Act 1 synopsis:
The Devil’s Bargain, a mysterious tower buried in a rocky hill outside of the small town of Telhain, in the Empire of Taldor, remained unopened for a millennia until an event within breached the walls of the exposed top floor.
Several interesting characters who each had something of an interest in the tower for their own reasons, were staying nearby at the Devil’s Rest, the only Inn in Telhain, when the event occurred. They banded together to investigate the tower, and soon found that a true Devil had been released from the tower, threatening Telhain, and the surrounding countryside.
As they delved further, they encountered an evil Imp named Rose, who was the familiar of the conjurer who summoned and released the Devil (and died in the process). Rose managed to escape from the party, put began putting her nefarious schemes into action outside of the tower by partnering with another mysterious Devil known only as “The Nemesis”.
The summoner had also crafted an interesting construct that at first appeared to be a normal Homunculus. After adopting the Homunculus as a mascot of sorts, naming it Torgo (he took care of the place while the Master was away), the party soon came to find out that Torgo was much more than expected. He is in fact a very young member of an extra-planar race of automatons. Torgo decided to stay with the party when given a chance to return to his home plane and has since become a valuable member of the party in his own right.
The knowledge of Togo’s lineage came as the party was clearing out a desecrated Temple of Aroden that was found inside the tower. The Temple had come to be the abode of a Lich, who was currently away, and had entrusted her soul cage to the guardianship of a powerful undead Shadow.
The party was able to defeat the Shadow with the help of another extra-planar automaton and destroy the Lich’s soul cage. In the process, they gained access to another way into the tower via a planar gate in the Temple’s Library. They also learned the true history of the founding of the tower, which was originally called the Aether Tower.
The Aether Tower was actually designed to travel between planes and was used for some indeterminate amount of time to actually do so. At some point, however, the engines that powered the Aether Tower failed, and it was transported back to it’s original plane, only to be stuck inside the rocky hill near Telhain.
As the party learned more about Torgo and the Tower, Rose and The Nemesis continued to plot against Telhain. They established a sinister cult, then ambushed and murdered an Inquisitor of Iomedae and her guards. The Inquisitor had been dispatched to investigate the possibility of a new Demonic Incursion, having been misinformed as to the nature of the fiend that had escaped the tower.
Not yet done with their twisted machinations, Rose and The Nemesis brought a Cabal Devil named Uniila to the material plane and provided her with a Hat of Disguise that she might impersonate the Inquisitor, and bring the town one step closer to damnation.
As a part of their plan, the Devils framed the local priest of Aroden, Brother Lito, for the murders of those they were impersonating. The party was always suspicious of the Inquisitor, as she was quite erratic in her behavior toward them, but they uncovered her true identity just before Brother Lito was due to be hanged in the public square.
At the last moment, with the help of a true Knight of Iomedae named Nevil, and Alegwynne (a local Druid who cares for the town but is not cared about much by the towns people), the party confronted the Devils, and saved Brother Lito. By playing Rose and Uniila off against one another, and exploiting an existing spat between the two, they were able to get Rose to send Uniila back to Hell, and then concentrate on dispatching the bothersome Imp afterwards.
With Rose and Uniila dealt with, the town is finally able to breathe a sigh of relief, at least for a time. The party is quite aware that The Nemesis is still out there somewhere in the forest, and the cult has not been extinguished.
Other mysteries remain in the tower itself. There is the matter of a Gnomish investigator who has gone missing there, and something about the chairman of another secretive organization associated with the Tower.
Finally, as the party set out again for the Tower, they found a note in a spellbook that was gifted to them. The note bore reference to a pair of names that is of some interest to one of the party members, who is searching for a long-lost friend who vanished under mysterious circumstances.