Rick established two campaigns he was running concurrently in his existing Greyhawk World. Team Hero and Team Evil. The goal was that those two teams would eventually face off in a death match around 13th level or so.
There were two incarnations of Team Hero.
The first dealt with Thunderstrike and a Hobgoblin invasion into Human lands. I wasn’t part of that campaign so I can’t cover it in a lot of detail. This Team Hero basically imploded as a group and was put on hold for several months after the resolution of the major plot conflict to that point, several party deaths, and a disruptive player.
The second incarnation of Team Hero started up around summer of 2007. The players were: Ken, Russ, Mark, Alan, Brandon and Nathan. It was a total reboot of the Team Good taking place after the events of the first Team Hero.
== First Major Story Arc ==
We started our adventure in the Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde a boxed adventure.
Long ago, an Abyssal army led by a demonic prince attacked the Material Plane in a campaign to conquer and enslave its people. In a titanic struggle, an army of mortals and angels countered his evil assault and decimated his plans. Now, in a time when few remember the significance of the black obelisks that dot the valley where the Battle of Slaughtergarde was fought, the ancient evil stirs.
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It basically had three separate dungeons, the Laboratory (Goblins), Temple (Drow), and Armory (Gnolls).
The Psion/Warblade died in the second session of the Laboratory, killed by a Howler with the pink d20 of death (and something like 5 out of 9 critical hits with projectile quills in a single attack). Marek joined the party at this time, sent to help by the same villagers who convinced the original party to brave the depths.
Marek was an ex-Drow slave for many years, and made a habit of slaughtering them on site, so he was more than willing to attack the Temple filled with Drow that was coming up.
At the end of the Laboratory, we found a small black dragon as the big bad guy. Lo’mak wrestled, pinned, and ultimately strangled the dragon to death, then had it stuffed and began to carry it as a personal mascot.
In the final fight of the Temple, the 2nd dungeon, Mark’s Aasimar and Nathan’s Cleric died to an Acid Cloud spell by a Hezrou. Mark’s Aasimar stayed dead, but we brought Nathan’s cleric back to life with a Raise Dead.
Shortly after entering the Armory (the third and final dungeon), the party met with a Succubus named Laurazhi trying to get back at the Gnoll cleric running the show. Marek rolled a 40 diplomacy with her, and convinced her and the party to work together, and shortly thereafter Marek and she became lovers. She tried to charm him on several occasions, and always failed.
Laurazhi was sent to get Scrolls of Lesser Restoration for the party after an ability drain monster damaged almost everyone. She robbed a merchant’s shop in Greyhawk, and kidnapped one of the customers, a Whisper Gnome Warmage (Mark’s new character).
It was also during this time that the party discovered another black dragon (large sized this time). Lo’Mak raged, and again strangled the dragon to death with nothing more than his bare hands. As a result of this, the party adopted the name Black Dragons. He also fittingly named his sword "The Black Dragon" As the Hilt of his 10ft Great Sword is this black dragon.
In the final battle of Slaughtergarde just as the party was about to win, Laurazhi turned on the party. Marek finally rolled a 1 and failed his charm against her, as did Lo’Mak. Lo’Mak and Marek proceeded to slaughter the party, resulting in the deaths of Mathazar and Nathan’s Cleric (again). Mark’s Warmage pretended to be dead, and Hugo fled.
Laurazhi then took the bodies of the dead PCs (and a few allied NPCs who were with us), and used the Tome of the Gnoll bad guy to enter the Abyss, leaving Lo’Mak and Marek to live with their actions. Marek was furious and began plotting revenge.
The PCs then used volcanic vents under Slaughtergarde to literally melt and sink the entire dungeon into the ground.
Our next adventure was exploring a secret abandon temple of Lloth one of the Drow we interrogated in Slaughtergarde mentioned they were looking for. It was a fairly simple one level dungeon filled with traps.
Upon completion of the dungeon, we discovered a Helm of Opposite Alignment among other treasure. Marek took the helm as his cut of the loot and began plotting his revenge.
He spent nearly every coin he had and sold several items to afford a Planar Binding spell, a Mindfog spell, and all the necessary other items to call Laurazhi back to the Prime.
The party then gathered and did the deed, calling her back to the Prime, disabling her, and forcing the helm on her head. She promptly became a Lawful Good Succubus and resumed her relationship with Marek.
== Second Major Story Arc ==
Expedition to the Ruins of Castle Greyhawk
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A few days later while resting, the body of Rigby is stolen (successfully this time) out of the Temple of Boccob. The Black Dragons are hired to venture into Castle Greyhawk to recover it in time for his burial in 30 days.
The Dragons also bonded a Companion Spirit at this time (Rampart), and established the 8 person party size that remained relatively unchanging since that time.
Over a series of adventures, the Black Dragons discovered that a Wizard of Erynthul named Vayne was attempting to use the same technique that Xagyg used to ascend to Godhood. This was done using a relic called the God Trap that was buried by Xagyg deep in Castle Greyhawk.
Vayne had also created a simulacrum of Iggilwiv from a hair sample and was attempting to give it true life to the simulacrum by siphoning power from Erynthul. Vayne was also working with Drow and other fell races to tunnel up under Castle Greyhawk and into the city proper to launch an attack while Greyhawk’s defenders were away fighting the Hobgoblins on the western border.
Laurazhi announced that she was pregnant with a daughter and was leaving the party until she delivered.
During the exploration of Castle Greyhawk to find and stop Vayne and Iggilwiv-lite the party discovered a Deck of Many Things in a relatively accessible section of the dungeon that didn’t disappear after drawing from it. No one could draw more than once, but regardless of the card(s) drawn, the deck stayed put.
The PCs cleared the area around the Deck and made sure that they had easy access to it, and began to ferry down key NPCs to utilize the Deck of Many Things.
Marek drew three wishes and used those wishes to ensure that his wife would always be good aligned, his daughter and grandchildren would not revert to their demonic heritage, and that he himself was part Dwarf as he had spent years living among them.
Harold the Paladin also drew wishes, and used one to make himself more perfectly able to serve his god and became a Saint.
As a result of various other draws, a host of other minor changes with the party occurred.
Marek drew a 4th level fighter companion named Locke who became the general of the forces of Songhold, the community the Black Dragons would go on to found.
Jadelyn drew 50,000 experience points and retired from the party for a time.
Kira drew 50,000 experience points and took leadership, making Bart the cohort.
Lo’Mak gave Yak sentience with an Awaken spell.
As a result of a trip to a demiplane, the PCs encountered a mirror universe with evil versions of themselves to battle. The mirror versions were destroyed.
It was revealed during this period that Tasha (of the Laughter spells), was Iggilwiv, who was an apprentice to Xagyg for many years. The real Tasha was trapped in the mirror universe, while the evil twin took her place and eventually tried to kill Xagyg.
The PCs freed the good aligned Tasha and she traveled with the party for a brief time before leaving to retrieve several caches of spellbooks hidden around the Flaeness. She would eventually return and accompany Saint Harold, and the two eventually married.
Vayne was killed by Erynthul for his deception, but not before the simulacrum activated the God Trap and pulled Erynthul into it. The Dragons were able to interrupt the ritual though, and stop her ascension.
== Third Major Story Arc ==
Maure Castle from Dungeon Magazine #112
This adventure was started by Team Evil after getting through the first level. They then aborted the adventure after a nearly complete TPK.
The party found out that a wizard named Eli Tomorast was attempting to free Kerzit, a demon of significant power. He was at war with another other faction within Maure Castle, a lich from the Maure Family who was utilizing a powerful artifact called the Id Core to create powerful dream creatures and rebuild his family.
After defeating Kerzit, but not finding Eli or the lich, the Dragons resorted to mystically scrying out key treasures and enemies within the Castle, teleporting into the relevant room, and launching surprise attacks and looting runs on sensitive areas. Eli Tomorast was defeated by an Anti-Magic Shell and a single round of attacks delivered by Marek and Lo’Mak on the now almost helpless Wizard.
The Lich proved more difficult, guarded as he was by Id Core controlled Trolls, but he too fell to the sneak attacks of the Dragons, leaving most of the treasure of Maure Castle to the PCs, including several relics, such as the Staff of Shadowstriking carried by Olek Kole, and another Deck of Many Things that was hidden away by Hugo in a demiplane he took control of from Castle Maure.
== Fourth Major Story Arc ==
Team Evil attempted to complete Expedition to the Demonweb Pit. Ultimately they failed to complete the adventure, but did enable Lloth to launch a full scale invasion of Oerth utilizing the combined forces of several conquered prime material planes worth of fanatical Drow.
The first arc concluded with the Hobgoblins of the Pomarj occupying (and eventually defending) the Elven nation of Celene, an alliance between the Black Dragons, Furyondi-Veluna, and the Trantherians, and the alliance between the Black Dragons and the Sultanate of Zeif.
The second arc dealt with the Black Dragons launching sneak attacks on giant “spider leg” anchors that enabled Lloth to Plane Shift her multi-planar horde to Oerth. The destruction of those portal pillars significantly reduced the number of Drow and Demons that the united kingdoms of the Flaeness faced. This arc ended with the defense of Songhold from the Drow horde that came up from the Underdark through Rift Canyon.
The third and final arc dealt with the Black Dragons traveling to the Demonweb to confront Lloth herself. The Dragons battled a horde of Demons and sinister Drow, including Eclavdra, Lloth’s high priestess, a son of Marek’s that resulted from his time imprisoned with the Drow, and eventually Lloth herself.
With their Goddess dead, the Drow invading Oerth faltered and many of the hordes were destroyed. In other areas, the Drow were able to keep their carved out Kingdoms and oppose the forced united against them.
The Black Dragons were hailed as heroes, and most retired from an active life. Some few continued to oppose the Trantherians now that their alliance was finished. Others took to wandering both the Flaeness and the multiverse.
The children of the Black Dragon formed an adventuring company called the Black Drakes and continue the legacy of their parents as adventurers.