Greyhawk 636 CY: The Rise of Asmodeus
The Story So Far
The Story So Far…..
Just before Needfest 635 CY the characters each receive a letter. It is from Sir Christopher, the Lord Marshall of Geoff who is also one of the heroes of the key who defeated Vecna 30 years ago. He invites them to Geoff and the palace, Castle Everdawn, for the holidays if they wish. But he requests their presence for a meeting following Needfest.
The characters are treated to a royal welcome and holiday celebration. After getting to know the others summoned, they meet with Sir Christopher and, surprisingly, the ambassadors in Geoff. Sir Christopher tells them they have each been summoned to help investigate a recently unearthed ancient Oeridian Barracks.
It seems obvious Sir Christopher is not saying everything about why this particular group has been assembled. But all of them agree to go.
At the ancient barracks and attached manor they find evidence of an ancient infernal plot by an old Oeridian family dedicated to Asmodeus, the Von Slythes, to turn themselves into hosts for demons. It is a centuries long machination that was started by an ancient Vampire and his wife (Balthasar and Lianna), much to the horror of their ten year old child who is now a ghost trapped in a ring. This family was, until recently protected and served by the family of the Paladin Wilhelmina Stalwarth: An arrangement that ended in tragedy. The party also discovers that they are facing a powerful priest of Incabulos with the power to send whole groups of people into nightmare.
Following leads on the cult of Asmodeus they go to a town on the Wooley Bay, Megas Landing. They find all of the people there trapped in nightmare and that it is a secret distribution point for vials of strange diseases. They gain the help of a cleric of Procan and free the town, while capturing a dwarven anti-Paladin. But it is obvious that the cult of Asmodeus is working with servants of Incabulos and Kyuss. Including an oddly powerful priest of Incabulos and a disturbing entity called the Chosen of Kyuss. They also discover the plan of this alliance to steal the soul gem from the Ghost Tower of Inverness when it next appears.
Through travels to Greyhawk City, Oakvein and Elmshire the party pieces together that the diseases they found are designed to effect each major race on Oerth, including dragons. And that they had been used decades ago, seemingly culminating in the destruction of the Gnarley Forest town of Skorane. This process created a being called the Plauge Crow in a rite to Asmodeus. This creature gave birth to the Cleric Bartholomew… who was the strange priest of Incabulos with the power to discern fears, create nightmares and craft unique diseases on a large scale. A percentage of the victims of the diseases that were used in crafting the plague crow were trapped into a sentient undead called the Vestige, that is under the control of Bartholomew.
They embark on many adventures. They deal with a cult of Asmodeus in Greyahwk city and bust a body providing ring run by the local head of the undertakers guild. They meet the local crime fighter the Hand of Fate. They seek counsel from the plane walking grandfather of party member Jevan Seafire. They track down more of the history of the plans of the villains and try to figure out how to destroy the Vestige and free the souls within. In all of this they discover that the Codex of Infinite Planes is a huge part of the plot and there is a danger that in an alternate reality Bartholomew will fall from Incabulos to the worship of the Mad God.
They find that the end goal of Asmodeus and the Von Slythes seems to be crafting a new body for Asmodeus who, according to the Dragons, may indeed need one due to an ancient wound. This body was centuries in the making and is the body of Jack Von Slythe. Jack is the childhood friend and betrothed of the party’s paladin, Wilhelmina. She had thought him and all the other Von Slythes dead, but Jack and his brother survived. Will is made aware of this in a nightmare from Bartholomew. The party races to save Jack, who is now a Pirate Lord, and fails due to the deception of Jack’s own brother and the arrival of the sister of Tulla (a gnome Cleric in the party) who is insane and worships Urdlen. They also discover it is likely the remnants of the Scarlet Brotherhood have fallen to the Mad God and are under the leadership of this alternate Bartholomew.
They manage to save Jack from Castle Von Slythe due to the change of heart of his brother, who did not know Jack would be inhabited by Asmodeus. But they lose Jack’s brother’s son…who is also strong enough to be a new body for the lord of all devils.
They manage to get through the Ghost Tower of Inverness when it opens and gain the Soul Gem but lose the Codex to Bartholomew, who is sliding into his alternate self, and get scattered across the Outer Planes.
They make it back home and are called to a meeting at Castle Greyhawk, Zagyg tells them they must destroy the codex and shows them to the 3 times great grandmother of the party member Loreli. Zagyg has kept her alive for hundreds of years in a shard of ice because she was the only member of a group that went to the Isles of Woe and learned how to destroy the Codex. She awakens and tells the group she was cursed in several ways but the most relevant is that she is dying..destined to be turned trapped in magical ice. Zagyg delayed that but could not end it.
She tells them the Codex is evil and sentient and the mage Yagrax created it long ago and then went insane and evil. But they must take the book to the Isles of Woe and on the altar to Boccob in the manor of Yagrax…destroy it. They need to find an artifact called the Song of Ages. This is a flute and piece of music that reflect creation itself and in some metaphysical way are the song played at the start of the world. It can strip the book of its growing godhood and allow a flame strike spell to destroy it. The Song is broken up… parts of the flute given to the human ethnic groups and the song itself to the demi-humans. Loreli’s grandmother tells them the locations of most of the pieces.
They now must meet in Geoff at the palace of King Everdawn to decide what to do next. They need to find the Song of Ages, rescue the young nephew of Jack Von Slythe and find a way to free the souls in the Vestige. They know the Vestige was created with the cooperation of an ancient servant of Vecna named Ascerek. So they will have to eventually go to his tomb to find the secret to that.