We continued play last weekend after some 3 weeks off picking up right where we left off. If you recall the PC's are currently split, half in the now "hound free" Village of Hirot under its new leadership, and half back in their home village of Fenglyn.
During this session we didnt really address the goings on in Hirot post "Doom of the Savage Kings"
We assume Sloan got everyone into trouble with some highly immoral scheme but they figured it out, since the rest of "The Butchers Dozen" hasnt heard rumor or received word of their comrades wearing out their welcome, we assume they've survived the last month. (we may address this seperately not sure yet)
We picked things up with the goings on in Fenglyn where the PC's have returned to rest, recover, and investigate some documents written in "magic looking language" that were retrieved from the remains of some merchants that fell victim to the hound on the road along the way to its lair in the Sunken Fens.
One month has passed since they group slew the Hound of Hirot in that oppressive swamp. Both Wizards, ( Xavos in Fenglyn, Elazar in Hirot) were spellburned to point of uselessness, only now finding themselves nearly recovered. The players tonight are: (I encourage my players to retitle their PC's every session for the role call based on their development)
Lothar ("Butcher"), Acolyte of Gorhan
Xavos the Astrologist
Reinhart The Woodsman
Brunehilde, Warrior of the Wolf Spear
Grym Half-Hand, Knave
Thanks to "Read Magic" and (what he thinks is) various tinkering with the devices he's collected
Xavos deciphers the Arcane Script, which contains notes between someone addressing themselves as "EE" to someone else known as "Z" the parties clearly two wizards describe horrific magical science where "EE" is experimenting on captured villagers to create "living statues of Emerald" to do his evil bidding. Apparently "EE" has made great progress with plenty of captives to be had. apparently "Z" was sending to something (not found) to "EE" along with the unfortunate merchants, according to
the notes "EE"'s Stronghold lies to the Northeast on the far side of the Great Bay near a cluster of small villages and the port town of Sandora.
Much talk is had about how this is the type of Adventure "the Butchers Dozen" has been waiting for smashing the evil plans of some corrupt wizard, has a little something in it personal for everyone it seems..to lusting after his arcane secrets, to "Emeralds"? did I hear some say emeralds says Grym Half Hand (along with "Sloan will go along with that" To Lothar saying "I say we bring Gorhans Justice to this little toad!"
Not so fast I tell them, They have unfinished business in Fenglyn, as a knock of the door of their Safehouse has them face to face will Fenglyn's new Constable asking the "Heroes of the Village" for their aid.
Apparently, the PC's have forgotten, the two remaining Thegns of the former Jarl of Hirot.Haedrick and Utherl. Disgraced, beaten, stripped of their weapons, and too proud to return to Hirot and make amends like the 3rd Survivor, Clohn. It wasnt more than few days before these two turned to banditry, a run in with some of the Fenglyn town guard, did not farewell for the town guard and the two wore out there welcome in Fenglyn quickly.
The constable has numerous reports of the two robbing travelers, a merchant and even some priests all traveling the southern coastal road, they've killed several, dragged other off screaming. One survivor claims they had crazed look in there eyes, and not so much robbed them but hacked down his comrades in bloodly ambush and dragged them away.
The Constable, short on men, and clearly not match for these two, ask Lothar and company. To get rid of these two heathens. "After all you are the reason they are here right??" ( to which I get dirty looks from the gang)
While the party was excited to gear up to ride off to Hirot to gather sloan and co. and go after this "EE" wizard, first things, first. Right? "its 5 against 2, lets go get them, says Grym.
Some talk come up about rolling up some Zero levels characters, as we are trying to keep a decent backlog of PC's to keep everyone playing, while the group moves about multiple locations and PC's are dying.
Its decided that a bandit hunt is a good first Adventure for some aspiring villagers. Since the town of Fenglyn has been propering nicely since the menace of Beastmen (SothSS) was ended by the PC's who after their adventure in Hirot have great noterity in the coastal area, its not a big stretch to think some aspiring or just bored villagers show up at their safehouse looking for work, advice or even help.I allow each character to get themselves a 0 level understudy for this short
adventure.It wasnt hard to come up with reason for each of these new PC's to be there and was easy to see where they fit in.
They are (followed by which PC they are follow and which player is running them)
Oberlin the Squire- Brunhilde and run by Rich (player Lothar and Brunehilde)
Elyria the Fortune Teller- Lothar but run by Aaron (player Sloan)
Amarath the Beekeeper - Xavos but run by Chris (play Grym)
Vermillion The Gambler- Grym's drinking companion, run by Rich (player Lothar)
Fremont the Townwatch - Reinhart but run by Aaron (player Sloan)
Having a good selection of confiscated weapons and armor the new recruits are given some decent starting equipment, and the 10 PC's form a strong posse to go after a
couple bandits ( of course my PC's know I am not going making this easy, and they have no idea whats up) with that in mind they head out along the southern road to look for tracks of Hirot's wayward Thegns turned murderous bandits whereabouts.
Tracking the Bandits
Arriving at the site of the last Robbery about 30 mins by foot. south of the village along the close road, tracking the bandits brings up a conversation about skill
use, we have not had all that much chance to use skills that are not inherent to the character profile. Tracking is surely a trained skill, the only one with the
background is our once 0 level Hunter- Reinhart. DC 10 for Skill Check, plus his level and int modifier...in this case only +1. but with an "11" Reinhart finds the
tracks of two people dragging something up a hill, to a heavy wooded hill top. Carefully following the tracks, they clear some heavy brush to follow the tracks and
come to little know man made rough stone entrance into the rear of the hillside, its very narrow, barely wide enough for single file..the stairwell widening up a bit
once you've squeezed inside it leads down into darkness. a damp, foul stench comes up from below. Talk amongst the players that is a burial Cairn or similiar.
Single Files Torches in hand Lothar leads the way with Grym right behind him, followed by Brunehilde, Her Squire, Xavos, the remaining understudys with Reinhart bringing up the rear bow ready. The time off has made my players somewhat "off" their game. as they descend the stairs I describe the room to them and that smoldering barely burning torches give off a dull, glow that barely keeps the room from total darkness, no other precautions are mentioned other moving ahead with
torches to try to see more..Lothar, leading the way, stumbles right over tripwire triggering a crude trap!
|map courtesy of http://www.lordzsezseworks.com/|
A. The Stairs, The Trap
Kicking themselves, that Grym is right there and didnt bother to mention he was looking or checking for traps, was a pretty easy to spot (DC10) rope at the last step into the room. The rope was tied to loose vertical support framing the exit at the bottom of the stairs and heavy rocks had been placed above the door way. The rope pulled the loose support away dumping the door frame, rock and supports down on the person behind, the one who triggered the trap (Lothar) that person just happens
to be our Thief who wast doing his job, he gets a DC 15 reflex save and the person behind him get a DC 10 reflex to jump forward or backward out the mess. Grym rolls a "15" not needing his +3 mod.. but Brunehilde rolls a 4 with here +1 mod and gets caught in man made debris avalanche. Damage is 3d6..I roll "12" enough to kill anyone in the group except herself or Reinhart..with 13HP she has 1 Hp remaining and is severely injured. Not to mention it will the others D6 rounds to clear
enough debris away to get her out and get over the obstacle. Lothar immediately says he moving to heal her, but I alert him that he and Grym (who dove forward avoid the rock slide) have other issues.
B. The Statues
I describe, the 50 foot wide chamber the leads off into the faded darkness, with their torches, they can barely see about 60 feet or so that is the length of the room, enough to see what looks like two bodies slumped back to back to right about 20 feet away, near a make shift campsite, they see the well standing in almost darkness at the back of the chamber. More immediatley to left and right a pair 8 foor stone statues, cast in the likeness of an Ancient Warrior start to move quite spryly from a pair of matching alcoves toward the shocked pair, each Statue wields a stone two handed sword.
The first statue surprises Lothar who takes the full brunt of its attack, I roll a 15 +3 for 18...Lothars AC is 19 and he's blocked the stike or fended it off, lucky.
I tell him he sees a dull glow from the statues eyes. Grym has won the iniative and sprints into the darkness hoping to draw one of the Statues after him, unfortunately the both focus on Lothar and he is attacked again, "8"+ 3 for Miss. Lothar ignite his flaming mace and screams for the others to get out and help him. Brunehilde is gravely wounded from the Rockslide the others wont begin entering the fray for 3 rounds. Lothar strikes an animated statue "17" + 2 for 19 a hit
versus AC 16, lothar rolls a "6" +2 for 8 plus another "6" for the flames..the statue ignites in flame and cracks in half. from the Thunderous blow!, Gorhans vengeance is alive indeed! this wasnt even a critical!
Grym Fires a crossbow bolt at the the other statue...and rolls a "19" +2 for "21", he doesnt need a luck die!. the bolt hits the stone chipping off a piece for 3 points of damage. now the attention moves the statue that fallen broken in flames, I mention a shadowy pitch black figure rises up out of the statues remains and shoots of into darkness in a blink of an eye, Grym who is torch at his feet some 30 feet away from the melee, sees the figure move toward the two slumped figures on the floor, it is now that Grym pays attention to them, its the two wayward Thegns he remembers from the battle with Jarl of Hirot, both look quite dead.However the black shadow darts across the room and folds itself inside the corpse of Utherl, Thegn of Hirot. The second animated statues delivers a strong blow to
Lothar, a "3" +3 Lothar steps away and dodges the attack..responding with his mighty mace, he also swings and misses.
Grym reloads his crossbow and fires this time at the Corpse of Utherl, thinking he knows whats going on here..another great shot an "18" this time doing 4 damage to the now animated corpse that gets up picking a sword on the way and rushing him. the Corpse rolls a 9 +3, Gryms leather armor saves him any harm..."Help here he says" Lothar is attacked by his Statue "11" +3 the statues just cannot get past his armor. He strikes back Mace still flaming this time a "20!!" these guys are both truly blessed this combat we are all laughing at there good fortune..The base damage alone (9 with the flames) is enough to shatter the already damaged statue its explodes in pieces, but immediately a thick black shape pulls itself up from the remains and dashes toward the corpse of Haedrick of Hirot.
C. The Bandits
Brunehilde lies immobile wounded in the rubble from the Stair trap the other PC's rush in to help, The Corpse of Haedrick of Hirot win the initiative and immediately beheads Oberlin the Squire with his own natural 20, getting an extra D6 damage not needed again a fellow with 4Hp..."so much for my next fighter!" quips Lothar.The remaining PC's including a nice shot by Town watchman Fremont with his longsword..make short work of the Bandits. Again the Black Shapes fold out of the thoroughly stabbed and beaten corpses, and move quickly toward the well, Lothar got a swing with his magic mace on the moving shape taking a piece of it with the swing swing and hearing a odd shriek in the process. meanwhile Reinhart put two arrows into the other that seemingly did nothing. The shapes retreat into the well, and disappear.
After this incident, Brunehilde is healed 8hp by a lay hands from Lothar and is back on her feet. The PC's are on guard but start exploring the chamber, they first set about using there extra torches to create as much light as possible (someone need a damn light spell someone grumbles) Examination of Thegns bodies does reveal two much as know has the knowledge to make the appropriate skill checks however its clear that the two bandits were first killed, both by blows to the skull from such a weapon as likely as a stone two handed sword. In the make shift campsite effects are recovered that is loot stolen from various townsfolk the last month, Including weapons, armors, food stuffs, some gold , silver and Jewelery. there is no other evidence of any other people here other then some dragged bloodly streaks at end at the Well. Brunehilde wraps the body of her squire in one of the Thegns cloaks and takes it outside the Carin.
D. The Well
Made of the same stone as the rest of chamber the well is pitch black, an odd blackness almost surreal but still somewhere below rushing water is heard..Vermillion the gambler tosses a piece of rubble in and quick but slight splash is heard soon after, Most notable in the new found light , is on the wall behind the well. Written by hand is message above the well.reading "D'ART PAR OWL" with many many lines of smaller strange script underneath it. The PC's spend time talking about Owl's and what not when Xavos decides to cast "read magic" on it, followed by a "detect magic" from Lothar while the castings are good enough to understand there is magic here, I tell them, before the magic begins to make sense they must figure out what it is they are trying to read. Again the first time back at the table in a month and my players are not %100 on their game. It takes them while to figure out this an Anagram, it solution allows you to read the spell written on wall and then put it to use, how my PC's resolve this will be answered in my next post which the full text of my one room dungeon called "The Vistants" after applying there personal solution here, the PC's taking just one zero level causualty head back with this mystery and menace solved for now., They each picked up 10 XP, some minor coins and equipment from the bandit stash and the new Magic Spell. The experience leveled Lothar to our second, level 2 PC and many are close enough that they are ready to pack there adventuring gear ride to Hirot to gather the rest of the group and seek out this "EE" character and his experiment a four day ride around the rugged North side of the Great Bay.