Stars Misaligned

Empyrean citizens have fallen ill, claiming that the heavens are in discord. Winged beings have appeared in town, demanding that the Firsts of the Chosen present themselves for judgment. A long-lost star chart in the Pillar of Virtue may hold the key to unraveling this mystery. But who would be foolish enough to journey to the Aether when the stars themselves are out of alignment?

Story Notes

The Aether is misaligned as a result of the recent ascension of the Chosen. Factions of serathine devoted to now-dead immortals have defected, throwing the heavens themselves into disarray.

If the players use Consult, the immortals themselves are conflicted on the issue. These serathine are fighting because they believe the Chosen and their servants are a great evil, not because the serathine themselves are evil. A peaceful solution is preferable, but the heavens must be brought back into harmony at all costs. Killing the serathine may be regrettable but necessary.

Materials
  • Large bag of packets
  • Star chart
  • Blue and silver robe
  • Beard
  • Several sets of serathine costuming (wings)
  • Large ruby

Guiding Light

Narrative
Empyreans in town have fallen ill. Serathine have shown up in town demanding justice against the Chosen and their Firsts. Those of you who worry about the state of the heavens find your gaze drifting skyward. As you do this, you catch sight of the North star shining more brightly than normal, a single beam of starlight illuminating a window of the Pillar of Virtue.
Scene Notes
Thareon is casting his light upon a bookshelf in the Pillar's library. When the party arrives to investigate, they find an ancient star chart is being illuminated. Upon the chart, a constellation is glowing red, with one star in particular shining the most brightly. In the margin of the map is a magical script written in Drakeric. When it is read aloud, a beam of starlight lifts the party from the earth and into the Aether.
Narrative Effects
Dispel (Impossible) - The magic upon the star chart is too strong for you to affect.
Inspect Magic (Very Easy) - The star chart is enchanted to open a portal to the Aether, guide you to a domain there, and bring you home, after which it will become a normal star chart again.
Speak Drakeric (Automatic) or Translate (Very Easy) - The words in the margin of the star chart are clearly a spell incantation. "We keep the words. We guard the truth. We seek the light. We rise to meet it."

Among the Stars

Narrative
As you recite the words on the star chart, a beam of starlight illuminates you from overhead. You feel your bodies grow lighter than air and you drift upward. The world falls away rapidly as you rise, beyond the clouds, into an endless darkness filled with billions of stars. You barely have a moment to recover from your disorientation before you hear a thunderous noise akin to a stampede approaching. When you look toward the source, however, all you see are dancing stars in the darkness.
Scene Notes
A random meteor shower is driving a group of zod in the party's direction. Use bear brute cards for the stampeding zod. All monsters in this fight begin Vanished as they rush in to trample the party. Keep one monster out of play and have them throw sprays of level-appropriate fire damage into the crowd using the incantation, "Fiery comets descend on you." The sprays should stop once the monsters are defeated.

Gates of Empyreus

Narrative
You orient yourselves following the zod stampede. Despite first impressions, the Aether is largely empty and tranquil, though you do sense a low thrum permeating the expanse, a bass so distant and so deep that it is felt more than heard. The star chart guides you forward.

You drift along for a time, taking in the constellations and planets. It's hard to say for how long, though; it's as if time has less meaning here. Several minutes or several hours later, you arrive before gates of white marble topped with torches of blue flame. A bearded serathine in blue and silver robes is speaking with a ghostly figure. The serathine smiles, pats the figure on the shoulder and gestures toward the gate, which swings open to admit the new resident. The gate closes once more and the serathine turns back to you with a quizzical look.
Scene Notes
Oronir is a servant of Thareon and gatekeeper of Empyreus, one of the seven heavens. He was told that Jastreyans might be coming, but wasn't sure who or when. He will greet the party and offer them information about the current situation. He will refuse to leave his post or allow the party to enter Empyreus; this is a privilege reserved for the honored dead who pass the Gates of Judgment.

The party was called because a group of serathine loyal to now-dead immortals have rebelled. These Servants of the Fallen, as they call themselves, believe the Chosen are usurpers and harbingers of destruction. They have formed an Aetheric domain of their own and are targeting the First of the Chosen to take revenge and to curtail the Chosens' influence in the mortal realm. The serathine are virtuous beings, so peace is preferred if possible, but the party must strike at the heart of their domain and destroy it to restore harmony to the Aether.


OPTIONAL ANNOUNCE: Oronir is an EPIC MONSTER!
OPTIONAL COMBAT: Oronir (EPIC)
SERATHINE: If Oronir is attacked, he is a 20th-level epic who will only kill the party if they refuse to back down. If the party manages to kill him anyway, the gate remains impossible to open. He will reappear, completely restored, on his next refresh. He will not be immediately hostile, but may chastise the players for their actions.


ORONIR - RP NOTES:
You are Oronir, a servant of Thareon and gatekeeper of Empyreus, one of the seven heavens.
You were told that Jastreyans might be coming, but wasn't sure who or when.
{You will greet the party and offer them information about the current situation.}
{You will refuse to leave his post or allow the party to enter Empyreus; this is a privilege reserved for the honored dead who pass the Gates of Judgment.}
The party was called because a group of serathine loyal to now-dead immortals have rebelled.
These Servants of the Fallen, as they call themselves, believe the Chosen are usurpers and harbingers of destruction.
They have formed an Aetheric domain of their own and are targeting the First of the Chosen to take revenge and to curtail the Chosens' influence in the mortal realm.
The serathine are virtuous beings, so peace is preferred if possible, but the party must strike at the heart of their domain and destroy it to restore harmony to the Aether.
Narrative Effects
Insight (Very Easy) - Oronir is pure and virtuous. Every word he speaks is truth.
Inspect Aura (Impossible) - You unwisely gaze upon the aura of Oronir. Your eyes have never beheld such resplendent honor or duty, nor may they ever again. [You gain the flaw Always Dazzled for the remainder of the adventure!]
Inspect Evil (Automatic) - You sense no evil in Oronir nor in or around Empyreus. You have never felt something so pure or sacred in your life.

Bastion of the Fallen

Narrative
You depart from Empyreus and drift once more through the Aether in the direction indicated by Oronir. What at first appears to be a red star grows larger as you approach, assuming the appearance of angry red mist. Your feet settle upon solid ground. When the mist clears, you find yourself within an ancient city of carven stone. Aside from the humble dwellings of the serathine, you see gigantic statues erected in rows to either side. Espidrel, Drakerim, Ivelis, Lemesin, and Mynra rise above your heads, glorious but solemn. Nearby, two more statues are being erected depicting Banekeril and Muralakrum.

You hear the clear report of a trumpet calling the serathine to arms. A nearby detachment rushes forward to meet you.
Scene Notes
The serathine will call upon the party to lay down their arms and turn over any Firsts among them.

IF THERE ARE NO FIRSTS PRESENT: Ask someone to make a medium check. If they pass, the serathine will negotiate. If they fail, the serathine will accuse them of hiding the firsts and attack!

IF THE PARTY COMPLIES: Even if the party complies, some serathine will be so filled with rage at the sight of the Firsts that they will initiate combat rather than negotiate.


OPTIONAL COMBAT: Serathine

Bastion's Heart

Narrative
You fight your way past the serathine toward the heart of the city. From the layout, it becomes clear that this lies at the base of the statue to Mynra. As you get closer, you begin to hear the sound the empyreans must have been talking about, a warbling rattle that sets your teeth on end. You round a stone wall and see the source: A multifaceted ruby the size of a human head set in the base of the statue. The serathine standing guard around it rush forward to meet you.
Scene Notes
Once the serathine are defeated, the party will have a few minutes to interact with the ruby. If all of their narrative attempts to disrupt the ruby fail to succeed, allow a sufficiently enthusiastic attempt at damaging it to do the trick before proceeding to the next scene.
Narrative Effects
Breach (Very Hard) - You assault the ruby with all the force you can muster. You manage to leave a sliver of a crack that rapidly begins to spread. The terrible rattling suddenly grows in intensity.
Commune Earth (Impossible) - No response. It's clear this object only has the appearance of a gemstone, but is not made of any earthly material.
Dispel (Very Hard) - You struggle against the unstable magic of the ruby, just barely managing to destabilize it further. The terrible rattling suddenly grows in intensity.
Forecast (Easy) - It is very dangerous to interact with the ruby.
Inspect Magic (Very Easy) - The ruby is a delicate construct of planar magic, acting as the core of this domain in a way similar to the Nexus on Orn on a much smaller scale. The terrible noise is the result of disharmony between the domain and others nearby.
Sabotage (Very Hard) - Large-scale magic such as this always requires substantial setup. You locate an almost-imperceptible channel of material feeding into the ruby from the statue. You give it some selective attention with your weapon. Suddenly, the terrible rattling suddenly grows in intensity.

Faemril, Adjutant of Mynra

Narrative
"No!" Just as you disrupt the ruby, a voice rings out over the clamor. You look back to see an arch serathine draw her weapon. She looks upon you with anger and sorrow.
Scene Notes
Faemril is an epic monster. Use a serathine paladin card from the previous fights. In spite of the imminent collapse of the domain, she will confront the party and prevent their escape. She will roleplay with them, while fighting if they choose to engage immediately, explaining her views: She was a loyal servant of Mynra two centuries ago when her Lady was slain. The other immortals wept, but there was no justice. Now other immortals have fallen and her ranks have swelled with the disenfranchised. The end is upon Orn, Jastrey is at the middle of it, and the Chosen are to blame. Even if she falls, she will not be the last.

While the drama ensues, call out effects as the domain collapses, starting with Field 1 Prime and increasing in damage the longer it takes the party to defeat Faemril. When she falls, give them the option to kill her or save her (they will have to escape with her to do so). She will remain unconscious in any event, but note this decision for future storytelling opportunities.


FAEMRIL - RP NOTES:
You were a loyal servant of Mynra two centuries ago when your Lady was slain.
The other immortals wept, but there was no justice.
Now other immortals have fallen and your ranks have swelled with the disenfranchised.
The end is upon Orn, Jastrey is at the middle of it, and the Chosen are to blame.
Even if you fall, you will not be the last.
[IF PELLE:] You! Where did you get that?! You are unfit to even be in it's presence, much less wield it!


OPTIONAL ANNOUNCE: Pelle is afflicted by the flaw "Cannot Counter Maim"!
OPTIONAL ANNOUNCE: Faemril's attacks deals "Crit" damage to Pelle!
ANNOUNCE: Faemril is an EPIC MONSTER!
COMBAT: Faemril (EPIC)
COLLAPSING DOMAIN: At the beginning of combat, and every refresh, call "Field X Prime" starting with 1 and increasing each refresh until Faemril is defeated.


When she falls, give them the option to kill her or save her (they will have to escape with her to do so). She will remain unconscious in any event, but note this decision for future storytelling opportunities.

Aftermath

Narrative
You flee the collapsing domain, leaping through the red mist and back into the Aether. No sooner do your feet leave the ground than you feel the world imploding behind you. A vortex of air attempts to suck you back in. At that moment, the star chart shines brightly enough to see through the mist. You land heavily back in the library of the Pillar of Virtue. The red mist and terribly rattling have dissipated, but Faemril's final words continue to ring in your ears.
Scene Notes
If the party chose to save Faemril, she is no longer with them when they reappear. The party is welcome to keep the star chart, but it is rendered entirely nonmagical.