As an introduction to the dream sequence, I gave each player a piece of paper with a description of the dream from their character’s point of view. As you may notice, not all of their current characters appear in the dream. Many of the absent characters have died in the dream’s version of the future.
Years have passed. You aren’t sure exactly how long. It has been a rough journey. Not all of your friends survived. But somehow, you always managed to inspire others to join your cause. Fiddenmar, the wilden ranger. Thob Fikodbabin, the dwarven warrior. Orla, the gnome artificer.
Moradin has forged you in the fire. Has beaten you with his hammer. And although some may find it cruel, you know that because of Moradin’s actions, you have become his weapon. Strong. Unwavering. Blessed.
Today is the day. Today it ends. The suffering, the torment. Today, right now, you stand before the demon Belfagor. The demon that crept into your life. That made a bargain with a young, frightened Caedus. That used him as a vessel. Manipulated him towards evil. That orchestrated a series of events that has so far costs the lives of thousands of innocent lives, including Haldren, Sonnet and Caedus, himself.
You tried. Moradin knows you did. But Caedus wouldn’t listen. He didn’t understand. It started small. Tiny indiscretions. You wish you could have seen where this was leading. Maybe you could have tried harder. No. You tried as hard as you could. Caedus just didn’t fight it. He became so infatuated with the power of Belfagor. If he had only fought it harder, Belfagor would have never become strong enough to take over. But even so, even through all of this, you still have hope. Hope that he’s trapped, alive, inside that horrendous demon. Maybe, just maybe, there is some sliver of Caedus’ true self.
One hand on his bonded long sword, the other on the massive door to the demon’s inner chamber, Sardis takes a breath, looks towards you and throws open the door…..
Carvings of demonic faces with twisted smiles stare at you from the massive door that stands before you. Beyond that door lies the demon, Belfagor. A chill runs through you. The journey to get this deep into his stronghold has not been easy.
Your thoughts jump to Haldren, the paladin. You wish that he were still living. His unyielding belief that Pelor protected all of you would be comforting. But he has been dead for a long time. Betrayed by Caedus.
No. That isn’t true. Caedus was gone by then. At that point, it was Belfagor posing as Caedus. But that ends here. That ends tonight.
You open a pouch tied to your belt and pull out a wadded piece of fabric. Carefully unfolding it reveals the Heart of Fire. Holding it in your hands banishes the chill in your soul. You take a deep breath. It is time.
Returning the Heart of Fire to its pouch, you draw your sword. Speaking the word of power, the bonded long sword erupts into flame. You take a quick glance at your comrades. Some of them are new, but you are all here for the same purpose. Fiddenmar, the wilden ranger. Thob Fikodbabin, the dwarven warrior. Orla, the gnome artificer. And finally, Mahel, who has been with you since the beginning. With a nod in her direction, you grab one of the door’s iron rings and heave the door open…..
You are Fiddenmar, the Ranger. You’re a wilden. A plant-like creature from the feywild. You and your animal companion, a mountain lion named Sundar, were charged with protecting the Sacred Grove of the Treant. But then he came. The demon Belfagor.
Your memory of the events is fuzzy. Possibly because you aren’t you. But from the haze you know this. He came without warning. You fought beside the ancients as best you could, but it was obvious that you were out matched. The treants told you to flee. To save yourself. You listened. You hid, battered and bruised, you hid. In then end, the Treants were slaughtered. Their Sacred Grove burnt to ash and the ground salted to prevent further growth. The demon Belfagor used the Treant’s bodies to build powerful war machines.
You failed your life’s quest. Your reason for living no longer existed. Feeling guilty, helpless and violated, you did nothing but sit where the grove once stood. You did not eat, or drink. Days past.
It was fortunate for you that Sonnet and her friends found you. They had been tracking the demon. It had killed two of their friends. A paladin of Pelor. And the misguided tiefling that served as the demon’s host. And eventually, Sonnet too fell before the demon.
But, Melora willing, that ends today. You stand before a massive iron door, carved with twisted images of demons. Beyond that door lies Belfagor’s inner chamber and your chance for redemption.
Sardis stands ready. His bonded longsword engulfed in magical fire. Thob Fikodbabin, the dwarf, bangs on his shield with his axe. The gnome, Orla, fiddles with her gadgetry. Mahel mutters a prayer to her god. With a nod, Sardis leans against the door, pushing it open wide….
Thob Fikodbabin (Matt)
You stand before a large iron door. Faces of demons wearing twisted smiles are carved upon the doors surface. While not appealing to your sense of artistry, you grudgingly admit to yourself that the craftsmanship is impressive.
Sardis stands next to you, clutching something in his hand and trying to control his breathing. Understandable. Even you are a bit shaken by this place and you have the benefit of being a dwarf. You cannot imagine what the others must be dealing with.
Your eyes move to Mahel. A priestess of Moradin, god of creation. God of miners and smiths. God of the dwarves. It was because of Mahel that you agreed to help. It was because of her faith. Through her, Moradin spoke to you. Gave you a purpose. No longer did you waste your days with dwarven ale. No longer did you wake up in the gutter with no idea how you got there. Now you had purpose. Defeating the demon, Belfagor.
Sometimes, at night, you can hear her praying. You can hear her whisper the name of her fallen friend, Caedus, the young tiefling that fell victim to Belfagor’s promises. You never met Caedus. At least not while he was in control of his body. But a pact had been made. Such a thing is not uncommon amongst magic folk. But you’ll never hear of a dwarf being so foolish. All that you know is that at a young age, Caedus made a pact that he didn’t understand to save his village. Belfagor, granted Caedus the power of the dark arts. With his newfound powers, Caedus saved the village, but Belfagor remained. Whispering in the young tiefling’s ear. Manipulating Caedus for his own schemes.
But no more. Not after today. You fought your way down here. And now you stand at the entrance to Belfagor’s inner chamber. Luckily, you are not alone. Next to you stands Fiddenmar, the wilden ranger; Orla, the gnome artificer; Mahel, the deva invoker and Sardis, the genasi swaordmage. Even so, the encounter will be dangerous. By Moradin’s beard, its practically suicidal. But what kind of dwarf would you be if you didn’t try to take down that son of a bitch.
Sardis grabs one of the door’s iron rings and pushes the door open…
What are you doing here? You are just a tinkerer. An artificer. You don’t belong here. You look at the others standing around you. Fighters, warriors. Protected by their armor and their gods. Brave men and women of all walks of life, ready to die at the hands of Belfagor the demon. Ready to die for the chance that some of them may survive long enough to slay the horrific demon.
If you had not seen the terrors that the demon Belfagor caused for yourself, you would not have believed them to be true. The utter massacre of an entire village. It started with emotional stress. Then a complete lack of loyalty. Infildelity, murder, rape. Then came the disease. A sick form of leprosy that caused people to literally fall apart. And somehow, you were convinced that you could help. That you could make a difference.
Well, you’ve made it this far. And thanks to you, so have the others. The enchantments that you placed on Sardis’ armor have held up fairly well. And Thob would have gotten his beard burnt off if you hadn’t disabled that pressure plate he stepped on.
So here you are. Standing amongst heroes. Next to Fiddenmar, the wilden ranger; Thob Fikodbabin, the dwarven warrior; Mahel, the deva invoker and Sardis, the genasi swaordmage. All ready to sacrifice their lives for the chance to defeat Belfagor once and for all. So take a deep breath. Stand tall. Make your father proud, even if he always wished you were a boy.
With a nod, Sardis leans against the door, pushing it open wide….