The incredibly brave Qe DM (dungeonmaster) also known simply as Lothar.
In an office building, ten strangers, living out a boring, ordinary, office career, in what appeared to be the modern world, had their life brought into question when a spider, far larger than normal, was found in the Men's restroom. Fellow employee, Jimmy, brought this to their attention.
This fight led their boss, Ron, to try to stop him. When his office ID badge was broken, he was revealed to be an orc arachnidmancer. He and his pet spider tried to flee.
While he worked to usher out the other employees, our heroes removed their IDs, to reveal their true identities. They explored the building, and found the arachnidmancer and more spiders. They brought him down. They found a sword that didn't seem too useful in battle, but something magical about it. They also discovered a glowing, red rock on the roof of the building. Smashing it transformed the office building into an old prison, looking more like the time period they expected.
The heroes left and headed for the closest city. This was a big city, with skyscrapers, lights, and completely unfitting to the time period. There, they met a group of monks, led by Geralt. He bought them dinner at the local In-N-Out, and informed them he also had a sword, like theirs. There was some magic that was disguising the world, and people were outfitted with something that disguised their identity. The monks had been in such a disguise as well, their temple a day spa. They were able to break through.
The monks told them there was another rock, projecting the illusion over the city. They must find it, and find another key sword. They knew of another, and believed they knew what the key swords were for. There should be five, one had not been located yet.
The heroes searched the city, the local church, and found a human warrior priest, who called himself The Voice of Bahamut, the platinum dragon. The heroes explored underground, in the sewer system. Kobolds filled the area, in an illusioned disguise as well. At the far end of the sewer, there was a bronze dragon wyrmling, disguised. As the heroes tried to converse with her, to find out what was going on, a high elf dragon knight came in, slaying her. He was disarmed by the group, and was unable to take any treasure. They threw him back into the sewer, losing track of him.
They found another red stone, destroying it. This showed the sewers were cavernous tunnels, inhabited by the kobolds, and the bright-lights city was a town, called Valleydeep. Another key sword was found.
Continuing their time in Valleydeep, our group of adventurers spoke with the locals, trying to understand what was going on. The group split up. Half went to visit the Voice of Bahamut, asking about a history book of the town, and the notes at the end. He brought them to an assistant of the historian, Emily. She had made the notes. She confirmed the orcs she saw, but could not remember when they left. She remembered their cart had a symbol, a hand with fire around it. She also confirmed they had a giant, white stone, and later didn't have it with them, but did not know what happened to it. She also wrote down copies of notes from Daimon, the previous Voice of Bahamut. He had an interest in all kinds of dragons. While he never met a gold dragon, he researched and found evidence that at least one was nearby. All of his notes were provided to Ara and the group. The history book was also handed back.
Meanwhile, the other half of the group went into the underground caverns. The kobolds were busy fighting off the alligatorians. When asked if they had seen the male high elf, who killed the bronze dragon wyrmling, leave the caverns, the kobolds could not remember anyone doing that. They confirmed there were three more exits to the caverns, two in town, and one that led out to the barren valley. The group followed this, seeing that the ladder leading out had been burnt up, completely into ash, as if by magical fire. They exited, and found footprints leading North-East, towards the Mortmain Mountains. This half of the group called the other half, let them know they were about two miles outside of town, and asked them to come join them. They would sleep the night there, and the next day either head NE, following the tracks, or due East, towards the Temple of the Monks.
Most of the group headed east, towards the temple of the monks. A few headed north-east, into the mountains, to track down the dragon knight. At the temple, the group handed over the key sword they had obtained in the sewers of Valleydeep. They were informed the next key sword was up into the mountains, somewhere in the huge city called Everglow.
While heading into the mountains after the key sword, the group that had gone ahead found a lone orc woman, camping in the area where the path crossed with a stream of water. The orc said she was there to protect the area, and would not allow them through. The nine of them (Lance Varg having strayed from the group between Valleydeep and the monk's temple) took on the orc. They defeated her, Raffy hitting her with a rock, to knock her out. While the orc was unconscious, they tied her up. When she awoke they questioned her.
Either through lack of knowledge, or holding back, the orc woman did not give them the information they were expecting. They attempted to torture her into revealing more info, ultimately leading to her death. This display of torture upset Raffy and Zis, who now had a semi-estranged relationship with the rest of the group. Ara was also not comfortable with this situation.
With the orc buried in the mountain pass, a flower bush marking her grave, the group proceeded into the town of Ponydale, on the outskirts of Everglow. They met a tour guide, Irush, who showed them around, but mostly to get a commission when they bought at stores of her friends. The group met many ponies, most of whom do not care for the bipedal races, including Malaika, a pony satyr from Everglow. Other ponies met included a farmer named Apple Cart (whom they did not upset), Butterfry (a waitress and cook at the inn), Confetti Cake (who ran the bakery and candy shop), Commonality (who ran a clothing and jewelry store), Mixie (a local alchemist), and Scale (a young dragon who aided Mixie).
In the library, books were left with a message for each of the adventurers. They were written by Luminace, a pony who ascended onto the pantheon, a goddess. She informed Malaika, "You could search for the key every waking hour and still never find it."
Malaika figured out that this meant to find it, they would need to be asleep. The group of adventurers slept, finding themselves in a joint dreamworld. There they were faced with a battle going on: Luminace and The Moon Princess vs. Night Mare and The Hive Queen. The group had to choose sides, and teamed up with Luminace and The Moon Princess. Night Mare and the Hive Queen were defeated, and Luminace showed them the key sword was inside of Night Mare. Malaika pulled it out.
The group began the return to the monks' temple, to learn where to go next. Along the way, they came across the dragon knight, from the sewers. He did not understand why they were mad at him, he legitimately thought he was saving their lives when he killed the dragon wyrmling. He wanted his sword back, they wanted revenge. A fight broke out, resulting in his defeat.
This time, the group did not kill their enemy. They bound him, put him in their cart, and started their descent back down the mountain, towards the monks' temple.
Bringing the bound dragon knight elf back to the monk temple, the monks were relieved the group made it back safely with the fourth key sword. They said they found the fifth, and it should be easy to obtain. They suspected there was a pattern to where they were placed, and it should have been in a cave outside the farms of Hillshire. Second trip there, they discovered fey were using that cave to move between the fey wilds and the common world. The monks suspected the key sword fell through.
They had a spell at the ready, that anyone from the fey wilds, not exiled or banished, could return, through a portal they opened in a ritual. They expected Dawn to fly through. However, Dawn was unable to go through. No one in the group seemed to be able to. While no one else would be from the fey wilds, this would imply Dawn had been banished.
The monks had a second plan. There was a way for people to go to the fey wilds, even those not from there. There was a cave, over the Edge of the World, called either Shadow Cave or Moonlight Cave. It only appears when the light of the full moon shines on the entrance, and only a small portion of the cave is visible at a time. The group made it there, using a slowfall potion to descend the cliff. They waited for the moonlight to shine at just the right spot, and enter.
Inside, the cave was full of were-animals. These were creatures whose natural state is that of an animal, but transform into a humanoid form when the moonlight shines on them. The cave itself did not exist without the moonlight, and the moonlight was attracted to these werecreatures, settling on them while they were alive, and only bringing the surrounding area into existence.
The adventurers battled a ratwere, wolfwere, boarwere, a bearwere that was friendly in humanoid form, a chest that took on a humanoid appearance (like a mimic), and a tigerwere...which they lured towards the exit with illusioned meat.
At the end of the cave, a group of fae allowed them to pass into the fey wilds, with blessings cast upon them. One allowed them access, one bound their clothes, armor, and items to them to remain the proportionate size, and one shrunk them down so they could enter. In the fey wilds, guards stopped them and called for the arrest of Dawn. They were going to hold him to trade with a Sprite leader.
The princess of the queendom, Ceatherunion, took to the group, acted as a tour guide, and introduced them to the queen of the land. She took a special interest in Raffy, asking her mother about her. The Queen questioned Raffy about her origin and parentage, determined it "wasn't her," and left them.
Meanwhile, beside the jail cell where Dawn was held, there was another cell, inside of which was the key sword, huge in comparison to their current size. It was stuck, via magic, and would not shrink down. The Princess, a shapeshifter via illusion magic, became a guard, opened up Dawn's cell, and then transformed into Dawn, taking his place in the cell. She said, for this, they would owe her a favor.
Meanwhile, the adventurers worked together to dislodge the sword. Knowing where the portal out was, they managed to free it, bind themselves to it, and catapult it out of the floor. Mogador perfectly steered it through the portal.
They were back in the common world, in a cave, outside Hillshire. The halflings there were amazed by the wandering group, and many wished to one day go on an epic adventure. For now, they traded wands (which they received from those coming from the fey wilds through their cave) for stories, and would live vicariously this way.
With the three key swords in hand (the other two with the monks), the group headed towards the temple.
Meanwhile, the monks took the high elf dragon knight, whose name is Lekan, up to a temple in the north. There, they thought to free the inhabitants, who were bound in the ordinary human disguise. It turned out, it was The Temple of the Raven Queen, a goddess of death. The kenku (raven humanoid) priest ran the temple. Most of the "people" that were freed from the curse were actually ravens. And there was also a paladin (Jac) who had been there to destroy the temple. They had been in a standoff of a fight, and resumed again now that they were free.
The adventurers showed up, at first seemingly ready to use the key swords to open the central area of the temple floor. As they started to poke around, they discovered a concentrated, red magic below the floor. Is this what powered the spell that put people and places in disguises? What would happen if the swords were used? The group did not want to find out.
Geralt wanted them to use the key swords, open it up, but the group refused. At first, they tried to attack the floor, Raffy shooting it with a fireball. The fire burned, but the floor remained. Bresh and Dawn worked out a plan to remove one of the Key Swords, Raffy took another, and Malaika never handed hers over. The monks having enough of this, attacked.
During the fight, the Kenku Priest, trying to save his burning temple, knocked Geralt down into the center floor. Geralt noticed the floor was weakening under the fire. He gave the command to attack the floor. Mogador knocked one monk unconscious with a head slam, Bresh crushed the throat of one monk, and Ara burned another monk to death. One monk was beaten into submission by Malaika, and she held another one in place with a stone hand. When paladin Jac attempted to attack the floor, Fhar slammed his shield into Jac's face enough to kill him. Zis conjured a snek to hold Lekan in place.
At this point, everything seemed to settle down. The fire was put out, all monks were dead, unconscious, or surrendered, and Geralt was frustrated but out of options. The magic barrier on the floor was weakening. As a test, a key sword was poked into the barrier, causing a small hole in the protection. This allowed a beam of the red magic to shoot out like a laser, through the roof, up into the sky, and diffuse high up in the atmosphere. Anything placed into the red beam of magic instantly disintegrated.
As the group focused on this, they started to get attacked, small needles shot at them, and a hit from one of these needles would instantly put them to sleep. Some managed to avoid, catch, or stay out of the way of a needle. But more and more shots were fired.
Those that stood the longest saw that the attackers were high elf ninja. In the end, everyone was tranquilized, uncertain what would happen next.
END OF BOOK ONE