Level Eater 9

Prologue Adventures

in Portsbridge


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Always a Great Time to Start.

Play when you want & change the fate of the realm!

We are SOLD OUT for 2018! Plans are afoot for 2019!

This short, unofficial Dungeons & Dragons adventure series, set in your home realm of Portsbridge, presents seven original adventures leading up the epic events of Level Eater 9 on January 19, 2019!

Battle wicked monsters. Reveal ancient secrets and confront the foes of the realm. Something dangerous is headed to Portsbridge, and we’re counting on you to help defeat it. Each session, a unique story unfolds!

If you’ve never played Dungeons & Dragons, our hosts offer great ways to learn the game and experience a fantastic adventure. Multiple opportunities to play — on select Tuesday nights from November to January — mean you can play a single adventure or come back to see a larger story emerge. Play when you can! 

To play at our Level Eater table, donate for the nights you want to attend. Your contribution helps support Lumpen Radio and our Level Eater event on January 19, 2019. No prior experience with D&D necessary — we’ll have you playing in no time.

We need at least 2 players (in addition to the host) to have a quorum for play. We sit down at 7pm, choose characters, and go adventuring until about 10pm or so. Be on your best behavior — this is a chance to make new friends and be heroes.
We play using the current, fifth-edition of Dungeons & Dragons. We seldom use miniatures, focusing instead on the “theater of the mind.” Level Eater adventures mix battles, exploration, and roleplaying to evoke a thrilling world in need of heroism.
We provide ready-to-play characters for you to play in the game, from sword-wielding fighters to brilliant wizards and beyond. Between adventures, we level up the characters — then offer them for play again next week … if they survive.
Each week, the players in attendance select from the available characters. You might play the same character several times — or you might not. Try out new character classes, powers, and spells. This is a great way to dabble with characters that are new to you!

Your contribution gets you a seat at the table, some refreshment from the good humans at Marz Community Brewing, and loaner materials you need to play that night, like dice, a character, and other fun stuff we might have on hand.

Your contribution gets us funds we need to develop Level Eater Adventures content and put on events like Level Eater 9 — which raises funds for Lumpen Radio. Together, as a community, we play and our adventuring party prospers.

Your contribution gets you everything you need to play, but other goodies may be available for sale on site, such as treasured trinkets to help your characters achieve great heroics or copies of our coveted Level Eater character journal ($10).

The city of Portsbridge breaks down broadly into three main factions, each representing different philosophies and traditions of the realm. Each faction awards powerful treasures to adventurers who undertake quests on behalf of that faction.

At the beginning of each adventure, choose a faction for your character to support that week. Each pledge earns a point for the faction. As a faction gains points, it offers more powerful treasures. See the Portsbridge page for more.

Marz Community Brewing

Where we play the Level Eater prologue adventures!

Co-Prosperity Sphere

Home of the main event: Level Eater 9!

In the realm of Portsbridge…

In the aftermath of an attack by the Vile Mind — a nefarious, hateful power from deep in the outer cosmos — the city of Portsbridge is rebuilding. As part of that, the people seek to understand the strange realm they have been magically moved into, and to prepare for whatever crisis or creature is surely coming for the city next.

Portsbridge needs heroes.

A Visionary Speaks of Doom.

In this fraught and wary time, allies seem few. Many in the city look to the visionary proclamations of a human called Oris, who has foreseen a vast and terrible army pillaging and burning the city. His followers — the Fervent — work to bolster the city’s defenses and prepare every citizen to fight for it.

A fearsome new enemy approaches.

#1: “Quest for the Lost Vault”


Irreplaceable treasures of the realm need to be found and secured before the coming battles. That means retrieving lost artifacts from monster-infested ruins beneath the city and escorting the recovered treasures to one of the modern vaults in the city, where they can be protected by locks and keys and the blessings of the visionary called Oris.

In our first tale, a handful of adventurers followed visions of Oris to the site of an ancient tomb. There, three sisters were interred generations ago: a ranger, a thief, and a warlock. Two of them were buried with great treasures. The third was entombed with a precious artifact, which must be protected against the enemies coming to sack Portsbridge.

The adventurers found the artifact—but not everything went according to plan…

#1: Actual Play

After seeing their squire, Wat, dragged bloody into an underground lake on the edge of the tomb, the adventurers were wary. They faced living statues, withering magical traps, and a curious puzzle on their path to recovering the artifact they sought. They found it in the sarcophagus of the third sister—the warlock—but her coffin was otherwise empty.

The artifact is a crown of gold and iron.

With the crown in hand, the adventurers fled the shadowy underground for the surface streets—where they found themselves ambushed at night by bandits and brigands! These toughs were members of the Redheels, thieves and robbers carrying on the work of the once-great Cutthroat Queen: Gotha Sanguina. Because their dead queen was descended from one of the three sisters in the tomb, the Redheels consider themselves heirs to the sisters’ fortune.

Two of the adventurers agreed. They fled with the crown, leaving their compatriots in the ambush, and delivered the artifact to agents of the Earthen faction in Portsbridge, instead of the visionary, Oris.

#3: “The Messengers”


Tasked by the popular visionary, Oris, to deliver a secret message to a master alchemist called Azram, a handful of adventurers discover facets to the city they might not have known before. Stir a few doses of poison into the mix and the intrigues boil.

But when the letter they carry is stolen by a pilfering goblin—right on the streets of Portsbridge—the adventurers give chase through the lanes and avenues of the city. And that is where our story begins…

#3: Actual Play

Using magic spells and mighty strength, the adventurers catch up to the fleeing goblin just in time to see him slain by a crossbow bolt. They have the letter back in hand—but a moment later, a master thief has stolen it again and the chase continues! Only by outwitting the thief and surrounding her near the city’s riverbank do the adventurers retrieve their letter. With it comes a warning that many others want to know what’s inside. The adventurers are not safe while they carry it.

Soon, though, they are warm in the alchemist’s shop and home, being served tea by Mazer the manservant while they wait for Azram the Alchemist to return home. But all is not as it seems, for the real Mazer lays dead in the cellar and the lookalike serving tea wants Azram dead is an infernal creature that wants revenge for being cooped up in a jar by the alchemist. In a furious cloud of hallucinogenic chemical smoke, the adventurers manage to thwart Mazer’s killer—and in the wreckage discover where Azram was headed.

A brewery. Beneath that brewery: a fighting ring. Beneath that: a whole arena. Beneath that: lost catacombs—and the corpse of Azram, suspended in gelatinous ooze. What was he doing down there … and was he murdered?

Looking for answers, the adventurers use Azram’s amulet to break the magical seal on the letter they carried. They open it. They read it.

It seems that Azram made elixirs that help Oris to hone and understand his visions. And in his visions, Oris sees something drawing near. He sees a word, a name. Novur? Oris can’t be sure and, as he confides to Azram in the letter, he’s not sure who he can trust anymore.

Having read the letter, the adventurers burn it to protect it from prying eyes. But they believe Oris knows they’ve seen it and, in audience with him, he admits his disappointment in them—even as he suspected they would open it.

#5: “The Promise of a Ghost”


A night of chaos in Portsbridge gives way to a cold and icy dawn. Fires throughout the city have claimed several buildings and lives, all of them belonging to key members of the city’s great factions. Houses, monasteries, an agricultural temple, and the sanctum of the Seers — all destroyed.

Among the dead? The New Seer himself, leader of his faction. He was named to the post after the death of the Old Seer and chosen above many petitioners. Some of those petitioners went on to serve the city as adventurers. Another … was the visionary called Oris.

Amid snow and ashes, the fear-mongering zealots called the Fervent proclaim Oris as the True Seer, despite not having the authority to do so. “Why,” they ask, “could the New Seer not foresee his own fate?”

Perhaps one soul still in the city has answers. Perhaps the ghost of the Old Seer remains…


The shrine kept by the Seers to honor the Old Seer, it turns out, is not his grave. To discover who was behind the fires in the city, however, the Seers reveal the location of the Old Seer’s true resting place and a handful of bold adventurers seek it out—with their magic lantern in hand—to consult the wisdom of the Old Seer’s ghost.

Along the way, they discover themselves followed by a masked agent of the Fervent, who warns them that they are not safe and suggests that the Old Seer’s ghost shouldn’t be trusted.

Later, in the Old Seer’s underground crypt, by the strange light of the magic lantern, the adventurers meet the ghost they sought. He seems almost alive and says he is not quite a ghost but a facet of the Old Seer embedded in the city, unable or unwilling to leave the realm.

The Old Seer looks across the city and into the past and reports what he sees: zealots among the Fervent used magical rubies* to attack the Seers, the Sovereign Shield, and the Earthen. As the Fervent see it, they have proven the Seers to be vulnerable—weaker than their cherished visionary, Oris.

“The Fervent fear the future,” says the Old Seer’s ghost, “and believe they know how to fight it.”

Where do Oris’ visions come from? Is he safe in the hands of the Fervent and, while they have him, can reports of his visions be trusted? Can Oris be trusted? The ghost says that Oris is ill-prepared for what he’s going through “and wherever his visions are coming from, perhaps he can still do some good for this city.”

The adventurers decide it is time to reach the visionary themselves—see what good can be done before it is too late.

And that’s when the Fervent’s assassins attacked. Their magical poisons turned half of the adventurers to stone, trapping them in nightmarish visions of their own. Yet the bold paladin and brave cleric managed to save their comrades—and take one of the assassins prisoner…

#2: “A Handful of Fire”


A quest for fabled treasure. A reward for a lost scion. A nefarious rival with uncertain aims. All these collide in a haunted tomb, deep beneath the city, and that is where our story begins.

This story opens as the adventurers awaken at the bottom of a deep well following a heated confrontation with rival adventurers. Everyone’s out for the same prize: Carrick Hightower, a knight with a bright future in the Sovereign Shield. He went missing while searching a buried temple for a spellbook sought by the visionary, Oris. Carrick and his fellowship never returned from the ruins they set out to explore, and now it seems another party of adventurers may be lost in the dark, too.

As they explore, however, they discover walking, hungry corpses and sword-wielding temple guardians are not all that lurk in the ancient temple ruins…

#2: Actual Play

Carrick is dead and the adventurers learned it the hard way when his body, possessed by a haunting spirit, turned on them.

Cornered between mummified priests, dead knights, and furious ghosts, the adventurers didn’t give up. Instead, they combined powerful magic and cunning teamwork to take shelter in a magic circle and combat their foes — all while activating a mechanism of water and fire that secured their escape.

As waters rose, carrying them out of the well and back toward the surface, they left behind Carrick’s body and a fortune in rubies brimming with fiery arcane powers. But they had made a great discovery: the temple complex was itself the “book” of magic rites sought by Oris. Our heroes brought that information back to the visionary, furthering his efforts to prepare the city as a new enemy approaches…

#4: “Name Your Fear”


Snow falls on the streets of Portsbridge. Sword-carrying guards clad in armor chilled by winter walk their patrols along the streets. Monks of the Sanguinian order carry incense through the city, chanting prayers for the safety of the people. Devotees of Oris the Visionary, calling themselves the Fervent, stand on street corners with torches in hand and proclaim that this winter may be the city’s last unless all are prepared to battle a coming evil. Everyone’s breath makes clouds before their faces in the cold.

The city seems poised. But like ice above a dark lake, it is ready to crack. And that is where this story begins…

#4: Actual Play

Five adventurers. Each of them survivors of prior missions for the visionary, Oris. Each of them summoned to a secret meeting. All of them gathered in a city temple — a place revering gods of agriculture and harvest — with powerful envoys of the city’s three great factions.

A proud and powerful male tiefling with mighty horns, known as the Iron, spoke for the Earthen. A towering, white, human woman, a paladin known sometimes as the Coin, represented the Sovereign Shield. The Seer’s Eyes sent the Book, a dark-skinned half-elf, clad in sigils and symbols.

They believe the visionary — Oris — who foresaw the city’s next great battle for survival has foreseen the arrival of an errant god: Novurum. Also known as Novurankh, as Herald of the Devourer, as the Banner of Fear, and the Ninth of the Exiles, this dreaded being may be coming to hold the city for one of the greater, more terrible gods it serves.

They cannot be sure without Oris.

But Oris has gone into hiding. Only his zealous supporters and champions could reach him now. Call them the Fervent. They have become mad with vehemence and fear. And this secret meeting was the start of a conspiracy to reach Oris despite the Fervent’s hold on him.

But someone had been followed. Masked and hooded people spied on the temple. Then, in a torrent of thunder, snow, and tremors … the temple collapsed around everyone in attendance!

The adventurers, fallen into sacred catacombs, fought their way out past giant bugs and a hungry troll. And they escaped with a treasure: a magical lantern. The Iron threw it to them amid the tumult, just as falling stones seemed to bury him.

Did he survive? Did anyone but the adventurers survive?

As the adventurers reached the city streets again, they couldn’t be sure. But the low winter clouds shone with fiery glows from the surrounding blocks. Parts of Portsbridge … were burning.


#6: “The Paths That Visions Take”


A night of low clouds and deep cold, painted all in grays. A winter storm howls and lashes at the icy shutters of a lonely house. It’s a secret place, warded with spells to hide it from the eyes of enemies. Inside, where a fire fights against the cold and candles struggle in the drafts, a circle of sigils and symbols glimmers on the floor. It is painted in luminous dyes, marked with rare coins and blades, and lined with golden thread.

It shall be a door.

Beyond it is a path. A secret way; a road beneath the surface of the world, winding behind the walls of reality. It is a hidden course—perhaps unseen to the visionary and invisible, certainly, to the cult that holds him. It is a path that visions take, between the world and the mind. Strange, vast, and surreal, as deadly as any realm, and hungry for those who wander astray… this is how to reach Oris.

Through a forest turned upside-down. Through a vision of Portsbridge devoid of people but teeming with doors. Across an ocean bridged by stained glass. Into a cathedral, careening amid the stars, and into a strange soiree with familiar faces. To a ring of ice floes around a planet of thunder and lightning, teeming with colossal asps and vipers.

The journey through the realm of visions was surreal — and it emerged from the fears and dreams of each traveler.

At its end, the journey led to a vision of Portsbridge on fire in the snow, under attack by the Fervent, desperate to control the fate of the city and afraid of their own fear. The Fervent are the army that was foreseen.

But a furious strike from a barbarian’s blade has weakened the bond between the dreamer and the dream — the visionary and his visions — bringing a handful of adventurers bodily into the underground lair of the Fervent … where there shall be a reckoning.

#7: “The Fate of the Visionary”


A barbarian’s blade swung in a dream knocked an arcane crown from the head of the visionary, Oris — rattling the dream realm and shaking a handful of adventurers bodily into the underground lair of the Fervent … where there shall be a reckoning. The fate of the visionary is in the hands of these adventurers now.

How will their choices affect the city beyond them and the schemes of an evil demigod?

Five adventurers appeared all at once, having fallen from the dream-realm into the material plane. They stood together around Oris the Visionary, in a round, stone room that was as much a cell as a sanctum. Outside that room the Fervent had gathered like an army, ready to attack the city that had become their enemy. They were desperate, ferocious with fear.

Peering out through narrow gaps in the room—one of which hid a secret exit—the adventurers found they were in a huge stalactite, deep underground, in a place one of them knew as the Gorge of Spires. Knowing they couldn’t defeat an army alone, they snuck out of the sanctum with Oris in tow, planning to scale the rock and slip out of the cavern undetected.

But Oris was bound to the villainous demigod, Novurum, now. Oris was the warlock, lured into a pact with an unearthly power he had come to hate. They couldn’t sneak Oris out; Novurum could see him.

While half the party faced a tentacled, reality-warping monster in a battle of fiery spells, the rest of them attempted to break Novurum’s hold on Oris. A warlock called Xavic (the only character to appear in every adventure of the prologue campaign), used his arcane power to reach Novurum through the visionary’s mystic sight. Xavic offered to become Novurum’s willing warlock if the demigod spared Oris.

Novurum agreed. And unsure whether to trust Xavic or not, the party’s barbarian and rogue waited to slay Xavic and sneak Oris away, if it came to that.

To seal his bargain with Novurum, Xavic attacked Oris—nearly killing him—and the barbarian struck back.

“You can defeat that barbarian,” Novurum promised Xavic. “I have foreseen it. You will be victorious. And then we shall conquer this city.”

The barbarian stood with tears in their eyes, ready to strike Xavic down with their axe.

The rogue snuck Oris’s bloody body away.

The tentacled monster was burnt to cinders.

And Xavic let himself fall backwards, plummeting through the Gorge of Spires, into shadowy depths—perhaps without end, where Portsbridge hung between worlds—to break Novurum’s hold on him and freeing Oris from his pact.

The surviving adventurers healed the visionary and made their escape to the city’s surface, where the now-powerless Oris vowed to use his knowledge of Novurum to save Portsbridge…