A great deal happened in this session. Let’s break it down in as easy a format as possible:
- In Darkot, learn that the Rod taken from Biagio’s body controls Annuls.
- A messenger arrives, telling Tallus that Aiden would like to speak to him.
- Tallus leaves. Some time later, he and Aiden return. Aiden now has white feathery, celestial-like wings. The story of he gained wings is hinted at throughout the night. It seems he was unconscious as he grew them. During the course of his unconsciousness he experienced a number of visions, some of which pertained to prior Chosens of the Triad, and some of which pertained to his talents as the Paragon of Order. The contents of those visions is not fully detailed, but it is clear that Aiden now has a better understanding of what it means to be a paragon. It’s also clear he can manipulate and control gates in ways no one has seemingly been able thus far.
- Aiden, in fact, knows there is a gate open in the Silver Marches. He knows that the gate is of disorder and that it is moving. Moving? Yes. Moving.
- The group teleports to the gate’s location. They encounter and defeat 10 demons, the leader of which is the same balor that led the flying mob that followed Cormac when the paladin disappeared.
- After killing the balor, the group finds a small, portable gate. They investigate it. Thiazzi closes it. The group debates whether Aiden should open another so that they can go through it, as Galeru and Vittari would like. While everyone else debates, Thiazzi simply opens the same gate he just closed.
- Thiazzi makes the gate bigger, big enough to enter. After retrieving the Annul controlling rod from Lisuania(on the condition he return it to her) and after tying a lanyard to himself, Thiazzi enters the gate. The lanyard is no longer tied to anything.
- Though it takes Tallus a while, the rest of the group eventually joins Thiazzi in the gate. Tallus spends his extra time communicating with aAbel, to make sure his uncle knows what is happening and can take appropriate action in the event the Unlikely Darkotians never return.
In the Gate
- Prior to entering, Aiden manipulates the gate so that those who enter it will skip having to possess another person. In this way, all PCs immediately travel to a world that seems to be either dying or sprouting to life. It’s hard to know which.
- At first they believe their spellcasting abilities are normal. They later learn this is wrong. Just as they later learn the mob of demons they think they see is not real. They go through a short combat with these demons, the leader of which is the very same Balor they killed earlier in the session.
- In time, Copper and Thiazzi determine the demons are not really there, though the rest of the group believe both of these PCs are dead.
- That is when a man calling himself Crius, who looks exactly like Kardin, appears. He kills all of the remaining demons with a snap of his fingers. And then converses with the group some.
- Generally calm, Crius bristles at the notion he will not leave this realm. He does answer a few riddles. He clearly has been working with the Roshann. He calls the gods usurpers and insists they stole his home from him, and he intends to reclaim it. He is not responsible for the planes drifting apart, but he theorizes the space between them is expanding, because the gods never intended it to remain in place for infinity. The walls, he suggests, are simply eroding.
- Crius admits to capitalizing on the fact that the space between the planes is expanding. Plus, he is responsible for a variety of negative effects spreading across the multiverse. He admits to causing soulless babies on Hensadon, for instance.
- He also advises the group to think carefully about their friends, for anyone who does not wish to free him is not a friend of theirs, he says. Only by freeing him can the PCs stop him from wreaking havoc on the multiverse. And make no mistake, he says, the havoc will only get worse if they do not free him.
- Upon freeing him, if they so choose, the group can meet him on a field of battle and all will see who is stronger.
- Upon further questioning, Crius also insists that Cormac is in this space with him, but that he controls whether Cormac can leave and he will never allow the paladins departure until the group has secured his release from the prison. (Indeed, the group thinks they have freed Cormac, following a particularly clever moment from Tallus, a moment in which the saint capitalizes on the infinitesimal quality of this space. They find that upon freeing Cormac, the paladin makes to attack Aiden, not rejoin them. That is when they realize for certainty that this is not the real Cormac.) To further prove Cormac is here, Crius gives Copper Cormac’s sword. (Note: It is a +2 flaming, holy, keen great sword.)
- Crius also promises to gift Copper knowledge of how to open the large gate Biagio opened the next time the mist elf sleeps. In this, Crius is sincere; when Copper sleeps later that night, he does in fact dream of opening said large gate.
- Moveover, Crius says he has no control over the strings Tallus and Aiden see. Nor does he have any control over Reynald Umbrayal. He goes so far as to give the usurpers credit for cleverness concerning the paragons, though he does not offer an explanation of how the paragons are affiliated to the gods, if at all. When it is mentioned that Umbrayal might be a problem, insofar as the Paragon of Balance has said many times he will not open the large gate, Crius says that is not a problem he can fix. It is up to them to find a solution. He confirms the idea that one becomes the Paragon of Balance by undergoing a ritual performed by the current office holder. He even hypothesizes that Umbrayal might willingly give up the title. Halfings, Crius says, are meant to die some 900 years earlier than Umbrayal.
- Finally, Crius also discusses the paragon of disorder. He says one will be selected soon as he looks at Lisuania. He says he isn’t certain how one wins the competition between candidates, but that he thinks there are number of possibilities. First, do something only a paragon can do. 2. Kill the other candidates. 3. Have the strength of will to simply take the office.
- After all of this conversation, the group finally bids Crius adieu. Other than Aiden’s, the individuals’ separation from him is amicable enough. Most even shake his hand.
Outside of the Gate
When they are outside of the gate, the group discusses their options. They also experiment some with the gates.
- Aiden knows he can control the gates. He wants to know what, precisely, he can do with them. He experiments. Aiden is certain the gates are not designed to let things out of them.
- Thiazzi sees Lisuania on one side of the gate and a blonde haired, blued eyed individual on the other side. He somehow knows that this individual’s name is Ahman Lorin. That, in turn, means he now knows that Ahman Lorin is both a candidate for paragon of disorder and one of the leaders of the Roshann.
- Aiden determines he can open a gate that will portal into a particular individual. The group quickly decides to open one to Ahman Lorin. Thiazzi goes through it.
While Possessing Ahman Lorin
- Thiazzi learns a great deal.
- Lorin’s real name is Gaius. We’ll call him Lorin for simplicity sake.
- Lorin is, in fact, angry. Rage filled, really. But he’s not raging at the Roshann or at money. He’s raging at the world—at the corruptness and hypocrisy of it.
- Lorin is the right hand of the Roshann. Biagio was the left hand. Even Lorin doesn’t know the real identity of the Darquis. At times when Lorin meets the Darquis, the latter shrouds himself with nonmagical or magical concealment. At other times, the Darquis appears as a halfling, an elf, a human, a dwarf, even a orc. Sometimes the Darquis is a male. Other times he’s female.
- Lorin knows the communication ritual to open a gate and speak to Crius. He has used the ritual roughly a half dozen times. Crius has provided him direction and offered advice, but it seems Crius doesn’t order Lorin. Whether it’s true or not, the relationship between them seems more like a partnership than that of a superior and subordinate. Lorin believes that when Crius is released, he will help the Roshann gain influence over planes other than the Material.
- While Lorin doesn’t know who the Darquis is, he does receive messages from the Darquis in the same drop every time. Those messages are often coded, but Thiazzi knows the code. Moreover, Thiazzi could easily teleport to the drop location, meaning he could theoretically intercept the Darquis’ next message, assuming the Darquis doesn’t already know Lorin is dead.
- Biagio and Lorin were lovers. That is, in fact, why Lorin named Biagio his left hand—Biagio was deeply in love with him and thereby utterly beholden to Lorin. For his part, Lorin seems to have viewed Biagio as a tool. He did not reciprocate the same feeling.
- It was under Lorin’s direction that Biagio began commanding Annuls. Biagio seems to have theorized that the Annuls were created whenever someone plane shifted and that while he wasn’t certain how to determine where the new creatures were going to be born, he did know how to identify when one was possessing someone. Lorin received word of the Rod of Annul Control from Crius himself. Lorin also retreived the rod and gave it to Biagio.
- When Biagio controlled the Annuls, it was to further the Roshann’s plan.
- The plan was simple. The Roshann seems to be sowing as much chaos as possible to set the stage for Kardin’s return. They are leading one faction of the army. They also have some influence over Levington, especially insofar as he pays a number of their agents for information. One of Levington’s informants is actually Lorin in a different guise. The Roshann wants control of Ern, though even Lorin seems uncertain as to the ultimate explanation behind the desire. But they want it. Their assumption was they’d either control the island through Lorin’s force. Or perhaps through Levington’s. They thought there was a chance they could control Helena as well.
- But Darkot, Elmsville and Waterdeep all scare the Roshann. Why? Loszi is anonymous to much of the world. Few would be powers would care about it until it was too late. Elmsville, Darkot and Waterdeep, however, are exceptions. Waterdeep has deeply established relationships with Elmsville and Darkot and some relationship with Ern, so they too will care. These places were the Roshann’s only true global threat, so the Roshann attempted to deal with them.
- And now we know why Biagio sent Annuls (in the guise of Cormac’s Dread Hunters and other would be assassins) after Tallus, Thiazzi and the Von Kissels back in the first session. The thought was simple: take out the leadership of both of these places, and neither of them would be able to pay attention to Loszi. They would have their own power vacuums to fill. As for Waterdeep. Well, even great powers like Waterdeep can only do so much, and with Darkot and Elmsville both on the verge of chaos, Waterdeep would only be able to focus so much on Loszi. Yes Waterdeep was building a fleet for Laura, and yes the Roshann knew that. But if Laura were dead, the fleet wouldn’t get used.
- The Unlikely Darkotians were the other major threat to the Roshann. So Lorin/Biagio attempted to deal with them in a number of ways. First, they tried to keep the party from reuniting. That is why Alexxia tried to keep Vittari away from the rest of the group. Second, they sent the Annul assassins after the group. Third, they hired the Silent Blades to kill the group. Biagio disguised himself as Alphonso Leany and hired the Silent Blades to kill all PCs. Horton was an add on Biagio devised. Lorin viewed it as unnecessary—he didn’t really consider the gith a threat so long as Darkot was dealt with. When none of these assassinations ended, the Lorin and Biagio decided to distract the group with gates—they wanted to give the group something else to focus on, rather than on the true threat.
- It also seems that Lorin ordered Biagio to manipulate Vittari or Copper into killing Reynald Umbrayal and becoming the Paragon of Balance. They knew Umbrayal was unlikely to ever free Kardin and believed Vittari/Copper would eventually be more amenable to the option.
- Lorin was responsible for killing Leany. He didn’t know how much Leany knew about him, so rather than risk a loose end, he elected to cut it off. He’d promised the assassin a sizable promotion within Roshann leadership structure, but it was a promise he would not have delivered on whether the assassin had survived Copper’s arrow or not.
- Lorin does not know anything about Helena’s disappearance. If the darquis is behind her kidnapping, Lorin wasn’t involved.
- Lorin has, however, meet with Barin Levington. The meeting happened just over a day and a half ago, but it was scheduled considerably earlier than that. Without knowing Lorin was Roshann, Levington attempted to recruit Lorin to his cause. Lorin said he’d join the former so long as Levington promised the small folk would be treated better under his rule. Levington said Lorin was a tool, a skilled tool, but a tool nonetheless, and that tools do not have the right to make demands of those who use them in pursuit of completed projects. Lorin could either join him or die. Upon receiving this rebuff, Lorin asked for a day to think about his options. Levington told him he could have two hours. Lorin left. So did Levington. In the day and a half that has passed since that meeting, Lorin simply hasn’t responded to Levington.
- Lorin was on a warship. The warship was flying Brightwater Horizons Traders’ flags. But it was too big to be a Brightwater vessel. A third, or so, of Lorin’s force was on the vessel with him. The rest of his force was on Loszi, fighting guerrilla style, attacking both Robeson and Levington’s forces.
- After learning all of this, Thiazzi went to the bottom hull of the warship. He opened the gate to communicate with Crius. He taunted him. Then he blew four holes in the front haft of the vessel, slit four of Lorin’s arteries and waited for Lorin to die.
- When Lorin died, Thiazzi found himself with his friends again, outside of the gate he’d used to possess Lorin. He was now the Paragon of Disorder.
- One more note: The Roshann is scared of Laura Von Kissel. Why? At least according to Lorin, they have no real control over her.
After Thiazzi Becomes the Paragon of Disorder
- Lisuania is not happy. She leaves for a moment, saying she’s going to take a nap. Then she returns, insisting Thiazzi return the Rod of Annul Control to her this instant. They argue. Copper intervenes to suggest a solution. Thiazzi, though unhappy, returns the rod.
- With Lisuania still there, Thiazzi looks at the gate. Now the Paragon, he sees a black chalkboard slate on it, instead of a glowing TV screen. He writes “Hi, Mom” on the slate. It transforms to show him Thrazen Krag.
- At Tallus’ suggestion, Thiazzi writes “Hi, Helena” on the slate. He is shown a prison that looks exactly like the banner at the top of this portal. The prison is on a plane called Carceri. Helena is inside that prison, in a 5 × 5 room, entirely dark room.
- The group returns to Darkot. They conduct some research, as Thiazzi gets his people out of Ern and kills a Manage level Roshann agent.
- The group’s research reveals that Carceri is a prison plane. It is easy to get to, but difficult to leave; the guards must open the exit for anyone looking to depart. The worst planar prisoners are sent to this plane, and they are kept there. For a fee. Probably a hefty fee.
- No one has ever attempted to exit via a Gate spell combined with a Miracle, but some have tried to greater plane shift to particular location on the plane. It doesn’t work; they have found themselves outside of the prison.
- The prison is guarded by haraknins. They are powerful fire-based baddies. They are also the creatures Roderick, an anull, saw kidnap Helena. Not only that, but Roderick insists these same creatures killed his family.
And that was where we ended. The next session will likely involve Carceri.