"Chapter One: From the Ashes the Phoenix Rise"

The year is 1011 and the Known World is in chaos. Elves are tainted and dying. Magic has become corrupted. Undead are rising all over the lands. An unknown enemy is rumored to be trying to destroy the Known World. Yet, as the Known World’s major kingdoms try to unite themselves vs. this unknown and rumored enemy called the "Heralds of Darkness", as this is happening a new city starts to shine, "the City of Ignis Venetus Avis".

Our tale begins here at this small city in the mountains on the far edge of four major kingdoms. The City of Ignis Venetus Avis, it is a city yet to be claimed by a major kingdom and home to many different races. It bears the flag of a blue Phoenix. This large city has shaped over night. No one knows where this city came from, who made it, or why it was created. All that is known is that this great city appeared with few people to live in it and it has many homes to fill. In the heart of the city there is an arena that looks like it was made for gods. A large number of souls and those seeking a fresh start, travel to the city. The surrounding land has proved quite fertile so a few farms, hardly more than gardens at present, have attracted those in search of free allotments.

To the north lies the great dwarven kingdom Rockhome, most of the Known World dwarves can trace their heritage back to one of the seven clans of Rockhome. Each clan is composed of a large number of families, each numbering scores, if not hundreds, of individual members, and is centred around a stronghold, built in the depths of one of the four cities. Each clan is mostly known for one trade or career that is often pursued by its members and that defines the spirit and nature of the clan, but individual dwarves are free to choose their own profession.

To the east lies the great city of Ylaruam, An arid region of rocky badlands and sandy wastes, Ylaruam is the home of a proud dessert dwelling race of humans similar to the Earthly Bedouins of Arabia. The natives of Ylaruam overthrew their colonial masters under the leadership of a great philosopher and warrior names Al-Kalim, who has become immortal. Although Ylaruam is not registered as a kingdom it does control the entire Alasiyan Desert and is feared to be as strong as the Thyatian kingdoms itself, even thought Ylaruam has never been known to go to war yet at this time. (That’s right they have Desert Power!)

To the south lies the great Kingdom of Thyatis, Thyatis is the major power in the Known World (and has been so for over a millennia), reflected in that their tongue is common throughout the world and the “official” reckoning is Thyatian. Thyatis has had a knack for conquering various territories and then letting them get away. They recently teetered on the brink of destruction, being drained and weakened by a war with Alphatia.

To the west lies the once great Elven city of Alfheim. This is the homeland of Sylvan Elves. Once a featureless plain, now magically transformed into a deep, dark forest – one that is ominous to humans and other races but cheerful to elves. This is a land of enormous trees, of elvin cities made up of tree-houses hundreds of feet in the air and connected by wooden catwalks. It's a place where few non-elves come unless they are invited... or invading.

But what is it that brings you here to this city? It is the legendary arena that has grabbed your attention along with that of Heroes, Champions, Monsters, Abominations (A.K.A. Kevin & Squirrel), and Pathfinders from all over the known world. News of this event has traveled past the Sea of Dread, past the Sea of Dawn, past the Amsorak Lake, and past the Wendarian Range. There is almost no part of the known world that does not know that one person will walk away with 1,000,000PP. So much coin that one could live like a god for the rest of their life!. However, like all things, there is a catch. Everyone is allowed to enter this event, but the one left standing alive at the end of it is the one that gets the coin. In the end, there can be only one…

This Campaign is a spin off from the Campaign:
"Mystara 4E" By: James Gray

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Amaranth - Val - Arganon

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A Knight's Best Friend
Someone once told me, "Will, you can trust me! I will protect Mizzurah" It reminded me of a little story.

All the good Knights of Vanya were leaving for the holy war against the northern Lietuvan heathens. One knight told his best friend "My bride is without doubt one of the most beautiful women of Heldann. It would be a terrible waste if no man could have her. Therefore, as my best and most trusted friend, I am leaving you the key to her chastity belt to use should I not return from the war."

The company of knights were only a mile or so out of town when they noticed a cloud of dust approaching. Thinking it might be an important message from Freiburg the column halted.

A horseman approached. It was the knight's best friend. He said " Hey, you gave me the wrong key!!"
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The World of the Fallen (Part 11)

Within the filthy interior of the cottage, Dagmar discovers the gnomes’ magic flask, an iron beaker fashioned in the likeness of a gargoyle. He also discovers a prisoner within, a female elf named Sae’eana Fisvanna, who had formerly been a member of the ill-fated Dead Rabbits adventuring group.

She is a very pretty elf with honey colored tresses and almond shaped eyes of deep emerald green. As she busks herself in her recovered armor and gear, she tells them more of the Dead Rabbits. Her party, she says, came to their demise while seeking the Skull of Skelos. According to her, they were ambushed in the forest by troglodytes and she fled the fray, running headlong through the gloom until she collapsed from exhaustion. Eventually Knucklebones captured her. Very grateful for being rescued, she happily agrees to accompany them on your journey.

At this point, Dane appears and thanks them for the recovery of his flask. As promised he bestows upon the party a selection of enchanted potions, flasks of whisky that can produce wondrous effects. Everyone receives a potion of water breathing, while two of them get potions of levitation and invisibility respectively. He also tells them that the Skull of Skelos can be found in the Tomb of Yyrkkos which lies on an island in the center of Murkmere Lake. Yyrkkos, he explains, was an ancient King who ruled these subterranean caverns many centuries earlier. He belonged to a race of toad men called the Zilb who once held sway over much of this underworld. When he died, his tomb was consecrated to the Demon Lords he worshipped with the sacrifice of thousands of innocent lives. The mushroom forest is still haunted by the lost souls of many of these victims. Allegedly, Yyrkkos was buried with one of his most prized possessions, the fabled Skull of Skelos. Dane tells you that, if you travel just two hours directly east, you will come to the edge of the Murkmere. There you will find a tower within which you will find boats to transport you to the island containing Yyrkkos’s final resting place.

Thanking you again for your help, the diminutive gnome bows deeply with an elaborate flourish and vanishes.

As the hour is late, they decide to camp for the night within the filthy, but relatively sheltered, confines of Knucklebones’s cottage. Its interior is dirty and filled with gnawed and discarded animal bones. The walls are hung with the skulls of animals and the exoskeletons of giant vermin. The cottage is not cozy by any means, but it does provide a defensible position. Feeling tired after a long day’s ordeal, the party prepares for bed. Hoping to get some rest. For
who knows what further adventures await on the morrow?
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The World of the Fallen (Part 10)

The following morning, many awaken with throbbing heads, a condition that Dagmar seeks to alleviate by consuming another hearty draught of fairy spirits. Dane says it is time to leave for Knucklebones’s lair and begins to lead them on there day’s journey. The trip lasts all day until, at last, they come upon the ogre’s cottage.

The structure stands in center of a forest clearing, a stone cottage, crudely made of large boulders with a roof made from large slabs of rock. It has but one door, no windows and a chimney from which rises a thin wisp of smoke. A wide ring of stakes surrounds the cottage, each of which is topped with a skull.

They soon hatch a plan. Xelkir climbs upon the roof and begins to stuff Bretherton’s bedroll into the chimney in the hopes of smoking the occupant out. Meanwhile, Dagmar creeps up to the door and begins to pour oil in front of it. Apparently, he was not stealthy enough for, from within, comes a booming voice, “Who is that creeping outside of Knucklebones’s door?” Quick thinking Dagmar responds in giantish that he is a giant named Lork who was just passing through. Eager to meet a new friend, Knucklebones appears in the doorway, a hulking brute with yellow tusks, beady red eyes, and a massive frame. He wears the filthy skins of giant rats and is armed with a great morningstar crudely fashioned from the leg bone of some gigantic beast. An array of skulls hangs from his belt.

Seeing the rest of the party, he calls to Lork asking who these surface dwellers could be. Dagmar, concealing himself and speaking in the voice of Lork, tells the monstrous simpleton that he has brought these puny creatures as a present for the ogre to snack upon. Dimwitted Knucklebones falls for the ruse and bursts from the cottage, intent on wreaking havoc.

A pitched battle ensues. Dalben has another brush with death when a blow from Kucklebones’s massive war club drives him into the turf, nearly breaking his spine, but fortunately just knocking him senseless. The forest clearing rings with the clash and clamor of battle as they go toe to toe with the brute. There are some desperate moments, to be sure, particularly when Bretherton accidentally shoots Krysnys the cleric just as she was about to cast healing magic on the unfortunate Dalben. But they manage to carry the day when Lilyth slips beneath the ogre’s guard and drives her sword deep into his groin. The beast howls in raw agony and crumples to the loamy soil. Knucklebones thus dies, blood gushing from his horrible wound, while he calls out for his new friend Lork to help him.
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The World of the Fallen (Part 9)

The following morning, the fifth day beneath the surface of the earth, the party considers following the stream into the heart of the mushroom forest in the hopes that it will lead to the “lake” mentioned by Asmus. In order to confirm this possibility, Xylia draws forth her mistletoe, casts an enchantment that allows her to speak with animals, and calls out to a bat that happened to be flying past in the gloom. The bat introduces himself as Yuxomeme and confirms to Xylia that the stream in question does in fact lead to a large lake several miles ahead, but he warns her that the forest is filled with perils and urges her to return to the surface world. Undaunted, they decide to follow the stream and continue there travels deeper and deeper into the forest environs.

They journey for almost an entire day when, in the shadowy murk ahead, Xelkir spies what is unmistakably the flickering glow of a campfire. Intrigued, the party send Xelkir ahead to scout the site. He discovers an encampment in a clearing in the forest. In its center, a large copper pot still sits over a smoldering campfire. Beside it stands a large cauldron of black iron and a small pyramid of kegs. Tending the fire and stirring the cauldron are three diminutive figures, each about three feet tall. They have long pointed ears, narrow eyes, and purplish skin. Their faces are those of old, wizened men. They wear loose fitting smocks, long stocking caps, and slippers with curled pointed toes.

They introduce themselves to Xelkir as Dane, Drake, and Durin, a family of Brewer Gnomes, mysterious fey creatures who live in the forest and produce several strange and wondrous concoctions. They offer Xelkir some of the spirits they have been distilling and soon the rest of your party joins them. They offer to help Xelkir and the party by providing information concerning the Skull of Skelos and by giving them magic potions if you do a service for them. Apparently, a magic flask had been stolen from them by an ogre named Knucklebones. If you recover the flask, they say, the gnomes will gladly aid you. Liking the offer, they agree to the faeries’ terms and agree to share their camp for the night.

Xylia sets about preparing a lovely mushroom soup for everyone, while Dagmar, Dalben, Bretherton, and Ithealwa begin to quaff copious amounts of the gnomes’ fey whisky. The elixir is strong and warms both heart and soul, and soon everyone is feeling more than a little merry. Ithealwa uses a magic spell to season Xylia’s soup to perfection with salt and garlic, and soon the revelry is in full swing. The three gnomish brothers produce an accordion and fiddles and begin to play a hauntingly irresistible melody, a fairy air that Dagmar cannot help but accompany on his mandolin. Delighted,Xylia draws forth her lyre and joins the eclectic ensemble. Soon the clearing is filled with the achingly beautiful strains of a music both evocative and strange. Those who have drunk too much fairy liquor cannot help but dance, and Dagmar, Ithealwa, and Dalben spend hours capering and gamboling about the fire while the wild otherworldly tune plays on into the night.
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The World of the Fallen (Part 8)

But once they are well within the chamber, something horrible arises from the water and confronts them, something ancient and undead. A bloated, waterlogged corpse arises from the water and stands upon its surface. It is clad in rotting, rusting chainmail and carries a tarnished broadsword. Its skin, swollen and greenish black, bears the stench of ancient decay. Worms writhe in its empty eye sockets, while tiny crabs swarm in its beard and long algae-laden hair. Water continuously streams from it and the air around it seems thick and wavy as though saturated with some fluid. The horrid thing advances toward them, literally walking on the surface of the water as it does. As it approaches, the party realize to there dismay that they cannot breathe; a field of drowning energy seems to surround it and they must hold there breath or choke on its watery essence and suffocate.

The monstrous thing proves to be a formidable foe, and a desperate battle thus ensues. Both clerics in the group, Anwyn and Krysnys, attempt to call upon the power of their deities to turn the dreadful menace, but these attempts fail pitifully. Several of the party member almost die, suffocating in its horrid drowning aura, but Xelkir steels the courage and fight on. Finally, Xelkir manages to shoot an arrow right through the thing’s face, destroying it and sending it back to whatever watery hell from which it arose.

During the melee, several of them had discovered a chamber concealed beyond the waterfall and the party hasten to investigate. The space contains an enormous statue of a toad like monstrosity with bat wings and fangs along with an offering bowl paced before it. Ithealwa uses some cunning magic to determine that this site was once a shrine dedicated to the worship of a being known as Tsathoggua. Xelkir recalls from his past that Tsathoggua is an ancient demonic lord of hell, one of associated with and worshiped by evil batrachians.

Shaken by there desperate fight, they prepare to make camp in the ancient shrine, but not before Ithealwa uses a crafty spell to dry everyone’s clothes and gear.
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DnD 4E Core Setting (4E)
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