The prequel campaign / Tale of Ythir came to an early finish this Wednesday due to scheduling conflicts; one or more of our players are going to be out of town at all times for the rest of the summer, so Tim decided to wrap things up quickly. Here's a short summary of the whole run, along with some of the people we met and things we learned.
Party formed. Ythir is directed by a mysterious benefactor to acquire an elven artifact from a ruin in the south. He meets with Seche Peret, the Man Who Knows Everyone, to see if they know this benefactor, but Seche does not. Seche does, however, send Aluna the sorceress with Ythir to retrieve the artifact. Asmir the assassin has had a mysterious dream of Ythir; typically this means that Ythir is his target, so he follows Ythir from Seche's place, then convinces the party to let him join up with them under the guise of a thief / wizard who is in it for the loot. Miranda the paladin receives a letter from the city council directing her to retrieve the artifact as well; she meets the party at the city gates. There is much tension within the party.
The party proceeds south through the fringe of the Impasse, a place where strange magics happen. Random monsters fall from the sky but are slain. A village trapped in a time bubble is passed through quickly / nervously. The elven lands are reached, the ruin found, puzzles solved, and the artifact, the Rod of Duplication, is gained.
The ruin collapses as the party leaves, and mummy guardians awaken and attack. Qual, the elven ranger of feather-token fame, and the Avenger, a monk / paladin wandering vigilante, appear and come to the party's aid. The mummies are put to rest, and it is revealed that it was Qual's task to guard the rod, which Ythir was disguised. More elven ruins are explored, but little is gained except the knowledge that the high elves and the gnomes of old fought a great war of trickery and magic, and Qual was left behind when the elven host sallied forth into the area that is now the Impasse. The party returns to Dehlia circumspectly, by back wilderness roads, because Ythir is loathe to give the artifact to his benefactors, who he believes to be gnomes. A teleporting mage ambushes the party, but is promptly grappled by the Avenger and then beaten to death by everyone else. The party re-enters Dehlia; Ythir and Aluna make separate reports to Seche Peret, Miranda seeks his protection, the Avenger is tricked into his employ, Asmir evades his notice by disguising himself as a peasant porter for the party, and Qual tries to sell him a walking stick.
I wasn't here for this one, but the way I hear it, the ambushing mage was revealed to be Ace of the Black 13, a cabal who name their members after cards. The party (sans Asmir and the Avenger) also slay Three and Four of the 13. They find the Black Lotus Dagger and a mighty hammer of throwing in the crypts beneath the temple of Miranda's order, and use the Black Lotus to escape Dehlia through various creepy hell dimensions (something about flowers?... I have no idea). They end up stranded in the frozen tundra to the far north when they return to the material plane, and give battle to a tribe of orcish barbarians led by Somar. The session ends with them out of slots, hidden in a Leomund's Tiny Hut to avoid hypothermia.
Asmir realizes that the rest of the party has disappeared, and dreams of a man in black robes numbered Five. He slays Five of the Thirteen at his desk in his home, then disguises himself as Five when a vague man comes knocking at his door. He teleports with the remainder of the Thirteen to the party's location in the tundra, where the orcs are revealed to be in league with the cabal, and Ythir is forced to give up the Rod of Duplication to the Thirteen. King tries to use it, but is transformed into the king of the high elves; the rod was actually a trap. He slays Queen and Jack of the Thirteen trivially, gives an ominous monologue, breaks Asmir's disguise, and teleports out. The remaining members of the Thirteen flee, and the party escapes the orcs using the Black Lotus again. They return to the material in Malas Farngrey and pass off their abrupt appearance in the Temple of Ffarlaghn as a magic trick gone bad. They decide to head south to the dwarven lands, both to see Miranda's heritage and as a route to the empire of Sol Magnar beyond the mountains.
The party begins at the mouth of the dwarven caverns, and encounters the Singed, exile dwarfs who have devoted their lives to containing the dragon (mainly by getting in the way...). They try to bar the path, but are convinced otherwise. The party sneaks through the ruined city of Kathras Deep, and slays many salamanders, but avoids attracting the red dragon's notice. They arrive in Sol Magnar, the empire of the lizardmen, and make a beeline for the library, which contains much knowledge lost in the lands of men. Adam the Bard appears, revealing himself to be Two of the Thirteen ("Twos are wild"), makes Ythir an offer of membership, and reveals the nature of the Impasse, as well as that the Elves were fond of enchantment magic. He also states that he is hunting the Chromata to fight the elf king, and that we might do the same. Ythir finds a working description of the Chromata, and a hunt for those artifacts as a means to defeat the Elf King begins. The Black Chromata is the spelldrinker; see Fjolkir's journal. White gives the gift of eternal life and death, Red is a tether to reality against illusions and in dreams, green allows mind control but the target's mind bleeds into the user's, and blue allows the user to create a perfect disguise which can only be broken by speaking his (the user's) name. The party decides to split up; Miranda returns to the dwarven lands to join the Singed, Qual heads south across the sea to find the elven libraries (I think... I may not be recalling that bit properly), Aluna reports back to Seche and then seeks the white chromata, Ythir starts a general hunt for them, and Asmir decides to continue accompanying him in case he gets the 'terminate' order. Also disturbing is the revelation that the gnomes knew about the Rod for the last 5000 years, but only now got around to retrieving it; the possibility is raised that there is a time-delayed 'egg' of some sort, possibly the dragons guarding the chromata. Uncertainty abounds. Shortly after the session ends, Asmir receives the kill order, and it is presumed that he is still hunting Ythir in the sequel campaign.
For my part, I greatly enjoyed playing the stereotypical greedy rogue as a cover for a whole different beast. None of the rest of the party had any clue until the last session where I let a few hints slip... I'll probably post Asmir's stats as of endgame in the next day or two. It was a good run.