The Destiny of Branamir the Sanguine Blade is a knock together adventure seed generated from a variety of random generators for my home game. It is bare bones and will remain so, as the players opted to NOT deal with Branamir, and chose to instead pursue a diplomatic mission to the Yeenoghu nomads. The Events of the Destiny of Branamir are still going to play a role in the future of the game, and will now be played in a Life of Brian fashion. A prophecy, a power mad magic user, a great battle, and the PCs... yeah, they went the other direction.

Who:

Branamir the Sanguine Blade is a warlock/duelist, in the vein of a Gygaxian Warrior-Mage power gamer. His appearance doesn't matter as he was never engaged as an antagonist, nor do his motivations or mannerisms really matter.

For sticklers - Branamir the Sanguine Blade was going to be a goth punk version of Kenneth Branaugh's Gilderoy Lockheart from whichever Harry Potter movie he was in. Manly gothic corset, black lace, a by the numbers evil black goatee, the works. Were he was going to shine was as a genre savvy antagonist who knew he was the villain, and was fully prepared to face whatever heroes were arrayed to fight him, and respond with suitable villainous aplomb. Would  a long soliloquy laying out the dastardly plan be cliche? Do it. Play it to the hilt, revel in it. Twirl the mustache, laugh menacingly, and be, above all things, jovially evil.

The Opposition:

The Guild of Adventurers-Upon-Return - a genre savvy organization that realizes that mustache twirling villains are only outnumbered by down to earth farm kids ready to realize a mystical prophecy to prevent a thousand year reign of darkness. 

The Mercenary Guild - Sword and shields are always for sale, though the MG can often be slow to be mobilized, since many powers that be tend to expect that the Lawful Good church, the Nobility, and the busybody G-AuR to handle things on the basis of altruism/civic duty, and are only mobilized by coin.

The Lawful Good Church - (in development), late to the game, and only providing token support.

The Grand Duchy of Nyir - The Duchy doesnt have a massively strong central government, so organizing and mobilizing forces can be a problem, so the Grand Duchy tends to rely on the guilds to carry out their will when levies and conscripts are slow to muster.

While Praxingdrell is the major power in Saerith, they are not an actor in the events of the Destiny of Branamir.

The Inciting Event:

Branamir the Sanguine Blade has gathered all the things he needs to enact a powerful summoning spell, and his forces are ready for war. Part of the summoning spell is that there has to be a good deal of blood spilled in the process, so Branamir's forces have advanced in an open fashion, the ascent of the mountain has to be contested.

The Build Up

The guilds are more flexible and can move faster than the Grand Duchy, so the Guild of Adventurers-Upon-Return, the Mercenary Guild, and other soldiers for hire are being sent as a holding or delaying force to slow Branamir's army so that the levies of the Grand Duchy can assemble and march for Hashmal. They are a small force in terms of numbers, but the guilds are highly competent, and have a high number of specialists and magic users, compared to the Grand Duchy's sheer numbers of men.

The March to Hashmal and the Defense of the Wraithwall

The guild has a plan to stall Branamir's forces as they march across the rolling hills of Greenwald. The majority of the guild forces involved are mounted on horseback, and rely heavily on archery and ranged magics to harry the beastmen, gibberlings, orcs, and other forces that make up Branamir's army.

The Greenwald is close to disastrous for the Guild, Branamir's army is composed of more demihumans than humans, and tactics for fighting human soldiers underestimates the tactics and overland speed of some demihuman species, plus the Guild has long worked in small groups and cells, and not scaled engagements. There are serious losses, and the Guild is not able to noticeably slow the army.

The great holding action is to be at the monastery fortress of Wraithwall. It is no great secret that Hashmal is a holy mountain, and that it should be protected from those who would exploit it's power for their own. Wraithwall is a monastery and a fortress that blocks the path to the summit of the mountain. It has been defended for centuries, and the monks of Wraithwall are known for their skill with pole arms and martial arts.

The defenders hold the Wraithwall for three days before Branamir's magic and siege engines smash through the gates. The army of the Grand Duchy arrives on the fourth day, and fights to retake the Wraithwall from Branamir's rear guard, while the remainder of the guilds have retreated up the mountain to try and stop the mad warlock from winning. Others have fled. It is a dark day. 

The Summit

The summit of Hashmal has a thousand year old shrine, and is a place of immense magical power. There are no walls, no final keeps, just one of the greatest views in western Saerith.

Branamir ascends the summit of Hashmal, his forces victorious. The Wraithwall has fallen, the guilds scattered before him, their numbers greatly diminished. Branamir prepares to activate his relic, to summon the god of the mountain and to achieve apotheosis and become the next great ruler of Saerith.

And then, at his moment of utter and complete triumph, Hashmal erupts.

The holy mountain is, and always has been, a volcano. Long dormant, it seeped with power, and the Queens of Praxingdrell have held onto their political power by having control over volcanoes and vulcanism in general. PRax could have sent armies, could have sent assassins on dragon back, could have engaged in a ranged magical duel with the warlock.

Triggering the eruption and pyroclastic lahars to clean everything up was the more expedient option.

The Aftermath

Branamir is dead. The bulk of his army has been slaughtered by volcanic fury and the Grand Duchy army. The guilds have been humbled, many of their best and bravest are dead, or missing, and it will take some time for them to recover. Hashmal erupts for seven days before quieting.

Had the players opted to follow this story path, they would have participated in the Greenwald and Wraithwall sections, where, as heroes, they would have had the option to fight Branamir's elites, and even engage the warlock in a potentia duel. Their actions would have had the chance to change the flow of events. As they rode off on a diplomatic mission to the Yeenoghu, the dice were rolled to determine the outcome of events on Hashmal. 

As the game progressed, the eruption of Hashmal was noticed, on the distant horizon. Is that a volcano erupting? Well, glad we arent there. The outcome of the battle will be realized when they return to Tel Galad, and meet up with the survivors who make it back.

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