accord, as he would not willingly work with the church, though he has yet to reveal how he was indebted to them. Jarkus then gave them their first job: to clear the sewers of an infestation.
In the sewers of Karaad they encountered Vampires and Spiders, and fought off a powerful Vampire Champion in full-plate. After killing the champion, another man showed up. He was a soft-spoken young looking man who thanked them for giving him a glorious death and disappeared. Further investigation showed that there had been a lot more Vampires living there, though they had fled off into the night.
Back on surface, the party was paid well by Jarkus and the Church have them their next mission.
They were sent with Jarkus to a nearby village which had been pillaged by marauders. They had to find a young girl who had been captured by them. The party followed their trail through the forest and on the way burn down quite a lot of it, approximately 2 square miles, due to a bomb thrown by Doctor Aldrathas. It may have been devastating for the forest, but it did get them out of fighting a group of large wolves. They then found the camp of the Black Scorpions, and before anyone could talk, Dreth attacked the bandits and combat ensued. The leader of the Black Scorpions was a man, a summoner with a lance. During the battle, Vance was impaled. Twice. And the party was roughed up quite a lot, but they succeeded with minimal damage to their surroundings.
They found the mute Elven girl, and brought her back to church for whatever purpose they wanted her for. They got their pay and some much needed rest.
They then spent some time in the city, meeting people, and Vance participated in the Arena. He then encountered the all-powerful Rodney Dangerfield and was defeated in glorious combat by Rodney’s lightning fast fists.
While all of this was happening, the party was being observed by a group of assassins, the House of Lies who sent a gang of thugs after them to learn what they could do. They were sent specifically to kill Aldrathas and anyone he was working with at the time. After learning everything they thought they could, the House used their Changeling companion to disguise himself as Jarkus and pretend to give them a job at some abandoned house on the other side of Karaad. The party fell straight into their trap. Like walked right into it. Though they were, once again, able to overcome the odds and come out on top. Albeit after all of them almost died.
The fighting brought the guards, as it made quite a ruckus. All of them. When the party walked out of the house, now bloody with exploded corpses, to find that the house was surrounded and the captain of the King’s Guard had come personally to see what happened. After talking to the PCs, he was convinced of their “innocence” and let them go with a warning.
They found, after returning to the Hanged Goat, that Jarkus had been looking for them to offer them a part in an expedition to a castle in the far north. This also led to a somewhat awkward moment as they thought that Jarkus had set them up.
About a week later, the Hanged Goat saw more service than it had in a long time, filled with the mercenaries and adventurers of the expedition.
After traversing the Savage Plains north of Karaad, they picked up The Mysterious Merchant who turned out to be a Devil and in the process lost about 3 of the members of the expedition, one of which had been eaten by a T. Rex. It was a very gruesome death.
Then they had to go through the White Woods to make it to the mountains. Where they experienced True Terror.
After getting through the woods, the expedition had only 6 of out their original 11 members but they had finally made it Kallenhil Hall, and though it may not have been safe, they escaped from the True Terror. They entered to find it dark and richly furnished. And warm. They started exploring with what looked like a study and ran into 4 warlocks of which 3 were killed. One of them had their head chopped off by Vance Algaroth. Also, Bees.
They eventually met the master the house, known as The Count. Obviously a vampire of some great power, he welcomed them into his house and in a rare moment of temperance the party did not try to kill him due to Dreth’s warning, then they rested up and had dinner with The Count. The other guests at the table were a bit quiet, only of them actually talking to the party. Closer inspection revealed that the rest of the guests were dead in their chairs. This led to the party deciding they needed to get the hell out of there, and they went to The Count’s throne room on a hunch to find a secret passage behind his throne.
The Count was not happy with this intrusion into his privacy, and Jarkus, Adamantia and Darius stayed back to hold him off, their fates are unknown. In the passage they ran into the one remaining Warlock, a beautiful woman who was obviously being Dominated by the Count. She was cut down in cold blood by Dreth, and Vance chopped her into into tiny pieces.
They found a portal to somewhere, and throwing all caution to wind, they activated it and found themselves in The Abyss. Vance felt at home for the first time in his life.
They investigated around, and after finding no enemies, they relaxed, deactivating the portal behind them. In a nearby room, they found an identical portal room with a butler-like man. He explained to them calmly that he was there to serve and would assist them in porting back to the material plane, Stier.
After exploring a bit more, they found a large area and the object of their search. The remaining 3 members of the expedition could see the amulet at the far side of the room and sharp eyes could see a large bulk in one of the corners. Again, throwing caution to the wind, the Doctor gave Dreth an invisibility potion and he snuck up to the amulet to take it. As he crept forth towards their prize, the dormant torches lining the walls began to ignite in accordance to his position in the room, all the way to the very end, where he now stood. This revealed to them a Sphinx, walking slowly towards the amulet. He addressed the party, asking them their purpose, and after telling him they were there for the amulet, proceeded to to tell them that they could take it. Once more, Throwing all caution to the wind, Dreth broke what he thought to be his stealth, asking, outright; [[“…so we can just take it?”]] The sphinx, well aware of his presence, proceeded to tell him to get back and remain there, and warned them not to lie to him again. He explained that he would give them the amulet under one small condition: that they all answer one simple question. To Dreth, he asked; “What is that which you have lost?” To Vance; “What is that which you never wish to regain?” Last, to Aldrathas; “What is that which you wish to lose?” The answer, after careful thought, from the trio of adventurers was: “My Humanity.” He told them that if they wished to succeed in their goal and fulfill their Epic Destiny, that they would have to destroy the amulet. Deciding to find their own path to glory and keep the church from gaining too much power, they teleported away to the remote village of Hackdirt where they would plan their next move.