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, 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 🙂

Game Night, Session 11; Lon-Kar

At Bran’s request, the group traveled to Lon-Kar, a Dwergar city to return the battleaxe he recovered from the murdered Dwerg smith they encountered when they were dealing with Slythis on Piketon Road.  This session was all role-playing since they were there in hopes of collecting a reward and Bran getting the chance to honor his connection to the Dwergar (he was raised by a Dwerg… more on that later).

Fang, Bran and Theren leave the peer where Captain Fisk’s boat is docked and walk toward the walled town on the hill.  As they climb, they see small roads that head off along the hillside in both directions.  Most of the roads lead to what appear to be mine entrances.  They are well guarded.

The group is stopped at the entrance to Lon-Kar by the local guard.  They are questioned about their business.  The guards are definitely on alert.  A short conversation reveals that there has been a recent attack on Lon-Kar by Krell.  They were repelled, but the town guard is still looking for any information and anyone that might have ill intent toward Lon-Kar and its citizens.

Bran passes on what they know about Krell activity and explains the reason they are there.  The guardsman thanks him and allows the group into Lon-Kar.

Lon-Kar

Location: West of the Great Lake less than a day’s walk inside the western border of the Kingdom of Welandar.

Description: Lon-Kar is a walled town of mostly Dwergar. It sits on top of a rather defensible hill/small plateau about a day from the Border River.

There are many mines around the area with some entrances within the town.  All are well guarded.

Lon-Kar is a source of silver and iron along with other small amounts of precious metals and a few semi-precious stones.

Lon-Kar benefits from autonomy and some protection from the kingdom.  Welandar’s protection comes in the form of trade agreements and a military alliance that is meant to protect Welandar’s interest as much as Lon-Kar’s.

Population: Around 5000; mostly Dwergar with small representation from human, Nidawi, Elwyn, Hin, Gnome and Krell

While there is no overt racism:

  • Dwerg get along/tolerate most, but are slow to trust
  • They are least tolerant of Krell
  • Hin get along with everybody
  • Gnomes keep to themselves, but will accept anybody they trust and/or do business with
  • The Krell citizens are actually well-behaved, but they’re still Krell
  • The Faye are similar to the Gnomes; they will work with anybody, but will generally opt for their own kind in more social settings

The group is directed to the market area in the center of town to find a place to stay, any gear and materials they might want or need and The Office of Family Affairs.  Fang goes and secures lodging at the Midnight Star.  He then goes to The Park.  He finds a small but wonderful patch of nature to ease his tension and discomfort from being in a city of man-made stone and wood.

Bran and Theren make their way to The Office of Family Affairs where the Dwerg family leaders conduct daily business for their respective families. Bran is seeking the Ironstar family office so that he can return the battle-axe he recovered from the murdered Dwerg on Piketon Road.  He used it for a killing blow to Slythis to avenge the Dwerg’s death.  Bran’s background of being raised by a Dwerg compels him to honor the family by returning the blood-stained axe to the family to let them know of the loss and the vengeance.

Bran and Theren get an audience with the leader of the Ironstar family.  Bran tells the story of finding the murdered Dwerg and the groups pursuit of the murderer.  Matthius Ironstar accepts the axe and commends Bran and the rest of the group.  He invites them to a dinner at Gimli’s Beard to meet the entire group and discuss a reward.

After some shopping (Bran buys a set of smith’s tools and Fang buys ingredients to brew a Potion of Healing), they meet at the Midnight Star to stow their gear and get cleaned up for dinner.

In typical Dwerg fashion, dinner is informal but delicious.  Everybody eats and drinks well.  Theren gets a bit drunk (he failed a constitution save).  The conversation is pleasant and simple until Matthius Ironstar wants to know a bit more about the group’s travels and more detail about Slythis and what happened to the Dwerg smith.

Matthius dismisses everybody in the room when the group makes it obvious they have things to say that they do not wish just anybody to know.  Matthius understands this but wants to know whatever the group will tell him about their situation.

Bran, Fang and Theren relay their story including the sigils on their hands.  Matthius does not fully comprehend what it all means since he is not part of Mentari’s Secret.  That, however, does not stop him from wanting to help the group.  In addition to a nice stack of gold coins, he upgrades their favored weapons to master-crafted with a little magical boost (+1 weapons… their first magical weapons).

They part with Matthius appreciative of his reward and knowing they have a potential ally in the coming days to thwart whatever evil may be coming.  They return to their room at the Midnight Star and plan to leave the next day.  They will not be heading for Welandar City to seek out the secret library and investigate the circumstances of the king’s murder.

Session 12 looks to be a little more “busy”.  They will be making their way to Welandar City, and well… there’s no way things are going to go perfectly 😉

As always, if you like what you’ve read here, let me know by clicking the like button.  If you have questions or want to comment on something, please, do so.  I welcome conversation, criticism, whatever.

Type to you later 🙂

Game Night, Session 10. On the Road(?) Again

Armed with the little bit of information from Mert, Fang, Bran and Theren get moving again.  They know they need to find a way into the secret library in the Welandar castle back in Welandar City, but Bran wants to complete the task he set for himself – to return the Ironstar battleaxe to the family in Lon-Kar.  It’s agreed to do this since they can reach Welandar City from either Piketon or Lon-Kar…

With the decision made to go to Lon-Kar find the Ironstar family and then to Welandar City to seek out the secret library, Fang, Theren and Bran plan to leave Mert’s cabin and head back to Piketon to pick up their repaired cart, new mule and the gear and things contained in the cart.  They are hoping to find a boat to give them passage to Lon-Kar rather than having to travel overland.

Before they leave, Theren asks if Mert will give him the materials he needs to perform a ritual for summoning his familiar.  The requirements of the spell were recently revealed to him on his scroll, but he had not found anyone with the necessary material components all in one place to buy and/or borrow for the ritual.

Mert has no problem with this and gives him what he needs.  So, Theren goes down to the lake shore alone for about an hour to summon his familiar.  Theren has an idea about the type of familiar he wants.  He had read about a creature called a pseudodragon in his studies with his mother and decides that is what he wants to summon.

A little over an hour later, Theren returns with a small dragon-like creature flying circles over his head.  It does not look quite natural, though, to be sure.  It is like a pseudodragon, but with 3 eyes on its head and many more on its wings.

Theren Familiar option 2

Perhaps Theren’s Eldritch magic had something to do with it?

After a quick exchange of farewells and Mert telling them she is always available to help if she can, the group head back along the lake shore to Piketon.

In Piketon, the group splits up to get business taken care of faster.  Theren goes to Pike’s Tooth Inn to return the scroll he had borrowed from there (it contained a symbol that matched their sigils for no apparent reason other than Bran Touchwater must have written it there).  Fang goes to the stable to retrieve the repaired cart and the mule he had purchased.  Bran goes back to the blacksmith to see if the supplies that Berault claimed to contain a set of blacksmith’s tools has come in and let him know that he is travelling to Long-Kar.

Theren returns the scroll to Bran Touchwater and apologizes for making him uncomfortable.  This seems to put things between the group and Touchwater on better terms.

Fang goes and picks up the cart and mule.  The stable owner even threw in a couple of supplies for the mule.  Fang then heads straight for the wharf to find a boat to take them to Lon-Kar.

Bran reaches the blacksmith shop and speaks with Berault Stormbringer.  He lets the Dwerg know of his plans to return the battle-axe to the Ironstar family and asks if the supply shipment containing blacksmith tools came in.  Unfortunately, the supplies had not arrived yet due to bad weather on the south side of the lake, so Bran will have to find tools elsewhere. Berault gives Bran a coin with the Ironstar family crest stamped on it with instructions to tell the family leader that Berault vouches for him.  They bid each other farewell, and Bran heads to the local garrison.

At the garrison, Bran lets the garrison commander know that there are, in fact, Krell in the area.  He tells the soldier about the fight he and his group had and that he believes there is a war chief and likely more Krell.  The garrison commander thanks him for the information and starts working to prepare for problems.

The group meet up at the wharf.  Fang’s luck finding a boat to take them to Lon-Kar has not been good.  Pretty much all the barges large enough to take them and their cart have just arrived and have no plans for departure for, at least, a day.

Whether by chance or the man’s curiosity about the newcomers, Captain Fisk overhears their conversation and steps up to offer them passage to Lon-Kar on his fishing boat.  After a little negotiation, they agree to leave within an hour.

They sail for a little over 3 days without incident (other than Theren’s seasick issues) and pull into the small dock that is used by Lon-Kar.  Up on a hill about a half day’s walk they see Lon-Kar.  It’s a walled city as best they can tell at this distance.

So, next time they get to explore Lon-Kar, a city of mostly Dwerg.  It should be interesting to see how Bran makes out with the return of the battleaxe from that blacksmith who was murdered by Slythis.  Will be rewarded somehow?  Will he have made an ally?  Catch the next Game Night post to find out 😉

As always, if you like what you’re reading here, let me know with a click of the like button.  I welcome feedback, so don’t hesitate to leave a question, comment or both.

Type to you later…

And We’re Back! Game Night Session 6

So, Session 6 went off last night.  It was a bit shorter than I had hoped, but things went well.  Some of this might be a bit of recap from my mention of session 5 in a previous post, but there is definitely more.  And I have to go into creative mode again… you’ll see.

Bran, Theren and Fang made tentative friends with the merchant and his son and guards.  They decided to share the camp site in spite of Fang’s best efforts to deter the merchant group from staying with them.  The merchant was not hiding that he thought there was an opportunity to collect a bounty for this murderer that Fang had mentioned.  Again this was in spite of Fang emphatically telling the merchant that there was no bounty.  Fang also didn’t mention the “nature” of this murderer, either… like the fact that Slythis was a possessed goblin that was transforming into something else and becoming more powerful with every kill he/it made.

The evening started out pleasant enough.  Now that there was some mild trust between the two groups, small talk and stories were exchanged over a good meal.

The watches were set as both groups prepared to sleep for the night.  A member of the merchant group (guards and merchant’s son) decided to partner up with a member of our group for each of 3 watch shifts.

The “fun” begins with Theren sensing the presence of the dagger.  He wakes the rest of his group and a chase through the woods begins.

Unfortunately for the members of the two groups, Slythis is very illusive until…

One of the merchant guards wondered a distance off the road into the woods.  A few minutes later, Fang, Theren and Bran track him down and find him scared and bloodied next to a tree.  Theren confirms that the dagger feels close.

They discover that the merchant guard’s wounds were essentially superficial cuts… just enough to make things look bloody, but with no real harm.  Slythis was toying with the guard… to prove his abilities and power???

Then they spot Slythis running through the trees a fair distance from them, and he’s heading back toward the road.

The group get the guard to recover from his scare enough and race back to the camp.  They hope they cut Slythis off and maybe run into him for the fight they have been wanting on.

But no such luck.  Slythis manages to not be found and does not attack the camp.

After things calm a bit, the merchant asks questions, especially after seeing the state of his one guard.  Bran, Fang and Theren decide to “spill the beans”.  Theren uses his newfound telepathic ability to “educate” the merchant with everything the group has learned and experienced concerning Slythis.

After nearly passing out from the shock, the merchant completely understands that Theren, Bran and Fang are truly after this thing for reasons well beyond a simple bounty.  This prompts him to offer his services in the best way he can conceive… pass along information.  Bran instructs the merchant to let the garrison commander in Braiton know what is going on.  The merchant promises to do so and leaves with the rising sun.

This next day is spent planning and preparing for an encounter with Slythis.  The group hopes that the reduced numbers will motivate Slythis to be more bold.  They had come to realize beyond much doubt that he must, in fact, be possessed by an entity that made its home in the dagger.  His behavior has suggested a “dual nature”.  It was the only thing to explain the murderous behavior coupled with the lack of desire for direct confrontation with the group – his true target.  The goblin part would be the sly cunning actions that worked to avoid anything or anyone potentially more powerful… like the group.  The entity in the dagger that calls to Theren and taunts him appears to be the psychotic rage and necromancer part.

Their insight turns out to be spot on.  Before the sun completely sets, a man riding in a small cart pulled by a horse is attacked just up the road from the camp in plain sight, but just out of reach for the group to be of any help.  They watch as the cart is flipped and catches fire from a lantern that was sitting next to the cart driver.  Slythis downs the horse in the “usual manner” – slitting its throat.  He then pounces on the man and kills him in the same way.

The group took what advantage they could despite having to watch the man and horse die from a distance.  They advanced up the road to confront Slythis, and Slythis was all too “happy” to oblige in his enraged and psychotic state.

The fight went quickly.  Bran made good use of his bow and then his halberd once he could close the distance to melee range.  Theren stayed back and used his warlock magic to try and bring down Slythis.  Fang had shape-shifted into a black panther (as a druid, he can do that) and took advantage of the additional four-legged speed and agility of a cat.  He made constant lunges at Slythis, and then finally pounced on Slythis.

Enough of the various attacks hit their marks, and Slythis was slain.  Fang and Bran had some injuries, but none were life-threatening.

As the adrenaline wore off, Slythis’ body was examined.  He was no longer a small grayish-yellow skinned goblin.  Instead he had grown to nearly the size of a human or elf.  He had bony protrusions down his spine and along his arms and legs.  His face had become a thing of true evil.  The skin had been stretched over very pronounced cheek bones.  The jaw hung slack.  The teeth had grown jagged.  Slythis had become something from a nightmare.

Down to business.  Fang looked at the dagger and saw that it was “fused” to Slythis’ hand.  So, he drew his scimitar and lopped off the dead creature’s hand.  Avoiding touching the dagger – out of concern of something similar happening to him, Fang scooped up the severed and and dagger into a sack.

The dagger, itself, is a vile looking thing.  It appears to be made entirely of bone.  It is stained with the dried blood of the many victims Slythis attacked with it.  Its point is sharp, and the edges are jagged.  The handle is too obscured by the hand to see well.  But the closer examination shows that the hand’s skin had truly grown into/onto the handle of the dagger.  Slythis could not have let go of the dagger.  It was like they had merged.

It was also noted that when Fang removed the hand with the dagger, Slythis’ distorted body visibly shrank a little.  It was as if the removal of the dagger removed some of the… vitality??? from Slythis even after death.

So, a thunderstorm rolled through the north Texas area, and we had to cut our session off right there out of concern over losing power.  Session 7 is scheduled for next Sunday.  I will try to post the happenings as quickly as I am able.  I hope you’re still enjoying the “story” as much as I am telling it.

As always, let me know what you think.  Ask questions.  I will answer as much as I can, so long as I am not giving away “spoilers” 😉

Type to you soon…