5th of Neth: Bandit activity around Torch begins to increase significantly
17th of Neth: Gaius Greatman declares that the sword Eternia will be reforged, and sends a caravan of blacksmiths to Torch to do so.
18th of Neth: The bonfire atop Black Hill goes out. Khonnir Baine discovers tracks leading into Weeping Lake. The sword Eternia is stolen by bandits, and the Greatman caravan is ransacked.
19th of Neth: Three drunken halfling barbarians mount an ‘expedition’ into the Black Hill caves and are never seen again. Gaius Greatman declares that whoever recovers Eternia will become the new head of the Greatman family, and his sons, Erston and Gabriel, immediately set out on their own quests to recover it.
20th of Neth: A band of local thugs form a second expedition into the caves, mainly hoping to get rich quick. They do not return.
21st of Neth: Khonnir Baine leads a small group of townsfolk into the caves and returns several hours later with a deactivated repair drone. Erston is attacked by bandits just outside of Torch but manages to escape with his life. Making his way to Torch, he meets Emileth, and the two agree to hunt the bandits down.
22nd of Neth: An out of town adventuring group devoted to the worship of Brigh enters the caves beneath Black Hill against Khonnir’s wishes. They do not return. Erston and Emileth run into difficulty driving off the bandits camped near Torch, but a goblin bandit named Fizzle betrays his former allies and helps turn the tide of battle.
23rd of Neth: Dolga Freddert, worried about the robot Khonnir uncovered from beneath Torch, sends a message to her brother asking for help. Dolgrim Freddert agrees to send a young monk to help investigate.
24th of Neth: Khonnir Baine leads a second, smaller expedition into the caves. They do not return.
Erston meets Fizzle and Emileth at Maust’s Boarding House, and the three decide to go take a look at the construct that Khonnir Baine dredged up from Weeping Lake a few days before his disappearance.
The three adventurers arrive at Khonnir’s Foundry just in time to rescue Val Baine from a rampaging robot.
Dolga Freddert meets the adventurers at the town hall and fills them in on the reward for re-lighting the Torch and rescuing Khonnir Baine.
At the town hall, the adventurers see a striking red-haired woman with bright green eyes (and flecks of gold within her left eye). Although the woman says little, Dolga introduces her as a member of another adventuring party interested in exploring beneath Black Hill.
The adventurers meet with Joram Kyte, a priest of Brigh, and obtain his assistance. He agrees to cast a spell of water breathing to help them make their way under and through Weeping Lake.
Just before entering Weeping Lake, the adventurers catch a glimpse of an unusual-looking halfling spying on them from atop the ridge. She slips away before they can get a good look at her.
The adventurers enter the caves, immediately encountering a fierce group of fire beetles. Fizzle captures one and stuffs it into his back pack.
Deeper in the caves, the adventurers parley with a group of Skulks, stranded near the surface after coming up from the Darklands. The Skulks agree to help the adventurers in return for their help driving off a vicious band of gremlins.
After the gremlins are dealt with, the adventurers enter a strange metallic ruin at the back of the caves and are attacked by another damage robot. At this point, they decide to return to the surface and rest before exploring further.
The three adventurers return to the surface to rest and recover before delving deeper. Emileth and Erston both find they have received letters from their family. Fizzle slips away and pickpockets a group of drunken dwarves, walking away with a flask of Numerian fluid, which he thoughtlessly tosses into his backpack (along with the fire beetle he captured earlier).
Back at the Foundry Tavern, Val serves the adventures a hearty helping of fried fish and potatoes. They find that the head of the town council, Dolga Freddert, has sent a dwarven monk to assist them. They quickly find themselves getting along well with Valkhanar Oni
Shortly thereafter, Garmen Ulreth shows up with an invitation for the adventurers to join him at his casino, Silverdisk Hall. He hands them vouchers worth 100 gp each, for gambling (Emileth obstains, Fizzle loses all his money in a matter of minutes, Erston loses his money with style, and Valkhanar gambles cautiously but ends up losing anyway, discovering the house is pretty well rigged against the players)
While at the casino, the adventurers meet Sanvil Trett, a flamboyant merchant who claims to be knowledgeable regarding Numerian artifacts.
The next morning, the adventuers waken to find that Fizzle’s captured fire beetle has mutated in a massive beast and is eating Val’s home. Fizzle immediately sets to training the beast.
A few hours later, the adventurers make their way back down through the Black Hill caves, passing through the strange metal doors they had previously found there. Beyond the doors is a vast stretch of dark, sandy desert.
The adventurers only manage to travel a few paces into the desert before they are attacked by terrifying skeletal creatures from beyond this world! They manage to drive the creatures back, but continue having an odd feeling that something is watching them…
After crossing the desert, they find a metal-walled tunnel, an a series of small rooms. In one of the rooms they come across a surprisingly well preserved zombie creature, who badly wounds Emileth before being defeated.
A mysterious voice promises to heal Emileth’s wounds in exchange for a small favor, and the warrior reluctantly agrees.
Further down the hall, the adventurers find a well-lit, high-ceilinged room that appears to be a lobby or foyer of some sort. But while Fizzle is trying to open a sealed footlocker, the adventurers are interrupted by a scream of pain coming from further inside the dungeon…
The adventurers rush deeper into the structure, following a trail of blood and gore down a hallway. At the end of the hall, they find a small chamber where the blood trail appears to abruptly end. The adventurers are soon attacked by a bloodsucking alien fungus, who attacks their minds with chaotic psionic wrath!
Still disoriented from their battle with the cerebric fungus, the adventurers stumble into the next chamber, where they are viciously attacked by a malfunctioning medical robot. Fortunately, the construct is more fragile than it first appeared; the adventurers quickly dispatch it, but find no sign of Khonnir or any surviving expedition members.
They continue exploring the corridors, passing through a few abandoned laboratories and a (surprisingly) still functional bathroom. Aside from a brief ambush by a pair of acidic ooze creatures, the adventurers find little. They have the vague sense that something happened here, some disastrous awakening, and that some fragment still remains, watching them.
The adventurers eventually find poor Khonnir Baine sealed inside some bizarre medical device, being tortured by a pair of medical drones. He is alive, but nearly catatonic, and in terribly physical condition. The adventurers decide to immediately retreat and return the crippled man to the surface.
On their way back through the Black Hill caverns, the adventurers are greeted by Sanvil Trett, who kindly offers healing potions to any wounded party members. Erston gratefully accepts, but quickly spits the liquid back—it’s poison! Sanvil attacks the party by surprise but is quickly subdued and beheaded.
Near the exit of the caverns, the adventurers meets with a mysterious halfing and a wild, red-haired human woman. The pair urge the party to hurry, as they have come to help them remove Khonnir safely from the underwater passage out of the caverns. The water level has been magically lowered, a gnarled witch holding the water back long enough for the adventurers to haul Khonnir to the surface. The three women disappear shortly thereafter.
Khonnir and his daughter, Val, are reunited. A message is dispatched toJoram Kyte, who quickly arrives and uses his divine magic to partially heal Khonnir’s condition (Joram warns the adventurers his magic is not strong enough to return Khonnir to normal, and a technological solution will be required).
Although he is far from fully recovered, Khonnir is able to speak and walk once again. He tells the adventurers about his experiences within the dungeon, and offers some information about his past. He reveals that Val is adopted, but insists that this revelation is kept secret for now.
Shortly after Khonnir is sent away to rest, Emileth is briefly possessed. During the possession, Val is informed that she is adopted. The girl is emotionally shattered by the news, and runs away.
After studying Sanvil’s Journal, the adventurers decide to investigate a warehouse belonging to Garmen Ulreth. Thanks to Fizzle’s pyromaniac tendencies, the party finds their subtle stakeout quickly taking a turn for the worse: battling for their lives as the warehouse burns down around them!
Garmen’s Ropefist thugs are dispatched without much trouble, and Garmen himself surrenders shortly thereafter. He reveals that he had been working with the same woman who extinguished Torch’s forge, a purple-haired android named Meyanda. She offered him the legendary sword Eternia if he would agree to hide an odd technological device in his warehouse.
Erston chooses to spare Garmen if he agrees to swear loyalty to the Greatman family. Garmen happily agrees (lying) and is permitted to flee into the night. The adventurers inform the people of Torch that Garmen died in the fire.
Erston, Emileth, and Valkahnar all work with the people of Torch to keep the warehouse fire from spreading, while Fizzle secretly attempts to help the fire spread. The other adventurers quickly uncover Fizzle’s plotting and drag him back to the Foundry Tavern.
Later, with Khonnir, the adventurers study the bulky device they’d recovered from Garmen’s warehouse. They determine it to be a siphon of sorts, drawing power from beneath Torch and sending it somewhere roughly 105 miles to the north. According to Khonnir, the only thing of note within that area is the bandit ‘settlement’ of Scrapwall.
After a night’s good rest, the adventurers plan to return to the dungeon beneath Black Hill. But as they re-cross the desert habitat, they are confronted by the same alien skeletons and well-preserved zombie they had fought previously. During the battle, Valkahanar Oni falls to the zombie’s vicious attacks, and the other adventurers are significantly wounded. Fizzle digs a bonfire pit, burning the undead remains down to ash.
The adventurers return to Khonnir’s Foundry to recover and lay their ally to rest. While there, they are approached by Grosh Kogan, a cleric of Brigh who has come from Scrapwall to track down Fizzle. After hearing about the troubles facing Torch, Grosh agrees to join the adventurers in their exploration of the dungeon.
Back at the desert habitat, Grosh suggests the adventurers explore down a short hall they had passed over before. They find a device that reactivates the lighting in the habit area. A realistic image of a rising sun appears on the vast dome above the sands. Feeling the light of their sun once again, the poor undead are given peace at last.
The adventurers climb up into the elevator shaft they had previously discovered. They awaken a small pack of vicious dog-like creatures, but quickly kill the whole group before the noise draws any attention.
Travelling deeper, they confront a group of self-mutilated goblins, one of whom appears to recognize Fizzle. Thanks to a flash grenade, the goblins are blinded and dispatched within a matter of seconds.
The nearby rooms are empty, although they show recent signs of use. Sneaking a bit further, Fizzle discovers that a large number of orcs are gathered together and listening to a sermon being delivered by a purple-haired woman. The adventurers immediately take up stealthy positions for an ambush, planning to lure the orcs out and set off a cluster of grenades.
Fizzle pretends to be one of the goblin gang members and begins shouting loudly, trying to draw the congregation’s attention. Meyanda dispatches her mute gargoyle companion to investigate. Fizzle leads him deeper back into the structure, where the other adventurers have set up an ambush. He is quickly decapitated.
Emboldened by the success of his bluff, Fizzle attempts to lure the entire group out by loudly proclaiming himself to be the god Hellion in the flesh. After the orcs refuse to take him seriously (one orc is lured out and ambushed), Fizzle tosses a bundle of grenades into the room, knocking all the orcs unconcious.
A fierce battle rages between Meyanda, her robotic ally, and the adventurers. Eventually, Fizzle defeats Meyanda by rolling a fire bomb at her while excitedly whispering, “I’m Hellion!”
Fires of Creation Epilogue and Lords of Rust Part 1
As the adventurers emerge from Weeping Lake, bearing the corpse of Meyanda, they see that the violet bonfire atop Black Hill has been re-ignited and is flaring up into the night sky. The snow-covered town is illuminated by the light, giving everything a purplish appearance. The echo of a large crowd is heard off in the direction of Khonnir’s Foundry Tavern.
At the Tavern, the adventurers discover that Erston‘s father, Gaius, has arrived in town and has immediately won over most of the townsfolk. He greets Erston warmly and presents him with the repaired family sword, Eternia. Fizzle notices that Gaius uses a magic ring to cast charm person on Erston as he passes on the sword. Grosh, examining the blade carefully, notices that Eternia has something that looks like circuitry hidden subtly along it’s length.
Gaius announces that Erston is the new head of the Greatman family, but shortly thereafter convinces his charmed son that Gauis should “take on the burden of the day-to-day activies of the family” so that Erston can “concentrate on his adventuring career”. In effect, this leaves Erston as head of the family in name only: a figurehead.
Emileth‘s adopted father, Keldroth, arrives with a handful of Black Thorn Knights. Keldroth reports that he found Val Baine lost in the snow near Torch; the girl and her father are swiftly reunited (Meyanda’s black nanite hypogun is used to cure Khonnir’s aliment). Gaius attempts to charm Keldroth, but fails. The two men are chilly toward one another.
When Gaius leaves the gathering, Fizzle follows him out into the snow. The stealthy goblin overhears Gaius and his manservant, Anthony, plotting about Eternia. Gaius says that “Erston can’t possibly know the sword’s true purpose” and “he’ll serve to distract our enemies.”
The next three months are fairly uneventful. The adventurers are snowed in, unable to travel away from Torch, and must find ways to keep themselves occupied. Fizzle buys Khonnir’s house and hires a servant boy, Scorch, whom he quickly begins to abuse. Emileth spends the winter months training with her father and his knights, developing her strength. Erston enjoys the luxury afforded to him by his newfound wealth, but also spends a bit of time training up for battle. And Grosh spends most of the winter in Khonnir’s foundry, smithing a variety of arms and armor.
At midwinter, a mysterious group steals Meyanda’s body from the Temple of Brigh (where she had been kept on ice waiting for the ground to warm up enough for burial). A fox-faced halfing girl wakes Fizzle and tells him to gather his fellow adventurers and meet her atop Black Hill. There, the halfling and her companions reveal that they are working for someone who opposes the rise of Hellion, and they are stealing Meyanda’s body for their purposes. The halfing also cryptically warns the adventurers to watch out for ‘crystals’.
As soon as the spring thaw hits, the adventurers buy horses and ride out toward Scrapwall, finding that the land grows emptier and more desolate the further they travel. Mutated beasts prove common, as do irradiated springs. The adventurers also spot increasing signs of violence as they near Scrapwall; remains of burned out villages, ransacked camps, etc.
A half-day’s ride from Scrapwall, the adventurers approach the small fortress of Aldronard’s Rest, a known haven for travellers. They decide to rest there, so that they can approach Scrapwall during the morning. Unfortunately, they are attacked by a vicious group of Smilers who had taken control of the fort…