Welcome to the first entry in my oddball Age of Mortals Campaign. A little backstory is necessary to connect the dots. From June 2010 to December 2013, I ran the original Age of Mortals Campaign with my group in Dallas, TX. We made it from Key of Destiny through Chapter 4 in Spectre of Sorrows. I moved to Maryland for a new job, and left my group in the hands of another DM. As trends often go, the group became disinterested and fell off a few months after my departure.
Fast forward to the end of January 2016. I have since moved back to Dallas, and I started the process of getting the band together. Mistakes were made that heavily taxed the dynamic of the group, which included a Deck of Many Things that nerfed the party at the time. I had the tenuous agreement of my players to come back together for more sessions, but there needed to be a bit of a shift. First off, we decided to change settings to the Pathfinder system. From there, I used some clever plotting with what had happened to somewhat perform a soft reboot. I allowed my players the option of converting their current characters into the new system, or create a new character to join the party. We used the information for the conversion project currently underway here on the Nexus. How you ask? Continue reading and find out!
A few pieces of plot that I changed during the course of the previous campaign of note:
• The Herald/Wayfarer/Journeyman: In our version of Age of Mortals, the Herald took a greater interest in the party, aiding in recruiting the group together in Pashin much like Fizban did in Solace in the War of the Lance. As the campaign progressed, the Herald’s identity became revealed as the Journeyman/Wayfarer (Anvil of Time series), a time traveling bard who used the Anvil of Time to aid in changing a dark future where Chemosh and Frost have destroyed the landscape of Krynn due to their dark alliance. The Herald appeared at odd times, spouting cryptic prophecy and offering advice to keep the group on track. Sometimes he appeared old, others younger. It was a strange occurrence when it happened and usually the players groaned when he appeared.
• Takhisis: During the group’s visit to the Shattered Temple in Hurim, they encountered an Aspect of Takhisis during a jump to the past in the Shrine of Darkness. The party’s rogue at the time arrogantly bragged that she was dead in their future. Takhisis offered the rogue a parting gift, an enchanted amulet to aid him in his quest. He accepted. What they didn’t know was Takhisis, fearing her own apparent mortality in the future, imparted her life essence into the item. I spent the better part of a few months slowly tainting the rogue with dark promises. When the player decided to leave the group, I turned the rogue into a villain. The party defeated the rogue, but not before the amulet drained the rogue’s life-force, sprouted insect-like legs and ran off after the Peak of Malystryx blew up in Chapter 1 of Spectre of Sorrows. The party’s elven ranger attempted to destroy the amulet as it escaped in the dust and ash, but missed the shot due to a critical fumble of the party’s kender nightstalker. The kender changed time, and thus planted the kernel for me to play with the River at a later date. Several chapters later, the amulet showed back up, this time bonded with the sorcerous Thorn Knight named Cole, who had plagued the party since Pashin as a double agent for the Dark Knights of Neraka. With the help of the Tower of High Sorcery’s Renegade Hunter’s through the contact of the party’s white robe Kingfisher, they brought Cole to justice. They left him in a holding cell in the Tower of High Sorcery at Wayreth for study. The heads of the Orders vowed to attempt to remove Takhisis’ taint. During the campaign, Cole had started to look more androgynous as well, further proving Takhisis’ growing power. He also started exhibiting special powers from the Trickery domain, much to the chagrin of the party.
Those are the major shifts, and rest will follow. Without further ado…
Four pairs of eyes opened from different spots on the hard stone floor. They awoke at a landing of stairs that led down to the floor of a cube-shaped huge room, brilliantly lit by torch-stands and a blue aura. In the center of the room, mounted on a stonework pedestal, a colossal machine of curious workmanship stood, exuding the aura.
To the people regaining consciousness the room was unsettling. Six doors exited the room, all with a strange glow about their edges, each one perched at the top of stairs identical to the one next to them. But as perception and awareness sharpened, each set lead up the wall or to the ceiling with its own subjectional gravity. The surprised adventurers took their feet, trying hard to remember how they got there.
The Old Guard:
Sir Ellinghad uth Saxis (LG male Solamnic human Wizard 5/WoHS 3/War Mage 3), an intrepid member of the Solamnic Kingfisher auxiliary and renegade hunter.
Hyphen Umlaut (CG male true kender Rogue 3/Mystic of Spiritualism 8), a bitingly sarcastic kender nightstalker who is the current bearer of both the purified and tainted Tears of Mishakal.
Lyajaida “Lya” Denissa (CG Silvanesti elf Ranger 9/Wizard 1/Arcane Archer 1), a quiet, prideful elven ranger who was chosen by the Key of Quinari to be its wielder.
Grrrr (N male wolf), Lya’s steadfast bonded ally and protector.
I had the three PC’s rolls perception checks. Next to them lay the Dragonlance of Huma and the Shard of Light, each glowing steadily. Staring down at them from the ceiling were five other people and a docile tiger, all strangers except the young human male dressed in greyish robes. He looked familiar. All of the player’s made Wisdom checks to realize it was a younger version of the Wayfarer, watching him while he toiled at the glowing magical machine. The man waved for them to “walk down.”
Collecting the lance and shard, they warily approached and Ellinghad made a successful DC30 Knowledge Arcana check to identify the room as the Anvil of Time, a legendary lost stronghold where the Device of Time Journeying was forged, and also used by acolytes to study Krynn’s history and future. Ellinghad made a note to count it as “found.” He explained quickly to his allies where they were as they struggled to remember their last moments. Each person had a nagging feeling as something monumental had shifted in their lives, but could not put a finger on it.
They dizzyingly made their way across to the ceiling, seeing an armored dwarf, an armored human standing next to a tiger and two other human males wearing accoutrements of the Rose and Crown. Umlaut the kender broke the awkward silence by asking where there other friends were. Sadly, he couldn’t totally remember them; only that they were absent.
“Your friends were erased from the River,” the Wayfarer explained plaintively. “When you, a kender, pulled a card from the Deck of Many Things and were eaten by a Balor, you created a paradox, creating a fork in the River of Time that threatened to eat all other Rivers.”
“The older version of myself was luckily journeying when this happened, and almost killed when the universe began to turn in on itself. He came to me just before death, and here we are now.”
“I was only able to save those who had not touched the Deck, and thus the dwarf, minotaur and red robe are gone forever.”
The younger Wayfarer let that set in before beginning again. He explained that once he inserted them back in the timeline, the River would straighten, creating a different Krynn, one perhaps more magically potent. (This explained the jump to Pathfinder). The time ahead is dark and many details have changed, including now a war in the none-too-distant future between not only Chemosh and Frost, but also a returned Takhisis. So not only must they continue their quest to purify the Tears of Mishakal and find the Dragon’s Graveyard, but also keep Takhisis’ living Aspect Cole from getting access as well. The Herald warned that if Cole/Takhisis found access to the graveyard, Takhisis would surely again become a goddess. The Wayfarer then introduced the five others he yanked from the future to help guide them on a better course.
The Future Brigade:
Bomreck Bristlebeard (LG Daewar dwarf Cleric 11 of Reorx [Forge and Light]), a bombastic mountain dwarf cleric of whom little is known about, with clan ties to the forging of the Shard of Light.
Sir Royse uth Seeckt (LG Solamnic human Noble 4/Cavalier 6/Solamnic Knight 1 [Rose]), an initiate to the Order of the Rose who holds a dark secret of the coming future which he is desperate to change.
Gygax Polyhedron (LG Solamnic human Cleric 11 of Habbakuk [Animal and Travel]), a stranger who rides a tiger into battle and serves the will of Habbakuk with the Solamnic Knights.
Sir Alfonse (Al) of House Seeckt (LG Solamnic human Fighter 9), Royse’s retainer and loyal servant
Tony (N male tiger), Gygax’s great cat and steed.
As you can see, everyone took such great care with naming their characters.
Up next: Getting back to Ansalon.