Game Night, Session 21 & 22, Dark Territory (Part ?)

Well, there have been two game night sessions since my last update on the story of Theren, Lysandra, Bran and Fang. Session 21 was a bit of a quickie and session 22 happened a couple of Sundays ago (Jan 12). The group’s been busy. The undead keep coming. But hopefully they might learn why and what needs to happen to stop the problem…

After a short rest, the group decides to head into the crypt to try and actually explore. They are prepared once again for a fight. They have little doubt that they will encounter more undead, but they want to find out why there are undead emerging from the crypt in the first place.

The space is cramped at the bottom of the stairs that lead into the crypt from the daylight above.  They are standing in a narrow tunnel of solid craftsmanship that leads left or right from the stairs.  As the group listens, they hear quiet movement coming from both directions in the tunnel.  A couple of them could swear they hear voices, too.

In short order they decide to take the tunnel direction to the right because it seems like the “right” thing to do. There is also less noise coming from the left. Bran, Theren, Fang and Lysandra agree that heading toward the “noisiest” portion of the crypt will help in clearing out the undead more quickly.

Walking single file, Bran is in the lead with Lysandra following to provide a light source for her and Bran (the humans cannot see in the dark).  Theren and Fang bring up the rear as they move down the tunnel seeking out anything to explain to them the source of the rising dead.  They think they hear voices coming from further down the tunnel and definitely hear movement.  They approach a pair of iron-bound wood doors located opposite each other on the tunnel walls.  One is slightly ajar.  A peak in the open door reveals a tomb for what were once probably army commanders or generals.

Unfortunately, as they are moving to check out the open room, they make just enough noise to get the attention of whatever is behind the closed door opposite them.  Before too long, undead in the form of Dark Zombies and skeletons are bashing down that door to get to the group.

As the first of the undead burst through the door, Bran quickly realizes how the tight tunnel is creating a tactical disadvantage for the group.  They carefully withdraw toward the entrance to the crypt bringing the pursuing undead to the surface where the group can deal with them from a more advantageous position.

In short order, the Dark Zombies and skeletons are no more. They are piled up with the zombies that the group destroyed about an hour before.  This time, though, the group decides not to rest. Instead, they head back into the crypt and back down that corridor to find either more undead or a reason for their creation.  A sense of urgency starts to come over them as they realize that evening and nightfall are fast approaching. The Dark Energy that changed some of the undead into Dark Zombies does not seem to be weakening with the destruction of the undead to this point, either.  They strongly suspect that there are still more dead soldiers from the long-lost battle to be brought back for nefarious purposes.

Bran, Theren, Fang and Lysandra make their way back toward the doors to investigate the now empty rooms. The room that had Dark Zombies and skeletons is now open for exploration. A short investigation reveals some items of possible interest, but noise from further down the corridor stops them. The group quickly agrees to come back after they have dealt with what’s next.

As they move toward the source of the noise, the corridor widens, and they can see light coming from around a right turn ahead.  With as much stealth as they can muster (which ends up being not much), Bran looks around the corner to see a well-lit room.  Standing in the center of the room is the silhouette of a man standing in a magic circle on the floor.  Another figure is moving about the room.

The two in the room notice the group taking up positions just outside the room.  The silhouette makes a gesture and disappears.  The other figure rasps out, “Erebus! Come back!”  The group is stunned hearing the name of their otherwise unknown assailant – the one who seems to have been orchestrating their struggles to date.  The worst part is that he was less than 50 feet away from them and then vanished without a trace.

Recognizing the other figure in the room before them as some form of more intelligent undead, the group springs into action.  Bran moves in to do what he does best with his halberd.  Fang calls forth druidic powers and calls down a Moonbeam.  He controls the radiant energy of Nature and positions it over the undead being.  Lysandra and Theren position themselves to prevent the vile thing from escaping the room.

What they discover to be a wight turns out to be no match for the group.  The wight is damaged beyond recognition in short order.  They watch what can only be called a “wisp” of Dark Energy leave what’s left of the wight; this is something they have seen a few times now.  The residual corrupted magic that brings the dead to life leaves the remains of the fallen when it can no longer take action against the living.

What they also notice is the oppressive feeling they have been experiencing is now less than it was.  Theren can now sense a direction for a possible source of the Dark Energy.  It seems to be coming from another part of the crypt.

The group spends the next couple of hours investigating every detail about the two rooms on opposite sides down the tunnel and this new room that was obviously meant to be a memorial to one or more mages that were involved in the battle 7 centuries ago.  They quickly discover that the mage’s tomb has had more recent use by Erebus.  They discover some potentially useful potions and a significant amount of money.  Bran fines some well-preserved pieces of armor that he can use to complete a set he has been wanting to create for some time now.  They also discover information in the form of messages to and from Erebus and a hastily written journal entry on a torn piece of paper.

Fang, Bran, Lysandra and Theren now have confirmation that Erebus, whoever he truly may be, is the one orchestrating the activities of Slythis, Kogan and the bug-like Mezzoloth.  He is also responsible for creating an item that helps funnel Dark Energy into the dead to re-animate them.  He has placed this item in the crypt somewhere yet to be found.  The group also realizes that this crypt/tomb likely holds a significant number of long-dead soldiers from a battle that took place many centuries ago.  There could be hundreds buried in here.  They must find the device and destroy it to prevent a mass uprising of dead…

More pieces of a puzzle about a group that works to destroy Mentari’s Secret…

Confirmation that Erebus is behind all the challenges the group has faced and that he is responsible for the growing number of undead beginning to awaken and leave this crypt…  Can they find the device before it raises possible hundreds of undead?

As always, if you like what you’ve read here, let me know by clicking that like button. If you have thoughts about this post, please by all means, leave a comment. I am very happy to have feedback and discussion. A dialogue is way better than a monologue.

Type to you later 😉

 

Game Night, Session 20, Dark Territory (Part 2)

Wow 😲 !  We’ve had 20 game night sessions, and we’re still going strong.  I love it.  It’s great having a gaming group again.  It’s even better having a gaming group that’s into my original campaign.  Thanks, guys, for letting us tell this story.

This is a bit of short one.  I am suffering from the holiday illness that randomly picks its victims.  Unfortunately, I’m one of those victims this year.  AND the player of Theren Galanodel ended up with technical difficulties.  So, to keep any members of the gaming group from missing out, we cut it short.

So, we now know the group is no stranger to dealing with the undead.  But are they ready for what’s ahead?

The group has gathered around the doorway into the mausoleum.  The stairs that lead down below ground do not appear to simply stop in a small room where a corpse or two are buried.  Theren, having the ability to see in the dark, can see that there are quite a few corpses standing at the base of the steps and that there are is a T-intersection at the bottom of the steps.  The rest of the group spot subtle humanoid shapes standing in the light filtering in from the surface.

Lysandra, feeling no other alternative but to start this fracas, finds a small stone and tosses it down the steps.  This disturbs the zombies and they begin to come up the steps to find living prey.

The group is experienced in dealing with undead corpses and get to work to end the un-life and hopefully free some souls.  Bran seeing a tactical advantage calls for the group to position themselves around the mausoleum entry while he stands in the center.  He hopes to keep the zombies filing out of the mausoleum door one at a time and minimize the danger to his fellow combatants.

The zombies begin to fall to Bran’s halberd, Lysandra’s war hammer and the magic of Fang and Theren.  Fang summons a spirit totem to help inspire and protect the group as they try to lay waste the pending mob of undead.  Theren employs his access to eldritch energies and sends begins sending blasts of energy that disrupts and corrupts the magics and energies that give the small horde un-life.

The group attacks and defends well.  At one point, though, the zombies did manage to spill out of the mausoleum, but with mostly minor damage to their bodies, Bran, Theren, Lysandra and Fang stand triumphant at the entrance of the mausoleum with 16 scattered corpses either dismembered beyond function or reduced to smoldering piles of ash.

The mist, while disturbed from the chaos of the combat, still flows up the stairs into the former battlefield.  They know that this is only the beginning…

Unless the plague takes me down (I doubt it), Session 21, happening in a few days, will continue their foray into Dark Territory.

As always, if you like what you’re reading here, let me know by clicking that like button.  If you have a comment or question, please “speak up”.  I welcome the conversation.  Thanks for swinging by.

Type to you later.

Game Night, Session 18-19; Dark Territory (Part 1)

This is kind of a long one.

I decided not to post session 18 by itself because first, life got in the way a bit and second, I wanted a little more for the post. I thought session 18 was a bit short. So, we had session 19. I also wanted to organize some thoughts and details to help understand the situation the group is in and what it might take next in their search for the secrets held in the hidden Welandar library. So, the post grew a bit… well… a lot. I hope you enjoy anyway.

Lysandra, Bran, Fang and Theren make their way to the fort on the north end of the town of Braiton. The weary travelers consider themselves fortunate that they are in their hometown. While this is not Lysandra’s hometown, she appreciates the comfort of being someplace that is considered safe. They pass through town without challenge from the night watch since they are recognized. At the fort’s guard post they present themselves and the Krell, Urd, whom they rescued, interrogated and took into their custody.

 

Fortunately, Lord Perry Braiton, noble, sheriff, town leader and commander of the local garrison hoped they would return this way. So, he had left standing orders to keep watch for the group’s return and have them report to him or one of his lieutenants immediately. They are quickly escorted to the night lieutenant’s office.

 

The lieutenant takes Urd off their hands and, despite the late hour, sends word to Lord Braiton of the group’s arrival. With a quick response from Lord Braiton, the group is given rooms at the nearby inn with a request that they join Lord Braiton in the morning for breakfast at his place to debrief. The idea of a bed and shelter is agreeable, and off they go to rest at the inn until the next morning. Theren decides he wants to see his family and chooses to go to his family’s home with plans to meet them at Lord Braiton’s for breakfast.

 

The next morning finds the group in the dining room of a nice, but not lavish, home. Breakfast is served and Lord Braiton establishes that this meeting is to be informal, but productive. He wants to know about the group’s journey to Mert and any other events that happened to them since their departure about a month ago.

 

Fang takes point on relaying their story to Lord Braiton with the rest of the group adding details where needed. Lysandra is, of course, introduced and Lord Braiton is informed that she is another chosen of Mentari’s Secret. The group’s story unfolds for the noble and he begins to gain some insight into the danger that this Dark Tide is to the kingdom.

 

In turn, Lord Braiton lets the group know about the status of Welandar City. He tells them that they made a good decision by coming to Braiton first since The City is in virtual lock-down. Since the murder of the king a little over a month ago, the investigation of the murder has only raised suspicion that the murderer is still within the walls of The City. So, the city officials have locked down the entrances. Now traffic in and out of the city is subject to detailed scrutiny before being allowed to pass. This has caused inconvenience at best and near disaster for some – merchants and the like. The tension in The City is elevated and increasing as the difficulty for people to conduct business in and out of The City has become more and more difficult. He tells the group that he will take on the task of working on a means to get them into Welandar City quickly and quietly despite the overall situation.  It is obvious they need to find the secret library and the Welandar family journal that is supposedly there.

 

With all the information on the table, it is now understood that Theren, Bran, Fang and Lysandra must be very careful about revealing who they are (part of Mentari’s Secret) and broadcasting their intentions. By example, Lord Braiton informs them that the dining room they are sitting in has been both physically and magically enhanced to prevent spying or scrying of any kind. They now fully realize that The Dark Tide is looking for them and trying to, at the very least, track them. The group acknowledges that while they have been in mortal danger at times, there is uncertainty if their deaths have been the true intention of The Dark Tide. This Erebus character, after all, wrote a note specifically wanting the group “tested”, not killed. They consider the possibility that The Dark Tide is interested in discovering the Welandar family secrets as well.

 

Lord Braiton gives each of them a modest reward for their efforts to date. He puts some gold in their pockets and offers to handle whatever expenses they incur for shelter and supplies while in his town. Then he asks for their help while he begins working on a way to get the group into Welandar City quickly and quietly. It seems that just recently, a farming family on the outskirts was attacked and killed by what appear to be undead. There have also been rumors of movement in the woods at the edges of other farms to the east, near where this family was killed. He asks them to investigate for him and, if possible, eliminate the apparent threat. He says there will be additional reward for their help along with his gratitude.

 

After some discussion of the details Lord Braiton has about the situation, the group agrees to head out to the farm where the family was killed and begin an investigation. They make a request for a few soldiers to come along as reinforcements. Lord Braiton agrees but explains the reason he has asked for their help is that he has already spread his garrison a little thin by increasing patrols in the area and night watch in the town. He also admits concern that his soldiers might not handle undead very well. After all, undead aren’t common, to say the least.

 

Fang, Lysandra, Theren and Bran depart from Lord Braiton’s home and head east from town to find the farm that was attacked. A squad of 4 soldiers will be made available to them as soon as possible. The horse patrol will catch them en route.

 

The group arrives at the farmhouse along with the horse patrol. The soldiers are reluctant to even enter the farmhouse. One of the soldiers was with the squad that came and found the bodies of the family the week prior. They offer to ride a short patrol to the nearby farms to see if there have been any other attacks. Bran and Fang request that two stay nearby while two perform the patrol… just in case.

 

Bran and Lysandra decide to enter the house while Fang and Theren start taking a look around outside. Evidence of the attack in the house is easily found due to blood stains on the floor and obvious signs of a struggle. The rear door of the house is also damaged showing evidence of a forced entry. It appears that the undead beat down the door. All signs point to a surprise attack. It did not look like the family had time to prepare for a fight or escape.

 

Outside, under the covered stable that is attached to the side and back of the house, a severed arm is found. Closer investigation gets a startle as the arm twitches with some residual energy of undeath. The arm is likely human but appears changed. The ends of the finger bones are elongated to claw-like appendages and the “bone” in those areas is darkened. Theren senses some of the energy he has felt when near the presence of Slythis or Kogan. The corrupted energy that resides with them seems to be part of what animated this body. Did Kogan raise the dead body that this arm belonged to?

 

Theren decides to make use of Tolthas (his altered pseudo-dragon familiar). He commands Tolthas to fly out and scout the woods from the air. A short time into Tolthas’ flight, the familiar contacts Theren telepathically and relays what it’s seeing. Tolthas has flown over a small clearing in the woods a few miles east of the farms. There appears to be some grave markers and a slightly bigger structure there. Theren relays this to the group.

 

As the investigation continues, Theren realizes that he must return to his family’s home in town because he is lacking his weapons (forgotten when he departed for breakfast at Lord Braiton’s home). He borrows a horse from one of the soldiers to go retrieve his gear. Fang decides that it would be best if he performed a patrol at the back end of the farm near the woods. He wants to see if there are any signs of where the undead came from. He is suspicious of the possibility that they came from that clearing Theren mentioned.

 

Bran and Lysandra realize they are going to be there for a bit. They begin looking around the house and the immediate property for the things they need to prepare a meal and possibly spend the night. Bran decides he wants to fix the rear door to the house while Lysandra begins cleaning up and gathering ingredients to create a meal for the group and the soldiers. Bran heads out the back door and finds a shop building. Inside he finds a nicely constructed forge and workshop but with minimal tools and materials. It appears that the family was just beginning to set up the shop. Lysandra finds everything she needs and more to begin creating a good meal. They are both separately realizing that this place is actually very nice and potentially useful. Bran, especially, begins to wonder if it would be a nice base of operations for the group and a start to that mercenary company he’s been dreaming about for a while now. With the addition of some tools in the shop and refurbishment of the loft area for sleeping quarters, it could house the group easily. It would not take a lot of resources to create another outbuilding or two to handle additional personnel.

 

Fang heads toward the treeline looking for some sign of where the undead came from. He decides stealth and speed will be his allies and taps his druidic power to shape-shift into a black panther. It is not long before he spots a sign. He finds a zombie that’s missing an arm. It’s milling about a short distance from the treeline, and he decides to engage it.

 

As he predicted the abilities of the panther form pay off. Fang dispatches the one-armed zombie with minimal damage to himself. He resumes his search for signs of passage left by the undead.

 

It’s not long before Fang spots tracks coming from and heading back to the woods. It’s an obvious sign that the undead had come from the woods east of the farm house. In fact, it now makes good sense to Fang that the zombies appear to have come from the clearing that Theren’s familiar, Tolthas spied earlier. Fang decides to go down the treeline a little further until he is behind the nearest neighboring farm.

 

As Fang makes his way down the treeline, he spots two “people” moving from the woods toward a neighboring farmhouse. Based on the way they’re moving, he’s sure it’s a pair of zombies. Fang begins to move to intercept them as quickly as possible with as much stealth as possible. He hopes to surprise them.

 

His stealthy approach as a panther is a success, and Fang pounces on one of the zombies. A ferocious battle begins… a battle that Fang quickly finds out is going to be tougher than he thought.

 

Quickly reverting to his half-Faye form, Fang engages in melee as the zombies press their attacks. These zombies are more powerful and resilient than others that Fang has faced. He is suddenly concerned that he might not survive this melee.

 

Then a thought occurs to him, and Fang calls upon his goddess and evokes a thunderclap that blasts the zombies back out of reach. Fang takes advantage of this to put some distance between him and them…

 

…From the farmhouse, Bran and Lysandra here a peal of thunder. Knowing that it is not bad weather outside, they assume that Fang or Theren have unleashed a spell. As they run outside to find the source of the thunder, another clap of thunder is released a short distance away…

 

Fang quickly realizes that these corrupted zombies move faster than their “normal” cousins. He also knows that he needs help. Hoping that his goddess is watching and is willing to help, Fang calls forth another clap of thunder. The wave again blows the zombies back before they can attack with sword and claw.

 

By this time, Lysandra and Bran are sprinting toward Fang with weapons at the ready. Theren, who is just returning from town after retrieving his weapons, also hears the thunder on an otherwise sunny day. He sees Fang a short distance behind the neighboring farmhouse that he is passing on the road back and sets the horse to a gallop toward Fang and the pursuing zombies.

 

The group converges on Fang and the pursuing Dark Zombies. The tide is quickly turned. The only friendly casualty ends up being whatever ego Theren might have had. As he attempted to unleash a blast of his eldritch magic on the corrupted zombies, he quickly discovered that casting from horseback has its own set of issues. The battle is ended with the group giving Theren a hand out from under a very stunned horse.

 

They also realize that the Dark Zombies are much more trouble than “normal” zombies. Two of these corrupted undead were essentially too much for one member of their group. There is legitimate concern as they consider taking a walk toward the clearing Tolthas spotted for Theren. It only makes sense that is where there are enough bodies to animate like this. It appears to be some sort of cemetery. They also begin to wander how many bodies might be there, and how many of those could become Dark Zombies.

 

But they need to know what’s in that clearing and if they can stop it or need to get help.

 

The group heads into the woods to find the clearing. Between Theren and his familiar they successfully navigate to the edge of the clearing. At first glance, it looks peaceful. There is a mist hanging low on the grasses in the clearing. They see some grave markers scattered around and a mausoleum opposite them near the opposite edge of the clearing. It looks like a peaceful spring morning in a nice old wilderness cemetery. The problem, though, is that it is no longer morning. It’s early afternoon, and there is a noticeable breeze. There should be no morning fog or mist low on the ground like this.

 

Steeling nerves, they step into the clearing… and wish the hadn’t. Instantly, chills and goose bumps course through and over their bodies. There is a sickening feeling of dread. And the mist looks like it’s trying to cling to their feet. The breeze and noise of nature in the woods is nearly silenced. There is something very wrong about this battlefield turned cemetery.

 

Yes, they recall history lessons that explain that this place was a battlefield some 700 years ago. It was one of the final battles between the humans of Welandar and the Faye during a time when they did not get along like they do now. The Faye had been concerned when the humans moved into the area and started settling what is now Welandar City. This concern led to a decision to try and push the humans out of the area. A few battles took place and this place was the last of them. The humans essentially won the very short war and a truce was achieved in this clearing. The cost to the humans was significant in this battle. They decided to create a memorial cemetery to bury the brave soldiers and officers who heroically fought here and mark the place where a truce had been achieved.

 

A memorial this place is no more.  There is evil magic in the area and the source appears to be the mausoleum.  The group cautiously crosses the ancient battlefield letting courage and determination shield them from the sensations of dread and evil that hang at the edge of their senses.  They approach the mausoleum and easily see that the door has been ripped off its hinges.  The source of the mist also appears to be the mausoleum.  They stare at a set of steps leading down into darkness.  The mist is somehow flowing up those steps from the darkness below.  They need to know what’s going on…

We’ll see what happens in Session 20.

As always, if you like what you’ve read here, let me know by clicking the like button.  If you have something to say or a question, please, leave a comment.  I’ll be happy to get back to you.  A conversation is always better than a monologue.

Type to you later…

Game Night: Session 17, Live and Learn

YAY!!!  We had a game night the other night.  It’s been a while.  That whole real life thing got in the way for a few of us.  People were either unable to get to a PC, or had a broken PC.  Since we play online using Discord and Fantasy Grounds, not having access to a PC was a bit of a problem.  But the stars realigned and we got a session in…

The session was a bit short, but I believe it was informative… as it was meant to be.

The group spend one last night on the banks of the Welandar River before being able to reach Welandar City, the kingdom’s capital.  They spend the evening recovering from the ambush by Kogan and his band of Krell soldiers that happened earlier in the day.  But soon the discussion turns to what they plan to do once they get in The City.  They have a mission, vague as it may be, and they are being pursued by creatures and humanoids with ill intent.

The group believes that there is something more behind Slythis, the “convenient” encounter with the bug-creature and Kogan’s ongoing pursuit.  Theren has felt the presence of “dark magic” during many of these encounters.  They are now convinced that many of these encounters have been orchestrated with information from magic and/or spies that are tracking them.  They know they need to change their tactics and make contacts that can help them change this situation.

Once they reach Welandar City, each member of the group has something in mind to do for themselves in addition to finding a way into a secret library in a secret location in or near the castle dungeon.  They want to help with the situation that is unfolding before them, but they also have goals and dreams of their own… some of which they hope will help with whatever is going on.

After a restful night on the riverbank, the group, along with the riverboat pilot start packing their things so they can head downriver to The City.  While this is going on, a couple of them spot what appears to be a body lying on the bank near the water’s edge a short distance upriver.  The group investigates and finds a Krell – dressed like the others from yesterday’s ambush – near death from brutal stab wounds to the gut.

The group realizes that this situation could produce valuable information if parlayed properly.  Fang successfully stabilizes the Krell with some first aid (they don’t want to waste magic on the enemy).  While doing this, he checks the wounds for signs of desiccation similar to what Slythis’ knife could do. Fang finds none… to the relief of the group.

With some “persuasive” comments,  the Krell, named Urd, begins to answer some questions.  They discover that Urd was part of yesterday’s ambush, but withdrew when he saw the magic being used by the group start to kill his fellow squad mates.  He decided that being killed here was not a good way to accomplish the mission of killing the group.  He thought reporting back to Kogan would be a smart thing to do.  The essentially fatal stab wounds in his belly, delivered by Kogan, has since convinced Urd otherwise…

Further questioning reveals that Kogan had been in contact with the bug-creature they dealt with in South Haven, but long before the Krell had even made it to Mert. Urd also reveals that Kogan had spoken with a Dwerg near Piketon reinforcing the idea that the group has, in fact, been tracked throughout their journey.

As the interrogation continues, the group learns that Kogan possesses a talisman he wears on a necklace.  By asking the right questions they realize the talisman is similar in nature to the knife that Slythis had.  This explains the feeling Theren has gotten when Kogan has been nearby… again similar to Slythis.  It also appears to have some influence over his actions and general behavior.  Urd reveals that Kogan has definitely become much more powerful since he got the talisman.  Of course this causes concern over what sort of transformation will occur in Kogan as he continues to wear the talisman.

Throughout the questioning, Urd mentions that Kogan refers to something known as “The Dark Tide” and how it is coming to, at the least, destroy Mentari’s secret.  Apparently, Kogan is either a part of this agency or is serving those that are a part of The Dark Tide.

Armed with this new information about their situation, the group decides that going straight to Welandar City and sending a message to Perry Braiton would not be wise.  They, instead, decide to take Urd and go to Braiton (the hometown of Fang, Theren and Bran) to report to Lord Braiton directly.  They also plan to turn Urd over to the local authorities.  It’s agreed that Urd should not be simply murdered by them since he chose to cooperate with them and is decidedly uncertain about his place in life.  The notion is that Lord Braiton might see fit to let Urd live and serve his time for crimes in the Kingdom as a member of a work gang.

At a bridge for a road that leads either into Welandar City or north to Braiton, the group parts ways with the riverboat pilot.  They make their way to Braiton with Urd in tow.  It is quite late at night when they arrive at the edge of town…

And that is how we ended the night.  The group now has a name for that which is pursuing them and trying to stop their efforts to reach the secret library… The Dark Tide.  They now know that their movements have been tracked since they began their journey.  This points out the fact that the Dark Tide has agents in many locations, and that they must become more covert in order to stop the pursuit.

What will happen next?

As always, if you like what you’ve read here, let me know by hitting that like button.  If you have something to say or a question to ask, please, leave a comment.  I’ll be happy to have a conversation with you.

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Game Night, Sessions 14-16, Zombies & A Bug, Oh My!

A little catching up is in order since there has been 3 game nights since my last post… sorry about that.  I’ve let that pesky “normal life” thing get in the way of things 😉

Lysandra, Bran, Fang and Theren team up quite well and go to work to finish off the zombies.  Then there is a pesky bug to stop, and, of course, that’s not all…

The group work their way from the tower out to the remainder of the zombies.  Theren makes good use of his sensory link to Tolthas for recon.

It takes very little time to find the remaining ogre zombies and reanimated villagers. They pull out all the stops for a final fight with the zombies.  Fang makes good use of a spell of entanglement to help slow down the lumbering ogre zombies.  With the group numbering four now, dispatching zombies takes far less time and less sacrifice of blood.

The bug creature is spotted soon after the last zombie falls.  The group decides that the bug cannot escape.  They pursue it and engage it.

The bug decides to try and dispatch the group quickly by conjuring a poison fog.  Bran takes the brunt of the poison while the rest resist it to some degree.  Once again, Fang comes through with a spell to conjure a globe of swirling winds around him.  Using it disperses a significant amount of the poison fog quickly.  Lysandra heals Bran and they head into melee with the bug.

The bug is not stupid.  It sees that the group is more capable than it thought, given how they dispatched the poison cloud so fast.  But it will not let a group of lesser meat sacks conquer it and it relishes the fight.

Bran, Theren, Fang and Lysandra realize quickly that the bug creature is strong and a capable fighter, but they don’t want it to escape.  Again, Bran’s combat prowess proves very valuable as he doles out damage despite the bug creature’s naturally heavy armor.  It’s carapace is strong and thick.

Ultimately, the group prove themselves the better combatants.  The bug creature falls to the onslaught, clearly underestimating them.

A quick search of the body reveals, among other things of value, a note…

“Find the Chosen.  Set a trap to test their abilities.  Report back. –Erebus”

Apparently the bug was not supposed to kill the group, AND it was supposed to survive…

Questions about this immediately come to their minds.  Then they notice smoke near the lake shore and realize it’s near where Fisk put them ashore and is still waiting for their return.

Lysandra spies a villager returning from one of the hiding spots in the woods to see what has happened.  She let’s him know that the villagers are now safe, tells him to find her father and runs off with the group to find out what is amiss by the lake shore.

At the lake shore they find that Captain Fisk’s boat has been burned to the waterline and there is no sign of him.  They scout the area and discover Krell footprints.  Again, more questions fill their minds as they consider the possibility that Kogan has tracked them here and possibly murdered their ally from Piketon.

Suddenly uncertain about what to do next, they return to South Haven to discuss things and answer some questions for Lysandra. She bears the sigil of Mentari’s Secret on her left hand like them, but knows nothing else.  She wants the rest of the group to fill her in.

Lysandra is relieved to find her father unharmed, and after talking with some of the villagers about what happened and that things now appeared to be safe, the group is invited to rest and recover as needed.

There is concern over how this bug creature and its zombies knew to show up in the village.  There is concern over how Kogan also managed to catch up with them.  But they still have no idea how this is happening.  The group feels compelled to get to Welandar City and find the hidden library in the castle dungeon.  Based on what they do know and Mert’s instructions, getting to that book should provide some insight as to what might be going on.

With Lysandra brought up to speed – which convinces her to join in their quest, they hire a river boat pilot to take them down the Welandar River to the kingdom capital.  Lysandra says goodbye to her father and the group, now numbering four, continue their trek toward Welandar City to find a secret book in a secret library.

Night one of the trip sees them camping on the river bank. They have to deal with the recurring shared dreams that come to haunt them in their sleep and remind them that darkness is coming.  Otherwise, it is a peaceful night of camping.

There next stop is the trading town of Fork.  The riverboat pilot lands them at the docks below the town of Fork and the group makes plans to spend the night there before continuing on to Welandar City.

The walled town of Fork is a bustling trade town located at the confluence of the Welandar River and the Border River.  There are also a couple of roads that converge here.  The town never completely sleeps due to merchants and traders arriving and leaving around the clock to move goods from Fork to other parts of the Kingdom and those with whom they trade.

So, the group do a little shopping and set themselves up to spend the night in one of the busier inns near the market area.  Lysandra has been concerned that Theren does not like her given his standoffish personality and the fact that their “trades” are very different (she is a cleric of Nira the Life Giver; he is a warlock that has made a pact with an eldritch being of power).  She purchases a nice scroll case to give him as a gift of friendship.  She hopes that he will appreciate it and use it to protect the special scroll he carries.  This does not seem to be the case when Lysandra presents the gift to Theren…

While in Fork, discussion of where they should go comes up again.  The need to find allies and information is very evident.  The concern about if and/or how they are being tracked has grown significant.  The group is not certain that going straight to Welandar City to find a way into the secret library is the best course of action anymore.  They consider going to Braiton, where this all started, to talk with Perry, the man who helped get all this started.  They also consider the possibility that being near Perry, a known ally, might help deal with the threat that Kogan has become.  They can also get word back to Piketon through Perry about Captain Fisk.

As they continue downriver toward Welandar City, they are ambushed by Krell from the river bank. Bran, Theren, Lysandra and Fang quickly realize that these Krell aren’t ordinary.  They are well trained soldiers and very capable with the weapons at their disposal.  There also gets the strange feeling he had when Slythis – and now Kogan – was nearby.  This reinforces the idea that Kogan is carrying some sort of talisman that has influence over him like the bone dagger had over Slythis.  There is also some concern about what sort of changes Kogan is undergoing… like Slythis did.

The battle between the riverboats and the bank is tough.  The Krell soldiers are well trained and do not get shaken in the face of adversity.  It is initially uncertain if the group can defeat these soldiers… until Fang calls upon his druidic powers and sets upon the Krell with a beam of radiant energy from the sky.  The damage he is able to deal levels the playing field and allows for the group to begin shifting the flow of the fight.

In the end, Lysandra’s healing power, Bran’s combat prowess, Theren’s ability with eldritch magic and Fang’s radiant energy spell overwhelm the Krell soldiers.  They fall except for one that had remained hidden during the fight, and that one is noticed running away from the river through the woods.  They know he will be reporting back to an absent Kogan.  Where was Kogan?  Theren felt a presence, but the group never saw him.  They begin to wonder about the tactics being used by Kogan.

After scouting the area of the fight, they float a little further downriver for another night of camping.  Sometime the next day they will be at the entrance to Welandar City.  Then what?

So, what now?  As of right now the group is sticking with the plan of going to Welandar City to start figuring out a way into the secret library.  They are at a loss as to how the bug and Kogan keep finding them.  The encounter with Kogan and his soldiers makes some sense; Kogan made the assumption that they would head to South Haven and then downriver to Welandar City.  The group’s route took them from Piketon to Lon-Kar and THEN to South Haven, a route that took them along the edge of The Great Lake.  Kogan only had to cross the lake from Piketon.

But how did the bug know where to go? Did it know that the group would be there or just Lysandra who has lived there all her life until now? Who is Erebus?  By what means are they being tracked?  What will Kogan become if he has a talisman like the one that transformed Slythis?  What will they find in Welandar City?  How can they convince the right people to let them into the castle and look for a secret royal library?

Stay tuned 😉

As always, if you like what you’ve read here, let me know by clicking the like button.  If you have a question or comment, by all means speak up.  I would love to hear from you.

Type to you later…

 

Game Night, Session 13; Where’s The Off Switch???

So, in the down time with Fang’s player being out of pocket, we invited another player to join us.  She’s either a glutton for punishment, or… I. DON’T. KNOW. 😉

Welcome, player of Lysandra Bellatore; human cleric of Nira the Life-Bringer!

We ended session 12 during a lull in the fight against the zombie hoard that had formed in South Haven.  Theren, Bran and Fang had taken down an Ogre zombie and several zombies that they suspected were local villagers that had been killed and animated by some nefarious means.

Lysandra’s player was brought in on Sunday night for session 13.  But as DM, I don’t like to just throw another character in the group.  Lysandra Bellatore is actually from South Haven.  Lysandra’s player finds her new character in a bit of a predicament…

Bran, Fang and Theren take a breather as the last zombie in the first wave falls at the base of the bridge.  Bran looks around and spots a stone defense tower a short run from the bridge up the river bank.  It looks like it’s meant to defend against anybody that might try to cause trouble to South Haven from the river.  Bran let’s the others know that he thinks that would be a good spot to regroup and figure out how to handle the rest of the zombies.

Before they can get moving, Bran and Theren believe they hear a woman yelling for help…

***

Lysandra Bellatore’s eyes flutter open.  She feels battered and bruised, but otherwise unhurt.  She instantly realizes that she is having a hard time catching her breath and that she is heavily pinned down.  It seems that after whatever knocked her out decided to collapse a house on her.  The memory of that insect-like creature striking her flashes through her mind.

Before Lysandra allows herself to panic, though, she listens and looks around at her situation.  She hears movement nearby and someone shouting in the distance, but she can’t see from underneath the rubble.  She then tests some movement to see if she can get out from underneath the rubble easily.  “Easy” is NOT going to happen.

Again, stifling panic, she prays to Nira for the strength to break free.  Whether the goddess hears her or not, Lysandra calms herself and gathers all the strength she has.  She begins to push against the collapsed wall.  It moves.  She pushes more until she feels her strength about to give out, but as she is about to give up, the wall moves enough for her to wriggle free.

Lysandra lies still on the ground for a moment, breathing deeply and thankful to be free of the wreckage that was once her neighbor’s home.

She then gets up and takes in her surroundings.  She’s looking for the source of the shouting she heard before.  She suddenly realizes that there are zombies – one particularly large zombie – uncomfortably close to her.  She also sees the group a short run across the village from her.  The zombies are between them and her.

With the decision made to risk drawing undue zombie attention, Lysandra sprints toward the group and calls out to them.

***

Bran, Theren and Fang begin their move to the stone defense tower when they hear a woman shouting for help.  They see her running toward them… THROUGH the zombies.

A sudden change of plans to “rescue the girl” is executed and the group joins the fray.

Quite a battle ensues with damage given and taken, but two ogre zombies along with several human zombies begins to shift the odds even against the group now counting 4.  So, they break from the battle and rush for the stone tower as planned.

Upon reaching the tower, the original trio introduce themselves to Lysandra who reciprocates.  Then they begin trying to figure out how to handle the zombies.

Bran, being a trained soldier decides to make use of the two ballistae mounted on the top of the tower for use against enemies striking from the river.  His skills prove very effective as significant amounts of damage are dealt to the ogre zombies.

In short order, the battle will be at the base of the tower…

And this is where we ended the night, right after Lysandra, whose combat effectiveness was thwarted throughout the evening by the dice rolls, took one final shot at one of the ogre zombies.  She rolled a critical hit to end the night.  Let’s hope that continues in the next session 😉

It took a short time to get Lysandra and her player “synced up” in Fantasy Grounds (character creation and learning the interface).  Then the combat took the remainder of the evening.  Tabletop players will understand.  For the layman, D&D (and other RPGs) combat mechanics can get involved, especially when the group wants to switch from theater of the mind to something a bit more interactive and tactical.  FG has the ability to work through combat encounters with exceptional capability of simulating D&D 5E combat mechanics, so why not use them 😉

Session 14 should see the conclusion of the fight with the zombies… one way or the other.  While the group is in a slightly more defensible position, nearly mindless zombies will simply begin working on the tower to bring it down until they can get to their intended targets.  Then there is the bug-like creature that appears to be the reason for the creation of the zombie hoard…

If you like what you’ve read here, let me know by hitting the like button.  If you have questions or comments, please, post them for me.  A conversation is so much more fun than a monologue.

Type to you later…

Game Night, Session 12; So Much for a Nice Float Down the River…

Rewarded and given a weapons upgrade – +1 weapons were an upgrade for the group at this point, Theren, Fang and Bran are leaving Lon-Kar to make the trip to Welandar City.  Their plan was to have Captain Fisk (from Piketon) sail them to the village of South Haven at the mouth of the Welandar River.  From there, they would hire a riverboat pilot to take them downriver to The City.  They had no illusions about the possible difficulties the journey might have in store.  With Kogan, the Krell war captain after them and no idea about his abilities and reach, the group was traveling with the mindset that they would be dealing with danger along the way.

But they weren’t quite ready for this…

Captain Fisk uses his expertise to provide a smooth and efficient ride toward South Haven.  Over the nearly 2-day cruise, Fang brews a couple of healing potions in preparation for the next “bump in the road”.

A few miles from South Haven, the group spots a significant amount of smoke over where the village is supposed to be located.  To get a better “look”, Theren dispatches Tolthas – his familiar pseudodragon-like creature – into the air.  Using his telepathic link, Theren looks through the eyes of his familiar as it gets a little closer to South Haven.

What is seen is not good.  It appears that parts of the village are on fire and/or in ruin.  As Tolthas makes a final pass, a large humanoid is seen moving through the northern crops.  It looks like an ogre… that has died… trying to pursue Tolthas.

A discussion aboard the fishing boat takes place as they try to decide what, if anything, they should do. A zombie ogre and possibly other zombies is not what the group had in mind.

The group agrees that something must be done, especially if there are any survivors in the village.  They don’t want to just pull up to a pier and try to storm the village.  They have no clear knowledge of the zombie situation.

It’s Captain Fisk that comes up with a sound plan.  He wants to land on the opposite side of the Welandar River from the village and allow the group to approach by stealth.  Fisk agrees to wait for one day for them.  If he does not hear from them at the end of that day, he will sail to every landing along the lake shore to warn others of the situation at South Haven.

With a plan in mind, Fisk guides the fishing boat to the shore.  Fang, Theren and Bran debark and find a foot path that leads to the bridge to South Haven.  Theren sends Tolthas ahead to scout.  Tolthas does, in fact, spot other zombies milling about in the ruined parts of the village.  Theren also perceives – through the telepathic link – an insect-looking creature skulking about.  It walks on two legs and has four limbs the equivalent of arms.

None of them have any idea what the bug-like creature could be and begin to wonder what is really happening in the village.

The group reaches the east side of the bridge and huddles there to try and get a read on what they are about to encounter.  Tolthas makes another pass at Theren’s command.  With the “lay of the land” before them, they decide to move onto the bridge and start a fight.

“Zombies, zombies everywhere” becomes the mantra as the group engages a wave of villagers turned zombies and, apparently, one of an unknown number of ogre zombies.  The give and take of the fight is substantial, but better tactics and some strategic use of eldritch magic on Theren’s part and healing from Fang puts the group on the winning side of the fight… for now.

The first wave of zombies is put down, but more are making their way to where the ruckus is on the village side of the bridge, and there’s no sign of the bug-creature…

And that’s where the session ended.  Tune in for the next session 😉

By the way, it will be a bit for the next session post.  Fang’s player is out of pocket for about another week.  So, it might be a week or two before the next session.  If you have any ideas for some post topics, let me know.

As always, if you like what you’ve read here, click that like button.  I also welcome questions and comments.  I hope to hear from you.

Type to you later 🙂