Aftermath: The Crysanthemum Throne

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This page is a plot summary and infodump for Archmage's D&D 4th Edition tabletop game. Please check the talk page for more meta-game information and to communicate regarding scheduling and real-world details.

Campaign Overview

Setting

The setting for this campaign will be the continent of Ka'thalar in the Gaera Main universe. You may also want to familiarize yourself with the nations of Igala--everyone living on Ka'thalar now likely immigrated from Doma, Riva, Baron, Nekonia, Inustan, or Kalshana.

See the categories for deities, races, and nations for more detailed information; some of the bits about Ka'thalar are incomplete and do not make reference to more current events. The setting is mostly serious, but much of it is flavored with puns, in-jokes, largely intentional use of clichés, and references to Japanese anime and RPGs. Laugh at it and move on.

All of the core 4th Edition races and classes are available with some minor flavor adjustments and a few additional options:

  • Dragonborn are half-dragons. Unlike the dragonborn description in the PHB, dragon-halves do have tails. Dragons are associated with their element, not with their color (or metal) and are not limited to any specific alignments. A dragon-half's breath weapon and scale color will always match.
  • Tieflings are half-demons. Demons in Gaera are not necessarily evil, but their society and culture are a bit more vicious than most humanoids would like.
  • Eladrin are high elves and elves are wood elves.
  • Inujin and nekojin are playable races.

Background

The Mad Wizard

For a more detailed summary, see the article for Dark Obsessions.

In 1315 EP the necromancer Elaith Thenswick, hoping to conquer Igala and win the endearment of Genevive Sarith, amassed an army of undead and began searching for the Orb of Prismatic Dragonkind. Unfortunately for the free world, Thenswick acquired the Orb and enslaved a number of supremely powerful dragons. Were it not for the efforts of a group of adventurers aided and supported by the Doman Army, Thenswick might have succeeded.

The war with Elaith laid waste to much of Ka'thalar's surface territories. Fear and uncertainty led the current inhabitants--mostly humans, elves, nekojin, and inujin--to consider a variety of possibilities for the restructuring of the continent.

The Reconstruction

Numerous small groups sprung up all over Ka'thalar's contested area and began fighting to control the continent.

Kathalar factions.png

The major factions were as follows:

  • Crusaders of Tunare: Green. A group of wood elf druids who desired to unite the continent under the nature goddess Tunare.
  • Enlightened Monarchy of Asharia: Maroon. A human faction whose leader made a deal with a balor. Once this particular treachery was discovered, Asharia fell to the combined alliance of several other factions.
  • Order of the Silver Falcon: Light blue. An order-obsessed faction.
  • Karzak's Expedition: Dark blue. An orcish settlement party led by a powerful diviner.
  • Unification Movement of Ka'thalar: Orange. A mixed-race faction led by a Nekonian samurai. Opposed to nationalism and dedicated to fairness and justice.
  • Coalition of Andur: Purple. An alliance of woodcutters and farmers whose homes were destroyed in the war with Elaith that settled their differences to try to unify the continent under a single banner.
  • Fideleo's Hounds: Brown. A mostly-inujin faction led by a paladin who was convinced that the destruction wrought by Elaith was due to a lack of faith in god. Its supporters were all worshippers of Inugami, and their goals for the rest of the continent were simple--force everyone else to convert, die, or leave.
  • The Fatal Paw: Red. A nationalist nekojin faction led by a samurai warlord who wanted to eliminate all those on the continent not loyal to Nekonia.
  • The White Roses: Silver. A mostly human faction led by a bard from Baron. The primary goal of the White Roses was to establish a democratic republic allowing government by the people.

At the end of the Reconstruction, new political boundaries were ultimately drawn based on treaties and diplomatic negotiations:

New Kathalar political.png

The orcs were expelled from the continent and the wood elves were ultimately confined to the northern forests. The inujin have been hemmed into their own small theocratic nation. Most of the territory to the west of the river is now split between what was the Coalition of Andur and the Unification Movement of Ka'thalar--the northern region is now all referred to as Tarragon (orange), and the southern region is now all called Andur.

East of the river, Kazeroran and the other territories were ultimately subjugated by the New Nekonian faction calling itself "The Fatal Paw." The entire east is now under the control of the nekojin warlord Yukio Takahashi.

Rebellion

Daimyo Takahashi has proclaimed himself Emperor of New Nekonia. The once-independent communities of eastern Ka'thalar now fly the flag of the Fatal Paw. Non-nekojin citizens are second-class at best--many are literally enslaved, forced to work in labor camps or mines. Anyone who challenges the ethnic superiority of the nekojin ruling class is harshly punished.

A small group of Kazeroran citizens have gathered together to make a stand against the oppression of the New Nekonian occupation. While their numbers are few and their forces are weak, all hope is not yet lost. It is said that the leader of the White Roses, Tristan Kavanaugh, is still alive and potentially a prisoner of the imperial army. There may be weapons and tools to loot in the remnants of Elaith's fortress that might turn the tide. Diplomacy with other nations might convince their leaders that Emperor Takahashi is a threat that must be eliminated. The common people must be reminded that their future is not hopeless as long as their wills are strong.

This is where you come in.

Mechanics and Gameplay

Basics

This is a 4th Edition D&D campaign. Character creation parameters are as follows:

  • 1st level.
  • Standard starting wealth--100 mrr (GP) each.
  • All published classes and races are available.
    • If you have the book with the info to do so, I'll permit other races as well--drow, warforged, genasi, whatever.

Optional parameters include no items, Fox only, and Final Destination.

Gaera-specific Races

The following races are not listed in the PHB.

  • Nekojin are anthropomorophic cat-people. They have appropriately large ears and long tails and come in a variety of colors and sizes. Nekojin are roughly the same height as humans and are are well-muscled and sleek. They are typically very agile and perceptive creatures.
    • Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom
    • Size: Medium
    • Speed: 7 squares
    • Vision: Low-light
    • Languages: Common, Nekonian
    • Skill Bonuses: +2 Acrobatics, +2 Perception
    • Lightfoot: A nekojin may move at full speed when using the Stealth skill without penalty.
    • Alertness: Nekojin get a +2 bonus to Initiative checks.
  • Inujin are dog-like humanoids. Their appearance is highly variable, but they tend to have characteristics resembling varying breeds of dogs ranging from greyhounds to doberman pinschers. Inujin value loyalty, honesty, and courage. They are strong and sturdy humanoids.
    • Ability Scores:+2 Strength, +2 Wisdom
    • Size: Medium
    • Speed: 6 squares
    • Vision: Normal
    • Languages: Common, Inustani
    • Skill Bonuses: +2 Endurance, +2 Religion
    • Ferocious Charge: A charging inujin may move an additional 2 squares and gets an additional +1 bonus to attack rolls when charging.
    • Canine Endurance: An inujin gets 2 additional healing surges per day.

Gaeran Deities

Some deities of specific import:

  • Kazeros is the god of freedom for which Kazeroran is named. His alignment is Good. He makes no specific demands of his followers but wants his people to have liberty and fulfillment. He is worshipped by bards, travellers, and revolutionaries.
  • Ashura is the goddess of life. Her alignment is Good. Her primary commandment is that life is sacred and should be preserved at all costs, but she does not demand pacifism from her worshippers. She is worshipped by healers, physicians, and many common people.
  • Exinde is the god of knowledge, logic, and reasoning. His alignment is Neutral. He commands his followers to accumulate and pursue knowledge in all its forms. He is worshipped by sages, scribes, wizards, engineers, and scientists.
  • Ishtar and Primaer are the creator goddess and god of Gaera. They are mother and father to many of the other deities and have broad domains. Ishtar is more commonly worshipped than Primaer, but they both draw reverence from a wide variety of people.
  • Nakibe is the god of chaos. His alignment is Neutral. He is not the type to make specific demands of his followers. He generally revels in disorder--but not necessarily in destruction.
  • Reshtaha is the god of death. His alignment is Neutral. He commands his followers to respect death as a necessary part of life and acknowledge that all things must come to an end. Priests of Reshtaha are generally familiar with a wide variety of funeral customs.
  • Mithra is the god of justice. His alignment is Lawful Good. He insists that his followers uphold the law and that criminals and villains receive their due punishment. He is commonly worshipped by guards, judges, and knights.
  • Ryuugami is the goddess of dragons. Her alignment is Good. She is the protector of dragonkind and is mostly worshipped by them.
  • Inugami, also called Fideleo, is the god of inujin. His alignment is Lawful Good. He values loyalty, honor, honesty, and fidelity. Most of his followers are inujin.
  • Nekogami is the goddess of nekojin. Her alignment is Good. Most of her followers are nekojin.
  • Tunare is the goddess of nature. Her alignment is Neutral. She commands that all people have respect for the power of nature--both its abundant gifts and its destructive tendencies. Druids and farmers commonly worship her.
  • Leviathan is the serpent god of water and the sea. His alignment is Neutral. He is sometimes referred to as "King of the Summoned Monsters." He is sometimes worshipped by sailors and fishermen.
  • Shamaya is the goddess of order. Her alignment is Lawful Good.
  • Nikumu is the god of hatred. His alignment is Evil. He is empowered by sadism, bigotry, and intolerance. Most of his followers are drow.
  • Odin is the Baronian god of war and death. His alignment is Neutral. He is empowered by conquest and battle. Most of his followers are soldiers, nobles, and warlords.
  • Dammara is the god of revelry and thievery. His alignment is Neutral. His commandments are few, but most of his followers believe strongly in the principle of "finders keepers." He is worshipped primarily by bards, pickpockets, and tricksters.

There also exist four elemental lords--air, water, fire, and earth--that occasionally draw worshippers. All of them are Neutral. Most of the worshippers of the elemental lords on Igala and Ka'thalar are druids, but their worship is more widespread in Prandia.

Session Summaries

One: Prison Break

Meztli Kuu, Glen Abernathy, Sarmere, and Gilthas break into a remote New Nekonian labor camp thanks to Meztli's ability to bribe a mercenary in their employ. They manage to wipe out just about everyone staffing the camp and befriend two of the prisoners there, Joachim and Ishmael. The camp is their new base of operations, and plans are in the works for Meztli to continue sending (forged) correspondence and reports to connected camps in order to have more prisoners transferred there to join the White Roses.

Two: Pet Owners

After raiding the first caravan that attempts to bring supplies and pick up lumber, the party razes their current base and moves on to attempt to take another nearby. They take with them a captive merchant named Noboru and his beloved pet snake Hibiki, along with an elf named Maeve, who was due to be transferred to the camp and joined them instead. At the new camp, they find it deserted after the miners uncovered a terrible mystery in the mines.

In the mines, they found what appeared to be the hidden stronghold of some mad wizard. Signs point to "Kenji the Slippery," a man so fascinated by chimeras that he seemed hell-bent on creating a nekojin-mindflayer hybrid. In his stronghold, they found a mazoku named Saelim. He has decided that maybe he owes them a favor. Which might be good, or not.

Also, Joachim spoke, calling Gilthas an asshole for making fun of his assumed inability to talk.

Three: ALL YOUR BASE

Documents found at the mining camp revealed the presence of a White Roses fort to the north of the camp's current position and the party set forth to acquire a new and hopefully more permanent base of operations. However, the base was now occupied by nekojin and was very heavily guarded. Despite locating a secret passageway that led a from the forest into the fort's temple, the party decided not to assault the base and to instead travel to another labor camp near the river.

However, in transit, Saelim appeared to chit-chat with the group. They suggested that he "clear out" the fort and the idea of getting to kill numerous nekojin apparently appealed to him; the group promptly turned around and returned to the fort to find that everyone inside except for a few stragglers had been mercilessly slaughtered. After dealing with the few remaining nekojin soldiers, Meztli and Co. cleaned up the place and decided to use it. They also liberated many former White Roses soldiers who were being held prisoner; now the party had the beginnings of a real army!

The next week or so was then dedicated to planning the group's next move--fortifying the camp, training the new recruits, and building weapons.

Four: The Haunt Begins!

Unfortunately, not quite two weeks after the group moved into their new home, the vengeful spirits of those viciously killed by Saelim attempted to take revenge on the party. After fighting off a large number of phantoms, spectres, and a particularly resiliant wraith, a bit of a dispute arose regarding whether or not it had been wise to ask Saelim for his help in the first place.

Maeve, with implied consent from Glenn and Joachim, attempted to steal Saelim's runestone from Sarmere while the earthsoul slept; unfortunately, she was caught. Sarmere decided to go attempt to hide the stone in the woods, but Maeve pursued him and the entire party eventually got involved. "Trapped" in the secret tunnel leading out of the base, Sarmere activated the stone and summoned Saelim. After a brief conversation, Saelim departed and Sarmere took a nap in the tunnel.

When the party found Sarmere, they immediately began to question his motives and his loyalty. After considerable dispute and discussion the earthsoul was thrown into a holding cell while the others decided what to do with him. Several days later it was decided that he clearly had meant no harm and the group decided to release him--Joachim's actions as a mediator played no small role in the group's decision.

It was at this point that the party ordered a scout to head to Kazeroran to pick up supplies--and a cleric, if possible. However, the scout turned around early to return and give the army advance warning--a huge contingent of nekojin troops, at least several hundred, were marching on the fort and only three days away!

Five: Logrolled

The PCs decided to exit their fort while the enemy was still several days out and circle around the enemy to make surgical strikes at their siege, supply lines, and leadership. However, much to their dismay, the siege engines were well-protected in the middle of the column. Further investigation revealed that most of the supply caravan was located around the back end of the enemy.

After fighting off some nekojin "lizard cavalry," Gilthas went ahead of the party equipped with "molotov cocktail" arrows improvised from lamp oil, cloth, and glass vials. A few good shots resulted in the elf setting a portion of the enemy's supply caravan ablaze, but he was ambushed by a scouting enemy unit when he tried to make his retreat! The enemy, which included several golem-like humanoids, was clearly too much for the ranger to handle and he managed to outrun and lose them in the forest instead of fighting. The party then regrouped and headed back to the fort.

When the New Nekonian Imperial Army reached the base they sent forth a representative (dressed not in armor, but in robes and finery--like a politician) to negotiate with the PCs. Unanimously deciding that "unconditional surrender" was a bad idea, the group exchanged siege weapon fire with the enemy--badly wounding and nearly killing several of the PCs who were up on the walls when the catapult volleys started flying. Clever use of flaming arrows and lucky catapult shots disabled the enemy siege and forced them to back into the woods, but the fortifications were badly damaged and many lives had been lost.

It was at this point that the nekojin representative came forth again and demanded to know the whereabouts of "the demi-fiend," presumably referring to Saelim, and it occurred to the party later that not only had some nekojin possibly escaped Saelim's assault, but that he potentially let them go.

The PCs then devised a ridiculous but novel plan--since they had the advantage of elevation and the enemy was camped at the bottom of the hill, the White Roses army would take several dozen felled trees and logs from storage, pour oil on them, ignite them, and throw the flaming logs from the battlements, causing them to roll down into the enemy camp and hopefully create a considerable disturbance! The plan was apparently at least moderately successful, as the fires and chaos were apparent even from the walls of the fort, and in the morning, the nekojin army had pulled back from their position on the hill...

Six: Send in the Clowns

The PCs went out to examine the remains of the enemy camp, attempting to determine how much damage they did, and discovered that the nekojin had been forced to retreat to the treeline. After searching the wreckage for anything useful, the party went back to the fort to discuss strategy. The group eventually decided that the best solution was to take advantage of the Nekonian sense of honor and challenge the army's leadership to a duel. The PCs attempted to negotiate with the New Nekonian Royal Inquisitor Ishida Kawashima--and when they proposed the duel, Kawashima accepted. But much to the PCs' surprise, the duel was to be 3 on 7--Kawashima and his two bodyguards versus the party!

At the end of an extremely tough fight, Kawashima displayed cowardice and fled the battlefield. Disheartened, the New Nekonian army kept its word and withdrew--for the moment. Searching the bodies of the fallen, Sarmere discovered a sword that spoke telepathically into the genasi's mind--the mighty Istafein, slayer of gods! So far, Istafein's abilities are something of a mystery, but he seems to be able to transform into a wide variety of bladed weaponry on command (and he is very sharp).

That evening, a strange blue-haired man came to the front gate of the fort and requested to enter. As it turned out, the visitor was Hakaril Silvar, General of the Doman Army! According to his story, he had been sent by Doma to investigate the situation on Ka'thalar. The emperor of New Nekonia had granted him an audience and arranged quarters for him--but ninja attempted to assassinate the archmage while he slept. His airship destroyed, Hakaril escaped and had travelled across the continent looking for the group who was supposedly fighting to free Ka'thalar from Daimyo Takahashi's rule.

A second ambassador arrived a few days later--a human named Leon Astbury. Leon claimed to represent Daisuke Itagaki, another nekojin warlord who had been a rival of Takahashi. Leon told the PCs that Itagaki was hoping to overthrow Takahashi as well and wanted to pursue an alliance...

Seven: Just Add Politics

Hakaril departed for Kazeroran in hopes that he could get spell components that he would need to get back to Igala and the group decided to agree to work with Daimyo Itagaki--for now. Eventually, the PCs decided that they should visit Kazeroran on their own to resupply and attempt to get more information. Joachim, in particular, wanted to mail a letter in hopes of tracking down a female nekojin member of the Kasai Clan with whom he had some past connection.

The party killed some angry owlbears sent by some unknown entity to kill Glenn, possibly due to his apparent connection to a fey lord on Igala (!?), Maeve spent some time enjoying the city, Ishmael lost a few gold at the local casino (and cooked a delicious owlbear risotto), Joachim finally managed to get himself some female company, Gilthas befriended a wolf, Sarmere continued to bond with Istafein, and the whole party discovered that the inn where they were staying was actually the heart of Kazeroran's underground revolution. The barkeep, Katya Malinovsky, brews the finest sake in the empire--and continues to supply the emperor with her fine drink to keep him out of her hair. The group also met Hideyoshi, a nekojin actor-turned-smuggler displeased with the emperor's ban on art that does not increase the glory of the state, and Tathlin, a drow cleric of Exinde.

Having acquired some useful social contacts--namely revolutionaries and smugglers--the party departed from Kazeroran and headed back to their fort to plan the next move...