Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ephemera Session 7: Stirges Suck, Blud Brothers, The King and We

Not a lot of fighting last night, but lots of talking, with some charm and sleep spells thrown in for good measure.

Cast of Characters
Sandy, Dwarf Fighter +Daniel McEntee
Egbert, Mage +Rob Conley
Conner, Mage +Tim Shorts
Darius, Mage +Ken H
Alfred, Human Torchbearer (NPC hireling)
Tub, Frost Goblin (Charmed NPC ally)
Bob, Swarthy Dwarf (Charmed NPC ally)
Rundt, Hunchback Swarthy Dwarf (Charmed NPC ally)
Belzar, Swarthy Dwarf (New Charmed NPC ally)
Ruger, Swarthy Dwarf (New Charmed NPC ally)
Dink, Swarthy Dwarf (New Charmed NPC ally)
Gar, Swarthy Dwarf (New NPC ally)

Following the destruction of the minor demon Vagroth in the preceding session, the party took one last look around Vagroth's poison-producing complex, killing some stirges, picking up loot, and discovering, with the help of Rundt – the hunchback dwarf they charmed earlier – that Vagroth was creating an extremely corrosive acid in order to destroy at least one of the "Seven Stars" spoken of earlier in the Prophecies of Millenia and Galen.


They learned from Rundt that Vagroth had evidently engaged Gor – whom the party had already heard of – to find a star and bring it to him. Vagroth's hope was that in doing this he could gain favor with his own master, Anorax, Lord of the Abominari, whom he believed was returning from the oblivion into which he was cast at Armageddon.

Gor or "King" Gor as he was wont to have himself called, was a known threat, as the party was already aware that he had taken over the village of Tarn with a band of swarthy dwarves, and had  been sending young people of the village up to the abandoned Temple of Balus to find one of the "Stars." The party had explored the Temple in an earlier session, recovered the "Star of the Maiden" and found that the reason the young folk never came back to Tarn was because they were being turned into undead. Now the party left the Vaporous Vaults of Vagroth and headed to Tarn to deal with "King" Gor.

One night during their journey, just before dawn, a vampire named Vladimir Bludstok entered the party's camp. Vladimir wished to talk rather than fight. He knew the Cindarrin had been destroying the resurgent demons that seemed to indicate Anorax's return. He also knew that the Cindarrin had been recovering the "Stars" necessary to stop Anorax. Vladimir claimed to be the leader of a group of rebel vampires who were part of Anorax's army but turned against him just before Armageddon (since Anorax was not fulfilling his promises to them). Vladimir explained that he wanted to make an agreement with the Cindarrin to work together against Anorax. If the Cindarrin continued to collect the Stars, Vladimir and his rebels would work against Anorax from within and without. Once Anorax was defeated, the rebel vampires promised to set up their own realm outside the lands of Ephemera, if left alone and allowed to do so. The party basically said "that seems reasonable (if fishy) but let's wait and see." Vladimir said "very well, I will return later."

The party moved on toward Tarn where they encountered four of Gor's dwarves patrolling the woods outside the village. The party put them to sleep, then woke them one by one and charmed them.

(GM Note: The band of charmed NPCs had now grown to the size of a small army. Someone's  unfortunate comment that the PCs were now leading a charmy led to howls of pain and disgust. The maker of that comment wishes to remain anonymous. Despite the fact that the punster deserves the deepest derision the RPG-playing public can muster, we shall nonetheless respect his wishes, since even the worst criminal has rights). 

Unfortunately, the party had only three charm spells. There were four dwarves. Sandy, the party's fighter, took the last dwarf out of sight of the others and charmed him in his own fashion. He banged the scoundrel's head against a tree trunk and threatened to kill him unless he agreed to join the party. Eventually the grumpy dwarf gave in to the force of Sandy's violent charisma, and the implacable logic of blunt force trauma.

With their ever growing band of charmed muscle, the PCs exited the woods west of town. They marched straight down the main road into Tarn, stepping confidently forward in the morning sunlight. The few villagers who were out dashed back into their homes. Frightened people peeked out of windows and dark doorways. Not a sound was heard but the tramp of the party's feet on the dusty street.

GM Note: I wanted Ennio Morricone to write theme music for the session,
but he was unavailable.

As the party approached the hill where Gor resided in a badly ruined keep overlooking the town, the villain stepped forth and demanded the party account for themselves. The dwarf minotaur and self-styled "king" of Tarn, stood defiantly before them. His 20 dwarves came out of the keep ruins as well.

A sleep spell put half the enemy to sleep. Egbert charmed Gor himself, then convinced the so-called king that his own band of dwarves was trying to depose him and put their own man in his place. Gor got enraged and attacked his own henchmen, decapitating one and putting the others to flight.

King Gor, the terror of Tarn, was now the party's new best friend and he agreed at Egbert's suggestion to personally accompany the party to find the "star" he sought (which unbenknownst to him the party had already acquired) to bring to his master Vagroth (who, also unbeknownst to him, was now dead). He promised to make Egbert his new first minister. But friends though they now might be...

...the party would have to swear fealty to him.

And there we ended the session.

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