Session Twenty-Seven: Family Reunion

Returning to new Vasselheim, the group found a city mid-revolution. Apparently while they were under the bowels of the Platinum Sanctuary, a sea creature of enormous size attacked the city. Using the attack as a distraction, the revolution began. By the time everyone arrived at the Baby Birthheart in the Green, the civil war was raging. The group set off for the castle, where the Vonns were doing their best to get in. They, led by none other than Vanya herself, explained they’d hold off the external forces if the group could dare go in, destroy the powerful ley-line tapping contraption that Lydia had created, and take out the empress herself.

They managed to, surprisingly easily, handle the first part, but as they returned to the main entrance, Lydia awaited them. And she wasn’t alone.

“Hello, auntie,” she said to Stubby.


Lydia revealed her true name, Lady Vex’ahlia Sylda von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III, the first to carry the name in generations. Of course the rest of the story had to wait until after the fight. Lydia was flanked by two guards, a guard captain and a displacer beast.

Stubby attempted to … negotiate with Lydia, asking her to surrender. When that failed, she tried to warn the guards about the Whispered One, only for the captain to lift his left hand and show the mark of Vecna. They were in on it. Stubby, accepting the situation, threw her knife at the captain and it went through his hand into his eye.

Just as the fight began, Vanya entered the room and was immediately struck down by a spell from Lydia that appeared to suck her life force to shield and protect the erstwhile Empress. As a weird side effect, the displacer beast was transformed into a Displacer Goose. The goose attacked Tāmarai and Fisch, while Rinn and Stubby went for the guards and Lydia.

They quickly learned that Lydia would be harder to kill as she was drawing life from Vanya, which took a well time series of spells to free Vanya and bring her back to health. Freed, Vanya immediately began to assist the others, but the fight was rough. Lydia was strong and managed to take down Tāmari and nearly Stubby in one blow.

Both Rinn and Stubby came into their own, summoning strength and spells beyond their limits: Stubby summoned the Raven Queen to heal, and Rinn was fueled by the Stormlord to cast lightning and take out a guard and nearly kill Lydia.

The Goose, who had kept Fisch occupied the entire fight, took advantage of that moment to escape, leaving them alone with Vanya and a guard who tried to escape and was now peeing his pants.

Dying at their feet, Lydia refused to give in or repent. Stubby did the only thing they could do, and eased her into death with Toll the Dead. As she died, the Vex from the future timeline appeared and, before their eyes, returned to the form of the older, wiser, Vex’halia they knew. She thanked Stubby for saving her, asked Stubby to tell her mother she loved her, and promised she loved Stubby. Stubby, in return, told Vex she loved her too.

The avatar of the Raven Queen, a man once known as Vax’ildan, smiled and told Stubby how proud he was. But their story was not yet over. There would be more.

Stubby cast a spell to prevent Lydia from being resurrected for 7 days, and Vanya helped encase her in amber. She’d learned that spell, said Vanya, from her mentor at the Solstryce Academy.

The surviving guard, Lincoln Axeless, explained he didn’t know it was Vecna, Lydia had lied, told him they were with Vecna, and swore he’d go back to school to be a scribe. They let him go, and Vanya led them into the secret office of Lydia. On the way, Vanya explained that Lydia had used something to rejigger the inside of the castle like a maze, and Rinn sagely nodded and said “Like the sewers.”

Made a lot of sense.

In Lydia’s office, they found a painting of Vex’halia, the old lady they saw in the future, with one eye torn out, the hand of Vecna, wearing Cabal’s Ruin, holding her bow, Fenthras, with the bowstring blazing. Behind her is Vecna, arms outstretched, looming as her protector. At her feet lie the skulls of many dragons and dragon borne, as well as what appear to be a gnome and a Goliath. Stubby burned it.

The walls of her secret office were covered in insane conspiracy theories (akin to “Stubby shot JFK” and “They know where Jimmy Hoffa is buried”). There were tomes journals, and scrolls that told the history of Lydia/Vex III. All of them faded as they were read, but Tām got enough to understand the history. And no, not even Lydia knew what the flying fuck was up with the sea monster!

As they collected the rest of the loot, Rinn noticed that the castle was collapsing. They booked it out, seeing the staff and a couple government officials hauling out things like the castles’ silver, notes for the running of the nation, and so on. Out in the courtyard, mania hit Stubby who laughs hysterically as things literally fell apart. She jokingly told Rinn to blow it up, and helped out with her own skills, when a massive lightning bolt stuck the castle and imploded it inward.

After communicating with Vex (their Vex) that they were safe and had won, Vex told Tām that they were still unable to get to Isslyra. Keyleth used sending to ask Stubby one question: Was the Briarwood dead? They’re all pretty sure Keyleth (at the very least) understood the depth of that question.

According to the survivors, Llana Krynn was at the Temple of the Raven Queen, so the group went that way. They passed through Embassy Row, where most of the homes were destroyed. The Cobolt Soul building was mostly fine, and their own home was down the unused room (and some of their fencing), but generally okay.

At the temple, Saffy was talking to Father Gleason and Llana Krynn. They right away wanted to know the story, and were all quite impressed. Then Saffy asked if they wanted the good news or the bad news. The bad news was that there were some very angry Dunamancers out there, as some spells just … stopped working. The good news? They had saved the world.

Llana asked if they found the Luxon, and they shared the recording Stubby made of Raelle’s last words. Hearing of the sacrifice, Saffy demanded the nearby record taker make note of the hero of Vasselheim. Wanting to have a more frank conversation, they went to the basement of the temple where a handful of talking rats were waiting, along with a certain Gynosphix: Osyssa. There they talked more freely about what happened.

They also traded Luxons, with Llana asking them to take the one SHE had to the Bright Queen, while keeping the one in which her wife’s spirit resided. Equally romantic and creepy when one thought about it.

They also got a lot of truth from Vanya, who explained her story. She’d gone to Rexentrum to learn about magic, and knew Lydia there for a year before she bolted to Vasselheim. While at the Solstryce Academy, Vanya admitted she was, indeed, a Volstrucker, but of a new(er) ilk. Her own master and mentor told her the stories of Trent Ikathon, and how he tricked his protégées into murdering their own family to break them. Vanya’s master was once Trent’s prized student and, according to Vanya, was the greatest wizard in Exandria, whom few would ever know his name: Caleb Widogast.

It was Vanya’s understanding that Lydia (one of Trent’s most promising students at the time) planned to break Stubby (by watching her family die) and turn her into the first of a new Volstrucker. Her own mentor, sensing Vanya’s discomfort, told her it was alright to seek her own path. When Vanya got home to Vasselheim, she realized what was going on, and worked with her grandfather to foil Lydia’s plan.

She went back to Rexentrum once, which was when she learned that the Academy was interested in a thief named Rinn Shrike in Zadash. So Vanya connived for him to be on what turned out to be the last ship to Vasselheim, and lied to Lydia about why, hiding his abilities. Rinn was, Vanya explained, touched by the Stormlord, and Vanya thought he could help her plan and Victor’s. She was right, but she apologized for taking away Rinn’s choices and agency of self.

At long last, they had defeated the Empress. They returned to their home to sleep and recover, knowing their next step was to go to Pyrahh, in the hopes of getting home.

This is the end of the Second Arc: A Different World

All players are now Level 6.

Loot Acquired


  • Rinn Shrike – Half-elf Sorcerer/Rogue (Storm Sorcery)
  • Stubby – Half-elf Artificer/Artillerist
  • Tāmarai Shikomi – Gnome Bard (College of Lore)
  • Fisch – Bear Fighter (regular NPC)