Tales of the Fortune's Favored

The Abyss
The Tower of Lies. Escape from the Abyss.

The Valley of Fear drags on for what seems to be forever. The four companions march for what seem to be hours, make camp, rest and then walk on, yet no progress is made. The pervasive gloom never changes and the rocky walls stretch on and up for miles, making it impossible to mark the passage of time.

The four heroes march on down the valley for what feels like centuries until, quite suddenly, the valley ends. A wide expans of jungle land greets the four adventurers. They have made it to the Jungle of Doubt, the 120th layer of the Abyss. Otherworldly calls and monstrous roars echo through the landscape and every plant looks vile, murderous and poisonous. Trekking through the forest would be suicide for any but the most stalwart of heroes.

So Bersylak turns himself and his fellows into a cloud and flies right over the entire jungle.

And the Desert of Truth.

Eventually, the four heroes land outside the Tower of Lies, its massive spiked structure jutting up out of the desert wasteland, the River Styx forms a natural moat around the fortress and its only visible entrance is the massive demon-shaped head that acts as a gate to the prison.

When the four companions present themselves to the gate, the gate is surprisingly cooperative, and immediately lets them inside.

Inside the Tower of Lies, the four heroes battle a Marilith along with her Yugoloth henchmen, they enter a maze-like room of staircases. Bersylak offers a prayer to his god and ascends a staircase that takes him directly to the cell that holds his lost wife. The heroes quickly dispatch the demons that guard her cell and move on to another part of the prison in search of Menethiel.

A few hours of searching later, the heroes find Menethiel cleverly hidden in a cell-complex labeled “Orphans”. They battle Menethiel’s jailors for a while before Bersylak chants a prayer that delivers all six mortals to the plane of Elysium.

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1 May 2010
The Abyss. The Mountains of Faith. The Valley of Fear.

10th of Flamerule (1st Day in the Abyss)

The three companions traverse into the Abyss and Gorek informs his old companions that they have landed on the Mountains of Faith, the 118th layer of the Abyss. The mountain is craggy, sharp and covered in a thick layer of fog. Nearby, the River Styx flows from a waterfall in the sky down the side of the mountain on its hurtle down the endless hell-spiral. Gorek has studied and traveled the Planes extensively and suggests that they follow the river to a demonic fortress called the Tower of Lies, a place where captive souls are held.

Not long after they begin their journey, the three travelers are beset by Vrock demons, who employ their telekinetic powers to push the Fortune’s Favored toward the River Styx. Gorek is thrown clear over the river and, rather than find a safe way to cross, he leaps into the river itself and swims through the wasting waters. He emerges on the other bank, seared and burned by the river’s toxic contents, but still standing. The Vrocks are so impressed that they immediately retreat.

After a long day of trekking down the treacherous mountain, the three companions come across a man in shining, angelic armor in a desperate battle with two demons. The three come to the stranger’s aid destroying one of the demons and driving off the other. The man in angelic armor thanks the Fortune’s Favored and introduces himself as Bersylak, an Altumbellic cleric of Torm in search of his lost love. He’d learned that the demon known as Gol’gauryx took her to the Tower of Lies deep in the Desert of Truth, the 121st layer of the Abyss. The four decide to band together and continue their descent.

10th of Flamerule (2nd Day in the Abyss)

After a harrowing journey, the four heroes enter the 119th layer of the Abyss, a place that Gorek refers to as the Valley of Fear. It is a cold, dark wasteland with precious little light and vast, black rock-cliffs on either side of the River Styx. An icy wind howls through the valley and chills the four companions to their souls.

Hours into the Valley, the four companions are beset by a Caller in the Dark, but they manage to dispatch it with relative ease. A feeling of disjointedness and timelessness washes over them as they travel on through the valley.

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25 april 2010
Gorek recruited. The Death of Taorm the Mistmourned

7th of Flamerule

The Fortune’s Favored travel to Chessenta in search of Gorek Dotsk, their old ally. They find him outside the city of Akanax, where his army lays siege against the mightiest warriors of Chessenta. Saladin makes an appeal for Gorek’s aid in rescuing Menethiel’s soul from the Abyss, but he overdoes it and Gorek is overcome with blood-lust. Taorm steps in to shield his allies and is sliced to ribbons for his part.

In the midst of the carnage, Gorek realizes that his bloodletting ways are no longer by his will, but that of Garagos the Reaver. Gorek decides that he has had enough of killing for others and wants to join his old companions on their venture into the Abyss. There he hopes to confront Garagos himself and reclaim his own soul from the mad god’s possession.

Geregan is distraught by his best friend’s death and disgusted by the thought of traveling with Taorm’s killer. He abandons the Fortune’s Favored and sets out on his own.

The three old companions, reunited for the first time, teleport to Snowdrift the Weather Wizard, taking Taorm’s Well of Many Worlds with them, hoping that the old wizard can guide their travel into the Abyss. The three adventurers traverse into the Abyss in search of their lost friend.

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17 April 2010
The End of the Gauntlet. The Golden Heart

6th of Flamerule (continued)

The Fortune’s Favored cross blades with Wyndris the Crimson Dragon and a furious battle breaks out. Before a victor can be declared however, three creatures emerge from the temple: A Naga and two Leonal spirits, fierce combatants ready to defend the Golden Heart. The battle now turns into a three-way fight and Wyndris’ crew is wiped out in the cross-fire. Balthus casts a spell to assume the appearance of Dalnim Areoi and then strikes the killing blow against Wyndris and avenges the Gnome’s honor.

The Leonal spirits eventually cease their assault and the Naga declares the Fortune’s Favored as the champions of the Gauntlet. The spirits depart and leave the four heroes to claim the Golden Heart.

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11 April 2010
The Gauntlet. Belkers and Krakens

6th of Flamerule (continued)

The four companions navigate the harrowing Gauntlet, braving great dangers on the way. They quickly dispatch a group of cowardly Belkers, thanks to Geregan’s fearsome war-chant. The danger picks up in the next chamber, however, as the four heroes scale a massive well that is occupied by a terrifying Kraken. Saladin is almost devoured by the massive beast, but together the warriors manage to drive it off.

At the top of the well, the four adventurers are met with a puzzle: They must correctly align the five elements of Kara-Turan legend by order of superiority. With only one false placement, the clever heroes quickly solve the puzzle and the massive iron doors that hindered their progress swing open to reveal a wide open courtyard. At the other end of the courtyard sits a Kara-Turan temple, from which emanates a bright golden light. Unfortunately, Wyndris the Crimson Dragon and his cronies have made it to the courtyard as well and a desperate final confrontation seems inevitable.

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2 April 2010
New Recruits. The House of the Tengu. The Gauntlet Begins.

2nd of Flamerule

After several days mourning the tragic deaths of their companions, Balthus and Saladin prepare to set out for the Sunrise Mountains on the eastern border of Thay. In the mountains, they hope to find the Golden Heart, an artifact that can help defeat Illisuspiria, the Red Queen of Nightmares. They convince the King of the urgency of their mission, who refers them to two renowned explorers that have come to Bloodstone Pass East to lend their aid to the war effort. The two newcomers are Taorm the Mistmourned, a Half-Orc Barbarian from the wastes of Thar and his bloodsworn companion Geregan. The four adventurers meet up in the castle courtyard and, with Saladin’s descriptive aid, Balthus successfully teleports the party to the Gorge of Gauros in northeast Thay.

5th of Flamerule

The four new companions make fast work of ascending the Sunrise Mountains, making clever use of the two sorcerers’ magic as well as Taorm’s selection of magical items. Eventually, they pass through a thick cloud bank and find themselves standing on a snowy plateau. On this plateau sits a house of Kara Tur-an design, and in it dwell the mysterious crow-spirits known as the Tengu.

The Tengu welcome the four travelers, bathe, feed and clothe them. Although the Tengu are eerily otherworldly, the Fortune’s Favored are immediately taken with them. The Tengu’s leader, who identifies himself as Perches-on-Tree-Limb, tells the heroes that another group of adventurers arrived just before the Fortune’s Favored, lead by Wyndris the Crimson Dragon, a fierce monk and outspoken enemy of the late Dalnim Aeroi. Wyndris is upset to hear about the death of his nemesis and promises to visit his frustrations on the Fortune’s Favored instead. The Tengu make sure that no violence erupts in the house.

6th of Flamerule

The next morning, the heroes are fully rested and make a few last-minute preparations before undertaking the Gauntlet. The Tengu known as Death-from-Above leads the Fortune’s Favored to a passage that leads into the mountain and where the Gauntlet begins. The doors then shut behind the heroes and their harrowing journey begins.

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12 December 2009
Death and Dragons!

25th of Kythorn (continued)

Balthus teleports the four adventurers to Castle Dragonsbane and, exhausted from his ordeals in the Temple of Unknowable Horror, retires to the Bloody Stump. Shaffer and Dalnim take this opportunity to spar and touch up on their techniques while Saladin goes into Heliogabalus and indulges in as many vices as he can, reveling in the gift of life. Exhausted after the day’s activities, the four adventurers get some well-earned rest.

26th of Kythorn

The four adventurers awake in the early noon the next day, and ponder among themselves what their next course of action should be. Before they can reach a definitive conclusion, they are interrupted by a commotion in the streets. Panicking citizens and worried soldiers tell the heroes that a dragon has been sighted to the north along with a vast army that is headed for the city. The four heroes rush to the north city gate and see the monstrous Nightmare Army that marches on towards the city, but there is no sign of the dragon.

Balthus, Shaffer and Dalnim ride out towards the army and try to goad Illisuspirira the red dragon into showing herself. Balthus intimidates the horde of giants and goblinoids with his boasting and then rides back to the city walls. Then they see her: Illisuspiria, the Red Queen of Nightmares, swoops in and attacks the soldiers at the gate with a well-placed breath of fire. Balthus, Shaffer and Dalnim are safely tucked away beneath the gatehouse, but Saladin is caught in the blast. Fortunately, he has time to react and is able to shield himself from the blast with a quick bit of wizardry. He then hastily erects a wall of fire and a wall of force to slow down the advancing army, while the other three heroes prepare to teleport onto the dragon and take the fight to her.

Despite their valiant efforts, the three heroes fail to harm Illisuspiria in any significant way, but Saladin and Shaffer turn their attention to the Nightmare Army instead, weakening their forces significantly. The Red Queen recognizes Balthus as a descendant of her hated enemy Nathrepulisthis and sees fit to capture him alive for further torture later. Thanks to Dalnim’s meddling, Balthus is able to wriggle free from Illisuspiria’s grasp long enough to teleport to safety. Dalnim is flung halfway across the city and lands in one of the gardens of Castle Dragonsbane.

Around this time, Hector of Kratopolis, High Priest of Tyr, arrives with his army and engages with the Nightmare Army. With his help, Saladin and Shaffer are able to push back the monsters and break them off the battlefield. Balthus and Dalnim attempt to fool the enraged dragon into bringing most of the castle down upon her head, but she is simply too powerful to be stopped in such a manner.

With the Nightmare Army broken and scattered, Saladin and Shaffer move with Haste back to the castle to confront the dragon and save their friends. Hector and his contingent of elite guards follow suit. An epic and exhausting battle ensues, as Illisuspiria attempts to kidnap Balthus while the others strike at her armored hide to little avail. Finally, Balthus escapes the dragon’s grasp, but she spits a gout of flame on the four companions. Dalnim bravely gives his life to save that of Balthus from the fire and when a deadly claw rakes Saladin’s hide, Shaffer selflessly uses his Ring of Friend Shield to absorb the brunt of the damage and perishes from his wounds. This buys Saladin enough time to construct an Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere around himself and Balthus and save his life.

When Hector’s forces arrive to drive off the dragon, she vows revenge on Saladin and flies off, but not before destroying a significant portion of the city. King Gareth and his court finally emerge from the rubble, thank the two companions sincerely for their sacrifice and tend to their wounds. The two are put on a wagon and ridden out west towards Bloodstone Pass where the king hopes to rally his forces and turn back Illisuspiria’s tide of evil.

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5 December 2009
Benelisa the Archon. Zerakiel the Forgotten.

25th of Kythorn (continued)

On their way back from the Necrotic Cradle, the Fortune’s Favored are both frustrated and relieved to find that the tunnels have shifted during their previous battle, blocking their path to the surface, but also blocking the Babau horde’s pursuit. They find another tunnel that leads to another part of the Black Catacombs where they come across a badly injured Trumpet Archon. The Archon tells them her name is Benelisa and that she has been trapped in the Catacombs for the demons’ amusement since before the fall of Narfell. She asks that the four heroes retrieve her trumpet and help free her from her imprisonment. She tells them that her trumpet is kept in the tomb of Zerakiel the Forgotten, a long-dead wizard-king of Narfell.

The heroes quietly enter a courtyard outside of Zerakiel’s tomb and try to find a way to open the tomb without alerting the scores of Babau demons that patrol the catacombs. Balthus finds some inscriptions on a large demonic statue in the courtyard, but reads the wrong part first and is blasted with bolts of negative energy. Shaffer, enraged by his friend’s injury, attacks the statue and summarily cleaves it in twain. A loud bell rings out, the metal gate that leads out of the courtyard magically shuts itself and the tomb opens. Cold mist seeps out the crypt and the hideous lich-form of Zerakiel the Forgotten emerges from the darkness. A deadly battle erupts in the crypt, but the Fortune’s Favored manage to destroy the lich… for the time being.

With a spell of Detect Magic (courtesy of Saladin’s newly acquired Sorceror levels), the heroes track down the Archon’s trumpet and free it from its secret compartment (Shaffer smashed it open). Saladin reads a magical inscription that has been engraved into another statue inside the tomb, but makes the same mistake as Balthus and gets blasted with negative energy. Shaffer reacts by slicing the second statue into dust as well. Unfortunately, the blow destroys the statue and unleashes a torrent of eldritch energy that starts to engulf the tomb. The heroes beat a hasty retreat and Shaffer smashed the iron gates with Balthus’ sword.

The heroes make a beeline for Benelisa’s holding cell and return her trumpet to her. She uses the Trumpet to blast away the wards that held her in place and then uses it to help Balthus overcome the teleportation wards set around the Temple. The heroes teleport out of the Temple and emerge in a peaceful glen, about two days’ ride away from Heliogabalus. Benelisa’s condition improves drastically in the sun and fresh air and she offers the heroes her thanks.

She cures Shaffer’s Constitution drain, purifies everyone of the taint they had acquired from the Rawlinswood and the Temple, explains Methiel’s condition (he’s becoming a vampire and his soul is lost in the Abyss) and gives them a trumpet that allows them to summon her once should they need her.

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29 November 2009
Battle at the Necrotic Cradle. Saladin's Triumph.

25th of Kythorn

Having explored the upper levels of the Temple of Unknowable Horror, the Fortune’s Favored settle in for a few hours’ rest before venturing further into the Black Catacombs. The night passes without incident, though the heroes’ nerves are strained by the constant howls of anguish that echo from far below.

The four adventurers brave the depths of the Temple, carefully advancing down a spiral staircase that leads into an enormous underground chamber that holds a cemetery the size of a small town. Ornate crypts and mausoleums stretch out beyond the range of Saladin’s glowing orb, but the four companions find a large iron plaque that directs them to the Necrotic Cradle. They are swiftly waylaid by a trio of Vrock demons and the ensuing battle catches the attention of a horde of Babau demons that come charging after the Favored. Through sheer tenacity, the heroes overcome the Vrocks and Saladin hastily erects a Wall of Force that keeps the Babaus at bay.

The adventurers make their way quickly to a tunnel that leads to the Necrotic Cradle, passing a room marked as the “Chamber of Sight Unseeing” as well as a grim Portal to the Abyss. At the mouth of the Cradle, the Fortune’s Favored faced off against a Marut Inevitable and its band of undead adventurers. The four companions emerge victorious, but Shaffer’s constitution has been severely drained and all the heroes are badly injured.

Saladin uses the power of the Necrotic Cradle to bring himself back to life and emerges triumphant. He tries to use the Cradle’s power to resurrect Menethiel, but nothing seems to happen. The adventurers must find some other means to bring their fallen companion back from the dead. They turn back towards the tunnel, hoping to find a way back out of the Temple.

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22nd November, 2009
The Rawlinswood. The Temple of Unknowable Horror

24th of Kythorn

The Fortune’s Favored – now composed of Balthus Burlisk, Saladin Il’Muhaji, Shaffer Iben Thad and the newly assigned Dalnim Areoi – set out for the Necrotic Cradle. After having stocked up on provisions, the four teleport to the edge of the Rawlinswood, which has been transformed into a blighted, festering mire. They trek through the boggy forest for six hours, taking care to avoid any unwanted attention from its denizens.

As they make their way through the Rawlinswood, the adventurers see and feel the effects of the Rotting Man’s Blight all around them. Most of the trees are dead or dying and what little wild-life they encounter is twisted and warped into a sickly shadow of its former self.

After wandering aimlessly for about an hour and getting hopelessly lost, the adventurers come upon the Temple of Unknowable Horror, a massive cyclopean travesty of architecture, all black marble and obsidian. The adventurers enter the temple with a strong sense of dread in their hearts. On the upper levels of the temple, they run into a dozen fearsome demons driven mad by millenia of isolation. The heroes dispatch the demons with relative ease and steel themselves for the lurking terrors that await them in the lower levels.

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