Renaissance

The Singing Stirge
Episode 0 - Origins

All stories must start somewhere. The soon to be heroes were living all across the land, most ignorant of one another’s existence. The first of the two to meet were Zubair Fuboori, the Harrian merchant, and Grok Punch the… orc. The two had been travelling companions for a few years before the party was formed, and would later meet with Dalber Seznet and Willow, a warlock entertainer and an inventor-hopeful. The party had begun to travel to Dragonfall, but decided to stop at the Singing Stirge Inn on the way. It was here they ran into Pyros, a nature-loving Tiefling seeking to escape the judging eyes of others- while making a profit at the same time, of course. Having recognized Grok and Zubair from their time spent in a village near her home, she was convinced to travel with them.

The party would then enter the Stirge, expecting only a good night sleep before continuing on the road to Dragonfall. Fate had other plans for the heroes, however. Zubair, who was always looking to make a profit, managed to strike a bargain with some businessmen who were attempting to sell the blueprints for a steamboat. The party was just about to call it a night before the unthinkable happened. Creatures attacked them from the shadows, killing a few newly-made acquaintances. The adventurers fought long and hard, and finally defeated their foes, saving many of the inn’s patrons in the process.

But as the last shadow creature was struck down, a sinister green flame lit in the center of the building. All the lights went out, and as a harsh green glow cast silhouettes across the floor. A demon who called himself Venomheart appeared before everyone and mocked them, and claimed that he wanted to see the progress their country had made reversed, as it served his needs. One by one, Venomheart placed a curse upon the crew, telling them that in 48 hours, they would die. The group, now concerned but not disheartened, set out immediately, and Zubair managed to convince their new business partners to come with them. It was decided that the group would take the airship. Should they convince its owners to lend it to them, they would make it to their destination much faster than they would by horse. On the way to their destination, their was a conflict between the salesmen. A female businesswoman tried to take the blueprints, though she was quickly subdued by Grok with no more than a terrifying roar. With a bit of ‘convincing’ she told the group that she had been hired by a man named Bartholomew Agathar, who was interested in acquiring the steamboat plans for himself. Thankfully this diversion was brief, and they were back on the road within minutes.

The heroes were left in the very outskirts of Dragonfall within 9 hours of the curse being placed on them, and their new partners asked just who were they, to which Zubair responded, “We are simply Men of Business.” Now, its a race against time to Kura, a town known for its skilled healers. Will they make it?

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Gates of Dragonfall
Episode 1 - Welcome to Dragonfall

Our heroes began outside the gates of Dragonfall city, home to the most modern mechanical marvels on the continent. Though the group had at one point intended to part ways within the city, now they were united by a mission – survival. With just 39 hours left to lift the curse cast upon them, the Men of Business needed to get on the dirigible at any cost. So, the group wasted no time getting to the air craft… is what I would like to say. However, as with all heroes of such caliber, there is often a bit of fooling around.

The group was greeted by a pair of mechanical men, who waved their arms and beckoned the adventuring party into the town. They did this for about five minutes, until Willow began to remove pieces from the automatons and render them inoperable. The group, accompanied by their business partners, headed into the city, towards the palace. Ignoring the pleas of the automaton at the gate for them to not enter, the group headed through the palace lawn, towards the castle itself. After Grok used his ax to “coerce” the castle door open, the businessmen ceased to follow them, afraid of what the repercussions might be should they be caught breaking and entering. Only Xander remained.

They would then find themselves interrupting a party hosted by the Baron Targith Telentor, in the absence of Lord and Lady Fennelbane. Attending the party were five guests, including the young priest Zachary Kulight, a successful female inventor, businessman Marcus Monger, the elderly museum curator Sara Serana, and the captain of the dirigible.

Grok, who had slightly misinterpreted instructions given by Zubair, would be seen dragging the dwarf merchant up the nearest stairwell towards the dirigible, followed closely by Pyros and the camel, Dughat. It was quite a sight for the nobles. More surprising was the fact that two of the intruders went right up to the table to have a discussion with them, though after a few moments the stragglers would head up to the dirigible with the rest of their crew, lest they be left behind.

After much confusion and debating, it was decided that the cursed travelers would be allowed to use the airship so long as they could stop to pick up the Lord and Lady in Eastgate on the way. It was agreed, and the voyage through the sky went rather smoothly. That is, until One party member fool-hardily pulled a lever, and then promptly broke it.

The ship was thrown into a spin, releasing over a dozen mechanical spiders from the crates they had been stored in, which began to attack everyone on board. Though the battle was close, and there were very nearly a few casualties on the ship, everyone seemed to pull through. With that taken care of, and those responsible for the fiasco tied up and secured, the party prepared to land in Eastgate, with only 34 hours on the clock.

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48 Hours, Part 2
Episode 2: Holly

The airship was well on its way to Eastgate by the end of the last episode. Now, as it touches down, the heroes-to-be are allowed to leave the ship as new fuel is loaded on, as well as two important passengers. As the group (with the exception of Willow, who remains tied up) left the ship, they came face to face with its owners, the Lord and Lady Fennelbane. Suffice to say, they were a bit puzzled by the strange welcome. After being assured by Zachary Kulight that they were in fact under a powerful curse, the two nobles allowed them to continue to use their impressive sky vessel.

As they ;left Eastgate, now joined by the Lord and Lady, everything seemed to be going smoothly. The Men of Business were starting to think that things were going their way. In a few hours, the city of Kura was within their sights. That was when everything went south.

As everyone stared outside the port windows looking at Kura, no one seemed to notice that the engine on the opposite side of the ship began to spew black smoke. Suddenly an explosion rocked the ship, as the engine caught fire. The wicks of flame licked at the air, getting dangerously close to the hydrogen-filled chamber that gave the ship its power of flight. In an act of immense bravery, Grok crawled out onto the ship. All of the passengers watched with dread as the Half-Orc teetered from side to side. One step could send him plummeting to his death. Still, he managed to reach the engine. Once he reached the faulty machinery, Grok Punch did what he did best: Apply brute force where needed. With two powerful strikes of his great ax, the large humanoid cleaved the engine right off, and used his weapons to climb back to the nearest window.

Out of the frying pan, and into the fire, as the saying goes. Though they were no longer concerned that the ship would explode before they could escape, as the dirigible made an emergency landing in a field, everyone fled through any exit they could as the airship began to fall to one side. Everyone managed to escape with the exception of the captain, who died in the explosion while trying to find his pipe.

The explosion itself threw the adventuring party to the ground, and knocked all of them unconscious. When the group came to, they would find that they had been tied up, and stripped of their equipment. Strangely, only Grok, Zubair, Willow, Pyros, Dalber, and the Baron were there. The others were nowhere to be found. The first to get free was Grok, who broke his bindings with ease, then helped free the others. As everyone tried to get their bearings, they were approached by a Halfling woman, with a very familiar condition. From her chest was a bright green glow. She too had been cursed by Venomheart. With her help, and the aid of Grok’s talking cloak, they learned that after the crash, they had been kidnapped by goblins.

Their first challenge was to get past the two ferocious-looking hounds that guarded their equipment. This would prove easier than they thought, though, as Zubair managed to charm the two canines rather quickly. Once everyone had gotten their gear, it was discovered that only two things were missing, Grok’s bowlers hat, and Holly’s pistols.

Knowing that their destination couldn’t be far away, they were filled with new determination. They fought their way through the goblin’s lair, progressing at a steady pace. The goblins were surprised that the prisoners had broken free, and were no match for the heroes. After a short time, they found themselves fighting the goblin chieftain, who had Grok’s hat and Holly’s pistols. While Dalber and Willow kept the remaining goblins occupied, Grok and Holly battled the over-sized alpha, and stood victorious as Grok finished him off using one of Holly’s guns. On the way out, Grok decided to keep the large catapult the goblins had made in hopes of flinging a drop team over the town wall.

Soon, they found their way to daylight, and found themselves in a similar field, though it wasn’t the same as the one that their ship had crashed in. Holly seemed particularly happy that they were free, until she began to cough up blood. Everyone watched in silent horror as she started to asphyxiate, and it quickly became clear what was happening. With a heavy heart, Zubair asked Grok to snap her neck, in hopes of giving her a quick death. Sorrow soaked into their hearts as everyone heard the sickening crunch, and watched the lifeless body of their new found comrade fall to the earth.

Not long after, Zachary Kulight rode in on the back of Dughat, followed by the Lord and Lady, along with the inventor, who was on a stretcher, and Xander. He then told them that Marcus the businessman and Sara the curator hadn’t survived the explosion, but Kura was only an hours walk away. So with a quick ceremony to honor the fallen, they would continue on their mission to lift the curse, with only 24 hours left on the clock.

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48 Hours Part 3
Episode 3 The Sentry, The Dragon, and the Mountain

At last, the heroes, along with their newly acquired friends, entered the city of Kura. Exhausted from their arduous journey, the group was happy to find civilization once again. They immediately set out to find the uncle of their companion Zachary Kulight, Alder Kulight. He ran his own library within the city, and supposedly he would know how to end their curse.

At the library, he imparted upon them the knowledge they sought. The curse was meant to test them, to see if they were fit to be vessels for the demon Venomheart. The only way to end their curse, was through a ritual that required a near-death experience. He instructed them to head to the Pinnacle, the tallest of all the peaks on the Stormlit Ridge, where they would take turns holding a lightening rod. There they would perform a ritual with scrolls provided to resurrect them once their hearts had been stopped by lightening.

And so the group made their journey coming across several dangers along the way. At the base of the ridge, they were attacked by animated rocks and trees. They fought them valiantly, and were victorious.

Later, as they neared a tunnel that would lead to their destination, they found Bastion, a partly dismantled East Complexian Sentry who was holding up a large boulder with his remaining strength. Once Zubair had helped secure the boulder, and Willow made some light repairs, Bastion told them the story of how he had ended up there. He said his lord, Oren Halfstaff, had been chasing a dragon to the Stormlit Mountain. A little further down the path, his story was confirmed when they found the crushed remains of the young man.

The dragon responsible was awaiting the party at their destination, and wasn’t very pleased. In an all out battle, they fought the large reptilian fiend, who was ultimately vanquished by Grok’s strength and Willow’s ingenuity. With the dragon out of the picture, they could continue the quest.

In pairs, they went up to the lightening rod, and were shocked at what happened. The spell would show each of them the future should the person they were assigned to became Venomheart’s vessel. All were horrific, but none decided it was best to let their partner die, and so all were successfully cleansed of the demon’s magic. Now they plan on returning to Kura to continue on their main quest of getting filthy rich with Xander.

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Art of the Deal
Episode 4: The Demons Made Me Do it

The grand adventurers have now returned to Kura after finally ridding themselves of Venomheart’s lethal curse, and now, with a new faithful automaton in tow, they have once again set off on the main quest of getting stinking rich.

Upon returning to the city, their associate Xander informed them that there were two viable businesses who expressed interest in the blueprints, as well as a far less credible, though intriguiningly mysterious, stranger who asked to hold a meeting in the lighthouse known as the Lady of Light.

The were promised “an offer you cannot refuse,” and it was everything they could hope for. After a skirmish with demonically-possessed sailors, the group comandeered a paddle boat and made their way to the statue in the dead of night.

To their surprise, the President of Kura awaited them in his secret study in the statue. After much negotiating on behalf of Zubair, not only did they agree on a fair price with President Adric Gryffon, but they also convinced him of Venomheart’s existence and the need to create a research team dedicated to fibding out more about the demons.

As the deal was struck, the lighthouse keeper was taken over by a powerful demon and attacked the group, just as they reached an agreement. The party took on the defensive, as protecting the president became their first priority. Shortly after, an explosion rocked the tower, which began to crumble. Zubair lead an attempt to capture the demon along with Dalbur and their new acquaintance, the Half-Elf bard Taure, but it managed to escape its vessel before apparently being killed by other demons.

Zubair and the others barely managed to escape the crumbling symbol of the city just before it came tumbling down.

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