The scholars in Arum recently discovered some ruins from a time before record. These ruins were guarded by devils who killed and chased off the first few to attempt to enter.
When word reached Trilake of the discovery, several wealthy men and women expressed interest in acquiring anything of value found within the ruins. Most notable were Mordecai the arena owner, Thyssen Krupp the alchemist, and the owners of Lion’s Claw Weapons Riff and Lazlo.
Enter the heroes:
Young Magus XXIV the tiefling wizard caught word of this offer while discussing some of his recent studies and decided that this could be the opportunity to rebuild his family name, having long since been something of a joke due to their inability to progress far along the arcane arts. Of course, this is no venture for a young inexperienced mage…
Otto Sir Otto, mercenary and lover extraordinaire sat in the tavern, telling tales of adventure and romance to any who would listen. As he paused to get a drink, he was approached by a young mage who asked for his services to explore some ruins. Never one to turn down an adventure, Otto bid his adience farewell and took the young mage to the docks to aquire passge upriver.
Steve Quint, notorious rouge and swindler, had been lying low for a while, working as a cargo inspector for incoming ships to pay off some pressing debts. His boss approached him and told him that a ship that might be suspicious had just pulled in and that he was to see to it that the proper documentation (bribe) was made.
Pirate Captain Roxanne Katz had just brought her sloop, The Eclipse, into port and her first mate was handling the inspector. The inspector, she realized, owed her money from her last trip into port. A fortunate coincidence, as she just so happened to be hiring. Also at this time, a couple of men approached and asked to hire her ship for a trip up north. She agreed to take the men in exchange for a share of whatever loot and reward was to be had and demanded that Quint join the crew until his debt was paid off.
And so, the unlikely group set sail upriver for the city of Arum. Upon arrival, the mayor of Arum informs them of the danger and offers them whatever they wish from the ruins as a reward, so long as the scholars were allowed to study it study it before they left.
The party descended into the tunnel and after killing off several imps, clearly insane and savage, they found the entrance to what appeared to be some sort of alter. The only object intact was an orb approximately the size of a fist set into a metal base with strange runes carved into it. The room was filled with a sense of dread that permeated everyone. Roxy began to hear a voice calling for her to release it. Too afraid to actually touch the object, Steve attempted to take the orb by throwing a bag over it. The bag burst into flames and threw him to the ground. Throughout all of this, Magus stood transfixed by something no one else could see. After listening to the voice, Roxy found that she was able to take the orb without harm. As soon as she took it, the dread feeling vanished and whatever Magus saw was gone.
Upon returning to Trilake, Roxy and Magus decided to take the orb to Thyssen Krupp, as Otto knew him well enough and no one trusted the others who offered the reward. Thyssen admitted that he knew nothing about the orb, but offered to study it. He also advised her to tell no one, especially Mordecai, about the orb.
Meanwhile, Steve Quint had managed an audience with Mordecai and got a fair sum for the bits and scraps he had taken and told him about an orb that would be worth a lot of money.
The next morning, Magus awoke to an Imp on his desk who told him he had one week to return the orb or the imp’s master would kill him.
Steve awoke to find Madame Velda Mirrah in his room. She told him that a friend of his was generous enough to repay his debt for him.
Roxy awoke to find her and her crew locked the hold of the Eclipse.
Otto emerged victorious.
The party returned to the ship and freed Roxy, only to find the ship had been completely robbed of valuables, money, and stores.
A daring plot unfolded to take the money back by robbing the brothel owned by Madame Mirrah. They succeded, though not without being found out. For some reason, Madame Mirrah let them get away with it.
The next day, the orb was missing from Thyssen’s well protected and guarded safe.
The conclusion was that Mordecai stole the orb. After Magus convinced everyone of the imp’s existence (who refused to show himself to anyone else) they set a plan into motion to insinuate themselves into his confidence. Otto and Steve entered as gladiators, hoping to impress Mordecai enough to gain his trust. Roxy paid a visit with Magus to attempt ascertain wether or not he indeed had it, and where he might keep it. He told them he did not have it, and sent word to the arena to ensure that Steve and Otto lost. (Mordecai had been watching them and knew that they were associated.)
They were defeated by a pair of rage drakes and taken to a dungeon for questioning. Roxy made another visit in an attempt to seduce Mordecai using a potion made by Thyssen. It failed, but Otto and Steve were released.
The next couple of days were spent in the arena, with the imp growing ever more impatient. During that time, the Eclipse was found at the bottom of the harbor. The ship was taken to the dry docks for expensive repair. One day, Magus’ father took him to see Mordecai where he learned that 400 years ago, Mordecai had been a friend of Magus III. In a botched summoning ritual, Mordecai vanished and the Magus bloodline was cursed with stunted magical ability. He also learned that Mordecai did indeed have the orb. Mordecai explained that the orb was a seal to a prison containing a being of unimaginable power. He had the key already, and all that was left was to find the prison itself so that Mordecai could “properly deal with” the entity. Magus’ father and grandfather agreed to help, hoping that Mordecai would find a way to restore their family’s power. Magus agreed on the condition that Mordecai pay for Roxy’s repairs and that he provide them what protection he could.
The next morning, Magus told the imp the that the orb was out of reach and that they could not hope to return it in time. The imp returned, promising retribution.
That afternoon, when the others came to find Magus, they noticed Mordecai, Rham, and several gladiators, all dressed ready for action. When they asked why he was there, Mordecai directed their attention to the Pit Fiend climbing from the ground. The devil demanded the orb, and when refused, attacked by exploding the imp sent to them and summoning a pair of War Devils. Mordecai and his men charged into action, while our heroes dealt with the legion devils and imps summoned behind them. They overcame their adversaries and witnessed Mordecai execute the Pit Fiend and Rahm hurls its corpse back into the pit from which it crawled. Mordecai told them that they were now at war with Hell, and that he could end that war if they found the prison. Having no other choice for now, the heroes accepted. By this point, it was evident that the city was under attack. Steve ran to his mother’s house outside the city walls, and the others followed. The gates were shut, locking down the city, but a sympathetic guard let them out through a secret exit, locking it behind them them.
Our heroes now stand in a war zone. The civilized races versus the devils, with demons and beasts taking advantage of the chaos and carnage to slaughter everything. Great tears open in the ground and sky with creatures of all kinds pouring forth. The city burns around them as they make their way to save Steve Quint’s mother.
Good luck, fuckers.