Episode 24: The Paladin of Bahamut?
Yi-na-Hotep, Goddess of the Moon, invited the party to ask questions of her before she passed from the material plane. During the ensuing discussion, the party learned several things about the Blood War, an eternal struggle for power between celestials, with the children of Bahamut on one side and the forces of Tiamat and the Abyss on the other. For eons, balance has been maintained in the conflict, neither side gaining an advantage over the other, and all of creation was allowed to thrive. Recently however, the balance was disturbed, and forces from the Abyss were able to slay Bahamut herself, the Mother Of Creation.
Bahamut’s death caused shockwaves throughout the very fabric of the multiverse, tearing and weakening it; the tear in the sky above Telisar is a manifestation of this damage, and Yi-na-Hotep warned the party that the effects of this imbalance would continue to worsen until balance could be restored.
The party asked Yi-na-Hotep about the fragments of the heart of Bahamut that Anansus had tasked them with retrieving. The goddess was unaware of these events, but examined Keen, in whom one such fragment resides, and to the party’s surprise named Keen a Paladin of Bahamut. She seemed to find this particularly amusing. Anansus, the God of Trickery, is cunning and clever, she said, and has set the party on this path so that they might find the fragments of Bahamut and hide them away from anyone who would seek to usurp the power of creation they represent – basically everyone on both sides of the Blood War. What more unlikely vessel for the power of the Platinum Queen could there be, she said, than Keen?
Yi-na-Hotep also examined the Dragonhead coin, and revealed that it is an artifact that represents the balance of the Blood War – Tiamat on one side, Bahamut on the other. She explained the reason anyone who touches it is so drawn to it is because of a curse placed upon the coin. “Someone wants to make sure you have this,” she said.
Levani used telepathy to ask the ancient dragon if, given her recent transformation, she was finally free of her infernal heritage. Yi-na-Hotep said “Nothing lasts forever, child. You rest upon the edge of a knife, and your choices will determine your path.” She councilled Levani to not let others choose her path for her.
Ara asked Yi-na-Hotep about Rillifane, his patron god. “Is he real? Is he a god?” He asked. Yi-na-Hotep responded by asking Ara to consider whether, if his faith in Rillifane is true, it matters in the slightest if Rillifane is real or not. “But, the holy books be saying to go out into the world and be doing good, and people not be doing it,” Ara said. “If Rillifane not be real, why be doing his holy works at all?” The ancient dragon told Ara that “doing good, doing evil, doing nothing, these must be done because it is what you are, Ara, not because any god has directed you so. Do as you will, choose that which you are, and commit yourself to it.”
Finally, Magnus asked Yi-na-Hotep about the residium. “Who did this to us? Who are we actually up against?” Yi-na-Hotep did not know, but speculated that given Anansus’ involvement in the party’s affairs, they might start by asking him.
Yi-na-Hotep left the party then, but gave them a warning: “Not every boon is a gift,” she said.
After leaving the Temple of the Moon, Maloc-na-Tombek, the dragonborn chieftan, invited the party into the tribe’s home, a massive underground complex with a large central cavern providing central living spaces. The appearance of the party caused something of a sensation amongst the tribe, and it was clear that not everyone was pleased to see them brought into the tribe’s home.
Maloc invited the party to sit and dine with him, and gave the appearance of attempting civility, given the service the party had provided the tribe in cleansing the Temple of the Moon of its evil and returning the platinum statuette that had been stolen. Through broken common he explained to the party that he and four others in the tribe had been given the Silver Lady’s Gift – lycanthropy – and were tasked with protecting the tribe. But when the temple was defiled, the protection of the Lady was denied them, and as they descended from the mountains in pursuit of the thieves, slowly the five began to succumb to the animalistic nature of the Gift. Four of them went mad, and Maloc was forced to slay them, even as they caught and slew the thieves.
Fearing he would not withstand the madness long enough to return the statuette to the temple, Maloc took the wild shape of a small scruffy dog, and led the party to the body of the last thief, in the hopes they would retrace the thieves’ steps and restore the Temple. Maloc himself watched over the party at night in his hybrid form, which accounted for the lack of encounters during their travel.
But despite Maloc’s gratitude, and Yuna’s obvious favour with the Lady, it was clear that these dragonborn were xenophobic and highly paranoid. Maloc himself burned with a barely-suppressed rage over the historical treatment of the First People. He named the party pashtek, a slur roughly translating to “those who put their needs before the tribe’s,” the implication being all non-dragonborn are invaders, thieves and murderers. The party decided it was time to take their leave, which they did after a brief, tense standoff with another member of the tribe.
Drawing on a new-found power of the residium binding, and with one false start, the party teleported themselves to Anthol’s Amazing Arcana in Whitebridge. They found the store abandoned, Anthol’s most valuable items cleared out. Levani took a few odds and ends and left a note.
Magnus discovered the Temple of Syf had similarly been abandoned, the holy relics and dressings removed from the now-empty building. Both the north and south gates of Whitebridge stood open, and it appeared the town as a whole had been emptied (though none of the party noticed the sounds of carpentry in the distance upon their arrival).
With Yuna now cured of her spell sickness thanks to her celestial companion, Stella, the party decided it was time to help Magnus fulfill his geas to Banu, find the residium deposit, and deliver it to Banu’s home in Long Drop. Eschewing the main road, the party travelled into the hills northwest of Whitebridge by following the directions given them by Aleh Xa, Ara’s spirit guardian.
After two days of travel they came upon the edge of the Stone Forest, and as they travelled through the valley, they came upon ancient remains of some sort of structures – an archway, and what seemed to be the top of a stone tower jutting up from the earth. Between the archway and the tower, however, was a large sculpture garden – hundreds of stone statues of people, many of them dwarves, in various poses – in combat, running, hiding, standing defiant, and so on.
A giant skeleton emerged from behind the tower, and began playing a kind of game that involved stacking statues atop one another and whacking one with a huge stone club. Soon after a small flock of strange birds landed, and began pecking at the statues, one of them breaking off a chunk and swallowing it whole.
The party attempted to sneak past the skeleton by hiding, and using thaumaturgy to distract the monster. The birds were successfully distracted, and the skeleton lumbered towards the source of the magical noise. The party was nearly successful in their deception, but at the last moment the giant skeleton saw Magnus, and brought its mighty club down upon him in a two-handed swing…
Info: So Dumped
Dragonborn Rating: Surprisingly Xenophobic
Trickster God’s Con Rating: Long
Aleh Xa Helpfulness Rating: 0
RP Rating: Awesome!