The year is 540 YV, 305 after Benquil’s Companions defeated the massive facsimile bent on world sterilization. Since that time, magic has been banned in Vardor, which now includes the gnome empire, the dwarven city states, the drow cities in the underdark, many of the nations in the southern continent, and most of what was once wilderness eastward all the way to elves by the sea, including Margon’s city, Taurkiev. Technology has advanced quickly to replace magic under the guidance of Hilbrent, god of applied knowledge. Vardor exports transportation, agricultural, and medicinal technology to their many allies in the world, encouraging them to substitute them for magic use.
Unrest and resistance to the magic ban, when almost anyone can learn to use magic with even a little training (and often by accident), has been growing. In Gollant, the latest city in the nation, a religious and technological center, the Cult of the Magical Hilbrent has been growing, worshippers if Hilbrent who believe he was once in support of magic and believe he can be again.
It is under these conditions that Doane Six (played by ByW, player of Benquil), Nekolyn monk of the Nekolyn vigilante good, Aleossand, arrives in Gollant. He visits periodically to pay homage at the monastery (having lived predominantly in the wilderness since the destruction of his monastery at the hands of magic ban enforcers), but this visit is at the behest of a friend, an acolyte of Brimahil who is sympathetic to his feelings concerning the ban.
He meets her at the monastery, where she is helping to serve soup. She informs him that, while he has refused to get involved with lackluster resistances, the Cult of the Magical Hilbrent has organized a rally that has been given permission to use an auditorium at the Hilbrent Windborne School. She gives him a flier and he decides to attend to see what they have to say.
He spends the rest of the day paying respects to Aleossand and arrives at the auditorium on time, finding it crowded already. He gets in, but is forced to stand just within the open door.
Meanwhile, an amnesiatic half-orc, half-elf circus performer calling herself Lamila (played by BiW, player of Lamila and Evren) departs her circus in search of greater meaning, under the instruction of her rediscovered god, Rukarah. She takes with her the monkey friend she made in the circus: Benquil.
Leaving the circus camp, she follows the Temple Highway into Gollant, looking for a church of Rukarah she had been told exists there. She quickly finds herself in Goblin Town, a colony of goblins inside the city. She is accosted with goblins trying to sell her mechanical devices. Not able to speak their language, she only shows her symbol of Rukarah and is eventually led away down a side street by an elderly goblin and shown to the church of Rukarah. The pale, purple glow of crystals inside matches that of her scar symbol and she eagerly enters.
An orc priest welcomes her, letting her know he has been expecting her arrivals and is available to translate for her. He invites her to get some rest, that they will be attending a rally on the part of the Cult of the Magical Hilbrent in the evening.
She is later awakened and they load into a steam powered wagon (goblin design) and trundle to the Hilbrent School, arriving an hour early to take seats being held for them in the third row. On the way, her orc translator explains that Hilbrent is the god behind the development of technologies that have made the magic ban more bearable, both by fulfilling the functions of magic and giving races like goblins and gnomes who once had an identity in magic a new identity in tinkering.
Lucifer “Lucy” Underfoot (played by RiH, player of Hilbrent and Leo) is a halfling bard and student in Gollant. He has heard of the rally at the school, and having attended other, smaller rallies, he is eager to go to this one. He arrives fifteen minutes early and with all the seats already filled, joins some other halflings and some goblins sitting on a ledge in the back wall.
The rally is underwhelming, with scholars presenting reasoned evidence for Hilbrent and Gollant which he helped found being steeped in magic and elderly elves claiming that they remember a time when Hilbrent was a god of magic. During the long elaboration of pertinent, but uncompelling, evidence Doane, Lucy, and Lamila hear a voice in their heads asking them to stay after the rally for the after-meeting.
They oblige and find themselves each one of fourteen people remaining. The voice returns, urging them to follow to a truck that will carry them to a secure location. A drow and goblin move together for the door and everyone follows them out. At the door, the drow specifically addresses Doane telepathically, asking for a chance. He responds in kind, snappily, but agrees to come and see. “As long as you’re willing to see,” she responds vocally.
The other twelve, including Lucy, Lamila, and Doane, follow them out, going with them to a covered steam wagon that carries them all through the dark streets of Gollant to a warehouse that Lucy and Doane recognize to be on Bench Bottom Way, South of Library Road.
The warehouse has been converted to rooms, kitchen, conference room, and offices. In the conference room, targets are marked on a map of the city. The four apparent masters of the warehouse present the map, explaining that their intention is to find new information, something flashy they can present in a way that will rouse the masses in favor of magic.
They have a number of targets in mind, including the Temple of the Many Gods, Brimahil’s Library, The Temple of Hilbrent, and Devil’s Gate, the tavern Benquil built. The twelve are split into four teams, with the three PCs all on a team. They determine the library will be the best target to start with and retire for the evening.