Delenda Est

Characters' Premise
In B.T. 2101 war was beginning...

The story so far…

The states of Bael Turath and Arkhosia have been in cold war for years now, manipulating intermediaries and fighting a war of influence and expansion over their respective continents. The latest in a series of open grabs at power has just occurred in the Dwarven Territories, centered on the city-state and capital, Khaz Yeshwe. The dwarves have recently been split into three factions, one supporting each of the Empires, and one nationalist faction.

Seeing the growing influence of the Arkhosian Empire on dwarven culture, which had always been more neutral and merchant based, Bael Turath decided to take matters into their own hands. The Senate convinced renowned General Sextus Zolfura to lead a campaign to “liberate” the Dwarven Territories from the insidious dragonborn influence.

General Zolfura has been successful and the territories were occupied before a significant Arkhosian influence could be brought to bear from their lands. Recently the Arkhosian army has made camp outside of clear mobilization range of the occupying force, but excursions by both parties have been made.

After one particularly heinous attack on a non-military target by the Arkhosians, mainly Kobolds, General Zolfura organized a special attack force to be a precision effort to clear certain problems that arise that he could not afford to bring the whole army to bear on. This team currently consists of: a tiefling paladin of Bane, and moral heart of the force; a tiefling warlord and young protege and favorite of the General; a dastardly pickpocket that was convinced to use his abilities for the good of the Empire; a former champion of the Arkhosian gladiator circuit, liberated by the General’s forces; and a dwarven prophet siding with the Turathi for her own glory.

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Kobold Hall
Retribution for lives lost!

After a particularly savage attack on non-military targets by the Arkhosians, the Turathi are forced to respond with savage retribution! The strike force is dispatched on the heels of the attackers, and trace them back to a small cave entrance in the hill side. They see kobolds and a mysterious dragonborn warrior enter inside.

The force fight their way through several chambers, dodging traps the whole time. All members find themselves useful at various points and all of their strengths are tested and highlighted to each other. At what seems like the end, the force find themselves running from a magically propelled 10-foot tall boulder. While they dodge the boulder they find themselves at the mercy of kobold slingers, and eventually confront the might of a kobold wyrmpriest, those despicable creatures that worship the chromatic dragons, and his bodyguard.

After defeating the heinous dragon worshipers the force found its way down into the secret lair of the leader of the recent strikes, the white dragon Szartharax! As they sneaked down, they overheard Szartharax and a dragonborn, Vrak Tiburkaern, arguing.

Vrak: “You must be more patient Szartharax! If we attack their villages, that will only make them attack ours!”

Szar: “They already slaughtered my children, I claim vengeance as is my right under your law.”

Vrak: “Stick to military target for now. After we’ve massacred their strong then we can deal with their weak. ... Just remember, the Broodmother is close. After she arrives, everything changes.”

At that time, Gaius had the misfortune of dropping his javelin, alerting the two schemers to his presence. Vrak made an escape out the back door, leaving behind a scrap of his tabard on the brambles outside (being identified as the holy sign of Bahamut). The party, meanwhile, had to deal with an angry dragon in its own inner sanctum. After destroying many of the delicate ice features Szartharax had built up in his vanity, the party managed to beat him, though three were left very near death. With their information on the alliance with the chromatic dragons, and the mysterious entity called the Broodmother, they made their way back to General Zolfura to report.

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Lizards and Goats
Just ask the administrative assistants

After reporting back to General Sextus Zolfura, the strike force had a good amount of time to clean and heal up before getting sent out again. The General explained that while information on the Broodmother was important to get quickly from the Arkhosian front, a situation had arisen in Khaz Yeshwe that necessitated their expertise: the main ambassadorial party from the Capital to the Dwarven Territories had been abducted by the Yeshwean faction nicknamed “the Lizards”. Accompanying them was a fresh soldier of the Turathi army Samuel Strongbow, an up-and-coming Corporal and someone with local area knowledge.

After having arrived, the party secured lodging at the aptly named Musty Closet Inn and divided into two groups. The Tieflings and Samuel, as remnants of an invading and occupying force, were not particularly welcomed by many of the population and so went to search for evidence at the Embassy and talk to the local administrator. At the scene they discovered a letter written in dwarven explaining that the ambassadors had been taken captive (with plans to deliver them to the Arkhosians as war prisoners) so as to give the local Lizards more weight in future dealings with the Arkhosians. Further information gathering revealed that the bureaucracy is still a bureaucracy here and the only ones who are worth a damn are the administrative assistants.

The rest of the party searched about the less classy areas of town, seeking information in the underbelly of the city. Wolverine made much headway when seeking out work for the local growing Cult of Tiamat, a recently forbidden sect after the Turathi invasion and “liberation” because of its ties to the state church of Arkhosia. Wolverine took a guard job for them, and reported back with the rest of the group.

During the night the party’s rogue, Brenton, and Samuel scouted out the area and found a few good entrances other than the main door, namely two accessible windows that over looked the main space. Later that day Wolverine took the job and could see that at least some of the ambassadorial party were being held here, though there were ominous religious symbols about and a creepy locked stairwell. That night, it was decided, the group would strike.

With the useful reconnaissance of Brenton and Cpl. Strongbow, sniping took place from the outside windows while Wolverine, Gaius and Arete bust through the front door with Dritha providing cover fire. The entire warehouse was filled with dwarven cultists and their human lackeys, and they proved tough to push around. Unexpectedly the leader of this small pack of Tiamat worshipers was also there, channeling her Green Dragon Aspect and poisoning the skin and blood of those would dare defile his make-shift temple. Gaius, in an attempt to free his captured comrades and destroy the head of the heretical group, overreached and his blood was turned into a most foul poison by the Wyrmblood Magus. Eventually though, the fight was won.

In the cages on the main floor were two members of the ambassadorial party: Lucius Scipius Quintus, bard extraordinaire, as well as Sidus Akarot Sagax, astronomer and practitioner of the Darkest Arts. After being questioned, they indicate that the rest of the party was taken downstairs, into what they do not know. The Magus seemed to be the only one who would ever go down there, and in fact is the only one with a key. The Magus is not able to be resuscitated in a timely manner and time is pressing while being in the enemy’s stronghold in a bad part of town. The rest of the party decides to take his key and check what was in the cellar.

What is left down there shocks and horrifies even the stout and experienced of Bael Turath’s worst excesses. A laboratory shrine full of occult symbols of power, alchemical brews, and slowly pulsating symbols invoking Tiamat confronts the party. More shocking than that are the various animal experiments that all seem to have been mutated into part reptile in some form, everything from cats and rats to a small bear. Even worse are what remains of the emissaries, their horns filed off and their skin all a sickly pale and green hue. Most have begun to form scales around their eyes and on their arms, all have lost the ability to speak and are in obvious pain and distress like trapped and rabid dogs.

A cursory search shows tomes of terrible knowledge on how to make abominations of living creatures by infusing them with enchanted drake blood and twisting their souls with the draconic energies of Tiamat, Queen of Dragons. In addition to this, there is evidence of correspondence between various cells of Lizard resistance forces and Vrak Tiburkaern though the letters mention nothing about the experiments specifically, there has been planning and logistics done between the two groups. The Magus obviously had a hand in all of this, explaining his unique abilities as well.

Wolverine flies into a rage, destroying the alchemy equipment, smearing the arcane sigils and tossing beakers around while Brenton desperately tries to gather the important insurgency documents and the wicked grimerie. Arete in the meantime is putting all of the poor creatures out of their misery. She stops at what once used to be regal tiefling nobles and only hesitates for a second before plunging her sword between their ribs with a sad grunt. After the commotion has settled down Dritha takes out her holy book and invokes the power of the Astral Sea to perhaps cleanse this place of the unholy taint. the whole basement is then set on fire.

Samuel is still upstairs, trying to tend to Gaius and keeping watch. The Magus has his hands bound and burlap sack put over his head to prevent any spellcasting. As the rest of the party is finishing up downstairs, they hear Samuel calling hurriedly and rush into a skirmish as cultists arrive for worship. Though the Magus is taken hostage and the party fights valiantly, there are just too many unsavory types forming and no guard around to take advantage of. The group is forced to leave Gaius’ dead body at the scene as they are already burdened with the ambassadors and the Magus hostage.

Back in safety, Brenton hands over the arcane documents and political correspondence found to the General. Samuel also reveals something of significance: a small orange jewel that he found about Giaus’ neck that began to softly pulse with light after Gaius expired. The ambassadors are taken care of and Sidus goes back to Khaz Yeshwe with a large retinue to take charge of the Embassy and keep up relations with the dwarves. Lucius, however, decides to stay with the party and help any way he can, for as long as he can. Samuel, after proving himself has been given the okay to stay with the strike force and be part of their precision missions.

The General takes his new found trinkets and begins talks with his chief priests and arcanists about future plans.

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Delenda Est Gaiden: The Fall of Marcus Valerius, Part 1

(Advisory: This adventure represents a different group of players playing a “side story” within the Delenda Est campaign.)

Several months before Gaius Valerius, Wolverine, and comrades encountered Vrak Tiburkaern and defeated the fiendish dragon Szartharax in his lair, trouble brewed within the urban heart of the Turathi capital. Senator Marcus Valerius had recently uncovered the body of a trusted servant, clad in the ritual vestments of a sinister cult. With the steadfast cleverness that had brought him great success in the Senate, Marcus quickly learned of a new, strange cult from far to the east of Khaz Yeshwe. Knowing that his own people would not have betrayed him to some cult so easily, he assembled a small group of elite “problem-solvers” to discreetly investigate.

Lead by the noble Tiefling Warlord Derik Brutus Impervious, a small handful of legionaries and a few specialists set out to track the cult to its source and eliminate the threat. Joining Derik is Argyle Longhorn, a stalwart Minotaur Barbarian from the North, and Tichondrius Vorenus, a warrior in the Legion. Joining the group is a pair of former slaves, Aurelia and Enna, half-elf maidens who escaped a life of fighting in the Colosseum.

The group scoured the streets for clues, tracking down contacts, researching local history, and doing whatever they could to find the location of the cult within the city. Unfortunately, their efforts attract the attention of the cult; as they wander a back alley looking for information, a band of cultists attacks them! Luckily, the cultists were meager and fell quickly to the might of Derik and his group.

While searching through the aftermath of the battle, the mysterious elf maiden Enna finds a crude map showing the way to the center of the cults activities. After a brief discussion, the team decides that they would regroup with the rest of the legionaries assigned to them and head out for a direct assault on the cult’s base of operations.

The group quickly finds the small lodge that houses the fiendish cult that they sought. They quickly try to come up with a reasonable assault plan but Argyle Longhorn takes matters into his own hands and bashes through the front door. Inside, a group of robed cultists await them; Argyle lead the charge, yelling curses from his homeland as he mauls the nearest cultist. The battle goes quickly as the team and their legionary allies quickly best the cultists. As they near the leader, perched at the end of the room behind a pulpit, the situation gets out of hand.

The mysterious leader, a strange, dark-skinned half-elf, looked upon the group as they make quick work of the feeble cultists. As Argyle Longhorn and brave Tichondrius Vorenus surrounded the half-elf, he knows he must take drastic measures. “You fools! I will not be defeated so easily!”

The half-elf’s words become strange and muddled to all who hear him as he holds up a strange, crystal artifact. He looks across the room, his eyes darkening with magical power. Energy coursed through the room. NOTE “Remember me, warriors. It is I, your friend, Khaveen. You must aid me this day in vanquishing my foes.” Tichondrius, Enna, Derik, Argyle, and the Elven warrior maiden Aurelia looked, puzzled at his words. Before they could fathom the meaning of them, the soldiers that they had brought with them turned their weapons on the group!

The battle continued as the brave legionaries turned their weapons on their leader; Argyle and Tichondrius continued to press the attack, driving Khaveen the half-elf into a corner as the rest of the group fought off the very warriors that came with them. They fought and fought, finally subduing the legionaries and defeating Khaveen.

With Khaveen defeated, the heroes quickly searched about, trying to discover how this mere half-elf had such power to control the minds of men. Derik quickly destroyed the strange crystal that he held but not before noticing the strange flux of power leading off into the next room. The group, wary of what could be beyond the door, cautiously opened to see where the mysterious arcane energies flowed.

The room seemed to have been built as an office and personal space for the leader of the cult. The interesting part of the room was the man bound on the floor, a dark hood pulled over his head. They removed it only to discover a mysterious Deva, his eyes gazing deep into them.

“My friends. You have rescued me at least.”

“Friends?” asked Tichondrius. The heroes looked at each other, somewhat confused by his words.

“Yes, friends! You came to rescue me from this mad man. Obviously, you came here for that reason.”

Aurelia looked. “You mean Marcus Valerius, our lord? He sent us…” She paused. “… to find you?”

The strange Deva looked passionately at her. “Yes. Me. I am Ad Avis al Hasan. You came here to rescue me at the order of…”

“… Marcus Valerius,” finished Derik. “Yes. Your… our friend, Marcus, sent us to find you.”

“Wait!” Enna looked puzzled for a moment but then the understanding filled her. “Never mind that. I understand now. We came here…”

“… to rescue me, Ad Avis al Hasan,” the Deva finished. “And now, my friends, Ad Avis needs your help to recover something, an artifact of great power.”

Tichondrius looked puzzled. “But… I thought we were to bring you back to Lord Valerius?”

“Of course, my friend. However, we must first recover the artifact that he sent us all to get. This artifact will help me, help us, achieve our goals.” Ad Avis continued to stare at them, his mind slowly weaving its way through theirs. “First, we find the orb.”

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Delenda Est Gaiden: The Fall of Marcus Valerius, Part 2

(Advisory: This adventure represents a different group of players playing a “side story” within the Delenda Est campaign.)

Shortly after meeting Ad Avis al Hasan, the party finds themselves strangely compelled by his words. They realize that they must find this mysterious orb that Ad Avis has told them about.

“The orb is an artifact of great power. With it, we will be able to bring peace to the land and help our friend…”<?P>

“Marcus Valerius?” Enna asks.

“Yes. Marcus Valerius. We will be able to help him bring peace.”

The group, realizing the importance of this new task, sets forth to find the location of this mysterious orb. Their new friend, Ad Avis, gave them little information to start with but they begin consulting various resources.

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