Age of Orion
Season 2 Alternate Timeline
With Howl appearing as a ghost and the rest of Brent Embers & Associates and Patron acting as shoulder angels (or demons), Season 2’s party explored an alternate timeline in which Howl’s kingdom of Elysium was never erased from time. They visited alternate versions of themselves and the people they knew before ultimately deciding to keep their current timeline.
First stop was alternate X, who was in a prison in Chakai for attempting to steal the crown jewels. BE&A saw that she had gang tattoos on her body and learned that she had once been a member of the Dragons. Unsurprisingly, both Xs asked Howl to choose the primary timeline so they could be free.
Second, BE&A visited Professor Finnegan, who was just finishing up teaching a class on Kaijus at a university. He’d never seen a Kaiju in person, which the party learned was because the government had put tight restrictions on adventuring, “for everyone’s protection.” Finnegan also admitted to being part of a government program that used the Matriarchs’ worms to control convicts, enslaving them as opposed to executing them. Professor Finnegan told Howl that he was content with his timeline. Primary Finnegan wanted to keep the current timeline so he could be an adventurer.
At this point it was becoming clear that something was wrong with the government. BE&A made their third stop Elysium and found it as opulent as ever, and a little larger than before. Everything there looked and felt normal.
The party moved on to their fourth stop, alternate Rain. In this timeline, Rain was a young child with a broken arrowhead keepsake and a mangled leg, the result of being attacked by a wild cat. In this timeline, Gwathra had never had the near-death experience that motivated her to have children early, so she and her husband, Linnathon, waited to have Rain. Rain and Gwathra were out hunting, and Gwathra lamented the end of the age of clerics, the only people who could have healed her daughter. The First Flame had been either weakened or extinguished, all but severing the Material Plane’s connection to the gods. Howl spoke with Gwathra and learned of her ire for the Kingdom of Howls, which had become more and more despotic after Howl III. She walked the party back to the still-standing village of Dartha, which was a little bigger than it had been at the time of its destruction in the primary timeline. Gwathra requested that Howl choose the alternate timeline so that she could stay with her family and clan. Primary Rain requested that we visit everyone else (particularly Finn) before she could make a decision. (In the end, the alternate timeline held too much death for her, and she voted for the primary timeline.)
Fifth stop was Finn, who BE&A found wearing a silver collar and a broken arrowhead keepsake. He explained that all lycanthropes and shifters were required by law to wear silver collars as a protective measure for the rest of the population. He also mentioned that his mother was still alive. The keepsake was from an encounter in which a young elvish girl had saved his life from a lycanthrope hunter. Alternate Finn did not immediately have an opinion on which timeline Howl should choose. Primary Finn wanted the current timeline so he could be with Rain.
Sixth, BE&A visited Grace, who was a retired adventurer living a peaceful life in the countryside with her two godchildren (1)(2). Her sister, Scarlet, was still out adventuring, but she didn’t write home much. This Grace still harbored a distrust for the Noble and a dislike for some of the government’s more extreme policies, but she had no complaints about the way her life had turned out. Both Graces voted for the alternate timeline.
Seventh, the party decided to visit the Noble and discovered that Scarlet had taken on the title and also married one of her fellow adventurers. The two were in a theater watching a play.
BE&A’s eighth stop was to the orphanage where Rinn grew up. Alternate Rinn never left the orphanage or became a druid; instead, he developed more of a bruiser attitude and served as a protector for his fellow orphans. He didn’t have much of an opinion on the timelines. Primary Rinn wanted the timeline without the Matriarchs’ worm terrorist attack.
Ninth, the party went to see Veran. They were teleported to a cemetery where they encountered a grave robber picking over the mass grave of necromancers, ordered executed by the government. Among the skeletons was Veran’s body. Oddly enough, Veran did not have a preference on which timeline Howl should choose. He explained that necromancers don’t see death as a particularly permanent state of being. The rest of the party was rather horrified by the genocide.
After this, Brent Embers & Associates checked in on a host of other NPCs. In no particular order:
Sif and his lover, Rose, were alive and well together. Sif had also been reunited with his parents. He requested that we choose the alternate timeline.
Uri was still trapped in an extra-dimensional space.
Harlock and Saki were dead in a shipwreck at the bottom of the ocean.
Nonmirror Zak was literally on the run from the law. The party was unable to speak with him as he was moving too quickly.
Nonmirror Brent’s spirit was still sitting outside the Manor.
BE&A found Jade at a bar, completely wasted and miserable. She told them that she had become one of the government’s knights and had hunted down and killed her own sister, Alice, who had fallen in with criminals like Zak. (Zak obviously escaped.) She still carried the bloody knife with which she had slit her sister’s throat. Since Jade was barely coherent and an absolute disaster, the party wasn’t able to get an opinion on the timelines from her, but they had a pretty good idea of which she would prefer.
A. Del was also part of the kingdom’s knights. BE&A did not speak with her.
Rina was still a lycanthrope monk, collared like Finn and longing for adventure outside her order. She was torn on which timeline she wanted since her primary self had to deal with the curse of the Kinsmir and with being tortured.
Quick was still running his airship service and was neutral on the timelines.
Von Strauss was dead, presumably killed by the government for being undead.
Tessa was dead, her inn burned to the ground by the government with her inside because of the demonic activity in her basement. The magic mirror had been utterly destroyed in the process, and none of the mirror characters had crossed over.
Ian was dead, executed for rebelling against the government. Fenrir still hung around his neck.
Howl’s descendent, Charlotte, and her father Ryu were fighting against governmental forces on the outskirts of civilization, equipped with Howl’s enchanted blade. Charlotte preferred the primary timeline but was more than willing to aid in a rebellion should we choose the alternate.
Caroline DeLacroix was an unremarkable woman working as a border officer. As it turned out, she was exactly as mundane in the primary timeline and had been framed for the kidnapping of Grace’s godchildren. The party elected not to tell her about the timelines.
Grace’s old mentor, the Pilgrim, had become defunct as his order had basically died out.
Primary Veran’s zombies and skeletons had fates varying from the single life of a merchant to the married life of a family man to being in prison to being actually dead. BE&A didn’t speak to any of them.
Chelty was an agent of rebellion, operating under the guise of a homeless woman in order to gain information. She preferred the primary timeline but, like Charlotte, was willing to help us fight the government should we choose the alternate.
The party found Grayson in a brothel where she was also operating as a rebel. Her opinion on the timelines was the same as Charlotte and Chelty’s.
BE&A tried to visit Nadine the tiefling but were told that some things are better left unknown. They did not pursue her further.
Patron did not have an alternate self; as a demigod, he was able to function as a singular entity in both timelines. Visiting him took the party back to the theater, where he vanished from Howl’s shoulder and reappeared in a box seat. Both timelines were equally interesting to him.
Dark Howl was chained up in prison, delighting in our Howl’s marred legacy.
The party tried to visit the First Flame and found it just barely burning before the government counsel guarding it banished them from the room.
Finally, BE&A attempted to visit the current King Howl. But no matter how they phrased their teleportation request, they were unable to find the supposed king. The party learned that after Howl III, the king’s power-crazed counsel had secretly ousted Howl’s family from the throne and had been ruling the kingdom under the name of nonexistent Howls ever since.