The Age of Worms
Welcome to the Age of Worms campaign!
The Story So Far…
The party came together in the autumn of CY 595, a band of four outsiders in Diamond Lake, just a few days from the city of Greyhawk. Diamond Lake is a mining town surrounded by the Cairn Hills where many a treasure-seeker in days long gone had found their fortunes. Having overheard an intriguing divination, the party sought their own fortunes in what was probably the last unlooted spot in the Cairn Hills, a place guarded by a strange magic that revealed the cave only to children, the Whispering Cairn.
The party thoroughly explored the Cairn but for one door which they could not pass. However, the ghost of a murdered child resided in the Cairn and promised them access through the final door if they but buried his bones next to those of his father on a farm outside Diamond Lake. Upon reaching the farm, the party found that the bones of the boy’s father, as well as those of the rest of his family (which had succumbed to the Red Death some nineteen years earlier), had been exumed for some ill purpose in the Old Observatory by a creepy necromancer named Filge. The party raided the Old Observatory, slew Filge’s pets, and forced the outcast wizard to surrender. Though they found the bones they came looking for, Filge spilled what he knew about even more foul doings around Diamond Lake and left the party in a quandary about what to do with the pedophile necromancer.
Eventually they determined to allow Filge to carry on with his Kyuss worm research at the Old Observatory and wished him luck keeping his old chum Balabar Smenk from killing him, despite some of the party member’s inclination to kill the foul creep, and Filge’s own pleas to accompany them in search of greater mysteries and secrets. The party – now accompanied by one of Jane’s old companions from the Bronzewood Lodge, a half-ogre Sentinel named Long Fist – buried the Land family bones, cured themselves of corpsebloat, and returned to the Whispering Cairn to pass through the remaining door, weighted by anxiety over the work of the Cult of the Ebon Triad and the possibility of the impending Age of Worms. In the final chambers, the Wind Duke Zosiel’s sarcophagus, the party uncovered a device used to manipulate the sphere of annihilation that killed the Wind Duke, the horns of the demon who did it, and Zosiel’s Diadem, which Riddle quickly placed upon his own head.
They returned to town to gather more information and eventually accepted a face-to-face with Smenk, who offered them cleared names if they would find evidence to bring down Ragnolin Dourstone, but to do so, they needed to enter his mine, travel deep below the surface, and face the black cathedral of the Cult of the Ebon Triad. Having taken down the third of the Cult devoted to Hextor, but failing to find the necessary evidence, the party, trapped beneath the mine, questioned their two cultists prisoners and moved on into the Kenku-infested, labyrinthine temple of Vecna, where they fought their way through to the Faceless One himself, and defeated him.
Or so they thought. They would soon discover not only that the being they killed was a mere simulacrum of its creator (presumably far away) but that in doing so they had completed the ritual to raise the Ebon Aspect, and soon found themselves in battle with the seemingly unstoppable creature. However, by forcing it into the Vecna temple labyrinth, covering the floor with marbles, casting an obscuring mist, and retrieving Tormin Arsylis’ heavy shield of blinding to put in Long Fist’s hands, they were able to even the playing field and destroy the Aspect, destroying the Black Cathedral as well.
The party found themselves in peril yet again trying to escape the mine at the desperate hands of Ragnolin Dourstone, but managed to convince the dwarf to allow them to leave and seek aid for those trapped within the mine. Upon their escape, the party learned of all that had happened in town, and that Allustan Neff had received word from his friend at Blackwall Keep, Marzena Brevyns, that things were afoot in the swamps that he needed to see.
So the party headed south and found Blackwall Keep under seige by lizardfolk when they arrived. They had dispatched three groups of the creatures quite easily when Jane suddenly voiced her concern about whether or not they had chosen the right side, but after questioning the sole survivor of their attack thusfar, they agreed the course of action was correct. After killing or driving away most of the lizardfolk, the party questioned the captured captain, and learned that the lizardfolk’s side might not be as far from their own as they thought. They ventured deep into the swamps where the Twisted Branch tribe lived, and beseeched the lizardfolk for peace. Instead, they were challenged by King Shukak and four companions for leadership of the tribe.
After prevailing, the party decided to help the tribe’s shaman restore control over the hatchery, and wound up in another battle, and their first encounter with living Worms of Kyuss. No sooner had they wrapped up that encounter when Archie, the party’s newest recruit, informed them they needed to return to Blackwall Keep immediately, to deal with a long-forgotten Spawn of Kyuss that had been boarded up in an abandoned escape tunnel two years earlier. They arrived at the Keep to find the remaining Keep soldiers, along with Dobrun Trent and members of the Diamond Lake militia, outside the boarded up Keep, where three Spawn of Kyuss were trapped inside.
Despite the party’s best laid plans, they were eventually drawn inside the Keep to fight the uncommonly intelligent spawn, and though they succeeded there were moments of panic in the aftermath – both Long Fist and Riddle had suffered the burrowing worms from the Spawn, but after some quick digging in combat and a remove disease spell, both were free from lingering effects. The party returned to Diamond Lake with the maimed Marzena, whom they had rescued from the Twisted Branch, and despite two frightening encounters (including a brush with a lyncathrope), made it there alive and visited the garrison to catch up on recent events.
Before venturing off to Greyhawk, the party checked in on Allustan, had their first meeting with the Mayor, and finished business with Smenk and his gang – particularly Kullen, whom the party killed in Smenk’s office while the rest of the gang looked on.
The party then traveled to Greyhawk, awakening Zosiel’s diadem along the way, where they met the sage Eligos Manzorian, brokered a deal with a Foreign Minister, did a little shopping, and fought a particularly vicious painting, after which Archie led them off hot on the trail of those who left the pretty picture to destroy them. They followed the trail to the homes of other vistims and ultimately to the mad wizard artist who’d created them, only to learn that he was under the domination of a mind flayer named Zyrxog. Naturally, the thing to do was track down the mind flayer himself and destroy him in his lair, where the party has found evidence that Zyrxog was hired by Loris Raknian of the Champions Games to have the party assassinated. The party quickly found their own way into the Games and prepared to bring Raknian down.
Though they were faring well in the competition, everything changed when they discovered unsavory doings underneath the arena, and they took matters into their own hands to stop it. They killed a priest of Kyuss and his battalion of undead, captured the Apostolic Scrolls, found proof of Raknian’s evil deeds, brought Raknian’s right-hand man to surrender, destroyed a giant ulgurstasa, and rescued a Champion from its clutches. All of that, however, is shadowed by a cloud of mystery over a dark warning from those who “chose” Riddle and a wordless scream from their one ally they left behind in Diamond Lake.
After a fierce battle, the party defeated the dragon who was behind the lizardfolk deception and re-entered the Whispering Cairn to find Allustan. Eventually they did, and learned that Diamond Lake had been decimated by the dragon during their absence. Allustan returned to the town to help rebuild, but the party remained beyond the portal, following a River of Blood to recover the key to Icosiol’s tomb.
The party faced many challenges within the tomb but managed to recover the treasures that lay within, in particular, their first recovered piece of the Rod of Law. It was soon evident, however, that possession of a Rod piece was a mixed blessing.
Returning to Diamond Lake, the party did all they could to restore a semblance of order during the reconstruction before moving on to their next destination, the great wizard Tenser at Magepoint. Tenser agreed to protect the piece of the artifact and shared with them the Fourteen Prophecies of the Age of Worms, fulfilling one in the process. With few solid leads on how to proceed, the party headed to the jungle ruins of Kuluth Mar on the trail of Tenser’s friend and Kyuss scholar Balakarde, where they discovered what led Balakarde to the Great Rift Canyon, but lingered at the site of Kyuss’ imprisonment in search of anything the scholar might have missed. So far, they have managed to learn more of the terrifying creatures of Kyuss and been granted visions of Kyuss’ final days. Their time in Kuluth Mar escalated to a battle with an eighty-foot-long worm followed by a brief showdown with six-armed spellweaver lich.
The party returned to Magepoint to update Tenser on their findings, and to determine the next step in their adventure. Though Tenser suggested that all of his research in their absence led him to suspect the city of Alhaster as their next destination, the party chose instead to pursue the bearer of the Hand of Vecna and the Faceless Mage through an ancient portal to the lost library of the Order of the Storm.
The portal transported them to the Isle of Tilagos, where they were tasked with completing four trials before gaining entrance to a Fountain that would eventually lead to the Library they sought. Embroiled in a race against another party more powerful than themselves, the party lost one of their own to the first trial, but reincarnated him mere hours before getting caught up in the pursuit of the next, where they were ambushed by their enemies in an effort to end the race to complete the Trials once and for all. The party prevailed in the battle, but risked losing what they needed to win the war. Darl returned moments later for a second ambush, giving the party an opportunity to retrieve what he had stolen. Instead, they managed to kill the Faceless One and complete the Trial, but Archie was dismissed back to the Material Plane, where time raced forward exponentially faster than it did on Tilagos. Though they forced Darl to retreat a second time, they still needed to complete two Trials before they followed Archie back home, and not only was time was running out, but it seemed Darl and his party may have rendered one of the Trials uncompletable. Dangerously low on resources they raced toward the Thorn Vale to defeat the Terror that lived there, and then split the party to minimize their remaining time on the Island. Riddle and Jane restored the Roc King to life so they could take one of its feather and finish the Trials, while Long Fist, Scar-Eater and Tyrrell retrieved Krathanos’ belt from its hiding place.
The party — spent, exhausted, and very very tired of Tilagos — reunited at the obsidian portal where they had arrived, and were forced to choose whether or not to restore the Lost Library to existence or leave it hidden, keeping its captives from freedom on the Material Plane but risking its future plunder by Darl for his own nefarious ends. One of the fey brothers guarding the fountain insisted the party was not worthy and demanded a trial by blood to prove they deserved access to the library. The party, angry and frustrated, complied and triumphed, and gathered together to discuss what they would focus on when the Library of Secrets opened to them. They concluded that it would be best to gain the knowledge that Darl himself sought — the location of the phylactery of Dragotha. However, no one member of the party could be sure that any other was asking the same thing of the Library as they themselves, and their experience in the Library proved that they each had lingering questions in their minds about the source of their power. In addition to showing them the location of the phylactery, they were shown the origins of their powers a turn at a time, how they are all tied to Kyuss in some way, and most were given the choice to eradicate themselves from history, to right a long-ago wrong and turn a long-ago tide. Only Long Fist embraced this chance, hoping his sacrifice would give the others the edge they will need to save the world. Prophecy was broken in the aftermath and now only the four who traveled to the Library remember the half-ogre at all. However, when they were reunited with Archie on the Material Plane, he had a new companion with him, a mighty golden griffin named Long Claw.
Archie updated the party on five years’ worth of goings on and they decided their next move would be to retrieve the phylactery of Dragotha from the Citadel of Weeping Dragons. Upon arriving there they found Kongen-Thulnir under siege by dragons. They made their way into the Citadel only to learn that one of the keys they will need to open the vault is in the possession of Charlgar, off in the Undercity. After securing the first key, the party negotiated with Charlgar who left them to recover the key at their own risk, considering the only path to it appeared to be through thousands of carrion crawlers. They bypassed this obstacle but missed its hidden message by teleporting to the cavern below where they faced the formidable Mother Worm, whose own body housed the treasure they sought. In a stunning show of bravery, Tyrrell flew directly down the creature’s gullet to retrieve the key, then shadow-walked out of harm’s reach so Riddle could teleport them all back to the relative safety of the Citadel, where they fought more giants, a pyrohydra, and a marilith on their way to the vault.
Upon reaching their destination, they used the keys and said the words and opened the doors to find Dragotha’s phylactery before them. But it would not be taken easily, and they had to do battle with Brazzemal the Burning and figure out a way to dampen the teleportation field around the vault before they could return with it to Magepoint and plan their next move.
Under the guidance of Tenser, the party destroyed the phylactery and then set off for the Wormcrawl Fissure to destroy the dracolich itself…