Session 0 & Episode 1
It has been two years since the Conflagration, in which the Scarlet Brotherhood – with the aid of a long-lost artifact called the Ashen Staff – razed cities to the ground and waged war upon the Flanaess. The Scarlet Brotherhood has now taken control of most of civilization, destroying entire cities and ruling with devastating cruelty.
As our story begins, our four heroes find themselves locked in cells underneath the Scarlet Brotherhood stronghold on the Tilvanot peninsula; they are half starved and find themselves wearing unbreakable bands of malachite that block their usage of magical abilities. The stubborn & stoic Githzerai monk, Odos, sits in a cell with the disillusioned, cynical bard Bruilinde. The young mistrustful rogue, Lux, shares confinement with the aging and honorable fighter, Heinrich. Alone in a cell near to them, they meet one of the final remaining great spellcasters, Rixtah, who served the great Mordenkainen in his Obsidian Tower. Tired, old, and defeated, he informs them that today is the day the world will end, and despite all his efforts, it cannot be stopped; he has given up.
The dungeon doors slam open; Tragar Hax, an elder of the Scarlet Brotherhood, approaches them, showing a face beautifully handsome on one side and disfigured and horrible on the other. For the first time, Bruilinde seems to take an interest; she recognizes this man from a prior defeat, but he seems to have no recollection of her. With a sadistic smile, he informs the party that they will provide today’s ‘entertainment’ to the masses by being thrown into the fighting pits to battle the reigning champion. Confronted by Heinrich, who vows to destroy their champion, Odos gets a glimpse into Tragar’s mind which allows him to see Tragar’s gleeful vision of their deaths, and the gruesome death of the old man Rixtah. He leaves, telling them to rest while they can, since they would die soon.
Rixtah explains that he has tried to stop the day of apocalypse many times by jumping through time and the planes of existence, but it was pointless. The party convinces him to help them attempt the same, to which he grudgingly agrees – IF they can remove the band from his wrist. Attempts to remove them prove fruitless until Lux, through sheer force of will, breaks her own hand – removing the band. At the same moment, Tragar and the guards re-enter to take them to the pits.
The party entered the arena, arming themselves with rusted and dull weaponry, enduring the jeers and contempt of the crowd. Enter the champion, a large, brutish ogre who clearly has the upper hands given the constraints of the bracelets the party wears. With the combined efforts of Odos’ fists, Bruilinde’s inspiration and insults, Lux’s attacks from the shadows, and Heinrich’s sword swings, the creature falls – but not before Bruilinde, using the opportunity given to her by Rixtah being knocked to the ground, broke the old man’s hand and forced the bracelet off his wrist. Freed of his magical constraints, Rixtah opened a portal out of the arena as Tragar Hax screamed in fury. As the party entered one by one, they looked up to see The Chained God descending from the skies. Darkness and horrible hooked chains, with an ever moving hand of doom, begin to swallow the world as unearthly shrieks shake the land. Jumping headlong through the portal, the party found themselves suddenly in the ruined Obsidian Tower of Mordenkainen.