Monday, July 04, 2016

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Dungeons-Where Heroes Dare

In the deep, dark places of Telara, the dragon cults plot devastation, and only the glorious Ascended can end their corruption. The goblins must be chased from their stinking holes, and surreal faerie haunts must be cleansed of their wicked occupants. Undead miners dig in the earth, coming ever closer to waking ancient sleepers. Elsewhere, the great dragons themselves strain to escape their elemental prisons.

RIFT™ offers many varieties of dangerous dungeons, raids, and other challenges. Come learn, if you dare, what plane-spawned perils lurk in all the invaders’ strongholds.

Chronicles

(1 – 2 players)

Special adventures for one (very well-geared) player or two players, Chronicles let you and a friend explore Telara’s sweeping story, fighting beside legendary heroes and earning rare items in the process.

Dungeons

(5 players)

Designed for teams of five adventurers, dungeons come in three difficulty levels.

• Normal – These lairs make a thrilling challenge for characters leveling through Telara.

• Expert – Revisit the dungeons you conquered while leveling to earn epic loot from tougher enemies and extra bosses.

• Master – Balanced for focused teams of elite Ascended, these offer the best rewards of any dungeon.

Raids

(10 – 20 players)

Raids require a group of ten to twenty players ready to confront the greatest threats Telara’s enemies have to offer.

• Slivers – Teams of ten Ascended can raid alternate timelines where the Blood Storm is victorious.

• Twenty-player raids – Only the largest forces can triumph against the dragons and their lieutenants in truly terrifying strongholds like Greenscale’s Blight and Hammerknell.

Caduceus Rise

The traitorous spirit

When the Kelari colonized Ember Isle, they made binding pacts with ancient spirits. These primal beings helped the displaced Elves tap arcane Sourcewells and build a kingdom of wonders, and they grew prosperous as the Kelari honored them with gifts. Then the rifts came, bringing with them foul magics that corrupted the Sourcewells, and through them, the spirits themselves.

Some spirits succumbed, pledging themselves to the dragon of their element. One such was mighty Caduceus, spirit of Earth, who lords over a huge hidden valley called Caduceus Rise. He allowed the Golden Maw into his home, where they work to prepare Caduceus for some sinister destiny.

Conquer the secret valley

Even Ascended who have triumphed over countless dungeons will be awestruck at the sheer scale of Caduceus Rise. Temples loom over its emerald canopy, pointing accusingly at the open sky.

Caduceus Rise is wide open, encouraging exploration as you defeat its molten masters in any order you like. You can take on Coalgut and High Thane Hergen in the sweltering jungle, or fight your way into the temple complex to battle Captain Black Spit, who has been known to slay his foes with nothing more than a ladleful of noxious grog.

Rise to the challenge

Caduceus Rise promises an intense challenge, sporting 11 complex bosses—that’s as many as Hammerknell! This monster-haunted valley is so vast its Expert Mode could only be contained in two separate wings, offering hours of adventure to any group courageous enough to enter.

Only the Ascended can defeat the minions of Laethys and Maelforge and put down Caduceus before he fulfills the destiny his mistress has in store.

Charmer's Caldera

Convocation and eruption

In the twilight of the Eth Empire, the Sorcerer Kings commissioned a secure laboratory in Shimmersand, its very existence a matter of extreme secrecy. They were never able to unveil their project, for when the Convocation came, a massive volcano erupted directly under the facility. All its research disappeared in a rush of molten rock, to be forgotten for eons with the rest of the extinguished empire.

It has come to light that the laboratory’s work was not entirely wiped out, and indeed the Charmer’s Coil, final fruit of the Eth’s experiments, remains hidden within the volcano itself. This potent mind-altering device was meant to bind planar creatures into service, to prevent a repeat of the titan uprising in Stonefield. Crucia, enslaver of the will, now seeks to add its powers to her own.

Charmer's Caldera

Fire and Air

To find the Coil, the Storm Legion has sent an expedition into Charmer’s Caldera, and now the brainwashed slaves of Crucia engage in a brutal struggle with both the hostile terrain of the molten volcano and the Firetouched who make the Caldera their home. First summoned as aids, guards, and energy sources for the laboratory, the Fire-spawn found an active volcano more comfortable than did the Eth. Their chieftain, Smouldaron, is enraged at the Storm Legion incursion, and both Legionaries and Ascended must fight past this demon and his entrenched forces as they race to the Coil.

Intent on finding this amplifier for their mistress’s power, the Legion has deployed some of its most impressive agents. The Naga huntress Ryka Dhavos and the elder Air elemental Cyclorax aid in the search, while rocs flit from outcrop to outcrop patrolling for interlopers. If the Ascended have any hope of keeping the device out of Crucia’s talons, they must confront all these threats while working their way into the very heart of Charmer’s Caldera.

Blood of the Earth

The volcano’s insides are only accessible to veteran Ascended, who will encounter an even more dangerous landscape of jagged rocks and lava with a curious sheen of liquid gold. Crucia’s monstrous thralls patrol here, led by the huge gargoyle Gronik and his harpy brides. Worst of all, a Legion commander named Caelia is at the Caldera, and seems to be in high spirits despite the ongoing search for the Charmer’s Coil.

Perhaps this has something to do with the strange golden magma that flows within the volcano and pulses with intense magical energy. Arcane scholars know that Crucia and her sister Laethys are bitter rivals, so why would the discovery of so much magical gold please a high-ranking subject of the Storm Queen?

Darkening Deeps

The goblin city

In the deepest part of Gloamwood, the waterways under a once-stately Mathosian castle play host to the frenzied stirrings of creatures from the rifts. Gloamwood’s goblins built a city into this chasm’s walls, their hovels lining a path spiraling deep into the bedrock. Every day, goblins skulk from this hole to wreak havoc through the woods.

It was all the people of Gloamwood could do to control the goblin menace, until the Gedlo priests came through the Fire Rifts, whipping their lesser goblin brethren into a fighting force bold enough to harass even armed patrols. Victims report muscle-bound, frenzied goblins who maul defenders at the Gedlo priests’ command.

Always vicious, the goblins’ newly focused ferocity is taking a heavy toll on their High Elf blood-foes, and Silverwood was almost razed in a recent raid. Uproar over this threat cost the Guardians the allegiance of the Elf prince Hylas.

Darkening Deeps

Foes in the Deeps

Adventurers who brave Darkening Deeps will find a vast chasm, choked with smoke and the reek of goblins. The vicious little creatures attack anyone who comes too near their city, spurred on and backed by the magic of their Gedlo rulers. Normal goblins are dangerous enough, but the new breed of hulking berserkers swarm through Darkening Deeps, as eager to rend intruders limb from limb as they are to crush the skulls of fat villagers on a raid.

Goblins have never been much for pest control, and an entire wing of Darkening Deeps has been overrun by spiders from Silkweb Pass. Likewise, the sewer system the goblins first colonized is now jealously guarded by water elementals so polluted with foulness their mere stench can overcome hardy invaders.

Call to adventure

Several villagers from Gloamwood Pines have vanished after encounters with goblins. Their desperate cries can sometimes be heard over the din of the goblin city, subsiding only on full moon nights to be replaced by the howling of wolves— though no wolves are known to live in Gloamwood. The wood has seen less treant activity of late, and though locals bear no love for these invaders from the Life Plane, their disappearance might have some connection to the goblin berserkers.

Heroes uninterested in kidnapped villagers or goblin alchemy are nonetheless tempted to enter the Darkening Deeps, for the Gedlo use potent magic and artifacts to protect some secret hidden deep underground. Whatever has the goblins in such a paranoid frenzy would be of value to any Ascended bold enough to delve into Darkening Deeps.

From the report of Commander Oakheart, Paladin of the Sanctuary Guard, Gloamwood

“Three times we’ve stormed the den of these filthy goblin priests and three times they’ve pushed us back. By now my sword shows more blood than steel, yet still we cannot break through!

I have heard tales of villagers taken prisoner, offered as sacrifices in these halls we cannot breach. As we struggled with the goblins, I noticed ten long, bloody scratches in the rock beneath our feet. A loose human fingernail lay where one of the scratches ended.

These degenerates have never shown such frenzy as when they defend these halls. My stealthier compatriots have seen goblins regard the chambers with gleeful reverence, as if they hide a weapon that will obliterate the fair races from Gloamwood forever.

Whatever they’re hiding, whether or not we receive reinforcements, the goblins have abducted one of my men, and I will not see him die under Gedlo daggers."

Deepstrike Mines

Deepstrike

The coveted stone

In the heyday of their Empire, the Eth Sorcerer Kings discovered sourcestone under the rolling hills of Stonefield. They carved out a mine like no other: not a maze of shafts but one enormous cave supported by twisting pillars, thick as ancient granitewoods and veined with glowing sourcestone.

So great was the Eth’s lust for sourcestone to fuel their machines that they bound titans from the Plane of Earth to guard their mines. In time, these mighty giants overthrew the Eth, who only managed to reclaim Stonefield shortly before their empire’s collapse.

After the Eth withdrew, hardy Mathosians laid claim to the mine, prospering as they supplied the magic stone to their own empire. When the rifts tore into Telara, the cultists of the Endless Court rose from their hideaways to chase the miners from Deepstrike with a swarm of walking dead.

Now, undead miners exploit the wondrous Eth engineering. Unwilling to properly maintain the soaring Eth walkways, they move between the pillars on a rude catwalk. Anyone who falls off is immediately set upon by flesh-eating scarabs that can strip a living body in seconds, leaving only a skeleton to join the Court’s mindless horde.

Realm of the Fae

Enemies: dead in the ground

Undead swarm the mines, hacking recklessly at veins of sourcestone and slaughtering any who intrude. Spectral overseers goad miners on with lashes of chain, and seers have sensed a powerful necrotic entity in the mines, whose task perhaps is to supervise the silent laborers and discourage reclamation efforts with curses and shadowy magic.

Walking corpses are the least of an explorer’s worries. Deepstrike has always been plagued by creatures from the Plane of Earth, and the Endless Court works tirelessly to subvert and corrupt these crude beings, planting the seeds of death in the brutes as corpses are laid in the ground.

One massive earth elemental has already shifted his allegiance from Laethys to Regulos. Called Bonehew, this fouled behemoth guards Deepstrike like the titans of old, eager to live up to his name. Rumors have it that the deepest parts of the mines are home to an elemental of diamond, and who knows what harm the Endless Court could do with an unbreakable champion of black gemstone.

Call to adventure

As it corrupts the mines, the Endless Court fouls the very land of Stonefield, and it must be scourged from Deepstrike Mines if the honest folk of Granite Falls are to survive. The sourcestone in Deepstrike could provide endless fuel for technomagical machines, so any loyal Defiant should fight to reclaim the mines.

Yet the undead are digging for more than sourcestone. Every day, they gouge the mines deeper under the earth, a fact that sends Eth scholars scurrying to their tomes in search of some spell or device to eradicate the Court before they dig too deep.

It is well known that after they put down the titans’ rebellion, the ancient Eth imprisoned their mighty slaves under Stonefield. Could the Endless Court seek to release the titans from their prison? Perhaps they hope to corrupt these ruthless juggernauts to serve the Devourer of Worlds, or merely plunder the treasures buried in the tomb.

For all their hideous magic, the Endless Court had best hope they never breach the buried gates. The titans within epitomize the power of earth, waiting in the deeps to shatter the works of living and undead alike.

Iron Tomb

Iron boss

Crypt of the March Wardens

Freemarch has earned its name as an independent and just land, thanks largely to the guiding hand of the March Wardens. Proudly refusing royal titles, they have led Freemarch since Eliam cast down Jakub the Warlord shortly after the fall of the Eth. Even the stern Mathosians allowed Freemarch some measure of self-rule, out of respect for the Wardens’ reputation.

To honor their leaders, the Freemarchers built a grand tomb complex where every Warden can rest for eternity in the company of his peers. There, the Wardens lie in spacious catacombs dug into walls of polished sandstone. Eliam himself is buried in a magnificent crypt deep in the complex, and no tomb robber would have dared the fury of the Wardens’ spirits… until the rifts came.

Iron Tomb

The defilers of sleep

Who but the Endless Court would disturb the slumber of the March Wardens? They have broken into the tomb, torn up the stones with their rude digging, and even raised the bodies of noble leaders as lethal undead thralls. Alsbeth the Discordant, mistress of the Endless and right hand of Regulos, has enslaved many of the Wardens’ souls to build a force of elite ghosts. Three of these leaders, Laric, Darribec, and Humbart, now haunt their monuments as Alsbeth’s tortured protectors.

Unliving filth wanders Iron Tomb, zombies and mummies and worse ready to chew the flesh of pilgrims and break the bones of heroes. Poor Caor Ashstone was once Eliam’s most loyal servant, the only commoner honored with a place in Iron Tomb. His corpse has risen, tortured by Death magic and concern for his master, to fall upon intruders in a misguided frenzy.

Tales also say a rare species of poisonous spider burrows near Iron Tomb, and if the Endless defile the stones any more, these hunters could creep in, making the tomb unapproachable by anyone but the dead.

Defend the dead

Empowered by Regulos, Alsbeth is perhaps Telara’s most powerful sorceress, but even she has yet to break the will of Eliam. His spirit alone has withstood her magic, so she has recruited Ragnoth, a Fire demon adept at enslaving souls. For all this, Eliam’s ghost calls Ascended to Iron Tomb, warning all who will listen that the fate of Telara may be decided in his crypt under Freemarch.

The Endless have not come to Iron Tomb simply because they can’t abide a dignified death, or even for an army of enthralled heroes. The March Wardens were buried where the righteous might of their ghosts could protect an ancient secret. Tales say that deep below Iron Tomb itself lie mossy caves, lit by the hideous glow of an artifact that could bring victory to the Endless Court, and ruin to all Telara.

King's Breach

Basilisk

A clash of elements

Scarwood Reach is divided by two opposed elements, ravaged by rifts, and fought over fiercely by spawn of the elements. In the north, Death Rifts spew forth flesh-crafted horrors and turn the land to barren dust. In the south, the Elves of House Aelfwar have spread the surreal jungles of the Life Rifts. These two invading forces meet in battle at King’s Breach, which legends say serves as a back door to the sealed Dwarven delve of Lord’s Hall.

None know the true location of the hidden passage, or if it even exists, but that does not stop the Endless Court and House Aelfwar from fighting jagged tooth and rotting nail for every square inch around the supposed entry. Ascended who come to assault these two cults will find an army of Life Cultists besieging a fortified Deathtouched position.

Death and Life at war

Perhaps no two elements are opposed like Life and Death, and both factions have brought their mightiest minions to the battle at King’s Breach. Heroes seeking to protect this passage must first fight through the Aelfwar siege. Hunter Suleng of the Aelfwar is under direct orders from Prince Hylas to break down the Endless Court’s barricade, overrun the Deathtouched expedition, and find the way into King’s Breach.

To that end, Suleng has brought dozens of fanatical cultists, including three Lifewardens who stand a perpetual watch atop the stumps of enormous trees, channeling magic to hold open a Life Rift. From this rift have come packs of dire wolves, and worse, forest trolls, who patrol the Aelfwar encampment, ready to feast on interlopers.

Heroes who best Hunter Suleng and his followers must do what the cultists could not and breach the Endless Court’s defenses. There they will find knights of Regulos, clad head to toe in black plate. Gaunt ghoul-hounds prowl and drakes fly over the deflated hills. The people of Scarwood Reach claim to have seen manticores soaring toward the Breach. Even the mighty Ascended may hesitate to engage such Deathtouched horrors.

What could tempt the Endless and the Aelfwar?

Canny Ascended will quickly realize that two dragon cults at odds present a ripe opportunity. Just as the cults exploit the conflict between the Guardians and Defiant, so could a small party of heroes exploit the siege to strike a blow against both Life and Death.

The Endless Court has long sought the entry to Lord’s Hall, saturating the area with Death magic. The Ascended must stifle this volatile energy before it spreads necrosis across all Scarwood.

The siege at King’s Breach also stands as proof of the Elves’ desperation and depravity, as they seek to expand Greenscale’s holdings even against the slaves of mighty Regulos. They have poured extensive resources into this conflict with the Endless Court, and breaking their siege could set their plans back all across Telara.

Realm of the Fae

shambler

The mean seasons

In Silverwood, in Hedgerow Court, there is an old wishing well. Anyone who falls down the well lands in a maze of high hedges, where the air is sweet and still and faeries flutter overhead. Most never find their way out, but the truly unfortunate wander through the labyrinth and into a stolen world of madness and torment.

The faeries have ripped away a piece of Telara, bending it to their will in every aspect, from its physics to its weather. This kidnapped land is the Fae Lord Twyl’s playground and stronghold, and he calls it the Realm of the Fae.

A cackling trickster guards the hedge maze’s exit. Those who get past his daggers find themselves at the foot of a path winding up a mountain, a path that defies all logic. It suits Twyl’s whim to divide the Realm of the Fae into four terraces, each locked forever in a mockery of Telara’s seasons, each haunted by one of his lunatic retainers.

Those who survive the challenges of spring, summer, and autumn find that the path breaks free of the mountain altogether, anchoring a series of glacial islands that float free in the swirling ether. From here, Twyl watches over his own tiny universe, needing no more protection against the cold than an artist needs protection from his work.

Realm of the Fae

The Good Neighbors

The Kindly Folk, the Wee Men, the Good Neighbors. Calling a faerie an unkind word might get the horrid little creature’s attention. Natives of the Plane of Life, faeries epitomize the heartless caprice of the wild. They have childlike bodies and elfin features. Their skin shimmers, their laughter intoxicates, and their eyes are black and dead. Despite their playful veneer, faeries love to manipulate mortals in cruel pageants, or tear their limbs off for sport.

Faeries range through all four seasons of their Realm, though each season hosts unique and terrible denizens of its own. Shamblers appear to be innocuous mounds of autumn leaves, but sport blubbery arms and froglike mouths that can swallow prey whole. Treants stride along the path, eager to shatter bones with knotted fists. Satyrs throw their crazed bacchanals in the autumn terrace, fighting, carousing, disemboweling all those who do not join the revel.

Heroes who climb to the winter terrace face the elite guard of the Fae Lord Twyl. Long the favorite of Greenscale, this aristocrat commands not only the Realm’s natives, but the Realm itself. His twisted thoughts shape the hedge maze, and his fractured mind split the Realm of the Fae into its four seasons. Those who fight through his prancing minions must face Twyl himself, and the Fae Lord can weave illusions to unmake the stoutest mind.

Call to adventure: a pocket of madness

No one knows why Twyl has isolated himself in the Realm of the Fae. It was he who tempted Prince Hylas of the Elf clan Aelfwar to join in Greenscale’s cause. After such a coup, the local defenders assumed Twyl would be active and aggressive, only to find him retreating into his own pocket dimension.

Shyla Starhearth, Pentarch of the Vigil, wishes to know why Twyl has hidden himself away, and has promised rich rewards to any Guardians who can bring back proof of his motivation, or even slay the fae lord outright to end a major threat to Silverwood. Perhaps it is possible to wrest this land away from the faeries, restoring it to its proper place in Telara.

The Realm of the Fae teems with magic, in everything from its impossible plants to the very air of its shattered seasons. Adventurers might find uses for all of these, and for glittering faer weapons coated with sweet-smelling, deadly poison. For all its danger, riches and glory await any Ascended willing to dive down the magic well, navigate the hedge maze, and fight their way through the Realm of the Fae.

Runic Descent

Golem

The tainted glade

The influence of Regulos is insidious, capable of overt displays such as zombies and ghouls, and subtle corruption such as befell the delve of Hammerknell and its adjacent garden now called Runic Descent, in Moonshade.

Hammerknell is sealed. The kings under the mountain built their city with runebinding, enslaving Death spirits and the souls of unfortunate mortals to power their wondrous magic. All was splendor until the rifts opened and the runes fueling Hammerknell overflowed with Death magic. Necrotic energies swept through the delve, possessing many Dwarves, killing many more. Only those few who made it out of the city survived, trapping the dead and damned behind doors as thick as a city boulevard. They hoped such measures would keep the Death magics from contaminating the world beyond their lost city.

They hoped in vain.

To glorify their city in its heyday, the Dwarves had planted a magnificent garden in a ravine beside Hammerknell. Too late, they remembered that the garden had runebound paths that would repair themselves, runebound watering cans and shears that maintained the garden of their own accord. Like the runes within Hammerknell, these sucked in Death magic from the rifts like a sponge. Anyone foolish enough to be enticed by the garden’s lingering beauty has fallen to the power of Regulos.

Twisted wretches

After the Dwarves left, a group of Faeries tried to settle in Runic Descent. Fleeing from the upheavals in Greenscale’s service, these refugees saw a pristine garden in a defensible valley and made a home amid the gem-toned leaves.

The wicked magic of Regulos corrupted the Fae before they even reached Runic Descent, and now they find themselves transfixed by a desperate desire to be at one with their new patron. Like mice hypnotized by a swaying cobra, neither lowly sprite nor towering treant can escape the Death energies spewing from the ancient runes.

To make matters worse, not every Dwarf accepted the need to abandon Hammerknell. Warden Falidor has led a contingent of rune-crafters back inside, hoping to solve a runebinding disaster with yet more runebinding. Naturally, he and all his followers have gone quite mad, and will assist the Endless Court in slaughtering any interlopers who intrude on their doomed experiment. Supported by golems with steel bodies and iron wills, the denizens of Runic Descent are all but impossible to dislodge from their toxic den.

Devourer’s defiance

Runic Descent must be cleared of riftspawn if Telara is to survive. Deathtouch brings slow corruption as easily as devastation, eroding Telara’s very will to endure. In Runic Descent, the branches no longer blow in the breeze, and the air itself is stagnant. Regulos’s power extends over the beautiful and the hideous alike, and if Runic Descent is not cleansed, no one will believe that the Destroyer’s power can be assailed.

Before the rifts, Hammerknell owed much of its prosperity to secret Death magic. Even if Aedraxis had not worked his horrors, Regulos could have used the Dwarven delve to trigger a different disaster. Hammerknell remains a looming threat where the Destroyer could anchor himself in Telara. Every bit of Death magic aids Regulos, so the Ascended must destroy the corruption at Runic Descent, if only to limit his avenues of escape to the seemingly numberless rifts.

The Fall of Lantern Hook

Wanton

A taste of things to come

In Lantern Hook in the Droughtlands, there is a deep, clear well. It is said that this well is enchanted, and that any Ascended who swims to the bottom will be transported to a nightmare world of endless flame. This is so, but only the mighty Ascended are brave enough to chance the deep waters. And when they emerge from the well, they do find themselves in a world consumed by fire. Yet this is no alien land but a dark vision of Lantern Hook itself, the last spot on Telara to fall to the rampaging hordes of Maelforge. By experiencing the Fall of Lantern Hook, the Ascended can see firsthand the horrific fate in store if they fail and even one of the dragons is allowed free reign over Telara.

Guardians are drawn to Lantern Hook by dreams and visions, believing their experiences at the bottom of the well are part of a revelation from the Vigil. The Defiant, no strangers to time travel, believe that the Fall of Lantern Hook is but another alternate future like the one they hail from, where Regulos devours the world with the wasting energies of Death. The Fall of Lantern Hook depicts Maelforge, Dragon of Fire, roasting Telara alive and unleashing a frenzy of consumption and desolation.

Wanton destruction

Upon emerging from the enchanted well, Ascended will find a chamber in ruins. Kobolds run rampant, laughing at the corpses of friends the Ascended will recognize from their adventures in the real Droughtlands. These hideous dog-men prod and hack at the remains of fallen allies, snapping and snarling to decide who will get the next cut, as mindless devouring pleases their triumphant master. These kobolds guard cells where more of Lantern Hook’s people wait to meet some grisly doom by fire or fang. Perhaps one of the Mages among their number can quench the flames preventing escape from this central chamber. But old allies are not the only familiar faces in the Fall of Lantern Hook, and any escapees must beware the patrolling jailer, a traitor who once pretended neutrality in the battle between Telarans and dragons.

Kobolds are but the lowliest threat Ascended face in the Fall of Lantern Hook, as mighty Dragonians stalk the halls, tearing intruders limb from limb and roasting the chunks with breath of flame from their scaly gullets. Maelforge’s cult, the Wanton, hold their revels among the charring ruins. Flamebringer Druhl, the demonic general of the Wanton armies, patrols here, while Pyromancer Cortilnald, arguably the greatest living Mage of his school, cackles as he summons Hellhounds and imps to torment Lantern Hook’s doomed citizens. Leader of the entire cult, Emberlord Ereetu lurks nearby, gloating over Maelforge’s final victory.

The future aflame

Why would anyone want to experience a future where Telara succumbs to the unrelenting Flame Sire? Because every hero must know the price of failure, and the Fall of Lantern Hook plays out one possible apocalypse in store for Telara if the Ascended should falter. Whether dream or temporal pocket, injuries suffered and treasures gained in the Fall of Lantern Hook are quite real and will follow the Ascended back to Telara-that-is. Still, seeing Telara-that-could-be is the true reason to swim into the well.

Of course, there are other advantages to risking life and limb in this final stand against the Wanton. Several traitors show their true colors in this future, so Ascended who survive the Fall of Lantern Hook will know who can and cannot be trusted when the dragons begin their assault. Furthermore, all the cult’s major leaders will be present when the Hook falls, and heroes can learn their identities and tactics firsthand. Indeed, all throughout this vision, the Ascended risk meeting a foe more terrible than they imagined. A deafening roar can be heard in the distance, over the ever-closer thunder of titanic crimson wings.

Greenscale's Blight

Greenscale

Prison of the primal

Of the Blood Storm, no dragon was more familiar to mortal races than Greenscale the Primeval, though this familiarity was a source of terror and sorrow. Greenscale would thunder across Telara, turning every forest into an aggressive, invasive force, seeding the world in vines and vegetation that could devour cities. Even Maelforge, for whom destruction was an ecstatic joy, did not cause widespread devastation on par with Greenscale’s crusade against all things civilized and soft. When Thorvin Sternhammer and his allies finally defeated and imprisoned Greenscale, countless wretches had perished between his teeth, beneath his claws, choked upon his poison breath.

Since then, Greenscale has remained imprisoned under Stillmoor, his indomitable will to devour suppressed by carefully-harnessed Death magic. Yet in the time of rifts, the dragon’s will tugs at his followers like a feral instinct, drawing them to his prison, to seek his release. At last, one of his minions has risen to the challenge, and if he is not stopped, this fallen hero of Telara will unleash Greenscale to crush the works mortals once and for all.

A maze of betrayal

The temple where Greenscale is imprisoned once had a name, which has been lost as the dragon’s waxing power has overgrown the walls with alien and awful plant life. Now it is merely called Greenscale’s Blight, and parties of Ascended will arrive to see the doors blasted away, the halls patrolled by the traitorous Elves of House Aelfwar. Fighting their way through these elite guards, heroes will find a vast antechamber, where Prince Hylas and his senior followers strive to dispel the magic that holds Greenscale in place.

Always resentful of the Ascended, Hylas is too arrogant to cross swords with Guardians or Defiant. Instead, his three lieutenants have prepared a trap for any interlopers. Details remain dim, but it is known that all three have studied the misdirecting Life magic of their Faerie allies, and each is a formidable challenge.

The haughty Duke Letareus is a warrior of unshakeable focus, able to slip into an unbreakable dance of twirling death. Enraged over the Mathosians’ harvesting of the sacred granitewood trees, Oracle Aleria hides her grief behind a mask and channels her fury into a unique command of the beast within every sentient being. Finally, Infiltrator Johlen is Hylas’s loyal spymaster, a Saboteur whose bombs and traps will drive even the most elite Ascended party to distraction.

The prince empowered

Only if his vassals fall will Prince Hylas himself deign to engage any intruders, who may quickly come to wish they’d stayed home. Ascended who challenge the Prince of House Aelfwar will face the greatest Elven swordsman alive, his martial prowess bolstered with a surge of primal might granted by Greenscale. If Hylas falls it is both a triumph for Telara and a tragedy for the Elves, but the raid’s work is not yet done. For in the chamber beyond, Greenscale shakes off his shackles, a dragon more brutal and terrible than even the Ascended have challenged before.

Too much Life

To keep the knowledge from the dragon cults, Thorvin and his allies hid the secret of how Greenscale is held in check, though Death magic is certainly involved. If there is one benefit to Greenscale’s ancient rampage, it is that his general capabilities are well-known. The great green wyrm has astounding strength, and exhales poison so virulent, all the victim’s organs race to break down. The lethal plants of the Life Plane sprout where he wills, each of which sporting a unique and agonizing way to kill. Though in the Age of Dragons he preferred to stomp cities to the ground personally, Greenscale has no compunction against bombarding enemies from the air.

It is possible the Primeval is weak from his long imprisonment. Still, heroes who engage Greenscale must remember that this is no mere dragon. This is a trampling, roaring, embodiment of ruin, of the vines that swallow the tower, the unthinking, ever-hungry bane of nations.

Hammerknell

horror

The hammers do not sound

Once the shining bastion of Dwarven civilization, today Hammerknell is a symbol of madness and ruin. No one knows what horrors compelled the Dwarves to flee and seal the gates behind them. When asked, they assume shamed expressions and busy themselves with their labors. Now, with Hammeknell’s ramparts breached, the Ascended are in a race against the forces of Water and Death to expose the secrets deep within the Delve and save Telara.

The Ascended have done all they can to gather knowledge about Hammerknell, in hopes of preparing themselves for the trials ahead. They have learned much, but knowledge may be useless against the horror under the mountain.

Hammerknell

The dead halls

Given the horrid nightmares that plague many Dwarves—visions of the tormented fallen—and what little the refugees have let slip about what happened in Hammerknell, it is clear the undead rule the abandoned city. Whether ghosts of lost Dwarves or rotting slaves of Regulos, the dead linger in silent halls where mead-songs once rang out, their fetid presence befouling the great treasures of Bahralt’s beloved people.

Information is readily available from the time when Hammerknell was a thriving underground city, so the Ascended know something of its layout. Some, but not all, as Hammerknell has since been divided into three wings, with many roads and passages redirected.

The Halls of Remembrance, named for housing both the Dwarven library and crypt, where the Dwarves would spark their minds with the wisdom of the ages and stir their souls by honoring their ancestors, now stands as an abattoir, its walls thirsty for the blood of innocents foolhardy enough to enter.

In the Halls of Shaping, the Dwarves did what they were made to do, working wonders of craft and magic, developing arcane techniques of runecrafting that some say led to Hammerknell’s doom. What did the artisans use to create their unmatched wonders? It is here the Ascended will uncover the horrid truths behind the miracles of Hammerknell and what lies buried in the deeps of the Dwarves’ quarry.

The deafening silence reaches everywhere in Hammerknell, from the homes of the common people to the chambers of royalty. Some of the aristocracy even met with tragedy. King Molinar and his heir, Prince Dolin never emerged from the Delve. Their people hope that they lie at rest in the Royal Wing where once they ruled. They hope in vain.

Water and stone

Hammerknell is besieged both within and without by undead, yet the Abyssal also seek to control the Delve. What could Tidelord Jornaru—one of Akylios’s most loyal and powerful servants—seek in a Death-haunted maze? If Jornaru’s mad quest is to free Akylios, the Dragon of Water, from his prison deep beneath the earth, oblivion could drown every corner of Telara. If that happens can even the Ascended stand in his way?

Infernal Dawn

20-player Raid

As the Age of Dragons wound to a close, Telara’s heroes overcame the flames of Maelforge. They bound the red dragon of ruin deep under Mount Carcera, at the heart of Ember Isle. Held fast by the calming power of Earth, he slipped into a long, sullen sleep.

Then the rifts opened, and the Wanton surged forth across Telara. The great volcano bubbled over as Maelforge thrilled to the reborn cycle of destruction. He sent his thoughts of passion and violence out into the earth, and Laethys responded.

 Her Golden Maw minions softened the stone around his prison, and smuggled her dormant form to Ember Isle. Now, with the aid of corrupted spirits like Caduceus, Laethys has joined Maelforge under Carcera, poised to reduce Telara to glittering ash…

…unless the Ascended can brave the volcano’s core, face the dragons’ fiercest lieutenants, and bring

down not one, but two mighty gods of the Blood Storm in Infernal Dawn.

To brave the fire and stones

The Wanton and the Golden Maw have split the tunnels between them, guarding the path to their overlords. You must confront the champions of both cults in your race to stop the dragons, such as the Ember Conclave, busily planning the cults’ campaign, and the Pirate Queen Rusila Dreadblade, waiting to sail a magma tide aboard the lava-ship Dread Fortune.

The red and the gold

Reduced to molten gold by her vanquishers, Laethys has reformed at last, her new body a breathtaking sculpture of that which she loves most — glittering wealth. But her form is still unstable, and if you strike quickly, you could break her down into golden slag.

Beyond waits Maelforge, perhaps the mightiest dragon after Regulos. A fearsome beast of nightmare and sinew, his many baleful eyes look finally upon an open sky. You must strike him down before he takes to the air, or Telara will once more feel his ecstatic fury.

And what have Laethys and Maelforge been doing since they regained use of their bodies? What horrific secret waits in the very bowels of Mount Carcera? At long last, the Ascended can solve the mystery of the eggshells that once appeared throughout Telara.

The River of Souls

river of souls

When they die, every Telaran’s spirit is swept up in the comforting embrace of the Soulstream: a river of intermingling souls drifting through the √¶ther along the border of the Plane of Death. Though he corrupted the Plane of Death to serve his whims, Regulos was never able to influence the Soulstream.

Or this was the case. Recently, priests have been wracked with visions of souls howling in agony, torn too soon from this celestial river. Scholars ponder the case of Asha Catari, plucked from the Soulstream, tempted and tortured by Regulos himself. Could it be that the Devourer of Worlds has access to the River of Souls itself?

Polluted spirit

From the edge of the Plane of Death, Alsbeth the Discordant, has control of a device that grants her access to the Soulstream, and is now able to draw forth any soul she likes, returning the poor subject to Telara as a Deathtouched minion of Regulos. If the Endless Court keeps hold of the Soulstream, death will offer no rest to the peoples of Telara, and neither gods nor machines will have souls to draw upon for Ascension.

Above the Plane of Death, the Soulstream itself appears sickly and pale. Like scum washed ashore by filthy waters, legions of walking nightmares patrol the valley. These shambling wretches wait for Alsbeth to finish harvesting the Soulstream. Then they will descend upon Telara, an undead horde to make the horror stories of the Age of Dragons seem like children’s songs. This force is so well-armed that Ascended heroes who bring them down stand a good chance of finding rare and enchanted equipment… shortly before being swallowed by the endless, reeking tide.

These unliving swarms are but foot-soldiers, a byproduct of Alsbeth’s search for the most valuable souls in the river. Two of the current prize recruits serve as Alsbeth’s lieutenants and bodyguards, keeping interlopers from interrupting her work. Each leader has orders to summon all nearby undead if ambushed, so the Ascended have no hope of a successful ambush. The Soulstream captures all souls, even those of the Planetouched, and two mighty foes the Ascended have faced and vanquished wait by the riverbanks, now eager servants of Death.

Unwilling to risk losing control over this River of Souls, Regulos has sent his herald, Gaurath to watch over the operation. The flesh has long since rotted from this undead dragon’s bones, and he yearns to share the gift of decay to all enemies of the devourer.

Dreams of discord

Assuming the Ascended can battle their way through the undead throng, bring down two foes reborn into Death, and triumph over Regulos’s Herald, they will only have to face the most brilliant, vicious, and potent Necromancer in the history of Telara, with all the might of the Endless Court at her command.

Alsbeth the Discordant works tirelessly at the very front of the Soulstream, sifting through its ethereal waters to handpick the souls she will corrupt for her lord. Somewhere in the River of Souls hides the shriveled spirit of King Aedraxis, whom Alsbeth yearns to return to Telara.

All of Alsbeth's schemes and betrayals have led to the River of Souls, and she will fight with every resource available to achieve her horrid goals. Those few who have survived seeing the Bride of Regulos in battle swear that she can surround herself with an invincible barrier, and draw undead from the ground as easily as a poet summons words.

Still, if the Ascended have one chance to bring Alsbeth down and restore peace to the dead, they must enter the River of Souls, slog through the dead dust of its banks, and take on a decaying army as wyverns soar through a hollow sky above. For all the odds against the chosen, they must triumph at the River of Souls before Regulos drinks it dry.

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