Alair Returns

Cast Details Player
Gorfang Deathdrinker
Orc Fighter/Barbarian/Cleric/Rogue
Aasimar Sorceress/Fighter/Arcane Assassin
Eloy Brackensen
Human Fighter/Rogue/Assassin/Cleric
Derek Reed
Lynien Savanoth
Tiefling Rogue/Fighter/Cleric/Perfect Wight
Uruk Bad-Breath
Half-orc Fighter
Jay Waite
These characters were also created at L5. Aimo started with a Centaur called Cheiron who was fun for a while but a bit limited, especially in confined spaces, and was replaced with Méabh. Jay bailed after a few sessions and Derek joined to replace him.

This campaign opened roughly fifty years after the end of Classic Alair, and the world the new characters found themselves in was very much influenced by the decisions and actions of their previous characters (who were declared "off plane or something").

They started in a pre-written adventure called Hightower, adapted a bit (aren't they all?). This was later re-used for the Ladies' Night campaign opener as it's quite a good low-level kickoff. Delving into it, they discovered the first of the Significant Plot Swords that D&D thrives on, and our old friends the Fae Mhor up to no good again. Eloy nearly ended up with it but in the end it fell to Gorfang. The party also confirmed their credentials as "not really a nice party" by massacring an NPC party of Good aligned adventurers who had followed them into Hightower.

Leaving Hightower (and the pre-written adventure) the PCs travelled east to the city of Lossal, which was to become a pivotal base for most of the campaign. Here, they inserted themselves into thieves' and mage guilds, local politics, trade, and anything else they could reach, while picking up clues to what the Fae Mhor were up to in this part of the world. Their next move, however, was to be hired by a mystery patron to trek deep into the Trakar swamps to recover a glass pyramid, which turned out to be an incredibly powerful resurrection artifact called Deathbreaker left behind by the long-vanished civilization of giant-kind, hidden in one of their rare ruins. Discovering what it was after fighting all sorts of people for it, they elected to destroy it rather than let it fall into the wrong hands. Returning to Lossal, they slew their patron (who'd tried to trick them) and discovered from his files that he'd been hired by someone called the Blood Snake.

His trail led to a hideous museum dedicated to war, death, misery and conflict, and from there to Khabra, an entire lost civilization deep in the deserts beyond the Red Dust. There they encountered the Lost Gods of that civilization, their spirits bound to giant statues in a last desperate attempt to avoid oblivion until they could gain worshipers. While worship wasn't exactly on the cards for the PCs, they accepted the artifacts and powers gifted to them by four of the lost Gods. These were to change their lives and the fate of all Alair forever. As they delved further through the pyramid, they explored the powers of their new gifts to help tackle the challenges they faced. Eloy discovered the heart-stopping cost for the aid his belt could summon, and Gorfang began what was to be a life-long relationship with the archaic weapon known as a khopesh. At the top of the pyramid they discovered another crystal pyramid artifact - this one being Lifebreaker and even more dangerous than the last one. At the bottom, they encountered Thykon, the Blood Snake, and fought him to a standstill. Then they persuaded the undead last four great pharohs of Khabra to drown the pyramid under a million tons of sand, sealing the Lifebreaker away for ever. In exchange for their services, each was granted a mysterious gift by the Gods.

Returning to Lossal, the party got involved in local politics, toppling a corrupt governer and getting him replaced with a better one. Lossal was in Tarlanor, the kingdom carved out by the Kin Skufruss with the aid of the dragon-enslaving sceptre given him by Sack in the last campaign, and this connected the party to him and earned them his gratitude. Méabh acquired commercial interests in Lossal, while Gorfang forged strong links with the thieves' guild. An assortment of maps and clues drew them back to the vanished kingdom of Morglas - of which Hightower was a creation - and the ruins of Amberlan. In those ruins they found Fae Mhor of various factions, led by seven High Priestesses of Lolth, and as interested in strife with each other as they were in their actual mission (the recovery of the sword Gorfang had found in Hightower).

With typical chaotic flair the party set about destabilizing the already fractured alliance between the factions. Things were going nicely when Gorfang managed to accidentally disturb the dragon Setram who was living under the ruins. This dragon, as proud as all its' kind, believed itself in charge of the situation, feeding off the dark elves at will. With a mixture of theatre and trickery, the PCs managed to make it appear that the Fae Mhor had attacked Setram and triggered an all-out fight, with Fae Mhor fighting each other, the dragon slaughtering the Fae Mhor and the PCs taking out other dark elves out of the dragon's line of fire. Meanwhile Lynien was calmly down the well, looting the dragon's lair! After much destruction, Méabh managed to negotiate an alliance with the dragon, and between them, they eradicated the last of the Fae Mhor in Amberlan.

Accompanied by Setram (polymorphed into human form) the party returned to Lossal, with various goals in mind. Gorfang and Lynien sneaked back later to finish looting Setram's hoard. Then the party journed to Vorsand, capital of Tarlanor and met with Skufruss Lord of Dragons, who struck a bargain with them to do away with their old foe Thykon the Blood Snake. They tracked him to the abandoned orcish citadel Gadûhvrás (through which the Classic party had passed on their way to the Underdark) and dealt with him, delivering his dragon-form head to Skuffrus by Teleport. All partook of his blood, which granted them the gift of Ta'nara - the ability to speak and understand any language. Gorfang, having freed the orcs Thykon had been using as slaves here, looked around the vast abandoned city and the first seeds of the dream of Empire were sown.

Thykon had had allies, and a Teleport circle from Gadûhvrás led them into the northern wastes where they encountered the Sarkrith, magic-hating lizards from another plane with enslaved white dragons and the ability to suppress magic and to cut through from plane to plane with black daggers called "Openers of the Way" [yes, shamelessly cribbed!]. The Sarkrith had a plot to spread their anti-magic field across Alair and wipe out all magic. Naturally, Skufruss wasn't keen on that either. At this point Meabh left the party and struck out on her own.

There were several encounters with the Sarkrith before Skufruss hired them to go and retrieve the Elf Hammer from where the elves had imprisoned it. This resulted in hostilities with the elves but once the Hammer was headed north again, there was nothing they could do to stop it. In the course of this, Eloy managed to corrupt an elvish warrior named Milani by giving her one of his dragon-tooth pendants.

Back in Vorsand, a new crisis had arisen. A renegade wizard of Skufruss' court, Yadaran Heartmaster, had stolen the Sceptre of the Dragon Lords and fled to Heppetah (the plane where the Mind Flayers had been). Skufruss had sent all his dragons as far north as he possibly could while his control remained, and wanted the PCs to go after him and recover it. Travelling to Heppetah, they discovered that a fiend named Matrioshka, trapped there when they sealed it, had conquered most of it, resisted by the surviving Githmorein - and the half-Mind Flayer Yadaran Heartmaster, now revealed as a relatively innocent pawn. An uneasy truce was formed to oppose the fiends. The fiend was killed, as was Heartmaster when he turned on the PCs, and the Sceptre recovered. After some debate, the PCs decided to turn on Skufruss, and handed the Sceptre over to the leader of the dragons gathered in the North, Saryn Darrath.

Sary Darrath destroyed the Sceptre - which sent shockwaves through all dragons and dragon-kin throughout the world - and led his horde of dragons back to Vorsand for vengeance, the PCs granted permission to ride along as a reward. A titanic battle ensued in which Vorsand was ruined and burned. Only an epic piece of magic from Skufruss preserved the Dark Tower, engulfing it in a rain of fire and a magical jungle of semi-sentient iron, rendering it inacessible to anyone. Skufruss and his inner circle had fled, no-one knew where, and Tarlanor was without a capital. The kingdom collapsed, destabilizing the whole north of Alair.

Eloy married a witch, and the Fae Mhor had another try and stealing Gorfang's black sword. Finally, the PCs lured the dragon Setram into a trap and killed him, rescuing Eloy from his dilemma of fulfilling his pact with his demon.

That marked the end of Alair Returns, though some spin-off adventures were run later under the campaign Alair3.