As this campaign will not be going forwards, here's a general idea of what the story concept and threads were:
The upper and lower planes have been at war for a very long time - celestials vs demons. The situation was largely a stalemate, but in recent times (about two centuries ago) the demons were able to break through into the shadowfell and secure it for themselves, and were now adjacent to the prime material plane.
This was of great concern because while the major nations were well defended, parts of the PMP that were under nobody's purview were not; the nation of Katan was set up in what was considered the most dangerous location of all, as this is where multiple leylines crossed and the boundaries between the planes were a bit thinner than they are elsewhere.
The "King" was himself a celestial, put there to oversee the whole operation. Magically altered to appear human to every sort of scrutiny, he would pose as his own son every generation afterwards and continue the single lineage as he defended the realm. The greatest mages of the time came together and raised the capital city in a day, and the nation was established in such a manner that the population was under very subtle yet persistent magical suggestion; everything is ok, things are great, look how lovely it all is... millions of people with such positive emotions were a useful barrier against the invasion while longer-term protections were investigated.
At the same time, the locals, wood elves who were hunters and druids, and had tended the land, were driven out, as they were found to be less affected by the suggestion, not to mention unhappy with being displaced. Conflict was not in the interests of what Katan was for. However, this had the unintended consequence of them being unable to tend the land as they previously had, which only worsened the situation. There was a sort of tree native to the region, which they called kitano trees (the name was taken from there, in fact), which absorbed latent arcane energies and caused fractures between the planes. This had caused the elves no end of grief, as multiple such trees in one place would just open portals... if carefully tended they could be used with intent, but they found it easier to simply cull and manage the planting carefully.
That was the basics of the setting.
The demons had slowly been working in the background, corrupting people to their will, finding rifts where they could and so on, and made a bold attempt to take out the king; it failed, and the people pretty much immediately went back to festival mode because that's what they'd been conditioned for all their lives. Outsiders were needed, who hadn't been so affected by the nationwide magic, so the wanderers were brought in and tasked to help.
Stuff stuff stuff happened, and then you got sent to see the wizard, orlov.
He was one of the founding members of the nation, but never fully agreed with the idea of using people in that way, and eventually left.
Because of the nature of the nation, teleportation into or out of Katan is strictly prohibited; so he set himself up in a way that allowed him to be both removed yet close - a portal into the feywild where a teleportation room takes you to his home, floating high above the abyss in between the seas.
He was getting on in years, and while he'd perfected the magic of indefinitely extending his lifespan, it didn't quite fully apply to sanity. He found a new calling - he made potion bottles. Enchanted potion bottles. You'd forget you had them, you'd pass them off to folk in town for a bit of coin almost subconciously, they're protected against all forms of magical or physical damage, they get to those who need them. Every day he'd make one, spending a variety of the highest levels of spells to keep it protected and out of mind.
Then this one fella somehow saw past all that. Earmane. He took this wonderful bit of 'humanitarian' work and started hoarding the bottles, eventually crafting a suit of armor out of them, with all their incredibly powerful defensive enchantments. Orlov needed him gone, as he felt it threatened his work, if it were exposed... (yea, he wasn't really winning any sanity medals). So the party was sent to deal with that.
Now that you'd resolved that, the wizard was going to offer to 'fix' brottor, having spent the last week distracted from his work looking up various ancient tomes on the matter. He found a way to do it, too.... ((if brottor would have accepted, he'd have been placed in a ring of a few dozen of the manequins, who would essentially cast near-simultaneous flamestrikes and heals at him until the darkness was burned away. he'd still be a warlock but his patron would change to the undying light, and he'd gain the ability to cast low level cleric spells. i had a much better description lined up, but eh))
Then we had the thing with the skulls, which again was pretty much as described. Powerful magical amplifiers, which turned a weak mage into an amazing one and a strong one into a superweapon. The wood elves used them to stabilise large portals into the feywild, where they were to take refuge until a sizeable army could be assembled to face the demons head-on.
The next act would have been a scramble between various acts of diplomacy trying to unite the split forces of the elves, woodelves, katanese, the wizard, and others....
As for a few other details:
Dar was convinced he was a regular fellow just serving his temple, and didn't believe himself to have any magical ability whatsoever; he was however a fully functional bard, just was never aware he was casting spells, such as when he charmed the bear, he thought he just had nice animal skills.
The bears guarding the lawn were an awesome combat encounter that never happened :( one was real and one was a construct of pure energy, and would have given you a very interesting challenge between a threatening melee opponent (stats very similar to a giant shark minus the swimming) and an aoe spellcaster...
the magicly pulsing crystal was basically a cross-planar beacon to target spells at
the black cube thing was a magic doorhandle that gives you access to a single demiplane as per the demiplane spell. there were several people with such handles to it and they may have put traps in for you...
The sword Blindspot was largely as described, no need to add details there. The sword in Helix was just as the elves told you; the dark version Brottor saw simply a product of his halucinatory trip after ODing on goodberries....
orlov's bracelets were also scrying sensor kinda things, he was watching you guys...
the dark shadowy figure in helix was one of the lords of the shadowfell, taking refuge from the demon horde... another one had gotten in a fight and managed to escape to the pmp over at miriam, where it escaped and the split party ran into the aftereffects...
I realise I've skipped over a whole pile of other stuff, and haven't even proofread what i've typed, but anyways, at least that gives you a gist of the backstory. I really can't do it proper justice at the moment but you can at least get a sense for what the basic idea was and such, and draw your own conclusions as to the context of other things that happened from there.
I can be contacted on discord: DryEagle#1374 if you'd like to send me messages in future, as I won't be participating in this community any more.
Thanks for playing, OOC stuff aside you were all awesome.
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