So Many Levels: Story So Far (Episodes 1-63)

Prepare yourself, for I shall tell you now about the Heroes of Legend! A collection of individuals who have risen from humble beginnings to full-fledged adventurers on an epic quest to save the universe on So Many Levels!

But every heroic tale first requires a setting, and the Heroes of Legend arose within the world of Seikamien.

 

Seikamien

It is a world of magic and mystery! Of spirits and suspense! Of Dungeons and Dragons! *Wink*

In Seikamien, raw magic permeates the land, imparting spiritual energy to everything it touches. Where this energy concentrates, spirits arise. The nature of each spirit is shaped by the wilderness and the mortal creatures that surround it. They come in all shapes and sizes, from harmless sprites to enormous and powerful creatures. In places where sentient species have chosen to worship these spirits, they can become godlike, rewarding their subjects with powerful magics and natural gifts.

 

The Party Forms

Into this world come our heroes. They met by chance at a tavern, having each contracted the same wagon for a ride to the Capital City of Villanocta.

Autarchy – Tiefling Paladin

 

Autarchy, nicknamed Archie, is a red-skinned, black-haired tiefling. Years ago, his mother had succumbed to demonic whispers of madness, leading to tragedy. Haunted by this, Autarchy swore an oath to seek out and vanquish whatever fiends might seek to control mortals for their own evil desires. A spirit from beyond the material plane felt his conviction, and has granted Autarchy its power as a Paladin of Vengeance.

 

Nira – High Elf Cleric

 

Nirakina Ethu, a high-elf who hails from Fa-Rusha, a secret city on the slopes of Mount Rushama, the enormous mountain that towers above the world. In her culture many seek the favor of the Spirit of Rushama, but this spirit has recently broken tradition, by picking Nira as its Cleric against her will. Conflicted about her own divine magics, Nira set forth on her first pilgrimage.

 

 

 

 

Amethyst – Human Druid

 

Amethyst, a white-haired, young human woman, woke in a boarding house with no memory of how she got there. Or of who she was. All she knew was that she had an affinity for nature, tapping into ancient druidic magics to read the land, and even transform herself into various creatures.

Muugen the Magnificent – Fox-Monkey Rogue

 

Muugen the Magnificent was hard to describe. Once human, Muugen had been cursed into a hybrid form, with the head, fur and tail of a fox, but the body of a monkey. Never one to let life’s travails get them down, Muugen set out to make the best of it, by posing as a fox spirit to scam people into paying for spiritual cleansings.

 

 

 

 

The Adventure Begins (Episodes 1-7)

Together, these four set out for Villanocta, but their journey was interrupted by a goblin attack. It turned out that their driver was also secretly transporting a powerful magical artifact, and a genasi wizard named Zoareth stole it away.

Our heroes set out to recover this artifact, and pursued Zoareth through an ancient temple. On the way, they experienced an odd temporal wave, which briefly transported them back in time. There, they saw the original purpose of this artifact.  An immensely powerful Demon Lord had been summoned to the material plane and another party of adventurers used the artifact to pluck that moment from the timeline, sealing it inside a crystal sphere that became known as “The Stolen Moment.”

Two of our adventurers discovered unsettling personal connections to this event. Autarchy realized that this summoned Demon Lord was the source of his own Tiefling bloodline, and also the cause of his mother’s madness. While Nira discovered that this occult summoning took place deep underground, directly below Mount Rushama.

Returned to their present, our heroes caught up with Zoareth, who intended to restore the Stolen moment to the timeline, releasing the Demon Lord. They interrupted his dark ritual, spinning it out of control. The Stolen Moment exploded.

When our heroes awoke, Zoareth was nowhere to be found, the Stolen Moment seemed to be empty of the energy once trapped inside, and each of them bore a scar from magical shrapnel. But when they emerged from the temple, they discovered that they had been sealed inside for 100 years, and the world was not as they had left it.

 

100 Years Later (Episodes 8 – 15)

For starters, the tale of their journey into the temple and the resulting mystical explosion had now entered the realm of folklore, and the party found themselves named as Heroes of Legend.

The simple river spirit that they had placated was now an enormous dragon, named Sitslebik. The hobgoblin that they humiliated was now a dark warlock known as the “Hatching Phoenix”. Jinxie, the charmingly sinister shape-changer had made her way to the Villanocta royal council.

Villanocta itself had changed. Once the capital of its own nation, it was now merely a city-state, surrounded by the Tashmian Empire, maintaining its sovereignity only by surrendering the rest of its land.

Worst of all, fissures in space-time had begun emerging all over the land, glowing purple tears in space, with monsters and dark energy flowing through to threaten anyone nearby.

Our Heroes set out for Villanocta, hoping to finally deliver The Stolen Moment to its original recipient, an elven wizard named Melicanth, the woman who had once used it to seal the Demon Lord away.

She told them that the strange fissures were only a symptom of a coming calamity. With a piece missing from the timeline, all of the multiverse was slowly shattering. But the strange scars gave each of them the power to seal these fissures, and perhaps to heal the world!

 

Complications in Villanocta (Episodes 16 – 25)

But first, there were some problems.

For one, Jinxie, the mischievous shape-changer, decided to have some fun with our heroes, playing harmless games like setting fires and framing ambassadors. With Melicanth’s help, our heroes were able to banish her to another plane.

Then came the army of hobgoblins. The Hatching Phoenix had used his new dark powers to unite the warring clans. Informed by his patron that our heroes had emerged at last from the temple, he sought to slay them and steal the artifact for himself.

Fearing that a full-scale invasion would lead to too much bloodshed, our heroes offered to challenge the Hatching Phoenix to combat. They discovered that the hobgoblin had one of these magical fissures embedded within his chest. They fought him, and sealed the fissure, emerging victorious, turning back the hobgoblin threat and rescuing hostages.

During this time, Muugen had a spiritual awakening, called to the temple of a mischief spirit, named Hulijing. Once satisfied with roguish escapades, Muugen now became an initiate monk, contradictorily dedicated to a code of chaos.

Inspired by the bravery they displayed fighting the hobgoblins, a halfling scout captain known as Andree Brushgather decided to accompany our heroes and to help them continue their work to heal the world.

Melicanth provided a map, which showed them the locations of other nearby fissures, and tasked them with sealing the tears once and for all. Meanwhile, she held on to the artifact itself, to better study it, and its effect on the world.

Regional Map of Villanocta and the Tashmian Empire – Enchanted to show the fissures.

 

The Barrier Mountains (Episodes 26 – 34)

The Heroes of Legend decided to travel st to the Barrier Mountains, to seek out one of the strange fissures. Within the dwarven city, they tracked the mystical energy signature to the domain of the Copperbeard clan, and to mine, deep underground. The mine had been abandoned for two years after a mysterious accident had occurred there. Ever since, anyone sent to investigate had failed to return.

Within the mine, the party found Alaric Copperbeard, the heir to the Copperbeard clan, thought dead following the mine accident.

Alaric – Dwarf Fighter

In actuality, Alaric had trapped in the mine since the original accident, when an enormous steam-powered golem, the creation of a gnome named Denholm, apparently turned on its creator and killed everyone else within the mine. Everyone save Alaric, who had spent the last two years in a terrifying game of hide and seek, unable to escape.

With Alaric’s help, the Heroes of Legend are able to deactivate the steam golem. Grateful, Alaric offers to guide them deeper into the mine, where they discover not one, but two dimensional fissures. One of them sucks them into an endless labyrinth of tunnels filled with nothing but howling winds.

Only Nira’s memory of a childhood prayer to Rushama leads them back to safety, and the fissure is closed through the party’s mystical connection to the Stolen Moment. The other fissure is guarded by a small army of strange constructs that are building an incomprehensibly complex machine. When asked its purpose, they replied only: “It’s the Law”. A battle ensued, but the Heroes of Legend prevailed, once again sealing the fissure.

Their triumph turned to sadness, however, when Muugen disappeared into a flash of purple light, vanishing without a trace. With no way to know their companion’s fate, the Heroes of Legend had no choice but to move on without their friend.

Alaric, having discovered that the golem went berserk as the result of his father’s meddling, decides that he would rather not stay, and chooses instead to accompany the Heroes of Legend on their mission.

 

Lake Elemon (Episodes 35 – 46)

Leaving the Barrier Mountains, the party heads next toward Lake Elemon, an ancient lake ruled over by an immensely powerful spirit. And also, apparently, the location of another fissure.

Along the way, the party indulges in a few side missions, hunting a bulette and a flail snail, for their tough leather and magic-repelling shell respectively. They also clear a bunch of giant spiders out of what turns out to be a counterfeit healing potion factory.

As they neared the city of Elemontia, on the Northern bank of Lake Elemon, they discovered it half-flooded. The lake was bigger, and the already greedy spirit of the lake had gotten.. creepier.  While investigating the town, the party met a woman named Kaleesta, who seemed a friend at first, but then betrayed them and confirmed their fears. Apparently, the Spirit of Lake Elemon was now accepting human sacrifices.

The party avoided that particular grisly fate, but they still had a fissure to close, and it was at the bottom of the lake, deep within its ancient depths. And the godlike spirit was not prepared to cooperate. It told them that, when they closed a fissure, another one would open somewhere else. It told them that Nira’s patron spirit, Rushama, was nothing but a hollow shell. Even worse, it claimed that the universe was doomed, and the only hope was to preserve as much as possible.

The fissure that had opened at the bottom of the lake had given the spirit access to fish-like people known as Kuo-Toa, who had a unique ability to generate spiritual energy through worship. That ability had granted the spirit of Lake Elemon it’s recent increase in power.

The Kuo-Toa had been grateful to the spirit, for rescuing them from alien creatures that had invaded their own plane, but instead of leaving their home behind, what they really wanted was help in going back to fight. They used their power to create a back door, allowing the Heroes of Legend to travel to the Elemental Plane of Water and seal off the invasion site, giving the Kuo-Toa there a fighting chance.

During their mission, Alaric and Nira found themselves briefly whisked away by an Arch-Fae named Queen Heratemis, of the Twilight Court. After testing them in combat, she allowed them to ask her three questions. She told them that she was the original creator of the Stolen Moment, and that the only way to permanently repair the universe was to restore the Stolen Moment, healing the timeline, but releasing the Demon Lord.  To Nira’s dismay, she also confirmed that Rushama had been at least partially corrupted by evil, and that her people were preparing for war. The part of Rushama that Nira carried inside her sadly informed her that it was the last pure part of himself.

Upon their return to the material plane, the spirit of Lake Elemon was enraged, and was on the verge of killing them. Then the Kuo-Toa, now convinced that the party was more worthy of their worship, stripped the spirit of much of its power, allowing the Heroes of Legend to destroy the ancient being, scattering its energies into thousands of new, tiny spirits, choosing chaos over rigid control.

Grateful, the Kuo-Toa granted the Heroes of Legend their blessing before returning to their home plane. Now able to breathe water, swim swiftly and speak Kuo-Toan, the party now returned to the surface.

 

On the Run (Episodes 47 – 49)

They were greeted by their old friend Sitslebik, the dragon spirit, now made even more powerful by the destruction of the ancient lake spirit. He offered to take control of the lake’s spirits, but accepted the party’s request that he allow the new spirits to find their own way.

Amethyst also received a vision from the Lord of the Hunt, another powerful arch-fey, consort of Queen Heratemis. Oddly formal, he informed her that she and her party was now his quarry. His goal: to return the Stolen Moment to its creator. He also warned that Queen Solomonia, of the Dawn Court, desired the Stolen Moment for her own ends, and that she could track the party with their blood.

Leaving the lake behind, they were contacted by Melicanth, who warned them that she had fled Villanocta, and that they were all now being hunted. She suggested that they rendezvous with her where they had first met each other: The town of Gorne.

On the way there, they were attacked by a strange apparition. Zoareth, the evil wizard that they had encountered at the start of their adventure. Though the Heroes fought bravely, Amethyst was killed. As her soul drifted free from her body into the Astral Sea, she encountered Zoareth again, who told her: “Nothing personal. I just needed a ride.”

She awoke, alive, back with her friends, but the rest of the party watched in horror as Zoareth, also now back in his physical body, teleported away.

Hunted by multiple arch-fey, an old enemy now back on the loose, and their original plan in tatters, it was all the more urgent that they rendezvous with Melicanth and choose a new path forward.

As they approached Gorne, they discovered it surrounded by Tashmian Military, encamped just outside the city. The party made their way through the encampment, and discovered that the army had been stationed here temporarily, while negotiations with the remaining Hobgoblins were carried out. Recognized as the heroes who had turned back the hobgoblin assault on Villanocta, the party was invited to meet and dine with Brigadier General Thaddeus Singh.

Grateful and respectful, the Brigadier General informed the party that, in thanks for their efforts, they had been granted an audience with the Emperor, and would likely receive a commendation that included both titles and land as a reward. The only catch, they would have to travel south to the capital of Pashan to accept. And it just so happened that their enchanted map showed a fissure located in Pashan.

The party, unsure how much to trust this general, politely declined a military escort, and said they would find their own way after they concluded other business.

 

Confessions (Episode 50)

That night, Melicanth found them, and invited them to meet with her inside a magically conjured mansion. It was time, she said, for her to be fully honest with them. Her own studies of the Stolen Moment had led her to the conclusion that the only way to repair the universe was to return the demon-summoning to the timeline. The artifact would need to be further charged, but with her own magic, she could return herself and the party to that moment in their current states, and then hopefully defeat the Demon Lord.

Because this aligned with what the Fae Queen had told them, the party grimly agreed that this might be their only hope.

Melicanth also confessed that, decades before the party awoke in the temple, her former adventuring partner Talia, who had become Queen of Villanocta, had so opposed this plan that she forced Melicanth into combat, and Melicanth reluctantly killed her, restarting the war that led to the Tashmian Empire’s victory. Since then, she had been consumed with guilt, both for originally using the Stolen Moment, and for everything that had happened since. This left her determined to undo those mistakes by correcting the timeline.

In order to enact their plan, the party would have to seal more fissures, further charging the Stolen Moment. Unfortunately, this would also make it more attractive to the Arch-Fae who hunted them.

When they emerged from Melicanth’s Mansion, they were ambushed by Zoareth. Scarred by the Stolen Moment at the same time as the party, he used his new ability to create fissures and summoned one of the Demon-Lord’s Lieutenants to destroy Gorne, before disappearing once more.

Thankfully, with the help of the Brigadier General and the Tashmian Armed Forces, the Heroes of Legend were able to defeat the powerful demon, but as soon as they closed the fissure that Zoareth had created, they each felt the presence of Queen Solomonia, Arch-Fae of the Dawn Court, within their minds.

 

Goodbyes and Hellos (Episodes 51-53)

Moving quickly, Melicanth cast nondetection magic upon all of them, and prepared to teleport the party into hiding. Before they could leave, however, their longtime companion Andree left them. The talk of changing the timeline was something that she couldn’t pursue without seeing her family again. So the party bid her a sad farewell, hoping to see her again someday.

Melicanth’s teleport spell carried them far to the West, to the Golden Plains of the Western Penninsula, near the town of Oosh Bithra, also known as “Oasis of the Plains”. There she hoped that a Dragonborn enchanter named Karah could help them make permanent nondetection charms to shield them from fae scrying.

Karah, now going by “Carrot” was the daughter of Rake, one of Melicanth’s old adventuring companions. With her wife, “Stick”, and her son Drokero, AKA “Doke”, she ran an enchanting business. She agreed to make the charms, and to hand over some of Melicanth’s old magic items, but not for free.

The nearby community of Stone Giants had ordered an extra-large Immovable Rod, but had never come to pick it up, or pay for it. If the party could deliver the rod, and return with the payment, Carrot would consider that a worthy trade. But she warned them that “Deke”, one of their employees, had attempted to contact the stone giants previously, and had not returned.

With Doke accompanying them as a translator, the party agreed to make the delivery, but first, they hoped to explore Oosh Bithra a bit. With their young tour guide leading the way, the Heroes of Legend met a number of townsfolk. A pair of feuding steel and leather merchants bickered with each other but still took the party’s orders for armor made from the Bulette hide they’d been carrying around. A sketchy High Elf named Teryllen appealed to Nira’s heritage and got the party to help him “recover” “his” goods from a “thief.” A VERY friendly tiefling bartender named Modesty took a shine to Autarchy and the two of them entertained each other in private for a while. Doke got drunk and showed off some of his magic, and one of his friends, an air genasi named Portent, read the party’s fortune. She told them they would encounter: “An ugly ally, dark games, and a door that needs light.”

During all this, Amethyst seemed distracted, and the reason was soon revealed. The Lord of the Hunt had once again paid her a telepathic visit, and then whisked her away to play a game of Questions and Answers. He promised that she would be safe and that he would return her soon, but for now, Amethyst was gone.

 

A Giant Problem (Episodes 54 – 63)

In the morning, the Heroes of Legend, minus Amethyst, but plus Doke, set out for Mochto Vista, the Stone Giant city. Reaching the plateau and enormous cavern that the stone giants called home, the party found it deserted and falling into disrepair; piles of rubble blocking pathways and normally subterranean creatures making their way to the surface. The only giant they found was a female giant with strange physical deformities. Initially, this giant called them “bad dreams” and fled. The party immediately reflected on Portent’s prophecy: An Ugly Ally? Upon re-lighting the broken beacon that lit the city, the party found themselves under the assault of an enormous creature that swam through the stone and emanated a magical darkness. The deformed stone giant helped them to escape and led them to a place of safety. She introduced herself as Granice, and told her sad story.

Born with her deformities, Granice had grown up among the stone giants, told to hide herself from smaller folk because they would judge her. Her life was contended enough, until the return of a Dream-Walker named Calcifa. Dream-walkers travel the world outside of the Stone Giant city, which is thought of as less real than life inside the city, by Stone Giant Tradition. On her journey, Calcifa had seen something, and she began preaching that all the Stone Giants must prepare for “the dream” to end. In listening to Calcifa speak, Granice detected and resisted a magical persuasion. Her fellow giants weren’t so lucky, and they were persuaded by Calcifa to lock themselves in an enormous vault, where magic would turn all of them, save Calcifa herself, to stone. When Granice protested this plan, she was banished. Since the Stone Giants had locked themselves away, other creatures which had previously feared the stone giants made their way to the surface, including a sadistic and vicious Cave Dragon, which was the dark creature the party had faced before.

To enter the Stone Giant vault, the party would need to reactivate the beacon and illuminate an enormous statue. Only trouble, the Cave Dragon had stolen a necessary component, forcing the Heroes of Legend into combat. The party earns a brief reprieve by challenging the Cave Dragon to a rock-throwing competition in his lair, (Dark Games), but when the dragon is bested, he refuses to live up to his side of the arrangement, and the party is forced to kill him after all.

Without the Cave Dragon to hastle them, the party re-illuminates the story statue, which casts an enormous shadow mural on the cavern walls, telling of how the Stone Giants were retreating from the end of the world, hoping to “wake up” in the real world once the dream was over. With the statue illuminated, the vault door appeared. (A door that needs light.)

Inside, they found Calcifa, gaunt and exhausted, seated at the foot of an enormous statue, the representation of the Stone Giant’s patron spirit. Calcifa initially ignored the party, but when forced to interact, she professed true belief in what she had told the other giants, and insisted that it was what was best for all of them. Unable to persuade her otherwise, Nira offered to let Calcifa read her mind, which required that Nira be temporarily turned to stone. However, seeing Nira’s thoughts only reinforced Calcifa’s position that attempting to forestall the end of “the dream” was futile. Calcifa did restore Nira, as well as the other non-giants she had petrified, including Deke, the Carrot and Stick’s missing employee.

At a stalemate, the Heroes of Legend was prepared to leave for the time being, but then Granice used her own magic to curse Calcifa with her own physical deformities. Enraged, Calcifa, AND THE GIANT STATUE, attack. The Heroes of Legend rush to defend Granice, and Calcifa is killed. As soon as she falls, the statue once again goes motionless. Nira examines a strange rod that Calcifa had been holding, and to her horror, realizes that the Stone Giant Spirit has been stripped of its will and imprisoned in the statue, now only able to act under the control of whoever wielded the control rod.

Needing a rest before they could continue helping the stone giants, the party went to find a place to sleep, and suddenly, Amethyst returned! With the Lord of the Hunt, she had played a game wherein she answered his questions in exchange for him answering her own. In doing this, she gained valuable intelligence on the various powers hunting the Stolen Moment. Hopefully, she had not revealed too much in return. That night, a wild and powerful thunderstorm spirit raged across the Golden Plains, and Nira felt herself drawn to it. Faced with its raw and mindless power, Rushama spoke to her, asking what she wanted of him: To be a slave, like the stone giant statue? To be nothing but raw spiritual power, like the storm? Nira expressed her desire for something in between. For her choice, Rushama granted Nira a boon.

In the morning, the party wakes to the sounds of mercenary scavengers attempting to loot the corpse of the cave dragon. Once confronted, the mercenaries relinquish the carcass but announce their intent to loot the rest of the city. The party attempts to intimidate them into leaving, but things turn bloody when the strange ancient halfling with the mercenaries reads Alaric’s mind and screams to attack! The party finishes off the mercenaries, taking the halfling alive for questioning, but Doke is left somewhat traumatized by the violence against humanoids.

 

All caught up? Ready to jump into the Video Version or Audio Podcast?  Or even watch LIVE on Twitch! Find out more here!

 

Cover Art and Character Art by Fuzzy Slug

Comments are closed.