Naoidheamh 35-36, 6639 (yes, you repeated a day)
- Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
- Flit, bat familiar
- Midnight, Panther
- Noona, Lion
- Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
- Rawf, Wardog familiar
- Aroof, Wardog familiar
- Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
- The Metal Man, construct
- Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
- Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
- Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
- Elenora Garrard, White Mage
- Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
- Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
- Laurita Gomez, Priestess
- Herman Thorpe, Ectomancer
- Baelnar Grimtor, Dwarven Sapper
- Crolack, Thrassian Gladiator
- Kurt Steinbacke, Dwarven Deep Monk
- Mor Gibs, Wonderworker
- Saphira Moonstone, Gold Skinscribe
- Pentzkin Singletossle Pocketspringer, gnomish beastmaster
- Alun Tsornyl, Sylph Ranger
- Te'a Tsuki Megumi, Elven Polydoctorate
- Harvey Usagi, Rabbitwere
- Fayleen Ross, Darklord
- Zai-car, Zaharan Ruinguard
- Aingeal Bàs Eleonara, Witch
The final scale destroyed, a mage suddenly showed up, teleporting in with a CRACK. Gróin recognized him immediately - it was Chancellor Lucious! Though he seemed about 20 years older than last they had met, only a year and a half before. He waved it off as "something about time travel," and suggested that the group "meet some friends of his." A wave of steam washed over the plains, and when it cleared, the party found themselves standing in a dark, spacious, indoor amphitheater. On the stage are twelve podioums, grouped in sets of three, dark apart from a light that glowed over Chancellor Lucious's head. Interestingly, the entire party was there, including those that had teleported away to destroy the scale. He introduced the Council of 12:
- Human: Chancellor Lucious, lvl 14 Mage; middle-aged fellow, looks familiar, because he's the time-traveling fellow that killed a dragon turtle.
- Nobiran: Evelyn Archiater, lvl 12 Nobiran Wonderworker, one of the head Instrumentalists, with an obvious Instrumentalist brand on her forehead.
- Zaharan: Emir Yazdi, lvl 12 Zaharan Ruinguard, one of the head Seekers, obvious from the symbols on his gear.
- True Elf: Dwyn Vispasial, lvl 12 Elven Courtier; one of the newly-risen True Elves.
- Dwarf: Thorfridh Oakenback, lvl 13 Dwarven Vaultguard, a member of the Ruling Council of the Dwarves (she waved at Gróin).
- Dragon: Angura Whitefang, Venerable Amphithere; demigod of Lawful Dragons.
- Beastwere: Standing Bear, lvl 9 Wolfwere; aka Mother Bear, granddaughter of Bear (the god).
- Treant: Larch Hardwood, 14 HD Treant; last of the First Trees (though he spent thousands of years in a valley, and didn't really see much during that time).
- Magic: The Phares, a sentient +4 sword.
- Thrassian: Filesh Toggrodh, level 11 Thrassian Gladiator; descendant of the original Thrassians.
- Fae: Prince Fenix and Princess Maedhe (Fall/Winter), of the Summer and Winter Fae, respectively; they are sharing the podium, since it is Beastnight, the Fall Equinox.
- Gnome: Panderick Rumblefine Monkeybloomer, lvl 12 Gnomish Trickster, a deadly serious Gnome with a scar over his left eye.
Once the introductions were finished, the Nobiran explained the reason they were brought: "We called you here for a grave matter, of the utmost importance. You've come... rather highly recommended, actually, by Mannanan. And Loki. And Coyote, though you can never be too sure of what he's actually saying. They say that you... assisted them before. And that you are the ideal force for good, regardless of your... er... inclinations. Coyote said something about it being otherwise impossible, because you are the 'player characters', or something?"
The Zaharan interrupted. "Ignoring Coyote's mad ramblings, we have been lead to believe that you are the last, best hope for Mareten, and indeed all of Mor-Thir."
Nodding, the Elf took up the narrative: "Indeed - most telling is that you, and you alone, have managed to destroy the seven scales. Ah - when the sixth scale was destroyed, the Faultless Diamond fell to dust - and thus this meeting was convened."
The Thrassian adjusted his glasses, and finished, "We cannot interfere directly; our power as Council forbids it. We can, however, convey messages, and so gather any willing to assist you. We can only do so at your bidding, however; is this your desire?"
Caranthir managed to get out a "Ye-" before the Thrassian cut him off. "Ah, good, we already did. I hope you will find the people we summoned to your liking:"
- The Bardbarians, recently having finished their second Beyond The Wall tour.
- The silver dragon of Mareten Tower
- The three gargoyles from what is now Quetgar's base
- Flynn, the mage Arkus, and the cleric Clarence Silverbeak, from the God Squad
- Grek Trieb ("Grek Trieb! Member Grek Trieb? Yeah!")
- Hjalmar Greathearth the paladin, Ham the barbarian, Twych the cleric, and Toxwell Dishthunder Galazooks, Gnomish Wizard.
- The Original Nightblade, who has taken the name Du Ryst
- Mabel the goat and Winklestem Eustache Bottomwobbler, proprieter of "Another Man's Treasure" (& some of his more... potent items)
- Ajeela, of course
- The Airwalkers of the Tower, as well as the Blue Dragon there
The group were given a single day to prepare... the same day, in fact, as they were fighting the battle for the scale! The council transported them back in time...
Ready as they would ever be, the party and their friends were transported to a dim, misty battlefield. The Lawful and Neutral gods were arrayed on one side, with the most devout of their followers at their feet, ready for battle. Soon, across the shallow valley, a horde of chaotic creatures charged down; behind them, great shapes stepped out of the fog: Erklik, Jörmungandr, Serpent, Balor, and Ysbaddaden. Each lead its own group of evil minions. As the edges of the two armies met, and battle began, the party moved to assist Kai-Ra; they quickly cut through the massive war elephant and the men and scorpions arrayed against them.
Moving on, they assisted Thor, though during the battle Loki and many of his followers lost hope and fled. Next, while Caranthir and Aingeal tried to rally Loki's followers, the rest of the party took on Ysbaddaden's minions - Rakshasa and Dao - trying to divert focus from Danu. They succeeded, thanks to Quetgar's quick claws, and Manannán's horde of summoned undead. Manannán fought Ysbaddaden, throwing him into a suddenly-appearing swamp.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the valley, the shape of the Wyrm was taking form. With each chaotic god that fell, the Wyrm seemed less translucent. Indeed, it was the Wyrm who had killed the god in the Pointless Tower; he took that power and split it into the forms of the other chaotic gods, traveling here to there in a soul jar.
The party paused for a moment to watch Bear rip the skull from a stegosaurus, and use it to crush a number of enemies, while Coyote giggled and made trees sprout from the chests of charging men. They didn't seem to need much help... However, Lleu and Kai-Ra seemed to be struggling against Balor; they quickly came to their aid, carving through redcaps and trolls, while trying to avoid Balor's horrible death-ray eye. As they finished off the last of the enemies, Gwydion charged up from behind, his twin swords flashing in the weak sunlight; in a moment, Balor was dead.
The last of the chaotic gods destroyed, Alehim stepped onto the field. He approached the Wyrm, his massive sword at the ready, his golden armor flashing in the sunlight. The Wyrm, with a dark cry of rage, hurled itself at Alehim; Calmly, the god raised his sword, and caught the Wyrm on the tip, the sword stabbing into its throat and all the way down its insides. The Wyrm's mouth began to close over the god's arms, but a crack of light shone through the creature, then another, and in a sudden, blinding explosion of light, the Wyrm was destroyed. Good had triumphed! The Wyrm was no more, and its followers were routed, fleeing the battlefield.
Speaking of the battlefield... now that the mist had cleared, the party could see the sun, a dim light, far in the distance. A massive shape was rising on the horizon - the Devourer, also known as Yiyen Biri, or Devorat, a massive gas giant! They were no longer on Terrarum, but one of the great planet's moons; Daelna, in fact.
Danu came to speak with the party - in part, to ask why Gróin only ever used the teleportation aspect of his god-staff. The staff has, as he knew, greater planar teleport once per turn with no downside. It also can (temporarily) turn stones to gems (and vice versa), and can cast illusion spells at will, similar to phantasmal image or illusory terrain, except they are permanent until dispelled. Caranthir wondered what their reward would be for all this; Danu replied that while the gods had little use for treasure, magical or otherwise, she would see that the party were aptly rewarded for their role in the battle.
Indeed, the party had played a pivotal role; had they not assisted Kai-Ra, he would have fallen before Erklik. Of course, had they assisted Loki, he would not have fled; but in helping Lleu, they saved him from destruction by Balor.
I pondered how, exactly, I would award experience. While the party did, in fact, destroy 14 men, 5 scorpions, 1 elephant, 6 wyverns, 6 fire giants, 3 hags, 3 rakshasa, 3 dao, 40 redcaps, and 10 trolls, they also assisted in what was essentially a mass battle. Assuming each was treated, technically, as an independent hero in a mass battle, everyone would get a cut of the entire battle's XP. To that end, I present the XP gained from killing a single chaotic god: as a roughly 68,600 hit dice creature, a god such as Balor would have in the vicinity of 154,321,750 XP. Assuming an epic-scale battle with groups of 10 HD or more creatures, single units would have nearly a million XP. To that end...
Each PC and NPC will gain enough XP to be within 1 XP of their next level. Additionally, each PC present in the battle will receive the following, free except for upkeep, plus 150,000 gp:
- Rig Bigny: 1 unit of 120 trained
battleshrewsbattlebadgers, and a Cloak of Protection +3
- Caranthir: 1 unit of 120 dwarven mounted crossbowmen, and a Ring of Spell Turning, with 10 charges
- Gróin: 1 unit of 120 dwarven mounted crossbowmen, and a Ring of Djinni Calling
- Crolack: 1 unit of 120 heavy infantry lizardmen, and Boots of Levitation
- Mor Gibs: 1 wonderworker of each level from 1 to 5, and Eyes of Petrification
- Saphira Moonstone: 1 skinscribe of each level from 1 to 5,
- Te'a Tsuki Megumi: 1 polydoctorate of each level from 1 to 5, and a Ring of Command Animal
- Fayleen Ross, Darklord: 1 unit of 120 Heavy Infantry Hobgoblins, and Eyes of Charming
- Aingeal Bàs Eleonara: 1 witch of each level from 1 to 5, and a +3 Vorpal Sword (while she can't use it in her usual form, a polymorphed form certainly could!)
Of special note, Sorvald managed to actually hit Balor with an arrow; for that, he is rewarded his own thieves' guild, in the city of his choice, for free.
And thus ends this chapter of The Fourth Age; we will be taking a break from ACKs for a while, to go through a new, unrelated campaign - LeTourneau: East Texas University!