Iron Gods, Steel Faith
Our Tale Begins…
The town of Torch has long enjoyed a singular claim to prosperity—a violet flame that burns atop Black Hill in the heart of the town. This flame burns incredibly hot, and while it’s usually the size of a bonfire, several times a year the fires spew up into the heavens in a brilliant beam of purple violence. These eruptions are presaged by about an hour of soft rumbling, giving nearby smiths a chance to retreat before the fires can consume them. At all other times, the violet energies allow for the smelting of all manner of skymetal. Torch is one of the only locations where skymetal can be worked with relative ease outside of Starfall, and its entire economy has risen around these purple f lames, with traveling smiths coming from across Avistan to pay for the opportunity to work with them. Of course, Torch needs all the visiting trade and coin it can gather, for while the town’s distance from Starfall makes it inconvenient for the Technic League to maintain a permanent presence here, the taxes and tariffs it charges the Numerian town on a monthly basis are significant. The town prospers, but the bulk of its income does not belong to it.
Which is why, when the fires atop the hill suddenly go out, the town is in trouble.
What is known so far:
Extinguished Torch: The violet f lame that has burned atop Black Hill for over a century has gone out, leaving a strangely seeping pit of rubble and bubbling fluids where the town’s livelihood once glowed day and night.
Missing Councilor: Ever since Councilor Khonnir Baine, one of Torch’s more powerful wizards and a well-liked individual, went missing on his second expedition under Black Hill, the citizens of the nervous town have edged closer to outright panic. With their hands full handling the growing refuse and waste problems in town now that their primary disposal method is gone, the town council is eager to find out what happened to Khonnir and rescue him—they’ve made public a reward of 4,000 gp to any group that can recover Khonnir’s body; if he can be returned alive, they’ve promised to throw in the scroll of resurrection they’ve been holding on to in case they need to revive him.
Black Hill Caves: Khonnir Baine discovered the signs of unusual traffic on the banks of Weeping Pond, and shortly thereafter, the submerged tunnel that provides access to several heretofore unknown tunnels under Black Hill. His emergence from the caves with a deactivated semi-humanoid automaton sparked worries that something strange might be going on in the caverns, but when he failed to return from his second expedition a few days ago, those worries turned to outright fear. Several other adventuring parties have gone missing in the caves, and Torch finds itself running short on new volunteers.