By Jeff Quick
Plane of Air Portal
Elaacrimalicros the green dragon awoke and destroyed the Star Mounts colony
of aarakocra, the survivors scattered across the North and Cormyr. Some
groups formed new colonies in the spaces they could find, and some individual
aarakocra have struck out into Faerûn seeking their fortune alone. All
have sworn revenge against the ancient green dragon who killed so many
of their people and razed their home.
of survivors was a small circle of wizards, clerics, and druids. This
group of spellcasters all had ties to the Elemental Plane of Air and had
worked together before, so when the Star Mounts aeries split, they knew
how to find one another. Rather than scatter, the spellcasters made a
short flight north and settled in the Lost Peaks. Pooling their magical
resources, they formed an association known as the Nest of Retribution.
of Retribution is zealously dedicated to revenge against Elaacrimalicros.
They have pledged the rest of their lives to destroying the dragon and
reclaiming their home, and they are prepared to do anything up to, and
including, the sacrifice of their lives to accomplish this goal. However,
dying is easy. Living meaningfully is the trick.
aarakocras have decided to spend their lives collecting and marshalling
assistance from the elemental plane of air to gain revenge. Slowly, over
a period of years, they plan to summon an army of elementals, great and
small, and then destroy the dragon in a whirlwind of destruction.
however, while helpful, can be notably mercenary. In exchange for the
elementals' promises to help assault the ancient green dragon, the aarakocra
perform services or retrieve items for the elementals from the Prime Material
Plane. Considering that the aarakocras are systematically asking every
elemental they can summon to attack one of the most powerful beings on
the continent, the elementals require some serious service in return.
result, all ten members of the Nest of Retribution are rarely at their
Lost Peaks aerie simultaneously. More often, they're off on a mission
either in Faerûn or on the Elemental Plane of Air itself, serving an elemental
in some capacity. At least one member is usually in their shared aerie,
but rarely more than three members are present at once.
travel to and from the elemental plane of air, the aarakocras created
a portal. The portal is one of the most inauspicious of
its type. Hanging in midair, roughly a quarter mile away from the eastern
edge of the Lost Peaks, the portal has no visible boundaries or
sign of existence. The Nest aarakocras have simply memorized its location
and know how to orient themselves to find it from either side. The key
to opening the portal is the phrase, 'swift passage' spoken in
Auran. Even when open, the portal does not appear different from
the air around it, since the elemental plane of air doesn't look much
different from the material plane's air. Only when looking down at an
angle can an airborne observer can see a difference. The land below appears
to have an unnatural hole cut in it -- a 15-foot-diameter circle of sky.
aerie is guarded by air elementals of increasing power. Air mephits, arrowhawks,
and air elementals of up to 8 Hit Dice vigilantly protect the aerie from
intruders and Elaacrimalicros's spies. An air genasi named Shyven Arvagress
(NG female air genasi Ftr 8) serves as captain of the elemental guard,
and she is always at the aerie, even when none of the aarakocras are available.
Shyven is a paid employee, but a loyal one. She trusts the aarakocras
and believes in their cause. She's in no hurry to attack a green dragon
herself, but is happy to manage the defense of the aerie for as long the
Nest aarakocras want to keep her employed.
to Incorporate the Plane of Air Portal Into Your Campaign
- Characters who
enter the Lost Peaks in search of the Fountains of Memory could get
attacked by one of the Nest of Retribution's guardian air elementals.
The Nest's resident aarakocras will soon be on the scene to inspect
- When the PCs summon
their own air elemental, the elemental wants the PCs to assist the Nest's
dragon-fighting efforts in return for its service.
- The PCs might have
a magic item or have access to a magic item that a powerful air elemental
wants. A Nest aarakocra would probably first approach the PCs and tell
them the story of the Star Mounts colony, then beg their assistance
in a righteous crusade of vengeance. The aarakocra will offer his or
her own service for a period of time in exchange for the item. Nest
of Retribution aarakocra can be single-minded. If the PCs do not help
voluntarily, an aarakocra is not above manipulating events or simple
theft to get what he or she wants.
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