Birth of the Gods
The Plot Outline
(EL 6) Wherever the PCs go, they will receive urgent news: The letters they have been carrying are not what they previously thought at all. The reason for their extreme secrecy is that they are in fact a coded letter that spells out nothing but: Atropos. It is actually from Elminster – whom the PCs find out has gone missing after their departure from Shadowdale. He is actually off trying to learn more about Atropos at Candlekeep and then at the Stone Giant library uncovered by the PCs. The PCs who delivered the letter are also the recipient of new news – directed specifically at them – that says fifty priests were murdered in Silverymoon by fanatical cultists (suspected to be Zhentarim but turns out they are NOT). The only thing discovered missing was an ancient manuscript, yet to be deciphered. It was recovered from Anauroch from some SUPER ancient ruins. (This is the Book of the Stillborn Gods which has been stolen from the church of Corellon? Khelben was coming from Waterdeep to help decipher this).
EVENT: About this time, a group of Zhentarim assassins tries to kill the PCs. This is done… um… In the pouring rain, dark, and there is poison involved. Rangers and warlocks I think. Maybe rogues, too. These assassins kill themselves rather than get caught.
At this time, Einar, son of Haldorn is also attacked by assassins, (PCs play out this attack). No reason they know of for this attack. Einar bears a huge tribal tattoo on his back, the mark of Atropos, which has been in his family for AGES. (Later they find a clue to its origins and meanings in Mithral Hall). It essentially marks him as one of the eight (one remaining alive) warriors entrusted to stand against Atropos.
Simultaneously, a sage (Astronomer Chaldeus) who meant to contact PCs is murdered by these assassins. Notebook says “Kale and Celiel have arrived in Silverymoon. Think they must know something of the B.S.G. or of A-
--s. Must contact them to show them research.” (This shit is research about the planet Gyst. This Sage is an astronomer and has an observatory of the stars.)
EVENT (Roughly EL 6-8) Exploring Chaldeus Observatory: The PCs get through this observatory, which they are summoned to via a strange letter requiring an urgent meeting from Chaldeus. They’ve gotta fight through a bunch of orcs and their minions, as well as a group of Zhentarim who assassinated him in the first place.
The council of kings or whatever it’s called asks the PCs to recover the book. No one knows how the Zhentarim are connected. The book has been moved to a Ziggurat in the jungles of Chuult.
(Roughly EL 8-10) Finding the Book of Stillborn Gods in Chult. This is based loosely on “The Eye of the Sun.” The eye of sunlight is instead a ray of necromantic energy. PCs can be teleported there and teleported back. There, they meet Zhentarim agents and get their first taste of a low-level inquisitor in battle. When they find the book (they actually find this relatively early. It hasn’t yet been brought into the depths of the Ziggurat) they realize it is the Book of Stillborn Gods… whatever THAT means. Beneath the ziggurat they find a HUGE burial ground. Three-thousand dead. Also research about how to somehow channel some sort of “emanation from the Gods” to raise them. Some careful observation of the Necromantic ray thing can once again lead to the planet Gyst. Still no idea about what that is though.
PCs return to Silverymoon or Waterdeep or something and are rewarded for mission. They think it’s over now. It aint.
Maybe a side quest or something. Possibilities include… um… random adventures. Don’t connect to plot-line. Just fun. Any research towards Atropos meets complete dead ends. No one from Lords Council can speak with them – they’re busy trying to sort out what’s up.
(EL 10 – Faint Sign) The priests and Lords Council contact the PCs again. They have uncovered the name of another tome amidst the mysterious research in the BSG. This book is called the Book of Vile Darkness and it is alluded to that this book contains the answers to their questions.
Now three factions are after the BVD. The Zhents, the followers of Gyx, and the PCs. Eventually they find out that it is in Mithral Hall. LONG fucking dungeon crawl maybe? Part The Zhents get it first, but the followers of Gyx slaughter them and take it. (At this point, unbeknownst to the PCs maybe, the Zhentarim have realized they were infiltrated, but they don’t know why or how. They’re looking for information too.)
At this point, things are going downhill. Rumours have begun to abound about freshly dead rising. Every nation soon finds itself at war. Evil or not. Rumors even begin that the Zhentarim are even fighting. Cormyr is especially hard pressed. Stuff is getting destroyed. The rising dead are creating a third force against which the orcs and men must struggle.
(EL 15 – Moderate Sign) At this point the PCs receive some information about Cult of Gyx, from the most unlikely source: the Zhentarim. Interplanar war begins. Dagonuth the bodak attacks the material plane via a portal created by the Cult of Gyx. Elves begin a mass exodus of Faerun. Gods seem to be weakening.
Dagonuth invades the material plane from the jungles of Chuult near the ancient Ziggurat and begins moving north. PCs finally start to learn a bit more about the cult. Little bit more about Atropus. Atropus has at this point left Gyst and is heading towards Toril.
Orcs in Cormyr have succeeded in destroying Suzail and have all killed themselves.
Various gods call to the PCs for help. So does Chuult. They can attack the cult, defeat the weakened Zhentarim, go help against Dagonuth, fight off swathes of undead. The Chronicle of Sixus finally contacts the party, begging them to look into Gyx. They fear the worst of all. Chronicle pledges service if the PCs help.
(EL 17 – Strong Sign) The undead now outnumber the living. It has become obvious what is going on. Chronicle of Sixus now knows that Atropus is descending and that they will all be annihilated, but no one knows how to stop it. The Chronicle tells the PCs that Gyx has researched the Apocalypse from the Sky spell and plans to use it on Waterdeep. It turns out he/she has been based deep underneath Khelben’s tower in the Palace of the Dark in Skullport. He/she has slaughtered all the former inhabitants who did not follow her.
Lord’s alliance begs the PCs to come to their aide, preparing the city against the oncoming legions of Dagonuth. Elves have almost all left Faerun. Rumored to be working great magics to try and preserve themselves.
Those orcs in the south plan to slaughter everyone in Suzail and then commit suicide. No one knows why.
PCs can o
Book of Vile Darkness is held in Mithral Hall.
Suitable EVIL names: Gyxus, Glyth, Gyst, Ackhronath, Chronicle of Sixus (group)
Major Players in the Story: Chronicle of Sixus: Shadowy organization that was created by Ao but has descended over the millennia into a sort of half madness. Led by Exvau and Solmar.
Exvau (Drow Wizard 12): This is a scary dude. He’s a drow who lives in Skullport and shares leadership of the Chronicle of Sixus with Solmar. During this story he is mostly concerned with gathering research from Candlekeep and Waterdeep. He organizes magics to help the PCs towards the end. Exvau is the one who was organizing expeditions and attacks on the Zhentarim when he found out they were looking for the Book of Stillborn Gods.
Solmar (Human Wizard 15): This guy lives in a tower surrounded by lava down in Chult or Halruaa or some such place. Paranoid, half-insane fucker, but mad-powerful wizard. He’s the one who finally makes contact with the PCs towards the end. He’s the guy directly in contact with the god Ao.
Inquisition: A special operations branch of the Zhentarim military. These guys are going to be a thorn in the side of the PCs when they find out how involved they are. They are also the faction that remains loyal to the Zhents and finds out that they’ve been infiltrated and undermined by the Followers of Gyx. The inquisition acts for the first part of the campaign as the Followers of Gyx, because that’s who has infiltrated them.
Gyx (Something-not-quite-human Wizard 15 or so): Fucking crazy part-human creature that was once in love with Elminster of Shadowdale and is now fucked up. She found out about Atropos somehow through her warped inter-planar travels and now is raising might to bring about its approach to Toril. She’s researching the Apocalypse (in this campaign called Holocaust) spell in order to bring about enough death to make Atropos come.
Followers of Gyx: Members are called Scions. All brainwashed, madmen.
Chaldeus (Human Wizard 3, Sage 5): An astronomer who lives right outside Sundabar in an observatory. He recently discovered some startling evidence that the planet known as Gyst seemed to be moving from its traditional orbit in the sky. He made a long trip to the libraries of Silverymoon and found some weird connections between Gyst and the ancient legend of Atropos. He knew about the finding of the Book of Stillborn Gods and suspected that it had something to do with all this. When he found out that the PCs were somehow connected, he meant to contact them, but he was assassinated by a Zhentarim party (really sent by followers of Gyx).
Lord Inquisitor Fzoul Chembryl (13th Level something): Dude in charge of the Inquisition. He’s PISSED when he finds out that the Zhents have been infiltrated by the Followers of Gyx. He orders full-scale war against them, but it turns out the Zhentarim are split in two when this happens since there’s a weird power gap in the aftermath of the infiltration.