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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ephemera Session #4: Phantom Cloaks, Bones, and Sulphur

After taking down Ellis, the man-eating dwarf minotaur, the Cindarrin rest up for a couple of days in Alden village, allowing their stalwart hireling fighter, John the Rotund, to heal up.

Conversing with the new village leader, Lana, the heroes learn of three possible leads that might get them more information about the prophecy and gem – "The Star of the Courtier" – which they acquired on the Frost Demon's Island.

1. They might head to the woods to the southeast, where there is a statue Lana once saw inscribed with the name "Millenia" deep in kobold territory.

2. They might head west to the tower of an old sage of whom Lana's grandmother sometimes spoke.

3 They might head north to the village of Tarn, which, according to Wanderers Lana has spoken to, is a somewhat larger village where the Cindarrin could possibly find individuals who know something of the prophecy and the Star.

The party decided to adopt the latter course of action. After four days' marching, the heroes approach the village which, from a hilltop, they can see off toward the north horizon as they make camp for the night.

In the pre-dawn darkness, they hear footsteps running toward them from the direction of the village. A figure approaches out of the shadows sprinting hard, and Darius casts a charm spell on the runner before the latter knows what hits him.

Between Darius' high charisma and his spell-casting, 
he could charm the pants off even the surliest villain.

It is a young man named Sam – perhaps 16 or 17 years old – who is fleeing Tarn village. A certain "King Gor" has taken over the village with his dwarven minions. He and his henchmen killed the high priestess, Regina, defiled the shrine to Flora, and has been sending small parties of young people Sam's age north under escort of his swarthy dwarves.

Each time, the dwarves return several days after they depart, without the young folk who left with them. Each time, King Gor is frustrated and furious, and takes it out on the population of Tarn.

Sam was to depart with the next batch in the following couple of days and, rather than await his doom, he managed to escape in the night, running until the party stopped him.

The party ask Sam to take them north, around the town of Tarn to see where the dwarves are taking the young adults of the village. A day later, the Cindarrin wait hidden, and spy the dwarves marching a new group of four teenagers north across the plains. The Cindarrin let them pass, then follow their tracks through the tall grass.

On the third day following the dwarves and their captives, a rain begins to fall, and the heroes decide to pick up the pace and catch up with the dwarves before the trail is lost as the rain gets heavier and starts to flatten out the grass.

The rain and dusk mask the Cindarrin's approach from behind as the dwarves make camp. One sleep spell from Egbert and the foes are subdued. The prisoners are set free and sent into hiding. One dwarf is wakened and charmed. A quick lie explains the absence of the prisoners and convinces the dwarf – named Bob – that the Cindarrin were sent to him by King Gor because the other dwarves in his band were traitors. The sleeping "traitors" are quickly executed, and the party convince Bob to take them to the place he normally delivers the young people of Tarn.

Bob takes the party one more day's march north into a pine forest, and shows the group a temple where he has been bringing the prisoners. The party decide to explore.

Conner very cleverly discovers a hidden "light switch" in the entry hall to the temple which illuminates torches throughout the structure. After a battle with a phantom cloak that very nearly kills Conner (down to 1 hp), the group then discover a former dormitory inhabited by four skeletons. The skeletons are wearing not-so-old clothing that is very similar in style to that worn by Sam and the other young Tarnsters.

The Cindarrin quickly slam the door and spike it, and move on to explore another path.

Their exploration takes them through an old kitchen to a storage room, again with a band of skeletons similar to the first. Once more, the door is quickly re-shut. Conner however, did not fail to note that the old crates, boxes and barrels in the storage room were piled quite high. The party opens the door again, and this time John (the hireling), Tub (the charmed Goblin from the Frost Demon's Island), and Bob (the newly charmed dwarf), push over top-heavy piles of containers onto the skeletons, smashing them to bits.

Passing through the storage room, the party finally come to a room containing four pedestals in a line, each with a glass dome containing a pillow on which sits a different human(oid) bone fragment. Before touching anything, Darius scans the walls of the room and notes several small pipes set in the stonework. Getting closer to the pipes he notes the faint scent of oil and sulphur.

The party decide not to touch anything, and backtrack to the entry hall.

They opt to examine one more room nearby which turns out to be an old refectory, before returning to the room with the fours skeletons that they had previously spiked shut.

After the Cindarrin searched the refectory for anything of use or value we ended for the night.

6 comments:

  1. It was a great time Chris. And even though we play on line I say with confidence, you are the wellest deodorized GM in the history of ever.

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  2. Nice write-up, as always. I really enjoy reading them.

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    1. Thanks Aleksandar! That's nice to know!

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  3. I had a great time. Given our overload of charm and sleep spells (and cleric deficiency), skeletons and zombies are particularly scary.

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    1. Thanks Ken! You know I made all this stuff (well most of this stuff) up before I knew the composition of the party, so it is fun to see how it plays out.

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