With my weekly "Tear of Ioun" game in its final stages, the drama of the game has really reached a head. After a climactic encounter with the mad tiefling Malachi, my players found themselves heading back to the ancient forgeborn-dwarf clandelve known as Morgordal, situation beneath an ancient fortress from the Last War. It's there that Russell Ironvictor--Judgement-Bringer of Kelemvor--brought forth his finest moment.
When Friday Night Will sent me a background that involved the destruction of his dwarf, Russell's, clan, I knew I immediately had to do something special with it. As his character's motivation revolved around rebuilding the clandelve, I decided to capitalize on this section. While immersed in the city of Gloomwrought, on the Shadowfell, Russell was contacted by his clan-brother Thorgrim. In Russell's abscence, the clan refugees managed to find their way to Morgordal, where they were in talks to join the clans of Ironvictor (Russell's sundered clan) and Riftember (the native forgeborn, who were trapped in a cycle of inbreeding and extreme poverty).
After the party defeated Malachi, they traveled to Morgordal, only to find themselves entrenched in a difficult political situation. With Kharhandas Riftember unwilling to abdicate--despite the fact that he no longer desired the throne--and Russell's old clan-father, Naldrund, lusting after the combined throne, Russell's arrival through a cog into the loop. As the most powerful spiritual leader in the area, Russell's influence and healing ability was felt almost immediately.
It's at this point that I have to take an aside. While I've felt really positive about the "Tear of Ioun" game thusfar, the roleplaying had yet to really hit its stride. Last session, all that changed.
You see, the PlatinumChick's character--a shifter seeker called Aster--had become massively disillusioned by the group's arrest in Wellspring and the subsequent siege, eventually joining the Church of Bane while in Gloomwrought. While shadowing Naldrund following a massive religious ceremony, Aster was knocked unconscious, with part of her ear cut off and sent to the party as a threat. The PlatinumChick's response? Not unlike the vengeful "Bride" from Kill Bill, she lashed out at her captors--Naldrund's henchmen, of course--with Bane-inspired rage.
But that wasn't the half of it. With Aster's captors subdued, the group summoned Kharhandas and marched on Naldrund's manor house at the top of "The Shelf"--the noble district in Morgordal. It was there that Russell reached for his destiny.
In a tense stand-off with Naldrund within Russell's rebuilt temple, Russell confronted his clanfather. Naldrund feigned disintest, proclaiming his sovereignty and sanctuary within the halls of Moradin.
Snidely, he quipped, "What can you pass over me, Judgement-Bringer? I am the voice of our clan, our people."
Russell paused, the soft green glow of Maerlyn's Emeralds shining at his waist, "But you forget. I am the voice of our gods. And your crimes demand judgement."
I was floored. As a GM, I could do little more than applaud. Naldrund cast aside his symbol of Moradin, throwing down his crown to the temple floor. The group pitied him and, rather than execute him--as Aster sought, further accentuating her fall from grace--they exiled him to the Shadowfell. In terms of actual role-playing, this was absolutely one of the most dramatic, powerful scenes I think I've ever been witness to. It took almost a year to get here, but man: the payoff was worth it!
Our session ended with Kharhandas' abdication in favor of Russell, who now ascends to the throne of the combined Ironvictor/Riftember clans. A new era of peace and prosperity seems to be on the horizon as Belzadi Riftember--an Invoker of Kossuth--showed Russell the true wealth of Morgordal: a series of untapped mineral deposits worth literally millions on the open market. With the (still secret) aid of Wesley Baracus, High Templar of Bane, it appears that brighter days for Morgordal will be on the horizon soon...
Or will they? He comes...