What is all this, now?
I thought it was high time to try and organize the myriad of posts on this blog and provide a little direction for people new to the story.
This blog used to be a collection of journal entries and story recaps for our tabletop gaming group’s Rise of the Runelords campaign. The campaign ran from June 2014 to January 2016, during which time we ran and completed all six modules of Paizo’s first Adventure Path and after which, our group partially split up and moved on to different things. During the course of the campaign, all of the members of the group posted on the blog the individual and group exploits of their characters. For better or for worse, there are a number of holes in the storyline as it is presented here, as updates were not always consistent or covered everything that had happened in any given session.
At the end of the campaign, Derrick and I decided to continue to the individual storylines of our two characters, Osanna and Glenn. The current series that is running on the blog, All The Warm Lives, is the original works of what is happening to them after they saved Varisia from a Runelord and try to put their own personal lives back together. It also features the other characters from our campaign and a number of NPCs as secondary characters. The blog updates once a week on Sunday nights/Monday mornings.
In order to get new readers to the blog up to speed on Glenn and Osanna’s exploits, I am providing a recap of what happened to them during the course of the Runelords campaign – but I am also keeping the recap as spoiler-free as possible for those of you who are or planning on running Rise of the Runelords for your own group. A lot of the content of the campaign, especially that which is relevant for the backstory of All The Warm Lives, was original material that we added to the storyline ourselves and is not actual canon to the Adventure Path.
Glenn Midori, aka Ko, the Swordsage
Glenn was a human orphan living on the streets of Magnimar in Varisia as a child. Although forced to steal in order to survive – and naturally quite good at it due to his small stature and nimble form – Glenn never felt right about having to resort to robbery and taking what wasn’t rightfully his from innocents who had worked honestly to earn a living. The city was not kind to street rats and thieves, however, and few other options presented themselves, especially during freezing nights when he thought he might starve to death.
When he was a teenager, Glenn met Alexander Warren, who saw something more than just a scrawny, pilfering orphan living on the fringes of society. Warren, the captain of the guard of the mercantile House Balthazar, took Glenn in, giving him food and shelter and simple tasks that he paid Glenn to do. Eventually, Warren taught Glenn how to use a sword, passing on a unique style of sword fighting that few were familiar with. Warren then got him a job serving as a guard for the Balthazar manor, and eventually Glenn became the personal bodyguard for Lord Balthazar’s only daughter, Helena, when he saved her life from a mob of goblins. After a rocky start to their relationship, Glenn and Helena eventually fell in love, but kept their affair a secret from Helena’s father, knowing he would never approve of her being with a commoner.
One day, Helena ran away from home, asking Glenn to go with her in order to to get away from her father, but Glenn refused. When Glenn realized she had left on her own, he and Warren followed her to a set of old ruins outside of Magnimar. Glenn and Warren found her just inside the ruins, prying a set of red, jeweled eyes out of a statue of a fierce, beautiful woman. However, as Glenn moved toward her, he accidentally tripped a trap that would have been fatal if Warren had not pushed him out of the way; instead, Warren took the brunt of it and was killed. As Glenn and Helena were escaping the ruins, a malevolent spirit appeared and flung a curse at Helena, but Glenn stepped in the way to shield her from the hex; when the two of them stumbled outside, they realized Glenn had been turned into a grippli – a two-foot tall frog-like humanoid. When they returned to her father’s manor, Helena was placed under house arrest and Glenn was banished from the estate.
Osanna Redbreeze, Paladin of the Dawnflower
Osanna is the bastard daughter of the satrap of Qadira and a very powerful succubus who seduced the emperor in an attempt to mar his family’s name. When Osanna was born, her demon mother left her on the palace steps with the intent for her daughter to either grow into a powerful demon in her own right and one day overtake the Qadiran throne, or simply be executed and bring shame to the royal family. Instead, the satrap’s brother and adviser counciled Osanna’s father to allow the child to live, albeit in secret, and she was given to the temple of Sarenrae, goddess of the sun, light, and healing, to be nurtured into something beyond what her demonic heritage would naturally develop into.
Osanna took her religious studies and training to heart, and seemed to be a naturally gifted Sarenite; she was strong-willed, kind-hearted, and honest to a fault. She could easily have been a powerful cleric, warpriest, or even inquisitor for the church of Sarenrae, and her brothers and sisters within the clergy welcomed and encouraged her on whichever path she found most fulfilling. However, the head priest of the temple saw a certain light inside Osanna that was rare indeed, and after testing her and finding her soul pure, she was invited to and accepted within the ranks of the few who would one day be paladins of the Dawnflower, knights who would defend the weak and eradicate evils in the darkest places of the world.
During training, aspiring paladins are required to take a number of vows before their deity – pledges to uphold the law, protect the innocent, and eliminate undead, among others. Some trainees also choose to take up additional oaths, for personal reasons, as Osanna did after a particular incident that happened when she was still but a girl coming into her own. She and a boy her age, both teenagers who lived at the temple and had known each other for a number of years – he training to be a cleric – were courting the idea of taking their relationship to a more intimate level when something snapped inside Osanna. The boy leaned in to kiss her, his hands on her hips, when the next thing she realized, she was huddled in the corner of her bedroom, covered in his blood. The boy was nearly broken in half – he had multiple broken bones and internal injuries, and his face was nearly unrecognizable it had been maimed so badly by her clawed hands. The priests at the temple were able to save his life, but neither he nor Osanna were ever the same after that incident.
Not knowing exactly what happened – she had no memories of the assault itself, having apparently blacked out during the incident – Osanna was determined never to let such an atrocity happen again by taking an oath of chastity. She completed her training as a paladin of the Dawnflower with high praise and great expectations from her tutors and mentors, having taken her duties and vows more seriously than any of her peers in order to ensure that she would never lose control of herself again like she had that night. At the end of her training, the high priest of the temple encouraged Osanna to leave Qadira for a time, in order to see more of the Inner Sea and to spread Sarenrae’s light to the places where it was needed most. He dispatched her to the village of Sandpoint, a remote trading town in far away Varisia with a letter of recommendation to give to the local cleric.
Samael Thrune, Hellknight Inquisitor of Asmodeus
Samael is the third son of a house of Chelish nobles whose eldest child was in line to inherit (or usurp) the throne. Not wanting their eldest son to have further competition from younger male siblings, Samael’s father shipped him off at an early age to be raised by the Asmodean inquisition. Being raised in an Asmodean temple was a harsh but secure upbringing for Samael. Having been essentially abandoned by his family, the ways of the church of the Devil Prince of Lies was the only truth he knew from a very early age, being raised to believe that law and order were the only thin line that separated civilization from the corrupt, ravaging hordes that threatened to consume humanity – both literally, and in the hearts of mankind. His devotion to the church and to Asmodeus’s teachings earned him a rare rank among the clergy’s inquisitors and also an invitation to be considered as a Hellknight Initiate for the Order of the Nail – a knightly order that is committed to quelling savagery and bringing civilization to the wilds of Varisia. Upon arriving at Citadel Vraid, the Order’s fortress-headquarters in southeastern Varisia, Samael was promptly given his first mission as a Hellknight trainee: he was dispatched to the small settlement of Sandpoint, where he was ordered to assess the town’s martial and judicial structure and determine if Hellknight intervention was necessary. He was also under orders from the church of Asmodeus to attempt to establish a place of worship for the Dark Prince.
Xander Callaniel, the half-elf Magus
Xander’s story is a love story. One that doesn’t involve him, but his parents. His father was an elf from Kyonin, part of a group who traveled to Varisia to help their brethren battle the drow who were encroaching upon the northern forests in the ancient abandoned city of Celwynvian. During their campaign, Xander’s father met his mother, a human alchemist who traded with and occasionally worked with the elves of the village of Crying Leaf. The two quickly fell in love, and just as quickly, Xander was born to them.
Knowing that a relationship between a human and one of their own – not to mention their half-elf child – would only bring scorn from the elven clans, Xander’s parents departed the northern forests of Varisia and traveled south, eventually settling in Sandpoint. However, also knowing that Xander’s father would long outlive his mother – elves having a lifespan of many hundred years, and humans naturally only living a fraction of that time – they also sought a way for them to be together eternally.
And then they found it, after years of searching, when Xander was still a boy. Using a combination of ancient elven magic that his father had stolen from Celwynvian during the campaign against the drow, a rare combination of herbs that his mother knew would induce a dream-like state and make the soul more vulnerable to outside influence, and a magic circle they had found beneath a series of ruins, Xander’s parents invoked the powers that slumbered deep beneath Varisia and beseeched them for their aid. They were granted one wish, and wished for Xander’s mother to be granted a life as long as her lover’s.
Their wish was granted, but at a terrible cost. In exchange for her extended life, the powers that granted their wish took Xander’s father’s life instead. The very extracts that had been used as part of the ritual to make his mother’s soul accessible to the ancient magics, were used against them, and Xander’s father found his own soul ripped violently from its vessel as his body was torn to pieces in a magical cataclysm. Xander’s mother, using what little knowledge she had of elven magic and the last remaining power left in the ruinic circle, was able to bind her lover’s soul to his sword, essentially saving his life but leaving him without a body and with little strength of his own left. Xander’s father fell into a deep slumber, never revealing himself as still being alive to his son.
Perhaps worse still was the realization that while the wish had been granted, it had only been done so at a great cost: While Xander’s mother would live on for centuries, living out the lifespan of an elf, her body continued to age as that of a human. By the time Xander reached adulthood, his human mother was an old, frail woman, her mind as sharp as ever but barely able to stand or walk without her son’s assistance.
Knowing that his mother would endure centuries of torment otherwise, Xander devoted himself to finding a way to break the curse on her and restore her to her once youthful and healthy state.
Hathus and Bill Voon, the Wizard Brothers
Hathus was never much liked as a child. Small, quiet, and odd, he was often picked on both by the other children of Sandpoint, and by his own older brother, Bill – especially by his older brother, Bill. Even Hathus’s father, Vorvashali, the eccentric owner of the town’s small magical item shop, would often chide and criticize his younger son, comparing his skills to those of Bill’s, who their father favored in almost every way. Only Hathus’s mother truly seemed to understand him – they both had a certain way with animals, and a certain way with magic, that neither Hathus’s father or brother really understood.
Bill shined at the standard wizarding teachings that their father trained both of his sons in, being able to memorize spells at the drop of a hat and especially excelling at changing the world and people around him; he could make others (or himself) bigger, faster, or stronger, grant people the ability to see in darkness, or even make himself fly. Hathus, on the other hand, found tasks such as copying spells into spellbooks menial and boring; he found he could affect others simply by squinting at them just the right way, which would sometimes cause them to trip over their own feet, or by tapping them on the shoulder lightly when wishing them luck, which would guarantee their success at whatever task they were about to attempt. Even the slightest giggle could swing another’s fortune in his favor.
Both of the brothers eventually departed Sandpoint for a time to attend the Twilight Academy. As always, Bill excelled there, quickly gaining favor with the teachers and more powerful mages and rising in the ranks himself. Hathus was not necessarily a bad student, but, as with his own father’s teachings, he found the lessons drab and boring – to the point that he began sketching in his journal in class to help pass the time. First he would simply sketch the objects they were studying in class – a spellbook, a feather, a crystal ball. As his drawing skills improved, he began sketching his professors. Then he sketched one particular lady profession he was fond of, as he imagined she might look without her wizarding robes on…
Then he got caught. And then he promptly got expelled.
Too ashamed to return to Sandpoint as a failure, Hathus wandered Varisia on his own for a while, learning his own magic in his own way. When he did return to Sandpoint, he was not surprised to learn that his brother Bill had graduated the top of his class. But he was surprised to learn that when Bill had returned home, he had not mentioned to their parents that Hathus had been expelled from the academy. Perhaps even more surprising still was that Bill was already gone again, having set out to begin testing his newfound power by exploring Varisia on his own.
Hathus wasn’t really interested in dungeon delving and artifact retrieval, as Bill was doing for their father, so he decided to remain in Sandpoint and assist with the family business. He was happy to remain a quiet, unfamiliar, if somewhat strange member of Sandpoint’s community until the night the old chapel burned down.
Hathus wasn’t really sure why he was in the shrine to begin with – he didn’t pay homage to any particular deity, but he did like some of the art that was depicted inside the small hallowed site. He had idly been practicing a new spell throughout the day, one that would allow him to set his enemies on fire, and he was just thinking about what it would feel like to set the robes of those who had dismissed him time and again at the academy ablaze when suddenly, the temple around him was sheathed in flame. Was this his doing? Surly it must have been – no one else was awake in this part of the chapel at this hour except him.
But then he heard it – someone was crying. He wasn’t alone. Panicking, Hathus ran through the shrine as the flames lapped at his own robes until he found them – a group of children he vaguely recognized as orphans being sheltered inside the chapel. Hathus scooped two of the children into his arms and fled the burning building as the flames spread. He was able to save several of the orphans before the building collapsed entirely.
The shrine was a total loss – not even the frame was salvageable from the inferno. No one questioned why Hathus had been there that night, too relieved and overjoyed that he simply had been, and that he had saved the orphans that he did. Unfortunately, Hathus learned later that even those children weren’t the only other souls in that temple that night – the head priest and his daughter had also been present, and had perished in the blaze, along with a couple of the orphans Hathus was not able to go back for. Despite being hailed a hero – suddenly everyone in town recognized his face, knew his name, and wanted to buy him a drink at the Rusty Dragon – Hathus was sick at his newfound prestige and title, and was determined to somehow make right his error that night, even though he never told anyone what actually happened.
The tale begins in Sandpoint, a small fishing and trade village in southern Varisia. It was the eve of the Swallowtale Festival, an autumn holiday that pays respect to Desna, the goddess of stars, luck, and wanderers. The five soon-to-be Heroes knew little to nothing about each other when our story began; while Hathus and Xander both grew up in the village, their families had long been at odds with each other over the proper ways to conduct magic; Samael and Osanna were both newcomers and outsiders to the village; and Ko – still tainted by the magic that had turned him into a grippli – had come to town only to resupply and perhaps glean some knowledge on how to break the curse that afflicted him. But they were soon thrown together when disaster struck the village, and the five united in order to save Sandpoint from destruction.
It soon became apparent that the initial crisis that befell Sandpoint was but the very beginning of a march larger, grander scheme – the very tip of an iceberg that ran so deep that none of them could, at the time, have comprehended its depths. Although they initially did not always see eye to eye – Samael, in particular, with his rigid code of conduct regarding how the others should represent themselves, and Hathus, not particularly wanting to be a part of the group and yet yearning to earn his title as a Hero of Sandpoint – the five continued to work together. Some for personal reasons – Ko and Xander both wanting to gain knowledge and power to rid themselves of their magical burdens – others out of a sense of responsibility to see through what they had inadvertently unearthed the night of the Festival.
While the story followed that of the six modules of Rise of the Runelords, which I will spoil as little of here as possible, there was a great deal of personal storylines, character development, and custom NPCs added as well. Below are some of the highlights, in the order in which they happened, with appropriate links to blog entries when one is available.
-The party travels to Magnimar, a larger city north of Sandpoint, to further investigate the crisis that has befallen Varisia.
-In Magnimar, Ko learns that his former lover, Helena, is missing after she left the city to search for him.
-While investigating Helena’s disappearance, the party learns that her father, Byron Balthazar, a merchant, has had several trade caravans go missing or have items stolen from them recently. They track down the source of these robberies and discover that a group of Shoanti bandits are behind the raids. While inspecting one of the missing caravans, they find that all but one of the Shoanti tribesmen have been killed. The lone remaining Shoanti, a man by the name of Ular Greyscorn, has been remanded to The Hells, the city prison, for theft.
-While investigating the Sczarni, a group of Varisian crime families, the party uncovers a number of incriminating documents that would implicate several Sczarni leaders. However, before they can hand the papers over to any official channels, Ko is contacted by a man named Jubrayl Vhiski who claims to know where Helena is. Jubrayl tells Ko to get rid of the documents if he ever wants to see Helena alive again. Torn between wanting to protect Helena and upholding the law, Ko turns to Osanna, who tells him where she is keeping the Sczarni documents before walking away. Ko destroys them, and Jubrayl tells him that Helena is currently in Kintargo, a city in northern Cheliax. He also tells Ko that he is Alexander Warren’s brother, and that Ko will not go unpunished for his brother’s death.
-In a battle against a stone giant wizard, Hathus is killed while rather heroically teleporting Osanna and Ko closer to the mage so they could stop it before it destroyed the rest of the party.
-In Sandpoint, Hathus’s father, Vorvashali, uses Speak With Dead on his son to ask him if Osanna is responsible for his death, and Hathus lies and answers yes. Vorvashali asks his elder son, Bill, to accompany the heroes to find out how Hathus really died.
-While working on the construction of a new Temple of Sarenrae in the Underbridge district of Magnimar, a group of dwarven contractors finds an odd trapped door in the foundation of the old temple site which Osanna had purchased. It is sealed with magical runes in both the angelic and demonic languages, but they have been damaged and Bill and Xander determine that the seal will eventually fail. The party decides to investigate the crypt further and discover that Osanna has a half-sister named Yservielle who was trapped beneath the old temple, imprisoned by their mother ten years prior with instructions to kill Osanna if and when the two should ever meet. The party battles Yservielle, who demonstrates strange powers that none of them have have any knowledge of, before she escapes and flees the city.
-Bill is unimpressed with the party’s performance in the crypts, and he is convinced that his brother died at least in part due to their incompetence. Finding out Osanna has a half-sister who is trying to kill them makes him trust the paladin even less.
-Samael finds a scroll that details some of the powers Yservielle was wielding, and uses it to bind a spirit to himself, allowing him access to some of its powers but also influencing his personality slightly by the spirit’s canine-like nature.
-After reading the book, both Xander and Bill begin to act strangely; both of them have gained strange insight to the power of necromancy, the school of magic the Runelord of Gluttony, Zutha, specialized in, but both of them also have a seemingly insatiable appetite as well.
-The party finds an ancient and magnificent library full of more text and knowledge any of them have ever imagined. While gathering information on the Runelords, they come across another book similar to the one they found in the crypt beneath the temple in Magnimar, having determined that it was only the first in the series of three; this was apparently the second. After seeing the affects of the first had on Xander and Bill, the party agrees never to read the second part.
-It is now apparent that Zutha split his soul and stored it within the three tomes, and that by reading them, a person can obtain his power but also be taken over by the Runelord. Now having a single host, Zutha has concentrated his attention on Xander and has left Bill entirely. Xander’s overwhelming appetite remains, accompanied by an unnatural sickly pallor and putrid stench. Most alarming is that Osanna’s divine touch not only no longer heals him, it harms him instead.
-Seeking a way to rid Xander of Zutha’s soul permanently, the party scours the library for an answer. They discover that Alaznist, the Runelord of Wrath, was developing ways to combat curses in order to better protect herself against her enemies. They find the location of a laboratory where she was developing a method of breaking the most powerful of curses. Much to Ko’s horror, he realizes the laboratory is likely the same ruins that he and Helena had ventured into the night he had been turned into a grippli.
-Seeing no other solution to their current dilemma – and knowing that they would have to venture back into those ruins eventually if they had any hope of ridding Ko of his own curse – the party returns to Magnimar to prepare for their journey into Alaznist’s ruins. Ko has recurring nightmares about a giant, headless creature riding a great black cat pursuing him in his sleep, which Bill later identifies as a Dullahan.
-The party ventures into the ruins of Alaznist’s abandoned laboratory. They find evidence that the Runelord paid reverence to one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, Llamolaek, who has since fallen from power. At the bottom of the laboratory, they find a small library with hand-written notes by Alaznist’s pupils, along with a vast garden over-grown with hundreds of identical specimens of a vivid red flower. According to the notes left in the library, the flowers held the power to break curses. They had to be used by an arcane caster, and in order to function, they needed direct access to the user’s brain via insertion into their skull through their eyesocket. The red flowers were merely incomplete test subjects that the wizards of the laboratory were using to both experiment with, and in an attempt to propagate a perfect specimen, which they never managed to accomplish during their lifetimes. According to the notes, the red flowers had a high fatality rate for the user, and did not always function properly; however, the perfect specimen would have merged flawlessly with the host wizard and been able to break any curse given enough magical energy, as well as augment the wizard’s own powers in other ways.
-While exploring the garden, the party found a lone, distinct specimen, a pure white flower that stood out in stark contrast among the sea of red ones. After studying it, Bill and Xander concluded that it was the perfect specimen that Alaznist’s people had been attempting to breed, and that it must have evolved on its own after centuries of the red flowers reproducing themselves. They were the only two who could use its powers, and with Xander’s current predicament with Zutha’s soul bound to his own, the party decided Bill was the better candidate.
-However, while the party was preparing for the inevitable event, Xander’s father once again took over his body and attempted to kill Bill so that Xander could have the flower for himself. The party had to subdue him and left Samael to keep watch over him in the library while Ko and Osanna accompanied Bill to the garden to perform the flower operation.
–While Bill, Osanna, and Ko are attempting to insert the flower into Bill’s eye, the Dullahan that Ko dreamed about suddenly appears and attacks them. Ko attempts to defend the others before the creature kills him.
-The party is able to raise Osanna once they return to Magnimar, but when they attempt to bring Ko back, something stops them. The cleric who attempts the ritual says his soul is being bound by something, and that any attempts at reviving him will be unsuccessful unless they can free him. Bill is able to tell, with the power of his new flower-eye, that Ko is still badly cursed, and thinks that perhaps retrieving the jeweled eyes that Ko and Helena originally stole from the ruined laboratory may be a key to breaking the curse.
-While debating what to do next, a newcomer comes to call at the now nearly finished Temple of Sarenrae in the Underbridge district. He is a half-elf and claims to be a friend of Glenn’s, who the party knows to be Ko’s real name, but none of them recognize him or have ever heard Ko talk about him. He introduces himself as Kief, and tells the party he has come on Helena’s behalf to see if he could help Glenn. The party demands to know where Helena is and why she didn’t come herself, but Kief will only tell them she is in Kintargo with her extended family and that she is safe. The party also asks about the gemstone eyes that they knew Helena had taken from the temple with Ko, and Kief admits to having them up until recently, but he gave them to a Sczarni contact when he returned to Magnimar before meeting with the party.
-After averting the crisis in Sandpoint, the party turns back to the matter of how to free Ko’s soul. By now they have determined he is being held on the plane of Abaddon, where Daemons and the Four Horsemen reside. They are visited by Samael’s Pit Fiend commander, who offers them a deal: he will grant them transport to the location on Abaddon where Ko is being held, and a way to return to the Prime Material Plane, if they will dispose of another Devil who has gone into hiding on Abaddon for him while they are there. The Pit Fiend is also not keen on Ko being used by the Daemons, as he says they plan to use Ko’s soul to revive Llamolaek, one of the former Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Seeing no other better solution to their current problem, the party agrees.
-The party travels to Abaddon, fulfills the Pit Fiend’s request, and frees Ko’s soul from the daemon that was hunting him. When they return to the Prime Material Plane, they are able to raise him, although Kief slips away before the ritual is complete.
-Kief heads toward a seedy brothel in Magnimar to meet with his Sczarni contact, Jubrayl Vhiski. Kief tells Jubrayl that they were successful in their mission to save Glenn, and that he needs to send another letter to Helena telling her that, since his last one informed her that Glenn was dead. Jubrayl tells Kief he did an excellent job before knifing him between the ribs, killing him.
-The party is enjoying some much-needed down-time while Ko recovers. Ko can still hear the daemons speaking to him in his mind, and has trouble discerning his own thoughts from their suggestions. Everyone, especially Osanna, is preparing for the official grand opening of the Temple of Sarenrae.
-Samael decides that setting up a shrine to Asmodeus in Sandpoint may not be prudent, what with the relatively new temple dedicated to six other deities already established. Instead, he purchases an old building in Sandpoint and begins repurposing it into an orphanage where he will train Hellknight initiates.
-Ko gives Osanna one of a set of rings he had custom made in honor of the opening of her temple. They are made of intertwined gold and platinum, forged together to form the Angelic Ankh that is the holy symbol of Sarenrae, and they will allow Osanna’s Shield Other spell to work both ways when she casts it on him as long as both of them are wearing their rings.
-The morning of the grand opening of Osanna’s temple, Ko wakes up before dawn sensing something his wrong. He feels something heavy at the foot of his bed. Calling Osanna into his room, the two of them investigate to find the object to be Kief’s head, along with a note and a knife. Ko reads the note, which is from Jubrayl. The note tells him that Kief’s death is on Ko’s shoulders for getting innocents involved in his affairs and that if he doesn’t want anyone else to suffer, he will use the knife, which is poisoned, on his paladin friend. Ko shows the note to Osanna, and the two of them proceed with the grand opening of the temple as planned. As Osanna is beginning a prayer dedicated to Sarenrae to those gathered in the prayer hall, Ko notices a sniper perched in the rafters of the building, and the party is just able to evacuate the civilians and chase the sniper away – although unfortunately not apprehend him or learn his identity – without anyone getting hurt.
-Using the flower, Bill is able to break the curse on Xander, pulling Zutha’s soul out of him and curing him of his undead-like affliction. Bill transports the two books that now contain Zutha’s soul to the ancient library for safekeeping until the party can find a way to destroy them.
-After gathering clues about Kief’s death and the identity of the sniper as being one of Jubrayl’s people, the party is able to track Jubrayl to an old Sczarni warehouse in the Underbridge district. They infiltrate it, and after a bloody battle, are able to kill the would-be assassin, ending his harassment of Ko and the people of the Underbridge for good. They also retrieve the jeweled eyes, which Helena had given to Kief and Kief had given to Jubrayl before meeting up with the rest of the party.
-Bill explains to the party that he found a letter left for him from his father, telling him that a woman claiming to be Osanna’s sister has told him that Osanna can’t be trusted and that they have left for a place to find a weapon powerful enough to destroy Osanna once and for all. The place they are going happens to be the same place the party was planning on going next in their quest to end the crisis that is affecting Varisia. Bill thought Osanna was somehow involved in Yservielle kidnapping his father, but after agreeing that fighting amongst themselves will get them no where, everyone agrees to keep working together for the time being to save both Vorvashali and Yservielle during the coming battles.
-The party is able to rescue both Vorvashali and Yservielle from the depths of the dungeon they were in, and from each other. Bill finally comes to trust Osanna.
-Samael takes the Hellknight initiates from his orphanage in Sandpoints to raze Thistletop, a goblin stronghold outside Sandpoint. Osanna accompanies him in order to ensure none of the children are harmed. Samael plans to turn Thistletop into a new Hellknight fortress.
-The Heroes are victorious in their battle against Karzoug, the Runelord of Greed, and return to Magnimar triumphantly from Xin’Shalast. Naru returns to the wilderness between Sandpoint and Magnimar, taking in and training those who don’t belong in an establishment like Samael’s orphanage or Osanna’s temple. Bill returns to his father’s shop, content to live a quiet, peaceful life for the time being. With Bill’s help, Xander is able to break the curse on his mother, restoring her to her youth and even bringing his father back to life so the two of them can finish living out their lives together. Samael, after being visited by an angel in the service of Sarenrae while in Xin’Shalast, realizes that the teachings of Asmodeus are all a lie, and seeks a way to free his soul, which is being held in Hell once he dies. He also vows to stay with the Asmodean inquisition in order to help young inquisitors break their own soul-stealing contracts that they sign. Osanna returns to her temple, continuing to reform the Underbridge district of Magnimar.
From here, the story picks up with the current storyline, All The Warm Lives. Start with Part One as the heroes try to piece their lives back together after saving Varisia.
Some important terms, locations, and NPCs to know:
Alaznist: the Runelord of Wrath.
Alexander Warren: Glenn’s mentor. Formerly Byron Balthazar’s personal bodyguard.
Ameiko Kaijitsu: proprietor of the Rusty Dragon inn and tavern in Sandpoint, and good friend of the Heroes of Sandpoint.
Asmodeus: Samael’s former patron deity, devil lord of darkness and lies.
The Bastion of the Nail: the Order of the Nail Hellknight outpost in Magnimar.
Byron Balthazar: Helena Balthazar’s father, a wealthy merchant and member of the Council of Ushers in Magnimar.
Carmine Fiar: Zelia’s sister and personal bodyguard to Byron Balthazar.
Cheliax: country south of Varisia.
Citadel Vraid: the Order of the Nail Hellknight headquarters, located in southeastern Varisia.
Council of Ushers: governing body that rules over Magnimar.
Desna: Xander’s patron deity, goddess of stars, luck, and wanderers.
Helena Balthazar: Glenn’s former ward and lover.
Hellknights: a collection of knightly orders sworn to uphold the law.
Jorgenfist: location of the ancient library, located in northern Varisia.
Karzoug: the Runelord of Greed.
Kintargo: city in Cheliax where Helena was staying during the heroes’ campaign.
Magnimar: a larger city just north of Sandpoint where the heroes spent much of their time during their quest.
Order of the Nail: a Hellknight order operating in Varisia, dedicated to bringing civilization to the savage inhabitants of the wilds of Varisia.
The Rusty Dragon: an inn in Sandpoint where the heroes are always welcome, owned and operated by Ameiko Kaijitsu.
Rhett & Jasmeen: Osanna’s cleric initiates.
Sandpoint: a village in southern Varisia where the crisis began.
Sarenrae: Osanna’s patron deity, goddess of the sun, fire, and healing.
Sarscha: Osanna’s demonic half.
Sczarni: a group of Varisia crime families who use theft, bribery, and extortion to scare and control innocent people.
Shelyn: Glenn’s patron deity, goddess of music, beauty, and love.
Shoanti: a group of nomadic humans who live in the wilds of Varisia.
Ular Greyscorn: former Shoanti tribesman who Osanna, Glenn, and Samael freed from The Hells in Magnimar after he was imprisoned for stealing from Byron Balthazar. Has dedicated himself to Sarenrae.
The Underbridge District: area in Magnimar where Osanna’s temple is located. It is named such because the remains of a huge, giant-sized bridge span over this section of the city, leaving it in perpetual darkness except when the sun rises and sets.
Varisia: the name of the country where the campaign takes place.
Vorvashali Voon: Hathus and Bill’s father.
Xin’Shalast: the City of Greed, where Karzoug, the Runelord of Greed, was sleeping and gathering power. Site of the last battle.
Zelia Fiar: Helena Balthazar’s best friend. Also friends with Glenn.
Zutha: the Runelord of Gluttony.
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