Players: Marc Brown (Ahn’a), James Dean-Hughes (Jian Blevis), INdran (Seerena Tonauac), Neil Simpson (Rael)
Apologies: Jack Bateson (Athelstan Blandifoot)
Date: 3 June 2015
Adventure: “The Last Days of Oerth”
- During the previous evening… Ahn’a decide that she could not let the matter of Lady Cecillia’s murder lie and determined to confront Baron Janstinn.
- She returns to his apartments alone to find him passed out from drink.
- Reviving Janstinn, Ahn’a confronts him with the truth of his wife’s murder. Janstinn is disorientated, and seems something the worse for wear.
- He says that he isn’t able to “avenge” Cecillia because in so doing he would make it impossible to save her. He says that he can still save her, and he can still save his children.
- These seem like the ravings of a drunken man, and Ahn’a scoffs. She says that she knows the truth, she says Cecillia entrusted her with it. She knows all about he wolf’s head and the eight pointed star.
- Janstinn’s mood changes at this news. He is excited, elated and also angry at Ahn’a. He demands that she “give it to him” and when she refuses he becomes violent.
- Ahn’s dodges out of the way of his clumsy attacks and eventually flees the baron’s chambers. Janstinn continues to shout “give it to me!” but he does not follow her.
* * * * * *
Moonday, 3rd Reaping 593 CY
- The following morning, and a continuation of the previous session. In hindsight, Ahn’a is almost relieved to be getting away from the castle – and is puzzled why the baron did not act against her during the night.
- As the party are leaving Endolynn Witten arrives. The half-elf is incredulous that Root would leave her – the “best fighter” – behind, and demands to accompany the mission.
- Corporal Pinks is unable to construct an effective argument to keep Enndolynn in the castle, and it’s up to Rael and the guardswoman Ziba to convince her that she is required to stay and defend the orphans. Even then she is particularly surly about the whole thing.
* * * * * *
- Athelstan, Rael, Jian, Gillespie, Pinks, Edie, Ahn’a and Seerena leave the castle to explore the town. Rael scouts ahead. It is cold and damp. The fog is exceedingly thick and visibility is down to twenty paces in places.
- The cheesewright’s that Edie hopes still contains supplies is on the far side of town on the road to Zulern. It’s less than mile, but the town is expected to be crawling with undead.
- Passage through the fog is slow and eerie. The rest of the party soon lose track of Rael.
- They cross the baronial lands and head right on Baron’s Way. They can see the broken and burnt-old buildings on both sides of the road as they continue. Beyond the main thoroughfare, Narwell is a maze of dead-end streets and narrow alley ways.
- At the cross-roads they turn left onto Market Street.
* * * * * *
- Rael is a ways ahead by this point, and is surprised to detect the smell of a cook-fire.
- Leaving the main road, he follows the aroma through the maze of buildings to the south.
- Here he finds the remains of fire, and a badly charred rodent kebab that someone had been inadvisably been cooking for breakfast.
- There are three bodies around the fire, and they tell a grim story to the elf’s keen senses.
- Two were sleeping. They are unarmoued. One was armoured and standing. He was presumably on guard and perhaps also cooking.
- One of the sleepers died first. Something that moved like a centipede ripped itself out of the unfortunate’s chest. It then attacked the second sleeper, who was probably dead before he had a chance to wake.
- The armoured man lasted longer. He eventually fell when the creature fastened hold of his face. However, this delay was long enough for a fourth person to escape.
- The more Rael looks, the surer he is of this. There was a third sleeper on the other side of the fire. When the fight started he woke up and ran away, leaving his comrades to his fate.
- Rael could track this person down, but is unsure of the wisdom of doing so.
- He searches bodies briefly. Each are wearing holy symbols of the god of valour, Heironeous. This could mark them as paladins.
- Incongruously, a bag Rael finds next to the blanket of the sleeper who escaped contains more infernal trappings – strange substances and fetishes that seem arcane in nature… and a wicked dagger that feels somewhat more than a normal weapon in Rael’s hand. And somewhat unclean.
- Rael keeps the dagger on his belt and slings the bag over his shoulder. He returns to the road, reasoning that the rest of the party will have overtaken him and probably reached their destination by now.
- He is about to join it when he hears the sound of someone walking down Market Street, following his companions.
- He hides in the ruins and waits. Soon he sees the guardswoman Enndolynn Whitten striding brazenly down the road.
- He waits until she passes, and then follows her.
* * * * * *
- The rest of the group arrive at the Cheesewright’s. It is right on the edge of the town and would have faced the stockade that surrounded Narwell. The stockade is long gone now, and they are looking out into long, grey and wavy grass that could conceal a hundred undead horrors.
- The door to Cheesewright’s shop is still locked, but there is no glass in the large front window and the southerly wall is missing. Edie, Ahn’a and Seerena enter the shop while Pinks, Gillespie, Jian and Athelstan stand on guard outside.
- After a few minutes, Edie declares success in her cheese hunt… but things quickly go south.
- There is a disturbance in the grass and moments later a terrible beast that ressembles a great lion with a malformed human-like head erupts from the grass. The tip of its long tail has been chewed off, and one of its two bat-like wings are broken.
- The manticore collapses onto the ground not to far from the party. Before they can react they see other creatures moving through the grass and soon a dozen undead attackers are upon the manticore.
- They are wolf-like creature, although gaunt and obviously undead. Their broken mouths conceal a great sinuous black tongue, dripping with foul ichor, that can uncoil and lash out a surprising distance from the beast.
- Seerena instantly springs to the manticore’s defence. From an upper window of the broken building she directs arcane bursts of energy.
- Jian draws his rapier and moves into attack, and very soon battle is joined.
- The creatures have the ability to entwine their foes in their tongues – crushing and sickening them in the process.
- One creature gets past Pinks and Gillespie and bursts into the shop. Ahn’a stands in an inner doorway ready to defend Eide. She grabs a cheese-wire and deftly cuts off the tongue of her attacker, but it barrels into her knocking her down. A lucky attack with the bloody stump of the tongue brings Ahn’a close to death. Fortunately, Edie manages to fight the horror off.
- With both Pinks and Gillespie at the mercy of the monsters things look bleak. At this point, Enndolynn and Rael arrive and join in the fight.
- The tide turns and all the creatures are despatched. Jian and Seerena are the only two to escape unwounded.
* * * * * *
- Edie calls for help, and Ahn’a is revived.
- Seerena uses much of the content of the healing kit to restore the manticore.
- The beast does not welcome these advances, but it endures them. It is not grateful that the party saved its life – gratitude is an inferior emotion. But it is indebted to the party for their help. This is not a state of affairs the manticore is particularly fond of.
- It tells Seerena that it has come from the north-east. Armies of the undead seem to be converging on the City of Greyhawk. The further south it has come, the thinner the presence of the undead has become. The areas directly around Narwell are safer than they’ve probably been in a year. Although obvously they are not completely safe – as can be evidenced by the manticore’s recent predicament.
- Its goal is to head across the sea and put some open water between this infestation and a new land. It doesn’t know if the plague has spread to all lands, but it knows that it cannot stay here. It refuses an invitation to return with the party to the castle, although it will walk with them a little way.
* * * * * *
- The party return the way they came, to Narwell Castle.
- Enndolynn is rather full of herself, and retells how she saved the party (which isn’t entirely true). Pinks tries to reprimand her, but does a poor job of it.
- Ahn’a feels awful. Her wounds were severe, and she can hear Gillespie whispering to Jian and PInks. He thinks the attack on Ahn’a was so severe that she’s been infected with the plague.
- What’s worse is that Ahn’a thinks he might be true. She’s feeling something she didn’t feel before the attack: a strange desire to head west beyond Narwell and into the Gnarly Forest.
- Rael tells the party what he found in the ruins.
- Athelstan is particulary interested, and takes possession of the bag that Rael found.
- Seerena handles the dagger, and confirms that it is a pact blade used by a warlock – an arcanist who has made a deal with a powerful otherworldly entity for power or knowledge. Some pacts are benign or beneficial others are… less so. This pact blade belonged to a warlock who, in Seerena’s opinion, made a poor choice of patron.
- Rael retains possession of the blade.
* * * * * *
- As the party reach the junciton to the Baron’s Way, Rael spots a figure stumbling toward them in the mist. Thinking it could be an undead creature, Rael draws his sword and approaches. Athelstan and Enndolynn are a few steps behind him.
- To their great surprise, the figure turns out to be Captain Nenshen – the leader of the Greyhawk militia who were stationed in Narwell, and who left the town two months ago to reinforce the City of Greyhawk. He is also Athelstan’s superior officer.
- Their surprise and pleasure at seeing a friendly face is soon dashed, as Rael sees Nenshen’s distended stomach is evidently incubating the same sort of horror that killed the three men he found earlier at the camp site. Rael calls on him to stand back.
- Nenshen does so. He’s not undead yet, and says that he has paid a terrible price to return to Narwell. But he has information that can help to save the lives of any survivors left in the city.
- He says that he may have found a way out of the Flanaess for those willing to take it – an escape away from the horrors of this land.
- In order to explain, he tells his story:
- He and his army never made it to Greyhawk. When their arrived the vicinity of the city it was besieged by the undead. Then a second army of demons arrived through a doorway in the sky. They were led by a terrible general clad in ornate armour and riding a magical construct that flew through the air like a giant bat.
- This general bent his knee to the undead horde. Nenshen doesn’t know how such an alliance was even possible. Unfortunately, he could not stay and find out.
- He and his men were discovered. They fled. Many died.
- But he and couple of dozen others were saved by the rhenee – the travelling gypsies of Oerth.
- Nenshen says that their caravans appeared through the mists and spirited him and his companions away to another land. He says that they saved him, and they want to save as many others as possible.
- Nenshen says that two days east of Narwell there is a deep dell before the last woodland. That dell is thick with the mists the rhenee can walk, and his new friends will be waiting there for as long as they can. If the party and anyone under their charge can make it to that dell then they can be saved.
- His message delivered Nenshen collapses to the ground.
- Rael offers to end the captain’s suffering and delivers a mercy killing.
- The party then turn back to the castle, while the manticore having seen and heard all of what transpired, flies off in the opposite direction.
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