This site is an online accumulation of the Post Reports for my current ongoing D&D Campaign - for anyone who might be interested in reading them.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Meet 134, Adv 12, 5/21/11

This marked the official start of the 12th adventure and with all new beginnings, we had a formalization of the leadership and direction fo the party. Detheron, our druid, has opted to take over once more (especially now that his personal problem are solved as well) and was very clear in the statement of which direction the group was to go and how we would get there. I hope it works out for them.

And this also brought them to Flatrock, a place mentioned a few times before on the nebulous frontier. A place under seige by a plague. A place where Vanir (from SOOOOOOOOOO long ago) and his men are and doing something nefarious.

And they are in for a good time. :)

Write up follows:

Norris and Hammerhand had left about 6 days earlier for Darkwaters and Kurtsville and the group’s members had completed their training and guild responsibilities when it was a bright morning and crisp fall day. Detheron had asked Gwyn, Guyus, Mebali, and the two new members Thurin and Havic to join him for conversation after breakfast in the common room of the Rampant Griffin Hotel.

It seems that the druid and dwarf had had numerous conversations over the last few days about the state of the party and our standing. It seems that no one was happy over our upsetting the Count and being removed from Cymbarton. There was much disgruntled feelings over Rahyk and what had gone on. But also there was a feeling over the last ¾ of a year that as a party we had lost our way. And that was to stop.

No longer would we act a pile of separate people with separate agendas. It was group first and best for the party before selfish needs would come to the forefront. No more are we going to be kicked out of town after town. No more would we piss off the populace and under no circumstances would there be any issues group wise that would put the party in jeopardy.

Havic seemed pleased over this but Thurin had a few questions that were answered and eventually accepted. Detheron had gotten a charter from Lord Artis Dearnhorse, the elder lord willing to sponsor our party. We talked about the name of our group and decided to go back to the original Sundered Chains as that name did have some local notoriety and approval in the two smaller towns of Orihalcus and Ponyboro. He had Norris sign the charter before he had left, the bard very happy to have done so and be a part of the party. As for the others around the table – he asked Thurin and Havic to hold off on signing for a few weeks so that we could suss out if we are a good fit for one another.

Once the document was signed it was brought to the Daernhorse Demesne where we talked about where to go next. The party had a bug in their bonnet to finish off Vanir as soon as possible – and that meant going to Flatrock, the current town under some plague. We did not want to risk going through Cymbarton and Brokenhills or Eider, so opted instead to go through Orihalcus and then take the unused and ill repaired ancient dwarven traderoad northward till we drew near Dragonhole. We would then avoid that city (Lord Vergadain would surely remember us) and then go to Northedge and refill our provisions before settling in towards Flatrock.

Lord Daernhorse was willing to help out part of our journey. He gifted us a 4 horse team and wagon so that we could taken them to Orihalcus and avoid the walk that far. From that point on, it was up to us. We thanked the lord for his generosity and wasted no time, leaving shortly after that.

Mebali teamstered our horses for us and he did a more than admirable job, getting us through the lowlands of the Dusty Mountains within record time and arriving at Orihalcus around 11 o’clock. The gate guards let us in and were surprised to hear the name Detheron, Gwyn, and the Sundered Chains as it had been rumored that we had died. We turned the horses and wagons in at the stablery while the Sheriff Kalarig was roused and told of our return.

We went to our home, unused for 9 months now, and were met by the brigand turned archer turned guardsman turned sheriff who let us in to our home with a copy of the key. Much back slapping and welcome homes were traded and a ready skin of the local mead soothed our dusty throats. Windows were opened and dust was scattered. Detheron used a couple of anti-vermin barriers to clean the straw mattresses in the long dormant rooms or lice and mites and we had much conversation with the Sheriff.

Kalarig reminded Detheron of Deidra and the druid was going to take a trip to the Children of the Wilted Leaf Orphanage meanwhile the rest of the party should get some sleep as it was a long day and most likely Sir Walter Slaine would want to meet with the group in the AM. Detheron went to the Orphanage where he was met by Brother Dougan and then roused Deidra. She was upset as he had said he would be back soon and it was now about 9 months later. But the ire was ended swiftly and the two lovers reconnected on a more primal level for the remainder of the night.

The next day Detheron was awoke by Gregor and Hani, Deidra’s children, excited to see him returned. They had a great breakfast and Detheron broke the news that he was going with the party to Flatrock to help out with the plague and hopefully take out Vanir while up there. Deidra let Detheron know that according to local rumor, Flatrock was under quarantine and no one was getting out. Suggested he stay safe and take no unnecessary chances and to come back soon.

We regrouped and then met up with Sir Walter. He was also dismayed at the length of time since our visit and that we need to come home more often. Let us know that Karis had come, turned in his bondsman ring, and told everyone that he had escaped death and the rest of the group did not. Joined a party known as the Red Clouds and then left for other places unknown. There was some rumor they had gone to Dragonhole and raided the armory there for a shield and some other gear. There was also talk according to Sir Walter that they were maybe near Huntington, but no one was sure anymore.

He promised to talk on our behalf at the Council of Lords but asked us for a favor. Offering us a 600 crown bounty if we could eventually find Karis of Melbourne and give him three stripes across the face for the dishonor the one time knight had shown him. One stripe for each insult. Do we kill him? No – not necessary – just mark him – a mark that he’ll carry for the rest of his days. Detheron accepted for the party and Sir Walter was pleased.

So pleased that he gifted us with 6 horses (admittedly fairly poor specimens, but viable) as well as bridles, braces, saddles, bags, and enough food to last us and our mounts for seven days. We took our old cart out of storage at the Teamster’s office and Mebali spent a few minutes getting it up to snuff as well as hooking up one of the nags to it. Guyus, Thurin, and Detheron would all ride while the rest of us would take the cart – and we would lead the last two horses, trading them out to keep all of them as fresh as possible.

We left with a song in our heart and smiles on our faces, tracking towards the road to Ironcamp and then onward through the Dusty Mountains and the old dwarven trade roads. We met up with Flarg briefly and entertained taking the barbaric bugbear with us, but wiser heads prevailed and we left him behind with a promise to get him if we were to take out any local kobolds.

We rode on. Travelling through the wildlands, rain and wind driving at us for 4 days straight. We ended up on the crossroads just east of Dragonhole where we avoided the city and rode around until we found the road northward to Northedge – a trading town situated within 20 miles of the Windy Peaks and the no man’s land that was once time dwarven lands – now orcish controlled. The gate guards took our name and were distrustful of us – but we reequipped on another 2 weeks of food and slept for the night – eventually heading off eastward towards Flatrock.

It was about 2 days later when we arrived. The grasslands had faded away, leaving only briar bushes, scraggly brown weeds, lichen, and stubbly course pale yellow grasses. Scrublands as far as we could see. A single mesa rose up, some 300’ with an almost 600’ plateau on top. A keep of some sort was on top of the mesa and at the base of the slope was a walled town.

A haze rose over the city, low and gritty. There were few fields outside the wall and what was there were stunted, unkempt, and untended. There was also a lack of sounds from behind the wall, much softer that what we would expect from a small city this size. A trio of outriders wearing thick masks rode towards us with their arms outstretched and calling for us to stop.

We spoke with the men, promising that we know of the quarantine and that we came here willingly and with the desire to help. They were surprised but happy at the fact and were anxious to take us to the Grey Raven Hospice and meet with Father Timon Beerdrinker. Beerdinker???

It seems that over the last 6 months, most of the town’s upper echelons had suffered greatly – and Father Timon was currently the highest member of the ecclesiastic order of Odin worshippers – originally he was around 11th in line. Even the town’s ruler, Lord Harold Bork, had suffered with the death of his eldest son.
At the east end of town we did find the cemetery and a charnel pit near a lime pit where bodies were coated and left to rot. Everywhere we went we saw people with herb filled masks walking about as if in a daze. At the Hospice we were given masks and introduced to Father Timon Beerdrinker. He was a heavyset man just about 5’10”, eyes were red and puffy and he looked like he had not gotten much rest in the recent days. He took us to the terminal patients so that our clerics could do what they could to help.

It was then that we learned that in the town of normally 2000 people, now down to about 1200 over the last 6 months, that there was in fact only ONE touched priest here, a Halfling priest of Freya named Ludwig of Principia. He was harried and happy to see us and we spent time learning what we could of the situation and what we could do to help.

There was a alchemist who was trying to work up a cure with the town’s herbalist, but the distillate of blood from the existing plague victims was not sufficient enough to come up with a cure – we would need to find the source of the plague. Thurin suggested it might be the mineral water that the town was known for, but that was quickly squashed. The mineral water actually retarded the acceleration of the plague, those who did not drink it got sick sooner and faster.

Why did they not just burn the bodies? The plague was still virulent even in the dead bodies and burning them outright only hastened its spread to those anywhere near the smoke. The best way was to lime the bodies for a few days to hasten the decay process and after three days, the bodies could be safely burned. We cured disease on two of the terminal cases in here but there were still at least 18 others – and that doesn’t count those who would grown to this level of sickness tomorrow. The tide was too great.

Ludwig had been here 43 days to date and had no chance to even search for where the original infection might have come from. There was one other organization here helping out according to Father Timon – a slaving organization named Lycos Suns, headed by a man named Iohannes. They had arrived about 4-5 weeks ago and even though they had lost their stock and two of their men, they were helping out with whatever needs the people of Flatrock could do to help. According to Ludwig, a few of them had thought about maybe finding some sign of infection at a nearby trading location about a mile or two from here on the other side of the Mesa called Kreladale.

We decided to spend some time and try to work with the local healers to see if we can help improve their abilities to keep the sick from getting sicker as well as check out some of the rumors that the plague might have started in Sinner’s Tower (an open aired 60’ donjon where some of the town’s criminal types are placed).

Friday, May 20, 2011

Meet 133, Adv 11, 5/14/11

This was the wrap up/maintenance meeting - something that hadn't been done for about 5 months or so, so there was much bookkeeping for the party to do.

However something happened during the few points of role playing that went on. One of the players was very impatient (a trait that had been more and more prevelant as the years have gone on) and was saying, to the count, "Less talky, more healy." There were other comments made and normally in the interests of keeping the game flowing and the players happy, I don't attack those sort of 4th wall shattering instances, but here was the first time that the party was ever in the presence of the count - and they had done the big thingy successfully.

The count was going to pay them, heal them, and then further reward them. Instead I ended up taking the party down a peg and banishing them from the town. Yep - 3rd city they've been thrown out of. And if things continue this way, they won't have any safe harbors left to go to.

I don't normally like to do this, but the party had lost their rudder and this was a shock to them that enough was enough. In real life for about a week after the game, there were both group email conversations and private ones between the players and everyone is of the mindset that this was the last time they ever screwed up like this and it was not an option to happen again.

Write up follows:

The group picked themselves off the ground, trying to call out to one another, blinded and seeing only white. Rahyk backed himself up, tripping over spilled pews and other debris, ending up against what he thought was the back wall. Detheron tried to shift into animal form, but his sight was still not working even then. Norris walked out to the front door after much groping and called to Hammerhand who arrived at long last.

We waited some time until Corporal Weyrith and a half dozen of the Cymbarton guard showed up, lured to the group by their calls and took the time to escort the party out. There was no more any sign of Brother Beren and the Sun Sphere had been destroyed, only some scraps of wood and about 2/3rd of the cracked stone remained. The Corporal did say that there was another body on the ground and had its head removed. An older male, past 60. We suspected it was the mortal remains of Aaron Skelt and told the Corporal to leave it.

Eventually we were led blind out of town, about a mile or so to the encampment where we rested , ate, and fell asleep. Eventually there was almost a 2 day ride back to Cymbarton where news had reached before us to the county capital and we were brought to the Sedaris Demesne where we were met personally by the Count himself, a small group of his high advisors, and even Kazak Falconhand.

However, our presence at the count was quickly soured as our blindness still hadn’t been resolved on its own and we were hoping to get some magical healing. The count was very willing to help and was talking about getting a healer to help out the group and that he was willing to pay for it as well as give us the reward (which turned out to be 650 crowns per share) when Rahyk began mouthing off to the Count. “Less talky, more healy.” Thodrek the dwarf was joining in as well, the two of them alternating between insulting and pitiful in their haranguing of the nobleman.

Even though Count Cedric was always an even tempered man, beloved by the people, popular with all guilds, and one of the few uncorrupted and unifying forces of Northern Daro, it was getting awkward for him to continually ignore the crap being spewed in his direction. Eventually he blew up, wondering what the hell the party was doing. Yes they did the job, big thanks and what not. They did it 6 days before the other group that had been commissioned to do it, also thank you. He gladly paid the group their share of the reward, was going to have them looked after at his own personal Hospice with the costs of curing their blindness being picked up by him. Was going to name them County Protectorates and knight two members of the group as well as award them the titles and land currently unclaimed by the Sunderstone Clan of the environs around Fulgore Keep.

But not anymore.

He grew wroth at the group and they realized that they had seriously made a gigantic error in antagonizing the Count. He had Rahyk’s vision cleared and then had him taken from the city where he was banished from the Capital for the next year and a day – on the knowledge that if he came back into the city he would be stripped of his belongings, locked in the stock, given 10 lashes, and then remain there for the rest of his incarceration. Rahyk took the money, bad naturedly went with the guard escorts, and bought a horse at Northgate from the stablery there.

The same thing was told to Thodrek, the dwarf apologizing profusely, but the Castellan wanted nothing to do with the dwarf’s cries of injustice. Thodrek joined up with Rahyk and the two of them mounted up and rode north, hoping to get back to BrokenHills to do some potential looting.

As for the rest of the group – they too were healed and rewarded and then the Castellan SUGGESTED that they leave and Count Cedric also held them in some part responsible since at no time did they rebuke any of the other party members and possibly correct them of their crude outbursts. The party was devastated – run out of another town.

This was becoming a serious problem as they have been making a negative name for themselves: Dragonhole, Eider, Cymbarton. Something was going to have to change or they would find themselves outlaws before too long.

With heavy hearts we went to the adventurer’s guild where Dumethian Dracowulf was very surprised that the group had pissed off Count Cedric as the lord was never known for his outbursts and unhappiness. They party must have been terrible rude and ungracious and the group said nothing on that matter. We got a few things identified, sold off a few treasures, squared up with the hirelings who all gave glowing reviews of the party, made sure that Brother Beren’s share was given to the Tyrian Cathedral, got a blank charter for us to fill in in the future, made sure Cadassial’s share went to the thieves guild (earning Norris a good hand clapping and thanks for his efforts) and made our way to Westgate.

What now? It was decided that we would go to Ponyboro as it was only about a day and a half from Cymbarton and we could rest there, regroup, meet up with Lord Daernhorse, and train before deciding what was to happen next.

It was with a heavy heart that we arrived at the pastoral town, getting really nice rooms at the Rampant Griffin and giving ourselves a good night sleep on a bed for the first time for some of us since almost 28 days ago. The next day we visited with Lord Daernhorse, made our rounds to various guilds and shops, and started to make ourselves feel at home. It was two weeks plus of training, commissioning, grooming, fixing, repairing, buying, and overall convalescing before the party felt more than ready to go back out there and see what the world had to offer.

We did meet up with two adventurers that had been directed to us by Dumethian Dracowulf from the adventurer’s guild: Havic, a dwarven barbarian and holy man from the northern wilderness from a town known as Grimsfold, and Thurin, an grey elven sage and wizard whose family currently resides in Ponyboro. They were met with much enthusiasm as they both had separate but personal griefs with Vanir and were directed to the party from their own past dealings with the wizard/slaver.

At the end of the two plus weeks, Norris was volunteering to travel south with Hammerhand to Daro and Kurtsville to see what became of Hammerhand’s family down there as well as Norris resolving a few things he had left open in Daro. We did heard from Dollius from the Platinum Pestle in Eider, the alchemist sending us three poultices of Stone to Flesh in payment and thanks for all we had done for him. And as for Mebali, the brogue speaking wheelwright was happy to spend his time with the party and volunteered to not only be our teamster and cartwright should we want him, but to look after whatever our home would be and affairs should we want him to.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Meet 132, Adv 11, 4/30/11

This wrapped up the 11th adventure, Shadows Run Deep (yes, I still name all my adventures - its a habit from the 80's) and brought to a closure the party's involvment and subsequent destruction of Broken Hills. This has had a profound impact on the layout of my world and will have larger long range effects that has changed the way I envisioned the political shifting of the county to continue.

At the end of the meeting I flat out asked the group what they liked, what they don't like, and what they hope to have fun with around the table and the results were surprising.

Dungeons - 5- 6 meetings is about tops. (Did have 1 guy who was quite happy with 10-15)
More Town Adventuring stuff.
Provide some rails for the party to follow.
Enjoying the hack-n-slash.
There were mixed results on fleshing out the world/characters/homework with it being liked but a few were less entused about it.
Some outdoor stuff - again, not too much.
Mixed feelings on either being forced to follow a deadline for an adventure and doing it at whatever pace they like.
Everyone liked the: we screw up or do well - it follows us wherever we go theme.

Current end of days write up follows:

During the walk to Fulgore Keep, Brother Beren began to wake up, and in doing so was screaming about his missing arm. His voice was going to call down what trolls might be in the area so it was time to put a stop to his yelling. A few knocks to the back of his skull and Brother Beren was zonked out. Norris awoke as well, the bard dragging his ass with weary steps and tired.

It was well after 9 that we arrived at Fulgore Keep, looking much like how we remembered it. It sat like a squat toad on one side of the Copper Bottom Ravine, a series of slapped together buildings and tents arranged in a semi-circle around it. We followed Detheron to the local tavern known as the Rusty Bucket. A legless man sat outside of it, begging for coin and claiming to be the victim of a troll attack. We passed him a few coins and entered.

It was smoky and drafty and filthy, but it was civilization to a point. Strange and disreputable people were all over the place. We saw elves and half orcs, slavers and wizards, sell swords and trappers, even a pair of wild elves with a 5 headed hydra all muzzled and drugged up. There was little room to sit so we had Hammerhand toss a few of the slavers about until we had two tables cleared. The proprietor, a burly scarred red-haired brute named Frankish, didn’t care much and we overpaid for our rooms and meals.

We then talked. We had some time to get back to Cymbarton and wanted to rest well, leaving in the morning to clear out of the Dusty Mountains as quick as possible and get back on the road to Ponyboro. Brother Beren had been studying the Sun Stone for a bit and coupled with what we had learned and found out plus Hammerhand’s revelations, the wielder of the Sun Sphere would most likely be consumed in the final conflagration. Brother Beren was willing to do that in order to right the wrong that had been done to Broken Hills.

He did not want his hand regrown and was at one with his faith in Tyr that this was the right thing and the right path to take. We drank somberly at the table and then got ourselves to rest. During Brother Beren’s time unconscious, he received a vision from Tyr in which that there was a member of the group that had a tie with one of Loki’s cohorts and he needed to be corrected/punished. The priest was indicating that he suspected who it might be, thinking it was Norris, but was surprised to find out that it was Detheron! Seemed the priest had made a deal some time ago with a demonic entity to all Zoltan to be raised and the deal was still open – a favor still out there to be taken.

What was Beren to do? Tyr gave him mistletoe and suggested/instructed that before they arrived at Broken Hills that the mistletoe be given to the druid so that it was on his person. Beren agreed and then had woken up.

It was at the table here that Beren gave it to Detheron and told him that his god said he should have it. Detheron thanked the priest with a quizzical look and pocketed the herb in his pouch. We rested that night and it was about 5 in the morning that Detheron received a knock on his door.

It was a wild haired, wrinkled and strange wild eyed mage – the same one that had teleported him, Guyus, and Rahyk about 7 days ago. He was looking for more work and the two of them got into a conversation where another teleport was offered. Prices dickered a bit until the mage went from asking for coins to bodies. “Two bodies!” he cried and the druid stopped, frowning. What for? The mage needed dead bodies for…stuff. For a moment Detheron shook his head and then started to lead the mage to some random stranger’s door.

The mage did say he needed the person’s name as well or the summoning/raising wouldn’t work as he wanted. This caused a wrinkle for Detheron who then haggled down to 1 body. Mage agreed. What to do? With a moment’s thought, Detheron pointed to Denath and Salisithin’s room – saying that one of the men inside was Denath and he would be an acceptable target.

The mage went to the door cast some spell outside of it, and greenish smoke entered underneath. The mage listened then and frowned. He asked Detheron if there was something strange about the two men as they seemed to be still alive. Detheron played dumb and shrugged. So the mage summoned a disembodied sword and sent the scintillating blade through the door jamb and into the room. Some sounds of scuffles followed and then Salisithin came out. The mage drew his dagger and some fight followed before the undead alchemist fell.

Detheron was very loath to piss the mage off so he provided him with Salisithin’s name as well. The mage then offered to “send Detheron and his friends, all of them, anywhere they want”. The druid asked to be sent to Cymbarton, the mage agreed and there was a blast of rainbow light and a sense of disjointing and the entire party, animals, and belongings were teleported to right outside the southwestern gate of the county capital.

Guards were surprised (14 or so odd people spring into appearance at 5:30 in the AM in a rainbow spray of lights). It was the presence of Hammerhand, the dwarven undead fighter floating slightly off the ground, a halo of dark energy around him, that sent the guards into a tizzy. They tried to take him down and the party moved away from him. Detheron said that we would meet up later and he should get out of here. A few bolts of holy water filled glass arrows hit the dwarf, causing him to hiss and moan. He then exploded into a few thousand locusts and flew away.

As for the rest of us, the guards asked many questions. We made believe we did not know where the dwarf came from and were quick to mention the Sun Sphere, Lord Kazak, Count Sedaris, and Broken Hills. We were passed up the chain of command until we were escorted to the Sedarian Demesne and the count’s castle.

We were allowed to clean up quickly and get dressed – Detheron saying nothing on how we got here and nothing about the missing Denath and Salisithin. The party made noise about going back to Fulgore Keep and learning what happened. We met with the count and Kazak, verified we had the Sun Sphere, were supplied with a staff of the correct size, and were going to set off the next day with an honor guard of 20 men and horses for all. Guyus made some deal with the Count that if we did this that we might get the land around Fulgore Keep lorded to us and the count conditionally agreed that he would contemplate 2 of the party’s members.

We rested well and the next day bid Galf and Throdi good luck and took everyone else with us, riding off to Broken Hills. We slept that night and the next day rode until around 10 AM to the outskirts of the city. The horses would go no further. The grasses were dead, animals in the streets were bloated and rotten, the sky was oppressive. Hammerhand had rejoined us. We drew together and Brother Beren cast and invisibility spell on the group that would make them unseen to undead.

Then we stood near the priest who held up the sun sphere mounted and it drew the light in towards itself, pulling Brother Beren towards the town, illuminating the area around the cleric in 10’ radius with holy light. It was uncomfortable for Hammerhand and Mebali to stand near, but the two undead came as well. We entered the proper portion of Broken Hills, weapons at the ready and eyes peeled.

The immediate area was awash with dead carcasses, slimy mud, and the stillness of death. A few figures shuffled about, moaning slowly as they did so. Hidden in the shadows were others, skulking and leaping about. They ignored the group, the invisibility to undead holding. Further northward the destruction was very apparent. A full quarter of Cornblood Keep had fallen, the outer towers collapsed. The cistern had been smashed, turning the quarry and a portion of the roadway into a hardened mass of mud and rock. Trees reached upward with skeletal hands, their leaves burned away. Falconhand Park was a ruin of stumps and shattered statuary. But the most damning, at the top of the highest rise on the north end of town, very near the cemetery, the Temple of Thor stood alone, blotted under a spinning vortex of dark energy that churned some 300’ over the top of the main spire. And it was there that Beren said we needed to go.

The first zombies wandered towards us, drawn to Hammerhand’s negative energy leeching from his body. They surrounded him, slowing the dwarf down, and choking the road slowing us down as well. We took our time, disturbed by seeing even the animals themselves were also wandering about as zombies. It was when they pressed to tight around Hammerhand that he was convinced to disappear – the dwarf forming into his insect cloud shape and the undead milled away.

When Hammerhand returned to us a few minutes later, he reported that it was very disturbing to do that and that he felt like he was not in control while in that form. We pushed on until the crowd was too tight again and once more Hammerhand was suggested to send the undead away. He yelled at one local ghoul to, “LEAVE!!!” and the ghoul exploded! But more dark energy came from Hammerhand and he seemed to stop and swallow a few time reflexively. Guyus informed us that Hammerhand was now radiating a tiny bit of evil. The dwarf informed the party that he did NOT like doing that and the group agreed he should avoid that.

It was at this time that we heard hoof beats and a mounted cowled and very dead guardsman rode up on a zombified horse. He ignored the party and spoke to Hammerhand, inviting him to come speak with the local lord and that he was very welcome here. Hammerhand said he would meet the lord and where should he go? Why – to the Temple of Thor of course. Of course.

The rider rode back to tell the lord (who we had assumed to be Aaron Skelt – the figure that was the specter when we were here before), leaving us to continue our trek through town, again only Hammerhand and Mebali were noticed.

When the group was way too thick around us Hammerhand lured the majority of the undead away, taking them overland behind Cornblood Keep and northward through town to meet up with the group again near the Thorian Temple. With the dwarf gone, the trip was much easier for the party. We saw many variations of zombies and ghouls, but as for shadows – none so far.

It was when we were getting very close to our goal, turning left by Two Cats Inn, that we encountered a major obstacle. A figure barred our way – middle aged, human, fat to the point of being obese, thin beard, holding a small rod in his left hand. And he could see us. Guyus tried to detect for Evil and was momentarily stunned from the emanations coming from the figure. Definitely evil, and most likely otherworld.

He asked where we were going and why would we want to fix Broken Hills. Beren retorted and the two of them got into a small spat of words – going back and forth over the weakness inherent in Tyr and his followers and Beren all but claiming the figure was either Orcus or a minion of. But it was when the figure turned to Detheron and reminded him that he had made a deal some time ago to help bring Zoltan back, that the group had a pause. Detheron agreed he remembered it and the figure said ok – it’s time to call in that marker – get me the Sun Sphere and staff.

We had an interparty moment here with Detheron looking to wheedle out of it when the figure finally grew cross and said that if you think Beren is on your side, he’s trying to kill you with that bit of poisoned mistletoe that his pathetic one-handed god bestowed on him to give to you. Beren tried to back pedal and Detheron was very abrupt on his dealings with the priest – eventually flat out asking him what the damn deal was. Beren admitted that Tyr had given him the mistletoe in a vision and that it was because Detheron had made a deal with a minion of Loki.

The Orcus-ine figure then told Detheron to either give him the Sun Sphere or reach in and take out the poisoned mistletoe but he had to do one of the two now. If the mistletoe did not kill him, then he was liar and was trying to cause strife with him and Beren – if it DID kill him, then Beren was a murdering lying stooge. Detheron decided to trust Beren and reached into his pouch to take out the silverleafed plant.

And promptly died.

The fat man laughed long and hard about it, wished the party well, and as a parting gift, disabled the invisibility to undead spell. Just god damned great.

Norris fired up a fast Delay Poison for Detheron who stood up woozily, knowing he had only a short number of hours before the poison killed him again. The rest of the group drew together and began to attack the zombies and ghouls that tried to attack us (none of the undead wanting to cross the perimeter of the Sun Sphere’s light). Brother Beren called on Tyr to empower everyone’s blows against the necromantic foes which did succeed, but it was like shoveling out a lake – as more zombies and ghouls came.

And then we saw it – the vortex of dark energy over the Thorian Temple was not a storm, but was thousands and thousands of shadows. And they were swarming in this direction. Covering the sky, blotting the sun, and dulling the Sun Sphere’s glow.

We fired up light spells and withdrew our continual light stone, used the light wand – anything to keep the Sun Sphere glowing brightly – the magical dwarven made artifact pulling in the enchanted light and pushing back the dark. We ran on, dropping what zombies and ghouls we could find. It was near Potterson’s Clayworks that evil struck again.

This time in the form of our fallen companion and monastic brother, Bron. He came leaping out a window and using his powers, critically struck Brother Beren in the throat – missing killing him by 1 point. Brother Beren could not let go of the Staff as it would end the Sun Sphere’s influence so he could not cast spells. The rest of the group tore into the undead monk who gave as good as he got, but in the end it was just one man (undead too!) and was eventually slain.

Hammerhand returned at this point and had over 300 zombies and ghouls with him, filling the street. We asked him to go to the Bathhouse and lure the undead there and he did so, once more clearing the street for us. More light spells were cast into the Sun Sphere and the group pushed on to the last bastion – the Thorian Temple.

We ran hard, the vault of shadows overhead, arriving at the shattered doors of the temple. The wooden frames were pitted and shattered and inside the pews were scattered all over. Standing near the altar was the spectral figure of Aaron Skelt. He was wroth with us, identifying himself as the lord of Broken Hills. There were some angry shouts and at some point it devolved to melee with Aaron briefly and then holy water was sent flying.

The culmination of all things ended when Brother Beren arrived at the darkest part of the temple and willed the Sun Sphere to full radiance. The stone made a shallow roaring noise, drawing Brother Beren’s strength with it – it radiated brighter and brighter – blowing holes in all the shadows above, shredding Aaron Skelt, knocking what Zombies might be around to dust and shattered bones. And still it grew brighter until it seared outward with a blast of rainbow bright white light and crash that dropped everyone to the ground and knocked them out.

They awoke at some point later, slowly, blind and seeing only white, and shouting for one another. They heard Hammerhand in the distance, the dwarf no longer undead and also quite blind. And the land around them was silent – no moans, shuffling feet, nothing. Just still, just silent.