The Darkness Between Stars
Timeline - The Year of Undoing
Over time the desolate island known as the Throne of Lir was settled by small town of Ro-Rex refugees. The founding fathers took great pain to hide their past from future generations and the town slowly grew to about a thousand souls that lived off the sea and the land near the shore. The ruins further inland terrified them and they never went far from what they knew to be safe ground. As fishermen they devotedly worshipped Lir in a church built unknowingly upon the ruins of an Ancient’s temple to the goddess.
It was here that the adventuring party known as The Boys from Scaalaee was born and raised. And it was here that they became involved in a series of events that would impact all the worlds and doom their own. It begins with a simple mystery about disappearing goats.
The village council culled the best they could find after careful deliberations. Normally, Fulcrum the Hunter would have led his best men on the investigation. But, no one had heard from him in many days now. His hunting party and skiff vanished while searching for game along the coast. The Tall Man and The Short Man were sent out to bring three villagers to the Town Hall.
Mikhail Alexei was the lowly hunter assigned to rat catching duty on the docks of Scaalaee. Daren DeWitt was a steadfast fisherman, known for his harpooning skills and calm demeanor. And lastly Brother Tom, the troubled holy man, brought up by the local church when he was orphaned by suspected demonic forces. These were the men the council had put their fate into for this mission.
Goats had been disappearing from the sea coast pastures without a trace except for some blood sprays on the muddy ground. The Boys from Scaalaee discovered a band of sea roving feral Fanglings on the offshore islet called The Fist. The creatures had been using large sea vultures to forage for food from the town’s pastures. The Boys overcome the gang of bandits and discover they had also been responsible for Fulcrum’s disappearance. All of Fulcrum’s men had been cannibalized and Fulcrum himself was mortally wounded. This band of murderous Fanglings was led by a short rodent like humanoid named Garlic. The leader had a strange metal telescope of majestic handiwork set up when first encountered. They manage to defeat the creatures and force their leader Garlic with his telescope to flee the islet on the wings of a giant sea vulture.
The Boys spot three red sails of large ships moving into the Scaalaee port and rush back to the town fearing an invasion. They instead find that the ships belong to the strange Ro-Rex sect and that they have come to the island to destroy a terrible artifact that their scholars had been warned about. The Boys are recruited to act as an advance scouting party and while leery of the outlanders lead them toward the island’s highest peak Mount Ka-Dun.
Following the old map and instructions from Captain Marrs who leads the Ro-Rex expedition they found that a tower stood atop Mount Ka-Dun. It’s ancient stones on a raised butte of stone with sheer cliffs. It was easily ten ships in height. But, at the base of this encasement they found a carved pair of stone doors that led into the darkness of the mountain. The doors sat on their old hinges partially ajar.
Inside the adventurers discovered a fiendish series of rooms whose puzzle held the key to unlocking an entry way into the tower above. Using blood, logic, and care the group managed to solve the secret of the moving rooms. Often they were victim to the traps and animated animal statue guardians that long day inside the mountain.
While camped outside the tower with the key to open the mysterious door that led into the tower above the party encounter Garlic in the form of Lowly, Marrs’s humble and simple minded man servant. He tricks them into hastening their entry into the inner halls of the tower and locks them inside with no way of moving forward or escaping. The next morning Marrs’s expedition captures them.
Marrs led them up the pylon that was sealed above in the tower. It was a massive rune carved pillar humming with power. The Ro-Rex priest, Grell, led in ten village children while Marrs explained it was a necessity to use their lives to remove the dangerous ward that had been placed on the artifact. He claimed the lives of a few outweighed the need of many to destroy such an evil artifact.
In a desperate attempt to save the children the Boys manage to push Captain Marrs into the pylon. The contact of Chaos metal fused to his body and the pylon’s rune caused the ward placed on the pylon to trigger. The Ro-Rex followers closest to the pylon are reduced to dust, while those up to a hundred miles away simply drop dead in their tracks.
Sa-Nah-Gig is appears in the windstorm of corpse dust. She charges them to prove that they are not slaves of the god Ro-Rex and leaves them with her mark on their backs and a command to find the Amber Oracle. The Boys black out and when they waken realize months have passed them by. The pylon is now active and has torn the tower from the top of the mountain. A great white beam of energy fires into the sky from the artifact now. They slowly make their way down the mountain and begin their journey beyond Scaalaee.
Over the course of the next few days they discover that the town shuns them and drives them back into the hills. They do learn that all the Ro-Rex followers in town also perished on that faithful night they challenged Marrs at the pylon. The townspeople had attempted to burn all three ships, thinking they bore some plague. But one of the outlander ships resisted flame and was set adrift. It is said to be run aground on the northern tip of the island. The boys travel overland to reach it. One night while camping they receive their first visit from Marrs who now serves Sa-Nah-Gig as one of her demonic pig slaves. He leaves them with additional cryptic messages about a red star leading them to the Amber Oracle.
At the northern tip of the island they discover the telescope Garlic had been using in an old abandoned hermit’s shack. It is obvious someone has been staying in the shack recently. In their travels northward the sound of wolf howls had echoed across the hills. They locate the ship and a few survivors from the Ro-Rex expedition. These were men who had been forced into service by the Ro-Rex as navigators and pilots. One of them, Shamus, wears the hat of a hat of the Navigator Guild, a red star. He relates how he used an old seaman’s ritual to prevent the ship from burning. The Boys befriend the crew and started helping them repair the ship for sea travel.
The Boys move inland seeking tools and supplies and discover a hamlet is hidden in the wooded hills of the northwest corner of the island. Originally the hamlet was founded by victims of ships that were tricked by the wreckers of Scaalaee. Instead of peacefully disappearing into the general population, they set out to be away from a society that not only harbored, but in a many ways condoned an organization, whose actions were often fatal to the crews of the wrecked ships.
The hamlet was under a terrible curse where anyone who tried to leave the valley would become a wolf like creature that would stalk the night. They had destroyed a warlock of Zatch named Zulcrum who had fled Scaalaee many years before. With his dying breath he had cursed the ground of the village. The Boys along with Terra Lion who led the hamlet managed to defeat the warlock’s burning skeleton and revert his army of wolves to their normal form.
Thankful for the aid the hamlet assisted in the construction of the ship. Tal and Terra begun a relationship during the months it took to get the Phyllia seaworthy again. As winter and rough seas approached, Marrs reappeared one morning to the party. He had been too cryptic with his last message and Sa-Nah-Gig had forced him to gnaw one of his pig legs to the bone in punishment. He told the Boys they need to sail and be in deep sea by the next High Holiday of Lir only weeks away.
Marrs also brought them the ten children that were supposed to have been sacrificed to remove the pylon’s ward. The pig would not say where they had been but did say they would not speak for years to come and that it was important they were kept safe. Terra took the strange children in as orphans to live in the hamlet.
Despite the terrible seas of winter, they set sail in a few days’ time. There first stop is to sneak into the town of Scaalaee. They by chance encounter the Vicar of Scaalaee at The Fathers’ Mound in the graveyard. There the Vicar mentions that the Church of Lir is haunted by Sa-Nah-Gig and that she appears at the altar nightly. Some have left and others are becoming paranoid. He reveals that the bones of the founding fathers of the town all bear the strange Ro-Rex metal bonded to their bones. The Boys direct Shamus to sail the ship northeast towards the Gazing Rim since they have no other clues on the Amber Oracle’s whereabouts. And they want to learn more about the Ro-Rex and their link to Scaalaee.
As the days grow closer to the High Holiday of Lir the ship is becalmed upon the sea. Sea animals of all sizes and shapes began to gather around the ship. The water becomes luminescent and flat like glass under the keel of the Phyllia. A naked fish scaled woman appeared upon the waters standing next to a coral tree. She spoke of Lir’s great need of the Boys and asked them to rid the Lir-Khan sea of the Black Ship. A monstrosity left over from the war with Ro-Rex. Its crew had been slain but the Chaos Orb aboard kept the ship moving in slow circles in the sea. It killed every sea creature and traveler it encountered. Lir would not suffer for it to continue its deadly voyage.
Brother Tom accepted the quest from his God’s speaker. In reward Lir revealed herself to him. The massive turtle head covered in runes rising from the depths. The coral tree its crown. The God opened its eyes and a brilliant light fell upon them, blessing them with Lir’s glory so long as they were near seawater.
Days to the north they found the Black Ship. It was covered in death and massive in size. The hull a dull black stone that ran for many ships in length towered over them. The remains of sea creatures hung from the sides. The ship gave a silent bewitching call to the living crew. One of them threw themselves overboard where they were devoured by mechanical fish that followed the ship. The mechanisms powered by the Chaos Orbs influence.
Once onboard they discovered a Fangling sea-scout named Sliv. His outrigger crew had been monitoring trade routes when they were overrun by the ship. A few had survived the wreck and clambered upon the deck. Since their arrival undead creatures had come from below decks and taken the others with them. Sliv was wounded but alive. The Boys lowered him to their ship and had their remaining crew keep watch over him.
They explored the ship and found it teeming with Ro-Rex dead animated by the force of the Chaos Orb below decks. They had captured Fanglings of Sliv’s crew and attached Chaos Metal to their flesh before killing them. So the Orb could reanimate them as reinforcements for the nightmarish army. Deeper in the bowels of the ship they found the wraithlike captain and his first mate still in command of the undead crew. The Boys defeated them and unlatched the Chaos Orb from its moorings. The Orb crashed through the deck and broke through the hull. They fled the ship as it took on water. Upon deck they could see that a whirlpool was forming beneath the hull of the Black Ship. They quickly returned to the Phyllia and pulled away as the Black Ship broke in half and was dragged into the depths by the whirlpool.
The sense of victory was short lived. Party awakens to find that all their food and water has spoiled by being near the Black Ship’s corrupted aura. The Fangling Sliv offers to lead them to Flotsam Shine. The floating city of the Five Tribe Coalition that lord over the sea routes as civilized pirates.
Sessions 1 – 5 Recapped (IN PROGRESS)