Our Intrepid Heroes
- Raven Withrethin, an elf rogue
- Asclepius (Sklee), a yuan-ti pureblood paladin rehabilitated for civilization by the Brotherhood of Redemption
- Loriwyn “Wyn” Thistlefoot, a gnome monk trapped in Ptolus during the Night of Dissolution
- Larx Voss, a changling sorcerer
The Prowlers formed a tentative plan to attend the negotiation as a way to gain access to the inner sanctum of the cult and end the threat, once and for all. The Commissar wanted them to hear the cult out, but the city was not willing to cut a deal with the cult that didn’t involve their immediate cessation of activities and total withdrawal. Firellia gave them an enchanted gemstone with which she could scry upon them and told them she would use at the right time to teleport herself and backup to the Prowlers’ location to help defeat the cult.
They spent a few days researching Prince Imix and what the elemental’s interest in Ptolus could be. From their research, they gleaned that Imix was interested in the Mask of the Fire Lord, a powerful artifact that was once housed in the Banewarrens. They also determined that all of the artifacts and relics in the Banewarrens had been drained of magic and destroyed in the efforts to save the city during the Night of Dissolution; what the cult wanted wasn’t in Ptolus at all.
The Mask of the Fire Lord couldn’t be permanently destroyed on the Prime Material plane, of course, so it was likely in the process of reforming on its native plane, the Elemental Plane of Fire. As an artifact, it was unable to be scryed upon, so it’s possible Imix was just looking in its last known location. The Prowlers formulated a new plan: their allies would attend the meeting disguised as them while they found a way to travel to the Plane of Fire and bring this information directly to the Prince of Fire and barring that, killing him in his palace. They decided to enlist the aid of a group they knew were both powerful and had a vested interest in not seeing the city destroyed: the Forsaken and Fallen of the Necropolis.
They hired a carriage to take them to the Necropolis and walked the rest of the way to the Dark Reliquary. Secure in their home, the Forsaken saw no reason not to allow the group an audience and they soon found themselves meeting with the very sullen, morose, de-facto leader of the Forsaken and the Fallen, Raguel. He was more blue than usual; since the Night of Dissolution, Lilith had abandoned him and Ptolus and despite the chains binding outsiders to Ptolus being broken, he had been unable to leave. He was able to open planar portals just fine now, but found himself unable to pass through. They cut a deal with him; the Forsaken would accompany them to the Plane of Fire and they would find a way to restore the Spelljamming Helm of the Prancing Prowler and physically take him away from Ptolus.
Raguel hadn’t tried simply physically leaving the city; he didn’t want to float endlessly in the Astral Sea, but was not aware the Prancing Prowler potentially held the capability of physical planar travel in that fashion. He agreed.
The Prowlers returned to the Commissar and filled him and their allies in on the plan. One thing remained: they had to find a way to return home after confronting Imix. Andralia had a tablet that, when broken, would create a temporary teleportation circle, unfortunately, it would only work within the plane where the receiving teleportation circle was created. She did think of another possibility, though, but it would not be cheap. Not wanting to waste any more time, the Commissar excused himself for a moment. When he returned, he carried a chest containing 25,000 gold talons and gave it to the Prowlers to acquire a means of return.
Firelia Emberskin, in her tiefling form (created in HeroForge)
Andralia took them to Firellia’s house. Loka answered the door. The Azer was surprised to see them, but let them in and said Firellia left instructions not to be disturbed. Andralia didn’t seem concerned as she led them into Firellia’s basement, then through a series of tunnels into an enormous cavern. The cavern was filled with piles of gold and treasure. Sitting atop it: a red dragon.
The dragon was none too pleased to see Andralia and in a tone unmistakably Firellia’s she admonished the elf for revealing her secret to the Prowlers. They bravely interrupted her ranting to present their request and the gold in exchange. Firellia huffed, but produced a scrolls and flicked it to the group before claiming the chest of gold and adding it to her pile. Larx examined it and discovered she’d given them a scroll containing the Plane Shift spell.
They left Firellia to brood and began their final preparations. They met up with The Ravager, then returned to Raguel in the Necropolis. They found him standing by with a veritable army of the Forsaken. He opened the portal and the Forsaken charged through into the Plane of Fire. Meanwhile, the Prowlers ate the scorpion tail peppers and after most of them doubled over in pain and discomfort from the absolute hell the raw peppers unleashed in their mouths, they entered the portal themselves.
The Forsaken battled elementals and salamanders while the Prowlers traversed the fiery plane toward a palace of brass in the distance. When they arrived, they found the massive double doors locked, but Raven spotted a wicket gate in one of the doors and picked the lock on that, allowing them entry.
When they entered, they found themselves at the feet of a towering efreet. He demanded to know who they were and demanded a reason to not incinerate them on the spot. They explained the plight of Ptolus and the fact that the Mask of the Fire Lord no longer existed in the city.
Ascelpius created a Zone of Truth to verify their claims, since they had no way of proving what they said. Imix’s Vizier accepted this and ordered an immediate withdrawal of all of Imix’s forces from Ptolus. In time, the mask would reform on the plane of fire and there was no reason to continue to waste resources searching the city for it. The Vizier then told the Prowlers to get out and return to their home.
They returned to Ptolus and headed for the Chamber of Longing, hoping to catch up with their disguised allies and apprehend any remaining cult members. They found no one in the Chamber of Longing and their inquiries in the Undercity Market and the Ghostly Minstrel turned up no useful information. Finally, they paid for a shadow sending to contact Andralia to inquire about their status. After a short time, Andralia sent a message back stating they were on their way back and to meet up at Dalengard.
The Prowlers reunited with Andralia, Firellia, Loka, and their other allies. As the Vizier indicated, the cult had retreated from Ptolus, and the retreat mid-battle in Flame Greydon’s sanctuary made their jobs much easier.
The Cult of Imix’s plans for Ptolus were thwarted and the city was safe again. The Prowlers were each rewarded with 10,000 gold talons and granted the titles of Lords and Ladies Rosegate, Protectors of Ptolus. Invitations from noble houses to join them for tea and dinners rolled in and the Prancing Prowlers enjoyed their well-earned rest.
And thus ends Mask of the Fire Lord. I had a bunch of stuff planned, none of which included cutting a deal with the folks in the Necropolis and traveling into the Plane of Fire, so probably 75% of my prep went out the window the instant they decided to enlist in Raguel’s aid. Originally, I had planned an excursion into the Plane of Fire, but I found myself needing to wrap up the campaign before they gained another half-a-dozen plus levels, so I had to alter my plans, a bit. The group did a complete end run around the cult leaders, and I spent most of the last session wildly improvising, but it all worked out in the end. I was worried about a campaign-ending encounter being able to be resolved without combat (which was also an option in the final encounters I had actually planned), but I think it worked well.
This game marks the end of my group’s play with Dungeons and Dragons. The shenanigans Wizards of the Coast pulled with the Open Gaming License has left a bad taste in our mouths, and even though they backed down in the end, I no longer wish to give WotC my money and my group has agreed to switch our fantasy tabletop game of choice. I assume, since you’re reading this blog, that you’re already familiar with what’s been going on in the tabletop RPG industry.
Unfortunately, this game also marks the departure of one of my players. Due to the demands of Real Life™, the player of Larx Voss (and the GM who introduced us to Savage Worlds, Blades in the Dark, and other games) can no longer play with us. Of course, if life circumstances change, he will be welcomed back with open arms, but until then, we wish him well, and I must begin Player Quest 2023.
In theory, finding a new player is easy. However, they have to be willing to start with a Virtual Table Top AND be local if/when we resume face-to-face play. They also have to mesh well with the group, personality-wise. We’ve had some players that were a good fit and we’ve had some players that weren’t a good fit. You never know for sure until they sit down at your table.
We’ve pretty much decided to give Pathfinder Second Edition a try for our next fantasy game (and it may be a continuation of this Ptolus campaign once the characters have been recreated in that system). We’re going to play a while with some 1st-level pre-gens to get a feel for the system, then, take a break from fantasy while I run some Fallout. After a short Fallout campaign, those who want to can recreate their Mask of the Fire Lord characters in Pathfinder at 8th level, and the Ptolus campaign will continue.
Note: I don’t get any royalties or kickbacks from HeroForge. I don’t even get kickbacks anymore if you go to Amazon to buy my novels (I used to be able to use Amazon Affiliate links for that, but I never actually made money from it, so they closed my account after several years of nothing).