Summary: The heroes are transported to the World of Erda and team up with the heroes of that world to stop the rogue god Middim from escaping his prison.
Takes place Redfall 30th of the year 480 of the Fourth Age (by Erda reckoning)
Instead of finding themselves transported back to the Gray Forest, the heroes find themselves standing on a well-traveled, leaf-covered, dirt path in the middle of an unfamiliar forest. They try to contact Childa or the Moon Elves using the sending stone but there is no answer. Looking upward through the hardwood trees, sparsely populated with the multi-colored leaves of late autumn, the adventurers find a solar eclipse blotting out the noon sun. The party spots a group of figures walking towards them on the road. The figures all appear to be knights. They are dressed in fine plate armor and wear shields with matching emblems that none of the adventurers have ever seen before.
The knights have their weapons drawn and walk towards the part with grim purpose. As the knights approach, the party overhears them having the following conversation:
Young Knight: "The destroyer looks nothing like I expected. Are we sure we are in the right place?”
Gruff Knight: “Bah! (pointing up at the sky) that’s his sign up there in the sky innit?” “We were told he can take many faces. Whoever said he can’t take more than one at a time. (spits)”
Young Knight: (pointing at the human-looking party members) "I just didn’t expect it to look so human.”
Gruff Knight: (pointing at non-human party members) "You call that human-looking?”
Knight Leader: “Silence bothers. We must have faith. Believe nothing that the trickster says and strike him down without mercy. Our world depends on it.”
With that being said, the knights attack the heroes. The knights steadfastly refuse to listen to any attempts from the party to sue for peace. When Madrakkar hits the knights with his magic this seems to rile them up even further. The leader says to his knights (pointing at Tsol who is blocking their way) “kill the bestial aspect of the trickster then kill the face that has taken the form of a heretic mage.” Smoke puts a crossbow bolt into the chest of one of the knights – a shot that he is sure should have killed him. Instead the knight keeps on fighting and the entire group yells, “All for one and one for all.” The party notices that several other knights keep on fighting after they have received what should have been mortal blows. Whenever this happens all of the fellows knights look pained though. The knight that Smoke shot, charges him with the battle cry “For Edledhas!!” Smoke counters, “You guys like to share pain, share this!” and shoots the knight in the face which causes the entire group to grimace in pain. Despite the knight’s conviction, the heroes of Impiltur are the better fighters. Finally, Alkorahil fires off a burst of flame from Dark Phoenix which catches most of knights in its blast. The shared pain combined with their previous wounds is too much for them and the entire unit falls over dead. With his last gasp the leader says, “We have failed…”
The adventurers search the bodies of the knights to see if they can find any clue about who their attackers were or where they are. In the knight’s possession they find each of them carries many newly minted gold coins. One side of the coin bears the image of a religious figure with the caption, “Exarch Alexius XI.” The other side pictures a city with several domed cathedrals and says, “Calbut”. The adventurers are all well-travelled but none of them have ever seen these types of coins before. The party takes a short rest to regain their strength and get their bearings. Several of the nature-attuned members of the party note that the forest than they are in is very old and has likely been around for a long time. Now that it is quiet they also hear the sounds of running water nearby.
Kriv and Peter do a quick aerial reconnaissance of the area and find that the running water belongs to a nearby river that cuts through the forest up ahead. On the other side are of the river are some high cliffs. Some type of building with spires and large double doors is carved into the side of the cliff. Nothing else of interest is in the area.
The party decides to investigate the structure. As the adventurers follow the path towards the building, the ground becomes more rocky and the forest becomes more sparse until they both abruptly end at the river. On the other side, the party can see stairs cut into the stone cliff that lead up from the river to the doors. There are no signs of activity. The adventurers wade across the river and gain entrance to the building through the large double doors which are not locked. The floors and walls are covered with dust and cobwebs. The heroes do spot a set of tracks that lead up to the double-doors then turn around and head back the other way. The party moves through the short hallway to the next room and finds themselves in a large domed foyer. It appears as the party takes a look around that no one has been here for quite some time. Looking up above them they see on the ceiling of the great dome that there is an old painted mural of eleven figures standing in triumph together that seem to be tied together with a rope or banner. On the mural above and below these eleven figures are strange looking astronomical symbols.
Ringing the room are many more murals that seem to go into greater detail about the figures painted on dome. Examining the figures painted on the second set of murals the party sees some of the following details:
- A dark figure with a banner behind him and holding a large spear. Light is coming out from the hood and sleeves of his clothes. He appears to be battling an old woman that looks like a powerful magic user.
- A halfling moving seemingly unobserved through a group of finely dressed people. Off to the side of the well-dressed people are some ragged looking, possibly poor people that seem to be pointing and laughing.
- A bulky human-like armored machine with deep red eyes looking somewhat upwards. A beam of energy or possibly light seems to emanate from his chest.
- A male dwarf with several bubbles circling around his head. There are runes inside the bubbles. Over his shoulder he is holding a large hammer.
- A human warrior making a powerful swing attack with a large axe. In the background behind him is a shadow with claws.
- A human dressed in fine looking polished armor, holding up a sword high in the air that seems to give off light and fire. Behind him in the mural are other similar looking warriors though their faces are obscured.
- A human mage or sorcerer with an arcane looking aura around him wielding a powerful wand doing battle with a large fire breathing Red Dragon.
While the heroes are examining the murals, they are approached by a human woman coming from a hallway opposite of the one that they came from. The woman is dressed in flowing purple robes and a horned masquerade mask. She carries a spear with an intricate tip that seems to be composed solely of shadowy energy. Following her are human sized statues that look like the figures from the murals except that the nearly life-like statues have blank, incomplete faces on them. The woman looks enraged, shouts at the heroes, “Who has my spear. Did you take it?”, and attacks.
The adventurers have no choice but to defend themselves from the vicious assault launched at them by the mad-woman and her minions. The statues use special attacks comparable to the figures from the murals that they are carved to represent (except for one of the statues which seems intent on doing damage to itself by ramming into a wall). The woman teleports randomly around the room and unleashes destructive fireballs of black flame at the heroes. She also conjures walls of phantom spears that impede the party’s movement and cause very real damage when touched. The insane prophet also occasionally commands one of the heroes to “Worship me” which temporarily causes that person to worship her as his goddess and try to slay the other heroes for daring to attack his idol. Madrakkar finds that the woman is emanating a field of overpowering wild magic and chaos of the like which he has never encountered or even heard of before outside of the Spellplague. All but his most powerful spells cause random effects when cast. Throughout the battle, the deranged but deadly woman says things like:
“It is MY dream. MY destiny and I want it back”
“I gave it to them. NO they tricked me”
“Is that my spear?”
“When I look at you in the right light you look like them that took it”
“GIVE IT BACK TO ME”
“Fall not at the feet of false idols”
Finally Smoke succeeds in hitting the woman with a crossbow bolt directly through her heart. She looks confused for a moment and then says, “I am magic incarnate. I am nothing” and disappears in a burst of black fire.
The heroes’ victory is cut short though as almost as soon as the woman vanishes, they hear cries for help coming from a nearby secret passage down the hallway. The cries seem to strike an empathic chord with their souls – as if they too can feel the creature’s pain and fear. Rushing through the secret passageway they move down a narrow stairway into a natural cavern carved out into the rock. At the far end of the chamber the party sees a very large owl flailing about on the ground helplessly. The creature is caught and covered in a large net that pulses rhythmically with a gray energy. Around it are orc-looking creatures that are attempting to subdue the poor creature. At the far end of the chamber, one of the orc-creatures approaches a glowing, multi-colored gemstone with an ornate-looking, metallic key. Cries of pain from the owl can be heard as the net tightens around it. The orcs, if that is indeed what they are, are not like any that the adventurers have ever seen before.
They are all female and exceptionally attractive ones at that. All orc-women that the heroes have ever seen have the dumpy physique of butcher’s wives. However these orcs have the shape of dancers and move with grace that would rival some elves. They are are all clean-looking and well-groomed. Their tusks are small and unpronounced. In addition, unlike the usual rusty, scavenged equipment that most orcs carry, these women have fine and well cared for clothes and weapons. They all wear pendants that feature both the sun and the moon; sometimes in an eclipse. The women talk to each other in a strange language that none of the adventurers can understand and attack them. During the fighting, in addition to having considerable martial skill with their weapons, the orc-women often unleash powers with a moon-like theme against the heroes such as: gravity, darkness, radiant/necrotic damage, and slumber. The orc that is carrying the key is not dressed in armor or like an assassin as the rest of her group is. She wears a gossamer, yellow gown and is a magic-using enchantress – again unheard of for an orc. During the fighting she casts a love spell on the party that causes Madrakkar and Kriv to become infatuated with her and join the orc’s cause. After a very tough battle, the heroes prevail. The orcs refuse all offers to surrender and fight fanatically to the end, forcing the heroes to slay them all.
After the battle, the net around the owl disappears. Standing near the creature the heroes can feel that it is no ordinary animal. Though wounded, there is an undeniable sense of awe and majesty about it. Released from the net it stands up and speaks to them, and its voice seems to resonate in their heads.
“I bid peace and greetings to you mortals. I am Mimizuku the Wise and I am the Celestial Guardian of the world of Erda. Since the creation of the multiverse and before time was counted, we Celestial Guardians have watched over the worlds, quietly protecting them from the forces of evil. However, despite our attempts, an entity capable of great destruction is about to be let loose onto the universe. Five thousand years ago a powerful but relatively unknown god named Middim caused so much chaos in the multiverse that the gods of several worlds united to trap him in a gray, twilight dimension of nothingness located in between the folds of space and time. However he has apparently found a way to escape. To put Middim’s prison in terms that you mortals might understand, think of each planet’s location in space and time as the tumbler on a lock. Each planet must be in exactly the correct position before a key can be inserted into the lock and turned. In the gods wisdom, such an alignment was never supposed to be occur, yet impossibly somehow has come to pass (some nervous gestures and knowing looks were exchanged between the heroes at the mention of this). Each world has a unique Astral Nexus that we Guardians keep watch over (nods towards the glowing gemstone). You may think of an Astral Nexus as a keyhole between worlds. Already the misguided agents of Middim have attacked and imprisoned the Celestial Guardians of many other worlds. Only your timely intervention saved me and prevented his agents from unlocking this nexus. I sense that only this nexus and the nexus of your home world remain uncorrupted. Middim’s agents will soon return in force to complete their task. You must travel through this Astral Nexus to the other worlds and remove the keys that Middim’s agents have inserted there.”
After this introduction, the celestial guardian answers questions from the heroes.
How did we get here and how do we get back to our world?
“You are on the world of Erda. At this moment, the barriers between time and space are exceptionally thin. When you entered your portal, I suspect you were drawn to my world because it was the only other one remaining with an uncorrupted Astral Nexus. (Puffs up with pride) Even amidst the chaos caused by Middim’s agents, I can sense the universal powers of order trying to right the imbalance. Just as you arrived here, I sense that heroes from my own world were transported to yours and are actively defending the nexus located there. Any one of the Astral Nexuses has the power to return you to your home world, but first you must travel to the other worlds and free them from Middim’s tampering.”
But we left our world at a critical moment. How do we get back to it now?
“The barriers between time ans space are exceptionally thin right now mortal. As such, all that happens here may bleed into a single moment of time. If you are successful, you may return to your world as you left it. But first you must stop Middim from escaping his prison or the universe will surely suffer.”
What is happening on our world? Where is our Nexus?
“The chaos caused by Middim’s agents has disrupted the communication with my brethren. I can no longer communicate with your world or the Celestial Guardian on any other world. I fear they have all been captured or worse.”
What must we do on these other worlds?
“Middim’s agents have already been to these worlds and defeated the Celestial Guardian and their defenses. You must go to these worlds and remove Middim’s keys from the nexuses there.”
Who are Middim’s agents?
“They are Orucks. The world they come from is one where their race and civilization is the dominant sentient race. They are not like orcs as you call them. They are much smarter, civilized and more advanced than any orc you will ever see on this world. Sadly, these once noble but misguided creatures have come under the influence of Middim. They now serve him as he has become their one god. On their world, there were no gods. Middim came to them in some of his wondering and convinced them that he was the one they should follow.”
How many worlds with a nexus are there?
“There are ten worlds. This world, your own, the grey world of the Orucks, and seven others.”
Why not travel directly to the Orucks world and attack them directly?
“Due to the machinations of Middim’s agents, travel through the Astral Nexus is unpredictable right now. Once you enter, I cannot say at which destination you will arrive. We are running out of time mortals. You must hurry for all of the worlds’ sakes. I wish you success.”
The heroes gather themselves and go to use the nexus.
“As you touch the multi-hued gemstone it glows even more brightly. Suddenly you are immersed in total darkness. Crippling pain shoots through your entire body and it feels like you are being stretched impossibly thin – to the point that surely you must come apart. In delirium from the agony, you wonder if this is what it feels like being born. After what seems like an eternity, the pain ends as your body snaps back to its usual shape. You find yourself floating alone in the middle of a circular tunnel composed of prismatic-colored lights. Uncontrollably, you fly forward at ever increasing speeds. The faster you go, the more the lights seem to coalesce into a single color. Finally, travelling at an insane speed, your entire world blurs into a haze of color. The sensations end and as your vision returns you find yourself standing elsewhere. But you are not alone…”
The final color that each hero sees is different. They each arrive on a separate worlds to find that they are teamed up with a hero that the recognize from from the murals in Erda. Together they combine forces to try and rid the Nexus from the influence of Middim’s agents.
Yellow World – Kriv & Oznog
Brown World – Barkus & Thomas
Green World – Madrakkar & Decklin
Blue World – Bahardim & Bubbles
Red World – Tsol & 2XL
The heroes find themselves standing in a terrain unlike anything that they have ever experienced before. They are in a large round tunnel about 20 feet in diameter. The rough and uneven walls are composed of a substance that they can’t identify. The entire area glows with a soft, red light. The air is thin and full of moisture. While not suffocating, Tsol finds it very hard to breathe. 2XL has the war-forged equivalent, as the weird substances in the atmosphere start gumming up his internal machinery.
Before the heroes can get acquainted, they are both knocked over by a stampede of hundreds of floating, red, shield-sized discs. The discs quickly pass them by and disappear around a bend in the tunnel. The heroes notice among them a floating, white ball (it almost looks like it is a giant ball of rice) that hesitates for a moment before also floating around the corner. A few of the red discs remain in the tunnel. They float lazily along and appear to be a standard feature of the terrain.
With their hands and face on the ground the heroes notice that the tunnel feels slightly spongy. They feel a regularly reoccurring pulse coming through it. THUMP-THUMP, THUMP-THUMP, THUMP-THUMP.
Tsol and 2XL Introduce themselves to one another. They both realize that neither one of them is native to this strange world and that the other must be a hero mentioned by the Celestial Guardian. They both theorize that they are near or in the heart of some type of living world. The irony is not lost on the heroes as Tsol looks down at the empty niche for the Heart of the Hero in his armor and the tin-man 2XL ponders what it would be like to possess the strange component that powers organic lifeforms. They conclude that the commotion they witnessed is most likely caused by the intrusion of the Orucks and follow the tunnel where the stampede went.
Shortly thereafter they are attacked by creatures that look suspiciously like rust monsters. Alarm klaxons start going off in 2XL’s cognitive systems as he spies these creatures swarming out of small folds in the walls. Tsol, having had several axes ruined by foul creatures like these, has a pang of fear for Targore’s Axe and quickly stows away the mighty weapon.
At the far end of the tunnel it looks like there is some type of gate composed of an irregular lattice-work of white crystal. Tsol bulls his way forward through the creatures towards the gate. Meanwhile the creatures swarm 2XL who valiantly fights them off as best he can until he too staggers to the gate and then collapses in a heap of rusted metal.
On the other side of the gate the heroes can see a large chamber. The material of the walls is different. It looks more membranous and the heroes can see blue veins running throughout. There are obvious signs of a past battle. There are black scorch marks on the walls which miraculously seem to have blood oozing out of them. Charred corpses of unidentifiable creatures litter the floor. Among the creatures, the heroes spot a creature covered with a familiar-looking net that pulses with gray energy. The heroes are unable to identify what type of creature it is. To their best guess it looks like a giant fried egg with a blobby, amorphous, white body and a single, large, yellow spot. The yellow spot (eye?) reorients itself to regard the heroes when they approach the gate. In a pained, telepathic voice the creature introduces itself as the Celestial Guardian – Amoebus the Wise and bids the heroes to hurry onward into the chamber and remove Middim’s key from the Astral Nexus.
Wheezing from the exertion in the thin air, Tsol displays an incredible feat of strength and rips off a large piece of crystal from the alien gateway. He swings this chunk of crystal at the creatures like a large club keeping them at bay. Meanwhile tapping into emergency power, 2XL reboots and rises again. He plucks a red disc from the air and uses it as a makeshift shield to defend himself from the creatures. With a powerful blow, the war-forged hero completes the destruction of the crystal gateway.
With the creatures nipping at their heels, the two heroes enter the chamber. Resting atop a 5’ high stalk made up of a black, fibrous material they see the Astral Nexus. The heroes spot the handle of a grey, metallic key protruding from the top of the nexus. Unlike the nexus that they used earlier which glowed with vibrant, prismatic colors, this nexus is only emitting a muted, gray light. The heroes notice that the light is pulsing in time with the gray energy of the Celestial Guardian’s net. They rush forward and remove the key from the nexus. Immediately they are bathed in a blinding red light. The heroes experience travel similar to the first time that they entered an Astral Nexus. This time however, their new ally is hurtling down the corridor of lights with them. At the end of this journey, the lights blend into a now familiar shade of gray color and the heroes find themselves transported elsewhere…
Orange World – Alkorahil & Umbra
The heroes’ first impression is that they are in a cavernous library. Rows upon rows of shelves stretch out in all directions as far as the eye can see. They quickly realize that the shelves do not contain books but instead contain neatly stacked drawers. The drawers give off a muted orange glow and the heroes can see various objects floating within. Upon further inspection the heroes realize that each drawer contains some species of unrecognizable alien bird. The specimens are floating in some type of fluid and are perfectly preserved. No other light source illuminates the area. The air smells musty and stale. The floor is composed of well-formed, square, metallic tiles. Nearby, there is an unknown arcane device with unreadable, glowing symbols on it. The device itself is a 3×3’ sheet of glass attached to a thin, 5’ high, metal pole. The ceiling is high and there is a square hole centered directly above the device.
Even as they take in their new surroundings, both of the veteran heroes note that they are not alone. Alkorahil instantly recognizes Umbra from the murals and statues that he encountered earlier. Remembering what was told to him by Mimizuku the Wise, he politely introduces himself and suggests that they team up to find the nexus. Umbra does not recognize Alkorahil or his holy symbol. He does recognize that Alkorahil is undead. While Alkorahil’s dead body is surely animated by necrotic energy, Umbra senses no evil emanating from him. This reminds Umbra greatly of the vampires that he recently encountered in Sarantus. Alkorahil unsuccessfully tries to reassure his opposite number not to worry because he has died and come back many times. Umbra decides that when in doubt, his best course of action is still to purge any and all undead and prepares to attack. However before battle ensues, a giant firebird manifests from Dark Phoenix over Alkorahil and a giant, shadowy image of the Raven Queen manifests over Umbra. The two avian aspects inspect each other for a moment and then deciding that the other is not a threat, peacefully recede. Umbra is still reconciling his oath to blindly destroy all undead against the multitude of signs he is seen that Alkorahil is an ally when they are both attacked.
The wizened, undead corpse of an old man wearing tattered, red robes emerges from behind one of the rows of shelves and charges the heroes. The figure has blazing, red orbs for eyes. Alkorahil recognizes this being is very similar to the Star Spawn that he fought while on an earlier adventure in Vaasa. Even as the creature advances, several more undead teleport into the area in quick flashes of orange flame. As the heroes combine forces to fight off their assailants, every few seconds more and more undead teleport into the area. These newcomers appear very similar to the first except that some are female and they are dressed in various types of decaying robes.
Eventually the heroes realize the futility of fighting what seems like a never-ending wave of undead and start looking for a place to fall back to. Umbra’s sharp eyes notice a slight separation in the tiles of the floor surrounding the alien device. He points this out to Alkorahil who deduces that with the hole in the ceiling above, the the device must operate some kind of lift. Umbra tries to read the writing on the screen and has a brief psychic flashback of pain due to the brainwashing he endured from the evil Aboleth, Xyxiannix. Umbra realizes that the writing must be in deep speech and relays this information to Alkorahil. While he cannot understand this language either, Alkorahil calmly pulls a magical Lens of Reading out of his over-stuffed pack and uses it to translate the symbols. The thinking warrior sees a series of numbers and a symbol labelled ‘Go’. Even while still fending off the undead, Alkorahil manages to analyze the numbers and deduces that they are similar to the organizational system used to catalogue the books in the great library of Oghma. The format is (General Category)(Sub-Category)(Specific Topic). He alters the input and presses the ‘Go’ symbol. The lift rises to another level of the building allowing the heroes to evade the undead swarm surrounding them.
The heroes work in concert to figure out how to navigate the lift. Every level that they pass, upwards or down is filled with endless rows of shelves exactly like the level that they left. They also notice undead roaming each level and realize if they stop on any level for too long that they will be attacked again. Umbra’s superior powers of perception allow him to analyze the contents of the drawers as the rapidly accelerating elevator moves between floors of the building. He begins to discern a pattern for the contents of the drawers of each level that the heroes pass. Birds, Insects, Fish, Rodents, etc… (many of completely alien species that the heroes do not recognize). Alkorahil uses this information to further decipher the organizational system and figure out how to operate the lift. He deduces that they are in the Biology subject area and theorizes that they need to switch to Geology to travel to the Astral Nexus on this world.
When the heroes change the general category the lift shoots upward. They arrive to find that they are at the top of an impossibly tall building. The lift connects to a metal and glass enclosure that fits over the lift perfectly. There is a hissing sound as the air is sealed in. The lift then shoots off along metal rails that connect it to similar-looking buildings. On the horizon they a gargantuan, orange sun that dominates the sky and a barren, lifeless landscape.
Before travelling to the Geology building a flash of inspiration hits the heroes – if this is an advanced world, there might be advanced weapons available in one of the other buildings. Alkorahil moves the lift to the Engineering building and the heroes find the floor with many advanced weapons. The heroes manage to disable the locks on a few of the drawers and grab a couple of high-tech weapons before being forced to retreat from the area by the undead. Alkorahil finds an alien rifle that fires an endless stream of crystal projectiles while in extreme cold environments while Umbra nabs an advanced Thermal Shield.
While in the building the heroes are contacted telepathically by a being that introduces itself as Muffit the Wise. He informs them that he is the Celestial Guardian of this world and is thankful that the heroes finally came within his telepathic range of communication so that he can help guide them. He directs the heroes where to pick him up and they are surprised to see that he looks like a small bear-cub with large glass eyes, and a metallic muzzle. He confirms that he sensed the arrival of the Orucks but hid out from them knowing that they would draw the attention of what he calls “the Starving”. Muffit explains that the heroes are on the world of Hadar. Long ago some of the technologically advanced and highly curious scientists of this world were tricked by Middim into performing an experiment on their sun. Their tampering caused the sun to burn out rapidly. In just 5,000 years instead of 5 billion years, their sun turned into the giant, yet cold, ball of flame that the heroes see. Slowly in the changing atmosphere, all life began to die. Many people fled to other worlds. Some were unwilling or unable to leave and remained on the dying world. Many have become cursed by the baleful light of the sun and have become what the survivors call “the Starving”. Muffit does what he can to help the survivors as his penance for failing to protect his world. He tells the heroes that this collection of buildings is simply known as “The Museum” and many of the greatest artifacts of the people of Hadar were gathered and stored here for historical reference. Muffit confirms that the Nexus is located in the Geology building and warns that after tasting the life of some of the cultists of Middim, the Starving still linger there. Muffit gives the heroes the combination to the drawer containing the nexus. Wishing them luck, he asks the heroes to drop him off before they move onward to their final fight on this world.
The heroes arrive on the floor containing the astral nexus. The desiccated husks of the bodies of several Middim sun cultists lie on the floor. The Astral Nexus has been placed back in its locked drawer. The entire floor is crawling with Starving. Using his ability to move between shadows, Umbra teleports to the drawer containing the Astral Nexus before the heroes can be overrun. Entering the combination the heroes see the handle of a grey, metallic key protruding from the top of the nexus. Unlike the nexus that they used earlier which glowed with vibrant, prismatic colors, this nexus is only emitting a muted, gray light. Umbra easily removes the key from the nexus and are immediately the heroes are bathed in a blinding orange light. They experience travel similar to the first time that they entered and Astral Nexus. This time however, their new ally(?) is hurtling down the corridor of lights with them. At the end of this journey, the lights blend into a now familiar shade of gray color and the heroes find themselves transported elsewhere…
Purple World – Smoke & Alton
The heroes arrive in a circular pit in the ground. The pit is about 10’ in diameter and 8’ deep. The earth is hard and rocky. Above them they can see the irregularly-shaped silhouette of something covering most of the opening, leaving just a small crescent of the foxhole exposed to the sky. From up above, the heroes hear frequent high pitched whistling noises followed by loud explosions. During the intervals between these noises the heroes can hear the sound of rain plinking against whatever object is covering the hole above them. Large, viscous, purple raindrops fall into their shelter. There is no light source except from occasional bursts of violet light coming through the opening that briefly illuminates their surroundings. That is OK with the heroes because both are rogues and are comfortable operating in the shadows.
As each hero acclimates to his new surroundings he realizes that he is not alone. Smoke recognizes Alton from the murals and statue that he encountered earlier. Remembering what was told to him by the Celestial Guardian he introduces himself. The heroes briefly get acquainted then focus on their task of unlocking the nexus.
They easily climb the sides of the pit and poke their heads out. The first thing that they notice is that the object covering their hole in the ground is a dragon. The beast appears to be dead. They can see that is heavily injured and is lying completely still on its back. They realize now that its blood is the source of what they thought were raindrops falling into their shelter. The dragon is unlike any that either hero has ever heard of. It has metallic scales that have an iridescent purple sheen to them (like motor oil on water) and two sets of dead eyes rolled back into its head.
Their focus however is quickly torn away from the dragon due to the fantastic sight of their surroundings. The heroes have arrived at a desolate landscape. The ground is made of barren, gray rock that is pock-marked with craters. However it is the sky that draws their attention. On the horizon they can make out the shattered remains of a plum-colored planet. Half of the planet has been blasted into floating rubble. The heroes are actually located on one of many large land masses that have broken off and drifted quite a distance away. The smaller pieces of debris from the planet are continually colliding with heroes’ planetoid – falling from the sky from their point of view. This is the source of the whistling sound that they can they can hear.
Upon further observation the heroes catalogue three different types of debris that are crashing down around them. The first is large chunks of falling matter that are made up of the same gray, rocky substance as their environment. These boulder-sized rocks crash to the ground with large thuds, gouging craters into the surface. The second types of meteors are shinier than the others with a composition that looks more metallic. These are studded with glowing-indigo crystals. When these crash land they violently explode, leaving jagged crevasses in the ground. The heroes also sometimes observe them exploding into jagged, razor-sharp shrapnel when then they collide with other objects in the air. These are the source of the violet light and loud bangs that they observed earlier. These seem familiar to Smoke somehow – perhaps as if he has seen them in a different context. The third category that they pick out is just smaller pebble and rock-sized pieces of debris made up from the other two types. These pelt the ground and generate the sound of raindrops that the heroes noticed earlier. The planet in the distance twinkles with its own indigo light. Now that they think about it the heroes don’t see a sun anywhere. In the distance about one hundred yards away they spy a large plateau. They can clearly see an armored metallic door set into the base. There are no other distinguishing features of the terrain and the heroes decide the door is where they must go.
The heroes use their superior acrobatic skills to cross the terrain while dodging falling meteors and shrapnel. The heroes notice that the metallic comets with the indigo crystals seem to be shifting their trajectory to crash much closer to their vicinity than they should be. With his knowledge of arcane lore and traps, Alton realizes that metallic objects combined with the close proximity of life-force somehow seems to be generating a magical aura that is highly attractive to these meteors. With their attention focused on evading the debris falling from the sky, the heroes fail to notice claw marks around the rim of a crater that they wander close to. They are startled when a Bulette-like creature with a thick metallic hide emerges from the crater and attacks them. The monster’s bite takes a huge chunk of meat out of Smoke’s leg. In addition, the metallic, exploding meteors are highly attracted to the beast and rain down all around its area – damaging the armored beast some but the heroes even more. Alton seeks refuge by sneaking down into the crater that the monster emerged from and finds a huge lair carved out below the surface. Meanwhile Smoke quaffs a potion of invisibility and manages to stealth away from his attacker. Unable to locate his prey and frustrated by being pelted by falling rocks, the beast returns to its lair. Alton manages to stay hidden behind some bones in a corner. Meanwhile Smoke presses on towards the door. There is a crater located right next to the metallic door. When Smoke looks down inside of it, he sees a giant purple worm writhing in pain inside of a familiar-looking net that pulses with gray energy. The creature speaks telepathically with both of the heroes telling them it is the Celestial Guardian, Gummerius the Wise. They ask him if he can help and the Guardian is briefly able to mask Alton from the monster so that he can rejoin Smoke at the door. The thieves disable the locks on the door and enter.
Behind the door they find a tunnel leading deeper inside the plateau. Hanging in the middle of the tunnel at 5’ intervals are masterfully woven tapestries. The heroes brush each aside and progress down the tunnel. According to accounts of the experience as told by both of the rogues, they absolutely did not encounter any traps whatsoever in the tunnel. The tapestries seem to tell the history of this world.
- Shows nine large planetoids not unlike this one but containing buildings. There are streaks of energy and explosions between them indicating war or battle.
- A creature that looks like a dark elf with purple skin is shown landing on a fantastical looking flying ship.
- The elf is shown rescuing a female alien from a pack of some alien wolf-like creatures. The female alien has purple skin like the elf but she also has horns more reminiscent of a Tiefling.
- The female alien is shown leading the dark elf through various dangers (nine in all). In each one the elf is shown recovering a shard of metal that is glowing violet (like the crystals in the meteors).
- The elf is shown wearing a glowing crown made up of the shards of metal. He is on his knees proposing to the female alien and offering her a golden, heart-shaped locket. All around them, aliens similar to the female are bowing to the couple.
- The elf-king is shown with bands of energy connecting him to all nine of the planetoids. The female is standing by his side and holding his hand. In the background they are all surrounded by a full planet. The planet looks like the one the heroes saw outside except that it is completely full and round.
- The king and queen are shown ruling from an idealized palace made up of amethyst-colored crystals. Surrounding them in court are many happy-looking people.
- A giant, menacing comet made up of blue fire is shown hurtling towards the purple planet. Smoke is reminded of many similar depictions of the arrival of the Spellplague in his own world’s artwork. Meanwhile the king is depicted as summoning up metal around him; armoring himself in a gigantic shell of armor. He is shown flying directly into space towards the blue comet.
- The comet is shown crashing into the planet causing great destruction.
- The queen is shown surrounded by people that are trying to console her. She is weeping and clutching her hand over her heart.
Behind the last tapestry is a door that opens into a small room. There is a wide, plush, purple and gold carpet that forms a path leading directly from the door to figure that is entombed up ahead. On either side of the carpet there are multitudes of blooming purple lotus flowers blanketing the ground. A purple haze of mist floats through the air. As the heroes inhale the mist they start to feel very drowsy. The figure is entombed in a standing position and is surrounded by large stalagmites made of purple amethyst that reach from the floor to the ceiling. As the heroes get closer they can make out a blurry impressing of the figure through the crystal. It appears to be the queen depicted in the tapestries. The motionless figure is definitely a horned female with purple skin. She is wearing a high-backed, regal garment and there is a silver crown upon her brow.
They can also see that she is holding the nexus neatly folded in her still hands. The heroes can see the handle of a grey, metallic key protruding from the top of the nexus. Unlike the nexus that they used earlier which glowed with vibrant, prismatic colors, this nexus is only emitting a muted, gray light. There is a strange alien device embedded in the floor in front of the crystals. Glowing words written in elven are emblazoned in the amethyst.
This is the end
Hold your breath and count to ten
Feel the earth move and then
See my heart burst again
With their eyelids growing heavier and their need to sleep ever more urgent, the heroes try to decipher the riddle. The heroes deduce – “this is the end” (death), “hold your breath" (don’t breathe the vapors), and “feel the earth move” (the crystal pillars will open).The heroes look to the alien device to figure out “count to ten”. It has a funnel-shaped aperture at the top. The middle of the device is flat and has a back and sides made of metal but a glass window on the front. Inside they can see protruding metal rods that divide the interior of the device into 10 evenly spaced rows and columns (DM note: think Plinko board). The bottoms of the columns are numbered 1-10 and have holes that disappear into the floor. Alton recognizes the device as some type of offering and guesses that they need to get a coin-sized, metallic object into the 10-slot on the device in order to get the crystals to retract. Even as their thoughts grow tired, both of the streetwise rogues easily deduce that the odds are about 1:1000 of getting a coin to fall into the 10-slot. Too sleepy to try and disable or trick the device, Smoke shockingly (for a Thief) dumps thousands of gold coins into the device until one of them lands in the 10-slot.
Even as the crystals retract into the floor, both heroes have now dropped to their knees, struggling not to pass out. The plush carpet feels enticingly comfortable. Even as the crystals retract, the queen’s golden locket opens. On one side they can see her picture and on the other side they can see a picture of the elven king. The same glowing words that were on the crystal show up in glowing script on the queen’s side of the locket. As the heroes look on the words disappear but glowing words in a different handwriting appear in a slightly darker shade of purple on the king’s side of the locket. This pattern alternates back and forth as the heroes watch mesmerized.
This is the end
Hold your breath and count to ten
Feel the earth move and then
See my heart burst again
For this is the end
I’ve drowned and dreamt this moment
So overdue I owe them
Swept away, I’m stolen
When the sky falls
When it crumbles
He will stand tall
Bring it all together
Skyfall is where it starts
A thousand miles and poles apart
Where worlds collide and days are dark
They may have my number, they can take my name
But they’ll never have my heart
When the sky falls
When it crumbles
He will stand tall
Bring it all together
Moments away from blacking out, the heroes reach forward in a desperate grasp and remove the key from the nexus. They are immediately bathed in a blinding purple light. They experience travel similar to the first time that they entered and Astral Nexus. This time however, their new ally is hurtling down the corridor of lights with them. At the end of this journey, the lights blend into a now familiar shade of gray color and the heroes find themselves transported elsewhere…
The Temple of Middim
Having released the locks on the nexus stones of the various worlds, each of the teams is transported though a grey vortex. All fourteen heroes from both worlds find themselves suddenly standing together in a large group on the grey-colored world of Middim. They are perched on top of a square-shaped, raised, stone platform in the center of a huge temple of some kind. The platform they are standing on is made of a lusterless, grey stone that rises some twenty-five feet above the grey, stone, temple floor below. On each of the four sides of the square platform are wide stone stairs that descend downward from the top of the platform to the temple floor. On a pedestal in the center of the platform rests the final nexus stone that has been corrupted by Middim’s agents. A now familiar-looking key protrudes from the top of the nexus. Surrounding the nexus is a barrier of incredible energy. The heroes instantly sense the power of Middim protecting the stone and realize that nothing short of breaking the god’s concentration will allow them to penetrate the barrier. The heroes ready themselves for battle.
The temple itself is brightly lit on the western side and dimly lit with a pale blue-white light on the eastern side. As a being of dual nature, Middim appears to be trapped inside portals on each end of the temple. Inside of a large portal on the bright side of the temple is the male aspect of Middim in the form of a glowing sun-god. In an equal-sized portal at the other end of the temple is the female aspect of Middim in the form of a moon-goddess. Standing guard in front of the moon aspect is a cadre of female Oruck soldiers. Standing guard in front of the sun aspect there are an equal number of male Oruck soldiers.
A loud, rhythmic chanting can be heard from coming outside the temple. Looking around, the heroes also see that on both the north and south sides of the temple there are large, wide-arched exits to the outside. Looking through the exits, the party members can see that outside there is a pale, grey sky and a barren, rocky landscape where thousands of Oruck worshipers are assembled. These worshipers see the party of adventurers inside of their temple and begin to rush forward to help defend their god.
As the worshipers being to enter from the north and south sides of the temple, Middim speaks to the heroes taunting them and threatening them with grim destruction. Middim releases light and dark spells from both portals that strike the party members standing on top of the platform. The range and power of the attacks take the adventures by surprise as they scramble to move closer to the aspects to attack. There is some quick debate among the combined group as to how to tactically proceed. They decide to split up and attack both aspects at the same time. Umbra and Alkorahil rush to the north and south archways respectively to block the entry of the worshipers from entering the temple and reinforcing the guards. After a few moments, they are able to do so giving their teammates a chance to fight Middim unhindered. While trying to close in on the two aspects of Middim, the Oruck guards in front of each portal block the heroes’ way. Having fought them before, the party has no doubt of their adversaries’ abilities or determination. The Orucks attack the enemies of their god with a fanatical determination and prove to be difficult to overcome. Meanwhile Middim continues to attack the combined adventuring party using a bizarre combination of deadly magic alternating with underhanded tricks. Many of Middim’s attacks cause blindness for the party and confusion in their attacks making them accidentally hit each other. Thomas is hit by a ray of light that causes him to uncontrollably float high into the air while Middim jokingly tells him to “lighten up.” Smoke is hit with a burst of darkfire which strips away his disguise and reveals his true face as a dark elf. Middim urges the heroes to attack the “traitor” in their midst but while they have mixed reactions, none of them turn on their ally. Throughout the combat, the images of Middim in the portals constantly flow from one godly-form to another although they remain true to their original aspects.
The battle rages on as the groups fighting both sides try to push forward. Eventually they are able to eliminate the Oruck guards and press on to the two portals where they begin to attack Middim directly. The male aspect of Middim speaks to the heroes in a loud masculine booming voice: “Fools! You cannot know warmth without also knowing cold, have sons without also having mothers, have light without also having darkness.” While at the same time, the female aspect speaks in a commanding but seductive voice: “Fools! You cannot know cold without also knowing warmth, have daughters without also having fathers, have darkness without also having light.” Both aspects of Middim become fuzzy then seem to change form as the Moon aspect changes place on the temple portals with the Sun aspect. The adventuring party is taken aback by this event as now each of the two groups finds themselves fighting the opposite aspect of Middim than they were before.
The heroes are hard-pressed by the change in tactics but it also gives them some insight into their enemy as well. In a burst of inspiration several members of the party realize that due to the inter-connectivity of the aspects, one side cannot be fazed while the other stands tall. In order to break Middim’s concentration they must deal catastrophic damage to both aspects at the same time. Coordinating efforts, the party balances their forces and then presses the attack on both the sun and moon aspects. Simultaneously striking both aspects with all of their combined might and power, the champions of two worlds achieve the near-impossible and manage to stagger a god. Seeing the energy around the nexus flicker, with a gratifying feeling of redemption Smoke acts quickly and pulls the key from the Nexus stone. In a deafening roar, both aspects of Middim cry out in one voice, “Nooo this cannot be!” Blinding prismatic light erupts from the nexus bathing the temple in its power and the heroes find themselves once again floating in the corridor of lights.
Encounters By Level
Magic Items By Level
Go to Level 20