Abaddon

Of Mystery and Magicka Forgotten

Your eyes open. Light floods into them for the first time in centuries. It is difficult to move at first. Your body is numb. Drawing a deep breath through your nose, you smell metal.

You hear approaching footsteps on a marble floor. Summoning all your strength, you force yourself to a seated position. The light begins to subside.

An eerie discomfort envelops your soul as you realize that you don’t know who you are. You cannot remember your name, where you came from, who you are, how old you are. It’s as though nothingness itself washed away your memory like a tidal wave of amnesia.

You are alone in a 14’x12’ room sitting on an altar of obsidian. Directly in front of you is a bent outwards reinforced cast iron door. It appears as though it has been punched by a titan. You’re able to move your head, and you look side to side taking note of your surroundings. A narrow slit in the ceiling lets the setting sun into the room. The walls of the room have themselves been impacted by an extraordinary amount of energy. You are sure that someone must have kept an ogre in this room previously.

The footsteps stop outside the door.

“Who’s there?” you shout out. The echo of your booming voice bounces around the room.

“Forgive the transition, my lord. Your numbness will subside,” replied a female voice from the other side of the door. She sounds attractive.

You’re able to move your legs, and you hoist yourself off of the altar. You begin to stretch. Several minutes pass before you realize that the footsteps never left the outside of your door.

“You’re still there, aren’t you?” you inquire forcefully.

“Of course,” the woman replies softly.

“Where am I?” you demand.

No reply.

“Where am I?” you insist.

The hairs on your arms begins to stand on end as you begin to feel nauseated. You notice the door beginning to change shape. It turns into a flowing sheet of metal before your eyes as though it were bedsheets hanging over a clothesline.

A figure walks through as the door sticks to her body. Her movements are graceful; the door doesn’t resist her. Rather, it begins wrapping itself around her body. Her face becomes visible – a beautiful woman what seems to be her early twenties. Vibrant crimson locks flow behind her face as she makes her way into the room. The door solidifies into armor on her body.

“That’s a neat trick,” you remark prior to doubling over and emptying your guts onto the floor.

“Follow me, my lord. We have no time to spare,” she beckons as she walks out of the room through the empty space where the door used to be.

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Follow The Red Bunny

“Is this a joke?” you shout at the gaping hole where the door used to be. “Where am I?”

This is some serious bullshit.. you think to yourself musing on how your day could start off any worse.

You found yourself in a room with:
  1. a door that melted into some skank’s armor.
  2. an altar of obsidian in the center of it.
  3. smashed outwards yet still intact stone walls.

To make matters worse, your mouth is dry, and your stomach is begging you for food.

What choice do you have? You cautiously leave the room following the woman.

The room exits into a larger circular room with five doorways (including yours) and a dome ceiling with a narrow slit in the roof allowing sunlight to illuminate the room. The floor in the center of the room sparkles with an 8’ diameter gold circle with a symbol on it [show symbol – four overlapping circles whose centers are translated off the origin by a small amount]. The five doorways, regularly positioned around the room, lead into other rooms with obsidian altars. You notice movement therein as other individuals wearing similar white robes to yours exit their respective rooms.

There are a number of identical women exiting in front of the other robed folks. They each head to the center of the room where they merge into one being. Your stomach turns, but you manage not to vomit.

“Stand beside me, heroes,” she calmly instructs, her eyes closed and arms outstretched, palms facing the ceiling.

When you stand on the gold circle next to the woman, your vision blurs as you disappear. When you reappear, you find yourself in a room adjoining a dinner hall with a high ceiling. A large feast is set out presumably for you to eat. At the head of the table is a large throne-like chair. Behind the chair are giant dark wooden doors that extend to the ceiling. Opposite the doors is a magnificent stained glass rendition of what appears to be an epic battle. The rendition in the stained glass looks familiar, but you can’t quite place the depiction.

“Please find a seat,” your guide instructs, “The Lord High Anointed will be here shortly.”

Just as you seat yourself, the doors groan as they’re opened. Two hooded men with their heads lowered so you cannot see their faces enter. Behind them is a very old very frail man that appears to shine with brilliant light.

The woman’s voice fills your mind, “You’re wondering why he didn’t simply teleport in as we did. The Lord High Anointed prefers more established forms of transportation.. Cornelius is very old – respect him and mind yourself.”

The woman exits the hall and teleports away.

The Lord High Anointed takes his seat at the head of the table.

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Anointed and the Heretic

The Lord High Anointed takes his seat gasping for air. The trek to arrive here must have been very taxing indeed. A long white beard covers much of his attire which doesn’t look too dissimilar from the robes you and your companions are currently wearing. He draws several deep breaths before speaking. His accent is striking and rich Sescheronian.

“First let me take the opportunity to apologize for waking you. Our civilization is all but destroyed, and the council didn’t know what else to do.”

You aren’t quite sure what he means by “waking you up.” Were you asleep? Dead? Worse? Also, what’s this about “destroyed civilization?”

The Lord High Anointed stops mid-sentence as if he knew your confusion.

“Let me start from the beginning then. I am The Lord High Anointed, Cornelius Sescheron. I am the last direct descendant of the great Kings of Sescheron. My father was Althelas IV, and I am the only surviving member of the Brothers of the Sun. You are in Babylon, the last city of man. Everything else in the world has succumbed to darkness and corruption. Come, let me show you.”

Cornelius takes the hands of his escorts, who help him to his feet. He beckons you to follow him back out to the adjoining room. “Close your eyes,” he says to you as you teleport away.

When you arrive at your destination, you find yourself in another adjoining room attached to a larger round room with a circular granite table at its center. There are several seats around the table with one noticeably larger chair. The room is encircled in clear glass save for the exit to the adjoining room. The ceiling is several feet high, and has a motion-painting of two dragons locked in aerial combat. As you look out of the glass, you realize that you are several hundred stories above sea level. Moreover you see nothing but ocean in every direction.

“This is where we live. All of us. It is the only location where we are safe from the darkness. Babylon is more than the jewel of humanity, it is humanity. If it were to fall, there would be nothing of us left. That is why we woke you. The corruption that we fear has found its way here.”

You hear a whooshing noise behind you as air breezes past. Without turning to face the adjoining room, Cornelius draws a deep breath and announces, “Arch Magus, please join us.”

The doors to the adjoining room are thrown open. You turn to face the Arch Magus and the woman from earlier. “Cornelius, can they help us? Do they know the location of the Gem of Arcadia?” The woman leans in and whispers to the Arch Magus. “WHAT? It speaks and tells me that they remember nothing. IS THIS TRUE? DID 10,000 OF MY BEST DIE FOR THIS?”

“We have just now awoken them. They have yet to visit the rest of the city. Patience, Magus. In time, they will become just as they once were. The sacrifice of your angels will not have been in vain.”

“We don’t have time for this. Had an experienced Magus performed the ritual, they might have enjoyed full recollection. Instead, your pathetic devotion to your God has blurred your vision. Pelor cannot save us, only heroes..which you have failed to deliver.”

“THIS IS HERESY!” Cornelius’s entire body errupts with light. His escorts pull back their hoods, revealing bald men with topaz eyes and tattoed heads also bursting with light. As if reacting to Cornelius, swords of pure light materialize into the escorts’ hands.

The Arch Magus raises his hand as if to apologize, but then grunts, tosses his robe behind him, and exits the room, teleporting away.

“That was the Arch Magus, and he is not a very faithful man. Come let us refresh ourselves in the hall of feasts and speak of your quest.”

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Street Cleaning

“For 400 years, this city has stood in the middle of the ocean. The Arch Magus and his kin hold the water back with arcane-infused crystals placed around the lower levels of the city. Last year, we noticed that the crystals were becoming less and less effective, requiring the mages to work harder to sustain the wards. We started mining for more crystals to infuse. Last month, we couldn’t afford to keep the mages holding the tunnel active because we now need everyone to hold the water back to protect the city.

What’s more disturbing were reports of cannibalism in the mines. These vicious acts never went unpunished, of course, but I haven’t seen this level of violence since the before construction of Babylon. Yesterday, we received reports that this has spread to the lower levels of the city. I fear that the corruption has reached us even in the ocean. I must trust that you are the same heroes that the Lord God Pelor has shown me.

You must judge them all.

When you have completed this task, find me in the Pelorian District of the Middle City.

I pray for your success.”

The exemplar of frailty takes his leave of you and departs the Hall of Feasts with his entourage.

You can’t wait to begin, but you must first go to the Soulforge to finish character creation.

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Have Portal, Will Travel

As you step onto the teleportation ring, destined to go to the Soulforge in the middle city, you get a strange feeling as you phase out. When you arrive, you notice the Arch Magus grinning at you.

“This isn’t the soulforge. Sorry to sabotage you like that. We need to speak privately. Come.”

This region of the city seems remarkably opulent. It’s also bustling with activity. Robed figures in pointy hats are running to and from rooms, sometimes in groups arguing loudly with each other. There are several teleportation rooms here as well. You conclude that you must be in the magic quarter of the middle city.

The Arch Magus leads you to a private room. The velvet carpet and drapes are accented by smooth brushed metal furniture that molds itself to fit your body as you sit.

“You probably never had access to this stuff. It’s a metal we call Velum. The metal is a byproduct of our mining operation. It seems to know what its owner wants and molds itself to meet that desire. It also enhances the quality of whatever it is alloyed with. The last trivium is that this stuff enhances magical abilities. This is why I’ve restarted our mining operations.

I’ll be candid since we’re speaking privately. I don’t trust the 935 year old bastard that sits at the head of the council. This Pelorian zealot has been constantly making poor decisions with little clarity of vision. The bastard sacrificed so many of what’s left of us humans to bring you fools from the mainland to our very own private slice of hell.”

The Arch Magus exhales and looks at the characters who aren’t human.

“I’m surprised he even brought you here – after the war, we became isolated and xenophobic, and with good reason too! The corruption seemed to affect non-humans more than humans, and so by isolating us from everyone else, we kept ourselves safe…at least for a while. Now the corruption has found us here. Our xenophobia may have kept us safe, but now it’s trapped us here with nowhere left to go.

But I digress. Cornelius is mainly a figurehead at this point. He’s so old that I feel he’s beginning to become senile. His decision to close the mines was a thinly veiled attempt to limit the power of us mages. He loves his power as much as he loves his Lord God. Because of this, I reopened the mines in secret. My mages teleported in using the ring that we constructed right before the mine was shut down. We’ve been porting miners to and from instead of maintaining an air tunnel between the city and the mine. Cornelius and the other council members are none the wiser.

The corruption, it turns out, is very real and very dangerous. It manifests itself in a multitude of ways so horrific that I cannot bear describing them to you. I’ve instructed my spellswords to not let anyone into or out of the lower city without my explicit written permission. I will give this to you, if you will do me a favor in return.

We’ve recently lost contact with the miners, and we cannot teleport in. We don’t know why or how this is happening, but my guess is that the corruption has hit the mine. I need you to get in there and find out what’s happening. You won’t be able to get in directly, so you’ll need to cross through the water ward and walk into the mine. To prevent you from getting crushed to death immediately, secure Waterdeep Suits from the Armory. There should be enough for each of you.”

The Arch Magus waves his hands, conjuring a quill and parchment. He scribbles some words and symbols onto the parchment. When he signs, the ink disappears. The parchment itself then transforms into a coin bearing his profile. He hands the party leader the coin.

“Questions?”

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Street Fighting

The scene in the Lower City was pretty grim. Quarantined by the mages, only those with explicit permission from the Arch Magus himself are allowed to pass freely to and from the Lower City.

Our heroes, led by The Faceless One, continued onward where they were stopped by a group of thugs demanding money. Danev decided to throw the first punch despite lacking any weapons or armor. After a brief fistfight, the thugs begged to be left alone. Danev demanded all of their money, and so the heroes received 34 silver pieces.

Once the heroes were armed, they proceeded to the outskirts of the lower city where they found a group of thugs being chased by infected lower city citizens. Our heroes proceeded to attack the infected. When the infected fell, scarab swarms burst from their bodies and continued to attack the heroes. A great battle ensued, but the heroes were victorious.

Highlights:
  • Danev slipped out of the magic ward and attacked a combination of friendly mages and scarabs.
  • One mage sacrificed himself, detonating one of the swarms.
  • Joshua fell unconscious.
  • Everyone except Danev suffered the effects of corruption.
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