Scales of War

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Scales of War is an adventure path for Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition released in Dungeon Magazine, in which the party fights a great war against a coalition of Githyanki and Tiamat. Spanning from issues #156 to #175, it takes a party from levels 1 to levels 30, and is a successor of sorts to the earlier Incursion adventure path/campaign setting.

Scales of War also ties into some issues of Dragon Magazine:

  • #366 presents an array of new character backgrounds for players in this adventure path.
  • #369 provides an array of new gnolls, which ties into the adventure "Den of the Destroyer". Specifically detailed are three varieties of the demonically devolved "Beast-Born" (Cackling Marauder, Abyssal Slaughterlord, Hound of Yeenoghu), two forms of "Havoc Gnolls" (implied to be a 4eification of Flinds), two varieties of the demonically-empowered "Ruin-Touched", and a new Hyena variant, the Slaughterfang, which gnolls breed as mounts.
  • #377 examines Tu'narath, the city of the Githyanki, in more detail as it appears in the World Axis cosmology.

Backstory[edit]

When Vlaakith CLVII was assassinated, many of her former underlings sought to claim the throne for themselves. Ultimately, the most successful incumbent was a githyanki warlord named Zetch'r'r, who had been in a critical position: after all, he had provided aide to the assassins who brought down the Lich-Queen in the first place! A member of the Sha’sal Khou, a secret society dedicated to forging peace between the githyanki and githzerai, Zetch'r'r found himself stymied because of his beliefs. Desperate to cement his ill-gotten power, he reluctantly sought the aide of Tiamat. She gave him what he sought... but not for free...

Issue Synopsis[edit]

Issue #156[edit]

Rescue at Rivenroar: The peaceful town of Brindol in the Elsir Vale has been attacked by a hobgoblin warband styling itself after the ancient army of the Red Hand of Doom. The hobgoblins are operating out of undead-infested catacombs beneath the ancient ruins of Castle Rivenroar. In their latest attack, they kidnapped seven residents of Brindol; the party, as the only true military might that Brindol can muster, has to delve into the dungeon and try to rescue the kidnapped people.

Issue #157[edit]

Seige of Bordrin's Watch: In the badlands to the west of the Elsir Vale, beyond the Stonehome Mountains, a great horde of orcs and other fell beings has risen. Whilst normally such a force would dash itself uselessly against the ancient dwarven stronghold of Bordrin's Watch, this horde is led by an ogre-blooded orc chieftain of uncommon strength and guile. Such is his prowess, and so great his horde, that the dwarves fear they may not be able to hold the line alone, especially given rumors that the orcs may have found the tunnels leading under and around the stronghold. They put out a call to arms for mighty warriors from across the Vale, and the heroes of Brindol are just the sort of people they need.

Issue #158[edit]

The Shadow Rift of Umbraforge: In the wake of saving Bordrin's Watch, the party find themselves best by street toughs seeking to recover the mysterious brass key that they recovered from the dark one arms-dealers who had been supplying the orc war chief, Tusk. Investigating will lead them to the heart of arms-dealing empire operating out of the Shadowfell, and the first hints of the wider doom around them.

Issue #159[edit]

The Lost Mines of Karak: Having destroyed Sarshan's umbraforge in the Shadowfell and saved Overlook, the party are being increasingly noticed by the cunning and wise. A dwarf named Bram Ironfell, believing that a greater conflict is coming, presents them with a parchment recovered for Sarshan's enclave, which he believes leads to the lost Karak Lode, a legendarily wealthy mine of many precious metals that was lost generations ago. He tasks the party with finding the Karak Lode, to finance the armies that will no doubt be needed in the near future.

Issue #160[edit]

Den of the Destroyer: Sinruth and his hobgoblins weren't the only monsters that Sarshan goaded into action. A band of gnolls also fell under the shadar-kai's sway, and have since moved into the abandoned monastery known as Fortress Graystone. Their leader Fangren has succumbed to mania; believing he is a chosen of Yeenoghu, he has begun to conduct dark magical rituals to imbue himself with fiendish might. When these rites awaken the once-dormant sentience of an ancient magical sword, the party is alerted, and must stop Fangren before he gains the power to unleash demons upon the Elsir Vale.

Issue #161[edit]

The Temple Between: The true masters behind so much of the Elsir Vale's recent woes finally reveal themselves, as the semi-disgraced githyanki General Zithiruun leads a ploy to seize control over the Vale with the aid of body-snatching githyanki ritualists. Having been alerted to the threat in the nick of time, the party must stop before Overlook has been conquered from without or within.

Issue #162[edit]

Fist of Mourning: In the wake of the failed githyanki assault, the party finds themselves dealing with a more internal matter. The mad, transformation-seeking Cult of Exquisite Agony has been reborn yet again, and is conducting hideous experiments in remolding humanoids with the aid of slaad tadpoles. They must be stopped, before they gain the power to try converting victims by force - or at least unleash uncontrollable monstrosities upon the Vale!

Issue #163[edit]

Beyond the Mottled Tower: Summoned by Overlook's Council of Elders to protect Megan Swiftblade, leader of the Freeriders, the party learns of Sarshan's connection to the githyanki, and are forced to fight the shadar-kai arms merchant in a battle that takes them from the mortal world of their birth to a floating island in the Sea of Fire.

Issue #164[edit]

Haven of the Bitter Glass: Having returned to Overlook, the party's struggles are in no way over yet. When a captured githyanki war galleon crashes near Overlook and its pilot, a githzerai scout, begs for their assistance in rescuing the besieged fortress of Akma'ad, they take their first true step into the planes - and to confronting the githyanki.

Issue #165[edit]

Alliance At Nefelus: With open war with the githyanki now well and truly underway, the Elsir Vale needs allies. The mysterious island nation of Nefelus, known for its sages and masters of the arcane, would be a valuable one in the fight - but first, the party must fight their way through the blockade and make contact with its rulers.

Issue #166[edit]

Throne Of The Stone-Skinned King: Having secured the aide of Nefelus by capturing the magical Seed of Winter that threatened the island-nation, the party now turns their attention to its creator: a formorian named Cachlain, the Stone-Skinned King. Openly allied with the githyanki, his access to a network of portals between the feywild and elsewhere gives the githyanki a great advantage. One way or another, the party must break this unholy alliance.

Issue #167[edit]

Garaitha's Anvil: Now well and truly aware that Tiamat is also involved in the githyanki's plots, the party is called upon to investigate githyanki troop activity in a remote mountain path. What they find there will be instrumental in winning the war.

Issue #168[edit]

A Tyranny of Souls: By seizing the Well of Worlds, the party has all but repulsed the githyanki from their world. However, the fight is not over, not while Tiamat still masterminds the campaign. Using the Well's power, the party is given their greatest challenge yet: invade Tu'narath, capital of the githyanki empire, and find some way to break the bonds of allegiance between githyanki and Tiamat.

Issue #169[edit]

Scales of War skipped this issue, making it the only exception in the entire arc.

Issue #170[edit]

Betrayal At Monadhan: To thwart a plan by Tiamat's Exarch of Black Dragons, Mornujhar, to slay Bahamut with a mighty ritual, the party must seek out the ritualist. This requires them searching for a hidden demiplane, the opening of which can only be found in Monadhan, a dread domain in the Shadowfell where great betrayers from across planes and times are condemned to live together.

Issue #171[edit]

Grasp Of The Mantled Citadel: Having found their way to Vaerothim, the extradimensional sanctuary of Mornujhar's ritualist, the party must hurry and slay him before the God of Metallic Dragons perishes.

Issue #172[edit]

Legacy of Io: The party failed to prevent Tiamat's plan. Bahamut is dead. And yet, there remains hope: a shard of Io that the gods fashioned into an artifact called the Arrow of Fate, which possesses unmatched influences over the forces of life and death. With its aide, the party can restore Bahamut to life. But first they must retrieve it from its prison, itself created from an unlikely alliance of Pelor, Erathis, Ioun and Asmodeus.

Issue #173[edit]

Those Once Loyal: Though the party has retrieved the Arrow of Fate, restoring Bahamut will be no easy task. Consumed by despair at Bahamut and Tiamat's eternal, costly war, the mithril dragon Dakranad sought to convince Bahamut's seven gold dragon exarches to let their master stay dead and to pass on his divine essence to Dakranad himself. Cast out for this arrogance, the pride-blinded wyrm has allied himself with Dispater, and stands in the party's way of returning their ally to life.

Issue #174[edit]

Test Of Fire: Bahamut lives once more! Tiamat's forces are in retreat and disarray everywhere, save for her final redoubt: the City of Brass. There, an alliance with the efreeti holds the potential to turn the tide of war back in her favor. The party has no choice but to travel here, slay the last of Tiamat's chromatic exarches, and make the efreeti switch their allegiance to the party instead.

Issue #175[edit]

Last Breath of the Dragon Queen: With Tiamat's strongholds destroyed and her alliances shattered, her forces are in disarray, fleeing into hiding and abandoning their former mistress across the planes. But Tiamat herself still remains. Now possessed of world-shaking power themselves, the party must put an end to her; breaching her final stronghold, they must slay her Broodmothers - five female chromatic dragons of great power, all hugely pregnant with Tiamat's eggs as part of her long-running experiments in producing true divine offspring - and finally dispatch the desperate dragon-goddess herself.

The Gith of Dungeons & Dragons
Races: Duthka'gith - Gith - Githyanki - Githzerai
Undead: Kr'y'izoth - Tl'a'ikith
Individuals: Vlaakith CLVII - Zaerith Menyar-Ag-Gith - Zerthimon
Places: Shra'kt'lor - Tu'narath
Miscellaneous: Crown of Corruption - Gish - Scepter of Ephelomon
Adventures: Incursion - Scales of War