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Cold Reception; Warm Embrace

Initial Brief


Cleomedes Huq, Devout of the Torch, seeks citizens to light the beacons on the walls of the Embrace of Empire, a task which has long gone neglected. A steadfast spirit in the face of adversity is desirable. Diplomatic contact with the Wardens of the Embrace will be necessary.

The Devout would be grateful for the assistance of such righteous citizens.



  • The citizens are briefed by the Devout on the post of Warden. Each district has a Warden of the walls. In times past, the Wardens were actively responsible for the defence of the City, though in these days it is the Forester's Guild who are predominately responsible for keeping the City safe from without.
  • Nonetheless, the position of Warden receives an imperial stipend in keeping with how the office was performed in former days, making it a desirable one to occupy.
  • Devout Cleomedes Huq was recently elected to the post of Warden of the Imperial Boulevard, an dark horse candidate in a hotly contested race. Their vow - never to do what is easy over what is right - meant that they immediately felt the need to rectify the situation on the Embrace of Empire - in particular, the importance of re-lighting each District's Beacon, a powerful Torch Artefact that helps those who crew the walls stay vigilant.
  • The Citizens begin to travel the walls anticlockwise.
  • In the Wastes, they fight off mutant creatures, and meet with Warden Jessamy, an eccentric Ichorwerker who scuttles about prone on insect legs. After some back and forth, Jessamy agrees to the lighting of the Beacon as, ultimately, the path of least resistance. Ember lights the first Beacon, but the party will each get a turn to participate in this honor, a gesture that does not go unnoticed.
  • On lighting the beacon, several threats are illuminated in torchlight, and the party are set upon by more mutant creatures, which they best. Here, Rekha joins the party, having previously been away fighting conflict denizens.
  • In the Barrens, the citizens come across a toll erected by the dwellers of the district. Their principles forbid them to let the party through without payment. The party's principles will not let them pay a toll to be let through. They are at an impasse. Violence ensues, and the tollmaster and their crew are defeated.
  • Elias ranges ahead and meets the Warden, Decima, staring out towards the forest. She senses him coming. They exchange polite words, Elias informing her of the altercation. She thanks him, noting that any deaths would be unfortunate.
  • The rest of the party arrive. Decima has no problem with the Beacon being lit, and Jeremiah takes his turn to engage in the holy ritual.
  • In Rom, the party find themselves slowly moving into Connection. They fight off several hostile denizens, and make their way to a room where their memories of a strong emotion - pride - are given form. Each must participate in the memory as expected to cause it to fade. Watcher employs an unorthodox - or, possibly orthodox - method to best her challenge, troubled by the tongue regrowing in her mouth. Elias has an unusual meeting with a stranger, who he shakes hands with - disappearing for a time, before returning.
  • In Estaban, the party are stymied when they can find neither the Beacon nor the Warden. They make their way to Warden Simpkin's house, where they are invited to lunch. Among other things, they encounter Lyra the Blessed, who offers to help retrieve the Beacon - supposedly at the Shapers College for repair - and, in a characteristic act of charity, she doesn't ask for any gratitude in return.
  • They also meet Warden Orderic (Telemere's Warden) and their faithful retainer, Baudolino. It seems Simpkin is keen to meet with Orderic in private. On hearing of the plan to light the beacons, Baudolino decides that he and Orderic should clear the way for the party.
  • After lunch, the party depart with the Beacon for the Estaban section of the Embrace. Here they encounter birds behaving very oddly indeed - with no seeming cause. They defeat them and move on.
  • Next, they encounter a group of citizens from Rivergate Town who seem to be very ill - listless and moving erratically. One speaks, and the rest follow suit. It seems clear they are possessed of some horrid malady, and the party fight to defeat them, stabilising the wounded. However, as the leader is felled, another rises to take their place amongst the injured. At a crisis, Ember consults the Torch through their icon about their feelings on killing the citizens, and receives a vision which implies a sorrowful, but determined, approval. The citizens are executed. Jeremiah is especially distraught.
  • They light the Beacon. Here, a great beam of torchlight reveals something on the outer wall, and with a wretched rumbling and shaking, a huge forest creature rips its way out of the masonry and begins to attack. Thanks to excellent teamwork amongst the party (and a well-timed re-grouping spearheaded by Sato) the party are able to win the day.
  • At this point, Warden Orderic rushes in from the Telemere side, gravely wounded. They beg to be killed decisively before they transform into a changeling. Jeremiah and Elias try to apply their medical skills, but it is to no avail - the patient is beyond their ability to treat them. Ember tries placing Orderic's hand above the Beacon, and it stings part of them, but is oddly painless at the same time. As Orderic fades, the party agree to commend him to the Torch's cleansing flame. He dies - a small part of him screaming, the rest of him peacefully passing.
  • Retainers of Telemere arrive, investigating Orderic's death. After a tense interrogation, the party are let free. Baudolino arrives, utterly broken by Orderic's death. Jeremiah does his best to console him.
  • Fired by these events, the party run towards Telemere - and on the way, they must fight off a malign and unknown influence. They encounter Warden Simpkin attempting to destroy the Beacon, face transfigured in the light of the Torch, revealing the forest creature beneath.
  • The citizens challenge not-Simpkin (Changeling Quercus) and, in a terrifying battle that nearly claims Mabel's life, they best him. After deliberating about whether or not to try and interrogate him, they cast Quercus into the Beacon flame, where they scream and burn in agony.
  • The citizens report back to Cleomedes.



  • 1 Favour for completing the mission.


  • Mourns with Baudolino, sharing a bitter bottle of wine. Together, they release Warden Orderic's ashes to the winds in a formal funeral ceremony attended by those of Telemere.


  • 1 Favour for supplying Asli Celestine with information about the conduct of Warden Simpkin, and evidence of his demise, enough to assist her with ascending to the position of Warden.


  • Notes their concerns of a number of citizens entering into Error.


  • Obtains an opportunity to trade information about the location of interesting planar activity or of a powerful denizen in Erosion to Salih Ravennah of Rom for Favour.
resources/adventure/cold_reception_warm_embrace.txt · Last modified: 2018/11/25 09:55 by tomm